Tag Archives: mark ruffalo

Some of Marvel’s heroes Unite to Save Democracy

With an important and vital election less than a week away, some of Marvel’s heroes are uniting to help “save democracy”. Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Rosario Dawson, Natalia Cordova, and Clark Gregg, with more being added, are coming together for a livestream event to help support the Wisconsin Democrats. They’re not the only Marvel actors to help this election, Paul Rudd recently stumped for Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman.

You can take part by donating here. Election day is Tuesday, November 8th. Get out and vote!

Marvel Studios Releases New Details on Hawkeye, Shang-Chi, Captain Marvel 2, Armor Wars, Ironheart, Secret Invasion… and Fantastic Four!

During the Disney investor presentation, numerous announcements were made as to what to expect from Marvel Studios over the next years. Numerous first looks were released and updates to movies, television shows, and a whole lot of reveals.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has wrapped its production. The film is in theaters July 9, 2021.

Brie Larson will return as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel 2. Nia DaCosta will direct the film and Larson will be joined by Iman Vellani, the new Ms. Marvel, and Teyonah Parris who will play Monica Rambeau. Parris will debut as the character in WandaVision.

Captain Marvel 2 will fly into theaters November 11, 2022.

Hawkeye is currently filming. Jeremy Renner returns as the character and will be joined by Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop.

Additional cast include Vera Farmiga, Fra Fee, and newcomer Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez, with episodes directed by Rhys Thomas and directing duo Bert and Bertie.

Tatiana Maslany is now confirmed as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk… and Tim Roth is joining her!? Roth returns as the Abomination. Mark Ruffalo will also appear on the Disney+ series. It will be directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia.

Moon Knight is confirmed though no more details have been released.

Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury in the Disney+ series, Secret Invasion. Ben Mendelsohn will return as well as the Skrull Talos.

Dominique Thorne will step into the armor as Riri Williams in Ironheart! The character is coming to a series soon on Disney+.

Ironheart and‚Ķ Armor Wars!? Don Cheadle suits up again as James Rhodes, aka War Machine. The classic story comes to the small screen of Disney+ as Tony Stark’s fear of his tech falling into the wrong hands comes true.

Hopefully it’ll be as much of a trainwreck as the Star Wars special, but in 2022 we’re getting The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special directed and written by James Gunn. You’ll be able to watch it on Disney+.

I am Groot! Baby Groot will get a series of shorts on Disney+.

Christian Bale has officially joined the cast of Thor: Love and Thunder as the villain Gorr the God Butcher. This will have a major impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor: Love and Thunder comes to theaters on May 6, 2022.

Peyton Reed will return to direct the third Ant-Man film, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer all return. Kathryn Newton joins the cast as Cassie Lang and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror.

And… the Fantastic Four are coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe directed by Jon Watts!

The Avengers Assemble to Raise Money for Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign

Avengers Assemble

Virtual get-togethers of casts are one of the hottest fundraising tickets right now, and the Avengers are assembling to support Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

‚ÄúVoters Assemble!‚ÄĚ will feature Avengers cast members Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, and Zoe Saldana.

Joining the cast is vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris and directors The Russo Brothers for a Q&A and trivia.

The fundraiser takes place on October 20 at 6:45 pm ET. To attend, you can donate any amount of money to the Joe Biden Victory Fund.

Instructions for accessing the virtual event will be in the emailed donation receipt or in the page you will be redirected to after donating. 

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok

Usually when films get around to their third, the quality dips… a lot, and we’re left with a shell of a franchise that tarnishes what’s come before. Thor: Ragnarok not only bucks that trend, but delivers a film that’s not only the best of the three Thor films released so far, but also one of the best in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.¬†Directed by Taika Waititi with a script by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost, Thor: Ragnarok is a visual treat of a film that feels like a comic come to life in many ways. This shouldn’t be surprising as both Kyle and Yost have written comics themselves and have a long history in animated comic based franchises. Pearson was part of the team behind Agent Carter, a television series focused on a kick-ass female lead, which in itself makes some of the film not surprising.

With Odin deposed from the throne the evil Hela returns to take over Asgard and the Nine Realms. Thor is sidetracked as he’s sent to the world Sakaar where he’s forced into a gladiator role and comic book Spartacus. That latter part is a new take on comic writer Greg Pak’s “World War Hulk” storyline that saw the Hulk in a similar role. But, here the Hulk is a companion Thor must win over as we find out where he’s been all these years.

What’s immediately noticeable about the film, beyond it’s different visual tone, is the comedic sense of it all. Waititi is the director behind the hilarious shorts featuring Thor and a roommate and that same humor is here. It’s a dry sense of humor where quips are given back and forth and visual jokes are few and far apart. Chris Hemsworth in the title role plays off the humor well delivering it all with a seriousness that makes it all even more entertaining. But, that humor is also mixed with lots of action that’s well paced and keeps things flowing through the end battle. An action film with comedic elements or is it a comedic action film? That’s a hard one but the laughs were enough that I missed dialogue either because I was laughing or the audience was, making the film one you’ll need to see multiple times to get everything.

But, back to Waititi and the visuals. With an energy about it that feels like Blade Runner, Fifth Element, and bubblegum pop mixed together, the worlds are bright and visually stunning each in their own way. Sakaar is a mixed of colors which enhance each scene and brought into the design of every character. Watching the film I couldn’t help think this was Jack Kirby’s brilliance brought to the screen for us to enjoy. Warriors for the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum, look like the design of Kirby’s Celestials. The film is almost an homage to his brilliance, fitting for the year we celebrated his 100th birthday. All of it pops in the IMAX 3D I watched the film in.

The movie expands the cast too. Hemsworth is his usual entertaining self getting to up his comedic chops.¬†Tom Hiddleston as Loki has his moments as well but generally plays the mischievous straight man to everyone else’s jokes. Mark Ruffalo, who is a newcomer to the Thor franchise, brings more interest to Bruce Banner and the Hulk, creating a neurotic man both lost and afraid of what might happen. But those newcomers are where things stand out. Idris Elba as Heimdall gets to step up and be a badass in the film, making me long for more Elba in the Marvel Universe. Goldblum brings a cosmic disco sense to it all in his Grandmaster making a villain fun. Karl Urban as Skurge is possibly the low point with just too little to do. But, Cate Blanchett as Hela and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie are the two real highlights.

Blanchett delivers a villain role that is badass and tragic and very intimidating. She is Thor’s better in every way and this is the first villain in a Marvel film I felt this. She’s not defeated in some battle, she kills unknown amounts of people, and she does it with her own hands. Thompson too rocks as Valkyrie a bounty hunter who has a history with Asgard and Hela. Her initial badassness is confirmed later as the real battle begins and again we get a character who is every bit Thor’s equal. The two women being such highlights makes me think Pearson’s role with Agent Carter might have helped. Two commanding women are not something we generally see in a Marvel film, let alone two that are better than the male lead in so many ways. Hela whips Thors as and Valkyrie gets the better of him again and again. The tide feels like it’s turning a bit when it comes to female characters in comic adaptations with the addition of DC’s Wonder Woman who herself rocked the big screen this year.

The story itself is solid with few flaws and a finale that actually doesn’t disappoint. Third acts generally have been letdowns when it comes to comic films and this is the exception to the rule.

IMAX 3D just immersed me in the movie with moments actually causing me to feel like I was falling and moving too, a fun addition to it all.

Is the film a must see? Yes, on the big screen and preferably in IMAX 3D. Then you can see it again when you realize you’ve missed a lot from laughing and being entertained. One of the best Marvel releases yet and one of the best and most entertaining films released this year.

Overall Rating: 9.35

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok

Thor_Ragnarok_SDCC_PosterThor’s outings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been. . . uneven at best, to put it kindly. Indeed,¬†Thor: The Dark World¬†remains the unequivocal nadir of the MCU’s otherwise good track record. But given that and¬†Avengers: Age of Ultron¬†also being less than stellar — the last two times we saw our Asgardian hero — you might come in to this film with zero expectations.

Prepare to be blown away by one of the best movies in the MCU and certainly Thor’s best film appearance to date.¬†

Chris Hemsworth¬†reprises his role as the Norse God of Thunder. Reunited with his presumed-dead brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), they track down their missing father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who reveals a deep family secret — an older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of death who has her sights set on the Asgardian throne.

Various misadventures find Thor reunited with fellow Avenger The Hulk / Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), against whom he is pitted in gladiatorial combat reminiscent of the storyline in Planet Hulk. They must escape back to Asgard to take on Hela with the help of a recalcitrant Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) who is probably the best part of the movie and given some of the most fun action pieces and one of the best character arcs of any person in the film.

