Tag Archives: marvel

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER FINALE: WHAT COMES NEXT?

All too soon, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale aired to close this chapter of the MCU.

The Disney+ series tackled many issues like race, veteran treatment, and PTSD in its run; ending on a finale that managed to wrap up its main story.

But, the stage is been set for future installments that promise to be as intriguing as what we have enjoyed for six episodes.

CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER

The wait was worth it to finally see Sam take on the mantle of Captain America and excel in it. With Bucky at his side, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale delivered spectacular action to close out the final episode. The future looks bright for our heroes.

A fourth Captain America movie is in the works; with the showrunner of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier writing the script. There’s no concrete news as to what the movie’s story will be but it should be a great time if it’s anything like the series.

SHARON’S LAST WORDS IN THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER FINALE

Sharon Carter, ex-agent of S.H.I.E.L.D and the C.I.A, is a jaded version of the believer we see in Captain America: Civil War.

When she’s officially pardoned, it seems like her life of crime in Madripoor is over…until she makes that final phone call.

Immediately resuming her work as the Power Broker is bound to have some repercussions further down the line.

JOHN WALKER BECOMES THE US AGENT

In a rare moment of clumsy character development for the show, John Walker is redeemed…kinda.

For the entire series, John has struggled in his role as Captain America. The weight of the mantle, the unnecessary press tours, and his insecurities are all parts of his burden.

After he loses the position for killing a Flag Smasher in the public eye, John seems lost.

Until Valentina Allegra de Fontaine comes to provide him with a new opportunity.

In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale, John heads out to fight the Flag Smashers again. But he relents in his pursuit to help save lives that were in danger.

After the battle, John is provided a new uniform and title; one that comes without the weight of Captain America.

This role seems more suitable for him, but John Walker’s redemption has only just begun.

ZEMO’S LAST LAUGH IN THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER FINALE

The surprising stand out of the series; the meme-generating Sokovian baron manages to get in a final blow.

In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale, Zemo arranges for a car bomb that kills the last of the Flag Smashers. This fulfills the mission he sets for himself when Bucky comes for his help.

However, John Walker is still alive with the power of a super soldier. Zemo isn’t likely to leave that alone.

The series shows the vast resources that Zemo can access so escaping the Raft isn’t impossible. Zemo is also incredibly cunning, so whatever plan he crafts will be formidable.

CONCLUSION

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale delivered on its premise in grand style. Though the final product is uneven in some places; the future it promises looks absolutely great.

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: CAN THE SHIELD BE REDEEMED?

The fourth episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ended on a very shocking note. John Walker, the new Captain America used a symbol of hope and justice for America to brutally kill a man. An action that the whole world watched.

This moment, by itself, could probably be viewed as the darkest moment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So one can’t help but wonder if the shield will forever be tied to that incredibly dark moment.

HOW THE SHIELD BECAME A SYMBOL

The iconic and easily recognizable shield is tied to the man who made it the symbol it is today.

Captain America did his press tour with a shield with the flag of the USA painted on it. That shield was mostly decorative and proved insufficient in his first confrontation with the Red Skull. As such, he needed a new one when he officially led a military unit.

At that moment, Steve could have gone with any number of weapons but he chose another shield because his first instinct is to defend against oppressive forces.

Even when the shield breaks, Steve Rogers does not waver.

The shield is iconic because the man who held it is iconic.

WHAT IT BECAME IN THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER

This iconic symbol in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier first started off as a memorial of the man who carried it and inspiration to the new generation of heroes who would follow in Captain America’s steps.

Sam Wilson gives the shield to the Smithsonian to fulfill that and find his own path. However, the US government immediately chooses to create a legacy title. They choose someone else to take up the mantle of the icon.

But this time, the choice made is the exact antithesis of Steve Rogers. John Walker isn’t chosen because he’s a good man, rather it’s because he’s a good soldier.

But John Walker needs a lot more than a shield to have the impact Steve Rogers had.

