Is it turtle time yet?
The latest adventure for the heroes in a half-shell is still a couple months away, but the newest trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gives us a somewhat new preview of Jonathan Liebesman and Michael Bay's burly, live-action update of the turtles. While we've seen most of the footage here before, we do finally get a glimpse at all four turtles in their element: Raphael is sporting a trademark scowl, Leonardo is looking stoic, Michelangelo is making jokes (and seriously freaking out April O'Neil), and Donatello is buried knee deep in his own gadgetry. Now that we've gotten a look at the foursome, the time has come to ask the all-important question: Which is your favorite Ninja Turtle?
It's a question that has broken friendships, forged new ones, and charged schoolyard debates for the past two decades. Your favorite turtle speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. We've decided to break out the old Psychology 101 textbook we didn't manage to sell back in college, and analyze your choice of your favorite Ninja Turtle.
Leo is the leader of the group and a devout student of martial arts.If you're favorite Turtle is Leonardo: You’re the alpha male. You’re a natural born leader, and you walk around with so much swaggering confidence and charisma, people glom onto you like thirsty leeches. You love to swoop in and solve petty squabbles, and you love the fact that people look up to you. Whatever interest you take, you feel the need to dominate in it. You’re a high school quarterback, the captain of the soccer team, the captain of the basketball team, the captain of the water polo team, hell, you even found a way to become the captain of the local AA group and you’re not even an alcoholic. You almost exclusively wear varsity jackets and you rotate them throughout the week on a very specific schedule. You often go out looking for old ladies to help cross the street. If no old ladies want to cross the street, you make them. You are almost literally the best at everything.Currently on your bookshelf: How to Win Friends and Influence People.Currently on your DVR: Law and Order: SVU. You get a contact high from all the justice. Watching Elliot Stabler hospitalize sexual abusers makes you as giddy as a schoolgirl. Justice feels so good.
Raph is the brawn of the group. He's aggressive and pugnacious. Two traits that often get him into trouble.If your favorite Turtle is Raphael: You're in serious need of anger management. You sometimes worry that you’ve forgotten how to smile. You've never encountered a fight you couldn't start...and finish. You love not only having anger, but having righteous anger, and any opportunity to really tell someone off should be cherished like a newborn baby, and you definitely hate babies. You want to gut your coworker that's been sniffling every five seconds for the past three hours. You get way too angry at the latest comic book film news well before it's time to form an actual opinion. You’ve already stopped reading because some stupid Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles personality guide isn’t gonna tell you how to live your life. The nerve of them. "The nerve of them" is also one of your most commonly used phrases. Deep down though, under all that hate and animosity, you really just want to be loved.Currently on your bookshelf: Tao of Jeet Kun Do by Bruce Lee.Currently on your DVR: Sons of Anarchy. Watching all those bikers rain blows upon everyone and thing they cross paths with is like meditation to you.
Nickelodeon Movies/Paramount Pictures
Mikey is the fun-loving, nunchakus-weilding, pizza-scarfing prankster of ther group. If your favorite Ninja Turtle is Michaelangelo: You’re the easy-going jokester of your group. Matthew McConaughey from Dazed and Confused is your patron saint of cool. You laze around to surf rock and wonder why puka shell necklaces aren’t a thing anymore... but you don’t worry about trends, because that’s just not your bag, man. You break out in hives if you’re away from the beach for too long. You also an avid fan of pizza. Like a really big fan. Like seriously, get some help, you have a debilitating pizza addiction. You’ve been banned for life from every Dominos in the tri-state area and just looking at a block of pepperoni can send you on a greasy downward spiral. But it’s cool, brah.Currently on your bookshelf: The Art of Pizza Making. (It was a gift!)Currently on your DVR: Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Donnie is the brains of the group. He's the smartest turtle by an underground mile.If your favorite Turtle is Donatello: You’re a nerd and proud of it. You're super smart, and you take your friends to museums because it will be "good for them." You put a roll of tape on perfectly good tortoise-shell spectacles just to increase your nerd aesthetic. Did I mention you were into thick-framed glasses way before the collective population of Brooklyn claimed them as its ironic eyewear of choice? You take pride in having volumes of information at the ready at all times, and can roll out digits of Pi like bullets from a machine gun, and get a jolt of pride when some random factoid you know can be useful in conversation. You’ve made it your mission to be the smartest guy on the internet, and you’re actually alarmingly close. You make Trivial Pursuit your constant bitch.Currently on your bookshelf: Ulysses, because you wan’t to be that guy who says he understood Ulysses, and how it was actually quite the leisurely read.Currently on your DVR: Cosmos. You already know everything and more about astronomy, but you watch it the same way regular folks sometimes zone out to old Everybody Loves Raymond episodes they've seen a dozen times.
