Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Karen Gillan, Rocket Raccoon, Paul Rudd, and Scarlett Johansson in ‘Avengers: Endgame.’
Gobbledygeek episode 372, “Avengers: Endgame – It’s Been a Long, Long Time (feat. Eric Sipple),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
All good things must come to an end. And while the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not one of those things–there’s another one of these bad boys coming out in a few months–Avengers: Endgame does represent the culmination of this first wave/cycle/saga of the MCU. Paul and Arlo are joined by their The Deli Counter of Justice co-creator Eric Sipple to discuss just how in the hell directors Anthony and Joe Russo, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and many many other talented filmmakers pulled off this marvelous feat. Because somehow, some way, Endgame is just about the most satisfying conclusion you could hope for.
Next: enter the void.
(Show notes for “Avengers: Endgame – It’s Been a Long, Long Time.”)
Brie Larson in ‘Captain Marvel.’
Gobbledygeek episode 368, “Captain Marvel: Hello Flerken,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
It only took ‘em 21 movies, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally debuted a solo female superhero with Captain Marvel. Acclaimed indie filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck take to the stars for the story of Carol Danvers, ace pilot turned intergalactic warrior. Drenched in ‘90s nostalgia, the film finds buddy comedy with the spirited Brie Larson/Samuel L. Jackson dynamic; it finds Memento-lite storytelling gymnastics with Carol’s fractured memories. Paul and Arlo debate this approach’s effectiveness; think back to whether or not they loved the ‘90s; consider what the film’s cosmic shenanigans mean for the future of the MCU; and attempt (with varying degrees of success) to check their privilege while analyzing a tale of female empowerment.
Next: the boys crash land back on Earth for another Four-Color Flashback installment, this one discussing Craig Thompson’s modern classic Blankets.
(Show notes for “Captain Marvel: Hello Flerken.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 347, “Incredibles 2: Infancy War,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
After 14 long years, the Incredibles are back. The superhero film landscape has changed drastically in that time–but, blissfully, Brad Bird and his retro supers have not, as they teleport and babysit their way through another round of domestic struggles. Paul and Arlo discuss how Incredibles 2 inverts and deepens the themes of the first, why this is some of the finest superhero action ever committed to film, how Jack-Jack avoids Minion-ization, and why Bird and his films are not Randian. Plus, Paul plays a game of Tag, Arlo takes in a service at First Reformed, Paul keeps getting mistaken for Thanos, Arlo is obsessed with Guillermo del Toro, and Paul goes all Cloak & Dagger.
Next: this year’s superheroic Four-Color Flashback continues as Jed Waters Keith joins us to discuss Spider-Man: Origin of the Hobgoblin.
(Show notes for “Infancy War.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 262, “The Somewhat Disgruntled Four (feat. Ensley F. Guffey & Joseph Lewis),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Don your dead general’s coat and strap on those snowshoes; for the Gobbledygeek season 7 premiere, we’re taking the last stage to Red Rock for a discussion of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Bringing Paul and AJ up to a Somewhat Disgruntled Four are Wanna Cook? author Ensley F. Guffey and A/V writer-director Joseph Lewis. Ensley, a bonafide historian, teaches us how Tarantino plays with historical symbolism; while Joe, a die-hard Tarantino fan, tells us of the religiosity of his Hateful Eight 70mm experience. The gang also discusses the film’s handling of race and misogyny, how Tarantino borrows from The Thing, whether or not the film is a convincing mystery, and more. Plus, the boys pay tribute to the icons 2016 has already stolen from us.
Next: break out your scones, guv’nor. It’s time once more for the delightfully British Wesley “Wezzo” Mead to make his journey across the pond.
(Show notes for “The Somewhat Disgruntled Four.”)
Last week, we discussed our favorite TV series of the last year. This week, we turn to the big screen.
PAUL: 10. DJANGO UNCHAINED (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
With Django Unchained, director Quentin Tarantino takes us once more back to a terrible moment in our history, and once again asks us to indulge him his little anachronisms and revisionist revenge fantasies. This time, instead of Nazis and baseball-bat-wielding Jews, we get slavers and bounty-hunting dentists. Set in the pre-Civil War Deep South, Unchained is Tarantino’s homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of Leone and Corbucci, which he prefers to call his Spaghetti Southern. I’ll say that the absence of editor Sally Menke is sharply felt here, though. If I, of all people, notice the nearly three-hour runtime, then there could’ve been some tightening. The cast is great across the board, including a list of hidden cameos longer than my arm (among others, original Django Franco Nero makes an appearance). Jamie Foxx is great in the title role, though I imagine what Will Smith could’ve done with the part, as was the original intent. Leo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and Walton Goggins all shine in their respective roles. Kerry Washington was reduced to little more than the damsel in distress, however, which is unusual for a Tarantino picture. But the standout here is Christoph Waltz. He is every bit as charmingly heroic and admirable this time as he was charmingly repulsive and hateful in Basterds.
AJ: 10. MOONRISE KINGDOM (dir. Wes Anderson)
Wes Anderson’s films often have a childlike quality about them, whether it be his colorful storybook compositions or the petulance of many of his characters. So it’s fitting that he’s finally made a film about children, one in which the kids are on the run from what’s expected of them and their adult guardians are forced to accept the roles they’ve played in their children’s abandonment of them. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both in their first screen acting roles, give perfectly awkward performances. Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are in their element here, while Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton join the auteur’s troupe with ease. Perhaps most encouragingly, Moonrise Kingdom is the first sign of life in years from Bruce Willis–who, with a movie soon to appear on our lists, proved later in the year that he’s most definitely still kicking–and Edward Norton, two actors who really needed a movie like this.
Four years ago, two films gave the superhero genre a much-needed kick in the pants: Iron Man and The Dark Knight. They were on opposite ends of the spectrum–the former bright and funny, the latter dark and gloomy–but both felt honest, and honesty’s something the genre needed in order to mature. This summer sees the release of two films which seem destined to revitalize the genre yet again, and it’s only fitting that they are The Avengers, the end result of Marvel’s first wave; and The Dark Knight Rises, the last of Christopher Nolan’s Bat-flicks. The Dark Knight Rises is still a couple months off, but just as that one looks like it’s angling to be even darker and more despairing than its predecessors, The Avengers aims to be more colorful, rousing, and exciting than those leading up to it.
Any superhero movie that wants to be even semi-successful has to on some level examine the nature of heroism. When one doesn’t, which was a big problem in the period between Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man (give or take a Batman Begins), you wind up with something like Catwoman or Elektra or Batman & Robin. Marvel’s pre-Avengers efforts, which I’ve mostly enjoyed, have excelled at asking just why each of their heroes feels the need to suit up and take action. With The Avengers, an even bigger question is posed. Why would such disparate people, each with their own sets of skills, hang-ups, and needs, come together to form a team? Writer-director Joss Whedon, a veritable geek god, is the one tasked with providing the answer to that query, and he does so brilliantly.
Okay, the title of this post is somewhat misleading. In actuality, I tweeted a question with the #Avengers hashtag during a live chat with Joss Whedon, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, and Clark Gregg; then someone deigned to ask Joss my question; then Joss answered; then someone transcribed his answer and tweeted it back to me. But still! It totally counts!
Please tell me it counts or I will cry.
In any case, here’s the photographic evidence: