Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Movie Homework

I am a huge movie buff. I love movies. I can curl up on the couch and watch movies all weekend long and not feel even a tinge of guilt about it. It's time well spent.

However, living in Vietnam, I am not as up on the new movies as I was when I lived in the States. This is fine with me. As I hear about new movies or see people talking about them on Facebook, I go download them and watch them here. It works for me, but it often means I am months behind what my friends back home are watching.

A few weeks ago. I finally got to see Avengers: Infinity War. It was a great movie and I needed someone I could talk to about the heavy stuff that happened at the end. (Don't worry - I will not be spoiling anything here.) So, I called my nephews to talk some of this out. Now, of course, they saw it many months before I did, so they'd already had time to sort it and each of them mentioned a connection I should have made from Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Now, I stated this earlier. I love movies, but this is not the first time this has happened. Sometimes plot points and important details get missed because I have not been properly educated on the entire pre-existing universe of the movie I am trying to enjoy.

To illustrate, let's pause my commentary for a moment to take a look at what is actually required if you want to be totally up to speed in the Marvel universe. If you want to watch the events of this world in chronological order, here is what you must watch. And, in case you didn't know, it's not all movies. Half the content is television shows. Content list provided by The Independent.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Agent Carter (seasons one and two)

Agent Carter (Iron Man 3 DVD extra)

Iron Man

Iron Man 2

The Incredible Hulk

The Consultant (Thor DVD extra)

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor’s Hammer (Captain America: First Avenger DVD extra)



Item 47 (Avengers DVD extra)

Iron Man 3

All Hail the King (Thor: The Dark World extra)

Agents of Shield (season one: episodes 1 — 7)

Thor: The Dark World

Agents of Shield (season one: episodes 8 — 16)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Agents of Shield (season one: episodes 17 — 22)

Guardians of the Galaxy 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Daredevil (season one)

Agents of Shield (season two: episodes 1 — 19)

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Agents of Shield (season two: episodes 20 — 22)


Jessica Jones (season one)

Daredevil (season two)

Agents of Shield (season three: episodes 1 — 19)

Made it this far? Well done, you’ve watched a whole lot of Marvel! This next set marks some of the best MCU movies so far, but also some timeline bending difficulties. For instance, Doctor Strange begins before Civil War, but finishes after Civil War, Slingshot features lots of flashbacks, and Agents of Shield season five features a lot of obscure time traveling. Also, Black Panther and Spider-Man both take place directly after Civil War, while Ragnarok, Panther  and Ant-Man and The Wasp lead directly into Avengers: Infinity War (and presumably Avengers 4). There's also the latter part of Shield that takes place concurrently with Infinity War.

Captain America: Civil War

Agents of Shield (season three: episodes 20 — 22)

Luke Cage (season one)

Doctor Strange
Agents of Shield (season four: episodes 1 — 8)

Agents of Shield: Slingshot (web series)

Agents of Shield (season four: episodes 9 — 22)

Iron Fist (season one)

The Defenders (season one)

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Inhumans (season one)

The Punisher (season one)

Runaways (season one)

Black Panther

Jessica Jones (season two)

Agents of Shield (season five, episodes 1 — 19)

Cloak and Dagger (season one)

Luke Cage (season two)

Thor: Ragnarok 

Ant-Man and The Wasp

Avengers Infinity War

Agents of Shield (season five, episodes 20 - 22)

Congratulations. If you’ve watched all of the above, you’ve processed over nine days worth of Marvel movies and television. Nine days of 24-hour viewing! And there’s still more to come, including: Captain Marvel, an untitled fourth Avengers movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Luke Cage season two, Daredevil season three, The Punisher season two, Iron Fist season two, Jessica Jones season three, and New Warriors season one. Phew.

Once again, I love movies, but come on. I didn't devote that much time to my entire Master's degree.

What happened to the days when you could sit down and watch a movie and just enjoy it without having to do months of homework first to know what is going on? The Marvel universe has just hit the 10-year mark. Even if you have actually caught every single piece, it has been spread out for so long, how often do those really dedicated fans do a refresher to be able to stay up on what's happening? I'm having a difficult enough time just struggling with the two year gap between Game of Thrones seasons.

Star Wars has a similar thing going also. Not only have 8 of the eventual 9 movies been slowly released over the course of FORTY years, but they have not come out in order. And now there are spin-off movies and the television shows that go along with it. For the full picture, here is the world of Star Wars. Once again, provided by The Independent.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
The Clone Wars (film)
The Clone Wars (seasons 1 - 6 plus unfinished episodes)
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars Rebels (seasons 1 – 4)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Untitled live-action Star Wars show
Star Wars Resistance
Episode VII: The Force Awakens 
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Episode IX: Jar Jar’s Redemption

After Disney acquired LucasFilm for $4 billion, they quickly began churning out Star Wars movies, beginning with The Force Awakens. Now, the company are further investigating the post-Return of the Jedi era, unveiling a Jon Favreau TV series (to debut on their upcoming streaming service) and a 2D animated series centred on a young fighter pilot in Resistance. Whether they will continue the main films past an initial trilogy remains to be seen, but considering Force Awakens and Last Jedi made a combined $3.4 billion don’t expect them to stop anytime soon. Plus, there are rumors about a pre-New Hope era movie about Obi-Wan, a Lando movie and there was a Boba Fett movie in the works at one point.

And the spin-offs? What about that Rian Johnson trilogy? And the David Benioff and D. B. Weiss trilogy? Yes, those are still being developed, but where they will take place on the timeline, who can say? They will reportedly have nothing to do with Skywalkers, making for something of a drastic change.

Star Wars, like the Marvel universe is has become cumbersome enough that being a true fan requires a big commitment.

The Harry Potter world took 10 years to get from the first movie to the last one in its eight movie initial series. There were eight-year olds just discovering the series and books in 2011 who soon learned that this series began before they were even born. They had a lot of homework to do. Plus, now with the Fantastic Beasts spin-off we are being threatened with FIVE more movies. And the Cursed Child can only been seen on stage…for now.

I'll say it again. I love movies. I really do, but they are supposed to be an escape. And it is just becoming too much work. Plus, I'm a little past middle age now. I can't bear the thought of putting decades of commitment into a series when there's a real possiblity I could die before I get to see how it all comes to an end. That would be tragic.

Now I'm depressed. I may need a new way to waste my time.


  1. Books are a viable alternative to movies.
    Just saying.

    1. And I average more than one a week. The movie universe is still getting too convoluted.


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