Culture Feature

How Chris Pratt's Politics Affect Your Life

Whether liberal or conservative, Chris Pratt's politics are apparently the most important thing in the world...

Update 2/4/2021: This week Twitter got after Chris Pratt again, unearthing some lame but fairly innocuous "jokes" Pratt tweeted in 2012, and combining them with some fake screenshots of tweets in which he appears to defend the use of a racial slur and says "muslims scare me so much."

Among the evidence that the offensive tweets were less than legitimate is the fact that one of them shared the exact time, date, like and retweet count as one of the bad jokes it was shared alongside of. The fake tweets were reportedly spread by a member of a Marvel fan community, and were perhaps not intended to be taken seriously. Nonetheless, Twitter's rabid desire to cancel Chris Pratt kicked in, and soon #ripchrispratt was trending.

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Film News

Can Marvel Defeat the "Fantastic Four" Curse?

Will the MCU magic translate to the newly announced film, or are we in for another terrible Fantastic Four movie?

At Disney's 2020 Investor Day event, the media giant announced a huge slate of announcements involving Star Wars, Pixar, Disney+, and — of course — Marvel Studios.

Along with trailers for Loki — a series following Tom Hiddleston's Norse god of mischief — and the bizarre throwback sitcom Wandavision, Marvel announced plans for a movie starring "Marvel's first family," AKA the Fantastic Four. There's only one problem: Fantastic Four movies are always terrible.

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CULTURE

Win a Virtual Date With All Your Favorite Avengers—also, Jeremy Renner

Chris Evans' All In Challenge offers fans a chance to hang out with the stars of the Avengers movies (also Jeremy Renner)

In the latest—and maybe the most exciting—installment of the All In Challenge, Chris Evans (AKA Captain America) is offering a virtual hang out with himself and four of the other A-list celebrities who played the original Avengers.

And Jeremy Renner will also be there.

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CULTURE

How Celebrities Are Donating to Australia (and Where They Fall Short)

Climate change is turning small fires into cataclysmic events like the one that the world is witnessing in Australia.

Celebrities are rallying around Australia, which is currently engulfed in wildfires that have killed nearly a billion animals and have destroyed over two thousand homes.

Many have expressed their support for Australia and shared their wealth and calls to action. For instance, you may have seen these posts:




Chris Hemsworth on Instagram: “Hi everyone. Like you, I want to support the fight against the bushfires here in Australia. My family and I are contributing a million…”








Other stars who have offered assistance include Lizzo, who volunteered at a warehouse in Australia during time off from her tour. Kylie Jenner donated $1 million, and Phoebe Waller-Bridges also auctioned off her Golden Globes suit in support of the cause. Actress Yael Stone said that she's giving up her green card and moving back to Australia to reduce the environmental impact of constantly flying overseas.

It's incredibly important that celebrities are raising money and donating to Australia, and it's even more vital that some are connecting what's going on to climate change. But it's also tragic that it took a calamity like this one, in a first-world country, for large-scale and widely publicized action to occur.

Though small actions in response to the Australia fires are important, everyone—celebrities, ordinary people, and particularly governments around the world—need to be taking preventative measures to reduce the likelihood of this happening again.


Australian Bushfires: A Climate Change Issue

After all, though bushfires are natural events in Australia, human-caused climate change has significantly worsened the intensity of these fires—and the science is there to prove it. "Climate change is increasing bushfire risk in Australia by lengthening the fire season, decreasing precipitation and increasing temperature," said the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Essentially, climate change is turning small fires into cataclysmic events like the one that the world is witnessing in Australia. This is, of course, far from an isolated incident. Climate change is contributing to the emergence and destructiveness of natural disasters across the world. Flooding, droughts, storms, and fires are already decimating the livelihoods of millions, leaving impoverished and vulnerable communities at extreme disadvantage and costing billions of dollars in repairs. Natural disasters have occurred in the 21st century at five times the frequency they occurred in the 20th century, and things will only worsen as the climate rises if we do not take extreme preventative actions.

Celebrities and ordinary people finding themselves panicking about what's happening in Australia would do well to follow in the footsteps of people like Jane Fonda, who have actively been putting their bodies on the line in order to persuade governments to take the threat of climate change very seriously.

