The MVP of the MCU: The Marvel Villain Problem of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

I am a fan of the superhero film genre.  I love (for the most part) the Marvel films.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe films have taken the genre to new heights.  But there is one prevailing problem in the MCU.  It is the MVP of the MCU: the Marvel Villain Problem.

(Spoilers if you have not seen any or all of the MCU films)

To boil it right down, the Marvel Villain Problem is this: they kill off the villain at the end of nearly every film.  You may not have thought about it given we are now 18 films in with the release of Black Panther but it is true.  Nearly every film in the MCU features the death of the main villain (and sometimes the secondary villain as well).  Here’s the list of MCU films and the fate of each main villain:

1.) Iron Man

Main Villain: Obadiah Stane. Status: Killed at the end of the film

2.) The Incredible Hulk

Main Villain: Emil Blonsky (Abomination).  Status: Alive, beaten and left with the army

3.) Iron Man 2

Main Villain: Ivan Vanko (Whiplash).  Status: Killed at the end of film

4.) Thor

Main Villain: Loki.  Status: Presumed dead but is still alive

5.) Captain America: The First Avenger

Main Villain: Red Skull.  Status: Killed at the end of the film

6.) The Avengers

Main Villain: Loki.  Status: Alive and in prison on Asgard

7.) Iron Man 3

Main Villain: Aldrich Killian.  Status: Killed at the end of the film

(One could argue that the Mandarin was also a main villain but they made that story to be that it wasn’t the real one but an actor so don’t know you could include that as a main villain)

8.) Thor: The Dark World

Main Villain: Malekith.  Status: Killed at the end of the film

9.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Main Villains: Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier), Alexander Pierce.  Status: Barnes – Alive and in hiding. Pierce – Killed at the end of the film

10.) Guardians of the Galaxy

Main Villain: Ronan.  Status: Killed at the end of the film

(One could argue Thanos as a main villain but he didn’t have that big a role in this one. That one is being saved for Avengers: Infinity War.)

11.) Avengers: Age of Ultron

Main Villain: Ultron.  Status: Killed (?) at the end of the film

(Ultron is a robot so the AI could still be out there but in the film, all of his bodies that he used were destroyed)

12.) Ant-Man

Main Villain:  Darren Cross/Yellowjacket.  Status: Killed at the end of the film

13.) Captain America: Civil War

Main Villain: Helmut Zemo.  Status: Alive and in custody (but not before he attempted suicide) at the end of the film

(a secondary villain (Crossbones) was killed early in the film)

14.) Doctor Strange

Main Villains: Kaecilius, Dormammu.  Status: Alive (?) in the Dark Dimension

(We know Dormammu is still alive, Kaecilius may be there as well as he was drawn into the dimension)

15.) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Main Villain: Ego.  Status: Killed at the end of the film

16.) Spider-Man: Homecoming

Main Villain: Adrian Toomes (Vulture).  Status: Alive and in prison at the end of the film

17.) Thor: Ragnarok

Main Villain: Hela.  Status: Killed at the end of the film

18.) Black Panther

Main Villain: Erik Stevens (N’Jadaka/Killmonger).  Status: Killed at the end of the film

(A secondary villain Ulysses Klaue is also killed in the film)

 

After going through these films, we have to take into account that one “main villain” is not a villain anymore.  So through 18 films, here is the list of villains still alive in the MCU: Abomination, Loki, Helmut Zero, Dormammu, Kaecilius, Vulture.  We also have Thanos (who will be the main villain in Avengers: Infinity War) Mordo (who will more than likely be the main villain in the sequel to Doctor Strange).  But in 18 films there are only 7 films where the main villain is alive at the end.  But that number is skewed because Loki is the main villain in 2 of those and another of those (Bucky Barnes) is now a hero in the MCU.  So if you throw out Barnes, it’s only 6 films (since Pierce died in Winter Solder).

So why is this a problem? Well for one, you drain the number of great villains from the comics.  Especially when you kill off great villains (Red Skull, Hela, Killmonger, Ultron) but even just villains that could develop into more if given longer opportunities (Stane, Crossbones, Ronan).  Now we don’t know what the plans are post Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel.  But unless they retcon at some point (which I don’t think that’s what Kevin Feige will do) there will come a point when they won’t have any strong villains left if they keep killing them off.  Or at least not enough to pose a viable threat to the Avengers post Infinity War.

