Star Wars is like a religion to me. Those films are a large part of why I love movies so much. However, even with Star Wars Episode IX coming out in December, all of my attention as a fan has been focused on Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones ended up being a bit of a mixed bag in it’s final season, but man oh man, did Endgame deliver. Avengers: Endgame was one of the most thrilling movie going experiences of my life. The movie surpassed expectations to deliver a masterpiece of blockbuster filmmaking. I’ve often said The MCU is this generation’s Star Wars, which makes Endgame the modern equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back. Like, The Empire Strikes Back, Endgame has already reached the status of modern classic. Anyway, back to Star Wars! With Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame out of the way, I can focus my fandom on Star Wars Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker! The final chapter in The Skywalker Saga, 40 years in the making.
The new issue Vanity Fair has given us the best look at the film so far. The June cover story is all about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, with an excellent article by Lev Grossman that’s the most in depth look at the film yet and just a damn good read. You can read the full article the full article right here (I highly recommend that you do): https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/05/star-wars-cover-story?verso=true
The coolest part of the Vanity Fair issue is the amazing photos taken on the set by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. Vanity Fair and Leibovitz have been covering the Star Wars movies for decades now. I still have the Vanity Fair issue that focused on The Force Awakens because of the incredible photographs she had taken. In my opinion, Annie Leibovitz one of the best photographers in the business and these fantastic photos for The Rise of Skywalker are a testament to how stunningly beautiful her photos can be. You can see them all below.
Well, the countdown to Star Wars Episode IX has officially begun! Spider-Man: Far From Home is the last, “next BIG movie”, that I’m really looking forward to, but once I see that, I imagine my Star Wars mania will really start to heat up! As always, thanks for reading!
If you’re not caught up on Game of Thrones, I’m going to be spoiling some stuff for you, so please leave now if you don’t want that.
This season has had some received some major flack from audiences for all sorts of issues, and obviously I don’t agree with everyone, but I wanted to talk about a couple that I don’t like. I guess, I’ll start with the big one, the title of this article kind of hints at. Daenerys turning crazy/bad/however else we want to categorize her. I didn’t dislike this until the moment in this week’s episode when the bells are ringing, and she looks over at the Red Keep, and decides to lay waste on the people of King’s Landing.
You see, while Daenerys has never shied away from being violent to achieve her goals, there was always some sense of morality to it, and she was never casual with innocents. Up until this point, the fact that she’s burned the Iron Fleet, and the guard towers, and as much as she has destroyed, makes sense, and largely is the right thing to do, to avoid unnecessary death of innocents.
Then she stops, sitting atop the final remaining dragon, and looks down, the bells are ringing, and it is clear that she has won, and she snaps and proceeds to go further. Now, if she’d done everything and never stopped, never paused, and was just caught up in it, and therefore didn’t notice the bells, or the peace, or anything else and got carried away, this would be a more satisfying example of her going too far, and perhaps being the threat Varys died to stop (which I thought was played excellently). Also if she had that moment of pause, and then flew over and destroyed the Red Keep, I could get that too. But she pauses, looks around, sees she has won and unleashes fury on the innocent, which is out of character. It’s not getting carried away, or going too far as many of her past behavior has shown, it was her snapping, and it is out of character for her.
I also think that if it had been more along the lines of her getting carried away and going too far, even way too far, this would allow the necessary characters to say “oh we need Jon Snow to sit on the Iron Throne” without the writers betraying the character of Daenerys to justify that final play that it seems is coming.
I mentioned Varys, and I think Varys is a prime example of how the characters should be thinking about Daenerys, his last words are “I hope I’m wrong about her,” (or something similar) but he honestly believes he is not. That’s because she’s riding the edge of righteous and power-hungry, and he is forced to make a decision unsure if he’s correct, it makes his decisions more bold. Now if Jon realizes she’s a mad-Queen, and rebels against her, it will not be a bold act, but rather the obvious one for someone who will always risk his life for what’s right. It takes away the ‘risk of being wrong.’
Now, there were plenty of moments in addition to Varys’s death which I thought were well executed, I liked the final battle with the Hound and the Mountain, and I thought that Arya leaving because Cersai is dead regardless of what happens, worked really well.
But there were also moments in which it seemed like they tried to eat their cake and have it too. Jaime could have gone with Brienne (I didn’t really want to see that, but once it happened I liked it) or he could go back to Cersai, but I think having him do both really cut through both. That’s ultimately what I think the problem with this season is (it’s the worst of GoT, but it’s still pretty damn good otherwise): they want to both shit and get off the pot at the same time, and they spent years elaborately creating characters and beats, and now they’re trying to tie them all up far to quickly.
