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Marvel Cinematic Universe, Phase Three and BEYOOOOONND


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2 hours ago, zslane said:

 

I would argue that Asgard was not very developed in the comics when Thor first appeared in them either. It took a long time to develop Asgard and the rest of that pantheon of super-beings in the comics. Readers simply accepted Thor as he was without question for many hundreds of issues. But mainstream movie audiences don't have the same mindset that comic readers do, and so they demand something quite different from these characters. The need for (MCU) Thor to remain a viable solo "franchise" character put great pressure on Feige to pivot and make him funny and relatable so as to appeal to the masses, a problem Stan Lee never really faced with comic-book Thor.

 

Absolutely agree. That was exactly my point, that Asgard was built over time, a luxury which movies don't have as much of. But keep in mind, too, that for many issues of Thor's run the character had a humanly-relatable side, Dr. Donald Blake. All of us, including Thor, believed at first that he was really the mortal Blake who had gained the power of Thor, like a few other holders of the hammer have. It was only after several years that it was revealed Blake was a false identity, the transformation of Thor by Odin to teach him humility. By that time comic Asgard was well established, yet Blake lingered as a minor element until Walt Simonson's writer/artist run on the title.

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4 hours ago, Greywind said:

 

 

Very cool and spectacular moment; but even that pales beside the full godly might Thor displayed during his debut film, when he truly came across as God of Thunder. Like this:

 

 

Thor's arrival in Wakanda during Endgame was the first movie moment in a long time that came close to recapturing that sense of godliness.

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7 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

the character had a humanly-relatable side, Dr. Donald Blake.

 

Indeed. However, I think that it was a (creative) mistake to mash the two together into a single character during Endgame just to make the thunder god more "relatable". My memory of comic-book Thor back in the day (the 70s and 80s) was that readers didn't really care much about Donald Blake and preferred to exclusively see/read about Thor. It made complete sense to me for the MCU to just give us the Asgardian god and not bifurcate him with the human alter ego. As such, I never saw a need to do what they did to the character in Endgame. But, of course, I am reacting as a fan of the old comics and not as a mainstream movie-goer with no past relationship with the comics.

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I think my biggest problem with the Thor character's "arc" is that I want my superheroes to be HEROIC, not crumble like a pathetic self-loathing wretch when they face hardship.  Its all through the MCU, which is why I say that Feige (and most modern writers) don't understand the concept of legendary heroes.  They're meant to be inspirations, to be better than we are, to give us something to strive for.  The first Spider-Man movies, Sam Raimi understood heroes.  He did it right: Spidey has hard times but he always keeps going and no matter what it costs him stays determined and does the right thing. 

 

Even when in the ghastly 3rd movie when the studios stomped all over the script, Spidey only gets selfish when influenced by an evil alien force and shakes it off even when it weakens him.

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I guess the question then is this: Is it more Heroic to face hardship and keep going so you really never fail OR to fail, fall down but keep getting up until you prevail or your enemies are walking over your dead body? I would say both are legitimate. To me, Steve embodies the first more then the second.

Rasslor: Incredible. I could crush your body, I could smash your bones, but I could NEVER break your spirit.

Someone earlier put that Hulk was in Thanos' league, but not true. When Hulk fought Thanos - pre Thanos getting the Gauntlet- he wiped with Hulk, to the point of being afraid to come out and fight Thanos again (my interpretation, though supposedly was just Hulk tired of fighting Banner's battles).

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2 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

They're meant to be inspirations, to be better than we are, to give us something to strive for.

 

Agreed. But we live in an era in which (super)heroes are often the subject of irony and scorn and "deconstruction". Where they are spared that indignity--such as in the MCU--they are still "grounded in reality", at least to the point of making these heroes more human and relatable. To my mind that's just code for "more like the average person", which is not what superheroes are supposed to be AFAIC. This was never more apparent than when Starlord's "losing it" on Thanos at arguably the most critical moment in the modern history of the universe was justified on the grounds that "he's only human", which again is just code for "he's just like us ordinary folk", which I axiomatically disagree with even if you take away his Celestial powers.

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46 minutes ago, slikmar said:

I guess the question then is this: Is it more Heroic to face hardship and keep going so you really never fail OR to fail, fall down but keep getting up until you prevail or your enemies are walking over your dead body? I would say both are legitimate. To me, Steve embodies the first more then the second.

Rasslor: Incredible. I could crush your body, I could smash your bones, but I could NEVER break your spirit.

Someone earlier put that Hulk was in Thanos' league, but not true. When Hulk fought Thanos - pre Thanos getting the Gauntlet- he wiped with Hulk, to the point of being afraid to come out and fight Thanos again (my interpretation, though supposedly was just Hulk tired of fighting Banner's battles).

