Welcome back to IRL, our series dedicated to the things that Engadget writers play, use, watch and listen to. With 'Avengers: Infinity War' already the most popular comic book movie of all time, reviews editor Cherlynn Low takes a timely trip through the Marvel back catalog with Kinda Funny's latest podcast series.
Cherlynn Low Reviews Editor
"You've got this guy, Captain America, and let me tell you, this white boy can run!" Greg Miller cracks himself up as he begins to go over the plot of Captain America: Winter Soldier. The rest of his crew starts laughing around him too, as he continues, "That is a big part of this movie -- that he runs and he passes on the left."
It's been weeks since I first heard Miller utter those words, yet I still can't help but giggle each time I listen to it again. I've been watching and listening to the Kinda Funny reviews Marvel-specific podcast series since I first caught the episode on Infinity War after I saw the movie on opening weekend. The MCU in Review series recaps and evaluates each of the 18 Marvel Cinematic Universe films on action, humor, contribution to the overall universe and ability to stand alone. Then the five hosts (Tim Gettys, Andy Cortez, Nick Scarpino, Kevin Coello and Miller) rank the movies.
You might not agree with where they place certain movies on the list, but that's not the point of the MCU in Review podcast. The beauty of this, and other Kinda Funny podcasts, is how it feels just like you're hanging out with a group of buddies, shooting the shit on a subject close to your heart. As a Marvel movies fan who has never read the comic book versions of the stories, I love when my more well-versed friends point out Easter eggs and explain to me the significance of each character's plot. That's what you'll get with MCU in Review, thanks to Gettys' dedication to providing all the important facts about each movie, and you'll find yourself itching to rewatch all the flicks just to catch these tidbits.
But you get so much more than trivia with MCU in Review. You'll come for the easter eggs and rankings, but stay for the podcasts-within-a-podcast like Scarpino's "Rank Those Abs" and "Wigging out with Scarpino." Or my favorite thing ever: Miller and Cortez's "RaGuBaGu." Because I watched the series out of order, I was slightly confused what this was at first, until I started from the pilot and realized it was short for Rad Guys Talking Bad Guys. As Miller reminds you each episode (all the while cracking himself up), you can follow RaGuBaGu on Twitter (@RaGuBaGuVids) and if you donate $1,000 to the Kinda Funny Patreon, you can run that account for a week. To date, no one has taken them up on that offer.
RaGuBaGu, Rank Those Abs and Wigging Out are spontaneously created segments in the podcast where some members of the crew rank the MCU's villains, abs and hairpieces respectively. There's also a less-frequent segment about biceps, and anyone who's seen the now-iconic scene of Steve Rogers (played by the swole af Chris Evans) using his biceps *and* triceps to pull down a helicopter in Winter Soldier will know exactly why that exists. The irreverence of the RaGuBaGu list, by the way, which places "These Fucks" from Thor: The Dark World at the very bottom, is all the more reason to keep returning to the podcast.
I've come to think of podcasts as a medium for intellectuals to catch up on esoteric, high-brow topics. Granted, much of that is due to my own lack of exposure to the variety of shows available. But MCU In Review turned my assumption on its head. Podcasts can be heck of a lot of fun, and the Kinda Funny guys (and occasional girls) guarantee each episode is a supremely enjoyable ride. I wish they talked over each other less, but for the most part I look forward to putting on an episode right after rewatching a Marvel movie. It feels like I'm hanging out with my bros, except I don't have to spend money on beers in a bar or even get dressed. If you love the MCU, enjoy dumb humor and forming inside jokes with a group of friends over time, this is the podcast for you.
"IRL" is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they're buying, using, playing and streaming.