When news was announced about the cast for Captain America : Civil War, folks starting referring to the sequel as Avengers 2.5. But based on the first trailer, it’s clearly a Cap movie – it’s just that Cap’s quest for justice for his friend Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier) leads him to war with Iron Man and his team.
Which is a clever twist to how the original comic book story played it. It’s about Cap being loyal to his best friend in the face of virtually impossible odds. What a story this is going to be! And we get a first look at Black Panther too! 2016 is going to be an amazing superhero movie year.
Netflix’s collaboration with Marvel featuring the grittier, street-wise superheroes of New York (of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) enters into Phase Two with Jessica Jones. Whilst Daredevil has a marquee-level brand recognition, Jessica Jones would only be familiar to diehard comic book fans, from the Marvel MAX series, Alias. Thus, it represented a bit of a risk for Netflix-Marvel to produce a Jessica Jones series over a more prominent character like say, The Punisher or even Luke Cage. But the gamble paid off and how!
The latest DC crossover event Convergence gave the company the excuse to reboot its characters yet again. For some reason, Marvel and DC are convinced that comic book readers constantly want something new in lieu of memorable stories.
The Silver Age Green Lantern (a.k.a. Hal Jordan) gets his latest makeover with the Renegade storyline: Hal gets a new look as he goes rogue from the Green Lantern Corps and along the way, Jordan steals a Green Lantern prototype gauntlet and power pack from the armoury.
To be honest, I rather balked at yet another superhero being ‘reinvented’. Already, Marvel has given us a female Thor and so it seemed cliched to now come up with a distaff Wolverine. As you know Logan is dead – though the Old Man Logan version turned up in a X-Men comic recently – and so his clone X23 (Laura Kinney) takes up his mantle, in his original yellow and blue costume.
Well you know when it comes to big superhero comics crossover, it’s easy to be cynical & look at them as nothing more than cash-grabs i.e. a gimmick to lure completist fans to buy every comic ‘associated’ with the main event storyline.
Well, strictly speaking, the issues focusing on Batman, Superman and the Flash do not occur within the current continuity of the regular titles so, one might argue that these one-shots do not qualify as cynical cash-grabs but a genuine attempt to explore the implications of Darkseid’s death.
Supergirl is the latest superhero TV series and joined the likes of The Flash (2nd Season), Arrow (4th) & Agents of SHIELD (3rd) in an ever-increasing costumed tights buffet. I don’t count Gotham as a superhero TV series as it is just a (boring) police procedural set in the Batman universe & worse still, a prequel (I hate prequels).
Ironically, despite the fact that the pilot was leaked online months ago, Supergirl’s premiere episode did very well out of the blocks. Presumably, the female lead and Superman associations put the new series in good stead. Apparently this series is based on the Christopher Reeve Superman continuity and thus adopts a more light-hearted tone. And thus has nothing to do with current DC comics continuity (which is messed up) or the DC movie universe as established by Man of Steel (very very dark) – which makes sense.
However, because of this, there is less Geek Out value to Supergirl compared to the other series above-mentioned & will probably appeal more to the Gotham crowd than hardcore comic book geeks. The Flash and Arrow still have an edge over Agents of SHIELD, due to the CW writers and producers being more faithful to the source material than even Marvel itself, surprisingly.
Oliver Queen’s running for Mayor of Star City (Arrow) and the appearance of King Shark (!!!) in The Flash (not to mention the new Firestorm) in the latest episodes gives us geeks exactly what we want in a superhero TV series – nods to original material, over the top heroics & of course, ridiculous villains! Awesome fun!
Probably aware that comic fans might just be getting tired of publishers using the death of superheroes to create the facade of something new happening in their titles, DC have decided to kill off its most iconic villain, Darkseid (see above)!
This event occurred in the currently ongoing Darkseid War within the pages of Justice League. With the demise of this dark god, DC have elevated five characters to divine status viz. The Flash – God of Death, Superman – God of Strength, Batman – God of Knowledge (see above), Shazam – God of Gods and Lex Luthor – God of Apokolips! Of course, everything returns to normal by the end of this arc but curiously to see how it all pans out.
What was perhaps jarring was that Act One of Darkseid War had quite brilliant artwork by Jason Fabok but Act Two features less impressive work from Francis Manupal. Although that last full page seemed just fine (see above). Well, of course, the narrative could have done with less characters – it’s so hard to keep up as usual with superhero plots (convoluted for its own sake) but all things considered a good run thus far.
Well, it may have taken 54 years but better late than never! Finally, the concept of the DC multiverse first mooted in The Flash #123 (1961) makes its way into mainstream pop culture.
The second episode of CW’s The Flash Season 2 sets up this premise as the core storyline for the series with the introduction of Jay Garrick (the Flash of Earth-2). Kudos to the writers and producers of the show for diving boldly into this challenging scifi-superhero concept. That last bit teasing the Earth-2 Harrison Wells was brilliant as well – could Wells be Zoom? Can’t wait to see how The Flash develops this in the episodes to come!
While the success of the Marvel Studios movies has had an impact on Hollywood, it has also changed the face of Marvel comic books. Where once the X-Men held sway as Marvel Comics’ main draw, now it’s the Avengers. Look at the teaser for the post-Secret Wars All-New All-Different Marvel and you will hard pressed to find a single X-Man or Fantastic Four member. Why? Because Fox owns the movie rights to those characters and from a business perspective, why would Marvel promote these characters? See how screwed up it all is now?
As Spider-Man is back in the Marvel fold – in the sense that Marvel is collaborating with Sony on the character – the Spider-verse is high up on Marvel’s priorities. Except that Peter Parker/Spider-Man has morphed into Tony Stark/Iron Man. What a revolting development! Also, there are titles for Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman & the Ultimate Spider-Man, all in the same universe! Confused yet? Don’t worry, you will be.
Speaking of Stark, the Invincible Iron Man #1 at least reads like a proper title compared to the anthology nature of Amazing Spider-Man #1. The most interesting moment in this reboot comes in the form of a date with an Indian (female) scientist where the latter recounts that she has invented a cure for the mutant gene with no negative side effects. And there you go, with one stroke of the pen, Fox will have no more mutant characters to make movies about! Will Marvel do this?
Avengers #0 crams an introduction to all the various A-teams (remember when it used to be X-teams?) in the new Marvel Universe. I must admit that I did not understand a single storyline and was bemused by the fact that the Squadron Supreme – which began as a Marvel parody of the Justice League – is now a fully fledged title within the Marvel Universe. How lame can you get?
So yeah, don’t expect me to re-visit this rebooted new Marvel anytime soon – except perhaps to explore how badly Marvel has messed up the X-Men and Fantastic Four.
This week brought along the return of The Flash and the third episodes of Limitless and Agents of SHIELD (Season 3).
Bit of a curveball as we started Season 2 of The Flash with the disappearance of Ronnie Raymond (yeah, we know he isn’t dead – Firestorm is part of DC: Legends of Tomorrow) and Barry Allen isolating himself from his loved ones in the six months following. Well, along comes the really lame super-villain Atom Smasher, whose only purpose is to introduce the villain of the season (Zoom) and the family all coming together as one. If you are wondering, Jay Garrett (the ‘Golden Age Flash’) appears at the end. But slow moving – c’mon this is The Flash – but next episode promises more…
Agents of SHIELD is finally a fully-fledged superhero TV show with Daisy (formerly Skye) demonstrating her Inhuman powers. However, the team is fragmented with May hiding out with her father & Simmons on some desolated planet. But not for too long as Ward reforms HYDRA and the Agents get together again to face the emerging threat.
Was rather skeptical about this TV adaptation of the Limitless movie but this episode demonstrated that the over-arching story concerning the plans that Senator Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) has for our protaganist Brian, has legs and the introduction of the diabolical Mr Sands (Colin Salmon, Walter Steele from Arrow) into Brian’s life is a masterstroke. Looking forward to see how the show develops this. Oh and Jennifer Carpenter is a pure gem as always!
If nothing else, the Fantastic Four reboot has gotten us thinking about the worst superhero movies out there – of which there is an abundance, sadly.
Well, first up, of course, the obvious ones from DC’s World’s Finest, no less.
SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE (1987)
How did this franchise go from highly acclaimed (the first two instalments) to an absolute dud?
BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997)
Tim Burton revived the Bat-franchise with two well-received dark movies before Joel Schumacher decided to have some campy fun with the character. George Clooney famously said that he almost single-handedly killed the Caped Crusader! A nadir for the superhero genre.
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006)
Again, two hit movies in the franchise somehow led to a turkey. Bryan Singer abandoned this 2nd X-Men sequel to helm Superman Returns (more of that later) leaving Bret Ratner to pick up the pieces. What he assemble was a travesty that subsequent X-Men movies have barely acknowledged. Favourite line? “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009)
Now, Fox had a huge hit with The Last Stand (based on the goodwill generated by the first two X-movies) so they probably thought, let’s take the most popular X-Man and make an origin movie that is just as bad. Here’s how awful this was – they sowed up Deadpool’s mouth! Seriously WTF!
SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006)
Not content in being an indirect cause for X-Men: The Last Stand sucking so bad, Bryan Singer had to foist on us all this ill-judged sequel to Superman II. C’mon! It was obvious from the beginning that this was the wrong approach for Superman in 2006.
Yes I do realise that there are still many more out there but the ones highlighted above were serious tentpole movies that spent a fair amount of money but failed as creative endeavours (some of them actually made big bucks). Thus, I ignored the likes of Daredevil, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, Green Lantern, Amazing Spider-Man 2 etc. Considering the only superhero characters at risk now are solely in the hands of 20th Century Fox (Daredevil and Punisher have thankfully reverted to Marvel and SONY is working with Marvel on Spider-Man), there is still scope for bad superhero films with the upcoming Deadpool, Gambit and upcoming X-movies. Fingers crossed, everyone!
(Note: This review is filled with spoilers. Mainly because I find it hard to believe that after reading this, you would be insane enough to still want to watch this turkey!)
This Fantastic Four reboot never had a chance. From the get-go, geeks hated it. From director Josh Trank boasting about how his version would be a ‘game-changer’ to the controversial casting, this reboot has had a troubled journey. Sadly, the finished movie justifies the hate and then some.
In an attempt to ‘modernise’ the origins of the Fantastic Four – and borrowing from the Ultimate Fantastic Four series – the movie gutted out everything that made Fantastic Four so special in the first place. That sense of connection. One never got that sense from this movie.
In the comic book origin, scientist Reed Richards and pilot Ben Grimm were best friends; Susan Storm was Richards’ girlfriend and Johnny Storm was Susan’s brother. Without the pre-existing relationship between Reed and Susan, their link is tenuous. Also, in the movie, Susan and Johnny are adopted siblings and of different races as well. This made any connections between them rather hard to swallow.
From that poor foundation, it becomes impossible for Trank to build up an effective story with too many plot holes to fill. For example, Reed is recruited by the Baxter Institute by way of a science fair experiment? Ludicrous. Susan gets her power without even being part of the inter-dimensional jaunt? Illogical. After the accident, Reed disappears for a year – a plot point that fails to serve the story at all!
The movie takes ridiculous short-cuts throughout, without any explanation. We never see how the characters develop their powers – we are given the finished product instead. The battle scenes are incredibly lame and do not get me started how Fox utterly fucked up Doctor Doom yet again!
Firstly, how did Victor Von Doom survive for a year in Planet Zero (not the Negative Zone, as it should have been). Secondly, why are there no security precautions to deal with Doom when everyone who returned from Planet Zero has some incredible powers. Finally, why is it so easy for the Fantastic Four to dispatch Doom when earlier he was shown to kill people by merely looking at them?
Suffice to say that this is one of the worst superhero movies in recent memory and will take its rightful place alongside X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Superman Returns and Spider-Man 3.
DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE ENOUGH OF A FAILURE SO THAT FOX WILL GIVE UP AND RETURN THE FANTASTIC FOUR TO MARVEL.
The Merc with the Mouth gets his own movie! And it certainly looks like Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool – though am not sure if that’s much of a compliment. And judging from the red band trailer, it’s everything you expected a Deadpool movie to be. Not quite sure if that’s a good thing though.
I suppose it’s something we somewhat take for granted but it’s hard to believe that Ant-Man is the 12th Marvel Studios superhero movie! The mere fact that I can write the words “superhero movie” is already a minor miracle considering that these were rare once upon a time. So I enjoy the superhero movie phenomenon as long as I can.
But seriously folks, compared to other action-adventure blockbusters franchises, superhero movies have generally been good entertainment, value for money and relatively well written to boot! Sure, there have been a couple of exceptions but overall, it has been a good run since the first Iron Man.
And that’s the movie that Ant-Man most feels like – it’s the origin story of a man in a suit which grants him super powers – and for most part, director Peyton Reed (who took over from Edgar Wright) has done a commendable job in keeping the movie well afloat despite its problems in pre-production.
The difference between Iron Man and Ant-Man is that with the latter, there is now a vast backstory to contextualise the tale. This applies especially to this Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Ant-Man, where we now discover that Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne had been working with SHIELD (as Ant-Man & Wasp) in the 80s. Also, instead of Yellowjacket being one of the manifestations of Pym’s insanity, it is a separate (villainous character, altogether). All this serves to give greater depth to the MCU.
In addition, there is a marked lighter tone to Ant-Man that is similar to that encountered on Guardians of the Galaxy, which puts Paul Rudd (Scott Lang) right in his element. The means by which Pym (Michael Douglas) recruits Lang as the new Ant-Man is cleverly handled with the first sequence where Lang shrinks down, a wonder to behold! Evangeline Lilly provides Lang with an apt foil – as Hope Van Dyne (Pym’s estranged daughter) and the possibility of another female Marvel superhero (stay for the post-credits scene!).
There is an unevenness about how the film ends, which is not helped by the two post-credits scenes but perhaps that’s the idea – to make us geeks feel like the MCU is one ever continuing story. For what its worth, Ant-Man has earned its right to be part of the tale’s unfolding.
Last time out, Fox botched its characterisation of Dr Doom – one of the most iconic of super-villains – and that, and it’s rather campy approach marked its first attempt at adapting Marvel’s Fantastic Four as a failure. Watching this final trailer for this FF reboot, it is clear that the critical point of acceptance will once again hinge on the handling of Doom.
Apart from that, based on the trailers so far, this reboot looks like a serviceable origin story, using the Ultimate Fantastic Four series as a strong inspiration. In a year of mega-blockbusters like Fast and Furious 7, Jurassic World and Terminator: Genisys letting us down on the basic story front, hopefully Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four will surprise us all with a solid plot and characters, even as Marvel Studios itself roots for it to fail.
Zack Snyder has well and truly thrown down the gauntlet for DC superheroes with this new Batman v Superman trailer!
The trailer explains the background behind why the Dark Knight would want to take down the Man of Tomorrow and in doing so gives a solid middle finger to all the trolls who have been bitching about the third act of Man of Steel all this time!
There are great shots of Wonder Woman to savour as well and it does look like B v S is going to give Captain America: Civil War a good fight for superhero movie of 2016.
The last two years have been amazing for superhero comic book geeks. In the wake of the mega-success of The Avengers, superheroes have gone from strength to strength with Arrow and Agents of SHIELD setting the pace for superhero TV as well. But it is with The Flash, that geeks can truly see the potential of TV series that are faithful to the core values of the original comic book. From the very beginning, the folks behind The Flash have been committed to the tone of DC Comics’ Silver Age – superheroes created by science, tongue-in-cheek reference points without sacrificing the crucial human element – by getting the casting right (Grant Gustin must be the find of the season!), ensuring quality writing on the episodes and giving something back to the diehard geeks on a consistent basis (Mark Hamill saying the line “I am your father” for one!).
Could the much anticipated finale live up to the hype? Yes it could and how! The pacing of the finale kept keen watchers on tenterhooks for most of the duration as Barry Allen tried to resolve the conundrum – should he change the past and lose his present? The emotional resonance was kept to a reasonable degree but that didn’t stop me from crying buckets at different points. Along the way, the writers also offered glimpses of things to come in Season 2, even as The Flash made his critical decision to pursue justice instead of mere sentimentality. Still that did not prepare me for the shock twist at the end! A brilliantly conceived denouement that brought about a catastrophe that left Season 1 on a cliffhanger.
And so, we are left hanging and looking forward to DC’s Legends of Tomorrow before The Flash Season 2 speeds into our lives! Can’t hardly wait!
CW and DC up the ante in the Superhero TV stakes with a super-team of time travellers. This is really ambitious but if done properly could be a game-changer and force Marvel/ABC to look beyond the lame grey super-spy concept of Agents of SHIELD. It’s a good time to be a geek!
According to Box Office Mojo, “Avengers: Age of Ultron ruled the box office this weekend with a huge $187.7 million, which is the second-biggest debut ever. Unfortunately, the top opening ever belongs to its predecessor, Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million)” which is a great start, of course, and continues to augur well for the future of the MCU.
The site also noted that “the Avengers sequel also continues to do strong business overseas, where it’s earned $439 million before even debuting in China or Japan”. Which hopefully means that the movie will go on to outgross Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Warner Bros. is employing a different strategy than Marvel as it hires five writers for ‘Wonder Woman,’ has no clear leader and deals with new frustrations in its struggles to craft a compelling 10-movie world.