12 Actors Who Should Play Wolverine Next

Wolverine is dead, long live Wolverine.

According to Hugh Jackman, he’s completely done with playing Wolverine. As he has long promised, Logan is his swan song – and a fitting one it is – and he’s off to put his body through considerably less strain for more pleasant roles. The world of comic book movies is a poorer place for his loss, and there will be some – including his Logan director James Mangold – who believe he shouldn’t be recast at all.

Luckily though, Fox aren’t complete idiots. They may have struggled to make a good Fantastic Four movie three times and some of their X-Men releases have been patchy at best, but they know the strength in the Wolverine brand. They know he is their blue chip commodity, and dropping him from the bill would be like Warner Bros putting Batman on ice. It’s just not going to happen.

So what happens next? Does the studio set about trying to find someone who will be able to perform as Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, for the sake of a smoother transition? Do they go bold and cast against type and reimagine the character? Do they simply promote X-23 to the leading role? (They shouldn’t, she deserves her own movies).

What everything boils down to now is one over-arching, massively important question. Who replaces Jackman as Wolverine?

12. Iwan Rheon

Iwan Rheon Wolverine

Obviously, the Inhumans casting is rather unfortuitous for anyone who wants to see Game Of Thrones’ best villain Iwan Rheon going berserk as Wolverine, but it might not be entirely fatal. Marvel villains have a habit of dying off, after all, and there’s no saying he’s even necessarily tied in for multiple seasons of the show.

Without all of those logistical issues, Rheon would make an exceptional candidate for Wolverine, provided fans can shake off the ghosts of Ramsay Bolton. He might find himself cast as villains for a while after doing so well in that show, but it’s worth remembering that he started in a more heroic role on Misfits, and experience counts.

It would be far more interesting to see a new Wolverine with more ambiguous morality than Hugh Jackman’s staight-laced grump could really offer once he was moved into his leadership position, and having Rheon’s darker influence in there would offer an entirely different dynamic.

11. Ben Foster

Ben Foster Wolverine

There’s a good case for Ben Foster being the most talented, under-appreciated actor currently working in Hollywood: he is a genre-hopping chameleon, adept with comedy, horror, villainous roles and heroic ones, and he comes with a ready made bubbling fury that is a fundamental part of Wolverine’s genetics.

Like all of his fellow candidates here, he works remarkably well with more intense roles, he’s familiar with dark-sided characters and he has enough charm to keep Wolverine’s anti-heroism just the right side of good. He’d arguably be the best candidate if Fox decide to introduce Wolverine as an antagonist first and then face turn him later. And he deserves an opportunity for a meatier leading man role.

He’s already been in an X-Men movie, of course, but he was horribly miscast – and even more horribly under-used – as Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand. For that alone he deserves another shot as a mutant.

10. Kristofer Hivju

Kristofer Hivju Wolverine

With most of Game Of Thrones’ cast probably coming to the end of their contracts very soon, studios would do well to put them to work to try and capture some of the fandom’s affection for the character roles they’ve just left.

One of the more intriguing figures on the Westeros cast is Kristofer Hivju – Tormund Giantsbane in the show – who could either disappear into Scandinavian dramas for the rest of his career and make a solid living, or play supporting level villains in Hollywood (as he is in the new Fast & Furious). It sounds cruel, but Hollywood knows how to typecast his breed of actor, in a way that will reduce his obvious talent to something like the level of a Jason Statham.

But he could do so much more: his Wilding wildman in Game Of Thrones is a low-key fan favourite, and beyond mighty facial hair, he also boasts the right sort of intensity, physical power and mischievous charm that could make Wolverine the interesting side character he should be relaunched as initially.

9. Jack O’Connell

Jack O Connell Wolverine

Having kicked off his career in the excellent British show Skins, Jack O’Connell has gone about cementing his status as one of the UK’s brightest rising stars (even if Money Monster wasn’t quite as good as he would have hoped). His true break-out came with Starred Up, a brutal portrait of modern prison corruption from behind bars.

You can almost see Wolverine’s back-story in Starred Up’s victim-creating: O’Connell’s Eric is as much a prisoner of his own vulnerability and emotional turmoil as he is the cage that holds him. He’s a monster, defined by violence and hewn for its inevitability, but he carries dark mysteries, just as Wolverine does.

O’Connell has proven himself to be particularly adept at that sort of frenetic, intense performance, and if Fox look to cast young, he would make as impressive a candidate as Iwan Rheon.

8. Rory McCann

Rory McCann Wolverine

 As soon as The Hound is killed in Game Of Thrones (of course it’s going to happen, he’s a character in Westeros), it’s likely Rory McCann will be inundated with offers to play intelligent hardmen, competing with the likes of Ray Stevenson for similar roles, or lumped with imposing supporting roles in genre films. He deserves better, and there’s a lot of Wolverine in The Hound’s make-up.

His relationship with Arya while it lasted was as uneasy and as perversely patriarchal as Wolverine’s relationship with Rogue, and his predilection to violence, despite being surprisingly eloquent given the opportunity could easily have been modelled on Logan.

McCann would be a completely different prospect to the majority of the others on this list, chiefly because of his massive size, but he’s basically already proved that he can play the character, so he’s got to be worth an outside consideration.

7. Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Aaron Taylor Johnson Wolverine

After appearances in both Avengers: Age Of Ultron and two Kick-Ass flicks, Aaron Taylor-Johnson qualifies as something of a veteran of the genre, but he’s never had a role he can get his chops into as well as Wolverine.

Though the Englishman started with more clean-cut roles (even in a film as outrageous as Kick-Ass), he has blossomed into a more interesting character actor more recently, taking on more challenging roles. And you can see from his recent work – particularly in Nocturnal Animals – that he suits darker, more explosive material.

He’d suit an agenda by Fox to introduce a more leading-man-type Wolverine while simultaneously catering to the demons of the character in a darkly charismatic way.

6. Walton Goggins

Walton Goggins Wolverine

Anyone even remotely familiar with Walton Goggins’ work will know that he is at his best with intense material that allows him to channel his wilder side. He plays great villains, but he has a sort of off-kilter charisma that works well for anti-heroes too – as The Hateful Eight proved.

He’s also a very gifted actor, perhaps limited more to genre roles because of his look and his predilection for grander characterisation, with a lot of interesting work coming up (not least Three Christs with Peter Dinklage and History series SIX). The physical requirements might appear to be beyond him, but he has some previous, and he’s just stepped into Joe Mangianello’s boots for SIX playing a Seal team leader, so he’s obviously got something about him.

Goggins would be a particularly good choice if Fox decide to introduce Wolverine as a villain initially, and he’d definitely fit the requirement to not have him strong-arm his way into a leadership role again.

5. Trevante Rhodes

Trevante Rhodes Wolverine

Now that Moonlight has picked up a surprising but heart-warming Best Picture victory at the Oscars, all of the talent involved should see their profiles sky-rocket. Barry Jenkins, Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali already won’t be shy of offers, but the newer cast members are likely to find their agents are far busier than they’ve ever been.

Trevante Rhodes has now leapt firmly into the Rising Star bracket, with both The Predator and war drama Horse Soldiers (for newcomer director Nicolai Fuglsig) coming in 2018, and there is definitely something in the intensity in his performance as Chiron that suggests he’d translate well to powerful, action-heavy performances.

Fox should steal a march on the other comic book film-makers who will no doubt come sniffing, and strike a blow for progressive characterisation by completely changing Wolverine. No better way to distance themselves from Jackman than to make Wolverine a black man.

4. Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal Wolverine

Gyllenhaal has come a long way since he auditioned to play Christopher Nolan’s Batman. Even then he would probably have come across as too refined and too light-weight to play the character (Christian Bale’s American Psycho history made him the most interesting candidate), but he’s an entirely different actor now.

He’s quietly gone about ascending the Hollywood ladder, making a string of great films since Batman Begins with Brokeback Mountain, Jarhead, Zodiac, Brothers, Source Code, Prisoners, Enemy, Nightcrawler, Southpaw and Nocturnal Animals all wowing. And the thing that keeps improving as he does is his flair for intense roles with a hotline on emotion.

He’s also proved himself able to bulk for roles, and he would suit the wiry, skinned dog look Jackman was sporting at his physical peak for The Wolverine. He might not quite have the cocky charm, but there have been flashes of the necessary bravado before (and it’s not like stage musical star Jackman had a great deal of specific experience when he stepped into the role).

3. Norman Reedus

Norman Reedus Wolverine Copy

As he’s so expertly proven in The Walking Dead (and probably Boon Dock Saints too), Reedus has a particular flair for outsider types with the kind of cool that fans lap up. Even when the material hasn’t been up to much, Reedus has fashioned a cult mythology about himself that would suit a new take on Wolverine too.

Imagine him playing Logan as a brusque, cold drifter – the image we were fed of him initially in Bryan Singer’s X-Men – rather than the more heroic leader he would later become in the movie franchise. Wolverine needs to channel his nastier genes again, and that would only work in the hands of an actor who could blur the lines of villainy and still remain likeable.

In the absence of Jon Bernthal thanks to The Punisher, Reedus is the actor most qualified for that particular angle.

2. Joe Mangianello

Joe Mangianello Wolverine

He might already be ear-marked for Deathstroke in The Batman, but that is absolutely not a certainty at this stage, given the well-publicised issues with that production. Who is to say that Matt Reeves won’t want to start his own story, and that screen test will ultimately end up the only time Mangianello even gets to put the costume on?

Arguably what makes the Magic Mike actor such a good prospect for Wovlerine is the same as why he’d make a good, charismatic Deathstroke: he has the hulking size, he has disarming charm and he has a sort of snark that suits both characters. Though he has superhero good looks, there’s no way he could play a boy scout hero: he’s got anti-hero written all over him, and they don’t come more credible or more challenging than Wolverine.

1. Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy Wolverine

Seriously though, who better?

There’s a pretty compelling argument that Tom Hardy could play any comic book character on screen and nail the role. He’d be an intriguing Batman, a psychopathic Joker, an eloquent, violent Riddler, a charming, twinkle-eyed Superman… He’s a transformative actor, after all, whose performances are far more complex than the mumbling hulk he threatened to become around the time he played Bane.

Most interestingly for fans of Wolverine, Hardy has an intangible otherness – a manner like Michael Keaton’s that suggests he’s not quite of this world – which he combines with a Bondian refined accent and mischief in his eyes that would fit Wolverine’s cult anti-hero status. And he’d also fit the size requirements: reclaiming Wolverine’s bulk after Jackman slimmed down somewhat for his later roles.

Obviously he’d look silly in yellow spandex, but so would everyone else on this list, and the most compelling case for his employment as the new Wolverine comes down to his irresistible screen presence, his charisma and his likeability factor even when playing killers. Someone at Fox needs to get the ball rolling on this one immediately.

12 Actors Who Should Play Wolverine Next

Marvel comic movies they’ll never be allowed to make

No longer content just to take characters and backstories from Marvel’s back catalog, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken to adapting entire comic book arcs. Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War started as comic storylines. Thor: Ragnarok borrows liberally from World War Hulk. Avengers: Infinity War, the culmination of everything the MCU’s accomplished so far, started life as Jim Starlin, George Pérez, and Ron Lim’s cosmic epic Infinity Gauntlet.

But not every comic book storyline is well-suited to the silver screen, and some won’t ever see a live-action translation. Some are too violent. Some deal with controversial content, or carry unsettling sexual undertones. A few are just too dang weird for a mainstream movie studio. Whatever the cause, don’t expect to see these tales unfold in the theater until Marvel, Fox, and Sony run entirely out of ideas—and even then, don’t hold your breath.

The Ultimates

Structurally, The Avengers borrows a lot from Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s first Ultimates run. At the beginning, the superheroes bicker among themselves, fighting each other more than the bad guys. About halfway through, the Hulk goes on a rampage, and the other heroes must work together to bring him down. At the end, the aliens known as the Chitauri attack, forcing the team to put their differences aside and come together as a team to save the Earth.

