Tag Archive | "Marvel"

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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


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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SPIDER-MAN Directorial Shortlist Named

Posted on 06 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

Spider-manWhen Sony was looking for a director for the reboot of its Spider-Man franchise, it chose a relatively novice director from the world of indie comedies, and we have seen how well that worked out. Now, as it once again looks for a new director to helm another reboot of the franchise, it once again is looking at predominately novice directors primarily from the world of indie comedies. Everything old is new again.

Deadline names five potential candidates for the job, with the caveat that there might be more names in the running. I’ll list them from the one I like most to the one I like least:

Jonathan Levine

Jonathan LevineWhat has he directed that I might know?: He’s one of the more experienced directors on the list. He has directed All The Boy Love Mandy Lane, The Wackness, 50/50 and Warm Bodies.

Does he write?: Yes. He has done the screenplays for The Wackness and Warm Bodies.

Does he act? No.

My Take? All The Boys Love Mandy Lane and The Wackness were critical darlings. I have seen Warm Bodies and 50/50 and loved both of them. Levine appears to be a director that can take genre films and make them poignant and funny, which is perfect for the Spider-Man franchise.

Does he have anything coming up that I can see as an example of his work?: He will be reuniting with his 50/50 star Joseph Gordon-Levitt with November’s X-Mas, a film he also co-wrote.

Ted Melfi

Ted-MelfiWhat has he directed that I might know?: He directed last year’s highly regarded St. Vincent.

Does he write?: Yes. He also wrote St. Vincent.

Does he act?: He does have one acting job on his resume.

My Take?: St. Vincent was only Melfi’s second directorial effort, and it comes 15 years after his last one (1999’s Winding Roads). However, the film did get Oscar buzz and Melfi was nominated for Best Director by the Indiana Film Journalists Association. That is a pretty good last job to bring into the mix.

Does he have anything coming up that I can see as an example of his work?: He has been tapped to write and co-direct the upcoming remake of Going in Style, which is to star Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine.

Jason Moore

jason mooreWhat has he directed that I might know?: He directed the sleeper hit of 2012, Pitch Perfect. He has also directed a number of Broadway plays.

Does he write?: He is listed as the writer of the music video for the song Cups, but that is his only writing credit.

Does he act?: He has three acting jobs on his resume, the most notable a bit part on Dawson’s Creek.

My Take?: He does have a experience in directing stories featuring misfits making good, which is Spider-Man in a nutshell, but since Spider-Man and musicals do not mix, it might be a bit out of Moore’s comfort zone.

Does he have anything coming up that I can see as an example of his work?: We will be able see how well he directs a predominantly female cast who do not sing when his Amy Poehler/Tina Fey vehicle Sisters hits theaters in December.

John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein

Daley and GoldsteinWhat have they directed that I might know?: They have directed a pair of short films, but no features that have been released as of yet.

Do they write?: The pair are most noted as writers, writing Horrible Bosses 1& 2, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Partly Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 together.

Do they act?:  Daley is primarily known as an actor, having starred in Freaks & Geeks, Waiting and Bones to name a few. Goldstein has had a cameo in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

Do they have anything coming up that I can see as an example of his work?:The pair wrote and directed the remake by way of a quasi-sequel to Vacation, which will hit theaters in July.

My Take?:Sony is supposedly going for a John Hughes feel for the Spidey film, and these guys are continuing Hughes’ Vacation franchise, but the rest of their resume is uneven to say the least.

Jared Hess

jared hessWhat has he directed that I might know?: He is arguably the most successful director on the list, having Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre under his belt.

Does he write?: He has written every film he has directed to date.

Does he act?: He has roles in three, low-budget indies from 2002-2003, but his acting career ends there.

My Take?: Hess’ resume shows an esoteric eye that is more quirky than weird. From what I’ve seen of his work, I don’t know if he’d be that good of a fit for Spider-Man.

Does he have anything coming up that I can see as an example of his work?: His next directorial effort we can see will be Masterminds in August. It will be the first film he has directed that he did not have a hand in writing, and it is based on a true story.

