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‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Concept Art Highlights Sixth Member of Sinister Six

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‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Concept Art Highlights Sixth Member of Sinister Six

Instead of the “Fearsome Five” – okay, Internet journalism that’s too much crossover kablooie for even this Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios collaboration to handle, after all this isn’t an Amalgam Universe – Marvel Cinematic Universe fans almost got to see the Sinister Six in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The movie kicked off immediately after Spider-Man: Far From Home, beginning with Daily Bugle (and Silk’s Threats and Menaces) editor J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) revealing that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Thanks to recently released concept art, it seems as if there was a version of the film that included the return of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck, also known as Mysterio, who would have been the sixth member of the Sinister Six.

After years of rumors and speculation, to absolutely no one’s surprise unless they lived under a cobweb, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield made their triumphant return to the live-action Spider-verse. With several early leaks showing images of the two actors’ return and with the film now watched by millions all over the world, Marvel is starting to roll out some official images of all three Spideys in costume to keep the film’s box office showings strong. Although the success of the Spider-Man: No Way Home was jokingly blamed by SNL for contributing to the rising rates in COVID-19 cases across America, and faulted by some critics for the way it handled some of the Peter Parker-verse’s biggest mistakes like the perpetual fridging of strong female characters like Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) to bring about emotional development for the male hero’s return, fans have continued to thwip up tickets to Spider-Man: No Way Home theatrical showings across the world.

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As the story of the film goes, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his friends don’t get into college because of fake news planted by Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio; i.e., the leaked footage that J. Jonah Jameson shows to a terrified Times Square at the beginning of Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, Parker doesn’t appeal the decision like a typical senior in high school. Instead, he asks Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to blow open the doors of the multiverse to fix a problem that many 18-year-olds with means face upon graduating from high school: not getting into the college of your choice.

But Where Are the Sinister Six?

Doctor Strange doesn’t ask Parker if he appealed the college’s decision, the former Sorcerer Supreme just says yes to the young, naive hero’s request. Attempting to cast a spell to make everyone forget Spider-Man, things go terribly wrong and Spider-Man heroes and villains from across the Marvel Multiverse began to enter the main Marvel Cinematic Universe. Everybody from Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock to Jamie Foxx’s Electro to Rhys Ifans’ The Lizard appeared in the story before the three Spider-Men cured them and sent them back to their worlds. As more villains were announced as part of the cast, the idea of the Sinister Six in the MCU seemed like a real possibility—although the supervillain team didn’t appear to make the final cut.


But new concept art from Andrew Reeder shows that there was a version of Spider-Man: No Way Home that did include the Sinister Six, including Mysterio, who were introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964) #1 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, with lettering by S. Rosen, when Spidey has to save his Aunt May and Daily Bugle reporter Betty Brant from the six super villain’s sinister machinations. Although it’s unclear how involved Mysterio was in the original plot of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the recently released concept art shows a version of the movie that at least included Beck at the film’s final fight at the Statue of Liberty.

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Reeder released the Spider-Man: No Way Home concept art on his own art site and profile that shows Mysterio using similar powers to Spider-Man: Far From Home. The artist’s personal page also included other designs and behind-the-scenes looks at the Peter Parkers’ Three adventure. See the photo of Mysterio’s return in the Culture Cave tweet below:



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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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