In Search Of Comic (Book) Coherence
This challenge John and I have taken on is fun, so far. And that’s really why I’m doing this, trying to watch all of these movies over the next week or so before the spoilers and other details from Avengers: Endgame get too pervasive. I already know more than I wish I did, but I’ve gotten pretty good at not speculating or musing on this stuff, just blocking it out.
It’s something we can do together that doesn’t feel like a chore on somebody’s part. It’s not like when I have to watch him play some video game that looks very impressive but just confuses me, and really doesn’t generate much interest. Yay, you got an extra life, woohoo.
These are superhero movies. I’ve been watching them since 1978 at least, when Christopher Reeve put on the costume. I don’t expect greatness and it’s not there anyway (Tim Burton’s Batman got close, though). It’s just fun. I can have fun.
I can also get weary and bored, which is my concern, but I’m hoping it’s offset by the father-son thing and just my amusement at trying to jam all this information in so we can sit in a dark theater for three hours and wind it up.
I’ve also become a sort of expert on the Marvel Comic Universe and various strategies for seeing what you absolutely must see before Endgame. First, knock Hulk off any list. It’s a different actor, for one thing. Don’t bother. Or I won’t, anyway. My eyes roll when I watch the Hulk smash stuff.
Origin stories in general can be skipped, although it helps to read the Wikipedia page (you really need to see Iron Man, of course). There are various ways to go through all 22, from the order they were released to thematically, to simple chronological order (i.e., Captain America: The First Avenger, set during World War II, is always going to be the first story, but that’s followed by Captain Marvel, which takes place in the 1990s and is still in theaters).
And word of mouth helps. One of my nephews, who seems to be caught up, has been offering advice. We’re trying to be practical here, and at the same time not lose the fun.
I didn’t really care to see anything about Thor, with that weird alien Norse thing I don’t understand at all, but John suggested Ragnarok and then his cousin mentioned Dark World as being more crucial. See all the fun?
My nephew was right, as it turns out. Very crucial. You should really see this one if you’re interested in being in the loop. And it was enjoyable, even without having seen the first one. Rene Russo!
Thor is an interesting dude, too. I’m starting to appreciate his similarities with Captain America, different sensibilities but a solid moral core that doesn’t seem in danger of crumbling. I’m reaching here, I know. It’s an alien creature with a magic hammer. Still. I enjoyed. I ate a bunch of popcorn and reclined in my chair, feeding it through my projector in this dark room onto the rear wall, our private screening room.
So here’s what happens. Or happened. Can happen, maybe.
I just got a little jazzed. We’d crossed two films off our list, and it was 6pm on a Sunday night. Binge watching is easy to understand, and this was begging for a double header. Time for tree and squirrel.
I know it’s a raccoon. I still can’t believe I watched this.
And hey, turned out that Guardians of the Galaxy was terrific, if a bizarre entry in what we’ve seen so far. But there was a ton of information to be gleaned. I still didn’t care for the squirrel (although kudos to Bradley Cooper’s voice acting). The tree was great. Who knew?
Also, I tend to be super-critical of Chris Pratt’s acting, as I loved him as Andy Dwyer on Parks & Recreation and I’ve begun to wonder if he hasn’t risen to his level of incompetence. I’ve seen him in a few things now and I dunno, man. It’s not my job to assess his chops, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot there.
But I really liked him in Guardians, so I may have to revisit this. He seems like a nice guy, anyway, and he’s a homie, huge Seahawks fan.
So onward and upward. Civil War is next, Dr. Strange is marginal in terms of necessity (John has seen it and is pushing hard, though), and if I can keep John from talking to his cousin and coming up with more titles to add, by next weekend we should be ready for Endgame.
And sure, I may go back and pick up the missed ones. I listened to a friend trash Harry Potter the other day, the usual crap about how it has ruined children’s literature (having only read the first book, of course), which is a completely uninteresting (and stupid) idea, so while I was ignoring him I began thinking about those books (and movies). It’s not great writing, maybe, but it’s great storytelling and compelling, and impossible for me to resist, learning the rest of the story.
So that’s where I’m at. I want to reach the end of the story. I want to backtrack over 11 years with an average of two MCU films each, weed out the marginal and unnecessary and come out with a coherent experience.
A moose and squirrel I would watch, by the way. Just tossing that out as an idea.