Incredibles 2 Poster Looks Like A Marvel Film

I was looking at the poster for the upcoming Incredibles 2 film, and noticed that it looked awfully familiar. And not just because I saw and enjoyed the first Incredibles film in 2004, but because the poster seemed…exactly like a Marvel film. Specifically, one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, AKA, the MCU.

Here’s the poster for Incredibles 2:

Notice the shape, the look, the radial bi-symmetry of the thing, the arms reaching out, the circles on circles.

Now compare that with the current MCU blockbuster…..

 

 

 

Avengers: Infinity War. See the background circle, the hands stretching out, the DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man of the thing?

This is the new look in the last few years for action and superhero movies. I’ll go back a few more MCU films to point this out:

 

 

Black Panther‘s got the circles, the big head at the top, similar character groupings.

 

 

 



Thor: Ragnarok really has the thickly layered Vitruvian Man thing going on, lots of circles, the bilateral symmetry. We can clearly see there’s some branding going on.

 

But wait…another Marvel property followed the look:

Deadpool 2 can get away with this, because a) it’s a Marvel superhero  film (not in the MCU, but still), and b) it’s a parody film that sees no harm in poking fun at the “Avengers thing”.

 

 

Where it gets a little weird is seeing this imagery pop up in non-Marvel, non-superhero films, like Solo: A Star Wars Story.

It’s not exactly the same, but someone definitely got the memo about the symmetry, the circles, and the layered character arrangement. Here the circles actually make sense, in-story, because we’re obviously looking through the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. But the similarities are still there. We know that Star Wars is now owned by Disney, who owns Marvel, and also owns Pixar, which is how we get right back around to Incredibles 2, a Pixar film.

Disney’s probably doing some branding, and us good little audience goers now recognize this poster imagery as a form of code: Adventure Ahead. Universal Studios is, by contrast, not doing this little movie shorthand on their posters. Look at Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom for reference:

 

See? There ARE other ways to make an adventure poster. We’ve just gotten used to Disney’s featured look. We’ve been “branded”.

My guess is we will keep seeing this kind of poster until a certain level of saturation sets in. And then Disney will come up with a new stylized code for their big blockbuster properties.

 

Back to Incredibles 2 – this is, like Deadpool 2, a superhero parody that also plays the story straight. (Incredibles is a reworked version of the Fantastic Four, just done right.)

There’s no big meaning to these kinds of things, but it’s still interesting to see how we relate to movie poster images. And the callback to the Vitruvian Man is surely one of the oldest memes. Someone on Disney’s team grabbed that ancient archetype and ran with it.

 

I look forward to what happens when a non-Disney poster unthinkingly follows suit and uses this look. Like maybe when the next DC superhero film comes out. Disney will probably freak and file a lawsuit, but last I heard, DaVinci’s art is royalty-free, and circles are even older.

Deadpool MCU Crossover Moments

It’s established that Deadpool swims in his own little eddy in the great Marvel River. Marvel is a pretty big entertainment property,  spanning The X-Men (including  Deadpool as their R-rated step-child), the MCU, the comics, and a whole host of related TV shows falling under the franchise’s umbrella.

It’s not a free-for-all, though it seems like one. The MCU stands alone, keeping the heroes in its galaxy firmly to themselves. And Deadpool is definitely set within  the X-Men lineup (little as they seem to want anything to do with him — they find Deadpool even less of a team player than Woverine and far more annoying).

Here are the little hints that Deadpool might be straddling both ends of the Marvel worlds.

WARNING: Spoilery spoilers below… 

Wade Wilson/Deadpool cracks a lot of jokes about things a fictional character shouldn’t know. He’s aware of himself as a comic book anti-hero and of his own movie actor, Ryan Reynolds (whom he shoots in DP2, mid-credits, to Canada’s “everlasting gratitude”).

He knows about the multiple X-Men timelines, the continuity breaks, and how different actors are currently playing the same roles (“McAvoy or Stewart? I can never keep these timelines straight”).

