Like clockwork the films roll out. The spring Marvel blockbuster. The summer Marvel blockbuster. The fall/winter Marvel blockbuster. If you attend the same theater, you may even see the same people opening night. There are five or so men resembling the Simpsons comic book guy. Your kid rattles off a bunch of Marvel trivia or questions, and as your mind relaxes, you hear a thirty year old mimic word for word the exact same Marvel minutia with the same excited tone. Your experience has become a franchise. You are a part of the Disney junk food experience that is a Marvel movie.
Disney bought intellectual property with a long catalog of story-lines to play with and all to cover their male flank. Disney has the princess line. Along with the princess films comes the merchandise and the ability to fit each girl with a princess that they can project themselves into. Tiana (black) and Elena of Avalor (Hispanic) complete the set. To jump start this with zero internal R&D, Disney bought Star Wars and the Marvel properties to market to boys. They may have stumbled with Star Wars, but they hit a home run with Marvel.
This essay will trash this series, but there are definitely amazing things done here that audiences sit through that merely 20 years ago, the movie-going audience would not tolerate. The CGI is amazing. Fights that are all CGI are accepted and enjoyed by fans who grimaced at the Star Wars prequel fights, which were all CGI. That billions of dollars have been wasted on producing these films is an indictment of our society’s addiction to diversions. They still are breathtaking at moments for how they can get you to zone out and enjoy.
These films all have that Disney touch for lighting, sets, production qualities and casting of leads. Things look clean, Thor looks like Thor is suppose to look and my god, the details blending and integrating sets and CGI are fantastic. The casting has been spot on, as any kid who read Wizard magazine in the ’90s can remember the dream cast articles on comic book movies if the industry could ever do them right. Disney nailed these films. CGI reached a point to make these films doable without looking awful, so it was all about casting the perfect Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. Disney delivered. Disney will obviously resurrect Iron Man in due time, but like Reeves for Superman or Tobey Maguire for Spiderman, future comic book guy redditors will hold Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark as the true Tony Stark.
There is one other Disney touch, and as someone who read a few Marvel titles as a kid, it was definitely Disney. They suck you in with an emotional moment. Like how your girlfriend cried at the beginning of UP when a character you just were introduced to couldn’t have kids and then died in 10 minutes. Maybe you sat there thinking “Wall-E better come back to f*cking life“, or maybe that was just me, because they made you care about a robot who couldn’t talk.
Disney does that with these Marvel films. Captain America never gets to see his girl. Starlord realizes his dad who abandoned him killed his mom. Thor loses his mom. The Hulk comes to grips with what he is and leaves. At the end of Endgame, my son, who wants to play tougher than his ten year old mind is, said as Iron Man was dying, “Dad, I can’t believe >sniff< I’m going to cry“. I patted his shoulder and looked at the fifty year old man next to him with tears in his eyes because goddamn it, Disney, why did Tony Stark have to have a daughter he would never see again!
For the most part, the films are crisp, tight action films. These are really perfect for a little boy to grow up watching. There are fights but cartoonish in their look, love interests and the good guy wins. Outside of the Joss Whedon written films, the screenplays are devoid of all the annoying snarky, useless chit chat Whedon adds in. It destroys mood and sentiment to have them always joking and sounding like urbanite Millenials. Whedon is a bit like how David Mamet has his cool style that can go overboard and ruin a film like the dialogue of The Heist. This is urbanite Millenial chit chat because they bring everything back to some film they saw like how Millenials always tie social and political subjects back to Harry Potter.
That urbanite Millenial vibe is the cause for the other problem. The pozzing of these films. It is unnecessary and in some instances shoehorned in for the woke capital waving of poz to trick to masses. The snarky dialogue is there just as the pozzing is. This is for them. Comic books have become pozzed through the years as their audience shifted from young boys to nerdy young boys to nerdy adults who read them as boys and some kids to purely adult nerds. Adult nerds like poz. Check the wikipedia page for Green Lantern, which show heroes that change with the taste of their readership for hero they want to be or see come to life. He moves from mystical powered fighter to jet pilot with an alien power ring to punkish anti-hero and a black guy to an Arab from Dearborn, MI who uses a gun and a powerful Latina.
