This November, Marvel and Netflix Unleash The Punisher

imageMarvel’s The Punisher will premiere November 17, which we didn’t learn during Marvel Television’s presentation at the 2017 New York Comic-Con because if never actually happened.

The panel for the latest Marvel Television/Netflix co-production was cancelled  out of respect for those who were killed in Las Vegas (which makes sense considering the Punisher is particularly fond of guns.  And while the violence that he projects is typically directed at various shades of criminal–and isn’t real–I applaud Marvel for being wise enough to see that it would have been in particularly bad taste).

Though what’s worse than ‘bad taste’ is willfully neglecting the issue, which is the ready availability of guns combined with the moral cowardice of our so-called representatives–who respond to almost monthly mass shootings with condolences and regret, but never with legislation that actually does anything to prevent such violence in the first place (so forget about anything as commonsensical as limiting the amount of guns one person can own–or ways to make them even deadlier, like bump stocks).

Let’s be honest: if we had rules to limit the amount of weapons a person could own, if conversion kits (which change a semi-automatic rifle to, essentially a full automatic) were illegal to sell or own, if background checks to purchase weapons were thorough and rigorous and if buying a gun meant you were registered in a national database (which would flag ‘unusual’ purchasing patterns) it likely wouldn’t be the end of gun violence.

But it would (probably) be lessened considerably, and mass shootings would be significantly less ‘massy.’

Though even if it did nothing at all, it would be better than burying our collective heads in the sand, waiting for the next time.

And isn’t that a bit more important than whether or not the Punisher appears at Comic-Con?

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Humor: Marvel Studios’ Not-So-Secret-Sauce

For awhile now other studios have been trying to crack the Marvel Studios formulato varying degrees of success–though as far as I can tell their greatest problem is that they’re approaching it in that fashion (like so great mystery waiting to be solved), when in truth there’s isn’t any secret at all.

In a sense a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for Marvel Studios in that they haven’t had to convince a large segment of the population to love their characters, since millions of us have grown up doing just that by reading comic books (something Warner Bros, the owners of DC Entertainment, are for some reason only just beginning to get).

So all Marvel had to do was essentially adapt their characters as true to the comics as common sense (a drawing and a actual person aren’t the same things, duh, so allowances had to be made or maybe the story of that character doesn’t quite fit in the framework that currently exists for Marvel features) would allow.

And there needs to be humor.  I’m not talking about the pratfalls you might get from The Three Stooges or anything like that, but the often unintentional comedy that comes from people just interacting with each other.

Here’s an example from the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.

What makes the scene work is that the humor’s derived not from some sort of pratfall, but from the natures of the chraracters involved.  

Thor is typically depicted as mighty, noble, kind and headstrong; the latter bordering on egotistical.  Combine his own nature with the Hulk (one of the stronger beings in all of Marvel) then you’re definitely going to get all sorts of friction, which can play out in various ways. 

In other words, in the earlier scene Thor is acting true to his nature (in the second scene he’s just an object for Hulk’s ire).

 It doesn’t make the movies comedies, but what it does is make them more naturalistic and less of a slog.

Because isn’t just living day to day difficult enough that just maybe you don’t want the movies you watch to get away from things for a little while to reflect that same esthetic?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Official Trailer #2

Screenshot 2017-10-10 13.54.53I have to admit that this trailer brought a smile to my face; which I honestly didn’t expect because as of late Star Wars movies have become known for the drama behind the scenes than on the screen since becoming a part of Disney.

And dissatisfaction with a director or the way a story seems to be progressing is by no means uncommon, though with Lucasfilm it seem to occur on a regular basis, such as with Rogue One, and the upcoming Han Solo prequel.

Which is why Rian Johnson’s (Brick, Looper) upcoming The Last Jedi is so refreshing.  It appears that he got the job, and shot the movie.  (Seemingly) No fuss, no muss and thankfully no drama.

Pacific Rim: Uprising – Teaser Trailer

1993’s kaiju versus giant robots epic Pacific Rim never appeared to find its audience domestically–earning three times more ($102 million vs $309 million) at the foreign box office (primarily China). 

And it’s hard to understand why, epecially when you take into account it had more heart and was more clever in it’s first five minutes the all the Transmorphers movies combined (that’s not a typo.  I despise those movies so much I dare not type their names) and those made gobs of money. 

On the strength of the aforementioned foreign box recepts we’re getting a sequel: Pacific Rim: Uprising (speaking of which, who’s doing the ‘uprising?’  The first movie revolved around extra dimensional beings who entered this world through a rift in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean though the subtitle implies a significant change in relationship between humans and the aliens).  

What I know for certain is that Guillermo Del Toro will not be directing this time around (that honor goes to Steven DeKnight). 

And I am not sure how I feel about that.  Part of my problem is that I tend to over-emphasize with Del Toro (a person I have never met, and vice versa) on the strength of his movies.  

I really–somewhat irrationally, I know–really want him to succeed despite there being little (other than having seen a well put together and interesting movie) benefit or incentive for me to feel that way. 

Though there’s also the feeling that so many lesser directors manage to be much more successful on top of  the list of projects he has either abandoned or never got to make (The Hobbit and At the Mountains of Madness come to mind though I’m still holding out for the latter) for various reasons. 

Though if anyone were to replace Del Toro, Steven DeKnight is a great choice (check him out on Twitter at @stevendeknight he’s interesting, opinionated and refreshingly free of bs and pretentiousness). 

Kind of like Del Toro himself. 

Annihilation – Trailer

I like this trailer a lot though what’s most interesting (at least to me) is that it reminded me of Gareth Edwards’ Monsters except unlike in the case of that movie stuff seems to actually happen.

Story-wise it looks like some sort of alien consciousness has arrived on Earth, with it’s presence seeming changing the planet in some very interesting ways (which is also similar to Edwards’ movie).

It appears to be trying to adapt Earth’s environment to one more comfortable for it, or is it a beginning of an invasion?

It also feels a bit like Arrival in that no one seems to understand why it’s there, and what’s it’s underlying purpose is.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure – Teaser Trailer

I saw The Maze Runner in theaters, and DESPISED it.   It wasn’t a bad movie, was visually attractive and for the most part competently-made.

So what’s the problem?

I found it terribly insulting at times–the glade the characters were in was surrounded by a huge wall, but in the very same scene you see a treehouse (implying that they could have built a structure, like a ladder, to climb it)–and just bland.

And that’s only one example of the insults to the intelligence that comes to mind, and that would be bad enough though to top it with the needless, bizarre, labyrinthine secrets of WCKD is just too much.

It’s needlessly elaborate and more than a little bit pointless.

And in case you don’t feel like reading..: