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10 Things Wrong With The Doctor Who Universe We All Choose To Ignore

Far away in a distant part of the universe, there existed a species of aliens known as Time Lords, creatures that could manipulate the time-space continuum to travel backward and forward to any point in time and space. From this massively powerful species emerged a single Time Lord, who took it upon him/herself to travel all over the universe (making a surprising number of pit stops in 21st century suburban Britain) in his/her time machine called the TARDIS.

RELATED: Every Single Doctor Who Regeneration, Ranked 

Across his/her countless travels over a very, very long time span, this Time Lord came to be known simply as the Doctor. Thus was born the saga of Doctor Who, Britain’s most beloved sci-fi series with millions of fans around the world. But as adored as the series is, it doesn’t stop us from questioning these 10 disturbing facts about its narrative.

10 The Doctor Keeps Kidnapping Companions

The Doctor is a very mysterious being, which is, of course, part of his/her appeal. But, it does make you wonder why the multiple companions they’ve had over the years are so willing to be kidnapped? Think about it. The Doctor almost never reveals his/her true nature to his/her companions until they are actually inside the TARDIS and teleporting to a distant location.

RELATED: Doctor Who: 10 Companions Sorted Into Their Hogwarts House

It is usually at this point that a normal human would panic to be trapped with a stranger in an unknown vehicle being carried to who knows where against their will. Yet, the companions never seem to pause to consider that they have just been the victims of a kidnapping.

9 The TARDIS Is A Victim Too

The Doctor is all about freedom and liberty for all creatures. Which is ironic, considering he/she’s been using a living, thinking creature as his/her personal bachelor pad/battle tank/mode of transport this whole time. That’s right, the TARDIS is part of a sentient species created by the Time Lords to do their bidding from the moment of their births.

That means the Doctor has been regularly using a creature that has known nothing but subjugation and captivity throughout the thousands of years that it’s been alive and under his/her command.

8 He/She Touches Lives, And Not Always In A Good Way

The first episode of Doctor Who under Steven Moffat showed us a little girl called Amy Pond, who met the Doctor once and then spent the rest of her life awaiting his return while being forced to question her sanity. That’s what meeting the Doctor does to a regular human. It shows them a glimpse of a world they cannot comprehend and leaves them wondering if they’re going insane.

Now, imagine the countless Average Joe side characters that the Doctor has met over the years. What kind of disturbing thoughts must be going through their heads after being introduced to the wider universe thanks to the Doctor, and will they ever be able to go back to their normal lives again?

7 He/She Has The Powers Of A God, But The Temper Of A Person

The Doctor is, to all intents and purposes, an actual god. He/she has created and destroyed entire realities, manipulated time and space endlessly, lived to see the end of the universe and annihilated entire armies and alien species. You would expect a godlike being such as this to also have the wisdom to match.

Unfortunately, the Doctor is all too human, even when exercising his/her immense power. He/she frequently plays judge, jury, and executioner and inflicts the most horrific, eternal punishments for crimes that, while terrible, probably don’t deserve unending torture for the rest of time. No more horrifying example of this behavior is needed than the ending of the episode “Family of Blood.”

6 Humanity Has No Control Over Its Destiny

Via: Inverse

We human beings pride ourselves on being a strong, independent species that went from being cave-dwellers to a space-faring race. Yet, in the world of Doctor Who, the humans have a long history of being controlled, manipulated and regularly mind wiped by other, superior species.

RELATED: 10 Iconic Aliens Who Should Return To Doctor Who Next Season

The Silence were a particularly nefarious example of an alien race controlling the course of humanity. But the Doctor has also been frequently responsible for being the puppet master standing behind the curtain, manipulating the path humanity takes and keeping them in ignorance of the larger universe and the alien species who regularly visit their planet.

5 The Doctor Has Many Contradicting Backstories

Doctor Who has been on the air for a very long time. We get that it can be difficult to keep all the parts of such a massive storyline straight at all times. But you’d think the writers would at least want to keep the Doctor’s backstory nailed down and kept the same over the years.

Unfortunately, the Doctor’s backstory seems as unreliable as that of the Joker from The Dark Knight. The Doctor once claimed to have a human mother, hence his fondness for Earth. Later, he was confirmed to be fully a Time Lord. There was also an episode where Lord Morbius looked into the past of the Fourth Doctor and saw many past regenerations that have since been completely ignored by later seasons.

4 The Doctor Doesn’t Follow His/Her Own Rules

For a show about time travel, Doctor Who sure likes to play fast and loose with the rules behind interfering with timelines. There have been countless instances where the Doctor has insisted that he must not interfere with a particular past or future event, only to later go right ahead and interfere anyway. And he’s been doing this for a very long time.

RELATED: The 10 Most Bizarre Weapons In Sci-Fi Movies, Ranked

This usually happens when one of the Doctor’s companion’s lives is at stake. Which makes us wonder how flexible the rules of time travel are for the Doctor to be constantly breaking them without blowing up the whole space-time continuum by this point. Which brings us to our next point…

3 No Real Consequences

Deaths are not always permanent in Doctor Who. Past tragedies are regularly corrected by the Doctor. So are future ones. Also, the ones that the Doctor insists must happen to preserve the space-time continuum. There are few problems, past, present or death-related, that the Doctor cannot fix with his time machine and sonic screwdriver.

Which makes it really hard to believe anything ultimately matters. Once you see the Doctor pulling the fix-everything-ever trick in multiple episodes, it can be hard to take any future threats the series raises seriously.

2 The Doctor Is Often Petty And Manipulative

The character of the Doctor has frequently been called into question by his/her friends, enemies and even those who have only heard of him/her. That is because the Doctor, despite being the ‘hero’ of the story, often does not act like one. He/she has wiped the memories of friends, led invasions against his/her own planet, and repeatedly manipulated those around him/her to achieve the end goal.

When such bullying tactics work, the Doctor is hailed for being a hero and saving the day. At other times, things go horribly wrong, people die (a lot of them), and the Doctor is left to live with the guilt.

1 The Doctor Is A Warrior, Not A Healer

For a show about a Doctor, there is actually very little healing going on in the episodes. Now, we get that the show is an adventure drama and not a medical drama, but it’s hard to forget that considering the amount of advanced, otherworldly tech the Doctor has at his disposal (not to mention an actual time machine), he could cure every ill person who ever lived, anywhere in the universe.

