Beginnings

Every Sunday we publish an oversized Beginnings comic featuring Rayne in his youth.

Latest Beginnings
Next Event Appearance
Saturday Feb 24 Latest Comic Space Laser Fun Times
Latest Beginnings

Beginnings

Every Sunday we publish an oversized Beginnings comic featuring Rayne in his youth.

MCU In Daughter Order – Conclusion

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been occasionally blogging about my experience rewatching the MCU movies with my oldest daughter, who is watching them for the first time and in whatever order fits her fancy.  Those blogs dropped off suddenly earlier this year. So I thought I’d wrap up the series with one final post.

But first…

Where’d The Blog Go?

The blog ended for a variety of reasons:

I Got Busy

Blog content was pretty low priority on my task list at work. As I was assigned more and more pressing work, it was harder to fit blog writing into my week. However, around the same time, my daughter wanted to match more of the movies. As the gap between blog posts widened, the amount of observations I had to keep track of grew.

We Started Watching In Order

Part of the blog’s premise was seeing where she took us as she dictated the order we went on our journey. After a handful of movies in an unpredictable order, she settled on watching them in the order they released.

The MCU Got Sadder

Like many of us, the early MCU installments hooked my daughter with the action packed stories, stunning visuals, playful tone, and relatable characterization. However, successive films explored the tragedy and catharsis of our heroes’ lives. This added depth that appealed to adults, but my daughter resented the constant emotional gut-punches. This peaked with Thor: Ragnarok.

Thor 3 may be remembered for introducing a sillier tone to the MCU, but the movie goes back and forth between Thor’s wacky adventure and Hela casually murdering beloved supporting characters before attempting genocide. When Avengers: Infinity War opened by reversing the glimmer of hope Ragnarok leaves the Asgardians with and kills off Loki and Heimdall in the first scene, my daughter asked to stop. We’ve watched a few Marvel movies since then, but we’ve yet to return to Infinity War or start Endgame.

Post-Endgame Burned Through The MCU’s Goodwill

Boy, the post-Endgame MCU sure dropped the ball. Between the orders of magnitude more content stuffed into one phase, the obscurity of the source material being tapped into, and juggling multiple metaplots poorly, the MCU went from the torchbearer of shared universe content to the Thanos of Hollywood. Every critical or financial failure is celebrated. People are throwing “super hero fatigue” around about Phase 4 like the expression isn’t as old as the MCU.

Now, while I think some of this phase was good and even great, most of the few movies and shows that stared familiar MCU characters were also the worst of the last phase. I’m looking at you, Thor: Love and Thunder, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and Secret Invasion. And then there are the multiple movies and shows that introduce the idea of the multiverse, each with its own set of rules that contradict one another. Sometimes they were about Kang, a low point of this phase. Shame they already announced The Kang Dynasty as an upcoming Avengers movie.

Meanwhile, Marvel has not followed up on some of their critical and financial successes. Shang-Chi was surprisingly good, and did well at the box office, but we haven’t seen anything related to him since. He is the only MCU character with their name in the title that hasn’t appeared in anything else. Not a cameo. Not even a mention. All three characters who met in his movie’s post credit scene to discuss the nature of the Ten Rings have shown up again (and, in Wong’s case, again and again), but not one of them followed up on that scene.

For most of phase 4, what I care about and want to see more of did not line up with what the MCU thinks I should care about. Especially since Endgame came out around the Disney acquisition of Fox. I think we were all ready for X-Men and Fantastic Four announcements, maybe a Doctor Doom arc across the whole MCU. Instead, we got a disconnected mess with a lot of surprises, both good and bad.

That said, by now my daughter and I have watched most of the MCU’s movies.

Lightning Round Reviews

To wrap things up, I’ll go through the MCU films to date and share my and my daughter’s thoughts, where applicable. Any movie we already reviewed will be linked to.

Iron Man

The Incredible Hulk

Iron Man 2

Thor

Captain America: The First Avenger

The Avengers

Iron Man 3

Thor: The Dark World

My Thoughts: I don’t get why this one is so hated. I liked it when I first saw it, I liked it again on a rewatch. Chris Hemsworth as Thor is one of my favourite superhero castings, and the teleporting fight scene still stands as one of the more interesting finales of the MCU. I also think this movie made movie Loki the beloved character he turned out to be.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She was on board from beginning to end. She likes Thor. She likes Asgard. She likes Thor’s supporting casts. And she likes the Thor/Jane romance.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

My Thoughts: My favourite MCU film other than or tied with Endgame. That the Russo’s could reverse the character assassination on Cap in The Avengers and elevate Captain America into the most complex and noble character in the series was a miracle.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She found this one boring. Boring! I know! It took her three sittings to finish it. She was invested enough that she declined moving on to another movie after the second time she asked to stop watching it, but this one just did not land with her.

Guardians of the Galaxy

My Thoughts: The MCU’s biggest surprise. I could not fathom caring about this movie when it was announced, but the trailer did an amazing job of selling the concept, characters, and cast, and the movie overdelivered on everything Blue Swede promised.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: Another miss for her. She has always been more interested in fantasy than sci-fi, so I wasn’t shocked that this one didn’t speak to her. I was surprised that she wanted to keep going after two movies she found ho-hum.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

My Thoughts: I left the theatre perfectly satisfied with Age of Ultron, but it failed the fridge test hard. Act 2 is a mess, with confusing character choices and rushed ideas. Plus, it annoys me how quickly the film dismissed the Hydra metaplot setup in Winter Soldier. Despite this, I found my feelings softening up on the rewatch. Then we got to the twins teaming with Ultron for some reason, Ultron building a biovibranian body or something, and Thor’s vision quest and I remembered why I rank this at the bottom of MCU films.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She liked Age of Ultron more than I did. However, when she asked me to explain what was happening and, crucially, why, I couldn’t answer her. This movie is a mess.

Ant-Man

My Thoughts: I’m a big Paul Rudd fan, so I went into Ant-Man expecting to like it. By now Marvel established how well they married super heroes with other genres, helping to make each MCU entry stand out from the others and from the competition. Ant-Man did to super hero heist comedies what Winter Soldier did to super hero spy dramas.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: Ant-Man is my daughter’s favourite MCU hero. Actually, my daughters’ favourite MCU hero, since my younger daughter also watched it with us. The humour and the spectacle work for them. They’re probably the most cartoony entries in the MCU, and my daughters love cartoons. Can’t blame them.

Captain America: Civil War

My Thoughts: Civil War balanced the biggest cast of established characters thus far, including the introduction of two new heroes, all while still feeling more like a Captain America movie with the Avengers than an Avengers movie. It reinforced my love of MCU Cap, even though I was more on Tony’s side of the argument.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She didn’t like that the heroes were fighting, but she liked Civil War more than Winter Soldier. I think the additional super heroes, in particular Black Panther, lightened up the tone for compared to the last Cap movie for her. She still had a lot of questions, but at least in this case I had no trouble answering them.

Doctor Strange

My Thoughts: Like Ant-Man, leaning into the genre saved from Doctor Strange from being a standard super hero origin movie. It could have been more magical, but it also could have been much worse.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She objected to the title. She thought it should have been Wizardy Strange. Can’t blame her. Otherwise, I don’t really remember her feelings about this one. I’m going to guess they weren’t deep, but were positive.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

My Thoughts: I don’t really care for GotG 2. It didn’t speak to me like the first Guardians. I don’t dislike it, but I remember leaving the theatre disappointed. Rewatching it left me with strong “it’s just OK” feelings. I still don’t dislike it, it just doesn’t work for me.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: My daughter prefers GotG 2 to GotG 1. I think knowing more of what to expect made this one easier to grok for her, and she loved baby Groot.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

My Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about Homecoming. I love the performances, I never expected to think so highly of Vulture as a villain, and I think it gets what’s fun about Spider-Man more than the pre-MCU series. However, I don’t think it has its own voice as much as the Ant-Man and Captain America movies, and it is weighed down by more MCU connections than most movies up to this point. I know this sounds weirdly critical, but it never feels like anything other than a very good Marvel movie.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: Funny enough, this is my daughter’s second Spider-Man movie, after Into The Spider-Verse. I’m curious how that affects her perception of the character. I know I still think of Iceman and Firestar as Spider-Man’s amazing friends, and see The Shocker as a major Spider-Man villain because of the role he played in one of my earliest memories of the character.

