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.” [applause] 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? [music] 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 videos 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. What I want to express today is that those meanings are there in these movies, and they are worth thinking about, be it those we can read into the text, or placed there very deliberately by the creative team. A companion video to this, Presented by Sonya, aka anactualjoke — 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 with 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… Blech Identifying and examining what these movies have to say, because whether we noticed it or not, these movies say a lot. TONY STARK: I have successfully privatized world peace. [applause] 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, that if you end up liking the video, please consider sharing around or even backing me over on Patreon. You’re that soyboy on Youtube right? Jack Saint 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 a universe comprised of 23 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. [music] It’s easy to forget about the public perception of Iron Man when the first film initially went into development: As a dated c-tier comic hero from back in the days of Vietnam and Nixon. Among other things, a not-insignificant portion of the target audience thought 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 a futuristic Tony Stark against… this guy. “I AM MODOK. I AM THE ULTIMATE IN HUMAN MACHINE INTERFACE. I AM DESIGNED ONLY FOR CONQUEST.” 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 that, 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. Iron Man 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 that like many Marvel films, Iron Man one received significant funding from the military. [music] 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 warmongers 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 Killmonger or The Vulture or even Thanos to a lesser extent later on. [music] What we end up with is an almost perfect representation of the American perspective on the war on terror at that time. GEORGE BUSH: There’s no shades of gray in this war against terror. Either you’re with the United States, or you’re not with the United States. [applause] 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. TONY STARK: 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 overhears 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, blows some shit up, then leaves. “Don’t worry. Everything is full. We stopped the terrorists” [music] 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 US contributed to as many conflicts as they quashed during their 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, INEVITABLE. 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 are 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 quite 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. [music] 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 II, 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 be it. 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 deontologist: 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 S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Armada of precision drone striking helicarriers with full global surveillance access, he has only one response: NICK FURY: For once we’re way ahead of the curve. STEVE ROGERS: By holding a gun to everyone on earth and calling it protection. In fact, over the course of that film, Steve systematically eradicates 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 II, 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. Tony agrees; Cap does not. STEVE ROGERS: Is that how you see this? This is protection? It’s internment, Tony. TONY STARK: She’s not a US citizen and they don’t grant Visas to weapons of mass destruction. STEVE: Come on, Tony. She’s a kid. TONY: Give me a break! In any other case, Tony 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. Tony 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. Tony’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 Tony’s decision is an emotional one, it shouldn’t be confused for a wholly irrational one. Cap 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 loose justification that they’d be beholden to other people and people have agendas. The implication being that he, as some special higher being, is free from the natural biases and fallibility 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 that, 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. TONY STARK: I’m doing what has to be done. To stave off something worse. STEVE ROGERS: 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. [music] 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 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 its 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 w– (dear lord) And so 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-meat, 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. TONY STARK: 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 to 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 threat. 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 whatever chapters of Tony’s journey that were about letting go of his obsession, that’s all justified here. In fact, Iron Man 3 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 — Sir, may I remind you that you have been awake for maybe 72 hours? — 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-fascistic sympathies 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 franchises 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. [music] 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. Tony and Steve broadly represent respective notions of authoritarian and libertarian ideology, but all of the MCU’s 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. [music] TONY STARK: Yeah! 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 question it, because Tony is a good person, and Thanos’s 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 Thanos’s 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. Yet 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 onto 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’s suit or Doctor Strange’s time stone, or Black Panthers bloodline right to control one of the most powerful nations on Earth. 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 that even after we’re 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 divide — “You and me, they don’t care about us. We’ve built 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 way 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-twirling caricatures devoid of any semblance of humanity. Dark Elves! And it’s how we get Infinity War and Endgame, 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 T’Challa, 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. T’CHALLA: “–consumed you. It’s consuming them. I’m done letting it consume me.” When Zemo talks of losing his family to the Avengers’ indifference to collateral damage, T’Challa listens, when Kilmonger 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 that into 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 threat. 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 Sonya 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 thinking 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 Marveled-out 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 of choice. If you especially like it, please consider backing me over on Patreon to be one of the names listed in these credits, or through Ko-fi for one-time donations. I’d like to give a special thanks to patrons A Recusant, Cowrara, E.V. Roske, IndustrialRobot, Malpertuis, Taurun the Exile, with an extra special thanks to Leftist Tech Support, and Pamphleteer. As always you can reach me on twitter @LackingSaint, or check me out over on Twitch at 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 ICE is running concentration camps and needs to be abolished. 🙂 Captions by @heatherpeloza on twitter check me out also abolish ICE thanks bye

100 Replies to “The Ideology Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe | Jack Saint”

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  2. 11:50 Tony’s 2 beliefs post war on terror
    14:40 Rival: I don’t like bullies.
    22:44 Answer: Whatever it takes
    29:00 The Great Man
    32:30 Who should hold power

  3. Aw poo. Far From Home spoilers. This is okay, I will give you a like now and come back in a few days because I know beforehand that whatever the hell is in this video, it will be like worthy content.

