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A Salute to James Badge Dale, the American Sean Bean

James Badge Dale plays the hero in The Lone Ranger. He’s Dan Reid, a Texas Ranger with scruffy facial hair and pained sky-blue eyes. He’s soft-spoken but quick with a one-liner, half jocky frat-boy and half wounded warrior. He makes fun of his little brother but clearly loves his little brother, and when he sets off on his third or fourth dangerous mission of the day, he says goodbye to his wife and child with a mixture of apology (because he’s a man who can’t help how much he likes his dangerous job) and tremendous care (because he’s a man who loves his family and knows that every time he sees them could be the last time). He’s a little bit John Wayne and a little bit Han Solo, a hero who’s also clearly a scoundrel, a fraternity president who’s also a noble lawman. He’s dead by around the half-hour mark.

There’s no place for obvious heroes in contemporary Hollywood blockbusters, is what Lone Ranger tries to say over and over again; Dan Reid needs to die so his nerdy younger brother can become him. (The fact that his nerdy younger brother is played by genetic superhuman Armie Hammer is one of several thousand indications that The Lone Ranger is too stupid for its ambitions.)

Baby, you're a firework: Check out some favorite fireworks in pop culture

The Fourth of July means many things: family, food, sun, shouts of “AMURRICA!” and maybe a mosquito bite or four. But more than anything, it’s fireworks that symbolize Fourth of July celebrations around the country — from the lakeside pier to sparklers in the backyard to the Statue of Liberty and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Movies, music videos, and TV shows have captured fireworks moments for generations, both to show emotion (sparks fly!) and of course to represent the holiday. We’ve put together a list of some of the most memorable firework moments in pop culture history below; make sure to let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite!

'Suits' makes EW's Summer Must List -- the stars give us theirs

Entertainment Weekly‘s annual Summer Must List issue hits stands today, and readers eagerly awaiting the July 16 return of USA’s Suits will be happy to see the legal drama makes the cut. On May 15, we sat down with stars Gabriel Macht, 41, and Patrick J. Adams, 31, and asked what tops their lists. Their banter — which gets particularly enjoyable when the subject turns to their different tastes in music — may just tide fans over.

Entertainment Weekly: So what’s on your Summer Must List?
Patrick J. Adams: [Shouts] The Daft Punk album! I can’t stop listening to that.
Gabriel Macht: Season 1 of The Wire.
Adams: [Laughs] This is Gabriel’s Summer Must List from 10 years ago. READ FULL STORY

'The Avengers 2' without Robert Downey Jr.? It's possible even if it's unthinkable

The final title card in Iron Man 3 declared, “Tony Stark Will Return.” It’s a reassuring promise (and one that shows that the character’s not-so-secret identity has gained just as much popularity as his superhero alter ego). But it’s not necessarily a guarantee that Robert Downey Jr. will also return.

The massive opening weekend for Iron Man 3 was immediately followed by uncertainty about Downey’s future in the franchise. With the completion of the third installment in the trilogy about the Armored Avenger, Downey fulfilled his contractual obligations to play the character.

So the big question here is, will Downey be in The Avengers 2? READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: 'Iron Man 3' plays rough with Marvel's top hero


Watch out — she’s armed.

Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow have been hoping to get Tony Stark’s ladylove Pepper Potts into some armor ever since the second Iron Man movie, fulfilling the character’s comic book evolution from the damsel in distress to the high-powered heroine known as Rescue. With Iron Man 3, it finally happens. “It’s sort of the comic-book version of a Cinderella story,” Paltrow says of her character’s four-film arc. “She starts timid and sort of cleaning up after Tony, and then she evolves into full strength and a superhero.”

But there’s a chance that her first time in the suit may also be her last …

In this week’s cover story, Entertainment Weekly explores a question that everyone who sees Iron Man 3 this weekend will be asking: Is this the end?


Robert Downey Jr. straps on his movie promotion suit for 'Daily Show' interview -- VIDEO

Anyone else got a sneaking suspicion that Robert Downey Jr. and Tony Stark are actually the same person? They’re both super-rich bad boys with troubled pasts. Both excel in the same fields as their accomplished fathers. And both have a habit of treating interviews like one big joke, only occasionally trading confident quips for shots of insight.

Exhibit A: RDJ’s Daily Show appearance last night, in which the Iron Man 3 star blithely said that being an Avenger is like being a Beatle and joked that the original Superman didn’t really make him believe a man could fly, “because the effects weren’t very good back then.” It’s nice to know that even if this entry in the series is grimmer and bleaker than previous Iron Man tales, its star is still as flippant as he’s always been.

Downey did, however, drop the cool-kid act when saying how excited he is about this movie finally incorporating the Mandarin, a classic villain Downey’s been pitching since the first Iron Man flick. He also dabbled in fortune-cookie philosophy at the end of the interview, sagely recounting this proverb for Jon Stewart: “The optimist believes his future is uncertain. The pessimist is always right.”


PopWatch Planner: 'Iron Man 3,' 'The Following' and 'The Americans' season finales, and more


Here we are again, season finale time is kicking off. It seems like just yesterday that we were anticipating Revolution, excited for season 2 of Once Upon a Time, and wondering what Lena Dunham would bring us on new episodes of Girls. Oh, the passing of time. Now’s the time to catch up on The Following, Happy Endings, and The Americans (before their season finales this week)! Here’s how else to fill your pop culture desires this week: READ FULL STORY

'Wrong Director' casts Woody Allen as new Iron Man -- VIDEO

Here is one Iron Man 3 development you may not have seen coming: CineFix’s “Wrong Director” series is putting an animated Woody Allen in Marvel’s big metal suit. Stammering ensues: “Pepper Potts, she says, uh, I’m not romantic — says, y’know, we’ve never made love in a rain storm … That’s easy for her to say: She doesn’t, y’know, rust.” Pepper is actually an Annie Hall-era Diane Keaton. Larry David is the Mandarin. Bonus: Allen’s love of white-on-black credits, out-of-time piano, and effusive blurbs from The New Yorker (“It totally kicks ass and is way poignant!”) and the Chicago Sun-Times.


Robert Downey Jr. can live like Tony Stark after $50-million 'Avengers' pay-day

Robert Downey Jr.’s comeback story is one for the ages. Unquestionably talented but caught in a sticky web of drugs and bizarre behavior for much of his twenties and thirties, Downey seemed to spend as much time in rehab or jail as he did on film sets.

Things turned around dramatically for the twice Oscar-nominated actor following his marriage to wife Susan in 2005. Clean and sober, he was cast as Tony Stark in Iron Man — despite initial studio resistance — and the rest is film history.

In a cover story for GQ‘s May issue, Downey Jr. opens up about the turnaround, his future as a superhero, and his prospects for someday winning an Oscar (he thinks they are very good). Read on to see the six best quotes from the interview, including the Iron Man 3 actor’s thoughts on how overacting is similar to bestiality and how much money he made for The Avengers (it’s a lot!). READ FULL STORY

'Iron Man 3' trailer: A Deep Dive

Marvel released a new trailer for Iron Man 3 today that is positively brimming with new stuff: New scenes, new mysteries, a surprisingly new tone of dark romanticism. (You can watch the trailer here.) The film marks the official beginning of Marvel’s Phase 2, which also means that it marks the official beginning of “The Phase Where Marvel Has To Prove These Solo Movies Are Just As Good As Avengers.” Let’s take a closer look at the trailer and see what we can uncover, shall we? READ FULL STORY

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