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Film

'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Has the Most Relatable Peter Parker

The teen-focused, John Hughes-inspired approach not only makes Spider-Man: Homecoming feel fresh in the realm of Spider-Man films, but in superhero films in general.

Recent
Culture

From Zeus to Superman: Why Do Superheroes Keep Coming Back?

Why, despite all the knowledge we've gained and the technology we've harnessed, do we cling to our mythologies?

Film

'X-Men: Apocalypse': The Apocalypse of Comic Book Films

The filmmakers' attempt to mask X-Men: Apocalypse's lack of purpose and thematic unity with a stunning density of characters, plot lines, and fan service. But we see behind the mask.

Film

'Captain America: Civil War' Mirrors Another Kind of American Civil War

In the Russo Brothers' Captain America: Civil War, friend turns on friend, and no easy resolution is reached. It's rather like the toxic online fan culture that followed the film's release.

Film

Josh Trank's Comic Book Film 'Fantastic Four' Could Have Been a Kitschy Splendor

A temperamental director and meddling suits at the studio squandered the long-running Fantastic Four comics series' first foray into film. It could, however, be done again -- and done right.

Film

Unbecoming Woman: 'Dark Phoenix' and the Dethronement of the Wealthy White Male Hero

Dark Phoenix makes it clear that the X-Men, as socio-political commentary, must take their own metaphor more seriously and evolve, already.

Television

Never Ending Endings in 'The Avengers: Endgame' and 'Game of Thrones'

In both The Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones, the key conflicts are not between good and evil, as one might think, but between the beginnings and endings of their stories.

Film

'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Restored the Series to Its Former Glory

More than any previous X-Men film, Days of Future Past engages in deeply geeky, comic book-inspired elements resulting in the best cinematic representation of X-Men comics to-date.

Film

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Is a Shared Universe Cautionary Tale

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a contrived mess of four disparate competing plots and set-up for a shared cinematic universe that would never come to be. Why did Sony Pictures blow it?

Books

Taking Superheroes Seriously: Three Implications for Society Based on Travis Smith's 'Superhero Ethics'

How do we move from the tribal shouting to a more humane discourse with one another? Travis Smith's Superhero Ethics finds surprising solutions in the world of conflicting superheroes.

Film

'Thor: The Dark World' Comes Close to Being a Viable Story

In Thor: The Dark World there's a dangerous villain, a universe-ending threat, and a star-crossed romance -- but none of it makes sense.

Film

'Captain Marvel' Sees the MCU Through a Woman Character's Eyes

Captain Marvel is a solid start for a strong, compelling character that will grace the big screen for years to come.

Film

'Captain Marvel' Is Predictable

Directors Boden and Fleck skimp on the character development and emphasize the action in the disappointing misfire from the MCU, Captain Marvel.

Film

'The Wolverine' Is a Stranger in a Strange Land

James Mangold's The Wolverine taps into Western tropes and Samurai aesthetics to deliver a more thoughtful, soulful comic book film… until the climax.

Film

'Iron Man 3' Finds Its Hero in Crisis

Marvel Studios launched its second phase of films with Iron Man 3, a film filled with bold storytelling choices and irreverent humour that would become hallmarks of the MCU.

Film

Marc Webb's '​The Amazing Spider-Man​' Is a Reboot That Deserves a Rewatch

Perhaps it was redundant after the previous Spider-Man trilogy, or was overshadowed by more high-profile summer 2012 superhero films, or was lumped in with its truly awful sequel, but The Amazing Spider-Man is a fine superhero film.

Film

M. Night Shyamalan's 'Glass' Doesn't Recognize Its Own Strength

James McAvoy's impressive acting and fleeting moments of powerful imagery dazzle in M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, but that can't make up for the film's shattered second half.

Film

Kinetic Directing Failed to Improve 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance'

Flashy directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor attempted to make Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance more exciting than its predecessor, but their style sapped the energy that fueled the flame.

Film

'Captain America: The First Avenger' Stands Out in a Glut of Comic Book Films

Marvel Studios recognized that by mining other genres through the superhero lens, it could continue to keep comic book films fresh and entertaining to audiences and sidestep the constant predictions of imminent superhero fatigue.

Comics

Losses, Journeys, and Ascensions: 'The Life of Captain Marvel #5'

Carol Danvers life will never be the same. That's a good thing.

Comics

Jean Grey Exercises the Power of Emotional Intelligence in 'X-men Red #11'

Jean Grey and Cassandra Nova have their final showdown in a war of ideas, wherein Jean applies a different tactic to quell the conflict.

Film

The Animated 'Batman: Mask of the Phantasm' Is Still the Only Bat-Film That Gets It

Despite a long history of live action films with wildly varying tones, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is still the only theatrically released Bat-film to truly understand the character and how best to build a story around him.

Comics

On Melodrama and Family Ties in Marvel's 'X-Men: The Exterminated #1'

Cable's death doesn't bring much drama in Marvel Comics' X-Men: The Exterminated #1, but it will have a dramatic impact on future X-men comics.

Film

How Marvel's 'X-men: First Class' Classed Up the X-men Films

Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class refocuses the series onto its political and socially conscious origins, as well as the philosophical debate at the core of Magneto and Xavier's relationship.

Books

Jon Morris' 'The League of Regrettable Sidekicks' Is Itself a Victim of Questionable Standards

Mere mediocrity on the part of the superhero sidekicks doesn't seem a high enough bar for inclusion in a tome such as The League of Regrettable Sidekicks.

Comics

A Journey of Damned Souls (to a Point) In Marvel's 'Weapon X #26'

Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente tap into hellish themes, but not enough to affect hardened souls.

Books

Behind Every Superhero Is One of These Clowns: 'The League of Regrettable Sidekicks'

Many of Jon Morris's characters in The League of Regrettable Sidekicks are proven to be a reflection of their times not only culturally but in terms of the evolution of the genre, as well.

Jon Morris
Comics

An Uncanny Deconstruction of Superheroes in 'Uncanny X-men #1'

A new kind of existential threat strikes the X-men, but it has little to do with hatred, fear, or killer robots.

Reviews

Class, Clones, and Killer Robots in Marvel Comics' 'X-23 #6'

The family dynamics between Laura and Gabby are on full display in X-23 #6, but not much else.

Film

'Thor' Blasted the Comic Book Superhero Genre Away from Earth

Kenneth Branagh's Thor (2011) took the largely Earth-based, sci-fi genre into the realm of supernatural space fantasy, leading the way for a wider array of comic book superhero films.

Comics

Ascent of a True Queen: 'X-men Black: Emma Frost #1'

Through flexible morality and uncanny sex appeal, Emma Frost establishes a truly regal status.

Comics

Carol Danver's Past Has a Twist in 'The Life of Captain Marvel #4'

A surprising revelation changes the history, but not the spirit of Carol Danvers in Marvel's 'The Life of Captain Marvel #4'

Comics

'What If? Punisher #1' Toys with Spider-Man

What if Spider-Man's concept of power and responsibility were different?

Comics

Master of Magnetic Personas: 'X-men Black: Magneto #1'

Chris Claremont returns to reaffirm what makes Magneto such a compelling and relevant villain.

Film

How Jon Favreau's 'Iron Man 2' Peaks -- Then Crashes

Tony spends the first half of the film worrying about his legacy but also trying to have fun with the time he has left. It's rather like MCU's superhero film challenges of the time.

Comics

Shattered Grids and Missing Connections: 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31'

The destruction wrought by Shattered Grid begins, but without the powerful components that make the Power Rangers so mighty.

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