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The Marvel Universe in 4K


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The Marvel Universe in 4K
« on: July 11, 2019, 04:16:13 PM »
As the Marvel movies are slowly being brought out in 4k I thought it might be fun to comment on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First, let me stress that just about all the successful characters came from Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.
First, my first take on a movie adaptation of anything is that it just be a good movie. Second, I hope they keep the essence of the story or character. And I do recognize the changing times.  For example, James Bond doesn’t smoke at all, doesn’t drink as much and treats women differently than he did in 1963, but his essence, with Daniel Craig, is still there.
The MCU began with two Hulk movies. They are not like the original Bruce Banner. In the original comics,  (1962) Banner was a bomb maker, constructing a radioactive Gamma Ray bomb aimed directly at Russia. He gets caught in a test blast, creating the Hulk. Not anger, but sunset and sunrise caused his change. That would change as the character developed.  The first movie, with Eric Bana was just awful, the second movie was better, not great, but no one has captured the role better than Mark Ruffallo.  After all, he’s always angry!
Iron Man was wounded in Viet Nam, in 1963, not Afghanistan as shown in the movie.  But we won’t run out of wars.  The origin was very close to the original, with Downey giving Stark a compelling personality. One Thing:  In the first comics, Stark needed a complete iron chest covering to keep his heart beating, which cuts down on his dating. Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) marries Happy in the comics. Stark, in the comics becomes an alcoholic. I very much liked Iron Man I, disliked 2 and like the first hour of 3.

Captain America was created in 1940 and was discontinued in 1950. He was brought back, defrosted, in 1964.  The movie covers that well and is the closest of all the characters to the original. Maybe that is why these three movies are at the top of my list!  Bucky’s death during WW2 was shown in 1964.  Forty years later he was revived in the “Winter Soldier” comic storyline and then in the movies. Chris Evans was perfect as Cap but took longer to defrost (65 years) than the comic book Cap who took just 20.

My Nick Fury, of 1963, had to be white.  Samuel Jackson though is perfect. Don’t get upset.  Nick Fury was introduced in comics as the leader of the “Howling Commandos” a team based on the 101st Airborne Division known as the “Screaming Eagles.”  Sadly, our army was segregated in 1940 and the leader would have to be white.  Although, in the comics, Fury insisted on an integrated team that had an African American, a Jew and an Italian!  Fury was popular and, in 1965 they brought him to the present and made him head of Shield, two years AFTER the formation of the Avengers. This is contrary to the movies.  This Nick Fury could not have been in WW2, so the casting is perfect.

Thor (1962) is the most different from the comic book original.  He was actually closer to “Shazam” if you saw that movie. Don Blake, a lame, short and “puny” doctor finds a magic stick that when he strikes it to the ground turned him into the Might Thor, a very separate entity.  Soon though, Blake when he is Thor develops the godlike personality, memories and kinship to Asgard.  We would later learn he was Thor all the time, but punished by Odin, for his lack of humility, and transformed into Blake.  As he becomes more godlike, Jane, his nurse, is left behind and he hooks up with Sif.  Loki, brilliantly played on screen, by Tom Hiddleston is portrayed perfectly.  And, as in both the comics and the movies, was the cause for the creation of the Avengers.  I enjoyed the first Thor movie although it was little like the original.  I really enjoyed Ragnarok and the Dark World was just okay, one of the least Marvel movies.
Ant-Man (1962) was not the rogue criminal that you saw in the movies.  He was the brilliant scientist, Henry Pym, a widower, who is shown in the movies as an older Pym played by Michael Douglas. Later he is joined by Janet Van Dyne who will become the Wasp. The series did not do well and a year later they added two letters to his name and Ant-Man became Giant-Man but was cancelled after a total run of three years. I thought the movies were fun and funny and maybe a bit silly but they had their own look.
The Avengers, 1963, emulating the very successful DC comic, Justice League, combined most of their second string characters to form a group: Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Giant-Man and the Wasp. The Hulk leaves in the second issue and Captain America joins in the fourth issue, making him the SIXTH Avenger, despite the title of his own movie.
The movies imitate Marvel’s inventive and unique comic book continuity and continued stories.  In Avengers #16 (1965) Stan Lee replaces Iron Man, Thor and Giant Man with the Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye and Quicksilver, a very big risk. Why? He said that he wanted to develop those characters without conflicting stories taking place elsewhere. Thor can’t be in Asgard in his own book and Earth in the Avengers.  This was a very big deal at the time!  I thoroughly enjoyed and never expected to see the first Avengers movie.  While II, Ultron, was a bit of a letdown and also enjoyed the next two.

