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MCU: The Wong Dynasty


SpaceChampion
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After the amazing success of building up to and executing Infinity War and Endgame, everything will pale in comparison. Phase 4 is resetting status quo and starting the build again. 

Even reduced* quality MCU is still heads and shoulders better than most genre fare. I do attribute the issues to the sheer volume being developed/produced. The movie entries slowed for a bit, but D+ delivered more in sheer hours than we ever saw before.

 

*Reduced from phase 3. Phase 1 and 2 certainly had missteps.

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It's more than that though isn't it? Almost every project of theirs seems awash with trouble. You have new directors drafted in, delayed projects, rumours of rewrites and behind the scenes arguments. 

It bigger than just 'Phase 3 was so good, everything will look worse'

I'm sure Covid, plus the pressure to just create ton more content for Disney + has no helped, but it does all feel a lot more chaotic and unplanned. 

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More volume --> more people involved --> more chaos

I develop mutli-media training courses for a living. Having to deliver twice the amount of content by year end absolutely creates chaos. Throwing more bodies into the mix doesn't necessarily help as they need to learn the processes and standards. Quality suffers.

Multiple that by a thousand for $200 million dollar movie productions.

I'm not saying increasing strife behind the scenes isn't having an impact on what's on the screens. But it's many factors (volume and setting up next phase), not just planning/creative challenges.

MCU has had rough experiences with recasting (Rhodey and Banner) and director movement (Gunn and Wright) before. IM2, Dark World, and AoU were not well received on release. DW and AoU especially had production issues with balancing the movie needs with larger MCU story arc. While I enjoyed it, Captain Marvel had similar backlash that She-Hulk is experiencing.

 

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19 minutes ago, GallowKnight said:

 

Hmmmm... Riri goes full on Ironman as has been long speculated.  So I wonder who is in the She Panther suit at the end?  

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2 hours ago, Myrddin said:

MCU has had rough experiences with recasting (Rhodey and Banner) and director movement (Gunn and Wright) before. IM2, Dark World, and AoU were not well received on release. DW and AoU especially had production issues with balancing the movie needs with larger MCU story arc. While I enjoyed it, Captain Marvel had similar backlash that She-Hulk is experiencing.

Don't forget Covid. The pandemic definitely had an impact in arresting whatever franchise momentum they had going on at the beginning of 2020. I'm sure it also contributed to some of the ongoing chaos you mentioned. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a bit of a brain drain at Disney over the last few years. 

And I know I keep banging on about this, but don't underestimate the importance of Disney's financial situation. They lost a pile of money in 2020. 2021 saw them eek out a modest profit and 2022 will likely be better, but they are still way off from where they were in 2017-2019. I guarantee you they are counting every penny and it shows. For example, She -Hulk's VFX budget. 

-

She Hulk:

Josh, NOOOOO. He seemed to right for her. 

Another banger episode. I laughed. I'm not made of wood, people.

Why does everyone drive some ancient car in this show except Jen? That Taurus is so old that rental car companies don't even have them any more. Josh's Mercedes is almost as old as I am. 

Am I the only one who thought, "Prius Prime" got dropped a few times to many? 

Edited by Deadlines? What Deadlines?
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I think the combination of Covid, Disney+ TV shows, the death of Chadwick Boseman and the loss of the Russos were all pretty big factors. They have an entirely different model for the Marvel universe now and that is going to cause some churn. 

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I think we undervalue how much the Russos were behind the success of the entirety of phases 2-3. They certainly upped the game with Winter Soldier and then built on that for Avengers 2.5 (Civil War) which then springboarded on to IW and EG. Without their four grounding films, would we really think so highly of MCU as a whole?

Black Panther was very well done, as was Ragnarok. Both Ant Man films were fun but not necessarily fantastic. Gunn certainly contributed with Guardians (which benefited from taking place completely away from the rest) and widened the scope to beyond Earth. Dr Strange and Captain Marvel were decent films but nothing on Avengers 2.5-4 BP and T:R.

