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Archive for May, 2016

Movie Review -X Men: Apocalypse Never Left The Studio.

 

 

Listen to/download the track Age of Apocalypse by The Brand here: https://soundcloud.com/thebrand-825185822/age-of-apocalypse

 

Superhero movies are the shit right now. Just check out the queues at your local cinemas – at least in Lagos – whenever a new one drops if you doubt me.

 

But if there’s anything I’ve learnt, huge crowds don’t automatically mean solid movie. The catastrophic Dawn of Justice proved that – and Apocalypse is strengthening that idea.

Now. Let’s look at some things before we begin.

  1. I stayed away from comicbook references because I don’t want people to feel left out and because if I base(d) my review on the Marvel Age of Apocalypse storyline, the movie is straight thrash. No contest.

 

Clear? Good.

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To give Mr. Singer his due, there have been six X-Men movies so coming up with something fresh and original might be a stretch. Still, coming back to the fact that there have been at least a thousand X Men comics, is that even an excuse?

Mr. Singer, I snatch my due back.

When I found out it was him directing the first X Men movie; X Men in 2000 I was excited. I had met Bryan when I watched The Usual Suspects and besides, it sounded like a wet dream come true – so I couldn’t wait.

And I wasn’t disappointed.

 

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X2 raised the bar several notches (and remains my favorite X Men movie till date even though critics prefer Days of Future Past; bite me) Last Stand was just a convoluted mess. So a reboot of sorts was done with First Class, casting younger actors and starting from scratch when Professor X and Magneto were trying to put a school together. The movies basically took a downhill turn, including Wolverine who dazzles in the X Men movies but cannot seem to get off his behind in his.

And then there was Deadpool (click on name to read my review of that movie)…
Anyways, Bryan Singer returns to direct the sixth in the X Men movie franchise; X Men: Apocalypse.

There’s too much not quite right with this movie. First off, I’ve always had an issue with the X Men casting. For example, everyone knows how short Wolverine really is. And we know how tall Hugh Jackman really is – but that’s just for mentioning sake. How does FOX get off casting an African American as Storm – not once but twice?!

At least, this Storm is a better imagining than the horrendously laughable Halle Berry entries (eyes glowing before she can use her powers; really?!) – but seriously, you’ll be a thief in that Egypt sunshine – and your skin would be on the lighter side of cream?

 

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But I digress.

No offense to Fassbender but Magneto has to be his worst performance EVER in a career that boasts a number of tepid performances (watch Shame & The Councilor if you doubt me). Even the cartoon Magneto had more charisma than this trying-too-hard-to-be-bad goofball. Sir Ian Mckellan was a better Magneto on his worst day on set – and that is saying a damn lot. Fassbender’s Magneto looks more like a man who’s upset his daughter got mud on her socks that a man who truly hates humanity. Same goes for James McAvoy’s Professor Xavier as compared to Patrick Stewart’s. Same for Jennifer Lawrence’s almost-there-but-not-quite Mystique. If you’re in doubt, look for X2 – look for the 1:21:50 mark and listen to the dialogue between Magneto and Wolverine after Mystique just infiltrated William Stryker’s impenetrable fortress.

Or just read below:

 

Mystique: I’m in.

Wolverine: She’s good.

Magneto: You have no idea.

 

Amazing performance by Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.

Lawrence’s Mystique however is more occupied with being accepted by everyone and just how she looks – eye candy; if you get down like that. The action and charisma that characterized the Mystique of the first three entries are missing.

I could go on and on – but that’s not the review you came to read.

 

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That was basically Nightcrawler’s purpose – to look frightening.

 

The story starts, predictably with some guy who is worshipped as a god about to take part in a ceremony to transfer his consciousness into a younger, fresher body which has been prepared for immortality (this is shown when the body is cut and heals almost immediately). The ceremony is interrupted by some of his turned followers who believe he is a false god and in the middle of the ceremony, as his consciousness is being transferred into the younger body (Oscar Isaacs) and he is buried alive.

We jump forward in time and the ‘origins’ of the new X Men are shown in interrupted cuts. Taking off from immediately after Days of Future Past, the fugitive Magneto now works in a steel plant in Poland with a wife and child, Cyclops is taken to the Xavier School of Gifted Youngsters by his older brother Alex (Havok; actually younger in the comics), Beast now looks human, Professor Xavier is still as boring as ever, trying to be funny but ending up being mildly annoying and therefore, ignored. Mystique is still on the run – but has become a beacon of sorts for the other, younger mutants. She stumbles across Nightcrawler and Angel who fight to survive in an underground death-match circuit. Psylocke is some mutant black-marketer’s bodyguard, Storm is a thief in the streets of Egypt.

 

 

Still waiting for their explanation of Storm’s skin tone.

One by one, Apocalypse who was ‘accidentally’ unearthed by a cult under investigation by Moira MacTaggert who was also coincidentally being spied on by Xavier (too convenient) runs down these mutants (Storm, Psylocke, Angel & Magneto in that order) and makes them his Four Horsemen, a pale counterpart of his original four. Magneto becomes a horseman because he had been ousted in the factory because he used his power to save a colleague who was about to have a molten bath. His ‘friends’ report to the authorities – and in a confrontation his new family gets killed.

 

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The ‘Four Horsemen’ – Even The Facebook version made up of horror writers are scarier than these jokes.

 

 

Any of this sounding familiar?

That’s just one of the many repetitive story arcs that plague this movie. The only new thing is Apocalypse who just seems to have too much power – but not enough so he covets Xavier’s frail and broken body. Jean Grey already has started struggling with the Phoenix Force – the same force that made Wolverine kill her in The Last Stand. The ‘there’s-so-much-good-in-you’ speech between Xavier and Magneto that has also been in EVERY X Man movie is still very much present here. The same themes run through the entire X Men franchise; ‘it sucks to be a mutant’ and ‘it’s them against us’.

Too many characters, too many attempts at reminding us that ‘X Men is starting again’  and too many ‘believe-in-yourself-you-can-do-it’ speeches leave so much to be desired.

The X Mansion blows up again (Negasonic Teenage Warhead (can’t get over how cool that name is) referred to the frequency of the mansion exploding in the Deadpool movie; the 9:21 mark) and then Quicksilver who just tracked the mansion down saves the day in a scene reminiscent of the Magneto rescue in Days of Future Past (the Time In A Bottle scene) but because we’ve seen it before – meh.

Still cool though.

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‘Oh no! Did the house just blow up – AGAIN?!?!’

 

That’s about the only gasp-worthy moment. The movie rides evenly till the denouement – very much like an uneventful BRT bus ride. You keep waiting for something to happen – and then, you suddenly realize you’re at the end of the movie. It’s over.

One needs to ask, what motivates Apocalypse? He’s supposed to be about the whole ‘survival of the fittest’ bullshit – but doesn’t that just make him a more powerful Magneto?

What was the point of that Wolverine cameo?

A couple bible references – forget the Moira ‘or-they-took-it-from-him’ comeback – there’s a scene reminiscent of the Devil’s Temptation of Christ, but this time it’s Apocalypse who takes Xavier to the top of a high mountain and shows him the splendor of the world. No, he doesn’t offer it to Xavier. Instead he complains of how humans have fallen since he left – and how it’s time for him to restore humanity to its glory.

 

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‘All of this will I give ye…’

 

 

Lame excuse for a bad guy.

 

X Men: Apocalypse is a plane that never took off – and even the box office receipts speak clearly. Still, worth watching – once.

 

 


Spotlight: Another BOOOOOM! Review

 

BOOOOOM! Is Here.

 

So I had another writer friend write a review for BOOOOOM! and just like the name of the book, he gets right into it.

 

His name is Soogun Omoniyi. He’s an awesome writer.

 

Soogun

 

This is what he thought:

 

One striking feature of this book is its Nigerian feel. You cannot miss it; from the names and nicknames, to the theatrics, to the locations, to the strange jobs that can only be found in Nigeria. It portrays a brilliance that will not just make a native appreciate the country’s rugged beauty the more, but also put an I-want-to-run-home-now kind of smile on the faces of those in diaspora, and invite inquisitive foreigners.

Talking of the rich setting and characters; they didn’t for a second make me lose focus of where I was. For one who reads lots of foreign books, it can be quite easy to unconsciously slip in and out a foreign land. For Booooom, it’s almost impossible for that to happen; not with Langbe, the carefully created bus conductor, or the Market Woman- who drops you in a typical Nigerian market and its many struggles.

