What Makes The Avengers Shared Universe Movies More Popular?

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Aug 4, 2016 12:00:00 PM

gotg-title-card.gifSomebody with an eye for film production costs had the genius idea to build a shared universe among the series of Marvel films. Each movie took place in the same story-sphere as the rest.

Not only did this create a "feel" loyal to the movies' comic book storytelling roots where any character from another storyline could show up at a given moment, winning hearts and minds of discerning fans, it also lessened genre fatigue.

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Topics: shared universe

Simple Answers no. 10: Why is Suicide Squad getting so much hate?

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Aug 3, 2016 10:54:14 AM

suicide-squad-title-card.gifThis is a recurring segment, with a recently-updated title, "Simple Answers," where I gather the questions I come across on the Internet in a given week, and provide a straightforward answer.

This week's question again addresses the controversial DC Extended Universe movies. Previously, we drilled down into the reasons why Zack Snyder is allowed to keep making movies.

Today, we talk about why the Batman V Superman follow-up Suicide Squad is getting so much hate.

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Topics: Review, video games, whiny questions, simple answers, shared universe

Whiny Questions, Simple Answers no. 5: Wait, Why Do People Love The Marvel Movies So Much?

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jun 28, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Screen_Shot_2016-06-28_at_8.31.45_AM.pngThis is a recurring segment, "Whiny Questions, Simple Answers," where I gather the whiniest question I come across on the internet in a given week, and provide a straightforward answer.

This week's question again concerns the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While we're a few weeks out from the billion dollar success of the last MCU movie in Captain America: Civil War, this question has come again because of another release of the MCU's rival film shared universe: Batman V Superman - Ultimate Cut. We did our analysis of the new cut and it's earned greater praise over its initial release.

With that in mind, people are grinding their teeth at the thought of why the MCU movies are so popular?

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Topics: storytelling analysis, whiny questions, simple answers, shared universe

Differences in Batman V Superman Ultimate Cut Explained | Zack Snyder Movie Review

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jun 26, 2016 12:48:05 PM

superman-missed-the-bomb.gifBatman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is an F+ movie. It hums a very weird tune compared to its contemporaries. It hates Superman. It wants Batman to be its dad. Its Lex Luthor reads as a self-proclaimed alpha male's opinion on modern wealth. It is an advertisement, a vision-statement, a joyless creature with cracked skin, bleeding at the seams.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Cut (BvS) is not an F+ movie. It's a much better movie. Its thesis actually makes sense. I'll dissect the film's updated version here, point out the differences in the two separate cuts, and shine light on its more bizarre choices.

First, understand the statements BvS makes in its characterizations of the two protagonists: Superman is conflicted, and Batman is in the wrong.

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Topics: Review, Movie Review, shared universe

Joss Whedon Only Wants To Save The World, He Doesn't Want To Change It

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Jun 2, 2016 12:00:00 PM

black-widow-snl.pngDoes our damage define us? If so, then women are wriggling balls of nerves and erupting neuroses, according to Joss Whedon.

It's rightfully recognized that Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and director of two Avengers movies, is an active feminist. He talks about giving strong women visible roles in his worlds. He built an entire vampire-slaying show about a young lady. It's right there in the title! These shows drill further into the female characters than any other in recent pop-culture, combining shit that boys like—action, winged freak-beasts, space cowboys, sex—with women in layered, leading roles.

That's progress!

Somehow—that's progress. It's sickening that hundreds of years in western history have passed since Shakespeare (or you can argue as far back as Chaucer's The Knight's Tale), made humans with lady-bits thinking, feeling, talking, and scheming individuals worthy of crafted drama. It's progress that we can point to a character like Inara on Firefly and say, "that character is feminine, and wasn't instructed to trip over her ovaries getting out of bed for a laugh."

Yes, bothering to give the female character's dialog and back-story a punch-up, unfortunately, is progress. That's progress. And that's sad.

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Topics: storytelling analysis, shared universe

Why Shared Universe Stories Work

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 16, 2016 12:00:00 PM

snap-pack.pngI envision a group of four friends. They are standing outside a movie theater. The year is, let's say, 1991. They discuss the opportunity to see the just-released Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

The first friend says, "I loved The Terminator. This is the sequel."

The second friends says, "It's supposed to be the most expensive movie ever made."

The third friend says, "I love Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'll see anything with him in it."

The fourth friend says, "Wait, what is this movie? I haven't seen Terminator 1. Is this the same one wheer Arnold goes to Mars?"

The first friend says, "No, it's Terminator. He's a robot from the future."

The fourth friend says, "I'm already confused. The future? Did he come back in time from The Running Man?"

The second friend says, "No, it has a way huger budget and better special effects than The Running Man."

The fourth friend says, "I won't know what's going on though."

The third friend says, "It has Arnold!"

The fourth friend says, "So does this take place after Predator 2? I didn't get why Arnold wasn't in that one. Where did he go after Predator 1?"

The first three friends cannot persuade to the fourth friend why they should see Terminator 2: Judgment Day. They do not see the movie.

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Topics: shared universe

What's Going On In The DC Shared Universe Movies (Snyderverse)?

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 13, 2016 12:00:00 PM

source7.pngYou don't need to see Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. It's bad. It's a bad movie because it's a bad interpretation of pre-existing characters.

It's so bad that people have taken it personally. I've written in the past (yesterday) concerning the lengths people will go to preserve their baby-brains, to remain psychologically childish, rather than develop into a forward-thinking headspace. Batman V Superman is an example of denial that certain comic book fans live and die by.

Fans see their favorite characters alive and human-shaped on the screen in movies like BvS. They take that as gospel. The sight is all they require. I'll stay to my orginal point that BvS was a bad movie because it's a bad interpretation of characters the audience is familar with.

Batman and Superman.

I'm not going to dissect just BvS here though. I'm going to do a spot-check on how well DC is constructing the shared universe for their movies.

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Topics: shared universe

The Avengers: A New Era Of Shared Universe Movies

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: Aug 1, 2014 12:00:00 PM

Marvel Cinematic Universe’s modern era of storytelling continuity welcomes everybody to the dork-engineered popular culture.


I remember walking out of a podunk two-screen theater in May, 2008, and it was still cold. My ego was glowing and my friend and I were congratulating each other. We had previously relished in the noir film Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, starring Robert Downey Jr. as an wit-soaked con man who was clawing and self-narrating his way out of the gutter of small-time New York crookery into LA’s equally-loathly private investigation scenery. Seeing Downey as a maximum-level skuzzball in that film armed my friend and I with insider knowledge that not many knew—he was visionary casting as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.

We hadn't really realized this was the start of the shared universe craze.

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Topics: shared universe

Why "Man Of Steel" And "The Great Gatsby" Are The Two Vital Versions Of America

Written by: Alex Crumb | Follow on: Twitter, Facebook

Published: May 1, 2013 12:00:00 PM


"What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?"

Truth, justice, and the American way. Strangely enough, I learned a lot about Superman from my mom, who in turn had learned it through osmosis from her brothers when she was young. Back when comic books were books, and not recognizable intellectual properties ripe for mass-marketing, they represented a kind of simple math that a kid could understand. Superman was the simplest, so much so that most people, young people especially, are untucking their shirts and sneezing directly at the idea of Man of Steel coming out in June, because while The Dark Knight Rises was a French revolution allegory, what in the blue fucking hell could boring-ass Man of Steel possibly bring to the modern discussion? These days, we have Batman, and Wolverine, and The Avengers, and Robert Downey Jr, who is a genre unto himself. Superman's a boyscout. Punch the Commies, save the cat in the tree, last son of Krypton, Moses-allegory, defend the defenseless so they can live in peace, and on and until the day is done. Superman was conceived in 1933 in a time before the term "nuclear family" had been added to the American lexicon, nevertheless, he was the hope, the aspiration that even though we aren't invincible like he is, America, and all its promises, won't burn out if we stick together and keep driving forward.

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Topics: Review, storytelling analysis, Movie Review, marketing, shared universe

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