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Highlights from the new Captain Marvel trailer: Noble warrior heroes, blue blood and alien kitties

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Kicking off a big week for Marvel, the second trailer for Captain Marvel debuted during halftime of Monday Night Football. (The long-awaited first look at “Avengers” 4 is expected to debut Wednesday morning during Good Morning America.) ESPN was likely grateful for some corporate synergy to draw viewers to the broadcast who probably weren’t interested in watching the Eagles play the Redskins.

It’s often interesting to compare the first and second trailers for a blockbuster movie marketing campaign, and see what the intention is toward the audience. As we saw back in September, the first Captain Marvel trailer was more of an introduction to Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and her abilities, emphasizing showy points like the story taking place in the 1990s and younger versions of characters like Nick Fury and Phil Coulson.

With the intro now out of the way, this latest trailer focuses more on the story. The Skrulls and Kree are alien races at war, and the conflict has made its way to Earth.

With rumors of trailers for Avengers 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home (along with Shazam! or Godzilla vs. Kong from the non-Marvel realm), there’s the possibility that Captain Marvel’s new preview gets quickly overshadowed. But probably not, with the goodies that this trailer includes and the likelihood that it will be attached to some blockbusters during the holidays like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mary Poppins Returns. (Probably Aquaman, too.)

For now, however, Captain Marvel has the spotlight to herself. Here are some takeaways from our latest look at Marvel’s newest star:

That’s why Captain Marvel hit that old lady

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For many viewers, one of the shocking moments from the first Captain Marvel trailer was seeing our hero belt a kindly old woman on a train. Who would punch an old woman? What kind of hero does that? But most Marvel Comics fans guessed that the civilian was a Skrull in disguise. And what better way to demonstrate their shape-shifting abilities than to take the form of a seemingly harmless elderly woman?

This time, we see the follow-up. That old lady isn’t harmless, providing the entertaining visual (with guttural growl) of her springing out of her seat to drop-kick Captain Marvel in the chest and cartwheel down the corridor. For the sake of public perception, let’s hope that the Skrull reverts to its true form after Danvers knocks her out. Otherwise, the Kree might have a public relations issue with the other passengers on that train. (Not that she’d care…)

Hey, it’s Annette Bening!

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One of the fun things about Marvel movies is to see actors not typically associated with blockbuster films (Glenn Close, Robert Redford, etc.) get to play a role. Annette Bening joins that group, though we don’t know exactly what part she’s playing in Captain Marvel.

While it might be fun to see her fulfill an older mentor type of role, like Liam Neeson did in Batman Begins and Star Wars: Episode I, the assumption is that Jude Law’s character will provide guidance for Carol Danvers. Based on what we hear from Bening in this trailer (“we made you one of us”), she has more to do with programming Danvers into a soldier for the Kree, changing her physiology (which includes blue blood), and so forth.

There’s a Skrull!

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We got a brief glimpse of Marvel’s legendary shape-shifting alien invaders in the first Captain Marvel trailer, but get a much closer look here. Additionally, we get some dialogue from Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos, who will hopefully be a villain on par with Orson Krennic from Rogue One. (Mendelsohn also played something of a bad guy for directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck in 2015’s Mississippi Grind.)

The Skrulls have been long overdue to appear in a Marvel movie. At one point, it was believed that the rights to the Skrulls belonged to Fox as part of the Fantastic Four’s package of characters and that’s why they didn’t appear in The Avengers. But the rights are obviously shared between studios, like Quicksilver was between the Avengers and X-Men films. (Such rights issues will be a moot point with the Disney-Fox merger.)

With their ability to take the form of any person, it’s expected that the Skrulls could become a major player in the studio’s next phase of films. Could some of our favorite heroes end up being an alien menace in disguise in future Marvel films? That could be fun and upsetting.

She has the power!

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Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said that Captain Marvel is the most powerful hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those familiar with the character from the comic books nod knowingly and approvingly. But that might be a tougher sell to fans who think Carol Danvers couldn’t possibly be more powerful than Iron Man or the Hulk. Or what about Thanos?

