Categories
Consoles Gaming

ONE37pm’s Official ‘Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy’ Review

Back in 2014, moviegoers everywhere were genuinely shocked by the overwhelming quality of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy. The once-obscure band of galactic misfits became household names thanks to the combined acting chops of Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and Zoe Saldana (special shout out to Bradley Cooper for his superior voice acting talents as well). Once the Guardians became multimedia darlings, the video game world obviously took notice. But to everyone’s surprise, Telltale Games adopted the IP to create a point-and-click adventure game (which was shockingly good, by the way). Fast forward to 2021 and now we have a big-budget, full-fledged action/adventure epic that’s all about experiencing the madcap adventures of the whole gang. And to this reviewers’ surprise, it’s way better than it has any right to be.

You’d be forgiven for thinking Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is nothing but a reskinned version of Marvel’s Avengers – it sports a similar art design and comes from the same publishing house that put out the much-maligned games-as-a-service title. But the comparisons stop there – this space-faring journey does things a bit differently in regards to combat, dialogue, audio, and so much more. Guardians’ visuals shine thanks to the wide variety of planets you’ll frequently explore – one minute, you’ll be navigating a lost colony filled with debris from a past war. And the next minute, you’ll be traversing a showy expanse ruled by some vicious wildlife. The graphics also shine whenever you get to navigate the Milano and take in every part of the ship’s architecture. It takes a minute to adjust to the new versions of the human/alien Guardians on screen that don’t look anything like their big-screen counterparts, but you’ll quickly get over that nagging issue once you become more familiar with them and even switch up their attires. Guardians’ looks good and sounds damn good too thanks to the soundtrack that offers sweeping orchestral tunes and 80s jams in equal measure.

Most onlookers lamented this game’s decision to only allow players to directly control Star-Lord. This reviewer certainly felt the same way at first since it seemed like a lost opportunity to not have the ability to hack & slash as Drax or Gamora and pull off some combined brutality as Rocket & Groot. But once you dig your heels into the game’s combat system, you’ll quickly get over that feeling and realize the sort of game you’re playing here. Guardians’ combat system feels like a Marvel Comics take on Mass Effect – you’ll whip out Peter Quill’s dual laser shooters to do big damage as your fellow Guardians fight on their own, plus you’ll get to give them commands to truly take control of the battlefield. Battles start out simple enough – you’ll deal some rapid-fire damage as you use your jet boots to dash out of harm’s way and float in the air for a few seconds while your allies aid you close by.

But as you get deeper into the game, the battle system introduces interesting mechanics that make them even more enjoyable. Peter’s elemental guns let you switch up your approach to blasting, you’ll unlock new special attacks for your teammates that work great in tandem with each other, and even get to power up the whole squad for a limited amount of time thanks to a clever huddle mechanic. The combat system truly shines in wide-open areas as the action becomes more manageable when it comes to crowd control, but it falters a bit in tighter quarters since it gets a bit overwhelming when it comes to keeping track of everything going on around you. Mapping Peter’s special abilities to holding down the left thumbstick also feels a bit cumbersome while trying to activate them in the heat of battle. Yet it feels all too good to light up the battlefield with explosive fireworks and rack up your combo multiplier with well-coordinated team attacks. Guardians’ combat mechanics are strengthened by its mix of active combat and incorporation of turn-based mechanics.

Square Enix

From a storyline perspective, Guardians does an excellent job of properly retaining each character’s likable personality traits and featuring them within a lengthy campaign filled with emotional, hilarious, & extra hype moments. The team’s adventure starts out on a simple note as they look to capture and sell a rare creature that will solve all their money woes. But soon enough, they become embroiled in a galaxy-wide crusade that involves an army of religious zealots looking to fulfill some sort of “promise.” Making your way through the game means you’ll get embroiled in tons of segments that allow you to chat with your many allies during some intriguing conversations.

Randomly speaking with everyone and everything is definitely worth doing thanks to the strong voice acting and different dialogue options you can select in order to sway the conversation anywhere you want. You’ll find yourself going out of your way to pick up random items just so you bring them up during a quick chat with one of the other Guardians in an effort to get to know them better. After beating this game, you’ll quickly find yourself ready to experience it all over again just so you can explore all the dialogue options you passed on beforehand and see how they change up certain moments within the story.

