Marvel Phase 4 Movies: This Forgotten One-Shot Just Became Required Viewing

'The Boys' is also here to relieve your superhero fatigue. Plus five more recommendations to get you through the weekend.

If you’re sick and tired of all the chatter around Marvel’s big Phase Four announcement, we’ve got some good news. Amazon is here with the perfect antidote to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Boys. The new series (based on the controversial comics) follows a group of regular dudes who set out to take down a team of corrupt superheroes. It’s awesome, violent, and gory as hell.

But if you’re eager to dive into even more Marvel content — or you’re looking for something else entirely — here are five viewing recommendations from Inverse for the weekend. Plus, two video game releases that might make your thumbs twitch, even if you haven’t played since the Clinton years. Think Cyborg Nazis.

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The Boys

If you’re experiencing superhero movie fatigue, let Amazon’s The Boys renew your faith in the genre. Adapted from the Dark Horse Comics series of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boys imagines a world where superheroes are so common, they are icons with movie and merchandise deals who form teams and take on supervillains. These heroes also happen to be totally drunk with power, regularly exploiting their powers for personal gain. Enter: the Boys. The Boys are a team of non-superpowered individuals who come together to cut superheroes down to size.

The series stars Karl Urban as Billy Butcher, the Boys’ ringleader; Jack Quaid as the newest Boys recruit, Wee Hughie Campbell; Anthony Starr as Homelander, a Superman-esque figure who leads a super group called the Seven; Dominique McElligott plays Queen Maeve, a hero similar to Wonder Woman; Chace Crawford stars as the Deep, the Seven’s answer to Aquaman; and Elisabeth Shue plays Madelyn Stillwell, an exec at Vought Industries, the company that manages the Seven.

All eight episodes of The Boys Season 1 debuts on Amazon on Friday, July 26. And if you like the first season, you’ll be pleased to know The Boys was renewed for season 2 just a week ahead of its premiere. — Allie Gemmill

Marvel’s Forgotten One-Shot: All Hail the King

Marvel Studios held a showstopping Comic-Con panel last weekend, but the most intriguing announcement was about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The Asian-actor-led Marvel movie doesn’t hit theaters until February 2021, but in the meantime, we have a bit of required viewing for anyone excited to see Shang-Chi on the big screen: a direct-to-video short called All Hail the King.

Released as a bonus feature with the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray (a Marvel Studios low point), this One-Shot was easy to miss. Back then, the studio packaged each movie with a short film that expanded the MCU even further, and All Hail the King is one of the best, featuring Ben Kingsley’s phoney Mandarin villain in jail as he comes face-to-face with the secret criminal organization he pretended to lead.

With Shang-Chi slated to reveal the actual Mandarin (played by Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), All Hail the King feels like necessary viewing now. The 13-minute short film offers a compelling look at the Ten Rings, a group that could play a huge role in the MCU as we head into Phase Four. It also features Ben Kingsley in top form, and it ends on a thrilling cliffhanger that might even lead straight into Shang-Chi.

You can find the entire thing right here, or just dig up a Blu-ray copy of Thor: The Dark World to watch it the way Marvel intended. — Jake Kleinman

The Hateful Eight

With Once Upon a Time in Hollywood arriving in theaters this weekend, now is a good time to revisit the filmography of Quentin Tarantino. While Netflix has Pulp Fiction (1994) and Inglourious Basterds (2009), the streaming platform also has Tarantino’s 2015 masterpiece The Hateful Eight, as well as an “extended version” that splits up the three-hour movie into an even longer four-episode mini-series.

In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as an aging Western star who makes a last-ditch effort to save his career. The Hateful Eight was Tarantino making a tried and true Western, whereas Once Upon a Time in Hollywood lampoons the genre for its inherent cheese.

Whatever your opinion on the director’s work, Tarantino is an undisputed master of his own style, and The Hateful Eight is the master doing his best to ape the epic Westerns of yesteryear — both the golden age films and the spaghetti Westerns from Italy. At the same time, The Hateful Eight is Tarantino’s take on Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, with its non-linear narrative based on differing character perspectives.

The film is epic; the mini-series makes a helluva binge. Whatever flavor you choose, just watch Tarantino do a steadfast cowboy movie before you see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood pay rosy tribute to the heroes of the silver screen before Marvel took over. — Eric Francisco

Battlestar Galactica

Beloved Battlestar Galactica alum Katee Sackhoff has a new spacefaring series that just hit Netflix on July 25, and unlike her stellar guest appearances on The Flash, in the lackluster Another Life, she plays a role remarkably similar to Starbuck. (The characters look identical.) In Another Life, Sackhoff plays an astronaut investigating the genesis of an alien artifact with her crew. Reviews across the internet have called it “messy,” “stilted,” and even “limp” … so you should just rewatch Battlestar Galactica instead!

We last saw Sackhoff as the foulmouthed Kara “Starbuck” Thrace more than a decade ago when the revived Battlestar Galactica series ended, and it’s with good reason that Portlandia famously lampooned what it’s like getting addicted to this show. Battlestar Galactica chronicles the second war between humanity and the A.I. robot species called the Cylons. At the start of the series, the Cylons break a peace treaty after we learn they developed the tech needed to build Cylons that could pass as humans. Overnight, they unleash a nuclear holocaust on mankind, and the ensuing series follows the titular space ship and its crew as they struggle to survive extinction by the robots they once created.

The action-packed series is tense and fraught with shocking twists, memorable characters, and it’s surprisingly sexy — a must-watch for any sci-fi fans. — Corey Plante

Dead to Me

For all the hype surrounding Big Little Lies Season 2, the show’s sophomore season didn’t live up to expectations, and the controversy around the HBO show’s direction didn’t help. But if you’re looking for a high-brow suburban drama to quench your thirst this summer, look no further than Netflix’s Dead to Me.

The 10-episode series stars Christina Applegate as Jen Harding, a sarcastic widow grieving the loss of her husband. After attending a group therapy session, Jen befriends the eccentric Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini), who’s plagued by her own turmoil and guilt over a dark secret that quickly comes to light. So it isn’t long before the foundation of their unlikely friendship is tested. Dead to Me benefits from its layered exploration of grief, making it as compelling as it is darkly funny.

Netflix already renewed the series for a second season, so you also know there’s more episodes on the horizon — we just hope Dead to Me can avoid the sophomore slump that hit Big Little Lies so hard. — Mae Abdulbaki

Two New Video Games You’ll Love

This is the biggest weekend in gaming we’ve seen in a long time. Nintendo’s latest sword boi game, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, hits the Nintendo Switch on July 26, fusing the franchise’s classic role-playing battles with the dynamics of a Hogwarts-esque academy for heroes-in-training.

Set in the 1980s, two decades after Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, comes Wolfenstein: Youngblood to all major gaming platforms. In this alternate history where Germany won World War II, you play as Jessica and Sophia Blazkowicz, the twin daughters of legendary American hero B.J. Blazkowicz. This innate co-op experience sends the twins to Paris looking for their father for a grisly, indulgent, Nazi-killing action game that feels like something Philip Roth might write if he were really into Doom. — Corey Plante

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