Obviously, we’ve yet to see on screen just how powerful Captain Marvel can be. This movie and Avengers 4 will surely take significant steps to establish how powerful she is. (Will she be the key to defeating Thanos, for instance?)

But the trailer provides a hint of that in its climactic moment with Danvers saying that she’s going to end the war between the Skrulls and Kree. We then see her surge with power, fly above the Earth and destroy spaceships with energy fired from her hands. (Oh, and she’s doing so wearing that cool battle helmet — designed by Jamie McKelvie for the comics — which forms her hair into a mohawk. We haven’t seen Thor or Iron Man do that. Stand back.

That’s no kitty, nick fury

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Based on this trailer, one of the highlights of the movie promises to be the banter between Carol Danvers and a younger, pre-eye patch Nick Fury. This is literally a side of Fury we haven’t seen before. He has both of his eyes, a full head of hair, and isn’t the sardonic badass we’ve come to know in the Marvel films.

Fury also apparently has a soft spot for cats. But the little kitty with which the future director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is so smitten — who also lurks in the shadows of the first Captain Marvel poster — isn’t a terrestrial feline. No, sir. That’s an alien lifeform.

The cat is a relatively recent addition to the Captain Marvel mythology, which has been built up over the past 10 to 15 years as her role has become more important in the Marvel Comics universe. Named Goose, surely as a nod to Danvers’ pilot days (the cat is called Chewie in the comics), the pet is actually a Flerkin. Flerkins resemble cats, much like Rocket Raccoon looks like a terrestrial raccoon.

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Rocket and Goose (Chewie) have actually butted heads in the comics, so maybe that gives us something to look forward to in Avengers 4. In the meantime, it’s probably a good idea for Fury to be sweet to that little beast. Otherwise, he might reveal those fanged tendrils that reside deep in his mouth.

There’s an air of mystery to Captain Marvel

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Fortunately, this second trailer doesn’t reveal everything. There’s even a hint at a mystery that Danvers (and Fury) are likely trying to solve throughout the story.

“Something in my past is the key to all of this,” Danvers says to Fury. What exactly brought Danvers back to Earth? Was it simply her role in the Kree-Skrull War? Or is there more to it? Why was Danvers taken by the Kree in the first place? Was she in the wrong place at the wrong time, becoming an unwitting participant in an intergalactic battle? Was there something different about her from the very beginning?

We’ll get to see Captain Marvel in theaters on March 8, 2019.

Bohemian Rhapsody gets it right with Queen's music, not so much with Freddie Mercury

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If you’re a fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury, you will very likely enjoy Bohemian Rhapsody. The movie is a celebration of the band and its music. You’ll be reminded of just how much you loved songs like “Fat-Bottomed Girls,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “Radio Ga Ga,” along with deeper cuts such as “Love of My Life.”

Whether or not the film is a fitting tribute to Mercury will depend on your view. Director Bryan Singer (who was fired from the production yet is still credited) and writer Anthony McCarten take a safe approach to the singer’s personal life, largely settling for allusions to Mercury’s homosexuality, drug use and partying. Much like Mercury did publicly, the movie keeps that away from the audience.

However, Bohemian Rhapsody does a fine job of portraying Freddie Mercury, the rock star. Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) has all of the legendary frontman’s stage moves and swagger down. Mercury commanded the stage, punching, gyrating, and thrusting with the beats from bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor. The rest of Queen effectively faded into the background because the eye was always drawn to Mercury’s energy and charisma.

— Read the full review here —

Ewan McGregor will be man behind Black Mask in Birds of Prey movie

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Ewan McGregor might not be the first actor who comes to mind for a fearsome crime lord. But behind a black mask, maybe he’ll be more believable as a sadistic Gotham City gangster who enjoys disfiguring and torturing his victims.

