Posts Tagged ‘X-men’

Happy “Tobey Maguire is No Longer Spider-Man Day” Everyone!

January 11, 2010

Today, January 11th, 2010, we learned that talks have fallen through with Raimi and the studios and that the director of the first three Spider-chronicles will not return to direct the fourth.  With him, he is taking the principle cast of at least Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.  And it looks like 2010 is already shaping up to be the breath of fresh air that we had all been anticipating it to be!  Maguire as a casting choice has always struck me as an irritating and awkward move.  While I obviously understand that I am in the minority on this issue, I have still never fully understood the draw that Maguire brings to the franchise.  Short of physically semi-resembling the character of Peter Parker, and having an impressive resume of The Cider House Rules and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at the time of casting, Tobey Maguire plays the character of Peter Parker as everything he was not.  Quiet, one-dimensional, and purely reactionary in his civilian life.  The character of Peter Parker functions as a largely ascerbic, sardonic, loud-mouthed little punk who lucked out BIG TIME in the superhero lottery after being bitten by a radioactive spider.  In his origin story, Spider-Man is actually a bit of a primadonna.  He lets his new-found fame get to him and allows a common criminal to easily slip right by him which (spoiler alert for all of you who have never watched TV/read a comic before) leads to the death of his dear Uncle Ben.  This act alone launches him into a quest for vengeance and justice that spurs the character’s heroic, good-natured tendencies and pushes the super-hero narrative further.

Maguire is none of those things.  He is quiet, brooding, introverted, and almost inept to social conventions.  While he can be a talented actor, it is clear that Maguire had no previous connection to the character before the script and decided to dote more on Parker’s nerdiness than his actual inherent bravado and surrogate machismo.  Rather than portray the wise-cracking, originally anti-heroic Parker of the comics, Maguire crafted his own, dulled-down rendition.  Which simply didn’t work.

This has been my problem with the franchise from the beginning.  Along the way, Kirsten Dunst has always failed to capture the iconic femme fatale that Mary Jane Watson always embodied and the awkward and unsubtle mix-up of the classic storyline, i.e. Gwen Stacy coming in AFTER Mary Jane, Mary Jane marrying Jameson’s son, etc., etc., are all further problems that left me fully disenfranchised by the series.  Then, of course, there’s Venom.  One of Spider-Man’s greates foes and a treat that fan-boys have waited years to see onscreen.  I won’t even go into the shortcomings that were apparent from that endeavor.  However, that does launch me into the short list of praise that I had for the now-defunct franchise.  While it did very little right, Raimi’s three picture chronicle DID manage to produce certain elements of the story perfectly.  Mostly, Alfred Molina was a WONDERFUL Doc Octopus, and his story was quite well-done, also.  Willem Dafoe performed well as the Green Goblin and James Franco nicely assisted in his role of Harry Osbourne.  Also, J.K. Simmons is as close to J. Jonah Jameson as we will ever actually get onscreen, and I ADORE every minute of screen time he received.  And in a moment of wishful thinking, I’d like to acknowledge Topher Grace who was COMPLETELY ERRONEOUSLY cast as Venom.  While totally inappropriate as the muscle-head photographer Eddie Brock, Grace COULD have been the quintessential Peter Parker, and yet EVERYONE seems to have simply breezed over this.  Grace has the perfect dry, sarcastic wit and persona to match Parker’s fluently.  His appearance is even more Parker-esque than Maguire.  With a slightly more kinetic/frenetic dispostition, Grace would have been PERFECT for the role.  But these are all events that never transpired…

I have had an outspoken hatred for this franchise for the longest time, as I do with almost ALL superhero franchises (X-Men, The Punisher, Watchmen, Superman Returns, Daredevil, Elecktra, etc., etc.), which is fueled from my LOVE of each original franchise (did I mention that I’m a nerd?).  So this news marks a new holiday for me!  Yay!  The news that is circling the intranets is that a reboot of the franchise is now slated for 2012 (you didn’t actually think that Sony would just leave this prospect dead in the water, did you?  There’s MONEY to be made!).  So what I thought I would never see in the next ten years (the spidey-saga rebooted) I will see in three!  SOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!  As always, below is a link to /Film’s article on the subject.  And even below that is some shameless self promotion.  Feel free to comment all over about how foolish I am for not seeing the “raw potential” that Tobey Maguire has been “wowing” audiences with for the past 8 years.

/Film

Bears With Sparklers

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Halloween Costumes ’10!

October 7, 2009

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It’s that time of year again.  The leaves are changing, Jack-O-Lanterns are on display, and college girls around the country are trying to come up with what “Slutty” something-or-other they will be this Halloween.  Which is what prompted this article.  I love Halloween.  So it goes without saying that I love an in-depth creative costume choice and loathe a generic, simplistic one.  Below are some 2009-centric ideas that I would LOVE to see out in the public domain this Hallo-day.

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1. George Lukas and Steven Spielberg raping Indiana Jones, or a stormtrooper.

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2. Shakira writhing around in some form of epileptic interpretive dance, as referenced in her She Wolf video.

