Humor: Marvel Studios’ Not-So-Secret-Sauce

For awhile now other studios have been trying to crack the Marvel Studios formulato varying degrees of success–though as far as I can tell their greatest problem is that they’re approaching it in that fashion (like so great mystery waiting to be solved), when in truth there’s isn’t any secret at all.

In a sense a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for Marvel Studios in that they haven’t had to convince a large segment of the population to love their characters, since millions of us have grown up doing just that by reading comic books (something Warner Bros, the owners of DC Entertainment, are for some reason only just beginning to get).

So all Marvel had to do was essentially adapt their characters as true to the comics as common sense (a drawing and a actual person aren’t the same things, duh, so allowances had to be made or maybe the story of that character doesn’t quite fit in the framework that currently exists for Marvel features) would allow.

And there needs to be humor.  I’m not talking about the pratfalls you might get from The Three Stooges or anything like that, but the often unintentional comedy that comes from people just interacting with each other.

Here’s an example from the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.

What makes the scene work is that the humor’s derived not from some sort of pratfall, but from the natures of the chraracters involved.  

Thor is typically depicted as mighty, noble, kind and headstrong; the latter bordering on egotistical.  Combine his own nature with the Hulk (one of the stronger beings in all of Marvel) then you’re definitely going to get all sorts of friction, which can play out in various ways. 

In other words, in the earlier scene Thor is acting true to his nature (in the second scene he’s just an object for Hulk’s ire).

 It doesn’t make the movies comedies, but what it does is make them more naturalistic and less of a slog.

Because isn’t just living day to day difficult enough that just maybe you don’t want the movies you watch to get away from things for a little while to reflect that same esthetic?

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Scorsese Joker Project: Proof The DCEU Remains Broken

For those of us who thought that the greatest problem with the DCEU (the DC Extended Universe) was Zach Snyder’s stewardship, you were right (sort of).

Though to be fair, that’s like blaming the small (relatively speaking) bit of iceberg that remained above the surface for sinking the Titanic.

Reason being, some executive(s) okayed Snyder’s approach, which is the real issue.

I bring it up because there’s talk of a Joker origin movie that seems to exist outside the DCEU (essentially an Elseworlds-type of story).  And this is a problem because–while Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies were popular, they existed outside the DCEU, which means that everything that this new movie establishes will likely not be a part of the current universe as well.

And there are so many different DCEU’s as it is.  There’s the version that exists in movies, which has finally begun to gain traction with Wonder Woman.  Then there’s the DCEU as it exists on television, which shares characters like the Flash and Superman.

Now there’s what I call the Elseworlds DCEU, that takes characters people are aware of, and places them outside the universe proper.

This is where the Nolan Batman movies reside

If you’re a comic reader, the latter scenario I mentioned is hardly an unusual one (Marvel Comics had their own take on stories based in an alternative Marvel Universe called What if… ) but moviegoers might find it a bit confusing.

Though what’s worse is that the DCEU has failed to establish their mainstream characters with anything resembling consistency, so now they’re creating alternative takes, seemingly independent of the greater DCEU!?

Such a move may be profitable in the short term, but it does not bode well for the DCEU as a whole.

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

What’s Marvel Get 4 Giving Fox The Right To Produce Two New X-Men Television Series?

Recently it was announced that Fox is preparing not one, but two new television series based on Marvel Comics’ X-Men stable of characters.

One is Hellfire, based on the villains that appeared in X-Men: First Class known as the Hellfire Club.  The leader is Sebastian Shaw (played by Kevin Bacon in the movie, which makes me wonder if he’s willing to reprise the role since his last television series, The Following, was cancelled a year or two ago).

The second is Legion, which revolves around the son of Charles Xavier, who was an extremely powerful–and more than a little bit unhinged in the comics–mutant known as Legion.

Though my question is, what is Marvel Studios getting?  While Fox has the license to the X-Men characters in movies, they don’t in reference to television, so what did Fox do Marvel that enticed them to change their mind (especially since it’s entirely possible that one of the new series will be up against competing Marvel shows on ABC like Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s Agent Carter or upcoming series like Damage Control).

The Silver SurferI haven’t seen anything that definitely proves this (yet) though I get the feeling that we might be hearing an announcement from Marvel Studios some time in the near future about the fate of the Fantastic Four (and the stable of characters connected to them).

The last time I mentioned this it was in reference to Marvel producing a comic based on the Silver Surfer–they have a tendency to cancel books that revolve around characters that they don’t have the rights to–so producing a new book based on a character that’s part of the Fantastic Four universe to me indicates a sea change of sorts.

And now two new television shows based on X-Men characters–which I am reasonably certain Marvel isn’t allowing them to do out of the goodness of their hearts–makes me even more confident that the next time we hear about the Fantastic Four, it will be to celebrate their return to Marvel.

Meet Baymax!

As you can tell from the screenshots of the Tweets that I have included below, I have been having a few conversations with Baymax, of Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6.  He’s very literal, as is the way with most machines–and reminds me quite a bit of Apple Inc’s Siri.

Besides, how can you resist a mug like that?  And if you’re unfamiliar with who he–or should I say “what” Baymax is–I have included a trailer from the upcoming feature (which is based upon Marvel Comics’ Sunfire And Big Hero Six).

Sunfire isn’t joining the team this time around because he’s currently licensed to 20th Century Fox (and appeared in X-Men: Days Of Future Past).

Baymax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Teaser Trailer

The full trailer for Marvel Studios “Guardians Of the Galaxy” is supposed to premiere later today, though a teaser has just been released.  What’s interesting is that I don’t think that I have been so expectant to see a trailer, never mind the movie that will eventually accompany it.

‘Antboy’ Trailer

Imagine Spider-Man, mixed with the presentation skills of Batman, and you have Antboy (and let’s be honest, being bit by an ant and getting superpowers is just as plausible – and nonsensical – as a radioactive spider).  And as critical as I tend to be of how Spider-man managed to create such an awesome costume, I am doubly critical of how a little kid – with even less resources – managed it.

Then again, superheroes had to start somewhere;)