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Which is Better? ‘The Avengers’ vs ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’

avengers vs age of ultron

Which is Better is a monthly editorial series where I dare to compare the best and worst of everything. This month: Is the first Avengers movie better than its 2015 sequel, or is it the other way around? 

Last year, my friends and I debated this for an episode of my podcast, Now Conspiring. But to be honest, the debate didn’t go anywhere because we all sort of agreed (for once). Now that enough time has passed to let the movie sink in properly, I’ve decided to revisit these two movies and decide for myself.

Granted, a lot of fans of both movies have been debating this since last spring, pointing out every flaw in each movie that could somehow tip their arguments. But it’s unclear whether or not the somewhat lukewarm reception to Age of Ultron was a result of superhero movie fatigue, Marvel fatigue, or something else that may not be a reflection of the movie’s true quality.

If we’re judging by box office, it’s even murkier. At first glance, it may seem that Avengers is better than its sequel because it pulled in $100 million more at the box office, which is a drop in the bucket compared to both movies making roughly $1.5 billion each.

avengers vs age of ultron

But aren’t sequels supposed to be bigger hits than the originals? You’d think that, but it’s actually more common to see diminishing returns depending on the franchise.

Sticking to Marvel superheroes, not a single Spider-Man movie has made as much money domestically as the first one, despite Spider-Man 2 being considered a huge improvement and one of the greatest superhero movies of all time.

Most regard Empire Strikes Back to be the best of the Star Wars films, yet it made $200 million less than A New Hope, not even adjusting for inflation. Let’s not even get started on Return of a Jedi actually failing to net a profit.

So the argument has to come down to the movies themselves, metrics aside. For this week’s Which is Better, I’ll break both movies down on a series of points crucial to what makes a superhero movie great.

Starting with,

BEST STORY

avengers vs age of ultron

Few will argue that The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron (AOU) are wildly different when it comes to plot execution. And for good reason.

Much of the beginning of Avengers centered around exposition that united all of our “mightiest heroes.” It was incredibly entertaining, of course, considering how new it felt to see these characters side by side in one movie.

But the plot was otherwise quite basic: The threat is established, the heroes are brought together to address it, a central action set piece gives them a reason to work together, and they save the day in one final battle. Pretty simple.

AOU had a lot more freedom to be complicated since a lot of that character-building exposition was done in the last film, and also because Avengers was such a monumental hit that the studio was confident people would remember what was going on in their cinematic universe.

So with AOU, we got three villains (sort of), tons of new side characters, and another world domination plot. And that was including many of the new characters introduced in the “Phase 2” of Marvel movies, Guardians of the Galaxy notwithstanding.

In AOU, Tony Stark’s creation was the established threat, but unlike Loki (who was also tied to a main character in a close way), Ultron was a complete unknown to the audience. He arrived on the scene quickly and drove the plot as soon as he showed up.

avengers vs age of ultron

The heroes were already together by this point, so the movie spent more time developing them as they worked to deal with the threat of Ultron. If we’re judging both movies by complexity and character arcs, than AOU surpasses the original in spades.

And that’s because the first Avengers is essentially a party, or a celebration of the fact that Marvel pulled off one of the greatest team-ups in cinematic history. But aside from some quips and other quick dialogue, the characters didn’t progress much from beginning to end. They just decided (again) to do what they’ve already done in their own respective movies: be heroes.

“Saving the day” wasn’t such a black and white solution in AOU, which I found very refreshing. Each Avenger had an agenda, and some sparks of disagreement and strife popped up between these characters, teasing the upcoming Civil War.

This worked because getting invested in characters is what made AOU feel more like a complete story compared to the first Avengers, which was more of a continuation of a running story that didn’t feel all that resolved by the end.

To be fair, AOU having a more complex plot also brought on a ton of narrative issues, many of them being the cause of Joss Whedon having to set up future movies with throwaway scenes that didn’t feel as cohesive. A good example is Thor’s mini-vacation to awaken his new powers, a side adventure that was given hardly any time to be built up or explained well. As I mentioned earlier, Ultron was also rushed as a villain, probably to give more time to the Wakanda references they had to include to set up Black Panther.

