FIRST LOOK: The Marvel Cinematic Universe – PHASE 4!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

First things first, if you haven’t seen it yet (and even if you did, watch it again), take look at this incredible video Marvel Studios put out, giving us a look at its upcoming films and reminding us why we love going to the movies in the first place! Watch it here:

My God, those sons of bitches at Marvel have done it again! Goddamn if this isn’t one of the most effective pieces of marketing material I have ever seen. The use of Stan Lee’s voice over, coupled with the images of all of the amazing MCU films we’ve seen so far was genius. 

It was like in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Luke doesn’t want anything to with The Jedi or The Resistance. Trusty old R2-D2 decides to give Luke a little kick in the ass, by playing Leia’s message from all those years ago, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” Luke gives R2 an annoyed, but slightly amused look and replies, “That was a cheap move.” Yeah. Sure. It was a cheap move, but it worked like a goddamn charm. 

   The video begins by showing us our most beloved moments and characters from throughout The MCU. All of this is set to Stan Lee’s beautiful voiceover. He delivered a message full of nostalgia, friendship, community, and hope. In other hands it might have sounded a little hokey, but this is Stan Fucking Lee. The guy’s a pro! From everything I’ve heard in addition to creating almost all of marvels most popular characters Stan was just a really good guy. Anyone who knew him talked about what an amazing person he was. He was humble man despite the indelible success. He always loved his fans and was genuinely grateful for reading his work. They didn’t call him Stan “The Man” Lee for nothing!

 But then we’re shown a brief piece of footage, from an audience watching Avengers: Endgame opening night. A movie theater full of people, watching the now iconic “portals“ scene, culminating in Captain America’s unforgettable battle cry of “Avengers Assemble!” The theatre absolutely ERUPTS! Cheering! Applause! This is something I certainly related to because I had the exact same experience when I saw Avengers: Endgame opening night with my father. One of the things I’ve noticed over the last 20 years or so, is that for a really excellent film, if there was a rousing triumphant moment, people used to clap and cheer. Or even if the movie itself was just great, a cut above the rest, the audience would sometimes applaud. As if they were watching a Broadway show live. That has become increasingly rare over the last few decades. I can count on one hand the amount of times an audience has engaged with a recent movie like they did with Avengers: Endgame. The night I saw it, it wasn’t a special fans screening, it wasn’t a midnight show. It was just opening night, I’m sure a lot of the people in the audience were just movie fans not necessarily diehard marvel fans like myself and my father were. Yet when Cap picks up fours hammer and tape sign Thanos and when Captain America once again utters those immortal words “Avengers Assemble!” The entire audience flipped out, people were standing up and clapping as if it was a playoff game at a sporting event. That’s the kind of communal movie going experience I miss. That’s the type of audience interaction that I miss. For so long one of the big reasons I didn’t like to see films in theaters as much as I used to, is because audience etiquette has gone down the tubes. People talk and take out their phones. However if somebody yells something out, claps, or cheers simply because they got caught up in the moment, they became lost in the story unfolding on the screen, that kind of audience engagement is wonderful and has become all too rare. That’s the kind of movie magic Marvel is trying to remind us of with this amazing look at PHASE 4. it’s a big part of what I think is missing from the movie theater industry. It’s one of the reasons they’ve struggled over the last few decades. Marvel is sending us a very clear message here: LET’S GET BACK TO THE MOVIES!

A few interesting observations…

I really love how for some of these sequels were given new, creative titles, instead of just calling them part 2 or part 3. For example, we have Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (great title),  instead of Black Panther 2. Captain Marvel 2 is now The Marvels and Ant-Man 3 is Ant-Man and The Wasp: QuantumMania

I thought it was particularly cool that Captain Marvel 2 has been re-titled, The Marvels.  Carol Danvers is still the main character, but she’ll be fighting alongside two new lead characters with deep ties to Captain Marvel in the comics and The MCU. The film will feature Monica Rambeau, who was memorably introduced (and developed superpowers) in WandaVision, and eventually becomes the superhero known as Spectrum. To refresh your memory, the first Captain Marvel film took place in the 90’s and Monica was the daughter of Carol’s best friend. Monica was also one of the best side characters in WandaVision, so seeing her in the Captain Marvel sequel as an adult, with her own superhero experience, working alongside the woman she idolized growing up, will be a welcome addition to the film.  

