Warner Bros. Announces A Full DC Comics Film Slate, But Can’t Touch Marvel – Yet.

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Earlier this week, the Internet was all abuzz, as Variety published some massive news for fans of the Marvel Studios movies, announcing that Robert Downey Jr. would be appending his deal with the studio to add another film beyond Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Avengers 3. However, it wouldn’t be a fourth Iron Man as everyone expected…it would instead be Captain America 3, as the film wing of Marvel Comics attempts to bring a version of the 2007 series Civil War to the big screen.

Understandably, die hard fans, both of the comics and films rejoiced, as did the bank account of the Downey family, as he’s walking away with $40 Million.

While the news has yet to be confirmed by Marvel themselves, we’re all generally running with this information as fact – similar to the delay between the trades confirming Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch’s appearance in the Avengers sequel, and Marvel’s official announcements. One could argue that this is precisely the type of announcement that could have been saved for, example, San Diego Comic Con 2015’s Marvel Studios panel – since the 2014 edition shows that while they may announce many release dates in advance, they wish to focus on what’s immediate as opposed to far away. Is that actually a solid plan? Look no further than yesterday’s announcement from Warner Brothers, unleashing their entire DC Comics Movie Universe film slate through 2020.

That’s right – after picking a batch of release dates earlier this year, Warner Brothers issued a press release announcing every single DC Comics film through the rest of the decade – along with dates for 3 more LEGO movies, and an entire Harry Potter prequel trilogy.

In case you missed it, the movies announced are…

  1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
  2. Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer (2016)
  3. Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot (2017)
  4. Justice League Part One, directed by Zack Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
  5. The Flash, starring Ezra Miller (2018)
  6. Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa (2018)
  7. Shazam, starring Dwayne Johnson as villain Black Adam (2019)
  8. Justice League Part Two, directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
  9. Cyborg, starring Ray Fisher (2020)
  10. Green Lantern (2020)

Yeah, that’s a LOT of movies to announce, and the press release also mentions forthcoming solo films for Superman and Batman – so let’s call that a full slate of twelve DC comics films over the next six years. Two a year, matching Marvel’s own plans…although, they have a three movie year or two in the mix.

I’d like to officially say at this point that I was wrong.

Last April, I took WB/DC to task in text (and I’m sure they cared!) for their seemingly half-assed efforts to push towards a DC Cinematic Universe. I wanted them to start announcing movies and dates and showing a plan.

Be careful what you wish for, right?

With some minor exceptions, such as the out of the blue Suicide Squad film (which I feel like is going to be based on the Batman related New 52 edition, not the classic 1980s series) and the inspired casting of Dwayne Johnson in Shazam, this feels like such a random mishmash of choices to make films.

Perhaps I over-estimate the minds at Marvel Studios, but it always strikes me that Kevin Feige and crew pick and choose each piece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as if they’re putting together a jigsaw puzzle, deciding how each new element will add to what’s been presented before. Meanwhile, the Warner Bros/DC picks seem to be what happens when a kid is given an assortment of random LEGO pieces.

I don’t think the DC Universe will work with four films as done through the eyes of Zack Snyder (and yes, I enjoyed Man of Steel). I don’t think Cyborg is an interesting character that people will want to see. I don’t think that a solo Green Lantern film is a wise idea – even with the nine year buffer between this proposed film and the Ryan Reynolds bomb. Heck, announcing a brand new version of The Flash as the latest version is no more than two weeks old? That just puts a countdown clock on the TV version. Suddenly, Agents of SHIELD looks like a good idea…

I understand, competition is hard, and maybe Warner Brothers wanted to have a great showing to their shareholders as they start to make some very difficult financial cuts – but when you miss the opportunities to promote your films in the right ways (this would have been a killer farewell to New York by DC Comics at NYCC last weekend), you look like you’re just treading water.

All of that said – it’s early. We’ve had one film. Warner/DC could stick the landing. But as it stands, the war movie fans will care about will be between Iron Man and Captain America – not between Marvel and DC.

I know who I am – I’m going to be there for all of these movies day one, but as it stands, they feel like an obligation, a box being checked – not a moment of excitement. Make me wrong Warner Brothers.

The Difficulty of a Follow-Up – OR – Marvel Announces New ‘Hawkeye’ Series for 2015

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Taking it in on a bleary-eyed Monday morning, the sum of the New York Comic Con weekend ended with not so many HUGE movie announcements (although, obviously, Tomorrowland‘s reveal stole the show), but instead – a number of HUGE comic book announcements, almost all of which came from Marvel Comics. Appropriate, as they call NYC their home.

The announcements ranged from the incredible end game for Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run – a multiverse spanning return for the Secret Warsa big push on female creators and characters, including series for Spider-Gwen and Silk, plus a “Women of Marvel” month of covers; and no brainers such as a new Scott Lang focused Ant-Man series, just in time for the Paul Rudd starring movie adaptation.

But perhaps the biggest surprise was this – a brand new series for Hawkeye, starting in March 2015.

For those who have been out of the comics game, Hawkeye is currently one of the most beloved titles in comics. Written by Matt Fraction, with a rotating art team including David Aja and Annie Wu, Hawkeye has blown audiences away with its brilliant art and irreverent writing.