So AOU isn’t perfect, but I’d say the good certainly outweighs the bad. The darker tone wasn’t quite as dark as people hoped for, but there was a new sense of tension that actually got a payoff in the end with one of the first key deaths in these movies. And a lot of what doesn’t work that well in AOU is sort of indicative of the same problems existing in the original. We just didn’t harp on them as much back in 2012 because the novelty of the film was so, well, novel.

Both movies have great, enjoyable narratives, but I have to give this point to AOU for being bolder and containing a more dense story, flaws aside.

BEST CHARACTERS

avengers vs age of ultron

I’ll do this one fast. It’s a tie.

As I mentioned earlier, AOU was fantastic at giving us more insight into these characters, which gives it a huge advantage in this debate. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are notable exceptions that I give a pass due to the messiness surrounding the rights for those characters.

That said, Avengers pulled off something equally impressive by reintroducing the core team without spoon-feeding us tons of information about them we didn’t need to know. Marvel could have easily decided to treat us like we’re stupid and need a “Previously on” in order to remember who Thor and Captain America are.

To put it simply, both movies do a terrific job at showcasing great characters. The story elements behind these characters are certainly stronger in AOU, but we’ve already evaluated that in the previous section, so it’s a tie.

BEST VILLAIN

avengers vs age of ultron

Loki or Ultron? Oh, who am I kidding…

Everyone (I think) loves Loki. It’s been a running joke for some time that he’s pretty much the only “good” Marvel villain. And for the most part, I actually agree.

He was an effortless scene stealer, in no small part thanks to Tom Hiddleston’s wonderful take on the character. He captured the comic-book villain quite well, while also updating it perfectly for feature films. He was funny, arrogant, and even a little sympathetic. But despite this, he was incredibly threatening, despite not having any “raw” power.

We knew throughout Avengers that Loki wasn’t that strong of a guy. Yet he commanded a ton of presence and was taken incredibly seriously. Using him for the first movie was a perfect choice because he was the perfect villain to contrast the raw power of the Avengers, who were vastly more intimidating when it came to brute strength.

Yet he wasn’t even “smarter” compared to Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. There was just an unspoken mental advantage he was able to hold over the heroes just enough to provoke them into finally stopping him.

Ultron was an attempt to up the ante with a villain who could be strong enough to bring down the Avengers, but they went with giving him an advantage aside from brute strength again.  Not being that powerful himself, Ultron commanded a huge army and could tamper with their technology, even the Internet.

A problem that arose with this was when Scarlet Witch introduced yet another alternative to brute strength with her mind powers. But by the end of AOU, the Avengers do what they always need to do: save the day with their muscles…and lasers and hammers and what not.

An unstoppable villain that could have defeated all of the Avengers with brute strength would have strangely been more refreshing and a unique challenge for our heroes. It’s actually a bit ironic because I’m sure being different was what the writers intended to do. And while Ultron himself was sarcastic and entertaining, I found myself feeling almost nothing when he was discarded.

Best villain goes to The Avengers.

BEST ACTION

avengers vs age of ultron

I’m actually cheating a bit by saying “best action,” because I’m really talking about how these movies work overall as action films. So I’m judging how beautiful they are, set pieces, how the special effects aid the experience, and of course, fight choreography.

That criteria in mind, this is a pretty easy decision. While both films are extremely polished, AOU is the one that stands out when it comes to those moments that define a great action movie.

Like I mentioned earlier, AOU is just more dense. Avengers has three major action scenes, and all of them are incredibly one-note and completely one-upped by the sequel.

For example:

The Avengers starts with a series of minor confrontations between the Avengers themselves. This is done even better in AOU when they’re fighting Tony Stark’s suits after the party, as it’s a surprising action scene that gets the plot started on the right tone.

The second act of Avengers features Hulk on a rampage. AOU one-ups this in a huge way by unleashing Hulk on innocent people, forcing Tony Stark to don the built-up Hulkbuster armor and finally prove a worthy challenge to the overpowered character. This is, in my opinion, the best action scene in the MCU for a laundry list of reasons.

