Disney Average

The preservation of our history is important. This includes the history of art and of our pop culture, a large amount of which has been provided or bought by the Walt Disney Company since 1923. My feelings on the House of Mouse are complicated, given that while I grew up with their movies, they are a multi-billion dollar corporation focused on everything that exists. This has really come to a head with the release of their subscription service Disney+ which I was adamant should not be allowed to succeed. As was perhaps inevitable, my family have signed up, and so I can reap the benefits without paying a single penny, which is ideal. So the question remains- being one of its biggest naysayers, what do I make of it?

Without question, the biggest advantage of Disney+ is the access to an extensive catalogue of Disney properties. There are classic shows like Ducktales, and Recess, classic films like Hercules, and The Love Bug, as well as newer hits like Moana and Frozen. There really is something for everyone. There is also a vast amount of cartoon shorts dating back to before 1928’s Steamboat Willie but, ironically, this same catalogue may be one of the service’s greatest flaws. Other subscription services like Netflix and NowTV have a massive selection of ever rotating shows and films from a variety of different companies. Not only do both these of mediums go back decades, but they are coming out with new content at a rapid pace, meaning there is no shortage of things to stream. Disney does not have this advantage. While it is true that The Mouse has an extensive vault, it is not infinite. This is most likely why there are still properties that haven’t yet been uploaded, and I suspect that we may never see a day when 100% of their creations are available. Even with the rate that Disney is swallowing up companies, they will not be able to produce content at the rate it is being consumed.

With the release of Disney+ comes the death of the Disney Vault. This was how the company invented scarcity for their films in the home media market. Once released, a film would be held “in the vault” and re-released on video every 10 years, which was your only opportunity to purchase it. As time progressed, “The Vault” became a generic term for the hypothetical place where Disney stored their past projects, both in film and television. Executive Chairman and former CEO Bob Iger has said [in THIS Variety article] that “at some point fairly soon after launch, it will have the entire Disney motion picture library” which completely eradicates the concept of The Vault, although I couldn’t find a specific statement on their television shows. If we take this statement about Disney+ having everything at face value, then the service for all intents and purposes, will become The New Disney Vault. However I don’t foresee us being given access to 100% of Disney’s content, and even if we do I doubt it will be in its original form. It’s no secret that several films have already been altered, with the most notable being 1984’s Splash! A brief moment of posterior nudity is replaced by some really poor CGI hair extension. Supposedly this was done to make it more child-friendly, so I expect we will see more of these alterations in the months to come.

The true embodiment of Disney+ not being full to the brim with films is the overwhelming lack of Song of the South. This film, released in 1946, focuses on the stories of Brere Rabbit as told by a character called Uncle Remus. It’s one of the earliest instances of a film blending live-action with hand-drawn animation and, as a result, is a semi-important piece of cinematic history. It also features the Academy Award winning song Zip-a-dee-doo-dah which remains part of the societal lexicon to this day. While it has seen cinematic re-releases for various anniversaries in subsequent years, with the last being in 1986, and has screened on television as recently as as 2006, there is still no DVD release. Non-American countries can experience the film on VHS, should you be able to find a copy, but America has never seen any kind of Home Video release. When questioned about the possibility of a release over the years, former CEOs Micheal Eisner and Bob Iger have stated that we may still see Song of the South on DVD, with Iger clarifying [in THIS Deadline article] that we would never see it on Disney+ due to “out-dated cultural depictions” that are “inappropriate in today’s world”. I firmly believe that not releasing Song of the South is a mistake, and that hiding from the mistakes of the past in no substitute to learning from them. This is especially true when you consider that 1941’s Dumbo is still available on the service…Jim Crow and all.

The secondary selling point of Disney+ is its original content which includes The World According to Jeff Goldblum and The Mandalorian. In my opinion, The Mandalorian is one of the best pieces of Star Wars media we have received in recent years, and making it the flagship series of the subscription service is one of the best decisions Disney has ever made. Releasing episodes on a weekly basis means that if people want to keep up to date with the adventures of Baby Yoda, it can’t just be done via the 7-day free trial. That 7-days, by the way, is well below the 30-day free trial of other subscription sites and whilst I understand why they would do this, it seems a bit rude. The Mandalorian has now finished airing its first series, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they continue to keep this weekly routine for the rest of their shows. Long story short, unless you’re willing to pirate this new content, you will be required to have a Disney+ subscription in order to prevent falling behind. This is particularly true in regards to their Marvel shows which will not only tie into the larger MCU, but will be essential in understanding its future films. I hate this. It sickens me. The MCU has always been largely accessible, and much of the surrounding community finds a real sense of belonging in this fictional universe, as well as fellow fans. Hiding pivotal plot points behind a continual paywall is some pure capitalist garbage which will end up alienating a lot of people. I’m all for cross media story-telling, Star Wars has been doing it for years, but that media has to be easily accessible. If you need to buy a Star Wars book, comic or audio-story it’s a one-off payment and adds to the lore of the universe instead of defining the main franchise plotline. Disney has made some good decisions with their subscription service but this decision is their worst.

At the end of the day, Disney+ is fine, but it really lacks in some areas. There is a good enough range of media available for the time being but it isn’t nearly self-sustainable enough and certainly isn’t anywhere near the level we were told to expect [To see just how incomplete their library is, check out THIS comprehensive list from What’s on Disney+]. A perfect version of this service is not just one that contains 100% of Disney’s un-edited content, but also one that is free. Art should be able to be viewed by anyone and it is this simple belief that would appear to be why many art galleries are free. If this is true of paintings and sculptures then surely it should also be true of film? Unfortunately, it isn’t quite this simple, owing to a number of things like copyright and trademark laws. Had Disney chosen only to Copyright their material it would have eventually entered the public domain but because they trademark everything, this will never happen. Regardless of this, Disney has enough money that they can afford to make the service free. Between ticket sales for their movies and parks as well as profits from merchandising, the House of Mouse could take some time off and still make a substantial income. An ideal system might be one where they release a movie to theatres, sell the DVD and then wait 5 years before uploading it to The New Vault. I can’t say that I recommend Disney+, but if if it’s to be shared by your family then it may be worth it.

Until Next Time…

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

DC: The Continuity Joke (Part II)

By 2013 the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in full swing, with 2012’s Avengers Assemble taking the world by storm. The team over at DC/Warner Bros hoped that they could pull off something identical, leading to the launch of the of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) with 2013’s Man of Steel. This was a gritty version of Kal-El’s origin story, akin to the Dark Knight trilogy, and would see him saving Metropolis from fellow Kryptonian General Zod. The film was a box office success, making more money than any of the previous Superman titles, but many felt that it lacked the joy and excitement of… well… earlier Superman titles. There are hints of what was to come, including a LexCorp building, a Wayne-Tech satellite and an open Kryptonian stasis tube in the Fortress of Solitude. These allude to longtime Superman villain Lex Luthor, masked vigilante Batman, and Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl.

It would be 3 years until a follow up feature appeared with Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film introduces Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman while pulling plot elements from comic book storylines The Dark Knight Returns, and The Death of Superman. It also attempted to introduce Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, in a move so universally despised that they retconned his name to Lex Luthor Junior. Batman Vs Superman (as it became known) was mauled by fans for a variety of reasons that include an over-abundance of plots and abruptly killing Superman (but not really). There is also an abundance of references to the larger universe that this film is hoping to build in to. We get a sequence dedicated to the almighty villain Darkseid, some Joker graffiti on a Batsuit, and cameos from the rest of the Justice League on some CCTV footage at S.T.A.R. Labs. For a more in-depth analysis of where this movie succeeded, and where it didn’t, I recommend checking out MovieBob’s video Really That Bad: BvS [HERE].

The third entry in the DCEU- 2016’s Suicide Squad– would be a financial success but a miss with fans. It sees the formation of the titular team in their battle with The Enchantress and her brother Incubus. Many felt that the film was ugly, and had a plot that was all over the place. Many also took issue with the casting of cult leader Jared Leto as The Joker who was abusive to his co-stars, sending them dead animals under the guise of method acting. Ultimately his presence in the film lasts just under 8 minutes and didn’t add anything to the plot, meaning that none of the trauma was worth it. The one part of the film that many agreed to be the best aspect was Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, while others also approved of Will Smith’s enthusiastic portrayal of Deadshot. Suicide Squad featured cameos from both Affleck as Batman and Ezra Miller as The Flash, as well as mentioning that Harley Quinn assisted in the murder of famed sidekick Robin.

So far, the DCEU seemed to be flailing its arms in the hopes of producing a film that was a hit both financially and with fans… which would finally arrive with 2017’s Wonder Woman, which was DC’s third female led film, after Supergirl and Catwoman, but the first for the DCEU. Meanwhile, their rivals at Marvel were still to provide their first. The story follows our titular heroine as she attempts to prevent World War One, which she believes was started by Amazonian villain Ares, as she falls in love with pilot Steve Trevor. At both the beginning and end of the film, she is seen communicating with Bruce Wayne, however the biggest DCEU link comes during the epilogue where her assistant Etta appears to be searching for a Motherbox. As she had done for many decades, and continues to do, the character of Wonder Woman sparked criticism for either being too feminist or not feminist enough. Is she a symbol of strength for women, or a detriment to their image? As a man, I can’t say for certain, but I urge you to look at the joy she brings to young girls dreaming of a better future. Tell me that isn’t worth it.

