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…

What The Heck Is Going On With Justice League Dark?

Screenshot 2016-08-24 17.24.35.pngWarner Bros/DC Films’ Justice League Dark has had one of the most confusing journeys in to theaters in recent memory.

Originally intended as a project for Guillermo del Toro to direct, for unknown reasons those plans were abandoned, and it morphed into a cartoon (It’s worth mentioning that how the situation unfolded–minus the animation–is vaguely similar to how he was treated by Legendary Pictures, where he was set to direct the sequel to Pacific Rim before that project passed to Steven DeKnight–Spartacus, Marvel’s Daredevil–with Del Toro remaining as a producer, which is the case with Justice League Dark as well).

At the time that made no sense to me, and how the situation has evolved hasn’t made things any clearer, especially when you consider that Del Toro is indisputably one of the best directors of the weird and fantastic, so why he would move on from a project he originally seem very intent on helming feels a bit odd.

And things only get weirder because today  Comic Book Resources reported that Doug Liman, who was originally in line to direct Gambit for 20th Century Fox (a troubled production that won’t see the light of day any time soon) has turned up at the helm of Justice League Dark.

Yeah, I’m confused too because this latest turn of event literally makes no sense that I can see.

First off, why did Del Toro leave the production in the first place.  Then, why was the live action movie seemingly abandoned for an animated one.

And if things weren’t messy enough, how has the project returned, in a feat worthy of John Constantine himself, under Doug Liman?

And that’s not to imply criticism of Liman because he’s a really talented director but it feels to me that Guillermo del Toro is being treated a bit shabbily.

Can Geoff Johns Save The DCEU?

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Can Geoff Johns save the DCEU, otherwise known as the DC Extended Universe?

Let’s just say I HIGHLY doubt it.  And it’s worth mentioning that I speculate out of love because–while DC characters like Batman and Superman aren’t my favorites–I don’t wish them ill, either.

Which is why I find the movies released so far just vexingly disappointing.

Check out my reasons why in the video below.

The Second Week Curse Strikes Suicide Squad!

Screenshot 2016-08-03 19.14.16Which, if you follow Warner Bros. and DC Films is pretty much par for the course because, as big as the 67.3 percent fall for Suicide Squad was, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice performed even worse, declining 69 percent.

And this is problematic because it all the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) movies so far have lacked legs, and declined precipitously in their second weeks.

What this seems to say is that their movies are drawing fans of the material, but not expanding much beyond them.

And it should go without saying that this is a HUGE problem because it’s easy to get those viewers that are fans of the material, not so much for people that are unaware of it.

This is why Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy was such a surprise:  a movie that featured a CGI tree-man-thing and a raccoon managed to get people not only interested in the subject matter, but curious enough to go to the theater to see it.

Though it’s not unusual for movies of these type to fall in their second weeks. Another Marvel Studios movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier fell to $41 million in its second week; though it opened to $95 million domestically, falling just over 50 percent, but not enough to stop it from ending its run at over $714 million, on a $170 million budget.

While Suicide Squad?  If it finishes its run at much over $500 million, with a budget somewhere in the range of $174 to $250 million, I’d be pleasantly surprised.

Stop Implying Nefarious Motives For Ghostbusters (2016) Box Office Performance

Screenshot 2016-08-11 17.23.06For a movie who’s job was to reboot a blatantly uncontroversial movie, the 2016 reboot of Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters proved remarkably controversial.

And while I’d rather not rehash the whole  debate, I was reading a story from Brett White from Comicbookresources‘ Spinoff Online, where he draws a comparison between the way numerous movies are treated; commenting upon which get a sequel, and which don’t.

One of the points he raises is how Ghostbusters is doing better than numerous other movies from a financial standpoint, such as Star Trek: Beyond, at a comparable time and yet while that latter is apparently receiving a sequel yet Ghostbusters isn’t.

Though there are problems with White’s logic.

First, just because a studio says that a movie is getting a sequel doesn’t make it so. I mention this because Star Trek: Beyond has earned just over $198 million, which means that despite Paramount saying that there will be one doesn’t mean that there will actually be the case (and if its box office doesn’t increase significantly before it leaves theaters, the likelihood of that diminish accordingly).

Second, he makes a comparison between the box office of Ghostbusters and X-Men: Apocalypse but that’s a problematic comparison at best because the latter movie has earned over $534 million during it’s theatrical run, on a budget of $178 million.

So, despite the relatively weak legs of Fox’s X-movie it’s made enough to get a sequel.  If Ghostbusters had earned as much–legs or no legs–then it would as well.

Though it hasn’t.

And that’s not to say that there weren’t bad actors on Sony’s side as well as the fan community, but when all is said and done–despite all the mud-slinging and vitriol–if Ghostbusters were profitable, then who said what to whom would be irrelevant.

Warner Bros Just Don’t Get It…Suicide Squad Edition

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Apparently executives at Warner Bros/DC Films don’t understand that people don’t want murky, unheroic super beings–be they heroes or in this instance, villains.

I mention it because reviews have begun to come in for David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, and they’re notverygood.

To be fair, they’re mixed so some that aren’t as bad, such as (on Rotten Tomatoes there are a whole bunch of positive reviews in Spanish–as in reviews directed at a Latino audience– I’m not saying that that means anything in and of itself, but it is curious) this one, though even the review I sited as relatively positive spends an inordinate amount of time dealing with what the reviewer didn’t particularly like.

So I am getting a very Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice vibe from what I have seen from Suicide Squad so far (which I intend to catch this weekend).

So following that model it shouldn’t be a surprise that it makes a big initial splash at the box office over the weekend, earning somewhere in the ballpark of $100-150 million.

Now that sounds pretty awesome if you financed the movie, till it drops pretty dramatically in the following weeks, falling somewhere between 45-60 percent in its second week (and it goes without saying, not doing as well as Fox’s Deadpool).

I can’t speak for anyone at Warner Bros, but what I can say with some degree of certainty is that, if I am right, they cannot afford to continue creating these underwhelming movies based on DC Comics characters.

Because underwhelming is just a few small steps from an inevitable failure.

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.