All posts by Josh Costella

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Review: THE LEGO MOVIE

Every once in a while, a film comes along that unexpectedly levels you. You think you’re about to see a fun film that’s mainly geared towards kids so you don’t expect more than a happy child by the time the credits roll. Once you see the film, you quickly realize that having low expectations wasn’t necessary. Over the past several years, an increasing number of animated films have successfully been able to provide heartfelt entertainment for just about everyone.

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Lex Luthor and Alfred Cast in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN!!!

Just a few Friday’s ago, Warner Brothers sent a shock wave through the geekverse when they announced BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN  would be pushed back to May 6th, 2016.  Now it seems that WB is starting to like dropping bombshells about their next superhero film on everyone’s favorite workday of the week.

Press Release:

BURBANK, CA, January 31, 2014 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Jesse Eisenberg has been set to star as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons will play Alfred in the upcoming Zack Snyder untitled Superman/Batman film. The dual announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Snyder stated, “Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

 

The director added, “As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Snyder’s film stars Henry Cavill, reprising his role as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. The film also reunites “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

The new film is currently being written by Chris Terrio, from a screenplay by David S. Goyer. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller, David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.

The film is set to open worldwide on May 6, 2016, and is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, Batman characters created by Bob Kane, and Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment.

 

LEGENDS OF THE KNIGHT Launches Theatrical Tour!

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Press Release – January 15, 2014

 Legends of the Knight Documentary Film Exploring the Power of Batman Launches Theatrical Tour Benefitting Local Charities

 Acclaimed Filmmaker Brett Culp Explores Stories of Everyday Heroes and Features Batfans Turned Heroes, including Batman Executive Producer Michael Uslan Continue reading

I Finally Understand The DC Cinematic Universe…I Think

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A couple days ago, I was driving home from work and participating in my normal routine of contemplating my favorite superheroes and their films. I can’t be the only one that does this, right? Please say no, so I don’t feel as weird. Anyway, I was thinking about this rapidly growing cast for the MAN OF STEEL sequel, aka BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, or aka JUSTICE LEAGUE, when I had what can be only described as an epiphany. I *think* I’ve figured out the “why” behind DC and Warner Brothers’ current course of action related to their superhero TV and cinematic properties.

There’s a semi-famous saying of “What’s in a name? Everything!” There’s no doubt that the folks over at DC/WB know this all too well. It’s barely arguable that Batman and Superman have two of if not THE most recognizable names in our pop culture dominated world. It’s extremely difficult to find people in the world who have never heard of either of the world’s greatest superheroes. From a business perspective it makes sense that these two characters would eventually appear together in this current golden age of superhero cinema.

The folks over at Marvel have done a phenomenal job establishing their characters and shared universe. There’s no doubt that they are the current kings of the superhero film genre. Other studios are slowly making their attempts at building their own brands, but it’s mostly a slow moving process. Fans of the genre that still hold to the belief that there’s an actual competition between the studios and their films are just simply out of touch. These films do not release on the same day, and frankly there’s enough money to go around. Great superhero films, regardless of what studio they come from, only benefit the long-term strength of the genre. Marvel should also be commended for accomplishing what they have with the characters they’ve had to work with.

Just a decade ago, you’d have a difficult time trying to find average mainstream moviegoers (who always account for the vast majority of box office totals regardless of genre) who had heard of Iron Man, Hawkeye, or Black Widow. You’d find more that had heard of Thor thanks to his Norse mythology roots and Captain America thanks to his long-standing history in the comics. But even those who were familiar with the shield and hammer were few and far between. X-Men and Spider-Man were significantly more popular at the time thanks to recent films and impressive comic book sales. Basically, THE AVENGERS, the film that broke countless box office records and changed the status quo of the superhero film genre forever, was made up of mostly second- and third-tier characters. That is impressive.

