Hello, fellow moviegoers!
For today's article, I decided to pose and discuss a question that has been on my mind a lot lately. That question involves the idea of cinematic universes. Cinematic universes have become a dime a dozen anymore. This modern trend all started when Marvel decided to have Samuel L. Jackson show up at the end of Iron Man and ask about the Avengers Initiative. Now, it seems like every other week there is an announcement about some new cinematic universe that is in the works. But are there too many cinematic universes? Is a cinematic universe really the best way to tell these stories? Here's what I think.
First, I'd like to discuss what a "cinematic universe" is exactly. If you're not super up-to-date in film news, then chances are you have no idea what they are. So, to put it simply, a cinematic universe is a series of films that take place in the same world, but they aren't necessarily prequels or sequels to one another. One of the earliest examples of this was the "Universal Monsters", a series of monster movies put out by Universal that featured many of the same cast and recurring characters. This included films such as Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, and more. The modern form of cinematic universe, however, features more interwoven films, rather than loosely tied together films with the same cast.
There are several good examples of a modern cinematic universe done right. Oddly enough, the two most successful examples are both Disney properties. Those would be the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars films. The Marvel Cinematic universe, or MCU, features all of the films put out by Marvel Studios since 2008. That includes Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and much more. The MCU has become incredibly successful, having grossed over $11 billion total throughout 15 films, and they still have dozens more in the works. The Star Wars franchise is new to the world of cinematic universes. What was once just a series of films, became a universe when Disney started canonizing TV shows and comics and creating other films that stray away from the main Skywalker Saga (i.e. Rogue One and the upcoming Han Solo movie). Both the Star Wars films and the MCU are prime examples of how to handle a cinematic universe well.
There are several examples of cinematic universes that have been less than well handled, and there are plenty of cinematic universes that don't need to happen at all. The most recent cinematic universe to get started is Universal's Dark Universe, which began with The Mummy a few weeks ago. Universal is trying to create a new cinematic universe based on the same monsters and characters they did back in the 30s-50s. While that may sound like a good idea on paper, I'm beginning to think that these characters would work best in individual movies. The world they set up in The Mummy was interesting enough, but I'm afraid they're going to focus too much on that, and not enough on the actual characters.
On many occasions, cinematic universes have attempted to launch and then failed miserably. For example, the Dark Universe, which I mentioned above, was supposed to begin with 2014's Dracula Untold. However, that film was neither well received or a box office hit, so they scrapped it and restarted with The Mummy. The same exact thing happened with DC before they officially got the DC Extended Universe up and going. The DCEU was supposed to begin with 2011's Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds. However, similar to Dracula Untold, it was a failure, so they tried again with Man of Steel two years later.
In my opinion, a cinematic universe is not the ideal way to make a series of movies. If it works, it works really well, as you can tell with Marvel and Star Wars. However, it's really difficult to start one successfully. Studios get too caught up in the universe and don't focus on the themes and characters. Plus, half the time, the property isn't prime for a cinematic universe anyway (I'm sorry, Dan Aykroyd, but a Ghostbusters cinematic universe is an awful idea). There are certain properties that cinematic universes work well for, but when a cinematic universe fails, it fails hard. The DCEU barely survived 2016, and they're lucky Wonder Woman was amazing, otherwise, they would be in a lot of trouble right about now.
So are there too many cinematic universes? Right now? No. However, studios are constantly trying to make them work and failing at them. If they do end up going through with some of these ideas, there undoubtedly will be too many. A more traditional sequel/prequel series style is a much safer, and often more effective way to handle a series. Cinematic universes are just too risky, and I don't understand why major studios keep green-lighting them.
What do you think? Are you a fan of the cinematic universe, or do you prefer more traditional sequels for a franchise? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Wonder Woman is proving to be a success both critically and financially for Warner Bros and their DC properties. It's the first film of the new DC Extended Universe, otherwise known as the DCEU, to receive a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes at an astonishing 92% approval rating. It's beginning to look like WB and DC are finally getting on the right track as far as their cinematic universe goes. So what does Wonder Woman's success mean for the DCEU? What are they going to do next?
