Quiz – Learn About Marvel Studio’s Great Stan Lee

We just heard (11/12/18) about the sad passing of legendary Marvel Comics superhero creator/movie co-producer Stan Lee, at the impressive age of 95.

Mr. Lee had so many influential superhero characters to his name: it’s impossible for anyone not to have been touched in some way by Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, the X-Men, or any of the other flawed, fascinating characters he created for the Marvel Universe. Whereas DC penned impossible paragon superheroes like Superman and Wonder Woman, Lee’s Marvel creations had real-world problems, handling mature themes about friendship, love, family, alienation, and sacrifice.

Take this quiz to learn more about this outgoing, imaginative superhero genius and his achievements:

Stan Lee

RunPee sends loving wishes to Stan Lee’s family and hopes they can feel peace through this trying time. Mr.  Lee leaves behind a legacy previously unheard of in cinema — making a linked series of 20+ award-winning blockbuster movies — not to mention a  lifetime of extraordinary comic book creation.  Thank you for being our Guardian of the Galaxy. Rest In Peace, somewhere in the universe.

 

RunPee Mom is our emotional bedrock. Without her, we never would have lasted a decade as an app. She’s our cheerleader, a source of unconditional love. She also works cheerfully and tirelessly, seeing any movie we ask of her, writing interesting reviews, and being our…well…MOM. Her genres of choice include kiddie flicks, animated movies, emotional dramas, historical features, war films, diverse biographies, and even dense, diabolically plotted thrillers.

RIP Stan Lee – you will be missed

stan-lee-marvel-superhero
The Man. The Spider. And every other beloved Marvel superhero. Stan Lee, you will be missed.

We just heard today (11/12/18) about the passing of legendary Marvel Comics superhero creator and movie co-producer Stan Lee, at the age of 95.

Not only was he beloved for introducing the world to such enduring characters as as The Hulk, Thor, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the X-Men (among many others), but he also appeared in some way in every Marvel movie, in vastly amusing cameos.

In a recent MCU massive movie rewatch this summer in New York to herald the coming of Ant Man & The Wasp, it’s reported the biggest laughs and moments of outrageous fan applause came during each Lee cameo. His ritual appearances were always highly anticipated by legions of fans, and it was exciting when Lee and Marvel Studios confirmed a fan theory that all his tiny scenes added up to an ongoing arc for his own character as a Watcher Informant. (See link below to our article about his own MCU character.)

At this point, it’s known that Lee hated to fly, and preferred to shoot his upcoming movie scenes in batches. So we will probably see at least two post-mortem cameos next Spring: one for Captain Marvel in March, and in Avengers 4 (still untitled) in May. It would be nice if at least one of those cameos had a little more meat to them, as a proper send-off to a beloved superhero creator.

Something I think we can all feel pleased about is that just this last June, Mr. Lee (along with JK Rowling for Harry Potter and Joss Whedon for Buffy) was inducted into the Sci Fi & Fantasy Hall of Fame.  According to Screenrant, “previous inductees include the likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Gene Roddenberry, Terry Pratchett, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.” It’s a pleasure to realize Lee was alive to receive this rare and sought-after award.

Here are a few articles we wrote on RunPee about Stan Lee this past summer that you won’t want to have missed, including a video roundup of every Marvel Cinematic Universe cameo:

Stan Lee – His Marvel Cameos are a Secret Character

Every Stan Lee Cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Guardians of the Galaxy Song – Guardians Inferno

Deadpool MCU Crossover Moments

RIP Mjölnir: Who Can Lift Thor’s Hammer?

Avengers Infinity War – Characters Missing in Action, Whereabouts Unknown

And here’s a link to all the movies articles tagged with Marvel on RunPee.com.

We send loving wishes to Stan Lee’s family and hope they can feel peace through this trying time. Mr.  Lee leaves behind a legacy previously unheard of in cinema — making a linked series of 20+ award-winning blockbuster movies — not to mention a  lifetime of extraordinary comic book creation.  Thank you for being our Guardian of the Galaxy. Rest In Peace, somewhere in the universe. 

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Best Rock, Pop Songs in Non-Musical Movies

Thor Ragnarok Immigrant Song
A man with his own theme song.

If you love movies, you’re probably an aficionado of films using rock or pop hits in their stories as well. You can put this mental connection to good use if you run playlists on Alexa/Google Home/cell phone/whatever, loading it up to play songs evoking your favorite films. Use the lists all day long, to wake you up, get you ready for the day’s work, psych you for a workout, or keep you going through a long night of studying.

