Archive | Comics And Film

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New GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Clip Shows Us…Nothing New

Posted on 08 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

GuardiansoftheGalaxyLogoI have to admit, I have serious reservations about Guardians of the Galaxy, and the latest exclusive footage released to MTV doesn’t quell these fears.

As part of MTV Movie Awards Takeover: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we were privy to a new GotG extended trailer(which is embedded below). What we got was essentially the trailer you already saw, but with the opening sequence of it expanded a little bit.

While MTV is trying to play the new footage up as being like Raiders of the Lost Ark (which others have parroted), outside of both protagonists stealing something off a pedestal, there isn’t much similarity between the two. The added footage gives us a look at Star-Lord’s boot rockets and mask (which were already on display during last year’s San Diego Comic Con), put on display during the character’s goofy escape from Korath (Djimon Hounsou). Then there is some footage of Star-Lord leaping across an alien landscape, then the rest of the trailer hits.

This is all well and good, but we still have no idea what the film is about. The GotG trailer ran before Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Joining it was the trailer for Lucy, the new Scarlett Johannson film which will arrive in theaters a week after GotG. That trailer told you enough about what was going on (ScarJo play an unwilling drug mule who gets superpowers when the experimental drug leaks into her system) that you can make a judgement about the film. The GotG trailer is basically exposition about the team members, a few random action scenes and explosions, and tells you nothing about the story. Is there a reason why Marvel is keeping it a secret?

Anyway, Guardians of the Galaxy opens up on August 1, 2014.

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Jim Starlin’s DREADSTAR Latest Comic Hero Set For The Big Screen

Posted on 05 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

dreadstarAs more and more big name comic book properties get snatched up by major studios, producers have to cast their nets wider to find comic properties to adapt. This is not always a bad thing.

The Hollywood Reporter states that Benderspink and Illuminati Entertainment have teamed up to bring Jim Starlin’s creator-owned property, Dreadstar, to the big screen. You might know Starlin’s name as the creator of Thanos, the baddie revealed in the credits scene of The Avengers. He is also the creator of several characters in Marvel’s August offering, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Dreadstar is a futuristic sci-fi epic that tells the story of Vanth Dreadstar, the lone survivor of the Milky Way Galaxy who finds himself caught in an interstellar conflict between two warring factions. The strip first appeared in Epic Illustrated in 1982, and ran in various forms in various titles for various publishers until 1991.

While no studio has been attached or script written as of yet, I consider this a good sign. There were a lot of great characters and concepts to come out of independent and/or creator-owned comics in the 1980s, many of which would make excellent films. I’d love to see films based on Mage, American Flagg, Nexus, or Badger, just to name a few.

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Review: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

Posted on 05 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

captainamericawintersoldierposterSteve Rogers (Chris Evans) is having a hard time adjusting to the modern world. Not socially. He has a list of pop culture touchstones, the Internet and a new friend in PSTD Counselor Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) to help him adjust. No, his problem is with his job. He has a hard time with S.H.I.E.L.D. and their proactive stance towards world security. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) considers the organization’s latest initiative, a new brand of super Helicarriers that can identify terrorists DNA and exterminate them from miles away, to be the natural response to the changing world situation. Cap feels that it is just fear mongering.

Things come to a head after a mission to free a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship from pirates starts a chain reaction that causes Cap to be hunted by not only S.H.I.E.L.D., but also a new mercenary called the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), an operative that Cap finds awfully familiar.

Captain_America _The_Winter_Soldier_1After two stumbles with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier marks not just a return to form for Marvel, but also a film that raises the bar for the studio. This is not just a great Marvel film, nor is it just a great comic book film, nor is it just a great sequel. Don’t get me wrong, it is all those things,  but it’s also a great film period. It is a wonderful mix of script, directing and acting to make a complete package.

There are so many good things I can say about this film that it’s hard to know where to begin. The movie is a tense political conspiracy thriller with many twists, turns and “everything is not what it seems” moments. It is a complex film, yet it is presented in a straightforward manner. It doesn’t make the viewer feel stupid, either by dumbing down the plot so it becomes too obvious or having the story be so obtuse that it is impossible to understand.

cap and widowAnd unlike Iron Man 3, which shoehorned Tony Stark into the role of a amateur detective, a role he was ill-fitted for and went totally against character, this film nails what makes the Captain America character great. Captain America gets knocked for being too much of a Boy Scout. But his ability to see only right and wrong where the rest of the world works in shades of grey is exactly what a film like this needs. And credit to Chris Evans to never letting this characterization seem hokey or corny. To be honest, this film made me respect Evans’ acting ability much more than I did going in. Pay attention to him during the nursing home scene (you’ll know which one when you see it). That’s a great piece of acting there.

Big kudos need to go to the Russo Brothers. Even though they are most known for directing TV comedies, they have an innate talent for directing films of this sort. While the film runs two hours and 16 minutes, it never feels that long. The film’s pacing is excellent. It just breezes by. But that’s not to say that the film feels rushed. There’s a lot of characters, concepts and plot elements introduced, and all all are allowed to blossom into full development at their own pace. Unlike Thor: The Dark World, the villains here are not one note. Their villainy is totally reprehensible yet totally logical. It’s now obvious to see why Marvel signed the duo up so early to direct the next sequel.

wintersoldier with shield - CopyI feel I have to comment on the action scenes. Often, action scenes feel like they are presented  after a spate of exposition to keep audiences awake. Here, the action is stitched seamlessly into the narrative. And the action scenes are expertly choreographed and completely inventive. It’s refreshing to see this in a film.

cap and alexCaptain America: The Winter Soldier also is a great follow up to Captain America: The First Avenger and fits in better with the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe than the last two MCU films. Even though the tone and style of the films are radically different, this film is a definite follow up to the first film in the best way possible. And while I sat through Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World wondering why more of the other heroes stopped by to help out, I didn’t get that feeling here. Perhaps this is because efforts were made, mostly through creative namedropping, to let us know that Tony Stark and Bruce Banner still exist. Another reason is that the action is rather compartmentalized and took place over a rather short period of time.

If you are fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then this film is a must see. Not just because it is good, but because it is a major game changer for the Marvel films from here on out (and if you watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you might want to let the episodes pile up in your DVR until you catch this film ). However, if you are the person who has to drag a non-comic loving friend or loved one to these types of film, this might be a film they will like on their own terms. It’s that good.

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New Releases: April 4, 2014

Posted on 03 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

captainamericawintersoldierposter1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Disney, 3,938 Theaters, 136 Minutes, Rated PG-13): After what I thought were disappointing efforts in Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, I felt that chinks in Marvel’s cinematic armor were beginning to show. That led me to have serious doubts about this film. Cap is my second favorite Marvel character, and to have his next movie be directed by a pair of brothers with little big screen or action movie experience didn’t help matters any.

But the advance buzz for the film has been overwhelmingly positive. The film has an 89% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes, rarefied air for comic book film. And people have been saying that the film is the best Marvel film to date.

So, yeah, my doubts have been replaced by a giddy, childlike anticipation for the film. I’ll be seeing the first showing tomorrow. FilmBuffOnline Head Honcho Rich Drees has already seen the film, and I’m sure his thoughts will be up on the site soon. And, if Rich lets me, my thoughts will be published not long after.

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Toby Kebbell Cast As Doctor Doom In FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot

Posted on 02 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

tobykebbellWhen we last left FOX’s Fantastic Four reboot, it was in danger of being rebooted itself. Sadly, it appears that shake-up will not be taking place, although, apparently, not for lack of trying. So, the abomination is going forward, and they have cast their main villain.

The Hollywood Reporter states that British actor Toby Kebbell has been cast as Victor Von Doom, a.k.a. Doctor Doom, in the upcoming reboot. Kebbell has appeared in films such as RockNRolla, The Sorceror’s Apprentice and The Conspirator. He certainly looks the part.

It is unknown how Doctor Doom will play in the reboot. In the comics, he was a college roommate of Reed Richards (Miles Teller) who was disfigured in an experiment gone wrong, an accident he blamed Richards for. Now, if the rumors about the planned changes to the back story are true, Reed and Ben Grimm would have gotten their powers as teens and gone to work for the government not long after. Hard to see the comic book Doom’s origin fitting in that scenario.

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HISTORY OF THE COMIC BOOK FILM: The War Over WATCHMEN, Redux

Posted on 07 March 2014 by William Gatevackes

In a multi-part series, Comic Book Film Editor William Gatevackes will be tracing the history of comic book movies from the earliest days of the film serials to today’s big blockbusters and beyond. Along with the history lesson, Bill will be covering some of the most prominent comic book films over the years and why they were so special. Today, we once again interrupt our regularly scheduled program to cover new information about a film we already covered, Alan Moore’s Watchmen.

silver snyder watchmenIn terms of bringing Watchmen to the big screen, Joel Silver would be the alpha, and Zack Snyder would be the omega. Silver was the producer who first started process of bringing Alan Moore’s seminal work to theaters, but it was Zack Snyder who was able to finish the job. So, the two diverse and opinionated power players will be forever inexorably linked. But this doesn’t mean that they have to get along.

Through a serendipitous coincidence, Silver and Snyder produced films that were released a week apart. Silver is a producer on Non-Stop, which opened last week and Snyder is a producer on the sequel to his film 300, 300: Rise of an Empire which opens today. If the two films were released further apart, Snyder wouldn’t have just a quick turn around on answering Silver’s comments on his version of the Watchmen and I’d be writing about the Alien vs. Predator franchise like I had originally planned.

joel silverJoel Silver was interviewed by ComingSoon.net in conjunction with Non-Stop‘s release, and, as these interviews typically go, the interview spanned Silver’s entire career. Naturally, the topic of Watchmen came up. And since the bombastic Silver is never one to shy away from expressing his opinions–at length–we get exactly what he thought of Snyder’s version, and how his would have been much, much better:

CS: Speaking of ones that got away, as a die-hard Terry Gilliam fan I have to know if there’s anything juicy you can tell me about his conception of “Watchmen”?
Silver:
It was a MUCH much better movie.

CS: Than the one Zack Snyder made…
Silver:
Oh God. I mean, Zack came at it the right way but was too much of a slave to the material.

CS: Agreed.
Silver:
I was trying to get it BACK from the studio at that point, because I ended up with both “V For Vendetta” and “Watchmen” and I kinda lost “Watchmen.” I was happy with the way “V” came out, but we took a lot of liberties. That’s one of the reasons Alan Moore was so unpleasant to deal with. The version of “Watchmen” that Zack made, they really felt the notion. They went to Comic-Con, they announced it, they showed things, the audience lost their minds but it wasn’t enough to get a movie that would have that success. What Terry had done, and it was a Sam Hamm script–who had written a script that everybody loved for the first “Batman”–and then he brought in a guy who’d worked for him to do work on it [Charles McKeown, co-writer of "Brazil"]. What he did was he told the story as-is, but instead of the whole notion of the intergalactic thing which was too hard and too silly, what he did was he maintained that the existence of Doctor Manhattan had changed the whole balance of the world economy, the world political structure. He felt that THAT character really altered the way reality had been. He had the Ozymandias character convince, essentially, the Doctor Manhattan character to go back and stop himself from being created, so there never would be a Doctor Manhattan character. He was the only character with real supernatural powers, he went back and prevented himself from being turned into Doctor Manhattan, and in the vortex that was created after that occurred these characters from “Watchmen” only became characters in a comic book.

CS: That’s fascinating. Very META.
Silver:
Oh yeah. So the three characters, I think it was Rorschach and Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, they’re all of the sudden in Times Square and there’s a kid reading a comic book. They become like the people in Times Square dressing up like characters as opposed to really BEING those characters. There’s a kid reading the comic book and he’s like, “Hey, you’re just like in my comic book.” It was very smart, it was very articulate, and it really gave a very satisfying resolution to the story, but it just didn’t happen. Lost to time.

CS: Things happen for a reason, it might have changed the whole landscape of superhero movies right now as well.
Silver:
But I did like the movie, very much. Zack did great stuff in it!

I suppose before I go any farther, I should talk about the Alan Moore’s ending to the Watchmen series, which Silver briefly touches upon above. For as great as the series was, as ground breaking as the series was (more on what I thought here), it’s ending, in my opinion, was pretty damn awful. So, consider this your SPOILER WARNING.

Watchmen monsterIn the comic, Ozymandias’ grand plan to stave off nuclear annihilation was to create a giant, hideous creature, and then teleport the living, breathing creature into Midtown Manhattan, where it would promptly die, killing millions as it releases a psychic backlash as it undergoes its death throes. The nations of the  world would think this was the beginning of an alien invasion, and would put aside their differences to to unite to combat the supposed foe from outer space. The plan goess through and works.

Not only was Moore’s ending a swipe, inadvertent or not, of an old Outer Limits episode, but also it was a garish break from the realistic sci-fi of the rest of the series. Yes, you had a character that was a walking nuclear bomb, but at least his existence was explained by some pseudoscience. The beast’s didn’t get quite the same treatment.

On top of that, the plan doesn’t seem to be one that would work that well. You mean to tell me that the U.S. and U.S.S.R. wouldn’t be back at each others throats when the rest of the aliens failed to arrive? And the beast itself, the government wouldn’t chop it up to see how it worked? They probably find out a lot about it, perhaps even Ozymandias’ role in its creation.

Anyway, the ending did have to be changed for the film, on that I agree with Silver. I don’t agree necessarily that his ending was that much better.

The ending Silver describes corresponds with a Sam Hamm script for the project that I read years ago, one I spoke about here. The only other major changes I recall from that script would have been a tacked on action sequence where the heroes faced off against a superpowered villain at the Statue of Liberty (which would obliterate Moore’s deliberate plot choice of having Doctor Manhattan be the only superpowered being in the story) and removal of all the ephemera (the Minutemen, the Tales of the Black Freighter, etc) from the source material.

But the ending, well, it was a Twilight Zone ending with none of the irony that made Twilight Zone endings great. It kind of laid there on the page. Obviously, we were supposed have our mind’s blown, but the way it was presented, in an almost laughable way, it fell flat.

There are several things to take into consideration with Silver’s statement. One, you have to realize that Joel Silver is a producer in the Hollywood tradition of old, where he is a bombastic promoter of everything he puts his name on. Of course, he would think his version of Watchmen would be better. It’s not in his DNA to say any different. And another thing is while Silver made it sound like this ending was Gilliam’s idea, it definitely came from Hamm. Granted, I wasn’t privy to any communications between the parties in 1988, and how much influence Gilliam had on the script, but the ending came from a script with Hamm”s name, and only Hamm’s name on it. If Gilliam was so enamored with Hamm’s script, why did he bring McKeown in to rewrite it? Because he wanted to change it. Who knows if the ending was one of the things Gilliam wanted to change?

zack snyderBut thanks to Silver, Gilliam was thrown under the bus, and is being viewed as the bad guy in this. Well, at least in Zack Snyder’s eyes. Only one week later, talking to The Huffington Post while promoting 300: Rise of an Empire, Snyder and his wife Deborah decided to address Silver’s words–by taking a shot at Gilliam:

Was “Watchmen” the most “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” project you’ve ever been a part of? Now Joel Silver is criticizing you for being a “slave” to the source material while touting a very different from the source material script that Terry Gilliam was going to film.

Zack Snyder: It’s funny, because the biggest knock against the movie is that we finally changed the ending, right?

Right, you used Dr. Manhattan as the threat to bring the world together as opposed to the alien squid.

Zack Snyder: Right, and if you read the Gilliam ending, it’s completely insane.

Deborah Snyder: The fans would have been thinking that they were smoking crack.

Zack Snyder: Yeah, the fans would have stormed the castle on that one. So, honestly, I made “Watchmen” for myself. It’s probably my favorite movie that I’ve made. And I love the graphic novel and I really love everything about the movie. I love the style. I just love the movie and it was a labor of love. And I made it because I knew that the studio would have made the movie anyway and they would have made it crazy. So, finally I made it to save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world.

In Gilliam’s version, Dr. Manhattan is convinced to go back in time and prevent Dr. Manhattan from existing. But the specter of his existence is the threat to the world, which is kind of what you did at the end of the movie anyway.

Zack Snyder: Right, of course. It’s just using elements that are in the comic book already, that’s the only thing I did. I would not have grabbed something from out of the air and said, “Oh, here’s a cool ending” just because it’s cool.

Deborah Snyder: But it’s interesting because, you’re right, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You have people who are mad that the ending was changed and you have other people saying, “Oh, it was a slave to the graphic novel.” You can’t please everybody.

Zack Snyder: And that’s the problem with genre. That’s the problem with comic book movies and genre. And I believe that we’ve evolved — I believe that the audiences have evolved. I feel like “Watchmen” came out at sort of the height of the snarky Internet fanboy — like, when he had his biggest strength. And I think if that movie came out now — and this is just my opinion — because now that we’ve had “Avengers” and comic book culture is well established, I think people would realize that the movie is a satire. You know, the whole movie is a satire. It’s a genre-busting movie. The graphic novel was written to analyze the graphic novel — and comic books and the Cold War and politics and the place that comic books play in the mythology of pop culture. I guess that’s what I’m getting at with the end of “Watchmen” — in the end, the most important thing with the end was that it tells the story of the graphic novel. The morality tale of the graphic novel is still told exactly as it was told in the graphic novel — I used slightly different devices. The Gilliam version, if you look at it, it has nothing to do with the idea that is the end of the graphic novel. And that’s the thing that I would go, “Well, then don’t do it.” It doesn’t make any sense.

I can’t imagine people being happy with that version.

Zack Snyder: Yeah! If you love the graphic novel, there’s just no way. It would be like if you were doing “Romeo and Juliet” and instead of them waking up in the grave area, they would have time-traveled back in time and none of it would have happened.

Between this and his response to the casting controversy over Batman Vs. Superman, Snyder is coming off as a man with a larger than normal ego but with thinner than normal skin. This is not a good combination for a Hollywood player, especially one whose milieu is comic book adaptations. Reading Snyder’s response, you’d think that Joel Silver accused him of being a being the antichrist and of selling kidnapped babies on the black market. You’d think that Silver’s remarks were a vicious and petty slam on his genius, and that he didn’t say anything nice about Snyder’s Watchmen at all. Well, Silver’s comments are reprinted verbatim above. You can see that that wasn’t the case at all, unless of course, the kids these days consider “But I did like the movie, very much. Zack did great stuff in it!” the biggest diss in the world. OOH, SNAP!

Actually, scratch that. You’d think Terry Gilliam did all those things. Snyder doesn’t mention Silver once. But he is more than ready to place all the blame on Gilliam’s feet. I especially love the exceptional arrogance when he says that he was saving Watchmen from the Terry Gilliams of the world. Listen, Zack. I know this is hard to hear, but you really, how do athletes put it, you can’t hold Gillaim’s jock strap. Uh, uh, I know what you’re going to say. Stop. I have three titles for you. Time Bandits. Brazil. 12 Monkeys. Your argument, no matter what it is, is invalid.

secondwatchmenteaserI will give Snyder credit for one thing. His ending is better than either Hamm’s or Moore’s. He is correct when he says it ties into the story better and is more effective in reaching Ozymandias’ goals. And I do grasp the satiric bent Snyder was going for, and I got it when the film first came out. I knew the costumes in the film were meant to be a commentary on the latex, nippleriffic costumes of the first Batman franchise and others. However, the other changes did not work quite as well. The extended sex scene totally misses the point of the Dan/Laurie pairing from the novel and has the strong odor of crass titillation to appeal to the lowest common denominator (and also shoots a hole in Snyder’s claim about being interested in being true to the tone of his source). And having the heroes, all essentially athletes at the top of human potential, be able to kick bad guys six feet in the air or turn bricks to dust with their punch was very distracting from the narrative.

But outside of this, the film is way to faithful to the source material. That criticism is valid. What many comic fans (or fans of any media that is adapted to film) fail to realize is that films are different from comics. There’s a different machinery at play. What works in a 12-issue miniseries will not work in a 2 hour movie.

I’ll admit, the fanboy in me did get a certain amount of glee from hearing dialogue taken directly from the comics repeated verbatim from the mouths of the actors. However, at times the film was less a film, and more a rote, less visceral recap of the graphic novel. I felt myself forming a mental checklist of the plot elements that Snyder was bringing to the screen instead of getting lost in the story, like I should have. And a lot was lost in the translation. Snyder didn’t adapt the elements from the graphic novel, he presented them. And his visual style took a lot away from Moore and Gibbons’ style. The result? It was a faithful adaptation that lost a lot of the grit and gravitas of the original. That’s my main criticism of it.

Wrapping up, I consider the Terry Gilliam Watchmen one of the classic lost films that we’ll never have the opportunity to see. If he was able to make the adaptation work,I doubt that the final product would have resembled the Sam Hamm script in the least. It might not have resembled the comic either, but it would have been inventive and imaginative. But we will never know what we would have got because we didn’t get it. Therefore, it’s silly for Snyder to say his version is better than the one we would have received from Gilliam. But the fact that he felt so threatened as to say that really says a lot about Snyder and his personality. And what it says is not very nice.

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Zack Snyder Speaks On Casting Controversies In BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

Posted on 04 March 2014 by William Gatevackes

ZackSnyderWith 300: Rise of an Empire set to hit theaters, its writer/producer Zack Snyder is hitting the promotional trail. And as these things usually go, people are asking him about his NEXT project, Batman vs. Superman.

The Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex blog spoke to Snyder and asked him specifically about fan reaction to his casting choices in that film. Snyder, never a man to shy away from sharing his opinions, met the challenge head on:

HC: How surprised are you by all the outcry over some of your casting choices? From Gal Gadot to Ben playing Batman? Jesse as Lex Luthor?

ZS: There are two ways to think about it. We know the material. Unfortunately, the fans don’t know the material. So, we’re casting according to what’s happening in the script. And we’re hoping that leads to enough originality, enough perspective on what we’re doing that you get something fresh and exciting. I understand the canon. I’m not crazy. I know what these characters need from a mythological standpoint. I think Jesse is going to be an amazing Lex. Let’s not forget he was nominated for an Academy Award. It’s not like I just grabbed my friend to play the guy! This guy’s the real deal. By the way, in looking at all the talk-back, you can get all different perspectives in there too. Some people are hating to hate. Some people — someone did some fan art. And you look underneath and someone wrote, “I guess I can see it.” Honestly, are you kidding me? Just stop it! It’s reassuring and frustrating at the same time.

HC: It seems like you’re not insulating yourself from fan dialogue about the project. You’re out there listening to what people have to say. But ultimately, you are trying to serve the material. So what you’re saying is, fans should take heart in that.

ZS: Not just that. [The movie] literally takes the “Man of Steel” and “Batman” universes and explodes them. You’re not as tied to the mythology. In “Man of Steel,” we had to create an origin story, a mythology, and there’s a lot of energy into that, which we love doing. Don’t get me wrong. But when you think about how fun it is too — now that you’ve got these characters — to now let ‘em loose. That’s fun!

If Snyder thought that this was going to put fan’s griping to rest, he’s sadly mistaken. And more than a little out of touch.

First, using “casting according to the material” is only works if people have unwavering faith in the material. There are people who blindly love everything that Snyder does, and for them this reasoning works. But there are people who hate Snyder’s body of work so much that if he came out with a film that was magically able to cure cancer, they’d still hate it. Then there’s the rest of us who think he is a director with peaks and valleys in his resume, and his name is not an automatic win-win situation. So, in this case, there is at best a “wait and see” feel about the material. And, if anything, the casting cast more aspersions on the material than it does ease fears.

And for a self professed fan, he should know how the fandom works. He should know how hypercritical comic book fans are whenever the things they love are adapted to the big screen, and he should know that not even he gets a “get out of trolling free” card.

Of course, he confirms the fan’s fears right in the interview. While he makes a point of letting us know he does “understand the canon,” in the very next answer he states that the franchise is “not as tied to mythology.” Even being generous and giving Snyder the benefit of the doubt, that what he’s really saying is that he’s creating something new and different that stays true to the cannon, he is still creating something new and different. Comic fans have a low threshold for “new” and “different.” They want the character’s they grew up with translated to the screen directly as the appear on the page, or a close to it as they can.  And, once again, the comic fandom has less faith in his abilities than he himself does, so they have less faith that the changes he makes will be an improvement. This is going to cause more problems than it solves.

I’ll just add this to the long list of things that is causing be to doubt Batman vs. Superman.

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Patrick Wilson In Talks To Join ANT-MAN

Posted on 27 February 2014 by William Gatevackes

patrickwilsonIt’s an inter-company team-up! Nite Owl is joining forces with Ant-Man!

Variety is reporting that Patrick Wilson is circling the last major role in Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man. No word exactly on what that role would be. He’d be joining Paul Rudd as Scott Land and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym. Michael Pena and Evangeline Lilly are also rumored for roles in the film.

If an agreement is made, this will be the second superhero film on Wilson’s resume, after 2009′s Watchmen, where he played Dan Drieberg, a.k.a. Nite Owl.

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Marvel Vetting Directors, Writers For DOCTOR STRANGE

Posted on 21 February 2014 by William Gatevackes

dr_strangeIn recent years, surely as a sign of the studio’s growth in stature and faith in its creative leanings, Marvel has gotten away from known directors for its projects (such as Jon Favreau on Iron Man, Edgar Wright on Ant-Man, and Kenneth Branagh on Thor) to more little known or unproven ones (The Russo Brothers on Captain America: Winter Soldier, Alan Taylor on Thor: The Dark World, and Shane Black on Iron Man 3). And it looks like that trend will continue on its latest offering.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision blog states that Marvel is in the process of vetting director and writers to tackle the awesome task of bringing Doctor Strange to the big screen. They are said to be looking for writer/directors first, but will be willing to pair compatible writers and directors together.

On the director side, four names are mentioned, all with experience on the writing side of the business as well:

  • Mark Andrews: A Pixar veteran (said to be Brad Bird’s right hand man), who was brought in to replace Brenda Chapman as writer and director on Brave (he is credited as co-director on the film).
  • Nikolaj Arcel: A Danish filmmaker with four films he wrote and directed in his native Denmark (King’s Game, Island of Lost Souls, Truth About Men, A Royal Affair). He has no American films to his credit yet, although he has begun work as writer/director of the adaptation of Don Winslow book The Power of the Dog. His attachment to Doctor Strange has already brought rumors that he will bring fellow Dane Mads Mikkelson in as Stephen Strange, a move I am completely down with.
  • Dean Israelite: The closest thing to a true unknown here (his sparse IMDB page lists only a number of short subjects he wrote and directed on his resume). He did recently complete his feature debut, the Michael Bay produced Welcome to Yesterday. The film was originally scheduled to come out next Friday, but was postponed indefinitely. There are two schools of though on the Internet about this, both good (that the film test so well they are looking  for a summer or fall release) and bad (it’s delayed so Bay can go in and work it over. And if Bay is stepping because your film has problems, your film has problems).
  • Jonathan Levine: He is the writer/director of the critically acclaimed Indie, The Wackness, and the exceptionally good Zom-Rom-Com, Warm Bodies. He has also directed All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and 50/50.

On the purely writer side, Glen Berger and Jon Aibel, known for their work on Monsters vs Aliens, the Kung Fu Panda films, and, ugh, the Alvin and the Chipmunks sequels in the lead to pen the screenplay if Marvel chooses to go the separate writer/director route.

What this all means, of course, is that Marvel is restarting the project from scratch and the previous take on the script by  Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly has most likely been scrapped. This also means that the likelihood of Doctor Strange being part of Marvel’s film slate in the near future is almost nil. The film, if it ever appears, most likely won’t appear until Phase IV or Phase V. Keep that in mind when you hear the next round of casting rumors.

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“Some Development Work” Being Done On A Black Widow Solo Film At Marvel

Posted on 13 February 2014 by Rich Drees

ScarlettJohanssonBlackWidow

If you’re a fan of Scarlett Johansson’s appearances in Marvel Studio’s films as the SHIELD agent codenamed Black Widow, you’re in for a treat, as reports are stating we are going to be seeing much more of her character in the future.

In addition to having a much larger role in this spring’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but that bigger role will carry over into 2015′s The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Previously, we have been told that Winter Soldier will be the film from Marvel’s “Phase Two” that will most strongly feed into Age Of Ultron, so the carryover for Black Widow doesn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Speaking with Total Film (via CBM), Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says that additional screen time in Age Of Ultron won’t be just taken up with action sequences but will delve into the character’s only previously hinted at background.

We start filming the next Avengers film at the end of March. [Black] Widow’s part in that is very big. We learn more about her past and learn more about where she came from and how she became in that film. The notion of exploring that even further in her own film would be great, and we have some development work with that.

Marvel has been very open that they have been exploring the possibility of solo films for a number of their characters. And the idea that there has been “some development” on a Black Widow film is exciting in that despite being in a boom time for superhero films, we still haven’t had one which featured a super heroine as its lead.

But not all of the properties that Marvel has been developing are destined for the big screen anytime soon, if ever. Remember that at various times we have heard about Dr. Strange, Black Panther, the Inhumans and the Runways have all been confirmed as being developed by Marvel as possible films and we still have yet to hear of any concrete confirmation that any of these projects are going forward.

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