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To Infinity and Beyond: The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Honestly I'm still reeling at the GotG characters being described as "interchangeable."

"One-dimensional" is very much subjective, but "interchangeable"?
It comes down to personality types, and filling archetypes in the story. In Star Wars, you've got a collection of markedly different personalities.

Luke: wide-eyed, naive, idealistic, impetuous youth ready to take on the world and thirsting for adventure.
Leia: stern, focused, goal-oriented, responsible, passionate leader.
Han: surly, cocky, cynical, joke-slinging, loner, rogue with a dark past but a heart of gold.
C3PO: nervous, chatty, and effete.
Chewie: big, lovable, mascot character that's secretly pretty dangerous.

GotG on the other hand, its characters are more like:

Starlord: plucky, cocky, cynical, joke-slinging, loner, rogue with a dark past but a heart of gold.
Gamora: surly, cocky, cynical, joke-slinging, loner, rogue with a dark past but a heart of gold.
Rocket: surly, cocky, cynical, joke-slinging, loner, rogue with a dark past but a heart of gold.
Drax: surly, cocky, cynical, joke-slinging, loner, rogue with a dark past but a heart of gold.
Groot: big, lovable, cynical, mascot character that's secretly pretty dangerous.

This is obviously a little reductive and there's some nuance in the margins, but at their essence, each character is roughly the same in their disposition, personality, and M.O.

When I brought up the straight-man, comic-man duality before, you usually have the comic-man do something silly or ridiculous, and then the straight-man riffs on it. Either to roll their eyes, or point out how ridiculous they are, or provide some kind of reaction to give the comic-man something to keep working off of. And when I say the characters in GotG are interchangeable, it's because of specifically things like this, where every character is a straight-man, and every character is the comic-man at random in any given scene. In Star Wars, Han will say or do something outrageous, which will cause Luke to go *gasp* or cause Leia to roll her eyes. On occasion there are role reversals to mix things up, but that's the overwhelming trend. That's their roles and personalities. But in GotG, any given character will do something Wild and Crazy and everyone else will either join in or do a straight-man bit, basically at random. Drax standing still and pretending to be invisible while other people look at him like a crazyman, you could have had Starlord, or Rocket, or Groot do the exact same gag, and it would have made sense/not really skipped a beat.
 

karzac

(he/him)
That's basically it. These two have no reason to like each other. When they met, Bucky was a brainwashed assassin who tried to kill Sam a number of times. Sam helped stop him (in The Winter Soldier), track him down (in Age of Ultron), and fought other Avengers, went to jail, and became a fugitive to save him (in Civil War). He didn't do any of that because he cared about Bucky, it was because Captain America needed help. Anytime in the movies that they're not actually fighting each other they're being jerks to each other. He's probably sick of this guy who he's constantly helping who then acts like a dick to him. At best their relationship is friend-of-a-friend.

But, saying that they're both friends of Cap is not nothing. They're both suffering from loss and struggling with finding their way in a new world, and even though they don't like each other, arguing with each other is at least something familiar. The typical buddy comedy is two people who hate each other become friends. In this show, two people who hate each other are already friends and don't know it yet.

I get that, but as mentioned earlier, in that case, why are they working together? Odd couple buddy comedies work on the basis on the contradiction their premise introduces: "One's a neat freak, the other's a slob - but they're forced to live together" "he's a straight laced cop who plays by the rules, he's a hothead who only plays by his own rules - but they're chief has put them on the case together." There's no contradiction in Sam and Bucky's relationship - they just don't like each other, and they're only common thread (Cap) is gone. So why are they together at all? Again, I don't need a huge justification for this. Something as simple as one or two lines - Sam needs Bucky to find the Super Serum, or Bucky wants Sam's help to undermine John, or whatever - but I really feel like the show needs to do something to make this premise feel at all organic. Because as it stands, it's just "Remember Captain America? These Are Two Guys Who Knew Him: The Show."

