Today, April 28, is National Superhero Day. Right now, it is one of those made up holidays, but it should be a real national holiday. To celebrate, I have put together a list of 10 of my favorite superhero characters. Read on to find out who made my list this time around, and then let me know what your list would be.
The trailer for Thor: Ragnarok dropped yesterday. Here it is, if you need to see it:
You know, I heard about some of the plot details for this movie months ago. I was hoping they were just rumors.
The Summer is right around the corner, and that means it is movie time. A couple of years back, it looked like this year was going to be epic. It looks like it is set up to not disappoint. In the past few weeks, we have been graced by the arrival of a number of trailers for some upcoming Summer movies. Some have looked amazing, some have not. The following list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a list of trailers for some of the movies coming out this summer (year).
As some of you may know, I work at a major thrift store in Provo. We get thousands of items donated daily. I work in the back sorting through those donations to see what’s good enough to be resold and what’s not. I have been working there for eight months now and I have seen lots and lots of geeky items. If you follow me on I Love the Star Wars Prequels, you know that I post updates sometimes about prequels-related merchandise. Star Wars is perhaps the biggest franchise represented as far as action figures, toys, and collectible items. This is a sampling of some of the geek items I’ve seen at the store from a variety of fandoms and favorite media.
Yes, I can make this list work. I can come up with 17 reasons that the year 2017 is going to be a good one that are all geek-related. Can you? Is there anything on this list you didn’t think of? Anything I didn’t have room for?
Here’s a short tribute to the saddest deaths in some of our fandoms, to the ones who die without being likely to come back. None of these are necessarily in order, and I don’t have time to discuss the hows and whys of all their deaths today. But see if you can make it through this post without crying. Also, spoilers for just about everything.
Our favorite movies wouldn’t be as cool without the amazing musical scores behind them. This is a sampling of some of my favorite movie tunes.
- ‘This is Berk,’ James Powell, How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
We are getting pretty close to the end of April, which means we are getting pretty close to Age of Ultron. I already have my ticket to see it on Friday evening in IMAX 3D. I’ll be going with my brother, J. Leonard Dietz, also known as The 90s Kid. I can’t wait to see it. This also means I need to wrap up my Revisiting the MCU series here pretty quickly. The good news is today I am reviewing Thor: The Dark World, which means I only have a couple more left. In fact, this has been the stretch of films I have been waiting for while doing this project. Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy may just be my three favorite MCU films.
Thor: TDW is just a lot of fun. It was everything the first Thor film should have been. Full of action and great, massive battles, while maintaining its wit and charm. I loved it. The story was great, and it introduces us to another Thor bad guy not named Loki. The dark elves are a staple in the Thor comics, so it was great to see them on film. Male kith, the leader of the dark elves, was just masterfully played by Christopher Eccleston, even though I couldn’t help but hope he might sneak a “fantastic” in there somewhere. It was also fun to see the relationship between Thor and Loki continue to develop. It is a complex relationship, where Thor continuously tries to trust and forgive Loki, while Loki continues to give him every reason not to. Loki sitting on the throne of Asgard, I’m sure, will have something to do with Ragnarok coming.
We also get to see our favorite misfit band of scientists as they continue to study whatever it is that happens whenever the Rainbow Bridge connects to Earth. Dr. Selvig has apparently all but lost his mind, or more accurately, maybe he never got it all back after the New York incident. Jane is still looking for Thor, and is quite upset when she finds him, slapping him in the face twice! Not too upset, though, that she won’t let him take her back to his place. Of course, part of that has to do with the Aether being in her body, selecting her as its host. The Aether, course, is one of the Infinity gems or stones, or whatever, except it is neither a stone nor a gem. It’s a liquid. This is our first glimpse of one of the 6 Infinity stones not called the Tesseract. This is where we find out that Marvel’s powers that be are really taking us down a path leading to the Infinity War.