Who will be the guiding hands for the Multiverse Saga to tie everything together and make (even by retconning) Kang and Secret Wars pay off? Feige gets the deserved credit for MCU, but he needs to find another "Russo Brothers".

Just thinking out loud. This isn't a well thought out thesis or anything. :)

 

ETA: Russos used Cap to be the emotional core for the last three Avenger movies (even more than Tony). Who is (will be) that core character for Multiverse?

Edited by Myrddin
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Civil War was also a dry run for the complexity of Infinity War, with a whole lot of new characters and different characters from the Cap series showing up. That they were able to do that much juggling led them to something of a road map for Avengers. 

But yeah, I think the Russos are being undercredited. In addition to the general meh of Dark World Avengers 2 was seen as something of a shitty movie, and with Joss leaving folks didn't know how the next Avengers was going to work. No one saw the success of Black Panther coming and there were some hasty rewrites of Infinity War that happened because of that. It might be that they just got...well, lucky - the Russos were the right people at the right time, they got a lot of payoff from previous movies and establishing characters, and benefitted greatly from the focus being largely on Cap - who they somehow made one of the best actual characters in the MCU after a middling performance in his first movie and Avengers (where clearly Joss hated his ass). 

10 minutes ago, Myrddin said:

ETA: Russos used Cap to be the emotional core for the last three Avenger movies (even more than Tony). Who is (will be) that core character for Multiverse?

I would have guessed Spider-Man. But I don't honestly know, and that gets complicated with the dual ownership. 

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1 hour ago, KalVsWade said:

No one saw the success of Black Panther coming

Oh, that at least is not true. I saw a number of people saying it could be huge, on a par with anything the MCU had done to date. That mainstream outlets ignored or were sceptical of these predictions may be true, but that's not the same as saying nobody saw it coming.

1 hour ago, KalVsWade said:

I would have guessed Spider-Man. But I don't honestly know, and that gets complicated with the dual ownership. 

Spidey should be: this is Marvel, after all. But as you say, are they willing to hang everything on a character they don't control?

The next obvious choice is Captain Marvel. But after that, if The Marvels is a success, maybe Ms. Marvel? With the new generation of characters, they have plenty of options.

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1 minute ago, mormont said:

Oh, that at least is not true. I saw a number of people saying it could be huge, on a par with anything the MCU had done to date. That mainstream outlets ignored or were sceptical of these predictions may be true, but that's not the same as saying nobody saw it coming.

I know Feige was super excited about it but it was not remotely expected by most to be the breakout hit that it became. Certainly Disney wasn't expecting it to be as big a deal as it was. Only when the screenings started coming back so positively did folks start talking about it, but it was not considered to be a big deal - and it meant Disney scrambled to make it more relevant to other parts (like Infinity War) later than expected. 

That is one of the more remarkable things that Disney has done well - capitalize on the popularity and success of things in such a way that it looks like they've been in the plan all along. Infinity War/Endgame did an amazing job of that with several great payoffs that were hinted on earlier, but it ain't like those were required beats. 

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On the emotional core: I wouldn't say Cap was more that than Tony in Infinity War and Endgame, they got level pegging and realistically were the two main characters for the whole three phases, with Thor running main support. I think that the difference was Tony was kinda the plot-driver for a lot- he was both creating and solving a lot of the problems, and much of the legwork in setting up the 'verse was done in his movies or via characters introduced in them- whereas Cap was the in-universe inspirational focus.

In that respect I'd say that Dr Strange is pretty clearly being moved into the Tony role. He's the logical one to be key to mutliversal stuff, has already been key to two films and a TV show that dealt with it, and Wong is teleporting all over the shop bringing characters into that circle. I do wonder how they'll deal with the ramifications of the end and stinger in MoM since he's got no solo movies due before the end of phase 5, but at worst they'll just ignore it till it's needed and there's a good chance that'll feed into the 'he's cleaning up his own fuckups' thing too.

