Spider-Man joining the Marvel Universe – The Avengers Too?

Date: 9 Feb 2015 Comments:0
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Spider-Man Joins Marvel Universe

This is insane. Will Spider-Man become an Avenger? Who will play the new Spider-Man? Will they bring Gwen Back? Will the Spidey movies be good again? So many freaking questions!!!!! Read the release from Sony to get all the info on Spider-Man joining the Marvel Universe

SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT BRINGS MARVEL STUDIOS INTO THE AMAZING WORLD OF SPIDER-MAN

New Spider-Man Will Appear First in an Upcoming Marvel Film Within Marvel’s Cinematic Universe

Marvel’s Kevin Feige to Produce Next Installment of the Spider-Man Franchise with Amy Pascal

(Culver City, California, and Burbank, California February 09, 2015) – Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios announced today that Sony is bringing Marvel into the amazing world of Spider-Man. Read the rest of this story »

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Fifty Shades of Grey – The Lego Trailer

Date: 7 Feb 2015 Comments:0
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The Fifty Shades of Bricks

The Lego version of Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer was made by Antonio and Andrea Toscano. And while I say bravo to this parody I also say for the love of all that is good and pure, I hope they don’t come out with an official Fifty Shades of Grey Lego set. The Fifty Shades of Bricks trailer has nearly 2 million views in five days but as popular as this Lego trailer has been, I doubt these characters will make it to The Lego Movie 2.

If you are going to see the real thing, (I am Not) here are the details. It hits theaters Valentines Day 2015.
Fifty Shades of Grey is the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestselling book that has become a global phenomenon. Since its release, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has been translated into 51 languages worldwide and sold more than 100 million copies in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever. Stepping into the roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, who have become iconic to millions of readers, are Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. Joining Dornan and Johnson in the cast are Luke Grimes as Elliot, Christian’s brother; Victor Rasuk as José, Anastasia’s close friend; Eloise Mumford as Kate, Anastasia’s best friend and roommate; Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, Christian’s mother; Rita Ora as Mia, Christian’s sister; Max Martini as Taylor, Christian’s bodyguard; Callum Keith Rennie as Ray, Anastasia’s stepfather; Jennifer Ehle as Carla, Anastasia’s mother; and Dylan Neal as Bob, Carla’s husband. Fifty Shades of Grey is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and produced by Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti alongside E L James, the creator of the series. The screenplay for the film is by Kelly Marcel.

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Marvel Announces All-Female ‘Avengers’ Series

Date: 6 Feb 2015 Comments:0
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A-Force #1 cover by Jim CheungMarvel announced this week that the will be release an all female Superhero series in the form of The Avengers. The new comic book series will be called A-FORCE. The big question though is will Marvel go all the way and commission an A-Force Avengers film? Not likely but it could be awesome if done right. Here’s the full release,

Marvel Comics is excited to announce the new group of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes taking over an all-new era with Marvel Comics’ A-FORCE co-written by G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite K. Bennett with artwork by Jorge Molina .

This May, beginning in Marvel’s Secret Wars, the Avengers are no more!

Within the Warzones! of Secret Wars, a brand new team will lead the way. A-Force Assemble! Marvel Comics reimagines the Marvel Universe in one of the largest shake-ups to the Avengers mythos.

So who are the Marvel powerhouses taking center stage?

“She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru and other fan favorites, will take charge,” says series co-writer G. Willow Wilson. “We’ve purposefully assembled a team composed of different characters from disparate parts of the Marvel U, with very different power sets, identities and ideologies.”

And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s mightiest heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, A-Force was born—to fight the foes no single Super Hero could withstand! Their glory will never been denied! Heed the call, A-Force Assemble!

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Jennifer Lawrence Snake Photo is Pretty Hot

Date: 6 Feb 2015 Comments:0
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The Hunger Games star is baring it all in her photo shoot for Vanity Fair. In the new issue Lawrence is wearing nothing but a sultry smile and of course a Colombian red-tailed boa constrictor. A reptile has not had this much publicity since Britney Spears walked out with large albino snake draped over her shoulders at the VMAs back in 2001. Lawrence is probably a lot more happy with this nude photo then when her personal photos were stolen and posted on the internet last year. The Hunger Games star is definitely the talk of the town with here new spread.

Vanity fair says, “[The photo pays] homage to the 1981 Richard Avedon Vogue portrait of Nastassja Kinski that launched a million dorm-room posters—and coolly focused her eyes on the camera. “Jennifer has the perfect combination of strength, sexuality, and humor, and, above all, tomboy to pull this off,” says V.F. fashion and style director Jessica Diehl, who styled the shoot.”

