Saturday, June 15, 2024

So What’s This MCU Thing All About?

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We live in a world where popular things are everywhere. Spoilers for shows like Game of Thrones are close to impossible to avoid, and some argue that hype can ruined even very good movies, like Frozen. (Even I’m sick of Let it Go, it was just inescapable for a while. Especially if you happen to work in elementary schools.) But, somehow, I have managed to live my life quite comfortably for the past five or so years with only the most basic awareness that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) existed.

I knew it was a bunch of movies, and they weren’t a series exactly. But, like, they were several series that were all kind of interconnected. Like that one time Q showed up at Deep Space Nine. But they were all in the same, like, continuity. Right? And this was really popular. And there were ‘splosions.

Don’t get me wrong, I like ‘splosions, but there was nothing about these movies that made me give a second’s worth of thought to maybe wanting to see them. I’ve never been a comic book person, or a superhero person. The closest I ever got to a superhero team is the He-man and She-re Christmas Special. I kind of liked the Batman Animated Series. That’s Marvel, right? No? Wonder Woman? Does Marvel have any good ones?

Well, I’m kind of lying. I did see Iron Man 2 on a date. And it was a complete disaster. The movie, not the date. Well, that too. I spent the whole time making a “dafaq” face at the poor man and asking him questions. Like, is Tony Stark supposed to be an insufferable asshole, or am I supposed to like him? Why the fuck can he build a particle accelerator in his basement? Do these people not know how elements work? Is there a plot?

For some odd reason, I don’t think we ever went out again…

But really, it seemed to me there was all this random shit in the movie that was there but not for any reason to do with the movie. Like Samuel L. Jackson. Who is this man and why should I give a fuck? And what is Scarlett Johansson and why is she here? My date seemed to think she justified herself, but I was unconvinced. Really, all I remember about this movie is the basement particle accelerator and ScarJo beating people up in a hallway. It didn’t make the best impression, and it certainly gave me no reason to check out the rest of these movies.

Essential to the plot!

Since that experience, my only exposure has really been by indifferent osmosis. Oh look, a tumblr gifset that shows how ScarJo’s character isn’t completely useless! That sort of thing. And then there was a kerfuffle about her pose on a poster. And I remember feeling some confusion about why Natalie Portman would deign to be in one of these things. And then there’s this literal Nazi on Agents of Shield that people are stanning? I have no idea what Shield is.

Man of Steel was NOT Marvel, right?

So what happened to prompt me to start a meta series about this franchise? Well, it was Jessica Jones. For weeks and weeks, I was told by many people that I simply had to watch it. So I did. I was already paying for Netflix, anyway.

And it was good, damn it. It was very good. It had character arcs, and complicated relationships, and people behaving like humans, and feminism. I really liked it. Like, I can’t think of a single thing I disliked about it. There were too few ‘splosions? Annoying Neighbour Girl was annoying? It was not at all the nonsensical swill I expected after watch Ironman 2. In fact, the random references to shit I had no clue about were actually intriguing, rather than infuriating.

Aliens trashed the city? Wow. Why does this random couple want to kill Jessica because of fantastical racism? Who is this cool nurse, and who is this friend of hers? What is this shadowy organization that probably experimented on Jessica’s comatose teenaged body? Is it Shield? I want to know! Maybe Ironman 2 was a crazy aberration.

So that is what I will be doing. Over the next little while, I will be watching all the of the movies so far released in the MCU and writing something about each. Hopefully something insightful. Starting with Iron Man and ending with Ant-Man. This will with include The Incredible Hulk, even though I was told to avoid it. I’m really into completeness. And I’ll probably do the tv shows too, if not so encyclopedically. I definitely plan to watch Agent Carter, and I’ll have a lot more to say about Jessica Jones later on.  

Expect Iron Man later in this week. This is gonna be awesome, right?

Image courtesy of Marvel Studios

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