Tag Archive: spiderman


Again, nothing seems to have really peaked my interest THAT much in the world of movies this week, other than the release of the brilliant Looper, of course.

First up, the best news of the week I think is the announcement that writer and actor Seth MacFarlane will be hosting the 85th Academy Awards, or the Oscars as the rest of us know them. In recent years the awards have opted for actors/actresses to host the ceremony so it is a nice change that a writer will be hosting it, meaning a lot of his material will be his own. Now this obviously becomes somewhat of a risk because MacFarlane is known for being pretty intense with his jokes and right on the border between what is acceptable and what is not (that line being crossed on more than one occasion). However, I am looking forward to his performance as I do think he is a very talented writer and he should be able to keep everyone entertained with ease. When James Franco co-hosted the Oscars in 2010 (alongside Anne Hathaway) he was nominated for Best Actor, I doubt that MacFarlane’s Ted will be winning anything though.

Also this week Fox announced that Mark Millar has been hired to oversee all of their current Marvel products, much in the same way that Joss Whedon is doing actually AT Marvel but probably to less effect in Millar’s case and to a lot less excitement. That being said, this is probably a good move because Millar has a history writing comic books for Marvel having contributed to X-Men comic books and the Civil War storyline. He clearly has an understanding of how comic books work and how the comic book should influence the movies (much like Whedon) and God knows Fox do need some help with their Marvel properties. Fox currently has X-Men: Days of Future Past and a Fantastic Four reboot in the pipeline.

In other Marvel related news (I don’t know if you can tell from my blog but I do love Marvel) there is more good news! The Amazing Spider-Man came out this year and was without a doubt the best film based on a Marvel property not made by Marvel Studios in a good few years! Part of this was down to the fact that Marc Webb was directing and Andrew Garfield was playing a role he suits down to the ground: Peter Parker. I had always assumed that Garfield would be returning for the sequel but directors are usually more touch and go with many directors leaving after one instalment. But this week the return of both Webb and Garfield was announced to a chorus of cheers.

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John Carter of Mars (as it was named originally before becoming simply ‘John Carter‘) was meant to be the next huge franchise. At least, that was what Disney had hoped for anyway. Disney have had great success with the average Pirates of the Caribbean franchise but have failed to replicate this in recent years with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Tron: Legacy and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. John Carter, the budget suggests, was thought to be a sure fire hit.

Unfortunately, Disney has recently announced in a statement to shareholders that John Carter has made substantial losses. £126 million to be exact. So why did the film fail? Here are a few possible reasons.

Taylor Kitsch had a lot of expectations thrust upon him.

 

The Cast: The films boasts some recognisable names: Thomas Haden Church, Dominic West, Mark Strong, Willem Dafoe and Bryan Cranston and usually this bodes well, but as good as they are none of them are that familiar with huge blockbusters (minus Dafoe in the first Spider-man film) or have a lot of mainstream cinema fans. The big risk was putting a relatively unknown actor in the lead role; Taylor Kitsch had a small part in X-men Origins: Wolverine but is best known for his role in television series Friday Night Lights. My point is, he is not a leading man, he is barely even a supporting man. He is not someone that Disney should have rested such huge expectations on.

 

The Marketing: This movie was given a lot of promotion, there have been trailers all over the television and internet for weeks, maybe even months. But none of the trailers really showed the audience what the film was about, there was nothing that could appeal to the audience or pull them in, nothing to hook viewers. Also, the name change from ‘John Carter of Mars‘ to just ‘John Carter‘ was a mistake in my opinion. At least with the reference to Mars in the title there is something different, it might interest science fiction fans more than just a person’s name would. The film could be about anyone!

Andrew Stanton: One of Pixar's finest but a risky choice?

The Director: This is not an insult to Andrew Stanton at all, more of an acknowledgement of the risk that was taken in his appointment. Stanton co-directed A Bug’s Life and directed himself Finding Nemo and Wall-E; all three are terrific films and he did a good job on them. But there is a difference between directing an animated film and directing a huge scale, big budget blockbuster. It was a risk taken by Disney, but if you’re not going to have an accomplished leading man then surely an accomplished live-action director is a must.

