Posts

Lucifer: 8 Things They Changed From The Comics (And 2 Things They Kept The Same)

Against all odds, Fox TV’s adaptation of Lucifer survived cancellation thanks to its dedicated fanbase. Loosely based on the comics of the same name that spawned out of Neil Gaiman’s magnum opus Sandman, the show follows a retired Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) as he runs a fancy nightclub on Earth where he meets all kinds of people and otherworldly beings.

Just like Arrow or Gotham, this adaptation of a well-known DC title only borrows the basics of its source material before telling its own story. It goes without saying that a lot was changed during the comics’ translation to the small screen, many of which fans of the Vertigo comics written by Mike Carey would quickly notice. Here are two things that Lucifer kept the same from the comics, as well as eight things that were changed.

RELATED: Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell Full Trailer: The Firefly Family Returns

10 Same: Abandoning Hell

Both the comics and the series start with Lucifer growing disillusioned about dominion over Hell, which convinces him to leave his duties and retire in the mortal realm of Earth. As novel as this premise may sound, this forms the backbone of the entire story and grounds one of the most well-known Biblical figures.

The only notable difference here is that Lucifer comes to this decision by himself in the series, whereas he took Dream’s words to heart in Sandman before leaving hell for his own Vertigo series.

9 Same: The Lux

Equally as famous as Lucifer himself is his club: The Latex Lux. Located in uptown Los Angeles, the upscale club serves as Lucifer’s home on Earth and base of operations, where he goes to recuperate or wile the nights away playing the piano.

A slight difference here is that Lucifer doesn’t spend much time in the Lux in the comics because he’s usually on an off-world adventure. On the other hand, the series pays lots of attention to the Lux and its day-to-day operations because of the series’ more grounded and less heightened approach to Lucifer’s story.

8 Different: The DC Connection

Because of the fact that Lucifer was published by Vertigo Comics, which is DC Comics’ imprint for mature stories, encounters with DC characters were bound to happen. Some of his notable crossovers include meeting John Constantine in The New 52 reboot and his famously eye-opening conversations with Dream in Sandman.

Since Fox TV doesn’t have the rights to many of DC’s characters, Lucifer’s world has been considerably shrunken for his televised run. For legal reasons, the show makes no mentions of the many superheroes and other residents of the DC universe that Lucifer met in the past.

RELATED: Netflix Officially Orders Sandman TV Series From Neil Gaiman 

7 Different: The Story’s Structure

In his comics, Lucifer embarked on a sprawling cosmic quest to save all of Creation. This led to various adventures where he interacted with different beings from a multitude of worlds and dimensions. Lucifer carried on the high fantasies of Sandman but gave them a dark spin. Appropriate, given who he is.

The televised adaptation turns Lucifer’s story in a procedural crime series with an urban fantasy twist, kind of like Supernatural. This may have been done for budgetary reasons and possibly to give audiences a more familiar set-up for a show starring The Devil himself.

6 Different: The Catalyst

Both versions of Lucifer start with him being spurned out of retirement, but what pushes him differs. The series has Lucifer feeling sympathy for the first time in ages after a human friend is murdered outside his club, leading him to work with the steadfast LAPD detective Chloe to solve the crime and learn about her world.

Meanwhile, in the comics, Lucifer receives a mission from God. Should he accept it, the fallen angel could name any price he wants. Though suspicious of the diety’s real motives, Lucifer takes it up to kill time and seize the ultimate opportunity.

RELATED: Lucifer: The 10 Most Vile Villains On The Show, Ranked

5 Different: The State Of Hell

After spending eons on his throne, Lucifer grows weary of overseeing Hell and leaves it for Earth. This turns out to be a big mistake, since Hell quickly fell apart without his leadership, forcing even God himself to beg the former Lord of the Damned to return.

Conversely, Hell was fine after Lucifer’s departure in the comics. This was because, unlike the series, God had a contingency plan prepared in case of Lucifer’s retirement. In Lucifer’s place, a pair of angels who were originally sent to deliver a message were fooled by God into running Hell.

4 Different: Amenadiel

In both the comics and the series, Lucifer has to deal with heaven’s wrath that’s best represented by the angel Amenadiel. Driven by his loyalty to God and his hatred for Lucifer, Amenadiel attacks Lucifer whenever he can but his character arc is different in both incarnations.

Where he’s a single-minded nuisance in the comics, Amenadiel is a more fleshed-out character in the series. Amenadiel questions God’s authority and even allies himself with Lucifer in the series, while he dies a dumb brute in the comics after being constantly outsmarted by the former angel.

3 Difference: Mazikeen/Maze

Lucifer may be a loner, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any friends. His most well-known ally is Makizeen, who also enjoys the distinction of being the only person Lucifer openly shows affection to. At least that’s how it is in the comics.

While her mangled face remains, Makizeen’s relationship with Lucifer is different in the show. Here, she’s painted as his best friend since Lucifer’s love interest is Chloe. She’s also not as loyal as she was, constantly planning coups against Lucifer—something her illustrated counterpart would never do. That and she can now talk properly.

2 Different: Lucifer’s Personality

While his name and backstory remain the same, Lucifer is a different person in the comics and series. Originally, Lucifer was an arrogant sociopath who meddled into human affairs out of morbid curiosity. He does value his few allies, but generally speaking, he couldn’t be bothered to care much for anyone other than himself.

The series presents a more human and emotional Lucifer who hides his true emotions behind a smugly sarcastic facade. This has made him more vulnerable but also more relatable to his father’s creations that he’s used to punishing in the afterlife.

1 Different: The Central Theme

What made the comics unique and well-revered was its philosophically-charged analysis of free will and destiny. Since his creation, Lucifer wanted to be truly free of his father’s control, but even his rebellion may have been divinely predestined, further embittering the already furious fallen angel.

The series has shades of this, but they’re considerably toned down, instead opting to concentrate on Lucifer’s connection with those around him and his discovery of what love and mortality mean. While an interesting arc for a demon to have, the series’ point is noticeably simpler than the source material’s.

NEXT: What Lucifer In Hell Means For Season 5


2019-07-16 01:07:08

Angelo Delos Trinos

Sharp Objects: 5 Things They Changed From the Book (& 5 Things Kept The Same)

Sharp Objects is a Gothic tale. It features, Camille, our main character, being sent to investigate and report on the unusual death of one young girl and disappearance of another that occurred in her hometown. For many reasons, Camille has avoided going home. Although her family is the local elite, life at home is anything but pleasant. Her mother disapproves of her. Her father figure is absent even while he is present. She doesn’t really know her younger half-sister, Amma. Meanwhile, memories of her favorite sibling, Marian, are around every surface and dream. Altogether, the story tackles three mysteries: 1.) Who is the killer of the two young girls; 2.) What really happened to cause the death of her favorite sister; 3.) Can Camille escape her family’s dysfunction?

If you are like us, immediately after viewing the HBO Series Sharp Objects, we had to read the book. In looking at both, some details were either changed or omitted, and for others, the series stayed the same as the book.

