You Can’t Be Missed If You Won’t Go Away

I just read an article about how Zach Snyder’s plans for the DCEU were supposedly so “epic, grand, emotional, joyful and unforgettable” which bothers me more than a little bit because we’re hearing more about Snyder’s plans for this and intentions for that now than when Justice League was actually in theaters.

As I have said before, Zach Snyder is a talented director, but his vision left A LOT to be desired and was by no means fitting for the characters he was developing.

And his greatest problem was an attempt to apply a ‘one size fits all’ esthetic to DC characters (inspired by Christopher Nolan’s work on the Dark Knight trilogy).

A dark, gloomy feel works fine for Batman–though the constant murdering? Not so much–but the problems start when you try to apply the same esthetic to apparently EVERY character in the DCEU.

Superman is–virtually by design–the polar opposite of Batman. He exudes optimism and hope, and while Batman–who isn’t necessarily nihilistic or pessimistic–does embody a world weariness of sorts, a feeling that the individual is constantly fighting against the tide.

So Zach Snyder–either by design or accident–misread the essential nature of the characters he was working with, and made them look like those most of us have been familiar with and instead twisted them into weird, strange versions of themselves.

And the worse thing is, all Snyder and the executives at DC Films had to do is follow the example of what Marvel Studios did with Captain America, namely double-down on those traits (his honesty, forthrightness and a relatively ‘simple,’ black and white worldview) that were defining traits for the character for most of their existence.

in other words, Superman changed to fit the world we live in today, while Captain America stayed pretty much as he was in 1941, in all his squarish glory and was witness to the world changing around him to a time when his values and (relative) moral simplicity once again came back into vogue.

So Zach Snyder essentially ruined Batman and Superman as millions of people knew them so we need time to forget his funhouse mirror interpretations of our much loved superheroes, which won’t stand a chance of happening if he (or those in his orbit) keep implying that the only that was wrong with movies like Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad was that we just weren’t clever enough to get it or maybe if we were just a bit more patient the wonderfulness infrequently seen would somehow make an overdue appearance.

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Avengers: Infinity War – Review 

The less said aboutthe particulars of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War the better but know it rewards fans over casual viewers.  That’s not to say that if you haven’t seen all 18 of the prior MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies you won’t enjoy it, though if you haven’t seen any Infinity War isn’t a great place to start.

This is because Infinity War assumes you’re familiar with the adventures of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and so on and if you’re not you’re likely going to be a mite confused going forward.  Avengers: Infinity War is an epic, sprawling story that somehow manages to not only make sense, but feel significantly shorter than it’s 2 hour and 29 minute running time would lead one to assume.

Some people accuse the Marvel movies or being formulaic–and there’s a point to that in the sense that they tend to follow a particular pattern–but Infinity War turns that formula on it’s head because the movie revolves entirely around the villain, Thanos, and his efforts to procure–by hook or by crook–the five Infinity Stones that will enable him to remake reality in any way he feels necessary.

The heroes are delegated to deal with Thanos’ mechanizations though they’re almost entirely on the offensive, mainly due to the Black Order (like Gamora and Nebula, ‘children’ of Thanos) who are dispatched to obtain the Infinity Stones.

The movie is at turns funny and tragic and has one of the most somber endings of any movie in recent memory, never mind a MCU one.

Avengers: Infinity War is likely unlike any major tentpole movie you’ve ever seen and you’ll likely have a great time doing so.

Though if you’ve seen it already, what do you think?  Let me know down below.

The Last X-Men Movie?

According to Bleeding Cool, X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be the last X-Men movie released by Fox because it’s believed that Disney would have completed their purchase of the studio by that time (and it goes without saying that Kevin Feige is just itching to get his hands on characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four–and let’s not forget Doctor Doom, Annihilus and Galactus).

And that’s is a good thing.  The X-Men movies–once a crown jewel of Marvel Comics, in their time certainly more popular than Captain America, Iron Man or Thor––has been significantly less so in movies.

And I believe that their descent has a lot to do with the way they have been treated in the Fox movies, which is typically uneven (when they’re not being  inconsistent).

And before anyone even thinks Deadpool, that movie was literally an aberration.  Fox management were intent on NOT making that movie, that is till an effects test ‘leaked’ (who’s responsible is to this day unknown, though my money’s on either Ryan Reynolds or Tim Miller) and they saw the rabid response to it.

Then there’s Fox’s fetishization of Wolverine, neglecting the rest of the X-Men in the process.

So I for one can’t wait till we see the X-Men under the Marvel Studios banner.

So what do you think?  Sound off below.

Black Widow Will Be A Huge Hit (If A Few Things Are Taken Into Account)

imageThe upcoming Black Widow movie has a lot going for it–2017’s Wonder Woman has proven that a female-led superhero movie can not only be profitable, but revered bay both critics and moviegoers alike–but that doesn’t mean that it should take some very significant advantages for granted.

First there’s Scarlett Johannson, who’s shown with 2014’s Lucy that a movie can be built around her successfully (it was essentially a ‘secret’ superhero movie in the same way Unbreakable and even 1980’s Altered States were, if you think about it).

