Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2017-12-10 19.37.39Sony is in a really curious place as far as their licensed Marvel Comics characters go.

Spider-Man himself is currently being very well-managed by Marvel Studios, who’re essentially producing movies gratis for Sony–so they’re building a branch of the SpiderVerse that doesn’t include him.

Which is a bit problematic because the characters that they’re building their franchise on, Venom, Silver Sable and Black Cat, under most conditions exit alongside Spider-Man (and were in fact introduced in his comic).

So if you take him away you’re (mostly) removing the context that they exist in as well.

Like I said, it’s a problem (though truth be told for those of us not well-versed with the comics it’ll be a relatively small one) .

This version of Spider-Man is Miles Morales, and if I recall for a time existed in an alternate Earth or something to that effect.

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Avengers: Infinity War Teaser Trailer Tomorrow!

If Justice League left you a bit underwhelmed, Marvel Studios has the perfect holiday gift!  The teaser trailer for Avengers: Infinity War premieres tomorrow (and while I still think a teaser for a trailer is a dopey idea the trend didn’t start with this movie, and isn’t likely to end anytime soon)!

Avengers: Infinity War (and it’s so far unnamed sequel) are the culmination of  Phase Three of the MCU, or Marvel Cinematic  Universe, and supposedly revolves around Thanos taking a more active role in retrieving the Infinity Stones, which when he gets them would make him a god with the power to make–or unmake–the universe.

Standing against him and his Black Order (I hope they go by their name in the comics, the Cull Obsidian) are every hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as old greviances are forgotten in the face of the greatest threat the world, and the universe has ever known.

The Midnight Man – Trailer

I want to trust this trailer.  After all, The Midnight Man stars Lin Shaye and Robert England (likely in supporting roles, but still) in a story about teens doing what it is that teens do, which typically (in horror movies, at any rate) is meddle with things that they shouldn’t.

My uncertainty about The Midnight Man is due the title and story being thematically similar to The Bye Bye Man, which is supposed to be a piece of crap according to Half in the Bag, though Variety was infinitely more charitable, essentially calling the movie disposable, but by no means unwatchable.

 

Full Metal Alchemist – Official Trailer

Screenshot 2017-11-02 01.51.33I recall that someone explained why it is that Japanese people in anime don’t look particularly Japanese, but I don’t recall the explanation (which implies that it didn’t particularly resonate for me).

I should mention that my feeling also doesn’t apply to all anime.  Characters from the works of Hayao Miyzaki appear distinctly Japanese (in terms of how they’re drawn).

Which is one of the reasons I enjoyed Gantz: 0:  all the characters looked Japanese (which makes sense when something takes place in Japan).

I was bothered as much as anyone else by Scarlett Johansson’s casting as the Major in Ghost in the Shell though less because she was playing a Japanese character–since as I explained earlier, the Major never looked Japanese to me–more than I knew she was despite that fact and therefore should be played by a Japanese person.

Though having seen the trailer for Full Metal Alchemist–filmed with an entirely Japanese cast–it looks a bit…off, especially compared to the episodes of the anime I have seen.

It’s sort of weird, but it reminds me of someone’s interpretation of Full Metal Alchemist–which it obviously is–but I mean in a more deeper, essential sense of who these characters are.

It’s like it were being made especially for the Japanese market–which in a sense it is–after the Hollywood version.

If that makes any sense.

James Gunn, You Don’t Get To Choose Your Own Facts 

Screenshot 2017-10-28 15.09.58I understand James Gunn (Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1 & 2) says that Marvel Studios isn’t competing with DC Entertainment and that there’s no bad blood between the two studios.

Which also happens to be a perspective shared by Kevin Feige and Geoff Johns (the heads of Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment, respectively).

That being said, long before there was a Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics was–quite actively in fact–competing with DC Comics (and still are).  And sure, it was for the most part good-natured, but that didn’t make it any less a competition.

