Click Bait: Paul Rudd Edition

First off, let me begin by saying that Paul Rudd is one of my favorite actors.  He reminds me a lot of Chris Pratt, minus the occasional athleticism and seemingly boundless optimism.

I mention him because recently a bunch of sites–such as Deadline: Hollywood, though I am sure there’re others–have featured pictures of Rudd from Marvel Studios’ upcoming Ant-Man and…

Is it Rudd in the Ant-Man costume?  Perhaps facing off against Yellowjacket? Something to get fans over the seemingly earth shattering debacle of Edgar Wright being replaced by Peyton Reed?

No, it’s Paul Rudd being…Paul Rudd.  How awfully lame.  And I get it.  It’s supposedly a picture from the Ant-Man set, but how can you tell?  It could literally be a picture of Paul Rudd wondering anywhere, who’s to know?

Five Reasons That Will Contribute To Guillermo Del Toro Directing Doctor Strange

This post is entirely speculation, though it is based upon logic as well as current news.

Notice that in the title of this article I sad “could” as opposed to “would” because the last I heard was that Del Toro was busy working on Legendary Pictures’ upcoming fright-feature “Crimson Peak,” as well as executive producing the FX series based upon the trilogy he wrote with Chuck Hogan, “The Strain,” “The Fall” and “The Night Eternal.”

But I have been reading the tea leaves and checking the entrails regularly, and here’s what I have seen:

1.  Despite Rumors To The Contrary, Guillermo Del Toro Will Not Be Doing “Justice League Dark” Anytime Soon

Why?  Because NBC is working on “Constantine,” a series not based on the Francis Lawrence movie of the same name, but the DC (formerly under their Vertigo imprint) series, also of the same name.  While it’s possible that the character could appear in both places at the same time (this is, of course assuming that the television series has a long life), it’s probably not going to happen.  The character of John Constantine is the lynchpin that the team revolves around, and without him the concept is pretty much dead in the water, besides being somewhat esoteric.

Matt Ryan/John Constantine

Matt Ryan as John Constantine

And that’s even considering how much Warner Bros would have to invest from the budget end of things, which would probably be huge (though they could do it with a partner, as long as it’s not Legendary Pictures, since they and Warner Bros. somewhat acrimoniously parted ways.  That being said, they still work with Village Roadshow Pictures).

2.  DC/Warner Bros. Doesn’t Seem To Have Much Of A Plan Toward Developing Their Characters

Whether or not someone likes what Marvel is doing with their characters, you have to admit that they not only have a plan, but they are executing it really, really well.  This is primarily because the head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has apparently developed a plan to develop their characters, and is following it.  Marvel’s roadmap is divided into Phases:  Phase One consisted of “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” ” Captain America: The First Avenger,” and “Thor” and culminated in “The Avengers.”

Notice the pattern:  First there’s an introduction of the characters–which may or may not have more than one film in the future–and a film that brings them all together.

Phase Two consists of “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The Guardians Of The Galaxy,” and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Phase Three will consist of “Ant-Man,” “Captain America 3,” “Thor 3″ and “The Avengers 3.”

As I said, you don’t necessarily have to like what Marvel is doing, but what you can’t deny is that there is a plan at work.

Warner Bros/DC?  Not so much.  What seems to be driving them is profit above all, which I understand, but that’s not a plan.  Though it didn’t exactly start that way because for awhile it appeared that DC was building toward a Justice League feature–and probably still are–which began with “Green Lantern.”

Oh, but wait!  Green Lantern?  Don’t I mean Batman?  No, I don’t because Christopher Nolan’s Batman films aren’t necessarily part of DC’s greater cinematic plans because Nolan quite deliberately kept them separate from the rest of the DC Universe, which was probably not a great decision in retrospect.

Though that’s why “Green Lantern” was so important:  It was the beginning of DC/Warner Bros. establishing a larger canvas on which to display their properties.  If Green Lantern had worked they could have brought Ryan Reynolds back as the character in other DC films, such as the Justice League, or even the upcoming “Batman Vs. Superman” feature.

But it was not to be because Green Lantern was unable to recharge either his lantern or the box office, where it earned almost $220 million on a $200 million dollar budget; not enough to make a profit.

So DC rebooted Superman, in “Man of Steel,” without a doubt the most violent Superman film ever made.

