Superheroes!

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
Thoughts on the depictions of women in the MCU, after the She-Hulk finale:

Some highlights of the history behind us:
Natasha: So much "red in her ledger", she considered herself a monster. Sacrificed herself.
Wanda: Couldn't handle her power, went mad, and was killed because of it.
Gamora: More of the Daddy Issues mentioned in the She-Hulk finale, which killed her.
Nebula: More Daddy Issues and another killer with a trail of bodies behind her.
Jane Foster: Couldn't handle her power. In fact, that she had super-powers at all killed her. Sacrificed herself.
Janet van Dyne: In Ant-Man, she is 100% a classic example of a woman who was "fridged." It propelled her daughter's story, as much as her husband's - moreso in the sequel - which I guess is a little better. Still not awesome. Also, Janet's "fridging" came from her being unable to control her power and sacrificing herself; that's the full hat-trick of tropes to depower and punish a powerful woman.

Things may be turning around, though.

So far, so good for Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, Yelena Belova, Kate Bishop, Kamala Khan, Layla el-Faouly (yes, I had to google her last name), Jennifer Walters, and all of the women of Wakanda. None of them seem to have been hung with the "too powerful for her own good" trope. No daddy issues. On the contrary, only one of them even has a father who features in her story - Kamala - and he's awesome. I admit I was a little worried they were going to "fridge" Layla to bring Steven and Mark together, but they faked me out. And Jen's line about not needing to work on controlling her anger was a direct rebuttal of the "too strong for her own good" trope. Again, quite the opposite - she wasn't the one whose strength was a problem, it was the men, Bruce and Emil.

Janet Van Dyne's "fridging" was in the service of empowering another woman, and either or both of them may play important roles in the upcoming movie. If they pull off that resurrection, it'll be like some kind of screenwriter's "Crazy Ivan", a 360 turn where you end up going in the same direction you started in, except now you're dizzy and everyone around you is confused. :lol:

I'm also on tenterhooks with Wakanda Forever, in part because there are so many great women in that movie, and the loss of an important man in their family is by necessity a centerpiece of the upcoming story. There's a moment in one of the trailers when Raimonda says something like, "you think we're vulnerable because we've lost our protector" or something like that; we know that one of the women is going to suit up (probably Shuri, but they're being coy about it); and Riri Williams isn't just being introduced, it looks like she's going to be firing the jets on her own battlesuit. So this movie could be all about the women of Wakanda kicking names and taking [butt], as Mantis said. (As an aside, I think Riri lives in Chicago in the comics, but they filmed her Wakanda scenes at MIT. Could Ironheart be Boston's first superhero in the MCU?)
 

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388

Arakhor

Dremora Courtier
Super Moderator
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
38,325
Location
UK
He's eighty? Good grief.
 

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
Weird choice. Not sure I like that.
I'm in the same boat. I can't put my finger on it, but Ford has a very different 'energy' than Hurt does. Still, I'm not sure who I'd prefer in the role and I am a fan of Ford's work.

He's far too old to be an active service general.
He hasn't been in active service for several years, by the time of Capt America 4. He was Secretary of State in Civil War (2016) and, with the time-jump from The Snap/Blip, that will have been ~10 years ago. If Ford is 80 irl, Ross could be 70-74 (Google says retirement age in the US military is 64). I think former Secretaries don't often stay in public service, but it's not unheard of, like John Kerry being named a "Special Presidential Envoy."
 

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
So unless anybody is fired up for Black Adam next week, I expect World of Wakanda is the next event for this thread. I am curious about Black Adam, but as of today, not enough to get me to go to the theater to see it.
Black Adam (45 Metacritic) appears to be getting more mediocre reviews than either Thor: Love & Thunder (57) or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (60). No surprise, sadly. In terms of studios making big-budget superhero movies, the low success-rate of all the other studios really emphasizes how amazing the MCU has been. I can probably count on my fingers the good movies produced by Warner Bros, Sony, Universal and Fox combined. Okay, maybe my fingers and toes. Meanwhile, the MCU's disappointing efforts are still better than most of what the other studios produce.

I know that nobody sets out to make a bad movie, but you have to wonder at what point they start to figure out what they're good at. It still feels like they're all just flailing around in the dark, hoping they hit something. And even when they do make something good, it seems like they don't know how to do it again, as if they don't understand why their good movies are good, even after the fact. It's shocking to me that these studios have been around for, in some cases, more than 100 years and they still don't really know what they're doing.

otoh, if I'm being too hard on them, and making movies is even harder than I think it is, that only means that what Marvel has done in the last 14 years is even more amazing than I thought it was.
 

