The Ideology Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe | Jack Saint

The Ideology Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe | Jack Saint

our war is a war against evil this is clearly a case of good versus evil and make no mistake about it good will prevail hey everybody today we're gonna talk about the hidden meanings of Marvel movies please don't go the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at this point a cultural inevitability like Star Wars and Harry Potter before it these movies are everywhere constantly being discussed and analyzed and parodied and made into fun accessories for your toilet the comics were always popular but what we have now is on a whole other level you may be here because you've been keeping up with these movies from the beginning maybe you decided one day to get caught up and see what all the fuss was about maybe you like a lot of us don't really know why you're here whatever the reason you're here now and we're gonna spend about 40 minutes talking about something that's been surprisingly skipped over in a lot of conversations about these films what is the Marvel Cinematic Universe trying to say this video is generously sponsored by movavi what is movavi you may ask well movavi is a video editing software but this ain't your grandma's video editing software the editor offers a robust selection of tools and add-ons helpful to both beginners to editing and the pros with a host of useful sample videos and stock sounds to help give video some extra Flair movavi also offers special effects packs to help make the process even easier I myself will be making use of their cinematic and horror packs offered at a reasonable price point and suitable for even weaker computers movavi is definitely worth a look if you're trying to figure out what editing software works best for you and you can use the offer code listed down below for 30% off of the program neat so these are movies that appeal to kids teens and adults because they have fun colorful spectacle they have relatable character drama and at times they do pose genuinely interesting ideas and themes but I think people often hesitate to focus on that last part for the fear that they're bringing politics into innocent family fun or even that these kinds of artsy fartsy discussions of hidden meaning should be left to like terrence malick movies well i want to express the day is that those meanings are there in these movies and they are worth thinking about be at those we can read into the text or place there very deliberately by the creative team a companion video to this presented by Sonya aka an actual joke hello will be more about criticizing the more questionable aspects of these ideas on my end I'm absolutely not here to tell you what ideas are good and what are bad but to argue what ideas are present and how they pop up now I am still an individual with my own perspective and if you keep up my channel you probably have a pretty good sense of what that perspective is but for the most part today I just want to focus on what is there so let's do that identifying and examining identifying and examining what these movies have to say because whether we noticed it or not these movies say a lot I have successfully privatized world peace disclaimer this essay was written with the assumption of at least a baseline understanding of the Marvel movies there won't be a lot of summary here and if you're not caught up and don't want to be spoiled it's probably best to save this video for later a quick reminder also there if you end up liking the video please consider sharing around or even backing me over on patreon SOI Boyka Jack's ain't no so as I say my journey here started with a question is there a unified idea that we can say the MCU is about not just individual themes in individual movies but some core we could say the whole thing is built around or leads up to and then I remembered I'm covering universe comprised of 20 free movies and Counting headed by dozens of different writers and directors all with their own ideas and then I shriveled up into a ball and started crying uncontrollably what you might not expect is that at the end of my terrible nightmare session I did end up coming up with an answer to that question but it's probably easier if I show my work here so much like I did when I was first thinking about this stuff I reckon we're best off starting from the beginning it's easy to forget about the public perception of Ironman when the first film initially went into development as a dated CTA comic hero from back in the days of Vietnam and Nixon among other things a not insignificant portion of the target audience thoughts he was in fact a robot that fights crime studio similarly had a loose conception of what the character was really about with various iterations of a script including a sci-fi reimagining that pit of futuristic Tony Stark against this guy once director Jon Favreau was on board it was decided that they'd tone down the camp and go for something more grounded something with an immediate timely headline-grabbing set up and what they went with in the end was Tony Stark Elon Musk war profiteer in the invasion of Afghanistan let us begin by now Tony's journey in the Iron Man films is pretty well understood an arrogant billionaire weapons manufacturer who gets kidnapped by terrorists while showing off his latest weapon of mass destruction fights his way out with the help of a refugee scientist named yinsen finds meaning beyond profit in the name of social justice and in fighting his corrupt second-in-command Obadiah Stane becomes the eponymous Iron Man after there it's mostly Tony switching duties between dealing with new threats as they come about and preventing his Iron Man technology from falling into the wrong hands he isn't very good at that last part but let's not get ahead of ourselves there's already a lot to unpack here and it begins with that initial setting Afghanistan I am am one being the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe took a lot of creative chances future movies were keen to avoid the biggest of which probably being the choice to set the film in the midst of an actual real world conflict Tony is selling weapons to the US military and is taken captive by the ten rings a terrorist group clearly styled after al-qaeda what this does is make the political commentary of the film way more transparent than we're ever going to get from the later films which become increasingly loose and open to interpretation except for the Nazis for this we can say a few straightforward things number one the US military in this film is unambiguously good or at least not portrayed in a negative light this one isn't really a surprise given the like many Marvel films Ironman one received significant funding from the military a core of her is the Air Force the only moment in the film you could argue they're seen negatively is when they attempt to shoot down Tony when he invades occupied airspace but this is framed as more of a misunderstanding than anything else other than that military good number two the terrorists in this film are unambiguously bad once again not exactly controversial especially considering the political climate at the time most are resigned to sneering in the background or playing dice games menacingly and the few who get real screen time are shown to be bloodthirsty war mongers without even a coherent ideology beyond a desire for more power it's a far cry from the hints towards a sympathetic light we get from characters like Zemo or kill manga or the vulture or even Thanos to a lesser extent later on [Applause] what we end up with is an almost perfect representation of the American perspective on the war on terror at that time there's no shades of gray in this war against her either you're with the United States or you're not with the United States the military are the good guys who must fight the terrorists who are the bad guys and if anything the only real point of criticism is that the military doesn't do more more quickly Tony's epiphany during his time