RELATED: Screen Rant’s Top 10 Favorite TV Shows of 2018

10 Changed: The Age Of The Murdered Two Girls

In the HBO Series, Camille initially investigates the disappearance of one girl, Natalie, which turns out to be a murder. She tries to connect it to the murder of another girl, Ann, from the previous year. While this is the same in the book and the film series, the age of the two girls is different.

In the HBO Series, Natalie is 14, and Ann was 13. In the book, the girls were much younger: Natalie was 10, and Ann was 9. It could be that the series decided to change the ages in order to make the girls closer to adolescence and the age that Camille remembers well when she was in her hometown. It could be that the murders seemed even worse aimed at children. Either way, the ages are notably different.

9 Not Changed: Camille’s Relationship With Her Mother

In both the book and the series, Adora and Camille have a bad relationship. Part of this is due to Camille always being independent (and smart/wary). Adora wants to have Camille depend on her, and Camille has never really allowed that (thankfully so).

RELATED: Sharp Objects Review A Beautifully Grim Observation of Toxic Legacies

Their relationship is contemptuous, and at the same time, Camille still yearns for her mother’s love. This is why the moment in the series when Adora tells Camille that she has never loved her is especially painful.

8 Changed: Camille’s Relationship With Amma, Her Half-Sister

In the film series, their relationship is presented as growing in closeness. Amma seems to look up to her older sister, remembering Camille’s reputation as a cool, popular person. In turn, Camille admires Amma’s confidence and is very taken in by her sister, even though she will never be as close to Amma as she was to Marian (her favorite sister, long-time deceased).

While there are moments in the book where Amma and Camille seem to bond, there is more of a feeling that Amma is extreme and a little off. When Amma and Camille get hurt and Amma’s chest bleeds, Amma takes a swab of her blood to wipe across Camille’s lips. Later, when Camille gets custody of Amma, she talks about how exhausting Amma is, how needy, and how uncertain Camille is about being a guardian. There are elements of this in the film, but the extremes aren’t caught.

7 Not Changed: Marian’s Mysterious Death

The grand mystery of Marian’s death is present in both the film series and the book. In addition, Camille’s closeness to Marian and grief in her loss are in both. While we don’t want to disclose fully what happened so not to spoil the grand mystery, there is a good reason why Camille questions the death. It does highlight some scary, core family problems.

Also, equally shown in both is the admiration that Marian had for Camille. Their sister bond was tight, so tight that it feels even as present in current day as it did in the past.

6 Changed: Second Home Location

Camille’s hometown is the same in both the book and the HBO Series: Wind Gap, Missouri. The book calls it, “one of those crummy towns prone to misery.” However, Camille’s second home is different. In the book, she lives in Chicago and is a reporter there. At the end of the novel, she takes Amma there to move in with her.

RELATED: Twilight 10 Facts About Bella They Leave Out of the Movies

In the HBO Series, she is in St. Louis instead and a reporter from there. This makes her a closer distance to Wind Gap, but yet in a different world. Could this be why the second home location changed?

5 Not Changed: Camille’s Cutting

In both the series and the book, Camille cuts herself. In the series, we see the reason why she wears the long sleeves and is hesitant to try on dresses with her mother and half-sister. Camille’s mother knows about her cutting and wants to expose it to Amma.

In the book, Camille says, “I cut words,” as if that makes her different than an average cutter. She also believes that once Richard (her brief romantic interest) seems her marked body, that whatever they had is over. She can see in his eyes how repulsed he is with her. This is also in the HBO series.

A lot of attention is given to one spot where Camille isn’t able to cut, a space on her back that isn’t easy to reach. This spot is given extra attention in the book, making her mother’s statement, “Someday I’ll carve my name there,” especially haunting.

4 Changed: Calhoun Day

Calhoun Day is an event where we can see the layers of societal and family dynamics in full display in the HBO Series. It is convenient because, unlike the first person book, the series can’t crawl into Camille’s head where we learn about these layers firsthand. Calhoun Day doesn’t exist in the book.

3 Not Changed: Amma’s Jealousy

Once Amma lives with Camille, Camille helps encourage a new friendship for Amma. The problem stems from when the new friend seems to bond with Camille, and Amma worries that Camille likes the friend more than she likes her. Amma is immediately jealous because Camille belongs to Amma. This is also the case with the young girls that Adora, their mother, has paid attention to. Once they get attention, and one even bites Adora, Amma becomes jealous.

2 Changed: Epilogue

A benefit of reading the book is that not only are we made aware of Camille’s interior world, but we also find out what happens next to Amma after the series ends with Camille discovering Amma’s violence. Amma is locked up, and Camille visits her sister often. Camille is even closer with Frank (her boss) and Eileen (his wife) Curry in the book, and they take her in after all the tragedy she suffered. They try to make up for how she grew up by treating her with kindness, even kissing her on the head at night.

Camille is worried about turning out like her mother, or that she is already like her mother. Presented as a daily struggle, she is trying to be kind.

1 Not Changed: Dreams

Both the series and the book make use of dreams and dream-like features. We see these through the eyes of Camille. Often times she is sifting through memories or trying to make sense of things. While the amount of dreams present in the series may be different than in the book, they are still used.

In the series, the glimpses of the lady in white are particularly disturbing, especially when we reach the end. In the book, Camille has a dream where her mother cuts her open to unpack her organs and sew her initials on them. Both are equally disturbing. They are Camille trying to make sense of things in a way that her fully awake mind can’t.

Both the series and the book are worth a watch or a read. They both stay in line with the Gothic tale, a tale that proves Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl) is very gifted and continues to deliver intriguing stories.

NEXT: Big Little Lies Season 2 Review 


2019-07-12 01:07:36

Heather Frankland

How Dark Phoenix’s Marketing Has Changed Since The Disney Deal

The new trailer for X-Men: Dark Phoenix may look on the surface to be just the latest part of the marketing push for the much-belated mutant outing, but it’s, in fact, the first involvement of Disney in the franchise. Dark Phoenix was originally supposed to release in November 2018 before being pushed back to February 2019 and eventually this coming June, a series of delays that mean its marketing campaign has been in full swing for seventeen months.

Much has been made about how this will be the last main-series Fox X-Men movie. Now that Disney has bought Fox 2000 and all its assets, the rights to these characters are under Marvel Studios’ remit, with plans to eventually reboot the mutants in the MCU. But before that happens, the Mouse House needs to release the movies that are in the can: both Dark Phoenix and New Mutants will technically be Disney releases.

Read More: Every Fox Movie Disney Is Still Going To Release

Dark Phoenix‘s new trailer would appear to be the first under the eye of Walt Disney Studios. The movie was already part of Disney’s presentation at CinemaCon earlier this month, but now it’s going wide. Indeed, President of Marketing Asad Ayaz has been hyping up the drop since yesterday on his Twitter:

As first pointed out by Trailer Track‘s Anton Volkov, the new synopsis includes the phrase “It is the culmination of 20 years of X-Men movies“, a turn of phrase Marvel fans will be all too familiar with from the marketing for both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. This ending angle was never pushed by Fox (of course, they couldn’t acknowledge the imminent changeover) but now brings the X-Men and MCU, if only by marketing spiel, in line.

