MMM Podcast #149: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Trailer Reaction

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Based on a revered comic book storyline, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, is already one of the most anticipated entries in the franchise in a number of years. Director Bryan Singer is back to guide his band of mutants to the peak he once left them on with X2: X-MEN UNITED. The challenge now is winning back the many lapsed viewers of the franchise in the last seven years. The Gentlemen weigh on with their thoughts on the trailer and how well its accomplishes its task before discussing what DAYS OF FUTURE PAST could mean for the future of X-MEN at Fox.

Download HERE.

MMM TV: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Ep. 106- ‘Fzzt’

IAIN DE CAESTECKER, MING-NA WEN, CHLOE BENNET, CLARK GREGG, BRETT DALTON

After an off week, MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is back with a new episode, queueing the return of MMM TV’s coverage of the show. This week’s episode, “Fzzt” inspired a heated debate on our panel as opinions varied greatly on how well it achieved its much more emotional goals. One thing’s for sure in that the call for Simmons to take center stage and receive some much needed character development was finally answered. Download the show now so you can jump in on this debate!

Download the show HERE.

Loki Vs. Little Ones… For Laughs

Though international audiences already know the manner of Loki’s punishment for dropping an alien army and its flying space dragons on New York City, the rest of us (unless you’re MMM’s fearless leader Sean Gerber, whose review is here, or longtime MMM pal Mark Hughes, whose review is here) have to wait until this Friday to find out his fate.

Comedy Central has its own take with a new commercial featuring Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Has the God of Mischief been sentenced to eternal Story Time?

Hiddleston is such a good sport. If I were an actor in one of these franchises, I’d be the same way. “Just tell me when and where you need me to show up in costume and in character, and I’m there.”

THOR: THE DARK WORLD Review

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe returns to Asgard in THOR: THE DARK WORLD, the second solo outing for the titular God of Thunder. While its predecessor was mostly earthbound, this superhero sequel offers a much more cosmic adventure with appropriately raised stakes leading to far more epic confrontations. In a magic trick rivaling those of the mischievous Loki himself, THOR: THE DARK WORLD also manages to be one of the funniest movies ever offered in the genre.

The events of the film pickup not far from where MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS left off. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has taken Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back to Asgard so that the latter may answer for the crimes he committed on Earth. Meanwhile, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has moved from the New Mexico desert where we last saw her to London. She is trying halfheartedly to move on with her life, but really, she is working to find the god she fell in love with only to be cutoff from in the first film.

As one would expect, emotional drama is not the only trouble brewing. An ancient race known as the Dark Elves, led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), are trying to track down a long lost weapon called the Aether, which they hope to use to destroy all life in the nine realms. As the film explains multiple times, now is the most opportune time for Malekith to unleash his diabolical plan as this is the Convergence, a moment when all the worlds align that only comes once every 5,000 years.

All the exposition required to set the table for the audience weighs THOR: THE DARK WORLD down in the early going. The few inexplicable shortcuts that come later in the film actually play better than the longwinded lectures in the opening half hour. Impossible science is still impossible no matter how much detail one uses to define it. Sometimes it’s best to state the terms as simply and efficiently as possible, then move on.

Once the feared threat finally emerges, the story breaks free of its expository chains, kicking into emotional and action overdrive. What made THOR so great in 2011 was the intense, familial conflicts between the King of Asgard, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and his two sons, Thor and Loki. Those elements are back in play for the sequel with a darker, heavier tone.

Hopkins is brilliant as he takes a much colder approach to Odin. He is a king at war and on a more personal level, he is a father who’s lost all hope for his son, Loki. There is no warmth in his eyes as he looks upon the adopted child he once saved from abandonment. Odin is no longer ashamed of his firstborn, Thor, but he is very stern while discussing his expectations of the son who is scheduled to be king. Odin is the father who knows best and believes it’s about time his sons listened.

Hopkins’ cold king is balanced by his queen, Frigga (Rene Russo). Russo is tasked with more in this film compared to her first appearance and she delivers in a big way. Russo’s Frigga shows a mother’s heartbroken disappointment cannot sever the unconditional love she has for her child. She will never condone Loki’s actions, but she still has hope for the smallest hint of the man (or god) she raised him to be. It is a moving performance that is rounded out by scenes that show Frigga’s sword-playing physicality matches her unrelenting heart.

Chris Hemsworth does an excellent job of communicating the emotional growth his character has gone through over the course of three cinematic appearances. While still fully capable of wielding Mjolnir to great effect, Thor is no longer an ego-fueled action junkie. He is a wiser, more compassionate soul who fights to save lives, not attain more personal glory. His love for Jane Foster feels even more authentic, as does his affection for Loki despite Thor claiming, more like wishing he felt none at all. His heart plays host to the war between his hatred of Loki the villain and his love for Loki as his only brother. The uneasy bond between the two godly brothers is the source of some of the film’s funniest dialogue, making Thor’s plight all the more relatable.

