Showing posts with label marvel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marvel. Show all posts

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Salute to a King - Chadwick Boseman (1976 - 2020)

photo by Neil Krug

Very few stars in Hollywood shine so brightly. After a handful of roles under his belt, Chadwick Boseman accomplished more in his massive skyrocket to fame than many are ever able to. It's only fitting that Esquire once declared, "Chadwick is telling America's greatest stories." But how these stories were told is just as illuminating and important as Chadwick being the chosen one to tell them.

With three historical figures under his belt - Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get On Up, and civil rights activist Thurgood Marshall in Marshall - Boseman never played these influential figures as self-aware legends. Approaching them with a deliberate focus to live and breathe on screen as they were, he slipped into every role was an effortless feat, rarely carrying any evidence of the weight his portrayal would conjure. Instead of these stories hiding in the shadows, he was apart of bringing them to light - an assured and conflicting patience as first African American to play in Major League Baseball, that's completely uprooted with the electrifying energy of Brown, and then the tactical poise of Marshall. Only a true actor could achieve the transition between each role and not make you second-guess their innate vulnerability and courage.

Though Boseman's roles outside of Marvel are just as important and delivered a hopeful promise of where his career could soar, his role as T'Challa changed something - for Black culture, for the film industry, for fans.

It was only a few years ago that the original Avengers' arcs were coming to an end. The expiration date for the initial cast was coming to a close and newer faces were were stepping up to the plate. As their time started to come to a close, the next phase needed to be revived in order to keep the momentum going. I love Cap, as you all know, but my time with Marvel was coming down to who else was going to move the next phase along - who was going to infuse it with a new energy and direction. After 20/21 movies, Marvel finally decided to adapt Black Panther, and that changed the game. 

While most of Captain America: Civil War focuses on the beef between Tony Stark and Captain America, it also starts drawing out the newer Avengers for their own spin-offs- Peter Parker, Vision, Wanda Maximoff, Scott Lang, and T'Challa. Not only was T'Challa a glimmering transition into a Post-Avengers world, but mainly, it was Boseman as T'Challa who changed everything. Less than a minute together - T'Challa greets his father King T'Chaka (John Kani) at the United Nations signing of The Accords before Zemo attacks, leaving his father dead. Their love and respect bound together in such a heartbreaking, beautiful greeting and loss that sets their whole story motion for his own film. As The Avengers quarrel over the Accords,  it's T'Challa's release of vengeance against Zemo for killing his father that is the pivotal moment of a solid character arc. Whether he was obscured by Black Panther costume or not, the layers of emotions he conveyed was unmatched, and I was hooked.

I had at least a two-hour conversation with Denzel after he saw the movie,” Boseman recalls. “He saw all of us onscreen and it was like, ‘Yes, finally! This is what I’ve been working for. ’. . . When you see someone in his position—a star, a leader—don’t take it for granted that they’re struggling against the system to hold that position in order to express things a certain way without compromise. Think about the things they’ve turned down in order to be that person.(x)

T'Challa was a royal prince, but he approached him with the charisma, empathy, and determination that exuded an quiet strength - a universal character you could relate to no matter where you come from. It's his turn as the character that marked memorable moments for me in half the time of all The Avengers movies - his premiere in Captain America: Civil War; the scope of Black Panther to weave stories of African diaspora, colonialism and white supremacy with a breadth of characters continues to teach me something new; the fight against Thanos in Wakanda made me so nervous in the theaters the first time I saw it and his death in The Snap makes me cry just thinking about Okoye's reaction; how seeing his return in Endgame and Wakanda celebrating The Blip offered so much hope for his sequel. 

Black Panther, the film itself and the character, wasn't just a Marvel reset, but a cultural one that won't be repeated again - a billion dollars at the box office with a Black led cast and crew and an opportunity for generations to witness their first Black superhero. From his own childhood admiration of T'Challa to telling nods from the universe that Marvel would tap him to cast, it seemed like Chadwick was destined to change the world. None of the detail or layers of T'Challa's arc - everything from how he talked to building Wakanda from the ground up wouldn't be possible without the dedication and the attention to detail director Ryan Coogler with the crew, but also for the lead to set the tone for what Black Panther could be. Marvel might've reached out to him to play T'Challa, but similar to all of his roles, Boseman made it his own.