Doctor Strange (1963) was very much like that of the movies.  The original Ancient One, however, continued the stereotypical tradition of an Asian All Knowing Magic Male Mentor. The movie changes that aspect radically, making the Ancient One a woman.  Marvel got complaints about “whitewashing” but would have received complaints if they went with the original. Baron Mordo was the major villain in the comics, in the movie he is first an ally but we see him turn. Dr Strange, in the Marvel Age was never an Avenger. Neither was Spider-Man. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and it didn’t look like any of the others.
The Black Panther, 1966, original appeared in the Fantastic Four comics. The character that you see, Wakanda, Vibranium, Their technology, Klaw who was a one armed villain, were all created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The movie very successfully captured what those two Jewish Guys created, although they are NEVER mentioned when the movie wins an award. It was enjoyable and I loved seeing those concepts realized.
The Guardians of the Galaxy, 1969): Loved the movies, but this had nothing to do with the original comic. (Singular).  They concept did not develop until year later. In the future, four people from different planets unite to fight their common oppressors.: Charlie 7, a human genetically engineered for strength and invulnerability; Martinex, a crystalline entity who can survive the Plutian atmosphere; Vance Astro with psionic powers and Yondu the last of his race, a hunter of the Zatoan tribe of Centauri IV. The movies actually took their plots from Thor and other comics.

This is really complicated: Marvel’s Captain Marvel (which was the original name of Shazam from 1940-1954 until Fawcett stopped publishing it) was a male character (Walt Lawson) when he originated in 1967. He was a Kree, sent to spy on the Earth, but turns out to be a good guy.  Carol Danvers was not a pilot but a security officer at Cape Kennedy who gets caught in a Ray Gun blast with Walt in 1968. In 1977 she develops his powers and becomes Ms. Marvel.  In 1982 Walt/Captain Marvel dies of cancer. In 2012 Carol renames  herself “Captain Marvel” in his honor.  WHEW! 

In the movies they made Walt, a woman named Wendy, and went in very different directions. But they kept her essence and gave her a kitty cat and I liked the movie, it was a lot of fun.
But they didn’t keep the essence of Spider-Man (introduced in 1962) in the MCU Homecoming movies. This is just not my Spider-Man and I don’t like these movies very much.  Tobey McGuire and crew mostly captured the original in their first two movies.  Peter parker was 17-18 and a senor, not a joiner. He had no friends, and certainly no girlfriends. He was bullied.  He was not an Avenger, he was a loner, and had to make his own costume….and even repair it.  There was no Happy Hogan helping him and going after his hot aunt.  This version of him is very successful, but I am not a fan of these two movies.  The essence of the Spider-Man I was introduced to when we were both teen-agers is gone.

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Re: The Marvel Universe in 4K
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 05:51:54 PM »
Interesting run down. I'm not into comics at all, but do enjoy some of the movies listed. Really like Captain Marvel for one! 
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Re: The Marvel Universe in 4K
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 05:52:26 PM »
Thanks Barry for the historical write up and comparison..

As they say, movies have to go with the times in order to make the $$$. 

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Re: The Marvel Universe in 4K
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 02:10:17 AM »
Awesome recap Barry, but I like the new Spiderman. Going to see Far From Home this weekend :)
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