Diecast #253: Just Ubisoft, New PC, Captain Marvel

By Shamus Posted Monday Apr 22, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 77 comments

As always, the email address is in the header image. We tried to get all the questions this week, but the last one was a big too big to squeeze in at the end of the show.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:20 Ubisoft’s Just Dance Unlimited

For the record, Just Dance Unlimited is a service you sign up for in addition to buying the game. You don’t need the service to play the game, but if you get the service then you’ll have more dances to do. In addition to the problems I talked about on the show, Heather had additional annoyances she told me about the next morning:

  • On the box, it promises that Just Dance Unlimited offers “over 400” songs. On the website, the sales pitch for JDU claims “over 200”. Then in the game proper, it says “over 300”. And at no time can you ever see a list telling you what you’ll get.
  • Every time she selected a song, the game claimed it couldn’t connect to the Ubisoft servers. (Our internet was otherwise working perfectly, so it’s doubtful the problem was on our end.) She could play some songs, but others would give these odd network errors.
  • After rebooting the Wii U, the game said she needed to create an Ubisoft account. That’s reasonable enough, but then why didn’t it ask for that up front? Why did it let her play parts of the game and give strange network errors if the real problem was it required an account? Did anyone test this?
  • There’s a high score feature. On one of the songs the game said she got the highest score. You’d think it would say this for ALL songs, since she’d never played any of them before. But she got the highest score on just one. So is this some public / global high score table? If so, it’s kind of useless since there was no indication of how many other people were playing or had ever played any of these songs.
  • The game records video of you dancing, with no way to turn it off. She eventually just covered up the Wii U camera.
  • The game awards you in some bullshit points or whatever. You then use this junk currency to pay for spins on a slot machine, and that’s how you unlock new content. Imagine you’re out for a jog and you have to stop every three minutes and play with a slot machine on your phone. That should give you an idea of how awkward and unwelcome this feature is.
  • The slot machine is very flashy. My wife has to look away from the screen because it gives her a headache.
  • It’s obvious they didn’t really have a lot of content for the slot machine. Like, new icons for yourself, or new titles for your character.
  • Aside from the slot machine, you also unlock other things through playing the game. She won things like THE HOME SCREEN and THE ABILITY TO MAKE PLAYLISTS. You know, basic features.

She loves Just Dance, but she described this experience as being “So very Ubisoft.”

09:40 Paul’s New Computer

Obviously the lack of red components means his performance will be sub-optimal.
Obviously the lack of red components means his performance will be sub-optimal.

Here are some pictures of the machine in progress.

27:44 Captain Marvel and Avengers Endgame

I know it’s a rule on the internet that every single time someone reviews a movie with a woman lead that it needs to be a referendum on gender politics, but can we not do that this time? Can we just like / not like movies without framing dissenters as members of some great horrible Other?

It would be great if we could do that. Thanks.

42:35 Mailbag: Bad games making WORSE games look better.

Hello Shamus and Paul,

I recently had a conversation with a friend about Fallout 76, specifically about how it makes Fallout 4 look a lot better by comparison. No (or really less) game breaking bugs, better experience due to an actual in-game narrative and overall just more enjoyable.

Thing is, I had almost the same conversation a few years ago. But back then it was about Fallout 4 vs Fallout 3. And how Fallout 4 makes Fallout 3 look a lot better by comparison. Things like an actual skill system, the dialog system and a plot that at least, had a clear villain (The enclave… and your dad).

I guess one thing that’s at work here is constrast effect (eg. Well… at least it’s not fallout 4…). That and nostalgia (eg. The newer game just might not evoke that same feeling as the previous game).

But I think it’s wierd that games like Fallout 3 or Mass Effect 3 (when compared with Andromeda) Suddenly get this status as ‘secretly great all along’ while nothing about the game has changed, only something came along that’s ‘worse’.

I guess my question is, what are your thoughts on this phenomenon? Did you ever look back on a game you played years ago and think ‘hmmm actually it’s not as bad’ when compared with newer games (in the franchise) and later realised you still kind of felt the same about it?



53:47 Mailbag: Will Wright

How are Will Wright’s games similar / different from each other?

Thanks! ET

I feel like we didn’t do this topic justice because I got sidetracked and dragged us WAY off-topic here. Sorry about that.


From The Archives:

77 thoughts on “Diecast #253: Just Ubisoft, New PC, Captain Marvel

  1. Grimwear says:

    I saw Captain Marvel and it was fine. Nothing exciting really and honestly I have trouble remembering much of what happened in it. It didn’t make me angry with dumb plot like Black Panther did. It was just all round forgettable. My only concern with Endgame coming up is the rumor that they want to make Captain Marvel the new face of the Avengers. She hasn’t been around long enough to deserve it whereas we’ve spent so many movies getting to know Ant-Man, Bucky (is he still called the Winter Soldier? I don’t know his current superhero name), Doctor Strange, and Spiderman. To have her come out of nowhere and suddenly take over or beat Thanos or what have you just feels cheap.

    I don’t read comic books but from her movie she seems a lot like Superman and that’s a problem. As soon as an overpowered character that can do anything shows up it just ruins the whole experience. It reminds me of the Justice League movie where again Superman is just too good. Steppenwolf is taking over the world then bam Superman shows up and just kicks the crap out of him. So suddenly they need to have Superman save civilians so off he flies saving civilians faster than the Flash thus making Flash irrelevant. And then Batman and Cyborg are fighting Steppenwolf and it’s “tense” but then bam Superman comes back and it’s all trivial again. At least Justice League doesn’t have Superman leading them. I worry that Marvel will make that mistake with Captain Marvel and just kill all stakes in the movies while ALSO being the head honcho leader to boot.

    1. kunedog says:

      I don’t read comic books but from her movie she seems a lot like Superman and that’s a problem. As soon as an overpowered character that can do anything shows up it just ruins the whole experience.

      Yeah, I definitely got that Superman vibe where the hero already has multiple peerless powers, yet the writers feel justified to invent completely new ones at the drop of a hat.

      When she fixed Jude’s ship by blasting it with her “do anything” plasma blasts I instantly thought of Superman rebuilding the great wall:

    2. Joshua says:

      Well, she’s also got a power-set very similar to Vision. Can you recall a lot of cool Vision fight scenes in the previous movies? I can’t. So, that’s one challenge the Director really needed to step up for, to make her fights as visceral and exciting as what previous movies have done with the likes of Spider-man, Iron-man, Thor and Black Panther (minus the final fight scene in Black Panther going claw to claw, that was terrible). I think they did an alright job early on when they made her fight in the shackle/restraint things, but her later fight scenes were pretty unremarkable, because they didn’t come up with creative ways to make her powers interesting.