What happened next is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting things to happen in the cinema industry in a long time. Since before the release of Man of Steel, the DCEU had always been leading to a team-up film and in 2017 it finally arrived. Justice League sees the formation of the titular team as they battle Darksied’s henchman Steppenwolf, who has come to Earth in search of Motherboxes. These Motherboxes would terraform the Earth into somewhere more akin to Darksied’s homeworld Apokolips. Along the way, Superman is resurrected and a larger universe is alluded to. During a flashback to Steppenwolf’s first invasion of Earth, he is fought of by a group consisting of the Green Lantern Corp, whose Green Lantern character is still to appear. Perhaps most importantly the end-credits scene sees the appearance of Lex Luthor Junior and Deathstroke as they plot to form the Legion of Doom. According to reports, Warner Bros were critical of how the film was being made under Zack Snyder, as BvS, which he was also behind, had not met up to the studio’s standards. This supposedly led to numerous re-writes of the script while they were still filming. This would be enough to damage any film, but post-production was where things would really seem to fall apart. Following the unfortunate passing of his daughter, Zack Snyder would leave the project and would be replaced by Joss Whedon whose job would include scripting original scenes and over-seeing any re-shoots. Unfortunately for Justice League, Henry Cavill was filming Mission Impossible: Fallout at the time and was contractually obligated to keep the moustache he had grown for the role. This would lead to editors attempting to CG it out of any re-shot Superman scenes, but despite all these issues, Warner Bros refused to move the films release date. The response from critics and fans was almost unanimous, with many finding the screenplay to be poor, the pacing to be all over the place and the CGI to be sub-par. According to reports from crew-members, including the actors themselves, this was not the film that Zack Snyder had shot. This lead to people calling for a release of the ‘Snyder Cut’. I am, of course, extremely simplifying events here because the story of Justice League’s production could be a written piece itself.

In 2018, a love for the DCEU would re-surface with the release of Aquaman. It sees the hero coming under attack from his half-brother Orm of Atlantis and having to defend both the land and the sea. It was praised for the cinematography, as well as it’s entertainment value, however some felt that there was too much CGI. Whilst Aquaman is a part of the DCEU, there are no references to it – bar a namedrop of Steppenwolf – which allowed the film to focus on itself. It would choose to set up a direct sequel instead, with the survival of villain Black Manta.

2019 gave us the widely praised Shazam! which sees young Billy Batson being granted superpowers by a dying wizard. Along with his new best friend (and brother through adoption) Freddy, he must face off against the powerful Doctor Sivanna. As a mix between Superman and Big (a comparison the film was designed on) the film was heralded as the most fun project from DC to date while the message of found family was especially hard-hitting for some. There are references to previous instalments here, with Freddy owning a Batarang and a bullet that bounced off of Superman as well as newspaper articles depicting the defeat of Zod, and Superman’s return. They aren’t a focal point of the film, and depict events that have been comic canon for decades, meaning that Shazam! can still stand on its own. Again, they choose to set-up a direct sequel instead of a larger universe with the appearance of alien worm Mister Mind. It’s ok, I had to look him up too.

Thus far the DC productions had been rated 12, but 2019 would give us the first 15 rating with Joker. Telling the story of failed stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck as he slowly descends into the madness of Batman’s most famous villain, it was received well. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in the titular role received heavy praise as did the score and cinematography. Joker is a stand alone film, completely unconnected to the rest of the DCEU allowing it to take place in the earlier era of Gotham history. The film’s ending sees the iconic deaths of Bruce and Martha Wayne which would lead to their son Bruce becoming Batman. With another solo Batman venture in the works, starring Robert Pattinson, many wondered if the two films would connect, but we have been assured that they will not.

Before diving into the final film of this piece, I feel it is important to divert into the realm of television for a moment. 2012 saw the release of the CW show Arrow, starring DC superhero Green Arrow. From here the show would spin-off into The Flash and Supergirl, among others, leading to the birth of the Arrowverse. These shows would have crossover events on a yearly basis and in late 2019 they adapted the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. As you might expect, it saw an infinite amount of Earths being destroyed, but the important part here is that we got to see those Earths which included the Gotham of Batman ’89 and the 60’s Adam West show as well as the San Francisco of DC Universe’s Titans in its opening minutes. From here, the crossover event would take us to Smallville, the short lived 2003 Birds of Prey, fellow CW show Lucifer and even HBO’s Watchmen, but perhaps the most important cameo occurred in part 4 where Ezra Miller appears as his version of The Flash. This moment of Flash meeting Flash can only occur because they are both running through the speed force, but on top of that, this is the first time that anyone has called Ezra’s Flash “The Flash”. If this is acknowledged in his solo film it could have major repercussions wherein the DCEU and Arrowverse would be directly linked. As a result, every other version of every DC character we have ever seen will exist inside one massive multi-verse.

This finally brings us to 2020 where DC would release another 15 rated venture with Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn, later shortened to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey. Having finally broken up with The Joker, Harley finds herself at the mercy of every person in Gotham that she ever wronged. While trying to survive, she encounters other women who are seeking emancipation and eventually forms the Birds of Prey. Harley directly references the plot of Suicide Squad as well as pointing out a mugshot of fellow member Captain Boomerang meaning that the events of that film have taken place, but there is nothing to suggest a larger story beyond that. Whilst it didn’t perform at as well at the box office as Warner Bros had hoped, and despite being released early to Demand services due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the film is currently sitting at a modest haul of $201 million worldwide.

As I write this, the future of the cinema industry is uncertain. The COVID-19 pandemic continues and there is no telling when anybody who isn’t working an essential job will be allowed to return to work. Wonder Woman 1984 is ready to be released whilst The Batman and The Suicide Squad have had to put a halt to filming. The future of DC includes projects like Black Adam and Batgirl as well as sequels to both Aquaman and Shazam! which may or may not tie into the DCEU. They may even be attempting a soft reboot of the entire idea, but that remains to be seen.

The Story Continues…

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

Disney Minus

There seems to be no escaping the Walt Disney Company. They now own a countless number of brands and are responsible for 6 of the 10 highest grossing films of all time. Thus far, their animation department has produced 58 feature films, while their live action department have provided around 300, including documentaries. Their subscription service Disney+ has surpassed 50 million subscribers since launching in America in November 2019 and going worldwide in March 2020. Not only are they big, but they seem to be getting bigger. However, they have themselves a huge problem. It’s the homophobia.

By now, many of you will have seen articles citing “Disney’s first LGBT Character” and retorts like “bet China disposes of that scene” but both those statements are wrong. Yes, China has been known to cut mentions of LGBT characters from their films, but that isn’t always the case. The fact of the matter is that there aren’t enough LGBT characters in the Disney vault to begin with. Oddly, there are several openly gay characters in shows on the Disney Channel, so why the hold up when it comes to the big screen? You could claim that their bigger ventures are the primary source of income and they want to avoid upsetting the very vocal crowd who claim they are “pandering to the PC brigade.” The fact is that the Walt Disney Company is powerful enough, rich enough, to survive any backlash, so it probably has more to do with the people in charge. You may be thinking to yourself that Disney has several LGBT characters because you’ve seen the articles. Well lets take a look at those super important characters, shall we?

Disney’s first openly gay character was Oaken in 2013’s Frozen. You may remember him for his iconic line “yoo-hoo, big summer blow-out” or his minimised role in the sequel. He waves to his family in the sauna, consisting of a man and four children. This confirms that he is gay because, presumably, male relatives just don’t exist in Arendelle. Disney have since confirmed this to be his male partner, but we still have no idea what his name is. All we know is that he and Oaken have around 5 minutes of screentime with Oaken saying only several lines.

Disney’s first gay couple is in 2016’s Zootopia, The next door neighbours of Judy Hopps are a pair of male Antelopes named Bucky and Pronk Oryx-Antlerson. They bicker a lot but they seem to really care about each other. They get more audio-time than screentime but had Judy interacted with them more, I think they could have been super important.

Disney’s first gay couple is in 2016’s Finding Dory. As Dory and Hank are hopping through prams, they find themselves in one belonging to a lesbian couple. Now, there is no on-screen indication that they are lesbians, but the folks at PIXAR state they are. Honestly, I think they have it right by casually putting a gay couple in a film and not making a song and dance about it. Sure, it might have been more appreciated had they done it a decade ago and Disney hadn’t turned it into this huge deal. As is they are two un-named characters in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment.

Disney’s first openly gay character is LeFou in 2017’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. His big moment comes when we see 3 seconds of him dancing with a man in the background of the final ballroom scene. Never mind that “Le Fou” translates to “the fool” in English, I’m sure that it wont be misconstrued by the audience you are trying to represent, Any credit here has to go to Lefou’s actor Josh Gad who, admittedly, comes across as extremely camp. A decent effort from an actor in a film that doesn’t deserve it

Disney’s first openly gay character is in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. During a counselling meeting led by Captain America, a character playd by director Joe Russo mentions that he went on a date with a man. Of all the people who could have been given this role, they turned it into a director cameo which seems a little pretentious. It was cut out of many foreign releases, but the worst thing about it is that this is the MCU. Marvel has many openly gay Characters, and they have had a whole decade to do something with that. Supposedly one of the main characters in next years The Eternals will be gay but, quite frankly, it’s too late. They had their chance and they blew it.