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3. Kanye West-run around all night interrupting people’s conversations with a mic in hand.  Bring a Taylor Swift with you to further interrupt.

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4. The Mighty Boosh-Vince, Howard, Naboo, Bollo, and Bob Fossil in some form or other.  Bonus points for going as one of their more elaborate side characters, like the band from the episode, The Priest and the Beast.

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5. Kate from Jon & Kate Plus Eight toting eight babies all tied to a single rope, sans-Jon.

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6. A plethora of Lady Gaga’s all fighting for attention and leadership in that poor girl’s clearly multiple-personality-driven head.  It would have to be a group outing, but it would COMPLETELY be worth it.

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7. I would LOVE to see the entire cast of The Office simply to see if it could be pulled off correctly.  As Michael Scott and crew have fairly uniform appearances, it would take quite the striking resemblance of ALL characters involved to pull this one off.  If done properly, however, it could be FAMAZING.

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8. Christian Bale (who I still love) constantly attacking a lighting guy as he sets up his rig in the middle of the street.  This would obviously require two people, and some sort of lighting rig, but with an uncanny Bale look-a-like and a slipping Welsh accent, it could be kind of fun.

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9. Fox Studios Destroying Wolverine-This one is VERY high concept but probably my favorite one.  Dress up clearly as Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and then spend the rest of the night demolishing toy helicopters (as Jackman does in the film), crappy Deadpools with stitched-up mouths, and comic books in the symbolic act of Fox destroying everything sacred about Wolverine, The X-men, and Marvel Comics.

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10. Zombieland-Go with me on this one, I know it sounds generic, but just think, if you and three friends dress as the characters from Zombieland (which was AMAZING, by the way), complete with weaponry, you can spend all night running around interacting with people who dressed up as zombies!  Namely, killing them, but that’s not the point.

Bears With Sparklers

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My Forecast: Superheroes are Screwed

April 21, 2009

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Interesting developments in LA-LA Land…Zach Snyder’s latest project, Sucker Punch, has lost half of its cast due to “scheduling conflicts.”  The boys over at slashfilm (who I grifted this story from) seem to think that Snyder’s inability to deliver with Watchmen at the box office may be a component as to why half his cast is ebbing away.  Evan Rachel Wood, Emma Stone, and Amanda Seyfried have all dropped and have been replaced by less expensive actresses, such as, Emily Browning, Jamie Chung, and Jenna Malone (The only validated one out of the bunch for her work in Donnie Darko).  Apart from the news about Jenna Malone (who I think is actually an upgrade) it’s very disheartening to see Snyder’s project falling apart.  The Alice in Wonderland-esque story description found in the above link to /film sounds incredamazing.  Hopefully, it won’t be daunted by Warner’s downgrading of its budget/cast.

So, in my usual way, I’d like to take this opportunity to explore a barely-related tangent.  I am a self-professed nerd.  I ADORE comic books, superheroes and the like and have been especially pleased with the revitalization of the cape and cowl at the box office.  However, I’m becoming more and more afraid.  The only reason that superhero flicks have obtained the adequate funding that they need to be fully relized on the silver screen, is because Hollywood is banking off of the profits established by the Spider-man franchise, Iron Man, and The Dark Knight, to name a few.  As soon as profits start slipping and the genre becomes financially undesirable, the age of heroics onscreen will be as quickly abandoned as it was picked up.  After Watchmen’s flaccid delivery after a WAY hyped pre-release and with the upcoming Wolverine flick’s ginormous propensity to equally suck, it looks as though we may be headed for some rough cinematic seas in the comic realm. 

Of course, all of these noted films are in the present, whereas the future is what we can look to for an indication as to whether or not we comic-lovers are able to breathe easy for the future of our beloved franchise films or if we’re officially screwed.  And my verdict is that we are officially, without a shadow of a doubt, screwed.  The upcoming crop of hero franchises in pre-producition are as follows: Thor, The Avengers, Iron Man 2, The Green Lantern, Magneto, X-men: First Class, Sin City II, Ant-man, and G.I. Joe among others rumored to be in talks.  When you step back and look at this list, you release the absolute breadth of the storys involved.  All of these franchises are big, sweeping, epic stories(sans Ant-Man), incaple of being produced for anything short of The Dark Knight’s production value.  Thor is a mystical Norse thunder god, The Green Lantern is a space odyssey, X-men simply needs to up its value after seeing some of the screens from Wolverine, and The Avengers is the franchise where all these heroes converge.  What I’m trying to say is that there is a HUGE margin for error in the production of theses up-and-comers.  As I have stated before, we have barely mastered the approach to comic books steeped mostly in reality (i.e. Spider-man and batman), we are NOT ready to take on mystical outer space warfare and the greatest collection of spandex-covered heroes in history.  We simply aren’t ready to produce these kinds of work, from both a production standpoint and from a treatment, or a writer’s standpoint.

