Thursday, August 7, 2014
Time to be excited
The coming decade is going to be a banner one for fans of comics and comic-based movies. We know Marvel has plans through 2028 and has confirmed film release dates through 2019. Now DC has announced its release dates through 2020; they plan to release a whopping ten movies between 2016 and 2020. Between the two companies we're going to get five movies in 2017. If that isn't a cause to rejoice I don't know what is. Now we don't know what all the movies are going to be yet, and please don't get all caught up in what you see on those awful rumor sites. (Remember if it's not an official studio announcement it doesn't mean anything, be it casting decisions or other movie news.) But there was a time not too long ago when it looked like this type of thing had no chance of happening. Go back to late 2006. X-Men: The Last Stand (X3 for short) had just come and gone, and even though it made a ton of money people were so upset with it that the franchise went from perfect health to life support in just a few months. Fox was relegated to squeezing what money was left to made from Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Superman Returns bowed to a lot of good initial reviews and made some money but not what the studio was hoping for, thus killing that restart before it could get going. Two years before all of that Blade: Trinity had the same suicidal effect as X3 on that series. And then a year later in 2007 we would get Spider Man 3, which would make a ton of money but like X3 it soured so many people in the process that it would effectively end the run that the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire crew hand been on. And the two Fantastic Four films that had dropped performed OK but weren't considered good movies by any stretch of the imagination. All we had left was Batman; and even though people dug Batman Begins the rebooted franchise was still a bad follow up away from being put back on the shelf. Given that most of us really didn't know yet what Marvel was scheming up it looked like the nadir for major comic book films. We'd gotten some really good stuff between 1998 and 2004 - the first two entries from Blade, Spidey (I know I crap on the Raimi films now but I admit that I thought they were excellent when they first dropped), and the X-Men all came during that period. But starting the next year all that momentum got nearly wiped out for good in just half the time. And now, six years of outstanding work from Marvel films along with a resuscitation of the X-Men brand we are poised for a decade of awesomeness.
Now I know we're still in wait and see mode for everyone other than Marvel Studios. I loved Man of Steel and the rebooted Spider-Man films, but there are a lot of people who haven't let go of Christopher Reeve's Superman and the Raimi/Maguire Spidey films to the degree that they're downgrading the new ones in comparison. A lol of people are hating on the coming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice over a year before it even hits theaters. And Fox has made no new friends with its casting for its coming Fantastic Four reboot. But given where we were just a short time ago this is great cause to rejoice. With things planned this far out ahead for Marvel and DC we have the chance to not just see the big names and how they progress, but even the lower level characters who aren't household names but do have their own devoted fanbases can get a chance to be seen in live action on a big screen. Guardians of the Galaxy succeeding for Marvel like it has just opens the door for so many possibilities. A Suicide Squad or Green Lantern Corps movie from DC is now doable. Sony is reportedly going to do a Spider Man spinoff with one of the female heroes from that lore. We haven't even gotten to what can be done on television following the Netflix series that Marvel is putting out and the new DC offerings this fall. And then there's the other 800 gorilla on the horizon, a little film called Star Wars: Episode Seven. George Lucas selling everything to Disney and getting himself away from the production process has breathed new life into that franchise; like the others I mentioned the prequel trilogy pretty much killed any interest in new films as long as Lucas was still in charge. Revenge of the Sith was a good enough film but the three films as a whole can't be seen as anything but a disappointment. Yes they made a crapload of money and have sold a crapload of toys and related merchandise, but the movies themselves save Episode III were completely weighed down by some of the worst dialogue ever heard in cinema. But now, we're going to get more movies that we know will at least be better scripted. So huzzah, huzzah.
Of course of all this potential is dependent on one thing: us. We have to keep supporting these films and watching the TV shows. A lot of movie critics are going to crap on them because they don't like these kinds of movies to begin with, and the hipster entertainment writers are going to have the same 'We've reached Peak Superhero' stories locked and loaded that they started running this year. A lot of people on message boards, Facebook forums etc. are going to try and suck all the joy out by posting rumors, leaks just so they can crap on them and say how much the movies are going to blow when they're as much as two years from even being finished. Ignore them all. I didn't see Transformers: Age of Extinction yet and I'm no fan on Michael Bay's storytelling, but I'm glad moviegoers told the media to jump in the lake and went to see it anyway. These folks are making themselves more irrelevant ever time they run one of their pretentious pieces where they bash anything that has the audacity to entertain large audiences and make a lot of money. These are the same kind of people who crap on every recording artist that goes platinum and call fill football stadiums for their concerts. Some people are just so in love with little engines that can that they'll take anything that looks like one and praise it to high heavens whether it's deserving or not, all while dumping on any major success story as another product of the machine. Not even a week after it came out to rave reviews from fans and critics, Guardians is now being dumped on by some members of the too cool for school crowd for no other likely reason than it's overwhelming success in its opening weekend. These people are getting so predictable it's pathetic; many of them gave good marks to Godzilla a few months ago because it only showed him onscreen for like 15 minutes of a two hour film. We see you, and we aren't listening because we know your game.
But enough of all that. These are great times to be a fan of comics and comic-based movies. Enjoy and drink deeply folks!