I know that The Punisher isn’t out yet (and the release date is still TBD), but I’m just going to go ahead and call it: it’s going to be Netflix’s most exciting entry into the Marvel universe yet. Jon Bernthal is reprising his role as the hypermoralistic badass Frank Castle, who’s on a mission to uncover the truth about (and get revenge for) the murder of his wife and children. In addition to tons of blood, guts, and John Wick-worthy fight scenes, it looks like Daredevil‘s Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) will also make an appearance. Iron Fist doesn’t stand a chance.
So The Defenders didn’t actually start streaming on Netflix last Friday, much to my surprise. Turns out I suck at dates and it actually starts this Friday. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This means we’re in for one last week of incessant teases to get us pumped for a show we’ve already sat through, like, five other seasons to get to (assuming you bothered with Iron Fist). At this point I don’t care — I plan to watch for 8 new episodes of Jessica Jones being bitter, and nothing they release is going to change that.
But the Marvel/Netflix marketing team is no slouch. They released a short clip via the Iron Fist twitter account… teasing the meeting of the Daughters of the Dragon!
— Iron Fist (@MarvelIronFist) August 13, 2017
Look, it’s not much to go on, but it’s still weirdly satisfying to see the worlds of Misty Knight (Simone Missick) and Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) collide. Will they go on to form their own crime fighting team-up the way they do in the comics? Will they just become besties and complain about their superhero friends? It doesn’t matter, because in that brief glimpse Colleen already has more chemistry with Misty than she did with Iron Fist during his entire first season. I know The Defenders is going to have a lot to juggle in 8 episodes, but here’s hoping it still finds time to stick these two ladies together and let them shine.
Scott Eastwood is hot, and we have a feeling that he knows he’s hot. The Fate of the Furious actor was spotted taking a dip in the ocean in Miami Beach on Sunday, and we’re obviously here for it. Scott, doing us all a solid, ditched his shirt (and beloved jeans) to show off his chiseled abs and large biceps while cooling off in the water during the city’s Swim Week. And what do you do when you’re just that good-looking? You admire all of your hard work, of course. The fitness enthusiast glanced down at his physique while making his way out of the waves before flashing his best brooding face for the cameras. It’s a good thing we weren’t on that beach, because we probably would have thrashed around like a fish out of water to get to him.
A fresh glimpse of a shirtless Chris Hemsworth is probably the best part of this story. Marvel took a huge infodump (how nicely put) at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend. They debuted the new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok (aka Chris Hemsworth Has A Better Haircut And Remains A Thirst Trap), showed the first image of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, and announced who would be playing the part of the FIRST Wasp in Ant-Man and the Wasp. It’s kind of a big name. I hope she sings “Cool Rider” in the movie to distract me, because I can only take so much of Paul Rudd’s “I’ll always be funnier than you” smirk. (And if you figured out who the actress in question is because of that song title, we are friends til’ the end.)
Deadline reports that Michelle Pfieffer will be portraying Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp, in the Ant-Man sequel. Her character used to be coupled with Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym character (aka original Ant-Man) until she got lost in the microscopic void or the Upside Down or whatever. That flick drops on July 6, 2018 and also stars Laurence Fishburne (playing Dr. Bill Foster aka an obscure size-changing hero named Black Goliath), and Walton Goggins (playing evil, wispy assassin Ghost) from Justified.
In Captain Marvel news, Brie won’t be wearing her character’s original costume which is a damn shame (not just for me in a glam sartorial sense, but for drooling fanboys everywhere). The actual news is that the movie will be set in the 90s before the first Iron Man flick’s timeline, and Samuel L. Jackson will be reprising his Nick Fury character with a different look. No, it’s not a ringer t-shirt and Doc Martens. He’ll have two eyes! The captain will be battling one of Marvel’s longest-running alien species – the shape-shifting Skrulls. That’s coming out on March 8, 2019. You can check out Brie and some artwork in a tweet at the bottom.
And the new Thor trailer features our first look at the eternally dreamy Mark Ruffalo when he’s not Hulk-ed out, and more footage of Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Cate Blanchett as HBIC death goddess Hel. That flick looks like an insane mash-up of every superhero/space movie/gladiator film cliche out there and I’m kind of living for it. The other takeaway from this trailer is that Chris Hemsworth’s nekkid body should be in every movie. Can he just play a superhero whose power is nudity? Watch below.
— Thor (@thorofficial) July 23, 2017
Variety reports new Comic-Con-only footage from the upcoming Black Panther was shown, and the crowd gave it a standing ovation. The ovation was so loud and delighted that the entire cast stood up and applauded themselves and then had a group hug. That opens February 16, 2018.
