Tuesday, April 11, 2017

RUMOR ALERT! Post on Reddit, Dwayne Johnson Interview Lead to Inferences that "Shazam!" Movie is Cancelled, Black Adam will be in "Man of Steel 2," More.

Sometimes setting a Google Alert pays off.

It seems to have started with a post on Reddit, one that was denied on Twitter, but built upon by an interview on MTV and now the future of the Shazam! hero and related characters in the movies appears to be some thing like this:

Black Adam, played by Dwayne Johnson, is definitely going to appear in movies.

Black Adam will probably have his own stand-alone movie.

Black Adam might face Superman in a movie.

Black Adam might face Superman in "Man of Steel 2."

The "Shazam!" movie might be "off the table," but might still happen, depending on how you interpret the anonymous sources and Dwayne Johnson's interviews.

Captain Marvel or Shazam (whichever version of the hero they decide to use) might or might not appear in anything currently scheduled.

Billy Batson might appear as an "Easter Egg" in something.

As a fan of the Big Red Cheese, I have been hoping for not just a Captain Marvel movie, but a GOOD Captain Marvel movie since one was first announced back in 2003. However, from what little I have read of the scripts that have been written, seen what has been done with the character in the comics, and what I have experienced of what happens to superheroes in movies, it is likely that the concept of the character will be used as a jumping-off point rather than the material of the character be adapted into a good movie.

If that is the case, I won't mind if Black Adam gets all the press and screen time. But maybe, just maybe, someone will figure out a way to handle the character as he deserves. Something like the purity of Captain America with the sense of fun of Ant Man and the youthful enthusiasm of the latest Spider-Man. I know those are all Marvel characters, but it would be a breath of fresh air to bring that sort of stuff into the DC Cinematic Universe.

One thing is pretty much certain: If and when he does come to the big screen, Billy Bsatson/Captain Marvel will be a boy who transforms  into a grown-up superhero, but keeps his own mind. That has been the standard interpretation since Roy Thomas wrote "Shazam! A New Beginning" in 1986, and it has stuck. I liked the original concept, that the boy and the hero were two distinct personalities with shared memories, but that is just too confusing for today's audiences.

Here are other websites spreading the news/rumors/clickbait:
Cosmic Book News
Xania News

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Black Adam movie starring Dwayne Johnson announced! (Actual news!)

Well, it looks like the clickbait press has stumbled on some actual news regarding a Captain Marvel-related movie!

As we all know, "Shazam!" is scheduled for an April 5th, 2019 release, and will star Dwayne Johnson (the pro wrestler known as "The Rock") as Black Adam, who has been the most powerful super-villain in the DC universe, and whose origin is tied in with that of the original Captain Marvel.

That's pretty much all we know about this movie. No directors or other actors have been attached to this movie. IMDB reports that Henry Gayden is writing "Shazam!" (the latest in a long line of writers that have been attached to the project since 2003), but no story details have been reliably linked, and no writers for the new Black Adam movie have been named.

A few weeks ago this picture of Johnson and Superman actor Henry Cavill popped up on Cavill's Instagram with a hashtag #DCworldscollide. Since word had been out that Black Adam may appear in a Justice League movie before "Shazam!", it led to speculation that Superman and Black Adam would fight in an upcoming movie.

Johnson had been tweeting about important meetings with movie execs with similarly enticing hashtags, but this news of a Black Adam movie is a big deal, and not a little unexpected.

This would be the first comic book superhero movie headlined by a "bad guy." Of course, Black Adam was somewhat morally ambiguous during much of his run from "Power of Shazam" through the end of the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, post-Zero Hour universe. This has carried over somewhat in DC's New 52, though with far less subtlety and complexity. It would also be the first time The Rock has been a bad guy on screen, not just in the ring.