  4. Part of the ideological conflict in Civil War that I feel you didn't touch on (unless I just completely brain farted) is that it's not just about the Sakovia Accords and accountability. It's that Tony fully made decisions about them all by himself. It is only Tony that works with the UN and… checks notes Thaddeus Ross, and the rest of the Avengers are only told about the Accords until just days before ratification. Tony makes the choice of supporting and agreeing to the Accords fully by himself, with nobody else given a chance to object to, give insight towards, or help shape them in any way despite being subject to them, and that's what makes him and his ideology in that movie authoritarian above all. (personally I think that's one of the main factors for Steve making the choices he did. If everything wasn't just completely sprung on him with all these choices being made for and forced on him, I really doubt that he would completely object to oversight, but that's just me)

  5. Is a shame people dont discuss this subject, because a lot of MCU movies have a clear political message….Iron Man 1, 2, especially 3, Captain America 1, Winter Soldier, Civil War, Age of Ultron, Black Panther, Captain Marvel…even Thanos has a clear political viewing of the things he does.

    edit: almost forgot, Ragnarok has a heavy political message under all the jokes and bright colors.

  6. The conclusion you come to really is "inevitable". Not just for superhero movies, but for action narratives in general. Stories are essentially a protagonist solving a problem by using the correct means. The right key for the right door. In action movies, the key to solving almost all major conflict is physical combat. Its shown as a logical, inevitable, morally good solution, when in reality combat is the very last thing a person should use to solve a problem.

    As a sidenote, this is also a major problem in action games, too. D&D especially.

  7. I dont even care about the political aspects. I just never found Iron Man interesting when BIG DADDY CAPPO was around

  8. This was basically Brad Bird's starting point he figured out about superhero universes when was making The Incredibles

  9. Like some people mentioned the ultimate conclusion of Tony's ideology is Thanos and he is defeated, and about the great men stuff, you skimmed over perhaps THE mcu movie, The Avengers, which is all about Tony learning to work together with other people and that him alone can't be in charge, and both Endgame and Infinity War are Avengers movies, and while you may say that those movies undermine regular people, the superheroes are supposed to be avatars for us the normal people, and The Avengers is The society, when cap talks about superhero freedom in Civil War it's really a metaphor for regular people personal freedom like you mentioned, you say the philosophy of these movies can have ways of interacting with the real world so it's probably the best to figure how most people will read these movies and the clear pattern is that you are supposed to identify with the heroes not idolize them

  10. You know, there's something so comforting about seeing someone analyze the MCU without sucking Tony Stark's dick.

    I really really liked Tony up until like halfway through phase 2. I didn't agree with most of what he did, but he was a fascinating character (and he still is). I've just grown progressively more pissed off at his deification within the movies. Thanos may have been an interesting foil, but the writers are rarely willing to truly challenge Tony's fundamental ideas and say that he's wrong. So, by the end of phase 3, Tony has become this avatar for American exceptionalism, essentially deified in the eyes of the characters, writers, and general audience. So when you find out that he's got a satellite just floating around carrying thousands of weaponized (and cloakable) drones, you're supposed to just accept it because drones are a good thing when America uses them against bad guys.

    Every movie that deals with Tony's tech and ideology makes it clear that the "thing" (whether it be EDITH, Iron man tech in general, the many suits he prepares for himself and Peter) is malleable. It's a good thing when Tony and his buddies use them (unless they're having a spat), but it's a bad thing when the bad guys use them. But no one is really willing to explore the horrific implications of just keeping that shit lying around. Instead, an enemy is created to justify the existence of his technology. The Chitauri, Ultron's robots, Vision, crazy Hulk, and Thanos himself. (Just like how now one is willing to entertain how horrific it is that Tony basically blackmailed a fourteen year old boy into fighting Captain America. Say what you will about Steve, but Bucky was willing to kill or at least severely injure Peter before he found out he was a child.)

