Saturn Awards to Honor Feige, Favreau, Loeb

The Saturn Awards organization Aug. 22 announced the recipients of three honorary awards that will be presented at the 45th annual awards show Sept. 13, including a brand-new annual award named after comic book legend Stan Lee.

Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige will be honored with the inaugural Stan Lee World Builder Award, which will “be given annually to the creative force who has, over an extended period of time, created a world with multiple stories and characters that have amazed and engaged fans worldwide at the most galactic level,” according to a statement from the Saturn Awards.

This award also honors the legacy of the late Stan Lee and is exclusively available to The Saturn Awards from Lee’s POW! Entertainment. Feige is being honored for creating and guiding the Marvel Cinematic Universe across 23 films and 11 years from 2008’s Iron Man to this year’s Saturn Award nominated Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home.

The announcement comes as Sony and Disney have reached an impasse on extending a deal to keep Spider-Man in the MCU, which would prevent Feige from producing further “Spider-Man” movies.

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Jon Favreau

Filmmaker Jon Favreau will be honored with the Saturn Visionary Award for establishing himself as a groundbreaking visual artist in directing the films Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Jungle Book and the remake of The Lion King, the latter having earned nearly $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office. Favreau is also executive producing the “Star Wars” live-action television series “The Mandalorian” for the Disney+ streaming service.

Jeph Loeb

Jeph Loeb, EVP and head of Marvel Television, will be receiving the Dan Curtis Legacy Award, honoring fellow masters of genre TV and quality programming. Loeb has long been lauded for his work across multiple mediums including film, television, and comic books.

The 2019 Saturn Awards will be announced in a ceremony held at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood, and will be presented online through a streaming platform to be announced later.

Avengers: Endgame

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 8/13/19;
Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $857 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language.
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Wong, Jon Favreau, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rene Russo, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglass, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Josh Brolin.

A satisfying ending is a beautiful thing.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe began as one of the boldest gambits in movie history: a comic book company financing its own movies, based on relatively unknown characters, with the hope of someday uniting them in a crossover.

While no one could have predicted that 2008’s Iron Man would be as big a hit as it was, the other early films of the MCU were much more modestly received, and it wasn’t until the first Avengers film in 2012, the sixth in the MCU canon, that the true potential of what they were trying to pull off came into focus.

With Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd film in the MCU, that effort has resulted in the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide. Say what you will about the corporate structure of Hollywood and the surging dominance of all things Disney, which owns Marvel, but the industry-shattering creative forces of producer Kevin Feige and his team simply have to be admired for their shear audicity.

Avengers: Endgame brings together just about every notable character to play a role in the previous 21 MCU films to close out a number of storylines that have been weaving through the films for 11 years.

Foremost among them was the aftermath of last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, which ended with one of the biggest cliffhangers in the history of cinema, as the villainous Thanos (Josh Brolin) assembled all six Infinity Stones and caused half of all life in the universe to disappear with a snap of his fingers.

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Like the best series finales, Endgame manages to capture the essential elements of what fans love most about these films, providing both a feeling of nostalgia and a sense of how far things progressed from the beginning to now, all while giving the characters a sense of closure that honors who they are and what they’ve fought for.

And yet, Endgame is not the end of the MCU. The currently in theaters Spider-Man: Far From Home provides a nice little epilogue to it, and Feige at Comic-Con showed off a roadmap of the MCU’s next phase. However, Endgame is certainly a well-earned conclusion for several chapters of it.

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Avengers: Endgame is a testament to narrative efficiency despite its three-hour running length.

The Marvel movies have hit upon a winning formula of consistency, and Endgame is really no different. There are certain things the audience expects of it, but that’s not to say it approaches these goals in expected ways. The screenplay manages to defy expectations in its plot twists but remains true to the characters and provides a number of emotional payoffs that will particularly hit home for fans who have managed to follow the story arcs through all the films. This is simply a level of catharsis that stems from a 20-film journey that simply cannot be matched by most other cinematic achievements.

Endgame perfectly balances its sense of seriousness and tension with appropriate levels of humor and fun, resulting in a brisk pace that keeps the viewer eager to see what comes next. The film also warrants multiple viewings just to absorb the level of detail layered into the film.

The story is something of a love letter to the fans in the way it ingeniously re-visits some of the previous MCU films from a new perspective, deepening those films in small ways retroactively. Yet it wouldn’t be an “Avengers” film if it didn’t also culminate in what has to be the ultimate big-screen superhero battle.

The Russos have become masters of visual storytelling, which is a rather important quality to have when the goal is to adapt a comic book. Endgame is perhaps the biggest comic book movie ever made in terms of its scope, and the Russos are especially adept at framing their shots for maximum impact. It comes as no surprise that the film looks great on Blu-ray, with bright colors and sharp visual effects.

Another challenge brushed off with aplomb is balancing the sheer number of characters involved in a story of this magnitude, especially given the assemblage of performers of the magnitude the MCU has the clout to get. The closing credits of Endgame include the names of at least eight Oscar winners, and five of them appeared together in one of the film’s key scenes. Needless to say, the performances all around do not disappoint.

The film’s effectiveness is also given a huge boost by a phenomenal musical score by Alan Silvestri, who is perhaps the greatest living film composer who has yet to win an Oscar. Unlike Infinity War, in which the primary musical identities were Thanos and the Avengers as a group, Endgame revisits several character themes from the previous films, resulting in a deeply satisfying musical narrative. This approach only heightens the emotional connection between the audience and the characters, particularly when it comes to Captain America (unsurprising, since 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger was Silvestri’s first MCU effort).

These are details that, when combined, make it easy to overlook those parts of the film (and the MCU) in general that probably shouldn’t be thought about too much, and instead appreciate what the film has managed to accomplish.

The Blu-ray provides a great feature-length commentary from the Russos and the screenwriters as they reflect on their long MCU careers, analyze the various moving parts of the franchise, and provide some great insights on the making of the film and the challenges of cleanly telling a story that is complicated by its nature. The Russos also offer a short introduction to the film.

There are also 36 minutes of featurettes, many of which shine a light more on the history of the MCU and how things evolved into this particular film. There are spotlights on the story arcs of Captain America, Black Widow, Thor and Iron Man (the latter also including Robert Downey Jr.’s screen test for the role). The Russos and their impact on the MCU is the subject of another featurette.

There’s a vignette that celebrates the many female heroes of the MCU. Also, the disc includes a seven-minute tribute to Stan Lee and a look back at his many cameos in the MCU movies.

Other extras on the Blu-ray include a funny two-minute gag reel and six deleted scenes, which offer a mix of fun and poignancy, especially the ones that make light of perceived plot holes from earlier movies. The excised footage features unfinished visual effects and runs about five minutes.

Digital versions available at Movies Anywhere and many digital retailers, such as Vudu, offer these extras as well as a six-minute featurette about the relationship between Captain America and his true love, Peggy Carter.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Arriving Digitally July 30, on Disc Aug. 13 From Disney

Disney will release Marvel Studios’ blockbuster Avengers: Endgame digitally July 30 (including Movies Anywhere), and on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and on demand Aug. 13.

The 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe concludes the first “Avengers” saga that has spanned 11 years, beginning with 2008’s Iron Man. The film, in which the Avengers take one final stand against Thanos, has earned $834.9 at the domestic box office. Its $2.75 billion worldwide box office tally is the highest-ever for a film in its initial theatrical run (without a re-release).

Bonus features include a tribute to Stan Lee; the tale of Robert Downey Jr.’s casting as Iron Man; the evolution of Captain America; Black Widow’s dramatic story arc; directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s experience at the helm of both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame; the making of an epic battle scene with the women of the MCU; the creation of Bro Thor; deleted scenes; a gag reel and more.

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The digital release, available in 4K Ultra HD, HD and SD, offers access to an exclusive extra highlighting the love story of Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Peggy Carter.

Consumers can also buy a digital bundle of all four films in the Avengers franchise, which includes Marvel’s The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

The film’s theatrical run is expanding June 28 with an introduction by the Russo Brothers and additional post-credits footage.