Finally, the original ends with a massive battle where the heroes are vastly outnumbered. And in the end, someone nearly dies. AOU one-ups this by actually killing off a character (albeit not someone as key to the franchise as Tony Stark).

Aside from all that, there’s just a lot more going on in AOU when it comes to the action. I don’t think it’s necessarily prettier, but I’d be hard pressed to find anything about the original that trumps it in this category.

Point goes to Avengers: Age of Ultron.

THE VERDICT

avengers vs age of ultron

Well, it looks like my answer is the same as it was a year ago. I consider Avengers: Age of Ultron to be better than The Avengers. It has a better plot, it maintains what we love about the characters in the original, and it has a more expansive, thrilling set of action scenes.

It wasn’t a landslide, obviously, and to be completely honest, The Avengers is still my favorite out of the two. The experience I had watching it was unlike any other I’ve had in the theater, and it’s filled to the brim with quotes and moments I’ll get nostalgic over for years to come. But I can’t say that I think it’s a better film, overall, even if it has just the right amount of Loki.

Agree? Disagree? Let’s talk about it in the comments. And let me know what you’d like to see compared in the next Which is Better. 

Thanks for reading this! You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

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Retronalysis: What You Missed About Ultron In ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’

OK, I’m sure not all of you missed this. If you caught it and feel offended, then…I don’t know, that’s something you need to work out on your own.

I’ve already reviewed the film in length, so if you haven’t seen Age of Ultron yet and want to avoid even mild spoilers, you can check out my spoiler-free review and come back here when you see the film for yourself. Long story short: it’s a good movie worthy of its place as an Avengers sequel.

While I enjoyed the film, I had a few complaints in regards to some of the character and narrative development. Specifically, I disliked how “rushed” the first act was in terms of establishing Ultron as a villain. When you watch the movie, you’ll notice that we sort of jump into this plot (which isn’t heavily related to the opening scenes) with Tony Stark suddenly revealing to Bruce Banner that they can create an artificial intelligence.

avengers age of ultron

After a brief montage (seriously, a montage), they succeed in using the gem inside Loki’s scepter to create an A.I., though they leave before realizing Ultron has been created. I’ll spare you the details on what happens next in case you haven’t seen the movie yet, but the short version is that Ultron as a villain is born over the course of about ten minutes.

I didn’t like this because I felt like such a crucial part of what makes Ultron, well, Ultron was glossed over for the sake of getting right to the action. A noble goal, but for a movie that’s 2.5 hours long, I would have preferred just a few more scenes to familiarize us with Ultron’s motivations. Honestly, though, this is all nitpicking, especially since the 3-hour long director’s cut will likely fill in the blanks in a more satisfying way.

Now on to what you may have missed. See, I’ve been thinking a lot about Ultron’s personality over the last few days. As a villain, he has a compelling spark to his tone and delivery that makes him seem more like a misguided anti-hero instead of an instrument of pure evil.

avengers age of ultron

I realized that this is explained in a very subtle way near the beginning of the movie. Ultron was essentially created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. They’re like his parents, and in an amazing way, Ultron inherited the best and worst traits of these parents.

Ultron is sarcastic, impatient, and brilliant. Much like Tony Stark. He’s also prone to violent outbursts, like Bruce Banner. Most of all, Ultron has a specific vision for the world (like his fathers) and has the strength and will to carry it out. The only problem seems to be something that is later fulfilled by a character I won’t spoil.

Obviously, this is intentional on the part of Joss Whedon and his team of writers. When crafting Ultron as a character, it must have seemed perfectly natural for them to borrow from established characters, so we would familiarize ourselves with Ultron quickly and immediately feel threatened by his claim on the world. The father-son dynamic is reflected several times in the movie later on, of course, as Tony banters with Ultron over the fact that he’s his maker.

avengers age of ultron

This film would have been so much better, in my opinion, if they had just given Ultron a little more room to breathe in this way, so more audience members could catch that he’s a product of this world created by the Avengers (not just the literal Avengers themselves). After all, facing themselves is a sizable threat that the Avengers would (and did) have to face, even though the movie sort of sidetracked in that regard.

