Welcome to the first Snooty Ushers collaboration. From time to time, we will be taking a topic of mutual interest and giving our thoughts and opinions, all on the same post. With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, and with us all having seen it at give or take the same time, it seemed a good place to start.
So, here are The Snooty Ushers On…The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Favourite Film of The Series So Far.
Dave: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Anthony and Joe Russo, 2014)
This was a tough one for me as there have been so many great moments that make up the series so far. Iron Man, started it all and set the tone for the series to come, Thor was also great fun and was probably the highlight of Phase 1. Avengers Assemble, was something special too, it was the culmination of nearly 4 years of planning, Guardians of The Galaxy, was probably the biggest surprise and the most fun, but I would have to go with Captain America: The Winter Soldierer. This, for me at least, ticked all the boxes. It was a great action movie, but at its heart it was an espionage film, harking back to films like Three Days of The Condor, having Robert Redford in there was a nice touch too.
Dan: Guardians of The Galaxy (Dir, James Gunn, 2014)
It seems a generic choice with its popularity not just in film but in modern culture but this is a truly special film. I’ve been following James Gunn’s work for a while, with ‘Super‘ & ‘Slither‘ both great genre films, and Guardians is a case of getting all of the ingredients right. To be honest this is the breath of fresh air that the Science Fiction genre needs and shows that if you get it right then people will come and see it. The humour in the film is unique in that each character uses a different type of comedy and it doesn’t clash. The aesthetics of the film is beautiful, the collaborative acting is just a pleasure to watch, hero & villain alike, its pacing is great and it has a perfect combination of fun and action. As far as the Summer Blockbuster genre (it might as well be a genre) goes this is Top 5 easy. A film that potentially sets a trend for a generation, just like Jurassic Park, Transformers and Terminator 2 before it. Guardians of the Galaxy is a film that the majority of people can have a good chat about.
James: Guardians of The Galaxy (Dir, James Gunn, 2014)
Such a fun film, and so many likable, interesting characters. I knew nothing about Guardians of The Galaxy going in (in fact, outside of some cartoons, I knew nothing about any of the Marvel films, not being a comic booker reader) but I really, really enjoyed this. A sparkling script, the female characters that could be the best in all of the MCU, and Chris Pratt’s performance – and Dave’s recommendation – also lead to me discovering comedy series Parks and Recreation. Another big plus!
Welshy: Avengers Assemble (Dir, Joss Whedon, 2012)
This is an easy choice for me. They said it couldn’t be done, they said it wouldn’t work, they couldn’t have been more wrong. Joss Whedon, after honing his skills on Buffy, Angel and Firefly etc. sailed through the direction of this type of ensemble movie. It was a massive risk on the part of Marvel but they built it and marketed it perfectly. The story is very simple at the core but it is told in such a way that makes me tickle in my inner parts…
Dave: Captain America/Steve Rogers
This was a tough call between Cap and Iron Man, but Cap just shaded it. I love the idea of a man totally out of time adapting to the modern world. As much as I love Iron Man, he is a bit of a smart arse, where as Cap is much more level-headed and grounded. Maybe it is the manager in me, but I respect the guy in charge :). The moment in Avergers Assemble where Stark defers to Captain America’s leadership is a stand out moment in the series for me. Not only is he a powerful and capable hero in his own right, he is the leader of the Avengers and that is impressive in anyones book.
This is possibly the toughest choice for me, the characteristics that I enjoy about Loki are evident with other characters as well. Tony Stark is an incredibly close second but I decided to go with a villain. Maybe its my penchant for Horror films that makes me enjoy villains more, but many times they offer the character with the most depth.
Loki stands out to me because he came out of no where, and Tom Hiddlestone’s portrayal of him has put the character on the map. Despite being a sly, manipulative, back stabbing so and so, he’s witty, intelligent and doesn’t (for the most part) go about his evil plan through brute force like most villains. The character was also the perfect foil for the heroes in Avengers Assemble to let them showcase their talents. Good villains provide purpose/goals for the hero, brilliant villains elevate everything.
James: Tony Stark
Seriously, the guy is THE coolest character in the entire universe. Maybe after 4 films we are over-exposed to him, but the “genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist” from Avengers Assemble line sums up why Stark, rather than Iron Man, is my favourite character.
