5
Jun
2012

Justice League

From the “I’m not surprised in the least” file, Warner Brothers has picked up a screenwriter to work on a Justice League film.

According to Variety, Warner Brothers has signed Gangster Squad scribe Will Beall to start work on a Justice League project.  For those of you unfamiliar with the name, think of it as the Avengers for the DC Comics universe, with just about every character in the universe having rotated through it at one time or another, but the original members, however, were Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter.

Beall has become the go-to guy for Warner Brothers as he’s also working on a reboot of Lethal Weapon and Logan’s Run.  If he has the chops for a comic film remains to be seen.

While it isn’t surprising in the least that Warner Brothers wants to jump on to this bandwagon as the Marvel film is now north of $1.3 billion.  The problem is that Marvel took its time to build up to its team film with five solo films.  It’s clear that the Christopher Nolan Batman films won’t fit in with a team film, but there is some chance that next year’s new Superman film, Man of Steel, could be a launching point.

This is where Warner Brothers needs to do some analysis and realize that what Marvel did was build a shared cinematic universe, showed some patience and played a long game.  If Warner Brothers is looking for a script for the team film now, it says to me they are going right for the desert and skipping the salad and dinner.  A team film without the build up like which happened with Marvel will lead to a whole lot of the film being spent on explaining the characters, why they would work together and so forth.

We’ll see what happens, but as it stands right now, it sounds to me like Warner Brothers may be setting up for yet another cinematic failure.

[via Variety]

2
Jun
2012

Alan ScottDC revealed this week that its iconic character that would come out as gay was Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern.

Introduced in 1940 in All-American Comics, Alan Scott was a railroad worker who came into possession of an ancient magical green lantern that empowered him the ability to use a ring to fight evil.  The ring did have one weakness in that it couldn’t be used against anything made of wood, but otherwise it was all powerful.

Mind you this character was not of the same breed of Green Lantern as Hal Jordan who was introduced in 1959, and the larger canvas of the Green Lantern Corps that came along later.

DC Comics later went on to explain away issues such as this by saying there was a multi-verse of Earths, each with its own set of heroes.  While Hal Jordan and his ilk were from the Earth-1 universe, Alan Scott, the Justice Society of America and some versions of Superman & Wonder Woman were actually from Earth-2.

In order to clean up this giant mess of continuity, DC launched a 12-issue series in 1985 called Crisis on Infinite Earths that erased all of the other timelines except Earth-1 and merged them all together.  All was well in the land of DC.

Flash forward to 2011, and DC decides to relaunch its entire comic book line in an event called The New 52.  As the name would imply, 52 titles were either reset to issue #1, or whole new titles were created.  Some characters totally eliminated their histories, while others kept parts of it.  To explain how characters such as Alan Scott fit in, the company decided, you guessed it, to bring back the concept of Earth-2.  A new title totally devoted to the exploits of this parallel Earth has just launched, and that is where we arrive at this news about Alan Scott being gay.

As all of Earth-2 is being rebooted, gone is Alan Scott’s marriage to his enemy, The Harlequin, and his subsequent two children that resulted from that marriage.  At another point in time he had fraternal twins with another enemy of his, Thorn – apparently he had a thing for the bad girls – Jade and Obsidian.  Each had their own powers, and Obsidian was gay.

Apparently James Robinson, the writer for the Earth-2 title, decided since Alan Scott was going to be young again, and that meant erasing Obsidian from existence, it only made sense to make Alan Scott gay.  He promises that no other aspects of the character have changed.

When I did my rundown of who the gay character might be, I latched on to the “Iconic” portion of the hints, and ran through all of the big names that people are most familiar with.  I eliminated Hal Jordan as a possibility, and said of the other Green Lanterns:

Green Lantern (Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner or John Stewart) – Would be viewed as a cop out.  ”You made Green Lantern gay!”  ”Well, not really …”

Alan Scott by Alex RossWhile I didn’t mention Alan Scott by name, the same thought applies. All one needs to do is simply look around the Internet at the various news stories that all seem to be running with the headline, “Green Lantern is Gay!” and quite a few of them are mistakenly running pictures of Hal Jordan. E! Online even went with the headline, “Green Lantern Now Gay—Will This End Ryan Reynolds’ Franchise??”. (It should be ended, but for a whole host of other reasons …) While the publication explained why it should have no impact in the fourth paragraph, by then most people with only a mild curiosity will have stopped reading.

