The John Wick Match-Up We Need To See In Chapter 4

John Wick in Chapter 3 - Parabellum

Warning! The following contains SPOILERS for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum**. Read at your own risk!**

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum featured John Wick going up against some of The High Table’s finest assassins, although none were good enough to take down the film’s hero and eliminate him when he was excommunicado. That may be because one of the key assassins who might have been most capable wasn’t one seeking to kill the famed assassin, but was on his side for a majority of the movie.

Now that they’re seemingly on opposite sides and John Wick: Chapter 4 is officially a go for 2021, it may finally be time for John to take on a character who may actually stand a chance at bringing him to his knees. Even if he was unsuccessful, it would be a good fight, which is why John Wick vs. Charon, The Continental’s hotel concierge, is the match-up we need to see for a number of reasons.

Charon John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

Why Charon Is The Underrated Assassin Of John Wick

For the first two movies of the franchise, Charon has been both seen and heard, but we don’t know a whole lot about him. What we do know is he’s the bodyguard of New York’s Continental manager, Winston, and the overall gatekeeper of sorts to The Continental. He’s calm and collected regardless of the situation, and he doesn’t seem to fear much of anything.

It wasn’t until John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum that we really saw Charon in action, as he helped John defend The Continental from the High Table forces that invaded the hotel. He did so as competently as John, and while he didn’t have the same fatigue as his colleague, seemed to be of equal standing in terms of marksmanship.

If Charon is a capable assassin, why is he not out taking missions on behalf of the High Table? It depends on how one looks at it, but one would think being the gatekeeper to New York City’s Continental is a huge honor perhaps bestowed to him for exceptional service, or maybe because he’s more than capable of keeping a building of assassins in check. Whether that’s true I can only speculate, but I’d wager Charon is a talented assassin.

The Adjudicator Charon John Wick

Would Charon Fight John Wick?

Charon looked as though he could at least put up a decent fight againt John Wick if it came down to it, but would he really go toe-to-toe with him? After all, Charon has been shown to have a deep respect for John, and has gone above and beyond for him in the past without being asked. There’s certainly some admiration on his end, and John seems to have that same respect for Charon.

As audiences learned in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, however, admiration does not always keep assassins from pursuing each other. In fact, Zero (the Adjudicator’s skilled assassin) seemed to be a huge fanboy of John Wick, which made him all the more eager to fight and attempt to kill him. Clearly assassins’ minds work a bit differently than others.

Plus, for all the admiration that Charon has for John, he’s Winston’s employee. Protecting his boss appears to be his priority above all else, and if John is coming for Winston, then it looks like Charon is going to be standing in the way. Even if he’s sure it will end in his death, Charon doesn’t seem like the type to break his loyalty to his employer.

Charon John Wick

Could Charon Defeat John Wick In A Fight?

This is a tough question to answer, as it’s hard to ever discount John Wick in a fight after these past three movies. He is the title character after all, and has escaped certain death plenty of times. Does Charon really stand a chance against one of the most notable assassins in the High Table’s history?

Charon has one big advantage after the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. To start, he’s aligned with Winston, who got back into the High Table’s good graces at the end of the movie. With John still possibly being hunted, it’s safe to say that if he is coming for Winston, and he’ll run into quite a few High Table cronies on the road. That means he could be somewhat fatigued by the time the two meet, which gives Charon an advantage.

Additionally, one would reckon that neither Winston or Charon have any reason to leave The Continental now that Winston’s name has been cleared. John is likely familiar with the facility, but it’s doubtful he knows the grounds as well as Charon. Knowledge of a location is a huge tactical advantage in most battle situations, so John could be in a very precarious position if he’s forced to take on Charon inside the hotel.

John Wick Charon

Will Charon And John Wick Fight In Chapter 4?

The ending of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is somewhat strange, as Winston’s betrayal seemed to come out of nowhere. Was it really an on the spot decision for Winston to turn the tables on John, or was it an elaborate scheme the two concocted that will further an agenda to usurp the High Table?

If there was some plan like that in play, it doesn’t seem as though John was in on it. He arrived before the Bowery King broken and, in his words, pissed off. Getting shot off of a building is liable to piss anyone off, but is John mad about that, or that Winston tried to kill him when John defied the High Table’s order to kill The Continental manager? He can be mad at both things, right?

It’s possible Winston thought on his toes and ensured John was initially believed to be dead knowing he wasn’t in an effort to protect him. Unfortunately, he probably won’t have a way of convincing John of that anytime soon, which means Charon may be forced to defend Winston even though he understands the move was made to protect John. Oof, wouldn’t that be a tragic end to one of the franchise’s more interesting characters?