Ironically, Boseman didn't start as an actor - he instead wanted to be a director and was encouraged to try acting to understand the whole film-making process. After picking up tidbit roles before landing 42, it's strange to wonder what film would've been like without him in front of the camera. His impact is evident in the projects he chose that elevate Black actors and characters to be more than stereotypes - picking up the mantle from Sydney Poitier to Denzel Washington to Viola Davis, and running with it in every direction he could. That's a symbol of power that just can't be compared.

To say, Boseman will be missed feels like a vast understatement giving how his influence and presence is immeasurable. To say, I know how to comprehend his passing is something I don't. I don't know if many will fully know how to digest the news until 2020 is well in our rear-view mirror. It feels greedy to think of the roles he had yet to fulfill and the impact he had yet to achieve because he had already achieved so much - all the while facing his own battles with colon cancer that remained private with his family until his passing. He wasn't just a chameleon with so many roles left to give, but someone who was working behind the scenes to live up to the legacy of a superhero by visiting patients in hospitals and maintaining friendships with children who will and looked up to Black Panther. The incredible strength and grace he emanated off-screen and in his work leaves questions as much as it does inspiration. He soaked up every second with the time that he had, and what he delivered is a rare spark of true human royalty.

Rest in peace, King.

Monday, April 13, 2020

In Defense of Avengers: Age of Ultron

Five years ago, Avengers: Age of Ultron was the unexpected and divisive sequel to The Avengers. Upon its initial release, the sequel was  a weird position of not connecting with fans unless the previous films were watched and had yet to be the inciting incident for more films to follow. It's not the most popular, and often the least favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as far as Avengers movies goes), but I wanted to take a moment of why I've come to appreciate it over the past year or two.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Everything I Love About Captain America in Avengers: Endgame (Part 2)

After breaking down the Captain America and The Avengers films, we're finally reaching the end of my series, which has been an ongoing tribute to Steve Rogers and his arc throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Today, I'm picking up with part two from covering Avengers: Endgame.

It's hard to believe that we're coming to the end of his series. I hope enjoy! (This post is picture-heavy. Credit can be found by clicking on the images.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Everything I Love About Captain America in Avengers: Endgame (Part 1)

After breaking down the Captain America and The Avengers films, we're finally reaching the end of my series, which has been an ongoing tribute to Steve Rogers and his arc throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos did exactly what he was going to do: wipe out half of the galaxy. Now the Avengers are left to pick up the pieces after losing everyone they loved. Steve Rogers and and the team reunite one last time to track down Thanos and the Infinity Stones to bring everyone back.

The only way I could feel it would be right to finish the franchise is to go out with a bang. Because Avengers: Endgame itself is such a massive finale to culminate the past twelve years of Marvel, this post will be split into two parts. I hope you sit back and relax 3000 as we track Cap into the future and stroll down memory lane. (This post is very picture-heavy. Credit can be found by clicking on the images.) Spoilers to the entire MCU is ahead.

Monday, January 6, 2020

5 Essential Fandom Lessons To Take With Us in 2020

Gone is the trashfire year of 2019, and in enters a whole new twelve months ahead to create. While we might want to leave the past behind us, it's good to learn from what fandoms such as movies and tv shows might've taught us. Before we dive too deep into 2020, here are some fun and essential lessons we can take with us into the new year. 

Are there any lessons you learned from your favorite fandoms? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Trailer Reaction: Black Widow (2020)

After helping The Avengers lead their missions from one global catastrophe to another, the former Russian spy Natasha Romanoff finally has her own spin-off. As the first solo female-led flick from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the dots are starting to connect about Black Widow's past.

Ten years in the making, the first look at Black Widow (2020) with a brand new trailer might just answer some long-anticipated questions about the mysterious superhero.

This post contains spoilers from Avengers: Endgame. Read at your own risk. Let's get into the newest trailer.

Friday, November 8, 2019

In Defense of Theme Park Movies

In an interview with Empire magazine, and his op-ed with The New York Times, director Martin Scorsese mentioned disliking the superhero genre and comparing Marvel movies to theme parks. His answer sparked a debate about what qualifies as true cinema and what doesn't. As a fan of both comic book movies and traditional film genres, I wanted to touch on why I disagree and both agree.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Epic News Breakdown From Disney's D23 Convention

D23 Marvel Disney Plus News
What San Diego Comic Con is to all things film franchises and comic books, D23 is to the future of Disney's theme parks, shows, and movies. As Marvel moves into its next phase after Avengers: Endgame, and Disney continues to dominate the film industry, lingering anticipation is an understatement for what's to come in the next few years.