The resulting trailer is also interesting. The most striking and evocative tease for Dark Phoenix yet, its careful presentation of story beats alongside core character conflict is different to the vaguer and moodier drive of previous trailers – and much more in-keeping with Disney’s house style (except on the more heavily-secretive Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame). It’s unknown who edited the trailer and whether it was commissioned before or after the Disney purchase of Fox was finalized, but it definitely has hints of a shift towards more standard Marvel marketing.

What the new Dark Phoenix trailer really shows, though, is how forward the release will be. It had been speculated since the Fox deal was first mooted that the remaining X-Men films would be released on streaming services – likely Hulu – but the eventual truth is the exact opposite, with the push behind at least the prime X-Men film comparable to any other summer release. The question now falls to whether New Mutants will get similar attention.

Next: Everything Dark Phoenix Has Copied From X-Men: The Last Stand



2019-04-17 10:04:20

Alex Leadbeater

Doctor Strange Suggests Doctor Doom’s Mentor Already Changed The MCU Timeline

Doctor Strange secretly introduced the sorcerer who trained Doctor Doom – and subtly hinted that he may have rewritten the MCU’s timeline once before. There’s a sense in which Doctor Strange was one of the most important films in the MCU; it added a whole new aspect to the MCU: magic.

The star was Dr. Stephen Strange, who traveled to the secret temple of Kamar-Taj, where he was trained by the Ancient One and became a member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts. Blessed with a photographic memory, Strange proved a natural at sorcery, surprising his mentors. His curiosity also saw him find his way to some of the forbidden tomes of Kamar-Taj, most notably the Book of Cagliostro, which taught him the secrets of the Time Stone. In the real world, Count Alessandro Cagliostro was an 18th-century occultist who was known for psychic healing, alchemy, and scrying. In Marvel Comics, though, he was actually a powerful sorcerer who became interested in time travel after he encountered a couple of visitors from the future.

Related: Why Didn’t Doctor Strange Trap Thanos In A Time Loop?

One of these was Doctor Doom, who had sought out Cagliostro as a mentor to help him learn sorcery. Just like the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, Cagliostro learned the secret of immortality – although in the comics it involved imbibing vampire blood rather than drawing on the power of the Dark Dimension. Again, like the movie, the comic book version of Cagliostro ultimately jotted down everything he had learned in a sacred tome, the Book of Cagliostro. It contained all of Cagliostro’s own studies, some notes from a sinister book called the Darkhold, and even records from another time traveling sorcerer who had crossed Cagliostro’s path. All in all, the MCU version of Cagliostro sounds very similar indeed to his comic book counterpart, right down to having the same preoccupation with time.

But there’s one crucial difference. In Doctor Strange, the Eye of Agamotto is actually the Time Stone, and parts of the Book of Cagliostro are basically an instruction manual. When Strange attempted to practice the lessons contained within the Book of Cagliostro, he was interrupted by a horrified Mordo and Wong. They told him that temporal manipulations “can create branches in time. Unstable dimensional openings. Spatial paradoxes. Time loops!” As they explained, in the Book of Cagliostro the warnings come after the spells. Strange wasn’t manipulating the space-time continuum – he was in danger of breaking it.

This, naturally, raises one interesting question: If Cagliostro learned – or more likely discovered – how to use the Time Stone, how did he find out how catastrophic the consequences could be? The only possible answer is that he learned through trial and error. Given the Masters of the Mystic Arts are sworn to protect the Time Stone, it’s possible the MCU Cagliostro was a former Sorcerer Supreme, but wished to explore the Eye of Agamotto’s abilities. Alternatively, as the Ancient One has been said to be 700 years old, he could have been one of her students who succeeded in stealing the Eye. Whatever the truth, in the MCU Cagliostro must have somehow acquired the Time Stone, and experimented with its power. He must have tried out at least most of the spells Doctor Strange was looking at, and experienced most of the consequences as well. It’s reasonable to assume that Cagliostro actually did break the space-time continuum; perhaps time healed, or perhaps the Time Stone itself was used to repair the damage.

Whatever the case, the presence of the Book of Cagliostro – with its warnings noted after the spells – adds a fascinating extra dimension to the history of the MCU. It suggests that a powerful sorcerer once used an Infinity Stone liberally on Earth, experimenting with it in dangerous ways, and may have unwittingly changed the course of history as a result.

More: Time Travel In The MCU & Avengers: Endgame Explained


2019-04-17 05:04:48

Thomas Bacon

Shazam! Editor Reveals Big Dr. Sivana Scene Was Majorly Changed in Reshoots

SPOILERS for Shazam! ahead.

Reshoots on Shazam! completely changed a key scene between Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) and his family. The latest DC film to come out of Warner Bros. is in many ways a movie about finding your family. This is obvious in the prominence of Billy Batson (Asher Angel) adjusting to his new life in another foster home, all while trying to track down his biological mother. The latter does not go as he hoped, but he eventually learns to accept his new family, and learns that they can be even more powerful together.

On the opposite side of this coin though, Sivana is a villain that’s driven by the hatred he received from his family as a child. He was constantly picked on by his brother and belittled by his father, which made the rejection by the Wizard known as Shazam impossible to accept. Once he gained his magical powers in Shazam!, a family reunion came not too long after. He crashed a company meeting that resulted in him throwing his brother out the window to his death and allowing Greed – one of the Seven Deadly Sins – to kill his father.

Related: Shazam Is The Best Film In The DCEU (And It’s Not Even Close)

During a recent interview by Cinema Blend, editor Michel Aller revealed that this sequence was actually a completely new version of the scene and was shot during reshoots. The plan was always for Sivana to confront his family, but the meeting setting was where the biggest change was made. So where was the reunion originally going to happen? A Christmas party. Here’s what Aller said:

It was a later addition. Originally the way Sivana confronts his family was completely different. It was at a Christmas party in his mansion. And so the whole idea of him confronting his family was re-conceived. So that was part of the additional photography.

It’s not clear if the original version of this scene was based around a family Christmas party or a business one, but the end result would still be the same. Shazam! is clearly set during the holiday season too, so this could’ve been just the latest reminder of the time of year. Aller did not reveal why the decision was made to make this change though, which would give everyone some additional context to the original plan. That said, she did say that there’s a chance this alternative scene will be included on Shazam!‘s home release as a deleted scene.

Now that Shazam! is out in theaters, it’ll be fun to see what other details about deleted or alternate scenes are revealed. Sandberg has not been shy at revealing behind-the-scenes looks at the film, such as his own cameo, so he could reveal more cut scenes eventually. We’re still several months away from Shazam! being made available on home video and less than two weeks removed from the film’s theatrical debut after all, leaving Sandberg and the rest of the team involved in Shazam! with plenty of time to reveal new information about what could’ve been.

