MCU Phase 4 Discussion

Maybe that’s my personal bias (and relative lack of Marvel knowledge) speaking, but becoming US Agent felt more like establishing a new antagonist to me? His new sponsor is shady af, at best I predict him becoming the kind of “hero” that the protagonists strongly disagree with.

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Sure, but I’m talking more from an in-universe perspective. To us viewers, Contessa Valentina Allegra “Val” de Fontaine is obviously shady, probably neo-Hydra, and John Walker is being sold a convenient line about getting to be “the hero really needs” as “USAgent”, which he really wants to believe and so isn’t questioning… but in universe, John Walker, days after being “less than honourably” discharged from the US Army, and having all his stuff - including that Captain America kit - confiscated, and reduced to civilian status… is apparently allowed to turn up and help the “good guys” against the Flag Smashers, with barely a comment from either Sam or Bucky, and leave at the end without anyone asking any questions. . It’s not even a Sharon Carter pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes as Power Broker situation - he’s legit supposed to be persona-non-grata, the guy who messily killed a guy on foreign soil and still has anger management issues that he only just manages to control even when he’s “being redeemed”… and yet he mostly just gets a pass

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This was one of my big issues with the finale: John Walker as Captain America violently murdered a dude in front of the entire world and we’re just letting him quip it up with Bucky? Meanwhile the not-explicitly-left-but-definitely-left-coded faction gets blown up just because they need something for rando Zemo to have done? I…had some problems with this one. Anthony Mackie is great and this wouldn’t have worked at all without him but I think WandaVision >>>>> F&WS

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I so badly wanted Isaiah to be like:

”That’s all? Just a statue? This country makes me sick”

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I feel like Falcon and Winter Soldier is three different three-hour film scripts cut down to make a six-hour TV show. None of them feel complete, but you can see elements of how each of them would be good.

There’s a film where Sam deals with Steve’s legacy, including the ones who get away like Batroc or whoever, the people he fucked over like Sharon, the way his image is continued by Walker. There’s a film that deals with the issues Isaiah Bradley brings up, with War Machine in a bigger role and with Karli having a more defined ideology and the Wakandans and Sam interacting. And there’s a buddy comedy where Sam, Bucky, and Zemo are getting into shenanigans keeping the Super Soldier serum from becoming a problem.

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The series continued to be politically rancid to the very end. There’s a reason that John Walker gets to be a fun anti hero and the Flag Smashers get to die. Violent US imperialism is unsightly, sure, But that act is far more palatable and reasonable than left coded violence perpetuated by the flag smashers, and it really shows. Turns out libs much more amendable to fash than the left, hm funny that.

And that perfectly also dovetails with the also awfully done plot of Isaiah talking about race. Because Isaiah was never wrong about anything, no America wouldn’t accept a black captain America, to then have that whole plot wrapped up in a do better speech and a museum exhibit, man what a fucking west wing ass resolution. The fact that the show running explicity bring up America’s racist core explicitly so that the fucking Walt Disney Corp can yes but America’s systemic racism with “but we are making captain America black, Isaiah isn’t right” as customary paltry representation is a cure all. Absolute shit

Show sucks, deeply deeply sucks. It was also just boring. There was a good series in there, but it was never going to be made

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This is also why I just can’t get over the fact that Zemo is a Nazi in the comics, and this show ends with ‘oh that Zemo, killing a bunch of anarchists, that wily son of a gun’. Like… I get he’s not a Nazi in the MCU, but at the end of the day, Disney took a Nazi and made him a sympathetic, comic relief guy who murders what’s left of the anarchist-in-the-comics movement. It’s honestly evil.

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I’m a big ol’ softy. I cried. Despite all of my issues with the MCU, this trailer made me realize that it’s been part of what I like to do with my free time for so long that new MCU movies are bound up tightly with my definition of what “normal” looks like.

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Sorry for the double-post; I just saw this on Twitter and it neatly encapsulated everything we’ve been talking about in this thread re: F&WS so I thought I’d share

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Resurrecting this thread to talk about Loki, a TV show that proves that someone over at Marvel understands what makes Control work

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God damn it, does that mean I need to start caring about MCU stuff again?

Depending on where you got off the train, and if you have a Disney+ subscription (or have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes a free month), it might not hurt to check out the pilot and see if I’m not completely misjudging it.

TBH, I think it’s too early to tell if Loki really understands that, or if it’s just going to go off into the usual MCU weeds by episode 4… after all, look at WandaVision’s ending.

Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson really do play off each other well, though

Aesthetically, I think it does, but as you say it remains to be seen. Regarding your last point, though, may I present

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Watched the first ep and was pulled all the way in. Great stuff. The TVA’s aesthetic out the window really reminded me of the short story The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges, a conceit of occupied space that I’m fairly obsessed with.

As for concerns of it going off the rails, maybe? But honestly I was really impressed that it seemed more concerned w/ characterization than weirdy-warpy timelines, which gives me hope that if this is how they introduce the show, it’s what they’re mainly interested in portraying. The AV Club’s review of the first ep articulates this well IMO.

As much of a lover of that aesthetic as I am, I think it’s by far a better call to ground the show in just how interesting and complex Loki as a character has always been (and how amazing of a portrayal Hiddleston does), and rarely given the screentime to show for it.

Also, the D.B. Cooper fakeout is the kind of tongue-in-cheek self-aware manipulation of hype advertising that I will always get behind.

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This show does remind me how much it sucks that Loki had to die to job for Thanos. Thanos was boring crap.

Bring back Hela too. Loki & Hela have a roadtrip through the stars causing mischief and doing crimes.

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Sure, I will definitely say that it’s a credit to his performance and nuance that the “therapy” angle of the episode actually works. although you always did get the impression that at least some of Loki’s more sadistic acts were because he felt he needed to make a show, rather than because he enjoyed it

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Yes, absolutely. This is part of what the difficulty doing this series entails; Loki has been used as a plot device for a half-dozen different roles for over a decade by directors with very, very different ideas of what to use them for. Hiddleston has remarked on the interesting difficulty of playing a Loki before all this other stuff happened, and the show is very aware of this too.

I appreciate that they not only acknowledge that conceit, but that it’s the driving engine behind what’s fucked with the TVA; there’s a sacred timeline that says he’s only ever been useful as a literal plot device in other heroes’ stories; even the Avengers playing god with the timeline is acknowledged as having been approved by the literal gods, which seems divinely unfair.

Loki isn’t afforded that freedom. The gods do not smile down on them.. The first episode asks, how does Loki take that? Do they break free? Consign themselves to the role?

I often think about the postmodern theme of protagonist v. the author when it comes to ingrained narrative approval/disapproval of agency within the story manifested as the will of gods/godlike beings, but seeing as this post is getting long I won’t elaborate : P

So yeah, I’m curious to see where they take it. If you ask me, I think that this is the strongest start of any of these Disney shows!

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I’m more confident in that Loki will keep being good than I was with WandaVision, since that show had a gimmick that it was likely to move away from at a certain point (which it ended up doing). With Loki it feels more like the first episode is actually indicative of the rest of the show.

Of course it wouldn’t surprise me if it eventually turns into a big spectacle thing again, but even so it feels like that can be done in Loki with it also still keeping the tone and aesthetics that make the first episode so good.

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I get more of a vibe from Tom Hiddleston that he genuinely enjoys playing Loki than lots of other superhero stars. It’s not that those other actors are bad, per se, but the difference between someone who is acting the way I suddenly get better at my job when my boss drops a raise and someone acting because they’re genuinely having a good time is palpable. Even if it does Marvel out toward the end, it’ll be Tom Hiddleston hamming it up all the way down.

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