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Oscar Isaac Confirmed as Marc Spector for Marvel’s Moon Knight

Moon Knight

With a post of “We Are Moonknight, actor Oscar Isaac has confirmed the already confirmed rumor that he’ll be donning the cowl for Marvel StudiosMoon Knight. Isaac will play the lead role of Marc Spector.

Jeremy Slater has been developing the series and leading the writing team. Justin Benson, Mohamed Diab, and Aaron Moorhead are listed as director, Slater and the character’s creators are listed with writing credits.

Moon Knight is the alter ego of Marc Spector, a mercenary who may be the conduit for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Spector also might be crazy with multiple personalities he inhabits. Are they part of his mission? Is it part of being a conduit for a god? Has he lost his mind?

Spector is also one of the few high-profile Jewish characters in the Marvel Universe. Magneto, The Thing, and Kitty Pryde being the other three well-known characters. With the casting of Isaac, an opportunity to have a Jewish actor tap into their experiences for the role is lost. Spector’s Jewishness is central to his character. He’s the son of a Rabbi and the “slave” of an Egyptian god. Isaac has said he has Jewish ancestry on his Father’s side of the family though both of his parents are evangelical Protestant and he was raised as one.

So far, it looks like the creative team and confirmed actors lack Jewish representation. For a character whose Jewishness is so vital, this should be concerning for representation.

Slater had developed The Umbrella Academy, another comic turned television series, for Netflix. That show has been accused and anti-Semitism making the lack of a Jewish voice as part of the creative team even more concerning. Creators of Umbrella Academy pushed back against the concerns.

Whether Marvel will downplay the character’s Jewishness remains to be seen but the company’s past actions of Jewish erasure should have folks weary of what’s to come.

Oscar Isaac Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac is in Negotiations for Marvel’s Moon Knight Series

Moon Knight

Deadline is reporting that Oscar Isaac may be heading from Star Wars to Marvel. The actor is in negotiations to star in Moon Knight, the upcoming Disney+ series based on the classic comic character.

Jeremy Slater will be developing the series and leading the writing team. Slater had developed The Umbrella Academy, another comic turned television series, for Netflix.

Moon Knight is the alter ego of Marc Spector, a mercenary who may be the conduit for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Spector also might be crazy with multiple personalities he inhabits. Are they part of his mission? Is it part of being a conduit for a god? Has he lost his mind?

Spector is also one of the few high profile Jewish characters in the Marvel Universe. Magneto, The Thing, and Kitty Pryde being the other three well-known characters. With the possible casting of Isaac, an opportunity to have a Jewish actor tap into their experiences for the role is lost. Spector’s Jewishness is central to his character, the son of a Rabbi, and the “slave” of an Egyptian god. Isaac has said he has Jewish ancestry on his Father’s side of the family though both of his parents are evangelical Protestant and he was raised as one.

Moon Knight is just one of a wave of shows coming to Disney+ from Marvel. WandaVision premieres soon but also coming is The Falcon & Winter Soldier, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and numerous other rumored shows in development.

SDCC 2020: Legendary Comics Teams with Oscar Isaac for Head Wounds: Sparrow

Head Wounds: Sparrow

At today’s Comic-Con@Home panel, Legendary Comics announced a thrilling new original graphic novel, Head Wounds: Sparrow, from creator Bob Johnson, with story by John Alvey, and developed by Oscar Isaac for his production company Mad Gene, and Jason Spire, available in stores and online in Early 2021. Head Wounds: Sparrow is written by New York Times’ best-selling writer Brian Buccellato and will feature art by Christian Ward.

Leo Guidry is a bad person and an even worse cop. When he suffers a psychic head wound, his life on the edge slips into spiritual warfare. In a landscape of angels, devils, and everything in between, can a person utterly devoid of empathy find a way to overcome the forces of darkness that have infiltrated his reality? This is the world of Head Wounds: Sparrow.