Disney’s first gay couple are in 2019’s Toy Story 4. Again it is a lesbian couple, but this time they are dropping off their child at Kindergarten. It’s such a quick shot that I genuinely missed it upon first viewing the film.

Disney’s first openly gay character is in 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Commander D’acy, who has had several scenes between this film and its predecessor, shares a kiss on-screen with another woman. It is a moment that genuinely took me by surprise but it simply isn’t enough. As with some of the previous entries, it’s an extraordinarily brief moment of screentime. We also don’t know the name of the woman she kissed or really what Commander D’acys first name is. Inevitably, it was cut from many foreign releases.

You’ll notice that I’ve started off these paragraphs in roughly the same way, and that’s because the media has reported each of these instances the exact same way: “Disney’s first LGBT character” can only be true once, and I’m not convinced that it’s been earned yet. As far as I, and many others are concerned, to be classed as character you must first have a name which narrows our selection down to 3. It’s either Lefou, Commander D’acy, or Bucky and Prong. If we’re being honest, I think we all know that Commander D’acy is not a Disney character, she’s a Star Wars character. One may distribute the other, but Star Wars existed before Disney and would continue to exist without them. Bucky and Prong share the same last name, but that could just be because they are brothers. Families can have double barrel names and there’s nothing on-screen that really solidifies them being a couple. That just leaves us with LeFou, who is an original Disney character and does show signs that he might not be totally straight. I suppose that makes him “Disney’s first ever openly gay character” if I’m being generous.

If this was all that Disney had done, it would be bad, but there’s a chance it wouldn’t have been enough to assemble the riotous mobs. This is where their placating comes in. The intention is to defuse any possible hostility towards them before it arises, but instead it has lit an unquellable flame. They have become known for having characters that seem to be queer-coded, like Elsa from Frozen, but when questioned about it refuse to comment on it. We’ve also seen it in the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, which is where that fire becomes an inferno. It’s no secret that actors involved in these franchises, like Tessa Thompson and Oscar Isacc, want to represent the LGBT community through their characters. It’s also no secret that they have tried to follow up on that but have been prevented from doing so. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thompson plays Valkerie, whose scenes with her girlfriend were cut from the film and seem to have vanished off the face of the Earth. You can still catch a glimpse of her in Valkerie’s flashback as the woman being impaled. Meanwhile Oscar Isacc has been ridiculously vocal about the romantic relationship between his Star Wars character Poe Dameron and John Boyega’s character Finn, as has Boyega. In both these instances, the actors cited that The House of Mouse was to blame.

I feel it’s important to note that Disney is not doing enough when it comes to LGBT representation, especially in their children’s movies which is where most of my examples were drawn from. However it is also important to mention that some members of the LGBT community are placing way too much faith in this company to provide that representation, especially when you consider that they are not the only company making children’s films. Disney may be one of the largest and most recognisable companies on the face of the planet, but that doesn’t automatically make them the best. Laika has been providing queer representation since 2012’s ParaNorman, while Dreamworks gave us their first openly gay character with 2014’s How to Train Your Dragon 2. Even Warner Brothers Animation managed to get in on the action with 2016’s Storks. It’s very clear, at least to me, that some of the best children’s films ever made didn’t come from Disney. The Incredibles, The Iron Giant, Coraline, and Kiki’s Delivery Service all succeeded without the mouse’s money. Perhaps we need to focus less on the lack of effort by Disney, and more on appreciating the efforts that have been made by other companies. As such, here is a list of the openly queer representation that you can find in the world of children’s animated films.

  • Mitch Downe in ParaNorman
  • Gay Couples being described as “normal” in Boxtrolls
  • “Susan” being deemed a suitable name for a male in Missing Link
  • Gobber the Belch in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy
  • Gay couples having babies delivered to them in Storks

Admittedly, this isn’t a lot and 2 of these examples aren’t even named characters, but it’s a start and it’s a heck of a lot more than what Disney has accomplished. You may be wondering why it’s even necessary to have gay characters in children’s films, heck children’s media in general. It’s because homophobia is still a real issue and many young people who realise they are gay know that. There are still countries that will imprison or kill you for just being you. Even here in the UK, the statistics are scary for anybody who might come out. These statistics show that 1 in 4 people within the LGBT community experience a hate crime and that 4 in 5 of those people won’t report it. We need to eradicate this mentality, and that starts by teaching the next generation to be more accepting. It also helps to teach the young members of our community know that they are not alone, and that they are still normal. Every movie studio has that responsibility, and it sucks that some companies are willing to less the effort than others.

Until Next Time…

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

Superhero Rights: The Story So Far

A Tangled Web (ORIGINAL)

In 1986, Marvel Film Studios made a decision that almost ruined them and continues to have a lasting impact to this day- Howard The Duck: The Movie. This live action telling of the anthropomorphic ducks story was so poorly received that Howard wouldn’t be seen again until 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Even then, his return was met with almost unanimous backlash from fans. The biggest blow-back came financially, with the film only making $38 million from its $37 million budget and on top of this, interest in Superheroes was dwindling. In order to save the company from bankruptcy, they would sell the rights of some of their most famous characters to rival studios. X-Men and the Fantastic four as well as Daredevil and Electra made their way to 20th Century Fox while The Incredible Hulk ended up at Universal . Finally, Spider-man and almost all of his character roster went to Sony, which brings us to the 2000s.

In 2002, director Sam Raimi brought Spider-man to the big screen for the first time. Featuring the origin of our titular hero, born Peter Parker, and the Green Goblin, born Norman Osborne, Spider-man was a huge success financially and with fans. Both Mary Jane Watson, his love interest, and J. Jonah Jameson, his boss, would make their appearances. Despite Tobey Maguire clearly being 26 years old playing a teenager, his performance was well received, leading to a sequel in 2004.

Spider-man 2, for the longest time, was the gold standard against which Spider-man films were measured. The film featured Doctor Otto Octavious in a heartbreaking origin story as well as James Franco continuing his story arc as Peters best friend  Harry Osbourne. The film was given more praise than the first leading to the third and final installment in 2007.

Spider-man 3 was not the perfect landing that many had expected. The film featured fan favourites Venom and Sandman as well as The New Goblin, but many decreed that this was too many characters to try and focus on. Though there are those, like myself, who have a softspot for Spider-man 3 it was the last time we would see Tobey Maguire don the suit of the web slinger.

While Spider-man 3 was hitting cinemas across the globe, work was already beginning on Spider-man 4. Sadly, disagreements between Sam Raimi and Sony, as well as the pressure to deliver a perfect film, and various writers being unable to pen a script, Spider-man 4 would never see the light of day. However many of its details, through interviews with Raimi and storyboards, reveal what may have been. Supposedly it would feature The Vulture, The Lizard, Black Cat and Mysterio. As it transpires, each of thee characters had a part to play in Spidey’s future.

In 2012, under a new direction, The Amazing Spider-man hit our screens with Andrew Garfield as the new Peter Parker. Once again we would receive his backstory, but this time featuring Gwen Stacy as his love interest and The Lizard as his villain. It did well enough, garnering mostly positive reviews which praised it for the new direction that the franchise was taking.

The Amazing Spider-man 2 was released in 2014 and was not given its predecessor’s praise. It featured The Green Goblin, Electro and Rhino as well as the death of Gwen Stacey, which was deemed too much by general audiences. It was supposed to be the jumping off point for a cinematic universe, much like the MCU, and the news coverage means that the plans for this universe are not difficult to find. The Sinister Six were to play a huge part going forward but all plans were scrapped and Sony came back to, the now immensely popular, Marvel Studios for help.

By 2015, Sony and Marvel had reached an agreement. Spider-man and all the characters that came with him, would star in Marvel films with Sony having final creative control. There were 2 films still in production at the time of this merger, Venom and Into The Spider-verse, which were both released in 2018, with the latter receiving highly positive reviews.

Meanwhile in the MCU, Tom Holland was cast as Peter Parker and in 2016 made his debut in Captain America: Civil War. This would be followed by Spider-man: Homecoming in 2017 with appearances in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Rather than re-telling Spideys origin story, Homecoming takes place 5 years later and features The Vulture, with small roles for The Tinkerer and Shocker. With Spider-man: Far From Home introducing Mysterio, only Black Cat remains as an unused character of the cancelled Spider-man 4, for now.

Tales of an X-Franchise (Parts 1 & 2) (ORIGINAL)(ORIGINAL)

In the mid 1990s, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights to the X-Men and several other characters from Marvel Studios. They wasted no time in adapting this popular group to the big screen, but it would come off of the back of a prior outing for them. X-Men: The Animated Series ran from 1992 to 1997 on the Fox Kids network and changed the core lineup from the comics. This cast consisted of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey, and Professor Charles Xavier. Based on the huge success of this series, Fox greenlit a motion picture in which 6 of these characters would initially make the leap.

