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Who Will Be the Next Iron Man? Avengers: Endgame Spoilers

With Captain America handing his shield to Falcon, one of Marvel’s next heroes has already been chosen. The question remains: Who is Tony Stark’s successor? Iron Man is too hot a property to leave languishing because of a simple death. Here are the top prospects for Marvel’s next Iron Man.

Spider-Man: The trailers for “Spider-Man: Far from Home” make it seem like the world is looking for a new Iron Man. Peter Parker felt like Stark was his mentor, and his sense of duty requires that he try to take up the mantle. Parker invented his web shooters, so he has the engineering acumen to take up the Stark suit improvement mentality. He also has a suit made by Stark that he can improve upon and reverse engineer, and his relationship with Happy would probably give him access to the resources of Stark Industries – resources his aunt can’t provide.

But making Spider-Man the next Iron Man removes Spider-Man from the movie scene. It might work for a couple of movies, but ultimately, it hamstrings the opportunity to make more money from two popular franchises. Since Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man, Peter Parker is probably not going to be the next Iron Man. The world may need a new Iron Man, but it won’t be Peter Parker unless the MCU wants to introduce a live action Miles Morales.

War Machine or Iron Patriot: James Rhodes is the first one on the scene of Tony Stark’s death. He has an Iron Man inspired suit with more weapons. Marvel has already proven that it can take second rate properties and turn them into blockbusters, and Don Cheadle is no chump actor. He could carry a movie. The only things standing in his way are resources and the ability to engineer new suits. Rhodes has yet to show his genius side.

Pepper Potts: “We’re going to be okay. You can rest now.” Pepper Potts to Tony Stark, “Avengers: Endgame.” This statement could be Pepper taking the mantle from Tony. The “we” she is referring to could be her and her daughter, or it could be the planet Earth. Pepper may be signaling to Tony that she is ready to take on the responsibility of the suit. She has a different demeanor than Tony, but she is adept at managing resources and has the financial wherewithal to keep improving her Iron Man suit.

Morgan Stark: Sure, Morgan’s only five in “Avengers: Endgame,” but she could don the suit in as early as nine years (She’s already shown a penchant for wearing the suit parts). She’d be 14, which is still young, but if she has inherited the Stark genius and the Stark determination, there’d be nothing that could stop her. Picture Morgan teaming up with Pepper in Iron Man suits and imagine what kind of powerful story that could be. It would also give people time enough to heal from the death of her father while she isn’t healed herself. Who would she take revenge against?

Harley, the boy from Iron Man 3: At the end of Iron Man 3, Harley has a dream workshop and a Potato Gun Mark 2. There’s every indication that Stark kept in touch with his protégé, and Harley is at the funeral. Harley would likely have the Stark resources, like Peter would, and he has proven he can build things. If he’s worked hard at it, he may be able to invent and modify with the best of them.

Robert Downey Jr. from another universe: The multi-verse has been revealed. Any hero can come back at any time, and they can come back differently. Iron Man could return exactly as he was, but what if in his universe, he lost Pepper and Morgan? How would that make him different? What if the next Iron Man pits Pepper and Morgan against a Tony Stark bent on taking them to another universe? Would they go or would he kidnap them?

Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man seems to be to popular to leave dead, but Marvel will achieve the most integrity if they don’t bring him back. Except this is a comics universe: No one ever truly dies. Tell us who you think will be the next Iron Man in the comments.

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‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ – Farther Than You Think

Spider-Man went to space. That’s far from home. Going to Europe, while a nice diversion and, in Earthly dimensions, far from New York, it just can’t be considered that far from home for Peter Parker. It’s Europe, and he’s coming from the East Coast. But that’s just part of the story.

In the spoiler trailer released after “Avengers: Endgame,” the multi-verse is unveiled, and Nick Fury recruits Spider-Man to join forces with Mysterio against the monsters from Mysterio’s Earth. Fury tells Peter “We have a job to do, and you’re coming with us.” If Peter, Fury and Maria Hill are headed into the multi-verse, Spider-Man will be far from home. And it’ll be farther than anyone else on our Earth has ever been.