Mission BriefingAfter murdering Agent Koenig, Ward has absconded with Skye, hoping to finally get the encrypted S.H.I.E.L.D. information off of the hard drive. Coulson and the team move to find Ward and rescue Skye, but Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) shows up to providence with the U.S. government, hoping to convince Coulson to stand down, since S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't rightly exist anymore.
The AgentsEveryone's on deck this week, but not necessarily playing for the same side. Ward has essentially kidnapped Skye so she can decrypt the hard drive while Coulson, Fitz, Simmons, and Triplett are following the breadcrumbs left behind by Skye. Meanwhile, May is stirring things up behind the scenes, and Maria Hill provides some much-needed backup in a special guest appearance by Cobie Smulders.
Mission FalloutMay gets into contact with Maria Hill, who is pursuing work in the private sector after the dismantling of S.H.I.E.L.D. May wants the know the identity of the person behind the T.A.H.I.T.I. project, hoping it might finally give Coulson the answers he’s been seeking, but all Maria has to offer is a cryptic riddle left by Nick Fury (Director Fury is apparently a poet in his off hours).
Meanwhile, Coulson and his team are wondering what happened to the Bus and their missing agents. Surveillance shows May leaving Providence a little while after her fight with Coulson. Fitz wanders around the base and discovers a secret message scrawled onto one of Keonig’s Faux windows: “Ward is HYDRA,” just as Gemma is discovering Koenig’s body stashed in the supply closet. Simmons examines Koenig and determines that Ward was the only one who was capable of killing him. Fitz freaks out, as he’s wont to do, and the team works on figuring out how to save Skye. Luckily, they discover that Bus is in Los Angeles, but not before Providence comes under attack. Maria Hill shows up with Colonel Talbot and U.S. military in tow. She urges Coulson to stop working under S.H.I.E.L.D. and accept that the agency doesn’t exist any more. She suggests that the agent allow his staff to walk away from S.H.I.E.L.D. and join the private sector. Coulson informs Maria about the Ward situation, and the agent helps the team escape so they can go after Ward and rescue Skye.
Elswhere, Skye tells Ward that the location needed to decrypt the drive is the same diner where she first met Mike Peterson in the pilot episode. Ward rushes Skye to decrypt the drive, but she expertly stalls for time, giving the HYDRA turncoat enough jabbering Technobabble to keep him satisfied. Skye needles into Ward about his allegiance to S.H.I.E.L.D., and reveals that she knows he’s really a member of HYDRA. She calls the police to the diner, but Ward quickly subdues them. Skye almost escapes, but is soon re-captured by Deathlok. Deathlok, always the pragmatist, tells Ward he has only five minutes to get Skye to decrypt the drive. Ward confesses that his feelings for Skye have always been genuine and the he was just “following orders,” but Skye his revolted by Ward’s true colors. Deathlok stops Ward’s heart and forces Skye to tell him the encryption site before starting it again. The agent reveals that the drive needs to be 35,000 feet in the air before it can be unlocked.
Before Ward can get the Bus in the air, he finds himself locked in a standoff with Maria Hill, who's piloting another Jet. The two exchage verbarl barbs which gives Coulson enough time to sneak aboard the Bus. Coulson locates Skye and escapes the Bus mid flight in Lola, Coulson’s flying corvette, but not before the drive is unlocked.
