It’s Perfectly Okay to See Things Through Another’s Perspective: The Marvel Conundrum

Have we lost that loving feeling for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Or Can we not see the universe through a female perspective? The recent reaction to the MCU kind of shows that as an audience, that over half of us cannot relate to the universe that we all once loved, but why is that? 

I know it’s been a minute since we wrote something here and thank you for being here to read this. This topic is important to us because 1)  We love seeing new characters being introduced to the MCU. 2)  We love seeing representation in our media and 3) Nora finally can relate to some of the superheroes outside of Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn. 

While rewatching the first two phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we rarely see a strong female presence. Yes, we had Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger but we wouldn’t see the character return until Avengers Endgame.  (I know she got her own show, that lasted two seasons but sadly it’s rarely talked about) Pepper Potts unfortunately will always be linked to Tony Stark and it took a few films until Natasha Romanoff was not objectified and became a total badass. 

Now we have a MCU that is loaded with amazing female characters and a bias is starting to be shown. There has been a positive reaction from critics and hatred from certain aspects of the fan base. It all started with Captain Marvel, a lot of hate was aimed towards the film and main actors. I’ll admit I’m not a fan of the film due to the storyline and lack of credible villain. The positives of the film was Brie Larson and introducing me to a character I knew little about. Fast forward to Black Widow in 2021, a fun film that was definitely entertaining but was told through a female perspective. We were introduced to a great character in Yelena Belova, yet fans felt the film was unnecessary. 

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves for a quick second, are any of these films necessary? 

Disney plus brought us Wandavision, Loki, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and currently She-Hulk. Episodic stories to view weekly, yet even more criticism formed and we started to hear the term “M-she-U”. Hawkeye, Ms.Marvel, and She-Hulk have all done a tremendous job of establishing strong, powerful female characters with comedic undertones. So why the hate? I’ll never understand honestly, maybe we are scared of our idols becoming women, maybe we are scared for our male superheroes to be vulnerable. 

Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk do not deserve the hate they have received. In my opinion they are two of the best efforts from the MCU for episodic storytelling. It was recently reported that She-Hulk is scoring lower than Inhumans for audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, which is ridiculous. Think some of us forgot that She-Hulk is a sitcom and we need to lower our expectations. Most sitcoms lack direction and tell a story for laughs. Also just because one may be a male and cannot relate to the life of a female, does not mean the show is instantly bad. The story of Jennifer Walters being a petite lawyer that can turn into a Hulk is something that most of us cannot relate to to begin with. For example in the first episode, Jennifer tells her cousin Bruce that she has to restrain her anger everyday because as a female she feels different stressors than a man. This scene was criticized yet when talking about to it Nora, she related the most to this scene and instantly felt emotionally attached to what Jennifer had said. 

So while some are complaining about the direction of the MCU, others are feeling seen. Think about that, if you aren’t quite liking this Phase of the MCU and then reflect on what that truly means.

Cinematic Magic No More: The Heartbreaking Truth of Movie Theaters

To start this blog post off, I want to be blunt about something, I hate pessimism. It drives me nuts seeing people being so damn pessimistic, but I have to do something I hate. I have to be pessimistic today. The sad truth, as someone that loves the cinema, we may be losing the heartbeat of the movie watching experience.

Today, Warner Bros and HBO Max announced that all films scheduled to come out in 2021 will premiere on HBO Max, the same day they are released in movie theaters. Which, yes I will admit from a safety perspective, this is a smart move. It will keep people home during this pandemic, as it is not necessary to risk our lives for entertainment. But, on the flip side, this may permanently hurt movie theaters and the overall movie viewing experience.

First let’s start with how important the movie theater is to the movie watching experience. I want you to think of a movie that you saw in a theater. Now think of the same film, but watching it on your couch. Did you have the same reaction, you had while watching it in the movie theater? I may be wrong with this assumption, but I bet it was a different experience. I can recall the first time seeing Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith when I was 13, my dad and I had so much energy after watching that and telling my mom “This was the greatest Star Wars film ever.” This excitement and passionate response would had never happened, sitting on a couch eating Flamin Hot Cheetos.