Kevin Feige has said that “Spider-Man: Far From Home” ends the MCU’s third phase. With its reveal of a multi-verse and Avengers’ time machine that could also serve as a fountain of youth if they run time through a person rather than the person through time, no character is safely dead, and many could return with different personalities and different motivations. Imagine the Captain America story where he is actually a Hydra agent… It’s out there in the multi-verse and could bring Chris Evans back.

For now, we just have to believe that the “Spider-Man: Far from Home” trailer is as misleading and spoiler-free as every other Marvel movie trailer. We also know that Peter Parker is going to have to live up to the mantle he feels has been passed to him (as well as some serious peer pressure from Nick Fury).

Check out “Spider-Man: Far From Home” – Not as Far as You Think.

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Endgame Spoilers: Playing with the F-Word ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Trolls the Trolls

This article contains spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame.” If you haven’t seen it, yet, seriously? You haven’t seen it, yet? Okay, well, since things on the Internet are forever and this could be read sometime in the future, if you haven’t seen it yet, book mark this page and come back to it. If you have seen “Endgame” then continue on after the trailer.

There is a certain segment of the movie going (and general) population whose trigger word is “feminism.” They came out against “Ghostbusters,” so hard that Leslie Jones had to delete her Twitter account. They’ve joined forces to harass “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” star Kelly Marie Tran into leaving social media.

The problem is so bad that when Rotten Tomatoes recognized campaigns to sink “Captain Marvel” “Black Panther” and “Star Wars: Episode IX” through bad reviews before the films were released, it changed its policy for reviewing films and only allowed people to review films after they had been released. That same anti-“Captain Marvel” campaign was addressed by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi in a class act social media post about how those actions actually hurt fandoms. People can like both films.

All of this plays into one amazing scene in “Avengers: Endgame.” All of the women on the battlefield during the confrontation with Thanos and his army come together on the screen to relieve Spider-Man and keep the gauntlet away from Thanos. It’s a glorious scene and sequence.

My first thought was “OMG! They did it. I can’t believe they did it. It’s amazing.” My second thought was “OMG! They did it. I can’t believe they did it. The trolls are going to be talking about this scene and deriding the movie because of it.” And they did come out to comment, which is unfortunate because one of the comments was a ridiculous “It’s not even realistic that all these women could get together on a chaotic battlefield to make this scene work.”

Let’s just take this comment at face value. “It’s not realistic…” This battle is literally about one thing: Getting the Infinity Gauntlet and keeping it away from Thanos. That’s all this battle is about. It’s not about killing the army on Thanos’ side. It’s not about counting bodies. It’s not about anything but Thanos and the gauntlet. Every eye in that battle, especially on the Avengers side, should be on that gauntlet and where it is at all times. Yes, you don’t want to get taken out by one of Thanos’ minions, but you also don’t want to get taken out by a second snap. So, when the women heard Spider-Man was in trouble, they all gathered to protect the him and the gauntlet.

Now, let’s move on to the more important point: “It’s not realistic…” We are talking about a movie where a rage monster merged with a genius and became a green, hulking scientist with little penchant for smashing things. This movie also featured an Asgardian getting a beer belly, half the beings in the universe having been snapped away, and stones holding sway over space, time, souls, reality, mind and power. Women were riding winged horses. Aliens were coming out of there spaceships. A man had grown to the size of skyscraper. A majority of the main cast had traveled through time, and many of the rest of them were resurrected after being dead for five years. Yes, it’s not realistic. It’s a comic book movie.

And let’s examine one more point: Comic team-ups are the best, especially for those who are less interested in comics. As a kid, I didn’t have a lot of money for comic books, so when I did buy them, they were either really cheap and secondhand or they were a comic that included a team-up. The return of almost the entire 11 years of Marvel superheroes at the beginning of the battle was powerful. Having the women team-up in the middle of the battle was also powerful. It was that moment of awe and wonder. They were both fan services, just for different types of fans.

