Category: news

What If? = Ratings

what if jane foster found the hammer of thorLast month, Marvel Studios announced plans for an upcoming animated adaptation of the classic comic series “What If?” for the new Disney+ streaming service.

“What If?” will present alternate reality stories that take place outside the mainstream Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity, with each story exploring how things would have unfolded differently had key moments in MCU history not occurred the way they did on the big screen.

During the Disney+ debut announcement at last week’s Investor Day, details were revealed for the first episode, which should give you an idea of how this anthology series will play out.

The first episode answers the question, “What If Peggy Carter Became Captain America Instead of Steve Rogers?”

In addition to Peggy Carter being the character to take the Super Soldier Serum, the episode will also feature Steve Rogers donning the first ever Iron Man suit, which Howard Stark builds for him for some reason. (more…)



First Poster for Joaquer

joker movie joaquin phoenix joaquer

That’s right. Joaquer.

You heard it here first.



The Case for the Snyder Cut

black suit superman justice league snyder cutOver the past few months, we’ve seen a slow-drip of news stories detailing what Zack Snyder’s version of the much-maligned Justice League film would’ve looked like, had it ever been completed (famously, Snyder left the project midway through due to a family tragedy and was replaced by Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers).

But, then, this week, that slow-dripping turned into a full-on flood, as Snyder himself finally opened up a bit about it in a fan Q&A, at The Director’s Cut panel at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena.

The big thing that fanboys have latched onto from the event is the quote of Snyder saying they needed to “grow the [F] up” if they thought that Batman wasn’t a cold-blooded killer of criminals.

That quote, and the idea behind it, has been one of the primary criticisms of his short run of DCEU films, beginning with Man of Steel, continuing on through Batman v Superman, and partially bleeding into Justice League.

Most fans of the comics agree that Batman (and Superman) don’t kill criminals for several very good reasons – that is, it’s not heroic; it alienates the characters from a younger audience; and it makes them no better than the criminals they’re trying to bring in.

Batman in particular already walks a very fine line when it comes to his nighttime vigilantism.

I can’t imagine a world in which the Gotham City Police Commissioner has a Batman-signaling device on the roof of police headquarters while Batman is out murdering criminals. It just doesn’t make any sense.

But I digress. While it’s a stupid quote, it’s by no means the worst thing Snyder said in his Q&A last weekend. (more…)



Rated ‘D’ for Doom: A Look at Superhero Movies in 2019

spider-man far from home movie posterHello, and welcome to another installment of “Rated ‘D’ for Doom,” my annual look at the year’s upcoming superhero movies!

It’s been a couple of years since I wrote one of these, but that’s only because we haven’t had any new superhero movies come out lately. I guess they’re just not that popular with general audiences anymore.

But fear not! It’s a whole new year, and it looks like several of the major film studios in Hollywood are going to risk it all once again and roll the dice on a few of these properties. Hopefully they don’t lose their shirts!

No, but, for real, the stakes have never been higher than they are right now – last year, three of the top five highest-grossing superhero movies of all-time were released. At the domestic box office, six of the top ten highest-earners on the year were superhero movies.

Studios have a lot riding on this fad, and they’re determined to milk it for all it’s worth.

You thought Solo was a gross cash-grab in the Star Wars Universe? Well wait until you see the TV spin-offs for Scarlet Witch, Loki, and the Winter Soldier!

Drain ‘em dry!

But this year, we have more superhero movies coming out than ever before (don’t, uh… don’t fact-check me on that), so we don’t have any time to waste on looking back or talking about TV spin-offs.

Let’s get right into it!
(more…)



Batman vs Superman in the Comics

Batman vs Superman Dark Knight ReturnsUnless you’ve been living under Iraq (quick, what’s the statute of limitations on making puns about Saddam in his hidey-hole?), you’ll know that Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is hitting theatres this weekend, and it seems poised to shatter some records at the box office, to say nothing of its title characters’ bones.

Now, personally, I have pretty much the same reaction to a screening of Zack Snyder’s version of this fight as I do to a dog eating its own poop: Yes, I know it’s happening all over the world this weekend, but I don’t much feel like seeking it out and paying money to watch.

See, to me, the most appealing thing about watching Batman and Superman get into a fight is in seeing the contrast between the two characters. Every time they lock up in the comic books, those differences are always highlighted so that the reader can easily pick a side in the fight (hint: It’s Batman. It’s always Batman).

But in the movie — at least from what I’ve seen of it in the trailers, which is probably all of it, let’s be real — those differences have all but been erased thanks to the efforts of DC/WB to make Superman fit into the world of the Dark Knight.

Instead of the overly-patriotic, relentlessly optimistic “Big Blue Boy Scout,” this film seems to be giving us a militaristic, angsty, tortured soul dressed in a dark costume and forced to scowl for two and a half hours straight. Cracking a smile is this Superman’s Kryptonite. (more…)



Rated ‘D’ for Doom: A Look at Superhero Movies in 2016

Hello, and welcome to another installment of “Rated ‘D’ for Doom,” my annual look at the year’s upcoming superhero movies!

