2014年10月31日 星期五

Upcoming Superhero Movies in the Order I Want to See Them

Between 2015 and 2020 there will be TWENTY NINE new superhero movies released between the four major studios.  That averages out to five or six a year!  Some of these movies, like Ant-Man, have been in the works for some time.  Others, like Captain Marvel, were only announced last week.  In the 80s, even a movie version of Batman was scoffed at, and in the next few years a host of second and even third string comic book characters will be getting their own, big budget adaptations.

More sobering is the fact that by 2020, when Green Lantern and Cyborg finally hit theaters, I'll be 45 years old.  It almost makes me glad that Marvel, Sony, Fox, and Warner Bros. didn't announce MORE movies.  For some strange reason, I just don't want to know which superhero hits the screen on my seventieth birthday.

I've divided these films into three categories: Might See It, Probably See It, and Gotta See It.  I'll start with the movies I'm least interested in, and work my way up from there.

Might See It

27. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 (2018)

I have almost no interest in seeing this film.  Andrew Garfield is a great Spider-man, but they really need to do something different with this franchise.  As it is, I almost feel like I've seen this movie already.  By the time this comes out, we will have seen SEVEN Spider-man universe films, and unless they start taking some chances with the franchise, I doubt we'll see much of interest in the third Amazing Spider-man.

26. The Sinister Six (2016)

This will be the sequel to The Amazing Spider-man 2, which was by all accounts an exceedingly average movie.  None of the villains in Amazing Spider-man 1 or 2 were especially compelling, though perhaps Chris Cooper will have the opportunity to add some much needed gravity to this film.  If I hear that Venom is in this I'll be more excited about it.

25. Captain Marvel (2018)

I don't understand why Marvel fans have been clamoring for this character.  I've read some of the Captain Marvel comics, and I don't see what the excitement is about.  It's possible that after I hear about directors, cast, and so forth I'll be more interested in this film, but the character by herself does almost nothing for me.

24. Inhumans (2018)

The Inhumans have never been interesting comic book characters, but I have the feeling that Marvel is going to alter these characters to make them fit into its cinematic universe.  There are certainly some possibilities in the idea of a "sleeper cell" of superhumans, present throughout much of human history.  As with Captain Marvel, I'm waiting to hear more about it.

23. Third Wolverine Film (2017)

It will probably be OK.  I saw both X-men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine on DVD, and I doubt I'll go out of my way to see this one in the theater.  How old will Hugh Jackman be in 2017?  If he keeps this up he's likely to break a hip!

22. Green Lantern (2020)

The Green Lantern is rarely an interesting comic book character, though I liked what Darwin Cooke did with him in DC's "The New Frontier."  I think that limiting his powers is crucial if this is going to be an interesting movie.  The Ryan Reynolds version was a bit too godlike for my taste.

21. Justice League Parts 1 and 2 (2017 and 2019)

I am skeptical about both of these films, but I'll be happy to change my tune after Batman v. Superman comes out.  If Batman v. Superman is good, then I'll be much more optimistic about Justice League.  However good Batman v. Superman is, however, it will still be directed by Zack Snyder.

20. Ant-Man (2015)

I like Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, but I've never liked Ant-Man (or DC's The Atom, for that matter).  It will probably be a decent movie, but I doubt that it will blow my mind.  If it's more comedic that might be a good thing.

19. Fantastic Four 2 (2017)

I'm ranking this low because I know almost nothing about the Fantastic Four reboot, due out next year.  Fox has been VERY quiet about this film, and if that movie tanks this might not even get made.

Probably See It

18. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)

Call me crazy, but I didn't think Guardians of the Galaxy was all that great.  Yeah, it was kind of funny (chuckles, not belly laughs), but along the way they burdened the movie with too many characters, and also decided to throw physics out the window.  It will probably be a decent film, but I'm not dying to see it.

17. Fantastic Four (2015)

I like that Simon Kinberg wrote the script.  I also like that it will be more "scientific" in tone.  I just wonder why we haven't heard more about this film.  It is, after all, due out next year.  Josh Trank is a good director, but none of the cast members have me intrigued.  Kate Mara isn't half as hot as Jessica Alba, and Michael B. Jordan isn't half the actor that Chris Evans turned out to be.

16. Deadpool (2016)

I'm hoping that this is the movie that makes us forget about Green Lantern.  Deadpool is a great character, and they could have a lot of fun with this one.  The "test reel" shows a lot of promise, and Fox seems to know what it's doing with the X-men characters.  Could be very good.

15. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Good: Academy Award-winner Chris Terrio is writing the script.  Bad: Zack Snyder is directing, and Wonder Woman's costume looks terrible.  I'd give this movie a 50/50 chance, but of course like everyone else I've got to see it.  If this movie is good, DC/Warner Bros. has it made.  If this movie is bad, DC's cinematic universe could be in trouble.

14. "Female Spider-Man Universe Film" (2017)

I'm only ranking this so high because it might be a Spider-Woman film.  Of course I would rather that Sony DIDN'T make a Spider-Woman film, and left this character to Marvel, but I'll take whatever I can get.  Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew has always been one of my favorite comic book characters, and I'd love to see her on the big screen.  If this movie turns out to be Black Cat, then I'll wait for DVD.

13. The Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 and 2 (2018 and 2019)

I'm just wondering how Marvel is going to do justice to the Infinity Gauntlet storyline in cinematic form.  Yes, this will be two movies, but then again that storyline spans the galaxy, if not the entire universe!  It could be amazing, or it could be numbing.  I guess we'll see in 2018.

12. Aquaman (2018)

I've always liked Aquaman, and Jason Momoa should be terrific in the part.  I have the feeling he'll be appearing in Batman v. Superman, Justice League, or both, so I'll probably have more of an opinion on the enterprise in 2017.  As it is, Aquaman could be an interesting film.

11. Cyborg (2020)

I'd be equally happy with a Deathlok movie, but in this respect DC beat Marvel to the punch.  I'm glad we'll be seeing more superheroes of color, and Cyborg could be good.  He'll be in Batman v. Superman, so I'll have a stronger opinion after I see that.

10. Shazam (2019)

When I was little Shazam (a.k.a. Captain Marvel) was one of my favorite characters.  The Rock will make an excellent Black Adam, and I have the feeling that this movie will be a winner for Warner Bros.  Having Dwayne Johnson on board is a good sign.

9. Wonder Woman (2017)

No, I'm not a fan of Gal Godot, but I've wanted to see a Wonder Woman film for a long time.  Ideally they will have recast Wonder Woman by the time this film enters production, but I'm not holding my breath.  Wonder Woman has a great backstory, and she is one of the most unique comic book characters ever.

