Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Blade received generally bad reviews from critics at the time of it's release, which isn't all that surprising since critics are almost never on the same page as movie-goers. It was a solid success with viewers because it tapped several genres: Super Hero, Anti-Hero, Martial Arts, Horror, Action. It kept the plot simple, the fights sharp, the violence hard. Generally, that's a good recipe to make back the money they spent on the film with some excess, especially when you include a known action star like Wesley Snipes; who was a safe bet in the 90s and had a good track record. Blade's success spawned a few sequels, a TV show and an anime, but eventually fell off the map as the market was saturated with comic movies that were more family friendly and accessible. Blade effectively ushered in the modern super-hero movie by showing that they don't have to be campy or childish, or even made for kids.
Blade succeeded where Dolph Lundgren's Punisher failed as a solid R comic book movie, well before Deadpool hit the screens. In fact, Blade Trinity introduced Ryan Reynolds to the character of Deadpool, allowing him to kick off a more than decade long campaign to get Deadpool made. Blade showed that you can make a serious Super Hero film, paving the way for Spiderman and The Dark Knight. Blade introduced the concept of blending over-the-top action and the supernatural, paving the way for film franchises like The Mummy, Underworld and Resident Evil. (although, to be fair, Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this before Blade. Blade introduced bullet time to popular movie culture for movies like the Matrix, and was adopted by a ridiculous number of movies afterwards. Blade had an incredible impact on movie culture, and will likely never truly be recognized for it.
That said, since the movie's release, conversation resurfaces constantly over whether or not he will be brought back into the MCU now that the rights have reverted back to Marvel. Wesley Snipes has claimed to have conversations with Kevin Feige. 2018 marks the 20 year anniversary of the movie that launched the modern comic movie revolution. Marvel being owned by Disney however, it seems unlikely we'll see Blade in a direct MCU adaptation. Not too mention, it's hard to imagine a character as dark as Blade interacting with the main MCU characters as they are currently known on screen. So, that begs the question: where would Blade fit in?
Netflix has a reputation as the hard outlet for Marvel's darker brands with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and The Punisher. ABC did a great job delivering a dark Ghost Rider, and there are rumors that Gabriel Luna will see a series on Netflix thanks to his impressive outing as the Spirit of Vengeance. In fact, Ghost Rider was passed to Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) by the Good Samaritan, who looked suspiciously like the Johnny Blaze iteration of the Rider. Agents of SHIELD brought Ghost Rider on and also introduced the Darkhold, or the Book of Sins. These pieces put together allow Netflix, should the MCU agree, to put to screen a comic run called the Spirits of Vengeance; a 90s run that crossed paths with a litany of Marvel's darkest characters like Morbius, The Night Stalkers, Midnight Sons, Venom... and Doctor Strange? There's also a 2017 run that includes Blade, along with Satana and Hellstorm. It's almost like Marvel was setting the frame work to use Ghost Rider as a vehicle to introduce Blade. However, with Disney trying to launch it's own streaming service, I question whether they would be willing to extend more deals to Netflix.
Sony's Spiderman-less Venom-based universe in a lot of ways mirrors the original Blade movie. Largely ridiculed by critics, widely embraced by viewers. It's dark, violent and will shortly see Morbius the living vampire sharing their fledgling universe by way of Jared Leto. In one version of Blade's mythology, he and Spiderman go after Morbius and he became the day walker after being bitten by Morbius. It's unclear at this point if Marvel will include Venom into their overall universe because it would relinquish the creative control they've spent years re-acquiring. But, also, where the hell would Marvel use a character like Blade? He's not exactly kid friendly, nor would I want him to be. But, he would fit into a universe like the one recently set up with Tom Hardy's Venom-verse, which is going to be expanded with Silver & Black, Nightwatch and the more relevant Morbius, The Living Vampire.
