The Punisher: Season Two – More Punishment

It’s a good thing that Netflix has approved a second season of Marvel’s The Punisher, though it concerns me somewhat because–tonality speaking–there’s only so many places the series can go, and most of them involve lots of people killed by gunshot.

Most of the Marvel Television series on Netflix have gone out of their way to reflect a more grounded, realistic take on Marvel superheroes.  And that works for some, not so well for others (and probably had more than a little bit to do with Inhumans not doing particularly well).

And while I don’t expect Frank Castle to spend too much time in the company of The Defenders I do hope that the creators of the series manage to inject more tonal variety into the upcoming season (maybe a new cinematographer.  Oddly enough this would be a perfect series for Zach Snyder to direct).

Advertisements

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2017-12-10 19.37.39Sony is in a really curious place as far as their licensed Marvel Comics characters go.

Spider-Man himself is currently being very well-managed by Marvel Studios, who’re essentially producing movies gratis for Sony–so they’re building a branch of the SpiderVerse that doesn’t include him.

Which is a bit problematic because the characters that they’re building their franchise on, Venom, Silver Sable and Black Cat, under most conditions exit alongside Spider-Man (and were in fact introduced in his comic).

So if you take him away you’re (mostly) removing the context that they exist in as well.

Like I said, it’s a problem (though truth be told for those of us not well-versed with the comics it’ll be a relatively small one) .

This version of Spider-Man is Miles Morales, and if I recall for a time existed in an alternate Earth or something to that effect.

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

The jury is still out, though what makes the most recent reorganization of DC Films not a bad thing in and of itself in that Warner Bros clearly sees that there’s a problem with their organizational structure and are working to address it.

Unfortunately, it reminds me somewhat of rearranging desk chairs on a little ship that was supposedly unsinkable.

And we all know how well that went.

And I think one of the problems is the dual management system that seems in vogue at DC Films (and by extension, Warner Bros).

In this instance we have Geoff Johns as co-president of the shingle–and let’s be clear.  DC Films isn’t strictly speaking a film studio (like Marvel Studios).  They may have a physical location, but most of the heavy lifting in making a movie is actually done by Warner Bros–and someone to be determined due to John Berg’s departure from the position.

I assume Warners does things this way because Johns brings knowledge of DC Comics, while the second president brings deeper knowledge of Warner’s corporate culture and the knowledge to navigate it to direct resources and systems effectively.

And that’s not a great way to do things. What would be more effective would be a single president of DC Films –and  importantly one who’s well-versed in the comics, though their knowledge has to be by no means encyclopedic because there are plenty of people on DC Comics’ end to supplement it–though the ability to navigate Warner Bros (and the companies that deal with them being more essential).

And let’s look at a crucial reason why.

DC Films movies tend to be significantly more expensive than those from Marvel Studios.  Justice League, before the reshoots by Joss Whedon, had a production budget somewhere in the ballpark if $220-250 million, but can you see all the money on screen (despite the copious–or excessive, depending upon how you look at such things use of green screen)?

Thor: Ragnarök released a few weeks earlier, looks just as expensive, but guess what?  It clocked in at $180 million, which means it has a significantly lower threshold to profitability, something Justice League could really, really use.

Wrong Lessons Learned from the Justice League Brouhaha

 

And while ‘brouhaha’ may be a little melodramatic for a film that’s earned over $570 million at the worldwide box office the story surrounding the development of the movie is far more interesting than the movie itself.

You may have heard about a petition to release a Zach Snyder-cut of Justice League (despite there being no evidence there’s enough footage to make a complete movie) and a counter petition to release a Joss Whedon-cut of the same movie (who filmed significantly less than Snyder, making the idea even sillier) and quickly realized that they are way too many people not quite understanding the nature of the problem.

And that problem is that the DCEU, as it currently exists, is based on a very shaky foundation, one of Zach Snyder’s making (and that’s not to solely put all the blame on his shoulders, especially considering there’s more than enough to go around.  That being said, if the movie were a critical and financial success Snyder would likely have no problem accepting the kudos.  Conversely, when a movie doesn’t do well the director gets the blame).

And while his approach has its fans, what it doesn’t have is enough to make it viable (or Warner Bros would have likely not have had Whedon reshoot a portion of the entire movie.  And as terrible as the death of a child is, I don’t buy that he stepped down for that reason exclusively, especially when the movie was almost finished).

If that weren’t enough of a reason, this whole petition nonsense triples down on an approach proven NOT TO WORK!  Man of Steel underperformed.  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice did as well.  Suicide Squad, despite being the worse of the three–and interestingly not directed by Snyder, despite his visual dynamic in full-effect, didn’t.

The same applies to Wonder Woman.

As I alluded to earlier, it’s not that Justice League isn’t profitable, it’s that it production budget is so high–before reshoots it was somewhere in the ballpark of $250 million there’s little likelihood Warners would throw good money after bad.

 

Avengers: Infinity War Teaser Trailer Tomorrow!

If Justice League left you a bit underwhelmed, Marvel Studios has the perfect holiday gift!  The teaser trailer for Avengers: Infinity War premieres tomorrow (and while I still think a teaser for a trailer is a dopey idea the trend didn’t start with this movie, and isn’t likely to end anytime soon)!

Avengers: Infinity War (and it’s so far unnamed sequel) are the culmination of  Phase Three of the MCU, or Marvel Cinematic  Universe, and supposedly revolves around Thanos taking a more active role in retrieving the Infinity Stones, which when he gets them would make him a god with the power to make–or unmake–the universe.

Standing against him and his Black Order (I hope they go by their name in the comics, the Cull Obsidian) are every hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as old greviances are forgotten in the face of the greatest threat the world, and the universe has ever known.

The Midnight Man – Trailer

I want to trust this trailer.  After all, The Midnight Man stars Lin Shaye and Robert England (likely in supporting roles, but still) in a story about teens doing what it is that teens do, which typically (in horror movies, at any rate) is meddle with things that they shouldn’t.

My uncertainty about The Midnight Man is due the title and story being thematically similar to The Bye Bye Man, which is supposed to be a piece of crap according to Half in the Bag, though Variety was infinitely more charitable, essentially calling the movie disposable, but by no means unwatchable.

 

Gerald’s Game – Review

Screenshot 2017-11-27 00.46.08Gerald’s Game, currently on Netflix is a remarkable bit of television because it understands that horror is more than things that go ‘bump’ in the night, but is also a way of working through the most evil of demons, namely those that haunt us in our everyday, waking lives.

And imagine to my surprise to learn that it’s directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil) who understands that the best horror is like a satisfying meal in that it sticks to your ribs.

So when you combine Mike Flanagan’s minimalistic direction (with not a jump scare in literally the entire movie) with a story written by Stephen King, the likelihood is that both auteurs will brew a potent, horrible (in the best possible way) stew.

Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood star as Jessie and Gerald Burlingame, who we meet when they’re preparing for a holiday (though when Gerald packs two pairs of handcuffs we know that whatever is going to go on will be at the very least, very, very interesting).  As the story progresses we learn that much of what we learned about the couple earlier is a facade, revealed by nothing less than a Shakesperean narrative device.

While having more in common with a psychological thriller than outright horror, Gerald’s Game isn’t afraid to scale that fence when it comes to it.

So if you haven’t see Gerald’s Game, consider giving it a spin but keep in mind that some games–once you start playing–are Hell to stop.