The team shacks up at a skeezy motel, having lost not only their agency but their home. May surprises Coulson in his motel room. She reveals that the lead behind the T.A.H.I.T.I. project was Coulson himself. In a message sent to Fury before his death in The Avengers, Coulson reveals that the T.A.H.I.T.I. project was created to revive a mortally wounded avenger, but that the project should be shelved due to it’s horrific side-effects. Coulson learns that he was, in fact, searching for himself this whole time. How exestential.
Most Valuable Agent This Week’s MVA goes to Skye for managing to outwit and outgame Ward at his own game. Not bad for a new recruit.
Mission Highlights- Adrian Pasdar is back as the burly, no-nonsense, fake-mustache wearing Colonel Talbot. Let's hope he sticks around a while.- I love Ward’s insistence that he’s definitely not a Nazi. Evil terrorist? Sure, you’ve got me pegged, but a Nazi?! Whoa buddy, let’s not jump to conclusions.- “If I come out, will you shoot me? Cause then I wont come out."- Chloe Bennet gives some of her best acting yet in this episode.
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
Will Ferrell will put on the dunce cap once again. According to Deadline, TriStar has purchased The Yank, in which he'll play a mild-mannered insurance courier who finds himself in the middle of a heist to steal the crown jewels. Since the large majority of us don't stumble our way into the middle of gigantic, illicit conspiracies, it's safe to say that Ferrell's latest character won't be the brightest bulb in the box. In fact, Ferrell has made a career of playing dim-witted dunderheads. Even his ostensibly smart characters are clearly lacking a couple thousand brain cells. But which is the dumbest dope that Ferrell has ever played? We've decided to rank all of Ferrell's idiots in ascending order of stupidity.
Megamind (Megamind) Megamind is actually a genius, albeit an evil one, so he gets the top spot. However, he is a dope when he comes to relationships.
Harold Crick (Stranger Than Fiction)Sacrificing your life in the name of great art is quite an academic pursuit, so cheers.
Det. Allen Gamble (The Other Guys) Under a slightly frumpy and dopey exterior is actually the mind of a pretty gifted detective. In any case, you have to be doing something smart to attract Eva Mendez.
Buddy (Elf) Buddy isn't stupid as he is just lost in a world that isn't constantly running in full-on Christmas mode. The North Pole is a long sleigh ride away from Manhattan.
Chazz Michael Michaels (Blades of Glory)It does take some smarts to weasel your way back into a sport you were banned from. Too bad the tapes of him figure skating with Jon Heder will exist on the internet forever. That's quite the oversight.
Dr. Rick Marshall (Land of the Lost)Marshall is actually a gifted scientist, but for all of his fancy book learning, he does lack an incredible amount of common sense.
Phil Weston (Kicking and Screaming)Getting that wrapped up in pee-wee soccer, the least worthy pee-wee sport there is, is almost criminally stupid.
Cam Brady (The Campaign) Cam Brady nearly makes real politicians seem smart...nearly.
Jackie Moon (Semi-Pro)In Jackie Moon's world, wrestling a bear is a good way of promoting your failing basketball franchise.
Mustafa (Austin Powers) He's quite the survivor ("I've been very badly burned"), but if you can only take three questions before spilling clandestine info, then you're the worst henchman possible.
Ricky Bobby (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby)Sweet baby Jesus is Ricky Bobby dumb. He's the epitome of every Nascar stereotype every conceived.
Steve Butabi (A Night at the Roxbury) These club-addicted idiots have nothing rattling around their heads beyond velour suits and Haddaway's "What is Love."
Brennan Huff (Step Brothers)Brennan is probably the biggest and most spoiled man-child ever produced by the Ferrell and McKay tag team.
Ron Burgundy (Anchorman)Ron is pretty close to the top. Fortunately enough for him, though, the rest of the world surrounding him is nearly as stupid as he is.
Frank "The Tank" Rickard (Old School)Frank the Tank is definitively the stupidest person Will Ferrell has ever played. He somehow manages to shoot himself with a rhino tranquilizer just in time to ruin a kid's birthday party.