We’ll get to see if Charon and John go toe to toe In John Wick: Chapter 4 when the film is in theaters Friday, May 21, 2021. Stick with CinemaBlend until then for more updates on its development, as well as the latest news in movies, television and pop culture.

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5 Facts You Didn’t Know About The Original Aladdin Movie

Aladdin courts Jasmine with a magic carpet

Before it was announced, it seemed inevitable that Walt Disney Pictures would add its Aladdin movie to its dossier of live-action updates. On May 24th, audiences will bear witness to Guy Ritchie’s new vision of the magical rags-to-riches story featuring a big, blue Will Smith assuming the iconic role of Genie.

The beloved, 1992 original animated hit is regarded by many fans as untouchable, especially due to its Academy Award-winning music by Alan Menken and Robin Williams’ incomparable performance as the voice of Genie.

While fans are entitled to their opinions regarding a remake to such a lightning-in-a-bottle movie, the classic still clearly holds up. But how well do you really know  know the original Aladdin movie?

Let’s revisit the kingdom of Agrabah and take a deeper look behind the bright-colored veil to uncover a few facts about Aladdin that you may not have known before.

Robin Williams' Genie is simply iconic

Robin Williams Recorded Enough Material As Genie For More Movies

The Genie in Aladdin is considered by many as the greatest of Disney’s classic animated characters. Much of the credit goes to future Academy Award-winner Robin Williams, whom the filmmakers allowed to go hog wild with the role, given that they had already written the character with him in mind.

Williams went much deeper into the role than the rest of the Aladdin cast, and so much that his time spent in the recording studio ended up resulting in almost 16 hours of potentially usable material, although a clause in his will says Disney can’t use it until 25 years after his death. Aladdin is a mere 90 minutes. Imagine trying to cut down a gold mine to just one brick!

Additionally, Robin Williams’ improvisational performance style when voicing Genie actually proved somewhat problematic to the film’s Oscar potential. So much of his dialogue was ad-libbed that it cost Aladdin an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Thankfully, Alan Menken’s original score and song “A Whole New World” saved the Aladdin movie from leaving awards season empty-handed.

How did the Peddler find that magic lamp?

The Real Deal With The Street Peddler Who Introduces Aladdin

Aladdin begins with the now-controversial song “Arabian Nights” (more on that later) sung by a character known as The Peddler. The Peddler struggles to sell his merchandise to the audience, until he presents a lamp that he claims is nothing ordinary.

He uses the lamp as a segue into the main story of the Aladdin movie. Then, for the rest of the film, he is never seen or mentioned again. So, what was his point to the story anyway, other than providing an introduction?

Considering the Peddler was voiced by Robin Williams, fans have speculated  the character is actually a post-freedom Genie in disguise. In a 2015 interview to promote the Aladdin Blu-ray release, co-director Ron Clements revealed the truth behind the fan theory stating:

That’s true! That was the whole intention, originally. We even had that at the end of the movie, where he would reveal himself to be the Genie, and of course Robin did the voice of The Peddler. Just through story changes and some editing, we lost the reveal at the end. So, that’s an urban legend that actually is true.

Huzzah! A Disney animated movie fan theory finally confirmed! Now, I’ll just wait patiently for someone to admit that Aladdin really does tell Jasmine’s tiger to take its clothes off.

Can you imagine Jafar say "Beam me up"?

Jafar Almost Sounded Like A Certain Star Trek Character

Aladdin’s ruthless, power-hungry villain (and one of the best Disney movie villains ever) Jafar was voiced by Jonathan Freeman.

Jonathan Freeman is one of the few members of the Aladdin cast to reprise his original role in multiple spin-off projects, including a Broadway rendition of the film. His unforgettable portrayal has remained one of the most endurable aspects of the film. But can you imagine Jafar in the voice of, say, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard?

One of Disney’s first choices for the voice of Jafar was world-renowned actor Patrick Stewart. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts with his role on Star Trek, he was forced to turn the role down. Following the Aladdin movie’s $504 million international success story, Stewart has gone onto state in interviews that turning down Jafar is one of the greatest regrets of his career.

I imagine he would have been dynamite for that Broadway show, too.

Princess Jasmine Was Almost Completely Different

Jasmine, the royal romantic interest of Aladdin’s title character played by Linda Larkin, is arguably one of the better female role models among Disney’s animated character creations. However, her character’s original concept is nothing like what Aladdin movie fans remember, for better or for worse.

For one, Jasmine was initially meant to have a more active role in the story.

Instead of breaking down and crying over her forced engagement to Jafar, she was supposed to angrily confront her father: a sequence that got nixed to save time on animation designs. Instead of needing Aladdin to rescue her from Jafar’s giant hourglass, she was originally going to free herself using a jewel in her headpiece.