Then again, Marvel may not feel like having another big team up film again.  But it is too bad we won’t ever see a huge villain team up film to oppose the Avengers (ala a Marvel version of the Legion of Doom).

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MoviePass Adventures: Month 4

Month 4 of my adventures of MoviePass and picked up the pace in seeing films in the theater:

1.) Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Based on the story “The Little Broomstick” by Mary Stewart, Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first film from Studio Ponoc but in it’s DNA is a Studio Ghibli film.  The director Hiromasa Yonebayash previously directed The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There and this film has that same kind of heart and visuals.  This film feels like a mashup of When Marnie Was There, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle. This is the next era of animated films as a spiritual successor to the Ghibli dynasty.

2.) Ferdinand

Based on the children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand”, Ferdinand is about this large bull named Ferdinand who everyone expects to be this fighter but he doesn’t want to fight.  It was a really fun little film.  The voice cast was entertaining and had a lot of laughs.  It was very enjoyable.

3.) The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman is based on the life of P.T. Barnum, who helped create and run one of the biggest circuses in the country.  Ironic that the film released shortly after the Barnum & Bailey Circus shut down.  Anyway, I liked the film.  I’m usually hit or miss with musicals but this one I enjoyed.  The songs fit the story & overall had a good story.

4) 12 Strong

Based on a true story, 12 Strong tells the story of the first military group that went to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban after 9/11.  There’s a really strong cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena & Rob Riggle.  This was a really good film and enjoyed it a lot.

5.) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

A “sequel” (probably better to call it a spiritual successor) to the first Jumanji film, this one takes the Jumanji board game and turns it into a video game.  Four teenagers find the game during detention and get drawn into the game and in order to get out have to break the curse and save Jumanji.  Very funny film with good action sequences.  It tells its own story while giving nods to the original film.  Worth checking out.

6.) The Post

Based on the true story of the “Pentagon Papers” and the release of them to the media specifically involving the Washington Post newspaper.  It was an okay film.  They had a good cast that did a good job.  It just wasn’t as compelling a film to me as other films set in that time period.

7.) The 15:17 to Paris

This film is based on the true story of three friends (played by their real life counterparts) who help stop a terrorist attack on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.  Directed by Clint Eastwood, it looks at the event as well as the lives of the three friends growing up out in California.  It was a good film.  There was some editing that was kinda off at times but overall I enjoyed.  For not being actors, the three guys did a good job.

8.) Forever My Girl

This film tells the story of a country music superstar who left his fiance at the altar 8 years prior who finds his way back to the same small town and trying to win back the heart of his ex as well as the daughter he never knew he had.  It’s a nice film and for a romantic film it’s pretty good.

9.) Black Panther

The latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Black Panther continues the story of T’Challa, king of Wakanda and superhero Black Panther as he deals with ruling his people as well as dealing with the troubles that come from outside and inside.  I thought this was a really great film.  The humor in it was way better than the last MCU film Thor: Ragnarok because it wasn’t forced or wasn’t trying for humor every 5 minutes.  The action was great (another great job by director Ryan Coogler) and overall told a really great story.

 

Total films seen overall with MoviePass: 23

 

 

Crawling Out of a Writing Rut

I’ve been in a writing rut of late.  There hasn’t been much that has been inspiring me to write.  There hasn’t been the motivation to write.  I’ve had these kind of seasons where I want to write but I don’t know what to write about or have any inspirations to draw from to write.  Couple that with a season of time where there’s nothing “exciting” going in my life it makes for being in quite a rut.

I think it also plays into creatively being in a rut.  I miss being a part of a podcast.  I miss having that format to explore creative ideas.  And though I have toyed with starting my own podcast, I just haven’t been able to get it off the ground just yet  Feeling in a rut.

This season of my life has been more downs than there have been ups.  It has been a struggle.  My hope is always that things will improve but when one is stuck in a rut, it takes a lot of momentum to get out of it.

