4 Reasons Fox Is Ill-Equipped To Handle Their Marvel Franchises

 1.Fox Remembered Way Too Late That These Characters Were Based On Comicbooks

If you recall The original X-Men movie their costumes were black leather, which was probably done because the producers thought that audiences wouldn’t accept superheroes in all their technicolor, spandex-clad glory.

And at the time, they were probably right.

Though times change–though thankfully not about spandex–and  an upstart studio by the name of Marvel started producing superhero-based movies that interpreted these characters–visually as well as thematically–more faithfully than was typically the case.

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By way of illustration, here’s an image of Jean Gray/Dark Phoenix (Famke Janssen) from X-Men: The Last Stand.








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And here’s the version of the Dark Phoenix from The Uncanny X-Men comic.

Notice a difference?  The movie version tried to reinterpret the comics’ version, but is too tentative to be effective.  And that’s not for a moment to be interpreted to mean that the costume would have worked if it looked exactly comics-faithful (I suspect that it wouldn’t have).

Though the design they ended up going with?  Too safe by half.




2. The Galactus Cloud 

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This is Galactus, a character that literally survives by devouring PLANETS!   He’s one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, and instantly recognizable to most comics fans.

And below is the version of that was used in Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer.

img_0038Yep, it’s a cloud–a very cool-looking cloud, to be sure, but a cloud nonetheless–though perhaps what’s even worse is that I have seen some concept drawings never used in the film where the cloud was used to obscure Galactus and his space ship.

Which is a great idea that would have made a lot more sense than just the cloud alone, and would have really motivated fans of the Fantastic Four into the theater.

3. The Problem With Wolverine

Fox’s fixation with Wolverine is something I carp on on pretty much a regular basis (and since I see no reason to stop now…)

For a time, Wolverine was as popular in the comics as he was in the movies, though due to the way comics work it’s easier to give an uber-popular character space to grow (perhaps by spinning them off into their own title), while not alienating people who prefer other members of the team he happened to be a member of.

Movies don’t work as efficiently or as quickly as publishing a comic, so when producers of the movies noticed that Wolverine was so popular with moviegoers (as he was with fans of the comics) they made a serious mistake: They made him the center of which all things revolved.  There were other characters, though most were treated not nearly as well as Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (with the possible exception of Michael Fassbender’s Magneto and maybe Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique).

What made the comics such a success–other than John Byrne–was that the X-Men were always a team. Individual members would rise and fall in terms of prominence, but when all is said and done, everyone would share the spotlight at some point.

4. Declining Box Office Receipts

While some may think that reducing movies to box office figures isn’t a good thing–and how enjoyable a movie is doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how much money it earns–it’s a fact of life that if a movie doesn’t finish its run in the black, the likelihood is that that’s the last we are going to hear about it (until the inevitable reboot) because no one typically sets out to make movies that fail.

That being said what’s surprising isn’t that the X-Men movies have been popular–most of the movies were–but a few weren’t financially successful.

The third film in the series, X-Men: The Last Stand, earned somewhere in the ballpark of $459 million worldwide, on a production budget of $210 million.

Typically, a rule of thumb is that a movie has to earn three times its production costs to be in the black, something The Last Stand did not do.

For that matter nor did its follow up, X-Men: First Class, which earned $354 million on a $160 million budget (which reminds me: the special effects in First Class we’re so bad in places that they looked unfinished, which made me wonder where that $160 million went because whatever it was, it wasn’t toward special effects).

X-Men: Days Of Future Past was one of most profitable of the series, earning $748 million on a $200 million budget, while it’s sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse, didn’t quite fare as well, earning $544 million on a budget of $178 million (profitable, if you use the 3X rule, though not terribly so).

The latest rumor is that Fox intends to reboot the X-Men movies, though what they apparently can’t count on is Marvel Studios saving their franchise in a similar fashion to what will probably be the case with Spider-Man because all signs indicate that it’s not in the cards.

Silence – Official Trailer 1

Silence, the latest movie from Martin Scorsese, looks absolutely gorgeous, as the two images I have included from the trailer will attest to. 


My problem with the movie–sight unseen–are less with the auteur behind the camera than the subject matter, which revolves around two Catholiic missionaries, played by Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield, who head to Japan in search of one of their number who apparently vanished. 