With May almost here, the fall television series is starting to wind down in earnest. But just because all of your old favorites are wrapping up for the year, that doesn't mean you have to resort to something drastic like reading or exercise. There's a new crop of television shows vying for your attention once summer rolls around. We've assembled a list of five new shows you should check out.
Why you should watch: Steven Soderbergh is sure working hard for a retiree. The recently retired filmmaker will direct all 10 episodes of this limited series that follows Clive Owen as a doctor working in 1900, back when true understanding of medicine was in its infancy, and healthcare was less of a science and more of a series of uneducated guesses. The trailer looks trippy, bloody, and slightly unnerving, giving us the first good reason in a while to break out our program guide and figure out where the hell Cinemax is on the television dial. Premieres Summer 2014.
Why you should watch: Those still feeling burned by some of Lost's unanswered mysteries might want to steer clear. Damon Lindelof's latest mind-melter of a series tells the tale of the people left behind when a rapture-esque event causes two percent of the world's population to dissapear. The rapture narrative isn't exactly new ground in fiction, but the trailer sure makes a convincing case for watching. the series looks to be full of beguiling mysteries, and interestingly flawed characters. Premieres June 29.
Why you should watch: Sam Mendes and John Logan of Skyfall fame have teamed up for this new drama that takes your 11th grade literature class and throws it in the middle of a Victorian S&M Dungeon. Penny Dreadful perverts classic characters like Dorian Gray, Victor Frankenstein, and Dracula into something else altogether. It looks like a kinkier, and more lurid version of League of Extaordinary Gentleman. The trailer has plenty of uneasy gothic thrills and poncy camp, so this show might very well be the summer's guily pleasure. Plus, Josh Hartnett's mustache is funny. Premieres May 11.
Why you should watch: To be fair, this remake of the seminal horror film looks pretty terrible, but it looks like the kind of terrible that can quickly turn into something fun with enough wine and a wicked sense of humor. For the uninitiated, the story follows Rosemary, a woman who may or may not be giving birth to the antichrist. Premieres May 11.
Why you should watch: If you have a hankering for pirates this summer, this is probably your best bet. The series features the legendary pirate Blackbeard played by the similarly legendary John Malkovich. We’re not likely going to pass up a chance to watch John Malkovich sit on a pile of treasures and ham it up as the campiest pirate on the seven seas. Premieres May 30.
There are three things certain in this life: death, taxes, and the Justice League movie. After Zack Snyder delivered a successful Superman movie in Man of Steel, it was only a matter of time before a Justice League film would eventually follow suit. Now, Warner Bros. has announced that the sequel to the upcoming Batman Vs. Superman will, in fact, be the Justice League. Snyder will grace the director's chair once again, and the film will star Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ben Affleck as Batman, and the newly cast Ray Fisher as Cyborg. According to The Wall Street Journal, The script is still in development, so the film is unlikely to come out before 2018.
Promise of a genuine Justice League film has kept the rumor mill spinning for nearly a decade, with seemingly every blockbuster director under the sun having his name mixed up in talks for helming the project. Call it the comic book geek in us, but we wonder what all those possible Justice League films would look like in the infinite parallel universes where different directors were actually the ones hired to direct the film.
McGRelevant Films: Charlie's Angels, Terminator Salvation, 3 Days to Kill What would his Justice League look like: Beyond a penchant for violence and quick pace, the director has never really had a distinctive style to call his own. He’s certainly never been big on taking chances. We have a feeling his Justice League would be serviceable but generic offering that will please some, but not be the big, ballsy, game changer that WB needs this film to be in order to compete with Marvel's cinematic dominance. It would be passable, but not a film anyone will be still raving about by the time summer wanes into fall.
Ben Affleck Relevant Films: Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo What would his Justice League look like: Affleck has shown his talents time and time again in the thriller genre, and has found the perfect middle ground between prestige drama and popcorn thriller. Affleck’s Justice League would probably be more moody and low-key, with more of an emphasis on character over bombast, at least more so than your typical summer blockbuster.