Guardians’ has so much going for it, but it’s held back by a lack of polish. While the game works and plays well, for the most part, the myriad bugs and glitches you’ll encounter from time to time are disappointing. Sometimes, the interactable button icon will stay up on the side of the screen even when there’s nothing to interact with. Peter gets randomly stuck on pieces of the environment, too (thankfully, the game resets you to the ground in that instance). At one point in the game, Drax mysteriously followed me around and stood right in front of the camera as I tried to indulge in some serious convos with everyone else on the ship. Future patches will certainly arrive in due time to remedy these annoying issues and make the game feel more complete. But it’s still pretty lame to see those sorts of mechanical issues pop up at the most inopportune moments.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy certainly had me and everyone else worried about its overall quality. But after making my way through its well-paced and action-packed adventure, I came away impressed with what’s on offer here. Focusing on a well-made single-player escapade that’s held up by well-written dialogue, energetic combat sequences, surprise cameos, and so much more was clearly the right way to go for development studio Eidos-Montréal. The litany of annoying bugs and glitches still apparent in the final version definitely sucks and needs to be fixed ASAP. But overall, this Marvel Comics game is far better than one might initially think.

Categories
Culture News

The 30 Best Marvel Graphic Novels of All Time

Spider-Man. The X-Men. Captain America. Iron Man. The Hulk. Captain Marvel. Those iconic heroes and so much more belong to the House of Marvel.

Arguably the world’s top comic book imprint and entertainment powerhouse, Marvel has gifted the world with amazing storylines, beloved characters, and a long line of top-notch blockbusters that have captured the attention of millions. Thanks to the business/creative moves made by innovators such as Martin Goodman, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and several others, Marvel has morphed into a huge facet of American culture and can be throughout every corner of media. On the comic book side of the spectrum, Marvel has produced a wide swath of riveting tales that have been compiled into must-read graphic novels.

We’re here to provide you with the very best stories Marvel has to offer in graphic novel form. The 30 stories we’ve put here before you here perfectly capture the pomp and circumstance comic book fans have become accustomed to when it comes to Marvel.

EXCELSIOR!

1. Secret Wars
Marvel Comics

Secret Wars is one of the most monumental events in not just Marvel Comics history, but comics as a whole. The presence of The Beyonder leads to an epic struggle between the entirety of the Marvel universe and results in a pretty wild plot that sees Doctor Doom end up at the center of that struggle. Secret Wars may not have gotten the most positive reception upon release but over time, it’s garnered a bit of love due to its long-lasting effect on some of Marvel’s greatest characters. Plus the action-packed panels make it an exciting read.

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2. Infinity Gauntlet
Marvel Comics

The all-powerful Thanos gets quoted by anyone and everyone these days thanks to his incredible villain role in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. The story arc that clearly inspired those films and brought the “Mad Titan” to the forefront is this one. Infinity Gauntlet is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to get wrapped up in the Marvel Universe – it follows the Avengers, the New Warriors, the X-Men, Silver Surfer, Adam Warlock, and more as they clash with Thanos & his universe-altering gems.

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3. Hawkeye by Matt Fraction & David Aja
Marvel Comics

Matt Fraction and David Aja’s combined efforts led to a career resurgence for Marvel’s expert bow and arrow wielder, Hawkeye. This Eisner Award-nominated run follows the hero as he comes to grips with a tumultuous life that shows more of his human side over his heroic exploits. When he eventually does get into some superhero hijinks, this series gets even more engrossing as Hawkeye clashes with mobsters and so much more alongside his understudy Kate Hudson & his loyal pup.

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4. Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle
Marvel Comics

The man behind the mask is Tony Stark. And his biggest issue comes in the form of rampant alcoholism. Iron Man: Demon in a Bottle follows Mr. Stark as he’s forced to confront his innermost problem while simultaneously contending with Justin Hammer & his formidable army of baddies. The clever writing included in Demon in a Bottle does an amazing job of handling the difficulty of alcoholism and presents Tony in a more relatable light for readers who’ve been forced to deal with it themselves.

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5. New Avengers Vol. 1: Breakout
Marvel Comics

New Avengers Vol. 1: Breakout takes place after the dissolution of the original Avengers team lineup. With such an important event taking place within the Marvel universe, a concealed evil rises under the surface to take advantage of it all. A series of harmful events leads to two of the original Avengers members reuniting and aligning themselves with a strong class of fellow superheroes. This astounding tale follows the initial formation of the New Avengers during their rebooted run as a superhero collective.

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6. Alias: Ultimate Collection, Book 1
Marvel Comics

If you got sucked into the Jessica Jones show that used to be on Netflix, then it’s definitely worth checking out the series she originated from. Alias: Ultimate Collection, Book 1 showcases a side of Marvel Comics that delivers more mature storytelling, darker humor, and intriguing detective work from the former costumed hero turned private eye. Jessica Jones gets caught up in conspiracy theories, disappearances, and even a date with a beloved superhero. And you’ll end up loving every bit of each and every plot thread.

