At this point, I’m sure most of you know that actor Chadwick Boseman tragically passed away a few days ago at the age of 43, after a long bout with colon cancer. Everyone processes death and grief differently, but following the death of a celebrity that I like, I’m usually surprised and I think something like “Well, that really unfortunate. I’m sorry to see them go“. But on the rare occasions, there are celebrity deaths that genuinely upset me. Unfortunately, Chadwick Boseman’s death has been one of them. The last time I felt something real after the passing another of a public figure like this was when Robin Williams died. I’m in my mid-30s and I feel like, to a lot of people in my generation, Robin Williams was a real cultural icon growing up. Williams starred in some of the most important films of my formative years. The fact that Chadwick Boseman, whose career was almost just getting started, can hit me as hard as the death of an icon and legend like Robin Williams speaks to exactly how special Chadwick Boseman really was.
Obviously, I’m a massive comic book fan and I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the characters I most wanted to see on the big screen was Black Panther, he’s always been one of Marvel’s most interesting and compelling characters. Even though he has cool superhuman abilities and bad ass tech at his disposal, he isn’t fascinating because of his extraordinary powers. In fact, he’s one of the relatively weaker Avengers, at least when it comes to his power set. But like Batman in the DC Universe, Black Panther is arguably the most dangerous man alive in the Marvel Universe. Black Panther, or King T’Challa, is unique among other superheroes. Not only does he protects the world as an Avenger (and often the leader of The Avengers at that), but he’s also a king, who rules the most technologically advanced society on the planet. He’s a genius on par with Tony Stark or Bruce Banner. He’s the guy who would make the tough calls when the shit really hit the fan. However, there was always an innate compassion and humanity to the character that added a whole additional layer of heroic depth.
Marvel found the perfect actor to embody this character in Chadwick Boseman. The actor perfectly portrayed T’Challa’s brilliance as a tactician and warrior. He was regal and he carried himself with all of the strength and dignity that was necessary to bring this incredible figure to life. Boseman has already given us so much from this character to look back on and enjoy. I was extremely excited to see what he and Marvel were going to do with the character next.
Of course, Chadwick Boseman’s performance as Black Panther had a whole other meaning to millions of people around the world, that I can never understand. It cannot be understated how culturally important Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther was to people of color all over the world. There had never been a superhero movie like Black Panther, with a black lead, an almost entirely black cast , and a black crew behind the camera. I’ve heard so many people say that both Chadwick Boseman and King T’Challa were both role models to so many children around the world. I believe with all my heart that stories give people hope, they show them what they can be, and what they can achieve. With the wrong actor it might not have worked, but Chadwick Boseman was simply the man for the job. Clearly, off screen he was a man of incredible character and integrity. He radiated confidence, poise, grace, and humility. Through his incredible talent he was able to play characters as different as Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, and King T’Challa. It was nothing short of extraordinary that he brought so many important figures from black culture to life, even the fictional ones. The tragedy of his death is that Chadwick Boseman was just getting started. He was one of the greats in the making. More importantly, he seemed like a genuinely wonderful human being and the world is a little less bright without him in it. I think we can take solace in the fact that, in his all too short time on Earth, he touched billions of lives for the better. How few people can say that? To do all of it while he was fighting cancer showed his indomitable courage. The worst of this disease hit him during his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he still gave us one of the most memorable characters, in a series of films with dozens of iconic characters. He truly stood out among the pack. To do all of this, while going through what he did, is incredibly brave. Chadwick Boseman showed us all how stories can change the world. That will be his legacy. Wakanda forever.
“Reed Richards: T’Challa, if this doesn’t work… If we fail, then that will mean this is the end, and… Black Panther: And then I will see you on the other side, my friend. Trust me. Death is just a different kind of journey… To the land that I am King.” – Secret Wars #7 (2015)
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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!
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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.
