How to Top Thanos Vol. 2 – Onslaught

The first eleven years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe held twenty-two films all leading up the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy’s battle with Thanos and his Black Order, as the fate of creation hung in the balance.  It was a story built with patience and care and the conclusion in Avengers: Endgame, while not without faults, was brilliantly crafted.  But the MCU didn’t end there.  No, Phase Four is rolling and one of many questions to consider is…which villain comes next?  Who can possibly follow Thanos??  My guess?  Onslaught.  BOOM. Continue reading

Considering Peter Parker, EDITH, and Spider-Man: Far From Home

All the creatives and stars of Avengers: Endgame joined in a massive social media campaign asking everyone to be decent human beings and #DontSpoilTheEndgame…for two weeks until Marvel Studios used MASSIVE spoilers for Endgame in their trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home.  It was clear they were seeking to use all the emotions flowing in the wake of Endgame to motivate advanced ticket sales for Far From Home.  Marvel Studios was very direct about how Spider-Man: Far From Home served as the epilogue to Avengers: Endgame.  I enjoyed the film but was – and remain – frustrated by a plot point with seriously troubling implications.

Note, this has spoilers for both Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home (obvs.). Continue reading

Captain Marvel and the “Power Problem” – A Marvel Cinematic Universe Reflection

Whenever anyone asked me what I thought of Avengers: Endgame my answer was generally some form of, “I loved it!  While I thought there were a few serious problems, by and large I thought it was a damn near perfect movie, delivering just about everything I could have wanted from it.”  One of the things that bothered me was Marvel’s sidelining several of their prominent female characters (again).  Now, I grant we had that kickass scene on the battlefield in the final showdown with Thanos.  And I grant Nebula’s story arc was brilliant (but that’s the story for another post).  However, the way they left some of their major players off the board – most notably Okoye and Carol Danvers – bothered me.  Here I want to consider why Captain Marvel should have had a far larger role in Endgame and wade through one of the most commonly cited (and paper thin) arguments about why she’s such a “difficult” character to handle. Continue reading

My Top Five Favorite Comic Book Movies

I’m normally not a huge fan of lists like this.  It’s always so subjective (naturally) and they can change rather frequently (at least for me).  So I don’t often write them.  We can be mercurial in our fandom love, you know?  But this term I’m teaching a new course on the intersection of comic books and social justice.  In the course, we read several comics and watch several comic book films and then we deconstruct them, exploring their messages and symbolism, with an eye towards justice issues.  As we discussed what would be in the course, several students asked me what my favorite comic book movies were.  I couldn’t just brush aside the question – my students are seeking to better understand the preferences and passions that have shaped me and this course!  I also can’t answer a question like this without way overthinking XD.  So here are the results of the deep introspection and soul-searching brought on by my students’ inquiries. Continue reading

The Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Problem of Fat Shaming

In a recent post about the first teaser trailer for Black Widow, I discussed my excitement for the film while pointing out the criticism Marvel received almost as soon as the trailer premiered for fat shaming again.  In addition to all the (fair and deserving) praise Avengers: Endgame received, it also received some (fair and deserving) criticism for fat shaming in their presentation of Thor.  The trailer for Black Widow does the same with the character of Red Guardian.  A comment left on that post led to the idea for this one.  While putting together my reply, I decided it warranted its own post.  I write often of the intersection of comic books and social justice issues on this site so it’s not just natural but important I address this because fat shaming, or weightism, is a justice issue.  It’s also one, sadly, many people in our culture don’t understand or, worse, don’t even acknowledge as an issue at all.  Thankfully that’s starting to change and now seems like an opportune time to add my voice to that chorus. Continue reading

Ghostbusters: Afterlife – A Trailer, A Mixed Bag of Emotions…

Obviously I’ve been eagerly awaiting the trailer for writer/director Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife to drop.  The original Ghostbusters (1984) is my all-time favorite movie.  I not only watched it all the time as a kid but I still watch it all the time as an adult.  It’s consistently been bringing joy to my life, and I’ve consistently watched it multiple times every year, for over thirty years!  I don’t have that relationship with any other film – not Avengers, not (500) Days of Summer, not any of the Star Wars movies.  Also, I enjoy Ghostbusters even more as an adult because now I get all the jokes!  So not only do I love this movie but it keeps getting better for me.  Of course then, when I heard Reitman was making “a direct sequel” to his father’s iconic 1984 film, I was intrigued.  So much could go right!  But so much could go wrong too.  Now the trailer’s here and I’m feeling…lots of things. Continue reading

Black Widow – A Trailer, IT’S ABOUT TIME!!!!

I wasn’t planning on writing tonight.  But two things changed my mind.  First, this was my first day back to work after Thanksgiving break and that means my body still isn’t back to its “work sleep schedule.”  Last night I tried to go to bed early which translated into me laying in bed staring at the ceiling wishing I could fall asleep for like two hours.  Second, and faaaaaaaar more influential here, WE GOT OUR FIRST TEASER TRAILER FOR BLACK WIDOW TODAY!!!!!!!  That’s right, after eleven looooong years of Marvel cinematic magic, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff is finally, finally, finally, FINALLY getting her own solo movie AND WE GOT OUT FIRST LOOK AT IT TODAY!!  AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!  So yeah, if I’m not going to bed on time anyway, I might as well talk about how excited I am for this. Continue reading

…..really?? – Kevin Feige, Disney+, and the MCU

The other day I stumbled upon this article on ComicBook.com about how Kevin Feige has said the upcoming MCU shows on Disney’s new streaming service Disney+ will fit in with the movies.  As I read it, I found this li’l post developing in my head.  Sometimes I like/need to just react to something as soon as I hear it.  That’s how this sporadic “…..really??” series works.  Sometimes my fears/feelings end up being validated (like how “Marvel Legacy” was a boring reset) and sometimes I couldn’t be more wrong (like when I decried the “Hydra Cap” reveal).  But this time it’s Feige and the next phase of stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe I want to talk about. Continue reading

What I Learned Watching 96 Episodes of Supergirl (with Crossovers) in 16 Days

I have a habit of committing (should we say overcommitting?) to ridiculous viewing marathons.  I don’t really know why.  But I tend to do it more so with movies than shows.  However, when I heard the Arrowverse was going to be gaining a new show this fall in the form of Batwoman – a character whom I adore – I knew I’d be tuning in.  When I realized Batwoman would be airing Sunday nights before Supergirl – a show I’ve always been interested in but never committed to watching (because the Arrowverse is huge and intimidating) – I figured I should check it out.  Why not, right?  The first four seasons were on Netflix.  Maybe, maybe I should try and binge-watch (even though I don’t particularly care for binge-watching) all four seasons before the new one premiered.  Then I could watch Batwoman live without fear of spoilers for Supergirl AND enjoy Supergirl at the same time!  Was this the best idea I’ve ever had??

What follows is the stream-of-consciousness list of lessons I learned while trying to watch all ninety-six episodes of Supergirl (with crossovers) over the course of sixteen wild days.  Continue reading

Who Is Batwoman? My Entry Point Into the Arrowverse!

In October of 2012, Arrow launched on the CW.  It was a new DC show centered around Oliver Queen, the wealthy playboy-turned-costumed-vigilante know as Green Arrow.  It was an attempt to help fill the superhero void left on the CW when Smallville’s epic ten season run (2001-2011) came to an end.  While Oliver Queen appeared on Smallville, the producers of Arrow decided to start fresh, casting Stephen Amell in the title role as opposed to Justin Hartley who played him on Smallville.  But that was only the beginning.  Arrow would beget The Flash (2014-present), the short-lived Constantine (2014-2015), Supergirl (2015-present), Legends of Tomorrow (2016-present), and three web series; Vixen (2015-2016), Freedom Fighters: The Ray (2017-2018), and Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons.  This Arrowverse has become a huge hit with critics and fans alike…and I’ve watched none of it.  Why would I?  Do you have any idea how big a time commitment that is?!!?  And I’ve always been a Marvel guy anyway.

But now the Arrowverse has Batwoman and, because of that, everything’s changed. Continue reading