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May 3, 2021 6:45 PM   Subscribe

Marvel Studios Celebrates The Movies.

Marvel blasts off with a megatrailer for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock (124 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
FANTASTIC FOUR
posted by nushustu at 6:53 PM on May 3 [8 favorites]


"Gavage | Definition of Gavage by Merriam-Webster" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gavage
posted by GuyZero at 6:55 PM on May 3 [10 favorites]


"Wakanda Forever" seems a good title - not sure how they will handle the loss of Chadwick Boseman, but I think Coogler's the man to do it. The title "The Marvels" makes me think they're going to have Ms Marvel start on the small screen and then shift to a feature film. I certainly hope we get more Monica Rambeau, though.

nushustu: Is that an obscure "Fantastic Four" teaser or just "Marvel Phase 4"? I took it as the latter since there's just a "Marvel Studios" logo over it and no title or date.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:08 PM on May 3


> "Wakanda Forever" seems a good title - not sure how they will handle the loss of Chadwick Boseman, but I think Coogler's the man to do it.

Shuri, I expect.
posted by metabaroque at 7:12 PM on May 3 [8 favorites]


IT BETTER BE SHURI.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:17 PM on May 3 [25 favorites]


The first Disney film I remember seeing is Bambi and even as young as I was I remember crying and then being mad they made me cry over an animated doe.

Anyways, this trailer with its hope and emphasis on human storytelling and connectedness did the same damn thing. I will, fate willing, watch them all and perhaps there will even one day be movie theatres open in my plague ridden hellhole.

Ditto Shuri.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:20 PM on May 3 [6 favorites]


rmd1023: "nushustu: Is that an obscure "Fantastic Four" teaser or just "Marvel Phase 4"?"

Not really obscure, IMO, just the actual FF logo.
posted by signal at 7:25 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I'm slightly p-ed off that there are no mutants in this (except the Pretender, but you know, it's complicated, plus we don't say her name). I am still hoping that they drop them into one of the movies the way they did Spider-Man, OR that they give Hickman a few billion dollars to start his own DoX-CU.
posted by signal at 7:29 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


Oh, also, Shuri.
posted by signal at 7:30 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


There is no way Disney will not do X-men movies. The question is just when/how
posted by emjaybee at 7:42 PM on May 3


rmd1023, they announced Fantastic Four in December. Overall, I don't care that MCU is mostly punching and explosions, I'm hyped. I miss going to the movies with people; that audience reaction for Avengers Endgame was painful to watch given what happened right after. Now it looks like Disney is making up for lost time. That's four movies in like half a year.

I too want to see some mutants; I expect they'll get through all of this content and then maybe get some X-Men movies in 2023/2024.
posted by nushustu at 7:43 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


Also, Shuri all the time forever.

You know what they haven't announced? Any more Avengers movies. Are we just not going to do giant team-ups any more?
posted by nushustu at 7:44 PM on May 3


The worry I have with both the FF and XMen is that you're going to have to waste one movie as an origin story/setup before you can go on to more interesting things. Good for Marvel as that means more movies to watch but I'm so bored of origin stories.

Also where were they up to now? You could explain away the FFs absence to date by saying they were off-world or exploring the multiverse, but the XMen? I'd love a movie to start with Xavier in everyone's heads saying that the world had changed while they were asleep and there's now a mutant nation on Krakoa but the lack of mutants to this point is harder to explain away. Why weren't any mutants involved in Infinity War or Endgame when surely half of them were wiped out by Thanos too? And are we starting at the very beginning with barely any mutants or are there now millions of them, that have never been mentioned before, or are we post decimation and the reason no one's talked about mutants is because they all mysteriously disappeared? You almost would need an entire phase where it's just XMen, a Year of X or something.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:57 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


You know what they haven't announced? Any more Avengers movies. Are we just not going to do giant team-ups any more?

I suspect these disparate films and characters will all wind up in some kind of ensemble twofer. Captain America and Iron Man are gone-gone so it will have to be something else. New Avengers? Avengers West Coast? I don't know any other team-ups apart from the seven billion X-somethings.

I'll obviously watch them all but the only thing I'm really interested in is Thor. Thing is, even the Marvel stuff I wasn't interested in up until now was all still good movies, any one of which I would watch again in a pinch.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:04 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


Hulk, Strange, Namor, Nighthawk, Hellcat, Valkyrie. Defenders movie please.
posted by vrakatar at 8:08 PM on May 3 [9 favorites]


Shuri, the character, is awesome. Letitia Wright, the actress, is a disappointing anti-vax person.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:08 PM on May 3 [19 favorites]


Word is, The Marvels will feature Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau, which is pretty cool.

Universal might still kinda own the rights to Namor. Arguments both ways. It's one for the lawyers.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:10 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


You know what they haven't announced? Any more Avengers movies. Are we just not going to do giant team-ups any more?

Possibly not under such a title. Civil War sure had a lot of people in it.

Word is, The Marvels will feature Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau, which is pretty cool.

If I’m not mistaken, the S in the Marvels logo is the one off the Spectrum costume.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:16 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


My guess is that Dr. Strange’s multiverse stuff and the multi-timeline stuff from Endgame & the Loki D+ series is setting up how they bring mutants in.

They could do Secret Wars and have the mutants come in on one of the planet chunks that make up battleworld, or do an adaptation of that time Galactus tried to eat the Ultimate universe.

If Tom Holland’s contract is up around that time, maybe that’s when we get Miles and/or Venom in the MCU.
posted by FallibleHuman at 8:21 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


It would be pretty easy to posit that the Snap/Blip had unforseen mutating effects on people and just start there (also affecting Monica Rambeau even). You couldn't do the Magneto-as-Holocaust-Survivor story but then, there have been tons of ethnic cleansing and similar violence since that time that would serve the same purpose.
posted by emjaybee at 8:40 PM on May 3


My partner, with tears in his eyes after watching this 3x in a row: “this is the only good thing about capitalism.”
posted by sleepingwithcats at 8:45 PM on May 3 [31 favorites]


We were crying here also.
posted by vrakatar at 8:48 PM on May 3 [4 favorites]


- I think that the easy way to bring in mutants is to say that:
--there have always been people in the MCU who have had the potential to have superpowers; this is implied by Wanda and Pietro getting their powers from the Mind Stone, and the influence of the other Infinity Stones on superpowers and whatnot (the Time Stone as the Eye of Agamotto on the mystics of Kamar-Taj, the Space Stone as the Tesseract on SHIELD/Hydra, Howard Stark's work, and Project Pegasus/Captain Marvel, among others), and other knock-on effects of there being up to three on Earth at any given time.
--the influence of the Celestials on that potential may have been bigger than was realized. They've only been mentioned in passing in the GotG movies so far, but The Eternals will goose that considerably. The comics canon has that the Celestials created three branches of humanity via genetic engineering: the Eternals, who are more or less demigods; the Deviants, who are more or less demonic types who look different from generation to generation; and baseline humans, by far the most populous type, who have the latent mutant gene but not expressed, unless it's by some external force, such as radiation (most of the superheroes of Marvel's Silver Age got it this way, even Daredevil), or some other factor, such as...
--the Infinity Stones being destroyed, which might have leaked the power that they contained into the larger universe; that could explain Wanda's power-up (and passing on some of that power to Monica Rambeau), the guy in TFATWS who suddenly recreated the super-soldier formula, etc.

Of course, that would create a whole bunch of mutants at once; the comics have already flirted with the concept, with the Inhumans releasing a whole bunch of terrigen mist at once (the stuff that turns on their powers) that subsequently activates a bunch of latent Inhumans in the general population. (I have no idea if the MCU Inhumans, either in the short-lived TV series or the Agents of SHIELD crossover, ever used that plot.) Maybe they could have a relatively small number of mutants that already exist--198, say--through cosmic rays or random chance or stray encounters with Infinity Stones, which get bolstered by the Stones' destruction. That would allow for older mutants (Magneto, Apocalypse, Mister Sinister, Professor X, Wolverine, et al.) and those who you just wouldn't want to reboot (Deadpool), while making room for new or revamped versions of other legacy characters. Or maybe Deadpool and/or others will cross over via the multiverse.

- Speaking of Eternals, just a tiny taste, but it looks nice.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:51 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


MCU Spiderman wisely skipped the origin story, I think they could easily do that for X-Men and probably Fantastic Four (slightly less well known than X-Men, but a quick flashback or something might be sufficient versus spending a whole movie on origins).

Nakia seems like a Black Panther possibility too? Definitely a trained fighter, character we know, and of course Wakanda doesn't go by blood succession. And she's been in the field a lot.
posted by thefoxgod at 8:55 PM on May 3 [3 favorites]


I have no idea if the MCU Inhumans, either in the short-lived TV series or the Agents of SHIELD crossover, ever used that plot.
Halloween Jack


I give you fish oil.
posted by sardonyx at 8:56 PM on May 3 [6 favorites]


still kinda own the rights to Namor.

The avenging son cares little to none about surface world "copywright law", air breather! IMPERIUS REX!
posted by vrakatar at 9:03 PM on May 3 [13 favorites]


I’ve watched this a half-dozen times today. The live crowd reaction from Endgame is used perfectly, and it builds to such a flex at the end. You like movies? We’ve got two years of them waiting for you right now. You want Captain Marvel? How about three of them?! WAKANDA FOREVER!!

I am, as Spock said, “emotionally compromised.”
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:14 PM on May 3 [19 favorites]


I don't even give a crap about Marvel and this still made me cry, lol. Disney know what they're doing. I've been in bed all day after my second Pfizer dose and I'm beyond ready to go see some dumb movie in a theater one of these days.
posted by potrzebie at 9:26 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


They have any queer heroes yet?
posted by No One Ever Does at 9:43 PM on May 3 [6 favorites]




Good to hear, thanks.
posted by No One Ever Does at 10:48 PM on May 3 [1 favorite]


I'm slightly p-ed off that there are no mutants in this (except the Pretender, but you know, it's complicated, plus we don't say her name)

Her name is Wanda, and ret-conning away her mutant origins in the comics is utter bullshit.
They don't even need to worry about the Disney/Fox split anymore. They can fix this. It's one more ret-con, literally nobody will remember it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:54 PM on May 3


Word is, The Marvels will feature Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau, which is pretty cool.

Yeah, the symbol from Monica Rambeau/Spectrum's suit is in the "A" of the title logo and Ms. Marvel's costume "S" is the S at the end. The Ms. Marvel Disney+ show is currently filming.

Are we just not going to do giant team-ups any more?

They seem to be seeding in a "Young Avengers" film via the Disney+ Marvel shows. Wanda's twins showed up (with powers) in WandaVision. Eli Bradley just showed up (without powers) in Falcon & The Winter Soldier. Hailee Steinfeld is playing Kate Bishop in full costume in the forthcoming Hawkeye Disney+ show. And a lot of the other teammates are rumored to be appearing in the upcoming Phase 4 films and shows, as well.

I hope this ends up being the case, if only because I love the idea of a Young Avengers existing in a world where mutants suddenly start popping up. Scared kids with powers meet...scared kids with powers! And Spider-Man's there too probably.

Also I am SO PUMPED at the placement of the Fantastic Four logo in this video, because it feels like they're implying that F4 might be a result of the events of most of these Phase 4 films, instead of a standalone thing. Marvel has a weird little multiverse/time travel throughline happening in this phase, with Loki next month, possibly the next Spider-Man movie (considering the casting of villains from non-Marvel Spidey films), then Doctor Strange 2, then this Quantumania movie. The F4 could very well fly in fully formed from another timeline (THOUGHT YOU COULD ESCAPE THE MCU, HUH EVANS?) to fix things.

But that's just me conjecturing. Really all I want is MCU Galactus. GIVE ME GALACTUSSSSS.
posted by greenland at 11:02 PM on May 3 [5 favorites]


Damn.

That "We ... are ... Groot."
posted by chavenet at 12:47 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


The first Disney film I remember seeing is Bambi and even as young as I was I remember crying and then being mad they made me cry over an animated doe.

Relive the pathos. And then: the rematch!
posted by flabdablet at 2:55 AM on May 4


I honestly expect the MCU X-Men to be a take on Krakoa, because the way that's been going in the comics has been extremely well received, and it's radically different to the Fox X-Men series. I think you could keep the subtext, which is an important part of the story, by having mutants come into their power and yearn for Krakoa in the way that gay teens yearned for San Francisco. But the trick is that these days subtext is usually not good enough, so they'd have to put queer people of colour up on the screen and also have the subtext of X-Men standing in for any marginalised group. If Marvel were careful, they could do this.

Marvel aren't that careful, which is why I reacted to the list of upcoming films only months apart with exhaustion.
posted by Merus at 3:04 AM on May 4


From the article linked above:

Kevin Feige himself has promised that more queer characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are on their way.

I feel like I should point out he's been promising this from 2015 onwards, always with "it's going to happen soon" and vague hints about who it might be. In 2017 he promised two LGBTQ+ characters in upcoming movies. At least one part of that promise turned out to be a crappy director cameo in a role that doesn't have any impact on the plot whatsoever. In that time the studio also cut out overtly queer scenes with Valkyrie and have been doubling down on making sure everyone knows that Bucky is definitely not bisexual and don't you dare even think that for a second.

There might be a trans character in Eternals, but my guess is they'll be a love interest or best friend/sidekick at best.

Anyone holding out for an openly queer main hero character is going to be waiting a long time, probably for some of the old white cishet men in the board room to die off.
posted by fight or flight at 3:23 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


I'm slightly p-ed off that there are no mutants in this (except the Pretender, but you know, it's complicated, plus we don't say her name)

Not to go off too much into a sidebar, but oh boy I hate that this has become acceptable fandom nomenclature. The X-comics treatment of Wanda as a scapegoat in Krakoa is incredibly hypocritical and borderline misogynistic, given how many of the dudes in charge have done pretty awful things, on purpose, for decades -- and now they get to do whatever they want, because something something comics.

But when a woman has her mind controlled by Doom and is forced to do terrible things with her powers, it's okay for her to become a pariah, because the mutant nation needs someone to hate (??). Despite the fact that this has happened to multiple members of the X-Men many times and everyone welcomes them back with hugs and back pats. It's literally lampshaded in Children's Crusade, when Billy asks anyone who has been fucked up by mental manipulation to raise their hands. And now the excuse is that the X-leadership "didn't know". Fuck all the way off.

And leaving aside the fact that the person who coined this nickname is fucking Exodus of all people, it feels super Not Great to see a fandom that's starting to really embrace and lift up minority fans for the first time turning on a Roma woman with vile nicknames, because a wealthy white man told them to.
posted by fight or flight at 3:34 AM on May 4 [9 favorites]


Confession: I like origin stories. I'd be content watching the same origin story retold over and over again. It's easier than keeping track of character development and changes in canon. The X-Men will always be Professor X, Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl to me, and I know other stuff happened later, but I don't really care about it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:59 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


So excited!!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:48 AM on May 4


Using the theater-camera reaction to Endgame’s portals scene was a very clever touch. Lord knows I’ve watched such clip compilations before.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 4:52 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


Confession: I like origin stories. I'd be content watching the same origin story retold over and over again.

But could they do something other than fight an evil version of themselves?
posted by timdiggerm at 5:37 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


fight or flight: " it feels super Not Great to see a fandom that's starting to really embrace and lift up minority fans for the first time turning on a Roma woman with vile nicknames, because a wealthy white man told them to."

As the one who posted the original 'The Pretender' comment, I stand corrected.
posted by signal at 6:25 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Are we just not going to do giant team-ups any more?

The Eternals is a whole team-up in itself....
posted by Pendragon at 6:48 AM on May 4


Dammit, still no Squirrel girl movie....
posted by Pendragon at 6:49 AM on May 4 [13 favorites]



I'm slightly p-ed off that there are no mutants in this


I for one applaud them not rushing in the mutants. It's definitely better if they take their time and do it right. But just because they didn't show any doesn't mean that none will appear.

Here's an expanded look at that audience reaction to Endgame's final battle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:55 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


fight or flight: Anyone holding out for an openly queer main hero character is going to be waiting a long time, probably for some of the old white cishet men in the board room to die off.

Some of it is old white cishet men in the board room, but a lot of it is distribution deals in large foreign markets like China where the government is anti-gay. See this article for instance.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:15 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


But could they do something other than fight an evil version of themselves?

No.
posted by The Bellman at 7:49 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Pendragon: "Dammit, still no Squirrel girl movie...."

Yes, but to be fair she needs a 6 season tv show first.
And then the movie.
posted by signal at 8:03 AM on May 4 [11 favorites]


So maybe I'm in an alternate timeline here (and some spoilers/non-spoilers for WandaVision, which I haven't seen ...), but doesn't WandaVision provide the perfect way to explain why we haven't seen mutants? I thought House of M was part of the inspiration for WandaVision?
posted by jclarkin at 8:22 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


I'll admit that I choked up a little at the audience reaction to Endgame. I haven't been to a damn movie since February 2020 and I'm dying to go sit in a dark room with other people and get lost in a story. This is the longest I've gone without seeing a movie in a theater since probably 1970.
posted by octothorpe at 8:39 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


You know what they haven't announced? Any more Avengers movies. Are we just not going to do giant team-ups any more?

I mean, I think that we're in a MCU now where the Avengers and SHIELD as organizations have had their moment pass. Earth is truly part of the galactic community now, and more and more of our heroes are not Terran, let alone American. I think that it's not a coincidence that Guardians of the Galaxy is at the end of the line up, as I suspect we're going to see that moniker be the supergroup that pulls all the heroes together into the giant teamups for dealing with Thanos-level threats.

And all the old heroes that stick around are going to be a lot more independent and crotchety about doing things their own way.

And yeah, I'm pretty sure they're also paving the way for a Young Avengers reveal towards the end of Phase Four.
posted by 256 at 8:49 AM on May 4


Yeah, but when are they finally going to give Howard the Duck the movie he deserves?
posted by loquacious at 8:56 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


Squirrel Girl need a good writing team, though. Ryan North was able to make her more than a joke character and it's better to have no Squirrel Girl than bad Squirrel Girl.
posted by rikschell at 9:11 AM on May 4 [11 favorites]


>I'm slightly p-ed off that there are no mutants in this (except the Pretender, but you know, it's complicated, plus we don't say her name). I am still hoping that they drop them into one of the movies the way they did Spider-Man, OR that they give Hickman a few billion dollars to start his own DoX-CU.

I've generally felt like X-Men were at odds with being in the same universe as all the other superhero shenanigans. The stories and analogies of X-Men work better when the focus is on X-Men, ignoring the infinity other ways for people to be appreciably different than a mundane human. X-Men stories tend to lean more into bigotry, of excluded or marginalized peoples, those kinds of narratives which are very human and grounded. That loses something when it's jammed into a universal sized kitchen sink soup containing literally every idea a corporation has ownership of for nearly 100 years.

I can buy bigotry against mutants in an X-Men only universe... but things get muddy quick when that same universe has Captain America being a public Hero, plus a bunch of other humans with super powers from different unnatural sources. There are also straight up non-humans, sentient killer robots, various aliens, extra-dimensional beings, entities of power equivalent to those as gods in religions. The same fear and hate and tribal bullshit that results in bigotry against X-Men would go out the window and aim itself at all of these truly Other threats. Mutants are humans who naturally were born with superpowers, I reckon the bitterest bigot would rather make microaggressions at a mutant they're vaguely allied with than go cozying up to Literal Aliens.

The merged Marvel universe also has a host of other nonsense going on that at best muddies X-Men stories and canons, and at worst breaks it so bad you just have to deliberately ignore it. Half the people on Earth might be aliens posing as humans, or maybe it's something even crazier but maybe they change reality altogether because of some big space fight somewhere? Who knows, anything and everything will happen.

I think we've been fortunate so far that X-Men movies have not Kitchen Sink'd themselves. Can't imagine Disney won't jam in the MCU with everything else, but lol, that's going to be more awkward the longer they wait to stuff them in. Ideally* if/when Disney makes X-Men movies, they'd be in their own bubble, crossing over only through whatever metaverse portal nonsense if/when they "have" to.

*Okay, ideally Disney would release all of it's IP unilaterally into the public domain and sell off it's remaining parts to split as reparations for all of its workers since its creation... but ideally in terms of movies they'll make.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:56 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


I can buy bigotry against mutants in an X-Men only universe... but things get muddy quick when that same universe has Captain America being a public Hero, plus a bunch of other humans with super powers from different unnatural sources.

The arbitrariness and irrationality of hating mutants and loving Captain America is the point.
posted by straight at 10:40 AM on May 4 [13 favorites]


The arbitrariness and irrationality of hating mutants and loving Captain America is the point.

I'm thinking of all the committed racists--who may also be law enforcement officers--who also follow any number of teams/sports that could only happen with the percentage of elite Black players. That is what I'm thinking, with your observation. Like a lot of fantasy, it's the fractured mirror of our lives that make the stories endure.
posted by elkevelvet at 10:46 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


that audience reaction for Avengers Endgame was painful to watch given what happened right after.

Sorry if it’s obvious to everyone else, but what happened right after? Is it something in the movie plot? Sorry, these movies are fun to watch but I forget them the moment they’re over.
posted by cilantro at 10:57 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


So, I get that "celebrates the Movies" means what it means, but ... anyone else get the distinct impression that the Netflix shows have entered "and we shall never speak of this again" territory?
posted by kyrademon at 11:35 AM on May 4


anyone else get the distinct impression that the Netflix shows have entered "and we shall never speak of this again" territory

RUMOR: Marvel Has Decided Which Netflix Stars Will Join the MCU
posted by metabaroque at 11:38 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


The Netflix shows had some inconsistent writing and pacing issues but the casting was for the most part, great.
posted by octothorpe at 11:55 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


Also, I'm pretty sure I (and others) have mentioned this before but expecting consistent and realistic plots or action from movies based on the expansive, sprawling and wildly woolly Marvel Comic Universe is like expecting water to not be wet.

While I also grew up with the comics, I was never really a fan or someone who bought Marvel comics or superhero/mutant/whatever comics while a whole lot of my peers were way into it. (I think the only series I briefly got into was Next Men, and that was almost a DC title that they passed on, and ended up being put out by Dark Horse.)

It was pretty clear to me in the late 80s and early 90s when Marvel started fractally delaminating into a bazillion different sub-plots, side story arcs and crossovers and so on it was a bid to get fans to buy even more comics and collect more and more titles like Pokemon, and so here we are with multi-million dollar major motion pictures and people still trying to reconcile all of this hoariness as if it ever made any sort of sense or formed a solid canon in the first place.

I'm super ok with this and pretty much just whatever about it. Stuff like Thor: Ragnarok, Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy are fun and weird. It's cool.

But I can't understand why anyone is expecting Hamlet or any sort of fine script writing out of it at all. We're talking about some very silly and make it up as we go comic books.

Also I really want to see more of Sakaar. Can someone send Deadpool to Sakaar? Maybe having him go up against a hapless Jeff Goldblum as Grand Master and take him down? That would be lots of fun.
posted by loquacious at 12:02 PM on May 4 [3 favorites]


I seriously want to see Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy on Sakaar. Maybe throw the Sovereign in there fighting over something silly like stolen batteries that ended up on the trash planet. Maybe Deadpool somehow gets hold of Mjolnir and utter chaos happens. Or Mjolnir versus Yondu's arrow. Hell, get Tony Stark in there, too, stinking drunk and building stuff out of trash very badly and failing horribly and getting his ass kicked because he deserves it.
posted by loquacious at 12:09 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


RUMOR: Marvel Has Decided Which Netflix Stars Will Join the MCU

if you had to pick just one of the Netflix characters not to cross over into the movies, which one would it be and how would you break the news to Finn Jones?
posted by logicpunk at 12:11 PM on May 4 [12 favorites]


if you had to pick just one of the Netflix characters not to cross over into the movies, which one would it be and how would you break the news to Finn Jones?


As I said, the casting was great for the most part. He was the big except to that. I couldn't get through the Iron Fist and only made it through The Defenders because of Sigourney Weaver.
posted by octothorpe at 1:10 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


The arbitrariness and irrationality of hating mutants and loving Captain America is the point.

I am 100% down with this until we have Captain America being an asshole to mutants in order to make their whole hated underdog deal work. This is something the comics have leaned into over recent years, and that broader trend has left me barely reading comics at all.

I have friends who defend this whole thing because they feel like it's an important aspect of portraying bigotry, prejudice, showing how otherwise good people have their blind spots, etc. I get that it's important to them. The problem for me is that "Captain America is a genuinely good dude" is supposed to be the same guy in the same world as "editorial needs the X-Men and Avengers to fight again, so I guess it's time for Cap to be a dick." This happens despite all the team-ups, all the soul-bearing stories they've shared, all the times these characters have literally mind-merged or whatever.

At that point, he's not living up to "best and most morally good dude of the superhero set," because he's not even living up to the standard I set for ordinary people. He's just beating up on an oppressed group (because, again, editorial). And he's hardly the worst example of this; he's just the most egregious.

The thing is, I dearly love the Kitchen Sink element of the Marvel Universe. But watching the way these teams and groups are set up now, I'm kinda glad Steve Rogers has checked out of the MCU, because I really don't want to watch him inevitably fight the X-Men for cheap memes.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:19 PM on May 4 [4 favorites]


I've actually always thought of the 616 Captain America as a military industrial complex mouthpiece, so his being a dick to the X-Men because his government told him to seemed on brand.
He's been a dick to lots of people before, see Carol Danvers, for example.
posted by signal at 1:53 PM on May 4


Yeah, the X-men vs Avengers stuff of the past few years has been mostly bad. The comic book version of Civil War was a thousand times worse than the movie. Pretty much any good idea in comics has been poorly executed more often than not. And there's plenty of bad ideas too. The bigger the story, the more likely you are to see consistent characterization tossed aside for the sake of plot.

