Marvel

Top 10 Times Superhero Casting was Perfect (Movie Edition)

We often think casting the perfect film is a rare achievement that only the top echelon filmmakers accomplish. Yet it can happen to any director at any time. It can happen as a mere fluke, relying on absolute unknowns, or by someone involved in the process just believing beyond a doubt that this actor can do the role. And while it is a massive achievement that can appear in any genre of film, there is something magical to be said for casting the perfect superhero. They have transforming powers over us, completely redefining our image of a character we were already familiar with, to the point where the character becomes almost untouchable for any other actor. These actors don’t just step into a role and then step out of it; they often become the character to a point where the line between actor and character is blurred, even for them. Their image is often the first recalled when discussing the superhero and persists even years after their film(s) have passed, which have both hurt and helped actors along the way. This article, though, is to celebrate the brilliant work these actors have put forth and helped to create pop culture icons.

These are the top 10 times superheroes were perfectly cast, in no particular order.

10. Michael Keaton – Batman (1989).

Let’s just get this one out of the way first. Keaton was the OG controversial casting, leading to thousands of fans handwriting angry letters to Warner Bros. Studios and director Tim Burton, predicting what hell the internet would bring decades later. Keaton was relatively unknown, with his only major role being the comedic film Beetlejuice. It wasn’t until he stepped out of the shadows, grabbed some punk by his jacket, and said the words, “I’m Batman,” that fans let up on their criticism. While four other actors have stepped into the live-action role since (many more if you include animation and television, not to mention our upcoming new Dark Knight, Robert Pattinson), it was Michael Keaton’s portrayal that gave us the actual Dark Knight fans had been craving for years. His charismatic Bruce Wayne matched his brooding Batman in such a harmonious performance that has left it almost impossible to outdo. The role was so synonymous to Keaton himself that it slowed, an argument could be made for halted even, his career. He would later parody this in Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) which would act as a career comeback.

9. Zachary Levi – Shazam (2019)

With only one Shazam film appearance under his belt, it says quite a lot for Zachary Levi to appear on this list. It’s very possible that there’s just not that many incarnations of Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel) to compare him to, unlike many others on this list. That does help to make him stand out but it would be insulting to discount his performance that much. This man was made for this role. Levi has built a career on hidden gems roles such as Chuck and Flynn Ryder, but none more surprising as Shazam. He managed to capture the nuanced wonder a child would have should he actually be trapped in a man’s body. Not to mention how accurate his portrayal of how anyone would behave if they got super powers suddenly was. It was a large feat to ask of someone because Shazam isn’t a simple immature adult, which is easily how the role could been played. He is complex and naive and a jerk and a hero all at once, and Levi nailed it. He was the most enjoyable part of a most enjoyable film.

8. Patrick Stewart – X-Men (2000)

With very little reluctance from audiences, Patrick Stewart stepped from his iconic turn as Jean-Luc Picard to Professor Charles Xavier, an equally as memorable character role. He brought a gentler touch to Professor X, imbuing him with a father type attitude compared to his often shady demeanor in the comics. It’s a role he has played in film and games for close to two decades and, for most, it will be the only way they know Professor X. Now, no one is saying that James McAvoy has done a bad job. Quite contrary to that actually. He’s played Professor X in a way that’s actually more likened to the comics than Stewart’s performance. But it was Stewart that got to the role first and has forever cemented into our brains that he is Professor X. Besides, can you imagine anyone else portraying him in Logan as tragically as he did? No, you can’t. Because it’s impossible.

7. Gal Gadot – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

As the only woman to grace this list, it is easy to say that Gadot has crushed the role of Wonder Woman. Like most of the people on this list, her casting came with some intense backlash, with criticisms falling into one of two camps: her physical appearance or her level of experience. However, Zack Snyder knew when she auditioned that she was special. And she is special. Gal brought everything we needed to see in Wonder Woman to the role. She was goodhearted with a little naivete, she was bloodthirsty with restraint, she was dedicated to her convictions without being grim.  It’s no wonder that the direction of the DC films is hinging on her being a part of them.

6. Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool (2016)

Sometimes an actor is able to step into a role and completely transform it. Other times, that character gets molded into this combination of real life and fiction. And then there’s Ryan Reynolds’s take on Deadpool. This man fought for this character, and this film, for the better part of a decade. He paid his dues with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Blade: Trinity, and Green Lantern. He proved to everyone with a short scene released on YouTube, completely funded by him, that Deadpool could work on the big screen, and there was no one else to do it than him. This man put his blood and sweat into this character and gave us two of the coolest superhero films to date. It’s an exciting path to be on and watch how it continues to unfold.

5. Samuel L. Jackson – Iron Man (2008)

This is an odd choice, but hear me out: Samuel L. Jackson has been playing this character since the beginning of the MCU. He has been in more movies than any of the other actors involved (he’s been in 11 of the films. Robert Downey, Jr. has been in 9 to date.)  Despite not having a solo movie of his own (which he should have) and despite the character being portrayed completely differently in most of the comics and a previous film, Jackson has made Nick Fury synonymous with his name. How he got the part is fairly incredible as well: Brian Michael Bendis decided he wanted to base the new version of Nick Fury for The Ultimates comic on Jackson’s look and personality. Jackson agreed fairly quickly with only one caveat: he wants to play him in the movie. The MCU did not have to keep that bargain, but they did. And since then, the world has associated Nick Fury, the spy of spies, with Samuel L. Jackson.

4. Chris Evans – Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

At first, Chris Evans may have seemed like a weird casting for Captain America. He was mostly known for dorky comedic roles at the time, but so many people behind the scenes believed in him. Even more so than Chris believed in himself. Reportedly, Evans turned down the role twice, hesitant to sign such a large multi-picture deal, and it wasn’t until Downey himself talked to him that he agreed to it. It was fairly obvious from his first two outings as Captain America, that the MCU and the directors involved were not sure what to do with him. He played the role of Steve Rogers just fine, but ultimately, his power set was underutilized and he looked bland compared to some of the other characters. It wasn’t until Captain America: Winter Soldier that Evans was given a chance to really shine. Since then, we’ve been watching Evans embody the role of Captain America both on and off screen, being the person we all wish we could be.

3. Christopher Reeve – Superman (1978)

This list would be sorely mistaken if it managed to leave off the very first perfectly cast superhero: Christopher Reeve as Superman. He really did make us all believe that a man could fly. This movie was well before my time, yet still managed to resonate with me as a kid. As soon as he steps on screen, Reeve as Superman inspires awe, causing me to hold my breath the first time I saw him. He told us that he stood for truth, justice, and the American way, and it never once felt hokey. You believed him to be earnest and genuine, something that’s not always achievable by actors. His first two outings as Superman are nearly perfect films, creating a standard that we still hold both superhero movies and the actors that play those heroes. Reeve not only took on the large task of portraying the number one most recognized hero in the world, but he also managed to play his counterpart, Clark Kent, in a way that hasn’t been outdone since. He wasn’t bland or meek. Reeve’s take on Kent was subtle and sweet, but you still couldn’t look away from him. He will forever be the man on the pedestal that we compare our heroes to.

2. Hugh Jackman – X-Men (2000)

Let’s face it: we all think of Wolverine when we hear Hugh Jackman’s name. And it’s difficult to recall a time where we didn’t. For the last (almost) 20 years, Jackman has brought this character to life, giving him a little more depth to add to our previous comic knowledge and evoking more attachment to his character than most people expected. He was never anyone’s first choice to play the character considering just how physically different he is from the comic book version, and even joining the original cast a few weeks after shooting had begun. He blew everyone’s expectations out of the water, becoming a stand out feature of any X-Men film and the saving grace for the less than good ones. It is no wonder why Wolverine was the fan favorite for so long and the only X-Man to receive spin-off movies. With his character, and most likely because of his character, we’ve also seen an evolution of the superhero films. These movies no longer sit in a bottle of their own but have incorporated other genres which the Wolverine/Logan trilogy exemplifies marvelously. While we were all heartbroken to hear that Jackman would no longer play Wolverine, we were thrilled that the last time we saw him was in Logan, which is objectively one of the best modern westerns out there.

