What Stan Lee Meant To A DC Fanboy.

The pop culture world has been mourning the loss of Stan Lee this last week after he passed away on Monday at the age of 95. The internet is still flooded with social media posts paying their digital respects to the man who will be remembered for co-creating some of the most iconic comic book characters ever to exist. Stan’s influence had an immeasurable impact on my life as well, and I wanted to write about that briefly.

Avengers #1. Art by Jack Kirby.

I definitely read plenty of comics as a kid, but some of my earliest memories interacting with the Marvel Universe are actually from watching two of the most legendary cartoons of the 90’s: Spider-Man and X-Men. Cartoons like these played a key role in getting me hooked into comics and cultivating a love of art in general. I remember buying several books over the years from school book fairs that detailed how to draw the Marvel characters, and for a long time I even considered becoming a cartoonist or comic book artist.

The X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons of the 90s were the best.

If you were unfortunate to have missed these animated gems growing up, the animation in both were top quality while also doing a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the comics. Both shows had memorable opening themes as well, with music that screamed 90s. Once either of these two shows started, nothing else mattered until the episode was over.

Do yourself a favor and check out the opening titles to both Spider-Man and X-Men.

Honestly, whenever forced to choose I’ve always leaned more to the DC Universe. My parents named me after Superman actor Christopher Reeve (a tale for another day), which naturally made me gravitate to that side of the superhero aisle. That being said, I wholeheartedly believe there is enough geek love to go around for both companies’ cast of characters.

Marvel and DC have always offered 2 sides of the same coin for me, allowing me to jump back and forth depending on what kind of story I’m in the mood for. And who was the person responsible for differentiating Marvel from the rest of the superheroes at the time? In large part it was Stan Lee of course.

The DC Universe roster has been around longer and excels at telling entertaining stories that provide an escape from reality. These heroes live more in the realm of fantasy and mythology as the universe is crowded with super powered beings from other planets who always do the right thing to protect their imaginary cities from the forces of evil. They are truly larger than life.

Stan saw this even back in the 60’s and decided to tell his stories from a different angle. He created characters along side legendary artists Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others who at their core were every day humans, based in real cities, dealing not just with bad guys wanting to wreck everything but their own real life dilemas as well.

This famous panel drawn by Steve Ditko was paid homage in Spiderman: Homecoming.

This artwork from iconic artist Steve Ditko was paid homage in Spiderman: Homecoming.

The Marvel characters don’t just provide entertaining escapism, they also resonate with readers. They’re not just tireless do-gooders who always do the right thing. They make mistakes. They fail. They give us hope that it’s possible to do great things while also struggling with every day life. I’m not saying these qualities are completely absent from the DC Universe; only that Stan set up Marvel to consistently do a far better job.

The X-men constantly face prejudice and racism from a world that doesn’t understand their mutant abilities. Tony Stark is his own worst enemy with a monster size ego and inner demons of alcoholism. Mathew Murdock, a nobody from Hell’s Kitchen, turned his crippling disability into one of his greatest strengths as a hero. Peter Parker is constantly forced to juggle the pressures of his personal life with crime fighting. The list could go on for pages.

The immense success of the Marvel movies over the past decade is also proof of how much these characters resonate with the world. I was 23 years old when Iron-Man released and now at 33, married, and a baby on the way the franchise is 20 movies in and still going strong. I, like so many others have been to every single opening weekend, and have collected each film as it came out on DVD/Blu ray. I absolutely love and am fascinated with how these movies all contect together and reference each other as every iteration builds the universe just a little deeper, just like issues of comic books.

President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige deserves a large amount of credit for crafting films that appeal to the masses, but the heart of the these characters wouldnt exist without Stan. Honestly, seeing Stan’s cameo in every single film is also part of the experience that will sadly end after his last cameo in the upcoming Avengers 4.

Despite all of this, I don’t find myself overly saddened thinking about Stan’s passing. He had a long and fulfilling life, and is now at rest after accomplishing more with his life than most ever think is possible. He has inspired countless artists and creators to leave their mark on the world and will continue to do so as future generations experience his universe for the first time.

My wife and I meeting Stan at Awesome Con.

I’m beyond grateful to have met Stan a year or so ago at Awesome Con in DC, but as incredible an experience as it was, I was surprised at how little he resembled the comic book rockstar from my childhood. He kept reminding me of someone’s grandfather that should probably just be at home, resting. I think it was in that moment that I knew and accepted this marvelous man (see what I did there) wouldnt be with us much longer.

However, this is not how he will be remembered. He will be remembered for all the things previously mentioned in this post; as the man that revolutionized not just comics but art, TV, and film as well. He will be remembered for his bombastic story telling, a knack for alliteration, and his trademark sunglasses and mustache.

Never fear true believers. Though he is no longer among us, his legacy on pop culture will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Excelsior.

MoviePass Reacts to AMC’s Plan by Announcing “Surge Pricing” Among Other Upcoming Additions.

Here’s my post about AMC’s new plan, if you haven’t read it.