Tom Hiddleston is just getting too damned good as Loki. Devilish villainy is never more fun than when Loki is scheming. Hiddleston is arguably the second most valuable performer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Robert Downey, Jr., as he continues to add layer after entertaining layer onto such a remarkable character. Loki is to be loved, hated, laughed with, and laughed at depending on the scene, but what makes the character so special is the glimmer Hiddleston puts in the character’s eyes that makes one feel as though there is still someone inside that green costume worth rooting for. It doesn’t even matter whether or not redemption is actually possible; we’ll just convince ourselves it is to justify how much we love seeing Loki onscreen.

Devious though he may be, Loki is not this film’s chief antagonist. Christopher Eccleston does the honors here as Malekith, ruler of the aforementioned Dark Elves. There’s nothing really multi-dimensional about the character; he’s mad at the universe and wants to destroy all life in it, save for himself and his dark brethren. In a film already rich in depth of character elsewhere, it’s perfectly fine and perhaps even better for the bad guy to just be a bad guy. His job is to be a challenging adversary for the hero and Malekith is exactly that.

As a centerpiece of the plot, Portman turns in a very good performance as Jane Foster. Like Frigga, Foster is given a bigger canvas on which to paint a more diverse portrait of her character. Though she is in danger throughout much of the film, Foster shows little to no fear. She’s strong enough to dodge intimidation from any source other than her future in-laws. The only notable misstep with her character is the suggestion that Foster has done little but mope around in the two years Thor has been away from her. It’s funny to see her first attempt at moving on at the expense her humorously hapless date, Richard (Chris O’Dowd), but her motivation as a person and as a scientist should not be so reliant on her man, or god.

The rest of the cast is comprised of superb role players. Kat Dennings reprises the role of Jane Foster’s intern, Darcy, a character with impeccable timing that completely embodies the comic spirit of the feature. Stellan Skarsgard steals a scene or two as Erik Selvig, the scientist still trying to get over his Loki hangover from THE AVENGERS. Thor’s Asgardian allies, Sif (Jaimie Akexander), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (Zachary Levi), and the watchful Heimdall (Idris Elba) all make good on their somewhat limited screen time to wield weapons and an even sharper wit. An opportunity was missed by not exploring her character a little further, but Alexander does well in playing Sif as a woman who loves Thor, but does not plan her entire life around him. She cares far more about the good of all the nine realms and the trillions of souls residing within them.

The collaborative nature of Marvel filmmaking can be seen all over THOR: THE DARK WORLD. Director Alan Taylor successfully runs Asgard through his GAME OF THRONES filter to make the Realm Eternal actually look like a place that has been around and lived in since the dawn of time while still retaining its awe-inspiring majesty. The costumes and sets, both practical and digital, are beautiful to behold. Journeys across the other realms show harsher, more savage environments that illustrate the necessity of a protector like Thor while giving the film a much grander sense of scale than most of its counterparts in the genre. There is a steady escalation as the story builds to bigger, increasingly epic battles that befit the gods taking part in them.

As intense as matters get, THOR: THE DARK WORLD maintains and even exceeds the level of fun that has become a staple of Marvel movies. This movie, while not a comedy, is flat out funny. Most if not all of the jokes stick the landing. Well-timed quips tickle ribs while reactionary humor to the amazing, but sometimes impractical nature of superhero adventures busts guts. Credit for the balancing act between drama, action, fun, and humor must be paid to the cast and screenwriters Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD is a very welcome addition to the evermore impressive legacy being built by Marvel Studios. It has its share of flaws, but they are all more than compensated for by the film’s sense of wonder and fun. Propelled by a strong emotional core, this latest piece of superhero cinema pulls cheers, laughs, and perhaps even a few tears from its audience. As a fantastical thrill ride, THOR: THE DARK WORLD engages viewers on a multitude of levels, ultimately delivering an incredibly entertaining experience.

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Jackman, Mangold In Talks To SNIKT! Again!

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Well! That was unexpected!

Mike Fleming just reported on Deadline that Hugh Jackman and THE WOLVERINE director James Mangold are in talks with Twentieth Century Fox for another solo Wolverine movie, thanks in no small part to a $413 million international box office haul that’s made it the second highest grossing X-MEN film to date.

Fleming reports that Mangold is writing a treatment with longtime franchise shepherd Lauren Schuler-Donner set to produce.

(So much for Sean’s recent Tweet wondering if Fox might finally consider getting out of the X-Men business if DAYS OF FUTURE PAST doesn’t make big bank. Looks like Fox is planning for the long haul.)

The Gentlemen talked about the movie in a podcast roundtable you can hear here, and you can read our very own Josh Costella’s review here.

