WandaVision has finally premiered on Disney+, officially kicking off Phase 4 of The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Entertainment has posted this very cool video to mark the occasion. The video shows how the Phase 3 films, which begins with Captain America: Civil War and ends with Spider-Man: Far From home. The video shows how some the Phase 3 films perfectly re-create iconic images and moments from the comic books source material and put them on the big screen. Take a look:
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I wanted to wrap up my look back at last year with my top 10 Movies of 2019. On last week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, we went over our favorite TV shows of 2019. Normally, I’d devote an episode of the podcast to my favorite films of the past year, but as I mentioned on last week’s episode, with exception of some great blockbuster, superhero films, I thought 2019 was a relatively week year for movies. Still, I wanted to share my favorites with you. So without further ado, here are my Top 10 Movies of 2019…
The Death and Return of Superman
The DC Animated film was originally released in 2-parts, now the story can be watched as one film, as it was meant to be. The movie deals with the death of Superman after his devastating fight with Doomsday and how the world, his allies, and his enemies deal with the aftermath of a world without The Man of Steel. Taken as a whole, this is one of the better DC animated movies to be released in quite some time.
This was a really good year for live action DC films. SHAZAM! was very a fun superhero movie for the whole family.
Director Todd Phillips certainly does a great job creating a Gotham city filled with despair and darkness, but this film rides on the back of the mesmerizing and incredible performance of Joaquin Phoenix as titular Clown Prince of Crime.
I Am Mother
A very cool sci-fi gem about humanity and artificial intelligence where nothing is quite what it seems.
Missing 411: The Hunted
A thought provoking and chilling documentary about hundreds of unexplainable missing persons cases throughout our National Parks system. These are bizarre disappearances that have been ruled out as animal attacks, lost hikers/hunters dying of exposure, and traditional homicides or kidnappings. Good luck sleeping on your next camping trip after watching this one!
Brie Larson is great as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel alongside Samuel L. Jackson as a much younger Nick Fury. Classic Marvel Comics stories like The Kree/Skrull War make their jump to the big screen. Like Captain America: The First Avenger, I love how Marvel chose to make this a period film (which is something I’d love to see more of). Taking place almost 30 years ago, this film fills us in on some very important events in MCU history.
IT: Chapter 2
Though not quite as good as the first film, this is still an excellent film that wraps up the story of IT and the now grown friends who have vowed to put an end to the creature’s horror.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Probably the best Spider-Man film since Spider-Man 2, which is high praise (With the exception of Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse). The bar was pretty high for the film’s villain after Michael Keaton’s excellent appearance as Adrian Toomes AKA The Vulture in the last film, but Jake Gyllenhaal is more than up to the challenge as the creepy and formidable Mysterio.
John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum
Somehow these movies just keep getting better. Keanu Reeves returns as The Angel of Death, Baba Yaga, The Boogeyman himself, John Mutha’ Fucking Wick! ‘Nuff said!
C’mon, you saw this coming. Was there really ever going any other movie at number #1? The fact that after 23 films, Marvel was not only able to make an excellent movie, but also a genuinely satisfying ending to The Infinity Saga is incredible. This is one of the best superhero films ever made.
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I want to start off, by saying, this post has been written, and rewritten more than a half dozen times in my brain. I talked to Paul about it at the beginning of the summer, and for several weeks, it seemed as though every time I was ready to write it, something new would happen in the news that would make me take pause, and wait to see how things were going to settle in the end. As of this past week, I think they’re all settled—at least for long enough that I can comfortably write this post and publish it before it’s out-of-date. That being said, let’s dive in.
I have maintained, for a long time now, that Mary Jane Watson and Ariel from The Little Mermaid, are the reason why myself, and many men of my generation have a special place in our hearts (I’m going with hearts, since I had crushes on both characters pre-puberty) for redheaded women. As I grew up, most of the time I saw redheaded women, I found them more attractive on average, than a similar looking woman with any other hair color. As I grew up, the characters that caught my attention on shows, became the women with red hair, i.e. Joan on Mad Men, and Ygritte on Game of Thrones.
