Warner Bros.

I have to get something off my chest, and no, it's not my luscious, curly chest hair.

As The Mary Sue point out in this enlightening article, Marvel apparently decides to shave almost all of their male superheroes' chests. As a dude sporting a pretty shaggy torso mat myself, I can't mince words here: Marvel's behavior is abhorrent, and I won't stand for it.

Everyone who's not a chud understands that body positivity––or at the very least, body acceptance––is, well, positive. In general, our media landscape has followed suit, if perhaps a little slowly. The cinematic landscape is far more diverse today than ever before, and a lot of that diversity centers around rejecting a uniform aesthetic of what is or is not attractive. And yet, as The Mary Sue illustrated, Marvel seems hellbent on telling hairy men that their chest hair is unwanted.

But here's where things get even worse for us forest-breasted lads: It's not just Marvel sending this message of hate.

Take Jason Momoa, for instance. Here's a man with some nice chest hair. Just look at his chest hair as Khal Drogo. That's the kind of chest hair one would expect from a barbarian warlord.

Khal DrogoHBO

Now look at him in DC's Aquaman.

Aquaman ShirtlessWarner Bros.

Undoubtedly, DC made a conscious decision to shave Jason Momoa's chest hair. But why? Is it because swimmers often shave their body hair in order to glide more easily through the water?

Okay, fine. Well, then explain this. Here's Joaquin Phoenix, a handsome man with some nice chest pubix, in You Were Never Really Here.

Joaquin Phoenix ShirtlessAmazon Studios

Now, here's Joaquin Phoenix shirtless in Joker. Can you tell what's missing?

Joker ShirtlessWarner Bros.

Yeah, that's right, no chest hair. Don't even try to tell me that Arthur Fleck just randomly decided to shave his chest during a mental episode, because I don't buy that for a second. The chest shaving of The Joker is an intentional effort by DC to show us that the ideal male body does not have an ounce of pec hair.

But I don't think Marvel, DC, and whatever other hairless superpowered smut purveyors are in it alone. No, I think the rabbit hole goes deeper.

Considering the fact that we live in a capitalist hellscape, what if (and this is just a theory) superhero movies were marketing all their male heroes as bare-chested in an attempt to sell razors? What if the true mastermind behind all these no-chest hair superheroes was Gillette?

Okay, I know that's crazy. It's not like there's…

Marvel GilletteGillette

Oh.

DC Comics GilletteGillette

Oh boy. This is it. Not only has Gillette collaborated with both Marvel and DC on superhero-themed razors, but they also started #TheBestASuperHeroCanGet campaign in what can only be summed up as a hate crime against voluminously stranded men.

If we men take any pride in the strands around our nips, we cannot let this stand. No longer will we let Gillette and their cabal of superhero capitalists tell us that the only male beauty is the hairless kind. We must rise up and throw our razors in the trash. We must pinch our bountiful locks in our fingers and shout, "I'm a hairy man, and that makes me beautiful." Then, at last, we must throw our superhero Blu-rays in the trash. #HairyANDSuper

FILM

The FBI's Afraid of "Joker"—But Here's Why They're Wrong

"Joker" is a mirror, and we need to examine the source of what it's reflecting.

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker

Photo by Faiz Zaki (Shutterstock)

The FBI has warned service members of the possibility of a mass shooting at viewings of Joker,Gizmodo reported.

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FILM

"Spider-Man: Far From Home" Is the Best Sequel of the Year

Also, Jake Gyllenhaal is super hot and that makes up for his character's cliché motivation.

Spiderman, Disney

After the dark ages of Sony's floundering Spider-Man reboot, there's one thing fans and critics can all agree on: We love the new Peter Parker.

Tom Holland has brought fresh life to a character seemingly long-abandoned, and director Jon Watts cemented Spider-Man's comeback with the highly praised Spider-Man: Homecoming. But sequels are notoriously hard to get right, so Spiderman: Far From Home had a very big suit to fill.

And it filled the suit well. The main glowing achievement in this film, as with the previous one, was the superb acting from the main and supporting cast. Every single character was a pure delight to watch, and returning director Watts managed to keep a youthful, light-hearted tone throughout the whole film.

Disney

It was a little disappointing that Far From Home wasn't as much a buddy-comedy with Peter and Ned as it was in Homecoming. But what was lost in bromance was made up for with actual romance. MJ (played by the exceptional Zendaya) comes into the fold as the coolest kid you never actually spoke to in high school. Her chemistry with Peter is charming and undeniable; they play off each other effortlessly. I honestly haven't been this invested in a teen romance since Freaks and Geeks was taken off the air (RIP Lindsay and Daniel's misplaced love).