If you're wondering how to help Australia, and if you feel your heart is breaking upon seeing the tragic photos of orange skies and dead kangaroos, then by all means, follow in the footsteps of Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman and donate to wildfire relief funds. But consider also donating to movements that might prevent or reduce the likelihood of events like this one. Consider joining a climate change protest movement. Consider taking action. Consider supporting organizations that will not only stop the bleeding but that will prevent new wounds from opening.

FILM

Marvel Wants to Be Forgiven: 5 Ground-breaking Details about Phase 4's Diversity

After killing Iron Man and making Chris Evans too old to be hot, now Marvel's giving us the most diverse superheroes we've ever seen.

San Diego Comic-Con 2019 delivered a windfall of nerd dreams come true.

The details of Marvel's socially conscious and heavily diverse Phase 4 include the first superheroes to be Asian, deaf, and openly queer, as well as Natalie Portman taking up the mantle of Thor.

Marvel Studios, the fairy godmother of comic book fandom, have released the titles of the next 10 projects throughout 2021. President Kevin Feige (Marvel's equivalent to the Tooth Fairy) appeared to discuss the stars of The Eternals (2020), Scarlett Johansson's solo Black Widow feature, and Mahershala Ali taking on the role of Blade. Eternals director Chloe Zhao teased that the next installment focuses on "this group of incredible immortals but through their journey we really get to explore what it means to be human and humanity on our time on this planet."

The wave of diversity is a conscious push to correct a long history of white, male leads putting an exclusive face to America's favorite superhero narratives. Author Preeti Chhibber said, "Half of the highest-grossing films of all time right now are superhero movies. What that means is these are accessed by a huge number of people in the population, they shape popular thought, and they impact who is seen as powerful or important enough to be included."

These are just 5 of the most ground-breaking projects coming up in Marvel's Phase 4.

Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) in The Eternals

Tony-nominee Lauren Ridloff will play the first deaf superhero in the Marvel cinematic universe. The broadway actress will play Makkari in The Eternals, which will also star Angelina Jolie (Thena), Richard Madden (Icarus), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), Salma Hayek (Ajak), Lia McHugh (Sprite), and Don Lee (Gilgamesh), according to EW. In addition to being named Miss Deaf America (2000-2002), Ridloff is a former kindergarten teacher who picked up acting and soon after won acclaim on Broadway before being cast on The Walking Dead. Her character uses American Sign Language (ASL), as Ridloff does in real life.

Ridloff told Good Morning America, "There is an increased interest in casting more actors who are deaf, but there is still a woeful paucity of deaf talent behind the scenes, involved with the writing process." She added, "I feel that with more representation working behind the camera, the stories that are told in television, film and stage would become more intriguing, truthful and thought provoking."

On Instagram, the actress posted, "Honored and humbled to be a part of this powerful, diverse group. #Eternals"


Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) in Thor: Love and Thunder

Thompson has long pushed Marvel to include queer representation in its upcoming projects. Aside from inspiring dedicated fanart depicting the galactic power couple Valkyrie and Captain Marvel, Thompson has confirmed that the new leader of the Asgardians is indeed queer. "As new King, she needs to find her new queen, so that'll be her first order of business," she told TIME.

In fact, Thompson previously shared with Rolling Stone that a cut scene from Thor: Ragnarok depicted a woman leaving Valkyrie's bedroom in order to confirm her bisexuality: "It wasn't Marvel or Disney or anyone extracting that because it was an issue," she explained. "It just was like, that particular moment didn't make sense in the context of the scene. And there were other beautiful things where you get a sense of her backstory." Still, Thompson's always assured viewers that she's "played her as a woman that's queer."


Female Thor (Natalie Portman) in Thor: Love and Thunder

Natalie Portman will reprise her role as Jane Foster in the Thor franchise, with Taika Waititi also returning to direct the next installment, due for release 2021. In the comics' 2014 storyline, Thor renounces his title after losing his powers, allowing Foster to inherit his weirdly sentient hammer, Mjolnir, and become the Goddess of Thunder. She even acquires Thor's name and presumably becomes incredibly jacked.

Portman confirmed her return to the MCU on Instagram, posting, "So thrilled to share the news with you today at #sdcc2019 that I'll be returning to the @marvel #mcu as female Thor with legends @taikawaititi @tessamaethompson and @chrishemsworth. (Remember this as the before picture for when I get jacked)."


Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Ring

We're finally getting an Asian-fronted superhero movie from a major U.S. studio. Directed by Dustin Cretton and written by Dave Callahan, Shang-Chi will be fronted by Asian creators and an Asian lead. The universe follows the son of a "China-based globalist who raised and educated his progeny in his reclusive China compound, closed off to the outside world. The son is trained in the martial arts and developed unsurpassed skills. He is eventually introduced to the outside world to do his father's bidding, and then has to come to grips with the fact his revered father might not be the humanitarian he has claimed to be."

Kevin Feige said Simu Liu will "be a household name soon enough" after starring as Marvel's first Asian superhero. He's previously appeared in Nikita, Taken, and Kim's Convenience. Liu emigrated from China to Canada when he was 5 years old. Before he pursued acting, he was an accountant. "All I've ever wanted to do when I was growing was make [my parents] proud," Liu said on stage at Comic-Con. "What I'm trying to say is, I'm really happy I'm not a doctor. So, take that mom and dad."

Writer Preeti Chhibber noted, "Of course, Asians deserve to be represented on screen in something that has become a cultural behemoth. By excluding Asians from the narrative, the implication is that Asians aren't a part of that space—and not only does the Asian community pick up on this, but so does the non-Asian community." Jen Bartel, an illustrator and comic artist who's worked with Marvel and Disney, adds: "Kung fu films have resonated with a wide range of audiences for many decades now—a character like Shang-Chi, who specializes in martial arts, specifically kung fu, could potentially bring some of that mainstream appeal while simultaneously reclaiming that piece of our culture for Asian audiences."

Blade (Mahershala Ali)

One of Kevin Feige's greatest surprises was announcing that Mahershala Ali has been cast as the titular character in Marvel's reboot of Blade. Even more surprising is Feige telling The Hollywood Reporter that Ali approached Marvel about the part. "When Mahershala calls, you answer," Feige said. The Oscar-winner reportedly "came right out and said that he wanted to do Blade." The remake of the 1998 classic, starring Wesley Snipes, will carry on the momentum of Black Panther's all black cast. As TIME points out, "When Black Panther premiered in 2018, many fans cited Blade as the movie that laid the groundwork for a black superhero movie to break box office records."

"Blade" Comic

Overall, the daring new wave of characters are a clear push to justify the dramatic ending of Marvel's Phase 3, wherein Captain America (Chris Evans) passed his shield to Falcon (Anthony Mackie) after aging about 80 years in a span of 10 seconds in Endgame, Black Widow and Iron Man die, and all the people eradicated in Thanos' Bitch Snap are revived (including Doctor Strange, who's also getting his own movie sequel with Benedict Cumberbatch reprising his role as a mystical silver fox with perfect enunciation). Here's what we know of Marvel's Phase 4 and continued global domination:

  • "Black Widow: May 1, 2020
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Fall 2020 (Disney Plus)
  • The Eternals: Nov. 6, 2020
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Feb. 12, 2021
  • WandaVision: Spring 2021 (Disney Plus)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: May 7, 2021
  • Loki: Spring 2021 (Disney Plus)
  • What If...? Summer 2021 (Disney Plus)
  • Hawkeye: Fall 2021 (Disney Plus)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder: Nov. 5, 2021

marvel phase 4 Geek Tyrant

FILM

"Men in Black: International" Has Everything But Jokes

They can do anything they want in visual effects now, but they can't write a funny script.

High T (Liam Neeson) is in charge of MIB London branch where M (Tessa Thompson) is a rookie.

Credit: Giles Keyte. © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. **ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY. SALE, DUPLICATION OR TRANSFER OF THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

Will Smith made his last Men in Black film in 2012.

Since then, there have been lots of ideas for how to continue the franchise. The best idea was to recruit Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum from 21 Jump Street to become Men in Black. They couldn't work that out, but the idea of Men In Black lends itself to a new pair of agents having their own adventures. It wouldn't even preclude them from meeting Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) one day. Not the agents from Men in Black International, though. We don't ever want to see them again.

