Week of January 30, 2022:

Captain America: The First Avenger released July 22, 2011 (where to watch)
The Consultant released September 13, 2011 (where to watch)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer released October 25, 2011 (where to watch)
Scott Hardie | January 30, 2022

Captain America: The First Avenger: When I first saw this, the overall impression that I got was of a two-hour trailer for The Avengers. I mean, it literally ends with a trailer for The Avengers, as if it's been driving to that moment all along. And seeing it again today, having now been on Steve Rogers's complete journey (no spoilers here), I appreciated this film much more the second time. I wrote that it lacked a third act, but I'm fine with the third act that the later films provided. This has heart, action, humor, thrills... I sound like a promotional reel for a 1940s-era movie, but, well, it has nearly everything that people go to movies like this to see. And it has a heck of a great lead character, who truly feels like he's special without the serum.

Really, I have only two major quibbles with the film. One is the vagueness of Schmidt's plan. Does he want to take over the world, or blow up the world, or prove his superiority to the world, or what? He ticks all of the usual bad-guy checkboxes like executing his own men and sneering at the hero on a monitor, but I never felt like I had a firm grasp on what the overall point of his mission was. The other problem is how quickly Steve decides to crash the airship after seizing the controls. He gives it, what, three seconds before giving up? He never even considers that there might be a way to save the world and himself. I get it, the guy is incredibly brave and this is a bigger version of jumping on a grenade, but unlike a grenade that explodes within seconds, there were at least a few minutes available to figure out an alternative strategy. This scene is the moment where the movie's rush to get to The Avengers felt most palpable.

OK, here's an example of why I wanted to do the MCU Project: I originally saw this movie years after Thor and Iron Man 2, so I don't think I got much out of the Yggdrasill story and the talk about Odin leaving treasures on Earth and the significance of it being Stark who finds the Tesseract. This time, seeing all three films in the same month, I understood so much more of the context and how they're all connected. This led to some weirdness too, like three different actors now having played Howard Stark, but I really appreciate getting a chance to make some connections that I missed the first time.

Did Steve Rogers know what was going to happen to him in Erskine's experiment? He knew that he was enrolled in a super-soldier program, but did he know what would happen to his body, and what would happen step by step in the lab? The movie is unclear.

Scott Hardie | January 31, 2022

The Consultant: This is my first time seeing this, but I had already heard that it was intended to repair continuity between the films, specifically why Tony Stark would go there and say that. It's a very expensive, very complicated way of going about fixing a plot hole that few people noticed or cared about. Marvel would get smoother with that sort of thing later. (Without spoilers, let me say that there are fans who sometimes argue that Later Show X eliminated Earlier Show Y from the MCU canon because of a plot contradiction, and I say that's nonsense, because Marvel has quite a history of repairing their own mistakes. Give them time to explain.) Anyway, this film is basically an annotated footnote, so it's fine, I guess? I don't know how to have an opinion about this.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer: Was this a deleted scene from Thor? Was it some kind of tryout for a particular stunt team or special effect or something? I don't know why this exists. It's entertaining as a brief action showcase for Phil Coulson, but it feels unnecessary. Hey, at least now I finally understand that Avengers chart meme from years ago.

Scott Hardie | February 18, 2022

Captain America: The First Avenger: 6/10

The Consultant: 5/10

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer: 5/10

Stephanie McCann | February 23, 2022

I saw the consultant right after iron man 2. I’ve never seen this short before. Looking forward to catching up with everyone. I’m a month behind.

Scott Hardie | February 23, 2022

Glad to have you in the conversation. :-)

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