Do I really want to see another comic book movie?

I have mixed feelings about these things. They kind of suck the air out of the room — how many superhero movies will be dominating the theaters this summer? I like the gigantic ensemble movies least of all, since they always feel overblown and crowded, and they replace interesting character development with simply trotting out yet another colorful costume. They’re great big telenovellas about luchadors…which could be fun, I admit, like having ice cream and cookies for dinner, but they’ll kill you eventually if that’s the only thing in your diet.

I’m still planning on seeing Avengers: Endgame tonight, with my wife. Which reminds me — another unpleasantness is that I’m going to have to explain the story to her first, since she doesn’t pay much attention to these things, and they always sound so ridiculous. “In the last movie, big purple bad guy collected a bunch of magic rocks that gave him the power to snap his fingers and make half the people in the universe disappear, because he thinks that will make life better for the survivors. In this movie, a few dozen surviving people in spandex will try to undo the purple guy’s magic.” This will not sound promising.

But Tony Thompson convinced me. People have emotional connections to these stories, to grand elaborate stories in general, and a lot of people love this series of movies. I’m willing to bask in the afterglow of the audience for a connection to that, even if my brain is going to be picking nits throughout it. I can find vicarious enjoyment of other people’s enjoyment, so even if I find a thousand annoyances in this movie, I’ll be able to take something away from it.

Also, I’m hoping Thor will find a way to resurrect Loki.


  1. Callinectes says

    Tom Hiddleston is playing Loki in a new TV series, so either he’ll have to come back, or it will be a prequel show.

  2. weylguy says

    I saved a lot of my old comic books from the 1950s, books that I still cherish because they got me interested in science (I especially loved Mystery in Space). But I can’t read them any more, because the characters and stories seem stupid and childish to me now.

    For the life of me, I cannot understand the appeal of today’s comic-book movies. Perhaps the worst thing about them is that they invariably portray heroes who are dedicated to justice, freedom and goodness, noble attributes that American culture is today totally alienated from. I liken it to rabid Nazis coming out of a theater exclaiming “Did you see how Green Lantern wasted that villain at the end?” only to go out into the real world and commit all kinds of atrocities.

    Sadly, that’s how I see Americans (mostly Republicans) today. Their comic-book movies are intended only to distract them from their stupid and cruel daily lives.

  3. jrkrideau says

    I may be a bit behind the times. I still think of the “Avengers” as starring Steed and Mrs Peel.

  4. Michael says

    I’ll avoid major spoilers. There are no mid nor end credit scenes, so don’t bother waiting for them. This is probably because, like Logan, this will probably be the last Avengers movie.

  5. Michael says

    I saw it last night. I’ll avoid major spoilers. There are no mid nor end credit scenes, so don’t bother waiting for them. This is probably because, like Logan, this will probably be the last Avengers movie. As you guessed, there are major cameos. I hope you enjoy it.

  6. Michael says

    I’ll avoid major spoilers. Don’t bother waiting from extra scenes in the credits, there aren’t any. I suspect this is because, like Logan, this will be the last Avengers movie. As you guessed, major cameos. I hope you enjoy it.

  7. Michael says

    Sorry for the duplicate comments. I had a weird error message, and my original comment didn’t appear until later.

  8. muddymoose says

    I loved it, but I expect one’s enjoyment will be directly proportional to their familiarity with the previous 21 movies.

  9. willj says

    These movies are essentially pro-wrestling displays (also spandex in abundance). I used to worry that aliens were monitoring our communications, and the first thing they tuned in was pro-wrestling or superhero movies. I felt embarrassed for the whole human race. But who knows? Perhaps aliens have even more fatuous obsessions.

  10. KG says

    I may be a bit behind the times. I still think of the “Avengers” as starring Steed and Mrs Peel. – jrkrideau@3

    Me too, Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel being one of my first crushes. If the CGI tech is up to it, I’d like to see a film in which these two show up and demonstrate to the spandex wearers how avenging is really done, in true British understated style ;-)

  11. Akira MacKenzie says

    At this point, I’m in for a penny, in for a pound. I might as well go to see how it all ends. (Personally, I think it’s more or less going to end the same way the original Infinity War comic book arc ended, but Marvel/Disney could surprise me.)

  12. Sean Boyd says

    KG @11,

    You’re one of the lucky ones that forgot that 1998 cinematic masterpiecethorough abomination that was The Avengers, starring Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman and Sean Connery. Good actors all, but that movie…shudders.

