Let’s start by facing some facts. Superhero movies, and TV shows, are making so much money right now that there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Hollywood will stop making them in the foreseeable future. The good news is, if you don’t like them, there are many other options. If you do, then you’re golden and need not worry about much else. Well, global politics and famine and stuff, sure, but not movies. This year saw Marvel demur from attending San Diego Comic Con. They certainly had no need to be there. They could, and did, release trailers on Youtube from where ever they happened to be. And, let’s be blunt, I doubt any of them wanted to sit through fanboy theories about how Avengers: Infinity War should end. [Read more…] about Coming Attractions
It’s hard to believe that once, not that long ago, movies about superheroes were so few and far between that any attempt to do the genre justice, no matter how lame, was heralded by fans as the best thing to happen to things in the history of things. And, as I noted before, those movies got co-opted by major studios, watered down, and turned into the movie franchises we know and love today. So far so good. I guess. At least the groundwork was laid for superhero movies to start tackling some real world issues. Wonder Woman managed to address, and then move past, the genocide of Native Americans in a single scene, but Black Panther hit the issues of racism and human trafficking head on and never flinched. To be fair to Wonder Woman it had a lot on its plate before the first scene was shot. Many were quick to dismiss a film directed by a woman, starring a woman, about a woman who is famously bisexual. That last part the film dealt with tastefully and with humor.
But now, thanks to the internet and proliferation of choices, an ugly subset of humans have reared their heads and seem determined to force issues that don’t exist. Mostly they want people to choose between Marvel and DC.
The theme runs like this; Marvel makes great movies for the whole family that tend to preserve traditional family values. You can also note that Marvel was the main bastion of white male heroes as an underlying theme there. DC, on the other hand, is a dark place filled with death and sexuality that should be forever shunned. DC’s whiteness is ignored in these cases for reasons I can’t fathom. It isn’t like Batman or Superman are minorities unless you want to stretch the illegal alien motif to its breaking point.
And this silliness isn’t happening in a vacuum. It’s out in the open on Rotten Tomatoes website and many others that allow fan interaction. Most have, to some degree or another, downplayed fan input to keep it from spilling over on their main pages. RT, for example, has no fan scores on its front page. You have to click the movie title to see those rankings.
Now, like all cliches, there is some truth there. Marvel espouses a lighter tone than DC. Marvel also uses the exact same color palette for every film. DC does not. Marvel marketed their films better than any other company, even before they tied up with Disney. And their marketing is consistent from film to film. Except for Black Panther, which caught a bunch of middle aged white guys with their knickers twisted. But they turned that to their advantage, so good for them.
However, there is one major difference between Marvel and DC that does not get addressed since doing so would add some much needed perspective.
Marvel released almost a dozen movies to introduce its universe. DC has, for all intents and purposes, released its universe and will now backfill in with character driven movies. Batman V Superman and Justice League were essentially one long movie to get all your favorites on screen. Marvel has done nothing with their villains but DC released Suicide Squad. While not an amazing movie by any measure, it did get the backstories and introductions out of the way for a slate of characters who will populate smaller films for years to come.
And, this must be noted, fans of DC have bought into this. You wouldn’t know it by the message boards but it’s true. The last five DC releases have earned well over two billion dollars. No matter how you cut that pie there’s plenty for everyone.
Marvel has earned more but, after Infinity War finishes, they only have two or three more possible tent pole films; Black Panther Two (assuming he survives Infinity War), Spiderman II (same caveat as Black Panther) and Captain Marvel. Antman & Wasp is not a major film, although I bet it’ll be a lot of fun. There’s nothing seriously planned for X-Men or Fantastic Four, Deadpool is slated to conclude its run after this movie, and Venom is going to be a hard “R” celebration of violence porn, which I will also enjoy. DC, on the other hand, has numerous films coming out that could each stand as a tent pole; Aquaman, Wonder Woman 2, Shazam, Batman, Cyborg, The Flash, Black Adam with Duane Johnson, the all female crime film featuring Harley Quinn, and, at least, four or five more.
