Posts Tagged ‘DC Comics’

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By @anarchyroll

For as much money as the X Men movie franchise has netted over the last two decades, one would think they would have a better reputation and wouldn’t be in need of saving. But that is exactly where the franchise found itself heading into Logan this past spring.

Logan recently had its home release, coming out on Blu Ray, digital download, etc. I saw it in the theater and absolutely loved it from the opening blood bath, to the bloodier climax, to the era ending book end as the credits rolled.

The movie got lots of press and lots of positive reviews that were both well-earned in my opinion. One thing that I didn’t see get much coverage was the fact that the movie was not a take on the Old Man Logan graphic novel but was rather a classic “What If” or alternate version/universe comic book. My personal favorite series of alternate universe comic books were the Marvel vs DC crossover comics from the mid 90s.

Logan was a critical and commercial smash hit. Something the X Men franchise desperately needed. One has to wonder if the movie’s success will bring about more alternate universe comic book movies going forward. What other franchise(s) could benefit from abandoning their current story arc/ timeline and making a stand a lone film with the same characters but in a completely different story arc?

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Doing this would immediately eliminate the need to constantly remake origin story movies as has been seen ad nauseum in the Superman, Spiderman, Batman, and X Men movie franchises. That alone makes this concept worth moving forward on. It would certainly draw in more fans that are often scarred away from seeing comic book movies over the dread of having to sit through yet another origin story.

Alternate universe films would spice things up and could resurrect dead franchises. The Fantastic Four immediately comes to mind. Why not just abandon another reboot and just make a film where they are in space dealing with Galactus? A dormant franchise like Blade could benefit from this as well. Whether Wesley Snipes returns or the role is recast, forget retelling the birth of Blade, just drop the audience into Blade doing work. Put the origin story in the trailer or as a mini film on YouTube and let the movie be balls to the wall from open to close.

More comic book movies can be made using alternate universes, just like is done with comic books. How many timeline versions of Batman, Captain America, The Avengers, and Green Lantern are currently in circulation? Alternate universes would allow stand alone Iron Man, Cyborg, Hulk, Green Lantern, X Men, etc movies to be made while Avengers and Justice League movies are being made. Why does only one actor/actress have to play Tony Stark or Diana Prince?

Would this over saturate the market? I ask you, how many comic book movies actually come out each year? Compared to horror movies, rom coms, and CGI animated kids movies?

Fox has essentially started moving forward on this concept over the past three years. Days of Futures Past and Old Man Logan are two of the better alternate universe comic book series’ in history. Marvel is balancing standalone franchises with each individual member of The Avengers between each super film. Tying the individual films into the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe story arc is both an entertaining and financially successful archetype.

With the financial backing of Disney, and such a vast amount of profit earned, Marvel can financially and creatively afford to take the risk of releasing alternate universe movies concurrently. DC might have to wait a few years to reestablish their credibility with the movie going public. Though the wild success of Wonder Woman might allow them to start earlier if they want.

Something tells me this is inevitable with the way the entertainment/ media industry is evolving. Netflix and The CW having their own comic book worlds of secondary characters is likely just a long-term test for the A listers to have; high budget super hero, slow burn narrative, action adventure, television shows in the spirit of Game of Thrones.

The tipping/saturation point for comic book movies and tv shows has not come close to being reached. The numbers don’t lie. People wont go see any comic book movie if it is poorly made and receives more reviews. However, one need only look at the highest grossing movies for each year over the past decade to see that there is a vast, loyal, paying audience for comic book movies. Having comic book characters played by different actors and actresses in alternate universes, made and released concurrently is the next logical step for the genre.

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By @anarchyroll

Big and dark. DC Comics is about making their movie adaptations big and dark. Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice is very big for a variety of reasons. The budget to make it and the budget to advertise it can both be described as very big. The opening weekend box office numbers for the movie can be described as very big. One movie featuring two of the very biggest American pop culture icons in history which had very big expectations.

In 2005 director Christopher Nolan continued a tradition started by Frank Miller in the 1980s of putting forth a darker vision and version of iconic Batman character and franchise. A vision that got even darker with the phenomenally successful and pop culture crossover hit The Dark Knight.

In 2013 the sixth feature film in the historic Superman franchise followed in the footsteps of the darker vision and version of the character that started the golden age of comic books in 1942. Man of Steel took the Frank Miller/ Christopher Nolan archetype and applied to the comic book superhero who is the undisputed champion of squeaky clean, good guy. Change can be painful and is often met with resistance. Many people resisted the new vision/version of Superman that was presented on the big screen in Man of Steel.

After Nolan wrapped up his Dark Knight trilogy director Zack Snyder decided to follow in the footsteps of Frank Miller and Christopher Nolan by presenting a darker, grittier, more violent version of Batman on the big screen. Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice is both a direct sequel to Man of Steel and a reboot of the Batman film franchise, BOTH in the archetype of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns character archetype.

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Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice is a very big film and a very dark film. On the big screen it felt like more of a pop art multimedia piece than a summer blockbuster released in early spring. But it had far too many explosions to not be a blockbuster movie. But it still had more than enough metaphoric uses of cultural and religious iconography to make alternative, artsy types happy.

The film has multiple homages paid to The Dark Knight Returns series/ graphic novel. It has many homages to the comic book history of both characters. Something that many people criticize non Marvel Studies comic book films are prone to failing to do. It also officially launched the DC film universe following in the footsteps of Marvel.

I think because DC is following in Marvel’s footsteps, that DC should be making all of their movies using the Marvel model. DC is doing quite the opposite. They are being different. And many people don’t like different.

The DC Universe is more dark, dramatic, and edgy than the Marvel Universe (up to this point). If all Marvel movies were made like the first two Blade movies with Wesley Snipes, both cinematic universes would be more similar than different.
DC is trying to make films, Marvel is making blockbusters. There is a difference.

I would consider Batman/Superman a success. I think it succeeded on many levels. It certainly appealed to me on many levels. Many others would disagree. I found the movie to be a great combination of pop art and popcorn cinema. I thought the cinematography and especially the writing to be exceptional. I find Zack Snyder’s use of mise on scène to be on par with most of the contemporary great filmmakers.

Batman/Superman is NOT made as a product made for mass consumption. It is not trying to compete with Captain America Civil War for box office supremacy, it is trying to compete with Mad Max Fury Road and The Revenant for Oscar consideration(s).

Whether it succeeds at that is another thing. Many who have seen the movie can’t get their own cynicism or entitlement of having their personal imagination manifested on screen, out of the way to try and enjoy Batman Superman Dawn of Justice for what it literally is. Not for what it could have been or should be in the What If Ward of Imagination Land.