Comic Book Brain
Last Update: July 11, 2019
DC and Marvel are "at war"
Such statements like that make me sad because it means Image, Dark Horse, etc., are still too small to be included in this corporate big-time wrestling.
Original article at Bounding into Comics about the problems DC has faced while Marvel/Disney has piled up box office. This stood out in the Bounding article:
"Smaller budgets and the promise of a high return has been a calling card for many small studios since the days of Roger Corman."
That remark made me ask: do you understand that Roger Corman's method (conservative financially in making a film, but outrageous in concept) is the opposite of superhero film-making from both Marvel and DC?
All of this is based on the original article at Empire Magazine
Outline of Comicon panels
Story at IGN gives a preview of the 2019 Comicon panels, such as:
- Promos for Terminator: Dark Fate
- New DC Hellblazer - John Constantine for TV
- New Star Trek
- New Swamp Thing TV
- Gears of War gaming
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order gaming
- Marvel’s Iron Man VR gaming
- 20th Anniversary Batman Beyond
TV Guide is issuing special Comicon Covers and has their own coverage of the events and panels.
Comcibookmovie.com says that "Brie Larson Shows She's Ready To Join STAR WARS" and wants to be a Jedi.
They're not joking: no Batman
From the article at Empire Magazine: "Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Movie ‘Doesn’t Follow Anything’ From The Comics "
Which makes Comic Book Brain ask: then why does he look like Joker from the Batman comics?
The hyperbole at Empire gets a little broad: "Joaquin Phoenix ... Robert De Niro. It’s set to be a showdown for the ages, the chance to see two of the greatest actors of all time play off against each other."
The unpublished Bill Sienkiewicz/Bill Lapham Batman comic art pages that didn't make it into Detective Comics #801 can be seen at comicbook.com
Avengers Endgame comes forth on August 13 to Bluray - thus this Amazon link AVENGERS: ENDGAME [Blu-ray]
Spider-Man Far From Home tallies up worldwide take of $577,766,500 by end of July 4th weekend
July 9, 2019: Also, Avengers Endgame is now at $2,772,462,833 billion worldwide. Marvel tacked on some extra footage at the end of the credits for Endgame, plus a mini-cameo collage of Stan Lee, with various remarks from Mr. Lieber, along with him hugging and being hugged by Marvel movie stars. It wasn't a mini-bio by any means, just an unorganized love letter. Following that was a sequence of Hulk performing heroics which is a deleted scene from Endgame, but the CGI is unfinished and jarring compared to what we usually see so carefully packaged in that department.
[Numbers are from boxofficemojo]
Just a few more million dollars.... Forbes on Marvel's effort to squeeze out enough additional boxoffice from Endgame so that they sail past the record set by James Cameron's Avatar for biggest grossing movie in history (though, adjusted for inflation, 1939's Gone with the Wind still retains the crown). Looks like Disney/aka Marvel are going to pull it off.
CBR on how much Frank Miller doesn't understand Superman (well, now, maybe DC itself doesn't undertand Supers, and for that matter, that raises the question of how well the rest of the roster of characters are understood. Batman used to be a solid DC Comics character before transitioning into Bat-Dad, as if the worst aspects of Joel Shumacher's 1995 Batman and Robin were not seen as a lesson to learn from but as a guiding light for the future of Bruce Wayne, setting aside his war on crime to instead open a halfway house for Robin cosplayers.)
Review: Spider-Man Far from Home
Spider-Man Far From Home released July 2, 2019 in USA. Directed by Jon Watts.
Illusion is the theme of Spider-Man Far From Home and it is played up in a number of ways. By the end of the film two on screen romances have come together and dissolved in a fuzz of hormone-addled illusion, we see Nick Fury at a beach-front vacation only to discover its just an image on a projected screen, in fact we've got [spoilers] more than one Nick Fury running loose, and of course there's illusion-master classic Spidey-villain Mysterio [Jake Gyllenhaal] dishing out visual tricks. (Even a little Hollywood music criticism plays into this theme: Peter Parker mistakes AC/DC for Led Zeppelin.)
Beyond that there's Peter Parker and his friends going across Europe on a school vacation, and most of what we see of this Europe is the stuff of postcards. Whether Director Watts intended this as a self-reverential joke for the movie itself or just the unintended result of the centering of everything on the Archie-comics-like emotions of a group of high school kid characters, I don't know, but it certainly made Europe seem empty, especially London which appears to be only populated by automobiles. That the crown jewels are guarded by only two briefly seen bearskin-hatted guards with SA80 assault rifles was about as close as we get to actually viewing the native people. Unreal.
