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The New Men in Black Doesn’t Have Will Smith, but Aladdin Does

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No, that’s not a mistake. We’ve been given a peek into two new movies this week, and I’m giving one of them a major side eye.

First we got a peek at Will Smith as the Genie, and honestly, I don’t hate it. It’s getting a fair bit of criticism, but I do really think this can be a good move. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Guy Ritchie explained how much of a challenge he faced when deciding who would play the Genie, because of Robin Williams’ iconic performance in the 1992 animated Disney film. He considered how Williams made the Genie so memorable by just injecting his own flair.

“The great thing about the role of the Genie is that it’s essentially a hyperbole for who that individual actor is, so it’s a wonderful platform and tapestry for an actor to fill his boots on,” Said Ritchie.

So when thinking of an actor who could overplay a version of himself, Will Smith seemed a natural choice. Smith himself said “I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Williams but was musically different. Just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane, versus trying to compete.”

I like this. I like Will Smith (even when he’s in some real clunkers like Bright). I like that it’s a well thought out choice and if done well, Smith can really deliver something iconic in his own way. If he can stick with hyperbole and avoid caricature, I think it can really work.

Honestly, as long as it’s not Wild Wild West, I’ll probably be pleased.

Now in comes Men in Black International. This I am significantly less optimistic about. Watch the trailer here if you haven’t seen it already.

It’s definitely got some positive elements – Emma Thompson for one, looks incredible. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have good chemistry, as we saw in Thor: Ragnarok. Liam Neeson is always a treat. Some of the aliens are returning from the original series, and the new aliens look absolutely charming.

Image result for new men in black

My biggest concern is that for a movie spin off of a franchise made successful by Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, those two are conspicuously absent from the roster. I’m not saying it can’t work, I’m just saying I have my doubts.

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of faith in Chris Hemsworth’s ability to improve on a reboot either, as made painfully obvious in the 2016 re-imagining of the Ghostbusters franchise.

I’m also wary of the CGI elements, because I’m seeing roughly 200% more flying vehicles than I’m comfortable with. Of course a movie about aliens will require some CGI, but the original film franchise leaned heavily on practical effects as well, which I’m just not seeing in this trailer. Overly fake looking movies typically have a short trip into the reject pile and for good reason.

It’s obvious that this is hoped to be the first of several new Men in Black Movies, so let’s hope that this spin off franchise stacks up to the original.

All in all, I’m feeling a lot more optimistic about movies with Will Smith in them than those without. This may not only be a direct testament to Smith himself, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Kayla Milam is a Comedy and Nerd Freelance writer. Her specialties include playing video games, eating all her kid's Halloween candy, and killing house plants. She lives in California with her husband, 3-year-old son, dog, and pet praying mantis. Check out her blog at Goodlordthatsfunny.com.

Comic Book Movies

Spider-Man: Far From Home | Final Swing Fan-Edit | Danny Elfman’s “Farewell Theme”

Peter Parker’s relaxing European vacation takes an unexpected turn when Nick Fury shows up in his hotel room to recruit him for a mission. The world is in danger as four massive elemental creatures — each representing Earth, air, water and fire — emerge from a hole torn in the universe. Parker soon finds himself donning the Spider-Man suit to help Fury and fellow superhero Mysterio stop the evil entities from wreaking havoc across the continent.

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Here is a fan-edit of Spider-Man: Far From Home’s, “Final swing,” with Danny Elfman’s ‘Farewell theme’ for 2002’s ‘Spider-Man’.

Peter Parker’s relaxing European vacation takes an unexpected turn when Nick Fury shows up in his hotel room to recruit him for a mission. The world is in danger as four massive elemental creatures — each representing Earth, air, water and fire — emerge from a hole torn in the universe. Parker soon finds himself donning the Spider-Man suit to help Fury and fellow superhero Mysterio stop the evil entities from wreaking havoc across the continent.

Release date: July 2, 2019 (USA)

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Action

Marvel / Disney + Release – WandaVision | Official Trailer 2

TV-Series Spinoff from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Containing the characters Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff and The Vision. Plot is unknown at the time.

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Genre:

Action, Adventure, Drama

Release Date:

2020

Director:

Marvel | Disney

Cast:

Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Kat Dennings, Kathryn Hahn, Randall Park, Teyonah Parris, Shane Berengue

Plot Summary:

TV-Series Spinoff from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Containing the characters Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff and The Vision. Plot is unknown at the time.