Thor: Ragnarok

My Thoughts: This was Guardians of the Galaxy all over again for me: I wasn’t psyched about the movie upon announcement, the trailer turned me around, and then the movie blew me away. Unfortunately, this is one of the only MCU movies that I liked less after rewatching. The humour was so fresh and surprising the first time I watched it. Without that freshness, and with a lot of MCU movies lately copying the cadence and goofiness, Ragnarok has lost some luster.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: As I mentioned earlier, this one made my daughter sad. Even though she did enjoy a lot of the humour and she likes Thor a lot, her big take away was the amount of death and the destruction of Asgard.

Black Panther

Avengers: Infinity War

My Thoughts: I didn’t expect to like this as much on a rewatch. It definitely left me with a lot of feelings when I first saw it, most of all anticipation for Endgame. Because Endgame stands on its own so well, I assumed that would leave Infinity War feeling like all setup, no delivery. But no, the big character moments still land, and the Thanos story carries the movie. It may be the best Part 1 of a two part movie event.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She wanted to stop within 10 minutes of starting. Someday I hope she’s wiling to revisit it, but I don’t know when.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

My Thoughts: Marvel’s most rinse-and-repeat sequel. Both movies start with Ant-Man finishing a jail sentence, trying to reconnect with his family and friends, and doing ant stuff. He mixes it up with some giant stuff, and Wasp joins in doing wasp stuff, but it’s mostly more of the same. But, I liked the first one, so getting more of that was fine by me.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: Getting more Ant-Man one was more than fine with my daughter. She had the fewest questions about what was happening of any Marvel movie. And even with all of the crossing over Ant-Man does, the movies require virtually no investment in the MCU as a whole. Not that she isn’t invested in the rest of the MCU, but it’s nice that she doesn’t need to keep track of the dozens of movies and characters to follow an Ant-Man plot.

Captain Marvel

Avengers: Endgame

My Thoughts: We will never have another Endgame. It pays off 22 movies, with big moments like Iron Man reconciling with his estranged and long dead father, and tiny moments, like Ant-Man smirking at Wasp for calling Captain America “Cap”, something she made fun of him for in Ant-Man and the Wasp. There are so many such callbacks and references, and yet the movie manages to tell its own story. It’s a feat of filmmaking on every creative, technical, and logistic level, and I can’t believe they pulled it off.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: Hasn’t seen it.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

My Thoughts: A fun Spider-Man adventure that again finds the best way to use its villain. It leans heavily on MCU continuity. Like, a distracting amount. Iron Man has never had so much presence in a movie he’s not in. And even though it’s the first film to explore The Blip from the point of view of characters who lived through it, the weight of the weirdness of that experience takes away from the relatability of the characters more than it adds anything interesting to the movie. That’s a lot of complaints, but, honestly, the Mysterio plot and, again, the performances elevate this film above these issues.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: I… don’t think we watched this one. I feel like I would remember having to explain The Blip to her if we had.