I would call these missed opportunities, but they are ultimately forgiven by Disney’s decision to not go with Jasmine’s original personality design.

Instead of the bored, kindhearted princess longing for a more normal life, Jasmine was going to be a total brat who only wanted to marry the richest prince available. A song was written, intended to be her defining theme, called “Call Me a Princess.” Only when she falls in love with Aladdin would she learn humility and change into a sweeter version of herself.

Disney, believing audiences would not like that interpretation of her, decided to change Jasmine into the humble character she is admired as today. Good thing the creative team was able to make the change before Aladdin’s theatrical movie release, unlike a different mistake.

The kingdom of Agrabah, barbaric?

One Aladdin Song Sparked Controversy

The opening song of Aladdin is “Arabian Nights,” sang by Bruce Adler, who served as The Peddler’s singing voice. The song is meant to set the tone of the story and inform the audience of its setting.

Among Alan Menken’s many memorable, award-winning songs in Aladdin, “Arabian Nights” is not one that has gotten much love. Those who saw the film in its initial theatrical run may understand why.

There is a lyric right before the line, “It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home,” that says, “Where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense.” Those are not the original words, however. The original lyric said, “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.”

This sparked major controversy from Arab-American groups who claimed the mention of cutting off ears was racist. Disney and Alan Menken agreed to change the lines for Aladdin’s home video release.

What do you think of our Aladdin facts? Do they make “a whole new world” of difference? Catch the live action version of the movie when it hits theaters this weekend, and be sure to check out more of what’s coming this summer with our full schedule.

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Disney’s Alan Menken Thinks One Animated Blockbuster Is Too Controversial For Live-Action

Disney has found a goldmine in the form of remaking the studio’s animated classics. Movies like The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast have been massive box office smashes. It looks like Disney may have another hit on their hands with Aladdin opening this week, and other remakes, like The Lion King and Mulan are waiting in the wings.

With several other remake projects rumored, we know Disney is going to be continuing this franchise for quite some time, however, Alan Menken, the Academy Award winning songwriter of many of Disney’s Renaissance classics, thinks there’s one animated Disney movie that likely won’t get the remake treatment, 1995’s Pocahontas. According to Menken…

It’s not hard to believe that Alan Menken is correct in his comments to Express. The fact of the matter is, Pocahontas was criticized for its depiction of Native Americans when it was released in 1995, so doing a note-for-note adaptation of the film now would certainly cause similar complaints, only more so.

At the very least, an adaptation would need to go through some major modifications. Considering how close movies like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin have stayed to the source material, a version of Pocahontas that was significantly different doesn’t seem like the sort of movie Disney would want to make, but if they also can’t make the original version again, the movie gets stuck in limbo and probably never gets made.

It’s not the first time that the test of time has not be kind to a Disney movie. Dumbo had a collection of crow characters back in the 1940s that included a character that was actually named Jim Crow. Needless to say, the recent live-action remake of that movie did not include that scene.

Song of the South is a movie that Disney would probably rather we all forgot existed. The depiction of African-Americans during Reconstruction was also criticized in its day, but that criticism has only grown over the years and the film has never been released on home viewing in North America. Disney has confirmed the film will not even be released on the Disney+ streaming service.

Pocahontas isn’t Song of the South bad, Disney hasn’t disowned the film, but it’s still another example of a movie that simply hasn’t aged well. The fact that Moana another Disney animated film focused on a cultural minority group, has a largely similar story, but is viewed much more positively, makes it feel like the film was an attempt to make up for the missteps of Pocahontas.

Disney’s live-action remake slate currently includes The Lion King, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Mulan, and Cruella on the big screen as well as Lady and the Tramp coming to Disney+. We also know that The Little Mermaid is a project currently in development. Other projects that have been rumored include Pinocchio, Snow White, and Sword in the Stone.

Pocahontas hasn’t even been rumored as a potential remake, which would seem to confirm Alan Menken’s feelings. Al;though, after all the other remakes have been made, Pocahontas might start to look like a more attractive option.

Terminator: Dark Fate Used A Clever Sarah Connor Callback To Reveal New Poster

There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves, and fans took that very seriously when it came to the Terminator: Dark Fate poster. You may know that tomorrow — Thursday, May 23 — we are getting the first official trailer for Terminator 6. A day ahead of schedule, the movie’s official poster was revealed. The reveal used a perfect callback to the first movie, 1984’s The Terminator, just using social media instead of a phone book.

Before the official Terminator: Dark Fate site shared the poster of Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, the wise sages at The Terminator Fans discovered that the poster had already been quietly shared another way:

Yes, there’s a new account called @SarahConnor829 — with that August 29 date having special significance as Judgment Day itself. That account just opened and only shared one tweet, the poster that the fans quickly found.

