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Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie, Ranked Worst To Best (Including Endgame)

Here’s our complete ranking of the MCU movies ahead of Avengers: Endgame. Marvel Studios has become the biggest force in Hollywood, earning $18.5 billion at the global box office in little over a decade and revolutionizing how studios approach blockbuster franchises. And while there’s a litany of reasons why, one of the most fundamental is that their films are, for the most part, really good.

It’s not that long ago that good superhero movies were exceptions that proved the rule about comic book movies, and even those shining examples – Superman: The Movie, Batman 1989 – eventually gave way to extinguished returns in sequels. Even after the triple-tap of BladeX-Men and Spider-Man at the turn of the millennium gave the genre a sense legitimacy, the scales were still tipped against costumed heroes; the third entries of each of the series those movies formed were duds that ended the trilogies or led to reboots.

Related: The Original Marvel Studios Plan Would Have Led To A Very Different Infinity War

Marvel Studios brought a sense of consistency, almost by accident. When the company moved into film production, they lacked the rights to many of their major characters (before 2008, all Marvel movies had been licensed) so had to build icons out of then-B-list characters like Iron Man and Captain America. The focus had to be on the storytelling as much as spectacle, something that allowed audiences of all creeds – from die-hard comic fans to those discovering the likes of Thor for the first time – to embrace these characters. That it was all interconnected in one world where heroes eventually started crossing over only compounded the excitement.

Typically, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is broken down into its chronological narrative Phases: Phase 1 (six movies released 2008-2012) shows the formation of the original Avengers; Phase 2 (six movies released 2013-2015) the impact of superheroes on the world; and Phase 3 (ten movies released 2016-2019) circles the Infinity War against Thanos, along with introducing a new generation of heroes. This idea of narrative blocks has been at the core of the series since the very start, doubling as a way to hyper-focus audiences on what’s important in the immediate future.

But it’s also legitimate to take a look at them from a more critical perspective. These films do tell a narrative tapestry, but each one needs to work on its own. And, while the overall quality is uniformly high (few are out-right bad, and most are at least above-average), MCU movies can be broken into clear strata of quality, ranging from the sure-fire classics to misfires. With Avengers: Endgame bringing an end to the full scale experiment, here’s our ranking of the MCU movies from worst to best.

22. Iron Man 2 (2010)

All of Phase 1 displays signs of a studio struggling to find its edge, but nowhere do you feel the strain of the shared universe as much as with Iron Man 2. Primarily, Jon Favreau’s sequel seems to exist to move Tony Stark backwards from where he was left by the two post-credits scenes of Iron Man and The Incredible HulkThe Avengers plan changed and having Stark at the forefront of the team was no longer the starting status quo – which requires a lot of confused setup for the future, none of it very interesting. But if you strip out the big picture wheel-spinning (which included not only Avengers but nods to Black Panther, Captain America and Namor), then it’s not got much to offer besides.

It’s really a half-dozen different stories all pulling in different directions. Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., Black Widow, Whiplash, War Machine, Justin Hammer and Pepper and Stark Industries all have their own subplots alongside Tony’s demon in an arc reactor plot, and they’re so disconnected that at one point Fury has to put the hero under house arrest so he can unlock enough power to get to the boss fight. So much of what made the first film work is undone, with confidence in the characters making way for repeated winking – Don Cheadle’s first line is “I’m here, deal with it“, Coulson draws attention to what may or may not be a prototype Captain America shield – and the distinct feel replaced with a visual style that jumps between generic late-2000s blockbuster and Bay-esque militaristic fetishism (and leery camera).

Robert Downey, Jr. and co. anchor the whole thing well, the Iron Man design and implementation is still amazing, and the goals are admirable enough, which is enough to make it passable, but it still pales compared to the rest.

Related: Every MCU Movie Iron Man 2 Set Up

21. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

While it’s often cited as an out-and-out bad film, Thor: The Dark World‘s real problem is that it’s bland. The story is – like other low-ranking MCU sequels – multiple different threads all undernourished. The tone never embraces the full-on Kirby cosmic side to the extent the movie thinks yet neither passes as a knockabout comedy either. And there’s so little ingenuity that its finale where all of reality hangs in the balance is set in one square at the University of Greenwich

Its relation (read: disregard) of the past is a particular problem. Alan Taylor took the broody, high-contrast style of Kenneth Branagh’s original and replaced it with clean CGI, expanding Asgard in a superficial way that comes across as cheap Star Wars; and if that’s what it was going for, the inconsistent story flow, set blocking and editing are more Attack of the Clones than The Empire Strikes Back. The director was allegedly picked to apply a Game of Thrones style to Marvel’s mythic franchise, but there’s no verve here and just a couple of bar scenes to pay lip service. Even the once good stuff doesn’t really work; Anthony Hopkins’ Odin performance is shocking and while Hiddleston is still fun as Loki, his arc and weird betrayal fake-out on Svartalfheim is amateurishly written. Later efforts from Taylor – equally unimaginative Terminator Genisys and Game of Thrones‘ dire “Beyond the Wall” reveal him as the likely core issue here.

What Thor: The Dark World does mark is the point where Marvel bias began to take hold. Thanks to the success of The Avengers and promise of growing inter-connectivity (this was the first movie to explicitly confirm the Infinity Stones), there was a lot of goodwill directed at Thor 2 upon release that feels incredibly in the moment and oblivious to its many flaws.

Related: How The Thor Movies Secretly Introduced The Multiverse To The MCU

20. Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)

Ant-Man and the Wasp is the Marvel movie everybody who dislikes the MCU sight-unseen thinks Marvel movies are. It’s an unimaginative stringing together of multiple random plot strands that never fully pay off (the third act involves six different sets of characters and yet they barely connect up), instead repeatedly falling back on the charisma of its leads for quick laughs. The result is the most out-and-out boring entry in the series, one that does very little with its characters and is instantly forgettable.

With the production issues that restricted Ant-Man in the past and a cast family well-established, this could have been a real step up. It wants to be the Honey, I Shrunk The Kids family comedy of the MCU, yet Peyton Reed all-too-often falls back on formula meaning ideas are repeatedly left hanging: most applications of the Pym Particle size-changing are variants of “small thing becomes big” or “big things become small”, and when things are a bit different, there’s no story purpose (Scott Lang shrinks to the size of a child in a high school and nothing comes of it). It plays like a superhero movie of the 1990s, and not in an intentional way; at one point, the villain calls in motorbikes like he’s Mr. Freeze trotting out another piece of plastic merchandise.

Viewed in the context of Avengers: Infinity War, the film weakens further. Far from the palette cleanser promised, Ant-Man and the Wasp is lacking any substance at all, with the only moment that really captivates being the post-credits scenes that show the effects of Thanos’ snap. When the most exciting moment of a film is a reminder that a previous, better film happened earlier that summer, you know something’s gone wrong.

Related: Ant-Man And The Wasp Was The MCU’s Biggest Missed Opportunity

Page 2 of 6: Avengers: Age of Ultron & More Of Our MCU Ranking

19. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age of Ultron remains the biggest disappointment in the MCU. It was admittedly the most hyped entry up until that point also, carrying the weight of the 2012 original and the many excellent standalones since, but that doesn’t make the fall any less painful. Whereas with most Marvel films you can at least understand what the intent was, here many ideas feel misguided; this was positioned as Whedon’s Empire Strikes Back (bigger, deeper, darker) yet doesn’t have the plot urgency or consequence to make the new themes, characters or threats have any proper impact, while the bolder moves it does make – the twins, Nat and Bruce’s relationship – are interchangeably underserved and insulting.

It’s easy to nitpick the narrative (Scarlet Witch’s dream-visions are so ambiguous in intent it hurts) but that’s only because the filmmaking is overall considerably weaker. While it’s common to claim this is better directed than The Avengers, that’s only on a superficial level; the original looks a little too like a TV show at points, sure, but its sequel doesn’t offer much more beyond a more experienced CGI team with its considerably weaker script. What really stands out is the editing – scenes have no placement and most are cut down to the point big moments don’t land because they have no setup or breathing room. All this together leaves a disjointed experience, one all the positive elements – Vision (especially his origin), the core three, Andy Serkis, the Hulkbuster fight – are struggling to combat.

One the one hand, Avengers: Age of Ultron is very much the result of the infamous Marvel Creative Committee, who by most accounts were meddling with the film’s direction to a damaging degree. On the other, many of its missteps have come to define the MCU going forward: comedy undercutting sincerity (see: Ultron’s “children” line); slow scenes filling in for genuine character development (see: Hawkeye’s farmhouse); and a disregard for the continuity (see: the mid-credits scene with a totally new Infinity Gauntlet).

Related: Avengers: Age Of Ultron Is The Moment Marvel Gave Up On Their Continuity

18. The Incredible Hulk (2008)

It’s not the worst MCU film, but The Incredible Hulk is undoubtedly the black sheep. The only actor who’s returned so far is William Hurt as a changed General Ross in Captain America: Civil War, and the primary event referenced later by Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner is a deleted opening scene (that thanks to a Captain America Easter egg is patently non-canon). Despite that, The Incredible Hulk is a solid piece of world-building. It’s full of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Stark Industries Easter eggs that build on Iron Man, roots Hulk’s origin in Captain America’s super soldier serum three years ahead of Steve Rogers’ debut, and directly builds to the Avengers with its ending and immediate credits scene (even if the idea of Iron Man recruiting a team against Hulk was canned).

All of that is great flavor to an otherwise generic 2008 blockbuster. Louis Leterrier’s direction is off the shelf, with high contrast, sweaty night-time scenes style du jour, and its story is any werewolf narrative turned action movie. Edward Norton may have had grander plans in mind, but The Incredible Hulk is lacking anything unique.

The MCU connections actually highlight a lack of identity. For all the aforementioned setup, the movie is also trying to honor the 1970s TV series; Lou Ferrigno gets an ingratiating cameo, the theme tune plays throughout, and the ending appears to be almost indicating this is intended as a quasi-remake. Worse, it betrays one of the biggest rules of Marvel Studios: it doesn’t explain what the Hulk is and how he could work in a wider context.

