Tag Archives: marvel

The Evolution Of Harry Styles

Throughout his solo career, Harry Styles has arguably become more famous than he was in One Direction. The past two-ish years of the pandemic have been huge years of growth for the former boy band star. The world stood still for most during these months of quarantine and uncertainty, but Styles was nothing but productive and has made move after move to amplify his career.

First, following the band’s alleged 18-month hiatus in 2015, Styles immediately got to work on his debut self-titled album showcasing his new soft-rock sound. This led to a widely successful world tour in 2017 and 2018. In the same year, he starred in famed director Christopher Nolan’s World War ll film Dunkirk. Styles was off to a good start on his solo career with  a new album, world tour, and Academy Award-winning movie now on his resume.

With the release of his sophomore album Fine Line in December of 2019 and  his second world tour postponement, Styles kept busy by landing and filming two movies. The first is being in Olivia Wilde’s, no, we’re not talking about her, psychological thriller. Don’t Worry Darling, where he’ll act alongside household names like Florence Pugh and Chris Pine. The second is an adaptation of the book My Policeman where Styles plays a policeman having an affair with another man in 1950s England. Ending 2020 was the legendary Vogue photoshoot featuring Styles on the cover in a dress that had Candace Owens and shortsighted people alike up in arms. In 2021 Harry not only won his first Grammy and completed the sold-out North American leg of his postponed tour, but the role of ‘entrepreneur’ was added to his long list of credentials when his beauty brand ‘Pleasing’ was launched. With its $65 nail polish set and serums, this man really does have us paying his rent. 

The newest Marvel movie, Eternals, premiered in theaters on November 5th. As engaging as it was with its star-studded and diverse casting, immortal beings, and LGBTQ+ representation, the thing that had movie-goers screaming came during the post-credits scene. Following a climactic ending, the post-credits scene featured Harry Styles in tights and a cape that introduced himself as a fellow eternal from a rainbow portal. Harry Styles, the now brother of Thanos, joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Love On Tour made Styles $95 million, just the North American shows. He is one of the few solo artists to sell out Wembley Stadium in London completely , his cosmetic brand has sold out, and he has now joined forces with Disney’s $54 billion  company. Harry already owns a black Amex Card, at this rate soon he’ll buy the entire Earth; and I’m fine with that. 

Whether you’re a fan of him or not, Harry Styles is inescapable at this point. His fame and influence seem to grow larger by the day. A few weeks ago, he got permission to shut down the roads in front of Buckingham Palace to shoot a music video for his upcoming album. One cannot deny the power he holds across the board in society. The outfits and accessories control fashion trends he’s papped in and fan projects have raised and donated thousands of dollars to charities in his name. His confidence in his feminine side makes him that much more attractive to men, women and non-binaries alike and has opened up conversations over toxic masculinity and gender fluidity. Former One Direction fans have been growing up with this man for over ten years now, and he embodies so much more to people than kindness. He represents sentimentality, comfort, joy and hope. His career is a high-speed train and I think I speak for all of us when I say we can’t wait to see what he does next. 

Movies We’re Anticipating This Fall

For the past year and a half, I’ve eagerly anticipated going back to the theaters. Quarantine made me miss the overpriced popcorn and freezing temperatures that movie theaters had to offer. Although several theaters opened their doors again this past summer, I wanted to save my first experience back in the theater for a good movie. I mean, the last movie I watched in theaters was Little Women — what could top that? As more movies are being released in the upcoming months, here are some of my top picks for movies I can’t wait to see!  

Dune (in theaters)

Adapted from the 1965 sci-fi novel, Dune follows Paul Atreides, the son of a noble family, and his journey to protect the valuable planet Arrakis. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya and Oscar Isaac, Dune is full of your favorite Hollywood actors. Dune is currently out in theaters and available to watch on HBO Max. 

The French Dispatch (in theaters)

Set in a fictional French city, The French Dispatch follows an outpost of American journalists and the stories they publish in their newspaper. Like all other Wes Anderson movies, you can expect an interesting cast, offbeat characters and colorful sets — what’s not to love?

Last Night in Soho (in theaters)

After being transported into the body of a 1960s nightclub singer, Ellie realizes that her life isn’t all that it appears to be. Starring the beloved Anya Taylor-Joy, Last Night in Soho is the perfect psychological thriller for fall!

