Soapbox: Every James Bond Villain, Ranked Worst To Best

Blofeld-Spectre
Honestly, Blofeld takes the “shadowy villain” trope a bit too literally…

If a hero is only as good as his villains, then James Bond is quite the hero indeed. Over more than 50 years and 24 official film instalments, Agent 007 has faced off against a truly impressive array of ruthless killers, twisted tycoons, and brilliant madmen.

Some wanted to rule the world, others wanted to take revenge, and more than a few just wanted to get very, very rich – regardless, they each proved a bit of a headache for MI6’s finest operative.

That said, not all baddies are created equal, and some of Bond’s enemies rate more highly than others in the eyes of fans. Much like one of our super spy’s trademark cocktails, the best villains to grace the James Bond franchise are characterized by several key ingredients.

First, a great Bond antagonist needs a grand and devious scheme – although these can occasionally go awry, making absolutely no sense whatsoever. Second, they need some kind of gimmick, whether it’s a distinctive gadget or memorable physical skill or ailment. And finally, they have to possess a certain sense of style.

Keeping these three criteria squarely in mind, and limiting ourselves solely to main villains to keep things manageable – so no henchmen like Jaws or Oddjob, sorry – we’ve set out this list of Every Bond Villain, Ranked From Worst To Best.

This post was written exclusively for Screen Rant – click here to read the full article

Soapbox: Every James Bond Villain, Ranked Worst To Best

Soapbox: 15 Best Moments Of Fan Service In The MCU

The-Avengers-group-shot
Let’s be real: getting all these peeps together on the big screen was the BIGGEST fan service of all

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is known for its rabid fanbase, and part of what keeps these hardcore devotees onside is just how well Marvel Studios manages to work fan service moments into its films.

Traditionally, the term “fan service” – which refers to creators including moments designed specifically to please fans – is often used in a derogatory sense by pop culture aficionados, and not without cause.

When done poorly, these attempts to give fans exactly what they want can come across as forced and actually harm the narrative flow of a story. However, when done right, instances of fan service can actually enhance proceedings, creating memorable scenes that work in service to the wider plot and appeal to veteran fans and newbies alike.

Granted, the MCU hasn’t always gotten it right when it comes to fan service (for instance, the inclusion of Captain America’s shield in Iron Man 2 is glaring example of the studio trying too hard). But generally speaking, the films have a strong track record of working in shout-outs to the source material that add to (rather than detract from) the audience’s viewing pleasure.

With this in mind, we’ve assembled this rundown of the 15 Best Moments Of Fan Service In The MCU.

This post was written exclusively for Screen Rant – click here to read the full article

Soapbox: 15 Best Moments Of Fan Service In The MCU

Soapbox: 15 Things You Never Knew About The Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons Movie promo image
I felt oddly guilty about cropping Maggie out of this image

When it comes to ranking the most important TV shows of all time, The Simpsons must surely be up there. Not only is it the longest-running sitcom in American history – animated or otherwise – it’s also racked up dozens of awards and left an unparalleled imprint on Western pop culture.

It’s no surprise, then, that when Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie – along with the rest of the town of Springfield – made the leap to the big screen back in 2007, the end result was a commercial and (mostly) critical success. By the time it had finished its theatrical run, The Simpsons Movie had amassed $527,068,706 in box office sales, and several award nods – including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.

As you might expect with a film so long in the making – it spent nine years in development – based around such an influential TV series, The Simpsons Movie boasts some pretty interesting trivia. In honor of this flick’s 10th anniversary, we’ve filtered through the many fascinating factoids available, compiling the best in this list of 15 Things You Never Knew About The Simpsons Movie.

This post was written exclusively for Screen Rant – click here to read the full article

Soapbox: 15 Things You Never Knew About The Simpsons Movie

Review: Baby Driver

Baby-Driver
Not (as its title would suggest) a film about an infant chauffeur

Imagine a musical where nobody sings – sounds impossible, right? Well, I guess that means Edgar Wright has achieved the impossible, as his latest outing, Baby Driver, is exactly that.

In typically stylish fashion, the director has crafted a high-octane car chase flick built entirely around a killer soundtrack – a sing-along affair, just without the actual sing-along part.

The end result is a fresh, funny and kinetic romp of a film, that is unlike any blockbuster film you’ve seen in years.

Continue reading “Review: Baby Driver”

Review: Baby Driver

Soapbox: Lord Of The Rings – 15 Things You Never Knew About Middle-Earth

Middle-Earth Map
Otherwise known as “the mythical kingdom of New Zealand”…

From the moment J.R.R. Tolkien first introduced readers to Middle-earth with The Hobbit, fans have been blown away by the scope of his fantasy world. With its detailed history, constructed languages and well-established geography, Middle-earth is arguably the most fully-realized imaginary environment in all of literature.

Indeed, the unmatched immersive quality of Tolkien’s life’s work has had such a profound effect on the genre that it’s spawned countless imitators over the years. Although some of these – like A Song of Ice and Fire – have made a worthwhile attempt at capturing a similar sense of reality to the one Tolkien was able to infuse into his own magical realm, none have so far surpassed the bar set by Middle-earth.

In recent years, more people than ever have become familiar with Tolkien’s world of Hobbits, Wizards and Orcs, thanks to the huge success of Peter Jackson’s blockbuster film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, more casual fans – particularly those who haven’t read Tolkien’s wider body of work – probably don’t know as much about Middle-earth as they might think.

That’s why we’ve pulled together this list highlighting 15 Things You Never Knew About Middle-Earth, in order to bring you fully up to speed on the greatest place that never was!

This post was written exclusively for Screen Rant – click here to read the full article

Soapbox: Lord Of The Rings – 15 Things You Never Knew About Middle-Earth

Soapbox: 15 Craziest Superman Villains, Ranked

Ultrasphinx
Believe it or not, this guy didn’t even crack the top three!

Superman has been around for almost 80 years, which is more than enough time to develop a rogues gallery filled to the brim with outlandish villains. Over nearly eight decades spent fighting for truth, justice and the American Way, the Man of Steel has faced off against some genuinely bizarre foes – enemies who make baddies like Lex LuthorBrainiac, or General Zod look positively restrained by comparison.

What makes these anti-social nogoodniks stand apart from their peers? Well, some of them are noteworthy thanks to the wacky nature of their origin stories or underlying concept. Others stand out owing to their off-the-wall power set or eccentric aesthetic. And then there’s those who have managed to tick all of these boxes, pushing the envelope of what it means to be a “bad guy” and rising to the forefront of truly outrageous supervillainy.

Whilst there are numerous examples of unusual antagonists from the Last Son of Krypton’s crimefighting career to chose from – seriously, the Silver Age of comics alone is a goldmine! – as always, a select few are worthy of special recognition. That’s why we’ve pulled together this list of the 15 Craziest Superman Villains of all time, ranked for your consideration!

This post was written exclusively for Screen Rant – click here to read the full article

Soapbox: 15 Craziest Superman Villains, Ranked

Noticeboard: July 2017

Now that we’re in July, Summer is well and truly here – which is fitting, as things are really hotting up here at The Pop Culture Studio.

Following on from last month’s announcement that I’ve joined the team over at Screen Rant as a freelancer contributor, you should have already noticed several posts linking through to articles written for their website.

That said, I’m also standing by my promise to continue uploading full articles written specifically for The Studio itself (last month’s was a Crystal Ball piece on Minority Report), and this month you can look forward to an review of Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver.

Continue reading “Noticeboard: July 2017”

Noticeboard: July 2017