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7. Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 1: Gifted
Marvel Comics

Marvel’s mutant contingent has been rebooted plenty of times already. One of the best fresh takes on the fan-favorite team comes from creators Joss Whedon and John Cassaday. Astonishing X-Men. Vol. 1: Gifted brings Cyclops and Emma Frost into the picture as they build a new X-Men troupe. A major event that centers around a supposed “mutant cure” goes public and a new foe named Ord comes into the picture, however. With those two obstacles put in place, this new X-Men team has their work cut out for them from the start in the most difficult ways possible.

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8. Captain America: Winter Soldier
Marvel Comics

If you’re reading this right now, then you’re probably one of the many MCU fans who hold the Captain America: The Winter Soldier film in very high regard. The original storyline lifted right from this graphic novel’s pages came to life wonderfully on the big screen, which is why you should pay tribute to those same pages with a thorough read. One of the best Captain America stories of all time features the return of Bucky Barnes, the demise of the Red Skull, and a dangerous group of Red Skull followers who are out to wreak havoc in his wake.

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9. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Marvel Comics

When the X-Men of the 1980s are made aware of their race’s ultimate demise in the future, they’re forced to spring into action to prevent that future from coming to fruition. X-Men: Days of Future Past centers around Kitty Pride as she converges with her future self to help the X-Men prevent a specific event from transpiring in order to save mutantkind from a doomed future. Alongside that monumental story, this graphic novel includes the debut of Alpha Flight and marks the return of the Wendigo. X-Men: Days of Future Past is the quintessential X-Men story from the Silver Age of Comic Books.

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10. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
Marvel Comics

Chris Claremont is regarded as one of the greatest comic book writers of all time. And his biggest claim to fame is his run on the X-Men from 1975 right up until 1991. When he went into graphic novel mode alongside comic book artists Brent Anderson, greatness ensued with the creation of X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. This storyline forces Professor X’s mutants to align themselves with their mortal enemy Magnet in order to confront an overwhelming threat. The religious zealot at the heart of this grand tale raises the stakes for the X-Men and all of mutantkind.

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11. Daredevil: Born Again
Marvel Comics

Frank Miller’s legendary status is due in part to his run on the Daredevil comics during the 1980s. The biggest and best story arc from that run has always been considered to be “Born Again,” which follows the ground-level hero as he encounters one of his biggest struggles. With his identity known by the Kingpin menace and his life in more danger than ever before, Daredevil must overcome his mental anguish and fight for survival.

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12. Civil War
Marvel Comics

When Marvel’s most influential heroes work alongside each other, you can’t help but root for them in their fight for justice. It becomes a tough endeavor once those heroes enter into a major conflict that threatens to disrupt their unity, however. The “Civil War” storyline produces such a dispute between those saviors. Once the U.S. government enacts the Superhero Registration Act, lines are drawn between those who support it and those who don’t. What ensues is the most action-packed…well, disagreement in the Marvel Universe.

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13. House of X/Powers of X
Marvel Comics

2020 marked the relaunch of the X-Men as a pillar of the Marvel Universe before the start of the “Dawn of X” story arc. When Professor X makes the world aware of the mutant nation of Krakoa, a temporary partnership between mutant and humankind is put into action. But at some point, that perfect union comes apart at the seams and leads to a brand new mission statement for all of Homo superior. The X-Men mythos is impacted in the most shocking manner possible across their past, present, and future.

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14. Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe
Marvel Comics

Deadpool’s hilarious fourth-wall-breaking antics never disappoint. Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe heads off in a much darker direction by pitting an even more unhinged Wade Wilson against Marvel’s wealth of beloved heroes. The violence and gore from this one are off the charts, so prepare yourself for a Deadpool graphic novel that delves into his maniacal crusade against the superhero community.

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15. Marvel Zombies
Marvel Comics

The multiverse always gives way to crazy interpretations of everyone’s favorite heroes and presents their origins & clashes with their Rogues’ Gallery in unique ways. Marvel Zombies takes readers to a wild sector of the Marvel multiverse that’s filled with zombified versions of the greatest superheroes of all time. The Ultimate Universe’s version of the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards aka “Mister Fantastic” ends up in their crosshairs, which leads to some of the craziest storytelling in the Marvel Comics mythology.

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16. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Volume One: Who Is Miles Morales?
Marvel Comics

Marvel’s “Ultimate” line of comics offers a fresh spin on the long-standing legacy of its most iconic characters. Readers ended up falling in love with that spinoff universe’s version of Spider-Man, which is fulfilled by the teenage hero named Miles Morales. His origin story is contained within this graphic novel’s beautifully animated pages – you’ll end up falling in love with him too as he comes to grips with taking on the mantle of Peter Parker.

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17. Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy
Marvel Comics

If the Hulu TV series based on this collection of young heroes caught your attention, then you need to spend some time with the comic book series it’s based on. The first volume of The Runaways introduces readers to the motley crew of Alex, Karolina, Gert, Chase, Molly, and Nico. Their lives are turned upside down once they learn that their parents are all super-powered baddies, which forces them to run away from home and seek out a life that differs from the one their evil parents abide by.

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18. Immortal Iron Fist Vol. 1: The Last Iron Fist Story
Marvel Comics

Shang-Chi may have taken the spotlight as Marvel’s martial arts maestro, but that title once belonged to Danny Rand aka “Iron Fist.” This graphic novel provides answers to the biggest questions surrounding Iron Fist’s origin and everything that goes into the legacy of his superpowers. Prepare yourself for eye-popping flashback sequences that delve into the past wielders of the Iron Fist moniker.

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19. Marvel 1602
Marvel Comics

When Marvel transported its superheroes to the Elizabethan Era, a breath of fresh air arrived in the form of Marvel 1602. This focused timepiece tale sees our favorite Marvel heroes reside in England and clash with a powerful stable known as The Witchbreed. Spider-Man, the X-Men, Nick Fury, and a slew of even more Marvel saviors appear as alternate versions of their familiar selves as they navigate the dark reign of the year 1602.

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20. World War Hulk
Marvel Comics

The “World War Hulk” storyline sticks out as one of those Hulk arcs that makes you feel for the big guy. After being exiled from Earth by the very same heroes he once fought side by side with, The Hulk finds himself wandering through space before taking refuge on the planet of Sakaar. Hulk soon finds himself in a struggle that places him on the side of the slaves who seek an uprising against their rulers. Hulk’s crusade alongside them eventually leads to him becoming their leader, which ultimately sets them all up for a violent return to Hulk’s home planet. For revenge, of course!

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21. Silver Surfer: Parable
Marvel Comics

Stan Lee and Jean Giraud’s masterful work together resulted in one of the best galactic tales ever told in comic book form. Silver Surfer: Parable features the space-faring champion as he fights to save Earth from two evil forces – Enslavers & Mrrungo-Mu and the all-powerful planet consumer known as Galactus. The climactic battles Silver Surfer is a part of are awe-inspiring, while the story’s themes of false prophets and human nature will keep you intrigued from start to finish.

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22. Fantastic Four: 1234
Marvel Comics

The creative duo of Grant Morrison and Jae Lee puts forth the well-known origins of Marvel’s First Family, the Fantastic Four, with a much darker tone. Fantastic Four: 1234 showcases each member of the superhero squad with their own singular stories, which all delve into some of the dysfunction at the heart of their innermost struggles and relationships. The striking art style and mature storytelling are much different than the Fantastic Four stories that came before this one.

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23. The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank
Marvel Comics

Frank Castle’s life is redefined by the team of Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Tim Bradstreet in The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank. Frank’s return to prominence as a vicious vehicle for retribution against the worst criminals known to man has earned him the ire of two cops and the mob. Along with those opposers at his heels, Frank must contend with three individuals that try to co-opt his gameplan and have him join their group of vigilantes.

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24. Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev
Marvel Comics

One of the most beloved runs for Daredevil came during the late 90s. And that’s all thanks to Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. This defining series of stories follows the ground-level hero as his real identity becomes known to the world. And of course, this results in his most infamous foes doing everything in their power to make his life even more of a living hell. This comic book run also features some amazing guest appearances that make this a star-studded storyline worth checking out.

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25. The Ultimates
Marvel Comics

The Ultimates are presented as a different interpretation of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” The art style presented for this series grabbed everyone’s attention during its initial run and it’ll do the same for anyone that decides to check it out in this collection. You’ll definitely enjoy watching Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, and more as they combat familiar threats and confront a world overrun by varied supervillains.

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26. Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt
Marvel Comics

One of Spider-Man’s most notorious (and fan favorite) villains is Kraven the Hunter. In “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” the fearless warrior embarks upon a final feat in order to defeat his greatest adversary. After succeeding at his lofty goal, Kraven takes over Spidey’s role and ends up serving the city as a much more benevolent hero. Once Spidey escapes from Kraven’s grasp, he sets out to take back his role as the city’s savior.

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27. Captain America: Truth
Marvel Comics

One of the most intriguing parts of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Disney+ series is the way in which it explained the earliest example of super soldiers and the horrible acts committed by the U.S. government towards one of its patriots. Captain America: Truth delves into the tragic life of Isaiah Bradley, a soldier who donned the Captain America costume before Steve Rogers but was stricken by a horrible treatment by his superiors that speaks to real-world issues.

