Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Original Review: O Captain! My Captain! (three and a half stars)
The one thing stopping my MCU Retrospecticus from being in chronological order is Captain America: The First Avenger, which is mostly set way before the dream of the Nineties in stupid World War II. Way to ruin it for me, Cap! Actually, chronology gets super complicated later on, you’ll have to read a bunch of Wikis to find out when exactly movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange take place. And that’s without even mentioning how confusing things get thanks to the “eight years later” thing in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Nonetheless, historically, I’ve had an odd apathy for the first Captain America MCU movie.
Original Review: n/a
Thor was the last MCU movie shot on film, and you can tell. I mean, yes, the jokes about how Kenneth Branagh seems to think comic books = Dutch angles are funny, but this is a great-looking film. The opening scene, in which Anthony Hopkins’ Odin recounts Midgard and Asgard’s war with Jotunheim, is basically the super hero version of the opening of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring. It is some stunning, epic stuff! Which is probably why I get the impression some folks didn’t realize that Thor is a comedy.
Original Review: Da Podcasket Iron Man 2 Special (unrated)
Robert Downey, Jr. fully realized his big comeback in 2008. Not only was Iron Man a massive hit, with a sequel almost immediately greenlit, but just a few months later he delivered an Academy Award-nominated performance (in blackface) in Tropic Thunder. He followed that up in MCU-less 2009 with another massive win, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. It seemed like he couldn’t stop winning, especially since in 2010 he would be teaming up with one of the biggest comedy stars of the time, Zach Galifianakis to make a buddy road film called Due Date and bringing in the hotly anticipated Iron Man 2.
And then there was Mickey Rourke. Like Downey, 2008 was a banner year for this troubled actor, who gave probably the best performance of the year in The Wrestler. But Rourke never shook his reputation for being a bit off-putting and couldn’t find a good direction to pivot his redemption in, making super forgettable action flicks like Killshot and 13 as well as whatever the hell The Informers was. 2010 was stretching the limits of his good vibes, but he had to sure-fire hits to keep him going: Iron Man 2 The Expendables. Whoops.
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Original Review: Doing the Monster Smash (unrated)
I think it’s funny that at the end of John’s Incredible Hulk review he wrote, “this kind of flick is truly what I look forward to with the summer season” because I ended my Iron Man review a month earlier with basically the same sentence: “Iron Man is one of those great summer escapist movies.” I think that speaks to the low expectations we still had for super hero movies back in 2008 (and our own writing). The Incredible Hulk is most certainly summer fair, but it is far from being a great escapist experience.
Next month’s Avengers: Endgame will bring a close to the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and quite possibly be the last we see of a group of iconic characters. I’ve come to love the MCU quite dearly, and its existence pretty much exactly lines up with that of this blog, so I thought I’d take a chance to reevaluate these movies as well as my own writing, starting with my review of Captain Marvel and going through all the other films in chronological order every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. That’s 11 years and 21 moves to get through in just over a month, so let’s not delay!
Similar to Marvel’s decision to introduce Ant-Man to the MCU between Age of Ultron and Civil War, the idea of dropping Carol Danvers in the eye of the Infinity War storm is a questionable one. It feels like it has been a long time since last summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, and the hype for next month’s Endgame is real. Does anyone want a new hero right now? Especially since a post-snap version of the world seems like an interesting place, setting Captain Marvel 24 years in the past could have really backfired by making this adventure seem totally inconsequential. Fortunately, that’s not what happened, and instead we got a movie that adds some amusing depth to a ton of side characters and creates a hero I can’t wait to see take on Thanos.
With the massive success of Fortnite, it has become impossible to deny that we are in the era of games as a service. Frankly, I’m happy to see the industry moving away from traditional DLC and season passes and embracing the idea that if people want to keep playing a game, that should be encouraged without fracturing the community by demanding a premium. On the other hand, single player games have continued going in the direction of the likes of The Witcher 3 and Breath of the Wild, delivering increasingly complex, mechanically deep, gargantuan experiences. Basically what I’m saying is that it’s getting harder and harder to try to cover the entire medium by myself each year, especially since I also try to keep up with movies, TV, and music. So, yeah, this top 10 is essentially the 10 games I liked enough to beat. Anyway, this is the end of our 2018 lists, so let’s get to it.