DC Comics Rebirth & Teen Titans #14 Spoilers: Kid Flash Wally West & Plus One More Very Unexpected Return That Will Rock Damian Wayne Robin?!
DC Comics Rebirth and Teen Titans #14 Spoilers follow.
The Teen Titans, including Damian Wayne Robin and ally and non-member Emiko Queen Red Arrow, are battled forces unleased by Green Arrow villain Onomatopoeia. Kid Flash Wally West was booted from the team by Damian, but he’s here to help.
They deal with the threats from the ocean and take on Onomatopoeia himself with…
…Damian and Wally buring their hatchet in Onomatopoeia!
After O is defeated, Wally and Damian get to a détente and the band is back together!
However Red Arrow is not read to join them team as…
…Tim Drake Red Robin watches and waits to reveal…
DC Comics Rebirth & Super Sons #10 Spoilers: Time Is Broken! Another Batman Arrives! New Superboy & Robin Status Quo?
DC Comics Rebirth and Super Sons #10 Spoilers follow.
The middle of Super Sons #10 we get an intermission and the arrival of the future Damian Wayne…
…as Batman 666. This is yet another in a long list of DC Rebirth examples that Time Is Broken!
In modern day, Damian Wayn is a kid and Robin partnered with Jon Kent who is Superboy; together the Super Sons with a new HQ… the Fortress of Attitude!
Lots of tech and gadgets from the Justice League and their dads Batman and Superman.
Plus both Damian Wayne and Jon Kent will attend the same private school in Metropolis.
Money has its privileges.
There are few things as satisfying as a good revenge flick. Vigilante justice rewards all my sensibilities of fairness; when the philosophical issues that come with it are also explored, I get almost giddy. Layer on some sort of redemption story on top, and I’m all in.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI tickles all those fancies. Plus it features some remarkable performances and some beautiful cinematography. I am so thankful I spent Thanksgiving Day watching this film.
Frances McDormand is “Mildred Hayes,” a woman who has purchased three billboards outside of town (hence the title) to send a message to the police department, and specifically “Chief Willoughby” (a terrific Woody Harrelson.) Hayes’s daughter was raped and murdered and the case is still unsolved. The billboards certainly motivate action; it’s the very consequences that catapult this story into the narrative stratosphere.
There are some excellent performances, not only from McDormand and Harrelson, but also from Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones, and Peter Dinklage. Rockwell is especially mesmerizing as an inept, angry cop who lives with his mother (a wonderfully complex Sandy Martin.).
The way the camera fixates on the flat affect of McDormand, who tells such a sad, angry story with her eyes and pursed lips. She’s a tour-de-force and a terrifyingly strong female lead. This is her movie, but it’s also a great example of the genius of Martin McDonagh.
About three-quarters into the movie, I started to think things had gotten off course but it all eventually comes full-circle. McDonagh has written a fascinating story, well-paced and beautifully shot. Without this cast, though, I’m confident it wouldn’t be this good. As it is, though, I’d expect to see it easily nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor this year.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Notable Cast: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones, Woody Harrelson, Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage, Zeljko Ivanek
Josh and JB chat about it being Josh’s birthday before showing clips of the 2008 turkey bowl and Alex Shelley being forced it into by Mick Foley. Boy was that a top-notch use of talent. JB is with a tumbler backstage and Robert Irvine is making food. The roster talks about the turkey bowl being a chance to enjoy good food and competition. Eli and Chris Adonis cut a promo on mashed potatoes. Eli names the turkey bowl after himself and Eddie is the captain of his team. Fantasma is on the opposing team. We get an Allie video and more of JB with Eli.
Alberto talks about how he loves Thanksgiving for his family. We get clips of the 2011 Turkey Bowl match. Allie talks to McKenzie having to avoid losing here so she can do well in the knockouts title tournament. Richard Justice says he’s worried about the turkey suit being tight on him. The roster talks about what they’re thankful for. LVN is added to the match and does turkey gobbles. We get clips of Robbie E facing Grado last year for the turkey bowl. Fallah Bah is on the team too. Clips of DDP hitting the cutter on Raven air as a Pluto clip. Chris hypes up his team, whlie Eddie hypes up his team. The teams eat some food and Eli takes credit for everything.
The match itself is pure comedy, with Richard Justice being all over it and being “a man who embodies Thanksgiving” according to JB. He dives on the pile off the apron and they catch him – so Allie dives on the pile. Adonis goes for the Adonis Lock on Eddie, but Eddie cradles him to win and Adonis is forced to wear the turkey suit. Adonis does so and beats up the babyfaces and their food. Eli gets a pie to the face, so yeah, he came off like a total dork here.
This uneven Thanksgiving episode of Arrow is stuffed with surprises.
This Arrow review contains spoilers.
Arrow Season 6 Episode 7
This uneven effort from Arrow crams about every holiday episode trope it can into 44 minutes. Turkey puns, a head-tilting cameo, and two highly anticipated developments. Happy sweeps, folks! Ultimately, the positives like Thea's return and seeing Oliver back in the hood were good enough to keep things moving, and holiday episodes are graded on a curve, right?
Oliver gets taken down a peg
Everything about Oliver's arrest was pretty bogus, from his perp walk occurring during a Thanksgiving food drive to the iPad they used to scan his fingerprints. Would the scrum of reporters ever be treated to both the arrest and booking? Absolutely not. Why was he name-checking his girlfriend in a mayoral speech? Because this is the CW. I like the idea of Felicity literally bailing Oliver out, but that seems like gross misuse of those funds, not to mention the kind of thing business partners usually decide together. My final qualm is the only one that was addressed within the episode, but we don't have time to dwell; weirder things have yet to come.
As if Oliver's week wasn't bad enough, he and Felicity finally find out about John's tremor, the fact that he lied about it, and the illegal drugs he was taking. They are rightfully upset, thank goodness. Someone had to be. But it results in an overdue fight between Ollie and Dig. Oliver claims his biggest mistake was trusting John to be the Green Arrow, which seems a bit much while simultaneously being totally in character for the angsty former billionaire playboy.
John finally realizes he has always put Oliver — his needs, his mission — first, and what a mistake that was. Granted, this revelation comes in somewhat melodramatic fashion, and at a decidedly inopportune moment given his recent secret keeping, but this is a conflict that's been a long time coming. While we saw Felicity chafe at her role in Oliver's life from early on, like when she had to pose as his executive assistant, John has never much objected to his role within the team and Oliver's life, outside of a quip or two about being the black driver. This made John's side of the argument and Oliver's eventual apology particularly compelling, even if John was also in the wrong in how he handled the tremor. It took Ollie far too long, but he finally recognized that he asked John to put on the hood because of his own son, forgetting about John's son.
Cayden James sets a trap
I won't lie, it was damn good to see Oliver back in the hood. I'm pulling for Diggle as the Green Arrow, I really am. But we haven't had a chance to see him lead at full strength, without a tremor or the secret of a tremor holding him back. I want to see at least one episode of Diggle really owning the role so we get a chance to know what that looks like. Hopefully it will be many more than one, so we can see him come into his own as a leader and a hero.
The bogey (or Turkey, as Felicity says) getting the drop on Dig and almost taking off his hood begs the question: when is somebody going to notice that the Green Arrow is black? Particularly since the FBI thinks Ollie told Roy and Dig to be the vigilante in green, a noticeable change in race based on Ollie and John's availability seems like a noteworthy detail. Perhaps the Arrow writers are simply opting for colorblindness, but that hasn't worked well for them in the past, as Curtis's mysterious yet rapid hair braider can attest. There's a growing number of black superheroes right now, and more to come. But part of what makes that awesome is actually acknowledging how their experiences as black people inform them, both in the suit and out. Ignoring that serves no one.
Okay. I give. Billy freakin' Joel is in this episode for some godforsaken reason, so I guess we have to talk about it. First, let me state for the record that I am a fan of Mr. Joel, as Oliver refers to him. But his presence here seems shoehorned in, at best.
Stunt casting and cameos are generally considered different but related phenomena. But in this case, I'd like to make an exception and say this cameo was stunt-casted. First, Billy Joel is such an odd touchstone to bring into the Arrowverse that the writers lampshade it, in the form of Rene's fanboying, followed by a halfway decent throwaway line about having varied tastes. I watched a screener of this episode before the Billy Joel news broke, so I was taken by no small amount of genuine surprise. I can honestly say that up until the moment his face appeared, I thought they were going to reference him but never show him, because why on earth would Billy Joel be on Arrow? This is not like the Shawn Mendes cameo on The 100, which sounded eyeroll-inducing but made sense for their target audience, and frankly ended up being irreverently funny. What is the end game of a Billy Joel appearance on Arrow, for literally anyone involved? And when we finally saw him, it was over and done with in the blink of an eye.
Rene tries to pull a Babe Ruth and call his shot before he takes out the fire alarm. He's not cool enough to pull that off and it doesn't work anyway, because it turns out Cayden James is running a play from The Town and had a bunch of fake cops infiltrate the stadium. In a move anyone could see coming down Broadway, Team Arrow goes to town on the fake cops, in front of many members of the voting public and at least one camera. So much for the vigilante referendum. That's a major victory for the hacker, who never even brought his ultra-dangerous bomb to the stadium.
Curtis stands up for himself while Dinah and Quentin bond
Oliver has John as his beloved doormat, and Felicity has Curtis. Lucy for Curtis, it's only taken Felicity a couple of seasons to see that. She apologizes for naming their company and picking the first project without asking, and he apologizes for taking his prototype without asking her. But she still had one more big thing, spending their angel investment money on Ollie's bail. Felicity screwed up big here — I'm not even sure that what she did was legal. It was for understandable reasons, but there have to be some limits on everyone's tolerance for putting Oliver first no matter what, and ramifications when they cross that limit.
Continuing the pattern of everyone confiding in Dinah, Quentin acts like a jerk by assuming he's the only one in a tough situation, and then tells her he didn't shoot Laurel when he had the chance. Like many others, I wonder if Lance is on the chopping block since this plot feels like the same old story from him. Dinah, on the other hand, was nominated by Felicity to lead the team in Diggle's absence before Oliver arrived. Team Arrow having so many members works best when they each fit different roles. Rene has excelled in the mayor's office, Curtis has his tech skills and company with Felicity, and Dinah is a cop, confidant, and leader. I'd love to see her rocking the green hood while Diggle recovers so that Oliver can keep his promise to his son.
So what of this madness actually matters moving forward? Oliver lied to his son about the Green Arrow going to the stadium, which will definitely come back to bite him. Cayden James clearly think "Robin Hood" (as he calls him, to my delight) is responsible for the loss of his child. As Oliver points out, regardless of the truth, so long as Cayden James blames him, they need to figure out what happened. At long last, Speedy is back! Right now there doesn't seem to be any lingering issues from her injuries, but that feels too good to be true. And of course they've lost the vigilante referendum, so they're all taking an even bigger risk moving forward.
Happy Thanksgiving! Now go eat some Big Belly Turkey Burgers and crushed up french fries!
Updated 11/24 - All game deals are live now!
Looking for more than just games? Check out the Best 2017 Black Friday mega post to find deals on systems, gaming peripherals, and more.
Black Friday brings us a huge selection of PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch, and 3DS deals. Unless otherwise stated, all of the links here default to Amazon because they tend to do a very good job of price matching across all vendors. Bolded items are our personal picks for the biggest and best deals, but feel free to ctrl+F to find any specific game you're hoping is on sale.
It's almost Black Friday 2017 and this year, retailers aren't even trying to hold back on deals, with many of them already live or promised in Black Friday ads. If you want to get a jump on the upcoming Black Friday salesapalooza, we've gathered up a bunch of great deals. Some of these are live already. We're also updating this list with new stuff as it comes in.
Be sure to check out the Best Black Friday 2017 Deals megapost, too.
Which moment from a comic this week caught your interest?
Moment and Indie Moment of the Month for October have begun! Vote now or forever hold your peace!!! Also, you know what's coming next month? Yes, the end of the year! The Maddening and the Moment of the Year!!!
Your WINNER for MOMENT OF THE WEEK 11/15/17:
Batman shoots the Bat-family. - The Batman Who Laughs #1
This thread will contain SPOILERS!!! And lots of them. If you haven't read this week's comics yet, go read them before continuing into this thread, or risk being spoiled!
PLEASE NOTE!!!!!! ]Remember to include the title and issue number of the comic you are nominating. Otherwise I will be forced to disqualify your nomination, and nobody wants that!
1. Each nomination must be a moment in a comic released the week of the thread. This does not include weekly previews, trade paperbacks, or back issue digests. For new comics check out Midtown Comics release dates.
2. Everyone can make ONE nomination. You can either nominate a moment yourself or second/third/fourth/fifth an already existing nomination. However, second/third/fourth/fifth will not count per nominating and thus earn entry above in Top Nominations. You want in that list you must nominate something.
3. It must be an actual moment involving the actions or statements of a comic character in an issue. No "This writer returns to the series", "this artist draws this character", "the book is better", etc.
4. If you want to change your nomination, there are a few factors involved:
---> A) No one can have seconded your nom.
---> B) If it is clear for you to change your nom, you must edit your original post or the new post will be disqualified as being a double nomination.
---> C) You can change your second, third, etc. by editing your original post before the nomination period ends.
Moments on the poll do not have to be seconded. If there is room in the poll, moments that were nominated but not seconded will be added based on the order they were nominated.
6. Again, please be specific on the comic title, issue number and moment. Also be clear that you are actually nominating or seconding something ... statements such as "Yeah, that was a cool moment" aren't clear. You must nominate a single moment in the comic and can't nominate the whole issue. Once more, if you don’t include the issue and number the moment will not be included.
7. The thread for nominations will go up on Wednesday (new comic day) at 11:00 PM (Central) or when Zechs arrives later that night and posts in the previous week thread announcing voting is closed. The nominations will go until 2:00 PM (Central Time) Sunday Afternoon, or whenever Zechs arrives and will post in the thread stating, “It’s over.” and will start the poll. If a new comic day falls on a holiday week in American, then the thread will be made for that day (be it Tuesday or Thursday). Regardless, nominations will STILL conclude on Saturday deadline.
8. Please be civil when commenting on other people's nominations. But feel free to discuss them in this thread.
9. In case there is debate on WHEN exactly a title came out, http://www.midtowncomics.com or the official websites of said publishers (be it Marvel, DC, Darkhorse, etc.) will be the final word on the quarrel.
10. Any nominations not following the above rules will be disqualified. Unless of course if Zechs, who is feeling sad for the person who missed the rule and might give them time to provide the correction. Then he will pester bk into putting the nomination in the poll. Of course this wouldn’t be a problem if Zechs wasn’t granted the glorious powers of a moderator, which one day such power will be Zechs, oh yes they will his.
11. If at five nominations are not made, Zechs will choose some, but they will all count as one nomination, not multiple thus making sure balance is preserved.
12. AKA the Rulk rule. If several moments are tied past the deadline of 11:00 PM (Central Time) Wednesday (or holiday date when new comics arrive in the US) or when Zechs arrives that night, then voting will continue on in sudden death for eight more hours, until one is decided. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.
If one isn’t still decided, then Zechs will provide the deciding vote, regardless if he has voted already. So if that isn't enough reason to get a ton of votes on that additional day than you're just dooming yourself to give Zechs another vote.
13. AKA the Hobgoblin rule. Roderick Kingsley Hobgoblin moments when winning for three days straight automatically win the poll. No last day or second voting changes it to troll the ruler of this thread.
Only ONE can rule as the Moment of the Week!
Top Ten Nominators of All Time...
1.) GLX- (438 Nominations)
2.) Zechs- (430 Nominations)
3.) e_galston- (202 Nominations)
4.) Johnny Smith (168 Nominations)
5.) IvCNuB4 - (167 Nominations)
6.) Kravis (145 Nominations)
7.) Stephen Day- (126 Nominations)
8.) blcdude (103 Nominations)
9.) rdrsfn82- (102 Nominations)
10.) fieldy RICHARDS- (93 Nominations)
Porcelain38- (92 Nominations)
Starlord- (81 Nominations)
HNutz (70 Nominations)
God-Man (63 Nominations)
BubbaKanoosh- (57 Nominations)
Greg- (52 Nominations)
Nicola Marshall (49 Nominations)
Knuckles McSmasher- (44 Nominations)
doombug - (43 Nominations)
DudeistMonk (42 Nominations)
48THRiLLS- (40 Nominations)
Demarcoa (39 Nominations)
SilverPhoenix (34 Nominations)
guitarsmashley (34 Nominations)
TimDrake'sDumbWings- (30 Nominations)
Amoebas (29 Nominations)
Chap22- (28 Nominations)
Mr. Batman- (27 Nominations)
Dragavon- (27 Nominations)
locuas (26 Nominations)
VinnyPic- (25 Nominations)
karmakaze (23 Nominations)
Flynn the Pirate (21 Nominations)
habitual- (19 Nominations)
Grayson (19 Nominations)
Agent Panic (18 Nominations)
nietoperz (18 Nominations)
PaulSebert (18 Nominations)
Glacier16 (18 Nominations)
Punchy- (16 Nominations)
MrBlack (16 Nominations)
OneWhoIsAll (15 Nominations)
jephd (14 Nominations)
capjr (12 Nominations)
ThatRomanGuy (12 Nominations)
MistaT- (12 Nominations)
ChurchHatesTucker (12 Nominations)
senwolf (12 Nominations)
PatricioUPMA (11 Nominations)
GOFM - (10 Nominations)
Duck Punch (10 Nominations)
Peter Parker (10 Nominations)
SuperSoldier Washout (9 Nominations)
The Great Ghostman (9 Nominations)
Octacon (8 Nominations)
alaska1125 (8 Nominations)
HED (8 Nominations)
gavincantdraw (8 Nominations)
MarcianTobay (8 Nominations)
Belle-Tain Summer (8 Nominations)
eypcrew2- (7 Nominations)
CammyKnoxville (7 Nominations)
Skyrider (7 Nominations)
Eli Katz (7 Nominations)
Flamebird (7 Nominations)
pat (6 Nominations)
TheSecondLex (6 Nominations)
Juan Cena (6 Nominations)
Kid Impulse- (5 Nominations)
XtremeX- (5 Nominations)
Mammon, Fool Breaker (5 Nominations)
Stalzer2002 (5 Nominations)
Sully85 (5 Nominations)
C-Matty- (4 Nominations)
Dum Dum Dugan- (4 Nominations)
AMS (4 Nominations)
Dalarsco- (4 Nominations)
GHERU (4 Nominations)
jethawk (4 Nominations)
Chessack (4 Nominations)
MarvelFan88 (4 Nominations)
Ben- (3 Nominations)
McKeagan- (3 Nominations)
carl999- (3 Nominations)
Alex Delarge- (3 Nominations)
MrWadeWilsonHimself (3 Nominations)
pat (3 Nominations)
blastmaster (3 Nominations)
thefourthman (3 Nominations)
BlueKitKat (3 Nominations)
americanslime (3 Nominations)
SolRey34 (3 Nominations)
GOSD- (3 Nominations)
Earth-2 NoctourneM (3 Nominations)
MysticKnightJoe (3 Nominations)
GratefulFred- (2 Nominations)
statnut- (2 Nominations)
Dooz - (2 Nominations)
Jack Burton- (2 Nominations)
Zenguru- (2 Nominations)
God Impulse2k1 (2 Nominations)
skywatcher (2 Nominations)
avengingtitan (2 Nominations)
Rebis (2 Nominations)
Justin M. Campbell (2 Nominations)
PhoenixEquinox (2 Nominations)
Timbales (2 Nominations)
dairydead (2 Nominations)
Lord Solaris (2 Nominations)
Aeon Flux (2 Nominations)
PinkDaddy (2 Nomination)
Ntikrst (2 Nominations)
Jude Terror (2 Nominations)
Major Tool (2 Nominations)
LoatheMe (2 Nominations)
Richie Heap (2 Nominations)
Chicanery (2 Nominations)
syxxpakk (2 Nominations)
batarang614 (2 Nominations)
Arkanian (2 Nominations)
Fifthletter (2 Nominations)
ObsceneBinary (2 Nominations)
Josh Hartung (2 Nominations)
TurboSmurf (2 Nominations)
Randy Robertson (2 Nominations)
Peter-J-DeadPoole (2 Nominations)
GiveWaraChance (2 Nominations)
Guderian- (1 Nomination)
Black Kryptonite- (1 Nomination)
Colonel Angus- (1 Nomination)
barrylincoln - (1 Nomination)
Dooz Ex Machina- (1 Nomination)
Thrillhouse- (1 Nomination)
Chesscub- (1 Nomination)
TheyShouldBeTheBats- (1 Nomination)
The Bass (1 Nomination)
GOD Impulse- (1 Nomination)
Deadfett (1 Nomination)
amalah6 (1 Nomination)
Miracloman (1 Nomination)
Alex Delarge (1 Nomination)
blastmaster (1 Nomination)
Jonathan (1 Nomination)
NeverReady ( 1 Nomination)
DOOP SPEAK (1 Nomination)
BlueStreak (1 Nomination)
mrorangesoda - (1 Nomination)
BAMJoe (1 Nomination)
False Prophet (1 Nomination)
xaraan (1 Nomination)
Holland Oats (1 Nomination)
bkthomson (1 Nomination)
hatmasta (1 Nomination)
TheSecondLex (1 Nomination)
Pink Daddy (1 Nomination)
Sunless (1 Nomination)
Jim Gramm (1 Nomination)
tomc (1 Nomination)
John Condor (1 Nomination)
B1CaNobody (1 Nomination)
Socky (1 Nomination)
bluemanhattangroup (1 Nomination)
TimH (1 Nomination)
Bilal Khawaja (1 Nomination)
Scintillant-H (1 Nomination)
Arkanian (1 Nomination)
the_isolator (1 Nomination)
Arkanian (1 Nomination)
Manuel Prez (1 Nomination)
Ameht Dominguez (1 Nomination)
James Burke (1 Nomination)
Sporkbot (1 Nomination)
Hall of Shame
sdsichero (-1 Nomination)
John Lewis Hawk (-25 Nominations)
Written or Contributed by Zechs
Hey, we made it to another holiday season! Go us!
It's the holiday season once again. You've probably got to go out and buy some gifts for the geek in your life and maybe that's a daunting task for you.
Once again, the Outhouse has your back. We're here to help. Probably. We might be here to help. Or... we might be here to suggest what you might want to buy for US. We're needy that way. But, hey, if that neediness helps you buy for the non-gender-specific fan-person on your list, more power to you.
When I first read the description of the most recent Spider-Woman series, I was skeptical. Pregnant superhero eh? Well, I liked the character enough (though it was rough here and there) to pick up the first few issues... and... I really liked it. The stories were more low-key than the galactic battles alongside the Avengers, but the characters were very likeable. Unfortunately the series was canceled, but try it out anyway, you might like it.
If you are afraid of buying a comic about a girl, and still are interested in superheroes, then you might try a different kind of herobook: My Hero Academia. Yeah, yeah it's a manga. It's a very interesting take on the superhero genre focused on a school of heroes in a world where 80% of the population has "quirks" (powers). Note: In the beginning, the main character Midoriya is a bit... irritating. Get through that portion though and the book is both fun and interesting.
As I mentioned last time, every year I would put on my list geeky art books. Also like last year, I am recommending a Star Wars related one that hasn't come out yet.
Though I somewhat miss the format of the original Art of Star Wars (it included the script and more finished pieces), these newer ones are still good.
Colorful and Kirby-inspired design. We saw it in the movie , gaze at the art that inspired it (not the comics though) with:
Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok - The Art of the Movie (Hardcover)
A new Star Wars movie is just around the corner (see above), so how about owning last year's Star Wars movie, the first non-saga live-action movie to hit the big screen. It's pretty good.
How's about an animated sci-fi romance, with a comedic twist? The Asian box office blockbuster is headed to home video. I rather liked it.
Nintendo seems to have turned things around compared to its last console generation. If you have a Switch, you should have a copy of Nintendo's big holiday game, which brings Mario back to his 3D Super Mario 64 days:
Yet another Star Wars related item. Back in 1987, West End Games came up with a fast and loose RPG with the Star Wars license. West End Games is no more (though parts of it were bought out so it sort of is still twitching), and after changing hands a few times, the Star Wars license for roleplaying games is with Fantasy Flight Games. Though FFG created their own rules for a Star Wars RPG, they are reprinting the original game along with its Sourcebook.
Alternative to that if you want something a bit more involved, Starfinder is a new RPG with (modified) D20 3.5 edition rules...
Outhouse Editor in Chief
Skelton Crew is putting out the best comic-adjacent items around. Whether its replica keys from Locke & Key or plush chogs from Chew, Skelton Crew has the coolest stuff. They also have a deal with Mike Mignola and Dark Horse to make Hellboy replica artifacts. While those items tend to live on the higher end of the price scale, they've made the plunge into enamel pins including ones based on Hellboy's Right Hand of Doom and Lobster Johnson's vengeful claw.
The pair is only $20.
Life isn't all about comics. This is the best novel I've read this year for my book club. It's a modern classic of Southern gothic horror. The author dropped out of high school to work in a meatpacking plant. 32 years later he wrote his first collection of short stories, followed by this, his first novel. It's dark, sick, and gripping. It's a story that only someone from Knockemstiff, Ohio could write.
Less than $12.
Even though it debuted in February, this album was immediately album of the year material. The Menzingers are one of those rare bands that hasn't released a bad song, let alone a bad album. Their fifth sees them entering their 30s and looking back on their 20s, refreshed with a whole new purpose. The lyrics are more relatable and stirring as they've ever been, coupled with their signature optimistic music.
On black vinyl for $18.
Staff Writer/ Editor
This is a weird year for video games. There have been a lot of good games released throughout the year (if you haven't played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild then, y'know, get on that) but the end of the year games aren't kicking the excitement buttons that they usually do.
At least we have Assassin's Creed Origins. I'm a massive AC fan but I'll readily admit that the past two games haven't been been high points for the series even though I played the hell out of both of them. Origins seeks to change that, returning to an expansive open world that dwarfs that of previous games. It also renovates the combat system from the reaction system of previous games to a hit box system.
But best of all, the game slips WELL into the past to classical Egypt and details the origins of the Assassin Brotherhood. It looks AMAZING, clicks all the right buttons (IMO), and is a new Assassin's Creed game. Sold.
List Price: $59.99
Holy crap, the Nintendo Switch has had an amazing first year line up! Chances are, if you've picked up a Switch (and you should), you've got Zelda, Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart, and maybe some of the other top tier releases.
But this game might fall under your radar. Don't let it!
This is the third Xenoblade Chronicles game but don't let that deter you because they're about as related to each other as the Final Fantasy series is. The current game takes place in a fantasy world where islands rest on the bodies of numerous large Titan creatures. The world is beautifully crafted, the towns are (finally!) well designed, and the combat is streamlined compared to previous installments.
The only part of the game that might be problematic is the inclusion of elements that kinda bear an uncanny resemblance to slavery. It bothers my wife and gives me pause to purchase the game despite loving the first two titles. It appears that these are being treated as story elements, however, so if they're told well, it should make for an RPG with a rich, nuanced narrative.
List Price: $59.99 (available December 1, 2017)
The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye series is just about the best Transformers books you will ever read. While that series has ended, it's story is not yet finished. Witness, if you will, Transformers: Lost Light. This book is the continuation of the More Than Meets the Eye storyline and is therefor the must read book for 2017.
While IDW has made a whole lot of missteps while mashing together their Hasbro properties post Revolution, Lost Light is one of the shining beacons of the line. I miss Alex Milne on art and Jack Lawrence is not exactly an adequate replacement but what you're really reading the book for is James Roberts' writing. That continues to be awesome but you have to remember this mantra:
It's not the destination. It's the JOURNEY.
Don't expect the most climactic conclusions but expect a hell of a ride.
