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New Escapist Column! On Why Chris Evans Returning to the MCU Would Be a Bad Idea…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Last week, there were rumours that Chris Evans might be returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following his departure in Avengers: Endgame.

This is interesting, because it potentially undermines one of the more interesting facets of the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. Comic books are largely shaped and defined by nostalgia, with beloved characters filling familiar roles in perpetuity, with any major change to the status quo eventually rolling back to the default. In contrast, a cinematic universe operates by different constraints: actors move on, age out and even die. This would force a long-form shared universe to evolve in a way that comics haven’t had to. This is a good thing, as evolution is necessary.

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

New Podcast! The Escapist Movie Podcast – “Why Ruin a Cap on a Perfectly Good Tenure?”

The Escapist have launched a movie podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard and Will Cruz for the third episode of the year. We talked about the announced Wonka prequel film from Warner Bros., the rumours that Chris Evans might return to the Captain America role, and the difference in watching in a pandemic.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

New Escapist Video! Diving Deep on “WandaVision” with “A Marvelous Escape”…

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 third episode of WandaVision, including looking at spoilers, metatext, predictions, long games, inside jokes and the art of pacing of a serialised narrative like this.

New Escapist Column! On Power Without Responsibility in the MCU…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With WandaVision launching this weekend and with reports that Chris Evans would be returning to the role of Steve Rogers, it seemed like a good time to take a look back at Captain America: Civil War as the point at which the MCU embraced the idea of power without responsibility.

Superhero stories are often about power and responsibility. However, one of the most striking aspects of the MCU has been its recurring embrace of the idea that power should come without any responsibility. Civil War is supposed to be a story about consequences, but instead becomes a story about characters desperately evading consequences, and asking the audience to cheer for them as they do. There’s something hollow and empty in that, and it’s arguably a rot at the root of the MCU.

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

New Escapist Video! “Outside the Wire – 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 Outside the Wire.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” Cast Daniel Craig as a Bond Girl…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. Because The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is now on American Netflix, it seemed like a good time to take a look back at David Fincher’s underrated adaptation.

Daniel Craig has always had a challenging relationship with his most iconic role, that of super-suave super-spy James Bond. Many of his roles play off that tension, juxtaposing Craig with the audience’s expectations of him. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is no exception, essentially casting Craig in the role of the Bond Girl to Lisbeth Salander. Craig is repeatedly presented as vulnerable and distressed, often requiring rescuing and often existing as an extension of the women around him. It’s a clever, self-aware piece of casting.

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

 

New Escapist Video! On “Die Hard” as a Christmas Movie…

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 the 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.

It’s not the 8th of January yet, so it still seems like an appropriate time for Christmas movie discussion. As such, I took a look at one of the great film debates of our time: whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

New Escapist Column! On “Die Hard” as a Christmas Movie…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. It’s Christmas, so it’s worth reopening the old chestnut: is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

Obviously, what is and is not a Christmas movie is highly subjective. Everybody has their own movies associated with the holiday. That said, Die Hard occupies a strange space in the Christmas landscape. It is a movie set at Christmas, and which has gradually become more and more associated with the holiday over the years. More than that, its structure and themes are inexorably tied to the season of peace on earth and goodwill towards all men. There’s even a bearded man flying through the sky at the climax.

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

New Escapist Column! On “Star Wars” Continuity Power Games…

I published a new piece at The Escapist today. As ever, there are rumours in Star Wars fandom about the possibility that the sequel trilogy will be removed from canon.

As ever, these rumours are most likely nonsense designed to generate clicks in an economy that has monetised outrage clicks by stoking and feeding fan resentment and anger. However, they also reveal something very interesting about the nature of canon in modern fandom. The idea of “canon” has nothing to do with continuity. It is instead a way of asserting power and ownership over media, of asserting that a franchise “belongs” to one particular group and not for others.

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

New Escapist Video! “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – 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 Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which features the last major live-action performance from Chadwick Boseman.