Joss Whedon Relevant Films: Alien Resurrection, Serenity, The Avengers What would his Justice League look like: Imagine if DC scooped up Whedon before Marvel did? All of Whedon’s films have that same talky, quick-witted, and airy sense of fun about them, which would be a huge about face from Snyder’s current vision of the franchise. Expect big, bold, primary colors, quip-laden banter, and an adventure that doesn’t take itself overly seriously. Oh, and someone’s gonna die before the credits roll.
Christopher Nolan Relevant films: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises What would his Justice League look like: If given the reigns over the film, Nolan would create the most prestigious, self-serious film about a spandexed green Martian and his super-powered friends ever created. Like his Batman films, The director would try to superimpose the Justice League into as close of a facsimile to real life as possible. And while that approach worked wonders for Batman, it probably wouldn't work with a group of heroes as fantastical as the Justice League.
Brett Ratner Relevant Films: X-Men: The Last Stand What would his Justice League look like: Ratner’s last foray into comic book film, X-Men: The Last Stand, buckled under the weight of a plot overstuffed with too many mutants. We doubt that a Justice League move, which would be similarly stuffed with heroes by necessity, would fair much better under Ratner.
Ruben Fleischer Relevant Films: Zombieland, Gangster Squad What would his Justice League look like: Zombieland is great, but the woefully miscalculated Gangster Squad makes us wonder what a Ruben Fleischer Justice League would look like. We speculate that a Fleischer directed Justice League to miss the mark, reveling in graphic violence and death, but not giving those things their due reverence, some of the criticisms leveled at Zack Snyder's Man of Steel.
Zack SnyderRelevant Films: 300, Watchmen, Man of SteelWhat will his Justice League look like: Now, for the one we're stuck with. Since Mr. Snyder is actually directing Justice League, we're hoping he learned a thing or two from the missteps taken in Man of Steel. Nonetheless, we're expecting a moody, brooding, self-serious take on the league — one that has some impressive visual sequences, but spends too much time trying to dazzle, and loses track of character in the middle of all the spectacle.
The Hall of Justice is sure getting crowded. Joining Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder's upcoming Batman Vs. Superman film is Cyborg (per The Hollywood Reporter), a half man/half machine superhero who is fitted with cybernetic limbs after an accident destroys most of his body. Theater actor Ray Fisher has been cast in the role as the Justice Leaguer. A virtual unknown in Hollywood, Fisher is best known for portraying Muhammad Ali in a Broadway production of Fetch Clay, Make Man. Warner Bros. and DC have been accused of adding too much too fast to their cinematic mythos, and not taking the slow and steady route a la Marvel, but the studio's brazen pace shows no signs of slowing down with this latest announcement.
If the name "Cyborg" doesn't ring any bells, we wouldn't blame you. The character was a solidly B or C list DC superhero for years, but has enjoyed a recent upswing in popularity thanks to an upgraded role in the comic book universe. For those who are a little fuzzy on the details, we've provided a guide to tell you everything you need to know about the hero.
— Cyborg first appeared in DC Comics Presents #26 in 1980
— In the original comics continuity, Cyborg was originally a member of the Teen Titans, but in the recently rebooted DC comic book universe, The New 52, the character has been retconned into one of the seven founding member of the Justice League.
— In his original comic book origins, Victor is the son of Silas and Elinore Stone, married scientists who decide to use their child as a test subject for various scientific experiments. They boost his intelligence through various procedures, and Victor's IQ explodes to genius-levels. With a growing intellect, Victor becomes resentful of his parents. He loses interest in school and begins to get into trouble at school and with the law. While visiting his parents at S.T.A.R. Labs, an experiment in cross-dimensional portals goes awry. A monster crosses through a portal and kills Victor's mother. The monster then destroys much of Victor's body before Silas can send the creature back through the portal. Desperate to help his son, Silas outfits Victor's damaged body with experimental technology that saves his life, but permanently alters his physical appearance.
— Victor is initially horrified by his new appearance. After being ostracized by his former friends and kicked off the football team, Victor joins the Teen Titans, a group of teenage heroes that are similarly outcast due to their gifts. On the team, he joins the likes of Wonder Girl, Robin, Speedy, Kid Flash, Raven, and Beast Boy. Victor's father, feeling guilty over the way he treated his son over the years, constructs the Titans Tower, a home base for the team of young heroes. Victor finds acceptance in this new group of friends, who appreciate Victor's abilities, and see past his disfigurements.