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28. Marvels
Marvel Comics

Imagine a world in which superheroes are first introduced to the general public and, as a photojournalist, you set off to document their early days. Marvels, which comes from the combined efforts of Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross, presents that intriguing storyline in the most gorgeous fashion possible through some of the best-looking panels we’ve ever seen. This special edition of Marvels features extra content that focuses on the X-Men and even the aforementioned photojournalist that gets caught up in all the action.

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29. Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.
Marvel Comics

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. drops a lot of humor into Marvel’s usual array of action-packed epics. The story follows a group of anti-terrorism specialists known as the Bizarre Weapons of Mass Destruction. But once Nextwave learns that their overseers are terrorists themselves, they become a bit peeved and set out to hand out some much-needed revenge. Get ready to laugh a bunch and most definitely get ready to remain excited throughout every explosive panel of this graphic novel.

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30. Wolverine by Claremont & Miller
Marvel Comics

Chris Claremont and Frank Miller came together during the early 1980s to send Logan on an international journey that produced one of his finest acts to date. This storyline sees the highly celebrated X-Men member head off to Japan to rescue his beloved Mariko Yashida from an arranged marriage. But after facing firsthand embarrassment from Mariko’s father, Wolverine basks in his sorrows. Of course, you’ll get to follow his resurgence as a badass hero as he fights alongside a newfound assassin and clashes with the individuals trying to keep him from his true love.

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Categories
Consoles Gaming

Here’s What We Hope the #FreeMvC2 Movement Leads To

Capcom’s long-lasting legacy as the industry’s premier fighting game developer was embedded in stone after the 1991 release of Street Fighter II. The arcades were owned by the exploits of the game’s “World Warriors” and eventually living rooms everywhere featured intense sets between expert Ryu & Ken players. As the years passed, Capcom kept pumping out a wealth of significant fighters, such as Darkstalkers, Rival Schools, Power Stone, and many more. The Japanese publisher/developer truly struck gold once they got their hands on Marvel Comics’ best characters – comic book diehards and fighting game fans alike were treated to gems such as X-Men: Children of the Atom and Marvel Super Heroes.

Once Professor Xavier’s gifted class of mutants came to blows with Street Fighter’s very best, the “Vs.” line of fighters came to pass. Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and the first-ever Marvel vs. Capcom arrived soon after to push the series to new heights of quality. And then…Marvel vs. Capcom 2 arrived and blew everyone’s minds. The quirky yet unforgettable character select theme, the rest of the catchy soundtrack, the 3D stylized stages, and the massive 56-character roster captured the imagination of fighting game fans everywhere and remain a classic to this very day. The initial Arcade/Dreamcast release of the game was remarkable, of course. But the online re-release breathed new life into the 3v3 fighter by adding its best feature to date – online play.

But sadly, MvC2’s 2009 HD re-release is practically trapped on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Due to the expiration of Capcom’s licensing contracts with Marvel, the vastly worshipped fighter got pulled from the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. If you still own either console with that game still existing on your hard drive, consider yourself lucky. But if you don’t and are dying to still play the game online via modern console hardware, that option is sadly unavailable to you. But keep hope alive, true believers! Streamer/fighting game guru Maximilian Dood’s undying appreciation for MvC2 pushed him to kickstart a social media campaign to free the game from its PS3/Xbox 360 prison and bring it back to today’s consoles.

With the hashtag quickly gaining steam and garnering the support of the game’s most respected players (Justin Wong, Michael “Yipes” Mendoza, and Chris Matrix, for instance), more eyes have taken notice of such a lofty request. With rumors circulating that the powers that be are seriously considering their social media pleas, the reality of a MvC2 re-release has seemingly become more attainable. If Capcom, Marvel, and Disney are truly listening and keeping watch over this powerful movement, then here are three requests that we’re sure would receive a lively reaction across the FGC for the “MAHVEL!” faithful.

1. A Fully Remastered Version of ‘Marvel vs. Capcom 2’
Capcom

The main goal behind the #FreeMvC2 push is to get the powers that be to make the game available across today’s line of consoles. The version of that game that made its way onto the PS3 and Xbox 360 was great for its time, but now it could be even better with the remastered treatment. A refreshed rendition of Capcom’s classic fighter would do extremely well if it was capable of outputting 60fps, incorporated rollback netcode, featured enhanced visuals, and afforded everyone the ability to play the game in either a 4:3 ratio or the 16:9 widescreen option. Adding some of the cool features that appeared in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition, such as an art gallery and combo challenges, could also add to the MvC2 package and make it even more of a must-buy.

