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.

Advertisements

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.

The Ugly Side Of Fandom

If you’ve seen videos of cosplay or the various ‘Cons’ the first thing you notice is that they feature all sorts of quirky, colorful (and often brilliant) costumes, which is why it’s understandable if you thought that that was what comic geek culture was all about (besides costumes and the–virtual–worship of certain movies and comic characters).

And for the most part, you’d be right, though there are instances when a comic character that began “life” as a white person, and is reinterpreted as a person of color in the movies (Oddly, when a male character was reinterpreted as female, in the case of 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica, when Starbuck was underwent gender reassignment, fans only offered token resistance while most were relatively sanguine about it) when you often see the ugly side of fandom.

Before I begin, you’ll noticed that I deliberately don’t use the term “race” because, besides being a misnomer, it has always bothered me because white people are genetically identical to black people, yellow people, beige people, and so on.

I bring this up because the reaction to John Boyega, dressed as a stormtrooper in the beginning of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, has been pretty distressing for some members of the fan community.

Comic book fans tend to be sticklers for detail, which to a degree I can understand. If someone has been following a character for the better part of their lives, it probably feels amazing to see the character on the big screen; till that is, they see that the character has been interpreted in a manner opposite to what they have known and anticipated.

That being said, it feels that whenever an actor of color is cast in a prominent role in a comic book movie, some in the fan community lose all sense of propriety, and logic goes out the window.

Continue reading

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron Trailer – Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Edition

Kevin Feige, you cheeky bastard.  It appears that you pulled a fast one.  When the trailer for The Avengers: Age Of Ultron was leaked prior to it appearing on Marvel’s Agent’s Of S.H.I.E.L.D. I assumed that that was the end of this story.  Sure, Marvel Studios handed things pretty gracefully, but I thought it was time to move on.

How wrong I was.

The trailer that was released during S.H.I.E.L.D. is quite similar to the leaked trailer, but not the same, and as anyone knows, the Devil is in the details.  The fist, and most noticeable difference is that there’s an extended party scene (which the first trailer only touches upon), where Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr) and Jim Rhodes (Don Cheadle) attempt to lift Thor’s hammer.Tony and Rhody Attempt to lift Thor's hammer

Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) doesn’t bother, because she knows that boys will be boys.

Though things get interesting with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), otherwise known as Captain America, tries.

Thor's expression

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) appears mildly concerned, especially since he knows that one has to be deemed worthy by the magics that permeate the hammer to lift it, and who’s worthier than Captain America?

From that point on, the trailer mostly follows similar beats as the first one, though there are small differences.

Such as the image below of Black Widow staring at something…

Black Widow staring

Which was followed by this image of the Chituari scepter from 2013’s The Avengers (and what we learn give the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver their abilities from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Ctharia weaponCombined with earlier scenes of Captian America breaking into a castle, I believe that they show his his search for the origins of Winter Soldier, and that he finds the hideout of Baron von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann).

Though there’s an image that appears in both versions that I am very curious about, which is of an attractively-lit room that’s serving as a ballet studio, though why is it in the trailer?  Did Joss Whedon (who may not have cut it) want to add a scene of beauty to contrast all the larger-than-life heroics that proceeded it?

Ballet Dancers

Maybe, but I doubt it because it’s too obvious.  I suspect that the dancers may have something to do with the Scarlet Witch, if only because it’s not exactly the style of Black Widow or Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).