Let me make something very clear here: I have zero issues with a comic character being gay.  What I have an issue with here is this is a total cop out.  DC Comics gets to say “Green Lantern is gay!”, and then they can pull back and go, “But, it isn’t the one you actually care about!”  (No offense to fans of Alan Scott)  DC has gotten a ton of press out of this, but with no ramifications.  If this was done to serve the story, fine, no problem, but don’t make a huge media push out of it.  If you were trying to be bold and make a statement, then be bold and make a statement and make it a frontline character.

The Chicago Tribune had one of the best headlines for summing up the issue I’m describing, “Green Lantern outed as gay superhero – sort of.”  Need I really say more?

So, no, I am not upset Alan Scott is gay; I couldn’t care less if I tried.  What I am upset about is how DC Comics played this.  I feel this was a very calculated and manipulative move on its part, and I, for one, would be truly surprised if it does anything to serve the story it is trying to tell.  It was a miscalculated publicity stunt that everyone will forget by next week, Alan Scott will fade back into being a character only die-hard comic book fans know anything about, and this will all be resurrected again as there is some confusion should there ever be a Green Lantern 2.  Will people be as cautious to delineate the differences then?

I like you DC, but I would have liked you even more had you just gone ahead and made it a first string character and not played these silly games.

27
May
2012

Firepower comicIron Man 3 has begun production in North Carolina, and now we have a better idea of who he will be fighting this time around.

Coming off the success of The Avengers, Iron Man 3 is already filming, and while there have been reports of Ben Kingsley is playing an unnamed enemy that specializes in nano-technology, there seems there will be some brute force as well.

Ashley Hamilton has been cast as Jack Taggert, who is better known as Firepower in Iron Man lore.  Beyond the silly name, as you can see from the picture to the right, it’s fitting.

What concerns me is that supposedly James Badge Dale has been cast as Eric Savin, also known as Coldblood.

As tend to happens with comic book movies, the studios seem to think the higher the film number, the higher the villain count needs to be.  Hopefully some of these villains will not be featured players but more like one off, quick fight situations.

Jon Favreau isn’t directing this time around, but he will appear as Tony Stark’s driver, Happy Hogan. Here’s hoping he might at least speak up and say, “Do you really need these many people to fight?”

(I’m not holding my breath for him to do that.)

26
May
2012

Just in case you were unaware of it, The Dark Knight Rises comes out on July 20.  Of course, the way the Warner Brothers marketing department is ratcheting up its push, it’s doubtful you’ll be unaware for long.

I understand that a lot of movies do need to advertise to draw in viewers, but there are some event movies that you have to wonder why anyone bothers.  Christopher Nolan’s last outing in the Batman universe, The Dark Knight Rises, is one of those films that does leave me scratching my head a bit when it comes to marketing.

We’re almost a two full months out from the film, and already we’re getting TV spots showing up everywhere.    You could probably start running ads the week before release and be good, but instead its still the old system of spending a $100 million or more on a tentpole release.  And people wonder why films have such a hard time hitting profitability.

Either way, enjoy the new TV spots and the ton of posters and banners after the jump.

TV spot #1

TV spot #2

Continue Reading ->

22
May
2012

DC rainbow logo

DC Comics has announced that an iconic character will soon be coming out as gay.

Co-publisher Dan DiDio of DC Comics was speaking at the Kapow Comic Convention in London on Sunday according to Bleeding Cool where he revealed that a character would be coming out as gay.  There has been soem debate if it is a character currently present in the recently relaunched DC universe (also known as “52”), or if it is someone that has not yet appeared, but ABC News seems to have clarified that a bit.  The news source followed up on this with Courtney Simmons, DC Entertainment’s senior vice president of publicity, and learned “One of the major iconic DC characters will reveal that he is gay in a storyline in June.”  So, there you have it, it is someone iconic, and all of the big ones are currently in titles.

So, who could it be?  What DC character we previously thought was heterosexual will come out as gay?  I’ve run down all of the male iconic characters with my thoughts on each as to why or why not.

Iconic DC Characters

Superman – No way, no how.  With the Man of Steel movie on the way, and his status as being for “truth, justice and the American way,” Superman is about as American as apple pie (in spite of renouncing his citizenship).  There is no way DC is going to touch this flagship character.

Batman – As with Superman, he has a major movie about to hit theaters with The Dark Knight Rises.  There is also the issue that DC has had to fight off speculation of Batman being gay ever since the 1954 publication of the reprehensible Seduction of the Innocent.  Anytime it has been mentioned in the past, people immediately leap to pointing out he lives with Robin and Alfred.  There is just no way they will open this can of worms.

Robin – The current Robin is actually Bruce Wayne’s son with Talia al Ghul, Damian Wayne.  He has a troubled past and is currently around 10-years-old.  They could, in theory go with him coming out as gay as it would not cause any “Batman and Robin are lovers” questions, and also his dating would not have to be dealt with due to his age.  This is a definite possibility.

Aquaman – DC is currently trying to make him edgier and more likable.  That almost entirely eliminates him from the running along with the fact he is married to Mera.

Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) – Hal has always had a reputation as a ladies man, especially in his relationship with Carol Ferris.  Seems unlikely.

Green Lantern (Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner or John Stewart) – Would be viewed as a cop out.  “You made Green Lantern gay!”  “Well, not really …”

Martian Manhunter – While a founding member of the Justice League of America, he is a Martian and it is doubtful anyone would care.

Green Arrow – With his TV show Arrow about to start up, he seems unlikely.  Additionally, a lot of his history is built around his romance with Black Canary.

Hawkman – It totally depends on if DC is running with the Carter Hall or Katar Hol version of the story which they have yet to make clear.  If it’s Carter Hall, then absolutely no way as he is a cursed Egyptian who keeps getting reincarnated with his female love.  If it’s Katar Hol, he is from Thangar and is an alien.  Any way you slice it, I just don’t see it being Hawkman.

Flash – In the current 52 continuity, Barry Allen never married Iris, and is only in a dating relationship with another character.  Of all the longtime characters, the Flash is my current pick for coming out as he is iconic, but not one of the frontline characters.  He is also the most easily pushed aside should this backfire on DC.  (I’ve lost count of the number of times Barry Allen has been killed, so don’t put it past DC to just change things.)

Iconic, but Secondary, DC Characters

Alfred – Batman’s butler seems like a safe choice, and like Damian, due to his age dating wouldn’t be a huge issue.

Jimmy Olson – Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olson.  He has had his own comic series back in the day, and he is a fairly well-known figure.  This is a slight possibility.

Who is the Gay DC Comics Character?

Essentially I’m down to two choices due to I don’t think that DC will go the route of Alfred or Jimmy,  Robin and Flash.  Robin has a lot of pros to him due to his age, but at the same time they can act as cons, so, I’m going with … The Flash.

52 Flash

  • He’s iconic enough.
  • Doesn’t have a movie or TV show on the line.
  • Can easily be changed due to time travel issues.
  • Doesn’t mess with the big named characters

I honestly think he’s the only logical choice, but I guess we’ll find out for sure next month.

As for if I think this is a good idea … that too will depend on what we find out next month.

UPDATED: It’s Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern.  That’s stretching the “iconic” term a bit.

11
May
2012

Arrow - the CWIn a not so surprising move, The CW announced today that it is taking Arrow to series.

It was announced back in January that The CW was ordering up a pilot entitled Arrow which would be based on the Green Arrow from DC Comics.  Not too long after that a casting sheet leaked out that pretty much convinced me that once again the network was going to mess this up just as it had with Smallville.

Well, never fear, it was announced today that The CW has ordered the pilot to series according to TV Line, so now we can all enjoy in the pain.  At the same time the network also picked up it’s re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast as well as the Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries, so apparently the network just wants to annoy as many fan bases as possible in one season.

Seeing as The CW canceled The Secret Circle and Ringer today, but renewed Nikita, it looks like you can expect these new shows to air sometime between Monday and Thursday as Friday is full and it doesn’t run original content on the weekends.

A lot of shows have been canceled and renwed in the past couple days, so you may want to take a look at the constantly updating Which TV Shows are Canceled and Renewed for 2012/2013 post again.

[via TV Line]

9
May
2012

Kick-Ass posterUniversal looks set to announce it’s moving ahead on Kick-Ass 2, and filming may kick off as soon as August.