WHAT THE SHIELD IS NOW

John Walker’s journey as Captain America has been plagued with self-doubt and failure.

His first confrontation in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ended in failure. That begun a sizeable list of dead ends and roadblocks for the new poster boy.

John’s struggles come to a head in the fourth episode when consecutive losses push him to taking a super soldier serum.

Unfortunately, his new powers still can’t stop him from failing as his next fight results in the death of his best friend. Lemar Hoskins (Battlestar) comes in to stop Karli Morgenthau from killing John and takes a fatal blow instead.

John snaps and uses the iconic monument for truth, justice, and the American way to brutally kill a man in full view of the world.

WHAT COMES NEXT?

There is no telling what the fallout from this disastrous action will be but it’s sure to be massive.

Public uproar against the US, the GRC (Global Repatriation Council), and John is bound to be swift and very negative. The powers that be will have a lot on their hands to clean up.

Sam might have to deal with the unfortunate fact that his giving up the shield led to this. It is by no means his fault but cleaning up this mess is likely to be his problem.

Karli and the Flag Smashers might increase their support but the death of Battlestar is a whole new problem that they created.

Can the shield ever move past this dark moment? We can only wait and see.

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ZEMO IN THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: HOW HE SHIFTS THE DYNAMIC?

Three episodes in and Zemo in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+ shows he’s worth the hype.

The latest MCU series picks up the story of our titular heroes some months after the battle of Avengers: Endgame. This superheroic odd couple find themselves at odds with an organization called the Flag Smashers; a group of revolutionaries who oppose the return to normal after the Snap united the human race.

The pair must also deal with the decision to pass the Captain America mantle to a different soldier. Also, they must handle the friction that develops between them after they meet John Walker (played by Wyatt Russell).

However, the most crucial plot point (so far) is the reintroduction of Helmut Zemo (played by Daniel Bruhl). The man who masterminded the Avengers split in Captain America: Civil War comes in to help the pair.

But how exactly does Zemo work in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?

ZEMO IS AN ALLY…FOR NOW

The biggest surprise was the Zemo was going to be assisting Sam and Bucky in their mission. The Flag Smashers represent a loose end in his desire to rid the world of super-powered individuals.

He is surprisingly friendly to Bucky, given that the Winter Soldier is an enhanced individual. However, that may be tempered by Bucky’s lack of agency as the assassin of Hydra.

His knowledge of the criminal underworld and resources as a baron prove valuable to the mission. He immediately finds a new lead that gets them closer to the Flag Smashers.

Of course, given his history in Marvel Comics and his introduction in Captain America: Civil War, his betrayal of the team seems inevitable.

ZEMO FITS IN SEAMLESSLY WITH THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER

Despite their obvious reluctance to having Zemo onboard, the trio of Sam, Bucky and Zemo work very well together.

When Sam and Bucky are arguing, Zemo is the surprising but useful extra set of eyes on the situation. He’s ready to dish out some realness that the pair might shrug off easily if it came from the other.

Zemo hasn’t automatically become the deciding vote on the team but he is a useful third option to have.

That said, he is still a wildcard and the trouble he sparks at the doctor’s lab is a prime example.

Speaking of trouble…

ZEMO IS A LIABILITY TO THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER

Despite the obvious and subtle benefits he brings to the mission, Zemo is a big problem for Sam and Bucky. His actions during Captain America: Civil War have not been forgotten.

The new Captain America, John Walker, and his companion, Lemar Hoskins (Cle Bennett) are on their trail. They might not know the exact specifics but; the general idea and power they wield are a big threat to Sam and Bucky.

Even more worrisome, Wakanda sends Ayo (played by Florence Kasumba), one of the Dora Milaje to retrieve Zemo. This is a response to his bombing of the UN meeting; an action that killed T’Chaka, father of T’Challa and then ruler of Wakanda.

Going against the most advanced nation of Earth would be even worse for Sam and Bucky. There’s no telling how much sway Bucky has with the Wakandan government to prevent them from taking Zemo away.