Everything just clicks. 12:15 pm, the perfect chronology from all perspectives is classic. I’ve seen this only in a couple of movies. Yes movies; Booooom is a kind of book that will make a hell of a movie if handled by solid hands.

I don’t think a book can be more real and palpable; though I felt some parts a little bit overdone- too much description. It was like having my favorite meal shoveled down my throat in excessive quantities. But who cares? I love eating it; some may choke, but I love eating.

The blend of humor and sadness did it for me. However, I craved deeper sadnesses whenever they appeared. For instance: The old man- I couldn’t get myself to feel the sorrow as much as I’d have loved to, I just read the words and tried to invoke some sadness. For the humorous parts, I didn’t have to invoke nothing, the laughter/smile just came with the words. Naturally. I guess I’m a sadness addict- hard to please and always wanting more.

Yes, Booooom is not directed at being didactic, but if you’re the kind of reader that sees something in everything, it won’t be so difficult to figure out the lessons embedded in a few places at Sunshine bus stop.

Finally, I think the aim or one the aims of Boooom was achieved- Create a bomb blast and task/mess with the reader; while doing that, give a peek into the poignant lives of some of the characters, subtly providing reasons why they may want to die. This was attained in style. I really love.

I prayed and longed for a wow. I got it. I mean, who could have thought that. One thing though; I wished the ‘wow’ had me flipping back the pages. I wished the perpetrator came somewhere at the beginning or in the middle. I wanted the so-I-passed-this-and-I-didn’t-see-it! kinda feeling.”

 

Thank you plenty, Soogun.

 

In case you’re yet to read BOOOOOM!, grab your copy here now:

 

 

Click Poster To Download. It’s Free!

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One Of Those Things

And you love her.

So you leave, knowing one of you will die if you stay. You know; as sure as there’s a day with ‘day’ attached to its name that one of you will kill the other eventually. You leave because as strong as love is, it cannot survive some things. One of it is the physical violence that has become a natural part of your conversations these days.

So you leave, knowing it’s the only thing to do yet wondering why you feel the way you do. You walk away from the house you’ve lived in as man and wife for two years, one week and two days. You go knowing you’re leaving the best and worst thing in your life behind. You walk on, listening to the woman whose sobs sound like metal being ground on a cement floor and you wonder why she’s crying like that. You didn’t hit her; besides, this is what she wants isn’t it?

For a moment, you let yourself think about how you’d talked about children before the wedding; how you wanted four and she wanted two, how you would playfully fight and argue and insist. And how you’re thankful now you hadn’t been able to have any.

Your lips twist as you think about life and its irony; how the same thing that makes you laugh can make you cry and vice versa. How you wanted kids so much and how glad you are now you don’t have any; how you love your wife so much but can’t live with her.

But you love her.

So you continue walking into the Surulere evening sunshine; feeling your heart shrink with every step.

You love her. So with every step you die a little.

I understand.


Battle of the Sexes II: Story Story…

 

 

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If I said;

 

“On my way to work this morning, I got behind a dirty green Toyota Celica with paint peeling. This was around Stadium, Surulere. I could clearly see the occupants of the vehicle – a man and woman. The woman was driving but she kept turning to look at the man beside her. They looked like they were having a serious argument. That was why I noticed them in the first place – the woman was driving like she was drunk.

 

“Suddenly, the woman’s right hand shot out and flashed across the man’s face. I caught a glint before her hand made impact – I guess she was wearing some bling. Before I could say ‘she slapped him’, her hand whipped across again on its return journey – like Serena Williams delivering a backhand stroke – across the man’s face. He bowed over; I guess he was holding his face in his hands. Of course, I couldn’t see that much. I was behind them after all.”

 

If I said all that, most responses would be ‘nice writing!’ ‘great work!’ ‘Seun you’re good’ and so on. Maybe a couple of truly discerning ones would say; “Are you serious?’ ‘This is sad’ ‘Unfortunate truth’ and so so.

 

But if I took away the fact that it was a woman driving – and say it was a man; and it was HIS hand that flashed across, slapping the woman back and forth like they slap butt-cheeks in porn movies, the entire conversation will change. Things like ‘monster!’ ‘animal!’ ‘bastard!’ and so on will be hurled across the internet.