They might want to call a moratorium on superhero flicks in 2020. They’re not going to be so red-hot popular anymore and, besides, the only thing the world will be watching is Twitler hopefully (please on all that is holy) losing the next presidential election.
— Marvel__News (@Marvel__News) July 23, 2017
Move over, Wonder Woman — there’s a new kickass female superhero in town. It was officially announced at Comic-Con in 2016 that Brie Larson had been cast as the lead in Captain Marvel, a new stand-alone film from the titular studio and its first foray into a female-led superhero project. While we don’t know a ton about the upcoming film just yet, we do have a few details. Here’s what you need to know!
It’s inevitable. If you do something well, The Internet will tell you how to do it better. In this case, we’re standing in for Big ‘Net, and we have a few ideas thoughts about where Marvel can/should take the MCU next. We realize that their current Phase Three slate is locked in through the next Avengers double-header featuring Thanos, the Infinity Stones, and basically everyone else. But between their TV/Netflix offerings and the prospect of more films down the line, there is still a lot of ground we’d love to see them cover. And clearly we’re experts. Clearly.
As a caveat: this isn’t about the X-Men or any other film properties they don’t control themselves. Obviously we’d love if Marvel could go and give us the Apocalypse storyline we deserve, but that isn’t happening. And we’re gonna leave Spider-man alone as well, since it’s enough that Marvel is allowed to hop in that sandbox with Sony.
So, in no particular order, here are our top asks from Marvel!
1) Make Hawkeye interesting or something.
We get it. You tried. You gave him a wife, and a farm. You gave him whatever in Budapest with Natasha. You even gave him to Loki for a bit. Maybe it’s the inherent sub-Chris charisma that Jeremy Renner exudes, but the Clint Barton we see in the movies just isn’t working. In the comics, Hawkeye had a troubled past — he spent some time in the circus, and as a criminal. He had a ridiculous costume and a slew of romances with other heroes. He was interesting precisely because he was the dude leveraging his hand-eye coordination on a team of super soldiers, geniuses, and gods. Not everyone can be prettiest princess in the room, and letting Hawkeye take a backseat would have been fine… if we hadn’t gotten Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye comic. It may have been released to capitalize on the MCU version of Hawkeye, but it did so much more. It explored his hearing impairment (hello diversity — there is an Avenger with a disability!) and his relationship with his brother. It gave him Lucky the Pizza Dog. It showed what an Avenger does with their time and money when not saving the world — Clint bought a brownstone in Bed-Stuy and palled around with neighbors who called him «Hawkguy.» But most importantly it explored the relationship Clint has with his supposed protégé, former Young Avenger Kate Bishop. They both are called Hawkeye, though Kate arguably wears the mantle more naturally. Together they made a hell of a team.
What we’re saying is: there is room to make Hawkeye a more interesting character, by playing into his everyday dude-ness. But if the ship has sailed on injecting the MCU version of Clint with any of that, can you just give us Kate Bishop? We want an worthwhile Hawkeye, but we aren’t picky about which one.
2) Or maybe kill Hawkeye?
What we’re really saying is: could you make the Disassembled storyline happen? We’ve got Vision, and Scott Lang, and Wanda in the mix now. After the all-encompassing events of Infinity War, bringing the Avengers back home and wrapping them in a story of internal conflict might be a nice palette cleanser. Just like Civil War, you don’t have to keep all the story beats the same — maybe Wanda goes crazy because she misses Quicksilver rather than her kids, you know? You can still have Hawkeye sacrifice himself. Sure, you can’t have it lead to the classic «no more mutants»/ M-Day bit, but maybe she could say «no more Inhumans»…
3) For that matter, make Scarlet Witch interesting.
She is one of the most powerful characters in all of Marvel comics. And sure, at this point Wanda’s original standing as the daughter of Magneto has been thrown to the wind, but she’s never been a mutant in the movies anyway. Now that magic has been brought to the MCU, can she go off and train with Doctor Strange? Maybe level her up to her biggest, baddest-ass self? Even if she gained her reality-bending powers from the Mind Stone, their distinctive red glow looks more like the Reality Stone/Aether. And Strange has the Time Stone, so we know that sorcerers are no strangers to the Infinity Stones. The groundwork is all there — the characters just need a push in the right direction. And then you’ll have a Scarlet Witch who can really tear shit up.
4) Embiggen the MCU with some Kamala!