One could even argue some of the poz is to play with normie assumptions that are not left wing. Casting a black woman as a Valkyrie is idiotic on its face, but hear me out… any attractive woman cast opposite Thor would have the likely possibility of romance. Who is Disney going to cast to ensure that Thor and this Valkyrie would have zero sparks fly and Thor believably not show any romantic interest in? This is a tolerable twisting and diversicasting. Worse is when Spiderman, handsome intelligent Peter Parker, falls for two girls on the Academic Decathlon team, who both are black (one is mixed) but the film’s request for your suspension of disbelief is big enough to make one’s normie wife text you “oh come on >eyeroll emoji<” so the theater does not hear. On Peter Parker’s Academic Decathlon team, there are more blacks than Asians. I can believe radioactive spiders grant superpowers more than that touch.
Black Panther has script touches that are annoyingly woke like using ‘colonizer’ or Captain America chatting with a gay guy about a sad gay date in Endgame. The butt kicking babe routine makes a bit more sense when dealing with super-powered beings, and it is easier to accept than on Law and Order. Noticing that SHIELD’s good guys were diverse vs. the traitorous Hydra spies within SHIELD who were +90% white is something a child cannot see, yet, but is more subversive. It is the same as the current Disney produced Star Wars fight of diverse Resistance crews vs. an overwhelmingly white First Order.
Possibly the worst of all was in Endgame where Captain “I Went To The Stars And All I Got Was A Butch Haircut” Marvel grabs the infinity gauntlet from Spiderman to get rid of it and Spiderman asks “but how will you do it alone“. This causes every single female character to show up and say she won’t be alone, which sparked a laugh out of me as I swore I heard Aretha Franklin wailing “sistahhhhhhs are doin’ it fo’ themselves“. The women still fail against Thanos, and the unabashedly masculine Tony Stark saves the day. These are lame bits but fly over a child’s head, often they fly over a normie’s head. They are there so Disney can proudly lie claim to be inclusive and open-minded. Disney is an ally!
The best example for this silliness is the media orgasm about Black Panther. First black superhero headliner! Did they forget about the Blade Trilogy? The bizarre ethnic pride over a movie that was well done, but never deserved the Oscar push it got, was outrageous as blacks embraced mud-hut stereotypes they usually whine about online. For fans of older cinema, it was a ’70s blaxploitation film with great CGI. Robert Townsend would have crafted a screenplay like this as a sketch in Hollywood Shuffle to parody what Hollywood served up for black audiences. Somehow overlooked is the obvious reactionary tones of monarchy, ancestor worship, tribalism, nativism, etc that the left shrieks about daily. Completely missed is that the villain of the film is a lighter skinned, therefore obviously less African, black American who is a living, breathing stereotype of urban American blacks.
Your children will not pick up on this. For your kid, it is about Thor killing the villain, saving his world and kissing his girlfriend at the end. Captain America puts his life at risk for country and later, values his friendship over the rules because he loves his best friend. They will exit the theater and pretend to be the star they wish to be, which is exactly what Disney wants them to have in mind when they attend a Disney park and can buy the official Thor or Iron Man gear. In my neighborhood, I have seen twenty Iron Men and a dozen Captain Americas on Halloween in outfits bought from the Disney Store.
Will your child recall the details of the plot? Maybe. They will definitely know the big fight from the flick. These films are junk food. Quick to digest and with little character development to get you from one CGI action sequence to the next. They will not stop. There is a new Spiderman movie out and looking at Disney’s release schedule, more and more will follow. There are decades of stories to mine, there are decades of nostalgia to exploit and trample on, and there are billions of dollars to make. Your trash might come buy on Thursday, but count on Disney to ask you to pay for the Marvel trash quarterly.