  13. hemidactylus says

    The Christian Bale Batman movies reign supreme. The rest in the whole genre fall short of that. Surprisingly Affleck in the movie where he went against Superman wasn’t terrible. The Iron Man series was a disappointment. Should have been darker and grittier to capture the aesthetic of the Sabbath song. The previews seemed promising. Then I watched the movie. He should have tragically died in the first installment saving us from the rest. A couple of the earlier Hulk movies were OK (esp w/ Eric Bana). Of the Marvel lot I found the Thor movies I have seen the most tolerable. Maybe because Hannibal Lecter and Natalie Portman. Thor bastardized Norse myth almost as terribly as Wagner, though the latter had better music. The first Avengers was OK but I base that on the scene where Hulk body slams Loki. After that I can’t really be bothered.

    Bale as Batman
    Hulk in general
    Natalie Portman
    Lecter Odin
    Forget the rest

  14. Rob Grigjanis says

    KG @11:

    Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel being one of my first crushes

    Same here. I had a maths teacher in primary school called Miss Rigg, and I fancied that she was Diana’s sister. Never had the nerve to ask, though…

  15. ridana says

    @ 3, 9, 11: Let’s not forget Dr. Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), Steed’s partner prior to Mrs. Peel. He had others partners, before and after those iconic women, but I think Dr. Gale is Mrs. Peel’s equal, and could be argued to have made the latter possible. We shall not speak of Tara King…

  16. ridana says

    Btw, if you have THIS TV in your area (US), they are currently running The Avengers, including the ’62-’64 Dr. Gale seasons (check local listings!). It was a very different series then, less campy than it became once the US got in on the action. Sort of like the difference between the b&w and color episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

  17. pilgham says

    I think comic books make great movies. There is less to cut out than with a book adaptation. Some of favorite shows have been comic books, sorry, Graphic Novels. I can only think of Happy!, iZombie, and Wynonna Earp, but I’m sure there are others. Do you remember Ghost World? It’s just the MCU that seems to have lost the thread, and of course DC who is following them slavishly over the cliff.

    And Roger Moore was too old for 007, at least by the end. I still love Live and Let Die (Roger Moore stars in a blaxploitation movie!) Anyway, he was the definitive Saint and that’s enough for me.

  18. KG says

    Roger Moore was too old for 007 – pilgham@19

    Nonsense! Bond would surely have been well into his 90s by the time Moore was playing him!

  19. hemidactylus says

    I have fond childhood memories of Roger Moore as Bond and Roger Moore spoofing Bond in Cannonball Run. Connery was before my time and until Craig the post Moore Bonds sputtered for me, though Brosnan had some spectacular moments. Craig takes it darker and grittier like Bale’s Batman. Bond and Batman aren’t that different really. They have gadgets, cool cars and a “particular set of skills”. And I prefer skillsets to superpowers. Equalizers, Takens, Haywire (w/ Carano v Tatum as good as Hulk v Loki IMO). BBC’s MI-5 beats Bond though for long arc and character mortality. And my fave Ghost Dog with his Bushido code and pigeons was loosely related to Rashomon and the Hagakure. Better story IMO than luchadors with superpowers in a Battle Royal. And better soundtrack.

  20. Phillip F says

    But Loki must die if we are to have Kid Loki, and ultimately Loki: Agent of Asgard!

  21. fentex says

    I don’t think MCU movies are something one ought only care about individually – they are a Comic book run, to be enjoyed in whole and not only in parts.

    Each movie is an issue and I’m extremely impressed with how well, over ten years, a story has spanned them all.

    Quite apart from the logistic problem of managing that the bravery of committing to it so early on impresses me all on it’s own. And I think one can see how the previous efforts at comic book movies led there – to a moment when the idea of a comic publisher moving into publishing movies rather than print was realized.

  22. rrhain says

    You’re assuming Loki died in the first place. It wouldn’t be the first time he faked his death….

    As for summaries, they usually fall quite short. When Evita was on tour, my father asked me if I wanted to see it. “What’s it about?” I asked.

    The first lady of Argentina in the aftermath of WWII.

    Why would anybody want to see a musical about that? No, i don’t want to see that.

    Big mistake.

    It’s a genre movie. If you don’t like the genre, oh well. I’d say every genre has at least one good example even if you don’t like the genre in general, but finding it is the tricky part. I don’t like gangster movies. I have never seen and do not plan on seeing the Godfather. I cannot bring myself to have the required sympathy for the characters. They deserve every bad thing that happens to them and more so.

    And yet, I liked Oscar with Stallone. It’s a gangster movie, yes, but a comedy. The other aspects of the film managed to counterbalance the premise.

    But one Avengers spoiler: Spock dies.

