Posts Tagged ‘ Warner Bros. ’

Green Lantern- Sequel or Reboot?

Mark Strong as Sinestro in Warner Bros. Pictur...

Mark Strong as Sinestro in Warner Bros. Pictures action adventure Green Lantern. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that Marvel have proven a superhero ensembles can be billion dollar franchises, rivals Warner Bros and DC look like they’re finally moving forward with a Justice League movie. While making a Justice League movie work is something I’ll write about a bit later on, for now I will focus on what may be Warner Bros biggest hurdle; fixing the Green Lantern franchise.

Before the original film was released, rumour has it that Warner Bros were planning on fast-tracking a sequel in order to keep actor Ryan Reynolds attached, preventing him from moving over to Marvel to film a Deadpool spin-off from the X-Men franchise. A year later, and it seems Reynolds may be out based on the critical and financial success of the last movie, meaning Warner Bros may either be planning a total reboot, or a drastically different sequel.

Rumour online is that Warner Bros may be planning on bringing in another human Green Lantern, John Stewart, adding some much needed diversity to their cinematic line-up. While I’m in full support of Warner Bros adding some diversity to their superhero films, I just don’t believe John Stewart on his own would be strong enough to carry a film critics will be waiting to scorn way before it’s even released.

If Reynolds is out, Hal Jordan should not be re-cast. It wouldn’t do Warner Bros or DC any favours. Instead, Hal Jordan should be killed off away from screen, leaving the new human recruits with big shoes to fill. We saw the total disregard from other Lanterns towards the human race in the first film, so that should not be recycled. Instead, why not have it that Hal Jordan’s sacrifice has earned the human race a huge amount of respect, leading to the Lantern’s recruiting not one, but three new humans.

John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner should be the new Green Lanterns for the next movie. All three have drastically different personalities, and a movie line-up lead by three main characters will help add gravitas to the film where the previous version lacked. Now there is a reason for humans to be among the other Lanterns. Plus with Hal Jordan’s death, it even gives room for Reynolds to film some flashback scenes if he really wanted.

Should the main villain be Sinestro? Definitely not. Mark Strong‘s portrayal as the leader of the Green Lanterns was just about the only redeeming quality to the previous movie, despite the fact that his character received a butchered attempt at giving Sinestro a side-story where he becomes a Yellow Lantern. The next movie needs to properly flesh out Sinestro’s character, enabling him to act as a villain for a third film, or perhaps even for the Justice League movie similar to what Marvel did with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Since Parallax has already been used (terribly) that rules that out. Many fans feel the Manhunters should be the new villains, but they wouldn’t really be interesting enough on their own. While my Green Lantern knowledge is not as strong as it should be, I feel introducing Amon Sur, the son of the late Abin Sur, would be a great way to introduce a villain with a personal connection to the heroes. For those that don’t know, Amon was jealous that his father had given a power ring to a human, and became a powerful interstellar criminal as a result. He even joined the Sinestro Corps later on so that could even be used for a third film.

So there are my ideas on how to fix the Green Lantern franchise. I for one really hope DC doesn’t let the Green Lantern franchise fall into limbo. There are many great Green Lantern stories out there just waiting to become movies. If it was done correctly, Secret Origin, Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night should have been the trilogy.  Despite my prediction, I hope there’s still hope for that.

Do any of you Green Lantern fans agree? How would you want Warner Bros to bring back the Lanterns? As always leave your comments below!

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Will Batman Die in The Dark Knight Rises?

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the release of the latest trailer, fans have been speculating that Bruce Wayne will meet his end in The Dark Knight Rises. We all know this is both Christopher Nolan’s and Christian Bale‘s last time spent on the Batman franchise. While Nolan is known for constantly trying to mislead audiences, Batman’s death is certainly something that seems likely in third and final Dark Knight film.

When we last saw the Caped Crusader he was on the run from the law after taking the fall for crimes committed by District Attorney Harvey Dent. Set forward to this film eight years later, we find Bruce in retirement after temporarily hanging up the mantle. From what the trailers and TV spots have shown us is that Bruce is old and weakened in this film. Is this perhaps a sign of things to come for the Dark Knight?

