Remember how I used to go to the movies all the time? And how much that has dropped off? I wish I could say it was when the Boy and I moved in together and there were kids to worry about, but that’s not right. And even when we moved into our house and had them EVEN MORE of the time, I still managed to do things on our non-child days like, stopping at the movies after work on a Friday to see Captain America: Civil War. And seeing Captain America or a similar superhero movie was very typical for me. I love the Marvel Universe, and so made a point of seeing as many of the movies in it as possible. There were a few I missed out on (the Hulk movie from 2008? Ant Man), but I was generally with it when it came to my Stan-Lee-associated superheroes. But sometime in I’m thinking late 2016, everything went down the tubes, and not only did I stop seeing Marvel movies, I just hadn’t been to a movie in a while, period. It made things challenging for my annual Oscar-watch, and made the Oscars party I usually hosted sort of pointless (I care about these movies because…?).
Anyways, there were still a bunch of Marvel movies that I was interested in seeing, but just never really had time, and so while I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve tried to play a little catch up. Sure, I wasn’t going to be able to see Black Panther (because I wasn’t able to see it in theaters, and it’s not quite on the premium cable channels yet, and wasn’t even VOD when I first made this plan), but I would be able to catch up with a LOT of the movies. And since I would have the opportunity to see the new Avengers movie in theaters (more on that in a moment), I wanted to make this as big of a catch-up as possible.
First up was Doctor Strange. This was perhaps one of the trippiest super-hero movies I’ve ever seen. Doctor Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme, and yes, this is a movie about magic as a super-power. Benedict Cumberbatch does a not completely terrible American accent that still makes me laugh because it is so flat. The movie itself was a visual treat, even if I never really connected to any of the emotional points of the film. But I liked the idea of spell casting as partially a physical movement thing, when so much of the time we see it as merely verbal. There were also some good jokes surrounding the whole “portal creation” thing, which reminded me of the Portal video game and THOSE jokes, and those are thoroughly enjoyable.
After watching this particular movie, I sort of didn’t watch movies for a while (which is not the fault of Doctor Strange – I just got sucked into different stuff!). And then I happened to see that the Avengers movie had opened and that there was a showing for parents with kids (again – more on that in a moment) happening soon, and I thought, I need to take advantage of this while I can. So I looked to see what other Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies were available that I hadn’t yet seen, and I came up with two more that were still high on my list. First was Thor: Ragnarok. I had seen the synth-heavy 80s-themed trailer for it, and thought it seemed really fun and funny, and had heard wonderful things, but just never made it to the theater. But the only way to watch it was a $5 VOD purchase through…someone. And I agonized about that, because I am a cheap, cheap lady. And after letting me agonize for a moment, the Boy said, “If we were to see this in the theater, we would pay at LEAST $5 each, AND at this point we’d have to get a babysitter, and food, so $5 total to enjoy it in the comfort of our home is NOTHING.” Thank goodness for the Boy, helping me see reason. And despite not being a big superhero-movie fan himself, it turned out he thoroughly enjoyed this one! I think it helps that there is some awesome music in Ragnarok, and also that it’s so funny, and still references a lot of the Norse mythology, which the Boy likes. Definitely a lot of fun, and worth our time and $5 to watch.
After Thor, I realized that I had time for at least one more MCU movie before I headed out to the theater, and so I decided to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. If I’m being honest, I didn’t pay as close enough attention to the whys and wherefores that happened in this movie. But I can say that it delivered on the promise of being funny like it’s franchise is meant to be, and that it had some awesome 80s music to go with it (can you tell that I’m biased towards 80s pop and rock?). In fact, the opening credits are some of the more amusing credits I’ve seen in a long time. (This version is them, but dubbed in Portuguese, which isn’t very important). And while there were a couple characters added, and others killed off, I didn’t feel like this movie was super important to the MCU canon, but I did enjoy myself, so it was worth watching.
And finally we get to Avengers. I’ve hinted that I saw this in theaters in a for-parents screening, so let me explain that. The Angelika Film Center near us does an awesome thing. Every Monday at 11 am, they have Crybaby Matinee, which is a showing of a newly released movie that is geared towards parents with children – the kind of people who might not normally be able to get out of the house for a movie. The showing is actively advertised towards parents with kids, so no one will be disturbed if your kiddo decides to scream and you have to duck out of the theater. If your little one decides to run around, you can move through the theater chasing him (like one parent did in our showing). If you need to feed your baby, go ahead. All very accommodating, which is awesome.
So that day that I went, the movie was the Avengers: Infinity War. I felt slightly better prepared for it than I would have if I hadn’t seen any of the above movies. Doctor Strange was a key figure, so not having seen that movie would have felt like I was missing something, and there were things that happened at the very end of Thor: Ragnarok that would have been confusing if I hadn’t known about them since they are in the first scenes of this movie. Guardians 2 … was not as necessary to have seen. The only movies I felt like I really could have seen to complete my understanding of what was going on were Black Panther (but as I explained above, that wasn’t really possible), and Spiderman: Homecoming. And since Black Panther was such a phenomenon, I was familiar with the basic ideas and characters even if I didn’t know the full details about them and their personalities.
But ouch – this movie is BRUTAL. There are a significant number of character deaths, and it will be interesting to see how many of them stick. Because the MCU is basically one giant soap opera using superheroes as stand-ins. There will be a lot of emotional reckoning, and trying to figure out how to make things right in the next one. That’s right, the next one, because it turns out this is only part 1 of a massive “get all the superheros together” movie. Avengers 4 is slated to come out next May, and I’m looking forward to it. Do I think I’ll actually get to see it in theaters? Who knows. But even if I have to wait a couple months for that one to come on demand as well, it should be fun, and in the mean time, I’ve got a few more superhero movies to catch up on.