Top 5: MCU Villains (insert evil laughter here)

Tom Hiddleston, Loki, Thor: The Dark World

 

There’s an old saying amongst people who compulsively read comic books that heroes are only as good as their villains.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe just churned out MCU #12 with Ant-Man (click here for review), and now we’re on a sad break until Netflix’s Jessica Jones in the fall.  If there’s a systemic flaw in the franchise it is that, while the heroes have been cast and developed near-perfectly, the villains have not gotten the same treatment.

Sadly, this is-in part-because a lot of Marvel’s best villains are locked into the X-Men and Fantastic Four lots that are owned by other studios.  The Red Skull was completely mishandled in Cap 1, and I don’t believe for a second he’s dead so hopefully they’ll give him his due the second time around.  In fact, if Tom Hiddleston hadn’t nearly stolen Phase 1 from Iron Man, we’d be talking about this as a real problem.  Hiddleston’s Loki is so good that the temptation is to overuse him because he’s SO GOOD.  Norse gods don’t age though, and Hiddleston will, so the smart move is to spend more time developing antagonists with depth equal to the heroes.  That will probably have to start with Dr. Strange, because in Captain America: Civil War, the heroes are going to be pounding on each other.

1. Wilson Fisk (Daredevil)

I think, and we’ll see if the fall’s Jessica Jones proves me right, that the best villains are going to come out of the Netflix shows.  They have what the movie villains lack: time.  The Kingpin doesn’t appear until the end of the fourth episode of the series, but his presence is there from the pilot.  D’Onofrio didn’t just make him a thug or a refined crime boss or a bully.  He made him a scared little boy trying to mold his world like a child building a train set.  Nuanced, brilliant and explosively dangerous, the Kingpin is the new standard for what a Marvel villain can be.

2. Loki (Thor, Thor: The Dark World, The Avengers)

I know, I know, you think he should be number one.  He certainly was until April.  He’s been in the most films of every villain (he was cut from Age of Ultron or he’d have been in four) and we’re certainly going to see him again.  Loki is a character, like all the Asgardians, that could have come off corny and dumb, but Hiddleston just ate scenery like a mulcher every time he was onscreen.  The best part about him, though, is he’s NOT pure evil, he does love his brother, he just also wants to rule the world.  He has depth that only D’Onofrio topped and he had more time to develop it.

3. The Winter Soldier (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Oh he’s not much of a talker, but for sheer menace and ability, The Winter Soldier hit Cap and company like a freight train.  I did not like Sebastian Stan in the first Cap film, but I will give him all the props in the world for making TWS a foe that made the Red Skull look like a pussycat (which is actually a problem, but not Stan’s fault).

4. Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Between Ultron and The Blacklist, I live in a world where I like James Spader.  However did that happen?  Spader did a great job with Ultron.  He’s a child, learning at an exponential rate and if he sounds like Stark….you have to remember he kind of is.  That is the scary thing and that, I think, will lead us to Civil War.

5. Whiplash (Iron Man 2)

I know Iron Man 2 has its detractors, but rewatch it and look how much it sets up for Phase 2.  If you had told me that Whiplash was going to somehow be made cool, I’d have passed you some very tasty pills, but Mickey Rourke managed to put actual menace in him and the scene where he compares his family to the Starks while Tony visits him in prison is one of my favorite in the MCU.

Trailer Time: Sicario Trailer #1 (2015) *Villeneuve’s Next Masterpiece?*

Denis Villeneueve is one of the most underrated, talented and messed-up directors working today.  Between Incendies and Prisoners, he’s made two of the most brilliantly disturbing films I’ve ever seen, and it looks like Sicario is going to do it to us again.  The good news is that it opens in the wasteland that is September so this gives us something to look forward to aside from The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.  In a year where the only noteworthy lead performance by an actress in a film was Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina, I’m rooting for Emily Blunt to finally get some recognition for being one of the most versatile and talented actresses working.  Sicario opens on September 18, 2015.
Emily Blunt, Sicario

In Spanish, Sicario means hitman. In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elite government task force official to aid in the escalating war against drugs. Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past, the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.

Emily Blunt, Sicario

11 New Batman vs. Superman Pics Plus a New Synopsis

Batman, Ben Affleck, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

 

These come courtesy of this month’s cover story by Empire Magazine on March 2016’s showdown between the Bat and the Boy Scout.  Everything still looks fantastic, and the last trailer was a drastic improvement, so I’m hoping. Continue reading 11 New Batman vs. Superman Pics Plus a New Synopsis

Complete List of Achievement/Trophies for Guitar Hero Live (2015 – Xbox, Playstation)

The music game craze of five years ago ate up countless amounts of my money and several trashed plastic guitars.  I love Rock Band.  In the end, I will most likely play both (if Rock Band 4 guitars are compatible with GHL) because I, who have always wanted to play a music instrument my whole like, found a plastic rockin’ shortcut.  Guitar Hero Live! hits shelves on October 20, 2015.
Continue reading Complete List of Achievement/Trophies for Guitar Hero Live (2015 – Xbox, Playstation)

My Favorite Scene: Jerry Maguire (1996) “Help Me To Help You”

Jerry Maguire was Tom Cruise’s last chance to win an Oscar.  That sounds harsh; he’s only in his early 50’s, but he seems to have totally gone into “action-adventure” mode at this stage in his career.  While I’m not a fan of his personal, tinfoil hat-wearing, couch jumping crazy real life, I can’t deny the man makes movies I like.  In terms of turning in genuinely great performances though, I think his two best were A Few Good Men and Jerry Maguire.  Jerry Maguire is essentially a more palatable version of the real Tom Cruise, and Cruise plays the idealistic sports agent with one client (Arizona Cardinals receiver Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding Jr. who did win an Oscar for this, gave the greatest acceptance speech ever, and then disappeared off the face of the Earth) to the hilt.  The iconic scene from the film is the “show me the money” scene, but unfortunately it kind of got parodied to death.  I prefer the scene where Jerry is at the end of his rope with his difficult client, stalks him into the bathroom and has a minor psychotic episode trying to get him to do what he wants.  This really is a fantastic film overall, and should have won Best Picture (this was the year of, shudder, The English Patient).  It’s funny, genuine and heart-warming.  It’s the kind of film Cameron Crowe used to be able to make.
Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise