Monday, May 11, 2015

Age Of Anti-Climax

My only issue with the — very good, don’t get me wrong — new Avengers movie is that it already felt anti-climatic.  The first Avengers film worked in part because it was a clear climax of Marvel’s “Phase One,” bringing together all of the characters from the initial wave of films.  In theory, Age Of Ultron would’ve been the climax of “Phase Two,” were it not for the fact that Ant-Man is still to be released in a couple of months and to hear Marvel tell it, THAT is the real endpoint of “Phase Two.”

(This is assuming, of course, that Marvel gives half a damn about Ant-Man isn’t just going through the motions without Edgar Wright since they spent years on the project and already had a big cast signed up.  It’s probably not a good sign that Marvel already has their schedule set through 2019 and there isn’t even a hint of an Ant-Man sequel; this movie has ‘contractual obligation’ written all over it.  And yes, before you even ask, I’m still going to see it on opening day.)

Speaking of that schedule through 2019, I can understand why Marvel would want to announce such long-range plans.  Firstly, it keeps the hype fires burning for the fans, and secondly, it makes Warner Brothers/DC’s plans for their own Justice League-connected movie universe look laughable in comparison.  Frankly, Marvel might have the firstly and secondly reversed in this case.

The problem is, however, that Marvel essentially said “Hey everyone, check out this awesome thing!  And then THIS OTHER awesome thing with most of the same characters! (a.k.a. the ‘Civil War’ Captain America sequel)  And then YET ANOTHER awesome thing with our signature character back in the fold!  (the Spider-Man reboot)  And then GOOD LORD, even more NEW CHARACTERS all getting their own movies!  (Captain Marvel, Black Panther, the Inhumans, Dr. Strange)  And then HELLS BELLS TRUDY, a two-part awesome thing with every character we’ve ever had!  (the Infinity War)  It’s BEYOND INCREDIBLE!  And now, let’s go back to that very first thing, remember that?!”

It was hard to get too fired up for Age Of Ultron since, if you look at the Marvel cinematic universe as a TV series, it came off as more of a midseason sweeps month event than it did a season finale.  I worry that the same could potentially be true of Civil War, since while it’s a unique concept unto itself on paper, the massive cast essentially makes it an Avengers movie, so it could still be a bit hampered by the impending Infinity War.  The promises of bigger-and-better tend to overshadow the here and now.

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