Offering a conveyor belt of sneak previews and announcements, D23 delivered epic news for Disney Plus, upcoming Marvel projects, and the Star Wars franchise. Here's a breakdown of some of D23's biggest revelations. What are you the most excited for? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Geek, And You Shall Find (2019) Celebrates the Power of Superheroes Within

Geek, And You Shall Find (2019)
Superhero Faces Productions / Geek, And You Shall Find
Superman. Spider-Man. Captain America. Wonder Woman. These are just a few super-heroic characters who have become beloved icons for children and adults alike. From the famous Hall H at San Diego Comic Con to breaking box office records, it’s almost impossible to believe the arduous and inspiring evolution of geekdom. And yet, fandom not only started with the humble origins of comic books, but has also catapulted the way in which we navigate our everyday lives and the world around us.

Geek, and You Shall Find explores the fascinating past and future of comic books. Its creators and their stories have made a lasting impression on generations of readers, but where did it all start? How do the stories we love reflect society and vice versa? What can we truly gain from admiring characters that wear masks, don capes, and try to save their fellow man? Superhero Faces Productions journeys into the depths of Marvel, Westeros, Star Wars, and more to understand the life-changing impact behind our galaxy's biggest fandoms.

Starting with The Great Depression and the initial creation of Superman, Geek, and You Shall Find uncovers the rich history of beloved larger-than-life characters becoming an antidote and answer to society's greatest ordeals: war, racism, class disparity, immigration, and gender inequality. In speaking with the late Stan Lee, George R.R. Martin, Roy Thomas, and Kevin Eastman, the documentary examines the rise and challenges the comic book revolution has overcome and still faces. From censorship to international conflicts, comic books have not only withstood the test of time but also influenced reality far more than we could ever consider. Beyond the breaking down the timeline of how comic book creators imagined the fictional heroes we revere today, the film also implements Joseph Campbell’s heroes journey and how it mirrors our lives in mythological terms.

Drawing strength from comic books is no different than seeing ourselves in religious, historical, or public figures. Despite the fantastical or science-fiction approach to reflect the best and worst traits humans possess, comic books aren't often recognized as 'real' entertainment. When examining political issues, expanding inclusion, and challenging the status quo, the genre's critics are often the first to protest that 'serious' issues don't belong in their fandom. Outside of connecting with the genre's 'godfathers', the documentary also features creators standing up for what they believe in, psychologists  using comic books to help patients deal with trauma, and fans reaching out to each other for support and camaraderie. The worlds escape with on-screen and on the page prove to inspire real activism, practice compassion, and break barriers with their personal views.

As a self-proclaimed geek, it’s difficult to not find one area of my life that isn’t influenced by movies, books, or shows. When we connect with superheroes, Jedis, hobbits or wizards on their adventures, we become a part of their story and vice versa. Their ability to face against greedy corporations, evil masterminds, and stand up after being knocked down gives us strength to handle our own setbacks and victories. By participating in fandom over the years, I've grown out of my introverted cave to express my love of pop culture to write, cosplay, and try to inspire others to be the best that they can be. Comic books re-affirm what I love about fandom is as true and meaningful as I think it is for myself and fellow geeks as well.

Geek, and You Shall Find celebrates the rich history of storytelling in general and profound lessons and transformation comic books has on humanity. Superhero Faces Productions creates a positive affirmation about our unique passion for storytelling, and also invites those who don’t believe in the power of geek culture to reconsider. Their work maintains a wonderful balance of personalizing fandom from its roots to its present day success. We might not literally have spiderwebs shooting out of our wrists or take it to the streets against caped villains. But when we geek out, we are embracing a part of our identities in a whole new way and reminds us to embrace the superhero within.
Rating for the film: ★★★
Have you seen Geek, and You Shall Find? What do you think?

Please Note: I was provided with a screener in exchange for an honest review. Geek, and You Shall Find is available to watch on Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play.

Friday, July 19, 2019

7 Fascinating Reveals About Avengers: Endgame at San Diego Comic Con 2019

Avengers: Endgame San Diego Comic Con 2019
Avengers: Endgame is one of the biggest movies of all-time. Since its release earlier this summer, much has been speculated about its complex time travel plot, the arcs of favorite characters, and the start of a new phase in the MCU. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo, as well as the screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, held their own panels in the famous Hall H soundstage. By discussing the unique approach of making the most colossal Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to date, we learned some fascinating behind-the-scenes intel about how the foursome created the movie. Here are 7 Reveals About Avengers: Endgame at San Diego Comic Con.

