The DCEU Finds Redemption

There a story on Superherohype where Ben Affleck says that the portrayal of Batman in Warner Bros/DC Films upcoming Justice League would be a more ‘traditional’ portrayal of the character.

What!?

The fact that Affleck has to tell viewers this is indicative of perhaps the greatest problem the DCEU has (yet) to overcome: namely a loss of support from their core audience, which are the people who grew up reading the comics these characters first appeared in.

Which is such a weird place to be because it’s a problem of their own making in that all they needed to do was to make their superheroes more faithful (I understand that no character translates wholly intact from the printed page to the movie screen but it’s almost as if Warner Bros wasn’t even trying) to how the characters appeared in the comics, then literally sit back and rake in the cash.

But if Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad have shown us anything, it’s seemingly not quite that easy.

Or does it?  Maybe the greatest problem with the three aforementioned movies has less to do with their their fidelity to the source material (though that’s certainly there) than an attempt to be visually and esthetically different from Marvel Studios.

And on some level that’s understandable.  What isn’t is creating such an esthetically and morally unappealing interpretation of Batman and Superman (though what’s worse is that there’s nothing wrong with such portrayals per se.  It’s more a question of starting with a more traditional interpretation then have events turn the character dystopic–which was said, but never shown in reference to Batman).

That’s an important journey viewers would have not enjoyed embarking on, and would have shown the seminal events that resulted in a murderous Batman (something the character studiously avoided during for the bulk of time he has existed).

Wonder Woman–for the DCEU–is literally a game changer in that it not appears more faithful to the comics than the aforementioned movies, yet managed to appeal to both critics and the bulk of the moviegoing audience.

It may not have quite restored faith in the fledgling cinematic universe that is the DCEU

‘IT’ – Official Trailer #2

The latest trailer for Stephen King’s IT dropped a few hours ago, and the first thing I wondered when I saw if was if IT was also a part of the Stranger Things universe.

Both feature Finn Wolfhard, both revolve around a group of young people on the cusp of the adult world–and the secrets that it holds–facing bullies and their demons (both real and imagined).

And perhaps most importantly, both revolve around either the supernatural or things than can be easily interpreted as such (the Upsidedown from Stranger Things is approached in a more overtly scientific fashion than the terrors of IT but that’s less a question of the former not being supernatural than the approach to it being based in science).

Though the more likely explanation for the similarities is that Stranger Things is very much based on the work of Stephen King and movies of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter (particularly Carpenter, as far as the music and whole esthetic goes), so that it resembles a Stephen King movie is hardly a coincidence.

Zach Snyder and the Island of Ill-Concieved Ideas 

It seems that finally Zach Snyder has fallen out of favor at Warner Bros, though my question is why it took so long to happen.   Keep in mind while he’s overseen produced no flops while the creative force behind the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) though what he has done was produce three movies–Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad–that were extremely devisive as far as the perceptions of critics and movie goers.

You’ll notice that I didn’t include Wonder Woman, the best received DCEU movie (and on track to being the most profitable) yet?  That’s no accident.  Snyder’s star has been in it’s descendecy for quite awhile, and Wonder Woman was the first movie produced with a new management team in place.

And the worse thing is that I don’t necessarily blame Snyder.  Warner Bros management (at the time) should have taken his ideas for a murderous Batman and an apathetic Superman and thrown them onto the Island of Really Ill-Conceived Ideas where they belonged, as opposed to entertaining them as as they did.

Blade Runner 2049 – Trailer 2

The latest trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049–a pretty terrible title, by the way–a few hours ago and so far reminds me less of Ridley Scott’s original and more than Peter Hyams’ 2010 in that it appears to take the most important elements of the original (Harrison Ford, replicants, a neon-bright skyscraper, a whiff of conspiracy) and makes them more palatable for general audiences.

That was what 2010 did as well, namely taking Stanley Kubrick’s cold and analytical 2001: A Space Odyssey and preserving its themes and ideas, while recasting them in a way that–while still challenging–was more narratively traditional and just easier to like.

Jaden Smith’s Batman

When future historians are studying what led to whatever atrocity Jaden Smith will likely commit in the future–I envision a Terminator/SkyNet-type scenario myself–this video will like rank high among the evidence of when Smith lost his mind.

Typically, when someone makes a video tribute/parody to Batman they make an effort to at least use costumes and things that attempt the mimic the feel, style and atmosphere that the character is best known for.

Not Smith though, who clearly marches to the beat of a different drummer.  The video isn’t by any means offensive, though his curiously rhythmless moves and stark white Batman-like costume–which must work on the idea of mesmerizing his opponents because stealth’s clearly off the table–is at least interesting.

Though what I wonder most about is who directed the video because there’s an odd, meandering, almost Parisian quality about it where things are emphasized, like a glass of water and a window Smith uses as a blackboard that appear to serve no purpose to the narrative other than to be weird.

Murder On The Orient Express – Trailer

There something comforting about an Agatha Christie mystery, though I have never tried to quantify why.

Before now, that is.

I think that what drew me to them originally was the logical way the stories were constructed and the way the mystery unfolded.  Typically you put a group of strangers in a situation where there’s no readily available avenue of escape, and have one of them die by sinister means.

No one can be trusted (other than the detective, that is)  It’s not  a particularly innovative formula but I find–when they’re done well–them to be endlessly entertaining

In fact, my only issue with the 2017 version (if there haven’t been at least three or four versions there haven’t been any) is that Kenneth Brannagh is playing Hercule Poirot, who happens to look nothing at all like the character as described by Agatha Christie.

Peter Ustinov, who played the fastidious Belgian detective in Death On The Nile, was better (visually speaking) though neither can compare to David Suchet, who in my mind will always be the definitive Hercule Poriot.

Wonder Woman Looks to Smash Expectations   

Patty Jenkins’ upcoming Wonder Woman feature has a quality that’s shared with no other recent movie bearing the DC logo (and it’s not an opening projection that’s projected somewhere in the ballpark of $175 million worldwide).

The quality in question is its  Rotten Tomatoes score.

According to the aggregator the movie has amassed a 97 percent ‘Fresh‘ rating, which is HUGE because it tells you that the critics that have seen he movie so far like it.

And speaking of critics, keep in mind that as of the writing of this article that percentage was made up of only  66 reviews, so that number is likely to go down, though it shouldn’t be a huge percentage.

Which means that not only will Wonder Woman receive better reviews than either Man Of Steel, Suicide Squad or Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it’s quite likely that it will be the most profitable movie based on a female superhero ever.

At least till Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel arrives on he scene.