After Ben Affleck's announcement of his leaving the role of the Caped Crusader in early 2019, many across the comic book fandom have proposed their own replacement: most of these were stars in big name films, like Armie Hammer and Jon Hamm. And fans had good reason to assume either of those two actors (or anyone with a similar career path) would take the role: they're well-known, have ties with Warner Brothers, and with a strong fanbase.
However, it seems like WB's gone the opposite approach with the casting of a new Barman in Matt Reeve's upcoming prequel film. It was reported by many outlets late last night that Robert Pattison and Nicholas Hoult were on the studio's shortlist to play the character. Both of the two actors had long been in the spotlight for the role, but many assumed they'd not play the character: Hoult due to his association with the X-Men franchise, and Pattison due to his history with the Twilight films and his more indie filmography.
However, it seems like the latter may be the one to take the role.
With the Fox-Disney deal finally completed, Fox 's X-Men films, which started all the way back in 2000, is at an end. Though their final film slated is The New Mutants (set for a summer release), the main series of films reaches a climax with 2019's Dark Phoenix. Based on the Chris Claremont's era-defining story of the same name, the film marks the fourth film featuring the new cast members first introduced in 2011's X-Men: First Class. Though some have critiqued the film for being unwanted and seeming extremely derivative of the much-maligned X-Men: The Last Stand, others have praised the movie for looking like the bang needed for the conclusion of such an influential film series.; both sides of this argument have been amplified by the release of the film's final trailer yesterday.
It mostly consists of pre-existing footage from the first two trailers and TV spots, but what is new presents some interesting story details.
In the ever-changing media landscape, the Mouse House must fight to survive. We first saw this in November 2017 when they announced they made a bid to purchase the majority of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets; this granted them access not only to the highly coveted X-Men and Fantastic 4 properties for Marvel, but also to a majority stake in Hulu, TV channels like FX and Fox News, and such profitable media franchises like The Simpsons, Alien, and the distribution rights to Star Wars: A New Hope.
Likewise, the dominance of Netflix and other streaming services as a business model has motivated Disney to create their own streaming service, announced in September 2017. Known as Disney Plus and slated for a November launch, the service is expected to play host to a variety of original content based on Disney's franchises, as well as already released media. Recently, a meeting was held for investors detailing exactly how the service would work, as well as what would be released on launch and later on.
Marvel-As Disney's major moneymaker, it stands to reason that the service would place most of its focus on the House of Ideas. And sure enough, executive producer of the MCU Kevin Fiege, announced a whole slew of shows based on Marvel Comics characters, as well as additional information on already known shows.
Its very unlike an MCU film to cause much, if any, controversy among moviegoers: since 2008, the franchise has been almost Teflon-like in its success, earning fan adoration, critical praise, and box-office glory like nothing Hollywood has ever seen. But then again, Captain Marvel's not exactly like any other MCU film. Aside the obvious fact of being the first to feature a female character as the lead, the film also has stirred up controversy like no major blockbuster since 2017's The Last Jedi. Comments dealing with topics like feminism, diversity in film review, and the role actors play as activists have stoked emotions among many, but a big concern was how the film would perform at the box-office. As seen with TLJ, as well as 2016's Ghostbusters reboot, films involving hot-button social issues, regardless of which way they lean, can underperform if fans are unsatisfied with the message. In both cases, The Last Jedi, though a certified success, earned close to a billion less than The Force Awakens, and the controversy around The Last Jedi certainly played some role in the box-office tanking of Solo: A Star Wars Story. And as for Ghostbusters, similar political messages both within the film and from its actors, though certainly well-meaning, did cause controversy among fans, who made their discontent heard by not watching the film. Considering similar comments made by lead actress for Captain Marvel Brie Larson, some speculated the film had a chance of similarly failing to meet studio expectations. However, the opening weekend box-office reports are in, and seem to indicate the film as doing just fine. According to Variety, the film earned around $455 million globally in its opening weekend, with about $153 million of that coming from the U.S; the latter number exceeded the estimated $125 million by about $25 million. The success of the film so far almost certainly means a sequel is on the way.