MORE: Our Biggest Unanswered Questions From Shazam!

Source: Cinema Blend


2019-04-16 08:04:56

Cooper Hood

20 Actors They Completely Changed With CGI

In terms of special effects and designs, the world of film has certainly come a long way since the days of Pepper’s Ghost and Harryhausen monsters. With today’s technology, we can board a strange vessel,  visit other planets, encounter strange and fantastical creatures, and all with a green screen and some imaginative computer wizardry. This doesn’t diminish our love for practical effects, but it does take a special set of skills to bring these incredible things to life, but it also takes a special set of skills to perform against a green screen and make it look believable. Though the effects artists make it seem easy, it can be hard to be taken seriously in a tight green suit.

That all being said, we applaud actors and actresses who can perform under unconventional circumstances, including being covered in CGI effects. This happens a great deal particularly in our beloved sci-fi genre, but it’s not limited to any one type of film or any one type of actor for that matter. Everyone from Cate Blanchet to Kurt Russel has had to tango with the green-screened monster, and they’ve worn it exceptionally well. These actors and performers have worked so well with CGI, that we just had to show our love. From spacemen to superheroes, these performances shine even brighter than the effects that bring them to the screen. Here’s our list of 20 great performances under CGI.

20 BRUCE BOXLEITNER (TRON)

Honestly, anyone who entered the Game-Grid deserves this spot, but we gotta give it to the man himself. Tron was a Disney flick ahead of its time in both story and effects. It was a look into the future, but at the same time, it’s absolutely saturated with ’80s cheese. Though the effects are dated by today’s standards, the performance from its lead and its cast still shines.

Bruce Boxleitner plays the programmed hero, Tron, and he doesn’t disappoint. The CGI of the film was revolutionary for its time, and Boxleitner and the rest of the cast made us believe in the world they inhabited. It was a starting point for CGI with a stellar performance, what better way to start our list?

19 MICHALE JAI WHITE (SPAWN)

Now we move from classically cheesy to shamelessly cheesy with Spawn. Despite the effects resembling early PS2 cutscenes, we can’t deny the performance of the film’s titular lead. Though the story is insane, Michale Jai White still gives us a more than convincing performance as Spawn, even with that ridiculous cape effect.

As hard as it is to believe, this film won awards for its visual effects. Yes, the demons are bland and stupid, the armor gets cartoony, but despite its obvious shortcomings, White still delivers the dark superhero we want to see. He’s intimidating, strong, and most of all, believable as Todd Mcfarlane’s most famous character. If not for the laughable effects, watch it for him… Or John Leguizamo in clown makeup, your call.

18 ANDY SERKIS (KLAUE)

Surprisingly, Andy Serkis does not make this list for his motion-capture performances, but for our favorite smuggler of the MCU. Serkis’s performance as Klaue gives us someone who really loves his job and does it joyously, especially if that job involves a cybernetic laser arm.

With an insatiable hunger for cash and Wakandan technology, who better to play this guy than the scene-stealing Andy Serkis? It’s not a lot of CGI, but with Serkis’s acting chops, we believe every second of it, even though his arm opens up into a freaking laser cannon, we can’t think of many who could pull off that look better. We just wish he could’ve stuck around for Endgame.

17 DOUG JONES AND JAVIER BODET (SPIRITS OF CRIMSON PEAK)

Guillermo del Toro is the absolute king when it comes to monster movies and practical effects. Though most of the vengeful spirits of this gothic masterpiece are magnificent makeup jobs and incredible costumes, a little CGI goes a long way when making some monsters. And nobody helps bring them to life better than Doug Jones and Javier Bodet.

Everything about these ghosts has a freaky factor cranked up to twelve. From the moth-eaten body of Edith’s mother to the broken Lady Sharpe, the performers not only deliver under massive amounts of makeup and prosthetics but also some eerie CGI effects.

16 TOM HARDY (VENOM)

No matter where you stand on Venom’s solo film, Tom Hardy still impressed more than a few audiences. Hardy’s performance as Eddie Brock and the titular sinister symbiote were both possessed eerie excellence that drove home the movie. His portrayal as Brock is sympathetic and likable where his Venom is ravenous and haunting. Mix it with some seriously scary CGI, and you’ve got a symbiotic relationship.

Seeing Hardy morph into this mass of tendrils and teeth is enough to give even us the shivers. Though the CGI effects are brilliant, it’s Hardy’s portrayal of the character that really sells it. Hearing that gravelly voice come out of that maw of fangs is what really gives the character his bite.

15 CATE BLANCHETT (GALADRIEL)

No matter what role she’s in, be it Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, Kathrine Hepburn, or Asgard’s queen of death, Cate Blanchett absolutely drips with elegance and grace with every performance. With a description like that, it’s no wonder she was picked to play Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings. She makes the list not because her CGI was for enhancement, but for intimidation.

All shall love her and despair when we see the elven mystic tempted by the power of the One Ring. The effects placed upon her make her as beautiful and terrible as the dawn, more treacherous than the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth. Though the transformation is brief, it’s Blanchett’s ethereal performance and chilling delivery that leaves us trembling.

14 PAUL RUDD (ANT-MAN)

Though it’s one of the more purely comedic entries in the MCU, the Ant-Man films have some spectacular performances. Next to Michael Douglas, Paul Rudd’s portrayal as Ant-Man is surprisingly huge in and out of the suit. Let’s get real, it takes a lot of CGI to pull off this kind of superhero, but Rudd does not disappoint in the slightest.

Though most of his skill is shown when he’s not on superhero duty, Rudd still manages to make the world he visits as Ant-Man believable and real. The way he moves and behaves in the CGI world helps us give in to the illusion. The performance helps us suspend our belief in a way that the effects become the world, but not the star attraction.

13 CHRIS EVANS (CAPTAIN AMERICA)

We’re pretty sure you can figure out why Chris Evans makes our list. Anyone familiar with the first Captain America film in the MCU knows about the CGI sorcery that turned the ripped and ready Evans into the slim and shrimpy Steve Rogers. We’re colored impressed due to two factors: the CGI is believable, and Evans’s performance.

Before Rogers undergoes the super-soldier treatment, we’re shown a slimmed-down version of our patriotic protagonist. It could have been so easy to just see this as Evans’s head stuck on an animated body, but like Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, we’re too pulled in to the story and the performance to notice. No doubt a great performance, but we still find the effects deserving of a chuckle or two.

12 HUGO WEAVING (RED SKULL)

While we’re on the subject of Captain America: The First Avenger, let’s not forget HYDRA’s most notorious leader, Red Skull. Portrayed by the always brilliant Hugo Weaving, Red Skull is one of the Marvel canon’s biggest threats, and certainly bears one of the most intimidating designs.

