The MCU is a trailblazing, bar setting, money printing power house in the movie industry but I’ve learned that through all the triumph, somehow the MCU is only the front man for the better content on Disney+. My opinion, most of the MCU movies are not very good. It’s easier to tell you the ones that I found were actually good: “Infinity Wars”, the Captain America” trilogy, Iron man 1 and “Spider-Man Homecoming” in that exact order! The rest are very mediocre if not very good at all and that’s okay, those movies made billions. The MCU movies were mediocre to create a path for great Disney+ content. I know you think my opinion sucks but hear me out!

Let’s be clear, these movies don’t have to be great to make a billion, they have a built in fan base, they look cool and they are entertaining, making a billion is what these movies are built to do. That’s why most of the films look and feel the same. Disney has a formula that allows them to produce these movies to get a certain dollar outcome and they don’t deviate from the formula. Disney is notorious for parting ways with directors who don’t align with their vision but now with the arrival of what I like to call the MCU+ I see the method to the madness. The billion dollar box that is the MCU was built for the Disney+ A.K.A MCU+ to step outside of and be great! 

If I’m Being Honest, After “End Game” I felt I was done with the MCU. Not because I hated it but more due to fatigue. I was ready to see something different and I was sure that Marvel didn’t have much else to offer as far as a narrative or storyline and then came the first of the MCU+ shows, WandaVision. Out of all the shows that were slated to drop WandaVision was the one I was least interested in and the first 3 and a half episodes seemed to be proving me right until the show went from trash to treasure within the closing minutes of the third episode! Once the show got into the core of what it would be about and introduced Monica Rambeau and the WandaVision twins with a fake Pietro/quicksilver revival making us all wonder if the Fox X-men and Marvel Universe would collide. Needless to say I enjoyed the ride Scarlet Witch ride that ended with an Elizabeth Olson awakening that deserved an Emmy nomination. With those performances in mind and the amazing ending, WandaVision set the bar high for future MCU+ content.

Then we get “Falcon & Winter Soldier” which had its on problems but managed to depict a narrative on screen that might be the most important piece of content Disney ever created. A black man coming to terms with what it means to be the black Captain America and then choosing to pick up the mantle. Even though the show dropped the ball on some of narrative details, I don’t believe anyone was expecting to see the Falcon personal struggle that many black Americans can relate to told in a very authentic and meaningful way. Last but not least Loki, which at the time of me writing this is the latest show to drop and it hit the ground running with a interesting narrative with deep character insight into one of the MCU most popular characters! I now realize those mediocre and bad MCU movies had a greater purpose. To set up the greater attraction, the amazing series of shows coming on Disney+!

The MCU+ shows have reinvigorated my desire to watch the MCU going forward and that includes the upcoming movies as well. Hopefully they step out on the limb or out of the box and give us something a little different like the MCU+ shows have but maybe they wont. Maybe these movies will continue to be mediocre as a set up for great shows coming our way on Disney+. Time will tell but for now if these shows keep being great then I will suffer the mediocre movies.

Disney has made billions of dollars of off of the success of the MCU. They were able to break records and make history by stringing together individual movies to tell a bigger story. With that being said I do not think that the dollar amount necessarily speaks to if a movie is good and I don’t believe most of them are very good but we are getting some great content in the wake of these blockbuster hits and I’m okay with that. Do you think my opinion is still stupid? If so, hopefully I kept you entertained!

By Mckinley Barber

 

At the end of Avengers “End Game” a older version of Steve Rogers passes the mantle of
Captain America to Sam Wilson a.k.a. the Falcon. While the passing of the shield pushes Marvel’s
overall narrative forward, it also bumps into some of the most complex issues that goes beyond
space aliens and magical stones making “Falcon and Winter Soldier” the most important piece of
Disney content. I know you think my opinion sucks but hear me out.
The show takes a deep dive into the lives of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. Falcon and
Winter Soldier, in an attempt to push these two characters past side kick status to top tier
superhero. While this show has a laundry list of problems that include: pacing, keeping the big
storyline of the flag smashers relevant and actually giving time to Bucky to tell his complex
journey back to humanity; “Falcon & Winter Soldier still manages to make a huge contribution,
even greater than the ideal of a African Excellence at its height portrayed in “Black Panther”.
Falcon And Winter soldier gives a perspective of the issues African Americans face en route to
being the best versions of ourselves in America.
One of the great talking points brought on by the Disney show and picked up early by fans
came in the form a question; was Steve A.K.A. Captain America right for passing the shield to
Falcon? The show itself later validated the question when Bucky apologized on behalf of Steve
for putting Sam through the tough situation of having the weight of Captain America placed on
his back. The question is one that “we” have to get past because the answer is simple as Steve’s
actions are necessary. He should not be criticized because Captain America did what most people
labeled black want, he chose the best person for the job. Yes, there are burdens that come with
that choice and ultimately Sam has to choose to accept the burdens that come with being a black
Captain America but before Sams choice can be made, Steve a.k.a “America” in this scenario has
to be willing to offer with the best of intentions!
The process of becoming a black Captain America is a process that entails understanding
and building. Understanding that the culture has been victimized then choosing to no longer be a
victim, no matter the hurdles, is a major aspect of a lot of black Americans lives. Sam had to face
his victim mentality when he met the second “Captain America”, Isiah Bradley, a black man who
was not publicly celebrated or made a hero but instead tortured and wiped from history. Sam
listened to Isiah Bradly’s story and his empathy allowed him to have an intimate connection to
the pain and trauma that came with it. The experience was capped off by Isiah making the
statement to Sam, ”no self respecting black man should ever want to be Captain America”. It
echos a sentiment that individuals in the black community debate often, with themselves and
with one another, do we want to represent or be represented by America. It’s a complicated
process to go through but “Falcon and Winter Soldier”takes on the topic and forces Sam to have
to contemplate his path. From the moment a person labeled black in America learns of the
history of this country they then have to choose how they move forward. For many moving
forward regretfully is always a point conflict from both within and the world around them. This
Disney show manages to competently give a depiction of the struggle.
Sam mentioned the struggle the moment the shield was passed to him. At the end of “End
Game” Sam told Steve, the shield felt like someone else’s. He was’nt talking about the physical
object as much as he was the mantle and the weight that comes with it. For Sam that weight
includes: the past, from not only a legacy perspective but also seen through the eyes of a
reasonably jaded Isiah Bradly. The present, in which he had his own systemic setbacks such as
seemingly not being considered for the “Captain America” role or not being able to secure a loan
for his family after saving the world and last but not least the future, shown through his hopeful
nephews who idolized the The ”Cap” mantle and Carly, the leader of The Flag Smashers, a child
herself but fighting for causes that Sam relates with. At the end of “End Game” Steve responds to
Sam by simply stating, “but it is” Sam now understands the weight he carries which Disney gives

to us, the viewer, the symbolic gesture of Sam physically training his body to properly use the
shield A.K.A. his “understanding”to become Captain America. The show ended up being P.S.A. on
how black Americans have to be able to understand that though we had a past that was overtly
racist and that the present may not seem to always work out for people labeled black in America
, “we” have to look towards the future and determine what we are willing to give and sacrifice to
make it better.

“Falcon and Winter Soldier” may not have done much for the over arcing Marvel narrative,
allow Bucky to have his own story, properly depict the flag smashers as a real threat, make me
care about the power broker. Zemo was great, the Dora Milage were awesome and most
important of all Marvel managed to tell a more than competent story involving a black mans
path to accepting being an American.

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