Now, in case you were hoping for some easter eggs, I can at least give you a few morsels to chew on. I didn’t notice as much as some other Marvel fans, but I did catch something related to Tony Stark and J.A.R.V.I.S.

When Tony has to find another program to help him fight Ultron, we see him settle on “FRIDAY.” In the comics, Tony uses FRIDAY as his virtual personal assistant, and she is very similar to Ultron in that she’s like his child. Remember that Ultron wasn’t actually invented by Tony in the comics, so Marvel was clearly introducing FRIDAY as a subtle nod to the origin story they gave to Ultron.

avengers age of ultron

I’ll have to watch the movie again, but I’ve also heard that Jocasta’s name can be seen around the same time Tony grabs the FRIDAY program. I can’t confirm this yet, but that would be an interesting easter egg considering Jocasta was created by Ultron to serve as his robot girlfriend (though she later becomes an Avenger).

That’s all I have for you guys. Hope you enjoy (or enjoyed) Avengers: Age of Ultron. Again, if you want my full review on the movie or just want to know my thoughts on it, you can check that out here.  

The Hidden Story Behind Star-Lord’s ‘Awesome Mix’ in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t a movie that’s well-known for being…well, subtle. It’s big and loud space opera with just a splash of comic book. What you see is what you get, and what you get is pretty satisfying.

But we sometimes forget that the minds behind our favorite movies are quite brilliant individuals, and when they’re given the chance, they’ll insert something into a movie that’s just genius. So simple that it has to be true.

In this case, that honor goes to composer Tyler Bates, who scored Guardians of the Galaxy. Along with James Gunn, they put together a soundtrack that was pretty much its own character within the film.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Enter “Awesome Mix vol. 1.” This is, of course, the cassette tape that main character Peter Quill (AKA Star-Lord) brings with him everywhere throughout his adventures in space. As he explains it, the songs on Awesome Mix are a collection of his mother’s favorite tunes from growing up in the 1970s.

These songs are intertwined with every major moment of the movie, from its opening to close. It sets the tone for the fun, yet almost sort of serious, adventure we’re about to witness, and it plays out beautifully.

I’ve listened to Awesome Mix many, many times on repeat during campaign missions in Destiny (seriously, this is a perfect combination of media). And until recently, I never gave the selection of these songs much thought.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Now, here comes the interesting part. These songs actually tell a story.

Earlier this week, a fan of the site sent me this Reddit post, putting the theory out there. I liked it, so I went ahead and ran with it. Special thanks to redditor Fellowship_9 for inspiring this excellent revelation.

He gave the basic argument, but didn’t really flesh it out much. That’s where I come in (as usual). I took a deep, careful look into these songs to see if this theory holds meaning. It didn’t take long for me to see that he was totally on to something.

So, what is the story behind the songs? It’s simple, really. These songs tell the story of how Meredith Quill met Jason of Spartax. Oh, sorry you don’t know those people? Well, you do. Meredith is Peter’s mother, and Jason is his father.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Each song in “Awesome mix” tells a different part of Meredith’s story, and it’s even in order. I’ll go through each song individually, but here’s just a quick glance in case you think you have it figured out:

  1. “Hooked on a Feeling” – Blue Swede
  2. “Go All the Way” – Raspberries
  3. “Spirit in the Sky” – Norman Greenbaum
  4. “Moonage Daydream” – David Bowie
  5. “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” – Elvin Bishop
  6. “I’m Not in Love” – 10cc
  7. “I Want You Back” – The Jackson 5
  8. “Come and Get Your Love” – Redbone
  9. “Cherry Bomb” – The Runaways
  10. “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” – Rupert Holmes
  11. “O-o-h Child” – Five Stairsteps

Naturally, a handful of you probably figured this out on your own (especially if you’re well-versed in the comics). But for the rest of us, let me take you through the numbers.

#1 Hooked on a Feeling – Blue Swede

The first song, “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, is not really a love song as much as it is a lust song. The lyrics illustrate the early dynamic of a relationship. It even starts with:

I can’t stop this feeling. Deep inside of me. Girl, you just don’t realize what you do to me.