CONCLUSION

Zemo’s return has elevated The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to more intriguing heights. Given that only three episodes have aired, there’s no telling where the show can go from here on.

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THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Hot on the heels of the mind-bending success of WandaVision comes the odd couple-styled action-adventure of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan).

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier follows Sam Wilson after he was handed the mantle of Captain America and Bucky Barnes as they team up to fight the Flag-Smashers and Helmut Zemo.

Despite the seemingly straightforward premise of the series, there’s a lot more going on under the radar that promises to elevate this story.

THE SOKOVIA ACCORDS

Sharon Carter aka Agent 13 (played by Emily VanCamp) will also be appearing in the series. She has been on the run ever since her action in Captain America: Civil War.

It would appear that the Sokovia Accords have been reinstated after the events of Avengers: Endgame (maybe in response to WandaVision) and Sharon’s violation of the Accords in Civil War are still valid.

This would throw in an extra wrinkle for our heroes since Sam Wilson stood with Steve Rogers in opposition of the Accords and Bucky Barnes’ activities as the Winter Soldier caused Zemo to attack the UN meeting to ratify the Accords.

Unfortunately, that’s just one problem

THE US AGENT

In the series, the US government will pass the mantle of Captain America to their personally chosen pick, and…it seems he might be a problem.

John F. Walker (played by Wyatt Russell) is the moniker of a Marvel Comics character who was created to specifically replace Captain America when Steve Rogers was battling the politics around the mantle.

In the series, he is set to be more militaristic than Captain America with a stronger emphasis on upholding American values…even more than Steve did.

Given how Sam Wilson received the shield from the man himself and Bucky’s history with Hydra, John Walker is, more likely than not, going to have an adversarial relationship with the pair even as they take on the headlining villains.

WAR MACHINE

James “Rhodey” Rhodes aka War Machine (played by Don Cheadle) also has a part to play in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier but his involvement is unclear.

War Machine was a military veteran before taking on the heroic armor and was one of the original signatories of the Sokovia Accords. Given that history, he might be forced into a confrontation with his fellow Avengers to uphold the rule of law.

There is also a chance that, having witnessed the destruction wrought by Thanos after the Avengers had separated and the sacrifices that were made to restore the lives lost, Rhodes may be an ally to the titular heroes.

Or he could be just appearing in a smaller role like the Falcon did in Ant-Man.

Only time will tell how his story unfolds.

CONCLUSION

Early reactions to the pilot episode have been positive so far, increasing the hype that this another win for Marvel. Given everything going in the public eye and hidden behind the scenes, we can only hope that the promise lives up to the anticipation that has built up.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiers on the 19th of March 2021.

WHY OTTO OCTAVIUS IS PERFECT IN SPIDER-MAN 2

Spider-Man 2, directed by Sam Raimi and released in 2004, is still lauded as one of the greatest superhero movies ever made.

An amazing story with great emotional heft, tense action sequences and special effects that are still very impressive, Spider-Man 2 was an improvement over the previous entry in almost every way and couldn’t be surpassed by its sequel.

At the heart of all of the movie’s acclaim lies the villain, Otto Octavius.

Played brilliantly by Alfred Molina, Dr. Octavius was a complex villain who was as sympathetic as he was ruthless and as driven as he was broken.

But why exactly was Octavius so perfect in the movie?

THE PROMISE OF WHAT COULD BE

Parker… Now I remember you. You’re Dr. Connor’s student. He tells me you’re brilliant. He also tells me you’re lazy.

Some of the greatest antagonists are a mirror reflection of the protagonists they oppose, examining the hero’s flaws and weaknesses by holding those traits and magnifying them.

Otto Octavius is interesting in his introduction because he is the opposite…he is the embodiment of Peter Parker’s positive attributes and they are enhanced even further in him.

He is a smart scientist at the top of his field and on the verge of making a breakthrough that would put him in league with the likes of Newton and Einstein.

He is married to the love of his life and they are happy in every way that matters to them.

Otto Octavius is basically what Peter Parker could have been…if he hadn’t been bitten by the spider.

