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superheroes

Movies, Special

The 5 Best Superhero Movies

When I grew up superhero movies weren’t something to be excited about. Most of them were mediocre at best and  “X-Men: The Last Stand” at worse – a movie so bad that 20th Century Fox decided to make “Days Of Future Past” a good movie that basically exists to erase the events of a bad movie.

But, around 2008 something changed in the genre. It became good. Suddenly the movies weren’t all about overused tropes and too tight costumes with clearly visible Clooney nipples. Suddenly they started asking real questions and portrayed real characters with real flaws.

 Tony Stark used to be an arms dealer with questionable morals building his fortune on the misery of war. Bruce Wayne had to face the concept of nihilism and The Joker actually had a point in his idea that if we take away a human’s comfort, they basically turn into wild animals. It was a massive step up from Toby Maguire’s dance in Spider-Man 3.

So with Marvel Comic’s 10-year anniversary officially over we felt it was a good time to take a retrospective look over the movies we’ve enjoyed the last decade.

These are my favourites and of course, my list is the objective truth. If you disagree let’s talk about it. Leave a comment somewhere and I will explain why you are wrong.

 

WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE ON THE LIST GO WATCH AND COME BACK! GOOD? GOOD! LET’S DO THIS!

 

Number 5: “Deadpool” (2016)

 

(Photo: www.telegraph.co.uk)

Finding the number 5 spot was arguably more difficult than the number 1 spot considering my massive man-crush on Ryan Reynolds and the fact that I have probably read Deadpool comics for 15 years. The movie shows amazing chemistry between Wade Wilson and Vanessa and the jokes are funny and hit 90% of the times. It showed you don’t need a huge budget for a great film and the passion behind the project is obvious.

However, the reason why I put it at number 5 is that even though the movie is amazing, it doesn’t work by itself. It serves as a massive satire of the superhero genre which only works due to the massive saturation of the genre. The movie feels like an inside joke in the ways it pokes fun of Green Lantern and licencing issues between studios jokes that you only pick up if you are “in the know” in the superhero universe. My dad with no relationship to superhero movies would not enjoy the film the same way I would.

It is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen and it was a massive breath of fresh air; it was just that, a breath of fresh air. It is the mate you hang out with once a year and have a great time with but if you were to hang out with him more it would lose a lot of the magic. And that’s why I put it at number 5. Still amazing, just not the best of the best. (Sorry Ryan, please respond to my love letters)

 

Number 4: “The Dark Knight” (2008)

 

(Photo: www.variety.com)

Another one that is probably one of my favourite movies of all time. The late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the psychotic clown, prince of crime has made it into a modern classic. Its theme of order vs chaos is both interesting and thought-provoking.

What makes the movie interesting though is that Batman is not a hero; he is a necessary evil. Bruce Wayne really wants to be replaced by Harvey Dent – someone that can create real societal change in the dark pit of corruption and debauchery that Gotham City is. Wayne’s perfect world is one where he is not needed and it is a goal he actively seeks out to achieve and I feel that is an idea not widely explored in superhero movies. And of course Michael Caine as Alfred is amazing: I cried extremely manly tears during the “I failed you” speech in the sequel “The Dark Knight Rises”.

 

Number 3: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

 

(Photo: www.whats-on-netflix.com)

The movie was just released but man, what a movie. A lot of charm, hilarious jokes and great animation. It also featured the movie debut of fan favourites Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen.

When I first saw the trailer I was a bit sceptical to the animation style, but it really does work and the movie ended up being both hilarious and heart-wrenching. Nicholas Cage as Spider-noir quickly became a favourite and I still burst out randomly overly dramatic quotes in the office: “Wherever I go, the wind follows…. and the wind smells like rain”.

The trailers also did a brilliant job hiding the reveals. I genuinely did not see the Doc Ock reveal coming and let out an audible “no way” in the theatre. John Mulaney does a surprisingly good job as Peter Porker – a character that proved to be more than just comic relief.

