Category Archives: Superhero

Weekend Outlook – Pirates of the Baywatch: Guardians of the Covenant

Happy Memorial Day weekend everybody! So after you get done with your barbecue (which is really just burgers and hotdogs, or maybe brats if you’re fancy), then what are you going to do?

Maybe you’ll go shopping. I hear there are some good deals meant to lure you away from the simplicity of always paying less for things by shopping online. Perhaps you are thinking about visiting a theme park, but that’s expensive and you run the risk of dehydration. I guess you could watch any of the mediocre sporting events which will be on all weekend, you’ve got the Indy 500, the NBA conference finals, a whole bunch of baseball, or the carbonated poison water 600. But those all sound long, boring, and better watched in short clips on YouTube as a last resort of entertainment.

Why not hang out at the multiplex and catch up on those early Summer blockbusters that you have missed because you have been so busy catching up on your assignments from procrastination class or cramming for that test that you no longer remember because of sleep deprivation? It has been a relatively slow start to the summer movie season, but this long weekend should be the perfect time to catch that movie that has been calling you. We’ve got 3 sequels and an R-rated comedy TV adaptation to examine so buckle up!

If you haven’t already seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, you might be a Mennonite (Note to self: find Mennonite comedian and pitch the idea of stealing Jeff Foxworthy’s signature bit). It has only been out since Cinco de Mayo and it has already made close to 3 quarters of a billion dollars worldwide! Guardians is a ton of fun and it is fairly kid friendly, so as long as your kid can dress themselves and no longer needs a high chair, they should be up for this adventure.

The premise is simple. We rejoin our lovable gang of space anti-heroes a little while after the first film ends (If you haven’t first Guardians of the Galaxy, then you should probably buy it on iTunes and catch up with the rest of civilization). Star Lord has daddy issues that he needs to work out and they do it in hilarious fashion. This is has more laughs per minute than the first film with more of the same character driven drama and amazing 80’s soundtrack. (I’m serious about the soundtrack! I literally just Googled “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass. It will be stuck in your head for the rest of the week, just be prepared.) I’ll be honest, if you haven’t seen this one, and maybe even if you have, it is your best bet. The rest are likely going to be hit or miss.

I just saw Alien: Covenant last night and it was very good, but it kind of felt like it was struggling with what kind of movie it wanted to be. But what should we expect from the 3rd film from Ridley Scott in this franchise which he helped reboot back in 2012 with the prequel Prometheus. Covenant rides the line between the heady philosophical ramblings of Prometheus and the crap your pants scariness of Alien.

If Guardians was safe for kids that can ride a roller coaster then this one is only safe if you can drive a car (manual transmissions only, none of that wussy automatic garbage). I’m serious, there is blood everywhere in this, aliens bursting out of all kinds of cavities and orifices, not to mention the synthetic on synthetic porn that almost happens. I could hear the Fassboners rising in the theater. If you’re a fan of Ridley Scott and the franchise you won’t be disappointed, but it’s not his best work. I’m seriously hoping that Blade Runner 2049 is better.

I’ll be quite honest, the only thing that get’s me excited about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Longest movie name since Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood) is the inclusion of Javier Bardem as the baddie. If you’ve seen Skyfall or No Country for Old Men you know that he can be extremely creepy and intimidating, and that’s before he’s been all zombified. Even though it looks creepy, this is Disney we are talking about and I’m sure if your emo kids are into pirates then they would be okay going to this one too.

I know that this is a total cash grab on Disney’s part. They want to revive the franchise that has brought in $3.7 billion since 2003. I get it, but even Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley were smart enough to get out after three films and here Johnny Depp is riding into his fifth. He is simply the worst pirate that I’ve ever heard of, but I have heard of him so I’ll be checking this one out on Saturday, so stay tuned for my thoughts.

Finally, we have the R-rated 90’s TV adaptation that literally no one has ever been clamoring for. Baywatch hits theaters this weekend and I can only hope that they at least got Hasselhoff for a cameo, I mean he’s in Guardians so it’s not like he wasn’t available for filming. If they missed out on the Hoff, at least they have the ghost of Pam Anderson’s boobs, a.k.a. Alexandra Daddario. It looks like they are trying to go down the comedy parody road with this one and that would be great. But they have had me worried in a couple of trailers that they might try and take this straight, and if it takes itself too seriously it will be garbage.

The critical consensus is already that it is garbage (18% on Rotten Tomatoes), but I’m hoping that this could at least be as good as Central Intelligence. I’ve never been much of a fan of Zac Ephron, but I’m willing to give him a shot. This one is for adults only, the red band trailers have been bad enough that I had to watch them after my kids went to bed. I’ll be seeing this one next Wednesday so you’ll have to wait a little bit longer for my full review.

The most important thing is for you to enjoy this weekend and remember those brave men and women who died so we can eat lots of expensive buttery popcorn and be entertained by the beautiful monkeys we pay to entertain us. Have a great weekend!

 

 

Nerdwriter says DC’s Flaw Is Not Lack of Comedy

I’m a huge fan of YouTube creator Evan Puschak a.k.a. Nerdwriter1 and his video essays on everything from film and culture, to politics and economics. He does a great job  of saying the things that I am thinking better than I could have if I tried. He releases videos every Wednesday and I would strongly encourage you to support him on Patreon if you like his work.

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In his latest video, he talks about the apparent course correction that DC is making with Suicide Squad and Justice League and why he doesn’t believe that more comedy is the solution to the problems that people really had with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I talked about this in my review of Batman v Superman, and I talked about levity as one of several things that DC needed to change. But as usual, he discussed it with more polish and finesse than me and really got to the core of the problem which is more than the lack of comedy but is an overemphasis on movie moments at the expense of rich scenes. Watch his latest episode below.

I really agree with his discussion of the various locations within Batman v Superman. The usage of medium to close-up shots throughout keeps us disconnected from the setting. I would contrast that with the iconic fight between Iron Man and Captain America in Civil War. There were definitely moments in that film that were meant to play to our nostalgia and evoke memories of the comics, but they were so organically placed within their respective scenes that nothing felt forced. The plot and camera were allowed to move in and around those moments so they took us deeper than a simple two dimensional frame of reference into a dynamic world in motion.

Comic-Con 2016 Trailers

If you’ve been hiding from social media all weekend you may have missed that it was San Diego Comic-Con, and what used to be a lively gathering of comic book fans has now become the place where all the major studios release their goodies to hordes of ravenous fanboys (and fangirls). Clearly at an event of this scope they talked about more than just movies, but as this is a movie blog, I will not be discussing any of the comic or video game news.

However, because I am so thoughtful, I’ve made you handy list of all the trailers / exclusive previews for new movies (and a couple of exciting TV shows) that I could get my hands on. Marvel traditionally holds some of their stuff back for a week or two after Comic-Con so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Because of this, it looks like DC won the show with some great new content, but we haven’t seen anything yet. I’ll try to keep you up to date with other cool movie related things that come out of the convention.

Wonder Woman

Finally, a woman-led superhero movie. She is 75 years old this year and she’s never looked better. I couldn’t help but think of Star Trek when I saw Chris Pine washed up on shore, but it looks good and their might actually be some humor here that DC has been sorely missing.

Appreciated feminist tones aside (“what I do is not up to you”), the movie takes on a lighter color palette than other DC movies. It looks gritty, but not in the might-as-well-be-black-and-white monotone of movies like ‘Batman v Superman. ‘Wonder Woman was probably the best part of that movie anyway, so things are looking good.

Justice League

After the mess of ‘Batman v Superman,’ I’m a bit wary of Zack Snyder being at the helm of a superhero flick as important as this one, but this “special footage” reel (Warner Bros. isn’t calling it a trailer) actually looks quite good.

While Snyder still doesn’t seem to like colors very much, the reel takes on a lighthearted, humorous tone as Batman goes about collecting his teammates. I’m tentatively hopeful.

Suicide Squad

On the more villainous side of things, we have another trailer for Suicide Squad, which comes out in a couple of weeks.

