Thursday, November 16, 2017

THE FANDOM ZONE 121: "Girls Night Out" is Up!

"You're a Doctor Who fan, Joanie?"
"Well, ever since he became a lady, I am.  Hashtag Feminism."
– Joe West and Joanie Horton,The Flash: "Girls Night Out"

That's right, Karen's back to join me for a HUGE new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  So huge, in fact, we're splitting it up into two parts!  This week's reviews of comics on television include:

The Walking Dead 8x03: "Monsters"
Lucifer 3x06: "Vegas with Some Radish"
The Gifted 1x06: "got your siX"
Supergirl 3x05: "Damage"

The Flash 4x05: "Girls Night Out"
Legends of Tomorrow 3x05: "Return of the Mack"
Arrow 6x05: "Deathstroke Returns"
Gotham 4x08: "Stop Hitting Yourself"

In this episode, Karen and I talk about things like Karen's trip to Florida to visit her hubs' side of the family, Gregory being the weaseliest of weasels, me getting some Twitter love from Enid, Eric getting a better exit on TV than he did in the Walking Dead comics, trying to brace everyone for Shiva's death, Rick making a scrapbook for Negan, Lucifer giving Chloe the bullet she shot him with in Season 1, Ella ditching her CSI clothes for a hot dress, Ella hiring a stripper cop for Chloe's birthday, Lucifer's wall safe access code, Jace not feeling the usual Sentinel Services bureaucracy, Caitlin's character backslide into Helicopter Mom, figuring out the Strucker family tree, the importance of X-Men comics writer Chris Claremont, Alex and Maggie's big breakup, Karen's Drunk Lena Luthor impression, paying attention to the physics of Supergirl holding up an airplane, fun with lenticular comics covers, Iris' bachelorette party and Barry's bachelor party, Katee Sackhoff as Blacksmith, Elongated Man being given Plastic Man's personality, Rip Hunter: Vampire Hunter, Damien Darhk's resurrection, Zari not being able to use her superhero name anymore, the big nothing burger of the Vigilante's identity, wondering why Oliver is overlooking that Deathstroke killed Oliver's mom and a whole bunch of people, Harvey Bullock sliding into the darker shade of grey, Tabitha's reunion with Solomon Grundy, that awkward moment when Solomon Grundy beats you to death with your own arm, some new Justina feedback, Karen trolling Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor costume, and more!

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Be sure to come back next week as Karen and I review the series premiere of Netflix's The Punisher, along with new episodes of AMC's The Walking Dead, The CW's The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Arrow, and Fox's The Gifted, Lucifer and Gotham, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Fox Developing X-Men's MULTIPLE MAN with James Franco

Multiple Man, Multiple Man, doing the things that a multiple can...

Deadline has revealed that Fox is developing a film based on the Marvel Comics mutant superhero Multiple Man, with James Franco starring in the title role.  

According to the article, Wonder Woman scribe Allan Heinberg will write the script.  Simon Kinberg and his Genre Films will produce along with Franco and Ramona Films, which Franco runs with brother Dave Franco and Vincent Jolivette.

Franco, 39, is best known for the film 127 Hours and as Harry Osborn in the movies Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3.  His other films include Alien: Covenant, Why Him?, Sausage Party, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Oz the Great and Powerful, This is the End, Milk, Flyboys, Tristan & Isolde, and Never Been Kissed.  He's also appeared in various episodes of the television series The X-Files, Freaks and Geeks, General Hospital, 11.22.63, and 30 Rock.

Created in 1975 by Len Wein, Chris Claremont and John Buscema, Multiple Man first appeared in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4 as James "Jamie" Madrox, who was born to a family living near the Los Alamos research facility in New Mexico.  The background radiation presumably caused his mutation at birth, when the doctor's slap caused him to multiply into two identical babies.  Professor Charles Xavier, a friend of the Madrox family, suggested that they move to Kansas to raise the boy in privacy.  Dr. Daniel Madrox, Jamie's father, created a suit for him to wear which was designed to absorb kinetic energy, the source of the duplication.  When Jamie was fifteen years old, his parents were killed by a tornado alleged to have been caused by Damian Tryp, and Jamie began to run the family farm by himself along with his duplicates, or "dupes", until his suit was damaged.