    3. GoStu says:

      I agree; she’s too powerful to be kept around. When she could just swoop in and obliterate threats that other heroes would struggle with, it’s an unpleasant undermining of all the other heroes.

      The expedient narrative thing to do is have her off-screen at virtually all times, tackling “unseen cosmic threats” (once this Thanos thing is done). She’s narratively paired off against something in her weight class and left to not get in the way of “lesser” superheroes.

      Someone should come up with a Superhero Power Tier system if it doesn’t already exist. High-end being Superman/Captain Marvel and maybe Dr. Manhattan level impervious super-beings, low-end being “strong guy in spandex”.

      1. Adeon says:

        TVTropes has a pretty good Super Weight scale. Obviously it’s somewhat subjective but it’s a decent starting point.

        They put Captain Marvel at Rank 4 before she unlocks her powers and Rank 6 after she unlocks her powers. For comparison Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Doctor Strange are also put at Rank 4 although Thor and Strange are considered Rank 5 as of Infinity War due to their upgrades.

  2. kunedog says:

    Agree (with Grimwear) that Captain Marvel as an overall film is fine, despite the bland, overpowered hero. Though it had the outward appearance of a standalone origin story like Black Panther (which I really liked), internally there’s a triple-dose of support/dependency on the MCU industrial complex, heavy on Sam Jackson and cat. Disney also tied it far more to Endgame than BP was to Infinity War, to grant it the air of a “must-see.” Rotten Tomatoes even purged negative user reviews (and throttled new ones), fully doubling the user score within a week or so. The amount of infrastructure dedicated to propping this film up is unprecedented.

    Contrast it with Wonder Woman, which had the smallest DCEU budget and smallest opening weekend, yet held on to become the highest (domestic) earner. WW really broke through and did something special, while Captain Marvel is lying prone on the shoulders of giants.

    1. Joshua says:

      I thought Cat was great and hilarious, except for the whole “This explains X” thing. That was unbelievably lame. I really wish they would have just left it as “X occurred sometime between now and Iron-Man. That’s all we’re going to say, because nothing will be a good payoff”. But nope, they just *have* to do the stupid “must explain everything in Prequel”.

      I thought Samuel Jackson was great, except for the fact that it didn’t feel like he was playing Nick Fury. It felt like he was playing Mitch Hennessey from The Long Kiss Good Night. And if you’ve seen that movie, Captain Marvel has a lot of Deja Vu, and comes off as the inferior movie IMO.

      1. Retsam says:

        Personally, Fury was probably my favorite part of this movie: I like the idea that Nick Fury wasn’t an incredible badass from day one. He’s not supposed to be playing the “Nick Fury” that we know from the other movies, he’s supposed to be playing a character who will one day become the Nick Fury we know from the movies, and I thought they nailed that.

        And honestly, “Nick Fury was a somewhat average guy who saw aliens nearly invade and became a total badass to make sure that never happened again” is a lot more interesting to me than a Nick Fury who’s just a force of nature who’s always been that way.

        And I loved the point you’re alluding to. It’s hilarious, and I think it plays into this dynamic – the idea that Nick Fury isn’t necessarily as badass as he seems, but is perhaps feeding his own mythos is interesting.

        1. Polius says:

          I’m reminded of the complaints that Solo largely had a young Han Solo from the get-go rather than being the story of how a young hot-shot became the Han Solo we know and love. Sounds like they made the right choice for Nick Fury here.

  3. Redrock says:

    I used the same case as Paul for my first ever build, which everyone told me wasn’t a smart thing to do, since mini-ITX builds are generally considered tougher to do than bigger cases. And, yeah, my cable management is far from perfect, but the temps seem to be fine. Word of advice for anyone buildimg a mini-ITX, though – be wary of all-in-one liquid cooling solutions. As I found out the hard way, they have the tendency to just… die, with no warning. That’s what happened to my Arctic Liquid Freezer. Switched to a Corsair since then, but kept the quieter Arctic fans, seems to be stable so far, although, from what I heard, even Corsair coolers are prone to spontaneous pump failure.

  4. tmtvl says:

    A mailbag question that’s only a single sentence? The outrage, mailbag questions should be at least 2 paragraphs.

  5. Chad Miller says:

    Re: Fallout

    The unusual thing about Fallout is that with the main series Fallout games (1-4 and New Vegas) there are always some things the sequel does better than anything that came before it, and some things it does worse. This means that if you’re unlucky enough to like the things the new game fails at, it’s going to feel like a decline even if that’s not strictly true.

    It’s kind of like The Elder Scrolls and how you can find people that prefer Daggerfall, people that prefer Morrowind, and people that prefer Skyrim not just because of nostalgia but because different people value different things. My personal order of preference in the Fallouts is something like NV, 1, 3, 4, 2 and I know that’s highly unusual. Fallout Tactics did fairly well for itself and I’m almost mystified that there existed human beings that would want to play it. 76 wasn’t even on my radar because 4 had already trained me to give up on hoping Bethesda would get to improving the parts of a Fallout game that I actually want, but I can understand why some people were looking forward to it and a handful of people even enjoyed it.

    1. tmtvl says:

      there are always some things the sequel does better than anything that came before it

      Name 1 thing that Fallout 3 did better than the originals. And no, “3 dimensions” doesn’t count.

      you can find people that prefer Daggerfall, people that prefer Morrowind, and people that prefer Skyrim

      You forgot Oblivion.

      1. Chad Miller says:

        > And no, “3 dimensions” doesn’t count.

        Why not?

        But even if I accepted that premise: I found 2’s fourth-wall breaking and overuse of pop culture references to be more damaging to my immersion than the many problems with Fallout 3’s plot. Fallout 3 also didn’t introduce its primary villains with a cutscene where they show up to twirl their mustaches, spare you for no reason, then leave, only to be completely forgotten and unexplained until the final stretch of the game. It didn’t ever presume to have my character talk for me. It didn’t center the plot around a village whose farmland has gone bad without even trying to explain why they don’t move despite having only migrated to their current location less than a generation ago. It didn’t have that 9-room Enclave barracks puzzle or anything comparably annoying that comes to mind (not even Little Lamplight bugged me as much).

        (I realize those are all comparisons to Fallout 2, which is kinda my point; Fallout is one of my favorite games ever, and then Fallout 2 is the followup you might make if you wanted to intentionally troll me. It’s better in a bunch of ways, but changes directions in a lot of ways that are outright game-ruining for me)

        On the positive side, the increased voice acting, the selective plundering of Elder Scrolls mechanics without making the game as bland as TES, stuff like the lockpicking and hacking minigames were fun, being a thief was more fun, the real-time combat and stealth mechanics which made even routine travel thrilling, companions that aren’t limited in what they can equip by what sprites the developers were able to draw, the radio and other environmental touches, a crafting system, a city you can blow up, a heavily-customizable player house…and this is all from memory when I haven’t even touched the game in years. I actually just started a playthrough of the full series so maybe I’ll change my mind when I get to it in a couple months, but I doubt it.

