Midnight Showing: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe we go with the latest and greatest installment, Captain America: Civil War. The guys talk about how the film succeeds in ways that DC’s foil from this year Batman v Superman failed, how it takes just a little (and a lot of mega-stars) to make a great superhero flick, and perhaps the film’s greatest asset: its characters. Civil War introduces many new faces to the fray, but they feel utterly at home by film’s end, and it goes to show how devoting a little time to characterization can go a very, very long way.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Directors
The Russo Brothers
Stars
Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Daniel Brühl

Selected By
The Bit Players

4.6

what movies are
About

Aired Friday, May 13, 2016

Back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe we go with the latest and greatest installment, Captain America: Civil War. The guys talk about how the film succeeds in ways that DC's foil from this year Batman v Superman failed, how it takes just a little (and a lot of mega-stars) to make a great superhero flick, and perhaps the film's greatest asset: its characters. Civil War introduces many new faces to the fray, but they feel utterly at home by film's end, and it goes to show how devoting a little time to characterization can go a very, very long way.

Midnight Showing: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

In the first very special Midnight Showing episode, the guys reflect back on seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron in theatres last weekend, reliving the experience from preparation to post-credits. Joss Whedon left the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a bang, and the guys talk about what’s next for the Avengers specifically and the Marvel world as a whole in this film’s wake, as well as break down the film itself. A huge part of what makes these films so special is the experience of getting out to the theatre and being with people who are excited about it, so as much as the film is brought to the table, the movie-going experience is examined just as deeply in this episode. Grab some popcorn and your favorite candy and join along for the Midnight Showing!

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Director
Joss Whedon
Stars
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson

Selected By
The Bit Players

3.2

Aired Wednesday, May 6, 2015
In the first very special Midnight Showing episode, the guys reflect back on seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron in theatres last weekend, reliving the experience from preparation to post-credits. Joss Whedon left the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a bang, and the guys talk about what's next for the Avengers specifically and the Marvel world as a whole in this film's wake, as well as break down the film itself. A huge part of what makes these films so special is the experience of getting out to the theatre and being with people who are excited about it, so as much as the film is brought to the table, the movie-going experience is examined just as deeply in this episode. Grab some popcorn and your favorite candy and join along for the Midnight Showing!

Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe

In celebration of the recent release of Avengers: Age of Ultron (and the subsequent Midnight Showing episode which we recorded for it), we wanted to give our current rankings on the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These films have captivated audiences for the better part of eight years now, bringing to life some of our favorite comic book characters of all time and weaving a grand, overarching story together that keeps interest through the entire run, and to look at them individually is a hard task for that. They are all synecdochic to the greater being known as the MCU, but they each have individual traits that make them stand out (or not) in different ways, so we wanted to try to unpack that a little bit by making a list of our favorites. We hope you enjoy.

In celebration of the recent release of Avengers: Age of Ultron (and the subsequent Midnight Showing episode which we recorded for it), we wanted to give our current rankings on the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These films have captivated audiences for the better part of eight years now, bringing to life some of our favorite comic book characters of all time and weaving a grand, overarching story together that keeps interest through the entire run, and to look at them individually is a hard task for that. They are all synecdochic to the greater being known as the MCU, but they each have individual traits that make them stand out (or not) in different ways, so we wanted to try to unpack that a little bit by making a list of our favorites. We hope you enjoy.


Iron Man 3
10. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Directed by Shane Black
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow

I was hooked on this one from the very start. Eiffel 65's "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" is blasting, Happy Hogan is looking like Vincent and Vic Vega's black sheep brother, Guy Pearce's hair. Really all you need to say about Iron Man 3 is Guy Pearce's hair in that opening scene, but I suppose I probably should say more. I think my favorite part about that scene is how out of time it seems; sure, you have some bad fashion choices all around to signify the '90s, and the song, but somehow Robert Downey Jr.'s goatee looks less ridiculous than it usually does. It's as if he's been displaced from modern times into this Eiffel 65-loving world and will have to claw his way back for the remainder of the film, and I was fully prepared for this time-hopping concept. What ensues is just as fun, however. Iron Man 3 handles all of its characters better than the two previous installments, with some great opportunities for Stark to ridicule a child, War Machine (Don Cheadle) developing into the Avenger that he will ultimately become, and Pepper Potts is the film's final hero. It's everything you'd want out of a Marvel film, and that's without even mentioning Ben Kingsley's incredible performance. - Jeff Pearson

Iron Man 2
9. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Gwyneth Paltrow

I’ll follow Mickey Rourke to the ends of the earth. I know that journey will lead me to deeply dark places (Immortals) but I still believe that Rourke is a genius of acting. His portrayal of the engineer Ivan Vanko gathers the slow momentum that reminds me of Brando’s shadowy and mumbling Col. Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. Vanko's righteous revenge on Stark Enterprise marks the first time Tony Stark has to account for his success not only as a weapons dealer but also as the seemingly do-gooder Iron Man. - Brian Urrutia

Thor: The Dark World
8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Directed by Alan Taylor
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom HIddleston