The official Terminator: Dark Fate Twitter account reposted the above tweet with congratulations:

Here’s a little more background on Paramount’s clever marketing twist for the poster. In an ode to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1984 Terminator going through the phone book to find and kill off any and all Sarah Connors to get to the right one, there was a Twitter list created of Sarah Connors. A Sarah Connor account within the list launched the poster early Wednesday morning — the day before the trailer release — and The Terminator Fans site found the right one.

Here’s a full look at the poster, which was shared with the caption “Welcome to the day after Judgment Day”:

Terminator: Dark Fate is meant to be a sequel to both The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day — considering “forgettable” films Terminator 3, Terminator Salvation, and Terminator Genisys as happening in alternate timelines. T2 ended with Sarah and John Connor driving away down a highway, and that’s another reference you can see in the new Dark Fate poster.

As you can see with this poster, Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor is front and center in the promotion for Terminator: Dark Fate. In this case, she walks alone, even though she will be joined by several old and new characters. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be returning as T-800, with newcomers including Mackenzie Davis as assassin-from-the-future Grace, Natalia Reyes as Dani Ramos, Diego Boneta as Dani’s brother, and Gabriel Luna as the new Termintator. The new liquid metal Terminator can duplicate himself, and apparently he has been sent to terminate Dani, while Grace is meant to protect her.

Linda Hamilton said James Cameron is the one who convinced her to come back for Terminator: Dark Fate. He directed her in the first two movies, but now he’s “just” a hands-on producer, although he’s also on the list of story-by credits. Tim Miller (Deadpool) is the one who directed Terminator 6.

CinemaBlend already got to see some early footage from Terminator: Dark Fate at CinemaCon 2019 and shared a promising update.

Fans will get their first looks at Terminator: Dark Fate footage when the first trailer drops tomorrow morning, Thursday, May 23. The movie is scheduled to open in theaters on November 1, 2019. Keep up with all of the 2019 release dates with our handy guide.

Why Will Smith Almost Said ‘No’ To The Live-Action Aladdin

Will Smith may be a desperado, but he isn’t desperate for roles. In fact, when he was presented with the idea of playing the Genie in Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, out this weekend, the actor’s first impulse was to say no?

Why would an a-lister say no to a role in a big Disney live action adaptation? Well, Robin Williams’ original performance in 1992’s Aladdin was one of the most iconic of all-time, and Will Smith didn’t originally think he could bring anything to the table. He told Ellen DeGeneres this week:

While Will Smith initially felt he would have to pass on Aladdin, he did tinker around with the idea for a bit. He revealed on Ellen that when he went into the studio and spent some time toying around with the iconic song ‘Friend like Me’ he realized he could be the right fit for the big, blue genie.

Per the actor, the real flash of inspiration was when Will Smith realized he could bring in his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air character’s characteristics and bring some hip-hop flavor to the role. He revealed:

Nostalgia is a big thing in Disney’s 2019 live-action Aladdin. Without giving too much away, the movie mirrors a lot of the iconic classic’s most memorable moments. However, it also spins the tale in a new way, with characters like Jasmine gaining agency and characters like the Genie adding a different flavor into the mix. In fact, ‘Friend Like Me’ has been a big entry point for Will Smith to engage with fans of the franchise as well.

Whoever took on the role of the genie was always going to have to deal with being compared to Robin Williams, who would be a tough act for anyone to follow. Honestly, the role really needed to go to someone splashy with a big name in order to work, and we’re lucky Will Smith said yes after much deliberation. If the Guy Ritchie flick had cast a no-name, I’m not sure that person would have been able to pull it off.

Aladdin hits theaters this Friday. For a full look at the summer movies coming up, check out our movies schedule.

Knights Of Ren Confirmed For Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

In Star Wars: The Force Awakens we were introduced to a collection of apparently villainous characters called the Knights of Ren. We witnessed them standing in the rain outside of Luke Skywalker’s burning Jedi temple, and then, they were gone. We’ve never seen or heard a word about them since Rey’s flashback in the first film of the new trilogy, but now a new report confirms that the Knights of Ren will return in for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Rumors had been swirling that the Knights would be back for the final film of the trilogy, and the characters were even spottted in a supposedly leaked poster image, but a new Vanity Fair article confirms the Knights will play a part, and even shows the characters off. The Knights of Ren are described as wearing mismatched armor with oversized arsenals of weapons. Whereas the rest of the First Order looks sleek and ordered, the Knights of Ren are put together in a much more haphazard fashion.

The article also confirms that the one good shot that we received of Kylo Ren in the Rise of Skywalker teaser trailer shows him taking down one of the Knights of Ren.