        You’re probably right that there are people that consider Oblivion their favorite TES. Unlike with the other three TES games named, I haven’t met such a person, but admittedly I’m not a big fan of that series in general.

        1. tmtvl says:

          I’ll agree that I liked the lockpicking and hacking minigames, even if most players seem to have hated the hacking.

          And I like Oblivion the best because it doesn’t do the dice rolling of Morrowind* but it isn’t as dumbed-down as Skyrim. Among other reasons, of course, but that would be my primary reason.

          *where you can stand right in a mudcrab’s face and whiff your attacks because you happen to roll poorly.

          1. Hal says:

            I remember Oblivion fondly, but it has this quality that there were parts that make it my favorite game and parts that make it the worst of the Elder Scrolls games. What an accomplishment! The overall picture makes for a game that you enjoyed but don’t really want to praise.

      2. DeadlyDark says:

        >You forgot Oblivion.
        With that name its obligatory

        1. tmtvl says:

          It’s like those horror games that I don’t remember.

      3. Abnaxis says:

        I actually like Oblivion the best. Of all TES games, it’s the one I can actually mod into a place where I like it.

  6. John says:

    Building your own computer definitely gets easier. I was an irritable, nervous wreck when I built my first PC. I was terrified that I was exerting too much pressure on delicate parts as I tried to pop them in to place. My wife, who had some prior experience, eventually took pity on me and finished the build. I kept that computer for years. Over time, I replaced the mother board, replaced a hard drive, added a TV tuner card and, late in the computer’s life, added a discrete GPU. I got used to working on my own PC and, most importantly, learned that computers are harder to break that you might think. When I finally got around to building a new PC a couple of years ago, I enjoyed it a lot. Funnily enough, my wife now regards building her own PC as too much of a hassle and has said that her next desktop PC is going to be a pre-built. I on the other hand, have gotten so comfortable working with computer hardware that I have completely dis- and then re-assembled a laptop on multiple occasions.

    I salute Paul for working with an ITX case. I’ve been sorely tempted, but I’ve never quite had the guts to do that myself. Instead, my computer has an approximately cube-shaped micro-ATX case. It doesn’t save as much space as an ITX case might. When last I looked, however, micro-ATX motherboards are a little cheaper. Furthermore, the cases are a little easier to work in, they tend to have better airflow, and they can accommodate more expansion cards (like that TV tuner card). Also it fits neatly in the space under my TV without having to be turned sideways like my old mid-tower.

  7. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I think I’ve posted about this when Ubi came up in the past but I’m really not surprised about the online issues. Far as I can tell they’re competent at making games, although they are vastly overselling their “video game fastfood” as these revolutionary and deeply engaging titles, but whoever is responsible for their online connectivity features should be covered in mayonnaise and dust bunnies then driven out of town.

    For the sake of anecdote, I think most everyone heard about constant issues with “Conflux”, the online service component of Heroes of M&M VI, but my worst experience was actually with another title. When I tried playing Might & Magic X a couple years ago (years after release) I’ve discovered I could not physically progress past act1, as I quickly found out after going to the Steam forums pretty much everyone playing the game at the time had this issue because the ending of act1 is when the game verifies its legitimacy with the server and failing that will not let you move on. At the time I joined in on the discussion this was going on for months, and to make it clear, not months of “on and off”, but actual months of nobody being able to progress, veterans would tell us it has happened before, their best guess being that Ubi updated something serverside and did not remember or bother with making sure this older, rather niche game would work with the new system. Ubisoft forums was entirely unhelpful with a big topic of “me too” and no official response. Customer support… well, let me put it this way, some people had screenshots of literally dozens of exchanges with CS that went like this:
    -customer reports an issue: game does not progress past act 1, most likely due to failing server verification, this has been going on for a while and I know it has been reported before;
    -back and forth with Customer Support where they request the customer verify they’re connected to the internet, reinstall the game, go through act1 again in its entirety;
    -eventually CS begins to imply the game is pirated and request proof of purchase;
    -customer provides the proof of purchase;
    -CS marks the issue as resolved and ceases all communication;
    -the same customer reports the issue again, loop to the beginning.

    I kid you not when I say that some people were posting things like “this is my 17th time I’m going through this, by my count I should get the ‘issue resolved’ around Friday, I’m off for the weekend so I’ll send another report on Monday”. At no point did we even get a “we’ve found out there’s an issue serverside, we’re working to resolve it”, at no point did CS provide anything but going through the script of “problem is on your side”, then implying your game was not legit and when proven wrong marking the issue as “resolved” despite the game being literally unplayable past what was essentially the demo and getting said reports multiple times from multiple sources (admittedly at this point the title had a relatively small number of players but still). The issue was eventually resolved, without being officially acknowledged in any capacity, I know some people claimed it was reporting the game to Valve as broken that made things move, others thought that Ubi just eventually got around to it and it was just low priority but ever since then I’ve been highly doubtful of Ubi’s capacity or willingness to support their older, especially niche titles.

    1. Hector says:

      M&MX just angers me. I have succesfully played start to finish. It’s one of those things I wish Shamus would take a look at, partly becaue there’s a whole host of technical issues that are identifiable enough for him to speak more directly about. This is is a game that wheezes and gasps on modern Crysis-level hardware, has those stupid Ubisoft point rewards that actively detract from the game experience, the system has a lot of n3wb-traps that can make your party unviable, and the plot meanders with a bunch of questionable characters.

      And *yet*. There’s potential here, and Ubisoft really ignored it. The world is intriguingly designed with a pretty solid difficulty curve. (You can overcome that curve with time, but it doens’t mean there’s no challenge left.) The gameplay is engaging and requires at least a bit of attention without necessarily constantly pressing you. For some reason they use a grid, which is actually weirdly inconsistent with M&M, but I acknolwedge it does work. There’s quite a selection of characters to build a party from, with no must-pick choices and no can’t-pick choices, either. And the game has room for some unusual choices. And the setting, despite aspiring to little more than “generic fantasy mishmash,” has enough variety to stand out.

      1. djw says:

        The grid is very much consistent with MM… You just have to go back to MM5 and earlier to see it.

        I agree that X had a lot of potential, and more games like it is pretty much the only way I’ll ever play a game associated with Ubisoft.

        1. Hector says:

          Might and Magic 5 was from 1993. The next 3 games were all free-movement. But I’m not complaining about the grid. It was just an unexpected choice, with good and bad consequences.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            Well looking at M&M IX maybe it’s better we don’t necessarily follow all the trends. Though I personally favour the free movement games in the series. I also disliked the way the game felt unforgiving in terms of character builds and this was further compounded by lack of respawning enemies, but I’d still probably buy M&M XI for nostalgia’s sake unless reviews were utterly abysmal.