 

Remember the guy who was stabbed to death by his wife? Remember what YOU said when that happened? Remember how YOU suddenly became rational and objective; saying he must have done something to deserve that?

 

Don’t confuse yourself. This not an ‘anti-black lives matter’ campaign. My point is – abuse is abuse – stop downplaying it JUST BECAUSE it happened to a man. I read a girl comment that ‘after all, only 0.001% of men go through domestic violence’.

 

I’m sure Uncle Dino Melaye helped her with those findings.

 

As I keep saying to all these/those man-haters disguising as feminists; ‘man is not the enemy’. Domestic violence/abuse; whether physical or otherwise is wrong.

 

End of story. I had no idea it was a competition.

 

As to the story above – yes. It happened this morning. And I was saddened because –

 

Who slapped who?

 

If you can be bothered, do take the time to figure it out for yourself. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

 

 

 

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images courtesy whisper.sh


Civil War’s Not Civil. At All.

 

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Black Panther. Winter Soldier. Spider Man. Ant Man. Vision. Crossbones. Scarlet Witch.

And that little terrifying woman down there:

 

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Move. Or you will be moved.

 

Those are just a few of the reasons to see Captain America: Civil War. Again and again.

The thirteenth film from the extended Marvel Cinematic Universe, Civil War is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo – the brothers behind the runaway box office hit Winter Soldier.

Interestingly, these guys only had two directorial credits before doing Winter Soldier – and with the departure of Joss Whedon and the critical failure Age of Ultron was, they’ve been tapped to direct Avengers Infinity War I & II.

When you’re good, you’re good, no?

Elements from the 2006 comic Civil War were taken, but where that was a Marvel Universe-wide event, Captain America: Civil War is self-contained. Based on a script written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, The Avengers track some biochemical weapon to Lay-Gos Nigeria (Ofili and I wonder how long it would take someone to teach those guys how to properly pronounce Lagos) and things go south, with Scarlet Witch; in trying to protect Captain America and some civilians from a bomb Crossbones activated in his suit, ending up killing more civilians.

 

That; and a number of other catastrophes lead the world’s leading nations (the UN; headed by King T’Chaka of Wakanda no less) sign a ‘act’ called The Sokovian Accords (2006 Superhuman Registration Act in the comics) which empowers a special UN Panel to oversee and control The Avengers. While the discussion is ongoing, Captain America gets news that Peggy Carter has passed on.

Meanwhile, big bad Tony Stark is having a crisis of conscience. 1; he was too proud to tell his parents he loved them the last time he saw them alive, 2; he’s lost the love of his life because of his massive ego, 3; his plan to create an AI that can oversee and protect the world backfired horribly, and now he’s seeing firsthand just how out of control the team he helped build can get. Surprisingly, he’s the first to sign the act. And Captain America, who was created to follow orders simply refuses – because, after the events in Winter Soldier, he’s come to realize the safest hands are his.

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Man; I so wanted to see this punch…!

Thus, the stage is set.

Every action film has a basic formula; start with incredible action that does one of two things; establish the lead character(s) as badass, or establish the conflict in the story by taking us forward (as we saw in Deadpool) and Civil War is no exception. The Lay-Gos scene was actually shot in Atlanta – but the elaborate details paid to the set (look for the MAGGI banner on display and the Malta Guinness can abandoned on a nearby table) is way noteworthy. There are a lot of kick-down-drag-out ass kicking sequences and scenes – watching Black Panther kick Winter Soldier’s butt gives me some kind of perverse pleasure.

 

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You know what else gives me pleasure? The way the cinema audience gasps the first time Black Panther removes his mask and it’s T’Challa under there.

Read a comic, people!

The emotional balance/themes are handled impressively well too. Captain America came back from the ice to find his sweetheart 102 years old – and then, he’s briefly reunited with a childhood friend who is still as young as him. And then, the childhood friend disappears – only to reappear, but this time wanted for murder.

What would you do?

Having just lost Peggy, Bucky remains the one thing in his life that hasn’t changed (not so much) after seventy years. He ‘discards’ everything he’s ever known and holds onto that friendship with both hands. It’s what keeps his grounded throughout Civil War; that unwavering loyalty to Bucky.

And he was right.