    …So that was an incoherent ramble, but you really did express some excellent takes on the subject. And I am extremely bitter about Far From Home and how it basically gave Tony the last word. He will forever go down in the MCU as a saint, when more than half the problems in the fucking saga were directly his fault.

    Long story short…Iron Man 3 was the best Ironman movie, don't combine the escalating battles of comics and anime with American militarism, and as much as I enjoy the themes of Captain Marvel, the movie still has major cognitive dissonance because of its ties to the Air Force.

    Can someone please write a movie series about a bunch of hardcore communist superheroes?

  11. 15:20 the oppression by the Nazis, then the oppression by nazis, then the oppression by someone who would have sold gas to the nazis… I see no issues here. Steve Rogers is right.

  12. Holy shit I just realized who in the MCU is right, its fucking Skye. We stan Daisy. Like Wakanda forever or w/e and obviously I'm pro captain marvle and pro Skrull, but Skye is right about most things

  13. Hey, just wondering if anyone could clarify. How does he gain "American exceptionalism" view? It seems more like he is (and more or less always been judging from his character arc if I'm recalling correct) just very into trusting himself and not others. Especially with power.

    I won't deny that America is a part of his identity, but particularly in the first movie, it seems more like America is just the setting and it being a key part of his identity is mostly due to some… potential gain. after all, he doesn't give the iron man tech to the military and does portray a sort of hostile relationship with them when it comes to him giving back.

    Edit: side question, is Tony Stark a superhuman or is the character of Iron Man a superhuman?

  14. Yeah like, individualistic heroes are pretty much gonna be a result of most epic fantasy/sci-fi where the writer isn't explicitly thinking about how to make their story more marxist or whatever. Its kinda a bug of the genre. Like tbh the same thing is in Star Wars and Harry Potter, and to a lesser extent in Lord of the Rings (to name a few examples). These are stories where a Great Man defends the status quo through extraordinary means and individually destroys evil once and for all. Its just in Marvel its a lil more unnerving since its set in a more modern world with much more modern obstacles. ie they're not fighting the dark lord sauron, they're fighting terrorists

  15. I think my hero academia shows potential as a different way to present super heroes. I mean you have villians who challenge the idea of heroes. That their very existence makes people complacent. Why would you help someone when you could depend on all might? And what I find great is that the perspective of the heroes isn't "no you should actually leave everything in our hands." Instead the idea is that heroes can inspire others to act in big and small ways. That and just the general way the show displays the human cost of heroism. I mean whether intentional or not the show kind of critiques the idea that heroes should stand on their own. All might did that and the moment people could no longer depend on him everything fell apart.

  16. Hey why isn't that companion video linked in the description or the i card
    I can't see it.
    How am I supposed to watch that video if I can't find it?

    Edit: just saw that you linked her channel in the pinned comment, as her videonisnt out yet. I apologise but once it does go up I would recommend editing the description and pinned comment. Would make things easier

  17. I don't think Endgame necessarily says that Tony was right. I think the point is that Steve's path is the lesser of two 'evils' so to speak. People died, people were snapped, and traumas endure in this timeline, but if we had gone with what Tony and the government wanted, who knows what kind of world they'd be in? A suit of armor around the world, heroes that deal with bureaucracy before they can save anyone's lives, particularly since Tony's AIs in the form of Ultron and even Vision are flawed beings. I think the idea is that there were some losses sustained by Steve sticking to his ideals, just the same as how he lost 60 years of his life by going into the ice, but that he still did the right thing. That sometimes doing what you feel is right cannot give you something that's perfectly tied with a bow. Tony can say he was right all along, but without the ability to see that alternate 'timeline', we don't actually know that. Especially because Tony's an arrogant kind of guy anyway. For all we know, maybe Thanos would have found a way to break through Tony's 'armor around the world'. He did teleport onto Earth using the Tesseract after all. It probably would have bypassed any security system Tony could have made. No matter what they were going to do, Thanos was coming like a force of nature.