What does this have to do with Meredith? Well, the way she met Jason was a bit unorthodox. Basically, he crash-landed near her home and she nursed him back to health.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

For Meredith Quill, this song represents her first encounter with Jason, the “angel” from the sky. Speaking of which, why do you think the third song is “Spirit in the Sky?” We’ll get to that.

Meredith gave Jason a place to stay while he repaired his ship. And as chemistry demands, this eventually turned to romance.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

#2 Go all the Way – The Rasberries

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The second song is “Go all the Way,” which seems to represent Meredith and Jason consummating their relationship. Not just because of the title of the song, but also when you factor in the rock n’ roll tune with the suggestive lyrics:

I never knew how complete love could be,
Till she kissed me and said,
Baby, please, go all the way.
It feels so right,
Being with you here tonight.
Please, go all the way.
Just hold me close.
Don’t ever let me go.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Don’t forget that in its early days, “rock n’ roll” as a genre was given its name for being…less than family friendly.

#3 Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum

I have multiple theories for this one. See, in the comics, Meredith actually witnesses Jason crashing to Earth in a spaceship. So from the outset, she knows he’s an alien. To her, he’s just this “spirit in the sky.” You could call it there.

But I think there’s a deeper meaning. The song itself is more about mortality, and how ultimately, we all have to go to that “spirit in the sky” when we die.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

I think at this point, Meredith is realizing that Jason has to leave eventually. She even refers to Jason as an “angel” in the movie. Fitting.

#4 Moonage Daydream – David Bowie

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

This song is literally about an alien messiah who has to save the world with rock n’ roll (David Bowie’s words, not mine). For Meredith, though, this song is more about how much Jason means to her, and how he has saved her world.

The lyrics themselves are pretty straight to the point: I’m the space invader…Put your ray gun to my head, press your space face close to mine, love; Freak out in a moonage daydream.

#5 Fooled Around and Fell in Love – Elvin Bishop

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Yeah, so this one’s pretty obvious. This is literally what they did.

The deeper meaning, of course, is that at this point, Meredith is reflecting on her relationship with Jason, and even regretting the “love” part considering he has to leave. In fact, I’d wager this is the last song before Jason leaves. Because, well, the next song is…

#6 I’m Not in Love – 10cc

Are you starting to see how intentional this movie soundtrack is?

Now in case you’re not familiar with the song, “I’m Not in Love” is about a couple that has gone their separate ways. And part of that process is trying to move on, even though you’re still hung up on the person.

I like to see you, but then again,
That doesn’t mean you mean that much to me.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

So Meredith is trying to get over Jason. I also think it’s fitting that this is by far the longest song in the playlist (over 6 minutes), which makes sense considering this was the darkest time Meredith went through for this story. But as you’ll see in a moment, that feeling won’t last long.

#7 I Want You Back – Jackson 5

Get it, girl.

Oh baby, give me one more chance,
(To show you that I love you)
Won’t you please let me back in your heart,
Oh darlin’, I was blind to let you go.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Yeah, Meredith still loves Jason and clearly wants him back. There’s even a line that fits nicely with the last song:

Trying to live without your love is one long sleepless night.

And of course, I want you back!

#8 Come and Get Your Love – Redbone

At this point, she’s pleading with him to come back and rekindle their love, probably because she now knows she’s pregnant. It’s possible Jason may have told her that he’d come back someday, as evidenced by his eventual return to get custody of his son (just saying).

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Hey, what’s the matter with your head?
Hey, what’s the matter with your mind and your sign?
Hey, nothin’s a matter with your head, baby, find it.
Come on and find it.

In other words, come and get your son.

#9 Cherry Bomb – The Runaways

I think it’s pretty humorous that Meredith thinks of her illegitimate son as a “cherry bomb.”

Hello Daddy, hello Mom,
I’m your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb!

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

I mean think about it. Can you imagine having to raise Peter Quill? On your own? He had to be quite the wild kid.

