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1. First look at the entire Suicide Squad in costume

Tweeted out by director David Ayer this evening, here’s your full cast photo of the Suicide Squad (in costume)…

Suicide-Squad-Cast-Photo

From the photo, you have your first glimpse of Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn, Will Smith‘s Deadshot, Karen Fukuhara‘s Katana (there’s a surprise development!), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje‘s Killer Croc, Jai Courtney‘s Captain Boomerang, Joel Kinnaman‘s Rick Flagg and more that we haven’t gotten confirmation on.

Hit me with your thoughts!

Suicide Squad releases on August 5, 2016.

3 Comments on First look at the entire Suicide Squad in costume, last added: 5/3/2015
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2. Entertainment Round-Up: A closer look at the new Batwing, Stephen Amell as Casey Jones, and a new Jurassic World featurette

At this point, movie-wise, I imagine no one wants to talk anything but Age of Ultron, but there’s been a few fun developments worth noting over the past 12 hours or so:

Umberto Gonzalez, having moved on from Latino-Review, is now running his big movie scoops on his Instagram, which I highly suggest you follow, provided Instagram is your thing. His latest post is a look at the design of the new Batwing from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice:

 

I have to say, I’m a much bigger fan of this design than the one that appeared in The Dark Knight Rises.

– To be honest with you, I need a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie like I need a hole in my head, but I’m certain there are a great number of you that are excited about the sequel to last year’s offering. The one character in the franchise I’m still somewhat interested in is Casey Jones, who was always my favorite as a kid. Here’s a set photo of Arrow star Stephen Amell in his getup for the role:

casey jones amell

The film has also cast Laura Linney in an undisclosed role.

– For those excited about this summer’s big return to Michael Crichton’s dinosaur paradise, here’s a new featurette for Jurassic World:

– And just in case you wanted a quick update on Spider-Man casting, here’s Devin Faraci from Badass Digest:   

Something is surely a brewing very soon! We’ll have it here as our new Peter Parker is announced! Have a great weekend all!

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3. Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe Films, Pre-Age of Ultron edition

avengers-age-ultron

We’re in the final stretch before those of us stateside will get an opportunity to see the latest Joss Whedon helmed Marvel opus, Avengers: Age of Ultron. You can of course expect a review here on The Beat, from yours truly, in just a few days.

Before we get there, it’s time to reflect: Can you believe that we’re now onto the 11th film of this one of a kind experiment? I remember sitting in a restaurant with my parents the week after The Incredible Hulk released, and I was telling my father about the Tony Stark cameo in the film’s final scene. I’ll never forget what he said, “that’s going to be the new hot thing and every studio is going to be copying it”.

And to my lack of surprise, knowing how trends work in Hollywood, he was 100% right. We’re now living in a world where studios are planning a Robin Hood Cinematic Universe, a brand new Universal Monsters Universe, and of course both Fox and Warner Bros are trying to do something along the same lines as Marvel’s meteorically successful endeavor. While I wish them all the best of their luck in their endeavors, one really has to tip their hat to Kevin Feige for turning something that would have been unthinkable, or just the far-flung wishes of the message board set, a decade ago into a reality.

But, it hasn’t been a road without a few bumps. Like any long-running series, the Marvel Studios filmography has its own peaks and valleys in terms of individual film quality. With that said, let’s take the time to revisit the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the prerequisite ranking of the films that have gotten us to where we are now:

10. Iron Man 2

This isn’t just a bad Marvel movie, it’s one of the more disappointing theater-going experiences I’ve had in a while. Iron Man 2 is muddled, embarrassing, and clearly the result are far too many cooks in the kitchen; be it Robert Downey Jr taking too firm a hand with Justin Theroux’s script, Kevin Feige shoe-horning in as much Avengers/SHIELD build-up as he can manage, Mickey Rourke doing… whatever the hell he was supposed to be doing, or Jon Favreau exerting little to no creative control or vision. Even the normally excellent Don Cheadle is a huge step down from Terrence Howard, turning Howard’s fairly charismatic Rhodey into a complete personality void. Only Sam Rockwell comes out a winner here, though I like the small cameo John Slattery has as Howard Stark, I wish we’d get more of that.

9. Thor: The Dark World

Speaking of too many cooks, in a recent interview with the Nerdist Writers Panel, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely noted that Thor: The Dark World had as many as 8 screenwriters working on this project. Sadly, this lack of direction really shows, and if there’s a movie that screams “made by committee” it is this one. This dull sequel tries its hardest to double down on what pleased the first film’s audience (namely Loki and D’Arcy), but does so to the detriment of narrative cohesion. The film does benefit from Hiddleston and Hemsworth having developed tremendous chemistry and following on from the events of The Avengers. But these moments are only a small sliver of a weak whole which is also marred by a poorly fleshed out villain, a continued reliance on the dud of a relationship between Thor and Jane (to the point of making her the major point on which the plot device turns), and some of the worst exposition this side of Green Lantern. I long for the day that Thor gets handed to a team that actively embraces the character and the weird, fun cosmic events that shape his world.

8. The Incredible Hulk

This second stab at a Hulk film (following on the heels of the rather glacial Ang Lee 2003 film) has quite a bit of good in it: Ed Norton making for a pretty compelling every-man, Liv Tyler giving a steady performance with a thankless love interest role, and a nice bit of chase action throughout (with the high point being the almost Bourne-like Rio sequence towards the film’s beginning). These benefits are off-set by some really hammy supporting performances, particularly from the two Tim’s (Blake-Nelson and Roth) and a mindless third act where a CGI thing fights another CGI thing. It’s also chopped to pieces, as one can tell just by watching the deleted scenes, much of which were nice character bits for Ty Burrell’s Leonard Samson. Overall, it’s not a bad film, but more like casual FX viewing on a random Sunday. Frankly, the bottom-line on this one is that it barely counts anymore, we have a new Bruce Banner as of The Avengers and its highly doubtful that any plot points or characters from this movie are going to return (other than some Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “wink and nudge”).

7. Iron Man 3

Shane Black and Drew Pearce bring the funny! Iron Man 3 benefits from the momentum provided by The Avengers and is a decent bounceback after the dreadful Iron Man 2. Yeah, Cheadle is still a waste and the Extremis powered bad guys are a little anonymous, but Black injected some authorial life into what could have been another anonymous affair. I also loved the Die Hard-Christmas vibe that is the backdrop for the movie’s events, a constant in Shane Black’s work. And yes, I thought the Iron Patriot armor was pretty nifty as well. It’s the first Marvel movie (other than The Avengers and then later Guardians of the Galaxy) where you can feel the finger-print of its filmmaker throughout, instead of the journeymen that were helming these projects pre-Avengers. The only major detriment to the film, and why it doesn’t rank higher, is its fairly dull third act which includes the ridiculous visual of “super-powered” Gwyneth Paltrow, and Guy Pearce (who I love dearly) playing another member of the forgettable Marvel villain brigade. Sadly, my favorite moment in the movie (the Mandarin twist) is also the point at which the film becomes its most generic.

6. Thor

I have really warmed to Kenneth Branagh’s sole Marvel effort in recent years. Yes, its production design borders on laughable and Hemsworth has more chemistry with Hiddleston than he does with Natalie Portman (and their romance is written about as well), but there’s a level of straight-forwardness on display here that makes Thor a relatively refreshing watch, especially with the growing complexity and interconnectedness of the Marvel oeuvre. Sometimes the power of a simple story is all you need, and Branagh and company nail the glowing majesty of Asgard along with the tried and true “fish out of water” elements that are especially carried by Hemsworth, whose voice is all I hear now whenever I read a Thor comic. Marvel has yet to produce a Thor film that I’d call essential, but this is as good as it gets so far.

5. Guardians of the Galaxy

A lot of fun. The plot itself is no great shakes, and feels a little overly familiar, but James Gunn and a surprisingly humorous cast (Dave Bautista is hilarious as Drax especially) that makes it all come together. The dialogue is razor sharp and full of wit, and Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill is probably the heir apparent to Downey’s Tony Stark for the “loveable asshole” crown of the Marvel universe. Guardians also benefits from being separated from the other goings-on related to S.H.I.E.L.D., Loki and the Earth-bound concerns of the previous films. Someone could go see this film and know not a lick about The Avengers, and could enjoy it on its own space opera merits. And much like Shane Black before him, you can see Gunn straining the limits of Marvel Studios’ house-style, to the benefit of fans. Its also gorgeously shot with meticulously designed worlds and colors galore!

4. Captain America: The First Avenger

The team behind this first Captain America film had a big of challenge ahead of them. How do you portray Marvel’s most virtuous character without resorting to outright jingoism? Pulling together a mixture of writers that love the source material (Chris McFeely and Stephen Markus), a director familiar with period pieces (Joe Johnston), and the perfect leading man (Chris Evans) and you have the perfect combo to tackle this challenge. In so doing, they end up creating a fun adventure romp that up to that point was Marvel’s most comic-book faithful film. It’s still pretty cheesy in parts, but gloriously so and it’s incredibly stylized and doesn’t fall victim to the “filmed in a rush, looking cheap” trap that Thor did just a few months before. This debut feature for Cap also has my favorite love story in the entire Marvel filmography, subtle, well written and with some great back and forth between Evans and Atwell. Sure, the Red Skull is pretty poorly used, the third act montage is an annoyance, and the film completely whiffs the Steve-Bucky relationship. But, when you’ve got a film that includes all of the Howling Commandos, crazy World War II era planes, and an awesome show-tune number written by Alan Menken, you have a real winner on your hands, all things considered.

3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

With its intricately plotted conspiracy storyline, some of the best shot action scenes of recent memory, and fairly compelling pathos (correcting one of the bigger sins of the previous entry). Joe and Anthony Russo take over behind the camera, and not only do they have a great handle on Cap, but they also find significant roles for Nick Fury and Black Widow. Two characters who had nice beats in The Avengers, but were still somewhat enigma-like. This is a movie packed with fun surprises as well, with call backs to a few films in the overall series (creating a sense of real history that matters to these characters) without being bogged down by them. What I think I like best though about this sequel is that its the first of the Phase Two films that doesn’t rely on the events of The Avengers to stage its plot. In reality, this movie is probably the first where you didn’t even have to see that team-up extravaganza and its story-beats would still make sense (unlike Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World). It’s hard not to appreciate that kind of dedication to the character and his slice of the Marvel Universe. It’s a heck of a ride.

2. Iron Man

There’s a crispness to Iron Man that I just can’t shake. I remember going to the theater to see this one in 2008 not expecting a whole heck of a lot and I was blown away. Iron Man was hilarious, exciting, well-paced and on subsequent rewatches all of those qualities still hold up. Just about everything that makes Iron Man work so well can be attributed to the actors. Obadiah Stane is one of my favorite villains in the MCU (admittedly, his only real competition are Loki and Wilson Fisk), mainly because of how loosely Jeff Bridges plays him. Pepper Potts is a very well rounded character because of Paltrow. James Rhodes is actually interesting for once due to the “swaggering stoicism” (is that a thing?) brought by Howard. And Tony Stark goes without saying really, but has there ever been a better meld of character and actor in one of these superhero romps? I love Hiddleston and Evans in their respective roles, but Downey IS Iron Man. Also, the movie is basically completely improvised, again, the story being formed by the strength of the actors involved. Iron Man also set everything into motion for the entire series of Marvel films, but its hard to describe just how exciting it was to see Jackson’s Nick Fury appear that first time after the credits rolled. This is a film that captured the public zeitgeist for a short time and is only eclipsed by our next entry in that regard.