  18. I'd like to point out that, proportionately speaking, that 1 second of a rainbow being on screen at around 3:08 is actually more LGBT representation then is shown in the entire MCU

  19. It seems a bit ironic to me that Thanos justified Iron Man's ideologies while also himself being an exaggeration of such ideologies; he firmly believed in the ends justifying the means even if the means are mass murder, disregarded personal freedoms of anyone not on board with his agenda by slashing populations of planets, wishes of the populace be damned, and was pretty clearly exceptionalist, seeing himself as the only one who could be trusted with the gauntlet. It's almost a wonder Thanos couldn't somehow convince him he was right seeing as they're kind of two sides of the same coin.

  20. Sorry for being a dum-dum, but I don't get it: You say that it's bad that Tony flies to kill the terrorists without any supervision, but when he decides that superheroes should be supervised, it's also bad?

  21. I'm a nobody just saw Endgame last night enjoyed the previous one more but like how even in defeat Thanos took it all on the chin he really isn't insidious.

  22. I can't deny that I enjoy the Marvel movies. I also completely agree with you.
    I think it's inevitable that a movie franchise owned and shaped by a massive media empire (an actual imperialist capitalist organization that consumes other media to grow itself larger and more powerful) would in one way or another push a message that the status quo of the current power structure is "good" including embracing the war-centric ideology from the Military Industrial Complex that is one of the foundational cores of the Capitalist Economic Machine that rules our lives.
    I like the hope that Black Panther might be a potential counter to some of that, a hope for change. However, I find that quite unlikely, because the power that has shaped the entirety of the MCU (probably purposefully, but maybe not) will not gladly endorse a message of compassion, temperance towards violence, and a focus on societal needs. Because those things aren't profitable enough, and would upset other very powerful organizations the The Great Disney Empire currently must reside alongside.

  23. I couldn't reconcile Tony's refusal to share his suit technology in the second Iron Man film to almost too quickly rushing to endorse the Sokovia Accords…he seemed to react emotionally…Steve knew that he and others could be sent places they may have doubts about…this was a mess that Steve saw coming…

  24. I wouldn't call Tony's Snap Genocide as it's not entirely clear if Tony actually killed all of Thanos' forces or if he sent them back to 2014, one would kind of hope it was the latter otherwise that timeline is gonna get super fucked, hopefully this gets addressed in Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

  25. Saint exaggerates the pro-militarism of Iron Man. Stark doesn't just reject his old ways because he's seen bad guys acquire his weapons. He also changes because he met Yinsen, who had operated on civilians hit by his missiles as collateral damage.* I do agree that Endgame missed an opportunity to come up with a more meaningful solution to the Stark-Rogers ideological conflict.

    *I looked up a script, and it isn't explicitly stated that the shrapnel Yinsen had seen was Stark's, or even American. But I think it's the obvious implication anyone will take while watching the movie. It fits with Stark's guilt, and it's sort of too sci-fi specific a way for shrapnel to behave to have shrapnel of different manufacture look and behave exactly as Stark's Jericho missile shrapnel does.

  26. MCU basically ruined marvel comics for me, when they made it all about Ironman. The comics were all about freedom, expression, liberty, fairness, and putting an end to perpetual war, by challenging the military industrial complex. That's what Captain America was all about. That's what Stan Lee was all about. You take a normal Joe, give him powers, and explore the dynamics of the Human Condition. What really disgusts me is the narcissistic tendency to be seen unmasked. Super Heroes wore masks. That's part of what made them, 'super!'

  27. So do you believe that this entire MCU experience was just a ten year long straw-man argument to make Tony Stark look like he is right?

  28. I quite liked the video… and agree with most of them… except when you said Marvel chooses Tony's side. As I see that scene was just Tony choosing to blame others for Peter's "death". He lashes out at Steve… but I never saw this as the movie saying that is what we should've done. In the end what saved the day was not Tony's ideology, but Steve's. Yes… Tony was the one who snapped his fingers, but that was only possible because every person in that battle was there, and had a role, fighting for freedom.

  29. So Steve and Tony's ideologies are basically Classic vs. Modern America. The age of freedom and justice vs the age of paranoia.

  30. You: Military good, terrorists bad.
    Me , an intelectual: but how can terrorists be both good and bad in a supposedly clear cut movie

  31. I was shocked that Peter kept Edith at the end of the movie. I was certain he was going to get rid of or at least lock her away because that sort of power is completely unacceptable for anybody to hold.