2. A Future ‘Vs.’ Fighting Game Compilation from Capcom
Capcom

If we end up getting that dream MvC2 remaster, chances are pretty high that it will bring in the big bucks and open the eyes of everyone at Capcom and Marvel. At that point, they’ll have to recognize the potential of re-releasing the rest of the “Vs.” series catalog. It’d be preferable if both companies joined forces once again to produce a collection that’s even better than what was seen in Marvel vs. Capcom Origins

The FGC deserves a new compilation that comes with arcade-perfect versions of X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. And just like our requests for the MvC2 remaster, just throw in cleaner visuals, rollback netcode, and that gallery mode for all the nostalgic heads out there. And would it be too much to ask to throw The Punisher, X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, and Marvel Super Heroes In War of the Gems, too? Yeah, probably…

3. The Creation of a Fourth ‘Marvel vs. Capcom’ Series Entry
Capcom

If those two prior requests do come to pass, then there clearly has to be a push towards making a true sequel to Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The failures attached to Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite shouldn’t be enough to close the door on the franchise as a whole. Capcom’s improvements within the fighting game department and Marvel’s stronger focus on bettering its video game efforts could combine to produce excellence. A fourth official installment in the MvC franchise seems like a far-flung dream scenario. But if the MvC2 remaster and “Vs.” compilation come to pass and succeed in the sales department, then we’re quite sure our third request would come closer to becoming a reality. In a post MCU Phase 4 world and a time where Capcom has even more IPs to take characters from, a new MvC game could offer the best roster the series has ever seen.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

What Could the Mystery MCU 2023-2024 Movies Be?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe officially kicked off in 2008 and has been delivering some of the biggest moments in cinematic history. 

For those of us who have been there from the very beginning, the double whammy of Infinity War and Endgame marked the end of some of our favorite MCU onscreen personalities and major story threads. Now the fourth phase of the MCU is currently underway – new heroes are being introduced, familiar faces are being phased into new roles, and an overarching plot is clearly building up to an all-powerful new baddie. Walt Disney and Marvel Studios already have a huge lineup of films and TV shows on the docket – as of this moment, there are two films left to drop in 2021, four movies set for 2022, five films ready to go in 2023, and four movies prepared for 2024. While we actually know what a few of those films are, a good majority of them are still untitled.

That’s left us with one thing to do – MAKE BOLD PREDICTIONS! There are a ton of clues floating throughout the MCU’s most recent story developments that point to what some of those mystery films could possibly be. Join us as we try to break down what the MCU could be giving us on the big screen in 2023 and 2024.

July 28, 2023 – ‘Fantastic Four’
Marvel Studios

When you take a quick peek at the MCU Phase 4 film schedule, the final film within that lineup marks the MCU debut of Marvel’s most famous “First Family” of superheroes – the Fantastic Four. We’ve already been treated to three films of middling quality regarding the foursome of Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic), Sue Storm (Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (Human Torch), and Ben Grimm (The Thing).

Now that the F4 have transitioned from Twentieth Century Fox to Walt Disney & Marvel Studios, they now have a legit chance at being in a great film. Since their MCU debut is arriving after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023), it seems like a safe bet that this movie date is put in place for the Fantastic Four. With Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home) in the director’s chair, this second Fantastic Four reboot could truly be something special. All we know is this – whoever gets chosen to play Dr. Doom better knock it out of the park!

October 6, 2023 – ‘Blade’
Marvel Studios

The great Mahershala Ali has been chosen to play the part of Marvel’s beloved half-human, half-vampire hybrid hero within the MCU. Wesley Snipes’ interpretation of the character was amazing, so we just hope Ali measures up to the high standards set by Snipes’ films. Stacy Osei-Kuffour has signed on to write the film while Bassam Tariq has been handed the directorial duties, so it’s safe to say that this Blade reboot actually has a chance at succeeding. This October movie launch date seems like the perfect month to bring the vampire hunter back to the big screen. Vampires and the month dedicated to Halloween makes a ton of sense, right? Debuting a new version of Deacon Frost to play the part of Blade’s main foe in this film could work. But we’d be more open to seeing Blade come into contact with Dracula and his daughter Lilith from the jump.

November 10, 2023 – ‘Captain America 4’
Marvel Studios

If you’ve seen the entirety of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, then you already know Anthony Mackie’s Falcon has fully taken over the mantle of Captain America. The deal has reportedly been closed in regards to Mackie’s return to the role as he’ll save the world once again in Captain America 4. It’s worth noting that this film is being scripted by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier head writer and creator Malcolm Spellman. This date gives Spellman and the crew ample time to cook up an amazing film on par with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. Setting up this movie as a tentpole fall film seems sensible enough, don’t you think? A fourth Captain America movie that features a fully formed Thunderbolts team or even Red Skull’s daughter Sin are two amazing possibilities we’d totally be fine with.

