LOKI, the 3rd Marvel Cinematic Universe series, following WandaVision and The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, has made it’s debut on Disney+! I’ve been looking forward to this one for awhile. The trailers have been great and the buzz surrounding the show suggested it that it had the potential to be the best Disney+/MCU series yet.
Loki is compelling because everyone loves a bad boy. He’s not squeaky clean enough to call him a hero, but he has enough good inside him to make us root for the guy. Until Thanos came knocking, he was unquestionably the best villain in The MCU. However, even at the beginning Loki was far from a mustache twirling, cartoonishly evil super villain. He was a fully fleshed out, three dimensional character, whose worst actions came from a place of fear and pain.
On this episode of the podcast, Big Paul Sr. returns to the show as we do a deep dive breakdown of the LOKI series premiere! Oh, please bare with in the beginning of the episode, we eventually get rid of the fucking birds! Enjoy and thanks for listening!
Thanks for listening! Follow us on Twitter @PJWrightWBM, Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017, and our Facebook Page, Worlds 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!
As crazy as it must sound, it’s been just over a year and half since Spider-Man: Far From Home hit theaters. The film served as an epilogue of sorts to The Infinity Saga and our last piece of new content from The Marvel Cinematic Universe. When WandaVision premiered on January 15th, it ended what almost became the longest gap in new content since the studio’s inception. Second only to the 1 year 11 month gap between The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2. Fortunately, it looks like we have an insane amount of new MCU content coming our way this year, with WandaVision as the first out of the gate..
If going to talk about WandaVision, if you’ve seen the trailers, which I’m sure most of you have, you know the deal. But just in case, I’m posting a trailer right here to refresh your memory. Take one last look if you need a brief reminder:
I’m not gonna waste time going over the set up. Instead, I’m going to dive right in to what worked, and what didn’t, in The MCU’s first and highly anticipated new Disney+ shows. So, what did I think of the first 3 episodes of WandaVision? Does it live up to the hype? Was this the right project It kick off Phase 4 for Marvel Studios? Honestly, I don’t know yet.
The Big Problem: Weekly Episode Release Vs. Binge Format
My biggest take away from WandaVision was that streaming services desperately need to go back to the format that made them so intriguing and unique in the first place: Release all episodes of their original programming on the premiere date! It was so exciting things when a new season of Daredevil or Stranger Things, would premiere on Netflix and I could watch the entire story at my leisure! It was like getting to watch a trilogy of your favorite movie series over one weekend!
I understand that when Disney+ launched, the service needed to build up its library of original content and it’s subscriber base. The concern being, that people would just sign up, watch the first season of The Mandalorian over the weekend, and then cancel the subscription. Disney+ is successful enough now that it can move beyond that way of thinking and remember what drew people to streaming services in the first place.
For a series like WandaVision, the weekly format actually hurts the show. In fact, it’s WandaVision’s biggest weakness. Each episode of the show is formatted to replicate and pay homage to a classic sitcom era. Episode 1 feels very much like The Dick Van Dyke Show, while Episode 2 feels more like Bewitched, with Episode 3 turning into something like The Brady Bunch or Happy Days. While this is certainly extremely unique and innovative for a superhero story, it’s too earnest for its own good. Let’s be real, we don’t really give a shit about the sitcom format, we’re all here to watch this series because we know this is The MCU and something extremely strange afoot. We care about the mystery of WHY Wanda and Vision are stuck in this weird TV sitcom reality. The series takes the sitcom gimmick that they’re replicating each week, way too seriously. It seems like the creators didn’t just use the aesthetic and style of a 1960s sitcom, they also seem to be following the rules of storytelling that you’d see in a sitcom in the 60’s, which isn’t all that interesting. Like I mentioned before, innovations like this need to continue for superhero films to survive and thrive. But WandaVision would’ve been much better served leaning into the creepy and unsettling aspects of the whole TV sitcom format, more like something out of The Twilight Zone. As it stands we get a pretty earnest and straightforward series that’s basically a sitcom staring Wanda and Vision, with hints of something darker and mysterious in the background. How did the characters find themselves in this strange TV world? Who or what is doing this? Is it Wanda herself? The answers to those mysteries are what we’re here to see.
