Thursday, May 3, 2018

Complete, Up-To-Date cast list for Marvel's "Captain Marvel" movie

As my busy life and propensity for verbosity does not allow me to be Johnny-on-the-spot with these posts about late-breaking developments, I am just going to throw this one up here now with minimal commentary and ...maybe...get back to it later.

But for the record, CinemaBlend has collected all the confirmed "heroes and villains" for the upcoming "Captain Marvel" movie from Marvel Studios.

A quick scan confirms the usual, Carol Danvers, Mar-Vell, Nick Fury. It does add a wrinkle I had not considered, the black female character played by Lashana Lynch may be a mother, and her daughter may turn out to be Monica Rambeau, which I think would be a nice touch.

Ben Mendelsohn may or may not be playing Yon-Rogg, and though that character has been drawn several different ways, I think his face would fit. I also think his performance in "Star Wars: Rogue One" had a bit of what I imagine the Kree colonel's character to be.

Flashback to Carol Danvers' youth might reveal McKenna Grace as her young self, which could be nice. CArol Danvers' character is no Superman (at least in the classic, Silver-to-modern age,  Christopher Reeve version). Rather than being a person grown up with a wholesome, supportive family and easily ensconced in a respectable, journalism job, she rebelled against her MCP father and joined the Air Force. Her job in journalism was stormy and tempestuous, as her boss objected to her vision of the magazine for which she was hired as editor in chief, and she is constantly striving to push beyond her abilities as a superhero, and what people expect of her as a person, and as a female person. Showing some of that backstory could set up some interesting, non-traditional struggles for a superhero.

I like that Minn-Erva (being played by Gemma Chan), Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), and Mar-Vell (Jude Law) are all in the movie. That indicates we are going to have some real Kree intrigue, and that is what the first couple of years of Marvel's first Captain Marvel was all about.

I suppose I can go into  more detail later about what all this means, but I do want to point out this picture which I presume is from that recent gorilla movie, that illustrated Brie Larsen's entry in the article:

Note the shirt, open but knotted, indicating a casual sexiness, yet practicality. Carol Danvers wore a shirt like that once. I will scan some pictures from that issue, post it, and talk about it later.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Is Lashana Lynch playing Monica Rambeau in Marvel's "Captain Marvel"? (Clickbait roundup)

I was going to write a big, thoughtful post about this, and even created this image to illustrate it:

And started building the "clickbait roundup":

Geek Tyrant
ComicBook dot Com

I even found this video...

 ...But other things got in my way, and the news has moved on. To sum up:

One black actress has pulled out of Marvel's "Captain Marvel" movie, and another taken her place. There has been a lot of race-changing between comics and movies, but with a black female Captain Marvel having been in the comics, and considering the ways that superhero movies these days pay a lot of fan service, having a black woman in a Captain Marvel movie by Marvel is a pretty dead giveaway that Monica Rambeau is going to be in this movie.

The rest of this post would have been about how I first saw Minica Rambeau on the cover o that isue of The Amazing Spider-Man in a magazinse shop on 1st ave & 57th St, but rejected it becaus she was not my Captain Marvel, but how when I came to read all her adventures with the Avengers in research for this project, came to realize that she was an awesome character. She was brave, realistic, and actually studied up on all the Avengers' villains so she could battle them efectively. In many ways she was a better "feminist role model" than Carol Danvers' Ms.Marvel when she first appeared.

It's a shame that Marvel had to bring back Captain America to the Avengers at her expense, and that she never had a regular series of her own.

I will just close with this video which, for the record, tells the story of the Death of Mar-Vel and the coming of Monica Rambeau, including some things that made her unique...

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Shazam Family grows (for the SHAZAM! movie)

Just a few words as my time is short today:

The past few days have seen a whole lot of casting announcements for the upcoming "SHAZAM!" movie. These include Billy Batson as a toddler, Billy Batson's mom, and the heroic alter egos of Billy's foster siblings.

All this confirms what every other clue that has come out has led me (and lots of other people) to conclude: This is a movie about Shazam, the superhero in DC's New 52 and recent animated productions and video games, not the original Captain Marvel.

They are leaving Black Adam out of this movie, though, so while a lot of the story elements of the SHAZAM! back-up story in "Justice League" collected  in the trade paperback "SHAZAM!" are in the movie it obviously won't be a blow-by-blow copy. Still, with such characters as Dr. Sivana, Mr. Bryer, the foster family, and the "Seven Deadly Sins" either cast or rumored to be in the movie, there is not a whole lot of room for much else.

So let's stop the bemoaning of the "name change"and acknowledge that this is not a "Captain Marvel" movie, it is a "Shazam" movie.

But I am perfectly on board with wishing there was a movie about the original Captain Marvel.

What do you think? What will be the strongest elements of the new interpretation of the hero? Will this character concept be able to support a movie franchise? What differences between New 52 Shazam and the original Captain Marvel do you like the most and the least?


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The SHAZAM! movie costume, and what it reveals about Shazam and Captain Marvel

Here is a little video I shot that explains my point of view on the whole Shazam/Captain Marvel name thing, what the SHAZAM! movie costume reveals about it, and why I make a point of Saying "Captain Marvel" sometimes and "Shazam" other times...

What do you think about the SHAZAM! movie being about the New 52 character, as opposed to the classic Captain Marvel? Put your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Has Captain Marvel's name changed to "Shazam"?

This was a reply to a comment on Facebook, but since it was so long and thorough for a "Someone is Wrong on the Internet" comment, I figured I would post it here so folks could refer to it with ease. 

Whether or not the name has been "changed" depends on how you look at the character.

In the mid '00's, DC had a series of company-wide epic events, part of which involved Captain Marvel having to take over the job of the old wizard Shazam (who had given Billy Batson the power to speak his name and transform into the hero), and his name changing to "Lord Marvel." Freddy Freeman (Captain Marvel, Jr.) took over the job of Captain Marvel, but after going through the "Trials of Shazam!" 12-issue series (that lasted from 2006-2008,) he became the new hero and was called "Shazam" for a while (Wikipedia says he went back to the name Captain Marvel for a bit).

Then, in 2012, the New 52 came around, and every superhero was "rebooted" or "recreated" and started over. Some of these new versions were drastically different, some were not. The character who was published under the title "Shazam!" in back-up stories n "Justice League," and who later joined the Justice League, was named "Shazam." He had a different costume, different origin, and drastically different powers from the previous characters marketed under that title, all but the Freddy Freeman version having been named "Captain Marvel," and being continuations of, or based on, the original Captain Marvel from Fawcett.

A few years later, DC revealed that the universe in which these "New 52" heroes live is actually part of a "multiverse," and in this multiverse is a world labeled "Earth-5. On this world is a superhero named "Captain Marvel. This world has been said to be "Earth-S," which was the world on which DC placed the original Captain Marvel when they started publishing him in 1972.

To backtrack just a bit...

In 1972, DC began publishing the continuing adventures of the original Captain Marvel, placing him on Earth-S, just as Jay Garrick/Flash was on Earth-2 and Barry Allen/Flash was on Earth1, and while both Earth-1 and Earth-2 had a Clark Kent/Superman, Earth Three had Kal-ll/Ultraman

In 1985-6 DC published the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" saga, which rolled all the alternate Earths into one, rebooting all their characters, re-setting the Big Three of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman into the current era, and re-booting Captain Marvel under the title "SHAZAM!" The New Beginning." He had the same powers, a slightly different origin, and the same costume. And while the original Billy Batson and Captain Marvel were separate personalities, now Captain Marvel was simply Billy Batson in the hero's body.

In 1994 DC released Jerry Ordway's re-boot of the character under the title "The Power of SHAZAM!" Again he had a slightly different origin but the same powers, his costume was slightly different, and he maintained the "boy as hero" concept. This was retconned as the part of the new world that emerged from the "Zero Hour" crossover event that happened that same year in DC Comics.
 In 2007, DC released Jeff Smith's "SHAZAM! The Monster Society of Evil" which again re-booted the hero, giving him a slightly different origin and the same costume as the "Power of SHAZAM!" version. In this version the boy and the hero were different personalities, but were starting to merge towards the end
A slightly different version of this character was the hero of the "Billy Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM!" series published for the kid-oriented "Johnny DC" imprint. In this version, the hero had the boy's mind.

Now, if all of these characters, existing on different worlds or after different universe-altering events, count as "different characters," then the New 52 hero, named "Shazam," is not the same character as the original Captain Marvel.

If, however, you want to say that a character with a different origin, different concept, different costume, different powers, a different name, and living on a different world, but marketed under the same trademark as a previous character is the same character as that previous version, then yes, Captain Marvel's name has been changed to Shazam, along with almost everything else about him.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Two movies, Three Articles

Some big news is dropping about the two Captain Marvel-relevant movies that have recently begun production: DC's Shazam! and Marvel's Captain Marvel. I don't have time to write everything that I want about them right now, so I am going to link three articles here to revisit later, if I can.

