Thor: Ragnorok is currently in theaters, the final big release for the MCU of 2017. Having seen it the other day, I feel now is as good a time as any time give my overall thoughts on each of the MCU’s big releases from this year, Guardians Vol. 2, Spider-Man, The Defenders, and Thor. I’ll be giving my final evaluations on each of them and seeing where we are at in the MCU as we begin the home stretch to Infinity War.
Oh and my thoughts on Iron Fist haven’t changed, it still sucks. Let’s begin!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2- The follow up to the surprise hit of 2014, Guardians Vol. 2 didn’t deliver quite as fun a ride as the first outing, it managed to tell a great story with Peter a.k.a. Star Lord (Chris Pratt) meeting his father Ego (Kirk Russell) for the first time and discovering his paternal origins. Pratt continues to excel as the leader of the Guardians having some of the most emotional scenes one can imagine, especially in the finale. Kirk Russell managed to play Ego about as brilliantly as one could, especially for a character no one had any idea about and it being a damn living planet! All the other characters were fun in this edition Zoe Saldana and Gillian Jacobs playing off of each other as Gamora and Nebula respectively helped play more into the family dynamic of the movie and redemption as well, Dave Bautista continues to prove that Rock “The Dwayne” Johnson isn’t the only great wrestler turned actor in Hollywood at the moment, Vin Diesel did a fun job voicing baby Groot and Bradley Cooper was solid as Rocket once again.
The real standout in this one was Michael Rooker returning as Yondu, leader of his own group of Ravengers. His emotional as hell encounters with Slyvester Stallone’s character and apparent leader of the Ravengers, Rocket, and his goodbye to Peter really got to me and helped make this movie not as much of a fun comedy/action thrill ride but an emotional journey about the meaning of family. The only low points were some of the treatment of Mantis (the original creator wasn’t a big fan of this version of the character) and the gold people as they felt really tacked on. Other than those things, it was a worthy sequel to the first Guardians.
Spider-Man: Homecoming- The long awaited debut of Marvel’s most popular superhero happened in 2016’s Civil War, so when Homecoming was originally announced, it had hype and anticipation going for it crazy. Similar to Ant Man from 2015, Homecoming was a more grounded/smaller scales MCU outing. The fate of the world isn’t on the line nor is some magic McGuffin, it’s literally about a kid getting a sniff at a larger world and wanting to do more while also balancing his normal kid shit as well. The villain isn’t some dude who wants to rule the planet, it’s an outfit who wants to remain low profile and support their families…while dealing super illegal alien tech.
Tom Holland might be the best combination of Spider-Man and Peter Parker to ever be on film. Toby Maguire was great as nerdy ass Peter, but couldn’t quite bring the goods fully as Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield was excellent as the trash talking/ass kicking Spidey, but wasn’t quite awkward or nerdy enough to be a good Peter. Tom manages to capture both sides of the character well and it will be interesting to see him go with the role for years to come (as more than likely Spider-Man will be the center of the MCU post-Thanos when most of the og cast will likely step away or fade into the background). Michael Keaton owned the role of Vulture, crafting a top 3 MCU villain performance, he’s a devoted father willing to do what it takes to support his families, be he is not so likable that you’ll forgive him turning a dude into dust. The rest of the cast played off each other well, Marisa Tomei as young/hot Aunt May, Ned, Zendaya being MJ, and that funny as hell kid from the debate team were all highlights. Not the greatest MCU movel or Spider-Man movie either, but a fun time none the less.
The Defenders- Marvel’s Netflix shows have been an interesting batch to say the least. Daredevil Season 1 hit like a bomb with it’s quality writing and action, not to mention having the strongest MCU villain to date in Kingpin. Season 2 was good, although anything not relating to The Punisher fell a little flat. Jessica Jones started off slower, but picked up in the home stretch and The Purple Man was a great and terrifying villain as well, telling a story of survival and dealing with the role of being a hero. Luke Cage told a kick ass, sort of tribute to the old Blaxploitation films of the 70s. Iron Fist…was bad and it did leave a lot of fans worried for The Defenders as that was the last show to come out before the team up and looked to be the main story focus of the show.
