10 thoughts after a Marvel binge watch

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Last week I spent three nights with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wednesday night I watched Avengers: Infinity War, Thursday was Avengers: Endgame, and Friday night Red and I finally took in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

1. Robert Downey Jr. ought to win Best Actor for his portrayal of Tony Stark. Period, end of conversation, forget about it.

2. Avengers: Endgame ought to win Best Picture, unless Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker turns out even better.

3. That moment in an action thriller when you know the villain is toast and the good guys are about to deliver a whooping? For me, it was when Elizabeth Olson as the Scarlet Witch arrived to face Thanos and said, “You – took – everything – from me.” She only had a few seconds of screentime in Endgame, but it was chillingly awesome, and the ensuing beat-down was wildly satisfying.

4. Zendaya ought to win Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of M.J. She completely inhabits the character and is thoroughly believable and appealing.

5. Silly me; I didn’t know until I watched the Endgame bonus features that the same writing duo – Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely – had written the screenplays for Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. Oh, and they’re also listed as creators of the Agent Carter TV show. They are my heroes now.

6. There is clearly a tacit agreement between Marvel and DC to avoid saying the words “Captain Marvel” on screen as much as possible. Neither Shazam! nor Captain Marvel contains a scene where it’s said. And when Peter Parker is suggesting other heroes who could tackle the menace while he’s on vacation, his query “What about Captain Marvel?” is met with Nick Fury’s cold admonishment, “Don’t invoke her name.”

7. Although that statement, a weird thing for Nick Fury to say, is partially explained by the scene that follows the Far From Home credits.

8. I’ve been saying this since the first Avengers movie, but Mark Ruffalo is hands down the best Bruce Banner/Hulk ever, with all due respect to Bill Bixby, who paved the way.

9. The Marvel folks reward repeat viewings. One example: The unspoken interplay between Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Stark (Downey) is priceless once you know what those exchanged glances mean.

10. Having spent most of the 1960s and ’70s immersed in the Marvel universe, and having never completely lost track of happenings there, the last 20 years of seeing these heroes on the big screen to worldwide acclaim is a comforting affirmation. See? I told you these stories were cool.

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