Jennifer Lawrence Snake Photo

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J.J. Abrams Says a Lot of Stuff about ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek 3′

Date: 6 Feb 2015 Comments:0
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J.J. Abrams Star Wars and Star Trek

J.J. Abrams talked a little with Collider recently and he said a lot of fun stuff about the Wars and the Trek. I still can’t believe the same man is running the two properties. Abrams touches on the new light saber for The Force Awakens. He mentions that the rough cut of Star Wars 7 has not been completed yet and that there was a sequence filmed in IMAX. He also mentions that the next Star Trek will have a name, a la Into Darkness and will not be called Star Trek 3 and explains how Simon Pegg got involved in the writing process. Check out the video, it’s a fun watch.


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Five of the Sexiest ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” Covers Ever

Date: 6 Feb 2015 Comments:0
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Hannah Davis Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover PhotoAwe… the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is here. Annually it’s one of the hottest issues of any magazine. Only the September Issue of Vogue compares with both the secrecy and desire to have one as soon as it hits bookshelves. But enough about high fashion. Let’s get to hot girls in skimpy swimsuits and sometime less. Body paint anyone?

Hannah Davis was lucky enough to grab the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Cover. But where does she rank in the all time hottest SI Swimsuit covers? While she does look amazing and the bottom half of her Bikini is scandalously low, I’m not sure this years cover ranks in the Top Five Hottest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Covers of all time. Unhealthy body image and insecurities aside, let’s look at the pictures below to find out who made the list. Read the rest of this story »

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‘Star Wars’ vs ‘Star Trek’ Epic Trailer

Date: 5 Feb 2015 Comments:0
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Star Wars VS Star Trek. It’s a dream come true to millions of fanboys around the world. Countless debates on who would win in the ultimate galactic battle between Star Trek and Star Wars could finally come to an end if this fan-made trailer was the real thing. But we can only dream. If there were ever two cinematic universes that will never meet on the big screen it’s these. For now go ahead and enjoy the trailer created by crossover trailer mastermind, Alex Luthor.

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‘Saved by the Bell’ Reunion on Jimmy Fallon

Date: 5 Feb 2015 Comments:0
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Saved by the Bell Reunion on Jimmy Fallon

We learned a little bit more about Jimmy Fallon’s childhood this week. Including the fact that he went to Bayside High School with the Saved by the Bell Cast. Only Jimmy could consistently get so many stars together to make fun of themselves so often.

The Saved by the Bell Reunion on Jimmy Fallon touched on many of our favorite memories of the show. From Jessie Spano saying, “I’m so excited, I’m so excited… I’m so scared” to Zack calling a “Time Out” to talk to the audience. We were even graced with a song from Zack Attack!

My favorite line of the sketch was Zack saying, “It’s like Jessi becoming a stripper”.

Mr. Belding also stopped by to cheer up the gang after learning that Jimmy was leaving the school for New York. Biggest surprise was Zack finally getting the job done and knocking up Kelly Kapowski. Who dropped the pregnancy bomb before the big dance.

Noticeably absent were Screech and Lisa Turtle. But it was great to see the rest of the gang back together again!

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The 30 Best Chandler Bing One-Liners from Friends

Date: 16 Jan 2015 Comments:0
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Chandler Bing Matthew Perry FriendsHere’s Part 2 of our celebration of all things Friends and it’s a good one. Chandler Bing was the lovable scared of commitment funny man. He had more straight up one-liners than any other cast member and know one could have played him better than Matthew Perry. Even if toward the end of the series they were usually just comments about how he was womanly. Chandler’s quotes were so  we had to throw you 30 instead of the usual Top Ten Chandler Quotes.

30. Hey-hey! I thought Naked Thursdays was just our thing, man!

29. Wait. Did I just say If I were a guy?

28. It bodes well for me that speed impresses you.

27. He said he was going to do my inseam, and he ran his hand up my leg, and then there was definite… Cupping.

26. Well, my grandfather was Swedish and my grandmother was actually a tiny little bunny.

25. Ross, just for my own peace of mind – you’re not married to any more of us, are you?

24. What kind of scary-ass clowns came to your birthday?

23. Oh, you know, I would, but that might get in the way of my lying-around time.

22. THIS IS NOT OUT OF THE BLUE! THIS IS SMACK-DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BLUE!

21. I think, for us, kissing is pretty much like an opening act, y’know? I mean, it’s like the stand-up comedian you have to sit through before Pink Floyd comes out.

20. I’m not great with the advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?… Cheese?

19. Oh, yes. Just had me a little nubbin-ectomy. Yep. Two nipples, no waiting.

18. You know what? We have to turn off the porn.

17. Well, let’s see, Joey was born, and then 28 years later, I was robbed.

16. That’s a good one too, Pheebs. Now all you have to find is a planeload of people whose New Year’s resolution is to plummet to their deaths.

15. Okay. But you should know he eats five times a day and shoves pennies up his nose!

14. So great things are happening at work and in your personal life!

13. Gum would be perfection. Gum would be perfection. I could have said gum would be nice, could have said I’ll have a stick. But no no no no no, for me, gum is perfection. I loathe myself.

12. When I walk outside naked, people throw garbage at me.

11. Sometimes I wish I was a lesbian. Did I say that out loud?

10. I mean, if you’re not careful, you may not get married at all this year.

9. He could’ve gotten me a hat or a set of golf clubs, but no, he has to get me THE WOMEN REPELLER! The eyesore from the LIBERACE HOUSE OF CRAP!

8. Richard’s really nice and everything. Uh… It’s just that we don’t know him really well, you know, and plus, he’s, you know… old.

7.I’m sorry, it was a one-time-thing. I was very drunk and it was someone else’s subconscious.

6. Well, actually yesterday I was smoking again, today I’m smoking still.

5. Ross, when you picture Phoebe living on the street, is she surrounded by the entire cast of Annie?

3. Easy for you to say; you don’t have to go around wearing a REJECT from the MR. T COLLECTION! I pity the fool who puts on my jewelry! I do, I do!

2. Well, no, the best reason to get married is pregnancy. Sorry’s about fourth, behind being ready and actually wanting to get married.

1. Oh, I know. This must be so hard. Oh, no! Two women love me. They’re both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet’s too small for my fifties, and my diamond shoes are too tight!

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Ten Best ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Quotes: Sheldon Cooper

Date: 14 Jan 2015 Comments:0
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The Big Bang Theory Sheldon Cooper

Contrary to popular belief, Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory is the best roommate guy could have. That is, of course if you are willing to abide by “The Roommate Contract”. Which admittedly could be hard to do with all the sub clauses. Okay, who am I kidding, he might be the most difficult roommate in television history. That being said The Big Band Theory‘s go to man for one-liners has made some pretty good points through the years. Here’s The 10 Best Sheldon Cooper quotes.

10. Well, well, well, if it isn’t Wil Wheaton. The Green Goblin to my Spider-Man, the Pope Paul V to my Galileo, the Internet Explorer to my Firefox!
‘The Wheaton Recurrence’

9. You bought me a present? Why would you do such a thing? I know you think you’re being generous, but the foundation of gift giving is reciprocity. You haven’t given me a gift, you’ve given me an obligation. The essence of the custom is that I now have to go out and purchase for you a gift of commensurate value and representing the same perceived level of friendship as that represented by the gift you’ve given me. Ah, it’s no wonder suicide rates skyrocket this time of year. Oh, I brought this on myself by being such an endearing and important part of your life…
‘The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis’

8. Under normal circumstances I’d say I told you so. But, as I have told you so with such vehemence and frequency already the phrase has lost all meaning. Therefore, I will be replacing it with the phrase, I have informed you thusly.
‘The 21-Second Excitation’

7. Penny, while I subscribe to the “Many Worlds” theory which posits the existence of an infinite number of Sheldons in an infinite number of universes, I assure you that in none of them am I dancing.
‘The Gothowitz Deviation’

6. You may not realize it, but I have difficulty navigating certain aspects of daily life. You know, understanding sarcasm, feigning interest in others, not talking about trains as much as I want. It’s exhausting!
‘The 43 Peculiarity’

5. Ah, memory impairment; the free prize at the bottom of every vodka bottle.
‘The Agreement Dissection’

4. If you don’t mind, I’d like to stop listening to you and start talking.
‘The Herb Garden Germination’

3. I understand why you’re [Penny] upset. You’re afraid that costume makes you look fat.
‘The Justice League Recombination’

2. You want me to use my intelligence in a tawdry competition? Would you ask Picasso to play Pictionary? Would you ask Noah Webster to play Boggle? Would you ask Jacques Cousteau to play Go Fish?
‘The Bat Jar Conjecture’

1. Bazinga!

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Let’s Celebrate ‘Friends’! – Part 1: Ten Best Friends Quotes: Joey

Date: 13 Jan 2015 Comments:0
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Friends Quotes - Joey TribbianiTo celebrate Friends being on Netflix and all the Friends Binge watching that is probably already going on we are bringing you the best of Friends. Oh, you’ll get your Top Ten Friends Episodes soon enough but we are taking this thing to the extreme. We’re going to give you the Top Ten Friends Quotes from each character, the Ten Best Friends Guest Stars. The Ten Best Monica was fat jokes and so much more. Monica and Chandler, Ross and Rachel, Joey and Phoebe will all get their moment in the spotlight.