For anyone who would criticize this scene, it’s important to realize what the scene really is and why you’re reacting to it negatively. Chances are, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find that you don’t like its implications of change at a cultural level. It does represent a shift in the status quo, and there’s no going back, no matter how much you fight, whine, complain and troll. What you should realize, though, is this shift is going to make it possible for your favorite comic book characters to survive. As more people enjoy the movies, the profits will funnel to the Marvel division of Disney and they will keep the comic books themselves on the shelves.

If you love Marvel comics, you should be grateful for everyone who saw “Avengers: Endgame” regardless of their politics and the fan service paid to them. Instead of wasting your time trolling, step into the light of a new day and find your power for positive transformation – like Bruce Banner and the Hulk. Maybe, you’ll even realize that scene wasn’t a fan service, it was a way to troll the trolls.

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Disney Fox Merger Sounds Death Knell for Creatives

Book cover for Penguinate! The Disney Company

The official merger of Disney and Fox has sounded the death knell for creativity. While scooping up Fox’s assets is the right business decision for Disney, it is one that writers, movie makers, ad executives and other creatives should fear.

With Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Fox, and its own studio, Disney will own an estimated 40% of the box office. The merger allows Disney to exercise economies of scale and negotiating power not seen this side of Wal-Mart.

Writers already face enormous competition to get their stories read. Every indie writer out there who wants to see their stories on the big screen has just had their chances reduced by one major player. Making a living as a writer is difficult enough without having Fox’s ability to seek out new storylines withdrawn from the market.

Looking at Disney’s upcoming movie slate, Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King are remakes of animated films. Dumbo will have to lose the crows. Will Smith will have to do his own genie thing because it would be ridiculous to copy Robin Williams. Other than that, these three films look to be Xerox photo copies of their animated counterparts. We’ve already seen them and we’re going to see them again.

The sequels list is longer. With Avengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4, Spider-Man: Far from Home (though not as far as you might think), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Frozen II and Star Wars Episode IX on the slate, there is hardly any room for an original idea. While sequels can bring something new to franchise, they don’t require as much risk taking or creativity to make.

Which leaves Disney with Artemis Fowl and with DisneyNature’s Penguins as its only non-sequel, non-remake movies coming out in 2019. With 11 films left on the slate, Disney has one new story that will probably flop and a documentary to offer. Take a moment to ponder that.

Even if Disney remains true to form and let’s Fox operate the way Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm have, Fox was depending on its Avatar sequels and X-Men films to keep it in the black. Films Disney was already on board with.

Creativity will have to come from film makers with smaller budgets who, despite lacking marketing savvy and budgets for said marketing, have a film hit big. Like writers, these smaller film makers will have to find a way to cut through the noise of modern media and its giants to harness the power of going viral, and they’re going to need you to help. It’s going to be an uphill battle for creative people to get out there, but it always has been.

(Full disclosure: I own Disney Stock ad will go see all the Disney/Marvel/Pixar branded movies they make.)

For more thoughts on the Disney company, preorder “Penguinate! The Disney Company.” For more on creativity, buy “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Order “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.”

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‘Avengers: Endgame’ faces impossible challenge after ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

The problem with “Avengers: Infinity War” is the way it ended and what we knew about the next Marvel movies. Basically, Thanos’ snap eliminated the newest half of the Marvel Universe, including most of Ant-Man’s allies, leaving the old heroes to find a way to avenge the snap, which would fit in perfectly with what Tony Stark told Loki in the first Avengers film and serve as a way to tie the franchise together.

However, the upcoming movie slate after Infinity War includes “Spider-Man: Far from Home” (eliminating the emotional impact of his demise in Infinity War), “Black Panther” (which could possibly give rise to a female Black Panther because T’challa was dusted), “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” (though James Gunn departure after a controversy left this in doubt, Kevin Feige says it’s still on; it could team Rocket with the Reavers and/or Nebula) and “Doctor Strange 2” (which at this point I don’t have an observations on, except its Benedict Cumberbatch, and Mysterio looks like he uses magic).

With all of these movies, and the stars whose contracts are expiring – Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) – as well as the apparent good byes and statements that some won’t be returning to the roles, there is no way for the Marvel Universe to continue without a complete reversal of an entire movie. This seems like it has all kinds of potential to go lame though that type of action has happened before – most notably in the last episode of “Twin Peaks” season 3.