I’m going to try and brainstorm some ideas at least for this blog to try and get out of this writing rut.  Hopefully the inspiration and motivation will come and the creative ideas will start flowing again.

MoviePass Adventures: Month 3

Month 3 of my adventures of MoviePass and unfortunately there was a lack of usage due to weather and health.  But did get my first repeat viewing along with another new film (Hopefully will get more viewing in during the next month):

1.) Wonder (second viewing)

This was a repeat viewing (first watched it last month). This is the first film not named Star Wars that I went to see again in the theater in a long time.  This has become one of my favorite films ever.

2) Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour is based on the true story of Sir Winston Churchill and his first month or so as prime minister during the middle of World War II.  It essentially looks at May of 1940 which was one of the toughest times for the British Empire and how Churchill tried to deal with becoming prime minister in such a time.  Gary Oldman is spot on as Churchill.  It was a really good film and it’s a good one to watch after watching Dunkirk which is also during this time period.

2017 Year in Review

This year of 2017 is finally drawing to a close.  This has been another rough and tough year for me.  It has been that case the last several years.  I hope though that your year was good.  If it wasn’t, I hope that 2018 is better for you.  As is tradition for me, I like to look back and review the year.  Here is the year in review starting with the final book list of books I’ve read this year.

Final reading list for 2017:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr.

Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed The Movies by Mark Clark

Godzilla FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of the Monsters by Brian Solomon

Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier

What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Church by Dave Anderson & Tim Wilcox

You Can’t Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television by Al Michaels


This is the 13th year of keeping track of books I’ve read. Here’s the number breakdown:

2005: 19

2006: 20

2007: 18

2008: 22

2009: 29

2010: 24

2011: 15

2012: 14

2013: 9

2014: 7

2015: 13

2016: 12

2017: 12

2016 Year in Review

Highlights of the year: The highlights were the following:  Board game nights with friends, Opportunities to preach, The joy of writing for this blog, Seeing the total eclipse and a baseball game afterwards

Five things that 2017 taught me:

1) It’s okay to let go of some things so you can better grab hold of what’s better

2) Being a jerk is never okay no matter the situation

3) It’s important to know what fights to pick and what hills are worth dying on

4) Hold onto hope with every part of your being, especially in the rough times

5) Show kindness to others, a little goes a long way

*Five personally significant events of 2017:  (Well this year it was three again)

1) I celebrated the 4 year anniversary of this blog

2) Had opportunity to preach several times

3) Got to spend quality time with friends

4) ——————————————–

5) ——————————————–

Ten things I want to do in 2018 (in no particular order):

1) Continue to grow in my walk with the Lord

2) Be faithful to the work God has called me to

3) Hopefully find and be in a relationship with a girl that is honoring God

4) Continue to pray for my friends around the world

5) Show grace and mercy to everyone around me

6) Find time for recreational reading

7) Travel to see friends

8) Be an encouragement to those around me

9) Learn as much as I can from the experiences I have

10) Smile every day

Five things I don’t want to do in 2017:

1) Grow weary in doing good

2) Not appreciate the blessings God has provided for me

3) Forget where God has brought me and where he’s taking me

4) Hurt people and lose friendships because of my actions

5) Grow angry and bitter at my circumstances

Five things I love beyond all reason currently:

1) God

2) My family and friends

3) Opportunities for the future

4) Reading

5) Writing

Five things I hate with good reason currently:

1) My sinful nature

2) Frustration about circumstances beyond my control

3) Being lonely

4) Being hurt

5) Bad attitudes

I hope that 2018 will be a better year than 2017.  That is my prayer for me and for you

Sunday Devotional: John 21:24-25

“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the book that would be written.” (John 21:24-25)

These are the last verses in the gospel of John.  Throughout the book, the apostle wrote of things that he had seen and experienced in following Jesus.  But as John mentioned here, there was so much more that happened that he wasn’t able to write down.  Stories and experiences that will hear in heaven I’m sure.

We are at the end of another year.  Things happened that a lot of people know.  But there are things that happened that few if any know about.  Good times and bad.  Happy times and sad ones.  But through it all God is still in control and God is still at work.

Today let us look back and reflect and prepare for the year ahead and what God has in store for next year.