Released in 2000, X-Men followed Rogue, a mutant with power-draining abilities, and Wolverine (AKA Logan) as they encounter and eventually join Professor X in the battle against Magneto. The cast boasted some impressive names with Thespian Legends Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mackellan both signed on. It did well at the box office and went on to spawn a barrage of sequels.

X2: X-Men United hit our screens in 2003 and saw the titular team facing off with Colonel William Stryker, who is on a path for mutant genocide. There are also hints at his past with Wolverine and the Weapon X Program, as well as hints to a more peaceful future. Again, the film did well at the box office, faring even better than its predecessor.

In 2006, the trilogy would conclude with X-Men: The Last Stand. It was an adaptation of the “Dark Phoenix” arc from the comics that also wrapped up our trilogy arc neatly. Though it was more successful at the box office than the previous films, it was met with mixed reviews. Though it was action packed and featured the best CGI of the series, fans felt it was a poor adaptation of the source material. 

That source material had begun with The X-Men #1 in September of 1963. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the plight of these characters was a representation of the same plight faced by many minorities. This was not specific of one group but inclusive of all groups, whether it be race, religion or sexual orientation. When Sir Ian Mackellan was signed on, he wanted to ensure that this was not lost during the adaptation. The angle was more specifically that of the LGBT group which lead to a poignant scene in X2  where Bobby comes out as a mutant to his parents. Wherever the film franchise may have gone from here, the original X-Men trilogy still stands as a perfect allegory for those struggles.

By 2007, it was clear that the X-Men franchise was not slowing down. On the contrary, they were preparing to expand further. The Origins series was devised and would tell the origin stories for some of the most beloved characters with Wolverine, Magneto and Cyclops to be among the first. Being the most popular character, Wolverine was to go first, and so in 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine was released. The plot focuses on Logan as he becomes involved with Colonel William Stryker and the mysterious Weapon X Program. It also featured Deadpool, whose solo film had been in development hell for a decade until being officially cancelled in 2003. His portrayal here was met with harsh backlash from fans, as was the use of CGI claws on Wolverine, which resulted in this being dubbed the worst X-Men movie for years to come. The box office earnings were not enough to justify another Origins film, but was enough to keep the franchise afloat. A solo Gambit film was in the pipeline up until very recently, while the plans for Magneto’s film would find their way into the next project.

Acting as a soft reboot of the franchise X-Men: First Class graced our screens in 2011. James Macavoy and Michael Fassbender took over as Xavier and Magneto respectively, in a story that centres around the formation of the X-Men, as well as the Brotherhood of Mutants. The film also reintroduces us to Mystique and Beast, while the Hellfire Club make their debut led by a villain played by Kevin Bacon. First Class was met with positive reviews, being hailed as a return-to-form for the franchise. The grittier tone and improved special effects were especially praised, leading to 2 sequels in what has been dubbed the First Class Timeline. It does not tie directly into the original trilogy but instead acts as an alternate history. This also marks the first cameo appearance by Wolverine- something that would become somewhat of a tradition going forward.

Though Origins:Wolverine was a flop, a sequel had already been greenlit and hit our screens in 2013. The Wolverine follows our titular hero as he travels to Japan to assist an old acquaintance while struggling with a disappearance of his powers and The Yakuza. Not only does it act as a sequels to Origins: Wolverine but also as a sequel to X-Men 3: The Last stand as Logan copes with Jean Greys death. This leads to cameos by her actress in visions that torment Logan, but these are not the only cameos. Both Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mackellan return to inform Logan of a new threat to mutant-kind thus teasing the following film. Positive reviews for The Wolverine mainly focused on Hugh Jackmans performance and the accuracy to its source material.

The following year X-Men Days of Future Past was released. It serves as a sequel to The Wolverine and a semi- sequel to First Class as Logan travels into the past to save the future. This film would mark the final appearances for many of the original X-Men characters in a passing-of-the-baton to their younger counterparts making this, in effect, X-Men 4. It also tries to serve as a ret-con so that both the original trilogy and First Class timeline can exist in the same timeline. Reviews were positive with the films dedication to the source material garnering praise, while the complexity of the timeline as well as the amount of subplots were criticised. Rogue was to play a part in this film but her role was cut from the theatrical release, leading to a lengthier version titled The Rogue Cut also being released on DVD. It clocks in at 2hours 48minutes, 17 minutes longer than the theatrical version.

In 2016 the young mutants would return for X-Men: Apocalypse, the official sequel to First Class, which featured the titular villain attempting to wipe out mankind and claim the world as his own. Despite being the main antagonist, Apocalypses lack of character and poor CG effects were heavily criticised though the film itself was moderately well received. The character of Quicksilver was especially praised for his slow motion scenes and well written attitude. A different actor had played the role of Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron the previous year due to a deal between Disney and 20th Century Fox. Quicksilver could appear as part of the Avengers but only if there was no mention of mutants or the X-Men, leading to him being referred to as an Enhanced.

The original run of X-Men films would officially come to an end with 2017’s Logan. The story follows him as he cares for an elderly Professor X and escaped mutant child X-23 while also fighting off a group known as The Reavers. The comic inspiration- Old Man Logan- was high in gore, leading to concern from fans that the film would be toned down for a 12 rating. This turned out not to be the case and Logan was rated R (15) which allowed for more violence, a decision that was met with praise from fans and critics. They were also pleased with the CGI and the performances, especially those of Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart who finally retired their respective characters. The film drew heavy inspiration from western films and to honour this a black and white version of the film titled  Logan: Noir was released. It has been hailed by many as one of the greatest comic book movies of all time.

In December that year, Walt Disney Company would buy 20th Century Fox and all its subsidiaries for around $52.4 million, meaning that almost all the Marvel properties were once again under one roof . At the time there were still two films to be released- X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants. After months of re-writes and re-shoots Dark Phoenix was finally released in spring of 2019 to relatively small applause. Meanwhile The New Mutants was due to be released in 2018 but went through more issues in production than Dark Phoenix which has led to its current release date of February 2020. Given the acquisition by Disney and the box office failure of it is unclear if it will ever be released and if it does how much of an audience it will actually get.

Now here we stand, almost 2 decades and 10 films later. There have been definitive highs and lows for Fox’si franchise but one thing is certain- it’s over. This incarnation of the characters will not return and someday soon we will most likely see them in a new form in the MCU.

The Fantastic Pool (ORIGINAL)

When 20th Century Fox bought the rights to the X-Men franchise in the mid 1990s, they did so along with the rights to several individual superheroes. With X-Men being a success at the box office Fox decided to greenlight projects based on their other characters, starting with Daredevil and Elektra. Part of the initial deal, they ended up being bought by Regency Studios in the early 2000s and were only distributed by Fox. This meant that the first official venture outside of X-Men would end up being released in 2005, between the second and third i films.

 Fantastic Four featured a group of scientists who gain powers during a space storm. While Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm use their powers for good, Victor Von Doom does not. Having gone through several re-writes and directors during its lengthy development the response for Fantastic Four was mainly positive but with several criticisms. Many felt that though the character development was good there were too many plot elements making the film feel ill-paced. Nevertheless it made money and an extended cut of the film was released in 2007 to coincide with the release of its sequel.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer focuses on our heroes as the battle the Silver Surfer and his master Galactus: Destroyer of Worlds. It also features a gimmick in which our heroes can switch powers as well as the return of Doctor Doom. Although the opening weekend brought in more money than its predecessor, in the following weeks there was a drop in box office takings. Mixed reviews cited poor acting and directing as well as poor characterisation as the reason for this drop but the special effects garnered praise. All 4 main actors had signed a 3-film deal but after Rise of the Silver Surfer‘s poor performance Fox got cold feet and cancelled any further sequels.

In 2009 it was announced that the Fantastic Four would be returning and after 6 years a reboot of the franchise hit our screens. Fan4stic, as it was stylised, was a different origin story, drawing from the Ultimate run of comic books. This time the team gained their powers from an alternate universe and find themselves assets to the US Military. Reviews were bad. The film was slated for being boring and slow with no joy or character development. It had been hoped by Fox Executives that i would eventually lead to a crossover with X-Men but this films failure meant that this project and any sequels would never come to fruition.

Before speaking about our last two films I would like to provide some context. The character of Deadpool belongs to the X-Men universe, however I do not count his solo films as part of the X-Franchise. They have no correlation to those films in character or from a perspective of the (admittedly broken) X-Men timeline. Many people choose to see his solo films as part of the X-Franchise and that’s fine, but that is my personal take.

After spending 14 years in development hell and 7 years after his critiqued cameo in Origins:Wolverine, Deadpool finally got his own film in 2016. Although it is far from the first superhero film to be rated R(15) (an honour that goes to 1991s The Punisher) it was a first for Fox who were praised by fans for the decision. Deadpool centres around how our titular anti-hero came to have his powers and his horrific scars in a search for the man responsible. Deadpool 2 would be released 2 years later and features the character saving a young mutant from the time travelling soldier known as Cable. Both films were praised by audiences who loved its accuracy to the source material as well as its humour. Deadpool 2 is notable for featuring the first openly gay superheroes in the form of Teenage Negasonic Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio. There have been many queer heroes in comic books but this would be the first time that this diversity was shown on film. Each film made around $784 million for a grand total of $1568 million between them and would be some of the final films released by 20th Century Fox before their acquisition by Walt Disney Studios in 2017. Rumour has it that Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool will be the only character to make the leap into the MCU but that remains to be seen.

