It’s good to be back everyone! I want to apologize that it’s been a little bit longer then I would like since our last episode of The World’s Best Podcast, but with holidays we got a little behind this week. So thank you for your patience and I apologize once again. However, we’re going to make it up to you! First of all, this week we have a great episode where we do a deep dive discussion of the new movie CREED II! This review has been a long time coming and it’s FULL SPOILERS, so fair warning! Otherwise, it’s a great episode that I think you guys will really like.
We also have another announcement, December is officially Superhero Month at World’s Best Media, so you’ll definitely be getting some extra episodes of the World’s Best Podcast. We’ll be covering Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, The CW DC Superhero Crossover Event: Elseworlds, Aquaman, Season Two of Runaways on Hulu, and much more great content! We really want to hear feedback from you guys as well! So if you have any comments, criticisms, or questions, please leave them below in the comments section or reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter. Or send us an email through the Contact page here at the World’s Best Media website.
So without further ado, please enjoy the latest episode of The World’s Best Podcast! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
In this Episode, guest co-host Mike Cole and I discuss the X-Men joining the MCU. We talk about the direction we’d like to see the franchise take. Should they somehow incorporate the existing X-Men movies into the MCU or just start fresh? What kind of stories and characters do we want to see? Finally, what casting ideas might we have about the X-Men? Oh, and where does Deadpool fit into all this? This and so much more on The World’s Best Podcast! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
In this episode there’s so much cool news! I’m joined by his father, Paul Sr., to discuss, among many other things, how the X-Men could fit into the MCU and how we’re both psyched for Daredevil Season 3 on Netflix! We also watch and give our commentary on the new trailers for Captain Marvel and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald! All this, Batman’s penis, and more on this spectacular episode of The World’s Best Podcast! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
There’s a quote from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, “Once again you’ve put your keen and penetrating mind to the task and as usual come to the wrong conclusion!” said by Sirius Black to Severus Snape. The quote is one of my favorites, and I cannot think of a place where it seems to apply more than Hollywood.
If you somehow break through and make a movie about a woman who makes falls in love with a water balloon, the lesson that Hollywood would take from that is “water balloons are sexy” and you’d see some crazy slate of movies in which water balloons have sex with hot women, and drive fast cars, and airplanes, and stuff. (Sorry about all the water balloons but I’m sitting next to a bag full of balloons, so it was the weirdest thing in eye shot.)We’ve seen Hollywood learn the wrong lesson from successes too many times to count, (i.e. all of the Jaws sequels, and Piranha movies and so many others). But we also see them learn the lesson from failures. This can be really upsetting to me personally, because it often means something is abandoned early due to the wrong reasons, and who likes their movie franchises ended early?
The latest victim of this problem, seems to be Star Wars. I wrote about Solo a few weeks ago, but let me catch you up. The film seemed like a bad idea, but it was a good movie. So now, almost a month after it’s release Disney and Lucasfilm have announced that they’re reconsidering Star Wars spin-offs due to its failure.
So let’s talk about its failure, and yes it seems it is undeniably a financial failure (although the budget hasn’t been released so it’s difficult to tell exactly). First of all, you released 3 Star Wars 3 Decembers in a row, and they were all very successful. Is that because the films were excellent? I’ve liked them all, but there is a fair amount of debate on the quality of each. A huge reason for their success was the fact that December doesn’t have much for general audiences, it’s prestige film season, which leaves the “blockbuster” crowd open. That cannot be underestimated as a factor in their success. Solo however, came out just 6 months after TLJ in May. May was the traditional time for Star Wars in the previous 2 trilogies, but May’s were not as packed with action films in those years, and movies had multiple weeks (in some cases months) to rule the box office. This year we had Avengers: Infinity War (also a Disney film, which should be a double no-no for packing them in the same 30-day period) which was the biggest film of the year (and has the potential to be the top of the decade) was released a month before, then Deadpool was released a week before, and just three weeks after Solo, came the Incredibles (again Disney, wtf were you thinking? Spread it out more).
So that’s the first problem, Disney put Solo out with the biggest films of the year, and even by Star Wars standards it shouldn’t have. It’s far from the largest story, or the biggest impact in that universe. The second problem is confidence.
