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, 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"