— In The New 52, DC's updated comic book canon, Victor "Vic" Stone is a promising high school football player with an strained relationship with his father, Silas, a gifted scientist at S.T.A.R. labs. Victor gets into a heated argument with Silas that ends with a laboratory explosion that kills several people and mutilates Victor's body. Distraught over his son's injuries, Silas uses various alien technologies to repair Victor's body, turning him into Cyborg. Soon after, Victor helps Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Flash defeat Darkseid. After battling alongside his fellow heroes, Cyborg becomes a founding member of the Justice League. Victor eventually comes to terms with his new body and is able to forgive his father.
— Thanks to his advance cybernetics, Cyborg possesses a genius intellect, superhuman strength, super speed, advanced weaponry, near-invulnerability, teleportation technology through boom tubes, flight, and can interface with nearly all forms of technology.
— Unfortunately, Cyborg's cybernetics also leave him vulnerable to hacking.
— Throughout his comic book history, Cyborg has gone through several different cybernetic transformations and aliases. Over the years, he has been referred to Cyberion, Technis, Omegadrome, Sparky, and Cyborg 2.0. As Cyberion, Cyborg slowly became less human in outlook before reverting back to his normal self.
— The character's first on-screen appearance was in The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, the last incarnation of the Super Friends. His character was voiced by Ernie Hudson.
— Cyborg has appeared in several films and television shows throughout the years, but is probably most well-known from the Cartoon Network series Teen Titans, an anime-inspired take on the Teenage superhero team.
— The character has also appeared in the DC animated films Justice League: Doom, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Justice League: War, JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, and Lego Batman: The Movie as well as the television series Smallville, and Teen Titans Go!. The Smallville version of the character is notable for having all of the cybernetics enhancements under the skin.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The final Hobbit film has a brand new name. On his Facebook page, Peter Jackson revealed that the final leg of Bilbo's Journey, originally titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again, has been changed to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. A week ago, there were rumors that the third film in Jackson's Hobbit trilogy might be retitled to Into the Fire, a title that in some ways felt apt, Smaug being a fire-breathing dragon and all, but also felt like one of those generic catch-all subtitles that could be sewed on to any film and fit seamlessly.
Battle of the Five Armies doesn't have the same nostalgic ring to it as There and Back Again, which is the actual subtitle to the original novel, but it does fit better than Into the Fire. J.R.R. Tolkien's novel does consist of a battle between five armies. In celebration of The Hobbit sequel's new title, We've decided to create a list of the most commonly used words in sequel titles equipped with a colon.
"Fire" Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Planes: Fire & Rescue
"Back"Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Major League: Back to the Minors, Police Academy 3: Back in Trainin, Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit, Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back
"Revenge"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, Jaws: The Revenge, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
"First"X-Men: First Class, Star Trek: First Contact, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, Police Story 4: First Strike
"Last"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, X-Men: The Last Stand, Road House 2: Last Call, The Toxic Avenger III: The Last Temptation of Toxie
"Final" Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)
"Next" The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation
"Rise" 300: Rise of an Empire, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj
"Return"Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Cocoon: The Return, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Universal Soldier: The Return, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers
"Dark" Thor: The Dark World, Star Trek Into Darkness,Transformers: Dark of the Moon, 30 Days of Night: Dark Days, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory
"Game" Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Highlander: Endgame, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Delta Force 3: The Killing Game
"World"Thor: The Dark World (twofer!), The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, You Got Served: Beat the World, The Cheetah Girls: One World, In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds, Air Bud: World Pup
Universal via Everett Collection
Who can save you now!
Whether you're ready or not, Flash Gordon, the savior of the universe, is headed to the silver screen once again. No, this isn't a reprise of that long-winded running gag from Seth Mcfarlane's Ted. The classic Flash Gordon comic strip is really being rebooted into a modern film. 20th Century Fox has recently picked up the screen rights to the character. John Davis is set to produce the film, while J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay are lined up to pen the script.
