Post-Game Review Of The MCU
Written by Julia Kelch on March 24, 2020
Photo credit: reddit.com
So the Marvel Cinematic Universe wrapped up their first arc, The Infinity Saga, last April with the long anticipated release of Avengers: Endgame. An epic showdown over a decade in the making, worth billions of dollars, touching the lives of billions more. Seriously, you’d be hard pressed to find a soul living on this planet who hasn’t even heard of these movies.
I, your lovely guide, will be taking a look back at this story, reviewing all the films in the order that they happen in the timeline of the universe. I’ll be reviewing one movie per day, excluding weekends, which will make this series wrap up just a few days before the one year anniversary of the theatrical release of Endgame. The goal? To see how the movies hold up and see the story intertwine throughout them until we reach the endgame (haha fire me).
For my own sanity, I will not be watching any of the Marvel TV shows (yes I know they’re good, and they fit the story, but I don’t want to watch them!). I will be watching the shorts at the ends of the films, however I’ll only be talking about them if they’re relevant. Additionally, these reviews will be full of spoilers because, come on, the series has been done for almost a year and if you haven’t seen them, that’s on you!
NOTE: This post will be updated with every review, so make sure you keep checking back in to see what happens next!
Day 1 (March 24)
Captain America: The First Avenger
Release Date: July 22, 2011
Where to Watch: Disney+
Rating: 3/6 infinity stones
Captain America: The First Avenger opens on a frozen hellscape with some agent dudes walking around talking about finding something. Seems important. Then, hard cut to Norway in 1942, a Hitler Jr. type kills some dudes for a glowing blue thing and seems pretty jazzed about it. The audience still has no idea what’s going on.
For those of you that haven’t seen the movie that came out nine years ago, here’s a quick and not that serious synopsis. Steve Rogers is an uncooked spaghetti noodle who’s been bullied his whole life. He wants nothing more than to join the army life his parents did and go fight in World War II. He’s a good American boy who doesn’t care about the risks or the fact that he has so much medical history he’d probably disintegrate if you looked at him too long. He’s got his best friend and definitely not lover Bucky with him, and things are going great except for the whole war bit. That is, until Bucky goes off to be an army man, and Steve gets left behind.
A scientist that I called Not Einstein in my notes gives our boy a chance and turns him into a supersoldier! Then, introduce love interest Agent Carter. She’s an icon.
Einstein gets killed by the Third Reich of Science, which means that Captain America gets to become a traveling salesman who performs instead. The show goes overseas where Stevie hears his not bf got captured and goes to save him all alone and succeeds! But, he meets Hitler Jr. and the Third Reich of Science and learns about their plans. Stevie forms a team of some good friends, and they start doing battles to take the Third Reich of Science out.
They’re about to win when they find out that Hitler Jr. has a plan to destroy most of the major cities in the world! Stevie and the whole gang start a big final battle to stop him, which they win. Agent Carter kisses Steve just before never seeing him again, and Steve beats Hitler Jr. but can’t stop the plane full of bombs, so he commits suicide by driving it into the frozen ocean. At the end, we see Captain America waking up in the year 2011, where he is greeted by Nick Fury.
End of movie…
Agent Carter and the Colonel are the best parts of this movie. Everyone say thank you to Tommy Lee Jones for being the funniest character in this movie while playing the role of the hard ass colonel. Agent Carter is such a bad-ass, and I would lay down my life for her.
The worst part is that it’s a war movie. I know that this is a controversial opinion but I never think war movies are that good or interesting. This one is saved because it’s also a superhero movie, but I think it still suffers from a lot of the montage and pacing issues that war movies have.
I think that Captain America does a good job of setting the background for all the elements that come into play in future movies! Most of the characters introduced play roles, large or small, in the upcoming universe of films, and you can track their roles going forward. The movie introduces important characters and organizations without giving too much away or making it too vague. I will say that, in retrospect, it’s somewhat weird to think about a World War II story tying into a tale about aliens, espionage and genocide. However, I think that this film does a great job of setting up the aura of mystery and secrecy that is essential going forward in this universe, despite being a little boring in some spots.
Day 2 (March 25)
Release Date: March 8, 2019
Where to Watch: Disney+
Rating: 5/6 Infinity Stones
Captain Marvel is an absolute banger of a movie! Super fun, super feminist, everything we LOVE TO SEE!
This movie came out last year, so I’ll be slightly more forgiving if you haven’t seen it yet. If you’re a loser that hasn’t, skip this next part. Let’s do a little synopsis.
Vers, AKA Brie Larson, wakes up super early on her home planet of Hala in the Kree Empire. She’s got these sick fire hands and her friend and commander, who I wrote down as Kellogg in my notes, is apparently training her to use them by forbidding her to use them? She visits the Supreme Intelligence, the A.I. leader of their civilization, and they talk about how she doesn’t remember her past before it gives her a mission.
Kellogg, Vers and an elite team go to rescue a spy that has been taken by a race of people called the Skrulls. They’re terrorists who invade planets. Oh, and they can shapeshift into any life form down to the DNA. Normal everyday stuff!
Oh no! It’s a trap, and they kidnap Vers and go prowling through her memories that she doesn’t remember until they find a Dr. Wendy Lawson of Pegasus. She breaks out of this mind control and wakes up on a Skrull ship where she does some really cool fighting and escapes the Skrulls before immediately crashing through the ceiling of a Blockbuster Video.
She contacts Kellogg about the Skrulls, and he’s generally annoying about the whole situation, so thank god she gets interrupted by my man Nick Fury. He tries to arrest her, but a Skrull attacks, and she gives chase, with Fury and a young Phil Coulson chasing them both. Coulson is revealed to be a Skrull impersonator after he dies in a car crash that Fury survives. At the autopsy of the alien, Fury’s boss is also revealed to be a Skrull.
Vers remembers a place called Pancho’s bar from one of her unremembered memories and goes to an internet cafe to look it up, and we all get to have a good laugh at how wack the 90’s were. She steals a motorcycle from a sexist, and she is on her way. At the bar, she teams up with our good pal Fury, and he takes her to Project Pegasus.
They break into the records room where they find out that Dr. Lawson was Kree and is also dead along with a pilot that Vers thinks was her. Fury sends a message to his agency to come collect her, but the Skrull impersonating his boss accidentally reveals himself. Fury decides to help Vers for real this time, and they fight their way out of Pegasus and steal a plane and a cat.
They go to find the last person who saw Lawson, and her pilot alive, and they meet Maria, who tells Vers that her real name is Carol, and they were best friends before she supposedly died.
The Skrulls show up and their leader, Talos, wants to talk. He gives them a black box tape that reveals that Carol was flying a plane for Lawson when they were shot down by Kellogg and his team. Lawson was making a plane powered by some special energy core that Carol destroyed when she realized Kellogg wanted it and absorbed all of its power into her body in the explosion.
Carol realizes she’s been fighting on the wrong side of the war and agrees to help the Skrulls find Lawson’s lab. With Kellogg not far behind, they go into space and enter her lab as it’s in orbit. Carol grabs the power source Lawson wrote about, the Tesseract. Talos reveals that his family has been hiding there for years, and they are finally reunited, but then Kellogg arrives on the scene.
The Kree force Carol to talk to the Supreme Intelligence, who she realizes has been lying to her and limiting her power. She breaks out of its grasp and is finally able to embrace her full powers and beat up everyone. Fury and Maria help all the Skrulls escape the ship. They find out the cat they stole from Pegasus isn’t a cat, and it ate the Tesseract.
Everyone escapes. Next, Carol wards off the Kree reinforcements. Then, she yeets Kellogg back to Hala and says she’s gonna come to destroy the empire, and its lies, but before she does that, she’s gonna help the Skrulls find a new home where the Kree can’t find them.
Before Carol goes, she gives Fury a pager that he can use to call her in an emergency wherever she is. He goes back to work, and we see him writing the Avengers initiative to find more heroes to defend the Earth named after Carol.
In the post-credits scene, we see the cat throw up the Tesseract onto Fury’s desk.
Wonder if that’s gonna be important…
This movie is undeniably awesome. Brie Larson does an amazing job of bringing the spunky and wild personality of Carol Danvers to life, and even though she’s been acting for years, Captain Marvel made her a household name. The movie is funny, and it shows little pieces of backstory to the greater saga, but it remains well contained within itself.
One of my only complaints about the film itself is that there are a few too many moments of “haha the 90’s were different!” Like we get it, technology wasn’t great. Just a little overdone for my taste.
Going from Captain America to Captain Marvel is a huge jump to make. A World War II movie is strange to compare to a full on superhero movie with aliens and spaceships. Without the presence of Nick Fury in both, I probably wouldn’t believe that these two films are related at all.
Captain Marvel is a great movie to watch and enjoy but upon review, I don’t think it really fits in with the greater themes of the larger cinematic universe. I know that that’s by design, but I feel like it’s too different. I would have appreciated if it had a little more of the mysterious air that Captain America had, where there were still big unanswered questions at the end that needed to be answered by the next installment.