List Price: $19.99
OK, credit where credit is due: this is the highlight of the DC Cinematic Universe.
I mean, I THINK it is. I actually haven't seen Batman vs. Superman or Justice League. But I saw Man of Steel. This is a lot better than Man of Steel.
Wonder Woman is a period piece super-hero movie taking place during World War 1 and details the origins of everyone's favorite Amazon. It's a little dark but my eight and nine year old kids still loved it.
List Price: $35.99
Let's see, a giant freaking robot dinosaur that transforms into a giant freaking base and giant freaking spaceship for Decepticons to terrorize hapless Autobots? Yes, this is exactly what I want. But wait, this has the added ability to gobble up that damn Titanmaster gimmick. Which means you can throw these damn tiny Transformers into his mouth! Goddamn, that's so gloriously dark and twisted I love it!
List Price: $149.99
Oh, look, Nintendo is at it again pushing our nostalgia button with their latest retro console system. 20 games with a bonus of one never before released (Star Fox 2). If only it had TMNT: IV this would have fully tickled my fancy. Still, having so many glorious RPGs (Earthbound, Final Fantasy 3, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Mario RPG) plus some insanely hard games (Super Ghouls N' Ghosts and Super Castlevania) means this thing will keep you busy for a good LONG time.
Thankfully, this is turning out to be easier to find than the NES Classic from last year.
List Price: $89.99
Hmm... highly humorous cartoon + highly humorous card game = highly humorous time had by all! The absurdity of the Rick & Morty show goes quite well with the absurdity of Munchkin and the two properties deliver a freaking game worth your while. Add the ability to be anyone of the Smith Family (come on, you want to be Jerry), Mr. Poopiebutthole, or Rick Sanchez himself at the start (with each having their own special talent). Yes, this game just adds another notch to what is already an insanely deep card game.
List Price: $29.99
The finale to Kelley Puckett/Damion Scott's run on Batgirl finally collected in one volume in actual order for once? The run ends on a high note with a nice brief little arc that has third generation heroes (Batgirl, Robin, Spoiler, and Green Arrow) teaming up to take on evil villains who have a fondness (aka obsession) for the Roman Empire. Add to the continued stellar writing Puckett gives the amazing visual spectacle of Scott. This was such an underrated run for the ages that I'm glad was given it's due.
List Price: $14.99
That's our show for this holiday season. I hope you had fun and maybe learned something. Maybe you even got inspired by our gift selections and have your holiday shopping all figured out! Good job, you!
Now, I'm gonna play Assassin's Creed Origin! And you should, too!
Have a happy and safe holiday season!
Written or Contributed by SuperginraiX
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
You have to question The CW's decision to air this episode tonight, both because it's a major American holiday and because it makes for a pretty depressing way to spend the evening. But on the other hand, it's not as if there's any time to waste. Arrow needed to set a number of wheels in motion in order to set the stage for next week's "Crisis on Earth-X" crossover. "Thanksgiving" managed to accomplish that goal while also doing a great deal to address Season 6's biggest flaws.
Legends of Tomorrow aside, it's been a strong week for the Arrowverse in general. The reasons seem pretty similar all around. Like Supergirl and The Flash before it, Arrow succeeded this week in delivering a more plot-driven episode that establishes a clearer conflict for the season as a whole. It says a lot that Ollie being arrested by the FBI was just the opening salvo in a night full of dark developments and character conflict. In the process, we now have a two-pronged conflict for Team Arrow to contend with. Ollie faces an imminent trial that could land him behind bars for life (if not put him on death row). And the team faces a resurgent threat from Cayden James, a man who seems to have a very personal grudge against the Green Arrow.
Greetings to my Comics Heating Up and Awesomesauce families. I would like to say thank you for reading this each and every week. As always thank you for the friendship, encouragement, advice, and support. I love being a part of this and it is the greatest blessing in my life.
I wanted to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Don’t eat too much, don’t get to drunk. Thank you all for reading this each and every week. Thank you all for listening to my podcast.
Supersons #10, Doomsday Clock #1 and Amazing Spiderman #791 were #awesomesauce. Can people please stop hating on the Justice League movie? It was fun ride and it was better then that Catwoman movie from 2004, DC movies have come a long way from then. Micro steals the show in the Punisher Netflix show and everyone should watch it as it is the best Marvel show, period, now lets make some money with some comics because you can’t teach that
1. DC Comics Presents #68 – second appearance of Vixen. I love Legends of Tomorrow. Great show. Everyone knows about Action Comics #521, but her second appearance is worth the chance as well, and this is it cheap, like $5 cheap
2. Canceled Comics Cavalcade #2 – According to the DC Comics website, this impossible to find Xeroxed comic from the 1970’s, which pre-dates Action Comics #521, is the true first appearance of Vixen. Vixen has an animated series, is a key member of the Legends of Tomorrow, is a member of the JLA and is starting to get much cosplay love. Good luck finding a real one, but there are reproductions of it.
3. Marvel Live #0 SDCC 1993 – this is a interesting find. This was a SDCC giveaway from 1993, back when SDCC was a low key event. This features a Stan Lee photo cover and with Marvel Age #41 blowing up, which also has a Stan Lee photo cover, I wanted to point this out $10-25
4. Spiderman Family #8 – just a fun Spiderman comic. Final issue, tough to find in the wild $10
5. Spiderman Family #8 and #199 – 3rd Superman vs the Flash race. Due to recent events, all Flash Superman races should be on everyones radar. I believe the Worlds Finest race is the most underrated and undervalued of all the Barry races $10 and up
6. Superboy and the Ravers #7 – Superboy vs Impulse. First time Superboy Kon-el races Bart Allen, which is #awesomesauce. Superboy and the Ravers are in less than dollar boxes
7. Comico Christmas Special #1 – nifty Christmas issue with early Tim Sale art. Nothing more, nothing less, will not break the bank $1-3
8. Strangers in Paradis #90 – can’t wait for this movie. Strangers is one of my favorite comics of all time. Tough to find final issue $20 and up
9. Detective Comics #682 – the cover image of Batman was referenced in the Justice League movie about $5-10
10. Amazing Spiderman #181 – Classic villan headshot cover. Retells the origin of Spiderman and Spiderman’s history. Punisher cameo, 8th Punisher appearance overall. It reprints the Amazing Spiderman#121-122 as well. $10 and up
11. Amazing Spiderman #181 – early Jigsaw appearance. Billy Russo is the bomb on Netflix, only on episode six as I write this, but this issue leads into the classic three issue Punisher story in #81, 82, 83. $2-5
12. Spiderman Renew Your Vows #1 and #2 Deadpool Variants – great series. Dear Marvel, retcon one more day please? That new Deadpool trailer is #awesome-sauce. and compared to the Amazing Spiderman issues that feature deadpool in the #600’s, these are very cheap $20
13. Deathmate #1 Advance Comics Preview – Deathmate has a huge print run but there are a few gems in the series including this black and white preview from Advance Comics and it is cheap $5 and up
14. Final Crisis #7 – who here is excited for the two night, four part, Arrowverse crossover? I can’t wait, might have to make a dvd of it. This comic features the death of Overgirl, the Supergirl of Earth x. All final crisis issues are in dollar boxes and cost up to $5. Final Crisis #3 is her first, but we all know that right
15. Damage #1 – The son of the Golden Age Atom. First appearance. I can see damage making his way to say, Legends of Tomorrow. This is in dollar boxes maybe even in the quarter boxes happy hunting
16. All Star Squadron #31-35 – origin of the Freedom Fighters of Earth X. Awesomeness, Arrowverse, do the math, Arrowverse plus great concept equals money #testify
17. Flash #30 Mad Magazine Variant – first new Wally West. Wally is great in the Deathstroke series, this is his first appearance. This variant sucks, damn you Alfred E. Newman and your variant covers, $10 and up
19. Cable #25 – first Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale team up in a Marvel comic. Deadpool 2 means all things Cable can heat up $5
20. Daredevil #62 – Karen Page leaves New York City for Hollywood to start an acting career. Good for you Karen, good luck with that. Born again is the basis for season three and this is a key lead in to those events. $5-25 depending on grade
22. Daredevil #43 – first break up between Matt Murdock and Karen Page. When I finish watching The Punisher I am going to rewatch The Defenders and both seasons of Daredevil (as well as try and book a private signing with the actress that plays Karen Page). This is a key Karen book which there ain’t that many of. What is Karen really known for besides Born Again being Matt Murdock’s girlfriend and dying in Vol. 2 #5? Snag the black variant cover for that one, but this is cheap in all grades
I love you guys . once again have a great thanksgiving, don’t drink and drive, and don’t punch out any moms over the Last Tickle-Me Cookie Monster doll or the flat screen TV on Black Friday. But if you do see any hot moms fighting in aisle five, video it and email it to
God bless you all
blind adam out
Welcome back to the IGN Movies Podcast! This week, Jim Vejvoda and Tom Jorgensen are joined by a very special guest, actor Ben Mendelsohn!
The acclaimed actor spends the entirety of the podcast discussing everything from his latest film --the World War II drama Darkest Hour -- to his past genre films (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Dark Knight Rises) to the properties that make him geek out (including Game of Thrones to Fantastic Four)!
We also ask Mendelsohn about the rumors that he's up for the villain role in Captain Marvel, but you'll have to listen to the podcast to learn what he has to say about that!
SUPERNATURAL: Sam & Dean Plan A Heist In The New Promo For Season 13, Episode 8: “The Scorpion and the Frog”
We used to run reader’s Black Friday deals. It was cool. People got into it and offered up cheap books. We are bringing that back. I will be running some site deals starting now. They are limited and cheap. Check them out below.
Venom #151 TCM Variant $4.99 Shipped
Solar Flare #1 CHU Baltimore Comic Con Variant $6.99 Shipped
More to come so keep an eye out.
Things From Another World, AKA TFAW, has a big sale going on right now for Black Friday. They have comics and toys for up to 80% off.
A cool book worth looking at:
Adam Hughes Variant for Lady Death Oblivion Kiss for $15
The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer was never released in stores as single issues. The first two were printed and available through our website, but the rest? We’ve been asked about 3-7 many times, but we never printed them. We went straight from issue 2 to the hardcover.
That’s about to change.
For Black Friday, we are going to do a short run of 100 copies of the last 5 issues and pair them up with some of the last remaining copies of the already highly collectible issue 2 and both the regular and LE versions of issue 1. We will never reprint them, so these will be the only single issue versions of issues 3-7 in existence. So if you want collectible versions of Niobe’s intro story and the first appearance of Essessa, this is your chance.
It will go live for order on our store Black Friday at 9:00 a.m. Pacific. The full 8 book package will be $149.99.
PLUS you will get a free copy of Niobe #1 Geek & Sundry Variant signed by cover artist Sheldon Mitchell, as will all orders of $30 or more through Black Friday.
Because you can also get 20% off on anything else in the store now through Black Friday with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY.
Available at 9 AM at Stranger Comics Web-store.
The greatest (and only) Mystery Science Theater 3000 Thanksgiving tradition of them all returns! It's time for MST3K Turkey Day 2017!
The future of Mystery Science Theater 3000 may be up in the air these days as fans sit in hope for an announcement about MST3K Season 12, but if there’s one thing we can count on, it’s Thanksgiving. Yes, good ol’ Thanksgiving is like a super-holiday for any MiSTie. Ever since the early '90s, it’s been a day known for sitting back and digesting while watching a lengthy run of MST3K episodes.
This year will be no different as we have yet another Turkey Day marathon. Series creator Joel Hodgson will return to host six episodes alongside new cast members Jonah Ray and Felicia Day. While last year’s collection was based on fan popularity, there’s no word on what this year will have to offer, but hopefully it will include some season 11 stuff. Cry Wilderness is now an all-time classic!
So let’s all hang back together and watch old footage of robots making fun of older footage of robots. Just as long as none of you insult boot-blacking – we like it very much.
Gavin Jasper has his fingers crossed for Cry Wilderness being part of the marathon. Follow him on Twitter!
We're hunting down every Marvel reference on The Punisher Netflix series! But we need your help...
This article consists of nothing but major spoilers for The Punisher. You've been warned.
Everyone has been waiting for The Punisher, ever since it was first revealed that Frank Castle would take on Matt Murdock on Daredevil. The perfect casting of Jon Bernthal only helped up the anticipation level. The series doesn't disappoint on the action and drama front, although it seems to be lighter on Marvel references per minute than any of its predecessors. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though.
So here's how this works. With the full disclosure that I'm not the most well-versed in Punisher mythology (but don't worry, I've read my share of Chuck Dixon and Garth Ennis), I'm laying out everything I know, mostly in order, although I'm holding some points back so as not to spoil future episodes. But if you know something I don't, or if I'm just flat out wrong, drop it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter, and I'll update this as we go!
The Punisher Episode 1: 3 AM
"Former Marine Frank Castle takes the law into his own hands while struggling to come to terms with his traumatic past."
The opening of this episode, with Punisher tracking down the last remaining folks from his Daredevil Season 2 arc, feels very much like the prime of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's time as the creative team on The Punisher comic. Just in terms of how it's almost (but not quite) played for laughs, the variety of ways in which Frank dispatches his enemies, and the over-the-top craziness of making a kill shot from across the border and through a window while a dude gets a blow job. Add in some casual gay panic (with Frank choking the dude to death in the restroom stall while some guy gets annoyed thinking its sex) for extra Garth Ennis points.
So you would expect that this series would take most of its cues from the Ennnis-era of Frank Castle, right? After all, the whole Marvel Knights/Marvel MAX era of comics is the primary driver on all these Marvel Netflix shows, so of course the Punisher should follow suit. Hell, there were some hefty Ennis-inspired moments when he appeared on Daredevil Season 2. Ah, but that isn't the case. Instead, the show takes a far more grounded, serious approach to the character, his world, and violence in general. Don't worry, there's plenty of it, but it's almost never played for laughs.
On the other hand, there are elements and characters from lots of Ennis' later, more serious (but equally violent) stories throughout the series, but we'll get to those.
- We finally get Frank's trademark Battle Van (capitalization intentional) on this show, and that should make '90s Punisher comics fans very, very happy.
- The guy he takes out is Mickey O'Hare, who I don't recognize necessarily, although maybe that's an alias for one of the Cooley family from Daredevil Season 2? Feel free to correct me.
- Frank is operating under the name "Pete Castiglione" now. That name is no accident. In the comics, it was revealed that Frank Castle's family came over here from Sicily, and that "Castle" is an Americanization of the real family name of Castiglione. While we've never had much indication that Jon Bernthal's Frank is of Italian/Sicilian descent (other than the fact that he's a tough, stubborn sonuvabitch who knows how to hold a grudge), I could buy it. Although in a later episode he mentions that his wife's grandmother was Sicilian, although that's kind of a coincidence.
- Frank's whole "trying to keep to myself and not get angry under an assumed name and in a working class job" thing really reminds me of Bill Bixby's David Banner on the late '70s early '80s Incredible Hulk TV series.
- Frank is reading Moby Dick in case the sledgehammer thing was too subtle for you.
- We do see the usual Marvel Universe biker gang, the Dogs of Hell show up in this episode, but you probably caught that already.
- While neither of these DHS agents are Marvel Comics characters, having a subplot with officials looking into Frank Castle reminds me more than a little bit of Dolph Lundgren's vastly underrated Punisher movie from 1989.
- Young Louis Wilson, the veteran, doesn't appear to be based on any existing Marvel Comics character, but...
- Curtis Hoyle most certainly is, and he first appeared in the first issue of Frank's first ongoing regular series, The Punisher #1 by Mike Baron and Klaus Janson in 1987. The comic book version of Curtis isn't the nice guy we meet here. Not by a stretch.
- While I stand by my appraisal that this series isn't as Ennis-heavy as expected, the gangsters Frank slaughters that those nitwits were looking to rip off are associates of the Gnucci family. Who are the Gnuccis? Well, that also ties into the final words of this episode, "Welcome Back, Frank" all of which reference Ennis and Dillon's first Punisher story. If you haven't read it, you should. It's a blast.
As for the guy who says those words? Well, let's save that for episode 2.
But while we're on the Gnucci subject, the moment when Frank steps on that dickhead's injured leg to extract information from him is straight out of Clint Eastwood's original Dirty Harry movie, when Harry uses that technique to torture a serial killer into giving up the location of his victim. There's another (even bigger) Dirty Harry reference coming in the next episode, too...
The Punisher Episode 2: Two Dead Men
"A mysterious phone call forces Frank's hand. Meanwhile, Madani goes digginf for suspects and Curtis delivers a message."
OK, so...the guy busting Frank's balls is David "Microchip" Lieberman. A creation of the 1980s, nobody would think "Micro" is a cool nickname nowadays, although I'm sure you remember that little moment from the very end of Daredevil Season 2, right?
"Micro" was introduced in The Punisher #4 by Mike Baron and Klaus Janson, and he stuck with Frank for many, many years. He's less cool than Ebon Moss-Bachrach's portrayal of him. He wasn't married, although he did have a son (named Louis, not Zack), so for the most part, the character has been completely reinvented for the screen, as is his initial relationship with Frank. Which I love, by the way.
- Billy Russo is introduced in this episode, and it's a little bit of a spoiler for me to talk too much about him at this point. Just out of consideration for folks who are reading these as they watch, I'm gonna hold off a little longer.
- This episode does one of my favorite things, and it's a subtle homage to the first (and most excellent, perfect movie in its own right) Dirty Harry movie. The way Frank gives Micro the runaround to make sure he isn't being followed is what Scorpio does to Harry Callahan in that movie. Scorpio isn't the good guy...and the fact that Frank is mirroring essentially a serial killer's actions here is no accident, I'm sure.
The Punisher Episode 3: Kandahar
"Frank skips the subtlety while interrogating Micro. Brutal memories of top-secret missions shed light on Frank's past."
- Among other things, this episode gives us our clearest look at Frank Castle's time in Afghanistan. In the comics, the best depiction of this is The Punisher: Born by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, which is set during the Vietnam War and is downright disturbing. While Born is more over-the-top and sinister than what we see here, this episode effectively establishes the same thing the comic does: Frank Castle has always been very, very, very good at killing, and he may actually enjoy it.
I don't think Operation Cerberus is a specific reference to anything in Frank's backstory, but if anyone knows any better, please leave it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!
The haunting song playing during Frank's murderous psychotic break is "Wish it Was True" by White Buffalo.
- Let's have a quick welcome back for Clancy Brown's Col. Schoonover, last seen dying in Daredevil Season 2. Schoonover showed up in some early Punisher: War Journal comics.
- William Rawlins and his injured eye are indeed from the comics, though. Created by Garth Ennis and Doug Braithwaite in 2005. In the comics he wasn't connected to Frank Castle's military career, though, but that's a minor issue. He was generally a corrupt asshole, just like we see here.
- There's a lot more intrigue and interesting stuff going on in Micro's "origin story" in this episode than his relatively basic comic book story, which dealt with him hacking into the Kingpin's computers.
- Billy's crack about Ann-Margret is a Full Metal Jacket quote, which has really been gnawing at me, but Shawn Thompson caught it! I guess thic an be read as a sly way to tie in to Frank's original background as a Vietnam veteran.
- Curtis refers to Billy Russo as a “man of wealth and taste,” which is, of course, a reference to The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" lyrics.
- Speaking of Billy, Frank refers to him as "the Beaut" during the flashbacks, which was one of his nicknames from the comics. (See? I'm just teasing this stuff out to avoid spoilers.)
The Punisher Episode 4: Resupply
"Madani and Sam plan a delicate operation, Curtis tries to connect with Lewis, and Frank encourages Micro to get his hands dirty."
- Always nice to see Turk Barrett make an appearance. Rob Morgan has made this character so much fun that he's almost sympathetic. I'm almost rooting for him.
- I never would have caught this without help, but one of the guys Frank puts away in that garage ends up resting on a pinball machine in a way that looks an awful lot like a Diamond Select deluxe action figure/statue from a while back.
Seriously, check it out...
- There's really not a lot in the way of Marvel stuff in this episode (or some of the later episodes in general), but this one has a wonderful homage to the car chase in Steve McQueen's Bullitt, making this the 2nd perfect '70s action movie homage on the series that I'm aware of. You...you have seen Bullitt, right? If you haven't, do so immediately. If you have, watch it again!
I'm not great with cars, so I can't tell if Dinah is driving a '68 Mustang GT (the badassmobile from Bullitt). Although some of you are telling me that is indeed what she's driving, so, I'll take your word for it. Anyway, go watch Bullitt.
The Punisher Episode 5: Gunner
"Frank and Micro go looking for answers from a reluctant witness. Madani and Sam learn of a looming investigation. Rawlins sees a ghost."
- As far as I can tell, there's no Marvel stuff in this episode, although that first person action scene is pretty amazing. If I'm wrong, hit me up on Twitter or drop it in the comments!
The Punisher Episode 6: The Judas Goat
"With Frank in bad shape, Micro calls on Curtis for help. Madani and Russo continue to mix business with pleasure. Lewis stands up for his rights."
- Again, there's not much in the way of easter eggs here, although the surgery scene reminds me of when Claire Temple had to operate on Luke Cage with Jessica Jones looking on in disgust.
- Remember what I said in episode 1 about the Castle family name? This is the episode where we learn that Maria Castle's grandmother was Sicilian, which makes me wonder if grandma pushed her mother to marry a nice Italian boy, as well.
- OK, so now I can tell you that Billy Russo is indeed a villain from the comics, right? He wasn't a vet, though, he was a mob hitman. A handsome one, too.
He's actually been around almost as long as Frank Castle, first appearing long before Punisher could support his own ongoing series. Hell, he first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #162 in 1976. I'm not gonna tell you any more just yet, though...
The Punisher Episode 7: Crosshairs
"Lewis struggles with the ramifications of his actions. Frank and Micro pursue another face from the past. Madani and Sam go bug hunting."
- The Ali/Foreman fight that poor Lewis' dad is trying to use to motivate him took place in 1974, the same year Frank Castle made his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #129
- I feel really bad for Lewis at the start of the episode, too.
For real? Is there really nothing Marvel-related in this episode? I'm not complaining, I'll take story over fan service, and this episode has plenty of good story.
The Punisher Episode 8: Cold Steel
"Russo opens up to Madani about his past, Sarah shares her concerns about her son with Frank, and a decoy operation takes a turn."
- That opening focusing on Billy's beauty routine, as well as Dinah's comment about how there are now battle scars "on that pretty face" would sure seem to be foreshadowing something, eh?
The Punisher Episode 9: Front Toward Enemy
"Following a deadly explosion, Karen lands in a bomber's crosshairs -- and Frank isn't happy about it. Meanwhile, Curtis makes a grisly discovery."
- OK, so if I remember my Punisher history right, Senator Stan Ori appeared in the same comic story I mentioned all the way at the top...the one that revealed that Frank Castle's name was actually Castiglione. That's the only similarity we have here, as that guy was in the pocket of the mafia, but hey, there we go. The story, by the way, is called "The Sicilian Saga" and it ran in Punisher: War Journal #25-27 in 1991. For some reason, it hasn't been collected, and it's not on ComiXology, but this nice Italian boy remembers it.
- I don't think Ricky Langtry is from the comics, but man, I really want one of these talk radio firebrands to be J. Jonah Jameson. What an amazing way that would be to introduce him into the MCU!
- Frank responds to the news that he's suspected of killing 37 people by saying, "37 that they know about." The Zodiac Killer once claimed he killed 37 people (he is only confirmed to have killed 6, but there's a chance he wasn't lying or that the number was higher).
- The fight between young Lewis Wilson and Curtis might be the most harrowing fight scene in this entire series. It's brutal.
The Punisher Episode 10: Virtue of the Vicious
An attack on a high-profile politician is examined (and reexamined) through different perspectives. Madani faces a painful truth.
- This episode's whole Rashomon thing is tiresome, and when people complain that all these Marvel Netflix shows should only be nine or ten episodes, let this be exhibit A in favor of exactly that.
The Punisher Episode 11: Danger Close
As danger knocks on Sarah's door, Frank takes his quest for vengeance to the next level with some help from an unexpected ally.
- OK, in a completely roundabout way, this episode, whether intentionally or uninentionally, actually has a reference to the 1989 Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie (which is the second best screen interpretation of the character after this show, do not @ me, it is the truth).
See, everyone remembers that chief among that movie's flaws was the fact that Frank Castle never wears the iconic skull (although he does have some cool little skull knives). However, in the original script, the intention was for him to spraypaint a skull onto a bulletproof vest before that final action scene. And in the comic adaptation of the movie, he does exactly that, although it never happened on screen. I have more details on the stuff you never saw in that movie right here.
Anyway, seeing Jon Bernthal spraypainting a skull onto some tactical armor totally made me point at the screen and yell "for Dolph!" OK, maybe I didn't do that, but you get the idea. And I have been reminded now that Thomas Jane's version of Frank also spray-painted the skull onto a bulletproof vest in the 2004 movie. I try not to think about that flick too much, although Jane was a great Frank.
- This is followed up by the first bit of truly Ennis-esque violence we've had since that opening episode. This is vintage, brutal, Punisher punishment dished out here. Using the severed head of an enemy to scare the rest of your enemies if a maneuver that I feel could have come straight out of any of the Ennis/Dillon comics, too.
- On a less comic book related note, the dark, claustrophobic violence of this scene reminds me a little of the climactic gun battle in Jim Mickle's Cold in July. If you haven't seen that movie, please do so. If you don't like it, I will ummm...I will apologize. But I promise you will like it. It's amazing. In fact, someone should put Jim Mickle in charge of one of these Marvel shows!
The Punisher Episode 12: Home
"Frank makes a damning confession. A shootout leaves Sarah wondering what to believe. Rawlins goes in for the kill, once and for all."
- I kind of jumped at the use of Paul Weller's "You Do Something to Me" during Frank's wedding flashback. Was this the official Castle wedding song? If so, Frank has much more distinguished musical taste than I would have expected, especially since Paul Weller never quite "made it" in America the way some of his peers did...which is a crime, I might add. Anyway, it's on his Stanley Road album, which is excellent start to finish. Check it out.
- I really thought maybe we were gonna end up with a "Frank Castle gets an eyepatch" situation, which would echo the Greg Rucka comics. We've already had Frank with a beard, so let's do the eyepatch, right? It doesn't happen.
The Punisher Episode 13: Memento Mori
"As the authorities close in, an exhausted but unbroken Frank vows to put an end to the war that has consumed his life."
- OK, we can finally talk about Billy Russo!
He's the Marvel Comics villain, Jigsaw. Like his TV counterpart, the comic book version of Billy Russo was a handsome fella, until Frank Castle threw him through a window. And then threw him through another one. And then another. Kind of like how Frank decides that rather than killing Billy, utterly ruining his face with broken glass is worse than death for a vain prick.
Jigsaw, of course, is the Punisher's greatest enemy in the comics, and he is...ummmm...no longer handsome. I think we know who the villain of The Punisher Season 2 will be, right?
In the comics, Billy had nothing to do with any conspiracy that ended in the death of the Castle family, but our old pal Col. Schoonover sure did.
I'm sure I missed quite a bit since my Punisher knowledge isn't as strong as some of my other superhero knowledge, so feel free to drop 'em in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!
Justice League 2 might take some time to get off the ground, but we outline some possible scenarios that could help.
The box office numbers on Justice League are in, and the prognosis isn't good. Not only did what should have been the crown jewel in the DCEU fail to crack $100 million in its opening weekend, its final numbers may see it losing between $50 and $100 million for Warner Bros, according to some reports. But as David Crow detailed here, just because Justice League is off to a rocky start, it is far from the end of the DCEU.
