Friday, March 27, 2015

Pop Culture Gladiators: Star Wars vs. Marvel

So, sci-fi blog io9 is doing one of those ridiculous contests that pits various TV and movie franchises against each other in an approximation of the March Madness college basketball tournament, and they are now down to their Final Four:

Star Trek (TV) vs. Doctor Who

Star Wars vs. Marvel (Movies).

Currently, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Star Wars is currently edging out Marvel, but it is honestly closer than I anticipated:

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Now, as big a fan as I am of the original trilogy, I found it very easy to vote for Marvel. Why? Because Marvel has somehow managed to do the impossible.

Marvel, through what I presume to be a combination of alien technology and dark magic, have brought together an incongruous menagerie of different writers, directors and producers, from all sorts of backgrounds (The guy who made Elf is shooting Iron Man? A Shakespearean Brit is doing Thor? Some TV comedy duo is writing and directing a spy-thriller featuring Captain America?) and have not only come away with an astonishingly decent and consistent stable of ten movies (zero misfires by my math, one by Earl's), but then placed them in a shared cinematic universe and capped off their first phase by putting three title characters from their own feature films together in the first real superhero team movie!

Star Wars, on the other hand, starts off brilliantly with a new-fangled, old-fashioned look at space opera, then can't make up its mind about the tone it wants to take, and is hampered by no one more than its visionary writer-director, who asserted a micro-manager's control over practically every element, even when delegating might have rendered better results (e.g. dialogue, for instance).  And that's before you take the prequels into consideration.  It's a universe I am strangely looking forward to returning to, but as both entertainment and an accomplishment, I don't think it compares to what Marvel has done.

(Sorry, let me just kick this soapbox out of the way here...)

Now, should you feel the same way I do, and you have a moment to spare, I heartily encourage you to head over to io9 and vote, not against Star Wars, but in support of Marvel.  Tell your friends, if you've a mind to, and help narrow the gap and perhaps even create an upset. Face front, True Believers!

After that, it's everyone for themselves when the victor takes on Star Trek.

Star Wars ended up being victorious, but Marvel kept the margin close, to within 250 of nearly 7,000 votes.  On Monday, Star Wars (Movies) vs Star Trek (TV) begins, and that should be an interesting comments section to peruse...

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