We’ve seen before already how much CGI can effect costumes and makeup, but the devil’s in the details when it comes to this HYDRA commander. The use of CGI to create more skull-like features on Weaving’s already impressive makeup is easily worth noting, but it works in harmony with the actor’s performance of this insidious character, not unlike another member on this list. Stay tuned, readers.

11 ROBERT DOWNEY JR. (IRON MAN)

How can you talk about the Marvel Cinematic Universe and not think of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man? One of the biggest names on the laundry list of actors in the series, RDJ is so invested and attached to the character, it’s easy to forget he’s not really wearing a suit of power armor. His performance is so infectiously engaging, he’s one of the many beloved characters that make us forget we’re watching a movie.

A seamless performance paired with more than impressive visuals makes RDJ practically ideal for a superhero role. Even when we see him under the helmet with the blue-lined sensors and radars, we still buy the performance as genuine. He blends with everything so well, it’s no wonder he made this list.

10 KURT RUSSELL (EGO)

Kurt Russel is a huge name in the Sci-Fi genre, so it’s no surprise that he found a home in the MCU alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy. For those unfamiliar with the series, Russell portrays Ego the Living Planet, Star-Lords estranged father. Since cosmic beings are so hard to get into showbiz, the CGI wizards at Marvel do their best to turn Russell into character.

Despite his star power, Russell perfectly outshines the visuals that give him his celestial status. Even when he goes freaking supernova on the Guardians, we still see the incredible acting skills of this veteran performer. Some stars just shine brighter than others it seems.

9 PAUL BETTANY (VISION)

For our last foray into the MCU, we take a look at our favorite AI Avenger, Vision. The mix of makeup and visual magic that brings him to life is absolutely astounding. Not only does he greatly resemble his comic book counterpart, but Paul Bettany’s cool and calculated delivery make him more than just JARVIS with a humanoid shell.

Bettany’s performance shines brighter than his scarlet silicon skin as he breathes soul into the machine. His emotional plot and compelling nature continue to keep us enraptured. Easily one of the heavier CGI characters in the Avengers series, it takes a lot to bring a character like Vision to the screen, but Bettany is just the guy for the job.

8 JOHN CAROL LYNCH (TWISTY THE CLOWN)

Easily the creepiest icon out of American Horror Story, Twisty the Clown is every Stephen King-fueled night terror made real. John Carol Lynch is responsible for the nightmare that is Twisty, and we can’t help but think he’d be just as intense without the effects.

At times, Twisty makes Pennywise look like Ronald McDonald, and it’s all thanks to Lynch’s deranged performance. Even when he’s unmasked and relating his tragic backstory, he still makes us all more than a bit uneasy. You can truly measure a horror actor’s prowess by the amount of terror created by his presence alone. Color us creeped out.

7 BILL NIGHY (DAVY JONES)

No matter what they’re working with, Disney always tends to go the extra mile, especially with their effects. One of the most prominent of these examples happens to be the captain of the Flying Dutchman, Davy Jones. Brought to life by a mix of motion-capture, CGI, and a full-bodied performance from Bill Nighy, Davy Jones becomes one of the creepiest characters to ever set sail.

The CGI plays a bigger part in bringing this guy to life, but it’d be just a hollow animation without Nighy’s performance and gift for dialogue. The slithery motions of the cursed pirate’s tentacles never fail to skeeve us out, but it’s Nighy’s commanding voice and cruel nature that puts him at the helm. He always shivers our timbers.

6 RALPH FIENNES (VOLDEMORT)

The evilest wizard in all of literature definitely needs an effect driven adaptation to bring him from the page to the screen. Ralph Fiennes portrayal of Lord Voldemort absolutely oozes with insidious charm. We’re so invested in his performance, in fact, we forget that nearly all of his face is covered by CGI.

The wraithish robes, the pale, sickly flesh, and the snakelike facial features are all created by a combination of makeup, wardrobe, and green screen, but it’s Fiennes who creates the biggest effect. His performance is something straight out of the shadowy depths of the Wizarding World, the CGI is just there to spice it up. We’re sure he could be just as perfect with a black robe and a wand alone.

5 AARON ECKHART (TWO FACE)

Christopher Nolan’s adaptation of the Batman mythos definitely deserves the praise it earned, even if it tried to be a more realistic take on the comic book genre. That being said, it did give us a more reality-based depiction of one of Batman’s most tragic villains. Aaron Eckhart plays the White Knight of Gotham in The Dark Knight, and his twisted performance matches the effects that turn him into Two-Face.

The effects are used to both convey the identity of the character and display the corruption of the man who was supposed to be Gotham’s savior. The facial effects are more than enough to steal the show, but Eckhart manages to match the caliber, giving us a performance that leaves us torn in two.

4 JOHNNY DEPP (TARRANT HIGHTOP/THE MAD HATTER)

Johnny Depp might be the most dynamic and unpredictable take on the Mad Hatter we’ve ever seen, and we love him for it. Love it or hate it, Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland definitely had a creepy and colorful look all its own. Nowhere is that idea better expressed than in the characters that dwell in Underland.

Mad just barely scratches the surface of Depp’s performance. The erratic mood swings and the wild attire perfectly capture his mental instability, but a little CGI goes a long way. The effects are used mainly in his eyes to further drive home that unhinged look. His irises change color with his moods, and one eye is larger than the other, resulting in perfect visual insanity.

3 HELENA BONHAM CARTER (THE RED QUEEN)

While we’re in Underland, let’s pay a visit to another popular resident. The Red Queen, brought to life by the magnificent Helena Bonham Carter, is Burton’s take on the Queen of Hearts. With her Elizabethan attire, tantrums, and enormous head, the artists and animators certainly went the extra mile with her creation.

Carter’s performance is as big and firey as her character’s head. She plays the queen as a spoiled brat in an adult body with a cruel amount of power, and it works. Even without the giant head, we’re certain that she could still wear the crown.

2 BILL SKARSGARD (PENNYWISE)

Show of hands, who else got goosebumps from Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise? Tim Curry might still hold the crown for the most enjoyable performance, but Skarsgard creepy even without the CGI monster effects. Despite a few aesthetic changes, he’s a near perfect adaptation of the novel’s horrific antagonist.

Though certain CGI sequences are a bit too over-the-top, when done correctly they definitely get a scream or two out of us. Skarsgard’s performance absolutely smashes every level of creepy, just building onto what horrors It might change into next. Whether he’s just lurking with some balloons or gnawing on a severed hand, we’re definitely wary of this painted creep.

1 DOUG JONES (AMPHIBIAN MAN)

We’ve already mentioned him once before, but we figured an Oscar-winning performance definitely deserves first place on our list. The Shape of Water is possibly the magnum opus of Guillermo del Toro, and the leading monster was played by none other than Doug Jones. Though the performance was mainly created through Jones’s acting skills and some incredible creature effects, some CGI did help give the monster life.

The effects were used sparingly but the little touches here and there helped create a magnificent monsterpiece. The true talent, however, comes from the actor. Doug Jones is famous for his creature performances and it truly shines this film. He not only struts his stuff, but he also wears the gills gloriously.