  8. Joe says:

    Posting this on a Tuesday (my time), Shamus? You’re messing with my OCD! However, I’m sorry, you’re off my movie companion list. Yes, we live in different countries, and neither of us like to travel. But still. I really liked Captain Marvel. Just regular good fun.

    I found all three Thor movies terrible, but TDW was the least bad. I couldn’t watch Ragnarok, couldn’t even make it through the trailer. A buddy action comedy is not how anything labelled ragnarok should go. I’m a vikingphile from way back, my pitch for a Thor Ragnarok movie would look like Vikings meets the second half of Rogue One.

    My city is clearly pretty permissive when it comes to adult businesses. There’s a brothel on my street, and it’s a pretty good area. Mix of homes and businesses, right near the beach. It’s been there at least 15 years, probably longer. And in the main shopping district, just around the corner from a local primary school is a regular adult shop. I’ve never been into either one, never seen anyone go into either one. But people must, since they exist. Funny the things you take for granted until they’re pointed out.

    You said there’s no way to win a sim game. I see it as there’s no way to lose. For someone like me, that’s a big plus. I don’t have to worry too much about screwing up. It’ll come good eventually.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      You don’t really get an opinion on how good or bad a movie is if you “could not make it through the trailer” and never watched it. That’s ridiculous. It’s like saying “Out of all the TV shows I haven’t watched, Reign is definitely the worst one, I’m sure of it.”

  9. Moridin says:

    Wait, so you’re using amazon to buy computer parts because they offer free shipping? I just checked and I’m pretty sure Newegg offers free shipping on most(all?) of their products as well(although I assume it’s not as fast as Amazon if you have prime). For that matter, I think most other stores selling computer parts do as well because shipping computer parts is comparatively cheap while the parts themselves are(apart from simple things like cables) pretty expensive, and free shipping is the kind of thing that people want even if the total ends up being slightly more expensive.

  10. Grimwear says:

    Sequels I liked better than the originals is tough. For the most part off the top of my head I like Age of Empires 2 more than 1, Total Warhammer 2 better than 1, Borderlands 2 over 1, and the Witcher 3 over 1 and 2.

    1. trevalyan says:

      Godfather II was better than the original. You like Vito more, and give Michael the hate he truly deserves. It’s that dichotomy of a vengeful yet loving Sicilian mafia culture versus the sterile and increasingly corporate evil of organized crime. The original remains good, but the themes are so much better in the sequel.

    2. Sannom says:

      II find that the turn of the millenium had some of the best sequels I can remember : Age of Empires 2 in 1999, Baldur’s Gate 2 in 2000, Commandos 2 in 2001. The leap in graphics and artistic direction was massive and the gameplay was improved and often enriched across the board.

    3. Joshua says:

      Baldur’s Gate 2 is much better than 1.

    4. tmtvl says:

      Lessee now…

      * Devil May Cry 3 > 2.
      * Neverwinter Nights 2 > 1.
      * Final Fantasy V > I.
      * Thief 2 > 1.
      * Way of the Samurai 2 > 1.
      * X3 Terran Conflict > Reunion.
      * Pillars of Eternity 2 > 1.
      * Shadowrun HK > DF > Returns.
      * Fallout NV > 3.
      * Wizardry 6 > 1.
      * Ultima got better and better up to and including VII.
      * Styx Shards of Darkness > Master of Shadows.
      * Ace Combat 5 > 4 > 2 > 1.
      * Silent Hill 2 > 1.
      * Castlevania SotN was better than the ones before it.
      * Overlord 2 > 1.
      * Breath of Fire 2 > 1.
      * Crash Bandicoot 2 > 1.
      * Tekken 2 > 1.
      * Spyro 2 > 1.
      * Kirby Super Star > Dreamland.
      * Terranigma > Illusion of Gaia > Soulblazer.
      * Prince of Persia Sands of Time > 3D.
      * Exile/Avernum 3 > 2 > 1.
      * Disciples 2 > 1.
      * Unreal Tournament 2004 > 2003.

      And I’ve probably missed a ton of other games that I can’t find with a quick look around at my games shelf.

    5. Abnaxis says:

      Total Warhammer 2 completely put me off buy anything from Creative Assembly or Sega ever again. Fuck developers and/or publishers who sell a product as a sequel, but require you to own the first entry or they lock you out of 80% the game. Fuck them for not making that obvious in their store page, and fuck them for charging full price for a “sequel” that’s really only an expac. This is the kind of shit I expect from a free-to-play mobile game, not fucking Total War

      I’ve done my best, but I really don’t have words for the sheer amount of contempt I feel for the creators of Total Warhammer 2.

      1. djw says:

        When you played Baldur’s Gate 2 did you expect to have access to the same zones that were included in Baldur’s Gate 1?

        If Baldur’s Gate was before your time, or not your cup of tea, then go ahead and apply the same logic to just about any other sequel to any other game…

        Warhammer 2 gets you new territories and new factions. It’s a big enough area that you can play in it without any assets from Warhammer 1 just fine.

        Creative did also create a merge of the two games, which is what I assume you are referring to as “80% of the content” but I don’t see why you expect to get the assets from Warhammer 1 for free.

        1. Abnaxis says:

          Sure, let’s take your analogy.

          The game Wiki tells me that in Baldur’s Gate–which sold for full-game price at release–you can play as one of 9 classes from AD&D: Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, Cleric, Druid, Mage, Thief, Bard, or Barbarian.

          In BG2–again, full release price–you have the same options for character class plus two more–the Monk and the Sorcerer. They also added of “kits”–customization options that give you more flavor and more abilities, which play slightly different but aren’t full classes in and of themselves. Note: 11 options now, with MORE STUFF ON TOP OF WHAT WAS ALREADY THERE because it’s a sequel.

          Worth noting is the Expansion packs to both games. Neither added more in terms of character options, except they allowed you play more content to a higher level cap–so there’s more content there, just not “full game content,” and they are clearly labelled as needing the main title to deliver said content. They also sold for like $15 back in the day IIRC (it’s been like 20 years give me a break).

          So let’s compare, right? In Total War: Warhammer, you can play as one of 12 diverse and unique factions. It very rightfully sells for $60 on steam, because it is a full fledged game.

          In Total War: Warhammer 2, however, you can play as 4 factions that you couldn’t before. Note–not four ADDITIONAL factions, 4 period. If you want to play all the factions (which are included in the game files apparently) you’re locked out unless you buy the original game. Oh, and it still sells for $60 on Steam, and no where on the store page does it say you need the original game to actually enjoy the full experience.

