Instagram recently added integration with Spotify and while I’m not a Spotify user, it’s a cool thing to see. Of course, it isn’t perfect, but what about social media is these days? It’ll be interesting to see what Instagram plans next with music, regardless, though.
After seeing Avengers: Infinity War on release day, I’ve been catching up on various podcasts and articles on it. I’m not as thrilled with it as some, but I did think it was a solid movie up until the end. If you don’t want it spoiled for you, though, I’d stop reading now.
Marvel has never been particularly interested in its villains before. Most of them have been the garden-variety mustache twirlers with generic “destroy the world” plans. Killmonger in Black Panther and Loki in the Thor films have been noticeable deviations from this trope, but Thanos is even different from those characters thanks to a surprisingly affecting motion-capture performance from Josh Brolin.
I agree with Dave Schilling that Thanos is a unique villain. He’s going to be hard to top going forward. Give this full review a read because it’s a good one.
It all started to balance out once we realized that Thanos is the main character; he’s the protagonist of this movie. He is actually the driving force. He will dictate everything that happens in the movie. Until his story or the ramifications of his story interact with certain characters, they’re not in the movie. He is pulling people into the drama. We had written, at some point, one of those big-ass group scenes. “Let’s get everybody together in a conference room and talk about the threat that’s coming.” It was cool, because everyone was there, but it was awful.
Marc Bernardin sat down with the filmmakers of Avengers: Infinity War and Christopher Markus made the above statement about the balance of the characters in the film. I did feel that there was a good balance and the teams of characters that were grouped together made sense rather than having everyone in one place.
So, for basically 90 percent of this movie, I’m sitting there thinking, Okay, this is awesome. Then things changed slightly. And I need to be clear: not to the point it changes how I feel about the movie. I still enjoyed it immensely. But Infinity War did send me out on an unfulfilled note, which, to be fair, is probably by design. It’s kind of like if you were riding a roller coaster and having just the best experience. Then, off in the distance, you can see the final crazy loop that ends the ride. “Oh my gosh, this has been so much fun already but look at that loop coming up!” And then the ride bypasses the last loop and just kind of ends and you’re told to get out. And you’re left feeling like, “That was great but I thought we were going to go through that last loop but I guess not.”
This paragraph by Mike Ryan writing for UPROXX captures how I also felt about the end of the movie. I’ll have a podcast coming out on the movie next week with some more thoughts, but this sums it up nicely.
Listen to Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald talk about the film on The Watch.
Late last year, I was told that this film would take place in the past; today, that was confirmed by a second source. The film will find Natasha living in the United States 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union! That timeline places the film firmly in the mid-2000s, meaning we’ll meet up with Nat prior to the events of Iron Man 2.
I was talking about this recently on one of my podcasts. I’m all for a Black Widow story set in the past. Marvel is doing it with the upcoming Captain Marvel, so I have no doubt that they’d consider more stories set in the past.
Clint Barton has been noticeably absent in promotional material for Infinity War, which adds fuel to the theory that his character may not be long for this world. Truth is, Hawkeye is another fan favorite whose death would hurt but wouldn’t put much of a dent in the future of the MCU. The addition of a family and personal background for Clint in Age of Ultron also seems ominous; there’s nothing like sudden emotional stakes to signal an imminent death.
If Hawkeye does appear in Infinity War, I don’t see how he makes it out of this one. He’s a character who had a chance to die in Age of Ultron, but they sacrificed Pietro instead. Even he thinks it’s funny that he’s just a guy with a bow and arrow when all of these crazy things keep happening. Hawkeye talk aside, this is a fun read that takes the contracts into consideration when looking at who could die in Infinity War.
I’m looking forward to the film, but not who dies. We’ve spent ten years with some of these characters and it’s been a wild run for Marvel. But if we do in fact get that Black Widow film, I’ll be quite happy with that.
Monday Musings is back this week. I only have a couple things for now. Celebration Rock hit it’s 100th episode and Carrie Coon was added to the cast of Avengers: Infinity War. Check them out!
Celebration Rock’s 100th episode
Steven Hyden had Rob Sheffield join him for the 100th episode of Celebration Rock. As always, it’s a fun conversation between the two. If you’re looking for a good music podcast to check out this week, look no further.
Carrie Coon will play Proxima Midnight in Avengers: Infinity War, directors Joe and Anthony Russo revealed in an interview with Radio Times.
The character is a member of the Black Order, a group of ruthless aliens that serve Thanos in his villainous quest. She is arguably the most deadly of her group, and was created by comic book writer Jonathan Hickman and debuted along with her colleagues in 2013’s New Avengers No. 8 during the “Infinity Stone” storyline.
Carrie Coon was fantastic in The Leftovers and season three of Fargo. I’m looking forward to seeing her in the MCU, especially as a villain. Marvel is going bigger than they’ve ever gone with Infinity War and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.
Snyder’s biggest reveal, though, was that that there’ll be two brand new ongoing Justice League books post No Justice. Justice League Dark, written by James Tynion IV with art by Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, and Brad Anderson, sees the cult classic team return, but this time led by none other than Wonder Woman! She’ll be joined by Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Detective Chimp, and Man-Bat in one of the wackiest and most fun lineups we’ve seen for a long time. “Justice League Dark is the biggest craziest magic book you can imagine. It’s the biggest magical war thrown into one place,” Snyder enthused.
I wasn’t at WonderCon on Saturday (I only attended Friday) and this was a panel that I was bummed to miss out on. Nerdist has some great coverage of the panel and the new Justice League titles. Justice League, Justice League Dark, and Justice League Odyssey are all on the way from DC. Wonder Woman will be leading a team of some unusual allies in Justice League Dark and I can’t wait to check it out along with the other two titles.
Marvel Studios has begun principal photography in Los Angeles, California, on its newest film, “Captain Marvel.” The production is shooting in and around the greater Los Angeles area, which will also serve as the production base for the film. The production will also shoot on location in Fresno, California, as well as locations in Louisiana, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
These are the details Marvel gave about Captain Marvel today. It’ll be interesting to see how this movie plays out since it’s taking place in the 90s and won’t directly tie-in to the current events of the MCU. We’ve never seen something from the 90s in the Marvel films and that gives them new territory to play with.
You can find all previous editions of Monday Musings here.
Monday Musings returns with some music for you to check out. It’s been a while since I’ve dropped some music in one, so here’s some stuff from Charley Crockett and Three Man Cannon to check out.
This video from Charley Crockett has a fun little introduction before the song kicks in. He tells his boss that he’s chasing a dream and plenty of people know how that feels. Crockett has a unique sound and this is actually my first time listening to him. I’ll have to check out his upcoming album, Lonesome As A Shadow, which is due out on April 20.
I’ll have a more detailed review up later this week for Three Man Cannon’s self-titled album, but you should go ahead an just listen to it now if you haven’t yet. It just came out on March 16, so it’s one you may have missed.
You can find all previous editions of Monday Musings here.
Last week, I spent a good chunk of Thursday and Friday watching the second season of Jessica Jones. I recently watched Annihilation in theaters, too. These two are worlds apart, but feature strong female characters. Here are some articles on each that I wanted to share.
Mommy issues aside, season two’s overall narrative of women reclaiming their power made it mostly worthwhile. The mother stuff will leave some viewers gnashing their teeth, and some of the arguments are more exhausting than intriguing, but we finally see Jessica learning how to be a person and not just a drunk punching machine.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the decision to resurrect Jessica’s mom (you can read about that here), but I agree on what we see from Jessica. This season changes her and there’s no reason it shouldn’t. She’s been through more trauma than most. I do disagree with the section on Jeri in this review, but it’s still worth the read.
