OPINION: The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel Entertainment

OPINION: The Marvel Cinematic Universe


Hey there geeks! Simi coming at you with my second opinion article. This time it is about the widely successful and controversial Marvel Cinematic Universe and my thoughts on it in the wake of their second phase of films.

Okay, so I will try to put this out in the nicest way possible without sounding like an ignorant tool but I seriously cannot stand some of the crappy creative decisions made when handling the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Are these movies partially entertaining? Yes! However, when you watch any of the films repeatedly things start to become apparent. In particular I cannot help but notice a decent plethora of complications surrounding these films. Whether we are talking about the Phase One films or the Phase Two films which I am not particularly fond of aside from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man and Guardians of The Galaxy. So please allow me to go into further detail on why I aggressively criticize the MCU like I am known for as a decently logical Marvel fan.

Firstly, I would like to trace my considerable disdain for the MCU back to the average second Iron Man film. It all felt so ridiculously rushed and boring compared to the first film which has aged considerably well after recently watching this. A lot of critics including myself have easily said that it was just one humongous advertisement for the first Avengers movie which detracted from the actual plot for the movie. Why did Marvel give us this lousy piece of crap? Well, if anyone can really answer that question then it is Jon Favreau. Favreau went on record to say that Iron Man 2 was in fact not the movie he wanted to direct and that there was heavy studio interference from Marvel Studios which is why it felt like a comedic infomercial for the first Avengers. Why would they do that? It made no  sense. Especially when Favreau had plans to give us a story-based second installment that took inspiration from the Demon in A Bottle storyline, which would have been ten times more intriguing than what we received. Here is another major kick in the teeth. They gladly whittled down Mickey Rourke, an award winning actor down to a mere Russian thug when he clearly had better plans for how he would have executed the role of Ivan Vanko/Whiplash. He spent months perfecting that marvelous Russian accent and developed a multi-dimensional villain that you’d never forget. Sadly, Marvel Studios elected to get involved and threw out his plans because they wanted a one-dimensional “bad guy.” Mickey Rourke still despises them for it and openly said so on several interviews.



Secondly, Marvel Studios clearly doesn’t honor the idea of  actors/actresses when it comes to portraying them on screen. They did not just do this to Mickey Rourke. Oh, he definitely was not the only one who got relatively screwed over because they wanted to give a better performance than what they were told to do. A memorable performance. Anyone remember Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk? Yeah, he definitely did. He was a guy who clearly knew what he was doing as an great actor and as a credible writer who deserved to be heard due to his critically successful career at that time. The guy definitely improved American History X and it is a movie that I recommend to everyone if they need something to watch. Do you guys want to really know what happened with Norton? I can surely inform you based on the facts. Norton wanted to give us a darker, emotional, and comic book accurate take on the jolly green giant that we all know and love. It was definitely the one that Hulk fans deserved. Norton’s script involved a suicide attempt in the Arctic, which I think would be more like a Bruce Banner thing to do because he is willing to do anything to control the “other guy” even if it meant isolating himself in the Artic to kill himself because he is that tormented by what is inside of him.  Marvel Studios had very little else to say aside from a very rude and dishonest press release:

“We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H, Chris E, Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks.”

Smooth move,  Marvel. It truly is such a load of BS that you made such erroneous claims that he wasn’t passionate about the role. If Norton was not passionate about the role then why did he re-write the script with a much better plot and an accurate portrayal of Hulk?  Did they just totally ignore how well written his American History X script was? That movie was critically well-received with a lot of praise and a fairly large majority of that praise was aimed at Norton. Maybe Marvel’s “requirements” are that they need someone who is obedient and can perform some kind of one-dimensional exhibition. To this day I still feel sorry for Edward Norton and Mickey Rourke and I do wish they weren’t the only ones to get alienated by this studio. Sadly, they weren’t. Terrence Howard got screwed over on a similar scale to Edward Norton. His case was not as bad but it was totally unfair.

Edward Norton and Terrence Howard deserved better

Edward Norton and Terrence Howard deserved better

In continuation of that, Marvel has a knack for doing similar things to their directors. As I stated earlier in this piece it was pretty obvious how Jon Favreau got undeniably denied the right to do his job. He wouldn’t be the last director that would be destined to suffer this cruel fate. Let’s fast-forward our little clocks to 2013 and acknowledge that Patty Jenkins has just been given the boot from Thor: The Dark World. Nobody knew why except Natalie Portman, who wanted to drop out of the film but she was contractually obligated to stay. There were theories that she wasn’t clear in her ideas (which I doubt) and so she got canned. Another theory is that Marvel Studios wasn’t clear on why they didn’t care for Jenkins’ vision. It is said that she was making something ‘dark’ and ‘explicit’ which went against the idea that they were asking for a ‘dark’ Thor sequel. Was this an indecisive studio? Absolutely! Especially considering that all they really ever valued was a release date. What they should have worried about was giving us a polished movie and just pushed it back. Maybe then I wouldn’t have seen Thor: The Dark World as a boring shot at fusing comedy and darkness that exhausted me. We would come to find out how overbearing Marvel was years later when Jenkins’ replacement Alan Taylor told EW that working with Marvel was “particularly wrenching” and that he would “never wish that on anyone.” They clearly just don’t like creative freedom or at least Kevin Feige doesn’t. He is the reason I want to burn Iron Man 3. Why the Hell couldn’t you give us a straightforward Mandarin? We will discuss Iron Man 3 later on though.