1. Robert Downey, Jr. – Iron Man (2008)

There is no reason why Iron Man should have worked as well as it did. The MCU wasn’t a thing. Marvel had no choice but to lead their new film studios with C and D list characters because they had sold off all of their successful comic book properties. They took chance after chance. Director Jon Favreau was best known for his side roles in Swingers and PCU. The script was changing every day, even while shooting was happening. But Robert Downey, Jr. was the biggest wild card of them all. The studio had been pushing for Tom Cruise to play Tony Stark since the 90’s. He was reliable and a box office money bag. RDJ was coming off a personal hiatus and was no one’s first choice to play anything at the time. He was personally recommended by Terrance Howard (then cast as James Rhodes), with him and Favreau in Downey’s corner after the audition. Since then, we’ve got 9 movies proving to us why Robert Downey, Jr. has been the lynch pin for the MCU success over the years. Sure, there’s been amazing MCU casting, some even appearing on this list. But can you honestly imagine a world where Tom Cruise or Sam Rockwell (another Tony Stark contender) was our Iron Man? Hell no. At the end of Iron Man, when Robert Downey, Jr. says so confidently, “I am Iron Man” he wasn’t just saying a line in a movie. He was proclaiming to the world that this character belongs to him now and will forever be associated with his name.

 

That’s my list! The top 10 best superhero castings as of 2019. There are many more I considered adding to the list, such as any of the three Spider-Mans (that is proper English and I’m a sucker for all three, don’t @ me) or Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach. Let us know in the comments what you think. Who would be in your top 10 superhero casting list?

Top 10 Times Superhero Casting was Perfect (Movie Edition)

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Review

The X-Men saga as we know it has finally come to an end with X-Men: Dark Phoenix. This week, we sit down with Ian of the Echo Station podcast to review the final chapter in this X-Men universe, Jean Grey’s journey to Dark Phoenix. We also talk news including the status of DC Universe’s Swamp Thing and how James Gunn might play a part in the DCEU (Worlds of DC) moving forward.

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

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Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem!

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Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Rae Stewart | Derreck Mayer | Ryan Couture

Special Guest: Ian Turner

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

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X-Men: Dark Phoenix Review

Predicting MCU Phase 4

With Avengers: Endgame behind us, we have a brand new Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer, along with a lot of Marvel Cinematic Universe news! That’s why this week we talk all about the MCU moving forward, with an emphasis on Far From Home and MCU Phase 4!

Did you catch our MCU Retrospective? No? You’re going to want to read this: http://heroespodcasts.com/reaching-endgame-mcu-retrospective

Enjoying the show? Get you Screen Heroes swag right now! Want a discount? Check out our Patreon today.

What do you want to see from MCU Phase 4? Are you excited for Spider-Man: Far From Home? We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @ScreenHeroesPod on Twitter!

Watch our full-length review below:

 

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, and our RSS feed are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Check out our TeePublic store at bit.ly/HPNTeePublic or buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Rae Stewart
Derreck Mayer
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/show/0eK6BHFwO2hrM92kbjLtbu

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Avengers: Endgame Review

One episode can’t really contain wrapping up 11 years and 22 films worth of Marvel intensity, so we bring you a nearly two hour episode covering Avengers: Endgame. We provide some box office numbers and spoiler-free thoughts before we take a short break and then it’s on to spoilers as we discuss plot points, characters, and the aftermath of the Endgame.

Did you catch our MCU Retrospective? No? You’re going to want to read this: http://heroespodcasts.com/reaching-endgame-mcu-retrospective

Enjoying the show? Get you Screen Heroes swag right now! Want a discount? Check out our Patreon today.

What did you think of Avengers: Endgame? Did it live up to the hype? What questions were left unanswered? We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @ScreenHeroesPod on Twitter!

Watch our full-length review below:

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, and our RSS feed are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Check out our TeePublic store at bit.ly/HPNTeePublic or buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Rae Stewart
Derreck Mayer
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

“Avengers” Theme by Alan Silvestri

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/show/0eK6BHFwO2hrM92kbjLtbu

Spreaker
bit.ly/ScreenHeroesSpreaker

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@ScreenHeroesPod

Avengers: Endgame Review

Reaching the Endgame: An MCU Retrospective

May 2008 didn’t seem like a particularly significant month. Marvel was putting out a new movie, Iron Man. It had Robert Downey Jr. in it, someone I had heard about but didn’t really know his body of work. But hey, Jeff Bridges was in it and I was a huge fun. Besides, a sci-fi mech suit, cool technology, and a superhero flick… should be fun.