For example: you can make morning playlists to wake you softly…and then more insistently, by starting with Deadpool’s Angel in the Morning, and moving on to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2’s Mr. Blue Sky.

Some films have a soundtrack with either 1. a piece of music tonally inappropriate to the scene at hand, and it is glorious (Again, see Angel in the Morning), or 2. a rockin’ Earth track to underscore how cool a scene is (as in Thor’s Immigrant Song). I’m not going to include music like ABBA from Mamma Mia 1 & 2, since those movies are clearly musicals. Let’s also leave out dance movies like Footloose, Flash Dance, Dirty Dancing, etc.

I made a notation where the music is Diegetic (a case where the music is played by the characters, who actually hear the music in the narrative of the film).

I’m going to get a list started here. Enjoy the videos, and good luck getting these awesome earworms out of your head.

  • Angel of the Morning – Deadpool (Total earworm bait)
        • Immigrant Song – Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers Infinity War (The lyrics from Led Zeppelin are so perfect, they reprised it thrice! Here is each scene, in order)

  • Sabotage – Star Trek 2009 (Young Kirk, stealing his dad’s car — Diegetic — I can’t believe I missed adding this one yesterday,as it’s the best character introduction EVER)
  • Sabotage is even reprised in Star Trek Beyond (Diegetic)
  • And Star Trek Beyond goes even further with Fight the Power (yes, Diegetic too)
    • Dreamweaver – Wayne’s World (Inappropriate perfection)
    • Bohemian Rhapsody – Wayne’s World (Diegetic)

 

        • The entire playlists of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vols 1 & 2 (Diegetic)

        • Avengers Infinity War – The Rubber Band Man (Diegetic, and used for the introduction of the aforementioned Guardians)

      • Come Together – Justice League ( think this was only used in the trailer, but it works)
      • The entire playlist of Pulp Fiction (Some of it is Diegetic)
      • Back in the Saddle Again – RED (Perfect choice)

    • Radioactive – The Host (End credits)
    • Avengers 1 – Shoot to Thrill (Diegetic, when Iron Man hijacks the speakers of the Quinjet)

        • Iron Man 1 – Back In Black (Diegetic in the cold open Army Hummer)

    • Iron Man 1  – Iron Man, (Closing credits)

    • Iron Man 2 – Shoot to Thrill, complete song (Diegetic, at Iron Man’s Expo)

  • Iron Man  3 – Can You Dig It? (End credits sequence) 
  • Don’t Stop Me Now – Shaun of the Dead (Diegetic, on the jukebox: “Kill the Queen!”)

  • X-Men: Days of Future’s Past – Time in a Bottle  (Quicksilver’s Sequence)
    • X-Men: Apocalypse – Sweet Dreams are Made of This (Quicksilver, again)

        • Oh Yeah Great uses in two songs! – Risky Business and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

    • Risky Business also has Old Time Rock and Roll (Diegetic)

    • Don’t You Forget About Me – The Breakfast Club

    • Ghostbusters  -In the original Ghostbusters
    • AXL F  – Beverly Hills Cop

      • Ruthless People  – Opening credits of Ruthless People

    • Caddyshack – I’m All Right (Gopher opening sequence)

I’m going to wrap this  up and work on other things now. This list could probably go on for the length of a book. So…tell me what egregious misses I made. I’ll add to the list and give you the credit.

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Once More, with Ant Man. Why him, and why now?

ant man in the quantum realm
Wait. What? Where did everybody go?

With Ant Man & The Wasp now released on DVD and Blu-Ray, people are struck again with how this movie might tie in with the greater Marvel oeuvre, and wonder anew why the light-weight Ant Man 2 arrived so closely after the heavy ending of Infinity War.

— Spoilers ahead for Avengers Infinity War and Ant Man & The Wasp —

Here’s a roundup of some intriguing articles addressing Ant Man, the Quantum Realm, and some conjecture about how to undo The Snap:

Do you have any thoughts on how things could wrap up for Avengers 4, coming out next summer? At least we’ve got time to puzzle, conjecture, and, yes,  re-watch the 20 previous movies for scraps of clues. Feel free to comment below with your ideas. I promise to respond.

MCU Trailer News: 

First Captain Marvel Trailer Finally Drops

Avengers 4 Trailer Hints and Rumors

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Avengers 4 Trailer Hints and Rumors

avengers 4 movie trailer
Avengers 4 will soon have a name! (The Snap Undone?)

Several people online are reporting in with seeing the as-yet untitled Avengers 4 trailer, which is expected to drop by mid-November.

Here’s the link to the extended observations of the Avengers 4 trailer, possibly titled Avengers: Annihilation. The notes are detailed and sound authentic enough, given the final events of Avengers: Infinity War. Keep in mind some people believe the title will be Avengers: The Last Avenger, a name possibly “spoiled” by Mark Ruffalo, the Hulk himself. (Granted, that’s a somewhat clunky full title, but it makes a good bookend with Captain America: The First Avenger.)

Read that, then come back here for more news from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (The leak is traced from Reddit user vfxgurudontmind, and reposted by Chris Smith on BGR.) 

What else do we know? Well, Frank Grillo who plays Crossbones in the MCU, also has news, confirming that some of Avengers 4 will be told in flashbacks. With The Hollywood Reporter, he announced his dead character goes on to reprise his role. Now that photos are out showing Captain America in his 2102 Avengers-era costume, it seems that at least some of the upcoming film will take place around the events of the Battle of New York.

We’ll report here more as the news comes in.

In the meantime, ere’s a bunch of related articles to read on RunPee.com, to get you excited about the next Marvel movies:

1st Captain Marvel Trailer Finally Drops

How The Avengers Get Off Titan After Infinity War

Avengers Infinity War – Characters Missing in Action, Whereabouts Unknown

The 5 Movies You Need To Watch Before Infinity War

Mark Ruffalo Spoils Avengers 4 Title – Or Does He?

Mark Ruffalo Sneaks in a Hulk Movie

Tom Holland is an Adorable Bigmouth

 

 

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Best Movie MacGuffins Explained

Star Wars is loaded with MacGuffins. Can you name them all?

A MacGuffin is any object that drives the plot and motivates the characters in a movie. You might have seen the name “MacGuffins” over bar bistros in the lobbies of many AMC theaters. That’s an industry in-joke. It sounds like the name of an Irish pub, but it’s really a nod to a long standing film tradition, coined by Alfred Hitchcock himself, for an object that’s an excuse to make characters do things, have a quest for, and usually fight over.

MacGuffins can be almost anything, but the point is, it is a “thing.” Sometimes a MacGuffin can be a person-as-thing, but that’s a bit more rare. Another crucial point about MacGuffins — they’re usually quite fungible. It really doesn’t matter what the thing is, so long as the characters spend their narrative trying to get it (or, in some cases, lose it). 

Here are some well-known movie MacGuffins that you probably never thought about: 

