Ghost Rider Unleashed on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

As you can tell from the trailer above, one of Marvel Comics’ Ghost Rider’s (there have been at least three or four variations on the character) is making an appearance on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and honestly I am not sure what feel about that.

Reason being, unlike over at DC Films and DC Television (I assume that that’s what their television arm is called), Marvel Studios and Marvel Television have been acting in somewhat of a coordinated fashion, so the groundwork for something like a flaming demon and his hellfire-spewing car doesn’t quite have a precedent (and I get the whole ‘magic is just scionce that’s slightly beyond our understanding’ sort of stuff, though this is a whole ‘nother matter) just yet or until Doctor Strange premieres this November.

Hopefully the series will make things a bit clearer.

Thor: Ragnarok’s Resident Wild Card

Marvel Studios’ upcoming Thor: Ragnarok looks to be the most intriguing release thus far, and most of the reason for it are due to idiosyncratic director Taiki Waititi.

He’s the director of quirky dramedies like Eagle vs Shark and What We Do In The Shadows and if the trailer he released at ComicCon is any indicator he intends to bring his unique sensibilities and extremely skewed sensibilities to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

And that’s a little scary because its hard to predict where he will take things.

He’s either going to create something that’s off the charts brilliant, or that’s so odd that it might not connect with a wider audience easily.

Either way, it’s going to be fascinating.

And if that weren’t enough, Mark Mothersbaugh is doing the music. He’s done soundtracks for everything from television shows to movies, but I’ll always remember him for the Rugrats theme song.

And there’s always this…

The Old And The New: Marvel Studios’ Openings Comparison

Marvel Studios.pngIf you were paying attention during the second trailer for Marvel’s Doctor Strange–and it’s pretty awesome–you probably noticed that the Marvel Studios opening has changed.

Here’s the original.

I like it because it harkens back to the roots of Marvel Studios, which is comic books.

It’s relatively simple, with great music by Brian Tyler that comes across heroic (although self-contained, almost simplistically so in fact) and stylistically unique.

The new Marvel Studios logo? It’s a whole other animal.

Initially it sets itself apart from the earlier iteration by increasing the size of ‘Studios,’ making it equal to ‘Marvel.’  Another crucial difference is that it incorporates not only comic panels, but painting, CGI and scenes from Marvel Studios’ movies.

It feels very odd to me in that it seems to be saying that while we may have started with comics, we’ve become so much more.

While that may be true, it’s a differentiation that I am not entirely sure is necessary to make.

Another thing is that it comes off visually cluttered, primarily due to the transitions from various media. It doesn’t look bad by any means, though it does appear that it’s trying to do too much, so it comes off a bit messy and out of control; lacking the efficiency and seeming effortlessness of the original.

The music, by Michael Giacchino, doesn’t feel quite as ‘massive’–for lack of a better word–as Brian Tyler’s work, but it does feel more nuanced and complex.

It also helps to ground and –to a greater or lesser extent–unify the visuals.

All in all, it’s an interesting change, though I don’t think it works as well as its predecessor, mainly because there’s just so much going on, relatively speaking.

Why Doctor Strange Is Crucial To The MCU

It’s been a long time away!  I’ve hopefully straightened out all the hullabaloo revolving around my domain, and things should be back to normal.

Most recently I haven been thinking about how it is that Marvel’s Doctor Strange is perhaps one of their most important releases, and crucial to the future of the MCU, or Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I explore the two most pertinent reasons why in the video below:

And here’s a radio play, Chandu the Magician, the character that directly inspired the creation of the good Doctor.

And if I weren’t giving enough, here’s the Dr. Strange telefilm, starring Peter Hooten and executive produced by Phillip DeGuerre.  And sure, it’s a product of its time, but it’s pretty nifty in its own way.

