Movie Monday 1
I love movies. I love watching people, listening to language, being thrilled by athletic feats, absorbing the design and beauty, and staring wide eye-ed at the possibilities. These last two are probably why I love science-fiction and fantasy movies so much. The beauty, the design, and the possibilities.
From the previews I’ve seen so far, this summer and the rest of 2015 is shaping up to provide the best selection of movies I can remember. It’s possible that the preview makers have gotten so good that they can get me excited about anything, but I think it has more to do how my generation (the millenials? the gen-y-ers? I think it’s all just marketing mumbo jumbo) is just now coming into its peak spending age: the media companies know it and have been cashing in. Hopefully, this plethora of content-that-interests-me will last for another 20 years; after which, I assume everything will be Chinese.
The purpose of this series is to showcase movies I am excited about. It will usually contain upcoming movies that I’m anticipating, but I’m sure I’ll treat you to the occasional nostalgic entry. I intend to showcase three movies each for as many Mondays as I can manage.
This week is Marvel 2015.
Now that Hollywood has discovered the treasure trove of intellectual property that is the comic book world, Marvel is the 300 lbs gorilla in the industry. DC is doing quite well with the Batman Trilogy and multiple television shows, but they’re almost a decade (well, ok, maybe just half a decade) behind what Marvel calls its Cinematic Universe that began with Iron Man. This summer we’ll see three movies that come from Marvel comic books.
I love what they’ve done with Iron Man & Captain America. My biggest fear about the first Avengers movie was that it would be a colossal disaster, but with Joss Whedan at the helm, it was a coup-de-force pivoting on one of my favorite characters, Phil Coulson, which ultimately spawned Agents of Shield. Whedon is directing again, so while expectations are high, I feel confident in this next step of the franchise.
Release: May 1st, 2015.
Verdict: VERY EXCITED!
Most people I’ve talked to have had at least one of two reactions to Ant-Man: “Of all the movies to make, ANT-MAN???” or “Oh, Paul Rudd is in it!” I had the second response (so did my partner). To those with the first response all I can say is “Guardians of the Galaxy.” I hadn’t heard of Guardians of the Galaxy, and I consider myself a medium level comic books fan, but I thought it was the best movie of last summer. It’s revenue indicates that others agree. I don’t know that I love Ant-Man any more than others, but at this point, I trust Marvel. Let’s hope they (Marvel & Paul Rudd) don’t do anything to lose it.
Release: July 17th, 2015.
Verdict: Reserved, but hopeful. Definitely going to see in theaters.
Marvel’s Movie Rights
Ok, so before we begin, let’s have a short run-down in Marvel IP ownership. Fox, Sony, Universal, and Marvel all own the movie rights to various Marvel characters. It’s all laid out in this awesome infographic.
Hulk used to be a part of Universal until a few years ago, and the Blade Movies were published by New Line, which is a Warner Bros company, and the rights must have come back to Marvel between now and then. Oddly, Warner Brothers owns DC comics and published Blade (a Marvel franchise) before they became cinematic rivals.
All this is to say that F4 (along with X-Men & Silver Surfer) is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). There is hope that they might be able to combine the property rights since Sony & Marvel just made an agreement to add Spider-man to the MCU and Hugh Jackman has been quoted as saying that he wants to kick Robert Downey Jr’s ass on screen. However, when it comes to corporate ownership and sharing, I don’t hold out high hopes.
The Sony/Marvel agreement came as a surprise, but if Marvel is doing a cinematic redux of the Civil War, Spiderman is apparently a key figure in the plot. Marvel may have been willing to pay extra to Sony just so they can maintain the story line. Marvel has also been teasing Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet plot lines, which includes significant contributions from the F4 and the Silver Surfer. Maybe like Spiderman, F4 and eventually X-Men will come to be a part of the MCU, too.
Will F4 Be Good?
Fox’s history with movies has been hit and miss. The previous two F4 Movies (Fantastic Four-2005 & Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer-2007) were enjoyable but not great, and X-Men movies have been hit and miss — although recently there’s been an upward trend with strong showings from both X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. For the most part, it seems to me that the better the actors, the better the movie. I think the addition of Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence to the last two X-Men movies added a new level of quality.
The actors who play the four titular characters all look to be good. I’ve liked Miles Teller since he was in the Footloose reboot. Kate Mara has played minor roles in fun movies like Shooter and in the little I’ve seen has been very charistmatic. I’m a fan Jamie Bell (formerly Billy Elliot) who was recently in Snowpiercer with Chris Evans (aka Captain America), although he’s an interesting choice for the traditionally large framed Ben Grimm character. Finally, Michael B. Jordan is awesome, and if his portrayal of Wallace in The Wire weren’t enough, he’s proven his chops in Chronicle and a myriad of TV show appearances. Speaking of Chronicle, the director Josh Trank is directing F4, so we should get a more gritty and raw feel for this movie than the previous summer/superhero/blockbuster fare.
Release: August 7th, 2015.
Verdict: Probably not in the all-time favorite comic book movies, but definitely going to see it.
Wow, this ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated. I don’t plan for all of these posts to be this long, but knowing me and my loquacious ways, I might need to consider a tl;dr version.