Flash forward 11 years and now I’ve seen Captain Marvel in theaters twice. It marked the 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that the 2008 Iron Man started. These films have been the subject of articles and debates, both friendly and vicious for over a decade now. Even more, we as fans have watched our favorite heroes grow, change, age with us. Thinking back at how different Tony Stark and Steve Rogers were during their initial debuts versus where they are in the Avengers: Endgame trailer, and it’s difficult not to recognize the cultural and emotional impact these characters have had on the world.

11 years ago, I was in college. I was working part-time as a server and bartender while attending an undergraduate program at a local community college before transferring back to KU the coming Fall semester. I was living in my parents’ basement, playing a lot of Nintendo Wii. Now, I’ve got a mortgage, two cars, a fiancée, and the best dog in the world. It’s fair to say that a decade has changed me just as much as it has the MCU.

Just for some perspective, let’s recall 2008 culturally, specifically what the world was like when Iron Man debuted. The Dark Knight was still two months from opening and the internet was petrified Heath Ledger would screw up the Joker. We were just a year away from Spider-Man 3 and just oh-so-convinced it was going to be good. How naïve we were. Star Trek was set to return the following year and the future of Star Wars was still nebulous. It was the era of the PS3 and Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii. Obama and McCain were campaigning for office. The stock market was just a few months away from crashing and sending the US into the second largest recession in its history.

It feels so long ago, and the more I think about it, the more detached from that time I feel. The microcosms of our lives make it so easy to forget how different everything was a decade ago. And 2008 was indeed a landmark year for film, pop culture, comic books, and nerdom as a whole.  There was no such thing as the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet. But having Tony Stark announcing “I am Iron Man” marked the beginning of something incredibly new, the cinematic universe. It was almost as if Robert Downey, Jr. himself was being the mouthpiece for everyone behind that film, assuring us that something amazing was headed our way.

Iron Man

Nothing about Iron Man should have worked. Casting Robert Downey, Jr. in 2008 was considered a very risky choice as he had been largely absent from the film scene due to recovering from his own demons. The studio pushed for a Tom Cruise lead film. The script wasn’t even finalized until shooting had started. Accounts from director Jon Favreau and Jeff Bridges both recall that the script was changed daily, with plans for the Iron Monger suit being scrapped and reinstated with each new day. Hell, the whole plan was started because Marvel had sold off literally all of their most successful properties to other studios, leaving them to feature their “B Team” characters, something not even the comics were doing that successfully.

Iron Man ended up being a remarkable success, turning some of the most staunch superhero haters into instant fans. Everyone loved that movie. There was even outrage when it was snubbed at the Oscars a few months later. This was just what Marvel Studios needed to move forward with what would be called “Phase 1” of Nick Fury’s Avengers Initiative.

Fun fact about Nick Fury: Samuel L. Jackson was approached by comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis when he was writing The Ultimates so that he could use his likeness for The Ultimate timeline’s Nick Fury. Jackson said they could under one condition: he gets to play him in the film. Marvel was only happy to oblige Mr. Jackson.

Incredible Hulk came next. It was met with some criticism with most people saying, “It’s not as good as Iron Man but it’s so much better than the Ang Lee film.” It wasn’t until after the release of the movie that all the drama with Universal Studios and Edward Norton came out. That drama was just enough for Marvel to move away from the Hulk as much as they could without completely nixing the character, which is just fine, because in the end, Mark Ruffalo has now become the face of the modern Hulk.