Overall though, an absolute banger. Brie Larson is an icon, and I would lay down my bisexual life for her.
Day 3 (March 26)
Release Date: May 2, 2008
Where to Watch: Disney+
Rating: 6/6 Infinity Stones
What can I say about Iron Man that hasn’t been said already? This film recreated the career of Robert Downey Jr. and some even say it saved his life. Iron Man practically created the modern superhero film. It began the Infinity Saga all the way back in 2008 when we had no idea how fat its influence would extend. Let’s take a quick look at the plot shall we?!
First of all, beginning the movie with “Back in Black” by AC/DC is a POWER MOVE. We see Tony Stark in a military jeep rolling through the Arabian desert being his usual, carefree asshat self. Their convoy is attacked and through the gunfire we are taken back to learn about the lead up to this event.
So our boy, Tommy Stank, hero of the weapons industry, leader, innovator, genius, blah blah blah, is getting some prestigious award for something or other in Las Vegas, and he doesn’t show up to accept it because he’s busy playing craps and womanizing. He takes home a reporter, and the next morning she meets Pepper Potts, Tony’s assistant who handles everything that happens. Tony goes to get on a plane to somewhere in the middle east to show off a big new fancy missile Stark Industries made. This is when his jeep is attacked, and he is critically wounded.
He’s taken captive by a terrorist group who asks him to build his new Jericho missile for them. He’s imprisoned with a doctor named Yinsen who operates on him, creating a device that keeps pieces of shrapnel from entering his heart. Tony replaces this with a miniature arc reactor which he makes from the missile pieces.
He then shows Yinsen that his plan is to use the arc reactor to power a big suit of armor to break out (cool working and bonding montage time!). They start work and just before the suit is done, Yinsen sacrifices himself to buy more time for Tony. Tony destroys much of the terrorist camp and escapes to the desert, where he is picked up by an American helicopter.
They bring Tony home where he has a press conference on the floor (iconic), where he announces that Stark Industries will no longer be making weapons after what he saw in the desert. Everyone basically loses their minds, including his business partner, who I called Orbeez. Orbeez tells Tony to lay low for a while. While he does, he begins work on refining the armor suit he used to escape.
Cool flight scene!
He also replaces the arc reactor in his chest with a more refined one.
When he attends a charity event for Stark Industries, he learns that Yinsens old village was attacked by a terrorist group that took him, the Ten Rings, using Stark weapons, and that Orbeez has locked him out of company decisions. Tony decides to take his new suit of armor to the village and destroy the terrorist group once and for all. Flying out of the active war zone, he is attacked by two American fighter jets and must reveal his new project to his friend, Colonel Rhodes.
We learn that Orbeez has been trafficking arms to terrorist groups all over the world and paid the Ten Rings to kill Tony, so he could take over the company. They find the wreckage of Tony’s first suit and reverse engineer a more powerful version. Tony discovers all of this when he sends Pepper to hack into his database and get the information, which she does, but Orbeez finds out.Pepper meets with agents of SHIELD to give them information, and they go to arrest Orbeez.
Tony realizes it won’t be enough and goes to attack Orbeez, but his suit is already done. They have a big fight where they completely disregard the costs of public property. At the end of the fight, Pepper blows up the factory, Orbeez dies, and Tony barely survives.
In a press conference the day after the “incident,” Stank goes off the rails and reveals himself to be Iron Man.
Black Sabbath plays.
In the post-credits scene, Nick Fury meets with Tony and tells him about the Avengers Initiative.
So, this movie goes hard, what can I say? I am a bit biased I suppose because this is, in my opinion, the best movie in the franchise.
The best part of this movie is Robert Downey Jr. You can definitely tell that this movie was super important to him, and his career during filming. He does the most perfect job of creating the personality of Tony Stark, who is by every account, kinda a douchebag, but he makes you root for him anyway.
This was really the first modern example we have of the superhero who’s almost an anti-hero in this way. I would call it the first mainstream superhero movie for adults. It’s something Marvel does super well and continued since this first iteration.
I do think that Pepper Potts is the weakest part of this movie, but that is really her role. She is there to take care of Tony’s mess, which could be cool, but halfway through the movie, they fall for each other, which to this day doesn’t really make sense to me. She seems to just slow the pacing of the movie in a weird way.
I think this film is the first time we can see how these films might come together in a larger way. We see Phil Coulson and Nick Fury again, which shows a very concrete link to Captain Marvel. Additionally, seeing the film set in a “present day” setting makes it seem more grounded, especially when compared to the alien craziness that was Captain Marvel.
In conclusion, this movie is great, a pioneer and bad-ass. We love to see it!