Jamie went to New York City for help where he met Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, who contacted Professor Xavier for assistance.  Xavier sent Jamie to Muir Island to work with Moira MacTaggert in her laboratory and help her with mutant research.  He soon helped Moira and fellow mutants Havok and Polaris in searching for the escaped mutant Proteus. Proteus hijacked one of Madrox's duplicates as his own body, although this did not harm Jamie.  Following the X-Men's battle with Proteus on Muir Island, Madrox was invited to join the X-Men, but he declined.  One of Jamie's renegade duplicates later searched with Siryn for the runaway New Mutants Sunspot and Warlock.  Siryn and Jamie briefly joined the mutant group known as the Fallen Angels.

Jamie was one of the residents of Muir Island who fell under the mental control of the Shadow King.  Following the destruction of Muir Island and the defeat of the Shadow King, Madroz became a member of the second incarnation of the X-Factor team, which was assembled by Val Cooper as a U.S. government response team.  Here, he developed a reputation as a prankster, forming a friendship with teammate Strong Guy.  Also on the team was former New Mutant Wolfsbane, who later joined his X-Factor Investigations.  During this time, Jamie and Siryn had sex, with Siryn becoming pregnant as a result.  Siryn gave birth to a boy named Sean, after her own father.  Just hours after Sean's birth, however, he was absorbed into Jamie's body as Jamie held the boy, completely against Jamie's will.  Jamie realized that the baby must have been fathered by a dupe rather than by him, and that "the offspring of a dupe isn't really anything more than a dupe". 

Jamie eventually fell in love with another X-Factor teammate, Layla Miller, with the two later marrying in Las Vegas.  During the Death of X storyline, however, Jamie transmitted a message to Cyclops and his X-Men requesting aid.  Arriving on Muir Island, where Jamie  had been stationed on his own, the X-Men found him dying after succumbing to the Terrigen Mist cloud that had affected him.  Because of his death, the X-Men realized how dangerous the Terrigen Mists are to mutants.

Franco will be the second actor to portray Multiple Man in live action, after Eric Dane in the movie X-Men: The Last Stand.  The character has also appeared in various animated projects, including X-Men, X-Men: Evolution (voiced by David A. Kaye) and Wolverine and the X-Men (voiced by Crispin Freeman).

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sony Developing Spider-Man Spinoff Movie MORBIUS

The Living Vampire may be living on the big screen.

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Sony Pictures is developing Morbius, a feature film based on Marvel Comics character Morbius, the Living Vampire.

According to the article, Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, who worked on the recent Power Rangers movie, wrote the script, which was just submitted to Sony after a secret development process.  The two previously wrote the screenplay for the vampire movie Dracula Untold, as well as the movies Gods of Egypt and The Last Witch Hunter

The article also states that Sony is "furiously developing its stable of Marvel-licensed characters that are mostly based off the heroes and villains that are connected to Spider-Man.  The studio, however, is being coy as to whether or not these new movies will be connected to Sony’s Tom Holland movies or connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is being produced by Marvel Studios."

Created in 1971 by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Morbius first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #101 as Dr. Michael Morbius, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, who had attempted to cure himself of a rare blood disease with an experimental treatment involving vampire bats and electroshock therapy.  However, he instead became afflicted with a far worse condition, "pseudo-vampirism," that mimicked the powers and bloodthirst of legendary vampirism.  Morbius had to digest blood in order to survive and had a strong aversion to light.  He gained the ability to fly, as well as superhuman strength, speed, and healing abilities. His appearance became hideous, with his canine teeth extended into fangs, his nose flattened more like a bat's, and his skin became chalk-white.