marvel-studios-logo (1)The “Marvel Method” of building up a shared cinematic universe with one film at a time for each of its main characters and culminating with the team-up film was proven to be extremely successful to the tune of $1.5 billion. However, I don’t believe they had any other choice. When you’re dealing with characters that the majority of audiences probably haven’t heard of, you need to be patient, you need to cast extremely well, and you need to be confident. The greatest casting Marvel studios will probably ever have will be Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. He and Jon Favreau took the character of Iron Man, who was lucky to be third-tier at the time in terms of comic book sales, and firmly cemented him among mainstream audiences. Robert Downey Jr. WAS Iron Man, and the world knew it.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER and THOR didn’t benefit from leading men as recognizable or as beloved as RDJ, but the films held their own and continued to push the shared universe forward. Thanks to a cameo in THOR and a substantial supporting role in IRON MAN 2, Hawkeye and Black Widow’s presence was made aware to audiences. The table was finally set, and characters that weren’t well-known among mainstream audiences became a little more familiar. The anticipation grew at a frenzied rate as Marvel was attempting to do something that had never been done before. May 4, 2012 finally arrived, and the rest, as they say… was history. Not only did Marvel need to make those individual films first for financial reasons, but they needed to do it to introduce mainstream audiences to their cinematic brand. Marvel Studios was and is only in the superhero film business, and business is good.

Warner Brothers has always had a different approach to their superhero film properties. They are a movie studio first. They make films throughout the year that fall into every possible genre. Aside from the occasional superhero film such as THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY, SUPERMAN RETURNS, GREEN LANTERN, or WATCHMEN, there hasn’t been much superhero live-action coming out of the WB lot. Throughout the production of MAN OF STEEL, the film was referred to as the first piece of a new shared DC Comics cinematic universe. Back in August 2012, my friend Bill Ramey published an article that stated WB wanted a JUSTICE LEAGUE film with their newly rebooted Superman in the lead for the 2015 summer blockbuster season. For those keeping score at home, that was at least ten months before MAN OF STEEL debuted in theaters. A few months later, another rumor surfaced that WB was offering Chris Nolan and Christian Bale a pile of gold that would make Scrooge McDuck blush, to team-up their Batman with Henry Cavill’s Superman. I think we all know how that rumor turned out, but one thing was consistent – Warner Brothers wanted a JUSTICE LEAGUE film in the summer of 2015.

20131222-195434.jpgNow, let’s fast forward (by way of rewinding) to July 2013 at San Diego Comic-Con and the announcement heard ’round the world. Coming in July 2015, Batman and Superman would be teaming up for the first time in a live-action film. In an announcement that spanned barely three minutes, Warner Brothers and DC Comics reached out and put the world on notice that their first team-up film was coming. It was barely a month later when it was officially announced that the next actor to be the Caped Crusader was Ben Affleck. Within 90 days of that announcement, rumors surfaced that a short-list of actresses were auditioning for the role of Wonder Woman. Early in December, it was confirmed that Gal Gadot had been cast as Diana of Themyscira aka Wonder Woman. Other rumors have hung around (thanks mainly to bloggers keeping them alive) that The Flash and even Martian Manhunter could possibly appear in the tentatively titled BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN in July 2015. While I don’t believe the rumors about The Flash or Martian Manhunter until actors for those roles are confirmed and cast, it’s fairly obvious, at least to me, what Warner Brothers is doing.

There has been no shortage of criticism from fans and bloggers alike when it comes to the DC Cinematic Universe. I fully admit that I’ve been very critical at times at the lack of movement when it comes to developing superhero films despite the mountain of intellectual property they are sitting on. The official announcement of the follow-up film to MAN OF STEEL, which seems more and more like a JUSTICE LEAGUE origin film, has not earned the studio any reprieve from criticism. Despite the studio having tentative plans since at least the late summer of 2012 of putting out a JUSTICE LEAGUE film in 2015, most criticism have focused on the appearance of rushing the film into production and not following the “Marvel Method” for establishing their shared cinematic universe. When it comes down to it, 99.9% of those who criticize WB’s current plan don’t actually know the full extent or true history of the development for this follow-up to MAN OF STEEL. All we can do is look at how WB’s method compares to Marvel’s. Let’s face it –they are the two most popular studios when it comes to the superhero film genre. Sony and Fox have had notable successes but not at the level of the “big two.”

As I stated previously, Marvel Studios is in the business of only making superhero films. It is their entire business model. The characters that they chose to use in their shared universe were relatively unknown among the general public. They needed to make individual origin stories not only to help build their universe but introduce/re-introduce those characters to mainstream movie-going audiences. Could anyone imagine if THE AVENGERS would have been the first film after IRON MAN? Mainstream audiences had basically just found out who Iron Man was. I don’t think $1.5 billion at the global box office would have been achievable.