There have been at least five versions of the character so far. There was the original, from Fawcett, revived by DC in the 1970's who was unambiguously a bad guy, then the one that appeared in Roy Thomas' "Shazam! A New Beginning," also a bad guy. The one that Jerry Ordway created for "Power of Shazam!" spent time on both sides of the good guy-bad guy divide, which side he was on often depending on your point of view. In the youth-oriented "Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam" Adam was an emo kid, the kind of villain whose main motivation is revenge. Now the New 52 has maintained that "point-of-view villainy" (the kind where if it were 5000 years ago in Egypt you might think hm a hero, but now he is just mean and sadistic).

Which of these versions of the character the movies will present is unclear, though the "PoS" version is the most currently famous. However, Johnson has talked about how the character is so interesting because he used to be a slave. It is only the New 52 version that had been a slave. It was interesting when Johnson said this because the New 52 was still very new at the time.

In all likelihood, the movie version will be its own animal, with bits adapted from New 52 and PoS. Johnson has talked about bringing "fun" back into the DC universe. This seems kind of odd to attach to Black Adam, as the character was part of arguably the darkest moments in DC comics, history, such as when he murdered an entire country in revenge for the death of his wife.

It's obviously too son for them to say when this now picture will be released, or even if it will come out before or after "Shazam!" some reports are calling it a "spinoff," others that the "Shazam!" movie will now be in two parts. But in any event, it shows that a strong character, with a popular actor to play him, can lead to drastic changes in a movie studio's plan.

Here is your abbreviated (because I don't have time for more) "clickbait roundup":

The Hollywood Reporter (I think on this website it actually counts as "news.")
Screen Rant 
Den of Geek
Rotten Tomatoes
TheMarvelIncBlog (I posted a lengthy comment on this one)
Deadline Hollywood 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Open call for the first Carol Danvers movie happened (light clickbait)

As in any big event blockbuster movie, there was an open call in Fayetteville, Ga. on Dec. 10 & 11th for kids for the upcoming Marvel movie, "Avengers: Infinity War." announced, and in this open call, the cast list was published. As reported on moviecastingcall.org, the cast includes: "BAFTA Award nominee Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Academy Award nominee Josh Brolin as Thanos, Saturn Award Winner Chris Pratt as Star Lord / Peter Quill, Teen Choice Awards nominee Sebastian Stan as Bucky, four-time Golden Globe Award nominee Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, Academy Award winner Brie Larson as Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel, ALMA Award winner Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Empire Award winner Karen Gillan as Nebula, two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, two-time Saturn Award nominee Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, BAFTA Awards nominee Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet, four-time Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Screen Actors Guild Awards nominee Vin Diesel as Groot, Academy Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Screen Actors Guild Awards nominee Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man, British Independent Film Awards nominee Benedict Wong as Wong, Action on Film Award winner Dave Bautista as Drax, BAFTA Film Award nominee Paul Bettany as Vision, Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuoso Award winner Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, three-time Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / The Hulk, and two-time Academy Award nominee Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man."

You may notice that in the middle of that wall of text is  "Academy Award winner Brie Larson as Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel." This will be the first appearance of any Captain Marvel on the big screen sine the 1941 serial "The Adventures of Captain Marvel," the first time on any live-action screen since "Legends of the Superheroes" in 1979, the only time Carol Danvers has appeared on any screen outside of the "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" animated series, the "Avengers Assemble" spoof series, and on episode of the "X-Men" animated series. The name "Captain Marvel" is part of the credit the actor is given, so this would make it the very first time Carol Danvers has appeared as Captain Marvel anywhere.

Of course it is old news that Brie Larsen will be playing the character, and that the character will be in this movie, but that doesn't stop the clickbait press from latching onto this announcement for their headlines. Nor do things like the star-studded, all-star superhero cast.

One thing I find amazing is not just that every cast member named has won or been nominated for some sort of award, but the great diversity of awards mentions. In addition to the obligatory Academy Awards, I see BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), Screen Actor's Guild, Empire Awards, Saturn Awards, Teen Choice Awards, Action on Film Awards, and (getting the award for longest name without an acronym) the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuoso Awards.