But the Doctor prefers to roam around the universe instead, observing alien species like a scientist and stepping in to help prevent catastrophes where possible. A noble task, yes, but it is an undeniable fact that the titular character of the show could save many more lives if they acted like a real doctor instead of a glorified police officer.

NEXT: 10 Shows To Watch If You Love Doctor Who


2019-07-14 03:07:53

Neeraj Chand

The Vampire Diaries Universe: 5 Strongest Friendships (& 5 Weakest)

The Vampire Diaries and its two spin-offs, The Originals and Legacies, have brought us interesting storylines, captivating characters, and epic romances. In addition, each show focused on family unity, complexity, and redemption.

RELATED: 5 Things The Vampire Diaries Did Better than The Originals (And 5 Things The Originals Did Better)

Everything is amplified with these supernatural and human beings: their loves, hates, hurts, and friendships. While there could be a long list of the friendships present in The Vampire Diaries Universe,  we narrowed it down to the top 5 strongest and the top 5 weakest.

10 Strongest: Stefan and Lexi

We begin the list on an exceptionally strong note with The Vampire Diaries’ Stefan and Lexi. These two consider each other best friends and have known each other for decades. Stefan, a brooding character, lightens up with Lexi around.

In Season 1, Lexi is back in town for Stefan’s birthday. With Lexi, Stefan smiles more, even entertains dancing around. They reminisce about a time when they met Bon Jovi. Stefan asks Lexi if Bon Jovi would remember them, and Lexi quips back, “We’ll make him remember us.” Apart from having a good time together, Lexi calls Stefan out. When she meets Elena and sees that she looks exactly like Stefan’s former love, Katherine, she confronts him, “Are you out of your freaking mind.” When Stefan dies, Lexi is waiting for him on the other side. There is no better friend than that.

9 Weakest: Elijah and Marcel

In The Originals, Marcel always seemed part of the family, but still apart from the original family of vampires. Klaus considered Marcel a son. For Rebekah, he was the most epic love of her life. Elijah, seemingly the most civil of his family, also loved Marcel.

RELATED: The Originals 20 Wild Things About Elijah Mikaelson Fans Choose to Ignore

However, when a prophecy suggested that Marcel was going to kill Elijah’s original family or at least mark the downfall, Elijah had no problem in killing Marcel. This shows that Elijah never really considered Marcel a part of the family. Luckily for us, Marcel came back. Their friendship did not.

8 Strongest: Elena and Bonnie

At one point when Katherine (Elena’s doppelganger) had taken over Elena’s body, she asked Matt to tell her which friend Elena liked best–Bonnie or Caroline. Matt tells her that Elena liked both equally.

However, we would disagree. Elena has the stronger bond with Bonnie. She confides in Bonnie in ways that she wouldn’t confide in Caroline. Bonnie sacrifices a lot for Elena again and again. Their friendship may have changed a little throughout The Vampire Diaries, but these two are like those childhood friends that are almost family. No matter what, they will always care for each other.

7 Weakest: Alaric and Dorien

Although both characters are in the other shows, mainly The Vampire Diaries, their friendship can be more easily seen in Legacies.  Alaric serves as the headmaster of the school, and Dorien is the librarian. They are united in their desire to help the supernatural young students.

Both men respect each other, and Alaric frequently depends on Dorien, taking stock in Dorien’s knowledge. However, in the end, due to both liking the same woman, they are no longer friends. For a friendship to be so easily broken, it would have to be a weak friendship to begin with. While they both care about the school, Dorien no longer respects or cares much for Alaric.

6 Strongest: Davina and Josh

Davina and Josh meet in Season 1 of The Originals. Davina, living alone in a church attic to protect her from other witches, develops a friend in Josh. She performs magic to help Josh get Klaus out of his mind (Klaus compelled Josh to do what he wanted). They bond while she helps him, and it takes time to remove Klaus from his mind.

RELATED: Top 10 Most Powerful Witches from The Vampire Diaries Universe

Their friendship continues throughout the series. Josh is probably one of the only vampires (besides Marcel) that Davina really trusts. In Season 3, when she decides to “die” in order to get some witch information from Kol (her witch/vampire dead boyfriend), she chooses Josh to be her lifeline. As he holds her hand, she tells him, “Whatever happens, don’t let go. You’re my link to the living.” That loyalty, trust, and love equals a very strong friendship.

5 Weakest: Stefan and Klaus

As much as we may grow to love Klaus in The Originals, he is very much the villain in The Vampire Diaries. We find out that Klaus and Stefan had been friends during the 1920s when he had his humanity turned off and was a Ripper. Apparently, Klaus misses his old pal, and he forces Stefan to be a Ripper again.

RELATED: The Originals 20 Things Wrong with Klaus We All Choose to Ignore

Friends are supposed to bring out the best in us, but Klaus encourages the worst in Stefan. He makes it seem that the only Stefan that Klaus really enjoys is the worst Stefan. Once Stefan is his better self, Klaus doesn’t find him that interesting.

4 Strongest: Landon and Rafael

Although we don’t know the full details of their history, it is clear that these two are tight. They regard each other as brothers. At first, Rafael (a werewolf) says that he won’t stay at The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted without Landon. Then Landon convinces Rafael to stay.

Later when people are against Landon, Rafael stands up for him and leaves the school to be with his brother. These two are tight, which is why the potential love triangle with Hope is especially dangerous. We hope that these two friends retain their close friendship in Season 2.

3 Weakest: Hayley and Tyler

Back in The Vampire Diaries, Hayley worked to help Tyler break the Klaus-hybrid sire bond. They were helping other werewolf-vampire hybrids do the same. Then Hayley makes a deal with Klaus. In exchange for information about her heritage, twelve hybrids are sacrificed. While Hayley did save Tyler from being one of those twelve, her betrayal showed that she wasn’t a good friend.

RELATED: Legacies 10 Characters from The Originals and The Vampire Diaries that Need a Cameo in Season 2

Later, in The Originals, Tyler kidnaps a very pregnant Hayley and jabs a syringe in her pregnant belly to gather blood from her hybrid baby in order to make a hybrid army against Klaus. Regardless to say, Tyler and Hayley may have been good friends to other characters in these two shows, but they weren’t good friends to each other.

2 Strongest: Bonnie and Damon

While we are willing to call this a tie with Caroline and Stefan, Bonnie and Damon squeak ahead, partly due to their story. These two didn’t start out as friends, and it is fair to say that Bonnie hated Damon. When they are stuck in the prisoner world together, they bond out of necessity. Damon gets back to the real world before Bonnie does. When she does return, she goes immediately to find Damon. Their reunion is joyous with Bonnie giving Damon a flying hug.