Gotta See It

8. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

I know a lot of people are down on Thor: The Dark World, but I liked that movie.  I am a big fan of Walt Simonson's run on The Mighty Thor, and The Dark World more closely resembled that version of the character.  With Thor: Ragnarok they have an opportunity to even more closely approach that kind of Thor, and I look forward to seeing Surtur, one of the great Marvel villains, on the screen.

7. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

In the third Captain America we'll see Cap and Iron Man take sides over the superhuman registration act.  The Black Panther will also appear in this movie.  As a comic book event, I felt that Civil War was a bit over-hyped, but it's a compelling idea nevertheless.  And who knows?  Maybe Marvel will have the rights back to Spider-man by the time this enters production!

6. X-men: Apocalypse (2016)

I thought X-men: Days of Future Past was a great movie, and I look forward to more of the same from X-men: Apocalypse.  Like Surtur, the Red Skull, or Ultron, Apocalypse is one of the all-time great Marvel villains, and this movie should be quite a spectacle.  Hoping I'll see Cable in this film as well.

5. Suicide Squad (2016)

This is one movie that should be kid-unfriendly.  If you're not familiar with the comic book, the Suicide Squad are a group of supervillains coerced into working for the government.  I realize that Sony is trying a similar thing with its Sinister Six film, but most of Spider-man's foes aren't half as colorful as some of those found in the DC universe.  Putting the Joker in this movie would be an excellent (and lucrative) decision.

4. The Flash (2018)

The Flash has always been my favorite superhero, and I'm hoping to see a movie that does the character justice.  I've been watching the TV show, and while it's good it's not as good as a Flash movie could be.  If I was writing the script, I'd be going for either "Flash of Two Worlds" (Jay Garrick!) or something that involves the Reverse Flash killing Barry's wife/fiancee in the first act.

3. The Black Panther (2017)

Chadwick Boseman, the actor already cast as the Black Panther, is excellent.  If you don't believe me, check out the James Brown biopic "Get on Up."  A movie like this could really put the Marvel cinematic universe into an international context, and it will be great to finally see a black superhero (aside from Blade).  I'm hoping that the Wakanda of this film really mirrors the struggles and successes of modern Africa.

2. Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange?  Yes, Doctor Strange.  I've been wanting a Doctor Strange movie since forever.  Kevin Feige has spoken of incorporating some quantum theories/parallel dimensions into this film, and that gets me excited.  A Doctor Strange movie, if done right, could really mess with people's minds - in a good way.

1. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

The preview for this movie is above.  This is the only movie listed here that has a preview as yet.  As much as I liked The Avengers, I am even more anxious to see this film.  Ultron is their greatest villain, and this movie won't have the burden of explaining how all these heroes met each other in the first place.  Should be excellent.

2014年10月30日 星期四

A Review of Every Marvel and DC Movie from 1951 to the Present (Revised as of April 2015)

The Men in Black films have been left off this list, even though the characters are now the property of Marvel Comics.  The original comic books were not published by Marvel, and this is the reason I left them off this list.  I have also omitted Stamp Day for Superman, which was produced by the US Government, and cannot be classified as a feature film.  There are also a few "DC imprint films" (Road to Perdition, A History of Violence, Stardust, The Losers, Gen 13, RED, and RED 2 that are not here for various reasons.

Dr. Strange (1978) and Fantastic Four (1994) are not here either.  The former is a TV pilot, and never saw theatrical release, and the latter was only made to retain the rights to the characters.

And there are also the "novelty" superhero films, such as 3 Dev Adam, "Indian Superman," and "Italian Spider-Man."  These movies are/were exercises in copyright infringement, and never saw theatrical release outside of their countries of origin.  Many of these films are good for a few laughs, and can be seen in part or in their entirety on YouTube.

Excellent!  Had to see it twice!
Good movie with a few flaws.
Not bad, but not great.
I’d watch it once if I was bored enough.
[no stars]
Just terrible.
So bad it’s kind of good.
1950s, 1960s, 1970s

1. Superman and the Mole Men (1951) *

You can watch this whole movie on YouTube.  It is, by some accounts at least, the first feature film featuring a DC or Marvel superhero.

2. Batman (1966) @

You can also watch this one on YouTube.  I've read that at the time this came out, the two stars of the show were banging just about anything in a skirt.  Good times!

3. Superman (1978) ****

This film is classic, and is STILL one of the best superhero films ever made!  The scene where Lois "dies" really freaked me out when I was a kid.


5. Superman 2 (1980) ****

This one might be even better than the first Superman.  Terrence Stamp was fantastic as General Zod, the plot was well thought out, and many scenes in this movie are iconic.  See it if you haven't already.

6. Swamp Thing (1982) **

Wes Craven directed this before he rose to fame with A Nightmare on Elm Street.   As a child it was one of my favorite films, though I can't say I like it quite as much now.  Adrienne Barbeau was HOT.

7. Superman 3 (1983) **

Not quite as good as the first two Superman films.  Also quite jokey, but Richard Pryor was in it, so what could you expect?  Gotta love the "bad Superman" sequence.

8. Supergirl (1984) @

Supergirl, one of several kryptonians who survived the destruction of Krypton by fleeing to "inner space," does battle with an evil sorceress.  The actress that plays Supergirl is hot, but this movie makes almost no sense from beginning to end.

9. Howard the Duck (1986) @

I must confess that the shot of Leah Thompson in her panties gave me one of my first hard-ons, way back when I was 11 years old.  This movie is so awful that it demands your attention.

10. Superman 4: The Quest for Peace (1987) **

A lot of people like to go on about how terrible this one is, but it's not really trying to be a good film in the first place.  Christopher Reeve takes his last run at being Superman, and the whole thing is predictably silly.  Would have been cooler if "Nuclear Man" had been Firestorm.

11. Batman (1989) **

Tim Burton's 1989 movie phenomenon.  This is the movie that revived the genre after years of stagnation.  Pretty slow compared to more recent films, but a lot more like Bob Kane's original Batman comics.  In some ways, Michael Keaton is still my favorite Batman.  Fun Trivia: for the three weeks Jack Nicholson spent filming his scenes as the Joker he earned $6 million, in addition to a percentage of the box office gross, which amounted to something between $60 and $90 million!

12. The Return of Swamp Thing (1989) **

A surprisingly watchable movie.  More humorous than the first one, and Swamp Thing looks less rubbery.  It's too bad they never made a third one, because the run Alan Moore did on the comic book would have produced some really trippy movies.  Fun Trivia #1: Heather Locklear is in this.  Fun Trivia #2: The actress that played Faora in Superman II is Dr. Arcane's mistress.

13. The Punisher (1989) **

This is the Dolph Lundgren version.  It is on a lot of "worst of" lists, but I think that in many ways it is closer in spirit to the original Punisher comics.  Not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but not that bad either.


14. Captain America (1990)

This movie almost arrived in theaters, until the studio responsible realized how awful it was.  It makes little sense, it's surprisingly boring in parts, and the Red Skull bears an unfortunate resemblance to Skeletor from 1987's Masters of the Universe.