It’s All Been Done Before: The books on which John Carter is based were written over 70 years ago. They have influenced much of modern science fiction and therefore offers nothing new to the film scene anymore. Avatar, for example, used a similar storyline but did it on a much bigger scale. The characters were stronger, the inhabitants of another planet looked better and all in all the special effects were like nothing anyone had ever seen before. Newer science fiction, whilst based on John Carter, has left the source material behind leaving nothing fresh for that audience to see here.

Obviously there are more reasons that John Carter has flopped and these are just a few of my theories behind the huge losses. Disney may be slightly worried by the losses at the minute but with Pixar’s Brave coming up and Marvel’s The Avengers also arriving in cinemas over the next couple of months they can be in no doubt that they will make that money back easily.

Arrested for making such a horrible sequel.

When audiences enjoy a film, sometimes they want more, they feel like the character’s journey is not complete. They want to see their favourite characters on the big screen more than once and fall in love with them all over again. Yet when they get their wishes there is always a section of the fans who lambast the producers and film makers for daring to make a sequel and, in some cases, for ruining the first movie as well. So why is it difficult to make a sequel work? Below are some of the reasons I have picked out.

Attempts to be too clever: Ocean’s Twelve is the epitome of awful sequels. The first, Ocean’s Eleven, was brilliant; it brought charm, wit, humour, style and smooth to the screen. It was everything Ocean’s Twelve wasn’t. Twelve tried to run a clever storyline with a twist at the end and it didn’t work at all. It just ended up being a horrible, boring film and the less said about it, the better.

Iron Man 2 tried to run too many storylines with too many new characters.

Trying to do too much: A lot of sequels fall into this category. The first film sets up the characters and completes a story and then, in order to make the sequel better, writers, producers and directors try to cram too much into the next film and it takes away the experience because the storyline runs too thin. This is the case with sequels such as Iron Man 2, in which a lot of work is needed to be done in order to tie in to The Avengers appropriately and so that storyline is thinned out as well as the other storyline involving Whiplash and audiences are left with a boring, lacklustre sequel to a film that promised so much.

No returning cast members: Sometimes, the big wigs at production companies decide that they can make a sequel work even without the stars of the first film. The classic case of this is Grease 2. Grease had charm, loveable characters and great humour and the two leads were perfect: John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. But the two decided they would not return for a sequel and it was made without them. In a sequel audiences want to see their favourite characters return to the screen, not be introduced to more random people.

Cashing in: It doesn’t take a genius to realise that a lot of sequels, if not all of them, are made to cash in on the commercial success of the original film. This leads to film makers taking good parts of the original film and making it more important in the sequel. An example of this is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; everyone loves Captain Jack Sparrow in the first film, but he plays in support to the main story of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann and his appearances make the film comical.  In At World’s End, we are given too much Jack Sparrow to the point of huge annoyance.

The best of Bourne was saved for the third instalment.

The above are just a selection of some of the various reasons sequels do not work and a few examples of bad sequels. This is not to say that all sequels are bad. When done right they can add character development, build up great storylines and become some of the best films ever made. The Bourne Ultimatum, Spider-man 2, The Dark Knight and X2: X-men United are all examples of sequels getting it right.

When casting someone in a comic book movie it is vital that you choose the right person or you face the wrath of the fanboys whom, when they get together, are a force to be reckoned with. If the casting is wrong in a comic book movie it puts fans off, the money doesn’t come in and usually (but not always) when the casting is wrong, the film ends up being total and utter rubbish. The following were all criticised by fanboys and are my chosen 8 worst comic book movie castings.

8. Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane

In 2006 Warner Bros. tried to give new life into the Superman franchise as they have done with Batman. Brandon Routh (miscast himself) played Superman whilst Kate Bosworth took the role of Lois Lane. The problem here is that Bosworth was not believable as Lois Lane; she was too nicey nice and didn’t put across the image of the feisty news reporter that worked her way up to the top of the chain that comic book fans admired her for. She had lost her character.

