The Punisher We Need

For some reason Marvel Comics’ Punisher has been a difficult nut to crack–despite the fact that the character is essentially Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) from 1974’s Death Wish, a movie that went on to do pretty well at the box office.

His first appearance was in New World Pictures 1984 movie The Punisher, and despite the criticism that surrounds that movie, wasn’t terrible–which isn’t to imply that it was great, though it was enjoyable in its own way–and Dolph Lindgren (and his ever-present Swedish accent) interpreted the material pretty well.

Unfortunately, not even the Punisher couldn’t get people into theaters, and the movie flopped.

The character was revisited again in LionsGate’s 2004 movie The Punisher, this time starring Thomas Jane.

Jane does pretty well in the role, despite not being as physically similar to the character as Lundgren.

And it once again underperforms–despite that if you move forward ten years to 2014 Denzel Washington starred in the successful movie interpretation of The Equalizer (based on a 1985 CBS television series) who essentially IS the Punisher.

Lionsgate tried again in 2008 with Punisher: War Zone which was similar in tone to the 1984 movie (with its violence intact and intensified, if nothing else).

And it too didn’t do that well, and since you’d be lucky to get one chance at success, never mind three, you’d be safe in assuming that the Punisher had killed his last opponent. Continue reading

Can We Stop With The ’67 Characters’ Nonsense?

Screenshot 2016-01-13 21.10.48.pngRecently quite a few venues are running with the idea that the Russo brothers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War) are going to have 67 characters in their upcoming two-parter. Avengers: Infinity War.

This is, on the face of it, nonsensical because last time I checked Marvel Studios haven’t even introduced 20 characters, never mind 67.

Besides, it would be also be outside the typical method they use to introduce new superheroes (most of their main characters were introduced via solo movies, expect for the Falcon, Black Widow, War  Machine, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Quicksilver, Vision, and Winter Soldier, most of whom are supporting characters–with the exception of Winter Soldier and Black Panther, the latter whom will have a solo movie).

And if it were true, we’d more than likely be talking about cameos–extended or otherwise–typically a most unsatisfying way to introduce new characters.

Which is why I believe that what the Russos are talking about is that they are considering from 67 characters to use, as opposed to actually including 67 characters.

Similar wording, huge difference.

 

Marvel’s Daredevil – Official Season Two Trailer

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The first season of Marvel’s Daredevil had a huge hurdle to overcome.

When Fox released the 2003 movie based on the character, he was treated pretty much as a red-suited Spider-Man, which anyone familiar to the character could tell you isn’t the way to go.

In any case, the movie didn’t do badly from a financial standpoint, so Fox intended to proceed with a sequel (though likely without Ben Affleck) and were gearing up to do just that when they lost their director (David Slade, who went on to direct Hannibal on NBC).

Continue reading

Somehow Star Wars: The Force Awakens Hasn’t Made As Much As Avatar

Star Wars: The Force Awakens–I’m starting to warm up to that subtitle, at last–is approaching the box office of Avatar and I don’t understand it.

What’s confused me is that I don’t understand how it is that Avatar was able to reach such box office heights in the first place.

Let’s be honest, it’s not a particularly innovative movie–besides how it was made, that is–and the story is essentially cowboys and indians (Cowboys & Aliens?) with an environmental twist.

(Though if I were honest, it lost me when they had an AMP–Amplified Mobility Platform–grab a knife).

It’s a battle suit.  Make the weapon part of it.  That way, it can’t drop it.

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Anyway, that’s not to say that the latest Star Wars movie is innovative either–it’s essentially Star Wars: A New Hope, which was mildly disappointing,  with some shiny new effects.

That being said, after Lucas’ machine-tooled prequels (which were as innovative as Avatar in their own way) Star Wars fans would have paid virtually anything to see a movie evocative of the original trilogy.

And if LucasFilm under Disney is capable of nothing else it’s creating audience-pleasing entertainment (if their Pixar, Marvel Studios and Disney Animation divisions are any indicator) for the greatest possible amount of people.

 

 

Costumes Really, Really Matter

Being a huge comic geek can at times be a double-edged sword despite the fact that with Marvel Studios, DC Entertainment and others producing record amounts of superhero-based content.

Part of the trepidation is due to the fact that studios aren’t catering exclusively to comic book readers, so they have produce movies with the non-comic reader in mind.

Which is a subtle way of saying that what comic readers typically find acceptable, non-comic readers don’t.

This is why, when Bryan Singer produced the movie based on Marvel’s X-Men they were dressed in black leather, with little indication–at least in terms of costumes–of their comic book origins.

And to a degree that’s understandable, but for people who’ve followed these characters since childhood–I actually learned to read from comics, so they’re particularly important to me–it’s a bit disappointing.

Which is why when I saw the pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch from Marvel Studio’s upcoming Doctor Strange, part of me sang with glee.

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As far as I can tell, it’s a pretty good interpretation, though don’t take my word for it, check out the original below!

That being said I am not sure what’s going on with the belt (I am getting a definite Iron Man vibe from it–not a good thing).

 

 

Independence Day: Resurgence – Trailer

The trailer for the latest chapter in the Independence Day saga dropped a few hours ago, and to be honest I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Between Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and X-Men: Apocalypse there are some huge movies coming out relatively soon.

There’s potentially millions riding on when these movies drop because–as we have seen with In The Heart Of The Sea, an otherwise decent looking movie except for the fact that it’s expensive (supposedly somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million) and was released a week before Star Wars: The Force Awakens–I get the feeling that one, or even two of these movies aren’t going to do nearly as well as prognosticators like to think.

Which leads to Independence Day: Resurgence.  While it’s good to see Roland Emmerich moving away from the whitewashing of gay history in Stonewall, I am not sure that a sequel to Independence Day–sans Will Smith–has the box office muscle to take on Captain America, Batman and BB-8.

Like I implied earlier, if this is released with a few months of breathing room, it will probably do fine.  If it goes against any of the movies I’ve listed above–minus In The Heart Of The Sea, which will likely have left theaters–then Independence Day: Resurgence might not be able to stand against the tentpole tsunami soon to hit land.

Six Reasons I Am Jazzed About The Captain America: Civil War Trailer

A lot of people are jazzed about Star Wars: The Force Awakens (illustrated by millions in advance ticket sales), Suicide Squad or maybe Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and I understand the enthusiasm.

I really do, but for me, the trailer for the must see movie for 2016 dropped late yesterday, and that’s Captain America: Civil War.

Captain America: The First Avenger was for me a bit meh.  Captain America was always sort of bland, truth be told, and while I was glad to see such an earnest portrayal of the character on screen, he didn’t exactly stoke the flames of geekiness in me.

That is, till I saw Captain America: The Winter Solder, and realized that Marvel Studios was able to do the seemingly impossible, which was to not only make Captain America relevant and dynamic, but most importantly without altering what made him so interesting in the first place; which was the almost simplistic, black and white way that he sees the world.

It’s part of what makes the Captain so fascinating.  It’s also a  world view that’s in some respects shared by DC Entertainment’s Superman, which is one of the many reasons why Man of Steel disappointed me so much: the producers apparently had so little faith in the essentially goodness and child-like naïveté at the heart of the Superman character that they–apparently in an effort to make him darker and more palatable to what they thought modern audience were looking for–essentially destroyed everything that made Superman, Superman.

So, without further ado, the six reasons why I am so jazzed about the Captain America: Civil War trailer.

  1. Someone (Finally) Decks Tony Stark!

Which he deserved after the creation of homicidal robot/doppelganger Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Robert Downey, Jr’s Tony Stark is the lynch pin that holds the Marvel Cinematic Universe together.  But the thing is, Stark is also a bit of dick.  The only thing that matches his brilliance is his arrogance, so it’s nice that first time we see Stark he has a shiner, which implies that for once when he pushed, someone pushed back.

And I’m willing to be that that ‘someone’ is Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)

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2.  The Falcon Can Actually Fight

When we’re introduced to The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he’s pretty awesome, though you’ll probably notice that the only things he brought to the party were a set of wings and a ready quip.

Which, coming from someone who can’t fly, is pretty awesome, but this time around he displays more martial prowess, which is in line with the idea that the Falcon is more than just the ability to fly and a sense of humor.

And did I mention he’s going to have a version of Redwing in this movie?

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3. The Black Panther

Based on all the pre-production artwork, I thought that the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) would be sporting some sort of leather-like costume.

Looking at the screen shot from the trailer, he’s apparently wearing some sort of armor.

And he looks badass.

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4. Can We Once And For All Accept That Captain America Will Clean Batman’s Clock?

The Internet loves the Batman (much of that due to Christopher Nolan’s reboot), but can we just accept that Captain America will clean his clock?

In Avengers: Age of Ultron he tossed a motorcycle (he used momentum, but still) at Hydra’s advancing troops, and apparently in Captain America: Civil War he prevents a helicopter from taking off by grasping the landing gear in one hand, and the side of a building in another.

Sorry, but Batman just isn’t in his league.

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5. Who Has The Strength To Do This To War Machine?

War Machine (Don Cheadle) is essentially Iron Man with heavier weaponry and someone who’s actually combat-trained at the helm.  By way of clarification, facing him is like facing Iron Man, but with a greater grasp of fighting and battle strategy.

Yet, someone clearly beat the stuffing out of him, and I wonder who.

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6.  So This Is How Captain America and The Winter Soldier Face Iron Man!

I have to admit that I was scratching my head over this one.  As strong and capable as Captain America is, he’s no match for Iron Man.  Stark’s genius, combined with a virtually invincible battle suit is a huge hurdle to overcome.

I was imagining that the producers of the movie would cheat to make Captain America somehow win (which is honestly the only way that he would be able to do so one-on-one) but it appears that they teamed him with the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

Two battle-hardened warriors against Iron Man?  One a superhuman fighter/tactician, the other a lethal (former) assassin with a bionic arm?

This makes sense.  They definitely cracked the code.Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.36.46.png