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Old January 21 2015, 10:41 PM   #1
BigJake
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Rewatching the MCU

I've had occasion to re-watch a few of the MCU films recently. (They're part of a free preview on Showcase.) It's been some time now since I first saw Thor, Avengers or Captain America: First Avenger. I've been surprised at which films have held up for me and which haven't.

If you've recently done a rewatch of any MCU films, would love to have your comments. Was it as good the second or third (or whatever) time around? Which movies do you think hold up in the long term, and which don't?

My take on the three above (I think the movies are old enough not to warrant spoiler tags any more):

Captain America: First Avenger. I thought it was good fun the first time around; the over-the-top not-the-Nazis villains of HYDRA have a perfectly-pitched Golden Age comics sensibility about them, and everybody is well cast (especially the Red Skull and Arnim Zola). It has a charming B-movie feel about it; the only downside is that the action sequences are often not very memorable. Still, it seems to be quite underrated by a lot of MCU fans... maybe because the tone is so different from the other films? Still a B+ for me.

Thor. Actually improved on a re-view, I had remembered the first time around being a bit dull. Thor's arc from being an arrogant, foolish bruiser to learning a bit of wisdom and acquiring a moral centre is actually quite good. And it's fun to watch Idris Elba as Heimdall, or to see Kat Dennings -- who is a treasure -- steal Natalie Portman's scenes at every opportunity. And when it gets going, some of the action in this one is quite fun, like Thor's massive throwdown with the Frost Giants.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the gifted Tom Hiddleston, Loki is kind of a nothing villain whose grand plan boils down to an attention-seeking tantrum... and having Thor rescuing Jotunheim at the end (whose inhabitants have been portrayed with zero sympathy throughout) sucks a lot of interest out of the climax. B-.

The Avengers. Loved it in the theatre, and was surprised to find this the one that aged the worst for me. Not that there isn't still plenty of good stuff happening; Phil Coulson is a fun secondary character, Sam Jackson of course is Sam Jackson, and the heroes mostly deliver in their roles... although ScarJo seems a lot less effective as Black Widow than I remembered her being; and while Robert Downey Jr.'s schtick as Stark was something I particularly enjoyed the first time, on a repeat it veers into annoying territory more than a few times.

The lack of suspense is a big problem. Hiddleston does his best but Loki again is a bit of a nothing villain, the moreso when we discover that his Chitauri allies are comically inept, interchangeable mooks; there's never any question of whether the heroes will pull themselves together and annihilate him. The action is sometimes fun but at other times makes no sense... like the sequence where Thor gets trapped in a cage by Loki and spends several minutes standing there, weirdly befuddled and inactive, after his hammer -- which has continent-smashing power -- barely puts a dent in a barrier it should be able to tear through like paper.

And much as I hate to say it, the movie's emotional pivot-point -- Phil Coulson's tragic death -- doesn't make sense either. I get that Coulson is likeable, but why does this ostensibly rally the heroes around him? I can see Cap feeling a connection with him owing to the guy's endearingly nerdy fannishness, but he's barely more than an acquaintance to Stark, or for that matter to Thor. He's never shown to have any kind of connection to Black Widow, but on his death she's got "red in her ledger"? And why does Banner come running back to the team right after having an "episode" that illustrates how much of a danger he potentially is to them?

It was surprising to discover that this movie has dropped to a C- for me overall.
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Old January 24 2015, 03:36 AM   #2
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

I think the "red in her ledger" referred to her previous life as a spy, it had nothing to do with Coulson. Also, I think earlier the movie establishes that Coulson is more of a friend to Tony and Pepper.

Thor is my little boy's favorite hero so we watch it regularly. It and Iron Man #1 are probably my favorites. I actually haven't watched Cap in ages, but I agree that the action really isn't memorable, it has almost an 80s vibe in the way the action is handled, instead of the big set pieces of modern blockbusters.
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Old January 24 2015, 09:28 PM   #3
Dales
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

BigJake wrote: View Post
I've had occasion to re-watch a few of the MCU films recently. (They're part of a free preview on Showcase.) It's been some time now since I first saw Thor, Avengers or Captain America: First Avenger. I've been surprised at which films have held up for me and which haven't.

If you've recently done a rewatch of any MCU films, would love to have your comments. Was it as good the second or third (or whatever) time around? Which movies do you think hold up in the long term, and which don't?

