The Fast & Furious Spinoff Is One of the Best Decisions In Years

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.

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Should Krennic Appear In Rebels Season Four?

It is no secret that Director Orson Krennic is one of my favorite characters in the new Star Wars canon. An ambitious weasel who wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. A main character in both Catalyst and Rogue One, it would make sense for him to appear in the final season of Star Wars Rebels. Besides getting a namedrop and his project Stardust (the Death Star) also getting brought up, Krennic was an important figure in the Galactic Empire.

That empty seat seen during the Imperial meeting in A New Hope? That was Krennic’s. As Rebels inches closer and closer towards the events of Rogue One/A New Hope, it would make sense that Krennic would make an appearance. It would be interesting to see just what he was up to prior to events of Rogue One as well. As seen in Catalyst, he has a very intense rivalry with Grand Moff Tarkin. In fact, he started a war just to keep Tarkin busy and out of his hair. Something that Tarkin was much aware of. In Rogue One, it is clear that the two have issues with one another.

This has also been a recurring trope in Rebels as well. Every time we see the Empire at work, there has always been infighting and subterfuge at foot. Krennic has a large ego and it would be cool to see him interact with Thrawn. The Death Troopers, seemingly a Krennic creation, have already made an appearance in Rebels as of the third season finale. There are many clues here and there that Krennic will make some type of appearance. Maybe not in the first half of the season but probably the third.

Ben Mendelsohn is too great of an actor to just have him appear once as well. Most of the animated series that have come out since the start of the new canon, actors will reprise their roles. I am sure that Mendelsohn would quickly return to the role if asked to as voicing a character does not take that much. Forest Whitaker and Felicity Jones have reprised their roles in various other projects since the release of Rogue One. It might not be a matter of if but a matter of when.

Is The Loose Continuity For The DCEU A Good Idea?

It was recently announced that the DC Extended Universe (which was also revealed to not be the official name) would have a loose continuity post Justice League. Many people promptly freaked out as it looked like Warner Bros. was already giving up on a movie universe for its DC Comics. But Geoff Johns clarified things on Twitter, speaking about how this universe is still moving forward and the movies would still be linked. You can see why people would freak out but you can see why the overreaction was unwarranted.

Honestly I do not think it is a bad thing if continuity between the movies is much more loose going forward. Not to compare DC to Marvel, as that is an argument that is nauseating at this point, but it has to happen here. Marvel Studios changed the game with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as everything movie is a piece in a larger puzzle. When it first started it was more subtle but it slowly took over and you get movies such as Age of Ultron. While a fine movie, it really did not feel like a complete movie as it had to set up future movies.

This even happened with Warner Bros. with their second movie. Batman v. Superman was announced a few months after Man of Steel and the title was all that was known about the movie. As cameras began rolling, Wonder Woman was added to the movie and eventually so were The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. The subtitle Dawn of Justice was added to the movie as well. When the movie was finally released, it was divisive to say the least. One of the biggest complaints was how the film was rushing too many things to get towards Justice League.

Suicide Squad was released a few months after and while the bigger universe things weren’t as forced, there were still some element. The post credits scene between Bruce Wayne and Amanda Waller felt forced and an afterthought. Wonder Woman was released but other than an email from Bruce Wayne referencing a plot thread between them in Batman v. Superman, it was hardly connected to anything larger. This was largely because the film was mostly a prequel but no post credits scene (except for the home video release) and nothing in the present day sequences. Wonder Woman turned out to be a huge success, critically and financially.

Now Aquaman is in production and due to come out next year. It has been said many times that the film will take place post Justice League. There’s no need for say The Flash or Batman to show up for any other reason just to remind people that they exist in the same universe. A line here or there referencing the events of Justice League will suffice. There has been much to say about the upcoming Batman film and just what exactly is going on with that. Writer/director Matt Reeves has said that he wants to film to stand up on its own and now his line makes more sense.

One of the biggest criticisms that face the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it feels like most films are in service to another. That a lot of films cannot stand on their own because they have to reference so much of what came before and set up the future. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite film of the MCU is because it averts that. All you really have to know is that Cap in now in the present and had an adventure with The Avengers. The more pertinent information is covered within the film itself and other than a post credits scene, hardly has to set up the next Avengers film or any other film.

The more a film can stand on its own, the stronger the universe will be. I think that has been the weakest part of all these film universes. They never focus on the individual and only the bigger picture but it has a weak foundation and thus no one cares. It’s hard to say why the DCEU has not suffered too greatly from two very divisive films that would have sunk any other franchise. But it’s good to see that they are getting in front of the issue before it gets too serious. These are beloved characters and many want to see them succeed in films. No one really wants to go back to where everything was only Batman focused.

