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Scorsese compared MCU to modern theme park. What is your angle on it?


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12 hours ago, leslie said:

i must be shallow, i have nearly the whole set on dvd?. I find them lighthearted entertainment. Life throws enough drama my way during the day, i dont need to watch more of it on a screen at night. I guess i'm after the escapism aspect most are so far fetched  thats it a load off the mind for awhile. Perhaps thats just me.

I don't think that the "lighthearted entertainment" aspect is what really makes MCU theme park-ish. I'd argue that the George Lucas Star Wars movies are also lighthearted entertainment, but without the theme park feel. I even think the first Transformers still felt like a "movie" compared to the MCU (and I'm not talking about quality, but tone and structure). I think this is exactly right:

17 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

But I also agree about MCU being extremely well made... I dunno, structurally it reminds me more of tv, which it basically is. Or sports–watching your team trounce the other team.

There's something different about MCU and modern Star Wars movies compared to other blockbusters even, they are more like sports in how they portray the heroes and villains, and structurally they are episodic.

 

Edit: Another way to put it is that in the MCU, characters are defined by traits. Iron Man is a leader. Starlord makes 80's references. I would argue that in Avengers Endgame, the choice they make to fight Thanos is never examined at all, it's a given. In classic storytelling movies, characters are defined by choices and their reasoning. Frodo chooses to take the ring to Mordor to save the Shire. The T-800 chooses to melt himself to save the future.

In the same way, we admire sports stars first and foremost because of their abilities and traits.

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That's the great thing about filmmaking: There's no right or wrong, only tastes. What is good for one filmmaker will be different for another, whether it be plot, script, acting, even color. MCU movies are great to okay in my opinion. But so are some of the Scorsese movies. Raging Bull is great, but I know several people who can't understand why anyone would want to watch a black and white movie about a washed up Italian boxer.

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3 hours ago, KnightsFan said:

I would argue that in Avengers Endgame, the choice they make to fight Thanos is never examined at all, it's a given. In classic storytelling movies, characters are defined by choices and their reasoning. Frodo chooses to take the ring to Mordor to save the Shire. The T-800 chooses to melt himself to save the future.

Really interesting analysis, I hadn't considered this but I think it's very true...

But in Endgame I feel there was a conscious attempt (and a pretty overt one) to shoehorn in dramatic choices. It's just that they feel false. Iron Man's daughter (spoiler alert?) was meant to be a foil against the time travel plot. A "Frodo leaving the shire" moment. And it's meant to be a character arc that Iron Man (spoiler alert?) lets himself die in service of saving the world, when he started out as a war profiteer. A T-800 melting himself moment. But the thing is... that arc already happened with Iron Man (in Iron Man) and I think the bigger problem isn't the lack of choices, it's that the choices feel obvious or artificial. Of course they save the world. 

But, by the same token, of course Luke leaves Tatooine. And yet... that choice resonates with me. Nothing in Endgame really does. Why is that? Why do the choices in Marvel movies feel less like choices than the choices in the classics? Maybe it's because the morality is so black and white that it's difficult to empathize with the antagonists? I really don't know and I do wonder...

But credit to the Russos for the effort, Endgame is a well-crafted movie and that goes down to the script imo. And I thought Civil War, which they also directed, had real stakes and real choices in it and a strong third act that was smaller and more personal, more about personal choices than it is about us vs them beat-em-ups. Sort of a revenge vs forgiveness thing with a huge second act that's a beat-em-up and a third act that's more personal and emotional. And with a real choice in it. I gotta admit, even though I don't really care for the MCU, Civil War had some interesting stuff in it.

Same with Transformers 1, I agree. That felt like a movie to me, too.

....of course the broader subtext is I want to compare this tribalistic lack of empathy, lack of emotion, and lack of choice with today's political atmosphere and even the us vs them mindset with Sony vs Canon vs Nikon vs whatever... compared with how things were decades ago where it was more moderate and centrist.

But I won't. ? Because that would be an us vs them comparison... And it is much more nuanced than that.

For better or worse, I think Marvel movies are the right movies for our times. I just hope better times are ahead.