When I learned that Zendaya’s character in the MCU/Sony Spider-Man films, was supposed to be MJ (although not Mary Jane) it didn’t bother me, but it did make me think. At first I started thinking about the impact that comic book MJ had on me, and I wondered if this may have the same effect on a younger generation toward black women. Of course, at some point in the past few months, Disney announced that they were casting Halle Bailey as Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, and the question repeated itself in my mind.
Now, at first I thought, “that would be great if these characters helped another generation to find the beauty in a group of people that they may other-wise have not thought about in that way,” but I don’t think I was right on that. First off, I think that so far with Zendaya’s MJ as opposed to comic book MJ, there is a significant amount less sexualization, and that’s probably a good thing. I don’t remember much about MJ as a character, other than her calling Peter ‘Tiger,’ and I remember pictures of her more than anything. Ariel is the same thing, I remember her character, and while it was problematic I always liked it, but at least half of my fascination was with the seashell bra. This year’s Aladdin, live-action remake, did a lot of work desexualizing Princess Jasmine, and I think Disney is likely to do the same with Ariel.
The second reason, that I think my initial thought that perhaps this idea was a good one, is that while there was something innocent about it, I do think there ultimately ends up being a fetishization of these characters, and their physical characteristics within the original material. There are demographics, based on race and gender combinations that are more or less statistically attractive, and unfortunately, black women (along with asian men) tend to be statistically disadvantaged in this way. I had heard and read that enough times that it supported my original idea that maybe lifting black women up in this was a good thing, and I will say this, if Ariel is bad-ass, and inspires black girls to be bad-ass, or if MJ challenges the stereotypes of women, that’s great, and so far I do think Disney is doing a great job with that. They’re doing better than I would have, based on my own warped logic going into this. I had to realize that there is a huge difference between fetishizing, and raising up. Disney is raising up, and I was thinking indirectly, “hey wouldn’t it be cool if a bunch of kids ended up with a black woman fetish.” It wasn’t my intention, but it was essentially what I was thinking. Hell, it was initially what I was pitching to Paul.
So, now that I have that out of the way, now that I’ve talked about the two characters who really shaped much of my physical attraction, I want to shift gears slightly, and talk about a bit of news that came out the day that I was first ‘ready’ to write this. In the next James Bond film, 007 will be played by a black woman. There has been speculation for years about who would be Daniel Craig’s replacement in the James Bond cufflinks, with a lot of speculation going to Idris Elba (who I think would be awesome if he’s still young enough when the mantel gets passed). Trying, I think to do two thing, test the waters, but also stir up some hype in the form of controversy, it was announced that there would be a new 007, and that it would be Lashana Lynch.
I think they were testing the waters, because they announced that she would be the new 007, and waited until speculation and feedback came in, before announcing, that in the plot of the new film, Bond has retired, and is replaced in his title of 007, and then he is pulled back in while in retirement. It was a soft way of testing things out, to see if perhaps we’re more into 007 or James Bond. It’s similar to what Mission Impossible did with Jeremy Renner a few years ago. It’s not a bad plan, and we will see how it plays out in that way, but it also kind of plays into my general topic.
James Bond is perhaps one of the most sexualized male characters in cinematic history, and the way in which going about that has been drastically different from how they’ve sexualized women. Is it possible, that we’re going to get a female version of that? Will this change how female sexuality plays out on screen? Also, we have a character who is very much the coolest person in the room, and definitely has shaped young men’s idea of what a man is, will a black female 007 do the same for young women?
In the past few years in cinema, there has been a lot of talk about representation, and for the most part I think that it has been a good thing, and honestly I’m not one of these people who get’s bent out of shape when they change a character I like, or even love. I understand that most of these things are constantly evolving, and I don’t personally want to see the same old thing over and over. But I really think that these three examples are interesting, because they’re a bit different than other roles. Nick Fury, changing from a white man to a black man, had little impact as far as I can see, because the character was always one of authority, and I never associated with him, and I never felt an attraction to him, or to be like him. I also have to consider what it means for other people, and I don’t know. On the one hand, I think of all the black women I think are cool, or bad-ass, or beautiful, and it’s not a short list, and I wonder if that’s blinding me to a problem that’s real? Perhaps these casting decisions will help to solve that. I don’t know, but I think it’s important to ask some of these questions of ourselves.