2019-04-16 05:04:12

Zach Gass

8 Ways Marvel Films Have Changed Since Iron Man (For Good)

In 2008, Iron Man blasted into theatres and Tony Stark won the hearts of audiences around the world. Now, 11 years and 21 movies later, Tony Stark is taking to the screens again— but a few things have changed along the way. From increased minority representation to more relatable villains, the MCU has evolved with the times, changing its formula to better reflect the shifting tastes and increasing social awareness of modern society.

But films do not just respond to cultural trends— they also have a central role in creating them. As Uncle Ben has said far too many times on the big screens, with great power comes great responsibility, and Marvel seems to take its role as a cultural influencer very seriously, helping to pave the way towards a more progressive era of filmmaking.

Here are eight ways Marvel has changed since Iron Man (for the better).

RELATED: 10 Questions About Captain America’s Shield, Answered

8 Social Commentary

When you go to a superhero movie, you probably expect to see big explosions and alien invasions— not poignant social commentary on the ills that plague modern society. But recent Marvel films have been exploring deeper themes than laser-eyes, embracing storylines that address social issues like racism, sexism and inequality. Black Panther explored the generational effects of racism in America and Captain Marvel put the female experience in the spotlight, demonstrating how differently men and women are treated on a daily basis and the ways this affects people.

Although earlier Marvel films may have offered the occasional commentary on the importance of courage and teamwork, the MCU has become increasingly progressive, exploring not just on how we can become the best versions of ourselves, but also how we can create a more just and equal society for those we share this planet with.

7 Better Villains

Back in the early days of the MCU, most of the villains were violent megalomaniacs intent on one of two things— power or revenge (or both). As lovely as it is to watch psychopathic super-villains wreak havoc for havoc’s sake, when almost every movie features an antagonist with similar motivations, things can start to feel a bit repetitive. However, some of the more recent Marvel movies have steered away from these stereotypical villains, instead creating relatable antagonists with complex motivations for our heroes to face off against.

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the Vulture was a family man who turned to crime because he couldn’t make enough money as a member of the working class. In Black Panther, it was the trauma and racism that Killmonger experienced as a child that drove him to embrace violence as a way of life. And although Thanos is definitely a megalomaniac, he too is driven by a complex history, striving to balance the universe by preventing the same crisis that decimated his home planet. Superhero movies are defined by their villains, and recently, Marvel has been defining itself with antagonists who are as relatable and complicated as they are downright powerful.

6 Minority representation

For most of the past 11 years, the MCU has been as white (and as male) as the first 43 Presidents of the United States. With the exception of Black Widow, all of the main heroes were white men, and if a person of color did star in a film, they were usually confined to the sidelines as a sidekick or a source of comic relief, like Colonel Rhodes in Iron Man or Luis in Ant-Man. Female characters were either love interests, damsels in distress, or over-sexualized heroines clad in form-fitting onesies.

RELATED: 8 Ways The MCU Has Forever Changed Cinema

But in the years since these disappointing casting decisions, the MCU has been making better efforts to diversify its heroes. In Thor: Ragnarok, Tessa Thompson was cast as Valkyrie, a character who was traditionally white and blonde in the comics. And Black Panther set new standards for cinema as the first superhero movie ever with a majority black cast. Following on the heels of Black Panther was Captain Marvel, which was the first female-led film of the MCU. After Avengers: Endgame, characters like Captain Marvel, Valkyrie and Black Panther are expected to take on more central roles within the MCU— and Shang-Chi, the first Asian-led superhero film ever, will drop in theatres— ushering in a new, more inclusive generation of superheroes.

5 Higher Quality Writing

Although Iron Man and The Avengers were great films, it’s hard to deny that some of the early movies of the MCU featured less than stellar writing. The first two installments of the Thor franchise were underwhelming at best, and both Captain America: The First Avenger and Iron Man 2 met with mixed reviews from critics.

But ever since 2014, Marvel seems to have put greater focus on writing and it almost feels like the MCU can do no wrong. From Captain America: Civil War to Thor: Ragnarok to Black Panther, almost every addition to the MCU in the last four years has featured a compelling storyline and well-written dialogue, proving that superhero films can have more to them than fight scenes and special effects.

4 More Humor

Although the early Marvel films were certainly funny, they didn’t use humor to the same extent as more recent films. Early MCU films may have sprinkled in a few laughs here and there, but at their core, they were still primarily action-adventure movies focused on the drama of the hero’s journey.

RELATED: 10 Questions About The Quantum Realm, Answered

However, from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to Thor: Ragnarok, some of the more recent additions to the MCU have felt primarily like comedies that just so happen to star superheroes. Whether it’s Drax preaching about invisibility or Spider-Man making fifteen pop culture references per minute, Marvel films have become as well known for their hilarious dialogue as their superheroes.

3 Fewer “cringe” moments

In the last few decades, Hollywood has undergone drastic changes. Even just ten years ago, the vast majority of films objectified women, with female characters often scantily clad and almost always tied to a romantic subplot.

The MCU has come a long way since its early days in 2008, but even Marvel isn’t free of it own cringe-worthy moments. Black Widow was almost always objectified when she was first introduced to the MCU, and in one of the lowest moments of the MCU, the writers chose to whitewash the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, a character who is Tibetan in the comics. But as the years have passed, Marvel has become increasingly progressive, working towards more equality on the big screens. In Avengers: Infinity War, the only time we cringed was during that infamous Snap.

2 Exploring Different Genres

In the beginning, most of the Marvel films followed a similar formula, telling the story of a troubled protagonist who finds courage and saves the day. But as the MCU continued to expand, the writers started to branch out and incorporate aspects of different genres into their films. Although all of the Marvel movies fall under the comic book genre, some recent additions to the franchise have felt like more than simple superhero flicks.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier felt as much like a spy thriller as a superhero film, and Spider-Man: Homecoming echoed the nostalgia and innocence of coming-of-age films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club (films the director told the cast to watch as “homework”). Movies like Thor: Ragnarok and Ant-Man are comedic gold, drawing as many laughs as films like The Hangover or Bridesmaids. As Marvel continues to expand, it will surely continue to explore different genres. Who knows? Someday, we might even have a superhero western.

1 More focus on lesser-known heroes

Before lesser-known heroes like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and Black Panther crawled, magicked and clawed their way into theatres, the MCU focused on the big-name heroes of Marvel, bringing famous protagonists like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America to the big screens. However, as the ongoing success of the MCU became obvious, Marvel was able to shift its focus to the smalltime heroes of the comics, making characters like Jessica Jones, Valkyrie and the Wasp household names.