RobAnybody

Emperor
Joined
Feb 21, 2009
Messages
1,606
Thoughts on the depictions of women in the MCU, after the She-Hulk finale:

Some highlights of the history behind us:
I mean, sure, but then do the same for the men in the MCU. It's a (Marvel) super-hero trope that they are all tortured in some way. It's what ultimately set Marvel apart from DC from way back when - the DC heroes were mostly all gods who were first & foremost pure *heroes*. What Marvel did, dating back to the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko days was make their heroes grounded, &... flawed, hurt in some way. It's kinda like how Star Wars was "dirty" compared to Star Trek which was super clean.

EDIT:
Black Adam (45 Metacritic) appears to be getting more mediocre reviews than either Thor: Love & Thunder (57) or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (60).
That's a shame. I'm looking forward to Black Adam. Not sure if I'll see it in the theater, but it looks really entertaining. That said, I, personally, loathe Black Adam, because he killed my all-time favorite character Terra from Teen Titans.

Won't hold it against this movie though. :)
 
Last edited:

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
I mean, sure, but then do the same for the men in the MCU.
Sure. One thing that stuck in my craw a little bit was the (mis)handling of men with depression, in Bruce and Thor.

Bruce is an example of the "Anger = Strength" garbage that gets shoveled on men. Even though he's presented as one of the smartest people among the group of heroes, if not on the planet, Bruce very rarely resolves problems with his intellect. "The other guy" is talked about as being a burden on him, and dangerous to people around him, but then The Hulk is always who Bruce leans on when the fit hits the shan. The scene where Bruce says "I'm always angry" is very specifically a heroic moment, maybe even kind of cool. This was complicated by the fact that Disney couldn't make a Hulk movie, because of complications with the license, so we never get much of a character arc for him. We never learn why he was always angry, for instance. He does eventually integrate his split personalities. I can't remember how he explained how he did it (the scene in the diner). This was another thing that Daredevil did better, but of course it had many more hours to tell its story and develop the character.

(Incidentally, I read somewhere that Charlie Cox believes the Matt we met in She-Hulk is really the same guy from the Netflix series, that he's just in a better place now, and was enjoying himself more. I think that's totally plausible, and I hope it proves true. otoh, I still feel like the version of Fisk we saw in Hawkeye "felt" different somehow, but I can't really put my finger on it. Regardless, there was never any possibility that the characters from the Defenders mini-verse could transition into the mainstream MCU unaltered. But I do prefer that the Netflix series remain canonical, in part because I'd like to see all of the same actors reprise their roles.)

The second example of a man with depression was "Fat Thor" in Endgame. His whole family is dead, his home was destroyed, and the people he spent his whole life fighting to protect were decimated. And that was all before Thanos came along. First his depression was played for laughs - his mother even tells him to "eat a salad" - and then he recovers by just "manning up", pushing his feelings down and hitting the the gym. (Exercise actually is a good treatment for depression, but it wasn't played that way; it was more like the old, "stop being a [weakling] and get back to work.")

Again, though, the ship is beginning to turn. I thought The Falcon & The Winter Soldier at least scratched the surface of what it means for these guys to be at war, what they leave behind, and how hard it is to readjust. My biggest complaint with that show was that it just tried to do too much, too many plots and too many characters. I would have liked to see more of Sam and his sister, and I think Bucky is one of the best, most unexplored characters in the MCU. That guy is a freakin' mess. :lol: I think Moon Knight was also a step in the right direction, because it didn't make Mark's capacity for violence the answer to every problem. He wasn't always rescuing the nebbishy Steven, and like Bruce, the solution was to reconcile the two parts (but unlike with Bruce, we got to see it happen).

She-Hulk of course poked fun at the "daddy issues" that are all over the MCU. Tony and Peter Quill were the two biggest examples, using the "Absent or Distant Father" trope, although later chapters tried to redeem Howard Stark and Yondu, and I think they did a decent job, considering the time & genre constraints. And the portrayals of the characters who were dads seemed pretty good. Tony and Scott both seemed like pretty good dads. The "Dopey Dad" trope has long been one of my bugbears, but you mostly see that in sitcoms and I don't watch a lot of those. I thought the portrayals of Scott Lang and Hank Pym did a nice job of skirting the edge of the Dopey Dad trap without falling in.

I guess I also have a bone to pick with Multiverse of Madness, for making Stephen's supposed feelings for Christine a major plot-point without calling him out enough for how he treated her. It was almost as if the movie wanted to believe (and wanted us to believe) that he really loved her, which was a complete reversal of the first movie, in my view, when it was clear that he didn't love her at all. It was bizarre and seemed to be trying to justify or dismiss his narcissism, rather than tell us he'd changed. Conversely, I thought they did a decent job with Tony's character arc. "The Man-Child" is another stereotype that makes me cringe ("Fat Thor" fell into that trope a bit), but as with Scott kind of artfully dodging the Dopey Dad, I thought they did a good job of reconceptualizing Tony as someone who'd simply been living a very sheltered life.

