Sunday, March 14, 2021

Order in the (Marvel) Universe (Part III)

 Over the last month or so, we've been distracting ourselves from the horrors of the outside world by rewatching all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order of events, including the various TV series. 

Still from Netflix series "Daredevil" featuring Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and
Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio)

We finished the first season of Daredevil, which was freakin' great again. The whole series is just gorgeously filmed, with some perfect casting. Big shout out to Vincent D'Onofrio for his portrayal of Kingpin Wilson Fisk. I grew up reading Spider-man and always found the Kingpin a bit of a boring villain - after all, he's just a crime lord, albeit a huge one both in power and physically. But D'Onofrio brings a real depth and real terror to the character. He's intriguing, and when he walks into a scene you actually feel concern for the characters around him (especially Matt Murdock). He is a manipulative rage monster with actual depth and drive. Absolutely stunning performance from him. 

You hear me Marvel? If Charlie Cox is appearing in the next Spider-man movie as Matt Murdock, how about bringing back Kingpin for a future Spidey movie - and keep D'Onofrio? He's freakin' brilliant.

After Daredevil, it was back to Agents of SHIELD. Season Two, we're starting the build up to the revelations of the Inhumans on Earth, and the fallout of the big HYDRA reveal last season and in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Absolutely loving it again this time around, as it quickly brings in some of the new characters like Bobbi Morse, Hunter, Mack, and Trip. (Poor Trip)

Promotional image from Marvel's Agents of SHIELD season 2,
featuring Coulson, Skye, May, and Trip

It's just really frustrating that SHIELD just can't get its act together. The moment HYDRA is revealed, we discover that SHIELD became two organisations both claiming to be the 'real SHIELD' and why can't they all just get along and be one? Luckily, Coulson is the constant - love Coulson - and while he was troubled by visions of Kree symbols, he's still the heart of SHIELD and a voice of reason.

Following the DigitalSpy feature's list of how to watch things chronologically, we watched the first ten episodes of Agents of SHIELD, then paused to watch the first season of Netflix's Jessica Jones. The second of Netflix's "Defenders" series. So we stopped, just as Skye is cocooned to activate her Inhuman origins. Talk about a cliffhanger...

Oh boy, where to start with Jessica Jones? More brilliant casting all around, especially Krysten Ritter. We're also introduced to Luke Cage, with another perfect bit of casting using Mike Colter. However, the whole series has a horrible sense of tension in it, thanks to the most disturbing of villains in the MCU. Worse than Thanos? Worse than Ultron? I think so... Killgrave is just the nastiest piece of work in there. 

Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) and Killgrave (David Tennant)

Made even worse, I think, by being played by David Tennant. I love David Tennant, probably one of the most popular Doctors in Doctor Who. But Killgrave is absolutely horrible. Being able to control people to do absolutely anything. So... effing... creepy. 

After Jessica Jones Season One it was back to Agents of SHIELD and some brilliant collaboration between the series and the movies. Watching season two of SHIELD up to episode nineteen it perfectly builds up to HYDRA's experiments and Strucker in Sokovia. While SHIELD is getting information about HYDRA's experiments on 'the twins', they get the location of Loki's sceptre. Episode 19 'The Dirty Half-Dozen' ends with this location being given to Maria Hill, and talking of a secret project "Theta Protocol"... which leads perfectly into Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The first big Age of Ultron assembled shot. Lovely slow mo as they attack Strucker's Castle

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a strange one. The characters are great, the acting is good, but I'm not a huge fan of the villain (Ultron), and some of the dialogue is problematic (Stark, how could you? Very out of character). And Joss Whedon pulled his 'guy lands on a woman in an embarrassing way' "gag" just as he did in his cut of Justice League

While the villain's a bit naff in my opinion, the fight sequence as the Avengers work together to defend the 'key' in Sokovia so that Ultron cannot flick the switch, is glorious. A seamless blend from one character to another, showing off their strengths, acting as a team. Fabulous. 

And it was great seeing Wanda's first appearance after watching WandaVision on its launch days. Just shows off how beautifully worked out and tied together the MCU seems to be.

After that, it's back to Agents of SHIELD for the final three episodes of season two. Episode 20 - 'Scars' perfectly continues the storyline from Age of Ultron, explaining Coulson's 'Theta Protocol' was actually Nick Fury's plan to keep a SHIELD Helicarrier hidden in case of emergencies - the very helicarrier that appears at the end of Age of Ultron to help rescue the civilians of Sokovia as their city is lifted into the air. 

Just finishing up the series today, with a great bit of Kyle MacLachlan getting all over-the-top as Skye's father. Been a big fan of Kyle MacLachlan since Dune, Blue Velvet, and Twin Peaks, so it's always great when he appears in things. 

With the weird solid/liquid monolith, it just reminds me how much I think Agents of SHIELD would be a great RPG. Like The X-Files in a world with aliens, superheroes, robots, and sorcerers. Sounds great to me...

For those of you who want to keep up, I'm using the order that DigitalSpy produced a little while ago. If you want to join in, here's the list we've worked through so far...

1 - Captain America: The First Avenger

2 - Agent Carter (Season One)

3 - Agent Carter (Season Two)

4 - Agent Carter (Marvel One-Shot - on Iron Man 3 bluray)

5 - Captain Marvel

6 - Iron Man

7 - Iron Man 2

8 - The Incredible Hulk (on Netflix)

9 - The Consultant (Marvel One-Shot - on the Thor bluray)

10 - A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Thor's Hammer (Marvel One-Shot - on the Captain America: The First Avenger bluray)

11 - Thor: The Mighty Avenger

12 - Avengers Assemble (the first Avengers movie)

13 - Item 47 (Marvel One-Shot - on the Avengers bluray)

14 - Iron Man 3

15 - All Hail The King (Marvel One-Shot on the Thor: The Dark World bluray)

16 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 1-7)

17 - Thor: The Dark World

18 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 8-16)

19 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

20 - Agents of SHIELD (Season One, Episodes 17-22)

21 - Guardians of the Galaxy

22 - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

23 - Daredevil (Season One)

24 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 1-10)

25 - Jessica Jones (Season One)

26 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 11-19)

27 - Avengers: Age of Ultron

28 - Agents of SHIELD (Season Two, Episodes 20-22)

Next on the list is...

29 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 1-4)

30 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 1-4)

31 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 5-11)

32 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 5-8)

33 - Daredevil (Season Two, Episodes 12-13)

34 - Luke Cage (Season One, Episodes 9-13)

35 - Ant-Man