As Marvel continues to mine the comic books for new stories to tell, the MCU will keep broadening in scope, putting the spotlight on not just muscly men like Thor and Captain America, but also on businesswomen like Hope Van Dyne, scientists like Princess Shuri and warriors like Valkyrie. Not all of us can relate to the original six Avengers, whether because we don’t look like them, or because we just don’t feel like them— the world has as many awkward high schoolers and eccentric law students as brave soldiers and suave billionaires. But as the MCU continues to add different genders, races and personalities to its roster of characters more and more people, from little girls to quirky grad students, will feel represented. We all can be heroes.

NEXT: 10 Key MCU Moments To Remember For Avengers: Endgame


2019-04-13 01:04:08

Leanne Louie

Star Trek: Discovery Redesigns The Enterprise Bridge: Here’s What’s Changed

Fans finally get a look at the bridge of Star Trek: Discovery‘s U.S.S. Enterprise – and it’s amazing how close the CBS All-Access prequel got to duplicating the famous starship’s interior while simultaneously upgrading it to suit the series’ modern aesthetics.

The Starship Enterprise – the classic NCC-1701 version, of course – first appeared in Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 1 finale when it came nose-to-nose with the Disco. However, once Captain Christopher Pike transferred aboard the Discovery, fans were disappointed that the only glimpse they saw of its interior was the doorway and interior of Spock’s quarters when Commander Michael Burnham beamed aboard to investigate the disappearance of her adoptive brother. The tidbits of info season 2 provided about the Enterprise mostly came from Number One’s guest appearance in episode 4, “An Obol for Charon,” when she informed Pike about the Enterprise’s refits after the ship’s holographic array caused system-wide damage (Pike then ordered the holograms removed permanently).

Related: Star Trek: Discovery Shows How Pike Got His Original Series Injuries

In part 1 of Star Trek: Discovery season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow,” fans finally got a grand tour of the Enterprise. In order to keep the sphere data from Control, which had taken over Section 31’s fleet and was en route to attack, Pike and Burnham decided to destroy the Discovery and the Enterprise arrived to save the Discovery’s crew. Both starships docked parallel to each other so Discovery’s crew could board Pike’s original ship and fans got to see Enterprise’s upgraded corridors with their shiny red trim and mesh panels, similar to how it appeared in The Original Series. The Captain escorted Burnham and First Officer Saru himself via turbolift (with the handle grip controls) onto the bridge, which was strikingly recreated to resemble what fans remember from TOS, but was also stunningly updated.

Star Trek: Discovery‘s U.S.S. Enterprise’s bridge has the red turbolift door that leads into the command center, with its classic square-ish captain’s chair prominently raised behind the white and red-painted ops and conn stations, all facing a viewscreen. There’s a red railway surrounding the center and behind them are the various control stations, with monitor screens and schematics of the Enterprise, as well as TOS‘ blinking colored lights. Behind the captain’s chair is the Communications station (the future perch of Lieutenant Uhura) and to the left of that is the Science station – Spock’s workplace as Science Officer.

Along with eliminating the holographic array “forever” – which keeps Star Trek canon intact – the overhauls Number One oversaw must have included a new paint job. The bright primary colors (which Emperor Georgiou loathed) must be part of the refit; in the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”, the bridge was monochrome and featured lamps with curved necks (which have been removed). Thankfully, the Enterprise still has all of the same sounds as in TOS, including the whooshing sound the turbolift doors make, the naval-like whistles, the computer’s distinctive beeps, and even the sounds of photon torpedoes launched.

The Enterprise’s bridge, which has two more stations to the left of the Science station that are rarely seen in TOS, is considerably more cramped than the Discovery’s expansive command area. This is odd because, as a deep space cruiser, the Constitution-class Enterprise is supposed to be bigger than the Crossfield-class Discovery, which is a science vessel; the Enterprise’s crew complement is 400 while the Discovery’s was 131 in season 1 and grew to approximately 200 in season 2. And yet, the Discovery’s interiors are definitely roomier than the Enterprise’s.

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies maintained the basic layout of TOS‘ Enterprise but made everything bigger, shinier, and more futuristic – the discrepancies are waved away by those films being set in the alternate Kelvin timeline. But because Star Trek: Discovery established Anson Mount’s Pike is the same character played by Jeffrey Hunter, the Enterprise has to be the same ship that James T. Kirk will inherit. While they still maintain the starship’s retro feel, the upgrades Star Trek: Discovery made to the Starship Enterprise lets the CBS All-Access series have the best of both worlds.

Next: Star Trek Theory: Discovery Time Travels To The Future In Season 3

Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 finale streams Thursday, April 18 on CBS All-Access and the next day internationally on Netflix


2019-04-12 05:04:28

John Orquiola

How H.R. Giger’s Disturbing Alien Concept Art Changed The Movie

The Alien concept art designed by artist H.R. Giger helped transform the project from a b-movie into a genre classic. Given the lifecycle of the xenomorph itself, its somewhat fitting Alien also had a difficult birth. The idea was first conceived by writer Dan O’Bannon, who collaborated with director John Carpenter (Halloween) on a low-budget sci-fi comedy called Dark Star in 1974. The movie followed the aimless misadventures of a crew of astronauts, with one sequence finding Pinback – also played by O’Bannon – chasing a small alien creature through the ship’s vents.

This gave O’Bannon the idea of writing a scary movie based around the concept. During this period he also collaborated on director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s famously unproduced version of the novel Dune, where he came across the work of Swiss artist H.R. Giger. Giger’s concept art for Dune, which depicted his trademark biomechanical style, made a huge impression on O’Bannon. When that version of Dune collapsed O’Bannon concentrated on writing Alien with collaborator Ron Shusett instead.

Related: Alien: Isolation TV Series Suggests Ripley Didn’t Kill Original Xenomorph

The original version of the script was dubbed Star Beast, which was later changed to Alien based on the number of times the word appeared in the script. O’Bannon and Shusett had a hard time thinking of a unique way for the creature to get onboard the spaceship until the latter conceived of a parasite implanting an embryo into a crew member, which later eats its way out. The duo had trouble selling their script, with veteran low-budget producer Roger Corman (Death Race) the only one willing to make it, until the original Star Wars became a big hit in 1977. This led to a studio frenzy to greenlight any space scripts they had.

Alien producers Walter Hill (48 Hours) and David Giler rewrote the script and introduced Ripley, who was originally written as a male character. Without a doubt, the biggest design issue facing the project was the title monster itself. A number of artists took a stab at conceiving of the monster, but it wasn’t until O’Bannon introduced director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) to Giger’s work that it all clicked. Scott fell in love with the artist’s unique, nightmarish style, and felt his painting Necronom IV represented what the creature should look like.

Giger was thus hired as a designer, with his Alien concept art defining the lifecycle of the monster and the derelict craft. Giger’s beautifully designed monster suit still looked like a man in a rubber costume, but Scott decided to only show the creature in pieces so the audience’s imagination could fill in the gaps, making it even more terrifying. Giger’s Alien concept art is also responsible for the dead Space Jockey – a creature whose origins would be explored further in Scott’s 2012 Alien prequel Prometheus.