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27 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

But in Endgame I feel there was a conscious attempt (and a pretty overt one) to shoehorn in dramatic choices. It's just that they feel false. Iron Man's daughter (spoiler alert?) was meant to be a foil against the time travel plot. A "Frodo leaving the shire" moment. And it's meant to be a character arc that Iron Man (spoiler alert?) lets himself die in service of saving the world, when he started out as a war profiteer. A T-800 melting himself moment. But the thing is... that arc already happened with Iron Man (in Iron Man) and I think the bigger problem isn't the lack of choices, it's that the choices feel obvious or artificial. Of course they save the world.

Oops, I meant Avengers Infinity War, I haven't seen Endgame. I do think that the original Iron Man had a much more classical arc, where Tony's choices mattered and were not given, so I wouldn't be surprised if Endgame put more effort into that area to round out his arc.

 

28 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

But, by the same token, of course Luke leaves Tatooine. And yet... that choice resonates with me. Nothing in Endgame really does. Why is that? Why do the choices in Marvel movies feel less like choices than the choices in the classics? Maybe it's because the morality is so black and white that it's difficult to empathize with the antagonists? I really don't know and I do wonder...

I  think that the difference is that in the MCU, the choices are actually just character traits. In an extreme example, Hulk will always decide to smash because that's what he does. While the audience technically knows Luke will leave Tatooine because the story wouldn't exist if he didn't, his character is not set up from the beginning to do just that.

Honestly, I can't say the characters in the original Star Wars resonate with me, though. It's a bare bones story used as an excuse for some of the most imaginative worldbuilding ever, with a much more interesting cast of places than people.

 

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5 hours ago, HockeyFan12 said:

I think Marvel movies (other than Iron Man) have a similar style of storytelling to recent Spielberg movies (and Transformers movies). Instead of there being a character arc for the protagonist and that being the focus of the story, there's an external threat and then some elite heroic force stands up to that threat and stops it (could be Iron Man standing up to Thanos, could be Lincoln standing up against slavery).

To that extent, these are movies about rejecting external change rather than they are about embracing personal change.

That kind of story appeals to me less. 

I don't think I agree.  The traditional story arc is that there is some kind of stability which is broken by the inciting incident, and then the main characters spend the rest of the movie trying to recreate a new stability but they have to struggle and change to find it, which is where you mention embracing personal change.

This kind of personal change does happen frequently in these movies - the love interest either doesn't think they're worthy or are too proud but there will eventually be some kind of kiss (or dancing), people will have their ideas challenged and will reframe them and become wiser through the process, etc.

Where I think that we struggle with these things is that:

  1. They're not the focus of the movie - the focus of the movie is the fight with the external threat (as you say) so in a sense the movies are much more black and white than more human-centric films and in these films the characters spend comparatively much less time embracing personal change than they do fiercely rejecting it with a weapon of some kind, and
  2. They're cliche - we've seen these stories before and they're worn out and done to death.  My teenage daughter can tell you the entire plot of an average Hollywood film after the first 5 minutes and get 80% of the plot points correct.  Same with an entire TV series.  She's not psychic - it's that Hollywood is unoriginal.
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1 hour ago, kye said:

I don't think I agree.  The traditional story arc is that there is some kind of stability which is broken by the inciting incident, and then the main characters spend the rest of the movie trying to recreate a new stability but they have to struggle and change to find it, which is where you mention embracing personal change.

This kind of personal change does happen frequently in these movies - the love interest either doesn't think they're worthy or are too proud but there will eventually be some kind of kiss (or dancing), people will have their ideas challenged and will reframe them and become wiser through the process, etc.

Where I think that we struggle with these things is that:

  1. They're not the focus of the movie - the focus of the movie is the fight with the external threat (as you say) so in a sense the movies are much more black and white than more human-centric films and in these films the characters spend comparatively much less time embracing personal change than they do fiercely rejecting it with a weapon of some kind, and
  2. They're cliche - we've seen these stories before and they're worn out and done to death.  My teenage daughter can tell you the entire plot of an average Hollywood film after the first 5 minutes and get 80% of the plot points correct.  Same with an entire TV series.  She's not psychic - it's that Hollywood is unoriginal.

That's true, I guess I was generalizing.

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