He knows pop culture and the difference between the Marvel and DC worlds. And while the powers that be try to contain him within that R-rated eddy of the X-Men river, we see hints that the Avengers are also in his universe,  peripherally.

As I watched the Deadpool double feature last week, I made  some notes hinting that Wade Wilson might live a little in the same cinematic universe at the MCU. I’m sure there are other clues that I missed, and we’re not even going to mention the asides about mothers named Martha and how dark the DCU is: 

That Big Old S.H.E.I.L.D. Helicarrier:

At the end of the first movie, the climactic set piece is aboard one of the Avenger’s flying aircraft carriers. It’s a derelict, presumably on the scrap docks after the Battle of New York, but still clearly marked as one of Nick Fury’s own. Keep an eye out for the sign behind Francis and Wade as they tussle. You can catch bits of the words here and there, warning people to “beware of jet blast, propellers and rotors” (see minute 0.05).  Then, the wide shots show most clearly what this hunk of junk really is. It’s very recognizable to MCU fans.

Nick Fury:

In the stinger after DP1’s credits, Deadpool chides us all to go home, before releasing the bomb that Cable will be in the next movie (played perhaps by Keira Knightly)…and that there could be a Samuel Jackson cameo, with an eyepatch, if they are lucky. Fury, as we know, assembled the Avengers in the first place.

Hawkeye In Deadpool 2:

When Deadpool gets his control collar on, he loses his powers. Ever ready to poke fun at the Avengers, he says something like, “Now I’m only as strong as Haweye!” Dis! But also, yeah: Hawkeye shoots a mean bow, but so did Katniss. So Hawkeye’s a now a male Katniss. Why he’s even on the Avengers core team is a story for another day.

Clips from DP2 are not released yet, but here is a little comic book scene establishing their psuedo-frenemy-partnership:

Stan Lee appears in both DP films, in one way or another. We can’t actually count this as just an MCU thing — Stan Lee appears in everything he’s laid a finger on. Stan Lee is like a demi-god in the Marvel worlds (and we recently discovered his overarching “Watcher Informant” role to the Marvel’s intergalactic mightiest). Here Stan Lee makes another delightful cameo in this early teaser for the Deadpool 2 film:

And then we have this delightful letter, with Deadpool trying to join the Avengers. Tony Stark is brutally clear: “No. Absolutely not. Go bother Professor X. No.”

I know I missed more references. And you bet I will hunt them down and pin them to this page like a live bug.

———–

Here’s someone else’s hard work about how DP is secretly an MCU member:

Or tell me what I missed in the comments and I’ll give the credit to you.  Enjoy, maybe over a nice chimichanga.

Amd remember, Deadpool can say chimichanga in seven languages. Can you?

 

 

The 5 Movies You Need To Watch Before Infinity War

At this time, there are exactly 19 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ant Man & The Wasp is coming soon (to make an even 20) but that tale will probably be a self-contained story: a palette cleanser after the lingering after-effects of mighty number 19, the Avengers Infinity War.

You probably already know Infinity War is the culmination of 10 years of cinematic storytelling, with a cast of literally dozens of named characters. To catch up to this point, one would have to sit through several days of non-stop movie-going… starting with Iron Man 1, the film that kickstarted it all. A lot of fans converged in New York City for 31 hours of Marvel goodness, and I hope they brought their Peetimes. (Note: the NYC screening only played 12 films for their marathon, so you’ll have to do the math yourself for a grand pre-Infinity War hours-long total of all 18.)

But, what if you don’t have time for a full re-watch before IW leaves the theaters? Or — Ragnarok forbid! — maybe you’re kind of an MCU newb. (Clue: if you don’t know what MCU stands for, you might be a rookie.)

RunPee is here to help. If you had to, you could get by with a five-film preview and be more or less up to speed. Here are those five, plus a few extra honorary mentions if you have some extra time/inclination. This slim five movie line-up means you’ll miss a few important origin stories, but for the ones I skip, things can be summed up in one or two lines. You’ll see.