First, we start with the Ten Best Joey Quotes from Friends.

Matt Leblanc took Joey Tribbiani, a character that could have been a jerk-off and turned him into a lovable womanizer and best friend. Here are the best and funniest things he said.

10. You don’t own a TV? What’s all your furniture pointed at?
“The One In Barbados” (Friends: Season 9 Episode 23)

9. Okay, Ross, you’re gettin’ a divorce, you’re angry, you’re hurtin’. Can I tell you what the answer is? Strip joints! Come on! You’re single! Have some hormones!
“The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate”(Friends: Season 1 Episode 1)

8.Joey: Here it is, buddy boy. You hide my clothes, I’m wearing everything you own.
Chandler: Oh, my God, that is so not the opposite of taking someone’s underwear.
Joey: Look at me, I’m Chandler, could I *be* wearing any more clothes?
“The One Where No One’s Ready” (Friends: Season 3 Episode 2)

7. Sure I peed on her. And if I had to, I’d pee on any one of you!
“The One With The Jellyfish” (Friends: Season 4 Episode)

6. It’s a moo point. It’s like a cow’s opinion; it doesn’t matter. It’s moo.
“The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs” (Friends: Season 7 Episode 8)

5. You’ve been BAMBOOZLED!
“The One With The Baby Shower” (Friends: Season 8 Episode 20

4. Raspberries? Good. Ladyfingers? Good. Beef? GOOD!
“The One Where Ross Got High” (Friends: Season 6 Episode 9)

3. JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD
“The One With The Birth Mother” (Friends: Season 10 Episode 9)

2.Joey: Hey, Ross, I got a science question: If the homo sapiens were, in fact, HOMO sapiens…is that why they’re extinct?”
Ross: Joey, homo sapiens are PEOPLE.
Joey: Hey, I’m not judgin’!
“The One with the Giant Poking Device” (Friends: Season 3 Episode 8)

1. How you doin’?
Multiple Episodes

Tell me what I missed in the comments

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Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Trailer 2

Date: 12 Jan 2015 Comments:0
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Marvel's 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'

The second trailer for Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ just dropped during the 2015 NCAA College Football Championship. And it looks like Ultron is at it again.

Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision. Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963. Get set for an action-packed thrill ride when The Avengers return in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 1, 2015.

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Episode VII Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

Date: 7 Dec 2014 Comments:0
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Episode VII Star Wars The Force Awakens Light Saber

Here’s you first look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the new 88-second teaser. Episode VII in the Star Wars Saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, opens in theaters December 18, 2015.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan & Abrams, features a cast including actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Crystal Clarke, Pip Andersen, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. They will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker.

The film is being produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk, and John Williams returns as the composer.


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‘Interstellar’ Review

Date: 2 Nov 2014 Comments:0
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interstellar-screenshot-2014-yify-720p-3-01Christopher Nolan’s newest and biggest film places us in a near future landscape that echoes the 1930’s Midwest dustbowl. Crops are failing, dust storms cover the land, and career options are very limited. The story focuses on Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), an ex-nasa pilot who was let go after budget cuts shut down space exploration programs, and his small family made up of his two children, Tom and Murphy, and his father-in-law. Something compels Cooper to stumble upon an opportunity to fly again, and perhaps even save humankind.

And so the stage is set, and a grand stage it is indeed that Nolan has chosen to put on his most ambitious show yet.

Michael Caine plays physicist Professor Brand (modeled after real-life physicist and producer Kip Thorne) who recruits Cooper to lead a final Hail-Mary mission through a wormhole to another galaxy that may contain a new home for humanity. Passing through this worm hole means that Read the rest of this story »

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The Bitch Is Back – A Full Rundown on Maleficent

Date: 6 Jun 2014 Comments:0
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Hello, boys and girls. Did you miss me?Maleficent-Angelina-Jolie-Poster

I can’t think of a more apropos way to return to the old stomping grounds. Maleficent is an old favorite character to many, including me. Have you seen the film yet? Are you looking for a spoileriffic guide to let you know if it’s worth your time? If so read on, because this big budget burst into the box office is not to be missed.

