With the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, I feel the need to wax insightful about the so-called “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” a particularly large lump in the rapidly congealing cultural morass clogging the arteries of our once-great civilization. As a film critic serving several dozen important (if unappreciative) fan-site forums, it is important that I point out to you how disdainful any self-respecting person should be towards the “entertainment” that the masses enjoy so thoroughly. Simply put: nothing in North American culture has had any real merit since the late 1970s.
Oh sure, there’s almost always some pleasingly inaccessible work coming out of Europe, and some of the stuff being made in the Middle East and the Orient right now is just obscure enough to be worthwhile. In the West, though, it’s been a barren wasteland for quite some time. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Marvel superhero movies, each one a bellowing cannibalistic vagrant doing its part to ravage and wither the conceptual landscape even further. I mean, look at the trailers—and only the trailers—because this stuff is like salty trans-fat-laden junk food for your soul. Explosions? Superhuman feats? Dialogue wittier than anything you’d hear in everyday life? Colour film? Please.
Most of them come very close to redeeming themselves by subverting standard plot structures, but sadly they only mix things up a little, de-emphasizing the kinds of character development scenes and tropes that most audiences are already familiar with. This is an incredibly aggravating thing to see of course, when clearly what they should have done was gut the traditional plots and replace them with an anarchic postmodern absurdist paradigm, in which cause is not necessarily followed by effect. It’s quite simple: throw a naked old woman with the head of a crow in there, have her pour ants onto a fossilized pie, and see what happens! Instead, we get more Hollywood films held hostage by the tyranny of logic and causality.
However, the real reason these blasé travesties are rotting viewers’ brains is the liberties they take with the original material, co-opting the origin stories of beloved comic book characters to make them more “plausible” and less “racist.” Keep in mind, here I speak only of comic franchises over 45 years old; please refer to the information on the demise of culture in the first paragraph. In any case, what was wrong with the classic version of the Mandarin? He was half Mandarin Chinese, which is the source of his evil, and he got magic rings from a crashed spaceship, the source of his power. So, his name makes sense. Why make him an evil white businessman who uses xenophobia to manipulate people? If you’re trying to send some sort of message, it must be so lowbrow it went under my head.
It takes the wisdom of academics to put artists in their place. If we didn’t, who knows what you’d get up to? You might even enjoy the film and feel happy, instead of picking it apart and feeling smart.