I really fucking hate that I have to keep writing about this horrible pandemic. I wanted my readers, as well as the listeners of my podcast, to come here for an escape from all the tragedy that has been brought about by this health crisis. Unfortunately, a problem on a global scale like this is going to touch virtually all aspects of life, including the film and entertainment industry. As we get closer to Summer Movie Season, film studios have had to start making hard decisions about what they’re going to do with their large summer, tentpole films that were scheduled to be hitting theaters soon.
Some companies are bumping back their films an entire year to next summer, like Sony Pictures. One of the big summer movies that I was really looking forward to was Ghostbusters: Afterlife.Sony decided to move Ghostbusters afterlife and several other of their High profile movies back to summer 2021. Some studios will choose to release certain films digitally and on streaming services, but I seriously doubt any of the very high profile movies will take that route. With Disney+ hitting over 50 million subscribers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some smaller Disney films that were scheduled to be released, popping up on Disney+ throughout the summer. Like they recently did with Pixar’s Onward.
As you might suspect, my biggest concerns were the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Fortunately, Marvel Studios has just released their new plan for rolling out their upcoming film slate. It seems like basically everything has just been bumped back by one movie. For example, Black Widow was originally scheduled to come out in May 2020 with The Eternals hitting theaters in November. Now Black Widow gets the November release date and the Eternals gets bumped to February 2021. Check it out in the image below:
Not included in the schedule above is Spider-Man 3, which currently has a release date of July 16, 2021. Marvel also officially announced Ant-Man 3, Blade, and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3, but those three films have not yet been giving official release dates. However, Marvel has movies coming out on October 7, 2022, February 17, 2023, May 5, 2023, July 28, 2023, and November 3, 2023. So the three aforementioned films will each take up one of these release dates, leaving 2 dates open for unknown movies. Could either of these dates be Fantastic Four or X-Men projects? Who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see…
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This weekend, running from August 23 to 25th, is Disney’s D23 expo. It’s a massive annual event put on by Disney, where they make announcements regarding their upcoming projects. Considering that Disney owns Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, The Simpsons and hell of a lot more, fans were expecting some big news. Particularly, Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney +. In some ways D23 is kind of like Comic-Con. With all of the spectacular, aforementioned properties that fall under Disney’s umbrella, D23 is a huge event for genre entertainment. This is something fans, as well as writers who cover this type news online (like myself), look forward to every year. Disney often uses this time to make unexpected and surprising announcements and this year they certainly didn’t disappoint!
BLACK WIDOW (Opens in theatres 5/1/2020)
New First Look Poster!
In addition to the cool new poster for the film, Marvel also debuted the first footage from their upcoming Black Widow solo movie (which unfortunately has not been leaked online… yet) The footage shows is an action sequence with Natasha fighting Yelena Belova (a character who’s also held the mantle of Black Widow). Like Natasha, Yelena was a product of Russia’s Red Room program, turning young women into super spies. But unlike Natasha, she never found any kind of redemption and became the living weapon her masters wanted her to be. It was also confirmed that David Harbour will be playing Red Guardian in this film, essentially Russia’s version of Captain America. Natasha will also have to contend with the formidable villain, Taskmaster, all the while sporting a cool looking new, white costume. Check out some other cool stuff we have posted below, like this concept art featuring Natasha squaring off against Taskmamster, photos of her new, white uniform on display…
THE ETERNALS (Opens 11/6/2020)
Of all the Marvel movies that have been announced for so far for Phase 4 this is the one think has the potential to be very cool and unique. The Eternals are a race of immortal superhuman beings created by cosmic, godlike beings called The Celestials. The Eternals protect humanity from their evil counterparts, The Deviants. The Eternals are actually the beings that humanity based the Greek gods upon. Because of their in mortality, they’re still around today. Many of whom live among regular people. The cast includes Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, and Selma Hayek.
A few days ago it was revealed that Kit Harington a.k.a. Jon Snow from Game of Thrones was joining the MCU in an undiscloosed role. Now we know exactly who he’s playing and what film he’s appearing in: Harington will be playing Dean Whitman a.k.a. The Black Knight in The Eternals.