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New Releases: May 1, 2015

Posted on 01 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Poster1. Avengers: Age of Ultron (Disney, 4,276 Theaters, 141 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments, Rotten Tomatoes: 75% Fresh [195 Reviews]):  Wait, seriously? You clicked this link to find out about this week’s new releases?

It’s the Avengers. If you didn’t know it was coming out this week or anything about it, you must have been living in a cave.

You want to know something about it? Read FBOL Head Honcho Rich Drees’ review of the film here.


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Five Actors Are On Marvel’s SPIDER-MAN Shortlist

Posted on 22 April 2015 by William Gatevackes

maskless spideySo, if The Wrap is to be believed, then 80% of the candidates to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man are teenagers and 60% are foreign actors as well, and yes, the one actor who is 20 is the American.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but it is believed that test offers will go out within a week and a decision will be made within a month. Here is your scorecard for the potential Spider-Men.

Asa Butterfield

asa butterfieldAge: 18

Nationality: British

What you might have seen him in: Arguably the most famous name on the list, Butterfield has appeared in big budget films such as Hugo and Ender’s Game.

What will he be in next?: He has the lead in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Other thoughts? Hollywood seems to enjoy throwing potential franchises at this kid, but Ender’s Game was a non-starter (although that wasn’t Butterfield’s fault). If he does get cast, we will finally have the answer to the unasked question, “What if a young Bud Cort played Spider-Man?”

Timothée Chalamet

Timothee ChalametAge: 19, we think. (Biographical info for him on the Internet is kind of scarce. He could be 56 for all that we know).

Nationality: American

What you might have seen him in: He was a member of the cast for Homeland and played the young version of Matthew McConaughey ‘s son in Interstellar. He apparently was that dating Madonna’s daughter, Lordes, at one time, if you follow that stuff. (THAT the Internet tells me. His age? Noooooo! Dating history? Yes.)

What will he be in next?: He will be playing a teenage version of James Franco in the Adderal Diaries.

Other thoughts? Looks the part, but I am unfamiliar with his work.

Tom Holland

tom hollandAge: 18

Nationality: British

What you might have seen him in: Arguably the biggest entry on his resume to date is his role in the West End version of Billy Elliot: The Musical. That, and his role in The Impossible.

What will he be in next?: He will be appearing as young Thomas Nickerson in Ron Howard’s adaptation of In the Heart of the Sea.

Other Thoughts? His costars in the above film consist of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy). Surely he could call on either of them for advice on how acting in a comic book film works, and the future scenes between Spider-Man and Thor will have an extra little kick.

Liam James

liam jamesAge: 18

Nationality: Canadian

What you might have seen him in: He played the lead in The Way Way Back. He also played a younger version of Shawn in the TV series, Psyche.

What will he be in next?: He will either be, as IMDB puts it, in an ABC TV Movie called Original Sin or, as Wikipedia puts it, in an ABC TV series called Flesh And Blood. They appear to be the same project, so one might be a renaming of the other. We will probably have to wait until fall to find out either way.

Other thoughts?: He looks the part and has experience being the lead in a movie. Of course, his being in a TV series might play havoc on production schedules.

Nat Wolff

NatWolffAge: 20

Nationality: American

What you might have seen him in: He was in the Nickelodeon program, The Naked Brothers Band, and played Isaac in last year’s adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars.

What will he be in next? He will be appearing as Jim Nolan in James Franco’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle. Then, he will star in another John Green adaptation, Paper Towns.

Other thoughts?: He looks less awkward than the rest of the candidates, which might be what the producers are looking for, but might not. Is the oldest of the five (we think) but it still playing teen age roles.

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Will Ernie Hudson Play T’Chaka In BLACK PANTHER?

Posted on 08 April 2015 by William Gatevackes

ErnieHudsonWWPIt’s time for my least favorite pastime: what rumor is El Mayimbe spreading today. The often-wrong head honcho of Latino Review has scoop that says Ernie Hudson is circling the role of T’Chaka in Black Panther. El Mayimbe’s proof? Hudson has been hitting the gym and picking up back issues of Marvel Comic’s Black Panther featuring the character.