There’s no doubt that Batman and Superman are near the top of the most popular fictional characters in the world list and have been for some time. There’s also no doubt that Wonder Woman is the most popular female superhero ever to grace the four color inks of comic book pages. While her comic book sales never really reach the top of the monthly charts, she’s always remained part of the public consciousness. It is the opinion of this writer that WB and DC have decided to let the names of their most popular characters do the initial legwork of building their new shared cinematic universe. Currently, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are all cast and guaranteed to appear in the follow-up to MAN OF STEEL. Other characters are rumored to appear as well, but nothing outside of WB/DC’s most popular three characters, aka The Trinity, has been confirmed.

If you have been paying attention at all to the press coverage surrounding BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN or whatever it will finally be called, you already know that it’s been quite extensive and speculative. People all around the world are anxiously awaiting every single piece of news that trickles out of the proverbial Fort Knox of the publicity department at WB. There is an enormous amount of hype around this film despite principal photography yet to officially begin. Granted, not every official piece of news that has come out has been met with open arms. We all know the ridiculous knee-jerk reaction to Ben Affleck’s casting as well as the less vocal but equally ridiculous reaction to Gal Gadot’s body image once she was announced as Wonder Woman. The bottom line is that all fans, passionate, hardcore, mainstream, and casual alike seem to be already invested in what’s going on with this movie. If Zack Snyder would have just announced a standalone sequel to MAN OF STEEL back in July at San Diego Comic-Con, it would have been welcomed but not necessarily earth-shattering news. Most fans and bloggers expected a sequel was in the works, and all signs at the time already pointed to that being a fact. Very few people, if anyone, were expecting the announcement we received.

wonder-woman-man-of-steel-2-newsAt first, I was someone who admittedly was uneasy with how I felt about the thought of a MAN OF STEEL sequel being “hijacked” in favor of a team-up film. I felt that Snyder, Goyer, and Cavill deserved another chance to further this new Superman’s cinematic career. Part of me was hoping that in addition to a sequel to MAN OF STEEL being in the works that a Wonder Woman film and a Batman film would be put into production as well. After all, how else could they build their shared universe for the eventual JUSTICE LEAGUE films? Without realizing it, I basically wanted WB to copy what Marvel was doing. As a lifelong fan of these characters, is it really fair that I demand or even expect a studio to bow to my whims or ideas for how they should build their shared cinematic universe? Not really. At the end of the day, every single fan just wants to see quality movies. However, my uneasy feelings were predicated on the assumption that the studio, and not Snyder and Goyer, had no initial intention of putting Batman and Wonder Woman in their next film. However, there’s evidence to suggest that expanding the superhero roster in the next film was in the works before MAN OF STEEL even hit theaters. I don’t know about you guys, but doesn’t that sound exactly like what WB had been planning on all along? While the follow-up to MAN OF STEEL seems like it will have the majority of the focus on the initial meeting and relationship between Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman will also play a significant part. My guess to the size her part will be mostly in the third act resolution. From what I can tell about this film, I’m getting a significant IRON MAN 2 vibe. Let’s just hope this film is considerably better.

I do believe that WB has a plan for their superhero cinematic properties. Obviously, their plan is significantly different from Marvel’s. WB has always been slow to announce plans beyond the very next film. They take these properties one step at a time. Now, because they are not using the “Marvel Method,” does that mean they are doomed to fail with building their universe via BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN? No, it doesn’t. Does not using individual franchise films to build your shared cinematic universe put more pressure on this film? Absolutely, it does. It’s clear (to me, at least) that WB and DC are going to play their best hand with this film. While there will always be Batman and Superman films that can be made, they want to make this new shared universe work. They’re going all-in with BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN. They’re attempting to give fans something they’ve been demanding for years. They are taking the two most popular superheroes of all time and the most popular female superhero in history and finally putting them in a movie together. At this point in the superhero film genre, it doesn’t get bigger than that.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to see the future and find out if this enormous gamble will finally pay off for WB. I’m not sure how you can consider yourself a fan of the genre if you hope this film becomes a failure. While the fan in me is excited at the potential for this film, my concerns and worries won’t be completely answered until July 17, 2015. The film has the potential to further galvanize the superhero genre’s permanent presence in the cinematic landscape for decades to come. THE AVENGERS changed the landscape of the genre in 2012. BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN has the potential to do it again. While the “WB Method” has yet to be proven successful, I do wish them the most sincere luck. If Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman can’t do it, I’m not sure a shared cinematic universe will ever happen for fans of DC.

Good luck, Warner Brothers. The world will be watching.