I don't know why I love this dumb stuff so much. Partly because you occasionally get something like Loki: Journey Into Mystery by Kieron Gillen or Thor: Ragnarok that is so good it transfigures the stuff that came before it and fools you into remembering it as better than it was.

But also you know how you watch a TV show and at first it doesn't grab you but after two seasons you are invested in the characters and the dumb plot twists start to matter and the good ones are amazing? Now imagine you've been watching that TV series off and on and had those characters living in your head since you were 10 years old.
posted by straight at 2:02 PM on May 4 [4 favorites]


Pretty much any good idea in comics has been poorly executed

the Death of Superman at the hands of Doomsday always struck me as shabby, and I was never a Superman comics reader for any number of reasons. I checked out the momentous death issue just because it felt like a big deal to someone who'd been into comic books as a kid.. On the same level of characters getting married (Peter Parker and Mary Jane, Archie Andrews).. it's like your adult brain thinks it should know better, but the kid in you can't help but look. Anyhow, the Death of Superman was handled so poorly.. it felt a bit like getting to the end of the Odyssey only instead of the big comeuppance with the suitors, Odysseus steps onto the shores of Ithaca and Poseidon shoots a venomous eel from the ocean and it bites Odysseus, The End.
posted by elkevelvet at 2:24 PM on May 4


I 100% hope they bring in the FF and Mutants via some multiverse shenanigans and we don't get a whole origin story movie for each. Everyone knows their origins already. (I'm also wary of bringing the FF in... they don't have the best cinematic track record. The MCU's gonna have some dips and slowdowns eventually, and the FF might be cinematically jinxed.)
posted by lovecrafty at 3:11 PM on May 4


The thing with the X-Men is that it's such an extended team book you can't really do an 'origin story' unless you did each one of the O.G. 5 individually.
If you look at the first X-Men movie, it has a sort of origin for Rogue and the recruitment of Wolverine and that's it, other than that we're in medias res.
Even the first X-Men comic back in the day started with the (cringey) arrival of Jean to an already existing team. And no actual origin story for the 5 until much later in the run.
posted by signal at 4:00 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


The Netflix shows had some inconsistent writing and pacing issues but the casting was for the most part, great.

For example Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson.
posted by mikelieman at 4:40 PM on May 4 [3 favorites]


The probably didn’t include any X-men because they were busy burning any remaining copies of X of Swords.
posted by butterstick at 7:16 PM on May 4


but doesn't WandaVision provide the perfect way to explain why we haven't seen mutants? I thought House of M was part of the inspiration for WandaVision?

this hasn't been specifically replied to, but short answer is: no, not really. The bits of House of M that WV took was more on her creating a happy family alternate reality, with some allusions to the multiverse at the end, but nothing canonically definitive for mutants in MCU (if you've heard fan chatter, it turned out to be a plot feint, and the position is still, as far as MCU folks are concerned they have no idea what mutants are, yet).
posted by cendawanita at 10:00 PM on May 4


At least one mutant has already been confirmed to be joining the MCU: Kevin Feige Confirms ‘Deadpool 3’ Is an MCU Movie; Teases R-Rating and When It’s Filming
posted by exolstice at 6:24 AM on May 5


Shuri is a phenomenal character from every angle.
I was floored and disappointed to find out how much harm Letitia Wright was doing during the pandemic - I've decided to give her a pass because she's barely 27 years old and I did and said very stupid things at the same age.
YMMV
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:28 AM on May 5


I have a very hard time criticizing a black person for being skeptical about health care promises and assurances from the United States government.
posted by straight at 11:49 AM on May 5


Letitia Wright is British-Guyanese, not American.
posted by tavella at 12:36 PM on May 5


I have a very hard time criticizing a black person for being skeptical about health care promises and assurances from the United States government.

I have no problem criticizing a Black or British-Guynanese person who posts a video disputing the COVID19 vaccine and vaccines in general along with climate change skepticism and transphobic comments.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:48 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]


Yeah...I love the character, but we could probably recast the actress if she's going to act like that IRL. Sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:34 PM on May 5


I would trade it all in five times over for a vital indie film scene. Spectacle at the absolute worst. An elaborate and banal mythology about the end of empire. I wonder if people will wake up.
posted by n9 at 5:53 PM on May 5


I certainly hope we get more Monica Rambeau, though.

I, too, hope we get Nextwave.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:41 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


I would trade it all in five times over for a vital indie film scene. Spectacle at the absolute worst. An elaborate and banal mythology about the end of empire. I wonder if people will wake up.

this is a perfect parody of that person who always shows up to tell you the thing you enjoy is bad and wrong and you should knock it off this instant. got the tone down and everything. well done.
posted by logicpunk at 8:23 PM on May 5 [15 favorites]


Don't you ever call Thor banal. Star Lord? Yeah, ok, BUT NOT THOR.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 PM on May 5


Spectacle at the absolute worst.

To be fair, there's a lot of bread in circuses.
posted by flabdablet at 9:51 PM on May 5


this is a perfect parody of that person who always shows up to tell you the thing you enjoy is bad and wrong

I was gonna let this thread pass because I get how many people here are into the MCU, but, seriously? There's been, what?, two comments out of 85 that expressed some displeasure with the trailer and that is still too much to handle? As if any disagreement about Disney and the state of movies today needs to be put down lest the fandom of multi-billion dollar franchise might feel even the slightest pause over a conflicting take.

There absolutely is a consensus on Metafilter that some things indeed are bad and while it might not be "wrong" to enjoy them, it certainly may well be problematic to do so. I have no opinion on movies I haven't seen, but find the trailer itself grotesquely manipulative and disingenuous for how it plays with the emotions around values Disney only glancingly honors to any substantial end, but has found ample gain in wielding those banal sentiments as if they were of monumental import in their corporate strategy.

The continuous recourse to talk of the importance of "family", the most inoffensive of values as a family can be anything and fit to all viewers in their own fashion, while hinting at more "progressive" ideals they don't actually risk dramatizing in any detail for fear of offending part of their audience at home or overseas, so they are added in winks and nods or rendered neutral and safe for the majority for the same reasons, letting the minority fandoms fanfic the hinted subtext instead. "Sisters" they say showing Danvers and Rambeau walking together as if maybe, possibly they were a couple, but that's just an "easter egg" since they couldn't just be matter of fact about it lest they lose the Chinese market and conservatives. Maybe next time though!

They draw on memories of their previous releases in the most over-saturated emotional pandering, even cutting to the audience response to really seal the deal lest one's own emotions weren't tweaked enough by the other cues. People ate this up! See! That might have been you cheering, but if not you were missing out and should also give in to our manipulations! The clips they show from the upcoming releases are almost entirely bland and cliche ridden, a motorcycle dodging through traffic, a fight on a bus! but when tied to Lee's platitudes and clips first showing the street filled with the milling masses of the generic "common man", the world which you the audience inhabit but want to dream of really being like the stars they cut to next in their "self sacrificing" mode, a deeply questionable ideology in its own right but in this heightened form further abstracting it from those masses of humanity the studio claims to love to heroic individualism that feeds dreams of escaping the crowd that is allegedly so deeply loved.

But that's Disney's "magic" saying one thing out loud while demonstrating the contrary to give the audience whatever they want without actually committing to belief in anything other than their own corporate ideology. Enjoy that if you want, no one can stop you, but don't pretend there isn't something problematic about so, so much of the work and the corporations that make it and don't act like you're standing up for important principles by swiping at dissenting opinion that doesn't fit the feedback loop. The "let people like it" mantra put before other considerations only benefits the status quo and the love of immediate pleasure unburdened by possibility ofany questioning of your "likes".
posted by gusottertrout at 12:16 AM on May 6 [9 favorites]


I was gonna let this thread pass because I get how many people here are into the MCU, but, seriously?

Yep, seriously. Most people in the thread are talking about various aspects of the MCU, what the they like, don't like etc, etc.

No one is putting Disney on a pedestal. Very few people are unaware of the manipulative aspects of this trailer/commercial. Most are just linking to have a good time talking about the aspects of the MCU or the comics they're based.

Then here you come, doing what? You're not talking about anything new or unknown. You haven't seen the movies or probably recent tv shows, so having not substantial to add.