El Mayimbe doesn’t reveal his source, perish the thought, but if I were a betting man, I’d put money on Hudson’s agent. This story has the feel of that classic Hollywood chestnut of an actor’s representative planting a story about a studio looking at their client in order to drum up interest from said studio.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Hudson as an actor. But his career is firmly in the B-Movie/TV guest appearance mode, not the type of star Marvel typically leans to for roles like this. Granted, T’Chaka, who is the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda and father to T’Challa, the titular Black Panther, isn’t a big role, but it is a pivotal one. Judging from Marvel’s casting history, it’s likely they would consider an actor with a higher profile and perhaps a better resume than Hudson.

Another thing to consider is that as of yet no director has been announced for the film. Unless T’Chaka is going to appear in another film before he appears in Black Panther, I’d expect a director be picked first before any supporting character.

However, I do believe in doing due diligence, so I contacted one of my go-to sources, one that always guides me down a truthful path, and one that is as reliable, if not more so, than any of El Mayimbe’s sources. I contacted “Ask the Eight Ball.” It said “My Sources Say No” when asked if Hudson was up for a role in Black Panther. So, there you have it.

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SPIDER-MAN Aftermath: What We Now Know.

Posted on 11 February 2015 by William Gatevackes

AvengersSpiderManMarvel’s announcement that it is partnering with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe almost broke the Internet. However, due to the timing of the press release, we knew that most details wouldn’t be released until the light of day. Now that it is almost 24-hours later, what do we know, what do we think we know and what do we think about what we know?

Marvel’s Phase III will be shifting:

This was pretty much a no brainer, since Thor: Ragnarok was set to come out on the same day as was announced for the new Spider-Man film–July 28, 2017–so the release dates of most of Marvel’s offerings from then on will be shifting.

Here are the new dates:

  • Thor: Ragnarok has moved to Nov. 3, 2017.
  • Black Panther has moved to July 6, 2018.
  • Captain Marvel has moved to Nov. 2, 2018.
  • Inhumans has moved to July 12, 2019.

Avengers: The Infinity War Parts I and II with keep the release dates they already have. This puts the brand new franchises smack dab in the middle of the two installments. A great place to be if they provide more elements of the story for hungry fans.

Andrew Garfield and Marc Webb are out:

GarfieldSpiderManVariety is reporting that Marvel and Sony will be going with a teenage Spider-Man, which means that the 31-year-old  Andrew Garfield, who was getting a little long in the tooth to play even the college-aged Peter Parker, finds that his services are no longer needed. The Hollywood Reporter adds that director Marc Webb’s involvement with the franchise is now at an end.

I have to join my fellow journalist Carol Pinchefsky in mourning the passing of the Andrew Garfield era. Garfield seemed like a genuine fan of Spider-Man, and he had little to do with the failing of The Amazing Spider-Man reboot. He did present an interesting portrayal of Peter Parker, more as a social outcast than a stereotypical nerd, and what he brought to the roll was shines through as a high point of the reboot.

Webb, well, I’m not so sad to see go. More of the blame for the failings should fall to his feet. It is hard to tell who really was responsible for the decay of Sony’s run at doing Spider-man films. but I’m sure Webb’s directing played a part in it. Here is where a fresh start is really needed.

If we need a villain, may we suggest Avi Arad?

Multiple reports state that producer Arad, along with producer Matt Tolmach, have been “demoted” to the title of Executive Producer, essentially a honorary title with no real power of control.

Let me begin by saying that without Avi Arad, there would not likely be any Marvel Comics, let alone Marvel Comics movies. He helped get the comic book company out of bankruptcy and facilitated their company’s rise to Hollywood respectability.

However, he is also a hands-on producer in the worst sense of the word. His interfering with Sam Raimi during Spider-Man 3 is legendary, essentially forcing the director to shoe horn Venom into the film against Raimi’s wishes. When Spider-Man 4 began shaping up to be a similar kind of battle, Raimi bailed. The clown-car-of-villains The Amazing Spider-Man 2 became has the strong odor of Arad’s meddling. And the inclusion of all those villains at the expense of plot and characterization is one of the reasons why that film failed.

If Arad was responsible for all that, he will not be missed all that much.