with yinsen is of the lack of accountability in the conflict a feeling echoed by many critics of u.s. involvement in the war at that time and I saw that I had become part of a system that is comfortable with zero accountability but this results not in the decision by Tony to establish any kind of trustworthy body in his companies so that they can be more accountable but to draw completely inwards epitomized by the moment halfway into the film where Tony over his news of a hostage situation in a Middle Eastern village and responds in the most Team America way possible he flies straight in without telling anyone kills all the terrorists blow some shit up then leaves don't worry everything is full we stopped the terrorists despite minimal Intel despite not really knowing the likelihood of civilian casualties not knowing if he was disrupting an actual orchestrated rescue operation for all he knows his actions could set off a civil war but it's fine it's fine in the logic of the film no unforeseen deaths no collateral I don't need to drop a lecture here about the fact that the US military's problems in Afghanistan were not about not going in quick enough we know now that quite the opposite the gung-ho manner by which Bush and Obama invaded and occupied the Middle East was a significant cause of criticism particularly as civilian casualty rates of the hands of the military added up with ever flimsier justifications this is without getting into accusations that the u.s. contributed to as many conflicts as they quash during the occupation but once again this kind of messy moral gray is not addressed in the film Tony's opposition to the use of his devastating weapons is never about their use in the first place but because the bad guys got them in this way the short-sighted misguided war on terror a perspective has a very real lasting impact on how Tony Stark sees the world it introduces him to a world of straightforward heroes and villains where only he can be trusted to put a stop to evil this is a heavy statement but stay with me on this Tony gains two core foundational beliefs from the war on terror that of perpetual war and American exceptionalism exceptionalism in Tony's belief that he can simply trust himself as a good righteous special person to flout the accountability he expects of others and perpetual war the belief that the escalation of conflict is inevitable and this is exactly what justifies the lack of accountability in the first place a belief which builds to someone who is in fact in the perpetual war is an idea which ends up being fundamental to the MCU as a whole and as it turns out it came about around the same time Tony did in the heat of the Vietnam War at that time it was used as a way of critiquing the US military's activities at that time it goes like this growing sympathies for communist sentiment or established in nations like Vietnam with the justification that this will promote civil unrest the US military escalates its domination of the area new forces are brought in villages raided new weapons utilized in the name of stopping a threat that's always right around the corner but never quiet there this in fact is exactly what Tony was doing at the start of his time in the comics this is how scenarios like the Cold War come about with nations technically at peace escalating their nuclear armaments to absurd levels because of once again a theoretical future threat and as we've come to discover it's this same rhetoric that would fuel the war on terror the MCU is a state of perpetual future threat and of escalation with every film the challenge grows in this way heroes like Tony live in a constant state of preparation for a coming conflict which will inevitably come and it's from the issues that come with this attitude that Tony finds a real ideological opponent Steve Rogers is a true believer not necessarily of America in particular as he points out he doesn't like bullies no matter where they come from but in the ideas of freedom and liberty from tyranny and he'll do whatever it takes to protect those ideals this is how he begins his story in the First Avenger and though the world around him changes dramatically those ideals do not Steve fights the oppression by the Nazis in World War two then oppression by Hydra in Winter Soldier and finally the oppression by Tony Stark in civil war yeah that happens and when you really think about it it couldn't have gone any other way for what cap represents is in many ways a polar opposite to Tony Tony is born out of an ideology that sees the ends justify the means his goal at least in spirit is to protect people whatever it takes if that means a rejection of any real accountability so be it if that means authoritarian control of any who could even theoretically pose a threat also so be it and if he needs to excuse himself from the exact kind of oversight he forces upon others once again so beer it's part of the reason as a counterpoint to Steve Tony seems often quick to change his mind on his convictions because those convictions are built only on the principle of the most straightforward way he sees to protect people in that given moment the epitome of this is of course Avengers 2 age of Ultron in which Tony designs himself a remote-controlled army of robots to help keep the global peace a plan that backfires when he also decides the design and all powerful AI to help lead them Tony's response to this is to build another all-powerful AI but a better one this time it's a short-sighted decision one that basically nobody agrees with but it's what Tony thinks needs to be done so he does it and luckily it works out he's a utilitarian he will make choices based on desired outcomes regardless of his own moral leanings yet in comes Steve Rogers every bit a day ontology meaning that by contrast he'll make choices based on what he sees as the right or wrong actions in and of themselves in Captain America Winter Soldier when Steve is introduced to shields Armada of precision drone striking helicarriers with full global surveillance access he has only one response from once we're way ahead of the curve by holding a gun to everyone on earth and calling it protection in fact over the course of that film Steve systematically eradicate that technology which would have been able to attract potential international threats and quickly manage them if they grow out of hand by contrast as we see in spider-man far from home Tony has zero qualms with using almost identical surveillance drone strike technology right up until his death just in case for Steve the ends do not justify the means tyranny is tyranny even when it's justified as a protective measure now the obvious criticism against Steve is levied in response when he initially objects to this with the baggage of World War two the Allied nations and particularly the USA hardly came out with clean hands and this is something cap tries to hand wave with the claim that that was only done to preserve the freedoms that are now being quashed in giving Steve this somewhat hypocritical justification that only in his case were they able to justify a horrific acts with the theoretical preservation of Liberty it certainly highlights this isn't a zero-sum game convictions can be tested and if need be twisted to serve the person who wants to feel like they're right with civil war the MCU would finally confront the clear ideological divide between its two key figure heads Tony with his ruthless obsession with the perpetual war which must be prepared at all costs Steve his high-minded idealism to preserve the ideals that make it worth fighting in the first place in this case legislation is put forward the sokovia accords a un-backed proposal to restrict superhumans such that a panel of representatives must give approval before any heroic actions can be taken and particularly dangerous individuals like The Scarlet Witch are kept under strict supervision at all times Toni agrees cab does not is that how you see this this is protection its internment she's not a US citizen and they don't break in any other case Toni finally confronting