As I mentioned above, Wonder Woman scored a 92% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, which is great for several reasons. First of all, only two films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have either tied or exceeded that score, and those films are the original Iron Man (94%) and The Avengers (92%). So Wonder Woman is in pretty good company as far as Rotten Tomatoes goes. The second reason that 92% is a good sign is how it compares to the other films in the DCEU. Man of Steel scored a rotten 55% approval rating (which I still don't understand how, but that's an argument for another day), and Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were far below that with 27% and 25% respectively. Wonder Woman is the first film in the DCEU that hasn't been divisive amongst audiences. At the very least, people are thinking it's okay, but most people out there are absolutely loving it.
So what does this mean for the DC Extended Universe? Well, hopefully, it means they're on the right track. Last year Warner Bros brought on DC Comics' chief creative officer Geoff Johns and WB producer Jon Berg to take the reigns and run the DCEU. At the point they were hired, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad already had a lot of work done on them, so there wasn't a whole lot they could do there. However, Wonder Woman was mid-production with over a year until its release, so Johns and Berg probably had a lot of creative input on it. If it is true that Johns and Berg had a big part to play in Wonder Woman, that's very encouraging because they will also carry over into all of the DC films moving forward.
Speaking of the DC Films moving forward, there are quite a few that are in some stage of development. If all the reports are to be believed, there are over a dozen films based on DC characters in development right now. However, there are only two of those films that actually have release dates and have begun filming. The first of those two is Justice League. Justice League is set for release this November and is currently in the middle of post-production and reshoots (keep in mind, almost every major film goes through reshoots). Justice League has had a big shake up recently though. About a month ago, it was announced that director Zack Snyder had stepped away from the project to deal with a family tragedy. Filling in for him to direct the reshoots and oversee post-production is Avengers director Joss Whedon. We've already seen two trailers for Justice League and will undoubtedly get a third by the end of the summer, probably during San Diego Comic-Con. Justice League is set for release on November 17th of this year.
The second DC Film that is confirmed to be coming down the pipe is Aquaman starring Jason Momoa. Aquaman is currently filming in Australia. The film is being directed by James Wan, who is famous for directing such films as Saw, The Conjuring, and Furious 7. Not much is known about the plot of the film, and we haven't seen much from it yet, but I would wager a guess that the first footage will be shown at San Diego Comic-Con in July. Aquaman has assembled an all-star cast that includes Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Ludi Lin, Dolph Lundgren, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Temuera Morrison, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Aquaman is set for release on December 21st, 2018.
As for the rest of the films DC has in development, some of them are definitely going to happen, some of them I'm not so sure. The ones that will definitely happen and it's just a matter of when would be The Batman directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn/War of the Planet of the Apes) and starring Ben Affleck, The Flash starring Ezra Miller, Shazam starring Dwayne Johnson as the villain Black Adam, Batgirl directed by Joss Whedon, and the recently announced Wonder Woman sequel. The rest of the films DC is working on, I'm unsure as to if or when they'll ever happen. Those films include a Cyborg film, Justice League Dark, Green Lantern Corps, a Justice League sequel, Man of Steel 2, Suicide Squad 2, a Harley Quinn spin-off entitled Gotham City Sirens directed by David Ayer, a Black Adam film, and a Nightwing film directed by Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie).
The reason that, out of all of these films, there are only two actively in production is that Warner Bros and DC are being smart about their properties. They're waiting to see what reaction critics and audiences have to Justice League, then they'll make adjustments and move forward as they see fit. If I had to guess, I would say that the first film we'll see after Aquaman, would be The Batman sometime in 2019.
So what do you think about the current state of the DC Extended Universe? Are you excited to see Justice League? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
With the recent release of Logan on DVD and Blu-Ray came an alternate version of the film known as Logan Noir. This version of the film is different in the sense that it is in black and white, instead of the full color that most films are now. The idea came when the first few images from the film were released, and they were in black and white. The images were extremely interesting to look at and had a few people wondering if the actual film would be. Obviously, that didn't happen, but with Logan Noir, that version of the film exists now.
So the big question here is whether or not the change in color makes a difference in the experience of watching Logan. After having seen Logan in full-color twice, and the Noir version once, I would say that it definitely does. Is it night and day difference between the two? No, it's still the exact same movie, it's just that one version is in grayscale.
The black and white images they initially released for Logan had a very artistic quality to them, and that's a quality that transfers over to the Noir version of the film. Logan was already a beautiful film to look at. The cinematography throughout the film is stunning. In the Noir version, there are several points where I paused it to just really take in the shot. The grayscale added an extra sense of artistry to the film. With many of the shots in the film, I found myself thinking that I could imagine that shot printed out, framed, and hanging on a wall.
