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.

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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.

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron – TV Spot 2

I honestly think that this latest The Avengers: Age Of Ultron (wanted to type ‘Luton‘ for some reason) trailer is the most cohesive yet.

Unlike past trailers each character gets an introduction, as well as a bit of the spotlight.  We see a bit more of Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and they look pretty awesome.

We also get a hint that somehow Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) has some sort of bond with the Twins, because in an earlier trailer we see them both side by side with Ultron, while here we see him telling them “If you step out that door, you’re an Avenger.” which implies that it takes place later than the scene when they’re with Ultron.

I wonder if they’re going to have Quicksilver be homosexual, as he is in the comics.  I mention it because Taylor-Johnson did some serious guy kissing in 2010’s Chatroom, so I suspect that if that were the direction the narrative takes, he’d probably have little problem with it.

Besides, I’ve seen the entire season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, and it would be cool to see a gay person that’s not a huge bucket of stereotypes–Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) is hilarious,but also uber-gay in the sense that it’s almost akin to a super power as opposed to a personality type.

And I know that at this point we’ve pretty much seen most variation of stunt there is, but at the same time what Captain America does with a motorcycle in this trailer is literally the first time I have ever seen it.

Which reminds me why I HATE trailers (though I am by no means strong enough to stop watching them) because while I don’t think Cap throwing the motorcycle–which as second earlier he was RIDING, which pretty much shows he’s significantly stronger than Batman, fyi–is a moment probably not as cathartic as the Hulk catching Iron Man from the trailer from the first movie, though it looks cool enough that I wish a trailer wasn’t the first place that I encountered it.

Spider-Man Returns To The Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Morning After

Spider-Man, climbing

A few hours ago I wrote a piece for MoviePilot about Spider-Man’s return to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), and overall I am pretty happy about the way things have turned out.  Technically speaking, it’s not quite Spider-Man returning to where he belongs, but under the circumstances it’s probably as good as it’s going to get.

That being said, there are caveats.  The most significant in my eyes being that Avi Arad is still going to be involved with the franchise, though in an Executive Producer capacity–prior he was a producer.  The problem is that Arad supposedly forced Sam Raimi to shoehorn in another villain to Spider-Man 3 (a move that pissed off Sam Raimi so much that he hired Topher Grace to play Eddie Brock/Venom for no other reason than Arad DIDN’T want him in the role) resulting in the the weakest of Raimi’s three Spider-Man movies, critically speaking–though in Arad’s defense, it was the highest grossing Spider-Man movie.

Another is that Kevin Feige is producing with Amy Pascal, the former Chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), who also produced Marc Webb’s tone deaf The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Despite TASM2 Webb is a pretty talented director, though perhaps not the right person for the franchise) and let Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and their mediocre magic-blood filled writing virtually ruin the franchise.

Though hopefully Feige will be able to keep things under control, after all he has done exceedingly well guiding the course of the MCU (that being said, part of the deal is for the next Spider-Man to be produced by Sony–Feige and Pascal remaining as producers–with Spidey meeting with his compatriots from the Marvel’s end of the street, which begs the question:  With the contracts for many of the heavy-hitters in the MCU expiring (such as Robert Downey, Jr./Iron Man and Chris Evans/Captain America) then who is Sony expecting to turn up in their movie?

Though the best news of all is that this pretty much puts the kibosh on any Aunt May spy dramas that were under consideration by Sony.