According to sources speaking with Deadline, Universal has picked up the rights to Kick-Ass from Lionsgate and plans to move full-speed ahead on a sequel to the cult hit.  New deals will need to be struck with the characters who played the three surviving characters: Aaron Johnson (Dave/Kick-Ass), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Chris/Red Mist) and Chloe Moretz (Mindy/Hit-Girl).  It will be Moretz that may pose the most issues as she has aged quite a bit since the original and has become quite the in-demand actress since the original film.  (Mainly because she stole the film.)

Matthew Vaughn who directed the original is committed to the X-Men: First Class sequel, so he would be unavailable when it came time to film.  He, however, has supposedly given his blessing to new director Jeff Wadlow who has also penned the script.

The original film was made for $30 million and grossed $48 million domestic and $48 million foreign for a $96 million worldwide gross.  While it didn’t make a huge return on its theatrical run, it has gone on to do well on home video and build up a cult following.  In a lot of cases such as this, the sequel will perform better than original as people who got acquainted with the original via home viewings wil go out to see the follow-up.  Will it be a giant hit?  Nope.  Will I be thrilled to get a sequel?  While I loved the original, it had its issues (I still can’t get over that jet pack), but I would gladly plopped down my money for another outing with Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl.

[via Deadline]

6
May
2012

ThanosIf you’ve seen The Avengers, you’ve seen the end credits scene with the purple guy. If you haven’t seen it yet, just move on to another post on this blog.

During the credits for The Avengers there is a scene that takes place between the leader of the alien army and a mysterious purple guy in armor.  If you aren’t a comic reader you have no clue who this is, but to those of us who have read Marvel comics for any length of time will immediately shout, “THANOS!”

First appearing in Iron Man #55 in 1973, Thanos has gone from an oddball villain to “The Mad Titan” who ended up killing off half the universe and pretty much every hero of Earth in the 1991 limited series, The Infinity Gauntlet.  Since that time he has been a bit more ambiguous as to what his motivations are, but suffice to say it appears he’s going to be a major pain-in-the-behind for the Marvel cinematic universe.

Born on Saturn’s moon of Titan, Thanos belongs to a race known as the Eternals.  While most of them appear human, Thanos was born with the Deviant gene which makes him look like the Eternals cousin race, you guessed it, the Deviants.  (Hey, Marvel wasn’t known for being overly original in the 1970’s and 80’s …)  Due to not looking like his race, he became secluded and fascinated by the darker things in life, eventually falling in love with Mistress Death, the embodiment of death in the Marvel Universe.  After going completely mad and slaughtering nearly all of the other Titans, he eventually launched on a crusade to impress Mistress Death so she would fall madly in love with him.

Thanos set out to collect the six Infinity Gems, also known as Soul Gems.  The six each represented a different aspect of reality: Time, Space, Soul, Mind, Reality and Power.  He combined the six gems on to what was dubbed the Infinity Gauntlet and with a wave of his hand wiped out half of the population of the universe.  Of course Earth’s heroes attempted to take him on, but they all met Mistress Death for their trouble.

When the true cosmic players of the universe finally got involved, they were able to get the gauntlet away from Thanos and undid all of the damage he had done, and the Mad Titan went to live on a farm on a desolate world.  He has shown up from time to time, but never in such a grandiose way.

So, what will the Marvel movies do with him?  Well, I think it’s fairly obvious this isn’t Farmer Thanos.  If they plan to introduce the Infinity Gauntlet, however is a different matter.  The glove was actually in the background of Thor in Odin’s armory.  Marvel even released an official photo of the prop that you can see at the bottom of this post. So the Gauntlet, while never mentioned, has been established as existing in the film continuity.

The question now is what Marvel plans to do with him.  As Thanos as obviously a big, huge bad, I can’t imagine him showing up in Iron Man 3 or Captain America 2.  As I suspect he will be picking up the gauntlet at some point, my suspicion is he will play a major part in Thor 2.   The only problem here is the release schedule actually goes Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2 and then The Avengers 2.  So Marvel could mention the gauntlet has gone missing, then have Captain America talk to S.H.I.E.L.D. about it and … oh who knows, I’m sure there is a plan written down somewhere.

Any way you slice it, Thanos is here, and the Marvel cinematic universe is going to feel it down to its core.