Article by Michael Cole
–Mike Cole is a published author, freelance writer, & filmmaker. He is a happily married father of one.
Editors Note: Photos and their subsequent captions were added by Paul Wright… So, you know, don’t blame Mike.
With Spider-Man: Far From Home dropping digitally last week, as well as the Blu-Ray hitting stores on October 1st, Marvel’s “Phase 3” of films have officially come to an end. Looking back, Phase 3 really knocked it out of the fucking park. Phase 3 begins with Captain America: Civil War and continues with Doctor Strange, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Jesus, that’s a fantastic run. Each of of these films are fucking amazing in their own way, with Ant-Man and The Wasp as the only semi-weak film, but it’s still a fun movie and by no means bad. Every film in The MCU, so far, from Iron Man to Spider-Man: Far From Home is collectively known as The Infinity Saga. One massive story arc involving The Infinity Stones and the looming threat of Thanos. Culminating in an epic battle between The Forces of Thanos and The Avengers, with the entire Universe hanging in the balance.
To say that I’m a big Blu-Ray collector is a bit of an understatement. Even though I still buy a lot of my content digitally, but I love being able to have a physical copies of Blu-rays. Basically you have a shit load of Blu-Rays. Especially Steelbook Special Editions. So when I started to hear rumblings that Marvel was putting together a Blu-Ray box set for The Infinity Saga, I was understandably intrigued. Especially because Marvel put out such fantastic box set for Phases 1 & 2.
As they were being released in theaters, The Infinity Saga was broken into 3 Phases, as I mentioned before, Marvel already released box sets for Phase 1 and Phase 2 (I actually have both of them and they’re really cool). It doesn’t look like they’ll be releasing an individual set for Phase 3, based on the comments made by Marvel Studios head honcho, Kevin Fiege. At the moment, Marvel is starting to put together a mega box set that collects the entire Infinity Saga. The video posted below is intended to make audiences excited and nostalgic for The MCU (It sure as hell does the job that’s for sure.
Kevin Feige recently talked about a 4K Blu-Ray Box Set release of The Infinity Saga being in the works. According to Fiege, the set would include all 23 films on Blu-Ray/4K Blu-Ray, the original special features from each film, and a ton of never-before-seen deleted scenes, extended cuts, additional special features, and much more brand new material exclusive to this unique release. The Phase 1 and Phase 2 MCU box sets included fun Easter Eggs like a copy of The Sokovia Accords, The Tesseract, The Orb with The Power Stone inside, or Nick Fury’s files on all of The Avengers, just to name a few. They were really cool sets. Below, I have some pictures of the cool collectible Easter Egg material that was included in the Phase 1 and Phase 2 box sets, something that we can expect to continue in a release for The Infinity Saga.
At the time I purchased them, they were around $150 each, so a 4K Blu-Ray set of The Infinity Saga could cost as much is $500 or more. However, this is just speculation on my part and there hasn’t been any indication of what the cost might be. This is going to be something for only the hard-core fans and collectors, like myself. If you happen to be as crazy as I am, then you better start following my lead and save all of your change in a piggy bank or a change jar, because when this thing drops, it’s going to be a real wallet buster. Also, I expect a release date for early next year for Christmas 2019 at the earliest, but I think spring 2020 is much more likely.
