• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

New Escapist Column! On “Eternals” as an Anti-Superhero Epic…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this week. Because it’s that gap between Christmas and New Year, there’s been a bit of editorial leeway. And so, I got to write a little bit about Eternals, one of the more interesting and complicated recent Marvel Studios blockbusters.

Eternals doesn’t quite work. It’s important to acknowledge that upfront. However, the movie is interesting because of how it engages with superheroes. Eternals is not so much a superhero movie as it is a movie about superheroes. It’s about these stories that dominate the popular consciousness, this web of corporate-controlled mythology in which so much modern culture is tangled. It asks what the function of these characters and these stories should be.

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

New Escapist Video! On “Black Adam” and the Debate Over Superheroes Killing…

We’re thrilled to be launching a fortnightly video companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch every second Monday, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel. And the video will typically be separate from the written content. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, we took a look at the debate over superheroes killing, which is a major thematic point in the recent blockbuster Black Adam. It’s an interesting point of discussion, but one that often overlooks and misses the larger trend within the superhero genre. That sort of debate doesn’t happen over other pulp heroes, like cowboys or gangsters or pirates, so what is it that makes superheroes a special case?

New Escapist Column! On How “She-Hulk” Relates To Its Audience…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist yesterday. With the show wrapping up its first season this week, it seemed like a good opportunity to talk about She-Hulk, and the show’s interesting and provocative relationship with its audience.

Setting aside the fact that big villains of She-Hulk are arguably a bunch of internet trolls, She-Hulk is engaged in a literal and constant ongoing conversation with its audience. However, what’s fascinating about that dynamic is the tone of it. Jen often seems to feel trapped by the expectations of the audience for fan service and continuity references, and the need to shape her show in such a way as to hit all of the beats expected of a Marvel Studios project.

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

New Escapist Video! “Werewolf by Night isn’t a Total Transformation for Marvel, But a Fun One”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie reviews on The Escapist. 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 five-minute film review of Werewolf by Night, which is on Disney+ from tomorrow.

New Escapist Video! On How the Streaming Era Has a Writers’ Problem…

We’re thrilled to be launching a fortnightly video companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch every second Monday, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel. And the video will typically be separate from the written content. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, we took a look at one of the more under-explored and unspoken issues facing the so-called “streaming age.” In an era where there is so much content, and so much content derived from intellectual property that major corporations protect so severely, where are these studios going to find the writers and storytellers to guide these series? One of the more interesting shifts in television over the past decade has been a slow creep away from the idea of it as a writers’ medium, but that shift comes with a surprisingly high cost.

New Escapist Column! On “She-Hulk” and Unnecessary Origins…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of She-Hulk, which is streaming weekly on Disney+. The first episode of the show released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

Like a lot of these streaming shows, She-Hulk suffers from an identity crisis. It is caught between the show that it clearly wants to be and its obligations to the familiar formula of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In particular, She-Hulk begins with an extended and unnecessary origin story, which the show itself doesn’t seem particularly enthused about. It’s strictly formula. Giving the first thirty-odd minutes of the show over to this generic and paint-by-numbers exercise undermines a lot of the show’s potential appeal.

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

New Escapist Column! On Letting Daredevil be Daredevil…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the upcoming release of She-Hulk, and news that the show will be responsible for folding Matt Murdock into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seemed like a good opportunity to talk about what makes Daredevil unique.

The production team on She-Hulk have talked about how the series will showcase the “lighter side” of the Man Without Fear. This is somewhat worrying, given that part of what makes Daredevil relatively unique among the major Marvel superheroes is the fact that his stories are appreciably darker in terms of tone and content. Part of the appeal of Daredevil is the way in which the character allows the publisher to explore themes that it never could with more mainstream characters. It would be a shame to lose that while transitioning the hero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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

New Escapist Column! On the MCU’s CGI Problems…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of the trailer for She-Hulk last week, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the raging debate over the very questionable use of computer-generated imagery.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest multimedia franchise in the world, and its projects enjoy some of the biggest budgets. So why do so many of their special effects look so terrible? There are a number of reasons for this, tied to both larger cultural trends, the visual effects sector as a whole, and the peculiarities of Marvel Studios’ production methodology. The result of all this comes together to explain why some of the most expensive movies on the planet look so cheap.

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

New Escapist Column! On the “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” as a Critique of the Marvel Power Fantasy…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at what the film says about the larger thematic preoccupations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is built around the superhero power fantasy, with much of the franchise focusing on the idea that its central characters should be allowed to do whatever they want, to bend the world to their tremendous wills. Multiverse of Madness is an interesting and deliberate deconstruction of this power fantasy, focusing on a superhero who has internalised that idea to a dangerous degree, while teaching another character that perhaps the ends don’t always justify the means.

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

284. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Luke Dunne, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The master of the mystic arts, Doctor Stephen Strange, is attending the wedding of his ex-girlfriend Christine Palmer when New York is attacked by a strange creature chasing a young refugee named America Chavez. Strange finds himself drawn into a chase across the vast and infinite multiverse, questioning the nature of the reality in which he has found himself.

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

Continue reading