It seems the end of an era regarding live-action comic book media has arrived. Running for 6 years since 2012, the eponymous progenitor of the Arrowverse, Arrow, has been announced to be canceled after it's upcoming eight season. The news first broke on March 6th, with lead actor Stephen Amell taking to social media to announce the news to fans in an emotional video. Though no reason has been given as to why the show has been announced to end, most speculate that actor Stephen Amell desires to move on in his career and avoid the show limping to its conclusion. Many Arrowverse actors who started on Arrow, like Katie Cassidy and lead of The Flash Grant Gustin, spoke on social media about their joy working on the show and with its cast and crew. It had been speculated before that two shows in the Arrowverse would be ending after their renewal for the upcoming TV season, with Legends of Tomorrow being the other show theorized to end. On the fan side of things, many speculate that Oliver Queen will die in the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, based on the 1985-86 comic event of the same name; evidence of this mostly deals with some form of a deal Queen made with the Monitor, Mar Novu, in 2018's Elseworlds event. Regarding the rest of the Arrowverse, all else seems to be in order to continue: Batwoman, who made her debut in Elseworlds, will have her show premiere sometime this year, and possibly take the Monday night slot of Arrow. Season 6 of The Flash has been known to be happening since at least January of this year, same with Supergirl. however, Amell has hinted that though the show may be ending , Queen may continue on with his life. In any case, the show that arguably did as much for superhero TV as the Avengers did for films, has finally earned the same rest as its tortured hero.
With the box-office success of Aquaman, it seems Warner Brothers has finally decided to address fan concerns regarding certain films within the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Just this past Wednesday and Thursday, it was major film websites like THR and Variety reported on the current status of two hotly anticipated DC films. The first, and most anticipated one is The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves; the major announcements pertaining to this film included an official release date of June 5th, 2021. More significant, however, would be the news that Ben Affleck would be producing this film. It's been known for some time that Affleck would not don the cowl for this film, with Reeves instead focusing on the early days of the Caped Crusader's career; however, Affleck's role in the project was largely unknown prior to this news. It's been said that the film will be a neo-noir detective thriller, so anticipation remains high. The second film is the sequel to 2016's Suicide Squad, tentatively titled The Suicide Squad. While not as anticipated as The Batman, the news was certainly more interesting. Aside from its August 6th, 2021 release date, it's been confirmed that former Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is in talks to direct the film, We know he left Disney after old tweets of his resurfaced, and soon after he was hired by WB to script the film, though rumors of his directing was just a rumor. Many believe the film will be stylistically similar to his first two Guardians films, a believe not hard to believe; after all, the first Suicide Squad, while very much its own film, did have a fair share of similarities with Guardians. All in all, this is good news for the DCEU, seeing them find and commit to a plan.
Two days ago, Marvel and Sony Pictures revealed the first trailer for Spider-Man: Far from Home, so I've decided to give my brief thoughts on the matter. In short, I think it's good, with one exception. Starting with more surface-level aspects, the CGI in the trailer, while clearly unfinished, does look very nice, or at least more so than for Captain Marvel. Acting is up to snuff, the comedy seems like more of the same, so hopefully Jon Watts' John Hughes-inspired direction will return in full force, as that was among the best things in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Plot wise, I think the trailer does a good job introducing the new status quo for Spider-Man as a local celebrity, as well as his field trip to Europe; I think both of these are really interesting story ideas for a Spider-Man movie, though I do hope they don't do it in a way that betrays the every-man spirit of the character like some recent comic runs on the character has. Using Nick Fury is a neat idea, Mysterio looks like an interesting story beat, and I think we'll see another our first on-screen version of Hydro-Man. However, the only thing I'm not happy about is the tone. By this, I mean that while the upbeat, jovial nature fits the character well, I do feel it takes away somewhat from Spider-Man's death in Infinity War; it's just that seeing jokes about Ned "swallowing his tongue" really fights hard against what the Russo's and Tom Holland did with that ending. Regardless, I am excited about the movie. Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Things aren't going so well for the Marvel Netflix shows; despite a relatively solid second season, the much-maligned Iron Fist was canceled last month. Despite the news, fans of Marvel Netflix eagerly awaited the then-upcoming third season of Daredevil. And while it premiered to very strong reviews, the true headline of the day was the announcement of Luke Cage being canceled, not just on the day of the much awaited season, but only a week after Iron Fist; even more shocking to some was that Disney did not mention any plans to revive the season on the upcoming Disney+ streaming platform. And now, it seems like the originator of the mini-universe is the latest to fall victim to this purge. It was announced by Deadline Hollywood this morning that Daredevil is officially canceled.
