Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I have to say right now, this week may be the craziest I’ve ever witnessed when it comes to comic book movie news. Nothing new is coming out this weekend, however when it comes to news, it’s absolutely insane. I’m actually gonna cover multiple segments here, however only one portion here matters more than others. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s an idea, when introduced at the time, seemed original by the standards of film. It has now inspired other cinematic universes such as the “Dark Universe” from Universal, the DCEU (Detective Comics Extended Universe), and the Monsterverse Warner is focusing on at the moment. “Thor: Ragnarok,” which will be released in November, is going to be the seventeenth movie in the universe. That’s not the only future movie planned, there’s gonna be a couple of “Avengers” sequels coming up, “Ant-Man” is getting another standalone film, Captain Marvel is gonna have a movie, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is gonna have a sequel, and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will be happening. Speaking of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” let’s talk about that.
If you don’t know me personally, I enjoyed the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie. The vibe worked perfectly, the comedy landed for the most part, and it took characters that not many people, including some people who read comic books out of enthusiasm, didn’t know much about. Not many folks, until 2014, heard about Starlord, not many people knew about Gamora, they weren’t aware of Groot, they didn’t ever think about Drax, nobody traditionally thought of Rocket as a badass raccoon. What Marvel was able to do with these characters kind of amazes me. As far as their movies go, this might be their most family friendly one yet.
As much as I enjoyed the first “Guardians,” the sequel was big letdown for me. It may have been due to my hype for the film, but then again, I anticipated “Wonder Woman” and “Dunkirk” to death and look how those movies turned out. It’s by no means a bad movie, nor is it the worst in the MCU, but it is not a great movie either, it’s just passable. The humor didn’t land as much, although some worked, like the Taserface gag and the Mary Poppins joke. Some of the characters were not as cool as they were in the first movie, although the movie did get a better villain and they did improve the character of Drax in some ways.
*UNPOPULAR OPINION WARNING, FLAME SHIELD READY*
Baby Groot is by far one of the single most annoying characters I’ve seen in anything! I get he’s small, and supposed to be cute, but this film literally tries to force it down your throat! It almost reminds me of the stupid kid the lead characters have from the piece of crap they call “Sharknado!” It’s like watching YouTube, you’re watching cat videos, and the person taking the video is constantly saying look at this cat playing the piano! YOU MADE YOUR F*CKING POINT! YOU SAID IT ONCE! YOU ALREADY TOLD ME! I ALREADY KNOW! It’s like if BB-8 from “Star Wars Episode VII” was constantly shoved into random scenes just because he’s cute. And granted, the cuteness factor was there, and a lot of people see him as a cute droid, but he’s there when the plot needs him, he’s not randomly in shots just shoving jelly beans down his gullet. Wait a minute that makes no sense, droids can’t eat or drink. Also now that I think about it, trees don’t eat jelly beans either. Whatever, you probably get my point! I’m sorry if you hate me, but this is how I feel.
If you are a mega fan of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, both 1 & 2, and you don’t know the main man to thank, I’ll have you know the man you probably should be thanking is James Gunn, he directed and wrote the first and second films which are out right now, and he’s also working on the third one. The man definitely knows how to direct and write these movies based on how the actors deliver their lines and how well the humor plays out. Recently, he did a stream on Facebook Live, and something… …interesting came up. When he was on the livestream, a bunch of users asked some questions, and one user asked if Richard Rider/Nova would ever be put in the MCU films. At one point when answering the question, Gunn uttered this: “One of the things I’m doing with creating “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” it will take place after the next two “Avengers” movies and it will help to set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies. It’s going to really expand the cosmic universe.”
That’s right, you’re probably getting at least a decade’s worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. How do I feel about this? While I love Marvel and I’m excited to what they have in store, I’m simultaneously worried. The Marvel Cinematic Universe began back in 2008 with “Iron Man,” since then it has expanded with many films loved by audiences everywhere. Some people still say they prefer superhero films outside the MCU such as the older “Spider-Man” films, Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy, Donner’s “Superman,” or movies in the “X-Men” franchise. We’ve had film franchises go on longer than the MCU, such as the “Bourne” series, “James Bond,” “Fast & Furious,” and “Star Wars.” Although I’m noticing that compared to these franchises, the MCU is producing movies more rapidly and when it is compared to a franchise like “Bourne,” you can tell that “Bourne” might have an intended stopping point. The MCU is basically the cinematic universe version of “The Neverending Story.” Me personally, if I had a cinematic universe, and I actually do have one in mind if I ever have the opportunity to make films in Hollywood, I would end it at a point. I’d give it a sense of finality, but I only wonder if the folks behind the MCU will ever feel the same way.
While I am concerned about the franchise going on forever and ever, allow me to address some positives. Starting off the positives, this isn’t Michael Bay’s “Transformers” nor is it “Sharknado.” Also, Marvel has clearly shown how it can make stellar movies that people want to see. A lot of their flicks have been well received by both average moviegoers and critics. When it comes to comic book fans, they do a fine job appreciating that particular audience for the most part. Some notable mistakes they made over the years has usually been with the villains. With the exception of villains like Ego from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or the Vulture from “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the MCU hasn’t really featured terrific villains in their films. This is why I love “Captain America: Civil War” so much, it didn’t have a villain, it had sides, neither good or evil. Another notable flaw many people have with the MCU is in “Doctor Strange.” You may remember the Ancient One in that movie, she was played by Tilda Swinton because it’s an example of whitewashing. While the MCU may not be perfect, it certainly has a lot of likability to it. Despite saying that, I wonder how much it has left.
The MCU has been around for nine years and people still enjoy it, but what if it goes on forever and ever to a point where people begin to become tired of it? If you ask me, I’m not exactly tired of it, but I am starting to think the series might go on longer than it should. Keep in mind, Marvel is owned by Disney, the Bill Gates of movie studios. Disney basically owns us now since they have Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and their own animations along with those animations that are being remade into live-action form. The top 5 films of 2016 in terms of box office performance are all Disney films. “Captain America: Civil War,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Finding Dory,” “Zootopia,” and “The Jungle Book.” Right now, three of this year’s films owned by Disney are in the top 10 in terms of box office performance. Those films are “Beauty and the Beast,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” I’m not counting “Spider-Man: Homecoming” here because despite how it is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony distributed the movie. Disney has also had successes with 2015 films like “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “Inside Out.” If you look at what Disney is doing, you may see that they’re making buttloads of money. They now own all of these things we, as viewers, know about. Although I want to make a comparison to this and a popular video game franchise you guys may know about.
Have you guys ever played the “Call of Duty” games? I don’t play as much as other people do, but I know people who play the games. If you know a bit about them, you may know that they do this thing where they release a new game every year. We’re getting Marvel movies, quicker than we’re getting “Call of Duty” games. Keep in mind, many people say that some of the older games like “Modern Warfare” and “Modern Warfare 2” rock whereas newer games like “Advanced Warfare” and “Infinite Warfare” suck. If there’s one thing I noticed, personally, it’s that I thought Marvel movies got better as they went on. the oldest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie I currently have a 10/10 for is “Iron Man 3” which was released on May 3, 2013. Then there was “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Ant-Man,” and “Captain America: Civil War,” which is currently my favorite movie in the MCU. Also, you have to keep in mind, I don’t witness many people talking about the first “Call of Duty,” the second “Call of Duty,” anything along those lines. While it seems that a lot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are widely talked about today, I could tell you that when “The Avengers” came out, this is when a majority of people flocked to the theater to see these movies. Also keep in mind, this came out in 2012, the same year that “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” came out. Both “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” were successful at the box office, in fact in some cases, “The Dark Knight Rises” may have gotten more positive reception than “The Avengers,” the case isn’t really the same for “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Spider-Man and Batman are both argued among nerds all over the world between which is the better hero, they both get their own movie in the same year, and they are beat by “The Avengers.” Although when you think about it, it makes sense, you get more superheroes, some you may know, some you may not know, and the idea of “The Avengers,” unlike “Batman” and “Spider-Man,” hasn’t really been done much on screen. Although the “Fantastic Four” movies have more than one superhero and look how those movies turned out. However when you look back before and realize what “Spider-Man” did in terms of box office performance in 2002, such as being the only film to make $100 million in its opening weekend at the time, and how “The Dark Knight” not only won the box office in 2008, but avoided a comic book movie from having the slightest bit of childishness, this is kind of interesting to think about. The Marvel Cinematic Universe did have some successes before “The Avengers” like with the first two “Iron Man” films, and while 2011 brought “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” they didn’t quite reach the top 10, making them get a lower score in the box office than “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1…” (sigh). Right now, if you can’t tell already, the box office isn’t a problem for the MCU, and I don’t think it will be in the future. However, I wonder about their movies in terms of quality.