 

 

7. Jessica Alba as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman

Everyone knows that the Fantastic Four films are not good, but this casting was on of the worst decisions of the film makers. It seemed like Alba was there because she has sex appeal; the scene on the bridge where she stripped down to her underwear in the first film was only written after Alba had taken the part. This must show that when casting for Sue Storm she was there for her looks, not because she suited the role, and fans made sure people knew about that.

 

 

6. Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin

Widely considered by many to be the worst comic book movie of all time, this little piece of casting was one (of thousands) of the things that contributed to the awfulness of Batman & Robin. It was never going to work and whoever thought that casting O’Donnell in the role would be a good idea needs their head checking and how he managed to last two films as Robin is beyond me!

 

 

 

 

5. Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom

Eddie Brock, when he becomes Venom, is Spider-Man’s most famous enemy, his arch nemesis. Before that, when he is just Eddie Brock he is already a physical powerhouse that could beat up pretty much any normal person he wanted. So why on earth was Topher Grace cast in this role? He was nothing like his comic book counterpart in physique and fan reaction showed that this was a very unpopular decision indeed!

 

4. Ioan Gruffud as Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic

The male representative of Marvel’s most miscast couple on screen is Ioan Gruffud as Mr Fantastic. Even if you get past the fact that someone like Gruffud manages to pull Jessica Alba, there is still the problem with the character. Gruffud manages to drain all life out of one of the cleverest minds on the planet and makes for a very dull performance in an already under-par film. Not good Ioan.

 

 

 

 

3. Halle Berry as Catwoman

For some reason, unbeknownst to everyone, the film Catwoman was made. And for an even more obscure reason that even fewer people know the answer to Halle Berry was cast in the lead role. Berry won a Razzie for this film for the worst performance by a leading actress. The writers and film makers didn’t do her any favours to be honest but at the end of the day she was totally miscast and gave us a horrible portrayal of Catwoman.

 

2. George Clooney as Bruce Wayne/Batman

Arguably one of the best actors of his generation with an Oscar to his name, but unfortunately the most handsome Batman is also the worst Batman to grace the screen. Clooney has one of his rare blips with this film but it is not all his fault. The film itself is terrible anyway, but casting George Clooney as Bruce Wayne was never going to work, I don’t know what it is but Clooney lacks a certain spark, a quality that Bruce Wayne needed. Luckily though, this film did nothing to hamper Clooney’s career.

 

 

 

And the award for most totally miscast person in a comic book movie goes to…

1. Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider

This was awful. The film. The acting. The characters. The casting. There was nothing good about Ghost Rider and when they decided to ‘reboot’ the franchise with a sequel, they stuck with Nicolas Cage as the main character. Bad decision. Nicolas Cage is a horrible choice for Johnny Blaze, he just does not embody the character at all! If you have to CGI your stars body then you clearly haven’t made the right casting choice. Just because he is a fan of the character does not mean he would play them well; somebody younger required. And please, please, please… STOP with the Ghost Rider films!

 

(Dis)Honourable mentions

Halle Berry – Storm

Ben Affleck – Daredevil

Jennifer Garner – Elektra

Ryan Reynolds – Green Lantern

Vinnie Jones – Juggernaut

Casting is a vital part of the film; if you get the wrong actor to play a character it can go horribly wrong and the whole movie could fail because of it. Never is this more true than in the world of comic book movies. Millions of fans all over the world are already in love with the characters before they are brought to the big screen and if you cast someone that the fans are not happy about they will not hold back, you shall know about it! But when casting goes right, it brings out some of the best performances and best characters in the world. Here are my top eight perfectly cast comic book movie characters.

8. Chris Evans as The Human Torch

Known to many comic book fans now as Captain America, Evans made his first appearance in comic book movies in the awful Fantastic Four films. Despite both films being criticised heavily by almost everyone, fans and critics alike, nobody could criticise Chris Evans as Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. He outperformed the rest of the cast by a country mile and bought a much needed charm and sense of humour to the role.