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:
It first started around The Avengers. We had Loki light up the screen as one of cinema’s great big bads. Then Iron Man 3 came along with Aldrich Killian and “The Mandarin” (Which I actually thought was a smart way to deal with a potentially problematic villain). Maleketh in Thor: The Dark World was the nail in the coffin. The internet declared: “MARVEL HAS BAD VILLAINS!” Villains like Ronan The Accuser from Guardians of The Galaxy sealed the deal: Marvel has one dimensional, forgettable villains.
After seeing Marvel’s excellent new film, Black Panther, with two very different, but fantastic in different ways. I got to thinking about the villains in PHASE 3 and not only doe each film in Phase 3 has at least 1 great villain, but I’d like to argue that the entire premise that Marvel has weak villains is BULLSHIT!
But I’ll get back to that… First of BIG SPOILERS FOR ALL MCU FILMS SO FAR INCLUDING BLACK PANTHER! Like I said, Black Panther has two great villains. First, there’s Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw who we first saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Klaw is the “fun” villain. He’s got his awesome laser canon arm, blowing shit up. He’s laughing, having a good time. This is a guy who knows how to enjoy being an arms dealer in a world of aliens, gods, and superheroes. I often hate when villains “chew the scenery”, but when it’s done well like Serkis does here, it’s a blast to watch.
Then we have Michael B. Jordan as Eric Killmonger. I love Michael B. Jordan, so I was psyched when he was cast in Black Panther, but he’s so likable I just didn’t see him as a villain. He’s the type of guy I saw more as a hero than a villain. Man, was I wrong. Killmonger in this movie is NOT. FUCKING. AROUND. He’s a vicious, focused, terrifying motherfuker.
The scene when he faces T’Challa in The Falls for The Throne, you get the sense that T’Challa doesn’t really know what he’s dealing with. This is a man on a fucking mission. It was here where Killmonger reminded me of another great Phase 3 Marvel villain: Zemo. Zemo is the villain in Captain America: Civil War. He’s easy to forget because there’s so much dramatic eye catching stuff in that film. Zemo, like Killmonger when he faces T’Challa is just a man, not a god. But in Civil War, Zemo wins. He breaks The Avengers. The beauty of it, is what breaks The Avengers apart is the truth that Zemo exposes, their own lies and their own actions. Daniel Bruhl plays it perfectly. A grim man, on a grim mission.
On the Cosmic side of things we have the excellent Cate Blanchett as the best Thor villain, Hela (because at this point is Loki even really a villain?). She was charismatic, funny at times and she made you see a much darker side of Odin. I also think she could be the most powerful Marvel villain we’ve seen so far. I do not think we’ve seen the last of her, either. We don’t really see her die and in the comics one of the reasons Thanos is trying to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet is to impress the “thing” he loves, Death. In the comics, there’s an actual female personification of Death that Thanos is madly in love with. I think instead of trying to introduce a new character into an already massive cast, they’ll make Hela the object of Thanos’ affection. She kinda, sorta, basically is Death anyway. So that’s my theory.
Staying on the Cosmic side of the MCU, there’s Peter Quill’s extremely shitty father, Ego The Living Planet. Played perfectly by Kurt Russell, he never actually lies to Peter. He definitely omits very important facts, but he never outright lies. He’s the perfect space Dad! Except for the fact that he gave Peter’s mom a brain tumor. That’s a deal breaker. Before this big reveal, there are several smaller bad guys in the movie, but Kurt Russell is so disarming I found myself wondering who the hell the main villain for the movie was. So it’s real sucker punch when he reveals he planted the tumor that killed Peter’s mom. Tim Cuff, one of the site contributors thought Ego was his favorite MCU Villain. And what comic book fan didn’t love seeing the big face on The Planet when Rocket and Yondu are in orbit. Speaking of Yondu… FUCK! That’s the most heart breaking death we’ve seen in the MCU so far. “He may have been your father, boy. But I was your Daddy.” Goddammit it gets me every time!
