WELCOME TO ISSUE 59!
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME HERE: Welcome! This is my weekly column where I talk about superhero movie news, rumors and speculation to the detriment of no one. It usually has spoilers.
THIS WEEK: Inhumans and Aquaman both look to be in our future. That plus: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Amazing Spider-Man 2 reveal the degree to which they are a mess.
Yesterday, we got some rumblings about two new properties on the super franchise scene, one for the MCU in Inhumans and one for DC/WB in the really horrible Aquaman scripting process they have going.
It was weird yesterday to see Variety drudge up a report from June that was basically saying: Yes, Jason Momoa is Aquaman in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It got picked up a lot, because when the trades pull from something that distant there’s usually a reason. It took the whole day for THR to drudge up that reason: two separate writers (the Gangster Squad guy and the 300 guy) are working two separate scripts. That means there’s gonna be a loser and that’s just stupid. I understand wanting to cast a wide net (pun?) to find the best Aquaman story but isn’t that what treatments are for? If you have two writers with produced credits, why make them fight each other? Why pay for two full scripts? If Aquaman is the pick for first movie after Justice League (that’s speculation, because it’s the first solo film we’ve heard go to scripting), shouldn’t there be a clear vision as to why? And isn’t that vision undercut by making it some sort of coolness competition?
Don’t worry, I feel equally unsure about the Inhumans, this isn’t just a DC problem. I guess it seems unfortunate that Warner Bros and DC seem a bit more scatter-shot in production choices than the Disney machine. Marvel has it’s own writer’s program to feed them first drafts, DC can only hope to choose good people at the start. You know what? Just keep David Goyer away from it and I’ll be okay.
Inhumans, man, I’m having real trouble getting excited about. I’m going to have a lot of time to read up on my Inhumans comics between here and whenever they announce a date, and maybe that will make me a bit more excited for this new layer to the Marvel Universe, but...this rapid expansion might lead to the first crack in the Marvel armor.
Why? They’re shooting off movies that aren’t chaining together like the Phases. Guardians of the Galaxy has an Infinity Stone, but you can tell people to go see it without them knowing anything about The Avengers. Ant-Man is wobbly enough at this point that it’s hard to imagine an Ant-Man 2. Dr. Strange hasn’t officially been tied to a release date yet, neither has Inhumans and the assumed Thor 3. Where the Phases begun by being tied into trilogies based on the popular characters, we’re about to explore Space and presumably the galactic history of the Kree through a series of movies that may or may not become franchises within the mega-franchise. On one hand, this is good because when the inevitable not-hit Marvel film comes along, it’s characters can be isolated from the grander franchise and left to rehab or wither. On the other hand, if the grand plan is to open up Marvel’s shared universe - it’s greatest asset since the days of Namor fighting the original Human Torch - taking on Inhumans, Soul Magic and Cosmic Marvel in single movie pokes and prods seems risky.
Then again, all of this is incredibly risky. We’re talking about two large companies playing chicken with release dates into 2019. These are the same studios that ride waves of pop culture like tons of YA Novel adaptations and sci-fi movies where the villain wants the lead character’s magic blood. We can’t trust them to know what we want in 2019, hell, we can’t trust ourselves.
On a third hand (not what you’re thinking), this is a fantastic place for me to be in as a comic book and movie fan, so maybe I should shut my mouth. We’ve finally gotten to the point in superhero cinema where I’m genuinely judging by which characters are being adapted rather than just hoping the movie isn’t horrible. I’ll always remember seeing Blade 2 and thinking: wow, this sequel is really going for it. I didn’t know if I liked it and it was certainly different from any Blade I knew from old Marvel books, but Guillermo del Toro knew what he was presenting and committed to it.
Now instead of going to every comic book movie because it’s a gift for my subculture, I’m in the enviable position of having some criticism gifted back to me. There are tons of superhero movies now, so instead of hope, I can ask: Please commit to your characters and ideas, because it’s a fools game to guess what we want.
I think that’s what I’m reacting to: Inhumans feels like something they can do now that they’ve sold the weirdness of Guardians of the Galaxy to such success and Aquaman feels like the shotgun blast approach to storytelling as product. I’m probably wrong about both, but that’s how I feel. If you know Inhumans are cool, commit to it, convert me. If you know Aquaman is cool, you should know why at this point and execute on that.
I looked up and shouted: “Save us!” and the conglomerates looked down and whispered…
Plots that Change
Where do I talk about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Do I talk about it here? They’re technically a comic book property and a megafranchise now that TMNT 2 is going to be a thing that happens.
So here’s my question as someone who hasn’t seen the film yet: does it seem like the movie’s plot changed halfway though?
Because when I was on set, I saw TCRI ooze being fed into a bunch of Ninja-looking Foot Clan thugs (NINJA looking, not Mercenary Masked). Also William Fichtner was The Shredder. He wasn’t working WITH Shredder he WAS Shredder. I also read that script called The Blue Door that was a horrible Turtles movie that had all the mutants as aliens from Dimension X. Basically, even when I asked what was being re-shot during TMNT 2014’s re-shoot period, I was just told that it was stuff Megan Fox couldn’t do earlier because of her pregnancy. However, I watched them shoot a scene from multiple angles where April fought some ninja with a sai and Will Arnett’s Vernon did some brawling too. With ninjas on gurneys all around.
When did they come up with the plot for this movie?
In related WTF-ness, now that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is releasing on home video, we’re getting a peek into that movie’s production process and how many changes seemed to have been made on the fly.
Yes, it’s official, Peter Parker’s dad was going to be alive and say “with great power comes great responsibility” and that’s just the beginning of the weirdness.
Picture me, your Marvelous Da7e, trying to learn scoops about the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2 and someone sends me this:
And I’m like: Oh, so Chris Cooper might be the Goblin in a future movie. I wonder if this is subtle dig at the rumor about Walt Disney freezing his own head?
Then I saw the movie and there was not a frozen head. "WTF," I thought, "where would some photoshop wizard in some forum somewhere get such a good looking Chris Cooper’s head in a box art?" I shut up about it. I was going to ask Avi Arad and Matt Tolomach about it, but other things came up.
Then, today, we got a look at the “Setting Up The Sinister Six” featurette that will be a Target exclusive and Marc Webb is standing in front of concept art about the Sinister Six and THERE’S THE HEAD?
WERE ALL THE FATHERS GOING TO SURVIVE THIS MOVIE WHERE THE ANTAGONIST AND PROTAGONIST BOND OVER DISTANT/DEAD FATHERS?!
How am I supposed to spoil things for people if they’re so unimportant they can change weeks before release?
I guess I’m not supposed to, but endeavor to anyway.
POST CREDITS SCENE:
Da7e will NOT return next week for Marvelous Da7e #60. He’s leaving New York, there are just too many huge superhero battles and renters insurance is expensive. Much like The Stand, he’s going to Colorado to await the final showdown between good and evil. This column will continue on August 27th.