Coulson Lives!

That’s right! Confirmed at the Marvel panel at NYCC last night, Clark Gregg will be returning as Agent Coulson to the small screen in “S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Even better? It’s not going to be some lame cameo or flashback, Whedon himself confirmed that Coulson would be headlining the show. A no-brainer considering how well loved Coulson is. Though, knowing Joss, no resurrection comes without a price. Can’t wait to see how he pulls it off.

Catch the full rundown of the Marvel panel over at CBR

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In Joss We Trust

Wait, wait wait… aren’t I the same guy who wrote the “mehVengers” counterpoint column that enraged so many? (Hint: yes) Now I’m here proclaiming the virtues of Joss? Yup.

Here’s the thing. I’m a big Joss fan (and I loved “The Avengers.”) But, I’m selfish. I’d rather see quantity of output from his creative mind. We know we’ll get quality from him as well. But, I’d rather get 22 hours of diversion from him a week. Not two hours every three years.

Word comes out today that ABC is moving forward with the new Marvel TV show “SHIELD.” (Shocking. Disney owns ABC and Marvel, corporate synergy FTW!) Bonus is that Joss is at the helm (which we knew would be the case). And he’s co-writing it. And, he’ll likely direct the pilot.

Hulk Smash!

That gets me excited. A new Joss show. On a network that will give the show a chance (not place it in a death time slot, show episodes out of order, give it proper promotion, etc.). This is what I wanted to see when Joss signed on for “Avengers 2.” I’ll see the movie but I’m far more excited about the show.

 

Perfect Movies: The Introduction

The thing I love about movies is that they are subjective. To a degree. You can have your favorite movies and they may be great or awful. You can debate the merit of any movie based on how much you like it. Hell, I love “Hudson Hawk” and will argue with anyone who tells me it is anything other than sheer awesomeness (yes, I know, I have a critical blind spot for all things Bruce Willis).

But, loving a movie is far different than a movie being great. I often distinguish between movies and films. Movies are popcorn fare, film is art. Movies have explosions, films have character and depth. You can have a great movie (“The Avengers” for a recent example) and a great film. It’s rare the two collide, however, into something more.

That something more is what this series is about. That something more is when a movie is truly perfect. When every aspect comes together without any flaws. Where every frame is shot correctly. Where every plot hole is covered up. Over time, Anthony, Janie and I will all write about what we consider to be “perfect” movies.

We’ll also run “Counterpoints” to them. As one person’s “perfect” movie is bound to be met with opposition from someone else. Why? Because the term “perfect” isn’t taken lightly. There is only room for nitpicking. There are thousands of movies that I love – that I don’t consider “perfect.” To name a few:

  • “Aliens”
  • “Spider-man 2” (or, really, any super hero movie)
  • “Titanic” (although I’d argue that it is really close)
  • “Godfather II”
  • Any of the “Lord of the Rings” movies
  • “Fight Club”
  • “Terminator 2”

I could go on, but you get the point. Or, maybe you don’t. Maybe you would debate that “Aliens” (for instance) is perfect. That’s the beauty of it. You can argue it and we could have an interesting debate. And, in the end, all we could do is influence each other’s opinions for there is no real right or wrong answer (except that “Aliens” isn’t perfect. I love it completely, but it is flawed).

Let the debate begin!

Final Punch: Don’t Fear the Whedon

For I have become Whedon, Destroyer of Franchises

OK, let’s be honest here. Adam, you’re obviously chumming the waters hard and fast in hopes that we’ll need a bigger boat. And I have done my duty as a card carrying Whedonite (Except they took my card over the whole Wesley thing? Damn, I need to keep better track of my card) and defended my Fair Whedon’s honor.

But, I get where you’re coming from. And I understand your fear. Sequels, more often than not, suck nards. Even when a sequel lives up to its predecessor, there’s inevitably a crappy one that’s heaving into a bucket right behind it. For every “Godfather II,” there’s, well, “Godfather III.” For every “Aliens,” there’s, hmmm…”Aliens 3.” What about “Terminator 2!” That’s got…oh yeah, “Terminator 3.”

Here’s the rub, when Hollywood gets something shiny, they like to make more of it because of that whole “Money fuels our cocaine and hookers habit” thing. But it costs money to make things shiny over and over again. And big money upfront leads to truncated returns (trust me on this, I balanced my checkbook once in college, so I know ALL about money). So the best way to make money on the shiny is to get the audience hooked, start cutting off the expensive bits (like the original cast and behind-the-camera talent), and then get someone to come in and “reinterpret” things while keeping enough of the original to satisfy the fans. Something as CGI laden as “Avengers” is perfect for this, because computers don’t quit and digital properties can easily be reused.

So I fully intend on ranting hard and long about the cesspool that the Avengers franchise has become (most likely on this very site). But it’s not going to happen with “Avengers 2.” And the only reason I’m confident in saying that is because of Whedon.

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Counterpoint: Joss and “Mehvengers 2”

AssembleOK…this is like throwing chum in the water. We’ll see who’s faster, Anthony or Janie to respond to this and tear me apart. But, honestly, my reaction to Joss directing “Avengers 2” was “meh.”

Let me put this into some perspective. I loved “The Avengers” (it was on my Top 3 Superhero movie list the other week). “Angel,” “Buffy,” and “Firefly” are three of my favorite shows of all time. I’m a Whedonite.

Which is why I’m “meh” about this. He’s already done “The Avengers” (and did it well) I want him to move on. I don’t want to wait another three years before I get my next fix (not counting “Much Ado About Nothing” later this year which…I’m skeptical about – given the fact it was shot over a weekend in his backyard).

I want Whedon NOW. As such, I found it much more exciting that he’ll be involved in the show that Marvel is pitching ABC. That excites me. He’ll be anchored by “Avengers 2” though. It’ll weigh him down. He won’t get lost in the TV side because he’ll be prepping the Next Big Thing. Remember the last time he wasn’t completely invested in TV? We got “Dollhouse” (which was OK, but it didn’t live up to its pedigree).

Get him back on TV. Give me 22 hours of Whedon to digest a year. Not 2.5 hours in three years.

Secondly…and this may be unfair, but too bad. When “Iron Man” came out geeks went nutz and said “YES! Favreau for the Win! He’s GOT to do “Iron Man 2!” And, he did. How’d that work for you? You weren’t clamoring for him for Part 3, were you? No, you were happier that he spread his wings to “Cowboys & Aliens” (even if the result was awful). I’m much more excited about Shane Black doing “Iron Man 3” than I am about Joss doing “Avengers 2.”

I like new blood to spice things up. I like people that are hungry. Joss had the Eye of the Tiger with “Avengers.” He had a need to show Hollywood that he could play their game. Will he have it again? Essentially, “Avengers” is Rocky in “Rocky I and II.” Is “Avengers 2” Joss’ Clubber Lang?

In Which I Am a Poor Excuse for a Whedonite

Did anyone else realize that “The Other” that taunted Loki (and brought us the reveal of the next Big Bad) in “The Avengers” was Alexis Denisof? I didn’t even look at the credits; assuming that all the big names were obvious. I should have known that Joss would slip Buffy alum in there. Pretty damn clever.

MTV Splash Page has a great interview with (what for me was) the reveal.

Anything you want to add, Wes?

My thoughts exactly.

The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies (Anthony’s Take)

Because 10 items is just too damn much for Monday morning.

While I agree with some of what my compatriot says, I have no compunctions about adding new or recent movies to my top lists. Nor do I have some sort of nostalgic hang-up where Christoper Reeves’ Superman brings back memories of hot vinyl backseats and trapped B.O.

However, I will readily admit that my love for various characters, and various portrayals of them, will promote movies to a higher standing than they likely deserve. Then again, we’re talking superhero movies; not “Citizen Kane.” Characters are the tent poles upon which the gauzy veil of plot and logic is draped.

My list after the jump!

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The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies

This weekend’s Top 3 is something, that I imagine, we’ll revisit in time. It is also one that I think will have some fun disagreements.

The top 3 superhero movies is an interesting idea. There is no question that superhero films are in the midst of a fantastical rebirth (that can be traced to either “X-Men” or “Iron Man” depending on your viewpoint. But, ever before that, a smattering of great “Superman” films by Richard Donner graced the screen (and let’s not forget the first real superhero juggernaut film in Tim Burton’s “Batman.”)