Five Must-See Films, with No Spoilers

  1. Iron Man 1 – Iron Man started it all and changed how we saw superhero films. It’s easy to forget how amazing this was when it first hit the screens. Understanding the complex character of Tony Stark is so important to understanding the series, and it’s hard to adequately explain why. Cap is simple — he’s a super soldier and a natural leader. Thor is simple — he’s the Norse God of Thunder. Hulk…is Hulk (I assume you know about the Hulk). But you have to walk a while with Stark to see his importance to the entire universe, and why so much of IW centers on him. If you have to skip any of these five films though, this is the one to overlook.
  2. Avengers 1 – You don’t really need the origin stories of Cap, Hulk, or Thor to understand Infinity War. Avengers 1 preps things so nicely for the original set of superheroes, and lays the groundwork for EVERYTHING ELSE to come. Do not miss.
  3. Captain America: Civil War – If you skip this one, you may as well not bother with Infinity War. This ensemble piece covers several new origin stories, brings together a huge cast in preparation for an upcoming even  larger cast, and paves the way towards understanding what happened to “break-up” the original team. MUST SEE.
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1 – Another film that you cannot skip. A lot of IW is devoted to the Guardians. If you don’t know who these beings are, IW won’t hit the emotional beats it sustains for everyone else. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun.
  5. Thor 3: Ragnarok – This film most immediately leads into Infinity War. As in, it ends literally moments before IW begins.  Thor 3 brings a lot of disparate story points together, explains why Thor is so broken when we see him next, continues the storylines of both Loki and The Hulk, and sets the stage for everything to come. If you miss this one, a major part of the IW resolution just won’t make sense. And also, like GotG, this one is super fun.

———————–

Six Honorary Mentions (If you have the time), and what you need to know if you skip them (with spoilers to get you caught up — be warned): 

  1. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron – The second Avengers ensemble piece explains who The Vision and Scarlet Witch are. What you need to know: The Vision is an artificial intelligence being with an infinity stone implanted in his forehead, created by Ultron (and Stark, and Banner – it’s complicated, but not important). Scarlet Witch is infused with the same powers of the stone. All this is referenced in both Captain America: Civil War, and in Infinity War itself, so missing the Ultron bit won’t hurt you.
  2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Bucky was Cap’s best friend in the World War II days, he’s been injected with super soldier serum (just like Cap), has a Vibranium arm (instead of a shield), and was brainwashed into being a bad guy (unlike Cap). This information is more or less re-tread in Civil War, so you’ll be okay without this one. Skippable for our purposes.
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 – This is a direct continuation of the first GotG film, with a few character additions — Baby Groot replaces Original Groot (which we see at the end of Volume 1), Mantis is a new Guardian (and has the power to make you sleep or wake up)…and Star Lord kills his father (for very good reasons). Oh, and Nebula comes to terms with her sister Gamora. It’s all about ‘family’. Now you’re good to go. Of the six movies listed here, this one has the most plot points you’d appreciate knowing for IW. 
  4. Dr. Strange – All you REALLY need to know is that Strange is a Wizard and wears the Time Stone. Infinity War does a great job rehashing those two points in the first few scenes. Bonus: there’s also a brief but fun Strange introduction in Thor: Ragnarok. So, yeah, unless you are a huge Cumberbatch fan, you can safely skip this to prep for IW.
  5. Spiderman: Homecoming – I hated leaving this affable and fun entry off the main list, but since we get a very nice introduction to Spidey in Civil War, you can safely pass on his stand-alone film.
  6. Black Panther – Like Spiderman above,  leaving out the story of Wakanda kind of hurts. The thing is: Civil War does a fantastic job introducing T’Challa’s Black Panther and the idea of the Vibranium-tech-based nation itself, and why the Winter Soldier can be found there. Cool as this movie is, you’ll be fine without it. You’ll understand why a large portion of IW occurs in Wakanda, because a main character tells you outright.

Keep in mind, I’m not listing which movies are the best in the MCU, nor saying that the rest are unimportant or uninteresting in their own right. This is just to get you to a place you can potentially watch Infinity War and not be totally,  hopelessly lost. Have fun, and let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments. Movie-watching is subjective. Which five would you say are crucial?