With Disney's recent acquisition of Fox and it's properties; specifically the R-rated Deadpool, should Disney decide to use the Fox brand as an outlet for the adult related content, it's possible for Blade to show up to play in that sand box. Although, the typical characters he plays with aren't currently owned by Fox. Not to say that they can't make a good film without those play mates, he did fine on his own. It's just if Marvel plans to use him in the larger connected universe somehow, his main play mates are in other places. Although, if paired with Deadpool, the 4th wall jokes alone might be worth it. Especially if Wesley Snipes came back to play the character across from 'that cracker' Ryan Reynolds. Unfortunately, Ryan Reynolds stated he wouldn't work with Wesley Snipes again, so probably no dice there. And, more complicated, that would also retroactively bring in the New Line movies and create a dilemma since Ryan Reynolds also played Hannibal King. Not that Fox has ever given a shit about continuity before.
Less likely, is introducing a season or half-season arc on Agents of SHIELD through ABC. While I'm more inclined to believe that Blade's world works best in a solid R format, ABC's shown via the Ghost Rider arc that they can deliver an effective, brooding, dark story line. However, with the popularity of vampires dying off in recent years following the market OD via Twilight, True Blood, Penny Dreadful, The Vampire Diaries, and more recently The Originals, it might not make the most sense for a TV Show that still needs to worry about ratings. On the other side of the equation, Agents of SHIELD has dealt with aliens, Hydra, LMDs, the Darkhold, time travel, Inhumans, magic, so dipping into the paranormal for 6 to 7 episodes might be exactly what they need to keep things new for Coulson's team. Plus, it won't hurt ratings to have a reason to place a call to their only other known supernatural comrade, Robbie Reyes.
That begs the other question: Who would play Blade? Wesley Snipes continues to be his own press in this regard. If he is actually in talks, I don't necessarily have a problem with seeing Snipes dawn the shades again. The problem with that is, in Blade Trinity, they killed all of the vampires. So, what has Blade been doing? Would they follow the alternate ending with Werewolves? Or maybe he's succumbing to the vampire side of himself, making Blade the main antagonist for a movie or show? All seem unlikely to me. And with Marvel's track record recasting the Punisher and Spiderman for example, it seems more likely that they would have to reboot. Snipes himself points out the obvious issues with this, "There's a lot of pieces that have to come together. I mean wow. Who's that guy? And one that can overcome everybody's preconceived idea of who Blade is supposed to be. Skill wise, there's not a lot of guys out there that dance, that do martial arts, that act well and can have that Blade flavor." All true. Even the part about dancing for the more intricate footwork like we saw in Blade II. In fact, I can really only think of one name. Michael Jae White. Frankly, I think he would make an outstanding Blade. And, unlike Snipes, White has not shown any reservations about doing internet (Mortal Kombat) or television (Arrow), should the move get made to Netflix or even possibly ABC through the vehicle of Agents of SHIELD.
Regardless, I don't think the MCU is suffering without Blade's active presence in the universe. Marvel has the luxury of time to get his story right. He's not a pivotal character to the main universe, but if the MCU wants to expand their darker universe, he will be a strong addition in fleshing that out. As long as he's done correctly.
Thursday, July 12, 2018
What is going on with the WB? I remember years ago when they first announced that Ben Affleck was going to be Batman, there was all of this discussion about how Warner Brothers was a filmmaker's studio. They let filmmakers tell the stories they were hired to tell. But when it came to DC properties, they have undercut directors at every turn.
My understanding of Ben Affleck coming on to do Batman was he shared Zack Snyder's vision for the overarching story that they wanted to tell. They wanted to start with Batman in an extremely dark place. Dark even for Batman. Cynical. Tired. Ruthless. And then along comes Superman. He's new, he doesn't know what he's doing. He makes mistakes. But over the course of movies he becomes a symbol of Hope. For Humanity and Batman. And Wonder Woman.
Ben Affleck came aboard to tell that story. And to tell the 'definitive' Batman a story in the Batman stand-alone movie. But then Warner Brothers undercuts everything. Undercuts the story. Undercuts the writers. Undercuts the directors. Calls for reshoots. Adds new directors. It's really no surprise that Ben Affleck wants to leave. And what the hell is this with another Joker movie that he isn't Jared Leto? It's like they're just throwing shit at a wall and hoping something a work.