As if it were on cue, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe reacted to AMC’s subscription plan announcement this week by making his own in an interview with Business Insider.

By the end of the summer, they plan on introducing:

  • Bring-a-friend option. The app will allow you to add another ticket for a friend “somewhere near the retail price of the ticket,” and will also let you choose a seat for them at theaters that have reserve seating.
  • Premium option to watch 3-D or IMAX. If you want to see a premium movie, the app will charge you an extra undecided fee of between $2-$6.

That’s not all though. Sometime in July, MoviePass will implement what’s sure to be one of it’s more controversial changes yet:

  • Surge pricing for certain “in demand” movies during certain times of the weekend. This will only affect subscribers who pay month to month. If you paid for a year up front, the surge pricing won’t affect you. Essentially, to see a new blockbuster movie during opening weekend, it will cost an extra fee of at least $2 extra a ticket.
It will cost you slightly more to see the next Marvel movie with MoviePass

    This news is definitely a little frustrating. MoviePass’ biggest issue right now (besides a nonexistent customer service department and losing millions of dollars a month), is their “flavor of the month” changes to their base subscription model.

    Part of this is inevitable; they are essentially the pioneers of implementing subscription plans for movies. There has to be some level of a “trial and error” mentality to see what works. However, MoviePass has made so many changes…and retracted so many changes in the last year, that it feels like there isn’t a lot of honesty or even a solid business plan coming from the top at times.

    Some are saying the AMC plan and future ones like it are going to be a “MoviePass killer.” While that’s certainly possible, I don’t think so. Despite everything, I do think the “extra fee” route is going to seem more attractive to customers in the long term. Here’s why I say that. I personally don’t see a ton of “premium movies.” I enjoy the novelty of 3-D, but it rarely seems worth the extra ticket price. That being said, I would much rather have a plan that charges an extra fee when you see a premium movie as opposed to one that charges a higher base rate per month. I don’t want to feel like I’m paying more for a feature I’m not really using.

    Same thing with this upcoming surge pricing. If I had to pick between an extra fee during certain hours or a higher priced base plan, I’m going to choose the extra fee. Again, at least with the extra fee there’s a little more flexibility, and you’re not going to be paying a higher price per month. Plus, given their track record, who knows if the surge pricing will be here to stay or if it’s just another “flavor of the month.”

    Without a doubt, MoviePass is a little more than shady when it comes to customer service and the reasons behind their frequent changes. However, they still are the best value overall. With every change I ask myself, “Is anyone else offering a better value overall?” As long as the answer is still “no,” I’m going to stick with MoviePass.

    It will be very interesting to see what AMC does with their plan 6 months in; if it stays the same or if they alter the terms….and then what the reaction is from MoviePass.

    Thanks for reading my thoughts, but what are yours? Please feel free to take time to let me know below!

    Why AMC Announcing Their Own Subscription Plan is The Best News Ever.

    Gargantuan news yesterday as AMC unveiled its new movie subscription service they’ll use to compete with their arch nemesis, MoviePass.

    Andy-Dwyer

    AMC has not been shy when it comes to stating how they feel about MoviePass; even threatening to bring a lawsuit against MoviePass to ban them from AMC theaters. “[MoviePass] is not in the best interest of moviegoers, movie theatres and movie studios.”

    The two companies even got into an argument over how much of AMC’s ticket sales were attributed to MoviePass subscribers. However, with the unveiling of this new plan, I have a feeling the numbers are higher than AMC wanted to admit.

    They even took shots at MoviePass in yesterday’s press release, calling out right at the top that their model featured repeat viewings of the same movie at the “sustainable” price of $19.95 per month.

    When stacked up against it’s main rival, AMC’s plan actually sounds competitive:

    Plan AMC MoviePass Sinemia
    Cost? $20 per month $10 per month Tiered Plans
    Where can you use? Only AMC Most theater chains Most theater chains
    Movie cap? Up to 3 per week 1 per day unlimited Depends on plan: 3 per month is max
    multiple movies per day? Yes No No
    Premium movies (3D/IMAX)? Yes No – announced as upcoming Yes
    Same movie more than once? Yes No Yes
    Buy tickets online? Yes Minimal # of theaters that support it Yes
    Buy tickets in advance? Yes No-same day only Yes
    Use reward points Yes – only at AMC Yes – anywhere Yes
    Family plan? No No – announced as upcoming Yes

    Now, I don’t plan on switching plans any time soon, however, this is just about the best news movie fans could hope for. Why you ask?

    Because this is evidence that what started as a seemingly temporary fad has hopefully changed the movie theater business forever. Even if MoviePass goes belly up, never to be heard from again, the subscription service model they started is here to stay in one form or another: as it should.

    thTDF0URY7

    With the ever increasing popularity of in-home services like Netflix, Hulu, etc, theaters have been all but helpless to stop the declining theater attendance. I firmly believe that the subscription model is the best solution and the future of movie going.

    More and more people have accepted the Netflix monthly subscription model as the standard, while refusing to spend $100+ for a family to go to just one movie. Most theaters really only make a profit on concessions sales anyway. If you can get people in the door by making them feel like they are getting a huge deal on the tickets, they are more likely to drop money on food and drinks more often. I know this is true, because I have to literally stop myself from getting popcorn every time I see a movie with MoviePass (That’s a lie, Michelle is the one who stops me).

    The other piece of this news that is good for movie goers, at least long term is the creation of competition. The more companies that offer subscription plans, the more they will all have to fight to be on top by offering the best value possible to the customer. MoviePass is already hurling insults at AMC’s new plan:

    MoviePass

    Of course, what actual affect this has on the movie industry remains to be seen. However, it is definitely good news for consumers who enjoy the movie going experience.

    Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Trailer Reaction!

    The first trailer for the new Fantastic Beasts movie is out today, and man does it look good!

    While the trailer barely shows Johnny Depp who’s playing the big bad, we do get some great shots of Jude Law as the much younger Albus Dumbledore. I’ll admit I was a little surprised at the casting decision at first, but seeing him in this first trailer, I think he’ll be perfect. The more I look at his face, the more I can picture a younger Michael Gambon. Check out the comparison below and you can definitely see some similarities.

    07e3551573023efbb1ffdd1a6337c5d2

    The movie title, poster and parts of the trailer also tease the 3 magical items known from the Harry Potter series as the Deathly Hallows. Looks like we’re going to see some epic wizard battles as well. I’m definitely looking forward to checking it out.

    Eddie Redmayne will be reprising his role as Newt Scamander along with Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, and Zoe Kravitz.

    Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald aparates into theaters November 16th!

    Magizoologist Newt Scamander joins forces with young Albus Dumbledore to prevent the devious Gellert Grindelwald from raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings.

    fantastic-beasts-2-cast-992x560

    That New Dundee Movie is Not a Movie

    It looks like last week, the Brisbane Times got to the bottom of that mysterious Dundee movie that appeared out of nowhere.

    Turns out, as many suspected, it’s not actually a movie at all, but part of marketing campaign for Tourism Austrailia that will run during the Super Bowl. It appears they were tipped off when they noticed the director, Steve Rogers (not to be confused with the star spangled hero) is a well known director for commercials.

    Not only that but other famous Aussie celebrities will play some type of role in the ad as well, including:

    Hugh Jackman

    Margot Robbie and even the original Dundee himself, Paul Hogan:

    This has gone from a seemingly terrible idea to possibly pure genius. I can’t wait to see how this plays out this coming Sunday.

    Movie News: First Images of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel Surface

    We’ve known for awhile that it was in the works, but now some great, high-definition images have surfaced via Page Six of Brie Larson suited up as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female superhero to get her own solo film: Captain Marvel. Take a look:

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    While the design of the suit itself closely resembles the current take on the character in the comics, the color scheme is noticeably different. Most are assuming this is not the final version of the suit and is a throw back to the original version of the character who wore green and white:

    There’s a video online as well:

    Finally, if you’re unfamiliar with Captain Marvel and want a little more background info on who she is in the Marvel universe, check out this great video from The Nerdist:

    While these new images are exciting, Captain Marvel is still a ways off. The scheduled release date is March 8th, 2019.

    Is Syfy’s Krypton the Next Gotham?

    I don’t care what argument you have, Superman is the best comic book superhero there ever has or ever will be.

    There, now that we settled that argument, you’ll understand my level of excitement when I heard about Syfy’s upcoming new television series: Krypton. While the show won’t directly feature the Man of Steel, it will instead focus on his grandfather on the planet…you guessed it: Krypton, years before it goes boom. Check out the trailer:

    This looks like it has potential, but after watchimg the trailer, I’m honestly left wanting to know a little bit more about it. We’ve seen very little of Krypton in movies and TV shows, so there’s a wealth of possible stories that could be told.

    What’s even more exciting is that screenwriter David Goyer is attached to the show as executive producer, who also worked on The Dark Knight, Man of Steel, and BvS. Remember the opening of Man of Steel? It’s some of the most fascinating moments of the entire movie as we get to see a very different Krypton than anything we’ve seen before (No ice anywhere!). I’ve wanted to see this take on Krypton explored more ever since that movie, and while it’s hard to tell from the trailer, hopefully with Goyer’s involvement that’s exactly what we will get.

    The planet Krypton in 2013’s Man of Steel.
    krypton-official-trailer-1-syfy-image-4
    Syfy’s Krypton

    What do you think? Will Krypton be the next Gotham or will it flop? Comment below and feel free to subscribe to my blog if you enjoy reading!

    Krypton airs on the Syfy channel March 21st.

    From Syfy:

    Set two generations before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel’s home planet, Krypton follows Superman’s grandfather (Cameron Cuffe, The Halcyon) — whose House of El was ostracized and shamed — as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos.

    Based on DC characters, Krypton is executive produced by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight trilogy). Cameron Welsh (Ash vs Evil Dead) will serve as executive producer and showrunner.