But don’t be fooled into thinking most of this is a Planet Hulk movie. Its roots go far deeper than the relatively recent storyline. But if you take one part Planet Hulk, plus equal amounts Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson classic Thor, that’s the comics cocktail from which this springs.

The ringmaster for this particular circus is director Taika Waititi, who delivers something truly unexpected: a different kind of Marvel movie. One of the most common complaints against the MCU is how similar / unoriginal / mass produced they feel. Thor: Ragnarok defies that claim with its humor, characters, visuals, and soundtrack.

This movie is funny. Of course, that should be of no surprise to those who know Waititi for his time working on¬†Flight of the Conchords¬†or his previous films¬†What We Do in the Shadows¬†and¬†Hunt for the Wilderpeople.¬†It’s a very specific humor which is undeniably Kiwi in its politeness, awkwardness, and wry sense of irony — and wholly different from Joss Whedon’s or James Gunn’s much broader humor in The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Waititi also brings along some familiar faces to those who know his other films, including Rachel House, who plays a lackey of Jeff Goldblum‘s The Grandmaster in Ragnarok, is very similar to the character she played in Wilderpeople. And Waititi himself shows up (as he is wont to do in his own films) as Korg, a rock-person gladiator who ends up with some of the funniest lines in the film.

Waititi’s work has always been good before, but he’s never been given this big of a canvas to paint on.¬†Wilderpeople¬†especially felt like they spent the majority of the movie’s budget on a climactic, over-the-top car chase full of explosions that would make Michael Bay blush. With the ability to really cut loose — and decades of Kirby and Simonson art to draw from — Waititi gives us some of the most astounding visuals of the MCU so far.

While not quite as mind-blowing as last year’s¬†Doctor Strange, the visuals¬†Waititi seems to be trying to give us a late 70’s/early 80’s¬†psychedelic trip of a sci-fi movie, complete with a soundtrack by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh — heavy on the Devo and John Carpenter synth vibe. Oh, and a heaping helping of Led Zeppelin’s¬†Immigrant Song¬†in case you couldn’t get enough of it from the trailer. Waititi also borrows (steals?) visually from fellow Marvel director Sam Raimi in fun and unexpected ways and includes perhaps the most interesting nod to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory¬†ever.

But a film always comes down to its characters and its themes. And this is where Thor: Ragnarok perhaps shines above many of its other MCU peers. Every character in this film goes on a journey. Their stories, interactions, and dialogue are incredibly well-woven together. Everything has a purpose and eventual payoff. It sits alongside its peer Logan this year for being so well-crafted from a storytelling perspective. One tiny complaint is that it gets a little too bogged down in its own exposition in the middle. It could stand to lose five or seven minutes, but not much more.

And at the end you ask yourself, “So what?”

One of the great joys of being able to analyze movies is to ask these questions. Is this just a cashgrab to get butts in seats, buy popcorn, and sell merchandising? There’s something unique in here, which requires going into very minor spoiler territory. Skip the next 5 paragraphs if you don’t want to know any more.

[Begin Minor Spoilers]

The title Thor: Ragnarok is instructive. Ragnarok — the Norse apocalypse — is the destruction of the world, and in the case of the film and the comics, of Asgard. But it often signifies a form of creative destruction or nihilism necessary for a new chapter.

Hela comes to Thor and Loki replacing their ideas of what Asgard was — a beautiful civilization that loves peace — with the true history that she once rode with Odin making war on the 9 Realms to capture their treasure and slay millions of innocents. Odin cast her out when he decided to switch brands from bloodthirsty warmonger to benevolent father-king, but he kept the gold and trinkets that made him powerful. But after a lifetime, Odin passes onto Thor the wisdom that Asgard is not a place– it’s people. You could just as easily insert for “Asgard” there the names America, Britain, Spain . . . New Zealand.

And so here we are in 2017. Maybe we’re looking at the world with fresh eyes, that the advances of “the West” are built on a bloody history of colonialism, slavery, and other forms of oppression. Perhaps we’re now seeing the chickens of our nationalism, jingoism, sexism, and quest for economic hegemony coming home to roost in the the rise of forces and ideals we long thought dead or outmoded. Perhaps Ragnarok — some creative nihilism — is what we need to wipe the vestiges of former power away to be replaced by a more pure, benevolent rule of law.

Or maybe it’s just a story about two brothers, one of whom has a magic hammer, and it gets smashed by their mean old sister, so they have to recruit a giant green monster to help beat her up. Could be that, too.

