Magic In The Marvel Universe-Phase 2

As the Marvel Universe Expands, we will begin to see a shift from Science and the Cosmos to the realm of the Mystical. Hit the jump to read Part Two of this series, where we take a look at Magic in MCU's Phase Two!

Editorial Opinion
In Phase 1, Marvel laid out the ground work for how magic will work in its universe.   They laid it out as a science and---you’ve read the first article right?  Do yourself a favor: check it out.   It will make a lot more sense if you read that first.
 
Now, round one of these movies teased magic harder than my high school prom date.    I paid for the ticket, bought the popcorn, and I just wanted Marvel movies to kiss me with that movie magic (I’m not that forceful of a lover).  Maybe Phase 2 will deliver the spark I’m looking for?
 

“Kevin Feige: “Well, it’s been a nice night Rose, but I’m gonna have to say no.  I’m not gonna show you the magic just yet.”  *Feige wafts flirtatious blown kiss towards me*
Source: heavy.com
 
Iron Man 3 (2013)—Beyond The Mandarin Surprise
 
Robert Downey Jr.’s fourth outing as the lovable misogynist was teaming with science, masculine insecurities, itty bitty bits of exploding soldiers….and magic?
 
Well…not exactly.  However, there is some magical groundwork that got laid down here that is definitely worth noting.  One particular Extremis agent is named Ellen Brandt.  For most movie-goers, her main role was to lose a fight to a microwave.  However, geeks who spend far too much time analyzing the character choices in these dang movies (hello, ladies) know Brandt as that wench that turned on Ted Sallis, aka, the lovable plant mush monster known as Man-Thing.  Heck, the traitorous wench even has her signature facial scar, a constant reminder to not mess with the Man-Thing.
 

It’s either a scar, or a courageous fashion choice.  Holla at my independent women.
Source: hismastersreview.com
 
Iron Man 3 also introduces the scientist Maya Hansen as a botanist, which could also hint that this Jolly Green Giant was a byproduct of an A.I.M.  experiment gone wrong.  For those who don’t know, Ted Sallis was a scientist whose zombified body became one with his swampy grave and was transformed by “magical forces”, whatever that means.  His enemies are inhuman monsters, demonic beings, and oil tycoons.  Manny’s a baller.
All part of a balanced Man-Thing breakfast.  Hold the milkshake.
Source: telegraph.co.uk
 
Even with all of these hints, it’s hard to believe this fella would have a chance on the screen.  He had an outing in a 2005 SyFy channel movie, the same company who assault our eyes with cinematic treasures like Dinocroc and Sharktopus.  It’s safe to say that we’ll never see the Man-Thing get another shout-out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
 
 
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-14)—Maria Hill Say What?
…Unless, you know, he gets another freaking shout-out.
 
Fast forward a few months, and in the episode Providence, Robin Sparkles drops this lovely tidbit over the phone with Pepper Potts:
 
“Yeah, it went as expected. S.H.I.E.L.D. implodes, and everyone wants answers. The C.I.A, N.S.A, and N.R.L., them I can handle, but Congress...Congress is like kindergarten. Where is this Fridge? What was in there? Who or what is a Man-Thing? I swear I need a cocktail and a lobotomy.”
 
Its official: Man-Thing has more MCU connections than Black Panther, Captain Marvel, or any of the Guardians of the Galaxy.  MAN-THING FOR MCU!

This is her eager face.
Source: howimetyoureffingmother.tumblr.com
 
Love it or hate it (interestingly enough, I’m more forceful of a lover of this show than I ever was with my prom date), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has done its fair share of expanding the universe, and that includes stepping up the magical game.   First The Well introduced the Berserker Staff.  This weapon was fueled by dark magic and became a powerful metaphor of whatever stick was up the wielder’s butt.  It’s possible that this dark magic was from the same source as what sent Thor to earth in the Avengers, but I’ll admit, this is one of those instances where Marvel has kind of left us in the dark.
 
Later, in Yes Men, we were introduced to another Asgardian sorcerer named Lorelei.  Comic fans know her as Amora’s not-as-hot sister who enchants men into doing her bidding.  Take note everyone: sweet nothings in the ear can be magically effective.  Lorelei, like Loki, seems to use her magic unhindered and is another example of characters that can break the limits that conventional magic items or abilities seem to have. 
 
For the most part, the show has stayed away from magical plot lines in favor of giving screen time to espionage, the rise of HYDRA, and the scrumdiddlyumptious Chloe Bennet’s.  We still have half a season left and one more guaranteed appearance of Sif with a “mystery villain” that could very well be magical.  Since the show serves as a backdrop to the entire MCU, you never know what spells or tricks they may hint at on the show.
 

Don’t lie to my face, a-holes.
Source: comicbook.com
 
Thor: The Dark World (2013)—Odin's Magical Beard!
 