Since this is the last film in Nolan’s trilogy, it’s fitting that he would want to wrap up Bruce’s story full circle. Blockbuster trilogies rarely get fitting conclusions anymore. Comic book movies such as Spider-Man 3 and X-Men 3 ended either too softly or with unresolved cliffhangers while other franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean 3 simply conclude by trying to set up sequels. It’s a money-focused market where filmmakers don’t have to power to do anything drastic to their films or characters that belong to high-grossing franchises. However, Nolan is not your usual director and it’s likely that DC might let him conclude his story by having Bruce Wayne die while preventing future filmmakers from butchering his franchise with bad sequels.

To truly understand the enormity of the problem Warner Bros themselves face post Dark Knight Rises, is to look at what Nolan has achieved with his work on the Batman films.  To take a product that was considered dead in the water after back-to-back critical flops and turning it into a billion dollar franchise is an undisputed achievement which DC aren’t likely to achieve again. Warner Bros have finished with Harry Potter and finishing with Batman and now left needing a new blockbuster hero. Will that be Superman? I doubt it.

Warner Bros don’t have another big time superhero to turn to. Man of Steel faces an uphill battle to win over sceptics that find Superman unrelatable, while 2011’s Green Lantern killed off any potential for a Flash movie. They need a superhero property that keeps their presence felt in a market where rivals Marvel are currently dominating. Once Nolan’s Batman trilogy wraps up, DC only has Superman left to compete. Even then, Man of Steel finds itself up against Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 in the same year.

I don’t think Batman is going to die in The Dark Knight Rises. While studio factors are definitely a part of the reason, I just feel Nolan simply doesn’t have to have Bruce Wayne die in order to complete his story. I think Gotham will realise Batman is their true white knight, and the film will end with Bruce Wayne going in to hiding akin to the ending of Frank Miller’s masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns.

As a side note, one of the best Batman comic books of the modern age contains Bruce’s former sidekick Dick Grayson as the Caped Crusader. Batman doesn’t need Bruce Wayne anymore. As said by Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins , “as a symbol I can be everlasting”. A new face behind the mask means Warner Bros won’t need to reboot the Batman franchise while leaving Nolan’s trilogy intact.

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The Dark Knight Rises Trailer 3 Deconstruction

We’ve been waiting for some Dark Knight Rises news and here it is. The second full-length trailer for Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film is here, and while the latest trailer is a little underwhelming, it does showcase more of Catwoman and Bane, as well raise plenty of talking points about the film.

Age For Concern

1)This is a Bruce Wayne story as much it is a Batman story:

Here we see an aged Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) with a dramatically different appearance to when we last saw him in The Dark Knight. Is this just a sign of his old age? Or perhaps the burden of being a wanted dark knight means Bruce isn’t looking after himself these days. More interestingly, I believe this could be a sign someone (Bane or Talia) has worked out Batman’s identity and Bruce has taken precaution to keep himself hidden.  Seconds guess is perhaps this is just after Bruce escapes from the prison we saw him locked up inside during the last trailer. Hardly a billionaire playboy look is it? What’s brilliant about how this film is being marketed is that it’s been suggested Bruce could die in this film. While realistically this probably won’t happen as Warner Bros aren’t going to allow Nolan to kill off one of their biggest franchise characters. Or will they? With a Batman reboot seamlessly already planted in the future, are Warner Bros letting Nolan throw all the toys out of the pram for the big finale?

Who needs a distinct voice?

Building bridges

2) Gotham’s Reckoning:

If there were any doubts over Tom Hardy’s performance as the villain Bane, they were easily washed away by this new trailer. We get a better look at the scene from the jaw-dropping poster where Bane breaks Batman’s mask, as well hear his voice is perfectly audible (and awesome). Heath Ledger oozed charisma and energy as the Joker, however Bane looks to be a different beast entirely. In the last film, Joker wanted the citizens of Gotham to leave the city on ferries so he could put the opposite boats against eachother. In this film, it seems Bane’s intentions are more about containment, as we see several bridges connecting the city to the mainland presumably destroyed by the same device we saw in the last trailer that destroyed Gotham’s football stadium. Overall it’s very reminiscent of the classic No Man’s Land Batman story arc, which saw the bridges into Gotham destroyed by the government as the city had been overrun by criminals and had to be declared a no-go-zone.

John Blake, Azrael, Nightwing, Robin?

3) There’s a new cop in town:

This latest trailer showcases a lot more of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake character. What I love about what this film is doing is how it has created this uncertainty over the John Blake and Miranda Tate characters. Is Blake simply the ‘Harvey Dent‘ figure of this film or is there more to it? Fans of the classic Batman: Knightfall storyline might recall how when Bane originally broke Batman’s back, a new crime-fighting vigilante known as Azrael took his place. Could Levitt be this hero?

Another theory circulating online is perhaps the Batman symbol has become bigger than Bruce Wayne, meaning we might see more than one dark knight in this film. With Bruce Wayne supposedly injured, could Blake don the mantle of the bat in order to keep Batman’s presence felt in Gotham City? Another rumour, though this one slightly unrealistic is that Blake could be the Robin/Nightwing of Nolan’s Bat-verse considering there’s definitely a connection between Blake’s character and orphans as seen by the logo on the bus in the trailer.

The summer of black-suited super women

The puurfect team

4) This is what Gordon meant by escalation:

We know The Dark Knight Rises is supposedly set eight-years after The Dark Knight, meaning in the time since Batman becoming an outlaw new vigilantes have arisen. Catwoman (played by Anne Hathaway) reflects the change in Gotham’s hero. When Gordon said in The Dark Knight how Batman is the hero Gotham deserved, eight-years on this seems to have changed to reflect Selina Kyle‘s more morally ambiguous character. I love the running theme of Batman as a symbol. When there’s no Batman to defend Gotham the next best thing rises to take his place. Or does she? We definitely see footage of Catwoman fighting alongside Batman in what seems to be the film’s final act, however it’s a safe bet there will be plenty of twists and turns for Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.

The worst kept secret in comic book movie history?

5) Miranda Tate:

Keeping with the comic books, Bruce Wayne is seen kissing Marion Cotillard’s character, Miranda Tate, (or Talia Al Ghul as Internet rumour suggests) proving that Selina Kyle is definitely not Bruce’s love interest in this film. What further suggests Tate is actually Talia is that Liam Neeson is set to return as villain Ras Al Ghul at some capacity within the film. I would not be surprised to find out Ras and Talia have more influence over the film’s plot than what we might expect. Rises definitely feels like a spiritual successor to Batman Begins, meaning the League of Shadows will definitely feature at some point.

Certainly not a car

6) Chicks dig the car:

As many film critics have pointed out, many Batman trailers/films all contain some sort of car pun. For instance the critically panned Batman & Robin had “Chicks dig the car”, Batman Begins had “It’s a blank..tank” and The Dark Knight had a less than memorable Lamborghini gag.  Rises is no different, however as it’s the final film, Nolan has ramped up the excitement meter with a scene that is sure to make the Avengers Quinjet suffer in comparison. We see Bruce and Selina inside the vehicle, with a “my mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men” line from Selina, which was easily the best line of the trailer. With missiles in pursuit of the Batwing, what’s exciting now is that the chase sequence is bound to look glorious in IMAX come July.

One thing’s for sure, DC are going to miss Nolan.

 

Judging The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the summer begins, so does the massive on-going debate over which comic book movie will reign supreme in 2012. Will it be Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie? Perhaps the return of Spider-Man to the big screen will win over fans and critics alike. Or will the final instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises prove to the best comic book movie yet?