WB, you had a game plan with Snyder. There is no way you didn't know what his future plans were. He had to tell it all to you in order to get the gig to start with. you clearly thought highly of his full game plan all the way to Justice League 2. You don't give a hack a franchise like that. DC excels at darker storylines. That's always been a thing.
Now this isn't to say that I'm not excited about Aquaman. I am. I'm excited for Shazam. I'm excited for the next Wonder Woman movie. But I'm not going to pretend that I'm not worried that WB is going to stick their dick in the process and fuck everything up again. They've become meddlers, sabotaging their own franchise. WB! Stop! You've messed things up enough, but it's still salvageable at this point. It just won't be took much longer. And that sucks to say cause I feel like I've been one of the lone hold outs for Snyder's DC in spite of WB's interference.
You've pushed Ben Affleck into leaving Ben talking away his Batman movie. You've brought on, then kicked out Joss Whedon, Zak Snyder, and however many directors attached to the Flash. You've pissed off Jared Letto, bringing an alternate version in now.
Basically, WB, you're taking what should have been a sure thing which iconic superheroes and turning it into a shit taco. Stop it!
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
This week, Infinity War comes out. Marvel's multi-franchise approach is the biggest thing in cinema history right now. Other companies are trying to replicate their success, announcing universe's and franchises and spending money and trying do or be what Marvel is. WB has chickened out of the Zack Snyder helmed DC universe, Fox's X-Men universe will be a thing of the past now with Disney solidifying the purchase rights to that integrated universe, CW has the ever expanding Arrowverse on the TV side, and the one that actually makes me sad at watching them stumble with is Universal's Dark Universe.
Universal had the first integrated film universe, introducing the idea to the film world in 1943 with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man which came after Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Dracula's Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Mummy's Hand (1940), The Wolfman (1941), The Mummy's Tomb (1942) & The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942). Someone got the idea to take two monsters and incorporate them into the same movie. This eventually lead to the House of Frankenstein (1944) which had a hunchback, a mad scientist, Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman.
This would never be confused with a 'team-up' like the Justice League or the Avengers, but it is clearly a multi-franchise movie. And if we're being honest, the movie wasn't good, but it was the first time it was done. So when it comes to the mixing of franchises, Universal did it first. Other companies have tried to use the Universal Monsters in groupings like Leonardo DiCaprio's finest film ever, Monster Squad (1987); movies like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) that took legendary characters from classic literary master pieces; and Universal's own attempt to ride Stephen Sommers success from The Mummy (1999) series, Van Helsing (2004) that had an animated prequel; Van Helsing: The London Assignment.
Van Helsing was supposed to be the start of Universal's shared universe, but it made something like less than half of it's production budget. They had similar results with the stunningly beautiful Wolfman (2010) that was released for no clear reason in Feb. Had they released it in October, like they did with Dracula Untold (2014), I'm willing to bet they would have had a much stronger box office performance and it would've been the perfect launch pad back in 2010 to build from. Really, it should have been. And this is where I think Universal has been failing.
Ever since 1999, Universal seems like they are trying to replicate the surprise success of the Stephen Sommers' May 7th released The Mummy in 1999 and May 4th released The Mummy Returns in 2001. It was why they greenlit Van Helsing to Sommers for 2004, and began trying to convert their inventory of creature feature monsters to action stars so they could ride the summer blockbuster train. This has been a continual mistake, one Universal seems hell - bent on repeating.
Even movies that are financially successful like Dracula Untold, but aren't the run away success that 1999 Mummy was, are being treated like failures, which is ridiculous. They want to earn Marvel money, but they don't want to put in the leg work, and they wan't to do it by fundamentally changing their characters core essences. Universal is operating under the false assumption that all they have to do is put a bunch of popular characters in one movie, make a bunch of dope action sequences and destroy some stuff.
The real secret to Marvel's success is story telling and world; now universe, building. They go to the source material and stick faithfully to it. They don't 're-invent' any of their characters. This is a huge reason why they are successful. The atmosphere and their movies it's directly pulled from their comics. And comics are something kids can watch, monster movies probably aren't. So forget trying to be Marvel. They are going to have a larger audience to pull from by the nature of their source material.