My take on the three above (I think the movies are old enough not to warrant spoiler tags any more):

Captain America: First Avenger. I thought it was good fun the first time around; the over-the-top not-the-Nazis villains of HYDRA have a perfectly-pitched Golden Age comics sensibility about them, and everybody is well cast (especially the Red Skull and Arnim Zola). It has a charming B-movie feel about it; the only downside is that the action sequences are often not very memorable. Still, it seems to be quite underrated by a lot of MCU fans... maybe because the tone is so different from the other films? Still a B+ for me.

Thor. Actually improved on a re-view, I had remembered the first time around being a bit dull. Thor's arc from being an arrogant, foolish bruiser to learning a bit of wisdom and acquiring a moral centre is actually quite good. And it's fun to watch Idris Elba as Heimdall, or to see Kat Dennings -- who is a treasure -- steal Natalie Portman's scenes at every opportunity. And when it gets going, some of the action in this one is quite fun, like Thor's massive throwdown with the Frost Giants.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the gifted Tom Hiddleston, Loki is kind of a nothing villain whose grand plan boils down to an attention-seeking tantrum... and having Thor rescuing Jotunheim at the end (whose inhabitants have been portrayed with zero sympathy throughout) sucks a lot of interest out of the climax. B-.

The Avengers. Loved it in the theatre, and was surprised to find this the one that aged the worst for me. Not that there isn't still plenty of good stuff happening; Phil Coulson is a fun secondary character, Sam Jackson of course is Sam Jackson, and the heroes mostly deliver in their roles... although ScarJo seems a lot less effective as Black Widow than I remembered her being; and while Robert Downey Jr.'s schtick as Stark was something I particularly enjoyed the first time, on a repeat it veers into annoying territory more than a few times.

The lack of suspense is a big problem. Hiddleston does his best but Loki again is a bit of a nothing villain, the moreso when we discover that his Chitauri allies are comically inept, interchangeable mooks; there's never any question of whether the heroes will pull themselves together and annihilate him. The action is sometimes fun but at other times makes no sense... like the sequence where Thor gets trapped in a cage by Loki and spends several minutes standing there, weirdly befuddled and inactive, after his hammer -- which has continent-smashing power -- barely puts a dent in a barrier it should be able to tear through like paper.

And much as I hate to say it, the movie's emotional pivot-point -- Phil Coulson's tragic death -- doesn't make sense either. I get that Coulson is likeable, but why does this ostensibly rally the heroes around him? I can see Cap feeling a connection with him owing to the guy's endearingly nerdy fannishness, but he's barely more than an acquaintance to Stark, or for that matter to Thor. He's never shown to have any kind of connection to Black Widow, but on his death she's got "red in her ledger"? And why does Banner come running back to the team right after having an "episode" that illustrates how much of a danger he potentially is to them?

It was surprising to discover that this movie has dropped to a C- for me overall.

not surprised, this is the problem with MCU films, they aged very quickly. I too adored and loved avengers in cinema but after 3 years have passed, the films comes off as so childish to me, especially with Loki and his robot armies.
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Old January 24 2015, 09:48 PM   #4
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

I watched all the movies over about the middle of last year, and just watched avengers again recently. I still like them a lot. Iron Man is probably my favorite, with IM2 being the weakest (but still good). To me they've all aged well.
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Old January 24 2015, 09:55 PM   #5
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

I think they've aged just fine. My biggest issue with them is that there's just so damn many of them, and we still have so many more to go. Much like the reason I don't read comic books, eventually I think the universe is going to be so cramped with characters that I just won't care anymore about what happens to them. It will be an overwhelming case of series fatigue.
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Old January 24 2015, 10:02 PM   #6
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

I love the number. Every character gives us different stories, and to me they can't do enough. Its basically more of a genre now. Besides, its not like you have to see every movie if you don't want to in order to understand later movies. I mean, yeah, you shouldn't watch Thor 2 before Thor 1, but that's the same thing with any sequel. But, you can watch Thor 2 without Avengers and get the story, even if it builds off of Avengers. There is also stuff like GotG. I could no more get tired of Marvel movies than I could get tired of science Fiction movies. Its a franchise, but there is a lot of variety and its not that hard to get into even if you don't want to watch everything, at least in my opinion.
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Old January 24 2015, 10:10 PM   #7
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

I think the first Captain America, the first Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy are the best of the lot.
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Old January 24 2015, 10:27 PM   #8
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

^ I'm inclined to agree from what I've seen, though it's been a while since I watched Iron Man and I never did see its sequels, or Winter Soldier.
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Old January 24 2015, 10:28 PM   #9
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

I have every MCU movie available. I haven't rewatched any of them in a while except Guardians. Most of them are still really fresh in my mind. I three years Iron Man will be ten years old and the movie that kicked it all off. I hope Marvel can find a stoping point with the third Avengers movie. I love these movies and I'm impressed with each succeeding movie, but obviously the big four, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America aren't going to keep on for another ten years and I don't want to see a reboot or recast. The one thing I've liked about these movies is they all exist in the same universe and continuity, but the problem comes when you keep going and going, adding new characters every movie. Eventually there needs to be a final story told or a reboot. I hope they can find a good stopping point without driving these films into the ground. That all being said, I'd love to rewatch them all in order some time soon and I love them all.
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Old January 24 2015, 10:40 PM   #10
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

Dales wrote: View Post
not surprised, this is the problem with MCU films, they aged very quickly. I too adored and loved avengers in cinema but after 3 years have passed, the films comes off as so childish to me, especially with Loki and his robot armies.
Never understood the hype of Avengers and aside from the crossover aspect it was easily a D movie. I have always felt it was mishmash of the Avengers coming together story and the first Ultimates storyline. It's just further proof that Whedon hasn't done anything good since Angel or Firefly after he burnt out .

The Thor movies however imo are easily the worst of the MCU given how much they stray from the source material to cater to American religious sensibilities.
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Old January 25 2015, 04:39 PM   #11
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I think they've aged just fine. My biggest issue with them is that there's just so damn many of them, and we still have so many more to go. Much like the reason I don't read comic books, eventually I think the universe is going to be so cramped with characters that I just won't care anymore about what happens to them. It will be an overwhelming case of series fatigue.

feeling the same way, A couple of weeks back I was thinking of marvel vs dc and then it occurred to me that DC is the space of three years 2013-2016 has only released 2 films. whereas with marvel they would have had about 6 films.

DC films 2013-2016
man of steel
Batman v Superman


Marvel films 2013-2016

iron man 3
thor 2
gotg
winter solider
avengers 2
ant man
captain America 3 civil war
gotg 2

Oh make that 8 films from the MCU factory. For me the marvel Disney machines is out of control , oversaturation and fatigue is already on the MCU franchise and this is why mOst of their films don't age well and are forgettable to me.
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Old January 25 2015, 06:22 PM   #12
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

Overall, I feel that the MCU film series holds up quite well. I was pessimistically expecting the bubble to burst before they got to The Avengers, so I've been pleasantly surprised thus far.

As far as franchise fatigue goes...as I think somebody mentioned, you don't have to see them all. They're planning to unveil enough new characters (and I imagine they'll probably phase out old ones to make room for them over time) that it will keep things somewhat fresh. But just because they all take place in a shared continuity doesn't mean that everything they put out will be to everybody's taste.

More likely the bubble will burst for superhero films in general (though critics have been too eager to predict the demise of the genre for years and years, and haven't been right yet)...but thus far they're generally doing quite well, and with the MCU I feel that I get something of fairly consistent quality, such that I'll go out of my way to see it even if the specific character(s) they're adopting might not have held interest for me otherwise.

As far as how the movies have aged with home video rewatches....

Iron Man: Still pretty much the film that I saw in the theater. No complaints.

The Incredible Hulk: I like Norton's Banner--a good match for the comics, though he and Ruffalo are completely different physical types--but I much prefer the CGI version of the Hulk in The Avengers to the one in this film. And I feel sorry for that poor little bit of sequel set-up that will probably be left dangling indefinitely....

Iron Man 2: I was pretty meh about this one coming out of the theater. It's actually improved for me somewhat in retrospect. I feel it was a stronger sequel to the original than IM3 or Thor 2, and I get what they were going for story-wise, even though the excecution was a bit of a mess.

Thor: This was my personal favorite of the MCU films when I saw it in the theater, and that hasn't changed. I generally find it to be a fun, well-balanced superhero flick with a nice twist on the usual origin movie fare (superhuman learning to be human, rather than vice versa). And Hiddleston's performance here was one of the highlights of the film. His return in The Avengers, OTOH, turned Loki into more of a cardboard moustache-twirler.

Captain America: The First Avenger: This is the one that has most benefited from revisiting on home video. I was pretty meh about it when I saw it in the theater (it was the fourth superhero film I'd seen that summer). It's really grown on me in the re-watching.