‘Captain Marvel’ Powers Up On Disc Sales Charts

Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel, distributed by Disney, dominated the home video charts the week ended June 15.

The 21st film in the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart by a wide margin, outselling the next 44 titles combined.

Captain Marvel, which is set in 1995 and serves as a prequel to the “Avengers” movies, earned $426.7 million at the domestic box office.

Lionsgate’s A Madea Family Funeral slid to No. 2 on the overall sales chart, selling 8% as many copies as Captain Marvel during the week. The latest Tyler Perry-directed comedy was No. 10 on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 3 on the overall sales chart and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart was Warner’s Aquaman in its 12th week on shelves.

DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, distributed by Universal Pictures, dropped to No. 4 on the overall chart and No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart.

The new release Five Feet Apart, a romantic drama distributed by Lionsgate, debuted at No. 5 overall and No. 9 overall.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 73% of first-week Captain Marvel sales, compared with 40% for Five Feet Apart. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format comprised 17% of total Captain Marvel unit sales.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended June 16, Captain Marvel also debuted at No. 1.

The previous week’s top rental, A Madea Family Funeral, slipped to No. 2.

Five Feet Apart debuted at No. 3, followed by Universal’s The Upside at No. 4 and Dragon at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 6-15-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 6-16-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 6-15-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 6-15-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 6-15-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 6-17-19

 

Captain Marvel

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 6/11/19;
Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $425.98 million;
$39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language.
Stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg.

The 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel, is the most entertaining backstory for a pager you’re likely to see.

First and foremost, the film answers the question of who Nick Fury was contacting in the post-credits sequence of Avengers: Infinity War as half of all life in the universe was turning to dust as a result of Thanos’ snap. And in doing so, it provides the introduction of a key hero who would otherwise be considered little more than a deus ex machina in Avengers: Endgame.

The film serves as a prequel for the rest of the MCU (aside from the World War II setting of Captain America: The First Avenger), and its 1995 setting is a big indicator of what direction the humor and soundtrack are going to go.

It starts off as something of a space opera, shades of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” focused an alien task force that includes the warrior Vers (Brie Larson). The team is helping the Kree Empire (the blue aliens seen in other MCU movies and the TV series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) fight a war against the shape-shifting Skrulls.

When a mission goes awry and Vers finds herself captured by the Skrulls, she escapes to Earth, where the Skrulls are searching for a mysterious power source.

After encountering S.H.I.E.L.D., she learns she is really Carol Danvers, a human test pilot believed killed several years before in a crash that in actuality was an attack that left her with superpowers and no memory of her previous self.

Carol’s abilities in the film have been frequently compared with a hero from” rival DC Comics: Superman, which is interesting considering that Danvers” is also the last name of Supergirl’s human alter ego. She also wouldn’t even be the first Captain Marvel to be compared with Superman — that would be the Fawcett Comics Captain Marvel from the 1940s that was eventually acquired by DC Comics and renamed Shazam to avoid confusion with the Marvel Comics version of the character. (That the Shazam! movie would finally hit screens just a month after Captain Marvel is one of cinema’s great coincidences.)

Captain Marvel attempts to fiddle with the tropes of the superhero origin story by using a flashback mystery structure, which is a nice exercise in technique even if Vers’ true identity will only be a mystery to anyone who hasn’t seen the film’s trailers beforehand or has any passing familiarity with her comic book history (or has already seen the movie, of course). There are other surprises to be had and some subversion of expectations, which balances it all out.

It’s a perfectly entertaining adventure that doesn’t rise beyond more than mid-level Marvel at best (which in the greater scheme of things is still pretty good). It has fun filling in some pieces of the larger Marvel franchise, though it could use a lesson in subtlety.

The film is at its strongest when it involves Carol on her mission, be it as part of the Kree Starforce, or paired with the younger version of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, effectively de-aged by the magic of computers) in a kind of buddy cop movie.

The film is ultimately a piece of bright, cheery fun that will light up HD TV screens with warm colors and the kind of razzle-dazzle we’ve come to expect from Marvel’s cosmic adventures.

This was also the first MCU movie released after the death of Marvel legend Stan Lee, and contains one of his best cameos in the franchise, calling back to what he was actually up to in 1995. That’s in addition to the touching opening tribute that presents the Marvel Studios logo with video from his various cameos over the years.

These are the only tributes to Stan Lee on the Blu-ray, though, as there isn’t a separate bonus feature devoted to it, aside from a mention in the commentary track from co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Otherwise, the commentary is a fairly typical back-and-forth in which they discuss various behind-the-scenes challenges, story points and their enjoyment of working with certain actors.

The movie also comes with an optional two-minute introduction by the directors.

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The Blu-ray includes a two-minute gag reel, nine minutes of deleted and alternate scenes, and six behind-the-scenes featurettes that total about 24 minutes of viewing time.

The seven-minute “Becoming a Super Hero” and three-and-a-half-minute “Big Hero Moment” deal with Larson taking on the role and the significance of having a superhero movie fronted by a female lead, while “The Dream Team” is a three-minute video about the directors.

“The Skrulls and the Kree” offers a three-and-a-half-minute primer on the primary conflict of the film.

The three-and-a-half-minute “The Origin of Nick Fury” gets MCU stars from other movies to discuss his character’s appearance over the years.

Finally, there’s “Hiss-sterical Cat-titude,” a tongue-in-cheek three-and-a-half-minute propaganda video about the cat named Goose that serves a central role in the story.

The digital copy of the film includes a seven-minute visual effects featurette, and a five-minute exploration about crafting an action scene for a Marvel movie. There are also galleries of set photos and concept art.

Vudu has an additional digital exclusive, a three-minute vignette called “Her Story,” which seems like a promotional piece cobbled together from video used in the other featurettes.

MCU Titles Surge at FandangoNow

FandangoNow has seen a spike in sales for all 20 Marvel cinematic universe titles since the theatrical bow of Avengers: Endgame, with all appearing among its top 100 films, according to the service.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD platform.

The site also reported a surge in preorders and first-day sales for Captain Marvel, hitting home this week. The female-driven superhero film is pacing similarly to Marvel’s Black Panther, one of FandangoNow’s most purchased titles of all time, according to the service.

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Captain Marvel is one of the year’s most entertaining films, and one of the most talked-about Marvel movies ever,” said FandangoNow managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “It’s clear fans want to see lots more of Brie Larson’s high-flying superhero, and are excited to watch all the bonus content, deleted scenes and outtakes, especially after seeing her in Avengers: Endgame.”

According to a FandangoNow survey of fans planning to watch Captain Marvel at home, 91% are excited to revisit Captain Marvel’s origin story at home after seeing her on the big screen in Avengers: Endgame, while 60% plan to watch Captain Marvel at home before they head to the theater to see the MCU’s next chapter, Spider-Man: Far from Home.

Since the release of Endgame, the five best-selling MCU titles are:

  1. Spider-Man Homecoming*
  2. Iron Man
  3. Captain America: The First Avenger*
  4. Marvel’s The Avengers*
  5. Avengers: Age of Ultron*

 

*Available in 4K

 

‘Captain Marvel’ Soaring to Digital May 28, Disc June 11 From Disney

Captain Marvel will fly to digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD (including Movies Anywhere) May 28, and land on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray June 11 from Disney, Direct to Consumer and International.

The home release dates were revealed during the May 8 espnW Summit NYC, at which Marvel Studios hosted a Captain Marvel panel.

The film, which has surpassed $1 billion at the box office worldwide, chronicles the origin story of the female superhero.

The release includes featurettes that highlight the transformative journey of Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and her character’s impact on audiences around the globe; the influence of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) on significant events within the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the pairing of directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; the ongoing conflict between the Skrulls and the Kree; and the talent behind the feline named Goose. Viewers also gain access to six deleted scenes, director commentary, a gag reel, and never-before-seen concept art and production photography.

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The digital release includes two exclusive features, including a behind-the-scenes visit with the visual effects team and an inside look at the team effort that goes into an action sequence in a Marvel Studios film.

