Has DC Films Accepted That They Have Deep-Seated Problems, Or Are They Shifting Deck Chairs? Part II

I caught Star Wars: The Last Jedi last weekend and have no idea what all the hullabaloo is about (by which I mean I understand many of the complaints, though they’re not terribly persuasive when looked at in context).

It’s a decent movie though as far as I can tell all the rancor revolving around it is undeserved–though before the movie began there was a trailer for Avengers: Infinity War.

It’s a great trailer, though what interested me more (especially considering I have seen it alt least twenty times) is the response of someone in the theater.

She said, in reference to the trailer, “Those are the really good superheroes.” or something to that effect.

And that, for DC Films, is a problem because what they have lost is something that is extremely difficult to reclaim, and that’s mindshare (a topic I have mentioned before, but is worth revisiting).

At this point, when many moviegoers think of superheroes they think of Iron Man, Captain America or Thor, and to a lesser extent Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

That is a problem because–while it doesn’t mean that people won’t see movies with other characters–it does make it likely that they will occupy a lower tier in terms of their preferences.

So, unless Marvel Studios screws up in a big way there’s virtually no way DC Films is going to close the gap.

Which is why–as I have also said before–they should stop trying.

In other words, the only thing that can save DC Films is that they acknowledge that Marvel Studios has won because that will enable them to do what they should have done in the first place, which is to just produce engaging, fun superhero films without the onus of trying to outrun the fastest kid on the block.

Another reason I brought this up is because Warner Bros recently appointed Walter Hamada as head of DC Films.  Harada has been a producer behind franchises like The Conjuring and IT, though it remains to be seen if his success will transfer to the DCEU.

Advertisements

Love, Simon – Official Trailer 

Screenshot 2018-01-17 02.02.38‘Coming out’ stories can be particularly difficult to do well because they’re often a study in contrasts and conflicting sensibilities that don’t benefit from leaning too hard in any particularly direction.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t movies out there that do just that.  Urbania (2001-Dir. Jon Shear) and Parallel Sons (1995-Dir. John G. Young) are two particularly effective stories that manage to end up more than the sum of their parts.

The same thing applies to stereotypes and stereotypical behaviors.  And while it’s worth mentioning that stereotypes are typically based on a reality, more often than not it’s a skewed, distorted one.

Off the top of my head, three great examples of the genre (more accurately a sub-genre) are Head On (1998–Dir.Ana Kikkinos), The Way He Looks (2014Dir.Daniel Ribeiro) and 4th Man Out (2015–Dir.Andrew Nackman).

All the movies in the prior paragraph are available on Netflix, by the way.,

Love, Simon (directed by Greg Berlanti, an openly gay man) has a pretty good trailer, but one can easily see where the potential to fall into pathos and cliche lie.

Let’s hope it doesn’t.

Black Widow vs the Double Standard of Women-Led Superhero Movies

Screenshot 2018-01-15 00.47.58It’s interesting that now Marvel Studios seems to be actively considering a movie based on Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow (Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War, Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron) especially when you consider that the character should have had one long before Wonder Woman did.

That being said, there’s a bright side to Marvel Studios’ seeming hesitancy.

Namely movies with women as main characters are judged by a different standard than those featuring men (and that’s not even getting into differences in color, never mind sex) in that if a movie staring a man fails, all that means is that some other man, in some other movie, will pop up next.

While, if a female-led movie craps out, then there’s a very real possibility that Hollywood might not make any more movies featuring women as leads (in that particular genre) for a very long time.

For instance, if I recall the last superhero film featuring a woman prior to 2017’s Wonder Woman was Elektra twelve years ago.

So as much as some of us don’t want to admit it, there’s definitely a double standard, and movies featuring women don’t have the luxury of being half-baked, which is why they shouldn’t be rushed into production.

The Strangers: Prey at Night – Official Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2018-01-09 02.40.12I didn’t particularly like 2008’s The Strangers because it made the same mistake other slasher/home invasion thrillers make, namely imbuing it’s protagonists with almost superhuman/supernatural abilities.

What I recall was that the killers had this almost uncanny knack for getting into places soundlessly and without anyone ever knowing they were there, which was a tendency that got even more irritating when you’d have the killers constantly popping behind characters for maximum shock value, but little else.

Plus there’s the whole ‘Based On True Events’ malarkey, which means it’s going be so loosely so that it’s not worth even mentioning.

That being said, The Strangers: Prey at Night might be really brilliant in the same way the truly excretable Ouija was surpassed by its sequel, Oijua: Origin of Evil, directed by Mike Flanagan (in my humble opinion the best horror director working today)..

Bryan Bertino, who wrote and directed the original movie wrote the screenplay for the sequel, though luckily won’t be returning to direct.

That chair is being filled by Johannes Roberts (Storage 24) , who for my money gives Prey at Night at least a chance of not sucking.

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare – Trailer

Screenshot 2018-01-05 10.43.44If you recall, I wasn’t terribly unimpressed by the Slender Man trailer, namely because it was too impressionistic for it’s own good.

Now the trailer for Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare–as opposed to the Truth or Dare that documented Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition tour (which depending upon the lens you view it through could be considered a horror movie) looks more like of what I expected from Slender Man.

And speaking of Madonna, if there’s a song by her–any song–in this movie I would do my damnedest to see it the day it premieres because that’s a bit too meta to be ignored.

In any case, Truth or Dare looks like a mix of It Follows and Final Destination–and not to sound particularly morbid but that pool table kill is gnarly, which is why I wonder how it made it’s way in.  It’s particularly shocking–making this trailer Red Band material–and seems like something someone would have the sense to cut because it’s shocking the first time around but (assuming that it ends up in the movie) a little less so every time you see it.