Non-Marvel and DC Comic Books on Film

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cdnchris
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#376 Post by cdnchris » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:23 pm

I took the kids to see the new Spider-Man and it's enjoyable enough but doesn't really follow through with the potential it sets up. Right off I'll admit when I was kid I had very little interest in superheroes (despite my dad's large comic book collection) but I was really into Spider-Man, so I guess deep down, despite the terrible Garfield ones and the blech ad campaign for this, I was looking forward to it and hoping it might get the character right; I think Raimi's second one is the only one that really worked, at least for me.

This film is not up to Raimi's second film, but infinitely better than his third one and those last couple. Holland's fine in the role, likeable enough, but he has this "gee-whiz, golly!" tone that can get a bit tiring. Still, I do like that they play up the fact he is, really, just a kid, which gets kind of lost in the other films. And this is also aided by the fact the film (rather surprisingly) plays up the high school angle to the story, far more than the other films, to the point where the high school story is actually more important than the story around the murderous flying psychopath creating weapons of mass destruction. I read comparisons to John Hughes (as though this could be a superhero film directed by Hughes) which is true to a degree, and I do like this part to the film, but the reality is the plotlines and relationships between the characters aren't anywhere near as interesting or engaging as what Hughes could have done. There are some cute and funny moments that ring true but they're ultimately not too involving. It's telling that the character-driven second Raimi film (which doesn't have a lot of action in comparison to this) can keep my son completely engaged, even during those more talky moments, yet he was getting impatient with this one, which does have a lot of scenes in school.

There are other problems as well. The action scenes are fine, but the final bit is borderline incomprehensible and doesn't flow all that well. The insertion of Downey's Tony Stark/Iron Man feels tacked on and I wouldn't be surprised to learn he got paid millions of dollars for one afternoon's work. Same with Jon Favreau's character, though I'm sure Favreau didn't get paid millions. And I was thrilled to see Bokeem Woodbine was cast as another prominent Spider-Man villain (I won't spoil who) but was severely let down when he actually didn't get a lot to do, so I'm hoping he might show up in other films. I also have to say I'm really sick of the references these Marvel films throw out to fans Stuff like this just stops the story. Still, this film probably has the funniest, most tongue-in-cheek post-credit easter egg of the Marvel films.
SpoilerShow
Chris Evans shows up as Captain America in a sort of PSA video explaining the virtues of "patience," especially when what you were waiting for doesn't pay off, alluding of course to waiting through the credits for the post-credit easter egg. Evans also has another half-decent cameo earlier in the film, and he's put to much better use than Downey despite Downey being more integral to the plot and being in the film longer.
Despite some good moments the film would still be a fairly generic superhero film, but it does get elevated by Michael Keaton. Other than a handful of villains the Marvel villains in these movies have been incredibly mediocre. Keaton takes what is, for me, one of the least interesting and lamest Spider-Man villains, the Vulture, and turns him into a completely menacing, actually frightening adversary. The film also goes an interesting route with his character, turning him into an average blue collar Joe, sick of being stepped on by the 1-percenters (Tony Stark in this case). All that's missing is the character either wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat or placing a Bernie bumper sticker on his car. And Keaton has this aspect of the character down and he and the film really drive this point and motivation, and you understand his frustrations. It makes the film a bit timely though ultimately there is no political or social message here, or at least a fairly general one (they're of course aiming for as wide an audience as possible). What's a bit sad, though, is that this schmoe from Jersey is far more threatening than that intergalactic mass murderer that was in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, who barely even registers as a villain.

What's disappointing, though, is after building up this villain who is genuinely evil the movie sort of chickens out at the end thanks to another plot element that gets introduced. I won't spoil it here but this element could have made things more tricky and added a really interesting angle to the film if it followed through with the Vulture, but it appears everyone was too scared to go all the way, and I guess now that Spider-Man is officially part of the Marvel universe there probably isn't any room for anything risky anymore (as terrible as the Garfield films were I had to admire the risk of ending the last one the way they did). Basically this psychopath, who has been pretty merciless throughout the film, is shown to be not that bad a guy after all.

But the film does at least take this other plot element and have some fun with it:
SpoilerShow
It turns out that Keaton's character is the father of Peter Parker's love interest, which I guess I should have predicted because that is the ultimate in lazy screenwriting, but for whatever reason it never registered. Still, the film does have some fun with this when Peter shows up to take her to the prom, only to discover her father is the Vulture (though Vulture doesn't yet know Parker is Spider-Man). This of course leads to Parker being nervous and cautious, with Vulture just reading this as maybe Parker having dishonorable intentions towards his daughter, putting him in protective father mode, which is just as menacing as the Vulture. It's a neat scene: it's funny but also rather unnerving and surprisingly tense. Unfortunately this is about as far as the film is willing to go with this plotline.
The film, even with its faults, was still fun. I think the biggest problem is the film was really more concerned about fitting itself into the Disney Marvel universe and was afraid to really be its own entity.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#377 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:14 pm


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Roger Ryan
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#378 Post by Roger Ryan » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:38 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Ben bids bye-bye to Batman
...the upcoming films will figure out a way to gracefully exit the character from the storyline...
This certainly won't be the case, will it? Won't they just recast Batman?