          This would be like buying Baldur’s gate 2 for $60, only to find out you only get to play as a Monk or a Sorcerer except if you have the first game installed you can play as one of the other 9 classes. Four new factions is not a full-price experience. It is an overpriced expansion pack that is deceptively marketed in the most sleazy, manipulative, underhanded way I have experienced in video games, which is saying a hell of a lot in a market that contains EA, Valve, and Ubisoft. Total War: Warhammer 2 is a crime against common decency, and I genuinely hope its creators go out of business for taking a game that could have been one of my top most played titles of all time and pulling that kind of bullshit with it.

          1. djw says:

            You clearly feel strongly about this, and it’s your right as a consumer to back your opinions with your money.

            I paid for both, and I do feel I got my money’s worth. I’ll likely buy Warhammer 3, if there is one.

          2. djw says:

            By the way, at release Warhammer 1 had only 4 factions (Empire, Dwarves, Greenskins, and Vampire Counts). A fifth, chaos warriors, was available as a pre-order bonus. It was eventually made available to people who did not pre-order, but I do not recall whether it was free or for pay.

            There were several other major factions released as DLC. Some for pay (Wood Elves, Beastmen) and some for free (Bretonnia). Norsca was also available as a DLC, but I don’t remember whether it was free.

            To get to 11 I think you must be including some alternate start sub factions (unless I am missing something). Some of these do provide some interesting twists on the original faction, but you do NOT get an entirely different unit roster or building layout.

            In any case, Warhammer 2 did release with 4 factions, but that is exactly the same as Warhammer 1! They have released two more factions as DLC since then (Tomb Lords, Vampire Coast).

            If you want to compare prices at release the fair way to do it is to compare what was available at release (4 or 5 for Warhammer 1 versus 4 for Warhammer 2). Slight advantage Warhammer 1, but by no means the overwhelming 11 to 4 comparison that you made above. Warhammer 2 has not yet caught Warhammer 1 in terms of DLC faction, but it has not been out as long.

            Now one might also complain about the tendency to release so much content as paid DLC! I have ambivalent thoughts about this myself, although its worth noting that they did release at least one major faction (Bretonia) for free. I don’t really *like* this trend, but if the DLC provide extra value to the game then I am generally willing to tolerate it.

  11. trevalyan says:

    I’m mildly irritated how many people describe their lack of enthusiasm for Captain Marvel, or complain Marvel was boring AND overpowered. For your information, the movie was not based around cheap callbacks that retconned other movies: quite the contrary, I found Marvel to be a refreshing bit of nostalgia that took me back to being a kid again. A hero discovering a set of incredible world-saving powers with joy so infectious it carries off the screen? How lame and uncool, am I right?! Sure you know Captain Marvel will be a major franchise and can therefore be in no danger, but be real. There is always something to lose, like family, and fighting for the people we love is super hard because of that danger of loss. I found the movie not only exciting but -funny-, which makes my rating all the more glowing. And for the record, all the comments about having the ass of a fourteen year old boy are not only profoundly gross, but pretty obvious when-

    Oh. Wrong movie. Billy Batson’s character is now called “Shazam!” *sigh* Nevermind.

    1. Scampi says:

      Oh my god…I wanted to write a detailed response to your comment and only at the end read your last sentence.
      Chapeau, well played, Sir, I love it.

    2. Grimwear says:

      Oh man you got me good. I was not prepared for that. Also as an aside having recently watched Shazam Djimon Hounsou is in everything super hero. He was in Shazam as the Wizard, Aquaman, Captain Marvel, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Heck a quick imdb even shows that he voiced Black Panther in a 2010 mini series.

    3. Dreadjaws says:

      You, sir, are a bloody genius.

  12. Lino says:

    I’m very excited about Endgame, but I’m not at all keen on watching Captain Marvel. Is her film have a lot of essential facts about Endgame?

    1. Grimwear says:

      As far as I remember none. I’m pretty sure the mid credits scene is just a scene from Endgame where she shows up in front of the remaining Avengers. So long as you know that she and Nick Fury had a mini adventure in the 90s you should be fine.

    2. Joshua says:

      Surprisingly, it’s not essential at all to watching Endgame. Ant-Man and the Wasp may be more essential in how it talks about the Quantum realm, but all the film Captain Marvel really does is explain a tiny bit about her past and powers and how Fury knows her. It worked perfectly well in Captain America: Civil War to introduce Black Panther and Spider-Man and then flesh them out later in their solo movies, I’m not sure why they couldn’t have done the same thing with her as well.

  13. Dreadjaws says:

    I went to Captain Marvel with an open mind. While I have absolutely no problem with female-led movies (and neither do most people, despite what the press would have you believe) I have nothing but contempt for this movie’s main actress, whom I find unbearable.

    I thought the movie was OK. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. It reminded me quite a lot of Green Lantern. Same basic plot, really, with the difference that here there was not much to the protagonist: her personality wasn’t defined and her powers were very poorly explained, not to mention that you never feel she’s in danger. At least second protagonist Fury was quite fun. The action scenes were pretty terrible, though. It looks like it was edited by a schizophrenic who also suffered from epilepsy.

    As an adaptation, though, it’s absolutely abysmal. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but the worst part is what they did to the character of Mar-Vell, which is unforgivable. And no, trolls, I don’t talk about the fact that they changed his gender. I’m talking about the fact that they took a character that had a major impact in the entire comic book industry and reduced him to a one-note cameo that barely makes a dent in this particular story, let alone the entire Marvel universe.

    1. Pax says:

      I’m pretty sure the only interesting thing Mar-vell ever did was die of cancer. And if you want me to not go watch your superhero movie, making it “The Ballad of Captain Marvel dying of cancer” is it.

      Unless you mean how he was basically just used to keep the Captain Marvel name trademarked so others couldn’t use it. And seeing as Shazam was just released and it was called Shazam, then that part of his legacy lives on.

      1. Dreadjaws says:

        The death of Mar-Vell cannot be oversimplified like that. It was a major event that shook the entire industry. For one, it was one of the few non-origin-story deaths that was never reversed. In a medium in which death is cheap and constantly reversed, that’s major. The reason it was never undone was that it was important to show how some things cannot be fought with superpowers and cancer is, at least for now, one of them. It was an important event where the heroes found themselves entirely powerless to stop the death of a friend even when they knew in advance that it was coming. It also made them all question themselves their place in the world, the reasons for why they never stopped a moment to try to fight this disease until a friend was affected, and thinking of the inevitability of death.

        I’m not saying the movie should have addressed this, but if they weren’t, why use the name? Imagine a Spider-Man movie in which “Uncle Ben” is the name given to the owner of the kiosk where Peter Parker buys his comics and has no relation to his origin story. As ridiculous as that might be, it’d still wouldn’t be as bad as what they did here.

