We finally get to see Clark Kent/Superman
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham are getting their own movie together. It was announced by Universal Pictures that Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, introduced in Fast Five and The Fast & The Furious 6, are teaming up. I loathed The Fate of the Furious. The movie gave me a headache. But these two were the two bright spots in such a meandering film. They seemed to be the only ones who were aware of what kind of movie they were in.
Instead of Vin Diesel being ultra serious in every scene or Tyrese Gibson being a walking stereotype, they seemed to get it. Hamming it up at almost every turn but always serious when the action started kicking in. A real throwback to some of the films of the 80’s and 90’s. There was always this goofy charm whenever they were onscreen especially when interacting with one another. The Fast franchise has become an ultra serious movie where the main character grumbles his way through darkness. The two characters bring some levity to proceedings.
Rumor has it that Universal Pictures to write and direct the film. I hope that this is true because Shane Black is someone who keeps the whole “buddy action” film genre alive. Last year’s, The Nice Guys, was one of the best films of the year. If he could bring something like to the bombastic world of The Fast and the Furious then it would be all the better for it. I am hoping that this film works out as I’m a big fan of Dwayne Johnson and find Jason Statham enjoyable.
The Fantastic Four is Marvel Comics’ first family. The crown jewel of the numerous collaborations between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Throughout the Fantastic Four’s history, there have been numerous classic creator runs on the title. My personal favorite would have to be the most recent run by Jonathan Hickman and numerous artists. But ever since 2016, the Fantastic Four have not been in comics. The official reason is that the Fantastic Four comic was not selling well despite the fact that many other books that sold worse are still being published. The unofficial reason is that Marvel head Ike Perlmutter is cutting off the nose to spite the face.
Back in the 90’s, Marvel was in dire financial straits. The way to help solve this problem was to sell off the film rights. This is not unheard of but Marvel made one glaring problem. When they sold off the film rights, it was under the condition that whoever bought the film rights held them in perpetuity as long as films were being made. This resulted in the infamous Roger Corman Fantastic Four film, the two mid 2000’s ones and the disastrous 2015 film. There is more news that Fox who hold the film rights plan to reboot the franchise again.
You can see where people in Marvel are getting annoyed at this predicament. They have the Marvel Cinematic Universe headed by Marvel Studios, Fox is doing great with the X-Men franchise and Sony is in a partnership with Marvel about Spider-Man. But Fox has yet to be able to crack the Fantastic Four issue. There are easy scapegoats to blame for all the films being underwhelming but they ultimately buckle under scrutiny. If the Fantastic Four were any of those things, there wouldn’t be such a uproar as to when the films get it wrong.
But should the comics have to suffer because of that? Reed and Sue Richard along with their kids are out in the multiverse doing who knows what. The Thing and Human Torch are currently appearing in team books and guest appearances. They are supposed to come together in their own book soon but it is still not the Fantastic Four. There have been hints here and there that the team will eventually return but nothing concrete. Then legendary comic artist Alex Ross dropped an image of Reed and Sue in new costumes and it got people speculating as if the team is about to reunite.
Just because Marvel made dumb but understandable financial decision does not mean the Marvel Comics should suffer. There has been little correlation between movie sales and comic sales. The Fantastic Four are also a lynchpin in the Marvel universe. Who does everyone turn to for science advice? Reed Richards. Sue Richards is that motherly figure that helps ground the team. Her little brother Johnny is the typical “irresponsible” brother who everyone knows has a heart of gold. Ben Grimm is the cool uncle. Marvel execs can claim this and that about how the team isn’t working but everyone who knows comics knows that to be full of it.
The Fantastic Four need to return and as soon as possible. It is really a dishonor to the legacy of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to do their creation like this just because of some film rights. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and as more time is spent without the team being around, the more we grow fonder. Marvel’s First Family brings a uniqueness to the Marvel Universe and that is one that cannot be replicated.
First and foremost, I love Rian Johnson’s films. Brick and Looper are some of my favorite movies I have ever seen. He directed some of the best episodes of Breaking Bad. So when he was announced as the director of The Last Jedi, I was ecstatic. I don’t have this bias against J.J. Abrams like some people do but I was glad he was not going to direct any other films post The Force Awakens. Rian Johnson has a certain grit to his films that could bring something new and needed to the Star Wars franchise. So when Colin Trevorrow was announced as not directing Episode IX, many people hope Rian Johnson steps in to direct. I do not.
One of the best things that I liked about the original trilogy and something that was lacking from the prequels was the lack of different directors. Sure George Lucas ultimately had final say over the sequels to A New Hope but there were still other people there so it’s not like he had total control. Of course with the prequels, Lucas had no one to answer to or even go to for checks and balances and those films ultimately suffered. So when Disney bought the rights and they announced different directors for each film, people were happy as variety does keep things fresh.
As of this writing, The Last Jedi is 99 days away from being released. No one outside of Disney and Lucasfilm knows how the film actually is. As far we know, it could be the greatest thing ever or a huge dumpster fire of a film. Since I do have faith in Johnson to make a competent film, I am not worried about the quality of the film. It was filmed early last year and has been worked on for over a year and by the time it comes out, it will have been worked on for about a year and half. It is not a rushed film like The Force Awakens was.
But I still think Johnson should stay away from Episode IX. I think he would be able to deliver a quality film and work with some of the issues going into the film especially since he worked on the previous entry in the franchise. But I like directors to be fresh and in the right state of mind. On Twitter, Johnson has been candid about being open to returning to the directing helm and of course he would. He wouldn’t bad mouth the franchise especially before his film comes out. If he skipped a film and came on to the next one, I think that would be a better move as he would be refreshed. I can’t imagine working on a Star Wars film under the Disney banner.
It is an interesting time in the Star Wars franchise. Since this new incarnation of Lucasfilm under Disney is still relatively in its infancy, there are going to be some stumbles. This whole director stuff seems to be things trying to figure itself out. If Johnson returns for Episode IX, I’ll be disappointed but I won’t be upset. If he chooses not to and another person steps in, I hope they do a good job on finishing the trilogy. Now who in Hollywood is willing to step in to direct this film.
Colin Trevorrow, the director of Jurassic World and Book of Henry, has officially left Star Wars Episode IX. I can’t say that I’m bummed out about the news since I’m not a fan of any of the director’s works. Not saying that this could not have been a great film with him at the helm but it was the one I was least anticipating. This news comes at a time where directors cannot seem to stay on a Star Wars film. Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired three weeks before the untitled Han Solo movie was supposed to finish principal photography. Gareth Edwards, though credited as director of Rogue One, was not involved in the heavy reshoots that the film underwent.
I can’t say that I’m really going to blame Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Lucasfilm, for this. Being hired to direct a Star Wars film is not something you should go in expecting to direct an auteur type of film. This is a billion dollar franchise and so there are going to be a lot of eyes on it and that means it is ultimately at the heed of its owners. They fund the project and so what they want is what goes. I know it’s “cool” to be against big studios and all that but that’s just the base about it.
The news came out that it was “creative differences” and I tend to believe that. Since there isn’t much to go off and the film is so far off, I tend to believe it. The film has a lot going on for it and maybe Trevorrow just wasn’t up for the task. Episode IX is wrapping up the current Star Wars trilogy, they have to deal with the unexpected death of Carrie Fisher, and who knows what repercussions from The Last Jedi the film will have to deal with. If a director who is also serving as a writer isn’t handling it up to the studio’s expectations, then maybe they should go. The film wasn’t supposed to start filming for a few months anyways. If it was in the middle of filming or close to ending filming, then I’d be worried. But this is just business as usual but since it’s a Star Wars movie, it’s under extra scrutiny.
Now the big question is…who will director Episode IX?
There is no hiding that when I was a little kid, I used to be afraid of watching 1990’s “It” miniseries. Something about Tim Curry’s portrayal always stuck with me. But as time went on, that fear slowly subsided and I saw the miniseries for what it was. Frankly it’s kind of bad. Other than the performances by Curry and the child actors, there’s nothing really great about it. Some of it has to do with the time and age it was produced and others have to do with it being a basic television miniseries. The book is firmly a mature read as it is full of violence and mature themes. It would have to be due to being about basically a killer clown.
So news came about the movie being in development and it has been in development for years. I honestly didn’t think that the film was going to be produced at that point. But finally Mama director, Andy Muschetti signed on and the ball just kept rolling on from there. Now about a year and a half later, the film is about to be released and anticipation is high for the movie. In fact it is very high especially for a horror movie.
Many I know were hesitant because it was a “remake” despite not being anything of the sort. I can’t believe how many people I had to remind that the television miniseries from the 90’s was just that. Sure I know that home releases edited the two together to make it seem like a four hour movie but people really insisted that it came out in theaters. But now the people who are very much “anti” remakes/reboots are very much on board for this film.
It differentiates itself from the other adaptation by moving the time periods in which the story itself. The adolescent half takes place during the late 1980’s while the all but confirmed sequel will take place during modern times (presumably 2016). The horror aspect which has been increased to match the tone of the books. You will actually get to see Pennywise get to be a monster, killing and dark humor included. There is also characters that were omitted such as Patrick, a member of local bully Henry Bowers, are included in this as his character was way too dark for a 1990’s tv adaptation.
My problem with a lot of horror movies is that they seem to take the cheap and uninteresting take in producing them. Even though this movie does not have the largest budget, it certainly doesn’t have a small budget either. The team behind the film seems to be squeezing out every penny that they can out of their budget to deliver the best product that they can. When hearing Andy Muschetti promote the film, you can tell that he also wanted to deliver the best. While staying true to the novel, knowing that not everything works on screen as it does print.
The marketing for the film has also been on point. The first trailer for the film never gave clear shot of Pennywise other than little brief glimpses. Then pictures started to pour out and with the second trailer, we actually got to see more of Pennywise but it was still very much limited. Then with the TV spots, we still never see much of Pennywise other than really brief glimpses. The most we ever see of him is from the iconic sewer scene between he and Georgie. The most terrifying one for me was the “Wonder Day” TV spot where it ends on a seriously dark bit of humor that was unexpected. Watch it here:
Though I may have some issues with Warner Bros. and how they are handling the DCEU, I can’t help but tip my hat to them on how they are handling this. It has me both equally terrified and excited to see the movie. I always pre-ordered my ticket for Thursday, just so I can have a great seat to watch it.
Not the actual doomsday clock. That terrifies me. I am referring to the upcoming DC Comics event. This has been a slow build as ever since DC Universe Rebirth, we know that something is on the horizon. This something just happens to involve Doctor Manhattan from the seminal Watchmen series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
Let me start by saying I don’t think Watchmen is some untouchable property. I understand its importance in the comic book medium but it’s not some holy grail to me. Just because someone does something involving these characters, does not mean it should taint your enjoyment of the original material. I really don’t like that mindset about anything. Reminds me of those who claimed “George Lucas raped my childhood” with the Star Wars prequels. If you don’t like what they’re doing or have no interest, just ignore it.
That out of the way, Doomsday Clock, looks to be an interesting event. Ever since DC Rebirth, there has been no real major event books at least concerning the DC Universe as a whole. In fact, other than the central conflict being Superman’s idealism against Doctor Manhattan’s cynicism, I have no idea what this book is going to be about. I don’t it’s going to come down to being a fist fight since Doctor Manhattan can do anything. Superman, despite the common misconception, has limits to his abilities.
DC Comics has done a good job of building towards what exactly Doctor Manhattan wants. Peppering in little things here and there, just enough to keep things connected but little enough where they overpower individual books. We know that players in the DC multiverse are being taken captive by the mysterious Mr. Oz, who happens to have a special interest in Superman. We also know that the Reverse Flash recently met his end after meeting with “God” who was heavily implied to be Doctor Manhattan. What’s the connection between Mr. Oz and Doctor Manhattan?
It is also known that the Trinity (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) will play an important part in the story. Most DC events that wanna show the importance focuses on these three. But I’m sure The Flash (Barry Allen, Jay Garrick and Wally West) will play important roles as those three have been the main anchors besides Superman for this event. The less I really know about the event, the better honestly. I have complete faith in Geoff Johns. He does not always knock it out of the park but who really does? But there is always something I like about Johns and that he puts it all into his work. It also probably helps is that he doesn’t write any other books at the moment and so can put all his effort into this one. DC Comics has gotten me into their latest event and refueled by DC Comics addiction that I haven’t had since 2005. This is more than I can say about the other major comic book publisher lately.
Flashpoint is one of those recent comic book storyline events that I feel is a tad overrated. I remember when it came out that I was happy as to how short it was (five issues) but I still felt that it was padded out. It could have been a three issue event. I think why it is somewhat remembered fondly is because of all the events surrounding it. The alternate world that The Flash created where everything was the same but just slightly tweaked. Batman was now Thomas Wayne and Bruce Wayne was killed instead. Kal-El was never found by the Kents and instead picked up by the government and was something of an invalid. Aquaman and Wonder woman were monarchs waging a world war with one another. The actual event of the miniseries with The Flash trying to fix the world from his own mistake seems to go unmentioned a lot when actually talking about the event.
So at San Diego Comic Con 2017, Geoff Johns announced that The Flash movie would be based on the series, it got people excited. The best thing about Flashpoint is that it is an interesting way to tell an origin story. The Flash’s origin plays an important role in the story as the whole event kicks off when he travels back in time to prevent his mother’s murder when he was a kid. It was done by his arch enemy; the time travelling Reverse Flash. You can tick many boxes by going this route instead of just showing the hero getting his powers and fighting his arch enemy route that many superhero movies take. Plus we’ve already seen The Flash in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Justice League by that point.
The movie also serves as a way to do a soft reboot of the DCEU. There have been a few questionable choices made through the earlier films that many would like to see be gone. There is the whole Ben Affleck not wanting to be Batman thing as well. A key detail in the comic Flashpoint and even the animated adaptation, they show the world pre Flashpoint and post. The pre Flashpoint versions of the heroes look very different from the post Flashpoint ones, mostly in costumes. But the films can go a different route by showing Ben Affleck as Batman before Flashpoint and then post, have his replacement in the role. After X-Men: Days of Future Past, I think movie going audiences are a bit more understanding of how these things work.
Flashpoint was already very loosely adapted in the currently running Flash television series. That version left a lot to be desired. So one thing that the movie has going for is a larger budget and the ability for cool cameos from other actors in the DCEU. I’d be interested in seeing a skinny and tiny Henry Cavill. But the movie is still a ways off so who knows. Since the DCEU is very different from the DC Comics, it will have to make its own Flashpoint and that leaves things exciting. I honestly hope that the film smooths the bumpy road that the DCEU has faced and it’s a good ride afterwards.