The pulpy adventurer was originally created in the pages of a 1930s comic strip. The character and his adventures have been featured in numerous serials, radio shows, and television shows over the decades, including a recent TV adaptation on the Syfy channel, but none have made the same cultural impact as the cult classic 1980 film. Looking back, the film is a hokey, camp-laden joy ride that's clearly a product of its time. In the film, Flash Gordon, the quarterback for the New York Jets, is whisked away to the planet Mongo where Emperor Ming the Merciless rules with an iron fist and immaculately crafted facial hair. Given how ridiculous the original movie was and the recent failures of other classic heroes (John Carter and The Lone Ranger come to mind), it's a wonder why anyone thinks it's a good idea to resurrect a hero whom most adults even have a tough time remembering. Just looking at the original theatrical trailer for the 1980 version of Flash Gordon gives us plenty of reasons why the character should probably stay in the past.
-The shot of Earth in the beginning looks like someone stole a globe, hung it with some chicken wire, and spun it in front of some black construction paper. Boom, special effects!
-But Flash’s hair. It’s honestly wonderful. And it's always perfectly coifed no matter what sort of action is going on.
-Queen's bombastic theme song. It’s so '80s it hurts.
-Emperor Ming’s beard is a feat of manscaping. One the world has not since topped, and should not expect to.
-The costumes make the film look like it was wardrobed by a Party City clearance rack.
-The film stops mid-movie for a game of Fabergé egg football. Get it? 'Cause he's a quarterback.
-What the heck is even happening at 1:03?
-Why is Flash wearing a t-shirt with his name on it? Does he just sometimes forget who he is, or did people just do that in 1980?
Mission Briefing:The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is still licking its wounds and laying low in a secret base in the Canadian wilderness run by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent/housekeeper/lanyard obsessive Eric Koenig (Patton Oswalt). After learning from Ward that HYDRA has released several S.H.I.E.L.D. prisoners from the fridge, Coulson splits up the team in order to track down the dangerous and possibly super-powered threats, one of which has some interesting connections to Coulson's past. Meanwhile, Ward continues his secret mission to decrypt the hard drive and eliminate his former team.
The Agents:Coulson, Fitz, Simmons, and Triplett head out to find Marcus Daniels, a super-powered sociopath with the ability to absorb energy. Meanwhile, May, Skye, Keonig, and Ward hang back at Providence.
Mission Fallout:Ward, fresh from raiding the Fridge with Garrett and the rest of HYDRA, reports that the terrorist organization has gotten their hands on a load of top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. weaponry and has freed all of the prisoners being held at the base. Coulson decides to go after a specific prisoner, Marcus Daniels, who can absorb energy and kill with a single touch. May and Koenig protest against leaving the base, but Coulson demands that the team do as much as they can to protect innocent civilians. Agent Koenig agrees to let a splinter team leave the base, but only if they pass an advanced lie detector test (one that even the Black Widow supposedly couldn't outwit). Each member of the team is individually strapped into the machine and asked a volley of non sequiturs ("What's the difference between a egg and an rock") and other, more pertinent questions, and the ones that pass get an official lanyard from Koenig. When it's Ward's turn, the machine spikes when the agent is asked questions about his loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D. Koenig pulls a gun on him, and asks him why he's really there. Ward answer that he's there for Skye, which satisfies the test, and more importantly, Koenig.
Later, Coulson, Simmons, Trip, and a very jealous Fitz leave to find Daniels. Coulson reveals that he was the one that imprisoned Daniels all those years ago, and that the man has an obsession with a cellist in Portland named Audrey (Amy Acker). Triplett and Simmons rescue Audrey from an attack by Daniels and take her to a safe house. The cellist reveals that it was Coulson that originally saved her all those years ago, and that the two were in a romantic relationship before Coulson "died" in the battle of New York. Coulson decides not to tell Audrey that he survived in order to protect her feelings. The team decides to use the cellist as a decoy to lure and capture Daniels. They set up a fake practice session as a trap and blast Daniels with light in order to overload his powers. Coulson manages to kill Daniels, but doesn't reveal himself to Audrey.
