Remember 29 or so movies ago, when Marvel strove to be great as well as funny and colorful? What is undoubtedly the middle film in Taika Waititi’s “Goofy Thor” trilogy suffers from serious sophomore jinx when placed next to his prior, the comedy classic Thor: Ragnarok. The 2022 question is whether to wait 45 days to see this Loki-less film on streaming or see it now. With great sadness, I say thee nay to the immediate glow.
If you are only thrilled by a movie because of its middle and mid-credit-sequence cameos, are you really thrilled? If those two were taken out, this would be a sub-par effort because all of the nuance and lessons of WandaVision were sacrificed in order to create a decent horror showcase.
SECOND VIEWING REVISED THOUGHTS:
“In this movie, he makes a tiny little journey from being a very proud superhero to being someone who learns a modicum of modesty and learns that other people can be trusted, too,” [director Sam] Raimi says. “He’s not the only one that can do the job. It’s about coming to understand that others have worth and he’s not better than everyone.”
The film was better the second time when I figured this out and accepted that the above was its only thematic thrust. My real problem with the movie is that it wasn’t worth stomping on the character nuances of its best TV show to date to get there. Strange’s growth comes at Wanda’s expense. We’ll see if the Marvel Master Plan is worth this.
Eternals is Marvel’s biggest swing in years. It’s an attempt at a prestige-style film directed by Chloé Zhao, fresh off her Oscar win, at a size and scale that none of Marvel’s previous films have tried. But despite its grand ambitions, the film gets lost in its ponderous ideas and caught in the constraining box of what an MCU film has to be.
My review is my answer to this comment.
Eternals is Marvel’s biggest swing in years.
It’s an attempt at a prestige-style film directed by Chloé Zhao, fresh off her Oscar win, at a size and scale that none of Marvel’s previous films have tried.
True to the max.
But despite its grand ambitions, the film gets lost in its ponderous ideas and caught in the constraining box of what an MCU film has to be.
Strongly disagree. I think it’s one of Marvel’s best–that’s right, I didn’t stutter!!! LOL!!!
But this film will definitely test what you like about superhero movies, character studies and world mythology. I want to go see it again, but I might just digest it for while–then return on Saturday 🙂
Attention, writers: three years is a long time to write these books:
- We need a serious media studies criticism book on the film phenomenon–how and why it happened, from both popular culture and propaganda-study perspectives, detailing Disney’s very detailed plan for worldwide mind control through eye-candy. The Disney-Sony dustup over Spidey would be an excellent coda.
- We need a book about the Africanisms of the film. Here’s where you would start.
- We need at least one more book about the history of the character in the comics: the 1988 miniseries, his leadership in and of The Illuminati, The Ultimates, The New Avengers and, in 2018, The Avengers itself have yet to be explored. There is a brand-new ongoing Black Panther comic, just out tomorrow, where T’Challa forms his own SHIELD-like team. (Sadly, the team has a primate on it and Marvel’s answer to Tarzan, Ka-Zar; let’s hope Black Twitter is paying attention. 🙂 ) This is historic because it’s the first time T’Challa has had more than one ongoing comic.
- We need a book on the history of African superheroes/mythological heroes, those created by Africans versus those created by non-Africans.
“Spider-Man 2” from 2004 (the powerfully ballooned version of “Spider-Man,” vol. 1, no. 50, “Spider-Man No More”) is this writer’s gold standard of “Spider-Man” films. Although “Spider-Man: Far From Home” was extremely effective, it didn’t reach that mark. It got real close, though. Then came the first post-credit sequence. That mere two minutes blew theater-goers’ minds and blew “Home” into “Spider-Man 2” territory. It was so shocking that the film’s second post-credit sequence, a somewhat surprising one to a Marvel (Comics) Zombie and completely perplexing if one is just a Marvel movie fan, almost fell flat. Which is quite an accomplishment for Marvel, a studio that, before this film, was criticized for making movies with plots that don’t move characters forward, action without real stakes and filled with heroes who face no consequences. No more, indeed. Wow, wow, wow.
This epic is many things, among them a meditation of how powerful love, honor, duty and friendship can be, if among the right group of people. An extraordinary end–and make no mistake, it is an ending! Deserves its place among the greatest superhero films ever made, even if detractors will correctly point out that it’s the sequel to 21 films, one that mined all its predecessors to create a perfect-hits collection.
The official media material says:
Black Panther earns three Oscars. Since its inception Marvel Studios’ Black Panther has provoked and stoked a wide range of interest, and now that the blockbuster film is the recipient of three Oscars the film’s acclaim extends beyond the box office.
No, it didn’t get the top prize, but it was a barrier breaker as Ruth Carter was the first black woman to ever win in the Costume Design category; and another first for a black artist when Hannah Beachler took the trophy, which she shared with Set Decorator Jay Hart, in Production Design. Additional spice arrived when Ludwig Goransson earned an Oscar for the Best Score in a Motion Picture.
These awards and other nominations for Black Panther augurs well for populist cinema that is traditionally scorned when it comes to taking home the coveted awards, particularly an Oscar, which is Marvel’s first.
It’s a good bet the honors to Black Panther will not only boost the appreciation for populist cinema, it should also enhance the appeal of a number of products and projects such as Black Panther: A Paradigm Shift or Not? the forthcoming anthology at Third World Press, edited by Haki Madhubuti and Herb Boyd. “All of the celebration and awards for the film is nothing to thumb your nose at and we at Third World Press extend all our good wishes and hope we can do as well with our publication,” said Madhubuti, the press’s publisher and founder.
The anthology, which includes more than forty writers, film critics, scholars, and activists, has a timely appearance and should be able to reap some of the renewed media attention the film has sparked. Among the contributors are Nicole Mitchell Gantt, Jelani Cobb, Brent Staples, Abdul Alkalimat, Bobby Seale, Robyn Spencer, Diane Turner, Greg Tate, Maulana Karenga, Marita Golden, and Molefi Keta Asante, et al.
As may be discerned from the contributors the anthology is a compilation of mixed views and opinions―with both praise and a critique of the film. “The film has aroused a variety of conclusions, a wellspring of differences that we felt compelled to give them a forum,” said Boyd. “Like the film, the views expressed in the book are often very provocative.”
This is the movie that “Green Lantern” should have been. Very serviceable, and a good origin story–more for NICK FURY and SHIELD than the lead. All involved struggle against the worn out superhero-origin-story format, and succeed perhaps to the limit they can. Only for the most Marvel hardcore–and/or for cat and Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg lovers. 😉