Shazam! (2019): Manchildren For the Win!

Shazam! (2019)

“Captain Sparklefingers,” I mean “Captain Marvel,” err I mean “Shazam!” is directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation, Lights Out) and stars Zachary Levi (Tangled, Chuck), Mark Strong (Zero Dark Thirty, The Imitation Game), Asher Angel (Audi Mack, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders), Jack Dylan Grazer (It, Me, Myself, and I), and Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy, Gladiator). This film is about a young, adopted boy who comes in contact with a wizard. Once finding himself in that particular situation, he is chosen to wield magical powers. To engage with such powers, he transforms himself into an adult by utterance of the word “shazam.”

Wow! Finally! I’m reviewing this movie! This is long overdue! I saw this film in April, a week before “Avengers: Endgame” came out, so this review is not coming in at a time I’d personally prefer. Am I a Marvel fanboy for this? Nope. I’m just a busy college student. Life happens. However, I did manage to see this film a couple weeks after its initial release in 3D, which somewhat enhanced my viewing experience. And this is a comic book movie that admittedly, sounds somewhat different than others that are coming out today. Yes, much like some others, it’s packed with humor. Although, the thing that makes this pop is its elements of a coming of age story. The two main characters are young boys, one of them was just recently adopted into a family, and they learn to bond with each other. Another main difference that I won’t dive too much into is it doesn’t really make the story of fighting the villain the main factor. Origin-story-wise, it puts A LOT of emphasis on testing powers and seeing what could be done with them. The execution that went into the power testing scenes is beyond brilliant. Especially when you consider the undeniably delightful chemistry between the two main characters involved.

Speaking of positive reactions, this movie was definitely worth a watch! And I’ve been noticing something. If you have been following the DCEU for sometime during its inception, you may have noticed it has built up to a Justice League team-up. One of the neat things about this movie is how it tries to stay in this cinematic universe viewers have come to know, but there is practically little to no connection to outside lore. There are slight exceptions, but I can dig those exceptions. For example, the young brother who was already living in the main character’s new home possesses a bullet used in a fight against Superman and he’s even got a Batarang. There’s even a scene where we see a toy section in a store displaying figures of previously established DC characters. When it comes to this kinda sorta maybe cinematic universe approach, part of me digs it because this would perhaps allow filmmakers to have more freedom to think outside the box. Although then again, similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Kevin Feige, Warner Brothers hired Walter Hamada (The Conjuring, Lights Out) as the president of the Detective Comics Extended Universe. As much as I can appreciate Marvel for its consistent vibe and TV series-like format, I also appreciate DC for being less about making a connected story and more about making a story in general.

Let’s talk about Zachary Levi as the adult version of Shazam. HE’S FREAKING AWESOME. And despite meeting him in person at New York Comic Con, this is totally not biased! If anything, this is probably one of the best modern day superhero casting choices I’ve witnessed in my life. And I think part of it his to do with, believe it or not, my first impression of Levi upon meeting him in person. Think about it. He’s supposed to be playing the “adult” version of this main kid in the movie. He knows nothing about that life. At heart, he’s still a kid, but stuck in a man’s body. While I cannot really say I thought about this much when meeting him, he was kind of hyperactive and happy to be in his current position. This energy is also applied to the character of Shazam, or Billy Batson if you’d prefer to call him that. It’s like a slightly more paranoid version of Po from “Kung Fu Panda” or something. Hyperactive, curious, but also cautious of his surroundings. But one of the best parts of Shazam’s character that I already sort of implied is his will to check out his powers just for s*its and giggles.

Let’s face it, if I were a kid and I magically became a superhero, of course I’d want to try out my powers! Think about it! As a kid, I would roleplay and it would partially involve superheroes from time to time. If I have enough fun pretending to be a hero, how much fun do you think I’d have using something like a flashy laser beam to break my own window and be forced to pay for by my own parents? It would be f*cking worth it! Because, ya know, superpowers! That’s honestly where this movie happens to display some of its biggest strengths, but it doesn’t stop at superpowers. There’s actually a scene where Shazam is dealing with a couple robbers in a convenience store. Words cannot describe how funny it is. It’s almost… I dunno, god-like humor.

But in all seriousness though, I am not joking around when it comes to Zachary Levi. He is the perfect Shazam. He looks like what an adult version of Billy Batson would be, he’s occasionally hyper, not to mention an incessant goofball. As a superhero, he may not look that intimidating to villains, but this is one of those cases where that actually works from a screenwriter’s and artist’s point of view. C’mon, there’s a time when this guy happened to be referred to as “Captain Sparklefingers.” I mean, “Captain Marvel” might as well have been taken, so yeah, I can see why he’d be called that.

Now I mentioned this movie focuses more on its hero’s development as opposed to its villain story. Granted, that may be an understatement, because this villain has some family matters that play throughout the story. That villain by the way is Dr. Sivana played by Mark Strong. I have nothing against this character, in fact, if I had to complain about him to y’all, I’d be a liar. This guy is a great villain, but he partially suffers from a partial lack of memorability. There are one or two scenes where his true power is absolutely displayed that made me attached to the screen. But based on the excessive amount of time focused on our hero, the villain almost does not seem to matter as much. Part of me wants to call this a fault of this movie that shouldn’t be left undisclosed, but at the same time, based on the execution of our hero’s origins, I almost cannot even complain.

But speaking of our hero and mistakes, there is one thing I have to bring up. The main character in this movie is adopted. There is a sideplot to the film where he is trying to find his birthparents, and I won’t go into whether or not he finds them. I won’t go into much about it, but as that side plot manages to come to a conclusion, there is an utterance of dialogue that may not only be cheesy, but conceptually, it is FLAT-OUT IDIOTIC. I won’t go into it for the sake of not spoiling anything yet, you might not even know what I am talking about, but if I were doing a spoiler review right now, I’d probably make a mention of this somewhere because it sort of pissed me off. You know how some people may watch a really good movie but the ending just SUCKS? This was not the ending, in fact the actual climax of the film itself is freaking spectacular. This is almost what it reminded me of. I can tell the filmmakers wanted to get some sort of audience reaction out of what I am talking about. And they succeeded. I say so because I for one reacted angrily.

With that aside, there is still a lot to enjoy in “Shazam!.” There are a couple of cool action sequences, a ton of humorous scenes and gags, the writing is off the chain! The story feels very self-contained and unlike some MCU movies, you don’t really need to watch any thing that precedes this film. Granted, I have no idea where the DCEU is going to go, but I have a feeling that depending on whether or not the franchise continues to have success, that is going to change. But for now, I am willing to appreciate this film’s intimate screenplay. In fact, the closest that this movie actually gets to being connected in the same universe is probably towards the last scene, which I won’t talk about that much. It doesn’t necessarily tease an upcoming film, but it is something to take note of.

And one last thing I have to note before moving onto my final verdict, for those of you who are not that invested in comic books, you may not be aware that Shazam is not this movie’s hero’s original name, it was actually Captain Marvel, but due to a legal battle between comic creators DC and Fawcett, Marvel Comics eventually started their own series with a hero by said name. How MARVELOUS indeed. Now, as most modern moviegoers know, one of the most recent films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “Captain Marvel” starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers. I gotta be honest, the movie was not that great. So you know what? When it comes to “Captain Marvel” films, DC did this concept better! I know a lot of people look at the DCEU and consider it to almost be a joke, but in all seriousness, not only is it getting better compared to how it was in say 2016 with movies like “Suicide Squad,” but this is just another scenario where I thought DC did a film concept better than Marvel. Coincidentally, if you guys have ever read my “Captain Marvel” review, you’d know that I said towards the end that when it comes to doing solo movies with female leads, that’s another win for DC. I personally liked “Wonder Woman” better than “Captain Marvel.” Yes, Marvel seems to have the better collective universe, but much like anyone else, they have bad days at the office. Ever seen “Thor: The Dark World?” Please don’t.

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In the end, “Shazam!” is just a good time at the movies that can put an idiotic grin on your face. It’s hilarious, charming, and conceptually pleasing. Also, I would not mind watching it again and buying it on Blu-ray in the future. Maybe if Best Buy puts out a steelbook, I’ll shell out some money for that. I like my collector’s items. Zachary Levi is a national treasure and I would like to see more work for him in the future whether it is in the DCEU or in some other realm of media. Something like comedy, perhaps a buddy cop film maybe? I’m going to give “Shazam!” a 7/10. Again, one thing that takes away points for this film is the whole side plot and that one thing about it that kind of pissed me off, other than that, this is a fun and wacky superhero flick that is certainly worth your time and money.

MARVEL: We’re making a “Captain Marvel” movie! Dope, eh?

DC: Same bat-hold. Same bat-my beer.

Thanks for reading this review! If you are interested in more superhero related content, I reviewed two other comic book movies this year, and no, I have not seen “Hellboy.” If you want to get your fix of comic book movie reviews, click the links below and check these things out! I’ve got my review for “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” please check em’ out! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Shazam!?” What did you think about it? Or, what would you do if you happened to be a kid and found out you had superpowers? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Captain Marvel REVIEW

Avengers: Endgame REVIEW

Aquaman (2018): A Big Splash of Fun

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“Aquaman” is directed by James Wan (The Conjuring, Furious 7) and stars Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian), Amber Heard (The Danish Girl, 3 Days To Kill), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, xXx: State of the Union), Patrick Wilson (Fargo, Insidious), Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, Masters of the Universe), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Get Down, The Greatest Showman), and Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased, Big Little Lies). This film is based on the Detective Comics property that is probably mocked more than any other. Fittingly, this movie is most likely to be seen by people who are mocked more than any other. The plot to “Aquaman” is that Arthur Curry is the heir to the throne in his underwater kingdom, Atlantis. He also must unleash his inner hero and defend the world.

The world as we know it seems to have a very complicated relationship with the Detective Comics Extended Universe, and this includes myself. I have seen all the movies in its franchise thus far. I really enjoyed “Man of Steel.” “Batman v. Superman” is not as good as I would have hoped, but it’s still watchable. “Suicide Squad” is just plain awful, even though I enjoyed it the first time around. “Wonder Woman” was spectacular, and at one point, was probably my favorite movie of 2017. “Justice League” was pretty good, in fact, I honestly think I enjoyed it more than a lot of other people did. However, there is no denying that the turnout of the movie, almost felt like a movie that went through development hell. There were some clashing tones, lackluster effects at times, and Steppenwolf was kind of a one-dimensional villain. Then again, it’s hard to blame everybody because the technical director, Zack Snyder, needed Joss Whedon to fill his shoes for post-production because he lost his daughter to suicide, but nevertheless. I personally thought while DC was not as big or as close to quality as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they were heading in the right direction. This direction personally tends to continue with “Aquaman” because it’s just a damn good time at the movies.

Comic book movies are perhaps the biggest trend in film right now, and I don’t know when it is going to stop, or even IF it is ever going to stop. If somebody were to ask me, what the definition of “comic book movie” would be, I’d just point them straight to “Aquaman.” Now I mean that in the most generous of ways, because the reality is that I tend to be a complete nerd who enjoys comic book movies. But when I think of comic books, superheroes, and stuff like that. I tend to think of big spectacles, compelling characters who have interesting backstories, epic fights, and stories that don’t necessarily need to be completely catered to logic. This is THAT movie. Without getting into heavy spoilers, let me just tell you about some of the weird s*it that goes down in “Aquaman.”

  • An Octopus plays the drums!
  • Laser sharks!
  • Underwater gladiator fights!
  • Occasional cartoony music!
  • Jumping off an aircraft and landing into a desert with no pain whatsoever!
  • Getting inside a giant fish who apparently doesn’t eat everything in its mouth!
  • Witty banter!
  • A shark nearly breaks the glass in an aquarium!
  • And of course, a man can talk to fish.

This is not just a movie, it’s a Saturday morning cartoon in all of its glory. And in all honesty, it’s actually better than “Thor: Ragnarok,” which I’ve heard from some people is like a Saturday morning cartoon, but in my eyes, that’s not what it should have been. I would have much preferred seeing a darker version of the story, one where there is despair! But no, you gotta get kids in the theater! La-de-frikin-dah! But the thing about “Thor: Ragnarok” is while it is a superhero movie and might as well be something that kids can enjoy, it seemed much lighter compared to the previous two “Thor” movies. It feels like a change of pace that I wasn’t able to grasp onto. “Aquaman” has yet to have his own standalone film, so therefore, I didn’t really know what to expect. A lot of information prior to the to release of “Aquaman” can be interpreted in one’s own imagination. What really matters is how people like me react to the execution. And I thought the execution was pretty swell if you ask me.

Visually speaking, this is one of the best movies of the year. Someone really must have had fun with the concept art for this film, because this film feels like what happens when you create Dungeons & Dragons underwater. I wanted to know more about the lore and mythology behind Atlantis. I mean, it really doesn’t surprise me that this movie looks good. After all, I have the fighting game “Injustice: Gods Among Us” and Atlantis happens to be my favorite stage in the entire game.

Let’s talk about Arthur Curry, AKA “Aquaman.” He’s played by Jason Momoa who we’ve seen in “Justice League” as the title character but now we get a much more personal look. One thing I will say about many superheroes is that they seem to highly associate with one certain word. With “Spider-Man,” he seems to clearly define an outsider, a nerd. With “Thor,” he seems to define a powerful god. With “Aquaman,” he may be that “chosen one” cliche per se, but he also seems to come off as a regular, everyday gay. There’s a scene with him at the bar where I got this vibe that he is that character on a sitcom that a main character would want to have a beer with. Also, out of all the superheroes that I’ve seen on screen, “Aquaman” by far, possibly might be the most masculine out of all of them. He’s ripped, he’s ready to have a good time, and that haircut, while it makes this dude look like a lady, it certainly just screams “MAN!”

Also, Mera? Yeah. She’s cool. I’d just say she’s hot and leave the description at that, but that’s not the point. I will say that prior to seeing “Aquaman” I went out and bought Mera’s Funko Pop before even going out to see the film. Not only did it look cool, but based on how awesome Mera is in this movie, the Pop was well worth the money. When I saw the “Ghostbusters” remake back in 2016, I imagined personally how much better the movie would be had it included half a team with girls and half a team with boys, to show gender equality, not to mention men and women working together for the better of society. This dynamic duo does not disappoint! Mera doesn’t feel like a sidekick and instead feels like Aquaman’s equal. They go together like bread and butter!

Also, one common complaint that many comic book movies seem to be getting nowadays is the inclusion of lackluster villains. Out of the DCEU films, I gotta say that one of the villains of “Aquaman” is the best one in the DCEU thus far. Specifically, Aquaman’s brother, King Orm. And to add to all of this Saturday morning cartoon glory, in my eyes, this guy really does resemble the word dick if you ask me. He reminds me of Legolas’s father from “The Hobbit.” Also, one thing that we’ve seen in a couple of recent comic book films like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is that the main villain has some previous relation to the main character, “Aquaman” manages to continue that trend, while not necessarily improving upon it, but not destroying it either.

I really want to talk about the action in this film. One thing I’m noticing a lot nowadays is that in certain action flicks like “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Atomic Blonde,” and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” there is a really long one-take sequence where the camera does not cut away from whatever is going on in terms of action. While this movie doesn’t have THAT, there is one notable longer than usual take action scene in the beginning of the film that completely set the tone for what’s to come. Now keep in mind, this movie was directed by James Wan, who also directed “Furious 7.” That is not my favorite “Fast & Furious” film, but in terms of action and stunts, it’s probably the best. Based on his stellar action choreography and directing in that movie, it provides an excellent transition from there to here. Going back to Saturday morning cartooniness, a lot of the fighting is not just stylistically pleasing, but it’s big and loud, it kind of sent chills down my spine at this point. And, to compare this movie to “Black Panther,” Aquaman has to duel against his brother in a gladiator style ring, all of it is epic, brings things that I usually don’t see in movies. The most notable difference is that a lot of the fighting is done underwater. Granted, it’s not like the filmmakers went into the water and created a gigantic world by hand. In fact, if they actually did that, this movie actually would have probably been worse because it wouldn’t look as fantastical as it does now. Granted, there are times where I do draw a line on a movie looking fantastical, but this to me is a believable fantastical vision.

When I got home from this movie, I was able to say that this movie in no way breaks new ground. Granted, some of the action is stellar, but I felt like I’ve seen a portion of it before. However, the movies I was able to compare this to were actually likable choices. One of the easiest picks was “Black Panther.” You have this guy who is heir to the throne, who is eventually challenged by somebody for that position. The way they get to determine whether someone is worthy is through a duel. And honestly, the way they do the duel in this movie is honestly better than “Black Panther.” It feels more like an event, whereas the duel in “Black Panther” just like a couple of friends watching you play Classic mode on “Super Smash Brothers.” It was more like an underwater version of the Planet Hulk scene in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Coincidentally, this movie reminded me of “Thor,” because you have this one slightly out of place being trying to be a better version of himself. Not to mention, like in “Thor,” Aquaman is destined to rise to the throne. I also said this film kind of reminded me of a “Lord of the Rings” movie. While this is nowhere near as compelling as say “Return of the King,” it had elements of “Lord of the Rings” intact. There is a scene where our main characters have to trek through a piece of land for some time. At times the movie feels like a road trip, one moment you’re in the Sahara, the other you’re in Italy. La-de-la-de-da. Not to mention, there are some big, massive fights in the film with tons of special effects. This is where you also get to see the laser sharks in action at times. The other film this reminds me of is “Fast & Furious,” which to me is no surprise because of the director once being attached to direct “Furious 7.” It’s big, loud, absurd, and overall just balls to the wall.

Going back to the action, I gotta point one thing about it. As I said before, the action in this movie is f*cking amazing. This is one simple comparison I have to make because I’m a complete and total nerd, and nerds have opinions. When it comes to Marvel, they know how to create a story, they know how to write something, maybe not always something compelling, but something that is structured properly and is not in danger of breaking apart. When it comes to DC, one thing I’ve noticed in all of their movies is that the action is always worth the price of admission. Granted, Marvel tends to have good action, but it doesn’t hold a candle to DC. It’s always fast paced, rumbly tumbly, and it feels like something that would be in a nerd’s fantasy world. I would like to thank “Aquaman” for keeping DC’s action-based identity alive.