It's going to be a difficult road, though. We're likely to lose Ben Affleck as Batman sooner than later, and with nothing else on the DCEU calendar for him at the moment, we may have seen the last of Henry Cavill's Superman, too (although we're holding out hope he does at least one more). Then there's the studio itself to consider, which isn't in the business of losing money, no matter how beloved the IP may be. The DCEU's continued existence is assured thanks to Aquaman, Wonder Woman 2, and probably Shazam. But at the moment, a traditional Justice League 2 seems unlikely, but that doesn't mean that we won't get more Justice League adventures on the big screen.
Keep in mind, this isn't a wishlist of stories I want to see the most or directions I want the DCEU to go. Instead, it's what I consider to be a realistic path to keeping the Justice League franchise on screen based on what's already been done, what's currently in development, and what might ease the studio's fears.
Justice League 2
Just to be thorough, I am obligated to at least discuss the most likely scenario for a traditional sequel first, but then there are other possibilities to team up the DCEU heroes that might be a little less risky.
So with that in mind, expect an expansion of what we saw in that Justice League post-credits scene: the League needs to take on the DCEU version of the Secret Society of Super Villains. A team of supervillains offers a key point of difference between the DCEU and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Frankly, DC has a better stable of villains all around, and Marvel has been almost completely unable to produce memorable movie baddies so far. Rather than setting the League against another cosmic menace full of earth shaking destruction and mediocre CGI, a team vs team dynamic, full of globe trotting side missions for each of the heroes, would not only feel remarkably like vintage Justice League comics, but would eliminate any grumbling about trying to keep up with the competition.
What, you were expecting Darkseid? Maybe this was the plan when Justice League was still being conceived as a two-part movie, but that long ago fell by the wayside, and at the moment, Justice League 2 doesn't even have a spot on the DC superhero movie release date calendar. Sorry, folks, there is little chance that even if Justice League 2 gets made that they go with yet another alien invasion angle after using that in both Man of Steel and Justice League, not to mention with Marvel about to corner the big purple bad guy market with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4.
From a more practical standpoint, we’ve seen how flat a Fourth World villain can fall without any kind of actual context for him, and they can’t waste that Darkseid bullet. This is the most powerful villain in the entire DC Universe (and along with the Joker, the best they have), so they can’t blow it. It’s gonna take time to get there. Meanwhile, I have a shortcut to introducing Darkseid involving Superman, which you can read about here.
Of course, at the moment, with such a poor box office showing, it’s unlikely we’re going to see the words “Justice League” again atop a marquee any time in the near future. But that doesn’t mean the end of the DCEU, or even that a reboot of the shared universe is at hand. Warner Bros. will just need to think outside the traditional team/event movie. Think more Spider-Man: Homecoming or Thor: Ragnarok than Avengers: Infinity War in terms of utilizing its major players for team-ups.
Speaking of unlikely, the Flashpoint movie still doesn’t have a director or release date, although it did recently bring someone on as writer, so that’s good. But with DC Films co-chair Geoff Johns still expressing enthusiasm over the project (which makes sense, as he wrote the source material) it may be tough to pronounce this one completely dead. In any event, I wouldn't put too much stock in the idea of using this to reboot elements of the DCEU, although it could help explain a recasting or two down the road.
For those who don’t know, Flashpoint is the story of how Barry Allen, frustrated by the fact that his father is in prison for the murder of his mother (which he didn’t commit), goes back in time to prevent it from happening. When he returns to the present, he finds reality has changed in unexpected ways. Chief among these is that the world is on the brink because of a war between Themyscira and Atlantis (there’s your Wonder Woman and Aquaman connection), Superman has been raised in captivity by the government and is kind of a mess (these movies finally stopped abusing Superman, so why start again now), and Bruce Wayne was killed by a mugger as a child, so Thomas Wayne is Batman (there’s your Batman without having to use the surely departing Ben Affleck).
Basically, Flashpoint is a Justice League movie in all but name. Hell, the best adaptation of Flashpoint to date was the Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox animated movie, just in case you had any doubt on which end of the spectrum this falls on. It’s absolutely a Flash story, but one with plenty of room for the Justice League to play a significant role.
There are some problems with this scenario, starting with the lack of a release date. The earliest we could see it is 2020, after Wonder Woman 2 and Aquaman. The Flashpoint reality is kinda dystopian and our heroes don’t act the way we expect them to, so we’d be right back to the kind of DCEU tonal issues that Justice League worked so hard to correct. This might work as a way to burn off some contractual obligations, but it might be a hard sell to audiences, and that might make the studio especially cautious.
On the other hand...
Throne of Atlantis
Aquaman has already finished filming, so his future in the DCEU is, for the moment, as secure as Wonder Woman’s. If Aquaman is a Wonder Woman style success story (and let’s face it, Wonder Woman is by far the biggest success story the DCEU has produced so far), sequels will follow. There's word that Warner Bros. is really confident in the work James Wan has done on Aquaman’s solo movie, so that's a good sign.
In Aquaman, we’re going to meet Arthur’s half brother, Orm, played by Patrick Wilson. Nothing says underwater palace intrigue like an evil half brother. But with the assumption that Aquaman is going to spend its running time fleshing out Atlantean mythos, and focusing on Arthur coming to terms with the heritage he appeared to struggle with in Justice League, there's still a bigger story to tell in the sequel.
Throne of Atlantis is an excellent story, and one of the definitive modern Aquaman tales. In it, forces conspire to force a war between Atlantis and the surface world. Orm is leading the forces of Atlantis against us, so Arthur enlists the help of the Justice League to fight them off.
Just as Flashpoint is a Flash story that happens to feature other DC superheroes, Throne of Atlantis is absolutely an Aquaman story, but one that can also function as a stealth Justice League sequel. It would make sense for heavy hitters like Wonder Woman, Superman, Flash, or Cyborg, to help with the war effort, and if Batman can’t be there (because for real, Ben Affleck is almost certainly not coming back) his absence could be explained by, I dunno, an urgent need to repair the bilge pumps in the Batcave or something. In this scenario Throne of Atlantis is basically Aquaman 2, but one that can remind fans that the DCEU is still healthy by utilizing other heroes, but without the pressure (and at the moment, let's face it, negativity) that comes with the Justice League name.
In any case, the core Justice League characters are iconic enough that watching any previous DCEU films shouldn't be a barrier to entry if JL members start showing up elsewhere. Having a shared universe doesn't mean these movies have to as heavily serialized as the MCU, and the superhero genre is infinitely more well established than it was a decade ago. The Justice League and the DCEU can endure...at least for now.
Follow Mike Cecchini on Twitter for even more baseless DCEU speculation.
Collecting retro videogames is fun, but depending on what system you’re into, it’s getting increasingly expensive...
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Some of videogame history’s most eye-catching stories are reliably about failed software and hardware and catastrophic sales.
One of the earliest fables in the medium’s brief history surrounded the tie-in game for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial - a game whose supply so outstripped demand that copies of it were famously buried in the New Mexico desert. Or, to cite a more recent example, the flailing attempt to create a British console to rival the Nintendo Entertainment System - the infamous Amstrad GX4000, which sold a few thousand units and then apologetically vanished. Or Nintendo’s first, deeply weird stereoscopic experiment, the Virtual Boy, which was continued after less than one year and widespread reports of nagging headaches.
If you’re one of the few people who own one of these games or systems, and happen to still have it in its box, then you’ll be having the last laugh. Boxed copies of E.T. tend to sell for between £30 to £80 depending on their condition. An as-new GX4000 might set you back £150 or more. As for the Virtual Boy, Nintendo’s failure is potentially your gain: the system was produced in such small quantities that boxed ones tend to sell from £200 to £300 depending on their condition. Some of its games are even more scarce: a copy of Virtual Bowling sold online for an eye-watering £1722.77 back in September.
That once-shunned pieces of videogame history can command such prices is a sure sign of a maturing industry; indeed, while the demand for new experiences is as healthy as ever, the collecting of older games and systems has long since become a hobby in itself. There are sellers on eBay who specialise in selling nothing but retro games and machines; entire websites and YouTube channels are devoted to the subject.
The market for retro stuff is driven in no small part, no doubt, by simple nostalgia. Just as collectors of Matchbox cars or Star Wars toys want to reclaim the things they loved as kids - kept in boxes this time, rather than played with until they fell apart - so collectors of games are often attracted to the systems they grew up with. Someone who grew up in the early 80s would likely want to collect Atari 2600 games, for example; a child of the '90s might be more into PlayStation, PC or Nintendo 64 titles. But there are other reasons to obsess over old games, too: your humble writer mostly collects Japanese games from the '80s and '90s, largely because the graphic design and box artwork from that era just looks so appealing.
As someone who’s collected videogames for over 15 years, it’s been interesting to watch how the interest in all things retro has grown. For as long as I can remember, there have been games that are legendarily rare and expensive; there’s that indescribably obscure Sega Mega Drive edition of Tetris that can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.There’s the NES sports game Stadium Events - another title that occasionally makes headlines when a copy sells for around the price of a car. These and games like them are the golden fleece of the collecting scene - out of reach for most of us, unless you get lucky and find one in a second-hand shop, which isn’t too likely these days.
For the most part, the prices of games like Stadium Events and Mega Drive Tetris are driven by sheer scarcity: only a handful are known to exist, so if there’s a demand for them among collectors, then it follows that prices will be high. Over the past decade or so, though, games that were once thought of as comparatively common have steadily climbed in value.
Take something like Pokemon FireRed for the Game Boy Advance; a used, good condition copy recently sold on eBay for £90. That’s hardly a bank breaking sum by Stadium Events standards, but it’s not bad for a game that, about a decade ago, you could probably have picked up at a fraction of the price. A game that was once a common sight in shops is now highly collectible, partly because of the growing interest in Pokemon, as collectors who loved the property as kids start buying the old games again, and also because its fragility means that good-condition copies are getting harder to find.
The increasing age and scarcity of some games, along with a growing collector’s market, has seen prices generally creep up across the board. Back when I first started collecting games, I largely stuck with Japanese Mega Drive titles, partly because I love the system, and partly because, in the early 2000s, getting hold of the games was relatively cheap and easy; with a bit of cunning, hunting and good timing, it was possible to get some of the more common titles for less than £5 on eBay. It was still possible to find old Mega Drives at second-hand shops or car boot sales. Even rarer titles, like Musha Aleste, a classic top-down shooter that puts mecha in a feudal Japanese setting, were available for a comparatively low price.
Today, all but the tattiest and most common Japanese Mega Drive games - an old baseball title missing its manual, say - will sell quickly on eBay. A copy of Musha Aleste will now set you back over £100. A decent, complete copy of another great shooter, Ex Ranza now sells for about £50 - about three times its cost a decade ago. Again, these games aren’t getting any younger, so it follows that the prices will creep up as a result. But there are also plenty of signs that a growing interest and accompanying demand for retro games is also pushing up prices.
By 2012, my love of collecting videogames took me to Japan, and I was in heaven: compared to places like eBay, the prices of old games were incredibly cheap. By this point, my collection had grown to take in games for the Famicom, Super Famicom, Sega Saturn, Game Gear and PC Engine as well as the Mega Drive, so there were plenty of platforms to choose from. Dedicated retro game shops, including the now famous Super Potato in Akihabara, were full of all kinds of colourful, precious things - some impossibly rare, most less so. There were astoundingly expensive games like a low-run version of Gradius for the Famicom, which even there would cost hundreds of pounds or more. But dotted around the place were less scarce games that, by the standards of prices on eBay, were a bargain. There were PC Engine titles, in mint condition, available for less than the price of a new DVD.
A chain of stores called Book-Off reliably contained more delights. Although largely given over to books, comics, music and movies, these stores, easily found in most Japanese cities, contained a small yet awe-inspiring selection of classics. I snapped up copies of Super Mario World and Mario Kart for only a few pounds. I got back from Japan in the spring of 2012 with a suitcase full of games and a traumatised wallet; if I’d known then what I know now, I’d have bought even more stuff.
Four years later, I was fortunate to briefly visit Tokyo again, and I was stunned by how much things had changed. The range of PC Engine games at Super Potato was down to just a handful of titles; the prices all over Akihabara had sky-rocketed. There was a similar story at the Book-Off stores I had time to explore: still some bargains to be found, but fewer of them. While the shifting rate of exchange meant my pounds sterling didn’t stretch as far as it did in 2012, the difference was still unmistakable. Titles that were common four years earlier had either vanished or shot up in price; copies of Super Metroid were readily available in those Book-Off stores in 2012. By 2016, dedicated retro shops had them behind glass - like that Gradius title, they’d joined the ranks of holy relics. Admittedly, they looked mint, but even so, times had clearly changed.
With hindsight, I probably should have seen all this coming. Although modern games often dazzle with their technical sheen, there appears to be a growing affection and respect for classic games like Mega Man, Castlevania, and Metroid. As such indie hits as Super Meat Boy and Shovel Knight have referenced their ingenious design, it seems natural that a growing number of people would want to seek those original titles out. And as the games industry increasingly heads towards the digital realm, there really is nothing like having a physical copy of a classic title.
Nintendo evidently recognises the affection for retro stuff. While the firm’s never been afraid of referencing the past, the NES Mini and this year’s Super Nintendo Mini are something else altogether. The titles packaged on those systems have been available for years as downloads, but Nintendo recognised that people wanted a physical connection to the past: a boxed, tangible item that tapped into the affection for those systems and some of their best games. For those who don’t have the money and space to buy an original SNES and a copy of Super Metroid, the Mini could be considered the next best thing - though it’s an irony that scarcity, demand and cold-blooded scalpers on eBay have made these expensive items in themselves.
So with the rising cost of retro, does all this mean that collecting games is only for the wealthy? Far from it. While it’s getting more difficult to find a bargain for the Mega Drive or Super Famicom - especially if you’re after the more sought-after titles - it’s still possible to find an obscure classic if you’re patient and seek out the best deals. A game like Galaga 88 for the PC Engine, to cite one example off the top of my head, is one of the best 2D shooters ever made - and copies of it are still curiously low on eBay.
Alternatively, it’s never too late to start thinking about what the collectible games of the future might be. Western translations of Japanese RPGs are reliably sought after, especially in their special edition forms. Under-appreciated systems like the PSP and Vita are already getting a healthy collecting community springing up around them, and prices are likely to go up as the best titles grow scarce.
Then there are the companies like Limited Run Games, Nicalis and others like them, which specialise in publishing physical copies of indie titles like Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap or The Binding Of Isaac. We wouldn’t be too surprised if they become increasingly collectible in the future.
The main thing is to collect what you love. The vast majority of games will never come close to appreciating in value, but the simple act of tracking down your favourite titles and finally - finally - getting one for a decent price is all part of the fun. Besides, those colourful boxes sure look handsome lined up on a shelf...
The Dark Army strikes back on an upsetting, excellent Mr. Robot
This Mr. Robot review contains spoilers
Mr. Robot Season 3 Episode 7
“They’re actually going to get away with this,” Dom whispers to herself at the end of “Fredrick & Tanya.”
She’s right. The Dark Army is going to get away with it. Whiterose has gotten her precious annexation of the Congo. 71 E Corp buildings have been destroyed, along with at least 4,000 people dead. Elliot and Mr. Robot are defeated, their people’s revolution is torn to ribbons, each one of those ribbons picked up to be co-opted by yet another 1% puppet master. Trenton and Mobely are dead, framed for the E Corp building attacks. Angela is a time-traveling vegetable. It’s all over.
Even Philip Price, who until this episode we would have delighted in to see defeated, is unambiguously destroyed professionally and it’s devastating.
“You had to destroy so much. Why?” he demands to know of Whiterose as they sip cocktails in Mar-a-Lago’s tacky ballroom.
“Because Philip. I had to ask you twice,” she says.
“Frederick & Tanya” closes out the mini “Dark Army Triumphant” trilogy that was opened by “Runtime Error” and then continued in “Kill Process.” The three episodes represent the bleakest hours of Mr. Robot yet. They’re also the show’s single best sustained run since it began. “Runtime Error” through “Frederick & Tanya” is basically Mr. Robot’s The Empire Strikes Back. The good guys lose, the bad guys win and the only prayer we have for justice is that the series isn’t over yet. Elliot didn’t lose a hand but I’m sure he would have traded that hand for those 4,000 souls and Angela’s sanity back.
Historically, the appeal of so much of Mr. Robot has been that we have no idea what the fuck is going on. The entire premise of season 2 and parts of season 1 is that we can’t fully trust what Elliot’s seeing. “Frederick & Tanya” in its quest for clarity opts to remove Elliot entirely.
There are no parlor tricks in “Frederick & Tanya,” save for its devastating conclusion in which Sam Esmail fudges the timeline so it looks like Trenton and Mobely are on the verge of rescue when in reality they are long dead. Beyond that, there is no almost no Elliot whose perspective we’ve grown to mistrust. After he rushes to Krista’s office, Mr. Robot takes over the narrative. That means that everything we see after is 100% conclusively real. Our eyes into these events are the rock-solid Mr. Robot, Dom, and Darlene.
One would think that some clarity would take away from the enjoyment of Mr. Robot. We’ve grown so accustomed to playing Esmail’s Fight Club games. How could the reveals in Frederick & Tanya live up to the twisty narratives we’ve built up in our head? Whiterose isn’t a savior, she’s just another 1% puppermaster who knows how to pull the strings better than the other artists. There really isn’t any hope for actual time travel. That was just a lie sold to a brainwashed Angela. And there isn’t even really an fsociety anymore if there ever even was.
The people’s technocratic revolution had long ago been co-opted by more powerful forces and for what? So that Whiterose could make a point, get some more space for her nuclear facilities, and so the rich elite can keep their rooftop party going even as the world burns around them and the mistress’s dead body rots in the guest bathroom.
This is the clarity we’ve been asking for. Well now it’s here, and it’s about as ugly as we could have expected.
Clarity shouldn’t work this well on Mr. Robot. The audience has been conditioned to be fucked with. And then once the artifices and the games have all been lifted, the truth we’re left with is the one that was the most easy to guess: rich people doing bad things.
How could this possibly work? It just does. Maybe while Mr. Robot was conditioning us to accept narrative tricks and obfuscation, the real world was conditioning us to accept that revolutions are always co-opted and money always wins. I’m still not sure why Mr. Robot chose right now, halfway through season 3 to put all its cards on the table as opposed to say the beginning of the season or the end of last season but it’s hard to argue that it possibly could have chose a better time.
It helps of course, that as Mr. Robot sets up its presumable Everyone v. the Dark Army end game, it remains as devastatingly stylish as usual.
If there is an archetype that this show has absolutely nailed, it’s the charismatic fixer. The best moments in “Frederick & Tanya” are the ones we share with Leon and Irving. Leon (Joey Bada$$) makes his return to the series (he had previously appeared in “Legacy” in a flashback) as prophesied in the season 2 finale’s post-credit sequence. He remains as charming and weird as ever.
The episode smartly spares us the details of much of what happens after he asks Trenton and Mobely for the time and launches right into their experiences as his captives. It’s an experience that looks like a shocking amount of fun! Leon has moved on from Seinfeld and is now more interested in Frasier and Knight Rider. Leon can’t quite understand how a balding psychiatrist in Seattle gets so much tail so it’s safe to assume Leon has never been to a Seattle. Thankfully, his Knight Rider experience runs into the opening credits so we get to hear those iconic bars.
When Leon passes Trenton and Mobely onto the Dark Army, it’s equal parts disturbing and sad. This is certainly the last we’ll see from Trenton and Mobely and it might mean the last we see of Leon. Let’s hope he eventually makes it to the Parks and Recreation era of NBC comedy programming.
After Mr. Robot takes over Elliot’s body, he guides us to another worthwhile interaction with our other favorite fixer. Mr. Robot tries to confront Irving at his auto body shop but gets knocked out for his troubles and taken to outside a rooftop party.
Bobby Cannavale Irving remains an absolute revelation this season. He’s carefully measured monologue about the rich wanting to keep the party going offers up such a perfect visual and narrative representation of why the Dark Army has engineered all of these events.
Each of the three most recent Mr. Robot episodes have felt monumentally consequential and it’s hard to view “Frederick & Tanya” as anything other than the conclusion to a particular era of the show.
Evil has won. Santiago’s influence at the FBI has assisted in establishing Tyrell Wellick, Trenton, and Mobely as believable patsies. All the extraneous pieces are gone. fsociety has collapsed, Elliot’s revolution has failed, and Evil Corp and Angela have been all but neutralized.
What we’re left with is Elliot, Darlene, Mr. Robot and the revolution they tried to begin and Whiterose and the Dark Army who took it over for their own purposes. The goals, stakes, and combatants of this class struggle or whatever you want to call it have never been clearer. Now Mr. Robot has the opportunity to tackle them in as clear or ambiguous a way as it wants to. Whichever route it chooses, it will likely continue to succeed.
The DCEU is alive and well, and Joss Whedon is still writing and directing the Batgirl movie.
Yesterday, a rumor surfaced that Joss Whedon had been removed from writing/directing duties on the Batgirl movie. The rationale is that there was backlash because of Justice League's disappointing box-office performance. This information is completely false, and I can confirm that Joss Whedon is not only still making the Batgirl movie, he's currently working on it.
I have spoken with individuals close to both Mr. Whedon and the project and can confirm that this information is false. Joss Whedon is currently "100% engaged" in writing the script for Batgirl and will also serve as both director and producer. As of this writing, nobody has been cast as Batgirl, but it would be cool to see JK Simmons reprise his Justice League role as Commissioner Gordon.
Batgirl is one of the many DCEU projects that doesn't currently have a release date. But Batman-centric projects are always a safe bet for the studio, so even if they back away from $300 million epics like Justice League in the short term, Bat-family projects like Nightwing, The Batman solo movie, and Batgirl are likely to continue as planned. In any case, ignore anything you hear about Whedon's removal from this project.
While asking around about this, I was told that Warner Bros. will be issuing an official statement about Joss Whedon and the Batgirl movie shortly. We'll update this when it comes around.
This is a developing story...check back for updates!
Follow Mike Cecchini on Twitter for all manner of DCEU and superhero nonsense.
The Flight Of The Navigator remake looks like it's back on...
A remake of Flight Of The Navigator, the 1986 sci-fi movie about a 12 year old boy who disappears for eight years and suddenly returns, has been on the Hollywood cards for some time.
Colin Trevorrow, director of Jurassic World, was once working on the project, but admitted back in 2015 that it’d “moved on." But now comes the news that District 9 director Neill Blomkamp appears to be involved.
Over the last few months, Blomkamp has been taken the covers off his Oats Studios, that’s been showcasing a series of impressive short movies. But now, on his Twitter account, he’s teased that a feature is on the way too. And, well, see for yourself…
So for clarity on @oatsstudios shorts, people are asking for part 2's of certain films, - the first follow up short will be for ADAM, coming soonish. The first proper feature film will be .....
— Neill Blomkamp (@NeillBlomkamp) November 21, 2017
We wait and see how this pans out, and will keep you posted as we hear more…
A Porg Finds Out That It’s Not Wise To Upset A Wookiee In This Latest STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI TV Spot
It was another big week for the comic book industry. The big news this week was the debut of Doomsday Clock, DC's long-awaited Watchmen sequel. DC also debuted two new promising titles in the form of Imaginary Fiends and The Demon: Hell Is Earth. Marvel, meanwhile, welcome Thanos and Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows into the Marvel Legacy relaunch. Elsewhere, Dark Horse kicked off a new Tomb Raider comic and Valiant continued their excellent X-O Manowar relaunch.
Scroll down to check out our reviews for these and various other new releases, and be sure to let us know your favorite books of the week in the comments below.
What we know about Mr. Robot season 3 Episode 8, including latest news, release date, and much more!
This story is our news hub for Mr. Robot Season 3. The latest news will be placed at the top.
Mr. Robot has become the prestigious dramatic centerpiece of USA Network’s scripted stable. The tone-heavy hacker drama reaped accolades beyond expectations with wins at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards, 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as 2017 Golden Globe nominations. Thus, while the show has made some divisive Season 2 turns, USA's Mr. Robot Season 3 looks ready and refocused.
Mr. Robot Season 3 Release Date
Mr. Robot Season 3 premiered USA Network for a 10-episode run on Wednesday, October 11, 2017.
Mr. Robot Season 3 Episode 8 Trailer
Mr. Robot Season 3 Episodes
Here's where we'll compile official synopses, and reviews as they become available. Click the titles to go to the full reviews.
Elliot realizes his mission, and needs help from Angela; Darlene worries about them coming out clean.
Air Date: 10/11/17
Air Date: 10/18/17
The former interim CTO of E Corp returns.
Air Date: 10/25/17
Dom has a close call; Elliot chases himself with Darlene on the lookout.
Air Date: 11/1/17
E Corp is in chaos; Elliot is on the run; Darlene tries to help.
Air Date: 11/8/17
Elliot faces off with Mr. Robot; Dom gets tired of the red tape; Tyrell has a new plan.
Air Date: 11/15/17
Mr. Robot wants answers; the FBI closes in; Angela hits the rewind button.
Air Date: 11/22/17
Mr. Robot Season 3 Episode 8: Eps3.7dont-delete-me.ko
Elliot tries to get ghosted; it is the day of all days.
Air Date: 11/29/ 17
Mr. Robot Season 3 Episode 9: Eps3.8stage3.torrent
Elliot trolls a former ally; Mr. Robot leaves cryptic text; Tyrell gets new commands.
Air Date: 12/6/17
Mr. Robot Season 3: Episode 10: Shutdown -r
Elliot tries to save Darlene, but things do not go as planned; Mr. Robot must decide whether to step up or step back.
Air Date: 12/13/17
Mr. Robot Season 3 Trailer
Yet another trailer has surfaced for Mr. Robot Season 3, and it's a doozy! The inner turmoil of Elliot's multiple personalities are reaching a boiling point, especially as the ambitious plans of "Phase 2" near their deadline. Loyalties on this series, much like the narration, are inherently unreliable and the players of fsociety, Dark Army and the FBI in this drama are about to collide in a big way. Take a look!
Prepare yourself, friend. This clip is just the beginning.
— Mr. Robot (@whoismrrobot) August 18, 2017
Here's another recent teaser trailer clip from Mr. Robot season 3 from USA:
Here we have the Mr. Robot Season 3 extended trailer. While it's backed by repertory rantings of economic collapse and subsequent revolution (lyrics from Leonard Cohen's "Democracy"), it's also a montage of madness that shows the characters drifting further towards a personally powerful precipice.
And here is the Mr. Robot season 3 teaser trailer, which serves as a stark reminder of time, which ticks away towards the October premiere.
Mr. Robot Season 3 Key Art
A few characters were featured in the key art for Mr. Robot season 3. Take a look:
Mr. Robot Season 3 Storylines
Mr. Robot Season 3 has released its first image. Arriving by way of EW, the pic – the very first preview of any kind – seems innocuous enough, at first glance, showing Rami Malek's Elliot Alderson pacing around in his own environment in a room filled with computers and what appears to be a sizable group of his hacktivist ilk.
However, this photo might be considered a spoiler for the Season 2 finale's shocking cliffhanger moment in which Elliot ended up shot by the heretofore MIA Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström), with Elliot's subconscious alter-ego Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) apparently culpable for the circumstances. Indeed, creator Sam Esmail candidly confirms that Elliot’s status was never meant to be a cliffhanger in that sense, stating:
“I never intended to have the question of his condition be lingering between Seasons 2 and 3. We respect the audience too much to leave that as a cliffhanger.”
Of course, Season 2’s closing moments may also carry some J.R. Ewing-like mystique, since the series tends to negate the veracity of not only what we’re seeing, but who we’re seeing. While we clearly saw Tyrell shoot Elliot, the question of “Who Shot Elliot?” remains a valid line of inquiry. – This is especially the case, since – post-shooting – it was also revealed that Tyrell has a relationship of some kind with Angela (Portia Doubleday), with Tyrell declaring in a head-scratching phone conversion of Elliot, “I love him.” This (and the quasi-affection that Tyrell's wife Joanna seems to have for Elliot,) makes us question if Tyrell himself has been (maybe the whole time,) yet another figment of Elliot’s subconscious.