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#379 Post by Ribs » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:48 pm

I can *kind of* imagine them doing a hand-off, if only because it's actually one thing they could get ahead of Marvel on (as they'll inevitably be switching to new Iron Men and Captains America within just another few movies). They're probably too afraid to do a Batman story without it being Bruce Wayne, though, even though truth be told like Spider-Man they'd probably benefit a great deal by just saying no to the origin story and refusing to engage with it at all rather than incorporating it into every single movie (in this case by using a different character).

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#380 Post by dx23 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:57 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:
flyonthewall2983 wrote:Ben bids bye-bye to Batman
...the upcoming films will figure out a way to gracefully exit the character from the storyline...
This certainly won't be the case, will it? Won't they just recast Batman?
I imagine he will be re-cast. Batman is arguably the biggest character in comic books today and it doesn't make any sense to not have him in future films. It also didn't make sense to cast a 40 year as Batman for a long-term franchise series, but that's a topic for another time.

Except for Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Henry Cavill as Superman, I wish WB/DC rebooted everything else in their film universe and actually make a plan like Marvel did. Their ineptitude is astounding when it comes to these films. For example, it was announced today, that after so much online promotion, The Rock won't be part of the Shazam! movie. Why have two years of teasing and interviews and promotion and not deliver? It's pretty clear that the only things truly working for WB regarding DC are Wonder Woman and the Arrowverse TV universe. The reason for this is because they have been pretty loyal to the source material. Well, WB should start from that idea and get the ball rolling.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#381 Post by Big Ben » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:05 pm

Frankly I think the wisest thing to do is simply recast the role and pretend nothing happened. They don't need anymore additional tom foolery plot wise.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#382 Post by Big Ben » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:53 pm

Here's the DC Films line-up announce at SDCC.

Shazam!
Wonder Woman 2
Suicide Squad 2
The Flash
Flashpoint
Green Lantern Corps
The Batman

Most interesting here is Flashpoint. Essentially it's a story about how the Flash goes back in time, does something and returns to the present. Except by doing something in the past he has altered the future. This is a great way for both Warners and DC to retcon any problem story elements and yes, even cast a new Batman. Can't say I'm shocked.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#383 Post by FigrinDan » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:04 pm

No need to cast a new Batman. Word out of SDCC is he's sticking around to work with Matt Reeves.
I am the luckiest guy in the world. Batman is the coolest fucking part in any universe. It’s fucking amazing and I still can’t believe it after two films… And Matt Reeves doing it, I would be an ape on the ground for Matt Reeves. And I think you’ll see why I’m so excited to be Batman.

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dx23
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#384 Post by dx23 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:17 pm

FigrinDan wrote:No need to cast a new Batman. Word out of SDCC is he's sticking around to work with Matt Reeves.
I am the luckiest guy in the world. Batman is the coolest fucking part in any universe. It’s fucking amazing and I still can’t believe it after two films… And Matt Reeves doing it, I would be an ape on the ground for Matt Reeves. And I think you’ll see why I’m so excited to be Batman.
But also of note that the Flash movie is title Flashpoint, so it will probably be based on the comic book mini-series that rebooted the whole DC, Vertigo and Wildstorm universes into the New 52. It could be the perfect scenario to recast/reboot any franchise and remove/add any actor they would like. Wouldn't be surprised if Affleck is out after that.

Edit: Big Ben beat me to the explanation.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#385 Post by Ribs » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:27 pm

Marvel's SDCC was less splashy (Feige maintains they're keeping mum about the post-Avengers future for another year) but had some interesting nuggets; the big one is probably that Captain Marvel will be set in the 90s complete with a young Nick Fury, which should make it a welcome change of pace.

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Re: Comic Books on Film

#386 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Jul 24, 2017 3:49 pm

Re-shoots on Justice League have gone on so long and talent scheduling is such a headache that effects artists will be forced to digitally remove a mustache Henry Cavill grew for his role in the upcoming Mission: Impossible sequel.