 

Number 2: Wonder Woman (2017)

 

(Photo: www.vox.com)

A movie that really surprised me was “Wonder Woman”. I recently re-watched the film to try to figure why a movie featuring an Amazon coming to Europe during the worst conflict in human history ended up blowing me away like that. I think a lot of it comes down to the movie asking the question “is humanity essentially good or evil”?

There is one scene in the movie where Diana gets ice cream from a vendor and is so excited about it and tells the owner to be very proud of their creation. There was a genuine wholesomeness where she sees one of the best qualities in humanity: just basic kindness.

But simultaneously it does show the brutal side of humankind with Dr Poison and her gas attacks. Ares explains that humanity is only capable of death and selfishness, yet Steve Trevor sacrifices himself to save London showing that humanity is way more complex. I think the movie’s message is that humanity is imperfect and that makes us perfect. And I love that.

 

Number 1: Logan (2017)

 

(Photo: www.livinghours.com)

Wolverine was probably my favorite superhero as a kid and “X-Men” was maybe the first comic I started reading. I always loved his character and I consider X-men 2 one of the few good superhero movies before 2008.

Full disclosure: I have a near and dear relationship to Jackman’s Wolverine and I loved the “Old Man Logan” comics (which the story is loosely inspired by). Yet, I was blown away. I don’t know if I can honestly say it is a superhero movie since (if we are going all movie technical) it checks off more boxes in the western genre. Watch the movie and imagine Red Dead Redemption 2’s Arthur Morgan saying the lines and it still fits.

The movie follows a lone gunslinger (just in this case the guns are claws) that roam around the wilderness just looking for peace after a life of brutality. This Logan isn’t the bulletproof god of X-men origins: this is just a broken dying man driving a fancy Uber so he and his surrogate father Charles that suffers from Alzheimer’s can buy a boat.

The movie portrays Logan as the last of his kind, after most of the others mutants got killed. He is a lonely alcoholic. But after meeting his “daughter” Lauren aka X-23, he does earn a higher purpose even though he originally did it for the money.

The movie isn’t a superhero movie and I guess in some way that’s what makes it such a great superhero movie. It’s less about the greatness of being superhuman and more the realization that nothing last forever; even the greatest stories have to come to an end – regardless of if you have got claws or just normal, boring human hands.

 

Well there you have it: my top 5 superhero films! What’s your top 5? Add a comment somewhere and I will explain why my list is better!

Have a great week/weekend/year/whatever.

-Alex Dante

Find all your Marvel and DC merch at EMP!

EMP, Fashion, Gifts, Movies, Special

Gift Ideas for a Superhero Fan! (Or a Supervillain fan – who are we to judge?)

 

As a kid, I remember my dream job was “Spider-Man”. Some wanted to be police officers, other wanted to be lawyers or doctors, and some wanted to be marine biologists specialized in whale migration. But whenever the teacher asked: “What do you wanna be when you grow up, Alex?” I would always answer with confidence and self-assurance: “superhero”.  I wanted to be a mutated combination of Spider-man and Super-Man. I don’t really know why, I guess I was extremely power hungry at 8 and wanted to rule the schoolyard with an iron fist spreading fear into my enemies, or more likely I just wanted to have awesome abilities. Unfortunately, for every year that passes, it seems less and less likely that I will get bitten by a radioactive spider, be called upon by a magic ring, or in the case of Marvel hero “Free Spirit”, getting exposed to radioactive self-help tapes (seriously, google it.) Yeah, I suppose, I have to fall back on my backup plan: getting called to Hogwarts and become the next teacher in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Well, since I am Scandinavian my local school would be Durmstrang and I am honestly okay with that too.