DC: The Continuity Joke (Part 1) (ORIGINAL)

At first, there doesn’t seem like enough content exists to fill a piece on the superhero film rights of the CD Universe characters. Warner Brothers Studio owns these rights and has done since March 1989 with the only caveat being the live action Batman TV rights which belong to 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios). What is interesting enough to write a piece about, though is the history of these films and how it culminated in the DC Extended Universe. The first live action feature film starring any of the characters would be 1966’s Batman: The Movie starring the late Adam West, but would be released by 20th Century Fox. Sadly, it would be their only Batman film, though Warner Bros would go on to make two animated movies based on West’s portrayal- Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman Vs Two-Face. Whilst Fox owned the live action 1966 Batman rights, Warner Brothers still had the right to make his animated adventures. All 3 of these films would be positively received.

Warner Brothers’ first foray into the live action DC universe would be 1978’s Superman and 1980’s Superman II, starring Christopher Reeves as the man of steel. The original gives us baby Kal-El of Krypton (our Superman) as he lands on Earth in his infancy after the destruction of his own planet. Once grown, he learns to control his powers and fight the villainous Lex Luthor. At the time it was the most expensive film ever made, with ground-breaking special effects. It received hugely positive reviews with Roger Ebert awarding it four stars out of five. The sequel sees Kal-El, living human life as Clark Kent, facing off against one of his fellow surviving Kryptonians- The mighty Emperor Zod- as he attempts to take control of the planet. Shot back-to-back with the first Superman, this one again had spectacular effects and a brilliant story. This duology has gone on to become some of the most iconic pieces of Superman media and media in general. If you’re thinking of a theme song for Superman right now, I guarantee it’s this one. Their follow up, Superman III, would not be as well received. It centred on Clark being split into two bodies by synthetic kryptonite.- one good and one evil. The film was criticised for its re-hashed plot points and slapstick comedy. In an attempt to freshen up the franchise, Warner Brothers released a spin off about Clark’s cousin Kara Zor-El in 1984 entitled Supergirl. It sees Kara coming to Earth in the hopes of retrieving a powerful orb that she had lost but having to fend off a witch. The film was panned for having cheesy effects and for being really un-interesting to watch. This would not be enough to defeat the Superman franchise, with that award going to 1987’s Superman V: The Quest for Peacewhich sees the man of steel facing off against Lex Luthor’s newest creation- Radioactive Man. It would be ridiculed for its poor special effects, and inconsistencies, and would go on to be dubbed by many as one of the worst films ever made.

Having tried their hand with one of “the big two” from DC, it was time for Warner Bros to attempt the other- Batman. Released in late 1989, Batman (dubbed Batman ’89[review here]) see the caped crusader facing off against The Joker. The film was mildly criticised for being too dark, but the performances from Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson were lavished with praise. Bruce Timm would use the look of this film in Batman: The Animated Serieswhich is still praised as one of the best cartoons ever made. Three sequels to the Keaton films would follow. 1992’s Batman Returns saw our titular hero facing off against both Catwoman and The Penguin. It was praised as a brilliant sequel by most, but some still felt it was too dark. It would be the final Batman film from director Tim Burton who would be replaced by Joel Schumacher for the remaining two films. 1995’s Batman Foreverstarred Val Kilmer as The Bat and would see him facing off against The Riddler and Two-Face. It was much lighter in tone but would receive mixed reviews for being overly loud and less entertaining that the previous entries. 1997 would see the last Batman film for a whole decade in the form of Batman & Robinwhich starred George Clooney as the hero and Chris O’Donnell as his trusty ward. The film saw them fighting off Mr Freeze, Poison Ivy, and (for a moment) Bane. It was an exclusively child friendly escapade but was deemed frantic, mindless and over the top by many. It is believed to have killed the Bat-franchise, with a follow up titled Batman Unchained being cancelled. The film would have seen Scarecrow using fear toxin to make Batman believe that The Joker had returned from beyond the grave, with Harley Quinn set to appear as Joker’s daughter.

The next 3 films from Warner Brothers/ DC would be solo ventures. 1997’s Steel saw Shaquille O’Neal playing John Henry Irons- a weapons developer- as he suits up to stop terrorists from using the very weapons he designed. Next came Catwoman in 2004, starring Helle Berry in the leading role dealing with corporate conspiracies. Finally came Constantine in 2005 which saw Keanu Reeves in the starring role as a supernatural exorcist helping to prove a policewoman that her sister’s death was not a suicide. All 3 of these films would be mocked for how ridiculous they were, with poor acting and even poorer GCI. Of the 7 films that followed, only 4 of them would be solo ventures. 2006 saw the man of steel return in the appropriately titled Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh. The film saw Kal-El once again facing off against Lex Luthor in his attempt to take over America. It was received fairly well, but many thought it was just an average flick without anything that really made it special. 2009’s Watchmen would also be received fairly well, becoming a cult classic among CBM fans. It followed a group of former superheroes as one of their colleagues is murdered and the surprises that it awakens. Any criticism took aim at the 3 hour runtime and the complex plotline. the 2010 release Jonah Hex would be less appreciated. Josh Brolin plays a Bounty Hunter who must take out a terrorist who threatens all life in order to gain his freedom, and it would be a box office failure, making back only $10 million of it’s $47 million budget. Then in 2011 came the infamous Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds, which has gone down in history as one of the worst movies of all time. It sees Hal Jordan discovering a powerful ring belonging to the Green Lantern Corp when he is suddenly called to save humanity from the world destroying Parallax. It was seen as boring and the CGI costumes were laughed at, which led to the cancellation a sequel which would have presumably seen Sinestro as the main villain.

It may seem like mostly bad news from the mid 200’s to the early 2010’s, but there was a light in the darkness- Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. It is, to many people, one of the best film trilogies ever made, and practically dominated superhero movie conversations at the time. 2005’s Batman Begins re-introduced us to Bruce Wayne as he suits up as the caped crusader in order to defend Gotham City from corruption and his former mentor Ra’s Al Ghul. This was followed in 2008 by what is considered by many as the best in the trilogy- The Dark Knight. Once again, Gotham is under threat, this time from a man known only as The Joker who aims only to cause chaos and anarchy. The trilogy concluded in 2012 with my personal favourite- The Dark Knight Rises– which has Bruce crippled in a fight against guerrilla terrorist Bane. Never willing to back down from a fight, The Bat must return and face him one last time with assistance from Catwoman.

Over the course of 34 years, there were many ups and downs for the Warner Brothers DC franchise. Some have gone on to become iconic, while some have been abandoned to the voids of history. With the success of Nolans Dark Knight trilogy, the future was looking bright. It was clear going forwards that their movies would need to be dark, gritty and grounded in reality. Perhaps they should also implement the “shared universe” concept that seemed to be working so well for Marvel Studios.

The Story Continues…

DC: The Continuity Joke (Part 1)

At first, there doesn’t seem like enough content exists to fill a piece on the superhero film rights of the CD Universe characters. Warner Brothers Studio owns these rights and has done since March 1989 with the only caveat being the live action Batman TV rights which belong to 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios). What is interesting enough to write a piece about, though is the history of these films and how it culminated in the DC Extended Universe. The first live action feature film starring any of the characters would be 1966’s Batman: The Movie starring the late Adam West, but would be released by 20th Century Fox. Sadly, it would be their only Batman film, though Warner Bros would go on to make two animated movies based on West’s portrayal- Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman Vs Two-Face. Whilst Fox owned the live action 1966 Batman rights, Warner Brothers still had the right to make his animated adventures. All 3 of these films would be positively received.

Warner Brothers’ first foray into the live action DC universe would be 1978’s Superman and 1980’s Superman II, starring Christopher Reeves as the man of steel. The original gives us baby Kal-El of Krypton (our Superman) as he lands on Earth in his infancy after the destruction of his own planet. Once grown, he learns to control his powers and fight the villainous Lex Luthor. At the time it was the most expensive film ever made, with ground-breaking special effects. It received hugely positive reviews with Roger Ebert awarding it four stars out of five. The sequel sees Kal-El, living human life as Clark Kent, facing off against one of his fellow surviving Kryptonians- The mighty Emperor Zod- as he attempts to take control of the planet. Shot back-to-back with the first Superman, this one again had spectacular effects and a brilliant story. This duology has gone on to become some of the most iconic pieces of Superman media and media in general. If you’re thinking of a theme song for Superman right now, I guarantee it’s this one. Their follow up, Superman III, would not be as well received. It centred on Clark being split into two bodies by synthetic kryptonite.- one good and one evil. The film was criticised for its re-hashed plot points and slapstick comedy. In an attempt to freshen up the franchise, Warner Brothers released a spin off about Clark’s cousin Kara Zor-El in 1984 entitled Supergirl. It sees Kara coming to Earth in the hopes of retrieving a powerful orb that she had lost but having to fend off a witch. The film was panned for having cheesy effects and for being really un-interesting to watch. This would not be enough to defeat the Superman franchise, with that award going to 1987’s Superman V: The Quest for Peace which sees the man of steel facing off against Lex Luthor’s newest creation- Radioactive Man. It would be ridiculed for its poor special effects, and inconsistencies, and would go on to be dubbed by many as one of the worst films ever made.