The Marvels not only marks the big screen debut of Monica Rambeau, but Kamal Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel, as well. Ms. Marvel is one of The MCU’s new Disney+ series premiering later this year. The story follows a Pakistani teenager named Kamal Khan from New Jersey who develops extraordinary abilities and her favorite hero just happens to be Captain Marvel. So Carol Danvers is a big inspiration for Kamala and connects to the character in some interesting ways that the Disney+ series will delve into. Ms Marvel is interesting because her story is basically a modern day retelling of Spider-Man. She’s a teenage girl juggling family, friends, and the life of a superhero.  The Marvels premieres in late 2022, so we’ll get a much better idea of how this character will fit into this highly anticipated movie when the Ms Marvel Disney+ series debuts later this year. 

The details surrounding Black Panter: Wakanda Forever are a little bit more ambiguous. I’ve heard conflicting reports about what this movie is going to actually be. Very early on, Marvel announced that they didn’t intend to replace Chadwick Boseman in the role of T’Challa. They were going to move forward with Black Panther 2, presumably with someone from the existing cast, most likely either Shuri or Okoye, taking up the mantle of The Black Panther. With the greatest respect to Chadwick Boseman, I think that would be a big mistake. I think if you could ask him, he would probably agree that characters like Black Panther transcend the people who play them, just like with Heath Ledger and The Joker. So often you hear actors compare these superhero roles to Shakespeare characters like Hamlet, that are interpreted over and over again by different actors. With each new actor putting their own spin on it. T’Challa is just too important and cool a character to introduce into The MCU and then not be part of it as we move into this exciting new future. I always thought the best course of action would be to, put that sequel on hold for a respectful couple of years, re-cast, and just make Black Panther 2. For a good while it seemed like that was not the way they were going to go, they were going to move on seemingly without T’Challa as the lead character. If that ends up being the way they go, exactly how they will explain his absence from the film is complete mystery.  However, if  some recent reports are to be believed, then there is a possibility they may be re-casting the role, which honestly I would prefer. I don’t think it’s necessarily in bad taste. As I said before I’m sure if you could ask people like Heath ledger or Chad Boseman they would agree that these characters are larger than the people who play them. They’ve been here before us and they will be there long after. Of course we will update you as information comes to light, but for the time being I will say I love the title of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever !

If your regular visitor to the website, you know how much I love The Fantastic Four and how much I’ve been dying to see them make an appearance in The MCU.  We were teased at the very end of this presentation that FF is essentially going to be the last film in Phase 4. Now if I had to pick which of of these projects I am most excited for, it wouldn’t be FF. We just don’t know enough about Fantastic Four yet for me to be super intrigued, because I don’t know what their approach is going to be. I know that Jon Watts the director of Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home will be directing FF, which I think is an excellent choice. But other than that nothing is known about the movie. I’m certain as more information comes out my excitement for FF will increase, but for now there are a lot of PHASE 4 projects highlighted here to get really excited for!

It’s important to remember that when Phase 3 of The MCU was announced, the slate of films that we got and what was announced have some major difference. Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 & 2 became Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The Inhumans film was dropped from the slate completely and made into a TV miniseries. Two Spider-Man films, as well as Ant-Man and The Wasp were added to the lineup. Marvel is always willing to change and adapt when it’s appropriate, which is one of its strengths. To wrap things up, this is an extremely exciting and impressive look at things to come from one of pop-culture’s most exciting storytellers.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

MCU: Marvel Casts KANG THE CONQUEROR! Is This The New “Big Bad” Of The MCU?