Infinity Gauntlet in Thor

5
May
2012

Avengers HulkPeople who have seen The Avengers are saying that the Hulk comes off as one of the best characters. With this in mind, Marvel is ready to roll him out once again as a headlining character.

… Can we please stop this before it gets started?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Hulk for the roll he’s played in the history of comics, and he makes a fabulous supporting character, but quite often he can go terribly off the rails when he is the lead.  Yes, the comic has gone on for hundreds of issues now, but the only time I truly enjoyed him was when Marvel handed him over to Peter David to write, and the only reason that decision was made was because the publisher felt he could do no harm working on a character no one cared about.  David took him in wild and fantastical directions – he became a mob enforcer in Las Vegas for a time known as Mr. Fixit as an example – but in general the character has just never been that engaging.

According to Deadline, the reaction to the Hulk in The Avengers is making them ponder what to do with the property next.  Paul Gitter, President of Consumer Products for Marvel, recently told Forbes, “[Marvel] will spin him off to a stand-alone program next year.”   Forbes went on to say that this will “presumably [be] supported by another big budget franchise movie in 2015. The entertainment studio is also exploring ways to promote Hulk as a ‘corporate icon’ similar to MetLife’s usage of Peanuts’ Snoopy, with Hulk’s image conveying a message about channeling strength to overcome workplace challenges.”

Yes, because using a character that turns in to a mindless machine of destruction is the perfect way to show strength in the workplace.

I have yet to see The Avengers, but I am already willing to bet there are three reasons the character worked: Mark Ruffalo’s performance, Joss Whedon’s writing and the fact that he is a supporting character.  If Marvel/Disney was smart, they would realize that two first two aspects of that could be recreated in a stand-alone film, but not the third.  There is also some talk of Guillermo del Toro working on producing a TV series over at ABC (which is also owned by Disney) that would bring the character back to the small screen.  This I could potentially get behind as you have to dig deeper into Bruce Banner to understand the Hulk and a serialized format allows that where a two-hour film doesn’t.

In one way or another the Hulk will be hanging around again, but lets just hope Marvel has learned its lessons from the first two films.  (side note, yes, I know Marvel didn’t do the first film by Ang Lee, but people still remember it and associated it with the property)

[via Deadline]

3
May
2012

There is so much wrong with this new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man that I don’t even know where to begin.

I have not been excited about The Amazing Spider-Man from day one, and I have to say with the more I see, the more justified I feel in that.  From Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) sounding like she knows Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield) secret, to hints in the trailer that his being bitten by the spider wasn’t an accident, this film is just hitting all the wrong notes for me.  Of course, not that any of this really matter as Sony has already announced a release date for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

If this new trailer proved anything to me, it’s that Marvel has to find some way, any way, to regain the film rights to the characters it signed off on ages ago.  All of the contracts read that so long as the studios keep doing something new with the characters every so often, they can continue to hold on to them.

… Please, Marvel … get your legal team on this.

2
May
2012

Who needs to wait for the home video release of a movie anymore to get a commentary track? Now you can just do it on clips as well!

While on the press junket leading up the U.S. release of The Avengers, Yahoo Movies got director and writer Joss Whedon to do a commentary track for a clip of the movie that had already been released.  The clip shows off the fight between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), with Whedon letting you know he didn’t want it to just be a throw away fight and how it came about.

You know, I enjoy a good commentary track from time to time, but doing it to clips?  Seriously?  Are we going to do it to trailers next?  Promotional stills?

1
May
2012

The latest trailer from the upcoming Dark Knight Rises promises a whole lot more than just action from the final installment of the Christopher Nolan Batman saga.

Beyond the confirmation that Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) is definitely teaming up with Batman (Christian Bale), we finally get a bit more of a look at John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). It’s obvious he’s a cop, but we see what appears to be him talking with Selina, and we see him drawing chalk bat symbols on wallas along with apparently lamenting the fact that Batman is gone. My suspicions that he is taken on as a protege by Batman are growing, but I still won’t go as far as to say that he becomes Robin.

Thankfully it also appears Bane (Tom Hardy) will be a bit easier to understand.  Yay!

Nolan has a lot to live up to following on the brilliance of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but the atmospheric nature of this trailer leads me to believe he will once again succeed.  It’s just sad knowing this is the end of this brilliant run of films.

The Dark Knight Rises opens in theaters on July 20.