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New Escapist Column! On “Avengers: Age of Ultron” as a Limit Case for the MCU…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. Given that Avengers: Age of Ultron turned five years old, it seemed like a good time to take a look back at it.

Age of Ultron was an interesting film at the time, and it has become an even more interesting film in hindsight, following the release of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. In many ways, Whedon positioned The Avengers as an argument in favour of the superhero genre as a romantic fantasy worthy of attention and respect. Age of Ultron feels like the flipside of that argument, a film about the limitations inherent in the genre and its perpetual second act. Age of Ultron is a deeply flawed film, but one flawed in very interesting ways.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Avengers: Endgame” as a Shared Cultural Experience…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. Given that Avengers: Endgame is one year old, it seemed only fair to mark that anniversary with a reflective piece.

I’m not a huge fan of Endgame. I think it’s a modest movie that works very hard to avoid doing or saying anything substantive, wrapped up in the power fantasies that drive so much of the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yet, in spite of that, I admire Endgame as something that has become increasingly rare in the twenty-first century: a piece of shared cultural experience that ties us all together.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On Black Widow’s Death Sequence in “Avengers: Endgame”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. Given that Avengers: Endgame is one year old and that Black Widow was supposed to open today, it seemed appropriate to discuss Black Widow’s death sequence from Endgame.

It has become a cliché in recent years to talk about “subverting expectations”, a term normally employed by fans frustrated with the direction of franchises like Game of Thrones or Star Wars. In short hand, it seems to imply a bad twist, one that undermines the franchise. However, films like Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi and shows like Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who employ subversion for very particular purposes, to catch the audience off-guard and to ask interesting questions about the stories that are being told.

In contrast, the death of Black Widow is the worst sort of subversion or twist. It is a cheap “gotcha!”, designed to catch the audience off-guard by taking a sharp swerve away from the story that has been set up and offering a development simply because it’s unexpected and because surprise has inherent value. The result is something very shallow and superficial, a decision that sacrifices an admittedly predictable and cliché story for something that isn’t even a story at all.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #22!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay CoyleGrace Duffy and Luke Dunne from Film in Dublin to discuss what we watched, the week in film news, the top ten and the new releases.

What We Watched

The Week in Film News

The top ten:

  1. Paw Patrol Mighty Pups
  2. The Hustle
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. John Wick: Chapter III – Parabellum
  5. Ma
  6. Detective Pikachu
  7. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  8. Rocketman
  9. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  10. Aladdin

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

Note: Due to unforeseen technical issues, the audio quality is a little rougher this week than usual, and there was some audio lost towards the end of the conversation – including the discussion of Late Night.

New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #18!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay Coyle and Ronan Doyle to discuss the week in film. Ronan is just back from Paris and from the Trish McAdams season at the Irish Film Institute. Jay has been continuing his journey into Columbian noir and enjoyed Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles.

In film news, there’s a bumper crop of Quentin Tarantino news, including the Netflix cut of The Hateful Eight, the late Cannes entry of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and his continuing plans to make a Star Trek film. Beyond that, the Writers’ Guild of Ireland announced the nominees of their annual ZeBBie awards.

The top ten:

  1. Shazam!
  2. Greta
  3. Wild Rose
  4. Tolkien
  5. Wonder Park
  6. Dumbo
  7. The Curse Of La Llorona
  8. A Dog’s Journey
  9. Long Shot
  10. Avengers: Endgame

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #17!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay Coyle, Grace Duffy and Ronan Doyle to discuss the week in film. Ronan has been away for a few weeks at the Irish Film Institute’s “Our Battle in Images” season, looking at (largely outside) perspectives of the Troubles and curated by Donal Foreman, and so discusses a few films that he saw as part of the season. Jay has been watching more Columbian noir on the Criterion Channel and took in the latest Liam Neeson action joint Hard Powder Cold Pursuit. Grace watched Colossal and took in her first Agnés Varda film. I watched The Dig, and took in a couple of classic Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

In film news, there’s a lot to cover, including the passing of director John Singleton. There is also the IFI Spotlight coming in early May, and the announcement of the latest batch of W.R.A.P. funding. As ever, we also cover the top ten and the new releases in a crowded week under the shadow of Avengers: Endgame.

The top ten:

  1. Five Feet Apart
  2. Little
  3. Missing Link
  4. Peppa Pig: Festival of Fun
  5. Wild Rose
  6. Greta
  7. Shazam!
  8. Wonder Park
  9. Dumbo
  10. Avengers: Endgame

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

129. Avengers: Endgame – This Just In (#6)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Tony Black, This Just In is a subset of The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Endgame.

At time of recording, it was ranked 6th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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