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Opinion | Why Affleck Is Right About Superhero Movies

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The whole “superhero vs. cinema” debate has been talked about ad nauseam, but add Ben Affleck to the list of actors who have put out their sort of opinion about the genre that he was once a part of. For those who don’t know, and for context, Affleck played Daredevil in the 2003 adaptation of the same name, along with Batman in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Justice League, and finally, Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Take it from someone who has done nothing but small movies recently, with the exception of reshoots for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, franchise movies are killing the spotlight for non-franchise movies. Note: Not the theatrical experience, as people are still going in droves to see No Way Home which is great for theaters, but the ability to see something other than Tom Holland at their local movie theater.

Affleck’s quote was pretty clear, talking to Entertainment Weekly, the Good Will Hunting star said: “Hey, I’m so into the Marvel Universe, I can’t wait to see what happens next.” And there’ll be 40 movies a year theatrically, probably, all IP, sequel, animated.” He would then go on to mention The Last Duel, the Ridley Scott film that he starred in this last fall that had critical acclaim but underperformed at the box office, only making $30.5 million worldwide according to Box Office Mojo. The Last Duel did top VOD charts, so at least they can hang their hat on something.

When reading Affleck’s quote, some may roll their eyes at yet another person using Marvel as their example, but the numbers back it up. The top ten highest-grossing movies of 2021 domestically were all franchise movies of the prequel, sequel, and franchise kickstarter assortment. The first original movie to come up (not counting Free Guy or Jungle Cruise, which obviously have hopes for sequels) was another Ridley Scott movie, House of Gucci. Hell, Disney accounted for a quarter of the entirety of 2021’s domestic box office (CNBC), with Sony, by the power of Spider-Man: No Way Home and Venom: Let There Be Carnage, coming in at second place.

Ben Affleck photographed exclusively for EW on December 8, 2020, in LA.

Nothing that Affleck said above is wrong. Argo, Affleck’s Oscar-winning 2012 film, likely would be relegated to a streaming series. Hell, Martin-freaking-Scorsese had to make The Irishman for Netflix and his next film, Killers of the Flower Moon, for Apple. And look, thank God for streaming, or else these voices wouldn’t get to share their work. Ricky Gervais’ After Life has resided on Netflix for each of its three seasons, and it’s some of his best work. But what is depressing is that movies like Affleck’s The Tender Bar, which is not a perfect movie by any means, get a limited theatrical run before heading to Prime Video, a common practice nowadays for films without a post-credits scene.

And I should be the first to say, that I am very blessed to experience the number of movies I do at press screenings. If I hadn’t made a screening to see Flee, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, or The Tragedy of Macbeth to name a few, I likely would have missed them before they hit streaming. My local AMC usually does a decent job of getting the smaller releases, they had India Sweets and Spices for a week, but all three mentioned in the previous sentence were nowhere to be found at any point of their theatrical run. And I know that The Tragedy of Macbeth is heading to Apple TV+ this Friday, but it’s a visual spectacle more than anything, and seeing it on the big screen probably enhanced my enjoyment rather than watching the Bergman-like imagery on a laptop.

I must also disclose that screeners do have a certain level of convenience. Sometimes the commute into New York or Philadelphia does not outweigh the enjoyment of sitting in bed watching The Night House or Annette, so I cannot act like I am not guilty of opting for a screener, but there are also times where there isn’t a choice.

I’m also not trying to kid myself, not every movie needs a big-screen to fully experience the movie, but that also doesn’t mean that filmmakers who don’t make movies about men in tights should instantly be thrown onto a streaming service, with a limited theatrical run in New York and Los Angeles as the coveted added bonus.

Ben Affleck photographed exclusively for EW on December 8, 2020, in LA.

There are some filmmakers that seem to get theatrical runs; Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch expanded and was playing in almost every theater around me, Licorice Pizza has been going steady at the box office, hell, House of Gucci, by the same director of the financial flop that was The Last Duel, is still selling out showings almost two full months into its run.

The financial side of things is a whole other issue. Yes, of course, the film industry is a money-making business at the end of the day, but there has to be some middle ground that allows mid-budget/small-budget movies to see the light of day. There’s just something about seeing a comedy like Don’t Look Up in a crowded theater full of laughter that makes the movie funnier than watching it at home.