The Black Knight is a long time Avenger who’s a direct descendant of one King Arthur’s Knights of the Roundtable. He fights with a sword called The Ebony Blade forged by Merlin himself. When he doesn’t have The Ebony Blade have he basically just uses a lightsaber (seriously). He’s an expert fighter on par with Hawkeye or Black Widow and will occasionally have enhanced strength, speed, and agility, depending on the story you’re reading. He’s actually a pretty cool Avenger. You can check out the awesome concept art by BossLogic of Harrington as The Black Knight below.
He’s most often linked to The Eternals through the character Sersi played by Gemma Chan. Sersi and Whitman have been a couple at various points in their comic book history.
BLACK PANTHER 2 (Opens 5/6/2022)
We all knew it was coming, but it’s still nice to have a release date. Kevin Feige briefly brought returning Black Panther director Ryan Coogler out on stage to announce the film’s official release date May 6th 2022.
No details on plot yet, but a lot of fans, myself included, want to see T’Challa go up against Namor The King of Atlantis. Imagine it: A war between two super advanced countries that most of the word didn’t even know existed with the monarchs of each nation being super powered badasses. It would be fucking sick! I honestly think there’s a good chance that we’ll see some version of that concept for Black Panther 2. Below I have some pictures depicting Namor and T’Challa’s rivalry and an awesome concept art poster from artist BossLogic
THE FALCON and The WINTER SOLDIER (Fall 2020 on DISNEY+)
There’s not that much new info on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but their were a few interesting tidbits. Kevin Feige brought two actors onstage. First, Emily VanCamp, to confirm that she’s returning as Sharon Carter AKA Agent 13 was (Peggy Carter’s niece). Then he introduced Wyatt Russell, who’s playing John Walker AKA U.S. Agent. In the comics U.S. Agent was conceived as a replacement for Captain America when he was presumed dead, but still frozen in the ice. I’m pretty sure he eventually goes crazy because pretty much anyone whose tried to duplicate Dr. Erskine’s super soldier formula has had things go sideways on them, usually to horrific results.
What I like about the casts and these characters is that this really feels like Captain America 4. When Captain America was killed in the comics, the book continued with characters like The Falcon, Bucky, and Agent 13 continuing Cap’s mission. Villains like Baron Zemo (who’s returning for this series) and USAgent played prominent roles. Steve Rogers may have been gone, but these were some of the best Captain America stories ever. If the show is taking inspiration from the comics, then the series is heading in the right direction. Below, you can see a leaked for photo of a promo poster for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, with Sam and Bucky both sporting new looks.
WANDAVISION (Spring 2021 on Disney+)
We still know very little about the upcoming WandaVison series on Disney+. All we’ve really heard, is that the show is a “mix between a sitcom and a superhero action epic”. Which, on the surface, seems like a weird direction for them to go in. Well, I think the series is going to be even weirder than Marvel has led us to believe. First take a look at this promo poster released for the series:
After seeing this poster for the show, I think I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. Anyone who’s been paying attention to Scarlett Witch over the last several movies, probably noticed that with each subsequent film, she gets more and more powerful. Hell, in Endgame she nearly ripped Thanos apart on her own. She probably would’ve killed him if he didn’t order his ship to start fire bombing the battle sight. In the comics, as Wanda’s power grows, her mental and emotional state begins to deteriorate. We know that this series takes place after Endgame and Vision was seemingly killed in Infinity War. I think the image of an almost 1950s “perfect family” sitcom we see in the poster, is a new life conjured into existence by Wanda. Her powers eventually get to a point she can manipulate reality itself. So what if she resurrected The Vision and decided she wanted to have a perfect suburban life with him, straight out of a cheesy old sitcom? The image also brings to mind the recent miniseries ,The Vision, by writer Tom King. In that story, Vision also heads to suburbia in an attempts to start a family of his own, meaning a wife, a son, and a daughter who are all androids just like himself. All I’ll say is is that things start to go very bad, very quickly for The Vision Family. I should also mention that this was one of the best comics Marvel has published in the 21st century. I wouldn’t be surprised if the series draws at least partially on the tragic stories in Wanda and Vision’s past. I have a feeling this series is going to be a lot darker than people expect. Which would make sense because apparently the events of this series lead right up into Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness co-starring Elizabeth Olsen. That film has been described as Marvel’s first horror movie. Also joining the cast are some other familiar faces, Randall Park who played Agent Woo in Ant-Man and The Wasp and Kat Denning who played Darcy in the first 2 Thor movies will both be joining the show. If I had to bet, I’d say that they are wacky neighbors or something, that are part of whatever twisted family situation is going on with Wanda and Vision. I could be completely wrong, but if I’m right this could be a very exciting and interesting way for the show to go.
