Stan Lee

Stan Lee in The Incredible Hulk

Journalism isn’t what it used to be. That’s what any old hat will tell you. In this 24/7 world of interconnected data tubes and hashtags, it’s easy for a small rumor to become a big story in a matter of hours, sometimes minutes. Me personally, I still wait for things to show up in my local newspaper. I’m kidding, what’s a newspaper? Earlier this week, a perfect example presented itself in the form of a story about the year’s highest grossing film, Guardians of the Galaxy. According to reports, a planned cameo for Stan Lee was axed by the overlords at Disney due to its somewhat racy nature.

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Spider-Man 1967

America has watched lot of Spider-Man over the years. After all, the newly released The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel of a reboot of a trilogy of movies that are barely a decade old. The new wave of ubiquity is self-evident. Yet the superhero also spent years and years on television and in video games. The original Spider-Man cartoon series began airing in 1967 and there have been eight more iterations over the years. This is a totally different situation than, for example, that of Captain America whose cartoon life begins and ends with The Marvel Super Heroes in 1966 (which I featured here last month). There’s also been something of a glut recently. Spider-Man Unlimited aired from 1999-2001 followed by Spider-Man: The New Animated Series in 2001, The Spectacular Spider-Man in 2008-2009 and Ultimate Spider-Man in 2012. None of them were particularly successful, either critically or commercially. So it makes sense to take a look back at (and watch) that original TV series, a strange little classic created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko back in 1967.

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Stan Lee in Superheroes

The Amazing Spider-Man is one of those movies that obtained a solid Rotten Tomatoes score solely on the basis that so many reviews gave it praise that was faintly damning, but still praise. “Not as bad as it could be” was the refrain. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks to be even less successful than its predecessor. If you want to fulfill your superhero needs, there is no shortage of options. You could of course check out the original, far superior Spider-Man films. You could watch any of the better superhero films that are out there, or you could catch a few episodes of the excellent superhero cartoons that exist. But if you’re documentary-minded, then I suggest watching Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. A three-part series made for PBS, Superheroes is an excellent primer for anyone who knows about costumed crusaders from the movies or the comic books but who wants to learn about the writers and artists behind the characters. It covers the complete breadth of superhero history, starting in the 1930s and continuing on through to today. “Truth, Justice and the American Way” covers from 1938 to 1958, as superheroes were birthed with Superman and eventually made their way to radio, even as comic books were hobbled by a series of congressional hearings. “Great Power, Great Responsibility” shows how Marvel comics shook up the formula in the ’60s and ’70s, while the genre also found exposure on television. “A Hero Can Be Anyone” acts as an overview of modern superheroes, as storytellers have pushed them in new directions while cinematic success […]

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Spider-Man with Green Goblin

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Portman - Thor 2 Styled

Last week Natalie Portman said we’d see a female superhero from Marvel on the big screen soon, and Stan Lee said we wouldn’t. Since neither of their last names is “Feige,” both comments come with a dash of salt, but one of them still has to be right. Either the studio is prepping a superheroine lead or they aren’t. Specifically, Portman said that she’d “heard” that both a female and a minority title character were on the way while defending Marvel’s record on strong women. This, shortly after the terrible Thor: The Dark World posters saw her strong character eating her hair. As for Lee, he matter-of-factly noted that, “Probably at one time they’ll make a movie of the Black Widow, but the thing is, the women like these movies as much as the guys, so we don’t have to knock ourselves out to find a female. But we will.” The thing is, he’s right.