Also, I believe something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be hurt by the disappearance of movie theaters. I will never forget the feeling after viewing Avengers: Infinity War, we ate our half-off appetizers at Applebees in complete silence because we all felt like we lost a loved one. Also the feeling of Captain America wielding Mjolnir during the Climax of Avengers: Endgame and having the entire movie theater pop from their seats. These are moments that will disappear from the movie watching experience, we will lose that connection.

As I sit here and type this blog, I cannot think of a moment over the last nine months of watching movies from home where there was not some sort of distraction. Our phones are always near us at home, we don’t feel the need to turn off our phones to enjoy the film like we do at the theater. We get distracted easier and end up watching a film half assed, because of Twitter or Facebook. Most of the time, I find myself scrolling through IMDB and missing an important plot thread of a film. It is easier said than done, to simply turn off your mind while at home and enjoy a film for what it is.

Hopefully sometime in the future, rather it be late 2021 or sometime in 2022, I believe that we could still have that movie experience, but the threat of people becoming contempt with viewing a film from the comfort of their own home, is real. Truth be told, I hope that it is only WB that makes this decision and Disney does not follow them. If they do, it will be the end of the movie theater.

But after this semi-lengthy bitchfest, let’s all try to be optimistic and think about when it will be safe again. To watch a film with a bunch of strangers and to share that moment of joy or sadness that a film can produce, together. Of course, I am excited to watch Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day with the Christmas tree on in the background with Nora and I cuddling on the couch. Let’s hope I am wrong about film losing their magic, because that truly could be a magical moment. Who knows maybe we will adapt to this new method of movie watching and be able to find that sweet spot, where we can enjoy the magic of cinema in our homes. But we also don’t want to think of telling people in the future about the movie theater experience and what it once was.

Scuse Me? I liked Jar Jar Binks

With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coming out today, it has caused a moment of reflection and even a confession, that confession being that I like Jar Jar Binks.

I was at the young age of seven when The Phantom Menace was released and the excitement that my father was exhibiting for the film was contagious, I found myself wanting to see this film. The Phantom Menace was the perfect storm of pod-racing, light saber battles, and awesome creatures, but the one thing I loved the most about the film was Jar Jar Binks. I loved that damn gungan. Jar Jar was entertaining and goofy, it was everything I wanted from a character.

Looking back on it, I can see why I loved Jar Jar, it is the same reasons why my baby nieces like me. The pure stupidity and goofy demeanor was enough to have me want more from this character at that age. It was hilarious to see this computer generated character act like a cartoon with his lumpy style of walking and goofy voice. I was the right demographic for the character and I was loving every moment of it.

When The Phantom Menace was released I thought it was brilliant, same with Attack of the clones but I would never forget the moments after seeing Revenge of the Sith. The third entry in the prequel series is by far my favorite and I think its due to the feeling of viewing it with my father. On the way back home from the theater, we could not stop discussing it and we had to tell my mother about that Darth Vader scene. This was the moment I realized how special Star Wars was, its a science fiction soap opera that brings the family together.

Over the years, I would become more fond of the original trilogy and realize the greatness of A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back would become one of my all time favorite films. That love I had for the prequels would disappear, especially when The Force Awakens was released.

Today, I have to force myself through Attack of the Clones, but I still love Star Wars. Although now I root for the villains such as Kylo Ren in the recent trilogy and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace and the animated shows. Rarely do I find myself liking the cute supporting characters like Porgs (except Baby Yoda, so damn adorable). I have to look at Jar Jar Binks and not hate the character. If it was not for my fondness of Jar Jar as a child, I would not be looking forward to the finale of this galactic saga.

So this is a thank you Jar Jar! If it was not for your goofy ass, I would never realize how special Star Wars is. It could be said that Star Wars is the reason we created Noggin, because our first date was The Force Awakens.