Related: The MCU Didn’t Have A Good Plan At First – And Incredible Hulk Proves It

17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok is the epitome of Marvel fun. It’s an entertaining but flippant movie, one that prioritizes in-the-moment laughs over anything of greater weight; its subtext – how colonizers hide their dark pasts – is given brief mention before being relegated to background references. That is fine enough as mid-tier entertainment, but it can’t help but feel a little lacking considering where the MCU had reached at this point.

Comedy is Thor: Ragnarok‘s best and worst quality. Being from Taika Waititi, the jokes have slightly more edge than standard Marvel and set the tone differently, but it’s a shame so much improv led to rather static scene blocking and unrefined editing. What’s really lacking from the director, though, is his trademark balance of emotion with his comedy: both What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt For The Wilderpeople used their wit to accentuate tragedy, but none of that’s here. In fact, Thor: Ragnarok actively bypasses letting sadness sink in: Odin’s death was reshot to be blandly spiritual after it made test audiences feel too sorry for him, and the loss of Asgard is undercut by both a lack of connection with its people and a Korg joke immediately after.

With all that said, there’s plenty that works. Both Thor and Hulk are well-defined enough at this point to thrive in this new environment and, while most new characters are a little exasperating (see: Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster), Valkyrie is a fully-rounded delight. The less-improv heavy moments bring that Kirby style to the fore without much resistance. It’s just hard to not want something a little more balanced given how impactful it feigns to be.

Related: Why Thor: Ragnarok Was A Divisive MCU Film

16. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has a lot going for it. It looks absolutely incredible and there’s a cast of likable, offbeat heroes to provide a string of great moments. It’s just a shame the movie doesn’t have a proper story. The movie begins with the team on the run from Sovereign, then they’re saved by Ego, then Ego reveals he’s bad and they have to stop him. That’s pretty much it, and it leaves a film with plenty of style but no momentum; once Ego arrives, everything grinds to a halt for 30 minutes where there’s no direct threat (something that makes Hawkeye’s farmhouse look positively riveting). It highlights the problem Marvel has with first sequels, wanting pure character development but not knowing how to realize that beyond a string of scenes where characters explain how they feel.

If you break it down, on paper Guardians 2 is about fathers absent and adoptive, and the nature versus nurture debate. Unfortunately, while plenty of sides to this are raised – every single character has a part to play in the theme, one way or another – it never comes together to be anything more than individual. There’s a sense Baby Groot was supposed to be the uniting aspect given his hugs at the end, but his role for most of the film is that of comic relief.

As already mentioned, the characters keep James Gunn’s head above water. Star-Lord gets a payoff to his backstory that honors a lot of seeds in the first movie, although Rocket comes across the best by far, his personality painfully laid bare without having to lean too heavily on the whole scientifically-altered raccoon thing, and gets the fair share of great moments; were it better set up “I’ve lost too many friends today” would be an all-timer.

Related: Should Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Have Had More MCU Connections?

Page 3 of 6: Ant-Man & More Of Our MCU Ranking

15. Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-Man was the first in a new type of Marvel origin film. Here was a character becoming a superhero in a world where the Avengers already exist, where namedrops and cameos were de rigor, and the formula was down to a tee. But this was also a movie where the production limitations (Edgar Wright was infamously fired three months before production began, replaced by Peyton Reed) and the high hit-rate of said formula made for safe choices. The result is actually the median Marvel film, overall competent but with little ambition, and where the character would only truly shine when part of the wider ensemble.

What Ant-Man gets unavoidably right is the casting. It’s a shame we never got an in-his-prime Hank Pym, but Paul Rudd as Scott Lang is an effective twist on the typical Marvel hero (this one is a real criminal, no questions) and Michaels Douglas and Pena add edge as aware mentor and hyperactive buddy respectively. There’s also a large, affable supporting cast (Bobby Cannavale as an upending of the step-father is an underrated highlight) that take audiences through the rather standard story and making a more overtly comedic movie pop.

It’s one the superhero side where Ant-Man struggles. The action, in particular, is a major let-down, with a constant uncertainty in how to shoot the micro-sequences. Are they told from Scott’s shrunken down perspective or a full-size human? With minimal pre-production, Peyton Reed doesn’t have an answer so goes for an uneasy blend of the two, which is disorienting and sometimes interesting, yet never that innovative.

Related: Ant-Man’s Spider-Man Reference: Who Else Was Luis Talking About?

14. Captain Marvel (2019)

Unlike most MCU movies where there’s a degree of consistency to the quality throughout, Captain Marvel is the one that varies the most. Some moments and long stretches of story are very strong – anything involving the Skrulls and their true purpose is fascinating – yet many decisions have more mixed reactions.

It’s all rooted in a welcome, non-linear change-up to the formula; Brie Larson enters as Kree Starforce member Vers and only gradually uncovers her past as Carol Danvers, eventually choosing the hero persona entirely of her own accord. It’s strong messaging, having the first solo female MCU hero emerge from a place of external restrictions to define herself, but also leads to unclear audience perspective – even at the end, viewer and star aren’t on the same page – and turbulent narrative. Not to mention some classic concerns aren’t adjusted; villain Yon-Rogg who earlier warned humor was a distraction is beaten in a gag beat.

Operating as the MCU’s first lore-heavy prequel, Captain Marvel does a good job of expanding the world. 1990s period details are mostly background (bar specific music choices), and the Marvel references are mostly organic and expand known ideas without contradicting (just don’t ask Nick Fury how he lost his eye or where the name Avengers came from). And, of course, with clear connections to Avengers: Endgame (which Larson shot first), it exemplifies origin stories as dry runs for bigger adventures; Brie Larson is more Hemsworth than Evans (strong, promising, not fully there yet) but it doesn’t matter because this functions as just one piece of a whole.

Related: Captain Marvel Points Out The MCU’s Biggest Problem (But Can’t Quite Fix It)

13. Thor (2011)

For a movie that every subsequent outing for the character seems to have been trying to somehow “correct“, Thor really is a forgotten MCU hit. The Dark World attempted to go more grounded, Ragnarok more all-out comedy, but they miss how Kenneth Branagh pretty much nailed the balance between both first time out. The story mixes the fish-out-of-water comedy with faux-Shakespearean drama (the plot as much as the dialogue is rooted in classical storytelling) well, the filmmaking choices (dark-lit sets and dutch angles) accentuate the otherworldly feel, and it was overall the most earnest embracing of comic weirdness up to that point.

Chris Hemsworth isn’t as out-of-the-gate perfect as Thor compared to Evans’ Cap or RDJ’s Tony Stark, but the sillier Earth-side of the story allows him to ease into the role. On the other side, Tom Hiddleston is a revelation as Loki, who’s never been more complicated than here, and the supporting cast like Anthony Hopkins as Odin is inspired. There’s no specific weak aspect, more a general sense of good-not-great; Jane Foster is a solid love interest but underserved, the same with the Warrior’s Three.

Thor is an overall affable movie, balancing big world building for the franchise and universe (the “magic as science” descriptive is non-aggressively pushed) with more internal character debates. It was only by Avengers: Infinity War where Thor truly became a worthy MCU lead, but you feel that if the ideas raised by his first movie had been followed through on, he’d have reached that point a lot sooner.

Related: Every MCU Character Who’s Lifted Thor’s Hammer

12. Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3 is far and away the most underrated movie in the MCU. Coming off The Avengers and returning straight to standalone stories with the odd nod to Thor and Captain America was a tricky ask, but Marvel went for broke with what will likely be the last Robert Downey, Jr-led outing. It’s a Shane Black movie through and through, from the stylish ephemera – framing narration, Christmas setting – to more fundamental aspects – the wry humor, the focus on buddy-cop escapades – and doesn’t fall into many of the Marvel formula pitfalls that later movies would (the Whedon influence was yet to sink in). Plainly, Iron Man 3 has one of the most distinct personalities in the series (even more so than Guardians of the Galaxy).

Much of the backlash rests at the feet of the Mandarin. The movie marketed itself on seeing Tony Stark showdown against a modern update of his archnemesis, and that’s exactly what it delivered; just not in the way many were expecting; the Osama Bin-Laden channeling Mandarin was just an actor, the Eastern-influenced Ten Rings all part of a terrorist front by vengeful Western tech genius Aldrich Killian. But while that’s not accurate to the comics, it is to the real world. Terrorism is a performance and the real threats to our society are at home, making the Mandarin as thematically rich as it is hilarious.

If Iron Man 3 has a villain problem, it’s everything else. Maya Hansen was the secret big bad in earlier drafts but studio rewrites make her character-less, the Extremis soldiers are vague goons without any clear weaknesses, and while Killian being a suave rich guy is accurate to what the movie is spearing, it’s doesn’t make for an interesting final battle.

Page 4 of 6: Doctor Strange & More Of Our MCU Ranking

11. Doctor Strange (2016)

It’s easy to be glib about Doctor Strange. An origin story for an arrogant, sarcastic, rich man with a goatee who suffers a life-changing injury but directly through that discovers new powers – on paper it transplants Iron Man‘s formula to Stephen Strange to a tee. Yet this is a wholly unique film that simply uses the tropes to tell a much more offbeat story than Marvel was used to. Benedict Cumberbatch is easy casting but gives his all, as do the often underutilized cast, while the humor that waylaid many Phase 3 movies is worked into the character beats more organically than most.

While this movie is often compared to Inception, the Christopher Nolan this Doctor Strange has most in common with is actually Interstellar: the idea that time is the true enemy and death the ultimate fear is a heady topic for a superhero blockbuster, yet it’s one that Scott Derrickson takes to its natural conclusion with the Ancient One’s reflective death and series high-mark “Dormammu, I have come to bargain.

Going from themes to visuals is where Doctor Strange loses itself a little. Derrickson certainly offers up some strikingly weird imagery, yet a lot of it is odder for the sake of it than having some greater visual purpose. Claims Doctor Strange was “like nothing you’ve ever seen” act like 2001: A Space Odyessy didn’t do it better almost 50 years earlier. This problem is most evident in the action, which are rather flat chase scenes with impressive CGI grafted on them; only Marvel would have a sequence where characters must defend against reversing time and set it in a bland alley set.