Universal has to stop and consider what their source material is. Monsters.What is the atmosphere of their source material? Creepy. Desaturated to the point where it's almost black and white. The old classic movies have a very specific atmosphere; one that the 2010 Wolfman captured very, very well. That should be the template. The story was well thought out and well written, it stuck beautifully to the source material, and visually and atmosphericly it was absolutely flawless. It was just released in February when nobody wanted to think about monsters because Valentine's Day was coming up. You're not taking your Valentine to go watch people get ripped up by a werewolf.
And to be fair, they're advertising campaign completely sucked. I grew up on universal monster movies, and I didn't even know the movie was coming out. That's how completely bad they failed on their advertising of it. But instead of blaming themselves, they blame the movie and use that as a reason to stick with this failure of an action platform method of story telling.
When we go to see monsters, we don't go to see monsters be superheroes. We don't go to see them be love interests. We don't go to see them be comedians. Understand what your audience expects from a monster. Stop trying to make them accessible. Stop trying to turn them into anti-heroes. Stop trying to release them around Valentine's or at the beginning of summer when literally nobody gives a shit about monsters during those time frames. There is a time of the year built for monsters. Universal, instead of trying to be an everyman, be the king of Halloween.
It can be a shared universe, but these are MONSTERS. People want to see monster movies in October. Not February. Not April or May. Not June. October is the month for scary classic monsters. October.
The Dark Universe had a very predictable rough start because anybody who is a fan of the universal monsters could tell from the trailers that it was trying to reinvent itself and go away from the source material. As a result, there were loads of pre-judging articles from critics who had clearly decided they didn't like the movie months before it ever came out. You could tell it was going to struggle because they approached it like am action film instead of a horror film. Following its predictable failure, they've done this whole big shake up, with the main producers, directors and writers and all I see is missed opportunities.
Make no mistake, I enjoyed the hell out of Tom Cruise in this version of The Mummy, and like I pointed out in my Dark Universe Timeline, I don't even see anything contradicting previous movies and as such they can be left in as a fan retcon right now to include Sommers' Mummy and Mummy Returns, and the slew of spin offs it lead to. But, I think The Mummy would've done much better if released closer to Halloween, even though it wanted to pretend it was an action movie. It's just timing. I felt the same about The Wolfman when I went to see it. I was sitting in the theater amazed at how beautiful the film was, and could not figure out for the life of me why I was here in February instead of October.
Dracula Untold achieved the success it did because of the timing of it's release. It wasn't the run away success The Mummy was, but I don't think that should be the goal. Focus on telling a solid story. You don't get to earn Avengers level money without having several movies before it to build the brand and trust, and for that to happen you have to focus on story telling. And while I liked the new Mummy movie, was a hollow in the storytelling department. It's basically traded storytelling for big production action pieces.
Univseral has no reason not to OWN Halloween. They have non - monster characters that can work during other times of the year to advance the formation of their Dark Universe, but they have such an inventory of monsters that there's really no reason that I should ever not have a Dark Universe Monster flick to look forward to come October. Let's take an inventory: Dracula. Frankenstein. Wolfman. Creature From the Black Lagoon. The Mummy. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide. The Invisible Man. The Phantom of the Opera. The Hunch Back of Notre Dame.
That's just for starters.
And if they really want to make it impactful and memorable, don't do the 'modern update' bit. What made people come to creature features was their atmosphere. Again I go back to the Wolfman remake in 2010. Visually, that should be the goal for their Dark Universe. It sets an unmistakable tone. It creates an unmistakable atmosphere. One that pays homage to the original movies. Visual effects should only complement the story, not be the focus of it like they did with the new Mummy. Don't try to get creative with all kinds of nifty gadgets. Don't try to make Van Helsing into a medieval James Bond. Better yet, get Guillermo Del Toro to helm the universe and just give him whatever he wants.