15. Batman Returns (1992) *

This didn't seem so much a movie as an excuse for a toy line.  By 1992 I was already sick of Tim Burton and his quirkiness, and this movie did nothing to change my opinion of him.  Yeah, Michelle Pfeiffer was a damn sexy Catwoman, but that fact alone did not save this film.

17. Batman Forever (1995) *

This is where Joel Schumacher stepped into the Batman franchise, and the results are unsuprising.  It's a shiny, pretty movie star world that proves unbearably dull.  It would have been bad enough, but Jim Carrey's overacting makes it so much worse.  Fun Trivia #1: Bruce Wayne breaks a henchman's neck after Two-Face disrupts the circus.  Fun Trivia #2: During a subsequent discussion, Wayne mentions to Dick Grayson/Robin that "The circus must be halfway to Metropolis by now."  Fun Trivia #3: Jon Favreau, who would go on to direct both Iron Man and Iron Man 2, is in this movie for about a second.

18. Batman and Robin (1997)

Gluttons for punishment would have seen this in the theater.  I was probably next door, watching a better film.  Seeing the apocalyptic performance Arnold Schwarzenegger gives as Mr. Freeze, one marvels that Batman Begins ever got made at all.

19. Steel (1997)

Shaq plays John Henry Irons, an ex-soldier who develops a suit of armor and then sets out to rid the inner city of high tech weaponry.  Some terrifically bad puns in this movie.  It was aimed at kids, and the plot makes little sense.

20. Blade (1998) ***

Now HERE is a good movie.  Not only was Wesley Snipes super cool, but the script was good and the direction was competent.  Kris Kristofferson also made a great sidekick.  My only complaint about this one is that the vampires just seem to "splash" out of existence.  It's kind of unsatisfying.


21. X-men (2000) *

I have never been a big fan of the X-men, either the films or the comic books.  This movie seemed very melodramatic to me, and I think without Hugh Jackman's performance as Wolverine this movie would have been a complete disaster.  As it is, it's forgettable.  Fun Trivia: Joss Whedon, of Avengers fame, helped write the screenplay for this movie.

22. Blade 2 (2002) ****

This movie is classic.  Blade 1 was already pretty good, but Blade 2 turned up the volume on everything.  It's super violent, super cool, and it is the reason someone needs to unearth Wesley Snipes for Blade 4.

23. Spider-Man (2002) **

I was as psyched as anyone else when I heard this movie was coming out.  With Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire involved, it seemed like a sure thing.  Then the Green Goblin almost ruined the movie for me.  Nothing against Willem Defoe, but that suit was ridiculous.

24. Daredevil (2003)

This has to be one of the worst superhero movies ever.  Ben Affleck didn't have the build to play The Man Without Fear, and the plot to this movie was a mess.  Bullseye was somewhat interesting, but this movie could have done without Elektra.

25. X2: X-men United (2003) **

I thought this was slightly better than the first film, but still not that great.  Had Brian Singer stayed on for X-men 3 and really built towards the Dark Phoenix saga, this would have been a better movie in retrospect.  Like the first, a bit corny.

26. Hulk (2003) ***

I can't see this as the unqualified disaster that it is often made out to be.  This is definitely one of the more intellectual superhero movies, and I liked the battle between The Hulk and the Absorbing Man at the end.  Could have been better, but could have been a lot worse.

27. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) *

No wonder Alan Moore wants nothing to do with Hollywood.  Movies such as this one prove his point.  This movie lacks the sense of irony that made the comic book so good, and one wonders what the hell Sean Connery was thinking.

28. The Punisher (2004) *

After Dolph Lundgren, it was Thomas Jane's turn to play Frank Castle.  This movie was better than Lundgren's, but it doesn't have the darkness that made the comic book so interesting.  Jane would have gone on to play Castle again in Punisher 2, but grew frustrated with the process involved.  Can't say that I blame him.

29. Spider-Man 2 (2004) ****

This is one of the great ones.  This movie hits the ground running, and the whole thing flows seamlessly from beginning to end.  Alfred Molina was a revelation as Dr. Octopus, and this movie is everything the first one wasn't.

30. Catwoman (2004) @

Halle Berry plays Catwoman, Sharon Stone plays the villain, and Benjamin Bratt plays the most clueless detective in the world.  The DC comic book character in name only.  That scene where the cats bring Halle Berry back to life is hilarious.  So bad it's good!

31. Blade: Trinity (2004) *

What a disappointment this one was.  Blade 2 was excellent, but this third installment was just stupid.  Why would Jessica Biel start listening to her MP3 as the vampires are attacking?  Wouldn't she want to hear what was going on?  Fun Trivia: Wesley Snipes was THIS close to playing the Black Panther in a movie adaptation of the Marvel character the same year, but the studio felt he was too recognizable as Blade.  A Black Panther film is still in active development at Marvel Studios, and the character is rumored to appear in the upcoming "Avengers: Age of Ultron."

32. Constantine (2005) ***

This oft-overlooked movie is worth your time.  It might not be classic, but it's a solidly put together film with an interesting protagonist.  The guy that plays the devil near the end is great.

33. Elektra (2005) *

Not a terrible movie, but not that good either.  Jennifer Garner stars as Elektra, and she would have looked just like the comic book character if she had only dyed her hair black.  A watered-down version of everyone's favorite female ninja assassin.

34. Batman Begins (2005) ****

Hell yes.  This was a movie Batman as we always wanted to see him.  Not the neurotic guy with all the gadgets, but the kind of guy who could kick your ass.  The scarecrow is awesome here.

35. Fantastic Four (2005) ***

Any movie featuring Jessica Alba in a skin-tight costume is going to have my attention.  The Thing looks kind of rubbery, but Tim Story did a good job with the material.  The battle at the end reminds you of the better FF comics.

36. Man-Thing (2005)

Low budget horror movie in which environmentalists square off against an evil petroleum company.  Man-thing doesn't appear until the movie's halfway over.  This film was shot in Australia, and many of the actors' accents are less than convincing.  A real chore to sit through.

37. V for Vendetta (2005) ***

Great film, made by the Wachowskis of Matrix fame.  Hugo Weaving is fantastic, and even if they dumbed down the source material it's still worth your time.

38. X-men: The Last Stand (2006)

Unspeakably bad.  This movie makes you feel sorry for Hugh Jackman.  Not only did this film almost destroy the franchise, but it also butchers one of the classic runs in the comic book.  Fun Trivia: this film was based on a comic book story written by Joss Whedon, with elements of The Dark Phoenix Saga added on.

39. Superman Returns (2006) **

Not as bad as some people make it out to be.  Yeah, Superman does come off as a stalker, and I don't know why they had to do so many of his flying scenes in CGI, but the part where Kevin Spacy and co. deliver a beatdown is excellent.