WHAT IF? (Release Date N/A)
What If? Is the first animated project made for the MCU, with a great line up of actors from The MCU returning to play their characters from the big screen. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be playing the same version of character we know from the films. As Kevin Feige said at D23, What If ? Is “Based on a comic books series that we’ve loved for years They take a storyline that you know and change one element; and see how things could get different. Out of the 23 films that you know we’re going to make one little difference and a see how things change.” Each episode will be bookended by The Watcher (voiced by Jeffery Wright) as if he‘s presenting a What If? scenario. How seemingly small changes can have massive consequences. The Watcher, part of an ancient race of beings whose sole purpose is to bear witness, but never interfere, great change throughout the Universe. Uatu will gaze into The Multiverse and show the vast changes that can occur in a Universe if one event is changed. Some of the stories that teased in WHAT IF? were Marvel Zombies and what if Peggy Carter became Captain America. You can see a leaked image of Peggy as Captain America below.
MS. MARVEL (Release Date N/A)
Marvel made announcements about 3 additional shows coming to Disney+. The first being Ms. Marvel. Ms. Marvel aka Kamala Khan is a modern day Spider-Man in many ways. In fact, I think if MARVEL knew that their deal with Sony was going to fall apart as badly as it did, I think they may have saved Ms. Marvel for the big screen. There are big Spider-Man size shoes to fill in The MCU and she could be the perfect character to do it. She has a lot of the same qualities that people love about Spider-Man. She’s just a kid, a young girl in high school, trying to figure her life out. She’s not rich, she comes from a blue collar family. She’s a Pakistani-American Muslim living in Jersey City, protecting her neighborhood and beyond from any threat. She grew up idolizing the heroes of the Marvel Universe, especially Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel AKA the original Ms. Marvel. But since Carol has gone by Captain Marvel for years now, Kamala (with Carol’s blessing) became the new Ms. Marvel.
Like Spider-Man she’s trying to protect her friends and family while also following her destiny as a superhero. She also has a really cool power set, that we haven’t really seen yet. Kamala is an Inhuman whose powers are kind of like a combination of Reed Richards and Ant-Man/Giant Man. She calls one of her powers “embiggening “, it allows her to do things like make her hands into enormous fists and punch a whole bunch of bad guy across a room, she can grow 50 feet tall, she can also shrink and stretch her body in ways that even Reed Richards can’t. I was really hoping to get this character sooner rather than later. I think she is a fantastic superhero and she’s the perfect character in to include into the MCU now that, sadly, Spider-Man is gone.
SHE-HULK (Release Date N/A)
The next show announced by Marvel premiering on Disney+ is She-Hulk. This is a character fans have wanted to see on screen for a long time.
She-Hulk is Jennifer Walters, the cousin of Bruce Banner. When an accident almost killed her, she needed a blood transfusion and her cousin Bruce happened to be the only person who could donate. As a result she basically turns into a female version of The Hulk in Endgame. She’s still a green, super powered, powerhouse, but she doesn’t transform back-and-forth, her proportions are much more human, and she retains her intelligence at all times. She’s also a very talented lawyer. They could make it a superhero courtroom drama, maybe? There’ve been some great comics with She-Hulk, so this has the possibility to be a really good show. Let’s hope Mark Ruffalo is up for making an appearance as her more famous cousin.
MOON KNIGHT (Release Date N/A)
The last Marvel show announced was Moon Knight. Moon Knight is often described as Marvel’s Batman. But I see him more as a combination of Daredevil and The Punisher. This character has a super weird backstory that I don’t completely understand, which should show you just how weird this is, if even I don’t get it.
Most of the time, Moon Knight is former mercenary Marc Spector, who after being cursed/gifted by the Egyptian god Khonshu (because, sure why not?) becomes a brutal vigilante stalking the streets of New York. The only problem is Marc Spector has disassociative identity disorder, or multiple personalities. He’s bat shit crazy and violent as hell. This will definitely be a grittier show more in the vein of the stuff we’ve seen from Marvel on Netflix. However it will be interesting to see if they use a Moon Knights mental health problems to say something meaningful and interesting about the mental health issues that people struggle with every day.
Check back here later, when I’ll be giving a summary of all of the Star Wars news from D23!
Lastly, I wanted to include a few picture of the DISNEY+ interface when it launche. By now means a comprehensive look, it’ll give you a better idea of what to expect.
Check back here at World’s Best Media for any new D23 developments. I’ll be updating this page as The Expo continues. One last thing, which D23 presentation or announcement has you most excited? Which is the biggest draw for you: Marvel or DC? Do you plan on signing up for Disney + when it launches on November 12th? Or pare you going to wait a little while for more content to be added? Comment below or on social media. We’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting the show. We really appreciate the loyalty shown to us by World’s Best Media fans, so thanks again!
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.
I haven’t been a big fan of the Academy Awards for years now, but I must admit I was very excited when Black Panther received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. This is the first time a comic book film, a superhero film has been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Even though I don’t consider the Oscars to be the standard by which excellence in film should necessarily be judged, it’s still a great feeling of validation to a lifelong comic book fan. Not to mention that it’s all too rare to see a big budget superhero film with a predominantly black cast that, as put so well by Marc Bernardin in his Entertainment Weekly cover story, Black Panther is a movie about celebrating “Excellence”. Which is all too rare. This movie’s cultural impact cannot be understated. Even putting all of that aside, Black Panther is just a great fucking movie that absolutely deserves this recognition.
So, With Black Panther nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, on this episode we wanted to acknowledge that historic accomplishment as well as talk about other comic book films that deserved Oscar noms. We also discuss some of the upcoming DC films, like Birds of Prey. To top it all off, we try to figure out (if you could pick ANY character from ANY comic book universe) who would have the best chance in a face off against Thanos with The Infinity Gauntlet! All this and so much more on this episode of “The World’s Best Podcast”! Enjoy! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
With the sad passing of Stan Lee earlier this week, I wanted to offer personal reflection on this incredible storyteller and the impact he’s had on the lives of so many people. I felt the loss of Stan Lee like a kick in the gut. The characters he’s created have helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and inspired me to be a better man. Thank you for listening to my brief tribute to a creator that meant a great deal to me. My hope is that you’ll hear something that will resonate with you in some small way. Thanks again. Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
Welcome back to Part 2 of my Fall Comic Book Preview! In Part 1, we looked at some of the notable and interesting comics and graphic novels coming from DC Comics this fall, today we’ll be looking some of the big comics being put out by Marvel in the coming weeks and months. There’s a lot of cool stuff coming out of the “House of Ideas” (one of Marvel’s long time nicknames) before the end of 2018. Including a comic book miniseries marking the 20th Anniversary of Marvel’s Marvel Knights imprint, shown in the article’s banner image above. The comic, Marvel Knights: 20th, will by written by Donny Cates and here’s an awesome cover for one of the issues from the project:
Below are just a few books that stuck out to me as being interesting and note worthy. However, these are only a few of the cool books coming out from Marvel soon, so make sure to keep your eyes open…
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: David Marquez, Andy Kubert, Ed McGuinness
Release Date: 11/14/18
In a massive milestone, Avengers has reached its landmark 700th issue. Jason Aaron is one of Marvel’s best writers, currently with one of the most interesting Avengers rosters in years on his kick ass Avengers title. Second only to perhaps Jonathan Hickman, Aaron excels at telling long, epic stories that pay off big time for loyal readers. With a milestone like issue #700, you can believe that this book will not only include some great Avengers nostalgia, but probably set up some big things to come for the series. Plus, you can’t beat that killer line up of artists working on this issue, so you can bet it will look fantastic.