To help you get ready:

Deadpool Musical Parody – Beauty and the Beast

If you’re a Disney Princess fan, you might not exactly appreciate Disney’s Prince of Gab, Deadpool. And here we get a little in-joke about the other Disney Marvel heroic ensembles: with nods to the Avengers, X-Men, and…Betsy? I don’t know which franchise Betsy’s from.

Also, we learn a new term (presumably not new to comic book fans) — the X-Force. The official trailers seem to be about assembling Deadpool’s X-Force entourage, but the term isn’t part of common parlance just yet. I’m sure it will be by this weekend, when Deadpool spurts across America (<—- sorry for that off-color joke. Deadpool’s naughty-ness “rubs off”...)

Beauty and the Beast fans will recognize this as the live-action Gaston Song, which is great in itself, and included below for comparisony fun. Both movies are officially Disney nowadays, so it shouldn’t offend too much. Plus, the news is that Deadpool the Musical won a Webby Award for Best Writing. It’s a nugget of sweet, sweet weirdness:

Read our review of the live action version of Beauty and the Beast, and every Deadpool article on RunPee.com.

Finally, here are some links to both movie soundtracks:

 

Best Lego Deadpool Trailers and Shorts

We can’t help but love Deadpool when he’s in full mayhem mode, with a collective body toll he’s given up trying to count. Yes, we love Deadpool — even when he’s just a Lego.

Beginning with a Lego version of Deadpool 1, we move quickly through the Lego trailers/teasers for Deadpool 2,  to Deadpool vs Wolverine, followed by his teaming up with Wolverine. (Which is fun and odd, since we know he hates Logan). Then Deadpool takes on the entire Marvel Universe, and finally killing the entire world.

Yep, Wade Wilson clearly has problems. But watching him wreck Lego mini-film havoc is a joy. Don’t you wish you thought of making these?

Here’s some Deadpool Legos if you want to make your own You Tube shorts:

Deadpool 2 Outtakes, Bloopers, and Banned Jokes

It kind of doesn’t get better than these. Enjoy, laugh, and get psyched for Deadpool’s…er, “second coming”…on May 18th (hey, their joke — don’t blame me).  🙂

A roundup of some of Reynold’s best bloopers across several films, where we learn how perfect the current Deadpool role (not the previous sorry-excuse Wolverine X-Men version) is for this actor. A lot  of his lines are completely the actor’s own, and we love him for it.  Take a look here: 

And for good measure, here’s the Honest Trailer approach to the original  Deadpool (if you haven’t seen Honest Trailers, get ready to lose a few hours of your time).

Read Every Deadpool Article on RunPee.com

Fun Finds: Deadpool “Sexy” Funko Pop, and Monopoly: The Deadpool Edition —

 

Every Hilarious Deadpool 2 Trailer

Deadpool 2 has some marvelously funny previews bobbing around on the internet. Of course, Deadpool could make me laugh just reading the phone book. It would be how he did it, probably lobbing in a few curse bombs, touching himself inappropriately, and slicing up bad guys for good measure.

If you haven’t been keeping up with these strange little videos, get to it with these. Or re-watch to get psyched for the return, at last, of The Merc With The Mouth. Here they all are in one handy place for repeat viewing, including a clip of  Iron Man’s awesome  “rejection letter” to Deadpool, just for fun. And an apology to David Beckham. And a DP2 song with Celine Dion. A DP trailer made entirely in Legos. Some of these trailers don’t make much sense, which is totally fine: it’s Deadpool.

Deadpool 2 lands in theaters May 18th. It’s going to be a 2 hour film, so you’ll probably need to make a bathroom break…make sure to bring the RunPee app, locked and loaded with your Peetimes.

Read our review of the first Deadpool film

Every Deadpool Article on RunPee.com

A Black Perspective on Marvel’s Black Panther

Article written by our New York RunPee volunteer Shani Ogilvie, with her cultural insights about the record-breaking Marvel phenomenon Black Panther — Enjoy!

