Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thoughts on Comic-Con News

Note: This will of course cover a lot of the animation-related happenings at this year's Comic-Con, but also things on Disney as a whole (i.e. Marvel, Lucasfilm, live action film division...) and maybe some ramblings about other things...

This entry will be updated frequently, much like my coverage of Disney's CinemaCon presentation three months ago...

July 18th - 10:36 P.M. Eastern

DreamWorks Animation had their panel today, showing footage from 2014 releases Mr. Peabody and Sherman and How To Train Your Dragon 2. Exclusive posters were also given away. It was also announced that Kit Harrington (Jon Snow in Game of Thrones) is now part of the cast, along with Cate Blanchett and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond).

On the footage for Mr. Peabody and Sherman, CinemaBlend's Mack Rawden writes, "The action is chaotic. Peabody is about to get decapitated by Maximilien de Robespierre during the French Revolution when he uses his wacky science genius to reflect light, escape his predicament and Shawshank Redemption his way to freedom. It's straight up awesome. I was 0% excited about this movie before seeing this clip, and now, I can promise you I will see it."

That's good to know. I'm now looking forward to it as well, because it sounds like it's going to be the film it should be... An all-out fun time travel adventure. I was initially skeptical, since I didn't think the segments from Rocky & Bullwinkle didn't offer the story team much of a vehicle, which is why I was surprised to hear that Lion King director Rob Minkoff was at the helm of the project. But it seems like they're going to take idea of two characters traveling to various times and places, and run with it!

Too bad we have to wait till March, rather than November.

The How To Train Your Dragon 2 footage sounds awesome. Rawden adds that one bonus clip that was shown channels The Empire Strikes Back. Footage showed Hiccup getting captured by a menacing dragon rider as Toothless is sent falling into the water, the footage was said to be pretty "intense" and much more so than what was seen in the first film. It all implies that this sequel will be significantly darker than its predecessor. Well, Kung Fu Panda 2 was a lot darker than the first one, so this will be no different. Also very good to hear!

Other than that, directors Dean DeBlois (Dragon 2), David Soren (Turbo) and Rob Minkoff (Peabody) spoke about their films and what it was like working on them. It's too bad we didn't hear much about any other 2014-2015 releases, but I'm sure we'll get some info soon...

July 20th, 4:46 - 5:15 P.M. Eastern

A LOT happened while I was out. Warner Bros. has been making the waves in Hall H today, but before I get to that, I'll briefly comment on a few things concerning Columbia/Sony's panels...

Footage from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (opening May 2nd) was shown, featuring Jamie Foxx's Electro and how he becomes Electro, along with a sequence where Spider-Man outsmarts the Rhino (Paul Giamatti). I very much enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man, as I felt it was more than just a serviceable reboot. Greater things are to come, and this film kicked things off to a good start. It took on a darker tone without succumbing to the Nolan brand of dark that Hollywood is copycatting these days. It was still a load of fun, the cast was excellent and it delivered on action... Maybe there wasn't enough, but this sequel should really bring some real excitement.

The only thing that I'm not happy with is the fact that Sony is going to hang onto the film rights to Spider-Man, so we won't see him in any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films any time soon. Not too long ago, Sony scheduled a third and fourth installment in this new series for 2016 and 2018 respectively. Yeah, forget Spider-Man appearing in The Avengers 3... If only Disney/Marvel and Sony were to collaborate, but I can't see that happening...

They also teased the RoboCop remake (opening February 7th), pissing off many because this remake of the R-rated film will be PG-13 and sanitized in order to get a wider audience. I think ratings have nothing to do with the quality of the film, but to me, you can't take an R-rated film and re-imagine it in a watered down form. Also, did we really need a RoboCop remake? Hollywood...

But now onto the big doings going on today... As in right now.

Warner Bros. excited many with Gareth Edwards' Godzilla film, which I've been looking forward to it. First of all, it's about time that America got a suitable Godzilla film. Second of all, giant monster movies seem to be a rarity (other than Pacific Rim) these days. Also, it's got a lot of good talent attached to it from the director to the cast. I'll be looking out for this one.

Stuff on the upcoming Seventh Son (starring Jeff Bridges) was also shown along with some of Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise's next sci-fi film (formerly All You Need is Kill), but the big announcement of course concerned DC...

The sequel to Man of Steel will feature Batman, though it's not certain whether it'll be called World's Finest or not. At this rate, I don't know if they'll still call it Man of Steel 2 or not.. Director Zack Snyder and writer David S. Goyer confirmed it, showing a logo with the film's Superman symbol inside a brand new Batman symbol. Based on Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, it was said that it should be released in 2015. As if that year couldn't get any bigger...