He later sought a cure for his condition, but battled Spider-Man, the Human Torch, and the original X-Men.  In another battle with Spider-Man, Morbius was hit by a lightning strike, which cured him of his pseudo-vampirism while retaining a thirst for blood.  While cured, he was charged with the crimes he had committed as a vampire and was represented by Jennifer Walters, whose dual identity as the She-Hulk was not yet publicly known.  Morbius selflessly saved Walter's life and stabilized her erratic transformations into the She-Hulk with a serum that he had created to cure the remnants of his own transformation.  He eventually resumed his pseudo-vampire state, and first met Doctor Strange.  Alongside Doctor Strange and Brother Voodoo, he battled Marie Leveau, and witnessed the resurgence of true vampires.

During the events of Spider-Island, Morbius was revealed to be the mysterious Number Six working at Horizon Labs.  When Peter Parker tried to investigate the identity of "Number Six," he accidentally provoked Morbius, who had been using the cure to try to develop a basis for his own condition, prompting the staff at Horizon to step up building security.  This drove Morbius to leave, where it was revealed that he had been working with the Lizard, presumably trying to find a cure for both of their conditions.  It was also revealed that Michael Morbius was a college friend of Horizon Labs founder Max Modell.  Using DNA samples from the corpse of Billy Connors, the Lizard's son, Morbius was able to create a cure that would restore the Lizard to human form, but he failed to recognize that the Lizard had fully destroyed Curt Connors' human persona.  They left the Lizard alone in Morbius' lab, allowing the Lizard to release blood into the lab's air supply to provoke the injured Morbius into attacking the other Horizon scientists.  This prompted Morbius to flee the lab with Spider-Man in pursuit.  Morbius was captured by Spider-Man and locked up in a cell in the Raft.  While Peter Parker was trapped in Doctor Octopus' dying body, Morbius offered to help capture Doctor Octopus, who was using Peter's body as Spider-Man, but was turned down.  Morbius eventually escaped from the Raft and fled to Brownsville.

Amazon Lands THE LORD OF THE RINGS Prequel TV Series

Start getting ready to journey back to Middle-earth.

Deadline is reporting that Amazon closed the deal for a new television series based on The Lord of the Rings, the classic fantasy novel series by J.R.R. Tolkien.  

According to the article, Amazon is giving the series a multi-season commitment.  The TV series will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which produced the hugely successful Lord of the Rings film series.

Set in Middle-earth, the television adaptation "will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.  The deal includes a potential additional spin-off series."

"The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen," said Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Scripted Series, Amazon Studios.  "We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle-earth.”

"We are delighted that Amazon, with its longstanding commitment to literature, is the home of the first-ever multi-season television series for The Lord of the Rings," said Matt Galsor, a representative for the Tolkien Estate and Trust and HarperCollins.  "Sharon and the team at Amazon Studios have exceptional ideas to bring to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings."

The article also claims that the deal came with an upfront payment in the $200 to $250 million range, just for the rights, before any costs for development, talent and production.  On top of that, they claim, the budget is likely to be $100 to $150 million per season.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Rian Johnson to Write & Direct First Film of All-New STAR WARS Trilogy

The Force is strong with Rian Johnson.

The official Star Wars site announced that Rian Johnson will return to write and direct the first film in an all-new Star Wars trilogy.  Johnson recently finished directing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth film in the Skywalker saga.

According to the announcement, the new trilogy will be separate from the Skywalker saga, with Johnson introducing "new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored."  Ram Bergman, his longtime collaborator, will serve as producer.

Johnson, 43, previously wrote and directed the films Looper, The Brothers Bloom, and Brick.  He also directed episodes of Breaking Bad and Terriers, and even had a cameo in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as a Death Star technician.

Johnson commented on the news using his official Twitter account...

"We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi," said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm.  "He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career.  Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy."

"We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi," said Johnson and Bergman in a joint statement.  "Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it.  We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films."