Shani OgilvieBlack Panther was an amazing movie! Not only was it visually stunning in terms of costume, makeup, and hair, but it also had a deeper message I have never seen before in an MCU film. To me, Black Panther was what black people across the world have been waiting for.

Before the movie, everyone I knew was excited about it because it had a star-studded, largely black cast, in a Marvel movie by a black director. That’s why everyone, including myself, was so excited — and dressed up to see the film. It was also a big deal because superheroes are never not white. As a black actor in America (and most of the world), we are siloed into very specific roles. So to see all of these actors placed into such diverse roles was already a fulfillment.

After the movie, everyone I knew couldn’t stop talking about the continued diversity of the characters. The role that black actors and women have in Hollywood are so limiting. It’s discouraging for aspiring actors, but also for children who look to the media for inspiration on what to become when they grow up.

Growing up, I remember having two role models, Michael Jordan and Oprah, but not because I had a desire to become a basketball player or an influential talk show host.  Rather because those were my options from the mass media vantage point. I wanted to be a lawyer/model, but I had no role model at that age to allow me to feel hopeful that this was something I could achieve. This movie put black people into roles that most people had never seen them in before. Aside from the black culture that was celebrated, the movie also spoke to the power of women. Black Panther gave me the same feeling as Wonder Woman. It inspired many children, especially girls, to realize that they can be Shuri — the tech genius, Okoye — the General of the King’s army, or Nakia — the undercover agent. All of the women in the movie were non-stereotypical black women. They were not typical roles for women all together. That’s something else that’s missing from Hollywood films –women who are warriors, women who choose their country and values over men, and women who aren’t afraid to speak up and defy.

Another point of discussion afterwards was the message the movie delivered about the identities of black people. Outside of the black community, people are sometimes unaware of the divisions that exist between black people. Externally, we are seen as black people with the same ancestry, but internally we take pride in our cultural differences. To name a few, there are Africans, West Indians, Afro-Latinx, African Americans (black people from America) plus the many other categories that black people place themselves into. This movie celebrated all types of black people and allowed the viewers to see these different perspectives. I think the movie did a great job at showing the divide between these communities, and how that divide hurts us more than it helps us. I felt the movie left viewers with a call to action — to tear down our walls and help each other, because at our simplest, we are all human — black, white, or otherwise.

— Shani Ogilvie loves watching all movies, especially psychological thrillers. On a given day, you can find her eating seafood, planning a DIY project, or finding her next travel destination.  

Read More Entertainment News and Movie Commentary from RunPee: 

Black Panther Fashion in the Real World

Movie Review – Black Panther

Avenger Superhero Powers, by Category

Read Even More Marvel Articles on RunPee.com

 

Avenger Superhero Powers, by Category

With a metric ton of heroes, superheros, powered beings, and skilled fighters to keep track of in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,  it’s easy to forget not everyone is an innately god-like, supersensory fighting machine. At least in the X-Men Universe things are simple: you’re either a normal human, or a mutant with super skills. (Or Deadpool, but we won’t go there.) 🙂

In the MCU, you don’t even have to have “powers” at all to be a superhero. You can be rich, or smart, technologically equipped, well-trained, or a genetically-blessed normal being – and still be an Avenger, Revenger, Guardian, SHIELD Agent, or any other general “defender” group. 

Here’s a breakdown of the MCU superheroes we’ve seen ’til now and how their skills could be categorized. (Note 1: Spoilers ahead through Avengers 3: Infinity War.) (Note 2: Ignore the end of Infinity War and where some of these characters might be/not be.) (Note 3: I’m not listing anyone according to talent or power-ranking. That would be too complicated to get into and should be a piece unto itself.) (Note 4: This list only covers MCU movies. There’s no way to mention Marvel comics and have a reasonably manageable article). (Last Note: I have a few anti-heroes here, with some anti-villains rounding things out…but this article is mostly reserved for the good guys).

Got all that? Begin!