What this tells me is that superheroes have hit the big time. Old news, I know, but considering the kind of dreck that Hollywood has been shoveling out for decades, it's at least nice that top-level talent is embracing a genre for which I have such affection.

If this brings more people into comic book shops, and some of these people discover the depth and breadth of the potential of the medium, and this enriches their lives, then it will be worth it.

I found this bit of news on the following pages:
Omega Underground
Daily Disruption


Friday, October 14, 2016

Brie Larsen/Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel Movie Will Be an Origin Story, Says Kevin Feige

Out of all the excitement at New York Comic Con this past week, there was a bit of Captain Marvel news. It seems that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has said two things:

1) "Captain Marvel" will be an origin story (as revealed in an interview with Cinema Blend)
2) Captain Marvel will be the most powerful hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

You can read all the various announcements and clickbait from the links below. Here is what is important about this news:

When the first modern superhero movie, "Superman: The Movie," came out in 1978, it began with the origin of Superman. When "Batman" came out in 1989, it included the heroe's origin. Almost every successive Batman movie included something about his origin. The Captain America, Punisher, and Fantastic Four movies of the late 1980's through the 1990's all included their origins. Each of the Spider-Man franchises on TV and theaters since the 1970's began with origin stories. Even independent and lesser-known heroes characters like Darkman and The Mask told origin stories.

Frankly, it gets a little boring. For a long time my favorite superhero movie was "Batman Returns" because it was the only one that did not replay the freakin' origin of Batman!

Now, however, that the Superhero movies of the New Millennium have proven the profitability of the genre, and one after another character is given their own movie series, creators are free to move beyond the origin stories and get right down to the adventure. This has made the movies much less repetitive and more watchable.

So now that it has been announced, in a throwaway sentence fragment as part of a larger conversation, that "...Captain Marvel is certainly an origin story from the start," We will all collectively hope that the movie will be more than a re-hash of the familiar superhero tropes, different only in the names and places.

One indication that this might be the case is that screenwriter Nicole Perlman has revealed that they would not be sticking with the origin of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel that is in the comics.

I am wary of what this may mean. The reasoning behind whatever changes they make has been announced to be because it is felt that the origin of this Captain Marvel is too similar to Green Lantern (here is how Time reported it). To wit: and alien comes to Earth and gives a human his powers when he dies. That is an over-simplification of what happened in the case of Marvel Comics' Captain MArvel, and it seems pretty disingenuous. Mar-Vell (Marvel's first Captain Marvel) operated on Earth for years before Danvers got her powers, he did not die until years later, and Danvers was not involved in the story of his death at all (I will have to ask Jim Starlin about why that is, but I suspect it was simply because he simply did not think of it). More recently, Mar-Vell was brought back to life in the "Avengers vs. X-Men" storyline, and died saving the universe, after which Danvers was inspired to take on his name and legacy.

But regardless of whether you think the Mar-Vell-Danvers origin story is too much like the Abin Sur-Hal Jordan origin story, the fact is that Mar-Vell is the original Marvel Comics Captain Marvel. He was a good character, subject to many conflicts and challenges, and hit a new level or awesomeness when he became the "protector of the Universe" with the Cosmic Awareness granted him by Eon. He was also the first hero to face Thanos and defeat him when he was on the threshold of victory, conquering the universe and giving it to his love, Death. It would be a shame if, in their interest to create a new origin story, that they leave him out of it.

So much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both seen and announces as to be seen, is built upon element that first appeared as part of Mar-Vell's stories or were significantly involved with Mar-Vell. This includes Ronan the Accuser and the entire Kree race, Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, Eon, evena tiny Easter egg reference to "Richard Jones." I, for one, will be very disappointed if Mar-Vell does not show up in there somewhere.

As far as the "most powerful character" thing goes, remember that in Marvel Comics' "House of M" storyline, Carol Danvers was "Captain Marvel, the world's greatest hero" (this was still some years before the became Captain Marvel for the present). Recently ishe has displayed great strength, speed, and invulnerability, in addition ot her power-absorption and projection. IT is not too far a stretch to have her trading blows with Thor and the Hulk as they have been presented so far. It will give the MCU a woman of equivalent power levels as the big boys, and that is always good for broadening the market base.

