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Earlier this month, I sent out a quick tweet responding to Martin Scorsese’s comments that comic book films, specifically Marvel movies, are not artistically valuable stories. They went viral in a bad way, and I deleted the tweets and locked down my account for half a day. In fairness to the Scorsese stans who leapt to his defense, I did misremember how much of his early film work focused on the mob. (Also, I really like the term “make your bones” and tried to be too clever by half.) I eventually wrote an op-ed about it over at ComicYears.com, …


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For the First Fans of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic in Westeros, tonight’s season finale will bring about an ending (of sorts) they’ve been waiting for since August 1996. Yet, the ending that we all think is coming — either from foreshadowing on the show or from the any number of series finale leaks online — seems destined to disappoint not just book fans but almost every viewer of the series.

Even if none of the leaks are true, the ending will likely disappoint a significant portion of the audience, save for the most enlightened. Now, I don’t mean that…


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Because people who love geek culture have been trained to believe we can’t have nice things, there persists a prevailing feeling that, someday, Marvel Studios is just going to blow it. To this day there are those who predict the studio will fail, if only because nothing stays perfect forever. Yet, when the slate of Phase 2 films were announced, some believed that the MCU was about to fall flat on its face, especially after Iron Man 3 and The Dark World. These naysayers would point to two films on the Phase 2 slate as evidence for their argument, the…


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When the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are ranked from best to worst, Captain America: The Winter Soldier always ranks very highly. The first Marvel Studios directorial outing of Joe and Anthony Russo, they genre-hopped from old-timey-war-movie homage to spy thriller. However, more so than that, the filmmakers crafted a story that adequately deals with a serious, real-world issue: creeping authoritarianism. Comic book stories have long been places where metaphorical parables unfold about real moral and political issues. However, sometimes, when these films take these issues head-on the allegory falls flat. In this movie, Captain America’s dedication to the…


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Debates about the strength of the Hulk and Captain Marvel aside, Thor is the most powerful Avenger because he is of Asgard. Asgardians are presented to the MCU viewer as the baddest-asses in all of the cosmos. They have a 5,000-year lifespan and are very hard to kill. When you have an entire race of nearly-indestructible gods to contend with, you need a truly formidable villain. Thor: A Dark World tries to give us this with the Dark Elves and the Aether, later revealed to be an Infinity Stone. This movie wants to make these gods seem like mere mortals…


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The third Iron Man film faced, perhaps, the highest expectations yet of a Marvel movie. It had to sufficiently wrap-up Tony Stark’s journey and effectively follow-up the smash hit that was The Avengers. This meant that fans had plenty of ideas about what they wanted to see from the film, but the creators apparently had other ideas. Jon Favreau returns for a few scenes as driver-turned-head-of-security Happy Hogan, but he abdicated the director’s chair in favor of Shane Black, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Drew Pearce. Instead of a big comic book epic showing Iron Man’s showdown with his…


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The hype leading up to the first MCU team-up film was nowhere near the level the hype leading up to Endgame has reached. Still, at the time, The Avengers was one of the most hotly anticipated superhero movies of all time. I honestly don’t recall what the prevailing feeling on social media was about the movie, but personally, I believed it would be a disaster. Taking four distinct characters from four discrete stories and putting them together in a single movie felt like too much for anyone to achieve. Even though my expectations were low, I planned to see it…


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In 2011, the modern superhero genre turned a decade-old, and it had been 33 years since Christopher Reeve donned the tights and cape to play Superman. By this point in the development of the genre, some believed that there was just no place for morally-straightforward heroes. The whole point of the superhero film was to see these gods made real, and that meant making them flawed. Zach Snyder’s major films are, famously, drawn from comic book source material. Like many fans of the medium, he prefers the grittier comic books featuring morally gray heroes, violence, and sex. When promoting his…


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Every Phase 1 Marvel film represents a huge gamble by the studio, but if they were ever going to fall flat on their faces, it would have been with Thor. (Arguably they did, but we’ll talk about The Dark World later.) What makes this film the linchpin for Phase 1 is that it was the first time that the newly-formed Marvel Studios had to embrace some truly wacky comic book elements. By 2011, the modern superhero genre had been around for a decade. Part of what made these films work so well is that the filmmakers grounded them in reality…


Image via the US Air Force

After the first two films in the newly-minted Marvel Cinematic Universe, moviegoers had to wait a full two years for the next installment. By 2010, the Avengers film (preceded by solo films for Thor and Captain America) was bound to happen. Yet, it was some years away, because Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige understood the value of patience and building up their new world. Still, two years is a long time to wait for even the most patient fans, so the second Iron Man film had to do a lot of work. First, it had to introduce more of the…

Joshua M. Patton

Managing editor at ComicYears.com. Entertainment, culture, politics, essays & lots of Star Wars. Like my work? Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/O5O0GR

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