Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

titans_robin-first-look-finalRemember the 90s? When comics were all dark, and the gimmick was “grim and gritty?”

Apparently this is still with us.

They managed to take everything fun and unique about the Teen Titans and turn it into a generic super hero story.

Even the use of the F word is generic, since it’s been in almost every modern X-Men movie.

Movies and shows are supposed to be different from each other. Batman is dark. Spider-Man is funny. X-Men have multiple continuities that are confusing.

Teen Titans had its serious moments, particularly with Terra. While some could argue the animated Teen Titans were too silly, I don’t mind. It makes me smile. It’s fun, and that’s what comic book movies should be.

Meanwhile, I watched the trailer for Teen Titans Go To The Movies three times in a row. And one of those was with my 11-year-old.

Advertisements

Storm Halle Berry
Besides just hoping beyond hope that the movie will be as good as it looks, there are some things I really want to see in Avengers: Infinity War.

Cameos: Presumably, the movie is going to end with a cliffhanger where Thanos blinks half the heroes out of existence. Therefore, they need to recruit some more for the next movie. I hope that the final scene, or the after-the-credits scene, is of Nick Fury trying to recruit someone. You don’t see who they are in the beginning, then the camera pans out to show Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry. Also would be good to see Ian McClellan or Hugh Jackman there. This would make everyone go nuts. Colossus would be a good choice, too, because it would hint that maybe Deadpool would be in the next one. Or, you could have Deadpool leaning on the window of the X-Mansion looking in, with a sign that says “I want to be in the crossover, too!”

Room To Breathe: With this many characters, it’s going to be hard to give them enough room where the whole movie doesn’t feel rushed. At this point, they are all established, so we don’t need to waste time on reminding people who they are. Captain America: Civil War did a good job of having a lot of characters and still feel true to them all. This would be the next step.

A Simple Plot: Screenwriters try to dazzle us with labyrinthine plots (later Pirates of the Caribbean movies), to show how smart the villain is (Batman Vs. Superman). These usually fall flat. Thankfully, Thanos is not known for his subtlety. Following the MacGuffin that has been weaving through the entire MCU since the first Captain America movie should be enough.

Mild Fantastic Beasts spoilers

la-et-hc-first-look-harry-potter-prequel-fantastic-beasts-20151104

Both franchises, Harry Potter and Star Wars, recently launched new films that explore more of their respective universes. But there’s a right way to do this and a wrong way.

The right way is “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” This movie introduced all new characters that fit snugly into the Harry Potter world. It felt right, while still being its own movie.

Characters apparate, and the movie doesn’t have to explain to you what’s happening. If you’re here, you already know. There are recognizable names and creatures and spells, and that makes you feel comfortable.

But, there are enough new things that keep it from being more of the same. Yes, we see yet more of muggle vs. magic…again…but we also see what happens to young wizards who are told that their power is evil, and that they should be ashamed of it. We see what happens when power is bottled up, with no healthy outlet. And we see the real world problem of child abuse in a fantasy world.

In short, it gave fans what they wanted, and things they didn’t know they wanted.

Star Wars Episode 7 was two hours of fan service. It didn’t really bring anything new to the saga. There wasn’t a feeling like it was breaking any new ground. It was too safe.

“Rogue One” tells the story of how the plans for the Death Star were found. It’s kind of like a Star Wars Tales comic, where they would tell one-shot stories about some obscure characters or side quests. Again, it might be too safe. You pretty much know how it will begin and how it will end.

Star Wars needs to step outside of its safe zone, and take some chances. If they are committed to making a new one every few years, the creators can’t be afraid of one of them only making $1.5 billion instead of $2 billion.

We don’t need to see a prequel that just tells you how Han Solo got his clothes. (I’m sure they’re going to tell us anyway.) We need to explore these worlds.

Of course, Fantastic Beasts had J.K. Rowling writing the story. She has already mapped out the marriages and children of most of the students at Hogwarts even though we (might) never see these stories. George Lucas seems to be out of the loop on the creative end, and that might make a difference. Some people say a good change, some say a bad change.

Other Worlds cover

Here there be spoilers…

Halfway through the fun cosmic adventure that is Dr. Strange, I realized that the movie followed the same structure as the failed Green Lantern movie:

In the first 15 minutes, we are introduced to the charming but deeply flawed hero. Whereas Green Lantern gave us a likable actor in Ryan Reynolds, Dr. Strange gave us a likable Benedict Cumberbatch. But Dr. Strange gave us something that Green Lantern never did: A reason why the protagonist decided to “protag.” Like the comic book creators say in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, “The question is why.” For Stephen Strange, his why is the same as Tony Stark and Thor Odinson: hubris. We never really get the “why” in Green Lantern. He just found a lantern and figured he’d become a super hero.

 

benedict_cumberbatch_as_doctor_strange

After the intro, both heroes are indoctrinated into a universe that is greater than the Earth they know. The GL Guardians can easily be substituted with the Ancient One and the rest of the sorcerers. They are a police force that protects Earth from otherworldly threats that the average person is completely unaware of.

They teach the hero how to bend reality to his imagination. They even give him a ring at one point. The hero goes through the stages of adventure, from denial to acceptance, and is soon kicking butt better than those who have trained for years. He faces off against the bad guy, who is just an appetizer for the cosmic, shapeless true evil. And his mentor turns bad.

Despite the parallels, Dr. Strange was a stronger movie. It wasn’t stuffed with characters, just enough to get through. There was only one computer-rendered character, and it was the end villain. Everything was grounded in an internal logic that explained why magic was OK. (And thank you, Marvel, for just saying it was magic, and not science or midi-chlorians or whatever.)

