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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The Defenders – Elektra Teaser Trailer

2017, despite the reality of a Trump presidency, and all the insanity such an idea beings can be considered a golden age –especially if you happen to be a fan of superheroes because there are probably more viewing choices to choose from than there has ever been.

The while the CW isn’t known as ‘The DC Network,’ it might as well be considering how many superhero-based shows are live there (There are also comic book-based television on Fox and NBC as well).

And while DC entertainment may have staked a claim on the network television stage, Marvel Television has made it’s strongest showing on Netflix, where series based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist have already aired, with more on the way (The Punisher, The Defenders and additional seasons of the already mentioned series’)

This is on top of the work Marvel Televisoon is doing for Freeform–formerly ABC Family) based on Cloak & Dagger and The New Warriors.

Like I said, there’s likely no better time to be a comics fan.

Batman: Bat Blood

It’s probably not a great thing that when I heard that DC Entertainment was releasing a DVD called Batman: Bad Blood the first thing that came to mind was this video by HISHE.

Because in the end it’s all about the Bat Blood.

Six Reasons I Am Jazzed About The Captain America: Civil War Trailer

A lot of people are jazzed about Star Wars: The Force Awakens (illustrated by millions in advance ticket sales), Suicide Squad or maybe Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice and I understand the enthusiasm.

I really do, but for me, the trailer for the must see movie for 2016 dropped late yesterday, and that’s Captain America: Civil War.

Captain America: The First Avenger was for me a bit meh.  Captain America was always sort of bland, truth be told, and while I was glad to see such an earnest portrayal of the character on screen, he didn’t exactly stoke the flames of geekiness in me.

That is, till I saw Captain America: The Winter Solder, and realized that Marvel Studios was able to do the seemingly impossible, which was to not only make Captain America relevant and dynamic, but most importantly without altering what made him so interesting in the first place; which was the almost simplistic, black and white way that he sees the world.

It’s part of what makes the Captain so fascinating.  It’s also a  world view that’s in some respects shared by DC Entertainment’s Superman, which is one of the many reasons why Man of Steel disappointed me so much: the producers apparently had so little faith in the essentially goodness and child-like naïveté at the heart of the Superman character that they–apparently in an effort to make him darker and more palatable to what they thought modern audience were looking for–essentially destroyed everything that made Superman, Superman.

So, without further ado, the six reasons why I am so jazzed about the Captain America: Civil War trailer.

  1. Someone (Finally) Decks Tony Stark!

Which he deserved after the creation of homicidal robot/doppelganger Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Robert Downey, Jr’s Tony Stark is the lynch pin that holds the Marvel Cinematic Universe together.  But the thing is, Stark is also a bit of dick.  The only thing that matches his brilliance is his arrogance, so it’s nice that first time we see Stark he has a shiner, which implies that for once when he pushed, someone pushed back.

And I’m willing to be that that ‘someone’ is Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)

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2.  The Falcon Can Actually Fight

When we’re introduced to The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he’s pretty awesome, though you’ll probably notice that the only things he brought to the party were a set of wings and a ready quip.

Which, coming from someone who can’t fly, is pretty awesome, but this time around he displays more martial prowess, which is in line with the idea that the Falcon is more than just the ability to fly and a sense of humor.

And did I mention he’s going to have a version of Redwing in this movie?

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3. The Black Panther

Based on all the pre-production artwork, I thought that the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) would be sporting some sort of leather-like costume.

Looking at the screen shot from the trailer, he’s apparently wearing some sort of armor.

And he looks badass.

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4. Can We Once And For All Accept That Captain America Will Clean Batman’s Clock?

The Internet loves the Batman (much of that due to Christopher Nolan’s reboot), but can we just accept that Captain America will clean his clock?

In Avengers: Age of Ultron he tossed a motorcycle (he used momentum, but still) at Hydra’s advancing troops, and apparently in Captain America: Civil War he prevents a helicopter from taking off by grasping the landing gear in one hand, and the side of a building in another.

Sorry, but Batman just isn’t in his league.

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5. Who Has The Strength To Do This To War Machine?

War Machine (Don Cheadle) is essentially Iron Man with heavier weaponry and someone who’s actually combat-trained at the helm.  By way of clarification, facing him is like facing Iron Man, but with a greater grasp of fighting and battle strategy.

Yet, someone clearly beat the stuffing out of him, and I wonder who.

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6.  So This Is How Captain America and The Winter Soldier Face Iron Man!

I have to admit that I was scratching my head over this one.  As strong and capable as Captain America is, he’s no match for Iron Man.  Stark’s genius, combined with a virtually invincible battle suit is a huge hurdle to overcome.

I was imagining that the producers of the movie would cheat to make Captain America somehow win (which is honestly the only way that he would be able to do so one-on-one) but it appears that they teamed him with the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).

Two battle-hardened warriors against Iron Man?  One a superhuman fighter/tactician, the other a lethal (former) assassin with a bionic arm?

This makes sense.  They definitely cracked the code.Screenshot 2015-11-25 09.36.46.png

Guillermo del Toro Can’t Catch A Break

Let’s be clear, Guillermo del Toro doesn’t need my sympathy because I imagine he’s quite content making some of the most innovative genre movies in recent memory.

That being said, he also can’t seem to catch a break.  His latest, the Gothic Romance Crimson Peak, has currently earned almost $28 million worldwide, after four days.

That’s not a long time, you might be thinking, and you’d be right though the problem is that del Toro’s movie is rated R, which means that no one under seventeen can see the movie without a parent or guardian (which limits your argument pool significantly, as if the fact you’re making a gothic romance didn’t do that already).

Which is the exact opposite of a movie like Goosebumps, which is PG and has earned almost double that amount domestically.

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Zach Snyder Needs To Shut Up

i understand it when competitive people talk smack about their opponents, which often goes hand-in-hand with healthy competition.

The same thing can extend to the advocates of particular movie studios, just as it more commonly does for sports teams, and few studios are seen as competitors as much as Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment.

Smack starts flying around 21:40, though it’s worth noticing how diplomatic Joe and Anthony Russo are, as compared to Zach Snyder.

I bring it up because recently Zach Snyder (director of Man Of Steel and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice) recently commented on Marvel’s Ant-Man movie, calling it the “flavor of the week (which is a pretty silly comment, if only because one of the greatest mistakes Warner Bros. made–and seems to continue to make, though to a lesser degree–was relying exclusively on Batman instead of developing other characters.  His comment also conveniently ignores that DC is apparently developing a movie based on Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, both of whom aren’t exactly well-known).”

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Suicide Squad – Comic-Con trailer

Gotta admit that the Suicide Squad trailer looks pretty good.  My hopes drooped for a moment when I saw Will Smith during the snowy street scene (which looked very cheap, and was clearly shot in a studio), then rose in my esteem pretty quickly.