Captain Marvel Reminds Us the MCU Is Still a Thing

Captain Marvel is an okay entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It does a good job of reminding us it is part of this universe more than it tells us about Captain Marvel.

BEWARE! SPOILERS!

Before the movie released, people were complaining about the actress. The problem with Captain Marvel has less to do with acting/actress and more to do with overall story/plot. It feels like an obvious piece of the larger MCU more than a standalone movie. It is a bridge between Avengers 3 & 4, the character having been “introduced” in 3’s credit scene, and it contains more than enough components that are best understood if you’ve seen enough of the 20 other films. (I haven’t seen them all.) While it’s building this connection to the rest of the universe, not a whole lot more is known about the character by the end of the movie than at/near the beginning.

I get these movies are all part of one universe, but a self-contained story on its characters is doable (see: Black Panther, Ant-Man, or Guardians of the Galaxy), especially if it’s an origin story. However, Captain Marvel doesn’t spend enough time explaining/developing certain plot points without moving on, but it repeatedly lets the viewer know it’s part of the MCU, serving as a reminder all these movies are somehow connected. This includes, but is not limited to, having a major character from a “future” movie playing a minimal roles in this movie (Ronan) and revealing Cap’s powers originated from the Tesseract (because why not). We even see how Nick Fury loses his eye (“Cat Scratch Fever”? Seriously? Why?) and comes up with the name for Avengers Initiative… bits that are minor to the movie and maybe minor to the overall MCU. Seriously, if we never found out exactly how he lost/injured his eye or decided on Avengers Initiative, there would be no impact on the bigger picture. Maybe the only thing that had significance was how he got the pager, since it was the key to the lock.

On the other hand, there are certain elements of this movie left unexplained or that felt unnecessary. How/why did Carol lose her memory after she gets her powers? (Other than we get to learn as she learns through chopped memory sequences, making her origin story Bourne Identity meets Luke Cage)*. Why did Dr. Lawson/Mar-Vell change sides? The first half of the movie spends so much time focused on finding her to advance the plot, but then we learn she’s not really fighting with the Kree. Or is she? Was she fighting against her people the whole time? Did she learn something that made her switch sides?  All we get is “here’s a disc so you’ll stop attacking us” and blind acceptance to what the Skrull leader says. This could’ve been resolved by the hidden Skrull revealing in a few lines why she hadn’t been working with the Kree, but by then it’s forgotten.

I mentioned the cat, which was basically a plot device, showing up inexplicably in multiple scenes until the one scene it’s revealed the cat is not really a cat. Instead it’s really a tentacle-mouthed creature that can eat the Tesseract, the MCU MacGuffin that can’t be touched by human hands. (For the uninitiated like me, Google explains this “cat” is something called a flerken… I think it’s Kree/Skrull for “plot device.”) I suspected early on it wasn’t just a cat, since it did keep showing up, so the reveal was bizarre but anticlimactic, as if they just needed to wrap up the story and relocate the Tesseract for “future” MCU purposes. (End credit scene shows it coughed up, conveniently tying up another loose end.) Then the cat suddenly scratches Nick Fury, just so we can have an answer to how he got his eye messed up… was it surgically removed after this? It was just a scratch, right? Not a clawing out? Why did it even turn on him?

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate this movie, but there was nothing that particularly stood out to make this movie its own story apart from being a part of the MCU. Since it is less of a straightforward narrative and more of choppily digging through memories (Carol’s and the MCU’s), it’s difficult to get a sense of who the character is or why I should care. As someone who knows little about the character, I would’ve liked to learn something about her that makes her who she is and not just another cog in the machine. It seemed more of a CliffsNotes version of Captain Marvel’s power (and maybe Nick Fury) to set up the next MCU domino than much of anything else. I didn’t know what to expect from the movie going in (other than 90s nostalgia from the trailers). I mainly went to see it because of its place between the Avengers 3 & 4, but I thought this would tell me something about the character. However, I feel as if I could probably watch the next installment without having watched this one and not have missed anything important. I guess we’ll see if there was any payoff when Avengers 4 rolls out next month.

*Forgetful character trying to remember. Flashback reveals overdose of power source leading to invulnerability.

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Christmas Movies Summed Up in Four Lines of Poetry

A time for laughter
A time for fun
Time to ask Santa
For a new BB gun.


If your family doesn’t know
That you’re left alone
Do your best to protect
From burglars your home.