So far, so good. But that’s about as adaptable as the Ultimates saga gets. Unlike the cinematic Avengers, The Ultimates present a very different (and incredibly cynical) view of superheroes. It’s too dark and disturbing to ever imagine seeing onscreen. Ultimate Captain America is a xenophobe. Ultimate Hank Pym brutally beats his wife, Janet, putting her in the hospital. Ultimate Hulk straight-up eats people.

As the Ultimate line goes on, things get even worse. While readers had some hints before, The Ultimates 3 outs Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver—brother and sister—as lovers. In Ultimatum, the X-Men villain the Blob eats the Wasp. Hank Pym responds in kind, using his size-changing abilities to get revenge by biting Blob’s head off. Most of the X-Men die, the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards turns evil, and Manhattan is more or less annihilated. Even without the spousal abuse, incest, and graphic violence, the whole story is too dour for Marvel to put on the screen. People like to root for their heroes. The Ultimates makes that more or less impossible.

Punisher: Fade to White

These days, Frank Castle’s very busy over on Netflix, but it’s not inconceivable that he’ll return to the silver screen some day. Just don’t expect him to look quite like he did in The Punisher #60 through #62. Previously, the Kingpin concocted a plan that sent the Punisher to prison, where he was mutilated by his longtime foe, Jigsaw. Castle escapes, of course, but his face is in tatters. In short, he needs a new one. Bloody and beaten, the Punisher tracks down a plastic surgeon and requests a new look. “Change me so my best friend wouldn’t know me,” Frank demands.

The doctor complies. When the Punisher takes off the bandages, he’s a black man.

Yes, you read that right: in the early ’90s, Marvel editorial decided that turning Frank Castle, a Caucasian, black was a good idea. It’s as weird as it sounds. The police immediately pull Frank over for no good reason, and taunt him with racial epithets. He moves to Chicago, teams up with Luke Cage, and starts fighting drug dealers. Later, after the chemicals that changed the color of his skin wear off, Frank looks in a bathroom mirror and reflects on what he’s learned. “My changes have made some things clearer,” he says. “Seeing the individual past the color, to the crime. Crime doesn’t have a color. Neither does punishment.”

The story is supposed to be a comment on the prejudice and racism that black people in America face every day. It’s a noble goal, and everyone’s heart seems to be in the right place, but that doesn’t make it good. Putting a character in sci-fi blackface would never fly with movie audiences or critics, making this one story that’s best left in the back-issue bins—if not forgotten entirely.

Spider-Man: Reign

There is one big reason we’ll never see Spider-Man: Reign on the big screen. It’s not that the comic, which borrows heavily from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, is too dark for audiences (although watching Doctor Octopus’ mechanical tentacles tromp around New York with the good doctor’s rotting corpse still attached might be too much for a kid-friendly franchise). It’s not that Reign stars a decrepit, 70-year-old Peter Parker (although Marvel and Sony did just finish making Spider-Man a baby-faced high-schooler again in Spider-Man: Homecoming).

No, you’ll never see Spider-Man: Reign brought to life in cinemas because the whole story revolves around Peter Parker’s sperm. See, according to Reign, the radioactive spider that bit Peter and gave him his powers didn’t just change his blood. It infected all of his bodily fluids. Naturally, Peter is immune to the radiation’s side effects—but his spouse, Mary Jane Watson, isn’t so lucky, and over the course of their relationship, she inadvertently exposes herself to his poisonous seed. As a result, she develops cancer and dies. Peter (rightly) blames himself.

That’s why Peter Parker hangs up the webshooters. That’s why Spider-Man isn’t around when an authoritarian regime takes over New York and transforms it into a dystopian hellscape. That’s why ol’ webhead needs to come out of retirement and become the hero that the city needs—again. And that’s why Spider-Man: Reign won’t be hitting a cineplex near you anytime soon—or, realistically, ever.

Radioactive spider-sperm, people. It ain’t gonna happen.

Secret Empire

If you’re up on recent comic book stories, you’re familiar with Secret Empire, Marvel’s big event for summer 2017. Even if you’re not, you might’ve heard about the controversial premise in the press. Yeah, that’s right: this is the comic that makes Captain America a Nazi.

Okay, okay, technically Cap’s a sleeper agent for Hydra, but despite Marvel’s claims, that doesn’t really make anything better. Hydra debuted as its own evil organization, but became a Nazi-affiliated group two years later. Meanwhile, the average fan probably knows Hydra best from Captain America: The First Avenger, which depicts Hydra as part of the Nazi regime. The comic itself doesn’t do much to dispel fans’ concerns, either. After Steve Rogers infiltrates S.H.I.E.L.D., reveals his true nature, and conquers America in Hydra’s name, he rounds up the super-powered Inhumans and ships them off to concentration camps. Even if Hydra-Cap isn’t a Nazi by name, the parallels are too strong to ignore.

Hydra-fueled takeovers of America appeared in the MCU twice already (once in Captain America: The Soldier, and again in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season four), making a third occurrence incredibly unlikely, but that’s not really the point. These days, real-life Nazis—some of whom proudly wear Captain America’s gear—are an actual problem. Secret Empire received plenty of criticism from the comic book community. Marvel’s not going to court that kind of controversy by repeating the plot in theaters, and won’t risk tainting one of its most popular characters for a cheap and tacky stunt. Count on it.

X-Treme X-Men

Marvel’s movie division gets many things right, but onscreen diversity isn’t one of them. Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, but it won’t get a film with a solo female lead until 2019’s Captain Marvel, the 21st movie in the series. Fans looking for LGBTQ representation will (probably) have to wait even longer. While Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn hinted that current Marvel characters could be gay and we just don’t know about it, the studio doesn’t have any plans to introduce a visibly gay, lesbian, bi, or transgender superhero any time soon—at least, not any that we know about.

Even if an existing Marvel character ends up being queer, it probably won’t be one of the main ones. Don’t look to Fox to step up, either. X-Treme X-Men, for example, could be a fun spinoff in Fox’s ever-growing X-Men line. A team of inter-dimensional X-Men on a mission to rid the multiverse of Professor X’s evil doppelgängers is a fine premise for a movie. It’ll never be adapted—at least not faithfully. See, in X-Treme X-Men, General Howlett—i.e. Wolverine—is gay.

With Hugh Jackman stepping down from the role that made him famous, now’s the perfect time for an alternate take on Wolverine. Still, that’s going to be a hard sell for audiences, and an even harder sell for Fox. A gay Wolverine would present an excellent opportunity for a talented filmmaker to dissect and explore one of the most popular superheroes ever created. It’s also going to make the movie a hard sell for audiences, and an even harder one for Fox. In short, we’re not holding our breaths.

Starfox

You know Thanos, the wrinkly-chinned, purple bad guy who’s been pulling the strings from behind the scenes since at least The Avengers? Yeah, well, he has a brother, but you’re not likely to see him onscreen any time soon. Ignoring a potential trademark dispute with Nintendo, here’s why: Starfox is an utter, unrepentant creep.

See, while Thanos has super strength and endurance, hyper-intelligence, unparalleled hand-to-hand combat skills, and a whole bevy of psychic powers, Starfox really only does one thing: he makes people like him. Really, really like him. Technically, he stimulates the pleasure centers of people’s brains, which in turn makes them attracted to him. In practice, Starfox is a walking, talking aphrodisiac who uses his powers to score as much nookie as possible. Heck, his real name isn’t even Starfox. It’s Eros. That says pretty much everything you need to know.

Starfox is so bad that She-Hulk even took him to court, where he was tried for sexual assault (His father whisked him away to his home planet, Titan, before the jury reached a verdict). Maybe Starfox’s power seemed innocuous when he debuted in 1973, but in today’s world, a superpowered roofie does not a good hero make. When Thanos reveals his grand scheme in Avengers: Infinity War, don’t expect to see Starfox by his side—at least, not if Marvel has any sense at all.

Sins Past (and Sins Remembered)

The Green Goblin might be Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis, but don’t expect Norman Osborn to grace theater screens any time soon. According to Spider-Man: Homecoming producer Amy Pascal, Norman and the rest of the Osborn family will be confined to the comic book pages for the foreseeable future. He’s already played out. As she put it, “I don’t know how many more times we can do the Green Goblin.”

For the Goblin’s diehard fans, that’s bad news, but there’s one silver lining. Norman’s absence means there’s no way that “Sins Past,” J. Michael Straczynski and Mike Deodato Jr.’s controversial Amazing Spider-Man arc, will ever get a big-screen remake. That’s very, very good, especially considering “Sins Past” is undoubtedly the ickiest storyline ever introduced in Spider-Man’s main continuity.

See, according to Straczynski and Deodato, Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy had a brief fling with Norman—i.e. the guy who killed her—while vacationing in France. As a result of the encounter, Gwen gave birth to twins. It’s not only the age difference between Gwen and Norman that makes the story so bad, although that’s pretty gross. It’s not only that Mary Jane knew about the affair and didn’t tell Peter until the twins come knocking at his door, or that Gwen lost her virginity to the Green Goblin and not her long-term boyfriend. It isn’t even the way “Sins Past” re-contextualizes Gwen’s death, more or less removing Spider-Man from the equation.

No, it’s that in the follow-up storyline, “Sins Remembered,” Peter makes out with one of the twins because she kind of looks like Gwen. Kissing the daughter of your long-lost love and number one villain while you’re married to someone else? That’s bad. Comic book readers didn’t tolerate it (eventually, the whole affair was retconned out of existence). Chances are, movie audiences wouldn’t, either.

Thor: Vikings

Chris Hemsworth is a good looking and funny guy, and the first two Thor movies coast on his charisma alone. But even Hemsworth’s dreamy smile and strong sense of humor couldn’t make Thor: Vikings work onscreen. As writer Garth Ennis (the man behind resolutely not-safe-for-work yarns like Preacher, The Boys, and Crossed) and Glenn Fabry’s superhero adventure reminds us, the ancient Norsemen weren’t wisecracking swashbucklers like Thor and his comrades. They were hardened warriors with a mean streak a mile long, and Thor: Vikings revels in it.

Remember, this is the comic that opens with a Viking horde razing a Norwegian village, and then sends the invaders to modern day New York, where they rape, pillage, and murder their way through Manhattan as undead conquerors. They drive a spear through the mayor on live television. They block the streets in SoHo with piles of severed heads. Even Thor has trouble stopping them, especially after they snap both of the thunder god’s arms, chain his hammer to his neck, and chuck him into the Hudson river.

While the differences between Thor’s fairy tale world and the violent, unforgiving nature of real-life Vikings makes an interesting contrast, Marvel seems to be moving in the opposite direction with the colorful and otherworldly Thor: Ragnarok. Even if it weren’t, Thor: Vikings is just too violent for mainstream moviegoers—even dedicated gore-hounds might find some of the gruesome antics stomach-turning. With Ennis at the helm, we wouldn’t expect anything less.

Deadpool: Killustrated

Deadpool isn’t a bad guy—well, not entirely—but he’s also got no problem with violence, especially when someone else is on the receiving end. He’s a mercenary in a world full of supervillains. Sometimes, gore is going to happen. It’s just part of the job.

Deadpool’s zany sense of humor and complete disregard for heroic norms make him a breath of fresh air in the world of stuffy, uptight superhero morality. That’s why he’s so popular. But there’s still a line, and Deadpool’s been known to cross it. Not only has he killed the Marvel Universe—twice—but in Deadpool: Killustrated, the Merc with a Mouth hunts down and murders characters from pieces of classic literature.

And yeah, it’s funny (kind of) to watch Wade Wilson scoop out Don Quixote’s eyeballs, spread Tom Sawyer’s blood all over the boy’s newly painted fence, feed Mowgli to Shere Khan, gut the Little Mermaid, and blow up the Little Women (yes, all of ’em). It’s also very, very dark, even for Deadpool. On the page, Deadpool: Killustrated’s violence doesn’t seem any worse than a particularly depraved Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, and while the gag runs thin—four issues is a lot for a single joke—it’s bearable. Translate that story into live action, however, and it’d be positively traumatic.

Many people grew up on these stories, and watching Deadpool murder beloved children’s characters—most of whom did nothing wrong—would almost certainly turn the audience against him. If Fox wants to keep the Deadpool cash trail chugging along, they’ll keep Deadpool: Killustrated as far from the silver screen as possible.

JLA/Avengers

The Avengers proved that superhero crossovers could work just as well in theaters as they do in comic shops, paving the way for three more (and counting) Avengers flicks, Captain America: Civil War, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, as well as DC-flavored team-ups like Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, and, most importantly, Justice League. But, these days, interconnected superhero universes are old hat. We’ve seen it all before. In fact, there’s only one big superhero crossover left on our wish list: put Marvel’s Avengers and DC’s Justice League in the same movie, let them fight it out, and see who comes out on top.

It’ll never happen. Letting DC and Marvel characters share the same screen would be like McDonald’s selling a Whopper, or Coke deciding to line grocery store aisles with Diet Pepsi, or the USS Enterprise dogfighting with the Millennium Falcon. The corporate overlords at Disney and Warner Bros. won’t ever give their competition such a big boost—at least, not on purpose—even if fans would literally kill to see it happen.

That’s a shame, too, because the source material’s already given both studios the perfect template for a box office-shattering blockbuster. JLA/Avengers (also known as Avengers/JLA) tells the story of an epic clash between Earth’s mightiest heroes and the League, who, as per tradition, duke it out before teaming up to stop a timeless evil. Written by accomplished superhero scribe Kurt Busiek and illustrated by the legendary George Perez, JLA/Avengers could be the superhero movie to end all superhero movies. But it won’t be. Not only would the rights be a nightmare to untangle, but after a team-up like that, there’s nowhere to go but down.

Marvel comic movies they’ll never be allowed to make

Film’s Top 15 Movies of 2017: Which Movies Reign Supreme for the Entire Staff?

Every year, the /Film staff writes their top 10 movies of the year lists and every year, we combine those lists into one final, definitive list. The result is a top 15 that represents the entire site,  a look at everything that we have treasured over the past 12 months.

In 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road was /Film’s favorite film of the year. In 2016, that honor went to Arrival. And now, with 2017 officially in the books, we have determined our overall top 15 films of 2017. Let’s take a look at what made the list.

First, a quick note on how this list was compiled. We took each personal list and assigned a score to each position in each top 10. For example, a film that ranked as number one on a personal list would score 10 points, a film that ranked as number two would score nine points, and so on. After some basic math, the overall list took shape.

Second, a number of films made it on to our top 10 lists but didn’t have enough points to break into the overall top 15. They are as follows: RawLoganItSpider-Man: HomecomingGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Wonder WomanBrigsby BearPersonal ShopperOkjaWar for the Planet of the ApesYour Name, and Phantom Thread.

And finally, the blurbs under each entry are excerpted from our overall top 10 lists, which you can find linked at the bottom of this article.

the disaster artist review

15. The Disaster Artist

Points: 8

The way James Franco’s Tommy Wiseau and Dave Franco’s Greg Sestero support each other’s million-to-one dream of making it in Hollywood when no one else will is inspiring…until it turns toxic. The Francos are both excellent, but Dave, in particular, deserves praise for totally nailing the straight man part as James’ far more flamboyant performance earns a lot of attention. And while its dramatic aspects might make more people pay attention to it come awards time, the movie is also a comedy – and it earns its laughs. I think I cracked up more here than in anything else last year. (Ben Pearson)

Even though The Disaster Artist takes plenty of shots at the eccentricities and behavior of The Room director, writer and star Tommy Wiseau, he becomes far more than the punchline that his film has become over the years. James Franco’s performance makes us sympathize and empathize with Wiseau as a man trying to fulfill his own American dream. Not only is he a dreamer in every sense of the word, but he’s also a fiercely loyal friend. (Ethan Anderton)

music of coco

14. Coco

Points: 9

Coco is one of Pixar’s most visually dazzling movies; the way co-directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Malina conceived of the underworld is vibrant, lush, and jaw-droppingly beautiful, but the scenes set in “real world” Mexico are also lovely. This may be the most emotional I’ve been at a movie in years (I was openly weeping during a key moment near the end), and the music is spot-on all the way through. (They even got the finger movements right – as someone who plays the guitar, I’m always paying close attention to technique, and the animators didn’t take any shortcuts here.) Decades from now, I think we’re going to look back on Coco as one of the high points in Pixar’s filmography. (Ben Pearson)

ingrid goes west

13. Ingrid Goes West

Points: 10

What makes Ingrid Goes West this year’s best film is that it’s a wickedly smart commentary on our social media obsessed world. But this film is a comedy first and foremost and uses the commentary as the canvas to tell this story. It’s not just a great comedy, though – it’s the perfect film to represent our times. No, it’s not about Trump, politics, diversity, or any of the issues we talk about on a daily basis, but it’s about the platforms on which we talk about all of that. It’s about us as a society and how the technology in our pockets has changed our habits and happiness. (Peter Sciretta)

John Wick pic 3

12. John Wick: Chapter 2

Points: 10

Chad Stahelski’s action movie fantasia blends the brutal action of Hong Kong cinema, the outrageous plotting of modern South Korean cinema, and the mythology and world-building of American comic books into a delicious cocktail that goes down so smooth that it feels…well, criminal. Usually, it takes a decade or two before we place the best genre cinema on a pedestal and admit that a concoction this clever and fun is a masterpiece. We could be all dead by then. Let’s celebrate John Wick: Chapter 2 right now. (Jacob Hall)

John Wick: Chapter 2‘s action sequences might not be as hard-hitting or spectacularly executed as the original (or maybe my expectations were just higher going in), but what this sequel nails is something I didn’t expect: a sense of world-building. Who would have thought that a franchise like John Wick would create a movie universe that I would want to explore? The first film, while fantastically executed, seemed like a one and done revenge action film, but now I need to see this entire world of the international hitmen and bounty hunters. I think when all is said and done, we could look back at the John Wick films as the best action series of our time. (Peter Sciretta)

Three_Billboards_01

11. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Points: 11

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri believes in people. It believes that they will ultimately achieve grace, that they can fix their broken lives and protect those in need. It also believes that the path to get there is littered with land mines and potholes and that redemption is only achieved after you’ve stumbled a half dozen times and learned enough hard lessons to leave a mark. It’s a bitter pill of a movie, sweetened by Martin McDonagh’s searing, stylized dialogue and performances from likable actors bringing flawed and often loathsome characters to life. Not everyone will be on board for this tale of small town fury – the way it proudly waves a middle finger in the face of political correctness has ignited a storm on Film Twitter – but its coarseness, its uncouthness, completes McDonagh’s intentionally imperfect portrait. (Jacob Hall)

I’m a longtime fan of writer/director Martin McDonagh because his movies often feel “written” in the best possible way, with a wonderful mixture of flawed characters, heartbreaking loss, and laugh out loud comedy. Three Billboards exemplifies all of those qualities and more, led by a fearsome powerhouse of a performance from Frances McDormand that feels very much in line with the frustration and boiling rage many of us (but especially women) felt last year. (Ben Pearson)

10. Lady Bird

Points: 13

Lady Bird is more than a superb coming-of-age movie. It’s a love letter to bullish adolescence, an ode to every tense mother-daughter relationship, a stellar writing-directing debut from mumblecore queen Greta Gerwig, and a searing insight into my very soul. It sounds strange at first to set a teenage film in an arbitrary year like 2003, but as one of the many American girls who came of age during that time, Lady Bird resonated with me on another level. And that was surely Gerwig’s intention: to tell an intensely personal story that feels both fresh and familiar. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

I am a sucker for coming-of-age dramas, and yet, somehow, Lady Bird surprised me. There’s not been a better film about the transition from adolescence to adulthood since Almost Famous. Saoirse Ronan delivers a stellar performance in this heartfelt, charming, funny and moving story. The film succeeds due to the authenticity it lends its characters and the relatable situations (many of which have become a rite of passage in all of our lives) that it depicts. Writer/director Greta Gerwig has solidified her position as a filmmaker and artist to watch. (Peter Sciretta)

blade runner 2049

9. Blade Runner 2049

Points: 13

When I say this film is huge, I mean it in the literal sense – Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins render the world of Blade Runner 2049 in big, bold, dizzying strokes, creating a landscape populated by imposing, brutalistic structures that loom and threaten like elder gods. It’s easy to get lost in all the spectacle on display here, but beneath the film’s unique, gorgeous appearance are quiet, dramatic moments – for instance, who knew that a Blade Runner sequel would offer up one of the best performances of Harrison Ford’s career? (Chris Evangelista)

The most incredible thing about Blade Runner 2049 is that it’s a proper Blade Runner movie. Pure and unfiltered. For better and worse. Major corporations gave director Denis Villeneuve over $150 million to make a science fiction movie starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford and he turned around and delivered a long, slow-moving, deliberately obtuse meditation on the meaning of existence. In other words, he made a Blade Runner movie. A Blade Runner movie that may actually be as good as the original. Holy mackerel. How did that happen? (Jacob Hall)

Blade Runner 2049 is the most beautiful looking film of the year. Every frame of this sequel is a painting. The story is more compelling than the original and I love the ideas it explores. (Peter Sciretta)

Michael Caine Dunkirk

8. Dunkirk

Points: 15

In 2017, Christopher Nolan made his best and most experimental film, working from a premise that could have (and should have) been boilerplate. The evacuation of British soldiers from the shores of Dunkirk, a strategic retreat that allowed the Allies to hold on and turn the tide in the early days of World War II, could have been a standard war movie, a tale of brave men and harrowing action and fierce patriotism. Strangely, Dunkirk is a tale of brave men involved in harrowing action that creates a feeling of fierce patriotism (even if you’re not English), but it is also bold cinema crafted to be experienced in a theater, where you cannot escape the images on the giant screen in front of you and the booming soundtrack ringing in your ears. And experience it in a theater you must, because Dunkirk is practically a silent movie, one that tells its story through worried glances, accusing stares, and desperate gestures. (Jacob Hall)

I scoffed at first when Christopher Nolan announced that his latest film would be an “experience” rather than a traditional story, but that is what Dunkirk truly is: a visceral, impassioned experience that tests the limits of what movies can do. Separate timelines aside, Dunkirk is Nolan’s most barebones film, yet it still manages to achieve a level of emotional resonance that his most complex movies could only dream of. Dunkirk envelops the viewer in the raucous cacophony of World War II, your teeth clacking and your ears in danger of being deafened. It’s almost on par with watching a 4D movie, but Nolan expertly weaves a simple narrative through the auditory and visual language. There’s a reason that the dialogue-sparse film could easily be condensed into an affecting silent film: Dunkirk is pure cinema. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is a war movie where battle isn’t nearly as important as survival. With this film, Nolan pulls out all the stops, putting every trick in his director’s bag to work to craft the ticking-clock movie to end all ticking-clock movies. Nolan sets up three distinct locations – land, sea, air – and proceeds to deftly combine them together into a tense, cohesive, and ultimately emotional journey. Most of all, though, Dunkirk is a showcase for Nolan’s skills behind the camera; an excuse for the filmmaker to create big spectacle on the largest canvas imaginable, while never straying into mindless blockbuster territory. (Chris Evangelista)

Star Wars Lightsaber battle

7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Points: 17

Star Wars: The Last Jedi isn’t about tearing down the legacy of Star Wars, as some can’t seem to stop pointing out. It’s about expanding the scope of Star Wars so future generations can enjoy it. The Last Jedi is about respecting what came before while understanding, as Luke Skywalker says, “It’s so much bigger.” Rian Johnson shows this by introducing new ideas into Star Wars canon, from large concepts like the abilities of the Force to little things like the evolution of Death Star technology. This is a movie that is Star Wars through and through without feeling like it’s treading the same waters of all the movies that came before it. (Ethan Anderton)

There’s so much movie in The Last Jedi, a film that gleefully takes huge swings left and right – and when one of those swings connects, it delivers like nothing else in the franchise ever has. It’s exceedingly clear to me that Johnson has an immense love for these characters and this mythology, and he inserts his beliefs about the franchise into the text of his film: it’s important to be inspired by and learn from the past, but it’s also imperative to move on and build something new. (Ben Pearson)

It’s true that I mostly loved Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but I do have a few issues with the film (which I have already discussed at length elsewhere on the site). While I love the risks Rian Johnson took with this franchise, I feel some of them (like some of the humor) felt out of place in this galaxy, and that other choices in the film feel hurtful to the three-film arc of this story. But those quibbles aside, this is the most beautiful looking and continuously surprising Star Wars films ever released. (Peter Sciretta)

the post top 10

6. The Post

Points: 24

The breathless pacing, the stellar cast, and the depressingly relevant subject matter all coalesce into not only a truly great and entertaining movie, but something that stands alongside Get Out as one of the defining films of 2017. I haven’t loved a Meryl Streep performance in years, but this one reminds me of how she can make greatness look effortless. And while Tom Hanks is reliably solid (as usual), I hope people remember Bob Odenkirk’s work in this one when the dust settles. Political, riveting, and absolutely essential, The Post is Steven Spielberg firing on all cylinders. (Ben Pearson)

Stirring, suspenseful, and more than a little sentimental, The Post is the ode to journalism that we need, told by a director who in awe of the entire fourth estate. And awe is what Spielberg excels at. Each shot lovingly paints The Washington Post and its reporters as all-American heroes, embroiled in a gripping narrative that Spielberg directs like an action film. And, oh, the reporters. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are deservedly the centerpieces of this film as the cocksure Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and the unsure first-time female publisher Kay Graham respectively, but The Post is truly a showcase for all the best character actors and actresses working today: Bob Odenkirk shines, Matthew Rhys, and Carrie Coon are standouts. The whole film is like watching an elegant dance between a master class of actors and a director at the top of his game. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

It would be easy to acknowledge that the importance of the media in the early 1970s is wholly different when compared to today’s standards. But that’s covered by the fact that there’s a clear parallel between Richard Nixon trying to block the media and Donald Trump trying to delegitimize the entire industry, unless they’re Fox News. The Post might feel like it’s a little on the nose, but that’s because it’s exactly the kind of movie that we need right now to remind certain people why we need the media. (Ethan Anderton)

Democracy dies in darkness, and Steven Spielberg’s whiz-bang, monumentally important meditation on the vitality off a free press couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Is Spielberg’s take on the story of the Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers a little on-the-nose? Sure, but maybe these are times that call for less subtlety and more bluntness, especially when this topic is concerned. And here’s the thing: even if The Post weren’t an important film for 2017 dealing with important issues, it’s also one hell of an entertaining flick. (Chris Evangelista)

5. Call Me By Your Name

Points: 27

You know that moment when you first wake from a beautiful dream? You feel hazy, feverish, and dense with an inexplicable emotion that remains just out of reach. That’s what the entirety of Call Me By Your Name is like. The LGBTQ romance is subtle and moving, set against the gorgeous, lazy backdrop of the warm Italian countryside. But despite its lush setting, director Luca Guadagnino maintains a cold distance to his core characters, allowing the romance between breakout star Timothée Chalamet and the Adonis-like Armie Hammer to blossom in an aching slow-burn. Guadagnino observes but never touches — as if this summer fling is so beautiful and delicate that it could shatter into a million pieces. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Forget an Oscar – can we give Michael Stuhlbarg the Nobel Peace Prize for his breathtaking monologue at the end of Call Me By Your Name? Even if everything that came before this concluding speech had been lackluster (which it isn’t), Stuhlbarg’s delivery coupled with the power of the words themselves casts Call Me By Your Name into the upper echelon of 2017 films. (Chris Evangelista)

For much of the movie, there’s this unspoken tension between Chalamet and Hammer that you can cut with a knife. They’re each always on the verge of ripping each other’s clothes off and kissing each other into oblivion. Luca Guadagnino creates an lush, gorgeous environment for this relationship to blossom in, only for it to be a fleeting moment in both of their lives, almost as if it’s been built up in each of their minds as this temporary fairytale. The linchpin is a tear-inducing monologue given by Michael Stuhlbarg at the end of the movie that is the icing on a positively magnificent cake. (Ethan Anderton)

Love is what defines Call Me By Your Name. Love is in every gorgeous frame, in every conversation, and every nuanced interaction. These characters love one another and Guadagnino loves all of them, often pausing to give minor supporting characters a moment in the spotlight because the film has enough room in its heart for everyone. Our hearts are torn open by Elio and Oliver, but they’re healed and strengthened by the men and women in the margins. And then, when we least suspect it, Elio’s father (the great Michael Stuhlbarg) delivers a monologue so beautiful and heart wrenching that all of the pain and joy we’ve endured for the past two hours comes into crystal clear focus. This is Elio’s summer. This is Oliver’s summer. It is also our summer. (Jacob Hall)

shape of water top 10

4. The Shape of Water

Points: 27

Leave it to Guillermo del Toro to make one of the most romantic movies of the year, and also have it be about a woman who falls for a fish-man. The Shape of Water is a lovely little Cold War fairytale; a film brimming with ideas, and defiant of fitting nicely into any one particular genre. Violent, charming, and yes, even sexy, The Shape of Water is as fluid as its title suggests, able to change and shift at will. It’s also a wonderful celebration of individuals who are traditionally labeled as societal outcasts. (Chris Evangelista)

Guillermo del Toro returned to the realm of fairy tales and delivered this lyrical, beautiful love story of the overlooked and the voiceless. The premise is out there (a mute woman falls for a fish man), but as usual, del Toro goes all out on the production design and sucks you into a world where that seems like a plausible and natural thing that could happen. (Ben Pearson)

I’m convinced that there’s no director who loves his craft more than Guillermo del Toro. There’s a certain unfiltered joy he brings to his movies that you can feel throughout The Shape of Water, a weird and whimsical fairy tale with teeth and a warm, bloody heart. He’s been knocked before for his fastidious love letters to genre, but The Shape of Water soars thanks to the ardent cinematic homages that del Toro plants throughout the film. The Shape of Water is at once send-up of B-movie creature features and classic Hollywood musicals, an allegory of oppressed minorities during the Cold War, a deconstruction of the American dream, and a dark fairy tale romance. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Del Toro has created a movie that feels like a cross between Amelie, Cinema Paradiso and Creature from the Black Lagoon. How does a filmmaker convince anyone to make this movie? Perhaps because this might just be del Toro’s best movie yet. It’s a story about wanting to be loved, wanting to belong, wanting to feel human. It’s a story that has characters getting lost in the magic of movies, the possibility of unrequited love, and the allure of the unknown. It’s everything del Toro loves rolled into one beautiful, wonderful package. Oh, and it has one of the most gorgeous scores in recent memory. (Ethan Anderton)

Why waste $150 million on a remake of The Mummy when Guillermo del Toro can remake The Creature From the Black Lagoon as a fairy tale melodrama about about a mute woman who falls in love with a beautiful fish-man held captive in the government facility where she scrubs the toilets? This tale of men and monsters and the blurry line that divides them is the modernized take on the classic Universal Monsters formula that we need, a creepy and sincere and wholly empathetic creature feature that is about loving who you want to love and not letting society dictate your desires. (Jacob Hall)

The Big Sick Trailer

3. The Big Sick

Points: 28

And while the key romance encounters a serious obstacle in the middle of this movie, the film is just as much a love story between a man and his parents as it is between a man and his girlfriend. Spending time with Kumail’s (often hilarious) family reveals his burden of living with cultural expectations, all handled fairly and humorously by the film without painting one side or the other as being wrong or unreasonable. Relatable, heartbreaking, and laugh out loud funny, this is one of the most purely enjoyable times at the movies I had all year. (Ben Pearson)

The highest praise I can give The Big Sick is that you can place it side-by-side with the greatest rom-coms of all time and realize that yeah, it belongs in that company. Michael Showalter’s film is hilarious and sweet and sad, a movie that hits just enough familiar beats to feel comforting while straying from the path and into enough specific tangents to feel proudly unique and personal. The screenplay by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon (adapting how the couple actually met in real life) is a low-key triumph, as are the lovely, natural performances from Nanjiani, Ray Romano, and Holly Hunter. (Jacob Hall)

Along with the romance comes ample laughs. Rarely has a movie ever made me laugh so hard, especially with one of the funniest 9/11 jokes ever told, before making me cry. Helping in both regards are Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as Emily’s parents, who are responsible for plenty of big laughs themselves, but also some of the more tender moments. It all makes for a perfect storm of love and laughs. (Ethan Anderton)

The Big Sick has so much greatness and all of the elements I usually look for in a film I see at Sundance. The film tells the story of up-and-coming Pakistani-American comedian Kumail Nanjiani (based on his real-life experience) who meets and dates a white woman named Emily (Zoe Kazan) who would never get the approval of his traditional family. When Emily contracts a severe illness, Kumail finds himself forced to be there for the girl, confronting her parents and his family’s expectations. The film is one of the most hilarious, touching, authentically charming movies I saw in 2017. (Peter Sciretta)

get out

2. Get Out

Points: 30

This movie gave a voice to an underserved audience at a time when their existence was continually devalued by people in power, and the rich metaphors of this film provide multiple layers to dig into beyond its surface appeal. There’s something to say for coming up with an A+ premise and then nailing the execution, and Get Out feels like the work of a seasoned filmmaker instead of a debut effort from an up-and-coming director. Jordan Peele has arrived, and Hollywood better get used to him because he’s going to be around for a long time to come. (Ben Pearson)

But Get Out is more than a great movie. Get Out is a movie that changed me. After watching it, I knew that it was brilliant, but I couldn’t articulate why it was great beyond its gleeful genre pleasures. So I started reading and I started listening. I sought out writers of color who could shed light on what makes this movie so important. I read pieces from folks different than me whose personal and cultural perspectives illuminated details that I, as a clueless white man, never would have caught. Get Out encouraged me to open my ears and my eyes and listen to people, all so I could better appreciate the scariest, funniest, angriest movie of 2017. It’s made me a better person. (Jacob Hall)

How refreshing it is to watch a horror movie with something on its mind. More often than not, horror is a genre that buckles under the pressure of trends – a glimpse at the scary movie output of the last decade is riddled with by-the-numbers creepshows that are solely committed to loud, inconsequential jump-scares rather than thoughtful explorations of fear. It seems only appropriate that the filmmaker to give the horror movies a much-needed shot in the arm is someone who wasn’t primarily associated with the horror genre. Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a twisted, funny, scary, socio-political commentary that continually surprises from scene to scene. (Chris Evangelista)

Get Out was the best experience I had seeing a movie in a theater this year. Jordan Peele crafted a densely layered narrative that is somehow both a crowd-pleasing horror film and a sharp commentary on systemic race and privilege, turning racial microaggressions into tangible plot points. And nothing will beat seeing it with a crowd of anxious moviegoers, gasping and clapping at every plot twist. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

Rife with social commentary that is perfectly blended with a genre that is often lambasted for its insignificance and lack of creativity, Get Out takes horror tropes that have been present for years and turns them on their heads by making them part of a plot that resonates with today’s society in a way that you might not expect. (Ethan Anderton)

the florida project

1. The Florida Project

Points: 41

Sean Baker’s film is a profoundly human, emotionally devastating depiction of life on the periphery. However, it never veers into overly sentimental or grim territory, instead presenting a story of Florida’s hidden homeless through the fanciful eyes of a child, played with astounding grace by newcomer Brooklynn Prince. The Florida Project is the most sincere and authentic film of the year, aided by the unpretentious performances from a cast that Baker largely plucked from the streets. Coupled with the astonishing career-best turn of Willem Dafoe as the strict but compassionate motel manager, The Florida Project is a near-perfect film. (Hoai-Tran Bui)

In The Florida Project, director Sean Baker brings his camera down low to the ground, better putting the audience in the eye-line of a child. This one simple decision effectively transports us into the film’s world – a world of run-down motels, abandoned properties, and souvenir stands, all nestled within miles of Walt Disney World. That Magic Kingdom colors nearly every element of this film; it’s a dream, not-too-distant yet worlds away, that looms over the lives of the people here struggling to get by. Baker’s film doesn’t glamorize poverty, nor does it cast judgement. Instead, it presents a less-than-desirable way of live through the eyes of children, who are blissfully unaware of whatever financial means their families lack, and instead are wholly engaged in a world where some magic is still very much a reality. Newcomer Brooklynn Prince delivers a performance so real, no natural, that it makes actors three times her age seem almost amateurish. (Chris Evangelista)