Lego Batman

Lego Batman was the best part of ‘The Lego Movie.’ So why not give him his own movie. This one could be my favorite of what DC currently has to offer.

Doctor Strange

Alright, since DC had their fun, let’s see what Marvel had to offer. There was this awesome trailer for Doctor Strange. Probably the most visually enchanting trailer of the event. Here we see Sherlock Dr. Steven Strange learning the ways of magic. This will be one that must be seen on the big screen to be appreciated. It’s hitting theaters this November 4th.

Marvel’s Iron Fist

I don’t normally cover much TV, but Marvel has some great looking offerings and they have given us quality entertainment in the past with Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Here’s the first teaser for Iron Fist, set to be released in 2017.

Marvel’s Luke Cage

Luke Cage – one of the main characters in the fantastic ‘Jessica Jones’ is getting his own show, and the music in this trailer is on point!

Marvel’s The Defenders

The above two heroes are teaming up with Jessica Jones and Daredevil for The Defenders. This teaser doesn’t show any actual footage, but we do hear what sounds like ‘Stick’ from ‘Daredevil’ talking in the background and it gets me excited nonethless.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

We’ve got some great non-comic book movies that also released some updated and new trailers during Comic-Con. I for one am very excited to see the wizarding world come to 1920s New York. This is the most detailed trailer for the movie we’ve seen yet, although it still reveals very little in terms of overall plot. I’ve very excited to come into a J.K. Rowling movie without already knowing the ending from the book.

Kong: Skull Island

King Kong gets supersized in this reboot from the producers of the most recent Godzilla. It looks like they could be setting things up for a potential Kong on Godzilla battle. If this movie does better than Peter Jackson’s maybe we could see a Mothra movie too.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Guy Ritchie has made a name for himself with films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Sherlock Holmes, and he’s carried that same distinctive dialogue and visual style over to the Arthurian legend.

There’s an incredible cast lined up for this as well with Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, and Eric Bana. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword hits theaters on March 24, 2017.

James Wan on Why Superhero Movies are Popular

If you’ve been paying any attention to the current climate in the world of film, you’ll notice one thing: superheroes are ruling the day. Comic book movies have become the most lucrative films in the biz, breaking box office records and ensuring boat loads of money for their respective studios. And while they’re usually visual masterpieces with stunning effects, it seems unlikely that movies about men flying around in tights would be so universally adored. So the question that rises is: why the hell do we love superhero movies so much?

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Director James Wan, who will be helming his very own superhero flick with the DC Extended Universe’s Aquaman, recently opened up to Collider and answered that very question, saying:

I think a big part of it is because we’re finally at the point where we can actually tell these larger than life stories and have the technology to make them work. That’s one factor, that we can create these whizz-bang visuals to go with the story and ultimately superheroes say a lot about the society we grow up in. Pretty much all the good superheroes have some kind of social commentary about why they are who they are. It teaches values and so it’s a very important thing. On one hand it works on a surface level because it’s super incredible to watch from a visual feast standpoint but on another level it works on a very human level it works on a very human, emotional level and I think it makes it fun for us. Let me pose you a question. Do you think people are having superhero fatigue?

James Wan’s statement offers some answers and as well as an important question, while also erasing any trace of doubt as to whether or not he’ll be able to make Aquaman a successful superhero flick. He just gets it.

To start, James Wan cites our current technology as what is causing this superhero renaissance. This seems to make a great deal of sense. Sure, comic fans would have liked to see Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman together kicking some ass years ago, but the visual effects might not have allowed the action sequences to be what they should have been. We certainly got some questionable Batman flicks in the 90’s, with the Dark Knight becoming campy and with less intense fight scenes. We’re in a point where action sequences become some of the highlights of superhero movies, with amazing and extensive scenes like Captain America: Civil War‘s airport battle and Batman v Superman‘s heroic beatdown truly wowing audiences.

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Additionally, James Wan notes that there is something essentially moral about superhero movies. These heroes fight for what is right, we all inherently want the good guys to win and for villains to get their comeuppance. Sorry Suicide Squad.

But the Conjuring and Aquaman director ended this statement on an important question. Are we facing superhero fatigue? With so many heroes dominating both the small and big screen, it definitely has the potential to become a bit saturated and stale. The MCU might be untouchable, but it’s entirely possible that other studios may suffer in the future due to overcrowding. Only time will tell.

Wan’s Aquaman will be released on July 27, 2018.

Source: Cinema Blend

Ruffalo Says That Thor: Ragnarok Will Change Hulk

For eight years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, moviegoers have watched Bruce Banner struggle with his darker and monstrous half, The Hulk. While the character has served as a modern day Jekyll and Hyde to comic book readers for decades, people are getting to see his story finally being told over many movies. The next chapter of this story is Thor: Ragnarok, and new comments from Mark Ruffalo point to the Bruce Banner and Hulk’s personalities going head to head come next year.

While journeying across the Nine Realms with the God of Thunder in Thor: Ragnarok, Ruffalo discussed with Collider the arc Bruce Banner is dealing with regarding his relationship with The Hulk and how that’s going to resolve itself. He explained:

No one’s really gone in that place. I mean, he’s always been running from him or trying to deny it, but they’re coming for a collision course with each other, and I think that can be pretty exciting if we can figure out a way to do it multi-dimensionally.

The concept of the Bruce Banner and Hulk’s personalities clashing has been done before in the comics, but it’s relatively new territory for the movies. In The Incredible Hulk, Banner was desperate to find a cure for his “condition.” By The Avengers, he seemed to have made peace with his dual nature and simply did his best to contain it. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, he continued to use Hulk as a weapon for good, but after he was traumatized by Scarlet Witch‘s mental control, he later fled from Black Widow and his allies during the climactic battle against Ultron to keep them safe. It sounds like when we reunite with him in Thor: Ragnarok, the two sides will finally battle with each other, something that’s been years in the making, both in the real world and within the MCU.

While it remains to be seen exactly how this “collision” occurs, Mark Ruffalo mentioned earlier this year that the third Thor installment may see the personalities merging, leading to Hulk’s intelligence increasing. This doesn’t guarantee that Hulk will be a genius like Banner, but it would definitely shake things up and move him past being a rage monster who has brief moments of calmness. Although there isn’t a new Hulk movie coming anytime soon, Ruffalo has also said that Thor: Ragnarok works well with both Avengers: Infinity War movies as a “standalone Hulk story,” so fans will see this character progression continue over the following two years. All this, along with Thor: Ragnarok rumored to include a backdoor Planet Hulk adaptation, means that the Green Goliath will have plenty of time to develop internally and wreak havoc on his enemies.

Hulk will jump back into action when Thor: Ragnarok is released on November 3, 2017.

Source: Cinema Blend

Top 3 Actors Who Could Replace Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

It was inevitable, of course, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept when the tragedy finally arrives. Actor Hugh Jackman, who rose to fame for his iconic portrayal of the superhero Wolverine in the X-Men blockbuster franchise, announced he will play the hairy claw-sporting mutant for “one last time.”

His revelation of planned retirement from the character came via Instagram and Twitter. A follow-up tweet from director James Mangold, who directed Jackman’s previous solo outing The Wolverine in 2013, confirmed the “one last time” in question is another Wolverine solo sequel, not his crowd pleasing cameo in X-Men: Age of Apocalypse. So yes, Jackman’s awesome stint as Wolverine is coming to an end soon.

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Having appeared as Wolverine in eight films so far —X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past , and X-Men: Apocalypse – Jackman has appeared as the same superhero longer and more often than any other actor has portrayed a single superhero (although Robert Downey Jr. is catching up fast, with seven films under his Iron Man belt as of last month’s Captain America: Civil War). He’s the only live-action Wolverine we’ve ever known, and has embodied the character perfectly for 16 years, so his departure is going to leave a major hole in the franchise.

