Rumor: Is Dick Grayson In BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN?

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With Batman, Superman, and apparently Wonder Woman set to appear in the upcoming MAN OF STEEL sequel, I know what you’re thinking, “This movie needs more superheroes!” As it turns out, there might be one more, though he may not necessarily be in costume. Earlier tonight, El Mayimbe of Latino Review reported a rumor he’s heard that Dick Grayson, the original Robin and eventual Nightwing, will appear in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN. El Mayimbe cautions that he is still trying to confirm this rumor, but that casting breakdowns seeking a young “John Hawkes” type for the film along with Warner Bros. seeking a 5’10” stuntman trained in martial arts could backup this story.

Again, this is just a rumor, but it is hardly far-fetched. With Bruce Wayne set to star in the film alongside Clark Kent, any prominent member of the Batman mythos has a fair chance to appear, especially those historically closest to Bruce like Alfred, Jim Gordon, and Dick Grayson. As crowded as the superhero locker room may seem for this film, there’s no rule saying Grayson has to appear in costume just because he makes it onto the screen. More importantly, whether Grayson rocks his Robin/Nightwing costume or not, he could fit in nicely as a role player in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN and then be featured much more prominently in a BATMAN solo film that Ben Affleck will probably direct.

For El Mayimbe’s full report, you can head over to Latino Review, or watch the video below.

REVOLUTION: Season Two Review- “The Patriot Act”

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In ways both colossal and subtle, “The Patriot Act” continued to demonstrate the overall improvement in quality that has so remarkably characterized REVOLUTION’s second season. Well written and well acted in equal measure, the episode continued to advance the story by staying focused on what matters most, the characters.

Specifically Dr. Gene Porter, who in an emotional and extremely well acted portrayal by Stephen Collins, anchored the episode. Through flashbacks, we learned his involvement with the Patriots began just after his wife died of cholera. In a coincidence of timing that was in no way suspicious, he was approached by a Patriot and recruited in exchange for access to vaccines (including a cholera vaccine, surprise, surprise) and medical supplies. These flashbacks earned Porter our sympathy as we witnessed the terrible actions he undertook in order to secure medicine for Willoughby.

I’m appreciative of the writers for immediately following last week’s reveal of Porter’s Patriot ties with an episode largely dedicated to exploring his Faustian bargain with them. It was necessary to maintain the integrity of the story and it was well executed, both in how it was written and in the inner conflict so apparent in Collins’ performance. It turned a plot twist that could easily be seen as a contrivance into a compelling aspect of the story.

Equally compelling was Zeljko Ivanek’s performance as Dr. Horn, whose machinations were largely responsible for moving the story forward this week. Ivanek imbued Horn with the desperate menace of a man wielding power to mask his own fears and inadequacies. This revealed itself in his interactions with other characters, primarily Rachel.

The wounded way in which he realized that she had no memory of him, conveyed as his smile of recognition faded into barely masked disappointment, immediately gave the impression of a man perpetually unnoticed before the blackout, with little to no real importance. The pride with which he related the story of his rise to power was apparent, and indicative of his desire to impress “prom queen” Rachel. Their conversation was more about him showing her how important he is now than it was about the nanobots.

In just a few scenes, Dr. Horn was shown to be a capable villain with the kind of complexity that makes for an interesting character. I enjoyed the dynamic between him and the other characters and hope he sticks around for a while.

While this episode was largely dominated by doctors Porter and Horn, REVOLUTION’s other characters were given moments that continued their development as well.

The most impressive being the growth in the relationship between Rachel and Charlie. With two simple scenes, we’re shown that their argument in the kitchen last week meant something. The first is when Charlie asks why Rachel saved Monroe. In typical Rachel fashion, she pragmatically says, “Because we needed him.” Then, more tenderly, “And you asked me to.” She listened to Charlie’s assessment of her last week, and Charlie acknowledges the beginnings of a stronger bond between the two when she comforts Rachel as the episode ends… which was an awesome way to go out, by the way.

The theme of parental reconciliation continued with Neville’s attempts to reclaim Jason from the Patriot trainee program. In scenes that maintained a terrific sense of tension, Neville had to decide whether or not to trust Jason over the protests of Justine Allenford. It’s a testament to the acting of JD Pardo and directing of these sequences that even after Jason proves his trustworthiness by killing the two recruits, you still don’t quite trust him.

Aaron’s story continues to move along a pace that intrigues me without making me impatient for an explanation, which we got the beginnings of during Rachel’s conversation with Dr. Horn. Slowly revealing more about his newfound abilities while steadily bringing them to the forefront of the story is the right choice, and I’m grateful to the writers for avoiding the temptation to focus completely on it. Just please have a plan for this… please.

Honorable Mention this episode goes to David Lyons, whose characterization of a Monroe drugged up on was hilarious and touching. Using this opportunity to show this character with his walls down was a stroke of genius. That first scene when he awakes to find Miles watching over him and says, “Hey buddy!” was awesome.

There are television shows that you look forward to all week. These are shows you watch live because you can’t wait to see the story continue. REVOLUTION has become one of those shows for me. It’s truly found itself this season, and is consistently balancing the kind of character development, pacing, and writing that earns your investment on a weekly basis.

REVOLUTION has become the show I always wanted it to be.

Wonder Woman Probable For BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

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The time for Wonder Woman to appear in a feature film appears to be much sooner than we thought. Two different reports have placed the Amazon Princess in the unofficially titled BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN film, directed by Zack Snyder and starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. Schmoes Know reported actress and former model Olga Kurylenko (OBLIVION) has already tested for the role. At the same time, Forbes blogger and friend of MMM Mark Hughes was filing his own report that Wonder Woman was likely to make at least a cameo appearance in the MAN OF STEEL sequel.

At this time, I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of either report, especially Mark’s. I fully expect Wonder Woman to appear in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN and the only questions are the size of the role and which actress will land it. Olga Kurylenko is an aesthetic fit, but not necessarily a choice that springs the phrase “she’s perfect” to mind. If she wins the role, I hope she’ll bulk up a bit to present a physical manifestation of the character’s internal and external strength.

Regardless, the biggest news here is that Wonder Woman will probably be in a movie that we will all see less than two years from now. If handled correctly, BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN could be the biggest superhero film of all time, both financially and in terms of pop culture relevance. It could certainly propel Wonder Woman into her own solo film, if Warner Bros. was so inclined.

You may have noticed a couple “if’s” in the paragraph above. That’s because the success of this approach is far from a given. Audiences just met their new Superman in MAN OF STEEL and now the sequel is going to introduce a new Batman that is supposedly different from the one they’ve known from the decade prior, and include the cinematic debut of Wonder Woman. There’s a lot of sizzle to help sell this movie, but that only covers the opening weekend.

A great film worthy of the first ever silver screen team up of these three icons still has to be made in order to ensure an enduring box office run and the long-term success of DC on film beyond the bankable bat. Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer have a very large, very difficult balancing act ahead of them in order to satisfy that requirement.

MMM Podcast #149: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Trailer Reaction

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Based on a revered comic book storyline, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, is already one of the most anticipated entries in the franchise in a number of years. Director Bryan Singer is back to guide his band of mutants to the peak he once left them on with X2: X-MEN UNITED. The challenge now is winning back the many lapsed viewers of the franchise in the last seven years. The Gentlemen weigh on with their thoughts on the trailer and how well its accomplishes its task before discussing what DAYS OF FUTURE PAST could mean for the future of X-MEN at Fox.

Download HERE.

MMM TV: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Ep. 106- ‘Fzzt’

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After an off week, MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is back with a new episode, queueing the return of MMM TV’s coverage of the show. This week’s episode, “Fzzt” inspired a heated debate on our panel as opinions varied greatly on how well it achieved its much more emotional goals. One thing’s for sure in that the call for Simmons to take center stage and receive some much needed character development was finally answered. Download the show now so you can jump in on this debate!

Download the show HERE.

Loki Vs. Little Ones… For Laughs

Though international audiences already know the manner of Loki’s punishment for dropping an alien army and its flying space dragons on New York City, the rest of us (unless you’re MMM’s fearless leader Sean Gerber, whose review is here, or longtime MMM pal Mark Hughes, whose review is here) have to wait until this Friday to find out his fate.

Comedy Central has its own take with a new commercial featuring Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Has the God of Mischief been sentenced to eternal Story Time?

Hiddleston is such a good sport. If I were an actor in one of these franchises, I’d be the same way. “Just tell me when and where you need me to show up in costume and in character, and I’m there.”

THOR: THE DARK WORLD Review

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe returns to Asgard in THOR: THE DARK WORLD, the second solo outing for the titular God of Thunder. While its predecessor was mostly earthbound, this superhero sequel offers a much more cosmic adventure with appropriately raised stakes leading to far more epic confrontations. In a magic trick rivaling those of the mischievous Loki himself, THOR: THE DARK WORLD also manages to be one of the funniest movies ever offered in the genre.

The events of the film pickup not far from where MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS left off. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has taken Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back to Asgard so that the latter may answer for the crimes he committed on Earth. Meanwhile, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) has moved from the New Mexico desert where we last saw her to London. She is trying halfheartedly to move on with her life, but really, she is working to find the god she fell in love with only to be cutoff from in the first film.

As one would expect, emotional drama is not the only trouble brewing. An ancient race known as the Dark Elves, led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), are trying to track down a long lost weapon called the Aether, which they hope to use to destroy all life in the nine realms. As the film explains multiple times, now is the most opportune time for Malekith to unleash his diabolical plan as this is the Convergence, a moment when all the worlds align that only comes once every 5,000 years.

All the exposition required to set the table for the audience weighs THOR: THE DARK WORLD down in the early going. The few inexplicable shortcuts that come later in the film actually play better than the longwinded lectures in the opening half hour. Impossible science is still impossible no matter how much detail one uses to define it. Sometimes it’s best to state the terms as simply and efficiently as possible, then move on.

Once the feared threat finally emerges, the story breaks free of its expository chains, kicking into emotional and action overdrive. What made THOR so great in 2011 was the intense, familial conflicts between the King of Asgard, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and his two sons, Thor and Loki. Those elements are back in play for the sequel with a darker, heavier tone.

Hopkins is brilliant as he takes a much colder approach to Odin. He is a king at war and on a more personal level, he is a father who’s lost all hope for his son, Loki. There is no warmth in his eyes as he looks upon the adopted child he once saved from abandonment. Odin is no longer ashamed of his firstborn, Thor, but he is very stern while discussing his expectations of the son who is scheduled to be king. Odin is the father who knows best and believes it’s about time his sons listened.

Hopkins’ cold king is balanced by his queen, Frigga (Rene Russo). Russo is tasked with more in this film compared to her first appearance and she delivers in a big way. Russo’s Frigga shows a mother’s heartbroken disappointment cannot sever the unconditional love she has for her child. She will never condone Loki’s actions, but she still has hope for the smallest hint of the man (or god) she raised him to be. It is a moving performance that is rounded out by scenes that show Frigga’s sword-playing physicality matches her unrelenting heart.

Chris Hemsworth does an excellent job of communicating the emotional growth his character has gone through over the course of three cinematic appearances. While still fully capable of wielding Mjolnir to great effect, Thor is no longer an ego-fueled action junkie. He is a wiser, more compassionate soul who fights to save lives, not attain more personal glory. His love for Jane Foster feels even more authentic, as does his affection for Loki despite Thor claiming, more like wishing he felt none at all. His heart plays host to the war between his hatred of Loki the villain and his love for Loki as his only brother. The uneasy bond between the two godly brothers is the source of some of the film’s funniest dialogue, making Thor’s plight all the more relatable.

Tom Hiddleston is just getting too damned good as Loki. Devilish villainy is never more fun than when Loki is scheming. Hiddleston is arguably the second most valuable performer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Robert Downey, Jr., as he continues to add layer after entertaining layer onto such a remarkable character. Loki is to be loved, hated, laughed with, and laughed at depending on the scene, but what makes the character so special is the glimmer Hiddleston puts in the character’s eyes that makes one feel as though there is still someone inside that green costume worth rooting for. It doesn’t even matter whether or not redemption is actually possible; we’ll just convince ourselves it is to justify how much we love seeing Loki onscreen.

Devious though he may be, Loki is not this film’s chief antagonist. Christopher Eccleston does the honors here as Malekith, ruler of the aforementioned Dark Elves. There’s nothing really multi-dimensional about the character; he’s mad at the universe and wants to destroy all life in it, save for himself and his dark brethren. In a film already rich in depth of character elsewhere, it’s perfectly fine and perhaps even better for the bad guy to just be a bad guy. His job is to be a challenging adversary for the hero and Malekith is exactly that.