As first reported by The Wrap’s Umberto Gonzalez, McGregor has been cast as the main bad guy for the Birds of Prey film. He’ll play Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask, who murdered his parents to take over their cosmetics company but squandered that fortune with poor business decisions. When his company went under, Sionis blames Gotham City high society — including Bruce Wayne — for his downfall, dons a mask made from the wood of his father’s casket and puts together a gang of criminals called The False Face Society.

But this is the Birds of Prey movie, not the next Batman flick. And with the introduction of Huntress (to be played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) alongside Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, it doesn’t seem like there will be time for a bad guy’s origin story. Yet maybe that’s all somehow tied together.

Black Mask has become a prominent member of Batman’s rogues gallery since his introduction in 1985. He’s been notably featured in the Batman: Arkham Origins video game, in addition to animated series like The Batman and The Brave and the Bold, and animated films like Under the Red Hood and Bad Blood. (I like the ebony wood-carved mask, rather than the skull but that appears to be well-established.)

He’s a good choice for a movie villain that isn’t from the familiar collection of the Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Mr. Freeze. (Maybe we should include Bane and Ra’s Al Ghul in there too.)

McGregor is a curious pick since he doesn’t typically play an outright bad guy (though he has played a criminal, co-starring with Titans’ Brenton Thwaites in Son of a Gun). But Birds of Prey is apparently been looking for a somewhat comedic presence who can maybe go unhinged. Previous actors attached in rumors to the Black Mask role were Sharlto Copley and Sam Rockwell.

But according to director Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs), the Birds of Prey script (written by Christina Hodson, who’s also writing a Batgirl movie for DC) has a lot of dark humor to it. The movie is also going to be rated R, which could indicate a harder edge or pushing the violence and language as the two Deadpool movies have.

Birds of Prey is set to hit theaters on Feb. 7. 2020. As it stands, the movie will follow Aquaman, Shazam, and Joker on the DC Films release schedule.

Does a Flash Gordon movie have new life with Overlord director Julius Avery?

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We’re just over a week away from Overlord hitting theaters. But director Julius Avery apparently did impressive enough work for Fox to give him one of its renowned, yet long-stalled, intellectual properties.

As reported by multiple outlets, Avery has been tapped by Paramount to direct Flash Gordon, a project that has had numerous stops and starts with a variety of filmmakers. The property is perhaps best known as a campy 1980 movie (with an outstanding Queen theme song) and a comic strip that ran from 1934 to 2003.

The premise of the Flash Gordon story is Earth being endangered by a collision course with the planet Mongo. Gordon is a famous athlete (in the 1980 film, he was the quarterback for the New York Jets) kidnapped by a scientist who flies a rocket ship to Mongo hoping to save the Earth. Gordon eventually becomes involved with a rebellion set on overthrowing Mongo’s dictator, Ming the Merciless.

Prior to Avery taking over, Flash Gordon was reportedly in the hands of Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn. Vaughn has been attached to big sci-fi blockbusters like Thor and X-Men: Days of Future Past previously, and he also made a epic sort of fantasy with 2007’s Stardust. (Additionally, he was rumored to be a favorite to direct the Man of Steel sequel that won’t be happening anymore.) He would’ve been a strong choice for a Flash Gordon movie.

That doesn’t mean Avery isn’t a good pick, however. He has action movie bonafides and is reportedly a big fan of the comic books, which inspired his pitch. Overlord is generating some strong buzz (currently boasting an 89 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes before the top critics get their crack at it) as a sci-fi/horror take on a World War II story. The Nov. 9 release follows a pair of soldiers tasked with destroying a Nazi outpost, only to discover secret experiments that are creating zombie-like creatures.

(Avery’s first film, Son of a Gun, a crime thriller starring Titans’ Brenton Thwaites and Ewan McGregor is currently available on Netflix.)

Will people be interested in a Flash Gordon movie? The original 1930s serials inspired Star Wars, man! George Lucas made Star Wars because he couldn’t get the rights to Flash Gordon (which were too expensive). That has to be worth something, right?

Flash Gordon is still an established brand name that has spawned several cartoons, comic books and TV shows, and could attract some nostalgia (such as Seth McFarlane’s in Ted), current audiences may have never heard of the character. But a blockbuster sci-fi movie taking place on another planet should intrigue plenty of viewers if it looks cool and has a compelling story.

The current Star Wars movie series and the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise poses some serious competition for the outer space sci-fi audience. But maybe, just maybe, Flash Gordon can step into the void left by Marvel putting the production of Guardians Vol. 3 on indefinite hold until the studio finds a replacement for director James Gunn. Might as well aim high.

New Halloween movie is rightful sequel to John Carpenter's original 1978 horror classic

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With the abundance of revivals and reboots in movies and TV, another Halloween movie might not seem like something worth our attention. Horror movies, especially, have diluted celebrated brands by making new versions of classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

But maybe no horror brand has been more watered down and misguided over the past 40 years than the Halloween franchise. Nine sequels (two of which were reboots) have been made since the original 1978 film, each of them moving further away from John Carpenter’s original vision. (To be fair, however, Carpenters vision in 1978 may not have been more than to make a scary slasher movie.)

The smart move by director David Gordon Green (who co-wrote the film with Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley) was to act like those previous nine films never happened. (There’s even a line that dismisses one of the sillier developments revealed in 1981’s Halloween II.) This 2018 edition of Halloween is a direct (albeit 40 years later) sequel to the original film, returning to the story and its two primary characters after four decades have passed.

-- Read the full review here --

Aquaman’s extended New York Comic Con trailer looks bold and ambitious: 7 takeaways

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With just under three months until Aquaman’s Dec. 21 release, DC Films and Warner Brothers capitalized on maybe their last chance to really appeal to the geek crowd with an extended trailer that shows the scope and ambition of the movie.

Aquaman pretty much had the movie spotlight to itself at this weekend’s New York Comic Con. Most of the other trailers were from TV shows like Daredevil, Star Trek: Discovery, Good Omens and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. But the sheer size of the trailer also likely helped DC’s undersea blockbuster stand out.

The five-minute preview includes a variety of influences from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Clash of the Titans, Lord of the Rings, disaster movies like Deep Impact, and maybe even some good old-fashioned fables in which a lighthouse keeper falls in love with a princess (or queen?) from the sea. And there’s just a whole bunch of action, which looks — to use what appears to be Arthur Curry’s favorite word — badass!

As we try to do every time we write about a trailer, let’s list some takeaways from a rather impressive extended look at Aquaman.

Jason Momoa and Amber Heard have chemistry

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We don’t know if Arthur Curry and Mera fall in love during this movie, but they’re destined to be together in the comic books. So it’s important for Momoa and Heard to create some sparks between each other and create some of that “Will they or won’t they?” energy.

Personally, I like the idea of Aquaman being kind of a big, dumb lunk who jumps into everything head-first and eventually endears himself to Mera — who knows he’s meant for greater things — with his quippy charm.

Momoa appears to be great with the one-liners that the script gives him, while Heard has some sharp burns (“You do your best thinking when you’re not thinking at all”) that keep the banter crackling.

Which Dolph Lundgren will be more fearsome this fall?

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This trailer provides our first look at Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus. According to reports, Nereus is Mera’s father — rather than her betrothed husband-to-be, as in the comics — but is he an ally to the story’s big baddie, Orin (Patrick Wilson), or is he an adversary to the aspiring conquerer of the seven seas?

This is the second appearance Lundgren has made in a big-time trailer during the past couple of weeks, following our first glimpse at his reprisal of the Ivan Drago role in the Creed 2 preview. We know he’s a bad guy as his offspring’s trainer and cornerman when Viktor Drago and Adonis Creed face off in the ring. Rocky Balboa also has a great line while referring to him, saying “He broke things in me that ain’t never been fixed.”