Black Widow

My Thoughts: This and Star Wars: Solo: A Solo Star Wars was the one-two punch of Disney killing off a beloved character in a cathartic way and then immediately announcing their solo film. Unfortunately, even though I enjoyed this movie, it was mostly forgettable. We’d already done the Marvel spy movies with Captain America, we knew there was only so much the movie could matter after Endgame, and there weren’t any mind blowing revelations since Black Widow’s backstory was already hinted at in multiple movies and touched on in Agent Carter. Again, it’s fine. Although I can’t forgive it for reducing Taskmaster to just the character’s power set instead of the fun niche of training super villains we see in the comics.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She didn’t see it. I think she would enjoy it, but given that the ending acknowledges Natasha’s death, I want to save it for after Endgame.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

My Thoughts: One of the best things the MCU’s done post-Endgame. It’s fun, exciting, and another genre to explore. Simu Liu and Awkwafina have great chemistry that bring a lot of heart and humour to the mix. Iron Man 3 might not be the strongest wagon to hitch onto, but the connections have minimal impact on either movie. They, like the Wong and Abomination appearances, give the film a lived-in feel that shows each MCU movie impacts the rest of the world, but avoids the Spider-Man feeling that a dozen disconnected movies are required viewing.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: This might be the only MCU movie my daughter’s watched twice. She loved the mysticism, the martial arts, and the humour. Shang-Chi is up there with Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Thor, and Iron Man as her favourite Marvel characters.

Eternals

My Thoughts: I think Eternals called a home run but hit a single. It’s fine. I enjoyed it enough, and fantasy epic was a new genre for Marvel to explore. That said, it being an MCU movie did this movie no favours. They barely and poorly justified why these characters that have been around forever did nothing during Infinity War, and established that the Earth is some kind of god egg.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She hasn’t seen it, but her track record with intrigue-based MCU movies tells me this would bore her to tears.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

My Thoughts: I said we’ll never get another Endgame, and this is the closest we’ll come to an almost Endgame. Enough actors were still available and recognizable from their appearances over the past twenty years that this worked. I’m not sure why they brought in Sandman since his motivation made no sense, he only appeared in CGI, and his inclusion brought them weirdly close to the Sinister Six without hitting that magic number. Also, this was one of the early examples of the MCU disagreeing with itself on how the multiverse works. Still, for its faults, the villains were a blast, and the three Spider-Men made a charming trio.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She hasn’t seen it. I’m not sure how to even begin introducing her to the idea that this is a multiversal Spider-Man movie that ties in two other Spider-Man series she hasn’t seen, but doesn’t connect to the multiversal Spider-Man movies she has seen.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

My Thoughts: I think there’s a lot to like about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It absolutely feels magical, with hints of some of the weirdest universes we’ve seen all phase. The music note fight between the two Doctor Stranges makes the movie. And the cameos are fun. Unfortunately, like Eternals, this movie is made worse for being part of a shared universe. Furthermore, it is also the best evidence that one MCU hand (the movies) don’t know what the other (the Disney+ series) was doing.

Multiverse of Madness reduces Wanda to a one-dimensional villain right after making her one of the most developed and nuanced MCU characters. Basically, Multiverse of Madness does to WandaVision what WandaVision did to Quicksilver. Similarly, there’s a lot of overlap with the What If..? animated series that had just aired, but no direct connecting and, again, some contradictions. Also, the ads suggested that this movie was about Doctor Strange facing the consequences of being so casual about his multiversal manipulation in No Way Home, but that just wasn’t true.

It’s a shame that there’s so much working against it, because without the MCU continuity issues, I really enjoyed Multiverse of Madness.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: This movie would confuse my daughter and give her nightmares. While I’ve been complementary of how the MCU plays with genre, adding horror to the mix in a way that excludes a chunk of the existing audience hurts the possibility of stuff like families marathoning the MCU.

Thor: Love and Thunder

My Thoughts: I can’t wrap my head around why Ragnarok worked so well but Love and Thunder failed so hard. I appreciated the Jane Foster plot and thought those scenes were heartfelt and interesting. Unfortunately, the nonsense that surrounded them distracted from them. The jokes didn’t land nearly as well as Ragnarok, and there were far too many of them. And, like Eternals, this film has ramifications beyond what I think the shared universe can handle. It ends up all religious pantheons are real, not just the ones we were told were just space aliens. I know!