First, about Shazam!: The suit has been revealed!

This is the final confirmation that this movie is not about a superhero named Captain Marvel. Despite director David F. Sandberg posting pictures of Fawcett comics, Captain Marvel action figures, a clip from an animated cartoon with Captain Marvel, and even a drawn comic strip with Captain Marvel referred to by name, this movie is not going to have any version of the classic character by that name.

As the casting rumors and announcements hit the news websites and spread throughout the clickbait-verse one by one, it became clear that the cast of characters was coming from DC's New 52 story about the superhero named "Shazam."Instead of the "Seven Deadly Enemies of Man" we had the "Seven Deadly Sins," The foster parents and additional foster siblings of Billy, Mary, and Freddy were cast, Dr. Sivana is to be played by someone tall and good-looking, and IMDB even reports that Mr. Bryce, a Richard Branson-inspired millionaire is part of the cast.

Then word came out that the hero's costume would be inspired by that worn by the hero Shazam in the DC animated movie JLA: War. THis costume is the spoctume worn by the hero Shazam in the New 52 story.

And now we have the picture, leaked form on-set, of the costume of the hero of this movie. As movie costumes go these days, it is remarkably faithful in design to the costume of the New 52 Shazam, even down to the infamous hood.

As regular readers f this blog know, DC decided to title the comic book that chronicled the adventures of the original Captain Marvel "SHAZAM!" because Marvel Comics had trademarked "Captain Marvel" in 1967 before DC licensed the original character from Fawcett in 1972. In 2006 DC made the lead character to be marketed under that trademark Freddy Freeman, whose new superhero name was Shazam, and when DC created the New 52, the re-imagined Billy Baston and his heroic alter ego to have that same name as well.

This hero, his origin, his costume, his powers, and his alter ego were drastically different from the original. Some people liked it, but a lot of fans of the original did not. One could say that this hero was more "based on" or "inspired by" the original Captain Marvel than simply a "new version" of him.

Since it was later revealed that the universe of the New 52 was actually a "multiverse," and there were 52 different universes, each with their own set of superheroes, and one of these universes, "Earth-5," had the original Captain Marvel on it, I was comfortable with the idea that Shazam and Captain Marvel were two different heroes, existing simultaneously on different worlds. I like the original CM better, though.

I had been hoping for a great movie about that beloved character since a SHAZAM! movie was first announced in 2002, but with the release of this picture of the costume, it is the final nail on the coffin of any idea that anything in this movie is going to be about anything other than the New 52 Shazam. If there is any reference to the original Captain Marvel that cannot be found in the New 52, it is just crumbs to the faithful.

Meanwhile in a different note, Marvel Comics is updating the origin of their Captain Marvel.

The description of the actual incident in which she gets her powers is non-specific enough ("a chance encounter with a Kree hero gave her incredible super powers") that it may not actually be different from what happened between 1967 and 1977, but they are obviously focusing more on the psychological and emotional effects that this had on Carol Danvers. This is undoubtedly an attempt to boost interest and mainstream familiarity with the character in anticipation of her movie.

I wonder why DC is not making more of a similar effort with their movie-bound hero?

Finally, in researching this post, I found this old article ("Meet Captain Marvel: Fighter Pilot, Feminist and Marvel's Big Gamble") that came out shortly after Marvel announced their Captain Marvel movie. What with all the #MeToo business going on and women's roles in society being looked at closer and closer, I thought this had extreme relevance and was worth revisiting.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Jude Law as Marvel's first Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell (real news!)!

It seems I am a little behind the news on this one, but to quote a very young Queen Elizabeth, "Dear me, I've been busy." With what Ihave been busy are subjects for my other blog, my other, other blog, my other, other, other blog, and my Facebook page.

So here is the news: JUDE LAW IS GONG TO PLAY CAPTAIN MARVEL (MAR-VELL...probably)!

The clickbait press was all over this one as soon as the sister publications Deadline and Variety announced that Jude Law was "in talks" and "negotiations" for the role. Headlines over the next couple of days were about 50-50 between "is" and "might be." That "in talks" status seems to be what is current, though the Net-o-shpere is pretty much taking it as a done deal

Variety describes the role played by Law as "Doctor Walter Lawson, a.k.a. Mar-Vell, who becomes a mentor of sorts to Danvers as she tries to figure out her new powers."