February 16, 2024 – ‘Deadpool 3’
Twentieth Century Fox

According to Collider, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed that the next Deadpool film is official and will be a part of the MCU. Ryan Reynolds’ fast-talking mercenary has technically done some MCU crossover work already by doing a quick trailer review with Thor: Ragnarok’s Korg, so the synergy is clearly already in place.

The Molyneux Sisters (Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin) have signed on to write the film and it’s clear that it won’t go into filming for a long time (2022 seems like a safe bet). Feige’s confirmation about the film’s R rating has us confident in its ability to mimic the vicious, gory feel of the last two series entries. If you remember, the first Deadpool debuted in theaters on February 12, 2016. So this February 16, 2024 date seems like a nice return to form for the foul-mouthed merc. We’d pay good money to watch Deadpool and Josh Brolin’s Cable team up to take on the MCU’s introduction of Mister Sinister.

May 3, 2024 – ‘X-Men’
Marvel

Now there have been a couple of strong X-Men films from Twentieth Century Fox – the first movie, X2, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Logan were and still are cinematic heavy hitters. But the extreme lows of the previous X-Men movie franchise broke a lot of fans’ hearts. Now that Walt Disney & Marvel Studios has reclaimed the film rights to the X-Men, we’re hopefully due for a complete reboot that does right by Marvel’s most revered superhero squadron.

Now it’s going to be pretty tough to figure out a way to introduce the X-Men to the MCU as a whole. Will they be mutants that have been in hiding for years? Or will they spring up from one of the many realms within the multiverse? It’d be pretty wild to see Wanda Maximoff’s role as the Scarlet Witch play right into the formation of the X-Men and team up against an overwhelming threat such as Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants. Getting new big screen renditions of Wolverine, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm, and Rogue has us super hype. And setting them up for a Spring 2024 debut seems sensible to us.

July 26, 2024 – ‘Shang-Chi 2′
Marvel Studios

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ended up being one of the best superhero films of all time and one of the more satisfying introductions of a hero to the MCU. Trust us when we say that it’s right up there with Iron Man and Black Panther! Based on the financial and critical success Shang-Chi garnered, there’s clearly going to be a sequel put into development for the next MCU Phase.

Based on the post-credits scenes the film delivered (don’t worry, we won’t spoil them!), something major might be connected to Shang-Chi’s mystical ten rings armament. We’re sure that tease will play a major role in who’s going to be the main villain in the next Avengers movie. But for this sequel, we’d love to see Shang-Chi square up with Midnight Sun (look him up cause his origin story is wild!), Moving Shadow, or the Si-Fan Cyber Ninjas as a whole. Setting up another Shang-Chi film for a 2024 release date gives Walt Disney & Marvel plenty of time to bring it to fruition.

November 8, 2024 – ‘Avengers 5′
Marvel Studios

This late 2024 release date seems like the perfect time to drop the next highly anticipated entry in the Avengers films. The mega threats seen in the movies thus far include Loki/The Other/the Chitauri, Ultron, and Thanos. Now, which super baddie could be overwhelming enough to force a new generation of The Avengers to come together and defeat it? Galactus, perhaps? Based on what we learned about the ten rings’ mysterious origin in Shang-Chi’s first post-credits scene, the planet-eating menace could certainly exist within the MCU.

Getting a teaser of Galactus in the Fantastic Four film also seems pretty feasible, while the rest of the movies set after could continue to build him up for the next Avengers movie. Just imagine this scenario – the new Cap, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Lady Thor, Shang-Chi, The Eternals, and everyone else engaging in a climactic battle with Galactus! Phase Four and the one right after it will most likely set up the next universe threatening villain for the Avengers to clash with.

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Culture Movies/TV

Shang-Chi Ending Post-Credit Scenes Breakdown, By SUPES and Brad

SUPES and Brad

The interconnectivity of the MCU is what makes these films so special.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was a wild ride but it’s safe to say that the ending of the film is what really blew everything open.

In the final battle, Shang-Chi faces off against a giant monster known as the Dweller in Darkness. In the comics, this monster was more of a Doctor Strange villain and he was very similar to Nightmare in a sense because they are both Fear Lords.

The inclusion of the Dweller in Darkness is so important (and interesting) because it has HUGE comic connections to Galactus. Both the Dweller in Darkness and Galactus are from the same universe and they existed before the Big Bang. It’s possible that the Dweller in Darkness could potentially be a herald for Galactus, and now that he’s dead, perhaps that notifies Galactus to come to Earth.

The last scene of the movie features Shang-Chi and Katy back with the same friends from the beginning of the film. A portal opens up behind them and Wong walks through and asks Shang-Chi if he has the rings. Shang-Chi says yes and he and Katy proceed to follow Wong through the portal (which either leads them back to the Sanctum or Kamar-Taj) and the movie ends.

