Hey, VICE: All Art Is Collaborative Content

Okay, okay, I read VICE’s article, “The Marvel Cinematic Universe Is Not Art,” today. I mean, the title is clearly clickbait, and the whole article itself is a lot of gatekeeping. And it draws an elitist line between “art” and “content” without really telling us what art should be. It reads like the screed of an angry 40-something guy who really wanted to insult the MCU and everyone who’s ever watched one of its films. And looking at the author Patrick Marlborough’s Twitter page, it seems like he is an angry 40-something guy who wants us all to leave the MCU and Star Wars behind and…watch Mad Men? Uh, okay, Patrick.

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Multiverse of Madness: What the Hell, Sam Raimi?!

SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Doctor Strange, and What If…?.

Yes, I know I still need to react to the finale of Moon Knight, but I need to talk about Multiverse of Madness first. While it’s not exactly a bad film, it’s not Character First (a phrase that Kevin Feige has said before) like MCU films usually are. Instead, the concept and the images came first, so this film felt extremely shallow compared to other recent MCU efforts. My sister said MoM is basically the Cars 2 of the MCU. And she’s right.

See, when I heard that Sam Raimi was directing this film, I was hoping we’d get Spider-Man Sam Raimi. He created the model for the 21st century superhero film. But instead, we got Evil Dead and Army of Darkness Sam Raimi, who prefers to have shallow character development that supports his pulpy horror story and images. We also got Spider-Man 3 Sam Raimi, who wants to do as many things as possible in one film and ends up barely scratching the surface of the concepts he’s trying to tackle.

So much potential that was so, so wasted.
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Moon Knight, Ep. 5: Character Study, Ahoy!

MAJOR SPOILERS for Moon Knight Episode 5, “Asylum.”

CONTENT WARNING: This post discusses the trauma and abuse featured in this episode.

Wow, okay. This episode. THIS EPISODE. See, the reason that I love Moon Knight is that it’s a superhero show that isn’t really about being a superhero. It’s about a person with mental illness struggling to get through life and figure out what’s happening to them. The superhero genre is just a backdrop for all that. The story is really intriguing, but not in the usual, plot-ish way. This is a story about a person, a character. No, not all the things with the Ammit cult and the Ennead are going to make sense, but they’re not here to make logical sense. They’re here to facilitate Marc and Steven’s personal journey together.

Here are my reactions for this very intense episode:

Steven and Marc are just out here, staring into your souls.
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Moon Knight, Ep. 3: Let’s Have a Random Solar Eclipse

SPOILERS for Moon Knight Episode 3, “The Friendly Type.”

Alright, the story’s moving forward. And as always, I have thoughts and feeling about it. If you haven’t read my other two reactions to Moon Knight, please expect personal reactions and not any predictions for future episodes. I prefer to let the story unfold rather than predicting that something has to happen. Anyway, here’s how I feel about the third episode of Moon Knight:

We’re gonna party like it’s…the Middle Kingdom, I think?
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Moon Knight, Ep. 2: We Don’t Talk About Khonshu

SPOILERS for Moon Knight Episode 2, “Summon the Suit.”

We don’t talk about Khonshu-u-u-u!!! WE DON’T TALK ABOUT KHONSHU!!!!!

(Thirteen-foot frame, moonlight on his back, when he calls your name, it all fades to black…)

Okay, I didn’t think I was going to do another reaction post about Moon Knight, but here we are. I have more reactions and thoughts. So let’s get into them!

Marvel asks the question: What if Batman…had MORE mental problems? And was way less predictable?
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Moon Knight: I Just Really Need To Write Down My Thoughts

SPOILERS for Episode 1 of Moon Knight, “The Goldfish Problem.”

Well, the first episode of Moon Knight was an experience. And I mean that in the best way possible. It’s a bit darker than the usual MCU fare, but not as grim as Marvel’s recent Netflix shows. It’s trippy, but not so nutty that general audience members can’t follow it. And it’s just so much fun.

Since we only have one episode so far, I’m going to put my thoughts down here in list form because I don’t really have one theme or character to write about more fully yet.

There’s just a whole lot going on here.
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Captain Marvel: Why Carol Doesn’t Need to Fight Yon-Rogg One-On-One

SPOILERS for Captain Marvel. ALL OF THE SPOILERS.

My brother told me recently that some people on the internet believe that Carol Danvers should fight Yon-Rogg at the end of Captain Marvel. When he told me that, my immediate reaction was “NOPE. NOPENOPENOPE.”

Why did I react so negatively to that idea? Because Carol fighting Yon-Rogg (the man who manipulated and gaslit her for six years) one-on-one would completely defeat one of the movie’s major points.

And what is that point? That Carol doesn’t have to conform to Yon-Rogg’s rules or standards. She makes her rules and her own decisions. She will no longer deal with his or anyone else’s gaslighting.

Resolving Carol’s story with a one-on-one fight with her supposed mentor would only conform to straight white fanboys’ expectations for how heroes’ origin stories must resolve. But Captain Marvel is a movie that actively defies their expectations, which part of the reason that those members of the MCU fandom don’t like this movie very much. Let’s break down why Carol’s refusal to fight Yon-Rogg one-on-one is the right decision for this narrative’s conclusion.

This image can be summed up as “Woman stands between her new friend and her abuser.”
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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Why We Hate John Walker So Much

SPOILERS for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier through Episode 4, “The World is Watching.”

Note: When I talk about how much we hate John Walker and why, I’m talking about the character, not his actor, Wyatt Russell. Some people online cannot distinguish between character and actor in this case. Please don’t attack Wyatt Russell as a person.

Okay, if there’s one MCU character we all despise right now, it’s John Walker, the Captain America impostor on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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WandaVision: Why Wanda Maximoff Shouldn’t Be Punished

SPOILERS for WandaVision. And everything in the MCU that relates to Wanda Maximoff.

CONTENT WARNING: This post has mentions of verbal and sexual abuse and women’s trauma in general.

WandaVision was a fun, fascinating ride, and I enjoyed every minute of it, even the emotionally tough bits. I loved everything about it: the sitcom parodies and references, the cast’s performances and chemistry, the balance of comedy and drama, all of it. I felt a little let down by the final episode, but finales are hard to nail, especially when you build up a show as much as this show was built up week after week. Overall, it’s a great show.

My favorite part of the show, though, is Wanda Maximoff herself. Elizabeth Olsen gives a fantastic performance, of course, and that’s part of why I love Wanda so much. But Wanda’s whole journey through her grief and trauma resonated with me a lot on a personal level.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Wanda Maximoff, the Strongest Avenger
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