As a cool side note, leading up to issue #700 The Avengers will be going up against The Submariner himself Namor!
Namor often plays the bad guy more than the good guy, so whenever he shows up sparks fly. Especially considering his longtime rivalry with current Avengers chair person, T’Challa: The Black Panther… Extermination
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Release Date: (Issues #1-2 Now Available) Issue #3 On Sale 9/26!
This miniseries has largely served the purpose of wiping the slate clean in the world of the X-Men. Ending many of the stories of the past few years for a new beginning. Most likely in an attempt to bring in new readers. The first few issues have been solid. This is the book to check out if you’re a lapsed X-Men fan looking for a place to jump back on the book.
Fantastic Four #5/ Fantastic Four: Wedding Special
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Adam Hughes, Mike Allred, Aaron Kuder, Laura Braga
Release Date: Fantastic Four: Wedding Special 12/12
Fantastic Four #5 12/26
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Benjamin J. Grimm and His longtime girlfriend Alicia Masters are finally getting married. But what is a superhero wedding, especially a Fantastic Four wedding, without some crazy super villains crashing the party or some other catastrophic event making things more complicated for the happy couple and the rest of “Marvel’s First Family”? So far Dan slots re-launch of Fantastic Four has been pretty excellent so I definitely recommend checking this one out. Gail Simone will co-write the Wedding Special issue along with Slott. Plus, Johnny throwing Ben a bachelor party is worth the price of admission alone.
The Return of Wolverine
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Steve McNiven
Release Date: Issue #1 On Sale Now!
This 5 Part miniseries marks the inevitable return of the one true Wolverine. C’mon did anyone think for a second that he wouldn’t be back within a few years or less? The problem is that he never really left. With Old Man Logan running around I The present day with the X-Men and Laura Kinney aka X-23 taking up the mantle of Wolverine, we never really felt the absence of the character. Another problem has been how his return has been handled. We had 4 tie in miniseries under the umbrella of “The Hunt For Wolverine”, setting up his return in the main “The Return of Wolverine” miniseries. Seems like a lot of money and time for readers to invest just to read the “The Return of Wolverine”. Having said that, I really enjoyed “The Death of Wolverine“ storyline miniseries a few years ago by Charles Soule and Steve McNiven. So at the very least, regardless of how you feel about the handling of deaths and resurrections in superhero comic books, I will bet “The Return of Wolverine” will at least be pretty entertaining.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Javier Garron
Release Date: Dec 2018
When Brian Michael Bendis moved on from Marvel to work over at DC, many fans wondered what the future held for some of the beloved characters Bendis created while working at Marvel. Like Miles Morales, Riri Williams, and Jessica Jones. Fortunately they’re all continuing on with new series’ from new writers and artists. Miles Morales is arguably the most influential, fan favorite character Bendis created while at Marvel (with the possible exception of Jessica Jones). Fortunately, Miles will live on in a new series, marking the first time the character starred in his own book not written by Bendis. Miles is one of my favorite Marvel characters and I really hope we get to see him in the MCU someday. I’m excited to see what a writer besides Bendis does with a solo book focused on Miles. This a character with limitless potential, so I’m excited to see someone else take a stab at my personal favorite Spider-Man (I know, I know let the hate mail flow in…).