ONE OTHER THING (Is it a spoiler to reveal what¬†isn’t¬†in a movie?) If you’ve got your hopes up to see the final infinity stone, just tamp those expectations down. You do get a couple glances at the Tesseract (aka the Space Stone), but we already knew about that one anyway, right? Right. Just enjoy the movie without worrying about it moving that particular storyline forward.

But, of course, make sure you stay through the credits, because. . . well, you know the drill.

[End Spoilers]

It’s likely unfair to castigate the MCU for having movies that feel like they came off an assembly line. While it may have been true previously (again, looking at you,¬†Thor: The Dark World¬†and¬†Avengers: Age of Ultron), it’s worth noting how unique the Marvel Phase 3 films have been:

Captain America: Civil War is a philosophical political thriller and ethical Rorschach test with action set-pieces. (I still don’t trust anyone who is totally Team Iron Man)
Doctor Strange¬†is a psychedelic mystic Hero’s Journey where the real enemy is ego.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2¬†is a family drama where a reluctant patriarch has to lose the last vestiges of his mother and father to become the father he needs to be — and where a raccoon cries at the end as he wonders whether or not there is a god.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a John Hughes movie with superheroes.
Black Panther looks to be the most unique Marvel movie of all.

There is a theme running through all of these:¬†the act of creative destruction. In all of these films, our characters have to give up something they love or thought defined them in order to take the next step in their hero’s journey.

Further, family looms large in Cap: Civil War, Guardians 2, and Spider-Man. Family is at the core of Thor: Ragnarok,¬†as it’s essentially sibling rivalry writ large with intergalactic consequences. It’s almost like. . . they¬†actually¬†plan these things out and are trying to say something more broadly about the human condition.

Kudos, Marvel. And Kudos (or whatever the New Zealand equivalent) to Taika Waititi. You have created something unique that blends together some of the best parts of the history of the character of Thor, given us astounding visuals, great music, jokes to make us laugh, action to thrill us, and even some nuggets to ponder.

You’ve given us a film finally worthy of the God of Thunder. Go see this on the biggest, brightest screen you possibly can. And then hug your family and friends. Because even in an apocalypse, home is not just a place– it’s people.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Don’t Hang Up on Make Mark Ruffalo. You Wouldn’t Like Him Angry.

Actor Mark Ruffalo who plays Bruce Banner/The Hulk has lent his voice to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to help find volunteers and get out the vote for this Tuesday’s election. The actor channeled his green on-screen alter-ego in the call:

Hi, this is actor and climate change activist Mark Ruffalo, calling with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Please don’t hang up. That will make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.

The actor is a regular when it comes to progressive causes often lending his voice, time, money, and star-power for environmental causes especially.

You can listen to the full call below:

Blanchett, Goldblum, Thompson, Urban, & Ruffalo Join Thor: Ragnarok

The cast of Thor: Ragnarok has gotten a dose of actors worthy of gods. Marvel has announced that Two-time Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett will be playing Hela, along with Jeff Goldblum who joins the cast as the eccentric Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson will bring Valkyrie to life, and Karl Urban will be playing Skurge.

Mark Ruffalo will also be in the film as Bruce Banner/Hulk which answers the question from Captain America: Civil War, where he’s been.

These new additions will join Chris Hemsworth returning as Thor; Tom Hiddleston as Loki; Idris Elba as Heimdall; and Sir Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Ruler of Asgard.

Thor: Ragnarok comes to theaters November 3, 2017.

Marvel also released some concept art showing off Hela.

Thor Ragnarok concept art

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic day! What’s everyone excited for?

Around the Tubes

Previewsworld – Herb Trimpe Passes Away at 75 – Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

The Outhousers – Marvel Studios In Talks With “Guardians Of The Galaxy” And “Inside Out” Writers To For “Captain Marvel‚ÄĚ – Cool!

The Beat – Wonder Woman and her pet tiger – This reminds me of Kevin Smith and the story about the spider.

Newsarama – Ruffalo Reveals Marvel Doesn’t Own Full Rights to Hulk Movie – Well that makes sense.

CBR – “Daredevil” Now Available to the Visually Impaired – Great to see the change.

iO9 – 10 Incredibly Stupid Ways That Superheroes and Villains Have Died – These are pretty bad.

