What's up everyone!? This is just a friendly reminder that today, November 6th, is in fact Election Day. Please, please get out to the polls and vote.
It doesn't matter what your stance is, whether you vote your conscience or strictly for the party you align yourself with, just get out there and vote today. Because the fact is that nothing is going to change for the better, no matter what your views are, if you don't make yourself heard. Read more
On top of all this, there’s the problem of “Danny Don’t You Know.”
To put this into perspective, I want to be quite clear that I’m on board with that song. So on board, in fact, that I think it’s the VERY best song they’ve ever done before. There’s such a quiet sincerity that flows from the lyrics to the music to the tone of the song that it feels sort of oddly out of place with the rest of the album. It’s oddly difficult to marry this quiet, sincere side of the band to the prior side, which is mainly about sex and drugs and rock and roll and hilarious one-liners.
A man of many styles that still manages to enthrall and inspire even to this day, twenty years after his Circle of Dust debut. In his various guises, he has penned industrial music, more melodic songs, slightly more metal sounds and then some.
For this album, he travels to his roots. To that time in the eighties when New Wave ruled supreme and no one could see anything but synthesizers for miles around. Read more
Well 2017 sure as hell was a year. Could have certainly gone better in many ways, for lots of people. But at least there was no shortage of great art to get lost in throughout the year. These are my favorites across many mediums. And yeah, not as many games as usual this year for me. But damn do I look forward to catching up on this years backlog, gaming had a good year.
Before we dive right into my favorite things though, I do have a couple shout outs.
Paragon by Epic Games
Paragon is a game so good it could easily be within the top five on my list. But it’s in early Access. I have nothing else to say.
Sunday Rain by Foo Fighters
I would have loved nothing more than to include the entire new Foo Fighters album somewhere on this list. But unfortunately the Foo Fighters 8th full length album is too long for its own good. You would think that only barely coming in over 45 minutes would mean they trimmed all the fat off the record, but no. Yeah they’re getting up there in age, so I’m aware all the songs can only go to a certain tempo, and the arrangements can’t be as complicated as they once were, but they should still be creative. There are whole songs that could easily be cut from the album. None of them are bad, and the album as a whole is MUCH better than the god-awful ‘Sonic Highways’ from 2015.
'I, I, I am a river
I, I, I am your river
I, I, I am a river
I, I, I am your river
I, I, I am a river
I, I, I am your river'
Yup. Those are real lyrics from the last album. Repeated about 5 times on the 7 minute song...
But songs like ‘Dirty Water’ or ‘T-Shirt’ just have no business being on the same album album as something like ‘Run’ or ‘Sunday Rain’. While a lot of the records big budget production sound definitely contrasts with the band's famous Lo-fi/Garage Band sound and tone, ‘Sunday Rain’ somehow seems to make them work well together. Much in the same way some of Zeppelin’s later efforts tried to imitate their more budget sounds from the early years.
Concrete and Gold definitely isn’t an overall miss. And songs like this show the band do still have some gems tucked away. But they could have put this record off another year and put together more tracks that would stand out in the discography. So I can’t recommend the whole record yet, maybe next time. But for now, I’ll cherish what I consider a song in their top ten best arrangements. Hopefully this politically charged album (You even named it 'Concrete and Gold', come on Dave you're more creative than that) will be a step back towards better record from this band again. I would hate for Wasting Light to be their last Great album. And maybe one day they'll get a spot on the list. But as it stands this year, they get one song from the record on my honorable mentions.
Logan by James Mangold
Well the Oscar nominations haven't been announced yet, but I'll be shocked if this one doesn't get at least a couple at least as a nod. Obviously this movie is a love letter from Hugh Jackman who gives what might be his most human performance I've seen from him in a film, despite being anything but human. Though it's really Stewart in this movie who should get an acting nomination if it has to be one or the other. Call me sentimental but I really think Logan might be the last truly Great comic book film under a Marvel Banner we see for a while. Now that Disney will be calling the shots with basically every property imaginable.
That aside Logan tells a very simple but relatable able story about aging, regret, purpose, and living with who you are. There are no shortage of great films this year though, and if I owned just the script to read I would more than likely include that on my list of things. For now however, I'll stay content with being able to dive deeper on this film when I inevitably re-watch it yet another time.