In other words, the playing field is changing.
Okay, that’s a brief look at the business involved, let’s look at the franchises. It is entirely possible to like both of them. I do. My girlfriend, who is late to the superhero game as she never read comics, loves them all. Despite what you see online more people fall into this category than not.
Simply put, there’s no need to hate. The plan for each franchise is wildly different, and the execution of each, while occasionally flawed (I’m looking at you Iron Man III & Man of Two Million Killed), have given fans something they’ve been hoping for all along. a chance to see their heroes come to life.
Both franchises need to do more, much more, to embrace diversity and representation. And fans need to hold them to that. The good news is that fans are. They are doing so the only way Hollywood understands. With their pocketbooks. Little girls, and people of color of all ages, didn’t walk out of Wonder Woman and Black Panther, respectively, crying and hugging each other because there was a funny smell in the ventilation system. Those movies touched them, moved them, and promised more to come.
Hopefully much more.
And there’s another part of this that gets overlooked. DC has been building its television universe to the point that it’s now overflowing off of the CW and developing its own channel. Marvel’s attempts at television have yielded Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Defenders universe on Netflix. All great shows, but they need the cinematic universe to survive, at least by reference. The DC shows work as stand-alone properties. They even have their own Superman and no one blinked. Essentially they have a firmer foundation to build from. Thus they can bring Teen Titans to the screen, currently entitled Titans, and still have those characters appear in films with different actors.
DC, it should be noted, also has the best superhero cartoons out there. Marvel doesn’t even try anymore instead limiting its animation licenses to stuff for Disney’s kids’ channel. Fortunately there is no plan for Spider Babies or anything like that, but the shows do skew young and are brightly colored.
Whoo, that’s a lot of shit to parse. So what does it mean for fans?
Well, for one, it means there will be a hell of lot of superhero stuff they can enjoy if they can get off their high hobby horses and quit sniping. A boy can dream, can’t he? As for me, it means I’m going to be buying a lot of popcorn, continuing to ignore the trolls, and parking my fat ass in a comfy seat right next to my girlfriend to cheer on the capes and cowls as they appear.
The rest of you should try it too. It’s far less stressful and a lot more fun.
But you have to do it without my girlfriend. Get your own.
Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, super hero movies were rife with cliches. In the 80’s, even though both Superman and Batman had darker vibes, the growth was more in line with which color palette the director used as opposed to what story they could tell. In the 90’s movies like Darkman (1990), The Crow (1994), Spawn (1997), and Blade (1998), just to name a few, changed the landscape. Movies could be edgy, feature African-Americans as lead characters, have plots that required brain cells to follow, and still make money. Naturally major studios, primarily run by middle aged white men, reacted as expected. They co-opted the obvious stuff (violence, booze, sexual innuendo), watered them down, and made very white movies like Iron Man and Man of Steel, among many others. Not bad movies, mind you. They were wildly popular and well made to boot. But the diverse casts, the real world ramifications, and so on, were all gone. The old-school super hero narrative took their place and the world settled in for more of the same old same old.
Or so the studios seemed to hope.
But people, those creatures who pay for the tickets and the popcorn and the pops and the bad hot dogs and the rest, began to complain. They wanted the big budget coo-coo coolness applied to movies that encompassed all that nifty, and diverse, stuff they’d seen in the 90’s.
As movies like Suicide Squad, Deadpool, and Wonder Woman got made, and fans clamored to them, the studios came to a fascinating realization. They didn’t have to make one type of film or the other. They could make very dark films like Logan and, the critically acclaimed, Attack the Block, and still make popcorn monsters like The Avengers while making goo-gobs (not a mathematical term invented by Stephen Hawkings) of money.
It’s become a win/win situation for fans.
Well, except for Ghost in the Shell. That was a last gasp attempt at whitewashing a culture, story, and characters. At least here, at World News Center, we are praying it was a last gasp. Otherwise we envision a world where something like Malcolm X-Man, starring Jim Carrey, could see the light of day.