At the end of the 6th season, Bonnie’s life was linked to Elena’s by a spell, meaning that while Bonnie was alive, Elena was in a sleep state. While many thought that Damon would just kill Bonnie to get Elena back, Damon didn’t. You could say that it was because he knew that Elena would be unhappy with him when she woke up, but really it was because Bonnie had become his best friend.

1 Weakest: Enzo and Damon

Damon’s friendship with Enzo was when he was at his worst. In a flashback, we see that they met in a science lab where both vampires were being experimented upon in The Vampire Diaries. They worked together to think of an escape plan. When Damon gets out, he leaves Enzo, and Enzo remains experimented upon for years.

While Enzo still gives Damon another chance, we don’t know if we would be as forgiving. At that time of his life, Damon had been one horrible friend. It took many series and a beautiful friendship with Bonnie (and Alaric) to redeem Damon.

The Vampire Diaries Universe, the epic stories, and the complex friendships continues in its last spin-off, Legacies. We are excited to see what other strong and weak friendships will be in it as the show enters Season 2.

NEXT: Legacies and Buffy The Vampire Slayer: 5 Ways They Are Similar (And 5 Ways They Are Different) 


2019-07-12 05:07:34

Heather Frankland

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3: 10 Questions About The MCU’s Universe It Needs To Answer

Although it’ll be delayed while James Gunn finishes work on the sequel to Suicide Squad, which may or may not also function as a reboot, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is on the way. A lot has happened to the Guardians between their second and third movies. Most of them have died and been resurrected while the rest have suffered the grief, and Gamora’s whereabouts are unknown.

A lot happened to the world of the MCU, too: the Snap, the Blip, the invention of time travel, the destruction of the Infinity Stones, the creation of a bunch of alternate timelines. So, here are 10 Questions About The MCU’s Universe Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Needs To Answer.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Guardians Of The Galaxy Is The MCU’s Best Solo Franchise

10 How were other planets affected by the Snap?

The double whammy of Infinity War and Endgame had universe-wide ramifications, but since the Avengers are Earth’s mightiest heroes, we only really saw how Thanos’ destructive finger-snap affected life on terra firma.

The only other planet where we saw people turn to dust was Titan, and that was only because Iron Man and co were there. Spider-Man: Far From Home showed us how Earth has been coping after a very strange five years. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 can show us how other planets have been coping, as well as how the Snap – which would have occurred to them spontaneously, with no build-up or explanation – affected other races.

9 What did the Sovereign do with Adam Warlock?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was set in 2014, just a couple of months after the first one, and Avengers: Infinity War caught up with the Guardians a few years later, in 2018 (ish – the timeline of the MCU is very confusing).

In the post-credits scene of Vol. 2, we saw Ayesha creating a powerful artificial being capable of destroying the Guardians, naming it “Adam.” Marvel fans got excited for the introduction of Adam Warlock, but it’s now been nine years (ish) in the story’s timeline and he has yet to make an appearance. Vol. 3 will have to explain the reason for this.

8 Is there really a multiverse?

Although all the trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home teased a multiverse that many fans thought would introduce the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, it turned out Mysterio was lying the whole time. However, as confirmed by Doctor Strange and the Ancient One, there is still a multiverse in the MCU.

RELATED: Far From Home: 10 Facts You Didn’t Know About J. Jonah Jameson

The question remains, will we ever get to actually see these alternate realities? With the search for Gamora and the introduction of Adam Warlock, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 might already be too overstuffed to get into this, but perhaps it could be the subject of a post-credits stinger.

7 What was the impact of Ego’s attack on the universe?

In the final battle of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ego begins his plan to remake the universe in his own image. Luckily, Quill manages to stop him before anybody is killed. But before then, we see a montage of glowing black sludge engulfing various planets, including Earth.

We see dozens of humans fleeing the sludge as it destroys a whole street full of cars. When Quill kills Ego, stopping his takeover of the universe, the sludge just grinds to a halt and cools down. And yet, no one on Earth – or any of the other planets, for that matter – has mentioned it since.

6 Where has Captain Marvel been for 20 years?

Avengers: Endgame hinted at why Carol Danvers didn’t show up to help the Avengers sooner when she said she’d been off helping planets that didn’t have their own superhero team to protect them. While no one is expecting Brie Larson to make an appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, as the MCU’s only planet-hopping solo franchise, the Guardians threequel does have an opportunity to show the effects of some of her work.

Maybe the Guardians could stop off at a planet where there’s a shrine to Captain Marvel to commemorate her for fending off an alien invasion that once threatened them.

5 Will Xandar’s destruction lead to Nova’s MCU debut?

Fans have been excited for Nova to make his MCU debut ever since the Nova Corps was introduced in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. He was speculated to appear in Avengers: Endgame, but he didn’t.

RELATED: 10 Reasons Guardians Of The Galaxy Is The MCU’s Best Solo Franchise

In the comics, Richard Rider takes on the superhero alter ego Nova when he becomes the final surviving member of the Nova Corps. It seems reasonable to assume the Nova Corps died during Thanos’ off-screen destruction of Xandar in Avengers: Infinity War, so it would be great to see Nova make his introduction into the MCU in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

4 Where is Red Skull?

The Russo brothers have said that once the Soul Stone has been relinquished, Red Skull is free to leave Vormir. He’s now given away the Soul Stone twice and still never left Vormir (at least not on-screen).

While it’s too late for him to have a rematch with Captain America, it would still be interesting to see where he ended up. The answer to this one could be saved for a mid-credits scene since Red Skull probably doesn’t have a place in the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The fact that he’s off in the depths of space means his inclusion in a Guardians tease makes sense.

3 What’s going on with the Watchers?

Stan Lee’s cameo appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 offered a fun confirmation of a popular fan theory, that Lee manages to be in so many places in different bodies in the MCU because he’s a Watcher keeping an eye on the Avengers.

RELATED: 10 Questions Spider-Man: Far From Home Answers About Phase 4 of the MCU

However, this fun little scene also introduced the existence of the Watchers in the MCU. In the comics, the Watchers are an omniscient alien race, led by Uatu, whose job is to watch over the multiverse. If the Watchers return in Vol. 3, it could be a way of explaining the multiverse in the MCU.

