The MCU fills us with complex and ambivalent feelings, like the ending of Crime and Punishment, or our significant other’s farts. You see, on the one hand they’re an intricate tapestry of ideas and artists and world-building, the kind of thing we did not dare dream when we were kids and the best superhero action out there was Batman Returns (with all due respect to Batman Returns, of course). On the other hand, however, the MCU is also a money-making machine, and thus results in what money-making imperatives do to art: Flatten it out, turn its expressions into the lowest common denominator so people everywhere can laugh at Star-Lord’s childish banter or, erm, Chris Pratt’s privileged ignorance.
Add to all of this that the current MCU phase is made up of innumerable little details that don’t really go together. Indeed, and just like our significant other’s farts, Phase Four is kind of a stinking mess. We’re trying to make sense of its cosmic scale and little crime dramas and multiple themes and multiple interdimensional races and multidimensional plot threads — but it’s too much, and we end up just opening the window to air out the mind-bogging stink (by which we mean, just watching the much superior new season of The Boys). In this context of ambivalence, then, we turn our attention to a bunch of tropes we’re definitely tired of. And if you now ask, “well, what was the point with those fart jokes?”, we’d just point out the giant CGI fart monster behind you. Look, we didn’t want it to be there, it’s studio-commanded, we’re stuck with it. Let’s just defeat it quickly so we can go to the post-credits scene, okay?