We still have over two years to go before his movie comes out, and a director has not yet been chosen. But at least it's nice to see that Ms. Larsen is getting into the role...
(from her Twitter post with the text "LARSON INDUSTRIES R&D DEPT.")

And here are the website articles and postings I bothered to find:
Cinema Blend
Comic Book Movie
The Daily Dot
Press Trust of India
Business Standard
We Got This Covered
The Stopru


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Brie Larsen will play Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel

Brie Larsen tweeted this picture, announcing to the world that she is Captain Marvel.

At the beginning of June, Variety reported (and other websites like Entertainment Weekly picked up on it) that Oscar-winning actress Brie Larsen was "in talks" about playing Carol Danvers, AKA Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel.

Yesterday, at San Diego Comic Con, the official announcement was made. Here is a smattering of websites on which it was reported, as of right now (look at the time stamp on this post).

NBC News
CBC News
Entertainment Weekly
Vanity Fair
Huffington Post
USA Today
The Guardian 
Cinema Blend
Cray News
Screen Crush
Particle News
Women and Hollywood
2 Hours
Virals Online1

One fascinating, but not unexpected, thing about this list is the high-profile, female-targeted websites (Glamour, Vanity Fair, etc). This will be the first major company, female-led superhero movie ever. Other female superheroes like Wonder Woman have been on TV, female characters from smaller companies like Barb Wire have had their movies, and Halle Berry's Catwoman was technically a "villain," had a movie, but in this new wave of high-profile, mega-blockbuster, critically acclaimed superhero movies, no females have been the headliner. This is the first.

This has been such a big deal that the clickbait mill has been working overtime on the casiting. Names like Emily Blunt, Katherine Winnick, Katie Sackoff, Natalie Dormer, Rebecca Ferguson, Ronda Rousey, etc, have appeared in headlines designed to make it sound like it was "news" that someone thought they would be right for the role. Some, like Rousey, were vocal in campaigning for the role, but some of these women even embarrassingly had to admit that not only were they unfamiliar with the character, but had never been contacted by anyone about it!

Many of the articles have given capsulized descriptions of the character, but  suppose the needs and resources of the medium have led them to leave out a few details. I think it is notable to mention that thought this Captain Marvel will be the first female lead of a Marvel movie, Carol Danvers is not the first female Captain Marvel.

The first female superhero named Captain Marvel was Marvel Comics' Monica Rambeau in 1982. She was also the first black Captain Marvel and one of the few black female superheroes. DC came next with Jerry Ordway's version of Mary Batson, who, in the "Power of Shazam" series in the 1990's, transformed into a female Captain Marvel. She was not known as "Mary Marvel" until after the series ended. At the beginning of the 2000's, Marvel came back with Phyla-Vell, the cloned sister from a newly-created replacement universe (don't ask) of the then-current Marvel Captain Marvel, Genis-Vell. She was Captain Marvel for a while.

Danvers herself has been Captain Marvel before, in the "House of M" storyline in which the Scarlet Witch had changed reality. That experience kicked of her new Ms. Marvel series, which built up her character until she took on the Mantle of Captain Marvel after the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline.

I am going to be open-mindedly optimistic about this casting decision. Marvel has not gone too terribly wrong yet in their Avengers-related movies (I am not thinking of any of the recent "Fantastic Four" movies), so there is no reason to expect them to have done so now.

On a related note, I would say that with every new news report and mention of Marvel's Captain Marvel movie, my confidence that DC's "Shazam" movie will include a character named "Captain Marvel" gets lower and lower. So far not a single use of the classic name has passed my eyes in anything from DC about the movie that has been announced to be released in 2019. This further makes me think that the hero of that movie will be based on the "New 52" superhero named Shazam. I can't help but think that such a movie would have an uphill battle with regards to being something that would be...well...good. I have nightmarish visions of overblown, confusing mash-ups of concepts, characters, and storylines from DC Comics mixed with things that would be completely made up for the movie.

