Unless you've had your head situated firmly under a rock for the last year you will no doubt be aware of the DC Expanded Universe (or DCEU for short). It is a cinematic universe based around superhero movies featuring the heroes and villains of Detective Comics. You will also be aware that it has some major problems. Critical mauling's, lower than expected box office returns and production strife have all been noticeably prevalent. But has the expanded universe failed?
Well, last week we did the best, so this week I'm being predictable. To clarify, I'm looking at films that were released by a major studio and given a full distribution (so nothing like Pumaman or other b-movie style superhero films and no straight to TV stuff like Swamp-Thing and obviously no Howard The Duck because whilst he was a comic book character he wasn't a superhero per se). As a little game, I want everyone to guess what number 1 is before reading and put down in the comments what you thought it would be and if you were right.
Honourable mentions have to go to Steel, Daredevil, both of the original Fantastic Four films and X-Men: Last Stand for being not quite terrible enough to get on this list despite a lot of people probably expecting them to be on here.
Warning: Opinions below. If your favourite film is on this list, get a new favourite film.
Hi guys, JR here. Before I hand you over to Arioch for the review, obligatory warning about spoilers and opinions. If you haven't seen the movie yet, probably not best to read the review first, but you already know that. So, without further ado, over to Arioch for the review.
So, Suicide Squad is out tomorrow and, well, it's fair to say that there seems to be a theme with the DCEU films early critical receptions (i.e. they aren't what Warner Bros. want). Like Batman vs. Superman, early reviews are criticising the film for having a poor plot and not knowing what to do with all of the characters they've assembled.
However, this seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the production of the movie was fraught with problems, an overly tight production period, the script having to be finished within 6 weeks and conflict over the tone of the film in the edit between the director and the studio which led to two different versions of the film being pre-screened, neither version apparently being much like what the marketing campaign would have you believe. Added on to that is a rotating cast of editors trying to balance between the studio and the directors demands, a director unused to making large effects driven blockbusters and the huge pressure the studio has been under after BvS's underperformance (in terms of studio expectations that is), you get the feeling that this film a) wasn't all that fun to make if you were in a high up position in the production and b) could really put a dent into the DCEU if it doesn't live up to the studios expectations. Two high profile "flops" (I say flops, because Warner Bros. was/is expecting $1 billion from both of these films and BvS didn't achieve that) in a row will be hugely embarrassing for WB and DC, especially considering how consistently Marvel is hitting their targets. Obviously Justice League will make shed loads of money, so that may remedy the situation a bit, but things may look bleak otherwise for the DCEU. But we'll just have to wait and see on that front.
On a related note, if anyone would like to do a review of Suicide Squad upon its release for the blog (like Worf did for BvS back in April) then feel free to do so and email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to see if we can get movie reviews going for as many of the new releases in the DCEU, MCU, Star Wars and Star Trek franchises as possible and I probably won't be able to go and see as many of those films on release as I'd like, so if anybody wants to help out on that front, it would be very much appreciated.
Ok, big list this. Really, you should never do "Best" lists because someone is always going to say that you're wrong, but hey, I'm going to because I can and, to be honest, I don't think there's going to be much disagreement with what I put on the list. People might disagree with a few films on the list, but I think the majority of them will be acceptable. Also, warning, there's only one pre-millennium film on this list. Whilst I do like Christopher Reeve's first two outings as Superman neither of them will be on this list and I had to choose between Tim Burton's two Batman films, mostly because the Superhero film genre really hit its stride after the first X-Men film and there have been more high quality films released since then than before.
Warning: This list contains opinions. Do not take if allergic.
Ok, so this might be the most interesting and exciting news since.... I don't know, a long time probably. Fox and Marvel appear to have to come to a deal that will see the two collaborate on an X-Men live action TV show.
The project is currently unnamed and probably isn't going to be what you'd first expect. The current information is that it will focus on a family who discover that their son has mutant powers and have to go on the run from a hostile government and find refuge with an underground group/ network of mutants.
There's a lot of different ways this could go, because of how loose the current plot description is. They don't mention any characters involved, so the mutant son could be any major or minor X-Men character. A hostile government suggests Sentinels, but that isn't confirmed and an underground network of mutants could be any number of groups from the X-Men franchise, be it the X-Men themselves (as a more gritty and realistic imagining) it could be one of the newer X-Factor groups or, hell, it could even mean the Morlocks. It also hasn't been stated whether or not this will tie in with the X-Men film series. If it does, then we are likely to see a focus on less well known characters that haven't featured or haven't featured heavily in the films. If it doesn't, then we could see reimagining's of everyone's favourite mutants for an episodic format.
The most exciting thing about this whole thing however is the fact that Marvel and Fox are working together on this project. Now, I can't be the only one who sees this and immediately thinks, Marvel have the MCU, Fox have X-Men and The Fantastic Four, they are collaborating on a project together involving one of those groups.... so X-Men for MCU? It is way too early to know what is going to happen here, but as with Spider-Man, if some sort of deal can be worked out both sides make ALL OF THE MONEY, and the fans literally lose all of their minds, all of them. Because who doesn't want to see the X-Men in the MCU, especially if this TV series doesn't have anything to do with the film series, because then you don't have to worry about fitting the X-Men films stupidly complicated timeline in with the MCU.
You can read the full article as published by Variety here. Thoughts down in the comments below people. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of you who are excited about this project.
And with that.
Ok, gonna try a different kind of list this week. Instead of doing a top 10, I'm going to go through each of Marvels Stage 1 and 2 films and find the problems. This is going to be interesting.
Ok, so, a couple of weeks ago I did a list of characters from the Marvel Universe that I most wanted to see introduced on the big screen and it was requested that I do a DC version of the list. That puts me in a bit of a bind because, whilst I do own a copy of Man of Steel, I've never bothered to watch it and I still haven't watched Batman vs. Superman (so sue me) so I'm not all that up on what they've done so far with their cinematic universe. Plus, DC's apparent aversion to movie origin stories (not necessarily a bad thing) does make it a bit harder to make a list like this. But, you asked for it, so who am I to say no. Of course, I have nothing but the finest of no faith at all in Warner Bros. being able to make a good superhero movie, but you've always got to hope right?
WARNING: Opinions after the jump. You have been warned.
Ok, so some of you guys might remember last year there was a lot of talk about the DC Cinematic Universe, around the time the first details of Batman vs. Superman were starting to see the light of day. The list contained all the stuff you'd expect, Justice League, Shazam (no), Wonder Woman, Flash etc. But one thing stood out like a sore thumb. The Sandman, Neil Gaiman's seminal tour through the world of the dreaming, was among those projects slated for a movie debut. Now, apart from the fact that this film had been doing the rounds for almost 15 years by that point, it seemed like such a bad idea. How could they translate what is possibly the best work in the comic book medium onto the big screen without it ending up being a hollow facsimile of the original (hi Watchmen and V for Vendetta). Well, why don't we take a look?