Esmail explains that the central theme for Season 3 is “disintegration,” a name that’s familiar to Mr. Robot lore, since it also happens to be the name of Elliot’s favorite album, specifically The Cure’s 1989 mournful magnum opus “Disintegration.” As Esmail explains of Elliot’s Season 3’s objectives:
“Season 3 is about Elliot trying to bounce back and fight against the people who have been using him. Elliot isn’t going to take this lying down."
Mr. Robot Season 3 Cast
Rizwan Manji will join Mr. Robot Season 3 for a recurring role. As Deadline reports, Manji is set to play the FBI partner of Grace Gummer’s Dominique DiPerro, helping with the investigation of the monumental Five/Nine hack of Season 1. While Dominique spent much of Season 2 a step behind the fsociety hackers in their messy Five/Nine fallout, she finally put the pieces together about its missing manipulator Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström). Using a series of tragedies as her mark's motivation, Dominique seems close to flipping fsociety's Darlene (Carly Chaikin) towards the bust of a lifetime. Now, she’ll have the help of Manji’s unnamed character.
Manji has been seen in high-profile films such as The Wolf of Wall Street, The Dictator and the first Transformers. He’s also fielded a wide array of television roles on The Magicians, Schitt’s Creek, Backstrom, Squad 85 and was one of the primary stars of the short-lived sitcom Outsourced.
Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire, Vinyl), as previously reported, is joining the cast of Mr. Robot Season 3. USA Network released the first image of a spectacled Cannavale in character as Irving, a no-nonsense used car salesman. How that role will fit into the Mr. Robot universe remains to be seen. There aren't many "normal" people without mad hacking skills among the characters so it willl be interesting to find out how Irving is involved. But if Mr. Robot found a spot for Joey Bada$$, it can find a spot for a used car salesman. Perhaps as part of Trenton and Mobley's off the grid adventure.
BD Wong will be bumped up from recurring to full time with his role as Whiterose. This has been a long time coming as his enigmatic villain character is clearly one of the most important antagonists/characters in the Mr. Robot stable.
Where To Stream Mr. Robot Season 3
For those ready to cut cable, there are options to stay up to date on Mr. Robot. Sling, DirecTV Now and Playstation Vue all stream USA Network live. You can find out more information on those services here.
Mr. Robot Reviews and Features
Stan Against Evil goes back in time for its season 2 finale, which ends the year with the right mix of emotion, action, and horror!
This Stan Against Evil review contains spoilers.
Stan Against Evil Season Episode 8
Let’s just kick things off by making something super clear: Evie Barret is the true protagonist of this show, not Stan Miller. The show might feature the character’s name in its title and Stan is certainly front and center in all of the marketing, but it’s all just clever misdirection. Evie Barret is the real savior of Willard’s Mill, and if anyone ever has doubts about such a claim, it should all become painfully obvious after “A Hard Day’s Night,” the second season finale of Stan Against Evil.
“A Hard Day’s Night” has a lot to say on the topic of predestination. In fact, it’s kind of the key to the whole episode. Stan Against Evil doesn’t try to be any deeper than it knows that it is, but this finale does pose some worthwhile questions in regard to whether people have a say in what they do. The age-old debate of free will versus debate plays out through this episode, and as much as Stan might hate the idea of acknowledging something like “predestination,” the episode turns his hand pretty hard.
The half-hour even goes so far to prove its point that it erases Stan from existence. The universe is quick to establish that nobody gets to push it around. Stan might get away with bringing his wife, Claire, back to life, but it comes at the expense of losing his own life. Yada yada yada, something about the eternal scales of balance.
Stan’s actions result in Evie leading this finale while stuck in a contorted reality where Claire’s alive, but Stan’s dead. As Evie frantically scrambles to undo Stan’s actions, but not undo them at the same time, she begins to lose her grip on what’s real. Evie’s strong call to action here also makes for a welcome moment of symmetry between Stan Against Evil’stwo seasons. Both finales deal with Evie stuck in an alternate timeline while she tries to save Stan. Last year’s “Level Boss” might have more fun with Evie’s existential predicament, but “A Hard Day’s Night” feels like the more rounded episode overall.
This is also another impressive showpiece for what Janet Varney brings to the character, and these final two episodes really emphasize the bond between Evie and Stan. The moment where Evie believes she’s saying goodbye to Stan is genuinely moving, but the show understands how to properly turn up Stan’s sarcastic nature just when it begins to get too melodramatic. This is likewise the most fully realized that their relationship has felt to date.
Evie’s mission comes down to needing to take down a particularly problematic witch. This witch makes for a strong opponent for Evie, but she’s also just plainly terrifying. It’s encouraging to see Stan Against Evil give a threat of this magnitude the proper attention it deserves. A lot of Evie’s quest would fall flat if this witch was less frightening than the previous threats of the season. On top of Evie’s witch frustrations, “A Hard Day’s Night” plays around with the concept that it’s never a good idea to muck around with time travel. Time, more or less, can’t be changed, and predestination once again rears its intimidating head.
This isn’t exactly the most original opinion for the episode to take, but it at least does justice to the butterfly effect trope and doesn’t cop out on the matter. Anyone that’s even vaguely heard of DC Comics’ “Flashpoint” storyline (or, you know, seen any story about time travel, ever) knows that playing with the past and “fixing” time is a rigged game that cannot be won.
Accordingly, the final moments of this episode deserve a lot of credit. It’s a bold conclusion that ends the season on an ambitious, grandiose scale that should help make fans excited for a hypothetical third season. Stan and Evie may succeed in their mission on the smaller scale of things, but they don’t stop the doom blossoms from blooming, which effectively bring Hell to Earth in the process.
The world seems to be in pretty rough shape when the season ends, but this apocalyptic makeover for the series actually feels like it could lead to a more streamlined, constructive version of the show. For the first time ever, Stan is now in a situation where he can’t just shrug off the evils around him. He and Evie are right in the thick of it, which should lead to some very interesting character development if the show decides to stick with this angle. Stan Against Evil’ssecond season proves that the horror comedy is in no danger of running out of ideas or classic tropes to attack. This season has been full of surprising, unique moments, but if the show pushes these characters out of their comfort zones even more, the next season could be really special.
Even if Stan does hate that word.
The overall Season Grade is a three out of five, but this episode? Well…
The Shannara hits the fan during The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 episodes 9 and 10.
This Shannara Chronicles review contains spoilers.
The Shannara Chronicles Season 2 Episodes 9 & 10
Shannara! Why are you walking away? Where are you going? Was it something I said? Was it multiple things I said - on more than one occasion? Come back!
Fine, Shannara. Be that way.
The Shannara Chronicles is over. For now, at least. Its second year has been a bumpy ride with potholes (and plotholes) of varying size and quality. But, here we are. It’s done now - and sooner than we expected.
We’ve learned a lot about life in the Four Lands this year. We’ve learned that being the illegitimate child of a Druid warrior isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be. We’ve learned that time paradoxes don't necessarily have to be a thing if you're not feeling it. And, most importantly, we’ve discovered that Amberle isn't ever coming back - ever - so stop being salty about it or she will block you. Real talk.
Shannara has been one big all-you-can-eat buffet of genre conventions this year. Some of it I could stomach, some of it I had to spit into a napkin to throw away later on when nobody was looking. All in all, whatever cliches I managed to force down my throat satiated my appetite for post-apocalyptic fantasy fun. And that's what really matters.
If you asked me if it was an improvement over the first season, I...well, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. Both seasons have their perks and flaws. Both can be insufferable for different reasons, just as they can be entertaining for others.
But the question remains: is Shannara addictive? The jury's out on that, too. If I weren’t writing reviews for this show, would I go out of my way to keep up with what’s going on?
But I’m picky. I get the appeal of the show, I admire it for what it is, I think it has an incredible visual style, and the production is better than it should be. At this point in the series, I don’t feel the need to see what happens next. Eretria and Lyria can have their almost-happy ending. Mareth can become the new Daisy Ridley. Jax can be a sassy badass and maybe get metal arms somewhere down the road. Cogline can...be Cogline. And that one sloth man thing with the goggles...whatever his name is. He’s in a good place, too. My interest isn’t piqued. I'm not curious to see what's going to happen next because I can easily picture it myself. Why? Because it's formulaic - an assembly line in a trope factory. It's designed to be the dollar menu of fantasy TV. But I like the dollar menu, sometimes. Especially those little ice cream sundaes. Mmm. Those are tasty.
AKA “The One With Lingering Shots Of General Riga's Severed Head”
Now this is an episode I can sink my teeth into. Not because of Riga’s severed head prop, although production obviously wanted that to be the focal point here. Rather, because it hasjust the right amount of twists and turns to keep my attention. If Shannara was like this every single week, we’d have a much more engaging show on our hands.
The thing about this season is, although it seems like the stakes have been consistently high, this is the first time when they’ve we’ve been so invested into what happens. True, Wil and Mareth’s time travel trip to find the evil skull and get his parents back together came close, but now that the Warlock Lord is resurrected and we know who he is, and we’re well aware that this is the penultimate episode of the season, we’re aware that big stuff is happening.
“Wilderun” disposes of a character whom we have always had a complicated relationship with: Bandon. When he suddenly rises up against the Warlock Lord, the Cenobite wannabe runs him through with his dark sword. (He likes doing that.) But before he does, he asks the evil dark lord of ‘90s grunge what he wants, a question we have always kind of wondered in the back of our heads. What is Bandon’s motivation, anyway? Why did he go to such great lengths to summon the special Hellraiser edition of Allanon to come chew the scenery with him?
“To be as strong as you,” Bandon answers, “so no one can hurt me ever again.” Exploring the tortured nature of Bandon that is only sometimes eluded to in moments when it’s absolutely necessary to let the audience know where he stands would have made him a more interesting character. But no. No, we’re not allowed more than ten seconds of time to feel empathy for someone who had grown up physically and psychologically abused because he was different. To ask for more would be to wish The Shannara Chronicles had a soul. It has a heart, sure, and a brain, maybe a reproductive organ or two. But look past all that and you’ll find a show that would rather play a song off of a sad music playlist they found on Spotify to inspire emotion than tell a story about characters we care about, characters who have time to live and breathe and digest what they’re going through instead of being bossed around by the plot, having their agency and autonomy stripped away.
“Wilderun” also bids farewell to our Allanon - our dear, sweet, beefy Allanon. Manu Bennett has been a good sport through all of this, and we could feel his departure coming on now for the past five episodes. It’s sad that a hypothetical Season 3 of Shannara would be virtually Allanon-less, save for a couple Obi-Wan cameos here and there just for the feels, but I’m pretty sure the kids will be okay without him. That one girl from The Vampire Diaries took over for him as active Druid, so we’re in good hands. Right? Of course we are.
Eretria finally goes full on evil in “Wilderun”, and it’s about damn time. She beats the crap out of Wil and her blow-up doll Lyria when she is stuck inside an electrical chamber that is meant to keep the mord wraiths away. But this doesn’t happen easily; she fights her possession by the Walock Lord and his forces as much as she possibly can. This makes Eretria one of the stronger characters on the series, as if she wasn’t already. Her backstory is the most interesting of the main cast members at this point, simply because it’s a hotbed for mystery and we’ve known her longer. Mareth is mysterious, yes, but she is rapidly becoming a Mary Sue character for no good reason. I mean, she’s a Druid and the Queen of Arborlon? Go home, Shannara. You’re drunk.
Another thing that works about this episode is its atmosphere. Returning the characters to the backdrop of San Francisco was a nice way to let the show indulge in its post-apocalyptic influences once more, something that it hasn’t spent much time doing this season. It would have been nice to have the characters visit other cities that had fallen into ruin during whatever happened to their world long ago. But no.
If I were ever to compile a list of my Top 5 Favorite Episodes of The Shannara Chronicles - which I never plan to - “Wilderun” would definitely in be in it.
Guess what wouldn’t be?
AKA “The One Where We Think We Lose At First And Wind Up Winning In The End - But We're Still Sad Anyway”
It’s not that “Blood” is a bad season finale, or that it’s disappointing. No, “Blood” delivers on all of the drama that Season 2 built up and then some. It’s a strong note to go out on, and an emotional one at that, since we witness a character “death” that feels sadder than Amberle’s big exit.
It’s just that, hot on the heels of a complex episode that brought events to a boil, we have a resolution that doesn’t have a lot of time to tell a big story, so it makes things as simple as possible, even if it doesn’t make sense or slows down the momentum.
It’s also that, as a final set piece, Heaven’s Well isn’t nearly as grand nor as ominous as I had pictured. It’s just another temple set, with vines, and reflecting pool. Even the final battle between the Warlock Lord, Mareth, and Wil isn’t as desperate or quite as epic as I hoped it would be.
Nevertheless, “Blood” does reward us for sitting through Season 2 by giving us a warped sense of emotional closure. Wil’s death was much more impactful than I expected, so much so that I was distracted during the ten minutes of the aftermath that followed. I knew then and there that if this show does get renewed for a third season, I’d be that much less interested in watching it if I knew that Wil wasn’t going to be in it. Eretria could handle things on her own, but she’s not enough to carry supporting characters she has no chemistry with.
Like her relationship with the newly appointed Queen Lyria: I don't care. I like Lyria. Really. She's awesome. But I don't want to see a third season where they pine after each other because their performances wouldn't be able to sell it.
I will say this: I am more willing to tune in now that I know Wil is still alive somewhere. Shannara an’t stand to lose any more major characters from Season 1 without losing some of its footing. I'm down to see Shannara Trek III: The Search for Wil Ohmsford. You could go to fun places with that. Just don't kill him off again when you bring him back, please.
"Blood" serves as a nice ending point for Shannara, whether that be for now or forever. I'm content. Ish.
Stan Against Evil delivers a winner with a plot-heavy episode that embraces the insanity of evil twins.
This Stan Against Evil review contains spoilers.
Stan Against Evil Season 2 Episode 7
Stan Against Evil has been somewhat hit or miss this season but it’s a show that always brings a strong, unusual premise forward in inventive ways. The nature of the series allows for more episodic Monster of the Week stories to become its focus, while the heavier mythology takes a backseat. It’s a strategy that proves to work for many shows, but when a Monster of the Week installment misfires, viewers can sometimes feel more cheated than usual. “Mirror Mirror” works particularly well as a Stan Against Evil entry, however, because it’s one of the few episodes that uses the larger mythology to complement an episodic threat.
It’s encouraging that the series has learned these lessons by now, which helps the season end on a confident, accomplished note. These are the sorts of entries that make it feel like this shows deserve a third season of supernatural slaughters. The final episodes of Stan Against Evil’ssecond season definitely go out with a brash bang and not some wussy whimper.
A lot of this season sees Stan in a position of inactivity. Stan’s been in possession of magic wraith eyes since the season’s premiere but he’s clueless on how to use them to go back in time to find Gerard Duquette and save his wife. Besides, Stan is always one to shirk responsibilities and avoid work, so if these eyes don’t do the legwork for him, he’s in no hurry to become proactive on the matter. After a season of waiting for an answer to come to him, Stan finally gets his wish and he’s ready to get his time travel on.
Before Stan embarks on this suicide mission, there are plenty of comparisons brought up between Stan’s trajectory and the endless accomplishments of stuntman Evel Knievel. Stan finds an unusual solace in Knievel’s risk-taking ways and he’s always wanted to emulate his everlasting showmanship and his ability to top himself while getting the job done—even though that very same attitude is exactly what leads to Knievel’s eventual death. Stan’s got nothing to worry about here. Besides, he’s not the type to ever get caught in a jumpsuit either. Stan will succeed where Evil Knievel and so many previous Sheriffs of Willard’s Mill have failed before him.
Both Stan and the audience have been waiting for the appearance of Gerard Duquette for weeks, and thankfully this episode delivers a satisfying introduction to the character. Duquette is a warped take on a skeleton that wears human skin as a mask. It’s something that’s both creative as well as sufficiently creepy. Stan might gear up for a battle, but Duquette makes it clear that he’s here to act as a spirit guide of sorts to help Stan get back in time.
Naturally, Duquette’s conditions for Stan require him to solve a riddle while a giant, taunting hourglass counts down his futility. This is exactly the sort of bullshit that drives Stan insane, and it’s too much fun to see him come to terms with all of this. Of course Stan’s challenge isn’t some endurance round of monster slaughter. It needs to be infuriating brain teasers. This episode also marks the first time throughout this show that Stan has ever looked genuinely frightened.
Duquette takes on Stan’s form and runs wild with his evil doppelganger privileges. Stan sees (and kills) a whole lot of horrible demons, but coming face-to-face with an evil version of himself appears to really mess him up. After all of the grand machismo Stan exudes while saving the day each week, this decision to humble him and have Stan be out of his element becomes even more effective. For once Stan feels overpowered and he doesn’t know where to turn.
On that note, the episode’s introduction is also fairly disturbing and helps set the tone and weight for what’s to come. Later on in the episode, the grotesque bleeding corpse of a mailman continues to do his rounds as he’s oblivious to the fact that he’s deceased. It’s an equally upsetting image that helps solidify “Mirror Mirror” as the most adult installment of the season. There are still plenty of laughs (including talking cartoon brownies, Evie’s Divorced Female Sheriffmagazine, and the return of “Hachi Machi”), but it certainly leans into the show’s darker inclinations more than other entries from the series.
Some residual Twin Peaks vibes here also help give “Mirror Mirror” a little extra impact, whether the comparisons are intentional or not. The evil version of Stan gives a very Pennywise-like performance here, and this episode is strong proof that McGinley could probably kill in the role if ever given the opportunity. Or at least let the guy run loose as the Joker in some bizarro project. The rock, paper, scissors scene is wonderful madness that highlights both the fantastic job that McGinley does here, as well as the episode’s unhinged nature. This is easily John C. McGinley’s best performance of the season, but the same can also be said for Nate Mooney. Mooney also gets to have fun with an evil version of Leon, and it leads to such a standout performance that maybe the show would be better if Leon was evil all of the time. Leon switching over to the dark side would at least give the guy more to do on a regular basis.
“Mirror Mirror” is one of the better examples where Stan Against Evil effectively balances out its darker and more comedic sensibilities. Its story also moves in a fairly unconventional pattern with an ending that feels earned, rather than one that sneaks up on the audience. “Mirror Mirror” also ends on an appropriate cliffhanger after Stan completes his riddle and “defeats” Duquette. The episode teases the audience and leaves them anxious for answers while it also effectively sets up the season’s finale, which will revolve around Stan’s attempts to “Flashpoint” his reality back to a good place.
And it’s not like attempts to re-write a timeline have ever gone poorly before, right?
Riverdale Season 2 is here! We've got your complete guide to everything you need to know right here...
Riverdale season 2 is finally underway, and it's darker and sexier than ever. Looking for our review of the most recent episode? Click here!
The Jason Blossom mystery has been solved, but there are plenty more questions to answer in the town of Riverdale. Riverdale is the brainchild of Arrowverse architect Greg Berlanti and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writer behind the resurgence of Archie Comics in recent years with great horror comics Afterlife with Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
The next episode, "Chapter Twenty: "Tales from the Darkside" airs on Wednesday, November 29th on The CW.
Here's the official synopsis:
Riverdale remains on edge after a chilling letter from the Black Hood challenges the town’s residents to remain sinless for 48 hours – or he’ll strike again. Meanwhile, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Archie’s (KJ Apa) friendship gets tested after Penny Peabody (guest star Brit Morgan) unexpectedly calls in a favor that Jughead owes her. Elsewhere, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) team up to investigate someone who Betty thinks could be the Black Hood killer. Finally, things take an unexpected turn for Josie (Ashleigh Murray) when a secret admirer takes things one step too far. Madelaine Petsch and Casey Cott also star.
Check out the trailer...
Riverdale Season 2 Episodes
Hit the blue titles to go to our full reviews!
As Fred’s (Luke Perry) life hangs in the balance following the shooting at Pop’s diner, Archie (KJ Apa) struggles with the emotional aftermath of what he witnessed. Meanwhile, as Veronica (Camila Mendes) steps out of her comfort zone to support Archie, she learns that her father Hiram (Mark Consuelos) has arrived to Riverdale earlier than expected. Elsewhere, at Pop’s diner, Pop Tate (guest star Alvin Sanders) recounts the chilling details of the shooting, which leaves Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) questioning the gunman’s true motives. Lastly, after running into Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) at the hospital, Betty and Kevin (Casey Cott) are surprised to learn about the fire at Thornhill.
air date: 10/11/17
With the gunman still at large and the residents of Riverdale on edge, Betty (Lili Reinhart) leads the charge to save Pop’s after learning that the diner may be forced to close its doors forever. Meanwhile, the gang becomes increasingly concerned for Archie’s (KJ Apa) well being after noticing a string of unusual behavior from him. Elsewhere, Betty and Veronica (Camila Mendes) approach Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and Josie (Ashleigh Murray) for their help saving Pop’s, while Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) attempt to find FP (Skeet Ulrich) a new lawyer may have some serious repercussions. Finally, when a past betrayal unexpectedly comes to light, Veronica finds herself at a crossroads with Hiram (Mark Consuelos) and Hermoine (Marisol Nichols.)
air date: 10/18/17
Frustrated by the lack of progress made in catching his father’s shooter, Archie (KJ Apa) takes matters into his own hands in order to send the gunman a message. Meanwhile, Veronica (Camila Mendes) is thrilled when Hiram’s (Mark Consuelos) attempt to start fresh means she gets to introduce him to her friends, including Archie. Elsewhere, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) starts his first day at Southside High and is befriended by a Southside Serpent named Toni (guest star Vanessa Morgan), while Kevin’s (Casey Cott) attempt at having a little fun causes Betty (Lili Reinhart) to grow concerned for his safety. Finally, an unexpected turn of events leads the town to realize their darkest chapter may be far from over.
air date: 10/25/17
When Alice (Madchen Amick) publishes a fiery piece in the Riverdale Register blasting the Southside, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is forced to take matters into his own hands to try and keep the peace. Betty (Lili Reinhart) turns to Archie (KJ Apa) for help after receiving an ultimatum that could potentially destroy some of her closest relationships. With their SoDale open house fast approaching, Hiram (Mark Consuelos) and Hermoine (Marisol Nichols) enlist the help of an unlikely ally to get some potential investors on board. Finally, Veronica (Camila Mendes) welcomes her old friend Nick St. Clair (guest star Graham Phillips) to Riverdale, but his plans for a wild night with the gang quickly takes an unexpected turn. Madelaine Petsch, Luke Perry, Ashleigh Murray and Casey Cott also star.
air date: 11/1/17
When Alice (Madchen Amick) publishes a fiery piece in the Riverdale Register blasting the Southside, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is forced to take matters into his own hands to try and keep the peace. Betty (Lili Reinhart) turns to Archie (KJ Apa) for help after receiving an ultimatum that could potentially destroy some of her closest relationships. With their SoDale open house fast approaching, Hiram (Mark Consuelos) and Hermoine (Marisol Nichols) enlist the help of an unlikely ally to get some potential investors on board. Finally, Veronica (Camila Mendes) welcomes her old friend Nick St. Clair (guest star Graham Phillips) to Riverdale, but his plans for a wild night with the gang quickly takes an unexpected turn. Madelaine Petsch, Luke Perry, Ashleigh Murray and Casey Cott also star.
air date: 11/8/17
After a charge led by Mayor McCoy (guest star Robin Givens) threatens to further escalate tensions between the North and Southside, Jughead (Cole Sprouse), along with Archie (KJ Apa), tries to put a stop to a dangerous alliance being considered between the Serpents and a long-time rival. Betty (Lili Reinhart) turns to Veronica (Camila Mendes) for help when she’s thrust into the center of a burgeoning mystery surrounding The Sugarman. Finally, Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) confronts her mother Penelope (guest star Nathalie Boltt) after a traumatic run-in forces her to make a stark realization.
air date: 11/15/17
Riverdale Season 2 Episode 7: Chapter Twenty - Tales From the Dark Side
Riverdale remains on edge after a chilling letter from the Black Hood challenges the town’s residents to remain sinless for 48 hours – or he’ll strike again. Meanwhile, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Archie’s (KJ Apa) friendship gets tested after Penny Peabody (guest star Brit Morgan) unexpectedly calls in a favor that Jughead owes her. Elsewhere, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) team up to investigate someone who Betty thinks could be the Black Hood killer. Finally, things take an unexpected turn for Josie (Ashleigh Murray) when a secret admirer takes things one step too far. Madelaine Petsch and Casey Cott also star.
air date: 11/29/17
Riverdale Season 2 Episode 8: Chapter Twenty-One - House of the Devil
When Jughead (Cole Sprouse) learns that FP (Skeet Ulrich) is getting released from prison, he and Betty (Lili Reinhart) organize a welcome home party with the Serpents to ease him back into his former life. Meanwhile, Archie (KJ Apa) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) reach a crossroad in their relationship, but are forced to push their issues aside after Jughead and Betty ask them to take over the Black Hood investigation.
air date: 12/6/17
Riverdale Season 2 Episode 9: Chapter Twenty-Two - Silent Night, Deadly Night
After snooping around for Christmas gifts, Veronica (Camila Mendes) uncovers a major secret Hiram (Mark Consuelos) has been keeping from her. Fallout from Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) encounter with Penny Peabody (guest star Brit Morgan) creates tension between him and FP (Skeet Ulrich.) Meanwhile, a defiant Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) takes matters into her own hands after Penelope (guest star Nathalie Boltt) tells her they cannot afford Christmas this year. Finally, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Archie’s (KJ Apa) vow to take down the Black Hood once and for all leads to a dangerous showdown.
air date: 12/13/17
Riverdale Season 2 Episode 10: Chapter Twenty-Three - The Blackboard Jungle
air date: TBA
Riverdale Season 2 Episode 11: Chapter Twenty-Four - The Wrestler
air date: TBA
Riverdale Season 2 Episode 12: Chapter Twenty-Five - The Wicked and the Divine
air date: TBA
We're hunting down every DC Universe reference in the Justice League movie. Help us find them all.
This article consists of nothing but Justice League spoilers. You've been warned!
The Justice League movie has finally arrived, and as expected, it's full of DC Comics references. While not everyone has loved the shape of the DCEU early on, one thing you can't argue with is how well they've created this larger, interconnected universe in relatively few films. Man of Steel got it started, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gave us our first indication of a wider superheroic world, Suicide Squad brought in the villains, and Wonder Woman gave us a better indicator of the world's past.
But it's up to Justice League to bring it all together, and despite its faults, it does this in remarkably efficient fashion. There's so much crammed into nearly every scene that this has become one of our longest reference guides ever. Because there is just so much to unpack here, I'm not going to try and go chronologically through the movie. Instead I've broken this up into relevant sections.
Here's how this works: if you spot something I missed, shout it out in the comments or give me a yell on Twitter. If it checks out, we'll update this until it becomes the most complete Justice League reference guide on the internet.
While the Justice League have been around since 1960 (they first appeared in Brave and the Bold #28) the broad strokes of this movie are based on Justice League: Origin (which was adapted as the animated movie, Justice League: War), the comic book story that revamped the team's initial team-up for a new generation. The villain of the comic was Darkseid not Steppenwolf, but the Parademon hordes, the Mother Boxes, and the tying of Cyborg's origin to Fourth World technology all come straight out of this story.
The similarities to that story echo even in the early scene in the movie with Batman taking on a self-destructing Parademon on a rooftop. We should probably get some of this weird alien stuff taken care of early, since it's all so crucial to the story.
Speaking of Parademons...
The weird insectoid drones making everyone's lives miserable are Parademons, the foot soldiers of the planet Apokolips, a hellish world which lives in opposition to New Genesis, the home of the New Gods and Forever People. All of this great stuff was created by the brilliant Jack Kirby, by the way. Steppenwolf (more on him in a minute) and the Parademons are trying to collect three Mother Boxes left on Earth.