7. Ed Norton as Bruce Banner

When it was announced that Ed Norton would not return for The Avengers as Bruce Banner fans were outraged and with good reason. Norton’s performance as the troubled scientist who turns into the Incredible Hulk was brilliant. Norton had a lot of hard work to do because of the negative fan reaction to Ang Lee’s 2003 interpretation of the character but the casting of Norton and his incredible performance won the hearts of many Hulk fans.

6. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson

The original Spider-man trilogy, directed by Sam Raimi, may not have been the most perfectly cast Spider-man film in the world but J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson was a masterpiece. He looked identical to the comic book portrayal of the character and fans loved his performance. A highlight of the, soon to be rebooted, Spider-man franchise.

5. Christopher Reeve as Superman

Does this really need explaining? The man IS Superman. There has never been a better Superman before or since on neither the big screen or small screen. Reeve was an excellent casting as the Man of Steel and is still celebrated among comic book fans.

4. Heath Ledger as The Joker

Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his appearance as the Joker and rightfully so. Ledger managed to bring this psychotic vision of The Dark Knight’s arch nemesis to the screen and make him genuinely scary. It was a sad loss when he passed away but he will always be remembered as the Joker and one of comic book movie’s finest castings.

3. Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl

Many people don’t think of Kick-Ass when they think of comic book adaptations but this is where the origins of the story lie. Chloe Moretz is great as the ‘hero’ Hit Girl. She is a small girl who packs a powerful performance and is the star of Kick Ass without a doubt. She has a huge career ahead of her built on this performance.

2. Patrick Stewart as Professor X

Straight off, Patrick Stewart looks the part, down to a tee. But his performance further proves why he was the perfect choice to play the mentor to the X-men, Professor X. His calm and cool demeanour brought a lot of character to the role and then in the second instalment, X2 (one of the best comic book movies ever made) he was able to show off the emotional side to his character even more. And as well as that, his chemistry with Ian McKellen’s Magneto was a joy to behold. A fine casting decision.

And finally…

1. Robert Downey Jnr. as Tony Stark

Perfection!

The perfect casting of a comic book character if ever there was one. Downey Jnr doesn’t just play the character, he actually is Tony Stark. He has the look sorted; he has the charm, the wit, the charisma and you believe his intelligence. Iron Man was the beginning of the whole Marvel Universe which comes together this summer with The Avengers so a lot was riding on this first film and Robert Downey Jnr drew the plaudits right from the offset. Tony Stark came to life in the Iron Man films and made Downey Jnr a household name again; his performance was a joy to behold and I sincerely hope he is Tony Stark for a long time to come.

Honourable mentions

Ian McKellen – Magneto

Kelsey Grammer – Beast

Ron Perlman – Hellboy

Jackie Earl Haley – Rorschach

Anthony Hopkins – Odin

The AMAZING Spider-Man

UK Cinema Release: 4th July 2012

So hands up who is sick of reboots? Yeah, I thought so, most people. And here we go again, a Spider-Man reboot just ten years after the original film was made. Why do we need a new one? BUT, after watching this trailer, I’m more excited for it than I was before, and I was excited anyway.

This incarnation, from the trailer and from what we know about the film, seems to follow the comic book origins more closely. For a start there are mechanical web slingers, rather than organic and there is also no sign of Mary Jane, with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) playing the love interest of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield). Another difference to the Sam Raimi films is the idea of who Peter Parker is as a character; in the original trilogy Peter was a loser at school and in love, whereas here we have the wise-cracking Spider-Man that fans of the comic books love.

In this trailer we get a clear shot of what the Lizard looks like and many of the complaints about him are the fact that his face is ‘too human’ rather than him actually having a snout, but in my opinion Lizard looks great in the trailer and I’m sure he will look fine in the finished film too. It seems as though the story focuses more on character than Raimi’s versions, with a large part of the story being based on the fact that Peter Parker wants to find out why his parents left him with Uncle Ben and Aunt May.

The trailer looks exciting, the fight scenes look great, Stone and Garfield are fantastic young talents and will no doubt excel in their roles. Let’s hope that this version of The Amazing Spider-Man proves you can add depth to characters whilst still keeping the film light.