what was woefully ignored in the first Iron Man film of the inevitable collateral that comes with spur-of-the-moment acts of heroic ultra violence that would be a tremendous growth moment for him in this case it's presented as another short-sighted decision on his part born more out of an emotional reaction to a teary confrontation than something he has come to organically Toni agrees to this significant reduction in personal freedom because once again his convictions are only to the protection of those he cares for and as we lay to discover these are restrictions he was once again always going to see himself as an exception to Toni's way of thinking is the reason everyone has to take their shoes off at the airport but he's not taking his shoes off cap says no because in his own words if they sign the documents they surrender their right to choose but as I've said this isn't a zero-sum game here though Toni's decision is an emotional one it shouldn't be confused for a wholly irrational one kept demanding freedom from accountability is itself arguably a contradiction with his own foundational beliefs the ability for the powerful to act however they please regardless of possible collateral damage representing exactly the kind of tyranny he fought against this is only highlighted with the justification that they'd be beholden to other people and people have agendas the implication being there he has some special higher being is free from the natural biases and FAL ability of any other person people have agendas and Steve remains a person yet still this is where they stand Steve on the side that claims personal liberties cannot be trumped by a desire for increased security Tony believing there at the end of the day little else matters for all he cares he could be in a totalitarian military state as long as it protects the people I'm doing what has to be done to stave off something worse you keep telling yourself that there are two things you might not expect reading this description of events one that the MCU will present us with a clear and unambiguous ideological winner in this debate and two that fundamentally Steve Tony and all those other heroes I haven't yet discussed are still united in one fundamental ideal one I've actually already brought up but I'll be nice and give you the answer to the first one first with the introduction of Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet the Marvel Cinematic Universe unambiguously presents the ideology of Tony Stark as the correct one for this world okay let's walk this back a bit to quickly remind viewers this is not a video in which I declare who does or does not have the right ideas nor to convince you who is right or wrong if you're curious I have firmly and resolutely disagree with Tony Stark on almost every level nor am i saying that the MCU presents Tony's ideology as the correct one in the world we live in right now today because the MCU does not take place in our world does this mean it's ideas don't trickle into the cultural consciousness of the real world anyway I would also strongly disagree with that for reasons we can get into later on but fundamentally this is not the real world instead this is a world that functions on an idea of constant and inevitable power creep culminating in the mad Titan Thanos who as a near unstoppable force obsessed with the notion of wiping out half of all life in the universe represents a logical conclusion to the rhetoric of the perpetual war some would say it's an infinity war and some it goes that we start with Iron Man versus a slightly larger grayer Iron Man then the Avengers versus an army of alien bugs and then we end up with the arrival of Thanos an unstoppable lump of man me backed by an army of elite soldiers and savage beasts forcing all of the combined forces of the MCU to come together to stop him the term power creep has up to now pretty much exclusively been used in terms of things like trading cards and multiplayer games referring to the ways newly added content often tends to be far more useful than what was there before until the old stuff is basically irrelevant in comparison to what's fresh comic books as it turns out have much the same problem often being based on extremely long running stories mostly comprised of the hero being forced again and again to fight tougher and tougher opponents over the course of years this inevitably leads to heroes graduating from fighting low-level thugs to monstrous abominations and eventually planet-destroying gods and as it turns out when you map this on to a story that attempts at many times to be politically engaged such as the MCU you end up with the exact justifications used by state institutions to restrict the rights of private citizens in the name of national security that what we needed was a pseudo armor around the world remember that whether it impacted our precious freedoms or not that's what we needed go figure as I've said multiple times Tony's ideology can be rooted pretty deeply in that of the war on terror and ends justify the means disregard for personal freedoms civil liberties and holding himself to the same level of accountability he expects of others so when Tony arrives battered and broken from his defeat at the hands of Thanos and declares the Steve that he wanted to put a suit of armor around the earth and ideals like Steve's ultimately doomed them that is the ideology he is channeling and Steve has nothing to say to him because Steve's ideology was one based on de-escalation of giving people back their freedoms in the face of a threat removed and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe there's nothing fun about a de-escalated fred's Thanos is the perpetual war made manifest he is inevitable so where the Russos may have wanted to give an even-handed approach here they really can't because a story has been written which can't help but justify a drastic overreach of state forces and the military for where the chapters of Tony's journey that were about letting go of his obsession that's all justified here in fact I man free gets particularly left in the dust here as what was once coded as unhealthy paranoia as a result of postural pouched unhealthy paranoia as a result of post-traumatic stress the equivalent of the Doomsday Preppers stockpiling salt rifles in his bunker that's now exactly the right thing Thanos is the ultimate other a being who comes from nowhere and demands the full force of all against him and in the process justifies Tony's proto-fascist axilla thiis over the last few years he's the equivalent of an alien warship arriving in the heat of the Cold War necessitating the use of every one of the nuclear bombs needlessly produced by the US and USSR at that time and in doing so providing them with a need Tony's war on terror mindset is justified with the arrival of a figure who represents every fantasy of a monster around the corner who threatens the very fabric of society but when I pitched this video I wasn't just here to talk about Tony or Steve or Thanos and it's becoming increasingly obvious I'm ignoring a whole bunch of other properties tied to this universe you might think I'm cherry-picking my franchise is here because there wasn't a link we could find between the rest but there is and it not only informs everything I've discussed so far but in many ways serves as the core thesis of these movies and it all begins with the great man theory in the early 19th century Thomas Carlyle published on heroes hero-worship and the heroic in history which presented the theory that in his own words the history of the world is but the biography of great men in it Carlyle cites figures like Shakespeare Napoleon Jesus and the Norse god Odin and he essentially argues that the ebb and flow of history is controlled almost entirely by singular charismatic individuals who push society in a given direction often this gets contrasted with the people's history which is all Marxian stuff and argues instead that so-called great people are actually the mere products of much wider systemic trends which eventually spawn such people as