Black Widow Will Be A Huge Hit (If A Few Things Are Taken Into Account)

imageThe upcoming Black Widow movie has a lot going for it–2017’s Wonder Woman has proven that a female-led superhero movie can not only be profitable, but revered bay both critics and moviegoers alike–but that doesn’t mean that it should take some very significant advantages for granted.

First there’s Scarlett Johannson, who’s shown with 2014’s Lucy that a movie can be built around her successfully (it was essentially a ‘secret’ superhero movie in the same way Unbreakable and even 1980’s Altered States were, if you think about it).

Then there’s the fact that it’s coming from Marvel Studios, who seemingly don’t know how to make a bad movie

But pride comes before a fall, so to ensure that that doesn’t happen, here’s what the producers could do to minimize the odds.

  • Consider a Guest Appearance 

Johannson’s Black Widow is a great character, but imagine how jazzed fans would be to know Captain America or Hawkeye were going to show up (and I know, some contracts are expiring, but if Evans’ enthusiasm for the characer is any indicator he’d likely turn up in a heartbeat).

And speaking of costs, if you recall Avengers: Age of Ultron, there was a scene Black Widow and Hawkeye were talking about ‘Budapest’ and what happened there.  Now imagine a adventure featuring them both, taking place in the past and perhaps revolving around the organization known as A.I.M (Advanced Idea Mechanics, who were sort of teased in Iron Man 3).

It would be in the Winter Soldier vein, and could be very awesome and gritty. 

  • Control Costs

Part of the problem with DC Films–and Zach Snyder in particular–is that their movies are relatively expensive, compared to Marvel Studios, which is why they tend to make middling profits (by way of illustration, Justice League cost somewhere in the ballpark of $250 million before the Joss Whedon-helmed reshoots.  Having seen it I’m not entirely sure where that money went, but it wasn’t on screen).

And speaking of costs, during Avengers: Age of Ultron Black Widow and Hawkeye were reminiscing about ‘Budapest.’

Suppose Black Widow was the movie about that particular incident?  I have no idea what the actual movie will be about, but it would be pretty cool to see a Jason Bourne-type adventure featuring Black Widow and Hawkeye for no more than 80-$100 million?

Such a, relatively speaking, low-cost action movie would likely turn a profit in a week, if not days. 

  • Not to Belabor the Obvious, But Make an Entertaining Movie First

Black Widow’s movie needs to be entertaining in and of itself, instead of having a female lead be it’s primary draw.  If it becomes the latest feminist cause cèlébre it runs the risk of alienating a huge swath of their potential audience.

Now, the producers of the movie can embrace every one of the above steps and the movie still under performs, though I think that’s highly unlikely.

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Marvel’s The Defenders – Official Trailer 

‘You look like an idiot,’  said Jessica Jones, as she and Matt Murdock walked down the immaculately white hallway, their very gait daring anyone to get in their way.

Murdock, a devil without a costume; wore a grey cloth around the upper half of his face,  responded tersely.

‘Your scarf.’

I had little doubt in my mind that the coming together of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist would be awesome, but that small exchange washed them away because while it wasn’t a huge moment in a trailer full of them , those two short sentences told you volumes about Jones and Murdock.

Though they’ll have to sell me on the hallway fight.  Don’t get me wrong, the Defenders fighting in a coordinated fashion was pretty cool, though the hallway fight in Season One of Daredevil was quite possibly the best fight scene to take place in a hallway–in movies or television–that I have ever seen.

Which unfortunately has the effect of making other hallway fight scenes pale in comparison.

Another point worth mentioning is that the FX on all the Marvel Netflix series has been relatively subtle (typically there’s lots of wire work, fight choreography, and occasionally, gore effects) though they’re using Nirvana’s Come As You Are  in the trailer.

And while considering the nature of the undertaking is quite appropriate, it could not have been cheap.

So, I guess I’m saying that maybe if they had directed some of that cash toward special effects…

The Defenders – Elektra Teaser Trailer

2017, despite the reality of a Trump presidency, and all the insanity such an idea beings can be considered a golden age –especially if you happen to be a fan of superheroes because there are probably more viewing choices to choose from than there has ever been.

The while the CW isn’t known as ‘The DC Network,’ it might as well be considering how many superhero-based shows are live there (There are also comic book-based television on Fox and NBC as well).

And while DC entertainment may have staked a claim on the network television stage, Marvel Television has made it’s strongest showing on Netflix, where series based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist have already aired, with more on the way (The Punisher, The Defenders and additional seasons of the already mentioned series’)

This is on top of the work Marvel Televisoon is doing for Freeform–formerly ABC Family) based on Cloak & Dagger and The New Warriors.

Like I said, there’s likely no better time to be a comics fan.

Clothes Make The Inhu(Man)

Over the weekend Comicbook.com posted some images from Marvel Television’s upcoming The Inhumans and while I’m glad that their teleporting dog Lockjaw will be making an appearance the costumes might be just a little bit subdued.

By which I mean, here’s a picture of Black Bolt, the head of the Inhuman Royal Family.