In the post-credit scene, Wong is analyzing the rings, trying to figure out what they are and where they came from. In an attempt to gain further insight, Wong asks two people off-screen what they think—Bruce Banner and Captain Marvel. It appears they’ve moved on from Professor Hulk because Banner is back in his human form, arm in a sling and it appears he also has a regulator of some kind on his arm, so maybe now he can fully control when he turns into Hulk. Bruce and Carol confirm they’ve never seen anything like the rings before and we find out the rings aren’t of alien origin or made of Vibranium, they’re ancient. Wong reveals that when Shang-Chi wielded the rings for the first time it triggered something and now the rings are acting as a beacon and calling out to somewhere, someone or even something.

Wong asks Shang-Chi how long his father had the rings and he said for around 1,000 years. The Eternals, like the rings, have been around since the beginning of humanity and in the comics, they were created by the Celestials using the Infinity Stones which radiate cosmic energy as well.

Having said that, it’s possible that the rings are connected to the Eternals and that’s who they’re calling to. Perhaps the rings were created by the Eternals themselves and that’s why they’re calling to them. This would be a great way to get the Eternals involved with the other MCU heroes and the story Marvel is building. I guess we’ll find out if there’s any connection when Eternals hits theaters on November 5th.

If Marvel wants to double down on setting up Galactus in the MCU, the rings could also potentially be powered by the Power Cosmic, which is a source of limitless, godly, cosmic energy that is primarily wielded by Galactus. (Yes, we want to see Galactus in the MCU)

In the end credit scene, we see Xialing, who we thought was dismantling her father’s Ten Rings organization, is actually taking over the Ten Rings organization and making it her own. A title card then appears saying: “the Ten Rings will return”. Marvel has so much content coming out on Disney Plus, so we would not be surprised if Xialing is given her own Disney Plus show, so we can explore her awesome character more as well as the Ten Rings organization. Disney Plus Day is quickly approaching, so perhaps we will get this announcement on November 12th.

Overall Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was a fantastic film, but the ending is what really surprised us because of how much they’re potentially setting up with Galactus, Shang-Chi’s involvement with the Avengers, and the Eternals potentially being connected to the rings. As always, the interconnectivity of the MCU is what makes these films so special and it looks like things aren’t slowing down! 

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Culture Movies/TV

SUPES and Brad Review Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Supes and Brad

This film is definitely in the conversation for best MCU solo film.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe to new heights, introducing the first solo film for an Asian American Superhero, continuing the story of the infamous “Ten Rings” who were first mentioned in 2008’s Iron Man and giving us our first look at the real Mandarin.

This film is a triumph on multiple levels, but the action and fight choreography is some of the best we’ve seen in a long time. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has obviously had some incredible action sequences over the last 20+ films, but we have never seen hand-to-hand combat done at this level. The speed, ferocity and choreography of the fight sequences will leave you in awe and the change in pace with the use of slo mo shots really enhances the overall experience.

With a star-studded cast of Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh, Meng’er Zhang and Fala Chen, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings delivers a visually stunning, action-packed and heartfelt experience for both hardcore MCU fans and traditional movie-goers. We chatted with director Destin Daniel Cretton about this special project and the team that brought this story to life and this is what he had to say: “I feel extremely proud to be a part of this team. I’ve never worked on a team that was so diverse and so full of creatives who were really passionate about telling a story full of minority characters. I feel extremely proud of the movie we all worked on together and can’t wait for people to experience it.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings brings to life Marvel’s newest hero in the most epic way possible. Shang-Chi will easily be one of your favorite Marvel characters by the end of the film. Not only is he extremely skilled, but Simu Liu brought so much charisma, comedy and heart to the role. His co-star, Awkwafina shined as “Katy”, as we see her character grow both personally and professionally as she blossoms into a hero herself. It’s also worth noting—the chemistry between the two actors was phenomenal and garnered so many laughs from the audience. One performance that really stood out to us was Meng’er Zhang’s “Xialing” (Shang-Chi’s sister). She had some of the best moments in this movie and captured the audience every time she was on screen. Tony Leung was also fantastic as the villainous “Wenwu” and perfectly portrayed a loving, yet menacing father who just so happens to have been leading one of the most lethal criminal organizations in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a very long time (The Ten Rings).

The most powerful moments in this film are when Shang-Chi and his father share the screen. You feel the history and tension between the two, without them having to say a single word. It all builds to an epic finale that’s heartfelt, action-packed and visually captivating. The resolution between Shang-Chi and Wenwu was as satisfying as we hoped it’d be. Once the dust settles, there’s still more to this film and it’ll leave you even more excited for Shang-Chi’s future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is an incredible addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is certainly in the conversation for best solo MCU film. Make sure to check out Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, only in theaters September 3rd.