If you've read my quick review, you'll know I wasn't fond of Snyder's Superman film. I felt that aside from having a jumbled story structure and more focus on the plot than the characters themselves, it tried too hard to be like Christopher Nolan's Batman films. Yes, I know Nolan executive produced it, but still... It immersed itself in this dour, dire, depressing tone with a desaturated color scheme, an angsty atmosphere and a surprisingly downtrodden Hans Zimmer score. I know others loved the score and the film itself, but I didn't. I felt like they tried way too hard to make Superman serious and Batman-esque. That tone, to me, only worked for Batman. Yet Nolan's Batman films still managed to be fun and not depressing. Man of Steel's action was shallow and it was mostly just city damage, nothing really exhilarating. The fact that the characters weren't fleshed out just makes it all worse. Not to mention, the script kept contradicting the themes of the film. Superman and Zod destroy millions of buildings (what were the casualties?!), yet Superman is supposed to be the man who makes the moral choice. Don't even bring up the ending and Pa Kent.

I fear that they'll apply this Nolan-esque template to the sequel, along with the announced The Flash film (pegged for 2016 at the moment) and Justice League (now slated for 2017). All I want is something well-written with good character development, a good story and something that's at least fun and enjoyable. Batman Begins was just that, and so were the other two Nolan Batman films. Man of Steel wasn't, sadly. It could've and should've been...

I personally think that Warner Bros. is going about the DC cinematic universe the wrong way. Man of Steel was weak, and they're getting the same team to handle the sequel and probably everything else. Since the film is going to gross $300 million at the domestic box office (or somewhere right below it) and over $700 million worldwide, it doesn't really matter. A crumbier sequel and subsequent films is what we might have to settle for, unless Snyder (who I feel isn't a good director) and Goyer (I also think he's not a good writer) seriously evaluate Man of Steel's problems... Oh wait... Why do I think they'll do that?

Yeah sorry... This news doesn't excite me. Does it excite you? Did you like Man of Steel?

9:32 -  P.M. Eastern

Now Marvel is on... The big one has come at last!

Footage from Thor: The Dark World was just shown, and from what I've been hearing, the focus is on Loki. He cuts Thor's hand off as the god tries to summon Mjinor! Apparently in the footage, Thor begs for Loki's help, as briefly shown in the teaser. Hopefully we get the full trailer sooner. Paul Shirey said that the film looks "more atmospheric and kick ass" compared to the first film. Screen Rant mentioned that the footage is basically Thor and Loki teaming up, Loki betraying him and Jane Foster slapping him saying, "That's for New York!"

Captain America: The Winter Soldier was described as gritty by Scarlett Johannson. On his Twitter, Ethan Anderton said the footage "felt like The Avengers in scale and tone", which shows that it won't be "gritty" like Nolan films and Nolan wannabes. Eric Vespe of AICN mentions that the tone seems "darker and more ambiguous". He also reveals that S.H.I.E.L.D. is doing preemptive strikes, which Rogers is at odd ends with. Rogers says, "That's not freedom, it's fear." Russ Fischer of /Film writes that film is "actively engaged in politics and paranoia", which only builds on earlier announcements that the film was going to be like 1970s political thrillers.

The Guardians of the Galaxy was described as weird and fun, a film that will be totally okay with being different. It's said that it's all unlike anything we've seen in a Marvel movie.

For the grand finale, the title of The Avengers 2 has been revealed... The Avengers: Age of Ultron! I like it! Ultron was also shown during the Guardians footage...

From the descriptions, all I can say is "Wow"... Big things are happening now that Marvel has comfortably moved into the second phase of their cinematic universe. Isn't it great that The Avengers not only turned out well, but also was a massive success?

Great things are coming.

Updates coming soon...


  1. I liked Man of Steel. It was a little too Nolan-y in places, but I liked that Superman wasn't as campy as he has been in the past (plus it wasn't as painfully dull as Superman Returns). That, and Henry Cavill was a wonderfully captivating lead.

    The fight scenes, particularly in the last act, did drag and were over-long, but I thoroughly enjoyed the film! No problems with the Zod resolution either.

    I'm not a huge Snyder fan, and Goyer's script was a little hammy in places, but Batman/Superman sounds so immensely awesome, that I just can't wait. 2015 is going to bankrupt me.

  2. I enjoyed Man of Steel - didn't love it, but though it was decent. I agree that it tried too hard to mimic Nolan's style and it didn't work out that well, and the action sequences did start to get very tedious.

    But as for the ending (spoilers for those who haven't seen the film), I thought it was very interesting what they did. They put Superman in a position where he was forced to kill, despite not wanting to. He either let Zod live and allowed him to destroy the innocent family, or he killed him and saved the civilians. And even after he does kill him, you can see he feels horrible about it, and he lets out this agonized scream.

    Personally I am excited for this Superman/Batman film, and I'm confident that it will be better than MoS.