What is a Mother Box, you ask? Simple! (it's not really simple)
The Mother Box is the unifying piece of technology of Jack Kirby's Fourth World epic. Think of a Mother Box as an alien smartphone that can do anything from heal the injured to teleport you across time and space. It's pretty cool hearing their trademark "ping. ping. ping." sound for real.
I don't recognize any of those three priest figures who appear to worship the Mother Boxes, although I suppose they could be visual cousins to what I would expect a movie version of Jack Kirby's Desaad to look like.
Mother Boxes are often used to call down Boom Tubes, the preferred method of transport of the New Gods and their friends and foes. We see them deployed quite a bit throughout this movie, obviously.
Super Powers fans of the 1980s may remember that on Super Friends: Galactic Guardians, boom tubes were referred to as star gates.
Throughout this movie, Steppenwolf keeps on trying to bring about "the unity" with these Mother Boxes, but as far as I know, that has no correlation to anything in the comics. It's just an excuse to have a weird tech quest for the villain to go on throughout. If anything, Steppenwolf's quest and the movie's backstory has more in common with the Lord of the Rings saga than anything Jack Kirby did, with magical tech being distributed across the different races of the world to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.
In fact, let's talk about Steppenwolf...
Steppenwolf is the first Jack Kirby creation to show up in a DC superhero movie (for comparison, nearly the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe owes its entire existence to Jack Kirby). They don't really give us much to go on with Steppenwolf in this flick, but to be fair, he wasn't one of Kirby's most inspired creations and it's not like he has the longest comic book history.
For now, what you need to know is, they swapped Darkseid out for him in this story (have to save the big guy for something), and the version we see here looks the most like the version from DC's Earth 2 series, where he did indeed lead the invasion and murdered that world's versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
Steppenwolf has always been known for that axe of his, which here, when he strikes the ground, creates flaming craters that kind of look like the fire pits of Apokolips.
Apokolips is a pretty awful place to live, where after a hard day making fire at the fire pits, the peasants get to come home to worship their tormentors.
- We do get to hear Steppenwolf say "I will take my place among the New Gods," which is obviously a reference to Kirby's Fourth World epic, and we periodically hear a battle cry of "For Darkseid!" Darkseid is the absolute ruler of Apokolips and the ultimate baddie in the DC Universe.
In the comics, Steppenwolf was Darkseid's uncle, and responsible for the war between Apokolips and New Genesis, but here he appears to be his nephew instead.
Aquaman has been around since 1941, and he was created by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris. The version we see on screen feels most similar to the way Geoff Johns has been writing him, which has helped give the character more of an edge. Bruce Wayne's "I hear you talk to fish" crack is a repeated refrain in Johns' Aquaman comics as well as his run writing Justice League, and a lot of work has been done to kind of make Aquaman less of a joke all around.
Aquaman's general look in this movie feels pretty inspired by his '90s comics look...
And this is also who how he appeared on the excellent Justice League animated series and his mid-90s makeover.
- Is Aquaman the first person to call Bruce "Batman" in the DCEU? In Batman v Superman it was all "the Bat" this and "the Gotham Bat" that. Did I miss him getting called "Batman" at some point? Please don't make me watch that movie again to find out.
In any event, Bruce returns the favor by christening him "Aquaman."
Since Zack Snyder sure loves his Biblical imagery, Aquaman essentially "parts the sea" in the tunnels under Gotham Harbor, Ten Commandments style.
Aquaman spearing two Parademons with his trident reminds me of this...
...which like many things in this movie comes from Justice League: Origin.
Amber Heard shows up as Mera, the future Queen of Atlantis. We get some exposition in this scene indicating not only that this is the first meeting between Mera gand Arthur, but that Arthur has completely rejected his destiny as the rightful ruler of Atlantis. This will likely be squared away over the course of his solo movie. Mera has been around since 1963, and she was created by Jack Miller and legendary Aquaman artist Nick Cardy.
We do get a mention of Arthur's mother, Queen Atlanna, though.
- There are a few moments that once again help to reinforce just how long Batman has been operating in the DCEU. For one thing, Bruce tells Arthur that it's been about "20 years" at one point.
But there's a more fun moment when Alfred makes a joke about "exploding wind-up penguins." We know what that's referring to, and it's the kind of whimsical Batvillain craziness we're glad exists here.
- One other thing to note about that opening scene is that you can see a "JANUS" sign on a building. This could be a reference to the company owned by Charles Sionis, the father of Roman Sionis, better known as Batman villain, Black Mask. Is this a clue to who will menace Batman in his solo movie?
Bruce Wayne's crack about "I'm rich" being his super power sounds like something that Most Excellent Super Bat from Grant Morrison's Super Young Team would say.
- Is it my imagination or are there a lot of vintage cars on the street in Gotham City when Wonder Woman goes to meet with Cyborg? I only bring it up because it would make the Gotham of the DCEU feel a little like the Gotham of the Tim Burton Batman movies.
- Bruce's collection of armor, notably samurai armor, feels like a nod to a scene in Batman (1989), as well.
- Most importantly on the Batman '89 front, the whole movie was scored by Danny Elfman, who liberally uses his themes from that movie throughout.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was heavily influenced by The Dark Knight Returns comic. But one thing we never got to see in that was any kind of homage to that famous panel of Batman charging on horseback. Whether it's intentional or not, having Bruce Wayne on a black steed in the snow here feels kind of like one last nod to DKR before we move on with the rest of the story.
Fun bonus fact! Early drafts of the 1989 Batman movie did indeed feature a scene with Batman riding a black horse as an homage to this very moment from the comics!
Despite the fact that Bruce is taking on a Parademon here, this shot is a pretty obvious homage to the cover of Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman.
- JK Simmons makes a great Commissioner Gordon, even in just the few minutes we spend with him.
And just in case you've forgotten, they're in Gotham City, but what you're seeing across the river there is Metropolis. Anyone who has ever stood on the high ground in Hoboken or Jersey City and looked across at Manhattan is familiar with a view very much like this.
Also, Gordon's line about seeing Batman "playing well with others" is a fun reference to how Bats is basically less of a dick when he has friends. It was heavily hinted at in Batman v Superman that one of the things that pushed ol' pointy head over into fascism was the death of the Jason Todd version of Robin at the hands of the Joker.
- The detective Gordon talks to who is suspicious about the whole Parademon scenario is Crispus Allen (played by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith). In the comics, Crispus Allen eventually becomes The Spectre, the nearly all powerful supernatural/undead avenger. Please let this happen on the big screen. This might be another hint of the Justice League Dark movie that we will probably never see.
- Barry's enthusiastic "naming" of the Batcave is, surprisingly a callback to a little known piece of DC Comics lore. It has long been applied that Batman himself would never call stuff a "Batmobile" or a "Batarang" or a "Batcave" for that matter, and that it would have been the youthful enthusiasm of Dick Grayson/Robin bestowing such ridiculous names on things. Barry fills that role here, although that doesn't mean that Dick didn't do it first!
- When Bruce is talking to Diana about resurrecting Superman, he says they have to do it if there's "even a fraction of a chance" of success. This is a massive turnaround from his dialogue in Batman v Superman, where he felt that if there was "even a 1% chance [of Superman turning bad] we have to take it as an absolute certainty."
- Batman's "final battle" costume reminds me more than a little bit of Nite Owl's costume in the Watchmen movie. This is a compliment, as despite my misgivings about that film, I think that Nite Owl suit is better than any live action batsuit ever.
Vic "Cyborg" Stone has been around since 1980, and he was created by the legendary team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez. Historically, Vic has been most associated with the Teen Titans, until he became a Justice League member with the New 52 reboot in 2011, which tied his origin story to the formation of the League. Like we pointed out above, this movie is really inspired by that version of the origin story.
So, while nobody really loved Cyborg's design when the promotional materials for this movie started surfacing, he turns out to be one of the most fascinating characters in the movie. And he does get a neat redesign at the very end, which should help.
- This is Dr. Silas Stone, who we saw briefly in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when Batman was watching videos of all the other superhumans in the DCEU. He's Vic "Cyborg" Stone's father, and a leading mind at STAR Labs.
- Just to be certain: STAR Labs was definitely namedropped in either Man of Steel or Batman v Superman, right? I'm not imagining this? Otherwise, this movie marks its first official DCEU appearance? Please feel free to correct me.
I love that they absolutely nailed his sound cannon from the comics in the movie, too...
- Having Cyborg get his limbs ripped off in battle is a tried and true Cyborg trope from the comics too.
- Cyborg utters his Teen Titans catchphrase of "Boo-yah" exactly once in the film, too!
The DCEU is doing its best to distinguish itself from the version of The Flash on TV right now, notably via his costume and making Ezra Miller's Barry Allen younger and more awkward than Grant Gustin's. In fact, the characterization of Barry Allen we get in this movie feels a lot more like what we would expect from a younger Flash, like Wally West. They also lean a little more into the whole "Flash has to consume a ton of calories" angle than the show does, which was also a hallmark of not only Wally West's early days as Flash, but which was also often referenced on the 1990 Flash TV series starring John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen.
But a few similarities to the TV version are unavoidable since they come right out of the comics, namely the fact that they're gonna have to reckon with the fact that Barry's father, Dr. Henry Allen, is in jail for the murder of his mother.
The whole "hands on the glass" thing was done quite a bit between the TV versions of these characters, played by Grant Gustin and the great John Wesley Shipp. Mr. Crudup was cast as Henry for the upcoming Flash solo movie, which is in between directors right now, but will focus on the Flashpoint story, where Barry tries to correct the injustice of his father's incarceration. Henry's line to Barry that he should "make your own future" would seem to foreshadow the events of Flashpoint, as well.
But there's one other similarity to the TV show worth pointing out...
Henry is rocking the Jay Garrick look with the grey hair at the temples thing. With recent developments on The Flash TV series, this could also be an indicator of how things will be handled in the DCEU. I wrote lots more about Jay Garrick, one of my favorite characters, right here.
- It's interesting to note that Barry is only now just on the path to becoming a police scientist, rather than already having been driven to do so. It's almost like his time with the League inspires him to do more with his professional life, as well.
- He is, however, already proficient in primate sign language, which should come in handy when it's time to take on super-intelligent Gorilla Grodd.
- It's interesting that the Barry Allen of the DCEU is Jewish, if only because we've never had any hint of Flash's faith (or lack thereof) in the comics or on the TV show. The closest Barry Allen has to any kind of religious or ethnic identity has always been "midwestern." Brian Cronin at CBR thinks this could be a reference to a throwaway line from a late '80s DC story, but I don't necessarily think that's considered canon. I'm open to corrections, though!
- One fun thing about Barry's personal HQ. If you look carefully on one of the TVs, you can spot that he's a Rick and Morty fan, and a particular season two episode, which involves a chemically-enhanced Summer and Rick beating the crap out of unsavory types like Nazis, is playing in the background.
- Since Vic Stone has traditionally been a Teen Titans character, and he and Barry are by far the youngest members of the League, it makes sense that they would bond. Especially since, as I mentioned before, this version of Barry has more in common with the comic book version of Wally West than anything else, and Wally was a member of the Titans with Vic.
From the opening moment of the movie, it's clear that they're trying to redeem Superman. Having Supes sticking around to talk to kids and offer some folksy/corny wisdom is a nice touch right out of the gate. The problem is that they try so hard to paint the world as worse off for Superman's absence, when in actuality, we never saw much indication in either Man of Steel or Batman v Superman that he was particularly beloved by the world at large.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they've changed their tune, but this seems a little bit off. But this is a minor complaint considering that it looks like they even brightened up the colors of his suit a little bit.
The headlines proclaiming the death of Superman are reminiscent of the ones we saw in the comics after Superman died in 1992.
There's another clever touch with the movie's newspapers though, which put Superman's 2016 death alongside that year's deaths of similar pop culture aliens like David Bowie and Prince.
- So, in the Daily Planet newsroom they're watching a Channel 9. But in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, it was Channel 8 that was a GBS/Galaxy Broadcasting affiliate. I want my GBS, damn it!
- Clark Kent was buried in a conservative dark blue business suit, with a red tie, and black shoes. That is the exact outfit that the comic book version of Clark Kent wore in virtually every single comic book appearance from roughly 1938 until 1986. Henry Cavill's Clark was a little more fashionable in life, but not in death.
- It takes some quality nonsensical comic book style teamwork to get the resurrection process going, and I actually found that rather endearing.
- When the team enters the Kryptonian ship to start the resurrection process, you hear Hans Zimmer's "Krypton" theme from his excellent Man of Steel score playing. At other key points throughout the movie, we get bits and pieces of John Williams' classic Superman: The Movie motifs, as well.
- When Superman wakes up, well, it's not pretty. This scene serves two purposes, though. For one thing, it demonstrates how he is more powerful than the entire team combined, lest anyone think that Superman is lame. But his disorientation and raw fury are a slight nod to how in the comics and cartoons, at several points, Superman has been manipulated by Darkseid. While that doesn't quite happen here, the role of Fourth World technology in his resurrection feels like it's not a coincidence.
- As Flash warned Bruce in Batman v Superman, Lois is indeed the key to getting Superman back on their side. The question is...when did Barry go back and warn him? Or has Barry's warning to Bruce not happened yet, and he won't have to implement it until Flashpoint or some other (ahem) crisis? I honestly don't think this is a plot hole, I think they're deliberately saving that moment for something.
Note, however, that Lois apparently calls Superman "Clark" in front of a couple of Metropolis cops, who probably don't need much help putting two and two together.
- The morning after Superman wakes up, with Clark standing in the cornfield wearing a red-checked flannel shirt, and then having Lois come out to meet him in the sunrise, feels a lot like the scene in Superman: The Movie where young Clark wakes up early and realizes he has to leave Smallville. There, it's Martha Kent who comes out to meet him, although Ma does get here eventually.
- Once Supes gets himself together, he says "How do I help," which is the appropriate Superman response to anything. I expect to hear more of it in future DCEU movies. More importantly his "truth" and "justice" crack is obviously a nod to the old "Truth and Justice" tagline that has always been associated with him. And before Fox News has crying fit over the lack of "the American Way," allow me to point out that it was ALWAYS "Truth and Justice" until World War II, when "The American Way" was added in for the duration of the war and then dropped...until the early 1950s and the rise of McCarthyism, and that's when it became "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" in pop culture. But in reality, it's "Truth, Tolerance, and Justice" often in that order.
- And the final shot we see of Superman in the film, with Clark Kent becoming aware of trouble and doing the classic "shirt rip" is another iconic moment from throughout the character's history, although it's never better than it is in Superman: The Movie right before the big helicopter rescue. Is this the first "shirt rip" for Supes in the DCEU? Was this kind of imagery avoided in the previous two movies?
- Amusing detail about the Kent Farm being foreclosed on...there's already some awful suburban McMansion built right across the road.
- I don't think the "Shrine of the Amazons" temple that ignites with the signal is a real thing, but if anyone would like to correct me, please do so!
- Danny Elfman does some really clever work incorporating his classic Batman theme at several key points in the movie, but of special note is his "orchestral" version of the guitar-driven Wonder Woman theme. It's really cool hearing it done like that.
- There's a cool moment when Steppenwolf tells Wonder Woman that she has "the blood of the old gods" in her veins. When Jack Kirby created the New Gods and the Fourth World, he was still working for Marvel. The original plan was for the Asgard of Marvel's Thor comics to undergo a Ragnarok, everyone would die, and in its place would be these New Gods. Obviously that didn't happen, and the concepts ended up at DC. But that one line, tying Diana's Greek mythology roots directly to the cosmic New Gods of the DCEU, is surprisingly in keeping with Kirby's original intention.
- There's a fun thing at the end where we see some criminals being taken care of, and they were using the guise of the "J. Christopher Cleaning Services." I have to wonder if that's a reference to comic book writer Christopher J. Priest, currently doing amazing work on one of DC's best comics, Deathstroke.
My question is, who is the sharply dressed lady thief being led away? Is that supposed to be Priscilla Rich, the original Cheetah/early Wonder Woman villain?
The History of the DCEU
- Incidentally, what is the "age of heroes" that Bruce thought "would never come again" that Diana refers to? Is this our first hint that the DCEU had a Justice Society in the early part of the 20th Century? Or is this a reference to general mythology? But we do get some other hints about the broader historical history of the DCEU, notably that there was once an Atlantean/Amazonian alliance, and that the Greco-Roman gods fought alongside them against the armies of Apokolips.
I'm pretty sure we see Zeus throwing some lightning at folks, but a few of you have hit me on Twitter theorizing that this is actually a historical version of Shazam, either the wizard himself or the champion/hero. I was resistant to this at first, simply because lightning throwing was traditionally not part of his power set, but the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank revamp of the character changes that a little, so I'm open to suggestions. Plus it's such a great idea that I really WANT it to be true!
But a key piece of that big battle is our first DCEU appearance by a Green Lantern!
I'm pretty darn sure that the GL we see in that battle is Salaak, the Green Lantern of Space Sector 1418 (for the record, we are Space Sector 2814, so you can impress your friends at parties with that knowledge). If it isn't actually Salaak, it's probably another GL from the planet Slyggia. Why a GL from a different space sector would be helping us out is anybody's guess, but I'll take it.
But there's a moment in Arthurian times as well...
That is totally King Arthur, and I bet you the dude with the spear and the horns is Sir Bors. They probably most recently appeared in Demon Knights, but they were best in Seven Soldiers of Victory, where the Knights of the Round Table fought an invasion from evil Faeries and lost, only to have Sir Ystina, the Shining Knight, help save the world in the present day. If Justice League Dark ever happens, I BET *slaps table for emphasis* this is a big part of it.
Miscellaneous Cool Stuff
- Does one of the orphans video recording Superman at the beginning say "shut up, Billy?" If so...are these kids Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman? Because if so...holy moley!
- One of the skinheads assaulting a bodega owner is wearing a sweatshirt with metal-band lettering championing...Magahorde. Draw your own conclusions.
- I'm at a loss for which DC secret society who want to bring mankind "back to the dark ages" are supposed to be, though. If anyone has any suggestions, drop 'em in the comments or hit me up on Twitter, please!
- The STAR Labs janitor who goes missing/gets eaten by Parademons is apparently named Howie Jensen. Whenever there's a janitor in a top secret area working with alien tech in the DC Universe, my mind immediately goes to supervillain, the Parasite. The most famous version of the Parasite was Rudy Jones, a STAR Labs janitor who ended up wallowing in some toxic waste (perhaps coincidentally because Darkseid manipulated him into it). Anyway, this isn't Rudy Jones, so it can't be the Parasite right?
Well...mostly. There was a previous Parasite names Raymond Jensen...which seems to be our poor, doomed, pal Howie's name in this. In any event, I don't think we're likely to see him return as the Parasite in Man of Steel 2 or anything.
The fact that all this stuff goes down under red skies feels like a nod to Crisis on Infinite Earths...or virtually any DC event with "Crisis" in the title. While those usually have to do with the multiverse, it still feels appropriate as an "event" signifier.
- Bruce makes a joke about how humanity behaves "as if the doomsday clock has a snooze button." This is likely coincidental, but DC is about to publish Doomsday Clock, a sequel to Watchmen in which those characters finally meet the DC Universe.
- When Barry goes to visit his Dad in prison, the clerk who takes his information is played by none other than Marc McClure, who played Jimmy Olsen in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.
- Barry's Pet Sematary joke is a nod to the Stephen King novel and movie, where beloved pets (and a child) return from the grave...in sinister fashion.
- The hilarious "Aquaman confessional" moment before they all go into battle is another thing lifted right out of the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee Justice League comic. However, there it was a young and arrogant Hal Jordan (who is not in this movie, despite what some rumor sites tried to sell you) who accidentally touched Diana's lasso and confessed his soul.
- It's interesting that the JL headquarters will be in a mansion, which has more of a Justice Society flavor to it. The table will have "room for more" going forward. Other than Aquaman, Cyborg, and Flash, the next new confirmed DCEU superheroes with actual release dates are Shazam and Green Lantern, so that could be a sign of things to come. As of this writing, Justice League 2 does not have a release date.
- The single worst decision this movie makes is using that awful cover of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows" in the opening. That is a brilliant song, but it's so painfully on-the-nose here that it makes the use of Cohen's "Hallelujah" in Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie seem subtle. Its use here hits two no-nos: the tradition that immediately needs to die of using slow, piano-driven covers of songs in movies and song choices that try and explain what you should be feeling. Stop it.
The Post-Credits Scenes
- There's a long tradition of Superman and Flash races dating back to the 1960s, and this was a fun touch. But more importantly, let's talk about that second one...
- Luthor's fakeout/break out is slightly reminiscent of Superman II, where an exasperated guard waits for a not Luthor (one who has possibly been tainted by Joker venom?) to do something before realizing he's been had. But that's not the real story here.
We finally meet Joe Manganiello as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke. He's due for his own movie, and there are longstanding rumors that he's the villain of The Batman solo movie as well. But the idea of Lex Luthor putting together "a league" of villains to counter the JL immediately brings to mind classic supervillain tropes like the Legion of Doom or the Secret Society of Super Villains. Perhaps, rather than Nick Fury and SHIELD gathering heroes like we saw in Marvel Phase One, we'll get Lex recruiting villains throught the DCEU.
Spot anything we missed? Let us know in the comments or give us a shout on Twitter!
Netflix’s Godless is a captivating take on the Western genre.
In the gun-slinging Old West of Netflix’s new six-part series Godless, the most piercing weapon a man could wield is the empty promise of religion. Settlers and profit-seekers might believe in manifest destiny, but in a land ruled by the ruthless, prayers will go unanswered. Absent a higher power, the townsfolk of Godless live in fear of a figure who uses blunt intimidation to his advantage. And there’s no one more up for the task than Jeff Daniels, who plays a gruff, one-armed madman named Frank Griffin.
The series comes from Scott Frank, who co-wrote Logan, and follows outlaw Frank Griffin as he tracks another outlaw named Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell), a former member of his pack, who goes rogue and leaves Griffin one-armed, but still dangerous. That’s only the A plot. Just about every story thread in Godless is worthwhile in its own right, including standout turns from Scoot McNairy, who plays a Sheriff who goes on a one-man mission to kill Frank Griffin, and Merrit Wever, who plays the alpha-female of an all-female former mining town. The former is an ode to classics of the genre, the latter screams a more contemporary take on the time period. It may sound like parody, but Scott Frank executes in delivering bloody, pulpy tension with each passing scene. It helps that he also directed all six episodes of this ambitious and visually stunning project.
If Godless is the result of Netflix’s wild content spending spree, may the well never dry up, my friends. So much of the fun of this series rests with the performances of the core cast, and, without any spoilers, how they evolve over the series. Daniels’ Frank Griffin is a soulless son-of-a-bitch with an ethics code and maybe a little humanity in the depths of his heart. He’s up there with David Tennant’s Killgrave in Jessica Jones and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin in Daredevil as Netflix’s best original series villain. McNairy shows his range as Sheriff Bill McNue’s motives and drive are revealed, and it reminds us why the good vs. evil stories of the genre have endured for so long. And Wever’s Mary and Michelle Dockery’s Alice command your attention in nearly every scene. Between these characters, you can fill up a notebook with the one-liners in this show.
To sum up Godless, and the chase for outlaws of the Old West, “you take a shot a Frank Griffin and his men, you best kill ‘em all.” Miss, and no one is there to save you. There is no God in Frank Griffin’s world. This world is about to change fast, though. Statehood is coming, and all the laws that come with it. The fun in that is seeing who is willing to look out for themselves and do whatever it takes to survive in the now.
Martin Scorsese caught The Last Waltz on camera and The Band brought the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to the greatest rock movie ever.
Most of the time, when you associate turkey and film, it means you’re talking about a movie that’s either unwatchable or laughable. The Last Waltz is neither of these. Martin Scorsese hasn’t made many turkeys and The Band didn’t carve that many bad notes into the grooves of their albums. But Mike Cecchini, Den of Geek’s fearless leader, associates this movie with turkey and asked me to pour the gravy. This writer will probably just mash his potatoes. The mashed potato was a dance in the early sixties, but it wasn’t a waltz. A waltz is a song in three-four time. That's a good beat that you can dance to.
The Last Waltz was the Thanksgiving feast The Band threw for their fans and themselves before they planned to retreat from the stage and into the studio. The Band had been together sixteen years at that point, after having slowly, one by one, taken over Ronnie Hawkins' The Hawks. Hawkins lured the young musicians to life on the road not with promises of riches, but that they’d get “more pussy than Frank Sinatra.”
They’d done the bad rooms and the good rooms and were no longer hungry to be out on the road. Though they were all multi-instrumentalists, the band that night was Rick Danko on bass, Levon Helm on drums, Garth Hudson on keyboards, Richard Manuel on piano and Robbie Robertson on guitar. Every member sang lead or backup but to watch the concert footage, you might think Robbie was the new Ronnie, even when The Hawk himself hits the stage. Except when they make Rick Danko look like he’s alone on the stage for half-song lengths.
The concert for The Last Waltz happened Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom. It was advertised as The Band's "farewell concert appearance." For their last show, The Band brought out Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Neil Diamond, Bobby Charles, Paul Butterfield, The Staples and Eric Clapton. They also convinced Bob Dylan, who had a long history with The Band, to perform in front of the cameras. Ringo Star and Ron Wood help release him.
The Band also brought a Thanksgiving dinner for the audience. Hence our vegetarian editor’s turkey fixation.
I was never really a big fan of The Band. Sure, I appreciated Robbie Robertson’s mathematical guitar and the subtle southern funk underneath the Canadian country veneer. They were great musicians, real rock and rollers from the old school, and they had catchy songs that always seemed to hit the radio. I know them best from this film and from the work they did with Bob Dylan. Legendary stuff, a year-long jam session in the backwoods of Woodstock and a private studio, it is still spawning bootlegs.
The Band is in good form and, for the most part, good voice throughout the show. Rick’s vocals occasionally trip over his energetic bass, but to be honest, that can be a bitch. Levon, singing behind the drums, never once lets the bass drum push the wind out of his sails. He never misses a beat even as he gets lost in singing and still has time to smile at the Staples as he more than happily hands off the lead.
Martin Scorsese was chosen for The Last Waltz based on his work on Mean Streets. The opening here with Rick Danko at the pool table is reminiscent of the poolroom war that started over the word mook. “The idea is to keep your balls on the table and knock everybody else’s off. The game is called cutthroat,” Danko says and proceeds to put his balls on the table. While a small orchestra plays a waltz, Scorsese sets the scene. Coming off the littered streets of seventies San Francisco, past abandoned cars and Robinson’s Liquor store and the bellbottomed crowd with the flowers in their hair and into the theater, the audience sees that Scorsese also set the table. There are chandeliers and everything.
Scorsese always had a natural feel for the right cinematic blend of music and visuals. He was no stranger to the concert film or the rock and roll film. He was a cameraman and editor on Woodstock and followed Elvis Presley around for Elvis On Tour. Scorsese continues mining his rock and roll roots to this day, making documentaries about George Harrison and Bob Dylan, shooting The Rolling Stones in concert and producing and directing the pilot episode of Vinyl, HBO's series about the seventies music scene.
The first thing Scorsese does is turn a concert stage into a cinematic landscape. A lot of this has to do with luck, gotta say, a camera’s gotta be pointing at the right spot at the right time when a musician hits the right note. Scorsese wouldn’t have caught Muddy Waters at all if it weren’t for a cameraman who was sick of listening to Marty hollering instructions in his ear and ripped out his ear piece. Happy accidents abound in music but the process of filmmaking usually strips those possibilities. It makes you appreciate it that much more when it happens.
Scorsese intercuts the concert footage with snippets of the band’s reminiscences. Apparently The Band played to an audience of three, including a one-armed stripper, at Jack Ruby’s club, the same Ruby who shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the same Oswald who shot JFK. They went through their various band names. They tell stories about the first time they hit New York City and it hit back, making them believe that because they were staying at a hotel called The Times Square that they were actually in midtown.