Meanwhile, May decides to leave the team after being brushed off one too many times by Coulson. With May gone, Ward moves in on eliminating his former team. He kills Keonig and stashes his body away in a storage room. After doing away with Koenig, Ward tells Skye that he's a bad person and that the two of them are too different to pursue a relationship. Skye reassures Ward that he is a good man and kisses him. Later, Skye finds Koenig's body and deduces that Ward is really a HYDRA agent. Ward, still thinking Skye is oblivious, whisks her away in order to decrypt the hard drive. Coulson returns to Providence with half of his team missing, and the jet gone.
Most Valuable Agent Award:This MVA award this week goes to the dearly departed Agent Koenig. May heaven be filled with awesome Call of Duty sessions and many glorious Lanyards.
Mission Highlights and Other Observations: - "Nothing bad ever happens when you work with something called darkforce..." - Fitz is so lovably flawed. He's pulling far ahead as the best character on the show. - "If I was the grandson of a Howling Commando, I'd have that tattooed on my chest" - Robin Scherbatsky, former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. is returning next week.
Realistic, gritty, grounded.
Are there any three words that comic book fans are more tired of hearing from filmmakers? Those three buzzwords are thrown around like confetti every time a new superhero film is in development, as if a necessary step in promoting your comic book movie is assuring fans that your film is going to be painted in the appropriate shades of grey. Now, grey's a fine color; it's given so many of our superheroes some much-needed dimension, filled out the edges of characters that feel too antiquated to work in modern cinema, and allowed comic book films to gain at least a little ground in becoming a respected genre of film. But not every superhero or superteam needs to be dip-dyed in darkness, especially if it comes at the expense of the characters' true natures.
Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot over at Fox has not been shy about introducing the world to a darker version of Marvel's first family, and their commitment to this interpretation of the characters was recently echoed by screenwriter Simon Kinberg. In an interview with Hitfix, the Fantastic Four scribe said, "This will definitely be a more realistic, a more gritty, grounded telling of the Fantastic Four."
The problem is that there's nothing gritty, grounded, or realistic about the Fantastic Four. Marvel's first family is probably the least grounded heroes in the company's entire stable of heroes. Their origin story reads like pure comic book cheese: four friends travel to outer space in a rocket ship that wanders into a galactic storm and is hit by cosmic rays that give all four members incredible powers. The four then decide to dress up in bright blue spandex and protect a big and shiny version of Manhattan from nefarious villains such as Mole Man and Doctor Doom. It's hard to reason why anyone would read that origin story and reason that it needs a dose "gritty" or "realistic." While a hero like Batman thrived when given the grounded treatment, with Christopher Nolan's trilogy turning Gotham's gothic alleyways and ridiculous villains into a noir-ish crime story and morality play, the Fantastic Four is a different beast altogether. Going too realistic would strip the work of the qualities that make it a classic to begin with.
All we need to do is look at the recent Superman reboot, Man of Steel, to see the problem. Zach Snyder and the folks at the WB were all too eager to follow the mold of Batman and give Supes a dark makeover after Superman Returns drew ire from hewing to closely to Richard Donner's original. Unfortunately, Snyder's Man of Steel completely misses the mark. It takes the big blue boy scout, a simple, fun, and whimsical hero, and puts him in an utterly joyless movie. Man of Steel is loud, overbearing, and dour. It has no sense of levity, and it especially has no sense of wonder, one of the most important aspects of Superman. The film's biggest crime however is that it's hardly ever fun. What's the point of watching a film about a flying man trying saving the planet if the film takes itself way too seriously to be fun. Superman is supposed to be a bright primary colored romp, and was instead turned into a bleak, grey, slog of a film. All in the name of being gritty and realistic.
It seems that far too often, filmmakers mistake words like "gritty," and "grounded" for words like complex and interesting. Supeheroes don't always need to scowl their way through their adventures, and being dark and gritty isn't the only way to produce a quality, well reviewed film. Hopefully, the minds behind Fantastic Four don't lose sight of the original inspirations of their film.