Read the room please and move along.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:21 AM on May 6 [6 favorites]


I have seen all but the yet to be released movies, which is what I was referring to about the trailer and I would have left well enough alone if I didn't find the "let people like things" continually being wielded to ward off any dissenting perspectives, which is really gross for reasons I outlined above among others and creates a weird proprietary attitude about threads on the site, where only certain takes are welcome, even though they often tend to run counter to other claimed values the site promotes, but I guess when personal entertainment is involved that stuff goes out the window, at least until it becomes impossible to ignore like with Ray Fisher's claims against Warner Bros, then it finds a proper surrogate for blame and we get to engage in the fun again guilt free.
posted by gusottertrout at 4:48 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Fyi all, the Loki series will start Wednesday, June 9, two days earlier than the previously announced Friday, June 11. New episodes will appear Wednesday.

Yep, this puts Loki ahead of Thor’s day.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:12 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


jesus that comment i was making fun of was a 'dissenting perspective' in the same way that farting in movie theater is. 'banal mythology about the end of empire?' searing take, man, can i subscribe to your academic journal?

there's a difference between being upfront about how disney's corporate hegemony could problematically influence what material makes it into the final product vs. yelling 'wake up sheeple!' The first approach acknowledges that the material is worth discussing to begin with, the second denies there's any value whatsoever.

which, fine, it's not a genre everyone likes, but the attitude that we're obligated to take the 'superheroes are stoopid' lobby seriously can fuck right off. 'liking' something can include critical engagement, but that really necessitates a baseline level of respect.
posted by logicpunk at 6:22 AM on May 6 [9 favorites]


Wait, are you telling me a corporation that makes and profits from mass entertainment is less than 100% pure and sincere in everything it does????

THIS HAS NEVER BEFORE HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF THE PLANET AND IS SHOCKING AND SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!!!!!

So glad there are people here smart enough to see through the lies and inform those of us who are not as perceptive.
posted by signal at 7:56 AM on May 6


Totally missed the Fantastic Four reference. Maybe I'll finally be able to show my boy a Fantastic Four movie without making excuses for why it isn't as good as the 30 year old comics I gave him.
posted by Kreiger at 8:06 AM on May 6


Ohhh, Loki appearing on Wednesday, also trumps Odin!

Woden was another name for Odin and Woden's day eventually became Wednesday.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:08 AM on May 6



Anyway the real question is how are they gonna retcon Ongebp[rot-13]'s death in TFATWS (or CAATWS) for the trilogy of Gwenpool movies directed by Emerald Fennell and will she still be somebody who read all the Marvel comics or will she be somebody who watched all the MCU movies and series?
posted by signal at 8:59 AM on May 6


Y'all realize Disney did not invent banal mass entertainment, right? I mean Thor is right there, emblematic of hundreds if not thousands of years of humans telling each other silly stories meant to entertain. Yeah, Disney is absolutely an irredeemable shitpile but it's not because they're spending money making movies about people who fly around in capes and punch each other.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:40 PM on May 6


I'm fairly ambivalent to modern superhero movies. I'll watch them and be entertained but I very rarely end up seeing them in the cinema because I only go to the cinema without my kids a 1-2 times a year and there are usually other things I'd rather watch. My usual go-to is seeing them once they're on Netflix, which thanks to Disney+'s existence means I haven't got the chance to see Endgame yet, although I'm satisfied with Infinity War's ending so that's OK. The thing is I like superheroes. I still buy superhero comics pretty much every week but I can more easily spare the time to read a comic book than sit through a movie and I like to support my local comic shop. It's a strange situation though where superhero movies are the most watched films of the year and I like comic books but haven't seen any of the movies.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:07 PM on May 6


Honestly the seven weeks of no programming is so pleasant to me because I'm deep in my winterfalcon nonsense, I'm even looking up fanvids! But I've completely lost my way in trying to find recs or a gathering place for them tho, unlike fanfic.
posted by cendawanita at 9:42 PM on May 6


Just to clarify my own position, I'm not interested in judging people's response to any of the movies individually, to whatever extent a given film is liked or hated, though I'm certainly interested in hearing those responses discussed in a respectful way no matter which way they fall. I've personally "liked" some of the MCU films well enough on their own terms and "disliked" others in the same fashion and hated a couple and also collected comics as a kid and intermittently have gone back to "catch up" on the what I miss, having a 20-30 comic pull list at my local comicshop as recently as 2015, back when I thought I'd have disposable income for a while.

For me it's more that I find the entirety of the concept/ideology behind Disney's MCU to have some rather serious problems that come out in all the movies and are magnified by how they and Disney are treated by fans and, more to the point, Metafilter, which, with the sheet volume of posts on Disney properties and attitude towards them, sometimes feels more like a marketing arm of the company than a site where there can be discussions of the good and the bad without causing anger.

If it was just a Disney thing, then that might not be so bad, though still irksome, but it finds correspondence in how so many discussions seem to go on the site, where individual action is increasingly seeming to be discounted due to the overwhelming nature of systemic problems, while defending the indulgences that feed that imbalance. Make a post about meat posting or a recipe site not adding new beef recipes and people will jump in to defend the consumption, make a post about climate change and there will immediately be responses on why individual actions don't matter, a post about some new shit Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google, or whatever company does and people will feel need to justify why they need them, but post about a billionaire and the pitchforks come out or mention unfair labor practices and the cry for "unions" still arise. These things are incompatible, we can't both feed the beast and seek to kill it without there being a troubling contradiction that mostly seems to come from how we value our own ease and pleasure.

Disney, to my eyes, plays off that very contradiction and thrives by doing so, pretending to offer moral values or even just representation while only doing it on their terms to fit the demand that only rates representation and values when put forth by the same group of corporate producers that denied the same and seek to maintain the status quo instead of actively seeking alternatives even if just in the attempt to balance the power Disney and others have. While there are certainly some reasonable excuses for some interaction with the system as it is, why people stay on Twitter or need Amazon say, the choice of entertainment is not like those and represents how deeply we've been inculcated into the ideology of neoliberalism and corporate control, as if we are entirely powerless to do even the least thing about it at all because our pleasure is so tied to the corporate product there is no alternative we're able to enjoy or even see as an option.

The linked trailer for MCU not only recognizes that, but plays up the idea of "escape", not only from the people Disney professes to love to the world of heroes, but from the system they help maintain by consuming products furthering that maintenance, where the heroic function is simply to fend off threats and, with a snap of a finger, return the idealized and unchanging status quo. It's even in the form their product line takes, a continuous story that offers no real closure or possibility to see clearly as a whole, just a flow of characters acting in ways we know they will to give us pleasures we anticipate with only slight room for surprise or sense of something profoundly new, only variations of old patterns and packaging.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:44 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]






I love being with people. It's the most incredible thing in the world.
posted by flabdablet at 8:11 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


The world may change and evolve, but the one thing that will never change: we’re all part of one big family.
posted by flabdablet at 8:29 AM on May 7


Mod note: One pretty crappy dismissive comment removed, as well as several y'all-should-know-better replies to it. General reminder that it's okay to just skip a thread about a thing you acutely dislike and that other people clearly like. Specific requests that (a) n9, you avoid this sort of engagement in the future, and (b) folks make more of an effort to route around fight-starting comments instead of making them what the conversation is about.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:12 AM on May 7


The linked trailer for MCU not only recognizes that, but plays up the idea of "escape", not only from the people Disney professes to love to the world of heroes, but from the system they help maintain by consuming products furthering that maintenance, where the heroic function is simply to fend off threats and, with a snap of a finger, return the idealized and unchanging status quo. It's even in the form their product line takes, a continuous story that offers no real closure or possibility to see clearly as a whole, just a flow of characters acting in ways we know they will to give us pleasures we anticipate with only slight room for surprise or sense of something profoundly new, only variations of old patterns and packaging.

So, capitalism? Some version of this happens, or will happen, any time creative works and culture are commodified and then commoditized. I'm unsure why this pattern is specifically odious here, rather than being mundanely odious along with most of the other cultural activity that has been subsumed by capitalism.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:52 AM on May 7


It's even in the form their product line takes, a continuous story that offers no real closure or possibility to see clearly as a whole

Yes like comic strips and books have practiced since over a century ago. Longer, if you include other forms of serialized entertainment.
Is it really so odd that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would tell comic-book like stories?
posted by signal at 11:13 AM on May 7


Nakia seems like a Black Panther possibility too? Definitely a trained fighter, character we know, and of course Wakanda doesn't go by blood succession. And she's been in the field a lot.