Jake Gyllenhaal's presence in the film is very appreciated, even if it seems to come out of nowhere. His is a really interesting take on the Mysterio character, replacing the magical element of his illusions with science and future-tech. Without delving too deep into spoiler territory, Mysterio's motivation ends up being a bit hackneyed.

Disney

It could be argued that this was intentional, poking fun at the tired "bad-guy" trope that's permeated the Marvel universe since the first Iron Man. But being tongue-in-cheek doesn't make the premise any more compelling, even if it is playful. Not a huge sticking point, but compared to the spectacularly menacing performance from Micheal Keaton as Vulture in the last Spider-Man film, Mysterio leaves a bit to be desired.

The only real complaint I can see being made about this film is that Spider-Man doesn't really have a character arc. His main goal in the film is to relax and tell MJ how he feels. Maybe what Watt was trying to do was show Peter attempting to have a normal life, then deciding that he needs to step up and take responsibility for his powers.

Disney

But that doesn't really happen. Instead, Peter says he wants to have a normal vacation and tell MJ how he feels, but at the first sign of chaos he jumps straight into action. For the rest of the film, he's complaining about having to fight evil, but he doesn't actually make any decisions about it. He just kind of does what he's told.

No one really cares about character arcs, though, so odds are that you won't really be bothered by this. The movie gets so many things right: authentic romance, genuine laughs, touching character moments, and top-notch special effects. The battle scenes, in particular, were thrilling, maybe even making it worth an IMAX ticket. If you loved the first movie, you're going to love this one. And stick around for the post-credit scene, which has definitely been spoiled online at this point—I think we're all ready for the next Spider-Man installment.

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡/5

FILM

Joaquin Phoenix in "Joker" Trailer Shows Sympathetic Villain

While it's easy to say a villain is just the product of his times, the trailer teases visual proof that Gotham is a gritty, urban wasteland that drives a man to madness.

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker

Photo by Faiz Zaki (Shutterstock)

DC fans finally have renewed hope for a quality silver screen Joker after Jared Leto destroyed their faith in 2016.

The first trailer for Todd Phillips' Joker teases Joaquin Phoenix's committed performance as a man named Arthur, whose life unraveled before his mind did. "I used to think my life was a tragedy," he says in voiceover. "But now I realize, it's a comedy."

While it's easy to say a villain is just the product of his times, the trailer teases visual proof that Gotham is a gritty, urban wasteland that drives a man who's seen dancing with his mother to Nat King Cole's "Smile" to start a guerrilla war. We even hear samples of The Joker's maniacal laughter as it evolves over increasingly chaotic times. Phoenix's voice is gentle as Arthur asks, "is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?"

Joker opens Oct. 4.

JOKER - Teaser Trailer - In Theaters October 4youtu.be

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"Glass" Is Enjoyable If You Don’t Get Your Hopes Up

"Glass" is not a comic book movie. It's not a bleak DC slog, and it's not a Marvel action clusterfuck. It's a suspensful character-led drama with supernatural themes, and in that sense it's unique... if not a little disappointing.

M. Night Shyamalan was maligned for ten years between 2004 and 2014 for serving up box office catastrophes, but since 2015 he seems to be back to form.

Both The Visit and Split were critically successful despite their modest budgets, and fans have been happy to invite Shyamalan back into their good graces in recent years. Then comes Glass, the sequel no fan knew they wanted until it was teased at the end of Split. Not just one of Shyamalan's most beloved films was getting a sequel—but now he'd put together a trilogy starring David Dunn, Mr. Glass, and The Beast. The stage was set for a full-on fan service delight, and it delivered—on the surface.

Certain fans will notice that Mr. Glass isn't in the movie much. The movie is called Glass, but he doesn't say a word until well past the first hour mark. We don't get to see him working behind the scenes or plotting a scheme before then either. He's just sitting in a wheelchair. That's not to say that Samuel L. Jackson doesn't bring his all to this character. He embodies Elijah Price just as thoroughly as he did in Unbreakable, but he can only do so much with what he's given, which ultimately, wasn't much.

So what is this movie about? Well, Dr. Ellie Staple (played by Sarah Paulson) apprehends David Dunn and The Beast (played by Bruce Willis and James McAvoy, respectively) and is charged with convincing them that they are not superhuman; they are, in fact, delusional. Meanwhile, Mr. Glass has a plan he's been waiting to hatch—and The Beast might have a part to play, too.

The stand-out performance comes from James McAvoy, who plays The Beast, as well as Kevin Crumb and multiple other personalities we are introduced to throughout the movie. This is really The Beast's movie, and McAvoy is a spectacle to behold. In Split, we experienced a handful of Crumb's personalities, but this time we get to see 13 identities all brimming with charisma and perplexity. McAvoy skillfully transitions from one persona to the next in a masterclass of acting. The movie is worth watching just for these scenes alone.