 

I would say there are other factors that influence whether these events count as displays of heroism. One is the context surrounding the fall. For example, in Superman II with Chris Reeve, Superman gives up his powers for love, only to discover he's left his world unprotected. He has to experience pain and humiliation before he could become Superman again. That paragon of never giving up, Captain America, lost faith in his country in the comics 'way back in the 1970s, and became Nomad to travel America and rediscover his idealism. In the comics Tony Stark had his first bout with alcoholism in 1979, which crept up on him subtly at first as he dealt with mounting pressures. It was resolved less dramatically than his second fall, which turned him into a derelict and which most fans felt went too far. But I think that example highlights another factor that can make a difference: repetition. Heroes can be excused losing their conviction under extraordinary circumstances, as long as those circumstances don't become the norm.

 

What happened to Thor in the MCU was the culmination of almost unimaginable tragedy. I don't look at it as making him as flawed as any normal person. Almost anyone else would have broken under that weight long before Thor did. It speaks to his heroism and strength of will that he kept going as long as he did.

 

9 minutes ago, zslane said:

 

Agreed. But we live in an era in which (super)heroes are often the subject of irony and scorn and "deconstruction". Where they are spared that indignity--such as in the MCU--they are still "grounded in reality", at least to the point of making these heroes more human and relatable. To my mind that's just code for "more like the average person", which is not what superheroes are supposed to be AFAIC. This was never more apparent than when Starlord's "losing it" on Thanos at arguably the most critical moment in the modern history of the universe was justified on the grounds that "he's only human", which again is just code for "he's just like us ordinary folk", which I axiomatically disagree with even if you take away his Celestial powers.

 

Starlord in the MCU was never a hero. He's an opportunistic rogue who found people he cares enough about to fight to protect. But he's always been shown to be a cocky, undisciplined hothead. I don't know how he's depicted in comics, but his action in Endgame was predictable under the circumstances.

 

Oh, just to respond to slikmar's point re the Hulk: I made a point of asserting that Hulk's raw power is in the same class as the other MCU big leaguers. Hulk and Thanos are close in strength (Thanos might be a shade stronger), but this Hulk always fought like a brute, relying on overwhelming force to defeat his opponents; although even when childlike he often displayed clever improvised tactics as needed. Thanos was clearly far superior in hand-to-hand training and experience, which is how he could maul Hulk. That deficiency in the Hulk's combat prowess has been exploited by Thor and Abomination, as well.

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1 hour ago, Lord Liaden said:

Starlord in the MCU was never a hero. He's an opportunistic rogue who found people he cares enough about to fight to protect. But he's always been shown to be a cocky, undisciplined hothead.

 

By the time of the events of Infinity War, Starlord had been through the dramatic arcs of two GoG movies, more than sufficient to evolve as a character. I'd argue that he should have learned how to be a hero by then, at least by comic book standards, even if his methods were often somewhat juvenile. But he didn't display the kind of heroism the leader of a group that thinks of themselves as guardians of the entire galaxy should have, and the way I see it that's the fault of the writers, not my expectations.

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1 hour ago, zslane said:

 

By the time of the events of Infinity War, Starlord had been through the dramatic arcs of two GoG movies, more than sufficient to evolve as a character. I'd argue that he should have learned how to be a hero by then, at least by comic book standards, even if his methods were often somewhat juvenile. But he didn't display the kind of heroism the leader of a group that thinks of themselves as guardians of the entire galaxy should have, and the way I see it that's the fault of the writers, not my expectations.

 

I'm not sure the GotG have ever really thought of themselves as actual guardians of the galaxy.  IIRC the original choice of the title was ironic at best, and the group has never been anything other than a motley crew of antiheroes who do the right thing only reluctantly or accidentally.  Their primary motivation is loyalty to each other.  None of them are idealistic in any way.

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Two things from the comics really cement my overall feeling on Thor. In Avengers Annual #9, a computer AI senses "power beyond computation" in the being called Thor. In Avengers #165, Count Nefaria, who has been turned into Superman and has beaten ALL of the other Avengers, shows genuine fear when Thor makes his appearance at the end of the issue. Thor is supposed to be larger than life. A true myth made reality. The characters shouldn't be changed to fit the actors. The actors need to adapt to fit the characters. That is their job afterall...you know....to act. I was extremely disappointed in Ragnarok and "Lebowski Thor". They were insulting interpretations of the character.

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I don't think you could find an actor who comes closer to "myth made reality" than Chris Hemsworth. From his first appearance on screen he fit Thor like Chris Evans fits Steve Rogers, Benedict Cumberbatch fits Stephen Strange, and Chadwick Boseman fit T'Challa. (RDJ made Tony Stark fit him, rather than the other way around.) ;)

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2 hours ago, Old Man said:

I'm not sure the GotG have ever really thought of themselves as actual guardians of the galaxy.