Yes, this! Everyone is talking about Shuri and I'm like - NAKIA IS RIGHT THERE. I get that Shuri became the BP in the comics but movie Nakia seems like a better successor than movie Shuri.
posted by Preserver at 11:30 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]


The linked trailer for MCU not only recognizes that, but plays up the idea of "escape", not only from the people Disney professes to love to the world of heroes, but from the system they help maintain by consuming products furthering that maintenance, where the heroic function is simply to fend off threats and, with a snap of a finger, return the idealized and unchanging status quo.

Just gonna pause here and note that the "idealized and unchanging status quo" what I've been noticing with WandaVision and Captain America and the White Wolf.

Otherwise, it's...the MCU. Run by Disney. There are all sorts of problems with that, the stories, the plot, the creators, and the characters. Pointing that out, with varying levels of dismissiveness. about those who have enjoyed the ride will not win anyone an argument.

I'd recommend looking at the individual threads of the various shows or movies, you'll always find lots of disagreement about various aspects in there.

Or make a post about whatever wrong thing you think is going on, there will be no shortage of people agreeing with those issues.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 AM on May 7


So, capitalism? Some version of this happens, or will happen, any time creative works and culture are commodified and then commoditized.

Sure, some aspects are going to be widely present in a profit driven system like that of Hollywood no matter what, but previously there had been varying degrees of creative freedom and a wider variety of paths even the major studios took to sell their stories to audiences and of course there was more competition among them for getting audiences to their screens. There were always movies made as escapist entertainment, but they weren't held to be the center of the medium, even when they provided the biggest profits.

The move towards streaming, matched with "peak tv", social media and all the rest, has changed the model to one demanding constant engagement by endless deferment of story resolution and the more conclusive possibility for meaning that comes with to character emphasis and plot twists that provide light pleasure and suspense enough to keep the audience coming back for more. That's something that is fine on the periphery of the culture, but dropped dead center and allowed to take up so much more of the cultural space, it creates a culture of inertia, which is what it feeds on. It's completely understandable why we seek out entertainment of this sort, the world is hard and light pleasure is a balm, but the model of deferred reward and inertia ultimately aggravates the condition more than it soothes for requiring that continual audience engagement.

The rise in importance of fandom is just one face of this, where fandom can be wonderful when it leads to creating and play that changes the "rules" of the owned worlds, but it becomes ugly when it is territorial and enforcing of ownership, where one's imagination is locked in a proprietary world owned by another. With "extended universes" the audience is placed in a limited imaginative space over and over again rather than being given wider variety of possibilities, this can allow that space to be developed more fully, and that should be good, but when that development is mainly in reinforcing the same concepts or story hooks over and over, then there is little benefit other than slight twists on old formula.

Old Hollywood was far from ideal and not what I'm advocating for, nor the end of Disney and the MCU or whatever, I'd just like to see it and that kind of storytelling slid back more towards the periphery of the culture and a wider variety of artists given the center so the culture develop. Society needs new voices to grow and change and we need to be able to discuss these kinds of things without making it so damned personal all the time. Excessive attachment to and hatred of movies is a sign that we are investing too much of ourselves into something we don't control and misses the beauty of art and discussion, which is all about a shared plane of experience that enriches by how you can change from the encounters.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:45 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Oh, and one last thing lest anyone feel I'm slighting comics and those movies by wanting them more on the periphery. Many, or even most, of the "classic" movies held in highest esteem today were those made nearer the fringes of the system, where a director either had enough clout to go it on their own without studio interference or where they were working in genres held in middling esteem but profitable enough to be left to their own devices. Those were the movies that manage to still capture attention today, while the studio driven "A" films fell by the wayside, and that wasn't far from the case in comics and other popular "mass art" works as well. Creativity requires freedom and that often means being at a remove from direct corporate interest.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:12 PM on May 7


I mean I have several thoughts on this, but I remember watching a new artistic film and then soon after watching a new Marvel blockbuster. And my reaction that leaped out was how obviously inferior the cinematography of the action movie was compared to the art film, to an untrained viewer like myself. I think that's an interesting and meaningful difference, and I'm a sucker for action sci-fi fantasy too.
posted by polymodus at 12:17 PM on May 7


All films were originally seen as a form of mass entertainment, unfit for the consumption by people of education or class (the Oscars were invented as a way to try and make it seem like making movies was a valid artform). The same can be said of novels. And comics. And newspapers. And books. And all the interesting musical genres. The division of art into valid/invalid is almost always about gatekeeping, class, race, gender and income, not anything intrinsic to the art itself.
The discussion about 'high art vs. low art' is very, very, very passé, by at least half a century, and, ironically enough, usually only brought up by those without any formal training in art, aesthetics or film.
posted by signal at 1:03 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


I disagree, I think it's neither here nor there. Just because art is wielded as a form of privileged power, doesn't mean it's impossible to talk about how the way Endgame uses camera cuts, angles, music, etc. could've been even more impressive if they had used the cuts and angles from the techniques of the other film I had seen. One can and should critique the dichotomy of art- versus popular-film, but when that becomes sheer dismissal I think that's also a mistake, because there are objectively, actually existing differences in the techniques used, and what that evokes to an untrained audience. And if it evoked that differential observation in me, surely it evokes that in other regular folks too. So this is not only a simplistic dialectical dismissal/reification of art, but rather creates a demand for better art in our mainstream films--and that's key to critique.

What's passé isn't the attempt to distinguish and characterize types of cultural works as art or not, but rather in recognition of the lack of vocabulary for what is actually there, and what the artistic possibilities are, especially in face of capitalist exploitation. Cultural relativism is passé. And must I also point out, is is not the university-trained classes who profess to love things both high and low; is that not the purest form of gatekeeping itself? This very statement is an example of the meta-gatekeeping I'm talking about:

The discussion about 'high art vs. low art' is very, very, very passé, by at least half a century, and, ironically enough, usually only brought up by those without any formal training in art, aesthetics or film.

One doesn't need training. Just an actual education.
posted by polymodus at 1:55 PM on May 7


polymodus: "What's passé isn't the attempt to distinguish and characterize types of cultural works as art or not,"

Yes, it is. Since 1950 or so.
posted by signal at 1:59 PM on May 7


Yes, it is. Since 1950 or so.

Which is patently false, because every time a person says independent film versus Hollywood film, they are saying the same thing, and that is not passe. You are choosing to dig down on semantics rather than listening to what I said.
posted by polymodus at 2:01 PM on May 7


Sorry, I meant 1914, not 1950.
posted by signal at 2:05 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


The move towards streaming, matched with "peak tv", social media and all the rest, has changed the model to one demanding constant engagement by endless deferment of story resolution and the more conclusive possibility for meaning that comes with to character emphasis and plot twists that provide light pleasure and suspense enough to keep the audience coming back for more.

Maybe for some genres/styles of content, but I’m seeing more and more terrific shows that never could have been made previously, that increasingly have clear (and timely) endings. Even just within the MCU there’s more room for more kinds of work. I think it’s important to remember that we’re still in the relative early stages of truly epochal changes in human culture, not least of which is our media environment. None of these big trends in content are permanent, and because the medium is the message, no content will ever determine the course of things anyway.

But most importantly, the larger trend I see happening in creative/entertainment media is one of possibility, and am seeing things I didn’t think would ever be possible even ten years ago. (Like, we just binged the show Girls5Eva—which is really funny—and I don’t think any version of any kind of show like that was even remotely feasible in the history of TV & movies, but there it is. It, and a thousand highly specific and peculiar shows/movies blooming everywhere. And also important to note that I think the distinction between “TV” and “movie” is increasingly semantic. It’s all streaming video content now, and episodic show vs. single long-form narrative is a creative, stylistic choice as much as anything.)
posted by LooseFilter at 2:10 PM on May 7


I don't think citing Marcel Duchamp is a good way of arguing your point, rather, akin to Kurt Godel he succeeded not in the destruction of a dichotomy but rather provoked and renewed debates about art versus culture. And it's a debate that continues to this day, it's never ended. Just consider the inconsistency of this position: Captain America Civil War was a better film than Endgame, because reasons. Everyone accepts that as a discussion. So that's basically accepting that some art is better than others, because of techniques. No one is saying that Endgame is not art. That's a whole separate issue, and making it about that semantics ignores the actual thing of interest which was comparing two films.
posted by polymodus at 2:11 PM on May 7


the way Endgame uses camera cuts, angles, music, etc. could've been even more impressive if they had used the cuts and angles from the techniques of the other film I had seen.

Really curious, what was the other film?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:53 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


I think it’s important to remember that we’re still in the relative early stages of truly epochal changes in human culture, not least of which is our media environment.

Indeed, which is why trying to grasp the direction and magnitude of the changes is, to my mind, so important. I of course can't predict the future or how things will turn out, but I am concerned that some of the indications in how things are changing may have unintended consequences that should be looked at to reach the best ends. I don't have one true path to an ideal or any sort of absolute belief in how things should or will go, but I do have some beliefs in what have been important values that we might do well to hold on to or at least know what we're giving up if we choose a different path.

One of the key difficulties is that when we talk about "art" we tend to shift between different concepts or maps of what we're thinking of. Crudely speaking, one might think of the map of art having several different overlapping areas, where there can be tensions at the points where each meets or fails to. In the most basic sense, we talk about "the arts" in a broadly generic sense which contains all works within certain creative modes and some additional works that are sometimes "art" and sometimes not, in popular reference. For example, all paintings, from a kindergarteners finger painting to the Mona Lisa will be referenced as art for painting being a core element in that definition, but only some jewelry might be referenced as art while other pieces are not. All painting, sculpture, music, dance, and so on usually fit this mapping.

On a second level we refer to art as the works which move us personally, that which holds meaning, moves us, or is otherwise of special importance to ourselves. People differentiate between works in this manner on the basis of their lived experience of a work or artist. Toni Morrison's Beloved might be art while Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code might not be by that measure, or maybe vice versa, depending on the individual. Beyond that is what I'll call Art to aid in differentiation, which is the works the society holds as being of lasting importance, works that may or may not say anything to us experientially, but are held by society as being of great importance to the culture. These are the kinds of works museums hold or that are passed on in teaching over generations, or at least understood as such during a given era.

From the late-middle of the nineteenth century to the early-middle of the twentieth, the tension was primarily over coming to terms with how new technology and, yes, mechanical reproduction, was changing or threatening the map of "the arts", whether photography could be an art, how recordings, movies, and mass produced images might be thought of under that mapping. This was resolved in fits and starts, with some fairly quick adoption of "certain works" being allowed in, but others left out. For a while, this led to new attempts to distinguish between different art forms or "types", genres, mediums, formats, etc., placed into categories of "high" and "low", comics as a whole were, for a while, lowbrow while opera highbrow. (This didn't originate in this era, but only became important when access to the arts expanded to the masses, the gates didn't need the same kind of enforcing before.)

But even so, this attempt was questioned from near the start. Gilbert Seldes, for example, wrote about the art in Krazy Kat in The Seven Lively Arts way back in 1924 and filmmakers like Griffith, Chaplin, and, yes, Disney, were claimed as Art by many writers and artists from the beginning. The era of the birth of film may have seen the increasing attempts to define high and low art, but movies also helped lead to its end.

Movies weren't alone in this, as mentioned above, Duchamp and other artists would challenge ideas of what could or couldn't be art/Art throughout the twentieth century, leading eventually to the era the art critic Arthur Danto referred to as The End of Art. By that he didn't mean art/Art wouldn't still be made, but that the arts had pushed beyond all bounds so that anything could, potentially, be art, leaving no real space for claims over what "kinds" of works could fit the map. Along with this though were a variety of other influences, art and social theory, increasing reach and power of cultural industries, and all the other history of the world up until the beginning of the 21st century.

In this century we have completely discarded the ideas of some "types" of works being acceptable and others not and no longer, save for a few hold outs perhaps, cling to ideas of highbrow and lowbrow in that fashion. But in tearing that hierarchy down, we didn't replace it with any other societal reference definition of artistic value, we just let it slide as there were more pressing concerns around representation and other ugly parts to the history of art we needed to attend to along with finding a path beyond theory and the post-modern. This has led us to a place where the tension is now between the second and third maps of art, between the individual and the societal, the immediate and the lasting values of art.

I've read literally dozens of articles this year alone by critics, teachers, and artists concerned with various aspects of this moment. While most of them, I think, sort of miss the big picture issue, many of the specific concerns are flocked around this tension and address different elements of where they feel some unease or loss. To me, these manifold concerns flow from an elision from there being no reasonable discrimination between "types" of art to there being no clearly acceptable criteria for distinction between any works on a societal level.

Like the end of the 19th century, new technology further complicates the issue by providing a glut of art/entertainment for us all to take in however we please. Whereas art previously had something like a natural lifespan, the individually enjoyed experiences of immediacy might fade and the works largely vanish along with it, leaving only those that had a felt continuing value, now nothing fades. The immediate doesn't disappear and the new services work to make sure that immediacy of response is the urge most desired to be satisfied and there is no equal opposition pushing the force of lasting societal value, just scattered attempts mitigated at every part of the art community by the push for the pleasing and popular, whether museum, concert hall, or streaming service.

It isn't of course that other art doesn't exist or that streaming services don't carry a variety of options of different possibilities for engagement, but that the power of ease, familiarity and the real gatekeepers, the corporate powers that choose what is available, advertised and most readily seen by being fit to audience wants make sorting through the glut to maybe find something that will provide a sense of the unfamiliar that communicates something new or profound a arduous task, made more difficult still by the accompanying glut of entertainment media and fandom based sites that thrive on discussing those same popular works and the celebrities behind them. There is little to correspond to that for discussions of the more unusual works or art that isn't fit to a given set of audience demands. That kind of writing exists, but is often difficult to find or access, especially if you don't set out expressly looking for it.

It's that which sparked my earlier, and admittedly, overreaction, as I believe the societal value of the arts/art/Art is of immense importance and requires us to attend to as an audience and as individuals who are willing to look for something different than just liking on at least some occasions and celebrate that as having cultural importance. My feeling is that art and discussion share the common need for willingness to experience or find out things you don't already know and possibly change by that encounter. If all you look for is the familiar or agreement, then we become more isolated in our niche communities of liked and like minded. It goes without saying then that I might be wrong on the way things are going, the rewards people find in the stream, and/or other things, but that's why I keep going on about it in hopes of finding some new perspective or maybe getting someone else to find one through what I say, tedious as I guess it may well be to some.
posted by gusottertrout at 4:02 AM on May 8


from one of gusottertrout's earlier comments:

but when that development is mainly in reinforcing the same concepts or story hooks over and over, then there is little benefit other than slight twists on old formula.

i think it's a mistake to assess the artistic merits of the MCU on the basis of how innovative (or not) each of the movies on their own is, which is where your analysis seems to aimed. i doubt you'll get much pushback on the idea that many of the individual installments in the MCU are written to formula, and not a particularly complex formula at that. the execution can be better or worse, but you walk in with certain expectations, and those are generally met.

but i sincerely doubt the MCU would be as much a thing if it were just a collection of competently executed cookie-cutter superhero movies. if it were just about familiar characters facing slightly novel challenges with moderately different stakes, fucking Batman or Spider-man wouldn't have to be rebooted every ten years; they could just Bond-swap actors and carry on. For whatever reason, movie franchises really have problems getting past a quality two or three installments - Superman 4, Indiana Jones 4, Spider-man 3, X-men 3, Aliens 3, Return of the Jedi, Godfather 3.... Batman Forever.

in any case, an individual character (or incarnation thereof) on their own appears to have a shelf-life. it's almost like people want stories that don't fit well within a single movie, but they also don't want to endlessly revisit the same world without something approximating a resolution. so but somehow the MCU integrates 23 movies to tell a (more-or-less) coherent story capable of eliciting a response well beyond 'light pleasure.' nothing remotely close has been realized in cinema before.

calling it 'corporate' or a function of marketing ignores that other studios had as much financial incentive to exploit their franchises, but somehow failed because people stopped showing up - it doesn't change the fact that the MCU was able to keep people interested. I guess you could argue that MCU was able to do so because of an innovation in corporate strategy (we'll leverage our protagagonists' synergy through the development of crossplatforming solutions in order to maximize shareholder value), but again, the unlamented justice league and laughable 'dark universe' extended worlds shows that it's not just a matter of having familiar characters show up in each others movies.

anyway, the point i'm trying to argue is that what MCU did was innovate on how to tell larger stories in cinema. in order to do so, they sacrificed the quality of individual movies so that they could all be more-or-less depended on to fulfill their role, but not push the bounds of storytelling. like, it doesn't make sense to criticize the merits of a building because all the bricks aren't small-batch artisinal hand-crafted bricks - the bricks are not the point of the building.
posted by logicpunk at 8:58 AM on May 8 [9 favorites]


Endgame had 40? 50? actors playing characters with significant speaking parts in previous movies. Audiences had some understanding of the background and motivations of characters who barely had a single line of dialogue. I can't think of any other movie that has ever done anything remotely like that (The last Harry Potter movie, maybe?) Critiquing the movie's camera angles seems pretty irrelevant to what makes it interesting.
posted by straight at 2:07 PM on May 8 [3 favorites]


i sincerely doubt the MCU would be as much a thing if it were just a collection of competently executed cookie-cutter superhero movies. if it were just about familiar characters facing slightly novel challenges with moderately different stakes, fucking Batman or Spider-man wouldn't have to be rebooted every ten years; they could just Bond-swap actors and carry on.

