Tag Archive | "Marvel"

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Review: ANT-MAN

Posted on 19 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

ant-man posterIf you were disappointed because Edgar Wright left this film, then you’re really going to be disappointed after seeing this film. That’s because Wright’s fingerprints are all over the film, yet he is nowhere to be found.

Yes, this is an Edgar Wright film. He and Joe Cornish are still credited with story and part of the screenplay (the latter shared with Adam McKay and Paul Rudd). And if you are a fan of Wright’s work, you’ll be able to pick his parts of the film out almost immediately.

For example, one of Wright’s most prominent trademarks is the jump-cut scene, where he presents a part of the story in a series of staccato images that say what they need to say in a concise and exciting way. In my opinion, it’s a trait that proves his genius and a big part of what I love about his films.

In Ant-Man, there are four or five scenes that you just know that Wright and Cornish wrote for this jump-cut style. However, Peyton Reed, either by conscious choice or lack of the ability to do so, presents these scenes with the pacing of a turtle trying to cross a molasses-covered roadway. The difference between the scenes as Reed directs them and the way they were intended is painfully obvious, and creates a disconnect  with the audience. Unfortunately, this also makes us more aware of the other flaws in the film, flaws such as dodgy motives, underdeveloped characters and gaps in logic that we might not have had time to notice in the faster pace Wright works in.

rudd as scott lang ant-manThe film opens as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) leaves prison after serving three years for a Robin Hood-like bit of computer theft . He is desperate to go straight so he can provide a good role model for his daughter Cassie (Abby Ryder Forston), but he’s not even able to keep a job at Baskin-Robbins due to his criminal record. Soon, an old prison pal by the name of Luis (Michael Peña) seduces Scott back into a life of crime with a sure-fire robbery of a billionaire ex-military guy. 

However, the only thing Scott finds in the billionaire’s vault is what he thinks is a motorcycle suit. After he puts the suit on, he realizes it allows him to shrink to ant size. The theft was orchestrated by the suit’s creator, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) as a test of Lang’s skills. See, Pym’s protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), has used Pym’s designs to create his own shrinking battle suit, one he is willing to sell to the highest bidder, no matter who that bidder will kill with it. Pym wants Lang to steal the designs from Cross to keep them from being used for nefarious purposes. Lang quickly signs on, much to the chagrin of Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lily), who wanted the assignment for herself.

Antman screen grabThe reason given for Pym choosing Scott over Hope is that Scott is expendable and Pym dares not to lose his daughter. This is where the questions begin, because if he was that concerned about her, why did he have Hope work as his inside woman in Cross’ company, keeping tabs on an man who has no compunction about killing an employee for as little as speaking up in a meeting. And why wouldn’t Hope be a better choice, as she already has a high level access in the company, and would be able to sabotage the development of Cross’ suit from the inside. She wouldn’t even need the Ant-Man suit to do it either.

In addition to that, Pym is a man who doesn’t want his technology used by the military, unless he is the one to use it. Cross has a highly advanced, weaponized version of the Ant-Man suit he created himself, yet still is obsessed with stealing Pym’s outdated 1980’s version of the technology. Cross is another edition of the poorly defined Marvel villain. He constantly reminds us that he is the “jilted protege of a father-figure-like mentor (with nary a flashback to back that up),” yet comes off more as a raving lunatic who completely ignores his expressed motivation at the end just to give the film a slam bang finale.

antman stillWho do we blame for these contradictions? Wright and Cornish? McKay and Rudd? Reed? Marvel Studios’ interference?  One from column A, one from column B? All of the above? Regardless, the studio would have been better off if it either delayed the movie, scrapped all of Wright’s stuff, and then started over or, you know, just let Wright direct it.

Which isn’t to say that the film is all bad. The effects are spectacular, the acting is great and there are moments of fun action and witty comedy. It’s just that it seems like without Wright at the helm, the film is like a jacket three sizes too big for Reed to wear, a jigsaw puzzle with miss-matched pieces. The result is a disappointing film.

 

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New Releases: July 17, 2015

Posted on 17 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

ant-man poster1. Ant-Man (Disney, 3,856 Theaters,117 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 77% Fresh [151 Reviews]): After a tumultuous journey to the screen, this film has finally arrived.

Being a big Edgar Wright fan, I had a secret hope that this film would be awful. Yet, as a fan of comic book films, I also want it to be a success. Such conflicting feelings put a hamper on my desire to see. Typically, I’d have seen it by the time this post hits the web. Now if I see it this weekend, I see it this weekend. if not, well, that’s okay too.

Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang, a petty their who is hired by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to engage in a bit of industrial espionage. The safety of the world is at stake, and helping him is a suit that allows him to shrink to ant size.