In the meantime though, one of the muggle traditions is Christmas, and that means Christmas presents. If you know someone who also has a dream of getting superpowers but you aren’t able to give them super-speed or the ability to create shockwaves equal to their blood alcohol content (again not kidding, Google “Gin Genie”), then I understand your conundrum. But relax, ya boi Alex got the next best things, so get a cup of hot chocolate, lean back and enjoy:

 

Alex’s 7 best gift ideas for a superhero/supervillain fan! ™

 

Number 1: Batman bathrobe

Sometimes after a long day of locking up The Joker or getting into a battle of wits with The Riddler, even Batman likes to relax, and I like to imagine that his ego is so big that he wears a robe with the famous bat symbol on its back, and a cool bat hood in case he needs to get up in a hurry. The robe is super comfortable and is perfect for those lazy mornings. Throw in some of our Batman slippers, and you will never want to wear anything else. It’s literally the perfect bathrobe, or should I say “batrobe”?

 

 

Number 2:  Spider Gwen zipped hoodie

 

Spider Gwen came onto the superhero stage fairly recently making her debut in the excellent 2014 Spiderverse storyline. Spider-Gwen explores an alternative universe where Peter Parker’s tragic love-interest Gwen Stacy gets bitten by a radioactive spider instead of Peter, turning her into Spider-Woman. I remember when I first got introduced to her I immediately loved her; she is cool, plays drums in “The Mary Janes”, her costume design is amazing and the plots are intriguing. Goes without saying that she has become one of my personal favorite heroes, and therefore I love this hoodie. Spider-Gwen’s unique costume has made reoccurring appearances on multiple Comic-Cons with good reason it has a brilliant pink/white color scheme that looks extremely cool, and with the animated film “Into The Spider-verse” hitting the cinema December 12th, she is guaranteed to just keep surging in popularity.

 

 

Number 3: Aquaman Leather Jacket

 

Unless you have been living under a rock, or have seriously no interest in superheroes (in that case I wonder how you ended up here? And how is the internet connection under that rock?) you know that DC’s the Aquaman movie is out in December, showing the story and royal lineage of the often misunderstood Arthur Curry. Aquaman has often been represented by media as the boring useless hero, but he is really awesome! And so is this jacket! Surprisingly well-made, and stylish. The Aquaman logo is there but floats perfectly into the rest of the design. People outside the superhero/nerd world wouldn’t even think twice if they saw it. Unfortunately, it’s not vegan leather… but nevertheless a cool jacket that I personally love.

 

 

Number 4: Deadpool Dirty Door Mat

 

Deadpool used to be an obscure wisecracking merch up until Ryan Reynolds leaked… I mean someone else we obviously don’t know who… leaked the Deadpool test-footage 4 years ago and he has since become a hilarious household name. His movies have become huge successes even with a PG-13 edited version of “Deadpool 2”  “Once Upon A Deadpool” hitting cinemas December 12th. I might not be as brutal as the original but I am sure it will be a blast regardless considering DP’s quick wits. And quick wit is what you also get with this doormat, who welcomes your guests in the best way possible, while reminding them to wipe their feet.

 

Number 5: Sane & Crazy Harley Quinn Hoodie

 

Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, better known as The Jokers partner in crime “Harley Quinn”,  is a villain I’ve never felt gets enough justice in the movies: in reality (well comics) she is hilarious, her story is heart aching, a great fighter and capable of impressive acrobatics. She is so much more than DC’s less known clown and that’s why I love her. This zip hoodie has got an awesome “Skull Harley” design and have clearly taken inspiration from an Ouija board creating this “Cool girl look”. I think it looks awesome. If you don’t then fine – I am not your supervisor and you just have to live with being wrong.

 

 

Number 6: Black Metal Rocket T-shirt

 

 

If someone said to me in 2012 that Guardians Of The Galaxy would be a major blockbuster, I would get them thrown into a mental institution for severe disillusions… but here we are! The movies are truly great; they are actually so great that they changed the comics. Peter Quill in the original Guardians Of The Galaxy was not the wisecracking vagabond we know today. But after the success of Chris Pratt’s portrayal they changed him to be more familiar to new readers, and honestly it was a welcomed change. My personal favorite on the crew, however, is Rocket, the destructive rodent voiced by Bradley Cooper fills my heart with joy. And so does this black metal inspired T-shirt that fills in the gap between Black metal logos and Marvel merch, and it works way better than it probably should.

