Spider-Man: Homecoming Teaser Trailer


A teaser trailer for Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming was released today, and having seen it I almost wish they hadn’t. 

First off, it has a very found footage type of feel (which is to say a bit cheap). 

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it ends with Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland) exclaiming, “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” 

And while that quote is out of context, it comes off as a bit too self-reverential for comfort. 

Hopefully the full trailer will bring some much needed context. 

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.

The Illogic of Spoiler Culture

I can’t wait to see Spider-Man: Homecoming, partially because Tom Holland gave a winning, enthusiastic performance in Captain America: Civil War, but also because the movie is being produced by Marvel Studios along with Sony Pictures, which at least holds out the hope that he will be treated more faithfully than has recently been in more recent iterations. 

That being said, as a reader of various websites dedicated to superhero films I have started to pay closer attention to what I think is quite a disturbing trend–which isn’t by any restricted to superhero-orientated sites; those are just the ones I frequent on a consistent basis–which is the revealing of plot points that may at first relatively minor, yet cumulatively can end up being spoilers.

Feo instande, this is a story running on Superherohype:  SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Clip Description Confirms Major Costume Change And Spoils Happy Hogan’s Cameo

I read the article, though soon noticed a curious feeling not unlike regret.  

It was less a case that the particular thing revealed being by any means earth-shattering–truth be told, it was hardly what I’d call a spoiler–though what it and reveals like it have the potential of doing is not only robbing the movie of what could have been a very memorable moment.

Though there’s the risk that, over time–as other equally small moments are revealed–of potentially adding up to one massive spoiler, as these sort of reveals can have a cumulative effect.

Making a movie, overall, significantly less enjoyable.

Which is oddly ironic because relatively few, if any, fan sites actively seek to diminish anyone’s joy, but due to their zeal to dig up as much information about an upcoming project as they possibly can can end up doing just that. 

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.  

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.

Wonder Woman – Official Trailer

Let’s be clear: Based on what I have seen so far, I suspect that Patty JenkinsWonder Woman isn’t going to be a great movie.  

Then again, an important question that needs to be asked is if DC Films even needs it to be because at this point I imagine all that they and Warner Bros want is a superhero movie that is not reviled by both hard-core comics fans and critics of various stripes. 

The last entry in the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) was Suicide Squad, and while not particularly well-liked by critics, it garnered enough goodwill from moviegoers to earn over $745 million worldwide. 

So maybe Wonder Woman will complete the other part of the equation, bringing some much needed critical acceptance. 

Visually the movie looks a lot like Captain America: The First Avenger (down to their also apparently being a MacGuffin of “indescribable power” in the vein of the Tesseract) but that’s probably due to both stories sharing similar thematic elements than anything else. 

Is The Flash Cursed?


Of course the production isn’t (though the headline probably grabbed your attention, if only because it’s so asinine) though it’s shaping up to be a particularly troubled one.

First, Seth Grahame-Smith left due to ‘creative differences’–a term that is so vague that  it could literally mean just about anything–now according to Comicbook.com his replacement, Rick Famuyima, has left the production for the very same reason/non-reason.

If DC Films/Warner Bros and settle on a director that they’re creatively in sync with then most people will forget this game of directorial musical chairs was ever played.

Though if the movie, when the question of whom will direct is settled and it’s released, that is, either tanks or underperforms people are going to point to the defections of Grahame-Smith and Famuyima as early signs of a troubled production and the first cracks in the supposedly director-focused approach of Warner Bros Pictures.