 

Iron Fist Returns in Luke Cage Season 2

https://heroichollywood.com/jones-iron-fist-luke-cage-season/

Say what you will about the Iron Fist character on television and there is a lot to say. But one of the highlights of The Defenders was the interaction between Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The big brother/little brother dynamic that they had was great. Since the release of The Defenders, it has been a little vague on how the Netflix shows were going to proceed afterwards. The second season of Jessica Jones does not look to feature any of other Defenders. So it’s nice to see Luke Cage continuing threads from that series. Possible lead up to a Heroes for Hire? Luke does need a job after all. The big question is…what brings Danny Rand to Harlem?

Red Dead Redemption II Trailer

A trailer for Red Dead Redemption II has finally been released and typical to Rockstar Games, not much has been revealed. It has been speculated for some time that the game would be a prequel and it was finally confirmed. In fact, you play another member of the gang that the protagonist from the first game was part of. It should be noted that the main character of this game never made an appearance in the first game, so that could mean many things. It is easy to speculate that this game will detail the fall of that gang as by the time we meet them in the first game, they are all splintered and no longer a unit. Either way, count me excited.

Return of Tim Drake

When I first started reading comics, Tim Drake was the current Robin to Batman. He continued in that role until Bruce Wayne was “killed” at the end of Final Crisis. After that he Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s son, took up the mantle of Robin while Tim assumed the role of Red Robin. This continued even into DC’s New 52 where they established in the new continuity that Tim Drake had never been Robin at all and was always Red Robin. Needless to say, Tim Drake suffered a lot during the whole New 52 as he was never really involved in the going on’s in the Batman titles and was always tethered to the Teen Titans in a much maligned run. They also shifted his history to have him have a much more “interesting” backstory instead of being a badass bookworm.

Then when DC Rebirth happened, Tim Drake was still Red Robin but they were going a back to basics approach to him. He was back in Gotham and was a major player in Detective Comics. The book was no longer just about Batman but more about the Batman family (minus Nightwing) and how Batman and Batwoman were preparing their team for something coming up. Tim Drake was pretty much third in line in terms of the chain of command as he was the one with the most experience. But it became clear that he was not going to be appearing in the book after the first story. Sure enough, Tim went out in blaze of glory after saving countless innocent lives. The team, especially Batman and Spoiler (Tim’s on/off girlfriend), mourned his death especially after learning he was going to give up being a superhero to become a full time college student. But this is comics and Tim was not dead.

In the just started, “Lonely Place of Living” catches up with Tim Drake in the intergalactic prison that he has been in since his “death”. Why he was transported there is still under way as all that is known is that he was putting pieces together that shouldn’t be put together. Just in the first issue, the book quickly establishes Tim Drake’s history and it will be one familiar to Tim Drake fans.

Pretty much his original history has been restored. From being a Batman fanboy as well as loving The Flying Graysons especially Dick Grayson. Recognizing that Robin was Dick Grayson due to doing a somersault that only Dick Grayson could do and thus figuring out that Dick’s adoptive father must be Batman. It is implied that the New 52 run of the Teen Titans is still canon but it’s pretty vague. But there is an element of Geoff Johns’ seminal run on Teen Titans that makes an appearance and that is the future Tim Drake version of Batman.

Tim Drake is my favorite Robin. He was the leader of Young Justice and Teen Titans. Though all members of the Batman family are physically capable, it was always established that Tim’s strength lied in his intellect. The fact that he figured out Batman’s identity as an adolescent is proof of that. This helped distinguish him from the acrobatic and devil may care Dick Grayson and the hot headed Jason Todd. Plus he was the first Robin to not have that goofy costume with the legs all exposed and Peter Pan footwear. He carried a bo-staff and his suit was clearly armored. His whole aesthetic was great.

I make no bones about how disappointed I was with how Tim was handled during The New 52. I tried reading Teen Titans on a basis but the book was all over the place that I could never get into it. Though I did enjoy when he would pop up in other books. So when DC Rebirth happened and he was a main part of Detective Comics, I was pumped. Even after his “death” he continues to play a role in the Batman books as a key piece missing. The team has recently discovered that he was alive but the question now remains is how will he get out of his predicament.

Hopefully after all this is resolved, Tim returns to Detective Comics and becomes a key player once again. Not only is he a key figure in the Batman mythos but also the DC Universe as well.