"Night Monkey" Spidey-suit is on screen a bit, along with a whole review of all the Spider-suits during a melange of Mysterio-theatrics.
The script by Chris McKenna is just about perfectly synced with the previous film with Tom Holland as Spider-Man (Spider-Man Homecoming) and whatever was good or bad about the 2017 movie is repeated here, though the spectacular CGI of Mysterio rampaging in Europe is on a larger scale than Homecoming's Vulture (Michael Keaton) tearing up New York. For 2019, seeing Venice get swamped was a disaster-film moment, but Spider-Man Far from Home is otherwise strictly contained like a two-part Spider-man comic book tale, a bit crammed in places and though I loath extended mopery from how Hollywood taught itself to do Peter Parker, there's not too much of it here to induce audience eye-rolling.
Is this the direction Marvel is going now that their mega-epic Avengers saga has concluded with Endgame? It appears more likely that they are slow-walking the emotional growth of Spider-Man so that there will be time to include an assortment of villains in future films, and to have a maturing Spidey play a part in whatever makes up the future hero team Hollywood-Marvel decides to risk its reputation on, a dilemma they can't avoid now that the series has topped out with so much money earned and the bulk of their actors outgrown (and contract-ended) their roles.
Giant Batman exhibit planned by DC for 2019 comicon - Newsarama
Spiderman Far from Home has conquered China - - they're racking up the grosses, numbers at The Standard.
Batman Beyond reunion at comicon - news on this at IGN.
Paul Levtiz talks Vertigo and its impact at Bleeding Cool (if you didn't know, DC is closing down Vertigo).
State by state guide to favorite comic superheroes - Catwoman rules New Mexico, Batman owns Kentuckey, Black Panther is most popular in North Carolina... Story at Deseret News
Avengers Endgame home video release will include deleted scenes - I would like a Howard the Duck cameo ... but that's not in the cards. Story at Newsarama
You can't sell one million copies of an issue in the direct market - thus spake article at comicbook com
Marvel Vs DC, state by state = DC wins - Survey of Cable preferences across the USA at comic book.com
Andy Serkis attached to the Matt Reeves Batman project - Killer Croc? Penguin? Riddler? BAT-MITE? Story at IGN
Joe and Anthony Russo admit they want one more featuring Captain America - Story at Cheatsheet
Michael Keaton's Batman turns thirty
June 26, 2019: Story at USA Today ranks the "Batmen" of cinema and TV, with Keaton coming out #1.
Bye-bye Vertigo - DC to shutter their branch publishing brands (Vertigo, DC Zoom and DC Ink) and consolidate everything - Story at Hollywood Reporter
Marvel already "brainstorming" to mix X-Men into the main Marvel universe - Looks like Dark Phoenix might be the last stand alone X-Men. Story at wegotthiscovered.com
All Hail Joel Schumacher's Batman and Robin - - and not because its a good film, rather it was so awful it's the reason the superhero movie genre was rebooted - analysis at Den of Geek [Note: I saw Batman and Robin on opening day with a friend who is a bona fide hardcore Batman fan. By the time we left the theater he was really, really mad.)
JJ Abrams to attack Spiderman next - New York Times claims Abrams (and Son) are taking over cinematic Spidey-town. Apparently they're concocting a new villain to populate this film, too, which is a bad sign to me.
Superhero Movie Number update
June 21, 2019: The Superhero rankings for 2019 so far are:
Still coming in 2019: The Joker (October) and Spider-Man Far From Home (July)
Fast Review: Shaft - 2019
You go into this movie expecting to hear Samuel L. Jackson's trademark word, and you do, and not just from him (as Shaft, or really, Shaft Jr) but also everyone else in the cast makes use of the verbal ammo, with a variety of un-PC language until its ubiquitous - you could not see another mainstream Hollywood movie this year utilizing this particular vocabulary.
Jackson is the main Shaft, but there's several Shafts in the story, too, though not enough to make an army, which would be helpful considering what they're up against. In the tale Shaft /Shafts have to deal with FBI incompetence (or is it just slowness?) and a league of vicious criminals in New York City. The FBI involvement comes from Shaft's estranged son who is a FBI data analyst and who at first seems like a typical pop culture milquetoast millennial, but this is misleading as he proves to be as lethal as the movie requires (and it requires a lot of lethality). Unlike the rest of our characters, Shaft III mentions that he "hates guns" a few times after shooting people. This momentary apologia doesn't impede his skills, and everyone in Shaft seems naturally armed to the teeth to defend themselves because violence is always just around the corner in this New York City.
