• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

New Escapist Column! On Edward Norton, “The Incredible Hulk”, and the Kinds of Movies Marvel Doesn’t Want to Make…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Prompted by a conversation with a colleague Matthew Razak, I took a look at the troubled second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Incredible Hulk.

I have always had something of a soft spot for The Incredible Hulk, in large part because it feels appropriate that a movie about the Green Goliath should find itself caught between extremes. The Incredible Hulk was caught in a conflict between Edward Norton and Marvel Studios. Norton wanted an introspective character-driven superhero film, and Marvel… didn’t. In some ways, The Incredible Hulk offered as clear a roadmap to the future of Marvel Cinematic Universe as Iron Man, if only because it served to illustrate what Marvel didn’t want from their blockbusters.

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

New Escapist Column! On How “Mulan” is Coming to Disney+, and Studios Are Leaving America Behind…

I published a new piece at The Escapist earlier today. With the news that Mulan will be streaming on Disney+ – for a hefty $30 fee – it seemed worth discussing the real story.

A lot of the discussion around Mulan releasing on Disney+ has revolved around the studio’s plan to charge an additional fee, on top of the subscription, for it. This is reasonable. It is a big shift in the American cinematic market. However, it is only part of the story. The video-on-demand release of Mulan will not be enough to turn a significant profit of itself, and it’s clear that the decision to release Mulan at all is rooted in the fact that the international theatrical market is coming back to life. Disney are banking big on Chinese box office.

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

New Escapist Column! On “Predators” as a Film That Understands Its Own Limitations…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. Predators is ten years old, so it seemed like an appropriate time to take a look back that second (and best) Predator sequel.

In hindsight, Predators is the rare movie that understands the limitations of its core premise. Fox spent decades trying to turn Predator into a franchise, but the sequels largely disappointed. A large part of this is down to the fact that Predator is a concept anchored in a particular time and place, without the timeless quality of a movie like Alien. In contrast to the other Predator sequels, Predators is a lean and modest machine. It never pushes its central concept too far, instead offering a pulpy and enjoyable b-movie. In doing so, it mostly works as a worthy successor.

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

New Escapist Column! In Praise of Michael Keaton’s Batman…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. The big news this week was that Michael Keaton might be reprising his role as Batman from Batman and Batman Returns, so it felt like the right time to celebrate his contribution to the role.

Michael Keaton was a controversial choice for the role of Batman. Indeed, he’s arguably been underrated and underappreciated since he donned the cowl, with stock criticisms describing his interpretation of the Caped Crusader as bland or boring, especially in comparison to his villains. However, Keaton offered a fascinating and compelling portrayal of the Dark Knight, one worthy of celebration and praise. Keaton offered a version of Batman who felt more vulnerable and more insecure than other iterations, a child playing dress-up. It has aged remarkably well.

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

New Escapist Column! On Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale” and the Frontier as a Prison…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. This week, we’re trying something a little outside the usual remit of the column, with a huge thanks to editor Nick Calandra for encouraging it.

Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale remains one of the most harrowing and uncomfortable films that I ever seen. It’s brutal and horrifying, but in a way that is very deliberate and very pointed. Kent is effectively playing off the tropes and conventions of the western, but playing with the way in which these stories are told. Kent imagines the frontier not as the embodiment of freedom or potential, but instead as a prison in which all of its characters are trapped.

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

New Escapist Column! On David as the Monster in “Prometheus” and “Alien: Covenant”…

I published a new piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. This week, Ridley Scott explained that he wanted to “re-evolve” the central monster from the Alien franchise.

This is an interesting argument, particularly given Scott’s long-standing criticism about the xenomorph, and his argument that the creature has perhaps outlived its relevance. Indeed, one of the most interesting facets of Prometheus and Alien: Covenant is the way in which David essentially updates many of the core thematic elements of the xenomorph. David takes the creature’s threat of sexual violence, and updates it for the twenty-first century.

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

New Escapist Column! On Harley Quinn and Brand Conscious Self-Awareness…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. I don’t really have anything major to tie this one to, aside from the fact that I’ve been watching some television.

The DC Universe cartoon Harley Quinn is a fascinating piece of television. It’s immediately recognisable as belonging to a certain kind of adult-focused animation, shows like Rick and Morty or The Venture Bros. However, it’s rare to see this approach taken with an established brand, let alone an established brand tied to a blockbuster shared universe. After all, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law was hardly working with a smashing success and Deadpool didn’t emerge in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As such, it’s interesting to see a television show in which Diedrich Bader can reprise his role as the Caped Crusader from The Brave & The Bold, which also includes fans wearing “Release the Snyder Cut” t-shirts. You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

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 What Modern Superhero Films Could Learn From Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. With the news that Sam Raimi is going to be directing Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, I thought it was worth taking a look back at his Spider-Man movies.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies helped to pave the way for the modern superhero blockbuster, arriving at a pivotal moment for mainstream blockbuster cinema. Along with Blade and X-Men, Spider-Man demonstrated that it was possible to accurately translate these heroes to screen. In the years since, the superhero genre has become the dominant form of contemporary blockbuster cinema. However, rewatching Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, it is immediately clear that the genre hasn’t always developed in the healthiest or most satisfactory directions.

What could the MCU learn from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies? You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “The Edge of Tomorrow” as the Perfect Video Game Movie…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine yesterday. With the release of Sonic the Hedgehog, I figured it was the perfect chance to revisit the best video game movie ever: The Edge of Tomorrow.

Look, I freely concede that there are maybe some slight issues with that argument, given that The Edge of Tomorrow isn’t actually or literally based on an established video game franchise. However, there’s something very compelling in the way that The Edge of Tomorrow embraces the aesthetics and sensibilities of video games in order to tell its story, offering a much more faithful replication of the experience of playing a video game than films like Street Fighter or Super Mario Brothers.

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