‘It Matters Who You Are’: Character and Character Formation in ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the pilot episode of ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Joss Whedon's spinoff series based on Marvel’s wildly popular Avengers film, premiered Tuesday, September 24 to excellent ratings and positive critical reviews. In the pilot episode, agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) -- presumed dead after The Avengers but somehow still alive -- assembles the standard television grab bag of misfits in order to investigate supernatural or un … [Read more...]

Finding Super-Blessings Among Cinematic Bombs

 Superhero films result in many small blessings, perhaps including the amusing fact that some critics seem determined to coax themselves into disillusionment with the genre.After the last Comic-Con, I’ve heard more such views from secular and Christian critics.Secular critics seem to say: The superhero genre is tired; Hollywood is stretching to make a super-mint. Recently DrudgeReport.com gave its own headline to the Man of Steel sequel story: “Studio tries SUP … [Read more...]

How Royal Baby Fever Points to a Royal Longing (Or: Yes, This is a #JesusJuke)

So, in case you weren't on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or seen every tabloid from here to kingdom come, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, had a healthy little baby boy (name unannounced at the time of this writing) yesterday--and people have completely lost it. Royal Wedding fever was one thing. Royal baby fever is quite another.Now, there are a lot of different social factors at work. For one thing, babies are adorable. I see them and I instinctively start making r … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: You can be "Elitist" and still really enjoy "The Avengers"

If you’re not familiar with some of the critical reviews that have appeared in response to Joss Whedon’s box office triumph, The Avengers, then you might assume -- based on the blockbuster-nature of its success and the aggregate work of Rotten Tomatoes -- that it’s an unqualified Hulk-smash hit. That's not quite the case, though. The Avengers has become the starting point for an interesting conversation centered on genre-fatigue, inherent genre limitations, the nature of entertainment, and the ba … [Read more...]