Solo suffered from a few pieces of confidence undercutting. After the fact that many of us didn’t think the idea was a good idea, there were the production ‘issues,’ with Lord and Miller getting fired mid-production, Ron Howard having to take over and needing to reshoot (which involved recasting at least one role), and then lastly there was the rumors of Alden Ehrenreich needing and acting coach. None of these would add up to confidence boosting, then we didn’t see a trailer until February which seemed very late in the game for a film of this size. And lastly, TLJ, it’s a pretty split popularity, but when 50% of the audience thinks the film was a crap-fest, and think Disney has ‘ruined Star Wars,’ six months may not be enough time to cleanse their palettes.
Let me offer an example of a time when the correct lesson was learned, and how it may benefit you to follow in those footsteps. On November 23rd 1963, the BBC aired the pilot of Doctor Who, and it did really poorly in the ratings that night. The executive in charge was on the side of canceling the show after the first episode, because obviously the whole thing was going to be a flop, but the creator was opposed to that. She argued that the show had suffered from the whole world being consumed by JFK’s assassination the day before, and that if they reaired the pilot a week later, that would be a more realistic example of how the show would do. She was right, and the show continued for 26 years before being canceled (and then rebooted, and now having 50 years, 3 movies, and 36 seasons altogether). They realized that timing had been off. Releasing Solo in the midst of the superhero frenzy was bad timing, don’t blame Solo for that.
So I ask you this question, given all of those things could Solo have succeeded? Even modestly? I don’t think it really could have. But Disney is looking the box office and acting as if that means the movie is a piece of shit, which it wasn’t. Please Disney, learn the right lesson. I get that you don’t want this to happen again, but if you learn the wrong lesson it likely will. Please, I love Star Wars too much for it to become the DCEU (with all the second guessing and undercutting and ultimately not learning the right thing)… I’m begging you.
On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I finally review the much debated new Star Wars film , Solo: A Star Wars Story! Unfortunately, I also forgot to introduce myself at the start of the show! So… I’m Paul Wright! Look, this isn’t easy, ok?!
Ive also included some cool promo images from the movie for your viewing pleasure.
I do get into SPOILER territory later in the episode, but I give my spoiler free thoughts on the movie ear Lin the episode. Here you can get my take on the film and inside info on the making of Solo: A Star Wars Story, as well background on characters and mythology you can’t find anywhere else! I do go into SPOILERS, so beware! The World’s Best Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, The Boston Podcast Network pod617.com ,and here on Spreaker. Enjoy!
Before you get to hear Part 2 of our EPIC Quentin Tarantino discussion, here’s an new episode of “The World’s Best Podcast” where I discuss some cool news in the world of movies, comics, TV, and a BOOK REVIEW! In this episode I discuss Avengers Infinity War SMASHING box office records, this year’s Free Comic Book Day, the new season of Westworld on HBO, and much more.
I also give a review/recommendation for an excellent trilogy of books that are collectively called The Themis Files by author Sylvain Nuevel. The series consists of Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods, and the latest and final book in the trilogy Only Human. Below the podcast links I’ve posted links to each book on Amazon if you want to give them a try. But this is one of my favorite sci-fi series in recent memory, so I highly recommend these books. As always, I really appreciate you guys using the Amazon links, because going through those links helps support the website and get great content out to all of you. Listen to the podcast at the links below
I’m flying solo for this mini-ish episode, among other things I get into the series finale of one of my favorite shows, Star Wars Rebels. I also cover some oStar Wars Expanded Universe stuff and some other cool news, like the new costumes the X-Men will wear in the new X-Men Dark Phoenix movie and more! Enjoy! Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:
I’m sure I’m not alone when I sometimes look back at things that I loved as a kid and wonder if they hold up. Unfortunately many don’t. Some people look back at the X-Men Animated series or Spider-Man The Animated Series fondly, but there are only two show that I know of that are as good as you remember and hold up to this day: Batman The Animated Series and Gargoyles. We’ve talked and written about Batman The Animated Series A LOT here at World’s Best Media, because it fucking rules. Probably the best animated series ever produced. But believe it or not, Gargoyles May be damn worthy second.
This show has enjoyed a cult following for years and I’ve always been a big fan. But what prompted me to write about the show, was the entire series recently became available on iTunes. When the show was released on DVD years ago, Disney never released the whole show. This was at least 10 -15 years ago and due to demand from the cult following of the show, the final season was finally given a barebones DVD release a year or two ago. I think Disney put the show on iTunes because they’re thinking of using the property in some way and this one way to gauge audience interest. They’ve been remaking a lot of their animated catalogue into live action films lately and the show certainly lends itself to live action adaptation. It would make a pretty cool franchise if they skew adult. Or they could be doing another animated show? Or it’s just an iTunes release. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear some talk from Disney about a movie or something. As I said, done the right way it would make very cool franchise. It’s dark, complex, thought provoking show with great characters and an excellent mythology.
