(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: Avengers: Endgame doesn’t honor its female characters in a way that actually carries weight.)
There’s no question that Marvel has a women problem. In the past decade and over the course of its 22 movies, only one of them was led by a woman, and one had a woman sharing the title. But the studio has been eagerly trying to make up for it in recent years, releasing Captain Marvel to critical and box office acclaim, and slowly introducing female fan favorites — some of whom would go on to get double billing in the big established movies.
As we headed into Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was filled to the brim with strong, complex, rich female characters — some super, some not — who were on course to outshine even some of the male heroes. And with Marvel reportedly pushing for more female superheroes in front of and behind the camera, it is no surprise that the film would want to pay its respects to these beloved characters. But this is where the film stumbles.
Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame below.
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Avengers: Infinity War has been out in theaters for less than a week, and fans are already buzzing about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Specifically, about which characters we might see in future Marvel films. Now, directors Joe and Anthony Russo have assuaged our fears about the return of one specific fan-favorite character from the MCU, while the actor behind a surprise Infinity War cameo has something to say about future appearances. There’s not much more I can say here without jumping into spoiler territory, so read on only if you have seen Infinity War.
Major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follow.
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In a movie jam-packed with scene-stealing characters (Korg!) and moments (Thor imitating Loki turning into a snake!), Tessa Thompson‘s Valkyrie threatened to steal the entirety of Thor: Ragnarok. Her beer-guzzling, tortured mercenary swaggered into Thor’s life and into the pop culture pantheon, becoming far and away the fan favorite character of the movie. And now she’s making her way to the Marvel comic books, too.
A new version of Valkyrie, modeled very closely on Thompson’s mercenary introduced in Thor: Ragnarok, will make her debut in the Marvel comic Exiles.
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Thor: Ragnarok marks a huge tonal shift for the Thor franchise into full-on comedy territory, but we’ve just learned that the movie also features a potentially significant benchmark for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole: the first LGBTQI character in Marvel Studios history. But is that actually reflected on screen, or is this just another case of a studio attempting to pat themselves on the back for being diverse?
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This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Edition)
As hard as I try, I can’t bring myself to garner much interest in this film. I blame history for spoiling the ending. It’s like watching The Passion of the Christ: “So… I wonder what happens to Jesus at the end.” There’s also something inherently off-putting in seeing Tom Cruise in Nazi Germany with an eye patch and no accent. That said, I’m a big supporter of Bryan Singer’s work, and the film has been said to be serviceably entertaining, so I’ll be sure to give it a fair shake just as soon as I learn to stop whining about those aforementioned minor issues. If you’ve seen the film though, it would really help if you could offer some incentive to check it out in the comments.
Notable Extras: The single disc contains no extras, while the 2-disc holds a commentary by director Bryan Singer, actor Tom Cruise, and writer Christopher McQuarrie, a second commentary with writer Christopher McQuarrie and writer Nathan Alexander, 2 featurettes (“The Journey to Valkyrie”, “The Valkyrie Legacy”), and a digital copy of the film.
|Amazon – $15.99
*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).
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United Artists has made the first six minutes of Valkyrie available online to promote the film. Check it out embedded after the jump or head on to Apple.com for the High Definition version.
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Posted on Thursday, December 25th, 2008 by David Chen
As I sat down to write my review of Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie, I was struck by how many questions this film is expected to answer upon its release. Can Singer still deliver a big-budget success, after the lackluster performance of Superman Returns? Can Tom Cruise bounce back from his self-inflicted public image problems? Can an exciting and suspenseful film be made about a story that virtually everybody knows the ending to? Read on, curious inquirers…
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Posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 by David Chen
Despite a solid pedigree, with Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie taking up directing and writing duties respectively, Valkyrie has taken a drubbing on the PR front, mostly because of people’s poisonous initial reactions to Tom Cruise as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. A recent article at the NYTimes laid out what a high-stakes bet Valkyrie is for MGM Studios:
Valkyrie has turned into a test not only of Mr. Cruise’s career durability, but of MGM’s determination — with new ownership, and under the chairmanship of Harry E. Sloan since 2005 — to be taken seriously as a producer and distributor of the kind of risky event films that define a major studio.
If Valkyrie succeeds, even moderately, MGM wins a modicum of credibility in image-is-everything Hollywood. A failure brings fresh sniping that the studio does not know what it is doing, making the job of attracting top-notch talent even harder. Financially speaking, the stakes are considerable. With a stated production budget of $75 million — competitors insist it is closer to $90 million — Valkyrie is the most expensive film made for distribution by MGM under Sloan’s watch. The studio will now spend about $60 million to market the movie — if nothing else, to make the point that it can play in the big leagues.
Unfortunately, we’re now hearing some pretty bad buzz about Valkyrie from MSNBC’S The Scoop (via Get The Big Picture), citing unnamed sources who have seen the movie and call Cruise’s performance laugh-inducing. In particular, a scene where Cruise was forced to give the “Heil Hitler” salute:
It’s an unsettling scene but you almost start to laugh…His character is resisting it but you never forget it’s Tom Cruise saying “Heil Hitler.” It’s funny and shocking at the same time.
Sources also say that the film isn’t very thrilling at all:
It’s a bunch of white guys in Nazi uniforms. It’s too bad. And Tom doesn’t speak with a German accent — though they did add a voiceover of him speaking German to the beginning of the film. Still, it’s as if he could say ‘I complete you’ at any time. This is not his Oscar moment.
Head over to The Scoop for some more details. While these unnamed sources may or may not be an appropriate gauge of what general audiences will think, I’m still holding out hope that Singer can deliver a thriller on par with The Usual Suspects (although more and more I begin to doubt). After all, the last Valkyrie trailer wasn’t half bad. Right?
Update: /Film commenter Cerisier points out that one should probably take the above anonymous sources with a pound of salt. I would wholeheartedly agree.
/Film commenter Emily directs us to The Independent, which has reports from screenings that took place on Saturday and Sunday. According to the article, the screening eliminated fears that Cruise would attempt a German accent and also garnered “shockingly positive” reviews. According to Steve Gaydos, executive editor of Variety:
All the buzz is that it’s pretty good…Von Stauffenberg is not a typical role for Cruise, but in the event, he is a terrific actor who has surrounded himself with some of the most talented people around.
In other words, Valkyrie certainly still has the potential to be a big hit. More reports from screenings as they roll in.
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
MSN has a new featurette for Valkyrie focusing on director Bryan Singer. Click on the image above to watch it.
United Artists has released the last and final movie trailer for Bryan Singer‘s Valkyrie. Gone is the overly stylish split screen editing, Added, the SAW theme leads to the climax. It’s amazing how well that theme fits other movies, even though its the key theme song of a five film franchise. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really starting to look forward to this film. Complain about the lack of accents all you want. Bash Tom Cruise if you will, but this looks like a solid thriller. Share your thought in the comments below!
[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/valkyrie1030trailer.flv 470 264]
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