Now, before we move into the current year, I always like to take a moment to reflect on the prior year’s releases and see how they fared.

Last year, we only had three big releases in the genre, and boy were they all over the place in terms of success. They were all three Marvel properties, though only two were released by Marvel Studios.

I’m speaking, of course, about Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and Fantastic Four. The first two were both critical and commercial successes, though the sequel to 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers (nobody calls it that) couldn’t help but be a bit of a let-down, considering the level of expectations surrounding it.

At the time of its release, Jim Doom and I discussed it at length, though my thoughts on it have changed a little bit over the past few months, and not in a good way. I think I’d be hard-pressed to justify ever watching it all the way through again, what with how long it is and how little happens in it.

Ant-Man was also a movie that came out last year, though I don’t know if I could tell you a single scene from it that stands out today (that I’m not simply remembering from the trailer, that is). It’s just a really forgettable movie with a formulaic ending.

And, lastly, we have Fantastic Four, the only non-Marvel Studios superhero movie that came out last year. The less we say about it, the better. I saw it. I regret seeing it. Let’s move on.

This is a new year, Jack! And if you like superhero movies, well, you’d better get ready to drop some serious coinage. In 2016, we have SEVEN new superhero movies coming out, and that’s actually down from what was originally slated, as Sony had to scrap Sinister Six after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shit the bed and ruined that entire “shared universe” that they were hoping so hard for.

The good news out of that whole debacle is that Spider-Man will appear in one of the movies coming out this year! And it’s alongside the other Avengers! There aren’t enough exclamation points for this!

We’ll get to that soon enough, though. For now, let’s run these films down, one by one, and we’ll talk about Spider-Man when the time is right. (more…)



Thoughts on Leto’s Joker

I was skeptical of the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker.
He didn’t look like Jack Nicholson’s Joker.

He didn’t sound like Jack Nicholson’s Joker.

He didn’t act like Jack Nicholson’s Joker.

But once we saw him, it was clear that the way he looked, sounded and acted was awesome.

A lot of the most noticeable discussion around Jared Leto’s Joker, as revealed fully in the new Suicide Squad trailer yearerday, involves these comparisons, as do the inevitable defenses.

“Oh, you just don’t like it because it’s such a different take on The Joker from what Heath Ledger did.”

And that’s true.

Jared Leto’s Joker doesn’t look like Heath Ledger’s Joker.

He doesn’t sound like Heath Ledger’s Joker.

He doesn’t act like Heath Ledger’s Joker.

That’s ok. None of those comparisons are necessary.

Because Jared Leto’s Joker doesn’t look, sound or act in a way that I would describe as awesome.

The comparisons are irrelevant. 

What is relevant is the fact that his portrayal looks and sounds really stupid. 



Dawn of Justice trailer review: Revealing Superman’s true identity

The expression on Superman’s face at the beginning of the trailer for Dawn of Justice really sums up the tone:

“I don’t have time to explain to these stupid people how lucky they are that I’m clumsily destroying their city.

“But if you’re going to make me explain myself…” (sigh) “…I’ll humor you.”

(It doesn’t help that Henry Cavill plays this disdainful character perfectly.)

I’ll admit that this trailer made me more excited for the movie than I had been. The previous trailer looked as if Zack Snyder was just redoing Watchmen, only this time with more valuable intellectual properties. Almost entirely thanks to how great Ben Affleck appears to be playing Batman, I’m significantly more excited — but not without skepticism.

I hated Man of Steel. I thought it was a terrible movie that made no sense as a Superman movie.

“If you want to make that movie,” I thought to myself and said out loud to anyone who would listen, “why make a Superman movie?”

Snyder recently told Entertainment Weekly that the destruction in Man of Steel was always part of the point — that there would be consequences for what happened.

Barring anything short of leaked emails from screenwriting discussions before the production of Man of Steel, I would be willing to guarantee you Zack Snyder is lying.

And the main piece of evidence is the movie he made.

Half the city is laid waste, and what does Superman do? He stops to make out with Lois Lane.

There is absolutely zero acknowledgment of the consequences amid the damage. Absolutely none! Snyder has gone on to say that the “thesis of Superman” is “that you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences.”

Beyond the point that WHEN HAS THAT EVER BEEN THE THESIS OF SUPERMAN? (which supports the idea that Zack Snyder was not setting out to make a Superman movie, but an indulgent Zack Snyder movie using DC’s properties) that theme was not reflected in Man of Steel at all.

Snyder’s defenses betray an exasperation — “I don’t have time to explain to these stupid people how lucky they are that I’m making epic films for them.”

And I’m afraid that explains what we see in this trailer.

Given the fact that there is absolutely no evidence for Snyder’s claim in the film he made, his defenses come off as baseless rationalizations. He has to pretend this was what it was all about to begin with.

And now he’s made a movie to bring those rationalizations to life.