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The Way Way Back

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the ongoing saga of one man’s quest to catalog every great movie and TV-related link the blogosphere has to offer. It happens on weeknights, just before bed time, and you should read it often. Share it with your friends, even. We begin tonight with a first look at The Way, Way Back and its stars Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell, who will get in front of the camera for Jim Rash and Nat Faxon the Oscar winning duo behind The Descendants and two men who have acted their way into your hearts in various other properties. In the case of Rash, it was as the Dean on Community. The NYT has a great piece on the pair and their upcoming film.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

Here be Spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man. Consider yourself warned. With The Amazing Spider-Man performing considerably well — and better than a supposedly worried Sony had expected — we’re bound to hear news of a sequel in the coming weeks. We already know the plans for a trilogy, but where that trilogy will actually go remains something of a mystery. The dull Peter Parker’s parent subplot/question will likely be answered, sure, but why not move away from this topic? Better yet, why not take a crack at all these suggestions below that I just know every exec at Sony is feverishly scribbling down? They may need to. Although Marc Webb‘s reboot of Spider-Man is pretty good, the impending release of something like The Dark Knight Rises means “pretty good” doesn’t exactly cut it. Sam Raimi handled the character properly, and showed how to make a great movie or two with him in the meantime. Even with all these origin amnesia criticisms that have been made, The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t exactly take notice of what worked in Raimi’s first two Spider-Man installments, and it should have; there’s plenty to improve on. Some of these things include:

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There used to be a time when only die-hard comic book fans knew what Stan Lee looked like. His likeness appeared in many of the Marvel comic books for the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but to the average person, he was nothing more than a guy with some shaded glasses. Then Hollywood started putting the guy in some movies. He’s never had a very big part, but to honor the man for helping to create some of the most legendary superheroes (and some of the biggest moneymakers for the movie business), Lee has been given customary cameos in almost every major movie that has been made from characters he helped create. Those who have seen The Amazing Spider-Man (which should be most of you faithful readers, by now) were treated to one of his best and funniest cameos yet. And with more Marvel movies coming down the pike, he’s sure to show up many times again. This gave us a chance to look back on his many appearances over the years and assemble a list of his ten best cameos. Excelsior!

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Were you a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer long before Marvel Studios even thought about a summer tentpole release of The Avengers? Do you find yourself swearing in Mandarin when you get angry? Have you made a Facebook post with that image comparing the one-season cancellation of Firefly to the multi-season accomplishments of The Jersey Shore? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you still might find Morgan Spurlock’s charming documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope entertaining, but you’ll also have ulterior motives for buying it when it hits DVD on July 10. Spurlock’s documentary will be released in a special Collector’s Edition with action figures of both Spurlock himself and geek-hero-turned-billion-dollar-director Joss Whedon. That’s right, you can be the proud owner of the first ever Joss Whedon action figure, and all you have to do is buy Spurlock’s latest film.

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Take a deep breath and prepare to learn everything you need to know about Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope straight director Morgan Spurlock‘s fast-talking mouth. Will it change the world? Probably. Plus, Junkfood Cinema enthusiast Brian Salisbury accepts the dangerous mission to play Movie News Roulette. Download Episode #128

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Editor’s Note: This review first ran as part of our Fantastic Fest coverage, but Comic-Con Episode Four hits limited theaters this week. Delivering a massive event with his trademarked smile behind the camera, Morgan Spurlock‘s Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan’s Hope is the kind of joyous celebration that might also serve as a gateway drug for those not initiated into geek culture. It’s a documentary that easily straddles the line between service to those already fascinated by the subject and to those that haven’t ever heard of a comic book. It could have been annoyingly fluffy, but Spurlock has crafted a film that doesn’t just act as advertisement for the largest comic book/multimedia convention in the country. In fact, the question of whether the convention is still faithful to its comic book roots is at the center of the multi-faced exploration that gives the movie much more dimension than it initially lets on. The doc is composed of several stories – a pair of artists looking to break into the business, a costume designer and her crew looking to make a mark, a young couple who fell in love at the event, and a comic book dealer who is trying to justify coming back financially. All are woven together with expert timing (and a fun, comic book style art element that turns them into characters of a different sort).

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When the first public trailer dropped for Joss Whedon’s upcoming Avengers film, it was met with a collective sigh from many, including yours truly. It wasn’t very exciting and the only thing it had going for it was some pedestrian banter that relied solely on the charm of Robert Downey Jr. Even on a visual level, the trailer failed to deliver the scale expected from an Avengers movie. It’s with that attitude that I entered the IGN theater at the New York Comic Con this past Saturday. When the panel started, moderator Chris Hardwick walked out to a crowd that was already coming down from the high of The Walking Dead panel and introduced the film’s producer Kevin Feige. Feige commented on how the teaser just recently dropped, but that it was on the computer and then proceeded to ask the audience if they would like to see it played on the three giant screens in the theater. This was met with great enthusiasm.