In the end, “Aquaman” is not the best superhero movie of the year. In fact, it came out a week after “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” so it already has a tough competitor. What it really is though is the definition of what a superhero movie should be. Fun, big, and a fine form of escapism. This is certainly a crowd-pleasing movie, and honestly, I enjoyed it more than “Black Panther.” I know some people will want to kill me for saying that, but I’m just telling the honest truth. Jason Momoa’s great as Aquaman, Amber Heard is equally as wonderful as Mera. The two have great on-screen chemistry together, and I loved every minute of the movie. I’m gonna give “Aquaman” a 7/10. Before I go any further, I gotta point out something about this movie that sets it apart from a film like “Justice League.” One thing I noticed about this film is the runtime, and it is two hours and twenty-three minutes. While some people might consider that a bit long for their liking, I honestly don’t mind it, and in some ways, it’s better than “Justice League.” When it comes to “Justice League,” it comes in nearly a couple of hours even. That is a movie with more heroes and a lower runtime. It really just feels more like a corporate cash-in effort than anything else. Granted, somewhere around the two hour mark is your typical superhero movie, but some could argue that “Justice League” deserved to be more than two hours in order to make a better product. “Aquaman,” which comes in nearly two and a half hours, feels more like it is part of a vision as opposed to a corporate product. And for that, I have nothing but respect for the studio and the filmmakers. Granted there is an argument to be made that “Batman v. Superman” is too short at a two and a half hour long runtime, but I imagine there are some people arguing it is also too long. This world is divided! Also, to enhance your experience as much as possible, go see this in a theater, on the biggest screen possible, with the highest sound quality possible. Go to RPX or IMAX, you won’t be disappointed, and stay for the mid-credits scene! Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I’ll have a couple of reviews up for “The Mule” and “Instant Family,” as far as I know, those will be my last reviews before I put up my countdowns of my top 10 BEST and WORST movies of the year. Stay tuned for all of that, and if you like content like this, be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Aquaman?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite superhero movie of 2018? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Rhode Island Comic Con 2018 Review/Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! This is the fourth year in a row I have gone to an event that pretty much defines who I am at this point, Rhode Island Comic Con! Over the years I have met some fantastic guests there including Charles Martinet (Super Mario Bros., The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Keeping Up with the Joneses), Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool, The Exorcist), Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds, Supernatural), and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit). This year, the guest lineup continued to not disappoint. The lineup featured guests from all walks of nerd life, from “Star Wars” to “Deadpool” to “It” to “The Walking Dead” to even “Impractical Jokers.” Not only that, but this year, while I will say guest-wise is probably not #1 for RICC (which says something based on how fantastic this year’s lineup is), is the best in terms of one thing many customers have talked about as their pet peeve with the con. Organization.

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Let’s take this from the top. In 2014, RICC has its third convention ever. They get shut down by the fire marshal on their first day, Saturday, due to poor attendance flow. Capacity exceeded by over three thousand people. As for those who left the convention, they couldn’t reenter, and there were also people who simply couldn’t enter no matter what. Rhode Island Comic Con f*cked up. In 2015, the first year I went, it started out well, then my father and I decide to go from the Dunkin Donuts Center to the Rhode Island Convention Center. I wanted to catch a panel. Turns out the time spent getting from one place to another took forever and a half. This year, I had a slightly similar, but MUCH LESS worrisome issue. In 2016, the convention decided to try out their eventual continued method of having some headlining or popular guests on the Dunkin Donuts Center floor. A few of these guests included Millie Bobby Brown, Stan Lee, and the one I wanted to see the most, Gal Gadot. One of the advantages of Stan Lee and Millie Bobby Brown in regards to the customers is that they had multiple opportunities to see them. However, Gal Gadot was only at the convention for one day. Despite getting in somewhat early, I had to end up waiting in line for five hours, with an unusual twist and turn brought into the mix. This caused me to miss Gal Gadot’s panel too. How unfortunate. In 2017, I had trouble getting into a panel for Channel Awesome, there was no real line for Channel Awesome’s room. Even employees didn’t know all of what to do in this sort of situation. Also, one of the biggest downfalls of 2017’s Rhode Island Comic Con is after walking in, chances are some people are going to want to go into the Rhode Island Convention Center portion of the event. That’s where many of the guests, vendors, and panels happen to be located. To do that, you basically have to go around the entire Dunkin Donuts center in a circle. Should I say donut? Speaking of limited options regarding travel, the skybridge between the Rhode Island Convention Center for 2016 and 2017 was a one way. Want to switch back to the Dunkin Donuts Center from the Rhode Island Convention Center? Well, go down an escalator, leave the building, go find a small entry, get scanned by someone, and you can party all you want from there. This year however, NONE OF THAT WAS THERE! YAY!

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I love Rhode Island Comic Con, but when it comes to placing all of their event’s vendors, celebrities, and crowds, this is where they fail. This year, I cannot even believe that I was on a two-way skybridge at Rhode Island Comic Con. Guys, it’s not that hard! It all worked out! One interesting thing about this year though is that most of the celebrities who resided in the Rhode Island Convention Center were not on the usual floor that a majority of the celebrities of previous shows happened to be on. Instead, they were on the fifth floor. Many of them were in a ballroom which has also been used for several of the event’s panels in the past. This pretty much meant the main floor was completely dedicated to shopping, charity, sponsors, contests, and artists. The Dunkin Donuts Center is about the same as it has been since 2016. You’ve got your vendors, you have some places to grab food court-style grub, including of course, Dunkin Donuts. Downstairs contains some celebrities on the show floor, and more vendors. The one big difference this year however is that the photo ops are not organized down in the Dunkin Donuts Center. Instead, it’s inside the main area of the Rhode Island Convention Center. It’s located in a region where for the past couple of years, celebrity guests would have been sitting down signing autographs as customers wait in line. There’s a different organizer this year as well. Last year was Celeb Photo Ops whereas this year is Epic Photo Ops. I can’t compare the service between the two, mainly because I didn’t get a professional photo op this year. I took photos alongside celebrities at their table, which I actually think has more value attached to it because pro photo ops usually consist of fast-paced lines and limited interaction. In some cases with photos at the table, the lines to get to the celebrity may be on the slower side, but it’s worth it because you get to have a higher chance at an actual face-to-face conversation.

Speaking of face-to-face conversations, I’ve gotten to have one at a panel this year. No, I wasn’t onstage talking to someone, but the whole panel was essentially a Q&A. With that in mind, one of the questions that was taken happened to be mine. This panel I’m referring to is “Impractical Jokes from Murr with Special Guest Joey Fatone!” In other words, the panel was for guests James Murray (Impractical Jokers) and Joey Fatone (Impractical Jokers: After Party). My question for the panel regarded the “Impractical Jokers” show asking what might be the best fake names the guys have ever came up with. James and I seem to agree that “Disfatt Bidge” is brilliant.

On the topic of James Murray: Pet Cremator and Grandparent Divorce Attorney, I happened to meet and talk to him when he was at the con on Sunday. He was there for Saturday and Sunday, and to my surprise, his line was actually capped for much of the time I was there. I know that having someone from “Impractical Jokers” show up to the con can make that particular guest stand out because at least in my book, “Impractical Jokers” isn’t all that nerdy. It has individuals who have done nerdy things and are interested in said things as well, but still. That status, believe it or not, actually may have helped Murr. Many guests have showed up to Rhode Island Comic Con this year. Most of the guests are from movies and TV. For the most part, the movie or TV show would have a nerdy connotation to it. For TV shows, these include “Star Trek,” “The Walking Dead,” “Smallville,” “Power Rangers,” and “Batman: The Animated Series.” For movies, these include “Star Wars,” “It,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Shazam,” and “Deadpool.” Having a less than nerdy individual from a less than nerdy show might add some diversity to Rhode Island Comic Con and maybe bring in a different audience or for the nerds, show to others that they enjoy things that don’t have superheroes, lightsabers, blasters, or explosions. When it comes to meeting James Murray, I got him to sign my copy of “Awakened.” This is a book he wrote alongside Darren Wearmouth, which will soon be getting a sequel called “The Brink.” I also got a selfie alongside him, which is a bit different from what people usually do at these cons, which is allow somebody around the table to snap a pic of the celebrity simply standing next to you. Interesting approach, but I feel bad for those customers who don’t have a front-facing camera or a cell phone because then it slightly alters the tradition. Also, out of the celebrities I’ve met at a con, I found Murr to be perhaps the most outgoing of all of them. When I was in line for him on Sunday, he’s coming out of this private area and without me even looking at him, he pats me on the shoulder like a champ. Not only that, but he just starts hi-fiving and greeting everyone, it’s like the most charismatic game show host ever. Although then again, I guess Murr is the most charismatic game show host ever because he will be hosting a game show with the other Jokers called “Misery Index” which is set to air on TBS.

Also, I couldn’t get a picture, but Murr’s banner at one point had a sticky note with the words “FERRETS RULE!” and his eyebrows and facial hair was censored out by more sticky doohickeys. Some of you reading might be aware that James has a ferret tattoo on his leg, which by the way he did show. However when it was revealed, it was not in the best of situations. Murray explained that he was in the process of flipping over his mattress, as one does. Long story short, he hit his bedside and now there’s a bruise on his tattoo. Things happen I guess. By the way, that driver’s license photo where Murray has no eyebrows. IT’S REAL AND HE BROUGHT IT WITH HIM.

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Another guest I met was Tara Strong (The Fairly Oddparents, Teen Titans Go!). If you have ever been a modern day kid, chances are you have been exposed to her work somewhere. I’ve seen her as Timmy Turner on Nickelodeon’s “The Fairly Oddparents,” she’s been some numerous voices on “Family Guy,” she can be found as a voice on “My Little Pony,” she even had an uncredited role as “Bellybutton” in “Ted.” I got her autograph, not for me, but a friend. And I assure you all right now reading this that what I’m about to tell you is a true story. I met Tara Strong on Friday, November 2nd. Nice gal, she managed to ask me if I was voting the midterm elections. I didn’t. Part of me wanted to, but when you have to take an hour and a half train commute from one town to the other and back, it affects such a thing really. However, she handed me a sticker promoting “Nerds Who Vote” as a sign of encouragement. That night however, I was going through my stuff and realized that I left my autograph in the building! I went back the next day, cutting the line to get into the convention without even knowing. But it was my birthday weekend so in my book it’s OK. I go inside and rush to Tara Strong’s table. She’s not there yet, and I’m not the first in line. Once everything’s all situated there, one person asks me what I’m there for. I was expecting them to disregard my comment saying I left an autograph behind. Turns out it was in front of Tara waiting for me!

There’s good people in this world! Thank gosh! If I was told I had to cough up money for another autograph, I would have. I promised my friend I’d bring this to her. However, I have such massive respect for those working at Rhode Island Comic Con and Tara Strong herself for saving this autograph for me as opposed to leaving it hanging somewhere mysterious.

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Another item I got autographed was my “Deadpool 2” steelbook. This bad boy is a Best Buy exclusive which came with a 4K, Blu-ray, and digital copy code. It also has an extended director’s cut marketed as the “Super Duper $@%!#& Cut.” Interestingly, it also came with a slipcover featuring a bubble quote from “Deadpool” saying “I like to be on top. Obviously.” There were a number of “Deadpool” related guests announced including Stefan Kapicic, Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, and creator Rob Liefeld. Believe it or not, Liefeld’s appearance kind of flew over my head. Plus, I was more interested the people from the movie side of things. Also, Brianna Hildebrand unfortunately cancelled her appearance, which ultimately wasn’t too big of a deal to me, because I already met her back at the same con in 2016. Nice lady if you ask me. But I gotta be honest, meeting Stefan Kapicic was very interesting. It’s almost like he was more excited to meet me than I was to meet him. I presented my steelbook to him and just calmly loses his mind. It’s easy to tell Kapicic has a passion for what he’s doing. I think he almost gave me a free autograph because I asked how much it was and the timing between signing and all of the words and phrases mentioned in our talk made Kapicic or his assistant either forget this is a job or become so infatuated with my product that signing it was a privilege. Speaking of infatuation, when it comes to Morena Baccarin, I spent a tad less time with her, but to be fair, she had a longer line. She didn’t have too much to say, but she was very nice.

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Oh yeah, I also got a pic with her. We make a great 20 year age difference couple. Sorry if her husband has to see this.

Another celebrity I met happened to be Meat Loaf. To be honest, I never really listened to his music, so there’s not much I can say about that. The only thing I’ve really seen him in was “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which coincidentally, had another celebrity who appeared at the con the same weekend, Tim Curry, AKA Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The biggest highlight of the interactions has to be the introduction. I introduce myself, and he just mocks me for acting like I forgot my own name.

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That’s all the celebrities I met, but I also managed to encounter some awesome items for purchase as well! Well, mostly for purchase.

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This first item was actually free. I played a game where I happened to have a chance at winning an inexpensive item. The one I ended up winning was a wristband. Judging by the band, you might be able to guess that Dave & Busters was a sponsor this year of Rhode Island Comic Con. The items on the table basically consisted of whatever cheap merchandise could be produced and have a slapping of Dave & Busters’s own name on it.

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Moving onto more expensive items, I stopped at this one shop I’ve actually already visited this year at New York Comic Con and Terrificon. The shop goes by the name 3D Printing by Muckychris. They’ve had some nice 3D printed materials, with some standouts inluding the “Fight Club” soap bar and Darth Vader’s damaged mask as it was seen in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” However my item of choice at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con happened to be a t-shirt. When I saw this shirt at Terrificon, I wanted to desperately get said shirt. I didn’t. When I went to New York Comic Con, I noticed the store, but they apparently weren’t advertising the shirt I wanted. To be fair, they had another cool shirt that stood out to me, but I ended up passing on it. However, when they arrived at Rhode Island Comic Con and I saw my shirt of choice, I felt like I scored. Well, almost scored, in all technicality. Turns out they didn’t have a large! I ended up settling for an extra large however, which isn’t a bad thing. The shirt, as suggested in the picture, is a parody of the “Solo: A Star Wars Story” logo, and instead says “Sulu: A Star Trek Story.” Many people know Han Solo as a “Star Wars” character. For this shirt, the logo was switched up to cater to a “Star Trek” character. And you know what? I don’t know how big these fights are nowadays, but if they are still around, I should literally be going around wearing this shirt to whatever “Star Wars” or “Star Trek” convention I come across. I say that because this shirt can almost resemble a demonstration for sci-fi franchise peace. While people continuously fight over which franchise is superior, I’ll just be walking around in this $20 t-shirt saying, let’s come together! May the force live long and prosper! Also, 3D Printing by Muckychris handmakes products in New Jersey and can be found on this website below.

https://muckychris.patternbyetsy.com/

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Speaking of t-shirts, I went by one shop I’ve gone to at Terrificon and actually purchased something from, MTC Toys. However, this time, instead of getting two t-shirts, I ended up getting one. The variety in the store is certainly something to get excited about, but the prices are a little less exciting at times. However, with as much variety as this store has, you can basically argue that the price doesn’t really matter. The shirt that really stood out to me, as you see in the picture above, is one that resembles the guys from “The Big Bang Theory” as DC superheroes. For the record, I have a strong feeling this t-shirt is completely based on the “Justice League” cosplay the show’s characters had to do for a contest at the comic book store on New Years Eve. Sheldon was The Flash, Leonard was Green Lantern, Howard was Batman, Raj, to his everlasting shame, was Aquaman. Even Penny and a guy she knew, Zack, joined the party as Wonder Woman and Superman. Based on their names, you can probably guess who is who. As you can also see, the shirt also has the saying “The Big Bang Theory” has popularized over the years, “BAZINGA!” MTC Toys is from North Tonawanda, NY. They have been to many comic cons for over two decades, selling lots of t-shirts and fan merch.

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Lastly for clothing is a sweatshirt I’ve actually worn not long after I got it. As you can see, it is for Marvel’s “Iron Man.” I consider Iron Man to be one of my favorite superheroes, and his interpretation by Robert Downey Jr. is unbelievable. But I gotta say, while this sweatshirt is certainly nice-looking, I don’t think it was worth the “on-sale” price of $39.99. It didn’t take long for the front zipper of this thing to stop working (yes, there’s a front and back zipper). To be honest, while I might end up wearing this sweatshirt again, it REALLY could be better. However, what is better than this sweatshirt is the store where I got it from, FYE. FYE has actually been a part of Rhode Island Comic Con every year since I went, and each year they seem to switch up the merchandise to spice things up in one way or another. Some standouts included an FYE exclusive “Hocus Pocus” Blu-ray which came with four glow in the dark postcards. There were a lot of Funko Pops, including exclusives from FYE itself and seasonal conventions. The store even had some of the items you’d find at the FYE booth in New York Comic Con. Some of these items included eight “Friday the 13th” movies inside a steel lunchbox, a Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years blanket, and I believe they had cereal as well, because FYE is somewhat known for selling food. If I had to go back in time and give up this sweatshirt though, I probably wouldn’t mind doing such a thing. After all, FYE also had a jacket resembling the one Finn wore in the “Star Wars” franchise. Although at the same time, part of me might be safer not getting it so I don’t get any criticism for dressing up like a black guy. Still, cool jacket.

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As you guys know, I am a movie nerd, so therefore, this next purchase satisfied my hunger. There’s one store I went to whose name I actually don’t know which had a bunch of wine glasses. I don’t drink so that’s none of my concern. However, I did manage to pick up something else they had, ceramic coasters. These things were $7 each, but I managed to get four coasters for $25. As you can see, these coasters are for “Blade Runner 2049,” “John Wick,” “Justice League,” (2017 film) and “The Thing.” (John Carpenter) I enjoyed all of these movies so these purchases were certainly done without regret.

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One of my cheapest purchases at the con comes from Mad Mike’s Emporium. Mad Mike’s is a shop from East Greenwich, RI, selling new and used toys, video games, collectibles, and rare findings. I ignored the toys here, however there was one video game that absolutely caught my eye. One of my childhood games is “Need For Speed: Underground 2.” I have played its predecessor, “Need For Speed: Underground.” However, the most complex platform I’ve ever played it on is the Game Boy Advance. Therefore, some might argue I’ve never played the game for real. I believe I first saw the game at the shop on Sunday. If that’s the case, I didn’t buy it because I had overpriced food in my hand and I was looking for a place to sit down. Once I heard the price, $5, I was dead-on intrigued. I just started playing the game, and I see some of the differences between this game and its sequel, but I’m enjoying it so far.

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The last purchases I’ll go over come from a shop called Horror Decor. Their catchphrase is “Make every day a living nightmare.” One of my everlasting nightmares is the fact that Blockbuster Video is on its last legs. Speaking of which, the store managed to have two items that truly stood out to me. The first one is a Blockbuster tote bag and the other is a pillow that resembles a Blockbuster Membership Card. Before I found these gems of badassery, I always wanted some sort of merchandise related to Blockbuster. I go to stores like Newbury Comics and Thinkgeek and find a shirt that says “Blockbuster and Chill” from time to time. However I never officially got my hands on it either due to a lack of intrigue or the sleeves not really being the ones a man should have. These two items however, are just plain awesome. There’s a good chance that around Christmas time I’ll be using that tote bag to carry in gifts that hopefully are delivered by December 24th or 25th, that way I don’t have to give late fees to my recipients. And the pillow, while it may not be the all time most comfortable thing I’ve laid on, will certainly be a fantastic addition to my mancave. Also, just so you know, Blockbuster is not completely dead. There is still a location in Bend, Oregon. So if I were to make a trek there sometime, I’d probably ask if I could use my pillow as a valid membership card. I’d probably get a no, but I’d rather get that “no” than lose physical media altogether.