Hawkeye has earned countless Eisners (the comics equivalent of an Oscar), become somewhat of a Tumblr meme (the kids love the Hawkguy), and has become one of those series like a BoneSagaSandman or Y: The Last Man which just serves as perfect gateway book for people who don’t really love comics. Simply put, each issue has felt like strategically packaged perfection – even with its somewhat erratic shipping schedule. Heck, the down-to-Earth approach for Hawkeye has even rejuvenated other Marvel series, with a number of characters getting similar off-the-wall, auteur based reboots, including Black WidowThe Punisher and Moon Knight.

The series is currently set to wrap up completely with Issue #22 in December of this year, and now Marvel has a rather difficult decision on their hands.

On one hand – Hawkeye is one of the first string Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, spoken of in similar tones to Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow and Captain America. They’d be crazy to not have a new Hawkeye series in stores for when Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters next year.

On the other – Hawkeye proved how great big two comics can be if they’re handled – well, anything but like a big two comic. Currently, many Marvel titles have brilliant creative teams…most of the time. Many titles get solicited with big time pairings of writer and artist, which are quickly changed after the first arc, as artists – providing more detail than ever – are shuffled behind the scenes to only doing the first arc and the third…or in some cases, replaced never to be seen again….except on covers. It’s made the process in falling in love with a series even harder – especially as solicitations can change up until release date. (David Brothers wrote a far better story than I could muster on it back in 2012.)

Despite all of this – however, Fraction’s Hawkeye was allowed to exist “as intended”. Issue release dates have slid, due to Aja’s intricate art, but brilliantly – as the story provided a shift to the West Coast – MICA-alum Annie Wu was brought in to handle the LA portion of the story, giving it an appropriate unique feel.  One can wonder if these delays and shifts added to Matt Fraction’s leaving of Marvel Comics, as he’s now purely independent, setting up shop at Image Comics for titles such as Sex Criminals and the forthcoming ODY-C – but the fact is, Marvel brilliantly let this team do what they do best: make great comics.

With this re-launch of Hawkeye in March 2015, Marvel has selected a brilliant team in writer Jeff Lemire and artist Ramon Perez. Lemire has been producing incredible work as an independent writer and artist (such as the Vertigo title Sweet Tooth, and indie books such as The Underwater Welder), and has proven himself an excellent hired gun over at DC Comics, where he lead the New 52 reboot of Animal Man to incredible heights. Ramon Perez may not be a name you’re familiar with, but you will be – especially if you read his beautiful adaptation of Jim Henson’s unproduced screenplay Tale of Sand.

Much like Fraction and Aja, these are picks of auteurs – incredible artists working in the comics medium, hopefully combining for greatness. The future looks great for Hawkeye under Lemire and Perez, but as a fan of what came before – I worry of the shadow they will be producing the book under.

This series will be launching with a new #1, a great sign as a fresh start, being allowed to develop in its own world. But as Lemire speaks in his interview with Comic Book Resources of reverence for what came before – he also speaks of using this series as a direct follow-up, continuing the tales of both Clint Barton and Kate Bishop.

I just hope that they aren’t left being a pale imitation, it’d be a horrible waste of incredible talents – and as we’ve seen with Brian Wood’s less-than-stellar taking of the reigns of Moon Knight after Warren Ellis left earlier this year, a poor continuation leaves fans with a bad taste in their mouths.  Or, in an even worse twist of fate – the first arc for Lemire and Perez blows us all away, but Perez gets bumped due to the length of time his art takes…and here comes Hawkeye Vol. 2…from Jeff Lemire and Greg Land.

Marvel’s playing with fire here – and come March 2015, we’ll see if this new era of Hawkeye burns brightly, or just leaves fans feeling burnt.

The First ‘Tomorrowland’ Teaser: WOW.

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After months of teasing and silence, Disney has officially given fans across the globe their first look at the forthcoming film from director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) and writer Damon Lindelof (Lost) – Tomorrowland.

Much has been kept under wraps about the film. Heck, for a time, people thought Bird and Lindelof were working on a new Star Wars film. Instead, this is an all new sci-fi property, built around Walt Disney’s original concepts for Tomorrowland.

Revealed first during a panel at New York Comic Con yesterday (which came complete with a surprise George Clooney appearance!), here is your first look at the film.

I’d go so far as to say that this is one of the most effective teasers I’ve ever seen. The movie has hints of Harry Potter with it’s entrance to a world only the “special” can see, and George Clooney at his most inviting – but how cool is it also that a large, original tentpole sci-fi film has a teenage girl as the lead?

I’m in love with the brief, fleeting glimpses of Tomorrowland itself, a beautiful future-by-way-of-the-1950’s world…complete with JETPACKS.

My brain cannot stop firing synapses of the incredible possibilities of this movie. And what’s better? They’ve barely shown me ANYTHING. The mystery box remains full of mystery, and I am very in.

Tomorrowland hits theaters on May 22, 2015.

The ‘Deadpool’ Movie Finally Is Moving Forward

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Let it be known that sometimes, illegally leaking footage* to the Internet leads to good things.

After fans worldwide went nutty over leaked test footage for a Deadpool movie last July, it certainly seems like film executives were listening.

Why? Fox has announced that on February 12, 2016, a Deadpool movie will finally be released.

Director Tim Miller (who was involved with said footage) is still attached to the movie, while rumored star Ryan Reynolds – and the hoped for R rating – have yet to be confirmed.

Stay tuned, this one could get interesting.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

* Let us now indulge the conspiracy theorists that say that Fox planned a leak of this footage to build hype for this film.