We Do This Together: What’s at stake in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , on May 7, 2015 by Sarah


Every time a Marvel movie comes out, someone inevitably complains about the “low stakes”, saying that because we know what movies will be coming out for the next however many years, we know everyone will survive and that death in the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t really matter because no one stays dead anyway. This is true—Captain America, Agent Coulson, Groot, Bucky Barnes, Nick Fury, and Pepper Potts have all had fake-out deaths. And before Avengers: Age of Ultron even hit theaters, we knew that Hawkeye would be appearing in next year’s Captain America: Civil War, so despite rumors that circulated for years, we knew Hawkeye would not die in Ultron. Even Pietro Maximoff’s late death in Ultron has an air of impermanence about it, simply because everyone else has come back to life at some point. Why not him? We know Joss Whedon would prefer that he stay dead, but who says Marvel will honor Whedon’s wishes?


LOL no.

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Welcome to Fear: Legacy and Extraordinary Power in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on May 6, 2015 by Sarah


When comparing The Avengers to its follow up, Avengers: Age of Ultron, I have described Ultron as more “thematic”. The Avengers is super fun but it’s not really about anything other than being fun, but Ultron actually has some creative and narrative aims that give it some heft in the comic book genre. Narrative and character threads that have been unspooling for the ten previous movies come to bear in Ultron, and then they spin out in new directions, setting up events to come not by dropping irrelevant Easter eggs but by shifting the landscape around the Avengers in such a way that there can’t help but be consequences down the line. Ultron expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe in ways that will change it forever—not for nothing is next year’s marquee Marvel title Captain America: Civil War.


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Chop and Change: The Shifting Nature of Natasha Romanov

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on May 5, 2015 by Sarah


The most prominent female superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow, has made appearances in four movies over six years: Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and now Avengers: Age of Ultron. This forces us to take Natasha not as different iterations of a character but as a constantly evolving singularity. Her arc is less of an arc and more of a Rubik’s cube, with different facets aligning to reveal new elements to her character.


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Avengers: Age of Ultron, yay or nay?

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on May 4, 2015 by Sarah

Going into the opening weekend of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the thing I was most curious about was what its CinemaScore, a measure of audience satisfaction, would be. The expectations around Ultron were crushing, and after seeing the movie—which is BONKERS—I wondered if general audiences would be into its weirder, more character-driven vibe. I thought it might be a little too out there, require a little too much thought and attention, and it might be too comic book for the masses. Well, worry not, for it scored a solid A with audiences. Most everyone who saw Ultron was happy with what they got from it.


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Summer Movie Preview: May 2015

Posted in Movies, Previews with tags , , , , , on April 30, 2015 by Sarah

May 1

Avengers: Age of Ultron

If you claim you don’t know anything about this movie, I don’t believe you.

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A World On Fire: The Recurrence of Red in Marvel’s Daredevil

Posted in TV, TV Recaps with tags , , , , on April 16, 2015 by Sarah

Marvel’s Daredevil features a beautiful red opening title sequence. Red is Daredevil’s signature color, so you think the entire show would be drenched in it, but excepting the opening titles, it’s not. The color palette of the show is a base of blue and black, with highlights of sodium yellow and bilious green. Shadows are deep and stark, often creating frames like comic book cells, with what little is revealed by the stark lighting cast in sickly, sallow tones. Hell’s Kitchen is not a welcoming place—this is not Tony Stark’s sun-drenched Malibu or the gleaming, bright world of the Avengers. The streets Daredevil patrols are murky and darkness looms around the edges of the frame, obliterating what little light trickles down to the street.

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Of The People: Daredevil, the Devil, and street-level heroes

Posted in TV, TV Recaps with tags , , , on April 15, 2015 by Sarah

Now that we’ve talked about Daredevil as a television show, let’s talk about Daredevil as a person. Or rather, let’s talk about Matt Murdock, because over the course of the show we see that Matt and his vigilante alter ego are one and the same. Matt Murdock is inspired to don a mask and become a vigilante because he sees injustice and fear oppressing the good people in Hell’s Kitchen, but when he is “in character” as Daredevil, he’s no less Matt Murdock than he is when he’s arguing for justice in a court of law. Throughout the show we see Matt struggle with his conviction not to kill, and ultimately he upholds his morals, turning Wilson Fisk over to the police. Matt’s morality, and his Catholic faith, are important parts of his identity which he does not subsume in order to fight crime.

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