Speaking of Riri Williams, Ironheart will be getting her own ongoing series from writer Eve Ewing in November. I’m also a big Ironheart fan, so this looks like it’s definitely going to be a book to grab as well.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Release Date: 10/17/18
Jason Aaron’s Thor run has consistently been one of the best books in the comic book industry for the last several years. One of the brilliant thing is Aaron has done in his epic Thor story is show Thor at vastly different points in his life. Including my personal favorite, Old King Thor. In the present, Thor continues to fight in The War Of Realms. A massive conflict across all ten realms spearheaded by Malekith The Accursed.
As has been the case throughout Aaron’s run, we look forward to the end of time, where All Father Thor and his 3 granddaughters have restored a long desolate Earth, including creating new human life. Thor is a very benevolent and hands on God to his people. Unfortunately the universe is dying, even the afterlife is gone. SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THOR#1-5 (2018)!!!!!!!
As Thor searches the cosmos for any kind of flicker of hope that the Universe can be rekindled, he encounters a Phoenix possessed Wolverine! While Old King Thor is initially thrilled to see his old ally, he quickly realizes that the Logan he knew had long ago been consumed by The Phoenix and a Universe shaking battle ensues. During the fight, Wolverine tells Thor he shouldn’t have restarted life on Earth. Earth’s time was done and there are far worse things than The Phoenix Logan out there.
At which point, we cut back to Earth where a large spaceship has arrived. The Dragon, Fin Fang Foom and other old school Marvel monsters proclaim Earth’s destruction, but Thor’s granddaughters make easy work of them. Unfortunately, they’re not the terrible force Logan alluded to. Fin Fang Foom says he is but a herald for his omnipotent master…DOOM! At which point an all powerful DOOM descends from his ship and we see in addition to his normal powers, he’s wielding the powers of Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Starbrand, and Ghost Rider!
The next chapter in the ongoing saga of Old King Thor will continue in Thor #6 released on 10/17, with Old King Thor and Old Man Phoenix facing off again DOOM!
Issue #7 returns the series focus to present day Thor.
Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of my Fall Comic Book Preview!
I finally saw Ant-Man and The Wasp yesterday, and I realized something, Hope Van Dyne is my favorite female character in the MCU. Realizing that made me reflect on the role of women in the MCU.
It’s been pretty well discussed among critics and fans that for a while the MCU had a female problem. Despite Black Widow having been introduced in the third (of 20 so far) MCU films, she took a long time to gain prominence in screen time, or plot relevance (I’m not sure we’ve even seen her have more screen time or relevance to the story, than anyone but Hawkeye). Fans were asking for a Black Widow film, and Marvel Studios’ response was something along the lines of “when it’s right we’ll do it”. which at the time probably felt like a cop-out, but they were having the same complaints made about having a non-white main character and they were giving the same response. At the time, it really felt like the MCU had a diversity problem, but in fairness they tried to address the problem. They quickly began to introduce characters like Sam Wilson as the Falcon, Rhodey to be War Machine/Iron Patriot started to have a larger role and more screen time, they added Scarlett Witch to the team, for example. Many argued this was a half measure, they were all secondary characters and not a solution to the problem. They were definitely steps in the right direction and they filled in some gaps. It was very clear that women and non-white males needed to be the titles characters of their own movies.
The MCU started using crossovers and the team films to be able to add new characters, layer their universe, and make it more three dimensional. In Civil War, we were introduced to the MCU version of Spider-Man and finally Black Panther. Pretty quickly, it was clear that both would be getting their own films, but the MCU as a single cohesive piece was more important, so they tend not to rush into things and it payed off.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was a big success, but Black Panther was a cultural phenomenon. Black Panther showed us that the MCU could handle a film with a non-white main character, a majority non-white cast, and come out with a critical and box office smash. Black Panther not only stood on its own two feet, but it absolutely crushed the competition. The two most prominent white characters are played by Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman. Both are well established actors, but they’re certainly not mega-stars like Tom Cruise or Matt Damon.
The second crucial thing Black Panther did, was almost double the MCU’s roster current of important, strong female characters. Prior to this what did we have? Scarlett Witch, is a decent character, but I personally don’t think she’s nearly as fleshed out as she could be. Black Widow, tends to be used more in her relationship with which ever male hero needs her (i.e. in Winter Soldier with Cap, or in Age of Ultron with Bruce/Hulk). Pepper? I think we’re all honestly surprised when Pepper pops up for a cameo anymore, but really she isn’t much more fleshed out than Friday. Jane Foster, might have been a good addition, except it seems that Natalie Portmant doesnt have much interest in playing Jane Foster anymore. So that’s not entirely the fault of the MCU. The only two pre-Black Panther characters that seemed to be totally realized and fleshed out female characters were Gamora and Hope Van Dyne. In Ant-Man, Hope is the most capable character, the main character arc belongs to Scott Lang.
In Black Panther, we got three really great female characters in; Shuri (who is strong willed, intelligent, competitive, funny); Nakia who almost forces T’Challa to play the ‘fawning love-interest’ character due to her commitment to bettering Africa and the world; and Okoye who is one of the fiercest normal humans in the MCU. Would you want to fight Okoye? Do you think you could outsmart Shuri on literally anything? Do you have more compassion for any group of people than Nakia does? They’re all incredible, and while they have their ‘defining’ attributes, they’re not only those things. Shuri is funny, and brave. Nakia is in love with T’Challa, but refuses to let that be her guiding principal. Okoye, despite being a total bad-ass is also a loving girlfriend/wife (they don’t really say) who also stands up to her love when he is on the wrong side.
Black Panther pushed us further toward the MCU ‘sweet spot. Now we have Ant-Man and The Wasp and it’s the first time in the MCU that a woman is one of the title characters. The Wasp does not disappoint. She’s the most bad-ass fighter in the film, she totally shows up Ant-Man and even the pseudo-villain Ghost. She’s a dedicated, intelligent woman trying to be reunited her mother.
Something Hope/Wasp and the women of Black Panther manage to do, is balance the characters between being what we want in super-heroes while not removing their femininity. They also don’t play on any female stereotypes or tropes. We don’t see any of the female characters being played as ’emotionally erratic,’ while also not playing them off as unfeeling. It’s a hard balance that Hollywood in general has difficulty was and the MCU has done pretty well avoiding those pitfalls. Which is really impressive considering that so far, all the directors in the MCU has been mad.
So what do I want to see when it comes to females in the MCU? That leads us to Captain Marvel. For Captain Marvel, we’re going to get our first female (solo) title character. We’re also going to get our first female director (co-director, but to be fair, Anna Boden has directed all of her films with her husband Ryan Fleck). I really want Captain Marvel to be great. I want it to be as great as Black Panther and a game changer in the same way Black Panther was. I want Captain Marvel to be an amazing character with depth, but also a total bad-ass. The DCEU had their only smash success to date with Wonder Woman because it’s a genuinely good film. I hope Captain Marvel is at least as good (perhaps with a better villain). Because Captain Marvel will not have the momentum of being the first like Wonder Woman was, but it does need to be successful. One of the major takeaways from Black Panther and Wonder Woman was that people respond to diversity in their entertainment. However, if a movie like Captain Marvel fails, Hollywood probably won’t learn the right lesson from it. They won’t say “oh Captain Marvel sucked, let’s try a Black Widow film instead!”, they’re more likely to say “oh maybe Wonder Woman was an anomaly and the audiences don’t really want female lead superhero movies.” It’s bullshit logic, but as I’ve written before Hollywood almost always learns the wrong lessons.
If Captain Marvel has some great action set pieces and the character is as well developed and well acted as Hope Van Dyne, Okoye, Nakia, Shuri, and Gamora, I think they’ll have a hit on their hands. If that happens Hollywood will do more to replicate it. The MCU has done a great job creating this universe and I’m confident that Captain Marvel will not be an exception to that rule. I know I’m really excited.
Because, honestly? I love watching great women characters, especially when they kick ass. That’s so much more interesting to me than the damsel in distress. I don’t know maybe I’m not ‘alpha’ enough, but something I find attractive (not just on a romantic/sexual level, but attractive in a friend, or in my wife, or when I’m proud of my sister ) is characters/people who have passion. It’s what we admire about male characters right? You love that Tony Stark is pursuing (albeit awfully) the betterment of human kind through science, or that Captain America is passionate about the ideals of freedom and what America is supposed to be. Why wouldn’t we look for the same in our female characters? I never understood that.