The whole Jenkins/Taylor incident would not be the last time that we’d hear this bilge coming from Marvel. Especially in the case of Edgar Wright, who was insanely brilliant and would have given us something special. Granted I loved Ant-Man but I despise what they did to Wright and just totally tried to shove it under the rug. Evangeline Lilly was like Natalie Portman who wanted to drop out because of how poorly a director was treated and she could have because her contract was not signed yet. Due to Wright’s ostracizing several other people were jumping ship for a multitude of reasons such as scheduling conflicts (Patrick Wilson) and Marvel was becoming insanely unreasonable. They once again had obsessed over a release date instead of polishing a film. Why Marvel? Why? It is not that hard to grant creative freedom whilst making a well connected/established universe. Can you even fathom what you did wrong? I certainly doubt you do considering even Joss Whedon had complaints against you.

Joss went public about how he was forced to can some better used ideas in Age of Ultron. Catch the full details on the Nerdist. Needless to say though is that it truly is a damn  shame that they cut out his ideas because maybe I would have been more satisfied with Age of Craptron instead of having total disdain for it. Especially if you consider how he was going to do the whole Infinity stone/gem subplot. It was something that made more sense and felt undeniably on topic compared to what we got and what ultimately felt incredibly off-topic. What really makes me sad though is how the irrational Marvelite fanboys took to the Internet and harassed him for something he was right in doing. He was a director, this was his movie, and he wanted to vent his frustration about what he wished he was allowed to do! Like come on! The guy should not have had to delete his Twitter account over that. I know that I would being that I am doing it right now and I would not back down as he did. I already know I will get some kind of negative criticism for publishing this opinion piece. Just as Ana DuVernay did when she avoided doing Black Panther fairly recently and took some heat for it when she perhaps saw how overbearing Marvel was. Who would blame her she is clearly an award winning director and could have given us a film with a greatly diverse story that relied heavily on Black Panther’s Wakandan/African heritage as well as his father’s death. I doubt Marvel/Feige would have allowed that. My point so far is that Marvel/Kevin Feige clearly enjoys alienating people and it needs to stop because it will one day blow up in their face on a critical level.

Makes Iron Man 2 look like art.

Makes Iron Man 2 look like art.

Now it is time for me to go deeper here with some further nitpicks/arguments that you may not have known about in the MCU. Let’s start with the third Iron Man film because I am totally itching to bash it for what it is. This film was advertised in a similar fashion as the second Thor film. It was allegedly a much darker film than what we ended up getting. What we got was a cheesy, plot hole ridden, and a failure at giving us a straightforward Mandarin. Yes, I am aware of the one-shot that hinted at there being a real Mandarin somewhere out there but why did you have to abuse Ben Kingsley who is a great actor? What was so hard about giving us a cool, intimidating, and straightforward version of the Mandarin that was a legit terrorist like you advertised? I seriously want to be reimbursed for that. The only real reason this waste of time made so much money was because it is a post-Avengers flick. Nobody can see through what goes wrong during a hype-storm. Fans were craving more after a very large smash-hit Avengers film and I would like to think that it would have been panned had it been done later on. We may never know. All I can stay is that the MCU has a severe tonal consistency problem and it is frustrating when the fanboys fail to see how many jokes, one liners, and gags go on in a Marvel film. Look no further than Guardians of The Galaxy’s Peter Quill vs Ronan dance-off. Was it truthfully necessary?

Now here is where people have tried to justify Marvel’s whole perfect connectivity when it comes to oppressing directors. They really can’t honestly. I mean, look at Thor: TDW. London got destroyed on a massive scale. Where the hell was S.H.I.E.L.D. or any of the Avengers? They technically would have flown to the rescue or at least helped Thor. I argue the same point with Iron Man 3 because I am pretty sure that S.H.I.E.L.D. would have taken some time to investigate the Mandarin/A.I.M.’s terrorist attacks. Especially with what happened to Air Force One. Where is your justification then? There isn’t a single one that you could truthfully formulate. If this was real connectivity then you’d see various members of the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. helping around at the scene. What about Tony retiring at the end of Iron Man 3 and all of sudden returning in AoU? Can you see how big of a plothole that is and how it ruins your connectivity?  What is so hard about conveying real connectivity so I don’t have to school the trolls?

Stereotypical one dimensional villain

Stereotypical one dimensional villain, anyone?