Know Your Audience & Why They’re Watching
They don’t have to show their hand right away, but we want more than just a silly sitcom with hints of something more interesting down the line. It couldn’t help but make me think of the film, Natural Born Killers, where Juliette Lewis’ abusive upbringing is shown in flashback form as a 60’s style TV sitcom, complete with a laugh track, while keeping the dark and twisted nature of her family life in tact. Seeing a horrible childhood juxtaposed with the wholesome sitcoms of yesteryear is what made that sequence so disquieting. Even Supernatural once did a crossover episode with Scooby-Doo, without ever compromising the tone or identity of either series.
WandaVision would’ve been much better served to up the creepy factor by 100%. The sitcom format would work so much better if we were more frequently reminded of the unsettling truth that something sinister is causing this. As it stands it’s basically just a sitcom that occasionally reminds us that there’s something unusual and dangerous at the heart of these events. There are more creepy and disturbing moments, as well as more overt clues about what’s actually be going on, in Episodes 2 & 3. Which is why I think the 2nd and 3rd installment are so much stronger than the 1st. Now it feels like we’re going to have to sit through weeks of a sitcom that we’re not really interested in watching, to get to the part of the story that really matters, which will probably be around the last three episodes. I’m old enough to have watched many of these old shows when they aired in the “Nick-At-Night” days. A large part of the audience won’t even know what show’s WandaVision is drawing inspiration from.
If the whole season dropped at once, the first 3 episodes would seem so much more charming and intriguing because we wouldn’t have to wait weeks to find out where this is going. We could dive right in and finish it out over a weekend. After all, it’s only six hours of content. Having said all that, I definitely like the show. Despite some of the creative choices that I disagree with, WandaVision is as fun as something like this could possibly be. Mainly because Wanda and Vision are such great characters and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are excellent actors who really give it their all. They’re a fun duo to watch and they have great chemistry as a couple.
The bottom line is I encourage any superhero or MCU fan to check out WandaVision, just know what you’re getting into first. This is not an action adventure series. It’s very deliberate and with it’s own methodical and sometimes slow pacing. Which can be frustrating at times, but the potential of the underlying mystery as well as the performances by the excellent cast, will keep me coming back for more each week.
Like any good Marvel fan, or fanatic in my case, I kept my eyes peeled for Easter Eggs and believe me there are a ton of them! Wanda and Vision both have such storied history‘s as characters that there is a lot of storytelling there for the show to pull from. There are a lot of cool callbacks, Easter Eggs, and clues to previous MCU projects, comic book characters and storylines, as well as upcoming shows and films, in The MCU.
Easter Eggs, Clues, & References
First of all, Wanda seems to have undergone a massive power upgrade. She can seemingly create and manipulate matter at will. Conjuring up objects from thin and altering existing ones. There’s a neat end credits sequence at the end of each episode with a musical score that’s creepy as hell and works as a unsettling contrast to the bright and bubbly nature of everything that comes before. It reminded me quite a bit of how Wanda’s powers would manifest in miniseries House of M with these sort of blocks. When she creates or destroys, something it comes apart or is put back together again small squares much like what we see in the end credits.
All 3 episodes drop huge clues that the people monitoring Wanda and Vision are S.W.O.R.D., we see their symbol in the van monitoring thing at the end of Episode 1 and it appears again in on a red and yellow toy helicopter that Wanda finds in Episode 2.
The inclusion of SWORD is extremely interesting because they’re basically SHIELD for space. They monitor extraterrestrials threats to Earth and other dangers to the planet from outer space. This would imply that something extraterrestrial is at play in WandaVision, which opens up all sorts of fun possibilities. In one of the Spider-Man: Far From Home post-credits scenes Nick Fury is seen on an alien ship or space station, which led many to theorize that he was setting up S.W.O.R.D.
Wanda makes a new friend in Episode 2, a young African-American woman who introduces herself as Geraldine. They meet while attending a planning event on a sunny afternoon, under gazebo filled with other women from the community.
They’re all there to discuss the upcoming talent show fundraiser that the town is putting on. Right off the bat, there’s some really weird shit going down at this gathering of happy homemakers. Within her first few seconds of interacting with Wanda, Geraldine looks almost frightened and appears confused as to why she’s even at this meeting in the first place. As if she just woke up from an upsetting and disorienting dream. In Episode 3, we see that she’s wearing a necklace bearing the insignia of SWORD . She may introduce herself as Geraldine, but we know better. She is in fact Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Spectrum. We’ve actually encountered Monica in The MCU already, we met her as a child, in Captain Marvel. Monica is the daughter of Carol Danvers’ best friend. Monica is clearly following in the footsteps of the woman she look up to since she was a little girl. The next time we see her in The MCU outside of WandaVision will be as a full fledged superhero in Captain Marvel 2 which will likely involve SWORD in someway.