In 2016, Agents H (Chris Hemsworth) and High T (Liam Neeson) battled The Hive on top of the Eiffel Tower. Or rather, they're green screened into the scaffolding of the Eiffel Tower. 20 years ago, Molly saw her parents get neuralyzed, but she avoided the memory wipe herself and helped an adorable alien escape. She's spent her life looking for the Men in Black, and she'd be qualified as an adult (Tessa Thompson) if any of the government agencies like the FBI or CIA knew the Men in Black existed.

Molly's ambition could add to Men in Black: International a different dynamic than what J and K had. She finds the Men in Black herself and convinces them to make her Agent M. They can always neuralyze her if it doesn't work out. Then she impresses H and makes herself indispensable to him. In previous movies, Agent J mocked the whole operation, which worked for Will Smith, but M is a good role model to have in a 2019 Men in Black movie. Men In Black: International isn't really interested in M's ambition, and she and H just become generic buddy cops.

Men in Black International forgot to give H and M a dynamic. Oh, I just got that they're H & M. The movie doesn't play that up either. It's cast right; on paper, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson should work. But they're not playing off each other. Agents J and K were the basic clown and deadpan straight man, because that's a comedy formula for a reason.

Men In Black International knows M (Tessa Thompson) and H (Chris Hemsworth) are supposed to be reluctant partners but can't figure out why. Men In Black International knows M (Tessa Thompson) and H (Chris Hemsworth) are supposed to be reluctant partners but can't figure out why.Credit: Giles Keyte. © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. **ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY. SALE, DUPLICATION OR TRANSFER OF THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

Instead, H is smug and swaggery, which Hemsworth can certainly play, but that's not a personality. Maybe if M kept up her ambition and got under H's skin, that would be something, but they ignore that once they're on the case. H razzes the alien Vungus (Kayvan Novak), but it's all made up insults about an alien physiology we've never seen before. How can we laugh about something they've just made up?

The only funny character is Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani), and he doesn't even show up until over an hour in. There are no zingers like, "I make this look good" or "It's raining black people." The name High T is a decent pun, and there are new celebrities identified as secret aliens, but you can only ride that joke so long. Agents M and O (Emma Thompson) have some amusing banter about the outdated gender norms of the name Men in Black, which almost goes somewhere and feels like dialogue Thompson probably punched up herself. When she's not in the scene, the movie is on its own.

Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani), the little creature on M (Tessa Thompson)'s shoulder, is the only funny character in Men in Black International. Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani), the little creature on M (Tessa Thompson)'s shoulder, is the only funny character in Men in Black International.Credit: Giles Keyte. © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. **ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY. SALE, DUPLICATION OR TRANSFER OF THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

At least Men in Black: International delivers on the international part. The movie goes to New York, London, Paris, and Marrakesh. This is the longest Men in Black movie, and it feels as long as its hour and 54-minute runtime. It tries to lead you to suspect H for so long when it's totally obvious which character you should really suspect.

They can do anything they want in visual effects now, but they can't write a funny script. Men in Black: International is loaded with more aliens, MIB gadgets, and firepower, but there aren't any jokes. When you don't have Will Smith to make up funny lines, you have to actually give the actors funny things to say.

In 1997, Men in Black had to be selective with its visual effects, so we probably only got to see the best ideas make it to screen. Now that Men in Black: International can have as many visual effects as a Marvel movie, it goes to show that Men in Black wasn't ever supposed to be a tentpole action franchise. Men in Black: International has a lot more set pieces, but none are anything we haven't seen before.

H and M have a gunfight with Alien Twins (Les Twins Laurent and Larry Bourgeois) wherein they shoot bigger guns, but it's the same destruction of a city block we see in every movie. H has a hand-to-hand fight in which he does the same flip over his opponent that every action hero does in every mainstream movie. They have high speed vehicular chases on green screens like the speeder bike chase in Return of the Jedi. Men in Black: International has nothing to add to the action/sci-fi genre.

Men In Black International I've got a bad feeling about this. Credit: Giles Keyte. © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved. **ALL IMAGES ARE PROPERTY OF SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC. FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY. SALE, DUPLICATION OR TRANSFER OF THIS MATERIAL IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

What the Men in Black franchise had was comedy. It doesn't take a big budget to write comedy, but it's probably harder work. If Men in Black: International thought it could distract us from the lack of jokes, it was wrong. We noticed that we weren't laughing.