2 Was there a different Guardians of the Galaxy team before Star-Lord came along?

In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Sylvester Stallone appeared as Stakar Ogord, who used to be in a team with Yondu and ostracized him for trafficking Ego’s kids. He later forgave Yondu and attended his funeral. In a mid-credits scene, Stakar rallies the rest of his and Yondu’s old team: Ving Rhames as Charlie-27, an uncredited Miley Cyrus as the voice of Mainframe, Michael Rosenbaum as Martinex T’Naga, Michelle Yeoh as Aleta Ogord, and Krugarr.

In the comics, these are the original Guardians of the Galaxy who debuted in 1969. James Gunn has already said that Stakar is “very important to the Marvel universe,” and promised that “it’s our plan to see more of Stallone.”

1 Are Soul Stone deaths really permanent?

When Thanos first arrived on Vormir to collect the Soul Stone, Red Skull told him, “A soul for a soul.” In other words, you have to sacrifice the person you care about the most to attain the Soul Stone. Thanos decided to sacrifice Gamora, and despite Soul Stone deaths supposedly being permanent, she still returned in Endgame – albeit with all her character development undone – thanks to the wonders of time travel. At the end of that movie, she was nowhere to be seen.

She didn’t attend Tony Stark’s funeral and she didn’t board the Benatar with the other Guardians. But fans are still holding out hope that she’ll be back.

NEXT: Guardians Of The Galaxy: 10 Fan Theories About Where Gamora Is


2019-07-12 05:07:23

Ben Sherlock

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

The Justice League Are KILLERS in Marvel’s Universe

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Avengers #18

When the Avengers just aren’t enough to protect Earth, it’s time to call in Marvel’s own version of the Justice League. But the new Squadron Supreme couldn’t look more like an exact copy of DC’s greatest heroes if they tried. The only difference? This new team is made up of trained killers that make Batman v Superman look like a day at the park.

Since the team made a surprise appearance as a team handpicked and assembled by Agent Phil Coulson himself in Avengers #700, they have kept their presence in the Marvel Universe quiet. Now that their secrets are out, they are too: leaping into action as “D.C.’s greatest heroes!” Defenders of America’s capital, hence the name. But the comparisons to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the League go far deeper than a simple joker. The new Squadron Supreme of America is a dark, bloody, and sinister creation of Agent Coulson’s. And their idea of handling an invasion… is turning the invaders into a pile of blood and bones. We can’t imagine DC is going to like this one.

  • This Page: Meet Marvel’s Knockoff Justice League
  • Page 2: These Justice League Heroes Commit Brutal Murder

The team makes their aforementioned, grand debut in the pages of Avengers #18, available at comic book stores now. For newcomers, the Squadron Supreme (now ‘of America’) is going to be hard to understand. Especially today, when DC’s own Captain Marvel movie ignores the MCU version, instead of getting to poke fun at the competition. Instead of poking, the Squadron Supreme is a lot closer to bludgeoning readers directly in their faces, once the team stands tall as the most obvious Justice League knockoff most readers will have ever seen.

RELATED: Marvel’s New Avengers: WORLD Team is Perfect For The MCU

Originally reated by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, the Squadron Supreme was dreamed up as a playful recreation of the Justice League, used to battle Marvel as obvious “bad guys” for little more than a laugh among the readers.The Kryptonian Superman was re-imagined as Hyperion, Batman became (an African America) Nighthawk, Wonder Woman was now Power Princess born of ‘Utopia Isle,’ a home of warrior women., The Flash and Green Lantern got similar spoofs, but nothing like the latest rendition.

Now that the massive War of the Realms event has come to Marvel’s Earth, the Squadron Supreme has been pushed into action. And with their call to service in the public eye, they get a heroic introduction from Phil Coulson personally:

Nighthawk. Power Princess. Hyperion. Doctor Spectrum. The Blur. For months now (or has it been years?) they’ve been training in secret in the nation’s capital… honing their wondrous powers, working to become the greatest nation’s greatest super heroes. The Squadron Supreme of America. And they owe it all to one man. Agent Phil Coulson.

However, as we mentioned above, the issue also reveals the origins of the Squadron Supreme. And those have absolutely nothing in common with the DC counterparts. Instead of hailing from an alien world, a warrior island, or a Gotham City stand-in… these heroes have been created in a lab, with Phil Coulson overseeing every step of their growth and programming. And if the costumes they’ve been given seem to be heading a different direction than the Justice League (except for Wonder Wom–sorry, Power Princess) their approach to combat is aiming for a completely different audience.

Forget knockout punches, heat vision, tornadoes, gadgets, or energy constructs. The Squadron Supreme of America relies on brute strength and vicious violence to slaughter the Frost Giants in the nation’s capital. They may be the “heroes of D.C.” but the true version of the Justice League wouldn’t touch these murderers with a ten foot pole. We’re guessing readers will want to see the violence for themselves, but be warned: gruesome SPOILERS incoming…

Next Page: Marvel’s Justice League Heroes Are ALL Murderers

The issue opens by focusing on Hyperion, living a civilian life that might have been Clark Kent’s in another universe (which, come to think of it, the Marvel reality might actually be). Instead of working as a reporter at a major newspaper, Mark Milton has taken a job teaching children about American history. Like MCU fans know, Phil Coulson likes his heroes patriotic. Which is why Hyperion doesn’t love anything as much as the United States. Check out the character description offered in the issue for this new, happy-with-homicide Hyperion:

Mark Milton loves teaching American history. He loves seeing the spark in a student’s eye when they get excited about the country he holds so dear. But teaching is not why Mark was put on this Earth. Explosions in the distance. Now the entire city is screaming. This is why he was born, however many years ago that was. For this moment. He’s seven, maybe eight seconds away from the source of the scream. He’ll be there in two.

RELATED: The Marvel/DC War is Over, Thanks to James Gunn

The decision to have Hyperion tear open his dress shirt to reveal his Hyperion logo in classic Superman fashion is a clever and satisfying homage. But Power Princess stretches those boundaries beyond repair. Wearing Wonder Woman’s armor, using her weapons, and confirming her exact backstory… well, it’s not Marvel’s most subtle comedy. But when readers get insight into how she and Hyperion are created together, nude, and designed to lust after one another… things take a turn towards, to be fair, as creepy a tone as this story actually should have. Although we doubt many Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will appreciate ANY version of Phil Coulson claiming a brutal Wonder Woman should be like “Thor, but with boobs.”

Readers are introduced to Princess Zarda during her boxing training, as her coach notes that she lives to be hit as well as give hits. The readers knows the truth about her sparring, and about the mystical item that makes it possible:

“It’s almost like you enjoy getting punched in the face.” Zarda only smiles when he says that. How could she explain the pain makes her feel alive? That without the special necklace from Utopia Isle that dampens her powers, Zarda wouldn’t feel anything at all? And the bones of this woman’s hand would’ve been shattered into a thousand pieces.

The new version of Nighthawk looks more like a knockoff version of Marvel’s Batman than any introduced before, but Kyle Richmond’s origin story is slightly different. Now a politician as opposed to a billionaire industrialist, Nighthawk possesses the exact same level of paranoia and suspicion that is often parodied as it pertains to Bruce Wayne. The real Bruce keeps tabs on his teammates, sure… but Nighthawk takes it to another, even colder level. It’s not really his choice of course, since Coulson is once again programming him with Bat-levels of

Since Washington, D.C. is a special federal district, its representative has no real voting power in congress. Kyle Richmond is a delegate without the full powers of a congressman. The weakest member of the House, some would say. They would be wrong.

The Blur and Doctor Spectrum only get a page or two in this issue, and the reasons are understandable. Spectrum’s origin story is simple (astronaut finds space crystal, becomes a soldier of the spectrum of light) but it’s The Blur’s powers that make for the most predictable, yet unquestionably disgusting kill of the issue. Having been exposed to countless hours of pop culture garbage and torture videos intended to fracture his mind, The Blur is unleashed upon a Frost Giant, using his speed not only to disorient the invader, but apparently remove his head from his body. The reader is spared the grisly sight, but can take comfort in the fact that this murderous version of The Flash still got a selfie with the severed head.

Since his fateful jog through a strange mist that altered his body chemistry, Stanley Stewart has worked as a mail carrier, window washer, dog walker, barista, and computer programmer. Sometimes all in the same day.

It’s unclear just how large a role the new, bloodthirsty, emotionless, and lab-grown Squadron Supreme of America is going to have in the future of the Marvel Universe. The same goes for Agent Coulson, the devious mastermind behind the new team of heroes loyal only to America. We would say it’s worth the joke, perhaps poking fun at DC’s darker film heroes, but this debut proves the Squadron is no longer a laughable imitation of the Justice League. With an army of non-human invaders for them to impale, eviscerate, detonate, and burn alive… well, let’s just hope these ‘heroes’ get called out as the villains they are sooner, rather than later.

Avengers #18 is available now from your local comic book store, or direct from Marvel Comics.

MORE: Thor’s Jane Foster Just Became Marvel’s NEW Valkyrie


2019-04-25 03:04:03

Andrew Dyce

Series: Your Story Universe Review – Live in The Movies (For A Price)

Series: Your Story Universe might let players participate as characters in their favorite movie and TV shows, but the good choices will cost them.

In Series: Your Story Universe, players have the chance to live out their wildest dreams in their favorite movies and TV shows. From The Breakfast Club to Saved By The Bell, players can jump into their favorite fictional worlds and become a character within them. It’s just too bad that to continue playing, as well as to make certain decisions, it’s going to cost them some real-world cash.

To begin Series, players must choose which world they want to play. The choices include a variety of movies and TV shows from the NBC/Universal library, including The Breakfast Club, Law & Order, Bridesmaids, Saved by the Bell, Xena, Vanderpump Rules and Sixteen Candles. After a story is selected, players can choose to customize their characters, choosing between genders, as well as choosing from a variety of hair color and styles, facial features, eye color and size and more. Once character creation is complete, the game alerts the player that clothing can make or break a scene, so characters are then prompted to choose their outfits. Then the story begins, and players find themselves dropped into the world of their chosen story. For example, The Breakfast Club begins with the main character doing something that lands that character in detention with the rest of the characters from that movie.

Related: SteamWorld Quest Review: A Genuinely Joyful Card-based RPG

This is where the fun supposedly begins. Imagine being in detention with Claire, Andrew, Brian, Bender and Allison, with Vice Principal Vernon breathing down their necks. Gameplay involves reacting to what the other characters say and do, with dialogue that comes straight out of the movie. But what makes Series so interesting is that as the player progresses through various chapters, the situations go beyond the films and into brand new territory. For example, in The Breakfast Club, after detention, the main character gets invited to a house party.

However, this is also where Series begins to fail. These new stories that go outside of the original movies and TV shows aren’t always well-written. There are also times when characters seem to act out of character. Sometimes, the dialogue is just dull, and getting through it to get to the next choice often feels cumbersome.

It gets even more annoying when players are faced with choices, and one is a “premium” choice. That means that this particular choice (which is more than likely the one most players would want to make) costs gems. And the gems run out quickly so that players are forced to either make the choice they didn’t want to make or fork over real-world money to buy gems. The game also requires players to have tickets to play future episodes/chapters, and those seem to run out quickly. One hundred gems and 14 tickets run around $5, which should allow players to make a total of approximately four premium choices.

To say the game is a money grab is putting it lightly. Although players can earn gems and tickets through gameplay, they can’t collect them fast enough to keep playing. So although the premise behind Series is a promising one, in the end, it’s all about how much money players want to invest in a game that probably isn’t worth it.

More: Heaven’s Vault Review: Too Much of a Good Thing

Series: Your Story Universe releases on the App Store and Google Play on April 25, 2019. Screen Rant was provided with a download code for the purposes of this review.


2019-04-25 01:04:40

Robin Burks

DC Universe is Coming For Marvel Unlimited With 21,000+ Comics

DC has rolled out a big update for its DC Universe streaming service, adding over 21,000 comics for subscribers’ reading pleasure. The service is now a big competitor for Marvel Unlimited, as Unlimited only features comics while DC has both comics and original shows.

Although it may feel like DC Universe just launched, the streaming service has been available since September of last year. Content is expanding, and what’s already there has been liked by fans. Titans was the first show to be featured. Although the first trailer was controversial, a number of subscribers have enjoyed the show and are eagerly anticipating season 2. Doom Patrol is very well liked. Arguably, the most popular show is Young Justice: Outsiders, the sequel to the canceled Cartoon Network series. Upcoming shows include a Harley Quinn animated series, Swamp Thing (though it had its episode count diminished), and Stargirl.

