Tag Archives: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios’ Fantastic Four: My Hopes, Concerns, And (Wild) Speculations

The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. I’ve been working on it for a while now. Like many Marvel fans, I have been closely following the news surrounding Marvel Studios making a “Fantastic Four” movie. After so many sub-par films, no franchise needs the Marvel Studios touch more than this one. In this video, I break down what I feel a “Fantastic Four” movie needs to achieve and I do a little speculation for how it could all come together. Enjoy!

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“Dark Phoenix” Is Now On Disney+ And Everyone Should Give It A Chance

Some movies just never get a fair chance to succeed. It’s sad, but unavoidable sometimes. There are just too many forces working against certain movies and too many people have already primed themselves to hate it before they ever see it.

Sometimes, those movies go onto become cult classics. It just takes time for people to rediscover the movie and appreciate it for what it achieved. That is my sincere hope for “Dark Phoenix,” a movie I’ve praised before and even done YouTube videos about. I genuinely believe that this is a movie that fans will appreciate more as time goes on.

It had so many things working against it. It just never got a fair chance because of the pending Disney/Fox merger. I feel like it got critically panned for reasons that had nothing to do with the actual quality of the movie. Fans and critics alike just decided to hate this movie because it was part of a dead cinematic universe and it wasn’t in the MCU.

That’s a bullshit reason to hate a movie and most reasonable people understand that.

Now, I believe the time is right for “Dark Phoenix” to get another shot. That’s because today, “Dark Phoenix” has officially arrived on Disney+ and anyone who never gave it a chance when it came out can truly judge for themselves.

If you have a Disney+ subscription, I highly recommend adding this movie to your queue. Forget everything you’ve heard from the critics. Forget the popular perceptions surrounding this movie. Just check it out and see for yourselves.

I believe that this movie’s worth will reveal to a new audience. I also believe the time is right because we haven’t had much news about the future of the X-Men movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We know they’re coming. We just don’t know when or what form it’ll take.

Since it’ll likely be a while before we see any mutants show up in the MCU, the time is right to appreciate what the Fox movies gave us. Many of those movies are already on Disney+ and I think “Dark Phoenix” is the hidden gem the franchise needs right now.

Again, just give it a chance. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it.

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Dr. Strange: The Most Underrated Movie In The Marvel Cinematic Universe (Jack’s World)

The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. In this video, I make the case that “Dr. Strange,” a movie that rarely garners much discussion among MCU fans, is the most underrated movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ll even go so far as to say that it’s one of the best made MCU movies to date. With interest in the sequel growing steadily, I think the time is right to celebrate what an achievement this movie was. Enjoy!

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Day-And-Date Streaming Movie Releases: Did The Experiment Fail?

Movie Releases You Can Stream This Week: 'The Suicide Squad', 'Jungle  Cruise', and More | Entertainment Tonight

Last year, things literally could not have been worse for the movie industry. A once-in-a-generation pandemic had shut down the world. Every industry was affected, but few were hit harder than the movie industry. Suddenly, an industry that relies on people actually getting out of their houses and gathering in enclosed spaces was no longer viable. I personally wondered whether the industry would ever recover.

Then, as the world endured, the industry attempted to adapt. This led to Warner Brother’s landmark decision to release some of their biggest movies on their streaming platform, HBO Max, on the same date as their theatrical release. At the same time, Disney was releasing some of its biggest movies on Disney+, albeit for an extra fee.

I believed, for a time, that this could fundamentally change the industry for good, even after the pandemic was over. I even shared my experience in how this affected my own movie watching habits. I won’t deny that I’ve gotten a lot more out of my HBO Max service, knowing I can watch new movies the day they come out. I did it with both “Space Jam 2” and “The Suicide Squad.”

However, it now seems that this new experience that I’ve been enjoying is about to come to an end. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Brothers is going back to a more traditional model, having its movies come out in theaters first for a 45-day window before going to a streaming service.

THR: Warner Bros., AMC Strike 45-Day Exclusive Theatrical Window Deal for 2022

In a new deal with mega-cinema chain AMC Theatres, Warner Bros. has agreed to return to an exclusive, 45-day theatrical window in 2022.

AMC CEO Adam Aron unveiled the pact Monday during an earnings call. “We’re especially pleased Warner Bros. has decided to move away from day-and-date,” Aron said. “We are in active dialogue with every major studio.”