And there’s “The truth is… I am Iron Man”
Remember how cool that was? That one line at the end of Iron Man really kicked off the series for me, even more so than Nick Fury turning up in the post-credit scene. It caps a fantastic film and do we really remember how great the Robert Downey Jnr comeback was? He got fired from Ally McBeal, he got second billing in Gothika! And here he was, leading man in a Hollywood blockbuster.
Bruce Banner/Hulk s a really interesting character for an ensemble piece especially given the dichotomy between the man and the monster. He is a real asset in either form but this can also change in a millisecond. We have seen both in The Incredible Hulk (2008) and The Avengers (2012) He is not an out-and-out superhero like Cap or Iron man but through his ‘talents’ (green or otherwise) is pulled into the fight and is more than capable of holding his own.
Most Anticipated Film
Dave: Guardians of The Galaxy 2
I remember when I was younger and had just started collecting comics, my wee brother for some reason had bought some Guardians of The Galaxy books, it was not good. When I heard the film was coming out, I couldn’t believe it. The film was great though, while the MCU to that point had been grounded in some kind of reality (as much reality as you can get in a superhero film), this opened up a larger world, or indeed universe and opened the door to some major possible story arcs. I, for one, can not wait for the further adventures of Star Lord and Co
Dan: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Again it feels generic as an answer but I loved the first one so much that I can’t wait to get back into the world the first film masterfully crafted. Though Horror is my foremost favourite genre, Science Fiction/Fantasy has been just as close to my heart thanks to the franchises of ‘Star Wars‘ & ‘Alien‘. As a result if you place this genre alongside the Super Hero one then I am opting for Sci-Fi. As it stands I don’t know enough about ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Doctor Strange’ to get excited, the production troubles of ‘Ant-Man’ has me hesitant and ‘Infinity Wars‘ it too far away. GOTG 2 aside, Captain America: Civil War intrigues me most, simply because that Civil War story arc is such big a shift in the universe, how they pull it off in the confines of one Captain America film is mind-boggling. Especially after the lack of animosity between Steve Rogers & Tony Stark in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘.
James: Thor: Ragnarok
Ragnarok is the Norse end of the world myth (kinda), that leads to the deaths of most of the major figures in Norse mythology. For me, that’s enough to get me excited, the one issue I have with the MCU is that contract and business reasons mean that there is no real threat to the major characters. We know Iron Man will survive the attack at the end of Iron Man 2, because Robert Downey Jnr is important to the ongoing franchise, rather than because Tony Stark should survive. Like I said, I have no idea how the actual comic book arc plays out, but using the name Ragnarok surely must mean some peril?
This is my Comic Nerd showing. Iron Fist and Luke Cage are two of my favourite heroes. I cannot wait to see them on-screen fighting together. I am a big fan of the Marvel Knights ‘Street Heroes’ even though they fight Ninja’s, super powered cults as well as slumlords and gangsters. They are building the team like they did with avengers and I personally am bursting at the seems to see what happens. Also Spiderman has a very close relationship with Daredevil and Cage sooooooo…
Best Post Credit Scene
Dave: The Incredible Hulk – Stark’s Cameo “we’re putting a team together”
Technically, this wasnt really post credit, but it was supposed to be. I think The Incredible Hulk, gets over looked in the MCU, I guess mainly due to Edward Norton deciding not to continue. I thought it was great and having Stark pop up at the end really cemented that these films were part of something bigger.
Dan: Iron Man 2 – Thor’s Hammer
I’m seemingly in the minority with enjoying Iron Man 2 so maybe I was just on a high after watching it, but despite two previous post credit scenes pointing towards the Avengers becoming a reality, it was this clip that sealed it for me. Confirmation that we were going to have a film about Thor, a Norse god, mythical lands, fantastical powers, the first potential big departure from the other earth set heroes. It was a big next step and it paid off.
James: Guardians of The Galaxy – Howard The Duck
Howard the Duck turning up in this really showed me that you should expect everything and anything from the MCU. And I thought The Collector was underused, so that was a bonus little clip of him.
Welshy: Iron Man – Sam Jackson’s Fury, turning up to introduce the initiative.
This is my favourite scene because it was the scene that started it all, it was originally just to see how people would react of the idea of the Avengers. The MCU was still rumoured and only a glint in Feige’s eye. As both a film and comic fan this was Nirvana.