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

Conspiracy Theory – Justice League Edition

I don’t consider myself to be a cynical person, nor am I prone to conspiratorial thinking–though the ‘Single-bullet theory’ is so nonsensical you’d have to be an idiot to take it seriously–so, while I avoid looking at the world through rose-colored lenses, things aren’t all gloom and doom either.

So, when I heard that Zach Synder’s daughter, Autumn, had committed suicide in May, and because of the effect that had on him and his family, he decided to step down from completing directing DC Films’ upcoming Justice League feature.

And that makes sense because his daughter was only twenty when she died; making her death even more devastating because she never really lived. By way of further illustration, Roger Moore also died recently, though he was 89 years old.  We all have to go sometime and 89 years is a really good run, so it’s not like he was somehow cheated at life.

Joss Whedon–who will be directing a movie based on Batgirl, his first for DC  Films–stepped in to complete the movie.

Now he’s where the conspiracy comes in.  Originally Snyder was the guiding force behind the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), sculpting the entire look and feel of all the movies and–I assume–the primary person dealing with issues of continuity (crucial to movies that are interconnected).

But a strange thing happened: namely movies like Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice revealed that Snyder either barely understood either character–which is ridiculous, but at least understandable–or he understood both characters, only didn’t care enough to respect them and people expectations of them, which is in a way much, much worse.

So he began to be demoted in the sense that other people began to take a more aggressive role in overseeing his movies, such as Geoff Johns and Ben Affleck.

So, Zach Snyder needed a way to leave the DCEU gracefully and while I am not saying that Warner Bros had anything to do with the death of his daughter, other parties–including Znyder himself–may be using it to do what would be next to impossible otherwise.

Will Kraven the Hunter Appear in the Spider-Man: Homecoming Sequel?

Ben Affleck originally planned to star, write (with Geoff Johns) and direct a solo Batman movie for Warner Bros and DC Entertainment though he eventually decided to step down from the latter (it’s believed that he did so because Warner Bros was insistent that he make a 2018 release date, which he felt he could not do if he were to maintain the quality fans of the franchise had come to expect) and was replaced by Matt Reeves.

And when a new director comes onto a project–especially one in as strong a bargaining position as Reeves–they tend to rewrite a project, as opposed to going with the script that was already in place.

This means that much of what had been in Affleck and John’s screenplay will more than likely be discarded (though whomever does a rewrite could use the Affleck and Johns screenplay as a starting point).

Supposedly, the villain in the original screenplay was  Deathstroke, who was going to be played by Joe Manganiello.

Now let’s for a moment look at another franchise, namely Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.  

The third iteration of Marvel Comics venerable wall crawler will premier in theaters in 2018 though producers have said that they’re avoiding using villains from he earlier movies–which despite their iconic status makes a lot of sense–which means that it’s unlikely we’ll see the Green Goblin, the Lizard, Dr. Octopus, Sandman, Venom (and speaking of Venom, that’s a special case that I cover on my Screenphiles YouTube channel) or Electro.

Which means that villains that we have had yet to see will be appearing in Spider-Man: Homecoming–such as the Vulture, Tinkerer and Shocker–and its sequels.

Such as Kraven the Hunter

One of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes–created by Stan Lee and Stece Ditko and who first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #15–Kraven sought to defeat Spidey because he believed himself to be the world’s greatest hunter, though that’s not the only reason Kraven comes to mind as the next villain to menace Tom Holland’s Spider-Man because if you recall I mentioned Joe Manganiello a few paragraphs ago?  Well, here’s where things get interesting.

Here’s a picture of Manganiello.

And while I have no idea if there’s room in his schedule to play Kraven–nor that the villain is even being considered–there are few roles that an actor is so perfectly suited to play.

Ben Affleck No Longer Directing ‘The Batman’

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ben Affleck will no longer be directing the tentatively titled The Batman for Warner Bros, though he still intends to star (and probably write with Geoff Johns) the upcoming feature. 