During the panel, the creative team—including childhood friends Isaac, Johnson, and Alvey—discussed the deeply personal origin of the Head Wounds story. When diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma and as a way to cope, Johnson turned to his passion of writing and created the character of Leo. Inspired by a dream, Johnson conceived the supernatural affliction that haunts Leo throughout the story and forces him to face his own past trauma and lack of empathy. Head Wounds features an original world with compelling mythology created by Johnson and Alvey that will instantly draw in readers.

Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse PosterBryan Singer does it again!

I have to be honest I had my doubt with this movie. Having watched it last night I am very proud to see that most if not all them have been put to rest. Maybe I’m a sucker for the 80s, (1984 baby here) but the time period, the clothes, the  references, resonated very strongly with me. Xavier’s school in the era of skinny jeans, the cold war and President Reagan is a very fun place to be.  The themes and struggles of that era pair themselves well to the unfurling X-Men Mythos one that continues to tread Xenophobia, difference, the red scare and the spectre of mutually assured destruction. Apocalypse seizes on these zeitgeists in a way that punctuates his threat.  I shared the concerns of how Apocalypse would be presented but these were quickly alleviated. Oscar Isaac‘s really sold Apocalypse as primal and ontological threat.

One of my gripes was the lost opportunity for philosophical engagement. Ideologically Apocalypse is the diametric foil to Xavier, most of their conflict in the movie is confined to physical and psychic combat however. To me this was a bit of a lost opportunity (but still very cool visually). Apocalypse’s Darwinian proclivities could have benefited the film with a more thorough exploration. This is also the case at least 2 of his horsemen, (Psylocke and Storm) who’s motivation for aligning with the God-Mutant aren’t entirely clear.  In the comics, mutants chosen to become Horsemen undergo profound brainwashing that endures for years after the fact, in the movie it wasn’t too apparent whether this was taking place. Additionally  The notion of first mutation was introduced and also could have benefited from more explanation, with 7 installments into the franchise I think the time is ripe to explore the ontology of mutation, especially considering a jaw dropping event that takes place near the end of the film. Spoiler: with a telepathic assist from Jean on the Astral plane Xavier instructs her to unleash her potential giving us a more faithful adaptation of the phoenix force on the big screen.  This moment was huge and I doubt that its ramifications have been all settled.

Bryan Singer is to be commended for the way he interwove the plotting and pacing,  the interaction between the mentor X-Men and younger team was masterfully done in a way that was organic and believable. I was worried how they would throw the neophyte X-Men into the ring training and all, but their involvement and the nature of the threat they are presented with makes it work. The progression of the film did feel a bit fast but there was good economy of screen time per character vs set up on the hero side of the equation. As I mentioned earlier however Apocalypse and his horsemen suffered a bit in this regard. Quicksilver returns once more doing what he does best …stealing scenes. This time his powers are shown off to an 80’s hit track that had everyone in my theatre laughing. Made me wonder and anticipate what he’ll speed out to if they get a 90’s sequel off the ground.

Magneto had some very good scenes, and the story did a good job raising some pathos for his character. A new plot element takes its cue straight from the comics, and really cements Magneto as a tortured soul, justifiably incensed with humanity. As I mentioned earlier however die hard fans will be left unclear as to how much of Magneto’s rage is his own, versus how much is of Apocalypses influence.

As the installment closing out the second X-Trilogy I would say X-Men: Apocalypse did its job admirably. The call backs and homages to past movie elements really show how much Singer and Simon Kinberg love and respect the franchise while providing winks to the audience. Above all this however, X-Men: Apocalypse injects fresh blood and opportunity into a run that could have easily gone stale 16 years and 7 films in. To see the broad range of philosophies presented thus (egalitarian, Darwinian, bioethcial etc) aside multiple/alternate timelines, is quite a feat. It is fair to say that the x-movies have juggled and adapted its source material wonderfully, while using time travel to cleverly edit out or otherwise erase its less than stellar flops (Sorry Brett Ratner). As the X-students say after walking out of a Star Trek movie “The third movie is always the worst”

There is a post credit stinger you will want to stick around for, providing another hint that we are not finished with the X-Universe just yet. This stinger also hints at another iconic villain I am excited to see. Apocalypse is one of the most iconic villains in the X-Men rogues gallery, was he perfectly adapted? That is debatable. Will this movie have you excited for what’s to come? Without a question….yes it will and for me that’s where this movie’s strength lies. Clearing away the stagnancy of what came before   and being the fire that ignites new life, to paraphrase Apocalypse’s words, I think that was the underlying ethos for this movie as well…that’s kind of meta.

