There may never be a Hollywood talker like Robert Downey, Jr. Even in his fifties, the actor possesses a nervous energy and patter that makes him seem like the youngest man in the room, barraging his co-stars and audiences alike with a flurry of self-deprecating jokes and unbridled enthusiasm for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His success as Tony Stark is synonymous with the success of the Marvel movies as a whole; while it’s technically possible to picture an Avengers movie without Downey, Jr. in the mix, there’s no denying it would probably be a whole lot less fun.
Since announcing that Ben Affleck would no longer be directing the upcoming standalone The Batman film, Warner Bros. has been in a full-blown crisis mode, working overtime to find a talented new director and prove all those “Is the DC Cinematic Universe doomed?” articles wrong. Back in January, Forbes reported that the Warner Bros. shortlist featured several interesting names, including George Miller, Denis Villeneuve, and Matt Reeves. And now, less than two weeks after The Batman lost its director, it appears that Warner Bros. has settled on its replacement.
Few superhero movies captured the imagination of audiences last year quite like Deadpool. While Marvel releases were praised for their sleek storytelling and progressive characters, Deadpool went the other route, earning hundreds of millions of dollars on the strength of its raunchy sex scenes and immature sight gags. It was choppy, it was unpolished, and, occasionally, it was noticeably cheap around the edges. In other words, it was everything that Marvel movies are not.
While countless football fans — myself included — embark on a stomach and liver-related training regimen for next weekend, there is more to the Super Bowl than just the game on the field. The Super Bowl has always secretly been a big day for cinephiles as well, featuring big trailers for much-anticipated movies and clever commercials from some of the best filmmakers of our generation. Directors such as Doug Liman, Ridley Scott, and Judd Apatow have all directed Superbowl commercials, and now you can add two more big names to the mix: Joel and Ethan Coen.
It’s been six months since Suicide Squad was released in theaters and a collective history is starting to shape up around the film. Despite denials from Warner Bros., it’s now pretty much understood that the studio rushed production of Suicide Squad and backed director David Ayer into a corner about the film’s final cut. Despite these issues, Ayer has remained a loyal solider for the studio, regularly commenting that the film we saw in theaters was his and his alone.
While Star Wars: The Force Awakens was an international smash hit, it wasn’t devoid of criticism. Some people felt that the film veered a little close to the storyline of the original Star Wars film; others felt that the family friendly action didn’t quite line up with the darker tone they expected from movies like The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith. So to those fans, I offer you the above deleted scene (via i09) where Chewbacca rips out the arm of Unkar Plutt. It may be another throwback to the original movies, but at least it’s one with a little bit of bite.
After years of watching a certain segment of fans argue over which Enterprise captain was the best, I think it might be time for Star Trek fans to admit that they’re no longer the leader in casting fan arguments. Now all the cool kids want to argue over which Batman actor played the role best. While the obvious answer for most millennials would be Christian Bale, I tend to gravitate towards the early performances of Michael Keaton, a Batman who was a bit more believable as an intellectual than subsequent versions of the character. To each their own, I suppose.
Some comic book characters are easier to adapt than others. Superman, for instance, may have hundreds of writers and artists to his name, but the core principles of his character remain the same: he’s powerful, he’s kind, and he’s an idealist in a universe that doesn’t often reward characters for putting their faith in other people. Even when someone like Frank Miller wants to give the character a modern spin, it’s done by exaggerating these core principles, not setting them aside entirely.
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of CGI actors returned from the dead, you probably had to appreciate the ways that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards tried to bring the events of Star Wars: A New Hope more directly into his film. In several key sequences, Edwards was even able to feature unseen footage from the original 1977 film, causing fans to wonder where that new footage came from (and why they hadn’t seen it before). Are there entire archives of unseen footage that Lucasfilm has been hiding from fans for all these decades?
We all know that Ben Affleck’s performance as Batman was one of the few things both critics and fans of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice could completely agree on. From his shallow playboy persona as Bruce Wayne to his thinly veiled rage as the Dark Knight, Affleck’s take on the character got everyone very excited to see what the actor-writer-director could do with a free hand for his standalone The Batman movie. Unfortunately, things have slowed considerably since, with rumors of mediocre scripts and a shifting release date taking some of the buzz off the upcoming release.
Listen. I know that the DC Cinematic Universe gets a lot of criticism for its dour visuals and themes, but let’s give credit where credit is due: Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is really shaping up like the sleeper hit of the whole endeavor. With a visual aesthetic stolen directly from an episode of Sons of Anarchy — and perhaps the most talented director of the Warner Bros. slate behind the camera — this is shaping up to be the best movie about people who talk to fish since Disney’s animated adaptation of The Little Mermaid.
Dwayne Johnson is a big man in every sense of the word. Physically, he’s a small planet, giving the moon a run for its money as the most important celestial body to be caught in Earth’s orbit. His personality and spirit, though, are even bigger. You rarely if ever hear stories about Johnson losing his cool or brushing off a fan, choosing instead to spend every waking minute of every waking day reminding us that movie stars do still exist in 2016.
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