1. The Avengers

It made over a billion dollars. Sure, there are some terrible movies that can make that same claim, but clearly something connected with the American public on this one. It’s an utter spectacle, but a really well crafted one that gives equal time to basically all of its characters (unless you’re Jeremy Renner). Sure, it takes a minute to dispense with the “heroes having a misunderstanding” plot beat or two but its all tempered by such sharp writing throughout that its hard to dock it too many points for the cliche. The underlying threat is strong as well (with Hiddleston really hitting his stride as Loki here), with stakes that feel suitably massive. Joss Whedon brings just enough candy coated coloring to the visual palette that it makes The Avengers a literal comic book come to life and the final results speak for themselves. Is it cinematic brilliance? Not really. Is it a tremendously good time once you’re separated from the hype that surrounds it? Absolutely! It’s only real misstep was how it handled Hawkeye, and maybe Captain America’s costume. Luckily, I understand both have been adjusted for the sequel.

Bring on Age of Ultron!

What do you all think? Am I off my rocker? How would you rank these films? I’d love to see which of these entries have landed best with everyone else.

4 Comments on Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe Films, Pre-Age of Ultron edition, last added: 4/28/2015
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4. Entertainment Round-Up: New Nightcrawler concept art, Daniel Brühl confirms his role as Baron Zemo, Michael Green to pen Wolverine sequel

It’s the start of another week, here are the headlines that are making waves this morning!

Bryan Singer is keeping the teases rolling for X-Men: Apocalypse, this time around, he shared some concept art for Kodi Smit-McPhee’s younger version of Nightcrawler:

nightcrawler-x-men-apocalyse

This new Nightcrawler isn’t too terribly far afield from Alan Cumming‘s appearance in X2: X-Men United, which is surely the point. I do wonder though if we’ll get any explicit connection between Kurt and Mystique (and/or Azazel), perhaps that’s a road best not taken.

– Even though we pretty much knew this already, Daniel Brühl recently confirmed in an interview with The Independent that he will indeed by playing Baron Helmut Zemo in Captain America: Civil War, as he responded in the affirmative to a question about his upcoming role:

“I think I can tell you that without being thrown into Marvel prison… For the first few days I’ll walk around like a little boy, just amazed by the megalomania of it. It’s such a huge project. We could do 20 films with the budget.”

So there you have it folks, along with whatever is happening between Iron Man and Captain America, the appearances of Spider-Man and Black Panther, and whatever angle the Winter Soldier story takes, we’re also getting Baron Zemo. This movie is looking more stuffed than Age of Ultron.

– Over the weekend, and somewhat lost in the hoopla over Jared Leto’s Joker, TheWrap reported that Green Lantern and Blade Runner sequel screenwriter Michael Green will be penning the upcoming sequel to James Mangold‘s The Wolverine.

I’m not sure how much blame Green should take for what ended up on screen in Green Lantern, but given his recent high profile gigs (that also includes work on Prometheus 2), we’ll keep our fingers crossed that it was just an aberration on his resume.

Hugh Jackman has stated that this will be his final outing as Logan, so perhaps the time is right to adapt Old Man Logan, especially since it’ll be a while before the Wolverine films and the X-Men films catch up to each other on the timeline, most likely. The new film is scheduled to release on March 3, 2017.

– For those interested, Fox has updated the Fantastic Four movie website to now include bios of the team, with some interesting descriptions of their powers; for example Reed now has abilities that “can warp the space around him, and appear to stretch his body into impossible forms and to incredible lengths.”

Check out further details at the site.

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5. Let Jared Leto’s Joker wish you a happy Friday night!

For weeks and weeks, we kept getting teases about Jared Leto‘s hair, his voice, and any other scrap of information that the internet could pull together about what his Joker looks like in David Ayer‘s upcoming Suicide Squad.

The wait is over folks, as Ayer has tweeted out the first official Joker photo in honor of the Joker’s 75th anniversary:

Jared Leto Joker

Not sure how I feel about the grille, and some of the tattoos (though they line up pretty well with the rumors that this Joker would look a bit like Jim Lee‘s from All Star Batman and Robin), but there’s something really unsettling about Leto’s appearance here…dare I say, it captures the kind of manic energy I was hoping we’d see in our next on-screen Joker. I’m rather creeped out looking at him, and that may be just the desired effect that Ayer and his team are going for.

Also, while I know that’s a riff on the whole “tear on the face” prison tattoo bit he has going on there…is that maybe a “J” for Jason Todd? Possibly a stretch, but we did apparently see a Robin costume in that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer.

I’m sure this totally won’t dominate the weekend at all.

2 Comments on Let Jared Leto’s Joker wish you a happy Friday night!, last added: 4/25/2015
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6. YouTube video brings some color back into Man of Steel

movies-man-of-steel-henry-cavill

Man of Steel is endlessly fascinating to me. While I appreciated the central thesis: “How would Earth react to finding out there’s life on other planets?”, some of the choices made have been the source of discussion for years now. The one that I found always stuck out most was the desaturated color palette that director Zack Snyder used to reflect the more dour themes of the movie.

While it makes sense in concept, a more realistic Superman should probably be reflected tonally in the visuals, it ended up lessening some of the splendor of the film for me personally. Man of Steel had some of the best visual effects and action cinematography (the two areas in which Snyder really excels) of any superhero film, but the overwhelming sense of grey made everything look rather sludgey.

