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. 

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.

HUGE Doctor Strange Villain Confirmation

As I’ve said before, and bears repeating; I really hate spoilers. There’s often something about the early reveal of crucial plot-points that reeks of someone out to steal everyone else’s joy.

That being said, what I stumbled upon an article from Wegotitcovered.com it confirmed what I long hoped about the latest entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) long before it even hit theaters. 

Namely, the identity of Doctor Strange’s enemy (and I don’t mean Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelson, below)


What tipped me off were his eyes and how the prosthetic he’s wearing looks as if he were burned.  

When I saw that I KNEW almost immediately who was either pulling Kaecilius’s strings or manipulating him to do his dirty work.

And that puppet master is the lord of the Dark Dimension!

As a result I don’t think that it’s a spoiler more so than a confirmation because people who know Marvel’s Master of the Mystic Arts probably suspected it all along, and those who aren’t familiar with him it won’t matter all that much for that very reason.  

The Origin Of The (Cinematic) Universe, Part One


‘Early Milky Way’ image via hubblesite.com

Success breeds imitation, and in the past ten years few movie companies have been successful as Marvel Studios.

And while many in the Hollywood community seem surprised, if they had any idea of the pent-up demand for seeing characters like Iron Man, Falcon and many others that millions of people have grown up with from Marvel Comics, on the silver screen, they probably wouldn’t have been.

Though what made Marvel Studios such a success wasn’t superheroes in and of themselves (despite the aforementioned demand) but the way they were presented.

What Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, brought to the table was the creation of an integrated cinematic universe, the likes of much had never been seen in movies before (coupled with extremely faithful interpretations of the characters).

And as far as ‘imitation’ goes, other companies have tried to mimic the approach of Marvel  Studios, with varying degrees of success.

Sony Pictures attempted to create a cinematic universe based on Spider-Man with The Amazing Spider-Man movies. After an initially strong showing, the sequel–while profitable–indicated a definite downward trend, financially speaking, for the franchise.

So they, perhaps anticipating the franchise falling precipitously enough that the rights would eventually revert back to Marvel, instead entered into a deal where future Spider-Man movies would be under Marvel Studios’ creative control, while both studios produced (some have written that the upcoming movies would be produced exclusively by Sony, with Marvel providing only creative control.  This literally makes no sense at all because having only creative control gives Marvel Studios relatively little, while granting Sony access to the uber-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr., is one of the most successful Marvel Studios’ characters, who’ll next appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming). 

Universal Pictures plans to create a cinematic universe based upon Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man and the Mummy (which is filming with Tom Cruise in the lead).  At this point it’s too early to tell how well it will do.

What’s perhaps most surprising is the current position of DC Films in the world of the cinematic universe.  ‘Surprising’ because before Marvel Studios was barely an idea they were producing movies based upon Superman and Batman.  The problem was that–for reasons that will probably never be entirely known–they never built and expanded their offerings, despite seemingly ample opportunities to do so.

Logan – Official Trailer

screenshot-2016-10-20-10-45-40It’s no secret that I don’t particularly like what Fox has done with the Marvel’s X-Men, though take that dislike and double it, and that’s approaches what I feel what they have done with Wolverine.

And the worse thing for me is that it’s all about greed.

Hugh Jackman’s portrayal (despite that, visually speaking, he’s not at all like the character in that he’s too tall and too handsome) won fans over early on, so what they did was make everything about him, sidelining virtually every other character.

So, did I like the trailer for Logan? It’s okay. It’s certainly trying (a bit too hard) to get across a certain mood and atmosphere, which it does; Johnny Cash song and all.

I also like that it appears that the cinematographer seems to be making use of a lot of natural light in the trailer because there’s something that’s stultifying about people that are perfectly lit.