Stephen King’s It (2017) Teaser Trailer Relased

This movie looks terrifying. Despite pictures being released of Pennywise, the trailer never really features a lingering shot of the monster clown. This helps build up suspense for when we get an actual reveal. Plus, that slideshow sequence was absolutely terrifying. I am not the biggest horror fan but this movie has me hyped.

The DC Extended Universe and Bat-Problem

Batman is my favorite supehero of all time. But now I’m getting sick of Batman. The one issue that I’ve had with Warner Bros. is their over reliance on Batman. When the DC Animated line of movies first began, they were exploring different characters in the DC Comics pantheon. However somewhat low sales on titltes such as Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, halted other projects. Note that none of these were outright flops. So WB doubles down on Batman animated movies. This carries over into the animated TV projects as Batman got a series that flopped and is basically the main star of Justice League Action. 

So with the news that a Nightwing movie is in development, the previously announced Gotham City Sirens and The Batman, it looks like WB is just relying on their crutch character once again. I first became concerned when immediately after Man of Steel was released, it was announced that the next movie was going to be Batman v. Superman. But as time went on, they announced a slate of DCEU movies and surprisingly Batman wasn’t on the list.

But after the releases of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, it seems like WB is running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Grasping at the straws of things that did work (Batman, Harley Quinn) and losing focus on fleshing out the universe. I understand the reasons, Batman is a cash cow. Guaranteed to make money and garner attention. But at what cost?

Not to make too many comparisons but look at what Marvel Studios is doing. With each phase they continue to take risks with characters that are relatively unknown. Even WB TV is fleshing out unknkwn DC Comics characters and with great success. Now a TV show and $100 million movie are two different things but still shows that if the product is good, it will resonate with audiences. Suicide Squad could have been this but the whole thing was a jumbled mess and it focused more on the Batman villains in the movie than anything else.

I’ve tried to be pretty optimistic about the DCEU but the more news comes out, the more I’m worried and frustrated. Now Warner Bros. is a major studio and all their focus should not be on films based on DC Comics characters. But they are in a kitchen with a plethora of delicious foods but with many different chefs all wanting to do their own thing. It’s been said many times that there needs to be a vision for these films. So until then it just seems like they’re just resting on what works with Batman but not others. But time will tell. 

The Lego Batman Movie Review

After being a bright spot in The Lego Movie, it was no shock that Batman would be getting his own Lego movie. Whereras that movie had a meta story where the Legos served as an exploration of creativity vs. order, this is more of a straight up Batman story. While it is subtly implied that this is once again the imagination of a young child, it does not serve any major plot significance. Here we have a story about the self inflicted loneliness of Batman and how it affects his relationships with others.
The movie begins with Batman once again saving the day from The Joker and the rest of his rogues gallery. After denying Joker of the satisfaction of admitting their status as greatest enemies, we see Batman return home to a big empty house where his only companion is his computer. Batman’s isolation is so bad that he doesn’t even remove his cowl while being out of uniform. After falling for the new Commissioner Barbara Gordon and half heartedly adopting Dick Grayson, The Joker turns himself and the rest of the villains in leaving Batman with nothing to do.

This is probably the first Batman movie to really delve into his psychological issues. In fact this movie actually puts a light on one of the biggest issues with Batman: he doesn’t really solve crime as much as he beats up on poor and mentally disturbed people. This is reflected when the criminals willingly lock themselves up and it is shown that he has no purpose in life and will go to selfish lengths to once again feel useful.

The voice cast is top notch here. Will Arnett reprises his role as Batman from The Lego Movie. We see different sides of him in this movie and see Arnett flex his voice acting skills. Michael Cera as Dick Grayson/Robin steals the show with his energetic and optimistic, with a hint of loneliness, performance. Ralph Fiennes does his thing as Alfred as well as Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon. Zach Galifianakis as The Joker brings a strange vulnerability to the character. 
You don’t really come to a Lego movie for the animation since these are supposed to be toys. But there are highlights especially when things go absolutely crazy on screen. But there are great subtle animations here and there to perfectly convey emotions. Since this is a Lego movie, always keep one eye on the background as you can guarantee something will be going on. 