Nightbringers by Black Dahlia Murder
What a stellar return to form for this band. Now I didn’t mind Rituals at all, I thought it was a pretty sweet record actually, despite being so different for the band. But Nightbringers is easily my favorite of theirs since Nocturne. Songs like Jars and Widowmaker are some of the most fun I’ve had listening to a tune this year. But unfortunately for Black Dahlia Murder, they decided to be like one of 1,000 really amazing albums that came out this year, and I find myself listening to the others on my list far more than Nightbringers and the rest.
Anticult by Decapitated
Bands change the way the sound, the way they look, and the music they play. I have never understood the notion of a band “selling out” because they decide to play music that sounds completely different from their first album. Let’s put it this way kids, every artist you’ve ever paid money for, be it music or anything else, has sold out. You don’t except a single penny for art you’ve created unless you know you have. No, bands, like people can change over time. I won’t get into the history of Decapitated here, if you want to look through the wiki for a sad story feel free. Short story is they have moved pretty far from their Tech-Death Metal roots and into a more metal-core genre. But I didn’t care when Green Day grew out of being Punk kids, I didn’t care when Linkin Park grew out of being just angst, and I don’t care that Decapitated grew out of being Scary.
This is a fantastic record. 0% filler, and comes in just short enough that when it ends you just want to play the whole damn thing over again. I really wanted this on the list. But it ultimately just didn’t fit.
Okay shout outs went a tad longer but I really liked these things okay! Without further ado, here's the real list:
10. Wind River by Taylor Sheridan
This movie. Man. Wind River is one of those rare films that actually makes you want to learn more about a horrible situation about real people, in the real world, right after you watch it. Not only is the subject matter super relevant to what’s happening to a certain group of people in today’s world, but Wind River somehow manages to keep you engrossed entirely within itself for its run-time. You may be wondering why I’m not talking about the film’s details, well it’s because I didn’t know much going in to see it either. And I feel like the mystery within this film benefits greatly from that. I knew Jeremy Renner was in it, it took place in a frozen mountain town called Wind River, and I like frozen things and Jeremy Renner. So I went. I had a few people tell me on separate occasions it was really good so I already had some expectations for the film, but my god.
I know I already talked about how Hugh Jackman should get an award for Logan, but if Jeremy Renner doesn’t win a Oscar for his performance here, I’m not sure he ever will. Like I said I’ve always liked Renner as an actor, but I’ve never seen him really disappear into a character before. Well not only does he disappear, he becomes this character.
But the real hero of the film's accomplishment is Taylor Sheridan. Between this film, Sicario, Hell or High Water, and of course his work on Sons of Anarchy, this man is on the right path to become the next Tarantino. I implore you all to find Wind River. However you can see it, make sure you do.
9. Room Of Shadows by Pagan Alter
This is a band I didn’t get into until this year (I'm not a big Doom-Metal fan) and was really surprised by how much of their discography I liked so far. But Room of Shadows not only takes the cake as their best by my count, it’s also my second favorite album of the year. This record comes as a very bittersweet note however, as it is the band's last record after their vocalist passed away. As if the music itself wasn’t dower enough, the vocalist was the father of the lead Guitarist. They, along with their fellow band members, had been putting this album together for over 10 years when he passed. Leaving the rest of the band to work with what vocal tracks he had left in his absence, and build the record around those.
And holy shit, I’m not sure anyone could have made a better album under those circumstances. This is a magnum opus beyond compare. Terry Jones' Vocals are on point, and his son Alan's guitar melodies have an incredibly complimentary melancholy that can only be from someone who both wanted to mourn and celebrate his father. I cannot recommend this one enough. It truly belongs on the shelf of any fan of Black Sabbath, Doom Metal, or just great music in general.
8. Battlerite by Epic Games
Finally out of Early Access, Battlerite steps into the MOBA scen- --no no no--.
Finally out of Early Access, Battlerite steps into the Fighting Game scene with a really cool take on the genre as a whole. Using a top down perspective and 2v2 or 3v3 matches, Battlerite simulates the team fights that you have within games like Dota or League by literally just being about the fight. No random damage, no random chance abilities, no farming to get more powerful, and nothing standing in your way but yourself. Despite having some creative bankruptcy in the level design department, what’s there gets the job done. Leaving all the focus on the fighters you choose and how they interact with your teammate(s). This game is a blast to play.
While it may feel unfamiliar to a few fighting game vets at first, you will soon see there’s not much difference between this and a tag team mode in a 3d or 2d fighter. Just without the tagging in and out part. With a pretty decent free to play option, there’s really no excuse to not give Battlerite a try.
7. Date Nights / Last Rights by Tom King
This story comes out Batman Vol.3: Annual #2 (I know comics are weird) and you need to track it down. Lately Tom King has been a powerhouse in the comics industry. It wasn’t enough for the man to provide Marvel with 'Vision', their first book that is really the publisher's only required reading on the same level as DC’s Watchmen. Now King has been doing an excellent run on everyone’s favorite bat-themed superhero. Most of his arcs in the proper Bat book have been good to very good. ‘Date Nights’, and the second half ‘Last Rites’, just might combine to make his best story so far.
I can really only talk about the first half of this book without ruining it, but I may do a single issue review of it at some point. This is really a story worth talking about in more detail, but it’s not like the first half ‘Date Nights’ isn’t a blast all on it’s own. We get too see the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. How her shenanigans find a way into his life, the dynamic chemistry between the two. And of course the obvious cat and mouse game that grows from it.
The art here is just simply stunning. Evoking a classic Batman style with modern sensibilities. The final page of this book will knock you off your feet. Read it, if you can find it.
6. Horizon Zero Dawn
It didn’t take long for us to start seeing big studios taking hints from The Witcher 3 did it? Between Horizon and Assassins Creed this year, CD Projekt RED’s influence over the open world genre couldn’t be more obvious. Clearly this is a good thing, and Horizon Zero Dawn benefits from the influence in ways that don’t just obviously include the care side-quests are given or the way the environments actually have detail and care put into them.
Thankfully Horizon takes it’s biggest Witcher influence in how the characters you care about actually matter, and world is reflected on your choices tied directly to those characters. I mean I don’t think I need to talk about how incredibly well written the female characters in either game were. And yeah Aloy joins Ciri as one of the greatest characters ever portrayed in a video game.
Plus I mean, robot dinosaurs! How can you not call this one of the best damn games of 2017!?
5. Ladybird by Greta Gerwig
I should hate, and I mean really hate, the editing in this movie. Most of the shots are roughly the same length, and scenes tend to be similar in length as well. This obviously results in the film moving at a very steady and relatively quick pace from start to finish. Obviously I'm generalizing here, not all shots and scenes are the exact same, but many are similar to each other. I should hate this, but I don’t. Not even a little bit. I think I love it, and I think it’s a large part of what makes this one of the best films I’ve ever seen about youth, family, and coming of age.
The style in which this film is edited makes it almost feel like a slideshow of someone’s life. Especially since a lot of scenes don’t start by leading you into them, instead opting to cast you into a deeply emotional moment within a character's life. The rare times you do get the sense of a scene slowly building toward such a moment, you know it’s going to be even more significant.
I have no doubt this film will be talked to death about in the years to come, and I seriously can’t think of another film that’s anything like it. This is a must see of the highest order, much like many of A24’s films. But while many of the small studio's works can divide audiences, I don't think I've ever met someone who wouldn't like Lady Bird.
4. Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
Sometimes you read something that doesn’t seen like it should exist as a comic. It feels more like actually events from someones very personal life story. Some parts of which I shouldn’t be looking at. Roughneck is the “story” of an ex-hockey playing superstar from a small town, now the local drunk and all around asshole. But was he ever not an asshole? Or is Derek living out the life he was meant to?
Well he tries to find out after his long gone sister returns to town. If only to escape her abusive boyfriend. But it’s her drug addiction that Derek really needs to help her past. In this story we see the two of them grow close again after years apart, while Lemire shows off what may be some of his best watercolor pieces to date. The near black and white frames use hints of color to accentuate key moments in the story. The only other scenes where the colors really pop, are scenes from the past. Further adding to the insult of what Derek's life has now become. Only able to see the beauty of life when thinking about his past nostalgia.
As Roger Ebert once said, "It's not what it's about, it's how it's about it." Lemire writes and draws this story in such a profound way you will feel exhausted after reading it. The fact the graphic novel seems so easily crafted only ads more weight to how he put this together. Lemire is pretty much the hardest working man in comics right now. So much so it wouldn’t shock me if there were two Lemires. But when his work almost always stays this consistently great across both art and story, it’s hard not to praise the man.
3. Blade Runner 2049 by Denis Villeneuve
When I first heard that Warner Brothers was committing sacrilege by making a sequel to the sci-fi film that practically invented the cult classic, I was furious. Not just because I love the original film like we all do, but because I really felt that ruining some of the mystery of Blade Runner would actually taint the story within it.
Ryan Goslin, Harrison Ford, Denis Villeneuve
But when the director of Sicario, Prisoners, and Arrival was chosen to direct it, I saw a flicker of hope. A flicker that turned into a much brighter light when Hampton Fancher, the original film's screenwriter, would return to write the sequel. It was when Harrison Ford, after years of saying he would never do another, signed on board after seeing the script that I gained some damn high expectations.
So how is it? Well not only is it a rare sequel that retroactively improves the original by leaps and bounds, but it's also a far superior film in my eyes. The questions it asks the audience about the nature of humanity are far more important and interesting than whether or not Deckard is a replicant.
2049 also stands as a magnum opus for long time cinematographer Roger Deakins (Fargo, Shawshank Redemption, No Country For Old Men) who will most likely get his 14th nomination for his work this year. Yet a film can be beautiful and still fall flat, thankfully the screenplay never lets up. Nor do the incredibly stellar performances from really everyone.
Ford gives maybe his best acting performance in recent memory, he's actually awake for this one guys. Every actor really walks away with something they should be proud of.
This is not only the best sci-fi film of the year, it may be the best of the decade. I really thought this was going to be the director's first bad film. Well not only is it of the same incredibly high caliber quality, I think it's his best one yet.
2. Last Day of June by Ovosonico
****. Just, ****. You ever watch the movie ‘Up’? Love feeling like you want to die after the first ten minutes? Well step right up ************, have I got the game for you. Spreading out a similar theme throughout a couple hour long story, Last Day of June is my favorite video game of the year. With some Tim Burton-lite elements and a plot that’s sort of the first act of the book ‘The Time Machine’, this game uses story narrative structure to create a very cool puzzle game.
Without a single word of dialogue being spoken throughout the whole game, the writers evoked some really great emotionally driven elements here. I also need to wholeheartedly recommend the soundtrack for the game, even if you have no interest in ever playing it. And to think the whole concept was based on the art in a music video!!
Truly stunning work all around from a fairly small indy team. When you look at the story as a whole, and all the different ways elements interact, it’s really a very impressive accomplishment. Unfortunately like most games of this nature to talk too in depth about even it’s core mechanics would dive a tad too far into spoilers. So you all just need to trust me on this. Get this game. Now.
And now it's time for...
Last Minute Honorable Mentions!!
There are too many things. So here's a quick list of other things I want to mention that I liked a lot from 2017!!
Baby Driver by Edgar Wright
One More Light by Linkin Park
The Last Jedi by Rian Johnson
Forever by Code Orange
Cuphead by StudioMDHR
Wonder Woman by Patty Jenkins
Villains by Queens of the Stone Age
Okay I could go on Forever but I wont. So here's the thing I liked the most this year!!
1. The Dusk in Us by Converge
Three of my Five favorite bands of all time are still working today. Two of them released an album this year. It's just unfortunate only one made the list, and the other was Concrete and Gold. Thankfully Converge’s 2017 effort, The Dusk in Us, shows the world why Converge is just as beloved today as they were twenty years ago. This band has a really great habit of releasing albums that eerily feel like Jacob Bannon, the vocalist and album artist, wrote songs about the place I am within my life. Starting back when the album ‘No Heroes’ did that for me in ‘06, Converge has continued to be on my level with each new studio release. The Dusk in Us marks the band’s 9th studio album, five years since their last one in 2012. The wait was more than worth it.
“Our Denial it speaks in tongues, there’s monsters among us.” Much like the rest of the album, the title track speaks to the capacity for evil within the human race. But also how those who can quell it help others shine a light on our own shadows. Even the more abrasive songs like ‘Reptilian’ have this similar Superman-esk aspirations for hope and trophing the better bits of humanity.
“We must lose sight of the Shore to know what courage means. We must lose sight of who we are to know what we can be.”
It's been a long time since an album I've listened to has closed out with a song as strong as this one.
In year like 2017 where so much of the world became under fear of itself, leaving many to question what the future may hold, it’s great to get art showing how there is hope for those who seek it. While still acknowledging the world’s great ability to hide it. All while creating some of the most fascinating compositions the band has ever created. Even having songs be led with what seems like a drum cadenza for the strings to follow. Especially in ‘I Can Tell You About Pain’ where Koller’s ambidextrous drumming makes itself as clear as day without really having to fill every bar with as many notes as possible.
But if you let that trick you for even a second, think again, Converge still knows what their signature sound is, and can create the catchiest grooves while tearing your face off. All of the above comes together in my mind within ‘Cannibals’, the shortest song on the record.
Opening with an extremely complex blast-beat based arrangement, letting the strings shred a rhythm melody above it while Bannon reminds you of how easy he makes the most complicated vocal noises seem. Only to lead out the song almost as soon as it began with a fun guitar riff while the bass pairs up with Ben on a killer rhythm section. Just pure joy within the darkness. Even the nature of the song title plays against your expectations within itself, “We are all just cannibals if there is nothing left to love.” A fleeting thought about what separates us from our beasts within, changes and races just as rapidly as the song's various tempos.
Every song on this record has just as much and more to dive into and get lost in. Not a single track on the album is a waste of time. Just when you’re bummed how a really great song is ending, the next one starts and you fall in love with it just as fast.
It’s for all these reasons and more that ‘The Dusk in Us’ is my favorite thing from 2017. And I’m about to go listen to it fifty more times.
Movie Pass. The now 600,000 member large subscription service that has everyone scratching their heads. Well I've been using it for about a month now and figured Nonstiq would be a good place to express the many opinions I have about it.
Before you start, please be aware I’m not a journalist and most of my facts and data come from quick Google searches and some bits of info off Wikipedia. If you want to look further into the history and specifics of the Data surrounding Movie Pass, go ahead and do some Googling if you read or learn something here that you wanna check up on.
What is Movie Pass?
Movie Pass is a Movie theater subscription service. You pay a fee every month, and in return you can see one film a day throughout the course of a month.
So how does a theater make money with this system? Well if you are a Movie pass subscriber you get a prepaid Debit Card in the Mail that is used to purchase your ticket. So you pay Movie Pass for their service, and they pay the theaters for your ticket. So not only are Movie Theaters not losing any money from a Movie Pass user, they are more than likely getting more people to buy tickets from people with this service.
I’ll explain in more detail how this works a bit later, but first a brief history about the service and its current state:
As you may well be aware though, on August 16th 2017, Movie Pass dropped their monthly price to $9.95 a month. Sounds too good to be true right? Yes and No.
This fee used to be roughly $50 a month, but in certain areas the fee was $99 a month. With the average ticket price in the US being around $9 a ticket, Movie Pass worked by betting that most of their users couldn't go out and see more than $50 worth of movies every month. As you can imagine they made a fair amount of money this way despite only having around 20,00 subscribers.
Obviously your first thought is a should be, “If a ticket price is nearly the cost of my subscription to Movie Pass, once I see two movies Movie Pass is losing money from me that point forward.”
You’re entirely right, they do lose money far more often now with this subscription price, especially since they’ve gained over 500,000 subscribers since the price change.
The next question is of course, how can Movie Pass afford to do this and is it sustainable? Well they didn’t do this price drop out of the blue. Just before their price drop, they were given $27 million dollars from Helios and Matheson as a price infusion to offset the cost of losing money with this cheaper subscription model.
Helios and Matheson Analytics are a large scale Data collecting company. Whom have clearly bet it all on the Data they will be collecting from Movie Pass users. And you definitely will want to read over what Data they will be collecting in the TOS. H&M have also thankfully been quite open about how they see the potential in what movies people see, who is seeing them, and when they see them. This Data, in their eyes, will be incredibly valuable to Movie Studios who will jump at the chance to finally have VERY accurate data about their film goers and what projects they should be focusing on.
Regardless of whether or not this company's big bet pays off in the long run, or if this service is destined to fail and run out of money, I think it’s still worth looking at how the system currently works and if it’s worth trying out.
So after you sign up for the service on their website, they send you a Debit card in the mail. So wait around for that, and once you have your card, it’s time to download the App. Once installed you can select your closet theater and scroll through the showings to find a film you want to see. Now you only get One ticket a day for one person, one showing, so make sure you are positive the movie you select is the one you want to see. Once you’ve chosen a film on the app, Movie Pass will send the price of a ticket for that showing to your Card, and you’ll have 30 minutes to go and actually buy the ticket.
And that's it! Once you do that you can’t use Movie Pass again until the next day. But after paying them $9.99, getting your card, installing the app, and using their card to buy a ticket, you still can do that 29 more days in a month! With no extra cost to you.
The service works really great, does exactly what it says it will do, and I haven’t had any issues yet with the app or the card.
So is Movie Pass something you should get?
Well it depends on a few things.
First and foremost you need to ask yourself if you are okay with letting Helios and Matheson both collect and sell your movie going history. If you’re not then obviously the service isn’t something your should be doing.
For those of us that are, it is definitely worth making sure that you live by or near one of the supported theaters of the service. Movie Pass claim they work in 91% of theaters throughout the US, so check their website to make sure you don’t live in the 9%. You can also do this by installing the app before even subscribing and checking out theaters near you.
Of course maybe if you do sign up for Movie Pass and you rarely go the theater, maybe having a movie pass will lead you to be willing to go to the theater more often to get the most out of your monthly fee. Which wil hopefully be good for more films like this year's Wind River or Ingrid Goes West.
You also should ask yourself if you are someone who would go to the Theater AT LEAST twice a month. Otherwise the service simply isn’t financially worth it. So if you only go to the movies for something Disney owns and don’t care about seeing films that don’t have action figures for them, it may not be for you.
I personally love this service so far, and while I’m concerned that their risky model will end up being too big a risk down the road, for now I am happy to take advantage of being able to see every movie that even slightly peaks my interest. And it's that influx of extra cash from Movie Pass users like me that will hopefully will show the Movie Studios how valuable this Data truly is. Maybe even help them create better films for us to see in the future. Only time will tell, but if you are thinking of diving into this unknown territory with me, I think it’s worth it for now.
No other decade since the 50’s had been so steeped in Futurism.
In the 50’s, that nod toward futurism was all about flying cars and robots. Things that would make life easier. In the fifties, too, this futurism was all about cleanliness. The future portrayed in the fifties generally had a lot of clean, sleek lines. From the Hanna-Barbera domes the Jetsons lived in to the vast robots that occupied more space than a mere human, the future seemed to be bright and generally on the side of the people.
Then, the American Dream was shattered and the nightmare we woke up in was a little bit different. A little bit darker.
But not everything about 80’s futurism was entirely dark. Sure, there were much harsher lines, now. And a much darker tone in terms of corporations ruling everything and yes, there was a lot of fear that the arms race between America and Russia would turn game-ending for everyone, but where the 80’s were grittier, they still had a lot of colour and spark.
And this is about where I introduce Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Read more
Okay, first I need to explain what Nonstiq articles on this gaming website are. Nonstiq posts are either rants, reviews, or anything outside the gaming industry that we want to talk about. So don’t think of me as a professional or expert on any of these subjects, I’m just a big fan of Spider-Man and other characters within that property and want to talk about this news. They generally aren't peer reviewed or Edited like the usual stuff. So if spelling or grammatical error tick you off you’ve been warned.
One other thing, since Nonstiq posts are more flexible and less serious than the already Not-serious stuff we do here on Twinstiq, I want to give you a bit of a lead in so while reading my thoughts you can better understand the state of mind I’m in, as well as what kind of Spidey fan I am. If you don’t care about any of that shit (oh yeah we swear in Nonstiq posts too) then feel free to scroll down to the GIANT YELLOW TEXT at the start of my rant. For the rest of you, read on.
So, a quick bit of history about myself and my relation to Spidey and Venom. Obviously as a kid I loved Spider-Man, but that doesn’t really make anyone unique, I know. Pretty common for someone’s favorite Superhero to be one of the big three after all. But I grew up in Rural Alaska, so my access to the character for the longest time was limited to re-runs of Spider-Man and His Amazing friends, along with a couple issues from my Godfather’s comic collection on the occasion I could visit him. When I was five years old he bought me my first, and only comic for a LONG time, Amazing Spider-Man #423. So my favorite villain became Electro seeing as that was the one I had in an actual comic book, at least for a while.
The Big Three
I can’t recall the first time I saw Venom, or how old I was by then, but I was taken by storm. I quickly rushed to learn about him, and how Peter himself had donned a black suit before he was even around. Of course being so young I would become attached to such a striking character design. But if you asked me now who my favorite Spidey villain is, he wouldn’t make the top 5. (It’s Mysterio by the way) Over time after reading so much Eddie Brock adventures and even Kasady as Carnage, I started to become bored with what I grew to recognize as a fairly one note villain. As i read more and more stories and learned about characters and how writing them works, I saw that the character really never got as much development as many other Marvel characters, let alone Spider-Man ones.
It wouldn’t really be until my college years that Rick Remender would revitalize Venom in a huge fucking way. He finally gave it depth. By having Flash Thompson take the mantle under the moniker Agent Venom, not only did Flash become an extremely well fleshed out character, but the symbiote did as well. And together they grew as characters are supposed to, with Flash fighting it’s corruption and it fighting Flash’s good heart, and by the end them eventually meeting somewhere in the middle. Not only was this well done, it was well received not just by me but many other readers. So it’s no surprise now that the Symbiote has attached itself to another shit-head character people don't like it... but that’s another topic for another day.
TLDR: I like Agent Venom and think Eddie Venom is shallow and one-note (Because he is).
Now, one more thing before I talk about this Venom movie news. This segment is more about how my day has been so you can judge for yourself if you think maybe it’s because of any external reason I have the opinions I do. It has been a LONG day. My day job requires a lot of driving. And some days I need to start early to get somewhere on time, and some days I need to work later many miles from home. Today, both of those were the case. Granted I’ve had longer days, and harder ones. But after waking up at 5:30 AM, driving 350 miles according to Google maps, which was 6 hours of my 11 hour work day, getting home hoping to play chill out and play some more STEEP, I flick on some Youtube news while I grab some water and see that Sony is making a Venom movie. Suddenly I felt the need to start writing this overly long winded article about it on the internet. So take that as you will, but that’s where I’m at while writing this on the day of the announcement.
RANT STARTS HERE:
Sony, look. I know you’re never going to read this, but I’m projecting. Ya’ll dropped the ball with your last three Spider-Man movies. None of the villains were handled correctly in any of them. All for very different reasons that would take much longer to explain than this. I know you’re really hoping that fucking emoji movie will give you a billion dollar franchise of your own, since you really have nothing in the film department right now. And yeah, you got Homecoming around the corner, but we both know you’re super pissed about having to suck off Marvel in order to get those asses in seats. So I’m betting you’re hoping to god you can milk the one other character in the Spidey-verse that is guaranteed to do that. Look at me Sony. You have a couple ways this becomes a big fucking success story for you. For simplicity’s sake let’s break it down into the the two possibilities of the obvious question first;
Will this film be a part of the MCU, or will it be it’s own stand-alone movie?
First Option - Llike Idiots We Made it a Part of the MCU
Okay, not the best route here in my opinion. I know those easy no-point cameos from the other characters make people go crazy even when they happen in bad movies. Yeah maybe it’ll make you more money initially because you can have RDJ or someone say “Symbiote” But we’ll talk more about that later, here’s what could happen under this inferior option:
1. This first movie is a stand alone one and done.
I know you don’t want this obviously. And I could entertain the idea of putting Peter in the suit first to stay true to the source and then throw Brock in there and he’ll be evil and angry and mindless normies will cheer. Or you make a film about Eddie as the protagonist and show him struggling to control his hatred while Spider-Man thwarts his every attempt to destroy him... Yawn. I can see that being the more likely scenario here though, as I doubt you want to remind people of that middle finger Rami gave you in the middle of that third movie.
2. This is the first Venom themed movie within the MCU and it solely focuses on Peter dealing with becoming an Ass-Hole while wearing it. With the next movie being Brock.
This is also a stupid idea. I’m pretty sure the audience is a little tired of the trope of the hero FIGHTING THEMSELVES. Plus as I mentioned you probably don’t need to remind people of this.
Second Option - We Won't Ever Do This in Real Life Because We're Sony.
We Make Movies Like These, BUT VENOM IS A STANDALONE MOVIE
Yeah I know dream on. Sony is never going to turn down the amount of seats a Paul Rudd cameo would bring in from a trailer cameo. But it’s my rant so I will dream on.
1. This movie is an R rated one and done.
Yup. You really want to make a boring Eddie Brock movie about the terrifying and violent Venom. I’m sure if you did by some miracle decide not to utilize your partnership with Disney you would be doing this film just to be chasing after that R-Rated Fox money is making. No. Stop right there you dumbshits. Those movies are great and made a fuck-ton of money because they told character focused small isolated stories, and happened to deserve an R rating given their content. The rating didn’t dictate the story. It doesn’t have to here either. But if you really want to make a movie about Eddie, or even Flash (I would literally drop to my knees for you Lynton) then let talented writers, not these guys, make you a good script about those characters.
Maybe even make it about both Eddie and Flash, be weird with it. Do something creative. Do the Godfather 2 thing of telling two parallel stories from two time periods. One where Eddie starts as a frustrated bodybuilder who just lost his job (Don’t worry you can make a Jean De-Wolff movie later.) Flash has just joined the military after becoming compelled to do good after Spidey saved his life. (You know showing the two opposites of how they interpreted Spider-Man’s influence on their lives. With one becoming inspired to do good and one to do evil.) Maybe even pace the film a bit slowly so that Brock doesn’t even get the suit until around the second Act, the same time that Flash loses his legs. Showing the tragedy of the evil doer getting easy access to power while the one who did something good with his life thinks he was punished for it, ya know. But by the end Eddie losses his a huge fight against Spider-Man, and the Government takes the venom suit. And maybe that could pair nicely with the film ending with Flash being recruited to a special project that could get him his legs back, and end the film with him stepping into the frame with new black legs as Agent venom. Then you kind of have one character’s arc of becoming a good man and despite some hardship was able to overcome it. While the other who focused on frustration and rage ends up behind bars for projecting his own issues and shortcomings on others. Ya know, like a story.
Hell it really doesn’t even have to be R rated. Plus an R rating kind of contradicts the monetizable nature of the character since it’s an easy sell to children. I just want a cool story with some kind of focus on character. But you won’t do that. The second option here is more likely if you don’t go MCU.
2. Multiple movies of (insert any character here) as Venom beating up other bad guys in violent ways with lots of action sequences and a big TOWER spectacle at the end.
And it’s through here that you’ll desperately try to create your own Giant franchise money making machine. It won’t matter what the films are rated or what the stories are. As long as they follow the traditional Super-hero structure and feature characters people recognize. Hell I wouldn’t be surprised if this first move you do has Kasady as the villain Venom has to beat. Because that whole (Mirrored Characters thing) won’t be tiresome at all. Hell that’s what has a lot of people divided on a certain character in Logan. (BTW I liked that, and yeah I’m a hypocrite.) But if you do make Carnage the villain, you might as well pay homage to Carnage USA.
I really think you can make a great movie Sony. I really do, and I really want to see it. I want to see something done with this concept that i haven’t seen before. And yeah, you might think my rip-off of Godfather 2 there is a risky idea. But So was Deadpool, so was Logan. You have two great examples there that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that audiences are tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. That they are willing to take risks to see something different if it’s done right. That when you let these talented writers, producers, directors, and even fans of the character [Ryan and Hugh] do their job and show their passion for their work, they will give you something great. You hire them for a reason, let them do their Job. Don’t make this movie if you just need it made. Make this movie because someone with an idea and passion came to you to make it. Because when you tell a director to use a character they don't like, you end up with this: [SM3]
What else do you have to loose Sony? Don’t spend more than 100mill. It’ll make that back on name alone. Just let someone talented use their fucking talent, and let the story be whatever it needs to be. You got this. Now stop making Sir Patrick Stewart voice a piece of poop.
UPDATE: Aparently this won't be in the MCU, there's hope after all.
So we finally have a title for Episode VIII, The Last Jedi. I doubt anyone has any second thoughts that this is going to be a reference to Rey by the end of the film. And even if it means Luke, it really doesn't matter much to me at the moment. I don't want to talk about those possibilities, Rey's heritage, or Luke’s possible death in the upcoming film. I want to talk about something a bit larger thematically.