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If you read my post for last year’s Rhode Island Comic Con and what I did there, chances are you may know that one of my purchases was for the original “Star Wars” trilogy. For the record, when I say original “Star Wars” trilogy, that means the original trilogy before all of the special editions. One reason why I value that purchase so much is because it takes away some of what made the special editions somewhat cringeworthy. It removes some of the added CGI, Darth Vader’s “No” at the end of “Return of the Jedi,” and the infamous moment where Han Solo doesn’t shoot Greedo first. However, on Friday, November 2nd, I think I made the 2018 special edition of “Star Wars,” and that is partially in thanks to the 501st Legion, who has partnered with charities such as The Jimmy Fund and Make-A-Wish. In this special edition, not only does Han not shoot first, Han is not even involved in the duel whatsoever. Instead, the dorky Earthling who lacks some people skills named Jack Drees is doing all of the work. “Star Wars” fans will never get to see the final cut, but they get to savor over this image.

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When it comes to Rhode Island Comic Con, this has been another great year. And it is probably likely the year where I’ve had the least complaints about how things are run. The vendors are lively and know their audience. There is so much to do and see. The celebrity lineup this year, again, is full to the brim and brings tons of variety. The skybridge IS ACTUALLY TWO WAY! THANK GOSH! I’ll probably be coming back to Rhode Island Comic Con next year mainly because it is a tradition at this point. I’ve been four years in a row, might as well make it five! I will also say that Altered Reality, the company that organizes Rhode Island Comic Con does have some other conventions I want to check out. There’s one convention that goes on during the summer called ComiCONN that goes down every year. It takes place at the Foxwoods casino in Ledyard, CT. It’s smaller than Rhode Island Comic Con, but it would be fun to go at least for a day. Altered Reality is also expanding their lineup, because they have a new con on the weekend of May 3rd through May 5th. It is called Epic Comic Con. It’s set to take place at the Showboat Atlantic City. The Showboat is a casino which opened in 1987, closed in 2014, and reopened in 2016. I don’t know if I’ll be going there, because school might be serious at that time. Plus, if plans don’t change, May 3rd is also the release date for “Avengers 4,” so my priority that weekend would be to shove my review for that on the Internet as soon as possible. Although I will say, I visited the website for Epic Comic Con and it says that the con is supposed to be set for June 21st through the 23rd. So at this point, planning for the con is a mystery to me. As far as my next con goes, I don’t know what it will be. There’s PAX East coming up in March. That’s also the same month as CTGamerCon, which is set at the Mohegan Sun casino. Maybe I’ll go to that. Winter however is not the busiest time for cons, so I don’t think I’ll be going to any cons during the winter. We’ll see if anything comes up though. Thanks to Rhode Island Comic Con for another spectacular year and I hope to see the con again in 2019!

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Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I’m going to have my review for “The Grinch” which is in theaters now. It’s definitely making lots of money. My friend and I planned on seeing it at an IMAX, so we’re going to see what this is all about. Also, on Monday, I’m going to see “Second Act” starring Jennifer Lopez. For the record, the movie does not release until December 21st, which means it will ultimately be crushed by “Aquaman,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” and “Bumblebee.” However, I have reserved passes for an early screening so I’ll be getting to see the movie early. I don’t know when the review embargo lifts, but there’s a good chance you’ll probably have to wait about a month to see my review on the film. I don’t know. Be sure to stay tuned for that review, and a review you’ll see perhaps much earlier. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you go to Rhode Island Comic Con this year? What are your thoughts? Did you go before? What did you think then? Or, if you have any suggestions of future cons, near or far, that I should visit, what are they? Please list your suggestions in the comments! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

New York Comic Con 2018 Review/Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It’s time to go over perhaps not just one of the biggest events I’ve attended all year, not just one of the biggest events I attended ever, but one of the biggest THINGS I’ve ever attended. A couple weeks ago I’ve been given the absolute privilege to go to New York Comic Con. A friend of mine who I have known for a few years decided to go all out for a graduation gift and give me the most badass thing ever. Given this post, you might be able to guess I got Comic-Con tickets. This is my first time at New York Comic Con, and my second time in New York throughout my life. My tickets were for Friday and Sunday, two out of four days the convention goes on for. As far as my Saturday went, I happened to go around New York City with my mother, but that’s irrelevant here. If you want my thoughts on that, it was fun, end of story. Now let’s focus on New York Comic Con.

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New York Comic Con is a yearly event held in New York, NY’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. As far as attendees go, these conventions usually get somewhere in the six digit range. According to Wikipedia, over 180,000 people attended this very convention in 2016. This year, many celebrities were present from ranges in entertainment, literature, gaming, and comics. The show’s basement has an ENORMOUS Artist Alley, but let me make it clear, I didn’t investigate any further into it. I also didn’t go to any panels, but there were some I would have gone to if I had the time or greater motivation. One was the “Mortal Engines” panel, but I couldn’t get in because once it started, I actually wasn’t in the convention center yet. However throughout my visit I did a bunch of other things that were definitely enjoyable. There is so much to go over when it comes to what New York Comic Con has that it is so easy to say that I am not gonna be able to hit all of it. But all of the highlights I did hit, I’ll document them here. Let’s start this off by going over some purchases.

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This first section relates heavily to what I do here at Scene Before. These con posts, I just do them as a hobby. I don’t get invited to cons. It would be nice if I had a chance to promote this site there at some booth or something though. As most of my followers probably already know, my main dedication goes toward movie reviewing. This is probably the con that I’ve gone to that relates closest to movies than any other. I say that because while some cons I go to I am well aware that they have those movies and TV shows that you can’t really buy in other stores (this con has that too), there is one space in this con that is actually a movie store, and that is FYE. I will say though, this is not my first time seeing an FYE at a con. At Rhode Island Comic Con, FYE actually happened to be present every year I went.

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In fact in 2016, I actually managed to buy a piece of wall art from there which had Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman on it. I got it signed the next day for very low price of $125. That is $15 cheaper than a professional photo op alongside her.

Although when I went to that FYE, movies were not a priority. Sure, last year I remember seeing a bunch of Japanese anime-related film material. Although I usually don’t seek out anime. This year at New York Comic Con, they decided to show off some Funko Pop Vinyls, including exclusives from FYE and believe it or not, San Diego Comic Con. They also had their exclusive food such as 10th Anniversary MCU cereal, Breaking Bad blue meth, and because the game apparently is still relevant enough to be a thing, Five Nights At Freddy’s cereal. I didn’t buy any food however. Instead, I did buy a few movies. One of the exclusive steelbooks they had happened to be an early purchase of mine on Friday, which was the “Iron Giant” steelbook. I have seen “The Iron Giant” before on TV, however I have never owned it. It’s a really good movie and definitely showcases the absolute talent of director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol). Speaking of exclusive steelbooks, I went back on Sunday and they still had plenty of steelbooks to choose from. They had a bunch of horror related ones, after all it is October, so I went in and got a couple. I picked up the FYE exclusive of John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” which I already watched, and it is pretty much like the 35th anniversary edition. They do have a 4K edition of the movie which came out recently around the same time as this copy did. I never got that, but I went to Best Buy the day after getting home from New York and they had it for a cheaper price. Wah. I also picked up “Halloween II,” more specifically, the Scream Factory steelbook for it. This is also my second possession from Scream Factory. My other Scream Factory product by the way is a steelbook copy of “They Live,” which I purchased a matter of months before I attended this event. Much like “They Live,” this steelbook has only 10,000 copies. It includes the theatrical cut and the TV cut. The TV cut has additional footage which has not been seen in the theatrical cut.

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Another purchase at FYE was an exclusive Funko, specifically one of Iron Man in “Avengers: Infinity War.” They had a decent selection of Funkos lined up, but Iron Man was the way to go for me. After all, when it comes to superheroes, “Iron Man” is easily up there as one of my all time favorites, Robert Downey Jr does a great job as the character and his screen presence is nothing short of a crowd pleaser. Although I’m surprised they didn’t make the label “Iron Man (Unmasked)” or “Iron Man/Tony Stark” because you can see his face. And like most of my other Pops, it’s still in the box. Speaking of which, I also happened to buy a Pop protector case. No, I am not using it for this Pop, because when I came home from the con, I went to the mall and stopped inside Thinkgeek. They had an E3 exclusive (also available in GameStop stores) of King Dice from the video game “Cuphead.” As of now, that is inside the protection case. For those of you who want to know more information about this FYE, I will have you know that the receipt actually lists the information for an actual FYE store out there. Similar to how at Rhode Island Comic Con I bought an item there and it tells me that the store happened to be from the Auburn Mall in Auburn, MA. This item is actually from the FYE at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, NY. This mall is located on Long Island and is owned by Simon.

Speaking of places you can get movies, I actually happened to come upon a stand which I happened to recognize. It’s not a store, and it’s not for a particular person either. Instead, it was for a motion picture studio by the name of Magnet. For those of you who don’t know, Magnet Releasing is actually associated Magnolia Pictures, a studio founded in 2001. Magnet believe it or not is a name that is often associated with Magnolia’s genre and foreign films. I bought two movies at the stand, specifically “Marrowbone” and “RBG.” “Marrowbone,” or as it is referred to on IMDb, “The Secret of Marrowbone,” is about a man and three younger siblings who are cursed in a manor which they live. “RBG” is a documentary on the life of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. So one movie is about something that is haunting a house and the other is basically about a woman you can basically picture as a spirit in said haunted house.

I mean, just look at her! That open mouth will contribute to haunting your nightmares!

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Also, because I picked up two films, I got a free t-shirt that came with them. Yippee! As you can see, it has the Magnolia Pictures logo on a field of black. That was also the only t-shirt I picked up at the con. However I almost went ahead and picked up a New York Comic Con shirt because I feel like out of all the cons I’ve gone to in my life, this is the one that I would most likely buy a self-promoting t-shirt from. Not everybody wants to promote the fact that they went to Terrificon. Not many people have even heard of Terrificon! I’m not bashing against Terrificon, I went this year and I had more fun than I once expected to. By the way, if you haven’t thought about it already, go to Terrificon next year.

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My next purchase to go over is a Funko Pop Vinyl which happens to be retired. About a month I went into the New England-based nerd culture store Newbury Comics, they had a 25% off sale going around the store. I took heavy advantage of that. One of the purchases I made there was a Pac-Man Pop. Appropriately, when I saw that a place had a Pop for Ms. Pac-Man, I was intrigued. That place by the way was called Shorething Collectibles, which is based in Pennsylvania. They are a family owned business that sells Funko Pops, plush toys, and home goods.

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Moving onto another purchase I made, there was this one place that went by the name of Omakase Images. They can be found online at http://omakase-ltd.squarespace.com/, and they specialize in nerdy art with a slightly religious touch. My purchase happened to be a magnet that says “SAINT NEIL: THE INQUIRING.” As you can see in the picture above, it shows Neil DeGrasse Tyson, which I think is just plain cool because it kind of suggests that science and religion have come together. Two ideas that never seem to mesh together, happen to be completing a double-piece puzzle.

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That’s not all the purchases I’ve made. After all, I have gotten a couple autographs, which I will get to. Although one of the biggest praises I can give to New York Comic Con is how they handled crowd control. Given the size and popularity of the convention. The crowd control here is executed BRILLIANTLY. I don’t know exactly what went into everyone’s mind. But I arrived at the convention at sometime around 9:45 AM on Sunday. According to my badge, the doors didn’t open until 10 AM. I still was able to avoid a huge line through the security check. Keep in mind, the security gates are located outside, not too far from where you can enter the convention center. Part of me is willing to bet that maybe there’s something I am unaware of when it comes to this convention that I am truly missing. Although this convention actually manages to have some of it’s cool stuff outside. There’s an “American Gods” diner, some promotional stuff for shows like “Outlander” and “The Good Place.” There was some fun to be had outside. Maybe everyone lined up very early and were let in at 9 AM. Perhaps they all got to stay outside, because that is totally something nerds very often do. Either that or people with VIP tickets were scheduled to go in early and the staff didn’t care if anybody else walked in. It’s New York Comic Con! It’s a party! Some of you might not afford to go next year so let’s make this one count! Overall, it’s a pretty effective use of space and it gives you something to do when you want some breaths of fresh air.

Speaking of promotions, I also took a picture in front of a car promoting “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I will say something though regarding my picture. It was not taken on any personal camera of mine. It was taken on a camera already set up at the event. Unfortunately, I cannot find the picture of me alongside the vehicle. I will admit I got badges from a friend, and with that in mind, I was willing to imagine that they were linked to one of our emails. As far as I know, it has no link to mine (I checked, even in spam), I asked my friend if they had it just in case, but there was no sign of it. Aw, well. It’s just a picture. Experiencing is what counts.

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And this is the one thing that I can imagine is a negative to New York Comic Con. I didn’t really mind this, but I can imagine someone coming here, ready to have a good time, and all of a sudden, they are overwhelmed with one bit of promotional material after the other. All of the convention you can see stuff for Capcom, Marvel, Disney, Funko, and Starz. The badges that I had on me were actually advertising AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” There’s even a Syfy Wire Fan Lounge and a Syfy Wire Live show! It kind of makes sense when you think about it because this convention is organized by ReedPop, which organizes PAX, which I’ve been to. There’s video game advertising up the wazoo. Everybody there is just trying to show off their latest and greatest video game whether your name is Nintendo, Bethesda, Square Enix, or Blizzard. This all kind of reminded me of one convention my friend went to in Las Vegas, specifically the one that celebrated “Star Trek’s” 50th anniversary. My friend explained that she went and was just comparing it to Dragon Con and how she feels that Dragon Con caters more to fans whereas the “Star Trek” convention she went to was more of an advertising effort. New York Comic Con in my personal opinion takes every chance it gets to advertise something, but it also simultaneously keeps everything in balance by providing a good show for the fans. In fact, I’d say it was a wise choice for Syfy to advertise at this event given how they often use the slogan “It’s a fan thing.”

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Although, one of my favorite promotions in the entire con has to be for Amazon’s upcoming show “The Boys.” This was one of the first things I saw once I walked inside the convention center. F*cking brilliant.

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One of my favorite video game franchises is “Super Smash Brothers.” Apparently the con had an area full of flat screen TVs and Nintendo GameCubes which all had the game “Super Smash Bros.: Melee.” This is one of my most nostalgic games, not to mention one of my all-time faves. On Sunday, I had time to play a round of Smash with three other people. I don’t know who they are, I don’t know their names, chances are I might never see them again. But they are fine people. I played as Donkey Kong, who is one of my mains. I wouldn’t say I have a “main” in Smash, but Donkey Kong is one of my preferred characters. Although I will say I have been playing the 3DS version a lot recently and Lucina is kind of my main there. Also, if you want my goto main on Melee, I gotta say, it’s Roy. However, he wasn’t unlocked yet. Marth was, but Roy wasn’t. Whatever, I like Donkey Kong. I didn’t win, however I got pretty close in a position of second place. A worthy competitor playing as Falco ended up taking the top position.

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Moving onto autographs, I actually managed to get two of them. One of them was from Friday and the other was given to me on Sunday. On Friday, Zachary Levi (Shazam, Chuck) happened to be present in the building. I came to his line at a time when it happened to be rather short. Levi was just finishing up with photo ops, and now he was ready for his next adventure in autographing. So I chucked up $80, no pun intended, and got Levi’s signature on a photo of him as Shazam chewing bubble gum. It’s a true feast for the eyes. It is truly kick-ass until you run out of bubble gum. We happened to chit chat for a moment. Levi said he is enjoying the con so far, and he comes off as a genuine nice guy who at that moment, just became $80 richer by writing his name.

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The other celebrity I met is not as well known. The celebrities who were well known had lines in the basement. This one is not really known for a specific TV show or movie, she is actually known for cosplaying. She goes by the name Yaya Han. Now I don’t follow cosplay. I don’t partake in cosplay. I have massive respect for those who do happen to be involved, although I never took part in it. Keep in mind, I said some of those words to her face. So she must be thinking, “What is this schmuck doing talking to me?” Then I got to the point. For those of you who have known me for awhile, one of my all-time biggest obsessions is the TBS reality competition “King of the Nerds.” Yaya Han was not heavily involved with the show, but she was the only guest I met who had some sort of association with it. Sure, there was another guest, Curtis Armstrong, who was at the con for a panel, but that happened on a day which I didn’t have a ticket. Yaya Han however was there when I was. Therefore, I told her I remember her as a guest judge for all three seasons of the show. When I did, I also thanked her for being a part of something that heavily makes me an individual. She commented saying “King of the Nerds” is an excellent production and she has enjoyed it. Shortly afterwards, I got an autograph from Han on a photo displaying her as Batgirl. Besides her name, she also wrote, “Gotham needs you!” The autograph was only $15 and to me it was well worth the money. Afterwards, I took a picture alongside her.

One person I ended up meeting also happened to be someone I was subscribed to on YouTube. If you know me in person, chances are you’d be aware that I watch “Family Guy.” The thing is… I met Peter Griffin.

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No, not Seth MacFarlane! I met Robert Franzese. If you don’t know who this guy is, I don’t blame you. On YouTube, his channel name is known as Real Life Peter Griffin. He is known for talking, dressing, and sounding like Peter Griffin. On YouTube, you can find videos of him doing his own version of some of “Family Guy’s” popular bits (Grinds My Gears is a common example), and whatever other funny material he can come up with. I told him I was subscribed to his channel and he said that’s “Freakin’ sweet.” As you can tell, I didn’t get a picture with him.

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New York Comic Con is basically a giant compared to other cons that I went to that when you consider how much I DIDN’T get to do. It all makes sense. I never got a pro photo op. I never went into a panel. There was a bunch of interactive stuff I never really took part in. I never tried out any of the upcoming video games like “Megaman 11” or “Kingdom Hearts III.” There was even one thing that I was kind of curious to do, which was take part in a VR game based on the recent film “Skyscraper.” This had you attempt to make what is referred to as “the impossible jump” and if you make it from the crane to the skyscraper, you will be entered to win $10,000. But the area was cluttered, so I avoided pressing my luck. And I have to say that I have the same excuse for the panels. I’d try going down and checking on them, but the case is either that I am not interested in something, or I just don’t want to wait in line with tons of people and risk getting a bad seat. Only thing is there is only one seat I’d get on the “Skyscraper” game. Regardless of the endless list of things I DIDN’T get to do, it did not make me think I did nothing, because all of the stuff I ended up doing, I really enjoyed.

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Guys, New York Comic Con is literally not just one of the best cons out there, but quite possibly one of the best THINGS ever created! The staff is really nice, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, the organizers know their audience, and it’s as big as Kanye West’s ridiculous ego! If I have any cons regarding this convention, I do want it to have slightly cheaper tickets (tickets are $50 for just a single-day admission), but there’s also probably an argument to be made that maybe all that is in store is totally worth the $50 ticket price. I must say though, as a nerd, it has kind of been an objective to hit one of the big two comic-cons before I die. Aside from this one, a con in particular I wanted to hit was San Diego Comic-Con. And now I am super glad to have one of the big two off my bucket list. Will I be back next year? Tough to say. Tickets may be easier to get than San Diego, but I don’t live in New York, I live in Massachusetts, traveling ain’t cheap. Plus, again, just one day at the convention is worth $50. Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? Thanks for reading my thoughts on New York Comic Con! If you want to find out more about my con adventures, I should have you know that Rhode Island Comic Con is upon us and I’ll be attending all three days. This is my fourth time going to Rhode Island Comic Con in a row, and as much as I’m excited for it, let’s just get serious and hope that when it comes to organization, they succeed and don’t piss people off. Look that s*it up, that’s usually their biggest flaw. Be sure to follow Scene Before with your WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you go to New York Comic Con? What did you think about it? Or, what is an expensive con that is worth the money? Also, in the comments section, feel free to suggest future cons for me to visit in the future, I’d LOVE to hear them. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Henry Cavill (Superman) OUT of DC Extended Universe (Or is he?)

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! The bird is getting crashed by the plane! Today we are going to discuss some of the most shocking movie news I’ve ever witnessed this year! When it comes to comic book movies, we’ve had our fair share of standouts this year when it comes to news. We’ve gotten news about records being broken by “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” James Gunn, director of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” had his Disney business relationship severed over nasty tweets, thus making him unable to direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” The Russo Brothers, the directors behind “Avengers: Infinity War,” essentially sent out a reminder that spoiling the movie is wrong and is just as bad as committing murder. We also received word that both “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and “The New Mutants” were pushed back from their original release dates. While “Dark Phoenix” is a somewhat understandable pushback, the one for “The New Mutants” is basically an electric shock and a half, moving from April of this year to August of next year!

Aside from the James Gunn situation, this news we are going to talk about may be the most shocking comic book movie related news I have to take on this very year. Henry Cavill, otherwise known as the star of 2013’s “Man of Steel,” which was essentially THE KICKSTARTER of the Detective Comics Extended Universe, has apparently parted ways with Warner Brothers and will no longer appear in any of the future DC films as Superman.

Before we go any further, there’s probably a spot open in the DC Extended Universe for a role, so I gotta ask, Nicolas Cage, what are you waiting for?! You had a chance to play Superman before and that didn’t work out! This is a second chance for you! Take it while it’s here!

Oh yeah, right, this happened. Still, you can play a LIVE-ACTION Superman!

Nevertheless, to me, this news is something that didn’t even cross my mind. Out of everyone that would slip away from the Detective Comics Extended Universe, I didn’t think Cavill would be the last one. Maybe Amy Adams, maybe Laurence Fishburne, maybe Ben Affleck (in fact at this point, it’s quite possible he’s completely out), all those people would consider parting ways or exit the DC Extended Universe before Cavill. I mean, it”s pretty certain that folks like Gal Gadot want to stay. I thought Cavill had no problem with staying in a franchise like this. It certainly pays well, he gets to be an iconic character, and it’ll definitely help with name recognition. I mean, if he wasn’t Superman, there’s a chance I’d probably have no idea who this guy was once I saw “Mission: Impossible: Fallout.” This almost sounds like something you’d hear about a maniac who insults women becoming president. But then you look at the source where this pretty much all started, The Hollywood Reporter.

Henry Cavill Out as Superman Amid Warner Bros.’ DC Universe Shake-Up (Exclusive)

According to the article, Warner Brothers, the studio behind all of the movies in the DCEU, has been making attempts to enlist Cavill to make a cameo appearance in the upcoming Zachary Levi-lead “Shazam” set to release in 2019. However, that is not happening, and when it comes to Cavill’s representatives WME (William Morris Endeavor) and the studio, the two sides were in talks and it basically lead to the end of Cavill’s Superman appearances.

So when that “Justice League” sequel comes around, not only will Cavill’s facial hair be erased, but so will his entire body.

The article goes on to state that Warner is shifting its gears towards making a “Supergirl” movie, which will focus on a teen heroine. Because ya know, we need some buildup toward “Batgirl v. Supergirl: Dawn of Injustice: Gods Among Us.”

One quote from the article states the following: “Superman is like James Bond, and after a certain run you have to look at new actors.” Funny enough, Daniel Craig is supposed to be doing his final “Bond” movie. So if Henry Cavill becomes James Bond, which honestly would be my preferred pick for the next Bond other than maybe Tom Hiddleston, it would be interesting to see a trade in roles between him and Daniel Craig. I doubt Craig wants to be the next Man of Steel, and I never really imagined him as such a characater, but nevertheless. I should also mention that Cavill was the runner-up to play Bond before the crew ultimately decided on Daniel Craig.

I will also point out that Henry Cavill does have another recently announced commitment. Netflix has decided to do a series on “The Witcher.” Cavill will be playing Geralt of Rivia. This started out as a series of short stories and novels, eventually leading to tabletop games, video games, a film, and a TV series separate from this one we’re currently discussing. Based on what I’m reading from IMDb, there’s eight episodes listed and they’ll be released in 2019. From what I’m imagining, this is essentially Netflix trying to start their own “Game of Thrones.”

Other than that, Cavill actually recently completed a project that has yet to be released, specifically “Nomis,” where he will star alongside Alexandria Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Baywatch) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle).

View this post on Instagram

Today was exciting #Superman

A post shared by Henry Cavill (@henrycavill) on

And as if this situation couldn’t get any more insane, I have a couple things I need to spit out. For one thing, Henry Cavill posted a video on his Instagram some time after this was announced of him wearing a shirt that said “Krypton Lifting Team,” as he slowly presents his own Superman action figure, all the while some dog-bark version of “The Blue Danube” happens to be playing. He lifts it up very slowly and brings it back down at the same pace. I have a ton of questions, so let’s start with question one.

WHAT THE F*CK?!

HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYTHING?!

WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

One of the best parts of this post is what’s being said in it, specifically, “Today was exciting.” So… What does that mean? Is this all a joke? Is this to get into the Halloween spirit and scare all the DC fans out there? Are you excited to exit the DCEU? Are you disappointed because you didn’t make this decision on your own? I don’t understand anything about this! Is the shirt a joke? Are you trying to just make a video for fun where you’re pretending to lift weights and instead of lifting a weight you happen to lift a Superman action figure?! I don’t understand!

So let’s move on from the actor and focus on the studio once again, specifically Warner Brothers. Here’s what a Warner Brothers spokesperson said about this s*itshow after the publication of the story.

“We have a great relationship and great respect for Henry Cavill that continues to remain unchanged. Additionally we have made no current decisions regarding any upcoming Superman films.”

I have something to ask.

WHAT THE F*CK?!

HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYTHING?!

WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

When I was younger, I’ve always been asked “yes” or “no” questions, and apparently for some reason my answers may not have been valid enough for said questions. In this case, this does not answer the question of whether or not Henry Cavill is out as Superman. Is Henry Cavill Superman? That’s the question we want answered!

This news is not only shocking, not only big, but overall it just makes me question a number of things. Is Warner going to hit the reset button on the entire DC Universe? If so, will this cancel movies like “Wonder Woman 1984?” What is humanity? What is the meaning of life? And most importantly, despite the title of the post, IS HENRY CAVILL STILL SUPERMAN?!

If you say yes, it’s all cool, we can move on with our lives. If you say no, then I do recommend probably continuing this current DCEU, personally because I’m curious to see where it goes. And if you do need another person to play Superman, allow me to throw out a few suggestions.

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street, Titanic)
Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan, True Blood)
Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Mission: Impossible)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Ex Machina)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Jupiter Ascending)
Toby Kebbell (The Hurricane Heist, Warcraft)

And just for the fun of it, Nicolas Cage (Raising Arizona, The Wicker Man).

And just for the ABSOLUTE fun of it, Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Logan Lucky).

These suggestions are sort of on the fly, so bear with me. I almost put down Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, Game Night) but I don’t know how much interest he’d have doing a superhero movie.

And sticking with the idea of how much this news honestly shocked me, this does sound like something you’d hear on that one day in the year. Specifically, April Fools Day, the holiday that celebrates being a total dick to those you know. This honestly makes me wonder something, and I guess this kind of falls in the hot take category. Is this actually a joke? The Hollywood Reporter is said to be one of the most credible sources in the entertainment industry. They’ve been in operation for almost ninety years. Maybe they wanted to do something for fun where they could create their own fake news. I legit think this is actually happening, either that or I am just really hoping it’s happening. Seriously though,

WHAT THE F*CK?!

HOW DOES THIS HELP ANYTHING?!

WHY DOES THIS EXIST?!

Thanks for reading this post! I just recently bought “12 Strong” on Blu-ray, so a review of that might be coming rather soon, and also stay tuned for my review for “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which will kick off my series of space movie reviews in preparation for “First Man,” which is set to release in October. There’s no official date for when I’m going to post such a review, but the latest it’ll be delivered is September 27th. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email and stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what are your thoughts on Henry Cavill hanging up the cape as Supes? Or, who do you think should replace him? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

2017 Box Office: Little Room For Originality

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! As it is the beginning of 2018, I feel it is appropriate to leave links to two posts down below for you to read in case you haven’t read them. My top 10 BEST movies of 2017, and my top 10 WORST movies of 2017. I’ve had fun making these lists, I’m sure you’ll have fun reading them, and I’m also interested in hearing what your best and worst films of the year are. So, read the posts, leave a like, comment, add Scene Before to your subscriptions through email or WordPress, and keep life going!

TOP 10 BEST MOVIES OF 2017: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/top-10-best-movies-of-2017-2/

TOP 10 WORST MOVIES OF 2017: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/top-10-worst-movies-of-2017/

Staying on topic, the end of the year and the start of a new one has a meaning when it comes to film. From one perspective it means January is here and a lot of crap is being put in theaters that people are gonna suffer through if all the award winning movies are high in ticket sales. Another perspective goes along the lines of what I just did with the posts above which I have links to, my top 10 best and worst movies of the year. Not only that, but we also have a bunch of award shows that are on the rise. January has the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the BAFTA awards, and the Critics’ Choice Awards. In February you got some stuff here and there, but when it comes to film, many people say the Academy Awards might be the only thing that matters (unless you’re that one guy who handed Warren Beatty the wrong card). When it comes to reflection, that’s not the limit to what’s been done this year so far. I’m pretty active on Twitter, and one account I occasionally surf is Collider. They posted a tweet which contained the five highest grossing films at the box office for 2017. This tweet had a link which lead to the highest grossing films of the year, looking over 2017’s box office winners and losers. Here’s the tweet:

This list reveals the top five for the specific category, and as I looked at the results, I’d say that it all makes a lick of sense. How do I feel about it? Honestly, not too good. Because a some time ago, I asked something about the future of movies, and so far nothing has been done about it. Although then again, it wasn’t that long ago that I asked. The question I asked was also the title of a post I did, the post is called “Where Are The Original Movies?” The answer, not here.

Of the top five films mentioned on this list, THREE are superhero films based on comic books, ONE is from a franchise that people recognize instantaneously once you put a picture of a lightsaber in front of them, and ONE is a live action remake that only adds a couple new things in of a Disney animation which is considered a classic by a lot of people. By the way, those aren’t the only two adaptations of the story! Oh yeah, did I mention FOUR of these have Disney at least partially associated with them? I will admit that I personally am at fault. I managed to see four of these films. These include “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “Wonder Woman.” I review movies, and it feels like a job where I don’t get paid because I don’t monetize my site at the moment, and I actually legit wanted to see all of these films.

Out of the four I saw, I only found one to be great, in fact it made my top five of the year, specifically “Wonder Woman.” I gave it a 10/10 in my review and while it’s not technically flawless, given the villain side of the story, I thought it was an amazing ride with Gal Gadot proving to the world that she is this kick-ass superhero. Plus I felt for the most part this seemed like it was not a studio-type film unlike 2016’s “Batman v. Superman,” it was more like one person (Patty Jenkins) unleashing their vision and sharing it with everyone.

When it comes to “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” it tried to be a different “Spider-Man” movie, but in the end, the execution could have been better. The script had Spidey cracking jokes all over the place. And I think that’s fine, this is Tom Holland playing him, and he played the character in “Captain America: Civil War,” another movie where Spidey cracks jokes. Not to mention, BRILLIANT jokes. Unfortunately, the brilliance wasn’t repeated in “Homecoming.” In my review, I gave it a 7/10, but right now it’s borderline 6-7/10. Speaking of failed attempts at humor, let’s talk about “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

When I saw the first trailer for “Guardians 2,” I was in instant hype mode. Granted, I don’t consider the first installment to be the best movie in the MCU, but I also think it is definitely one of the better ones. Not to mention, I consider it to be the most fun out of all the movies released in said cinematic universe. This second installment however wasn’t exactly terrible, but it should have been WAY better than it was. It shoves too much into one movie, kind of like “Age of Ultron,” and at the same time, it feels like it doesn’t feel it inserts too little. No pun intended, but BABY GROOT SUCKS! The humor seemed to land with just about the five-hundred other people watching the film alongside me, but I only laughed at various times. It just wasn’t that funny. The first one is lovable, quotable, and memorable. This one isn’t lovable, but you can say it’s quotable and memorable. I remember a turd joke. I remember a conversation about male genitalia. I will say that for the most part, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” at least tried to be one thing. I can’t exactly say the same for the conundrum that is “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

I love “Star Wars.” There are so many days where I think about “Star Wars” and how much it has brought a tremendous influence on our culture. When it comes to “The Last Jedi,” it’s a very weird installment when it comes to the “Star Wars” saga, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I say that because you can look at a movie like “Colossal,” think of it as weird, and praise it for being weird. The way I’m using “weird” when it comes to this movie is not a good kind. I mean that as in, this movie is “not ‘Star Wars.'” I do appreciate it for not ripping off “The Empire Strikes Back,” but the way they’re taking a lot of the stuff shown in the movie made the whole experience more of a wreck the more I think about it. Also, I’m glad Porgs aren’t in the film for that long, but seriously, they can go to hell.

For the record, the results I talked about are domestic. These results make me wonder what the rest of the decade will look like for box office returns. In the 2010s decade, there have been a small number of original films making the top five for box office returns. These include “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Inside Out,” and “Frozen.” I will give credit to “Inside Out” because I do feel it deserved every penny it made. I watched that and it was extremely emotional. I did watch “The Secret Life of Pets” in the theater, and while it was a technically passable animation, it wasn’t exactly something I would ever want to watch again or show to a kid. I also watched a portion of “Frozen,” and it made me want to die. Beautiful animation, but what else does it have going for it?! The further we go in terms of cinematic history, the more I’ll probably miss 2009 because in that year, “Avatar” came out, and it shut the door on other movies at the box office. And while I do consider that movie to be overrated, and already somewhat dated, I do have to give credit because at the very least, it’s a property that nobody’s heard of.  People have picked up on how much it can be compared to movies like “Pocahontas,” but still. Although I wonder how many people confused it for “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Sure, it’s from a well known director, but it’s still better than paying money to see “The Hunger Games.” Why did it make so much money? IT’S F*CKING POPULAR! But wait, there are other films on this list too. Just for the sake of letting out information, let’s add on the other top films at the 2017 box office. Just to tell you which ones are actually original ideas, I have those in bold.

6. IT
7. Thor: Ragnarok
8. Despicable Me 3
9. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
10. Justice League
11. Logan
12. The Fate of the Furious
13. Coco
14. Dunkirk
15. The LEGO Batman Movie
16. Get Out
17. The Boss Baby
18. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. Cars 3

As you can see, only TWO original films are in the top 20 for the 2017 box office numbers. Just a fun fact, I saw neither one of those, and I’m deeply disappointed in myself. I never got around to watching “Coco” because I don’t know anyone who would want to watch animations, but I heard so many great things about it. As for “Get Out,” I was in a similar situation, I don’t know many people who would want to watch a horror film. I almost picked it up on Blu-ray based on thoughts I had in the past, but I never got to it. Although for those who actually did manage to go see those films, I have tremendous respect for you. Admittedly, I saw five of these fifteen films from beginning to end. I saw another one, “Kong: Skull Island” for the first ten minutes, but my 4K Blu-ray player was having problems therefore not allowing me to watch the rest of the picture. Of the five I saw, I loved two of them. This seriously does beg a question I asked in the past. Why do people watch these movies?

If you want my theory, it’s because everyone is familiar with a particular property. This is why “Star Wars” has owned the box office for the past three years. Main saga installments such as “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” broke box office records because a large number of people wanted to see these films since it’s part of a well known franchise that a lot of people admire. They didn’t really know what the verdict was from critics who saw the film early, in fact many people, including myself, bought tickets as early as about two or so months prior to release. People went to see “Thor: Ragnarok” because it’s Marvel, the same can be said for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Also, you can consider how both of those movies received positive ratings from critics. People saw “Logan” because the Wolverine’s in it. People saw “Justice League” because it’s DC, although in reality you can say that’s why some folks skipped this movie. You can also say because it has Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, those people. People saw “The Fate of the Furious” because it’s “Fast and Furious.” Not to mention, it’s not that complicated of a movie, it’s not one of those films where you have to sit down and think. You just eat popcorn and let time go by. People saw “The LEGO Batman Movie” because it’s animated so it’s good for the kids, it has Batman, and “The LEGO Movie” was not only popular, but well received. People saw “Cars 3” because it’s animated, it’s from Pixar, there are a couple of installments leading up to it, and there’s a good chance your kid dragged you to it. You see my point?

I also have to say that studios are partially responsible for this craze. When studios like Disney put out another “Star Wars” movie or another Marvel movie, do you think they’re doing it because they want to put out a quality movie that will be talked about generations to come? It’s possible, however it’s also possible that they’re thinking with their wallet, or in this case their Scrooge McDuck money vault. Yes, I’m still talking about “The Force Awakens” today, and I think it’s an amazing movie. One of my biggest problems with it is that they played it safe, but it’s a very minor issue. There’s a good chance I’ll probably still be talking about “The Last Jedi” too, but I might not be talking about it saying that it’s a great movie. The name “Star Wars” will put almost anyone in the theater. If “The Phantom Menace” didn’t prove that already, these past few years certainly have. Disney also released “Beauty and the Beast,” which I heard is visually dazzling, but ultimately just the same story as the animated version, just told in live action, with a couple songs added in, and changing someone’s traits to make them homosexual. I’m not saying live action remakes from Disney are terrible, after all I really enjoyed “The Jungle Book.” I will blurt that I actually might not have the right to say what I’m saying because I didn’t see any version of “Beauty and the Beast.” This is the problem. Hollywood is just redoing old ideas and passing them off as new. It works for “Super Mario Bros,” not for Disney movies.