Now consider that the series is actually gaining in popularity and expanding, so that besides the third Wolverine solo movie, there is a Deadpool film currently filming and a Gambit solo spin-off planned. For now, let’s just take him at his word that the next solo Wolverine film will really be his last. If that’s true, then what should Fox do once Jackman has ridden off into the sunset?

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Recast, of course. They can’t just drop Wolverine as a character from the series, well, they could kill him off and go with X-23 but I think there would be riots. So the only option is recasting. Which brings us to the gist of this piece — who should play the new Wolverine? I’ve got my top 3 options for you here, so read on and see which actors might turn up on the shortlist for the franchise’s most beloved and most stabby superhero!

1. Tom Hardy — A terrific actor who is also great at physical roles. Tom would bring a new approach to Wolverine and instill the character with even more of the brooding sensibilities and short temper we’re familiar with from the comics. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was more of a heroic and mostly nice guy with a sly sense of humor, whereas Tom might give us the anti-hero approach who resides more often in the grayest shades of morality.

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2. Penn Badgley — Let’s establish that yes, Badgley has not only the right looks for Wolverine, but also particularly for the existing cinematic version of the character. So if we’re just casting based on appearance, Penn surely ends up as a top finalist to play Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. But Penn is also a really top-notch actor, receiving praise for his performances in the series Gossip Girl and more recently for his role in the film Margin Call, making his more than just physically suited to play Wolverine.

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3. Kit Harington — With a loyal fanbase among geek culture already, Kit has both the strong acting chops and the right look to continue a Wolverine portrayal in keeping with the legacy Hugh Jackman will leave behind. Brooding yet always honorable, angry but good at heart — that’s not only Wolverine, it’s Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, and he’s done a remarkable job for several years with that character. While Kit previously made remarks about wanting to do a superhero film that is more campy and doesn’t take the material so seriously, I’m sure he’d have no trouble jumping into the Wolverine role and approaching the performance just as seriously as he has in Game of Thrones’ fantasy storyline.

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Alright, I know I said top 3, but there are so many possibilities and I kept coming back to this one.

4. Scott Caan — Son of the great James Caan, Scott is an award-winning actor best known for his excellent performances in Entourage and Hawaii Five-O (the latter bringing him a Golden Globe nomination). He’s got the charisma and presence to bring us a different take on Wolverine that bridges the rougher comic persona with the more classically heroic film incarnation. And to be blunt, Scott’s height and build make him physically a great choice more suited to the source material’s depiction and reputation. At 38, Scott is older than the other names on this list, so he’s perhaps also best able to continue the “grizzled veteran” aspect of the character that Hugh Jackman has perfected.

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And there you have it, dear readers, the top three best choices to take over the role of Wolverine if and when Hugh Jackman leaves the franchise! Of course there are a lot of others who could have been on this list from Garrett Hedlund to Jake Gyllenhaal, but I think this list provides a range of ages and types that gives us plenty to think about.

What do you think of these suggestions, and who would you add to the list? Do you think they should go with a different storyline and leave Wolverine out? Are you excited about the idea of Hugh Jackman coming out of retirement in another 15 years to play Old Man Logan? Let me know in the comments below!

Is Namor Going to be an Avenger?

Namor: the Sub-Mariner is one of Marvel’s oldest properties debuting in April 1939. However, his film rights have been with Universal. There have been a couple of rumors about a planned film, but they keep falling apart.

But now, according to Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, the Namor rights have reverted to Marvel, meaning he can finally join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In my opinion, Namor is cooler than Aquaman, maybe they’ll include him in future plans.

Is Brie Larson Captain Marvel?

We are still a few years away from seeing a solo Captain Marvel film, but it was reported earlier this week by Variety that Brie Larson is in talks with Marvel to play the lead character. Now, thanks to BossLogic we have a picture of what she might look like as the interstellar heroine.

I’m excited for Captain Marvel, especially with someone like Larson involved. The studio is also in talks with a couple of talented directors to take on the project. Those directors are Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) and Niki Caro (Whale Rider, McFarland, USA)

Captain Marvel is set to be released on July 6th, 2018. What do you think?