Now, thanks to the folks at VideoLab, we get a chance to see a somewhat brighter take on the material. Their team turns the color up a bit and show us what Man of Steel would look like if it were just a bit more red and blue. Check it out and gaze at what might have been:

For what it’s worth, we’re all still debating the film to this day, so clearly somebody did something right. That’s more than we can say for some of the lesser Marvel offerings or the latest Spider-Man picture.

5 Comments on YouTube video brings some color back into Man of Steel, last added: 4/25/2015
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7. Who will be the new Spider-Man? Five major contenders emerge

With a new Spider-Man film headed to theaters on July 28, 2017, Sony is in full swing trying to find its new Peter Parker and according to The Wrap, while the studio is going to be sending out test offers over the next few weeks, there are five major contenders that paint a picture of the type of performer they’re looking for.

Those five include:

Press Conference for Ender's GameAsa Butterfield – Probably the best known of the group, and was the lead in Martin Scorsese‘s Hugo as well as Ender’s Game

Nat-Wolff

Nat Wolff – Recently seen in The Fault in Our Stars, but I rather liked him in last year’s Palo Alto

Tom+Holland+sgu3IKYLLMXm

Tom Holland – One of the stars of 2012’s tearjerker The Impossible

Timothee_Chalamet

Timothee Chalamett – Seen both on Homeland and as Matthew McConaughey’s son in Interstellar

LiamJames

Liam James – Star of The Way Way Back

Wolff is the oldest of the group at 20, so it’s clear that Sony (and Marvel) are seeking actors that can grow into the role and sign a multi-picture deal. The Wrap also reports that Drew Goddard remains the top candidate to direct the new feature, who was of course attached to helm The Sinister Six before Sony scrapped those plans after the big Marvel deal was struck.

I’d expect to hear big news pretty soon.

5 Comments on Who will be the new Spider-Man? Five major contenders emerge, last added: 4/24/2015
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8. Common takes another stab at the DC Universe for Suicide Squad

common-5

It’s time to hop in the “Way Way Back Machine”, all the way to 2007 when Mad Max mastermind George Miller had lined up his cast for Warner Bros’ first attempt at a big screen interpretation of the Justice League. Entitled Justice League: Mortal, Miller’s film would have seen new versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, The Flash, and Green Lantern team up to take on Max Lord. The important part of the tale: in the role of Green Lantern was Hip Hop Artist Common, who at the time only had one film and a few television appearances to his credit.

Justice League: Mortal died on the vine after entering pre-production, being tabled due to shooting location tax issues and poor buzz surrounding the script. Once The Dark Knight happened, it was all basically forgotten anyway.

Common went on to become an Oscar winning songwriter and appear in a number of films since, as well as having a starring role in the AMC drama Hell on Wheels. But, as Henry Cavill learned when he was cast as Superman after losing out on the role the first time to Brandon Routh, if a studio is hot on you, there’s always a chance they’ll find another spot.

Thusly, THR is reporting that Common has been cast in Suicide Squad in an undisclosed role. Production has already begun on the picture in Toronto, and the cast had their initial table read of the script already, so it’s possible that his role is not a particularly large one (for this film anyway) or the script is being rewritten to accommodate him. Who really knows? Bronze Tiger has been the popular guess among the superhero movie beat, but that seems like too easy a guess.

Perhaps John Stewart is making a pre-Justice League appearance? Wouldn’t that be funny?

Suicide Squad opens on August 5, 2016. Common is repped by CAA and Myman Greenspan.

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9. Entertainment Round-Up: Joss Whedon praises Edgar Wright, Star Trek 3 has a possible title, and more

joss whedon

After yesterday’s Valiant and Daredevil news items and today’s Eisner nominations, you’d think we could shut the door down on news for a while. But, surprise surprise, there’s still a few other items of note, here’s the rundown:

Joss Whedon, while on the press circuit for next week’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, held court with Buzzfeed, and in a pretty revealing interview about his time at Marvel that is well worth reading, he happened to elaborate on his feelings regarding Edgar Wright‘s departure from Ant-Man:

I thought the script was not only the best script that Marvel had ever had, but the most Marvel script I’d read. I had no interest in Ant-Man. [Then] I read the script, and was like, Of course! This is so good! It reminded me of the books when I read them. Irreverent and funny and could make what was small large, and vice versa. I don’t know where things went wrong. But I was very sad. Because I thought, This is a no-brainer. This is Marvel getting it exactly right. Whatever dissonance that came, whatever it was, I don’t understand why it was bigger than a marriage that seemed so right. But I’m not going to say it was definitely all Marvel, or Edgar’s gone mad! I felt like they would complement each other by the ways that they were different. And, uh, somethin’ happened.

One you hear Whedon make a statement like that, it’s hard not to wonder what could have been (not that many weren’t already). I’ve long held that parting ways with Edgar Wright was one of the biggest missteps Marvel has made thus far and the loss of his idiosyncratic take on Scott Lang would be felt pretty heavily come this July. But, movies have to be seen before you can judge them, and we’ll find out soon enough.

On that note, Avengers: Age of Ultron is currently sitting at 84% on Rotten Tomatoes with 49 reviews in. If that score holds, it’ll put the film just below Iron Man (93%), The Avengers (92%), Guardians of the Galaxy (91%), and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (89%) in the Marvel canon, if you care about that kind of thing.

– One more Ultron related note, those of you who are aspiring to be professionals in the field of journalism may not want to follow the example set by Krishnan Guru-Murthy from Britain’s Channel 4 news, whose junket press questions caused Robert Downey Jr. to walk out of the interview:

Seriously, save the hard hitting stuff for when it’s warranted and expected, not in promotional interviews for a superhero film.

– The third Star Trek film in the rebooted franchise now has a rumored title: Star Trek Beyond. The rumor comes via TrekMovie who discovered Paramount’s recent MPAA registration of the title. To be honest, I don’t love it, but it’s also a good sight better than Star Trek Into Darkness, which was an awful pun. At the very least, perhaps this ensures that exploration will be the key factor for the new Star Trek entry.

– With True Detective Season 2 just a couple of months away, HBO has released some ominous looking motion posters via the show’s official twitter feed:

 

Creepy stuff!

– And finally, in a fun little piece, here’s what this Summer’s big blockbuster releases would look like in 90’s VHS form. Oh, do I ever miss Blockbuster, until I think about the late fees and scrambling to get the latest video tapes.

0 Comments on Entertainment Round-Up: Joss Whedon praises Edgar Wright, Star Trek 3 has a possible title, and more as of 4/22/2015 8:03:00 PM
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10. Valiant and Sony teaming up for five films with Bloodshot and Harbinger

BLOODSHOT_001_COVER_LOZZI.jpg

Valiant Comics Entertainment has been teasing a big media announcement for ages and WHOOP there it is: A five picture deal with Sony for films involving Bloodshot and Harbinger and a crossover called Harbinger Wars. And it’s being overseen by the guys behind The Fast and the Furious franchise. Zowie!

With Marvel and DC locked up at Disney and WB, other studios are looking to get in on the lucrative comic book movie train…and Valiant has got a diesel express straight to the screen.

A bunch of top level filmmakers are involved:

• BLOODSHOT, who you can see immediately tp the left of this post, comes out in 2017 and will be directed by David Leitch & Chad Stahelski who made the much admired John Wick, with a script from Jeff Wadlow (Kick Ass 2) and Eric Heisserer (Story of Your Life). Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe from Original Film (The Fast and the Furious franchise) and Dinesh Shamdasani from Valiant Entertainment will produce the film. Matthew Vaughn and Jason Kothari will serve as executive producers.

Bloodshot was created by Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton in 1992. He’s an unstoppable killing machine who gained his powers after being brought back from the dead.

• HARBINGER follows with a script by Eric Heisserer (Story of Your Life). No word on a director, but Moritz, Jaffe and Shamdasani will once again produce.

Harbinger is a telekinetic teenage runaway who was created in 1992 by Jim Shooter and David Lapham.

• BLOODSHOT 2 (movie gods willing)

• HARBINGER 2

HARBINGER WARS_001_COVER_HENRY.jpg

• HARBINGER WARS based on the 2013 crossover by Joshua Dysart and Duane Swierczynski with art by Clayton Henry, Clayton Crain, and Pere Perez.

Sony’s Andrea Giannetti is exec producing the five picture slate.

 “Valiant is one of the most successful publishers in the history of comics, and Neal is one of the best action producers in the business today. This is a formidable partnership that will bring two incredibly commercial franchises with global appeal together on the big screen,” said Sony Entertainment Motion Picture Group President Doug Belgrad. “The long-term plan that begins with BLOODSHOT will be a considerable priority for Sony in the months and years to come.”
 
“Bloodshot and Harbinger are two of the great untapped franchises anywhere in comics,” said producer and founder of Original Film, Neal H. Moritz. “In partnership with Sony and Valiant, we look forward to building the next great generation of superhero films.”
 
“Sony Pictures and Neal Moritz are the ideal partners to bring the world of Bloodshot and Harbinger to life,” said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. “They understand exactly what makes these characters tick and the exciting potential that they hold. These films are just the first step in partnership with Sony to bring Valiant’s biggest heroes to new audiences worldwide.”
HARBINGER_012_COVER_REEDER.jpg




 

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11. The Death of Superman Lives trailer considers what might have been

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You’ve all heard the story, in the late 90’s, Tim Burton was scheduled to direct a Superman film entitled Superman Lives, which was to be written by Kevin Smith and star Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel.

It was to be a radically different take on Superman that makes Man of Steel look traditional by comparison. It also never came to be for a number of different reasons. With The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, a new documentary by AMC Movie Talk’s Jon Schnepp, this fascinating chapter in this history of DC’s biggest icon is explored in depth.

Check out the trailer below for the film, which opens in select theaters on May 1st and expands on July 9th.

The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? delves into one of Hollywood’s most enthralling ‘what could have been’ stories. In 1996, Warner Brothers engaged Kevin Smith to write the screenplay (‘Superman Lives’). Director Tim Burton assembled an elite group of artists to work on Superman Lives, including Nicolas Cage as Superman. Warner Brothers scrapped the project shortly before principal photography began.

This documentary, directed by Jon Schnepp, features interviews with director Tim Burton; producers Jon Peters and Lorenzo diBonaventura; screenwriters Kevin Smith, Wesley Strick, and Dan Gilroy; production designer Rick Heinrichs; special effects artist Steve Johnson; storyboard artist Tim Burgard; costume designer Colleen Atwood, and many more. This film delivers an inside look into what would have been the most original, unexpected and cosmic Superman movie ever made.

Sounds like something I need to see. On a related note, Superman vs. Hollywood is a great book that digs into this subject and all of the projects that came before and after (stopping short of Man of Steel).

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12. Gaze at the glory of the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice posters

Last night, Zack Snyder unleashed the latest marketing volley in the growing behemoth that is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by tweeting out the posters that will likely adorn theater walls this year in promotion of the 2016 effort.

