Here we are after close to 3 years at the Final Post of the Marvel Madness Tournament: The Fantastic 4 (but not THAT Fantastic Four). So without further ado, let’s get to it!
Endgame Region 1 vs Ultron Region 4 Ok, so these two movies have a lot in common. Both of them involve compelling villains with long-held grudges against our heroes expertly played by award winning actors. Both films also involve fan-favorite villains from previous installments being forced to work together with the heroes. the biggest difference is in tone. i’ve already talked a lot about how much social commentary X2 has to say and how effectively it says it. I’ve also talked a lot about how deftly Ragnarok walks a genre tightrope between action, sci-fi adventure, fantasy epic, and screwball comedy, but Ragnarok also manages to hit some really beautiful character beats along the way as we learn about Valkyrie and Hella’s background and Thor and Loki finally get the chance to really be brothers again. X2 is unfortunately a sad reminder of what might have been at this point. thinking back to 2003, X-Men had been good and then Xmen-2 came out and it was great, it looked like this franchise was on a soaring trajectory, and then, we got X-Men: The Last Stand, and then we got X-Men Origins: The Wolverine and what looked like it was going to be an all-time great film franchise turned into disjointed mass of hit-or-miss outings with confusing time-lines and a mix-and-match cast. by contrast, Thor: Ragnarok was followed by Black Panther and then the best Avenger’s outing in Infinity War and a slew of other strong MCU films. I’m not saying it’s fair to judge these movies on the strengths of their brethren, but it’s hard to separate a film from its franchise. all that being said, Thor: Ragnarok takes the first semi-final matchup on the strength of it’s genre bending gymnastics and the shear amount of fun it is to watch.
Infinity Region 1 vs Avengers Region 11 The second semi-final match-up is a battle of brilliant team-up stories. Avengers: Infinity Wat somehow manages to juggle about 15 different main characters without shorting any of them. I absolutely love all of the chemistry between the odd sub-groups that get thrown together. Spidey, Tony, and Strange with Star-Lord, Drax, and Mantis is a team with such manic-nerd, then Nebula gets thrown in and puts it over the top. Meanwhile Thor, joining Rocket and teenage Groot is like the weirdest road-trip movie in space anyone has ever come up with, and then Bruce, Cap, Bucky, Nat, Wanda, Vision and the entire nation of Wakanda are playing against one of the most intense ticking clocks I can remember seeing in a superhero movie. Into the Spider-Verse on the other hand, is building something new rather than capping off something that’s been barreling towards this collision for a decade. I love how we get to see this multi-verse unfold slowly through the eyes of a kid who has no idea what he’s getting into. Miles is such a great protagonist because he’s so unlike any other superhero we’ve seen before. plus having a team-up where the entire team is made up of all variations on the same character is a fun tack to take. Both of these films have a great cast and a unique style. Spidey takes advantage of the strengths of the animation medium to employ some really incredible visual story telling while Infinity War gives us the story from a really unconventional perspective treating the story as if the villain is the protagonist. ultimately, its the wholly unexpected ending and the emotional gut-punch of Infinity War that carries it through to the championship.
Ultron Region 4 vs Infinity Region 1 Here we are at the End Game (although End Game isn’t here). The MCU was firing on all cylinders in phase 3 with both championship match-up films coming out of that exalted bunch: 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok vs 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. We’ve talked already talked about pretty much everything there is to say about these movies as this is the 6th time we’re seeing them in this series. This basically comes down to personal preference at this point, whether you lean-towards intensity of emotion, the highest-of stakes and bold story telling choices or if you’re going for enjoyability, fun and excitement, with genre-bending writing and directing. Infinity War leans all the way in on it’s universe-level stakes and knocks it out of the park. Ragnarok takes a rip-roaring good time of an adventure, and lifts it to the absolute highest of heights with deft writing, a unique story, and brilliant casting, production design, and film-making. Folks, your Marvel Madness Champion is… the underdog, Thor: Ragnarok! Soaring to victory on a virtuosic effort by writer/director/Korg Taika Waititi and the absolutely brilliant cast.
Here we are at the end, I hope you’ve all had a great time! I’ve certainly enjoyed it, but I’m also excited to get on to some different types of posts that I’ve been holding on to, so check back soon, you won’t be disappointed.
If this is your first post, and you want to go back and see how we got here you can see the Incredible 8 and the Spectacular 16 here.
If you want to go back farther and read the Round 2 results, you can find them here: Endgame – Ultron – Infinity – Avengers
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 all the way back to the beginning and check out the original post setting up the bracket, it’s here