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

10. Iron Man (2008)

It’s easy to heap a lot of importance on Iron Man for how it kickstarted the MCU, marking Marvel Studios out as a blockbuster force to be reckoned with and in its post-credits scene building directly to The Avengers. But all of that ignores that, at its arc reactor core, Iron Man is just a good movie.

At this point in time, critics were starting to question if superheroes were going out of vogue – the previous two years had dud third installments for trailblazing X-Men and Spider-Man franchises – only for 2008 to offer two rebukes. The Dark Knight got a lot of the spotlight for its high-end removal of all genre tropes in favor of a stripped back crime story (and indeed remains the superior film), but that doesn’t mean Iron Man was by the numbers; it took the basic origin story playbook but subverted much of it. Robert Downey, Jr. is an off-base superhero protagonist, Jon Favreau gave his cast freedom to adlib, and in its final moments undoes the entire secret identity trope (something not even Spider-Man could maintain for more than one movie in the MCU).

What’s so amazing about Iron Man is how so much of it holds up on a filmmaking level. The cinematography is clean, the CGI refined (the same can’t be said of that year’s Visual Effects Oscar winner The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and even the pacing modern. Were this released today, audiences may question the lack of any fantastical elements, but they’d engage with it in much the same way.

Related: Iron Man’s Most Important Moment Wasn’t Nick Fury

9. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

I had a date.” Few MCU moments have quite the same heartbreaking gravitas of Captain America: The First Avenger‘s final moments where the inescapable sacrifice of the man out of time comes crushingly real. That ending sequence is shared universe building done right, with an emotional payoff to the film’s core themes beelining into a tantalizing bigger picture, yet it only works so well because of everything that came before.

The best MCU origin movies get to the core of their titular character, but with Captain America, Joe Johnston goes one better and thoroughly deconstructs who exactly this former propaganda piece is and makes a detailed case for why he’s still relevant today. Whether it’s being crushed by his song-and-dance number or betraying orders to become a true hero, the delineation of the Captain from his namesake country is so effortless. Much of that praise has to go to Chris Evans, who is such perfect casting as the Star-Spangled Man that he almost single-handedly pivoted Cap as the lead of the franchise in place of Iron Man (and comes across fairly convincingly as a weakling despite the shrunk CG body).

Above all, Captain America is an Indiana Jones-style adventure, a fantasy World War II romp with a visual style straight off the cover of a Boy’s Own sci-fi collection. The Red Skull is a deliciously teased villain, the dancing-and-fighting montages captivating, and there’s a greater foreknowledge of where the story will go – the filmmakers know Steve isn’t making it out alive and Bucky’s death is done with knowledge of the future. Captain America has far-and-away the best standalone Marvel series, and while his Russo-directed efforts are stylistically different, the core of the character and themes are all in The First Avenger.

Related: Why Captain America Is Greatest MCU Hero (& What The Avengers Movies Miss)

8. Black Panther (2018)

Just because something works doesn’t mean that it cannot be improved,” Shuri says to T’Challa. She’s talking about his Kimoyo Beads, but is very much summing up the creative drive of the film. Black Panther is how to do Marvel right while evolving it. It presents the character full-on, building on the Captain America: Civil War introduction and deconstructing the ideas that define him, but goes a step further than even The First Avenger and adds on proper social commentary.

Ryan Coogler proves himself like no other breakout director has in the MCU, crafting a story that at every turn is using the superhero genre to explore the ills of colonialism and question what we can do today to correct the mistakes of the past. It’s rarely preachy or obvious, and builds to a rational conclusion in a tough manner. The chief stroke of brilliance is Killmonger. Marvel corrected their villain problem by developing them as if they were heroes, which for Erik means making him come from a logical place but then extend to an extreme level: Killmonger is right but his actions are wrong.

While the movie can’t totally escape Marvel formula – jokes are hit-and-miss, while the scale of the final action scene feels mandated – the next-level world-building, seamlessly creating an afro-futurist land that feels truly real (bar the recurring street set), marks Black Panther out as something beyond its ilk (and more than worthy of its game-changing Oscar wins). Franchise connections are light, but that’s only because that approach is the future of the franchise.

Related: With Black Panther, The MCU Finally Steps Out Of Iron Man’s Shadow

Page 5 of 6: Guardians of the Galaxy & More Of Our MCU Ranking

7. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

The narrative is that Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel’s biggest gamble thus far, trying to sell a talking raccoon and a walking tree to general audiences. That’s true to a point, but it must be remembered that there was a point when a Norse God or World War II relic or robot suit named after a transition metal were similarly confounding to the mainstream; Marvel never had safe bets by nature of not having A-list characters. This reading does, however, highlight Guardians of the Galaxy‘s biggest strength – its swagger. From the moment Chris Pratt starts dancing to Redbone’s “Come And Get Your Love” as the title fills the screen, this is an incredibly confident, blended riff on Marvel superhero and Star Wars sci-fi tropes that has no interest in whether you’d heard of them before SDCC 2012 or not.

Much of the credit rightly goes to James Gunn, who melds his personality sensibilities with that of the cosmic Marvel comics and the MCU without sacrificing much of any individual part. If Star Wars was a used future, this is a casually-zany future. Everything is weird, but when everything is weird, nothing is: the vibrancy is charm, not in-your-face spectacle; the stilted yet straight dialogue is making for comedy without undercutting the scale of the story.

Where the movie does struggle a little is in its plotting, with the mix of team-up and origin story formulas buckling around the second act; the Knowhere sequence slows the pace, drops exposition and then needs characters to act out of sorts to get towards the final act. This problem would return in the sequel, but it doesn’t bring the movie down too much because of the effort put into making sure each character is defined and the MacGuffin has meaning way beyond purple whisps.

Related: Thanos’ MCU Introduction Doesn’t Make Sense – Here’s How We’d Fix It

6. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Sold as the culmination of the entire MCU (but really just Part 1 of 2 as Marvel always promised), Avengers: Infinity War is barely readable by any standard narrative means. It has two dozen heroes each with their own interlinked arcs, but even at 160 minutes long, the film can only develop them incrementally, with a handful getting anything approaching proper focus. It’s certainly entertaining to see Bucky and Rocket live out a meme or Steve Rogers meet Groot, but the only way to really parse down its story is from the perspective of villain Thanos, which may be the Russo brothers smartest decision in the entire MCU.

In direct contrast to Killmonger (right motives, bad actions), Thanos is misguided to the bone, his plan horrific and means distressing. Wanting to destroy half of all life in the universe is utterly insane, but it’s framed in something approaching a Campbellian hero’s journey that makes the drive understandable, if not relatable. And that is why, even when he and Thor, the closest thing the film has to good protagonist, come face-to-face, the Mad Titan still wins: he is a force of pure will, who is able to collect the Infinity Stones because at every stage he’s willing to do what none of the heroes are capable of.

Infinity War is a hard film to assess on its own merits considering its cliffhanger ending leaves everything up in the air ahead of Avengers: Endgame, but there’s no denying the audacity of the mass decimation at the end (even if a return is oh-so-obvious). It’s grim storytelling done on a scale only possible with blockbuster budgets and the sheer weight of what’s to come. Avengers: Infinity War ignores so much of the set up (Thanos is a different being) but it works because it fundamentally understands the core of the Marvel universe is character.

Related: Avengers: Infinity War’s Ending Was Very Different In The Comics

5. The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers is where the MCU truly became the mega-franchise it is today. Up until 2012, Marvel Studios had marked themselves out as being able to produce consistently “good” action movies with strong characters (Iron Man 2 notwithstanding) that challenged superhero norms of recognisability and marketability, but it was only with Joss Whedon’s team-up they truly became “great“. It released in May 2012, two months before highly anticipated conclusion The Dark Knight Rises, yet not only made more but ended up being the most influential. Many studios tried to build their own shared universes (none quite as successful) and Whedon’s blockbuster style became the norm for this franchise and many more.

But The Avengers wasn’t just bringing the characters together and riffing humorously on their differences. It could have been that sort of gimmicky movie, sure, and would have likely still passed $1 billion, but what really made it work was how energized and focused it was. There’s not really a plot, more a chase for the magical MacGuffin, yet the character interactions provide a story backbone – in the first 40 minutes or so, every scene transition connects directly to the previous one – that remains tight. And that allows the movie to do more than bring heroes together: it analyzes the notion of a team-up in a mildly-meta way, responding to preempting critics and making the eventual group shot a triumph even if you’d not seen a single previous film.

Even then, not everything works – some of the earlier action sequences are very televisual, Hawkeye’s entire arc is undone by a complete lack of setup – but those are overridden by the smart script (what seem like improv asides become emotive throughlines in stark contrast to Whedon’s reshoots on Justice League) and an explosion into three-dimensional action. And while the base thrill of the Avengers coming together is now part and parcel of any random MCU film, it’s been allowed to retain its special feeling by future films thanks to a careful honoring of its core ideas (and a movie-long tease of the purple alien behind it all).

Related: Marvel’s Original MCU Phase 1 Plan Ended With A Very Different Avengers

Page 6 of 6: Our Top 4 MCU Movies

4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Much was made at the time how Captain America: Civil War was similar to Batman v Superman, from the macro – the shared universe is split in two as the major heroes duke it out – to the micro – the fights are dictated by characters’ emotions for dead mothers. But what’s so striking is that, when both movies landed on the May weekend, it was DC who balked, moving Dawn of Justice to a less competitive March. This was the moment where the MCU’s scale became next-level, where former B-list characters were a bigger draw than the World’s Finest.

Civil War uses that growth and development very much to its advantage. Threads established in as many as nine previous movies (Iron Man 1-3, Captain America 1-2, Avengers 1-2, Ant-Man and The Incredible Hulk) are brought together to tell a story that grapples with the real world applications of having superheroes leveling cities outside your window, and the more personal story of Bucky that’s been simmering for the past two Cap films. And this is a Captain America film first and foremost; Steve Rogers’ responsibilities and guilts power the narrative and resolve the identity exploration of the previous films by having him desert the Avengers and the shield, yet remain the hero. Not that the solo movie arc means the Russos don’t elevate every other character; Tony Stark’s arc is extended, Hawkeye gets more development than in Age of Ultron, Ant-Man gets the showcase he deserved, and in Black Panther and Spider-Man two major heroes are introduced fully formed.