Or, to put it another way: the show needs to give me a reason to buy it as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, rather than The Falcon and Ant-Man, or Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier or whatever.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Starlord: plucky, cocky, cynical, joke-slinging, loner, rogue with a dark past but a heart of gold.
That one's vaguely right, the others, nope. Gamora is all business. Drax doesn't joke, he actually means it all. Rocket is deeply damaged and pushes people away. Not much of a heart of gold there. They're all natural loners, which is the point. They have to learn to depend on each other. That's the single thing they have in common.
 

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
Because as it stands, it's just "Remember Captain America? These Are Two Guys Who Knew Him: The Show."

Or, to put it another way: the show needs to give me a reason to buy it as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, rather than The Falcon and Ant-Man, or Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier or whatever.
I think the tenuousness of that relationship is part of what the show is driving at. It would be stronger if Walker was in the title as well, because he seems like the third main character of a show that names two of them in its title, but all three of these people have some claim to the up-for-grabs legacy of Captain America. Sam doesn't feel particularly worthy and has other things going on in his life, but then again, he is the one Steve Rogers chose to take the shield. Bucky knew Steve and what he stood for better than anyone, but he's afraid of himself and own past, and there isn't a government in the world who'd be comfortable with him calling himself Captain America. Meanwhile, John has the shield and government backing and thinks he deserves them--but he's nothing like Steve, as Sam and Bucky both see immediately. (Loved Bucky's pointed question of "Would you throw yourself on a grenade?" and John's clueless answer of "Oh yeah, I have special equipment that lets me do that safely.")

The point of this being the Falcon and the Winter Soldier is that they're two facets of a fractured reflection of Steve Rogers. Isaiah, in his way, was another one. I look forward to seeing what they do with Sharon Carter and whether they acknowledge her own tenuous claim to the legacy.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Or, to put it another way: the show needs to give me a reason to buy it as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, rather than The Falcon and Ant-Man, or Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier or whatever.
Everything Falcon has done in the movie series has been tied to Bucky. Bucky is trying to overcome the trauma of having been brainwashed and dealing with the sudden loss of his friend. Falcon is his friend's chosen successor, who just gave away his shield. The whole show is about Captain America's legacy, and they're the two characters who were closest to him. There is a lot tying them together that isn't there for those other characters.

Basically, the police chief forcing them to work together is the ghost of Steve Rogers.
 

karzac

(he/him)
I think the tenuousness of that relationship is part of what the show is driving at. It would be stronger if Walker was in the title as well, because he seems like the third main character of a show that names two of them in its title, but all three of these people have some claim to the up-for-grabs legacy of Captain America. Sam doesn't feel particularly worthy and has other things going on in his life, but then again, he is the one Steve Rogers chose to take the shield. Bucky knew Steve and what he stood for better than anyone, but he's afraid of himself and own past, and there isn't a government in the world who'd be comfortable with him calling himself Captain America. Meanwhile, John has the shield and government backing and thinks he deserves them--but he's nothing like Steve, as Sam and Bucky both see immediately. (Loved Bucky's pointed question of "Would you throw yourself on a grenade?" and John's clueless answer of "Oh yeah, I have special equipment that lets me do that safely.")

The point of this being the Falcon and the Winter Soldier is that they're two facets of a fractured reflection of Steve Rogers. Isaiah, in his way, was another one. I look forward to seeing what they do with Sharon Carter and whether they acknowledge her own tenuous claim to the legacy.

Everything Falcon has done in the movie series has been tied to Bucky. Bucky is trying to overcome the trauma of having been brainwashed and dealing with the sudden loss of his friend. Falcon is his friend's chosen successor, who just gave away his shield. The whole show is about Captain America's legacy, and they're the two characters who were closest to him. There is a lot tying them together that isn't there for those other characters.

Basically, the police chief forcing them to work together is the ghost of Steve Rogers.

I don't actually disagree with either of these reads, I just think the show could do a better job of foregrounding these themes. And, furthermore, even if the show does end up foregrounding these themes better later on, I think it's important in a story like this to put that stuff upfront, right at the beginning. Like, the first episode shows us Bucky and Sam's relationship to Cap, but not their relationship to each other through Cap. I just think a scene with them together in the first episode would have been helpful to the structure of the show.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I look forward to seeing what they do with Sharon Carter and whether they acknowledge her own tenuous claim to the legacy.
I guess her claim is as tenuous as my memory because I don't really remember anything that would give her any claim to Cap's legacy.
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
That one's vaguely right, the others, nope. Gamora is all business. Drax doesn't joke, he actually means it all. Rocket is deeply damaged and pushes people away. Not much of a heart of gold there. They're all natural loners, which is the point. They have to learn to depend on each other. That's the single thing they have in common.

Also, Gamora is fundamentally heroic. She deeply resents what Thanos made her go through and is very clearly trying to put it past her, as she acts as the group's conscience and ethical compass. She puts others' needs above her own constantly (except where Nebula is concerned, at first, and even that changes as soon as she's given an opportunity) but she has very little tolerance for people not living up to her moral expectations.

Drax is a father and husband in mourning. He's desperately grieving for them and shows nothing but love for their memory, right up until a subject of his vengeance is involved, at which point he loses his head. He doesn't socialize well with others but that's more on his cultural upbringing than his own issues, as apparently his people are profoundly literal in both speech and emotion and see no point in nuance. That's why he comes off as rude and blunt, but also jovial and enthusiastic.

Rocket is a bundle of hurt. He sees himself surrounded by barbs so he grew the sharpest and longest ones of his own to fight back before the universe can stab him. Even when he finds friends, all he sees is the potential for them to hurt him in the end, so he keeps poking and poking and poking until suddenly they're all gone and he realizes what he's lost.

Starlord is the definition of arrested development. He's selfish, immature, and hurts other people not because they'd hurt him, but because he doesn't want to form any attachments whose absence he'd miss. Even his romantic relationship is superficial and juvenile (which is clear as day to Gamora). He thinks of doing good but not for ethical or moral reasons, rather, because it'd reflect well on him. He chastises Drax for his openness but Peter's the one who has severe issues of self-worth and empathy.

You couldn't swap one for any other in any context. They have vastly different personalities brought on by vastly different histories and contexts. Groot may be Rocket's companion but that doesn't make them Chewie and Han. Hell, if Solo is any indication, not even Peter is Han.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
I don't actually disagree with either of these reads, I just think the show could do a better job of foregrounding these themes. And, furthermore, even if the show does end up foregrounding these themes better later on, I think it's important in a story like this to put that stuff upfront, right at the beginning. Like, the first episode shows us Bucky and Sam's relationship to Cap, but not their relationship to each other through Cap. I just think a scene with them together in the first episode would have been helpful to the structure of the show.
I re-watched the Captain America movies, Infinity War and Endgame over the winter, so it’s all pretty fresh in my mind. You’re probably right that it’s not as clear on its own.
 

Jeanie

(Fem or Gender Neutral)
I don't actually disagree with either of these reads, I just think the show could do a better job of foregrounding these themes..
Bucky literally yells out in the second episode why he is angry about Sam giving up the shield.
 

karzac

(he/him)
I did like that moment, that felt honest. But again, that explains why Bucky is angry at Sam - it doesn't explain quite as well why he's working with Sam despite the anger.

Talking through this, it may just be that the dialogue is just bad - maybe the writers are doing the thing I want, they're just fumbling the execution and so it's not resonating with me.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Also, Gamora is fundamentally heroic. She deeply resents what Thanos made her go through and is very clearly trying to put it past her, as she acts as the group's conscience and ethical compass. She puts others' needs above her own constantly (except where Nebula is concerned, at first, and even that changes as soon as she's given an opportunity) but she has very little tolerance for people not living up to her moral expectations.