        1. Syal says:

          …man, I want to see a Spider-Man version where “they killed Uncle Ben” is about someone taking Peter’s bowl of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice and dropping it on the ground.

        2. Canthros says:

          The problem there is that 616’s Mar-Vell matters primarily for metanarrative and business reasons. He’s not been directly important to readers for ages, unless you count impostors, clones, alternate universe doubles, temporary resurrections, and so forth.

        3. shoeboxjeddy says:

          The reason Mar-Vell’s death was never reversed is that he was an uninteresting failure as a lead character. Various replacements of his had things to recommend them over him and they sensibly had no interest in stealing the thunder from Carol or Monica or etc to bring back “guy who couldn’t hold down a book.”

          The one off GN where he dies is a well written story, but calling it “important to the INDUSTRY” is uh… questionable.

  14. TheCheerfulPessimist says:

    I found the Captain Marvel movie inoffensive, but not great. As a character, I simply didn’t find Carol Danvers to be an interesting protagonist. And I honestly feel the same about Ant-Man, Iron Man, and the Hulk, in that I like them in the ensemble movies but have no real interest in their standalone movies. And, dear Lord, the script for Captain Marvel had some really awful moments, like anytime that kid opened her mouth. I had to wonder if the scriptwriter had ever actually met a child, because using a ten(?)-year-old as their personal voice into the story was unbelievably cringe-worthy. But on the other hand, Goose was the best thing ever. So your mileage may vary.

    1. Hector says:

      I haven’t seen the movie, but my understanding is that Carol Danvers has been sidelined more than once in the comics as she’s just uninteresting and has few good stories to tell. That isn’t my judgment, just what I’ve heard from comic fans: Danvers just has no hooks for stories and not much personality beyond her powers.

      1. Scampi says:

        So…considering her performance wasn’t especially inspired and Brie Larson seems to be rather capricious and difficult to handle, Marvel Studios might perhaps want to give her the Hulk treatment.

        1. Grimwear says:

          The problem is that it seems Kevin Feige absolutely adores her and is just pushing her above everyone else. This has supposedly caused friction between every other cast member and Brie Larson, especially Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. Rumors are running rampant especially with the recent interviews where both other female heroes are nowhere to be found near Brie and the awkward interviews with Don Cheadle, Chris Hemsworth, and Jeremy Renner.

          I don’t know what’s actually going to happen but it seems that Kevin Feige just doubled down on Brie from the beginning and is just pushing her to the fore of the MCU which makes a lot of people nervous, since she’s deemed generally unlikable.

      2. Boobah says:

        What Carol Danvers is most remembered for in the comics: That time a supervillain ate her mind and permanently stole her powers, with side effects for the villain including a minor case of an extra personality with a heel-face turn on the side. Incidentally, Ms. Marvel was an Avenger at that point.

        So then Carol was an amnesiac… but with a completely non-mysterious past. And with the books I read she’d sometimes show up out of nowhere with some crazy new superpowers (say hello, Binary!), remind everybody what she’d lost, and then wander off-panel again until the angst levels had dropped far enough.

        No idea what she’s been doing for the past 25 years.

        1. Sannom says:

          What about that time when she was impregnated against her will by a magician to serve as transport out of his prison and then followed him as his bride, clearly under the influence of some sort of spell ? I understand Chris Claremont so abhored that story that he brought her back, she chewed on the Avengers for letting the magician take her, quit and joined the X-Men.

    2. evileeyore says:

      “As a character, I simply didn’t find Carol Danvers to be an interesting protagonist.”

      The best part of Carol Danvers was Rogue…


  15. RJT says:

    I play(ed?) a bunch of the Dance Dance Revolution games on PS2, and they also had annoyances. Of course, they had no ability to stuff microtransactions or online “features” into the games back then, but they did have weird, flashy graphics and strange unlock systems. I remember one game, possibly DDR Supernova or Supernova 2, had you “buying” most of the song list by completing challenges. Unfortunately the challenges were like, “complete this arhythmic, atonal, drive-by noting of a dance song with a perfect score.” I don’t think anyone playtested the actual doability of the challenges. I doubt any players ever saw the entire song list.

  16. Canthros says:

    Captain Marvel seemed extremely mediocre. The lead’s acting was kinda shallow, I thought; the writing didn’t really allow for much tension in the story (and was just lousy in places); and the direction seemed not-great. The supporting cast are mostly fantastic, especially in contrast to Larson. The soundtrack was very on-the-nose, to the point that I thought it was a little distracting.

    1. Scampi says:

      The soundtrack was really annoying to me. I didn’t exactly enjoy the 90s growing up and one of the worst aspects in retrospect was the music. There were not many exceptions to me and most of them were remnants from the 80s who had not changed their style very much. It’s made worse by everyone else’s (around me) strangely obsessive 90s nostalgia.

      1. Canthros says:

        It seems like a decent selection of mostly female-led, 90’s pop music, IIRC. Mostly not stuff I would choose from the era (for various reasons), but I think that reflects the difference between me and the sort of person the movie is made for.

        At the same time, it seemed pretty transparent that it was there to do a substantial amount of heavy lifting for the story on the screen, mostly to tell you how to feel in that particular moment (it’s a wee bit smarter than that, but only in places), and not as well integrated as the same concept in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies (which was wearing a bit thin in the second one, anyway).

        If the music doesn’t really work for you all that well, that device is going to fall pretty flat–which it did for me. When/if that happens, I don’t think the writing, direction, and lead actor provide a whole lot to fall back on.

  17. unit3000-21 says:

    I agree that Captain Marvel is just a solid Marvel flick (and I’m not even a huge MCU fan). It’s not as boring as those universally least liked ones (second Thor and Iron Man), but it’s nowhere near the high of 1-2-3 punch combo of Ragnarok, Guardians Vol. 2 and Black Panther. I think Shamus is really spot on with how “Can she beat her plot amnesia?” isn’t really that exciting, and most of the action and plot is just standard MCU. I also hated the needle drops which were very obvious and boring – if they’re sticking to rock they could at least put some riot grrrl in.
    On the other hand there’s nothing that’s obviously wrong with the movie, plus I really like Brie Larson and Sam Jackson, so spending some time with them wasn’t a bad way to kill an afternoon.

  18. BlueHorus says:

    I know it’s a rule on the internet that every single time someone reviews a movie with a woman lead that it needs to be a referendum on gender politics, but can we not do that this time? Can we just like / not like movies without framing dissenters as members of some great horrible Other?

    Of course we can’t, Shamus! Don’t you understand that a superhero movie about a woman who fires laser beams from her hands is SUPR SRS BSNS and representative of the true evils and problems in society?
    There’s only ever one right opinion about anything, after all. Arguing with strangers on the internet changes the world, and doubly so if you take the time to insult said strangers.
    Calling people rude names is how you change their mind about stuff!