Sunday night HBO aired the penultimate episode of their critically acclaimed, ground breaking, hit series Game of Thrones. The final episode of the epic television saga airs 5/19/2019 on HBO. On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, we first briefly recap last week’s Game of Thrones episode 4, “The Last of The Starks” and then we go on a SPOILER FILLED deep dive into episode 5, “The Bell”, with a special appearance by frequent podcast quest co-hits Paul Sr!
Without going into the spoiler territory, “The Bell” was… eventful to say the least. After watching the episode, you will definitely want to walk through all of the big moments with us. There’s just one. more. episode. left here, folks! It’s been nearly 10 years in the making, but HBO’s adaptation of A Song of Ice & Fire is coming to an end. Let’s hope things end on a high note. Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, Spotify, and iTunes:
A few weeks ago, when the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Personally, I’m excited for the film, but what I want to talk about is some speculation into the film, but first let me give you a little background of my own star wars preferences, to help illustrate the point that I’m eventually hoping to make.
I guess the most important thing you need to know, is that I think Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith is the worst part of any Star Wars film (not counting the Holiday Special).I have been told most people think Jake Lloyd was worse, but at least he has the excuse of being a little kid, and many little kid actors aren’t good. Others have argued that Christensen’s not that bad, and I don’t even know what films they’re watching.
I will say this, I am not sure that I blame Hayden Christensen for the performances in his two Star Wars films. We’ve all seen that most of the performances in the prequel trilogy (and a decent amount of A New Hope) is cold, and the dialogue is not well written. Lucas couldn’t get a good performance out of nearly any of the better actors in the prequels (I know people will argue Ewan McGregor, but that was more a matter of an extremely good actor in a role that is intentionally cold and aloof, it’s the opposite of the Keanu Reeves in the Matrix effect, where he’s good despite his talent because of the role.
Alright, so now that I’ve explained that I think his performance is the worst, let me explain one other thing. He’s back in the new film. Now, I don’t know what capacity he’s going to be in the film, but the day after the trailer dropped, he had up on his Instagram page a picture of the new title card. Upon googling, it turns out he’s participating in the new film although all the specifics seem to be speculation. I assume he’s going to be appearing as a force ghost, that’s the most logical option, but whether it’s for a moment or scenes and dialogue, is anyone’s guess.
I think, his appearance in this film, could be the thing that redeems him, and the character of Anakin (I love Vader, but I don’t love Anakin) for me. You see, while I know that George Lucas has been involved in this film as a consultant (again to what extent is unknown) he isn’t writing the dialogue, and he isn’t directing the actors, and so now we have the opportunity to see what a director who is significantly better with both dialogue and actors can do. I think J.J. Abrams might be a little over hyped, but c’mon he’s better at those two things than George Lucas any day of the week.
Now, there is a chance Christensen’s appearance will be small enough that it doesn’t really affect his legacy in the role whatsoever, but I hope this isn’t the case. My hope is that we see one of two things, either one of which I think could make the film cool, and enhance Anakin as a character. We could see him as a force ghost trying to influence either Rey or Kylo, and this is the safer more likely bet, but it could definitely have some really cool scenes, further the story line, and help the dynamics between force using characters. This would be good.
Something that is much less likely, but would be awesome, and would kind of be crazy, and risky (after the Last Jedi, I think Disney proved they don’t do risk well, or maybe that they don’t commit to risk well). Paul kind of suggested this, and I think it’s an amazing idea. What if Anakin rises from the dead?
Like I said, this idea is a little out there, but I don’t think it’s totally out of the realm of possibility. So here’s a couple thing, one is that we know Anakin is the most powerful force user, essentially he’s the Jesus of Star Wars. Anakin is the Force’s immaculate conception. Then we see in Empire Strikes Back, Vader in his black egg thing. Well, I know it’s no longer canon, but the egg thing in the books was some kind of Force chamber, in the chamber, he’s trying to heal and rebuild his body with the force.
What if in dying and becoming a Force ghost, Anakin becomes “more powerful that you can possibly imagine,” and therefore finally powerful enough to use the force to rebuild his body.He is the chosen one, to bring balance to the force, and the Last Jedi, for all of it’s faults had one thing clear, there is something essentially broken with the black and whiteness of the Jedi/Sith mentalities. Both Luke and Kylo seem to have realized this, (even if Rey decides by the end she can be a hero or a villain, and not something else).
What if Anakin comes back, to show the way the force should be used, creating an order that isn’t as ’emotionless’ as Jedi, nor as ruled by emotion as Sith. Anakin, who wanted to be a Jedi, but also wanted to love, and was shunned by the Jedi for the latter, and manipulated by Palpatine for it, is the perfect person to show you can be a husband, a father, a son, and a powerful force user. Perhaps that is the balance?
With Avengers: Endgame, a historic era in cinema has come to a close. Marvel’s Infinity Saga ended on an unprecedented high note. Avengers: Endgame opened to critical acclaim while shattering box office records. By the end of it’s theatrical run, it’s very likely Avengers: Endgame will be the biggest movie in film history. Perhaps most importantly, the film delivered an emotional and thrilling experience for MCU fans all over the world, who have come to love these characters. This movie delivered and then some. It lived up to the hype. It knocked it out of the park. Pick your euphemism.
While The Infinity Saga may be finished and though we’ve said goodbye to some of our most beloved characters, The MCU will live on. The first Post-Endgame film, Spider-Man: Far From Home, opens in just a few months. With this new trailer, not only does the film look like a fantastic follow up to Homecoming, it also showcases how the cataclysmic events of Infinity War and Endgame have effected the world.
On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I’ll be breaking down the new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home. I’ll be talking about Easter Eggs, how the film looks to be taking inspiration from certain comic books, and speculate about where the story may go, as well as how this film may be interpreting some new characters in the franchise. I’ve posted the trailer below, if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet or you just want to watch it again:
I had a pretty cool experience recently that I talk about in this episode as well. Though I didn’t get a chance to interview him, I did have the privilege to meet one of Marvel Comics’ classic artists: Bob Layton. Bob is probably most well known for the seminal Iron Man story “Demon In A Bottle”. This was a story that was often brought up as a reason for Robert Downey Jr. being a great choice to play Iron Man. The story follows Tony Stark’s descent into alcoholism, which parallels Downey Jr.’s own struggles with substance abuse a few decades ago (I’ve always been of the opinion that’s a very reductive view of addiction and is a little insulting to excellent work Robert Downey Jr. has done with the character, but that’s neither here nor there). Bob was a really nice, down to earth guy. When I met him he had been doing signings for fans for at least 4 or 5 hours, most people would be worn out after all that, but from what I could see, he genuinely enjoys meeting his fans. So, it was nice to have a relatively private conversation with him even for just a few minuets. I talk about my conversation with him in more detail at the end of the episode. He signed this fantastic print of one his Iron Man covers for me, which is probably one of Marvel’s more iconic comic book covers. It’s from the aforementioned “Demon In A Bottle” storyline and I have picture of the signed piece below.
DC Comics just made an exciting announcement this week that they’ll be launching a new Batman/Superman team up series written by Joshua Williams with art by David Marquez. The story will be a little bit different than some of the other team up series is we’ve seen from Batman and Superman in the past. While Batman/Superman books are usually big, bombastic superhero tales, this series looks to be a bit darker. Apparently ,the series will follow Batman and Superman as they investigate the insidious actions of The Batman Who Laughs, the twisted villain from The Dark Multiverse, created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo first introduced in the recent event Dark Nights: Metal, Created by . The Batman Who Laughs, is Bruce Wayne from a reality where he finally had enough and killed The Joker, but Joker had the last laugh when, upon his death, a toxin was released from his body that would turn whoever killed him, into the next Joker. This Bruce Wayne slowly succumbs to the madness of The Joker, killing off all of his friends, family and fellow superheroes. Once he destroyed his own world he turned his evil towards the rest of the multiverse. What makes The Batman Who Laughs so dangerous is not that he’s a combination of Batman and The Joker, it’s that he’s Batman without any of the codes and morality that hold him back. Bruce Wayne is already one of the most dangerous men on the planet, so without a conscience and without any line he won’t cross. He’s not out to prove anything to anyone like The Joker is, he’s just a great white shark, viciously destroying anything in his path. He’s the Apex predator of the DC Multiverse. All of this why creator Scott Snyder has said A Batman Who Laugs, is a Batman who always wins.
As the story begins Batman and Superman have discovered a terrible secret, The Batman Who Laughs has infected six other DC heroes and turned them with the same type of pathogen that turned in into the monster he is today. These heroes will become the worst, nightmare versions of themselves. Some of them are aware they’ve been in infected, but are keeping it a secret and some of them have no idea. All Batman and Superman know is the only people they can trust is each other, as they desperately try to figure out which six-year-heroes have succumbed to The Batman Who Laughs’ influence.