Bruce Willis is in this movie, too, and darn it if he isn't acting his heart out—at least as much as he's capable of doing these days. He's stiff, awkward, and unconvincing, but there's a sincerity in his performance that softens the heart a little. It really seems like he gives a shit. He's just not very good.

The cinematography was flawless. At his best, Shyamalan has always utilized creative camera movements and angles that accentuate a scene, and Glass is no exception. Director of Photography Mike Gioulakis (It Follows, Split, Us) brings smooth, beautiful compositions to even the smallest moments. The slow-ish pacing of the script is completely masked by the fluid, sweeping camera movements that take us from scene to scene.

Still, we have to discuss the script, as it's easily the weakest element of the film. Shyamalan seems to have a very academic perspective on how people talk to each other (I call it "Sham-speak"), wherein one uses the utmost correct words rather than the most natural. As an example, there's a scene where Shyamalan has a cameo, and he's talking to Willis's character, David Dunn. It goes something like this:

SHYAMALAN

Hey, you look familiar—did you used to work at the old stadium a few years back?

DAVID DUNN

Yup, 30 years.

SHYAMALAN

Yeah, I recognize you. I used to hang around there in my youth. Ran with a tough crowd. But I turned it all around—positive thinking.

DAVID DUNN

*silence*

SHYAMALAN

*silence*

Reading that in your head, did it sound like a normal, organic conversation? Probably not. It's even worse on screen. You can look past the clunky dialog and awkward-as-hell pop-culture references, but it does take you out of the movie from time to time.

If you loved Split, odds are you're going to like this movie. McAvoy's performance alone makes this film worth a casual view, but Unbreakable fans will be pleased to see Spencer Treat Clark and Charlayne Woodard reprising their roles as supporting characters. The dialogue is awkward, the cinematography is beautiful, and the twist ending might leave a bit to be desired. But if you go into the theater with an open mind and temper your expectations, you'll more than likely enjoy it.

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡


Ahmed Ashour is a media writer, tech enthusiast, and college student. He has a Twitter: @aahsure


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Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer—Untangling the Villains

Find out who the baddies are in the new Spider-Man movie.

In a shocking spoiler for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the new Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer reveals Peter Parker is alive and well.

Just kidding, everybody already knew Peter Parker wasn't actually permanently dissolved at the end of Infinity War—not when another Spider-Man sequel had been announced before that movie even hit theaters. Sure, we'll have to wait until Endgame to discover the exact mechanics of how you can rebuild a person from a pile of cosmic dust, but rest assured, Spider-Man will be back. And when he is, he'll be vacationing in Europe.

Spider-Man: Far From Home will follow Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his friends as they travel abroad for summer vacation. Peter just wants a break from being Spider-Man, a totally understandable request from a high school kid who recently got murdered by a giant purple alien man. But uh-oh, trouble's a' brewing overseas. No sooner has Peter started to woo his crush MJ (Zendaya) when some giant elemental monsters tear up the town. What's a web-slinging superhero to do? Why, put on a new costume and team up with Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal in a crazy cyber-suit), of course!

Who are the new villains?

The most exciting part of any superhero movie are the villains, and Spider-Man: Far From Home gets instant points for using new ones outside of the usual staples: Doc Ock, Rhino, Sandman, and Venom. This time, Spider-Man is up against the Elementals, a group of four extradimensional beings who, as their moniker suggests, have control over various elements.

There's Hydron, with the the power to control water.

Magnum, with the power to control earth.

Zephyr, with the power to control air.

And Hellfire. You can figure out what he does.

The group, created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Val Mayerik, debuted in Supernatural Thrillers #8 (August 1974) for an 8-issue run, briefly fought Ms. Marvel for two issues of her series in 1977, and subsequently never appeared again. Until now.

So far, we've only seen the powers of Hydron and, most likely, Magnum (although many people are mistaking his powers in the trailer for Sandman). But the others are sure to follow.

***ACTUAL SPOILERS AHEAD, PROBABLY***

Of course, the main villain is probably Mysterio.

And as the main villain of a major movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Mysterio is a fantastic choice. One of the oldest Spider-Man villains (created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #13 in June 1964), Mysterio has no actual powers. Rather, he's a master of special effects and illusion, a Hollywood stuntman turned supervillain. How perfect for a real Hollywood movie!

In the comics, Mysterio is often a punchline of sorts, usually foiled by his own hubris. But in Spider-Man: Far From Home, it's entirely possible Jake Gyllenhaal will turn the character into a truly sinister threat.

How will Mysterio's misdeeds factor into the attacks on Europe? Are the Elementals real or simply his illusions? We'll have to wait until July 5, 2019 to find out. In the meantime, check out the trailer above.


Dan Kahan is a writer & screenwriter from Brooklyn, usually rocking a man bun. Find more at dankahanwriter.com


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