Hollywood is a fickle beast, to say the very least (Hey, that rhymed).  Once these films start bombing in succession (and believe you, me, they probably will) Hollywood will see the gaping wound it has produced, stop the bleeding, and then routinely move on to some other manner of business (fire up High School Musical 8, boys!).  We have to take our time and step away from certain super hero franchises before we prematurely explore them all in the form of sub-par cinema.  (See The Hulk and The Punisher for, not two, but FOUR perfect examples of this.)

Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Tucker…REALLY?!?

April 16, 2009

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Ripping off /Film once again, I stumbled across this little article stating that the next project in Brett Ratner’s pipeline is a fantasy-heist flick entitled Trump Heist, starring Eddie Murphy.  In addition to Murphy, who is already signed on, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Tucker are all in talks to join the ranks as well.  The story revolves around employees working at Trump Tower who scheme to pilfer the pockets of the upper-class residents, and is being re-written by Ocean’s Eleven writer Ted Griffin.

Everything about this cinematic endeavor, from the contrived, overused plot to Ratner actually being attached make my eyes roll involuntarily.  Everything except…THE CAST!  Holy stacked deck, Batman!  If Ratner pulls off this star-studded ensemble even he will have a hard time mucking this up (then again, he did manage to ruin BOTH X-men and Superman).  Usually, supercasts such as these have a hard time failing.  While Murphy’s career over the past year has been anything but prolific, Chappelle, Rock and Tucker all have the propensity to be huge stars.  And honestly, who doesn’t admit that Murphy has the ability to spin comedic gold when he’s on?

Of course, I’m not guaranteeing that this project will garner a proverbial ‘win’ in the ‘It didn’t suck’ category.  First, these other three stars have to actually sign on.  Then, the screenplay has to not suck (difficult, I know).  Then Ratner has to literally fire himself and have no further involvement.  All giant leaps, I know, believe me.  But remember kids, NOTHING is impossible.

$150 Million for…The Green Lantern?

April 16, 2009

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Oh boy, this one’s a doosey.  According to /Film, Warner Bros. is moving forward with production of their rendition of The Green Lantern in Sydney, Australia at their Fox Studios lot.  They have allocated $150 million as their principle budget, and, despite the recent implosion of American economics, the dollar goes even farther in Australia than it does in the states.

I’m already skepticle of the finished product.  My logic resides within the budget itself.  Of course, I have no insight into the upcoming production, but what I can deduce from the above factoid is that a lot of money will be spent, possibly in an egregious, Michael Bay-esque manner.  Warner Bros. clearly feels the need to invest a decent dime into this cinematic onslaught, and rightfully so, as the story behind The Green Lantern is an epic space opera that enlists a laundry list of alien races that we have never even seen on the silver screen.  And I’m not basing the fact that $150 million is a lot of money on nothing.  Here’s the rundown from /Film of comperable superhero franchises budgets:

Fantastic Four was $100M, Iron Man was $140M, Watchmen was $150M, The Dark Knight was $185M, X-Men: The Last Stand was $210M and Spider-Man 3 topped $258M.

So that means that Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Watchmen all had equal or lesser budgets, and I think we can form unanimous consensus on the interwebs that these three movies had decent production values (Some moreso than others).

So this would lead me to believe that Warner Bros. has entered into the “the more money we throw at it, the better it will be!’ mindset, granted the fact that there has been no prequel in the franchise to gauge viewer satisfaction or ANY certifiable Green Lantern work that has ever made it past footage on the Justice League.

So if Warner has decided to give The Green Lantern a nice, fat budget with which to woo the audience with intersteller combat, then the alternate question I have is; Is $150 million enough?  As I said earlier, the story behind the Lantern is quite complex and takes the viewer into an intergalactic police council (kinda like interpol, only actually effective) where all kinds of crazy, cosmic violence occurs everyday.  The budget to get this sort of thing right will have to be (pardon the punnage) out of this world.  Unless they plan on animating the whole adventure, tackling a bonafide space epic will be an ambitious undertaking.  $150 million may not be enough to fully express the lantern’s indoctrination into his powers in space, let alone simply his powers on Earth.

Before anyone starts screaming about the wonders attained by Lucas with the original Star Wars trilogy, keep in mind that the breath-taking experience Lucas was able to craft was a once-in-a-lifetime outing, not easily duplicated, to say the least.  Also, keep in mind the above fact that Spider-Man 3 (I can barely bring myself to utter the name) cost $250 million and was a certified suck-fest.  Not to mention that the entire movie took place on the streets of Manhattan, not ANOTHER WORLD. 

To wrap up this ramble-fest, I have VERY little faith in the project, which is too bad because I feel that The Green Lantern would be a great project to spearhead…with the right approach.  While Warner Bros. have given us the wonder that is the last two Bat-movies, they are also responsibe for Catwoman and Superman Returns and prone to ginormous fails just like EVERY major studio.  The bottom line is that I’m just not sure we are ready for this brand of epic.  We just recently tackled gritty realism correctly in comic book films (i.e. The Dark Knight).  I believe that we need WAY more time to iron out the details to the genre before we jump the gun and get into Green Lantern-Justice League-Avengers-Thor territory.  I mean, c’mon, we couldn’t even get The Hulk right, and they’ve had two stabs at it in six years!