ROB LIEFELD Covers WALKING DEAD for AMAZING ARIZONA COMIC CON

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Legendary Creator of Deadpool, X-Force teams up with Robert Kirkman

AMAZING ARIZONA COMIC CON is proud to announce the return of legendary comic creator ROB LIEFELD back to Phoenix.  Liefeld will be joining Headline Guest ROBERT KIRKMAN and Skybound Entertainment in producing an exclusive variant cover to WALKING DEAD #1. Continue reading

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE – Review

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The dust has barely settled on a record setting weekend for the follow up to THE HUNGER GAMES that took everyone and the box office by surprise in March 2012. While some thought that CATCHING FIRE could potentially scorch the opening weekend tally of this year’s box office king, IRON MAN 3, the lack of 3D premium ticket prices proved to extinguish that achievement. Screenings in IMAX proved to be fruitful to the tune of $12.6 million of the $161.1 million total haul. CATCHING FIRE earned the record of best November debut of all-time beating out THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON which earned $142.9 million back in 2009. If the weekend estimates hold, it will also have the record of highest 2D opening weekend of all-time barely passing THE DARK KNIGHT RISES which debuted with $160.9 million last July.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE takes a leap forward in showing the world that every once in a while, a film adaptation of a beloved novel series can be just as entertaining in its cinematic form as the sacred written word. It is nearly impossible for any adaptation to capture an exact representation of every page of its source material. However, I believe that THE HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE have done a truly impressive job of translating the true heart of the stories while using the cinematic template to add to the world created by Suzanne Collins.

CATCHING FIRE successfully raises the scale and stakes of the story surrounding the series’ main protagonist Katniss Everdeen, staring Hollywood darling and rising mega-star Jennifer Lawrence. This film takes the cast on an emotional rollercoaster that can be counted among the classic Hollywood dramas. The slow build of anticipation of the impending revolution within Panem is truly captivating. The supporting cast continues to be strong with Sam Claflin almost stealing the show as Finnick Odair. There’s no doubt this role could very well propel the 27 year old towards the elite level of Hollywood actors.

I had pretty high expectations for this film despite staying as fresh from trailers and marketing as possible. My expectations were easily exceeded. It’s always an odd dynamic going into a film basically knowing the entire plot including how it will end. I’m a big fan of the novel series and despite “knowing” what was coming, CATCHING FIRE easily kept me enthralled, emotionally connected, and thoroughly entertained. This is a film I will attend multiple times in the theater before its run is over. That is the biggest compliment I can give it considering multiple viewings are usually only reserved for my beloved superhero and sci-fi genre films.

If you haven’t seen CATCHING FIRE yet, I implore you to see it in an IMAX theater. The entire arena sequence which is around 50 minutes was filmed entirely with IMAX cameras. This is the most superior format you can view a film in and it is well worth the extra price of admission. This series of books and films may not be Modern Myth Media’s normal niche but as far as I’m concerned, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen is the greatest portrayal of Wonder Woman in a live-action film we’ve seen to this point. Depending on what happens in the superhero film genre in the next few years, this may be the best portrayal we ever have. I sincerely hope not but if that ends up being the case, I won’t be that disappointed.

ARROW Casts Daughter of Ra’s al Ghul

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ARROW continues on its path of borrowing characters from the world of the Caped Crusader. According to a report over at TV Guide, SPARTACUS alum, Katrina Law has been cast as Ra’s al Ghul’s estranged daughter Nyssa.

From the TV Guide report:

“In the comics, it’s revealed that Ra’s al Ghul had a love child while traveling through Russia, making Nyssa the half-sister of Talia al Ghul, whom Marion Cotillard portrayed in The Dark Knight Rises. With Nyssa coming to town, it may give some credence to a popular theory that Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau) is secretly Talia — or we could just be crazy!”

Since the “daughter of Ra’s al Ghul” was mentioned in a previous episode of ARROW, it comes as no surprise that we will be getting an appearance in a future episode. If the storyline stays somewhat loyal to the comics, the popular rumor that Nyssa’s half-sister and Talia in disguise is none other than Isabel Rochev just gained some possible validity. It’s still speculation at this point but it’s something else to look forward to on this rapidly improving second season of ARROW.

Review: ARROW Ep. 201 ‘City of Heroes’

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Check out the most recent episode of MMM TV for our initial reaction to last night’s episode of Arrow.

(Green) Arrow has returned to Starling City to help its inhabitants rebuild from the destruction of the devastating earthquake from the end of last season!

Well, not really.

