Namor The Sub-Mariner Rises?

I’m going to just come out and say it.  Aquaman is lame.  And sure, much effort has been invested by DC Comics to give the character just a bit of much needed edge in the past few years, though his corny past is never terribly far behind.

If your preferences ran toward water-based superheroes, as mine tended to do, Aquaman was never a character I could take particularly serious.

Now Namor, The Sub-Mariner?  Quite possibly the coolest king Atlantis ever had as well as one of Marvel Comics’ earliest characters. 

Though the oddest thing about him is that–when not being an arrogant douche–he literally spent an inordinate amount of time trying to conquer the surface world, and yet he somehow remained likable.

Namor was an ‘anti-hero’ before the word ever entered the popular lexicon.  

Though what’s the point of all this, you may be asking?  

That’s simple.  For a long time it was assumed that the rights for Namor were at Universal Pictures, along with those for the Incredible Hulk.

As far as Namor is concerned, that’s  apparently not the case, and Marvel Studios may be prepping a movie based on their irascible Prince of the Deep!

And to whet your appetite a little bit more–as if that were even necessary–here’s the opening to Namor’s cartoon, made in 1966.

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 Television & Netflix: Sound & Vision In Harmony

While Marvel Studios is doing some amazing things in the movie space, we sometimes forget that Marvel Television is making waves of their own on the small screen.

And while they have been doing solid work with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter arguably their strongest work so far has been the series that have have done with Netflix, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.

Along with a distinctive visual palate, each series is aurally unique was well, each evocative of different places and/or eras.   

Daredevil opening sequence

Jessica Jones opening sequence

Luke Cage opening sequence

Daredevil’s theme was composed by John Paesano, Jessica Jones’ by Sean Callery and Luke Cage’s by Ali Shaeed Muhammad and Adrian Younge.

At this point I can’t wait to see and hear what Iron Fist and The Punisher bring!

Doctor Strange – Review

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“Visually, Marvel’s Doctor Strange is unlike any movie you’ve probably seen.”

And that’s not hyperbole.  Some of the visual effects in Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange may have had their genesis in other movies–such as Inception–but he takes them to places that you have never seen before.

Green screen is also nothing new, but the way it’s used to define movement in an landscape often modeled on the work of M.C. Escher, is.

Though like I mention in my review, it feels as if the human relationships weren’t quite as fully-realized as those aforementioned effects (with perhaps the exception of Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One, who every time she turns up on screen the movie takes a moment to catch its breath.

As a result, Doctor Strange is that odd sort of movie that you want to see again not only because of special effects worthy of the name, but to see if the personal and interpersonal relationships in the movie fare as well.

HUGE Doctor Strange Villain Confirmation

As I’ve said before, and bears repeating; I really hate spoilers. There’s often something about the early reveal of crucial plot-points that reeks of someone out to steal everyone else’s joy.

That being said, what I stumbled upon an article from Wegotitcovered.com it confirmed what I long hoped about the latest entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) long before it even hit theaters. 

Namely, the identity of Doctor Strange’s enemy (and I don’t mean Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelson, below)


What tipped me off were his eyes and how the prosthetic he’s wearing looks as if he were burned.  

When I saw that I KNEW almost immediately who was either pulling Kaecilius’s strings or manipulating him to do his dirty work.

And that puppet master is the lord of the Dark Dimension!

As a result I don’t think that it’s a spoiler more so than a confirmation because people who know Marvel’s Master of the Mystic Arts probably suspected it all along, and those who aren’t familiar with him it won’t matter all that much for that very reason.  

The Origin Of The (Cinematic) Universe, Part One


‘Early Milky Way’ image via hubblesite.com

Success breeds imitation, and in the past ten years few movie companies have been successful as Marvel Studios.

And while many in the Hollywood community seem surprised, if they had any idea of the pent-up demand for seeing characters like Iron Man, Falcon and many others that millions of people have grown up with from Marvel Comics, on the silver screen, they probably wouldn’t have been.

Though what made Marvel Studios such a success wasn’t superheroes in and of themselves (despite the aforementioned demand) but the way they were presented.

What Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, brought to the table was the creation of an integrated cinematic universe, the likes of much had never been seen in movies before (coupled with extremely faithful interpretations of the characters).

And as far as ‘imitation’ goes, other companies have tried to mimic the approach of Marvel  Studios, with varying degrees of success.

Sony Pictures attempted to create a cinematic universe based on Spider-Man with The Amazing Spider-Man movies. After an initially strong showing, the sequel–while profitable–indicated a definite downward trend, financially speaking, for the franchise.

So they, perhaps anticipating the franchise falling precipitously enough that the rights would eventually revert back to Marvel, instead entered into a deal where future Spider-Man movies would be under Marvel Studios’ creative control, while both studios produced (some have written that the upcoming movies would be produced exclusively by Sony, with Marvel providing only creative control.  This literally makes no sense at all because having only creative control gives Marvel Studios relatively little, while granting Sony access to the uber-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., is one of the most successful Marvel Studios’ characters, who’ll next appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming). 

Universal Pictures plans to create a cinematic universe based upon Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man and the Mummy (which is filming with Tom Cruise in the lead).  At this point it’s too early to tell how well it will do.

What’s perhaps most surprising is the current position of DC Films in the world of the cinematic universe.  ‘Surprising’ because before Marvel Studios was barely an idea they were producing movies based upon Superman and Batman.  The problem was that–for reasons that will probably never be entirely known–they never built and expanded their offerings, despite seemingly ample opportunities to do so.

Marvel’s Luke Cage – Review

At this point, if you’re a Netflix subscriber you’ve probably already started watching Marvel’s Luke Cage (if you haven’t binged all 13 episodes, that is) so I don’t have any intention of spoiling it for you.

Except to say that the series is damn good television; so good in fact that–which I mention in my video review–you almost regret when a costumed villain is introduced.

Because before that moment, things were tight–which isn’t to imply that the appearance of Diamondback (Eric LaRay Harvey) ruined things because it doesn’t though the action and interplay between the characters was so engrossing that it wasn’t necessary.

And speaking of character interplay, Mike Colter, Alfre Wooddard, Rosario Dawson, Simone Missick, Eric LaRay Harvey and Theo Rossi stick out among one of the stronger casts in television.

The contrast between Marvel Studios’ more fantastical worlds compared to Marvel Television’s more grounded and realistic one is pretty interesting and provides a welcome and refreshing difference in approaches.

Next up, Marvel’s Iron Fist!