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New Escapist Video! On Phase 4 as Marvel’s Midlife Crisis…

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, with the recent launch of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, we took a look back at Marvel’s Phase 4, trying to make sense of one of the shared universe’s most disjointed and uneven phases.

New Escapist Column! On the “Back to Basics” Message in the Marketting of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. This week saw the release of the final trailer for the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. What was most interesting about the trailer was the extent to which it contained no surprises or teases. It was a very matter-of-fact “this is what the movie is” trailer.

It’s an interesting approach, particularly for a studio that takes pride in keeping secrets and teasing the audience. The trailer for Quantumania looks very much like a blueprint for the movie, mapping a lot of its character and narrative arcs very clearly, including a third act twist. It’s an approach that feels a little desperate, very much in keeping with the general sense of how Marvel Studios has been packaging and selling Phase Five. The past two years have seen some small erosion in the studio’s cachet, and the trailer for Quantumania feels like the studio trying to convince audiences that it still adheres to the old template.

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

New Escapist Column! On “Better Call Saul”, “Andor” and Slow-Burn Classics…

I published a new piece at The Escapist earlier this week. As Andor winds down its first season, garnering rave reviews but not attracting as strong an audience as its predecessors, comparisons come to mind concerning Better Call Saul, which has quietly become one of the best television shows of the decade despite never reaching the same level of popularity as its predecessor.

What do Better Call Saul and Andor have in common? What is it that makes both shows so compelling, but which also makes them a tougher sell to audiences than what came before? Are they both just out of step with the zeitgeist, reflecting a mode of television production that doesn’t have the same cultural cachet that it once did? And, most importantly, does any of that matter if they are both creative triumphs? It’s interesting to explore and unpack.

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

New Escapist Column! On the Legacy of “Game of Thrones”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the tenth (or “iron”) anniversary of Game of Thrones coming up, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the show’s enduring legacy – in particular, the disconnect between the internet’s narrative of that legacy and the reality of it. To listen to the internet, Game of Thrones ended in such a way as to erase its cultural footprint and any residual cultural goodwill towards it. It’s not uncommon to hear people talk, at length, about how nobody talks about Game of Thrones anymore. However, there’s a fascinating dissonance here, because Game of Thrones appears to be thriving by any quantifiable measure. You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.