 

The new Cap is a bit harder to figure, because it obviously would have been either T'Challa or Carol but, well, obviously the sad news ended one plan and Carol hasn't hit with viewers the way they wanted- although the fact that Marvels is happening suggests they're still going for it. But it could also well end up being the Reed family, since they're coming in before the end of the phase and Secret Wars is, usually, essentially a FF-tied event coz of being Doom. 

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Unless they somehow manage the impossible I really hope that it isn't going to be the Reed family because Fantastic Four - and Reed Richards - continue to be the most boring, shitty area ever, with some of the least compelling powers and goals ever. 

It's possible that they'll somehow make Reed Richards vaguely interesting, or maybe they'll just have Chris Evans do Johnny Storm again and he'll be awesome again, but I wouldn't bet on that. The main reason to do anything with FF is because of Doom, and I'd prefer he be used as a villain against the Avengers directly or across multiple movies like Thanos sorta kinda was. 

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I think the Multiverse saga's heart is about mentors and the young heroes they are mentoring.  The Infinity Saga didn't do any of that, except with Tony to Spiderman, but that was more of a parent to child relationship.

Younger characters deal with shame, confidence and identity issues.  Middle-aged character deal with anger and control.  The conflict between Steve and Tony were them dealing with anger.

Older characters, particularly mentors, accept they don't have control, but they have to deal with fear.  The Eternals was a Mage arc, which is about fear, dealing with choices the lead to mass death no matter which way they choose.  That's ultimately what the Mulitiverse saga will lead to.  Mentor characters like Strange and Captain Marvel, maybe Rhodey, and perhaps now Thor, will evolve into Mage arcs and have to make the choice about which universes to destroy to save the rest.

But the other thing about Mage arcs is they have to learn to trust those younger heroes to make their own choices, when they no longer need mentoring.  So we'll see those younger characters come into their own confidence, and the cycle continues.

Edited by SpaceChampion
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Carol is really a bad choice for emotional center because she barely had an arc or much emotion in the movies she was in. And she's way too powerful for the MCU- she basically retained more or less her comics power level, but since Thor, Hulk and Thanos are much, much lower, she looks overpowered and nothing seems like a real challenge.

As for emotional center, yeah, without T'challa and Peter, they don't have it. Scott Lang is popular but, feels, heh, too small. Maybe Ms. Marvel? But it's also hard to imagine her being such a big player.

It's another reason why, at least for not, the hesitancy in introduce X-men makes no sense.

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2 hours ago, KalVsWade said:

I know Feige was super excited about it but it was not remotely expected by most to be the breakout hit that it became. Certainly Disney wasn't expecting it to be as big a deal as it was. Only when the screenings started coming back so positively did folks start talking about it, but it was not considered to be a big deal - and it meant Disney scrambled to make it more relevant to other parts (like Infinity War) later than expected.

Black and minority bloggers I was reading were entirely hyped about BP and repeatedly discussed the strength of feeling about it in their communities, particularly after the trailers. They at least were absolutely confident of it being a smash hit. They were right.

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Of course Black Panther was a success at the box office. Marvel leveraged the shit out of the racial element and turned marketing the movie into a moral issue. It became a cultural phenomenon because Marvel are not stupid.

They did the same thing with Captain Marvel. For someone reason the first female Marvel superhero is a thing we all need to get behind as well by giving Marvel money. 
 

 

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3 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Of course Black Panther was a success at the box office. Marvel leveraged the shit out of the racial element and turned marketing the movie into a moral issue. It became a cultural phenomenon because Marvel are not stupid.

They did the same thing with Captain Marvel. For someone reason the first female Marvel superhero is a thing we all need to get behind as well by giving Marvel money. 
 

 

With CM Disney went all out. They even had a GoFundMe for it, because all young girls needed to see it. Which is just Disney being greedy to the core, IMO

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1 minute ago, sifth said:

With CM Disney went all out. They even had a GoFundMe for it, because all young girls needed to see it. Which is just Disney being greedy to the core, IMO

The same thing happened with Black Panther, “grass roots” campaigns were set up for poor kids make a pilgrimage to a theatre and be baptised as Disney customers. 

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