An alternate theory is that this song represents the actual birth of Peter Quill. Makes sense considering a cherry bomb is essentially an unpleasant explosion (in this case, expulsion).

#10 Escape (The Pina Colada Song) – Rupert Holmes

Yes, this song is about more than just pina coladas. It’s about trying to date someone you just read about in the personal ads. I’d imagine Meredith had little luck with the dating scene after getting knocked up by an alien.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Specifically, she was trying to find someone who actually matches her preferences and current station in life as a single mother, which is essentially the heart of the song itself.

I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad.
And though I’m nobody’s poet, I thought it wasn’t half bad.
Yes, I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.
I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne.
I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon and cut through all this red tape.
At a bar called O’Malley’s where we’ll plan our escape.

Well, we can assume from the lack of father figures in her hospital room at the beginning of GoTG that the dating thing never worked out for her.

#11 O-o-h Child – The Five Stairsteps

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

I apologize in advance for the feels that are about to be felt.

If you watched the movie (which I sincerely hope you did considering you’ve come this far), then you know that Meredith dies in 1988 of terminal cancer. Peter is only eight years old when it happens, and it’s likely she knew about the illness some time before this. Maybe even years before she finally passed away.

This particular song speaks to getting through hard times:

Ooh-oo child
Things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child
Things’ll get brighter 

These are clearly Meredith’s words to Peter, assuring him that everything’s going to be fine, even though she won’t be around much longer. I want to point out how interesting it is that Peter isn’t listening to this song in the beginning of the movie, when his mother is moments away from death.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Instead, he’s listening to “I’m Not in Love,” the song that represents moving on by denying your love for the person. Nice touch, right?

Keep in mind that this is the last song on the mixtape, and Peter was instructed not to open up the new one she gave him until she was “gone.”

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Of course, Peter hasn’t really moved on (as evidenced from the song he’s playing above), until the end of the movie. As an adult, it’s “O-o-h Child” that is playing when he faces Ronan and becomes a hero. And it’s after this song that he finally opens “Awesome Mix vol. 2.”

Which opens with…

#12 Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Meredith is clearly telling Peter…

If you need me, call me.
No matter where you are,
No matter how far.
Just call my name.
I’ll be there in a hurry.
You don’t have to worry.

‘Cause baby,

There ain’t no mountain high enough,
Ain’t no valley low enough,
Ain’t no river wide enough,
To keep me from getting to you.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say Meredith realized the ending of vol. 1 was a little heavy, so she figured giving Peter a tape that opens with something as upbeat as a Marvin Gaye song works pretty nicely.

guardians of the galaxy awesome mix star lord

Now all I’m wondering, along with many of you I assume, is: What else does vol. 2 have up its cassette tape?

Guess we’ll have to wait until the first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 to find out. I hear Iron Man might be in it (seriously).


Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

5 Compelling Reasons Why We Need Tobey Maguire To Return As Spider-Man

Spider-Man 2 is my favorite superhero film of all time. Anyone who’s been within earshot of me during any conversation about cinema in general should know this. I say it loud and unapologetically.

And it’s not only because Tobey Maguire will always be my default live-action version of Spider-Man (though that’s true too). It’s also because of Sam Raimi, and his distinct vision for Peter Parker.

tobey maguire spider-man

I hated the first Amazing Spider-Man, and I only barely liked The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Again, this actually has little to do with who was wearing the mask (most people agree that Andrew Garfield was at least fine, if not great in the role).

These movies just lacked the same depth and quality that we got with the first two Spider-Man movies in 2002 and 2004. And with Tobey Maguire getting on in years, it seemed like a great idea to just reboot the whole thing just five years after the disastrous Spider-Man 3.

tobey maguire spider-man

And now we have a new Spider-Man reboot on the horizon. Marvel and Sony have officially struck a deal to share the same version of this character within both Marvel and Sony’s cinematic universes.

It’s exciting news, but it also means Andrew Garfield is almost certainly done with the role, and we have to start all over again. Again.

I would have liked to keep Andrew Garfield in the mix, and there’s still a slim chance he might. But I would much rather we come back to Tobey Maguire, and here’s why.