My Daughter’s Thoughts: No idea how she would take this movie she hasn’t seen. It’s one of the reasons that, even if she turns around on Infinity War and Endgame, I would end our MCU marathoning there.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

My Thoughts: I HATED it. For the first hour, instead of exploring the plot, Janet keeps alluding to some terrible evil in the Quantum Realm but refuses to get into it. Could it be Kang, who we saw in the first scene, who is on the poster, and who we’ve been told is the big villain of the next wave? Yes. That’s an hour of forced dramatic tension we’ll never get back. And hey, what if we make a whole movie where the guy who shrinks and does ant stuff doesn’t shrink or do any ant stuff? And build an entire dramatic arc around his daughter, but recast her again for some reason?

There is some good stuff in here. I like everything about Scott’s biography. I like how into ants Hank’s gotten. And the scene with a million Scotts was as haunting as it was funny. But all together, this was a mess of a movie.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: She LOVED it. We left the theatre and she went on and on about her favourite parts. I’m jealous. I wonder if this will be the movie she grows up with fond feelings of and then finds out it’s super obscure or kind of unpopular, like me with Flight of the Navigator and Monster Squad.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

My Thoughts: Thank goodness, a great MCU film. I hadn’t had a purely positive MCU theatrical experience since, what, Shang-Chi? Like, I liked No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness, but they both had their issues. GotG volume 3, on the other hand, was amazing.

It effectively weaved the weirdness of replacing a core member of the cast who died in an unrelated movie with a near duplicate. It also reminded us why we fell in love with Peter Quill in the first one, showing his competency as a space hero despite being uneducated. Starlord might be the only character done dirty by the Russo brothers in Infinity War and Endgame, even with James Gunn helping with those scenes. Speaking of Gunn, I worried he might phone this one in since he’s leaving the MCU to take over DC’s movie output. Thankfully, Gunn has too much artistic integrity for that. If anything, he overdelivered again, probably because he knew this would be his last chance to play with these characters.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: Oh, she’s not seeing this one for a while. If seeing Asgardians die broke her, I don’t want to subject her to the execution of cute animal people.

The Marvels

My Thoughts: I kind of hate that any opinion about The Marvels is divisive and people question your sincerity just for having one. That said, I loved it.

The Marvels is fun and brisk, with a nice balance of character and action. The dynamic of pragmatic veteran hero Carol, professional despite feeling personally slighted Monica, and enthusiastic rookie Kamala remained interesting throughout, and was handled realistically. Since most trailers had that “We are not a team” exchange, I was worried about more fabricated drama that read insincere, like in Quantumania. Instead, it serves as subtext until an appropriate time to make it the context. I also like that they didn’t treat the entanglement of their powers like a problem they knew they’d solve by the end of the movie. The montage of them practicing timing the use of their powers to maximize when they’d switch places was clever and endearing. Most importantly, it was always clear who was where in the action scenes, and what happened when there was a switch. The fight scenes must have been mindbending to block, but that effort paid off.

I will say that once again the movie directly contradicts the latest Disney+ series, harder than ever before. Considering how much of Secret Invasion begs to be ignored, I don’t have as much of an issue here as I did with Multiverse of Madness. Honestly, I wish this movie came out two years ago. The post credit scene suggesting that the X-Men will be here soon is the shot of enthusiasm the MCU needed more than Kang teases and multiverses introducing mostly new concepts and variants of the familiar. And the precredit scene, of Kamala assembling a team of Young Avengers, should have been a clear mission statement at the start of this phase instead of a tag near its end.

My Daughter’s Thoughts: This is the first MCU film I saw in theatres with my wife and both daughters, and we couldn’t have had more fun. All four of us loved it. I’m glad, because it might be the last.

The only MCU movie releasing next year is the R-Rated Deadpool 3. This is followed by a new Captain America movie in 2025, traditionally the franchise she’s least interested in, and a movie she’ll probably need to have seen Endgame and Falcon and the Winter Soldier to understand. By then my oldest will be 10. Who knows if she’ll still want to go see super hero movies with her dad.

If this is the end of this journey we took together, at least we’re ending on such a high note.