Related: Doom Patrol Is A Hit – But It Can’t Beat Titans’ Popularity

After an announcement in March, DC Universe now features a complete selection of comics from throughout DC’s history. According to a press release, DC Universe has digital access to over 21,000 individual issues. Although you can’t use the service to keep up with the current weekly issues, as there has to be one year of release from any given issue, it’s still a very useful resource for subscribers. Except for current issues, users should be able to find any DC comic. Plus, issues will be added monthly. (An issue that’s releasing tomorrow will be available one year later, as an example of how releases work.) As for reading features, the service will have page mode, an auto-play by panel, and cloud bookmarks to remember where one left off. Also, subscribers can download issues for offline reading similar to downloading movies on Netflix.

Comic recommendations will be given to subscribers based on current and upcoming movies, series, and DC’s original streaming content. So, users can probably expect some essential stories with The Joker to tie into the upcoming Joaquin Phoenix film, for example. Of course, subscribers will be able to create their own playlists as well.

DC’s digital comic lineup is impressive. A person who may only be a casual comic reader now has a chance to read a multitude of issues instantly. It’s also a great resource for reading material that movies and shows are based on. Maybe someone is watching the final season of Gotham and wants to see how No Man’s Land went down in the comics, for example. Those concerned that DC Universe would see a price hike due to a large catalog of comics can rest easy. DC Universe is still $7.99 a month or $74.99 a year. For some DC fans, the price is worth it just for the comics alone.

More: DC Universe Theory: Cyborg’s Dad Erased His Memories of Titans’ Beast Boy

Source: DC Universe


2019-04-23 05:04:04

Daniel Alvarez

How The Curse of La Llorona Connects To The Conjuring Universe

Warning: SPOILERS ahead for The Curse of La Llorona

Another new installment of The Conjuring universe is out in theaters, but how exactly does The Curse of La Llorona connect to the larger horror franchise? We’re here to break down the crossover elements and where The Curse of La Llorona falls in the overall canon of The Conjuring series.

When New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. released The Conjuring in 2013, they had no idea just how big it would become. The James Wan directed film is viewed as one of the modern classics of the genre and received great critical praise upon its release. This translated to the box office too, where The Conjuring grossed $319 million worldwide on just a $20M budget. The studios capitalized on this runaway success, and The Conjuring was turned into an entire cinematic universe full of demons and other paranormal instances.

Related: The Conjuring Is Warner Bros.’ Most Successful Cinematic Universe

Prequel/spinoff movie  Annabelle marked the first expansion of the universe in 2014, while the main Conjuring franchise received a sequel with The Conjuring 2 in 2016. From this point on, Warner Bros. has not had a year without a new installment of the franchise in theaters. The Conjuring 2 was followed by Annabelle: Creation, a prequel film to the original and larger universe, and The Nun, a prequel/spinoff film that takes place the furthest in the past and used to expand upon the demonic Valek the Nun that appeared in Conjuring 2. There’s another installment this year with Annabelle Comes Home, but now we know that it isn’t the only Conjuring movie of 2019.

  • This Page: Father Perez Ties La Llorona To Annabelle
  • Page 2: La Llorona’s Other Annabelle Cameo & Future

Yes, The Curse of La Llorona Is In The Conjuring Universe

If you have only paid attention to The Curse of La Llorona‘s marketing campaign, then you may be surprised to learn that the film is connected to The Conjuring‘s expansive world. The film did not tease any connections to a larger universe in the marketing and was believed to be just a regular, standalone supernatural thriller. This was proven to not be the case when the film first screened at SSXW earlier this year and reactions to the film confirmed that The Curse of La Llorona is connected to the previous Conjuring movies.

The architects of the entire Conjuring franchise, James Wan and Gary Dauberman, were previously attached as producers on the movie, which should’ve been a major giveaway that such a reveal was coming. That said, it is unclear if The Curse of La Llorona was always envisioned to be a part of the larger franchise. It was originally titled The Children, and the connecting points between this movie and the bigger universe are relatively small, meaning they could’ve been worked into the film at the last minute. But what are these connections?

Father Perez Was In The First Annabelle Movie

One of the major connections that The Curse of La Llorona makes to the Conjuring franchise is having Tony Armendola reprise his role as Father Perez. He first appeared in Annabelle, making this his second appearance in the franchise. In Annabelle, Perez is contacted by John and Mia Form – played by Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis respectively – and asked for his help after the spirit that possesses the Annabelle doll attacks their family. Perez is the one who explains the connection between the demon and Annabelle to the family. He attempts to help them by taking Annabelle to a church, but is attacked by the demon before he can get inside and winds up in the hospital.

These events all happened in 1967, but Perez is now healthy and continuing to serve as a pastor in 1973. He once again is used as an advisor during the supernatural events that Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) and her family face. Anna asks him if he knows anything about La Llorona, and he explains the supposed legend to her. But, he refuses to get involved with another supernatural activity and directs Anna and her family to an ex-priest who may be of service.

Page 2: La Llorona’s Other Annabelle Cameo & Future

Annabelle’s Cameo In The Curse of La Llorona Explained

Perez’s lack of interest in helping the Tate-Garcia family may keep his overall role small in The Curse of La Llorona, but there is one other part of his screen time that reminds viewers in a more obvious way of the film’s connection to the larger universe – and we’re not talking about the reference to the Warrens that he makes. When he is explaining the legend of La Llorona to Anna, he alludes to his previous supernatural encounter with Annabelle. Instead of letting hardcore fans piece together the connective tissue though, The Curse of La Llorona makes the connection clear.

It doesn’t last long, but the movie does briefly use a flashback to show part of Perez’s role in Annabelle once again. The shot features him leaving the Forms’ apartment with the Annabelle doll in his grasp. This scene comes during the third act of the 2014 film, when he attempts to take the doll to his church. The events that transpire after that make him hesitant to get involved with La Llorona.

Related: The Conjuring Universe Complete Timeline Explained

While the cameo of Annabelle may feel slightly cheap and unnecessary in the grand scheme of The Curse of La Llorona and the Conjuring franchise, it’s a pretty harmless one to make. This isn’t an example of the film changing the history of the doll or adding another story to the universe that could be used to do another spinoff film, but rather building off of what came before. Its a smart move that further ties The Curse of La Llorona to a bigger universe, which only will leave viewers wondering if a larger connection will be made.

Will La Llorona Join The Conjuring Universe Proper?

The Curse of La Llorona may not be a spinoff of another Conjuring film and only features these small pieces of connectivity, but these actions still firmly place it in the larger shared universe. The ending of the film originally makes it appear as though there will be no future stories based around La Llorona or these characters, but then the post-credits “scene” teases something more. The recognizable and distinct cry of The Weeping Woman once again is heard, indicating that she was only momentarily defeated and could return again.