The epic saga of the Gargoyles, a mythic clan of winged creatures — who come alive at night and turn to stone at sunrise — continues with all-new adventures entitled, “Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles,” coming to ABC Saturday Mornings, beginning September 7 at 11:30 AM (ET)/10:30 AM (PT). For additional information contact: Ray Slay Director, Photography Walt Disney Television DD. 818.560.4168 FX. 818.566.6566 E-Mail. firstname.lastname@example.org
Allow me to refresh your memory on this excellent TV show and then I’m going to tell you why it’s still so good and groundbreaking: On the series, Gargoyles , like the stone statues you see in castles and churches, are a noble and intelligent race of warrior beings that turn to stones by day (almost like hibernating in a cocoon) and come alive at night. Though they cant outright fly, they have strong claws and wings that allow them to glide if they get high enough. Though mostly feared by the humans who see them as monsters, their nature is to protect life. I always thought the really cool monologue that played over the opening credits explained it well: One thousand years ago. Superstition and the sword ruled. It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear. It was the age of Gargoyles. Stone by day. Warriors by night. Betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect. That gives you gist of it more or less.
Gargoyles begins in Scotland in 994 A.D Following a particular clan of Gargoyles that protect Castle Wyvern on the Scottish coast. Led by Goliath (voiced by Keith David) the story’s protagonist, the Gargoyles have an uneasy alliance with the humans they live alongside. In exchange for protection while they sleep during the day, vulnerable in stone form, the Gargoyles protect the castle from any attackers, including the that Vikings have begun to invade Scotland.
After one Viking attack is easily repelled by the Gargoyles, the humans (including the castle ruler, Princess Katherine) still look down on them as nothing but unnatural beasts. Princess Katherine’s chief adviser is The Magus, a young sorcerer who distrusts the Gargoyles. Demona (Marina Sirtis, Troia from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Goliath’s second in command and the human Captain of the castle guard (I don’t think he’s called anything but Captain) are disgusted at the way they were treated. After all, without the help of the Gargoyles, everyone in the castle would have been captured or killed by the Vikings. Goliath sees that it’s in the nature of humans to fear what they don’t understand and though bothered by it, shrugs the incident off.
Demona is also Goliath’s lover (they don’t really have marriage) and though she loves him, her hatred for humans has festered over the years. Demona and The Captain strike a deal with the Vikings, attack during the day and sack they castle taking their spoils and killing whoever they want. When the Gargoyles wake up, the humans will be gone and they’ll have the castle all to themselves. But the plan goes tragically wrong. Demona tries to get Goliath to take the entire clan and hunt down the Vikings and their leader Hakon, in the woods. Goliath thinks a small sneak attack with his old mentor, the battle hardened gargoyle Hudson, is a better idea. Despite Demona’s protesting, almost the entire clan is left vulnerable when the Vikings attack the next morning. Far too late Goliath, backing him up, realizes something is very wrong, but the sun rises and they’re far away from the castle during the attack. Though The Captain tries to stop him, saying this wasn’t part of the plan, helpless in their stone form Hakkon and the Vikings slaughter the entire clan.
The next night Goliath heads back to find the castle burning and his clan dead. Besides Goliath and Demona, only five other gargoyles from the clan survived. Three young, male Gargoyles, Brooklyn, Broadway, and Lexington, Bronx a different breed of gargoyle that’s more like a dog, and Hudson (The modern names are explained later in the film length first episode). Demona, ashamed and horrified at what she’s done, allows Goliath to believe she died in the massacre. The Vikings kidnaped the Princess, The Magus, and some of the villagers. Hakkon plans to ransom the Princess to her Uncle, The King. But Goliath is out for blood.
The Gargoyles find the Viking camp and Hakkon and The Captain run off with the Princess. While the other Gargoyles finish off the Vikings and save the villagers, Goliath goes after Hakkon. When he finds them near cliff overlooking the ocean, Goliath is horrified that The Captain, a man he believed to be his friend, betrayed him. A fight ensues and Hakkon and The Captain fall to their deaths, but even after all he’s been through Goliath saves the Princess from falling as well, robbing him from a more satisfying revenge.