Intelligence is not a privilege, it’s a gift. And you use it for the good of mankind

THE TRAGEDY OF OTTO OCTAVIUS

In the movie’s inciting incident, Otto Octavius is at the peak of his achievement; his experiment is going well and his wife is there to witness his success.

And in one fell swoop, he loses it all.

When the experiment goes awry, the malfunction kills his wife and fuses the mechanical limbs he was using to control the experiment to his spine.

A moment that resembles Spider-Man’s tragic origin.

My Rosie’s dead. My dream is dead. And these… monstrous things should be at the bottom of the river… along with me.

But Peter Parker had the lessons he had learned from his wise uncle, Octavius had no such fallback to strengthen him in his lowest moment.

So, he turns back to his dream in a vain attempt to prove his theory right, no matter who he has to hurt or kill when they get in his way.

The power of the sun in the palm of my hand. Nothing will stand in our way! NOTHING!

THE REDEMPTION OF OTTO OCTAVIUS

In the film’s climax, Octavius builds and activates a larger version of his experiment and once again it goes awry.

But when Spider-Man is unable to stop it, he turns to the only person who can and confronts him as the only person who he will listen to.

You once spoke to me about intelligence…you said it was a gift to be used for the greater good…

The good that was in Octavius resonated in Peter Parker…that good returned to Octavius to make him see the error of his ways.

And he accepts the death of his dream, a sacrifice to make right all the wrong he had done.

It was my dream…

Sometimes…to do what’s right…we must be steady… and give up the things we desire the most…even our dreams.

In that moment, Octavius takes control of his life again and becomes a hero, fulfilling the promise what could be in the beginning.

CONCLUSION

Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octavius still ranks high in the pantheon of comic book movie villains. Complex in his humanity and his villainy, he elevates Spider-Man 2 from merely good to unforgettably great.

Reportedly, Alfred Molina has been tapped to reprise his role in the third Spider-Man movie for the MCU.

If this is true, then we cannot wait to see this brilliant villain rendition brought to new life.

WHY SO SERIOUS: MARVEL’S AVENGERS

Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers are easily the most popular and iconic IP on Earth right now. So when a video game based on the team was announced, the gaming community went wild.

With Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics coming together to create this masterpiece in the making, there was nothing that could stop this game from coming out and shattering records the way the movie characters did in the box office.

Then came the trailers…and the beta…and the release…and the resulting backlash from the gaming community.

But is this game really deserving of this much vitriol?

ENVIRONMENT DESIGN

To call the environments in Marvel’s Avengers lackluster might be an understatement.

The various mission locations are designed to allow every Avengers to maneuver through without too much difficulty. As much, they feature wide-open spaces in the exteriors and bland, identical corridors with wide-open arenas (for boss fights) in the interiors.

There are no challenges that might require some vertical mobility limited to Iron Man and Thor, no stealth sections that Black Widow could use to get an advantage, narrow gaps that Kamala Khan could squeeze through, weak points that Hulk could smash through…just no thought to making platforming an engaging part of the Avengers experience.

MISSION AND COMBAT DESIGN

Another failing of this game is how poorly the missions are designed.

It basically boils down to repetitive fetch quests to reassemble the Avengers and their assets, point captures, structural destruction with some extermination in between.

Combined with the poor environment design…the feeling evoked is ‘meh’.

The gameplay loop of Marvel’s Avengers is also very uninispired.

Every single character’s base combat is a combo of light and heavy attacks, ranged attacks, and dodging that lead up to three special attacks unique to each hero.

This arcade-lite system makes each hero feel almost identical as you play and forces you to mark time until you can get to use the special abilities. Those looking for the feel of the Batman: Arkham system or the Spider-Man PS4 combat style are going to be sorely disappointed.

Granted there are some signs of life here with Iron Man’s aerial combat with repulsor blasts, Thor’s hammer and Black Widow’s agility and adaptability but there’s so much shared between all the heroes that make them feel homogenous.

