Longform

Why Captain America is Now Marvel's Greatest Superhero

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by Jacob Hall April 01, 2014 02:00 PM
Marvel
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.

We'll Miss You, 'How I Met Your Mother' (But, Please Leave)

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by Mike Ryan March 31, 2014 02:01 PM
CBS
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.

Whither Dr. Alfred Bellows: The Death of the Television Rerun

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by Mike Ryan March 31, 2014 11:00 AM
Photo: NBC/Illustration: ScreenCrush.com
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?”

The Dark Knight Forever: Exploring the Key to Batman's Legacy on His 75th Anniversary

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by Jacob Hall March 30, 2014 09:58 AM
DC Comics
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.

'LOST' 10th Anniversary: What Is the Show's Legacy a Decade Later?

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by Jacob Hall March 17, 2014 12:54 PM
ABC
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.

World Colliding: Are "Shared Universes" the Future of Blockbuster Cinema?

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by Jacob Hall February 28, 2014 11:00 AM
Marvel
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.

Straight Tooken: How Liam Neeson and an Older Generation Became Action Superstars

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by Jacob Hall February 26, 2014 09:30 AM
20th Century Fox
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.
But why now?

'True Detective' and Women: Does the Hit HBO Show Have a Problem With Female Characters?

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by Britt Hayes February 25, 2014 07:39 AM
HBO/Illustration by ScreenCrush.com
There's been some talk in recent weeks about the trouble with the female characters on 'True Detective,' and that talk hit a boiling point this week following the airing of "Haunted Houses," in which Marty gets up to his old habits and Maggie retaliates, causing many critics to lash out at the show's portrayal and treatment of women -- but the show isn't treating its female characters poorly, the men are. And there's a big difference.

Reel Women: James Franco's Whiny Male Privilege, and Why Actresses Don't Pull Stunts Like Shia LaBeouf

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by Britt Hayes February 21, 2014 11:37 AM
Getty Images
This week, James Franco, the multi-hyphenate talent and student of all things art, finally chimed in on the ongoing shenanigans (Shia-nanigans?) of Shia LaBeouf -- from his plagiarism of Daniel Clowes, to his plagiarized apologies for his plagiarism, to his bizarre public appearances wearing a bag over his head declaring "I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE," among various other ridiculous things. Franco's op-ed in The New York Times read like a myopic declaration of male actor privilege, particularly because you'll never see actresses pulling the same stunts LaBeouf's been pulling (or that their other male counterparts have, for that matter) -- and if they have or had, they certainly wouldn't have a career afterward.