ANT-MAN: The small but troublesome Marvel movie

So what is probably the most troubled and problematic Marvel comic movie since Iron Man stormed all over the box office a good few years ago, Ant-Man is finally going to land in cinemas in just a few weeks now.

Have you been waiting for this movie since it was first rumoured, all those years ago when new guy Brit film Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright?

Along with writer Joe Cornish (director of Brit comedy sci-fi hit Attack the Block, and star of the clever cult late night Adam and Joe show) Wright worked at the original screenplay for number of years while Marvel was establishing itself in Hollywood with the Iron Man films, and the others which then all led up to the first Avengers movie. A loose and rough working teaser cilp of the Ant-Man FX work eventually appeared, which gave many people optimism after a long while of irregular rumours and slim news about the project.

The Ant-Man movie did always seem a very unexpected and unusual choice for one of the early new Marvel movies (although now, many Marvel films have been released and very successful) but the director involved kept many people very interested and curious about just what kind of film we would be getting, given the clever, quirky style of Shaun of the Dead previously.

Sadly in the last couple of years, after so very long working hard at the project, Edgar Wright left the movie, with the usual ‘creative differences’ stated as the main reason, but there has been varied speculation for his moving on ever since. It seems most likely that he did have a more wild and radical film in mind to the kind of movie Marvel need to put out which will sit well alongside the Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and other major films they have planned.

With the new director Peyton Reed in place while Ant-Man was still being finished, and it seemed more big name Hollywood actors were still being added into the movie at that stage; what seemed to be almost a total production mess of hoped for but eventual comic-book big screen accident was somehow still coming to be some kind of actual film.

Now at this stage, we have  a new comic book inspired movie called Ant-Man starring dead-pan comedy actor Paul Rudd in the title role, unexpectedly Michael Douglas, and Evengeline Lilly among others, in what now does look to be a hopefully credible, fun and well produced film to maybe match some of the previous Marvel studio movies.

Do you think this could be the Marvel movie which will not hit all marks? After the strange mix of fast-paced action and comedy seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, perhaps this film will land all of the perfect marks in all of the right ways? Come a few weeks from now, we will see just how big the Ant-Man will be.

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All kinds of trailers with blockbuster and Hulkbuster heroes…

So just to get back into the flow of blog time again, I will post up a short piece or two about some of the big recent geek/nerd/sci-fi/comic/film news we have witnessed in recent weeks.

So this very week, the wait is finally over and here in the UK we can all go crazy and see the mega-movie that is AVENGERS:AGE OF ULTRON. What were you hoping to see? Will it live up to expectations? Will it be better than the previous Avengers film?

These days we tend to regularly get almost thalf a dozen teaser trailers for these event Hollywood flicks, and I think I had to hold back from seeing the last one or two for Avengers if I am right. People joke that sometimes we can almost stitch together the many teaser trailers for films like Avengers, Mad Max, Hobbit etc and make the entire movie before visiting a local cinema.

What else have we had? Well of course the most significant and geek-melting teaser was that very awesome looking new Star Wars teaser-short but it had so much to make us happy and be very hopeful for next Christmas. I think they probably did choose the best director for the job now.

Around the same time, we then were offered a new teaser and then another for the next new Terminator film-Terminator Genisys. Now I don’t know what you may have been thinking about the early ideas tossed out for this one, but seeing the first glimpse of it, there is much to be confused or even angry about possibly. Like taking some of the highlights from the first two Terminator movies, reshooting them with younger new actors…but then a few epic and explosive visuals do suggest some big stylish time-travel action with it all.

There have been trailers for the new Mad Max:Fury Road movie around for a while now and well, it is just gargantuan post-apocalyptic action stunts huge scale with warrior cars as usual. I’m it will be stunning if that is all you really want or expect from a new Mad Max flick.

Finally just a few days back, we had our first real taste of the new Batman-V-Superman:Dawn of Justice movie. This is the one which will provoke serious reaction in comic-addicts and movie fans. It offers our first sight of the new Affleck Batman, post-Bale style. Does it seem much different? Should he be?

We have the same actor playing Superman of course, but the way the trailer was interesting was due to the direction in storyline it suggested. Yes, it is likely to be mostly a film where Bats and Supes simply smash eachother up for around two hours, but they are also setting up and building a DC Comics cinematic world, paving the road leading toward the Justice League movies and other DC character films over the next few years. This teaser trailer is saying- ‘Hey Marvel, just you wait…think you have it all to yourselves? We can do cinema just as good or better…just you wait’.