While I’m a bigger Batman fan than I am Avengers, I feel as if The Dark Knight Rises isn’t offering audiences anything new than what we’ve seen before. Like so many comic book fans, I’m fairly critical of Christopher Nolan for waiting over three years before creating a sequel to arguably the greatest superhero film of all time. I understand reasons beyond his control may have caused him to change from his original script, but I felt as if he needed to strike while the iron was hot.

Now, four years later, The Dark Knight is going to be competing against the likes of Marvel’s Avengers, and the return to cinema of Spider-Man. If we take a look at what The Dark Knight Rises is offering us, there is the existing dilemma over whether Bruce Wayne is able to stay on as The Batman, Commissioner Gordan facing more criticism from his peers, and a new villain that will push Batman to his limits, wielding a potential weapon of mass destruction.

It all sounds a bit similar. Don’t get me wrong, I am greatly looking forward to what Anne Hathaway can bring to the Catwoman role, as we’ve yet to have a true breakout female character in the trilogy. Batman’s previous love interest, Rachel Dawes, was a bland character, who seemed to regress over the course of the two films before meeting her demise. I’m sure we’ll hear more revelations about who Marion Coltillard is really playing, but for now, there just isn’t enough to make me believe The Dark Knight Rises will be able to outclass The Avengers or Spider-Man for that matter.

Perhaps The Dark Knight has returned at a time where it faces much tougher opposition. New dark fantasy film, The Hunger Games has opened up with a weekend of sensational success, massively exceeding expectations by having the best opening weekend for a non-sequel, and third best opening weekend of all time. Not bad for a film that has had the misfortune of being labelled as the next Twilight. The Avengers is approaching in a month’s time, and in terms of scale and ambition, blows the Batman franchise out of the water.

While The Dark Knight Rises will undoubtedly have its class, as Nolan has demonstrated how to perfectly mix superhero action and intimate drama, it’s not holding the same impression The Dark Knight had in 2008. Perhaps coming towards the end of the summer wasn’t the best idea for Warner Bros. The storyline seems good, borrowing from one of the most critically acclaimed Batman stories of all time, in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Perhaps this is another problem that might not work well for Warner Bros. The Dark Knight Returns is a brilliant story, that could easily be translated into a fresh trilogy of films. If this is to be the last we see of Christian Bale as Batman, a future trilogy based on Frank Miller’s story would have been an effective way for Warner Bros to keep the Batman franchise going. If Nolan has already covered the storyline of an aged, weakened Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement in The Dark Knight Rises, it doesn’t leave much for Warner Bros to able to continue developing the existing Batman franchise without resorting to a franchise reboot.

While The Dark Knight Rises will undoubtedly earn a great deal of success, whether or not it will live long in the memory of film fans remains to be seen. In a cinematic year where we’ve already had a masterclass in dark fantasy, a group of Marvel’s best superheroes facing an alien army due, and the return of Marvel’s most beloved wall-crawler, 2012 may prove to be beyond Nolan.

 

 

Should Marvel Be Marketing The Avengers More?

English: 2012 The Avengers Movie

Image via Wikipedia

It’s literally the biggest comic book movie ever made. It’s taken four years and five movies to make and in May of this year, Marvel will finally unleash The Avengers on screen. However, would anyone that hasn’t seen any of the movies beforehand be familiar enough with The Avengers concept, based on how Marvel has been marketing it so far?

The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t come out until July of this year. Yet, Warner Bros. has already officially released a teaser trailer, a full trailer and a six-minute prologue. It seems strange that compared to The Dark Knight Rises, Marvel have only officially released one Avengers trailer, and a slightly altered international version. Granted audiences will flock to the movie anyway, but is Marvel making enough of the opportunity to put their cinematic franchise leagues ahead of DC’s final Batman picture?

What kind of marketing am I expecting? Well, seeing as Black Widow and Hawkeye haven’t had a great deal of screen time in previous movies, why not release character vignettes from them both, showcasing a few of their moments in The Avengers movie so audiences can familiarise themselves with the characters beforehand. It would certainly help their character development if audiences knew whom Black Widow and Hawkeye were heading into the movie. It’s an alternative route, if Marvel would prefer not to release a new trailer so soon.