Though not quite a full-on action film because there's so much funny put into Shaft, nonetheless it is full of gunfire, hand-to-hand combat, racing cars, and enough action movie banter for two films from the script by Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow. All of this is wrapped around a sort of cheerful fractured family film extolling the virtues of family life and the responsibilities of fathers to sons, men to ex-wives, and the importance of getting even with druglords.
Director Tim Story keeps the tale compact and moving at all costs, and exploiting the Blaxploitation connection in a seamless way. Judging by the flabby mainstream media reviews I read after viewing the movie, the mostly packed theatre where I saw Shaft couldn't have known you're not supposed to enjoy this sort of film.
The Return of the Swamp Thing - Released 12 May 1989
This sequel to the 1982 Wes Craven Swamp Thing heads straight for the cheese with director Jim Wynorski playing up the humour as Dr. Alec Holland/Swamp Thing (Dick Durock) performs basic superhero chores. He crashes into rooms and rescues people who are in the clutches of mad Dr. Anton Arcane (Louis Jourdan), fights the doctor's gun-crazy mercenary army, and faces off against the super-mutants bred in Arcane's lab.
The primary focus for our hero Swamp Thing is to keep young Abby Arcane (Heather Locklear) safe and healthy, which at first doesn't seem easy to do since the sets are rather spare and everyone seems to end up inside Arcane's dangerous laboratory over and over. Locklear plays Abby as a happy-go-lucky girl who is fearless and shoots off sardonic one-liners no matter how dangerous a situation she gets into, as if she cannot be harmed or killed (unlike an assortment of other cast members) and you know what? By the end of the film that's proved to be entirely true, despite regularly getting into dangerous situations, she escapes the movie unscathed and still grinning.
The script for The Return of Swamp Thing is pretty flexible and apparently not even mandatory. Segments turn into short comedy sketches as the actors goof on their characters. There's plenty of exchanges and one-liners to keep the plot rolling along, and the climax is a showdown between Swamp Thing up against other special effects.
The Return of Swamp Thing has a low budget (and it shows, though this is handled well, considering) and for makeup aficionados, there's frequently gruesome moments involving the bizarre creatures coming out of Arcane's lab. The film seems to insist it doesn't want to be taken very seriously, which mitigates the whole affair, making it sort of a parody of swamp-horror films of earlier eras, but containing a cheerful charm that's both campy and somehow memorable.
John Wick III - Parabellum
Keannu Reeves returns as the unkillable death figure of John Wick. Director Chad Stahelski has Wick looking like a wolf, with black whiskers and in a stylish black suit. This is fitting because Wick acts with animal ferocity combined with precise balletic skill when fighting off endless numbers of less than capable hit men, and by his appearance he embodies something, as an image, which the brute force of the criminal world cannot overcome.
Wick himself is a retired hit man by his own choice, an anomaly where everyone else in these films are stuck with choices being made for them by forces they cannot control (mostly by an ambiguous superpower referred to as 'the High Table,' where master gangsters combine to negotiate and control the criminal world). Wick's unique situation was because he had been rewarded with the love of an honest, not-criminal woman, something that was a key to exiting his alternative world where violence and double-crosses rule, giving him (temporarily) a citizenship in a different universe, the 'normal' world where people can sit and watch TV and own a dog and be in love.
In the John Wick movies we see that hitmen are killers with little consciousness of normal morality (and when they do experience it, as does Anjelica Huston in Parabellem, it is extremely inconvenient), Wick himself is highly moral. When he executes violence it is either to produce a moral result or more usually simply to protect someone else or himself (which he does prodigiously well. There is a lot of humor injected into this film as the fantastic numbers accumulate of failed assaults on Wick).
There is an initial act of revenge Wick performs in the first film: bad guys murder his dog, and as many movie-goers are pet-lovers, we know this is a capitol offense and must be settled. In this is the simple irony of the John Wick movies, he was trained to become the most lethal assassin in the world of crime, and when that world disturbs his peaceful coexistence with his dog after his retirement, the power of all those skills are turned against that world that produced them. - - Review by Erik Weems
Game of Throne writers to take over Star Wars franchise