Jessica’s roller coaster of emotions about her mother (not to be confused with the Ferris wheel on which they spend their final moments together) improves one of season one’s biggest weak spots. Last time out, the trend of “Jessica has finally captured Kilgrave! ZOMG, he got away again!” grew tired very quickly, despite how good Ritter and Tennant were together.
Alan Sepinwall is a must-read when it comes to any of the shows he covers that I happen to watch. Jessica is the biggest reason why this season works. It makes introducing her mom more reasonable. Sepinwall discusses the Trish, Malcolm, and Jeri storylines, too. They largely act is filler and for the most part, I only enjoyed a handful of things about all of their parts put together.
To say that the language of cancer is written into the DNA of Annihilation is an understatement. Not just with Dr. Ventress, who literally has the disease and pursues a battle / non-battle with it to her own ends. But cancer even comes up right in the first (chronological) scene, where Lena (Natalie Portman) describes the process of cellular division and generation and how the goal of their work is nothing short of curing cancer. This detail is not accident. She is about the path of medication. And we can all understand the medical instinct to cure. To heal. To mend. To make well again and regain our former self. And how so much of that urge comes from the deep understanding of the terrifying possibility that you may not be able to cure it at all.
Just do yourself a favor and go read this FilmCritHulk review. I enjoyed this movie and it was visually stunning.
Marvel released Black Panther on February 16th and it’s seen a lot of well-deserved buzz. I was able to see it on Friday and it was a fantastic movie. Marvel hasn’t been perfect, but they’ve had a solid run since starting the MCU with Iron Man. Here are some articles to check out on Black Panther if you’ve seen the movie already.
This isn’t the first black-led superhero film, but it is perhaps the highest profile ever given to a film so celebratory of black American culture and its African roots, which in itself feels revelatory as a breath of creative fresh air in a genre commonly bemoaned as resting too much on comfortable laurels.
Leigh Monson reviewed the film for The Eagan Enterprise. This review is a quick read that points out how it hits on a pop culture level and what that means for the film.
The truth is that they didn’t dare put the same kinds of handcuffs they did in the past on Coogler. They trusted him largely because they had to trust him. The optics of doing the alternative were too risky. And that was terrifying to them, but they still gave up control and were prepared to take the loss, never expecting in a million years that this film would be the mega-success they’re seeing now (hopefully Hollywood is finally picking up how their modern audience actually works).
Film Crit Hulk is always worth reading. This one is definitely more of a long read, but it’s as entertaining and insightful as you’d expect it to be.
I’m trying to imagine being Ryan Coogler, the movie’s 31-year-old superstar director, at the start of this project, tasked with a job as monumental as this, burdened by a keen sense of the inherent inability to please everyone, and still having to make the movie.
Writing for The Ringer, K. Austin Collins has a nice article on the film. He discusses how you can love something, but have complicated feelings about it at the same time.
If you’re reading this and haven’t seen Black Panther yet, go do that. It’s worth your time.
You can find all previous editions of Monday Musings here.
Monday Musings returns with podcasts on podcasts for you. Celebration Rock returned today and Vox is launching a new show. Check them out below.
Celebration Rock dropped two new episodes. The first is with Brian Fallon and the second is with Jeff Rosenstock. Steven Hyden discusses albums that Bruce Springsteen released in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Brian Fallon joins to discuss 1973’s Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, The Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle.
Jeff Rosenstock joins to discuss Born To Run, which is the first big album of Springsteen’s career.
Take us along on your evening commute Monday through Friday (not on the weekends) and our promise to you is that by the time you get home — or to happy hour — you’ll not only understand the biggest events happening in the world, you’ll be able to explain them to your family and friends.
Vox is launching Today, Explained next week. It sounds similar to The Daily, which I honestly haven’t checked out. However, I might check out both soon just to see how either fits into my podcast listening habits. This sounds like a good way to keep up on the news that maybe I don’t necessarily want to read during the week.