Screenshot 2017-10-28 15.15.33.pngAnd that competition benefitted both companies.

But now that that relationship has become inconvenient–I get it.  It gets really old that people Tweet him, arguing back and forth about Batman V Superman–but what’s he’s doing is acting as if this conflict, this schism between fans of these characters wasn’t at various points fed and promoted by both DC and Marvel.

And that doesn’t mean that it needs– or should–be continued today, but  by seemingly pretending not to see how both companies have contributed to the very problem he’s concerned about is blatantly unfair and unbecoming of someone who’s not only shown himself to be a fan of these characters, but an active participant in the community, as Gunn.

This is on top of the very valid view that Zack Snyder–who was for a time the creative force behind the DCEU–seriously mistreated Batman and Superman, which Gunn seems to not at all willing to take into account.

 

Will the Nightbreed Rise Again?

Production company Morgan Creek recently announced that they’re changing their name to the Morgan Creek Entertainment Group.

And…why would anyone (who isn’t directly or indirectly involved with Morgan Creek) care?

The reason is because one of the movies in their catalogue is Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (based on the short story, Cabal from The Books of Blood). 

An almost legendarily troubled production, Nightbreed was an attempt by Barker to move away from the gore of his prior film, Hellraiser. 

And it might have worked, if it weren’t for the fact that at the time Morgan Creek wanted a slasher movie–it came out in 1990, when slasher movies were in vogue–and if they couldn’t get Clive Barker to make them one, they’d take control of his film and  do it themselves!

So somewhere in the ballpark of an hour of footage was cut from the movie, altering storylines in ways that Barker hadn’t intended; literally changing the structure, flow and intent of the movie.

And while various attempts have been made since the release of Nightbreed to restore it to an approximation of his vision, the damage had been done and Barker only directed one other movie, 1995’s The Lord of Illusions (from The Books of Blood, Vol. 6) since that time.

Fast-forwarding to today there’s no guarantee that Barker will have anything to do with Nightbreed, be it a television series or a feature film, but it’s logical that the relaunched Morgan Creek Entertainment would would at least seek to have Barker on in an executive producer capacity, if only go to satisfy the legions of fans of his work because I am comfortable saying that without Barker’s imprimatur, a reboot is DOA.

Humor: Marvel Studios’ Not-So-Secret-Sauce

For awhile now other studios have been trying to crack the Marvel Studios formulato varying degrees of success–though as far as I can tell their greatest problem is that they’re approaching it in that fashion (like so great mystery waiting to be solved), when in truth there’s isn’t any secret at all.

In a sense a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for Marvel Studios in that they haven’t had to convince a large segment of the population to love their characters, since millions of us have grown up doing just that by reading comic books (something Warner Bros, the owners of DC Entertainment, are for some reason only just beginning to get).

So all Marvel had to do was essentially adapt their characters as true to the comics as common sense (a drawing and a actual person aren’t the same things, duh, so allowances had to be made or maybe the story of that character doesn’t quite fit in the framework that currently exists for Marvel features) would allow.

And there needs to be humor.  I’m not talking about the pratfalls you might get from The Three Stooges or anything like that, but the often unintentional comedy that comes from people just interacting with each other.

Here’s an example from the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.

What makes the scene work is that the humor’s derived not from some sort of pratfall, but from the natures of the chraracters involved.  

Thor is typically depicted as mighty, noble, kind and headstrong; the latter bordering on egotistical.  Combine his own nature with the Hulk (one of the stronger beings in all of Marvel) then you’re definitely going to get all sorts of friction, which can play out in various ways. 

In other words, in the earlier scene Thor is acting true to his nature (in the second scene he’s just an object for Hulk’s ire).

 It doesn’t make the movies comedies, but what it does is make them more naturalistic and less of a slog.

Because isn’t just living day to day difficult enough that just maybe you don’t want the movies you watch to get away from things for a little while to reflect that same esthetic?