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Top Gun 2’s Taiwanese Flag Patch Signals A Major Change In Hollywood

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In Top Gun 2, Maverick reps a Taiwanese flag patch despite objections by China, heralding the end of Hollywood kowtowing to the Chinese censors.

In Top Gun: Maverick, Maverick’s Taiwanese flag patch isn’t just a clue to the character’s past; it’s a clue to a major change in the way Hollywood does business. The long-awaited sequel to Top Gun is garnering universal acclaim for its commitment to authenticity. In an era when rampant CGI is taking the weight out of action movies, Top Gun: Maverick is ditching CGI for the physical and emotional heft of practical effects. Green screens have been eschewed for real locations and in-cockpit camera rigs, stunt pilots for the actors themselves, with the stars enduring a three-month training regimen designed by Tom Cruise. They’ve even opted to leave in certain unscripted shots – flapping ailerons, camera reflections, Miles Teller hitting his head on the cockpit canopy – deemed to add to the gritty realism of the movie.

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Along with the effects and stunts, Top Gun: Maverick has taken pains with small details that make the characters and their Navy aviation department more believable. One such detail is a Taiwanese flag patch on the back of Maverick’s leather jacket. In real life, pilots’ patches can signify a number of things, including deployments, aircraft piloted, and career milestones. In the Top Gun cinematic universe, the Taiwanese flag patch on Maverick’s jacket is a tribute to his dad, Duke Mitchell, who flew a joint mission with Taiwan during the Vietnam War. It’s an illuminating, endearing character detail, but the significance of Maverick’s Taiwanese flag patch goes beyond authenticity and cinematic world-building.


Top Gun: Maverick’s Taiwanese flag patch signals a shift in Hollywood away from placating the Chinese censors in return for financing and distribution. With a population of 1.4 billion, China represents the second-biggest box office on Earth. It’s also very strict about what can and can’t be shown on screen, with sympathetic portrayals of America, Christianity, and same-sex romance, to name a few, off limits. For years, major Hollywood studios have kowtowed to China, relying on Chinese backing and box-office numbers to help them make bigger, better-performing blockbusters, cutting out things the Chinese Communist Party deems “sensitive topics” in return. When Paramount dropped its Top Gun: Maverick trailer in 2019, it looks like the studio is doing just that. As observers quickly pointed out online, Maverick’s jacket’s Taiwanese flag patch was gone, replaced by a seemingly abstract symbol with the same color scheme. The reason was clear: the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, but rather as a province of China. The concession, however, wasn’t enough. Chinese tech giant, Tencent, pulled funding over the film’s alleged pro-America message, and when Top Gun: Maverick was released in 2022, the patch had been reinstated.


Do Blockbuster Movies Still Need China?

What happens next turned Hollywood on its ear. Despite zero dollars of financing or returns from China, Top Gun: Maverick broke numerous box office records, becoming Paramount’s highest-grossing movie ever, the highest-grossing movie of 2022, and Tom Cruise’s first film to surpass $1 billion at the box office. Many factors seem to have aligned to make the movie a hit, including ’80s nostalgia, a Memorial Day-weekend release, Tom Cruise’s star power, and an accessible story. Top Gun: Maverick, however, isn’t the unicorn it appears to be.

In 2021, Spider-Man: No Way Home refused Chinese censors’ demands to remove the Statue of Liberty and also didn’t open in China. Yet, it became the highest-grossing film of the year. Pixar’s Lightyear, released summer of 2022, refused to cut a same-sex kiss scene and likewise didn’t screen in the People’s Republic. Lightyear disappointed at the box office, but its underperformance had more to do with the American audience temperament than a lack of Chinese distribution. If three’s a pattern, these movies seem to indicate that the summer blockbuster doesn’t need China. Of course, it’s too early to say whether films like Top Gun: Maverick will become the norm, but it’s a step in the right direction by Hollywood and a win for free expression in the arts.





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Dwayne Johnson Describes Black Adam’s Brutality In Gruesome Detail

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Dwayne Johnson, producer and star of Black Adam, teases how the titular character’s unforgiving nature contrasts with fellow DCEU heroes.

Dwayne Johnson teases the extent of Black Adam’s brutality as he prepares to make his debut in the DC Extended Universe. The titular villain-turned-antihero’s debut is almost a decade in the making, with 2018’s Shazam! putting the hero’s nemesis on the backburner for a few years. Black Adam is set to reunite Jungle Cruise filmmaker Jaume Collet-Sera, who is directing the project, with Johnson serving as producer.

Once a slave from Kahndaq, Black Adam will follow the merciless killer as he re-enters society after being jailed for over 5,000 years. Though he previously abused his powers granted to him by Shazam, Black Adam is now on the Justice Society of America’s radar, as they attempt to reform his abilities for the betterment of society. The JSA will star Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, and Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate. Now, Johnson is opening up about Black Adam’s unforgiving and brutal nature, clearly in stark contrast to the typical DC hero.

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During an interview with Variety, Johnson teases just how far Black Adam will go in achieving his goals. Johnson reveals that Black Adam refuses to hold back, even at the price of causing a gory scene. Although he may be helping the greater good, he will stop at nothing, even if it means killing someone. Check out Johnson’s full explanation of Black Adam’s temperament below:

“Superman won’t kill anybody. There’s a code that he lives by and he honors,” Johnson says. “Black Adam has a unique code of ethics too. He will not hesitate—and I like to have a little fun when I’m explaining this—to rip somebody in half.” Does that mean the actor is…kidding? “Literally, he’ll grab someone by the neck and by the thigh and then rip them up, tear them apart,” Johnson clarifies.

While it’s unclear whether his powers will ultimately be used for good, the film’s trailers point to a more reformed, tamed Black Adam, yet still merciless towards his victims. Previously, Johnson has hinted the origin story presented in Black Adam will justify the anti-hero’s actions, highlighting the loss of his family in drastically changing his mindset. Understanding that he will do anything in his power to protect his family, including ripping someone in half, suggests that throughout the film his character arc will turn him away from the dark side.

If this is just how brutal Black Adam can be, then the JSA has a lot of work ahead of them with reigning him in. The highly-anticipated JSA will see each character possessing their own set of powers, which will hopefully be enough to tame Black Adam in defeating the evil in Sabaac. As excitement builds for Black Adam, it’s clear that the antihero’s debut will majorly shake up the DCEU, as he is preparing to be a force to be reckoned with.

Source: Variety

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Ghost Of Tsushima Movie Influences Explained By Chad Stahelski

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Chad Stahelski, director of the popular video game Ghost of Tsushima’s upcoming film adaptation, describes the inspiration behind the movie.

John Wick director Chad Stahelski details the main influences for his latest endeavor, the film adaptation of the popular video game Ghost of Tsushima. The Sony Playstation game, developed by Sucker Punch Productions, made history when it became the fastest-selling original Sony game in Playstation history. The game follows samurai warrior Jin Sakai, the sole survivor of a Mongol army attack on his clan. Set in 1274, Jin’s journey leads him to pursue vengeance and free the island of Tsushima. A film adaptation was announced in March 2021, with director Chad Stahelski and writer Takashi Doscher on board.

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Video game adaptations can be a touchy subject for fans, and Ghost of Tsushima has some big shoes to fill. The game was a major hit, with audiences and critics alike raving about the story, visuals, and gameplay. With a slew of awards under its belt, Ghost of Tsushima is an intimidating project for any director to take on. This is especially true considering the criticisms often faced by video game films, which come with passionate built-in audiences with high hopes to see their beloved stories done right. However, Stahelski is an accomplished director with the perfect background for the martial arts action required by Ghost of Tsushima‘s story. In addition, he has noted his enthusiasm for creating a faithful adaptation that honors the source material.