Basically, if Universal wants to be successful with its Dark Universe, I think they need to go back now. For better or worse, the new Mummy brings us to the modern age, but walking through Prodigium shows there was a history. Now it's a good time to tell that history. The same way Captain America in Wonder Woman set up the history of their individual universes. Tell the story of Frankenstein, tell story of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and throughout create that justification for having a group like Prodigium out there.
In fact, I can present a fairly easy solve right here. Hugo Weaving's Detective Frederic Abberline (the detective that investigated the Ripper killings, near little head nod there) , following his experience and subsequent infection realizes he is a danger, and in an effort to learn more about his condition, he finds a lot of overlap from myths on werewolves and myths of vampires. This would naturally lead him to wonder if they're real, then what else is real? Enter Abraham Van Helsing, a man researching the history of Dracula (who happens to be Luke Evans to connect it all together). The Creature from the Black Lagoon would make a good setting for the two of them to work with each other and realize they should create Prodigium to deal with this new age of Gods and Monsters.
I guess that's just my two cents. Universal could own Halloween if they wanted to. They could absolutely corner that market. They just have to stop pretending they can turn monsters into anti - heroes. People don't see monsters because they want action heroes; they see monsters because they want to be afraid to go outside at night. Universal would do well to look at what made those stories classics, and then bring the Dark Universe back to basics.
Monday, November 20, 2017
Wonder Woman is a great movie, not because the lead is a female or any of that small-minded garbage. It was a great movie because it was a great movie. And really, everyone made a big deal about a female lead movie, but I didn't hear anyone making those observations for Resident Evil, Tomb Raider or hell, Aliens back in the day.
It's unfortunate that critics are able to have so much sway over people. I feel like there is a major disconnect between critics and the average movie goer because every time I show someone Man of Steel or Batman Vs Superman, they love it. Like insanely love it. I've had several people tell me they couldn't believe how good they are when they had heard so many bad things about them. When I asked them who said the bad things, they can never give me a straight answer. They just heard they were bad.
Justice League was a great introduction for Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash, paving the way for their solo movies. I loved Momoa's take on Aquaman. It was so good. The whole rock'n'roll rebel thing worked way better than I thought it would from the previews. I'm really looking forward to the solo Aquaman movie now. It also sets in motion several pieces for other team movies. Although Warner Brothers now is talking about doing more solo films, which I feel is a bit of a mistake because it deviates from the way that they work in the comic books. DC has always very much been about crossovers, and to have Warner Brothers take that away from them I don't think is a good decision.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Why is everyone freaking out? This was a possibility. If the stories and acting are good, that's all that should matter. Now, I do have questions. In the books, the 13th Doctor was a ginger. So this deviates from that.
I find that part unfortunate, but the show is canon and can change it as needed. As a fan of anything, you accept that part. Star Wars, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, etc... it just cones with the territory. Fans can retcon however they want.
I am worried this will kick off a 'The Doctor should represent [fill in the blank] minority in subsequent regenerations' bit of nonsense though. Doctor Who is the ultimate in flexibility for a show. They can go anywhere in space and time, the character can regenerate when he/she dies, the travel companion rotation is expected... Its basically the perfect recipe for a never ending show.
Now, they've made it even more flexible in how they cast. They can essentially cast the best actor now, regardless of anything else. That's got to be a relief for producers. They can really write to their strengths. And I hope that's how this is taken.
No agenda, now political commentary, nothing like that. Doctor Who should be above that. The goal should always be about writing great stories because it's ultimately entertainment, not using the platform as a vehicle to condescend to viewers.
That's really the only small worry I have. That people will attempt to turn the Doctor into a political lightning rod to shove ideology down people's throats, instead of just enjoying a great show.
I expect that Mrs. Whittaker and Mr. Chibnall will give us a fresh new take on the traditional Doctor Who story and a few surprises, and that's what I'm looking forward to.
Plus, lets be honest, she's hot. This will be the first Doctor I get turned on by, so that's got its own appeal.
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Sunday, February 19, 2017
I heard about your webpage problems
I feel bad for you son
I got 99 problems
but a glitch ain't one