WarnerMedia enraged cinema operators when deciding to open its 2021 slate simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. The company has since said that the move was in response to the ongoing pandemic, and not permanent. Insiders add that the AMC arrangement was agreed to in March.

For the most part, I’m not too surprised. It’s now abundantly clear that this release method has a significant impact on the box office returns of a movie. The recent release of “The Suicide Squadis proof enough of that, despite being loved by critics and fans alike. Having seen the movie and enjoyed it immensely, I feel like it definitely deserved a bigger box office than it got.

Given how much these movies cost to produce, it’s unreasonable to expect the studios and the actors involved to be comfortable with this arrangement. Pandemic or not, this is not the same success they’re used to. If movies released simultaneously on streaming make this little at the box office, then that’s just not sustainable. Something has to give.

At the same time, a part of me wonders whether this reversion to a more traditional movie-release schedule will lead to even more change. I get why movie theaters want to go back to the old model where a movie as bad as “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” could still make a billion dollars at the global box office. I just don’t know if we’ll ever see anything like that again.

It doesn’t help that the pandemic isn’t over. In fact, it may never truly be over if things keep going badly. That means things like packed movie theaters just might never come back entirely. We may very well never see another billion-dollar movie again.

In that sense, can we still say that WB’s streaming experiment failed? We don’t yet know how much or how little movies like “Space Jam 2” and “The Suicide Squad” impacted HBO Max subscriptions. We also don’t know how much or how little these types of movies affect the movie-making process or how those involved are compensated. The fact that Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over releasing “Black Widow” on streaming hints the current system is very flawed.

Maybe there’s a sweet spot between day-and-date releases on streaming and theatrical runs. A part of me thinks that a 45-day release window is basically not too different from the old way of doing things. Personally, I think if studios like WB want to maximize both box office and streaming, they’d make that release window a lot more narrow. That would create a scarcity that could prompt more people to go to the movies.

Perhaps that window needs to be longer to allow bigger budget movies to turn a profit. Maybe a two-month window would accomplish that. I honestly don’t know. I think nobody knows at this point. The industry is just changing so much and chances are there will be more changes by the end of this year. Whether or not they’ll be good for the industry and those who work in it remains to be seen.

In the end, maybe this whole experiment will be just a first step in that change. It might not have worked as well as everyone would’ve liked, but few things ever do. It was something new and bold during a time of unprecedented upheaval. Plenty of good and bad can come out of that.

Also, I will miss turning my living room into my own personal movie theater. It was indeed nice while it lasted. However, for the good of the industry and the movies I love, I understand that the experiment was not a solution. Hopefully, more good comes out of this in the long run.

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Dr. Doom: Ultimate Villain or Greatest Hero?

The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s another video about comic books, which shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point. It’s also about Victor Von Doom, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been following this site for any extended period. This video is actually based on an article I wrote a while back, but with a few tweaks here and there. Given his eventual arrival into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I think the time is right to celebrate why he’s such a great character. Enjoy!

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Why Kang The Conqueror Could Be The Next Great MCU Villain (And Why He May Ultimately Fail)

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These are exciting times for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and fans of superhero media, in general. The COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted and delayed certain plans, but things do seem to be back on track. The success of the recent Disney+ shows and the release of “Black Widow” are encouraging signs that the MCU will continue to grow, evolve, and bedazzle.

However, if the MCU is to continue its unprecedented streak of success, it’ll have to address one massive Thanos-shaped hole that has remained since “Avengers Endgame.” Even as it introduces a new generation of characters while continuing to explore others, it’ll still need one key detail to keep the awesome flowing.

It needs a powerful, over-arching villain who will require the Avengers to assemble once more.

That is no easy feat to pull off. Thanos set the bar very high through three phases of MCU movies. He raised the bar for villains of all kinds, both for the MCU and for movies in general. He presented a threat that required the full force of the Avengers to stop. That’s why so many of us cheered during the climactic battle in “Avengers Endgame.”

The idea of any character presenting a threat like that is difficult to imagine. However, Marvel Studios has proven time and again that they can keep raising the bar. It certainly helps that Marvel has no shortage of villains from the comics, but the recent events of “Loki” have already revealed that one in particular is poised to become that next great threat.