representative of these societies Toni and Steve broadly represents respective notions of authoritarian and libertarian ideology but all of the MCU heroes to varying degrees are predicated on the great man theory one of the first lessons of the MCU is that we cannot trust the interests of private corporations [Applause] as it goes on it proceeds to tell us that we also cannot trust state institutions the law is not always on our side and very often it will be outright against us but to the question of trust the MCU doesn't direct us to the common people it doesn't indicate everyday communities can handle this responsibility instead in fact as we reach AVENGERS endgame everyday communities become markedly absent the only real character who is not a superhero or explicitly tied to one being a minor cameo from the director instead we defer to the power of singular great men individuals who we can trust to do what is right when Tony snaps his fingers in endgame we do not questionnaire because Tony is a good person and Thanos his army is made up of bad people this ignores that in the Guardians movies for instance it has already been made explicit how much of the gnosis Army is comprised of brainwashed victims of kidnapping people who in many cases can be redeemed and made into more empathetic members of society also Avengers 2 also Winter Soldier yes still we can cheer because we can defer any moral responsibility on to Tony who we trust here to be a righteous person who made the right choice this continues on to Spider Man far from home which as I've already mentioned sees Peter take advantage of a device designed by Tony which allows public surveillance and the ability to commit precision drone strikes on any individual at any time Peter has personal qualms with not being yet mature enough to handle such responsibilities but when he retrieves the device and keeps it at the end of the film we trust that as he is a good responsible person he can be trusted with this power we could be talking about ant-man suits or dr. strangers time stone or Black Panthers bloodline right to control one of the most powerful nations on the world of the MCU defers to these special individuals these strongman leaders who exists outside of private interests outside of the states outside of the common people to hold the power to commit potential atrocities and in some cases even genocide the idea there even after we explicitly shown on many occasions the clear negative consequences of putting so much trust on these individuals to simply do right that this is our best hope anyway in the face of an existential threat to humanity this is the answer the Marvel Cinematic Universe offers us Thanos says that he is inevitable and Tony responds I am Iron Man at the end of the day according to these movies there is no Society for as much as we see an ideological divide come Civil War this all comes apart with the advent of infinity war what we're left with is a proposition to trust that for however much control or power they require all it takes are these great men these strongman leaders to see us through the perpetual war this is all in spite of the fact that this universe presents us time and time again with these problems that often come from a broader systemic problem the vulture of class divided you me healthcare – we've build the roads and we fight all their Wars and everything they don't care about us we have to pick up after and we have to eat their table scraps that's how it is whiplash of the suppression of hard-working people at the hands of enterprising businessmen all the way to Obadiah Stane in the ways society rewards good business over doing what's right marvel moved away from real world conflicts like Afghanistan not just a decision that moved away from potential controversy but disguised an issue underlying the handling of almost every conflict in that universe a great mind mindset in which individuals or individual groups with bad ideas spring up and must be stopped to put an end to the problem ignoring the possibility that those problems do not come from nowhere and do not end with them it's the kind of mindset that gets us movies like age of Ultron which solves its conflict the exact same way it started it and tries not to think too much more about it it's how we get Thor the dark world which turns its sympathetic portrayal of a race who lost everything in fighting against its own colonization into mustache 12 in caricatures devoid of any semblance of humanity Dark Elves and it's how we get infinity war and end game over five hours of movie spent on Thanos trying to justify his misguided views about saving civilization with not one scene spent actually breaking down why what he says is wrong they just kill him which is why to Charla a character I've neglected to talk about for much of this video represents a potential for some very interesting conversations when it comes to ideology in the MCU a character who regularly rejects the notion of an individual stopping another individual and thus ending a problem and as consumer is consuming them done letting it consume me when Zemo talks of losing his family to the Avengers indifference the collateral damage T'Challa listens when kill manga explains how the wakandans turned a blind eye to the oppression of his people for hundreds of years T'Challa not only listens but totally agrees turns their into a policy and he recognizes that just killing these two men is only window dressing in addressing these issues yet still his narrative must fit the same base Marvel formula and so it remains the charismatic strong man vanquishing the evil and restoring peace it's possible that all of this is integral to telling a Marvel story or of superhero fiction in the first place but this is the ideology projected by this universe a belief in putting ultimate trust into just individuals to maintain a righteous order even if that means the suppression of personal freedoms to prepare for the next inevitable Fred's cheering on the good guy to defeat the bad guy and it's as simple as that now as I said at the start this is not going to be the video where I tell you what ideas are good and what are bad but just as well I think in these politically charged times it'd be pretty irresponsible to just leave you floating in the wind without any further considerations about how this might reflect on our current climate and whether it does so in positive or negative ways that's why alongside my video here my good pal Sonia has been working on a companion essay which will delve further into this tricky conversation if you want more on this topic check out her video listed down below on my end I truly hope you've gotten something out of my deep dive into the MCU with this video here I've been watching these films since I was 13 years old and I certainly wasn't think so deeply about the implications of their messages at the time but doing so here has given me what I think is a much richer understanding of what this universe has to offer both in its successes and its failures and don't worry if you're one of my viewers that's getting kind of sick of me talking about Marvel movies so much I definitely think I'm Marvel doubt for now in any case if you did like this video please feel free to give it a like comment down below with your thoughts or give it a share on your social media platform if you especially like it please consider backing me over on patreon to be one of the names listed in these credits or through coffee for one-time donations I'd like to give a special thanks to patrons a requisites cour ah evey roske industrial robots mal / – Asst Tauron the Exile with an extra special thanks to leftist tech supports and pamphleteer as always you can reach me on twitter at lacking Saints or check me out over on Twitch at twitch TV / slack Saints final reminder to use the offer code in the description for 30% off on movavi who I once again want to thank for sponsoring me on this video other than that thanks for watching love you all and stay safe also Isis run in concentration camps and needs to be abolished

43 thoughts on “The Ideology Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe | Jack Saint

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    Sonia's video will be going up later on, check back here and in the description for a link!

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  2. Maybe an ideology Phase 4 could challenge. Not sure if they'd be brave enough to risk it, but it really would be an interesting direction to go, especially since I'm sure most of the audience (like me) didn't really sit down to think of the subtext of Infinity War/Endgame until it was explained to me

  3. Jack Saint watching Iron Man (2008): "Iron Man shouldn't fight bad guys unsupervised. It might put the civilian populations in danger."

    Jack Saint watching Civil War: "Iron Man shouldn't have superheroes supervised by the UN.It's destroying their freedom!"
    Tell me if I missed something, but this doesn't strike me as logical.

  4. I only know of one media that actually manages to deal with "superheroes", with literal "great men", without actually propogating that idea, an anime called The Rolling Girls. It's a really weird and surreal take on anarchism.

  5. Superhero stories are, almost explicitly, a form of modern mythology so, yeah, the idea of a singular Great Man or group of Great Men really is at the heart of all superhero narratives.

  6. I'm looking forward to seeing Sonia's companion piece!
    My best friend loathes Tony Stark. I could understand why to some extent, but the movies really do a fantastic job swooning over his ideology which kind of obscures the underlying problems with his character motivations. I definitely got an 'ouch' out of Tony's rant about how his actions in Ultron are justified. And Today's release of the deleted scene where everyone kneels on the battlefield to honor Tony's death also read as kinda propoganistic to me.
    I was 14 when I first watched Iron Man. And while I've followed the franchise with all the glee and passion of a young nerd, I definitely wasn't thinking about it on a sociopolitical level. It was pretty neat taking a step back and taking a look a decade of narrative and history into perspective.
    Seeing the Phase 4 plans are surface-level more diverse, though still controlled by the corporate titan Disney… There's a lot of interesting stories that could be told regarding Incremental Progressivism VS Praxis Revolt. (Especially now that they've acquired X-men, have the Skrulls likely building up a Secret Invasion parallel, and Peter Parker being othered from his role as a poor everyman and weaker, underdog hero in FFH. I like their take on JJJ, but the conclusion means Peter's not safe at home in Brooklyn. Especially for his next 2 years as a highschooler; I suppose he's old enough to Drop Out and get a GED later. Maybe move to Tony's Avenger Complex and get private tutors. Or attend X-Men Academy. But whatever he does will remove him from his layman's perspective, bring him closer to the other Heroes and the 'prepetual war', and distance him from his prole backround. Given Holland is signed on for 6 more films, he's going to be the Face of the MCU for a while now, once they've had time to build the groundwork with other character's films. )
    In any case, it's much easier to view things with the benefit of hindsight. It'll be curious to see what Phase 4 onward looks like to us in the year 2030.

    Thanks for the thoughtful video essay!

  7. I'd argue MCU movies are born out of the strange mix of trends and what people want to see that we are currently facing. Hollywood functions 99.9% on individualist perspectives: Individual people carrying responsibility for themselves and the world rather than systemic causes. Makes sense with the US being a pretty individualist culture.
    Buuut for the past like thirty years audiences have been asking for "villains with real motives". They want well written characters. They want the villain to make sense. To have a villain that makes sense you kinda need to start asking some questions on why people do cruel things, and in most places that is a systemic cause. This kind of villain doesn't really support the individualist perspective of superhero movies like the MCU movies are, which is why they dabble in systemic perspectives, but never really understand them or touch into them. That's where the "window dressing villain killing" that you mention comes in.
    I'd also argue that the Tony vs. Steve conflict in CW allows for much more nuanced answers than "full Tony" and "full Steve", but a) that isn't really discussed in the movies much and b) you probably already know.
    In the end talking about this stuff is important (I'll point out that while this was a good analysis you definitely were coming across as opinionated, in contrast to your statement that that wasn't your intention) but I think people are quick to think about writing in only one way or another. The MCU offers some pretty good stories on personal conflicts and beating that villain ass is not too rarely a sort of metaphor of a person's character growth, be the villain a personification of their old, "wrong" morals or their personal demons. That's the essence of superhero stories. But having one perspective means you sacrifice another, you can see a character's action in the context of what the movie says about their personal growth, or in the context of what the movie says about the political implications surrounding that action. And I think both is relevant and simultaneously there. And it's that which the MCU struggles with: Knowing when to approach a story from which angle, and what one of the perspectives will do to another.

  8. These in-depth videos are one of the best parts of Youtube, I swear. I've always been very against Tony but I thought it was because he is a narcissistic and prepotent person but there was more underneath. I have close to no knowledge about the war on terror since I'm not America and I was quite young when that happened but the way you expressed the whole shebang made me realize how much I hate Tony's ideology lol
    Now every time someone gives me shit for being Team Cap, I'll send them this video lol

  9. I could watch you get down marvel movies for days. I've seen the vast majority of them and nearly all of them are terrible. Over at DC, starting with the dark knight trilogy, I started to see the overt propaganda. Given that Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne are nearly interchangeable, it's not surprising to see how public ethics have slipped out if importance today.

  10. 21:08 kinda wrong on that point cap wants to be accountable talking to Wanda before hand you can tell… he blames himself for what happened with crossbones… his point is they should own there actions and the accords totally takes that away from them… and he was right in my opinion… it passes the buck to people in power…. and whats the problem there the whole old saying about power?…. "If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you …" i cut it short but John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton a long time ago… it still rings true…

  11. One of my favorite videos from you. Watched it as someone who enjoys Marvel movies for their flair while consistently making fun of them

  12. 14:19 you are kinda on to something here. also 15:49 you are on the money there too "peace in our time"… eh tony was wrong pretty much the whole run of the mcu…. like and sub from me!

  13. You Look almost EXACTLY like Thor, facial structure and all. I feel as though you are just Thor disguised as a human from our universe trying to draw attention to the Marvel universe in hopes to save your world.

  14. 0:58 i am 39 years old i have been a comic book fan sense i could read… comic books comic video games comic cartoons and comic movies.. i have seen played and read them all… some were epic some were shit… i love the MCU because its really is a live action comic… so yeah with that in mind…. i might be commenting on this video a few times… but i have faith in you Jack Saint (no i dont i this is my first video of ours) but i want to have faith in you… so lets do this… and to be honest even if i hate this video for what you say it in it its a damn long video so thank you for taking the time to upload it… yep i know its weird people can disagree but still be nice… lol i want to have faith in you! once again lets do this!

  15. I just wanted throw in a few of my thoughts. Loved the video.
    (Be warned a "Wall of Text Awaits")

    Feel like I kinda went overboard on criticizing Cap and saying very little on Tony but I couldn't think of too much that bothers me that isn't already obvious.

    (On Steve's stance in Civil War)
    Personally I interpreted Steve's stance in Civil War a bit differently. The "In-Universe" reason for his desire to avoid Government oversight was because the Government was proven to be undeniably corrupt (though not really because they have too much power but because it was flooded with Neo-Nazis a.k.a. Hydra). When Steve leaves he drops the American Flag design and goes for an all Black costume. Having seen a video talking about how the U.S. uses private armies (Mercenaries) to supplement the U.S. Army in certain situations. The people who join these groups are usually ex-military from what I understand and they of course do it for different reasons. These private armies also usually wear black based on what I saw.

    Also just to add The Ben Affleck movie (or rather a movie that includes him) "Triple Frontier" is pretty much about that idea and that came to mind as well. In that movie essentially a group of ex-military guys get back together to assassinate a drug lord. Each for their own reasons but the one who organizes the mission does to take justice into his own hands. There is point made that they aren't fighting for America. They don't carry the American flag on their shoulders. They're in it for themselves and for their own reasons.

    Anyway, the way I saw it was that Cap, having lost faith in the American government, decided to essentially become a private army (minus the price tag) in order to take justice into his own hands. Also Cap puts his own morals over everything in Winter Soldier by trying to cover for his old friend regardless of what damage it could cause and regardless of what he'd done (tbf it wasn't like Bucky wanted to be a Russian(?) assassin).

    Just a side note:
    Considering Steve's "I don't like bullies" code, it bugs me that he isn't a "neighborhood hero". It gives me the impression that he has this idea that it's beneath him. It's kind of apparent to me that he changes quite a bit after he becomes a super soldier. There is a slight thing where both Steve and Tony have a sense that they have to stand up and save everyone. Tony's reason changed when he basically saw everyone die in Avengers. He was the only one who knew what was coming, felt he had to stop it himself because and was afraid of losing. Steve, after being enhanced, seemed to have that sense that he was the powerful, "right one" and never grew out of it. Steve just happened to be in agreement with everyone most of time. It's also probably why he places Bucky's safety over everyone else as Bucky is just his molded follower. Bucky lacks agency and is basically aligned with whoever can control him. He isn't wild and evil or anything, he's just still a sidekick kid.

    (On Tony's stance)
    Tony however, after the events of Age of Ultron, likely realized that he or anybody can cause as much damage as any enemy if left unchecked. So he kinda turns a new leaf (or tries to. When exactly did he build the drones? Before Civil War or after the snap?) Then Spider-Man comes along as the hero Tony Stark wanted to be. Seeing his potential Tony basically decides to make Peter the one to fix all of his mistakes. Which is basically what he's forced to do considering the fact that Spiderman's enemies so far are a product of Tony's actions and negligence of the common man. Only thing Spider-Man can really do is get rid of the drones (which he'll probably do if and when he rematches Mysterio) and eventually use his position to help people on the ground directly…and become some form of Marxist or Socialist I guess?

    (Opinion "The Great Man" theory)
    I would say that "The Great Man" is somewhat "woven into the fabric" of Superheroes in general but it's kinda accidental the way I see it. They are (or were) usually meant to be metaphors and vehicles for messaging. But because they are, literally, a single person, even if they are meant to represent many people and ideas, they become "The One" as they speak for so many people and a collective of individuals is a hard lead to follow. It seems to me that there will always (and probably must) be a leader or "Great Man" because there needs to be a focal point for individual action to truly work. If it's not an individual then it will be a group of individuals, but it will always be a name that represents all that stand with that name. Just as a vague example, we could constantly remind ourselves that no one of Earth is really "one" as we are just a bunch of cells all preforming different tasks. But those cells do very little on their own beyond simply existing (cause we exist with purposeful purposelessness lol). However when those cells combine and create animals and plants they become much more than they were before but still rely upon each other. It's a "United we Stand, Divided we Fall" kinda thing. What we stand by or call ourselves will always be what we all are together. So the "Great Man" is more like a lens that focuses effort and makes all who pass through it one. If we all stand alone, even we pose together, then we just end up eating each other for survival.
    (Kinda did it up on the fluff at the end but that's just my thought)

  16. The unanimous disapproval of Tony's 'safety trumps freedom' ideology in this video and the comments genuinely surprises me. Sure, having the power to send precision drone strikes after any person seems like overreach – but what about gun control? Surely most left-leaning people would agree that mandatory background checks and firearm training are reasonable, yet that definitely constitutes a prioritization of safety over freedom.

    It seems to me that there's some truth to both Tony & Steve's arguments, which is what makes the central conflict of these movies so compelling.

  17. Nice vidéo, i just find it strange that you got the conclusion that Tony Stark made genocide. Maybe it killed them all but I think it was more him sending back every one that wasn’t from there timeline. It may be that he send them back to death but even then they were anomaly. And don’t tell me bringing every one ho has vanished back is an anomaly as they came back from the same power that did it to them and they’re from the same timeline.

  18. I also want to say: Killmonger was completely cheated by the whole 'great man' idea. He entered the ritual combat, won the ritual combat (which is how T'chala and his family came to power), said he was going to use his power to enforce his moral code on the world, and is portrayed as the villain of the story. Last time I checked, that's what Iron Man does, that's what S.H.I.E.L.D. does, but when Killmonger does it to help black people instead of large corporations or extrajudicial government bodies, he's the bad guy. But, hey, they did build a new B-ball court in his old neighborhood, so I guess racism is solved forever!

  19. I like this video! I think you've really got me thinking about how the MCU not only demands violence, but demands lone heroes to perpetrate it. I'm working on a story thing right now aimed at examining the "no see we NEED the superheroes" premise, in fact.

    It kind of feels like you're underplaying how Tony's arc was about him starting to trust himself less and wanting accountability. Civil War wasn't about Tony controlling anything. Tony wanted to make Captain America accept accountability to the United Nations, not himself.

    Tony ultimately rejected exceptionalism when confronted with painful responsibility, while Steve found himself gravitating towards it due to his experiences with corrupt systems. They kinda swap places, which I think is interesting.

