While Marvel has a reputation for valuing continuity on both sides of the camera, it’s easy to forget that the first two phases of Marvel movies were essentially put together by hired guns. The early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were populated by directors like Alan Taylor, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Johnston, and Shane Black, one-and-done filmmakers who were either not invited or not inclined to go a second round with the studio.
The Razzies are a tough award show to love. Oh, I’m sure plenty of people probably read the headline to this article and — depending on their opinion of both Dinesh D’Souza and the DC Cinematic Universe — found great comfort in the public mockery of Hillary’s America and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But while awards shows in general might serve the noble purpose of raising awareness about powerful films, the annual Razzies Awards often feel like you’re kicking someone when they’re already down. They’ve already flopped with audiences and critics; throwing a Razzie award at them is the Hollywood equivalent of kicking them when they’re down.
Casting rumors come in two major flavors. On the one hand, you have concrete news about actors meeting with executives and filmmakers to discuss their participation in upcoming productions. On the other hand, you have the echo chamber of social media, where casting rumors can materialize out of thin air and then be given credibility during an interview or social media exchange with an actor. Not all fan rumors end up at the first stage, but it is true that some social media rumors have actually ended up with the actor being offered the role.
Over the past few weeks, Josh Gad has systematically been chipping away at the defenses of Murder on the Orient Express co-star Daisy Ridley to try and get his hands on a few tasty Star Wars: The Last Jedi spoilers. We’ve checked in on the series three times over the past month as Gad quickly escalated his efforts, bringing in ringers such as Dame Judi Dench — seriously, how to say no to Judi Dench? — to try and guilt Ridley into letting something slip. And now, for his last-ditch effort, Gad has pulled out all the stops.
Sometime over the last couple of months, writer-director Shane Black slipped onto Twitter without very many people noticing. While admittedly a bit of a neophyte when it comes to social media, Black has immediately grasped the most important aspects of the platform. You know, sharing funny tweets, complaining about politicians, taking pictures of his dogs, and, oh yeah, throwing out exclusive content from the set of his long-anticipated Predator sequel. You know, just normal, everyday Twitter stuff.
If I were a Marvel sales rep, I would get down on my knees every day and thank Thanos for the series of events that led to Baby Groot. Baby Groot might just be the pinnacle of Hollywood marketing; not only is his cute visage the perfect thing to slap on every action figure, lunch box, and stuffed animal from here to the moon, it’s also a character that sidesteps typical customer cynicism. If fans felt for one moment that Baby Groot was a thinly veiled attempt to sell them more junk, they would push back on James Gunn and Marvel with all their strength. But instead, we are treated to one of the baddest killing machines in the galaxy who happens to be totally adorable, too.
There’s just a few months left until Wonder Woman hits theaters, which means it’s time for Warner Bros. to get down to the business of promoting the crap out of this movie. When I saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in theaters, the crowd greeted her character during the climactic fight scene with wild cheers and applause, suggesting to me that audiences are ready to embrace the first standalone superhero movie. We’ve had the first two rounds of movie trailers; now it’s time to open the floodgates on teasers, TV spots, and production rumors. Let the games begin!
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if art house cinema had the same weird toy leaks as blockbuster movies. These days, we’re more likely to see a character’s design leak thanks to a brand new action figure than a behind-the-scenes photo; what if the same thing happened in the world of independent cinema? What if we’d encountered Moonlight spoilers thanks to a new line of beach toys? Or if La La Land’s third act was spoiled due to a fully posable Ryan Gosling action figure? Come to think of it, I’d probably buy the heck out of a Moonlight bath toy. No shame there.
If you’d asked me at the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe whether Nick Fury should get his very own movie, I’d probably have said no. I love Samuel L. Jackson as much as the next guy — perhaps even more after hearing his outstanding vocal work in the documentary I Am Not Your Negro — but Fury always seemed better on the periphery, a character who pull the strings in the shadows. Still, after seeing how well the Russo Brothers used Jackson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I’m willing to change my tune. Maybe a Nick Fury standalone movie wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.
Although it’s been years since I stopped collecting comic books, I can still remember the excitement and frustration of variant covers. Nothing triggered the collector in me quite like the multiple variants of a key issue; instead of owning just one copy of issue #500 of whatever, I found myself weighing the options of picking up multiple copies of the same thing, especially when I really enjoyed one or more of the variants. It was the perfect way for Marvel or DC to bait the hook in me, and it wasn’t long before they realized they could do the very same thing with their movie posters.
With the release of Doctor Strange on home video just around the corner, fans are getting an early look at some of the behind-the-scenes features that will accompany the film on DVD and Blu-ray. Just yesterday, for example, Marvel released some of the best best set jokes on the film’s gag reel, showing that even respected Shakespearean actors like Benedict Cumberbatch aren’t above flubbing the occasional line. For die-hard fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these features are a great peek at how the sausage gets made.
It’s funny how things work out. When Marvel was putting together the cast for Guardians of the Galaxy, they probably never dreamed that it would be former professional wrestler and MMA fighter Dave Bautista who would emerge as the film’s most likable character. And yet, with his deadpan line deliveries and awesome physicality, Bautista stood out among his live-action costars — I mean, nobody was going to beat Groot — as the funniest and most sympathetic of all the Guardians. Just like that, Bautista was a bonafide movie star and one of the biggest strengths of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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