Someone, presumably SWORD, are tattempting to contact Wanda through the radio. You very clearly hear them asking her “Who is doing this to you, Wanda?”The voice on the radio is Agent Woo who we first met in Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Wanda and Vision perform a magic act in the town’s talent show school fundraiser. One of the props they use in their act, “The Cabinet of Mysteries”, has a symbol on it that looks a lot like The Mind Stone. An artifact key to the origins of both Wanda and Vision.
The commercial in Episodes 2 is for a watch made by Baron Strucker, who gave Wanda and her brother their powers. The watch also has the HYDRA symbol and says HYDRA on its face. Episode 3 has a commercial for a bath product made by HYDRA
In Episode 2, Wanda goes from normal to what looks to be about six months pregnant in a matter of moments. In episode three she gives birth to twin boys named Billy and Tommy. Shortly after their birth Wanda tells Geraldine (AKA Monica) that she was a twin and she had a brother named Pietro. This causes Geraldine to snap out of it for a moment and mention how Pietro was killed by Ultron.
At which point Wanda makes note of Geraldine’s SWORD necklace and hurls her out of town, back into the real world. She’s intercepted by what looks to be a massive government operation that seems to be monitoring the strange dome that has encased this town. Which reminded me a lot of the facility SHIELD constructs around Thor’s hammer, Mijonir, when it falls to Earth in the first Thor film.
It was also really cool just to hear Ultron referenced in Episode 3. He was an underrated villain who I’ve always wanted to see return. I had a theory that Ultron could somehow be involved in the events of WandaVision. I’ll just hold out hope that he’ll possibly make an appearance by the end of the season, who knows?
In the comics, Wanda and Vision have twin children (Billy and Tommy), who are later revealed to be constructs created by Wanda’s powers. The knowledge that her children were never “real” eventually leads to her mental break with reality that results in the deaths of Hawkeye, Scott Lang, and Vision. The fallout causes The Avengers to briefly disband. Which would seem to suggest that these children will likely be a very important part of the series going forward.
In the comics, It’s later revealed that the children were in fact real and survived. Eventually becoming the Young Avengers known as Speed (Tommy) and Wiccan (Billy), whose powers mirror those of Wanda and her brother Pietro AKA Quicksilver. Other members of Young Avengers include Scott Lang’s daughter, Cassie, who will develop size changing powers in Ant-Man 3. As well as, Hawkeye’s protege Kate Bishop, who will be making her debut in the upcoming Hawkeye Disney+ series with Hailee Steinfeld in the role.
Expect us to continue covering WandaVision as the series continues!
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!
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:
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 followsgo 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!
A few years ago, I read a book called “The Knife of Never Letting Go,” by Patrick Ness. It’s not the greatest title, but immediately it was one of my favorite books. It was written in a way that was bizarre and interesting, and I was captivated from the beginning. The book is the first in a trilogy called “The Chaos Walking” trilogy. I read the entire trilogy as quickly as I could, and while the first book is by far my favorite, the entire trilogy is good.
The film adaptation of these books is coming out on January 22, 2021 (that is of course assuming things don’t get changed in the wake of the pandemic). As far as I can tell from the trailer, which was released today, the film will be adapting the trilogy as a whole and not the first book, and I’m not hating that. Here’s what I think about the upcoming adaptation, and the books, along with the trailer.
Before You Watch the Trailer
I don’t want to say much about these books, because I do think this is a situation in which going in with as little info as possible is going to enhance the experience. The trailer does somewhat spoil some of the secrets of the first book. I think that because of the way they are—necessarily—changing the telling of the story, the reveal of the first book would make absolutely no sense, but if you’re planning on reading the books before seeing the film, I strongly recommend reading at least the first book before watching the trailer.
The trailer shows you glimpses of events past the big reveal of the first book, but I don’t think there is much that is going to be ruined if you’ve read only the first book.
What Can I Tell You Without Spoiling?
Here is one of the things that I think if you pick up the book at a book store, and literally flip through it you would learn, so I don’t feel bad spoiling for you. This book doesn’t follow a layout the way pretty much every novel I’ve ever read has. This book, along with House of Leaves, are the only two books I’ve read, where margins and orientation are inconsistent, and messed with as a part of the story telling.