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Comic Book Movies

Was ‘Avengers: Endgame’ The MCU Conclusion We Wanted Or The One We Needed…

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‘Avengers: Endgame,’ has moments where I had to pinch and remind myself that this is a film about comic book superhero characters. There were times, however, when I was punching the air in sheer delight, moved to the edge of the sofa through wracked nerves and sobbed uncontrollably when it all got a bit too much, and all this in a film that I have seen 3 or 4 times now.

I mentioned in my recent review of Infinity War that I was a relatively late convert to the MCU. I always thought they were entertaining enough but ultimately a little silly and just full of smug cos-playing wisecrackers. Infinity War changed all of that, after watching it with Marvel devotees in a packed cinema, I suddenly understood that these films mean a hell of a lot to people and I was being drawn into it all, so much so that I started buying the blu-rays and rewatching them all and I finally understood the devotion. 

Watching Endgame for the first time at a packed screening with my son, (who never had any doubt about the MCU) it was once again a piece of event cinema, things that truly are rare. It was a special day.

Yes, the film is long, but not really that you would notice. I remember thinking that the first meeting with Hulk was at the start of the movie, but it’s actually 35 mins in, the film keeps up a cracking pace. Besides, there are a lot of loose ends to tie up here. I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but as if this is the last hurrah for many of the characters, the original 6 Avengers (Iron Man, Cap, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk and Hawkeye) are put front and centre in this one, it is their film. The exception is Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man who was absent from Infinity War but here offers the majority of the comic relief.

The beauty of this film is that by and large, it is a conclusion, unlike some franchises that have ambiguous endings that allow for further development, here the story for the majority is satisfyingly ended. The loose ends are neatly tied, and the potential for other characters is firmly in place. 

I’m not bothered too much about the science, it’s not why I watch these films. I am here for the spectacle and there is absolutely bucket loads here. From a storming revisit to 2012 New York, too a heartbreaking trip to Vormir. There is so much going on but it is brilliantly put together and is excellent storytelling that is immensely engaging.

The MCU films, especially those of the last 5 years or so have demonstrated social awareness, whether that be ‘Black Panther,’ or ‘Captain Marvel’  breaking down barriers for diverse casting and superheroes, with Endgame being no different. The depiction of mental health issues that Thor goes through, is played partly for laughs granted, but are also an interesting change of direction for the most other-worldly Marvel character. Hemsworth himself seems to enjoy the challenge of showing a completely different side to the God of Thunder.

There is also the brief girl-power moment of the final battle that has received some criticism of it clumsy handling, but better to have a brief moment like that than not at all, and once again shows that the female characters of the MCU are equal to all their male counterparts.

Now onto the final battle. If I’m honest it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the Battle of Wakanda from Infinity War but it is still enthralling and contains one of the greatest punch the air moments of quite frankly, any film. 

The Portals scene warrants a new paragraph, it is simply majestic and for me, it is right up there with “I’m Spartacus”, George punching Biff and Lando flying the Falcon out of the 2nd Death Star, whilst engulfed in flames at the end of Return of the Jedi. Perfectly accompanied by Alan Silvestri’s rousing score, it is a moment that feels the MCU was building too. Even more touching that Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther is first out, especially when you consider that he led the charge alongside Cap in the Battle of Wakanda.

At this point the Cinema was literally bouncing, don’t think I’ve experienced anything like that in a UK cinema before. It was simply stunning. 

I won’t say any more about the battle, most people have seen it now and know the outcomes but I will leave it there. The final 30 minutes of the film is like one long epilogue, but it’s beautifully done and like I said at the start ties up many of the loose ends.

If I am nitpicking there are a couple of moments that didn’t land. I’m never a fan of jokes that in time will age a film. Of course, it is always great to see Korg but the Fortnite gag won’t mean much in 10 years, likewise Hulk doing the dab with his young fans, but these are minor quibbles.

This is Cinema at it’s most communal, at it’s most epic. It is packed full of perfectly choreographed action, a plot that isn’t too full of itself. There are moments of unexpected humour, emotional deaths of favourite characters (some you may have expected beforehand, one definitely not) and all in all it’s a film that makes you feel good. It does also make me feel quite emotional, as the end credit roll call (which is a bit like a theatrical curtain call) is one final reminder of the effort that has been put in over the years simply to thrill and entertain, but also a reminder that this will be the last time this phenomenal cast will all be together in one place.

What started as a Cinematic experiment concludes with flying colours. The MCU will continue after Endgame for that there is no doubt, if it can just reach half the level of thrills and excitement then there is lots to look forward to.

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