Drax is a father and husband in mourning. He's desperately grieving for them and shows nothing but love for their memory, right up until a subject of his vengeance is involved, at which point he loses his head. He doesn't socialize well with others but that's more on his cultural upbringing than his own issues, as apparently his people are profoundly literal in both speech and emotion and see no point in nuance. That's why he comes off as rude and blunt, but also jovial and enthusiastic.

Rocket is a bundle of hurt. He sees himself surrounded by barbs so he grew the sharpest and longest ones of his own to fight back before the universe can stab him. Even when he finds friends, all he sees is the potential for them to hurt him in the end, so he keeps poking and poking and poking until suddenly they're all gone and he realizes what he's lost.

Starlord is the definition of arrested development. He's selfish, immature, and hurts other people not because they'd hurt him, but because he doesn't want to form any attachments whose absence he'd miss. Even his romantic relationship is superficial and juvenile (which is clear as day to Gamora). He thinks of doing good but not for ethical or moral reasons, rather, because it'd reflect well on him. He chastises Drax for his openness but Peter's the one who has severe issues of self-worth and empathy.

You couldn't swap one for any other in any context. They have vastly different personalities brought on by vastly different histories and contexts. Groot may be Rocket's companion but that doesn't make them Chewie and Han. Hell, if Solo is any indication, not even Peter is Han.
This is perfect, thanks for that. I'd argue that the Guardians are the best realised and deepest characters in the MCU. There's some real emotional meat there, and the fact that they're going back on nothing characters and making them interesting and likeable like they did for Yondu and Nebula makes me genuinely excited to see what they do in Volume 3.

The story is done in a jokey manner because going the obvious way and screaming "TRAUMA!!!" in people's faces for over two hours wouldn't go down very well. Thor Ragnarok is the darkest film in the entire MCU but managed to tell its story without rubbing people's faces in constant tragedy.
 
A leaked plot summary of The Eternals exists.

I read it but it immediately rolled off my brain just as cleanly as Jack Kirby's original The Eternals comic. I think I am maybe physiologically incapable of absorbing any information about The Eternals. I could probably memorize that plot summary word for word and still essentially watch the movie unspoiled.
 

madhair60

Video games
A leaked plot summary of The Eternals exists.

I read it but it immediately rolled off my brain just as cleanly as Jack Kirby's original The Eternals comic. I think I am maybe physiologically incapable of absorbing any information about The Eternals. I could probably memorize that plot summary word for word and still essentially watch the movie unspoiled.

Hahaha basically the same.
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
Honestly, I've been following Marvel Comics in some capacity since 9th grade, I've at least heard of the major events, races, planets, and factions, I've studiously followed a bunch of Cosmic Marvel topics, and I have no idea who the Eternals even are or why they got the big screen while the Inhumans got the short end of the stick.

And since MCU Thanos is not even connected to them anymore and he was Tonysnapped out of existence, they lost even that (already very flimsy) connection with him and his dad that might have made people care.
 

karzac

(he/him)
This week's episode of Bird Boy and Cold Man was much better than the last two. Gotta love a hero/villain team up and Zemo in that sweet coat saying "I'm a baron" was great. And between the Quicksilver thing in Wandavision, and Madripoor here, they're really laying X-men teases on thick.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
Isn't Madripoor supposed to be in the Malacca Strait? I don't think I saw a single East Asian there.

I liked it, but Mrs Phantoon had no idea who Zemo was, which slightly ruined the impact. Civil War was a lot of films ago.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Episode had some real John Wick energy.

Just with bitterness over sellers remorse with a shield instead of a dead pupper
 
There were Asian people there, but yes, this was... probably just Atlanta? People seemed to have American accents aside from the British woman. Not that I particularly think this adaptation must respect the idea of Singapore-but-crimier. I don't like fake comic countries most of the time. If comics ever carve out a random, heavily stereotyped country landlocked between the US and Canada, they would probably approach the subject with more irony than they do otherwise.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
This was a lot more enjoyable to me than last week's entry.

I think Sharon Carter had more screen time here than in CA:TWS and Civil War combined. Hopefully we get more of her before the series is out.

Loved that the very first thing Zemo did upon seeing Bucky was try out the activation phrase on him. His pleasure at "controlling" Bucky during the bar scene was almost palpable. I bet there's fic out there.

Did not see the Dora Milaje coming at the end, though it makes perfect sense that Wakanda would move swiftly once Zemo's out in the open. Excited to see where that goes.
 

karzac

(he/him)
This was a lot more enjoyable to me than last week's entry.

I think Sharon Carter had more screen time here than in CA:TWS and Civil War combined. Hopefully we get more of her before the series is out.

Loved that the very first thing Zemo did upon seeing Bucky was try out the activation phrase on him. His pleasure at "controlling" Bucky during the bar scene was almost palpable. I bet there's fic out there.

Did not see the Dora Milaje coming at the end, though it makes perfect sense that Wakanda would move swiftly once Zemo's out in the open. Excited to see where that goes.

Yeah, I liked that twist too.

It occurred to me during today's episode that Flag Smashers is a dumbass name for a group. How the hell do you smash a flag?
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Kind of weird that Zemos ski-mask got so much focus.

It... doesn’t really have the same significance here as it does in the comics
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
I kept expecting Zemo to betray them, but aside from killing that one guy he has been upholding his end of the bargain. Heck, he could have ditched Birdman and Cyborg but came to bail them out with that hot rod he tripped over. Not that I'm expecting some kind of surprise redemption for the guy, he's totally going to turn on them sooner rather than later, I just didn't expect him to last a whole episode without doing it.

This episode does make some potential three dimensional antagonists a bit more two dimensional though. I guess any chance of Walker not being a baddie flew out the window with his "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM??!!?!?" fit. And Freckles (she has a name, I can't remember it though) certainly has a worthy enough cause, and hard earned support, but then she goes and kills a bunch of people needlessly. I just hope this is a genuine moral conflict she has and won't turn into a case of 'super serum done made her CRAZY'.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
I’m not bothered by Fake Cap being a jerk, but the Flag Smasher girl was a bit of a letdown. But overall, fun episode. I was pretty distracted by work (it was supposed to be a quiet afternoon!), so I may have to rewatch it.
 
Isn't Madripoor supposed to be in the Malacca Strait? I don't think I saw a single East Asian there.
There were Asian people there, but yes, this was... probably just Atlanta?
I spent a LOT of my attention and energy this entire episode looking intensely throughout the crowds trying to spot anyone even vaguely Indonesian looking, and came up almost completely empty except for one goon who you see half of his face for a split second during the cargo container fight. I'd be disappointed if it weren't so utterly predictable coming from Marvel/Disney. They kinda can't help themselves! I try to bring this up as a point of emphasis from time to time where applicable, but don't want to sound like a broken record. This is just how it is for Asians in this country, we are invisible.

Otherwise, pretty good episode. It's nice that the plot is finally beginning to move and we're doing interesting things finally. I thought Zemo was one of the worst parts of Civil War, but here he's given more characterization and interesting things to do in just one episode than that entire film, and it mostly works well.

Not!Cap is being a dillweed, but he's not doing anything objectively too awful yet. There's a good chance this is just him being frustrated with the job and the reality of being Cap not aligning with his expectations. My hope is that he'll at some point realize he's the wrong guy and that he'll give the shield over willingly.

I also hope that literally none of these dudes get the shield by the end, and that they give it to Sharon Carter so she can be the next Cap. Because that would be the best outcome IMO, especially when all three guys are kinda chodes, and Carter kicks butt. But there is a less than zero chance Disney/Marvel is that forward thinking. Especially when they're going to have an entire episode of their "What if?" show be centered around "wHaT iF lAdY CaP!?" as if that's some kind of radical idea nobody would ever think to think of.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
One wonders if Not!Cap is one of those people who is perfectly nice and 'good' in public while being a complete monster in private; a sociopath who knows exactly what the public wants in a 'Captain America' and can emulate that expression without actually embodying any of those virtues.
 
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