That said, it would be a lie to say some of the shine hasn’t worn off Captain America: Civil War over the past few years, inevitable for such a sprawling tale. The Sokovia Accords are really a plot device and characters – Black Widow especially – choose sides based on narrative requirements, not their past, which means the film doesn’t have as much to say as it thinks. But considering the scale Marvel was now working on, in stark contrast to the twin movie, that didn’t really matter.

Related: What Sides Marvel Heroes SHOULD Have Taken In Captain America: Civil War

3. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

The MCU is greater than the sum of its parts, but if there was any one movie that best represented that sum, it would be Avengers: Endgame. It’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe in microcosm, with all the good and bad that brings. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s messy, it has a very confusing approach to micro-continuity, but it’s ultimately incredibly character driven and delivers an emotional catharsis beyond what any solo movie could do.

Being the ending – at least as close to an ending as a movie with seven movies confirmed in development for the next few years can be – Avengers: Endgame has a massive advantage in when it comes to stakes; so much of the legwork has done before a single frame of new footage. But the Russo brothers do not slack. The opening and closing scenes of Endgame eclipse anything in Infinity War (yes, even the snap), and the in-between journey is so sprawling yet focused in intention that moment after moment hits. Fan service is laid on thick yet feels earned and rarely Tumblr-bait, there’s no green screen flubs, and the ability to pull back from the jokes and let the darkest scenes land delivers what some previous films were missing.

But it’s not perfect. Some of the choices made to get to the ending are rather perplexing, doubly so considering how they seem so opposite to how things were set up in Avengers: Infinity War, a movie written and filmed alongside it. And long-predicted story turns are just as lacking in plot logic as feared. This may be the worst movie to introduce someone to the MCU with, but it’s the perfect one to express what’s made it so great.

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

After the second act of Spider-Man: Homecoming, it feels like Peter Parker has finally found some balance in life. His superheroics are taking a backseat and his life is together to the point he’s taking his senior year crush to the dance. He rings her doorbell… and then Vulture opens the door, crashing both sides of his life together. The greatest twist ever in a superhero film – the villain was the love interest’s father is a well-worn trope, but Homecoming buries it deep – that this happens purely on a character level, devoid of MCU or Spider-Man franchise context, is a shining example of just how well balanced Jon Watts’ film is.

Rebooting Spider-Man for the third time that was at once faithful and new was a tough order. Marvel decided to strip the character of what had been overdone before and built him up from what was left. This is a version of Spidey rooted most in the early Stan Lee and Steve Ditko comics, but transplanted to Generation Z to enable a modern-day deconstruction akin to what Phase 1 did for Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. And Homecoming certainly nails his balance of youthful, neighborhood vigilantism with the instantly relatable troubles of leading a normal teenage life, thanks to Tom Holland’s semi-awkward performance and a heavy dose of John Hughes referencing.

Eight years later aside (likely a result of needing Liz to be young enough to draw a picture of theAvengers in crayon), the movie’s placement in MCU canon is elegant as well. Tony Stark is a fitting father figure, the cameos are worth your patience, and, best of all, Peter (and Ned’s) wide-eyed passion brings “heroes outside your window” to life.

That all these three aspects – movie, character, universe – work so well results in one of the most satisfying Marvel movies, and one that has already aged better than its contemporaries (even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2).

Related: The Biggest (And Best) Change The MCU Has Made To Spider-Man

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Some of what makes Captain America: The Winter Soldier so effective was a complete accident; its story of modern espionage and invasion of freedoms lines up so well with the Edward Snowden NSA leaks that it’s amazing the film was in production before his story broke. However, that real-world caveat does nothing to take away from what the movie does with the character of Steve Rogers. If The First Avenger was about divorcing Captain America’s patriotic values from his propaganda origins, its modern-day follow-up is how you apply that to a morally-ambiguous, ostensibly peace-time landscape. This is there from the discovery his government bosses are corrupted to that the big villain is his former best friend.

This was the Russos brother’s first entry in the MCU and much of what made their subsequent team-ups so epic yet satisfying is rooted here. The action has proper heft – bullets wound and falls hurt – and there’s a deft balance of character and story, with every single player getting a proper arc that has a tangible impact on the plot; astounding as juggling two-dozen heroes in Avengers: Infinity War is, here there are still more than 10 essential characters interlocking. The core of it, though, is that Steve-Bucky relationship: the Winter Soldier twist is clearly signposted (and spoiled by anybody who was redirected to Bucky’s Wikipedia page pre-release) but that’s all effective setup for an emotional climax.

The weakest part about The Winter Soldier as an MCU film can hardly be blamed on the movie itself: its consequences are mostly meaningless. The Hydra-is-S.H.I.E.L.D. twist should have been seismic, yet Avengers: Age of Ultron not only mops up the fallout before the opening title but it has Nick Fury once again flying a helicarrier. In that regard, it highlights what a great Marvel movie should do – be as good as you can on your own.

Next: Every Upcoming Marvel Movie


2019-04-25 09:04:42

Alex Leadbeater

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

The movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are always so busy referencing each other and throwing in Easter eggs that tease future sequels and storylines and character introductions that you wouldn’t think they’d have time to make reference to movies and TV shows outside the MCU.

RELATED: Avengers: Endgame Directors Say Tom Holland Couldn’t Have A Script

And yet, they do! Tony Stark is responsible for most of the movie and TV references in the MCU. He’s given pretty much everyone a pop culture-inspired nickname: Hawkeye is “Legolas,” Thor is “Point Break,” Bucky is “Manchurian Candidate,” Peter Quill is “Flash Gordon,” Loki is “Rock of Ages” etc. Here are 10 References To Non-MCU Movies And Shows You Missed In The Marvel Cinematic Universe.

10 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Director Jon Watts’ intention with the tone of Spider-Man: Homecoming was to craft an ‘80s coming-of-age high school movie in the style of John Hughes’ classics like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. In fact, he even screened all those movies for the cast to get them in the right mindset.

RELATED: Edgar Wright & Tom Holland Teaming Up For Ferris Bueller Reboot “#SaveFerris” [UPDATED]

Watts makes one reference point clear when he has Spidey run through a bunch of backyards, talking to people as he whizzes past them, just like the title character does in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Having the actual movie playing on a TV pointed at the camera was a little on-the-nose, but other than that, this is a great movie reference.

9 Alien

In Avengers: Infinity War, when Spidey gets the idea to expel a villain into the depths of outer space by opening the airlock on him, he refers back to the movie he got the idea from.

However, he misattributes the idea to Aliens when it was, in fact, used in the first Alien movie. At the end, when Ripley faces the titular xenomorph alone, after it’s killed off the rest of the Nostromo crew, she ends up blowing it out into space via the airlock and then jetting off in an escape pod. In the second one, she defeated the mother of all xenomorphs with an exoskeleton suit.

8 Arrested Development

The Russo brothers cut their teeth directing episodes of TV shows, specifically Arrested Development. They decided to honor their humble beginnings with a couple of Easter eggs in their MCU movies. In Captain America: Civil War, the Bluth Company stair car can be seen in the background during the airport battle scene.

In Avengers: Infinity War, Tobias Funkë can be seen trapped in a glass case in full Blue Man Group makeup and never-nude denim cutoffs in the Collector’s trashed study. The directors tried to get David Cross himself to appear, but he wasn’t available and they had to use a replica dummy instead.

7 Titanic

The MCU likes to differentiate its movies by fitting them into different genre constructs. They’re all superhero movies, but Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a conspiracy thriller, and Ant-Man is a heist movie.

During the planning of the heist, Scott Lang tells the crew about the type of steel the safe they’re breaking into is made of: “It’s a Carbondale. It’s from 1910, made from the same steel as the Titanic…It doesn’t do so well with cold. You remember what that iceberg did, right?” And then the crew starts referencing the James Cameron movie. Luis says, “Yeah, it killed DiCaprio.” Kurt says, “Did not kill the old lady. She survives to throw jewel in ocean.”

6 Pulp Fiction

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when we see Nick Fury’s fake grave, a familiar Biblical quote is engraved on the tombstone: “The path of the righteous man…” These are, of course, the opening lines of the Biblical passage that Samuel L. Jackson’s Pulp Fiction character Jules recites whenever he kills anyone (although the wording changes ever so slightly from scene to scene).

The gravestone doesn’t feature the whole passage, because it would have to be about 30 feet tall to fit it all on, but “The path of the righteous man…” is enough to jog any film buff’s memory.

5 The Empire Strikes Back

There’s a moment in Captain America: Civil War’s incredible airport fight scene in which Spider-Man swings webs around Giant-Man’s legs to trip him over. The plan was reminiscent of the Hoth sequence in The Empire Strikes Back in which snowspeeders are used to trip over AT-ATs.

Lo and behold, being the nerd that he is, Spidey made that reference himself: “Hey, guys, you ever see that really old movie, Empire Strikes Back? You know that part where they’re on the snow planet with the walking thingies?” After Civil War was released, Tom Holland admitted that he’d never seen the original Star Wars trilogy, much to the dismay of fans across the world.

4 Cheers

No one in the MCU makes more references to other movies and TV shows than Peter Quill, despite associating almost exclusively with aliens from distant planets who don’t know what movies or TV shows are.

Throughout the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Quill continually compares his relationship with Gamora to that of Sam and Diane in Cheers, the original “will they or won’t they?” sitcom couple. Gamora has no idea who Sam and Diane are, so he describes them as “a guy and a girl on TV who dig each other, but never say it.” Yeah, that’s pretty apt.

3 What We Do in the Shadows

When Thor is offered a big wooden fork to use in the gladiatorial arena in Thor: Ragnarok, Korg tells him, “[It’s] not really useful unless you’re fighting off three vampires that were huddled together.” Ragnarok director Taika Watiti played Korg himself based on New Zealand bouncers he knew.

RELATED: How Taika Waititi Made Thor: Ragnarok’s Korg Scenes More Difficult

Watiti previously helmed the mockumentary horror comedy What We Do in the Shadows about a trio of vampire roommates. Korg’s vampire line was a little wink to anyone in the audience who had been following Watiti’s work. It also hinted at the existence of vampires in the Marvel universe – Morbius, anyone?

2 Risky Business

The old Tom Cruise comedy Risky Business is one of the funniest movies ever made. Unfortunately, despite its status as a classic and the fact that it’s basically O.G. Superbad, a lot of movie fans these days have overlooked it. But even people who haven’t seen it know the moment where Cruise slides into frame in his socks set to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll.”

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, during the montage where Aunt May is getting Peter ready for the titular homecoming dance, Tom Holland actually recreates the famous Risky Business moment as he slides into frame.

1 Footloose

This one probably wasn’t missed by anyone, since it became the centerpiece of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. At first, Peter Quill uses Footloose as an example of an Earth legend to teach Gamora about dancing: “On my planet, there’s a legend about people like you. It’s called Footloose. And in it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that dancing is the greatest thing there is.”

Inspired by the noble hero Kevin Bacon, Quill ended up saving the world from Ronan the Accuser with an epic dance-off (and a heartbreaking sacrifice by Groot).

NEXT: Every Avengers: Endgame Theory COMPILATION


2019-04-05 03:04:51

Ben Sherlock

Avengers Theory: Endgame Will Lead To The Marvel Cinematic Multiverse

Marvel Studios will finish a decade long story in Avengers: Endgame that could change the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever, and it may happen with the birth of the multiverse. Amid all of the success the MCU has experienced in the last eleven years, one of the reasons audiences have become so attached to the films is the overall connectivity between movies. While many can stand on their own, most also had a role to play in leading up to Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.

Following Thanos’ snap that wiped out half of the universe’s population in Infinity War, fans have been itching to see what will come next in Endgame. Marvel’s kept as much as possible officially under wraps and have let theories and speculation dominate most of the discussion surrounding the film. While much of the focus has been on what will happen, there’s also been a fair amount of attention given to a post-Endgame MCU.

Related: Avengers Theory: The Skrulls Will Have An Important Role In Endgame

Marvel is currently developing several Phase 4 films that have helped piece together what the future will look like in a broad sense, but the long-term plan for the MCU is still a mystery. In Screen Rant’s latest video, we take a look at the theory that the post-Endgame MCU won’t even be the traditional MCU. That’s right, we think that Endgame will lead to the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse (MCM). Check out the video above for all the details.

Prior MCU films like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange have helped lay the foundation for the multiverse to exist, but it was actually Thor: The Dark World that mentioned that other universes exist. With some set up already out of the way, Benedict Cumberbatch may have actually confirmed the MCM is coming. He mentioned last year that the MCU as we know it is already so populated and crowded with characters that “it’s just about to explode into other dimensions.” Cumberbatch is usually good at protecting secrets (or stopping Tom Holland from spoiling them), but this may have been a slip up on his part.

There’s several advantages to a multiverse too, such as it giving Marvel Studios the opportunity to tell an even wider range of stories, and do so with less strict continuity. These alternate universes could also help introduce the X-Men and Fantastic Four, but allow both of them to potentially exist on their own, meaning they won’t need to be retconned in to the history of the MCU. It also just gives Marvel Studios freedom to try several options from a story perspective, like having Spider-Man: Far From Home‘s villain Mysterio be from another dimension. This is just a theory as of right now, and with Avengers: Endgame less than a month away, it won’t be long before we get to see if any multiverse seeds are planted.

More: Avengers: Endgame Story Timeline & Trailer Scenes In Order


2019-03-29 05:03:57

Cooper Hood

10 Reasons Mysterio Could Be The Best Cinematic Spider-Man Villain

Spider-Man Far From Home Mysterio Explained

With the first trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home just released, excitement for the film is at an all-time high. One of the standout elements of that first footage is Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, one of Spider-Man’s classic foes from the comics.

We’ve already seen some of Spider-Man’s most iconic villains brought to the big screen in previous films, such as Doctor Octopus, The Lizard, and a few Green Goblins. However, Mysterio is one of the most exciting bad guys to get the live action treatment. From both the comic book history of the character and all the new directions the film could take him, Mysterio has the makings of a classic big screen villain. Let’s look at 10 reasons Mysterio could be the best cinematic Spider-Man villain.

RELATED: Far From Home Sets Trailer Views Record For Sony

10. A Fresh Villain

Mysterio in Spider-Man Far From Home

Bringing Mysterio to the big screen is further evidence of how confident the MCU is at this point. They could have played it safe with a well-known character, but instead, they embraced the craziness of the comics with a more obscure choice.

Mysterio is so unlike any other Spider-Man villain we’ve seen on the big screen. As fun as some of the past villains have been, it’s exciting to have something totally new. Just imagining how they are going to handle the many outlandish aspects of this character is enough to make him one of the most anticipated movie characters of 2019.

RELATED: Spider-Man’s 16 Best Movie Villains, Ranked

9. Bad Guy Abroad

One of the most exciting things about Spider-Man: Far From Home is that it removes Peter Parker from his usually New York City setting. The “school trip” concept allows us to see how Spider-Man operates in Europe for the first time. This also means Mysterio gets to face-off with Spider-Man outside his element.

The change in location might not seem like much, but given just that brief glimpse of Mysterio battling the Elemental in Venice shows how much fun some new scenery can be in movies like this. There is so much potential for the havoc Mysterio can cause across European destinations.

9. First Post-Thanos Villain

Thanos armor in Avengers Endgame

Spider-Man: Far From Home has the distinction of being the first post-Endgame film in the MCU. We still don’t know how Avengers: Endgame will end, but it’s safe to say the MCU will have changed as a result of that film.

Some of the world’s Avengers will likely be gone. Peter will probably be affected because of what happened to him. The world will know about threats far bigger than they could ever imagine. How will a villain like Mysterio work in a new world like this? It will be the MCU’s first response to bad guy in a post-Thanos world. It will be interesting to see where they take things.

8. The Design

It’s safe to assume one of the main reasons we have yet to see Mysterio on the big screen is because he looks absolutely ridiculous. With his colorful costume, over-the-top cape and fishbowl helmet, he always seemed like one of those characters that only worked on the pages of a comic book.

Judging by the first footage, the filmmakers were not afraid at all to embrace that classic look. He looks surprisingly accurate to the comic book design and it is awesome. While it might elicit some laughs, seeing such a comic book look brought to life is a lot of fun.

RELATED: What Is The Song In The Far From Home Trailer

7. Unique Powers

Despite his unusual look, Mysterio is, in fact, a very cinematic character. He is not a typical comic book villain. He doesn’t have any superpowers and he is not particularly physically imposing. Instead, Mysterio uses his intellect and special skills at illusion and trickery to fight Spider-Man.

In comic book films, we tend to see the heroes face-off with bad guys who have similar powers to their own. Even in the Spider-Man movies, he’s usually battling some evil genius in a tech-based battle suit. Mysterio is bringing something fresh to the table and abilities with endless possibilities.

RELATED: Spider-Man: Far From Home – Every Update You Need To Know

6. The MCU’s Recent Villains

After years of having their villains criticized as bland, the MCU is on a roll with their recent bad guys. The studio now seems to be more invested in creating compelling antagonists for their films. Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger was unforgettable and Thanos has already become iconic.

There’s so much we don’t know about Mysterio in the new film. However, given these recent examples, it seems unlikely Marvel will go back to churning out boring baddies. Expect some real depth to Mysterio’s motivations in the film.

5. The Mystery

When a villain appears in a comic book film, it’s usually pretty straightforward. We know they are the bad guy and we know they want to kill the good guy and take over the world. In the case of Mysterio, there is actually – and appropriately — quite a bit of mystery involved.

Is he the classic villain comic book readers know, or is he actually a hero? The first footage seems to confirm the theory that he is a good guy. But is there more mystery than that? Where does he come from? Are his powers real? All things are pointing to an intriguing character with plenty of twists and turns to him.

4. A Wannabe Avenger?

The filmmakers seem to want us to believe Mysterio is a good guy. The trailer shows that he is battling the Elementals and being quite effective. There are even reports that Nick Fury tries to recruit Mysterio. It could be that he is the newest addition to the Avengers.

However, it’s important to remember that in the comics, Mysterio is a master of illusions. What if these Elemental monsters are his own creation meant to make him appear more heroic? Could he be an Avengers fanboy trying to con his way to superhero stardom? It could be a fun twist and a mirrored version of Peter’s own desire to be an Avenger.

3. A Connection To Peter?

Casual Costume Spider-Man Far From Home

Many nervous fans noticed the absence of Tony Stark in the trailer. While it doesn’t confirm anything, it is possible that Peter loses his mentor in Avengers: Endgame. With Peter seemingly teaming up with Mysterio, could they be setting up a similar relationship in this film?

With the two fighting side-by-side, Peter could begin to look up to Mysterio, similar to how he idolized Stark. This would be a fitting way to cement a strong connection between the two and would be heartbreaking when Mysterio probably (definitely) turns on him. It could bring some real emotional stakes to their showdown.

RELATED: What Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Trailer Reveals About Avengers: Endgame

1. Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal Nightcrawler

Even those who don’t know or are not interested in the character of Mysterio are likely still intrigued by the amazing casting of Jake Gyllenhaal in the role. We’ve seen some amazing actors play Spidey villains, like Willem Dafoe and Michael Keaton, but Gyllenhaal is an unexpected and inspired choice.

Given his movie star status, you’d more expect Gyllenhaal to be headlining a superhero movie rather than playing the villain. He’s continuously shown his amazing range as an actor and is one of Hollywood’s most in-demand stars. The fact that he chose to play this guy wearing a fishbowl suggests there must be something special about the role.

NEXT: The MCU’s Spider-Man Just Lost A Key Uncle Ben Connection



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2019-01-21 01:01:40

Godzilla Vs Kong Movie Casts Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry

Brian Tyree Henry is set to join the cast of Godzilla Vs Kong. Legendary is getting into the cinematic universe game with the MonsterVerse and are building towards their big crossover in style. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla launched the universe in 2014 and was followed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ ’70s-set Kong: Skull Island. They’ve now established the two monsters, but are giving Godzilla a sequel next year to further set up their upcoming confrontation. That will happen in the appropriately titled Godzilla Vs Kong, directed by Adam Wingard.

The crossover movie has been getting itself into position to start filming, which was previously reported to start at the beginning of this month. There’s so far been no indication that this has actually happened and it would be difficult to do so without the entire cast set. The biggest star so far is Millie Bobby Brown reprising her role from Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

Related: Godzilla Just Swam to Skull Island According to Monarch’s Website

Variety now reports that Emmy-nominated Atlanta actor Brian Tyree Henry is joining the cast of Godzilla Vs Kong. There’s no details about who he will be playing, only that it is described as a “significant” role. This could make him either a hero or a villain in the larger story, both of which Henry’s shown the ability to succeed in.

Henry is best known and recognized for his work in FX’s Donald Glover comedy/drama, and has only continued to line up future projects. He was already seen this year in smaller roles in Hotel Artemis and White Boy Rick, but has three more movies coming out by the end of the year. Supporting roles in Widow and If Beale Street Could Talk have already put him on the receiving end of great critical praise, while he’s also providing the voice of Miles Morales’ dad in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. He still has a third season of Atlanta, Amy Adams’ drama The Woman in the Window, Melissa McCarthy’s comedy Superintelligence, and the Child’s Play reboot in his future as well. Now that we can add Godzilla Vs Kong to his upcoming filmography, Henry will continue be someone audiences become very familiar with.

The cast of Godzilla Vs Kong extends beyond just Henry and Brown, though. The movie also brought Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Deadpool 2 star Julian Dennison on board earlier this year. There were even rumors that Black Panther‘s Danai Gurira was being eyed for a major role in the movie, but that has yet to be confirmed. Even if that doesn’t pan out, the movie is off to a great start with its casting. None of the stars may be certifiable box office draws just yet, but that’s why a battle between Godzilla and King Kong is at the center of the film. And, who knows, by the time Godzilla Vs Kong arrives in theaters, the constant exposure Henry is getting could make him a major selling point.

MORE: Godzilla Vs Kong: Every Update You Need to Know

Source: Variety



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2018-10-10 05:10:45 – Cooper Hood

18 Best Sequels, According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%)

We live in an age where sequels are all the rage. Every major studio is chasing those franchises that can keep their cash flow healthy for years to come. Sometimes, they’re exhausting. Other times, they can be our most anticipated movies. Maybe we could do without more Transformers movies, but Marvel and Mission: Impossible sequels are event movies that drive us to the theater in droves.

Sequels are tricky and unpredictable, though. On one hand, they’re often necessary for expanding stories and the good ones continue sagas we want to see progress. On the other, some are soulless cash grabs that shouldn’t exist. In the worst cases, some of them completely derail promising franchises by failing to deliver the goods. Then again, in some instances, sequels can get a series back up and running after they’ve experienced setbacks.

This list will look at those rare sequels that are considered worthy — and even superior — follow-ups. Those rare beasts that make us grateful for multiple movies in a series. Furthermore, we’ll also be discussing the most maligned sequels that brought no critical good will to their respective franchises whatsoever. It’s more fun this way. In order to fully appreciate the best of the best, we also must acknowledge the worst of the worst. Without evil, we wouldn’t be able to understand all that’s good and pure. Without terrible movies, we wouldn’t be grateful for the good ones.

With this in mind, here are 18 Best Sequels According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 8 Stuck With 0%).

26 Best: Captain America: Civil War (91%)

The decision to keep the same team of writers for all three Captain America films paid off in the end. The trilogy just went from strength to strength with each passing entry, though some would argue that The Winter Soldier is equally as good — if not better — than Civil War. Either way, they’re both prime examples of how to do sequels right.

Civil War tackles the same themes you’d expect from a movie about a do-gooder like Cap, but where the film truly soars is during its wild third act. The airport showdown is the best action showdown in the MCU, and that’s saying something.

25 Worst: The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (0%)

If you didn’t know that sequels to The Bad News Bears exist then no one would think any less of you. While the first movie is a cult classic about an underdog baseball team, the sequels have faded from the collective memory with the passing of time, lost like tears in the rain. That’s for good reason.

None of the sequels are good, but The Bad News Bears Go To Japan is especially bad.

While the idea to relocate to Japan for a big game is good on paper, the sequel is just bland, forgettable, and was made to cash in on the brand name.

24 Best: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (93%)

Some fans argue that The Force Awakens is essentially a retread of A New Hope in many ways. However, clearly the critics and audiences didn’t necessarily agree, given its stellar Rotten Tomatoes score and its audience score of 87%, not to mention its impressive box office haul.

As far as Star Wars movies go, it hits the spot. The new characters are great, the return of some old faces is a trip down memory lane, and the story still made significant effort to push the franchise forward. In those regards, the film definitely succeeded.

23 Best: War for the Planet of the Apes (93%)

Anyone who has a problem with classics being rebooted needs to watch the most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy.  The finale pits the apes in a brutal battle against the humans, which leads to an epic confrontation between the Caesar the Ape and humanity’s ruthless colonel (played by an utterly wicked Woody Harrelson). As far as concluding trilogies goes, War for the Planet of the Apes has everything.

By no means is this a pleasant movie, but it is rewarding. And not only does it wrap up an epic story, but the film boasts some of the great CGI wizardry out there. The action is also ridiculously impressive and compelling, which is crazy considering it’s a movie about people versus monkeys.

22 Best: Logan (93%)

James Mangold’s Logan, the gloriously violent and heartbreaking farewell to Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, is an all-timer. Taking cues from the Old Man Logan comics, the movie has just as much in common with neo-westerns as it does with superhero yarns, which makes for a gritty, character-driven elegy to characters many of us grew up with.

Logan deserves praise for going R-rated and taking some stylistic risks.

The movie is proof that audiences will still flock to see superhero movies with some edge. If you’re going to send off some icons, this is the way to do it.

21 Worst: Return to the Blue Lagoon (0%)

Considering that no one liked The Blue Lagoon (it currently holds a 9% rating on RT), why anyone would want to return to the franchise is beyond comprehension. Of course, every sequel is a perfect opportunity to right some old wrongs if handled with care. Unfortunately, this was not. The story follows two children who are marooned on a tropical island as the grow up and fall in love, etc. The characters don’t wear enough clothes either, which makes for some weird, uncomfortable viewing.

There are some unintentional laughs to be had at the poor script and performances.

Otherwise the Blue Lagoon isn’t a scenic cinematic paradise worth spending time in unless you want to punish yourself for some reason.

20 Best: The Dark Knight (94%)

Few superhero movies are ever regarded as anything more than popcorn fare. However, if there were ever a superhero movie that proved the genre could be prestige cinema, it would be The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman is an exploration of chaos and just how far people are willing to go to achieve their goal.

The Dark Knight — for better or worse when you consider how devoid of fun some DC movies have been since — also brought a gritty, realistic touch to the genre. The movie feels more like a Michael Mann crime saga than it does a story about superheroes versus their outlandishly evil counterparts.

19 Best: Finding Dory (94%)

In recent times, Pixar has been criticized for relying too heavily on sequels, but if it ain’t broke… Finding Dory was released 13 years after Finding Nemo, and it was a smash with critics and audiences alike.

Its 94% on Rotten Tomatoes is complemented by an 84% audience score.

Upon release Finding Dory was praised for being as funny and thought-provoking as the first movie, while also adding a new dimension to the story. As with any Pixar movie, Finding Dory can be appreciated by audiences of all ages. 

18 Worst: Staying Alive (0%)

No other actor on the planet has experienced a career of ups and downs like John Travolta has. When he broke out he had the world at his dancing feet. After that, his career experienced a downturn until it was resurrected briefly following Pulp Fiction until it ultimately plummeted when he started starring in movies like Battlefield Earth. Staying Alive was released in 1983 when Travolta was experiencing his first fall from grace. Following up a classic like Saturday Night Fever was never going to be easy, but it shouldn’t have been this difficult, either.

The sequel lacks the gritty realism of its predecessor, and instead tries to get by on dance sequences. What’s the point in dancing when we don’t care about who’s doing it?

17 Best: Creed (95%)

No franchise tends to remain compelling seven sequels in, but Creed is proof that the Rocky franchise is the rare exception. Granted, some Rocky movies aren’t exactly knockouts, but Creed got things back on track and showed that it’s game for a few more rounds.

By serving as both a sequel and a spin-off/soft reboot, Creed gave the franchise a breath of new life.

It passed the gloves on to Michael B. Jordan as the eponymous character.  Creed 2 is right around the corner. Let’s see if it can do what the original saga failed to do and deliver a second outing that’s as good as the inaugural entry.

16 Worst: Leprechaun 2 (0%)

The first Leprechaun movie doesn’t come close to being certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it should come as no surprise that the sequels didn’t receive any critical acclaim. Especially not the second movie, which no critic seemed to enjoy at all.

Here, the infamous critter resurfaces in Los Angeles to find a bride, which leads to him abducting a young woman and trying to claim her as his own. This isn’t high art by any means, nor does it try to be.

15 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (96%)

The Harry Potter books were an emotional roller coaster that affected millions of readers worldwide. Reliving those adventures on the big screen was also a great time to be alive, and the grand finale lived up to expectations. In the final installment of the saga about the Boy Who Lived and his fight against the forces of darkness, the ultimate showdown finally happens as our hero and his pals face off against Voldemort in Hogwarts castle.

It’s a true epic in every sense of the word.

As far as wrapping up the story goes, Death Hallows: Part 2 delivered the goods and gave us cinematic closure in style.

14 Worst: Looking Who’s Talking Now (0%)

Look Who’s Talking is a perfectly serviceable comedy that should never have received any sequels. In a bid to end to the trilogy on a high following the disappointing previous sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too, someone thought it would be a good idea to introduce talking dogs to the mix for the series’ swan song. 

Needless to say, Look Who’s Talking Now wasn’t the glorious goodbye the series was looking for, but at least the film did cast some cute dogs.

13 Best: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (97%)

The third installment of Sergio Leone’s influential Dollars trilogy, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is the creme de la creme of spaghetti westerns. 

The story centers around two men who form an uneasy alliance following a scam.

This leads them on a quest as it turns out there’s money buried in the desert and they want to find it. However, they have to compete against another who won’t hesitate to put a bullet in them to claim the prize. On top of being one of the most acclaimed movies out there, the film has been hailed as a major influence on directors like Quentin Tarantino.

12 Best: The Godfather: Part II (97%)

The continuation of Francis Ford Coppola’s Best Picture-winning 1972 crime saga, The Godfather: Part II chronicles Michael Corleone’s further ascendency in organized crime while simultaneously taking us back to the past to explore his dad’s humble beginnings.

Like its predecessor, the sequel also won Best Picture and is hailed by many a critic and film buff as one of the best movies ever made. Whether it’s better than the original is up for debate, but they’re like two sides of the same coin. These movies set the bar for mob pictures, and to this day, other directors are still trying to recreate the formula.

11 Mad Max: Fury Road (97%)

Director George Miller was in his seventies when he unleashed Mad Max: Fury Road, but the energy and madness imbued in every frame of this extravaganza suggest a man half his age.

Maybe we’ll never see another Mad Max movie, but the world needs a Furiosa spin-off eventually.

Fury Road is essentially one non-stop chase that barely lets up from the get-go all the way to the climactic ending. Furthermore, it’s a movie that defied expectation by taking the focus away from the titular character and making Charlize Theron’s Furiosa the real hero of the adventure. 

10 Worst: Jaws: The Revenge (0%)

Is Jaws: the Revenge a good movie? Definitely not. Is it an entertaining movie, though? Definitely yes.

How many other movies have sharks that make a conscious decision to get revenge on the humans that wronged them? Not only that, but the shark here followed its target to the Bahamas from Massachusetts. And why would someone who wants to avoid sharks go to an island surrounded by ocean? The movie is illogical, silly, nonsense, but it does offer sheer entertainment value for bad movie buffs.

9 Best: Aliens (98%)

Alien and Aliens are quite different in some regards, but they complement each other perfectly. The first is an exercise in pure suspense and terror. The sequel, on the other hand, retains the horror elements but adds a lot more action to proceedings.

Aliens shows how to make a successful sequel: acknowledge what came before but don’t be afraid to bring some fresh ideas to the table.

James Cameron was on fire in the ’80s and he wasn’t afraid to make Ridley Scott’s baby his own.

8 Best: Mad Max 2: Road Warrior (98%)

While George Miller’s inaugural Mad Max caper is a cult classic, most film buffs would agree that a couple of the sequels are slightly superior. Taking nothing away from the first movie, Road Warrior is a vast improvement when it comes to world building and sheer action spectacle. The story follows the eponymous character as he helps a group of people steal oil from a tyrannical madman and his band of goons.

As far as cinematic thrill rides go, few movies are on par with Road Warrior. Here, Miller turned up the volume significantly by making the post-apocalyptic terrains feel more dangerous and the action sequences more gung-ho and grander in scale.

7 Best: Evil Dead 2 (98%)

Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead movie was a huge achievement for independent filmmaking when it was released back in 1981. The movie still holds up to this day with its innovative camera work, effective scares, and excellent cast as well.

The sequel is a triumph in its own right.

While the first movie contained moments of dark comedy, the sequel amps up the zaniness to become what is essentially the splatter flick equivalent of a Laurel and Hardy flick. For 90 minutes, Bruce Campbell is tormented by laughing ornaments and his own severed hand. As silly as that sounds, Evil Dead 2 still manages to pack more punch than your average MMA fighter.

6 Worst: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (0%)

In the third installment of the Police Academy franchise, the cops are understaffed and in need of some help. Naturally, the force turns to America’s civilians to help aid in their mission. Things don’t go smoothly, for the characters in the film and the movie itself.

Rotten Tomatoes describes Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol as “Utterly, completely, thoroughly and astonishingly unfunny” and  a movie which sent “a once-innocuous franchise plummeting to agonizing new depths.” That sounds about right.

5 Toy Story 3 (99%)

Few franchises manage to strike three home runs in a row. Even The Godfather stuttered when it came to the third outing. Toy Story, on the other hand, never ceases to replicate the magic time and time again.

This emotional installment sees Andy get ready to leave for college and neglect his old toys.

He’s all grown up and has no use for them anymore, and what ensues is what is by far the most heartfelt movie in the series.

4 Worst: Highlander II: The Quickening (0%)

As far as pure entertaining action-fantasy goes, the first Highlander movie is a fun slice of popcorn entertainment that aficionados of cult cinema lose their head over. The sequel, meanwhile, is an incomprehensible mess.

Highlander II is too overplotted to explain, but the cusp of the story revolves around the hero from the first movie taking on a corporation after being led to believe that they don’t have the world’s best interests in mind. In this one, our hero is a defender of the ozone as well. What makes Highlander II so awful is that it completely retcons everything good about the original film and the mythology it introduced.

3 Best: The Bride of Frankenstein (100%)

We all desire to be loved by someone special– even bolt-head monsters made up of the remains of other people. But to find them a mate, one must dig up some more corpses and create a suitable partner that’s similar in genetic make-up. This is also the storyline behind James Whale’s 1935 masterpiece, Bride of Frankenstein.

There are too many Frankenstein movies to keep track of at this point, but this sequel remains the pinnacle of the original series.

The movie is a masterpiece that successfully blends campy fun with Gothic beauty and genuine chills that’s stood the test of time as a result.

2 Paddington 2 (100%)

No one expected the the first Paddington to be as good as it is. That movie is a bona fide classic in the making in its own right, but the sequel is some next-next level brilliance.

Paddington 2 sees the lovable bear go to prison and, unsurprisingly, all the mean criminals fall in love with him as well. Critics, like the fictional convicts, were also full of praise for the titular bear and his second big onscreen adventure as well. At one point, Paddington 2 was even the best reviewed movie in history.

1 Best: Toy Story 2 (100%)

Following up a movie like Toy Story was never going to be easy, but that didn’t stop Pixar from trying and succeeding. In this one, we find out that Woody is a collectible when he’s discovered and stolen by a greedy museum owner. Naturally this prompts Buzz Lightyear, Mr. Potato, and the rest of the gang into action and they set out to save their friend.

General consensus on Rotten Tomatoes states that Toy Story 2 is that rare sequel that improves upon its predecessor.

The sequel raises the stakes and ups the element of adventure while retaining the humor and heart that made audiences fall in love with the franchise in the first place.

What’s your favorite sequel? Let us know in the comments!



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2018-10-10 04:10:39 – Kieran Fisher

Spider-Man: Far From Home First Teaser Poster Spotted At Licensing Expo

Sony’s Spider-Man: Far From Home gets a teaser poster as the promotional image is spotted at the Brand Licensing Europe 2018 event in London. Thanks to a deal between Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War. Since then, Holland’s wall-crawling superhero has headlined his own movie in Spider-Man: Homecoming and teamed up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Infinity War. Next, Spidey will return for Avengers 4, then the beloved Marvel hero will kick off Phase 4 of the MCU with Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Despite Peter Parker becoming the victim of Thanos’ snap as part of Infinity War’s cliffhanger ending, we know the web-head will return somehow – whether that means Avengers 4 will use time travel, though, remains to be seen. Holland and stars of Homecoming returned to work this summer as Spider-Man: Far From Home has been filming across Europe. Set photos from the Spider-Man sequel have offered looks at MCU characters joining the Sony movie, including Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders’ Maria Hill. Now, a promo poster for Spider-Man: Far From Home has also surfaced.

Related: Every Villain Rumored For Spider-Man: Far From Home

Instagram user Dirtees posted a group of photos from the floor of the Brand Licensing Europe 2018 expo in London, United Kingdom this week. The fourth photo in the post (which can be located by clicking through the series of photos below) features a hanging promotion image for Spider-Man: Far From Home. It appears to be an image of Spider-Man from Homecoming that was repurposed with the Spider-Man: Far From Home movie logo. Take a look at the image below.

Of course, Sony can use images of Spider-Man from Homecoming for the Far From Home posters because Peter Parker is expected to be wearing the same superhero suit. Previously, Holland confirmed Spider-Man will wear the Homecoming suit in the sequel, despite upgrading to the Iron-Spider suit for Infinity War. However, based on Far From Home set photos, Spider-Man will also don a stealth suit that’s all black. Fans have theorized this suit is inspired by Spider-Man Noir, but how exactly Spidey gets the black suit for Far From Home remains to be seen. All we know for now is that Peter Parker will trade in his red and blue costume for something more covert (or, perhaps it’s a separate mode built into the old suit by Tony Stark).

Unfortunately, this Spider-Man: Far From Home promotional poster doesn’t reveal anything new from the movie – neither in terms of the web-head’s suit nor otherwise. That said, with Far From Home set to hit theaters in July 2019, we aren’t too far off from Sony kicking off marketing for the Spider-Man sequel. While there are two MCU movies due in theaters before Far From HomeCaptain Marvel and Avengers 4 – their close release dates mean the marketing pushes for each film will inevitably overlap. Plus, given how secretive Marvel Studios has been with Avengers 4, it’s entirely possible we’ll see some official artwork for Spider-Man: Far From Home even before the Phase 3 capper releases a trailer. For now, fans will have to wait and see – and make due with Holland’s occasional social media reveals and the Spider-Man: Far From Home set photos.

Next: 2019 Will Have The Most Superhero Movies Ever Released

Source: Dirtees/Instagram





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2018-10-10 02:10:45 – Molly Freeman

22 July Review: Paul Greengrass Delivers Another Intense Docudrama

Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

In-between his efforts on the Bourne movies, journalist-turned filmmaker Paul Greengrass has spent much of his career making docudrama-thrillers about real-world events, ranging from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. (United 93) to the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 (Captain Phillips). While there’s an inherent risk of exploiting a real-world tragedy that comes with any such project, Greengrass has long been celebrated for his ability to dramatize terrible events on the big screen in a manner that’s intense, yet sensitive and ultimately insightful in its presentation. Thankfully, that remains the case with his Netflix Original 22 July, even if it doesn’t necessarily represent the writer/director at his finest. Despite some general storytelling issues, Greengrass succeeds in delivering another well-crafted and intelligent docudrama-thriller with 22 July.

22 July picks up on July 21, 2011 in Oslo, Norway, as Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie) – a self-declared right wing extremist – prepares to carry out a terrorist attack on the city the next day. He begins his assault by setting off a bomb in a van near the main office of the then-current Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (Ola G. Furuseth), killing eight people in the process. Breivik then proceeds to continue his attack by gunning down 69 members of a summer camp organized by the AUF – the youth division of the Norwegian Labour Party – on the island of Utøya, before he is ultimately apprehended by the police and taken into custody.

Among the members of the summer camp is one Viljar Hanssen (Jonas Strand Gravli), who manages to survive Breivik’s attack despite being shot multiple times and left permanently maimed. As Viljar struggles to recover both physically and psychologically from what happened to him (along with everyone else who survived the Utøya shootings and their loved ones), Breivik works with his chosen lawyer Geir Lippestad (Jon Øigarden) to mount a defense and use his trial as a platform to publicly announce his political agenda (which calls for the immediate deportation of all Muslims and heavier restrictions on immigration to Norway, among other things). When it becomes clear to Viljar what Breivik intends to do, he grows increasingly determined to continue his rehabilitation and testify against him in court for not only himself, but also every other person whose lives were affected by what took place on July 22.

Adapted from the book One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway — and Its Aftermath by Åsne Seierstad, Greengrass’ script for 22 July has a very clear-cut three act structure – with the first act focused on the July 22 attack, the second part set during its immediate aftermath, and the final third centered on Breivik’s trial. The film is strongest during its first and third acts in particular, as those chapters (respectively) play to Greengrass’ strengths as a suspense-thriller storyteller and provide the emotional payoff to Viljar and, thus, Norway’s overarching journey of recovery and survival. It’s the second act where things start to drag and get a little muddled, especially as 22 July splits its focus between not only Viljar’s story thread, but also Lippestad and Breivik’s trial preparation, and the investigation into Stoltenberg’s administration and its failure to prevent a terrorist attack. While there’s nothing in the second act that feels inessential, 22 July struggles to divide its attention evenly between its three plotlines and the film’s pacing suffers for it.

On the whole, however, 22 July does a nice job covering a fair amount of narrative ground, even when taking its pretty substantial runtime into consideration. It helps that Greengrass (as he’s known now for doing, as a director) never fully lifts his foot off the gas pedal and keeps the film’s proceedings feeling on-edge throughout, even during its more purely dramatic portions. The filmmaker, working this time around with DP Pål Ulvik Rokseth (The Snowman) and Oscar-winning Argo editor William Goldenberg, uses essentially the same vérité cinematography and restless editing style that he has on his previous movies, in order to fully immerse viewers in the film’s setting and action. At the same time, Greengrass slows things down a bit here and, in turn, delivers a movie that’s more visually cohesive than some of his weaker efforts in the past (see the last Bourne sequel, in particular). This serves 22 July well, allowing it to effectively work as both a grounded drama and thriller.

Given the sheer amount of information that 22 July strives to cover, though, there’s not a lot of room for the film’s actors to really shine – not in the way that Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks did in Captain Phillips, for example. Even so, the 22 July cast is uniformly strong across the board, with Gravli especially doing an excellent job of portraying Viljar’s struggles with his physical injuries, PTSD, and the sheer amount of emotional baggage that he’s saddled with after barely managing to escape the attack on Utøya with his own life. Actors like Thorbjørn Harr and Isak Bakli Aglen are similarly moving in their smaller roles as members of Viljar’s family, as is Seda Witt as Lara Rashid, a young woman who starts to make a romantic connection with Viljar before both of their lives are shattered by Breivik’s attack. As for Breivik himself: Lie is quite compelling in the role and portrays the terrorist as a fully-developed person – one whose rationalization of his behavior makes him chilling and pathetic in equal measure.

As with his previous films, Greengrass uses 22 July as a means for delivering larger sociopolitical commentary about the state of things in the world, specifically where it concerns the rise of xenophobic and nationalist ideologies in various countries (the U.S. included). While his scripted dialogue can start to become a bit on the nose as its strives to get these points across (especially in the third act), Greengrass largely succeeds in allowing the story here to shine a light on these issues organically, without getting up on his figurative soapbox to drive the point home. If there’s a downside to the filmmaker’s approach, though, it’s that July 22 winds up handling its subject matter in a way that’s more engaging intellectually than emotionally and, thus, lacks the emotional resonance of Greengrass’ best work to date.

All things considered, however, Greengrass does a very good job of bringing the true story behind 22 July to cinematic life. The final result is a film that makes for an enlightening and otherwise respectful documentation of a horrifying real-world event, rather than one that comes off as exploitative or manipulative. 22 July is showing in select theaters now – in order to qualify for next year’s major film awards shows – and it certainly benefits from being seen on the big screen, but can still be appreciated just as much as a Netflix Original on your home TV. While it’s obviously not a light-hearted viewing experience, 22 July is very much worth checking out if you’ve enjoyed Greengrass’ previous non-Bourne efforts and/or would like to know more about Norway’s own infamous modern terrorist attack.

TRAILER

22 July is now available for streaming on Netflix and is playing in select U.S. theaters. It is 143 minutes long and is rated R for disturbing violence, graphic images, and language.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section!



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2018-10-10 01:10:22 – Sandy Schaefer

Jared Leto’s Morbius Movie Aiming to Start Filming In February 2019

Sony plans to start filming Morbius the Living Vampire starring Jared Leto early next year. Sony has their eyes set on launching a cinematic universe of their own however they can. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) may be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but Sony is creating a Spider-Verse of their own. They’ll do so using characters related to Spidey in the comics, although he’s not currently set to appear in any of their in-development movies. Any doubts that the universe would actually take shape were largely squashed this past weekend thanks to Venom successfully launching to record setting numbers.

The next project that is going to come from this universe is a Morbius the Living Vampire movie that stars Leto. Morbius will be directed by Daniel Espinosa (Life) and is currently in pre-production as Sony aims to get the movie actually filming. Early reports pointed to a late 2018 start to production, but the film’s producers have now confirmed when it will officially begin.

Related: Who Is Morbius the Living Vampire & What Are His Powers?

Collider spoke to Sony producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach who are involved with the Spider-Verse and asked them about the status of Morbius. They confirmed the movie is very much happening and coming along nicely thanks to a script by Lost in Space creators Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama. When Arad and Tolmach were asked when Morbius would begin filming, Arad said February is the target, while Tolmach stated, “Yeah, the plan is early part of next year. We’re still working on it.”

This relatively soon start for Morbius should mean the movie begins filming shortly after Venom ends its theatrical run. However, this isn’t an example of them rushing to get this movie made, as they’ve instead been developing it for close to a year. The project is finally at a place where additional announcements should be made as the film’s crew and filming schedule are locked down. Arad previously told us why he and Sony are so excited about Morbius, and the recurring theme to the comments by those involved is Leto’s commitment and interest in the role.

Since Morbius does not currently have a release date set, Sony can operate rather freely when it comes to securing the movie’s production schedule. There’s no mandated time that it must be finished by at this point, although Sony surely would like to get another Marvel property in theaters sooner rather than later. Of course, they will have Spider-Man: Far From Home in theaters next July, so it will be interesting to see if Morbius will be completed in time to have two Spidey-related films hit theaters in 2019. Venom started filming almost exactly a year before it hit theaters, so if Morbius takes a similar approach, then an early 2020 release date could be in its future. As for now, we’ll just have to wait for more details on the movie to arrive as the start of production nears.

MORE: All the Spider-Villain Movies Coming After Venom

Source: Collider



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2018-10-09 02:10:57 – Cooper Hood

Dave Bautista Wants to Star in James Gunn’s Suicide Squad 2

In a not-so-surprising turn of events, Dave Bautista is interested in starring in James Gunn’s version of Suicide Squad 2. Earlier this summer, it was announced that Gunn had been hired as the director for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. At the time, the decision had come down from the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, but it has since been agreed to by the rest of the leadership at the Mouse House, including the heads of Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company.

It was a decision that struck a chord with Gunn’s fan base as well as many fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But, it particularly hit the cast and crew of the Guardians series pretty hard. In an open letter, the core member of the Guardians cast expressed their support for Gunn, though that statement stopped short of calling for his reinstatement as director. However, the one person who has championed Gunn’s cause at Marvel is Drax actor Dave Bautista, who recently indicated that he might not return to the MCU after Avengers 4. Interestingly, though, it seems there’s another comic book movie Bautista can do with Gunn.

Related: James Gunn is Writing Suicide Squad 2

Today, WB announced that James Gunn had been hired to write the script for Suicide Squad 2 with the possibility of directing it. And now, it seems that Bautista – who, again, has been a staunch supporter of Gunn’s – is interested in joining the movie, saying on Twitter, “Where do I sign up!” Given that this movie will reportedly be a new take on the team, though most likely with the same cast, it’s possible that Gunn could bring in Bautista for any number of roles. After all, Task Force X isn’t called the Suicide Squad for no reason; their roster tends to change… often.

However, it will be quite a while before the casting process for Suicide Squad 2 gets underway. Gunn was only recently hired to write the new script, and judging by recent reports, it’s apparent that the story will be different than the version that Gavin O’Connor, Todd Stashwick, and David Bar Katz had come up with. But because Gunn appears to be starting from scratch – or, at least, close to it – it may take some time before Suicide Squad 2 even starts filming. It will be a long process from here on out, especially since the new leadership at DC Films has been keen on getting their stories and scripts down before even thinking about anything else.

For now, MCU fans can look forward to seeing Bautista reprise his role as Drax (possibly for the last time?) in Anthony and Joe Russo’s Avengers 4 in 2019. Then, it’s certainly possible he can hop over to the DC movie universe in the future, whenever Suicide Squad 2 finally moves out of the development stage and into production.

Next: James Gunn Is Better Suited For Suicide Squad Than Guardians of the Galaxy

Source: Dave Bautista





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2018-10-09 02:10:21 – Mansoor Mithaiwala