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Movie series to binge-watch in time of social distancing

By Lim Jang-won

Published : April 2, 2020 - 17:05

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many people stuck indoors are coming up with ways to spend time at home, and for movie lovers it is an almost welcome chance to watch famous series one never had a chance to start or rewatch a favorite movie series.

Two of the best-known series in cinema of the 21st century are “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The final movie of the trilogy, “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” is the first and only fantasy film to win the oscar for best picture. (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.) The final movie of the trilogy, “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” is the first and only fantasy film to win the oscar for best picture. (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001), “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (2002) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), all by director Peter Jackson, are some of the most celebrated and beloved films that people thinking of a movie marathon immediately turn to.

With a memorable soundtrack and mesmerizing special effects, not to mention a never-before-seen scale to that point, the trilogy won numerous awards, with “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” becoming the first and still only fantasy film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. It also tied the record for most Oscar wins, alongside “Titanic” (1997) and “Ben-Hur” (1959) with 11 Oscar awards.

The extended versions of the three films add another 125 minutes to the theatrical running time of 178, 179 and 200 minutes, respectively, lending to an all-day affair.

For lovers of the adventure in Middle Earth who want more, the less-loved “The Hobbit” trilogy, also from Jackson, released 2012-2014 as a prequel to “Lord of the Rings” is another series they can turn to.

The theatrical opening of “Black Widow,” originally slated for April in Korea, has been delayed. (Marvel Studios) The theatrical opening of “Black Widow,” originally slated for April in Korea, has been delayed. (Marvel Studios)

As phase four of the MCU, which was scheduled to kick off with “Black Widow” in Korea in April, is indefinitely delayed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, now is a good chance to review the 23 MCU movies or watch any you somehow missed. There are two main ways to run the MCU movie marathon -- watch them in order of theatrical release or in chronological order according to the MCU universe.

The MCU movies in order of release are as follows.

Phase 1: “Iron Man” (2008), “The Incredible Hulk” (2008), “Iron Man 2” (2010), “Thor” (2011), “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011) and “The Avengers” (2012).

Phase 2: “Iron Man 3” (2013), ”Thor: The Dark World“ (2013), ”Captain America: The Winter Soldier“ (2014), “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) and “Ant-Man” (2015).

Phase 3: “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), “Doctor Strange” (2016), “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017), “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017), “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017), “Black Panther” (2018), “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018), “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (2018), “Captain Marvel” (2019), “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019).

Phase 1 of MCU starts off with “Iron Man,” where Robert Downey Jr. cements himself as the face of the MCU. Since then, the universe has expanded, bringing together superheroes from separate movies into one. The series climaxes in “Avengers: Endgame,” which became the highest grossing movie of all time, collecting $2.79 billion in ticket sales worldwide.

Watching all the 23 movies would take a total of 49 hours and 56 minutes -- enough to keep anyone busy indoors for a while.

Other recommended movie series to binge-watch include “Star Wars,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” James Bond spy films, “Men in Black,” “Toy Story,” “Harry Potter,” “X-men,” the Jason Bourne action movies, “Fast & Furious” and “The Matrix,” among others.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)