3 Best Marvel/MCU Villains 2008-2019

 

22 movies, Eleven years, hundreds of actors, dozens of bad guys, but only 3 stand as the very best Villains of kevin feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

LOKI

 

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LOKI– In many ways the first AVENGERS movie stands as the most important of the MCU films, up there with the first IRON MAN movie. The IRON MAN movie proved these individual characters could work on the big screen, THE AVENGERS movie proved a super-hero team, wide screen Comic Book level action, could work for the masses; proved That this concept of long form story telling in film… could payoff, and should continue.

After 22 movies, THE AVENGERS is still the movie I saw the most in the theaters, a record three times (I almost never see a movie in a theater more than once), and the one I had the most fun with. And that is because Director Josh Whedon delivered the film of his career, the writing was brilliant, actors and effects phenomenal, and the characters… literally the stuff of Myth. And the most memorable scenes of a very memorable film revolve around Tom Hiddleston’s completely crowd pleasing performance as Loki, that sets up such memorable lines as ‘Mewling Quim’ and ‘Puny God’.

Like the best of all Villains, the two other names on this list; the Loki character while wrong, there is something compelling and seductive, and relateable in Loki’s mania. Driven by some hurt he seeks to fix, some reason that reason knows not of, that makes him more than a stock villain, but someone more complex, and someone that in moments… seen from some angle, is understandable, if not approvable.

There is a reason Hiddleston’s Loki ten years later remains… beloved. Because being more than a stock Villain, means at moments he resembles all of us, he is capable of good, as well as evil. And watching Loki navigate that line, grow as a character, makes him more than villain and more than hero… it makes him… interesting.

 

 

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KILLMONGER

 

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KILLMONGER – There were a lot of MCU villains prior to Michael B. Jordan’s acclaimed turn as KILLMONGER, in the brilliant and ground-breaking Ryan Coolger helmed BLACK PANTHER, but none of them, not Red Skull, not Ultron, not Winter Soldier, not even Loki, had me deep into the movie… unmoored about who was right and who was wrong.

To do that in a film, to bring the audience with you into a questionable grey area where there are no more heroes and no more villains, but just principles of better worlds that clash in blood, that is some deep and epic and personal filmmaking, and to accomplish that in a large scale blockbuster superhero movie, is the stuff that awards are designed to recognize.

Hats off to all involved, but particularly to the way Jordan chose to play KILLMONGER, just unique and disturbing and yet another memorable character, from an actor who has quickly become one of the best actors of his generation.

BLACK PANTHER is a film that I loved the action in, loved the fight scenes, loved the story, loved the scale, but what really sets it apart from every other MCU films before it (with the exception of THE WINTER SOLDIER, which did it in a smaller way) is the sophistication of how it is told. The murky grey areas where good and bad become… unsound. It’s a great film, that becomes stronger every time you watch it. Like leather curing in the sun.

At the film’s heart it is a tale of fathers and sons, kings and commoners, and a question of whose vision of tomorrow… is most right. And that hinges on Jordan’s KILLMONGER, a lesser villain or a lesser performance, and we would be talking about a much less successful film. Which is the case with any film, a great film seldom does so, without a great antagonist; and Jordan’s KILLMONGER is one of the greats.

 

 

 

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THANOS

 

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And now we come to the 1000lb Gorilla in the room, (it is an idiom used to call attention to an overwhelming or obvious  idea, finally being recognized – for those of you who may not be familiar with the expression) THANOS.

A CGI character that has been the big bad we have been building to in these 22 films. It is an unprecedented build up, the likes of which we will likely never see again. But boy did it pay off. Josh Brolin (son of the legendary actor James Brolin) has in the last two decades started forging his own legend, in films from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN to AMERICAN GANGSTER to TRUE GRIT to SICARIO (look forward to seeing him in the upcoming Villeneuve directed DUNE and Sean Penn helmed FLAG DAY) he has been solidly delivering the goods.

But I think it is safe to say his THANOS is likely to be the role he is remembered for above and beyond all others, just based on the cultural and historic imprint these 22 films have carved out. You have to go back to Universal Studios game changing monster movies of 1923 to 1955 to get a run as formative and impactful as this current run of MCU movies.

And THANOS is the looming shadow that haunts these films, and in INFINITY WAR and ENDGAME Brolin’s Thanos gets to come out of the shadows and take center stage.

Again as buildups go, you will likely never see, in your lifetime the like again, a 22 film novel for television, that stuck the landing.

Much has been written on the character of THANOS and the sophistication he was written and performed with. following in the wake of Jordan’s KILLMONGER, here too is another villain where, to a lesser degree, you see the mercy in his madness, the humanity in his horror. He does and is going to do horrible things, but toward ends that we must all, at the end of the day judge as… understandable.  And it is the achievement of all involved from performers to directors to special effects to camera to makeup to lighting to sound, that in not one moment of INFINITY WAR or ENDGAME, not one moment of a CGI Thanos interacting with the other actors, do I question the fiction crafted. The vision is solid.

It is a 2 film culmination of a 22 film, 11 year unequaled and un-thought of cinematic achievement, and it sticks the landing. And Thanos quite rightly gets catapulted into the conversation of most iconic cinematic villains of all time, up there with Darth Vader, Dracula, Dr. No, Dr. Mabuse, Khan, Hannibal Lecter, Joker.

 

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So that is it guys, the 3 best villains of 22 movies, and 11 years of cinematic gold!!!

 

And for Honarable Mentions:

  • Ultron
  • Red Skull
  • Winter Soldier
  • Klaw

 

Thanks for looking, feel free to comment with your favorite villain or villains, and if you enjoyed this post give some love to this installment’s sponsor:

 

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2019 Favorite YouTube Channels and Channels that did and did not make it to 2020! Edition A-B!

Favorite Youtube Channels of 2019:

 

 

The above were some of my favorite channels, and with a few exceptions, are all still on my subscription list here in 2020.

Other channels in letters ‘A to B’ that I am subscribed to in 2020 are:

AARON PYNN (we do not have the same taste in films, but I like being introduced to films I would otherwise not be aware of or give a try. And being a physical media guy he has been helpful in 2019 in keeping me abreast of Dvd/Bluray sales), ADAM CELADIN (knife thrower), ALTER (some of the best short horror films), ALTERNA COMICS (really a fan of the sub $2 model this comic book company is providing, and they and Image comics $1 reprint books, I think are a big reason the big two offered $1 reprint books of their own), AMATEUR FILIES (one of the best Dvd/BluRay coverage channels), ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, AVANTGARDEVEGAN, AXANAR,  BADDAD320, BARBARIAN_KUNGFU, BARGAINHUNTERSTHRIFT, BATINTHESUN, BELLA’S TOY CHEST, BERNIE’S BOOTLEGS, BLADE HQ (helped get me into knife collecting in 2019), BLU RAY COLLECTOR, BLU-RAY BENN, BLURAY DAN, BRAVE WILDERNESS (one of our top 10 favorite channels), BUDGETBUGOUT.

 

Channels that have gone dark in 2020:

ANDY BORDERS

BATAVENGER

Favorite (or if you are British, Favourite) Steelbooks BluRay/DVD! 2019 HOLIDAY / GIFT Ideas! Part 1!

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ThE FIFTH ELEMENT and CASINO ROYALE Steel-Books are AWESOME!

 

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That FIRST BLOOD and TERMINATOR II Steelbooks are STUNNING!

 

That is just a killer STEELBOOK!

WoW! Stunning JUNGLE BOOK (2016) Steelbook!

 

If you like this post or just want to pick up some great items, use the link below to support this installment’s sponsor:

 

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Great Directors Series : Walter Hill’s EXTREME PREJUDICE

[ EXTREME PREJUDICE POSTER ]

 

“Hell you can buy me Cash, you always could. But you can’t buy the badge. And one without the other ain’t no damn good.”

I LOVE This film.

See my previous review about how my initial disinterest the first time I saw this film, turned to absolute adoration the 2nd time I saw it. Every time I have seen it in the years since, my love for this film deepens.

“Sarita we’ve gotta give it a rest. The talk. All of it.”

“You don’t want to be with me any more?”

“No I didn’t say that. I just said we gotta give the talk a rest. That’s all. You, me and Cash. It’s too hard. It’s going to get too goddamned complicated.”

“For you Jack. But what about me?”

 

It is an imminently quotable film. Every line is a poetry of sorts. Not the poetry of Shakespeare’s HENRY V , but in its way the dialogue here is every bit as iconic and memorable and haunting.

“I’m just a poor ass dirt farmer. Nobody ever gave me nothing. And nobody’s gonna take it away!”

It is the culmination of Walter Hill’s filmic soliloquy on masculinity and violence and relationships.

Extreme Prejudice poster #1638754

And it stars some of the greatest character actors of the day, in arguably their finest roles.

“I don’t want to see you around here anymore.”

“Hell no Deputy. You can color me gone.”

The late great Rip Torn (who by all reports was a fun, rebel raising bad ass, here in this role gets to be closest to the bad-ass he was), Michael Ironside, the late great Powers Booth (who delivers an award worthy performance),  Larry B. Scott, Maria Conchita Alonzo, William Forsythe (who steals every scene he is in) , Clancy Brown and Nick Nolte all deliver for me, some of the finest performances of their respective careers.

“State Legislature??!! Shit, Jack! !Only thing worse than a politician is a child molester.”

Extreme Prejudice poster #1579716

I learned a valuable lesson that day many years ago, that first impressions while unavoidable  are seldom solid ground to stand on. What matters is informed opinions.

My informed opinion is this Walter Hill ode to his love of Peckinpah and Ford, driven by a torrential, act of god script by the great John Milius, transcends its inspirations and influences to be one of the greatest films ever made. And arguably the best modern day western ever made.

There is unfortunately no DVD or BluRay that does a great job on this film.  No cast or director’s commentary. Probably your best best currently is the beautiful German mediabook Bluray edition. But even then, the Bluray is obviously just taken right from the DVD. with no mastering done. Picture wise you might as well stick with the DVD, however, the mediabook, has beautiful photographs to accompany the Bluray.  The text is in German, but any online translator can help with that.

Still I do hope for a worthy well mastered Bluray someday soon, complete with commentary by the surviving cast and crew. ShoutFactory (a well known Bluray special edition producer)… make it happen!! 🙂 .

 

Until then to get the Bluray MediaBook, go HERE!

 

Extreme Prejudice

 

“He died going forward. That means a hell of a lot down here. “

Best Comic Book Covers of All Time: Joe Kubert’s LOSERS run

What makes a great comic book cover, in this age of virgin variants and gimmick covers, is the same thing that has always made a great cover. When all these flash in the pan virgin covers, are resigned to the 50 cent bin (where most of them belong), the really great covers, will still be… great covers.

They will still have stunning typography, married to great art, with great placement of the various parts, and together the whole, in one moment, both tells a story and sells a product. It is not just this lazy and brainless current fad of a pretty image, but with no context to the story or to the storytelling. Today’s cover artists and editors and art directors, and buyers, confuse a pinup with an effective and affecting cover, and the two are not the same.

Now that is not to say there are not exceptions, where the pinup is so good that you want it for eye candy’s sake alone. That does happen, and is fine, but in my experience it is rare, and is not conducive to books you are actually buying, serialized entertainment you are actually buying,… to read. In that case a pretty picture does not cut it, you need a storyteller as an artist and an art editor, to design a cover that tells a story.

And like i said it is a marriage of many things, some of which are not in the artist’s hands. But when all those disparate elements come together, you have have some of the greatest covers of all time.

There were a lot of people I could have started this new segment with, Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson, Jack Kirby, but for my money the best cover artist of all time very rarely worked in Superhero Comics, and that is the great Joe Kubert.

Kubert had many magnificent cover runs to choose from but the one that launches this segment is the work of his that made me a Conflict Comics collector. His run on OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR. Not the whole run, because while he did hundreds of covers not all of them have the elements that make an iconic cover. I mentioned a great cover having to do with things sometimes beyond the artists control such as typography and placement of disparate elements on a cover. But Here, for this run of issues, Kubert had complete control over the typography of his covers, and completely integrated that typography into his artwork, in a manner that would have made Eisner impressed. Creating a brilliant image AND telling a story and selling a product.

In the 181 issue run of OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR, all of which had good covers,  there are nineteen covers that stand out as masterpieces… only nineteeneighteen. They are not ‘key’ issues, they are seminal issues in the history of comic book cover design. The following scans were the best I could find on short notice, and do not do the books justice. But they give you a taste of the brilliance that make these 19 consecutive issues of OUR FIGHTING FORCES AT WAR a milestone of cover design, and worth owning.

They are…

 

Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #123Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #124  Our Fighting Forces #125 Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #126Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #127Our Fighting Forces #128  Cover for Our Fighting Forces (DC, 1954 series) #129File:Our Fighting Forces Vol 1 130.jpgFile:Our Fighting Forces Vol 1 135.jpg

 

Issue 142 would signal the end of the ground breaking covers, as well as heralding the end of Joe Kubert as editor on the series (his name would officially be removed as editor two issues later). Archie Goodwin would take over for a while as editor, followed by Jack Kirby(with all due respect to Jack Kirby, I am not a fan of his work on this book). And while Kubert would continue to do covers sporadically for the series up till the end, never again would the typography and mast-head be part of the story-telling. 141 would be the last of that wild imaginative experimentation with art and typography, the last of nineteen issues of the best and longest consecutive run of great covers by one creator in the history of comics. Pick them all up today, while they can still be had affordably.

 

Use the link below to get your issues today:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=180611&AffID=200301P01

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like it, please subscribe, leave a like and comment. And what are your favorite cover runs, or cover artists/artwork?

Till next time… be well!!

Favorite Modern DETECTIVE Comics Covers! Vol 3!

Here are the best DETECTIVE COMICS covers from the 3rd and current run. What makes a great cover, contrary to those pushing these portrait and variant covers aesthetic, is great typography, meshed with great visual storytelling. Here then, are the best covers to date from that brief run!

GREAT Comic Book covers from the 3RD Volume of DETECTIVE COMICS!

Detective Comics #934BDetective Comics #935BDetective Comics #936BDetective Comics #937BDetective Comics #938BDetective Comics #939BDetective Comics #941BDetective Comics #948ADetective Comics #949ADetective Comics #949BDetective Comics #952BDetective Comics #953BDetective Comics #970BDetective Comics #1000ROSS.ADetective Comics #1006ADetective Comics #1007A

I absolutely love that post issue 1000 logo! And the return to word balloons on covers!

If you like or are missing any of the above issues and would likre to purchase them, feel free to use the handy great link below! You’ll get great books, and earn a couple of pennies for this blog. Also don’t forget to like and share this post if you would like to see more like it! Thanks!

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=37272914&AffID=200301P01

 

FAVORITE SUPERMAN COMIC BOOK COVER EVER???

My better half thinks I’m a sick puppy for liking this cover, but man, I remember being wowed by this cover as a kid, and as an adult it still makes me literally laugh out loud. Even from the 60s and 70s age of outrageous SUPERMAN covers it is one of the most outrageous and funny.

The thought that even Luthor would stoop to such extremes, is absurd and horrible, both character wise and concept wise. But the absurd part wins out, you can not take it seriously. 

Even as a kid, I knew there was no way anyone was getting ‘killed’ and Luthor would get his well deserved beatdown,  and so even as a kid i saw the cover as a bit of wonderful hucksterism, and wildly audacious fun/comedy. As an adult I still feel that way. I don’t think the interior story is memorable, but that cover… is frame worthy.

 

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/8/83/Action_Comics_Vol_1_466.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20081231145516

Lex Luthor turning the heroes into kids is bad enough, but then he is still so cowardly that he is sneaking up behind them and hitting them in the back of the head, rabbit punching them, with his super-powered brass knuckles. Do you get anymore ludicrously, cowardly, mustache twirlingly despicable. It is impossible not to view it like a Chuck Jones Wile E. Coyote skit on meth. :).

Quick aside, my Favorite Luthor in live action, and I have, to varying degrees,  liked all the versions, but the actor for me who is not only the best live action version, but is better than the animated version , is the criminally under mentioned Sherman Howard.

Sherman Howard

His work in seasons 3 and 4 of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, thanks to great scripts and a great cast and crew (including the excellent Stacy Haiduk and Gerard Christopher), was TREMENDOUS. Those two years of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY, season 3 and 4, I would have to rate as easily the best live action version of Superboy/Superman on the small screen. Better than LOIS & CLARK, better than SMALLVILLE, better than the second season and up, of SUPERGIRL.

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And a large part of why those two seasons remain worth revisiting are the Luthor episodes, and the fact that Sherman Howard gets to take the character from brilliant to wildly unhinged to sympathetic and back again. It is really a wonderful performance, that I urge you to go out and purchase or view those two seasons if you have never seen them.

They are that good, and Sherman Howard is that good in the role.

Get the shows here:

https://amzn.to/30zujB9

https://amzn.to/2XHHUod

 

Now getting back to the comic book cover… The cover shows MUCH better in person. But you should get a feel from the image whether it is one to add to your collection. If so, get your copy here:

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=action+comics+466&AffID=200301P01

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, like, share, subscribe, and check out the sponsor link below to order comic book, podcast, and youtube curated laptops or tablets, and/or curated digital picture frames. They also do all manner of repair and customizing for the pop-culture community. Mention you are coming from this blog and get 10% off.

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Best Streaming TV Show Week 28 of 2019 Edition: Netflix’s BODYGUARD

Do not watch the trailer. Do not read anything on the show, just go to Netflix, and you will probably end up binging the entire 6 episode season of this show in a couple nights.

WoW.

What a show. The BBC knows how to make brilliant shows. Between this, RIPPER STREET, MUSKETEERS, and the first several seasons of SPOOKS, the British Broadcasting Corporation is producing some of the finest television around. Though to be fair they make their share of misses as well. However, on a whole I find their level of quality, how they are shot, their music, their broad themes, to be more daring than what you will find on traditional broadcast tv.

At their best, they are cinematic in their scope, and far reaching in their impact.

Such as… BODYGUARD.

This six episode season of BODYGUARD, left those of us viewing, after the last episode played,… FLOORED. This is TV on a whole different level to popcorn fluff such as LUCIFER, that some people would call the best show on TV.

Insert rant on LUCIFER here. 🙂

Lucifer is ok at best, it is a very well worn ‘police procedural with spice’ type show, in the vein of tons of other gimmick police procedurals, whether ROSEWOOD or ELEMENTARY or SHERLOCK or FOREVER KNIGHT (Vampire Policeman) IZOMBIE (Zombie Policewoman) or GRIMM. Of these the best is arguably GRIMM.

LUCIFER for me, falls somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Another quick aside about LUCIFER: I can definitely do without the tired dynamic of “lets make the initially strong character of color, a ‘Charlie brown, sad sack’ who we use as a foil and comedy relief for the protagonist, and keep pulling the ball away from like Charlie Brown, and he gets dumped by the girl… etc”.

I like to call it the Worf syndrome 🙂 as you see this in a bunch of shows from STAR TREK NEXT GENERATION to ANDROMEDA to BUFFY. Speaking of BUFFY, poor DB Woodside got this same Charlie Brown dynamic done to him in that show as well. It’s a little thread of minstrel show television that remains… and largely because Americans so little examine the stereotypes they ingest and regurgitate.

Thankfully that is changing because you are getting writers of color writing characters of color more organically, so you get non stereotypical shows like LUKE CAGE and POWER, where writers are not setting up their strong characters of color, just to take them down a peg later in the series.

Aside from that bit of tired, agenda writing. LUCIFER is harmless fun, but great television it is not.

End of LUCIFER tirade. 🙂

 

For great television go watch… BODYGUARD.

You will thank me later.

This one i hope to purchase on Blu-ray as soon as it is available. It is a show you do not want to leave its availability to the ever shifting waters of streaming licensing deals.  It is that good.