As much as The Lego Batman Movie is a satirical poke at the ridiculous elements of Batman, it is also a celebration. From the most obscure villains to admitting that almost everything in the 80 years in Batman mythos is canon, more or less. This is arguably the best Batman movie since 2008’s The Dark Knight. The only thing that really that bugged me about the movie is all the rapping that Batman does throughout. 
Score: 8/10

Thoughts About Ben Affleck Not Directing ‘The Batman’

So earlier this week it was announced that Ben Affleck would not be directing the solo Batman for the DC Extended Universe. It really was not that much of a surprise considering his recent flip flopping statements about the film. How the film might not be made if the script wasn’t good enough and then how he was definitely making the film. So it was all very cluttered and just flat out confusing. But when announcing that he would not be directing the film, it was said that he would be involved as a producer and presumably his script will be used. But there are various reasons why he probably did not direct.

  • Directing and starring in a film is a daunting task. Many filmmakers can and have done it before to various results. But I haven’t seen a director star in a $150 million plus action film. That has to be rough.
  • Clashing with the studio. All you have to look at is Affleck’s comments about the status of the film and there is something off there.
  • Live by Night was a failure. Commercially unsuccessful and critically just meh. Another big budget movie starring Affleck. This may have shook his confidence.
  • Personal issues. All you have to do is read a tabloid.

So is it a shame that Ben Affleck is not directing the solo Batman movie? Who’s to say? Presumably but these things are a crap shoot. All there is to do now is focus on getting a director that can bring a unique vision to the film and also gel well with Affleck. Fingers crossed.

Sequel to ‘Man of Steel’ Announced

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Today a sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel was announced to be in active development at Warner Bros. This isn’t a complete surprise as it was announced somewhat quietly back in 2014 when Warner Bros. revealed what their movie release schedule was going to be. All that was simply announced that a sequel would be released but with no release date scheduled at the time. However as time moved on and even Henry Cavill who plays Superman did not seem to know if there would be a sequel to the movie, it started to appear that there would not be one. It was not helped by the fact of the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. While Cavill will be appearing in Justice League, it is a reduced role and who knows what the future holds for the character.

So while now a sequel has been announced, it still has no release date. But apparently this movie is a “high priority” for the studio. This does make sense as even though Man of Steel under performed compared to expectations, it was still a hit movie. Superman will always be a solid performer as he is a worldwide known character and for decades at that. The movies so far may never break the $1 billion mark but the movies will always be solid performers. That is also not to mention that merchandise sales will always be solid as well.

A sequel to Man of Steel may have been unexpected news. But if the DC Extended Universe is going to continue, it makes sense that the adventures of the flagship hero of DC Comics would continue as well. Henry Cavill has been on record as to how much he enjoys playing the character and how he wants to play the character for as long as he can. Can anyone fault him for playing the most iconic superhero of all time. There are two unannounced DC Comics movies for 2018 and 2019. Expect one of these to be filled by this sequel.

Not Worried About The DC Extended Universe

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“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” has been released to bad press. The film was demolished by critics. While the film will be a financial success, it will not cross the $1 billion mark and be considered a disappointment. I personally did not love the film but I also did not hate it. I came into the film knowing that Warner Bros. was trying to play catch up. They tried to get their cinematic universe off with the 2011 “Green Lantern” movie but that was pretty much DOA. They finally managed to start it with 2013 and the Superman movie “Man of Steel” but even that movie had some controversy to it. Even with all the problems that plagued the film, I left the theater wanting to see more of what this universe would bring. The film contained numerous hints of other heroes, other villains and things that may or may not come to pass.

First it is a known secret that The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman appear in the movie. Other than The Flash, they were only glimpses. There is a strong hint about the power that is behind Aquaman’s abilities that teases things to come. The Earth is covered in ocean and much of it has been unexplored. So the people behind the Aquaman movie are free to come up with whatever they want, which is refreshing as it will be unique among the superhero movie genre. Next up is Cyborg and all the audience gets is a glimpse of his origin. There is something important in his sequence and that is what plays a part in his origin. A certain object that hints at something bigger is on the way. Finally there is The Flash. The Flash is unique as his character currently has a very popular television series and the two are unconnected. One thing the television show does not have is a deep budget and the brief glimpse we get of The Flash, his powers are portrayed as very powerful and probably chaotic. Though their presence in the movie is shoehorned in, they are good characters that hint at the larger world.

There are the also the heroes who are present in the movie itself. Superman already had the first movie in the DC Extended Universe and it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him getting another solo movie. The movie introduces the universe’s Batman as well as the first movie version of Wonder Woman. This Batman is unique as he has a 20 year history as a vigilante. There are hints of The Joker and also of Robin and Wayne Manor is currently a husk of its former self. The movie does not go any further than these hints but the movie certainly leaves the audience wanting more of this Batman. He is confirmed to appear in the next movie in the DC Extended Universe movie, Suicide Squad, where The Joker is a presence. It is almost a guarantee that Batman will get a solo movie. Whether it is a sequel or prequel or some sort of mix, who’s to say but the craving for more Batman is there. Wonder Woman herself stole the show and she’s even a bigger enigma than Batman. Her screen time in the movie is no more than seven minutes but she talks of killing creatures from other worlds and flat out admits that she’s over 100 years old. There is a key plot point in the movie that link to her solo movie, which might not be noticeable at first but sure to play a part in that movie as well. Ultimately the “Trinity” of the DC Universe is looking strong on the big screen.

Finally there are the villains. The whole debate of “Marvel or DC” is a never ending debate. One could not argue that the DC Comics universe has the better villains. The audience has already seen General Zod and Lex Luthor and know The Joker is coming next. The antagonist of “Suicide Squad” is currently unknown but the team is made up of villains forced into government servitude. It is also unknown about the who the antagonists of the Wonder Woman or Justice League movies are but surely they will be threats big enough for the protagonist(s) of those movies. Within “Batman v. Superman” there are also hints of the big bad of the DC Universe itself, Darkseid. Darkseid is more or less the devil of a group of space gods known as the New Gods. His presence is felt and it is effectively a guarantee that he will plague the DC Extended Universe.

So while there may have been a hiccup with “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, all is not lost. Nothing is ever perfect and it is only the second movie within the universe. “Suicide Squad” and “Wonder Woman” are both helmed by different directors and look to bring their own uniqueness to the burgeoning universe. “Justice League” is set to start filming on April 11, 2016 and certainly the creative forces who are behind that movie, who were also behind “Batman v. Superman” have taken note of the criticism. Hopefully that makes a great movie for the premiere team of the DC Universe. There is a whole universe that is left to be explored and some issues with one movie does not cause panic.

Will “Suicide Squad” Suffer Because Of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”?

suicide-squad-reshoots-pic“Suicide Squad” will be the first movie released in the DC Extended Universe after “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”. Instead of focusing on the heroes that come from DC Comics, instead the film will focus on the villains. The team, Task Force X, informally dubbed the Suicide Squad, are a group of villains who are forcefully recruited into working for the government in exchange for time off but are also expendable and will be killed if they stray off from their objective or are considered a liability. The first footage from the film was released in a trailer from San Diego Comic-Con 2015 and though it was not supposed to be released to the general public, it was leaked and WB had no choice to release it to the public. It was a haunting trailer with dramatic music and emphasizing that these were bad people who were being forced to do bad things. The trailer went over fairly well.

Cut to January 2016 and the first official trailer was released and it was a complete 180 from the trailer released months before. Queen’s “Boheminan Rhapsody” plays throughout the background and there is a general more “fun” tone to the trailer. Many people were wondering if the trailer was being reactionary. There were many comparisons to the trailer of “Guardians of the Galaxy”. The movie was still months away however and things went quiet about the movie.

“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” was released to middling to bad reviews. Many found fault that there was no “fun” in the movie. Come March 31, 2016 and news reports saying how there were massive reshoots happening for the film. Reshoots are common place for big budget films but it was reported how these were more extreme and there was much more money being dumped into these reshoots than normal. So is this all reactionary towards “Batman v. Superman”? That seems to be a problem as that is not the movie that people set out to make and coming off more as studio mandates.

The movie is titled “Suicide Squad” and features a team of criminals and features one of the biggest villains in all of fiction, The Joker who is a mass murderer. If these reshoots are just reactionary to how “Batman v. Superman” was perceived, then that makes one concerned. If the film was not developed with this “more fun” tone from the beginning, it can come off jarring especially if the more fun elements clash with the rest of the film. Time will tell and audiences will all certainly know when the film is released in August 5, 2016.