PROGRESSION SYSTEMS

In this age of video games, the word ‘microtransactions’ is almost a curse word but it’s one that needs to be applied to Marvel’s Avengers.

The classic RPG progression system is available with each hero leveling up and gaining new skills but the addition of battle passes that ties into progression with each character is incredibly questionable.

It brings to mind another video game curse word…’pay-to-win’.

Another strange inclusion was a loot system for every hero that allows players to increase the power of their heroes.

For heroes that require technology like Iron Man and Black Widow, a loot game makes sense but for the others who rely mostly on powers and/or a single set of gear…it simply doesn’t.

There’s also the fact that the loot has no cosmetic value and is always getting replaced with better versions. A looter has to create a sense of attachment to the loot it doles out or it defeats its very purpose.

STORY AND CHARACTERS

Easily the best part of Marvel’s Avengers is the story it tells and the character interactions.

The plot follows Kamala Khan, an Avengers superfan, as she tries to prove that her heroes were set up for a disaster that happened five years earlier and take down the villainous AIM. She teams up with the Avengers who must put aside the differences that split them up and come together one more time.

Making Kamala the heart of the story works wonders as her infectious enthusiasm lights up every scenario she’s in. Her interactions with the other members of the Avengers makes some of the game’s best moments.

The villainous side may be much weaker but it still impressive in some regard. MODOK is brought to life with great results but the AIM organization isn’t the threat they need to be. The faceless horde of numerous AIM robots with the occasional super villain fight is not as gratifying as it should be.

However, the story is remarkably short, with the story-focused missions requiring only a few hours of gameplay to get through.

TECHNICAL ISSUES

The beta of Marvel’s Avengers was filled to bursting with bugs and other problems that made playing through it difficult and the finished product brings more of the same.

Frame rate drops, strange textures and, odd pop-ins are just a few of the technical bugs that have been encountered in the game.

These issues are also present in the multiplayer aspect of the game with the addition of connection issues and matchmaking problems.

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

Ever since the game was announced, fans have been clamouring for Spider-Man’s addition to roster of Avengers. These wishes came true…in a way that angered the fan base.

Due to the Spider-Man licensing deal between Marvel and Sony, Spider-Man is going to be exclusive to the Playstation versions of the game, essentially shutting out almost half (if not more) of the player base from experiencing Peter Parker in the Avengers game.

On the heels of that announcement, it was revealed that Playstation gamers would receive 30 days of exclusive access to other content in the game that other players wouldn’t receive until the period was over.

Then came the reveals about the skins for Verizon, Virgin Media, Intel, etc that would also be exclusive to clients of those companies and…well it’s something.

CONCLUSION

Marvel’s Avengers is almost like buying a huge bag of candy and opening it up to find that there’s very little candy and a lot of gas taking up space. There are a few bright spots but it’s almost impossible for them to overcome everything else dragging the game down.

CHADWICK BOSEMAN PASSES AWAY AT 43

… because 2020 wasn’t bad enough already.

The African-American actor died after a long battle with colon cancer.

A statement posted on his Twitter feed confirmed the sad news. “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman. It was the honor of his life to bring King T’Challa to life in ‘Black Panther.’”

Chadwick Boseman is renowned for portraying many iconic African Americans like Jackie Robinson(42), James Brown (Get On Up), and Thurgood Marshall (Marshall).

He was also beloved for his role as T’Challa, the Black Panther, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.

Social media has been flooded with messages of sadness at his passing and of sympathy for his family.

Chadwick Boseman passed away on the same day as Jackie Robinson Day, a day that celebrates the iconic baseball player that he portrayed.

RIP CHADWICK BOSEMAN (NOVEMBER 29, 1976 – AUGUST 28, 2020)

Spider-Man’s Ultimate Enemy

As Marvel Comics’ flagship hero, the alter ego of Peter Parker has one of the best rogue’s galleries in comic book history.

Many debates have been had over which enemy of Spider-Man can truly be called his nemesis. Good points have been made in favor of Otto Octavius (Dr. Octopus), Norman Osborn (Green Goblin), Eddie Brock (Venom), Cletus Kasady (Carnage) and even J. Jonah Jameson.