Johnson's film Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters on December 15, 2017.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Yes, I'm back with another of my infamous movie takes, this time with the film Thor: Ragnarok, the sequel to 2011's Thor and 2013's Thor: The Dark World As always, if you haven't seen the movie yet and you don't want it spoiled for you, then please step back from your computer or whatever electronic device you're reading this on and stop reading now.  If, however, you're wise enough to know that movie reviews with spoilers are always more interesting than the ones without them...well...you are worthy to hold the hammer of Thor...

With Thor: The Dark World bringing in almost $200 million more worldwide than the first Thor movie, it's no surprise to see the film series continue.  The Dark World director Alan Taylor decided that he wasn't coming back after having creative problems with Marvel during the post-production process, so the search was on for his replacement.  New Zealand director Taika Waititi ended up with the gig, after creating a "sizzle reel" with clips from other movies like Big Trouble in Little China to present his take to Marvel Studios.  He also scored the sizzle reel with, you guessed it, Led Zepplin's "Immigrant Song", which was so well liked it became part of Thor: Ragnarok (twice!) and used in the movie's marketing.

Writer Christopher Yost returned to provide the screenplay, along with Craig Kyle and Eric Pearson, which is based loosely on two storylines from Marvel Comics -- "Ragnarok" by Michael Oeming and Andrea Di Vito, from Thor (vol.2) #80-85, and "Planet Hulk" by Greg Pak, Carlo Pagulayan and Aaron Lopresti, from Incredible Hulk (vol.2) #92-105.  And yes, that's right, a Hulk story was used to make a Thor movie.

The film starts off two years after the Battle of Sokovia, which was featured in Avengers: Age of UltronIt seems Thor's been searching for the Infinity Stones, rather unsuccessfully, and is now imprisoned by Surtur, a ginormous fire demon from Muspelheim, another of the nine worlds from Norse mythology.  Now more glib than ever, Thor gets Surtur to start monologuing and he reveals that Thor's father Odin is no longer on Asgard.  In addition, the realm will soon be destroyed in the prophesied Ragnarök, once Surtur unites his crown with the Eternal Flame that burns beneath the city.  After a fight that's over far too quickly for fans of Walt Simonson's Thor run, Thor defeats Surtur and claims his crown, thinking he managed to prevent Ragnarök.

Thor returns to Asgard and finds Skurge filling in for Heimdall, who's been declared an enemy of the people.  Not really down with that, Thor goes to find Odin, even though Surtur just told him he wasn't on Asgard.  He sees Odin watching a play about the valiant death of Loki while being pampered by women. Thor eventually sees through the deception and exposes Loki, still posing as Odin since the events of The Dark World.  Thor forces Loki to help him find their father, so they head to Earth and learn that the retirement home Loki dumped Odin in has been demolished.  Thor gets some help from none other than Doctor Strange, who is all too happy to get rid of the Asgardian gods and sends Thor and Loki to Norway, where Odin is hanging out admiring the view.  Odin explains that he's dying, and that his passing will allow his firstborn child, Hela, to escape from a prison she was placed in long ago after she started power tripping..  

Sure enough, Odin presumably dies and Hela appears for a brief family reunion.  She destroys Thor's hammer Mjolnir, a major game changer, and when Thor and Loki attempt to  escape using the Bifröst Bridge, she pursues them and forces them out into space to die. Hela arrives in Asgard and quickly goes through her "To Do" list.  She destroys the Asgardian army, murders the Warriors Three one by one, resurrects the ancient dead who once fought with her, brings back her giant wolf Fenris, and designates Skurge as her Executioner.  She plans to use the Bifröst to expand Asgard's empire, but Heimdall steals the sword that controls the Bridge, and hides away with the rest of Asgard's citizens to form a resistance.  #Resist