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark — this whole flick is about finding the Ark, protecting the Ark, using the Ark, and finding a safe place to store it. I’m not sure an FBI warehouse is the safest place, but it’s probably as good as keeping it under the sands of Tanis. Note that for all Indy’s efforts,  nothing he does actually helps the cause in the end. He’s just lucky he knew enough not to die from it. And as we saw in the subsequent Indiana Jones films, there’s always some kind of MacGuffin driving the plot, including the Holy Grail. This is a case-book example of MacGuffins in action. (And yes, the holy grail in Monty Python’s Holy Grail counts too.)
  • Titanic – The Heart of the Ocean. Awwww.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of The Black Pearl – the last coin of the cursed gold qualifies, and so does Will Turner himself. I think each film in this increasingly bizarre series centers in a MacGuffin of some sort.
  • Most of the Mission Impossible series has a MacGuffin driving the plot, which really is just an excuse to see Tom Cruise pulling off his own wild stunts.
  • The Necronomicon in Army of Darkness qualifies in a super fun way. Have you seen this movie? (Go find it. Bruce Campbell is the best B actor in the business.)
  • A Fish Called Wanda has the bag of money, and a whole lot of tomfoolery involved in getting it, including an actual fish named Wanda. (Haven’t seen this? It’s one of the world’s funniest movies and stands up to the test of time.)
  • The Project Genesis in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. But you knew this, right? Even the whales in The Voyage Home count.
  • Unobtainium is kind of a jokey name, but certainly qualifies as a MacGuffin in Avatar. The natives of Pandora need it to survive, and the invading humans want it. They also kind of get it. Bummer.  It all works out in the end, mostly.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe is all about MacGuffins. You could make a case for each of the current 20 films having some kind of MacGuffin. Most of them have to do with Infinity Stones, and who has them, and who tries to protect them from Thanos (or Ronan, or Loki, or the bad guy in Dr. Strange, or that dark Elf in Thor 2). Remember the stones go by all kinds of names, like the Orb, the Aether, the Tesseract, and so on. But it’s not always about the stones: Vulture just wanted alien technology. The Iron Man trilogy was about arc reactor tech. Killmonger wanted the power of Vibranium. Thor sought a replacement for his hammer, so Stormbreaker was the latest MacGuffin. Ant Man is about Quantum Tech and Pym Particles. Name me one MCU movie NOT about a MacGuffin, and you’ll win ten points to your Hogwarts House.
  • Speaking of Harry Potter, I don’t think a single entry in the 8 movie pantheon is MacGuffin-free. Look at the Sorcerer/Philosopher’s stone, the Tri-Wizard cup, the orb of prophecy, the Horcrux search, the quest for the Sword of Gryffindor, and the Deathly Hallows. Since Harry turned out to be a horcrux himself, he qualifies as a personified MacGuffin.
  • Like with the Sword of Gryffindor, swords are common themes to base a quest around. Look at the King Arthur movies: we even have two swords! The sword in the stone is one, and the one the Lady of the Lake tossed at Arthur. (“You can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!” <— recognize this quote? If you’re a true cinephile, you should.)
  • The Lord of Rings is a great exception to the ideal of questing FOR an object. In this case, the fellowship is about destroying something: the One Ring of Power. It’s a self-proclaimed fool’s quest, but somehow, the good guys win. (Although not without great cost along the way.)
  • The Lord of the Rings does the sword thing too, with the shards of Narsil being forged as a great flaming weapon, to be reforged and wielded only by a descendant of Isildur. So we can check that box too.
  • In the Hobbit, it’s the Arkenstone.
  • The Wizard of Oz has the Ruby Slippers.
  • In the various incarnations of Dune, the Sandworms are an unusual MacGuffin, which, like Harry Potter, are also in the form of a living being. The spice itself is a HUGE MacGuffin — without it, space travel would simply cease. And this relates right back to the Sandworms. Lost yet? Ignore David Lunch and the SciFi versions; re-read the novel. I hear there will be yet another filmatic attempt at Dune soon…so we can hope it’s the definitive version.
  • In a less fantasy mode, we’ve got Pulp Fiction. What exactly was in the magically glowing briefcase? Was it Marcellus Wallus’ soul, as many fans speculated? We never find out, although it actually doesn’t matter in the end.
  • Fantastic Beasts also featured a magical suitcase that all characters sought. In this film, however, we definitely saw what was in there.
  • Star Wars is usually about MacGuffins, which are often force-users (ie – people). In Solo, look at how Coaxium drives the plot. The Millennium Falcon  qualifies too. In The Force Awakens, Luke himself is the MacGuffin (and so is his lightsaber). A New Hope and Rogue One have the stolen Death Star data tapes. Star Wars is loaded with MacGuffins, including R2D2 himself. Once you start noticing these, you can’t stop. (Kind of like eating Pringles.)
  • The Maltese Falcon – an obvious one, from a classic-era film. Hmmm, also Rosebud in Citizen Cane.
  • All heist, thriller, and caper movies are about finding a thing. Often a tech thing, and sometimes just money — as in Die Hard. I dare you to name a caper that isn’t about acquiring something. Look at the Ocean’s films for a start. Everyone’s after something, and the whole plot hinges around that thing.
  • Apollo 13 and even First Man are about similar MacGuffins, be they the moon itself, or just finding a way to get home from said moon.
  • Are you a Buffy fan? Remember her Axe of Power? MacGuffin. The entire series is loaded with MacGuffins, including Buffy herself.
  • In the X-Files, aliens from space qualify as MacGuffins. And I’m not sure this was ever resolved. At least Scully learned to believe. 😉

Clearly, this is an ongoing list. I can’t sit here all day naming every flick with a MacGuffin. But feel free, absolutely, to name your favorites in the comments. It’s good geeky fun!

MacGuffins Bars at AMC Theaters

Movie Theater Review – AMC Fashion Valley in San Diego

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Guardians of the Galaxy Song – Guardians Inferno

I think this is our long-awaited Dance Off.

The Guardians of the Galaxy, Vols 1 and 2, are already beloved movie icons, both inside and outside the geek crowd. As a big part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, their reach extends from Disney theme parks, with the hugely popular Guardian’s Breakout ride, to this little gem of a disco parody song called The Guardians Inferno.

It’s a catchy tune, and watching the video is great fun. Almost every character (plus erstwhile  director James Gunn) are featured in shiny, tight, glittery, and frankly outlandish outfits that wouldn’t stick out on the dance floor in the 80s.  Mutton chops and afros make an appearance too. If you’ve seen the movies, you’ll understand why David Hasselhoff (AKA Zardu Hasslefrou) sings this song — and if you know anything about Marvel comics, you’ll adore the Stan Lee cameo at the end.

Try to see if you can spot these characters from the films:

  • Gamora
  • Kraglin/Rocket
  • Drax
  • Nebula
  • Mantis
  • Star Lord

Just remember, WE ARE GROOT.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Guardians of the Galaxy Ex-Director James Gunn to Direct Suicide Squad 2

We are still Groot.

In a surprise move that, in hindsight, should not be so surprising, DC snapped up erstwhile Marvel director James Gunn.

The director who helmed the beloved Guardians of the Galaxy films was fired last July from GOTG Vol3 for offensive Twitter jokes posted over a decade ago, stirring up ire and confusion from legions of fans. The entire GOTG cast got involved, tweeting support for Gunn and asking Disney to reconsider their stance. One actor, Dave Bautista (Drax), stated he would quit the MCU if Marvel didn’t use Gunn’s script for Vol3.

It’s been an emotional road for fans since then. I was at the San Diego Comic Con the day Gunn was slated to speak, and it hit the entire convention like a blow. He didn’t appear at all, which made a lot of sense: this knee-jerk move most probably broke his heart. GOTG was his baby, and he made Marvel a lot of money. Gunn took a little-known cosmic corner of the Marvel Comics universe, one with a walking tree and a talking raccoon, and made a joyously exuberant space epic that even non-geeks adore.  He’s so intimately connected to his characters that he was brought in for Avengers: Infinity War to write all the Guardians’ lines, keeping the tone tied to the GOTG flicks.

Word is that Marvel, now owned by Disney, will still use Gunn’s script for the conclusion to his trilogy, but this hasn’t been confirmed. The feature was slated in the MCU roster for 2020, but is now considered on haitus. In other words, no one knows anything. There might not even BE a third Guardians film, after all is said and done.

Which leads us to the DC Extended Universe. Suicide Squad was intended to be DC’s equivalent to the MCU’s Guardians movies, with rollicking tunes and irreverent characters who are “something good, something bad: a little bit of both.” Unfortunately, SS really wasn’t very good, and became another dead end in DC’s bid to catch up with the MCU.

Gunn coming on board will change things. With the Wonderwoman films course correcting the entire franchise, and the anticipation awaiting December’s Aquaman film, this could be just the kick in the pants DC needed to compete for the hearts of fans. They certainly made a smart call to add Gunn to their universe.  He’s expected to bring to Suicide Squad 2 what he lent to the Guardians films: a freshness, good tunes, witty dialog, and a rousing sense of adventurous fun.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Mark Ruffalo Spoils Avengers 4 Title – Or Does He?

My name is Mark Ruffalo, and I’m a Spoilaholic.

Mark Ruffalo, as Marvel’s Hulk, talks a lot — unlike the Hulk, actually. Ruffalo’s been known to accidentally drop many a spoiler on talk shows, followed by an “ooops” face, and usually an unsuccessful attempt to pass it off as a joke. It seems he just did it again, live with Jimmy Kimmel. Maybe.

Possible spoiler ahead…

Ruffalo clearly tells the entire audience the movie title for Avengers 4, which has been kept under heavy wraps since the title for Avengers Infinity War was released.  Director Kevin Feige previously announced the title itself was a spoiler, and that speaking it was verboten.

In the video, Ruffalo’s words are bleeped and blocked out, but fans pieced together what’s he’s saying anyway, and it seems to be “The Last Avenger”.  If true, it makes a nice bookend with Captain America: The First Avenger, especially with Chris Evans announcing he will be hanging up Cap’s mantle in Avengers 4.

This may or may not be the name of the movie, as the entertainment world is pretty aware of Ruffalo’s spoilerey reputation: the whole thing could just be a pre-planned joke on the audience, intended only for laughs.

Of course, Ruffalo isn’t the most loose-lipped member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He shares that special spot with young Tom Holland (Spiderman), in a little video moment I wrote about here.

Here’s the Ruffalo segment on Kimmel’s show. Do you think this is a legit spoiler, or a playful set-up? (Clearly the ending is meant as great fun…)

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Why Marvel’s Spiderman Fixed the Franchise

He’s the only superhero from Queens, far as I know.

How many Spideys have graced (or disgraced) (or Topher Graced) the iconic young superhero on the big screen over the last few decades? This is the THIRD go at it in the modern era — but you probably knew that. How come Tom Holland’s performance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is considered superior?

This video (12 minutes in length) details a bit of Spiderman history, some words about Spiderman’s mask vs Peter Parker’s eyes, the importance of not dragging your viewers through the same origin moments over and over (ie – the spider bite, the death of Uncle Ben)…and a lot of cool tidbits you probably didn’t know about our favorite arachnid-themed teen hero:

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.