Thursday, September 20, 2018

So ... what to do about DCEU's Superman?

The news came out within the last week that Henry Cavill and Warner Brothers apparently won't be working together on any Superman projects going forward.

The DCEU seemed to be getting better after the success of Wonder Woman and then this news comes along.

First of all, I think it's absolutely ridiculous that DC would cast aside one of their benchmarks for a Supergirl project.

No offense to Supergirl fans out there, but she's never been a succeessful character. The show will return for a fourth season this Fall on The CW, but it's been on a steady decline in viewership since it first season on CBS.

The Supergirl movie was awful. The comics have never really wowed the world.

I'm fine with female empowerment and all that, but you already have Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Captain Marvel (MCU). I don't see a Supergirl doing well in a market that already has two muscled women who can fly.

Meanwhile I believe a Black Widow movie and Batgirl movie are also in the works --- both of which I see being more successful than Supergirl.

So, first off: I have an issue with DC casting aside Superman for Supergirl, but there are a few possibilities:

1. Cast a new Superman (NO!)

Sure, there are various actors who could take over the role, but I am NOT in favor of this at all. Recast a new Superman for a different set of movies, but replacing Henry Cavill and having him interact with Gal Gadot (as Wonder Woman) or Jason Momoa (as Aquaman) is not okay.

That's low-level soap opera stuff there --- not something you'd see in a big superhero movie.

Sure, they replaced Batman actors back in the '90s, but look at how credible those movies turned out.

If DC wants to stay serious about Superman, then recasting is not an option.

Now, if they want to recast him in an entirely different reboot that's separate or outside of the current DCEU, fine. Go ahead.

Side note --- I like Michael B. Jordan, but I don't think having Superman go black is the answer here.

There are plenty of black superheroes who can be developed and given movies of their own. Just look at Black Panther! I just recently blogged about the fact that X-Men's Storm has a lot of potential as a standalone movie.

Updating Aquaman's look so that it's not so cheesy? Fine. Great, actually! He looks pretty bad-ass now.

There's no need to start changing ethnicities of such an iconic superhero, though. Aquaman was kind of a joke character. Superman is iconic. There's a big difference.

2. Discontinue the Superman character in the current DCEU (that's acceptable, I guess)

If they aren't using Henry Cavill anymore, then just do the Pepper Potts / Marvel thing and make references to him in other movies, but don't actually use him. If it has to be the case that he was the character to set up the DCEU and is now gone, so be it.

Better to let the character disappear from the DCEU than to recast him in the same universe.

3. Renegotiate with Henry Cavill (YES!)

This is the best option, in my opinion.

He proved he can draw in the latest Mission: Impossible movie (Tom Cruise is an aging actor who wouldn't have been able to carry that movie without Cavill).

Time to give him more money, get him committed to a multi-picture deal and give him good content to work with.

Cavill has the athleticism, the look, and the acting skill. He works as Superman. Use him!

Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. I don't think Cavill is going to bankrupt Warner Bros. or DC with his pay day. Now, if the next movie he does as Superman doesn't profit, don't proceed with any other Superman movies. That's fine.

But absolutely do not recast Superman with a lower-paid actor. That's not acceptable and it's dooming the project from the start.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ant-Man and The Wasp - reviewed.

The first Ant-Man movie was kind of a surprise success.

So could the sequel live up to the higher expectations?

This time around the action is doubled, of course. In addition to Ant-Man, we have his love interest: The Wasp.

It's double the fun in this case.

Just like Ant-Man, she has the ability to shrink and grow in size (though she may not have yet gotten to grow dozens of stories in the air the way Ant-Man has).

The fun thing about The Wasp, of course, is that she can fly.  Ant-Man rides insects, but he can't naturally fly.

The Wasp, with her wings, can take to the air and definitely takes advantage of that aerial ability throughout this movie.

I honestly haven’t kept track of the box office for this movie but I liked it a lot.  I hope it did well.  I'm assuming it did, based on the positive reviews I've heard from friends.

Paul Rudd made this character his. He owns the role the way Robert Downey owns Iron Man or Hugh Jackman owns Wolverine or Margot Robbie now owns the Harley Quinn character. He’s so good at it.

The humor and the action. His portrayal of the character makes this movie such a comedy, but in an entirely different way than a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy.

Ant-Man and Ant-Man and The Wasp aren't necessarily as big and bold as Avengers or as loud and colorful as Thor: Ragnarok or Guardians of the Galaxy 2, but it sure leaves you walking away as a satisfied comic book fan.

I don't know how well Rudd's portrayal fits into the traditional Ant-Man comic book depiction (never read an Ant-Man comic), but it works superbly well on the big screen.

He is taking everything seriously in terms of the sometimes dire situation going on in the movie, but Scott Lang (Rudd) can always interject some humor into the situation — much to the annoyance of Hope Pym (Evangeline Lilly).

She takes more of a straightforward approach in solving the challenges ahead of her.  That contrast in their characters makes for a fun yin and yang dynamic.

They're not a well-oiled duo like Batman and Robin.  They clash and butt heads, but that's what makes them entertaining in this sequel.