I think this is an interesting choice. Physically, Jude Law is not as tall as Mar-Vell, nor does he have white or blonde hair and blue eyes, as Mar-Vell has had. He is lean and fit, though.
Mar-Vell has gone through several looks during his time. Initially, as drawn by Gene Colan, Don Heck, Dick Ayers, and others, he was a beefy, square-jawed hero, with short white hair and a frustratingly generic average handsome white man face. Gil Kane made him leaner and his face longer and more expressive. Jim Starlin continued that trend, also cueing off of Kane's had given him, and finally Pat Broderick gave him his version of a hero face, with a pompadour and sideburns growing through his mask.
The difference between the Colan and Broderick Mar-Vells were so great, it was almost laughable when, in a Broderick-drawn story, a character saw him without his mask and identified him as Walter Lawson (an alter ego he had not used for ten years, real-time)

This just goes to show that Jude Law's specific features and physique are not so important when casting the role, so we can just move on from that. Instead, let's consider the character and Law's previous body of work.

 Marvel Comics' first Captain Marvel was never a top-tier character in terms of popularity. His comic was always teetering on the precipice of cancellation, switched from monthly to bi-monthly, and even was cancelled a few times. The character went through some wild, shark-jumping escapades, being put through major changes at a dizzying rate, often in an attempt to boost sales. Through all these changes, the character, understandably, was confused. He was often "seeking his place in the universe." Having deserted the Kree, then driven from Earth, he was a man without a home for a while. During his lengthy period of sharing time in the Negative Zone with Rick Jones, neither he nor Jones were able to put down any kind of roots anywhere.When the two finally separated their time-sharing for good, he bounced around from place to place, never staying in one place for more than two issues, until he finally found the love of Elysius and settled down on Titan for a few brief years, until he died of cancer.

This rootless uncertainty made him a bit of a tortured soul. Even his "cosmic awareness," granted to him during Jim Starlin's run with the character, could not calm his uncertainty. It did, however, enable hi to handle challenges of a super-villain nature with a sense of yogi-like serenity.

Jude Law has shown himself to be very good at serious, sensitive roles in movies like Gattaca, Cold Mountain, and Enemy at the Gates. If that aspect of his character is explored in the movie, Jude should do well in the role. He has also played a hero mentoring an adventurous female in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I could see some of that coming into play in his relationship with Carol Danvers.

Mar-Vell was an accomplished warrior for the Kree when he was first introduced in the comics, and his stocky build was perfect for that role. He was constantly battling giant monsters or hordes of enemy soldiers. Jude Law's smaller frame is not, at first glance, built for such a role. In Enemy at the Gates he was a sniper, so being smaller he was able to sneak and hide, and he did not have to engage in fisticuffs. He just had to serenely find his target and shoot.

This would serve the "cosmic awareness" aspect of the character better than the "alien warrior" aspect. When the cosmic entity Eon gave Mar-Vell the power of Cosmic Awareness and made him the "Protector of the Universe" With this new power, instead of having to engage in a slugfest with a powerful foe, he could sense his adversary's weak points and center of balance and defeat him with a minimum of effort in a minimum of time with a minimum of damage. With that ability, the hero does not have to have big, showy muscles.

In the "Someone is Wrong on the Internet" department, Cheat Sheet has posted a whole "What We Know About..." article by Brendan Morrow. However, despite most of the article being pretty darn accurate regarding the character of Mar-Vell, the author commits one unforgivable sin. He states "the first time we were ever introduced to someone called Captain Marvel, the character was a man who was referred to as Mar-Vell. He also used the pseudonym Walter Lawson."

As anyone who has watched my video of the history of the many Captain Marvels knows, the original Captain Marvel was Billy Batson's alter ego, into whom he transforms when he says "Shazam!" The fact of this error is compounded by the GIF that is posted in the article of Garret Craig as the Fawcett-DC hero in the 1979 TV special "Legends of the Superheroes: Superhero Roast."

And here is your clickbait roundup:
GeekTyrant brings attention to how Variety's article at first did not mention Mar-Vell, then updated itself to do so.
NY Daily News
 io9.gizmodo mentions that "Keanu Reeves was being considered for the role before passing."
BBC America
Nerdist actually shows a cover of Marvel's "Captain Marvel" comic book.
SyfyWire supposes that Ben Mendelsohn will play the leader of the Skrulls.
Entertainment Week
The Wrap
Hindustan Times
The Action Pixel
Screen Rant
Geeks of Color
Por La Libre
Se Estrena