The second act has the hammerless Thor landing on Sakaar, a garbage planet surrounded by wormholes.  He's quickly captured by a drunk and sassy bounty hunter named Scrapper 142, then hauled in to serve as a gladiator for the planet's ruler, the Grandmaster, another Elder of the Universe and occasional brother of the Collector.  Thor soon realizes that Scrapper 142 is one of the Valkyrior, a legendary force of female fighters who were killed defending Asgard from Hela long ago.  Forced to compete in the Grandmaster's Contest of Champions, Thor encounters other captive gladiators named Korg and Miek, gets his hair chopped short (presumably so Chris Hemsworth can stop wearing a long wig), and is sent into the arena to face off against his old friend the Hulk.  Summoning lightning, Thor is about to defeat the Hulk until the Grandmaster rigs the fight to make sure the Hulk wins.  Still enslaved, Thor attempts to convince Hulk and Valkyrie to help him save Asgard, but neither wants to go.  After managing to escape the palace, Thor finds the Quinjet that brought Hulk to Sakaar.  Hulk follows Thor to the Quinjet, where a recording of Black Widow calms him down and transforms him back into Bruce Banner for the first time since Sokovia.

Everybody got that?

Okay, so the Grandmaster orders Valkyrie and Loki to find Thor and the Hulk, which they do, and Loki forces Valkyrie to relive the deaths of her fellow Valkyrior at the hands of Hela.  Deciding that maybe Thor has something going on, she takes Loki captive to prove her goodwill.  Not wanting to be stuck on Sakaar, Loki provides the group with the security codes to steal one of the Grandmaster's ships.  They liberate the other gladiators who, led by Korg and Miek, stage a rebellion.  To the surprise of no one, Loki attempts to betray his brother to the Grandmaster, but Thor anticipates this and leaves him behind, where Korg and the gladiators soon find him.  Time for the Third Act!

Escaping through a wormhole called "The Devil's Anus" (Let's see that get turned into a Lego playset), Thor, Bruce and Valkyrie arrive on Asgard, where Hela's forces are attacking Heimdall and Asgard's citizens.  Bruce becomes the Hulk again, after an awkward faceplant on the Rainbow Bridge and smashes Fenris, while Thor and Valkyrie battle Skurge and the Warriors Dead.  Loki and the gladiators arrive to help, with the surviving Asgardians swarming onto their large ship for refuge.  Skurge rethinks the whole serving Hela thing and  sacrifices himself to allow the Asgardian refguees to escape.  

Remembering this is supposed to be his movie, after all, Thor has a final showdown with Hela, which costs him the same eye that his dad Odin lost back in the Asgardian day.  (Maybe Nick Fury can help Thor find a discount eyepatch retailer?)   Suddenly, Thor has a vision of Odin, who reminds him that he's the God of Thunder, not the God of Hammers, and oh, by the way, did I mention that you're more powerful than me?  Realizing that he possesses the power of The Glow thunder and lightning, Thor cranks "Immigrant Song" back up and throws down with Hela, until he and Loki decide that only Ragnarök can stop her.  While Hela is distracted, Loki locates Surtur's crown in the trophy room and places it in the Eternal Flame.  Surtur is resurrected to his ginormous state and destroys Asgard, seemingly killing Hela.  Thor and the others escape with Asgard's survivors aboard the Grandmaster's vessel.  Thor, crowned king, decides to take his people to Earth, which should annoy the hell out of Doctor Strange.

Waititi's film is pretty much nonstop one-liners, a noticeable upswing from the first two Thor movies, and it's certainly not dull.  Mark Mothersbaugh from the classic new-wave band Devo provides an interesting synth-punk score, which combined with Waititi's love of neon, gives this flick a serious '80s vibe when not blasting Led Zepplin.  And of course, there are a lot of great character moments, so here's some of what I noticed...

THOR ODINSON -- In his fifth film as Thor, Chris Hemsworth looks like he's having the best time ever as Thor.  Anyone that's watched Hemsworth on Saturday Night Live or in the Ghostbusters remake knows he has good comedic timing, which he uses here in spades.  He also does a nice job with the weight of responsibility Thor feels concerning the Asgardian refugees and it would've been nice to see more of that.  Maybe in Avengers: The Infinity War?