What’s most heartbreaking about The Florida Project is the pure glee and fancifully clueless nature of Moonee and her friends living in poverty without really knowing it. That makes the revelation of her situation all the more shattering when the life that she knows and loves is nearly upended. This movie is somehow uplifting and totally heart-wrenching all at once, and it’s pretty much a perfect movie. (Ethan Anderton)

I’m just going to focus in on a single scene. Gruff but kind-hearted motel manager Bobby Hicks (Willem Dafoe) is working in his office when a gaggle of children, led by the adorable and abrasive Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) barge in, looking for a place to play hide and seek. Bobby is annoyed and demands they go elsewhere. They don’t listen and crawl under his desk. Quietly admitting defeat, Bobby just asks them to not mess with his computer cords. Right on cue, his monitor is pulled across his desk. But while Bobby is clearly irritated, Dafoe allows a smile to creep across his face – this is a distraction and an annoying one, but goddamn it, he loves these kids. And he knows they live in abject poverty, spending their days hanging around the crappy motels (15 minutes from Walt Disney World) that many impoverished central Florida families call home. He knows that these kids mean well, that they’re blissfully ignorant of what they do not have. And who is he to stand in the way of them being happy, just for now? Because it’s not going to last. All of this is communicated in a smile from Dafoe, giving the warmest (and possibly best) performance of 2017. Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a machine powered by empathy and Bobby Hicks is its avatar. (Jacob Hall)

Every time I go to Disney World, I drive by the cheap tourist spots and motels that surround the Disney property and wonder who goes there. Who lives there? Filmmaker Sean Baker finally tells this story, and sets it from the point of view of a precocious six-year-old, played brilliantly by newcomer Brooklynn Prince. This isn’t a typical slum-porn indie drama thanks this brilliant framing, which presents this story from the eyes of an innocent child who has no idea how bad of a hand she has been dealt. It’s an honest portrait of the low-class American childhood, smartly positioned right next to the happiest place on the planet. (Peter Sciretta)

Film’s Top 15 Movies of 2017: Which Movies Reign Supreme for the Entire Staff?

Chris Evans on Avengers Infinity War: ‘Marvel Doesn’t Miss’

The Russo Brothers were actually able to redeem Avengers: Age of Ultron with their work on Captain America: Civil War, and they’re back to direct the next two Avengers films. Chris Evans, who everyone knows better as Captain America, opens up about the upcoming Avengers flick and how Marvel has been pumping out hit after hit.

Talking during the Ace Comic-Con (via ComicBook), Evans talks about working on his last two Avengers films:

“That was the best part of this movie, is that you really kind of, it really was for the first time for me feeling like… the first few movies it’s almost like it’s happening to somebody else. You kind of feel like you’re watching it happen, but you’re not actually a part of it. This was kind of the first movie where you actually felt like you had a seat at the table and you belonged and it was so nice to have all these other franchises that you’ve watched and admired come to a set where you’re like oh man, I belong here, and all these great people are part of a movie that we’re all doing together, and it was just wonderful because all of those franchises, well, let’s be honest. Marvel doesn’t miss. They haven’t missed yet. They’re batting a thousand.”

I don’t know how they do that. They don’t miss and so to see all these actors come together from all these other franchises that I’ve seen as fans be exchanging dialogue with me was overwhelming and really just so satisfying because really truly, there’s not one bad apple.”

With Captain America having to share some screentime with a lot of heroes, it would be understandable that some of his character development can be thrown out the window. With this film having twice the number of characters, I wonder how the Russo Brothers plan to do this complicated juggling act of keeping every character relevant. At least they have each other to bounce ideas off of as compared to Joss Whedon who had to shoulder everything himself.

Like everyone else, I’m excited for the release of this film. It’s the start of the end of Phase 3, and we could be saying goodbye to come characters that have been with us for about a decade. Let’s just hope it sets up everything nicely for Phase 4.

Chris Evans on Avengers Infinity War: ‘Marvel Doesn’t Miss’

The 9 Worst Casting Mistakes in DC and Marvel Movies

There have been a lot of great casting choices in comic book movies. We have Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Heath Ledger as the Joker, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man…but the list goes on and on. But there are some comic book movie casting choices that make you go, “what the heck were they thinking?” Whether it’s a great actor being horribly miscast or a mediocre actor dealing with more than they can handle, these casting decisions are just baffling.

Let’s take a look at some of the weirder casting choices Marvel and DC have made. 

#1- David Thewlis as Ares

Feature Detail

David Thewlis is a great actor and a distinguished gentleman. But there is absolutely no way to buy him as the terrifying Greek God of War. This was part of the Wonder Woman movie’s intention-the twist was that he was the last person you’d expect to be Ares due to his proper appearance.

But the “twist” doesn’t change the fact that once Thewlis starts fighting Wonder Woman, it’s impossible to take him seriously or mentally connect him to Ares. He looks nothing like the guy in the comics and he doesn’t have the massive, oppressive presence needed for a larger-than-life supernatural character. He seems to try to compensate for this by chewing scenery and just comes off as sort of comical as a result.

It’s possible the twist could have worked a lot better if it had been developed more as part of the narrative and Thewlis had played more of a strategic, behind-the-scenes take on the war god, manipulating people to fight Wonder Woman and sinsterly pulling puppet strings rather than fighting her head-on. But seeing Thewlis brawling head to head with Diana and screaming his head off? It just looks ludicrous.

#2- Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor

Feature Detail

Jesse Eisenberg shines in other brainy roles, as seen in The Social Network, but he is not at all the right fit for Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He lacks the smooth, sinister maturity people associate with the character. Granted, Zack Snyder’s take on Luthor seemed to be deliberately different from the one everyone was used to- but that wasn’t neccessarily a good decision This young and awkward Lex Luthor just didn’t take for me and a lot of other people.

A combination of Eisenberg’s acting and Snyder’s writing made the character come off as hyperactive, cartoonish and bit like a maniacal chipmunk. It was especially jarring considering the movie was otherwise dark and melancholy. It was trying very hard to be a “serious, adult” superhero movie, but Eisenberg’s over-the-top antagonist felt like it belonged in a kiddie film.

#3- Jared Leto as the Joker

Feature Detail

Oh boy. Where do we even start with Jared Leto as the Joker in Suicide Squad? Even before the movie aired, he was a controversial casting choice due to his questionable behavior on set. His actions, which including sending used condoms to crewmates, came off less like “method acting” and more like “an excuse to harass people”. Not to mention the “edgy” statements Leto made while pretending to be a Joker that came off as a Hot Topic obsessed 12 year old’s tryhard ramblings. Here’s one example of Leto’s antics from the director:

“One time I yelled ‘cut’ and Jared turned to me and said ‘what if someone just stood in the middle of Wall Street and yelled cut? Maybe the monkeys in suits would forget their trained routine of going to work’ My jaw hit the floor and it never really came back up. That’s when I thought, is he getting in character to play Joker, or is Joker something that’s been in him all along?”

“Sometimes i would go to look into the cameras, and I noticed Jared had put something in the lens. It was stuff like ‘What if cameras were guns? Would you buy a mass murderer?’ and ‘Lights. Camera. Insanity.’ I had to ask him to stop because I was getting too scared to direct.”

Needless to say, these antics came off more a laughably faux-edgy than “terrifying”. And that bore out in the movie itself. For a lot of people, myself included, Leto’s performance as the Joker really did seem like a shallow, Hot Topic version of the character.

#4- Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One

Feature Detail

At this point, I’m thinking leaving the Ancient One out together would have been preferable to Swinton’s casting in Doctor Strange. Even those who don’t agree with me that whitewashing is bad have to be tired of the endless arguing. Considering the lack of positive Asian characters in the MCU, Swinton’s casting was just salt in the wound for many fans. And in the end, was it worth it? Swinton’s Ancient One wasn’t the complex representation of women the director promised. Her role was flat and honestly didn’t manage to add much to the movie.

#5- Jennifer Garner as Elektra

Feature Detail

Jennifer Garner has what it takes to play a badass karate-chopping lady, her starring role in Alias proves that. However, she isn’t the right pick for the ice-cold Elektra. Garner has a bit of a relatable girl-next-door vibe about her and that doesn’t fit the mysterious assassin in any way. As Sydney Bristow in Alias, Garner was able to balance toughness and vulnerability to make a relatable character. But Elektra’s vulnerability is deep, deep down under a crusty shell and Garner couldn’t really pull that off. Her acting in Elektra comes off as stiff and emotionless as a result.

It didn’t help that she had an absolutely abysmal script to work with alongside some very poorly choreographed action sequences. Poor Jen was just not in a great position overall.

#6- Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider

Feature Detail

Oh, Nic Cage. You’re so stoic. And in this movie, so ridiculous. It is pretty hard to take you seriously as Ghost Rider. The Ghost Rider movies are incredibly campy and they can be fun if you like that sort of thing. However, as far as I can tell, they’re not campy on purpose. Nic Cage’s performance as Johnny Blaze is so-bad-it’s-good, but he was clearly just trying to be plain old good.

Johnny Blaze is supposed to be young, impulsive and wild. Cage comes off as a middle-aged man trying super hard to be cool and failing spectacularly. Cage seems to adore the character and the comics, but he was just not the right fit for the role at all.

#7- Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze

Feature Detail

Arnold certainly played a version of Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin, but it wasn’t a version that was particularly compelling or anything like fans wanted to see. His campy, cartoonish, over-the-top ice-punning take on the character just repelled fans. The darker, more tragic take on the character in Batman: The Animated Series just very much overshadows the caricature that Schwarzenegger ‘s Freeze was. While there are a lot of things that fans hated about Batman and Robin, Freeze might be the most memorably cringe-y part.

And really, there was no way Arnold could have ever delivered a more nuanced take on the character. You don’t cast Arnold unless you want to ham it up, so he definitely hammed it up all he could as Freeze. While I think Clooney could have been an okay Batman if given the chance, I just can’t say in good conscience Arnold S. could ever work as the serious version of Freeze fans desire.  Also, Freeze’s costume almost killed the poor man.

#8- Topher Grace as Venom

Feature Detail

Eddie Brock is supposed to be an intimidating scary hunk of a man. Topher Grace is…decidedly not that. In Spider-Man 3, he comes off as more cocky, smarmy and obnoxious than scary. Even in his Venom suit, he was more laughable than threatening. He just couldn’t capture the darkness and instability that defines the character and the rushed script didn’t help matters. Eddie Brock is also supposed to be a contrast to Peter Parker. He’s the muscular heavy hitting jock jock to Peter’s agile and slim nerd. Grace, meanwhile, was hard to differentiate from Toby Maguire physique wise. The contrast between the two characters just isn’t there.

#9- Halle Berry as Storm

Feature Detail

Honestly, I don’t think anything was wrong with Halle Berry as Catwoman. Halle Berry nearly won an Oscar once, so the woman can definitely act. There was just absolutely no one in the universe who could have made that poorly written mess of a role work. Berry tried her best and was even gracious enough to accept a Razzie for the performance.

However, while I have nothing against Berry as an actress,  for whatever reason she just doesn’t work as Storm.

I’m not sure why Berry was lacking in her performance as Storm, but she was. She just couldn’t seem to capture the regal nature of the character and her accent wasn’t terribly convincing either. She delivered a lot of her lines rather stiffly, including the infamous “do you want to know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning?” But again to be absolutely fair, no amount of acting skill could have made that line work.

She doesn’t even really look much like the character, whose skin is generally much darker in the comics. For whatever reason, the X-Men franchise seems to be sticking to the “but not too black” role with Storm, as all of the people cast for the role have been significantly lighter that the character is portrayed in the comics themselves.

The 9 Worst Casting Mistakes in DC and Marvel Movies

The Best Parts of Minecraft

Young or old, PC or Xbox—Minecraft is for everyone. The addictive game immerses players in a world where they can build structures and tools out of the terrain and items they collect. Despite the game’s absence of plot and its blocky graphics, Minecraft continues to be a hit, selling more than 121 million copies across all platforms since its 2011 release. Why is it so popular? One of the game’s greatest strengths is it allows players to be in charge of their journey. Some folks want to build modest dirt huts, ride horses and fight zombies—and others would rather construct exact replicas of Westros as seen in Game of Thrones. 

But Minecraft doesn’t stop when you beat the Ender Dragon—an episodic choose-your-own-adventure style spinoff was released in 2015 in the form of Minecraft: Story Mode. The game follows Jesse—voiced by Patton Oswalt, if male, and by Catherine Taber, if female—a new Minecraft player who is on a journey to find four legendary adventurers who saved the Minecraft world.

What else do we love about Minecraft? Check out the the best parts below.

The Best Parts of Minecraft

Notch Could be Working on a Minecraft Successor

Markus “Notch” Persson could be working on a successor to Minecraft, with him recently revealing a series of images and videos from a new project with a similarly eye-catching design.

Notch is most famous for developing Minecraft before he handed over its Microsoft, with him selling both the sandbox game and his studio Mojang for an estimated $2 billion. Since then, Notch has mostly stayed away from game development, though he recently uploaded a slew of screenshots and videos for his new project “Voxels_WebGL2.”

Notch has noted that the project is “definitely not a sequel to anything,” but if this project does become something more substantial then it will be the first proper game he’s released since Minecraft. The project is in the very early stages of development, with Notch adding that he’s “just having way, waaay too much fun seeing how far I can push this tomfoolery.”

image: http://cdn2-www.gamerevolution.com/assets/uploads/2018/01/Notch-Minecraft-Sequel-Successor-640×361.jpg

minecraft-2-successor-notchOn top of various screenshots of the project’s various structures and its sprawling, mountainous landscape, Notch also posted a video showing it in motion. Notch said that the core engine used by the game is called Core, while he’s writing the project in Javascript and “abusing WebGL 2.”

When a follower asked Notch what he’s making, the developer replied: “I have no idea. It’s a currently a voxel engine that runs in a web browser at 99fps with 60+km view distance with real time terrain generation. Oh, and all voxels are modifiable in runtime, although that will eat up the ram pretty fast. Just added real time reflections.”

image: http://cdn3-www.gamerevolution.com/assets/uploads/2018/01/Notch-Minecraft-3-2-640×361.jpg

Notch doesn’t appear to have bigger plans for the project right now, though he seems pretty pleased with the results thus far. Could this wind up being the Minecraft successor that his followers have been waiting for?

Notch Could be Working on a Minecraft Successor

These are the top five fire-type Pokémon to use in Ultra Sun and Moon

The seventh generation of Pokémon games introduced the world to powerful new Fire-type Pokémon.

In Ultra Sun and Moon, players have access to over 20 different Fire-type Pokémon exist in-game. Even with this limited amount the Fire-type Pokémon offered are some of the strongest players can find in Pokémon history.

Having a Fire-type Pokémon in your team became crucial in Sun and Moon because of certain strong Pokémon like Klefki, that could only be beaten by a strong Fire-type.

All Pokémon in this list are catchable in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon. Some stronger Fire-type Pokémon, however, can be transferred from another game in the Pokémon series to Pokémon Ultra and Moon through the Pokémon Bank if you want to use something different. Pokémon Bank is available on the Nintendo 3DS eshop for a small yearly rental charge.
Incineroar

Type: Fire/Dark

Players can only get Incineroar by choosing Litten as a starter Pokémon. It evolves from Torracat, the evolution of Torracat, at level 34.

Incineroar’s strengths come from it’s typing. By being a Fire/Dark type Pokémon, Incineroar can use a lot of effective moves like Knock Off, which knocks off an opponent Pokémon’s item. The move Fake Out, which causes the Pokémon to flinch, making it unable to use a move for that turn, is also important as it leaves the opposing Pokémon wide open for attack in Double Battles.

Incineroar’s typing also means that it can learn an abundance of moves that can deal with some of the game’s most popular Pokémon, such as Klefki and most of the Ultra Beast Pokémon.

Overall, Incineroar does a lot of damage. In Ultra Sun and Moon, Incineroar is able to learn the move Superpower, which is one of the strongest Fire-type moves in-game, making Incineroar vital for competitive players.
Volcarona

Type: Fire/Bug

Players can find a Larvesta in the Lush Jungle. It can then be evolved into a Volcarona from level 59.

Volcarona is a huge damage threat to any opposing team as it is arguably the best Fire-type Pokémon in-game. Due to its unique typing of Bug/Fire, a lot of the weaknesses that both types would have individually are nullified.

One of Volcarona’s biggest weaknesses have been Rock-type moves in the past. Competitive players started to put Pokémon in their teams specifically to deal with Volcarona by giving them moves like Rock Slide, which can do four times damage to Volcarona, killing it in an instant.

In order to get around this glaring weakness, players should give their Volcarona the item Choice Scarf during battles. The item increases Volcarona’s speed, allowing it to hit an opponent first in order to try and avoid a critical attack from an opposing player’s Pokémon.
Talonflame

Type: Fire/Flying

Players can find a Fletchling at Route 8 or Wela Volcano Park. It can then be evolved into a Talonflame from level 35.

Talonflame received a nerf in the Sun and Moon series and is weaker than it was in generation six. Even with the noticeable nerf, it is still one of the strongest Fire-type Pokémon available to find due to its blinding speed and its Flying-type move set.

Talonflame is used best in Ultra Sun and Moon when players attach a Flying Z-Crystal item to it. It can then use the Z-Move Brave Bird which can do a ton of damage to an opponent. It also has a lot of priority flying moves at it’s disposal that can hit an opponent fast and hard, giving players a huge advantage.
Blacephalon

Type: Fire/Ghost

Blacephalon is a Pokémon exclusive to Ultra Sun and Moon and was one of a handful of Pokémon to be added to the game. It is only available in Ultra Sun at Poni Grove after completing the main story, meaning Ultra Moon players will need to trade to get it themselves.

Blacephalon is a glass cannon for any player’s team. While the Pokémon can deal a lot of damage that could take out multiple Pokémon, it itself is so squishy that any type of powerful move could beat it in one blow.

The Pokémon should be used in your party as a last resort to take down a troublesome opponent that has been causing you grief. The Pokémon is set to rise in popularity in competitive when Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon becomes the staple competitive Pokémon game in 2018 and will be a solid addition to any party.
Arcanine

Type: Fire

Players can find a Growlithe on Route 2 and then evolve it into an Arcanine by using the item Fire Stone. It’s best to evolve a Growlithe at level 33-34 after it has learned a bunch of moves. An Arcanine cannot learn moves by leveling up like normal Pokémon.

Arcanine is best used when it knows the ability Intimidate, which lowers the attack stat of all opposing Pokémon greatly. It should be used against physical attackers to weaken them in battle.

It is one of few Fire-type Pokémon to have access to a large move pool, giving the player tons of options on how they want to build their Arcanine for battle. You can have it be a swift fighter that attacks first for tons of damage or assists your team through other means, allowing you to mix and match the Pokémon to fit any team composition.

Arcanine was best used in the Sun and Moon competitive scene due to a lack of good Fire-types in the game. While more Fire-type Pokémon have become readily available in Ultra Sun and Moon, it is still a good fighter to grace any party.

These are the top five fire-type Pokémon to use in Ultra Sun and Moon

Doki Doki Literature Club receives a ‘Just Monika’ mod

Warning: Major Doki Doki Literature Club spoilers feature below.

Ever since Team Salvato released its horror visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club, fans have been obsessing over the titular club’s president, Monika. And a new mod allows players to hang out with just Monika for the rest of their lives.

In one of Doki Doki’s most memorable scenes, Monika deletes every single character from the game in an attempt to enter into a relationship with whoever is playing Doki Doki. It’s a creepy scene, but because of Monika’s obsessiveness and sheer loneliness, she’s quickly won the hearts of many fans. And that’s where the mod “Monika After Story” comes in, turning dating Monika into a reality.
Image via Monika After Story

In “Monika After Story,” the game’s mod team has built a chatbot AI for Monika, which essentially allows her to understand the player’s responses and engage in discussions on things like video games and the meaning of life. Players can also listen to music together, challenge Monika to chess, and fantasize about going on dates. New content is regularly added into the mod, and the update’s 0.6.3 version even comes with special events for Christmas and New Year’s.

If you want to appreciate Monika in all her glory, go ahead and download the latest version here. “Monika After Story” requires Doki Doki Literature Club to play, but the game can be downloaded for free via Steam, itch.io, or the visual novel’s official website.

Doki Doki Literature Club receives a ‘Just Monika’ mod

Fortnite: Battle Royale is experiencing server issues that could progress into next week

If you’ve had troubles trying to access Fortnite: Battle Royale today, you’re not alone. Epic Games has confirmed there’s a widespread issue.

Earlier in the day, players had reported issues with logging in or even finding a massive queue to connect to the game’s servers. Now, Epic has provided detailed reasoning as to what’s been going on behind the scenes.

“We wanted to provide a bit more context for the most recent login issues and service instability,” an Epic Games representative said on its forums. “All of our cloud services are affected by updates required to mitigate the Meltdown vulnerability. We heavily rely on cloud services to run our back-end and we may experience further service issues due to ongoing updates.”

The Meltdown vulnerability came to light earlier in the week, and it’s some sort of backend issue with certain CPU’s. Many people have been affected, and Epic’s no different, as its cloud services have brought about the problem at hand.

“Unexpected issues may occur with our services over the next week as the cloud services we use are updated,” the forum post continued. “We are working with our cloud service providers to prevent further issues and will do everything we can to mitigate and resolve any issues that arise as quickly as possible. Thank you all for understanding.”

For now, it appears Fortnite’s servers will be something of a wait-and-see situation for the next few days. More information about the Meltdown issue can be found in an in-depth article on SpectreAttack.com.

Fortnite: Battle Royale is experiencing server issues that could progress into next week

The strangest esports moments of 2017

For many, 2017 may go down in history as the year where esports became firmly etched in the common consciousness. With several multi-million dollar investments from some of the world’s most notable brands, and the increasing popularity of esports competitions, the industry is now on a trajectory to finally convince the world at large that esports is a force to be reckoned with.

But that hasn’t stopped 2017 from being a strange year. Interpersonal drama remains a fixture of teams in the industry, as some of the strongest rosters in some games withered away after what can best be described as childish tantrums. Fans have taken several liberties at harming rival games through brigading, and some players have seen their careers hampered due to, well, just communicating with the opposite sex.

Our list of the strangest esports moments in 2017, however, starts with possibly the strangest event.
The embarrassing demise of Immortals
Photo via DreamHack

On July 23, the Brazilian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roster of Immortals appeared to have finally made it into the upper echelon of the game’s competitive circuit. After they just barely lost out to Gambit Gaming in the PGL Kraków Major grand finals, it seemed like we’d entered a golden age of Brazilian CS:GO, where the legendary faces of Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, Fernando “fer” Alvarenga, Marcelo “coldzera” David, and Epitácio “TACO” de Melo on SK Gaming would come to share the title of best Brazilian team.

A little less than two months later, those hopes were dashed.

After reaching the grand finals of DreamHack Denver, Immortals were punished for not showing up to the grand finals on time. Starting the match with a one-map forfeit, Danish squad North made short work of them in the remaining game, ending the series with a 2-0 finish.

The reason for Immortals’ tardiness appeared to be the toil of an extensive night of partying, as several of the players allegedly slept through their alarms after taking a nap. CLG in-game leader Pujan “FNS” Mehta joked about the state of the Immortals players, something AWPer Vito “kNg” Giuseppe didn’t respond kindly to. Rather than seeing the comedic side of the situation, the Immortals player instead resorted to threaten FNS with direct violence. KNg refused to apologize for this indiscretion, and instead doubled down on his threat—and was reportedly seen searching the lobby of the player’s hotel for FNS. Whether or not violence was ultimately on his mind, a clear line had been crossed. And the Immortals organization knew it.