One of the funnier Marvel movies which seems like it should be more serious being about a Viking god. Watching Thor take the subway is pretty great. Also this movie introduces one of the Infinity Stones so it is essential to the wider story arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The battle scenes and special effects are especially beautiful in this movie. - AO

Captain America
7. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Directed by Joe Johnston
Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Samuel L. Jackson

This is where it all began. The First Avenger introduces us to Hydra and the menacing Dr. Zola, as well as the young Steve Rogers, whose rise to prowess represents the plight of anyone who has ever been told they’re not good enough. With its over the top American exceptionalism and great performances from Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones, Captain America will remain the voice of truth, justice, and good family fun. - JB

Avengers: Age of Ultron
6. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Directed by Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo

Joss Whedon's ode to superhero action sequences. It seems as if Whedon was almost afraid of waking up in the middle of the night realizing a new way that he could have used Thor's Hammer and Cap's shield to kill a bunch of baddies. He did not want that to happen. While I can understand those who don't like it, it filled up every action void I had after a long Oscar season of woefully un-super lead characters. Thank you, Joss. Thank you. - Clark Carmichael

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2015)
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson

There's good reason the Russo brothers have inked a deal to work through the phase three climax of Infinity War Parts 1 & 2. This film could have easily been the worst in the MCU but instead it is universally respected, not just as a superhero flick, but also as an exciting political thriller. This is the movie that cemented Steve Rogers as America's hero. In Winter Soldier, Rogers has no problems speaking frankly and authoritatively on the subjects of morality and ethics to figures of authority at S.H.I.E.L.D. Both this and Iron Man found ways to balance action and character development that none of the other "stand-alones" have matched. - CC

The Avengers
4. The Avengers (2008)
Directed by Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson

Overstuffing a comic book movie with villains and heroes almost always spells disaster. But with his very own super powers of mixing equal parts action and comedy, Josh Whedon turned The Avengers into a commercial and critical success. Crucial to this film’s appeal is Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, who’s as funny as the good guys while still being unapologetically evil. The scene where Agent Phil Coulson—a recurring non-superhero and genuine fanboy of Captain America—dies at the hands of Loki, while Thor looks on, reminds the audience of their own place in these movies. Coulson’s death weigh heavily on the Avengers and it’s because of his devotion to super-heroes they find a second wind. With The Avengers, Whedon seemed to make everyone a fanboy. - BU

Thor
3. Thor (2011)
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman

Thor not only epitomizes what the MCU personally represents, but also the general ethos of the sci-fi and fantasy genres: magic and science are one in the same. Robert Downey Jr. may have pioneered the wit and charm present in the MCU, but Chris Hemsworth refined it. Thor’s coming of age is straight out of the novel we all read as a child. We also get a great Hawkeye cameo and Natalie Portman is terrific as the strong-willed and smart Jane Foster. - JB

Iron Man
2. Iron Man (2008)
Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard

The one that started it all. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark really turned out to have had the entire future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on his shoulders, and he easily held the weight. In fact, it could be argued that Iron Man ultimately set the tone for the entire run of films in which we are currently immersed. It is both tense and action-packed, but the true heart of this film is Downey Jr.'s electric, incredibly comedic performance. These films work best on the level of pure fun, and Jon Favreau directed pretty much the perfect exploration of Iron Man, bringing both weight and levity together on the screen at once, and years later the soul of the MCU is that principle. - JP

Guardians of the Galaxy
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Directed by James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

James Gunn took a rag tag bunch of anti-heroes and turned them into the most lovable superheroes in the MCU. It's what movies are all about. - CC

It's certainly what Marvel movies are all about. Guardians of the Galaxy is the perfect encapsulation of the spirit of these movies, that constant thrill-ride that manages to never take itself too seriously. The soundtrack is perfectly integrated into the world of the film, Chris Pratt is captivating and charming, and there is a real, palpable sense of danger for the lovable Guardians, something that these films often fall short of achieving. I think for a film of this sort to be widely commercially and critically successful is a true testament to the quality of this project, especially considering that the Guardians are probably the least popular of the crew listed, in the comic book world. - JP

I am not as keen as the rest of the Bit Players on the ensemble efforts from the MCU in either of The Avengers titles. This film, however, perfectly balances the entire cast giving depth and humanity to each character in a quirky and fun manner. This is just good, old fashioned fun. - JB

When I first saw this, Chris Pratt’s charm and sharp wit overwhelmed me and nearly overshadowed the rest of my movie watching experience. For days I went around thinking that Guardians was the story of how Andy Dwyer was abducted by aliens and flourished as an inter-galactic thief. After a second and third watch, however, Guardians of the Galaxy proved to be a terrific ensemble performance with richness reminiscent of Star Wars. James Gunn balances scenes that display his casts’ hilarious chemistry with the CGI’s team picturesque images of a galaxy gutted by good old-fashioned titan-like evil--something for the whole family to enjoy! -BU

This is I think a few of The Bit Players' favorite Marvel movie and for good reason. Part of that reason might be that it was doubtful this movie could be any good featuring a tree and a raccoon as action heroes. This movie is full of great characters, great music, and is the birth of Chris Pratt as an action star. The only downside is this movie begins the death of the post-credits secret scene with a real stinker in Howard the Duck. - AO