Which could perhaps explain why that film made “only” $668 million dollars.  It’s a lot of money, but for a character as iconic and as firmly established in the public consciousness as Superman, it actually wasn’t that great a performance.

For the sequel, “Superman Vs. Batman,” DC will not only feature Superman and Batman, but Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor as the villain.  It seems apparent that they are trying to follow a strategy similar to Marvel, except more compressed.

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Why The Vision Shouldn’t Begin Life As J.A.R.V.I.S

http://marvel.wikia.com/Vision_(Earth-616)

Image courtesy of Marvel Wiki

Unlike in the case of Bryan Singer‘s “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” as of this writing I haven’t seen anything from Joss Whedon‘s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” though it was made known that Paul Bettany (who voiced the Tony Stark’s AI, known as J.A.R.V.I.S) would be playing the synthizoid known as the Vision.

For those not familiar with the comics, the Vision was created by Ultron, designed to defeat the Avengers (though eventually he becomes a good guy).  The movies seem to be following a similar trajectory as the comics, but with one (rumored) difference:  Vision will somehow be an offshoot of Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S.

That is a really bad idea for two reasons:  The first is personal.  I have never been fond of J.A.R.V.I.S because Tony Stark’s AI is based on an “actual” character, Jarvis, who was the butler of the Avengers.

Whom I really liked.

http://marvel.wikia.com/Edwin_Jarvis_(Earth-616)

Yeah, I am kind of awesome.

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Why The Success of ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Doesn’t Bode Well for DC/Warner Bros

Thor: The Dark World movie posterSome people prefer Marvel heroes, like Spider-Man and The Avengers, while others prefer DC, and characters like Batman and Superman, though the line between the two for most is a bit blurrier than that.  For instance, while I generally like Marvel, I grew up on the giant-sized adventures of Batman, which I fondly remember my mother bringing me home.

When I called the 'giants' I wasn't kidding!

When I called them ‘giant-sized’ I wasn’t kidding!

And with superheroes, like anything else, some are more popular than others.  The X-Men has been well-received by comics readers for years, and it’s reflected in the popularity of the feature films based upon the characters.

Batman is huge for DC/Warner Bros., and shows in the success of the movies.

Superman, if not as popular as Batman, is still one of DC’s biggest characters, so that a feature film about him is expected to do well.  What’s shocking is that that Thor, who has never been an A-list character (even during the awesome Walt Simonson run), is doing so remarkably well.

How well?  Much better than the first film, which topped off at $450 million.

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Ant-Man Comic-Con Test Footage (Redux)

As far as I was aware, the only footage of Edgar Wright’s “Ant-Man” were either storyboards, one of which I have included below, crude FX tests (which I have not) or pirated footage that also looked pretty bad.

Imagine my surprise to learn that Machinima posted a really comprehensive view of the trailer already (perhaps the best yet).  It’s not the full trailer presented at Comic-Con, but it’s enough to tell what direction Wright is going to be moving in with the feature.

Cool Dr. Strange Rumor!

The Doctor Is In The House (Hopefully)

Remember when Marvel’s ‘Phase 2′ slate of films were announced?  They consisted of:  “Ant-Man,” “Thor 2: The Dark World,” “Iron Man 3,” Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” and it goes without saying, Avengers 2.

Notice who’s not on the list:  Dr. Strange, which is odd considering that Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios, expressed an interest in the character.

So, where is he?  According to Screenrant, the good doctor will be playing a big role in the upcoming Thor sequel, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it because the characters in ‘Thor’ deal with a science so advanced that it looks for all intents and purposes like magic.

Which is not only why it’s a great opportunity to introduce Dr. Strange, but it offers a way to introduce his magics in a way that grounds it in a consistent Marvel reality.

Keep in mind that everything in the article is speculation, though it’s all very logical (from the perspective that I really, really want it to be true).

‘Attack The Block’ Trailer

Here’s the trailer for the upcoming kids vs. aliens thriller (think E.T. with a very bad attitude.  And teeth) “Attack The Block” from Joe Cornish, a frequent collaborator with Edgar Wright (both of whom worked on the screenplay for the upcoming “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” for Dreamworks, and “Ant-Man”, for Marvel Studios).

“Attack the Block” is being distributed by Screen Gems (a division of Sony) in the United States, though it has already been released in the United Kingdom.

I’ll have a review Thursday, which will be spoiler-free.