Inspired by Avengers: Endgame, the 182-minute grand finale of the Marvel cinematic saga, I crunched some numbers and examined how blockbusters—especially ones not encumbered by Endgame's hefty narrative obligations, with so many characters and storylines to pay off—are expanding at a much faster rate than is the human lifespan. I am solely responsible for the math in the piece, and the jokes. You've been warned.
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Filtering by Tag: Marvel Comics
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the first good Spider-Man movie in, uh, 18 months! But it's more than that: A fun, warm, visually astonishing omnibus of Spider-lore that elegantly rebukes reactionary fans whose minds are stuck in 1963. I rarely get worked up over animated films—a blind spot I can neither defend nor explain—but I loved this. Here’s my NPR review.
For NPR, I reviewed Venom, which I can't actually prove is a shelved Jim Carrey vehicle from 1997 in which Carrey has now been digitally (and tentacle-y) replaced by Tom Hardy.
But you can't prove that it's not.
I saw a review headline earlier today proclaiming Ant-Man and The Wasp "the perfect summer movie." I could easily name 20 perfect movies released during the summer going back to Jaws, released the summer before I was, but the phrase "a perfect summer" movie almost invariably refers to movies that aren't very good.
Ant-Man and The Wasp isn't Not Good. It is, as my pal and editor and occasional (today!) Pop Culture Happy Hour panel-mate Glen Weldon observed in his review, fine.
I'm going to see it again tonight, in fact, but only because it's on a bill at the drive-in with Incredibles 2, which I've not seen yet, and because I haven't been to the drive-in in I think two years. I won't stay for the third feature, Avengers: Infinity War, because that movie will end at 3 a.m. and it's a 55-mile drive back to the District. But I'm glad that screening is happening.
Anyway, please enjoy our PCHH dissection of Ant-Man and The Wasp. It's fine.
Most of Black Panther is set in the imaginary African nation of Wakanda, a technological utopia whose monarchs have for centuries observed a strict policy of isolationism, keeping would-be colonizers at bay by hiding their nation’s wealth and scientific advancement from the outside world. We’re told in the movie’s very first minute that Wakanda’s prosperity derives from its abundance of Vibranium, and that this bounty was delivered via meteorite long before humans walked the Earth.
And for a resource they're trying to keep secret, the Wakandans sure talk about it a lot.
Even more than the characters in Avatar (Remember Avatar? Nominated for nine Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director for my boy James Cameron? Still the highest-grossing movie in the history of movies?) speak the much-derided name of that movie's extraterrestrial miracle metal, Unobtanium.
A lot more.
For this Slate piece, I did the transcription. And the math.
Thor: Ragnarok is the best Thor movie by an Asgardian mile, but don't let that backhanded compliment keep you away. With dual villains played by Cate Blanchett and Jeff Goldblum plus a Mark Mothersbaugh score, it's a stealth The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou reunion. Lo, here's my NPR review.
My review of Kathleen Akerley’s latest opus, Whipping, or The Football Hamlet, is in today’s Washington City Paper, along with a few paragraphs about another show that has regrettably already closed: Crystal Skillman & Fred Van Lente’s King Kirby, a bio-play about legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby and his lifelong struggle to be fairly compensated for the dozens of Marvel Comics characters he created—or co-created with Stan Lee. They don’t agree on who did what, and therein lies the tale.
If this subject interests you, I recommend Sean Howe’s 2012 history Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.
I'm looking forward to the argument we're going to have over beers, you and I, about whether Logan is the best comic book movie since The Dark Knight or the best Western since No Country for Old Men.
Here's my NPR review, where I ran out of space to cite all the things I loved about this movie (Eriq La Salle! Autotrucks!), or to warn you that if you know you will recoil from the sight of an 11-year-old girl defending her life with lethal force, you should skip it. And it would probably be more correct to call it the Rocky Balboa of Rocky movies than the Creed of Rocky movies, but sometimes clarity is more important than pinpoint accuracy.