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The theatrics have almost all but gone from Comic-Con. Last year it was a genuine moment between a young fan and Ryan Reynolds delivering the Green Lantern Oath that brought down the house. This year’s biggest scene was more planned out, but it was nonetheless genuine. Before the Amazing Spider-Man panel in Hall H, a crazed fan dressed up as Spidey rushed the Q&A microphone and started raving about the comic books to great applause. Then he took off his mask. And there’s video.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s usually a rather tame and family friendly nightly column that rounds up all the best and most interesting news and views from the world of film. It’s worth noting, as it doesn’t always lead with headlines about Anne Hathaway’s rear end. It’s usually something Doctor Who or Michael Bay related. Pick your poison, I suppose. This will likely go down as the dumbest lead story I’ve ever run in MNAD, but the Sunday edition works on the conceit that movie news happens over the weekend. Spoiler: movie news doesn’t usually happen over the weekend, so we’re doing our best. Also, do you really have a problem talking about Anne Hathaway’s ass? Apparently the tightness of her costume and aggressiveness of her stunt work on the set of The Dark Knight Rises has given other cast and crew a unique view of her hind-quarters. There’s something news-worthy in that, I’m sure of it.

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In recent weeks, news came out that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be returning to the entertainment industry, but not quite the way everyone expected. It appeared that Schwarzenegger would be teaming with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee to create a new superhero comic and TV series titled The Governator. It was then announced that in addition to the comic book and series, that a 3-D feature film was being put into production. But the question still remains… What can we expect from the project? Well that question has been answered with a trailer:

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When you grab Mike Tyson to be in your comedy about drunk guys, it’s stunt casting. So what do you call it when you hire a former actor/former Governor to play an animated, superhero version of himself for a film? What do you call it when the entire movie is stunt cast? When The Governator was going to be an animated series, it sounded sort of silly, but having him come out in comic books, a television series, a web-series and a 3D movie just seems like culture being shoved down the throats of consumers who didn’t ask for it. The last time an idea was this bewildering was then Jerry Seinfeld chose to come out of retirement for Bee Movie. There’s a place for average children’s films, but as a return to glory from a long hiatus? Not a chance. That’s what’s going on here. Schwarzenegger is returning in a major way to movies, and his first definite “Yes” is to the cartoonification of himself that seeks to solidify a joke nickname he gave himself during his campaign. On the other hand, if this works, we can expect to see Dubya animated and up on screen alongside Tippecanoe and Tyler Too. According to Deadline Cannes, The Governator may or may not take on Muammar Qaddafi, which is absolutely reassuring. This whole thing sounds like senility has started to creep in.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the hero you need right now; a way to get all the most interesting movie news without having to read through a bunch of padded articles. It’s quick, to the point and personable. An efficient killer of your will to waste time reading a thousand movie blogs before you go to bed. It’s also way into girl power, whatever that means. Hanna director Joe Wright, whose latest film is filled with the legitimate girl-power of a teen assassin played by Saoirse Ronan, has called out director Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, saying that the girl-power angle of the film was all “marketing bullshit.”

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Morgan Spurlock is teaming with Stan Lee, Thomas Tull, Joss Whedon and Harry Knowles to deliver a documentary…and they want you.

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A desperate cry for help from a major Hollywood director. For years, this epidemic has been shrouded in secrecy. Studios — the kind that make the films you love — have long held creative types, many of whom have slightly longer-than-average hair, under their thumbs. In this case, we find director Edgar Wright.

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thor-header

What does Stan Lee have that Dominic Cooper, Matthias Schweighöfer, Robert De Niro, Jude Law and Stellan Skarsgard seem to want so badly? A role in Thor, that’s what…

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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