Overall, I felt like this film was well written, and well performed. The actors all did a great job, and the whole thing really came together. I feel like Thor’s character progresses, realizing that he doesn’t want to be king, instead he just wants to be with Jane, regardless of how short his time with her will be. We also see Loki continue to develop more and more into a man who is obsessed with gaining power any way he can get it. Loki will stop at nothing until he has a kingdom to rule over, and then he probably still won’t stop. The story of Thor is moving closer to Ragnarok. Odin, we assume, is dead. Fridge is dead. Loki is left in power, and Thor is busy fleeing to Earth to be with Jane. All of this will add up to trouble back in Asgard, and I have a feeling it will spill over into Midgard. Just call it a hunch.
One of the best parts of watching Thor this last weekend has to do with this photo:
This is my middle daughter, Lucy. And what I did not know prior to this screening of Thor: The Dark World, is that my two older girls, Eliza and Lucy, love Thor. I knew Thor was Eliza’s favorite, and when we said we were watching Thor after dinner, she got very excited about it, even a little red in the cheeks. My wife and I joked about it being her first crush, as much a 6-year-old can have a crush. We had no idea, though, that Lucy was so attached to Thor. When she saw what movie we were watching, she went into our toys and found a 12″ Thor figure that we have and brought it over and sat with me in my chair to watch the movie. She was pretty proud of herself and excited as she sat there with Thor in her hand and Thor on the screen. This photo was taken just after Eliza stole Thor from Lucy. She was devastated. As you can see, i am not exaggerating. It got to the point where we had to have the two of them taking turns with the figure so they wouldn’t fight, and even that didn’t work. It would appear that two of Chris Hemsworth’s biggest fans happen to live at my house, and they may be two of his youngest. As a fan of the comics and the superhero movies, part of me was pleased with their choice for a crush. As a father, I am nowhere near ready for this kind of behavior. This is why the grey in my beard has been increasing lately.
What did you think of Thor: The Dark World? Did it live up to your expectations, or was it not one of your favorites? Let me know in the comments. We love to hear from you. Check back later this week as we revisit Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The next stop on our tour through the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Thor. For me, this is where I feel like the MCU is really expanding. Up to this point, we have only seen two Iron Man movies and a Hulk re-boot. With Thor, we are getting something new and really different. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Thor because of my Danish ancestry, so I was really excited about this movie when it came out. I was also really nervous. With all the fantasy elements to Thor, there was always a possibility that it could be really cheesy and lame.
Fortunately, Thor was neither cheesy nor lame. Or at least not overly cheesy and lame. I mean, when Thor talks in his normal fancy speak, it can come across as pretty lame, but Hemsworth does it just right. This film was a great addition to the MCU and a great expansion into bigger things. I think they nailed the casting with Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, and of course Tom Hiddleston as Loki. I had never heard of Hiddleston before this film, but afterward, he was a household name, and with good reason. He played the role to a T. Just an excellent job.
This movie was interesting because it was an origin story, but it was different from most origin stories. Usually, the main protagonist gets his powers and there is a period of time where he or she is getting used to their powers and how to use them and all of that. There is none of that in this movie. Thor is born a god, and has his powers from birth, so he doesn’t have to get used to them. The real origin story here is how he becomes fond of Midgard, or Earth. In the beginning we see a reckless young god who makes poor decisions and doesn’t value the lives of his enemies or his friends. He is immortal, and he knows it.
This story follows what happens when he is banished to Midgard by Odin to be taught a lesson. He doesn’t really get what’s happening at first, and along the way he meets Jane Foster and her team and befriends them. They are there for him when he discovers that he doesn’t have his powers anymore, and he decides to stay with them when Loki visits him and tells him he can never come home. We see Thor grow as he begins to care about these people and develops a new perspective about what it takes to be a leader. Before, battle was all about glory and things like that. Now he is beginning to count the costs and value life. It’s not all about glory. It’s important for him to get to this point before Loki sends the destroyer down to kill him and everybody else. Because he is at this point, he is willing to face off against the giant himself with no powers. It is at this moment that he becomes the hero. He becomes worthy of his hammer, Mjolnir.
This was a fun movie in typical MCU fashion. It’s full of humor and wit. It also has great shout outs to fans of the comics. For example, when he puts on the shirt that Jane gives him and the name tag say Donald Blake, MD. This was the identity he used to assume in the comics. Of course he continues to assume it in the movie. That was cool. The best line or humorous moment was when he refers to Agent Coulson as “Son of Coul.” That was great. Overall, in the beginning of the movie we have a hard time with Thor and his reckless character, but part way through, we find ourselves agreeing with Hawkeye when he says he’s going to start rooting for this guy. And of course, I can still remember how excited I was when at the very end of the credits it says that Thor would be returning in The Avengers. It was only a year away at that point.
What were your thoughts on Thor? Did it hold up against Iron Man and Incredible Hulk? Or was it a disappointment? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
In case you missed it because A. You’re not really a geek, or B. You have been living under a rock somewhere, DC made a major announcement involving 12 films between now and 2020. They even managed to one up Marvel by not just revealing the dates they have marked and set aside for the movies, they have also told us which titles will be released on which dates. It is clear, they are stepping up to go toe to toe with Marvel. This leads me to ask the question: Which is going to be better in the long run, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) or the DCCU (The DC Cinematic Universe)? First of all, I don’t even know if the new DC movie world will be called the DCCU. I just did that because of MCU. I saw it called the DCCC or the DC Cinematic Continuum. That’s a lot of C’s, so I like the DCCU better, but of course they will need to be different from Marvel, so maybe the DCCM-The DC Cinematic Multiverse. Or maybe the DC C52-The DC Cinematic 52, because we all know how much DC loves the number 52. In any case, the question remains, will DC be able to compete with the Marvel on the big screen? Or is it too late? Marvel has been doing this for a few years now, and it seems like they can do now wrong, with Guardians of the Galaxy blowing up the box office this summer, after being a title that no one had ever heard of over the last 30 years. The truth is, I don’t think that is going to happen with every random title Marvel might try to ram down our throats, and I think DC really has an advantage to be more successful in the long run. It may not seem like it now, but trust me, it’s going to happen. Let me tell you why, I think, DC is going to outlast and eventually take down Marvel at the box office.
It might seem like Marvel has some amazing stuff coming our way, especially with the announcement that Captain America 3 is bringing us the Civil War story line. And that is probably true, but this announcement brings up what I believe are the two biggest issues facing the MCU right now. Let’s look at issue number one. Civil War is going to be massive and huge and change everything, and then what? Cap will be dead, it looks like Robert Downey, Jr. is planning on playing Tony Stark forever, we don’t know if Hemsworth will be back as Thor, and for whatever reason, Marvel has zero plans to do a really good Hulk movie. The four biggest names and most marketable characters Marvel has in the MCU will be gone. The Iron Man movies were all huge hits, and Cap and Thor did alright on their own, leading to the massively successful Avengers movie, leading to more successful sequels, that will be followed by another huge Avengers movie, which will lead to another round of successful movies for the big four (minus Hulk, sorry big guy) that will lead to a huge, epic Avengers 3, followed by nothing. Talk about a let down. The good news is that Marvel has plans to expand their universe with the likes of Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. These characters are popular with hard-core comics fans because their titles typically had some of the premiere writing and stories, but they are not that marketable. Marvel led with the biggest names they had, and like it or not, they will be on their way out, just as DC is hitting their stride.
The lack of back ups for the big four brings us to issue number two. Quick think of your favorite Marvel super hero not named Thor, Iron Man, Cap, or Hulk. Did you think of this guy?
Or maybe this guy?
Or maybe these folks?
Or maybe even this guy?