In short? They’re surprisingly well done. Unlike most movie posters which go the boring floating head route, or crowd characters into every possible inch of the landscape, this actually takes a bit of a pop art edge and displays a modicum of creativity.

So, bravo marketing team at Warners! You win this round for sure.

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13. The second Fantastic Four trailer debuts the new Doctor Doom

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The new trailer for Fantastic Four wasn’t supposed to be released until tomorrow morning, but after another leak, 20th Century Fox moved fast to get the official trailer out for your Sunday viewing pleasure.

Get your first look at the team using their powers and a glimpse at this iteration of Doctor Doom:

Fantastic Four, directed by Josh Trank, hits theaters on August 7th.

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14. The official Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer is here

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And as predicted, the official teaser for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has dropped via Zack Snyder‘s twitter feed:

 

What do you think? Sound off below, and have a great weekend!

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15. Entertainment Round-Up: Cooper cast in Preacher lead, an Oscar-winning screenwriter is developing a Marvel project, and is John Stewart your new movie Green Lantern?

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It’s Friday! Here a few of the Entertainment-related headlines that just hit the wire:

– After weeks of negotiations, AMC has found its lead for its adaptation of DC Comics/Vertigo’s Preacher, and it’s a face familiar to comic book movie fans: Dominic Cooper. The British actor, who you surely recognize as the younger face of Howard Stark (Mad Men‘s John Slattery plays him in his middle aged years) in Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter, will be playing the role of Jesse Custer, with production on the pilot beginning this summer. Preacher‘s Executive Producer Seth Rogen confirmed the news on twitter today.

For you Garth Ennis experts out there, what do you think about this casting choice? Did AMC make the right move?

- 12 Years A Slave is easily one of my favorite films of this decade, and one of the only movies that’s moved me to near-tears in the theater. It is truly that moving and engrossing. So, it was with great shock today that I saw EW reporting that its screenwriter (and winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for his work on the film) John Ridley is teaming up with Marvel for a mysterious television project aiming to reinvent an existing Marvel character for ABC. This project is reportedly a separate entity altogether from the already announced Agents of SHIELD spin-off that’s in the works.

Given that it’s for ABC, something like the Punisher seems like a no-go, and really, neither does Blade (both of which Marvel recently regained the rights to back to a few years back). I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Moon Knight perhaps, but really any guess is a good one at this point.

Ridley is no stranger to comics, having written The Authority and the graphic novel The American Way.

– Yes, we know all about the leaked Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, and we won’t be posting it here for obvious reasons. Plus, the presentable version will make its way online by Monday, if not over the weekend. We’ll hold out for that. In the meantime, here’s a related unconfirmed rumor, according to Jeff Sneider (of TheWrap) on his latest episode of Meet the Movie Press, he stated that the Green Lantern that we’ll see in the 2020 reboot (and presumably the Zack Snyder directed Justice League films) will be John Stewart.

Sneider’s sources on this kind of information are generally pretty strong, so there’s likely something to this. Many fans had hoped/figured the new Green Lantern post-Ryan Reynolds would be Stewart given the younger audiences greater familiarity with the character over Hal Jordan thanks to the Justice League animated series.

Plus, he’s just an awesome character. Green Lantern: Mosaic anyone?

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16. Everything you need to know about what happened at Star Wars Celebration yesterday

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• The event was held at the Anaheim Convention Center, and thus far no controversy about moving it to LA or Vegas.

• The panel included director JJ Abrams, producer Kathleen Kennedy, and cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Money shot above.

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• The desert planet shown in the trailer is called “Jakku.” It seems to be a dumping ground for detritus from the star wars. It was filmed in Abu Dhabi where the temperature was a mild 128 degrees.

• The lightsaber everyone is handing around seems to be the one that Luke lost in his battle in Empire, which also belonged to his father, Anakin. You know….I always did wonder what happened to that lightsaber. I liked to think that Luke must have used the Force to retrieve it while he was sliding through the tunnels, because I didn’t like to think it was lost, but now we have a whole new movie to figure that out.

• The villain is Kylo Ren and we got a good look at him. His costume includes three layers of cotton and wool, so he must have been pretty hot in the desert.

• The new Star Wars mythos will include more female characters! It could not have included less, so win.

• Carrie Fisher will not wear hair buns or a metal bikini.

• The new droid is BB-8 and he and other droids in the film were designed by fans who got to work on the movie and showed up at the panel yesterday.

• Um, what else…Oscar Isacc plays Poe, a hot shot pilot. Daisy Ridley is Rey, a scavenger on the ship graveyard. John Boyega in Finn who does indeed start out as a stormtrooper.

• There is also a fanfest going on. Graeme McMillan and Borys Kit report on autograph prices :

The chance to get a signature from Mark Hamill at the show costs $125, while Carrie Fisher charges $70. Anthony Daniels, meanwhile, will sign something in exchange for $50, and Peter Mayhew shows the intergalactically-renowned kindness of Wookiees by also asking $50 for his hairy John Hancock.

It’s not just the big names who are offering their signatures. John Morton, who played an X-Wing pilot in The Empire Strikes Back, will give you an autograph for $20, and Brian Muir, who sculpted the Stormtrooper armor for the original movie (although the helmet was sculpted by another artist, Liz Moore), will sign for the same amount. The autograph of visual effects artist Lorne Peterson, meanwhile, will cost 50 percent more, at $30.

• A bunch of “posters” appeared on twitter throughout the day and no one is sure if they are real. Probably not but here they are.

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• Here’s a bunch of set photos.

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• There was a display of costumes from the film and IGN took photos. They also have a much more thorough news roundup.

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• Io9 has a trailer breakdown with the most spoilers.

• Disney sent out a ton of stills from the panel and here’s a gallery.