Eternals (in theaters)

As the newest Marvel movie, Eternals tells the story of immortal beings who have lived on Earth for thousands of years that reunite to fight the evil Deviants. Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals is expected to be an unconventional Marvel movie. Did I also mention it stars Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Gemma Chan? 

Passing (November 10) 

Based on the 1929 novel, Passing follows the lives of two mixed-race childhood friends as they struggle with race and identity in 1920s New York City. Although black-and-white movies have a reputation for being boring, I expect Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga to give an incredible performance! 

King Richard (November 19)

Based on the true story of Serena and Venus Williams’ upbringing, King Richard follows Richard Williams and his unconventional methods for raising two star athletes. As a fan of the Williams sisters, I’m excited to see how the movie portrays their childhood.

House of Gucci (November 24)

House of Gucci tells the true story of Maurizio Gucci, head of the Gucci fashion house, and his murder. Starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Al Pacino, I can’t wait to see the dazzling outfits and dramatic portrayal of the Gucci family. 

Licorice Pizza (November 26)

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza follows a boy and girl as they fall in love in 1970s California. This coming-of-age comedy will be the actorial debut for Alana Haim, from the band HAIM! The movie will have a limited release on Nov. 26 before being distributed worldwide. 

With all of these movies coming out over the next month, I can’t decide which I want to watch first — Dune or The French Dispatch. Regardless of what I choose, all of these movies are guaranteed to be worth your while!

Featured image by Valerie Aldana

Why Marvel Fans Are Raging About “What If…?”

“I observe all that transpires here, but I do not, cannot, will not interfere,” is the iconic introduction of The Watcher who instills Marvel fans with excitement in each episode. What If..? is the new anthology series based on Marvel Comics and is the fourth television show in the Marvel Cinematic Universe produced by Marvel Studios. 

Marvel fans are raging over What If…? because it touches on monumental events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, warping them into different outcomes in alternate timelines of the multiverse. What’s groundbreaking about this series is that a different event is explored each episode leaving the audience eager to know what situation will be tackled next. Everyone has that thought in the back of their minds when watching a film or TV show that goes, “I wonder what would’ve happened if this character made a different choice?” 

Originally, the What If…? comics made their debut in 1977. In April of 2019, Disney and Marvel officially announced it would be a series. In the past, Marvel Studios discussed potentially producing something involving the What If…? comics, but decided not to do so until after the Infinity Saga wrapped up so they would have enough storylines to create alternate outcomes for. 

Photo courtesy of “What If…?” S1 E1

The writers behind the masterpiece examined each and every one of the MCU heroes to determine “what makes them tick.” The writers wanted to make sure a build up of story potential was behind each episode and storyline to truly unravel who is the hero behind each “shield.” 

A.C Bradley said, “The first question was never ‘what if’— the first question was, ‘where is the heart in the hero?’ Where’s the humanity in these iconic characters that we’ve all spent so many years watching on screen and growing up reading comic books about? How do we get beyond the shield? So, with Peggy Carter it was as simple as, “she was a woman in the 1940s who said I’m staying in the room,how is that going to change the world?” 

I interviewed Hermino Mendez, a Radio Television and Film major at UT to get the inside scoop on what UT students think of the series.. 

“I love when Marvel changes up the game,”Mendez said. “Morally grey characters are intriguing to me. What I really love about What If…? is that it strays away from the ‘expected’ Marvel formula that a lot of viewers are used to.” 

Mendez’s answer makes it clear that Marvel fans were yearning for this all along. 

“What I find really cool is that there is an existing curated universe that the directors and writers of the episodes can do an alternate take on. I found myself pondering different scenarios in shows.  I feel like all fans make up these concepts inside their head. It almost feels like an alternate take on history itself since there is so much rich lore and history existing in the MCU.” 

What If…? is a series everyone should take the time to watch or even just know about! It’s a revolutionary take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a great way to get people invested in what has been 10 years of movies and decades of comics. As Mendez said, “but what if a character did this instead of that is something that’s never been done before.”

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” Spoiler Review

“Hey! Let’s hear it for Captain America!”

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” 

The second mini series of Marvel’s phase four has finished, and boy was it an explosive ride from frolicking in the meadows to tackling race in America.

Just like with “WandaVision,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” did an excellent job at character development, but the story surrounding that development wasn’t at the same level.

What I’ve loved about these limited series, so far, is that they’ve covered deeply painful aspects of life through the heroes. “WandaVision” took us through Wanda’s grief and ultimate acceptance. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” took us through Bucky’s PTSD and guilt as well as Sam struggling with fighting for a country that has long oppressed his people.

These are some heavy themes, and they’re handled beautifully.

Bringing in Isaiah Bradley was a brilliant way to illustrate why Sam taking up the mantle of Captain America was not an easy decision.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

The story of Isiah Bradley is devastating, but not surprising. Isaiah Bradley was a super soldier just like Steve Rogers, but he was tortured and forgotten so the government could uplift and honor his white counterpart.

80 years later, they tried to do it again with Sam Wilson. In the first episode we see a government official tell Sam he’s doing the right thing by giving up the shield. Not because they want to preserve Steve’s legacy, but because they don’t want to hand it off to a Black man. They completely ignored Steve’s last wish because they wanted a white man to represent America.

This is why Sam taking up the mantle was so difficult for him, but also why it was so powerful when he did. Sam is going to be the next Captain America, not despite what his country has done to Black people, but because of what they’ve done. He’s going to fight for his country so his family, Isaiah and Black Americans have someone to look up to after hundreds of years of oppression. 

This was a very poignant theme in the series, and the same goes for Bucky’s arc.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Sam tells Bucky that he’s not making amends for his past, he’s avenging, and that he needs to do the work.

Healing is not convincing yourself that you’re doing better, it’s putting in the effort no matter how hard it is. Once you do that, you’ll be happier and at peace.

We see Bucky have that dreaded conversation telling a friend of his that he killed his son, it was painful to watch. But then later, we see Bucky smiling and having dinner at the Wilson’s cookout. He’s happier because he finally did the work.

After all this character development, I’m excited to see Sam and Bucky return for future MCU projects.

The overall story was okay. A group of activists, Flag Smashers, fighting against the government for displacing millions of people and acting as though they don’t matter. It’s not the most revolutionary plot, and it probably would’ve been better if the Flag Smashers weren’t so one-dimensional.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

After a while, it felt like their leader, Karli, was saying the same thing over and over again. We heard more about their struggles since The Blip was reversed, but we didn’t see any of it so there isn’t any substance to their cause.

In the end, Karli dies and it feels meaningless because we could never really latch onto her cause or her as a person.

I thought John Walker, a.k.a US Agent, would be the main antagonist. Although I don’t like him, he was better than the Flag Smashers. They did a good job of showing what happens when you rush to put the weight of the world on someone’s shoulders when they’re not ready. Eventually it crushes them, and they become the person you’re trying to stop. 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Not only did Walker not understand what it meant to be Captain America, but the government also didn’t either. All they wanted was a new Captain America; someone they could better control and who aligns more with their beliefs and it completely backfired.

Walker started out as Captain America and now he’s working for Madame Hydra. I am intrigued to see where this plot will go.

The finale was more for superhero moments rather than keeping me on the edge of my seats. But I did appreciate those superhero moments. If the Flag Smashers were a better antagonist, it definitely would’ve been better. The speech at the end with Sam and everyone recording him was very staged, but at least we got Bucky and a federal agent calling Sam, “Cap.” 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Sharon Carter turns out to be the infamous Power Brooker, leader of the criminal underground in Madripoor, but she’s back as a government agent. She’s on her way to tear down the government from the inside, most likely as revenge for criminalizing her after the events of “Captain America: Civil War.” I do love a good girl boss, so I can’t say I’m mad about this.

I loved Zemo when he was present, but now that the show is over, it seems like he was mainly a plot device and a great source of memes.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

I have to give it to Marvel, they once again produced a well-written show with great cinematography and even better action. The dynamic between Sam and Bucky was my favorite thing about the series, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan gave wonderful performances. With these limited series, Marvel really puts all their eggs in the main characters’ baskets and they pull it off. I’m excited for the next adventure, “Loki,” that’s for sure to be a wild ride.

Featured image courtesy of Marvel Studios

WHY THE “FALCON AND WINTER SOLDIER” IS THE MOST RELEVANT MARVEL SHOW YET

On March 19, fans were reunited with Marvel’s two most loved characters, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, in their new miniseries The Falcon and Winter Soldier. But the show surprised the audience by addressing heavy real-world themes such as racism and mental health in only the first episode. 

This 6-hour miniseries follows Bucky and Sam as they tackle a fractured post-Endgame society and a government imposed Captain America. 

Off the bat, the first episode of the show tackles important social and political themes that are relevant in today’s America. 

RACISM

Marvel put a large, non-sugar coated emphasis on the prevalence of racism in the present day which unfortunately does not exclude heroes. 

The first episode highlights much of Sam’s perspective and backstory. He gives  up Steve Rogers’ shield to the Smithsonian believing that Steve was and will always be the only Captain America.

“It was the right thing to do,” The government official said after the shield was placed in the glass case. This scene was small but impactful because it represented the government’s agreement that a Black man could not carry the shield and become the next Captain America. 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

This thought was further reinforced when the same officials marched out John Walker, a military captain, and announced that he would carry on Steve’s legacy. Needless to say, the small ending note brought mass outrage among viewers who believed Sam should not have given up Cap’s legacy. 

However, in the second episode, Sam’s perspective is further legitimized when he and Bucky meet Isiah Bradley, the first Black super soldier, in their efforts to find leads on the anti-nationalist group, The Flag Smashers. 

Isaiah Bradley, one of the saddest stories in the Marvel comics, is now coming to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Like Steve Rogers, Isaiah also received the super soldier serum and was able to survive, making him the first black individual to harbor powers like Steve. But instead of being given a pedestal and universal rights, Bradley was experimented, used as a murder weapon and discarded when the govenrment decided they were through with his skills. 

Bradley’s story represents the deep institutional racism laced in every crevice of this country. Any privilege that a white person receives freely, a person of color must work for.

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Sam’s reaction to Bradley’s story was one of betrayal. He was appalled that a member of his community that was strong enough to almost destroy Bucky as the Winter Soldier was tortured for wanting to help his country. 

But his outburst of anger was not taken well by the community they were in. The biggest, most relevant scene in the show was when the police arrived and asked Bucky, the white man, if Sam, the angry Black man, was giving him trouble. There was no confrontation on Sam’s end because the white police officer was not willing to listen to anything Sam said. 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

After 2020’s massive Black Lives Matter movement, this scene was very uncomfortable and saddening to watch as viewers saw police racially profile one of their favorite superheroes.

MENTAL HEALTH

While the show introduced Sam’s backstory and struggle to find a place in this racially divided country, it also shed more light on Bucky’s character and trauma. 

In his first scene, Bucky wakes up from a nightmare of his time as the Winter Soldier. This signifies his deep Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of decades of mind-control and torture. 

Directly after, the show cuts to his therapy session, something the court mandated when they pardoned his crimes and allowed him to maintain free civilian status. An important feature of the therapy session is the close and uncomfortable camera angles capturing Bucky as he blatantly lies to his doctor about having a nightmare. 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

The intention of the odd camera angles is achieved as viewers feel a sense of invasiveness when either of the two individuals in the room speak about Bucky’s trauma. It perfectly captures Bucky’s own claustrophobia and uncomfortability in the situation, having to recall decades of crimes he committed with his own hands. 

Bucky’s inner turmoil is shown in every episode of the show so far. He battles with himself on a regular basis, trying to believe that Steve’s unwavering faith in him was worth the trouble his best friend faced. 

During the second episode, Bucky exuded the very sentiment when he lashed out at Sam for not taking the shield. 

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

“If he was wrong about you then he was wrong about me!” Bucky said. Again, a short, but powerful scene, viewers were able to see Bucky’s pain and inner guilt at all the crimes he committed, even under Hydra’s influence. 

Bucky’s anxiety, PTSD and extreme guilt are extremely relatable features of the show, things that people experience on a daily basis. Swarmed with dry humor, the show writers tried to keep a lighter stance on Bucky’s civilian experience, but again, did not sugar-coat his trauma. 

Ultimately, “The Falcon and Winter Soldier” addressed highly controversial yet significant themes in only its first three episodes. Marvel’s ability to intricately place the themes in their shows so viewers are both entertained and exposed makes this show one of the most relatable shows in the MCU yet.