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Apocalypse now: what happens when the X-Men crash the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

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Disneys $66bn deal to buy Fox offers the prospect of Wolverine and Deadpool meeting Spider-Man and the Avengers. But be careful what you wish for

When it comes to flawed big screen superheroes, Marvel has always been top dog. Theres Iron Man, the billionaire, genius and philanthropist who nevertheless struggles in his private life (and once almost accidentally caused the destruction of humankind with his techie meddling). Theres Spider-Man, the young hero who seems to find defeating bad guys a whole lot easier than negotiating the complexities of teenage life in the Big Apple. And theres Thor, whose original concept of heroism clashed so badly with that of his dad Odin that he was cast out of Asgard for being a pompous gasbag.

Mistakes, for Earths mightiest heroes, seem to come with the territory. And yet ever since Robert Downey Jrs Tony Stark first climbed into his shiny red suit almost a decade ago now, the studio behind the Avengers has refused to make any major blunders of its own. Apart from the odd early gaffe (The Incredible Hulk) and mid-period folly (Thor: The Dark World, Ant-Man) Marvel has pursued the task of creating a credible universe for its superheroes with a remarkable knack for mostly getting it right. Even the dimmer instalments failed to knock the wider galaxy of shiny superstars off course, largely because Marvel always seems to have something bigger and brighter waiting to be released. Thor 2 was followed into multiplexes by the double whammy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, while Ant-Man segued smoothly into the hard-hitting superhero smack down of Captain America: Civil War and the mesmerising comic-book head movie known as Doctor Strange.

Like a football manager who effortlessly integrates his latest 100m signing into an established team of champions, Marvel supremo Kevin Feige has gently introduced new heroes such as Strange and Tom Hollands Spider-Man to the ranks of the Avengers without risking the overall balance of the team. The key has been meticulous planning and a refusal to rush movies into production, two basic rules of engagement that rival DC has singularly failed to follow (and reaped the consequences).

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James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Photograph: Allstar/20th Century Fox

But theres an argument that Feige et al face their greatest challenge yet following Disneys $66bn purchase of 20th Century Fox last month, which brought the X-Men under the same big-screen banner as the Avengers (just as they are in the comics) for the first time in the modern era, and presumably means there is nothing to stop Disney-owned Marvel from incorporating Foxs legions of mutant superheroes into the wider MCU.

The clamour for Wolverine, Deadpool and co to appear in Marvel films has already begun. But Feige would be wise to continue the softly softly approach that has served him so well. Because the X-verse, such as it is, has the potential to ruin all the hard work Marvel has put into the MCU up until now if it is not integrated properly.

Whereas Marvel has been set up from the beginning as a unified space for its heroes to have adventures in, Fox has approached its rights to the X-Men in a far more muddled way. While the main X-Men series all sit together on the same timeline, movies such as Logan and Deadpool are far less conclusively part of the same universe, to the extent that different actors (Tmas Lemarquis and Stephen Merchant) played mutant Caliban in X-Men: Apocalypse and Logan, even though the two films were released just nine months apart.

Fox currently has X-Men movies Deadpool 2, The New Mutants, Dark Phoenix, Gambit, X-Force and the James Franco-starrer Multiple Man on its slate. Of these, only Deadpool 2 and X-Force are likely to boast the kind of joined up thinking that is a cast iron requirement for inclusion in the MCU. The New Mutants does not even fit the same genre as its stablemates. Josh Boones tale of four young people with nascent powers who have been trapped in a mysterious facility by unknown forces is largely being pitched as a horror movie, so the integration of its core characters into the reasonably cheery MCU appears unlikely.

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Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock

There are Fox superheroes who could be seamlessly integrated, of course. Deadpool has often had an amusing man-crush on Spider-Man in the comics, and Marvel has even begun to borrow the zany, meta-fuelled style of Tim Millers 2016 movie for its own entries. (Thor: Ragnarok is a case in point) Wolverine, with Hugh Jackman having finally hung up his adamantium claws, looks ripe for a Spidey-style reboot within the Marvel fold, and an MCU-led reinvention of the core X-Men (Professor X, Magneto, Jean Grey, Storm etc) would certainly be something to see. Yet what would happen to the actors playing these characters, currently stuck in the 1990s? James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have occasionally done sterling work as Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr respectively, but would presumably have to be aged up were they to suddenly turn up in the modern day MCU. Perhaps Doctor Strange could somehow pop back in time and rescue them from their current purgatory, some time after next years Dark Phoenix?