However, Spider-Man’s nemesis, his greatest enemy, is Peter Parker.

The Origin

The conflict between Peter Parker and Spider-Man began with the incident that causes Spider-Man to be a hero, the death of Ben Parker.

It can be argued that Peter Parker made the decision that ultimately led to the death of his uncle but the truth of the matter is simple: Spider-Man let a thief go and Peter Parker lost his uncle.

The guilt forces Spider-Man to use his powers to selflessly help others because of the one person he failed at the very beginning, Peter Parker.

And their conflict only worsens from that moment.

A Conflict of Responsibility

“With great power comes great responsibility” is not just a catchy and meaningful motto but it is at the very heart of the conflict between Spider-Man and Peter Parker.

Spider-Man does his best to fight crime in New York as it is his sworn responsibility, a duty he shoulders along with his power. Fighting crime, catching villains and protecting the innocent is what Spider-Man does and he does it well.

However, Peter Parker also has responsibilities. As a nephew in a financially struggling family, he has to help with the bills of the household or Aunt May might lose the house with all the cherished memories she has of Ben Parker. As a student, he has a responsibility to attend classes, do classwork and homework, get good grades and graduate. As an employee, he has a responsibility to do his job well so he can support his aunt financially.

These two disparate lives clash viciously and often as Spider-Man and Peter Parker wrestle with each other over whose responsibilities must be prioritized and whose must wait.

When Spider-Man wins, Peter Parker’s personal life suffers. His grades go down, his friends lose faith in him and his aunt worries about his erratic behavior. Ironically, Peter’s employment as a photographer of Spider-Man’s crime fighting is usually the only part of his personal life that doesn’t suffer but it creates a whole new complication for Spider-Man.

When Peter Parker is prioritized over Spider-Man, criminals escape, innocent lives are put in danger and public trust in Spider-Man goes down. That makes crime fighting even harder for Spider-Man. Even at a time when Peter Parker is doing well by taking pictures for the Daily Bugle, those pictures are used to persecute Spider-Man by creating false narratives around his activities (comics did fake news before it was a thing).

The best stories about the webslinger are always about how Peter Parker and Spider-Man clash in this way. A perfect example is Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 which showed the conflict get so bad Spider-Man began to lose his powers.

A Conflict of Identity

The conflict between the two personalities extends into a more personal space, identity. There is a constant wrestle between Spider-Man and Peter Parker with regards to character as they are a foil of the other.

Spider-Man is outgoing, exuberant and prone to making jokes at inopportune times. Peter Parker is socially awkward, neurotic and more withdrawn. They share a few traits in common but for the most part, Peter and Spider-Man are two disparate entities that share a single existence.

As a result, Peter Parker and Spider-Man do not share the same values. Issues that draw sympathy from Peter Parker must be approached differently for Spider-Man. The lawful hero and the sympathetic person encounter various situations where the two diverge on how they respond.

An example is the comic book storyline that featured student demonstrations in Empire State University, Peter’s university, that was a reflection of the real-world situation in Columbia University. Peter Parker as a student was sympathetic towards his fellow students and felt obliged to stand with them. Spider-Man, as a protector of law and order, was faced with stopping violent protests that endangered lives and destroyed properties.

The Irony of the Conflict

As much as it seems that Peter Parker and Spider-Man would both be better off without each other, the truth is they are strongest when the two personalities move in unison.

Despite all the clashes with their disparate identities and responsibilities, Spider-Man is at his strongest when he pursues a course of action that Peter Parker wholeheartedly agrees with.

One of Spider-Man’s most noteworthy comic book moments comes when he battles Dr. Octopus for a cure that will save Aunt May from certain death. During the course of the battle, the underwater lair collapses on Spider-Man as Octavius makes his escape. With the weight of a building on his back and the water rising to drown him, Spider-Man finds the strength to lift the entire building off himself and escapes Dr. Octavius’s lair to deliver the cure to Peter’s aunt.