Way up in Vermont
Where snow is so white
Yet it’s not seen at all
Until the last sight


A toy super cool
Was promised to get
Many antics so crazy
And Sinbad were met


His wish was granted
He hadn’t been born
But life without him
Was truly forlorn


Past, present, and future
The one thing that stays
People won’t miss you
If you don’t change your ways


Try to steal Christmas
You won’t get away
‘Cause your heart will increase
To three sizes that day


Came face-to-face
With the man in suit red
You take his place
Since you made him dead.


Born as a human
Yet raised as an elf
Went to find his family
Met Zooey Deschanel


Santa’s not real!
Why won’t you quit?
That man’s just a bum
He’s an alcoholic.


A sad little tree
Made new by some friends
The true message of Christmas
You’ll hear by the end


His mama’s so sick
She’s gonna die
If only these shoes
You’d help him to buy

Donald Trump Vows to Build Fourth Wall, Make Audience Pay for It

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HOLLYWOOD, CA – After a recent tour of Universal Studios, Donald Trump told his supporters at a press conference, “It’s a disgrace in there. Every stage I saw has only three walls. I love Hollywood, but that’s no way to run a business. You can’t run a business with missing walls.” Trump was informed that stages have traditionally been made without the extra wall, but they are usually understood as being there by everyone involved.

After hearing that it allows audiences to see what goes on and sometimes interact with the actors, Trump replied that audiences don’t need to know what’s going on. “What happens on stage is nobody else’s business. Actors don’t need audiences. You get an audience in there, and members start sneaking over stage borders. They’re really notorious for stealing actors’ lines and scenes. You can’t trust audiences. When I’m elected president, every stage in Hollywood is gonna have a fourth wall, and you know who’s gonna pay for it? The audience. We’re gonna make theater great again.”

He was informed by a reporter that stages have been designed this way since the ancient Greeks, to which he responded, “If I had been around in ancient Greece, I would’ve built stages with four or five walls. Yeah, five walls. Huge walls! The Chinese got it right with their Great Wall. No wonder Greece was conquered by the Russians.”

As Donald Trump finished his press conference, many in the crowd could be heard chanting, “Make theater great again.”

Donald Trump later denied ever having heard of Universal Studios.

Star Wars: The Force Remakens

Or “A New Hype”

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The Force

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Han Solo

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This is a line

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I’m a doctor, not a spoiler

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Did I mention spoilers?

I’ve seen some of the Star Wars movies, but I’m not exactly a big fan of the franchise. I recently had the chance to view the latest movie in the series with someone else who is a fan, yet the question I’m wondering is which movie did I actually see? People have been so excited with this latest installment in the franchise. People are so enamored with it, some willing to shell out money for multiple viewings, but I have to ask if anyone else realizes it’s not really that new. We’ve seen these plot points before in other Star Wars movies. If I, a non-fan, can see these glaring similarities, surely someone else who isn’t too awestruck by nostalgia can catch them too.

The new Star Wars movie started out so familiar, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to see something new as the film got going. Near the beginning of A New Hope The Force Awakens, Stormtroopers show up with Darth Vader Kylo Ren, shooting up the place, looking for some plans a map. We meet Princess Leia Poe Dameron, who puts said plans map into droid R2-D2 BB-8 with the intention of being viewed by Obi-Wan Kenobi the Resistance. R2-D2 BB-8 is sent off in another direction from the battle scene. Meanwhile, Leia Poe is taken as a prisoner aboard the enemy’s ship, but is soon freed by someone in a Stormtrooper uniform. Eventually Darth Kylo will go looking for BB-D2, who gets captured on a desert planet and is found by Luke Skywalker Rey Noname, whose parents aren’t introduced to us. (We’re just waiting for Luke to say, “I am your father.”)

Fast forward… Did you see that trench spaceship run to bring down the sphere of doom (the one that destroys planets) and those shield generators on the nearby planet? What about the old man being killed by the lead villain while the young Jedi looks on helplessly?  Oh, did you catch the nearly-dead bad guy being left for the behind-the-scenes villain to pick up? (That chasm was a mighty convenient way to keep our intrepid villain around for the sequel.)

Other predictability/convenience points: Millennium Falcon’s introduction (saw that coming the first time she said “garbage”), Finn was not dragged off by that creature, even though everyone else was quickly devoured (good job, Captain Heroesdonotdie).

Way to go, J.J. Lucas. You proved that rehashing old material and strapping the name “Star Wars” still sells millions.