This has led many to question the future of the Marvel Netflix Universe. Of the six shows, Defenders, Jessica Jones, and The Punisher are the only ones still ongoing; of those three, the latter two are definitively going to has at least one more season. The Punisher's second season wrapped filming in August, so it should be in post now, and Jessica Jones' began shooting in late-June. But after that, it's all up in the air. The latter's second season earned a fair share of criticism for it's pacing issues, and apparently didn't have very high viewership, so the notion of a cancelation isn't a huge stretch; and regarding Punisher, while nothing about viewership exists, the season earned pretty good scores, and the character was definitely the breakout start of Daredevil season 2, so his fate is undecided. My personal opinion is sadness-while I never cared much for Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, or Luke Cage, I've always been a fan of Daredevil, considering it among the best superhero TV shows, live action or otherwise. Defenders was pretty boring in my eyes, but I found The Punisher a very enjoyable viewing experience. However, I can kinda see why they've begun canceling them: it's been said before, but these shows really drag in the middle of their seasons, most notably Jessica Jones season 2 and both of Luke Cage's seasons. Viewership is also dropping in substantial numbers as well, so something needs to be done. And moving the more lauded shows to Disney+ while axing the rest does make some sense. Don't be shocked if JJ gets the axe in the future.
Despite the mixed to poor critical reception of the three films, Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Justice League director Zach Snyder seems to be enjoying himself. Since leaving, Snyder has taken to posting to the social media platform Vero, revealing details and information cut from Batman v. Superman and Justice League, as well as answering fan questions; he even poked fun at Warner Brothers over the Thanksgiving break, using a likening his yet uncooked turkey to the film, saying both needed "an hour more, at least"- a reference to a studio mandate keeping the Justice League's runtime at two hours or less. And just recently, Snyder dropped a major bomb on fans on his Vero.
The picture shared depicted what appeared to be either concept art or in-film art of Darkseid, classic DC super-villain; Darkseid, born Uxas, was intended to serve as the primary villain of the DCEU, and was even planned to appear within the film in a decently sized role. This change was just one of many portions of the film, be it on a story, editing, music, or visual level, changed during the reshoots. And with the changes disappointing many DCEU fans, supporters of Snyder have begun mobilizing in support of Snyder's version of the film, dubbed the Snyder cut; in fact, fans were so dedicated that they, after raising enough money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, paid for a plane to fly a "Release the Snyder Cut" banner of WB studios. All this combined has lead many to believe that the cut may in fact get released. Personally speaking, I'm not at all a fan of Justice League, and very much sympathize with him and his plight; unsurprisingly, I'm not at all turned off by the idea of seeing a Snyder cut released. However, I'm not entirely sure WB will do so. For one, the DCEU has a lot of positive buzz around it now, what with the early reviews for Aquaman indicating a solid film, high amount of excitement for Shazam and its trailer, and more. So from a business perspective, the studio may not want to remind casual moviegoers of Snyder's original vision. To that, I'd argue the hardcore fans are really the ones keeping the series alive, as the mainstream seems like they could care less, so focusing marketing towards them wouldn't at all hurt.
The Margot Robbie-led and produced Birds of Prey film is moving along extremely quickly; it was only about two weeks ago that Black Canary and Huntress were cast as Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, respectively. And only on Halloween was the movie announced to be R-rated. And now, a major casting decision has been revealed. Ewan McGregor will be playing Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, in the Cathy Yan-directed film. While not on the level of Joker or Mr. Freeze in terms of popularity, Black Mask has seen an increase in interest after 2013's Batman: Arkham Origins, where he played a major role in the game as the quartagonist of the game. Known best for his use of torture, the character should be a good fit for the rating announced. Regarding McGregor himself, it's an odd choice: best known for playing Obi-Wan in the Star Wars series, fans have been expecting him to star in the role in his own film; seeing, however, as all Star Wars spinoffs are on hold, is it possible he took this role as a way to fill his time until, or if, the film is green-lighted? One should also note that Winstead is McGregor's girlfriend in real life.