The Band themselves move easily through varied styles. They were always a great backing unit. The Band explores the blues’ roots with Muddy Waters and the blues then-present with Eric Clapton. They let Dr. John’s bayou tinkling ivory drive them. They “Helplessly" harmonize with the sad harmonica and acoustic guitar of Neil Young like muted Crosby, Stills and Nashes.The Band silently played the rests while Lawrence Ferlinghetti recites “The Loud Prayer.” They switch up instruments to change the sonic landscape completely for a fiddled-up Emmy Lou Harris. They get in Van Morrison's "Caravan" and follow Neil Diamond down Tin Pan Alley. Neil Diamond, he’s looked the same for 100 years. They hit Joni Mitchell and let her run in a growing shuffle of white lines on the freeway.
Scorsese understands the world of the music industry beyond rock and roll. He made New York New York, with Robert DeNiro blowing sax and sex with Liza Minelli, with a constant eye on who’s smoking what in which bathroom. I read that Scorsese had to edit coke residue from Neil Young’s nose through rotoscoping, animating the sequence frame by frame. I looked out for it on this viewing and I think I saw a little bluish cartoon mustache pop up on old Neil, long may he run.
Scorsese and Robbie Robertson blew through a coke-fueled year living together and collaborating. Ultimately Robertson would lend his ear to Scorsese’s Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, The Color of Money, Casino, Gangs of New York, The Departed, and Shutter Island.
The rest of The Band probably should have stayed on the road. Sure, as Robbie says, the road claimed some of the best: Buddy Holly, Jimi, Janis and Elvis, but The Band was fine on the road. They lost three members after The Last Waltz.
The Last Waltz is considered the best concert movie. It was shot on better cameras and had Martin Scorsese’s name on it, but does it really match the performances at George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh? Scorsese turned the stage into a landscape, but it really is the fingers and throats that make a performance. The Last Waltz captures the community of rock shows: a quick puff of smoke or a line before taking the stage, talking with the other musicians during solos, sharing microphones and the easy familiarity that comes just from being in tune. A G is always a G, unless you’re Garth Hudson playing the sax, where a G is a Bb.
A version of this article originally ran on Thanksgiving Day 2014. We watch the movie every year, we may as well run the article every year.
The Man Who Invented Christmas is a pleasant enough film that works best when it is about Charles Dickens eyeballing Scrooge.
Whenever one has the good fortune to speak with an author, a frequent curiosity is how they refer to their characters. Often these are not creations pulled out of thin air, but flesh and blood people, the kind who debate, badger, and can ultimately influence the writer to see a story from their perspective. It’s a knotty aspect of trying to build a world, and it lays the foundations for the best part of The Man Who Invented Christmas.
As a sweet-natured and rather innocuous holiday affair, The Man Who Invented Christmas offers a very romanticized and gentle dramatization of how Charles Dickens happened upon a Christmas Eve ghost story in 1843—as well as how it reinvented that Christian holiday for every Dec. 25 thereafter. Yet the movie finds its real Yuletide magic when it steps away from the confines of biographical origins and instead focuses on a man driven mad by his demons. Particularly when one is standing in his study and looking an awful lot like Christopher Plummer while calling himself Ebenezer Scrooge.
Told in the remarkable six-week window that Dickens—coming off three consecutive literary flops in a row—dreamed up, wrote, and published A Christmas Carol, the movie embraces the holiday season just in time for our own Thanksgiving. Played by a dashing and somewhat frazzled Dan Stevens, Dickens is all chaotic hair and furrowing brow as he reaches, with increasing desperation and defiance, for a hit before New Year.
He finds inspiration in every corner of London. His friend and semi-literary agent John Foster (Justin Edwards) fights skeptical editors and publishers on his behalf, who scoff at the idea of a book written about a “minor holiday” like Christmas. Foster also comes to resemble the Ghost of Christmas Present in Dickens’ dreams. Meanwhile, his innocent and imaginative new maid Tara (Anna Murphy) sings children fairy tales in an Irish lilt, and also looks uncannily how Dickens envisions the Ghost of Christmas Past. And there’s just a whole lot of greedy and curmudgeon sourpusses in London who amply contribute (apparently verbatim) to Scrooge’s dialogue.
However, who most inspires that impossibly, perfectly named Mr. Scrooge? Well, the good Ebenezer doesn’t physically resemble anyone in Dickens’ life—he doesn’t even fully appear before the author until Dickens happens upon that quintessential Dickensian moniker in a brain storming session—but who Plummer most resembles is perhaps the writer himself.
Dickens is haunted by the living ghost of his own father (Jonathan Pryce), who (while still technically alive) frequently torments his son with his mere appearance. The father shamelessly invites himself into his successful son’s home for Christmas after previously sending Charles as a boy to a workhouse. Spirited away to a debtor’s prison on Christmas Eve, John Dickens’ failures have grown into young Charles’ shame, all of which threatens to turn the literary giant into a cold-hearted bastard. Kind of like Scrooge.
But while that’s all well and good, the real show is seeing Plummer sneer over Charles’ shoulder about the economic practicalities of his cruelty toward the Cratchit family, and why Tiny Tim just doesn’t deserve healthcare.
The Man Who Invented Christmas is a visually sumptuous confection laced in the most self-aware of austere literary ribbons. Playing its beats like a musical biopic for the more literary of young families, the film counts on each viewer’s intimate familiarity with Dickens’ tale of Christmas spirits, dead as doornail business partners, and the rest of the most famous lines in the 1843 novella (or at least its many onscreen adaptations).
Hence many lines are presented with all the subtlety of Johnny Cash declaring he’ll walk that line in natural conversation. There are moments of blandly cynical (and modern-sounding) conservatives whining, “Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?” While cute and comfortingly nostalgic, this is also stifling at times too.
Nevertheless, the movie remains an ultimately cozying trip down memory lane, because it is so otherwise well put together. Director Bharat Nalluri assembles a visually luminous picture of Dickensian London that never feels kitsch. With stunning production design by Paki Smith and lavish costumes from Leonie Prendergast, the December that is apparently responsible for all others in this film is far more vibrant than plenty of the other stiffer Christmas Carol movies that have previously haunted us.
It also has a wholly amiable cast, led by a delightfully spastic Stevens. Having played all manner of beastly malcontents in the last year or so, he takes on the most monstrous of creatures here: a man of words suffering from a blockage of them. His glowering scour complements Plummer’s frown, which threatens to sink into the floor if he lays it on any thicker. Even if he did though, it still wouldn’t be enough given how much fun the old veteran is having.
The rest of the cast is plenty warm—even those in the thankless roles like Mortfydd Clark as Charles’ long-suffering wife, Kate—and like the movie itself, they are inviting audiences to embrace the magic of so many Christmases Past. The more you can recall your own various encounters with Scrooge, the more you will enjoy being in the presence of his birth.
It might not fully explore why Dickens is credited for “inventing” our modern understanding of Christmas, but the movie should be greeted happily by all merrymakers, especially those in families who are looking for some smarter entertainment not drenched in computerized ones and zeroes. That might be its greatest gift of all.
The Man Who Invented Christmas is playing in theaters now.
The brick-holes face "The Thanos Threat"
This past Summer at the D23 Expo, Marvel announced a new LEGO Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon. As with many of the LEGO superhero fare, be it cartoons or games, the title is a mouthful: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes - Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat. Marvel describes the cartoon as follows:
The LEGO Group and Marvel will team-up once again for an all-new 22-minute animated special "LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes – Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat." When Thanos, Ronan, Nebula and the Ravagers seek to possess the Build Stone – a powerful and creative relic – the fate of the universe depends on the Guardians of the Galaxy to protect it.
Today Marvel tweeted out a trailer for the special and revealed its debut date and platform: Friday, November 24 on the Marvel HQ YouTube channel.
Will the Guardians of the Galaxy be able to keep the Build Stone from the Mad Titan? Find out in "LEGO Marvel Super Heroes - Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat" this Friday, November 24 on https://t.co/afvhtBdGr1! pic.twitter.com/fWnGcgun2g— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) November 23, 2017
Written or Contributed by sdsichero
Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel has officially added Jude Law to star alongside Brie Larson as Mar-Vell, a Kree.
Captain Marvel finally arrives in March 2019 and it will herald a new era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not only because it arrives on the cusp of the May 2019 culminating megamovie in the (untitled) Avengers 4, but because it will finally see a female headline a Marvel solo movie. Consequently, Marvel Studios acquired elite talent for this endeavor in the Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson, who will tackle the role of pilot Carol Danvers, who will become endowed with superpowers to become Captain Marvel.
Geneva Robertson-Dworet is writing the script after the previously-tapped scriptwriting team of Nicole Perlman and Meg LeFauve have exited the project. Omega Underground reports the film will begin production in February.
Latest Captain Marvel News
The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to add A-listers, as Jude Law has agreed to join their latest cosmic superhero epic. First reported as a negotiation by Deadline, it has now been confirmed that Law will appear in Captain Marvel as Dr. Walter Lawson, aka Captain Mar-Vell, a Kree! Law joins Brie Larson who is in the lead role, as well as Ben Mendelsohn who was previously confirmed to be playing the villain Half Nelson. Variety now reports that Law signed on to play Dr. Walter Lawson, who will be a mentor to Larson's Carol Danvers as she comes into her superhero powers.
However, if you know your comic lore, you already guessed that the Walter Lawson who identifies as Mar-Vell is also not the original Dr. Lawson. That is an identity assumed by the superpowered and heroic Captain Mar-Vell, who hails from the humanoid race of warriors, the Kree. The Kree are one of the most powerful alien species in the Marvel Universe, who have conquered most of the known galaxy in the name of the Kree Empire. Things are definitely going to get out-of-this-world for the 2019 superhero movie.
Captain Marvel Directors
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Mississippi Grind) will direct the Captain Marvel movie from a script that will be written by the white-hot prospect Geneva Robertson-Dworet, who replaces the exiting team of Nicole Perlman (who famously helped develop Guardians of the Galaxy for the screen) and Meg LeFauve (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Inside Out). Boden and Fleck beat out names like Niki Caro (McFarland, USA) and Jennifer Kent (The Babadook). At one point there had even been rumors that Angelina Jolie was on Marvel's wishlist.
Carol Danvers has a very nuanced, powerful story, so Marvel took time selecting the final directing duo. But ultimately Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s diverse body of work and ability and focus on character made the choice a winning one. Each of their films exhibit nuanced, fascinating performances and a deeply-felt sense of character, all which will fuel the pairs passion around telling Carol Danvers’ Story.
Captain Marvel Cast
Brie Larson is playing Carol Danvers in the Captain Marvel movie. We're going to meet Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, perhaps in pre-superhero form well before the Captain Marvel movie opens in March of 2019. Larson has a role in Avengers: Infinity War. That movie is currently filming.
Ms. Larson, who won an Academy Award for Best Actress for 2015's Room, brings considerable star power to a character that is virtually unknown outside of comic shops at the moment. But Captain Marvel has a tremendously loyal fan following, and it's easy to see how this character (an Air Force pilot who ends up with the powers of a fallen Kree warrior) can translate that kind of success to a Marvel Studios production.
Ben Mendelsohn will be on board as the film's villain Half Nelson.
Captain Marvel Story
It was revealed during the Marvel Studios SDCC panel that the Skrulls will be the major villains of the Captain Marvel movie. We also learned that the film be set in the '90s and that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) will play a major role in the movie. A fun tidbit: Fury will still have both of his eyes in this movie.
Captain Marvel Release Date
Captain Marvel opens on March 8, 2019. The full schedule of upcoming Marvel superhero movies can be found here.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Captain Marvel Movie Release Date
Things have been moving a little slowly with the Captain Marvel movie lately. So slowly, in fact, that it was just pushed back from its November 2nd, 2018 release date to a new one of March 8th, 2019.
MyEntertainmentWorld has word that Captain Marvel will kick off production on January 8, 2018 at Atlanta's Pinewood. That makes sense, as both upcoming Avengers movies will be cleared out by then, as will Ant-Man & The Wasp.
Captain Marvel Movie Story
Kevin Feige revealed that there had once been plans to introduce Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but they balked, ultimately deciding that "We didn't want to introduce her fully-formed flying in a costume before you got to known who she was and how she came to be."
That statement from Feige indicates that Captain Marvel would be an origin story movie, although there have been some other indications that the studio would like to move away from the origin story format for as much of Phase Three as possible. Then again, they pulled off the Daredevil origin story quite elegantly in the new Netflix series without getting too bogged down by it, so maybe we shouldn't worry about it.
Who is Pete Castiglione on The Punisher? Yes, we know it's Frank Castle, but there's some interesting Marvel history here.
This article contains mild spoilers for The Punisher.
As Marvel's The Punisher on Netflix opens, we find a Frank Castle who has tried to put his personal war on the underworld behind him. Bearded and haunted, Frank spends his days on a construction site, tirelessly wielding a sledgehammer, and his nights reading Moby Dick. But Punisher historians might find some significance in the alias he chooses to hide from the world: Castiglione.
Castiglione is an Italian name, which essentially means "castle." That's no surprise. But this isn't the first time in the character's history that name has been connected to The Punisher. The Castiglione name was revealed as a the pre-Americanized version of Castle in The Punisher: Circle of Blood #1 in 1985. This was expanded on in late 1990, when The Punisher: War Journal comic by Mike Baron and Mark Texeira ran a three-part story called "The Sicilian Saga." In it, Frank has to lay low after killing the son of a corrupt politician (not coincidentally, it's Senator Stan Ori, a minor character on the Netflix series), and he chooses to head to Sicily, since that's where his father was from. Of course, while he's there, he can't help himself, and ends up in conflict with a local mob family, the Besucchos.
In any case, this is a pretty deep cut for the show to reference, and the inclusion of Senator Stan Ori shows it was no accident. What's more, in a later episode, Frank talks about how his deceased wife's grandmother was Sicilian. So while it's never made clear if TV's Frank Castle is Italian-American, his wife certainly was, and that could help explain why he took on an Italian version of his last name as a cover story. For a (somewhat) complete guide to Punisher easter eggs on the Netflix series, click here!
Note: Thanks to Bob Whyte for reminding me that the "Castiglione" name was first mentioned in Steven Grant, Mike Zeck, and John Beatty's Circle of Blood story. This article has been corrected accordingly.
Mike Cecchini is a nice Italian boy who says horrible things on Twitter all day.
Also Boyega on porgs
Entertainment Weekly (EW) continues its coverage of Star Wars: The Last Jedi online. Today's big article focuses on the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke, voiced and motion performed by Andy Serkis. Snoke made a brief appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but only as a blurry hologram. While he was gigantic on screen, it wasn't apparent if that was only because he was being projected as a hologram.
Today Serkis spills a tiny bit more about the character, though not that much. While we will see more of Snoke in The Last Jedi, it won't be exhaustive as director Rian Johnson says, the movie will not be a Wikipedia page.
Snoke gives General Armitage Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) a talking to in holographic form
Serkis did give a few hints about the character before The Force Awakens premiered. The actor did mention the character was large and possessed vulnerability. Serkis expands on those ideas again saying that the character is 9 feet tall and adds:
"The thing about Snoke is that he is extremely strong with the Force, the dark side of the Force. He's terribly powerful, of course. But he is also a very vulnerable and wounded character" … "He has suffered and he has suffered injury. The way that his malevolence comes out is in reaction to that. His hatred of the Resistance is fueled by what's happened to him personally."
Snoke is also an impatient fellow who preys on the weak and exploits them, and has little use for failure:
"His training of Kylo Ren is not yielding what he wants" … "Therefore his anger towards Kylo Ren is intensified because he can't bear weakness in others. Part of the manipulation is goading him with Hux and playing them off against each other."
The character's power is not only in the Force Serkis says:
"Despite the fact that the Starkiller Base has been destroyed and the Resistance has been putting up a fight, we will discover that the First Order has limitless resources in this one."
Though we only get a glimpse of Snoke (non-hologram) in the first trailer, those who follow collectibles have had a pretty good look at him, and would get an idea of his riches by the gold robes he wears:
"He's slightly oligarch" … "You know, he's not afraid of showing his fineries. There is a luxury that's native to him."
"The way that his court is presented, he's very totalitarian in that way and flamboyant" … "He enjoys that theatricality, I think."
Snoke in his throne room
Hmm… Just fantasy or does it have any social commentary there? Serkis also talked about his he portrayed the character on set, a bit different from his hunched over roles of Gollum or Caesar, but also with a self-imposed restriction:
"The only thing I did use was across his jaw" … "His jaw is completely mangled and the left side of his face is mauled. So I had a way of taping down the lefthand side of my mouth to restrict the lip movement on that side."
At least he doesn't have bad hair…
EW also had a short article on the phenomenon known as porgs. The fluff(y) piece didn't tell us anything new about the puffin-hamster like creatures, but did give us the reaction from actor John Boyega (Finn) had to the little guys:
"I just remember doing some stuff and seeing a lot of porgs around" … "And they are interesting, but for me, I had a love/hate relationship with them. They're very, very cute, but when you put them in a bunch, in holes, on the Millennium Falcon, that's when they start to become really, really freaky."
"They've got real big eyes, all bunched together" … "There were, like, little tiny ones and little big ones that would just...yeah, it looks like a rash."
Boyega's comments make porg sad
Star Wars: The Last Jedi flies to theaters December 15.
Written or Contributed by sdsichero
In this new video, we learn what Mr. Poopybutthole has to be thankful for.
We all recognize that season three of Rick and Morty, though mostly really great, had one fundamental flaw: not enough Mr. Poopybutthole.
Lucky for us, Adult Swim has rectified that with a new Thanksgiving Poopybutthole-themed YouTube short titled “The Poop in My Pants.” Through a series of photos, we learn a lot about Poopybutthole’s life, mostly about his courtship with his now-wife and mother of his child. Also, he’s Jewish!
Like all the stuff that comes out of the Rick and Morty team, there’s a surprising amount of detail and care put into this little short, tying in events we’re familiar with from the series. For example, one section of the photo album shows Poopybutthole’s involvement in the rebellion against the Galactic Federation. Though, conspicuously, Poopybutthole’s time with the Smith family is nowhere to be seen. Some wounds never heal…
It’s also a surprisingly touching video considering it’s about the history of a little cartoon, long-headed man with a top hat named Mr. Poopybutthole. Also, there’s a weird, dark moment where him and his wife are crying in a photo booth and I feel like I’m missing out on a big character reveal here. Any superfans out there want to clarify what’s meant to be conveyed there?
Rick and Morty season four premieres an eternity from now!
John Landis revealed his original plans for the An American Werewolf in London sequel, which included the entire original cast coming back.
An American Werewolf in London is one the seminal horror movies of the 1980s, if not all-time. The only lycanthrope film that’s able to stand shoulder to shoulder with The Wolf Man, this 1981 macabre masterwork married ‘80s sarcasm with Gothic thrills. It is also a movie that writer-director John Landis penned as a teenager about a decade before its release—and obviously had nothing to do with its belated 1997 sequel, An American Werewolf in Paris.
Still, it’s widely known that Landis pitched a version of the An American Werewolf in London sequel that was never used, and now he is opening up on what exactly that movie would have looked like. Speaking with author Paul Davis for his new book, Beware the Moon: The Story of An American Werewolf in London (which is about to be released), Landis gave the whole gist of what his version of werewolves in London and Paris would’ve looked like—which included the return of Jenny Agutter’s Alex character, a detour in Paris, and even the skeletal ghosts of the first film’s main protagonists, David and Jack (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne).
As Davis writes of Landis’ recollections (via Digital Spy):
"I was asked to do a sequel by PolyGram in 1991. The company, under Jon Peters and Peter Guber, made something like 10 or 12 movies, and the only one that made money was American Werewolf.
They then left the company and were replaced by a guy called Michael Kuhn. He called me and said that they were interested in making a sequel. I entertained the idea for a little bit and then came up with something that I liked and wrote a first draft of the script.
The movie was about the girl that the boys talk about at the beginning of the movie, Debbie Klein. She gets a job in London as a literary agent and while she's there, starts privately investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Jack and David.
The conceit was that during the time in the first film where Jenny goes to work and David is pacing around the apartment, he actually wrote Debbie Klein a letter. It was all to do with this big secret that David had never told Jack that he had a thing with her.
She tracks down Dr. Hirsch, who tells her that Alex now lives in Paris because she was so traumatised by what happened. She went back to the Slaughtered Lamb and everyone is still there! I think the only changes were a portrait of Charles and Diana where the five-pointed star used to be and darts arcade game instead of a board.
It's then when she speaks to Sgt. McManus, the cop from the first movie who didn't die, that she finds out that Jenny is still in London. She calls her and leaves an answer phone message, which we then reveal is being listened to by the skeletal corpses of Jack and David, watching TV in Alex's apartment!
The big surprise at the end was that Alex was the werewolf. It was pretty wild. The script had everybody in it from the first movie – including all the dead people!"
Sadly we never saw this movie—Kuhn apparently hated the script—and we instead endured CGI werewolves attacking poor Tom Everett Scott and Julie Delpy. Nevertheless, it might be for the best to leave the original classic as just that: a standalone classic. Perhaps John Landis’ son, Max Landis, should keep that in mind as he continues to work on a remake of his father’s best movie.
The great Australian actor gives the lowdown on becoming King George, acting with Gary Oldman and whether he's a Skrull in Captain Marvel.
Although Australia's Ben Mendelsohn has been acting since 1986, he didn't really break out to international audiences until 2010 when he appeared as the vicious criminal Andrew "Pope" Cody in David Michod's brilliant Animal Kingdom. Since then he's turned up in a steady, high-profile series of movies and TV shows, including The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly, The Place Beyond the Pines, Netflix's Bloodlines, Black Sea and as Director Krennic in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
In Darkest Hour, the new film in which Gary Oldman plays newly elected prime minister Winston Churchill, Mendelsohn plays King George VI, known as the "reluctant king" because he was forced onto the throne after his older brother (known as Edward VIII) abdicated over his romance with Wallis Simpson. George, who was leery of public speaking due to a stutter (chronicled in the 2010 film The King's Speech, in which Colin Firth played the monarch), was opposed at first to Churchill, but the two soon became close and had lunch together every Tuesday for more than four years during the darkest days of World War II to discuss the war and England's standing in it.
Mendelsohn and Oldman's scenes together are among the best in a film peppered with outstanding moments and incredible acting, adding another superb performance to Mendelsohn's already sparkling resume. We spoke with him about playing the role, acting with Oldman and more, including his work with Steven Spielberg in the upcoming Ready Player One and the rumors that he'll play the leader of the Skrulls in 2019's Captain Marvel.
Den of Geek: There’s that old saying, “It’s good to be the king,” but in King George’s case it wasn’t really that good to be the king, was it?
Ben Mendelsohn: I think it was a real challenge to be the king and I think it was unexpected to be the king. I think for his people it was really good that he was king. I think he was kind, I think he really believed in the role of the monarchy but yeah, I don’t think it was necessarily for him always that way. However, it’s difficult to know. You know what I mean? You got to really draw a limit around what you can say about any of these people because I don’t know.
What were you able to tap into as far as researching him?
These people and this era are well documented, so then it’s just the notions you have. The notion about how his father might have felt about him, these are all strands of ideas and stuff that are floating around. But there is stuff that you can actually watch and see of him giving his speeches and hearing him and hearing the way that speech impediment works when the rubber meets the road. Then you extrapolate. Then really you’re guided by your script. You can have all sorts of ideas and notions about someone but you’re doing what the script calls for first and foremost.
Especially here in America, a lot of people may not actually realize that this is the same king that Colin Firth played in The King's Speech. Were there enough different aspects to his personality that you didn’t have to think, “Oh I have to worry about being too close to that performance,” or anything like that?
It makes a job that already has challenges a job with a lodestone around it, you know what I mean? I don’t think you want to dwell on that stuff, it all passes through your mind but you’ve got to then leave it and get on with it because you know at some point or another they’re going to be calling action. You know at that point if you haven’t done enough of this work, it’s a disaster, and you just can’t do that.
Let’s talk about playing opposite Gary. You really both disappear into your roles. What was the interaction like on the set?
We’d met on The Dark Knight Rises, although we didn’t work together. We had a chance to be familiar. We did a rehearsal period and thank goodness that Joe (Wright, Darkest Hour director) did an old fashioned sitting-around-the-table rehearsal period, because we had a chance to get comfortable with each other and just talk about other things and whatnot. On the day, I think we’d gone away, certainly Gary had gone away and done so much work that there was an effortlessness to it actually on the day, and it didn’t feel like a strain or an effort at all. It just felt like, “Oh here we are, we’re listening to each other and let’s do it.” That’s because of the work beforehand.
Do you remember when you saw him on set in the full makeup and costume?
Yeah, you don’t forget that moment. It’s remarkable and he was kind of "Winstoning" and then he turned to me and he just showed me him again for a quick moment, it was really weird, it was as though the prosthetics went away for a sec. It was a really surreal moment. Then he turned back and he went back into it, and that was like seeing some kind of wild creature. That was just something else.
Do actors talk about the craft with each other?
Not a lot. It’s a young thing to do, you do when you’re young or you’re new in it. It’s about what you ask. I think professional to professional you can ask that sort of stuff but we sort of don’t. It’s like, you all know roughly what there is to be done. You know that if you want to do Winston Churchill you better bloody watch Winston Churchill. You better try and get a stronger sense if you can. If you’re playing King George you better bloody watch King George and get as strong a sense as you can. You don’t really ask.
Do you feel like you learned things about either George or Churchill as a result of doing this that you hadn’t known before?
Really it’s Clementine Churchill (Churchill's wife, played by Kristin Scott Thomas) that I really came to appreciate. I’m glad he had her, I’m glad we had her, because I feel as though without Clementine Churchill we don’t get across the line. I think Clementine is the real revelation to me, and her role in the proceedings.
There's been talk that this film comes at a time when we don't have truly great leaders in the world. Is it timely that we see a film about a leader who was as strong-willed and focused as Churchill seemed to be?
Well, I think that it’s something that we fit back onto the meaning of the film. That’s the way we organize these kind of things. The movie was thought of five years ago, well before the current era, and we’re always searching for leaders. We always are. Obviously this is a different period but that never changes, back in my country now they’re going batshit about what’s going on there.
Look, there are great lessons to be learned from great achievements and great people in history. The point I think of Darkest Hour is they’re not necessarily the lessons that you think that you know about them. There’s not actually an inevitability about Churchill, he’s not set in stone. This stuff is very alive. I think we all take, if anything, some heart that some of these things are unknown and just knock on wood. Just knock on wood because I’m not sure that there’s anything else that can really be done before an electoral cycle or whatnot.
I thought you were terrific in the very good Mississippi Grind, and we hear you might be re-teaming with that movie's directors, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck for Captain Marvel.
Yeah, well that’d be nice.
Anything you can say about that?
No, I’ve certainly heard a lot about it today which is a good sign. I’m sure that if that does in fact bear out to be true that’ll be a good thing.
Have you started doing any reading up on the Skrulls?
Nope. My only comics at home are the ones with (Doctor) Doom and The Sandman. I love Doom.
We can confirm that you’re in Ready Player One.
What was it like working with Spielberg on that and getting into that world?
What a joy. He is the most exciting audience you get. As an actor your director really is your first audience. Steven Spielberg is just such a great audience, he’s so specific, he’s so excited when things go well. He’s so ready to try it again, he’s so fast, he’s evolving as it goes. You don’t expect Spielberg to be as nimble, and the way that he actually brings his stuff all together...he’ll be out there on the battleground -- I call it the battleground, the idea being that you have the map, which is the script, and your own ideas of what goes on. When you actually get to the ground, that’s where you need to be nimble, and I was thrilled to see Steven Spielberg just completely re-create things because of what was happening right there in the room.