Trainwreck_poster2. Trainwreck (Universal, 3,157 Theaters,125 Minutes, Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 87% Fresh [97 Reviews]): Amy Schumer is an unparalleled genius. Her Inside Amy Schumer is one of the best sketch shows to ever air on TV, and she is a master of marrying vulgar humor with biting social commentary and coming up with something riotously funny. She is getting a lot of notice and acclaim for the show, and one of the side benefits is the opportunity to write and star in a feature film.

Amy play a woman named, well, Amy, a writer for a famous men’s magazine who lives a promiscuous lifestyle. Monogamy is for dummies is her motto. But that attitude changes when she meets a charming sports doctor named Aaron (Bill Hader). Will Aaron be enough to make Amy change her freewheeling ways? Or is their relationship just a brief respite from Amy’s carousel of one-night stands?

This film is directed by Judd Apatow, but, outside of Hader, none of the Apatow Repertory Players appear in the film. However, fans of Schumer’s TV show will recognize a number of familiar faces mixed in with intriguing cameos from a diverse range of actors including John Cena, Tilda Swinton, Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei.

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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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Sony And Marvel At Odds At SPIDER-MAN Casting?

Posted on 12 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

Spidey apartIf you thought Sony was just going to get out of the way and let Marvel do what they do best with the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, you’d be sadly mistaken.

According to Jeff Sneider, co-host of the Meet the Movie Press podcast, the studio that managed the screw up two Spider-Man franchises is butting heads with the studio has done no wrong with their film slate to date over who will be the new Spider-Man.

The field is down to three contenders, the previously mentioned Tom Holland, veritable unknown Matt Lintz, and Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Plummer. Conspicuous in his absence is Asa Butterfield, who Latino Review stated was in final negotiations for the role. I know, I know. A Latino Review rumor that is probably wrong? It seems hard to believe.

Sneider says that even though Lintz is still in contention, it really is a two horse race between Holland, who Sony wants, and Plummer, who Marvel is behind.

While a casting announcement was rumored to hit last week, this latest back and forth not only delays the announcement, but would possible delay shooting on Captain America: Civil War. Sources say Marvel was bringing potential actors to that film’s Atlanta set to audition with the hopes of immediately having the actor start shooting the character’s scenes in film. Now, it looks like the Spider-Man scenes will be delayed to at least July while the casting mess gets straightened out.

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What Killed The Fantastic Four And The X-Men?

Posted on 03 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

Fantastic_Four_vsMarvel Comics is in the midst of a line-wide crossover called Secret Wars that will press the reboot button on Marvel Universe. Nothing will be the same again, and some of your favorite characters will not make it into the brand new Marvel Comics.

However, the culling of characters has already begun. Over the last year, Marvel Comics has been systematically removing or minimizing the Fantastic Four and X-Men from their comic line and from their merchandising. The reasons why are shrouded in mystery due to Marvel’s radio silence in the matter. But the topic rose to a head this week when the image for the yearly Marvel poster from Trends International was released. The company has been releasing posters featuring a collage of images of most of the Marvel characters for years. Here is the 2007 version:

marvel_comics_wallpaper_2007As you can see, the Fantastic Four are center right, Wolverine is center left, and a number of other X-Men are clearly visible, Now, onto 2013:

marvel_comics_wallpaper_2014The prime real estate is taken up by the characters that have appeared in The Avengers, but the X-Men and Fantastic Four are still prominently featured. Now, this year’s poster:

marvel_comics_wallpaper_2015I’d send you on a “Where’s Waldo” type of quest for the X-Men and Fantastic Four in this poster, but that would be a fool’s errand. Because while the poster features obscure characters such as Devil Dinosaur, White Tiger and the Wrecking Crew, there’s no Fantastic Four and the only X-Man present appears to be Emma Frost, who appears in between Ronan and Venom in the upper left. Of course, that could be another character or just a mistaken inclusion.

marvel 75 yearsThis harkens back to the incident that started this whole controversy. Last year, Marvel published a commemorative comic book for its 75th Anniversary. The cover, seen at left, was profoundly lacking in any characters from the Fantastic Four, the team that jump-started the Marvel Age of comics, or the X-Men, by and far Marvel’s most popular property over the last four decades.

I spoke on that controversy exactly one year ago as I am writing this sentence. I theorized that the quarantine, which was then mostly place on the Fantastic Four characters, might be because of the then pending Supreme Court hearing of the lawsuit brought by the heirs of Jack Kirby. However, more developments have arose that makes this reason unlikely.

First and foremost, Marvel made a settlement with the Kirby Estate, so that sword of Damocles is no longer over their heads. Also, the Fantastic Four titles were cancelled. A mandate was sent out to keep the Fantastic Four characters from being used in any trading card set. Then embargoes were placed on the X-Men characters. Writers were told to not create any new mutant characters for the series. T-shirts based on iconic comic covers would have the X-Men and Fantastic Four characters either removed or replaced with other Marvel heroes. Toy makers were forced to cancel their lines based on the mutant characters. Marvel even went so far as to kill of the popular Wolverine in their books, and it looks like the X-Men books will be cancelled post-Secret Wars, and the X-Men becoming space-faring heroes in whatever series they are in next.

20th_century_fox-logo It has become obvious that what I tried to deny a year ago was really the truth–that Marvel’s mothballing the Fantastic Four and X-Men has something to do with Fox holding the film rights. But what? Some think it’s being done just to spite Fox, or because Marvel is sick and tired of promoting films they have little stock in? Possibly. But throwing away a revenue stream just because it promotes in part a studio seems a bit extreme. And Fox could get more butts in seats with one ad on the side of a New York City bus than all of Marvel’s books and merchandise can give them.

Is it a ploy to try and get the film rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four back from Fox? Dubious. Fox makes millions on the X-Men franchise and hopes for the same for Fantastic Four. Marvel could kill off every X-Man and every member of the FF and Fox would still not be willing to give up that gravy train.

But I have a theory more outlandish than even that. When Marvel sold the rights for these properties to Fox, it was going through bankruptcy and there was a very good chance that it could have gone out of business. Films were thought to be a quick supply of cash to keep the company afloat, and Marvel was desperate to make a deal. This is why agreement is top loaded in favor of Fox, and why they can keep the rights to the properties as long as they keep films featuring them in production. But what if a desperate Marvel gave away even more than that?

What if Marvel gave all merchandising rights to Fox for the Fantastic Four and the X-Men? What if the same 5/95 percent split in favor of Fox wasn’t just for film merchandise and the films themselves but for any comics and merchandise featuring the comic versions of the characters too?

It seems crazy, I know, but like I said Marvel of the late 90s, early 00s was a desperate Marvel. Marvel’s Tom Breevort has stated in regards to the scorched earth policy about merchandising the properties that Marvel earns a smaller percentage of the revenues for the X-Men and FF characters than the rest of their characters and had mentioned that if someone did not have merchandising rights to the characters, they couldn’t sell merchandise featuring them.

This was taken to mean that Marvel had control over who they gave rights to. But if Marvel no longer had complete control over the rights to the X-Men and FF, the amount of time and effort they take in removing the character from their merchandise would make much more sense.

However, this is just a theory. Unless someone does a cyberhack of Fox’s e-mail, we’ll probably never know the truth. But it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to buy a Wolverine T-shirt anytime soon.

 

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Will CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Present Us With A New Hulk?

Posted on 02 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

Red_Hulk_This is how you can give a rumor legitimacy.

  • March 19, 2015: Bleeding Cool mentions that the Hulk will be in Captain America: Civil War in a set of rumors that are immediately discounted.
  • June 1, 2015: The website named We Are Wakanda states its sources tell them the film will indeed feature a Hulk, but it will be a new Hulk taken from the comics, not the Mark Ruffalo one that Bleeding Cool claimed.
  • Also June 1, 2005: MCU Exchange takes the We Are Wakanda rumor and runs with it. The look at all the possible Hulks from the comics to determine which one’s alter ego has already been adapted into MCU continuity. The Red Hulk (seen to the left) whose alter ego, General Thunderbolt Ross, is already part of the Marvel films and the most recent man who brought him to life on the screen, William Hurt, is already part of the Captain America: Civil War cast seems like the most likely candidate.
    MCU Exchange throws their theory out to their sources. There sources come back and state that not only will Hurt be hulking out as the Red Hulk, but that the green Hulk will be back to face off against him in a fight that will make the Hulk/Iron Man fight from Avengers: Age of Ultron look like a slap fight.

So there you have it. You have three websites with three presumably different sources stating that at the very least a Hulk will be in the film, but most likely it will be the Red Hulk.

While General Ross has been a supporting character in the comics for year, his Red Hulk persona only came in existence in 2008. Created after Ross was bombarded with Gamma and Cosmic Rays, Red Hulk has all the powers of the Hulk plus the ability to absorb energy and generate high levels of heat from his body.

If this is true, the question is: where does he fit into the narrative. The film is looking to be crowded the way it is. I do have an idea. It has been revealed that there is an inciting incident that makes lawmakers want to register superpowered individuals. In the comic books, it’s a fight with a villain with nuclear powers who destroys Stamford, Connecticut. A no-holds barred fight between a pair of Hulks could also destroy a city.

We shall see.

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Tilda Swinton In Talks For Pivotal DOCTOR STRANGE Role

Posted on 27 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

tilda swintonIt’s not often that casting an Academy Awards winner might raise the ire of comic fans, but that might be what happens if Tilda Swinton signs on for Doctor Strange.

The Hollywood Reporter is stating that Swinton is in talks to join Benedict Cumberbatch in the film in the role of the Ancient One, the Tibetan mystic that teaches Stephen Strange in the ways of the mystic arts. The character is portrayed in the comics as a old, Asian man, exemplified in the artwork below:

Ancient One Swinton is neither ancient, Asian nor male, so this casting might cause comic fans, notorious for not receiving any change from the comics well (see the files Jordan, Michael B; Storm, Johnny; and Four, Fantastic), to begin protesting. However, Swinton seems to be very genre friendly. Arguably her biggest role was in The Chronicles of Narnia series, and if she signs on here, it would mark her third comic book film (after Constantine and Snowpiercer). And to add a deeper level of geekiness, one of her ex-husbands shared his name with a legendary comic book writer and artist–John Byrne.

In addition, she is a great actress who would bring a lot to the role. If she does sign on, the film would automatically become 2000% better, even if she isn’t gender or nationality appropriate.

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Is Asa Butterfield Your Next SPIDER-MAN?

Posted on 14 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

asaWell, he was the person with the most experience on the shortlist.

Latino Review is reporting that British actor Asa Butterfield is in final negotiations with Marvel to take over the role of Peter Parker in Marvel’s and Sony’s reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. The site says that it is all down to formalities now and an official announcement should be coming soon.

Butterfield is 18 but looks 12, so he should have a long career as the web-slinger, just as long as everyone involved doesn’t decide to reboot the franchise again. At the very least, they should get two or three films with him in high school before he ages out of the role.

Latino Review also states that Butterfield will make his first appearance as the character, as rumored, in Captain America: Civil War. That film has started production, so if that is true, he’ll probably have to head to the set immediately after he signs his contract.

 

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Josh Boone To Direct X-MEN Spinoff NEW MUTANTS

Posted on 13 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

NewMutantsFox’s X-Men shared universe is going to get a little bigger as a long in development mutant property has come one step closer to reality.

The Hollywood Reporter tells us that The Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone has been hired to direct Fox’s New Mutants adaptation.

The New Mutants were created in 1982 as sort of a way for Marvel to return the mutant franchise back to their roots. Much like the original team that first appeared twenty years prior, this batch of students were teenagers whose powers just developed and needed training in how to use them. However, this time the students were from all over the world, adding an international flavor reminiscent of the “All-New, All-Different” X-Men of the 1970s.

The series and team went through several tonal shifts over its history, from the more esoteric stories of the Bill Sienkiewicz era to the militaristic leanings of the Rob Liefeld era. It is not known which era Fox will pull the team from, or which member it will contain as of yet.

 

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Production Starts On CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Synopsis And Cast List Released

Posted on 07 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

CapAmCivilWar

The promotional rounds for Avengers: Age of Ultron has just finished and the cast already has to go back to work. Marvel has announced that Captain America: Civil War has started production, and if you were like me and thought Avengers: Age of Ultron had too many characters, well, Marvel seems willing to show what too many characters really looks like.

The cast list takes up three full paragraphs in the press release (well, on small paragraph, one normal sized paragraph, and one enormous paragraph). I put them here in list form, so you can see the sheer volume of characters.

  1. Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
  2. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
  3. Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
  4. Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
  5. Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
  6. Paul Bettany as The Vision
  7. Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
  8. Don Cheadle as Jim Rhodes/War Machine
  9. Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
  10.  Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man
  11. Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther
  12. Emily VanCamp  as Sharon Carter/Agent 13
  13. Daniel Brühl
  14. Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow/Crossbones
  15. William Hurt as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
  16. Martin Freeman

That’s sixteen characters of some importance in the film. That’s all the Avengers other than Hulk, Thor and Quicksilver. That’s Paul Rudd making his second appearance as Ant-Man. That’s William Hurt returning from the Marvel film time forgot, Incredible Hulk. And that’s without Spider-Man, who has yet to be cast but is supposed to be in the film. Granted, you are going to need a lot of heroes if the good guys are going to fight each other, but my main rule of comic book movies is the more characters you have, the less likely the film will be good. Avengers: Age of Ultron suffered because the time spent introducing Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision took away from making Ultron a more interesting character and his motivations more clear and believable.

We also get a synopsis for the film, the contents of which should come as a shock to no one.

“Captain America: Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.

This follows along with the synopsis of the comic book Civil War as much as it can, with the Avengers taking place of the New Warriors from the book. In the comic, the New Warriors mishandling of a nuclear powered villain resulted in the destruction of Stamford, Connecticut and the deaths of a lot of innocent men, women and children. Most of the New Warriors died in the blast, so it is unlikely that the same will happen here. However, it will have to be big, because the team [SPOILER ALERT] just let a major Eastern European city blow up without much repercussions.

Captain America: Civil War is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. It is set to hit theaters on May 6, 2016.

Via Newsarama.

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