The Avengers: What's not to love? The film has its weaknesses, but it always did. What it does right, however, more than makes up for it in the overall film-enjoying experience. This film is all about the characters getting together and interacting. The plot is secondary to that in giving them something to interact about.

Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World: These are the low point in the overall franchise for me. There's still the possibility that they'll improve for me, but both seemed largely weak and lesser films than their predecessors. IM3 seemed unnecessary to me, though perhaps it will inform will they go with the character in Age of Ultron. Hiddleston's Loki was put to better use in TDW than in The Avengers, but that didn't make up for the extremely weak and uninteresting main villains and the poor execution of the larger Asgardian concept set up in the first film (tech so advanced that it's indistinguishable from magic becomes tech so advanced that it's indistinguishable from Star Wars). On a franchise level, however, the shortcomings of this one-two punch of disappointment was more than made up for by...

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Great film, really ups the game for both its own predecessor and the larger shared franchise.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Too soon to tell, as I haven't revisited it on home video yet.
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Old January 25 2015, 08:55 PM   #13
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post

More likely the bubble will burst for superhero films in general (though critics have been too eager to predict the demise of the genre for years and years, and haven't been right yet)...but thus far they're generally doing quite well, and with the MCU I feel that I get something of fairly consistent quality, such that I'll go out of my way to see it even if the specific character(s) they're adopting might not have held interest for me otherwise.
I think it's just a matter of time before the next big thing happens. The popularity of movie genres comes and goes. We had fantasy for a while with LOTR and Harry Potter. Then Vampires took center stage with Twilight. Then it was zombies, and now superheroes. I just don't think it can last that long before people start to get bored with it.

Because it's not just the current Avengers universe. There's also Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the new stuff DC is trying to do with Superman vs. Batman. I almost feel like DC jumped on the bandwagon a few years too late. By the time they finally get around to having their big shared universe, the genre may already be on its way to being replaced by something else.

This is all just my opinion, though. I almost never go to movies anymore; aside from "The Avengers," I've rented all the Marvel movies from RedBox.

What I don't want to see is re-casting. These actors started a pretty epic franchise. If, for example, Chris Hemsworth doesn't want to be a part of them anymore, I think they should stop using Thor. If RDJ is done with Iron Man after this next batch of movies, then retire the character.
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Old January 25 2015, 09:09 PM   #14
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

BillJ wrote: View Post
I think the first Captain America, the first Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy are the best of the lot.
For me it's the first Iron Man, Winter Soldier and Avengers. Honorable mention to Cap 1 & GOTG.

BigJake wrote:
we discover that his Chitauri allies are comically inept, interchangeable mooks
And then GOTG comes out with another army of a different species of mooks!
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Old January 25 2015, 09:34 PM   #15
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Re: Rewatching the MCU

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
I think it's just a matter of time before the next big thing happens. The popularity of movie genres comes and goes. We had fantasy for a while with LOTR and Harry Potter. Then Vampires took center stage with Twilight. Then it was zombies, and now superheroes. I just don't think it can last that long before people start to get bored with it.
The thing is, those trends mostly came and went in the time since the 2002 Spidey film started the ongoing interest in superhero blockbusters. The MCU films just gave that a shot in the arm, but the recent success of superhero films has generally proven to have legs beyond being another passing cinematic fad. Critics were eagerly predicting the genre's demise at every opportunity of a superhero film's lackluster performance even before Iron Man came out...including in the wake of Green Lantern...then along came The Avengers.

I almost feel like DC jumped on the bandwagon a few years too late.
No argument there. They've been too hesitant, timid, and reactive in their attempts to jump on the bandwagon. If there is a major bubble burst in the reasonably near future, it will be because of also-rans like them oversaturating the market with product of more questionable quality...but we'll see how that goes. It's still too early to tell with their franchise, though it shouldn't be.

What I don't want to see is re-casting. These actors started a pretty epic franchise. If, for example, Chris Hemsworth doesn't want to be a part of them anymore, I think they should stop using Thor. If RDJ is done with Iron Man after this next batch of movies, then retire the character.
I agree, and I think that's likely to fit Marvel Studios' plans as we've seen them laid out thus far. They can't keep putting out endless Phase 1 character sequels and still go forward bringing in new characters. Hence the fact that there's no IM4 on the table (last I heard). It's likely that Thor and Cap will follow IM's lead and stop at #3.
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