Then we have my personal favorite from Phase 3 and maybe the whole MCU, Adrian Toomes (they never actually called him The Vuture in the movie) played by the absolutely fucking legendary Michael Keaton. The film opens days after the Chitauri Invasion, Toomes is a blue collar contractor and he and his crew are contracted by the city to help clean up the Chitauri tech left over from the invasion of New York, but are fucked over by the government and Stark Industries when they create a government division to handle these things called “Damage Control”. Keaton almost steals the whole movie. He’s super menacing, but clearing he’s a normal, loving, husband and father. He’s kind of the anti-Tony Stark, he has the high tech Vulture suits he uses for heists, he’s blue collar, Tony’s silver spoon.
Man, the scene Peter shows up at Liz’s to pick he up for the dance and Toomes, who we now realize is Liz’s dad, is my favorite sequence in the movie. In the car on the way to the dance, the way Keaton plays Toomes slowly realizing this kid is Spider-Man is phenomenal. Keaton is so fucking good in this role, I hope he pops up in future movies.
What makes a fantastic villain is that they think they’re the hero of the own story. That seems to be a common trend here with the Phase 3 villains. Several of the villains I’ve listed are ones that we easily sympathize with. Or maybe even think are right? When you find yourself siding with a villain more than the hero, an interesting story is being told. Killmonger, Zemo, Toomes, and even Hela to an extent all have very legitimate reasons for their actions.
Now the only outlier in Phase 3 is Doctor Strange. A very good movie, a solid origin flick, but the villain, Kaicillius, is pretty bland. It’s its cool seeing Strange facing down Dormammu in the final act, he’s more of a force of nature than a villain.
So, with the exception of Doctor Strange, it think I’ve made a pretty solid argument that the Marvel Phases 3 villains are pretty great. But I also said that I didn’t think Marvel even had a villain problem in the first place. So let’s quickly go through Phase 1 & 2 and it’s villains. I’m going to rate the quality of the villains themselves, NOT the movies:
The one that started it all. In more ways than one. It started the unfortunate “villain just being an evil version of the hero” trend. But it’s not a total loss, Jeff Bridges is fun in the role. The irony is that he’s more menacing as Obadiah Stane than he is when he’s in the Iron Monger suit. Also, what the fuck is his endgame once he gets the suit on? I also give them a bit more credit with this being their first film and they’re still finding their footing.
Villain: Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger
The Incredible Hulk
The lost, red headed step child of the MCU. Here we have The Abomination and General Ross. When it come to Ross, his reasoning for hating the Hulk/Banner so much is, here’s a badass military man who’s always in control and has never been afraid of a damn thing in his life. Then he’s there for the birth of The Hulk, an unstoppable monster that makes him completely helpless. For the first time in his life, he felt fear and The Hulk put it there. He want’s to kill the thing that put fear into him. He’s terrified of The Hulk and that’s why he hunts him with such vigor. He’s like Ahab, kind of. Ross of course pops up like a shit that just wont flush in Civil War.
Then there’s Tim Roth’s Abomination. There’s something to be said for seeing The Hulk just tear it the fuck up against his most monstrous and physically powerful adversary. Their fight through Harlem is fun, CGI madness. Like Ross, Emil Blonsky has the unique motivation of a military man. A man past his physical prime, who knows if he had the physical ability he had 20 years ago with the skills and tactical knowledge he’s learned since, he’d be a force to be reckoned with. Which leads to the series of events that turn him into The Abomination. He tries to become something like Captain America, but he turns himself into a monster instead. It’s important to remember that in the MCU the secret to creating super soldiers like Captain America died with the scientist who invented the procedure. People have been trying to perfect it for decades but . Captain America was the only real success, usually People end up with something more like the abomination. I actually think these are 2 pretty underrated and interesting villains .
Once Hulk beats The Abomination into submission, alive and unconscious, he just takes off! What the fuck were they gonna do if he woke up? It’s not like they have a prison cell designed to hold something like The Abomination just on hand, because I think they have a half hour TOPS before this fucking thing wakes up! They don’t make it clear here, but in the comic, unlike The Hulk, he doesn’t change back to a man. He’s a giant fucking death monster permanently (something tells me he’ll be cool with it). Then again maybe Ross does have something ready to go because he had JUST captured The Hulk. This is a dangerous fucking situation is all I’m saying!