Sinister Six, Venom and Female Spin-off not dead, only resting:

2219020-sinister_six__earth_616__001One of the amazing things about this whole thing is that it has storied financial media such as the Wall Street Journal talking about comic books. Unfortunately, the web version of that article is behind a paywall, but, fortunately, Comic Book Resources and Bleeding Cool have read the article for us.

One of the tidbits to come out of that is the previously planned Spidey shared universe films, Sinister Six, Venom and an as-yet-unnamed female focued spin-off are still in development, although Sinister Six will be delayed and will not be hitting its November 11, 2016 release date.

Variety reports that these spin-offs will not have the creative influence of Kevin Feige, who will be consigned to being in control of Spidey’s films and MCU appearances. That means these dicey ideas have not gotten any less dicey.

Spider-Man will appear in Captain America: Civil War:

The above WSJ article also cites sources who say that Spidey will be appearing–as long rumored and discussed in the Sony Hack e-mails–in Captain America: Civil War. Dan Wickline at Bleeding Cool breaks it down for us logically, showing only that film could only be the crossover film by means of elimination:

This was the obvious choice as the original press release said Spider-Man would appear in a Marvel movie prior to the release of the next solo Spider-Man movie on July 28th, 2017. The only Marvel films that would work for that were the already completed Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man… so those are a no. The sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy… Spidey in space is a no. Doctor Strange… doubt they’d put him in another characters debut. So that left only Civil War.

Sounds good to me.

No money changed hands during the deal:

Sony paid nothing for the right to have Spidey in Marvel films. Marvel paid nothing to rent Spider-Man from Sony. Each keeps the grosses from its individual films.

This could be a cash waterfall for Sony.

Hugh Jackman was excited to hear the news, hopeful a similar arrangement can be met between Marvel and Fox:

Screen Crush had the distinct pleasure of breaking the news of the Sony/Marvel deal to Hugh Jackman during a press appearance to promote his latest film, Chappie.

Jackman has always been an advocate for having Wolverine crossing over with the MCU. However, the relationship between Fox and Marvel isn’t quite as polite as the one between Sony and Marvel. Jackman is a remarkably young looking 46, but it’s not likely that a similar deal will be made before, as Jackman says, he gets too old to play Wolverine.


Comic Book Resources


The Hollywood Reporter

Bleeding Cool

Screen Crush

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BREAKING: Marvel & Sony Announce Agreement to Share SPIDER-MAN

Posted on 10 February 2015 by William Gatevackes

spidey and avengersIt was a rumor that was confirmed by a set of leaked e-mails. Now it has finally become officially. Marvel has Spider-Man back. Well, at least a share of him back.

Marvel.com broke the news that Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have entered into an agreement to “bring Marvel Studios into the world of Spider-Man,” as the press release puts it.

What this means that sometime between now and July of 2017, Spider-Man will be appearing in a Marvel Studios film. Sony will then release their next Spider-Man film on July 28, 2017. That film will be co-produced former Sony head Amy Pascal, Kevin Feige, and Marvel. There is a chance that members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be appearing in that film as well. Sony will finance, distribute and own the film, and have final creative say.

The press release calls this a new creative direction for the hero. As anyone who has read the leaked Sony e-mails knows, Marvel wants a teen aged Spider-Man to work with. Reading between the lines, you can probably call the Andrew Garfield era of Spider-Man over, since Garfield, at 31, is starting to get way too old to play a teen.

The Sony e-mails made it clear that Marvel wanted Spidey for Captain America: Civil War. Whether this remains true or not, or we will see Spidey in another Marvel film down the line, is something that we will surely find out as the days and weeks pass.

This seems like a win-win for Sony. They get Marvel, the studios that made a hit out of a talking raccoon and tree tandem, to work their magic on Spider-Man, and they get keep of the profits. While I didn’t think the Garfield-era was as bad as most people thought it was (although I will say it was frustratingly flawed), Spider-Man is a character that deserves to be done right. Now it might finally be done right.

Now, if only we can have a little bit of Glasnost between Fox and Marvel for a similar arrangement to be made, I’d be a happy Comic Book Movie Editor!

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STATE OF THE COMIC BOOK FILM: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Posted on 30 December 2014 by William Gatevackes

2014 comic book films2014 was supposed to be a warm up year of sorts, a rest period before the big year of 2015 arrived. After all, Avengers: Age of UltronBatman v. Superman: Dawn of JusticeFantastic Four and Ant-Man was supposed to be joining other geek-friendly films such as Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens to create one big festival of pop culture magnificence.

However, it would turn out that 2014 would be great in its own right–and 2015 might not be as good as it seemed.

captainamericawintersoldierposterGoing into this year, Marvel Studios seemed primed for a stumble, if not an outright fall. While 2013’s Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World were box office successes, creatively they were the weakest of Marvel’s offerings to date. This was troubling because 2014 promised a sequel to a franchise that didn’t light the world on fire with its first installment and featured a character that conventional wisdom said wouldn’t play well overseas and the start of a brand new concept featuring characters all but unknown by the general public, characters that included such silly offerings as a talking raccoon and a sentient tree who could only speak its own name. If Marvel didn’t bring its A game, it could have been in serious trouble.

Well, Marvel brought its A+ game. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a taught political thriller that doubled its predecessor’s worldwide grosses and changed the landscape of the Marvel film universe forever. And that unproven concept? That was Guardians of the Galaxy, which only became the highest grossing film of the year domestically and the second highest grossing film worldwide (behind the inexplicably popular Transformers: Age of Extinction). And that film’s two breakout stars? You guessed it, the talking raccoon and the walking tree.

edgar wrightBut it wasn’t all champagne and roses for Marvel. In May, the studio parted ways with Edgar Wright, the director who had been shepherding the studio’s Ant-Man adaptation for the better part of a decade. The break came after Wright had already cast the film and production was set to begin. This parting of ways was especially shocking considering that the official party line Marvel put out up to that point was that the only reason there would be a Ant-Man film at all was due to Wright’s vision. However, it was Marvel’s fiddling with that vision–including a rewrite done without Wright’s input–was what broke this particular camel’s back.

Wright was replaced as director by Peyton Reed. Reed had shown inventiveness with his breakthrough film, Down With Love, but had become over recent years a journeyman director of sorts, helming films such as The Break-Up and Yes Man. While this might seem like a step down from Wright in a lot of people’s eyes, many others might consider Reed a better choice. With Wright, you might have gotten an inventive take on the character filtered through the eyes of an auteur, albeit one that might not have meshed well with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With Reed, you have a competent director with an individual style that is malleable enough to bend the way Marvel wants it to bend. Still, in my eyes, Wright’s moving on is a disappointing missed opportunity.

big hero 6Disney had another hit based on a Marvel comic book, although not one put out by Marvel Studios. Big Hero 6 was based on a Marvel comic, yet the concept was kept in house by Disney Animation. While the creative minds at Marvel had input, Disney want to put their own spin on the boy meets robot tale. The result is a charming film chock-full with more Marvel Comics’ Easter Eggs than you’d find in most Marvel Studios offerings. The film has made over $320 million and counting worldwide, coming close to doubling its production budget back.

Moving onto Marvel properties at other studios, X-Men: Days of Future Past marked a revitalization of Fox’s X-Men license. Bryan Singer returned to the franchise with this film, which came up with the brilliant idea of merging the cast of the original trilogy with the cast of X-Men: First Class in a quasi-adaptation of one of the best stories from the comics. If that wasn’t enough fan service, the film served as a soft reboot of the franchise, removing two of the lesser films of the franchise–X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins; Wolverine–from film continuity.

The film went on to make over $740 million worldwide and jump started Fox’s efforts of creating a shared universe out of the X-Men universe. Another sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse has been announced, another Wolverine film is in the works, and we might finally see Channing Tatum’s Gambit and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool on the big screen.

Andrew Garfield;Paul GiamattiWhile Fox is well on its way to building a shared universe with its Marvel license, Sony has had its plans for a similar shared universe with its Spider-Man license, which it announced with films based on Venom and Sinister Six last year,  thrown into turmoil over disappointing returns for Amazing Spider-Man 2. And by Sony standards, the film making only three and a half times its production budget worldwide was a disappointment. I still can’t get over that. I’d love to get that much return on any investment I made. For Sony, that is a failure.

Regardless, the studio appeared to go into panic mode over this spanner in the works, with rumors of a spin-off featuring Aunt May, a film focusing on a team of females from the Spidey mythos, and a potential crossover with Marvel Studios being spread around.

But depths of Sony’s desperation truly became known during the Great Sony Hack of 2014. E-mails amongst top executives leaked during the hack showed a studio grasping at any straw that came their way when it came to Spider-Man. The crossover idea with Marvel Studios was confirmed. Inviting Sam Raimi back to take over the franchise was suggested. Another full reboot was offered up by Jeff Robinov, with an older Spidey and an adaptation of Kraven’s Big Hunt being part of it.

The result of all this is a sense of uncertainty of where Sony will be going with the Spider-Man franchise. As of right now, the studio still has Sinister Six scheduled for November 11, 2016. Whether or not that film will see the light of day, or if we will see Spider-Man hanging with Iron Man and Captain America before then, is anybody’s guess.

upcoming-dc-films1Warners had a quiet year when it came to comic book films in the theaters–no DC Comics films were released this year–but it more than made up for it when it came to its future plans. First was the scheduling brouhaha over Superman v. Batman. Warners moved it out of 2015 to May 6, 2016. The only problem was, Marvel had a then-unannounced film scheduled for that day. Instead of backing off, Marvel announced that that Captain America 3 would fill that spot. A tense game of chicken developed until Warners blinked and moved its film to March 25th.

While Marvel won that battle, DC scored a major victory in October when Warners announced a series of 10 DC Comics films, coming two a year from 2016 to 2020. Outside of Batman v. Superman, no solo Batman or Superman films were announced. Instead, we get DC’s B-team. Wonder Woman finally gets a film. Green Lantern gets another chance at charming audiences. Little known concepts such as Suicide Squad and Cyborg get films. And Aquaman hits screens only 12 years after it was mocked on Entourage. The rest of the list is made up of the long-rumored Shazam film and the optimistic Justice League and Justice League 2.

In contrast, Marvel’s announcement of their film slate two weeks later seemed a bit anti-climactic. Outside of Captain Marvel, arguably Marvel’s biggest female hero, getting a solo film, there were no big surprises. The Thor and Captain America sequels got subtitles (Ragnarok and Civil War respectively), Doctor Strange and Black Panther finally got official release dates. Long in development The Inhumans gets a slot and the third Avengers film will be broken up into two installments.

Frank_Millers_Sin_City _A_Dame_to_Kill_For_172014 proved to be a bad year for Frank Miller. There was 300: Rise of An Empire, the sequel to 300 that was supposed based on a Miller comic called Xerxes, a comic Miller never got around to writing. The filmmakers decided to go on without Miller, focusing on the Greek fighters instead of the Persian leader. International grosses helped the film overcome disappointing domestic grosses to earn three times its budget.

A film that Miller was personally involved with was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Miller returned to co-direct the sequel with Robert Rodriguez, and provided an original yarn to fill out the adaptations from his legendary comic series. What should have been an eagerly awaited follow-up was welcomed by lukewarm reaction from critics and an even worse reaction from audiences. The film couldn’t even break the top five in its release weekend, and ended up making $26 million less worldwide than its relatively modest $65 million dollar budget. Can we call Hollywood’s dalliance with Frank Miller’s officially over?

As for the rest of the comic book films, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles followed the Michael Bay formula. Even though Bay only served as producer, the film suffered Bay’s trademark of overcoming a lambasting by critics yet to become a global success. Hercules also became a modest success when international grosses were taken into account. And I, Frankenstein was a disappointment.

As for next year? Well, we won’t have Batman v. Superman, since that has been moved to 2016. Fantastic Four could either be a trainwreck or a risky venture, depending on what leaked plot summary you believe. Kingsman: The Secret Service could become the latest hit adapted from a Mark Millar comic. Marvel should rake in money hand over fist with Avengers: Age of Ultron, and audiences should come to Ant-Man even with the tumultuous backstage drama. All of this will set the stage for the next 6 years of comic book films, much to the chagrin of the medium critics.


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