So kNg was temporarily suspended, and Immortals launched an internal investigation to get to the bottom of the situation. Happy ending, right? Nope. Instead of biding his time on the bench, kNg elected to compete in an online match, despite being suspended. According to a statement on his Facebook page, kNg entered the match following an invitation from Immortals’ Henrique “HEN1” Teles and Lucas “LUCAS1” Teles, in a seeming act of defiance against Immortals’ decision.

Immortals promptly dropped kNg after the match. But following his dismissal, both LUCAS1 and HEN1 requested to be removed from the organization, as they stood in solidarity with kNg.

With kNg gone, and LUCAS1 and HEN1 placed firmly on the bench, it was clear that the trio, seemingly intentionally, held Immortals’ legend spot on the Valve Major circuit hostage. A legend slot ensures that the majority of a team’s roster won’t have to qualify for an upcoming Valve Major and will automatically receive compensation in the form of sticker money.

Worst of all, the two remaining players on the roster, Lucas “steel” Lopes and Ricardo “boltz” Prass, were ultimately the only people, along with Immortals, who were punished. The trio proceeded to find a new home in 100 Thieves, steel joined ranks with Team Liquid, and boltz found himself returning to FalleN on SK Gaming.

Immortals, however, found its legend status at the Valve Major revoked, and despite its attempts at qualifying for the event with a makeshift roster, it fell far from making the cut. From reaching the grand finals of a Valve Major, to not even appearing at the next iteration is almost certainly a first, and the circumstances surrounding it make this situation even more absurd.
Lunatic Hai and the case of the fangirls
Screengrab via OGN Global/YouTube

Historically, South Korean pro gamers have been subject to the most spartan and restrictive of lifestyles. Stories from the glory days of Starcraft: Brood War often spoke of what amounted to forced seclusion from the outside world, as young men would slave away at their keyboards for hours on end, often for little-to-no return due to the fierce level of competition.

In 2017, things seem to have changed quite a bit—but not to a degree most western fans would be used to. This became most obvious when South Korean Overwatch sensation Lunatic-Hai benched two of its players after they had been found exchanging conversations and pictures with female fans.

According to the organization’s response, “both players have done something they should not be doing as esports professionals.” The organization also wrote that it had “taken steps to prevent recurrence,” in an effort to teach future players proper competitive and social values. The two players, Geum “dean” Dong-geun and Lee “Leetaejun” Tae-jun, were subsequently dismissed from the roster—despite apologizing profusely for their actions. Leetaejun even went as far as to write that he “knows he cannot be forgiven for all the trouble he caused for his fans and [Lunatic-Hai] members.”

Both players now no longer compete in Overwatch as a result of their interactions with the opposite sex. Dean decided to retire from esports altogether, while Leetaejun was welcomed back to Lunatic-Hai, and competes under its Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds roster.
Dota 2 got Diretide’d

The Dota 2 community isn’t a stranger to a good bit of classic internet outrage. Most famously, fans of Valve’s MOBA title entered into a fervent state of revolt in November 2013, after it turned out that cherished Halloween game-mode Diretide would not be an annual event as it was initially advertised.

Fans subsequently began bombarding the official Dota 2 page on Steam with poor reviews, and after a short while, cries of “give Diretide” spread across the internet. After a few days of this internet-based torch burning, the usually silent Valve went as far as to issue an apology to its community.

But in 2017, the Dota 2 community and Valve found itself under siege from another fanbase. On Aug. 25, the former main writer for Valve’s Half-Life franchise, Mark Ladilaw, posted what could be accurately described as a conclusion of the franchise’s penultimate game, Half-Life 2: Episode 2. Fans had spent the past decade eagerly awaiting the continuation of Half-Life’s dramatic storyline—but with Ladilaw’s loving and tender letter, titled “Epistle 3,” it became clear that this was the only conclusion fans would receive. One of gaming’s most celebrated franchises ended up being a blog post.

The fanbase, as a result, took its frustration out on Valve. Half-Life fans brigaded Dota 2’s user-rating on Steam, which artificially changed the game’s overall user-rating on the platform. Valve responded by implementing an entirely new way in which user reviews were counted, in order to counteract so called “review brigades.”

It’s fascinating how Valve has cultivated such passionate fanbases. But let’s always remember that there are far better things we could spend our time doing than waging pointless flame-fests on the internet.
Activision was granted a patent that could incentivize users towards using microtransactions

Despite gaming’s continued growth into a multi-billion industry, the proliferation of in-game microtransactions has become one of the most criticized developments within the space over the past few years.

But things took a dramatic shift after it was discovered that Activision, one of the overall largest game companies in the world, had been granted a patent for a system that could figuratively alter the gameplay experience of players based solely on whether or not they had recently spent money in one of its games. For the first time, that flame-decal you recently bought could actually make you a better player, as the system could hypothetically place you in a match with lower ranked opponents due to you spending money in the game.

The hypothetical uses of this system gives an entirely new meaning to the term “pay to win,” as cosmetic items in games tend to be just that—a cool new sheen to a weapon for those who want to customize their character or loadout, not anything that actually affects gameplay. Now the actual enjoyment that should be derived from one’s skill at the game could be affected if one doesn’t buy in-game items, and buyers’ sense of achievement could turn out to be hollow—as an algorithm placed you into an easier match, providing you with a loaded set of dice.

As Triple-A gaming studios proceed to include more purchasable in-game items, it now seems as if they are more comfortable with the notion of encouraging already-paying customers to part with even more of their income, no matter how dubious the means.
Waka Flocka Flame talks Dota 2

Known for its strange on-air production, which on occasion features mariachi bands and giant chickens, the LAN finals of the seventh season of DreamLeague saw the most unlikely of cameos.

Waka Flocka Flame, trap rapper extraordinaire, joined the on-air broadcast team after a performance at DreamHack Atlanta on July 12. The Atlanta native took part in a brief conversation among the panelists, in which he dropped a considerable number of gems. Discussing topics ranging between his love for Zelda, the lack of actual rapping in modern rap, and teaching the panelists the basics of his craft, his appearence was capped off with a failed fistbump.

This was a suitable end to what could only be described as the strangest few minutes in either of the panelists’ lives.
Russian League of Legends fan-favorite ends up being banned for whistle-blowing
Photo via Riot Games

For the majority of 2017, League of Legends developer Riot Games stayed out of any massive controversy. The events the company put on throughout the year all went off without a hitch, and following the conclusion of the 2017 League World Championship, it looked as if Riot would smoothly sail into 2018.

But then, in the middle of the offseason, Russian fan-favorite Kirill “Likkrit” Malofeyev told his stream audience about rampant mismanagement within the Russian-speaking League of Legends Continental League. During these few moments on his stream, the 22-year-old revealed that his previous team, Albus NoX Luna, failed to pay out his salary for an extended period of time, effectively scamming him.

Likkrit also talked about the overall state of League esports in the CIS region, claiming that the game “is practically dead here.” This turned out to be a tad too much for Riot Games’ Russian division, which quickly slapped the fan-favorite with a six-month competitive ban for “statements that offend the League of Legends gaming community in the CIS, discrediting the business reputation of the company Riot Games, and posing a threat to the image of League of Legends and the Continental League.”

The decision to place him under suspension for such a considerable amount of time reeks of pettiness, to say the least—especially because he was targeting one of the most powerful organizations in the region.

As a result of the ban, Likkrit chose to end his career as a professional player, although he claims he intended to retire anyway—but due to the ban, Riot simply made the decision for him.

Don’t shoot the messenger, as the old adage goes.

The strangest esports moments of 2017

AGDQ 2018 kicks off today

The world’s most beloved speedrunning marathon kicks off today (Jan. 7) at 11:30am ET on Twitch.

Games Done Quick (GDQ) is a speedrunning event that only happens twice per year. Thousands of viewers watch their favorite speedrunners destroy some of their beloved games and, in turn, donate millions of dollars to charity. The runners come from all corners of the globe, and it’s easily the world’s biggest speedrunning event.

This year, AGDQ will be benefiting the Prevent Cancer Foundation, an organization that helps to detect and prevent cancer before it spreads.

JHobz is kicking off the event this year with the popular speedgame Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy. The event will then continue for the next seven days without any stops as speedrunners attempt to complete 155 games as fast as possible.

Fans can also support AGDQ this year by buying merchandise from either Fangamer or TheYetee. A percentage of all sales will go towards the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

Now that AGDQ is here, it’s time to rally the speedrunning community to help a great cause.

AGDQ 2018 kicks off today

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is coming to Xbox One with 4K support and new mode

The Astronauts’ narrative adventure The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is heading to Xbox One with support for Xbox One X. It’ll feature 4K support to bolster the game in the graphical department for Xbox One X players, but it’ll also include a new mode to play through.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter follows a paranormal investigator who receives a letter from a 12-year-old boy named Ethan Carter, whose disappearance he ends up investigating, which spirals into something even darker and more dangerous than he could ever have imagined.

The new version of the game, which was originally released in 2014, will include Free Roam mode, which has been requested by fans looking for ways to explore further than what the game allows. This way you can take in all the sights of the world of Red Creek Valley without having to worry about progressing in the game or what the story will bring next. This way the previous limits imposed on players are removed to make things easier to experience.

The game is up for preorder right now on Xbox One, but it doesn’t launch fully until Jan. 19 with full 4K support. You can go ahead and play the game right now if you’re curious, however, as it’s available on both PC and PlayStation 4 right now.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is coming to Xbox One with 4K support and new mode

Capcom confirms new Monster Hunter World beta and post-launch content updates

Capcom held a livestream from Japan today with a new trailer and additional info about the upcoming Monster Hunter World divulged.

The game is currently scheduled for launch on Jan. 26, and it’s looking especially awesome. The new trailer shows off several of the Elder Dragons from the series, with some new additions and those included from earlier iterations of the series.

You can check out the flame king dragon Teostra with dangerous fires, steel dragon Kushala Daora with an entire body covered in metal plates, the rock-eating Dodogama, and several other dragons that can mess with your hunter if you’re not careful. All are extremely formidable opponents.

There’s also a final beta before release, which Monster Hunter fans on PlayStation 4 will be able to take part in from Jan. 19 to 22. It’ll feature a battle with Nergigante, an enormous and fearsome creature featured in the game’s marketing materials.

Capcom also discussed some additional details about Monster Hunter World’s post-launch content, confirming that there will indeed be major, free updates to the game as well as regular content injections. There’s a major title update planned for spring 2018, which will add the monster Deviljho as well.

If you’re looking to sink your teeth into life as a monster hunter, there isn’t much longer to wait. It looks like it’s certainly going to be worth holding tight for.

Capcom confirms new Monster Hunter World beta and post-launch content updates

The God of War series could leave Norse mythology behind in future installments.

God of War’s upcoming reboot is poised to explore themes grounded in Norse mythology, but that doesn’t mean future games will be rooted there, according to director Cory Barlog. In a new interview with Game Informer, Barlog stated that the team may end up actually exploring both the Egyptian era and the Mayan era, “and so on and so forth.”

It seems as though the God of War games may become somewhat cyclical in that it will eventually explore additional eras, following its original Greek exploration for the entirety of six whole games. It’s interesting to ponder what a Mayan God of War game might look like, or an Egyptian version.

“What became apparent to me was that we were watching this franchise wane a bit,” Sony Santa Monica Head of Studio Shannon Studstill said in the interview. “It was getting old. The storyline with Kratos being the hardcore badass – I think people were starting to say, ‘What’s next?’ I felt like, in order to reinvent, we really needed to turn a lot of things around.”

It was possible that the game we’re seeing in the near future could just have easily have been given an Egyptian setting, though as it turns out with Assassin’s Creed Origins taking the same route, perhaps it’s a good thing that the project went another way.

Whatever route the series takes in the future, it’ll be interesting to see a new direction for Kratos, especially if it means he’ll be growing and evolving as a character.

The God of War series could leave Norse mythology behind in future installments.

