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

Tea Leaves, Entrails and Frankenstein

I find Hollywood a fascinating place, though perhaps that’s because my view is a distant one.

Never mind the scandals, or whom is sleeping with whom–though that’s interesting too, though only in a cursory manner.  What I find infinitely more fascinating is how is it that decisions are made.

And while I doubt that it has anything to do with reading entrails or tea leaves, I have to wonder if it’s any more accurate.

For instance, if there was someone who had a whit of understanding what it is that comic book fans as well as the average movie goers are looking for, would we have ever had Fant4stic?

Probably not.

The same thing applies to Victor Frankenstein.  There are some good actors, like Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy, but there’s something even more important missing, which is a reason why they’re making the movie in the first place.

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The Lighter Side

What happened in Paris yesterday, it goes without saying, was a tragedy on so many levels.  Unfortunately it’s also going to begat some immigrant-bashing by people that should know better–as well as those that don’t.

So here’s some inspirational politics from SCTV, and Indira (based on Indira Gandhi, the first female Prime Minister of India and Eva Peron, who was the First Lady of Argentina from 1946-1952, as well as the Broadway musical, Evita.

And since we’re seeking distraction for some terrible events, check out Monster Chiller Horror Theater’s 3D House of Cats, starring the brilliant John Candy as Dr. Tongue.  You’ll notice if you’re an aficionado of Second City Television that the 3D sound effect is different than it is in Dr. Tongue’s 3D House of Beef or 3D House of Stewardesses, which gives me the feeling that House of Cats is earlier than either of the latter two.

Pay attention to the beginning, where art imitates the alleged dating technique of a world-renown celebrity.

SCTV never quite got the notoriety of Saturday Night Live, which to this day mystifies me.

Will Hollywood Ever Learn? -Gods Of Egypt Edition

Alex Proyas is a pretty interesting director and I’ve enjoyed quite a few of his movies, particularly The Crow and Dark City  (I didn’t mind I, Robot, despite its story having little to do with Issac Asimov’s story).

That being said, his latest project, Gods of Egypt, has me scratching my head.

Gods of Egypt - Gerard Butler

In the poster above that’s Gerard Butler playing Set, the Egyptian god of Death (thankfully in the movie he at least seems to assume his jackal-headed guise at times) though if you look at the trailer virtually everyone of consequence is apparently played by a white person.

Didn’t we get enough of this bs casting with Aloha?  And I am not saying that Egyptians were black–despite the fact that for a period of time the country was conquered and ruled by Nubia, who definitely WERE–though they were certainly brown-skinned, and most definitely not white (though  Egypt was also conquered by the Roman Empire, and ruled for a time by the Ptolemies).

Then there’s the fact that Egypt is actually on the continent of Africa (though culturally is more Middle Eastern in nature).

And since the people weren’t white, why would they choose white people to represent their gods?  It’s either indicative of a people with a massive inferiority complex, or it just doesn’t happen.

My money’s on the latter.

Gods of Egypt - Horus

And I get it.  Hollywood isn’t exactly known for even attempting to depict such things accurately–a few days ago I was watching an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Energy Eater, when I noticed an American Indian character played by William Smith.  Smith has had a storied and fascinating career, and while he’s an American, he’s not Indian.

And speaking of Kolchak, Richard Kiel played an American Indian spirit in the episode Bad Medicine.

He is also not an American Indian (though I suspect that his size was what the producers were more interested in, and at over seven feet tall he’s got plenty of that).

What bothers me about casting like this is that I would have no issue with it at all if American Indians and African Americans were so common in movies and on television that casting white people in roles that traditionally aren’t wouldn’t make that much of a difference.

Though that’s just not the case.  There are plenty of American Indian, African-American, Middle Eastern actors that could use the work AND result in a more accurate portrayal of an American Indian diablero or  Egyptian deity.


What Spectre Shows About Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Batman v. Superman 1While the budget for Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, hasn’t been released yet, it’s rumored to be expensive.

And by ‘expensive,’ I mean somewhere in the ballpark of $410 million.  The source of that figure, Latino Review, isn’t always known for the accuracy of their predictions, though if it happens to be true and the movie pulls in, let’s say, $1.4 billion it will be an underwhelming enough performance to be considered a flop.

And that’s a problem.  Keep in mind that some idiot said that Avengers: Age Of Ultron was a flop despite earning over $1.4 billion–it wasn’t, especially when it cost only $250 million to produce; though maybe the person who made the claim based it on what it was expected to earn, as opposed to what it actually did–but the thing is, if Batman v. Superman earns that amount I expect the world ‘flop’ will be thrown around quite a bit.

