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A Lingering Marvel Plot Point The Shang-Chi Movie Could Address

Although Marvel Studios hasn’t officially unveiled its lineup of Phase 4 movies just yet outside of Spider-Man: Far From Home (it’s hard to say if there will be an event presenting this information similar to what was done for Phase 3 in 2014), slowly but surely, we’re learning what will comprise this slate. The latest addition to the bunch is Shang-Chi, starring the same-named martial arts hero who’s been around the Marvel Comics universe for decades. Wonder Woman 1984‘s David Callaham is writing Shang-Chi, and though it will be a while until we learn what this story is about, the movie could be a good opportunity to address an MCU plot thread that’s been lingering for several years: the existence of The Mandarin.

Since being introduced in 1964’s Tales of Suspense #50, The Mandarin has been one of Iron Man’s greatest comic book enemies, using his naturally impressive intellect, martial arts skills and the ten aliens rings he found (each of which have their own special ability) to terrorize the Armored Avenger and the entire world. In 2013, Iron Man 3 finally adapted The Mandarin for the big screen. Well, sort of.

Within the MCU, The Mandarin was initially presented as the leader of The Ten Rings terrorist organization, but as it turned out, this individual was actually just a drunken actor named Trevor Slattery, who was hired by Iron Man 3‘s real villain, AIM head Aldrich Killian, to be the public proxy distracting the public while Killian carried out his illegal activities behind the scenes. Towards the end of Iron Man 3, Killian claimed he was the true Mandarin, but other than having some dragon tattoos, he hardly felt like a proper adaptation of the character.

Then came the All Hail the King, the Marvel One-Shot depicting Trevor Slattery being interviewed by documentarian Jackson Norriss about his past and how he became affiliated with Aldrich Killian. At the very end, Norriss explained that Killian had based The Mandarin persona on an actual historical figure. Revealing himself to be a Ten Rings member, Norriss held Trevor at gunpoint and told the idiotic performer that he was taking him to see the real Mandarin, who was insulted that Slattery and Killian made a mockery of his name.

And that’s it. Four years have passed since All Hail the King, and there hasn’t been any mention of The Mandarin since. There aren’t any more Iron Man movies on the way, and it’s been indicated that Robert Downey Jr. might be leaving the MCU after Avengers: Endgame. So it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get an Iron Man/Mandarin showdown within this universe, but as a consolation prize, The Mandarin could easily fill in as Shang-Chi’s arch-nemesis on the big screen.

Within the Marvel Comics continuity, Shang-Chi was initially presented as the son of Fu Manchu, based off the same-named literary character. When Shang-Chi discovered that his father was an international criminal, he rebelled against his father, and many of Shang-Chi’s earliest adventures followed him battling his father’s minions. Due to licensing issues over characters and concepts from the Fu Manchu books, Marvel eventually had to stop calling him that, and years later, it was revealed that this individual was actually an ancient Chinese sorcerer named Zheng Zu who had discovered the secret to immortality and had used Fu Manchu as an alias.

Given how the original version of Fu Manchu is considered to be a negative stereotype, you can be sure that the Shang-Chi movie will not be using that name in any way. It’s possible that the project could still adapt the Zheng Zu aspect of the character, particularly since Doctor Strange opened the door to magic in the MCU However, if Shang-Chi wants to pit its eponymous protagonist against a more grounded threat, The Mandarin would be the better candidate since he’s already established.

Admittedly, in his earliest comic book years, The Mandarin had some Fu Manchu-like qualities, but those have thankfully been toned down in modern years, and with the proper legwork, the real Mandarin can be shown in the MCU as a man of Asian descent without coming across as a stereotype. Beyond that, Shang-Chi could certainly use The Mandarin to substitute for Fu Manchu/Zheng Zu as the main protagonist’s father, but frankly, it’s more interesting to imagine the MCU’s Mandarin as a target that Shang-Chi, as a special operative, has to neutralize.

It’s hard to say whether the MCU’s Mandarin has indeed been alive for possibly thousands of years or if that’s just a myth and Mandarin is really a title that’s been passed down over generations, but either way, this is a powerful man. He’s in charge of one of the world’s most notorious terrorist organizations, which is already enough incentive for the government agencies around the world to want to stop him once they learn of his existence.

But Earth in the MCU’s modern era has been exposed to a lot of strange and unusual forces, extraterrestrial arguably the most prominent. This might not have been possible to pull off when Iron Man came out, but a decade later, it’s easy enough to imagine that this Mandarin came across alien technology sometime after the events of All Hail the King, whether it’s literally through ten rings or through other tools. Who knows, since Captain Marvel is showing some of Earth’s secret history with aliens, maybe Mandarin has had this alien technology for a lot longer, but he didn’t know how to properly utilize it.