I’ll post more info on the Blu-Ray box set for The Infinity Saga as it becomes available. For now Marvel posted a great video celebrating the end of an era as The Infinity Saga comes to a close. It’s such a great clip because, for myself and so many other people out there, these movies have meant so much. We’ve fallen in love with these characters and their stories. Of course we’re going to be getting a ton of new stuff from The MCU, but one of the many reasons that Avengers: Endgame was so fantastic is that it really felt like an ending to this grand story we’ve been following for the last 11 years. That’s a really tough thing to pull off in superhero fiction, especially when we know that this universe and many of these characters are going to continue on in other films and TV shows. It goes to show you just how talented directors Joe and Anthony Russo ( Captain America:Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, & Avengers: Endgame) are that they crushed the ending. Even though this beautiful video is basically an announcement trailer for The Infinity Saga Box Set, it so damn good it makes me want to pop on Iron Man and start watching the whole damn series all over again. Watch it hear:
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So, for the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a very long article about the different directions a 3rd MCU Spider-Man movie could go after after Spider-Man: Far From Home. Well, I wish I’d been a little more quick on the draw with that article, because yesterday, news broke that it’s very likely that Spider-Man will no longer be a part of The MCU.
Before getting into any details, like a lot of you I’m sure your initial reaction to this news is something along the lines of “well that fucking sucks“. That’s pretty much how I feel, as well. Spider-Man has been a great addition to the MCU and I was looking forward to all of the story telling possibilities his character brings to the table. It’s really disappointing as a fan of The MCU and the wall-crawler .
So, how did we arrive at this place? Why is this tyhappening? Well the short answer is a very unsurprising one, one word: greed. When this new broke, many fans assumed that Sony was somehow fucking up this deal, due to their less than stellar track record in the past. But they’ve been able to turn things around a bit of the last few years (I’ll get back into that in a minute). This shit show rests squarely on the shoulders of Disney.
When Marvel was going bankrupt in the 90s, they sold the film and television rights to their characters to various movie and production studios. Which is why we didn’t see characters like Spider-Man, The X-Men, or The Fantastic Four in the MCU from the very beginning. Marvel Studios didn’t have access to those characters at the time because, legally when it came to the movies at least, these other movie studios owned the characters.
Another factor is Disney’s acquisition of Fox. Disney bought the entertainment division of Fox, finally giving so many fans what they’ve been clamoring: The X-Men and The FF in the MCU. We should expect to see more on the Mutant and FF front as things progress, but don’t expect to see an X-Men or FF movie for a few more years. That’s just because Marvel had so many film and TV projects in the pipeline and ready for production when the Fox deal went through. They couldn’t bring everything they had been planning and building to a grinding halt and awkwardly shoehorn The X-Men and The FF into the MCU. I would rather wait and get excellent interpretations of these characters from the company that makes truly incredible marvel superhero films, than rush things and fuck it up.
Marvel’s deal regarding Spider-Man is pretty different. It’s more of a partnership (Or maybe WAS a partnership, I suppose) with the movie studio, Sony. All of the characters that we’ve seen in the MCU so far, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and many more were the characters already owned by Marvel Studios and Marvel can do whatever they want with them.
It’s different with Sony because, Sony still retains the film rights to Spider-Man. However, they reached an agreement with Marvel Studios where marvel can use Spider-Man in their movies like Avengers and Civil War. However, when a solo Spidey film is made, like Homecoming or Far From Home, Marvel makes those movies, they control the creative direction of the story and the characters. Sony essentially outsourced making Spider-Man movies to Marvel with the added benefit of the films taking place in The MCU, giving them a richer, more lived in feel to the world. Now like I said when Spider-Man is in Avengers movie, Sony doesn’t get any of the money that the film generates. But for solo Spider-Man films, Marvel gets 5% of the profits and merchandising rights, which is a lot of money. Plus having such an iconic Marvel character like Spider-Man back in the Marvel fold, is a huge win for the brand.