If you haven't seen Avengers: Endgame, read at your own risk. This post contains spoilers!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer Reaction & Breakdown

Sony Pictures Releasing
The MCU is still reeling from Avengers: Endgame and probably will be for a long time. It's only fitting that the franchise starts moving on with the second installment for Spider-Man. Hitting theaters July 2nd, 2019, a much-needed and well-earned vacation for Peter Parker and his friends unravels some unexpected consequences from the universe snip-snapping back into place.

If you haven't seen Avengers: Endgame, it's a good idea to skip this trailer and post. Spoilers are ahead!


Sunday, May 5, 2019

Top 10 Movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Top 10 Movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a good run for the past eleven years. Better than most would've ever expected when Iron Man hit the scene. Now twenty-two films later, and the first saga of its universe has come to an end. While revisiting the previous spin-offs and installments in preparation of Avengers: Endgame, I compiled what I consider to be the best of the MCU so far.

How would you rank the top ten movies? Feel free to let me know in the comments below! (This does not contain spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Why Captain America's Decision in Avengers: Endgame Works

Captain America Time Travel Avengers: Endgame
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Avengers: Endgame is one of the biggest movies of the 21st Century. So it'd be massively surprising if it didn't leave us with questions and ideas about its most beloved characters - especially Captain America and the road he's been on so far since Captain America: The First Avenger.

Having seen the film, and reading debates online about its plotholes, I wanted to explore what they mean for Steve Rogers and his journey throughout Marvel's finale for the Infinity Saga. This post contains massive spoilers. Read it your own risk.


Saturday, April 27, 2019

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Is A Fine Finale But Not Marvel's Finest Hours

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
With The Snap of Thanos’s fingers, Avengers: Infinity War flipped from a typical superhero flick into an unforgettable event that no Marvel fan or casual movie-goer would ever forget. To say that Avengers: Endgame has been an event of its own is massive understatement. Its unbelievable hype has a lot to live to up since we saw half the universe dusted into oblivion in 2018. As Marvel draws its Infinity Saga to a close, this twenty second film is without-a-doubt a funny, action-packed and tender farewell. But in good ways and bad, it doesn’t necessarily capture the same magic of its sister flick.

As Paul Bettany once wisely said, “Snitches end up in ditches” if they spoiler Avengers: Endgame. Taking my fate into my own hands, I’m breaking with the requests from the Powers that Be (Marvel Studios and co.) to say: this review contains massive spoilers. Read it your own risk.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

How Iron Man (2008) Changed Superhero Movies Forever

Superhero movies weren't new when Iron Man strolled onto the scene in 2008. Superman had been fighting kryptonite since 1976. Throughout the 1990s to early 2000s went either straight-to-video (Captain America and The Death of the Incredible Hulk) or were on their third sequels (X-Men, Spider-Man). Though Christopher Nolan's Batman overshadowed 2008 with The Dark Knight, a string of lukewarm movies (Daredevil, Fantastic Four, and Ghost Rider) made the superhero genre seem less and less like a gamble worth betting on.

But fast-forward ten years from 2008, and generations have grown up knowing and loving the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. With a slew of characters and multiple spin-offs on the way, Iron Man is where it all started and where it changed everything, and where it seems to remain as one of the most underrated Marvel films.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Avengers: Endgame Trailers Breakdown

Avengers: Endgame Trailer Breakdown
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
We're in the endgame now. After a year of waiting, we're only a few weeks away from finally discovering the fallout from Avengers: Infinity War. Can The Avengers make a comeback from the devastating loss after Thanos snapped half the universe away? Since December 2018, Marvel Studios has been steadily releasing more footage. We've all been expecting our favorite characters to retrieve the ones they loved, but it's hard to tell if expectations will match reality. Let's take a look at the trailers so far and talk about what is going on. Once we go through the easter eggs, I don't know if we're going to be able to handle it.

Are you ready for Avengers: Endgame? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Captain Marvel (2019) Proves Her Power

Captain Marvel Movie Review
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Fandom hatred for Carol Danvers was sparked long before she hit the screen. From Brie Larson calling for more inclusiveness with film criticism to her heroine being pitted as better or worse than Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel had “something to prove” to the haters, the box office, and the barriers Black Panther obliterated. Despite being underestimated, the film has been knocked down but fights to live another day.