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Jonathan Majors (HBO’s Lovecraft Country has been cast as Kang The Conqueror

    During their long stint as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers have faced countless villains over the years. There are very few “Big Bads” in The Marvel Universe that The Avengers haven’t tangled with at some point or another. Heroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men have their own fantastic rogues galleries of villains. By contrast, The Avengers only have a few MAJOR villains to call their own. Villains who are seen as Avengers villains first and foremost. Sure, The Avengers may come up against Doctor Doom fairly frequently, but Doctor Doom has always been, and always will be, the nemesis of The Fantastic Four. However, when it comes to mortal enemies, what The Avengers lack in numbers, they make up for in their sheer level of badass. These motherfuckers are some next level threats. The Avengers have 3 iconic villains as primary enemies and we’ve already see 2 of them in The MCU: Thanos, Ultron, and Kang The Conqueror. I’ll get back to Kang in a minute. 

    First, let’s do a quick rundown of the mega-bad guys Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have faced so far. I’m not counting Loki for the same reason I don’t count Doctor Doom, Loki may have fought The Avengers, but he’s Thor’s problem first and foremost. Anyway like I said, we’ve already seen 2 out of 3 major Avengers baddies, so let’s start with Ultron. In the comics, Ultron is a fucking nightmare. He can never truly be killed, some piece of code always survives. Because he’s an artificial intelligence, every time he comes back, he’s a little more dangerous, a little smarter, and little more deadly. Tony Stark himself has said it on multiple times, it’s an inevitability: one day Ultron will simply win. Ultron may have lacked a lot of this menace on the big screen, but I still feel like there’s a lot to like in The MCU‘s portrayal of the character. James Spader put in an underrated performance as the deranged artificial intelligence, in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Some fans felt that the film and it’s titular villain were disappointing. However, I think Ultron is much more interesting than people give him credit for and I would love to see the character pop up in a future MCU film. 

   Then, of course, there’s Thanos, who made his first appearance in the post credits scene of the original Avengers film. After years of build up, Josh Brolin delivered an already iconic performance as The Mad Titan, Thanos. Cementing his spot not only as the best villain in The Marvel Cinematic Universe, but one of the best villains on the silver screen period. But even as Thanos was wowing audiences in the epic finale of Marvel’s Infinity Saga, some were wondering who would take his who would take his place as the next “Big Bad” of The MCU.

  Which brings us to “Big Bad” 3, Kang The Conqueror. Fans have been speculating for at least a couple of years now about which villain will become the next big threat in The MCU. With Ultron and Thanos out of the way, the smart money seemed to be on Kang The Conqueror. Now, it looks like those predictions are likely to come true. Recent reports from outlets like Deadline, indicate that Jonathan Majors currently starring as Atticus Freeman in the excellent new HBO series Lovecraft Country, has been cast in the role of Kang The Conqueror. These new reports also indicating that the character will be making his debut in Ant-Man 3. I haven’t seen Majors in many other roles besides Lovecraft Country, but he’s excellent in that series, so I really like this casting. I think there’s a lot of excellent potential here.

   So who is Kang The Conqueror, anyway? Born Nathaniel Richards, Kang is a human from several thousand years in the future, he’s even a descendent of Reed Richards. Kang’s defining characteristics are his mastery of time travel and his brilliant strategic mind. In the far future, Kang utilized his genius-level intellect and advanced weapons taken from across the timeline, to conquer Earth and expand his empire throughout the stars. Kang considers himself the ruler of time itself, with all of history under his domain. He’s gone by many names over the years, but he is the warlord or king of whatever age he finds himself in. He traveled back in time to ancient Egypt and was worshipped as a god because of his incredible technology. He spent years there, ruling as a pharaoh under the name Rama-Tut. During this part of his life, Kang crossed paths and swords with En Saba Nur aka Apocalypse, one of the greatest adversaries of the X-Men. With the X-Men making their debut in the MCU sooner or later, this opens up a lot of interesting storytelling possibilities that could come out of that connection. 

One younger version of Kang, is disgusted when he finds out about his future as a time-traveling despot, so he travels back in time to “The Age of Heroes”,  to join The Avengers in an attempt to avert this future. This Kang actually joins the Young Avengers under the name Iron Lad. Much later in his life, Kang takes up the alias, Immortus, serving as a quasi-guardian of the timeline. It’s easy to see the many possibilities for great storytelling at play with a character like Kang. Kang is so dangerous because he’s a brilliant strategist on par with Captain America or Nick Fury with technology at his fingertips that is thousands of years beyond what even brilliant minds like Reed Richards or Tony Stark have at their disposal.

Kang’s different incarnations through the timeline: Kang The Conqueror, Immortus, Iron Lad, Rama-Tut

Ant-Man 3 may seem like an odd choice to debut this character, but it was Pym technology that gave The Avengers access to time travel in the first place. Perhaps Kang doesn’t like other people messing around in, what he views to be, his domain? There are also rumors that Ant-Man 3 could also see the debut of The Fantastic Four in some way. Could this be a jumping off point for the future of the MCU in the same way a movie like Captain America: Civil War was? What do you guys think of Kang The Conqueror joining the MCU,? Do you like the casting? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

The Past, Present, & Future Of The MCU…

Hi Everyone,

Paul here…

 

 After seeing Captain Marvel last week and  with Avengers: Endgame only a little more than a month away, I thought  this would be a good time to reflect on the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After Phase 4 officially begins with the Spider-Man: Far From Home, this is the most in the dark we’ve been about where the MCU is heading. There are some this I know I’d LOVE to see…

If there’s one image that perfectly captures of my excitement at the prospect of finally seeing X-Men and Fantastic Four in the MCU, it’s this:


Doctor Doom himself using his Iron Man-like technology and his mastery of the mystic arts to take on The Anti-God, The Devourer of Worlds…. GALACTUS!

I’ve always been more into the idea of Fantastic Four characters becoming part of the MCU than the X-Men. As you can see above, the character I’m really hoping will pop up is Victor Von Doom.

Usually before each new Phase of Marvel movies, they’ll host a big event where they unveil their upcoming films. However, due to the secrecy surrounding Avengers: Endgame, all we know are the release dates for the next several years of films, we just don’t know what movies they are. We can speculate, though.

Doctor Strange 2 directed by Scott Derrickson

Black Panther 2 and Doctor Strange 2 have officially been announced with Ryan Coogler and Scott Derrickson respectively both returning to direct and continue the stories they started in their first films. Marvel still has a lot of release dates announced without movies attached. I’m certain they know exactly what will be released there and are probably working on those movies now, we just won’t know for sure what other characters we’ll see until they’re ready to make an announcement.

Black Panther 2 directed by Ryan Coogler

I’ve always described the MCU is a big TV series with Kevin Fiege as the show runner. So when I saw he put out this video talking about the past, present, and future of Marvel, I thought it was very interesting and I wanted to include it here. You get some nice insight into the thought process behind some of Marvel’s biggest decisions. Check it out:

I think we should expect to see some big announcements in May or June as Marvel begins to roll out thier slate of movies for Phase 4. All we know is that it’s going to be very different than what’s come before, which is very exciting. In the meantime, go check out Captain Marvel and come back here after to listen to our full SPOILER review on The World’s Best Podcast .


Thanks for reading!

Paul-

A Personal Tribute To Stan Lee (1922-2018)

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

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 With the sad passing of Stan Lee earlier this week, I wanted to offer personal reflection on this incredible storyteller and the impact he’s had on the lives of so many people. I felt the loss of Stan Lee like a kick in the gut. The characters he’s created have helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and inspired me to be a better man. Thank you for listening to my brief tribute to a creator that meant a great deal to me. My hope is that you’ll hear something that will resonate with you in some small way. Thanks again. Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/16214692

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?mt=2#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.spreaker.com%2Fepisode%2F16214692

Thanks for listening!

-Paul

PODCAST: Paul Reviews “A Quiet Place”

 

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Hey everybody,

In the latest episode of “The World’s Best Podcast”, I review the new thriller A Quiet Place    starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. I also do a little speculation on casting for a possible Fantastic Four Movie in the MCU. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/14516968

I go into more detail in the podcast but I think John Krasinski and Emily Blunt would make a great Reed Richards and Sue Storm, as a lot of other people have speculated. But check out this picture below and tell me John Krasinski couldn’t pull it off …

 

 

Why Disney Buying 20th Century Fox Is A Bad Idea (Especially For Genre Fans)

 

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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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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).

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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.

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(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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Thanks for reading !
-Paul