 

Number 7: Captain America Christmas Jumper

No Christmas list would be complete without an ugly Christmas Jumpers, and to be honest I never liked Captain America when he was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but he has really grown on me and as a consequence so has this jumper. I love the color scheme and the small “8-bit” Steve Rogers dancing around the entire jumper ready for battle with his shield. Perfect for that lazy boxing day, where all you wanna do is lay down and digest food.

 

So there you have it! My personal 7 recommendations for stuff you can pick up for your friendly neighborhood superhero fan. It isn’t as good as the ability to eat almost any matter regardless of form (once again, no joke… “Matter-eater lad”) but it helps to fill the void. Now I am back to waiting for my summoning to the Durmstrang Institute but until then I will be enjoying muggle traditions and I hope that you will too. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

P.S: If anyone knows where I can get a radioactive spider I would much appreciate a heads-up.

Alex Dante Rundhaug – EMP Norway

Movies, Special

“The greatest superpower is luck.” – Stan Lee – 1922 – 2018

Tragic news swept across the world on the evening of November 12th – Stan Lee sadly passed away at the grand age of 95.

Stan Lee’s influence cannot be under estimated: he revolutionized the comic industry way back in the 1960’s making them more complex and appealing to an older generation as well as the youth. He co-created characters such as some Marvel favourites including Spider-man , Hulk , X-Men ,Daredevil …(the list goes on) and through these characters inspired the lives of millions of people all over the world.

Thank you for all that you did for us Stan; the word ‘legend’ is used too lightly these days but you really were and always will be one.

Rest In Peace.

Premiere Of Disney And Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange” on October 20, 2016 in Hollywood, California.

“I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.” – Stan Lee

 

– Sam & all at EMP UK

EMP, Movies, Music, Special, TV

Would You Rather – MCM London Comic Con May 2018

Cats or dogs? Following your dream studying music or actually make money? Rewatch Harry Potter Deathly Hollows part 2 or just not cry tonight? Life is full of difficult choices, and us at EMP spend a decent amount of time going on caffeine induced rants arguing why zombie apocalypses are easier to survive than alien invasions and eventually after realizing we are getting nowhere, we turn to you the fans in all your supreme wisdom to finally clear things up!

After another discussion ending with coffee mugs flying across the room yelling “WITH A LIGHTSABER YOU WOULD CUT OFF YOUR OWN LIMBS” We “collectively” decided to stop arguing fictional questions and head to MCM Comic-Con to meet fans so we could properly discuss “Would you rather”! (the game, not the 2012 horror-movie that Americans are using to torture war criminals in Guantanamo Bay)

Question 1:

Would you rather be a werewolf or a vampire?

Without much surprise vampire came out on top with an insane 85% of the votes in our online-poll! Cause who doesn’t want to be a sparkling, night-dweller on a diet with as much variation as the last 3 Fast and Furious movies. However, a part of me should feel worried cause compared to werewolves that could in theory get tied down or head deep into the Siberian wilderness every full moon a vampire HAS to kill to stay alive. I’m not judging I’m just pointing out the fact most of you would be okay with being serial killers.

Question 2:

Would you rather go on a blind date with Gaston or Prince Hans?

Gaston won with 75% and you are all wrong. Prince Hans is rich. End of story. MONEY!

Question 3:

 Would you rather have a real working lightsaber or a wand?

64% chose wand, which I agree with. If anyone has tried sword fighting they would know it’s hard, exhausting and you get hit a lot. One misstep and you end up chopping off your limbs. It’s the reason in the Jedi universe, building your lightsaber is the final exam before you are officially a Jedi. A wand has a lot of “fail-safes” for example, the unforgiveable curses cannot be cast without the caster REALLY wanting to: and I’m not talking how I kind of want some fries right now; I’m talking “I cannot see myself happy unless I torture this person.” Which begs the question what does “Mad-eye” have against spiders after demonstrating all 3 on one in “Goblet of Fire” …?

