James Gunn, You Don’t Get To Choose Your Own Facts 

Screenshot 2017-10-28 15.09.58I understand James Gunn (Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1 & 2) says that Marvel Studios isn’t competing with DC Entertainment and that there’s no bad blood between the two studios.

Which also happens to be a perspective shared by Kevin Feige and Geoff Johns (the heads of Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment, respectively).

That being said, long before there was a Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics was–quite actively in fact–competing with DC Comics (and still are).  And sure, it was for the most part good-natured, but that didn’t make it any less a competition.

Screenshot 2017-10-28 15.15.33.pngAnd that competition benefitted both companies.

But now that that relationship has become inconvenient–I get it.  It gets really old that people Tweet him, arguing back and forth about Batman V Superman–but what’s he’s doing is acting as if this conflict, this schism between fans of these characters wasn’t at various points fed and promoted by both DC and Marvel.

And that doesn’t mean that it needs– or should–be continued today, but  by seemingly pretending not to see how both companies have contributed to the very problem he’s concerned about is blatantly unfair and unbecoming of someone who’s not only shown himself to be a fan of these characters, but an active participant in the community, as Gunn.

This is on top of the very valid view that Zack Snyder–who was for a time the creative force behind the DCEU–seriously mistreated Batman and Superman, which Gunn seems to not at all willing to take into account.

 

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Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2

I caught James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 last Saturday and what I found so impressive overall was the way Gunn managed so many stories and plot threats in a way that was not only cohesive, but made sense.

Because–and trust me on this–there are so many ways Guardians  could have easily collapsed under it’s own weight.

But it never does.

What’s almost equally impressive is the way everyone gets their own arc, without the movie feeling bloated or over-stuffed.

And Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 is so gorgeous, as if it’s not only not afraid to admit that the worlds depicted first appeared in comic books, but is proud of it.

And there’s not a cynical bone in the movie’s body, which is why when you see Baby Groot and Rocket you just go with it.

Because you know–on a level conscious or not–that Gunn believes in these characters as much, if not more, than you do.

Gunn’s World

It’s James Gunn’s world, we just happen to live in it.

Reason being, reviews of Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2 have begun to filter in, and they’re pretty good.

Though what’s interesting is that they’re not ALL that way, yet there’s not been a peep from either Marvel or Disney as a result.

This to me says that they have faith in the movie, which bodes well.

Another fortuitous sign is that James Gunn is returning to write and direct Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 3 which is sign that not only does Marvel Studios want him to return, but perhaps more importantly HE wants to return.

Kevin Feige also mentioned in a interview that Gunn could perhaps play a greater role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, shepherding the ‘Cosmic’ side of things.

So, apparently it’s not only Gunn’s world, it’s Gunn’s universe as well!

The Moon (Knight) Rises?

The idea that James Gunn (Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy) is particularly fond of Moon Knight is really great news because I can think of nothing better than seeing the Fist of Khonshu on the big screen.

But the hurdles for that happening are two-fold.  First Gunn is occupied working on Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, so he doesn’t have time to direct.  

The second issue is that Marvel Studios’ production slate is booked so far in advance that even if Gunn were ready to go tomorrow there’s no guarantee that they could fit it into their schedule (according to Screenrant their production slate is filled all the way to 2028).

And that’s working on the assumption that Kevin Feige even thought it was a good idea.

But there’s a way to make it happen.  Instead of directing, what if Gunn wrote a treatment that could be ready for shooting but more than likely would form the basis of the movie that others could build on.

Then Marvel Studios would create a new imprint, in the vein of Marvel Knights, that would handle more adult-orientated characters that might warrant an R-rating (and Kevin Feige has said that he didn’t want to create R-rated movies.  This way he technically wouldn’t have to though more importantly the characters would remain faithful to the versions that their fans have come to expect).    

An important aspect of this strategy would be production budgets falling somewhere in the ballpark of $50-80 million because, while no one wants a movie to fail, if it weren’t able to meet expectations losing somewhere in the ballpark of $80 million is small change compared to the production budgets of most superhero movies today.  

A Case For Lesser Known Directors

Some people are critical of Marvel using lesser known directors for the superhero properties–the main one being that they’re cheaper than better known talent.  This relates directly to rumors that they’re considering  Rick Famuyiwa and Ava DuVernay, for upcoming Marvel projects.

And while their relative inexpensiveness is undeniably a factor, I don’t think it’s nearly as important as some make it out to be.

What’s more interesting is that Marvel has a history of allowing relatively inexperienced (in the terms of handling massive productions that require huge special effects budgets) directors to build multi-million dollar franchises.

Which isn’t to say that it always works out.  After all, Edgar Wright left the upcoming Ant-Man because his vision (and screenplay) didn’t quite mesh with what Marvel Studios wanted, and Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) was a bit put out because Marvel demanded certain changes during filming that he was not particularly happy about.

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How The Scene Should Have Went: Guardians Of The Galaxy

James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy was without a doubt one of the best movies of 2014.  Marvel Studios’ motley group of space heroes was certainly a surprise, though like any other movie there were things that could have been improved.  For me, the first would have been some sort of explanation about how StarLord’s mask worked (perhaps it encased the wearer within a small envelope of atmosphere, which would explain how he could go into space without anything protecting his body but a leather suit and duster).

The second thing that bothered me a bit was the scene where we first meet The Collector, Taneleer Tavan  (Benicio Del Toro), and he was speaking to his Attendant.

Their conversation began with him asking if her people had elbows.

“I don’t have to remind you what happened to the last Attendant who disappointed me?”  said The Collector.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Attendant sceneNow here’s what the Attendant should have said:

“You mean that Attendant that’s been a foot behind me the entire time?  The Attendant that there’s no possible way that I could’ve missed?  You mean that Attendant?”

Seeing what her fate was a few scenes later, perhaps it would have been better if she had been a bit more defiant while she had the chance.

‘Jurassic World’ Teaser Trailer

James Gunn, the director of Guardians Of The Galaxy, has some interesting words for studios that create cinematic universes based on weak properties, and it’s worth reading.  I mention it because Jurassic Park has spawned two sequels, Jurassic Park: The Lost World and Jurassic Park III so perhaps the time has arrived for a relaunch of the property.  Besides, Universal–the studio releasing Jurassic World–is unlike most other studios in that they don’t have much in the way of tentpoles like Disney and Sony, so they have to do the best with the properties they have.

Chris Pratt–also from Guardians Of The Galaxy–is playing the lead, so can we expect to see at least one dance-off between him and an dinosaur?

One can only hope.