God-like Superheroes: Born This Way

Thor – The top of this list must start with Thor. He’s a god. Whatever Jane Foster said about powers vs tech, it’s clear that he was born a god, with the innate power to controll lightning. He’s got super strength, star-harnessed  weapons to help him fly and fight (wielding Stormbreaker, he can open the Bifrost to teleport), and the ability to survive in the vacuum of space without a suit or oxygen. He’s 1500 years old but still young. Thor’s not the the brightest Avenger, but he’s definitely the mightiest. (At least through Infinity War). His weapons are super-powered and can apparently only be wielded by other gods. He doesn’t use technology to augment his skills. Thor with a gun? Sorry; can’t see it.

Loki – Although a frost giant by birth, Loki was raised a god among gods in Asgard. I can’t explain this at all, but he has innate, god-level powers for deception, misdirection, teleportation, and trickery. He can hide things in other dimensions and retrieve them. He wielded a super-scepter-weapon harnessing the power of the Tesseract (housing the Space Stone) and is probably as old as Thor – they were raised as children together. I’d say he can keep his self-described god status.

Heimdall – Another Asgardian, he has the ability to call forth the Bifrost for teleportation (even without the Rainbow Bridge), has foresight, and the ability to see the Nine Realms and everyone in them, simultaneously. More of a protector than a fighter, his talents land him in the category of god-like. Call him a demi-god.

Sif – I don’t know enough about about this fine warrior to place her, but she’s Asgardian, a childhood playmate of Thor, and highly regarded. Also, probably sill alive. She could be called into play if Thor summons the Bifrost. Are all Asgardians god-like? I really don’t know.

Valkyrie – This isn’t actually her name, but a job description for minor gods in Norse mythology. We see her in flashback-action defending Asgard, and presumably brought slain warriors to Valhalla before Hela decimated her platoon. At this point she’s a busted up drunken gladiator hunter, but retains her fighting skills, cunning, and weapons expertise. She’s also a space pilot, and know how to ride winged horses (cue The Immigrant Song). Even soused on booze, Valkyrie captured Thor and took him to the Grandmaster. No small feat. 

***

Superpowered Superheroes: Characters with supernormal, non-tech-dependent skills

Scarlet Witch – an Infinity Stone gave Wanda Maximoff powers strong enough to propel her to the superhero elite. She’s not a trained fighter and she doesn’t depend on technology, but damn if her powers aren’t at the top of any ranking. Anything the Mind Stone could do is at her command. Additionally, she seems to draw strength from emotional connections – perhaps another element drawn from the Mind Stone.

Spiderman –  Though he has a brand-new tech-powered robotic suit courtesy of Stark Industries, his main skills are a part of him. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker became so immensely skilled, useful, and strong, that as he grows to adulthood he may well become one of the most powerful superheroes. In this iteration of Spiderman, his powers include slinging webs, incredible calisthenic skill, the ability to stick to and crawl on any surface, tingling “spidey” senses, and the proportional strength of an arachnid. He’s naturally clever and smart. Parker’s also pleasant, polite, personable, and a pleasure to be around. Don’t underestimate the power of sheer likability. 

Hulk – Like Spidey, a chance encounter transformed his DNA enough to give him internal powers. Unfortunately Dr. Bruce Banner can’t access these powers, and his rage-monster alter ego is barely controllable. But Banner alone is still a super-genius with 7 PhDs. He now wears the Hulk-Buster suit, which would put him in the tech-only category….but we all know Hulk is still in there. After his encounter with Thanos, the big green weenie is just afraid to come out. 

Black Panther – The hero mantle can be assumed by different people in various lineages in Wakanda, but there’s more than technology at work. Actual spiritual and physical powers are conferred by the heart-shaped flower, derived from the Vibranium meteorite.  Although the immense technological superiority of Wakanda helps, there’s something more at work.  I’d call Black Panther an enhanced human with amazing tech, and the might of an entire Vibranium-based fighting army at his disposal.

Captain America – His skills stem from a super soldier serum. The various Vibranium shields are just a bonus. While his strength and skills don’t approach the other heroes in this category, he has innate bravery  and the tactical/leadership skills to supplement his power level. Call Cap an enhanced human.  He MIGHT have something else going on; he was able to move Thor’s hammer a tiny bit. It’s a funny moment, but perhaps that moment could indicate something more.