As for 2018, originality isn’t looking too great for Disney either. Let’s see what movies they have lined up:

  • A Wrinkle in Time (based on a book by Madeleine L’Engle)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (Star Wars)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel)
  • Black Panther (Marvel)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (Marvel)
  • Incredibles 2 (Pixar sequel)
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Based on a story and ballet)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (Disney animation sequel)
  • Mary Poppins Returns (Title pretty much says it all)

It’s not just Disney to blame here. Let’s talk about some other unoriginal films coming out in 2018!

  • Deadpool 2
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • Ready Player One
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising
  • Rampage
  • Tomb Raider
  • Fifty Shades Freed
  • Creed 2
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Bumblebee: The Movie
  • Aquaman
  • Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindenwald
  • Venom
  • Slender Man
  • The New Mutants
  • Sicario 2: Soldado
  • Johnny English 3
  • Goosebumps: Horror Land
  • The Grinch
  • Super Troopers 2
  • Scarface
  • The Equalizer 2
  • Barbie
  • Mission: Impossible 6
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  • Insidious: The Last Key
  • Animal Crackers
  • Ocean’s 8
  • The Purge: The Island
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
  • Teen Titans Go! to the Movies
  • Robin Hood
  • The Predator
  • God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

You get the point by now…

I get that filmmaking is technically a business, and people use it to make money, but they have to realize what they’re doing to people who watch the films. They could walk in, walk out, and say that they had an experience. It could be good, it could be bad. The real question is: How many experiences like the ones I just described will have a good chunk of people who felt like they experienced something new? Granted, storytelling has been around for a long time. The oldest written story passed down to us, The “Epic of Gilgamesh,” was introduced to the world around 2100 BC. We’ve been telling stories for as long as time can stand. It’s quite possible that original stories are going the way of the woolly mammoth. In fact a lot of original stuff we’re actually getting now borrows elements from other pieces of work. At this point, I don’t really care if we get a new franchise or a new movie from something we haven’t technically watched in the past, but I want to see more of that and less sequels each and every day. I may be a picky eater, I always have been since I was a kid, but my tastes in film go like this: As long as the film’s good in any way possible, it’s cool. Do I like unoriginal work? Yes, as long as it’s good. I’m not saying every original film is good either. Heck, 2017 gave a ton of original crap! Films like “Gifted,” “Downsizing,” and “The Space Between Us.”

I’m also not saying every unoriginal film did well at the box office in 2017. Films like “Blade Runner 2049,” “xXx: Return of Xander Cage,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Underworld: Blood Wars,” “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” “A Bad Moms Christmas,” “The Mummy,” and “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” didn’t appear to be as successful as other films during the year. By the way, for those of you who skipped out on “Blade Runner 2049,” you missed a work of art.

What I want studios and filmmakers to learn is this: It’s OK to take risks, it’s OK to be different, that’s what storytelling is about. Showing a unique vision to the world, not grabbing everyone’s wallet and swallowing it because of something they already know getting a new installment. How do you think Quentin Tarantino is popular today? How do you think he got popular in the first place? Is he doing the same thing as everyone else? Is he recycling old ideas? Sure, he definitely has influence from others, but his ideas are usually original so people usually view his movies as refreshing. Christopher Nolan has borrowed ideas from others, including his own brother, but at least he has done some stuff of his own like “Inception.” Not to mention, he stays away from traditional Hollywood conventions, even in unoriginal content like “The Dark Knight.” Another director I have my eyes on now is Nacho Vigolando. He wrote and directed “Colossal,” one of my top films of 2017.

The concept of “Colossal” itself, takes a number of elements from other movies, but in end, it’s truly its own thing. A girl named Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend who goes by the name Tim (Dan Stevens). Gloria moves back to her hometown where she reunites with a childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). As the movie progresses, we are shown that a monster recently attacked Seoul, South Korea. The thing that everyone has yet to realize, Gloria is responsible for the monstrous actions. You can do so many things with this, and what they did with it was just imaginative. It tries to be a lot of things at once, and believe it or not, it actually works! Films like this are something that I could imagine inspiring a generation of filmmakers. The problem is that it’s not all that popular, it’s an independent film, and was never really marketed all that well. In fact, I never really anticipated “Colossal” to be the absolute masterpiece that it is. People never really talked about it much before or even during the release. The same can’t really be said for a chunk of unoriginal content.

One of the movies I’m really looking forward to in 2018 is “Incredibles 2.” Not much has been shown for it yet, but regardless, I want to see it. Why? Because the original film is my favorite animation ever made! This just really makes me wonder, how rare is it for someone to actually go on for a long time, hyping for something totally original? Hype is something that people usually have for unoriginal content for no other reason other than because what they’re hyping for IS that unoriginal content. I’ve hyped for original content, but the more I look around, that’s not the case with everyone else. Look at all the hype “Avengers: Infinity War” is getting right now! This based on comic book story has been built up for quite some time through the release of a ton of films, and now that it’s almost here, there’s an enormous craze regarding it.

I’m not saying all unoriginal ideas are bad, I think I’ve made that clear already. In fact, I want to say one of them could be a future masterpiece. This year I was one of those people who actually got off their ass, went to the theater, and saw “Blade Runner 2049.” Just about everyone who saw the film would agree with me when I say it’s good. I’d bet not everyone would say they enjoyed it as much as I did. There will inevitably be those people who were bored out of their minds due to the movie’s slow pace, but in the end, this movie is just a testament to cinema. From a technical perspective, I was blown away. Roger Deakins’s cinematography was some of the best I’ve seen all year. The visual effects were eye candy that you’d want in your mouth instantly. Watching every single frame pass by was like looking at neon Heaven. Story-wise, I was also impressed, especially for a sequel like this. It develops all of its characters perfectly, continues in a future that probably will not happen entirely, but based on the world of “Blade Runner,” it does seem like something that would make sense from a certain angle. I’ll remind you that the original film came out in 1982 and took place in 2019, this sequel released thirty five years after, 2017, and took place in 2049. Sadly, not many people saw this when you compare the results this movie got against others. Although you might as well consider that not many people left their houses to go and see the first “Blade Runner” either. One of the biggest things I appreciated out of this sequel is how it didn’t set the stage for endless sequels or a cinematic universe. It felt like a movie, not a neverending TV series.

As interesting as cinematic universes are, they are becoming more and more common and the concept is just becoming rather boring. I will say, I have an idea for a cinematic universe, I think it could work, but as far as standalone franchises, I’m only incorporating two of them. It’s simple and effective. Standalone sequels have a beginning, middle, and end. They can give a sense of satisfaction. I’m not saying cinematic universe movies don’t have a beginning, middle, and end, but meshed in there is setup. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just comes off like a kid trying to get attention. Despite how much “Avengers: Infinity War” may sound like a finale for the MCU, trust me when I say it’s not. For one thing, there’s going to be a fourth “Avengers” film the following year, and Marvel still has more plans for films afterwards. They have another “Spider-Man” movie and another “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie! According to James Gunn, writer and director of the first two “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, not to mention the possible writer and director of the upcoming third installment, he says that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will expand the cosmic universe. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel. At least “Two and a Half Men” had a conclusion! It took about twelve or so years to get to it, but it happened! Although you know what could happen once this cinematic universe ends? One word. Reboot. And you know what? It’ll probably make some f*cking money!

You know what else could be true? I don’t know, we’re probably just reaching the bottom of the barrel and running out of ideas. Although I can’t say that’s true because I have an idea for an original film. I won’t say what it is, but if any major Hollywood studio wants in on it, I’d be happy to send it to them. I don’t have the script finished yet, but I can definitely work on it if you want to see this idea realized in the future.

I’m not against unoriginal content, but from my personal viewpoint on society, these results make it seem like that’s all anyone watches now. Is it a popular thing? Someone watched it. Is it based on something that happened before? Someone watched it. I just want to see a future where at least some original content gets to shine as much as unoriginal content. Well, as long as said original content is good. I want to say to both studios and audiences, take some steps off the beaten path. I did that when I saw “Colossal,” I was originally planning to see “Kong: Skull Island,” but “Colossal” was the movie I ultimately had time for, and it was f*cking worth the ride.

Thanks for reading this post! As far as upcoming reviews go, I do plan on seeing this film called “The Commuter,” there’s a chance you may have heard of it on TV. It stars Liam Neeson as a person on a train who’s caught in a criminal conspiracy. The director who’s doing this film directed “The Shallows,” which was pretty great, but it’s January, so anything could happen.

Also I want to inform you that pretty soon I’ll be starting a new mini-series of reviews, specifically for the “Maze Runner” movies. I’m gonna watch “The Maze Runner” and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails,” and I’ll review the first film one week, and follow up with a review for the second film the week afterwards. This is all being done in preparation for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” which comes out January 26th. Stay tuned for those reviews and more great content! I want to know, which movies did you see in 2017? Did you see any that made the top results at the box office? Do you think we need more original content? Would you watch more original content? Leave your comments below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Disney Buys a Portion of 21st Century Fox For $52.4 Billion: The Foxiest Place On Earth

 

the-simpsons

*TO VIEW MAIN TOPIC OF POST, ADVANCE TO SECOND PARAGRAPH, OTHERWISE ENJOY ME SULKING ABOUT THE DEATH OF NET NEUTRALITY*

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Before we begin discussing the main topic of this post, I want to start off by saying that if you have been following the news lately, you may be aware of the recent verdict made in order to repeal net neutrality in the US. If you ask me, I think it’s despicable, distasteful, vile, greedy, and f*cked up. This chaotic verdict could LITERALLY AFFECT THE INTERNET AS WE KNOW IT. How so? There’s a policy that was in place stating companies can deliver the Internet to you at the same speed regardless of what you do on it. Companies also can’t block, throttle, or make you pay extra tolls depending on the content you watch. Now that we’ve gotten to where we are, companies have the ability to make you pay to use websites you never had to pay to use before! Let me ask you this: Would you pay for YouTube? Would you pay for Twitter? Would you pay for Facebook? Would you pay for MySpace? OK, that’s a stupid question, nobody would use it for free so imagine people paying for it. To those of you reading this, the information I’m giving to you as we speak, based on what I’ve gathered, has the possibility of affecting me. Let’s say someone has Internet from Xfinity and the provider has a vendetta against WordPress, or maybe they don’t like a certain site created using WordPress. Xfinity can throttle the consumer’s speeds, make the consumer pay more just to read other people’s hard work that they MAY OR MAY NOT be getting paid for, or block the Internet consumer from viewing the material. Will my blog certainly be affected? Only time will tell, this was just recently passed on December 14th. Not to mention, based on the overwhelming opposition, I’m wondering if this repeal will even last. I just thought I’d bring this up, as your future of reading this blog could be affected by monstrous f*ckfaces. I MIGHT do a future post on this, but until the time comes, I don’t know what else to say except f*ck the FCC, f*ck Ajit Pai, and may everyone who thought this repeal was a good idea get shoved up Godzilla’s asshole. If you can’t tell by my words, THIS is how serious things could get in the future. We’ll just have to let time pass and let the future write itself.

Moving onto more important matters, we’re going to move onto an event that happened around the same time of the net neutrality repeal. Disney has been known for a lot of things. It made some popular movies, it formed a backbone for many people’s childhoods, and it is often associated with a strange mouse. Disney has been in the news a lot for making many acquisitions over recent years. In 2004, Disney bought The Muppets for $75 million. This does not include Sesame Street or Fraggle Rock. In 2006, Disney acquired Pixar, a company that had associations with Disney prior to the deal going through, but the association is much bigger now. In 2009, Disney gained the rights to Marvel Entertainment, thus allowing them to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe and create one of the biggest superhero movies ever, “The Avengers.” In 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm, which includes “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” for $4.06 billion. This lead them to creating “A New Hope” special edition umpteen, “The Force Awakens,” a “Star Wars” prequel considered by many to actually be “not crap,” “Rogue One,” and a movie whose marketing comes off as commercial for guinea pigs with giant google eyes (Porgs), “The Last Jedi.” In 2014, Disney acquired Maker Studios for $500 million, which was a multi-channel network founded by multiple people, including some big names on YouTube such as Philip DeFranco, Lisa Donovan, and Kassem G. By the way, that company has now been absorbed into DDN, or the Disney Digital Network. Disney has often been recognized as a mass media empire, owning what many people love which they either had for a long time, or has just received from someone else. Disney is also filthy rich. A month ago, I thought to myself, “What the heck is up with ‘Justice League,'” AKA the new DC movie that just came out. So I did some thinking, and went on to do some research to further realize what the heck is up with “Justice League.” That then lead me to filling a post titled “What the Heck is Up with Justice League?,” where I explain in detail, what the heck is up with “Justice League.” In that post, I brought up Marvel, which lead me to bringing up Disney, which then lead me to saying this concerning Disney itself.

“…you gotta consider, Marvel’s owned by Disney, the creator of Scrooge McDuck, and as of now, a literal Scrooge McDuck.”

Knowing this information, some folks may not be surprised to hear another acquisition was recently made. Believe me when I say this one is enormous. As of December 14, 2017, Disney now owns key assets and businesses from 21st Century Fox after offering $52.4 billion. Just… Holy f*ck! For the record, this doesn’t include ALL of 21st Century Fox, because this deal won’t affect the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News, Fox Business Network, national operations of Fox Sports (FS1 and Big Ten for example, but doesn’t include regional sports networks), and the 20th Century Fox lot in Century City. But seriously, HOLY F*CK! Actually, you know what? In respect to Disney’s squeaky clean f*ckery, sorry, I mean mumbo jumbo, I’m gonna go ahead and ignore that and say HOLY F*CKING F*CK!

At this point, it is more obvious now more than ever that Disney might get to a point where it owns life. Not the board game, but it could own that too if it wanted to, but let’s say you wanted to have a baby, in order to actually impregnate someone, you’d have to take money out of your wallet to pay in order to gain permission to engage in an impregnation process. Accidental impregnation however might be excluded to this rule, but given how Disney doesn’t display sexual acts in a good chunk of their content, they probably wouldn’t be fond of your actions.

Disney’s acquisition over 21st Century Fox means a lot for the future of movies and television. This means Disney now owns tons of movies to add to their collection. These include:

  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  • X-Men
  • Fantastic Four
  • Deadpool
  • Kingsman
  • Kick-Ass (Although at this point it’s probably gonna be changed to “Kick-Butt”)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Ice Age
  • Cast Away
  • Home Alone
  • Avatar
  • Night at the Museum
  • The Sandlot
  • The Martian
  • Alien
  • Independence Day
  • Predator
  • Rio
  • Edward Scissorhands

And guess what? That’s not even all it has! Disney now owns films that I never even thought of it owning. 21st Century Fox owns 20th Century Fox, which is responsible for distributing every film I’ve mentioned on this list. Heck! 20th Century Fox owns movies that might not even fit with Disney’s name. THE COMPANY OWNS “PORKY’S” FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Oh yeah, and what’s that? You might as well now say “Revenge of the Nerds” is technically a Disney movie! How does that happen?!

Not only did Disney get a ton of movies, but now they have a lot of TV shows on their hands. These include:

  • The Simpsons
  • Family Guy
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • American Dad!
  • Modern Family
  • Family Feud
  • The Orville
  • This Is Us
  • The Last Man on Earth
  • Archer
  • American Horror Story
  • X-Files
  • Empire
  • New Girl
  • Homeland
  • The Mick
  • Ghosted
  • The Americans
  • Atlanta

Sticking with the topic of Fox television, I’ll let you know that “The Simpsons” actually predicted that Disney and Fox would end up making a deal like this. Just watch the episode of “The Simpsons” titled “When You Dish Upon a Star.”

You know powerful nukes are? Let’s say that a nuke launched at a certain point in time, and time is moving really fast. The nuke makes contact with the ground. A giant mushroom cloud forms. Who launched that nuke? Disney did. The nuke is coming at everyone like a giant wave. Whoever or whatever this wave touches, it buys, and owns. The wave has now touched Fox. This moment of contact is significant towards the future of film. Over the years, Disney acquired little things at a time. Marvel’s an exception to the rule, but in comparison to Marvel, this is vastly similar. This is a property that is producing content up the wazoo! At a time, they owned fragments of Marvel! “Fantastic Four,” “X-Men,” “Deadpool!” This… Is… Insane.

I will be a little fair here though, because if you have seen any of the “Fantastic Four” films, you’d probably end disliking at least one of them. Such films include the 1994 version that went straight to home video. The 2005 version that was released theatrically and might make some audiences rather watch the MCU’s “Captain America.” The 2007 version that has Stan Lee playing himself. Seriously, look that up. Or the 2015 version that was so bad that it leaves you to wonder if it would be any better had Stan Lee gotten a cameo.

As far as “X-Men” goes, audiences would usually consider those movies to be pretty good. Granted some installments are better than others. Just look at the difference in quality everyone sees between “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past!” There are currently 10 “X-Men” films, including “Deadpool” and the standalone Wolverine installments, and the franchise has more content coming soon. I just wonder in all seriousness, what will happen to the “X-Men” franchise now that Disney has it? Will it get rebooted? Will it get endless sequels? Will the X-Men join the MCU? Those questions however, don’t matter to me as much as the next topic I’m going to bring up. In recent years, mature comic book films have been hitting the big screen. These films have done well in terms of box office return and general reception. Two of the biggest ones we’ve gotten have an association with “X-Men.” In 2016, Fox released “Deadpool,” which became the biggest box office hit for an R rated film just below “Passion of the Christ.” The film was also appreciated for its raunchy, dark tone, shock value, meta humor, and the fact that Ryan Reynolds basically redeemed himself after his first attempt at playing the title character. The next movie I’ll mention is “Logan.” For those of you who haven’t seen “Logan,” I will have you know that I didn’t either, but there are a good number of people who did and consider it to probably be one of the greatest comic book movies EVER. This movie has a spot on the IMDb top 250. Critics and audiences praised it for its grittiness, the different feel this has compared to other comic book films, and the charges of emotion given throughout. I know a teacher in my school and he said he knew someone who considered “Logan” to be “a perfect movie.” This movie is Hugh Jackman’s final performance as the Wolverine, and people f*cking loved it. While we may still be getting “X-Men” movies, there’s a chance that we might not be getting ones like those I just mentioned.

When it comes to Disney films, what do you think of? Well, I think of a lot of things. I think of their classic 2D animations, their newer 3D animations, some movies based on theme park rides, a number of things, really. What I DON’T think of, is anything rated R. Disney seems to always come off as the “family company.” It always tends to be happy, magical, or has something for the kids. Oh yeah, and don’t forget, speaking of kids, IT HAS ALL YOUR KID’S TOYS! It often makes movies that will bring families to the theater. The company doesn’t seem to have a problem with PG-13 movies like those in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and “John Carter,” but anything above that is a no-no for them. Why is this? Part of me feels that Disney wants to be consistent and maintain this image they’ve built up over the years. There’s also part of me that feels Disney does this because they think this could get them more money. It’s true that the highest grossing film at the box office isn’t rated R. Not one film that’s rated R even made it into the top 10 range for all time worldwide box office records. I’ll just remind you though, when it comes to quality vs. money, it’s best that you choose quality. People go to see quality movies, not movies that you are trying to cash in on. This is why nobody went to see the fifth “Ice Age” movie! Although at the same time nobody saw the new “Blade Runner.” By the way, if you haven’t seen “Blade Runner 2049,” go watch it! It’s amazing! Fox’s new position under Disney can truly affect many films in franchises that were either created in the past and contains films that were rated R such as “Kingsman,” “Alien,” and “Die Hard.” I will say though, the fourth installment in the “Die Hard” franchise, “Live Free or Die Hard,” was PG-13 and got good reviews, but a number of people would probably stick to watching the original “Die Hard,” which was rated R. In fact, you know that joke debate on whether or not “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie? Part of me wonders if Disney will take out all the action and just make a Christmas movie with “Die Hard” characters. It’ll be called “Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer and Died Hard.” Maybe it will even be a crossover between the “Die Hard” characters and Tim Allen’s character from “The Santa Clause.” One film series I’m truly worried about however, is “Deadpool.”

If you have ever read the “Deadpool” comics or even been exposed to anything related to “Deadpool,” there’s a good chance you may be aware of how mature it is. Here are some lines from the 2016 movie based on the source material.

EXAMPLE 1

DEADPOOL: Time to make the chimi-fuckin’-changas.

EXAMPLE 2

DEADPOOL: You’re probably thinking, “My boyfriend said this was a superhero movie but that guy in the suit just turned that other guy into a fucking kabab!” Well, I may be super, but I’m no hero. And yeah, technically, this is a murder. But some of the best love stories start with a murder. And that’s exactly what this is, a love story. And to tell it right… I gotta take you back to long before I squeezed this ass into red spandex.

EXAMPLE 3

WADE WILSON: Do you like what you see?

WEASEL: No. You look like an avocado had sex with an older, more disgusting avocado.

WADE WILSON: Yeah.

WEASEL: Not gently. Like it was hate-fucking. There was something wrong with the relationship and that was the only catharsis that they could find without violence.

WADE WILSON: And the only guy the who fix this fugly mug is the British shitstick who ran the mutant factory. And he’s gone. Poof!

WEASEL: Yeah, well you gotta do something to remedy this because as of now, you only have one course of action.

WADE WILSON: Damn straight. Find Francis.

WEASEL: Star in horror films.

WADE WILSON: What?

WEASEL: Star in your own horror films. Because you look like Freddy Krueger face-fucked a topographical map of Utah.

“Deadpool 2” is out this summer, and for what I can tell, that movie won’t have any changes after the Disney acquisition, but as for the series’s future, I’m not sure if it looks too great. No more shock value, no more bloody scenes, no more super funny moments of dialogue. Although on the bright side, Bob Iger might be reading the minds of the people and listening to them as he said “Deadpool” might still remain rated R. Another movie series this could possibly affect is “Kingsman.”

For those of you who don’t know what “Kingsman” is, it started out as a comic book created by Mark Millar, who also created other comic books like “Superior,” “Kick-Ass,” and “Wanted.” It now has a couple of movies which are based on the material, but contains many differences. Both of the movies were directed by Matthew Vaughn, who has actually said he’s considering making a third installment. The previous two “Kingsman” installments were rated R, and if you watch the films, the reasons behind their R ratings are crystal clear. For those of you who haven’t seen the first movie, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” I’m going to post a YouTube video of the church shootout scene, which I consider to be one of the greatest action scenes in movie history. This is probably something Disney would NEVER do. Feel free to watch the video, let me know what you think, but if Disney were ever to do something like this, I’d probably have more respect for them as a company because for Disney, it would be a risk, but it could ultimately pay off. Also, in case you didn’t know already, this video may be disturbing to some people, so watch at your own risk.

It’s clips like this that made me enjoy “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” It’s an extended shot sequence of Colin Firth defending himself in a church that has gone mad. As if the cinematography and Lynard Skynard’s “Free Bird” weren’t already cool enough in this sequence, the shock value added a lot to it as well! If “Kingsman 3” ends up being PG-13, it doesn’t mean I won’t go see it. Maybe if I was an average person I wouldn’t go see it, but I’m a wannabe critic, so I kind of have to see it, but there’s a good chance I’d have less anticipation for it than I would for an R rated “Kingsman.” Speaking of “Kingsman,” one character from the franchise goes by the name Princess Tilde. So yeah, she’s now a Disney princess. It’s a little strange to consider Leia from “Star Wars” a Disney princess, but in reality, that’s nothing compared to Princess Tilde. Leia was the combination of a damsel in distress and a badass, Tilde is present in multiple scenes throughout both “Kingsman” installments which have currently been released, and in the first movie, this is some of the dialogue given in one of those scenes:

GARY “EGGSY” UNWIN: Sorry, love. Gotta save the world.

PRINCESS TILDE: (IN THICK, SWEDISH ACCENT) If you save the world, we can do it in the… asshole.

GARY “EGGSY” UNWIN: (CALMLY) I will be right back.

On the bright side, Disney’s history during the end of the twentieth century can leave a glimmer of possibility for future R rated material coming out of Fox. For those of you who don’t know about a company called Miramax, allow me to introduce you to them. Miramax was founded in 1979 as an independent company. I’ve been following the news a lot lately, and I haven’t really kept track of how often this company has been mentioned, but if it has been mentioned at least once, I wouldn’t find it surprising, because it’s owned by Bob Weinstein, along with his brother/recently discovered sex pervert, Harvey Weinstein. Regardless of whoever found the company, they went onto create a number of films over the years. On June 30, 1993, Disney bought Miramax for $60 million. Disney was OK with some R rated films being put out by Miramax throughout its time under Disney ownership. These include films like “Pulp Fiction,” “Clerks,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” and “Trainspotting.” These films are all considered great by a large number of people, and if Disney didn’t let Miramax do its thing, they probably wouldn’t even be here today. By the way, Disney doesn’t own Miramax anymore. As of 2010, Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings.

Back in the day, Mickey Mouse was a lovable cartoon character who became a recognizable mascot for the Disney name. Now, he’s probably got a grimace on his face. Disney keeps making money and it never stops. This then allows them to spend it, and possibly make a crapton more money! They’ll get to a point where they dominate the world, and who knows? Maybe they’ll pay a price for Mars before humans start traveling there. Am I acting like a spoiled brat? Not really, I’ll let you judge for yourself. I’m just asking for Disney to let Fox do its own thing and make sure you don’t really take much control over the brand. You may have noticed I haven’t talked a lot about Fox TV shows, but that’s because I don’t have too much to say about them. Although I will say, it does feel weird that Disney technically now owns TV shows from Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy,” “American Dad!,” “The Cleveland Show,” “The Orville”). I just hope that not much changes at this point in terms of content. What happens now? I don’t know. Anything can happen at this point. Disney is a money machine. Disney could buy Time Warner in the future. This is such a strange time we’re living in. Thanks for reading this post, and despite how I’m giving some flack towards Disney here, I will say that interestingly, I’m going to promote my review for a recent Disney film. Weird, huh? This film I’m promoting is a movie that had its opening night on December 14th, which was the night I went to see it. Interestingly, the net neutrality talk I gave at the beginning involved an event which occurred on December 14th. Also, the main part of this post involves a deal which officially went through on December 14th! Anyway, I just did my review for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which by the way, has no spoilers. If you want to check that out, there’s a box below stating the title of the post, you can read it right from there. I will say though, my thoughts on the movie have changed a bit since I’ve written that review. By that I mean, the more I think about the movie, the worse it gets. It wasn’t already perfect when I saw it, but it’s steadily declining in terms of my verdict. Stay tuned for more great content! Also, what do you think of this Disney and Fox deal? Do you think any movies or TV shows will be affected by this (positively or negatively) in the future? What do you think Disney will acquire next? Leave a comment below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Justice League (2017): What Does This Mean for the DCEU? (PLUS TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE’S BOX OFFICE RETURN)

Before we get into my review for “Justice League,” let me remind you that the buildup for this movie has been objectively crazy. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of DC, you’re anti-DC, you’re a fan of Marvel, or you just aren’t into movies based on comic books, you might as well agree with me on how bonkers this movie’s buildup truly is. I cover all of that including the director change, the sexually suggestive events, the date of the review embargo lift, all in another post I’ve done titled “What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)?” If you want to check that out, click the link down below and that’ll take you to that post and you can discover the complete insanity of “Justice League’s” buildup.

WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)?: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/what-the-heck-is-up-with-justice-league-2017/

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“Justice League” is directed Zack Snyder (300, Watchman) and stars Ben Affleck (The Town, Argo), Gal Gadot (Fast Five, Criminal), Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian), Ezra Miller (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Ray Fisher as the members of the league established in the title. Batman and Wonder Woman try to unite a bunch of beings with superpowers in order to defeat the evil Steppenwolf.

*MAJOR BOX OFFICE RANT AHEAD, IF UNINTERESTED, GO TO NEXT PARAGRAPH*

Before we actually go any further, part of me is glad that I’m not seeing this film on opening weekend. This is because I can now make a portion of this post dedicated to how nobody went to see this on opening weekend. If I were to see this on opening weekend, I would have. However it didn’t fit into the schedule of those who I was going to see this with. I will say this, if you have read the post I recently mentioned, you may recall I said essentially Marvel does better at the box office compared to DC, and to show that, I went through the results of 2016 comparing DC’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” with Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War.” To be fair, those movies had somewhat similar concepts, although “Batman v. Superman” is something that comic book junkies have been waiting to see on the big screen for years. Not to mention, “Batman v. Superman” released first. The thing I said must have brought more people into the theater has to have been the difference in tone and the reviews regarding the movie. Just look at Rotten Tomatoes! The box office results for both movies ended up being pretty high. I wouldn’t say they’re close, but it doesn’t mean they’re not high. Although I will say “Batman v. Superman” failed to make over $1 billion overall unlike “Captain America: Civil War.” Now fast forward to November 2017. This month, two big superhero movies come out. “Thor: Ragnarok” is scheduled to come out November 3rd, two weeks prior to “Justice League,” which comes out November 17th. So “Thor: Ragnarok” releases, and as expected, it won the box office on its opening weekend. The total “Thor: Ragnarok” earned on said weekend is around $427 million. In just a week, the movie has flown past $500 million. This is over $50 million greater than the combined total the original “Thor” made DURING ITS ENTIRE RUN! Also, just recently, specifically November 19th, reports came in that “Thor: Ragnarok” has now reached $739.2 million at the box office! This report suggests that “Thor: Ragnarok” has also made more money than “Thor: The Dark World” in just a couple of weeks! Also a little thing to keep in mind, the budget for “Thor: Ragnarok” was estimated to be $180 million. Suggesting that “Thor: Ragnarok” made its budget back on opening weekend. As for “Justice League,” that movie had an estimated budget of $300 million. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it back. Some of you might be thinking, did they at least make as much as “Thor: Ragnarok?” Hate to point this out to you, but if you’ve been reading this whole paragraph, that’s a stupid question, because I said “I can now make a portion of this post dedicated to how nobody went to see this on opening weekend,” so if that doesn’t give you any hints I don’t know what will. Overall, the box office total is considerably high, but comparing it to a film like “The Avengers” would be like comparing the heights of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Both are high when you look at them, but compared to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State is a whole new level of high. The specific worldwide total for “The Avengers” turned out to be $392.5 million dollars on the first weekend whereas this year’s “Justice League” came out to $278.8 million. “The Avengers,” a movie whose budget is estimated to have been $220 million, made its budget back on its opening weekend. Yes, that’s a shorter total, but I’m leaving that in. Interestingly, “Justice League” happened to make more overseas than “The Avengers” ($185.5 million vs. $185.1 million). Going off of “The Avengers,” just think about this. A technical action-comedy starring Chris Hemsworth as a short haired Thor, made more on opening weekend than “Justice League,” which has Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash. Strange, isn’t it? When it comes to international openings, this takes the #20 spot for the top openings in that category and when it comes to the worldwide rankings, this happens to be in the top 25 worldwide openings of all time. In reality, $278.8 million is a lot of money for a movie to make over a single weekend, although with a movie like this, it’s a tad odd that it wouldn’t end up making more.

Can somebody drop a coconut on my head? I think I’m going f*cking insane!

So, where was I? Oh yeah right, I have a whole review to do! This just goes to show you the absolute s*itshow this movie is regardless of my personal thoughts. Going into this film, I had similar feelings as I did with “Thor: Ragnarok.” Although with this particular movie there happened to be some differences. Like “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Justice League” had me going in with mixed thoughts. I honestly thought the trailers for this movie were better, although the TV spot marketing, at least from my memory, was barely noticeable. Visually, I thought this movie was somewhat superior, even though “Thor: Ragnarok” happened to be vivider. Based on this year’s movies released thus far from both DC and Marvel, you might as well say DC is kicking Marvel in the ass. “Wonder Woman” is currently at a spot somewhere as one of my top movies of the year. The other movies released in the MCU thus far, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” underwhelmed me. OK, maybe “Spider-Man: Homecoming” didn’t underwhelm, after seeing the trailers, especially the one that revealed way too much about the movie, the hype I had for the movie was not as high as I hoped it would be. Nevertheless, that movie could have been better. Although despite “Wonder Woman” being one of my favorite DC films ever made, the reception for that movie regarding the DCEU, or the Detective Comics Extended Universe, is pretty much a fluke. “Man of Steel,” while not liked by everyone, did get a number of positive reviews from critics and audiences. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” in terms of reception, was one of the most controversial movies of 2016. In fact, “Suicide Squad,” also released in 2016, happened to be met with the same results. I had at least one thing that I enjoyed about every DCEU movie thus far. As of now I think “Suicide Squad” sucks, but at least some of the action was cool, the visuals were stunning, and the casting for Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) was stellar!

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Now we’re here, “Justice League” is out. While it currently has better results, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes, than “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad,” it’s not getting exactly what one would call positive reception. The big question is, does “Justice League” qualify as a film or not? I’d say it does. It’s got problems, but I’d say there’s still hope for the DCEU. It’s by no means as good as “Wonder Woman,” but I’d say it’s worth your money.

As mentioned, this movie has problems. So let’s begin our Negative Nancy segment of the post. This movie is an hour and fifty-nine minutes long. In all honesty, it could have been longer. I do believe this movie is going to get an extended cut for the home video release so my issue may be resolved there depending on what happens. The main reason why I wanted this to be longer is for characterization purposes. Let’s look at Cyborg in this movie.

Cyborg is played by Ray Fisher, who I imagine is a lovely guy. After all, while I never technically met him and shook his hand, I saw him at Comic Con as I was waiting in line for the person next to him. By the way, I’m referring to Gal Gadot, who’s also in this movie, and I’ll get to her later. While I did get some of his backstory, and I also happened to be introduced to a parent of his, I don’t really feel like I got to know Cyborg in full detail. If the movie was a bit longer much like some of the other installments in the DCEU then maybe we would have gotten a closer look at Cyborg. Also, this does bring one question to my mind. How long was this intended to be?

This film was directed by Zack Snyder, a man who had prior experience when it comes to films based on comic books or graphic novels. These films include “300,” “Watchman,” along with two movies in this film’s universe, “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” However, he didn’t have complete control. For the record, that was his decision. An unexpected tragedy hit the Snyder family earlier this year when Zack’s daughter, Autumn, committed suicide. This caused Joss Whedon to take over.

Joss Whedon was added on in order to finish the movie and shoot some extra scenes. The movie also went through reshoots, which isn’t new for this universe considering “Suicide Squad” also went through reshoots which happened to be met with mixed opinions. Joss Whedon, much like Snyder, isn’t a stranger to comic book films. Whedon directed both “Avengers” 1 & 2 so as far as concept goes, this is almost like a trip down memory lane. I like Joss Whedon, but he almost might be a problem here. When it comes to directing, it might involve one person with a certain vision for their movie. It almost felt like Joss Whedon came in with a different vision and it kind of affected this particular movie. Part of that vision, from what I can tell, possibly came from a musical perspective. Snyder initially hired Junkie XL to do the movie’s music, but it turns out that he was eventually fired and replaced by Danny Elfman. After hearing Elfman’s score in this film, I wasn’t exactly impressed. Not only is it somewhat ordinary, but even borrowing themes from other superhero films with characters didn’t work out. I liked what he did with Wonder Woman’s theme, but that’s about it. This is rather unfortunate because I love Danny Elfman. Admittedly, I don’t think he’s the right guy for this project. Junkie XL was probably the better choice. I even saw a video on YouTube that showed Junkie XL’s real theme for this film, which was scrapped due to Elfman replacing him. After hearing that, I knew for sure Junkie XL was right for this. It’s not surprising Danny Elfman did the music if you think about it, because he worked with Joss Whedon in the past on “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” I didn’t even like the score for that film, maybe superhero crossover films aren’t for him. He did well on standalone superhero films though such as the “Spider-Man” trilogy, so if he were doing superhero films, that’s what he should be hired for. Who knows? It might not even be Whedon’s fault, because this movie, from a perspective regarding itself from a point of view that I imagine must be Zack Snyder’s, could have affected it as well.

I’ve seen news and trailers regarding this movie leading up to it. At times I heard this movie was going to have more humor than say, “Batman v. Superman.” Tell me guys, doesn’t that sound like Marvel to you? Maybe Zack Snyder thought if the movie was more like a Marvel movie, and by that I mean generally more comedic and happy go lucky, he’d receive more positive criticism. Granted, the movie was funny, and there were moments where the comedy happened to work. Although in general, let’s just say this. If a movie sets up a tone, it’s best that they stick with it. This movie starts out rather dark, in fact part of it has to do with the death of a major character in the DCEU. There’s still comedy throughout and it works. Some of the comedy, maybe not as much because I’ve seen it in the trailer, but overall it works. Then we progress throughout the movie, while some of the original vibe is still there, it’s starting to diminish. The movie’s getting tads lighter as we go. This may be due to the writing, the reshoots, anything. In fact, it could be Joss Whedon’s fault after all! He was credited for his work on the screenplay. Also when it comes to the screenplay, Whedon technically had possibly more credit than Snyder because while Snyder had a focus on the movie’s story, Whedon was given credit on the screenplay itself.

Some people might not notice this, but Whedon also likely decided on changing the climax of the movie. The idea is pretty much the same, there are scenes from multiple trailers (both before and after Snyder’s departure) that made it into the final cut, but you might notice the sky is red. I mentioned this in my “What the Heck is Up with Justice League (2017)” post comparing this result with one of the earlier trailers where we see identical moments with a dark blue sky. I thought the blue sky worked, the red was a little too much. I will give some credit because the sky wasn’t, say, pink, but I thought the dark blue was more fitting for the movie overall.

As far as the action goes in this movie, I’d say for the most part, it’s awesome. Zack Snyder has proven that he can direct great action scenes in previous movies and he just shows he’s not messing around in this one. There was one scene that for the most part, was great, but there was a time where I almost couldn’t tell what was happening. Just for the record, it wasn’t as bad as “Transformers 5.”

Another complaint I’ll give here is that Steppenwolf wasn’t exactly the strongest villain I’ve ever seen. Comic book movies in general, mainly the ones that have come out this decade, lack memorable villains. There are exceptions like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” but for the most part, they don’t exactly resemble greatness when it comes to antagonists. Steppenwolf was a serviceable villain with a somewhat clear motivation, however at the same time, he was rather cliche.

Now that that’s over, let’s move onto some positives. The cinematography in this movie is very solid for a comic book film. There are a number of scenes where it’s rather conventional, but at times, the camera is moving like crazy which goes along perfectly with the fast paced action. If you ask me, the DCEU’s best cinematography however comes from “Man of Steel.” Although that’s kind of a compliment since both movies were directed by Zack Snyder. At the same time however you can say I’m kind of insulting the cinematographer because the director of photography for “Justice League” and “Man of Steel” are two different people.

I also appreciated the film’s CGI. Did it go overboard? At times, but that’s not a first for comic book movies. Overall, you can say the effects were massive, somewhat colorful, and somewhat breathtaking. Seeing Aquaman stop water from reaching a further distance was spectacular to watch. Also, you might not know, but Cyborg’s costume is CGI, and I got to say it worked.

Speaking of things that are done digitally, Henry Cavill appeared in this movie. I won’t go into further detail about what he did, but he’s there. During the movie’s production, he had a mustache. Why was this? He was simultaneously working on “Mission: Impossible 6” where his role required him to have said mustache. Under regulation, Cavill couldn’t shave it off, so it was removed digitally. While you don’t really see much of it, it’s still visible. I don’t know how much of the movie-going population would catch something like this, but it caught my eye nevertheless.

Sticking with the topic of heroes and the actors who portray them, let’s talk about some in depth, except for Cyborg since we already went over him. Starting off with Batman, played by Ben Affleck, he’s basically one of the two people organizing the Justice League. Before “Batman v. Superman” I was somewhat skeptical about him as Batman but now that I’ve seen him multiple times as the Caped Crusader, I have to say he does a fine job portraying the character. As Bruce Wayne, Affleck seems to stay according to plan and as Batman he appears to remain deep voiced and alert.

The other person organizing the league is Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot. There is LITERALLY no other person that should be playing this role but Gal! I may be biased because I love Gal Gadot, I view her as my celebrity crush, I met her at Comic Con, but seriously! Just watch Gal Gadot in this movie and you’ll come to realize, she has this system down. Her battle cries are probably some of the best I’ve heard in a movie! The accent, which by the way, is actually the real way Gal talks, works for the character! Seeing her in action is such a treat! The list of positivity is extreme! Her character, once again, SHINES in this movie. I was able to buy into both Wonder Woman and Diana Prince. When a movie makes you do that, you know you have a great character. On a sidenote, there’s a point in the movie where Bruce and Diana are having a conversation and when “Steve Trevor” comes up, I was wowed. I can’t exactly recall the quote where Trevor’s name is mentioned, but it was a highlight in the movie’s screenplay for me.

This movie also has Barry Allen, AKA The Flash, played by Ezra Miller. Out of all the characters in the movie, this one was pretty much the comic relief. Sure, there’s funny lines given by multiple characters in the film, but if there was one person that stole scenes from a humor perspective, it had to have been The Flash. I didn’t really laugh as much as other people, but I did end up laughing. His character was hyperactive, excited, and rather fleshed out. I can also give kudos to Ezra Miller for giving a good performance.

The last hero I’ll bring up is Arthur Curry/Aquaman, played by Jason Momoa. If you have read the comic books and watched this movie, you may notice some differences when it comes to Aquaman here. His backstory is similar overall, but in terms of character traits, he’s not completely identical. One difference you may notice is the hair. When you compare the hairstyle to the comics, it’s similar to certain installments, signifying that the hair in the comics isn’t always the same. Although one thing you might notice here is that the hair isn’t blonde, it’s more on the darker side of the color spectrum. Overall, I bought into Aquaman, I enjoyed seeing him in Atlantis, and personality-wise, he’s kind of like a rockstar. That’s what I get from the way he talks. On a little sidenote, I made a post months back saying that footage was leaked for the upcoming “Aquaman” movie. Turns out that’s actually in this movie. If you want to read that, link’s down below.

https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/leaked-aquaman-footage-revealed-on-zack-snyders-twitter/

Speaking of characters in this movie, Commissioner Gordon also makes an appearance here. This is Gordon’s first appearance in the DCEU and the reason why I’m excited he’s here is not because I have a passion for the character but I have more of a passion towards the actor who plays him. That actor by the way is JK Simmons (Whiplash, Juno). When it comes to JK Simmons, if you put a picture down on a table with his face on it and do the same with other actors, there’s a good chance that I’m gonna tell you “Screw the others, this guy’s the man!” I say this because JK Simmons is probably my favorite actor when it comes to ability. There are actors who I personally idolize more, such as Curtis Armstrong, but JK Simmons usually never fails to impress me, and that continues in this movie. Granted it’s not his best performance, but it’s also not his worst. He convinces me as Commissioner Gordon and I hope to see more of him if this movie’s universe continues. One interesting fact you may or may not know, JK Simmons is also J Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy. So basically he went from doing movies under one comic book company onto another. Whether you prefer Marvel or DC, let’s just agree that JK Simmons rules!

Here’s a question you might be asking. Is this movie good enough for the DCEU to continue? Personally when it comes to watchability, yes. However, the critics seemed to give this mixed reviews, it did make tons of money despite how it could have made more, and I have a feeling that moviegoers will either compare it to Marvel saying it’s not as good or too much like Marvel. Do I think it’s like Marvel? In ways, but DC has seemed to develop it’s own characteristics that Marvel doesn’t traditionally use that makes it stand on its own. “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” another movie in the DCEU, was dark as hell. It could have worked if more character development came into play. If these movies find their own path in terms of vibe, whether it be light or dark, personally I prefer dark, depending on the movie, and they focus more on characterization, then this universe would be less flawed. My other suggestion is that they try to just release one cut in theaters and go with it. I don’t care if it’s long as long as it’s effective. The original cut for “Batman v. Superman” was 2 hours and 31 minutes and that didn’t work out. This is why audiences loved “Wonder Woman” when they saw it. It functioned as a story and it managed to work out as far as the runtime goes (2 hours 21 mins). If a movie doesn’t rush and makes sure it can tell its story in full detail, chances are it will be better. Also, it seems suspicious that they would make the runtime 1 hour and 59 minutes. It almost seems as if the movie happened to be longer, the studio would be worried about making less money. I don’t know, but I think it’s a good assumption. Although it’s not as suspicious as when a movie gets split into two parts (The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga). But seriously, quality matters, not quantity.

In the end, I’d say “Justice League,” while not perfect, is an enjoyable ride and is certainly better than some of the other comic book films we’ve gotten this year. In fact, I’ll even go as far as to say, I’d rather watch this than “Thor: Ragnarok.” Am I a DC fanboy? Not really, I’m just a guy who likes good movies, and I had more fun watching this than I did watching “Thor: Ragnarok.” Is this movie as good as “Wonder Woman?” No, but I’d definitely say it’s worth watching if you’re into DC, you like action, and if you can get by the tones that clash throughout the film. I’m gonna give “Justice League” a 7/10. After watching a bunch of movies in both the Detective Comics Extended Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve got to say that the Detective Comics Extended Universe is this year’s clear winner. While Marvel’s films had some neat effects, cool moments, and likable villains, they all tried to be funny, but ended up falling flat for me. The DCEU balanced heroism, action, and humor. “Wonder Woman” is one of the best directed superhero films I ever watched, “Justice League,” despite its imperfections, is a joyride. So I can’t wait to see what next year brings for both cinematic universes and find out which one comes out on top. Now I know I’ve been talking for awhile and believe it or not, I’m unfinished. Because I need to talk about Stardust!

Stardust is an app you can use to talk about movies and TV. I recently used this to talk about “Justice League” along with my quick thoughts on it and I recommend you do so as well. Although if you don’t want to talk about “Justice League,” you can choose from thousands of movies and TV shows to give your two cents towards. You talk about how much you like them, how much you hate them, you don’t even have to see them! Stardust also allows you to follow people and see what their latest reactions are. If you want to follow me, my handle is JackDrees. It’s kind of like Snapchat minus the risque elements of the app that Tinder is also known for. If you want to download Stardust go right ahead, I recommend doing so that way you can start sharing your thoughts on movies and TV shows.

Thanks for reading this extended review, I also hope you enjoyed the little piece I did on the movie’s box office return, I tried to put a good amount of effort into that. Part of me feels slightly crazier than I once was for doing it, but I also had some fun writing all of this s*it down. I’m going to see “Wonder” on Black Friday. I’ve heard great things about this movie so far, I loved Jacob Tremblay in “Room,” so I’m really looking forward to this. Stay tuned for my review for that, along with more reviews! I need to know, what is the best superhero movie you’ve seen this year? I can’t say I’ve seen “Logan” so I gotta go with “Wonder Woman.” Also what is the worst superhero movie you’ve seen this year? My pick would be “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” but each person will have their own opinion. Comment below, I’d love to hear your responses! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Marvel Cinematic Universe Will Continue For Decades, Not Surprising, Although Slightly Concerning

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I have to say right now, this week may be the craziest I’ve ever witnessed when it comes to comic book movie news. Nothing new is coming out this weekend, however when it comes to news, it’s absolutely insane. I’m actually gonna cover multiple segments here, however only one portion here matters more than others. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s an idea, when introduced at the time, seemed original by the standards of film. It has now inspired other cinematic universes such as the “Dark Universe” from Universal, the DCEU (Detective Comics Extended Universe), and the Monsterverse Warner is focusing on at the moment. “Thor: Ragnarok,” which will be released in November, is going to be the seventeenth movie in the universe. That’s not the only future movie planned, there’s gonna be a couple of “Avengers” sequels coming up, “Ant-Man” is getting another standalone film, Captain Marvel is gonna have a movie, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is gonna have a sequel, and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will be happening. Speaking of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” let’s talk about that.

If you don’t know me personally, I enjoyed the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie. The vibe worked perfectly, the comedy landed for the most part, and it took characters that not many people, including some people who read comic books out of enthusiasm, didn’t know much about. Not many folks, until 2014, heard about Starlord, not many people knew about Gamora, they weren’t aware of Groot, they didn’t ever think about Drax, nobody traditionally thought of Rocket as a badass raccoon. What Marvel was able to do with these characters kind of amazes me. As far as their movies go, this might be their most family friendly one yet.

As much as I enjoyed the first “Guardians,” the sequel was big letdown for me. It may have been due to my hype for the film, but then again, I anticipated “Wonder Woman” and “Dunkirk” to death and look how those movies turned out. It’s by no means a bad movie, nor is it the worst in the MCU, but it is not a great movie either, it’s just passable. The humor didn’t land as much, although some worked, like the Taserface gag and the Mary Poppins joke. Some of the characters were not as cool as they were in the first movie, although the movie did get a better villain and they did improve the character of Drax in some ways.

*UNPOPULAR OPINION WARNING, FLAME SHIELD READY*

Baby Groot is by far one of the single most annoying characters I’ve seen in anything! I get he’s small, and supposed to be cute, but this film literally tries to force it down your throat! It almost reminds me of the stupid kid the lead characters have from the piece of crap they call “Sharknado!” It’s like watching YouTube, you’re watching cat videos, and the person taking the video is constantly saying look at this cat playing the piano! YOU MADE YOUR F*CKING POINT! YOU SAID IT ONCE! YOU ALREADY TOLD ME! I ALREADY KNOW! It’s like if BB-8 from “Star Wars Episode VII” was constantly shoved into random scenes just because he’s cute. And granted, the cuteness factor was there, and a lot of people see him as a cute droid, but he’s there when the plot needs him, he’s not randomly in shots just shoving jelly beans down his gullet. Wait a minute that makes no sense, droids can’t eat or drink. Also now that I think about it, trees don’t eat jelly beans either. Whatever, you probably get my point! I’m sorry if you hate me, but this is how I feel.

If you are a mega fan of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, both 1 & 2, and you don’t know the main man to thank, I’ll have you know the man you probably should be thanking is James Gunn, he directed and wrote the first and second films which are out right now, and he’s also working on the third one. The man definitely knows how to direct and write these movies based on how the actors deliver their lines and how well the humor plays out. Recently, he did a stream on Facebook Live, and something… …interesting came up. When he was on the livestream, a bunch of users asked some questions, and one user asked if Richard Rider/Nova would ever be put in the MCU films. At one point when answering the question, Gunn uttered this: “One of the things I’m doing with creating “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” it will take place after the next two “Avengers” movies and it will help to set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies. It’s going to really expand the cosmic universe.”

That’s right, you’re probably getting at least a decade’s worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. How do I feel about this? While I love Marvel and I’m excited to what they have in store, I’m simultaneously worried. The Marvel Cinematic Universe began back in 2008 with “Iron Man,” since then it has expanded with many films loved by audiences everywhere. Some people still say they prefer superhero films outside the MCU such as the older “Spider-Man” films, Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy, Donner’s “Superman,” or movies in the “X-Men” franchise. We’ve had film franchises go on longer than the MCU, such as the “Bourne” series, “James Bond,” “Fast & Furious,” and “Star Wars.” Although I’m noticing that compared to these franchises, the MCU is producing movies more rapidly and when it is compared to a franchise like “Bourne,” you can tell that “Bourne” might have an intended stopping point. The MCU is basically the cinematic universe version of “The Neverending Story.” Me personally, if I had a cinematic universe, and I actually do have one in mind if I ever have the opportunity to make films in Hollywood, I would end it at a point. I’d give it a sense of finality, but I only wonder if the folks behind the MCU will ever feel the same way.

While I am concerned about the franchise going on forever and ever, allow me to address some positives. Starting off the positives, this isn’t Michael Bay’s “Transformers” nor is it “Sharknado.” Also, Marvel has clearly shown how it can make stellar movies that people want to see. A lot of their flicks have been well received by both average moviegoers and critics. When it comes to comic book fans, they do a fine job appreciating that particular audience for the most part. Some notable mistakes they made over the years has usually been with the villains. With the exception of villains like Ego from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or the Vulture from “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the MCU hasn’t really featured terrific villains in their films. This is why I love “Captain America: Civil War” so much, it didn’t have a villain, it had sides, neither good or evil. Another notable flaw many people have with the MCU is in “Doctor Strange.” You may remember the Ancient One in that movie, she was played by Tilda Swinton because it’s an example of whitewashing. While the MCU may not be perfect, it certainly has a lot of likability to it. Despite saying that, I wonder how much it has left.

The MCU has been around for nine years and people still enjoy it, but what if it goes on forever and ever to a point where people begin to become tired of it? If you ask me, I’m not exactly tired of it, but I am starting to think the series might go on longer than it should. Keep in mind, Marvel is owned by Disney, the Bill Gates of movie studios. Disney basically owns us now since they have Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and their own animations along with those animations that are being remade into live-action form. The top 5 films of 2016 in terms of box office performance are all Disney films. “Captain America: Civil War,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Finding Dory,” “Zootopia,” and “The Jungle Book.” Right now, three of this year’s films owned by Disney are in the top 10 in terms of box office performance. Those films are “Beauty and the Beast,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” I’m not counting “Spider-Man: Homecoming” here because despite how it is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony distributed the movie. Disney has also had successes with 2015 films like “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “Inside Out.” If you look at what Disney is doing, you may see that they’re making buttloads of money. They now own all of these things we, as viewers, know about. Although I want to make a comparison to this and a popular video game franchise you guys may know about.

Have you guys ever played the “Call of Duty” games? I don’t play as much as other people do, but I know people who play the games. If you know a bit about them, you may know that they do this thing where they release a new game every year. We’re getting Marvel movies, quicker than we’re getting “Call of Duty” games. Keep in mind, many people say that some of the older games like “Modern Warfare” and “Modern Warfare 2” rock whereas newer games like “Advanced Warfare” and “Infinite Warfare” suck. If there’s one thing I noticed, personally, it’s that I thought Marvel movies got better as they went on. the oldest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie I currently have a 10/10 for is “Iron Man 3” which was released on May 3, 2013. Then there was “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Ant-Man,” and “Captain America: Civil War,” which is currently my favorite movie in the MCU. Also, you have to keep in mind, I don’t witness many people talking about the first “Call of Duty,” the second “Call of Duty,” anything along those lines. While it seems that a lot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are widely talked about today, I could tell you that when “The Avengers” came out, this is when a majority of people flocked to the theater to see these movies. Also keep in mind, this came out in 2012, the same year that “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” came out. Both “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” were successful at the box office, in fact in some cases, “The Dark Knight Rises” may have gotten more positive reception than “The Avengers,” the case isn’t really the same for “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Spider-Man and Batman are both argued among nerds all over the world between which is the better hero, they both get their own movie in the same year, and they are beat by “The Avengers.” Although when you think about it, it makes sense, you get more superheroes, some you may know, some you may not know, and the idea of “The Avengers,” unlike “Batman” and “Spider-Man,” hasn’t really been done much on screen. Although the “Fantastic Four” movies have more than one superhero and look how those movies turned out. However when you look back before and realize what “Spider-Man” did in terms of box office performance in 2002, such as being the only film to make $100 million in its opening weekend at the time, and how “The Dark Knight” not only won the box office in 2008, but avoided a comic book movie from having the slightest bit of childishness, this is kind of interesting to think about. The Marvel Cinematic Universe did have some successes before “The Avengers” like with the first two “Iron Man” films, and while 2011 brought “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” they didn’t quite reach the top 10, making them get a lower score in the box office than “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1…” (sigh). Right now, if you can’t tell already, the box office isn’t a problem for the MCU, and I don’t think it will be in the future. However, I wonder about their movies in terms of quality.