To some degree, the MCU is saddled with having to honor characters that were created in the '60s and '70s. You can update them, change them a little, but not too much. On the whole, I think they've done a good job. Still, I don't think it's a coincidence that the characters that have dodged some of these eye-rollers are the newer characters.

EDIT:


That's a shame. I'm looking forward to Black Adam. Not sure if I'll see it in the theater, but it looks really entertaining. That said, I, personally, loathe Black Adam, because he killed my all-time favorite character Terra from Teen Titans.

Won't hold it against this movie though. :)
Black Adam was never a character I had any connection to, which could be a good thing, in that I would have no expectations going into it. I didn't know he'd killed Terra, though. I liked her, too. I am, however, a fan of the Justice Society. I'm more interested in seeing them in this movie than Black Adam. Also, I'm always a bit nervous about stories that make the villain the protagonist. It's tricky to pull off, and the juice usually isn't worth the squeeze.
 

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
I watched Spider-Man: No Way Home (Extended Version). ~10 minutes longer than the theatrical release. Good movie. I liked the extra stuff.
 

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
Black Adam (45 Metacritic) appears to be getting more mediocre reviews than either Thor: Love & Thunder (57) or Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (60).
...and then it did $67m domestically, $140m globally, so what do the critics know? Of course opening weekend receipts are a reflection of how high the anticipation for the movie was, not a referendum on whether audiences liked it. Still, that's higher than I would've thought it would be. Among DC movies, it's neck-and-neck with Aquaman's opening weekend, ahead of Shazam! but well behind Suicide Squad (2016) and anything with Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman. (If you're wondering, Birds of Prey and The Suicide Squad both bombed on their opening weekends.) Surprisingly, this was the best opening weekend for any film starring The Rock. I guess I assumed he was a box office heavyweight, but not so much.
 

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
The Quantumania trailer was alright. It gives me a bit of a TRON: Legacy vibe. I liked the look of the city and the aliens. Brain-melting amounts of CGI, but this looks like that kind of movie, so I'm okay with that, as long as they do it well. Kang the Conquerer looked pretty good, and it looks like they've hewn pretty closely to his comic-accurate costume (so it's all the more impressive that he looks pretty good, imo - I always thought Kang was kind of dopey-looking).

At first, I thought Michelle Pfeiffer looked rougher than I expected, but then I thought she looked good after they'd shrunk down to the Quantum Realm. I wonder if they deliberately made her look a bit haggard while she's in the real world, so that she can look healthier and stronger when she's in the Quantum Realm.

I read somewhere that Cassie Lang's superhero name in the comics is "Stature"? Yikes. Isn't one of Wanda's sons' superhero name "Speed"? wtf, who came up with these names? I guess it could be worse, she could be called "Size." :lol: But they don't have to call her Stature in the movies. I've liked Kathryn Newton in the couple things I've seen her do. She was in The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021), which I thought was last year's most underrated movie. And she played the teenaged Joanie, Donna & Gordon's daughter, in Halt & Catch Fire (2014), which was both one of my favorite and one of the most underrated tv series of the last decade.

Let's make a pact: If any of us ever meets Paul Rudd in real life, we have to greet him very enthusiastically and say, "I loved you in Spider-Man!" :D

Am I the only one here who remembers The Micronauts? I don't know if Marvel still owns the license. Even if they do, I don't think that's a big enough "reveal" to bother keeping it secret, because I doubt many people would know who they are. Could be a fun "Easter Egg" for the '80s kids, but if they were going to feature in this movie, I think we'd have heard about it by now.
 

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Oct 2022 - "DC Shocker: James Gunn, Peter Safran to Lead Film, TV and Animation Division"

THR said:
The hierarchy of power in the DC universe really is changing.

In a stunning turn of events, filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran have been tapped to lead DC’s film, TV and animation efforts as co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Studios, a newly formed division at Warner Bros. that will replace DC Films.
I have no idea what this means, at this point. I'm completely unfamiliar with Safran. I do know a lot of Gunn's work, and I have to admit that I'm having trouble mapping his sensibilities as a director onto the breadth of DC properties, in my head. What is the "James Gunn version" of Superman? I'm not sure I want to know. :lol: But nothing says his personal aesthetic needs to be imposed on every movie and show, going forward. On the contrary, I think that'd be terrible. There's no way Gunn could directly oversee everything DC Studios puts out. He has to just hand every showrunner and filmmaker a kind of map and hope they find their way. Still, I'm very curious what these guys' overall vision is, or if they even have one (there may be something to be said for just letting each project stand on its own, without worrying about how they connect).