The rest of Phase 1 gave us decent introductions of some of the most prolific characters of the MCU today. In 2010, we got the first casting change in the MCU. Don Cheadle took up the role of James Rhodes (War Machine) after an extensive contract dispute with Terrence Howard. See, Howard actually ended up making more money than Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Bridges, despite having a smaller part and being billed below all of them. He was able to achieve this by being the first one cast and having excellent negotiation skills. Marvel didn’t know any better. It wasn’t until all the others accepted their salaries that they figured it out. So when they offered him much less for Iron Man 2 and he hedged, they dropped Howard so fast. Before completely taking over the role, Don Cheadle did receive Howard’s blessing and became the War Machine we know and love today. Howard’s not doing badly either, completely ruling Fox on his series, Empire.

 

We also met Black Widow, the defected spy from Russia and the first woman of the MCU. She was portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in what would be a career defining role. Even now, one of the largest omissions of the MCU is not giving Black Widow her own standalone film during Phase 1 (if you don’t remember, that was one of the biggest fan complaints between 2010 and 2012.)

Black Widow

Thor, Loki, and, to a much lesser degree Hawkeye, were introduced in the MCU’s next film, Thor. While relative newcomer Chris Hemsworth was everything we always wanted in a Thor, it was Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki that brought the brooding sex appeal and charm that made all the fan girls go wild. It is unlikely that Marvel’s first choice, Josh Hartnett, would have created the same fan base that propelled Loki into four more films and an upcoming TV show. Hawkeye, on the other hand, was shoehorned into the film during the only place it made any sense right after it Joss Whedon cast him for Marvel’s The Avengers. The news of Jeremy Renner’s casting broke shortly before the movie dropped and literally no one expected his appearance.

Thor

In 2011, Captain America: The First Avenger also released, proving to us that Chris Evans had grown into an exceptional actor. Long gone were the days of whipped cream bikinis from Not Another Teen Movie. He brought life to a character that had felt out of place in the comics for decades, giving Cap the Boy Scout feel we love but the charm of the “man out of time.” Let’s not forget the utter brilliant performance of Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull, solidifying a precedent for amazing villains that Phase 2 would largely fail to live up to.  

Captain America

Then Avengers dropped. This movie forever changed the landscape of movie studios. It was cinema magic to the say the least. We’ve seen multiple companies try and recreate the fantasy that Marvel did and fail over and over. They’ve tried to repeat it almost step-by-step but forgot to add in the quirk and charm Marvel did (Universal’s “Dark Universe” comes to mind) or try to force their huge team up by rushing and convoluting the story (Warner Brother’s Worlds of DC, previously the DCEU, really wanted Justice League to be a thing). The trick with Marvel was they always had a plan, but they also had backup plan after backup plan in case this didn’t work out. In Phase 1, the studio trusted the directors to pull out the best performances of not just their actors, but their stunt coordinators, special effects artists, and script writers. They laid the groundwork for, what was at the time, the most ambitious and well laid cinema plans to date, and Joss Whedon followed through. That movie had it all: humor, high stakes, impressive action, a place for every character, depth, tragedy, endings, and beginnings. Frankly, it was the well-rounded superhero movie everyone had waited for and will always stand out as a bright spot of hope in the MCU.  

Avengers

Phase 2 remains a mixed bag of successes and problems. The first one out of the gate was Iron Man 3, which was the first largely divisive film of the MCU. Previous Iron Man director Jon Favreau had stepped down, mostly due to how badly his hands were tied creatively during Iron Man 2. Shane Black (that dude who died in Predator) stepped in and did what he could with The Mandarin, a story long-time fans of Iron Man had been waiting for since the beginning. I, for one, tried very hard to defend the story and the large twist but have since let it go. On the one hand, seeing Tony Stark experience PTSD as a direct result of his sacrifice from the Battle of New York is classic Marvel, humanizing our heroes right before our eyes. On the other, if you have a brilliant actor like Ben Kingsley in your role as a horrifying terrorist and you reduce him to fart jokes, I’m probably going to have a problem with your story. Sure, the Hail to the King one-shot story hinted at another Mandarin, but that’s a revelation that will never pay off. Sorry, fan boys. Not happening.