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• Many people will probably go see this movie.

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17. Justice League: Gods and Monsters, coming this July, unveils its cast

1000563530BRDBEAUTY_c81d1a96We’ve reported in the past week or so about Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett‘s upcoming original animated feature, Justice League: Gods and Monsters, which posits an Elseworlds-esque take on the classic DC trinity.

Today, it’s been announced this newest DC animated film will hit stores on July 28th, and will feature a cast that includes Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as Batman, Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order, 24) as Superman, Tamara Taylor (Bones) as Wonder Woman, Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) as Lois Lane, Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter films, Dig) as Lex Luthor and C. Thomas Howell (E.T., Southland) as Dr. Will Magnus.

That’s a pretty enticing cast, and I for one will be fascinated to see Hall’s take on the Caped Crusader.

Here’s the official summary of the Timm and Burnett-written story:

Witness a divergent reality where the Justice League protects the planet – but answers to no one but themselves. Employing methods of intimidation and fear, this Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman deal brute force in the name of justice. From the creative genius of executive producer Bruce Timm and co-producer Alan Burnett comes an original story where the world’s greatest triumvirate of super heroes has distinctly different origins. Superman was not raised by the Kents in Smallville, the Caped Crusader is not Bruce Wayne, and Wonder Woman is not an Amazon warrior of Themyscira. They are as likely the world’s saviors as Earth’s despotic rulers. When a group of famed scientists experience untimely “accidents,” a government task force follows the trail of clues to the Justice League – but is there a more powerful player operating from the shadows?  It’s a high stakes game of intrigue, mystery and action that asks the question: How do you serve justice to those above the law?

Sam Liu (Batman: Year One) will return to direct, and Timm and Sam Register the Co-Executive Producers.

While the deluxe edition of the Blu-ray will come with the Wonder Woman figurine seen above, the standard blu-ray set will include the following special features:

  • ALTERNATE REALITIES: Infinite Possibilities – Justice League: Gods & Monsters falls into a category of storytelling where our well-known characters and the worlds they inhabit are re-imagined. This documentary explores the various attempts by writers to have a little fun and tinker with the characters, resulting in exceptional storytelling that posed thought-provoking questions to audiences.
  • CALCULATED RISKS: The Making of Gods and Monsters – Justice League: Gods & Monsters was an idea that pushed the boundaries. It began with that challenging question writers face: “What haven’t we seen before?”  Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett audaciously answered that challenge, resulting in a fresh and exciting film that forces us to think differently about the DC Universe.
  • The New Gods – Encore presentation of 2010 documentary about Jack Kirby’s New Gods.
  • A Sneak Peak at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie – An advance look at the next DC Universe Original Movie.
  • Bonus cartoons from the DC Comics Vault

And, just if you need the reminder of how enticing this feature is looking, here’s the latest trailer:

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18. Star Wars teaser: NAILED IT

The latest Star Wars teaser is out, and All of The Internet is caving to the perfect sense of nostalgia it invokes.

Have a look:

The teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim and features new characters and the return of old favorites, like Han Solo. The film is slated for a U.S. release on Dec. 18 of this year.

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19. Jared Leto strikes an iconic Joker pose for Suicide Squad

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After David Ayer tweeted out the big Suicide Squad cast read-through photo last night, the question on many fans’ minds was: “Where’s Jared Leto?”

The obvious answer is, as “paul” pointed out in the comments section: he’s probably just on tour.

But nonetheless, it looks like Ayer heard you loud and clear as he shared a pretty amazing response:

 

In the above picture, you’ll see Leto with his green Joker hair emulating the classic Brian Bolland cover that’s haunted me since I was 5 (though he got it backwards, points for the effort!):

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Let’s just pretend he was the guy that took the first picture.

Suicide Squad opens on August 5, 2016.

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20. Furious 7 Director in preliminary talks for Aquaman

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After raking in $392 million worldwide with Furious 7, James Wan is now Warner Bros front-runner to direct Aquaman.

The film, which already has Jason Momoa (The Red Road, Game of Thrones) in place to star, has been a topic of rumor for a few months now. Names like Jeff Nichols and Noam Murro had been discussed by the studio according to sources, but with Wan’s big splash over the weekend (no pun intended) it seems he has skyrocketed back up Warner Bros’ radar.

According to THR, there’s no offer yet in place and talks are just in the preliminary stage, but this is certainly one of the more promising developments to surface regarding the film.

Aquaman is still in a bit of a weird situation where it’s being developed in two separate tracks, with scripts being written by both Will Beall (Gangster Squad) and Kurt Johnstad (300: Rise of an Empire). Beall wrote a Justice League script for the studio a few years back that was rumored to be “terrible” and before Warner Bros had its current plan in place.

The biggest obstacle other than nailing down a solid script? Wan still has an option with Universal for the next Fast and Furious movie. Wan isn’t expected to return, but Universal could very well exercise their option with him, and the scheduling would surely knock him out of contention.

With both Aquaman and The Flash looking at 2018 release dates, I don’t expect news to come around immediately, but there may be a big SDCC announcement brewing at the very least.

 

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21. The team behind The Lego Movie joins The Flash feature film

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In a report that hit last night via The Wrap, it looks as though the much in demand team behind The Lego Movie and the 21 Jump Street film franchise may have finally landed on a new tent-pole project.

According to their sources, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who are one of the hottest tickets in Hollywood right now, have signed on to write a treatment for Warner Bros’ The Flash. While they haven’t agreed to direct yet, their current task is to “flesh out the story” before making any further commitment.

Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is currently set to star as the title character, though whether this will be another iteration of Barry Allen (as seen on the CW series The Flash) or perhaps Wally West is unknown at this time. Miller is expected to make his debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Lord and Miller, were they to sign on to direct the film, would join a line-up of filmmakers that includes Zack Snyder (who will direct Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and both Justice League films), David Ayer (Suicide Squad) and Michelle MacLaren (Wonder Woman). Additionally, rumored names like James Wan (for Shazam), Jeff Nichols, and Noam Murro (both have been connected to Aquaman) continue to make the rounds.

Lord and Miller are represented by UTA.

The Flash is expected to be released in 2018.

Update: And now Warner Bros is looking at James Wan for Aquaman.

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22. Kevin Feige confirms that the next Spider-Man will be a high school aged Peter Parker

High School

While most of us are still working our way through our Daredevil binge-watches on Netflix this weekend, a little bit of news regarding New York’s other masked vigilante broke today, as Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige relayed some interesting tidbits about the casting process for Spider-Man to Collider.

There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding Marvel’s newest character acquisition for their cinematic universe, as to whether we’ll see another version of Peter Parker or will the studio shake things up with Miles Morales? How old will he be? etc…

As a part of the press junket for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Kevin Feige cleared a good deal of this information up:

In terms of the age of an actor we’ll eventually to cast, I don’t know. In terms of the age of what we believe Peter Parker is, I’d say 15-16 is right…We want to play with Spider-Man in the high school years because frankly there’ve been five Spider-Man films and the amazing thing about it is, even though there’ve been five Spider-Man films, there are so many things from the comics that haven’t been done yet. Not just characters or villains or supporting characters, but sides to his character. The most obvious being the ‘young, doesn’t quite fit in’ kid before his powers, and then the fella that puts on a mask and swings around and fights bad guys and doesn’t shut up, which is something we want to play with and we’re excited about.

That makes it pretty official folks, we’re looking at a high school aged Peter Parker as the next Spider-Man.

With the character reportedly appearing in Captain America: Civil War, which began shooting this week, Marvel and Sony are clearly moving quickly to get their new webslinger in place. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a big breaking news story on that front in the next week or so.

Does more Peter Parker make you more or less excited about the Marvel Studios supported version of Spider-Man?

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23. X-Men: Apocalypse adds another 90’s favorite as Olivia Munn is cast as Psylocke

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Bryan Singer keeps on popping out new mutants for his latest X-Men opus, after roping in a new Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Nightcrawler, Jubilee and Archangel; he’s now found another one to add to the ranks as Olivia Munn (The Newsroom) will be playing Psylocke.

 

This is sure to be a pick to get a number of folks excited as Munn was often a fan casting choice for superhero roles (I always thought she would make a great Wonder Woman). She’d technically be the second Psylocke to appear on the big screen, as the character appeared as a minor villain in X-Men: The Last Stand for some inexplicable reason (played by Meiling Melançon).

One has to assume that all of the more complicated elements of her character will likely be tossed aside. The important stuff: she was created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe in Captain Britain and eventually became a 90’s X-Men icon (along with Gambit, Jubilee, and the like) after she was redesigned by Claremont and Jim Lee (and also took over the body of a ninja).

X-Men: Apocalypse opens on May 27, 2016, in a year that is looking like *THE* big one for superhero films given that it comes on the heels of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in March, and Captain America: Civil War that same month.

 

 

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24. The latest Ant-Man trailer has dropped

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Here’s a fun way to open your Monday morning; the next trailer for Ant-Man has appeared before your eyes.

In all the marketing push for Avengers: Age of Ultron (which opens next month), it’s almost easy to forget Marvel has another film opening this year, but here’s your newest look at the Paul Rudd-starring adventure.

There’s some nice humor here in small doses, but everything around it still seems rather stiff, unlike Guardians of the Galaxy, which sold its blend of action and comedy well in the first trailers. I’m not sure that’s the case here, but Marvel remains bulletproof thus far, and even a fairly rough Thor sequel hasn’t derailed them yet.

The last bit is very cute, though.

Ant-Man is the weird lost film of Marvel’s Phase 2 (it’s no longer considered a part of Phase 3), so its marketing push is coming at just the right time.

Ant-Man opens July 17, 2015

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25. Marvel targets Guardians and Inside Out scribes for Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman director leaves project

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As one female-fronted superhero film begins to get its building blocks into place, another one hits a big snag.

In the first of two reports from THR, Marvel Studios is negotiating with screenwriters Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) to pair up for their 2018 release Captain Marvel.

Perlman became a hot name in Hollywood after the massive success of Guardians, and holds the distinction of being Marvel’s first female screenwriter. LeFauve’s Inside Out is also being held as the next great hope in reviving the somewhat sagging critical response that Pixar films have received in the past few years.

Apparently, they had two different takes on Carol Danvers big debut, but Kevin Feige was so taken with them both that he thought they should team up on the final script. No director has been attached as of yet, but Marvel has been making a concerted effort to find a female filmmaker.

Perlman is repped by CAA and Management 360, LeFauve by Verve. Captain Marvel is scheduled to be released on July 6, 2018.

Sadly, it isn’t all good news this evening, as it was just announced that Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones) has left Wonder Woman over “creative differences”.

MacLaren’s involvement was easily one of the more exciting developments of the Warner Bros/DC film slate. The film is still scheduled to be released in 2017, so there’s still time to get another filmmaker in place, but it’s hard to not be reminded of the Patti Jenkins situation with Thor: The Dark World and the poor results that eventually produced with Alan Taylor at the helm.

Hopefully Warner Bros will be able to course correct. Some have suggested that perhaps MacLaren should jump ship and helm Captain Marvel, but the truth of the matter is, a filmmaker looking for creative freedom probably should avoid big tentpole superhero films altogether.

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