There are actually several other interesting loose ends in this movie. Like how the post credit scene with Ross and Stark in the bar at the end of the film doesn’t make sense, because in the larger context of the MCU because they were still trying to figure out what the MCU would be. But they retconned it in the Marvel One-Shot “The Consultant”.
Then there’s Tim Blake Nelson as Dr. Samuel Sterns who was helping Bruce to find a cure. He helps Blonsky make the final transformation into The Abomination. During the procedure he get a cut on the head and the Hulk’s blood drips into the wound. From there his head begins to bubble and grow.
Clearly this was meant to set up Hulk villain, The Leader. In the comics, Sterns’ transformation makes him super intelligent and he ends up looking something like this:
We never see hide nor hair from this guy again anywhere in the MCU so presumably he’s out there up to no good. Or he got hit by a bus…
Villain: General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
Villain: Emil Blonsky/ The Abomination
Iron Man 2
Everybody shits on this movie, but I like it a lot. I agree Mickey Rourke is another shitty “evil version of the hero” villain. He’s actually the least interesting villain in that category. But Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer FUCKING. RULES. He is so fucking fun to watch in this movie. Here’s a guy who desperately wants to be Tony Stark, but just can’t quite pull it off. When it comes to villains, he saves this flick.
Villain: Ivan Vanko/Whiplash
Villain: Justin Hammer
Captain America: The First Avenger
When people first started talking about the “MCU Villain Problem”, I was like do you have fucking amnesia?! What about The Red Skull? They absolutely nail him. THIS is The Red Skull of the comics. Plus, Hugo Weaving playing Werner Herzog playing The Red Skull? Fucking genius ( This is true by the way, Weaving largely based The Red Skull on Herzog). The make-up effects are fantastic. This is a great Marvel villain, people. Also, to this day I’m certain he didn’t actually die at the and of the movie. He’s holding the Tesseract, The Space Stone, I just think he was transported across the galaxy and I’ve been waiting to see him return since. I’ve heard the Hugo Weaving isn’t too keen on reprising the role, but he’s already covered in The Red Skull make up, I’m sure there are plenty of great actors to fill his shoes. I could see them maybe bringing him back in Avengers: Infinity War, so we shall see
Villain: The Red Skull
Thor/ The Avengers
I’m going to skip right over Thor and Avengers because we all know Loki is the man.
Iron Man 3
Here’s Marvel’s first big standalone after The Avenger and they were scared people wouldn’t want to see the heroes apart now that we’d see the best of the best. They were wrong to be worried. This was a huge hit for Marvel. Unlike many people, I don’t hate “The Mandarin Twist”. Which was, as I said before a clever solution to a potentially problematic villain. The Mandarin was nothing but a pathetic rip off of the much better DC villain Ras Al Ghul. It’s hard to argue that Ben Kingsley is a great in the role. He sells the idea of The Mandarin as a terrorist and then is really fun to watch when we realize he’s just a drug addled British actor. For The Mandarin purists out there the last Marvel One-Shot “All Hail The King” should help to alleviate the pain.
Villain: The Mandarin
Grade: Guy Pierce – C-/ Ben Kingsley – B-
Thor: The Dark World
Malekith is the real lowest of the low. The blandest, most uninteresting Marvel villain in the MCU’s weakest film. It’ a shame because Christopher Eccelston played one of the most terrifying villains of all time as Raymond Calitri in Gone in Sixty Seconds (That’s kind of an inside joke, which I shouldn’t do). Fortunately there’s nowhere to go but up for both the MCU and the Thor movies. This is BY FAR the worst Marvel villain from any of the films.
Villain: Malekith The Accursed
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I’m reluctant consider The Winter Soldier a villain in this film because he’s kind of more of a victim than anything else. Yes, he does some terrible things, but when I think of this film I don’t think of him as a villain. He’s Bucky, a hero in his own right and Cap’s friend turned brainwashed assassin. Ultimately he’s a very scary and effective human weapon for HYDRA. The fact that there are this many layers to the “villain” of the film speaks to how good both the movie and the character are.
Then we have the great Robert Redford who’s excellent as Alexander Pierce, one of the heads of HYDRA. Having one of the great American actors play a HYDRA agent who has infiltrated the highest levels of SHIELD is so fucking cool. This a role he could have easily phoned in, but he puts in a fantastic performance. Like all great villains, at certain points he kind of has you seeing where he’s coming from. I think this film is the moment when the geeks truly inherited the earth, when with his dying breath Robert Redford whispers “Hall Hydra“.
We also have Rumlow AKA CROSSBONES as a solid piece of shit, soldier villain. Who we get to see again as Crossbones in Civil War. I think he’s the perfect muscle in this film to the brain that is Alexander Pierce.
Villain: The Winter Soldier
Villain: Alexander Pierce
Villain: Brock Rumlow AKA Crossbones
Guardians of the Galaxy
Here we have another pretty generic space villain. Very one dimensional. He wants to kill everyone on the planet Xandar because the Kree…something… ancient blood feud… something, something. Don’t get me wrong, Ronan is NOT a very good villain, but I kind of like him. He’s got a cool look. He’s light years better than Malekith, the last generics space villain we got. And call me out for drinking the Marvel Koolaid, but I love when he has to go get chewed out by Thanos. The whole thing had a very Darth Vader and The Emperor feel. Always a plus
Villain: Ronan The Accuser
Grade: C+ (That’s probably too high a score, but I like this guy for some reason)
Ant-Man continues the classic Marvel problem of the villain being an evil version of the hero. We also have the reverse Iron Man with the young buck trying to take the company away from old Michael Douglass’s Hank Pym. In Iron Man it was the older guy trying to steal the company. A lot of been there, done that here. Sure, the Yellowjacket suit is cool and Ant-Man has one of the best third acts of any Marvel film, but this just ain’t gonna cut it villain-wise.
Villain: Darren Cross AKA Yellowjacket
Avengers: Age of Ultron
I wanted to save this for last, even though technically Ant-Man came out after this film. I think Ultron is by far the most underrated villain in the MCU. James Spader plays him perfectly as this twisted reflection of Tony Stark. His “birth” scene, when he reveals himself to The Avengers in that Frankenstein’s Monster version of Stark’s drones, is creepy and memorable in the best ways. He’s a legitimate threat to the Avengers, which can be difficult. To be fair he should have been more of a “HOLY FUCK, HOW ARE WE GOING TO BEAT THIS UNSTOPPABLE BADASS WHO’S 10 STEPS AHEAD OF US?!!” Villain. But I think what we got really worked. Ultron isn’t Skynet. He’s not a cold, unfeeling machine. He wants to be human, but his emotions are all fucked up. He doesn’t understand why people can’t see what he’s trying to do for them.
To Ultron, Earth NEEDS an extinction level event so the surviving humans will become stronger. As Ulron says to the twins “As soon as the Earth settles, God throws a stone and believe me he’s winding up.” I think he’s talking about Thanos here. I don’t think he knew specifically what it was, but he new something big and bad was heading our way and we weren’t ready (I just wanna say other sites have been talking about similar ideas, but I’ve had this theory for awhile now). I also think it’s fascinating that he’s always talking about God, Faith, and Religion. I find it so fascinating and would love to know why Wheadon chose to have theology on the mind of a powerful A.I. so much. Besides the Red Skull and The Vulture, this is the villain I would most like to see return in a Marvel film. In addition to being one of my favorite scenes in the MCU, when Vision and the very last Ultron drone have that great conversation about humanity at the end of Age of Ultron. Ultron comes at Vision and Vision destroys him in blinding light using the Mind Stone in his head. OR DID HE?! Check out the scene here:
Earlier in the film, Vision does say earlier “I don’t want to kill Ultron. He’s unique.” Maybe Vision has some of Ultron’s code tucked away somewhere for safe keeping. As we all, know from the comics, Ultron always comes back…
So out of the 16 villains from PHASES 1 & 2 analyzed and graded here, 10 were at least a B- or higher. Of course, that’s just my personal analysis. I didn’t even get into the villains from the Netflix shows. You throw in villains like Kingpin, Killgrave, and Cottonmouth and the debate is OVER. BOOM.