There is one classic DC property that I think James Gunn could handle himself, if he wanted to. It's one that I've thought could be a jumping-off point for a kind of reboot of the DCEU, if I were in charge, and I think Gunn could do it *ahem* justice:
Spoiler :


Of course you might have to tweak the characters. I think Zachary Levi's Shazam and Jason Momoa's Aquaman would fit perfectly. I haven't seen Black Adam, so I don't know whether Pearce Brosnan's Dr. Fate or Aldis Hodge's Hawkman would be a good match, but I like both actors and both characters. Robert Pattinson's Batman doesn't seem like a good fit, and we've had a few Black Canaries already, so I'd set them aside. But this version of the JL went on to become Justice League International, which included a whole crapload of different characters at one time or another, so the writer could practically have his or her pick of characters only fans of the comics would recognize. Power Girl. Animal Man. Firestorm. Doctor Light. Booster Gold. Zatanna. The Huntress. Any number of Green Lanterns. The possibilities are practically endless.
 

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
Some reactions to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever after its grand premier last night in L.A., copied from Gizmodo. No plot spoilers or details of any kind - I think these are tweets from film critics under embargoes - but still, they're talking in broad strokes about the experience of seeing the movie, if you don't even want to know whether they're hanging their heads or pumping their fists.
Spoiler :

  • #WakandaForever is as epic as Marvel sequels get.
  • a fitting tribute to #ChadwickBoseman
  • Wakanda Forever is excellent. An immensely powerful story of forging forward
  • #WakandaForever was beautiful. Majestic, touching, and funny with plenty marvel magic
  • With #ChadwickBoseman gone this movie had to accomplish the impossible and they did it.
  • #WakandaForever is amazing! Coogler delivered an epic and emotional sequel that is an incredible tribute to Chadwick Boseman’s legacy.
  • Wakanda Forever feels like a war movie. It's emotional, heavy, intense & phenomenal. Namor is an incredible & powerful villain.
  • Tenoch Huerta's Namor is a FORCE, better than I hoped.
  • #WakandaForever is exactly the cathartic experience I hoped it would be
  • #WakandaForever is outstanding.
  • #WakandaForever is a hell of an accomplishment. It’s very emotional, of course, and I loved how it brought in Namor. It also has battle scenes that carry genuine weight and feel consequential in a way many films miss.
  • Heartbreaking and beautiful. And the fight scenes were WILD. I’m in awe of the care put into representing these cultures

 

Synobun

Deity
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
Messages
23,960
I think it's a sign of my lack of interest in this phase when I have no idea when any of these movies are coming out and in theatres. It was almost a week after Love and Thunder started playing in theatres before I figured out it was even happening. I think I've only maintained active interest in Spider-Man and Blade, and the latter is in development hell now.
 

EgonSpengler

Deity
Joined
Jun 26, 2014
Messages
9,388
I think it's a sign of my lack of interest in this phase when I have no idea when any of these movies are coming out and in theatres. It was almost a week after Love and Thunder started playing in theatres before I figured out it was even happening. I think I've only maintained active interest in Spider-Man and Blade, and the latter is in development hell now.
Yeah, I went looking for those early reactions to Wakanda precisely because the MCU is no longer a sure thing. Now, I need to know in advance whether a particular MCU film is worth seeing in theaters. In their last 5 cinema releases, they're 1-4 with me. I saw Shang-Chi, No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness in theaters, and only No Way Home earned it. I got burned the worst by Multiverse of Madness because I had high expectations for it; I avoided reading even these early reactions - "hooray" or "booo" - as I posted for Wakanda above. I skipped seeing Eternals and Love & Thunder in theaters, and I'm glad that I did. Thor was mediocre and disappointing, but by the time I saw it, I had already heard that it wasn't up to snuff, so I wasn't crushed. And Eternals was so bad, it was disappointing even though I had no expectations for it at all. :lol:

That said, I'm still optimistic enough about the overall project, and I'm willing to let them have a slump and work their way out of it. And I do think there are things we can point to as signs that they're turning things around. The finale of She-Hulk at least demonstrates that they're self-aware and willing to roast themselves.
 

Cutlass

The Man Who Wasn't There.
Joined
Jan 13, 2008
Messages
47,400
Location
US of A
Saw Black Adam today in the theater. Didn't love it. Had some good moments. But overall I thought it was poorly written.
 

HEYZOMBO

Friendly Neighborhood Zombie
Joined
Nov 19, 2022
Messages
36
Location
Somewhere
After rewatching the Hellboy movies, I'm saddened that the possibly grand finale of a worthwhile trilogy linged in development hell and probably will forever. The reboot in 2019 didn't help one bit, which was hampered by seriously bad writing. (David Harbour was pretty good with what he worked with.)

I know Del Toro and Ron Perlman still want to do it, but could they even? Ron's like 72 now. He's a fit guy but I feel it's too hopeful.

Hellboy and Hellboy II really hold up as good movies today. Shame on what could've been ya know?
 
Top Bottom