Marvel

An Attempt to Explain the Utterly Inexplicable San Diego Comic-Con

There are certain traditions that have snuck into our popular culture so quietly and casually that we don’t stop to think how ridiculous they are, and the San Diego Comic-Con (which concluded Sunday) is one of them. Just try explaining it sometime to someone who doesn’t know anything about comic conventions or blockbuster marketing: “Oh, well, it’s a big gathering for fans of comic books and genre films and television and basically all of the expensive things that Hollywood does. They all pack into a California convention center in July — some of them in costume as their favorite characters — and wait in ridiculously long lines so they can go into giant convention halls and geek out over things that haven’t come out yet, but which they think will be cool.” … Read More

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Hiring Rian Johnson Is the Best Thing That’s Happened to the ‘Star Wars’ Franchise in Decades

The commonly accepted news cycle tradition of treating Friday as “take out the trash day” (per The West Wing, the day when embarrassing stories are dumped, so as to minimize media coverage) apparently hasn’t made its way to the entertainment business, because last Friday afternoon saw the explosion of a bombshell. Deadline broke the story: Rian Johnson, the gifted writer/director behind Looper, will take over the Star Wars franchise after J.J. Abrams completes Episode VII, with Johnson writing and directing Episode VIII and serving, in an unconfirmed capacity, on Episode IX as well. It was a bit of a shocker — Johnson is more a genre fan favorite than a proven entity at the box office. But the fact that Disney (which took over the franchise when it bought Lucasfilm back in 2012) places greater value on the former quality speaks well to where Star Wars is going on their watch. … Read More

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10 Charming Fan Letters From Cultural Icons

Last night, as you’re well aware, the fourth season of Game of Thrones came to a close, and everyone went bananas. And perhaps, somewhere, some future literary superstar penned a fan letter to George R.R. Martin, telling him what an inspiration his work is. It’s not too much of a stretch — presumably in preparation for the finale, iO9 dug up that great fan letter that young Master Martin wrote to Marvel’s Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, raving over the greatness of a recent Fantastic Four issue. Such a missive is a blast to read now; it’s also but one example of the fine tradition of superstars who reveal themselves (either before their own fame or after it) to be super-fans. … Read More

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‘Captain America’ Star Anthony Mackie Is Right: Kids Deserve More Diverse Superhero Movies

Anthony Mackie is one of those underrated and substantially gifted actors who livens up just about any movie he shows up in, and his unique fusion of genuine warmth and unflappable cool is particularly welcome in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But his most important contribution to the comic-book movie universe may well have occurred off-screen, at a recent promotional roundtable, when he said this about playing a black superhero: “When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, ‘Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.’ That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that.” Or, to put a more cynical spin on his comment: why are all the comic book superhero movies about white guys? … Read More

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How to Make a Great Superhero Movie: Hire a Comedy Director

If you look up the filmographies of Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of the new (and very good) Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you’re not going to see much that screams SUMMER TENTPOLE ACTION MOVIE MAKERS. Their only two previous features were the mostly unseen Big Deal on Madonna Street remake Welcome to Collinwood and the mostly unloved Owen Wilson comedy You, Me and Dupree. And then you will find lots and lots of television comedy, everything from the monkey-doctor comedy Animal Practice to more acclaimed programs like Arrested Development, Happy Endings, and Community. The natural assumption is that the powers-that-be at Marvel who handed the Russo brothers the keys to Captain America were taking a big chance. But Marvel has reached a point where it’s actually more unusual for them to pick conventional action directors for their films — in fact, what’s making their big-screen efforts stand out from the blockbuster pack is their tendency to place them in the hands of, when you get down to it, comedy filmmakers. … Read More

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