Part of me wonders if Affleck’s change of heart has anything to do with his latest feature, Live By Night tanking at the box office, and costing the studio somewhere in the ballpark of $75 million. 

Maybe? Maybe not?  Only time will tell though if for the reasons Affleck sites in the article–that as the director and the star that he perhaps couldn’t deliver the quality fans expect–is good enough reason for him to step aside.  

The Straw That Broke The Batman’s Back

What?   You thought Bane deserved all the credit?

In the past few months Warner Bros has been on a charm offensive, as far as the movies of their DC Extended Universe go, but I’m not buying it. 

Another thing I’m not buying are those people who claim that what is preported to be a lighter tone for the upcoming Justice League movie was in the cards all along.  

Reason being, Man Of Steel took itself way too seriously.  Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice upped the ante on dourness, if that were even possible–while working with a story so nonsensical that a bit of levity would have made the whole thing that much more palatable–and now I am supposed to believe that all of a sudden Zach Snyder realized that Superman is based on comic books (that were originally meant for children), and not an object of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism?

The more likelier explanation is that Warner Bros executives saw that the DCEU movies with Zach Synder as architect–while not box office failures–were severely underperforming (that you could put three of the most iconic superheroes in the same movie and can’t reach $900 million at the box office, never mind a billion, is the proverbial canary in the coal mine) so something had to be done. 

And what that seems to be is an demotion of sorts for Snyder, in two ways.  The first is that Ben Affleck was appointed as executive producer on the upcoming Justice League, and apparently is very influential over what happens on screen.  And perhaps more importantly, Geoff Johns and Jon Berg were made co-presidents of DC Films, seemingly with a mandate to resort a sense of hope and optimism to movies sorely lacking such virtues.  

My problem is that I am reaching Transformers levels of frustration with the movies of the DCEU (something Suicide Squad by no means changed) so for me it might be a little too late.

And it’s worth mentioning that I have given up on the Transformers, and refuse to see them in theaters.  

The Great Wall – Trailer

Screenshot 2016-07-31 20.19.30

What is it with Matt Damon and comments and/or activities of a racially-dubious nature?

First there were the comments made during his and Ben Affleck’s HBO series–now cancelledProject Greenlight, where Damon finds diversity okay, as long as it’s in its place.

If I recall, that happened sometime last year (or earlier this year).

Now Damon is starring in The Great Wall, where he apparently acts as a savior of the Chinese people.

From the trailer the movie looks like a fantasy–which is fitting in ways the producers probably didn’t take into account–and doesn’t reflect reality (the monsters attacking the Great Wall are a dead giveaway).

That being said, in the multi-cultural world we now live in–which has always been that way, though many people didn’t like to think of it that way, so therefore it wasn’t–it’s in particularly bad taste to have white people come to the rescue of people of color, especially when it doesn’t reflect any objective reality.

That being said, Matt Damon is near the peak of his box office powers.  His most recent movie, Jason Bourne has debuted to $60 million; a nice chunk of change.

And besides,The Great Wall was produced by Legendary Pictures (which was recently purchased by a Chinese company) and is directed by a renown Chinese director, Zhang Yimou and has many Chinese actors in its cast.

So Damon is bringing something to the production besides his whiteness, though I just wish as a person (and as an actor) he were a bit more cognizant of some of the more dubious choices and decisions he seems to make pretty consistently lately.

The Accountant – Trailer 1

If you haven’t seen the trailer for Gavin O’Connor’s (Warrior) The Accountant, it revolves around Christian Wolfe (Ben Affleck) who’s a savant that if the flashbacks are any indication, and ranks relatively high on the autism scale.

And it looks like an interesting idea for a movie, that is if you haven’t seen 2014’s The Equalizer which had not only a very similar idea behind it, but with a lead (in that instance Denzel Washington) acting–from what I can see–in a similar fashion as well.

The Equalizer was also from Warner Bros so I assume that this is just an odd coincidence.