Kotaku – Forget Batman, a Japanese Superhero Is Patrolling the Streets – Very cool.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Bleeding Cool – The Fox #1

CBR – The Fox #1

 

The Hulk Dips Into Brazilian Politics

Mark Ruffalo, the actor who you might know as Bruce Banner/the Hulk in Marvel’s movies, is outspoken when it comes to politics and numerous issues he finds important. He’s been involved in numerous international issues, and forums. Recently he waded into Brazilian politics, endorsing a presidential candidate, Marina Silva, then reversed his position the next day.

“Marina Silva is probably one of the most interesting and exciting politicians on the world stage today,” he said in a YouTube video, endorsing the presidential candidate.

This endorsement (you can watch the video below) got legions of gay rights activists to urge Ruffalo to reconsider citing the candidates lack of support for gay marriage.

Ruffalo asked the candidate whose aide responded she was, linking to her campaign platform with pledges support for the gay community. Many activists pressed further doubting the actual support. This playing out on Twitter got Ruffalo’s name to trend in Brazil.

Ruffalo then backtracked:

It has come to my attention that the Brazilian Candidate for President, Marina Silva, may be against gay marriage… It is a little bit murky and unclear presently. I have to apologise for not doing a better job of vetting this decision.

…my support is null and void.

Silva is one of three leading candidates for the presidency in Sunday’s election.

(via BBC)

Movie Review ‚Äď The Avengers

Jon is the latest contributor to join Graphic Policy.  Expect many more reviews to come.

The Avengers started life as a marketing gimmick.

Desperate for another super-hero title to part kids from their hard earned nickels, Stan Lee commissioned Jack Kirby to throw together Marvel’s B list characters in a single series. Eventually the team uncovered¬† Captain America, frozen in a block of ice, and the comic book incarnation finally surpassed it’s lackluster origins with a few rare moments of brilliance. In the movie version Captain America has already de-frosted before the opening titles, but even the living legend of World War II can’t help this cinematic turd from falling flat on it’s face.

The story begins with Loki, last seen causing mischief in Thor, being sent by a race of mysterious aliens, to recover The Tesseract, the cosmic McGuffin featured in Captain America, and lead an invasion of Earth. It all goes down hill from there as Samuel L Jackson assembles his team of super heroes to save the world. They fight with each other for a bit, have their asses handed to them by the enemy, finally get their act together and, SPOILER ALERT, they save the day and go out for swarma. It’s¬† enough of a¬† plot for a 24 page comic or a two hour film but after being bloated to two and a half hours by unnecessary complications and a lot of superfluous thud and blunder (much like modern comic book story arcs),¬† it becomes a real chore to sit through. By the end I was squirming in my seat, waiting for it to be over so I could eat and wishing I had mowed the lawn instead of going to the movies.

Of all the elements of storytelling that Avengers fails at, characterization is perhaps the weakest link.¬† Loki’s motivation is muddy and his intentions seem a little unclear from the word go. He’s also much too active in battle and doesn’t display any of his trademark tricks, preferring to slug it out with all comers, and relying on a form of alien mind control that’s so effective it can be undone with a bump on the head. Several characters do things that are just plain dumb just so that the plot can move along (trusting the guy whose been Loki’s puppet for the entire movie to fly a jet into battle is a good example). The dialog displays Joss Whedon‘s usual flair for the sarcastic, and adequately differentiates the characters from one another, but the actors don’t quite manage to pull it off and it winds up coming out flat. That’s not to say that the acting is bad.¬† Everyone except Scarlett Johansson (who seems painfully aware that her role exists solely to get some feminist cred while showcase a good looking butt in black leather) does a competent job. ¬†I think part of¬† the problem is that¬† Whedon’s genius as a director is his ability to cast actors that work well in an ensemble and to pick people who can really make the words sing. It’s hardly surprising that the one stand out performance is delivered by Mark Ruffalo in the role of Bruce Banner, Whedon’s one major casting decision. It’s a shame that he wasn’t the point of view character for the entire narrative, as he is at once a likeable every-man and a deeply troubled, compelling individual with a problem that many in the audience can understand and sympathize with.

The Avengers lacks the emotional core that is essential to all of the best stories. It is a turgid behemoth of the movie that we are conditioned to believe is fun because of it is full of  bright colors, big explosions and beautiful people. I really hope that Whedon decides not to return for a sequel, though the sad irony is that Disney will probably give him helicarriers full of money for Avengers 2, but not a penny for more Firefly.

Overall rating: 6.5

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