Season two picks up in virtually the same place as season one began. Oliver Queen was back on the same island he escaped just 12 months ago. This time, by his own choice of self-imposed exile. I have to admit I was a bit surprised at this choice. It accomplished the task of showing that Oliver has withdrawn from everything and everyone in the wake of his life-long best friend’s death but it gave the distinct impression that Mr. Queen still has some growing up to do. In my opinion, it was a step back in his character arc that wasn’t completely necessary. Obviously, we needed to see Oliver dealing with the ramifications of Tommy’s death but running away from the city he swore to save just a few months ago seems a bit off. Continue reading

ARROW Season 2 – A Look Ahead

In just about ten days, everyone’s favorite archer (sorry Hawkeye), will make his return for the second season of ARROW on the CW. As someone who significantly enjoyed the first season, I’m very excited to see what’s in store for “The Hood.” Given the already announced casting news of Grant Gustin as TV’s Barry Allen aka The Flash, the scope of what we can expect in this new season seems to be growing exponentially. For all intents and purposes, ARROW seems to be leading the way in expanding the DC Universe among mainstream audiences.

As a lifelong DC Comics fan, I’m excited that WB seems to be finally moving towards the aggressive side of exploiting their IP, albeit on the small screen. Recently announced GOTHAM and CONSTANTINE are further evidence that the recent leadership change at the studio may end up proving fruitful for the studio and fans alike. While TV is not always the first preference when it comes to comic book/superhero properties, I do appreciate the initial planning and effort that is being put forth. Only time will tell if these small screen endeavors increase the chances of big screen franchises in the years to come.

When it comes to Oliver Queen and the return to the earthquake-ravaged Starling City, the future in uncertain but exciting. DC/WB are being aggressive in their planned expansion of the DC Universe. There are a few ways that this can be viewed. I love the idea of expanding the universe in which the Green Arrow exists, but I hope it doesn’t come at a cost to the integrity of the show. Seeing other recognizable characters from DC Comics in a live-action TV show has the potential be a great thing. However, the title of this show is ARROW. It’s not the DC Universe, it’s not Justice League. I don’t have an issue with using ARROW to launch THE FLASH for next year, but expanding the DC Universe should never go past a couple episode guest spot.

During its later years, SMALLVILLE nearly went full-on Justice League with their story lines. Some would argue that those were some of the highlights of the entire series and I enjoyed those stories quite a bit too. However, I never really got on board for a “JV” Justice League. These weren’t fully formed characters but they were already marching towards what we knew they would eventually become throughout the preceding decades of comic book stories. In my opinion, there are just certain aspects of the comic book/superhero universe better suited for the multiplexes.

Many fans, including myself, are disappointed at the possibility of the delayed cinematic version of The Flash now that the character has been repurposed for The CW. I think the idea to spin his show out of ARROW is a pretty inspired and smart idea. Unfortunately, I know that Barry Allen will still not be getting the full canvas of storytelling that only a movie screen can offer. I have no reason at this time to doubt that THE FLASH can be a compelling weekly story to tell on TV, but it’s going to need to go above and beyond what ARROW does consistently to be considered a true hit. The landscape for storytelling changes when you have main characters with superpowers. Not only does this elevate expectations for itself but it does for ARROW as well. And therein lies the heart of my concern.

I’m a firm believer in the mantra of the story comes first. On one hand, it’s obvious that DC/WB are pushing to expand the reach of their IP. On the other hand, they are directly using an existing show as a springboard. Was this a studio mandate or did the writers of ARROW in the early stages of working on season two come up with a great reason to bring Barry Allen into the same world they created for Oliver Queen? As of right now, I don’t believe the latter is true. For those of us who prefer to see our favorite DC Comics characters on the silver screen, what happens in season two of ARROW could be a double-edged sword. If the appearance of The Flash and subsequent spin-off TV series end up being a significant success, fans of DC Comics may be in for the long haul in front of their TV screens if they want to enjoy those characters in a live-action format. Outside of Batman, Superman, and possibly Wonder Woman, the shared DC Cinematic Universe could be on the way to becoming the DC Televised Universe.

Now would probably be a good time to insert “beggars can’t be choosers” into my concerned stream of consciousness. And yes, that’s true. I know films are expensive and come with a much greater risk versus the potential return on investment. I know that over time, TV shows can reach a far greater audience than a movie ever could. But I don’t want the live-action DC Universe to grow just because of a executive mandate. I want the push to expand to come first and foremost from the heart of creativity.