Winter Soldier/The White Wolf – Same as Captain America, only with a Vibranium arm to supplement his super-soldier serum, highly-developed fight training, and a lot of skill handling automatic riflery. 

Mantis – She’s an alien with unique skills, but I think we can assume all her people are like that. We don’t know and apparently she doesn’t either – all Mantis says is that Ego raised her from an egg.

Dr. StrangeLike his name, this is a strange case: you can study your way to super-dom! Being a super-genius helps, but the outlandish reality-bending and teleportation skills are the doctor’s own – no weapon or Infinity Gem required. The sentient cloak is a merely a bonus, more like a wizard’s ‘familiar’ than a super suit. Think about this: Strange barely bothered with the Time Stone when he had it! The man is way overpowered.

Wong – Basically a less powerful version of Strange. There should other disciples around, but we haven’t seen them lately.

***

Tech-Only Powered Superheroes – Superheros only because they have Supersuits

Iron Man – Tony Stark. Take off the suit, and what do you have? “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist…” Stark is unusual. He lacks bad-ass fighting skills (compare him to Black Widow), and depends on computer targeting to fire his arsenal (unlike Hawkeye). So, why is Iron Man so important to the Avengers, a top superhero among even god-like beings like Thor? Even THANOS knows of Stark, and respects him. There’s a whole slew of lesser characters in super-suits listed below. I’m going to take a leap and say it: personality. As with Steve Rogers, Stark has an essential trait that can’t be duplicated. If Captain America is an unique super soldier through sheer determination, Tony Stark has an alpha-male charisma that won’t be rivaled.

War Machine – Like a larger, clunkier Iron Man, Rhodey can fly and shoot canon weaponry. He’s also got a government job granting him some powers of authority. I appreciate that his disability is both acknowledged and a non-issue. Like Professor X, it won’t keep him out of the action.

Falcon – Basically a sleeker version of War Machine, with smaller guns but more flight maneuverability, and a cool “pet” drone. I always thought he would take over the Captain America torch, but for now, that option seems to be off the table.

Ant-Man, The Wasp – A duo of suit-only superheroes…more or less.  Ant-Man can also control ants – who knows why –  and navigate quantum states. The Pym Particle might not even be scientifically quantifiable, so there may be more than tech at work. I hope the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp film sheds more light.

Nebula – A cybernetically-enhanced individual with superior fighting skills, Nebula might have a bit of an edge over normal humans, but she’s still not as good in a fight as her  unpowered “sister” Gamora. We’ve seen her journey from Chaotic Evil, to Chaotic Neutral, and into Chaotic Good. Hero territory. If she’s a Guardian now, she and Rocket will have to learn to work together.

Yondu – I know I’m pushing things including the grumpy blue Ravager leader, but that arrow of his was extremely cool. Groot welcomed  Yondu as a Guardian at the end. Now Kraglin‘s got the arrow; I hope we see him master it and join the team officially.

***

Well-Trained But Unpowered Superheroes – Heroes with no innate abilities or high-tech powers: their abilities can include superior genetics, skilled fighter training, or good use of weaponry. 

Black Widow – Despite her status as a top flight Avenger, Natasha Romanoff is “merely” a very skilled, well-trained human. She doesn’t even use large weapons, preferring small pistols, quarterstaffs, and whatever is within reach (like, say, a wooden chair) to bash foes. Nat’s intelligence seems to be normal, but her cunning and adaptability is off the charts.

Hawkeye –  Clint Barton might be the weakest hero in the MCU. He’s amazing with a bow, but not a skilled a melee fighter.  No suit, Vibranium tech, supernormal powers, or genius intellect. Just that high-powered bow. I’ve heard he might emerge with a new super persona, but at this point, we don’t know. 