If you’ve seen the season one “Loki” finale, then you already know who I’m talking about. The next great treat for the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be Kang the Conqueror.

He was already confirmed to show up in “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” He also has been cast to an accomplished actor in Jonathan Majors. Most importantly, he’s a character who has a lengthy history in the comics of being a huge threat to both the world and the multiverse. Much like Thanos, he has often required the Avengers to assemble in a big way in order to stop him.

By almost every measure, Kang has a lot going for him. He even has more to offer in terms of overall complexity. Both the comics and the “Loki” finale mention that Kang has multiple version of himself. You could argue that’s one of his most defining characteristics. Since he’s a time traveler, there are a near infinite version of him with varying levels of power, motivations, and malice.

One could be Immortus, who often carries himself as Kang’s final form.

One could be Iron Lad, a younger version of Kang who tries to walk a more heroic path.

One could be Rama-Tut, a version of Kang who ruled Ancient Egypt as a pharaoh.

It’s that flexibility that puts him in a unique position to be the MCU’s next great villain. It’s also something that helps him stand apart from Thanos in a big way. Thanos was big, bad, and menacing, but there was still only one of him to deal with. There are many version of Kang. Some are potential allies while others could be an even greater threat than Thanos. That could add a lot of drama and tension to every battle.

Since the rise of more complex villains like Killmonger and Baron Zemo, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made a concerted effort to give depth to their villains. Kang, given his many variations, is in a better position to provide that than most villains. You can have version of him trying to avoid his ultimate fate of becoming a ruthless conqueror doing battle with others who’ve already embraced that fate.

In the comics, this has always been a major struggle for Kang. It’s also a personal struggle and the Avengers often get caught up in it. As shows like “WandaVision” have so nicely demonstrated, Marvel Studios have shown how much they can milk a personal struggle for emotional resonance. If they can do that with Kang in a way that builds further drama with the Avengers, then they could set up something every bit as epic as “Avengers Endgame.”

That is likely the ultimate goal. However, there’s still a chance this effort could fail or fall short of Marvel Studios’ lofty standards.

I offer this possibility as both a long-time Marvel fan and one who isn’t too big a fan of Kang. In fact, I’ll go on record as saying he’s one of my least favorite villains. My reasons are purely personal. I just think he’s one of those characters who’s too malleable. He’s also one of those characters who do a lot, yet still ultimately achieve so little.

That’s just an unpleasant side-effect of him being a time traveler. While plenty of other Marvel characters travel through time, Kang really overdoes it. You could argue it’s the only truly defining aspect of his character. As a result, it could also be something that seriously hinders his story.

It’s not unusual for stories involving Kang to get confusing and complicated, even by time travel standards. It’s also exceedingly common for his time traveling antics to be solved with more time travel. Every time he seems on the cusp of defeating the Avengers, something happens that either changes the timeline or undoes everything Kang did to that point. He’s one of those villains who can do a lot, but leave a very limited impact.

That’s why I’m not too fond of him. Too much of what he does is easily erased or retconned by more time travel. On top of that, his reliance on time travel basically guarantees that you’ll be confused by the sequence of events within a couple issues at least. I can’t imagine it being much simpler over the course of multiple big budget movies.

That’s not to say he can’t work as the MCU’s next main villain. Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige have proven time and again that they’re capable of making these seemingly impossible stories work. They were able to transform Thanos into this death-obsessed madman into someone with more complexity and emotional range. If they can do that with Thanos, then who knows what they can do with Kang?

Hopefully, we’ll find out soon enough. Jonathan Majors has already given us a taste in “Loki.” I look forward to seeing something even bigger in “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” These are exciting and chaotic times for the MCU. Only time will tell how chaotic it gets and for a character like Kang, that’s all too fitting.

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Hugh Jackman Teases More Wolverine (And What It Could Mean)

For nearly two decades, X-Men fans like myself have known only one Wolverine on the big screen in Hugh Jackman. In that time, we’ve had three don the mantle of Spider-Man, two as Superman, two as Batman, and even two as the original X-Men cast. The world of superhero actors is dynamic, to say the least. Long-term stability is the exception, not the norm.

However, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is one of the greatest exceptions of all time. Multiple generations of fans know no other Wolverine and the idea of casting someone else to don those adamantium claws just feels wrong. Despite plenty of casting rumors, no one can forget the high bar of snarling, swearing berserker rage that Mr. Jackman set for 17 years.

Now, he’s toying with our collective hearts once more. In a somewhat cryptic post to his Instagram, Jackman showed an image of him and Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, along with some iconic Wolverine artwork by BossLogic.

Needless to say, it garnered a hell of a reaction. I’m not gonna lie. My heart definitely skipped a beat when I saw this. As much as I love the send-off Jackman’s Wolverine got in “Logan,” a part of me still wants to see Jackman play Wolverine in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since Disney didn’t complete its purchase of Fox until after “Logan” came out, it seemed like an impossible dream.

Now, this cryptic post does not confirm anything. Kevin Feige, Disney, and Marvel Studios are notorious for their secrecy. You’d probably have better luck getting information out of the CIA at this point. That said, I’m inclined to believe Feige and Jackman knew what kind of reaction they’d get by posting this. This was not an accident. It may just be a stunt, but a part of me believes it might be something more.

That’s not to say it means Hugh Jackman is signing onto do another six Marvel movies as Wolverine. That’s just not gonna happen, given Jackman’s age and the training it takes just to be Wolverine. If he thinks he can do it, then more power to him. I’ll be the first to cheer him on. I just think it’s more likely that Marvel Studios wants a fresh start with Wolverine and all things X-Men.

However, that doesn’t mean they won’t acknowledge the past cinematic successes of X-Men. Since Jackman was part of those successes, I think it’s likely he will make a few Stan Lee style cameos at some point. That leads me to believe that this post teased a possible appearance in the upcoming “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” Since multiverse is literally in the title, it may be the case that the world of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is just one of the universes that story will reference.

If that means seeing Hugh Jackman as Wolverine again, even if it’s brief, then that alone will be worth the ticket price.

If it means something more, then that’ll be a hell of a bonus.

I’m not getting my hopes up for the latter, but I’ll be plenty satisfied with the former. There’s also a chance that this is nothing more than Jackman capturing a nice moment with someone he’s known for over 20 years. If that’s the case, then I’ll be disappointed, but not enough to stop loving Hugh Jackman and all the wonderful years he gave us as Wolverine.

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Inhumans vs. X-Men: Anatomy of a Misguided (and Dumb) Rivalry

The following is a video/mini-documentary that I made for my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. I’ve actually been working on this video for quite some time now. I feel it’s finally ready for release. It’s a grand overview, as well as my own personal take, on the brief, but impactful rivalry between the Inhumans and the X-Men. It’s also me making the case that this was a case study in how not to develop a rivalry.

Please note that, while I tried to be fair and objective, I couldn’t help but go off-script in a few areas. Trust me. You’ll know it when you see it. I still try to tell the story of this rivalry in as fair a way I could. Enjoy!

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My Reaction To The “Eternals” Trailer And The One Burning (And Relevant) Question It Raises

I’m a simple man. Whenever a trailer of any kind, even a teaser, gets released by Marvel Studios, I take notice. I’m not the only one, either. A trailer release by Marvel Studios is almost always cause for celebration and excitement. It shows on how often these trailers rack up record-breaking hits in a short span of time.

Even a trailer for lesser-known characters is bound to draw interest. Marvel Studios has proven before that they can turn obscure characters like the “Guardians of the Galaxy” into a multi-billion dollar franchise. Now, they hope to do the same with the “Eternals.”

Given their unprecedented track record of success, I wouldn’t bet against Kevin Feige and company. These visionaries have all more than earned our trust, as well as the benefit of the doubt. However, turning “Eternals” into a successful franchise will likely be even harder than “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

I say that as someone with a very shallow knowledge of Eternals. I like to think of myself as a pretty well-informed Marvel fan, but even I don’t know much about these characters. I’m aware of their basic history, but much of my interest is tied to how their story ties into that of mutants, albeit indirectly.

I suspect most causal fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are in a similar boat. They don’t know who these characters are. They’re nowhere near as iconic as Captain America, Iron Man, or Thor. However, they are showing up in the MCU, so we all take notice. We just have no idea what to expect, given the obscure nature of this franchise.