In a recent interview with Collider, Stahelski discussed his desire to film the movie in Japanese and bring in a Japanese cast. He also described some of his influences going into the project. See what he had to say below:

“Honestly, it’s probably the same things that would scare the sh*t out of most people. It’s a fantasy period piece. It’s done with reverence to Akira Kurosawa, who’s probably in the top five biggest influences of my life as far as film goes. It’s a chance to push technology and people in a story that’s timeless. It’s your typical mythological story of good versus evil, finding a man, watching him change the world or the world changes him. It’s all the Joseph Campbell stuff that you’d love in a story. You put that in with, obviously, so I’m told I have a bit of a Samurai fetish, which is probably true from Manga and anime and stuff.”

Stahelski’s previous comments about the Ghost of Tsushima movie have already built high expectations around the film. His most recent words on the subject go even further, promising exactly the sort of culturally rich, character-driven fantasy epic fans of the video games are hoping for. The reference to Akira Kurosawa also bodes well for Stahelski’s intentions to stay true to the video game’s samurai genre roots. All in all, the director’s encouraging comments tease an exceptional production that combines the westernized format of the hero’s journey with plenty of Japanese influence on a story and filmmaking level.


Ghost of Tsushima is the latest in a renaissance of video game to screen adaptations, including the Ruben Fleischer-directed Uncharted and HBO’s The Last of Us series. Despite the curse that seems to befall many video game adaptations, many are eager to see Stahelski’s rendition of the beloved story. Little else is known about the Ghost of Tsushima film for now, and a release date has yet to be announced by Sony. But Stahelski’s attention to detail and enthusiasm for faithfully adapting the source material is a good sign for the project.

Source: Collider

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Brie Larson Celebrates Ms. Marvel’s Iman Vellani With Sweet Birthday Message

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MCU’s Captain Marvel, Brie Larson, sends a sweet message to her The Marvels co-star, Iman Vellni, to celebrate the Ms. Marvel star’s birthday.

Brie Larson celebrates Ms. Marvel star Iman Vellani’s birthday with a sweet message. The Captain Marvel actress debuted towards the tail end of the Infinity Saga and eventually joined the Avengers in the fight against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. As the MCU moves toward, Carol Danvers is expected to play a bigger role in the Multiverse Saga.

As Captain Marvel continues her journey in the franchise, she will take on a brand-new role as a mentor. In Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels, Larson will join Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau and Vellani’s Kamala Khan. Plot details are still scant at the moment, but the project is set to release next year. Despite their initial relationship in the MCU, Danvers and Rambeau may no longer be on good terms. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel is set up to be a mentor-type character to Ms. Marvel, marking their first proper interaction in the franchise.

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Off-screen, Larson and Vellani have developed a great relationship with each other. Proving this is a great social media post from the Captain Marvel star sending her contemporary a happy birthday message. Larson posts a photo of them together, writing a sweet caption that expresses her eagerness to continue their friendship moving forward. Check out the image below:

Despite not having any on-screen interaction, Marvel Studios has already established a connection between the pair. While it kept its storytelling contained for the most part, the latest MCU series saved its biggest cameo at the end of its run. The Ms. Marvel finale’s post-credits scene surprisingly featured Captain Marvel appearing in Kamala’s bedroom. It is unclear how exactly Danvers found her way into the hero’s New Jersey home and the series doesn’t offer any more context about it, essentially wrapping up the narrative in a cliffhanger. This resulted in some fan theories that the young superhero shape-shifted into her idol, but this was immediately debunked. Instead, the pair swapped places in a scene that is a clear setup for The Marvels.


Regardless of their initial impressions of each other when they finally get together on screen in The Marvels, seeing Larson and Vellani’s blossoming friendship is a great sign for the MCU. Marvel Studios has made a name for assembling actors who genuinely like each other, with the original six Avengers being perhaps the best example. After all, it makes the long filming days and the grueling press tour so much easier when cast are real-life friends. Considering the similarities between Vellani and her Ms. Marvel character, it’s safe to say that she shares the same sentiments as Larson.


Source: Brie Larson/Instagram

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