The Defenders, was average at best. The good points were the action and fight scenes, especially any time the team is all together and beating ass, we get some more development in the characters of both Luke and Jessica, who have turned into the most interesting leads of the 4 Netflix shows. Luke and Iron Fist play off of each other well, setting up a possible Heroes For Hire show featuring the 2. Sigourney Weaver was excellent as the head big bad…until she got off before the final few episodes, you really got a since of how intimidating a person she was and her scenes were the most interesting of all the lead villains.
The bad? Well centering on Iron Fist mostly was a mistake, as his show was by far the weakest of all the solo pre-Defenders shows, making for some of the most needless and boring plot points of the entire show. While Daredevil isn’t a bad lead character, he works better when there are some other interesting characters to bounce off of (such as The Punisher) but whenever he and Elektra are together I honestly could not care less. Odd how the 2 most well known characters, Daredevil and Elektra, have turned into lesser interesting (that is some terrible English there!) characters in these shows. Hopefully we are done with their damn love plot and Elektra as a character, as she honestly drags down things when she is around (no offense to the actress as I’m sure she’s a nice woman IRL). And The Hand, who would’ve thought you could make Magic Ninjas boring?! I am sick of them as a group and am tired of all this greater destiny/higher purpose crap that they talk about and like Elektra, I hope we are done with that group.
Overall, The Defenders was aight, could’ve been much better, but I am still excited for what is coming next, The Punisher!!
Thor: Ragnorok- I make no secret of my mehness towards the Thor movies. I feel that they are the weakest of the solo MCU movies, although I do like all the actors involved, so I wasn’t overly excited for Ragorok when it was first announced and the trailers, while good, did not get me jumping to see the movie.
Ragnorok is easily the best of the Thor movies and capped off that Trilogy in a fantastic way. The action was top notch, the Mjölnir smashing bits and it’s destruction were awesome to watch, Thor, once again played by Chris Hemmsworth, kicked so much ass in this movie! The colors, the visuals, the soundtrack were all well done. Tessa Thompson was fantastic as Valkyrie, playing really well off of both Thor and Hulk. Hulk, once again played by Mark Ruffalo, was great able to finally be his own independent character and creating some hilarious moments in the movie, Jeff Goldblum as the Grand Master was a fun side antagonist. Cate Blanchett was good as Hella, not the best MCU villain but entertaining in her own right, and once again Tom Hiddleson shined as Loki, finally standing by his brother’s side to defend their home. The small Doctor Strange cameo was excellent, and the ending credit scene helps set up Infinity War well. Overall, I had a blast watching this movie from beginning to end!
Final Thoughts: In my opinion, 2014 was the best overall year for the MCU with the release of Captain America: Winter Solider, which I feel is the strongest MCU movie, and Guardians of the Galaxy, but 2017 might be right behind it at Number 2 (although 2012 has an argument being the year that the first Avengers was dropped). Each movie released this year was able to tell personal and compelling stories. I was never bored or uninterested in any of the theatrical releases and enjoyed each one immensely. The Defenders drags things a bit, as some elements in the show were not exactly strong and I wasn’t as invested in the show overall as I have been in other Netflix MCU shows. Overall, I’d give the MCU for 2017 a solid B+.
2018 should be another great year with Black Panther, the long awaited Infinity War, and Ant Man and Wasp all on deck to hit theaters, as well as The Punisher dropping on Netflix in January.
Also, and this is something that I just saw on Cinema Blend, Disney is in talks with Fox to buy it’s movie division! This means that Disney/Marvel would not only get X-Men and the Fantastic Four back home (not to mention the great villains that both franchise have such as Magneto, Kang the Conqueror, and of course Doctor Doom!) but also all the non-Marvel films rights as well, including (and I may be wrong if so please correct me) the Dragon Ball franchise which means Disney would own the complete Marvel, Star Wars, and film rights to Dragon Ball! Damn!! Here is the article that I saw for reference, https://www.cinemablend.com/news/1722060/what-a-disney-fox-deal-could-mean-for-the-marvel-cinematic-universe
Those were my thoughts on the MCU in 2017, but what are yours? Leave them in the comments below!
Also follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Jamel727!
Be on the look out for a similar list related to DC in the coming weeks after I catch Justice League, which drops next Friday!
Until the next time be safe, be cool, and I’ll catch you later!!