WandaVision has finally premiered on Disney+, officially kicking off Phase 4 of The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Entertainment has posted this very cool video to mark the occasion. The video shows how the Phase 3 films, which begins with Captain America: Civil War and ends with Spider-Man: Far From home. The video shows how some the Phase 3 films perfectly re-create iconic images and moments from the comic books source material and put them on the big screen. Take a look:
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I wanted to wrap up my look back at last year with my top 10 Movies of 2019. On last week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, we went over our favorite TV shows of 2019. Normally, I’d devote an episode of the podcast to my favorite films of the past year, but as I mentioned on last week’s episode, with exception of some great blockbuster, superhero films, I thought 2019 was a relatively week year for movies. Still, I wanted to share my favorites with you. So without further ado, here are my Top 10 Movies of 2019…
The Death and Return of Superman
The DC Animated film was originally released in 2-parts, now the story can be watched as one film, as it was meant to be. The movie deals with the death of Superman after his devastating fight with Doomsday and how the world, his allies, and his enemies deal with the aftermath of a world without The Man of Steel. Taken as a whole, this is one of the better DC animated movies to be released in quite some time.
This was a really good year for live action DC films. SHAZAM! was very a fun superhero movie for the whole family.
Director Todd Phillips certainly does a great job creating a Gotham city filled with despair and darkness, but this film rides on the back of the mesmerizing and incredible performance of Joaquin Phoenix as titular Clown Prince of Crime.
I Am Mother
A very cool sci-fi gem about humanity and artificial intelligence where nothing is quite what it seems.
Missing 411: The Hunted
A thought provoking and chilling documentary about hundreds of unexplainable missing persons cases throughout our National Parks system. These are bizarre disappearances that have been ruled out as animal attacks, lost hikers/hunters dying of exposure, and traditional homicides or kidnappings. Good luck sleeping on your next camping trip after watching this one!
Brie Larson is great as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel alongside Samuel L. Jackson as a much younger Nick Fury. Classic Marvel Comics stories like The Kree/Skrull War make their jump to the big screen. Like Captain America: The First Avenger, I love how Marvel chose to make this a period film (which is something I’d love to see more of). Taking place almost 30 years ago, this film fills us in on some very important events in MCU history.
IT: Chapter 2
Though not quite as good as the first film, this is still an excellent film that wraps up the story of IT and the now grown friends who have vowed to put an end to the creature’s horror.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Probably the best Spider-Man film since Spider-Man 2, which is high praise (With the exception of Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse). The bar was pretty high for the film’s villain after Michael Keaton’s excellent appearance as Adrian Toomes AKA The Vulture in the last film, but Jake Gyllenhaal is more than up to the challenge as the creepy and formidable Mysterio.
John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum
Somehow these movies just keep getting better. Keanu Reeves returns as The Angel of Death, Baba Yaga, The Boogeyman himself, John Mutha’ Fucking Wick! ‘Nuff said!
C’mon, you saw this coming. Was there really ever going any other movie at number #1? The fact that after 23 films, Marvel was not only able to make an excellent movie, but also a genuinely satisfying ending to The Infinity Saga is incredible. This is one of the best superhero films ever made.
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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.
This morning Marvel dropped, what is most likely, their final Avengers: Endgame trailer. This is easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year, so I was really looking forward to doing this trailer breakdown for you guys. We’re less than a month and a half away from Endgame and after seeing Captain Marvel, I only became more hyped up! Now, with this new trailer we have another reason to be counting the days on the calendar until this baby hits theaters! But have no fear! Because I’m here to help you navigate the twists and turns of the (probably) final Avengers: Endgame trailer. In this World’s Best Podcast episode, I breakdown the trailer and give you the details on everything you need to know before seeing this movie. Such as offer up some character backstory, clarify and explain a few things, talk about influences from the comic books, some personal predictions, and get you up to speed on the status on your favorite characters (FYI A lot of them are dead)! So please enjoy the latest episode of The World’s Best Podcast! The full trailer is posted at the bottom of the page, for you’re viewing pleasure. Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
The MCU’s Phase III has been, so far, Marvel’s best set of films yet. Phase III began with Captain America: Civil War and will wrap up with this April’s Avengers: Endgame. All of Marvel’s movies have been, at the very least, solid & fun at their worst and masterpieces at the best. The current renaissance of Mavel’s flicks has largely been the result of the creation of Marvel Studios, an independent movie studio that produces and has complete control over creative choices. Kevin Fiege, the head of Marvel Studios, has bee a huge part of the MCU’s success. Disney bought Marvel a few years ago, but Marvel Studios still remains independent and free to produce films in anyway they see fit.