The theme of this trailer is clearly that Superman is a benevolent godlike creature who is here to save us in spite of ourselves. Whether it’s our rash and cruel judgment (Batman) or our cynical fear (Luthor) only we as humans can really deny ourselves the salvation we desire.

The symbolism reflecting Snyder’s disingenuous quest to legitimize his blockbuster blunder suffering under the knife of jealous critics and insecure fanboys is a little creepy.

I really hope I’m wrong about this. Visually, Dawn of Justice looks like it’s going to be exciting. And I am fully aware of the fact that you can’t judge a movie based on a selectively edited trailer.

CJzHAU5WgAAfa0mAnd I hope that’s the case! Because when you peel back the spectacle and step back and look at this, what do you have?

A contemptible Superman who offers audiences absolutely nothing to sympathize with.

A Batman who appears set up to be a rage-fueled madman hellbent on crippling Superman for no real reason.

Humanity, through the form of the masses and the politicians, who appear to desire nothing more than to be led.

Who wants to watch a movie like that?

I’m clearly skeptical, but also hopeful this might end up being halfway decent, so I showed my girlfriend the trailer to get her opinion. She liked Avengers and the Thor movies (largely because of Chris Hemsworth) but has no dog in the comic book movie fight. She never saw Man of Steel (which is a good thing, because the movie is terrible).

Her first words — “My jaw dropped.”

I was surprised — maybe this looks good after all! So I asked, “You’re excited to see it?”

She was, but for one reason — to see Batman kick Superman’s ass.

“It took me about half a second to be on Team Batman,” she said.

As cool as Batman looks here (He wears armor! He’s in an inexplicable fight in the desert!) there’s little about this trailer, through the apparent moralizing and positioning, that suggests Batman is going to win this fight.

It concerns me that Snyder and DC are so unaware of their completely unlikeable take on Superman that they’re setting up a downer of a movie.



Ma & Pa Kent: History’s Greatest Monsters

pa kent

So, if you’ve been online today, you probably know by now that the new trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – – the most happy-go-lucky movie of all time – – has arrived, as Warner Bros and DC Comics unveiled it to attendees at the San Diego Comic Con this weekend.

If you haven’t been online today… how are you here?

Anyway, judging by the reaction, people are really excited for this movie, which is okay, I guess, though I personally think it looks like, well, it looks exactly like how I expected a sequel to Man of Steel would look.

In a word: Terrible.

But the most alarming thing to me, as a fan of comic books and storytelling IN GENERAL, is that Superman’s parents on earth are just absolute garbage people.

Remember, one of the key moments in the Man of Steel trailer saw a young Clark Kent asking his dad if he should’ve just let that school bus full of kids sink, if he should have just let all those kids drown, and Pa Kent replied, “Maybe.”

And, now, in this movie, we have a moment where he’s talking to Ma Kent, and she says, “You don’t owe this world a thing. You never did.”

Compare that with ol’ May Parker’s monologue to Peter in Spider-Man 2:

“Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams.”

I dunno, I think there’s something to be said for acknowledging and encouraging heroism in superHERO movies, especially when your only job as a character is to INSPIRE THE HERO TO BE GOOD.

Using Ma and Pa Kent to teach Superman not to trust humans is a very weird, very unnecessary decision on the part of the screenwriters. The Kents are supposed to tie him to humanity. No wonder the guy levels half of a city without so much as a second thought – – his parents are the worst.

Anyway, Jim Doom is going to pop in here soon with his thoughts on the trailer, so I don’t want to say much more. It is just a trailer, and things could be completely different by the time it hits screens, but I don’t hold out a lot of “S” for this movie.



The Amazing Leaked E-mail

I just came across this on Twitter, from user @TylerHuckabee.

It’s a leaked e-mail from one producer at Sony to another, and it’s an incredible insight into what was going on behind-the-scenes at Sony while The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was in development.

Date: 2013-11-07 17:08:49
From: nick.shore@[redacted]
To: amy_pascal@[redacted]

Subject: Spidey thought

Hey Amy – just a couple of rando thoughts from 35,000 LAX-JFK:

– A rising trend we see with Millennials are the really extreme forms of experiential exercise like Tough Mudder (a sort of filthy triathalon), the Color Run and even things like Hot Power Yoga, veganism etc. Millennials will often post “N.B.D.” on their social media after doing it , as in No Big Deal, also known as the “humble brag”…..wondering if Spidey could get into that in some way….he’s super athletic, bendy, strong, intense….and it’s all NBD to him, of course.

– EDM (electronic dance music) is the defining music for Millennials. Wondering if there’s an EDM angle somewhere with Spidey? His movements are beautiful, would be awesome with a killer DJ behind it

– Snapchat just launched a “story” functionality, which is sort of “day in the life of me” told in a series of snapchats that expire after 24 hours. It has a very VIP quality about it, since invitation only. Getting invited into Spidey’s Snapchat circle would be huge, and very buzzworthy and cool.

Very VIP.

This guy knows what he’s talking about. As my brother said when I showed him this, “He’s clearly read all of the reports.”