The guess here is that Lundgren will actually have a more substantial role in Aquaman, but more people will remember him in Creed 2 because of the history between Drago and Rocky.

Black Manta looks badass!

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Hopefully, Aquaman doesn’t fall into the trap of cramming too many villains into the story, which we’ve seen in movies like Spider-Man 3, Green Lantern and Batman v Superman. Not only does that take focus away from some fine characters, but it inevitably ends up in some memorable villains being pushed aside or used up in a one-and-done plotline.

Whether or not Black Manta is Aquaman’s greatest adversary is open to argument. He probably hasn’t been portrayed as such in the comic books, but many fans (including me) think of the two as great arch-rivals from them being on opposite sides of the Challenge of the Super Friends cartoon with the Legion of Doom.

Manta has always had one of the coolest-looking costumes in comics, so it’s reassuring to see the armor worn by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II look extremely imposing. Let’s hope Manta isn’t a one-and-done villain like Hector Hammond or Sandman and we’ll see him in either future Aquaman sequels or DC superhero films.

Will Aquaman juggle Ocean Master and Black Manta as well as The Dark Knight handled the Joker and Two-Face? (Note what happened to Two-Face in that story, however.)

Action by land and sea

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Will Aquaman’s most memorable scene take place on land, rather than in the deep sea? The centerpiece of this five-minute trailer is a rooftop chase scene in which Mera is being pursued by Black Manta’s henchmen (Atlantean soldiers?) while Manta takes on Aquaman.

The sequence recalls Captain America chasing Bucky in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with the Stormtrooper-like assailants running through buildings and residences as they go after Mera. Mera sprinting across the rooftops is also reminiscent of Daniel Craig’s James Bond running along Mexico City ledges in Spectre.

This isn’t to say that the chase looks derivative. Hell, it looks really fun and could be unlike anything we’ve seen on screen before. Director James Wan is the guy who had a car jump from one skyscraper to another in Furious 7, and he could be topping himself here.

Nicole Kidman, action hero

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Not much else to say here, other than it’s cool to see Kidman taking out a bunch of attackers with her trident. Pleasantly unexpected, much like watching Colin Firth as a lethal fighter in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Maybe this establishes that Atlantean women like Mera are true warriors and not to be messed with in a fight.

It would also be fun if Kidman’s character, Atlanna, taking on the bad guys relegates Aquaman’s father, Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) to the proverbial damsel-in-distress who needs to be protected. Role reversal!

Seafood’s revenge

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Giant crabs? It’s probably safe to guess that Red Lobster and Joe’s Crab Shack won’t be running any sort of promotional tie-in with Aquaman.

DC’s protector of the seven seas is almost certainly going to communicate with aquatic life (or “talk to fish,” as Bruce Wayne/Batman put it in Justice League) during the story. Wouldn’t it be a disappointment if he didn’t?

But maybe it doesn’t even matter since some of those undersea creatures are spectacularly imposing — such as the aforementioned enormous crustacean, whatever the hell that lizard-looking thing rising out of the water is, or an oversized piranha — along with sea horses and sharks facing off in battle. (Can we call it a battlefield when it’s underwater?)

Will Aquaman wipe out a legion of pescatarians over the holiday season?

The gold and green is on, baby!

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Here’s the money shot from the Aquaman trailer, the image that virtually every film and geek site in existence screen-capped and published on Friday.

Jason Momoa’s shirtless, tattooed aquatic brawler from Justice League was just the first look for the character. Eventually, Arthur Curry dons the famous (Can we call it iconic?) gold and green costume from the comic books and cartoons. (Outrageous!) Appropriately, the suit has been upgraded to armor rather than a sort of body suit.

This seems like kind of a spoiler. Does Aquaman don the suit at the end of the film in a signature shot that leads to the credits? Or does he gear up for the movie’s climactic battle? Anyway, despite Momoa not looking exactly like the comic book or animated Aquaman, the traditional Aquaman look suits him well.