Another shot that I would like to take at Marvel is character development. Especially for a majority of their villains. They are for the most part forgettable and one-dimensional with some exceptions like D’Onofrio’s Kingpin. You merely see these villains as “bad guys” with an evil plan. To me, that is not wise. These are people who like to harm the innocent for kicks, push their own agendas, seeking self gratification, or a desire to conquer everything before them and you want to hate them whilst rooting for them. Those are villains and the MCU lacks them as we can tell with what they did to Mickey Rourke. They have some one-dimensional thugs who are stereotypical “rubbing your hands together”  that they can just kill which irks me. Who thought it was wise to kill Malekith? Especially when he is portrayed by a professional like Christopher Eccleston. I seriously rooted for him to kill Thor in that whole film. With that said here is what I want  to convey to you.  You shouldn’t constantly kill off villains because it will just detract from the comic book element of recurring villains which gets us more excited to see them return if you sincerely love them and if they are like Baron Strucker who we never got to see fully strut his stuff. It’s a trashy and pointless tactic. Especially when that whole “a hero is only so good as his villain” statement comes into play because it rings true for several heroes/villians in comic books. Captain America is only as strong as he is because guys like Red Skull push him to his limits. The Flash is only so good because the Reverse Flash tests him so aggressively. Thor is only so good because Loki tested his family values and his connections with the human world. Green Lantern is only so strong because Sinestro made him question his very willpower.

Speaking of comic book elements I want to bring up that Marvel has most arguably done consistently and wrongfully. It is something that a lot of die-hard comic book fans are still cringing from today. The MCU constantly spits in the face of creators and disregards the source material for bullshit purposes. Ultron was not a product of Iron Man. Ant-Man is Ultron’s creator.  Heimdall is white and related to Sif, I believe. HYDRA never created the Winter Soldier. It was actually Department X. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are mutants who are related to Magneto. Marvel only made them Inhumans in the comics recently to spite Fox for immature reasons. Reasons that they caused because they had very poor management back in the 1990’s which caused them to sell the rights to their characters. They have zero reason or right to do as they have done in this present era. You sleep in the bed you made and reap what you sow, Marvel. Especially when you have casual fanboys spouting at the mouth making outlandish claims that the films are canon. They obviously are not if you have any common sense as a comic book fan. Why do people praise this godawful studio when they can’t properly depict characters, spite companies that they sold rights to, and breed a very large majority of ignorant trolls that make this fanbase of ours look like fat, greasy, and immature losers that still call their mother’s basement home? Maybe the MCU would stand a better chance if they followed a specific frame that follows certain comic books. Fox is doing it with X-Men and they are finally back on track. DC is doing it as we saw with Man of Steel and some of their upcoming films clearly take inspiration from a handful of popular runs on everyone’s favorite heroes. Stop bending over to the casual moviegoers. They will never stand by you as faithfully as the comic book fans who really appreciate the work you do. They will just hop around until the fad expires or when the competition puts out something better that is possibly better and shows variety. They aren’t recurring customers  nor will they ever be.

Now here is hopefully where I slam the nail in the coffin for the whole idea of variety in the MCU and why there is an astonishing lack of it. Let’s just start off by saying that most of these films are unoriginal and feel the same except for Phase One, Winter Soldier, GOTG, and Ant-Man. With that said, it makes the ending undeniably predictable. Iron Man 3 was obviously going to end with his retirement because he stopped caring about using his brain. Thor: The Dark World was going to end with Malekith dying seeing that Marvel has a knack for killing villains. Age of Ultron was obviously going to have an ending with several new members joining the team. It’s a waste of time to think these were even decent movies. Now if you looked at Phase One you could tell that Thor was in a Thor movie and Captain America was in a Captain America movie. That is what I miss seeing and we barely saw it in Phase Two which is sad by the way. Why couldn’t they do it with the rest of Phase Two? I mean honestly. The Winter Soldier felt like a dark spy thriller and is my favorite film from Marvel. GOTG felt like a psychedelic space opera and I ate that up. Ant-Man definitely felt like a heroic heist film that still partly used Edgar Wright’s vision.

So there you have it. That is why I  have some immense disdain for the Marvel Cinematic  Universe.  They have totally disrespected comic book readers such as myself and put us all to the curb. They’d rather sell themselves out to casual fans who will never ever appreciate the full work done on these characters over the past few decades. These films will consistently disenchant people such as myself over time. It is also more or less because I feel that I am almost wasting my money on these films when I get something far from what I expected. What I expected was that I would get the bang for my buck and I am fiercely disappointed with thin plots, unoriginal ideas, plotholes the size of craters, and forced overdone one liners. You can be assured that I will go into the Marvel films from now on with caution just because of it and I will do so with every single comic book movie that is set to come out in 2016 and there are a ton of them. Some will probably tank whilst others will profit immensely from next year. I do sincerely hope Marvel will change their ways at some point in time but it’s highly unlikely at this point being that they had plenty of opportunities to turn things around. This is my opinion and it just shows that the Marvel movies will go down a dark path at some point in time if they do not correct these errors. I have received a lot of positive and negative criticism for this piece. Many have resulted to insulting me by calling me a “salty jealous DC fanboy” when that is far from the truth. I know Marvel fans who have exhibited just as much disdain or publicly stated their grievances about this. It’s a sad reality and I  am being as honest as I can when I wrote this up. I wanted this to serve as a clear outline that shows where improvement has to be made.

Now my questions are do you agree with a few of my points? Can the MCU improve on these flaws? Which ones? Let us know in the comments section!

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