Oddly enough, Logan Noir appeared to be less violent than the theatrical cut, which seems impossible because it's the exact same cut of the film. However, since there was no color, that means that we didn't see the red of the blood in the movie. There are many scenes that I remember being very violent from the first couple times I've seen the film in color, but they seemed to be less violent than I remembered when watching this version. Without the color, the blood is almost unnoticeable at times, which makes the film seem less violent.
The points where I found the grayscale didn't work were the points in which the film uses visual effects. There aren't a lot of obvious digital effects in Logan, but when they're there it's distracting in the Noir version. Due to the lack of color, Logan Noir feels like an older film. That feeling that is completely taken away when we see modern effects utilized in it. That's by no means a flaw in the actual film, it's just a slight drawback to watching a modern film converted to black and white. I haven't seen the "Black & Chrome" Edition of Mad Max: Fury Road, but I imagine it suffers from the same issue.
So is Logan Noir the version of Logan you need to watch? No, especially if it's your first time watching the film. The theatrical version of Logan utilizes color very well. So I would undoubtedly recommend watching that version first if you haven't already. If you love that version, which I expect you will, check out Logan Noir if you're interested. The grayscale definitely adds an interesting element to the film. While not an entirely separate experience, it's still different enough to have an effect.
So are you interested in watching Logan Noir? Or will you just stick with the theatrical version of the film? Let me know by commenting on this article? Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
It seems like it was just a couple months ago that we were here discussing the possibility of a Hellboy III. Wait, that's because that was only a few months ago. Well, here we are again, discussing Hellboy. However, this time it's not the third film in that series, it's a new rebooted version of the character with a new actor and director. Here's what you need to know.
The question on everybody's mind right now is probably "Why not just make Hellboy III?". Well, if you wanted to read that article I wrote, you can find it here, but for simplicity's sake I'll sum it up for you. Basically, Guillermo Del Toro (who directed the first two Hellboy films) was asking for a gigantic budget for the film, a budget around the $200 million mark. Even though the films are great, they don't make anywhere near the amount of money to justify a budget of that magnitude. No studio was willing to provide Del Toro with that budget, and he was unwilling to cut it down. As a result, the Hellboy franchise was left at a standstill for ten years.
That is, it was dead until a couple days ago when Hellboy creator Mike Mignola announced the rebooted project, tentatively titled Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, on his Twitter account. It was there that he confirmed that Stranger Things star David Harbour would be taking on the lead role in the franchise. I'm not really sure how I feel about this casting. The only thing I've seen Harbour in was Stanger Things, and he was quite good in that show. However, his character in that show was very different from the character of Hellboy. One thing that does give me some comfort is the fact that this isn't the first major comic-book role that Harbour has been circling. A few months ago, there was a report going around that Harbour was in the running for the character of Cable in Deadpool 2. Though Josh Brolin ended up snagging that part, it would not be surprising if that report was true considering Harbour has now taken a role a little similar to that.
The big thing in this announcement that has me excited is the director they've attached to helm the project. They have signed director Neil Marshall to this new Hellboy film. Marshall's most notable work consists of the 2005 horror film The Descent, along with two episodes of Game of Thrones, and one episode of Westworld. I have not seen The Descent, but I have watched Game of Thrones and Westworld, and I loved both of them. The most exciting thing is when you consider which two Game of Thrones episodes he directed. Those episodes were Season 2 Episode 9 "Blackwater", and Season 4 Episode 9 "The Watchers on the Wall". Both of those episodes are considered by many to be a couple of the best Game of Thrones episodes to date. Notably, those are both very action-heavy episodes, so hopefully, Marshall can make great use of his experience and give us some amazing action sequences in Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen.
It has also been confirmed that the rebooted Hellboy film will be rated R, to the relief of many fans around the world. Screenwriter Andrew Cosby as a "darker, more gruesome version of Hellboy" and that they want it to " walk a razor’s edge between horror and comic book movie". So this new Hellboy will have a very large horror influence on it, which is very exciting. Though Del Toro's Hellboy films definitely dipped their toes in horror, they still felt like action movies at the end of the day. I'm excited to see what they can do with the character of Hellboy by bringing even more horror into the mix.
So what do you think about Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen? Do you think David Harbour was well cast in the role? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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