I wasn’t a big fan of this film when it first released, but in preparation for this article, I actually sat down and forced myself through this insufferable snore fest.   The villain is painfully one-dimensional, the plot uninspired, and Kat Dennings is about as charming as a steaming wedgie in July.  Anyway, that’s neither here nor there—Onto the magic!
 
Big Poppa Odin opens up the movie biblical.  Apparently, in the beginning, there was more than Jack and the groove of all grooves:
 
Some believe that before the universe, there was nothing. They're wrong. There was darkness... and it has survived.
 

Odin can’t explain all the feelings that you’re making him feel.
Source: vanayaland.com
 
While Odin never confirms this darkness as the same dark energy magic that he uses to bring Thor to Earth, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to assume that they are from the same fundamental force.  This would establish that evil magic/energy is an antagonist for not only the Asgardians, but also magic users like Doctor Strange.
 
Hannibal Lecter goes on to talk about how this infinity “stone” is unique in the sense that it is not actually solid, but fluid.  I prefer to think of it as evil red jell-o.  I honestly think what sets this Aether apart from other stones is its inherent magical ability.  It’s possible that it didn’t start this way, but after Doctor Who manipulated it, it began to maximize its magical qualities.  It would also support that theory that the Aether is the Reality stone, since magic is known to bend the laws of reality.  It would also account for why the dark elves, a race known for manipulating dark magic, did not show any magical abilities in the freaking movie about dark elves.
 
I swear to Odin, Thor: Ragnarok better step it up from this load of garbage. 
 
 
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)—That Shameless Name Drop Though
 
The most-asked question my non-geek friends asked after this movie:
“Who the f*** is Stephen Strange?”
 
Resisting the urge to summon all the ancient and unspeakable gods to do away with the non-believer, I simply stated, “He’s Doctor Strange. Google it, you uncultured swine.”  The man’s archenemy is literally an entire dimension.  Why am I even friends with someone who doesn’t know the Sorcerer Supreme?

On second thought, a google search of Dr. Strange may give you the wrong impression.
Source: Pintrest
 
I suppose one thing to note about this reference is that Strange was actually a name on the list that Sitwell felt the need to mention.  This may not seem all that significant, but it may hint at the timeline of the MCU.  If Strange was a threat worth remembering, does that mean that he already passed his Doctor McDreamy days and has started chilling with the forces of Vishanti?  Things may be more magical than they appear.
 
 
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)—Are You A Scorpio?
 
While Andy Dwyer and the rest of the Galaxy and Recs crew are busy searching for Orb, there is one small magical cameo in the film, snuck into the Broker’s collection of goodies.  The Zodiac Key, a cosmic/mystical weapon most often used by Nick Fury’s evil brother clad in orange disco spandex (no, seriously).  If it showed up in the MCU again, I’d reckon we’d see it on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but how it will travel across the galaxy remains to be seen.
Nick Fury: We used to invite him to family reunions, but you can only listen to the Hair soundtrack so many times….
Source: Comic Vine
 
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)—I’m Sorry Avengers, I’m Afraid I Can’t Do That
 
Commence the rampant speculation!
 
Already packed to the brim with a Hulkbuster, the Civil War setup, and a robot going through its new-life crisis, it’s hard to imagine that Age of Ultron will have any room for magic.  The only character with any real mystic ties is Scarlet Witch, and based off this interview with Elizabeth Olsen, I wouldn’t count on her praying in a pentagram or anything.
 
“Age of Ultron is almost [my] origin story, so we don't have one of those montages where heroes learn all of their powers in five minutes. We are still discovering the things we can and cannot do. The extent of her powers isn't fully explored in Ultron. But she can manipulate objects. And she has visions, and she has the ability to share them.”
 
I’m happy that they are staying away from the X-Men: First Class training montage, but I hope Scarlet Witch’s powers still get developed beyond minor clairvoyance and telekinesis.  Wanda without hex powers is like a Christopher Nolan movie that doesn’t pride itself on being brooding, dark, and gritty.   I’ve always seen her as the Avenger that poses the biggest threat to Ultron because of her connection to reality warping---she defies the scientific logic that makes that bucket of adamantium bolts such a menace.  It's that magical connection that sets her apart from the rest of the typical Avengers.  I wouldn’t be upset if she shows up on Doctor Strange as a pupil of the Ancient One…but we’ll talk more about the Sorcerer Supreme in the next article.

Rocky & Apollo Hug

Now this is what a real montage looks like!
Source: Rocky 3
=====================================================================

Conclusion
Looking back on Phase 2, it’s plain to see that Marvel has let magic go dormant. If Thor presented the magical door, then Scarlet Witch represents an opportunity to turn the knob while Doctor Strange kicks the door open to show us all of the magical things that could lie in the great beyond.  Tune in for the next article to see some theories on Phase 3!

PS.  Seriously, Man-Thing for MCU.  At least an honest cameo!
 
 
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