There’s no plans for a sequel to The Curse of La Llorona at the moment, but the financial success of the film will go a long way towards determining if this happens. The domestic opening weekend isn’t projected to be very high, but the franchise has performed very well overseas traditionally. With a reported budget of only $15M though, it won’t take much for The Curse of La Llorona to be successful enough for a sequel happen.

Regardless of whether or not a sequel happens, there’s more opportunities for the spirit to return, if the creators do plan on doing just that. One of the quickest opportunities will be The Conjuring 3. The film’s director will be Michael Chaves, who just made his directorial debut with The Curse of La Llorona. Him being selected to take over for James Wan clearly is a sign that they liked his work on this new film, but could also mean that La Llorona will have a role given Chaves’ familiarity with the character. It is simply too early to tell whether or not La Llorona will make a return, but it is at least possible now.

MORE: The Curse of La Llorona Review


2019-04-20 09:04:46

Cooper Hood

7 Films That You Didn’t Know Are Part Of The Ridley Scott Universe

Ridley Scott is a name you know even if you don’t watch movies. Scott’s extensive body of work that includes more than twenty Hollywood films. He is also an active producer.

Leaving out the Alien and Bladerunner franchises, which seem to suck all the air out of this room before the conversation even gets started, what movies are the best to watch to get an idea of Ridley Scott’s impressive range?

The following movies are when Ridley Scott tells us a story with the same triumphant themes and epic storylines that made him famous. This is an eclectic list that includes historical dramas, fairy tales and documentaries. And there isn’t an Alien or replicant in sight.

In the end, the conflict always comes from within.

RELATED: Ridley Scott Says He’s ‘Too Dangerous’ to Direct Star Wars

7 The Duelists (1977)

It wasn’t science fiction or a thriller that brought Ridley Scott into the spotlight. The Duellists is a historical drama set in Napolean-era France and won the Best Debut Film at the Cannes Film Festival in 1977. Few peoples outside of Cannes know Ridley Scott had anything to do with it.

It might not take place in space, but the setting is just as dangerous. This is a journey that follows the violent and bloody obsession of two men as their lives take them from war to war. For 15 years, they fight an ongoing duel with the chaos of 19th-century Europe in the background.

It’s an epic tale, winning accolades for historic accuracy and brilliant direction. Scott would give us similar historic settings in the future like Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood. 

6 Legend (1985)

Every so often we get a fantasy movie that’s intended for adults but ends up beings marketed to kids. Most people stumbled across this film in their childhood somewhere between The Neverending Story and The Dark Crystal. The result is box office failure and obscurity, and thus we have Legend. 

The script went through numerous rewrites and there are currently four versions of the film, with the Director’s Cut being the most recent in 2002.

RELATED: 20 Crazy Details Behind the Making of Legend

As one of Tom Cruise and Ridley’s Scott’s earliest big-budget films, with other stars like Tim Rice holding up the cast, this movie does have some merit and enjoys a cult following.

5 White Squall (1996)

Survivalism is a popular genre and Ridley Scott likes to pit his characters against ridiculous odds. That doesn’t necessarily mean man versus nature in this film, either. Some of the most intense drama takes place when the students have to confront issues with each other or family members. Training sequences are just as tense as the heroic actions that take place during the actual storm.

A lot of White Squall is based on a true story about a student sailing trip gone wrong in the 1960s. This was yet another movie that critics liked but failed at the box office. People liked the action sequences but cringed at the sappy dialogue.

Without the direction of Ridley Scott and a strong performance from Jeff Bridges this movie really would have sunk.

4 G.I. Jane (1997)

This movie was ahead of its time when it came to the subject of women breaking into a man’s world. It’s also an excellent example of smart marketing, image control and why Demi Moore was so popular. Viggo Martensen also plays a part.

G. I. Jane had a lot going for it as far as themes and characters. Other than that, it isn’t one of Scott’s more celebrated outings.

RELATED: 10 Best Training Montages in Movies

The actual storyline is rather forgettable, following a pattern that only a studio or test audience would love. Critics hated it for all the right reasons. Audiences loved it for all the wrong reasons.

3 Tristan and Isolde (2006)

Those that pay attention to Ridley Scott’s peripheral work won’t be surprised at how often myth and legend appear in his projects. Legend was based on a Celtic myth and Scott made a Robin Hood movie with Russell Crowe (although apparently not the movie he really wanted to make).

Scott isn’t behind the camera this time. His role in the making of Tristan and Isolde was as executive producer and he’s been open about working on adaptations for the story since the 1970s. Considering his interest in Celtic mythology, his involvement isn’t that surprising.

RELATED: Ridley Scott’s Merlin Saga Eyes Fall Start Date, Gets Character Breakdowns

The film was directed by Kevin Reynolds and was the last movie distributed by the now bankrupt Franchise Pictures.

2 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

This is one of those historical dramas that is loved by critics and underrated by the public, much like the equally obscure The Duellists. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is also about murderous intent and the personal conflict that arises between two people.

Even though Ridley produced this film as opposed to directing it, the actual director Andrew Dominik uses the same epic style. The train robbery at night scene is an amazing example of Roger Deakin’s cinematography talents. Dominik would team up with Brad Pitt later to make Killing Them Softly in 2012.

Yet another compelling period drama to add to Scott’s impressive resume.

1 Life in a Day (2011)

A unique documentary that was made in an unconventional format, Life in a Day is a compilation of crowdsourced YouTube videos arranged in a documentary format and released by National Geographic Films.

Over 80,000 different clips were used from a wide range of content creators and uploaders to make the movie. The videos all focus on a specific day, July 24th, 2010, the first Saturday after the World Cup.

This is also an instance where Ridley is an executive producer as opposed to the director. He also worked on editing the videos that were submitted as part of the initial compilation.

It’s an interesting twist that a director with so much talent would invest in a movie that doesn’t need him – and might signify the future of film.

NEXT: 10 Unrealized Ridley Scott Projects We Want to See


2019-04-20 01:04:49

Kristy Ambrose

Ranked: The 10 Strongest Monsters In The Godzilla Universe

In the 65 years that he’s been on screen, Godzilla has faced a multitude of different monsters. Sometimes are evil, while others act as benevolent protectors. Some stick around for a while, but most usually vanish forever after the credits roll.