Spoiler Alert… “The Dark Knight” doesn’t appear on my list. This is really for two reasons:

  1. It is 30 minutes to long. More to the point, you can actually take whole chunks out of that movie and you wouldn’t miss a beat (like anything to do with China). It is horrible bloat that makes the final product suffer.
  2. It is obvious that Nolan would love to make a Batman movie without the pesky Batman. That comes up again in “Dark Knight Rises.” Batman is completely “shoe horned” in to an otherwise great movie. “Dark Knight” may be the greatest Michael Mann movie that Mann didn’t direct. As a crime-thriller, it is great. As a Superhero movie… it isn’t.
  3. (I know I said 2…) I honestly enjoyed “Dark Knight Rises” a lot more. DKR isn’t as good of a film, but it’s a better movie.

So, what are my Top 3…?

Assemble3. “The Avengers” – I hate, hate, hate putting a recent movie on this list. I feel that movies (especially Superhero ones, for some reason) live “in the moment” of the cultural mindset. I’m afraid that upon re-watching this I won’t like it as much. I fear that a viewing at home will render a fantastic cinematic experience moot. I hope not. For now – I love the “Avengers” and it has assembled in the Top 3. It is almost perfect (although, again, it is bloated. Trimming 15 minutes from this would have upped the amazing). The dialogue, the action, the set pieces, the end battle – this is a great comic book movie.

2. “Superman 2” – this has an assist to “Superman” as well. They are interchangeable to me in the terms of this list. I think “Superman” is the best origin story ever filmed (and, honestly, one of the two things I think “Superman Returns” got right was not retelling it). “Superman 2” was the perfect action Superman IIfollow up. I vividly remember being trapped on a month long car trip vacation the summer “Superman 2” opened. Somewhere halfway through it (probably around Virginia) my parents bought me a “Superman 2” movie magazine. I read it constantly the rest of the time time. That memory means more to me now, as I buy my son similar magazines, and I watch him rifle through them. I’ve recently re-watched “Superman II” with my son and it still holds up.

1. “Spider-Man 2” – From start to finish Sam Raimi knocked this out of the park. It is, without a doubt, the most “Character-centric” superhero film ever. Character drives everything in this movie and it does it fantastically. But, that’s only half the equation. If this was just a great character study it wouldn’t have made the list. It is also exciting, fun, thrilling… let’s sum it up with “spectacular” or “amazing” or some other adjective that has appeared as a comic book title with the Spiderman masthead.Spiderman 2

Feel free to disagree below. Maybe you think that I should have throw in “Dark Knight,” or “Iron Man” or “Condorman.” Throw down with some thoughts below.

Streaming Saturday: Captain America

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So it’s the weekend, you’re staring at your Netflix streaming queue, and realize that the only thing you have left is that “Madea Gets Bunions” movie that you added on a dare. Don’t worry, Streaming Saturday is here to help save your eyeballs.

Avengers, almost assemble! “Iron Man 2” has been on Netflix forever, “Thor” and his totally unphallic hammer have been flitting about for a month or so, but this Saturday is the first time that the titular head of the Avengers, Captain America, will be available for streaming.

Out of last summer’s Marvel movies, this was my favorite. Cap’s rise to the occasion was a bit ham-handed, the USO stint just dragged the plot down, but once Cap came into his own, I felt it was a really enjoyable action/WW II flick. And Chris Evans owned the part of the Captain (big-headed CGI during the “puny Steve” sequences aside). He managed to bring just enough Boy Scout to the role, but in a more “be prepared and do good” and less of a “golly gee, that Mr. Hitler’s a bad egg” kind of way. Hugo Weaving had some great scene chewing as well and I’d love to see him come back in some capacity in future Marvel flicks. Plus, with the announcement of Winter Soldier being the focus of the next movie, you’ll want to get up to date on Bucky Barnes’ backstory.

So fire up your Netflix feed machine and queue up “Captain America: The First Avenger” for a quality small screen popcorn flick. You won’t be disappointed.