    1. Scampi says:

      You forgot calling Shamus names to drive the point home and make him change his mind.

  19. toadicus says:

    Regarding: “Has building computers got easier?”

    The benefits of gaining experience and confidence notwithstanding, I think the answer is “kinda”.

    One the one hand, most of the parts are just as fragile as they’ve ever been. If you squash your CPU and ruin a contact, you’re out $200-$900 and that’s it. The danger inherent in handling your own $400 biscuits of gold and silicon is just as real as it’s ever been.

    On the other hand, the components within computers are generally more atomic than they used to be, and there are generally fewer of them. Hard drives are sticks of gum that go in a socket on your motherboard. Optical drives are gone for most of us. In a conservative case with no fancy lighting, the only wiring you need to do is for the case fans and CPU cooler plus the motherboard and GPU power leads. Modern PSUs even recognize this by coming with most of their wiring disconnected. Don’t need any molex plugs? Don’t use them and save yourself the clutter. Modern CPUs also universally use zero-force installation methods, so it’s easier to put them where they need to go without accidentally bending a pin out of place (I remember righting a pin using the tip of a mechanical pencil back in the ’90s).

    I think the buying process is a lot better, too. Paul mentioned measuring the GPU cavity in his existing case, but you don’t even have to do that anymore: NewEgg has all that information and you can filter both cases and GPUs by length. Same goes for CPU fans, case fans, radiator kits, etc. It’s way easier today to be confident that every part you bought is going to work right with every other part (until Corsair’s lighting control software starts crashing Windows, anyway).

    Rescinding my prior nothwithstanding, I think another commenter already mentioned just getting better at building. You’re 11 years older than you were 11 years ago, and even if you didn’t spend a lot of that time building computers, you did spend it on other work — some of it probably precision work — and you’re probably therefore more confident than you used to be that you’re not going to put your finger in the wrong place by accident.

    Regarding researching on NewEgg and buying on Amazon: I’m guilty of some of this, but since I know that if no one buys from NewEgg they will stop offering the best computer hardware shopping experience on the Internet, I make sure that I’m going to save actual money by going to Amazon. If a CPU is $296 on NewEgg and $294 on Amazon, I’m going to buy it on NewEgg even if that means eating another $5 in shipping or waiting on EggSaver shipping. If a motherboard is $180 on NewEgg and $140 on Amazon, though… sorry NewEgg.

  20. toadicus says:

    Regarding sequels in mechanically-similar series:

    The Civilization series is one of my kryptonites. The odds that I will not buy a new Civilization game are approximate three thousand seven hundred twenty to one. The games development has followed a pretty interesting pattern that (I think) helps keep fans interested while bringing in new players or restoring interest in old ones.

    Basically, every-other game in the series adopts a new Big Thing. Civ 2 adopted hit points and “firepower” to help prevent militia from sinking battleships. Civ 4 introduced leaders (I think?) and religion as major game mechanics. Civ 6 introduced un-stacked cities that change the way cities grow.

    The other releases are generally refinements of the previous explorations. Ideas that worked well get intensified and polished; ideas that worked poorly get sidelined. Civ 3 had a new culture mechanic, but in general it was mostly a cleaner, tighter version of Civ 2. Civ 5 unstacked armies and brought in a hex grid, but those are mostly tactical changes that may not even apply to every game.

    My observation is that this gives rise to a shift in perspective with each successive installment that varies over the playerbase. Mechanics-centric players who focus on mastery will tend to prefer 3 and 5 because they are the more refined versions of the game. Players who want a new experience will tend to prefer 4 and 6 because they feel more exploratory from a game design perspective.

    I haven’t played a lot of other series, but one that sticks out as a counter example to “sequels are always worse” are the Warcraft games. I’ve only played Warcraft 1 in hindsight, but from a gameplay perspective WC2 is a much superior game to WC1. WC3 is almost a different genre than WC2, but again from a gameplay and mechanics perspective it definitely felt more engaging to me at the time.

    1. newplan says:

      Civ 5 was nothing like Civ 4 – that was the major re-design and Civ 6 is apparently the refinement.

      Civ 5’s interface was also set up for consoles and had complexity stripped out and overall was fundamentally broken as a single player game but the timing of it was perfect for picking up a big multiplayer community.

  21. Wangwang says:

    Shamus, I read many of your columns about DRM and how you hate it. I want to know your opinion about: a)why do people in general still put up with DRM, and b)will there be a breaking point when customer say “sell me a physical copy with full access or I won’t buy your games”?

    1. evileeyore says:

      The (b) ship has sailed. The Millenials are perfectly fine the “rent to use and discard when you’re done” standards of the licensing model. It’s a shame really, but that’s where the future is headed.

      1. evilmrhenry says:

        Eh, even before Steam took off, PC games were loaded with DRM. Even back to the floppy era, games were formatted to make copying difficult. You’re looking back to a golden age that never existed.

        Now, how do I see this ending? I think a major online digital store (probably not games, because Steam’s doing fine, and nobody else has the numbers for this) will go out of business, and create a big enough stink that legislators will create actual rules regarding what “buying” a digital item actually means, and everyone will panic for a few weeks before sorting everything out.

  22. tomato says:

    @Paul, there are better reasons than the virgin effect for not liking Opus Magnum as much as SpaceChem. Opus Magnum is a fine game, but the farther you get into it, the more apparent its flaws become. SpaceChem’s mechanics are just better designed. And it’s not just about the difficulty itself. The design decisions that make the game easier also make the puzzles more tedious to solve.
    1) You have infinite space to work with. Where SC forced you to improve your designs over the course of the game with strict space constraints, OM lets you plow through the game, brute-forcing solutions. You learn your first standard method with which you approach puzzles, and you rarely ever have to deviate from it or come up with better techniques. When you open the next puzzle, your first thought isn’t, “How am I going to do this?”, but instead, “I already know how to do this, now it’s just work.” SC’s later puzzles are so complex that you have to use the limited space more efficiently, or you will get stuck.
    2) There is hardly any progression. Almost all the tools become available pretty early in the campaign. And the more exotic glyphs, like the triplex-bond or disposal, are barely ever used. You can tell they were struggling to come up with good ideas. The calcification glyph tends to be an afterthought when designing machines. Just put them wherever they fit. Compare that to SC, where you get a new tool in almost every chapter, and they are from then on used constantly.
    3) I’d argue, the piston arm in particular has no place being in a game that is all about rotation. It always feels like a cheat to use it. Other than cost, which is irrelevant when you are optimizing for cycle count, it has no downsides at all. It doesn’t use more space than regular arms. It isn’t slower. Nothing. You could replace every regular arm in any machine with a piston arm, and it would still work the same way. Any time I was on the verge of getting stuck on a puzzle, it was like, oh, I can just use piston arms. No need to come up with better ideas.
    4) There is a hard limit on the input rate, which is easily reached. You need 2 cycles, one to grab the input element, and one to move it out of the way, so the next element can spawn. This leads to the fact that you can calculate the theoretically lowest possible cycle count for every puzzle in the game. https://www.reddit.com/r/opus_magnum/comments/7qmkv6/list_of_current_cycle_optimal_scores/
    The procedure for cycle optimization is then always the same. Grab the elements as fast as possible (2 cycles), and build your machine around it to support that input rate, which is easy, just tedious, because you have infinite space to work with. Of course, if you want the absolute best WR score, you have to work harder for lower “latency”. But we are talking about a difference of like 2 or 3 cycles. You score will easily land in the left-most column on the diagram.
    And again, compare it to SC, where the maximum input rate is tied to the efficiency of your machine. The next input element can only be called after the waldo has completed an entire product cycle. Not only that, but “input” is a separate command that takes up space on the (limited) grid, and it has to be executed by a waldo.