Speaking of Lilly, some women get better with age and she’s definitely one of them!

Hope Pym is another character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that doesn't necessarily jump off the screen and say 'Hey! Look at me!' but there's a lot to the character.

Her enhanced flight abilities were actually some of the best and most creative fight sequences I've seen in a couple of years.

I won't spoil too much in case you haven't seen this, but the hotel restaurant and kitchen fight scene was particularly good!

Wonder Woman or Superman or Thor can't shrink and grow in an instant in order to do battle against the villains in front of them.

Lilly and Rudd's ability to captivate at the right moments and almost be subtle in their acting in a lot of ways makes the final product very interesting.

It's definitely an ensemble project.  While Ant-Man and The Wasp are, as the title suggests, the rest of the cast are important here, too.

Let's start with Scott Lang's family.  His daughter, Cassie, was a motivating factor for him in the first movie and she's just as important in this sequel.  In fact, I think she may be more important.

Learning from his previous mistakes, Lang makes it a point throughout this movie not to violate his house arrest so he can see his daughter on his terms again.

His daughter isn't just a source of inspiration for keeping on the straight and narrow.

She's got a couple of scenes that she kind of steals, honestly.

A lot of sequels kind of forget about the child cast members that made the original memorable to begin with.  It's not an action movie, but The Santa Clause comes to mind.  By the third movie it was all about Tim Allen as Santa Claus and his child, his ex-wife and her new husband were all seemingly forgotten.

That ensemble cast is what made the first movie a classic. The ensemble cast in Ant-Man is what made it interesting.  It was nice to see them return for the second round.

Speaking of ex-wives and new husbands, Scott Lang's ex-wife (Judy Greer) and her new husband (Bobby Cannavale) are also in the movie.  They provided some drama in the first movie, but they provide a lot of the comedy in Ant-Man and The Wasp.

Cannavale was a smidgen over-the-top in some instances, but I'm sure he was directed that way.  That's part of his character in this movie, really.

Even though she's, more or less, a secondary character, it's nice to see Greer get a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

She's played second fiddle to characters in mainstream movies over the years, but this role feels a little bigger than those.  She's not the snooty best friend or plotting coworker.  She's the caring (and sometimes off-the-hinges) mother.

It's a good role for her.

Michelle Pfeiffer swapped over from her iconic role as DC's Catwoman to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the original Wasp -- as Hope Pym's mother.

Her character --- specifically, finding her --- is the plot point of the entire movie.

I should say that finding Janet Van Dyne (Pfeiffer) is the connecting plot point, tying together the sub-plots and complicating sub-plots as well.

Again, I'll try not to spoil too much, but Pfeiffer did well in this role.  I'd be anxious to see them expand on her character a little bit if a third movie is released.

I thought Pfeiffer was a good pairing for Michael Douglas' character: Hank Pym.  Hank didn't have as many moments in this movie, but he had several in the first.  Understandably, there's not as much meaningful screen time for him this time around because there are more than a couple of new characters.

One of those new characters was Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne).  I actually groaned when I saw Fishburne on screen.

He, too, is jumping over from DC (he was Perry White in Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice).

I don't exactly have anything against Fishburne.  I really liked him in Akeelah and the Bee and The Matrix, but I thought he failed in his role on C.S.I. and don't think he was the right choice for the Perry White character.

I would've preferred to have seen a lesser known actor in this role.  It came off, to me, like he was given the role because he's an established name --- not because he really offered much to the role or the movie itself.

That being said, he was fine.  This casting didn't hinder the movie in any way.  He's there.  His character served its' purpose, but wasn't necessarily memorable.

One character who was fun: Luis (Michael Peña).

He and the rest of his cohorts also decided to put their criminal ways behind them and start, appropriately enough, a security business.

They're trying to land a major client by offering insight on how their security system is lacking.  

They would know since they have broken into several businesses in the past.

Just like in the first Ant-Man, there's a very creative and memorable fast-talking flashback sequence involving Luis. 

It maybe wasn't as entertaining as the first one, but that's because the first one was so unexpected.

When it came up this time around, the flashback sequence was welcomed and fun, but didn't have the surprise factor.  Still, Luis and the rest of Lang's buddies added a lot of entertainment to the movie and it seemed to me that they had a more expanded role this time around.

On the villain side of things, we have Ghost a.k.a. Ava (Hannah John-Kamen).

Her character's abilities were a lot of fun.  Upon seeing the previews I knew I wanted to see her action scenes.

The action scenes did not disappoint.  They were interesting, mixed her own unique abilities with Ant-Man and The Wasp's abilities.

However, her character was a little bit weak.  I blame that on the story behind her character.  It was more than a little convoluted --- or maybe lackluster is the better word.  The problem is: that messy story is a big part of the movie.

It's why you care (or, in my case, don't) about the Ghost character.

She's not a straight villain, by the way.  Her character is more complex than that.
That's why they needed another bad dude.  Enter Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) for a surprisingly long-lasting and entertaining subplot!

Overall, it was a very entertaining movie.  The first movie had a very fun scene with Thomas the Tank Engine and this time you have other pop culture references, like Hello Kitty.

I really like that Marvel is making Ant-Man a character with his own feel.  His own identity.  Marvel is able to do things in these Ant-Man movies that they're not able to do with some of their other properties.

Related Content:
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• So ... who should be the next James Bond?
• The Avengers: Infinity War - reviewed.
• The Black Panther - reviewed.
• My most anticipated movies of 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

5 Super Heroes Who Got Their Own Movie

Looking at some of my previous blogs here, I found one from July 2013: 7 Super Heroes Who Deserve Their Own Movie.

Well, the good news for superhero fans -- or at least me! -- is that several of the people on my list ended up getting their own movies.

Ms. Marvel / Capt. Marvel will be in theaters in 2019.

Marvel is surely hoping to attract more of a female demographic with this one and capitalize (or compete) with the success of Wonder Woman.

I don't think that'll happen, though.

I think Capt. Marvel will be successful enough (it is a Marvel movie, after all), but I don't see it breaking any records.  I could be way off, but the character (especially with the name change from Ms. Marvel to Capt. Marvel) just doesn't have the same fan base as Wonder Woman.

Granted, Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy were obscure in terms of mainstream coverage, so Brie Larson and Marvel could definitely make this work.  It's definitely on them to make it successful, though.  It's not guaranteed.

The Black Widow movie is apparently rolling along in pre-production mode.

After appearing in over half a dozen Marvel movies (and having a very significant role in some of them), it's about time they push the 'Go' button on this project!

Scarlett Johanson is now one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, thanks to her spot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why it took them so long to get this project off the ground is beyond me.  Seems like a no-brainer.  Now Marvel seems to be playing catch-up, trailing behind other female superhero projects like DC's Wonder Woman and their own Captain Marvel.

I just hope that the project is worth the wait.  If done correctly, I think a Black Widow movie could potentially compete with a Wonder Woman movie.

Dr. Strange had his first solo movie.  Dr. Strange 2 hasn't been announced yet, but is sure to happen.

He's possibly going to take a bigger role in upcoming Marvel movies if Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth don't return as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor.

While Dr. Strange didn't break records at the box office, Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal was well-received in Dr. Strange and Avengers: Infinity War.  Remember, Captain America's initial movie didn't set the world on fire either.

He-Man is apparently still happening --- though I won't believe that one until I actually see it in the theater!

Any Masters of the Universe fans know what I'm talking about.  It's been back-and-forth and up-and-down with that movie for years now.

But, it's definitely possible because it also finally happened with Wonder Woman.  That movie seemed like it'd never get made.  I think it took almost 20 years to finally get a big-screen movie made and just look at the success of that movie.

He-Man probably won't be anywhere near as successful, but I'm hoping for -- at least -- G.I. Joe type success.  I don't think that's too delusional.  As a MOTU fan, I may be too close to the project, but, looking at it objectively, I think it'll do well enough to warrant a sequel.

Wonder Woman was released in 2017 (one of the highest-grossing movies of the year, no less), the sequel is on it's way for 2019, too.

That's after the character appeared in Justice League and Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

So, by the time Wonder Woman 2 hits theaters in 2019, Gal Gadot will have played the character in 4 big-screen movies.

That's not too bad, huh?  I anticipate more movies so long as Gal Gadot is happy with the scripts presented to her and so long as her movies are successful.

The only two people from that list back in 2013 that didn't get solo movies were: Storm and The Hulk.

I've accepted that The Hulk probably won't get his own movie anytime soon.

His story will be told through the other Marvel movies. And I'm kind of OK with that, now.

He had a lot of screen time in Thor: Ragnarok. He had some screen time in Avengers: Infinity War. He's sure to get lots of screen time in Avengers 4 (yet to be titled). Round the Mark Ruffalo 'Hulk' story out in the current Marvel Cinematic Universe and then, if they do a reboot of the cinematic universe, do a solo movie at that point.

There are fan rumblings about wanting a She-Hulk movie. Personally, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. If we're talking female characters, let's focus on making sure Capt. Marvel is successful. Let's give The Wasp more development. Let's (finally!) get The Black Widow solo movie off the ground.

No need to focus on She-Hulk at this point. If it were to happen in the near future, however, I think the best choice would be to tie The Hulk into the movie. She'll need a bit of the rub from that character in order to stand on her own.

As for Storm, I think she should be a focus long before She-Hulk ever is. With the Fox / Disney purchase, that may just happen.

She's one of the strongest characters in the X-Men franchise and a rebooted version (a much stronger character presented in a more dominant way) could work very well.

An African-American female with very impressive powers (the way she was portrayed in the comics and 90's animated series) would do very well in the current pop culture climate.

There's a lot you could do with the character, too. You could do the origin story and focus on her dealings with the Shadow King in Cairo.

From there you could see her work her way to the U.S. and maybe develop her initial contact with Professor X.

Of course, you could lead into a new ensemble X-Men movie as well, with the same actress portraying Storm.

There's a lot that could be done with that character on the big screen. Hopefully 5 years from now I can blog about that movie happening.

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The Avengers: Infinity War - reviewed.
The Black Panther - reviewed.
My most anticipated movies of 2018
Actors who have had multiple super hero roles