Of course, the fact that Kylo Ren is attacking the Knights of Ren in this shot creates more questions than answers. Is this a flashback? Is the reason we have’t seen the Knights of Ren before because they’re all dead? Does this mean Ben Solo is going to turn to the light side after all and attack those that he was previously aligned with? Does this mean the Knights of Ren have turned to the light and Kylo Ren is fighting them for that reason?

While it is now confirmed that the Knights of Ren will appear in the new film, no details are being given regarding how they’re being used, so your guess is as good as mine. Where have they been all this time and why are they back now? We’ll find out in December I guess. One rumor has indicated the Knights have been busy elsewhere over the course of the previous two films.

A great deal will have changed for Kylo Ren when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker starts. He will, one assumes, have been ruling over the First Order alone for the year that has passed since The Last Jedi. How this has changed him and his relationship with these characters, is certainly an interesting question.

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi Luke Skywalker says that when Ben Solo left after destroying the temple he took some of the students with him. Whether or not these people are the Knights of Ren we don’t specifically know, though it seems likely.

Since the Knights of Ren have never been anything more than a name and an image before, we have really no idea what to expect from them in the new film. Even the books and and other Star Wars material that has been released in the last few years has remained remarkably quiet on the Knights of Ren. They may not end up being anybody particularly special or they could end up becoming some of the most popular new characters of the new trilogy. We’ll find out December 20.

Keri Russell’s Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Character Finally Revealed In New Image

While we’re still pretty much in the dark when it comes to details on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s plot, there’s plenty of other information that’s slowly being put out into the universe. Today brings one of the most beautiful traditions linked to the modern era of Star Wars film’s: the Vanity Fair spread.

Among the new character reveals that took place in this latest version of that time-honored happening is our first look at Keri Russell’s new Star Wars character, Zorri Bliss. As you’ll see in the photo below, she was absolutely right to say that she had the coolest costume in the film:

This first look at Zorri and her costume has us thinking that Keri Russell is playing a bounty hunter character, or at least someone who swims in the same dark circles as Boba Fett. Then again, if anyone shows up in the Star Wars universe with weapons and a helmet obscuring their face, it’s not a hard stretch to think that this person would be looking to apprehend any person, object, or information for the right price.

With a gold helmet that looks like The Rocketeer joined Daft Punk, and a crimson/purple jumpsuit that complements further gold and bronze accents, Zorri is definitely ready for action. The inclusion of her dual pistols only makes us want to hang out with her more, knowing that at any given moment, a fight could break out and Zorri Bliss would end it just as quickly.

Not only was the first look at Zorri’s costume shared by Vanity Fair, but some details about Zorri’s character were also given. Sure enough, we’re not the only people that see a smooth criminal in the Star Wars galaxy, as their write up mentions that the fresh war raging throughout the new trilogy has continued to allow the criminal underworld to flourish. Which certainly explains the fancy threads on Zorri Bliss.

That’s speculation, of course, but should Keri Russell’s new character make a big enough impression, this just might be the future we’re looking at. We’ll have to wait until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in our galaxy on December 20th to find out.

Aladdin Reviews Are In, Here’s What The Critics Think

Mena Massoud and Will Smith in Aladdin

Disney has had repeated success remaking it’s animated hits and the newest entry in the series is Aladdin. Like Beauty and the Beast before it, this version of Aladdin is a largely faithful adaptation right down to being a full musical like its animated counterpart. For the most part, audiences seem be getting behind the new version of the popular tale, but there are some notable exceptions.

Our own Eric Eisenberg is one of those exceptions. While Eric admitted the soundtrack to the new Aladdin is top notch, in the end, the movie fell victim to the sin of following its source material too closely, thus lacking any creativity of its own. Eric gave the film two and a half stars, saying…

The new Aladdin does have a fun energy and charm – not to mention one of the best soundtracks of any Disney musical ever – but all of these positives are simply borrowed, and there is a very real and notable limit to its creative energy.

The lukewarm to negative reviews are in the minority, the Rotten Tomatoes score for Aladdin is currently in the high 70s, but they are there. ScreenCrush gives the movie points for effort, saying that Will Smith works hard, perhaps too hard, to make his Genie work. In the end, however, the new Aladdin doesn’t surpass the original in any way…

But there’s still nothing that this Aladdin does better — or as well — as the original. Even the parts pulled directly from the 1992 Aladdin by Ron Clements and John Musker, like the songs, have lost something in translation.

Aladdin is one of the movies that came out during what’s called the Disney Renaissance. The studio’s animation division, that had been nearly shuttered only a few years before, was riding high on a series of successes. Parents taking their kids to see the new Aladdin saw the original on the big screen as kids themselves. It seems some reviews don’t think those adults are going to find the same magic here.