But what would happen to the superheroes who dont fit snugly into the MCU? Would they continue to plough their own furrows? Would Disney-Fox simply draw a line under their big-screen adventures and reboot? This might be a pity, particularly in the case of offbeat curios such as Multiple Man and James Mangolds mooted Logan spin-off about Dafne Keens X-23. Neither seems likely to survive a Disney-led cull, should it prove to be in the offing.

Marvel has its own problems to override as it approaches a second decade of the MCU. With Captain Marvel and Black Panther both potentially totemic figures due to get their own standalone movies in 2018 and 2019, it could be 2020 before the studio has the chance to begin integrating the X-Men into its wider world of superheroes. Feige has hinted he is not even certain that the universe will continue to exist in its current form, which suggests that the events of this years Avengers: Infinity War and its 2019 sequel could be so monumental as to throw doubt on everything Marvel has so far given us.

Does the studio really need the added complication of being forced to add the X-Men into the mix? On the other hand, might integrating Marvel Comics mutants prove to be the fresh injection of energy that the MCU needs to keep it thriving well into the 2020s?

One things for sure, Feige and his team cant afford to start making major blunders this late in the game. The future of the world might not be at stake, as it usually is when Tony Stark and his pals drop the baton, but the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly could be.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2018/jan/09/disney-fox-superhero-movies-marvel-cinematic-universe

Super Heroes

The Cloak of Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger…

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Watchers of Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger know that Tyrone Johnson is destined to become the “Cloak” half of that superhero duo, but he hasn’t quite figured out how to control the power that allows him to manipulate the realm of darkness inside him.

In this exclusive look at the fourth episode of Cloak & Dagger, Tyrone gets schooled on how the process of creating costumes can lead to greater self-understanding… and finally gets his hands on a familiar-looking black garment that might help him define his heroic identity.

“Call/Response” airs June 21.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/06/20/cloak-and-dagger-exclusive-clip/

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‘Wonder Woman 2’ star Gal Gadot shared a photo of herself in costume

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“She’s back… #WW84”

Wonder Woman continues to be the lone bright spot in the flailing DC Extended Universe. With the sequel’s Nov. 2019 release barreling ever-closer, Gal Gadot took to social media on Saturday morning with a fresh look at her Wonder Woman 2 costume.

Or is it? There don’t appear to be any differences between the superhero duds Gadot wore in Wonder Woman and the outfit she’s wearing in this new photo share. See for yourself.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/06/16/wonder-woman-2-gal-gadot-costume/

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Jason Momoa is getting in shape for Justice League

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Here, Jason Momoa is dry. Scroll down for the wet.

Image: FilmMagic

While it stands to reason that anyone playing a hero called Aquaman would have to look good wet, I’d like to file a complaint with whoever got Jason Momoa, who plays Aquaman, quite this wet for the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

Look, I know this “photographer” was just doing their “job” but what gave them the right to shoot an image of this absolutely enormous, bearded, heavily tattooed man with the body of a god and the hair of a WWE wrestler and put it on the cover of a magazine?

Look at how intensely he’s staring into the camera/the viewer’s immortal soul. Is it frightening? Yes. Am I ready to charter a boat in search of my buff aquatic king? Also yes!

Pause for a minute and think about what Jason Momoa must smell like in this picture. Think about it, manifest it, and breathe deeply through your nose. Congratulations.

But that’s not all! the Barnes and Noble version of Entertainment Weekly also included looks at Momoa’s Aquaman costars Nicole Kidman and Amber Heard, and smack between those two high-key attractive women is Momoa again, blonder this time, looking like he’s going to either kill someone or…yeah that’s just a “kill someone” look.

In the article, Aquaman executive producer Peter Safran had this to say about Momoa’s performance as a thicc amphibious man-hunk:

“Rarely has a superhero character been married to the real-life actor as much as Aquaman and Jason Momoa. “He’s authentically from two worlds, he’s this real physical specimen, he’s got this humor which he’s never been allowed to play before — in every regard he is Aquaman.”

A real physical specimen indeed.

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