One twist for Endgame could turn the Marvel Universe on its head. What if all the characters that died were the ones to survive, and the audience saw the dusting from the characters’ who actually died point of view? This would mean Rocket died, which would make sense because it has already been stated that he doesn’t have a long lifespan as a raccoon. It would also mean that Bruce Banner is dead, but the hulk isn’t necessarily dead. This type of reveal would make it easier to accept the Nick Fury/Spider-Man alliance. It could be interesting to see how the old characters deal with the reality of their demise while the mirror splits back to the new characters who did actually survive.

At this point though, “Avengers: Endgame,” which releases on April 26, 2019, lacks the stakes that Infinity War had during its run. The new characters are going to come back, and no one will be surprised when the old characters die. Marvel has more creative people than me working for it, and just because the general outcome of the movie is known doesn’t mean it won’t be good. But because we already know so much about it beyond the movie itself, it may not be engaging, especially if Peter Parker comes back and is threatened with death again. He’s already got a movie coming out, and it has a trailer. (Check out other movie related posts.)

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‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’; just not as far as you might think

In spite of its implications for “Avengers: Endgame,” Sony has released a “Spider-Man: Far from Home” trailer, which clearly shows that Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, is alive and well and on Earth, and so is Nick Fury. The “Far from Home” title doesn’t indicate Spider-Man is still in space. Instead, he’s in Europe. Seriously, Europe? That’s far from home after traveling to the planet Titan? Oh, I have so many questions.

The first question is: How does this school have so much money? When I was in school, we had to have permission slips, our parents had to pay, and we barely got to go on a field trip to the park across the strip in elementary school. Flash forward to high school, and I had zero field trips. Nowadays, it seems like it would be even more difficult. With schools cutting budgets for the arts and fun while focusing on the core of reading and arithmetic, how does Spider-Man’s school have enough money to take the kids to Washington, D.C. much less Europe? The cost of insurance alone would be staggering. What school district does Parker go to?

Peter Parker is supposed to be poor, right? Even if his aunt can afford to put him in an upscale school, can she afford all these trips and their associated costs? Is Stark footing the bill? Was the fundraiser at the beginning really for Spider-Man?

How do his classmates not figure out he’s Spider-Man? Kids aren’t that dumb. Spider-Man shows up in Europe at the same time as the class? He was also in D.C. and saved MJ and disappeared from a bus while there was a super fight going on outside. Maybe it’s a case of Clark Kent’s glasses.

“Peter Parker here to pick up a passport, please” tongue twister? How many times did Tom Holland have to say that before he got it right?

Are we going to get a Doctor Strange/Spider-Man crossover? Mysterio seems to be using the same kind of magic as Strange does, and we all know Doctor Strange is coming back from Thanos’ snap, just like Spider-Man and Nick Fury.

Spider-Man is facing off against the elements. All of the monsters have the same form but are made from one of the four elements – fire, earth and water. Only wind is left out. I’m not sure how to phrase that as a question, just more of an observation.

If you have answers or more questions, leave them in the comments below. Check out more of my movie-related commentary. Watch for my “Avengers: Endgame” commentary coming soon!

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EXCELSIOR, Stan Lee!

Stan Lee’s death isn’t a tragedy; he lived a long life full of creativity, which inspired and comforted millions of fans. He gave us characters and comic books that will live on. While We may be saddened at our lost, Stan Lee gave us the greatest gifts he could while he lived. That is what we must treasure, hold onto and emulate.

If his passing has dimmed the world’s light even a little, it is up to us, as his legions, to continue his legacy, to continue to create and to give the world stories that make people feel alive, feel better and feel less alone. If we can’t create the stories, we can aspire to be the people Stan Lee wrote about. With great power comes great responsibility; we are the ones who will carry on with the power Stan Lee once yielded.

Excelsior!

Thank you FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention for giving me the opportunity to see Stan in person. https://penguinate.weebly.com/stan-lee-violence-and-misc-notes-from-salt-lake-comic-con-2013.html