1. It would be more faithful to “Civil War.”

tobey maguire spider-man

For what Marvel wants to use Spider-Man for, bringing Tobey Maguire back is actually perfect. Amidst reports that Marvel and Sony want to keep Spider-Man in high school, fans who actually read comics are getting frustrated.

We’ve experienced high school Peter twice now (seriously, I can’t handle Uncle Ben dying again), and Marvel is planning to debut the character in Captain AmericaCivil War.

One of the biggest reasons Marvel is bothering to make this deal (which they’re reportedly getting little financial value from) has to do with the fact that “Civil War” makes little sense without Peter Parker and Spider-Man.

Spider-Man’s role in “Civil War” is key because he’s the relatable center of conflict stuck between two people he respects. Its through Peter that we’re able to feel the real struggle between Captain America and Iron Man during their spat over privacy, a theme Marvel has been carefully building up with Phase II of the MCU.

And in “Civil War” (the comics version), Peter Parker isn’t in high school. He’s not even in college. He’s a high school science teacher years after first becoming the webhead.

That may seem like a little detail Marvel can just ignore, but it robs the story of a lot of the impact gained from when Spider-Man famously unmasked himself in public in order to support the Superhero Registration Act (and Tony Stark). But we’ll get to that later.

2. We haven’t finished Sam Raimi’s story. 

tobey maguire spider-man

Spider-Man 3 ended with the death of Harry Osborne, but we have no idea what truly became of Peter. He might have married Mary Jane, and the death of his friend could have prompted him to hang up his mask for a while.

This would explain his absence during the Battle of New York in The Avengers, which could then explain why he’d consider becoming Spider-Man again.

It could be during this time that he gains the attention of the Avengers during the prelude to Civil War, eventually leading to his famous unmasking to a public that’s known him as Spider-Man for years.

If they reboot the franchise again, then this moment won’t be nearly as powerful. Any new Spider-Man they throw in there will just be yet another actor we’re not used to.

How are we supposed to believe that the public cares about this Spider-Man if he hasn’t really been around much? Marvel could make it work because they’re Marvel, but it would be a missed opportunity.

3. The unmasking would be way more epic. 

tobey maguire spider-man

Can you imagine if the guy taking off his mask was Tobey Maguire, the guy who’s been Spider-Man in most of our heads for the last 13 years? And think about the impact of having JK Simmons reprise his role as J. Jonah Jameson and witnessing this from his office at the Daily Bugle. It’s just perfect.

And it even works within the Sam Raimi timeline because Maguire could easily be a science teacher by now. Unlike a new Spider-Man or bringing in Garfield, it actually fits.

Of course, this would sort of work for Garfield, too, but it still doesn’t fit quite as well. Unlike Garfield, Tobey’s Spider-Man is the Sam Raimi version. He’s the guy we’ve actually seen a consistent, compelling story arc with.

4. Tobey Maguire is a better Peter Parker than Andrew Garfield.

tobey maguire spider-man

Garfield did a great job, and he brought a faithful take to the character that Tobey could learn from. But Garfield was better at being Spider-Man than than being Peter Parker.

In contrast, Tobey Maguire nailed the character of Peter Parker. He was a lovable weirdo who never seemed comfortable in his own skin, unless he had the mask on. Garfield, by comparison, was never a believable outcast.

He spent most of his time charming Gwen Stacey and investigating something about his parents, or something. With Garfield, I just didn’t connect with him as Peter in the way I did with Maguire, which is a shame because, again, I had a great time watching him as Spider-Man.

5. Sony could still keep Garfield.

tobey maguire spider-man

Rumor has it Sony still wants to do Sinister Six and Venom. So my conspiracy theory of the week is that we could also see The Amazing Spider-Man 3 with Andrew Garfield still doing his thing, while Tobey returns to the fold with Marvel. Everyone wins, pretty much.

But this is less likely to happen if Sony invests in yet another reboot. While many fans probably won’t like this idea, I think it would be great fodder for the “multiverse” dimensions and realities we’ve been waiting for Marvel, Sony, and Fox to dole out with their scattered characters.

