It’s official, old buddy
by Thom Yee
A lot has been made lately of the diminishing value of star power in Hollywood. Chris Hemsworth, for instance, is a popular actor right now, well-liked, men want to be him and be with him and like that, and yet outside of his Marvel work, movies in which he stars rarely do well, usually underperform, and even fail to achieve their goal of launching new franchises (see: Blackhat, Men in Black: International). Tom Cruise, who, in many respects, could be considered the ultimate movie star working today, rarely has a non-Mission: Impossible movie that’s a full-on hit these days and has even had his own recent failure to launch an intended franchise with the 2017 Mummy remake (remember the Dark Universe)? Movie stars just aren’t what they used to be, generally adding to a movie’s appeal but rarely getting it done on their own (though to be fair, most of those movies I just mentioned were pretty bad [I thought I was completely lost watching Men in Black: International because I couldn’t stay awake, but it turns out it was just poorly written]). There just aren’t that many people in Hollywood who can sell a movie on their name alone.
Quentin Tarantino being the one notable exception. Continue reading
It was the tail end of spring 2008, just before summer, that a little movie called Iron Man debuted from a little studio called Marvel. As the first self-financed and produced work from Marvel, who had, until that point, almost exclusively licensed its properties out to other studios, Iron Man was a big step forward even if the movie itself wasn’t opening to too much in the way of fan fair or expectations. But as the summer closed and the box office dust had settled, Iron Man had earned nearly $600 million. That was kind of a lot back then.
Far more importantly, though, Iron Man established a beachhead; it was the first stage in what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a series of movies following the adventures of some of the greatest heroes of our age, and all, as it would turn out, taking place in the same world. What happened in one was reflected in another, our heroes would meet sometimes and even sometimes become integral parts of each other’s stories. Eleven years, 23 movies, and three unofficial “phases” later, Marvel has woven an intricate tapestry, a deep and epic backstory that rewards those of us paying attention while still maintaining the necessary accessibility for each of their individual chapters to stand on their own. Mostly. Continue reading
We’ve ended the Endgame now
by Thom Yee
Y’know what? We are really, really, really lucky that Marvel and Sony got the whole Spider-Man thing straightened out. Like, lucky as a culture. Like, lucky as a people. Like, lucky as a species.
For the time being at least.
It’s taken me a while to realize this, at least realize this fully with as much force and with as little doubt as I’m about to present here, but I’m finally ready to just say it: I hate the original Spider-Man movies. They’re dramatically overwrought and clichéd, their plots stretch out to the point of near total incredulity, and they feel so much more concerned with the idea of what a superhero movie is supposed to be that they get nowhere near what they can be. Continue reading