Happy National Comic Book Day

Today is National Comic Book Day, and it got me reminiscing about how I got into comics in the first place. I remember when I was a kid, my Dad would occasionally bust out his old comic book collection. He would have what you would expect from someone reading comics as a pass time. There were your Spider-Man, X-Men, Justice League, Avengers, all the big names. Then you would dig deeper and you could see that he had a lot of comics that you would not expect. There were tons of G.I. Joe comics, but that makes sense considering that he is in the military.

Then in the summer of 2000, I came out of seeing the very first X-Men movie and was blown away. I knew what I wanted to do once I got out the theater and that was start reading and collecting comics. So when I first started reading and collecting, I started with the two that would be considered typical: Spider-M and X-Men. Considering how huge of a Batman fan I am, you would think I would start with that but that was not to be the case. I never bought a Batman comic until 2003.

Luckily there was a magazine called Wizard that dealt exclusively about comic books and comic book related material. This really helped me figure out where to get my collection started. Not only just collecting to collecting as that is a fool’s errand. But where to go for the best stories and which creators were on the rise and which books were making an impact on the industry.

Geoff Johns’ run on The Flash is what solidified me as a comic book fan. I never really liked The Flash as I just thought he was a guy that ran fast. While that is true, his writing did a lot more for me. I realized that superheroics are fine but it’s the human element that really make these stories pop and stick with you for years to come. This is what would really make me become a comic book fan as I started broadening my collection. I would start reading things such as Preacher, Sandman Mystery Theater, The Walking Dead, Conan the Barbarian, Invincible and things that are not Marvel or DC Comics.

As I’ve entered adulthood, I don’t really read and collect comics like I used to. It’s kind of an expensive hobby to have at this point. I still keep my ear to the ground as to knowing what is going on. I also make a point of at least stopping by my local comic book stores once a month. There is nothing more than getting back into a good story with the characters that I’ve come to love over the years.

The War of Jokes and Riddles

The Joker is the quintessential Batman villain. The Riddler is my personal favorite Batman villain that is not The Joker. Recently, Batman writer Tom King has started The War of Jokes and Riddles storyline. Taking place in the early days of Batman’s career and details the gang war between The Joker and The Riddler. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense to have these two go to war with one another. Despite all his craziness, The Joker is a methodical villain with detailed plans on how to go about things. The Riddler with his vast intellect and narcissism makes him something of a thinly veiled villain. The two have a lot of similarities with one another and there have been frequent jokes about that fact also.

I’m always a big fan of seeing Batman’s early years as well. Typically you see his origin and then skip to the present. His intervening years are never really given much detail. So when stories like to go into those years, it’s fun to see a much more “green” Batman. I’m still not really sure as to when this story takes place but at best bet it seems to be a “year three” Batman. He already has most of his established enemies and familiar with those who operate outside of Gotham City. There have been a reference to Zero Year, because The Riddler is treated as a serious threat due to his machinations in that story.

The whole framing of the story is set against the backdrop of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle post coitus. In the issue prior to the story, Bruce proposed to her. As of this post, we still do not know what she said. It would be hard to imagine that they would have sex and him detailing a very personal story to her if she had turned down his proposal. But King has done a good job of writing around the answer and keep an interesting story going on where you don’t really think about it either.

Batman Catwoman Proposal

The best issue so far was a simple one where Bruce Wayne has invited the two leaders over for dinner in an effort to end the gang war. This shows a different side to Bruce Wayne. One who is very aware of things that many who are not so privileged will not know about. A nine course meal that sees even someone like The Joker act civilized. This does play into my belief that The Joker is someone who just fakes insanity and is perfect nonchalant in his monstrous acts. Bruce even offers to pay off the leaders in an effort to end the war with the caveat that one takes out the other. Later it is revealed that this was a ploy but something tells me that if the war was guaranteed to end, he might have done it. 

Bruce Wayne The Joker The Riddler dinner

This is a Batman at his best and worst. Best because we get to see what kind of hero he is. Working himself to exhaustion and willing to play all the angles and just not as Batman but as Bruce Wayne also. It’s also his worst because we see how he beats himself up over things that he has no control over. Close to a breakdown at numerous points as he is being run ragged.

Batman The Joker The Riddler.jpg

 The story is still ongoing but I’m always anticipating the next issue in the story. The art is also fantastic. If you want to get into Batman comics, I’d suggest starting with this story. It is destined to be a classic.