Having tried their hand with one of “the big two” from DC, it was time for Warner Bros to attempt the other- Batman. Released in late 1989, Batman (dubbed Batman ’89 [review here]) see the caped crusader facing off against The Joker. The film was mildly criticised for being too dark, but the performances from Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson were lavished with praise. Bruce Timm would use the look of this film in Batman: The Animated Series which is still praised as one of the best cartoons ever made. Three sequels to the Keaton films would follow. 1992’s Batman Returns saw our titular hero facing off against both Catwoman and The Penguin. It was praised as a brilliant sequel by most, but some still felt it was too dark. It would be the final Batman film from director Tim Burton who would be replaced by Joel Schumacher for the remaining two films. 1995’s Batman Forever starred Val Kilmer as The Bat and would see him facing off against The Riddler and Two-Face. It was much lighter in tone but would receive mixed reviews for being overly loud and less entertaining that the previous entries. 1997 would see the last Batman film for a whole decade in the form of Batman & Robin which starred George Clooney as the hero and Chris O’Donnell as his trusty ward. The film saw them fighting off Mr Freeze, Poison Ivy, and (for a moment) Bane. It was an exclusively child friendly escapade but was deemed frantic, mindless and over the top by many. It is believed to have killed the Bat-franchise, with a follow up titled Batman Unchained being cancelled. The film would have seen Scarecrow using fear toxin to make Batman believe that The Joker had returned from beyond the grave, with Harley Quinn set to appear as Joker’s daughter.

The next 3 films from Warner Brothers/ DC would be solo ventures. 1997’s Steel saw Shaquille O’Neal playing John Henry Irons- a weapons developer- as he suits up to stop terrorists from using the very weapons he designed. Next came Catwoman in 2004, starring Helle Berry in the leading role dealing with corporate conspiracies. Finally came Constantine in 2005 which saw Keanu Reeves in the starring role as a supernatural exorcist helping to prove a policewoman that her sister’s death was not a suicide. All 3 of these films would be mocked for how ridiculous they were, with poor acting and even poorer GCI. Of the 7 films that followed, only 4 of them would be solo ventures. 2006 saw the man of steel return in the appropriately titled Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh. The film saw Kal-El once again facing off against Lex Luthor in his attempt to take over America. It was received fairly well, but many thought it was just an average flick without anything that really made it special. 2009’s Watchmen would also be received fairly well, becoming a cult classic among CBM fans. It followed a group of former superheroes as one of their colleagues is murdered and the surprises that it awakens. Any criticism took aim at the 3 hour runtime and the complex plotline. the 2010 release Jonah Hex would be less appreciated. Josh Brolin plays a Bounty Hunter who must take out a terrorist who threatens all life in order to gain his freedom, and it would be a box office failure, making back only $10 million of it’s $47 million budget. Then in 2011 came the infamous Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds, which has gone down in history as one of the worst movies of all time. It sees Hal Jordan discovering a powerful ring belonging to the Green Lantern Corp when he is suddenly called to save humanity from the world destroying Parallax. It was seen as boring and the CGI costumes were laughed at, which led to the cancellation a sequel which would have presumably seen Sinestro as the main villain.

It may seem like mostly bad news from the mid 200’s to the early 2010’s, but there was a light in the darkness- Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. It is, to many people, one of the best film trilogies ever made, and practically dominated superhero movie conversations at the time. 2005’s Batman Begins re-introduced us to Bruce Wayne as he suits up as the caped crusader in order to defend Gotham City from corruption and his former mentor Ra’s Al Ghul. This was followed in 2008 by what is considered by many as the best in the trilogy- The Dark Knight. Once again, Gotham is under threat, this time from a man known only as The Joker who aims only to cause chaos and anarchy. The trilogy concluded in 2012 with my personal favourite- The Dark Knight Rises– which has Bruce crippled in a fight against guerrilla terrorist Bane. Never willing to back down from a fight, The Bat must return and face him one last time with assistance from Catwoman.

Over the course of 34 years, there were many ups and downs for the Warner Brothers DC franchise. Some have gone on to become iconic, while some have been abandoned to the voids of history. With the success of Nolans Dark Knight trilogy, the future was looking bright. It was clear going forwards that their movies would need to be dark, gritty and grounded in reality. Perhaps they should also implement the “shared universe” concept that seemed to be working so well for Marvel Studios.

The Story Continues…

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

The Phantom Debate

There seems to be an unspoken rule in the Star Wars fanbase. It has stood for almost 2 decades now, and everybody chooses not to question it. The rule is this- never ask anyone for the best order to watch the Star Wars saga in. If you are new to these films, chances are you will be told of the “right way” to watch them, but the fact is that there isn’t one. It comes down to personal preference as to the experience you want, and what follows are three of the most popular methods. For simplicity, we are focusing on the 9 core films of the Skywalker Saga.

Chronological Order

If you want to experience the saga in the way that creator George Lucas intending, this is it. All 9 films are placed in order of the canon timeline which centres around the Battle of Yavin from A New Hope. As a result, each year is marked as BBY (Before Battle of Yavin) or ABY (After Battle of Yavin).

Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (32 BBY)

Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (22 BBY)

Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (19 BBY)

Episode 4: A New Hope (O BBY)

Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back (3 ABY)

Episode 6: The Return of the Jedi (4 ABY)

Episode 7: The Force Awakens (34 ABY)

Episode 8: The Last Jedi (34 ABY)

Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker (35 ABY)

Viewing the saga in this order allows us to follow Anakin Skywalker, his training as a Jedi, and his eventual fall to the dark side under the new title of Lord Vader (Eps 1-3). We then follow his son Luke as he too learns the ways of the Jedi, discovers his sister Leia and faces down his father (Eps 4-6). Finally we follow (though barely) Leia’s son Ben Solo who has fallen to the dark side under the title of Kylo Ren and his journey of redemption (Eps 7-9). It’s a tale of family, and their continuous struggles over the decades. It is also the tale of Senator Sheev Palpatine, his rise to power, his inevitable fall, and his eventual resurrection. Through the course of 9 films, Sheev goes from a humble chancellor on the planet of Naboo to Emperor of the entire galaxy. Each trilogy of films has been dubbed The Prequels (Eps 1-3), The Originals (Eps 4-6) and The Sequels (Eps 7-9). The reason they have been dubbed this way is where our next viewing order comes in.

Release Order

If you want to experience the journey of Star Wars then this is the way. The Original Trilogy is so-named because it was released first and, as such, is the first Star Wars story to be told. It was followed several decades later by the Prequels and the Sequels.

Episode 4: A New Hope (1977)

Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Episode 6: The Return of the Jedi (1983)

Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Episode 2: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Episode 7: The Force Awakens (2015)

Episode 8: The Last Jedi (2017)

Episode 9: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019)

Luckily, in the age of DVDs and subscription services, you only have to wait minutes between each film instead of years. This order has us follow Luke Skywalker as he is thrust into an unexpected journey of heroism, where he discovers the dark truth about his father and his past. Those questions about the past are then answered with the Prequel Trilogy. We learn the sinister truth about Darth Vader, and his grip of terror over the galaxy. To finish it all off, the Sequel Trilogy tells us how the galaxy is coping in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi, because that was a question you just didn’t know that you needed the answer to. Many fans consider this to be the “purest method” because this is how the original fans experienced it. This is the order in which I viewed them, but, being born in 1997, I was one of the last of a generation that had no other option. Once the Prequels were announced, there was a certainty that one day all 6 (now 9) films could be watched in chronological order. It was inevitable, so to argue that Release Order is “the way” is ridiculous. You don’t need to watch them this way, but you can, the choice is entirely up to you.

The Machete Order:

Originally concocted by Rod Hilton on his site nomachetejuggling.com this one may seem slightly odd, but bare with it. I have linked to the original, which is a superb read, but will provide a bare bones overview.

Episode 4: A New Hope

Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back

Episode 2: Attack of the Clones

Episode 3: The Revenge of the Sith

Episode 6: The Return of the Jedi

Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Episode 8: The Last Jedi

Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker

This method keeps the story focused on Luke, before flashing back to show how Anakin became Vader, and finishing the rest of the story in order. There is an almost identical order, known as the Ernst Rister order, except this one omits The Phantom Menace. For his reasoning, and for a better explanation than I could manage, please read the original article HERE.

You may think that choosing between these 3 methods is an easy task, and that it is the only choice you have to make. You are wrong. There are 2 more choices to make before launching into your Star Wars marathon. Which versions of the Original Trilogy, to watch and whether or not to include the anthology films Solo and Rogue One. With each re-release of the Original Trilogy on home media, comes another set of alterations, be it CGI or sound editing. The commercially available DVDs that closest resemble the original theatrical cuts are as bonus discs in the 2006 releases. Each home media release is different in its own way, and lists of these differences can easily be found online. As for the inclusion of Solo and Rogue One, that’s a little bit more difficult. Solo tells the origin story of smuggler Han Solo but really doesn’t tie into the core saga. I consider it a fun little detour but it isn’t essential unless you’re determined to watch every film. Rogue One, on the other hand, tells how a group of rebels stole the Death Star plans, and explains that infamous exhaust port. It isn’t part of the Skywalker saga, but I see no reason to skip it. It provides extra context to A New Hope and has some superb set pieces, as well as the best Darth Vader scene in any of the films. Here’s how that ties into the orders.