There’s a saying that all good things come to an end. We all know we are going to die one day. OK, I’m not saying all people are good, just look at Adolf Hitler! You know movie franchises that have technically come to conclusions in the past? Just look at “Back to the Future,” “Jaws,” or “Revenge of the Nerds.” The people behind these movies knew when to stop, “Back to the Future” stopped at three movies suggesting that the characters’ futures are what they make them, and all three franchises according to popular opinion have never made a movie better than their first installment. You know what’s still going today? “Transformers,” “Sharknado,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and “Fifty Shades.” Traditionally, these movies are not well received, however they are popular over a certain demographic. “Transformers” continues to make lots of money even though people are literally paying to see the same thing every time, “Sharknado” is on TV, but people watch it because it’s “so bad it’s good,” which I thought at first with the original, but upon rewatch it became worse, and the later installments are just plain awful, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is popular among families and kids, including some who know about the books, and while it was fun to watch as a kid, it became worse the more I thought about it. Not to mention their newest installment, if you haven’t heard about it, may be one of the most forced sequels in movie history, and for “Fifty Shades,” while it may be popular among women and those who have read the books, it wasn’t well received because of its characters, along with the fact that it is technically “porn” and yet the movie fails to deliver on that for a lot of people. Also ladies, for those of you crushing on Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey in the series, the actor says he didn’t want himself nude in the movie. If you’re gonna make a movie for women, that’s technically a porno, KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE! If you ask me, I haven’t seen any of the “Fifty Shades” movies, nor have I read the books, so I can’t really say my true thoughts about it, but I honestly don’t want to see or read it unless I have a girlfriend who wants to watch it and she feels like watching it with me, if it means I get to go to a free screening, or if someone is paying me to watch the movie. With Marvel, I can enjoy myself throughout the process of watching one of their movies, but how much longer will it take for me to not enjoy myself?

So far, two movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been released this year, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” While I enjoyed parts of both movies, I thought both needed improvement. I said what I needed to about “Guardians 2,” but I didn’t really say much about “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” I thought they aced Peter Parker and Spider-Man for the most part, it could have been funnier, they had Iron Man in the movie but they played their cards right and kept the movie from turning into “Iron Man 4,” the AI annoyed me, and the villain was cool. I gave the movie a 7/10 in my review, and I said it would probably drop to a 6. For the record, I gave “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a 6/10, which I also gave to “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which was fun at times, but ultimately a disappointment. The only film I gave a lower score to in the MCU was for “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which was a 5/10. Based on this you can tell that Marvel is capable of making good movies, but every year since 2013, I’ve seen one Marvel film that is worthy of a 10/10 for me. In my top 10 MCU films, I have only one movie that is a 7/10 in my book, all the others are 8/10 at minimum. If “Thor: Ragnarok” isn’t a 10/10, then the streak I’m talking about is officially over. If you ask me, I’m somewhat excited as a Marvel movie lover for “Thor: Ragnarok,” but at the same time, worried. It looks like it could be a good movie, but the marketing makes it look like “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Now, I like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but for a movie like this, I want a darker tone. You have Planet Hulk in this movie, it looks like there’s gonna be a lot of destruction on Asgard, and yet in the trailer they’re playing “Immigrant” by Led Zeppelin. Good song, but it makes me worried here. You can still have humor in the movie, you can still have flashy effects, and granted the effects look stunning in the trailers, but I want a darker vibe than what I’m getting when this movie comes out. Now, I’ll say if “Thor: Ragnarok” is a 9/10 or 8/10, that’d still be cool. Although if it’s a 7/10 or lower, I’d start to worry.

Also, you have to consider the fact that these movies are based on comic books, so they might be taking material from the comic books, and turning that into movie material. That’s fine, but part of me wonders, will we ever run out of good material to copy? I don’t read comic books all that much, but this is something I wonder similarly as a movie watcher. I wonder if we will stop seeing original material and start always seeing unoriginal material. Although comic books have been going on for years and we are still getting lots of new stuff, but they always do unoriginal stuff. They do stuff based on other sources, they do a new series or a spinoff with certain characters, or they might do gender or race swaps. If we want to keep these movies going, we either need to introduce new characters that haven’t been written in comic form or we need to get people writing new comic book material. This has been done before though, you guys know Harley Quinn? Her first appearance was actually in “Batman: The Animated Series.”

And if you think that comic book movies are stopping anytime soon, you’re completely under a rock. People continue to watch those movies, people keep making them, and they’re even making movies on villains, kind of like they did with “Suicide Squad.” That’s not all, Sony is coming out with a “Venom” movie in 2018 with Tom Hardy as the lead actor, and there’s also gonna be a “Joker” movie that I hear is gonna be in a different universe than the DCEU. In fact tonight, just when I thought I covered everything in this post, I took a break, thought I’d add some finishing touches a little later, ONLY TO FIND OUT MATT REEVES’S “BATMAN” MOVIE ISN’T GOING TO BE PART OF THE DCEU EITHER! What is happening? It’s becoming like “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” only instead of running out of food on an Island in the Atlantic, we’re running out of new and fresh movies quite possibly throughout the world, and instead of just having sardines to eliminate our hunger, we just have comic book films to fulfill our movie watching desires!

I love movies. I love comic book movies. I love Marvel Studios. Although at the same time, I’m concerned about its future. Maybe they’ll continue on creating original content and keep rocking it not only at the box office, not only on home video, but also in the minds of the viewers. As much as Marvel Studios makes good movies, there may be a day where it goes the way of McDonald’s, by that I mean there will be a MCU movie on every corner, and it may just be processed as opposed to crafted. Guys, I don’t think “Thor: Ragnarok” will be great, admittedly I’m excited for “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” If “Thor: Ragnarok” is good, there’s less of a chance I have of going into these MCU films in the future with a bit of skepticism. So I want to know, what are your thoughts on this? Also, what is a movie you want to see from Marvel Studios, but hasn’t happened yet?

Also I want to break a little announcement to you all, while I still plan to do reviews of new movies, I also want to tackle some older ones too. If you recall me doing my “Spider-Man” review series along with my Christopher Nolan review series, I’d like to let you know I’m doing another one. If you think about big action stars, I’d traditionally think about Liam Neeson (Taken, Non-Stop), Jason Statham (The Transporter, Death Race), Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix), and Vin Diesel (xXx, The Fast and the Furious). Another one I think of is someone who I’m starting a series on, that my friends is Tom Cruise. Over the years, Cruise has proven himself to be a very talented actor in many ways, and I’m gonna talk about three movies he stars in. I’m gonna be starting off with “The Last Samurai.” At some point I will include a review for “Risky Business,” I’m not sure where I’ll put it, either as my second or third review, but that will be an intention in the future. I will also be reviewing another movie Cruise is in, but I’m not sure what it is yet, you’ll find out when the review comes around! Stay tuned for those reviews, and Marvel Studios, if you are planning on continuing the universe for another 10 or 20 years, focus on the movies first, and focus on the money later. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Terrificon 2017 Review and Haul

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! If you have followed this blog recently, you may be aware of me going to a convention called Terrificon, it is a convention dedicated to comics, superheroes, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and to the world’s misfortune, fidget spinners. The convention went from Friday, which was August 18, to Sunday, which was August 20. I was there Friday and Saturday, I had quite a bit of fun and I can’t really say I have many complaints about it.

As far as guests go, it’s your usual situation there, you’ve got your celebrities, your artists, and your vendors. I didn’t really see too many artists, however I recall my sister interacting with a number of them. When it comes to celebrities, the convention had people such as Burt Ward (TV Batman, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders), Lee Merriweather (TV Batman, Barnaby Jones), Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Gilmore Girls), Chris Sullivan (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, This is Us), Shannon Purser (Riverdale, Stranger Things), Finn Jones (The Defenders, Game of Thrones), Jessica Henwick (The Defenders, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and Benedict Samuel (Gotham, The Walk). A number of the vendors were local, the ones I bought items from were NY Collectibles from Bronx, NY, The Dragon’s Lair from Wallingford, CT, Festival Flea Market Mall from Pompano Beach, FL, Greg White Comics from Kissimmee, FL (believe that’s the correct info), and Fuzzy Fish Inc from an unknown location (There’s one in Tybee Island, GA but I highly doubt that’s even close to the correct info, who knows I might even have the wrong name.).

Throughout I met three celebrity guests, Chris Sullivan, Shannon Purser, and Violet Beane. For Chris Sullivan, I actually met him alone, we shook hands, and I took a photo with him. The photo cost $30, which I ALMOST forgot to pay because after taking the picture, I got so close to just walking away! I would have likely ended up feeling guilty if I did. I had a good laugh with Chris and a guy near him about it. Also, before we took the photo, I talked to him about “This Is Us,” a show on NBC which he plays the character of Tim. I don’t watch the show, but my grandfather does, we actually talked a bit before I went down to the con, and my grandfather told me to tell him he was angry to never find out something that some viewers may be mad about me saying because it sounds like it is in spoiler territory.

The next celebrity guest I’ll bring up is Violett Beane. My sister watches CW’s “The Flash,” I don’t commit to many TV shows, so I don’t watch it at the moment, heard good things though. She’s on there and she plays the character of Jesse Wells. My sister got an autograph from her and she was asked if she was excited for the new season. She responded saying she was, and I, being the party pooper I was, had to admit I don’t watch the show. I didn’t say I didn’t LIKE it, I said I didn’t WATCH it. I asked Violett if I should start watching, she said yes like I was stupid. I didn’t hate her for the way she said it, she may have been dumbfounded with me, but it was understandable. Plus it was almost like she said it with a hint of swag. Hate that word! For the record, I would watch it, but I’m in the middle of “Star Trek: TOS,” “Firefly,” and I need to also catch up on “The Goldbergs” and “Kevin Can Wait.” I’ll remind you, I review MOVIES, which takes away from TV.

And finally for the celebrities, we’re gonna dive into Shannon Purser, hehe, that kind of sounds like a sexual innuendo. You may know Shannon as Barb from “Stranger Things,” another show I heard good things about and don’t watch. This time I have a better defense, which is the fact that I don’t use Netflix. I went with my sister to Purser’s table, she got some custom art signed, and Purser said a few kind words about my sister’s “Doctor Who” t-shirt.

For the convention itself, this took place in the Mohegan Sun Convention Center in Uncasville, CT. The center itself is nice, and it looks fancier than other convention centers I’ve seen. This was especially noticeable with the floor and ceiling. The venue is a decent size, and there weren’t many crowds pushing each other. While the whole center isn’t exactly big, it’s definitely good enough for a convention like this. Everything seemed to be organized and clean, so I can’t give many complaints there. I didn’t go to the second floor, but there were panels and professional photo ops being done there. The first floor had the ballroom and the pre-function lobby, where a few comic artists and all the celebrity guests were. There were barely lines for anything whatsoever, and the only people that had crowd control barriers leading up to them were Burt Ward, Lee Merriweather, and Dean Cain.

Now, let’s dive into some of stuff I got at the con. First off, I got a couple license plates. They happen to be the original “Ghostbusters” Ecto-1 license plate and a license plate that said “Assman,” which you would know about if you saw “Seinfeld.”

These two license plates came from the shop which I assumed was “Fuzzy Fish Inc,” I currently don’t have any pictures or promotions to prove what I just said. I’m just going from memory and what the program map tells me based on where I remember walking around in the convention center. I mentioned the Ecto-1 license plate from the original “Ghostbusters,” but they also have the Ecto-1 license specifically from “Ghostbusters II” and the one from “Ghostbusters” 2016, or as I like to call it, “Ghostf*ckers” 2016, because the people behind this film f*cked it up so much and may have f*cked up what was so good about the 1984 “Ghostbusters.” OK, that actually sounds like a terrible nickname because that almost sounds like a porno, let’s go with “Ghostsuckers” 2016, because the movie sucks so much that it shouldn’t have been made or even thought of to begin with. Oh wait a darn minute! Sucking is what some people do during sex to a penis! Gah! Forget what I said about Shannon Purser, THOSE, are sexual innuendos! The store also has “Outatime” license plates, which you may recognize from “Back to the Future” as a license plate for the DeLorean. I actually own one of those, it’s in my room, and I’m gonna put these two plates next to it.

I got one video game at the con, it’s “Kingdom Hearts II.” I own the first game, so I figured why not get the sequel. The game cost ten bucks which I wouldn’t consider a bad deal considering how revered this game is by the gaming community. I also saw the first game for twenty bucks, but I already own it, so I saved myself some money there. This came from NY Collectibles in Bronx, NY. I actually talked to a guy who was checking out the game for me, he pointed out how scratched the game disc was, and believe me, it was scratched like hell. The scratches made me somewhat skeptical of whether or not I should actually buy this game, but then he assured me that the disc was playable. I believed him. I haven’t tried it out, but we’ll see what happens in the future. After he gave me his assurance, I said, “Well, you aren’t GameStop.” Granted, I like GameStop and I do shop there occasionally, but I hear gamers sometimes give a lot of crap about them. The guy went on saying he went to a GameStop once and he saw a disc that was so scratched it was unplayable. I said I POSSIBLY could relate, and now that I think about it, I can relate. Because in 2012, I got “The Bigs” for the Xbox 360, it’s a baseball video game and it’s kind of fun. I now own the PS2 version, which I have played occasionally. The disc was so scratched that I returned it the next day and ended up not getting another copy of the game, but instead getting a copy of “The Bigs 2.” Interestingly enough, the disc now has a circular scratch, which is likely to be my fault from once tilting the Xbox 360. I mean, I get why gamers don’t like GameStop, they only carry newer console titles, even though that’s what you find in places like Walmart, Target, or Best Buy, they are extremely corporate, meaning that you can find them everywhere, so it’s basically the McDonald’s of video game stores, and they will literally pay you nothing for selling your games. Speaking of games…

At the con, I purchased my favorite card game of all time, “Cards Against Humanity.” This was purchased at The Dragon’s Lair from Wallingford, CT for a price over $40. For your information, you can get this game for a cheaper price in other stores. Target sells it for $25 for example. For those of you who don’t know what “Cards Against Humanity” is, take “Apples to Apples,” forbid the children from joining in on the fun, and top it off with a vibe you’d find in “Sausage Party.” This game is not for kids, I play it a lot online with friends, and I laugh my ass off every single time. Although another difference between this and “Apples to Apples” is instead of associating the player’s cards with adjectives, these are fill in the blank associations. If you haven’t played the game I highly recommend it. It’s fun with friends, it might be awkward with family though, although my mom actually wanted to play this with me and I’m more than happy to let her play with me if the opportunity ever comes up. I mean, as far as nontraditional mother-son events go, this is one I’d rather do than watch “Fifty Shades of Grey,” not because of the sex and kinky scenes, but because how poorly received it was. I wouldn’t even want to watch “Fifty Shades Darker” either because I heard that’s as much of a s*itshow as “Fifty Shades of Grey.” And no! I’m not reviewing it! I already reviewed “The Emoji Movie” for you all, consider that a favor! We’ll see what happens in the future.

I also picked up four posters. Where did I pick them up? To my knowledge, I believe the place was Greg White Comics. This place had a ton of small posters, a lot of which I remember were from “Star Wars,” “Spaceballs,” and “Terminator.” Speaking of “Star Wars” and “Spaceballs,” those were two of the posters I picked up. As far as other posters I got, I got one for “Blues Brothers” and “Family Guy,” specifically, one that was a parody of the original “Star Wars” movie. You know how during season 6 the first episode was an hour long parody of the original “Star Wars?” Well this poster is associated with that. By the way, if you haven’t seen that episode, please watch it, even if you aren’t a “Star Wars” fan you’ll laugh. The “Blues Brothers” poster, from what I can tell, is foreign, which I actually didn’t notice until looking at it as I’m writing this. I saw this poster on IMDb, but something weird I noticed about it is that it said the movie was rated PG, and the poster I purchased said the movie was rated PG-13. By the way, I Googled what the rating was, and it was PG. Last but not least is for “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” or in this case, “Revenge of the Jedi.” If you are a hardcore “Star Wars” fan, a collector, or possibly alive during the eighties, you may be aware that before “Return of the Jedi” was released to the public, it was at one point going to be called “Revenge of the Jedi.” The store I got these from had a good deal where you could get four posters for twenty bucks, so why would I NOT get these four posters?!

I also picked up a couple t-shirts, t-shirts which in fact I can’t wait to wear. These were sold by comedian and actress from the Nickelodeon show “Every Witch Way,” Lisa Corrao. Seeing her in person, I had no idea who she was, then I Googled her to find out she was forty-two. I couldn’t even tell she was forty-two, she actually looked like she was in her twenties. It’s kind of like Julia-Louis Dreyfus, the older she gets, the younger she looks, at least to me when looking at her in real life. I purchased two shirts which were twenty bucks each, one which said “Jar Jar Stinks” and another which said “You’re not Groot.” The first shirt, if you can’t tell, is making fun of the obnoxiously horrible “Star Wars” character known as Jar Jar Binks, which may be the worst thing about the prequel trilogy, possibly rivaled by midichlorians, Anakin and Padme’s forced romance, the fact that Samuel L. Jackson never got to scream like crazy, Hayden Christensen’s performance, or Jake Lloyd’s performance. I always thought of the phrase “Jar Jar Stinks” as a nickname in my daily life and I’m glad to a see a shirt that says the same, although at the same time, I wanted to be the one to make it. You’d know what the second would mean if you know what “Guardians of the Galaxy” is, or at the very least, if you know who Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy” is. You may know the only thing he says is “I am Groot,” and when he says it, it’s in that order. So instead of saying, “I am Groot,” the shirt says “You’re not Groot.”

Corrao also gave me a free autograph, which was also the only autograph I got at the con. I pay for a good number of autographs when I go to cons, so the fact that this was free was awesome. If the autograph was given only because I bought shirts, it’s still worth it in my book.

This con, if you didn’t know was also paying tribute to Adam West, who you may know from TV’s “Batman” as Batman, and from “Family Guy” as Mayor West. There was a lot to see when it came to “Batman.” There was a Batmobile, a Batcopter, the rope you’d see for batclimbing, a Batsignal, a Bat Kiddie Ride, a Batboat, and a Batcycle. Around the area where all of these battacular objects were, the sixtes “Batman” theme was playing in the background. There was also a screening of the 1966 “Batman” movie. I didn’t attend it, I personally I’m fine with not attending it, although I could imagine attending it would have been fun. Not to mention you have Lee Merriweather, who played Catwoman along with Burt Ward, who played Robin. The two of them were also at the screening and they even did a Q&A.

That pretty much completes my review and purchase analysis of Terrrificon 2017, I wouldn’t mind coming back next year when they do this again on August 17-19. One difference between this year and next year is that this is gonna be in a bigger space which is also in Mohegan Sun. Next year, instead of being in the Mohegan Sun Convention Center, this is going to be in the Mohegan Sun Exposition Center, which is cuurrently being built and is set to open in summer 2018. The center will have three times the space of the Mohegan Sun Convention Center, allowing more people to fit in. So I want to know, did you go to Terrificon, how was it? What did you do there? Did you buy anything? Leave a comment below, and I assure you, I do read them. Also, pretty soon I’m hoping to review “The Glass Castle,” but only time will tell when I actually get around to it. Stay tuned for more reviews, and if you guys want me to check out any cons, let me know about that down below! Also, cons, weird request, if you want me at your con either to review it, or less likely, as a guest, notify me! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!