Aquaman swims into theaters on Dec. 21.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix pushed back again, days after first trailer touts Feb. 14 release

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How much regard does Fox really have for Dark Phoenix (likely to be the studio’s final X-Men film before Marvel takes over)? Less than two days after debuting the movie’s first trailer, the release date has been pushed back for the film.

Yes, really. After advertising a Feb. 14, 2019 release, Fox announced on Friday that Dark Phoenix is being moved to June 7. Just like that.

When I first saw film reporter Jeff Sneider tweet the following, I honestly thought it had to be a joke:

Sneider is a reliable, veteran reporter who has covered Hollywood for years, so there was no reason not to believe him. His reputation is at stake with something like this. However, after he went on a rant last week that many saw as unhinged, it briefly occurred to me that maybe Sneider was making a joke. But there was nothing among the surrounding tweets on his timeline to indicate that he was mocking anything (or anyone).

In fact, the Dark Phoenix news was one of a handful of dominoes that fell on the Fox movie slate. First, an “untitled Deadpool movie” is being released on Dec. 21. That bumps Alita: Battle Angel to Feb. 14 and pushes the next X-Men film to that June 7 date. And that kicks another X-Men-related film, Gambit (a movie some doubt will ever be made, to a March 13, 2020 release.

There’s a whole lot to unpack there, stoking plenty of speculation. Does this mean Fox thinks more highly of Alita than Dark Phoenix? Probably, because that could be a future franchise for the studio if it’s successful while the X-Men will become part of the Marvel cinematic universe, thanks to the Disney-Fox merger.

As Forbes’ Scott Mendelson points out, this also gets Alita away from some potentially crushing competition in late December, such as Mary Poppins Returns, Aquaman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bumblebee and the heavy Oscar contenders. Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro notes that Alita and Dark Phoenix could have better openings in China with the new release dates, something that’s a huge factor in international box office these days.

Yet bumping Dark Phoenix a third time (it was originally supposed to open this November before Fox pushed it back for reshoots) doesn’t dispel the perception that the movie could be a mess.

What about Fox releasing another Deadpool movie this year? No, Ryan Reynolds and company didn’t whip together another original film five months after Deadpool 2 hit theaters. According to several reports, the “untitled Deadpool movie” will either be a PG-13 version of the film or Deadpool 2 with additional footage spliced in. Reynolds tweeting a picture of Deadpool reading a book to Fred Savage, a callback to The Princess Bride, may have hinted at such an approach.

Then there’s Gambit, seemingly the outcast of Fox’s X-Men movie universe. Once upon a time, this was a project that generated excitement with Channing Tatum attached to star as a hugely popular character among X-Men comic book fans. But the movie hasn’t been able to keep a director with Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman and Gore Verbinski each dropping out of a troubled production.

Part of the problem with Gambit has been finding the right tone, especially after the success of Deadpool. Should this be a hard-R movie or have more comedic elements? It appears that Fox is leaning more in that comedy direction, with producer Simon Kinberg (also Dark Phoenix’s director) telling IGN that Gambit will be more of a romantic comedy. Likely anticipating fans shrieking with outrage, Kinberg insists he’s talking more about tone than overall approach.

Even with trying to keep an open mind, that sounds kind of awful. To be fair, the best superhero movies (i.e., Marvel movies) have plenty of comedic elements, even if the stories are ultimately serious. Maybe that fits the character of Gambit. Diehard fans will have to vouch for that. Personally, I’ve never been a fan and his popularity came during a time when I wasn’t reading many comic books. And we’re still talking about a movie that doesn’t have a director.

It’s too easy to dismiss anything Fox does with its Marvel properties and just presume they’re all better off going back to Marvel Studios. But it’s also understandable when Fox has only had recent success with Deadpool and badly handled the X-Men and Fantastic Four.

New James Bond director Cary Fukunaga is an exciting choice, if producers let him make the film he wants

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Danny Boyle dropping out of the next James Bond film — often referred to as “Bond 25,” since the project doesn’t have an official title yet — was a disappointing setback for fans eager to see what a director of Boyle’s talents would do with such a property.

