Why Marvel Needs To Take Its Time Jumping On The Female Superhero Movie Bandwagon

I have written on women superheroes in movies in the past, and thought that it was a topic worth revisiting, especially since some have decided that Marvel Studios somehow has a duty to make a feature with a female lead.

Which is nonsense, but don’t get me wrong, inclusiveness is a great thing. All of us need to be able to see ourselves in the various superhero universes out there because they serve to not only inspire us, but as a reminder that reminder that we’re part of something greater than ourselves.

But there’s one problem with that thesis: Hollywood is driven not by altruism, but by money. If superhero films featuring women were successful, I guarantee you that every studio would be making them.

And it’s not rocket science as to why such films aren’t more common, which is because they have, so far, been failures at the box office.

For a prime example why Marvel should take their time, let’s look to 2004, when Warner Bros released Catwoman.  It was a failure, earning $80 million on a $100 million budget. And truth be told that was $80 million more than the movie deserved (Though Halle Berry was so classy that she actually attended the 2005 Golden Raspberry Awards–also known as “The Razzies“–where Catwoman “won” in the Worse Picture category).

And the thing is, I don’t blame Pitof, who directed, or Berry’s performance in the title role (though the ‘tuna’ scene was a bit obvious and silly).

Heck, I don’t even blame Theresa RebeckMichael Ferris or John Brancato, who wrote it.

I blame whichever executives at Warner Bros who green-lit the project because alarm bells should have immediately gone off when it was learned that the main character, Patience Phillips (Berry) was ‘Catwoman’ in name only.  Her origins had very little to do with the comics that inspired her creation.  Now, I understand that executives may have wanted to go in a different direction after Catwoman made an appearance in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns–who portrayed the character as a bit too damaged–but to go so totally in the opposite direction tonally was a bit of an over-correction.

As if the Titanic, in a effort to miss a a small sheet of ice, ran smack-dab into the iceberg.

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Dancing Groot

For the one or two of you that have seen James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, this is the scene at the end (not the ‘button,’ or ‘stinger,’  only a tool would spoil that), and part of the reason why this is, so far, quite the most innovative Marvel movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

It’s such an odd, cute little scene, bursting with the love that screenwriters Gunn and Nicole Perlman clearly felt for the material.

See Warner Bros?  When you take something that under normal circumstances would be too treacly for words, and place it in the movie in a way that it serves a purpose and belongs, fans will get it.

 

The Flash – ‘My Name Is…’ Trailer

I don’t know what it is about Warner Bros superheroes.  For some reason, if the movies are any indicator, Metropolis and Gotham City are where dreams and hope go to die.  Overall, everything is dark (more so, at least in a physical sense, in Gotham) and gloomy, as if the inhabitants carried invisible weights upon their shoulders.

And this gloominess is apparently contagious, because their superheroes are the same.  And the thing is, I actually get it in the case of Batman.  He’s not called ‘the Dark Knight’ for nothing, though Superman?  Not so much.

It’s what I have come to call ‘Nolanitis,’ because it’s a way of visualizing superheroes that became popular with Christopher Nolan’s Batman films (Tim Burton’s Batman lived in a gothic, dark Gotham as well, but his version was way more pulpy and very much like the comics writ large while Nolan’s films–which are just as cartoony as Burton’s and Schumacher’s; don’t let anyone tell you different–there’s a nihilism that I am not quite sure works, considering the subject matter.

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Warner Bros Moves ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ Premiere Date

Numerous sources reported today that Warner Bros moved the launch date of Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice from May 6, 2016, where it would have competed directed with Marvel Studios tentatively titled Captain America 3, to March 25 of the same year.  This ensures that it doesn’t–initially–compete with Captain America 3.

This is probably a good move on Warner Bros part because it can be argued that Captain America: The Winter Soldier outperformed Man Of Steel, despite Superman being better known, as well as a more iconic character.

3 Hurdles Marvel’s ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Overcame To Be One Of The Biggest Movies Of The Summer

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy opened in the United States last week, and looks to have a very bright future, seeing that based on advanced buzz along, Marvel has already locked in a sequel for 2017 while Thursday it earned $11.2 million, besting established franchises like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Captain America: The Winter Soldier for a Thursday debut.

Worldwide, its earned over $160 million; pretty impressive for a movie that’s based on a bunch of characters literally no one was familiar with before the movie.

Though what’s most interesting is how risky a venture it actually is, for I think three reasons:

  • First, there’s nothing like Guardians of the Galaxy.  Marvel Studios features, from Iron Man to The Avengers, have always featured a balance of action as well as humor.  That’s has always been a part of the Marvel formula, but Guardians is different.  Some have described it as a comedy, and while there’s plenty that funny, it’s more a case of viewers caring and being invested in the characters–particularly Groot and Rocket–that they come off as fully-realized characters that just happen to be a raccoon and an alien tree, as opposed to just a bunch of pixels.
  • Second, as many have stated prior, there are no recognizable characters in Guardians of the Galaxy (other than Thanos, and I think it’s reasonably same to assume that no one is seeing it for him–which is something that Sony should keep in mind before doing a movie based on The Sinister Six, most of whom are unknown to most viewers and whom are also villains) which goes without saying is a huge risk, made even more so when you take into account that it was directed by James Gunn, who prior directed two smaller films, Slither and Super, which cost 17.5 million to produce.

For both movies.  While Guardians cost $170 million.

And when you combine this fact with the fact that Gunn doesn’t particularly like making movies (around the 12: 58 mark) then the odds were more than even that Guardians could have potentially been Marvel’s weakest performer, if not a box office failure.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Review

Guardians/Star Wars

It’s That’s Good.  You’re Welcome.

Let’s be clear about something:  James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy should not have worked, at least as well as Gunn (who co-wrote the screenplay with Nicole Perlman and directed) and Marvel Studios obviously think (and it’s clear that they are optimistic because based on early reviews a sequel as already been green lit for 2017).  Look at what it has going against it.  Gunn himself has directed two movies before, Slither, an interesting little horror comedy and Super, a not-so-interesting take on a superhero movie.

The lead actor, Chris Pratt hasn’t been the lead in ANY feature.  He’s carved out a pretty impressive niche on television, and pops up occasionally in movies though before now, never as a lead.

So we have an unproven lead on top of and two characters that are entirely computer-generated.  And if that weren’t bad enough, one of these computer generated actors literally says three words.  FOR THE ENTIRE MOVIE.  And while he’s voiced by Vin Diesel, you couldn’t tell that from watching the movie.

Oh yeah, and the other CG character is a raccoon.  A talking raccoon that has a fetish for anything that goes “Boom!”

And did I mention that one of the characters is also a wrestler–who isn’t the Rock–so who knows how things are going to come out.

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The Last ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Trailer…

There may be more Guardians of the Galaxy trailers coming, but seeing that the movie is coming out in a bit less than two weeks, this is the last one (unless a new one has something more interesting to reveal) that I intend to post.  The reason being, as far as I am concerned they’re just preaching to the converted.

This trailer revolves around the coming together Peter Quill/Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket & Groot, the beings that will come to be known as the Guardians of the Galaxy.  They meet in the intergalactic prison known as the Kyln (an awesome name, by the way), though if the trailer is at all accurate, they won’t be there long.

The movie looks awesome and early reviews are positively glowing, so unless all of the sudden everything goes off the rails, I am expecting it to be pretty awesome.