(Welcome to Great Moments in MCU History, where we fondly recall great little bits that made us fall in love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)

Not everything in the Marvel Universe works out according to a master plan handed down from on high. It’s just that 99% of it does appear to arrive that way. Maybe that’s because they’re all just super geniuses over there. Or maybe it’s because they are quick to take advantage of happy accidents. Or maybe sometimes it’s just a matter of being patient enough for a bad idea to find proper application.

Today’s moment offers a good example of all three approaches. It’s an extremely minor scene from Captain America: Civil War, which is now an ancient five years old. Civil War is a movie with a whole lot of business to conduct. You have to get Captain America and Iron Man at odds with each other, dramatize everyone else in the MCU picking a side, and make a little headway on the brewing romance between Wanda and Vision. Then you have to introduce major characters like Black Panther and the shocking inclusion of a new Spider-Man. Oh, and there is a villain to worry about too. Plus, all the heroes have to fight for like 20 minutes at some point.

So there’s a lot of movie to stuff into this movie. Which is why it’s important Marvel (or in this case, the Russo Brothers) utilize a deft hand at quick moments of characterization. Each quirk has to run a mile, which is basically what happens in this very brief scene.

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Godzilla vs Kong Trailer

In any “vs” movie, there will be winners and losers, even if these things almost always end in a draw. These films offer a field of viable players we already know and love and some just fare better than others in terms of delivering knuckle sandwiches. Now that the dust has cleared and everyone has had a chance to see the new movie over the weekend, let’s see how everyone in Godzilla vs. Kong stacked up.

Major spoilers for Godzilla vs Kong to follow. You have been warned!

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Godzilla in Hell

There are plenty of long-running series out there, but few can match the quantity Godzilla boasts. With over 30 features to date (not counting anime projects or the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong), the big lizard sits in rarified territory with the likes of James Bond and Zatoichi. He’s been around a while. And given the “vs” nature of so many of those sequels, it’s safe to say we’ve seen the guy get in a lot of fights. It’s also safe to say he survives most of them.

So the idea of sending him to Hell holds a lot of novelty value. The concept implicitly promises not only a look at what would happen were Godzilla to somehow die, but a tale told on a cosmic scale, free from the regular old building-stomping and lame human characters we’ve already seen a million times (okay, over 30 times).

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Godzilla Movies Ranked

If nothing else, you can say this for Godzilla: he’s been in a lot of films. Not only is Godzilla the longest-running film series, but the sheer number of titles a rewatch requires necessitates full weeks to accomplish. In other words, even his series is huge.

As such, ranking them all to celebrate the upcoming release of Godzilla vs. Kong is no small task. Nevertheless, here it is, a professional ranking of the Godzilla series that is sure to satisfy everyone who reads it.

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What to Watch Before Godzilla vs Kong

Later this month, the earth is going to quake as cinema’s two biggest (and oldest) titans starting punching each other’s lights out in Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong. Like other “vs” movies of this stature, this represents not one epic cinematic event but two. Though these particular versions of these characters are relatively new, both have decades (almost a century in Kong’s case) of iconography behind them that can be intimidating to viewers who don’t know their history, but don’t want to feel lost as they pummel each other.

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is King Kong’s story is fairly simple and won’t take long to get through. The bad news is Godzilla. Not only has he appeared in dozens of films – with multiple narrative reboots – over the last half-century, but he is also the one most likely to stop your city and raise your insurance premiums. He’s just bad news incarnate.

But we’ll get to all that. Let’s start simple with Kong…

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(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)

It’s amazing how brilliant George Lucas’ prequel story appears on paper, versus how little of that particularly brilliance comes through when watching the actual prequel films. The films have their fans for sure, but it’s truly difficult to imagine viewers getting emotionally caught up in the tragedy of young Anakin Skywalker and the fall of a republic as told in those three movies. Obi-Wan’s disappointment in his former Padawan is about the only emotional resonance I’ve ever felt when watching Revenge of the Sith.

But the story is deeply tragic, and a lot of Star Wars media since the prequels has been smart enough to repackage it in a way that does heighten the drama of what Lucas put together. The later Clone Wars episodes get into this in a big way, but really that entire show exists under the shadow of events we know must come to pass. The more we fall for these characters in their animated form, the more we dread their fates. The show can at any moment deliver unadulterated adventure, humor and whimsy, but always within the context of eventual tragedy.

Clone Wars is far from the only source exploiting this general story. The 2019 video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order also takes the events of Revenge of the Sith as a contextual starting point. Though it takes place five years later, the game’s major figures offer a collection of individual stories tied to the dreaded Order 66 and fall of the Jedi. Obviously, this is true of the game’s main character, young Padawan Cal Kestis. But by far the game’s most interesting figure comes in the form of disgraced Jedi Cere Junda.

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WandaVision Finale Review

Hello all, and welcome to your weekly recap of whatever wildness occurred on the latest episode of WandaVision. These are meant to be read after watching, so they will go deep into spoiler territory. You have been warned!

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(Welcome to Great Moments in MCU History, where we fondly recall great little bits that made us fall in love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)

Will whatever the new Avengers team look like enjoy a character dynamic as fun and long-lasting as the one shared by Steve Rogers and Tony Stark? They’ll probably be charming and have great interactions with each other, but it’s hard to believe any will have such a thoroughly antagonistic bromance across so many films. The current main grump, Doctor Strange, will be mean to everyone, but that’s not the same. This, of course, assumes Tony Stark and Steve Rogers won’t somehow come back because…

Actually, time for a new paragraph. Did Avengers: Endgame do away with death in the MCU altogether? Not that there was much to begin with. Still, with Hank Pym back from the dead along with everyone else, his Pym Particles are probably no longer in such dramatically-convenient short supply. And Tony already took the science work far enough along that Hulk can push the buttons by himself. So any of these jokers can pop back in time to abduct Steve or Tony, have them do some heroic stuff in the present, and then plop them back from whence they came. Right?

Oh heck, why not a third paragraph? These characters have been in comics for decades and not only do they never stay dead, they hardly even age. I need to just get along with the fact that mortal consequences are never what this series should be about.

Okay, sorry about that. Assuming Tony and Steve really are done, I feel it’s time to memorialize one of the MCU’s greatest pleasures: their fights. And the best of them came at the beginning of Avengers: Endgame.

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Hello all, and welcome to your weekly recap of whatever wildness occurred on the latest episode of WandaVision. These are meant to be read after watching, so they will go deep into spoiler territory. You have been warned!

Read More »

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Kallus in Star Wars Rebels

(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)

With all the acclaim given to Star Wars: The Clone Wars in recent years, it can be easy to overlook Dave Filoni’s other great animated Star Wars show, Star Wars Rebels. That makes some sense. For one, Rebels lacks the immediate proximity to a Star Wars property enjoyed by Clone Wars. While some familiar faces do appear, the show’s central cast is mostly populated with new characters. Many of the Rebels characters who are familiar originated in the earlier show, implying its higher importance. Furthermore, Clone Wars recently got a big injection of relevance by debuting a brand new (and final) season, which will also spin-off into another series, The Bad Batch, in the future. When one chooses which Star Wars animated show to jump into, Clone Wars seems an obvious choice.

Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to skip Rebels altogether. Not only does it continue some of Clone Wars’ best storylines in totally satisfying ways, it also developed its own great inner-mythology as well. Just look at the arc of Alexsandr Kallus, voiced by the great David Oyelowo.

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