At the panel, Marvel also unveiled a new trailer.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Propels Marvel Movies Up Digital Retail Charts

The $1.2 billion global theatrical opening for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame has unsurprisingly proved to be a boon for previous entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

On the Apple iTunes store movie sales chart on April 29, all 22 MCU movies were among the top 60 selling titles, with No. 1 being preorders for Endgame.

Including Endgame, Marvel movies comprised six of the top 10, with 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War at No. 3, 2012’s The Avengers at No. 4, 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger at No. 6, 2008’s Iron Man at No. 7, and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron at No. 8.

The MCU movies, which collectively have grossed nearly $20 billion worldwide, typically creep back up the charts when a new installment hits theaters, particularly when it’s a sequel to one of the specific character movies (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.). Endgame, however, was positioned as a sequel to virtually every MCU movie that came before it, and the uptick in sales of previous movies was reflected in the anticipation to the latest chapter, which closes out several prominent storylines from the first 11 years of the MCU, which began in 2008 with the first Iron Man.

The effect is even apparent at the box office, where Captain Marvel, which was released in theaters in March, rose to No. 2 at the domestic box office behind Endgame

On iTunes, the weekend after Endgame hit theaters also saw 2016’s Captain America: Civil War at No. 14, 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier at No. 16, 2011’s Thor at No. 22, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy at No. 23, 2016’s Doctor Strange at No. 27, 2010’s Iron Man 2 at No. 30, 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming at No. 31, 2013’s Iron Man 3 at No. 33, preorders for Captain Marvel at No. 35, 2015’s Ant-Man at No. 38, 2008’s The Incredible Hulk at No. 39, 2013’s Thor: The Dark World at No. 40, 2018’s Ant-Man at the Wasp at No. 47, 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at No. 50, 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok at No. 51, and 2018’s Black Panther at No. 59.

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The websites of other digital retailers showed a similar effect.

The Microsoft Movies & TV store also had preorders for Endgame as its No. 1 seller on April 29. Infinity War was No. 7, the original Avengers was No. 9, Iron Man was No. 10, Age of Ultron was No. 11, Civil War was No. 12, Captain America: The First Avengers was No. 13, Winter Soldier was No. 14 and a “Captain America” trilogy collection was No. 18.

The Microsoft Top 50 also included 13 other MCU movies, plus preorders for an “Avengers” four-movie collection at No. 41.

Walmart’s Vudu had Infinity War listed first on its “Most Watched” page on April 29, while Age of Ultron and the original Avengers were listed as ninth and tenth, respectively.

On the Amazon.com Amazon Video on demand (rental) list for April 29, MCU movies comprised five of the top 10 and 10 of the top 25, led by Spider-Man: Homecoming at No. 1, Guardians of the Galaxy at No. 2 and Ant-Man at No. 3. The further titles include Captain America: The First Avenger at No. 5, Iron Man 3 at No. 6, Avengers: Age of Ultron at No. 12, Thor at No. 16, Civil War at No. 17, Winter Soldier at No. 24 and Infinity War at No. 25. (Note that Amazon’s website lists high-definition and standar-defintion sales for the same title separately).

Fandango Survey: Fans Plan to Stream Marvel Titles to Prepare for ‘Endgame’

Moviegoers preparing for the theatrical release of Avengers: Endgame April 26 plan to stream previous Marvel Cinematic Universe titles, according to a Fandango survey.

In the survey, 89% said they are getting ready for Endgame by streaming previous Marvel Cinematic Universe movies with friends and family at home, while 49% of millennials said they are planning a full-on Marvel movie binge this weekend.

FandangoNow, Fandango’s transactional VOD service, has seen a nearly 50% increase in transactions for Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in the past two weeks, since Avengers: Endgame advance tickets went on sale April 2, according to Fandango. FandangoNow is launching a weekend sale on select Marvel movie titles. April 18-22 fans can purchase select MCU movies on FandangoNow for $9.99 in HD and $14.99 in Ultra HD, including Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Thor: Ragnarok.