Chronological Order: Solo and Rogue One, in that order, between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

Release Order: Rogue One proceeds The Last Jedi whilst Solo follows it. Their release years are 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Machete Order: Rob Hilton has since answered this very query. The Machete Order stands as it is, with Solo and Rogue One being completely separate films. See his response HERE

I haven’t undertaken a Star Wars marathon since 2015, when I was preparing for The Force Awakens. Each viewing order has its own benefits and the decision of which one to choose is entirely up to you. Personally, I would recommend Chronological Order, as it keeps the story straightforward with any subsequent viewings being available for the other two options. There’s no such thing as a “Pure” Star Wars experience, but each person’s experience is still an experience. That’s the beautiful thing about Star Wars. It doesn’t matter how we got here, what matters is that we are here. We are a community and, though we often seem divided, we are here because we love Star Wars. Its not about defending your views, its about discussing your opinions. The most fundamental part of the fanbase is this:

The force is with ALL of us. Always.

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

Suit Up!

A Discussion of ‘Comic Book Movie accuracy‘.

Comic book movies (which I’ll call CBMs) are a global phenomenon, like the writings that preceeded them. As their popularity grew, so too did the disdain towards their existence. Much of this is from people outwith the fanbase who believe that CBMs are ruining the artistry, and the individuality, of cinema. Unfortunately there has also been a growing amount of disdain from inside the fanbase itself. In light of a recent “controversy” around Birds of Prey, I feel it’s important to tackle one of the largest complaints I see aligned with CBMs; the accuracy, or lack thereof, to the source material

Much like film adaptions of books such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, comic book fans want to see their favourite character portrayed as closely to “the original” as possible. Harry Potter is one story told in 7 parts over a self-contained series of novels. A Christmas Carol, which is one of the most adapted books of all time, is also a self-contained story. Comic book superheroes do not have the privilege of this self containment. The first story to feature Batman was released in May 1939, while Superman wouldn’t appear until June 1988. Both of these characters only closely resemble the versions that we recognise today, with each new story over the decades providing a new artist and, with it, a new look. This is true of not only DC Comics, but also their main rivals over at Marvel Comics, who launched their fist publication in October 1939. Both companies are still going strong after 81 years, so it’s perhaps no surprise that they eventually made the leap from the page to the screen.

In 1966, Adam West’s Batman: The TV Series premiered on the ABC Network. With his simplistic suit and camp tone, this was the most accurate on screen depiction of the character we had ever seen. In 2016, Ben Affleck would debut as the Caped Crusader in Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. His costume was based on Frank Miller’s Dark Knight comics, and as a result is equally comic accurate. When Spider-Man made his first comic book appearance in August 1962, he would do so with one simple suit, but as the character and storylines developed, so too did his suits. Not only do we now have multiple Spider-Suits but also multiple Spider-People, best demonstrated through 2018’s Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse. There is no singular version of your favourite superhero, and there hasn’t been for a very long time. That’s true of the films, and the television shows, and of the source material they are based on. The characters and motives may stay roughly the same from version to version, but there has always been a level of artistic licence at play. These variations are one of the core reasons why each company has its own “multi-verse” and why DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline needed to happen.

As for those who think that Huntress’ costume isn’t sexy enough or that it makes her look like a boy, just keep your opinions to yourself. This likely isn’t the only costume she’ll, wear and the only way she’d resemble a boy is if that boy was a twink from the 80’s. It’s 2020, it’s not just costumes that are changing, but attitudes too.

Until Next Time…

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

The Small Things 2019

A collection of initial thoughts from the films of today

MAY 5th: I don’t handle horror films very well. In fact I can count the number of them I’ve seen on one hand. Tonight I saw Pet Semetary and it wasn’t worth the emotional trauma. The lead child and John Lithgow were both very good though.

MAY 26th: Just saw Shazam! It’s a fun time with a lot of heart

JUN 3rd: Hellboy(2019) is a gross film. It is a cacophony of sound and bad CGI. It’s not worth watching even if you can get it for free.

JUN 10th: Pokemon: Detective Pickachu is wonderful. It’s a brilliant introduction for newcomers with plenty of nods for longtime fans. The CGI blends effortlessly and the acting is terrific. If you or your child is interested, this film will not disappoint.

JUN 12th: Tolkien is a well written and respectable biopic of the authors life. Doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war either. Worth the watch.

JUN 18th: Aladdin(2019) is a passable update to the classic tale. Will Smith is fun and ,though several CG effects were not as crisp as they could be, it wasn’t bad enough to put me off. The best of these live action remakes to me.

JUN 23rd: Rocketman may be rated 15 but it should be seen by everyone.

JUN 27th: John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is a satisfactory conclusion to the John Wick trilogy. It is by far the most violent of the 3 and definitely less plot driven. If you want a 2 hour long action scene, this one’s for you.

JUN 30th: Godzilla: King of the Monsters is just one massive set-piece. It exists to have Kaiju battles that are as realistic as possible. The human characters exist purely to progress the plot to its next fight. It is AWESOME. Long live the king.

JUL 7th: X-Men: Dark Phoenix should have been Fox’s answer to Avengers: Endgame. It’s the conclusion of a saga of films. Instead it manages to crawl over the finish line with a display of character bastardisations. Worth seeing for its set-pieces and because it’s the last of its kind.

JUL 24th: Toy Story 4 proves once again why PIXAR is at the forefront of children’s animation. Toy Story 3 was a bigger tearjerker but I’d still advise you to bring tissues.

JUL 26th: Spider-Man: Far From Home would have made the perfect Spider-Man 4. Yes really.

AUG 5th: The Lion King (2019) might actually be the most blatant and soulless cash grab I’ve ever seen. Timon, Pumbaa and Zazu are the only reasons to watch it. Honestly you should just re-watch the original.

AUG 13th: Anna isn’t the best Russian spy film. It is a lot of fun tough with great action scenes. Acting is also pretty good but mainly it’s just a neat way to pass the time if you like that sort of film.

AUG 16th: The DeadDon’t Die is wonderfully absurd. I didn’t realise that I needed a calm, deadpan comedy about zombies. Also helps to have a catchy theme song (available now).

AUG 22nd: Invader Zim: Enter The Florpus is so good that it finally convinced me to watch the original TV show. I’d been putting that off for 2 years. Oddball sci-fi humour and great animation with some stellar voice work.

AUG 31st: Fast and Furious: Hobbes and Shaw is 2 hours of testosterone fuelled fun. A great excuse to just turn off your brain and enjoy some brilliant set-pieces.

SEP 9th: I think Jim Henson would be very proud of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance on Netflix. Its a masterclass in puppetry and storytelling. Clearly a lot of passion from the team in every single frame.

SEP 20th: I don’t know who Good Boys is aimed at but I hope they enjoyed it. I certainly did. The sheer absurdity of the plot is such a fun jab at the drama of college-teen films.

SEP 29th: It: Chapter 2 doesn’t have many scares, its just super gross and weird. Probably the best adaption of a Stephen King novel so far? It DOES have good gay representation though which is more than i can say for most blockbusters.

OCT 4th: As I near the end of 2019 after seeing 37 films (and counting) I’ve decided not to do a “Top 10 best/worse of the year” list. Frankly, I take no enjoyment in pitting films against each other and that’s the same reason I don’t rate them. However I probably will do a “My 10 faves of the year” or something. Don’t know that Ill put films from December on that list but we shall see…

OCT 21st: Today would have been Carrie Fishers 63rd birthday. She should have gone from celebrating this to promoting Star Wars Episode 9. I still remember the moment I read the announcement. I didn’t speak for the rest of the day. I tried to cope by watching Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. I told myself that its ending was why I cried so much. It wasn’t.
I miss you Carrie. We all do.

OCT 27th: Judy is beautifully heartbreaking. A painful reminder of just how badly The Industry treated one of its finest sweethearts. Reneé Zellweger is wonderfully cast.
Judy Garland deserved better 🌹

OCT 30th: With 50 days until Rise of Skywalker is released, I just want to ask something. Regardless of whether you like the film or not can we please keep it civil?
If Reylo does or doesn’t happen. If Palpatine is or isn’t alive. If Anakin/Obi Wan do or don’t return. If your opinion is negative or positive. Can we please not turn on each other?
The Last Jedi ended up having the most divisive reactions I’ve ever seen. People were threatened and left Twitter over it. There were petitions to remove it from canon and calls to keep it. Just watching that back and forth was exhausting and we cannot treat each other like that. The world needs civility now more than ever.
May the force be with us all.

NOV 3rd: Joker is an excellent conversation starter about our society. Joaquin Phoenix achieves the gritty and uncomfortable performance that Heath Ledger didn’t quite manage to provide. I’ll stick with Jack Nicholson though.

NOV 12th: I can’t believe it’s been a year. I’m still processing your passing and I probably will be for a while. Your impact and the impact of your characters is indescribable. We will love and miss you, forever.
Excelsior.
#stanlee

NOV 14th: I’m aware that I’m not the demographic for Dora the Explorer but my sister was. As a result I know more about Dora lore than I probably should. With that said, Dora and the Lost City of Gold is good for Dora fans past and present. Indiana Jones for children.

NOV 19th: Zombieland: Double Tap isn’t an instant classic like the original. It’s not quite as funny or as heartfelt but it’s still a fun time. And it really is nice to catch up with these characters after so long. One every decade wouldn’t be so bad.

NOV 22nd: As far as I’m concerned, T2 marked a canonical end to the story. Everything after that is a What If scenario. As “What If” scenarios go Terminator: Dark Fate is pretty good. CGI can be a bit rubbery but it’s focused on people and violence, like it should be. Solid.

NOV 26th: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is visually stunning, even more so in 3D. As children’s film sequels go, its one of the better ones. Diaval is bae.

NOV 26th: My biggest problem with Avengers Endgame is the way it treated Thor. He can be fat because he’s depressed but I take great issue with it being a continual punchline. I also take issue with his design, which accentuates how overweight he is. I’m bringing it up now, 7 months later, because the concept art was finally released. They are all better than the design they eventually settled on. They all use baggy clothing to cover his figure. One of them even has a poncho in Loki’s colours. They could have treated him with the respect that he deserves but they threw it away for a gag. Marvel should be ashamed.

DEC 3rd: The most amazing thing about Doctor Sleep is that it clocks in at 2 and a half hours, but never feels like it overstays its welcome. Between that and the cinematography, this is a wonderful sequel to that wonderful classic The Shining

DEC 8th: I’ve never really been into sports but if they were anything like The Shiny Shrimps I’d adore them. A beautiful story that has plenty of joy and the French language makes everything more beautiful

DEC 9th: The trailer for Ghostbusters:Afterlife is finally here. Regardless of peoples feelings, can we please not use it to rip the 2016 film a new one? It was fine on its own so please just enjoy this one without comparison.

DEC 15th: After 35 years, Gremlins is still a fun festive time for all the family. A must see for anyone who loves Christmas or B-Movies.

DEC 16th: I was unsure how I’d react to Frozen II because my sister was The Demographic for the original. I became very tired of it very quickly. So I’m pleased to report that the sequel is a fun time for children and adults.

DEC 19th: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is going to piss some people off. Not me though, i thought it was a fitting end to a saga that I love very dearly.

DEC 19th: RISE OF SKYWALKER PSA
If your child is particularly sensitive and cannot handle dark/grim visuals, please vet the film before taking them. The BBFC website is a good place to do this. Will contain spoilers.

DEC 28th: 2019 was a devisive year for film, much like 2018 before it. As we head into 2020 I cant help but worry that it’s getting worse. It seems as if people may have forgotten how to enjoy themselves and I implore them to remember. Hating a film is easy, anybody can do it, I’ve seen people build careers off of it. Liking films is more fun for everyone involved, both the audience and the creators. So as we head into the new decade please remember…
Every film is worth something.

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

Glasgow MCM Comic Con

As I type this, my boyfriend and I are travelling home from MCM Glasgow and, hopefully, by the time you read this we will have arrived. The journey home has been long and filled with unexpected changes, as was the jorney to Glasgow, but MCM was worth it. We were due to leave our home island on Friday morning’s boat, but it was inexplicabley cancelled, so we flew to Aberdeen. From here we simply took several buses to Glasgow and booked into the Youth Hostel that evening. As a system of travel, flying and taking a bus works super well, however it was more expensive than what was planned initially.
Saturday morning MCM opened its doors at 9 o’clock and we headed in shortly afterwards. Having bought priority tickets, we headed to the official MCM merch table to receive our pins. After returning to the entrance to retrieve the wristbands we forgot about, we were presented with the pins and joined the swarm of people making their way around stalls. Almost immediately, the social anxiety took over and I refused to let go of my boyfriend’s hand for 2 hours, eventually that anxiety wore off. The convention had an atmosphere of acceptance. Many people had chosen to cosplay, icluding several families with small children, which is adorable. There were stalls selling LGBT flags with most stalls selling small pride badges. LGBT Youth Scotland even hosted their first panel on inclusivity in gaming, which was a joy to attend. As we wandered around the art stalls I encountered an old schoolfriend selling her merch (Datcravat on instagram), and picked up many badges. Before leaving for the night, we visited Thomas “Tomska” Ridgewell at his stall. He was clearly tired, but made time for every single fan in the queue. He’s an absolute delight to speak to and I wish him nothing but the best. That evening we caught up with a friend in Glasgow and attended a screening of IT: Chapter 2, which was good. It’s an adaptation of a Stephen King ending… so they did the best the could.
On Sunday, we looked at what panels were on that day and decided to start with the “Sneak Peeks” panel at 11am. We saw trailers for Zombieland 2: Double Tap, Jumanji: The Next Level and Charlies Angels which weren’t new but I’d almost forgotten about because I was hyped about other things. They all look pretty good. Before leaving that afternoon we took one last gander at all the stalls, picked up some of the bigger items we’d seen and bid Datcravat a fond farewell. That afternoon, we wandered the streets of Glasgow and fell asleep early. The weekend was fantastic, but we still had to get home, and that would turn out to be more difficult than planned.

After boarding a bus that would barely get to the ferry in time we decided to hop on a train. The train then failed to start, meaning we could not make it to the boat, and were stranded on mainland Scotland. Luckily, I had a friend in Aberdeen who graciously put us up for the night and after some rounds of HALO dropped us off at the boat this afternoon. The journey to and from MCM has been a lot longer and a lot more expensive than we planned. I have had several panic attacks and nearly been bankrupted, but I still consider this a good trip. I spent 2 days surrounded by some of the nerdiest and most accepting people I’ve ever met. I felt utterly content with my existance and have come away with memories that will list a lifetime. To the staff at MCM ComicCon who will never read this, thank you so much for the effort you put in. I look forward to seeing you again in the years to come.

Signed: Your very sleepy, friendly neighbourhood queer

Superhero Rights: The Fantastic Pool

When 20th Century Fox bought the rights to the X-Men franchise in the mid 1990s, they did so along with the rights to several individual superheroes. With X-Men being a success at the box office Fox decided to greenlight projects based on their other characters, starting with Daredevil and Elektra. Part of the initial deal, they ended up being bought by Regency Studios in the early 2000s and were only distributed by Fox. This meant that the first official venture outside of X-Men would end up being released in 2005, between the second and third X-Men films.

Fantastic Four featured a group of scientists who gain powers during a space storm. While Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm use their powers for good, Victor Von Doom does not. Having gone through several re-writes and directors during its lengthy development the response for Fantastic Four was mainly positive but with several criticisms. Many felt that though the character development was good there were too many plot elements making the film feel ill-paced. Nevertheless it made money and an extended cut of the film was released in 2007 to coincide with the release of its sequel.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer focuses on our heroes as the battle the Silver Surfer and his master Galactus: Destroyer of Worlds. It also features a gimmick in which our heroes can switch powers as well as the return of Doctor Doom. Although the opening weekend brought in more money than its predecessor, in the following weeks there was a drop in box office takings. Mixed reviews cited poor acting and directing as well as poor characterisation as the reason for this drop but the special effects garnered praise. All 4 main actors had signed a 3-film deal but after Rise of the Silver Surfer‘s poor performance Fox got cold feet and cancelled any further sequels.

In 2009 it was announced that the Fantastic Four would be returning and after 6 years a reboot of the franchise hit our screens. Fan4stic, as it was stylised, was a different origin story, drawing from the Ultimate run of comic books. This time the team gained their powers from an alternate universe and find themselves assets to the US Military. Reviews were bad. The film was slated for being boring and slow with no joy or character development. It had been hoped by Fox Executives that Fan4stic would eventually lead to a crossover with X-Men but this films failure meant that this project and any sequels would never come to fruition.

Before speaking about our last two films I would like to provide some context. The character of Deadpool belongs to the X-Men universe, however I do not count his solo films as part of the X-Franchise. They have no correlation to those films in character or from a perspective of the (admittedly broken) X-Men timeline. Many people choose to see his solo films as part of the X-Franchise and that’s fine, but that is my personal take.

After spending 14 years in development hell and 7 years after his critiqued cameo in Origins:Wolverine, Deadpool finally got his own film in 2016. Although it is far from the first superhero film to be rated R(15) (an honour that goes to 1991s The Punisher) it was a first for Fox who were praised by fans for the decision. Deadpool centres around how our titular anti-hero came to have his powers and his horrific scars in a search for the man responsible. Deadpool 2 would be released 2 years later and features the character saving a young mutant from the time travelling soldier known as Cable. Both films were praised by audiences who loved its accuracy to the source material as well as its humour. Deadpool 2 is notable for featuring the first openly gay superheroes in the form of Teenage Negasonic Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio. There have been many queer heroes in comic books but this would be the first time that this diversity was shown on film. Each film made around $784 million for a grand total of $1568 million between them and would be some of the final films released by 20th Century Fox before their acquisition by Walt Disney Studios in 2017. Rumour has it that Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool will be the only character to make the leap into the MCU but that remains to be seen.

The Story Continues…

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer