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June 14 2016

Marvel could solve its problems by rewatching 'Dr. Horrible'. It's not as daft as you might think.

Seems pretty daft to me. This article picks and chooses a few items to complain about from what, 13 movies? Most of which Joss had a very strong, if not nearly complete, say over anyway. Comparing a niche 45 min web video to a worldwide smash cinematic universe isn't even comparing apples to oranges, more like comparing one apple tree's bark to the Minute Maid corporation. And the article basically ignores the very best movies, Iron Man and Guardians, while treating Horrible like it's a masterpiece unequivocally beyond reproach.
I think the writer makes good points about MCU villains. Aside from Loki and, to some extent, Ultron, none really sticks out for me.
I'm tired of the meme about Marvel having bad villains.

I thought that Stane was great in the first Iron-Man. He was the man Tony thought of almost as a father, but he betrayed Tony. That was great. Robert Redford (Okay, the one weakness is that I never bothered to learn the character's name) was great in "Winter Soldier". The reaction to Zemo in the "Civil War" has been almost universally great. Loki. 'Nuff said.

Sure, there have been weak ones, but that's not always a bad thing. Ronan was exactly what "Guardians of the Galaxy" needed. Ten minutes spent developing Ronan's daddy issues would have been ten minutes we weren't watching Rocket and Groot.

Even the lesser villains were entertaining. The ending to Iron-Man 2 felt like they gave up and copied the first one's ending, but I liked Whiplash. Hugo Weaving and Tim Roth didn't have their best characters ever, but their characters were average at worst and they served their movies.

At their worst, the villains in the Marvel movies have been decent and better than movie super villains in general. People started out saying that they were the weakest parts of movies that were still strong overall. Somehow that got turned into people saying that they were bad.

They're not. They're actually pretty good.
I think the article is right about the villains in MCU. I only ever felt that villainous thrill with Loki. The rest, including Iron Man villains, are less memorable. They do not pack an emotional punch. I think to truly be moved by a villain you need a connection. Loki is the closest I've come to feeling connected.

I feel very strongly all kinds of mixed up things about Dr. Horrible.

Loved the article for this line:

"If Jessica Jones doesn’t care about other superheroes, or even know much about them, why would viewers feel compelled to explore the rest of the MCU?
Jessica Jones is good friends with Carol Danvers and used to work with the Avengers. Why do we think she doesn't know much about them? That's an odd interpretation of the line uttered. AoS does similar things with comments about the green guy etc. The show had to leave out the Capt. Marvel bits because the movies. Makes sense. But I don't remember where in the show Jessica says she doesn't know other superheroes. She walked away from the Avengers and that life after the damage she caused while under Kilgrave's thrall. She distanced herself but she didn't forget they exist. Weird.

I would also contend that Fisk/Kingpin in Daredevil is very well fleshed out and even sympathetic. Also, The Defenders series IS the team-up. They aren't two separate things.
Yeah ... there were a lot of declarative sentences that had me shaking my head and saying "No, actually "we" don't think that at all" Disagree on the humor in Civil War, disagree on some of the other Marvel villains, disagree with the universe building.

I'll give you the soundtracks could be stronger - so, there's that.
His intention was to write and produce a relatively inexpensive story for an online release that could circumvent the writers’ strike.


The intention was not to circumvent the writers' strike, but to prove the point that online content can be profitable, and that writers should be paid, and paid fairly, for writing online content (which was one of the strike issues).

That statement alone burned me up.

Also, her example of what should happen in terms of music for the movies was completely forgettable.
I think the author of the article meant the Netflix show version of Jessica Jones, who seemed pretty flippant and non-interested in the Avengers. Which I too took to mean she didn't care to know anything about them. They didn't interest her. I don't recall anything in the show that hinted she worked with them previously. It seemed to me that she was trying her hand at being a vigilante type superhero, like Daredevil, on her own, and that's when Killgrave meets her. (But it's been months since I watched it so I might be forgetting something.)

There may have been interesting villains, but were there many that the audience could also have empathy for? For me, not really. With exception of Loki, who seemed to be warring even with himself about his own actions, the rest came across to me as one note and I didn't really care about their point of view and was just waiting for the moment they were squished, shot, captured, etc.
NYPinTA hit it for me on Loki. Unlike most of the others, he was conflicting with himself - I find that interesting in a 'villain". That vulnerability is what drew me to Spike as a complicated char right in the beginning. The layers. The first Thor movie was as much about him as Thor, some would argue more...

That's what drew me to Billy too.
I'm honestly getting a little tired of the general hubris of everyone in the critical world constantly announcing how "Marvel is on the verge of collapse because of REASONS! They're doing everything wrong, and they must make DRASTIC CHANGES! They have to listen to ME, I know what's best for them!! Otherwise it's gonna catch up to them soon, JUST WATCH!!"

Meanwhile, not ONE of the MCU productions, movie or series alike, has a "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That means EVERY film and show has gotten 60% or better from the majority of critics. Thirteen movies and four series. No, they haven't all been in the 80s and 90s, but what other studio has that kind of track record? And all in a continuous universe??

But no, they're doomed, DOOMED I say! If they don't make MY CHANGES, they're going to collapse and be RUINED FOREVAR!!

You know who has that kind of record? Pixar. Yeah. That other major sub-division of Disney. 16 movies, 12 rated in the 90s, only one rotten. It's like Disney is REALLY good at making movies or something . . . who woulda thunk it??

Are they perfect? No. Could they make some improvements? Always. Will they eventually have a bomb, a real cinematic stinker? Probably. Will it be the end of the studio? Absolutely not. They could have a string of monumental suck, and they'd probably still make all the money and keep right on going (*cough-TRANSFORMERS-cough*). That's Hollywood.

I wish Whedon hadn't fallen out with Marvel, but they'll do ok. The Russos have done an excellent job thus far. And maybe one day Joss can recover and maybe Marvel (now guided by a less tyrannical hand) can benefit from his talents. But if not, they'll do fine without him.

And without all the know-it-all vulture critics who are circling Marvel just waiting for it to keel over so they can peck at it and smugly claim, "See? We knew it couldn't last! Marvel's dead now!"

Sorry guys, you're gonna starve to death first. And I will SO applaud that moment.
Joss didn't fall out with Marvel. He just finished. He's said repeatedly that Avengers 2 was hard, but that it was just hard in a normal way that big projects are hard. He never blamed them for anything.
I think I missed the part where this article said Marvel was doomed to fail. But really, it isn't just Marvel that has trouble with interesting villains. It is tough. It might not be the only work that has an interesting villain, but DHSAB is a good example. The difference between DHSAB & most other stories is we get to see things from Billy's POV so we get to know him. I think that was all they were really trying to say.

The paragraph about the music felt a bit tacked on, but I have to agree. None of the music from the Marvel movies is all that memorable, except (for me) for whenever The Winter Soldier was on screen. It fit the horrific nature of his character's creation even before the reveal.

*Edited because I said "bit" twice in one sentence and it was just weird to me.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2016-06-16 21:29 ]
I think the author of the article meant the Netflix show version of Jessica Jones, who seemed pretty flippant and non-interested in the Avengers.


That's true, but then the TV-series Jessica Jones is meant to be understood as a profoundly damaged and unhappy person, much of whose resistance to taking the role of "hero" is symptomatic of her emotional and psychological scars. To say "oh, she's not interested, so why should we be?" is about as sensible as saying "Well, Jessica Jones drinks a bottle of scotch a day, so obviously it's a healthy lifestyle choice!"
@Yoink, I was just mentioning that it wasn't comic book Jessica Jones, but TV Jessica and didn't mean to imply I was agreeing. Because it is a pretty weird little nugget to hold up as an example. Especially since, as you pointed out, Jessica has a lot of emotional scars and at the time she mentions any of the Avengers with such flippancy it's at a moment where she is being both compared to and held accountable for their actions, which was yeah to do a lot of damage, but also to save the world. So her lack of faith in her ability to be a hero while being compared to them had to sting while at the same time she was pissed off at being lumped in with them for something that happened during the Battle of New York. The reasons for her comment could be anything and it has so many layers! (Like pie.) (See what I did there?) Which is why Jessica Jones is one of my favorite Marvel things atm.
"The Russos will potentially play casualties to the slow decay in Marvel’s epic storytelling. The scope of its cinematic world is growing at an alarming rate, and without careful recalibration of individual narratives, the MCU runs the risk of bloating out beyond recognition."

There NYPinTA, that's the most prevalent example that stuck out at me. If that's not the very definition of "critic predicting the demise of a studio, their movies, stories, and success," I guess I just don't have as clear a grasp on the language as I thought.

As for Jason_M_Bryant, I meant "falling out" in the "I just can't do anymore of that right now," not in the "I hate Marvel" sense. Sorry for the confusion.
We should clarify one thing. Dr. Horrible may have been the villain, but he was also the protagonist. I saw this mentioned in the article, but then it went right back to acting like things done with Dr. Horrible can be applied directly to Marvel villains.

They can't. He was the protagonist. Unless Marvel makes a movie from the villains point of view (Which Warner Brothers is only *sort of* doing with "Suicide Squad", since they'll be acting more as anti-heroes), none of that applies. So saying, "Look how fleshed out Dr. Horrible was!" doesn't mean anything.

Captain Hammer was the antagonist. His personality was paper thin, but we didn't care because he was somewhat a parody and he was very funny.

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