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If two of the most anticipated movies from this year – Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 – have anything in common, it's that they are both science fiction and fantasy movies rich with new ideas. In addition, they are also both polarizing films, garnering a divisive response from both hardcore Star Wars devotees and mainstream audiences. In this editorial, however, I want to examine another common thread that binds both movies: how they both deconstruct decades of shared franchise history to show how a hero can be anyone. Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Blade Runner 2049 have something characteristically in common. You might not have noticed this at first, but both films feature heroes, Daisy Ridley's Rey and Ryan Gosling's Officer K, that are more similar than you might think.
"Sometimes to love someone… you have to be a stranger." Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 is a unique creation. It comes 35 years after Ridley Scott's original masterpiece, which is a cult classic that was almost unanimously rejected at its original release by both audiences and critics. It's a sequel to a moody, atmospheric science fiction film being advertised as an event blockbuster. While Blade Runner 2049 is not an action film, it definitely should be viewed as an event. While mainstream audiences may not be swarming in large masses to see the film, there is no question to the film's majesty and beauty. Let's take a closer look at why Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 is the perfect sequel and a singular creation in its own right.
Spider-Man finally swung home. Back in February of 2015, I wrote about why Spider-Man swinging back to Marvel Studios would be a good thing for the famed webslinger. Now, two years later, we have Spider-Man: Homecoming, the sixth Spider-Man film that actually feels like the first. The film, which stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Michael Keaton as The Vulture, is exhilarating, extremely well-made and most excitingly of all, refreshing. It shows how you properly reboot a character like Spider-Man, cementing Kevin Fiege and Marvel Studios as creative powerhouses who truly care about these characters. Let's take a look at why Homecoming was the perfect Spidey reboot - and what's in store for him after this.
What a crazy few weeks it has been for Hollywood. As we all know, directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller were shockingly fired from Disney's still-untitled Han Solo project a few weeks ago. It was shocking because they were already several months into filming the new Star Wars Story movie, with only a couple of weeks remaining. Lucasfilm eventually announced that Ron Howard had been hired to replace them. Lord & Miller aren't the first directors to not work well within the studio system as of late. Jon Favreau, Edward Norton, Patty Jenkins and Edgar Wright have all faced similar problems in recent years. So, are auteur filmmakers doomed? Let's take a look at why studios like Disney & Marvel still need auteur filmmakers.
When a movie has the word "amazing" in the title, it comes with certain expectations. For The Amazing Spider-Man movies, however, they often failed to live up to their title. After Sam Raimi decided not to try to leave the franchise on a high note making Spider-Man 4, Sony and Columbia fast-tracked their plans to reboot Spider-Man. The response was mixed. After all, Spider-Man 3 had just come out a couple years before. Was a reboot needed so soon? That didn't stop the studio, however. The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, would revisit the origin story over two muddled films, star Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone and would be directed by 500 Days of Summer helmer Marc Webb. In the last installment of our Spider-Man retrospective series in anticipation of Spider-Man: Homecoming arriving, let's take a look at how Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man movies were, unfortunately, less than amazing.
Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, released in May of 2007, is one weird movie. It suffers from the curse of the "threequel", a film with potential that is overwhelmingly disappointing. In my previous editorial in this ongoing Spider-Man retrospective series, I talked about how Spider-Man 2 swings among some of the best sequels in cinema history. If Spider-Man 2 is the Superman II of the Spider-Man series, then Spider-Man 3 is the Superman III of the franchise - but with considerably weirder dance sequences. In the newest edition of our "Looking Back" series, let's take a look at why Spider-Man 3 begins the series of diminishing returns for Spider-Man movies as one of the most disappointing threequels in modern superhero film history.
When it comes to sequels, there an expectation to raise the bar. If you think of some of the best sequels of all time, whether that's The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or Aliens (to name a few), each film improved upon the foundation of the first in major ways. In the second part of our weekly Spider-Man retrospective series leading up to the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7th this summer, we take a look at how Sam Raimi raised the bar for not only Spider-Man movies, but the entire superhero genre itself with Spider-Man 2. The superhero sequel hit theaters on June 30th, 2004 (that's 13 years ago!), just a week before 4th of July, and it once again went on to set records at the box office and beyond.
It was the summer of 2002. The superhero genre was at a much different place than it is today. This was before "shared universes" were a known phrase in anyone's vocabulary. It was before superhero movies were even a sub-genre unto themselves. A little movie ("little" even though it cost ~$130 million to make) called Spider-Man would spin its web into cinemas and explode onto the scene. It was a big hit, at the time, with the biggest opening weekend of all-time (earning $114.8 million which, back then, was a huge achievement) and it started a cultural zeitgeist that has pervaded pop culture ever since. With Sony's latest iteration of Spidey, titled Spider-Man: Homecoming, swinging into theaters starting July 7th this summer, let's take a look back at the original film that helped define what we've come to know today as the superhero movie.
Well, Warner Bros can breathe a sigh of relief. Wonder Woman is a resounding success. The Gal Gadot-starring, Patty Jenkins-directed film made history by making $100 million in its opening weekend, the biggest opening for any woman-directed movie. The reviews have been glowing, and audience reception seems overwhelmingly positive. Wonder Woman is a bona fide hit for the studio, a home run that Warner Bros certainly needed. With the first well-received DCEU movie under their utility belts, all masked heads are turned to the next DCEU offering, Justice League, opening in November. Let's look at how Warner Bros can learn from the success of Wonder Woman as they take the next big leap in their cinematic universe.
Everything old is new again. It was revealed this week that Warner Bros is currently considering rebooting The Matrix and making a new series of movies. Keanu Reeves had hinted at the possibility of returning for a fourth Matrix for some time. However, WB appears to be interested in forging a new path. In a world full of endless remakes, sequels and reinterpretations, a Matrix re-imagining seems wholly unnecessary. So let's explore why The Matrix needs to be revisited, but not rebooted. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that a film as revered and respected as The Matrix would get a reboot. Even a film as treasured as The Lion King is getting a live-action do-over. So let's explore why The Matrix needs to be revisited, but not rebooted.
"Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long." Hugh Jackman has made nine appearances as the Wolverine over seventeen years. In that time, I don't think we've really ever gotten to know who Wolverine is until Logan this year. It is Jackman's definitive, and coincidentally final, performance as the feral mutant. It's hard to realize that it took nine movies and nearly two decades to finally understand what drives this hulking, angry loner. However, let's examine how Logan, even though it marks Hugh Jackman's final time playing Wolverine, actually feels like the first real Wolverine movie yet.
The trades were predicting it for a few weeks. Ben Affleck was even hinting at it for a while. Now it's official. Warner Bros and Ben Affleck announced together on Monday night that Ben Affleck will not be directing The Batman movie as previously planned. Affleck will remain on the project as a producer and star. With Affleck no longer directing the film, there's already a long list of possible candidates who could replace him. Variety reports that Warner Bros already has a shortlist, and there's going to be immense speculation as to who will be on that list. So we decided to put together our own dream list of directors who could replace Affleck on The Batman and make a kick ass, dark, yet different movie about the World's Greatest Detective.