It seems 2016 is the year everyone in the MCU breaks up and wrecks their lives. We expected such things from Civil War, of course, what with it being the Civil War. But much more heartbreaking was actually the second season of Daredevil, especially since while we know the Avengers will be reunited in two years’ time, and the final sequence of Civil War even laid the ground for it, two months after it dropped we’re still waiting anxiously to see if that third season even happens(and if it does, and they do Born Again, it’ll get worse before it gets better). And meanwhile in real life, we’re starting to see even more sharply the divide between the movies and the TV universes, with a huge global phenomenon from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. getting what seems like a begrudged line of vague lipservice in Civil War. Which is not good; the whole appeal of this franchise is that they’ve got this shared universe with shared history, and the movies would be well to suck it up and accept that they’re not the only thing writing said history.
And of course, this week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we first had our long anticipated Big Death, and even though I’d been hoping it was Lincoln as he was the least painful possible loss I was still crying during it. StaticQuake might never have been the most loved ship, but it sure managed to get us to care this week. Indeed, there was much in the finale to love, from Jemma saving the day without a gun to Fitz also being awesome without having to die(seriously, that whole thing with Fitz, with TPTB freely admitting afterwards they were yanking our chains, was just mean), to Mack and Daisy now challenging Steve and Bucky for their recently rewon title of Most Intense MCU Bromance and his continuing to shoot axes, to Elena full stop, and perhaps most of all, to that whole final sequence, the farewell to Brett Dalton as well as Luke Mitchell and his character. We’ll miss him for sure, both on the screen and on our Twitter timelines.
And then they essentially did a trailer for the fourth season, and basically dropped a handful of details of what is to happen to make us go “What the Hell?” Daisy having gone rogue is one thing, since her character and recent experiences have been setting up for that, but there’s a new director?! Indeed, one wonders if S.H.I.E.L.D. has survived recent months; are Coulson and Mack hunting Daisy for the ATCU, or other similar Sokovia-Accords-enforcing agency? Well, at least we known Fitzsimmons have remained together for six months; that really is a nice reassurance.
There was much to love about Civil War too. There were things they snubbed, yes(what a cheap way to toss Pepper out, when she deserved much better, and while they did leave room for post-movie reconciliation, I suspect they’ll make the break permanent come Infinity Wars just so they don’t have to bother with her), but what they did have was very good indeed. The Steve/Tony conflict, Tony blinded by things you really couldn’t blame him for being blinded by, the introduction to T’Challa and the beginning of his story, the version of Peter Parker reminiscent enough of Tobey Maguire that fans immediately feel comfortable with him as Peter Parker and yet being his own version of the character, and also the brilliant battle sequences(big Ant Man! Bringing his movie’s willingness to be silly when the occasion calls for it, and it works out) further livelied up by certain fighters being starstruck by their opponents! This probably is the best Marvel movie yet, and after the disappointment Age of Ultron was, that’s downright relieving; they’re not going downhill just yet.
But when it comes to the second season of Daredevil, it’s been two months since the events of it left me crying on my bed, and putting that aside, I find my feelings are mixed. There was dangerous Orientalism in it, and I feel like somewhere in there the character of Matt Murdock, the man who really is a lawyer by day as well as a vigilante by night, got a little lost. Not to mention I know too much about how trials work, and even though they did at least do some handwaving to skip the pretrial hearings(same as they did in episode 3 of the first season!), my mind kept demanding to know why the trial seemed to end instantly after Frank’s outburst without even any appeals(that whole thing with the doctor and the jury hearing only part of his testimony alone should’ve provided grounds). But also, as well as a story that sure did rend the heart, there was Foggy Nelson being the awesomest guy who ever awesomed. There was Karen’s story, where her romantic drama was clearly prioritized below her personal growth, and her connection to Frank, which was kind of genius(I hope she shows up in the Punisher series). There was Frank himself, making us all cry during that scene in the graveyard.
And now things are quiet until the fall, when we will learn how Luke Cage and Stephen Strange wreck themselves(although last we saw Luke, things had kind of been wrecked for him already). Or maybe the wreck will simply be this second movie; it’s going to have a lot of work to do to make up for the whitewashing.