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New Escapist Video! On the Appealing Meaninglessness of “Godzilla vs. Kong”…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with every second Monday article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film channel – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, following the release of Godzilla vs. Kong, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the film’s appealing meaninglessness, particularly in an era that seems so over-signified with meaning.

New Escapist Column! On the Unknowable Monstrosity at the Heart of “Shin Godzilla”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Godzilla vs. Kong, it seemed like a good time to take a look back at Japan’s iconic reptilian monster. In particular, the way in which Godzilla evolved from an embodiment of monstrous uncertainty to protector of the planet. In this context, Shin Godzilla is a fascinating piece of work. Building on co-director Hideaki Anno’s work on earlier projects like Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Neon Genesis Evangelion, the monster at the centre of Shin Godzilla is hauntingly unknowable, a grotesque intrusion of something almost beyond human comprehension into the material world. The film is all the more effective for that. You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! “Godzilla vs. Kong – Review in 3 Minutes”

I’m thrilled to be launching 3-Minute Reviews on Escapist Movies. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute feature film review to the channel, discussing Godzilla vs. Kong.

New Escapist Column! On “Invincible” and the Future of Superheroic Storytelling

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of the first three episodes of Invincible on Amazon Prime on Friday, I thought it was worth taking a look at what the new show means.

Invincible makes a big step forward for Amazon. As Warners and Disney continue consolidating their superhero content under their established brands, other studios are going to have to find ways to compete in the superhero content wars. Invincible is a fascinating testcase: a lavish adult-skewing hour-long animated series that aims to deliver superhero spectacle with a character largely unknown to the larger public. If the chow can make an impact, it bodes well for studios without their in-house intellectual property farms.

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

New Escapist Column! On Zack Snyder’s DCEU as a Joyride Through Comic Book History…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League last week, it seemed like a good opportunity to dig into the movie’s portrayal of Superman.

One of the more interesting aspects of Snyder’s work on Man of Steel, Batman v.s Superman and Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the sense in which it offers a capsule account of a certain stretch of comic book history, effectively dramatising the characters’ journey from the “dark ‘n’ gritty” comics inspired by Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns to the more aggressively and pointedly reconstructionist work of Grant Morrison on stories like Justice League or Final Crisis.

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

New Escapist Video! “A Marvelous Escape” – Falcon and the Winter Soldier – “New World Order” Discussion…

With a slew of Marvel Studios productions coming to Disney+ over the next six months, The Escapist has launched a weekly show discussing these series. I’ll be joining the wonderful Jack Packard and the fantastic KC Nwosu to break down WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki as they come out.

This week, we take a look at the first episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which offers a promising start to the new show. it does a lot of basic character work, but also establishes a lot of the show’s tone, most notably anchoring it as a Reagan era action throwback. It’s a lot of fun.

New Escapist Review! On the “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” as an 1980s Buddy Action Movie…

I published a new review at The Escapist this evening. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is premiering on Disney+ tomorrow, so I took a look at the first episode.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier obviously exists as a follow-up to the thrills of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, but the most canny shift is to swap the obvious influence of seventies paranoid thrillers on those earlier films for a more bombastic sort of action inspired by eighties action action movies. It’s a switch that works well enough, playing very much to the strengths of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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

New Escapist Video! “Zack Snyder’s Justice League – Review in 3 Minutes +”

I’m thrilled to be launching 3-Minute Reviews on Escapist Movies. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute feature film review to the channel, discussing Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

New Escapist Column! On the Fifth Anniversary of “10 Cloverfield Lane”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Because it’s the fifth anniversary of 10 Cloverfield Lane, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at the paranoid and claustrophobic thriller. In particular, 10 Cloverfield Lane arrived on the cusp of a wave of similar movies about characters trapped and suffocated in claustrophobic horror: films as diverse as Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room and even Todd Haynes’ Carol.

Looking at these wave of films in hindsight, they suggest something simmering beneath the surface of American consciousness, a nightmare about characters who find themselves in hostile and oppressive environments and forced to survive as best they can. 10 Cloverfield Lane was perhaps the culmination of this cinematic trend, and galvanises many of those themes into a potent allegory for abuse and survival, ending with the revelation that not all of this monstrosity is trapped behind locked doors.

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

New Escapist Column! On How “WandaVision” Lags Behind “Legion” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”….

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Today marked the release of the WandaVision finale, so it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the season as a whole, and where it stands in terms of the modern television landscape.

One of the most striking aspects of the first half of WandaVision‘s first season was the skill and fidelity that the show demonstrated in recreating classic television sitcoms. The show’s basic conceit found the characters journeying through television’s history and hurdling towards the present. Unfortunately, WandaVision stumbled when it hit the present, particularly when compared to two relatively recent shows tackling similar themes and working in similar genres blending fantasy and reality as meditations on trauma and mental health problems: Legion and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

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