  32. I think this makes it completely register to me why I just can't stand to watch or even think about most of the big conflict, multi-hero marvel movies; their themes contradict with each other and all the movies preceding them with very little interweaving try as the writers might, and the endings presented are so unsatisfying because of it.
    It's a fatal flaw of media that grows to such scale and are drawn out so long, of trying to uphold the status quo so desperately while also attempting to go against it by not allowing the exploration of more small scale but still excitable plots like in the lone hero movies

  33. Garth Ennis and Alan Moore already showed the world what supergroups like Justice League would be if they actually existed. I feel like we need a similarly deconstructive comic/movie about the MCU movie-version of the Avengers.

  34. So sad we didn't get a third mcu spider-man movie, couldn't wait to see peter buts the knee caps of the Stark Industry Workers as soon as they tried to unionize.

  35. I wish I could care. I genuinely do. I am in the third category – why am I here? – because I saw some of the 90s and 00s movies and Black Panther, and that's it, and I'm so, so sorry I cannot care too much. Maybe this vid will change my mind?

  36. SIGH …. For me as 54 year old, black, straight, male, with education to BA hons degree level. Who has always been a huge consumer of graphic novels and comics.

    I find the vast majority of Marvel and DC universe output to be so breathtakingly unsophisticated, and desperately simple minded. Other than a few IMHO exceptions ( Watchmen, Sim City, Logan) the garbage that DC and Marvel universe spew out is significantly less complex than even the vast majority of actual comic book narratives. Almost non of the ambiguity and complexity of a lot of the comic book narrative arcs of these characters is really present in the trashy movies.
    Its little more than standard mindless summer AAA blockbuster movies, in badly designed tight clothing.

    Am entirely serious when i say IMHO the Invincibles cartoons are a more complex and nuanced examination of the concept and reality of Super heroes operating with society.

  37. That Bush Clip at the very beginning has a very Thanos statement. Of course the good guys are gonna prevail, that is as inevitable as Thanos, but not because the good guys will win. The good guys will win because the winner dictates after the fact who the good guys were.

  38. The thing that gets me is that whatever solution you come up with regarding the problem of "threats" or "evil", specially in these fictional worlds, is not going to be perfect. I don't think putting all power in the hands of "The Great Men" is a good solution, but it's very easy to see how other paths are either less effective, less moral, or simply offer a choice of a different flavor of awful.

  39. I don't think the MCU does actually even answer that question though. Diplomacy is basically never really tried with Thanos, reasoning with him is never really tried. They kill him and stop him, and Cap. America fails to deliver a rebuttal to Stark. That doesn't mean Stark is right, even in the context of the MCU, it means Cap. America is an emotional thinker and the Marvel Heroes have a one track mind.

  40. Much of this is why I hated FFH. Worst than just mindlessly state Tony right, (And all that he represents in real life, people like Bill Gates or Elon Musk as saviors) but using to say that a character that has historically been of the working class constantly beaten down by the system.

    P.D: Although I had never seen that side mentioned of T’Challa, the “solution” he comes to is still quite uncomfortable, to rely on charity, non-accountable to any peoples, without any kind of Democratic allocation or coordination, given instead of paid as reparations for past misdeeds. Still, like the video mentioned, going by the ways of tale of the Hero, very Liberal of the people making the movies.

    P.P.D: Although I’d be inclined to say that much of this is due the fact that to tell a story (May it be Historical or Fictional) it is easier to use individual characters instead of the dynamics of the broad peoples. With Captain Marvel and to some extent Black Panther, there seems a way forward to do so. With some environmental storytelling (Like the propaganda on the Kree world, the thematic references on the mission in the Skrull refugee camp, the encounter with the Skrull refugees on the ship, the reports and references on broader Africa, the neighborhood where Killmonger lived…) and even some characters as “representatives” to state these narratives: Like Talos, Killmonger, N’Jobu, W’Kabi, (The leader of the border people) and Nakia as some examples. Still, even though it could be possible and could lead to more interesting stories like that of Captain Marvel. I do not hold much hope.

  41. Thanos did nothing wrong. Overpopulation is a problem, we'll be past the breaking point by 2050. Thanos was a hero in Infinity War, he even destroyed the stones in Endgame so he wouldn't be tempted and other won't abuse the power. Get your chip chip cheerio head out of the clouds and look at the big picture.

  42. power creep isnt a problem if the reason why the cards are better is because they’re rarer (because they’re new)

  43. I largely got the vibe that even though Tony is framed as right, the whole thing would not have been an issue had he not signed the accords and picked a side. Instead, had everyone chosen not to fall in line, they would have stuck together and been able to stop Thanos the first time around. This is reflected best when Rhodes is reminded that he signed the accords and he basically tells his superiors to fuck off.

  44. I think MCU's issues will always be there as i doubt they will ever call them out. maybe in a black panther movie or a major character movie will they show that killing someone or stopping their evil plan that arose from a problem with culture does not fix the culture

  45. I think this accidentally summarizes why I love the GotG movie line so much. There is bare if ever only one character accomplishing something. It's them working together that enables them to succeed in the first place.
    And let's have a think about the people in that team:
    Peter Quill, though the son of Ego in this version, is hardly amazingly empowered by Avengers standards nor does he embody some ideological bulwark of Might makes Right like Steve Rogers and Tony Stark do. He's flawed and without his friends and adopted family he'd be dead, or worse, would have been his own greates villain.
    Rocket, an abuse victim lashing out constantly and driving people away from him, only through the combined realization that he needs help to heal from both himself and his friends results in that process starting.
    Groot, a wholesome boi with little to no direction other than the one his friends provide. Through being part of a team is the only way for him to affect any change, else he'd just wander about, wholesomely. (It's also no coincidence that the kindest character is the one who starts out as a duo with Rocket.)
    Gamora, similar to Rocket, really, only that she's less impulsive and carries way more regret for her own actions. And again, without her team she probably would not be able to do, well, anything. At best she might enable Nebula to come around and then they both croak because Thanos really does not forgive.
    Drax… Well, let's just say that if he were to continue on his quest alone he'd die trying and in absolute despair and anguish, plain and simple.

    And then there's the whole thing of the Guardians making allies along the way, even if some are temporary or tentative.
    It's only together that they are strong.

    So yeah, Power of Friendship and the Collective.

  46. And so, you have spent 40 minutes to come to the conclusion that the MCU follows the basic fantasy of the superhero, an exceptional individual who puts himself above the law to protect the people. The remarkable one that acts in favor of the rest of us and is always right.

  47. Why is peter parker just okay with owning, controlling, giving away or just letting an authoritarian surveillance system exist? I'm sorry but that's not his character, peter has way more the heart of captain America in winter soldier

  48. Marvel movies are typical american products. They mean a lot to people (including me) based on the simple fact that they're better than they need to be but honestly they're not that deep. I see much more similarity between Cap and Tony than divergence. Their so called ideological battle is such a joke! They're the right and left arms of american imperialism : Moral supremacy and War culture. I mean of course it's up to two white men, one a 'genius' and the other a 'pure heart' to save the universe! And now they're going the Obama route with Sam Wilson as Captain America and Captain Marvel, etc… And just like with Obama half the audience is gonna buy the new chocolate flavored american pie and the other half will be too racist to even try it. And the money-making machine will keep spinning…
    Here's the ideology of Marvel movies for ya : Profit. If it was more profitable to take another stance they would have. They would have hired the appropriate writers and made their money. When will you guys learn, there's no belief in capitalism except the $

  49. Although it doesnt take away from the fact that by being the most popular franchise in the world, these ideologies will inevitably fall onto the popular subconscious, i do want to defend the MCU coming up with these ideologies more as an inevitablity of a combination of said power creep plus engaging actively in politics in the franchise, rather out of malice or plain ignorance of said subjects.

    I also want to say i am hopeful that this message is rather overshadowed by the many other more direct and positive messages the MCU provides, although this is not an excuse.

    And finally, although i also thought the ambiguous argument posed Civil War was cleared as Tony Stark being right as soon as Thanos appeared, i think another valid lecture can be that in fact, it was Steve Rodgers who was right.

    When Tony Stark boasts he was right by saying "I told you so, we needed an armor around the world despite our precious freedom", we as audience, having benefit of retrospective, cant help but agree with Tony in a knee jerk reaction. But what we forget is that the "better, good, and more powerful" version of Ultron, said hypothetical armor around the world, does exist, that being Vision. And Infinity War is all about, how despite Tony Stark was the most prepared he ever was, still lost. And lost because the Avengers were fractured, despite that 4-5 avengers had the potential to take Thanos mano a mano. Because they were either absent, physically crippled, morally broken, overconfident, terrified, or occupied.