Okay, sure, I'm willing to work with that and give a counter argument to that which I made earlier. If we think of the MCU as being the culmination of various trends in the culture, then we can make an argument that looking at it via some of the arguments I made before and others are looking at it through an outdated aesthetic framing. The argument for the MCU to be taken as more a "total experience" kind of thing then can be seen as accepting something of Scorsese's description of comic book movies as being more theme parks than "cinema", but in doing so we need only accept that as a description and deny his overall assessment as being a value laden prescriptive view of what art should be instead of accepting it exists in the real world of market forces and all the other competing demands of the times.

In that sense then, seeing the MCU as a theme park doesn't invalidate it as art, just provides a new way of thinking about it that might come from how it fits into our current moment in how it has adapted to the trends of the time. This wouldn't necessarily even be out of line with some past art if you want to look at it from a somewhat similar angle. Not to get grandiose, but there could be, in that sense, some basic comparison made to something like the Sistine Chapel, where even though it is common to reference the names of the individual artists who designed the cathedral and have works within it, the experience of the place as a whole is beyond the work of any one of them and was commissioned by the church which provided the authority for each individual artist's contributions. We don't have to agree with the values of the Catholic church or appreciate all elements of cathedral and its grounds equally to still find the overall experience of the place a deeply meaningful one. Patronage has always been part of the arts and in projects of great scale made to the order of those with power.

In the case of Disney and the MCU, as a whole it would be, essentially, art without an artist, a "work" made for hire by independent contractors, as befits the time, made to some general specifications of the corporation, which at the moment might have a point man in Feige that shares credit for the MCU's current state with all the many artists who worked under his command, but is as fungible as the rest of them and any other individual within the corporate hierarchy, the MCU being ultimately that of the corporation rather than ascribable any person at all in its totality. We of course still can see the brushwork of different individuals in some of the details, but the whole is something beyond. Also a bit like the church, Disney has certain reoccurring themes and values it promulgates throughout the MCU films, the repeated theme of the child taking over as parent or parent figure from their flawed forebearer being just one that almost all of the individual hero movie arcs take up, the stained glass at church Disney being all about family.

If you accept that manner of organization is just part of the world we live in and can set aside judging the work by critiques of the systemic issues around it, allowing that the art can't force the world to fit ideals and is made within some bounds of the rules of the time, then we can look at how the experience of the MCU might be felt with the other changes in how we now appreciate art.

Mentioning Bonds and the Batmen is a good start, I think, for seeing where the MCU came from, along with the Star Wars movies, The Lord of the Rings, and the trend towards more intensive serialization in TV that came from DVDs and Tivo allowing people to follow complicated plot lines more easily, something that was taken up enthusiastically. The start of the MCU grew out of those elements, but really expanded into a central cultural force by how the internet changed the way people share their engagement with movies and art, eventually, perhaps, making the experience of the MCU as themepark argument all the more compelling. Skipping past some of those early influences to keep this manageable, I'd suggest that the internet has led to a tumblrizing approach to art that followed from the ethos of sampling and things like mashups, where the experience of a work is no longer just in the thing itself which just serves as raw material of impression where audiences pull out the bits they find most satisfying to serve as links to wider associative reward.

In that way the MCU is both like a theme park, in that the experience of the park is based an impression of the whole rather than extensive detail about each section or ride, and that some of the older notions of aesthetic value do not apply for many in the current era and that the MCU makes use of that to enhance the overall experience for those audience members. The individual films within the MCU are somewhat akin to building materials, but there is, I think, something more involved in how audiences have adapted to narrative post-post modernism.

One of my own favorite movies from the MCU is Antman and Wasp, which is a flat out mess if you try to think of it purely on its own terms by reference to notions of coherence and unity of purpose. It sits mostly as filler material between the other "big" events of the MCU, introduces characters that aren't really developed or explained in sufficient detail to make sense on their own because they'll be given more time later or some plot points are being used to get to Endgame and so on. For me, and I think a lot of the audience, that just gets shunted aside, accepted as parts of the overall support structure needing some space within the room. The MCU seems to have adopted a view of character that comes more from TV, where character is basic show bible plus actor, where as long as you keep the name and basic facts straight, no matter how you spin events the audience will go along with it. The Thor in Thor or The Dark World and Ragnarok being only related by Hemsworth playing them, the location, and the costume, essentially.

But that's actually to the MCU's benefit in an era of narrative exhaustion, the audience no longer looks to character coherence or character development in a naturalistic way in the worlds of fantastic shows and movies, they fill in the details. If the book of Waititi conflicts with the book of Branagh, that's fine, the audience may already be holding the book of Simonson as the true gospel anyway, and only the big character arcs matter anyway, the details are to fill screen time. It's not a lack of interest, but the eager embrace of movies as the product of a creative industry and stories as the delivery system of different formulaic rewards. Like a theme park the pleasures of the rides comes more from the pleasure of expected sensation being fulfilled anew, but also like a theme park the audience likes variety of experience, so they not only are not fazed by "alternative worlds" or the same character played in different ways as if in entirely different genres, they actively want those things and more from the raw materials the movies use, so they take them for use on their own by screenshots, gifs, or just speculation about possibilities. That's as much the overall aesthetic experience as the films themselves.

The fantastic, or unrealistic aspects of superhero films in that light aren't about the characters and actions as extension of audience personal desires, or at least not entirely so. The exaggerated action and pliable metaphor makes them better suited to wider array of use as material for outside of theater engagement. More traditional aesthetics around art are more confining in that kind of sampled associative use for not fitting pattern, for having more unity of purpose, and for being more things in themselves with more nuanced metaphor. Mass market or corporate art as raw material may be a big part the current aesthetic goes a way towards a Ready Player One kind of vision and I'm not sure how one weighs the value of the problematic elements ignored by the benefits gained, but that's sort of a rough sketch beginning to be fleshed out for how I'd argue for the artistic value of the MCU. I'm sure I'm forgetting a number of other things I'd add, but I'm also sure I write way too much so I'll end here and hope that makes up a little for some of the derail.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:01 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


I really like the MCU overall, for reasons cited in the linked commercial that kicked off this thread. Friends and I (both in real life and here on Metafilter) spend a lot of time talking, reviewing, speculating, criticizing, and generally immersing ourselves in that narrative universe. No lie, we had some of the most compelling, thought provoking and just plain fun discussions in my life around the MCU.

The added bonus is that it's 95% pure fun. These aren't similar to our discussions about life, politics, the world, etc etc. It's a communal activity where we share something we love with people we love. A narrative blunt if you will.

None of us are thrilled about a huge mega corporation owning this universe, due to its overall conversative approach that chokes potentially interesting stories. Stuff like a series or movie set during the blip, where characters wrestle with the emotional, mental, and spiritual implications of a (more or less) regular being getting the powers of a god.

In short there's plenty of criticism to be made about the MCU both narratively, how it's run, and other aspects. That criticism is welcomed and enjoyed when it's from a place of love. We just want things to be better, in whatever subjective way we're decided.

It's when the criticism comes from a place of negativity that we pause and ask if the critic is alright or having a bad day or what. Because endlessly picking out faults of beloved thing isn't fun for us. It sucks all the air out of the discussion, derailing into a place that can't end up anywhere happy or fun. Which isn't a big deal, but that turn usually tends to be about a single person or two and their particular mood or feelings at the moment. Which sucks for everyone else.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


To think even more about gusottertrout's interesting big-picture ideas about what's going on with this whole MCU thing and how it works, we should also consider older traditions of re-telling stories or re-using characters, like Merlin & King Arthur, Robin Hood, Santa Claus, Hercules, Pandora, Loki.

And you'd also want to consider how this quote, with the change of one word, describes the way Marvel Comics worked long before the internet existed:
art without an artist, a "work" made for hire by independent contractors, as befits the time, made to some general specifications of the corporation, which at the moment might have a point man in [Stan Lee] that shares credit for the MCU's current state with all the many artists who worked under his command, but is as fungible as the rest of them and any other individual within the corporate hierarchy, the MCU being ultimately that of the corporation rather than ascribable any person at all in its totality.
Whatever the dynamics that created an audience for these interconnected superhero stories, where the characters are usually more important and persistent than any individual creator, something similar must have existed in the 1950s - 1980s, at least in the superhero comic niche.
posted by straight at 6:49 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


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