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 

Upholding The Covenant

Today 20th Century Fox released a teaser poster for Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant and the xenomorph is (apparently) once again the star of the show. 

Which is very odd because Scott originally wanted nothing more to do with the Alien universe, which at least partially explains why Damon Lindelhof’s rewrite of Joh Spaiths’ original screenplay exorcised virtually all hints of them from Prometheus

And yet it doesn’t because for someone not interested in dealing with Aliens, he certainly included a lot of the elements of their mythology, such as Weyland-Yutani, a variation of the Facehugger and what can only be called a proto-Alien. 

Weird choices, though maybe they’re an indication that Scott took less of an issue with the universe of Alien than the Alien itself. 

Which isn’t what I’d call a good sign, especially since he’s apparently leading with them.  

Beauty And The Beast – Official Trailer


Some movies aren’t made for me, and I understand that though what really needs to sink in is that that doesn’t necessarily mean that a movie is doomed to failure. 

I learned this rough lesson most recently when I swore to the heavens that Angelina Jolie’s 2014 movie Maleficent would tank at the box office. 

Over $758 million later, I was shown the error of my ways. 

I feel similarly about Disney’s upcoming Beauty And The Beast, which probably is an indicator that it will break a billion. 

It’s also worth mentioning that despite being directed by Bill Condon visually speaking the trailer reminds me a lot of Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak (particularly the opening till a talking clock, teapot and teacup make an appearance, reminding us that we’re firmly entrenched in Disneyland).

And maybe that’s not a coincidence because Del Toro was for a time going to direct (that is, till he wasn’t, and was replaced by Condon).  

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.  

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets – Teaser Trailer

The trailer for “Luc Besson‘s Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets dropped earlier today, and visually speaking, it’s gorgeous.

Then again, Besson is the guy that directed The Fifth Element–another visually dazzling sci-fi epic–so that’s not really a surprise. 


The only fly in the ointment (or spanner in the works or pig in the trough–I made that last one up) is that Besson isn’t a particularly strong–or original, in some instances–writer. 

And he’s apparently a huge fan of John Carpenter because while Besson was successfully sued for Lockout, his 2004 adventure movie DistrictB13 is disconcertingly similar to another movie by John Carpenter, Escape From New York

Hopefully Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets will follow in the footsteps of the French comic, written by  Pierre Christin and drawn by Jean-Claude Mézières, that inspired it and not any of John Carpenter’s work.  

Annabelle 2 – Teaser Trailer

I originally wasn’t going to blog today–something about the idea of Donald Trump as President-Elect made me mildly nauseous–but I’m not about to let a narcissistic, egotistical blow-hard scar my psyche or dampen my joy. 

So here’s the trailer for Annabelle 2 (directed by Gary Dauberman, who wrote the first movie) about a possessed doll that not only looks like what you’d imagine a possessed doll would–the actual Annabelle (this is based on an ‘true’ story) was a decidedly less creepy-looking Raggedy Ann–but also happens to be so grotesque no child in their right mind would want the thing around. 

It’s an decent trailer which uses sound to generate tension more so than anything overly visual.  

The only problem is that the sounds are pretty familiar–staples in horror movies, in fact–so they limit their effectiveness.