    On contrast, we have Endgame, in which despite the Avengers being more than halved in power, they still manage to win against the exact same foe, because they did it together, as a collective, giving Captain America the reason all along "We win or we lose, we do it together"

    Again, this is just another reading, and this does not excuse that indeed, Tony Stark fash leaning utilitarism is never called out or fully explored on in the movies, and is excused with "Tony did more good than harm in-universe"

  50. I agree with most of what you said, though if I recall correctly Tony's snap in Endgame just sent them back to their own timeline? Or at least only killed them in that sub-timeline while they remained alive in the main one, which is essentially the same thing. So idk if I'd quite call that a genocide. It's possible I entirely misunderstood, only saw it once when it first came out. So correct me if I'm wrong. But if I am remembering correctly that seems a pretty notable difference. I mean, your main points are still correct. But means he didn't actually commit a genocide.

  51. Personally, I believe a strong government working for the people in both guidance and protection is a very good thing… something society needs to function. That being said, I'd rather have a total anarchy than a police state, a corporate state, or any form of authoritarian government despite how much safety and peace they can bring.
    I don't know if we agree, ideologically speaking, this is the first video of yours I have watched. But I consider this video to be intellectually sound, charmingly delivered, well researched, and well thought out. Max kudos, bro.

  52. Captian's take on other people having agendas in the sense that the powerful have hidden reasons for things vs individuals. Basically admitting that the government can't and shouldn't be trusted with that power.

  53. Even if Tony got to do all he wanted in the "suit of armor" statement, it would have changed nothing, it wouldn't have stopped Thanos.

  54. i think this video really understates the fact that the main reason tony wanted to keep wanda imprisoned wasn't because she wasn't an american citizen, but because she had killed people (manslaughter or not, it's a crime to kill people folks). same goes for tony's conflict with bucky (and steve by association). civil war (or any of the later movies for that matter) didn't really go into the details of what the sokovia accords actually instituted, only that there was a group of UN representatives that would control the avengers (which sounds scary, but is probably a really good way of ensuring that it really is a sorta "nonpartisan" committee). because of these squishy details, the conflict between steve and tony revolves more around their own personal connections to bucky rather than any political or idealogical debate. and i think in that context, steve is objectively wrong to assume that he has any sort of moral high ground over tony. steve is using his own power to protect a murder suspect, regardless of whether or not he was right, he's obstructing due process because of his relationship with bucky. that being said jack is 10000% right about everything else imho lol i just didn't like civil war as a movie damn thing didn't make any sense stan thor ragnarok and black panther

  55. I honestly get very nervous when I check out a new video essay person on YouTube because you never know what you're going to get but I'm glad I took the chance on this video because this was great.

  56. I think the one overarching theme is all Marvel films is, "you're not as smart as you think you are and you don't know everything you think you know."

  57. What's interesting is that Marvel comics have several Great Man villains – notably Doctor Doom – and that in the comics, Thanos WAS stopped with de-escalation.

  58. I find the Ironman thing before the movie quite interesting. I was never a huge comic book guy but I did grow up watching those cartoons in the 90s with him and I didn't think he was a robot. I guess I overestimated how popular that show was.

  59. Steve was right in CIVIL WAR, though. He had seen first-hand what happened when the use of power was concentrated into the hands of a few in his experience during WW2 and then again when he saw how the system could easily be corrupted in the events of WINTER SOLDIER – the Sokovia Accords only shift the blame of collateral damage and "it's run by people with agendas and agendas change".
    Tony isn't wrong to want to defend the world, but he's too arrogant and selfish to empathise with Steve's position.

  60. I think the current surge in media about superheroes is a symptom of late stage capitalism’s attempt to preserve its collapsing symptoms by emphasizing individual heroism in the face of impending (climate-based and otherwise) society collapse instead of systemic change. The entire MCU is just a whole lotta US military propaganda with nice gift wrapping. Change my mind.

  61. Fascist ideology isn't some loony "i want to war bring war please war". Its more than that. Fascism happens when there are no more markets to exploit in one's own domain so you proceed to go out and make war to gain access to new markets, while justifying that exploitation with the loony cult-like narrative. Because the writer's think that fascists just want perpetual war for wars sake, Thanos was inevitable.

  62. I'm super charmed by the idea of a hero who confronts a villain and says "let's look at the underlying root causes of your frustration and see if we can solve those together…" thus addressing fundamental problems and not the symptoms. Black Panther is like that and so is Squirrel Girl?

  63. 11:30 overall great video but Seamus Milne is a terrible, terrible source when it comes to discussing Western imperialism. Especially when he has downplayed the equal involvement of Russia in Syria.

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