In the solo MCU movies, Iron Man fought an evil inventor and two evil inventors and an evil inventor. Thor fought the god-prince of Asgard and the god-king of Svartalfheim and the god-queen of Asgard. Cap fought a Nazi super-soldier and a Commie super-soldier.
1/
Ant-Man fought a shrinking guy and Black Panther fought a member of the Wakandan royal family and Doctor Strange fought a different student of the Ancient One.
This isn't a new problem or unique to the MCU-- there's Zod, after all-- but that's a lot of a lot, don't you think?
2/
The team movies have allowed for more "nothing we were ever trained for," as have the better MCU Netflix shows (think of Kilgrave, Kingpin). And, of course, Spidey's movies, because Spidey along with Batman has the most varied and interesting rogues gallery in comics.
3/
(Batman's rogues often reflect *some* element of himself: Bane and Ra's are master planners, Scarecrow uses fear, Two-Face reflects the secret identity/ mask duality, etc etc. But the most direct counterparts like Deadshot and Killer Moth aren't the most interesting.)
4/
I've never much liked Venom or Carnage and I don't like occasional attempts to force any of Spider-Man's other villains into some simple Evil Opposite role.

Yes, Evil Opposite lets you literalize the hero's struggle against his or her own flaws and inner demons.
5/
It lets you do that over and over and over again.

One of the things that works so well about Spider-Man is that he can have those struggles *without* fighting Tarantula-Woman all the damn time. And then he can have some other stories of trying to solve different problems.
6/
And what works so well about Luthor, Dr Doom, and the Joker-- the three greatest villains in comics even if Joker needs a 20-year time-out from movies-- is that they're permanent problems their counterpart really just doesn't know how to solve, because they're so different.
7/
Yes, Doom is a superscientist-- but literally rigid, unchanging, and armored, against the fluid Reed; alone, against their four; and uniquely comfortable with magic as well as science. He's never just Reed in a goatee.
8/
The MCU has obviously been creative in lots of ways and has gotten steadily more adventurous in its storytelling. I hope they get more adventurous on this front.

(The solution isn't The Eternals. No one cares about The Eternals.)

/fin

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More from @jtlevy

21 Feb
Born on this day 100 years ago: the great political philosopher John Rawls.

A tremendously original talent in his field, he expanded interest in it to an extraordinary degree, increasing the size of the professional pie and creating opportunities for many scholars who followed.
Naturally, in the wake of all that job-creation, he is the object of great resentment among many of those who benefitted from it, who focus not on the increase in their absolute position relative to the counterfactual...
but on the loss of relative status of other ideas of which they imagine they would have been the counterfactual standard-bearers in the levelled-down discipline.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
Ted Cruz, of the Cruz-Hawley insurrection caucus, takes exception to Biden's Goebbels comparison about the Cruz-Hawley Big Lie, telling @AOC "Unless they are genocidal, calling your political opponents Nazis is atrocious." Note that Biden didn't actually *call* him a Nazi.

1/
In 2013, on the floor of the Senate, Cruz directly compared the fight against Obamacare to the fight against... Nazi Germany, accusing those who wouldn't join his vanity filibuster to defund it to Chamberlain-style appeasement.

thehill.com/blogs/floor-ac…

2/
He didn't call Obama a Nazi, or call the critics of his vanity filibuster Nazi sympathizers, but it was as close to a Nazi comparison as Biden's was, prompting no less than John McCain to take exception.

csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/D…

3/
Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
“Better late than never” is usually true— and yet late is still *late,* not on time.

Everyone who is starting *now* to break with Trump, resign from his administration, enforce rules against him, or distance themselves from the Cruz-Hawley insurrection caucus is late.
1/
It’s really very important that there be more to the Republican Party going forward than the Trump family and the Cruz-Hawley insurrection caucus.

It’s much, much better that McConnell made the speech he did than if he had joined the insurrection caucus.
2/
It’s better that the insincere opportunists like Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham are starting to signal “the winds are pointing in a non-Trumpy direction now. The path for opportunists does not lie with Trump, Trump Jr, or insurrection.
3/
Read 10 tweets
7 Jan
I think I've revised my 25th Amendment view.

I still think that impeachment with a bar to future office-holding is preferable, and that this isn't really the kind of problem 25A is for, but...

@AeonSkoble @knowledgeprob
when I think about Trump's state of mind yesterday... I don't think he planned or intended for the mob to do what he did. I don't think he *opposed* it, or *cared,* but I also don't think he planned or intended it. Because I don't think he thinks in terms of consequences at all.
He just... does stuff. Whatever he feels like, to make himself feel like a winner and a tough guy.

Since, pace @dandrezner , he's never going to grow out of that, it's a genuine incapacity.
Read 6 tweets
5 Jan
My favorite reading of 2020 was the accidental pairing of Noel Malcolm's Useful Enemies: Islam and the Ottoman Empire in Western Political Thought, 1450-1750 (OUP), and Mitchell Cohen, The Politics of Opera: A History from Monteverdi to Mozart (PUP.)
There are points of intersection-- Abduction From The Seraglio is, among other things, an important piece of the 18th-century shift in European perceptions of and interest in the Ottoman/ Muslim worlds-- but mostly...
they're just two different big, ambitious, paths through early modern European political and intellectual history, and reading them both in proximity to each other enriched what I learned from each.
Read 4 tweets
4 Jan
This shared bit of reasoning from Cotton (left) and the GOP House members (right) is interesting. On the one hand, it's silly: it turns an objection to Trump stealing the election into a complaint about Democrats or the "left." On the other hand...

1/ ImageImage
it shows an awareness that's mostly been absent from the last 4 years (5, if we count McConnell/ Garland) that Calvinball isn't a stable equilibrium, that procedural changes set new procedural precedents and will go on applying when the other side in power.
2/
That recognition has become so rare from Trumpists like Cotton that it's actually startling to see. (The House members aren't as slavishly MAGA as Cotton is.)

The recognition is also the bare beginning of the possibility of rule-governed politics, and, thus, welcome.
3/
Read 7 tweets

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