Back at the Viking camp, the Vikings defeated and the villagers free, The Magus mistakenly believes that Princess Katherine was killed in the conflict between Goliath, Hakkon, and The Captain. In his grief, he casts a spell on the Gargoyles that turns them to stone permanently, day and night, seemingly forever. When Goliath returns with The Princess, The Magus sees that he’s made a horrifying mistake. The book that could reverse the spell was burned by the Vikings and the spell was designed so the Gargoyles would “Sleep until the castle rises above the clouds…”
After bringing each of his remaining stone Gargoyle friends back to the castle, Goliath does not want to live in a world where he is truly alone. He asks The Magus to cast his spell one more time and Goliath joins his surviving fiends in a never ending stone sleep. As for Demona, well you’ll just have to watch the show…
One Thousand Years Later…
Castle Wyvern. Present Day. The Castle and everything inside (including the still intact stone Gargoyles) have been bought by American billionaire David Xanatos, voiced perfectly by Jonathan Frakes AKA Ryker from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In fact one of the best things about the show is the phenomenal voice work and the excellent talent they managed to attract. The people who wrote the show must have been big Star Trek: The Next Generation fans because a lot of actor from that series play characters on Gargoyles. In fact, this would be a great time to point out the incredible voice talent the show attracted. Well known voice performers, fantastic character, actors and few bigger names make up the cast that includes: Keith David, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Ed Asner, Brent Spiner, Matt Frewer, Bill Fagerbakke, Jonathan Rhys-Davies, Tim Curry, David Warner, Thomas F. Wilson, Kate Mulgrew, and Jim Belushi just to name a few. That’s a hell of a cast and that isn’t even all of the notable voice actors.
Anyway, Xanatos is definitely one of the most interesting characters on the show. He’s kind of a mix of Lex Luthor, Tony Stark, and a little bit of Doctor Doom. He’s extremely intelligent, machiavellian, and charming. He’s the guy who’s 10 steps ahead of everybody else in the room. He may not be completely trustworthy , but he’s such a cool, likable character that you can’t help rooting for this guy a little bit, despite how shady he is. He’s one of the richest and most powerful men in the world. A self made man, who built one of the largest corporations in the world. With defense contracts, cutting edge robotics, genetics, and much more.
He’s kinda, sorta the “villain”, but things aren’t that black-and-white. Which is another excellent thing about this show. It doesn’t talk down to its audience with characters that are clearly all good and clearly all evil. The entire cast includes well-rounded, interesting individuals with complex personalities and motivations. None of the characters are all good or all bad. This kind of moral complexity shows the maturity of the storytelling.
The New York City skyscraper that’s both his home and company headquarters is tallest building in the world. As part of an astronomically massive project, Xanatos has Castle Wyvern taken apart piece by piece and reassembled atop his New York skyscraper. Which just so happens to be high enough that it’s above the New York clouds. As the spell says the Gargoyles will “Sleep until the castle rises above the clouds…”
You’re probably asking yourself exactly why he’s doing this. Why would he want to break the spell? What does he have to gain? He has multiple reasons that play out across the series, so I don’t want to say too much, but it’s not out of sheer curiosity. You’d have to be 100% certain that magic and all kinds of other crazy shit is real before even thinking about doing this. Let’s just say you don’t fly a castle from Scotland halfway across the world and rebuild it onto a skyscraper without a pretty fucking good reason.
I should take this time to point out that a Scottish castle atop a cutting-edge New York skyscraper could be the coolest fucking headquarters of any villain or hero in all of fictIon. That’s some badass shit. Once the castle is completely reassembled back in New York, the Gargoyles are brought back to their posts on the castle towers and Xanatos waits for nightfall. He is not disappointed. The spell is broken and the Gargoyles awaken. Xanatos tries to explain what’s happened and how long it’s been, even though Goliath knows that by the very nature of his situation the world he’s woken up to will probably be a different one, nothing can compare prepare him in the other Gargoyles for seeing New York City below them instead of the Scottish coast. Adding to an already bad situation is the realization that people of the modern world have almost completely forgotten about magical and supernatural creatures. Xanatos tells them they’re the last of their kind, Gargoyles are essentially extinct except for Goliath and his Clan (fortunately, we find out later in the series, that may not be true).
