The Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken the world by storm and continues to break box office records left and right. As a result, the stars of the films have also been handsomely rewarded, with Robert Downey Jr. reportedly making at least $75 million for Avengers: Infinity War.
As reported by THR, Avengers: Endgame is a big turning point for some of the characters we have known and loved since the MCU began back with 2008’s Iron Man, and some may be moving on or renegotiating their contracts following the culmination of over 10 years of storytelling.
This morning the internet was greeted with the first official look at the Sonic the Hedgehog movie trailer – a real film where a human policeman befriends a near-nude talking CG animal who runs quickly – and unsurprisingly, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative. The events of today had been foretold for months now, as leaked promotional images, posters, and press kits, along with deliberately planned interviews and behind closed doors media events had already led the world to fear the worst: another bad video game movie had arrived. With our fears confirmed, we did what we always do on social media. We cracked our knuckles, hunched over our beer guts, and started pecking away at our phones and keyboards to tear this thing a new a$$hole.
Warning: this article contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame!
Avengers: Endgame wrapped up Steve Rogers’ MCU journey on a very definitive note, ending with Steve travelling back in time to return the Infinity Stones to their proper places and choosing to remain in the past so he could finally have that dance with Peggy Carter.
This ending raises some big questions regarding the nature of time travel in the MCU and how it was even possible for Steve to stay in the past without creating a massive paradox. But directors Joe and Anthony Russo are adamant that Steve’s decision makes sense, and that there’s more to the story than fans saw in the film.
What do the words “Finish Him” mean to you? For most of us, the call brings to mind the thrill of victory, that telling sound, and some unspeakable violence. Heads uppercut off of shoulders. Bodies split down the middle. For the 27 years we’ve been playing Mortal Kombat, fatalities have been at the heart of what’s drawn us to the series. The nature of that heart, however, has changed quite a bit. In 1992, Mortal Kombat’s explicit but rudimentary depictions of violence were considered shocking, even vulgar. In 2019, the most popular TV show in America is among the goriest on the air. We aren’t so easily shocked anymore. In Mortal Kombat 11, fatalities still find ways to excite us though; Not by grossing us out or pushing our buttons, as most people assume, but by being clever, funny, and, as always, giving us a way to gloat that’s far more satisfying than the sassiest emote. As Mortal Kombat’s bloody crown jewels, Fatalities cleverly surprise and delight, while giving us a uniquely satisfying chance to revel in victory.
An Assassin’s Creed Odyssey joke has come full circle thanks to a mercenary Ubisoft recently introduced to the epic RPG.
Ubisoft announced today that a new mercenary is now available in Odyssey, known as Testiklos the Nut. That descriptor of his name is notable because Testiklos is actually the half-brother of a Spartan Olympic champion the player’s protagonist meets during the course of Odyssey’s campaign. That man’s name is Testikles.
Testiklos the Nut
“Having been separated quite early in his life from his half-brother Testikles, his mood has been unstable ever since. He never felt as secure than with his own kin, so he deals with the separation by breaking things,” Ubisoft’s tweet reads.
Warning: This post is going to completely spoil Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3. You might want to wait to read it if you haven’t already watched.
The third episode of Game of Thrones Season 8, The Long Night, upended a lot of expectations. The Night King‘s attack on Winterfell was met by the combined forces of the living, including Daenerys and her dragons, the North, the Dothraki, and the Unsullied. Prophecies and plot lines were drawn to their conclusions, and things we’ve been expecting to happen finally did–but not always in the ways the show has hinted they might.
The big twist was that it wasn’t Jon Snow or Daenerys who wound up killing the Night King in the final battle. The pair have been the subject of all kinds of speculation about which of them (among several other characters) might be the reborn Azor Ahai, the Prince That Was Promised, destined to defeat the Night King and the White Walkers. Melisandre resurrected Jon in Season 6 because she believed he was Azor Ahai; in Season 7, Missandei corrected a gender-related mistranslation from the prophecy, suggesting it could be Daenerys. And then, at the end of The Long Night, Arya Stark stepped up without a shred of prophecy behind her and offed the Night King in one killer move.
Arya leaping through the air to bring down the scariest baddie in all of Westeros seems like a clear choice in retrospect–after all, she’s been training in the art of being an underestimated small-fry killing machine for literally years at this point–but that didn’t stop some people on the internet from taking issue. In the aftermath of The Long Night, a discussion popped up in which some complained about Arya’s victory (which is probably the smartest thing about an otherwise messy episode, as GameSpot’s Mike Rougeau noted in his review). Some derided Arya as a “Mary Sue,” implying that her victory against the Night King was unearned.
