Marvel Madness: Spectacular 16

We are through round 2 and into the SPECTACULAR 16! we’re going to do all 4 regions at once here so hold on to your helmets!

Endgame Region:

1 vs 4 This is the matchup that I’ve spent the most mental energy on of the whole tournament so far. How do I choose between the ultimate culmination of the first 3 phases of the MCU and one of the first truly great Marvel movie? both of these movies deliver on great villain performances, down-and-out underdog heroes, and great directing, acting, writing and editing all around. Raimi leans hard into his horror roots in the hospital scene where Doc Ock is “born” and Alfred Molina is giving it his all. I love Spider-Man 2. which is why it pains me to have to give this one to Avengers: Endgame if for no other reason than degree of difficulty. There was so much riding on this movie in terms of the weight of expectations. Coming off of such and incredible and unexpected power house in Avengers: Infity War, Endgame had to not only figure out how to pull the utterly defeated Avengers out from the depths of failure, but also cap off a 22 film series that had been building for a decade. not only did they knock it out of the park, but they also managed to make it both incredibly sad and incredibly funny and they successfully include a time travel plot without it seeming ridiculous! I doff my cap to the Russo brothers.

11 vs 10 Kingsman is a great little movie, it’s totally insane and I’m absolutely here for it; however, X2 is just too good. There is just too much for the scrappy little underdog to overcome. Not only is it a great film with an exciting story and tons of great performances (not least of which is Brian Cox as the villain Colonel Striker, but it also has tons to say about how society deals with “other-ness” and how different people may react to being marginalized differently and it treats all of these different reactions as valid without ever getting preachy. X-Men 2 manages to turn a blockbuster action movie into a thoughtful dramatic story.

Ultron Region:

1 vs 4 It’s hard for me to understate how much I Love Thor: Ragnarok. There is so much going for it… Cate Blanchet chewing the scenery and having a blast doing it, Jeff Goldblum doing his thing, The Hulk at his Hulkiest we’ve seen him before or since in the MCU and Chris Hemsworth finally gets a chance to flex his comedy muscles, which are almost as big as his massive biceps. We’ll get a chance to talk more about this one, but Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t stand a chance.

11 vs 2 I like Black Panther a lot. The entire cast is fantastic – especially Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan. There is some fantastic world-building going on, as well as script-writing, directing, and editing. The Stunt coordination is top-notch, and the visual story telling is mostly brilliant (the mag-lev train fight sequence notwithstanding). However, i can’t help but feel just a little bit underwhelmed by the stakes of the film. I know not everything has to be a world-ending crisis to be a compelling story, but i just feel like this movie suffers a little bit from ultimately being about a family squabble over the thrown of a small isolationist nation. Captain America takes this one for me because while the main character’s motivations are personal and intimate, its set against the backdrop of World War II and that makes it feel so much bigger!

Infinity Region:

1 vs 4 Once again, Sam Raimi come up against the Russos in a Spider-Man vs Avengers rivalry – Sony vs MCU grudge match. The first Tobey Maguire Spider-Man is excellent and helped to solidify the superhero genre as the new blockbusters of the 21st century. However, Avengers: Infinity War is just too strong. What makes Infinity War work so well, is that it’s written as though Thanos is the protagonist. When you watch the movie, he is the one who is on a mission, he is the one driving the action, he is the one with the strongest convictions, and that’s why he wins. The Avengers are the villains of Thanos’ story and the movie plays out just as you would expect it to if Thanos were the hero! What?! Just amazing film-making on display here.

3 vs 2 I know i just got done soap-boxing in favor of Spider-Man 3, and I promise it wasn’t just a hot-take to drum up interest, but it’s going up against Captain America: Civil War and it just really doesn’t stand a chance. The unlikely run of the 3rd Raimi Spider-Man ends here.

Avengers Region:

8 vs 5 Logan and Guardians of the Galaxy are on opposite ends of the genre spectrum in every conceivable way. Logan is a road movie, with main characters who are old friends with tons of baggage and history. It’s super dark, super serious, and super gritty. Guardians of the Galaxy is a getting-the-band together story with a rag-tag bunch of adventurers thrown together due to peculiar circumstances and have to get to know each other and learn to work together. It’s funny, it’s exciting, it’s fantastical. Both films were attempting something new in the superhero genre (lest we forget that casting Chris Pratt as a hero was a huge gamble at this point, this was before Jurassic World, and he was known only as Andy Dwyre, the doughy idiot, from Parks and Rec at this point in his career), and both films wildly succeed at what they set out to achieve. I think Logan wins this one on degree of difficulty, it’s grittiness could have ended up making it just too hard to enjoy to be worthwhile, but it toes the line and doesn’t step over. Plus, the relationship and chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart on display in this movie is just a joy to watch.

11 vs 15 Somebody’s Cinderella run has to come to an end here, and I’m sorry to say that it’s Blade this time. It’s a fun and exciting little action-horror movie, but Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is too strong an opponent. The artistry and vision on display in Into the Spider-Verse is unique, and the voice acting and animation is top-notch. Into the Spider-Verse continues it’s Cinderella story into the Incredible Eight as the highest remaining seed.

Spectacular 16 indeed, check back soon for the Incredible 8!

If you would like to go back and read the Round 2 results, you can find them here: EndgameUltronInfinityAvengers

The Endgame Region – Round 1 results are here Ultron Region – Round 1 results are here Infinity Region – Round 1 results are here and Avengers Region – Round 1 Results are here. If you want to check them out.

If you want to go back and see the original post setting up the bracket, it’s here


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