As a centerpiece of the plot, Portman turns in a very good performance as Jane Foster. Like Frigga, Foster is given a bigger canvas on which to paint a more diverse portrait of her character. Though she is in danger throughout much of the film, Foster shows little to no fear. She’s strong enough to dodge intimidation from any source other than her future in-laws. The only notable misstep with her character is the suggestion that Foster has done little but mope around in the two years Thor has been away from her. It’s funny to see her first attempt at moving on at the expense her humorously hapless date, Richard (Chris O’Dowd), but her motivation as a person and as a scientist should not be so reliant on her man, or god.

The rest of the cast is comprised of superb role players. Kat Dennings reprises the role of Jane Foster’s intern, Darcy, a character with impeccable timing that completely embodies the comic spirit of the feature. Stellan Skarsgard steals a scene or two as Erik Selvig, the scientist still trying to get over his Loki hangover from THE AVENGERS. Thor’s Asgardian allies, Sif (Jaimie Akexander), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (Zachary Levi), and the watchful Heimdall (Idris Elba) all make good on their somewhat limited screen time to wield weapons and an even sharper wit. An opportunity was missed by not exploring her character a little further, but Alexander does well in playing Sif as a woman who loves Thor, but does not plan her entire life around him. She cares far more about the good of all the nine realms and the trillions of souls residing within them.

The collaborative nature of Marvel filmmaking can be seen all over THOR: THE DARK WORLD. Director Alan Taylor successfully runs Asgard through his GAME OF THRONES filter to make the Realm Eternal actually look like a place that has been around and lived in since the dawn of time while still retaining its awe-inspiring majesty. The costumes and sets, both practical and digital, are beautiful to behold. Journeys across the other realms show harsher, more savage environments that illustrate the necessity of a protector like Thor while giving the film a much grander sense of scale than most of its counterparts in the genre. There is a steady escalation as the story builds to bigger, increasingly epic battles that befit the gods taking part in them.

As intense as matters get, THOR: THE DARK WORLD maintains and even exceeds the level of fun that has become a staple of Marvel movies. This movie, while not a comedy, is flat out funny. Most if not all of the jokes stick the landing. Well-timed quips tickle ribs while reactionary humor to the amazing, but sometimes impractical nature of superhero adventures busts guts. Credit for the balancing act between drama, action, fun, and humor must be paid to the cast and screenwriters Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD is a very welcome addition to the evermore impressive legacy being built by Marvel Studios. It has its share of flaws, but they are all more than compensated for by the film’s sense of wonder and fun. Propelled by a strong emotional core, this latest piece of superhero cinema pulls cheers, laughs, and perhaps even a few tears from its audience. As a fantastical thrill ride, THOR: THE DARK WORLD engages viewers on a multitude of levels, ultimately delivering an incredibly entertaining experience.

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Jackman, Mangold In Talks To SNIKT! Again!

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Well! That was unexpected!

Mike Fleming just reported on Deadline that Hugh Jackman and THE WOLVERINE director James Mangold are in talks with Twentieth Century Fox for another solo Wolverine movie, thanks in no small part to a $413 million international box office haul that’s made it the second highest grossing X-MEN film to date.

Fleming reports that Mangold is writing a treatment with longtime franchise shepherd Lauren Schuler-Donner set to produce.

(So much for Sean’s recent Tweet wondering if Fox might finally consider getting out of the X-Men business if DAYS OF FUTURE PAST doesn’t make big bank. Looks like Fox is planning for the long haul.)

The Gentlemen talked about the movie in a podcast roundtable you can hear here, and you can read our very own Josh Costella’s review here.

I liked the movie but didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped to because of issues with its final act; Jackman’s dedication to the character and his fans is second to none in this genre, and the film’s issues were rooted largely in its shooting script. Let’s hope this next installment dials back a bit on some of the sillier elements and the studio’s need to shoehorn in as many extra mutants as possible.

(Though maybe we’ll see some more ninja action in the Extended Cut arriving on Blu-ray on December 3. Just be careful which version you buy; the Extended Cut is only available in the 3D set.)

This will be Jackman’s eighth time playing the character. Eight! That’s so awesome. I love the guy.

From Batman to Superman to the Avengers and Beyond! Our Heroes. Our Mythology.