Before I go, I do want to point out that yes, I think it would be interesting to bring on Miles Morales, the half black, half latino version of Spider-Man from the Ultimate storyline.

tobey maguire spider-man

He’s a great character and would work great in his own movie, but I don’t think this is the right time and place for his story. If anything, it would make more sense to introduce him into the world already established by Marc Webb and Avi Arad.

Also, as big a fan as I am of Donald Glover, he’s just way too old at this point to be Miles Morales. Maybe in a different timeline, that’s not the case.

What do YOU think? Should Tobey stay or should he go?


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Marvel Couldn’t Convince Sony To Give Them Spider-Man

spider-man marvel sony

Alisha Grauso | Moviepilot:

As the Wall Street Journal reports, an email as recent as October 30th from Sony Pictures president Doug Belgrad to Sony motion pictures president Amy Pascal revealed that the two studios were in talks to work out a deal where Marvel would oversee and produce a new (and hopefully better) trilogy of Spider-Man films that would still allow Sony to retain creative control, along with the marketing and distribution for the trilogy. 

Pretty fair deal and one that Sony should take, if you ask me. 

But it was another email from Pascal that got my Spidey senses tingling, as it was revealed that Marvel absolutely wanted to include Spider-Man in  Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

But before you get excited and start planning the “WELCOME HOME, SPIDEY” party, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the fact that according to sources connected with the situation, unfortunately the talks have broken down between the studios. At the moment, Sony is planning on going it alone with Spider-Man, with an ominous-sounding “Spidey summit” planned for January.

I almost feel bad for Sony at this point. This whole mess makes them look even worse in the eyes of Spider-Man fans who desperately want him in the MCU. In a way, this hack seems strategic. 

This Captain America Theory Pretty Much Spoils The Entire Franchise.

Warning.

This theory could pretty much spell out what Marvel has been planning for the Avengers franchise, including not one, but two huge twists surrounding Captain America and his band of Marvel misfits. You’ve been warned.

Captain America Theory

I received an email from a fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe fan who made the startling claim that Captain America will perish in the upcoming 2018 film, Avengers 3.

Obviously, that’s pretty far off, and I was skeptical at first. But the theory makes incredible sense. It turns out that a Redditor started this idea pretty recently, and a lot of fans have ran with it. Here’s the general concept:

Steve Rogers/Captain America was born on July 4, 1918 according to Captain America: The First Avenger. That would make him 100 years old exactly by the time we get to Avengers 3, which will take place in 2018.

Captain America Theory

This is because the MCU tends to align its movies with the years they come out in. Iron Man took place in their version of 2008. Avengers took place a few years later in 2012.

Now to follow along with this theory, you have to know that it’s been recently implied by Marvel that Captain America 3 will be the start of popular comic storyline, Civil War, in which Tony Stark and Steve Rogers will create warring factions against each other.

This is because RDJ will actually be in the third sequel for Captain America.

Captain America Theory

Cap 3 is planned to come out in 2016, which means the “Civil War” would last for at least two years before Avengers 3 would come out in 2018. The idea is that Thanos will attack Earth in Avengers 3 (forcing the Marvel heroes to settle their differences and unite), and Captain America will sacrifice himself for everyone and die around his 100th birthday.

Thus ending the Civil War.

This aligns with the fact that Marvel needs a new actor to replace Chris Evans, who won’t be doing anymore Captain America movies after this.

Captain America Theory

In comes Sebastian Stan (AKA Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier) who has agreed to doing 9 films with Marvel.

And in the comics, Bucky Barnes takes up the Captain America mantle himself.

That leads us to Phase IV.

Captain America Theory[Above: Cap suffers this fate in Civil War, thus fueling the theory]

Which would include…? Well Iron Man will be devastated, obviously, but does that mean RDJ will still be kicking around? Or will this Earth-shattering Avengers trilogy pave the way for a new team of heroes and a new franchise of Marvel films?

We’ll see in about 4 years.

Do you agree with this theory? Special thanks to Redditor samus1225 for sparking this spoilerific theory.

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