Marvelling at Marvel
I’ll be honest here and admit I'm not a huge fan of the blockbuster behemoth that is Marvel’s takeover of the summer blockbuster space. Iron man was good, ditto Captain America and Thor, purely for Chris’ Evans and Helmsworth. Guardian’s of the Galaxy was a nice surprise, I had zero expectations, an ex of mine explained the very complicated background (he’s a comic nerd). A knowledge of the Marvel Universe in it’s comic incarnation isn't essential by any means. Which I imagine is the point of the film series.
An enormous financial gamble from Disney (parent company of Marvel studios) who also own the Star Wards franchise, seems to have paid off. Disney doesn't own all of the film rights to the Marvel characters though. Witness X-Men (owned by 20th Century Fox) where the X-men can’t even discuss the Avengers and the appearance of Quicksilver in the latest Avengers movie and his almost simultaneous occurrence in X-Men:Days of Future past.
Which brings us nicely to Ant-Man, I'm a huge Paul Rudd fan, I’ll pretty much watch him in anything, barring his iffy collaborations with Judd Apatow, his support and promotion for Lena Duraham and Amy Schumer aside.
Ant-Man is, like Guardians of the Galaxy a bit of an outlier in the Marvel cannon (with no real signs of the avengers, apart from a brief appearance from Falcon). It’s also the first of the Daddy-Daughter movies and like Iron man features a mentor-pupil relationship, in Iron man it was Jeff Bridges and Robert Downey Jnr and in Ant Man it’s Paul Rudd (Scott Lang) and Michael Douglas (Hank Pym), it’s not too much of a spoiler to say that MD isn't the villain that Bridges turned out to be. While there is the now obligatory post credits teaser to the next Marvel movie, hinting that there may possibly be a female Ant eh woman? Rudd is at his Mischievous best with sterling support from a hyperactive Michael Pena and Evangeline Lilly as the badly wigged and permanently scowling Hope Van Dyne, daughter of Hank Pym, while the plot is a little far fetched and the villain weak at best I was willing to overlook these details because c’mon it’s a marvel movie and it’s got Paul Rudd!
But for the mouse house, as Variety calls Disney, for every Star Wars and Marvel series, there’s a box office disaster like Tomorrowland, not the worst movie in the world but it drastically unperformed. The question is, how long can this be sustained. Will audiences still be flocking to Avengers 5-Iron Man gets a bus pass? There will always be space for blockbusters, but lately not many of them are coming from original sources. Let’s not forget that Jaws, one of the first of the summer blockbusters was also a literary adaptation.
Watched- I caught up with the most excellent original (BBC) version of House of Cards. In which Ian Richardson plays the Machiavellian chief whip turned PM Frances Urquhart. Richardson is at his unctuous, charming best as with liberal quoting of Macbeth,King Lear and Richard III. While it doesn't have quite the same production values as Netflix’s HOC, it is over 20 years old and made on a fraction of the budget. It may have bad lighting and awful shoulder pads but the central themes of power, corruption, murder and a protagonist who is every bit as lethal as he is charming, still rings through.
Reading- I'm still wading through the John Mortimer biography and have also picked up ‘The Nazi and the Psychiatrist’ which caught my eye in the library. It deals with American army psychiatrist, Captain Douglas Kelley, who was given the job of judging whether top Nazi Prisoners of war were psychologically fit for trial at Nuremberg. I'm only a few pages in but it already seems hugely interesting, the first few chapters focus on the capturing of Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring, Hitler’s designated successor.
As my own illustrious screenwriting career continues to thrive and not really develop at all. This week, I've been mostly concentrating on getting back to working and firing out CV’s far and wide. I’d love to be working in my chosen field unfortunately; Aaron Sorkin, Charlie Kaufmann and Sally Wainwright didn't want to take a year off to hand over to me. So it’s back to compliance I go (hopefully) the good news is it’ll give some structure which should give me time to write before work. Also, money, which always helps and will pay for the quite expensive trip to London in October.Silver lining to that cloud is it’s a screenwriting festival, with networking opportunities a plenty.
The reality of being a Screenwriter in Ireland, especially one who hasn't had any movies produced yet, is that a 9–5 is essential. Also, while Ireland is a great place to live, it’s not quite Hollywood. Even the most successful writers and directors struggle to make it here. So, it’ s back to the office for an another few years before I sell out to Hollywood, which might also require writing a script or three.