Shuri – I include her because she’s said to be the smartest person in the entire MCU, and this includes a galaxy with Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, and Dr. Strange in it. She’s got tech skills like no one else. She works with Vibranium. As Black Panther’s sister, Shuri has the lineage to take up the Black Panther mantle, with the accompanying super-human physical and spiritual skills to boot. That would add her to the superhuman AND super-suit category, but for now, her formidable mind and Vibranium skill-set makes her a well-trained but unpowered lesser hero.

Star Lord – Let’s not mention him screwing the pooch in Infinity War, but discuss his heroic qualities instead. Peter Quill is a fine pilot, cunning, good with plasma guns, and an accomplished thief. He held his own in one-to-one melee combat with Gamora. He’s also undeniably brave, and makes clever use of some interesting tech (including a space helmet and dual ankle flight jets). All this, but he’s STILL essentially a human with space guns, an MCU Han Solo. With his father’s DNA, he briefly held the Power Stone without blowing himself up or destroying Xandar. He IS half god, after all. Since his godding skills were brief and limited to forming little balls of light, I won’t be including him in the god-like category.

Gamora – Thanos calls her the fiercest woman in the galaxy, but her skills aren’t superpowered: she’s just very well trained. Much as I love Gamora, I really don’t know if she or Black Widow would prevail in a fight.

Drax – The big guy likes knives, and isn’t afraid of taking on a far more powerful opponent. While that sounds like bravery, it’s mostly because he’s a little dim. He also can’t follow orders, and is sometimes a liability to the Guardians.

Korg – He’s a large rock gladiator, and one would guess that endows him with a certain durability and strength.  We’ve never seen him fight yet.

***

WTF Category

The Vision – I don’t know where to put The Vision at all. He’s not even alive. That said, he’s powered by the Mind Stone, has the combined technological might of Stark and Banner, boasts a Vibranium body, and uses the computational data speeds of JARVIS and Ultron. He even lifted Thor’s hammer. Yeah: Vision is a top-level super contender. Honestly, this character needs his own category.  I don’t know how else to place him. I’d love some better ideas.

Rocket and Groot also defy categorization. Groot has the powers of a tree – but he IS a tree. Rocket has cybernetic enhancements, but those don’t seem to impart him with more than the ability to have human-intelligence, human-dexterity, and the ability to talk. He’s not a melee fighter, but is brilliant with guns. He’s a good pilot and highly agile physically. The sarcastic raccoons’s strategic abilities are top notch, and he can make a bomb out of spare parts and gum. Rocket may be a small non-super-sensory being, but he also comes with a very dangerous counterpart: Rocket and Groot are essentially a unit. I still don’t know where to place them.

The Collector – If we ignore the comics, we have almost no background on Taneleer Tivon. We know he’s an Elder. What does this mean? Does Immortality imply godhood? Just how old is he? We don’t even know his alignment. (Chaotic Neutral?)

The Grandmaster – Well, he’s no hero, but he doesn’t seem to be a villain per se. He could be another Elder, like The Collector. I’m starting to scrape the bottom of the MCU bargain bin, so I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.

Who did I miss? I know I’ve left characters out. Like Quicksilver, Okoye, or any one of thousands of people living in Wakanda, for that matter.  Who else? Who did I get wrong? Tell me below and I’ll give you credit for any changes I make.

Read More on RunPee.com:

Avengers Infinity War – Characters Missing in Action, Whereabouts Unknown

Best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Every MCU Movie, Ranked)

Movie Review of Avengers 3: Infinity War

Every Marvel-Tagged Article on RunPee (So Far)

 

 

Avengers Polls – Surprising Results

To get fans talking about all the awesome movies the Marvel Cinematic Universe created over the last ten years (Wow, think about that – a decade of superheros in one big over-arcing story), I posted a series of Avengers based Twitter polls. The results are intriguing, and in some places, surprising!

Take a look at these fun MCU polls, and tell me how you would have voted on them yourself, in the comments below.

 

Avengers Infinity War – Characters Missing in Action, Whereabouts Unknown

Thor Ragnarok – Demented & Fun Deleted Scenes

RunPee Movie Review of Avengers 3 – Infinity War

Read Even More Marvel Articles on RunPee