Yes, summer blockbuster season has arrived once again, and this time a challenger has arisen to steal away profits from the mouths of Disney and Marvel studios in order to deliver them… right back to Disney studios. Disney is apparently planning on bolstering its Avengers 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy profits (read: all of the money) with reimaginings of their more classic works, starting with Maleficent; a live-action remake of Cinderella is to follow in 2015. Given Maleficent‘s massively successful opening (netting about $70 million its opening weekend), it’s reasonable to assume that live action rehashings will continue so long as the consumer cash taps continue to flow, but Disney’s next project post-Cinderella is anyone’s guess. My money is on a gritty reboot involving Gepetto.Yeah boiiiiii

The choice to start with what is arguably Disney’s most chaotically evil character is a bold one but one that seems to have paid off: in spite of a relatively weak second act the reviews have been positive, for the most part.

And admittedly, were I in the position to choose a villain to remodel as a sort of antihero I probably would have made the same choice (though it’s difficult not to draw parallels to another well-known black-clad villainess redrawn as a hero). Between the titillating imagery and the practically blank slate Maleficent herself presents as a character, this story is ripe for the picking and was practically a guaranteed money-maker from the get-go. I mean, Maleficent is one of Disney’s most beloved villains entirely because she is evil for the sake of being evil. Much like Batman’s Joker, she just wants to see the world fall into chaos. Who wouldn’t want to see a film about how she became such a terrifyingly awesome force of entropy?

Dem wings.

Dem wings.

And for the first half hour of the film, things go swimmingly. Angelina Jolie delivers a stunning performance as the title character, melting into the role as seamlessly as massage oil into the creamy thighs of a supermodel. This new telling casts Maleficent as a strong, eagle-winged fairy of the Moors, which border the lands of King Henry, a greedy king always trying to conquer and pillage his neighbors. After a young, orphaned (not yet king) Stefan wanders into the Moors, he and Maleficent become fast friends. Eventually the two drift apart as Stefan grows to love human pursuits and Maleficent becomes the protector of her realm. However, when King Henry declares that the person to defeat Maleficent would win the crown after his death, Stefan uses his cunning to worm his way back into her good graces… and then drug her and cut her wings off with a frigging steel chain.

A man using the trust of a woman he supposedly cares about in order to drug her and violently mutilate her? Hoo boy, I wouldn’t take my kids to this one!

But, Maleficent is a strong creature, one not opposed to revenge either. So she picks herself up, dusts off, and waits for a time to strike. Soon she learns King Stefan has a child. Perhaps it would be a good time to visit?

Iconic green flames ftw.

Iconic green flames ftw.

And when things go all pear-shaped for him when Maleficent shows up at the baby’s christening, we are all on board. This is what everyone is here to see. She shows up in the iconic black suit with the iconic green flames, ruby lips stretched into a terrifyingly beautiful smile. The sequence is line for line, a complete reenactment of the original christening from Sleeping Beauty, with vastly different meaning and implication. That scene is easily the highlight of the film: of course she’s there to punish Aurora for the sins of Stefan. Of course he literally begs her to stop, supplicating himself in front of his entire court.

God, how delicious the tableau is during the whole scene, particularly because the audience is rooting for her. “Yeah, you go, girl! Curse that defenseless infant!” Because at that point, from a storytelling perspective Aurora isn’t even really a character yet, she’s an object, one that Stefan happens to find very precious. We don’t think about the fact that this little girl is just a baby. Maleficent is vengefully using her power to take the life of a child. And the fact that that’s the last thing on your mind while she tears Stefan’s life apart in one fell swoop, that’s friggin’ scary.

It’s especially disturbing when you consider that as a character, Stefan is written in a pretty poor fashion. Yes, Maleficent has every right seek her revenge upon him, but part of what makes revenge good is what we know about the recipient’s background. Compared to Maleficent, we know very little about King Stefan’s motivations.

As the film plays out, we know that he once cared for her, but then stopped for some reason. That would be easy to write it off as typical teenage fickleness if it weren’t for the fact that every other aspect of his character just sort of… plays out, like some kind of predestined act of fate. He decides to stop hanging out with her for no reason. He decides to start climbing the social ladder, even though the film specifically calls out his lack of attachment to both the human race and material possessions. He decides to go after the throne because…? I have no idea. And then he decides to be a bad king, bad father, bad husband, bad human being, just terrible all around. He has no redeeming traits whatsoever, so by the time we’re halfway through the film the script has to take the easy way out and paint him into the “paranoid psychosis” corner because there’s nowhere else to go. He transforms from what might have been a reasonably good villain character to a cardboard cutout with a Snidely Whiplash moustache stuck on the face.