That’s a discipline and that’s a response in filmmaking that I’ve only ever seen a few times. Most of the time we’re trying to get ourselves to go along one specific path. Steven Spielberg is the Napoleon of filmmaking and I mean that in the best possible way -- that he is a master of the battlefield.
How does it challenge you as an actor to go from something as gritty and naturalistic as Animal Kingdom to something like Ready Player One or even Rogue One where there is so much virtual world-building involved?
Well it delights me. All of the films have their challenges and you need the stamina and the concentration and the spirit to be up for it. In those bigger films, if you have to fill in the blanks of something that might be happening over there that you can’t actually see and feel, that’s something that I like to think maybe I’m evolving with in my skills or I’m still up for. It’s a delight to me that the big studios will go, “Yeah, we’ll use that guy.” This stuff’s all still pretty new to me, I’m an old bugger, but I’m up for learning it.
Darkest Hour is out in limited release in New York and Los Angeles today (November 22) with an expanded theatrical run to follow.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 will be another wild trip through time, focusing on a looming occult threat. Here's everything we know....
What might be the strangest assortment of superheroes ever put on TV are back! Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 is now in full swing, and we've got everything you need to know about it right here. You can read our review of the most recent episode here.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 8 is called "Crisis on Earth-X Part 4." Here's the official synopsis...
THE EPIC FOUR-WAY CROSSOVER WITH “ARROW,” “SUPERGIRL,” “THE FLASH” AND “DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW” CONCLUDES — Barry (guest star Grant Gustin) and Iris’s (guest star Candice Patton) wedding brings the gang together, but things go awry when villains from Earth-X attack the ceremony. All of the superheroes band together with help from their super friends like Citizen Cold (guest star Wentworth Miller), The Ray (guest star Russell Tovey), Felicity Smoak (guest star Emily Bett Rickards), Iris West and Alex Danvers (guest star Chyler Leigh) to take on their most formidable villains yet. Earth’s mightiest heroes – Green Arrow (guest star Stephen Amell), Supergirl (guest star Melissa Benoist), The Flash (guest star Grant Gustin) and White Canary (Caity Lotz) – lead their teams into battle to save the world.
Check out the trailer...
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episodes
Hit the blue titles to go to full reviews!
When the Legends realize that they broke the timeline, Rip Hunter (guest star Arthur Darvill) arrives with his new organization – the Time Bureau – to relieve them of duty. The Legends are thrilled to get a chance to put the team back together but a new threat arises when Rory (Dominic Purcell) spots Julius Caesar (guest star Simon Merrells) in Aruba. Sara (Caity Lotz), Nate (Nick Zano) and Ray (Brandon Routh) devise a plan to steal the Waverider back from the Time Bureau in order to try and stop Julius Caesar from conquering the modern world. Victor Garber, Maisie Richardson-Sellers and Franz Drameh also star.
air date: October 10, 2017
The Legends find themselves in 1870 to fix the anachronism which happens to be at P.T. Barnum’s fledgling circus. However, Nate (Nick Zano) and Ray (Brandon Routh) accidently free a saber toothed tiger, creating a bigger problem. Meanwhile, P.T. Barnum (guest star Billy Zane) is on the hunt to capture Nate and Ray to make his show even more exciting for the crowd. Caity Lotz, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Victor Garber, Dominic Purcell and Franz Drameh also star.
air date: October 17, 2017
When Sara (Caity Lotz) receives a distress call from their “befriended” agent at the Time Bureau, she learns that they have been tasked with going to the future to capture a rogue time traveler. Unfortunately, the Legends make things worse by trying to protect an outlaw named Zari (Tala Ashe), to hopefully lure in the time travelling assassin. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) tries to diagnose Amaya’s (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) condition, but Nate (Nick Zano) discovers an unusual treatment that Amaya begrudgingly agrees to.
air date: October 24, 2017
The Legends learn that Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) will die because they broke time, causing them to race back to 1988 to try and save his life. When they arrive, they are surprised to learn that young Ray Palmer has befriended a time-displaced baby Dominator putting him in harm’s way with the government and the Dominator’s mother. New to the ship and missions, Zari (Tala Ashe) must find her place and learn to trust the team. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) begins working on a secret project on the ship which makes Rory (Dominic Purcell) and Jax (Franz Drameh) suspicious.
air date: October 31, 2017
When Nate (Nick Zano) thinks he has found a pattern to the anachronisms, it leads the Legends to London in 1897 to hunt down a time-traveling vampire. When they arrive in London, they run into Rip (guest star Arthur Darvill), but not everyone welcomes him back so quickly, leaving Sara (Caity Lotz) to make a tough choice in the end. Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) tries to connect with Zari (Tala Ashe), but she is still struggling with being part of the team. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) discovers what Ray (Brandon Routh) and Jax (Franz Drameh) are up to and is not entirely pleased.
air date: November 7, 2017
When the Legends track down an anachronism in 1930s Hollywood, they discover it’s none other than a time-displaced Helen of Troy and she’s just started a war between two film studios. As the Legends try to fix history and return Helen (guest star Bar Paly) to the Bronze Age, things get complicated when they are blindsided by the appearance of a former enemy. Sara (Caity Lotz) contemplates an offer she is made, which would make the Legends leave the anachronisms be. Meanwhile, Stein (Victor Garber) and Jax (Franz Drameh) find themselves in an unusual predicament.
air date: November 14, 2017
With Sara (Caity Lotz) out of commission, the team finds a new Anachronism that leads them to the jungles of Vietnam and right in the middle of the war. Ray (Brandon Routh), Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Zari (Tala Ashe) pose as journalists and trek through the jungle when they are lead to time-displaced Gorilla Grodd. Meanwhile, Nate (Nick Zano) and Rory (Dominic Purcell) run into someone Rory knows which give a glimpse into his past.
air date: November 21, 2017
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 8: Crisis on Earth-X part 4
THE EPIC FOUR-WAY CROSSOVER WITH “ARROW,” “SUPERGIRL,” “THE FLASH” AND “DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW” CONCLUDES — Barry (guest star Grant Gustin) and Iris’s (guest star Candice Patton) wedding brings the gang together, but things go awry when villains from Earth-X attack the ceremony. All of the superheroes band together with help from their super friends like Citizen Cold (guest star Wentworth Miller), The Ray (guest star Russell Tovey), Felicity Smoak (guest star Emily Bett Rickards), Iris West and Alex Danvers (guest star Chyler Leigh) to take on their most formidable villains yet. Earth’s mightiest heroes – Green Arrow (guest star Stephen Amell), Supergirl (guest star Melissa Benoist), The Flash (guest star Grant Gustin) and White Canary (Caity Lotz) – lead their teams into battle to save the world.
air date: November 28, 2017
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 9: Beebo the God of War
Rattled by recent events, the Legends dive into work which finds them investigating an Anachronism in a Viking settlement in the New World. The Legends realize that the Norsemen are worshipping an artifact as their god and are surprised by the artifact’s origin. For the first time, Sara is worried that they might need back up when Damien Darhk shows up. Meanwhile, Jax finds a loophole that could potentially change history, but it is a risk he is willing to take.
air date: December 5, 2017
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Villains
Legends of Tomorrow executive producer Phil Klemmer did some dishing at the TCA’s, specifically speaking to IGN, about the mysterious rogues gallery for Season 3. Klemmer describes the upcoming approach to the antagonists, stating, "This is a much more supernatural, spooky vibe this season. We're dealing more with magic. It's less real-world bad guys."
Indeed, Season 3 will feature a new mysterious main villain, described as “a non-human entity,” at the center of an evil occult group. However, some familiar faces will fall into this fanatical fold, notably The Flash’s resident, hyper-intelligent, telepathic silverback, Gorilla Grodd. Moreover, it appears that the mystically-inclined Damien Darhk will not let either his timeline-set death on Arrow or the dissolution of the Legion of Doom stop him from making yet another return when he joins this mysterious occult group.
Grodd’s return will show the character in a completely different place than the last time we saw him on The Flash after his unsuccessful, multiverse-crossing gorilla army invasion of Earth One failed, leaving him ignominiously exiled and imprisoned. Klemmer elaborates that, after the invasion and his exile from Gorilla City, Grodd will be perceived in a sympathetic light; one that could lure the Legends into some trouble.
"It will be a version of him [Grodd] that we have not met yet on any of the shows. It will be the most evolved and powerful form of Grodd. We're actually breaking the episode now."
Executive producer Marc Guggenheim provides further details of Darhk’s death-defying return, revealing that, while he’s not the true power behind this new group, he will serve as a leader:
"Damien Darhk is going to be the leader of this group in the way Thawne was sort of the boss last year for the Legion of Doom. This group is distinctly led up by Damien. We have a fun way to bring him back that kind of plays into the season-long mythology."
However, the rogues gallery may not be the only thing boosted on Legends of Tomorrow Season 3. Besides new characters like Tala Ashe’s Zari (Isis), there’s speculation that Arrow may send over Paul Blackthorne’s Quentin Lance for a Legends tenure of some kind. Plus, Wentworth Miller’s Leonard Snart/Captain Cold can’t seem to stay dead and the series will see yet another return, this time as a “bizarro” doppelganger of the character.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Cast
Courtney Ford will join Legends of Tomorrow Season 3, according to EW. She will play Eleanor, the daughter of the season's returning co-villain (and no-seller of death,) Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). Eleanor is described as “cunning with a charming dose of otherworldly creepiness,” compared to an adult Wednesday Addams. Indeed, like Daddy Darhk, she will be a cunning adversary for the Legends who possesses the innate ability to inveigle others to do her bidding; an ability compounded by her alluring appearance. Eleanor will debut in Episode 5.
Ford has made the rounds of genre television, just coming off a run with The CW on Supernatural Season 7 as the baby mama to Lucifer’s powerful – fully-grown at birth – Nephilim son Jack, who will be a crucial character in Season 13, played by Alexander Calvert. She’s also remembered for her run on HBO’s True Blood as Portia Bellefleur, as well as stints on Dexter, Parenthood, Revenge and Murder in the First.
Jes Macallan joins Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 for a recurring role as Special Agent Ava Sharpe. The character is a member of the show’s newly established Federal chronological constabularies, the Time Bureau. She's described as dedicated and ambitious, often coming across as pretentious, tending to look down at people. This personality attribute was already on full display in the Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Comic-Con trailer, which – before the details were revealed – showed Macallan’s Agent Sharpe giving an earful to Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance, calling the Legends “a sorry excuse for a team” who could never handle the new looming time-bending threat.
Macallan is best known from her 4-season TV run co-starring on the ABC drama Mistresses and from starring roles in TV movies An Uncommon Grace, The Engagement Clause and The Mentor. She’s also fielded notable series guest roles on The Relationship Status, Red Band Society, NCIS: Los Angeles, Grey’s Anatomy, Justified and Shameless.
Simon Merrells lands a notable guest spot in Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 as Julius Caesar, reports CBR. His appearance will occur in Episode 17. As you can probably conclude from that bit of info, the Legends will take a trip back to Ancient Rome, obviously before the famed leader was violently assassinated by Roman senators and ultimately dealt “the most unkindest cut of all” by his friend Brutus. However, seeing as the time-travelling team are out to fix “aberrations and anachronisms” already dealt to the timeline, we probably shouldn’t expect a save here.
The Julius Caesar role certainly resides within the wheelhouse of Merrells, who's previously donned a toga, specifically for his role on Starz’s Spartacus: War of the Damned as Marcus Crassus, a Roman politician and one of Caesar’s early allies. Merrells has also been seen on shows such as Dominion, The Tomorrow People, amongst several others.
Even better, we just learned that Matt Ryan will return as John Constantine for episodes 9 and 10 of this season! More details here.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Characters
It wouldn't be a new season of Legends of Tomorrow if there weren't going to be some new faces on board the Waverider, right? Well, that's exactly what we're getting, although this one is quite a surprise.
Tala Ashe (American Odyssey) will be a regular member of the cast as Zari Adrianna Tomaz. Now, DC fans will immediately say, "Hey, that's Isis!" (and they're right), but the official character description indicates that they'll be taking an interesting twist on the character...
“A Muslim-American woman from the year 2030, Zari lives in a world of contradictions. Technology has brought about incredible change in her future—too bad human nature hasn’t kept pace. Fear, prejudice and a lack of care for the planet have forced Zari to become a “grey hat hacktivist.” A computer nerd with a wry, combative attitude. A woman living a double life who doesn’t realize that she has secret, latent powers derived from an ancient, mystical source.”
I wouldn't expect to hear the word "Shazam" mentioned on the show anytime soon, but this is still a pretty cool addition to the show.
TV Line broke the news that Billy Zane will reunite with his Titanic co-star, Victor Garber, in an episode. Zane will play PT Barnum (yes, that one). Showrunner Phil Klemmer describes this version of Barnum as "the villain of our story...[but] just a guy who wants to put on a good show."
No word on which episode he appears in yet.
As for other potential characters? Well, if Legends of Tomorrow season 3 were to do something really crazy like, I dunno, introduce the Legion of Super-Heroes, I wouldn't complain. After all, they did the Justice Society this year, so anything is possible, right?
But that might not be the kind of craziness they're thinking of right now. “We have talked about Kamandi in the writers’ room,” Marc Guggenheim told Entertainment Weekly. “He’s definitely a character that we love and a concept that we love. Certainly, we’ve opened the door for that kind of story. I can’t say that we’re absolutely committed to doing Kamandi next year, it’s just totally on the table and certainly something we’ve been talking about.”
He's referring to Jack Kirby's vision of a post-apocalyptic future where miltaristic animals are in charge and Kamandi is "the last boy on Earth." This could certainly fuel an episode, if not an entire season of the show.
We really hope this happens.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Trailer
There's a brand new Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 trailer. Check it out...
And here's some more footage for you...
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Story Details
The CW has dropped the official synopsis for Legends of Tomorrow Season 3. Check it out:
After the defeat of Eobard Thawne and his equally nefarious Legion of Doom, the Legends face a new threat created by their actions at the end of last season. In revisiting a moment in time that they had already participated in, they have essentially fractured the timeline and created anachronisms – a scattering of people, animals, and objects all across time!
Our team must find a way to return all the anachronisms to their original timelines before the time stream falls apart. But before our Legends can jump back into action, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and his newly established Time Bureau call their methods into question. With the Time Bureau effectively the new sheriffs in town, the Legends disband – until Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) discovers one of them in the middle of his well-deserved vacation in Aruba. Seeing this as an opportunity to continue their time traveling heroics, Sara (Caity Lotz) wastes no time in getting the Legends back together.
We reunite with billionaire inventor Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), the unconventional historian-turned-superhero Nick Heywood (Nick Zano), and Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh), who together form the meta-human Firestorm. Once reunited, the Legends will challenge the Time Bureau’s authority over the timeline and insist that however messy their methods may be, some problems are beyond the Bureau’s capabilities. Some problems can only be fixed by Legends.
We'll update this with more information as we get it.
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Former Game of Thrones schemer Aidan Gillen delves into the world of UFOs in History series Blue Book, produced by Robert Zemeckis.
Aidan Gillen will probably spend a long time shaking off the residual chaos reaped by his Game of Thrones character Peyr “Littlefinger” Baelish. While the Irish actor’s schedule is booked solid with a variety of roles, his reported attachment to star as a skeptic UFO investigator in upcoming History series Blue Book could represent his biggest Baelish departure yet.
History is moving forward with Blue Book as a 10-episode series. Gillen will star in the fact-based drama as Dr. Josef Allen Hynek, depicting secret U.S. Air Force investigations into supposed UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) encounters and generally unexplainable X-Files-type phenomenon.
Blue Book News
Blue Book has added two more to its cast.
Michael Harney will reportedly play an unnamed USAF General who, with a partner, oversees Project Blue Book, which he diligently hides from the public in the name of national security. He’s a morally earnest character, described as having a sagely personality, coming from a long-decorated military career.
Harney is probably best known for his role as corrections-officer-turned-counselor Sam Healy on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black. Amongst an array of TV guest spots, he’s notably fielded runs on True Detective, Vegas, Weeds, Persons Unknown, Deadwood and NYPD Blue.
Ksenia Solo will play Susie, an attractive and confident new arrival in town, who quickly strikes up a friendship with Mimi (Laura Mennell), the wife of Project Blue Book’s Josef Hynek (Aidan Gillen). However, the friendship, which reportedly sees the women “bond over similar interests” and “empower one another,” manifests under suspicious circumstances, especially considering Josef’s national-secrets-centric job. Indeed, the Cold War setting and Solo’s Russian-speaking heritage likely indicate where that angle is heading.
Solo, a Latvia-born actress, who recently completed a TV run as Benedict Arnold’s wife, Peggy Shippen, on AMC's recently-wrapped Revolutionary War drama TURN: Washington’s Spies, is probably best known for her main cast role on Syfy’s 2010-2016 succubus series Lost Girl and a 2015 run on BBC America’s Orphan Black. She was also seen on Life Unexpected and Renegadepress.com, as well as films such as Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle, In Search of Fellini, Pet, The Factory and Black Swan.
Blue Book Cast
Aidan Gillen has been tapped to star on the series, playing Dr. Josef Allen Hynek, an astrophysicist by trade, who eventually – to national prominence – takes up the profession of “Ufology,” skeptically investigating mysteries seen in the skies. Of Hynek’s Air Force research projects, 1952-1970’s eponymous Project Blue Book – designed to collect data and assess if UFOs are a threat to national security – remains one of the most cited amongst the circles of enthusiasts (despite its skeptic-sided conclusions).
For Gillen, who, besides his Game of Thrones role, is probably best remembered as cunning Baltimore politician Thomas Carcetti on HBO’s The Wire, the starring role on Blue Book will be the culmination of a big screen backlog that includes a role reprisal in franchise sequel Maze Runner: The Death Cure, playing Queen manager John Reid – opposite Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury – in Bohemian Rhapsody and as Irish literary legend James Joyce in James and Lucia. He’s also set to appear in the imminently-arriving Season 4 of BBC Two/Netflix crime series Peaky Blinders.
Laura Mennell will play Josef's wife, Mimi, who becomes immersed in a friendship with a mysterious woman named Susie (Ksenia Solo), with potentially dangerous consequences. Mennell has accumulated quite the TV-centric resume, with an upcoming run on Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, current comedy Loudermilk and a recurring role on Syfy’s Van Helsing. She previously co-starred on Syfy’s short-lived people-with-powers drama Alphas and recurred on Haven, Motive and even had a few appearances on Supernatural and Smallville. However, comic book movie fans will likely remember her role from director Zack Snyder’s 2009 Watchmen movie as Janey Slater, the embattled girlfriend of scientist Jon Osterman, who became the all-powerful Doctor Manhattan.
Blue Book Crew
While Blue Book arrives as a project based on a spec script by up-and-coming screenwriter David O’Leary (who serves as co-executive producer), it will manifest on History with major gravitas from legendary Back to the Future Trilogy, Forrest Gump and Cast Away director Robert Zemeckis, who is onboard as an executive producer. The director’s chair will be occupied for the first two episodes by Robert Stromberg, director of 2014’s Angelina Jolie-starring Sleeping Beauty adaptation Maleficent, whose resume contains Art Direction Oscars for Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. However, the buck will stop with Sean Jablonski (Gypsy, Suits, Nip/Tuck), who serves as showrunner, executive producer and writer.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on Blue Book as it progresses toward its radar-blipping arrival on History.
Are you afraid of the dark? You will be after you get through our spooky list of the best horror movies on HBO Streaming.
Editor's Note: This post is updated monthly. Bookmark this page and come back every month to see the new horror movies on HBO Now and HBO Go.
Updated for December 2017
What ever would we do without horror?
So much of our day to day life is built around logic and known, verifiable facts. And that's great! Still, every once in awhile you need to get in touch with your illogical, terrified animal brain. That's where horror and horror movies in particular come in.
Gathered here are the 13 best horror movies on HBO Now and HBO Go for your scaring needs.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
A few caveats. Yes, the story of the Amityville Horror has largely been debunked and yes if anything the original '70s Amityville Horror is the far superior movie. Having acknowledged that though, the 2005 version of Amityville Horror is still a perfectly good time. Every list of horror movies needs something involving a haunted house and there may be no more infamous haunted house than 112 Ocean Avenue. Come for the blood running down the walls; stay for Ryan Reynolds' incredible beard.
Ugh, man: children. Even the most innocent of kids are kind of creepy. They're just little humanoids with a smaller vocabularly than usual and poor motor skills. In British horror film The Children, children are somehow even scarier than usual. A family goes on holiday to the secluded home of their aunt (ugh of course it's secluded). When they arrive, the two young children in the family Miranda and Paulie, suddenly become very ill. Then they become very violent. Bastardization of the familiar is terrifying and The Children does an excellent job of turning family members into monsters.
The Conjuring 2
James Wan, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return for The Conjuring 2. This time Ed and Lorraine Warren cross the Atlantic to merry old England to deal with another paranormal mystery. They assist a family living in an Enfield council house in a case that would come to be known as the Enfield Poltergeist. Horror is hard. Horror sequels are next to impossible. Somehow The Conjuring 2 defies the expectations and remains a horrifying delight. For more on the Enfield Poltergeist, by the way, definitely check out Last Podcast on the Left's recounting of the events.
The Exorcist is the best horror movie of all-time. Sorry, The Shining! The Exorcist is truly terrifying because it understands what scares us the most: loss of bodily autonomy, corruption, the existence of true evil, and having to clean up green puke. Beyond just that, however, The Exorcist is a remarkable film. It presents the battle between good and evil and fundamentally and as creatively as any other film ever made. If you've never seen the story of young Regan (Linda Blair) taken hostage to the devil watch it immediately. If you have already, watch it again immediately.
For some, Get Out may be pushing the definition of "horror." "It's a satire!" "It's a thriller!" "It's a socio-political commentary!" Sure, it is all those things. But it's also a horrror movie, and a great one at that. Jordan Peele's directorial debut follows Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) a black New York photographer who agrees to go out into the suburbs to meet his white girlfriend's parents. That's an uncomfortable situation for many in interracial relationships but when Chris arrives things seem to go pretty well! Sure, Rose's yuppie parents lay on the liberal white guilt angle a bit thick ("I would've voted for Obama for a third term if I could!") but other than that things should go fine, right....RIGHT??? Things do not go fine and Get Out becomes the tragically funny, completely entertaining, social horror movie that Peele was born to make.
Lights Out is a film from Swedish director David F. Sandberg adapted from his own 2013 short film of the same name. Lights Out is brilliant in its simple concept. It's similar to the classic Doctor Who episode "Blink" in which monsters advance towards you when you're not looking at them - only in Lights Out's case, a demonic-looking woman advances towards you when the lights are out. Horror that is able to corrupt objects or concepts that we encounter in day to day life and make them terrifying are almost always great. Lights Out does exactly that and somehow also wraps it in an extended metaphor for depression.
The version of Mimic on HBO is not the director's cut that Guillermo Del Toro wants you to see. And that's a drag as you should almost always watch what Guillermo Del Toro wants you to watch. Still this theatrical version of Mimic is still pretty great in its own right. Mimic is actually a bit similar to Del Toro's later work in The Strain only instead of vampires terrorizing Manhattan, it's little parasites that are hellbent on destroying other living creatures and are unnervingly able to mimic the appearance of their prey. It's Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets The Walking Dead all run through Del Toro's lush and demeted visual aesthetic.
Pitch Black is a science fiction movie to be sure and the beginning of one of the most inexplicable film/media franchises of all time. It's also a deceptively brilliant horror movie. Vin Diesel stars as Richard Riddick, a dangerous criminal being transported to a space prison via a spaceship. Whilst on route, a comet strikes the ship and Riddick and the rest of the crew are marooned on an alien planet, inhabited by creatures who lurk in the darkness. Pitch Black is fun because the scariest things are the things you can't see. It's action-adventure, science fiction, and abject horror all rolled into one Diesel-y package.
How is this movie PG-13? I mean, I know how. There are no genitals or F-words in it. There isn't even really any gratuitious violence or gore. But when classifying what movies are appropriate for the youths, shouldn't the MPAA factor in "pants-shitting terror that will scar your teenage mind for life?" The Ring is a wonderfully terrifying movie. It's the story of a video tape (lol remember those?) that after you watch it, you receive a phone call from a mysterious, scratchy voice informing you that you will die in seven days. The video tape and the phone caller have a 100% success rate in this whole dying in seven days thing. Naomi Watts stars as Rachel Keller, a journalist who wants to get to the bottom of this story. Little does she know it's at the literal bottom of a well.
Horror is a wonderful movie genre but every now and then it can stagnate. That's when movies like Scream come along - movies that still terrify and thrill their viewers while at the same time poking fun at the stale conventions of horror movies. Scream 2 picks up where Scream leaves off both spiritually and literally. It's a direct continuation of the story of Sideny Prescott (Naomi Campbell) who after surviving a killer wearing a ghostface mask in high school gets to do the same in college. Scream 2 is thrilling and a great commentary on horror sequels.
M. Night Shyamalan had a real rough go of it for awhile there. After a string of poorly-received bombs, he got back to horror basics with the terrifying The Visit and then followed it up with the equally compelling Split. The concept of a man with multiple personality disorder holding three girls hostage for mysterious reasons is quite frankly: kind of silly. But thanks to the capable hands of Shyalaman behind the camera and James McAvoy in front of it, it's actually quite great! And just when you think that Shyamalan couldn't possibly catch you off guard with another twist, he puls off one of the best of his career.
Stir of Echoes
Unwatned or unexpected "visions" are the rare horror trope that are equally terrifying conceptually and visually. Therefore they are a perfect fit for a horror movie. In Stir of Echoes, Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) is a normal working class Joe from Chicago until a chance encounter with a hypnotist at a party causes him to have some disturbing visions. Tom's visions are that of a young girl being violently attacked and he soons comes to suspect that they might represent something real.
Jeez, man, just look at that screengrab. That's visually horrifying. Statistically speaking, your home being invaded by strangers who mean you serious ill-will is incredibly unlikely. There's a reason why we're able to actually solve many murder cases - most violence occurs via people who know one another, not strangers. The Strangers depicts one of those rare occurences in which that is not the case. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman star as a couple whose remote summer home is broken into by three mysterious mask-weilding strangers. What do the strangers have in mind for their captives? Nothing good.
When you need a dose of reality with your streaming check out our list of the Best Documentaries on HBO.
Editor's Note: This post is updated monthly. Bookmark this page and come back every month to see what documentaries are being added to HBO Now and HBO Go.
Updated for December 2017
HBO's most consistently excellent quality might be its deep roster of documentaries. At any given moment HBO has dozens of high-quality documenatries available for streaming. We've done our best here to find and present the best of the best documentaries available on HBO Now and HBO Go streaming.
It was certainly a tall task as almost every documentary by default seems excellent at first. How could anything that's presenting further context on an important or interesting real life story be anything but fascinating? Still, here are the absolute must-watches for when you need a dose of truth and discomfort.
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets
3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets debuted at Sundance in 2015 under its original name of simply 3 1/2 Minutes. That title seems intriguing and ominous enough but the new title for HBO along with the school photo of Jordan Davis leaves tragically little doubt as to what the film is about.
On November 23, 2012, Michael Dunn pulled up next to Davis at a Jacksonville, Florida gas station. Three and a half minutes later, Dunn fired ten shots at Davis, killing him. 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets covers the implications of this tragic story for Davis, Dunn and our culture at large.
Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq
In addition to being a brilliant actor, Tony Soprano actor James Gandolfini ("actor" somehow doesn't feel like a strong enough term for the miracle of creation that Gandolfini pulls off in The Sopranos) also felt strongly about his causes. One of them was supporting American military veterans.
Alive Day Memories is a rather atypical documentary as it features quite a bit of Gandolfini in addition to its subjects. But the passion and realness that Gandolfini brings to his conversations with Iraq War amputees and other injured veterans still makes for a remarkable, thoughtful viewing experience.