In any case, it would be cool to see Shang-Chi as the secret agent (possibly working for MI-6, like in the comics) who’s been tasked to find and stop The Mandarin before the villain can use this alien technology to carry out The Ten Rings’ most devastating attack yet. There would still be some fantastical elements that we come to expect from the MCU, but this story would still be grounded enough that it wouldn’t take attention away from seeing Shang-Chi’s martial arts skills in action. Alternatively, the Shang-Chi movie could take a magical vs. mystical approach and show how Shang-Chi’s mastering his chi, which allows him to pull off physical feats a normal athlete couldn’t, compares to power from another world.

The MCU has had a lot on its plate over the decade, not the least of which has been building up to Thanos collecting all six Infinity Stones and then unleashing their power. So it is understandable that there simply hasn’t been enough time to show the true Mandarin, but that doesn’t mean he needs to keep gathering dust. Having him confront Iron Man appears to be out of the picture, but through Shang-Chi, The Mandarin could be put to good use and finally join the ranks of classic Marvel villains who’ve had the privilege of appearing in live action.

Shang-Chi is still in early development, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for continuing updates on how the movie is progressing. Don’t forget to also look through our Marvel movies guide to learn what else the MCU will be releasing in the coming years.

Should The Shang-Chi Movie Use The Mandarin As Its Villain?

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The 10 Best Glitter Eyeshadows That Won’t Get Everywhere

I personally believe that glitter is acceptable for all occasions. There’s nothing like it to spice up an otherwise simple look, bring light to your face, and—honestly—make a boring Tuesday a little more fun. That being said, if there’s any time that lends itself especially well to glitter eyeshadow (besides maybe a drag bar or a DeLorean ride back to Studio 54), it’s the holidays. Like snowflakes or Christmas lights, glitter is that special sparkly touch that makes everything a bit more festive.

Glitter also has the ability to make things a lot more messy. So many shimmer products have a life of their own, and in a matter of minutes stray glitter particles have left my eyelids and are all over my face (or in my eye). In the name of important research, I tasked my fellow Glamour editors with testing the best glitter eyeshadows on a night out, to find the ones that will actually stay put for the holidays and beyond. Here are the 10 winners they reported back with.

Jerry Seinfeld Weighs In On Kevin Hart’s Oscars Departure

Whenever there is a controversy surrounding jokes or a particular comedian, one person that is frequently asked to offer his opinion on the matter is Jerry Seinfeld. From Roseanne to James Gunn, when a joke is the catalyst of controversy the comedian is always willing to give his take. So with the recent kerfuffle surrounding Kevin Hart’s very brief turn as Oscar host, Jerry Seinfeld has once again weighed in, saying:

Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t explicitly say what he thinks about Kevin Hart’s past jokes, the request from the Academy that he apologize or his decision to step down. Instead he is looking at the end result of the situation and who won and who lost. And in that regard, Jerry Seinfeld seems to see the situation as the Oscars taking a major L by losing Kevin Hart as a host.

Despite the controversy, Jerry Seinfeld does not believe that this will hurt his fellow comedian, who is talented and has a very successful movie career. He thinks that Kevin Hart will be just fine, but by dropping out, the Academy finds itself in quite the bind. As Jerry Seinfeld told Willie Geist on Sunday Today, replacing the popular comedian is no easy thing.

It’s hard to argue with him either on that point. Kevin Hart was announced as the host later than the announcement is usually made, and now the Academy is presumably scrambling to find someone just as exciting to replace him, and no doubt hoping that old social media posts don’t once again rear their ugly head.

There has even been talk that the Academy is considering going without a host for the upcoming ceremony. That would definitely be something different, and the Academy is trying to shake things up to improve ratings. Of course, there’s no way to know if Kevin Hart, a replacement host for the comedian or a host-less show would do more to help bring in viewers. But given Kevin Hart’s popularity, you can see Jerry Seinfeld’s point.

At the moment, the situation seems to have done more obvious harm to next year’s Oscars ceremony than to Kevin Hart’s career. Although even the mildest of controversies is bound to result in social media shouting matches, a recent poll indicates that a major sentiment toward the controversy is one of ambivalence.

However, it was apparently a dream of Kevin Hart’s to host the Oscars and he now won’t get that chance, not this upcoming ceremony anyway. So while his career might be fine and his fans might still think well of him, he does now miss out on an opportunity he wanted.