So, what I want to see, is an excellent Captain Marvel movie, and if there is a love interest, I hope it’s not shoe-horned in. After that, I hope that Captain Marvel opens us up to more female lead films in the MCU. I’m patient, I know it won’t be overnight, but with a few more hits in Phase Four, and then they’ll be on a roll.
Like destiny and Thanos, it’s finally here… Avengers: Infinity War! So on this episode of “The World’s Best Podcast”, Paul Sr. and I have a FULL SPOILER discussion/Review of Marvel’s ultimate crossover event. This movie is fucking EPIC! This movie is a gift to all the Marvel fans who stayed with this franchise since Samuel L. Jackson told Tony Stark about The Avengers Inititive in the first Iron Man film . We discuss ALL the juicy details so make sure you check out the movie before listening to the podcast. Because this film fucking delivers big time! I hope you enjoy this episode, listen here or subscribe on iTunes:
You can buy the “Infinity Gauntlet” graphic novel here at our Amazon Affiliate link, which helps support the site, here:
Avengers: Infinity War is coming out in just a couple weeks, and it will very likely dominate the Box Office, this isn’t surprising, and if you’d asked someone a year or two ago, they’d have known then that it was likely. Right? Here is what was unlikely, but is now seeming incredibly likely:
Black Panther, will still be in the top 10 spots at the Box Office when Infinity War comes.
Never before, have we seen two MCU films (I’m not sure we’ve ever seen two films of the same franchise in general) dominate the box office at the same time, but we’re about to. So I wonder what this means for both films.
In case you’re unaware, Black Panther has not only been raking in more money on a week to week basis than almost any other film since it’s release, but it has been moving in on the all time earners. As of this past weekend, it took down Titanic, as the #3 earner domestically of all time. It currently stands at #10 globally of all time (not taking inflation into account), and is only $32 million from the #9 spot, and $41 million from the #8 spot, which when you’re looking at the fact that it made $8 million last week, seem a plausible outcome.
One thing, that I think could happen as Infinity War looms over us, is that I think it is possible, that Black Panther gets a resurgence in the week or so prior to Infinity War, after all, if you’re an MCU fan, and there’s a chance to watch the previous film in theaters, then the following day/week/whatever watch the most current, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll take that. Will it be some massive swell that pushes Black Panther to the #1 spot on either the domestic or global lists? It seems unlikely (the domestic record is Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $936 million, to Black Panther’s $665 million; globally, Avatar has the record at $2.78 billion, while Black Panther is currently at $1.3 billion) but that doesn’t matter, because it’s potentially going to change a lot of things about how films are made. It bought legitimacy for so many different aspects that may have been overlooked before.
On the other hand, how will Black Panther affect Infinity War at the Box Office? My guess, is that it will help it. From the trailer, it appears that Wakanda is going to play a major role in the film, as well as including multiple characters from Black Panther in addition to the title character. If people loved Black Panther, they’re getting a sequel of sorts, while it’s still in theaters, and I think that will translate to big Box Office numbers, in addition to the fact that the previous 2 Avengers films have both ranked higher than BP so far in the global market, and let’s face it, whether it’s a good film or not, it’s got EVERYTHING, and so this film would have to be absolutely atrocious to not do amazing numbers in the Box Office.
Ultimately, if I’m wrong, and Infinity War somehow kills Black Panther’s momentum, it’s already done so well that it hardly matters, on the other hand, I do think that Infinity War could potentially hurt some of the films coming out in the month or two afterwards. Whether you think Solo is going to be good or not, Disney’s kind of taking a risk putting it a month after Infinity War. I do think Deadpool 2 is far enough away that it should be able to be successful regardless of the shadow that Infinity War casts (either way, chances are Josh Brolin has a good few months).