And finally, the fight scenes were unique to the movie. What I mean to say is that the action sequences could have only happened in this movie. In particular, the scene with mystic monks fighting while time is going backward was something I had never seen before and could only be done in this kind of movie.

What I learned: When people say that you can’t do something if it happened in another movie, you still can, if you do it better.

Other Worlds cover

It’s been said that there’s nothing new under the sun. Everything’s already been done.

Maybe.

But that’s why you’ve got to combine stuff, make it new, and make it your own.

Take Deadpool, for example:

Deadpool_thumbs_up

Deadpool = Spider-Man + Wolverine + Deathstroke + Ash from Army of Darkness

 

 

image description

A hilarious Choose-Your-Own-Adventure!

I’m happy for Joss Whedon, after hearing the announcement he’ll write and direct Avengers 2. I like to see a geek inherit the Earth.

But I worry about the franchise in general. Whedon has a tendency to make his villains too comfortable around the heroes. Considering he worked with vampires so long, I’m surprised how quickly he removes his villains’ teeth and makes them just ordinary guys and gals. Perhaps he just likes villains better, like Dr. Horrible. But I’m afraid that, in Avengers 2, Loki will be joining the heroes for a shawarma dinner.

Which one is better?

In the beginning… Later on…
Spike from Buffy Dangerous. You never knew what side he was on. Just kind of hung around because he had nothing else to do.
Danger from X-Men Living embodiment of the Danger Room. Coolest and most deadly new villain in the mutant titles. Just kind of hung around and poked fun of the heroes because she had nothing else to do.

Also:

“The Avengers” fixed the problems of the Marvel prequels

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/the-avengers-fixed-the-problems-of-the-marvel-prequels/

Editing mistake in Dark Knight Rises:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/a-mistake-in-dark-knight-rises/

 

The refrain I keep hearing from viewers is that they were surprised The Dark Knight Rises wasn’t super great.

This is different from the disappointment fans had when Spider-Man 3 just didn’t work for them. This was more about having unrealistic expectations.

The Dark Knight was arguably the best comic book movie ever made. If any movie was expected to best this, it would have been Dark Knight Rises. It’s not that part 3 was bad. No one seems to be saying that. They’re just saying it’s not terrific.

Maybe there needed to be more Batman in a Batman movie.

Maybe it was more of what a friend said that it was big on a comic book scale rather than a real life scale. In the last movie, it was about people and the decisions they make. There wasn’t a Macguffin threatening to blow up the city.

But really, I think it comes down to audience expectation and the inability of the creators to ever live up to that.

 

An editing mistake in Dark Knight Rises:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/a-mistake-in-dark-knight-rises/

 

Why it doesn’t matter if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are mutants:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/why-it-doesnt-matter-if-the-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-are-mutants/

 

Being an editor, I wind up noticing the silliest mistakes.

It wasn’t continuity. Or a plot hole. Or “Batman wouldn’t do that…”

It was spelling.

When Bruce Wayne is researching Selina Kyle on the Batcave computer, he has a bunch of newspapers up on the screen. One of them has “heist” spelled “hiest.”

Mr. Nolan, you’re a great writer, but not a great speller.

 

 

You Can’t Compare Batman 3 to Batman 2:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/you-cant-compare-batman-3-to-batman-2/

How to make a Wonder Woman movie:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/wonder-woman-movie-ideas/

And now for something completely different: A video game spoof of Twilight:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncjwZ2CJoTQ

Back when Sam Raimi was helming the Spider-man franchise, events were building up for the next villain: The Lizard.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man 4 needed a visual villain. He’d already had villains who could soar through the air and turn to sand. So the next villain needed to be good for action movies: awesome looking, fast, and like nothing we’d seen before. Instead of flipping through the air, the Lizard keeps the fight somewhat terrestrial – scaling skyscrapers and leaping car to car on a crowded road.

What if the serum Curt Connors uses is successful – at first. So successful, in fact, that he shares his creation with the world. Amputees from all over the world come, and he “cures” them all. Until, later, when the curse seeps in and Connors – and all of his patients – turn into lizards.

I thought that the Lizard by himself would not be a good enough villain after Spidey’s already fought goblins and Venom. But a legion of lizards, some of which with special powers, that gets interesting.

And, of course, Peter and MJ move closer in their relationship, Aunt May needs her medicine, and Spidey has to use his brains for a change.

You can read the script treatment here:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/spider-man-4/

Comic book version

Is there a doctor in the house?

 

The full treatment here:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/spider-man-4-dream-script-2/

Some notes on it:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/spider-man-4-notes-and-spider-man-5/

Some ideas on Spider-Man 5:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=719&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2

A review of AmazingSpider-Man 600:

https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/amazing-spider-man-600/

SPIDER-MAN 5

Villain for Spider-Man 5

Trident optional.

Peter has taken on a job teaching high school science at a really troubled school. No one will teach there. They’re too afraid. That’s how he was able to get a job without a teaching degree. As luck would have it, the gym teacher there is none other than Flash Thompson. Their rivalry begins anew.

All the hype and buzz about Spider-Man 5 should revolve around the new villain, Hobgoblin, and how he is connected to the Osborn legacy. There should also be a note on IMDB or something where he teams up with Shocker. But when you’re watching the movie, there’s this intricate plot involving people you don’t know. Later, when Spidey tracks the Hobgoblin down, he is in league with Shocker, Stunner, Vulture, Hydro-Man, and the Jackal. During the fight with the new Sinister Six, Spidey starts to realize that his spider-sense isn’t going off. In fact, nothing seems to be really happening in the fight.

It’s then that Spidey realizes all these people are illusions. He leaves and tries to find what’s really happening. This was all to distract him from Mysterio’s (“Miss Cheerio?”) ultimate plan, which involved all the subplot stuff in the beginning that seemed unnecessary at the time.