Don’t get me wrong there are some great movies here, some of the best in Phases I & II include:
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guadians of The Galaxy
but they don’t compared to the level of quality and experimentation that we saw in Phase III:
Capain America: Civil War
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.2
Avengers: Infinity War
Ant-Man & The Wasp
That a pretty fucking great set of movies in Phase III which culminates in Endgame. Phase IV starts with Spider-Man: Far From Home FYI.
I’m happy to say that Phases III has not disappointed us with Captain Marvel. This episode of The World’s Best Podcast is all about Captain Marvel. We are doing a deep dive review of Captain Marvel with full spoilers, so we were there. Please enjoy the show! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
First of all I feel I have to apologize yet again for being a little late in putting out our latest podcast. It’s been a busy month, but we try to get episodes of The World’s Best Podcast on a more or less weekly schedule at a minimum, if not more. So I really appreciate your patience with our unorthodox podcast release schedule over the last few weeks and I want to reassure you that the release schedule will be getting back to normal. As a small consolation, this week will see the release of not one, but TWO pretty great episodes of the Podcast (today’s episode and our Captain Marvel SPOILER-Filled Deep Dive Review)! I am particularly excited about our upcoming Captain Marvel episode! Not only because I am very psyched to see the movie, but some of the concepts and elements that we will see in this film, have the potential to open up so many different interesting possibilities for the MCU! Much in the same way Guardians of The Galaxy and Doctor Strange did.
Anyway back to today’s episode! Most excitingly, HBO FINALLY dropped a full trailer for the EPIC final season of Game of Thrones premiering on April 14. I’ve posted the trailer below if you want to check it out (As if you haven’t already watched it a dozen times 😉). Needless to say, we were super excited to talk about it and we needed to do a breakdown of the trailer right away. I really dug it, the trailer was exciting and just substantive enough, without giving too much away.
We also discuss the trailers for Dark Phoenix and Hellboy released earlier this week, we touch upon some predictions for Captain Marvel, and sadly we wrap things up on a somber note. With a tribute to the untimely passing this week of beloved actor, Luke Perry. Who was taken from us too soon, passing away at the age of 52. Despite the sad ending, as usual we had a lot of laughs recording this episode and we think you will too! So please enjoy! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
The second trailer for CaptainMarvel dropped today (meanwhile those sons of bitches over at Marvel keep cock teasing us with the Avengers 4 trailer)! It looks pretty darn good, if I do say so myself! This looks like it’s going to be a fun space adventure, leading up to the epic finale of Avengers 4.
Below I recorded a full trailer breakdown with all of the inside info on connections to the comic book source material, how this movie relates to the rest of the MCU, background on key character and story details, and much more!
All of this is pretty SPOILER FREE, despite some speculation on my part regarding where the movie might go. Unless you want to know absolutely nothing going into this film, you should be ok. You can watch the full trailer here and listen to my audio breakdown below. I’d recommend watching the trailer and then playing it again along with my audio commentary for full effect:
I’ve always been a big Entertainment Weekly fan. For a major publication, they were on the geek bandwagon way before it was as mainstream as it is now. Some of my favorite books, TV series, and so much more have been put on my radar because of EW (I never would have discovered The Dresden Files without them and what a tragedy that would be). I have digital subscription to the magazine and check out their website almost every day, they have great stuff. Presently, I would argue the magazine covers more sci-fi-fi, fantasy, comic book, and superhero content ( Y’know… “Geeky Stuff”) than any other kind of entertainment. Being so “geek friendly”, EW gets some fantastic scoops and access from companies and studios like Marvel, DC, Disney, and HBO to name a few.