In this book, (minor spoiler here) we meet Todd, a boy who lives on a planet where everyone’s thoughts are projected aloud into the air for all to see and hear. The constant bombardment of these thoughts to the characters is reflected in scrawling text, sometimes looking like a notebook which has been writing has been written over.
This factor of the world is not a minor aspect, but affects seemingly everything that happens in all three books, and so when I read that the book was going to be adapted, I was genuinely curious as to how it was going to work. Based on what I’ve seen in the trailer it looks like they’ve come up with a pretty cool way of selling it.
Three Books—One Movie?
I could be wrong on this, but based on the trailer, I think they’re telling the whole story in one film, I think it’s a smart decision. In a world in which most novels are better translated into shows than films, I think this book series doing the opposite makes a lot of sense.
The three books while running high on page counts, don’t tell long stories. In fact, it’s very much three acts of the same story. A lot of the page count is dedicated to style and world building, and I suspect that on film both will be done much more efficiently than the novels. I’d rather see the whole story told well over the course of one film, than poorly over the course of three or four.
Ready for the Trailer?
If you’ve read the books already, or you’re thinking that you’re not going to, go ahead and watch the trailer. But this is your last warning. Watching this trailer will spoil what was personally one of my favorite aspects of the book. So I won’t tell you what to do, but like any good parent, I will guilt trip you and just say “I think you know the right thing, I just hope you choose to do it.”
This week we got our first look at Tom Holland is Nathan Drake in the upcoming Uncharted film, (which you can see in the above photo) an adaptation of the ultra popular video game series of the same name. Nathan Drake is basically a modern day Indiana Jones and I mean that comparison in the best possible way. Despite the similarities of the two characters, Nathan Drake isn’t just a rip off of Henry Jones Jr. Drake has stood out as an iconic and compelling, fan favorite, video game hero for years.Uncharted always seemed like a no brainer for adaptation to the big screen. After all, the games are so incredibly cinematic themselves.
There have been a few attempts to bring an Uncharted films to cinemas, most notably David O. Russell (The Fighter) was attached to direct with Mark Wahlberg starring Nathan Drake. It seemed like Russell didn’t really understand what made the Uncharted series so fantastic in the first place. His take on the story was so vastly different from the source material that, except for the title and the names of the characters, it was an Uncharted film in name alone. That is well as the seemingly odd casting of Wahlberg as Drake, made me breath a sigh of relief when this particular attempt at making an Uncharted movie, fell apart.
The fan favorite choice for the role has always been Nathan Fillion. Most well known for playing Capt. Mal Reynolds in the TV series Firefly and the sequel film Serenity, as well as his role as a crime author in the television series Castle. While he would’ve been incredible in the role of Nathan Drake, he had sadly aged out of the part and he was never quite a big enough meme to be considered seriously in earlier attempts to adapt an Uncharted film. However, a few years ago, he played Nathan Drake in a fantastic short film that he also produced. It’s fucking great. It’s very, very fun and really cool. You can watch it right here and I highly recommend that you take a look…
Now, we have our first look at Tom Holland as Nathan Drake. I’ve gotta say, it looks pretty much dead on. I’ve heard a few people say that Holland is too young for the role, which is a fair criticism. Drake is classically portrayed as being a bit older. In the first Uncharted game, he’s roughly between his late 20’s and early 30’s. However, throughout the series we see Nathan Drake at many different points in his life, all the way from a young orphan boy to a middle aged man. Glimpses of the character’s past as a young adventurer, we’re not unheard of in the games. So it’s not as if we haven’t seen a younger Drake in the video game series before. Looking at it optimistically, if the film does well, Holland’s ages is actually an asset because he’s certainly not going to age out of the part anytime soon. Let’s not forget, most of us may look at Tom Holland and associate him with the role of Peter Parker in The MCU, but he’s also an extremely talented and accomplished actor outside of his superhero work. As anyone who has seen the recent Netflix film, Devil All The Time, can attest to.