The 91st Academy Awards airs, host or not, on Sunday, February 24, 2019. For all the movies coming to theaters next year, check out our 2019 Release Schedule.

How Aquaman Filmed Nicole Kidman’s Amazing Fight Scene In One Long Take

The DC Universe has had a fascinating tenure in theaters, filled with both peaks and valleys. The next movie to hit theaters is James Wan’s Aquaman, with the horror director tasked with bringing the DCEU underwater, and hopefully providing the first critical success since Wonder Woman. Wan assembled a strong cast of actors to bring the blockbuster to life, including Nicole Kidman as Aquaman’s mother Queen Atlanna.

Atlanna’s role will help fill in the backstory of Arthur Curry, and she’ll even get a brief action sequence of her own. The scene was actually released early, showing Atlanna dispatching enemies in casual streetwear, taking up her trident in the process. James Bond opened up about the process it took to film the long shot, saying:

Well, that’s quite the production. Long shots in movies are tricky animals, with intense choreography and production needed to facilitate camera’s movements. And in order to properly show Atlanna fighting off a home invasion, an extensive set needed to be constructed. This let Nicole Kidman’s DC character have the range of motion she needed, and made for the thrilling scene.

While Aquaman doesn’t hit theaters for another week or so, the Atlanna’s big action scene was released early. You can check it out below, and see how James Wan’s crew skillfully crafted the thrilling sequence (via Comic Book).

In his same conversation with Slash Film, James Wan also discussed just how long it ultimately took to film Atlanna’s big scene. Given the long shots and complicated fight choreography and affects, the short but awesome scene took a ton of work. And a whole ton of takes. He said,

Luckily, it appears that James Wan and his crew ultimately got it together. Atlanna’s fight scene looks epic, and it will likely be even better on a big screen, where Wan’s visuals and the extensive choreography could be experienced in full.

Aquaman will arrive in theaters on December 21st. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Mortal Engines Ticket

3D SCORE:
32 /35

Readers, start your Mortal Engines! It’s time to revisit one of this month’s would-be blockbusters, and the film most likely to draw in folks that can’t make it to Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Another YA franchise looks to make itself into a fixture at the movies, and it’s bringing along an old friend for the ride as well. We’re not talking about multiple entries ready to be adapted, should the green light be issued. No, we’re talking about the 3D conversion!

But is Mortal Engines worth the 3D ticket money, or are you better off donating the extra Quirks to the St. Paul’s Energy Project? That’s what we’re here to determine today, as To 3D or Not To 3D braves the wastes of the Earth and helps you make the right decision. If you’re interested in what we thought of the movie, head on over to the official review. Otherwise, it’s time to get busy with running through if Mortal Engines makes the 3D grade!

3D Fit Score

5/5

If you don’t think motorized cities with the ability to wage war aren’t a 3D fit, you’re probably not that big of a fan of the format. Mortal Engines has landscapes, locations, and events that are so built for 3D, it would be a disappointment if they weren’t offered in such a manner. Not to mention, it’s a big spectacle that’s meant to help close 2018’s box office season in grand fashion, so the extra splash is absolutely warranted.

Planning & Effort Score

4/5

Only some minor hiccups stop Mortal Engines from being a perfect 3D conversion, but other than that, this is a pretty well planned and executed 3D film. Brightness is where the film really takes its lumps, but other than that, there’s some well thought out action in the film’s third dimensional enhancements. The practice of 3D conversion started out as taking some serious guff from purists, but a film like Mortal Engines shows just how far it’s come after all of these years.

Before the Window Score

5/5

You might not believe it, but it’s extremely hard to get a 3D conversion that knows how to properly throw things out at its audience. But considering how much of a technical fanatic producer / writer Peter Jackson is, it’s no surprise that Mortal Engines gets this factor absolutely right. It only takes a handful of minutes into the film before you know its serious about the 3D, with massive, flinching objects pushing their way out of the screen. Now take that sensibility, and expand it throughout a film where guns are pointed at faces, cannons fire causing debris to explode, and various chase scenes fly past your face, and you’ve got a good time.

Beyond the Window Score

5/5

Complementing the stellar work that the team behind Mortal Engines’ 3D conversion did on the “Before The Window” factor is the absolutely gorgeous depth brought to the film’s picture. The usual hallmarks are airtight, with characters well separated from their environments, as well as their co-stars. But on top of the spatial reasoning being solid, the depth factor is truly endless, making some scenes even more breathtaking in 3D than in 2D. One scene in Mortal Engines’ third act even uses this effect to introduce a new setting in a most fantastic manner.

Brightness Score

4/5

Hello darkness, our old friend. The brightness factor on Mortal Engines loses a point for the same old problem, no matter where you go. When you put on those grey/black glasses, the picture naturally dims a little bit. In the case of Mortal Engines, it mutes the mostly warmer color palette that the film snuggly find itself colored by. Your mileage may vary in terms of brightness, seeing as it also depends on how well your theater calibrates and maintains its 3D auditoriums. But as it stands, for the presentation we saw, the picture was only slightly dimmer than it was with the glasses off.

Glasses Off Score

4/5

Since we’ve already got our glasses off, let’s talk about the blur you might be seeing on the screen. You’re going to want to lift your glasses up during Mortal Engines, not only to give your eyes a small break, but also to see what’s going on without the aid of polarized lenses. That blur is totally natural, in fact, it’s an indicator of how much the image on the screen has been manipulated to present a 3D image. The majority of the film is pretty blurry, with both background and foreground shots getting in on the action. But there are some instances where the picture isn’t as blurred as others, giving almost a 2D look to certain aspects of the picture. Thankfully, those moments are few and far between.

Audience Health Score

5/5

Your eyes are important, and if the presentation isn’t just right on a 3D movie, you might find them strained during the presentation of a film like Mortal Engines. But much like the majority of the factors covered in our To 3D guide, there’s a lot of praise to be had in the audience health factor. The entire product is a smooth experience, with no eye strain or nausea to be had, and that’s no small feat with the fast paced action presented on the screen. You’re not going to need a steel stomach to watch Mortal Engines in 3D.

3D Fit Score 5
Planning & Effort Score 4
Before the Window Score 5
Beyond the Window Score 5
Brightness Score 4
Glasses Off Score 4
Audience Health Score 5

Mortal Engines is not only a 3D film well worth the audience’s time, it’s a film that begs to be seen in IMAX 3D, or any large format offering the same treatment. Its immersive storytelling is severely engaging in 2D, but becomes absolutely electric in the 3D presentation. While the brightness fudges things up a little, it doesn’t sink the ship entirely. If you’re only going to see it once, see it right and take the 3D journey to futuristic London!

How Will You See Mortal Engines?

Be sure to visit our full To 3D Or Not To 3D Archive.

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Nancy Pelosi MaxMara Coat: Alternative Options To Buy Now

During a meeting at the White House Wednesday, photos of Nancy Pelosi emerged that set the internet on fire thanks to a five-year-old burnt orange coat, which—for reasons you’ll see in a moment—will henceforth be referred to simply as The Coat.

The Coat was such a thing, that director Barry Jenkins wrote a love letter to it via tweet. “And she knew exactly what she was doing wearing THIS coat on THIS day coming out of THAT room, placing THOSE shades on JUST so.”

REX/Shutterstock

Elsewhere, Instagrams like ‘@excellentcoatsonirritatedwomen’ gained thousands of followers overnight. Anthropomorphic Twitter accounts like Nancy Pelosi’s Red Coat and I Am Nancy Pelosi’s Coat were born.

The attention was so overwhelming, in fact, that MaxMara—the label behind The Coat—told us they’d be re-releasing it next year. But if waiting for The Coat isn’t in your plans, here are 9 styles to shop now that are highly similar, and will give you the same powerful vibe as Mrs. Pelosi strutting out of the White House.

Miley Cyrus Passionately Calls For Peace With Her ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ Cover

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (The War Is Over)” has been reimagined countless times since its 1971 release, but that caaaan’t stop, and it woooon’t stop Miley Cyrus from taking a whack at it.

On Friday (December 14), Miley shimmied down the figurative chimney and delivered a special gift for fans: a cover of the holiday standard produced by Mark Ronson and featuring Sean Ono Lennon, which is about the most legit stamp of approval you could ask for. Their gleaming pop version of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over!)” — yes, they added an exclamation point to the title — finds Cyrus passionately pleading for peace while Lennon adds cheery harmonies of “War is over / If you want it” into the mix.

Just hours before the song’s release, Cyrus visited The Tonight Show and told host Jimmy Fallon that the cover came together at New York’s famed Electric Lady Studios. Though the original version was intended as a Vietnam protest song back in the ’70s, the 26-year-old believes its message is still relevant today: “I don’t think anything could speak louder about what’s going on right now than ‘War Is Over,'” she said.

Fallon also asked Cyrus if Lennon sounded like his late father during their studio session. She answered, “I think more than just inheriting the voice, or you know the way he looks or whatever, that it’s about the magic that he has. I think that’s what he’s really inherited more than anything: it’s just this radiant magic.”

The three will perform their new cover on Saturday Night Live this weekend, in addition to Cyrus and Ronson’s recent collaborative single, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.” Tune in to feel all the peaceful holiday vibes.

Rami Malek Was Nervous To Wear One Revealing Bohemian Rhapsody Costume

One must be fearless to play Queen frontman Freddie Mercury — a lesson Bohemian Rhapsody actor Rami Malek learned quickly after he was cast in the role. Malek’s incredible transformation into the rock icon included plenty of preparation on his part. This included wearing some bold fashion statements inspired by Freddie’s on-stage wardrobe — one of which that Malek was a bit timid to put on at first. In his words:

Rami Malek clearly went all in to play Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, and it shows through his transformative performance in the role. During his interview with The Wrap, the actor said by the end of the film he was so comfortable with Freddie’s wardrobe that he asked the costume designer if he could have a replica of the leotard. He ordered it in ruby red specifically.

On top of wearing Freddie Mercury’s vibrant wardrobe, Rami Malek also wore fake teeth for the film, worked with a movement coach to mirror the icon’s mannerisms, took singing and piano lessons, and went on a crazy exercise and diet routine. Yep, he was all in.

Coming right off his stiff and socially awkward character on the television series Mr. Robot, Rami Malek did a complete 180 from what audiences know he can do in Bohemian Rhapsody, including reenacting a 22-minute sequence of Queen’s Live Aid concert in 1985. He became so believable as Freddie that the remaining members of Queen who were collaborators on the film became convinced and completely support his iteration of their late band member.

Queen were reluctantly working with filmmakers for almost a decade on Bohemian Rhapsody to properly pay tribute to Freddie Mercury and the rest of the band’s legacy. When Rami Malek came along, the band saw a sparkle of Freddie in his eye — a key component to the film being believable at all.

The intense role transformation for Rami Malek and the long filmmaking process for Queen has finally paid off, since the film has passed $600 million at the worldwide box office and the film has already been nominated for two Golden Globes. The film was recognized for the Best Picture and Best Actor in the drama category, all much to the praise of Malek’s decision to completely become the killer queen Freddie Mercury will always be remembered as.

No, James Wan Isn’t Contracted For An Aquaman Sequel

Next weekend sees the release of Aquaman from director James Wan. By and large, the reviews for the film seem to indicate that the acclaimed director has delivered one of the best DCEU films to date. So naturally, assuming Aquaman is a success at the box office, many fans will want to see James Wan back in the director’s chair to helm a potential sequel. Not so fast though, because Wan isn’t contracted for an Aquaman sequel, as he explained:

Aquaman isn’t even officially out yet, so James Wan wants to keep the focus on this film before discussing the possibility of sequels. That’s understandable, after an exhausting two years of making Aquaman. He’s probably ready for a rest, and doesn’t want to assume a sequel will happen before knowing how the first film performs. However, Wan did reveal to Variety that he is not currently signed on to direct any other Aquaman movies.

That isn’t the same as him saying he doesn’t want to direct any others, or that he is done with the franchise. There could be an Aquaman 2 and James Wan could still direct it, but contractually speaking, he is not obligated to return to Atlantis.

This is obviously very notable, because if Aquaman is successful and Warner Bros. decides to make a second one, there will be the open question of who is going to direct it until James Wan officially returns or the studio gets somebody else.

The situation is somewhat reminiscent of what happened with Wonder Woman. Warner Bros. only signed on Patty Jenkins for the first film. The, when Wonder Woman was a critical and commercial smash hit, the studio had to back up the money truck to bring her back.

The outlook on Aquaman isn’t quite as rosy as Wonder Woman critically, but the reviews are largely positive thus far and no doubt audiences who like the film will want to see James Wan return to play in the world that he so painstakingly created.

On the other hand, James Wan is a talented director who made his mark in horror before moving on to Furious 7 and then the world of superheroes, so it would also be interesting to see him tackle something else new — and he may want to. Then again, he has also shown interest in a horror take on Batman as well as Blade, so maybe he’ll stay in the comic book realm and just do something different. Time will tell.

Early indicators at the box office are good for Aquaman with the film tracking at a $65 million opening weekend against stiff competition. In addition to that, Aquaman has already surpassed Wonder Woman‘s entire run in the all-important Chinese market.

Those signs bode well for an Aquaman 2, if that’s in DC’s plans, but James Wan returning to make it is not a certainty.

Aquaman dives into theaters on December 21st. For movies looking to make a splash next year, check out our 2019 Release Schedule.