Whatever the case, the Godzilla universe is home to some of the greatest giant monsters in all of science fiction. They’ve challenged the King of the Monsters time and time again, and while most aren’t successful, some of them leave a lasting impression on the series.

10 Anguirus

Anguirus is Robbin to Godzilla’s Batman. Always there when Godzilla needs him, he was a common sidekick in the Showa era. While he was first introduced as Godzilla’s enemy, Anguirus seemed to patch things up with the big G and decided to fight on his side. With a back covered in sharp spikes, Anguirus is difficult to attack from behind, and Godzilla often bounces enemies off of it for added damage.

RELATED: Star Wars 9 Finally Addresses The Original Trilogy’s Dumbest Moment

But While Anguirus may be a trusted ally, he’s pretty useless by himself. Without any range attack, his ability to hold his own is limited, and if a monster ever manages to kick him onto his back, his belly is left exposed to potential damage. Still, despite enduring the most damage out of any of Godzilla’s allies, he keeps coming back to help his buddy time and time again.

9 Gigan

With a pair of curved blades for arms and a saw in his belly, Gigan is a mishmash of different monsters thrown together. Part machine and part animal, Gigan’s body doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But Gigan is still considered one of the toughest foes of the 1970s.

Gigan is pretty much a giant Swiss Army Knife. He has a laser that he shoots out of his forehead, he can pull enemies into his spinning blade, and he can fly. Sadly, Gigan is one of the more arrogant monsters of the Godzilla universe, and it is here where he often meets his demise.

8 Megalon

Another Swiss Army Monster, Megalon can seemingly do anything he wants. He can fly, and burro underground. He has a pair of spinning drills for arms. The thing that sticks out of his head shoots lightening bots. He looks like a cockroach from hell, and was sent from a group of underground humans to conquer the world.

RELATED: The 5 Best and 5 Worst Godzilla Designs

But even with everything going for him, he still needs Gigan to help him fight off Godzilla and Jet Jaguar. And he still managed to loose. Much like Gigan before him, Megalon was simply not cunning enough to withstand Godzilla and his allies.

7 Biollante

Part plant, part Godzilla, and part human, Biollante makes Audrey II look like a daisy. The result of a freak accident at a lab, Biollante begins life as a rose, before morphing into a freakish monster that takes root in Tokyo bay. Despite her ugliness, she’s actually an ally to mankind, who’s possessed by the spirit of a girl who died in a bombing.

Biollante’s mouth is full of hundreds of razor sharp teeth, and she spits an acid that melts flesh. She also has an army of Venus Flytraps that can extend as long as she needs them. They can sprout out of the water and hold an enemy down, or pull them into her jaws. While Godzilla was too much for her to bear, the spirit that occupied her continues to live on.

6 Space Godzilla

Another creature born who is part Godzilla, Space Godzilla was created when some of Godzilla’s skin sells were accidentally carried into space by Mothra. The result was a creature equal to Godzilla in almost every way, with the addition of psychic abilities that put him a cut above his earth born counterpart.

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Space Godzilla can pick up and throw things with his mind, including Godzilla, and he was able to spawn crystal pits that give him power. He could also levitate and fly in order to get to where he needs to be. In the end, though, Godzilla and G-Force’s Moguera unit made quick work of this Godzilla wannabe, and his potential was ultimately wasted.

5 Mecha King Ghidorah

A frankinstine-like monster, combining pieces of the dead King Ghidorah with mechanical parts, Mecha King Ghidorah is the most advanced and powerful mech of the Heisei era. Created in the 23rd century, the cyborg was sent back almost three-hundred years in the past to prevent the destruction of Japan by Godzilla.

Combining advanced, almost otherworldly technology with Ghidorah’s size and strength, Mecha King Ghidorah was the best of both worlds. In addition to firepower from three heads and powerful grapples that were strong enough to restrain anything, Mecha King Ghidorah could have been the death of Godzilla himself. And while he was defeated, his mechanical remains were used by G-Force to build Mechagodzilla.

4 Destoroyah

Created by the oxegen destroyer that killed the first Godzilla in 1954, Destoroyah is the grim reaper of the Godzilla series. Appearing around the same time that Godzilla was dying, Destoroyah threatened to end the human race with his army of crab-like minions. And with Godzilla’s death threatening to cause the apocalypse, Destoroyah’s spawn could’ve replaced the human race as earth’s dominate spieces.

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Able to break himself down into smaller versions of himself, Destoroyah is a threat on every level. His arsenal of attacks includes a horn that could turn into a katana, able to slice through anything and everything. Not even Godzilla could kill Destoroyah, and he defeated, it was a hollow victory.

3 Mechagodzilla

There have been three incarnations of Godzilla’s robotic doppelganger in the live action Toho films. The first from 1974 was built by space aliens to take over the world. The second was created by G-Force using the remains of Mecha King Ghidorah. And the third, sometimes called Kiryu, was brought to life using DNA from the 1954 Godzilla.

But no matter who built him, Mechagodzilla has remained one of Godzilla’s most formidable foes. Possessing state of the art weaponry like missiles, lasers, and jetpacks, Mechagodzilla has everything he needs to tame his adversaries. While Godzilla usually beats him in the end, there have been more than a few times when Mechagodzilla has come close to toppling the King of the Monsters for good.

2 King Ghidorah

Godzilla’s arch nemesis, Ghidorah is the Joker of the Godzilla universe. A three headed dragon of otherworldly origins, Ghidorah appears and re-appears regularly to give Godzilla a good thrashing. Perhaps the biggest of the Godzilla kaijus, he towers over all those who oppose him.

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His wings generate hurricane-force winds, his serpentine necks can asphyxiate his victims like a boa, and each head shoots yellow lightening. But it’s the sound he makes that stands out the most, a telltale laugh that makes it seem as though he’s mocking his opponents.

1 Mothera

While not indestructible, Mothera is easily the smartest and most cunning creature in the Godzilla universe. Possessing human-like emotion and empathy, she’s able to easily outsmart her attackers, exploting gaps in their judgement to bring down even her toughest adversary.

Mothera’s greatest asset of all is her sense of duty. Sent to protect the earth from potential harm, Mothera is willing to do whatever it takes to complete her mission, even if that means sacrificing her life, a feat that most monsters are unwilling or unable to do. And while she may not live to see another fight, her legacy lives on in her offspring, who go on to take her place.

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2019-04-19 03:04:38

David Chiodaroli