Of course, Marvel decided to give us our best look yet at the upcoming Captain Marvel movie starring Brie Larson as the title character. Captain Marvel real name is Carol Danvers. The cover story of their next issue is a Captain Marvel article. As much as I would have liked to see a trailer, (fingers crossed we’ll get that soon) these pictures are cool as fuck.
As has been reported before, this movie takes place in the 90’s, so all kinds of characters are fair game that would otherwise be unavailable. Either for story reasons or because their dead. One of the coolest things revealed by EW is that even though this is an origin film, the movie starts with Carol already having gained her powers. She’s off in space working for The Kree Empire as part of a kind of alien special forces team called Starforce.
To refresh your memory, The Kree are a race of aliens we’ve seen pop up in multiple MCU projects, most notably Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of SHIELD (Surprising right? Agents of SHIELD ended up getting pretty fucking good). The Kree are blue, very technologically advanced, pretty huge pricks, and have always been fascinated by Earth and humanity. Basically thousands of years ago, The Kree experiment on a select group of humans and altered their DNA. When exposed to “ Terrigen”, a Kree chemical which can be administered as a mist or ingested, humans with Kree DNA undergo a metamorphosis that usually gives them some kind of superhuman ability. However, in some cases the metamorphosis can also change their biology so radically they no longer appear human. These individuals, anyone who went through “Terrigenesis” became know as The Inhumans. The original purpose of this was for The Kree to use these Inhumans as warrior weapons, but humans can be hard to control. The ancestors of the humans who underwent these original experiments are still alive today with Inhuman DNA. These are the people SHIELD has to deal with. Like anyone else superpowers, some of them are good some of them are bad. This is NOT how Carol Danvers gets her powers, but it is an important piece of history between The Kree and the human race.
The most prominent Kree we’ve seen on screen so far is Ronan The Accuser, the villain from the first Guardians of the Galaxy, who also died at the end of the movie (Yeah, I know spoilers, but fuck you if haven’t seen that movie yet). With Captain Marvel being set in the 90’s, Ronan will return for this film, as you can see in one of the photos below. Also returning from Guardians Vol.1 is one of Ronan’s lieutenants, Korath played by Djimon Hounsou.
Inhumans and The Kree have been a large part of Agents of SHIELD throughout the show. They were like the MCU’s answer to Mutants, which were off the table (But maybe for not much longer). Everyday, average people with Inhuman DNA who developed superpowers and the problems that come along with that. Like I said very similar to Mutants in X-Men.
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” stars Matthew Willig as Lash. (ABC/Mark Kolpack)
We also get to see Carol as an Air Force fighter pilot before she becomes Captain Marvel.
Carol’s mentor in the movie is a Kree Captain named Mar-Vell played by Jude Law. Apparently he runs the Kree Special Forces Team she’s apart of. In the comics, he’s the original Captain Marvel, so it’s really cool to see him included. He can appear more or less human.
Of course, at least some of the movie takes place on Earth. Again taking advantage of the 90’s setting, here we see a young Nick Fury. With both eyes! It might seem stupid, but I love that we’re going to get to see how he loses the eye. In one of the rare jumps from the small screen back to the big screen, none other than SHIELD agent Phil Coulson will be joining in on the fun.
Oh yeah, it’s the 90’s
Possibly my favorite picture, this gives us our first look at one of the most significant alien races in the history of Marvel Comics: The Skrull. Like The Kree, The Skrull also have always had an interest in Earth. In the comics, some Skrull believe it’s their destiny to inherit (fucking take over) the Earth. Most importantly, every Skrull is born with unparalleled shapeshifting abilities. They can become anyone and that’s what makes them so dangerous. They’re master infiltrators. It’s also worth noting that The Kree and The Skrulls have been mortal enemies for thousands of years. So it’s likely this movie will draw heavily from the classic Avengers story, “The Kree/Skrull War”.
Here we see one of The Skrull called Talos, played by Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One), in his human form as a SHIELD agent.
In the comics, Monica Rambeau is a superhero that has gone by both Photon (like the call sign on her jet) and Spectrum. The name on the plane is MARIA Rambeau. Is this the the same character or a relative? Are they setting up Spectrum for the Captain Marvel sequel?
This is Spectrum from Marvel Comics.
Everything I see about this movie gets me more excited. This looks fucking great. Now we just need a goddamn trailer!
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.