H.R. Giger’s Alien concept art helped transform the movie from something the studio considered a b-level monster flick to a classy, landmark sci-movie. Of course, the combination of script, direction, and casting played an important role too, but if it wasn’t for the Swiss artist’s singular Alien concept art the movie may never have captured audiences imagination the way it did. In fact, it’s doubtful the Alien franchise itself would have blossomed without his one of a kind version.

Next: Every Movie In The Alien Franchise, Ranked


2019-04-11 07:04:20

Padraig Cotter

8 Ways The MCU Has Forever Changed Cinema

It’s hard to overstate the cultural influence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From Halloween costumes to new baby names (prepare for a whole host of Gamoras in the next generation), Marvel’s superheroes have become a defining aspect of pop culture.

But one of the most significant effects the MCU has had on the modern world concerns its own medium— film. Ever since Iron Man premiered in 2008, Marvel had been changing the way people make and watch movies. From post-credits scenes to increased minority representation, the MCU’s impact on the world of cinema will be felt for generations.

RELATED: 10 Most Important Moments In The MCU Leading To Avengers: Endgame

8 Superheroes Are Cool

Back in the olden days, expressing an outward interest in comic books was a quick way to the bottom of the social ladder in high school. But in the modern world, liking superheroes is as normal as asking for an extra serving of guacamole with your tacos. Using a combination of pithy one-liners and perfectly-sculpted facial hair, the MCU turned comic book films into the highest-grossing genre in the world, forever changing the social status of superheroes.

Characters like Batman and Spider-Man did have their time on the big screens prior to Iron Man‘s debut in 2008, but it took the extended-universe format of the MCU to firmly cement superheroes in the foundations of pop culture. Nowadays, it’s not just the central heroes like Captain America and Thor who are world-famous— it’s also lesser-known characters like Jessica Jones, Vision and Scarlet Witch. Being a fan of superheroes isn’t just normal— it’s cool.

7 Minority Representation

With the overwhelming success of Black Panther in 2018, it became clear that minority representation on the big screens isn’t just the right thing to do— it’s what the world wants. People of all backgrounds turned out in droves to revel in the might of Wakanda, and Black Panther quickly became the highest-grossing superhero film of all time in the USA.

RELATED: 8 Times Wakandan Warriors Broke the Mold

Marvel has been taking steps towards diversifying the MCU in recent years, casting Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie (a heroine who was white and blonde in the comics) and cementing Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel as a strong, fully-clothed female lead unencumbered by romantic side plots. Although it took Marvel a heck of a long time to get here (*cough* ten years *cough*), the MCU is finally heading in a more inclusive direction, setting an example for the rest of Hollywood to follow.

6 Science In Film

If audiences had to pick between listening to a lecture on the nuances of particle physics and watching the Hulk smash through Manhattan, they’d probably pick the latter. But the MCU has managed to bridge the worlds of action and science, presenting not just superheroes as cool, but also the nerdy alter-egos behind the masks. From Princess Shuri’s technological innovations in Wakanda to Peter Parker’s self-made webbing, many of the central characters of the MCU have saved the world using science.

From The Martian to The Big Bang Theory, many films and TV shows have contributed towards the popularization of science in Hollywood, but it’s hard to overstate the importance of Iron Man. Not only did Tony Stark become a superhero using nothing but his bulky brain, he did so while spitting witty one-liners and sporting perfectly quaffed hair. A genius engineer was starring in a summer blockbuster and showing the world that science could not only be cool, but also the central plot point of a high-grossing superhero movie.

5 The Extended Universe Format

Back in the olden days, if a film was successful, it got a sequel or a spin-off. But Marvel helped to pioneer a new format for storytelling, creating an entire cinematic universe in which all of its films take place.

RELATED: 10 Marvel Movies That Pass The Bechdel Test

Every addition to the Marvel lineup explores a new aspect of the shared universe, and although the different films often feature varying characters and can even take place in different decades, they’re all united by a grand, overarching storyline (and cheeky cameos). This form of storytelling has strongly influenced the world of cinema, and many other franchises have attempted similar models.

4 Pop Culture References

Part of the MCU’s appeal is that it’s full to the brim with pop culture references, from Star Lord’s obsession with Footloose to Peter Parker’s monologues about “really old movies” like Star Wars and Alien. Many films pile on pop culture references, but there’s something about the way the Marvel films do it that is unique within the world of cinema.

RELATED: 10 References To Non-MCU Movies And Shows You Missed In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Referencing pop culture may seem to have little purpose other than comic relief, but it actually serves to humanize characters. When characters casually quote Star Wars or The Breakfast Club, they show that they’re just like us— or, in other words, they too have watched fan-favorite films so many times over that they can quote them by heart. Normally, characters in science fiction films are far too busy fighting space battles or reprogramming alien technology to spare time for chit chat about Kevin Bacon. But in the MCU, no hero is above a pop culture reference, even when the fate of the universe is at stake. Although it may not have invented the pop culture reference, the MCU has shown that casual discussion of Footloose does have a place in science fiction films.

3 Post-Credits Scenes

Before the advent of the MCU, most people just left after a movie ended. But nowadays, if you start shuffling out of your row during the end-credits of a Marvel film, people will look at you with as much disdain as they did Star Lord after Avengers: Infinity War (the jury’s still out on whether he’ll ever be forgiven).

The MCU popularized post-credits scenes, with every film including small bits of unseen footage stashed somewhere in the end credits. Sometimes, the clips reveal plot points of future films. Other times, they offer closure to unaddressed aspects of the MCU. And occasionally, they feature six heroes chowing down on shawarma in a comfortable, post-world-saving silence. All types are well-worth waiting through the credits to see.

2 Television Shows

In the last decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ventured out of the cinemas and onto our TV screens, proving that both modes of storytelling have a place in its shared universe. The story of the MCU has been told in both formats, with popular movies like The Avengers and Captain America: Civil War advancing the main plot lines, and television shows like Daredevil and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fleshing out the extended universe and more minor characters.

Marvel has proven that the two different mediums can work together to build something greater than what either can accomplish alone (sounds like a lesson straight out of The Avengers, doesn’t it?).

1 Social Commentary

Ten years ago, the idea of a summer blockbuster dealing with real-world issues like racism and sexism would have seemed as unlikely as Drax achieving invisibility. But the MCU has taken strides towards creating action-adventure flicks that aim to not only entertain audiences but also encourage reflection upon the issues that plague modern society. Black Panther demonstrated the effects of racism, Spider-Man: Homecoming showed how poverty can drive people to extreme measures, and Captain Marvel explored how sexism can affect a person’s life.

Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse followed a similar formula to the MCU movies, thrilling audiences with different dimensions and compelling plot twists, all while offering commentary on the issue of minority representation within the media. Nowadays, superhero films are held to a higher standard, with audiences expecting more from their heroes than just superpowers.

NEXT: 10 Most Important Moments In The MCU Leading To Avengers: Endgame


2019-04-08 01:04:49

Leanne Louie