Becoming Mike Nichols
How does one film cover the monumental and enormous career of writer/director/filmmaker Mike Nichols? As best it can.
Becoming Mike Nichols isn't perfect. One might argue its even a bit too focused.Still, its subject just happens to be perfect. Nichols, himself, appears in the doc shortly before his death in 2014 as he casually chats with his close friend Jack O'Brien. Becoming Mike Nichols is the Graduate director's final filmed appearance and it's a worthwhile, intimate one.
Beware the Slenderman
Beware the Slenderman is among the most recent and buzzworthy documentaries on our list. It's also quite great. It's the story of two young girls who attempt to murder their friend as a sacrifice to fictional internet boogeyman Slederman.
While the marketing materials are all too happy to play up the spooky story angle (and I thank them for all the fascinating art of Slenderman it produced) the documentary is thankfully more level-headed. It's not just about scary stories or fear of new technology but rather an exploration of the confusions of youth.
Cries from Syria
Documentary footage of war and human suffering will never not be a vital part of journalism and filmmaking for as long as there is war and human suffering. Hopefully this footage and those documentaries will all be as simulaneously uncompromising and respectful as Cries from Syria.
Cries from Syria traces the beginning, middle and....unfortunately there is no end of the the Syrian Civil War. It's not so much a documentary as it is a desperate plea for help from an entire country of suffering people. That sounds like a tough watch and it is but it's still absolutely worth your time.
How awkward must it be to have your son approach you and ask to make a documentary about your life? Thankfully for all of us, U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke said yes when his son David did just that. Holbrooke the younger does an excellent job of capturing his dad's wildly fascinating life story.
The Diplomat covers almost the entirety of Holbrooke's career as a friendly, yet resolute face the United States presented to the world for almost six decades. Holbrooke was a masterful ambassador, military officer and all-around diplomatic master. Getting to see his story from the perspective of his son is fascinating and poignant.
Everything is Copy
HBO Documentaries cover a huge, diverse array of topics. Still, we must acknowledge some bias here both on the part of documentarians and ourselves. Both documentarians and the stewards of this site just happen to gravitate to stories about journalists and other artists. And why not? Artists and journalists are both dogged pursuers of truth - a topic documentaries should know a bit about. In this instance the artist in question is the irreplacable Nora Ephron.
Everything is Copy comes from Ephron's son, journalist Jacob Bernstein and it's a lovingly-crafted tribute to his mother. Bernstein, secures interviews with many important people to his mother and they talk about the many factors that helped Ephron become one of the true voices of her generation.
Here's another interesting thing about documentaries. You write about them for long enough and you eventually discover that most of them are almost always relevant. Critics and audiences love to point out that art, both scripted and non-fiction, often reflects the issues of today. The reason for that sadly seems to be: today's problems are always the same as yesterday's. Case in point: The Fence.
The Fence is a documentary from 2010 about how the U.S. tried to build a "fence" on the Southern border in 2006. Spoiler alert: it was a really fucking stupid idea.
Ghosts of Abu Ghraib
Ghosts of Abu Ghraib is one of the documentaries that helped put HBO's documentary subbrand on the map. It's a 2007 documentary that examines the 2004 controversey surrounding the U.S.'s Abu Ghraib prison in which many prisoners were abused and/or tortured. This was an incredibly powerful and well-known story and Ghosts of Abu Ghraib joins the pantheon of documentaries that offer the definitive depiction and interpretation of a controversial real-world event.
Going Clear: Scientology
Oh yes, you remember this one. Going Clear: Scientology is about as close to a definitive documentary about all the various mysteries and craziness of Scientology that we're going to get. This Peabody-award winning doc comes from documentary All-Star Alex Gibney and is based on the book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. It's a fascinating look at a religion/cult with dwindling members but that still has more money than ever.
Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal
If you judged what this documentary was about based on photos alone, you would assume it's just a story about a woman and her many lovely parrots. Which would be great as the official Den of Geek position on birds is that they are good and nice.
Still, the real subject of Heidi Fleiss: The Wold-Be Madam of Crystal is just as fascinating. Fleiss spent years as a successful operator of an underground brothel to the stores before it became not-so-underground and she went to prison. This documentary follows Fleiss' struggles to overcome her drug addiction and get back to work mastering the world's oldest profession.
Heroin: Cape Cod, USA
Any documentary depicting drug addiction is going to be brutal. Heroin: Cape Cod, USA is particularly so. It isn't preachy or saccharine. It's just uncomprosing in its honest depiction of the horrors of opioid addiction.
This doc predates the U.S.'s current opioid crisis by several years and it's tragic to watch these sympathetic human beings go through deadly struggles that everyone seems helpless to stop.
Jim: The James Foley Story
Jim: The James Foley Story keeps up two running traditions on our documentaries list. One, it's about a journalist. Two, it's directed by someone close to the subject - in this case, the subject's childhood friend.
In this case, however, the subject matter at hand couldn't be more tragic. James Foley was an accomplished, respected photojournalist who captured many indelible photos during wars and civil conflicts throughout the Middle East. While reporting on the Syrian Civil War in 2012, Foley was captured by ISIL and then then two years later was beheaded. Jim: The James Foley Story focuses on the successful, vibrant life of its subject rather than his ghoulish, heartbreaking end.
The Kid Stays in the Picture
The Kid Stays in the Picture is one of the most honest and uncompromising depictions of the film industry ever made. Based on Robert Evans' autobiography of the same name, the documentary follows Evans' life and career from superstar to outcast.
The Kid Stays in the Picture goes far beyond stock photos and interviews. It features and empathetic first-person narration of its subject as he goes through the various ups and downs of life in Hollywood.
Life According to Sam
Meet 16-year-old Sam. Sam is awesome. Sam also has progeria, a rare genetic disorder in which the effects and symptoms of aging begin at an early age. Life According to Sam is a supremely uplifting and bittersweet documentary. Rarely do we get docs that celebrate the lives of "normal" people. And despite his incredibly rare condition, Sam is a normal, sweet kid. He's enjoyable to spend an hour and change with. At the same time you'll learn about a terrible and unfortunate disease.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence/House of God
If you feel the need to watch a documentary about the Catholic child abuse scandal, disturbingly HBO's roster alone has multiple options. Mea Maxima Culpa is certainly among the best, most informative and is obviously completely depressing. Mea Maxima Culpa (Latin for "Through my most grievous fault") deals with the first known protest against sexual abuse against men within the Catholic church. It comes from documentarian extraorinaire Alex Gibney and features several famous actors who provide the vocal translations for deaf interviewees. Yes, this one is brutal.
Mommy Dead and Dearest
In June 2015, 23-year-old Gypsy Rose Blanchard had her boyfriend stab her mother Dee Dee to death. That alone is the makings of a fascinating crime documentary. What's revealed next, however, takes HBO' new Mommy Dead and Dearest to the next level. Dee Dee suffereed from Munchausen by proxy, making Gypsy Rose's entire life a living, secluded hell of fake illness after fake illness. Mommy Dead and Dearest is an effective, clear-headed look at all the questions that arise in this incredibly rare scenario.
Paradise Lost is the rare documentary that eventually became its own series of sorts. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills presents the story of the West Memphis Three - three teenage boys accused of the 1993 murder and mutilation of three children. The case becomes so sprawling and so difficult that it continues through two more documentaries: Paradise Lost 2: Revelations and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, the latter of which came out in 2011 - a full 18 years after the case began.
Paradise Lost is like The Godfather trilogy of documentaries only if the third one didn't suck.
Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison
Prison documentaries are all over television now. Very few, if any, of them can compare to Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison. Solitary depicts the appaling and inhumane conditions within U.S. prisons - particularly the use of solitary confinement.
The real appeal of Solitary is the unprecedented access to film it receives in a setting we so rarely get to see. Solitary isn't flashy or declarative because the filmmakers involved know that the footage will speak for itself. And it does.
Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop
Oftentimes documentaries are only as interesting as the topic they cover. With that in mind, Thought Crimes is incredibly interesting. The subject at hand, a New York City cop who conspired to kill, cook and eat his wife with a friend, is undoubtedly riveting.
Thought Crimes, however, takes the concept a step further and ponders what this really means for our culture and legal system writ large. Is this a premeditated plot to kill women or was this just a fantasy?
Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks
Sometimes living in this day-to-day reality feels like being in a documentary. When the horrific Charlie Hebdo attacks happened in Paris, there were so many videos and images of armored police exchanging fire with equally armored Islamic extremists. We saw everything in real time. So do we really need a documentary?
Yes, as it turns out because Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks is very, very good. This HBO original captures the chaos of the day in question while contextualizing it in useful, healing ways.
Hoo-boy, where to even begin with Tickled. Tickled is a story from directors David Farrier and Dylan Reeve who stumble upon seemingly pornographic videos about male-tickling competitions. Understandably their curiosity is piqued and they decide to do a little research into it. The level of greed, fraud, and straight-up crazy nonsense they eventually uncover is staggering. Watch this one unspoiled if you can.
Valentine Road is the end result of one documentarian reading an upsetting article and immediately traveling to Oxnard, California to understand more. The story in question is a day in 2008 in which 8th grade student Brandon McInerney shot his classmate Larry King twice in the back of the head during first period. The story that director Marta Cunningham unveils goes much deeper than a simple story of gay panic and intolerance.
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
Spike Lee is first and foremost a narrative film director but his pass at a documentary about Hurricane Katrina's effects on New Orleans is excellent. Lee's natural ability to establish a sense of place works perfectly here in a documentary that is really all about capturing the sensiblity and lingering pain of one community. When the Levees Broke is certainly concerned with identifying where to place blame for not being able to prevent a preventable disaster but more than anything it's a call for empathy for a vibrant city that almost lost everything.
This is a lttle bit of a cheat as Wishful Drinking isn't a documentary in the traditional sense. It's more of a retelling of the stage show of the same name that was adapted from a book by the same name. Wishful Drinking has survived from medium to medium because it's a beautifully told story told simply. Carrie Fisher is a wonderful actress and even better communicater here. She tells the story of her exciting, yet tumultuous life honesty and hilariously. This doc (it's in the Documentary section of HBO Now, after all) is a wonderful gift of Carrie Fisher's own humanity to us, the audience.
We have the highlights of what's coming and going from HBO Now and HBO Go in December 2017.
Another year has come and passed with HBO streaming goodness. For the last month in 2017, HBO has announced a new batch of festive (in one way or another fare).
Logan makes its streaming debut on HBO so you can stay up to date with your favorite, blood-soaked X-Man. HBO also continues its proud tradition of bringing Director's Cuts of movies that need them (and some that don't) with The Exorcist, Daredevil, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Gone in Sixty Seconds.
Only one HBO original show is arriving in December but it's a big one. Kit Harrington continues his relationship with the network (you know about Game of Thrones but don't forget 7 Days in Hell) with the Guy Fawkes-tastic Gunpowder.
All in all, it should be a nice holiday season with HBO Now and HBO Go.
Here are some of the highlights coming to HBO Now and HBO Go in December 2017 via HBO PR.
Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady (12/2)
The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee (12/4)
32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide (12/7)
Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution (12/11)
HBO First Look: Pitch Perfect 3 (12/11)
HBO First Look: The Greatest Showman (12/14)
15: A Quinceanera Story: Zoey (12/19)
15: A Quinceanera Story: Rosi (12/20)
15: A Quinceanera Story: Ashley (12/21)
15: A Quinceanera Story: Jackie and Nina (12/22)
Classical Baby: The Lullaby Show (12/24)
Classical Baby: The Lullaby Show 2 (12/25)
Gunpowder, Miniseries Premiere (12/18)
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 9 Finale (12/3)
El Hipnotizador, Season 2 Finale (12/29)
Marauders, 2016 (12/1)
Unforgettable, 2017 (12/2)
Deepwater Horizon, 2016 (12/3)
Wilson, 2017 (12/6)
Logan, 2017 (12/9)
The Take, 2016 (12/15)
Going in Style, 2017 (12/16)
The Zookeeper’s Wife, 2017 (12/23)
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, 2017 (12/30)
Kenke (AKA Weed), 2015 (12/1)
Neon Lights, 2011 (12/1)
La madrina (AKA The Mother of The Bride), 2008 (12/1)
María (y los demás) (AKA Maria and Everyone Else), 2016 (12/8)
Me estás matando Susana (AKA You’re Killing Me, Susana), 2016 (12/15)
El Amparo, 2016 (12/22)
Starting December 1:
All The President’s Men, 1976
The Cotton Club, 1984
Daredevil (Director’s Cut), 2003
Elizabeth: The Golden Age, 2007
The Exorcist (Director’s Cut), 1973
Gone in 60 Seconds (Director’s Cut), 2000
Gran Torino, 2008
Jack Frost, 1998
Midnight Cowboy, 1969
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, 2009
Pitch Black, 2000
The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A Veggietales Movie, 2008
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Director’s Cut), 1991
Seed of Chucky, 2004
Snow White: A Tale of Terror, 1997
Something’s Gotta Give, 2003
Species II, 1998
Species: The Awakening, 2017
Tremors II: Aftershocks, 1996
Tremors 3: Back to Perfection, 2001
Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, 2004
The War of the Roses, 1989
Ending December 31:
The Accountant, 2016
All The President’s Men, 1976
American Gigolo, 1980
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, 2000
Batman: The Killing Joke, 2016
Bend it Like Beckham, 2003
The Blair Witch Project, 1999
The Bodyguard, 1992
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, 2000
The Conjuring, 2013
The Dark Knight, 2008
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, 2008
Driving Miss Daisy, 1989
Jason Bourne, 2016
Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, 2001
Laura Kroft: Tomb Raider, 2001
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 2003
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, 2016
Mission: Impossible II, 2000
The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1992
Mr. Deeds, 2002
Necessary Roughness, 1991
Over Her Dead Body, 2008
Phone Booth, 2003
Play Misty for Me, 1971
Term Life, 2016
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2009
What Women Want, 2000
The Witches of Eastwick, 1987
The Women, 2008
Based on the book Horse Soldiers, Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon star in this Afghanistan war drama.
Warner Bros. just dropped the trailer for 12 Strong, a new Chris Hemsworth film based on author Doug Stanton's fact-based Afghanistan war book, Horse Soldiers.
The film will tell the story of the real-life U.S. Special Forces team first sent into Afghanistan following the events of September 11th. Hemsworth stars as Captain Mitch Nelson who, with his men, must work together with the soldiers of the Northern Alliance — including General Dostum (Navid Negahban) — to fight the Taliban.
The experience is a culture shock in more ways than one, as American soldiers learn to communicate with, work alongside, and trust their Afghan comrades, but also must adapt their tactics to the more rudimentary ways of the Afghan horse soldiers, which work better in the Afghan mountains.
12 Strong Trailer
Here's the new 12 Strong trailer. While it mostly matches the previous version, content-wise, it's set to more intense music, seemingly focusing more on the film's action elements.
Here's the first trailer for 12 Strong...
12 Strong Story
Per the official synopsis:
Set in the harrowing days following 9/11, a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghani horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.
12 Strong Details
In addition to Hemsworth and Negahban (Homeland, American Sniper), 12 Strong stars Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), Michael Peña (Ant-Man), Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Geoff Stults (Only the Brave), Thad Luckinbill (The Young and the Restless), Austin Stowell (Bridge of Spies), Ben O’Toole (Hacksaw Ridge), Austin Hebert (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back), Kenneth Miller (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot), Kenny Sheard (13 Hours), and Jack Kesy (The Strain) as U.S. Special Forces soldiers.
Actors portraying soldiers of the Northern Alliance include: Laith Nakli (24: Legacy), Fahim Fazli (American Sniper) and Yousuf Azami (Lone Survivor), and
Said Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman) will play a Taliban military leader.
Hemsworth's real-life wife Elsa Pataky (Fast & Furious franchise) will play Nelson's wife in the film. Other actors appearing in the film include: William Fichtner (Black Hawk Down) and Rob Riggle (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) as U.S. Army officers.
12 Strong was directed by Danish director and photojournalist Nicolai Fuglsig and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The script was written by Ted Tally (Silence of the Lambs) and Peter Craig (Mockingjay, Part 1 & 2), adapted from the book by Doug Stanton.
12 Strong Release Date
12 Strong will hit theaters January 19, 2018 in the U.S.
We talked to Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards about what it's like to work with the young actor who plays William.
The CW is doubling down on its Thanksgiving-themed Arrow episode this year and actually airing it on Thanksgiving Day. Bold move, CW. Bold move.
Den of Geek was part of a group of reporters who chatted with Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards on their Vancouver set earlier this month. Here's what they teased about the Thanksgiving episode, what it's like working with the young actor who plays William, and what we can expect from Oliver and Felicity moving forward.
"It works like every other holiday or moment that should be fun," teased Amell of the Thanksgiving episode, "which is to say that it goes to shit almost immediately, like in Act One. But, it ends on a relatively happy note."
Not even Arrow could upset us too much on Thanksgiving. Does Oliver fail the turkey? "No," said Amell. "He doesn't fail his meals."
Amell added that this was his first really busy episode, filming-wise, since Episode 2. Arrow Season 6 has seen a noticeably lighter work load for the Arrow star, giving more narrative time to the rest of the ensemble cast.
"Thanksgiving" will see Felicity spending time with Oliver and William on the holiday. Speaking more generally about the family until Arrow has given Oliver this season, and how William has changed the Oliver/Felicity relationship, Amell said:
I like [Felicity] being part of this dynamic. I think William's character is at a nice age, so that we're not getting into, 'Okay, who is going to change a diaper at 3 a.m. in the morning?' It's more like he's a young adult, he's mature, he's having his moments, but he's adjusting well and she's helping with that. That's been great.
Jack Moore plays Oliver's son, William. What has it been like for Amell and Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity) to share screen time with the young actor?
"Some of my stuff with Jack this year has been some of my favorite stuff to play," said Amell. "Really, really good actor."
Amell said that the Arrow writers have given he and Moore the freedom to work on the scenes and dialogue for their father-son moments a bit.
We get in and work on the scenes together because I feel like they are written like he's a couple of years younger than he is. I think that's just the nature of …. I guess maybe the writers remember him as that kid that we saw in season four. Now, all of a sudden, he's 14 years old and not a kid. So, a young man.
"Jack is awesome, first of all," said Rickards. "He is really, really cool. He lives far out of town too, so he drives like 3 hours in every time for set. His parents are really great and supportive and he is always super game and takes direction really well. Like a professional, who is just shorter than me."
As someone who thinks "Thanksgiving should be at least four times a year," Rickards said she is excited that they get to do a Thanksgiving episode on Arrow, though she's holding out for Halloween.
I think the holiday we always miss is Halloween, which is a real unfortunate event because putting on more costumes in this show would be great.
What might be next for Oliver and Felicity, now that they've seemingly moved past the issues that had previously kept them apart? Might they move back in together?
"Yeah, I think that's a pretty safe bet," said Amell, adding that William will always be part of the equation for Oliver moving forward.
"I do think that Oliver’s relationship with William, it has changed things forever," said Amell. "I don't know where it ends up, but it's not like we are going to erase him having a son. It’s now part of what we are doing."
And, don't worry. If and when Felicity moves back in, Raisa will still be around, said Amell. Phew.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the next installment in the dinosaur-themed franchise. Here's everything we know...
You did not truly think the story was over, did you? Not after Jurassic World ended with Henry Wu flying off into a mysterious sequel while carrying the technology to make more genetic hybrid dinosaurs… and not with Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World earning $1.6 billion worldwide. So yes, Jurassic World 2 is as unstoppable as a pair of heels running away from a T. Rex. And Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are already signed.
Still, what else can we expect?
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom News
While Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will see previous director Colin Trevorrow cede the big chair to J.A. Bayona, he’s still onboard as a producer and worked on the script. Consequently, he used the impending Thanksgiving holiday as the occasion to drop the first footage from the film – six whole seconds of it, anyway.
— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) November 22, 2017
Yet, despite the blink-and-you-miss-it length of the teaser footage, it does show us something about the sequel story. We see Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady giving an affectionate chin-rub to a new infant raptor, one that he’s prospectively training to replace his former ravenous pupil, Blue, who, after a respect-acknowledging glance, was left loose after the culminating events of Jurassic World.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Poster
Jurassic World 2 has an official title. It's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Here's a new poster marking the occasion:
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Release Date
Universal Pictures confirmed in a press release that the Jurassic World 2 release date will be June 22, 2018, and that both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are returning for the sequel. The UK will get the movie two weeks earlier, on June 7.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Story
While already working on directing Star Wars: Episode IX , Colin Trevorrow is also co-writing Jurassic World 2 with Derek Connolly (Jurassic World, Kong: Skull Island). Also, considering that Trevorrow has been thinking about dinosaurs for years since taking on the job of rewriting and directing the Jurassic World screenplay, it is not too surprising that he already has an idea about where to take the franchise next.
While chatting with Wired, Trevorrow revealed that the franchise seems done with the staple of theme parks and even people getting chased by dinosaurs on an island. As the premise has been pursued four times to date, he might have a point.
“[It will not be] just a bunch of dinosaurs chasing people on an island. That’ll get old real fast,” says Trevorrow. But he did elaborate that in this familiar formula’s place, he likes the idea of escalation in dinosaur genetic testing, and the potential applications various corporations (or presumably governments) might have for it.
Trevorrow stated that “this isn’t always going to be limited to theme parks, and there are applications for this science that reach far beyond entertainment. And when you look back at nuclear power, and how that started, the first instinct was to weaponize it, and later on we found it could be used for energy. And this isn’t something necessarily that was in the book but is a seed that I wanted to plant in this movie, is that might be able to grow in more of these movies if they decide to make more of them, is: what if this went open source? It’s almost like InGen is Mac, but what if PC gets their hand on it? What if there are 15 different entities around the world who can make a dinosaur?”
It’s a scary idea that opens the Jurassic Park franchise up to a wide range of storytelling avenues.
“There is room for this universe to expand,” Trevorrow continued. “I shouldn’t use the word ‘universe,’ because people will think we’re making a Jurassic World Universe—we’re not.”
Colin Trevorrow also later elaborated about how they are leaving "dinosaurs chasing people on an island" behind while talking with Jurassic Cast Podcast.
“It will get to be a different kind of film,” Trevorrow said. “The audience has given us permission to a certain extent to take this to the next level, and I don’t necessarily mean in scale, I feel very strongly that it’s not about more dinosaurs or bigger and better dinosaurs, it’s about using this as a starting point for a much larger story about our relationship with these animals and about animals in general and the dynamic created by bringing them back to life.”
He also explained how Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire will apparently be the emotional focal point of this budding trilogy since we will see this world evolve in relation to these animals and this kind of science through her eyes:
“Even though Claire is the one who evolves the most over the trilogy, it’s her story that mirrors this changing world, Owen has shit to deal with. The two of them opened Pandora’s Box in Jurassic World and each of them are responsible for different elements of it in different ways, and I think the way that these characters are connected to the circumstances of what’s happening, it’s different than the previous films. It’s not ‘let’s manufacture a way to get them somewhere.’ They’re embedded into it now in a way that as storytellers makes it much easier for us to keep them involved and doesn’t feel as contrived.”
Bryce Dallas Howard backed this up, telling E! that "Claire is a different person now," Howard said. "The person she is at the end of the [first] movie is not the person she was in the beginning. Her armor of sorts was that white, pristine outfit with heels in a very corporate environment and stuff, and the chick at the end –- totally different."
Also, J.A. Bayona also confirmed in September that the film is the second part of a trilogy that will drift further and further away from the humble beginnings of Isla Nublar.
Says Bayona, "It's very interesting. he whole Jurassic World is a trilogy that Colin Trevorrow has envisioned. We’re writing the second chapter, and it’s very interesting where he’s leading the story."
Further, Bayona elsewhere stated the film would be closer to the tone of the original Jurassic Park than its predecessor, which would be at least a bit odd since Jurassic World was often a slavish love letter to the original Steven Spielberg film.
While chatting with Cinemablend, Bayona said, "What we’re doing is a sequel to Jurassic World, but it’s definitely the fifth chapter of a longer saga. It’s very interesting. It’s always tricky, but you need to find a balance in what people expect to find, and the new stuff you’re bringing to the story. And I think the story is looking for a connection between Jurassic World and Jurassic Park - more than what Jurassic World did."
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Cast
While casting news beyond the confirmed return of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard remains elusive, we now can sadly confirm that Jake Johnson's Lowery Cruthers will not be returning for Jurassic World 2. Lowery in many ways represented every millennial fan who grew up on the original Steven Spielberg movie from 1993. Quoting Ian Malcolm's theories and cynicism like gospel and even wearing a vintage '93 Jurassic Park shirt, he was the voice of the people. But alas, it would appear that the sequel will need no such voice, as Johnson confirmed himself on Twitter, as you can see below.
From what I hear Lowery will not be in JW2. https://t.co/M7xgPLiRWj
— jake johnson (@MrJakeJohnson) October 28, 2016
Jeff Goldblum, who played the rogueish and wisecracking mathematician and chaos theory expert Dr. Ian Malcolm in both 1993's Jurassic Park and 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park, is returning to the franchise again in the upcoming Jurassic World sequel.
Now, any time you put Jeff Goldblum in a movie it's a good thing, and his Ian Malcolm in particular was one of the (human) highlights of the first Jurassic Park, providing a sarcastic running commentary on the monster mayhem and chaos reigning around the characters.
Esteemed acting veteran James Cromwell will be adding his name to the cast of Jurassic World 2, which hopefully means one thing: he'll turn to a raptor and say, "That'll do, dinosaur. That'll do."
Cromwell has had a long career, memorably appearing in films such as Babe, L.A. Confidential, The Green Mile, and The Artist. He also has had luck recently on television series, including his Emmy winning turn in American Horror Story. THR, who broke the news, says it is unclear who he will be playing. Amusingly though, this is not the first blockbuster sequel he has appeared in alongside Bryce Dallas Howard: he previously played her father in Spider-Man 3.
Meanwhile, Toby Jones, best known in geek circles for turns in Sherlock and Captain America, is also in talks to land a role in Jurassic World 2, as according to Variety. Possibly joining Jones could be Rafe Spall (Prometheus), who was most recently seen as a regular on Showtime’s Roadies. There is no word yet on the details of the roles.
Daniella Pineda of TBS' The Detour has also been cast in an unspecified role. As has Ted Levine of The Silence of the Lambs fame.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Director
As you likely already heard, director Colin Trevorrow is not returning to direct the sequel to his dino mayhem success. Previously he has said that “Jurassic Park is like Star Wars; different directors can give a different taste to each movie. I would be involved some way, but not as director.” And J.A. Bayona is the man to carry on the dinosaur carnage.
Bayona is currently best known for his films The Orphanage and The Impossible, as well as directing two of the most stylish episodes of Penny Dreadful. However, he has also gone on to direct this Christmas' A Monsters Call, which I can personally attest is absolutely fantastic, and well worth your money.
With Jurassic World 2, Bayona's skillset opens up the movie to be scarier and reliant on practical effects, as according to Colin Trevorrow. Says the previous director (who is staying on as a screenwriter and executive producer), "It’s just the way it’s designed; it’s the way the story plays out. I knew I wanted Bayona to direct it long before anyone ever heard that was a possibility, so the whole thing was just built around his skillset."
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Budget
Perhaps one of the most eyebrow-raising aspects of the dinosaur sequel that we currently know about is that the film is going to cost a whopping $260 million. J.A. Bayona let that numer slip (likely much to Universal's chagrin) back in September. To give you some perspective, the original film cost a hardly-modest $150 million.
While an increase in budget is not that shocking when the first movie was the third highest-grossing film of all time upon its release (its $1.3 billion gross has since been surpassed by The Force Awakens). Still, one wonders if practical effects is causing the increase or how much more needs to be spent on dinosaur effects that looked ever so impressive in 1993.
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