40. Ghost Rider (2007)

Ghost Rider STILL deserves a better movie.  Nicholas Cage is annoying throughout, and I have the feeling they were trying too hard to make this movie kid-friendly.  Peter Fonda couldn't have been less threatening as Mephisto.

41. Spider-Man 3 (2007) **

If they had just cut Venom out of this movie it would have been a good film.  As it is, Venom contributes almost nothing to the plot, and one gets the feeling that he was added as an afterthought.  Not terrible, but not that good either.

42. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) **

There are people who hate this movie, but I don't have any problem with it.  Galactus could have looked a lot cooler, and the movie stumbles near the end, but again there is Jessica Alba.

43. Iron Man (2008) ****

After Batman Begins, this is the other movie that reinvigorated the genre.  Where Batman Begins was dark, this one was funny.  Where Batman is driven, Tony Stark is brilliantly conflicted.  It is everything that Nolan's movie wasn't, and that's why it works.

44. The Incredible Hulk (2008) ****

This movie was sidelined by the overwhelming success of Iron Man, but I loved it.  I loved Edward Norton's take on the character, I loved the script he wrote for the film, and I loved the Greco-Roman take on The Hulk.  My only complaint is that he let The Abomination live at the end.  I found this hard to believe.

45. The Dark Knight (2008) ****

Still hands-down the best superhero movie ever made.  And yes, I liked The Avengers.  The plot is complex, the performances are amazing, and the direction is first-rate.  How could Nolan have ever topped this one?

46. Punisher: War Zone (2008) *

A more violent take on Frank Castle.  It's a solid film, but maybe a little too depressing for its own good.  I consider it an improvement on the first.

47. The Spirit (2008)

Fuck this movie is bad.  I saw Sin City so many times I had the lines memorized, and with The Spirit I was hoping for something similarly classic.  Unfortunately, Frank Miller isn't quite as good in the absence of Robert Rodriguez.

48. Watchmen (2009) ***

Two problems with this movie: the actors are too pretty, and way too much kung fu fighting.  Aside from these two problems, it is faithful to the comic book and works on many levels. Snyder might have bungled Sucker Punch, but this movie gave me hope for Man of Steel

49. X-men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

This movie is standard popcorn fare, much along the lines of Ghost Rider. Hugh Jackman goes through the motions, an attempt to bring Deadpool and Gambit into the mix is handled badly, and by the end you're thankful that it's not as dreadful as X3.


50. Iron Man 2 (2010) ***

I liked this almost as much as the first one.  Downey Jr. is given even better one-liners in this film, and Mickey Rourke characteristically chews the scenery.  Sam Rockwell is also great as Justin Hammer, and my only complaint is that Don Cheadle isn't given enough to do.

51. Kick-Ass (2010) **

I have friends who love this movie.  I don't.  I think the first half is good, but after Big Daddy dies it just gets silly - especially the jet pack.  A nice warm up for The Amazing Spider-Man, however.

52. Jonah Hex (2010) *

Josh Brolin stars as an ex-confederate soldier who can talk to dead people.  John Malkovich is the villain.  It was almost a good movie, but the soundtrack ruins the better moments and it gets pretty corny near the end.

53. Thor (2011) *

Considering how hard it must have been to adapt Thor to the big screen, I would consider this movie a success.  Still, compared to other movies Marvel Studios has made, I think this is the weakest one.  I've never been a big fan of Kenneth Branagh.

54. X-men: First Class (2011) **

Michael Fassbender makes this movie.  Forgive the pun, but he is positively magnetic as Magneto.  I thought the end was weak, but it's still miles ahead of the first three films.

55. Green Lantern (2011)

The movie had everything going for it.  I'm not even a big fan of Green Lantern, but when I heard about the director and the cast I got really excited.  Unfortunately the road to Green Lantern is paved with good intentions.

56. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) ***

I would rank this fifth among the Marvel movies, behind The Avengers, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor: The Dark World.  It might seem a bit slow for some people, but the mixture of Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark really worked for me.

57. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

Can't bring myself to either rent or download this film.  I can't.  I just can't.

58. The Avengers (2012) ****

There are entire websites devoted to how awesome this movie is.  It's a good film, but not one of the best.  Considering how difficult it is to put characters as diverse as Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor into the same movie universe, this one is an unqualified triumph.  I'm only sorry the Oscorp Tower didn't make an appearance.

59. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) ***

This is a good movie, and I'm looking forward to the sequel.  Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have some terrific chemistry, and it's a solid effort.  The Lizard is a bit too Hulk-like for my taste, but this is a vast improvement over Spider-Man 3.

60. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) **

This movie just bored me.  It's over three hours long, and Bane is unintentionally hilarious at times.  Anne Hathaway makes a great Catwoman, but that's all I can say in favor of this film.

61. Iron Man 3 (2013) *

I was super excited about this movie, but walked away from it disappointed.  It starts out well, but neither of the villains are very compelling, and the stunt work is too over the top.  My biggest complaint is the ending, which gives us a Tony Stark who no longer has any reason to be Iron Man.

62. Man of Steel (2013) **

Half of a great movie, and half of a Michael Bay movie.  It starts out well, even though some of the details surrounding Krypton don't bear thinking about.  Henry Cavill is a great Superman, but Zack Snyder was trying too hard to please too large an audience.

63. Kick-Ass 2 (2013) **

It's not a great movie, but it's not bad.  There are some funny scenes in this one, but it could have been a lot better.

64. The Wolverine (2013) **

I had high hopes for this one, but it wasn't all that good.  It's certainly much better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine and all the other X-Men films, but that's not saying all that much. 

65. Thor: The Dark World (2013) ***

This was a great movie.  I didn't love the first Thor, but this one was a vast improvement.  Reminded me a lot of the Walt Simonson run on the comic book.  Hoping to see Beta Ray Bill in Thor 3!

66. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) **1/2

Steve Rogers struggles with the modern world and his role in S.H.I.E.L.D.  After encountering the Winter Soldier, he has even more reasons to doubt the nobility of certain causes.  A very topical movie, with some great action sequences.  Didn't like it as much as Thor: The Dark World, but it was well done.

67. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) **1/2

Too much CGI, but some great performances from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.  I liked this movie more than "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," though the action sequences in Cap were better.  This film has more dramatic tension, better ensemble performances, and more heart.  Looking forward to the third film!

68. X-men: Days of Future Past (2014) ***1/2

A surprisingly good movie.  As mutantkind faces extinction, Wolverine journeys into the past to change the future.  Excellent performances, and one of the most emotionally resonant superhero films to come along in quite a while.

69. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) **

A good movie, though it features too many characters for its own good.  Humor holds the film together, and makes some of the less plausible plot elements seem more plausible.  As with many other recent films from Marvel Studios, seems less inspired than calculated.  Maybe the second one will be better?

70. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Going to see it tonight!

On the Way

I'm leaving Sony's Spider-man films off this list.  With the recent deal between Sony and Marvel Studios, the future of this franchise seems very uncertain.  Marvel's take on Spider-man will probably appear in Captain America: Civil War, plans for a solo film are definitely in the works, but it's too early to say when the next Spider-man film will hit theaters.

71. Ant-Man (2015)

This movie has been "in development" for something like forever.  Paul Rudd is featured as Ant-Man, and Michael Douglas plays his mentor.  This movie concludes Phase Two of Marvel's cinematic universe.

72. Fantastic Four Reboot (2015)

Josh Trank directs a cast of relative unknowns in this newest interpretation of Marvel's first family.  This film will be more scientific in tone, and instead of traveling into outer space Reed Richards and co. travel into another dimension.  The trailer looks pretty good.

73. Deadpool (2015)

Everyone's favorite wisecracking mutant mercenary gets his own movie.  Deadpool (as played by Ryan Reynolds) appeared in X-men Origins: Wolverine, but this will be a soft reboot of the character.  Reynolds was born to play Deadpool, and this R-rated take on the character looks good so far.

74. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman, Ben Affleck is Batman, Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, some guy I've never heard of is Cyborg, and Jason Momoa will appear as Aquaman.  Warner Bros. has constructed some very ambitious plans around this film.  We'll see if it works out.

75. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

More of a sequel to X-men: First Class, this film will focus on the origin of the mutants.  Apocalypse was always one of my favorite X-men villains.  This film will take place in 1983, and will hopefully also feature Cable.

76. Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America and Iron Man face off over the superhuman registration act.  Marvel has already stated that the Black Panther will appear in this film, and there will certainly be a host of other superheroes on hand. Rumor has it that Marvel's version of Spider-man will also make an appearance.

77. Suicide Squad (2016)

Hell yes Suicide Squad.  As with Deadpool, this could be a great film if they don't water it down too much.  Will Smith will star as Deadshot, Margot Robbie is Harley Quinn, and Jared Leto plays the Joker.  David Ayer is set to direct, and I'm thinking this one will be pretty good.

78. Doctor Strange (2016)

All I can say is... finally!  I've been waiting for this movie for so long.  Scott Derrickson is directing, and Benedict Cumberbatch will star as Stephen Strange.

79. Gambit (2016)

Channing Tatum will star as Gambit.  This one is straight out of left field, and there are few details available.

80. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)

Who would have thought the first Guardians of the Galaxy would be such a success?  And who would have thought that a sequel would be on the way so soon?  Most of the original cast and crew will probably return for this film.

81. Third Wolverine Film (2017)

Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold should be returning.  Hopefully they can improve upon The Wolverine, which wasn't the stylistic triumph I hoped it would be.

82. Fantastic Four 2 (2017)

No idea.  Details on the upcoming reboot are hard enough to come by, and this movie is a complete mystery.

83. Justice League Part 1 (2017)

Having set up the general premise in Batman v. Superman, Warner Bros. will introduce this superhero team to the big screen.  Confirmed members are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Aquaman.  The Flash and Green Lantern also seem likely.

84. Wonder Woman (2017)

Likely contingent upon the success of Batman v. Superman.  To me the idea of this movie is a no-brainer - a female superhero(ine) with a great back story.  Hopefully Warner Bros. finds the right director.

85. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

We'll probably see Surtur in this one.  I'm thinking this could be the movie that really sets Thor apart.  The first Thor film wasn't very good, the second one was much better, and this one might just be great.

86. The Black Panther (2017)

Chadwick Boseman will play the Black Panther.  I think it's safe to say that elements of his backstory will appear in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Nothing else is known about this movie at this time.

87. The Flash (2018)

Ezra Miller will play the Flash.  No other details available.

88. The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 (2018)

It was bound to happen.  Thanos will be the villain, and his quest for the infinity gems (stones) will probably cause Earth's mightiest heroes a great deal of misery.

89. Captain Marvel (2018)

A female-centered superhero film, even if it's a year after the proposed female-centric films by both Sony and Warner Bros.

90. Aquaman (2018)

Jason Momoa will play Aquaman.  No other details available.

91. Inhumans (2018)

It's kind of hard to imagine the Inhumans in the absence of the Fantastic Four, but I'm sure Marvel will figure out a way to make it work.

92.  Shazam (2019)

The Rock (OK, Dwayne Johnson) has already been cast as Black Adam.  Word is that this film will exist outside the main DC cinematic continuity.

93. The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 (2019)

I would hazard a guess that this is going to turn up the volume on EVERYTHING.

94. Justice League Part 2 (2019)

So not only are we getting the second Avengers film, but we're also getting a second Justice League film in the same year.  It boggles the mind.

95. Cyborg (2020)

Ray Fisher has already been cast as Cyborg.  I imagine he'll turn up much earlier in the Batman v. Superman film.

96. Green Lantern (2020)

A reboot of the character.  No other details available.

2014年10月26日 星期日

"One Summer: America 1927" by Bill Bryson (2013)

"Nothing, however, was stranger than that it became the avowed policy of the United States Government to poison a random assortment of citizens in an attempt to keep the rest of them sober"

Bill Bryson is an American historian living in Britain.  He has written many books, among which "A Short History of Nearly Everything" is probably his most famous.  This is the first of his books that I have read.

As the title indicates, this book describes the summer of 1927 as it transpired in America.  The author has of course supplied some background for the events of this summer, but the majority of events in this book fall between May 1927 and September 1927, with a short epilogue outlining the subsequent failures and successes of notable individuals.

Of all these notable individuals, Charles Lindbergh stands as the most noteworthy person alive in 1927.  It is his transatlantic crossing which kicks off the book, and the intense, almost unimaginable level of fame he achieved afterward spans the entire summer.  In an age of supersonic aircraft and space travel, Lindbergh's immense fame might be hard to understand, but he was indeed a very big deal during that fateful summer, now 87 years past.

Other events from summer 1927 are described in rich detail, among them Al Capone's rise to prominence in Chicago, the now forgotten sash weight murders, the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, the arrival of Prohibition, the discovery of television and "talkies," and other related events, too numerous to list here.  I particularly enjoyed the parts illustrating the eccentricities of Henry Ford, the popularity of eugenics, and Lindbergh's later fall from grace.

"One Summer: America 1927" is a captivating book, written in an almost flawless manner.  My only complaint is that it contains a bit too much baseball trivia, though this fault can certainly be excused on the count that baseball was, in 1927, a very national pastime.  Reading about Babe Ruth's sexual indiscretions was interesting, but I've never been a big baseball fan.

I enjoyed this book very much, and I'm sure I'll be reading Bryson again.