Shortly after the Gargoyles have awakened into this strange new world, we meet police detective Elisa Maza. Goliath and the other Gargoyles meet Elisa after some crazy shit goes down at the castle. After everything that went down a thousand years ago with The Captain, Goliath is reluctant to put his trust in any human again. But he knows he’ll need to trust someone in this modern world for his clan to survive and he’s smart enough to know he’s better off with Elisa than Xanatos. As the series unfolds, she becomes like family to the Gargoyles and develops a profound and deep bond with Goliath in particular.
Eventually when it’s clear that living in the castle with Xanatos isn’t safe, the move to a closed clock tower above the police station Elisa works out of (conivently the night shift). From their new home in the clock tower the Gargoyles view New York City as their new castle. It’s in a Gargoyle’s nature to protect and they intend to do just that in their new home. As time goes on, Elias’ part of the Clan for all intents and purposes. As the rest of Gargoyles begin to acclimate to life in 20th Century New York, we begin to get to know them a bit more. Goliath was unusual when it comes to Gargoyles, the humans of the Castle gave him a name, but typically Gargoyles don’t have names. In keeping with this new life, in this new world they live in the rest of the gargoyles all pick modern names. Like the 3 young Gargoyles: Brooklyn: a natural leader, Broadway: friendly and loving the different foods of the modern world, Lexington: who becomes fascinated with computers and electronics. As well as their experienced, but past his prime mentor Hudson, and their guard dog Bronx. I wanted to give a deeper exploration of the rest of Goliath’s clan, but if I take the time to describe each one this article would be way too long. So for now, at least you have the bare bones of who the rest of the Goliath’s clan consist of.
Probably the most important relationship on the show is between Goliath and Elisa. The show has a great ensemble of characters, like the other Gargoyles, villains, and allies, but Goliath and Elisa are the heart of the show. They’re kindred spirits. Their values are the same, but just like real people, they waver at times. I would be so easy for either of them, and all of the Gargoyles for that matter, to be consumed by the darkness and death that has been such a large part of their lives. Ultimately, they believe in fighting for justice in a world that they know is broken, but they continue the good fight every day (or night) anyway. They may seem different on the outside, but they’re both protectors at their core and the bond that grows between them goes beyond the physical. Also, Elisa is another great example of how this show was ahead of it’s time. She’s a smart, tough, interesting character. Even though she find herself constantly in situations where she’s fighting WAY out of her weight class, she’s never a damsel in distress. She’s also mixed race, her mother is African American and her father is Native American. Though her cultural heritage is touched upon in important ways several times in the show, her race doesn’t define her. We don’t have enough of these types of characters in our pop culture today, it’s even more impressive her character existed almost 25 years ago. I think the fact that she wasn’t just another stock white, cookie cutter, female protagonist isn’t only more compelling to watch, but it also informs her relationship with Goliath and the other Gargoyles. Hating someone just because of who and what they are is a big theme in the series. Racism and sexism are both very real problems in American today and it would have been much worse 25 years ago. From their very first meeting forward, the relationship between Goliath and Elisa deepens because they see so much of themselves in each other.
What makes Goliath a hero isn’t that he fights bad guys. It’s the fact that he’s face genocide, betrayal, and loss on a scale that would be hard to imagine, but in spite of all that he still fights to do good, to protect. The darkness of the story is never swept under the rug. Goliath and the rest of his clan are forever haunted by the massacre at Castle Wyvern and it informs many of the choices Goliath makes throughout the series. This certainly isn’t the type of deep material you’d expect on the old Disney Afternoon. In a Season 2 episode, Xanatos comes to Goliath asking for help when Fox, a woman Xanatos is truly in love with, is in mortal danger. Goliath and Elisa consider are very reluctant to help because they know how untrustworthy Xanatos is, after all this could be some kind of con. But Goliath ultimately decides to help, saying “If Xanatos is telling the truth… If someone like him can love, perhaps there still is some hope for this world.”. That’s one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite episodes of the show. It tells you a lot about Goliath, how he sees the world, and his belief in the power of love and redemption.
Gradually, Goliath and Elisa clearly fall in love with one another. Out of all the Gargoyles, he looks the most human. Almost like a muscular man, it reminds me of Hellboy and Liz Sherman. They may be different species, but anatomically I get this sense that Goliath and Elisa could have sex, but definitely not biological children. The fact that show goes there at all is another testament to the quality of this incredible story. By the end of the series, they move past their physical differences that they felt kept them from being together. Though it’s not explicitly spelled out for us, they share a moment together toward the end of the show that tells the audience that their relationship has fundamentally changed. They seem to acknowledge their love for each other and it’s strongly implied that moving forward they’re together as a couple.