Variety article

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domino harvey
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Re: Comic Books on Film

#387 Post by domino harvey » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:28 pm

Discussion of various franchises within this thread has made it unwieldy. Thread will remain locked while I sort posts into their relevant threads:

DC Comics on Film
Marvel Comics on Film

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Re: Non-Marvel and DC Comic Books on Film

#388 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 5:10 pm

Whilst this is a Marvel movie and perhaps does not belong in this thread, this is where a lot of discussion of this particular film took place a couple of pages ago:
dad1153 wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:19 pm
The Fanciful Norwegian wrote:THR on the F4 blame game
This is the part of the article I found interesting:
As filming wound toward an unhappy close, the studio and producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker engaged in a last-minute scramble to come up with an ending. With some of the cast not fully available at that point and Kinberg juggling X-Men: Apocalypse and Star Wars, a lot of material was shot with doubles and the production moved to Los Angeles to film scenes with Teller against a green screen. "It was chaos," says a crewmember, adding that Trank was still in attendance "but was neutralized by a committee." Another source says the studio pulled together "a dream team," including writer and World War Z veteran Drew Goddard, to rescue the movie. Whether the final version of the film is better or worse than what Trank put together is a matter of opinion, of course, but the consensus, clearly, is that neither was good.
Sounds like 2007's "The Invasion" and/or 2005's "Dominion: The Exorcist" all over again, except they wouldn't even let the director finish the movie before they ordered reshoots.

Having seen "Fantastic Four" myself though (for what that's worth), the movie isn't the horrendous and unwatchable piece of crap the critics are making it out to be. It's a severely compromised movie, alright, the imperfect union of a director whose vision didn't quite match the source material (which doesn't mean Josh Trank pissed all over "F4," as the reasonably-coherent first hour he directed bears out) and a movie studio trying to retain an intellectual property by throwing money at this production's multiple problems. I'm amazed that what ended up being released is as entertaining as it is, action-deficient origin story flaws notwithstanding. Not entertaining in a jokey Marvel way (the few times humor is attempted it lands with a thud) but in a dark, moody sci-fi morality tale vibe (like 1986's "The Fly," whose influence on "F4" is felt at key moments) that 2012's "Chronicle" showed to be Trank's wheelhouse. It's not a good movie, but I've seen much, much worse movies this summer alone.
I finally got around to watching the 'dark and gritty' 2015 Fantastic Four film and liked it quite a bit, though its still rather unbelievable that somebody tried and actually got a mandate to be able to do a 'body horror' version of one of the more benign comic book franchises, which owes as much to Cronenberg version of The Fly (especially in the drunken impulsive decision to test the machine out as soon as the first monkey test appears to have gone well and the general theme of corporate exploitation and conflict between 'good of humanity' idealism and military application) and some of that SCP Foundation material as it does to superheroes. Plus a bit of Junji Ito in Reed's stretchy chest and stomach as he crawls through the air ducts. And there feels like a pretty obvious homage to Akira and especially the scene of Tetsuo roaming the hospital corridor and reacting badly to people trying to return him to his room, as Von Doom similarly walks down a corridor of the facility killing everyone in his way.

I quite liked the Victor Von Doom character here too in that he seems to be pretty much the most understandable character, at least until he has to do that final act turn into wanting to megalomaniacally destroy the Earth in order to make him fit more easily into a super evil supervillain role in the final act. He's probably right in doubting humanity's exploitational motives (though of course he's introduced as an unshaven recluse 'wasting his talent' by playing video games in a darkened room all day, when he could be producing something of worth for corporations! And he was only unleashed again in supervillain form by the government-military mix of curiosity and greed in still wanting to harness the power of the other world despite the fate of the initial explorers, so really Von Doom is correct in discerning their motivations! It also kind of makes him similar to the mad scientist from From Beyond in some ways, as he is similarly lurking in the other dimension for other people to inevitably give into their desires and recklessly try and return to the other world), and I really like that we get his abrasive disillousionment of having been betrayed one too many times contrasting against the more open and naive Reed Richards, who at the early stages does not take too much personally, but can seem a little too trusting because of that, to the extent of wrecking his childhood friend's life. This is also all where themes from Josh Trank's previous film Chronicle seem most apparent, in that whether naive or disillousioned, both characters are quite similar in their reckless pursuit of their goals, and both films seem about examining the difference between acquaintances (work colleagues, or bonds that force people together into a group against their will) and friendships before testing them to, and beyond, their breaking point.

I also liked that idea of the characters (especially Ben) not being of independent means but immediately becoming property of the government and experimented upon, as well as the way that various members after the initial transformative shock has worn off actually like having a (different) purpose in life (literally 'empowered'!). And also the way that the homily prone father just has to stay alive long enough after being burnt to a crisp to provide one more pat 'everyone take care of each other' piece of general advice to his children (not even an "I love you", which would have been similarly cliched but slightly more personal!) was very amusing too.

(Though that final scene about deciding the name of the four person coalition of superheroes was a bit excrutiating in its attempts at being cute and meta. And in being so drawn out made me feel even sorrier for Von Doom for being expunged from the historical record in quite a definitive manner, like that one astronaut who never set foot on the moon's surface!)

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