film.Antrikshy | Thoughts on film and games

2023 MCU Rewatch Diary - Phase Two

Some of Phase Two deals with the fallout of The Avengers. Obviously due to budget reasons, there’s a focus on solo adventures once again, but with plenty of references implying the Avengers’ existence off-screen.

Popular opinion seems to be that Phases Four and Five (ongoing at the time of this writing) feel directionless. If you ask me, this isn’t new. Phase Two has solo adventures tugging at the shared story in all directions. Minor tone and character motivation inconsistencies creep in and start wearing down the verisimilitude of the universe (more on this later).

However, I’ll concede that the tight focus on a small, core set of characters makes the chaos feel much more purposeful than the broad focus on new character introductions in Phases Four and Five.

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2023 MCU Rewatch Diary - Phase One

Phase One turned out a lot more enjoyable than I expected, viewing from a post-Endgame, 2020s lens.

These are genuinely fun movies, with some solid writing, and a lot more interconnections than early-to-mid-teens-unaware-of-the-MCU-me could have possibly noticed. I guess Marvel Studios were pretty confident, pretty early on, and started sowing the seeds for an interconnected universe right from the first couple of movies.

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2023 MCU Rewatch Diary - Introduction

This is the first in a series of posts documenting my first rewatch of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, Phases One to Three; starting at Iron Man (2008) and ending at Avengers: Endgame (2019).

I’ve been watching them since way back, but I only recognized Marvel Studios’ long-term aspirations around 2013. That’s when I started following the series in earnest. I’m usually not one to rewatch stuff, so I haven’t watched most of these titles more than once. For many of them, the initial theater experience is the only memory I have.

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Analyzing A Decade's Worth Of My Movie Ratings

As we have established, I have rated over a thousand movies on IMDb thus far. At the time of this writing, it’s a treasure trove of data over a decade in the making. I’ve had many ideas to find interesting patterns in it.

I decided to poke and prod at an exported copy. IMDb’s CSV export includes basic data about each title - the IMDb user rating, release date etc. To get the real juicy info, I had to cross-reference it with full IMDb datasets. I finally had an excuse to put my Rackfocus project to good use. It’s a little Python command line utility (install using pip install rackfocus) to pull freely available IMDb datasets and organize them into convenient SQLite tables.

Here are some interesting finds from my own ratings. If you too have a trove of ratings on IMDb and want to run these (and more) analyses yourself, skip to the end for instructions.

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On Thor's Lifespan

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe chugs along building an increasingly complex story comprising of episodic movies and dozens of seasons’ worth of TV series, I often find myself nitpicking some of the littler details in the franchise. This is a big compliment, by the way. The fact that the fandom, including myself, frequently discusses these things goes to say how air tight (though not 100%) and entertaining the continuity has been so far.

One of those nitpicks has to do with the way characters with very long lifespans are portrayed in the MCU, and generally in fiction.

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