    Optimizing for cost or area has its own set of issues, including some shortcomings of the UI. But I’ve already spent too much time writing this, and nobody is going to read this anyway.

    1. Droid says:

      As someone who was very engrossed by SpaceChem (but weirdly put off by their “monster attack” stages, what even …???) for all the reasons you mentioned, I am glad you gave me a reason not to go for Opus Magnum after all. I quite liked the mess I kept producing in SpaceChem, since it was horrible in an efficient way.

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      Well, it’s nice to get confirmation anyway. Thanks.
      Yes, I did read all of it.
      You never looped your waldo back for multiple inputs? There was this one time…

  23. MadTinkerer says:

    The tragedy of Carol Danvers is threefold:

    1) Before House of M, nobody knew what to do with her, so they experimented with all kind of things including have Rogue absorb her powers and personality for over a decade real-time (not quite that long in comics-time). Not to mention the travesty of Avengers #200 that was the result of extremely rushed deadlines, literally up-to-the-last-minute rewrites, and probably sleep deprivation.

    2) During House of M, in the alternate reality Carol Danvers was one of the most popular heroes at a time when she was a nobody in the main timeline. This inspired her post House of M to revive her Ms. Marvel identity and actually do interesting stuff. She ended up becoming popular as a main character for the first time ever. The Ms. Marvel comics I had prior to dropping comics in 2007 (for unrelated reasons) were good comics with an interesting lead.

    3) I don’t know everything that happened with her in the comics since 2007, but at some point they again tried to replace Carol Danvers, failed, and then brought her back with an unrecognizable personality. I don’t even know why they tried to make a movie about this character, but “Captain Marvel” in the movie is completely unrecognizable from the character I knew as Ms. Marvel. Also, the flerkin (cat) didn’t exist in 2007, so I don’t even care about that one way or the other.

    So they had a perfectly interesting and popular version of the character and they just had to experiment her back into being uninteresting and unpopular (while pretending she’s as popular as ever (she’s not)). If they never had a popular version of the character, it wouldn’t be a problem. She would have just been a perpetual experiment who never was popular enough to consider for a leading role. But now they made a movie about the boring version instead of the cool version.

    It’s just disappointing.

  24. Taellosse says:

    So, as is typical for me, I’m way behind on listening to Diecast episodes, and am just now listening to this one. I wanted to say a couple things about Captain Marvel specifically, though. Luckily, I’m mostly interested right now in sharing these thoughts with Shamus specifically, rather than engaging in a collective discussion (though I’m not opposed to that, if someone else has something to say and I happen to see it).

    So let me start by saying I’ve no intention of being divisive or chiding here – if I come off that way at some point, I apologize.

    You’re not wrong about your critiques of continuity errors between Captain Marvel and the early MCU films, particularly with respect to SHIELD (though they’ve upended the “we’re working on the name” bit long before now – they were using the acronym in flashback sequences in Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, and Ant Man set much further back than the 1990s), but I suspect those bothered you because the thematic elements you discussed were already keeping you from buying in, not the other way around.

    I think Paul’s exactly right that Captain Marvel is a film written with a female audience in mind first. That arc you say you’re looking for, of the hero beginning weak then overcoming obstacles to achieve their true strength is a male empowerment arc. Captain Marvel isn’t doing that because she’s demonstrating a feminist empowerment fantasy instead. She doesn’t BECOME strong, she realizes she’s always BEEN strong. Her real battle is throwing off the self-doubt imposed on her by the authority figures surrounding her – the inhibitor implant is just a symbol of that (and, incidentally, it’s also why the Supreme Intelligence appears to Carol as Mar-Vell. It subverts the face of a beloved mentor to hold Carol back and tear down her sense of self-worth, symbolically mirroring what so many parents do to their daughters). It’s a journey of self-discovery, not a battle with a dangerous external enemy – they’re really afterthoughts, easily dispatched once she truly understands herself.

    This is also why the “standing up” sequence isn’t a payoff with no buildup – it’s showing that her true origin isn’t when the space-magic engine gave her super powers, but that this is who she’s always been – she’d just been made to forget it for a while. And it’s also why the moment when she finally takes down Yon-Rogg is so perfect – because she’s realized she doesn’t have to play by his rules; that she NEVER had to, and never will again.

    It may also be why your wife enjoys Captain Marvel better than Wonder Woman. It runs parallel to why you and I like Spider-Man better than Superman: Diana of Themyscira is an alien among humans, born in a place and with abilities totally divorced from those we know. She uses those powers justly, but always as an outsider, above the day-to-day realities of us mere mortals, even as she tries to immerse herself in our world. But Carol Danvers is an everywoman thrust into extraordinary circumstances, whose essential character proves to be the reason she overcomes her obstacles, as much as the power she’s acquired.

  25. Duoae says:

    Just going back through the Diecast since (I admit it, okay?!) I never listened to it before. At least I’m starting from 0 and heading backwards…

    Anyway, you mention Amazon’s terrible front-end? It doesn’t appear to be the case any more but in the past, the American site was much worse than the EU sites. I remember because I was shunted onto it accidentally from a link and couldn’t find a single thing. However, it seems that there is now more parity between the two… though the product pages are still much better in the EU sites. Just as an example:



    Regarding Prime: I have the same thing. I don’t buy a lot of things on Amazon but with Prime I get not only faster/free shipping, I get books, TV shows/movies and music as part of the deal… for something like £7.99 a month. That’s unbeatable – I dropped Netflix which was double the price and only had TV shows I wanted to watch (because good movies on Netflix aren’t common – at least to my tastes).

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