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Black Widow vs the Double Standard of Women-Led Superhero Movies

Screenshot 2018-01-15 00.47.58It’s interesting that now Marvel Studios seems to be actively considering a movie based on Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow (Iron Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Civil War, Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron) especially when you consider that the character should have had one long before Wonder Woman did.

That being said, there’s a bright side to Marvel Studios’ seeming hesitancy.

Namely movies with women as main characters are judged by a different standard than those featuring men (and that’s not even getting into differences in color, never mind sex) in that if a movie staring a man fails, all that means is that some other man, in some other movie, will pop up next.

While, if a female-led movie craps out, then there’s a very real possibility that Hollywood might not make any more movies featuring women as leads (in that particular genre) for a very long time.

For instance, if I recall the last superhero film featuring a woman prior to 2017’s Wonder Woman was Elektra twelve years ago.

So as much as some of us don’t want to admit it, there’s definitely a double standard, and movies featuring women don’t have the luxury of being half-baked, which is why they shouldn’t be rushed into production.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – Trailer

I see what they’re trying to do with Jake Kasdan’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, but for the life of me I’m not entirely sure why (other than a studio banking on nostalgia and an establised iP, that is).   I haven’t seen Joe Johnston’s 1995 Jumanji, which I assume this movie is a reboot of, in awhile but this feels so…excessive.

And perhaps that approach is warranted, since the movie is revolving around a video game system, as opposed to the board games of the prior movies.

Though Jumanji–and it’s sequel of sorts, Zathura–felt like relatively small affairs when all is said and done, while the reboot feels massive and lacking the intimacy–and perhaps the heart–of those earlier films.

And while I know that Sony has a deal in place to share Spider-Man with Marvel Studios that deal likely does not extend to this movie.

Here’s a closeup of the above poster…


And here’s a closeup from one of the stingers (end credit scenes) at the end of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Coincidence!?  Probably.

Sony’s Bug Problem


And while spiders are arachnids, not bugs, bear with me and all come clear.

Spider-Man: Homecoming makes its North American debut today, and some pundits believe that it will ensnare an opening somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million.  If this bears out it would make the movie the fourth of 2017–joining Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 and Wonder Woman–to reach that milestone.

Though–at least at the moment–Sony only plans to work with Marvel Studios on Homecoming and its sequel, and that’s problematic not only for that reason, but because they’re also planning movies based on Venom, Silver Sable and the Black Cat, all outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe (known as the MCU).

This is a terrible idea because one of the reasons Spider-Man: Honecoming is projected to do as well as it is is because Spider-Man is returning to the MCU, which people are interested in seeing, while Sony’s upcoming movies will likely not have this version of Spider-Man, if any at all.

As I said, it’s a problem because you’re not only taking away the context that Venom currently exists in–which is the MCU–you’re potentially taking away the reason Venom himself exists (the symbiont originally chose to bond with Spider-Man.  Only when it was rejected by him did it turn its attentions to Eddie Brock).

So Venom (as well as Silver Sable, Black Cat and whichever other Spiderverse characters they intend to use) existing outside the MCU is problematic.

Though without Spider-Man?

That’s more than a problem; that’s a disaster for Sony.  For Marvel?

Not so much, especially when you take into account that while they never actually needed Spider-Man he’s back (albeit temporarily) and the MCU version has appeared in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming and with three movies on the way (Avengers: Infinity War, an untitled Avengers movie as well as a sequel to Homecoming).

If Sony were smart–or smarter, after all they did have the foresight to cut this deal with Marvel Studios–they would ensure that the Spiderverse remain in the MCU with a deal a similar to that that they reached with Spider-Man (which would probably have Marvel Studios getting a cut of the box office, perhaps in exchange for contributing to the costs of production).

It’s certainly worth a thought.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Trailer 3

Cutting an effective trailer is a strange mix of art and science and too much of either can ruin it.

And they’re more important than you think.

Part of what saved Suicide Squad was the  trailer, which (unfortunatel) made promises the movie itself didn’t quite live up to, was so well-received by movie goers.

By the same token, they can give away plot points that might better be left uNSAIDs (such as when Doomsday was revealed in the Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice trailer).

Though just so no one thinks I am picking on the DCEU, there was a scene from the first Avengers when the Hulk saves Iron Man, who’s falling after having ‘delivered’ a nuclear weapon to the Chtauri.

It wasn’t a spoiler but it did reveal a scene that would have been better served seen first in the context of the movie.

And speaking of ‘scenes that would have been better served seen first in the context of the movie’ the trailers for Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures Spider-Man: Homecoming haven’t crossed the line into spoiler territory, but they have revealed moments that would perhaps be better served by not beight first seen in the trailer.

Such as learning that Spidey’s uniform is filled to the gills with Stark-tech.


It doesn’t break the movie to learn this in advance–besides, hints were laid out in Captain  America: Civil War that this is not your father’s Spider-Man costume, so it wasn’t a huge reach.

THough it would have still been a pleasant surprise NOT to know about it ahead of time.

Movie Magic: The Black Panther (Captain America: Civil War)

These days as a mover goer I know full well that practical effects combined with CGI can create virtually any type of effect imaginable. 

Though what I find infinitely more interesting is when a movie’s special effects are so seamless that I don’t know that what I happen to be looking at is a special effect, which brings me to Captain America: Civil War.  

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There were two scenes where I recall the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) was a full-on CGI character: when he was sliding down the side of a building when chasing the Winter Soldoer (Sebastian Stan) and another when he was slowing hinself down after momentum carried him beyond the Soldier in a second confrontation.

Beyond those two instances, I assumed that the character–as well as many of the locations–were entirely practical.  

Imagine my surprise to learn that virtually every scene featuring the Panther had three or four layers of CGI over a practical stuntman, and most of the locations were CGI enhanced as well!

Movie magic indeed.  

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. 

Ghostbusters Reviews Are Filtering In And…

Ghostbusters reviews are filtering in, and they’re…decidedly mixed.

Which is problematic, especially when you take into account that there are apparently a lot of people that take issue with the whole gender swap at the heart of the movie.

Another is that its budget is somewhere in the ballpark of  $150 million.  That’s not a lot of money, relatively speaking if compared to movies like Captain America: Civil War.

As I said, it may not seem like a lot, though being cheaper than other tentpoles doesn’t guarantee profitability, just that it’s easier to reach that point.. After all, Dredd cost about $50 million to produce, and earned just over $35 million worldwide.

I get the feeling that Paul Feig’s female-centered reboot will open relatively strong–like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and falloff just as quickly (also like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).

Sony is promising that Ghostbusters will be the start of a new cinematic universe, and while that’s possible, I get the feeling that some stars are just too distant without a FTL drive.

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