The problems started when Spider-Man: Far From Home became the highest grossing movie in the history of Sony. Not just the highest grossing Spider-Man movie, the highest grossing movie in the history of the film studio. For some stupid reason Marvel wanted to renegotiate their already lucrative and valuable contract with Sony. It’s important to remember that when I say Marvel, I mean Disney. The new deal Disney proposed ,was instead of getting 5% of the profits on Spider-Man solo films they get 50% of the profits. That’s insane. No movie studio would go for that. They were literally asking for 10 times the current deal. I don’t know what they expected from Sony as a response, but that’s an unreasonable demand. For Sony’s part they really wanted this deal to continue. They loved having Spider-Man in The MCU but they weren’t going to be strong-armed by Disney. Especially when they’ve had two big successes with the Spider-Man franchise on their own with Venom, which was a big hit for the studio, and Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse which was not only a masterpiece of filmmaking, but a huge moneymaker as well. Sony is negotiating from a position of power. They have much more leverage than they did in the past. Which is why the actions of Disney seems so bizarre. But again, to be clear Sony did not want this deal to fall apart. It seems like Disney didn’t want to budge and Sony said, “fine” and walked away from the table.
This whole thing being so public is slightly odd, though not completely because it seems like everything leaks these days. There is an argument to be made that making it public like this was a negotiation tactic, because of the inevitable fan outcry about not getting to see your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in the next Avengers film.
There’s still hope though. There’s still time for egos to cool off and sit back down to the table to renegotiate. Word on the street is that Sony is at least open to it. It kind of reminds me of the situation when James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy vol.3 for absurd reasons (Which upset me personally because I really wanted to see the end of his Guardians trilogy). He had always talked about a three film arc for these characters. Eventually, months after being fired and even moving on to other projects, Disney finally saw the light and hired him back. James Gunn was gracious enough to come back when he could’ve just as easily told them to fuck off. So hopefully something like this happens when it comes to Spider-Man. Hopefully this is just a hiccup and we will continue to see more Spider-Man in The MCU for years to come. Here’s hoping….
On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, we review one of my most anticipated movies of the summer and the latest film to feature everyone’s favorite wallcrawler: Spider-Man: Far From Home. As the final film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3 of films, we go over the action sequences, the villains, the friends and foes in Peter Parker’s life, and all the twists and turns along the way.
This movie has some HUGE revelations and twists, so I recommend avoiding SPOILERS at all cost before seeing this film. But after you see the movie, come on back and listen to our awesome breakdown of this kick ass superhero flick! Listen here or subscribe on Spreaker, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and ITunes:
… is the ONLY official poster for the film I put up with this article. What a shitty, shitty poster. All the other art here is the work of some incredibly talented artists I found online. STEP UP YOU GAME, SONY!
Marvel has official announced the home release of the year’s biggest film Avengers: Endgame! Hitting digitally on July 3oth and Blu-Ray and 4K on August 13th. Check out the announcement video below!
I’m a complete sucker. They get me coming and going. Not only do I buy the digital copy on iTunes because I want to watch the movie again as soon as I can, but I’m also a big collector of the cool, special edition, Steelbook Blu-Rays. So I buy those when they come out too, which you can see below…
You know what? I DON’T CARE THAT I’M MARVEL’S BITCH! I LOVE IT! GIVE IT TO ME, MARVEL! ALL OVER MY FACE, KNECK, AND CHEST! I’LL TAKE ANOTHER 22 MOVIES HARD AND SAY “THANK YOU, SIR! I’LL TAKE THAT SHIT AGAIN!”!
…Oh lord… They’ve got their hooks into me bad here, folks… Who am I kidding? I wouldn’t have it any other way….
LIVE FROM RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL! …Well… No, not really… But it’s a good show anyway! On this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, guest co-host Paul Sr. and I discuss the must see movies and TV series coming up next month, in our July Movie & TV Preview! We give you the scoop on Spider-Man: Far From Home, Stranger Things 3, Young Justice: Outsiders & more! Of course, along the way we take some of our usual nonsensical detours, but that’s part of the fun!
I also wanted to mention, as a public service announcement, that the word around the campfire is that Spider-Man: Far From Home is not only spectacular, but it also has a lot of cool surprises and twists and turns. Besides the trailer I have posted below, I’d recommend avoiding anymore trailers or clips from Spider-Man: Far From Home. From what I’ve heard, this is a movie you want to go into knowing as little as possible. Speaking of trailers, you can also check out the latest trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, as well as Stranger Things 3 and Young Justice: Outsiders at the end of this article.