I liked the movie but didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped to because of issues with its final act; Jackman’s dedication to the character and his fans is second to none in this genre, and the film’s issues were rooted largely in its shooting script. Let’s hope this next installment dials back a bit on some of the sillier elements and the studio’s need to shoehorn in as many extra mutants as possible.

(Though maybe we’ll see some more ninja action in the Extended Cut arriving on Blu-ray on December 3. Just be careful which version you buy; the Extended Cut is only available in the 3D set.)

This will be Jackman’s eighth time playing the character. Eight! That’s so awesome. I love the guy.

MMMTV: THE WALKING DEAD Ep. 404- “Indifference”

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Our final podcast featuring THE WALKING DEAD as part of Modern Myth Media’s Television Edition is a review of “Indifference”, this fourth episode of Season Four. Did Rick make the right decision with Carol? Does the prominence of Rick’s right hand injury indicate an iconic event from the comic is imminent? We discuss these issues and more. Plus, a listener makes a compelling case for Lizzie being the REAL killer.

Download the episode HERE.

Comikaze 2013 Photos: A Family Affair

Photo by Melissa Gerber

Comikaze 2013 has come and gone, but if you’ll permit me a sentimental moment, the memories are sure to last a lifetime. A personal “Bucket List” moment for yours truly was captured in the photo above. For the first weekend in November, the Los Angeles Convention Center was Mecca for fans of all ages, aided by the free admission offered to kids under 12 with the purchase of an adult pass. All were treated to a spectacular event showcasing everything from classic comics, to invincible suits of Iron Man armor by Legacy Effects, to the very latest from the master himself, Stan Lee, who is still creating.

We’ve captured many of the sights from Comikaze 2013 in our photo gallery below, so please enjoy and start getting ready to join MMM at Comikaze 2014!

Photos by Melissa Gerber

Comikaze 2013: Once Upon A Zombie

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Photo by Melissa Gerber

Princesses may not fit within our usual coverage here at MMM, but when they’re zombies, we’ll make an exception. The Toon Studio is developing a multimedia line called ONCE UPON A ZOMBIE based on popular characters with an undead twist. The full product lineup includes a children’s book, a digital game App, and toy dolls made by WowWee.

The dolls are currently on display and available for purchase on the convention floor of Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo in addition to national retailers like Spencer’s Gifts. They are very well made, immediately catching the eye of my adolescent niece. Zombie versions of Belle, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and the Little Mermaid are already available. More dolls are coming soon including Pocahontas and the Seven Dwarfs.

For more information, check out the official website for ONCE UPON A ZOMBIE and be sure to check out our full image gallery below.

Photos by Melissa Gerber

 

Jaimie Alexander Having Conversations With More Than Marvel

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Jaimie Alexander has been busy lately. Her second turn as Lady Sif can be seen in THOR: THE DARK WORLD right now, or next week depending on which part of Midgard you hail from, but perhaps, there’s more. During the AMC Movie Talk panel at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles, California earlier this afternoon, Alexander sent a lightning bolt of excitement through the crowd when a question about Ben Affleck being Batman came up.

Minutes before the Affleck question, Alexander confessed that she had been having conversations with “both companies” recently, referring to Marvel (obviously) and Warner Bros./DC Entertainment while explaining to fans why a DC vs. Marvel movie will never happen. Regarding the new Batman, Alexander endorsed Affleck as the right choice for the MAN OF STEEL sequel after saying, “I kinda know what the storyline is for that movie.”

What does all of this mean? It’s far too early to say. Back in September, Latino Review first reported a casting call in which Warner Bros. was seeking a tall actress with physicality for an unnamed role. Jaimie Alexander easily fits that description. To learn more about what Alexander may have been hinting at, be sure to keep an eye out for my pal Mark Hughes’ Forbes blog this weekend, as he sat down with the actress for an exclusive interview immediately following the panel.

In less surprising news, Jaimie Alexander informed the crowd that there will be a third THOR film, so long as the money is right for THOR: THE DARK WORLD, which it most likely will be.

UPDATE: Mark Hughes’ exclusive interview with Jaimie Alexander is now online!

Hot Toys THOR: THE DARK WORLD Figures

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Hot Toys is giving Marvel fans options, including the right to bare arms with respect to its 1/6 scale rendering of Chris Hemsworth as the titular God of Thunder in THOR: THE DARK WORLD. The standard figure comes with full armor while a Sideshow Collectibles exclusive variant shows off Thor’s biceps in all their godly glory. Good luck making up your mind, or perhaps you’re already lucky enough to not have to choose. Either way, both versions of this figure are available for pre-order at the links below.

Marvel Thor Marvel Sixth Scale Figure
Marvel Thor – Asgardian Light Armor Marvel Sixth Scale Figure

From Batman to Superman to the Avengers and Beyond! Our Heroes. Our Mythology.