Minecraft welcomes new Norse Mythology DLC pack

Minecraft and Norse mythology may seem like two very different things, but the two are coming together with the new Norse Mythology Mash-Up Pack, a new DLC release that brings together some familiar pieces together with the blocky goodness of Minecraft.

The mash-up pack includes locations like Hel, the Great Hall, and Yggdrasil from throughout the annals of Norse mythology. You can even dress up as important figures from the stories themselves, like the very same ones you may remember reading about in one of your history classes (the parts you fell asleep during.)

For instance you can dress up as Thor and Odin, or even Heimdall and Sif. There are a few creatures up for grabs as well to complete the package. Enemies get several interesting skins as well, transforming familiar baddies into antagonists based in Norse mythology.

There are plenty of large, fanciful environments found in the expansion as well that really look as though they could transport you, even temporarily, to a faraway place and time. You can see it all in action in the official trailer, and you can download the DLC pack right now across all Minecraft platforms.

If you like reskinning Minecraft with lots of different looks, be on the lookout for a new Festive Mash-Up DLC pack, which is releasing later this week just in time for the holidays. It will transform your favorite world with candy canes, Santa hats, reindeer, and more!

Minecraft welcomes new Norse Mythology DLC pack

Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two Episode 5 Review

Nearly six months ago, the first episode of Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two released. Jesse’s story carried on from the first season as he/she met new friends, went on exciting new adventures and came face to face with strong, fearless enemies. It was all about to come to a head in this final episode, so just how would Jesse and friends defeat the Admin once and for all?

How exactly do you defeat the Admin?How exactly do you defeat the Admin?

We left Jesse and friends at the end of the last episode as they’d managed to make their way back to Beacontown. After sneaking into the town through some tunnels, we then get a real look at what has happened to Beacontown and see what it had been turned into by the Admin posing as Jesse. Even in block form, the town still manages to look run down and almost abandoned, a shell of what it used to be like. This is reflected in the especially dullen look of this episode, with the darkened skies, colours and streets.

Once inside Beacontown, your aim is to get to the primary terminal to enter the word of passage. In order to get there, you are given a number of different choices along the way that may help or hinder you depending on what you pick. The game offers you lots of chances to make decisions that, whilst they may not affect the ultimate outcome of the episode, will determine how the other characters in the game react to you. This gives you the choice of whether you can trust old and new friends with what you decide to do.

Aside from these smaller choices scattered about the episode, you also have some big decisions to make when it gets to the end of the episode too. No matter what you’ve done earlier in the episode or the season, these choices stand alone and can be made however you see fit. The ultimate last decision you make will decide how the episode ends, and either choice rounds things off nicely while still leaving the story open for potentially more episodes, as the first season ended up having.

No-one ever said it was going to be easyNo-one ever said it was going to be easy

This episode is another that is quite short compared to other episodes in the season, but it still ends up being largely focused on conversation. For the rest of the time, you have the expected bit of wandering about, combined with a bit of crafting and also a little bit of puzzle solving. A puzzle towards the end of the episode might cause you a little bit of a problem as you aren’t really given much help, but this offers a nice change from the conversation filling the rest of the episode.

With this being the finale, you’d be expecting some kind of boss fight to occur and you’d be right. The boss fight does not disappoint for the large part, taking place across a number of different locations with the boss having a handful of different forms as well. It’s an impressive boss fight and while the game does tease you for a little while that there may not be any fight at all, it is an enjoyable one that only has one outcome.

Another thing that this episode does well is to tie up some of the loose ends from previous episodes. Old friends that have made appearances in other episodes reappear and allow their stories to tie up, and people that you may have lost or left behind along the way also have their stories finished off. This is a nice touch and the episode perfectly brings everything together, which makes it feel like the ideal finale it is aiming to be.

Finally, the six achievements of the episode will unlock with natural progression through the story, offering the expected 200 gamerscore upon completion.

Summary

“Episode 5 – Above and Beyond” is an appropriate end to another good Telltale season. The episode does a brilliant job of bringing everything together and tying up a number of loose ends across the season. The episode is scattered with important choices and either choice at the end offers closure for the gamer. Aside from the episode feeling a little short, there’s not a lot wrong here. It may not be non-stop action, or blow you completely away, but it is a solid end to an enjoyable season.

Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two Episode 5 Review

You can now take a stroll around Roman Exeter on Minecraft

People can step back in time and experience what it would have been like to live in Roman Exeter thanks to virtual reality and the video game Minecraft.

The city’s rich history – and the treasures at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery – are now part of the hugely popular and addictive Minecraft game.

You will be able to experience Roman Exeter on Minecraft
You will be able to experience Roman Exeter on Minecraft

A new map shows what Exeter’s Roman fortress could have looked like and is available to download for free while playing Minecraft. This joins another map, also inspired by RAMM’s collections , designed to represent 18th-century Exeter when the city walls still stood.

Minecraft is like a form of virtual Lego and has fans of all ages. Players build towns or cities together in virtual groups and complete buildings by selecting blocks with different textures and uses. They can also download existing buildings, or whole conurbations and change them and add to them.

This map is produced as part of the A Place in Time Project, a partnership between the universities of Exeter and Reading, Exeter City Council and Cotswold Archaeology. The Minecraft maps include recent discoveries and new interpretations of archaeological evidence found in the 1970s and 80s.

The Roman map shows the barracks and military buildings of the Roman settlement in what is now Exeter, and includes links to Roman objects excavated in Exeter. Players can use these to find out more about the objects in the game.

The Roman map shows the barracks and military buildings of the Roman settlement in what is now Exeter
The Roman map shows the barracks and military buildings of the Roman settlement in what is now Exeter

RAMM worked with digital producer Adam Clarke AKA Wizard Keen and blockworks to produce the maps. The first is based on the Hedgeland model, which was constructed between 1817 and 1824 by Caleb Hedgeland and is one of the earliest surviving models of any town in Britain. The model is the only surviving record of many of the city’s buildings and streets. It is on permanent display in RAMM’s Making History gallery.

Sofia Romualdo, a researcher at the University of Exeter, who is working on the project, said: “The beauty of these new maps is they allow people to explore real places in different ways that are fun and educational.”

 

You can now take a stroll around Roman Exeter on Minecraft

COLUMN: Minecraft mom

‘Mom, you are crouching again!”

“I can’t help it!” I said. “I can’t figure out how to stand up straight.”

Sure enough, my character was tramping across the green block landscape slumped forward like a sulky teen who just broke up with her boyfriend.

We got an Xbox for Christmas, the goal, of course, being to insinuate ourselves into the lives of our children so that even their virtual reality is not safe from their parents’ antics.

“Just get in the house and stop wandering off!” advised my 10-year-old, who was teaching me how to play Minecraft. By “teaching,” I mean yelling at me continually as I stabbed at buttons.

But I didn’t go inside the house he had built for us. I was feeling rather full of myself, having just slaughtered a pig with a few swipes of my bare, block hands, earning my household pork chops. I was now off to chop down trees for an addition.

There was only one problem.

“I can’t figure out how to put this pork chop down,” I lamented.

My boy was too busy killing a spider with glowing red eyes to help me, so I just went with it.

I chopped down that tree with a pork chop. Who knew the other white meat could be so versatile?

“I got us more wood for the house!” I announced.

I only got a grunt. It was starting to get dark in our virtual world, and my son was killing another spider.

I moved across the screen, getting stuck in holes, stuck under tree branches, falling off cliffs.

The first-person vantage point of the game, like all modern offerings, messes with me. I grew up on a steady diet of old-school Nintendo, not this herky, jerky Blair Witch Project-meets-Luigi madness. Still, I wasn’t ready to give up. I wanted to make my boy proud, and that’s when I saw the llama. Eager to get the sort of accolades earned by my pig slaughter, I chased down the llama, and by “chased” I mean I stumbled and crouched across the screen until the llama was eventually cornered by some square blocks of earth. Then I began mowing down the animal with my pork chop.

The llama, however, was not going down without a fight. It kicked me and made angry llama noises. But I kept at it and eventually I killed that llama.

“I killed a llama!” I chirped. “What do I get for killing a llama?!”

“Ummm, you get nothing,” said my kid, giving me a look that said, “what kind of sicko kills a llama?”

“OK, now we have standards?” I said. “That’s the line we don’t cross? Llamas? It is not like it was a unicorn or something.”

I sulked back to the house to call it a night.

I jumped into bed and pushed a button, destroying the bed in one swipe.

“What did you do?” he yelled.

“I don’t know … I just pushed a button. I was trying to … ” I said, looking down at the controller that had, no lie, 11 buttons! Plus two joysticks and an up-down-side-to-side tossed in for good measure. “I am sorry … I …”

I stopped talking and walked to the corner with my pork chop.

“I am just going to crouch over here till morning.”

COLUMN: Minecraft mom

The internal economics of a popular Minecraft server are an object lesson in everything great and terrible about markets

Alice Maz was part of a small group of players who came to have near-total mastery over the internal economy of a popular Minecraft; Maz describes how her early fascination with the mechanics of complex multiplayer games carried over into an interest in economics and games, and that let her become a virtuoso player, and brilliant thinker, about games and economics.

Maz’s long, fascinating essay about her business ventures in Minecraft are a potted lesson in economics, one that shows where financial engineering actually does something useful (providing liquidity, matching supply and demand) and the places where it becomes nothing more than a predatory drag on the “real economy” of people making amazing things in Minecraft.

Back when I was working on For the Win, my YA novel about gold farming, I read pretty much every book and academic paper on the subject of games and economics, and Maz’s essay is among the best pieces of writing on the subject I’ve encountered. It’s especially interesting because all the economic activities are aimed at dominating a server, but Maz never talks about whether, how, or if any of the in-game wealth can be converted to cash money, giving the whole thing a kind of abstract clarity that is sometimes obfuscated in the literature on in-game economics.

Diamonds being not the most valuable but certainly the most valued item in the game, both for their utility and their price stability, the server was littered with buy chests for them. These were mostly of the fling and a prayer sort, offering prices low enough that anyone selling to them was a noob or a fool. But not so low that I couldn’t sell them Charlotte’s. I bought from her all I could afford, bankrupted every single person who had a buy chest at any price, then went back for more. Buy chests in the market shops, scattered on the roadsides, nestled in secluded towns no one remembered the names of, I hit them all. If you were buying diamonds at the bottom of the ocean, I would find you and take all of your money.

At the same time, I dropped my sell price in the market to 16M and did pretty good business for a few weeks. I had the advantage of one of the two best plots there were, the other belonging to Emma. (This I’d gotten via inside knowledge that Zel’s to-be partner was shuttering his store and gifting the plot to a friend. I offered to swap my plot as the gift, help with the deconstruction process, and advise on pricing in the Emporium in exchange, thus getting the prized location without it ever going up for sale.) QuickShop provided a console command to show the closest shop selling an item, and these two plots, though behind hedge walls and not immediately visible, were the closest as the crow flies to the market’s warp-in point. So anyone using the command–and this was most people, traipsing through the market looking for deals being a rare activity mostly limited to speculators–got directed to me or Emma for anything either of us sold.

This all made me a lot of money. I drove a portion of profits into bolstering my diamond and beacon reserves, bought basically any building material I thought I’d ever need in bulk, and still watched my marble balance grow. Up til the diamond bonanza, I’d been making money on a dozen different side hustles. A bit here, a bit there, doing better than most, but regardless the day-in day-out of working the market took up the majority of my time on the game. That made me rich; this is what made me wealthy.

But soon 16M became 14M, and 14M became 12M. A few people started to notice Charlotte’s store, and she restocked faster than I, or anyone, could recoup enough to buy out. Mostly though, it was clear to everyone the price of diamond was falling, even if they had no idea why. I diversified into selling enchanted diamond equipment of all types, priced just so that I could break even on the enchant and move the component diamonds at the same price I sold them for raw. A few of the buy chest people I’d tanked tried recovering some of their money by putting up at a loss the diamonds I’d sold them, but they still couldn’t move product faster than a trickle. Eventually even Charlotte had to cut her prices to keep selling. It was bad.

The internal economics of a popular Minecraft server are an object lesson in everything great and terrible about markets