Don't be fooled. He's crazy.

Don’t be fooled. He’s crazy.

The film’s narrator chalks it up to “falling into the greed and temptation of humans,” but I’m not buying it. It would be one thing if that broad generalization about the human race were matched by the behavior of at least most of the humans, but other than King Stefan and King Henry, all the humans behave in pretty decent, reasonably good fashion. Nearly the entire second act is spent using Aurora’s childhood to prove that oh-so-tired point, “not ALL humans are bad, just SOME of them!” You can’t try to paint humankind as a complicated animal with the ability to be or become inherently good, and then have one character just be completely evil for no reason. That angle might have worked if Stefan had had even one iota of redeemable character, just one ounce of repentance at the end that hints at the good person he once was. Obviously the film fails in that regard. Though I have to admit, the irony of having Stefan, rather than Maleficent, act the “chaotic evil” alignment is not lost on me.

I’m guessing that in reality, act two was originally about Maleficent and Stefan’s budding relationship and the subsequent fallout, but was deemed too dark for a film aimed at children. Instead, the redemption angle was crammed in with all the grace of a champagne glass being delicately filled with a live manatee. Maleficent follows Aurora around, making sure that she stays alive long enough for the curse to take effect, but instead ends up forming an attachment to the girl and decides to find a way to revoke her curse, which can’t be undone. It hits all the exact bullet points you’d expect; we’ve seen this story before a hundred times. This conflict is the last to be introduced and the first to be resolved–It’s like the story doesn’t even need it in the first place.

However, the redemption angle does lead to a large chunk of the film’s denouement–that is, the princess waking from slumber, the kingdoms uniting, and the narrator finishing the tale with as close to “happily ever after” as one can reasonably get without dragging into the cliché. Clearly, the writers and producers wanted it in the film very much on purpose.

I suspect this is because of the way the conflict is resolved–it’s not Prince Phillip’s kiss that brings Aurora back from sleep, but a gentle kiss on the forehead from Maleficent herself. Yes, that wonderful plot device that Disney has already used time and again, most notably in both Frozen and Once Upon a Time, the strongest love is not the love formed between teenagers in the space of a few weeks, it’s the familial bonds that keep us together throughout our lives.

You would think that the execs at Disney feel guilty for bringing up multiple generations in the belief that all their problems can be solved with brief heterosexual romance or something.

I’m hardly the only writer to talk about the feminist themes, particularly those alluding to violence against women in particular. Many film critics have noted that while there are some great messages put forth by the film, only Angelina Jolie and her character seem to be equipped to carry them out, as opposed to the rest of the cast.

Honestly, though, we can’t pretend that this film is a victory for feminism. Lest we forget, ultimately, this story is about a man violating a woman by mutilating her in the most gruesome fashion imaginable, whereupon she takes her revenge by violating the autonomy of another woman (albeit a tiny proto-woman). Yes, Maleficent‘s character grows as she comes to realize that this was the wrong thing to do, but I find little comfort in the message “you can overcome the hurt of your past by taking care of your attacker’s baby.” This film almost has it. Almost. But its theme is kind of wishy-washy, the characters are all over the place, and overall I feel like there were enough opportunities to fix both story and characterization that were just missed.

The film does have a few things going for it, though.

MaleficentBetween the flawless visual effects, the stunning cast performance, and the omnipresent if underdeveloped themes, the building blocks of a good film are all there. Furthermore, Maleficent is a film that, though rife with female empowerment, presents itself as entertainment “for everyone,” not just “for girls.” It’s a strong blow against the theory that people don’t like standalone female protagonists, a theory that seems to be particularly strong among action and comic book movies (though there have been a few steps in the right direction announced).

While it isn’t a sparkling example of perfect filmmaking, Maleficent is definitely an unforgettable epic, and one that will hopefully inform filmmaking to come over the next decade. Though this is a very adult retelling of the story, it is one that Disney would do well to continue. After all, now the Millenials are the ones filling up the box office and the trend toward revisiting nostalgic franchises of previous decades shows no sign of slowing. Thanks to Maleficent‘s success at the box office, I imagine it is a portent of better films to come.

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