  23. magistramarla says

    We’ve had our tickets to “Endgame” for three weeks. I can’t wait for dinner and a movie tomorrow evening. It seems that the majority of staff and patients at PT will be seeing it this weekend, so we will all be discussing it on Monday.
    I never read a single comic book when I was a kid. My husband introduced me to science fiction and fantasy when we were in college in the mid 70s, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I even dressed as the new 13th Doctor Who at the last Comic Con that we attended last fall. All of the great science fiction, fantasy, and yes, comic book movies have provided quite a bit of joy in our lives over the last 40+ years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    BTW, all of our children and now our grandchildren, have learned to love science fiction and fantasy, too. The grandkids get quite a charge out of their “cool” grandparents who give them signed posters from Comic Con every year.

  24. hemidactylus says

    Hate to say it since my initial assumption was that they would be cheesy kids movies before I actually watched them, but I had deeper emotional resonance with some of the earlier Transformers movies than what I’ve seen from Marvel. The one with Markie Mark was a travesty that single handedly killed the series for me. Nothing against Wahlberg himself, though I had his sister-in-law in mind when I got my MMR and tetanus shots today.

  25. Rob Grigjanis says

    I loved Marvel comics as a kid, especially Thor, Spider-Man and Daredevil. Occasionally Iron Man and Fantastic Four (but never X-Men). And I loved the late sixties animated Spider-Man. To me, the films simply don’t do them justice.

    Main thing I’ve learned from the Marvel movies is that Robert Downey Jr is still the doyen of douchebag film characters.

    The best superhero films I’ve seen are some of the animated Batman movies. Like this one.

  26. Crudely Wrott says

    I was buying Marvel Comics off one of the book racks in the local drug store/soda fountain when I was just a sprout. Actually had the first Fantastic Four comic. They were really the only “super” heroes that caught my young fancy. Four, count ’em, four people using super powers together! It was a whole brand new idea to me. Devoured the next few mags.
    Then one day I perused the other book rack and discovered Isaac Asimov and my “marveling” suddenly took on extra dimensions. Never looked back. It was un-illustrated SF from then on. I got to make the pictures in my own head!!
    I do wish, however, that I’d kept that first FF comic. It’d be very cool to see how a ten cent investment might today tease a vastly larger sum from the pockets of grown ups today.
    Enjoy your movie, PZ. I’ll wait till someone manages to translate Currents of Space to the big screen, thank you

  27. wzrd1 says

    I actually looked up the entire story plot from the comic book series, never got into comic books myself.
    Apparently, some various efforts by multiple “members” of the god classes work together to have Captain Marvel convince Thanos that he not only misjudged, but caused or was causing mass extinctions of those he wanted to preserve and some effort managed to convince him he fouled up badly.

    Being brighter than the average burned out match stick, he suggested going back in time (somehow) two days before and halting him then, with blather.

    Everyone lived happily after, save the ones that died and don’t count.

    End of synopsis of the comic book story line.
    Typical US movie, “everyone lived happily thereafter, the good girl got the good guy or something and someone rides blindly into the sunset, which is always a good way to trip up.

    Still, don’t have anything better to do this weekend, might stir enough to go watch it. Probably, just enjoy the warm 62 degree chill factor winds and vegetate in the sun. Need more vitamin D. Should take ten to fifteen minutes.
    Then recover from a week of pain ranging from severe pain to agony, due to my own superpower.
    Ruptured disc power of Barometerman!
    And more gainfully, finding a local physician that isn’t advertising first and foremost, “We don’t prescribe opioids”, because frankly, that gives me zero faith up front, when you lead with that.
    We don’t prescribe antibiotics for fucking viral infections is what I’d respond to.
    For pain management, “we team with a leading pain management practice…” works for me. Don’t operate outside of your field of expertise.
    After all, I don’t expect my proctologist to also engage in advanced brain surgery, save with GOP politicians.

  28. says

    I can’t say I am disappointed in Infinity War and Endgame because I more or less expected them to suck but I am astounded at just how lazy Endgame is. It is basically a remake of Infinity War and the films are remarkable similar to each other sequence to sequence, act to act. The only mildly interesting part of Endgame was the first 40 minutes or so of seeing how society had moved on from the events Infinity War.

    The writers are still gutless twerps for not making Thanos an eugenicist and/or eat the rich liberator. The two films are navel gazing nonsense because they just don’t link up to anything that is happening in reality. Easily the two worst films in the MCU.

    Sadly I am pretty sure Winter Soldier, Dr. Strange are the high points for the MCU

  29. pwuk says

    In Hollywood the hero(s) overcome million to one odds, nine times out of ten