That’s a fantastic set up for a series, but the creative team is really exciting as well Joshua Williams currently writes The Flash for DC comics and he’s cowritten two excellent miniseries that team up The Flash with Batman. The first miniseries being Batman/The Flash: The Button and the second Batman/The Flash: The Price. Williams really knows how to write Batman teaming up with another character. What made his team ups with The Flash so compelling is that Batman is the worlds greatest detective and people often forget that Barry Allen’s day job is a CSI crime scene investigator. Taking the two greatest detective superheroes in the DCU and putting them together has always been a lot of fun and I really hope they do more Batman and Flash team ups in the future. As for the art David Marquez is one of the absolute most talented and beautiful artists in the business. He first popped up on my radar when he began drying Invincible Iron Man with Brian Michael Bendis and then Civil War II also with Bendis. For the last year or so he’s been working on Jason Aaron’s Avengers series to great effect. As much is I love his work at Marvel, it’ll be really exciting to see what he does with DC characters. As you’ve seen I have some of the art and the very cool cover spread throughout this article.
This is a really great time to be a comic fan especially if you’re someone who is new to comics or maybe a lapsed reader, looking to get back into the medium. There are a lot of books like this that are easy jumping on points for new readers. It’s easier than ever to get comics through apps on your tablet or smart phone like ComiXology, but I also recommend checking out your local comic book store. Especially if you’re a new reader because they can really help you figure out the best comics to check out as a new comic book reader or someone who hasn’t been following comic books for awhile. I always say I don’t cover comic book news as much as I’d like, so when this story came down the wire, I definitely wanted to give my two cents. I know this is a must read it for me and I can’t wait until it hits the shelves in August.
In other comic book news, acclaimed writer Jonathan Hickman is making his highly anticipated return to Marvel Comics. Hickman is best known as the man behind iconic Fantastic Four and Avengers runs, as well as indie books like East Of West and Black Monday Murders. He’s returning to Marvel to spearhead a new launch and direction for the X-Men books. The above picture was the first piece of art associated with this project. His work on the X-Men will begin with two, 6-issue mini series’ House of X with artist Pepe Larraz and Powers of X with art by R.B. Silva. House of X will focus on Charles Xavier stepping into the spotlight once again to unveil his master plan for the future of the humans and mutants alike. Powers of X will focus on dark and dangerous secrets behind mutantkind and the X-Men. Powers of X will cover stories from the past, present, and future of the X-Men.
Very little is known about the direction of these books at the moment, the real draw here is writer Jonathan Hickman. Hickman has written some the best stuff to come out of Marvel in the last 25 years. His work on The Fantastic Four and The Avengers is considered to be some of the very best stories in the history of either franchise. I highly recommend picking up his FF or Avengers books available in collected editions and graphic novels. His early work at Marvel on a book called Secret Warriors is excellent as well and I definitely give it my seal of approval.
Not much is known about what Hickman has planned when the mini series’ conclude, but if his X-Men work is anything like his work on Fantastic Four or The Avengers, we should expect an epic, intricate, sweeping, ambitious story. Hickman’s run on Avengers is, by far, my favorite for the iconic super team and I can’t wait to see what he does with the X-Men franchise. Marvel is already comparing this launch to iconic X-Men milestones like Giant Size X-Men #1 and Grant Morrison‘s 1st issue of New X-Men. So clearly Marvel has big plans for Jonathan Hickman and the X-Men. House of X #1 hits shelves on 7/24/19 with Powers of X #1 on sale the following week, 7/31/19.
With Avengers: Endgame opening over the past weekend and Game of Thrones airing the long awaited and epic battle between our heroes and The Night King’s army, this has been one of the biggest weekends in pop culture history. The Infinity Saga and A Song of Ice and Fire are both reaching their epic conclusions. The already mega popular film franchise and hit television series are both coming to a close, so interest is at an all time high.
We hadn’t planned on recording a podcast for this episode of Game of Thrones. Even though it’s likely this is the biggest episode in terms of scale and battle sequences that we will ever see in the series. I can’t see them doing anything in the last three episodes that will top what we saw in episode 3 “The Long Night“. We covered the first two episodes last week and we had just posted our Avengers: Endgame review. However, as Paul Sr. and I began watching the episode, just for fun, we turned on the microphone and started recording a very, very rough and off the cuff audio commentary. It’s not nearly as smooth or polished as our other episodes because we really did this on a whim, so just consider this a bonus podcast from World’s Best Media this week.
