As its title implies, 'Captain America 2' is largely inspired by Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting's celebrated, Eisner-award winning comic book storyline "The Winter Soldier." Although ultimately very different from what transpires in the big screen version, the broad strokes remain the same: Steve Rogers finds himself hunting, and being hunted by, a ruthless assassin who may or may not be his supposedly dead best friend, Bucky Barnes.
The movie uses Brubaker's Captain America run to fuel the first half of the film and provide an antagonist who can serve as an emotionally hard-hitting threat to the star-spangled Avenger. However, while it's the most obvious, it's not the only Marvel comic run heavily quoted in the film. There's another acclaimed comic series that not only informs the biggest twists of 'Captain America 2,' but suggests what crazy new direction the Marvel cinematic universe is heading toward on both the big and small screens.
As we head further along the 30-year nostalgia train that is 1984, the “rock star who stars in a movie that has the same title as his current album” tributes will be saved for Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ – which, if you’ve watched ‘Purple Rain’ lately, you’re kidding yourself if you think it at all holds up (though, the rock club scenes are pretty great); but it’s certainly an interesting film. Deservedly overlooked (well, except here, I suppose) will be the other film that falls into that esoteric category … Rick Springfield’s ‘Hard to Hold.’
There's no getting around it: Iron Man is the most popular of the Avengers. Just look at the box office. 'Iron Man' and 'Iron Man 2' both broke $300 million at the domestic box office and 'Iron Man 3' passed $400 million. Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark didn't just put Marvel Studios on the map, he's pretty much kept it on the map. It's safe to say that 'The Avengers' did as well as it did because Iron Man was front and center on all of the posters. People love Iron Man and that's okay.
But, while he's the most popular, he's not the best Marvel cinematic superhero. That honor belongs to Captain America.
Admittedly, I’m feeling much more melancholy today about the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ series finale than I expected. Which, on the surface, makes little sense because, boy, Season 9 has been a slog to watch. (I was once a religious viewer, but now it’s come to the point where, over this past weekend, I had to participate in a ten-episode marathon just to get caught up for the finale.) Look, I’m pretty late to the “this final season has been bad” chorus, but I don’t think that’s really the point here – or, at least, it doesn’t quite explain why I feel forlorn about a show that recently I found difficult to watch.
There’s a better-than-average chance you have no idea who Alfred Bellows is. And, to be honest, I don’t know that much about Alfred Bellows either. Like, for instance, I have no idea if his friends call him “Al” in social situations. I mean, that would certainly make sense. I do know that Alfred Bellows – who, professionally, went as Dr. Bellows – was Tony Nelson and Roger Healey’s superior officer on a popular situational comedy that aired from 1965 until 1970 titled ‘I Dream of Jeannie.’
I mention this because, one night a couple of weeks ago after a few pints, I made a Dr. Bellows reference. As you might imagine, a Dr. Bellows reference doesn’t quite go over like gangbusters today like it would, say, 44 years ago. Unsurprisingly, I had to explain who Dr. Bellows is and that explanation was met with the inquiry, “Wait, how old are you?”
75 years ago today, Batman made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 and popular culture was never the same. Few characters carry the cultural weight of Gotham City's masked protector and after three quarters of a century, he's still as popular as ever. Trends rise and trends die. Stories become popular and stories vanish over the years. But Batman? Batman is immortal. Happy birthday, Batman.
With its 10-year anniversary panel at PaleyFest 2014, 'LOST' has entered the pop culture conversation for the first time in nearly four years. For some, it's just another chance to talk about one of the most popular (and weird) TV shows to ever play to mainstream audiences. For others, it's like having old scars torn open, like an abusive former lover who has shown back up in your life.
As anyone who has actually played them could tell you, games can be just as moving, thoughtful and exciting as any other medium. So why have books and comics successfully made the leap into cinema while games remain so stunted?
If you say you saw 'The Avengers' coming, you're a liar.
And we're not necessarily talking about the film's massive box office success or cultural impact, either. That's all after-the-fact stuff. We're talking about the fact that the film exists in the first place. We're talking about how Marvel Studios (with a little help from some deep-pocketed friends) managed to create a series of individual franchises with their own films and characters before having them all come together in a special crossover event. 'The Avengers' didn't just unite Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk, it openly acknowledged that all of these characters lived in the same world and that the events of their own films could actually have an impact on each other.
They all live in the same universe ... and audiences love it.
Since its inception, movies have starred the beautiful people. Young people. The kind of people you simply wouldn't see on every street corner. It's such a Hollywood cliche to discuss the film industry chewing up young stars and spitting them back out once they start to get up there in years, but it's only a cliche because it's happened enough times to take on truth.
But, there have been times in cinematic history where youth and beauty have taken a backseat to age age and experience. Every so often, we stop caring about traditional movie stars and start embracing something the folks who look like they've taken a beating. Sometimes, the older folks start to take over the spotlight and right now, we're living in the age of the Old Man Action Hero.
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