On the planet Hala, Vers (Brie Larson) and her fellow alien race of Kree are fighting a brutal war against tyrannical shape-shifters called Skrulls. Curious and haunted by the mysterious dreams she has of another life, she escapes capture to Earth to uncover the truth about where she comes from and who the real enemies are.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Everything I Love About Captain America in Avengers: Infinity War

Captain America in Avengers: Infinity War
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
After a devastating smackdown against Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War, Steve Rogers relinquished the iconic shield and stepped away from the Accords. The 'Star-Spangled Man With A Plan' became the Nomad, living undercover alongside other rogue Avengers such as Black Widow, The Falcon, Scarlett Witch and Vision. Called to reunite with old friends, they rally with T'Challa, Bucky, and Thor to take down Thanos.

Appearing in Avengers: Infinity War alongside a dozen other superheros, Nomad's appearance caps in at six minutes and forty-five seconds. But that doesn't mean his limited time isn't intricate to the longstanding arc of his own series. In fact, pinpointing how deep his appearance is in Avengers: Infinity War was a fun challenge to accept while waiting for the next installment Avengers: End GameIn continuing my series about Captain America, here is a breakdown of his role and the connections to his past films. Hope you enjoy! (This post is gif-heavy and click on the image for credit).


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Trailer Reaction

The Avengers taught us love. The Avengers: Age of Ultron taught us patience. Avengers: Infinity War taught us pain. What are we going to learn from Avengers: Endgame? Probably, how to file a class-action lawsuit against Kevin Feige for our collective therapy bills.

Marvel dropped us the gift that everybody and nobody wanted: the new trailer for the next Avengers film. So let's check it out! This post definitely contains spoilers.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Venom (2018) Makes Comic Book Movies Fun Again

Venom Movie Review
Sony Pictures
Why so serious comic book genre? This is the big question that pops up in my mind over the intense division, even backlash, over Venom. Sony's latest attempt at their own comic book universe is an unexpected detour from the expected adaptations we've seen over the years, and reminds us of how the genre used to be: purely fun for fun's sakes. Venom's splash of action, sci-fi, and rom-com is not the most traditional story of its kind, and that works both for and against the film.

Humankind is depleting all of its natural resources. So much so that it's gonna need a better planet. Creator and inventor of the Life Foundation Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) uses his spaceships to bring back aliens known as symbiotes with the hopes of finding human hosts, but they’re deadlier and dangerous than even his multi-million dollar corporation ever planned for. Enter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an investigative journalist who uncovers shady dealings with Drake’s corporation and inadvertently becomes the host of a violent symbiote called Venom. Forced to act as a hybrid, Eddie and Venom work together to take down the Life Foundation.

Venom is an absurd comic book movie that embraces how absurd it is, and honestly, the pure joy of the film comes out of its leading performance by Hardy. Already having a reputation for going all in for his characters, he makes no shift in changing his methods now, and here it really works – he’s not only playing Eddie but gives Venom his voice and comically, awkwardly, and believably acts like there’s an alien taking over his body - it's some of the best, and most importantly playful (and not method-esque performances) he’s ever given. As much as the film includes the typical CGI combat scenes between the two of them against Drake's cronies, there are a few set pieces of Eddie fighting his body's reaction to Venom's invasion and embracing Venom until they end up creating a weird bond of compromise and trust. Their arc from enemies to frenemies and friends is one of the best on-screen relationships to come along in a long time, especially in the "superhero" genre. It’s almost impossible to think that another actor could’ve carried the film as entertaining as he does.

Following behind Hardy is the supporting cast who aren’t “bad” in any sense of the word, but in comparison to Hardy don’t have as much to carry in terms of showy performances or transformations. Riz Ahmed as Drake is sort of your typical Marvel villain as a rich inventor who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, but Ahmed is charismatic and tries to rise above some of the cliche tropes his character has. More minor characters are filled in nicely: Jenny Slate as one of the few doctors who questions the lengths Drake is willing to go to; Celphas Jones as Eddie’s steely boss are fine the roles that they have; Reid Scott as a doctor who tries to help Eddie. The only casting that felt out-of-place was Michelle Williams as Eddie's girlfriend Anne; she's well-balanced as stuck between loving or leaving Eddie, but the chemistry between herself and Hardy didn’t quite gel - I had a hard time trying not to imagine someone else in the role.

Therein lies a small crux to Venom: it entirely rests on Hardy’s beefy shoulders. If his performance works for you, it’s guaranteed to be a good time; if it doesn’t, well, the whole film falls apart.