The decision to have Guy Ritchie, the man behind movies like Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, direct the live-action Aladdin always seemed like an odd choice. The Associated Press largely throws what doesn’t work about Aladdin at his feet, saying…

It’s pretty clear after watching the new live-action Aladdin that doubts about Will Smith’s casting as the Genie are overblown. It’s the guy behind the camera who should be doubted. And stuffed into a small lamp forever.

If you’ve seen the 1992 animated movie then you know the story. Aladdin is a homeless beggar on the streets of fictional middle eastern Agrabah. He gets enlisted by the Sultan’s villainous vizier Jafar to obtain a magic lamp, but ends up unleashing the Genie trapped inside himself. Aladdin then uses the Genie’s magic to transform himself into a prince in order to try and impress the princess he’s fallen in love with.

However, while some find the new movie weak, for the most part, critics are giving the new film, passing, if not stellar grades. Variety finds the melding of live-action and CGI to be a task uniquely suited to a stylish director like Guy Ritchie…

Where the director really shines is in melding practical elements with virtual ones. Whether making Smith’s computer-enhanced and cerulean-skinned Genie look natural sharing the screen with Aladdin or swooping the camera along magic carpet rides through virtual sets, Ritchie’s style embraces the kind of expressionism needed to pull off such a fanciful tale.

One of the hardest jobs that the new Aladdin had to accomplish was making the Genie work. Robin Williams’ version of the character from 1992 wasn’t just great, it was iconic. It became one of the great animation performances of all time. How in the blue hell does Will Smith try to take on a role like that, still make it feel like Disney’s Genie, while somehow avoiding a comparison that is not going to go well?

Many reviews think that Will Smith did a good job, or at least a good enough, job, in that regard. THR says Smith infused the role with his own personality and made it work, even if the CGI maybe doesn’t work all the time…

Smith, faced with the impossible task of living up to Robin Williams’ iconic voice performance, easily makes the role his own. His infectious personality shines throughout, and he even manages to infuse his martini-swilling Genie with moving emotional moments.

The Genie does also get a bit more to do in this version of the film. He spends a large part of the story “disguised” as human in order to actually play a part in the story beyond simply being the source of magic when needed.

The top performances in the new Aladdin however, clearly belong to the two human lead characters. Mena Massoud who plays the title character and Naomi Scott’s Jasmine are getting generally positive reviews for their performances. As the New York Post puts it..

Massoud and Scott make a live-action “Aladdin” succeed on a different level than a cartoon can — as a teary romance. “A Whole New World” is more moving than the original.

The one way that the new Aladdin does make significant changes to the original animated movie is in the way it handles Princess Jasmine. She has a lot more agency in the new film, and even gets her own song, an original tune written for the film called “Speechless.” If we’re being honest, many reviews don’t think the song is all that good, however nobody is blaming Naomi Scott’s performance for that.

In the final analysis, it seems quite clear that if what you want from the new live-action Aladdin is a slightly modified version of the movie you already, know and love, then you will likely enjoy the new movie. If, however, you are looking for a movie that tries to do something creative with the popular property, you’ll find the film lacking.

Based on the success of the Beauty and the Beast remake from a couple of years ago, it seems like moviegoers are perfectly happy with just getting the same story over again and so the new Aladdin may be about to make a billion dollars.

The new Aladdin hits theaters Friday.

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Captain Marvel’s Nick Fury Almost Lost His Eye In A Fight With The Skrulls

Warning: spoilers for Captain Marvel are in play. If you still haven’t seen the film, you may want to come back once you’re current.

Acting as the ‘90s throwback that it was set up to be, Captain Marvel set the table for a lot of different things that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has — and will — engage in during its thematic course of events. One such moment was, naturally, how Nick Fury lost vision in one of his eyes, something that had been alluded to previously but never explicitly shown onscreen before Captain Marvel.

While Captain Marvel gave us a definitive answer, we almost got an entirely different scenario altogether. One that would have seen Nick Fury losing an eye during a fight with some angry Skrulls.

During a recent interview for the home video release of Captain Marvel, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were on hand to provide some insight into their big ticket MCU hit. And when it came to how Fury’s accident originally happened, Fleck provided the following commentary on how it was originally supposed to happen:

The scenario that the Captain Marvel team eventually landed on was not only a surprising turn of events, but also the most Samuel L. Jackson moment the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever included. During the action of the film’s third act finale, Fury casually gets his eye scratched by Goose, the cat co-star of Captain Marvel that has stolen the hearts of the world. This leads to him shouting a very PG-13 friendly, “Mother-Flerkin!”