Age of Ultron

Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron were also riddled with problems on and off screen which came down to one thing: Marvel Studios was scared to upset the status quo. They lacked faith in female villains (girls don’t buy toys, duh), in their directors, in their stories. Even newcomer franchise Ant-Man played things safe in places and cemented the fact that we’ll never see an Edgar Wright MCU film, which I think is a huge loss. The only stand out examples of Marvel doing something unique was 2014’s films: Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1. These movies were so spectacular and original, it’s very hard to believe that they were sandwiched by such safe mediocrity. The Winter Soldier was the first time we had seen the superhero genre merge with something else, being one of the most well-crafted spy thrillers of the new 2010’s. Guardians of the Galaxy took a collection of oddball characters from the deep recesses of the Marvel vault and put them in their very own spotlight and made it work. Marvel took chances on relatively unknown directors, unexpected actors, and unusual story lines. What they created were two of the best superhero movies to date. It’s almost as if they don’t belong in the Phase 2 set, but if they hadn’t, there is a huge chance that the MCU would have been written off as a whole.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1

Phase 3 has been a melting pot of wrapping up stories and beginning new ones. A deal with Sony had been struck to incorporate the Spider-Man character into the MCU on the condition that Sony retains the rights to the rest of the “Spider” characters. A Spider-Man/MCU franchise was fast-tracked, having his first solo film bump the timeline for Black Panther and Captain Marvel, along with reshoots to Captain America: Civil War incorporating him into the film. It was one of Joss Whedon’s regrets that he wasn’t able to get the character into Age of Ultron since the deal had been finalized but not fully realized at that time.

Captain America: Civil War Cap v Iron Man

Civil War

When Captain America: Civil War had been announced, I admit I got all tingly inside. It was one of the biggest and best crossover comic events that Marvel has put out to date. The tension between our cinematic Avengers had been building for years and this was going to be a solid payoff. While it remains one of the more successful MCU films, it was far from perfect. The Russo brothers were brought back for their second film and created, essentially, an Avengers film. Both our heroes, Iron Man and Captain America, are incredibly problematic. Black Widow makes a drastic 180 character turn, which is even called out by James Rhodes, and still doesn’t work. Yet it’s hard to deny that Black Panther had a brilliant introduction in what could have been an overstuffed movie, and finally seeing Ant-Man get giant sized was something I didn’t know I needed in my geeky life.

The introduction to Doctor Strange in his own eponymous title film told us the already familiar story of a snarky genius in times of physical tragedy (Iron Man and Doctor Strange are the same character in so many ways), but delivered it in a sparkly magical package that we hadn’t seen before. The visual effects were stretched beyond what Marvel had shown us before, giving us a hero both new and old to the MCU. Spider-Man: Homecoming also delivered a “familiar new” story, presenting us with the third live-action iteration of Peter Parker seen since 2000, and to some, the best. And while some joke it’s just another Iron Man film, it shines, in the addition of Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes, the Vulture.  This character was originally wanted for Sam Raimi’s fourth installment in the Sony Tobey Maguire series and had eyed John Malkovich to play him. While that had the potential to be a spectacle on par with Alfred Molina’s brilliant turn as Doctor Octopus, Keaton’s turn gave us a chillingly subtle performance, with the character’s secret identity being more frightening than his villainous one. It was absolutely the right call to keep the character alive AND have Keaton reprise it in the upcoming film, Spider-Man: Far from Home.

 

Black Panther

While phase 3 fizzled with Ant-Man and the Wasp and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (hey, we’re not saying they’re bad, just not as good as some of the other films), the MCU really shined with the first solo films of Black Panther and Captain Marvel, and the continuation of the Thor franchise in Thor: Ragnarok. Director Taika Waititi spent only a small amount of time with Chris Hemsworth before deciding he would lean into the actor’s natural humor for this third installment. He was also the first director to bring in a woman as the film’s big bad. Black Panther ended up being the highest grossing film of 2018, beating out Avengers: Infinity War. It also took home a few Oscars at the 2019 ceremony and is still discussed by fans if the social commentary of the film is more important than the quality of the film itself. Whether or not that’s true, it did give us one of the best villains in the MCU with Michael B Jordan’s Killmonger. Captain Marvel succeeded in diversifying the MCU and dividing the fan community. It was the first female lead film in the entire MCU (long overdue) and provided even the avid comic reader with an unexpected sci-fi twist. Despite how you feel about it, the movie was a financial success and ended up joining six other films in the MCU to make a billion dollars during their run time (Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, and  Avengers: Infinity War).

