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Are We Too Critical Of The MCU? Venti MCU, Two Pumps Better CGI, Light Multiverse, Hold The M.O.D.O.K.

According to boss Kevin Feige we've barely scratched the surface of the Marvel universe in the MCU. However, I'm less convinced.

Are we too critical of the MCU? As I sit down to write this, my first article for LRM, I’m in a Starbucks. I have an hour until I pick up my kid. Sixty minutes of writing in peace. With a cup of black coffee.

I was second in line, and the two people in front of me took roughly seven minutes to order two drinks. Coffee wasn’t good enough. Nor were the dozen pre-concocted caffeinated delicacies that Starbucks has on offer. No caramel drizzle on one. Extra caramel on the other, but put the extra on the foam. A side cup of ice. Cinnamon, but only between the coffee and the foam. So. Much. Choice.

We’ve all seen it…

And I think we’ve become that way with genre films.


Are we too critical of the MCU? Have we forgotten how great these experiences are compared to what we got in the past?

I turn fifty this year. I remember seeing Star Wars in theaters. I remember Saturday morning cartoons. I remember Kung Fu Theater and Ultra Man on the weekends. You had to time it perfectly to see genre content, because once it was gone, it was gone. Tune in by 8 a.m. on Saturday morning or you’d miss Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Rush home from church and turn on the tube or you might miss Godzilla.

Live action super hero content was the most elusive. Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Batman reruns, and the short-lived Amazing Spider-Man TV series (remember that one?) were my only options, and, though they tried hard, their stories and action paled in comparison to what took place on the pages of my comic books. If my friends and I wanted to see our favorite comic book characters and stories in live action, it had to be through the lens of vivid imagination during play time. And we did everything we could to bring those super-human characters to life. Broken cardboard boxes were Hulk-smashed cars. Yelling “Flame on!” and running with my arms out in front of me made for an instantly recognizable Human Torch. And a rope my grandfather kept in the garage was a serviceable (though cumbersome) web-line for an eight-year-old.


We are now living in the Golden Age of Geek. All those characters have been rebooted, re- polished, photo-realized, and been made immediate. We can see them anytime we want. On various sized screens. And if we miss them in the theater, we can pick them up later on TV. Or on our phones. (How can we watch Godzilla on a phone?).

Those of you who, like me, grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, have gone from losing our popcorn at even the thought of watching Dr. Strange use the Eye of Agammoto to whipping rotten tomatoes at the screen. My buddy Frank from college said it’s their fault — the over-saturation of superhero content has made us more demanding and discerning. And when I tried to argue that maybe we should attempt to resurrect our childhood wonder and simply revel in the joy of seeing this stuff get realized on screen, he said to me, “that thinking is what’s ruining my movies.” Wow. Have we all become…curmudgeons?


Are we too critical of the MCU? Have we forgotten how great these experiences are compared to what we got in the past?

Frank and I are squarely in middle age. But what about the young? Well, any human being whose earliest genre memories began some time on or after the year 2000 (when the first X-Men movie knocked our socks off) has lived in an age of genre plenty. Those humans have not had to use their imaginations to bring our most beloved characters to life — characters my Gen-X comrades and I pretty much only saw in pen and ink. The post-X-Men humans are, to use a word I use at times to describe my own children, spoiled, in this regard. They didn’t have to invest themselves in these characters and stories in the same way fans my age had to in order to enjoy them.

It’s not that folks in their 20’s and 30’s can’t be objective in their assessments of genre quality, of course they can, but could there be a difference? Eight-year-old me had to wait twenty-one years to see Sam Raimi bring real Spider-Man to the big screen. My kids only have only ever had to wait as long as it takes for them to search our purchased iTunes movies.


For today’s genre fans, it’s no big deal to see this stuff anymore. It’s pop culture. When I was a kid, if I had worn a Spider-Man T-shirt to school, I would have been run out of the fifth grade. Now, Marvel is fashion. And when something becomes fashionable, it loses its status as gift. When it’s everywhere, it’s assumed. It opens itself up to criticism. Some of which can, at times, be ill-deserved.

Was Eternals really that bad? (Editors Note: I thought Eternals was okay.) I mean, we got to see some truly epic visuals, plus, the live- action birth of a Celestial! And another one showed up in the sky just like in the comics! So maybe it wasn’t the most compelling super-hero film we’d ever seen, but, geez… Does it have to be to be amazing? If that film had come out in 2010, would the reception among the geek world have been different? More excited? Accepting? Is it possible that we are all now suffering from such an embarrassment of genre riches that — like the cool kids in high school — being unimpressed, overly critical, and sometimes downright mean gives us legitimacy? Are we becoming the bullies that bullied us?


Ant-Man & Wasp Quantumania premiered on February 17. I haven’t seen it yet. I’m going this weekend. I’m taking my kids. I often read reviews before going to see genre fare. I haven’t for this one. Not after seeing a headline (see below) announcing that critics basically think it sucks. But don’t they understand? We get to see Ant-Man! And Wasp! And Kang! And M.O.D.O.K.! In live action! For real! I never in a million years thought I’d get to see any version of a live action M.O.D.O.K.. Those critics obviously never played Avengers with me in my grandparents’ backyard.

RELATED: Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania Only Second MCU Movie Classed As Rotten on RT

For my part, I will always ask that the genre creators who share my love of these characters will do everything they can to deliver the best possible versions, and I will be critical when it is clear that the distractions of stardom, greed, and sheer complacency have gotten in the way of that. The rest of the time, however, for me, the “problems” we identify in these films are all just nit- picking. When I see Thena dissecting Deviants, or Man-Thing trying to find his lycanthropic pal Jack Russell, or She-Hulk smashing!, I am literally seeing my childhood dreams come true — my eight-year-old imagination come to life. I LOVED seeing Zeus and Thor face off on that big, magical screen… even if I thought Love & Thunder was a bit too much of a departure.

It’s the love that I want to take with me when I leave the theater.


When I was a kid, and I read a comic starring a favorite character, and that particular issue had a “lame” story (and there were many), that didn’t stop me from begging my grandfather to pick me up another issue the next week. And it certainly didn’t sour me on comics as a whole. Now that we no longer have to rely solely on our imaginations to see our dreams realized in live action, have we become less inclined to enjoy the very things that we loved so much as children? Have we lost the ability to say, I would have done it differently, but it was still a fun ride? I’m really struck by how many “geeks” I know who literally have only two assessments of genre fare — it’s either amazing or it sucks. No in between. Really?

Is it possible that we could all enjoy ourselves a little more with a simple shift in perspective?

So here’s the challenge… Before we take our seats in the theaters or press play on our devices, can we remember how truly lucky we are to see our childhood dreams of gods and monsters come to life before us?

Anyway, my thoughts. Are we too critical of the MCU now? This stuff has been on my mind for a while, so let me know how you feel. And I hope that the little kid in you is as blown away by this stuff as mine is every single time.

As of the writing of this piece, the Tomatometer Critic Score for Ant-Man & Wasp Quantumania sits at 48% (Splat) and the Audience Score is at 84% (Popcorn).

Challenge accepted.

What do you think readers, are we being too critical of the MCU now? Are comic book movies still better than they ever were before? Leave us your thoughts below.

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