It’s certainly that elusive surprise that Ryan Fleck seemed to be looking for when talking out the thought process behind plotting Captain Marvel’s reveal of just how Nick Fury got his memorable look. He continued to discuss that point in greater detail during his interview alongside Anna Boden for CBM:

No one can blame Nick Fury for not wanting to talk about losing his eye to an intergalactic creature that had taken the form of a cat. It’s not an easy story that you could tell to just anyone, as there are a lot of other details that’d need to be involved in the telling. But losing an eye to mysterious circumstances involving the last person you trusted? That’s a total super-spy story, and that would probably get you at least one round on the house when going out for drinks.

Keeping the Marvel Cinematic Universe fresh is something that definitely takes a lot of work, and outside-the-box thinking. Changing Nick Fury’s pivotal, eye-destroying moment was one of those instances where the process worked out in everyone’s favor.

As we move into the future of the MCU, it’s that type of thinking that should propel the series into its next story arc. So if you see a cute animal on screen at any point in the future, think twice before holding it too close to your face.

Captain Marvel may still be in your local theater. If it isn’t, you’ll be able to take the film home either on Digital HD as of May 28th, or 4K UHD/Blu-ray/DVD on June 11th.

Thor’s Hammer Vs Aquaman’s Trident: What’s The More Powerful Weapon?

Has Thor's hammer met his match with Aquaman's trident?

*There are some spoilers for various Marvel and DC movies throughout this story, particularly the recently released Avengers-oriented flick. *

When you picture Thor and Aquaman, the first thing that comes to mind could be their origins in mythology. It could be how they are both the most powerful long-haired and bearded titans of their respective cinematic universes. Or it could be how they are both played by actors who are seemingly too ripped to be human.

Honestly, though, when it comes to Thor and Aquaman, let’s face it: what you really care about is that epic hammer and that sweet, sweet trident.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s God of Thunder, played by Chris Hemsworth, and the Atlantean king of the DC Extended Universe, completely reinvented by Jason Momoa, may have powers of great strength, yet still take great pride in their trusted weaponry. We can’t help but wonder, however, what is more powerful: Mjölnir or the Trident of Neptune?

Of course, in Thor: Ragnarok, Thor’s sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) destroyed Mjölnir out of spite and, and while it made a brief return in Avengers: Endgame, at the conclusion Captain America had to return it to 2013-era Thor in order to correct the alternate timelines. So, Thor’s proudly rocking Stormbreaker for now.

Still, for the purposes of comparing these two heroes, we figured Thor’s hammer would be the definitive weapon to focus on rather than splitting focus.

Depending on whether you are more of a DC fan or a Marvel fan, you might already have chosen which you prefer between Thor’s hammer and Aquaman’s trident based on personal alliances. Regardless, both have proven to be worthy assets to their respective owners. But which is the more powerful weapon?

Thor and Loki on Earth with Mjolnir

Thor’s Hammer

The origin of Thor’s hammer dates back centuries before Thor’s first appearance in Marvel comics in 1962.

Mjölnir, whose name is said to be derived from a Proto-Germanic word meaning “grind,” is an object of Norse mythology, depicted as one of the most powerful and cowering weapons in existence. For instance, one strike with this bad boy and you can say goodbye to Mt. Everest.

Yet, the destructive power of Thor’s hammer barely scratches the surface. It is a weapon of great complexity and some pretty high standards.

As deemed by Odin, Thor’s father and the king of Asgard played by Anthony Hopkins, only those who are worthy of Mjölnir’s power can be given the strength to wield it. With that in mind, what makes someone worthy of Thor’s hammer?

In the comics, Thor describes those worthy of wielding Mjölnir as being pure of heart and noble of mind. This explains why he was unable to retrieve the hammer while exiled on Earth in his 2010 solo origin movie. He was a narcissistic jerk.

Once his time on Earth as a powerless simpleton proved effective in grounding his ego a bit, Thor managed to prove himself and he Mjölnir were reunited, reinstilling him with his thunderous power.

A weapon as selective as Thor’s hammer must really come in handy. For one, Thor never has to worry about Mjölnir falling into the wrong hands. Any sinister adversaries he comes into conflict with will most definitely not be seen as worthy.

Additionally, let’s say that Thor is somehow incapacitated and unable to grasp Mjölnir at a particularly pressing moment in battle. Any allies of his who, hopefully, fall under the qualifications of being of pure of heart and noble of mind to the extent that Mjölnir will accept can take Thor’s hammer and let it rip.

Captain America has been worthy to wield Thor's hammer in the comics

This, of course, was hinted at in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Captain America (Chris Evans) came shockingly close to lifting Thor’s hammer, visibly triggering triggering the god’s anxiety, not to mention how Vision (Paul Bettany) revealed his worthiness minutes after his creation. It was later confirmed that Cap had the power in him all along when he took charge of Mjölnir in the thunderous climax of Avengers: Endgame.