Your thoughts and prayers, along with your unicorns and rainbows, should go here to prevent that from happening.
Anyway, the nice people over at Collider – actually for all we know they could be members of a Satanic cult which survives by sacrificing kittens on 4chan, but they seem nice – have a list of the next decade or so’s worth of upcoming superhero related films. That is because they have given up on ever seeing daylight again.
Since you may not have that luxury, I’ll just focus on the next twelve months of their amazing research.
Release Date : February 16, 2018
Director : Ryan Coogler
Cast : Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Sterling K. Brown, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, and John Kani.
What We Know So Far : The comics character made quite the impression with his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War , and he gets his own feature film not long after. 42 star Chadwick Boseman is filling the role of the powerful native of Wakanda, an African nation that is isolated from the rest of the world. Marvel says the crux of the film will be how this isolationist nation meets the world, so expect some friction. Selma director Ava DuVernay came close to signing on, but ultimately opted not to helm the film over concerns her artistic voice would be lost in the final product. Subsequently, Marvel hired Joe Robert Cole—who came up through the Marvel Studios writing program—to pen the script, and finally nabbed Creed and Fruitvale Station helmer Ryan Coogler to fill the director’s chair and co-write. He’s forging ahead with quite possibly the most exciting MCU film to date, and he announced his intention to fill out the cast with 90% African and African-American actors, establishing a fantastic ensemble with folks like Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Oyoke, and his Creed and Fruitvale star Michael B. Jordan as villain Erik Killmonger.
The story of Black Panther will find T’Challa returning to his technologically advanced homeland of Wakanda after the events of Civil War , only to find himself drawn into a dangerous conflict with an old enemy.
Avengers: Infinity War
Release Date : May 4, 2018
Directors : Joe and Anthony Russo
Cast : Everybody
What We Know So Far : Marvel is finally tackling the Infinity War storyline, and it’ll take two films to tell it. The main antagonist will be Thanos (played by Josh Brolin), although he’ll be joined by his Black Order aka the “Children of Thanos” as subvillains the Avengers heroes will have to defeat first. Indeed, the film stars nearly every single character who’s appeared in the MCU before in what’s said to be a “culmination event.” Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo direct both Infinity War and its untitled sequel, which are being shot back-to-back. Moreover, Infinity War was shot entirely using IMAX’s brand new digital cameras. No pressure.
Release Date : May 18, 2018
Director : David Leitch
Cast : Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beets, T.J. Miller
What We Know So Far : While Deadpool director Tim Miller was originally supposed to return to helm Deadpool 2, he left the sequel in Fall 2016 over creative differences. Reynolds and 20th Century Fox subsequently set John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch to take over, but then came the long process of casting two major new roles. Domino, the female lead, went to Atlanta breakout Zazie Beets, while the casting of Cable proved as lengthy as it was complex. Names like Michael Shannon and David Harbour surfaced, and Brad Pitt at one point considered the role, but ultimately Josh Brolin is the one who signed on to play Deadpool’s favorite frenemy.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Release Date : July 6, 2018
Director : Peyton Reed
Cast : Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Randall Park, Judy Greer and Hannah John-Kamen
What We Know So Far : Evangeline Lily‘s Wasp will be the co-star of this film and not just the “female lead”, making this Marvel Studios’ first release in which the heroine is in the title. Plot-wise we don’t know much, but Michelle Pfeiffer is playing Janet Van Dyne, so we presume the story will at least partially revolve around heading to the Quantum Realm to rescue her. Meanwhile Walton Goggins plays the villainous Sonny Burch.
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Director : Ruben Fleischer
Cast: Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, and Jenny Slate
What We Know So Far: This Sony Pictures spinoff is intended to kick off a new loosely-connected universe of Marvel Comics adaptations, but Venom will not take place in the same universe as the Marvel Studios/Sony co-production Spider-Man: Homecoming . This is planned as an R-rated adaptation of the symbiote storyline, described as something of a twist on the horror genre, and Venom will be portrayed as an anti-hero with Carnage serving as the villain. The movie takes place in San Francisco and is primarily based on two comics arcs: Planet of the Symbiotes and Lethal Protector .
Release Date : December 21, 2018
Director : James Wan
Cast : Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, and Willem Dafoe
What We Know So Far : Momoa made his first appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will be part of the Justice League ensemble. Warner Bros. has enlisted Furious 7 and The Conjuring helmer James Wan to direct, and after attempting to fast-track this thing to production with multiple screenwriters writing separate drafts, Wan and DC Films head Geoff Johns convened, nailed down the story, and set Gangster Squad scribe Will Beall to pen the script. The ensemble cast includes Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna and Patrick Wilson as the film’s antagonist, Aquaman’s half-brother Orm.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Release Date : November 2, 2018
Director : Simon Kinberg
Cast : Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, and Evan Peters
What We Know So Far : The sequel to X-Men: Apocalypse has been firmed up as Dark Phoenix , which will tackle the beloved Jean Grey story arc from the comics that was first broached (and botched) in X-Men: The Last Stand . X-Men writer/producer Simon Kinberg has penned the script and is making his directorial debut on the project, which also stars Jessica Chastain as maybe the villain Lilandra and is bringing back pretty much the entire main X-Men cast.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Release Date : December 14, 2018
Directors: Bob Perschietti, Peter Ramsey
Cast : Shameik Moore and Liev Schrieber
What We Know So Far : Sony originated this animated Spider-Man movie with an idea by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, with Lord penning the script solo while the duo prepped their untitled Han Solo spinoff. This animated feature will kick off a new Spider-Man franchise different from the live-action one, but the kicker is that the Spider-Man of this movie is the black Miles Morales, not Peter Parker. Which means we’ll get our first non-white Spider-Man in 2018. Dope standout Shameik Moorehas been set to voice Spidey, while Liev Schreiber is playing the film’s villain—although character details are under wraps. Schreiber, however, has teased that the film has a throwback tone.
The story finds Morales slipping into an alternate dimension populated by a variety of different Spider-Men—which is how Peter Parker comes into play.
Release Date : January 11, 2019
Director : Neil Marshall
Cast : David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane
What We Know So Far : Hellboy creator Mike Mignola came up with the story for this new reboot as opposed to moving forward with a third film in Guillermo del Toro‘s established franchise, and Stranger Things standout David Harbour fills the role of the titular character for director Neil Marshall, who helmed The Descent and a couple standout Game of Thrones episodes. The film is loosely based the Rise of the Blood Queen arc with Milla Jovovich filling that villainous role, while Ian McShane plays Trevor Bruttenholm and Daniel Dae Kim fills the part of Ben Daimio. Oh, and this is 100% Rated R.
A couple of fun notes. Wonder Woman and Spiderman: Homecoming set records for an origin film and reboot, respectively, with films that avoided most of your favorite tropes and involved diverse casts without focusing on them (i.e., making them tokens). Black Panther, mentioned above, is set to blow both of them away on its opening weekend. Not combined, mind you, but we’re still talking nutty money here.
More interestingly, The Spider-Verse film, noted above, will feature a bi-racial, possibly bisexual, lead character in a cartoon aimed at younger audiences. And no one seems to be batting an eye. How much of that they will deal with in the film remains to be seen, but fans of Miles Morales, the new Spiderman, are aware of those details and will be looking for them.
Hopefully, please God, Hollywood will finally realize the future is here. The U.S. population will be fewer than 50% white people by 2050 (the same year that all chocolate will be gone from the face of the Earth if things don’t change – but that’s another story), and white people are already less than 25% of the world’s population. If you’re not marketing to the other 75% you’re an idiot.
And the white, middle aged, men who run Hollywood may be many things, some of them despicable, but they are not stupid.
It is very odd the places we find hope, but we do manage to find it.
Make sure to watch the video below for some more.
Nothing is more fun than yelling at the internet. People do it every day as though there was some catharsis involved instead of the stress induced migraines they usually suffer. Wrapped in their cloaks of righteous indignation they rail, IN ALL CAPS, at some perceived injustice. And, sometimes, such indignation is called for. Ghost in the Shell was vilified for not only casting a white actress to play the part of a Japanese legend but, because you can never insult a race enough, adding in a backstory claiming she was a white robot with a Japanese brain. That’s the plot of a direct-to-DVD porn, not a $100M action flick. At least she didn’t try and do an honor bow in front of her “mother” when they finally met.
Fortunately, domo arigato, Hollywood learns from their mistakes.
HA! Fooled you. Are you really looking from cultural awareness from a group of elderly white men who think hiring a Mexican maid is enlightened?
Cofi Outlaw, over at Comic Book Movies, says that the Hellboy reboot, which fans have been clamoring for, is catching flack for casting Ed Skrein, as Ben Daimio, who is Japanese-American in the comic.
Ed, for the record, is not very Asian.
Controversy over race-changes to popular geek culture characters has been a mounting trend in Hollywood. Whether it’s casting traditionally white characters with actors of color or vice versa, the change usually sparks intense debate amongst fans and creators, alike.
In this case, the character of Ben Daimio has important cultural elements attached to his character, as his grandmother was an Imperial assassin for Japan during WWII. Like with the Hollywood adaptations of both Ghost In Shell and Death Note this year, it’s being argued that characters with such strong cultural ties should be played by some of the many fine actors in the industry who are actually Asian.
The Hellboy is ramping up in its pre-production. The reboot will have an R-rating, and will be much darker than the version (that) Guillermo del Toro put out.
Hellboy has cast Stranger Things star David Harbour as the titular character, with Milla Jovovich playing the evil Blood Queen, Ian McShane as Hellboy’s “father” Professor Broom, Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan, and Ed Skrein as Major Ben Daimio.
While, in some cases, race really doesn’t matter, such as with almost any galactic super villain, there are times it does. This is one of them.
Another time it shouldn’t matter is if the original character is orange. And, much to my surprise, casting a very black woman to be a sexy orange alien has not really broke the Interweb thingie I type into.
Michael Mistroff, over at heroic Hollywood, reports that Anna Diop is going to be the new Starfire in the upcoming Teen Titans live action show.
Deadline reports Anna Diop (24: Legacy) has joined the cast of DC’s live-action Titans series as the alien princess Koriand’r aka Starfire.
Diop joins 13-year old actress Teagan Croft who stars as Raven. In addition to Raven and Starfire, the series is also expected to feature Dick Grayson (Nightwing), and Garfield Logan (Beast Boy), with other heroes possibly appearing as well.
The series written by Akiva Goldsman (Star Trek: Discovery), DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns (The Flash, Arrow) and Greg Berlanti (Arrow, DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, The Flash, Supergirl) follows a group of young superheroes from all over the DC Universe when Dick Grayson emerges from the shadows to become the leader of the fearless band of new heroes known as the Titans.
This is what they are expecting her to look like on screen.
Thanks again to the internet we have a little more info on the new Titans.
Megan Peters, over at ComicBook.com, breaks it down.
Looking at the summaries, it seems like Titans has a specific era from which each of its character are drawn from. Nightwing appears to be sourced from Dick Grayson 1990s Nightwing run where he worked for the Bludhaven police in an attempt to take down corruption. As for Raven, much of her description is sourced from creator Marv Wolfman’s runs as she tries to run from her demonic father Trigon.
When it comes to Starfire, the ethereal character looks to be sourced straight from her first origin story. And, for Beast Boy fans, the green shape-shifting superhero will come off as a petty thief before Titans can turn him into a bonafide hero.
Titans is being produced by Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti, and Akiva Goldsman – the same team that brings the DC Universe on The CW. Goldsman has written the script for Titans, and it’s expected to premiere in 2018.
Now, with the Starfire and Raven roles filled they can fill the male roles. Except for Dick Greyson, a/k/a Robin, a/k/a Nightwing, who has to be a white guy with a perfect ass, there’s plenty of room to move for the rest of the cast.
This is exciting for fans. while Cyborg won’t be in this version, at least not yet, due to the fact they are focusing on his character in Justice League and a stand alone film, there is still a lot here for fans, and newbies, to enjoy.
But what about Nightwing’s mentor? Mr. Bat? Well, this week a rumor hit the interweb stating that “sources” had “confirmed” that Ben Affleck was out, that the new Batman movie would be separate from Justice League, et al, and that kittens were being sacrificed Balam to ensure a good shoot.
In order; “sources” may or may not be some dude who once delivered donuts to the set, “confirmed” doesn’t seem to mean what they think it means, and the kittens are fine.
Brandon Davis, also over at ComicBook.com, fixes the internet.
First he deals with the director, Matt Reeves.
“When they approached me, what they said was, ‘Look, it’s a standalone. This isn’t part of the Extended Universe,'” Reeves said on The Business podcast back in July.
The quote resurfaced following the news of a standalone Joker film which would exist in an isolated universe, independent of the DC Extended Universe, with a new actor playing Batman’s greatest nemesis. The Batman movie, however, will not follow such a lead.
In my comments from a while back about not being part of the DCEU, I was talking about The Batman being a story specifically about Batman…
“In my comments from a while back about not being part of the DCEU, I was talking about The Batman being a story specifically about Batman,” Reeves wrote. “Not about the others in the Universe. That it wouldn’t be filled with cameos servicing other stories — that it would be a BATMAN story.”
The Batman connection to the greater DC Extended Universe is officially confirmed.
Basically, when all is said and done, he wants to do a movie based on the character of Batman. He doesn’t want a a bunch of super powered beings crashing his set every half hour. In other words, he doesn’t think he needs them. For the record, neither do I. Batman, and his regular rouges, are more than enough to make a great film.
As to the Ben Affleck rumors, he got the best quote you could get.
“Batman is the coolest f*cking part in any universe – DC, Marvel – it’s incredible, and I’m so thrilled to do it,” Affleck said. “I know there’s this misconception that because I didn’t direct it I wasn’t enthusiastic about it; it’s fucking amazing… and with Matt Reeves doing it, it’s like I’d be a fucking ape on the ground for Matt Reeves – never mind being Batman! It’s incredible! So I’m really blown away and excited and it’s a great time in the DC Universe. You’re going to see some stuff from Justice League that we’re really really proud of, and I’ll think you’ll see why I’m really excited to be Batman.”
That’s clear enough.
Now, in conclusion, when Wonder Woman came out the Alamo Drafthouse Theater chain in San Antonio held screenings just for women who gender identified as female. They were a huge success, and caused the internet to break with ALL CAPS screeds posted by angry man-children, and life went on.
Well, to quote a famous movie, THEEEEEEY’RE BAAAAAACK!
They will be doing a screening of the Steven King film, IT, for clowns only. Delaney Strunk, over at Buzzfeed, has the 411.
According to the theater’s site, participants should come “dressed as a clown in order to attend. Please arrive in your own Pennywise best and be ready to float with us.” It’s literally going to be a bunch of people dressed as scary clowns watching a movie about a very scary clown, and I swear I’ve had a nightmare just like this.
If you’ve yet to see the trailer, you are very lucky because this movie looks legitimately terrifying, but here it is if you’re curious or if you’re just a masochist who’s into this type of thing.
Oh and want to know the worst part about this ridiculous ordeal? The clown-only showing is already sold out. A full theater’s worth of people have already said, “You know what, I’m okay with dressing like a creepy-ass clown and watching a scary movie.”
While I have no problem with clowns, in the main, I still think this is something I would avoid. But boycotting it? Nope. Let folks have their fun I say.