In another interesting bit of casting news, even though he’s no longer portraying Nathan Drake, Mark Wahlberg is still set to appear in the film in a major role. Wahlberg will be playing fan favorite character, Sully, Drake’s mentor, partner, friend, and father figure. For much of the series Sully is the closest thing Drake has to a family (that may or may not change as the story progresses, but I’ll say no more for fear of future spoilers). This is another instance where someone may point out that Wahlberg is a little too young to play the role of Sully, which is true, but it’s perfectly age-appropriate for the younger version of Drake that they’re going for here. Casting Wahlberg still makes him the older mentor figure, without changing the age gap between the two characters. Holland has already shown his ability to play protégé opposite a superstar actor without letting himself get overshadowed. Mark Wahlberg wouldn’t be my first choice to play Sully, but I’m excited to see what he’ll bring to the role and just what his chemistry on screen with Tom Holland will look like. The relationship between Nathan Drake and Sully is arguably the most important in the entire series, so it’s very important that they get this one right.
All in all, from the very little we have seen, I like what we have been shown so far. Hopefully will get a better glimpse at the movie with a trailer or poster, in the near future. Let’s also hope that by the time this movie comes out, we can actually go see it in a movie theater! So what are you guys think? Do you like Tom Holland as Nathan Drake? What about Mark Wahlberg as Sully? Please 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. 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!
On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, Paul Sr. and I discuss which superpowers would be the most useful if you were robbing a bank? As the discussion continues, more about Paul Sr.’s criminal past emerges…
Considering how often super villains rob banks in comic books, there aren’t that many bank robbery scenes in superhero films. However the few scenes that do exist are all pretty fucking awesome. I can think of three great ones… well, two and a half anyway.
The iconic opening sequence of The Dark Knight, when The Joker and his gang of masked clowns rob a mob bank:
2. The great bank robbery scene in Spider-Man 2, where Doc Ock and The Ole’ Wallcrawler’s clash for the first time:
2b. This is what I meant when I said two and a half great bank robbery scenes in superhero movies. This scene from Spider-Man: Homecoming isn’t quite a bank robbery. It’s a bunch of thugs with high-tech weaponry trying to steal an ATM, but it’s still a lot of fun, so I wanted to include it here:
For more super-powered bank robbing shenanigans, make sure you listen to this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, posted right here.
Thanks for listening! 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!
I’m a huge fan of Pixar, and I think the argument can be made that they have the best record of any film company ever, based on average quality, and financial success rates. I do not however, have an issue seeing Pixar’s flaws, and from the moment I saw the trailer for Onward, I thought “Well, that’s gonna be a dud.”
Onward in someways seemed to diverge from what I was used to from Pixar, of the 21 previous films, 16 of them had main characters that were animals/objects/emotions, and while Onward isn’t about humans, they’re human-lite. Other than Brave (and perhaps you’d argue Coco, but that’s a religious and philosophical debate for another post) none had featured magic, and this was the first film to not have some connection with ‘Earth.’
I don’t exactly know how to to describe it, but there was a lack of interest on my part, and if I didn’t have a 3 year-old, I probably would have skipped the film. But, I do have a 3 year-old, and he wanted to see unicorns eating trash, and so my wife and I took him on Saturday, and the three of us loved this film.
Now, one of the things that has become something of a Pixar staple, In the last 15 years, you could argue that it’s been their defining trait, has been their ability to make you adults sad, and in that way, this film was totally Pixar. I’m a bit of a crier as it is, but my wife isn’t, and she was choking up a couple times during the film. But one of the other things that Pixar does well, is they make you sad and then make you happy again, and this didn’t fail to deliver.
I don’t really think I need to go into spoilers, so please note that all of what I’m about to tell you, is in the trailers.
The film is about two brothers who go on a quest two finish a spell that brings their father back to life for a day, and because they have half completed the spell at the beginning, it’s a race against the clock. It’s a story about family, something Pixar has done an pretty incredible job with on a few occasions. (See what I did there? Incredible job?)
This film has fun, and adventure, plenty of laughs, and as I mentioned before, tears. It’s a great time start to finish. I do want to mention something that it accomplishes, which no animated film has ever done before, and it’s a super mild spoiler. There is a scene in which they’re dealing with a great height, and there are some live action films in which I have gotten a sick to my stomach feeling due to my own fear of heights (The Walk did it in the trailer alone), and this film had me feeling that flip-floppy vertigo feeling for about a minute. That may sound like a complaint, but it should really be a testament to how invested I was in the story.
As far as ranking this with other Pixar films, I would say it’s in the top third, I don’t know if it’s as good as Toy Story 3, WALL-E, Up, or Inside Out, but it’s certainly better than all of the Cars films, Brave, and The Good Dinosaur.
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.
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, which 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!
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.
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….