2014年10月24日 星期五

Thoughts on the Flash TV Show

The Premise

Barry Allen, a forensic scientist working for the Central City Police Department, is struck by a bolt of lightning after an accident involving a particle accelerator.  The lightning bolt confers upon him the ability to move at superhuman speed, and after waking from a nine month coma he decides to use his powers as The Flash, Central City's newest crimefighter.

Episode One

In this episode we see the accident that gives Barry his superhuman speed, and the show introduces some aspects of Barry's earlier life.  Barry's mother is murdered when he is very young, and Barry's father is imprisoned for the murder.  The team at S.T.A.R. Labs is introduced, as are several of the policemen that Barry works with.  At the conclusion of this episode, Barry makes the discovery that there are other "metahumans" in Central City, and he does battle with the Weather Wizard.

Episode Two

A love triangle develops between Barry, his foster father's daughter Iris, and detective Eddie Thawne, who seems an obvious reference to the Reverse-Flash.  In the course of the show Barry does battle with Multiplex, a villain that can create copies of himself, and his mentor at S.T.A.R. labs is cast in a more sinister light.

Episode Three

John Wesley Shipp, who also played The Flash in the 90s TV show, has a lot more to do in this episode.  Barry fights a metahuman that can transform himself into a poisonous mist.  The character of Ronnie is also introduced, and from this we can deduce that the show is leading up to Firestorm.

Episode Four

The Flash goes up against Captain Cold, a jewel thief using a "cold gun" invented by Barry's friend at S.T.A.R. Labs.  There is friction (forgive the slight pun) between Barry and his friend over the creation of this gun, which was originally designed to neutralize Barry.  Iris encourages Barry to date a girl from the Arrow TV show, but in the end they decide that it's better to remain friends.  How is it that the fastest man alive has so much trouble getting laid? 

Episode Five

Barry meets Plastique, another character dating back to the old Firestorm comics.  General Eiling from the Captain Atom comic book also appears.  The romantic conversations between the characters in this show are simply not conversations that reasonably attractive adults in their mid 20s have.  I am starting to think that setting this show in a high school would have made more sense.  What we're getting here is really Wally West, not Barry Allen. 

Episode Six

A former bully from Barry's elementary school years crosses paths with the scarlet speedster.  There's less high school romance in this one, and the action scenes are more satisfying.  Fun Trivia: when Barry and Eddy visit adjacent Keystone City, there is an advertisement for "Garrick's Wharf" on the wall.  Firestorm is also mentioned in passing. 

Episode Seven

Blackout temporarily robs Barry of his super speed, and several people are held hostage by the Clock King.  This episode builds more strongly toward the "Crisis."  I'm just wondering, as a sworn police officer, would imprisoning the other metahumans without trial bother Barry just a little bit? 

Episode Eight

The Flash vs. the Green Arrow?  Um, yeah.  That fight would last all of five seconds.  In the beginning of this episode Iris says something like, "Everyday another person decides to believe in the impossible; they decide to believe in the Flash."  Now hold on there!  Are we talking about a superhero, or our personal relationship with Jesus Christ?  This one is kind of silly, but Felicity Smoak looks amazing in that red dress. 

Episode Nine

We finally get a look at the Reverse-Flash, and Barry declares his love for Iris.  The soap opera elements bring this episode down, but the action sequences are quite good.  What this show really needs is strong female characters, and not just girlish love interests.  Giving the women in this show something to do (other than pine over various superheroes), would add a lot of depth to the plot.  Even so, this episode is better than the much-hyped "Flash vs. Arrow" crossover.

What I Liked

  • The special effects are not bad, especially when Barry is running at higher rates of speed.  
  • The writers of the show, among them Geoff Johns, know the material.  There are a lot of great references to the comic book, and some of these references are quite obscure.  
  • Grant Gustin is a passable Barry Allen, though in his scenes with John Wesley Shipp I often found myself missing the 90s TV show. 
  • The actress that plays Iris is hot.

What I Didn't Like

  • The costume is terrible.  The Flash has one of the coolest costumes ever, and they somehow turned it into this awful dark red thing that wouldn't look cool on anyone.  
  • The use of scientific concepts in this show is embarrassing, and I don't know why they bothered.  
  • Using the old "heightened metabolism" idea from the late 80s Flash is also ridiculous.  
  • The villains in this show are completely uninteresting, and with each episode they seem to grow increasingly one dimensional.  
  • Having Barry fight a supervillain at the conclusion of each show is going to grow tiresome.  There's just not enough time in each episode to build up to that kind of conflict AND keep the plot moving forward.
  • Barry really needs to grow a pair.  If he spends an entire TV season pining after Iris, he's going to grow annoying very quickly.  Come on dude, you're not in high school anymore! 

2014年10月19日 星期日

"Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert (1856)

"Her soul, tortured by pride, at length found refuge in Christian humility, and, tasting the joy of weakness, she saw within herself the destruction of her will, that must have left a wide entrance for the inroads of heavenly grace."

"Madame Bovary" is a story of infidelity.  Emma, the young wife of a country doctor, seeks romance and excitement in the arms of other men.  In so doing she plunges her family into ruin, and also burdens herself with a great many secrets.

I enjoyed this book, though in certain chapters the setting of scenes grows tiresome.  It's also very depressing in parts, and the ending, while masterfully executed, isn't exactly cheerful.  "Madame Bovary" touches upon issues of morality in way that is at once very French, very Victorian, and yet very modern.  It is a book that had me thinking, and that's a good thing.

This book has been dismissed as "misogynistic" in some quarters, and critics go on to cite Flaubert's personal issues with sexuality as the reason for this perceived misogyny.  Whatever Flaubert's issues with women (and with himself), I found no misogyny in this book, and I think that bringing Flaubert's personal failings into the argument does the novel a disservice.  It's a good book, and it deserves to be read.

2014年10月16日 星期四

How to Make the DC Cinematic Universe Not Lame

"Dark and gritty."  

This seems to be how Warner Bros. is conceptualizing its DC properties.  But is dark and gritty really necessary?  I realize that dark and gritty is a way of setting DC films apart from Marvel films, and Nolan's Batman trilogy was undoubtedly darker and grittier than anything Marvel, Sony, or Fox have yet done, but Marvel has also done dark and gritty.  

The part in the first Iron Man where he's held prisoner in the cave?  Dark and gritty.  The part in Winter Soldier where Nick Fury almost gets killed?  Also dark and gritty.  Marvel is just as capable of getting dark and gritty, but they realize that dark and gritty gets old after a while.  It's an easy fit for Batman, but not such an easy fit for Kryptonians, or guys running around in red and yellow tights.

We'll see if Warner Bros. can get past dark and gritty.  I certainly hope so, because if all that sets DC films apart from Marvel films is dark and gritty, then we're going to see those DC films fail.  Setting the right tone for a film (or a cinematic universe) is important, but it's not everything.  Dynamics are also important.  A bit of humor is important.  Superheroes that don't always take themselves seriously is important.  Batman does dark and gritty well.  But Shazam?  Green Lantern?  Not so well at all.