Avengers Endgame Matt Ferguson

Endgame

So here we are in 2019. Avengers: Endgame is less than a week away, the 22nd MCU film and likely the completion of Phase 3. It is easily the most anticipated movie of 2019, and possibly the decade (although strong arguments can be made for Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have done their best to keep fans guessing by putting out misleading trailers and denying every rumor ever. We do know a few things, though. We know this will be the end for some of our favorite characters. We know that some of the character deaths in Infinity War will stick. We know that this will be the last time we see some of these faces. In the opposite vein, there are nuggets of hope: we will be getting some of the dusted characters back, and this will most likely be the end of Thanos, as producer Kevin Feige has said this will be the end of The Infinity Saga. Meanwhile, Phase 4 is being put in motion as we speak with confirmed sequels for Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians, with a feature film for Black Widow and new franchise The Eternals. The acquisition of the former Fox properties such as X-Men (including Deadpool) and the Fantastic Four also gives new possibilities for future films. While we prepare to be both overjoyed and destroyed by Avengers: Endgame, we can look to the MCU’s bright and full future to keep us overjoyed and destroyed for another 11 years and beyond.

Endgame concept art

Whatever it takes.

This retrospective is a collaboration between myself (Rae Stewart) and Derreck Mayer. You can find us each week on the Screen Heroes podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, and more!

Reaching the Endgame: An MCU Retrospective

Disney Plus Ultra!

It’s an all-news episode this week as we talk about the latest from the DC Universe including Titans casting Bruce Wayne, the upcoming Swamp Thing series, and Stargirl. Then we move on to the bigger fish, Disney. We talk Disney+, the cost, format, and content. We also talk about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s first trailer, The Mandelorian series, and of course, all of the Marvel announcements including new MCU series coming to Disney+!

Enjoying the show? Get you Screen Heroes swag right now! Want a discount? Check out our Patreon today.

What did you think of all this news? We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @ScreenHeroesPod on Twitter!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, and our RSS feed are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Check out our TeePublic store at bit.ly/HPNTeePublic or buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Rae Stewart
Derreck Mayer
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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Spotify
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Disney Plus Ultra!

Predicting the Fates of the MCU

In the wake of Captain Marvel, with Avengers: Endgame closing in fast, we sit down to predict the fates of over 40 different players in the MCU, the good, the bad, the anti-hero, the friendly villain. There’s lots of speculation about Endgame and beyond with some spoilers from previous MCU films, especially Infinity War. Before that, we talk movie news including this week’s box office, the return of James Gunn to Disney, the first Toy Story 4 full length trailer, Warner Bros. CEO stepping down, ShazamGate, and more!

Don’t forget ShazamGate with a brand new shirt design available right now on our TeePublic store. Get you Screen Heroes swag!

What did you think of our predictions? Who do you think will still be alive after Endgame? We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @ScreenHeroesPod on Twitter!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, and our RSS feed are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Check out our TeePublic store at bit.ly/HPNTeePublic or buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Rae Stewart
Derreck Mayer
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/show/0eK6BHFwO2hrM92kbjLtbu

Spreaker
bit.ly/ScreenHeroesSpreaker

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bit.ly/ScreenHeroesGooglePlay

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Social Media
@ScreenHeroesPod

Predicting the Fates of the MCU

Captain Marvel Review

We travel back to 1995 to review the 21st Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Captain Marvel! We talk about our new hero, Carol Danvers, the plot of the film, special effects like the de-aging technology, and more! Plus, we talk news like the first full Aladdin trailer with more blue Will Smith, the Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer, and more ShazamGate!

Don’t forget ShazamGate with a brand new shirt design available right now on our TeePublic store. Get you Screen Heroes swag!