Well forget about all of them. While each of the above referenced characters will be appearing in movies, none of them will be appearing in the MCU. Way back in the day, in the time before RDJ became Iron Man, the idea of a combined cinematic universe for Marvel’s characters just didn’t exist. Marvel believed their characters were marketable, and could draw in big crowds, but they didn’t have any way to put it out there. There wasn’t a Marvel Studios, and at the time, marvel wasn’t doing so hot. They did what seemed like the only smart thing at the time. They sold off the rights to their more popular characters. Spider-Man went to Sony, X-Men went to Fox along with the Fantastic Four. Other characters were sold off too, like Daredevil, The Punisher, and Ghost Rider. Their movies were so horrible, that we won’t mention them here again. The point is, this was the only way Marvel saw to get their product out there, so they sold the rights, and those studios all still have the rights, and they’re not giving them up. The only reason Marvel still had the rights to the Avengers is because nobody wanted them. That worked out well and lucky for Marvel, but the time is quickly approaching when the Avengers as we know them won’t be around, and having properties like the X-Men or Spider-Man would be nice when that happens. Plus, now that they are doing these major events like Civil War in the movies, it is going to hurt to not have those properties. Spider-Man played no small role in the Civil War story. I’m just saying.
These are the two major issues why I think in the long run, DC will do better and outlast Marvel. When it comes to forming one unified Universe in the films, DC just has the upper hand. Yes, DC is leading out with their two most well-known characters to start things off, but they have a lot of interesting, main stream characters that they can throw at us as well. I mean, Yes, Superman and Batman are as big as it gets, but the Flash and Green Lantern and Aquaman and Wonder Woman are all pretty well-known as well. The movies that they have announced are all heavy hitters, minus Suicide Squad, which will end up being DC’s version of GOTG, incase you were wondering why the rush for that title. There is not really an Ant-Man in the bunch.
Of Course, the reason why this is the case is because all of DC’s characters have been owned by Warner Bros. for a while. They have always had a medium for their films, so they haven’t sold off the rights to their characters like Marvel had to. Not only does this mean that all of their popular characters are available, it also means that there is zero crossover issues that they will need to overcome as they start making the films. If they want to throw together a “phase” that focuses on one of the Crisis events, they can, and they don’t have to worry about who they might sub in to take Barry Allen’s place to save the world and die for 30 years, since some other studio owns his film rights. They own the rights, so he’ll be in the movie. No problem. They have a whole universe, nay, a multiverse available to them. No legal barriers to stand in their way.
There are a lot of different directions DC can go too. Unlike Marvel, not every DC character or title revolves around New York City. Each Hero has his own distinct city with its own distinct feel to it. Gotham is very different from Metropolis, which is different from Coastal City or Central City. Plus, Green Lantern can be his own whole spinoff universe, going throughout the cosmos and involving the other Green Lanterns and the other corps. It is a limitless supply of backdrops, expanding way beyond just New York City.
Don’t get me wrong, I have at least one major issue with the new DCCU. Well, maybe a couple of issues, that are really rolled up into one issue:
There will be no crossover between the DC shows and the DC movies. In fact they have already announced that the guy playing Flash is not the same actor playing him currently on TV. They haven’t even announce Green Arrow having any kind of presence in the upcoming films. That makes me sad. I have enjoyed the Flash so far, and I love Arrow. Plus there is also news that TNT maybe picking up a Teen Titans pilot involving Nightwing, which may be existing in the same world as Arrow and Flash. DC is really putting together a nice little universe on TV, but it will have nothing to do with the movies. Maybe the TV shows will serve as practice for the movie universe. Who knows? But this is the saddest part of the announcement this week. I would love to see Stephen Amell show up as Green Arrow in one of these films, but I won’t hold my breath.
So what do you all think? Does DC stand a chance, or will Marvel always rule supreme at the box office? All I know for sure is that both studios will be getting a lot of money from me over the next 5 years.