Question 4:

Who would you rather have as your boss, Dolores Umbridge or King Joffrey?

71% selected Umbridge and boy I really don’t want to be you guys! The common argument is that Joffrey is a sadist and more of a bully; he is a kid burning ants; he is a teenager that has yet to develop empathy so there is a chance (however small) that he would improve with age. “Yeah but he did sentence people to die!” Well Umbridge sentenced Muggle-Borns to the Dementor’s kiss, a fate that in the Harry Potter universe is WORSE than death. Neither of them would be ideal for middle or upper management but if I had to choose probably Joffrey. Keep your head down and learn to dodge crossbow bolts and you’ll be fine!

Question 5:

Would you rather live without music or without TV?

74% of you said you’d want to live without TV, which I agree with! There is something magical about music, the emotions the instrument, the lyrics! It’s truly a beautiful medium. TV shows are just storytelling. Instead of watching Game of Thrones you could still read and enjoy the books and get the same story there! Even though while Game of Thrones gets new episodes every year, the next book “Winds of Winter” is probably not going to be released before we are facing the heat-death of the universe.

Question 6:

Would you rather go to space or middle-earth?

71% to middle earth! And who can blame them? Second breakfast, elves, more food, magic, cursed rings, Uruk-hai wanting to murder you, Balrogs. Truly a peaceful and wonderful place! Well at the end of the day I have to agree, at least in the middle-earth you get SOMETHING. Compared to space where there is a pretty big chance you float out and find nothing for 100 years praying you become a Xenomorph meal. Only advantage I found is that you can speed up time much easier in space so maybe if you spend enough time out there, “Winds of Winter” will be released when you return to earth in 2851.

 

Question 7:

Would you rather talk like Hodor or Groot?

Insanely 89% said Groot! I personally expected more variation! Main argument was “people understand Groot”… they DON’T! It’s stated that Rocket understands the WAY Groot says “I am groot” making it easier to guess what he wants after spending so much time with him! But hey if you’re okay with sounding like tree-Chewbacca, I’m not gonna stop you.

Question 8:

Would you rather teleport but only into occupied toilets or be super rich but have all your money in 2 pence coins?

This surprised me – 86% said they wanted the two pence coins. You know how math ruins all that’s fun in life? Well sit tight cause I’m here to explain why there is no way in this universe or the next that would be convenient in any aspect of the word. A 2 pence coin weigh 7.12 gram. You need 50 of them to get a pound so one pound would weigh 356 grams. Multiply by 10 and you have 3560 grams or 3,5 kilos! 10 pounds would weigh 3,5 KILOS! And if you want to have a night on the town assuming you spend 100 pounds (since you are rich after all) we are looking at 35kilos! You need to drag around a bag weighing in at 35 kilos to buy something for £100 and that’s completely ignoring that you have to store a few metric tons of coins somewhere, so unless you go full on Scrooge Mcduck from Disney, you will probably drown in 2 pence coins or break your back dragging around a bag full of them. Teleportation any day of the week – yes they are occupied toilets but just say hello and be on your merry way… they would probably be too shocked to react anyway!

 

Question 9:

Would you rather be best friends with Iron Man or Batman?

72% said Iron Man. So let’s see you got a raging alcoholic with PTSD blowing things up that pose a real genuine threat to the earth or an rich man that likes to dress up and beat up poor people….. Yeah I’d say Iron Man too.

 

Question 10:

Would you rather be a superhero or supervillain?

This one is fun because it got some moral ambiguity to it. 72% said supervillain which makes sense because we established in question 1 you guys are not above being a serial killer so robbing a bank with henchmen must be a normal Tuesday. But the fun part is that the way we as a society see morality it’s almost impossible to answer this question, look at Magneto in X-men: it’s a clear example where villain and hero is just a matter of perspective. I think it’s impossible to be either cause a good action for you might be bad for someone else and the other way around. I genuinely don’t have any opinion about this one.

Question 11:

Would you rather fight 20 duck sized Batmen or one Batman sized duck?

This was one of the closer ones with 61% saying they’d beat up a duck. Which actually makes sense since ducks aren’t dangerous. If you have ever seen Lord Of The Rings: Return of The King” they have huge elephant warships on the battlefields, the much much smaller humans STILL manage to take all of them down. Legolas almost does it alone! 20 duck sized Batman might be small but they will still pose a threat. Compared to the duck which will only be dinner for the week.

 

Question 12: Would you rather be a Jedi or join the Dark Side!

This was EXTREMLY close with Dark Side taking a small victory with 50,3% of the votes. To put that into perspective if that poll was a government election in some countries that would end in a re-vote. However once again we face the same issue as with the superhero or supervillain question: the way humans see morality would make it impossible to decide who truly is good and who is evil. The decision would have to be purely be based on things like if you want to shoot lighting or do mind tricks or have a red lightsaber or a green one.

Question 13: Would you rather be Rick & Morty?

86% said Rick and honestly, the 14% that said Morty PLEASE comment why!? I spend 20 min researching the advantages of being Morty over Rick and I found NOTHING. You can either be a super genius or a nervous teenager… WHY CHOOSE THE TEENAGER!? Please let me know.

 

Question 14: Would you rather fight off a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?

75% said zombie apocalypse and that means most of you will survive. Simply due to weather: humans experience hypothermia when the core temperature reaches roughly 35 degrees Celsius. Best way to survive the zombie apocalypse is really just to go somewhere cold! Get a boat and head to Iceland. Once winter arrives you are all good to go. Even in warm areas given enough time the zombies would just rot away. So you get a nice holiday to Iceland, and we solve over-population! As far as I’m concern the zombie apocalypse can just drop by anytime! I’ll be in Iceland chilling in a hot-spring with a mojito.

So there you have it! All the questions we always wondered finally solved! Well for the next two weeks before we start throwing things in the office again, yelling reasons why “Return of The King” is better than “Return of The Jedi”. But until then, thank you to everyone that answered at MCM and thank you to myself for filming the video and writing most of the questions.

Remember to stay awesome my friends and thanks for reading <3

-Alex Dante

Movies, Special

Deadpool 2: What We Know So Far

So it’s been over 2 years since perhaps the cockiest of all Superheroes hit our screen and we’re definitely ready for another dose of raunchy insanity. That’s right, Deadpool 2 is released next month and we can’t wait! But how will they top such a blockbuster hit that took 11 years to make?

Here is the official trailer and what we know so far:

Fox released this synopsis of the movie:

“After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.”

Of course, Deadpool wouldn’t be Deadpool without some crazy ridiculous and slightly offensive teasers: short videos have been released in the run up to the movie enforcing the unique (and a little bit messed up) sense of humour of Deadpool including this Bob Ross parody:

 

And the jokes keep on coming with Ryan Reynolds posting two variations of Deadpool posters on his Twitter page:

 

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I love about a new Superhero movie is the new characters. I love the anticipation of finding out what people are going to be dressed up as at the next Comic Con or what new little character we will add to our Funko POP! collection. Here are some of the characters we can look forward to meeting in Deadpool 2:

Cable

Played by Josh Brolin, X-Men character Cable’s Marvel Comics story features him being infected by a virus that is cured by travelling in the future. His powers are telekinesis and super strength which he uses to try and kill a child who has mutant powers when he arrives from the future. Deadpool’s efforts to try and stop him make them appear enemies, but are they really frenemies?

Domino

This member of the X-Men, played by Zazie Beetz, is a markswoman with incredible athletic abilities that uses these skills for good. But perhaps her most valuable power in this Deadpool movie is her cutting sense of humour. But will her sharp edge trump Deadpool’s toilet humour? We doubt it.

 

It’s safe to say that there is a lot in store for this movie and with perhaps one of the most entertaining run ups to a film we’ve seen, we cannot wait for the 18th May 2018 – we will be front row kitted out in our Deadpool merch!

If Deadpool isn’t your thing, we have plenty more superhero merch waiting for you on our website!