I’d also like to point out that I’ve always said Marvel has the best heroes (with the exception of Batman) and DC has the best villains. Up until recently, Ive been a big DCEU defender in fact. But so far, Warner Bros., in one way or another (directly or indirectly) have managed to royally fuck up their 3 best villains: Lex Luthor, The Joker, and Darkseid. So, who really has the villain problem, hmm?
So there we have it, I’ve made my case. I hope I changed some hearts and minds. But you guys are the Judge in the end. Let me know what you think. I am right? Dead wrong? A complete idiot?.. well, we all know that last one’s true anyway. Let me know in the comments below or on our Facebook page World’s Best Media.
I know I’m late to write up my non-spoiler review for those of you who didn’t get a chance to head out to theatres to see Black Panther this weekend. So lets dive right in!
Black Panther takes place a few weeks (maybe a month) after the events of Captain America: Civil War and T’Challa (Black Panther) is still mourning the death of his father King T’Chaka (played by character actor John Kani, who was in one of my all time favorite movies, The Ghost and The Darkness). So, only a few weeks have gone by between the events of that film and the beginning on Black Panther. At this point, when we see T’Challa played by the incredible Chadwick Boseman, he’s still mourning the death of his father, but he has a responsibility to his country. The traditions of Royal Succession must be observed. Of the 5 (I think?) tribes within Wakanda, during a time designed for transition of monarchy, can challenge T’Challa for the right to the throne. His Black Panther powers are temporarily taken away and in a absolutely gorgeous waterfall setting, T’Challa faces M’Baku of the Mountain Gorilla tribe for the right to be king. The loser either is killed or submits, T’Challa defeats M’Baku through submission and gains a crucial ally later in the film.
The design, technology, and world of Wakanda is beyond my wildest hopes. It is stunning. Wakanda is unlike anything we have ever seen in a Marvel movie before. Or even a superhero movie at all for that matter. The imagination, production design, and costuming are all stunning.
The cast is phenomenal as well. With Michael B. Jordan turning in (no surprise) on of the best villain performances in a Marvel movie so far. He is a man on a mission. He’s single minded and terrifying. The man is absolutely not fucking around. T’Challa didn’t really understand the man he was dealing with when he first faced Jordan’s Killmonger. Andy Serkis also delivers a fun performance as classic B-LIST Marvel villain, Klaw. Some people might not to want their arms cut off, but considering he got a pretty bad ass laser arm canon to replace, pit I’d say he got a pretty good trade off after Ultron cut his arm off in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Angela Basset, Martin Freeman, and Forrest Whitakerer also turn in small, but memorable roles. Of the 3, Martin Freeman probabaly has the most to do as CIA Agent Everett Ross in a big step up from his nothing role in Civil War. He’s actually an a semi-important character here. Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira are both fantastic as missionary / T’Challa’s love interest and The Head of The Wakandan Military respectively. I even say that Okoye, Danai Gurira’s character could easily hold her own with The Avengers and something tells me she’s going to need those skills pretty soon.
But beside T’Challa, by far my favorite character was his sister Shuri. She was pretty much the worlds coolest little sister. I really hope there is a scene in one of the future Avengers: Infinity War movies where she completely schools Tony Stark if he sees her laboratory and she just puts him to complete shame. She’s a technological genius who supplies for Brother with some of the coolest toys in the movie, Shur’s one of the most fun characters to watch. Just like Bucky and Sam Wilson become Captain America in the comics at one point, Shuri eventually becomes Black Panther. So that could be a cool way to go in future movies
Warching this film you can’t help but think of Avengers: Infnity War. Avengers: Infinity War is technically 2 parts, with part 1 coming out in a few weeks on May 4, with part 2 coming exactly a year later (like we used to see with Lord of The Rings). I really think that when the dust settles after Part 2, a lot of “old school” Marvel characters will gone or dead. Permanently. After seeing this film, I see T’Challa as someone who could easily fill the role in the team left by a potentially absent Captain America. He could be the heart and the rock that Cap is now.