And while that’s not necessarily accurate, it’s close enough to the truth that it should cause studio heads to pause and reexamine what they’re doing.

By way of comparison, Spectre, is doing really well.  Having been released in Europe prior to North America, it has already earned almost $300 million ($70 million of that is from domestic box office, which has been a bit underwhelming).  And the thing is, despite a strong opening, it will (probably) barely be profitable (which means that it will have to take in at least $900 million).

Batman v Superman 2That’s a HUGE amount of money, which makes you wonder why it is that studios continue to make movies that are so expensive that profitability is barely a distant notion, if that.  Yet, compared to what Batman v. Superman is supposed to cost, Spectre is almost cheap.

And this is taking into account that Zach Snyder’s Man Of Steel did not perform as strongly as many thought it would–which in hindsight shows that turning Metropolis into a crater and Superman’s seeming lack of concern about human life were not such good ideas–and that cost $225 million to produce, so how studio heads come to the conclusion that doubling the budget is a good move is somehow beyond me.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Vs. The Dark Side (Of The Internet)

It goes without saying that the internet has been beneficial to humanity.  It possesses a democratizing effect in that no matter or how little money or resources at your command, you potentially have the same access to information that a person with significantly greater resources has.

But like any benison, there’s a dark side.  The Internet also, by its very nature, facilitates the rapid spread of information, be it helpful or just rumor and innuendo, with the capability to damage lives and careers.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the latest entries to one of the most successful movie franchises in history–despite Lucas’ for the most part mediocre and machine-tooled prequels–and there’s a lot of good will that accompanies it.

The Internet being the Internet, not all the news that accompanied the upcoming movie has been positive.  Some people have felt the need to dwell in details that are either minor, or decidedly insignificant, such as the skin color of a Stormtrooper.

Sure, Stormtroopers aren’t real (though the idea was apparently inspired by Hitler’s elite shocktroops) but people take such things seriously enough–and the Internet isn’t exactly a medium that encourages thoughtful, considered discussion–that a brouhaha resulted.

The thing is, in a roundabout way I think that George Lucas himself unknowingly contributed to the problem by deciding that the Stormtroopers were clones, despite the fact that in the movies leading up to his prequels the Stormtroopers were obviously different sizes and heights (which wouldn’t be the case if they were all physically identical).

When all is said and done, the complaint is a silly one–the Internet not only makes some pretty stupid ideas almost instantly available to potentially millions of people but amplifies them seemingly a hundred-fold–and will do little to deter the movie from grossing millions of dollars, but it can’t be anything but disappointing that we can never seem to get beyond ideas that only bring out the worse in us.

That being said, the same thing happened when the Internet learned that Heimdall from the Thor movies would be played by Idris Elba (it’s worth mentioning that he’s a significantly less important character that the Stormtroopers), so it’s hardly a new thing.

Though that doesn’t make it any less interesting, though.

Will Warcraft Conquer Legendary’s Box Office Doldrums?

WarcraftLegendary, despite a somewhat acrimonious split from production partner Warner Bros, has been trying to make a go of it with Universal Pictures.

This new partnership has been an uneven one–with recent titles like Straight Outta Compton and Jurassic World doing massive box office, while Crimson Peak has so far underperformed with a total cume of $62 million on a $55 million budget–and Steve Jobs appears to flat-lining with a take of $14 million (luckily it’s relatively cheap at $30 million).

The worse hit they have suffered has been Michael Mann’s cyber-terrorist thriller, Blackhat (earning almost $18 million on a $70 million budget).

Though I get the feeling that they may be another sore spot, and that’s Warcraft, based on the Blizzard Entertainment video game of the same name.  While the budget isn’t currently known, it’s been estimated higher than $100 million, a not prohibitively expensive amount as far as these movies go, but hardly inexpensive.

As far as I can tell, it’s greatest problem is one of name recognition.  Who’s heard of Warcraft beyond gamers, a group not large enough to put a movie into the black.  It doesn’t have the broad and deep support of a Harry Potter or Lord Of The Rings so if the movie’s to be a success it has to reach beyond its current fanbase into uncharted territory.

The feature is being directed by Duncan Jones, who was in demand coming off Moon and Source Code.  The thing is the budget of both of those features isn’t half the budget of Warcraft, which isn’t to imply that he can’t do well (after all Colin Trevorrow had never worked on anything as large as Jurassic World, and he knocked that out of the park) but stakes rise exponentially with the increase in cost.

Then there’s the most important thing, namely that when people are talking about upcoming movies that they want to see, it’s usually in reference to Star Wars: The Force Awakens or even Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, and not Warcraft–which is supposed to release a trailer this Friday–which Legendary hopes to change.