LOKI LAUFEYSON -- Tom Hiddleston, rather shockingly, finally avoids stealing a Thor movie.  For once, Loki doesn't end up being the central focus, which was probably a letdown to the Hiddlestoners on Tumblr, but I think the film is better off for it.  Don't worry, Loki still gets his moments here and there, with a particular favorite of mine being when he stands up and cheers the Hulk thrashing Thor about like the Hulk did to him in the first Avengers movie.  And hey, did Loki nick the Tesseract back from Odin's trophy room?  It certainly seems that way, doesn't it?

HELA -- Swapping Middle-earth for Asgard, Cate Blanchett has a solid outing as Hela, the film's Big Bad.  She's a big deal here, mainly because the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally gave us a formidable female supervillain.  In order to stop her, Hela costs Thor his hammer, his right eye and his home, all significant ramifications that aren't given a quick reset button.  And even better, Blanchett gets to sport Hela's large, branching headpiece from the comics, which I have to think will make Jack Kirby proud up in Comic Book Heaven.

VALKYRIE -- So, if Tom Hiddleston doesn't steal the third Thor movie, who does?  Tessa Thompson, that's who.  Completely drunk, Valkyrie makes her big-screen debut falling off the landing ramp to her own ship, but still manages to make Thor her captive.  From there, Valkyrie easily shows she's Thor equal (if not superior), charming the God of Thunder (and the audience) with her sassy Asgardian attitude.  Thompson first hit my personal radar during the first season of HBO's Westworld and her strong performance here is going to make her a star, just you watch.

THE HULK/BRUCE BANNER -- With no solo Hulk movie in his foreseeable future, Mark Ruffalo reprises his role of Bruce Banner once again here.  This time though, his Banner seems unusually unsure of himself, possibly a result of being only the Hulk for two years.  While the "Planet Hulk" arena battle finally gives us the Thor vs. Hulk throwdown we've always wanted, the Hulk ends up relegated to little more than an afterthought during the climactic showdown on Asgard.  And yes, I'm still wincing at Bruce's epic Rainbow Bridge faceplant.

THE GRANDMASTER/EN DWI GAST -- Once again, Jeff Goldblum reminds us how good he is at being Jeff Goldblum as someone else -- Jurassic Park, Independence Day, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, you name it.  Instead of the cold, manipulative Elder of the Universe from the comics, Goldblum's Grandmaster is a quirky ruler of Sakaar who craves public adulation.  He also gets a fun post-credits scene, where the Grandmaster turns up alive on Sakaar after the revolution and tries to dismiss it as a tie.

THE EXECUTIONER/SKURGE -- Continuing to build upon his already impressive geek movie cred, Karl Urban gets to play classic Thor bad guy The Executioner.  Unfortunately, his would-be girlfriend The Enchantress was nowhere in sight, so Skruge ends up becoming the Substitute Heimdall and Hela's main henchman to help move the story along.  At least Urban gets his character's defining moment, where he flips the script and becomes a good guy, defending the Asgardian refugees against Hela's Warrior Dead with a pair of M-16 rifles from Earth, in a great homage to Walt Simonson's Thor (vol.1) #362.

SURTUR -- Clancy Brown is another Buckaroo Banzai vet to make an appearance, voicing the fire demon that dominated Simonson's biggest saga during his Thor run.  Sadly, the Surtur depicted here doesn't even come close to Simonson's epic monster, in a completely wasted opportunity.  Surtur is taken out far too easily in the early moments of the film, only to be resurrected at the end as a deus ex machina to deal with Hela.  

KORG -- In addition to directing the movie, Taika Waititi provides the voice of Korg in the "Planet Hulk" storyline.  The decision to give a big rock alien a polite New Zealand accent was definitely an interesting one, but it obviously helped to make the character much more accessible and likable.  Korg's best moment is probably the scene with the Asgardian refugees in space, watching the destruction of Asgard and awkwardly trying (and failing) to be helpful.

ODIN BORSON -- Sir Anthony Hopkins reprises his role as the All-Father, presumably for the last time.  Odin essentially becomes Obi-Wan Kenobi, offering advice to Thor right before dying and disappearing, only to offer some crucial piece of advice to the hero at just the right moment.  

