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– by Nick Doll

Welcome to Breaking Geek, a weekly column where uber-geek Nick Doll offers commentary and reactions to the most interesting news of the week, using his expansive knowledge of all things geek!

My opinions are awesome, but more importantly, I want to hear from you! Please agree with me in the comment section after you read Breaking Geek, or, even better, let’s start a fun argument/discussion with our fellow geeks!

Rejoice! Black Panther First Reactions Are In!

Black Panther has officially been seen in the wild, and the reactions are positive!

Podcaster and YouTuber John Campea (@johncampea on Twitter) called Black Panther, “Fav MCU film since Civil War.”

Omega Underground’s Patrick “PJ” Campbell (@pj_campbell) went even farther tweeting, “It may be the strongest film in the MCU since The Winter Soldier.”

But, Geeks of Color (@GeeksOfColor) went for the highest praise of all, “Black Panther is the best MCU movie ever.”

Fandango’s Managing Editor Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) echoed what director Ryan Cooglar and Forest Whitaker have told us before, writing, “Black Panther is exceptional – the James Bond of the MCU” and it “is unlike anything Marvel has ever done.”

Obviously, all the Marvel Studios directors and actors were also impressed. That’s part of their job, whether they loved them film or not (but I believe them! They loved the film!).

But, as always, we should be a bit wary of all this praise. The reporters who get to see Black Panther first are generally our type of people, people inclined to love a superhero movie even more than the general audiences and especially general critics. After all, early buzz from first screenings of Batman V Superman said the film was fantastic, with more mainstream critics and even comic book fans later saying, “maybe not so much.”

That being said, it does depend who you trust more, a geeky person like yourself, or the uninitiated who are paid to watch movies every week, even the ones they don’t want to see. Generally, I like to see a positive reaction from both, which is also not always the case, with critics praising Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and fans being more split over the issue, to say the least.

Even if these early reactions couldn’t agree how high to rank Black Panther on their Marvel Cinematic Universe list, there is one thing all did seem to agree on; Michael B. Jordan is destined to be one of the best villains in the MCU, if not the best cinematic villain since Heath Ledger’s Joker!

Michael B. Jordan Said To Play “Top Tier” MCU Villain. Will He Join My Top 5?

Most the praise for Black Panther surrounds Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Erik Killmonger, the main villain of the film.

The Wrap’s Phil Owen (@philrowen) wrote, “Give Michael B Jordan an Oscar,” continuing “Like for real Michael B Jordan’s Killmonger is the new Heath Ledger’s Joker. The standard.”

/Film’s Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) tweeted, “the antagonist actually has an arc with emotional motivations.”

Collider’s Kristian Harloff (@KristianHarloff) claims Black Panther “has one of the best villains in the MCU.”

Finally, CNN’s Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) says the film “includes, in Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger, a top tier villain for Marvel or otherwise. He owns every scene he’s in.”

Based on the trailer, I was expecting as much. Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger looks like a very unique, down-to-Earth type of villain with both danger and class. He looks damn sophisticated in some scenes, and terrifying in others. His biggest weakness, I am guessing, is having the exact same suit and powerset as the hero, a problem that plagues many Marvel films.

The MCU still has a villain problem. So, a great villain in Killmonger would be much appreciated and well overdue. That being said, here’s my current list of favorite MCU villains, ranked favorite to fifth favorite. Hopefully Killmonger will knock one off the list!

SPOILERS AHEAD for any MCU movie including said characters:

1) Adrian Toomes / Vulture (Michael Keaton) – Spider-Man: Homecoming
He’s mean, he’s green, and he’s Peter Parker’s crush’s dad. Vulture is an amazing villain right down to his new concept; he is a literal vulture, stealing scraps from alien tech to make a living. His suit was earned over the course of an “Eight Years Later” title card, rather than him stealing it or being a genius scientist. He’s the working man’s villain, providing one of the most tense car rides in the history of cinema, following the MCU’s most shocking reveal.

2) Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) – Captain America: Civil War
Zemo got to finish what Ultron started, “tearing part them [the Avengers] apart, from the inside.” Zemo may not have powers, or a flashy suit, but that’s why he’s so great. Best of all, he may be the most successful villain in the MCU, as he did crumble the Avengers “empire” from within. As Zemo himself says “I have experience… and patience. A Man can do anything if he has those.” Scary!

3) The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
He’s got the very popular Marvel trend of a metal arm. Just look at Cable in Deadpool 2. Metal arms are in fashion! Aside from being able to catch Cap’s shield, Winter Soldier has the added advantage of destroying Steve Rogers emotionally, without even trying. He is literally invulnerable to Rogers, who gives up in the final fight in Captain America: The Winter Soldier rather than kill his friend. And, he was part of Zemo’s plan to destroy the Avengers. Good God, Bucky! What have you become?

4) Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Nothing like Robert Redford stabbing you in the back. He’s charming on the surface, yet a diabolical Hydra agent in secret. ‘Nuff Said!

5) Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok
I mean, he’s one of the best MCU characters, period. Though not necessarily a villain in all the films listed above, one thing is clear, Loki should never be trusted! Loki is the one villain on this list that gets to be flamboyant and cackle at our heroes while destroying a city. He puts the “comic” in comic book villain.

As you can see, with the exception of Loki, my current list of favorite villains are the most down-to-Earth variety. The most “realistic,” per say. These types of characters often have the most terrifying and effective schemes that surpass their bigger and badder MCU villainous brethren. Because, what’s scarier than something that boarders on reality?

Ant-Man And The Wasp Trailer Proves Marvel Studios Isn’t Afraid Of Anything!

Has anyone else noticed the difference in Marvel Studios’ trailers up through 2016 vs the trailers we’ve seen since?

Marvel took some pretty big risks in choosing which characters to use by 2016, past the already risky original Avengers who were all B characters – except for Hulk — before their big screen debut, including the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and, of course, Ant-Man.

The first Guardians of the Galaxy had quite the bold teaser trailer, but compare it to the teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and it is quite tame. Ant-Man, the next “risky” superhero film Marvel would release, had a trailer with a more subdued tone more akin to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with just a few Paul Rudd quips. The teaser trailer tried to tone down the film’s uniqueness/weirdness, not focusing on Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) riding and “talking” to Ants, but rather on the more basic Marvel tenants fans already loved. The teaser for Doctor Strange gave us dizzying visuals, but again played it safer than the film itself, and banked on the star power of Benedict Cumberbatch to get fans to accept magic in the MCU.

But, ever since the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer, Marvel has (mostly) let their freak flag fly! Thor: Ragnarok’s humor was completely unexpected when the first trailer hit in 2017, Black Panther has perhaps the coolest and most “hip” trailer to date for Marvel Studios, and Ant-Man and the Wasp just threw all the weird stuff they wouldn’t have dared show us years ago right into the trailer! All these trailer revel in being totally in your face and not a watered down version of the film itself simply to attract those who aren’t into Marvel’s “weird” sci-fi. Marvel is confident as hell and doesn’t care if you think something is too “out there,” at this point.

Side Note: The Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer played it too safe with familiar imagery and too much Tony Stark, because Sony and Marvel couldn’t afford to biff that one. Likewise, the Avengers: Infinity War teaser doesn’t feel as shocking as trailers like Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Ant-Man and the Wasp, but it doesn’t have to; that film likely does have the tone of Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, and will appeal to the largest audience no matter the trailer.

Marvel is finally having fun, without a care in the world it would seem, putting the weirdest and most eye-catching material in the trailer, as it should be. They just had to build the brand first. Now, we get incredibly shrinking buildings that act like luggage, a car chase with a shrinking van, and a giant weaponized Hello Kitty pez dispenser than would make Deadpool jealous.

And how about that mysterious villain, Ghost? Though we don’t know her motivations yet, she has a look and a powerset that could land her on the list of the MCU’s coolest villains, at least…

Metropolis TV Show Sounds Like A Bigger Mistake Than Gotham

What’s next? A TV show called Themyscira featuring baby Wonder Woman or no Wonder Woman at all?

Look, I have a love/hate relationship with Gotham and as a result, I have only seen the first two seasons. I love that the show uses characters we haven’t seen on the big screen like Dr. Hugo Strange. I hate that it treats the origins of all these characters like it’s Batman Returns. That is, to hell with the origins, let’s do whatever is cool!

I hate that young Bruce Wayne knows young Selina Kyle and Ivy. I hate that characters who appear in Gotham as a result of the Batman presence in the comics, have already been introduced while Bruce Wayne is still a teenager. I hate that villains Batman should be defeating later in his life are dispatched by Gordon and Bullock, though I love that Harvey Bullock is a main character! It just reminds me of Suicide Squad; I want to like the show because I like these characters and Batman, but these are not versions of characters that I recognize or enjoy.

Excuse my tangent, but Gotham should have taken place with an established Batman, with Gordon and Bullock still our main characters. They have conversations with Batman on rooftops, and once and a while we see him in action, but mostly this is the same show, only set in a time period where it makes sense to see Joker and friends show up. Like the comic Gotham Central.

This new Metropolis TV show somehow sounds like an even bigger disaster as far as appeasing fans of the source material.

Seriously, a show that focuses on Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, “as they investigate the world of fringe science and expose the city’s dark and bizarre secrets?” What? What? What?

That sounds like we’re getting characters like Brainiac potentially… in a world without Superman…

This premise makes less sense to me than Gotham! At least that show has two interesting leads in Bullock and Gordon that drive the action forward by being cops. Watching a reporter and a madman face likely alien threats in a city without Superman? If Gotham does work to an extent, it sounds like Metropolis wouldn’t work at all.

I mean, how young is Lois if Clark is still in Smallville? Let that question begin to worry you before you think about this flawed concept even more!


Now, I want to hear from YOU! Agree with my opinions? Think I’m wrong about everything? Let me know! Let’s get some fun discussions and arguments going in the comment section below.

That’s the entire point, so join me, my fellow geeks, and let me know what YOU THINK!

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