Then there’s the fact that it’s coming from Marvel Studios, who seemingly don’t know how to make a bad movie

But pride comes before a fall, so to ensure that that doesn’t happen, here’s what the producers could do to minimize the odds.

  • Consider a Guest Appearance 

Johannson’s Black Widow is a great character, but imagine how jazzed fans would be to know Captain America or Hawkeye were going to show up (and I know, some contracts are expiring, but if Evans’ enthusiasm for the characer is any indicator he’d likely turn up in a heartbeat).

And speaking of costs, if you recall Avengers: Age of Ultron, there was a scene Black Widow and Hawkeye were talking about ‘Budapest’ and what happened there.  Now imagine a adventure featuring them both, taking place in the past and perhaps revolving around the organization known as A.I.M (Advanced Idea Mechanics, who were sort of teased in Iron Man 3).

It would be in the Winter Soldier vein, and could be very awesome and gritty. 

  • Control Costs

Part of the problem with DC Films–and Zach Snyder in particular–is that their movies are relatively expensive, compared to Marvel Studios, which is why they tend to make middling profits (by way of illustration, Justice League cost somewhere in the ballpark of $250 million before the Joss Whedon-helmed reshoots.  Having seen it I’m not entirely sure where that money went, but it wasn’t on screen).

And speaking of costs, during Avengers: Age of Ultron Black Widow and Hawkeye were reminiscing about ‘Budapest.’

Suppose Black Widow was the movie about that particular incident?  I have no idea what the actual movie will be about, but it would be pretty cool to see a Jason Bourne-type adventure featuring Black Widow and Hawkeye for no more than 80-$100 million?

Such a, relatively speaking, low-cost action movie would likely turn a profit in a week, if not days. 

  • Not to Belabor the Obvious, But Make an Entertaining Movie First

Black Widow’s movie needs to be entertaining in and of itself, instead of having a female lead be it’s primary draw.  If it becomes the latest feminist cause cèlébre it runs the risk of alienating a huge swath of their potential audience.

Now, the producers of the movie can embrace every one of the above steps and the movie still under performs, though I think that’s highly unlikely.

Has DC Films Accepted That They Have Deep-Seated Problems, Or Are They Shifting Deck Chairs? Part II

I caught Star Wars: The Last Jedi last weekend and have no idea what all the hullabaloo is about (by which I mean I understand many of the complaints, though they’re not terribly persuasive when looked at in context).

It’s a decent movie though as far as I can tell all the rancor revolving around it is undeserved–though before the movie began there was a trailer for Avengers: Infinity War.

It’s a great trailer, though what interested me more (especially considering I have seen it alt least twenty times) is the response of someone in the theater.

She said, in reference to the trailer, “Those are the really good superheroes.” or something to that effect.

And that, for DC Films, is a problem because what they have lost is something that is extremely difficult to reclaim, and that’s mindshare (a topic I have mentioned before, but is worth revisiting).

At this point, when many moviegoers think of superheroes they think of Iron Man, Captain America or Thor, and to a lesser extent Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

That is a problem because–while it doesn’t mean that people won’t see movies with other characters–it does make it likely that they will occupy a lower tier in terms of their preferences.

So, unless Marvel Studios screws up in a big way there’s virtually no way DC Films is going to close the gap.

Which is why–as I have also said before–they should stop trying.

In other words, the only thing that can save DC Films is that they acknowledge that Marvel Studios has won because that will enable them to do what they should have done in the first place, which is to just produce engaging, fun superhero films without the onus of trying to outrun the fastest kid on the block.

Another reason I brought this up is because Warner Bros recently appointed Walter Hamada as head of DC Films.  Harada has been a producer behind franchises like The Conjuring and IT, though it remains to be seen if his success will transfer to the DCEU.

Jason Bourne – Trailer

Paul Greenglass, the director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum and Matt Damon are back with the further adventures of super spy Jason Bourne with Jason Bourne.

Though what I find most interesting is if Greenglass and Damon can make Jason Bourne relevant in these days where characters like Captain America play a similar role.

All the prior Bourne movies closed with the song Extreme Ways, by Moby, a trend I hope this movie continues.

Independence Day: Resurgence – Trailer

The trailer for the latest chapter in the Independence Day saga dropped a few hours ago, and to be honest I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Between Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and X-Men: Apocalypse there are some huge movies coming out relatively soon.

There’s potentially millions riding on when these movies drop because–as we have seen with In The Heart Of The Sea, an otherwise decent looking movie except for the fact that it’s expensive (supposedly somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million) and was released a week before Star Wars: The Force Awakens–I get the feeling that one, or even two of these movies aren’t going to do nearly as well as prognosticators like to think.

Which leads to Independence Day: Resurgence.  While it’s good to see Roland Emmerich moving away from the whitewashing of gay history in Stonewall, I am not sure that a sequel to Independence Day–sans Will Smith–has the box office muscle to take on Captain America, Batman and BB-8.

Like I implied earlier, if this is released with a few months of breathing room, it will probably do fine.  If it goes against any of the movies I’ve listed above–minus In The Heart Of The Sea, which will likely have left theaters–then Independence Day: Resurgence might not be able to stand against the tentpole tsunami soon to hit land.