New York City is about to have its Defenders, but what about Jersey City? Give it the hero it deserves. Give it Ms. Marvel. Spider-man:Homecoming has proved that tales of high school heroes still work, and with the Inhuman family about to join the mix, not to mention Captain Marvel, there is basically no reason not to give us Kamala Khan. Just have her pop up somewhere, then give her a movie or a show. We aren’t picky. Hell, the groundwork is already laid thanks to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and those fish oil vitamins infused with Terrigen! Look, she’s funny, she’s female, she’s Muslim, she’s Pakistani-American, and her embiggening powers won’t be THAT hard to recreate with the use of some clever camera tricks. Plus she doesn’t have decades of backstory to wade through while trying to adapt. And frankly, we’re sure this is probably already in the works. It would be foolish not to bring her into the MCU somehow. We trust you, Marvel. Just don’t make us wait too long.
5) Monica Rambeau, or dare we say it, NEXTWAVE?
Photon. Captain Marvel (the other one… no, the OTHER other one). Spectrum. Call her whatever you want. She’s kept a pretty low profile over the years, but the former Avenger and current member of the Ultimates is a strong black woman who can transform herself into any form of energy on the electromagnetic spectrum. Which means if budget is a concern, you can just make her disappear and say she’s an x-ray or something! But seriously, she has ties to Black Panther, Luke Cage and Carol Danvers. She’s even got some backstory with the New Orleans Harbor Patrol, which could be updated for some interesting post-Katrina stories. Or if nothing else, she was an integral part of a little not-quite-in-continuity story called Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E, which is a cult classic. With Fin Fang Foom and killer koalas in the mix, you can’t go wrong! Sure, you might have to change her teammate Boom-Boom into an Inhuman or something, but that’s fine. It would give you the chance to flex your creative muscles and have some fun without having to worry about it impacting the MCU. If you managed to turn Alias into Jessica Jones, you can handle this. Netflix will love it.
6) You have the rights to Blade. Use them.
We’ve already seen what you did with the rights to Ghost Rider and the Punisher once you got those back — you threw the characters into other existing shows and people went nuts for it. Meanwhile, Blade is one of the properties that helped launch this whole comic book movie craze in the first place. He’s a half-vampire dude who hunts vampires. Give him a show, or have him pop up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It doesn’t matter. Just bring him back in your own special way.
7) Bring Coulson back to the movies.
Just for a moment. Or a mention. Something. Anything. We know that coordinating between the movies and the TV shows, especially the network ones, is a hassle. But we also hear that Samuel L. Jackson will be making an appearance as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel, so maybe it’s time that his right-hand man/replacement makes a return as well. I can’t remember, do the Avengers even know he isn’t dead at this point? Does it matter? The movies gave us Phil Coulson. If we can’t have Daisy and May and the whole team pop up to join the fun, it’d be nice to give Coulson some sort of nod, just to acknowledge that he’s still out there saving the world. You know, when he’s back from that space station.
What do you guys think? Anything you’d like to see Marvel tackle in the future? It’s not like they’re gonna read this and hire us, so lets just have some fun!
Joan Lee, former model and wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, has died at age 93 after suffering a stroke. «I can confirm the sad news that Joan Lee passed away this morning quietly and surrounded by her family,» a spokesperson for the Lee family told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday. «The family ask that you please give them time to grieve and respect their privacy during this difficult time.» Stan and Joan married in December 1947 and would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year. They are survived by their daughter, J.C. (Joan Celia). Joan made several cameos in Marvel projects over the years, including the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man TV series in the ’90s and in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
The Thor franchise has always been the Ron Weasley of the MCU and it didn’t help Thor: The Dark World that its director wasn’t Marvel Studios’ first choice. Marvel originally hired Patty Jenkins (Monster) to direct the sequel, news which was received well by film fans and Thor star Natalie Portman, who after winning her Best Actress Oscar for Black Swan publicly stated she wanted to work with more female directors. Unfortunately, Jenkins dropped out of The Dark World due to the one-size-fits-all excuse of «creative differences.» In the end Marvel’s loss was our Wonder Woman gain, but the recently revelations of Jenkins’ idea vision for The Dark World being a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque space opera is a tantalizing «what-could-have been» (personally I don’t think Hemsworth and Portman would have been able to generate the chemistry to pull it off).