What did you think of Captain Marvel? Do you think Will Smith’s Genie looked better the second time around? Are you hyped for Shazam? We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @ScreenHeroesPod on Twitter!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, and our RSS feed are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Check out our TeePublic store at bit.ly/HPNTeePublic or buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Rae Stewart
Derreck Mayer
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/show/0eK6BHFwO2hrM92kbjLtbu

Spreaker
bit.ly/ScreenHeroesSpreaker

Google Play
bit.ly/ScreenHeroesGooglePlay

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Social Media
@ScreenHeroesPod

Captain Marvel Review

Disney\Fox Marvel Movie Pitches

With the Disney\20th Century Fox merger all but complete, Marvel Studios will soon have a chance to play with some of their most iconic characters again including the entirety of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, among others like Blade and Ghost Rider. With that in mind, our fearless hosts each took on a different portion of these newly owned characters to pitch Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Rae starts us off with a massive X-Men Avengers crossover focusing on the House of M storyline. Then Derreck takes on the Fantastic Four by partnering with Universal to bring to the big screen a certain Marvel character most have forgotten. Then Ryan takes us back to 1602 with his vision for a Midnight Sons series! Of course, we’ve got a lot of news to cover too including ShazamGate!

Don’t forget ShazamGate with a brand new shirt design available right now on our TeePublic store. Get you Screen Heroes swag!

What did you think of our movie pitches? Do you want to see Rae’s House of M? What about Derreck’s Fantastic Four or Ryan’s Midnight Sons? We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @ScreenHeroesPod on Twitter!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, and our RSS feed are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Rae Stewart
Derreck Mayer
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/show/0eK6BHFwO2hrM92kbjLtbu

Spreaker
bit.ly/ScreenHeroesSpreaker

Google Play
bit.ly/ScreenHeroesGooglePlay

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bit.ly/ScreenHeroesRSS

Social Media
@ScreenHeroesPod

Disney\Fox Marvel Movie Pitches

Nitpicking Spider-Man (2002)

This week, we kick off our brand new segment, Nitpicking, by looking back at the 2002 Spider-Man movie starring Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco! Plus, we talk the 2019 Oscars and the latest on ShazamGate including the continuing Rotten Tomatoes controversy surrounding Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel.

Don’t forget ShazamGate with a brand new shirt design available right now on our TeePublic store. Get you Screen Heroes swag!

What did you think of the 2002 Spider-Man? Do you like our new Nitpicking segment? What did you think of this year’s Oscars? We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @ScreenHeroesPod on Twitter!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, and our RSS feed are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Rae Stewart
Derreck Mayer
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/show/0eK6BHFwO2hrM92kbjLtbu

Spreaker
bit.ly/ScreenHeroesSpreaker

Google Play
bit.ly/ScreenHeroesGooglePlay

RSS Feed
bit.ly/ScreenHeroesRSS

Social Media
@ScreenHeroesPod

Nitpicking Spider-Man (2002)

The Punisher Season 2 Review

The Punisher hasn’t been canceled yet! That means it’s time to take on the Defender adjacent anti-hero, Frank Castle, in his second outing. Before we dive into Season 2 of The Punisher, we talk news including our first look at Birds of Prey, the new Ghostbuster movie’s release date, the return of a classic Toy Story character, and more!

Curious about our Season 1 review? Check it out right here: http://heroespodcasts.com/sh94-marvel-netflix-punisher-review

Don’t forget ShazamGate with a brand new shirt design available right now on our TeePublic store. Get you Screen Heroes swag!

What do you think of The Punisher Season 2? What about the Birds of Prey teaser?  We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, Spreaker, Google Play, and our RSS feed are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Spreaker

Google Play

RSS Feed

Social Media
@ScreenHeroesPod

The Punisher Season 2 Review

Star Wars News Catch-Up

Welcome back to Echo Station Podcast! Kris and Ian are back from their holiday break to talk Star Wars news that broke during the mini hiatus over the past few weeks. A lot of juicy stories and a lot of news are packed into this episode…including when a possible panel for the station will happen at Kansas City’s very own Planet Comicon this year! So strap in and welcome to Echo Station.

Comment below or hit us up @EchoStationCast on Twitter or Facebook!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Echo Station Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Kristina Davis
Ian Turner

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

RSS Feed

http://heroespodcasts.com/feed/podcast/echostation

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/echo-station-a-star-wars-podcast/id1434248101

Google Play

https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Ixlalgr5lliy6jt477iqzpwucde

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