TV and Film are and always will be a business. But people don’t purchase movie tickets or program their DVR’s just because something new is coming. They do it because they want to be entertained. They want to escape. They want to connect. It’s great to have variety and so many choices for entertainment. But there are far fewer choices that ever stand the test of time. So many pilots and films come out each year and are quickly forgotten. But every once in awhile a team of creative people come along and produce something that you will never forget. It doesn’t matter if it’s a TV show or a film, the right experience can stay with you.

My only hope for season two of ARROW is that this time next year, I’ll be reminiscing about how great the stories were and not about how many characters I recognized from the DC Universe.

Keep your browsers locked on Modern Myth Media for our upcoming coverage of ARROW season two!

 

‘The Wolverine’ Review

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Based on the celebrated comic book arc, this epic action-adventure takes Wolverine, the most iconic character of the X-Men universe, to modern day Japan. Out of his depth in an unknown world he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.

With all the talk over the past week about the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film, The Wolverine became a little lost in the shuffle amid countless tweets, posts, and articles of people’s wish lists for the next actor to don the cape and cowl. However, The Wolverine features a lead actor in Hugh Jackman that I feel will be one of the most difficult people to follow when the next actor is nominated to don the adamantium claws.

Tracking is pointing towards a very solid opening weekend of $70-80 million for The Wolverine. It definitely deserves that type of financial success and hopefully ends higher than predicted. Although this film had initial trouble getting production of the ground with delays and director changes, the final product delivered by Jackman and director James Mangold is something they can both be proud of.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a disappointment to most fans of the character. While I never shared the same vitriol that some did towards that film, I wasn’t blind enough to see that it fell significantly short of expectations. The Wolverine more than makes up for the shortcomings of its prequel predecessor. It’s not without its own set of issues but generally they pale in comparison to those found in ‘Origins.’

If I could describe this film in two words, those words would be “heart” and “emotion.” I know what you’re thinking, those are kind of the same thing. But within the context of this film, I don’t think they are. You can feel the heart being poured in by Hugh Jackman in every scene. You can also feel a wide range of emotion when watching this film. From fear, to humor, to anger, to sympathy, The Wolverine truly has a little bit of everything.

There is plenty of action throughout the film. The pacing is pretty consistent even though there are some significant stretches of time dedicated to character development. I would definitely consider this film to be a character-driven story and not action-driven. I know that may come as a shock to some of you but it’s true. This film achieves a true balance of action and character that a lot of films in the superhero genre often struggle to achieve.

As I said before, there are a few issues I had with the film. The character of “Viper” played by Svetlana Khodchenkova is completely pointless. Her casting and role in this film felt more like Fox wanted to meet a “mutant quota” than anything else. As some other critics have mentioned, the third act is a bit weak. It’s starts off strong but ends a bit flat. Some of the criticisms I have surround some significant spoiler territory so I will save them for our Modern Myth Media Roundtable in a couple days. I don’t feel any of the criticism I have “derail” the movie in any way because the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

All of the supporting cast performances are very good. Famke Janssen’s returning role as Jean Grey is far more significant than anyone could have predicted. And it can definitely be considered a good significant. The numerous fights are well choreographed and you don’t get lost in the shaky-cam shuffle. The CGI is pretty solid throughout but the Silver Samurai effects are a little weak. It would have been great if they could have shot more of that practically or re-designed it so it didn’t need to be basically 100% CGI when in motion.

Finally, I need to do a quick rant about the 3D. My dislike of that format is well-documented. Unfortunately, at the press screening I attended, we were forced to see this film in that way. It was some of the worst 3D I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if it was just because of the projector or theater I was in. My seats were in perfect position but it felt like I was at a perpendicular angle to the screen. Every image and text had a “ghost” around it. It obviously darkened the picture as most 3D does. It was a pretty atrocious experience. Personally, I blame Fox and all of the other studios to continue to force this inferior and distracting format down our throats every chance they get to maximize their profit margins. With the decline in 3D TV sales and 3D TV programming already on its last legs, my only hope is Hollywood puts an end to this ridiculous gimmick. DO NOT SEE THIS FILM OR ANY FILM IN 3D.

*End of rant.*

Overall, I was very pleased with The Wolverine. I know the day will come when a new actor will take over the role. But as of right now, no actor has owned their role in a superhero film and franchise quite like Hugh Jackman has. He may not have the same financial success of a Christian Bale or Robert Downey Jr. in their respective superhero franchises. But judging his entire body of work, which is in its 13th year with no sign of slowing down, Hugh Jackman must be considered among the best of all-time.

I highly recommend you checking out The Wolverine this weekend!