Watching this show as a kid, I was blown away. It goes in so many interesting directions, incorporating mythology, folklore, sci-fi, and even Shakespeare to build a universe unlike anything else I’d seen before or since. So many of the things that I love today are concepts I was first introduced to by watching Gargoyles. If you do check out the show (and you should), I cant even begin to describe how the world and mythology of the show becomes so much bigger that what I’ve written about here. Any given episode could have the Gargoyles facing Cyborgs, Artificial Intelligences, Aliens, Hybrid monsters created through genetic engineering another episode could find them facing Odin and other pagan gods, The Loch Ness Monster, Dark Elves, and even King Arthur. It may sound crazy, but it all works in the best way. Probably my favorite creation of the show is the concept of “Oberon’s Children”, “The Third Race” of the planet after Gargoyles and Humans. They’re dangerous beings of pure magic that play an intricate part in the series.
Much like Batman: The Animated Series, it’s hard to think of exactly who the audience for this show was. In fact, Gargoyles gets away with WAY more than any animated show I can think of that wasn’t explicitly made for adults. For example, the characters get the occasional minor swear in. In one of the first few episodes, when Xanatos is having the castle taken apart in Scotland, his assistant comments that it was difficult to find workers for this project because the locals believe the castle to be haunted. Xanatos replies “Pay a man enough and he’ll walk barefoot through Hell”, “that may not seem like particularly strong language, but even that is extremely unusual for a show like this.
The level of violence shown on screen is much higher than you would expect as well. Most cartoons never show anyone actually dying, but people get killed left and right on Gargoyles. Pretty brutally in fact. Full on medieval battles are shown. People get stabbed and shot. One guy has his face set on fire followed immediately with his head exploding. It’s not just the deaths that were brutal either. In one episode Demona maims a kid’s face with her claws just because he gets in her way. All of this adds up to a very unique and captivating show that is absolutely worth revisiting.
While the first season is a strong set up for things to come, it’s really the second season where the show becomes something incredible and the narrative becomes incredibly ambitious. Regardless, definitely give Gargoyles a try if you’re curious. If you liked it as a kid, it absolutely holds up and it’s very cheap on iTunes. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this look back at Gargoyles!
Don’t forget to check out our Amazon Affiliate link below if you want pick up Gargoyle’s on DVD! (no Blu-Ray yet, sadly).
For the past few weeks rumors have bounced around Hollywood that Disney was in serious talks to buy the film and television divisions of 20th Century Fox. Now, it seems that after weeks of negotiation, this deal will become a reality.
If you’re sharp and pay attention to this kind of thing (and World’s Best Media) you may have already put 2 and 2 together and realized why I might be pretty happy about this news. After all Disney owns Marvel Studios which gives us the Marvel Cinematic Universe and from the beginning, the MCU didn’t have access to key Marvel characters like the X-MEN, Fantastic Four, and until recently, Spider-Man. The film rights to X-Men and FF are held by 20th Century Fox. On paper this would mean everyone is coming home to Marvel. However, I’m not as enthusiastic about this deal as you may think…
After the utter shit show that was Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony who still owns the film rights to Spider-Man, made the very smart move of making their current deal with Marvel Studios, Which means that Marvel Studios has our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man swinging around with The Avengers (at least for a few more films, but something tells me that will be extended) as well as creative control of the Spider-Man movies they’re making.
Now, if Sony had handled Spider-Man pretty poorly before their Marvel Studios deal, then Fox has handled the Fantastic Four like a deliberate train wreck. Fantastic Four and it’s sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer aren’t going to be on anyone’s list of the all time great superhero films. But last years attempted reboot, FF, made those films look like The Dark Knight. For studio’s to retain the rights to these characters they need to keep making movies within a certain period of time before the rights revert back to Marvel. I don’t think anyone thought Fox was going to throw away hundreds of millions of dollars on another sad attempt to develop a film from a property that they clearly don’t understand. My point is that eventually, something similar to the Spider-Man deal would have been worked out with Marvel, if not the rights reverting back to Marvel Studios outright.
(My God, seriously, these movies are SO, SOOOOO bad. Just… What the fuck?!)
When Bryan Singer was making the the 1st X-men film, it was clear FOX that didn’t understand what they had. The movie had a a pretty small budget compared to the Superhero juggernauts we see today. So (even though it was released in July, the heart of tent pole, summer block busters) they didn’t have much faith in the movie. Ryan McDonald (World’s Best Media contributor) once said to me that the first X-MEN film is a science fiction movie and not really a superhero film. I always thought that was a great observation and if you rewatch X-MEN as a sci-fi movie, it works a little better than superhero film. X2 on the other hand felt much more like a superhero film, as well as feeling much more like the X-MEN Comics.
The first X-Men film doesn’t get nearly enough credit for creating the Golden Age of comic book movies that exists today. As the superhero movie making process began to drastically change after X-MEN was released in 2000, The X-MEN films have always been there chugging along. In the 17 years since X-MEN was released there have been 10 X-MEN movies counting Deadpool. This is a series that has had major highs and lows. But lately something really great has been happening to the X-MEN franchise, which brings to my main point: I don’t want the X-MEN part of The MCU (for a couple of reasons).
First, in a time when every damn studio is looking to emulate Marvel’s golden model of a “shared universe”, The X-MEN movies have been doing the “shared universe”-thing without even trying. Anyone who reads comics knows that The X-MEN have so many decades of characters, storylines, spin-offs, crossovers, and events that they’re a universe unto themselves in Marvel Comics. My point is that though they are very much Marvel characters, there’s so damn much going on in the comics to cherry pick from for the movies, The X-MEN films don’t need the MCU to be successful. The X-MEN are a never ending stream of characters and stories. Think about everything that’s happened in The X-MEN film franchise and imagine if that was part of the MCU. It would be a goddamn mess.The X-MEN mythology is too big and unwieldy to dump into the MCU. It would just be too much. Yes, it would be cool to see Wolverine and Beast, two classic Avengers members, on the team. And yeah, sure it’d be cool to have the Avengers face off against Magneto and a cool version of The Brotherhood. In the end, it wouldn’t be worth it though. Even in the comics, The X-MEN are kind of off in their own little corner right now.
(Look at all this! It’s madness!!!)
Second, Fox is doing so many interesting things with The X-MEN in film and TV it would be a shame to stifle and censor the creativity that we’ve seen in the franchise lately. Legion on FX was on of the years best shows and one if the most wildly unique comic book adaptations that I’ve ever seen. Logan could be nominated for or even win an Academy Award with incredible performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart (Seriously, it would be a crime if Hugh Jackman doesn’t get awards attention for this unforgettable movie). Then of course we have Deadpool which would NEVER, EVER, EVER be made if it was in the MCU at the time. Legion, Logan, and Deadpool are some of the best superhero stories ever made. Fox is taking bold risks with their X-MEN properties. With projects like the upcoming New Mutants movie being a straight up horror film with X-Men characters in it, it seem like this studio is willing to do the type of out of the box super hero stories that will keep comic book adaptations alive. Comic Books aren’t a genre, they’re a storytelling medium and the projects I listed above are proof of that. Hell, Logan might as well be a straight up western.
I will admit that the silver lining for me is that Marvel Studios will have access to the Fantastic Four which I desperately want to be part of The MCU. Seeing Tony Stark and Reed Richards, two of the comic book world’s biggest pieces of shit, finally on screen together recklessly causing more problems than they solve would be a delight. Of course, seeing The Avengers fight Doctor Dom would be fucking amazing. But The X-Men and The MCU don’t need each other right now. Maybe someday, but not now.
I will say that I think it’s a good thing that Marvel never had access to their A-list characters like the X-Men and Spider-Man when they first started the MCU. Instead they had to use lesser-known characters like Captain America and Iron Man, which forced them to be more creative and pull more deeply from the rich roster of characters that Marvel has. Which would’ve meant we’d most likely never have gotten something like the wonderful Guardians of the Galaxy on the big screen.
Obviously this is out of my hands, I don’t know if they’re going to somehow make an attempt to put the existing X-Men universe into the MCU or if they’re going to treat the X-Men as brand new characters that we’ve never seen before in this universe. I think if they do decide to make the X-Men part of the MCU, the smartest way to go would be to recast and go in a complete different direction than what’s been done before. It’s going to happen anyway one way or another. At the end of the day I’ll be happy if they finally get fucking Doctor Doom right at the very least.