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According to the Fandango survey, the top five MCU titles fans plan to watch are:

  1.  Avengers: Infinity War
  2.  The Avengers 
  3.  Captain America: Civil War 
  4.  Avengers: Age of Ultron
  5.  Thor: Ragnarok

To date Avengers: Endgame is Fandango’s top pre-seller at the same point in the sales cycle.

“The countdown has started and we’re super-excited with only one week to go until ‘Avengers: Endgame’ opens in theaters,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “Fans are getting ready for the film’s debut by re-watching previous MCU titles or introducing ‘newbies,’ friends and family members to the titles they need to see to get up-to-date.”

In an exclusive interview with Davis, Endgame co-director Anthony Russo said that Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War are the two films that would be most helpful for fans to view as lead-ins before seeing Endgame.

Thanks, Stan Lee, and Excelsior!

Stanley Martin Lieber, otherwise known to the world as Stan Lee, passed away Nov. 12 at the age of 95.

In the 1960s, he helped grow Marvel Comics into one of the two major comic book publishers (alongside DC Comics), having a hand in the creation of such characters as Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Iron Man, Thor, The Fantastic Four and The X-Men. Lee wrote for “Captain America” in the 1940s and helped resurrect the character in the ’60s as a member of The Avengers.

His work in the genre helped spur a turn toward more-thoughtful, message-driven comic book storytelling based on the humanity of his characters. Spider-Man was plagued by the same problems as other teens. The X-Men were a metaphor for the Civil Rights movement. Iron Man became an alcoholic. And so on.

In his later years, Lee became an icon of the comic book industry and an ambassador of the medium like no other, always greeting fans with an enthusiastic smile and delighting crowds with the recitation of his catchphrase, “Excelsior!,” a Latin word that translates to “ever upward.”

While he stepped back from a creative role at Marvel, he remained connected to the company as Chairman Emeritus, while also working on new superhero projects on his own. In this capacity, he made countless appearances at comic book conventions and served as executive producer for many movies and TV shows based on Marvel Comics properties.

“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created.  A super hero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain, and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, in a statement posted on the Disney website. Disney bought Marvel Comics in 2009.

In the past two decades, Lee’s frequent appearances in Marvel films helped expand his legend further. His cameos became a staple of the genre as audiences began to keep an eye on where he would show up next.

In 2005’s Fantastic Four, Lee appeared as mailman Willie Lumpkin, the first time he played a character he created. And his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe became so popular that they spawned a fan theory that he was actually a supernatural observer for a celestial race known as The Watchers, an idea that finally took root in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

But his ubiquitousness was not limited to Marvel movies, including notable guest spots in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats, “The Simpsons,” “Heroes,” “The Big Bang Theory” and, most recently, voicing himself in Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, his first cameo for a project based on rival DC. He also reportedly recorded a voiceover cameo for Disney’s upcoming Ralph Breaks the Internet.

His cameos became such a calling card of his that there’s now a separate Wikipedia page dedicated to tracking all of them.

From 2006 to 2007, Lee hosted the Sci-Fi Channel reality competition show “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?,” in which contestants would dress up as superheroes of their own creation and perform tasks to be judged by Lee.

In 2012 Lee’s life story was the subject of the documentary With Great Power … The Stan Lee Story, re-released on DVD last year by Well Go USA.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Lee twice for various projects about 10 years ago, and he was never shy about his love of comic books, superheroes and the storytelling potential they represented. He even joked about setting up a “Stan Lee for Hire” billboard in Hollywood in hopes of getting more offers for cameos.

Lee’s most recent Marvel cameo came in Sony’s Venom, and he reportedly already shot a cameo for the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4. We don’t yet know to what capacity, if any, Lee would have appeared in the 2019 MCU films Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home, or even Fox’s latest “X-Men” chapter, Dark Phoenix, though those films will almost certainly be dedicated to his memory.

In the meantime, as long as we are graced with the thousands of comic books, characters and stories that represent Stan Lee’s enduring legacy, there can never be “’Nuff said.”

Excelsior.