A more recent example can be found in the latest movie from the MCU; Spider-Man Far From Home. When Mysterio (Quentin Beck) threatens to use Tony Stark’s technology to endanger lives and kill Peter’s friends, Spider-Man is finally able to properly utilize his spider-sense to see through Mysterio’s illusions and shut down his drones.

Conclusion

Spider-Man and Peter Parker may directly oppose each other a majority of the time but, despite their conflict, the unified front they present when necessary is nigh invincible.

Captain Marvel: The Importance of a Good Backstory

Captain Marvel is, for all intents and purposes, another MCU success story. It raked in big bucks at the box office and critics raved about its story, setting, and characters.

Audience reviews were a bit more…mixed.

That is unsurprising, given the amount of controversy that enveloped the film before it was even released. Review bombing based on nothing but prejudice is a possible reason that the audience reviews weren’t glowing in the majority.

There is another aspect about Captain Marvel that also wasn’t well-received…the mystery that was the titular character’s past was also reviewed quite poorly.

The Mystery of Carol Danvers

Vers, as the Kree call her, is haunted by a past that she cannot understand because it has been taken from her. It always lurks in her subconscious but when she comes to Earth, it comes out in full force. As she searches for answers to the mystery surrounding her, Carol becomes the warrior she always knew she could be.

All that is technically covered in the movie, but it doesn’t inform her character.

Despite the fact that she is haunted by things she cannot understand or remember, Carol does absolutely nothing to look into her past during her time on Hala. It obviously bothers but the movie chooses to ignore in favor of moving forward with the main plot.

Her history, or lack thereof, does nothing for her character.

Vers is told to forget the past and move on into the future but it is also established that she has a rebellious streak and will pursue what she thinks is right, no matter what her superior officers think or order her to do. And, given the advanced technology the Kree have at their disposal, some investigation could have at least been attempted.

And, when the mystery is uncovered, it wasn’t worth the wait.

Carol Danvers fought prejudice every day of her life as she grew up. It’s as straightforward, strait-laced and predictable as stories go. Her history isn’t checkered or questionable, there is no doubt that she has always been the heroic protagonist.

Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) does have moments of villainy in her back story but she is a compelling character because of her redemption and how the red in her ledger pushes her to be better than who she used to be.

Captain Marvel doesn’t have an intriguing history to uncover and its uncovering is woefully mishandled.

It is unfortunate because such stories are great when done properly…and Marvel already did a similar story and did it properly.

The Mystery of Daisy Johnson

During the first season of a little-known show called Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, we are introduced to a character called Skye.

Skye also has a past that is mysterious and she wishes to uncover it every day. To that end, Skye becomes a hacker, invested in uncovering and exposing all kinds of secrets.

Skye’s desire to discover her past motivates her dislike of secret government organizations like S.H.I.E.L.D and she goes as far as joining a hacktivist group that is manipulated by the villains of the story.

Skye initially joins S.H.I.E.L.D to use their resources to learn more about her past and, when she is exposed, must work to regain the trust she lost.

Her history, or lack thereof, informs her character.

Then, Skye finds her father, a gruesome killer and amazing doctor rolled up into one man.

She unlocks her latent Inhuman abilities in a powerful but sorrowful scene and struggles to come to terms with those powers and the guilt she feels with her discovery.

The story of how Skye becomes Daisy Johnson (Quake) is compelling and intriguing as it makes you wonder if this mysterious girl could become a powerful ally or a menacing villain.

And that was how Captain Marvel needed to tell the story of Carol Danvers.

Conclusion

When you shroud your main character in mystery, the plot must treat that shroud carefully and not just rip it off with all the subtlety of a rhino in a china shop. But the mystery must also be worth that kind of reverence or it isn’t worth the audience’s time and money.

Captain Marvel is an ok movie but a properly handled backstory could have been the difference between ok and great.

THE PROBLEM WITH SPIDER-MAN IN THE MCU

In Captain America: Civil War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) introduces us to its version of Spider-Man. The friendly neighborhood web-slinger immediately steals every scene he is in.