Final Thoughts

Although the political themes weren’t showcased as strongly as I had hoped, the opening title sequences explored them quit a bit symbolically. They are really starting become a hallmark of the franchise, reaching James Bond Levels of Iconic.

Overall Score 8.5

Movie Review: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

star-wars-force-awakens-official-poster30 years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat rises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of Heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.

One of my earliest memories is going to see Return of the Jedi in the theater, I was about four years old. The film made a lasting impression, as it’s one of the earliest memories I have, particularly a scene in the throne room featuring to guard dressed in red just standing at attention next to a door. I remember the experience as magical, and 32 years later I walked out of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens with that same magical feeling.

For the running time of a little over 2 hours, from the first Lucasfilm logo to the last, I felt something I haven’t felt in a theater in a log time, like a kid. I felt joy, and watched a film that hit me in a way I haven’t experienced in a film in years. And I’ll admit, I teared up quite a few times with an overwhelming feeling of joy. And this is from someone who is not a Star Wars fanboy. I own very little paraphernalia, but I can watch the original films (and even the three prequels) over and over.

The Force Awakens is nowhere perfect. Some plot lines aren’t explained, and some scenes could have been done without, but overall, the movie captures the feel of the original trilogy the second completely missed. The plot is almost a rehash of A New Hope mixed with some Empire. And that combination still feels like something new and fun.

It’s hard to write a solid review without spoilers, but here I go.

The Force Awakens does an amazing job of mixing characters old and new, and it truly feels like a passing of a torch in many ways. Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, and BB-8, all are new characters but they seamlessly blend with Han, Leia, Chewy, and the Millennium Falcon (a character on its own). But, what’s fantastic is the series gives us so much in those characters that are new. Rey is a female lead who can stand on her own. Finn is a conflicted Stormtrooper who plays a more traditional gender role, highlighting Rey’s independence. Poe, the badass pilot. And new roles for old characters as well, Leia, now a General. These are faces that emphasize anyone can be a hero no matter your gender, size, or skin color. And, it’s done in a way that’s subtle, creating a modern Star Wars, a more inclusive world (weird to say about a film that had lots of aliens milling about with each other with no issues). The acting as a whole is what I’d expect for a Star Wars film, more on par with the original trilogy, than the substandard acting of the prequels.

The smartest move was the return to practical special-fx, moving away from digital, something that hurt the prequels. This created a sense of more realism and creatures and items you could touch. That adds to the magical feeling missing from the prequels.

The film too is nearly all action, taking some of the best moments of the six films, and just going with that, giving us dogfights and aerial maneuvers that take you for a ride, especially in 3D. And there’s more of that. A lot more of that.

The film isn’t perfect. The First Order isn’t explained. The Resistance/Republic relationship isn’t explained. How others can wield lightsabers so easy isn’t explained, or a Stormtrooper can parry one with their own sword like item. Poe getting back to base is left open. The Force is now more like a mutant power, emerging when angry or under stress. There’s a few sequences I’d have cut out, and the film hit some nostalgia so close, they might as well instead have done a shot for shot remake. Phasma was woefully underused in the film. And the score isn’t nearly as memorable.

But, what’s new, how it’s packaged and flows is what’s amazing. I really felt like I was at an experience, and I was getting to see old friends on the big screen again. The film is pure joy for its entire 2 hours and 15 minutes. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn near close. For a film to make me feel like I was 4 years old back watching Return of the Jedi in the theater, that’s magic.

Overall Rating: 9.5

Director – J.J. Abrams
Starring – Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher
Rated – PG-13
Run Time – 135 minutes

The First Official Look at Psylocke and Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse

Though a leaked, grainy version of the X-Men: Apocalypse teaser trailer is making its way around the web, as per usual Entertainment Weekly has the first official look at some of the characters for next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse directed by Bryan Singer.

The cover shows off Olivia Munn‘s Psylocke, as well as Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse. Also featured is Michael Fassbender in a new Magneto uniform.

We also get some info from EW as to what to expect from the film as well as who Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen are:

As the new film opens, 10 years have passed and Raven (Lawrence), Charles (McAvoy), and Erik (Michael Fassbender) are still estranged, but not for much longer. The Big A awakens from his Egyptian tomb, sizes up the global ’80s vibe, and decides he’s not down with the Reagan era. “It’s a chaotic world of conflict and war and destruction,” Singer says. “It’s one giant civilization that now requires one giant culling. That’s why he needs ­special assistants in this process.” He finds teenage Storm living on the streets in Cairo, Angel (Ben Hardy) duking it out in a fight club in Berlin, and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) working behind the Iron Curtain for the mutant-broker Caliban. But his big get is Erik, who has been attempting to live a “normal” life in Poland. “He’s fallen in love and he’s basically left his metal ways behind,” Fassbender says. Pretty quickly, though, his world is shattered and “normal” is no longer an option. Says Fassbender, “Apocalypse finds Erik at a low ebb and recruits him.”

ew-cover-1373-xmen

Movie Review – Sucker Punch


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Sucker PunchJudging by the post viewing reactions of the “elite” press at the sneak peek of Zack Snyder‘s Sucker Punch, I’m guessing it won’t be getting the best of reviews by Washington, D.C. publications.  One reviewer went on to say “Now I know why they gave out suckers.  It fit the movie, because boy did it suck,” while another turned to me and said “I’m sure there’s somebody out there that liked this.”  None realized I’m “press” and while I was torn about it, I liked the movie.

While I proclaimed Scott Pilgrim vs. The World as “the first real movie for the Nintendo generation,” Sucker Punch takes the kinetic and frenetic feel of that movie a step further with puzzles, themed boards and each “level” ending in a boss battle.  While Pilgrim had plot to hold it together, Sucker Punch throws that out the window instead loosely tying in settings and events into a pseudo narrative.

The press hated it, but f-them, as this was a movie for a generation who grew up on video games.  A generation that’s looking forward to Halo on the big screen and cheers when they’re able to initiate bullet time in their favorite game to get in that perfect “kill.”  If you don’t celebrate a bit after getting that head shot in Call of Duty, this movie isn’t for you.  This isn’t Oscar bait, hell it might be nominated for a few Razzies.  But, should you expect it to be?  Snyder’s the man who brought us Dawn of the Dead, 300 and Watchmen.  All enjoyable movies but not the deepest or most well acted movies out there.  Snyder is about the visual, and here he brings it.

The movie’s plot is simple, a bunch of beautiful women escape into a fantasy world in order to escape their incarceration.  How does the fantasy world tie into the real world?  What’s actually going on?  That’s sort of strung together by the loosest of plot in the beginning and end, but that’s not the point of the movie.  The movie is all about watching a pretty girl dressed like Sailor Moon use bullet time to effortlessly dance around bullets and blades and go in for the kill.  It’s those moments that draw me into my favorite video games and that’s what sucked me into this movie.

The movie is escapism, plain and simple.  Snyder has put together a nonsensical plot about escapism so that you can experience it yourself by seeing visuals we don’t get enough of and strong women whipping ass.  This is a mish-mosh of movies.  Steam punk nazis, mechas, robots, 10 foot tall samurai, dragons, orcs, it’s all there.  Snyder went into the movie wanting to throw in everything he loves and the things we geeks love too.  He succeeded in that.

The movie was  a quick hour and a half, but in a time when the world is falling apart, that escapism is something I need and want, and I’ll take what I can get.  This is brainless fun for the Nintendo generation.

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