There’s a saying that all good things come to an end. We all know we are going to die one day. OK, I’m not saying all people are good, just look at Adolf Hitler! You know movie franchises that have technically come to conclusions in the past? Just look at “Back to the Future,” “Jaws,” or “Revenge of the Nerds.” The people behind these movies knew when to stop, “Back to the Future” stopped at three movies suggesting that the characters’ futures are what they make them, and all three franchises according to popular opinion have never made a movie better than their first installment. You know what’s still going today? “Transformers,” “Sharknado,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and “Fifty Shades.” Traditionally, these movies are not well received, however they are popular over a certain demographic. “Transformers” continues to make lots of money even though people are literally paying to see the same thing every time, “Sharknado” is on TV, but people watch it because it’s “so bad it’s good,” which I thought at first with the original, but upon rewatch it became worse, and the later installments are just plain awful, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is popular among families and kids, including some who know about the books, and while it was fun to watch as a kid, it became worse the more I thought about it. Not to mention their newest installment, if you haven’t heard about it, may be one of the most forced sequels in movie history, and for “Fifty Shades,” while it may be popular among women and those who have read the books, it wasn’t well received because of its characters, along with the fact that it is technically “porn” and yet the movie fails to deliver on that for a lot of people. Also ladies, for those of you crushing on Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey in the series, the actor says he didn’t want himself nude in the movie. If you’re gonna make a movie for women, that’s technically a porno, KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE! If you ask me, I haven’t seen any of the “Fifty Shades” movies, nor have I read the books, so I can’t really say my true thoughts about it, but I honestly don’t want to see or read it unless I have a girlfriend who wants to watch it and she feels like watching it with me, if it means I get to go to a free screening, or if someone is paying me to watch the movie. With Marvel, I can enjoy myself throughout the process of watching one of their movies, but how much longer will it take for me to not enjoy myself?
So far, two movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been released this year, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” While I enjoyed parts of both movies, I thought both needed improvement. I said what I needed to about “Guardians 2,” but I didn’t really say much about “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” I thought they aced Peter Parker and Spider-Man for the most part, it could have been funnier, they had Iron Man in the movie but they played their cards right and kept the movie from turning into “Iron Man 4,” the AI annoyed me, and the villain was cool. I gave the movie a 7/10 in my review, and I said it would probably drop to a 6. For the record, I gave “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a 6/10, which I also gave to “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which was fun at times, but ultimately a disappointment. The only film I gave a lower score to in the MCU was for “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which was a 5/10. Based on this you can tell that Marvel is capable of making good movies, but every year since 2013, I’ve seen one Marvel film that is worthy of a 10/10 for me. In my top 10 MCU films, I have only one movie that is a 7/10 in my book, all the others are 8/10 at minimum. If “Thor: Ragnarok” isn’t a 10/10, then the streak I’m talking about is officially over. If you ask me, I’m somewhat excited as a Marvel movie lover for “Thor: Ragnarok,” but at the same time, worried. It looks like it could be a good movie, but the marketing makes it look like “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Now, I like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but for a movie like this, I want a darker tone. You have Planet Hulk in this movie, it looks like there’s gonna be a lot of destruction on Asgard, and yet in the trailer they’re playing “Immigrant” by Led Zeppelin. Good song, but it makes me worried here. You can still have humor in the movie, you can still have flashy effects, and granted the effects look stunning in the trailers, but I want a darker vibe than what I’m getting when this movie comes out. Now, I’ll say if “Thor: Ragnarok” is a 9/10 or 8/10, that’d still be cool. Although if it’s a 7/10 or lower, I’d start to worry.
Also, you have to consider the fact that these movies are based on comic books, so they might be taking material from the comic books, and turning that into movie material. That’s fine, but part of me wonders, will we ever run out of good material to copy? I don’t read comic books all that much, but this is something I wonder similarly as a movie watcher. I wonder if we will stop seeing original material and start always seeing unoriginal material. Although comic books have been going on for years and we are still getting lots of new stuff, but they always do unoriginal stuff. They do stuff based on other sources, they do a new series or a spinoff with certain characters, or they might do gender or race swaps. If we want to keep these movies going, we either need to introduce new characters that haven’t been written in comic form or we need to get people writing new comic book material. This has been done before though, you guys know Harley Quinn? Her first appearance was actually in “Batman: The Animated Series.”
And if you think that comic book movies are stopping anytime soon, you’re completely under a rock. People continue to watch those movies, people keep making them, and they’re even making movies on villains, kind of like they did with “Suicide Squad.” That’s not all, Sony is coming out with a “Venom” movie in 2018 with Tom Hardy as the lead actor, and there’s also gonna be a “Joker” movie that I hear is gonna be in a different universe than the DCEU. In fact tonight, just when I thought I covered everything in this post, I took a break, thought I’d add some finishing touches a little later, ONLY TO FIND OUT MATT REEVES’S “BATMAN” MOVIE ISN’T GOING TO BE PART OF THE DCEU EITHER! What is happening? It’s becoming like “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” only instead of running out of food on an Island in the Atlantic, we’re running out of new and fresh movies quite possibly throughout the world, and instead of just having sardines to eliminate our hunger, we just have comic book films to fulfill our movie watching desires!
I love movies. I love comic book movies. I love Marvel Studios. Although at the same time, I’m concerned about its future. Maybe they’ll continue on creating original content and keep rocking it not only at the box office, not only on home video, but also in the minds of the viewers. As much as Marvel Studios makes good movies, there may be a day where it goes the way of McDonald’s, by that I mean there will be a MCU movie on every corner, and it may just be processed as opposed to crafted. Guys, I don’t think “Thor: Ragnarok” will be great, admittedly I’m excited for “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” If “Thor: Ragnarok” is good, there’s less of a chance I have of going into these MCU films in the future with a bit of skepticism. So I want to know, what are your thoughts on this? Also, what is a movie you want to see from Marvel Studios, but hasn’t happened yet?
Also I want to break a little announcement to you all, while I still plan to do reviews of new movies, I also want to tackle some older ones too. If you recall me doing my “Spider-Man” review series along with my Christopher Nolan review series, I’d like to let you know I’m doing another one. If you think about big action stars, I’d traditionally think about Liam Neeson (Taken, Non-Stop), Jason Statham (The Transporter, Death Race), Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix), and Vin Diesel (xXx, The Fast and the Furious). Another one I think of is someone who I’m starting a series on, that my friends is Tom Cruise. Over the years, Cruise has proven himself to be a very talented actor in many ways, and I’m gonna talk about three movies he stars in. I’m gonna be starting off with “The Last Samurai.” At some point I will include a review for “Risky Business,” I’m not sure where I’ll put it, either as my second or third review, but that will be an intention in the future. I will also be reviewing another movie Cruise is in, but I’m not sure what it is yet, you’ll find out when the review comes around! Stay tuned for those reviews, and Marvel Studios, if you are planning on continuing the universe for another 10 or 20 years, focus on the movies first, and focus on the money later. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!