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CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Set Pictures Reveal Black Panther

Posted on 12 August 2015 by William Gatevackes

Black Panther ComingSoon 7I always thought Black Panther had one of the coolest costumes in comics. It was simply a black shirt and pants, striped gloves and boots, and a full, face-covering mask with tiny ears on it. Artists would draw blue accents to show the character’s musculature.

Of course, the costume got tweaked over the years and it looks like one of those tweaks will be the basis of the costume he wears in Captain America: Civil War.

ComingSoon.net has a bunch of photos from the film’s Berlin set, and in them, we get a look at what the Panther’s MCU costume will look like. It looks similar to the costume the character wore in the comics circa 2000, with silver accents on his mask, neckline, and gloves.

The Black Panther pictures are presented below. Click to make bigger. For more pics from this set, including Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie on set, click on over to ComingSoon.net.

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Is This The End Of The FANTASTIC FOUR?

Posted on 10 August 2015 by William Gatevackes

FF mourningIt wasn’t supposed to be this way. This was supposed to be the film to fix all of the franchise’s problems. It was a revamping of the property with a younger, cooler cast and a darker, more visceral feel akin to that of the monumentally successful The Dark Knight. It was supposed to be the Fantastic Four film the would surpass its predecessor not only in financial success but also in critical acclaim.

fantastic-four-2015-posterUnfortunately, that is not what happened. The film’s opening weekend began as an embargo on reviews was lifted, which would eventually lead to an atrocious 8% Fresh Tomatometer rating,  and the weekend would end with the film making only around a paltry $26 million at the box office, slightly more than half what it was projected to make.  Fantastic Four is not going to be a success.

With a failure such as this, pundits will be looking for a cause for the film’s bad returns. Everything from the  tempestuous production period to the uninspired directing and acting to the shoddy pacing will be blamed. Calls for the entire comic book film genre to go on hiatus have already begun. And people will begin saying that the Fantastic Four not a viable film property and will never work on the silver screen.

Is this last point true? The simple answer is that the ersatz version of the characters that were The Incredibles was a success, so the FF should be one too. But for a more complex answer, we’d have to look to what made the comic book a success for almost 55 years. What elements did Hollywood ignore or change that would make for a better movie? The possibilities are endless, but I’ll focus on the four biggest aspects of the comic that Fox has yet to get right that if they did, they would have not have had to do as many reboots.

1. Doom!

Victor_von_Doom_(Earth-616)Doctor Doom is one of Marvel’s most iconic and complex villains, but you would never know that from his appearances is the films. In the Tim Story films, he was a power-mad piece of eurotrash. In Josh Trank’s effort, he was nihilistic loner with a thing for computers. Neither captured the true essence of the character.

You’d need a thesis paper to fully delve into what a great character the comic book Doom is, but I’ll try to briefly sum up here. He is a megalomaniac with a sense of honor. He is a scientific genius and a powerful sorcerer. He wants great power, not only to rule the world, but also to rescue his mother’s soul from hell. He refers to himself in the third person, rules the fictional Latveria with an iron fist, and hates Reed Richards with a passion beyond all measure.

In other words, the comic book Doom is a man of contradictions. A man who has a presence about him. He is bombastic, colorful and larger than life. He’s a great villain for the comic books, and deserves a better treatment in the films.

We can only guess why filmmakers have shied away from going full Doctor Doom. Perhaps the pseudo-Shakespearean way of speaking turned them off. That doesn’t seem to hold Thor back. Did they think Doom’s origin had to be directly tied to the FF’s because he needed superpowers? Well, if moviegoers can believe that Tony Stark can build a suit of armor that could go head to head with the Hulk, they’ll believe Doom can build one just as strong to defeat Reed and the gang. Is the fictional Latveria to goofy for fans to grasp? They had no problem with Slovenkia.

Having a power-mad Doctor Doom who can’t be touched legally due to diplomatic immunity, who craves attaining power so he could fight the devil for his mother’s soul would make him into a more interesting character. Hopefully, the powers that be will realize this the next go round.

2. All in the family.

fantastic_four-heartIf you’ve read any review or article on any FF film, you probably know that the thing that sets them apart from every other comic book team is that they are a family. This has never been fully addressed by the films. The Story films did the best in paying homage to it, but Trank’s film pays little more than lip service to it. Reviews state that the film constantly reminds us that Sue and Johnny are siblings, but shows us nothing like a brother sister relationship between them or signify any unique qualities Sue being adopted plays into that relationship.

The family dynamic in the comics is so special is because it is in essence a six-way dynamic. Here’s the six points.

  1. Reed and Ben: These are polar opposites–the erudite brain and the uncultured jock–who have developed a bond that makes them as strong as brothers.
  2. Sue and Johnny: Similar to Reed and Ben, the reserved Sue is forever linked to the wild-card Johnny through shared DNA.
  3. Reed and Sue: This shows the ways families can be created through love and romance.
  4. Ben and Johnny: This relationship mimics the often combative relationship between “brothers.”
  5. Reed and Johnny: Reed often takes on a father figure role towards Johnny, as his reserved nature contrast with Johnny’s impetuous style.
  6. Sue and Ben: Both are the strength of the family, Sue through a more of a steely reserve, Ben in a more demonstrative way. They have kept the family together numerous times and during the times when either has left the group, the family is a much weaker unit because of it. The characters know this similar role they play, and respect each other for it.

If attention is given at all, it is given to the first four points. However, it’s all six that makes the FF as a family sing.

3. It’s Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben: That’s it, that’s all.

FF originWhatever the origin may be–be it getting soaked with cosmic rays up in space or blast by space goo from another dimension–it should be consigned to Reed, Ben, Johnny and Sue. There should be no more, nor no less.

Limiting it to this four adds a reinforcement to the familiar bonds I mentioned above. They are all united by a common curse/blessing and always will be, which draws them closer together while setting them apart from the rest of humanity. And Reed’s guilt about what he did to his friends and loved ones, especially Ben, is a powerful part of the FF’s narrative and works best when the guilt pertains to just these four people.

The film simply cannot let that dynamic stand. The Story films shoehorned Doom into the team’s origin. While this did give the character a set of poorly defined powers, it also weakened the bond between the other four. Now there is an outsider that shares their curse, one who hates Reed and one who hates Reed back. There will never be any unity because Doom will always be at odds with the other four. And Reed’s guilt, since he is a nice guy, will always extend out to Doom, but audiences will not be as moved. Doom is an arrogant ass. Who cares if he gets cured? And if the audiences don’t care, why should Reed?

Trank’s version of the origin goes one worse. Once again, Doom is shoehorned into the origin accident, but Sue is arbitrarily left out. She doesn’t go to the alternate reality, she gets her powers from some cosmic backwash when the boys return. In this circumstance, Sue becomes even a bigger outsider in the process than Doom. She doesn’t have the agency that volunteering for the project typically gives her. It relegates her to the role of the victim who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It cheapens Ben’s standard “I’m a monster” character trait, because at least he has a chance to not go to the alternate dimension. Poor Sue got powers forced  on her through no fault of her own.

This is the origin for the Fantastic Four. Not the Fantastic Five or the Fantastic Three and a Half. Keep the origin to just the four heroes. It will make it more powerful and a stronger beginning as well.

4. The FF are about the awe and wonder, not about the grim and gritty.

FF WonderfulThe comic book Fantastic Four are explorers. Many of their adventures revolve around them investigating the unknown. And these adventures expose the team to many wonderful and, well, fantastic concepts, ranging from subterranean warlords to giant purple men who eat planets, from alternate dimensions to secluded areas of the moon that can support human life. The limits of where the FF go should only be constrained by the filmmakers’ imaginations and their special effects budgets.

The Story films deal with this in the most pedestrian way, with the team being more reactive than proactive in their response to the unknown but with its share of dark moments as well. However, that approach seems almost sacrosanct compared to the approach Trank took, which was certainly influenced by the studio as well. His FF is a darker, grittier take on the concept. The color palette makes 80% of the film look like there’s a 90% chance of rain. Most of the team ends up working for the government, and the film is proud to show the Thing as a killing machine. And Doom’s grand plan is that he wants to destroy the Earth, killing all of humanity for the main reason that, well, someone in an office building on the Fox lot thought that it will be really grim and gritty in a cool way.

The idea that comic book films will be more successful if they are darker is one of the most repugnant trends in modern comic book film. Just like the grim and gritty period in the comic books that followed Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, Hollywood is following in the footsteps of The Dark Knight and giving comic book film fans what the studio thinks they want. Of course, like in the comics, the grim and gritty trend does not always fit the original concept, and, in these cases, the result will never be better than what has happened before. And the Fantastic Four works much better when it has a lighter tone.

The Fantastic Four does not work well in a second rate Nolan, Scorcese or Tarantino film. If anything, Fox should aim for a second rate Pixar film. May I suggest The Incredibles?

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DEADPOOL Releases A Trailer… For Its Trailer

Posted on 03 August 2015 by William Gatevackes

deadpool trailer trailer screenshot

As anyone who has read an issue of a Deadpool comic can tell you. the character is a four-color example of metacommentary at its finest who just doesn’t break the fourth wall, he obliterates it. So the fact that Fox would not only release a trailer to promote tomorrow’s release of another Deadpool trailer, but also do it in such a self-referential way can only encourage fans of the character that the studio is going to do the character right.

The trailer trailer is below. Fair warning, it is NSFW, so don’t listen to it in your cubicle without using headphones.

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Chris Pine Is Steve Trevor In WONDER WOMAN

Posted on 28 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

chris-pineFirst, he was rumored to be playing Steve Trevor. Then he was rumored to be playing a Green Lantern. Now we finally find out which rumor was true.

The Wrap is reporting that Chris Pine has “closed a deal” to join 2017’s Wonder Woman, playing Steve Trevor, the title character’s love interest.

The site says that the Green Lantern rumor was just a smokescreen to throw the rumormongers off the trail of Pine true DC role. This is a bit wacky, because it should be the opposite–that the Trevor role was a smokescreen to throw Pine becoming the next Green Lantern. Because, in my opinion, unless Steve Trevor is taking on a Nick Fury-esque role in the DC Comics film universe, Green Lantern would be the more prestigious role.

Patty Jenkins is directing Wonder Woman, from a Jason Fuchs script. It is scheduled to hit theaters on June 23, 2017.

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And Now FIGHT CLUB: THE MUSICAL

Posted on 16 July 2015 by Rich Drees

fight-club

Last week, news came of a possible stage musical based on the James Bond film franchise and it sounded to us like one of the least likely of subjects for a song and dance show. Well, what do you think about Fight Club: The Musical?

Chuck Palahniuk, writer of the novel on which the film, and now a musical, was based tweeted out the following a few days ago –

Julie Taymor working with David Fincher on a FIGHT CLUB rock opera? You didn’t hear it from me. :) #SDCC
— Chuck Palahniuk (@chuckpalahniuk) July 12, 2015

Although Palahniuk later deleted the tweet, Collider is quick to point out that this is not the first mention of this project from the writer. A few months back he told the folks at MTV News

Fincher is optioning the stage rights. He’s finally moving on to the big rock opera. David says that there’s been a rock opera for every generation, you know, “Tommy” and then “The Wall,” but there really hasn’t been a really big one for the current generation – and he and Trent Reznor are really determined to make that happen. And David’s been consulting with Julie Taymor, the director, and she’s been kind of coaching him on what it takes to get a huge stage production.

Now, while this may sound as odd, or even odder, an idea than the James Bond musical, it does have one thing going in its favor right now – Julie Taymor. Sure, she has a rather big blot on her record right now thanks to the Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark musical, but she still has enough good on her ledger in both her film and stage projects that

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SDCC 2015: SUICIDE SQUAD Trailer Hits Web In HD

Posted on 13 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

Joker close upOh, what a difference a day makes.

This was Warner Brothers yesterday on the leaked Suicide Squad trailer:

We have no plans currently to release the Suicide Squad footage that leaked from Hall H on Saturday. It’s unfortunate and ultimately damaging that one individual broke a long-standing trust we have enjoyed with our fans at the convention by posting early material, which, at this point, was not intended for a wider audience. We are still in production on Suicide Squad, and will have a big campaign launch in the future. Our presentation yesterday was designed to be experienced in that room, on those big screens!

And this is Warner Brothers today:

I have to say something on the Warners’ statement. I think it’s is completely naive to think that the special trailer would not be released to the public. After all, paparazzi images from the set have already hit the Internet, and it was such an issue that David Ayer made a tongue in cheek reference to it while announcing clip to the Hall H audience. If still images were important enough to be released to the public to a massive amount of attention, what makes them think fans would honor a one-way “long-standing trust” and keep the moving pictures secret.

It’s just the nature of the beast. We live in a generation where almost everyone has a HD movie camera with an Internet connection in their pockets at all times and a generation where everyone wants to be “first” in breaking what they consider news. If your entire marketing plan is thrown into a tizzy because you failed to take this into consideration, the fault lies squarely on you, not the fans. This is the case of not blaming the scorpion for stinging you.

And if the studios take the passive aggressive move of not showing these special presentations in their panels anymore, good. That will eventually mean more tickets will be available to the convention and it will be easier to get a seat in Hall H.

Besides, what this all boils down to is more promotion for the film. The only problem studios should have is if the sizzle reel brings the wrong kind of sizzle. Speaking of which, let’s talk about the that trailer, shall we?.

Suicide Squad line-upFirst of all, let’s preface this by saying these are some snap judgements based on the disjointed scenes Ayer threw together to make the pseudotrailer. What we think we see here might not be what we actually get in the final film.

That being said, there’s a lot not to like in the trailer. Granted, the concept lends it self to the “let’s dial the brightness on every frame down to 2” philosophy Warners has towards their DC films. But the opening scene has an air of absurdity that lends itself to more of a “lighter” action film in the mold of Commando or even The Dirty Dozen. Doesn’t look like we will be getting that one.

Another foible for me is that Deadshot is one of DC’s better characters. He is a man who kills for a living by choice, but still cares for his family and friends. The Will Smith Deadshot seems to be someone who is forced to kill people to support his family, if I read a lot into the scenes he is in above. That is a big difference and makes for a less appealing character.

But that’s nothing compared to what has been done to the Joker. The Joker is one of the most iconic characters in comics books, who has morphed over the years to keep up with the times. And Warners has now made him into a generic psychopath. The Joker scenes got a good response from the crowd, but for me, it left me yawning.

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BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE Trailer Hits Web

Posted on 11 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

Batman Landing on SupermanIf you were hoping for the full Justice League line up or confirmation that Ben Affleck would be directing Batman, you were out of luck at today’s Warner’s panel at San Diego Comic Con (They did announce a Green Lantern Corps film). . What we did get from the presentation was the first official trailer. And it was…promising.

Here it is for your perusal:

First off, it’s still too dark. I mean, even with the Christ motif, it’s still dank and dark. But it does well in setting up the conflict between the two (and making sure we know its a two-way conflict: Batman doesn’t like Superman, Superman doesn’t like Batman). And the limited glimpse we get of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is enough to make this fanboy squee. My optimism has been upgraded from barely optimistic to cautiously optimistic.

What did you think?

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Affleck To Star, Direct And Co-Write BATMAN Film

Posted on 10 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

BenAffleckDirectorBatman has been a consistent cash cow for Warner Brothers, so it seemed very unusual for the studio to not have included a Batman film in the long list of DC Comics films it put out last year. But it looks like we will be getting a Batman film, once new Batman Ben Affleck’s schedule clears up a bit.

Deadline is reporting that Affleck will be co-writing a Batman feature with DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. Affleck will also direct and, naturally, star in the film as well.

Johns is no stranger to Hollywood. He got his start in film as Richard Donner’s assistant before becoming a superstar comic book writer, making for the most circuitous route any assistant ever took to become a screenwriter.

Don’t expect a Batman film too soon. Affleck has to direct and star in the long-delayed Live By Night, based on the Dennis Lehane novel of the same name. That film is scheduled to start shooting in November, aiming for an October 2016 release date. Affleck is also involved in 2017’s Justice League, so the soonest industry analysts think Batman will hit theaters is 2018.

We’ll see if this is all true on Saturday at Warners’ SDCC panel.

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Marisa Tomei Is SPIDER-MAN’S Latest Aunt May

Posted on 08 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

marisa-tomei-picture-2It’s not often you hear people complaining that a three-time Oscar nominee, one-time winner has been cast in a role, and its even rarer that an actress is criticized for being too young for a part, but that is what’s happening here.

Variety is claiming sources that say that Marisa Tomei has been cast as Aunt May in the joint Sony/Marvel reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. She follows Rosemary Harris and Sally Field in the role.

What is causing a bit of a brouhaha is that Aunt May is portrayed in the comics as a frail, weak octogenarian who ran the risk of getting a heart attack if the wind blew on her too hard. Even modern comic book revamps of the character cast her in the feisty grandma role. Harris, who was 74 when she took the role fit right in. Even Field, who was 65 when she appear in the last reboot, was close enough for the fans to stay quiet. Tomei is a rather spry and fit 50-year-old who could pass for being in her 30s. This is too much for some fans to take.

Me? I like the choice. I always had a problem with a teenage Peter Parker having an aunt who was in her 70s, if not her 80s. The age gap between her and Peter’s parents in the comics was too big for my liking. However, having a 50-year-old aunt seem way more plausible.

Besides that, Tomei is an Academy Award-winning actress who has range. She won the Oscar for her work in a comedy (My Cousin Vinny) and her next two nominations were for dramas (In the Bedroom and The Wrestler). I’m 100% positive that she has what it takes to make a memorable performance as the character.

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JAMES BOND: THE MUSICAL – Not An Evil Spectre Plot

Posted on 07 July 2015 by Rich Drees

Bond

When I think of the James Bond franchise one of the last things I think about is musicals. Sure, the films have spawned a number of hit title songs like “Goldfinger” and “View To A Kill” over the years, but the idea of an all-singing, all-dancing British secret agent only makes sense if you are making a joke, right?

Well there’s a producer out there who doesn’t see it quite like that and is aiming to mount a musical adaptation of the iconic super spy. The producer in question is Merry Saltzman, daughter of Bond film co-producer and theater producer Harry Saltzman, and she told Playbill that show will not adapt any previous Bond novel or film but will its own original story. However, it will feature “several Bond villains, plus some new ones.”

Appropriately titled James Bond: The Musical, the show will have a book by novelist Dave Clarke (Keeping Hannah Waiting), and music and lyrics by country composer Jay Henry Weisz (“Driving Home,” “Only One,” “Man in the Bar,” “The Fight”).

Saltzman is looking to have the production ready for a late 2017-early 2018 opening either on Broadway or in Las Vegas.

I certainly can’t be the only here think about the Spider-Man musical Turn Off The Dark, am I? This just strikes me as a colossal mismatch of story and genre. Heck, I would be willing to concede that a straight, non-musical James Bond play could possibly work on the stage. Think of a story that could take place in a few small locations like the Baccarat/Pokersequence in Bond creator Ian Flemming’s original Casino Royale novel or the original short story “Quantum of Solace.” But the idea of Bond breaking into a song and dance routine to move the plot along or showcase the feelings his character is expressing just sounds too ludicrous to work.

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