Comic Book Brain
Last Update: June 14, 2019
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.
Dark Phoenix opens worldwide $136,571,969
June 10, 2019: The Superhero rankings for 2019 so far are:
AVENGERS ENDGAME - Worldwide $2,731,411,643
CAPTAIN MARVEL - Worldwide $1,127,805,090
SHAZAM - Worldwide $362,939,187
GLASS - Worldwide $246,985,576
BRIGHTBURN - Worldwide $26,721,148
HELLBOY - Worldwide $21,903,748
Still coming in 2019: The Joker (October) and Spider-Man Far From Home (July)
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
Marvel currently rules the cinematic world
May 30, 2019: $2,686,851,641 billion worldwide
May 22, 2019: $2,622,914,098 worldwide
May 14 Update: $2,503,147,735 billion worldwide
May 7 Update: $2,193,740,959 billion worldwide
May 1 Update: $1,447,989,446 billion worldwide
April 29 update: $1,216,000,000 billion worldwide take
April 28, 2019: Avengers Endgame opening weekend is already at $643,700,000 worldwide, with only a 2-day count, thus both Captain Marvel and Avengers Endgame are tag-teaming at the top of the money-making charts.
Marvel's 22-film story arc comes to an end with this fourth Avengers movie, and though Iron Man (2008) started off with great numbers ($585,174,222 worldwide) and proof that the superhero movie genre still had significant life to it (coming out two months before Nolan's The Dark Knight, which then proceeded to pile up over $1 billion in box office all on its own) no one could have guessed that by Avengers Endgame that the total on all the subsequent Marvel movies after Iron Man would be totaling near the $20 billion dollar mark.
Avengers Endgame truly ends the movie story line
How do we know Avengers: Endgame is really the "end" of this batch of Marvel films? Because there are no teaser end-credit bits that point to the next film's additional story line.
This sudden change in tradition was a structural statement to the fans who have patently waited through accumulated credit time of hours that this really is it, folks. Even if muscle memory kept plenty of people glued to their seats and scanning through the clouds of end titles scrolling by, there's nothing there to add (or detract) from the completed magnum opus.
(Note: This changed after a week into the release, a Spider-Man: Far From Home promo was tagged onto the beginning - - Tom Holland looking at the camera asking the moviegoer to please wait through the credits for my trailer... and then the actual trailer after the end of Avengers End Game.)
Plenty of story strings were left dangling to accommodate new films, of course, but not with this combined cast list.
Captain Marvel at Worldwide: $1,098,094,680 worldwide
April 28, 2019: Detailed numbers at BoxofficeMojo