So Marvel was scrambling to find a director after their first choice left and decided to hire Alan Taylor, who was a logical choice all things considered. At this juncture Marvel was going out on a limb in hiring television directors as they did for Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Anthony and Joe Russo (Arrested Development, Community). Taylor was an especially good match as he was a veteran television director, having worked on prestigious shows such as The Sopranos, Deadwood and Mad Men. His biggest selling point with Marvel was having directed multiple episodes of Game of Thrones, the granddaddy of all medieval, gritty fantasy shows, of which Marvel wanted to instill its aesthetic into the Thor franchise.
Unfortunately, Taylor did not have a good time making The Dark World. He has called the shoot «particularly wrenching» and the post-production process was a suits vs. creatives nightmare. The script also wasn’t the best (Hemsworth and Hiddleston improvised most of their best lines and scenes) and the generic MacGuffin/pain-by-numbers intergalactic baddie story didn’t help either. It appears Marvel knew it wanted to hits certain narrative points (ie. yet another Infinity Stone set up), but didn’t’ have concrete ideas about how to fill in the story so to speak. However, despite the sturm and drang, the film also benefited from the Avengers halo effect, making $ 206 million domestically and $ 644 worldwide upon its release in November 2013.
Dark World is for sure a lesser entry in the MCU and is one of its lowest rated films, but I have a soft spot for how genuinely funny it is. I mean come on, we have intergalactic Mjolnir pinball, Jane Foster flipping out over a child’s ball, Loki the Backseat Driver, Thor taking the Charing Cross Tube, London coat racks being worthy of Mjolnir, and Dr. Eric Selvig losing his marbles and streaking through Stonehenge. I’m pretty sure I laughed more during The Dark World than in any comedy I saw in 2013. I also appreciated how Asgard’s new GOT-esque aesthetic made it felt like a tangible, lived-in place rather than a distant, untethered magical space plane of existence with a gigantic steel church organ for a castle. If making Asgard feel like a real place, sowing the seeds for the galactic locales of Guardians of the Galaxy, is the only good thing about The Dark World, then so be it. At least the silver lining is Marvel finally wised up to the fact its humor is the life-blood of the Thor franchise; Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok looks like a delight!
Despite its difficulties, Taylor was shrewd enough to parlay his Marvel experience into snagging the gig of directing Paramount’s soft reboot of the Terminator franchise, Terminator Genisys (what in INCREDIBLY stupid name). It featured a pretty strong cast with Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) and good old Arnie Schwarzenegger returning to play the T-3000 (how many dump trucks of money do you think Paramount gave him to come back?) Unfortunately, Genisys was soundly rejected by audiences and critics; it made only $ 89 million domestically on a $ 155 million budget. While there was hope of continuing the franchise due to the strength of its $ 440 million worldwide box office, having made $ 113 million in China alone, Genisys became yet another flaming carcass thrown into the growing mountain of failed franchise reboots and remake corpses. Since Genisys, Taylor has only directed the pilot episode of WGN’s Roadside Picnic, which did not get picked up to series.
Verdict: 3/10. Working for Marvel did nothing for Taylor even if it did land him a primo franchise gig after a personally painful The Dark World shoot. The only project he has on the docket is an upcoming episode of Game of Thrones. Maybe working on GOT again will help him get his mojo back?
It must be good to be blessed with the double whammy of talent and having friends in high places. Shane Black was infamous in Hollywood in the 1980s and 90s for writing the scripts of high-octane action films such as Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2, The Last Boy Scout and Last Action Hero. He was one of the highest paid screenwriters in the business, having been paid $ 1.75 million to write The Last Boy Scout in 1991 and set the record for the highest paid script ever upon receiving $ 4 million for The Long Kiss Goodnight in 1996.
After a near decade hiatus following a career downswing, he remerged with his directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005, starring Val Kilmer (Top Gun) and Robert Downey Jr. (Soapdish). The film garnered rapturous critical reviews, quickly achieved cult status and got Robert Downey Jr. back in the good graces of Hollywood after a very messy and public drug addiction fallout and incarceration. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang arguably paved the way for Downey Jr. to land the role of Tony Stark/Iron Man. As the living, breathing avatar of Iron Man, RDJ could ask for a roasted white elephant to eat for breakfast and Marvel would have it cooked and delivered for him the next day, so when he put forward the idea of Black directing the third and final Iron Man film, Marvel listened. Good move on their part — they kept their key talent happy and scored a director who would bring a new spin on the franchise after a mediocre sequel.
While Iron Man 2 made slightly less domestically than Iron Man, $ 312 million (2010) in comparison to $ 318 million (2008), Iron Man 3 was the first Marvel film release since the juggernaut that was the Avengers and was the final film of the Iron Man franchise. This unique set of circumstances led to the film rocketing out of the gate with a massive box office for Iron Man‘s final solo outing, making $ 409 million domestic total and $ 1.2 billion worldwide box office.
