Tag Archives: Marvel

Geek Genre Actors Doing Good AS Their Characters

As fans, we sometimes have trouble separating actors from the characters they play. We can be a little disappointed, or downright devastated, to learn that they’re just actors playing a role and making a living. Further, some actors often try to distance themselves from their characters for various reasons, usually as a result of feeling typecasted and limited in their acting opportunities. For example, Leonard Nimoy raised an uproar in the 1970s with his book “I Am Not Spock” which offended Trekkies worldwide. Classic movie actor Basil Rathbone felt he was constrained by successfully playing Sherlock Holmes and came to hate the character. Actors, even when made famous by a beloved and iconic role are still just actors pretending to be someone else temporarily.

There are times, though, when an actor will portray a character on their own time just to do some good, cheer up a sick child, or pay back a kindness. I spotted a story on IO9.com about Peter Capaldi, the current (Twelfth) Doctor Who, making a short video as The Doctor to cheer up a 9 year old boy with autism whose nanny he loved had just passed away. The video is short but it is sweet that Mr. Capaldi took the time out to make it and send it to a boy he did not know. I started thinking about other recent instances of celebrity actors reprising their roles, sometimes in full costume and makeup, just do bring a little cheer into some fans’ lives.

Johnny Depp Visits Kids As Captain Jack Sparrow

Apparently never aging heart throb Johnny Depp totally gets how fortunate he is and likes to give back to kids. According to an article on Koopstarz, Mr. Depp travels with one of his Captain Jack Sparrow costumes, wig, makeup, etc. and is known to visit children’s hospitals and schools in character. In one instance, he also made a surprise visit to a school near where On Stranger Tides was filming. A female student had written him a letter asking him to visit and he showed up with the letter in hand and gave the little girl a hug in front of her classmates. See, bloody pirates ain’t so bad.

Johnny Depp visits school as Captain Jack via the Daily Mail

Johnny Depp visits school as Captain Jack via the Daily Mail

Robert Downey Jr. Spreads the Stark/Iron Man Charm

There’s no denying the Robert Downey Jr. and the character Iron Man have made each other more famous worldwide than they ever were before the two hooked up. Downey’s performances in three Iron Man movies and the Avengers have been a huge part of those movies earning billions of dollars for Marvel. RJD has had his ups and downs in his personal life and career and, it is rumored, he can be a bit of a prima donna. But, there is no denying that he is willing to give back, especially to kids. Some examples:

Jaime Alexander Visits Sick Kids As Lady Sif

Marvel posted an article about and photos from a November, 2013 visit by Thor movies actress Jamie Alexander to the Childrens Hospital off L.A.

Jamie Alexander visits the Childrens Hospital of L.A. as Lady Sif (via Marvel)

Jamie Alexander visits the Childrens Hospital of L.A. as Lady Sif (via Marvel)

She did not just visit the sick and hand out posters and DVDs. She did it in full Lady Sif of Asgard costume complete with shield and sword.

Chris Pratt Visits Childrens’ Hospital As Starlord

Apparently, the Childrens Hospital of L.A. is the one to get treatment from, if you want to also meet Marvel superheroes. In August, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt attended a special screening of the movie at the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles in his costume as Starlord. According to an August 22, 2014 article on Blastr, Pratt had stated previously that he had literally stolen some of his costume pieces after the movie wrapped so he could do this sort of thing in the event that the movie became a blockbuster. Sure enough, it became the biggest movie of 2014, almost everyone knows who the Guardians are, and Pratt kept his word. He delighted the kids at the screening and even visited some kids separately who were too ill to go to the group screening. One of those kids happens to be a huge Lego fan. It just so happens, of course, that Pratt ALSO starred in The Lego Movie so he spent some time with this fan, too, doing his character, Emmett, from the movie! He gets double credit for doing not one, but two characters in the same day to cheer up some sick kids!

Chris Pratt visits chidlrens hospital as StarLord

Chris Pratt visits chidlrens hospital as StarLord

These are just a few examples of actors using their fame to give back. Know any others? Post them in the comments below.

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.

via the Atlantic: How Agents of SHIELD Got Good By Forgetting About Superheroes

The Atlantic, always a good site to find thought-provoking stories and news, has an op-ed that should make fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) happy. Joe Reid writes in How Agents of SHIELD Got Good By Forgetting About Superheroes that, while the first season of AoS was a bit slow and the characters were flat, that the collapse of SHIELD portrayed in Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier and the effects from that on AoS gave the show the kick in the Agents it needed.

The core Agents of SHIELD cast at series premiere via comicvine.com

The core Agents of SHIELD cast at series premiere via comicvine.com

I won’t reiterate his entire reasoning here, but I mostly agree. My wife, Geekling and I have watched AoS from the beginning and liked it. I admit to a bit of “fanboyism” in overlooking some of the flatness of the characters in my joy at seeing the return of Agent Coulson. (I, like many, was never happy that he got “Whedonned” in Avengers.) And, I was excited to see the tie-ins to the MCU’s movies of which there were some in the first half of the season. But, I do admit I wondered if it was just going to be a bunch of good guys chasing bad guys, grabbing artifacts, stopping super villains and what not. In other words, it felt a bit like a souped up cop show. (Almost Human, anyone?) There was an early plot line, “Centipede,” which also linked to the plot of Ironman 3, and that gave AoS a sort of “plot thread” running through the show. But, while it was full of action, effects, and Coulson’s deadpan humor, I agree the show hadn’t found its legs. I worried ABC would give up on it as weak ratings were reported.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead.)

Then, The Winter Soldier hit theaters. We sat in the theater and watched Hydra finally come into the light and SHIELD get kneecapped. And, I thought, “What the hell does this mean for AoS?” By all accounts, the actors on the show were just as shocked at a super secret screening of Cap 2. In the short video below, Clark Gregg talks about how they were all shocked. The next day they were  handed new secret scripts revealing the big turn the show was taking and Agent Ward’s betrayal:

Suddenly, AoS had new juice and it began to find its legs. The guest actors portraying both villains and allies add wonderful spice to the show. Bill Paxton was so good as a treacherous Hydra sleeper agent, the “Clairvoyant,” that I could not wait for him to get whacked. (His demise was hilarious.) And Patton Oswalt as, apparently at least three, Agents Koenig is great.

So, yes, I agree that AoS has finally found its spark, its mojo. New characters like Mack, Hunter and Bobbi Morse (“Mockingbird”) as well as villainous guest characters like Skye’s father, played creepily, and also dorkily, by Kyle MacLachlan, have added new energy to the show. Although, I fear to get too attached to some of the characters. The ABC/Disney/Marvel PR people pumped Lucy Lawless (Xena, Spartacus) up as a new addition playing another SHIELD agent… and killed her off in her first episode. This is a Joss Whedon show so we should know not get attached to everyone. (I’m still pissed about Wash in the movie, Serenity.) The changes in the original cast members and reveals of some of their pasts make the characters less flat. The actors have something to chew on now. The stories are better and so is the dialog.

I do have worries, though, moving forward:

  • With so many actors, can the writers feed them all and make sure they have meaningful roles in the show’s stories?
  • How do you redeem Ward? He killed dozens of SHIELD agents!
  • Will middle of the road ratings do for a costly show? Those effects and the large cast cannot be cheap.

But, I am optimistic. AoS is on an upward trajectory. And, I almost anticipate the show’s winter hiatus this season because then we get the beginnings of SHIELD in Agent Carter!

Dad, hubby, geek, nerd, gimp, cynic and optimist.