The DCEU Finds Redemption

There a story on Superherohype where Ben Affleck says that the portrayal of Batman in Warner Bros/DC Films upcoming Justice League would be a more ‘traditional’ portrayal of the character.

What!?

The fact that Affleck has to tell viewers this is indicative of perhaps the greatest problem the DCEU has (yet) to overcome: namely a loss of support from their core audience, which are the people who grew up reading the comics these characters first appeared in.

Which is such a weird place to be because it’s a problem of their own making in that all they needed to do was to make their superheroes more faithful (I understand that no character translates wholly intact from the printed page to the movie screen but it’s almost as if Warner Bros wasn’t even trying) to how the characters appeared in the comics, then literally sit back and rake in the cash.

But if Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad have shown us anything, it’s seemingly not quite that easy.

Or does it?  Maybe the greatest problem with the three aforementioned movies has less to do with their their fidelity to the source material (though that’s certainly there) than an attempt to be visually and esthetically different from Marvel Studios.

And on some level that’s understandable.  What isn’t is creating such an esthetically and morally unappealing interpretation of Batman and Superman (though what’s worse is that there’s nothing wrong with such portrayals per se.  It’s more a question of starting with a more traditional interpretation then have events turn the character dystopic–which was said, but never shown in reference to Batman).

That’s an important journey viewers would have not enjoyed embarking on, and would have shown the seminal events that resulted in a murderous Batman (something the character studiously avoided during for the bulk of time he has existed).

Wonder Woman–for the DCEU–is literally a game changer in that it not appears more faithful to the comics than the aforementioned movies, yet managed to appeal to both critics and the bulk of the moviegoing audience.

It may not have quite restored faith in the fledgling cinematic universe that is the DCEU

Inhumans – Trailer 2

The more I see trailers for Marvel Television’s Inhumans, the better it’s starting to look.  The FX is fine (and while Lockjaw himself looks great; his transport effect?  Not so much) and while I’m hardly waiting with baited breath, I am interested enough to catch it in theaters (mainly because I am curious if it looks cinematic enough to warrant the involvement of IMAX.

Mother! – Trailer

Darren Aronofsky is nothing if not a director who appears resistant to pigeonholing due to the variety of genres he tends to work with (though that he’s not exactly a prolific director may have something to do with it.  His last film, Noah, was three years ago; Black Swan was seven)

From Requiem To A Dream to The Fountain, he seems to seek to push boundaries (and if Noah is any indicator, buttons as well).

Mother! (Yes, it comes complete with it’s own exclamation point) appears to be some sort of horror movie–I’m reasonably certain a that that’s a mannikin of Jennifer Lawrence on the movie poster–which the director has not yet tackled (Black Swan was close, though that was more of a psychological thriller).

It’s hard to tell what the movie is about exactly–a couple appears to be moving into a new house, some people encroach on the space (they seem to have some sort of link to the husband) and suddenly everyone seems to turn against her, perhaps even the house itself.

Which reminds me of another horror movie I am very fond of.

You Can’t Keep A Good Judge Down


For awhile it seemed that the box office did what the Cursed Earth and the Angel Gang couldn’t which is to stop Judge Dredd.

But you can’t keep a good Judge–or Karl Urban–down despite the checkered performance of Dredd in movies.

The character’s first appearance was in 1995’s Judge Dredd, which was such a wasted opportunity to properly introduce the character to American audiences (he first appeared in the British comic 2000 AD).

The first problem was that he was played by Sylvester Stallone, which is less a commentary on Stallone as an actor (though he was never a particularly a good fit for Dredd, physically speaking) more than there was little chance he would go through the entire movie without taking off his helmet (Dredd NEVER showed his entire face and if by chance he removed his helmet–which was rare, but did happen–his face was always obscured somehow).

Despite its issues, Judge Dredd wasn’t a terrible movie and was somewhat faithful to the source material.

2012’s Dredd in contrast was far more faithful to the character and Karl Urban’s look almost perfectly embodied the character (though if I were picking nits I’d say that Urban, like Stallone, was a bit short because Dredd in the comics was always a bit tall and lanky) and the MegaCity One embodied by the movie was not quite as distant from the current day, visually speaking, as the 1995 movie.

Though, despite having a significantly smaller budget, Dredd underperformed as well though unlike Stallone’s portrayal it was army received by fans of the character and built a cult following when it left theaters.

So, as I said earlier, you can’t keep a good Judge down, and Dredd is the absolute best, which is why I’m not surprised that Karl Urban appears to be having active discussions on bringing Judge Dredd to the small screen (likely on either Netflix of Amazon), the episodic nature of which is a perfect vehicle for the further adventures of the best lawman in MegaCity One.

Not-So Fair Use

I was originally going to write a post revolving around the fate of Mike Flanagan’s (Oculus, Hush, Oujia: Origin of Evil) Before I Wake, which was caught up in the failure of Relativity when I found this link on YouTube:

Apparently, when Relativity was solvent rights to the movie were sold for release in other territories, which means it may have been in theaters internationally, which was the beginning of the journey to YouTube.

The link I’ve provided isn’t in English, but an English version is available, in case you were wondering.

Now THIS is the type of activity YouTube needs to police, not people using snippets of trailers or videos (which likely falls under Fair Use) in their own videos.

The Defenders – Trailer 2

Marvel Television, as far as I can tell, is in a bind entirely of their own making.

While I enjoy the series that have done thus far–with a particular emphasis on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.–I do feel a certain reluctance on their parts to embrace the fantastic wholeheartedly (which is an interesting, though odd, problem to have).

This has a lot to do with why why the only costume we’ve seen of the four superheroes that make up The Defenders is Daredevil (which is less a costume than tactical combat armor in varying shades of red) and why the upcoming The Inhumans looks so grounded.

And so ordinary.

Comicbooks are a celebration of the fantastic, the weird, the uncanny and the strange;  a perspective that seemingly ill-fits with the Nolanesque esthetic that Marvel has created for television.

Which isn’t to say all characters should wear costumes.  I get why Jessica Jones and Luke Cage don’t–Jones tried the costumed superhero route; it didn’t take while Cage has always had less a costume than accoutrements (a tiara–there has to be another name for that–coupled wits a chain for a belt and a yellow shirt) that was more indicative of a 1970’s fashion esthetic–the character was created in 1972 by Archie Goodwin, John Romita, Sr. and George Tuska–than anything else

But Iron Fist?  He’s a character where a costume would actually make sense.  It would protect his identity–and by extension that of his family–as well as give him clothing in line with someone who engages in martial arts combat on a (more or less) regular basis.

And that’s not necessarily to say that they have to go with the spandex body suit, though something along those lines would really be appreciated.

‘IT’ – Official Trailer #2

The latest trailer for Stephen King’s IT dropped a few hours ago, and the first thing I wondered when I saw if was if IT was also a part of the Stranger Things universe.

Both feature Finn Wolfhard, both revolve around a group of young people on the cusp of the adult world–and the secrets that it holds–facing bullies and their demons (both real and imagined).

And perhaps most importantly, both revolve around either the supernatural or things than can be easily interpreted as such (the Upsidedown from Stranger Things is approached in a more overtly scientific fashion than the terrors of IT but that’s less a question of the former not being supernatural than the approach to it being based in science).

Though the more likely explanation for the similarities is that Stranger Things is very much based on the work of Stephen King and movies of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter (particularly Carpenter, as far as the music and whole esthetic goes), so that it resembles a Stephen King movie is hardly a coincidence.