Many of the Marvel films have obvious weaknesses that hurt an otherwise really entertaining film. There is this substance to this film that you don’t often see in superhero movies like this. You’ll walk out of the theater asking questions and having discussions and debates. That’s a certainly good thing when our mainstream entertainment provides us with thought-provoking material. Director Ryan Coogler has absolutely knocked this one out of the park. Black Panther is absolutely one of those must see movies. It really is just a phenomenal movie, I can’t recommend it enough.
Note:I saw this movie with my father and he gave a grade that was between 1 and 10 (10 the best, 1 the worst). Just to keep things interesting I’ll make my review a letter grade.
Marvel’s Black Panther
Paul Sr. ( My Dad): 9.5
Me, Paul Jr.: A-
Note: On our original spoiler podcast for Black Panther, I give the movie a full A. But after thinking about it a little bit, an A letter grade should be reserved for the best of best. The absolute upper echelon of what Marvel has to offer. There is no doubt that this is an excellent film and one of my favorites from the MCU but I wanted to make that small change.
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It’s Paul here. Check out this Episode of “The World’s Best Podcast with Paul & Tim” where we dive into one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Marvel’s Black Panther. This episode is FULL SPOILERS so don’t listen until after you’ve seen the film. I’m going to try to post a spoiler free review if I have time, so keep a look out for that. For now, enjoy our epic discussion of the latest entry into the MCU. Enjoy! Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:
Black Panther is coming out next week, and I really wanted to write a What I Want to See in honor of it, but the truth is, that Black Panther as a character was the MVP of the one Marvel movie he’s been in, has had one of the coolest trailers in the MCU, looks like he’s could be the MVP of Infinity War. As a movie, Black Panther boasts one of the more exciting casts, and crews of any MCU film to date. Ryan Coogler coming off of Creed to the MCU is an inspired choice. So I didn’t want to do a What I Want to See about Black Panther. I have faith in this, and What I Want to See, is what they’ve got, I think it’s going to be amazing.
I first saw Chadwick Boseman in 42, as Jackie Robinson, and he was great in that film. Then a year later, he was James Brown, and I haven’t seen that, but again he looked awesome in it. Then we got to see him as Black Panther in Civil War, and he stole the show. This last year, he played Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.
He’s played 3 men who have been hugely important in the conversation of race over the last 70 years, and one of the most important fictional characters in the same area. I really only know about these 4 roles, and I already consider Boseman to be a legend.
What I want to see, is Boseman get to play the big two. The two big names we think of when we think of race in the last 70 years, I want to see him play Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. I think that he has the acting chops, and I would love to see what he can bring to these two characters, and while it may sound ridiculous, I’d be interested in seeing him do both in the same film.
I think that it wouldn’t get taken seriously enough, but with two characters like that, two characters who we often think of as Yin and Yang, it would be really interesting to see what one actor can bring to both roles, to juxtapose them through one actor giving two performances. I think the only man (at least right now) who could do that role, would be Chadwick Boseman. I think he could give enough nuance to distinguish the two roles, and with make up they could make him look like two different people, and what we’d get would be something bizarre, but potentially really incredible.
We’re in a time where we’re seeing some very creative methods of telling historical stories. Hamilton casts against historical race in order to show the spirit of America, we’ve seen time travel tell the story of JFK’s assassination and what his legacy may have been in 11.22.63. We’re ready for something like this, and if you got someone with a really interesting direction style and Chadwick Boseman playing the leading roles, it could be amazing. That’s what I want to see.