Spider-Man Does Nothing: Let’s Talk About Marvel’s In-Movie Trailers

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I think I created this blog at one point to talk about movies and that never really happened, so let’s give it another shot.

Here’s a thought I had on Captain America: Civil War that was a bit longer than a tweet, and yes there will be spoilers below this point.

One of the bigger criticisms of the Marvel films is that the studio no longer lets them stand on their own. Civil War being the latest example of this which feels less like Captain America 3 and more like Marvel Adventure 13, with each new movie relying more and more on the ones that came before it and giving you preview of future movies to come. These bits used to be relegated to a post credits sequence and were always looked forward to.

But then, Avengers: Age of Ultron happened, featuring a now infamous scene of Thor taking a quick vacation from the plot to lay pipe for some other Marvel movie (Thor 3? Avengers 3?) we’ll be seeing a few years down the line, which involves Thor grabbing his buddy Stellan Skarsgard and heading to a remote cave where he takes a bath and sees the infinity stones, then hops back into Age of Ultron.

My 100% guess for why this scene exists is that Marvel realized they couldn’t make two to three more movies with a rock McGuffin and so put it on Joss Whedon’s shoulders to quickly give some infinity stone weight and explanation to Earth bound Marvel characters.

There were rumors that one of the reasons Whedon left Marvel was because of his lack of control over Age of Ultron. And with scenes like Thor’s bath time it’s clear why. But it didn’t have to be that way and Civil War gives us a look at what we could have had in place of the exposition jacuzzi.

Spider-Man adds nothing to the story of Civil War. He doesn’t affect the story, he doesn’t affect the characters and he doesn’t go through any significant change of his own. He’s introduced for a fight and then he’s gone. Everything he does is clearly a setup for Spider-Man: Homecoming, but now I really want to see Spider-Man: Homecoming. Every scene he’s in is fun. The character is charming and the way he interacts with the other MCU heroes is exciting. When Marvel charged the Russos with the task of setting up future Marvel films they made it fun to watch.

Black Panther, too! Ultimately does not add much to the story as a whole. His goal is to track down Bucky, and when he finally does, he overhears some stuff that changes his mind. But was interesting as hell, well performed, had an original fighting style that looked like nothing else in the MCU. These characters are essentially back door trailers, but they’re effective trailers.

Since we don’t know the payoff to the Thor/infinity stones set up yet, it’s hard to suggest a better way it could have been done. But Whedon did know the end goal, and instead of working out something better, he shoved the Marvel sanctioned scene into a space it did not belong and then stood behind confused and upset viewers going, “I know, right?”

This is how Marvel is going to be making films now. Setups and payoffs overlapping each movie. You’re going to have to eat your vegetables without getting dessert for a few years. So, you can be Whedon, shoving the broccoli down our throats, or you can be a Russo and make such a well thought out meal, you don’t even realize you’re getting your veggies.

 

5 Unsung Heroes in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Hawkeye’s Wife, Laura Barton

Laura is stuck on a farm in the middle of nowhere, hidden away from society, raising three kids, while her husband has convinced her and everyone else that he’s an important part of a team of actual superheros. And even when Clint’s not off fighting Ultron and Loki, is he home? Nope. The first two times we see Hawkeye is when he’s sitting around guarding Thor’s hammer (and then does nothing) and then sitting around guarding the Tesseract (unsuccessfully). Shield probably wanted to get guys with guns for these jobs but Clint, being the neglectful father and husband he is, insisted on doing it himself. Maybe in Avengers 3, Laura will dump Clint and end up with Captain America, a goddamn wood-chopping, gentleman.

James Spader

Tony Stark, opting out of using Microsoft Sam, decided to make his new AI software, like, super scary by hiring James Spader. And since none of the other Avengers recognize his voice we can assume that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Sex Lies and Videotapes bombed and James Spader is forced to take the job of recording every word in the dictionary for Stark Industries. And since the project is top secret science stuff, Spader probably didn’t even know what his voice was being used for until he saw murdering robots on the news that sounded familiar. And now he has to decide if that’s something he wants on his resume.

Vision’s Pants Bulge

Most of the Avenger’s outfits don’t leave much to the imagination, but Vision’s, ahem, bathing suit zone fuels the imagination and baffles the mind. If what that is, is what we think that is, why is that there? Vision was created by Ultron and Dr. Helen Cho, under the influence of Scarlet Witch. So one of them must have put it there. Either Ultron had a short list of things to do once he acquired an organic body that included boning, or Cho thought, “So, a giant evil robot is telling a witch to put a magic spell on me to create a human body out of a made up element from a made up country, I’m at least going to get laid.”

Natasha Romanoff

Once a badass super spy seen breaking free from the clutches of the Russian mafia and the omnipresent Hydra, Natasha spends a chunk of this movie trapped in what looks like a rusty kennel, and can only escape when it furthers the emotional arc of Bruce Banner, much like Roger Rabbit who can only escape when it’s really funny. But Black Widows greatest victory in the movie is when she one ups Hulk’s sad sack story with her own. You did that yourself Bruce. Quit complaining. (Cue Natasha hitchhiking down a road with sad music.)

Agent Coulson

Marvel’s most recurring character took a bullet in the first Avengers movie, in what was an emotional and impactful death scene, only to be brought back a few months later on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Tuesdays on ABC! And the poor agent who died, but then didn’t die, but still had his trading cards ruined, didn’t even get to tell his super pals that he’s alright. As far the Avengers know, Coulson is still dead and the Agent that once hung around with Super Soldiers and Gods is now stuck leading a group of D-level characters (Tuesdays on ABC!). But that’s okay ‘cause according to a tweet from Joss Whedon, Agents of SHIELD isn’t canon with the MCU films and Coulson is actually dead in Age of Ultron. But, then Marvel’s twitter account tweeted that SHIELD is canon with the MCU. But actually, none of this is real and Disney has just found a way to make money off childless adults, but you don’t mind because looking forward to five movies at a time distracts from the inevitability of death.