So, if you want to listen to two idiots on the edge of their seats as they watch the biggest battle ever filmed (which is actually true and that includes feature films), give a listen to this sloppy, podcast commentary of the 3rd episode of Game of Thrones: The Final Season, “The Long Night”. I think you’ll find it pretty damn entertaining! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, Spotify and iTunes: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/17777002
Holy Fuck! Avengers: Endgame is finally here! I wanna say right up front that there will be absolutely NO SPOILERS in this article. However, we go into FULL SPOILERS in our deep dive review of Avengers: Endgame on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast! My Marvel Movie companion, Paul Sr. and I had a chance to see the movie a few days early, but we wanted to wait until at least some of our listeners had a chance to see the film, before we posted this SPOILER-RIFFIC review.
It so rare for movies to live up to the hype, but Endgame manages to surpass expectations. One of the many things fans love about comics, especially from DC and MARVEL, is the interconnected universes. You could be reading a Spider-Man comic and the X-Men or Iron Man or Daredevil would pop up. That was the ingredient that had been missing from superhero movies when the “Superhero Boom” began with movies like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Singer’s X-Men.
It seems so obvious, but it was still brilliant. I remember seeing Iron Man for the first time and being blown away that SHIELD was in the movie. It seems so small now, in retrospect, but that little addition made it feel like the Marvel Universe (It was also the first appearance of fan favorite character, Agent Phil Coulson). Then of course there’s the immortal post credits scene from the first Iron Man film, when Tony meets Nick Fury which I’ve posted here below:
Building off the incredible success of IronMan and then creating 22 films that make this beautiful tapestry of a story, is mind blowing. The fact that out of the 22 films released so far, there have been so few missteps is astonishing. Even their weakest movies, and there’s only 3 or 4 like Thor: The Dark World, are pretty good or not bad at their worst. Everything else is more less gold.
The Russo Brothers, who’ve directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and now Avengers: Endgame, absolutely stuck the landing with this movie, it’s a must see. The films directed by The Russo Brothers, Joe and Anthony, aired the 4 best films in The MCU. Who would’ve thought that guys who worked on TV shows like Community would go on to tell some of the most epic stories of our generation? For the record, I loved Community.
I think the real hero in all of this is Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios. He was not only a massive fan of the source material, but he’d seen what mistakes other Marvel superhero films had made in the past and learned from them. So when it was time for Marvel Studios to start producing their own films, he knew what he was doing and he got the right people involved to work with them. Another huge kudos goes out to Casting Director Sarah Finn, who’s worked on almost all of the films, if not all of them. With maybe one or two exceptions out of literally hundreds, each character was a flawlessly cast. We owe a lot to her work as the reason these films came out so well.
It’s finally here! The epic ending to “A Song Of Ice And Fire”! On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, Paul Sr. and I do a SPOILER filled, deep dive, breakdown of Episodes 1 & 2, “Winterfell” and “A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms”! From Game of Thrones: The Final Season! Listen here or subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/17715325
We’re in the home stretch here people! Only FOUR. MORE. DAYS!!! UNTIL AVENGERS: ENDGAME! It’s the end of a legendary film era. The Infinity Saga. As the film approaches, some beautiful new posters for Endgame have shown up. When put together, they form one very cool larger poster. Check them out:
Pretty nice, right? These posters are only being shown in some European theaters, we get the photoshopped posters here in America. The other posters for Endgame actually aren’t that bad, but movies like Endgame are special and the posters the studio puts out should reflect that. When done well, (like the ones above) movie posters can be art. Who could forget the beautiful hand painted posters for Indiana Jones or the Star Wars films by Drew Struzan?
Amazing posters can even make terrible movies more interesting. Years ago, I remember seeing the teaser poster for Tim Burton’s 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes. The movie is fucking awful, but seeing the poster that teased the incredible make up effects and the designs that hinted at a whole new world and culture we’d be seeing in the film, captured my imagination. Sadly, the film didn’t live up to the promise and intrigue of that first poster I saw…
The movie is undeniably terrible, but that is an excellent movie poster. Don’t get me wrong The MCU has definitely had some great posters (Captain America: The First Avenger comes to mind…).
Now that Avengers: Endgame is finally here, it would be great if epic movies started getting epic posters again.