Love Disney, But Iger Seems A Bit Douchy

Screenshot 2016-06-15 16.25.12I am a huge fan of Disney, not because of their characters–which for the most part I find cloying and treacly–than the business acumen of Bob Iger, who had the sense to see the value in LucasFilm, Marvel Studios, and Pixar, all of which he purchased; each of which are virtually licenses to purchase money.

Captain America: Civil War is still in the Top 10–that’s called ‘legs,’ baby–despite being released May 6–has earned  earned almost $1.5 billion at the box office, while Zootopia–via Disney Animation–has earned just over a billion.

And you have Finding Dory coming up next from Pixar, and estimates have it opening somewhere in the ballpark of $125 million.

That’s a lot of money.

That being said, what most people think of when they consider ‘Walt Disney’ is probably the theme parks, which is why I found his response to Bernie Sanders, who drew attention to the pay earned by people that work there.

In response Iger asked how many jobs has Sanders created, which is interesting, though sort of silly because that’s not quite how Government works.

Though more importantly, he didn’t respond to Sanders’ point because Sanders was talking about how much people earned who work at Disney’s theme parks, while Iger responded by attacking him for being a Democratic Socialist, on top of asking how many jobs he had created.

As I said, that’s not what Sanders asked.  He was referring to how much people earned at Disney theme parks, NOT to how many people they’re employing because Walmart employs a lot of people too, though the last I heard many of them rely on government programs to make the difference from week to week to pay the bills–because their take-home pay is relatively little–though how much they earn is just as important–if not more so–than how many people they employ.

Disney is making money hand over fist, and it’s about time that they send some love–by which I mean money; love is awesome, but it doesn’t pay the bills unless you’re sleeping with your landlord.  And your cable and telephone provider (though they’re probably the same)–their workers way because THOSE WORKERS ARE DISNEY, and should be treated as such.

X-Men Apocalypse Wobbles To The Finish

I’ve said for a long time now that Fox doesn’t know how to manage the Marvel Studios properties–currently the X-Men and the Fantastic Four–that they currently control.

So what do they do? They go and prove me right.  X-Men: Apocalypse, after a Memorial Day premiere of $79.8 million–enough to beat the competition handily–fell a dizzying 66 percent the following week.

And I don’t think anything to do with ‘superhero fatigue,’ a myth, like the Yeti or its domestic cousin, the Sasquatch.

Though what I think it does show is that moviegoers are wising up, and after an initial surge of viewers (composed mainly of fans of the characters) they’re staying away.

Which is why Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened so strongly. This interest, as I said, driven by the fan community (though it didn’t hurt that the movie was released all over the world at the same time, which mitigated the extremely negative word of mouth that would have otherwise done it significantly more damage) is enough to open a movie big, but in the long run, not enough to maintain it.

This process of front-loading–and typically high initial profits–makes studios way more optimistic about a movie’s performance than perhaps they should be.

But it’s whether or not a movie has legs is what matters most, especially in these days of $250 million+ budgets.

And Batman v Superman had relatively weak legs.

And apparently those of X-Men: Apocalypse aren’t much better.

 

3 Things Warner Bros Should Do To Fix The DCEU

Indeed. Opinions are just like buttholes. 

By DCEU, I mean the DC Extended Universe (which sounds to me like someone’s working really hard not to sound in any way similar to Marvel Studios’ MCU or Marvel Cinematic Universe).

In any case, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has earned just over $868 million at the foreign and domestic box office, and it’s theatrical window is closing.

Now that’s a lot of money, till you take into account that the movie features three of DC’s biggest characters–Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman–and it’s running out of steam not having earned $900 million, never mind a billion.

And while Warner Bros executives put on a brave face, there’s no way that the movie’s performance can be considered anything but disappointing.

While Marvel Studios’s Captain America: Civil Warhas been out less than ten days and has earned $789 million, well on it’s way to earning a billion.

And why that happens to be the case I explore further in the video, though I’m sad to say that much of the problems are very much self-inflicted.