I really hope that is not the case.

Videos regarding the Brie Larsen announcement:
These videos are all of the "announcement," which was actually a surprise addition to the Marvel movie panel at San Diego Comic Con. Pretty much all these videos seem to be from the video camera-phones of people in the audience.
...and a bit of pre-announcement clickbait video...
If you want to see more reports and reactions to the news that Brie Larsen was "in talks" back in June, go here, or just search for "Brie Larsen Captain Marvel"

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why all the casting reports, rumors, and speculation about Marvel's Captain Marvel movie are BS

When I worked in the insurance industry, I looked up everything I could on the Interwebs about the Affordable Care Act (at the time I even wrote a parable about insurance that a comic book fan would understand. It's called "The Comic Book Reader's Protection Act"). Through this research I found out a lot about the ACA, aka "Obamacare." But I found out even more about people's opinions about the ACA, and I figured out a lot about how the Internet works.

Step 1: Find a news item about something.
Step 2: Make up an exciting, incindiary headline, in the form of a question if possible.
Step 3: Use enough keywords, search engine optimization, and clickbait techniques to get people to go to the page.

Such has been the techniques used to flood Google Alert settings of "Captain Marvel" with reports of everyone from Natalie Dormer to Emily Blunt to Natasha Richardson to Katheryn Winnick to Charlize Theron to Rhonda Rousy as being someone who may play Carol Danvers in the movie scheduled for release in 2018, regardless of the fact that THE SCRIPT ISN'T EVEN WRITTEN YET! (But then again, Dwayne Johnson has officially announced that he is going to play Black Adam in the2019 movie, so what do I know?)

Well, finally, president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige and producer Jeremy Lachtman have come out and explained why there have been no official announcements about who will play, or is even being considered to play, the lead role in Marvel's first female-led superhero movie ("Elektra" doesn't count because it was not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and she was really more of an anti-hero, anyway).

I will let you read this, which appears to be the first article on the subject, by DCMarvelFreshman on ComicBookMovie dot com yourself, and I simply am TOO DAMN BUSY to do a click-bait roundup on the inevitable flood of websites, blogs, videos, etc that will inevitably follow.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Carol Danvers to appear in "Avengers: Infiity War"? Clickbait speculation

Based on both confirmed and unconfirmed reports and creative speculation, the idea is now kicking around the Interwebs that Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel will be appearing in one of the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity Wars" movies before her own eponymous film.

I first stumbled upon this concept in this post by Athena Parnada on YouthHealthMag (gotta love Google Alerts for finding it). what a Youth Health on-line magazine is doing chating about internet rumors about superhero films I do;t know, but the post provided links to a bunch of other articles and posts, including what seems to be the origin/source of this concept, this post by Eleanor Tremeer on MoviePilot.

To sum up, it has been confirmed by the people who made such decisions that 1) Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel was, at one point, going to appear in "Avengers: Age of Ultron," but then was written out, and 2) that she is not going to appear in the next "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie. with rumors and reports running rampant that several major characters are going to be killed in the Infinity Wars, this would make room for a character like Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel to fill in the void.

Personally, as I posted in my first article in MoviePilot, I think that it would be very nice if somehow Captain Mar-Vell, Marvel's first Captain Marvel, the Kree warrior/cosmic space hippie, were to be involved with Carol's storyline and origin. It was his heroic example of courage, decency, and self-sacrifice that inspired Carol to be the superhero she is; his mission to Earth, battle with Colonel Yon-Rogg, and DNA that gave her the powers to become Ms. Marvel; and his battle with Thanos that put the villain on the map. To have Carol, Thanos, Ronan, the Kree, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, and the Cosmic Cube all in the same Cinematic Universe and not have the one character that tied them all together in the comics appear in the movies just seems like a waste of a great character.

What do you think?