If you’re unfamiliar with “Mary Sue,” it’s a term coined way back in the 1970s from the world of Star Trek fanfiction. In 1973, Paula Smith used the name in a parody story satirizing some of the stories submitted to her Star Trek fanzine. Mary Sue came to refer to a protagonist character who would show up in the story with no flaws and who was instantly great at anything they tried to do, and mainly served as an insert for the author to live out fantasies of joining the Star Trek crew and hanging out with (and/or romancing) the series’ stars.
Lately, the wider usage of Mary Sue has evolved to be any character who’s always just good at everything and who seemingly has no flaws. The author insert idea doesn’t really fit the current usage since the term is usually applied to TV shows and movies; it’s more akin to deus ex machina, where someone or something appears to magically or easily solve the problem of a plot, rather than the characters in the story doing so through conflict and growth. And since the term Mary Sue was tossed around in relationship to protagonist Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it has popped up in online discussions with a decidedly sexist tinge–men don’t generally get called Mary Sues, only women (even though a lot of male heroes ought to fall into that category).
So calling Arya a Mary Sue is saying that she’s more of a plot tool than a character in the battle against the Night King, while implying that she’s the sort of character who is “good at everything” without having “earned” those capabilities, partially (or wholly) because she’s a woman. It’s an incredibly stupid argument if you think about Arya Stark’s journey through all of Game of Thrones for even a second.
Nobody has earned their skills in Game of Thrones the way Arya has. She has literally been training to be a fighter and assassin since the very first season, as a child. Arya was a talented archer at a young age, but she trained in swordplay with Syrio Forel, the former First Sword of Braavos, way back in Season 1. She learned more about fighting while traveling with the Hound, one of the toughest warriors in Westeros, in Season 4. And then she studied abroad at Getting-Awesome-At-Killing-People School, the House of Black and White, in Braavos.
Arya earned her killer skills through observation, hard-won victories, and brutal training. She practiced her “water dancing” combat style every single day while on the road with the Hound. She learned to fight the waif while blind. She escaped assassination after getting stabbed–repeatedly. It took seven full seasons for Arya to become the warrior she is, and we’ve watched every step. That’s more than can be said for any other character in Game of Thrones, and in many other shows and movies besides.
Obviously, Arya isn’t a Mary Sue, and to throw the term around in relation to this week’s episode is a complete misunderstanding of her character and the work that has gone into her story, the events that happened in The Long Night, and the term itself. There isn’t a character who has come further or earned her position and skills more than Arya Stark. That she was the one to kill the Night King is, in hindsight, a great culmination of her arc, and maybe the smartest decision made for this episode. If you watched the last seven seasons of Game of Thrones, it should be clear to you that there’s no reason to label Arya Stark a Mary Sue. So if you’re really still upset that the toughest woman in Westeros took down the show’s biggest bad guy, you should take a long, hard look at your own biases and seriously rethink that position.
Need more Game of Thrones? Check out our review of Season 8 Episode 3, a rundown of who has died this season, a list of the Easter eggs and references you might have missed in The Long Night and some theories for the rest of Season 8. We can also catch you up on what happened to Jon Snow’s Dragon, Rhaegal, and his direwolf, Ghost.
When it came to telling the life story of WWE Superstar Paige on the big screen, it would have been nearly impossible to complete the movie Fighting with My Family without recreating one of the most memorable moments in WWE Raw history. It was April 7, the night after Wrestlemania XXX, when Paige made her main roster debut and–shockingly–captured the WWE Divas Championship in her first match, dethroning reigning champion AJ Lee.
To capture that moment on film, Fighting with My Family director Stephen Merchant worked with producer–and former WWE superstar–Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to actually film the scene live in front of a rowdy WWE crowd in Los Angeles, which is detailed in the exclusive clip above from the movie’s digital release. “When I got the job, Stephen met me for breakfast just to basically sit me down and say, ‘You will be wrestling in the Staples Center pretty soon, in front of a live audience,'” the movie’s star Florence Pugh remembers.
To pull off the visually impressive moment, Merchant and the film’s production team was given one hour with the Raw audience, following the conclusion of an episode. While wrangling a massive group of WWE fans after a three-hour TV taping would normally be an uphill battle, the movie had an ace up its sleeve in The Rock.
“Dwayne came down, he was going to emcee the event,” Merchant recalls. “I said to him, ‘Please don’t get carried away when you get in the ring because we’ve only got an hour.’ Then he goes out there, and he does 20 minutes on the mic. He’s talking to the fans, doing his catchphrases. ‘Can you smell…'” Finally, though, Johnson took his leave from the ring and let Pugh and her co-star Thea Trinidad–otherwise known as WWE’s Zelina Vega–film their championship match.
For Pugh, it was a truly memorable moment. “Before I went on, I remember just putting my hand on the wall and the wall [was] just throbbing, honest to God,” the actress said. “I had never heard that many people before in one space.”
Now the moment will live forever in Fighting with My Family, which is available digitally now and hits Blu-ray on May 14.