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Yes, that’s in French.

Now that Disney owns Fox, properties formerly outside the umbrella are finally back where they belong. Fantastic Four and X-Men, primarily. And it’s only a matter of time before the MCU welcome their lost children back to the big screen. And fans have already been throwing out their casting choice. One Redditor gave a suggestion that’s gotten over 20k upvotes or fake internet points. But will you approve? Every Nerd has an opinion on who would be the best Doctor Doom. And even if they don’t have a suggestion, they have an opinion on other’s casting of Marvel’s First Family. But this is a solid list of proven actors that could easily embody these characters and usher the MCU into a bright new phase.

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There’s a new and last season of this TV show starting soon. You may have heard of it. Game of Thrones. Sound familiar? Well, in case you haven’t heard of this little show with little more than a cult following, HBO has some promotional events to help with might be moderate hype. #ForTheThrone features three ways to get hyped for Season 8, and the biggest of three could get you a crown of your own. Would you quest, bleed, or create for the throne? HBO hopes so. Creating a website and posting to YouTube and Facebook, HBO and the GoT actors are giving hints at the location of hidden Iron Thrones throughout the world. And the first of six has already been found!

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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. So many of us grew up with the uber-macho He-Man and his alter ego, Prince Adam. He-Man had unfortunately named teammates like Fisto and Ram-Man. He fought Skeletor for the safety of Greyskull. And what little boy or girl in the 80s didn’t yell ‘I HAVE… THE POWAAAAAH!” at least once a day? He-Man spawned the spin-off She-Ra, his long lost sister who had her own power sword and alter ego. But just as She-Ra has gotten a heavy reboot, it seems its time for He-Man’s. But how true to the source material will it stay? Or the more important question may be ‘How much fanboy rage will spill out onto keyboards and out into the internet’? With the lead casting announcement, the answer is probably “a lot”.

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Moments after crimson-red clad doppelgangers invade an upper-middle-class home in Us, writer-director Jordan Peele’s fbrilliantly provocative follow-up to the Oscar-winning black comedy/social satire Get Out, they win a brief, futile struggle for control, taking a terrified nuclear family of four hostage. One of the children, frightened, shocked, and disoriented, flatly states, “They’re us.” Part of the genius of Peele’s follow-up to Get Out lies in that single word, in the doppelgangers, led by Red (Lupita Nyong’o), both looking exactly like their upper-middle-class counterparts, but sounding and acting nothing like them. They might share the same faces and forms, but there the resemblance ends. Their life experiences, material comfort, emotional support, and sunlight for Adelaide Wilson (Nyong’o) and her family, material deprivation, emotional absence, and the cold, unblinking lights of a literal subterranean existence for Red and her makeshift family, raise multiple specters in American cultural, political, and social life starkly defined by vast income inequality, white supremacy/racism, and a hollowed-out American Dream.

Before, however, we get to that pivotal home-invasion scene, Peele, an exceptionally gifted filmmaker with an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture (especially horror, including Funny Games, The Strangers, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers) deliberately seeds Us with a steady stream of clues as to the underlying meaning – or more accurately, multiple, maybe even contradictory meanings – of his second feature-length film. An old-school, cathode-ray TV plays out a long-forgotten, feel-good, ultimately empty publicity stunt, “Hands Across America,” while nearby, a VHS copy of C.H.U.D., a mid-‘80s, low-budget horror shocker thematically tuned to Us’ socio-political commentary. A young girl, Adelaide (Madison Curry) pays little attention to the TV as her parents prepare for an evening at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. There, her father’s negligence, combined with her natural curiosity, leads her to a funhouse/hall of mirrors that proclaims visitors can “Find yourself.” Adelaide does, both literally and figuratively when she comes face-to-face with her silent double. When Adelaide returns – or rather found – she’s been so heavily traumatized that she can barely speak or interact with anyone.

That childhood trauma carries over into the adult Adelaide. Wary of returning to Santa Cruz or the boardwalk, she reluctantly agrees, in large part to go along to get along with her genial, even-tempered husband, Gabe (Winston Duke), her tween daughter, Zora Wilson (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and her introspective, preteen son, Jason (Evan Alex). But where she sees signs and portents of her past fears and anxieties, her family blissfully sees nothing. When Jason disappears, wandering, like his mother more than thirty years earlier, away from his family and towards the funhouse, Adelaide panics. But again and again, she allows her family and the safety and security that her family represents, to calm her mind and ease her fears, an error Adelaide and her family pay for repeatedly when Red and her clan of grunting, animalistic proto-killers make their expected appearance.

Peele lingers on the small, everyday details of Adelaide and her family’s life, sketching out their divergent personalities in necessarily broad strokes, but also avoiding turning them into stereotypes or caricatures before Red and her clan invades their home. Post-home invasion, Adelaide and her family split and reform (they’re always stronger together), letting moviegoers see and how they’ll react to the life-or-death situations embodied by Red and her clan. For Adelaide, it’s her own personal apocalypse, but Peele, a bold, audacious, and ambitious filmmaker, isn’t content with spinning out another variation of the home-invasion thriller, with or without subtext. He’s just as willing to take a bigger, broader view, both expanding Adelaide and her family’s experience and the film’s objectives as well. The red crimson overalls Red and her clan wear are intentional, not institutional. They represent more than uniformity or conformity. They represent the blood they expect to shed, but also to subconsciously associate Red and her clan with rebellion and revolt. When Red, speaking in a choked, hoarse whisper, says, “We’re Americans,” she’s not wrong. What she fails to add is that Red and her clan represents the forgotten, the invisible, and the repressed (their revolt represents “the return of the repressed”).

There’s more too, of course. More story, more thematic material, more subtext, though early on Peele, a keen observer and commentator on the African-American experience, hints at the doppelgangers representing something else, the “imposter syndrome” many people of color experience when they, like Adelaide and her family, either escape the economic deprivation of their respective biological families, embracing the privilege that comes with middle-class and upper-middle-class status: They feel like the lives they live, the lives they’ve earned, aren’t really theirs. They belong to someone else, someone better, someone who deserves all of the objects and signifiers of material and social success. A key, second half plot turn, however, suggests that Peele might have something else entirely in mind – or something in addition to the “imposter syndrome” idea – for Us and it falls along the nature-nurture divide.

It’s obvious from their second encounter as adults that Red and Adelaide if body switched, would each lead the other’s life or an approximation. Biology isn’t destiny, but environment can be. Peele also suggests, however, that environments and the circumstances they represent, can be broken and shattered, but only through violent means, violent revolt. That we initially, subsequently, and repeatedly root for Adelaide and her family to escape Red’s clutches alive says something about narrative form and our implicit biases. We’ll root for the characters a story tells us to root for, the higher the class, the better the social standing and we won’t think twice about who to root for and how hard we root for them. By the end of Us, as the smoke clears on what, at best, can be seen as a partial victory, Peele wants moviegoers to closely question our loyalties and our allegiances. We just might not like the answers.

Unpopular Opinion: Batmen Ranked Edition

 

Everyone has their own favorite Batman. Every Nerd worth their salt has an opinion on who was the best Batman, who was the best Bruce Wayne, and who was the best at both. And every Nerd’s ranked list differs just a little from the Nerd standing next to them. So here’s our favorite Batmen, ranked best to worst. But this time, we want to hear from YOU. Which Batman was the best? Who didn’t cut it, in your not-so-humble opinion? How wrong were we? Post in the comment below and let us know which Batman stands where in your list. If this post does well and you opinionated (nerd)bastards comment like hell, there could be some Bat-related prizes for future posts…

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It feels good to see a wrong righted. It happens far too often in the world. And rarely is it so public. Everyone saw our article on James Gunn’s departure from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise last year, right? Disney reinstated James Gunn as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Gunn said indefensible comments, meant as jokes, that were the outlandish remarks of someone trying way too hard to be funny and missing the mark by a mile. But Gunn never justified his actions, in fact, he apologizes numerous times. He never blamed Disney, always taking responsibility for his actions, condemning his words and not trying to cover them up. James Gunn did everything right in handling the situation. Fans, family, friends, all sent outpouring support for the writer/director. And in the end, it paid off.

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It was bound to happen. When Captain Marvel released, fans and trolls alike were going to compare the movie, the hero, and the actress, to it’s DC counterpart, Wonder Woman. Who could beat who in a fight? Who had the better film? The first two female-led superhero movies of both the MCU and the DCU were going to cause some comparing and contrasting. That’s nerdom. That’s what we do. It’s what we’ve done since the beginning of time. We pit heroes against each other in faux-battles with arbitrary conditions when we all know that if said heroes ever met, they’d fight for a minute, realize they were on the same side, and then team up. Just like they always do. There would be no “winner” unless it was the both ladies against whatever villain was handy. 95% of the time, it’s all in good fun. But the other 5%? When it becomes toxic, misogynistic, unconstructive, belittling, bad-mouthing bullying? What steps need to be taken to check ourselves and what can we as nerds, as human beings, do to make our fandoms happier places?

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