With this in mind I offer my thoughts on the proposed additions to DC's cinematic universe.  Here's hoping that they don't suck.

March 2016: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Marks Against It: I never had a big problem with Ben Affleck as Batman, though I would have preferred Josh Brolin.  Josh Brolin could have easily played the kind of Batman they're striving for, and he's a great actor besides.  One persistent criticism of this movie (which we have yet to see!) is that it might be overkill to introduce Batman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg in one movie.  I tend to agree with this point of view, though maybe they can overcome this obstacle.

How to Make it Not Lame: My feeling is that this movie will be good, but not great.  It will probably get bogged down in its own subplots, especially since they're trying to introduce Lex Luthor and Metallo at the same time.  If it's great it will set the stage for the DC Cinematic Universe in the same way those Marvel post-credits set up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but if it's only good it will probably burden the entire enterprise with unanswered questions and unsatisfied desires.

I'm hoping they focus at least 90% of the movie on the relationship between Batman and Superman.  This is the plot point that really needs to be "sold," and this is also a crucial relationship within the DC Universe.  I'm hoping they limit the involvement of Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, and the other characters.  Man of Steel should have been a much simpler, more focused film, and hopefully Zack Snyder has learned a thing or two since then.

August 2016: Suicide Squad

Marks Against It: I can't think of any so far.  I actually think this is a fantastic idea for a movie, and far different from anything Marvel has attempted.  If you're not familiar with the Suicide Squad, they are a group of supervillains coerced into serving the government.

David Ayer has been linked to the project, and in my opinion he is the perfect choice for a movie like this.  In the case of Suicide Squad, dark and gritty is necessary, and movies such as End of Watch, Training Day, and the underrated Dark Blue are all movies that capitalize on dark and gritty.

How to Make it Not Lame: Bring out the big guns.  I'm not talking about Deadshot here, but about the real star supervillains of the DC universe.  Put Joker on the team.  Put the Reverse-Flash on the team!  Anticipating villains from future DC films would be an even bigger draw.  DC has always had more interesting villains than Marvel, and there is a lot of material to draw from. 

July 2017: Wonder Woman

Marks Against It: Gal Gadot.  She looks nothing like Wonder Woman.  Call me sexist if you will, but really.  She looks nothing like Wonder Woman.  We need a woman who really looks like an Amazon.  We need a woman with curves.  Wonder Woman has always been about sex and gender, and that part of the character needs to be embraced.

To further confuse the issue, Warner Bros. is apparently going with the New 52 backstory, which largely eliminates Paradise Island and the Amazons.  This seems like such a shame to me.  The contrasts between Wonder Woman, "Man's World," and the Amazons could have made a very compelling movie.

How to Make it Not Lame: Recast.  I really don't care what kind of actress she is.  You wouldn't cast Robert Downey Jr. as Thor, would you?  Bringing the battle of the sexes into a Wonder Woman movie would also be important.  Wonder Woman works best when she is challenging male ideas of what women can do.  Her sex appeal is also part of the character.

November 2017: Justice League Part 1

Marks against it: Zack Snyder is directing.  I liked Watchmen, but this guy is starting to irritate me.  Also, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.  No.  Just no.

How to Make it Not Lame: This one's a tall order.  By the time this film gets released, we will have seen TWO Avengers films, not to mention a boatload of X-men films, one of which features Apocalypse.  Finding an original threat for DC's superfriends to face is going to be difficult, especially since Marvel has largely co-opted Darkseid in the form of Thanos (a Darkseid clone).

Recent rumors suggest that Braniac will be the villain.  If so, this is unfortunate, because Braniac is going to come off as an Ultron clone, even though Braniac predates Ultron by over a decade.

One idea worth exploring is the multiverse-type storyline that DC has always done better than Marvel.  Give us a window into different universes, and even different versions of established characters.  This is something Marvel hasn't attempted yet, and moreover something that might lead to a lot of interesting contrasts between universes.

March 2018: The Flash

Marks Against It: This movie is still far away from production, but one drawback might be the Flash TV show, which features one of the worst Flash costumes ever.  If that show continues until 2018, then a Flash film might have trouble forging its own identity.

Super speed has also been done before.  We've already seen Quicksilver in X-men: Days of Future Past, and we'll see him again in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Yes, Quicksilver started out as a Flash clone, but it's going to be hard to erase those two characters from the public consciousness.

How to Make it Not Lame: Make Flash more godlike than either version of Quicksilver.  Make him equal (or even superior) to Superman.  There is really no way to explain the Flash's powers in the absence of super strength, so throw physics out the window.  His powers CAN'T be explained, so don't bother.  His only really interesting foe is Professor Zoom/The Reverse-Flash, so use him from the start.

Also, get the costume right.  That costume in the TV show is just BAD.

July 2018: Aquaman

Marks Against It: I've heard people groan about this one, but I think Aquaman could be a winner for DC.  Marvel Studios has yet to do anything with Namor, and Aquaman has a somewhat volatile personality as well.  Volatile personalities always make for more interesting movies.

Jason Momoa has also been cast as Aquaman, and I think he's a great choice.

How to Make it Not Lame: Push the ecological angle.  And no talking to fish.  Make him an environmental crusader, opposed to the damage mankind has inflicted upon the oceans.  Pitting him against an industrial magnate like Bruce Wayne would also provide a compelling conflict within the ranks of the Justice League.

April 2019: Shazam

Marks Against It: "Dark and gritty" and Shazam don't go well together.  Making this movie more kid friendly would be the easiest route to take, and is in line with roles that Dwayne Johnson (already cast as Black Adam) has done before.  Billy Batson and the element of wish fulfillment make Shazam a potentially more interesting character, but people are probably going to expect something more "adult" from DC.

How to Make it Not Lame: Make it a period film.  Yes, this has already been done for Captain America, but I think Shazam was only really interesting when he was fighting Nazis, alongside the rest of the Marvel Family.

June 2019: Justice League Part 2

Marks Against It: None.  I'm sure I'll have some reservations after I've seen Justice League Part 1.

How to Make it Not Lame: 2019 is a long way away from now, and by the time this hits theaters we might have already seen Avengers 3, which might even get released alongside Avengers 4.  By then the idea of a super team will be old hat, and a new set of tropes will either have to be acknowledged or overcome.

April 2020: Cyborg

Marks Against It: Deathlok has been done in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Not that it matters all that much.

How to Make it Not Lame: The "is-it-a-machine-that-thinks-it's-a-man-or-a-man-who-thinks-he's-a-machine" angle from the Robocop remake could be explored, especially since it was wasted on that movie.  Cyborg has always been a bit player in the DC universe, and this lack of visibility could either be the movie's downfall or its salvation.  Hopefully it won't bring to mind the movie version of Steel.

June 2020: Green Lantern

Marks Against It: I'm sorry but Green Lantern is just a lame superhero.  He has a ring that can basically do anything.  Where do you go with that?

How to Make it Not Lame: A more compelling adversary for a start.  It would also be good to see the existing cinematic version of Green Lantern, and then do everything opposite.

I'm assuming this will be a reboot of the character.  If so, perhaps they'll give his ring some kind of convincing limitation.  The Hal Jordan seen in DC's New Frontier might be a good place to start.

The DC Cinematic Universe - Updated!!

Warner Bros. has finally announced their slate of DC films up until 2020.  These films are:

March 2016: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
August 2016: Suicide Squad
July 2017: Wonder Woman
November 2017: Justice League Part 1
March 2018: The Flash
July 2018: Aquaman
April 2019: Shazam
June 2019: Justice League Part 2
April 2020: Cyborg
June 2020: Green Lantern

In addition, the studio has also announced plans for stand-alone Batman and Superman films, which will (presumably) be released within this time frame.  This would mean the release of at least two DC films a year.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited about this development.  None of this is set in stone of course.  Release dates can be changed.  Projects can be shelved.  But in announcing these films, Warner Bros. is also announcing its commitment to the characters, and to building a cinematic universe around them.

The first of these films, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is still filming now.  Despite intimations of other characters in Man of Steel, this will be the movie to introduce the idea of an interconnected cinematic universe.  As nearly everyone on the planet knows, Ben Affleck will star as Batman, and Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman.  Gal Gadot will also appear as Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and other actors may also appear as other well known superheroes.

Much less is known about Suicide Squad, the following film.  David Ayer is attached to direct, and this alone is cause for excitement.  I'm sure we'll see Deadshot in this movie, though the rest of the roster is anybody's guess.  This movie could be a huge success for Warner Bros., especially if they choose more recognizable villains.

As for the rest of these films, we'll just have to wait and see.  Justice League Part 1 is reportedly filming back to back with Batman v. Superman, so details of that film will certainly surface soon.  Production on the other films hasn't even started yet.  If nothing else, I'll be overjoyed to finally see a Flash movie.  A movie centered around this character has been long overdue, and I'm glad that Warner Bros. is finally taking a step in that direction.

2014年10月13日 星期一

Superhero Movies: What's Next

It is October 2014, sometime between Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron.  It is something of a pause between superhero movies, with a nine month gap between Guardians and the second Avengers film.  Seems like a good time to take a breath, and to summarize what's on the horizon.

2015: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Fantastic Four

In the second Avengers we will see all of the characters from the first film, with the addition of Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and the Vision.  This time around they'll be facing Ultron, one of their most popular villains from the comic books.  There is talk of other characters being introduced at the end of this movie, with a possible new lineup set up for a third Avengers film.

Ant-Man is going to be a heist movie, with Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas starring as two different iterations of the minuscule hero.  Back when Edgar Wright was directing, this was going to be relatively isolated from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with a change of directors it will likely be more in line with Marvel's overall plans for Avengers 3.

Josh Trank is directing the Fantastic Four reboot, with a cast of relative unknowns.  Yes, I've seen Chronicle and it is cause for hope.  This film promises to be more "scientific" than previous film incarnations of the team.

2016: Captain America 3, Doctor Strange, Deadpool, X-men: Age of Apocalypse, The Sinister Six, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad

The hype surrounding Captain America 3 is going to be intense.  The Winter Soldier was such a success, and this is the Marvel tentpole going head-to-head with Batman v. Superman.  There are no details on this movie as yet, but most of the creative team from Winter Soldier is returning.

Scott Derrickson has been assigned as director for Doctor Strange.  No one has been cast as the Doctor just yet, though Ethan Hawke is often mentioned in the context of this project.  I imagine that they'll announce the lead very soon.  I love the character, but I'm not a huge fan of Scott Derrickson's derivative brand of horror.

Deadpool has been in development for something like forever.  Fox has finally given this project the go ahead, and a "test reel" has been making the rounds online.  If they don't water it down too much it should be a good movie.  I'm hoping Ryan Reynolds returns at everyone's favorite mercenary.

X-men: Age of Apocalypse ought to be good.  Everyone who made X-men: Days of Future Past is on board, and the film introduces one of the X-men's greatest villains.  This movie will be set in the 1980s, and features the cast from X-men: First Class.

The Sinister Six?  Man, what a dark horse this movie is.  There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the future of Sony's Spider-man franchise, and it's possible that this one might get shelved altogether.  I guess it could work, but the idea sounds kind of dumb to me.

Speaking of dumb ideas, whoever thought up the title "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" should be fired.  This movie serves as a sequel to Man of Steel, and also as an attempt to introduce the Justice League.  I'm not a huge fan of Zack Snyder, though the guy who wrote the script also wrote Argo.  Here's hoping the actual movie is better than the title.

The Suicide Squad movie has just been announced.  It looks like David Ayer will be directing.  If it's more like End of Watch and less like Sabotage it will be good.

2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Wolverine sequel, Fantastic Four sequel, Justice League, Wonder Woman

There will probably be other superhero films in 2017 (see below), but these are the ones that seem most probable.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will get made for certain.  It's too early to say much about it, but I'm hoping it introduces Adam Warlock.  It might even set up Avengers 3, with Thanos attempting to assemble his oft-mentioned Infinity Gauntlet.

James Mangold is set to direct the third Wolverine outing, with Hugh Jackman returning to the role that he is now both too old and too tall to play.  I thought The Wolverine was an OK movie, but nothing to write home about.

Details regarding the Fantastic Four sequel are equally vague.  If I was the director of that movie, I'd be trying to bring Galactus into it.  He was wasted on the first Fantastic Four sequel (?), and I'd like to see something truly cosmic in scale.

Justice League and Wonder Woman have just been announced.  It's too early to say much about them, other than to reiterate the persistent fact that Gal Godot looks nothing like Wonder Woman.

Other Stuff...

In addition to the above, Warner Bros. has announced six more DC films to be released after 2017.  They are The Flash (finally!), Aquaman, Shazam, Justice League 2, Cyborg, and Green Lantern (reboot?).  I'm hesitant to go into any detail about these films, because we haven't even seen the first Justice League.  If Batman v. Superman tanks at the box office, odds are that the above films won't get made.

Sony has also announced plans for other Spider-man films, not all of which feature Spider-man as the main character.  But with the poor performance of the Amazing Spider-man 2, the future of these films has been cast into doubt.  There is even talk of Sony sharing the character with Marvel Studios, or selling him back to Marvel outright.  I find such rumors more exciting that whatever Sony has planned for Spider-man, especially since having Spider-man in Avengers 3 would be EPIC.

And of course there will be other Marvel and X-men films that aren't listed above.  An Avengers 3 is a certainty, and X-men: Age of Apocalypse will have to be really terrible to end the series.