    Also, the whole "personal liberties" thing was always gonna be a weak analog when we're talking about vigilante justice. They're cops. There's no such thing as a personal liberty to police others. 😛

  20. At the very beginning of this video there’s a synthesized voice saying “soyboy cuck” but I had to listen to it like seven times to figure that out because all I could hear was “suck boycock”

    That is all, thank you for reading

  21. I don't think the MCU actually lands on Tony's side; Thanos, like you said, is the logical conclusion of Tony's obsession with perpetual war. Tony's way didn't work.

    The Infinity War-Endgame thematic arc was kind of a comparison between Thanos's "The strongest choices require the strongest wills" and the Avengers' eventual "Whatever it takes". The latter is essentially "Whatever it takes, but I'm only making bets on my own life", while Thanos's version was deciding over everyone else's life.

    In fact, they explicitly call back to that Age of Ultron scene to make the thesis that Tony's way (creating a suit of armor around the world) doesn't work, but Steve's way (fighting him together when he comes) does work. The word "Endgame" is IN THE TITLE of the movie, I don't know why more people aren't paying attention to this.

    I thought this was very clear; there's a reason why Thanos won on that first movie.

    For the record, I do wish they had taken the time to fight Thanos with an argument as to why his actions were wrong, as opposed to just fighting him.

  22. "tony's opposition to the use of his devastating weapons is never about their use in the first place, but because the bad guys got them" dude yess that stood out to me the first time i watched it– my mom (who watched it with me) kept talking about all the "antiwar themes" and I was like wHERE

  23. i keep thinking about that one quote by either jenny or dan that basically goes: "the government can't be trusted and what we really need is a group of specialized people with massive power and weapons and no oversight to keep us safe"

  24. I like Tony Stark strictly as a character in a piece of fiction, as a vehicle for a particular kind of drama in fiction. He's entertaining as a storylover/writer the way a difficult mathematical equation can be entertaining to solve on paper for math nerds.

    If I met him in real life, though, I'd immediately send him to the guillotine.

  25. Let's not forget Star Wars, where two elite factions (Sith, Jedi) fight each other for control of the universe, while the "common folk" suffer the consequences, as they must.

    In the ideology of Good vs Evil, they are represented by whatever powerful forces happen to be lying around. So the Cold War's classic Good America vs Evil Soviet Union, or the "War on Terror's" Good American Capitalism vs Evil democratizing that capital.

    What we are asked to believe, time and time again, is that the purpose of the common folk is to either "pick a side" and root for Good or Evil to prevail, perhaps munching popcorn and dodging bombs while this happens, or to become disengaged and invisible if they don't pick a side. The choice for the common folk, for those sadly unable to participate in the war, is to either not exist at all or to be a spectator.

    In any case, the reality of the world, according to this ideology, is the repeating conflict between Good and Evil, where all processes of power are valuable in that they allow Good to thrive into the future and suppress or temporarily destroy Evil, thus forcing it to reconfigure for the next war.

    The only actual danger to this ideology is the end of "Good and Evil" itself, the end of the perpetually recurring war.

  26. 24:04 – That's actually such a strong parallel. I feel a bit like you didn't do it justice by dismissing it as a cutaway pun! It's such a stark counterpart (so many inadvertent puns this comment… I'm so proud) to the ideological term ('Eternal War') and it's literally the title of the movie in which (in conjunction with Endgame) the entire saga famously culminates.

    I'm a fan of the MCU – but this was a good look at it from a (more) critical thematic perspective. It's an angle I haven't not considered at all – and I don't necessarily agree with all your points – but thanks for making me think about it in more detail. Looking forward to your future work too!

  27. I'm more of the opinion that the MCU's overarching theme is the consequences of dismissing others' mental health. The entire MCU relies on Tony Stark not getting help for his mental health problems – even Far From Home, post-mortem – Mysterio is even SPECIFICALLY ANGRY that Tony used his technology to make a mental health aide… and, of course, named it BARF. Because if Tony got help, he wouldn't spiral trying to fix things on his own, and if that didn't happen, there would be no plot. Tony just wants to fix the problems he's caused, nobody helps him, he's not very good at it, creates new problems, and the cycle continues.

    Saving the world and laying on the wire is all very heroic but it shouldn't be ignored that Tony Stark ultimately commits suicide. He chooses to die. Strip bare the trappings of superheroes, the story of Anthony Edwin Stark in the MCU is a spiral of increasing trauma ignored by his friends and family that ends in a suicide.

    You also start to see it touched on in other characters, like Thor or Killmonger or Bucky. I hope we get to see some happier endings than we got for Tony or Erik – as Killmonger's death was also, effectively, a suicide. I have hope for Bucky, who's getting a spinoff with Sam who is an honest to God social worker, please dear God let one of the most traumatized characters get some real actual help.

    I'm sure there are other themes, like those you've mentioned, but this was my major takeaway.

  28. I think we need to address something. We don't make stories about Countries or Ideologies. We make stories about people. We don't see movies about a country over a thousand years, outliving the individual people of the story and focusing on the ocuntry as a dynamic character. So any story is, ultimately, about "Great Men", not only superhero stories.

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