Being Catholic missionaries, there is literally no way that they aren’t going to try to impose their beliefs on people that aren’t, shall we say, terribly receptive to them (at least initially). 

It’s likely where the central conflict of the movie stems, but the notion of having one’s beliefs forced upon others has always been a very touchy issue for me. 

Another sticking point is Adam Driver, who if he were anymore wooden, you could replace with Keanu Reeves and barely notice the difference 

Collateral Beauty – Trailer 2

Having just seen the trailer for Collateral Beauty, initially the first thing that came to mind was Meet Joe Black, where Brad Pitt was the personification of Death (though this time the honor goes to Helen Mirren). 

That is, till I noticed that Will Smith seems to be playing some sort of savant (revealed in the meticulous patience required to set up all those dominoes, which I assume he did), that was probably brought on by some sort of trauma, such as the death of his wife and daughter..

So, essentially he’s trying to heal himself, though to do so he has to go back to the place of the original trauma, but his mind is torn, which is why he’s apparently seeing ghosts (they represent his mind warring with itself, in an effort to heal). 

So now it’s more like Identity (I guess), minus the gnarly murders.  

Kong: Skull Island – Official Final Trailer

I really like this trailer a lot.  First off because it initially plays like a riff on Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now–which cannot be an accident–by way of Jurassic Park

Then there’s the almighty Sam Jackson (who will probably end up devoured by something before the credits roll) who never fails to bring his A-game. 

In fact, I have no idea if the familiarity of what we see in the trailer is necessarily a good or bad thing (as I said, I like it but others might not see the point since it doesn’t necessarily seem to be bringing anything new). 

By the way, Tom Hiddleston barely makes an appearance.  I know we’re dealing with a large ensemble cast, but he’s one of the headliners.  

The Hornet’s Sting Returns!

I have been a fan of comics since I learned to read–and in fact they contributed significantly to that happening–though eventually my love for the medium branched off into other adjacent areas fairly quickly.

One of my favorite offshoots was old-time radio.  I was an avid listener of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater in the  80’s and 90’s, though I also enjoyed shows from earlier, such as The Shadow and The Green Hornet

There was something fascinating about the Green Hornet.  Maybe it was for me he was Batman before there was a Batman with an added bonus of having an uber-competent assistant, Kato (played by Bruce Lee!). 

Though admittedly part of my admiration grew from watching him kick the stuffing out of Robin on the fun and campy Batman television series from the 1960’s.

The 2011 Seth Rogan and Jay Chou version of the Green Hornet and Kato were okay, but they moved away from the grittier elements of the radio shows, to a more comedic take. 

Though there’s talk of a reboot to be directed by Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, The Accountant), who’s known for his visceral, kinetic fare.  

He’s a prefect choice to bring the physicality and a brutalness to the project, which the 2011 movie lacked.  

Ghost In The Shell – Official Trailer 1

It’s hard not to see the latest trailer for the live-action version of Ghost In The Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson, and not think about the allegations of whitewashing that plagued the production (the same thing happened when the Internet learned Tilda Swinton was cast as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange; a character that was typically not only male, but Tibetan). 

That being said, Japanese anime itself doesn’t tend to depict Japanese people with features that you’d think of as traditionally Japanese (there was a reason for this, though I don’t recall it off the top of my head).

The point being, Johansson actually looks the part, and since you can’t really tell that the character is Japanese–if the anime were made elsewhere, such as the United States (bear with me a moment) she’s could be drawn exactly as she tradionally is, though the casting would have been a no-brainer. 


Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Trailer

XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage – Trailer

When I caught Doctor Strange last weekend one of trailers before the movie was XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage, which fascinated me because prior to that moment I had rarely seen so much stupid squeezed into a trailer that lasted no more than two or three minutes. 

It reminded me of the time Jason Statham said that he would never star in a Marvel movie because of all the green screen and stunt doubles.

Though in the instance of Marvel Studios there’s a point to all the FX, because until people can fly, turn into green rage monsters or make costumes our of nonexistent metals (with miraculous, unearthly properties), CGI and green screen are the only way to bridge the distance between what’s possible and what isn’t. 

Now, compare that to movies like this one, where the main character isn’t Superman or Wonder Woman, but a guy really into extreme sports. 

CGI may make those stunts look more extreme, but it also cheapens things in exactly the way Statham was talking about, which is by removing the human element.