As a little bonus for our World’s Best Media readers and subscribers, I wanted to bring your attention to a few other movies and TV shows premiering in July that we didn’t have time to go over on the podcast. First up, we have Amazon Prime’s new series The Boys. Based on the incredible comic book series created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson, The Boy’s takes place in a world where superheroes exist, but they’re reckless, entitled assholes who are way more likely to kill a bunch of innocent people as collateral damage than they are to save the day. When these pricks get really out of hand, The Boys step in. The Boy’s are a covert government team of violent lunatics who fuck up and/or kill superheroes who get out of line. Garth Ennis is the amazing writer behind the comic book classic Preacher as well as writing the most iconic run on The Punisher of all time. If you’re at all familiar with Ennis’ writing you won’t be surprised that The Boys is batshit insane in the best possible way. Everything I’ve seen so far has indicated that the show is pretty damn faithful to the source material. I’m pretty psyched for this one. Make sure you check out the trailer posted below. The Boys premieres on Amazon Prime on July 26.
Lastly, we have the new DCAU movie (or DC Animated Universe movie), Batman:Hush. I’m alway excited when one these new animated movies come out. They may not always knock out of the park, but when they do it’s fucking spectacular. Batman: Hush is based on the comic book storyline of the same name, an iconic Batman story written by Jeph Loeb (Batman: The Long Halloween) and legendary artist Jim Lee. The story is a sprawling mystery about a mysterious madman calling himself Hush, who’s hellbent on destroying Batman and everything he loves. The story is a trip through the most iconic parts of Batman’s world, featuring everyone from The Joker and Ras Al Ghul to Superman and Nightwing. This movie has the potential to be great, so I hope DC really nails this story. The trailer is posted below. Batman: Hush hits digitally on July 20th and on Blu-Ray August 6th.
With Avengers: Endgame, a historic era in cinema has come to a close. Marvel’s Infinity Saga ended on an unprecedented high note. Avengers: Endgame opened to critical acclaim while shattering box office records. By the end of it’s theatrical run, it’s very likely Avengers: Endgame will be the biggest movie in film history. Perhaps most importantly, the film delivered an emotional and thrilling experience for MCU fans all over the world, who have come to love these characters. This movie delivered and then some. It lived up to the hype. It knocked it out of the park. Pick your euphemism.
While The Infinity Saga may be finished and though we’ve said goodbye to some of our most beloved characters, The MCU will live on. The first Post-Endgame film, Spider-Man: Far From Home, opens in just a few months. With this new trailer, not only does the film look like a fantastic follow up to Homecoming, it also showcases how the cataclysmic events of Infinity War and Endgame have effected the world.
On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I’ll be breaking down the new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home. I’ll be talking about Easter Eggs, how the film looks to be taking inspiration from certain comic books, and speculate about where the story may go, as well as how this film may be interpreting some new characters in the franchise. I’ve posted the trailer below, if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet or you just want to watch it again:
I had a pretty cool experience recently that I talk about in this episode as well. Though I didn’t get a chance to interview him, I did have the privilege to meet one of Marvel Comics’ classic artists: Bob Layton. Bob is probably most well known for the seminal Iron Man story “Demon In A Bottle”. This was a story that was often brought up as a reason for Robert Downey Jr. being a great choice to play Iron Man. The story follows Tony Stark’s descent into alcoholism, which parallels Downey Jr.’s own struggles with substance abuse a few decades ago (I’ve always been of the opinion that’s a very reductive view of addiction and is a little insulting to excellent work Robert Downey Jr. has done with the character, but that’s neither here nor there). Bob was a really nice, down to earth guy. When I met him he had been doing signings for fans for at least 4 or 5 hours, most people would be worn out after all that, but from what I could see, he genuinely enjoys meeting his fans. So, it was nice to have a relatively private conversation with him even for just a few minuets. I talk about my conversation with him in more detail at the end of the episode. He signed this fantastic print of one his Iron Man covers for me, which is probably one of Marvel’s more iconic comic book covers. It’s from the aforementioned “Demon In A Bottle” storyline and I have picture of the signed piece below.