Well in around a year of less we will find out. But then we have also had recent images of Jared Leto as the new Joker and well…what is going on there? Just…what?

The wrong heroes? Avengers: Age of Ultron

It will probably be the biggest movie to arrive on cinema screens in less than a year from now, with post-production taking place over the new few months. It has the well known great iconic superheroes including Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor and more. There are even a bunch of other new faces this time, as we see the line-up change and expand. This is a good change, as the Marvel universe moves along in cinema, but is it the best change we could have seen?
for this next chapter of Marvel’s Avengers on the big screen, we have characters including Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision joining the group of heroes. They may or may not improve the balance and dynamic of action and adventure, along with the next menacing villain Ultron.
But what other hero characters could have taken part this time, and which should have?
We do have Scarlet Witch added this time, who will be there alongside Black Widow, but are there still not enough good female characters involved? Are the women just in the shadow of the over the top antics of the muscular and brash male heroes?
There could have been the less known but loved Black Panther, a strong and equally mighty black character to enter the cast. He may still be due a film of his own in future, so there is time for him yet in the next sequel.
Over the decades, there have been various changes to the line-up of the Avengers in the comics, with known heroes coming and going, and often the interaction and dynamics between characters has been worth seeing besides who they due to fight or battle with.
Another great character hero of colour who could have been added would be Luke Cage, who may have added an alternative feel to the story with his personal background and family where the other leads are less tied down.
A female character who really could have blown open the way besides the male characters would be Ms. Marvel. Like Supergirl, Wonder Woman and others, she would of course have needed a serious costume make-over which may have been too much. As a character, she has been often extremely bold and striking visually and in tales, and also she is being taken through a new design period so again it could be a while before she makes it onto the big screen.
As hugely successful as The Avengers movie has been internationally, could it have different and just as good? It did take a few movies to set it all up, and ultimately the movie did have to really contain the most well known and iconic Marvel heroes, but could it have taken more wild risks and been a better film?
We are getting a sequel, and another after that, and then the many related other Marvel movies before and after featuring other varied characters-some well known, other less so.
Now that we have seen Guardians of the Galaxy, and the great success that it has achieved with characters and a tale which some considered a real risk, the next few Marvel movies being lined up will offer more varied strange, unusual and interesting heroes, villians and tales for all.
Right now, some of the characters and movies due from rivals DC comics may actually seem possibly more bold and challenging but so far overall Marvel has given us regular, good movies with balance of epic action, sincere comicbook style visuals adapted well, well chosen actors. Can the Avengers become stronger and greater over time? Will the DC heroes suddenly rise up and claim rule over cinema screens in only a couple of years from now? We will see…

JUSTICE FOR ALL:DC GET THINGS MOVING ALONG…

Looking through the latest issue of SFX magazine, I find some new comments about what still could be happening, even now being planned much more clearly and with dedicated focus.

After the phenomenal worldwide success of Marvel’s AVENGERS, which absolutely showed how much interest in comic book action and capers there is, and that audiences seem to now be so much more open and receptive to increasingly bombastic and wild comic book characters and story lines which previously would only generally been accepted on printed pages, by die hard comic fans.

While Marvel studios (Working with Disney now) have been pumping out a continuous line of great and fantastic movies including IRON MAN, IRON MAN 2, HULK, THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA; the rival comic creators DC and Warner brothers studios have for the most part only had the BATMAN series keeping them proud, which of course has also matched if not been more successful than the IRON MAN movies in some ways. Besides that, DC put out the GREEN LANTERN movie.

It was reported to have a staggeringly over the top budget, then went over budget, looked like it really might have been some great new mind blowing superhero series, doing what others had not dared to approach yet. On release however, GREEN LANTERN, really did not grab people in the best way. Personally, I myself did like the movie, and there were many great things going for it. It did look really fantastic at times, at other times maybe not so great. Maybe it was a few stepped ahead too early on, with such deeply written back story and dozens of characters suddenly around, and perhaps not fully explained soon enough or it was possibly just all put together it the wrong way. Too much, too soon for DC.

Next up, we have a bold new SUPERMAN film. Have you seen the enigmatic trailer? Even with director Zack Snyder on board, it is being in some way produced by Chris Nolan, director of the BATMAN trilogy. It could still go in any direction, this new outing for the one from Krypton. It could look fantastic, but have just an extremely embarrassing script. Or not even that.

Now though, the long hoped for production of a potential DC JUSTICE LEAGUE movie, following on after the success of AVENGERS, could be so much more plausible and possible. Though after the GREEN LANTERN movie, with as much money as was poured into it, it does seem that DC and Warner Bros. are repeatedly nervous and consistently hesitant in the shadow of Marvel.

While DC would find problems of course, as a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie would at least have to include BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN and probably GREEN LANTERN it could, like many speculated over the AVENGERS be such a shambolic mess on screen. It is going to demand a new actor for BATMAN, possibly Ryan Reynolds returning as GREEN LANTERN-not a really bad thing, and lastly the choosing of an actor for the role of WONDER WOMAN. And like AVENGERS, JUSTICE LEAGUE could potentially open up space for an exceptionally wide narrative, their many regular locations and surrounding potentially there to be used and included.

Already with the GREEN LANTERN movie, which was probably one of the very most over -the-top and fantastical narratives to put on screen, DC attempted to create and put on screen the kinds of other worldly visions which could just be the beginning of what could be seen in an actual JUSTICE LEAGUE film.

Could it now all rest on the reaction and soon to be seen success or failure once again of their man of steel, SUPERMAN before we know for sure? The bigger news now was that DC/Warner Bros. do believe they might just put out a JUSTICE LEAGUE film in the very same year as the second AVENGERS movie. The strongest will survive.

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE:EARTH’S MIGHTIEST MOVIE?

Okay then, so last weekend I got to see the movie that I and so many others internationally have been anticipating for probably around three years at least. Already it seems to have made stunning box office cinema release weekend history financially, and that is hardly surprising.

Did it deliver us fans what we had all been hoping we might get? Did the promise of all of those superheroes crammed into one immense movie actaully manage to work well in the end?

My opinion is well…yes, and then some. Overall, my opinion is probably that yes it really did satisfy myself and so many others out there. It very much is a spectacularly huge movie, epic in all ways. There is really a lot going on in all directions. There is Thor’s half brother Loki plotting and returning, there are some mysterious alien enemies, then there are Black Widow, Nick Fury and Shield who begin to group together the other heroes-IRON MAN, THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA and the all new HULK. And then it just explodes. Well, alright it builds gradually in the first hour or so, but in it’s defence that, I believe is necessary and much needed. This is a monumentous occassion, is huge event for comic book movies, and MARVEL studios.

So, director and writer JOSS WHEDON-the man behind BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, FIREFLY, ANGEL, and the underrated DOLLHOUSE series has most certainly done us proud. Did I doubt he could pull it off? Well not him, but perhaps other elements could have ruined it. No, it is not absolutely perfect I will admit that. But…as far as superhero movies go, and the ones already out there, this one, this is the big one. This leaves the rest to stand speechless in amazement.

Much I as do like CAPTAIN AMERICA, in the comics and as a hero, this latest movie incarnation does still not totally impress me. I like the actor, really, he was probably much better in the criticised FANTASTIC FOUR movies I believe, but as CAP, I think he is miscast. Not completely bad choice, but could have been a more suitable actor I am sure. Again, as expected ROBERT DOWNEY Jr. is just fantastic, a totla joy to watch. He works very well alongside Chris Hemsworth as THOR, and the newly chosen Mark Ruffalo as our HULK. To some people, already it is being stated that LOKI possibly does steal the movie, and rightly is a very fine entertaining and manipulative villian, getting much better after his already pleasing turn in THOR last year.  

And so, AVENGERS the sequel? Oh yes, bet your battered old comic books, it is very much on its way and being planned and prepared right now. Definately given to money coming back in now. That movie, could even, potentially be something even more gigantically epic and awesome in perhaps just a few years. Before that, we will be getting IRON MAN 3-apparently begins filming this month, THOR 2, CAPTAIN AMERICA 2, and very likely a new HULK movie and possible BLACK WIDOW and HAWKEYE films even.

I most certainly am a very pleased maturing comic geek, and MARVEL has definately got a very busy time ahead right now.