However, you would be surprised by how many other characters Thor’s hammer has deemed worthy throughout the comics’ history. Some of them barely made the cut.

Superman, during a DC-Marvel comics crossover event, wielded Thor’s hammer, but only for as long as Mjölnir determined that he really needed it. Bruce Banner’s Hulk has managed to lift it, as did his even grounchier alter ego Red Hulk, along with a few X-Men.

Even Deadpool got his hands on it before. Hmmm, maybe Mjölnir’s standards are not as high as we thought.

When it comes to the unworthy who have felt the wrath of Thor’s hammer, that list is longer. Thor has taken on the likes of his adopted brother Loki and planet-eating Galactus in the comics. He has even managed to defeat fellow heroes such as Iron Man or the Fantastic Four’s The Thing. Clearly, his weapon is powerful.

Yet, even some unworthy folk proved to not be completely vulnerable to Thor’s hammer. Fellow mythological god Hercules took on Thor and won, as did Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch. In one of the funnier comic book defeats I could find, Hulk managed to outsmart Thor by causing him to knock himself out with Mjölnir.

You may need to be pure of heart and noble of mind to wield it, but even Thor’s hammer is not impervious to motivation and a little cleverness. Still, it levels mountains, so there’s that.

Jason Mamoa as Aquaman aided by the Trident of Neptune

Aquaman’s Trident

According to its mythological origin, Aquaman (nèe Arthur Curry) is not the original wielder of the Trident of Neptune, nor is the original wielder even the sole original. In fact, that is only its name in Roman mythology. In Greek texts, the trident belongs to Poseidon.

DC’s interpretation of the myth borrows from the Roman equivalent, which depicts the trident as created by three Cyclopes (so, three one-eyed monsters) who forged impenetrable adamantine with Neptune’s own essence into a shape resembling a fishing spear. The three prongs are said to represent the three different kinds of bodies of water: seas, streams and rivers.

Aquaman’s trident serves as a symbol of his authority over the seven seas, as well as a few other fun purposes.

With its triple-pronged head and indestructibility, Aquaman’s trident appears to be a weapon of great effectiveness in battle. That would be considered an undeniable assumption. Aquaman has used the trident to slay sea monsters and wound his greatest enemies, such as archnemesis Black Manta or the powerful DC villain, Darkseid.

Aquaman uses the Trident of Neptun to take down Darkseid

The Trident of Neptune is capable of much more than violence, however… even if it used for that purpose most often.

Aquaman’s trident allows the wielder complete control over the seven seas, power to manipulate water, which allows him to create whirlpools, tidal waves, and even part the seas a la Moses in The Ten Commandments. If you are in the mood for another biblical reference, Aquaman could also flood the entire Earth with it if he wanted to.

Aquaman’s trident is not exclusive to waterbending, however. It possesses a vast array of magical abilities, including changing the appearance of people or objects, or making them disappear altogether. That may be a neat trick, but when he really wants to make an impression, he can use the trident to conjuring bolts of lightning and manipulating thunder.

Waaaaaiiiiittttt! Aquaman has the power of lightning and thunder? Looks like you’ve met your match, Thor.

Speaking of which…

Who will win: Thor's hammer or Aquaman's trident?

Hammer Vs. Trident

It’s main event time. Which comic book hero weapon is most powerful: Thor’s hammer or Aquaman’s trident?

As for similarities, both Mjölnir and the Trident of Neptune have proven to be of great imperviousness, except for that time Thor’s sister, Hela, crushed the hammer in one hand. However, we have yet to see Aquaman’s trident suffer a similar fate in future films, so whether it upstages Mjölnir in indestructibility is still up in the air.

Both weapons also possess the benefit of only allowing chosen champions to wield it. Thor’s hammer is the sentient one that is literally impossible to lift if not deemed worthy, though. I would have to award points to Mjölnir for encompassing the better security feature, but also take some back for letting Deadpool take advantage.

Thor’s hammer also allows him to fly, strike gargantuan blows against enemies, conjure bolts of lightning, and, as I have said before but cannot stop saying, level whole mountains for Odin’s sake!

The question is, however, which weapon is more powerful. Admittedly, Thor’s hammer has nothing on the ability to change the shape of matter, creating tidal waves and hurricanes, and manipulating, not just lightning, but also Thor’s bread and butter: thunder.

Thor may be the God of Thunder, but with the Trident of Neptune in his hands, Aquaman is literally the perfect storm.

By the power invested in me by CinemaBlend, I dub Aquaman’s trident the victorious weapon. Admittedly, it’s close.

Which do you think is the more powerful weapon?

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