 

After defeating Ronan, reclaiming the Power stone, and then defeating Ego and literally saving the galaxy (universe?), they had every right to think of themselves as actual guardians of the galaxy. The only reason you and I as audience members are led to doubt that is because they weren't written in a way that allowed them to own the heroic stature they had earned. In a sense, this agrees with your thesis that the writers (and/or Feige) are inconsistent with their depiction of heroism in the MCU. Starlord seems to know what to do to save the universe when the script calls for it, but then suddenly doesn't when, again, the script calls for it.

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8 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Even when in the ghastly 3rd movie when the studios stomped all over the script, Spidey only gets selfish when influenced by an evil alien force and shakes it off even when it weakens him.

 

Marvel Thor starts out as selfish. It's a fundamental part of his character, and why he's been exiled to Midgard by Odin. From the very start.

 

Heck, even in the actual stories, the gods all have their foibles. They aren't perfect, and are often petty and brutal, including Thor. So...

 

8 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I want my superheroes to be HEROIC, not crumble like a pathetic self-loathing wretch when they face hardship

 

 

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I do agree the execution could have been better. But my issue isn't that Thor turned inward, and backslid a lot in his growth because of his self loathing at not going for the head. It's that I don't think it should have been handled in quite the comedic tone that it was. The comedy there should have been tonally darker. But that's a subtle thing, and a very highly subjective thing.

 

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6 hours ago, zslane said:

making these heroes more human and relatable

 

But this is literally the foundation of Stan Lee's Marvel. I don't like some things that movies and TV do with supers to "ground" them -- like turning costumed supers in to street-clothed "people with powers" -- but flawed, relatable heroes have been paying the bills for Marvel for many decades now.

5 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

That deficiency in the Hulk's combat prowess has been exploited by Thor and Abomination, as well.

Even Garm (presumably) in Ragnarok. Yep. A giant wolf had more tactical sense than Hulk.

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4 hours ago, zslane said:

not my expectations

That's your expectations messing with you. The name was meant to be ironic, since they'd saved the galaxy a couple of times, but had started out as rogues. By Endgame, they're still rogues learning how to be -- maybe even toying with the concept of becoming -- heroes. They haven't quite got it down to a science yet at that point. Also, Starlord was always an impulsive idiot in the MCU.

1 hour ago, Dr. MID-Nite said:

The characters shouldn't be changed to fit the actors.

 

Being powerful doesn't preclude character flaws. Again, pretty much the point of Marvel characters.

And MCU characters are for the most part an amalgam of their 616 and Ultimates counterparts. MCU Thor leans more toward Ultimates Thor personality-wise, and always has.

15 minutes ago, zslane said:

Starlord seems to know what to do to save the universe when the script calls for it, but then suddenly doesn't when, again, the script calls for it.

That's a very valid point.

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42 minutes ago, Pattern Ghost said:

 

Even Garm (presumably) in Ragnarok. Yep. A giant wolf had more tactical sense than Hulk.

 

Nope. Anyone who thinks to suplex a giant wolf gets full credit from me. :P

 

One of the things I really enjoy about The Incredible Hulk is how clever Hulk is in using his strength and his environment during a fight. While he lacked any formal training, tactically he was quite imaginative when he needed to be.

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2 hours ago, Pattern Ghost said:

flawed, relatable heroes have been paying the bills for Marvel for many decades now.

 

To a degree, yes, but that scales differently depending on which character you're talking about. Asgardian "gods" should not be expected to be as relatable as your average human. As LL points out, that's why Thor was given an alter-ego in the comics. To give readers a human character to relate to. But I maintain that Donald Blake was never what readers were interested in. They wanted Thor to be All Ass-Kicking All the Time. There's room in any universe as large as the 616 or MCU for a couple characters like that. Thor is certainly one of them. Marvel had plenty of other non-human characters wrought with angsty melodrama (e.g., Silver Surfer) that they didn't need to put those chains on every character they introduced. To not let Thor "work through" his emotional turmoil in Endgame in a more dignified manner only showed the commercial mandate driving the character's development (i.e., "make him a lovable goofball now"); it was not some laudable creative achievement.

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14 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

I don't think you could find an actor who comes closer to "myth made reality" than Chris Hemsworth. From his first appearance on screen he fit Thor like Chris Evans fits Steve Rogers, Benedict Cumberbatch fits Stephen Strange, and Chadwick Boseman fit T'Challa. (RDJ made Tony Stark fit him, rather than the other way around.) ;)

 

And then ruins it by becoming Beach Bum Thor. That's the whole point. And for whoever mentioned that this resembles Ultimate Thor...well...The Ultimates sucked.

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