He’s a pretty distinctive-looking character, to be sure.  And I get that Marvel Television might not want to go with something so ‘cartoony,’ especially considering this is likely their highest profile production thus far.

But could they be going too conservative? Below is actor Anson Mount  (who’s playing Black Bolt) and while there’s no way of knowing based upon one picture if this is his final costume, if it is it harkens back to the what the X-Men wore fourteen years ago.

Which is frankly, a little bit odd and potentially presents a problem because the acceptance of the Marvel Cinematic Universe among the general public has show us that as long as you treat these characters faithfully (also shown by the reception of movies like Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, though in not a good way) people will pay to see them.
Which is important when you take into account that the first two episodes will appear in theaters, which is intended as a hook to draw  viewers into watching the television series.

Though as I mentioned earlier, at least apparently they’re not skimping on the awesomeness that is Lockjaw, which gives me hope that perhaps this is not Black Bolt’s final costume.

3 Reasons We Need to Stop Speculating Peter Dinklage Will Play M.O.D.O.K in Avengers: Infinity War

Some fan sites have speculated that Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, X-Men: Days of Future Past) would appear as M.O.D.O.K,  which stands for Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing in Marvel Studios’ upcoming Avengers: Infinity War (though I get the feeling the people who are making this suggestion are not only unaware who M.O.D.O.K is, but how ultimately insulting an idea that actually is

And speaking of ‘insulting,’ that’s also my first reason.

  • It’s Really Insulting Toward Dinklage

Here is an image of M.O.D.O.K.

He has such tiny arms and legs because he was created to lead AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) so all their efforts went toward developing his mental abilities, which are pretty impressive.

Now keep in mind that some characters don’t make the transition from comics to movies visually intact–this was the case for the Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, Zemo and many others so it’s entirely possible that M.O.D.O.K could be played by Dinklage and translate to the screen in such a way that is reminiscent of the character from the comics, yet reinterpreted, like with the case of Arnim Zola from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

 

The problem is that M.O.D.O.K’s massive cabeza IS his most distinctive feature, and I am unsure how they could reinterpret that and capture how bizarre and unusual the character actually is.

Which is strangely enough where our problems start.

Here is a picture of Dinklage from the after party of The Station Agent.   He’s a person of short-stature, and while he’s played a whole gamut of roles I am not sure how playing a giant head doesn’t become more than a little offensive.

And while some people may call that PC, that’s just a cross I’ll have to bear.

  • AIM Has Barely Been Introduced Into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

The organization known as AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) was introduced into the MCU in Iron Man 3 (in the movies it was a company started by Aldrich Killian, who developed Extremis) though it was one of those ‘blink and you’ll miss it‘ sort of moments.

With Hydra on the decline it would be nice for the movies to introduce another villainous organization to take up the slack, and AIM could serve that purpose admirably (plus we’d get a chance to see people wearing those cool yellow ‘beekeeper’ helmets, so there’s always that).

Though to introduce MODOK as a main villain means reintroducing AIM, something not likely to happen if Avengers: Infinity War has half the characters it’s supposed to have.

  • Most Importantly, M.O.D.O.K Has No Connection to the Infinty Gauntlet or Infinity Watch Storylines 

I am aware that Marvel Studios movies don’t adapt any storyline verbatim from the comics, though introducing  M.O.D.O.K would be worse than clutter because it would be adding a character and a supporting organization the film would hardly need.

So those are the reasons why Dinklage will not be M.O.D.O.K but instead be playing…

Pip the Troll!  It’s not exactly rocket science, and actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.  Dinklage already looks like Pip, all that’s required to complete the look would be a shave and a loincloth (which isn’t necessarily to say that that’s the direction they’re going with visually, though if it is, it would be really work).

Movie Magic: The Black Panther (Captain America: Civil War)

These days as a mover goer I know full well that practical effects combined with CGI can create virtually any type of effect imaginable. 

Though what I find infinitely more interesting is when a movie’s special effects are so seamless that I don’t know that what I happen to be looking at is a special effect, which brings me to Captain America: Civil War.  

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There were two scenes where I recall the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) was a full-on CGI character: when he was sliding down the side of a building when chasing the Winter Soldoer (Sebastian Stan) and another when he was slowing hinself down after momentum carried him beyond the Soldier in a second confrontation.

Beyond those two instances, I assumed that the character–as well as many of the locations–were entirely practical.  

Imagine my surprise to learn that virtually every scene featuring the Panther had three or four layers of CGI over a practical stuntman, and most of the locations were CGI enhanced as well!

Movie magic indeed.  

Marvel’s Iron Fist NYCC Teaser Trailer

If anyone had said that Marvel Television, when Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered on ABC a few years ago, that they would come to dominate superhero television I would have been hopeful, but wouldn’t have treated them too seriously.

Though having seen both seasons of Marvel’s Daredevil, as well as the first seasons of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, it’s apparent that they’re coming to dominate the television sphere as completely as Marvel Studios has done for superhero movies.

And their latest creation:  Marvel’s Iron Fist, which is going to lead into The Defenders