HEIMDALL -- Reportedly, Idris Elba considers Thor: Ragnarok to be his favorite because it was "fun" to make.  I have to think it's simply because for once, Heimdall isn't just standing around in big clunky armor at the Bifröst Bridge gate.  Apart from swiping the Bifröst sword and overseeing the refugees, he doesn't get that much to do here.

DOCTOR STRANGE CAMEO -- If you saw the mid-credits scene at the end of Doctor Strange, you've already watched some of Benedict Cumberbatch's sequence where he helps Thor and Loki find Odin.  In this expanded "uncut" version of that mid-credits scene, we also see the events leading up to that scene and get a much better understanding of what actually took place.

BLACK WIDOW CAMEO -- Scarlett Johansson turns up briefly as a recording inside Bruce Banner's Quinjet, back from when she attempted to get him to turn the Quinjet around and come home in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

VOLSTAGG THE VOLUMINOUS AND FANDRAL THE DASHING CAMEOS -- In two "blink and you miss them" cameos, Ray Stevenson and Zachary Levi are quickly and unceremoniously killed off the moment Hela arrives on Asgard.  Quite simply, these characters deserved a far better exit.

HOGUN THE GRIM CAMEO -- As the last surviving member of the Warriors Three, Tadanobu Asano's Hogun is also killed off by Hela, but only as the last remaining member of the Asgardian army.  At least Hogun got to speak a few words of defiance before he was canceled.

ASGARDIAN ACTOR CAMEOS -- During a sequence where Asgardian actors perform a play based on the events of Thor: The Dark World, Sam Neill portrays Odin, Matt Damon plays Loki, and Luke Hemsworth (Chris' other brother) is Thor.  #TheMoreYouKnow

OBLIGATORY STAN LEE CAMEO -- Stan "The Man" turns up as a barber on Sakaar tasked with cutting ol' Goldilocks'...um...locks before his arena battle with the Hulk.  Hey, at least he didn't give Thor a perm.

Overall, Thor: Ragnarok is a fun film that ends up just a bit too goofy to be worthy of its game-changing climaxWhile Ragnarok was a significant improvement on the previous film, the mostly lifeless Thor: The Dark World, it tries way too hard to be a Guardians of the Galaxy clone instead of something closer to the epic tale that Thor fans deserved with Ragnarök in play.  We'll see where Avengers: Infinity War takes our one-eyed God of Thunder and the surviving Asgardians next...Broxton, Oklahoma, perhaps?

And for those who may be wondering, here's the updated list of my Top 20 Comic Book Films:

1. Superman (1978)
2. The Dark Knight (2008)

3. The Avengers (2012)
4. Batman Begins (2005)
5. Logan (2017)
6. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
7. Man of Steel (2013)
8. Doctor Strange (2016)
9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
10. Wonder Woman (2017)
11. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
12. Spider-Man (2002)
13. Iron Man (2008)
14. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
15. Watchmen (2009)
16. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
17. Thor (2011)
18. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
19. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
20. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

DOCTOR WHO Reveals Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor Costume

"Ah, thank goodness in this regeneration I've regained my impeccable sense of haute couture."
-- The Seventh Doctor, Doctor Who: "Time and the Rani"

It's been almost four months since Doctor Who officially announced Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor, with aspiring Thirteenth Doctor cosplayers waiting anxiously to find out what they're going to be rocking at the next convention.

Well, wait no longer.  Here's the full Thirteenth Doctor costume...

Sporting a long hooded overcoat, teal culottes, suspenders/braces and a striped shirt, the Thirteenth Doctor makes her debut at the end of this year's Christmas special, "Twice Upon a Time."  She'll return sometime in Fall 2018 for Series Eleven with brand-new companions Bradley Walsh as Graham, Tosin Cole as Ryan, and Mandip Gill as Yasmin.

Previously, Whittaker remarked, "I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change.  The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one."