However, Eon Productions — the producers of the Bond series — appears to have recovered nicely with Boyle’s replacement. According to multiple outlets, Cary Fukunaga will direct Bond 25, providing the next 007 movie with one of the brightest young filmmakers currently working.

This is a surprising pick, considering directors like Bart Layton (American Animals) and Yann Demange (White Boy Rick) were perceived as front-runners. Besides Fukunaga’s body of work, what makes him a notable choice is that he’ll be the first American filmmaker to direct a James Bond film. Will that irritate some diehard Bond fans, who feel that Agent 007 is a distinctly British property and should have an English caretaker? Maybe. But that’s probably more of an aesthetic concern.

Fukunaga is probably best known for directing every episode of True Detective’s first season. (Season 2 really seemed to miss him, if for no other reason than the season lacking a cohesive vision behind the camera.) TV viewers can sample more of Fukunaga’s work when the 10-episode series Maniac debuts on Netflix this week.

Additionally, Fukunaga has directed the films Beasts of No Nation, Jane Eyre, and Sin Nombre, demonstrating his variety of interests in subject matter and storyline. At one point, Fukunaga was attached to direct It, but eventually left the project due to creative differences. (By the way, that’s the same reason cited for Boyle leaving Bond 25. In both cases, there were disagreements over the movie’s script.) Yet adapting Stephen King’s novel showed the director’s interest in taking on larger projects with devoted fanbases.

On the second episode of the Amusement Park Podcast, we discussed whether or not this development ultimately mattered to James Bond fans. Chris is more of a “mainstream” moviegoer who just wants a good Bond film. I’m more of a “film snob” who gets excited about accomplished filmmakers taking on iconic characters and genre stories.

We’ll likely talk about this on the next podcast, but I presume Chris would probably tell you that he has no idea who Fukunaga is and the choice won’t influence whether or not he sees a James Bond movie. I’ll also see the next Bond flick regardless of who directs it. I love those movies, particularly Daniel Craig’s version of 007.

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The Bond series hasn’t been known for utilizing a variety of A-list filmmakers. Sam Mendes — who directed the last two films, Skyfall and Spectre — is a notable exception as an Academy Award-winning director. Michael Apted, Marc Forster, Martin Campbell and John Huston are also relatively known to diehard movie fans. But Eon apparently wants to continue hiring acclaimed directors for the Bond films, rather than journeymen who might know how to helm an action movie.

Since Fukunaga has previously dropped out of a mainstream project when he and a studio couldn’t agree on a story direction, it’s worth questioning whether or not he’ll eventually run into the same problem with Eon and producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.

Will they let Fukunaga take some chances and follow a more unconventional approach? Or will they lean on the director to stick with a typical formula for these movies? That could be the difference between Craig’s final Bond film being merely good or possibly great.

Bond 25 is scheduled for a Feb. 14, 2020 release, pushed back from the Oct. 25, 2019 date that was scuttled once Boyle left the project. Production is expected to begin next March.

DC Films reportedly, inexplicably walking away from Henry Cavill as Superman

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Fans of DC Films hoping for a new Superman film — whether a sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel or another try at making a Justice League movie — received some disappointing news on Wednesday.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit reported that Warner Brothers has decided to move on from its rebooted version of the Man of Steel portrayed by Henry Cavill. Apparently, the deal-breaker was Cavill’s people and the studio failing to reach an agreement for Cavill to make a cameo in the upcoming Shazam! as Superman. With no plans currently in development for a new solo Superman film, WB believes it’s time to put Superman on the shelf.

Talks fell apart between Cavill and WB because of scheduling conflicts with Mission: Impossible - Fallout. (Would there have been a digitally erased mustache in that movie as well?) Cavill was recently announced as the lead in Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher books and video games. That commitment made it doubtful that Cavill would be putting on Superman’s red cape anytime soon. However, a source told THR that Cavill signed on for The Witcher after negotiations fell through with WB.

Another big factor in the studio deciding to move on from a Superman sequel is its intention to shift focus to a Supergirl movie. In early August, WB announced that it was developing a film about Superman’s Kryptonian cousin and if the movie follows the comic book mythology closely, the character would be a teenager when Kal-El is an infant, meaning there would be no role for an adult Superman.

Whether it’s the popularity of CW’s Supergirl TV show (in which Superman, played by Tyler Hoechlin, is a recurring part of the series, by the way), a desire to reach a younger (and female) audience, and/or maybe a belief that a Supergirl movie could be both less expensive, WB obviously believes that this is the proper direction to pursue, rather than put more money in a Superman film when Man of Steel was a modest hit and both Batman v Superman and Justice League were considered critical and box-office failures.

As DC Films also tries to move away from a Marvel-like shared universe for its superhero films, favoring more standalone projects like the upcoming Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix, perhaps the studio also likes the idea that a Supergirl project wouldn’t be as tied to the DC cinematic universe, nor carry the baggage burdening Cavill’s Superman from the three previous films in which he appeared.

But really, this is also the result of Warner Brothers and DC Films not knowing what to do with Superman.

DC’s cinematic universe should be built around DC Comics’ flagship character, arguably the most well-known superhero around the world. Look at the role that he’s played in other adaptations such as Super Friends and the Justice League animated series. Look at how many of DC’s animated films feature Superman (most recently a new adaptation of the “Death of Superman” storyline).

Yet it’s never seemed like WB really knew what to do with Superman, other than knowing he was one of the company’s iconic properties and should be featured in a blockbuster movie franchise. I enjoyed Man of Steeland continue to defend it — but many detractors felt that Zack Snyder didn’t know what makes Superman special and depicted a warped version of the character. I’ve always said that this was Clark Kent learning to be Superman and we’d get the familiar version of the Big, Blue Boy Scout in future films.

Unfortunately, Snyder and DC Films doubled down on the sullen, alienated version of the hero. Believing that the world would be fearful of an alien with abilities with which he could take over the world was a good starting point. But continuing with that, rather than developing the character and demonstrating why he’s such an iconic hero, was a huge mistake.

WB’s decision to shoehorn Batman into a Man of Steel follow-up and rush to a Justice League to compete with Marvel’s Avengers franchise undercut the opportunity to build a big-screen Superman that could ultimately have been appealing, the cornerstone of the DC cinematic universe. Instead, Cavill’s Superman became the embodiment of everything that was wrong with DC’s movies. They were dark and gloomy, rather than hopeful and optimistic.

Now, rather than try to fix Superman, WB apparently just wants to throw its hands up and try something else. (According to Deadline, the studio was looking at casting Michael B. Jordan down the road.) In the process, the studio may lose a young actor who had a chance to be a great movie Superman, who looks like the comic book character brought to life, who understands what makes him a special character and what he means as a symbol. What a waste.

Personally, I like Cavill as an actor and believe he hasn’t had a chance to show much range in his three Superman appearances. He was good in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and solid (though at times a bit stiff) in Mission: Impossible - Fallout. I think he’d make a great James Bond, young enough to play 007 in multiple films.

However, it might be hasty to say DC is completely walking away from Superman. Maybe there’s some reason for optimism, after all. Producer Dany Garcia, who’s also Cavill’s agent and an executive producer on Shazam!, tweeted the following shortly after the Cavill news was reported.

Since Superman was supposed to make an appearance in Shazam!, maybe Garcia knows what’s in store or even has a direct role in the future of the character in a brighter, more fun slate of DC movies.

Will this entire post have to be walked back? Was that initial report incorrect? I certainly don’t like wasting 900+ words. But I’ll live with it if WB and DC Films figures out what the hell they’re doing and realize that they have a good thing in Cavill as Superman. Get this right, people.