I’m also surprised at the lack of merchandise so far. The Avengers will undoubtedly attract a lot of kids, what better way to solidify that then by getting toy lines and other merchandise out early. I remember when the Phantom Menace line was released before the movie; I was stoked to see all of these new characters and couldn’t wait to see the movie as a result. The same applies to videogames. There has been no news of any Avengers game in development (after one got cancelled) yet videogames are a great way to generate hype for a movie. Imagine seeing your favourite Avengers that aren’t in the film given the movie concept treatment. Even if movie games all tend to suck, it’s why there’s so many of them. Getting some merchandise out early couldn’t hurt.

I understand Marvel is probably playing it safe for now. If they start the hype machine too early, they run the risk of it fading out before the movie even hits theatres, however I believe the matter is more to do with Joss Whedon trying to keep aspects of the film under wraps for now. Aspects such as what army is supporting Loki in his quest to conquer Earth, and if any other villains or heroes appear. You can only look at Wolverine: Origins as an example of marketing damaging the movie. When Fox released a trailer showcasing Deadpool (or Barackapool as the IC calls him) fans panned the movie before release, some even calling for a boycott. Marvel is probably just trying to avoid making the same mistake. Especially if the army is revealed to be Hydra, instead of the Skrulls or Atlanteans.

I’m sure nearer to April/May The Avengers marketing will pick up speed, but for now, let’s just hope a new trailer hits soon. The first trailer was a little too much Tony Stark for my liking. This is an ensemble movie after all.

Is There Too Much Face-Time In Comic Book Movies?

Anne Hathaway

Image by David Schexnaydre via Flickr

A little while ago I did a post on if there’s too much face-time for high profile actors in comic book movies. Whilst this is not a new concept, it is definitely an ever-increasing one. The latest and greatest comic book movies are now starting to damage the integrity of their characters and storylines by altering classic costumes, or causing impracticalities to the storylines, just to get the actors some facial recognition? Is it worth it?

When Warner Bros recently unveiled our first official look at Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises, fans were shocked to see that Anne Hathaway was not modelling Catwoman’s classic Cowl, and instead wearing a minimalistic mask. Storyline wise, perhaps wearing a cowl with cat ears would be impractical for battles, but is that the actual reason behind the dramatic costume alteration, or is just so Anne Hathway receives a good chunk of face-time as Selina Kyle. Whilst it’s too early to tell if this is just Selina’s suit, pre-Catwoman, but so far it resembles too much of Marvel’s Black Widow, and not enough classic Catwoman. This is what I mean by face-time ruining comic book movies. By destroying the classic looks of their characters, the studios are pointless going to infuriate fans who have followed these characters for years. I agree some aspects need updating, but that should be for the sake of the characters, and not so that the lead actor/actress can have more face-time.

I’ve mentioned the clichéd Spider-Man movies, and how Spidey manages to lose his mask in the final act of every one of his movies. Will that change now Andrew Garfield is wearing the tights? Considering Garfield’s rising stardom I highly doubt it. It plagued the last Spidey movies, so it’s not something fans would be pleased to see again.

Another interesting matter is that recent leaked snippets from the set of The Avengers, showcases Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) fighting together, both without Masks and helmets. Whilst this may sound pretentious, but these are two of Marvel’s most iconic heroes, and their classic costumes are a huge part of their characters. So why the need for Cap to face off against (spoiler alert) aliens with futuristic weapons, providing unmasked, the Srulls/Kree/aliens could just shoot both Cap and Thor in the head? I just don’t see the need for the alteration of classic costumes, just to provide high profile actors enough exposure in the movie. It’s become an overused, distracting comic book movie cliché.

Does anyone else agree with me? Do you find the common alteration of classic costumes as a way to reveal the actors and actresses faces to be annoying? As always leave your comments below.

Would A Nightwing Movie Work?

Cover to Nightwing #100 (2004). Art by Scott M...

Image via Wikipedia

Continuing with my Batman themed posts, I’ve decided to explore if a solo Nightwing movie would work; now Nolan‘s Bat trilogy is wrapping up next year. To start with, let me explain that I do not actually think there’s any chance of seeing a Dick Grayson/Nightwing movie anytime soon. DC isn’t going to take a gamble on a lesser-known character after the disastrous result from this year’s Green Lantern. However, if the unexpected were to happen, and the movie was given the green light, how would a Nightwing movie successfully translate to the big screen?

To start with, the movie would need to be treated extremely seriously so that it can be connected to Nolan’s trilogy. Warner Bros aren’t going to start a DC cinematic universe anytime soon, so connecting at least two or their franchises together would be a nice touch. I would set the movie in the fictional city of Blüdhaven. The city can be depicted like a cross between Gotham City and the Narrows area seen in Batman Begins. There would need to be a sense of corruption and evil surrounding the place, perhaps even making it the base of the new organised crime criminals, who were beaten out of Gotham by the Batman. It can’t under any means be as glamorous as Gotham. Blüdhaven should feel like the slums compared to Gotham or Metropolis.

Enter Dick Grayson. Would Grayson necessarily need the Robin gimmick as for Grayson it did come before he took on the persona of Nightwing? The Robin gimmick wouldn’t work unless he was a sidekick to Batman. It definitely needs to be a more adult Nightwing flick. The story could follow a teenaged Dick Grayson, inspired by the stories coming from Gotham about the Batman. The real task lies in creating Dick’s character. As readers of the comics will know, Dick is not necessarily a dark character. He’s actually one of the more light-hearted allies to Bruce Wayne. So Grayson shouldn’t be as dark and broody as Batman, but he shouldn’t be a wise cracking Spidey rip-off either. His origin in the circus should be kept, as it’s the only logical reason to explain his acrobatic fighting style that is essential to the character. Grayson’s origin should be that he was raised in an orphanage, only to run away during his adolescent years searching for the criminals responsible for his family’s death. Would the comic book villain Tony Zucco (who is responsible for the death of the Grayson family) be the main villain? I’d rather use a pre-established criminal such as Sal Maroni (providing he’s not dead already) who was last seen in a car crash in The Dark Knight. That way it ties the films together and adds some much needed depth to the Sal Maroni character.

Grayson is quite a ladies man in the comics, and that’s the hardest thing to translate onto screen without damaging the overall tone of the film. I’m a big fan of the The Huntress character (who had a great scene in Batman: Hush), and although she’s not an original love interest for Dick in the comics, she could be Nightwing’s answer to Hit-Girl. A young woman who uses a variety of gadgets and weapons she steals from criminals. Unlike Catwoman though, Huntress is more reckless and careless. If Batman has Catwoman, Nightwing should have Huntress.

And lastly, who would direct it? At the risk of sounding delusional, I’m going to say Frank Miller. A Nightwing film needs a director who can capture the serious tone of the film. Whilst Gotham’s been getting all of the attention, its sister city Blüdhaven has been ignored and left to ruin. The legend of the Batman needs to be a recurring theme throughout the film as it’s what will drive Grayson throughout his crusade. Miller would capture that perfectly, whilst adding some real importance to Nolan’s films.

It’s a shame Warner Bros own of all DC’s cinematic properties. Under their ownership I really doubt that we’ll ever see a Nightwing movie. Perhaps if DC gave some of their properties to other studios we might eventually one day see Nightwing fighting crime on the streets of Blüdhaven on screen. Do you think Nightwing deserves his own movie? How would you do it? As always leave your comments below.

*Update* (July 23rd 2012)

Spoiler alert: The ending of The Dark Knight Rises hints at the John Blake character (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) taking on either the mantle of the Batman, or his own costumed persona. Blake taking up the mantle would be an interesting way to continue the Nolan Batman franchise without resorting to a total reboot now Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have gone. What do you guys think? Do you want a John Blake Nightwing film, or would you prefer a fresh Nightwing movie, more based on the comics?