Well, a few days ago, we finally got our first glimpse when a teaser trailer for “Eternals” came out. Being a lifelong Marvel fan, it certainly made my day. In case you haven’t seen it, here it is.

Regardless of how you feel about the characters, it’s still a visual spectacle to behold. Marvel Studios always seems to fill their films with plenty of dazzling spectacles. It looks like “Eternals” is searching for a way to raise the bar once more and history says they will.

Beyond the spectacle, the trailer offers some hints as to what kind of story we’ll be getting with “Eternals.” In short, they’re a race of immortal humanoid beings who arrive in the distant past aboard a massive ship. This detail is ripped straight from the pages of the comics, as originally penned by Jack Kirby.

Beyond that, we learn that they’ve been living amongst humans for millennia. However, they’ve kept their distance, refusing to interfere or significantly impact human affairs. Then, something changes. Now, they’re ready to make their presence known to a world that is still recovering from the events of Thanos’ infamous snap.

That’s all very intriguing. I’m certainly curious to learn more. The cast is full of well-known stars like Selma Hayek and Angelina Jolie. The history of the MCU has already proven quite rich through other movies, like “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Ant Man.” This promises to broaden that history even more.

That’s certainly good from a storytelling perspective. However, seeing this trailer still leaves me with one burning question, which in turn raises other similar questions.

Why did these powerful beings wait so long to reveal themselves to the world?

That’s a relevant question and one that mutants will also face once the X-Men come to the MCU, as I’ve covered before in one of my YouTube videos. However, it’s even more relevant for the Eternals.

These are powerful, immortal beings with abilities that are nothing short of god-like. If this trailer is any indication, they’ve been around for the entire breadth of human history. That means they’ve witnessed every war, every plague, every disaster, and every collapse, of which there have been plenty.

Even in the context of the MCU, they’ve witnessed some pretty terrible events.

They watched the Chitari invade New York City.

They saw Dormammu attempt to absorb the Earth into the Dark Dimension.

They watched Ultron nearly end the world.

They watched the Avenger try and fail to stop Thanos.

They may even be aware of a Skrull infiltration that began during the events of “Captain Marvel.”

They’re aware of all of this, but still chose not to get involved. Is it wrong to ask for a legitimate reason? Is it wrong to pre-judge them for having so much inherent power and not using it to stop terrible event?

Never mind the events that shaped world history. If they could’ve made a difference in the battle against Thanos and Ultron, then why didn’t that? What’s their reason for staying hidden? In the comics, their primary reason centers around protecting Earth from the nefarious Deviants. However, even the comics don’t offer much insight into why they just stand aside and let other catastrophic events occur.

It raises a larger question that the MCU will have to grapple with, which often gets overlooked in the comics. In a world where powerful beings like this exist, does their inaction constitute an egregious act? If they could’ve stopped Thanos, then does their decision to stay hidden warrant criticism?

It’s a difficult question and one that comes up much more frequently in DC Comics. On more than one occasion, Superman has been criticized for not helping humanity on a larger scale. It’s very much a common trope and one that gets increasingly difficult to address as a shared universe grows.

Like I said earlier, Marvel Studios has a stellar track record with telling great stories that at least partially address these questions. I sincerely hope that track record continues with “Eternals.” I also hope it’s more serious in asking the bigger questions about what it means to have power and be a respectable hero.

The Avengers who assembled to defeat Thanos were all powerful in their own right. Together, they are a force that can battle god-like threats and win. At the same time, they all have major limitations. The Eternals have limitations as well, but they’re unique in just how present they’ve been for the extent of human history.

In that sense, they have a greater responsibility than even someone like Spider-Man or Thor. If they’ve been present for so many terrible events, but chose to do nothing, then what do we make of them? How do they become heroes in that context? I don’t claim to know the answer. I just look forward to seeing this movie and finding out for myself.

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Falcon And The Winter Soldier: Reviwe, Reaction, And Speculation

The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It is my full review and reaction to “Falcon And The Winter Soldier,” which just finished its first season on Disney Plus. I know reviewed multiple episodes of “WandaVision,” but I had a hard time stopping myself from speculating after every episode. I didn’t want to do that with this one, so I waited until the series was complete.

Overall, I’m glad I did. This show was really something. It also got me plenty excited for the future of the MCU and yes, that means more wild speculating in this video, as well as plenty others. Enjoy!

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