Look, at the end of the day, this is just my opinion and I am completely aware that people will go and see No Way Home for their sixth rewatch instead of The Worst Person in the World. I cannot act like I don’t catch the latest MCU movie, but I also make an effort to catch Spencer while it’s in theaters or do my rewatch of Licorice Pizza after already seeing it at a press screening at the AMC. I just wish that instead of asking people to cancel their reservation to see Nightmare Alley in an effort to open up auditoriums for No Way Home, Matrix Resurrections, etc., we let those films have at least one showtime. And none of what Affleck said was about the quality of the Marvel movies, that’s a whole different debate, it’s just the silencing of voices in the industry. With it seeming like the number of Marvel movies only rises every year, film lovers can only pray that Dr. Strange could cast that forgetting spell on moviegoers with the Peter Parker in this scenario being the MCU, DCEU, and any other franchise that has dominated the box office in recent years. Even Tom Brady and the Bill Belichick-led New England Patriots lost in the playoffs (thank you, Eli Manning) every once in a while.

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Andrew is an entertainment journalist and film "critic" who has written for the likes of Above the Line, Below the Line, Collider, Film Focus Online, /Film and The Hollywood Handle among others. Leader of the Kaitlyn Dever Fanclub.

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Comic Book Movies

X-Men ’97 Review | Nostalgic, Epic & Marvelous!

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X-Men '97 (Disney)

Get ready for action-packed adventure, many surprise cameos and a storyline that takes

Plot

A band of mutants use their uncanny gifts to protect a world that hates and fears them; they’re challenged like never before, forced to face a dangerous and unexpected new future.

X-Men ’97 (Disney)

Review

X-Men ’97 is a revival of the classic 1990s animated television series. The storyline picks up directly after the events of the original series, maintaining continuity and preserving the beloved elements that made the original a hit show back in the day. Many of the original voice cast members have returned, including Cal Dodd as Wolverine, Lenore Zann as Rogue, George Buza as Beast, Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm and Adrian Hough as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler, which adds a layer of originality and contributes to the overall nostalgia of the television show​. Here I’m feeling like a little kid again, watching the show on a Saturday morning. I was 7 years old when it was on television in the early mornings, and it still brings back fond memories.

There were a number of new stars who joined the show such as Ray Chase who replaced Norm Spencer as Cyclops, Jennifer Hale who replaced Catherine Disher as Jean Grey, Holly Chou who replaced Alyson Court as Jubilee, A.J. LoCascio as Gambit, Matthew Waterson as Magneto, J.P. Karliak as Morph, Isaac Robinson-Smith as Bishop, Ross Marquand as Professor Charles Xavier and Gui Agustini as Roberto da Costa/Sunspot.

X-Men ’97 (Disney)

The series starts off in a world where the X-Men grapple with the loss of Professor Charles Xavier. Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty, Magneto rises to the occasion and becomes the new leader of the X-Men. This provides additional drama and the team dynamics is frequently tested with the new leadership. While dealing with the new leadership dynamics the X-Men finds themselves still dealing with people who would stop at nothing to end all mutants. The storyline doesn’t hold back on the action sequences and themes such as grief, loss and acceptance are touched on throughout the series.

The trailer of the show doesn’t spoil anything for the viewer, and I highly encourage you to watch every intro and try to spot any new changes. The show provides many cameos and easter eggs, keeping my hopes alive of a potential crossover.

The story ends with a twist, leaving you hungry for the next season, and as any Marvel movie or television show would have it, a mid-credits scene to whet your appetite for what’s to come. If you are new to X-Men you can still jump in and watch the television series, but I highly recommend watching the original series to get you up to date with most of the lore and history of the X-Men.

X-Men ’97 keeps the legacy of our favorite mutants alive with a well-written story that is filled with emotion, surprises and promises of more adventures.

Thank you Beau DeMayo for an eXcellent story! I rate this show a 5 out of 5!

Will we skip the intro song? No! I don’t think we will. Make sure to catch the show on Disney Plus!

https://youtu.be/mp1Pax-QHlA?si=-fFlVYBRIPnLQyVO
X-Men ’97 Final Trailer (Marvel Entertainment)

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Comic Book Movies

Deadpool & Wolverine | Trailer

The irresponsible hero Deadpool will change the history of the MCU with Wolverine!?

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Genre:

Action, Comedy, Sci-fi

Release Date:

July 26, 2024

Director:

Shawn Levy

Cast:

Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, Morena Baccarin

Plot Summary:

The irresponsible hero Deadpool will change the history of the MCU with Wolverine!?

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Comic Book Movies

The Penguin | Official Teaser — HBO Max

Following the events of ‘The Batman,’ Oswald Cobblepot, aka The Penguin, makes a play to grab the reigns of the crime world in Gotham.

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Genre:

Crime, Drama, Fantasy

Release Date:

2024

Director:

Craig Zobel

Cast:

Colin Farrell, Cristin Milioti, Rhenzy Feliz

Plot Summary:

Following the events of ‘The Batman,’ Oswald Cobblepot, aka The Penguin, makes a play to grab the reigns of the crime world in Gotham.

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