Tom Holland brings the nerdy awkwardness of Peter Parker and the quippy confidence of Spider-Man together in a blend that is a delight to behold.

His subsequent appearances in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home just keep on cementing his status as one of the best on-screen versions of Spider-Man.

However, the MCU keeps making a few big mistakes with this Spider-Man.

SPIDER-MAN AND THE IRON MAN CONNECTION IN THE MCU

In Civil War, Peter joins the fight after Tony Stark asks him to help.

With the established MCU continuity and their relationship in the comics, this makes perfect sense.

However, that connection is sufficient as his introduction. Instead of giving Spider-Man his own separate stories, the MCU hitches his wagon to Tony Stark. The Spider-Man movies in the MCU position Spider-Man to be Tony’s successor.

His story in Homecoming is, ostensibly, about Spidey becoming his own hero. This is difficult to understand when his main goal is trying to impress Iron Man.

Surprisingly enough, Tony actually wants Peter to be better than him. His disappointment that Peter isn’t striving for that is part of the reason he takes away the suit.

In Far From Home, Nick Fury literally hands Spider-Man the keys to the Iron Man kingdom. Then he wrestles with whether or not he deserves it for the rest of the movie. Spoiler alert…he decides that he does.

A big part of Spider-Man’s comic book lore is his solitude. Peter Parker is a socially awkward person with very few friends. That extends to the beginning of his work as a hero.

Later on, he develops relationships with other heroes. The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Iron Man, etc. learn to connect with him. These connections then lead him to join teams.

Spider-Man in the MCU is very different in that regard. Peter Parker is part of a social circle with friends and rivals. His need to disconnect from it and pursue superheroics (in Homecoming) is a fantastic adaptation of the comic book lore. But turning that around into him pursuing a spot on the Avengers and Tony Stark’s approval was a misstep.

MCU’S INTERPRETATION OF SPIDER-MAN’S ROGUES

That connection also extends to the villains he faces.

The Vulture (Adrian Toomes) and Mysterio (Quentin Beck) are more Iron Man adversaries in the movies. But they are long-standing Spider-Man nemeses, having served in numerous incarnations of the Sinister Six.

Their depiction in the MCU continuity is that of people slighted by Tony Stark. As compelling as it makes them, they have no adequate reason to be Spider-Man antagonists. They only do so because he’s Tony Stark’s protégé.

That’s a disservice to the character that we all know and love.

SPIDER-MAN AND THE BEN PARKER DISCONNECTION IN THE MCU

“With great power comes great responsibility” is almost as well known as the man we credit with its saying.

Ben Parker serves as the reason Peter Parker makes most of his choices as Spider-Man. The guilt of failing his uncle has been his motivation in the comics. A trait that carried over into Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies and in The Amazing Spider-Man movies.

The MCU makes the choice of only hinting at this with Easter Eggs and obscure references in dialogue. But, for the most part, Uncle Ben doesn’t get a mention.

Peter doesn’t reminisce about the time they spent together. Aunt May doesn’t miss or mourn him. Ned and Tony do not bring him up, even though they should know what happened to him.

The biggest indication that Ben Parker existed is Peter’s suitcase in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Skipping the integral backstory because it’s as popular as Bruce Wayne’s tragedy is one thing. Ignoring the crucial character beats and just replacing them with a surrogate is a different issue altogether.

Once again, Tony Stark (after his sacrifice in Endgame) takes the role of Ben Parker. Peter grieves his loss the way he should mourn his uncle.

Having that grief serve as an additional weight for Spidey is a stronger narrative choice. Also, it gives more weight to his struggle to take up Iron Man’s mantle. Instead, Tony Stark just replaces Ben Parker.

CONCLUSION

Spider-Man is a great character, no matter the medium he is portrayed in. His lore and character are often retooled and rewritten to serve the needs of where he needs to fit in. While some nail it on all fronts (like Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4), the MCU’s choices leave much to be desired. Thankfully, they still have the opportunity to correct the course and give us Spider-Man the way he should be.