Black’s Iron Man 3 was an acquired taste and wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but overall most critics and fans agreed it was much better than the messy Iron Man 2 (if only Marvel had let Maya be the villain!!!). He also directed the Western pilot Edge, starring Max Martini (The Unit, 13 Hours), Ryan Kwanten (Home and Away, True Blood) and Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, The Handmaid’s Tale) for Amazon’s pilot season in 2015, which did not get picked up.
Black leveraged his Iron Man 3 goodwill to make The Nice Guys, a 1970s LA neo-noir action comedy original feature (originality sure is becoming the rarest Pokemon of all in in the film industry) starring Russell Crowe (Gladiator) and Ryan Gosling (The Notebook). Featuring the best Crowe performance in years and Gosling playing a weasely sad sack rather than the Golden Boy, The Nice Guys was one of the funniest, most original films of 2016, but despite critical raves it was a commercial flop upon release in May 2016, making only $ 57.3 million worldwide on a $ 50 million budget. Why can’t we have nice things!!!??? It is flops like these that feed Hollywood’s erroneous belief that nothing but franchises and intellectual property-based films make money grrrrrr! He also wrote the pilot of Fox’s Lethal Weapon television reboot in 2016, which stars Damon Wayans (The Last Action Hero — the irony!) and Clayne Crawford (Rectify), and has been renewed for a second season.
Verdict: 7/10. While The Nice Guys crashed and burned commercially, Black hasn’t let it slow him down. Fox hired him to direct the reboot of the Predator franchise, in which he had a small part as Rick Hawkins in the original film. Life really does come full circle in the strangest ways at times, doesn’t it? With an eclectically excellent cast of Boyd Holbrook (Logan), Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Sterling K. Brown (The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), Olivia Munn (The Newsroom) and Jacob Tremblay (Room), I’m betting Black will bring something special to the table. He is also attached to direct the Doc Savage reboot and adapt 1970s action pulp series The Destroyer for Sony. Some one may accuse Black of selling out, but at least he is doing so with properties that fit his style and oeuvre. To me, it looks like he’s balancing the industry politics of personal taste and business pretty darn well.
Joe Johnston is a reliable Hollywood workhouse who hit his prime in the 1990s with classics such as Honey I Shrunk The Kids, Jumanji and October Sky. The 2000s were a bit rough on him, with films Jurassic Park III and The Wolfman getting mixed to negative reviews (but Hidalgo was really good!). I suspect his experience with action and having directed the late 1930s superhero period piece The Rocketeer, starring Bill Campbell (The Killing) and Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) was what cinched him the gig to direct Captain America: The First Avenger.
Unfortunately since The First Avenger, Johnston hasn’t worked much. That makes me sad because the film has aged like a delicious stinky cheese since its release in July 2011. The First Avenger not only lays the foundation and conflict for Avengers with the Tesseract (aka, the first Infinity Stone), but also serves as an excellent origin story for Steve Rogers. Without First Avenger, we would not understand the inherent tragic nature of Steve as a man-out-of-time and why, at great cost and against all better judgment and logic, he chooses to pursue and support his best friend, brainwashed POW assassin Bucky Barnes in «Phase Two.»
Johnston has only directed two projects in the past six years. He directed the psychological thriller Not Safe For Work, starring JJ Field (Austenland), Max Minghella (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Eloise Mumford (Fifty Shades of Grey) for Universal. The film’s straight-to-DVD/VOD release in May 2014 speaks volumes about its quality. He also directed Lumen, a failed pilot-turned-TV-movie for TNT, produced by Amblin TV, in 2015. Lord, that is a shallow field of work.
Verdict: 5/10. It appears Johnston’s time in the Marvel machine didn’t give him much of a career boost (although he deserved one). My score would be a full point lower if not for the recent announcement that he will direct the new Chronicles of Narnia film, The Silver Chair, for Disney. Who the hell knows whether the film will be a reboot/sequel/prequel of the barely alive franchise, but it’s good to see Johnston land a high-profile project. Johnston appears to have a good relationship with Disney, evidenced by being one of the names in the mix to direct the atomically imploded Han Solo standalone film before Ron Howard was announced as the clean up guy, which could be beneficial further down the line. He is also set to direct sci-fi action film Starfall for Chinese cinema chain operator Wanda Group’s Qingdao Studios; a savvy move in an even more unstable than usual industry where everything is coming up Chinese dollars and foreign box office.