I love Winter Soldier (played with effortless panache by Sebastian Stan) in this movie. The man came alive – and even though he was getting beat most of the movie, it was fun to watch.

Captain America has a girlfriend!

Spider Man was just awesome. Youthful exuberance has it’s place, and he would be a wonderful addition to the Avengers (at least on screen; he’s an off-and-on member in the comics). Tom Holland, just like Peter Parker uses punch lines and jokes to ease fear and tension when fighting (he tells Winter Soldier; “You have a metal arm?! Awesome!”) and he absolutely rocks. Don’t miss his second post-credit scene; don’t miss the still-sexy Aunt May. Paul Rudd’s Ant Man also packed more than a couple surprises – I like how he was star-struck to meet the Captain.

Am I the only one who doesn’t see a Black Widow movie anytime soon?

You know, Black Widow’s a huge part of the Daredevil mythos; they actually dated for a while before and after Karen Page (Matt’s a Yoruba Demon too!), but I don’t see Scarlett Johanson fitting into Netflix’s Hell’s Kitchen; do you?

Thought so too.

This is the most humble I have ever seen Robert Downey’s Stark, admitting he was wrong, admitting they have been wrong, being willing to submit himself to ‘higher’ authority. He ends the movie feeling the pressure of responsibility, feels some sort of angst like he betrayed his friends, but gets closure from –

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Just watch it.

It was also delightful for me to watch Vision struggle with his feelings for Wanda (Scarlet Witch). This is a guy who is the ultimate android (he was created by Ultron after all), he can create a formula for almost every situation – but cannot understand his feelings for  ‘dangerous damsel in distress’ Wanda.

Paul Bettany’s confusion is amazing on screen.

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What else can I say about how amazing this movie is? The bad guy was boring; Baron Zemo is reduced from a man who is older than Steve Rogers (Captain America; for those who don’t know) and hates Captain with a passion to some guy who hates the Avengers because his family died in  Sovakia. The ending was some kind of anti-climax for me – I would have loved to see the other Winter Soldiers in action.

Maybe they wanted the twist because the other ending was expected – but I saw it coming either way. Still; watch it over and over. It is an amazing watch.

PS: Don’t bother doing 3D. It’s a waste of funds – and there’s NO difference between it and 2D. I wonder where they missed it.

No time like now to watch Captain America: Civil War.

Trust me.

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Getting Wedded

 

 

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Everybody says it’s a bad idea.

‘Don’t marry’; they say. Why would you want to do that to yourself in this day and age? You know better than most how overrated marriage is, you saw what your father did to your mother for so many years! These things don’t mean anything anymore; everything you want to go and do inside marriage you can do easily outside it! Why enslave yourself?

Why enslave myself?

I try to explain why I want to marry – especially since I was single and without prospects in March. Yet here I am in May, yakking about getting married. What changed in less than three months?

Is she pregnant???

Marriage is not the sort of thing you just rush into!! How can you go from being single last month –

It wasn’t last month. It was –

Oga leave story! What’s the difference?! It’s too soon; you don’t know what you’re doing! You’re not ready!!!

Are you sure she isn’t pregnant?!

The thing is; these people are convinced beyond all reasonable and even unreasonable doubt they know what they’re talking about. After all, since the year began we’ve watched more than a couple power couples uncouple and become single again. ‘They’ were only expressing their concern; as friends and family are wont to do when it seems as though you have no idea what you’re doing. They did the same thing when I suddenly announced I was leaving a promising career in a very lucrative industry to chase after my dreams. Some of them actually said it to my face that I was crazy.

I spent a day thinking about the ‘crazy’ bit and wondering whether to feel complimented or insulted.

I’ve always been crazy – it’s a constant source of consternation – and more than a little amusement – for my loved ones, but I cannot help but wonder why I still surprise them – or in the words of my eldest sibling; ‘disappoint them’.

Oh well.

I stopped trying to convince them about anything a long time ago. Now, I just inform them and allow them watch me do what I say I would. Perhaps I would have tried to explain further why I suddenly feel getting married is the thing to do now but I don’t have the words.

As ‘writer’ as I am, I still cannot explain happiness.

It’s not as though I met a girl and my head is full of sunbursts and Baba Blue and fish pepper soup and Orijin. Nope. While I love her with some kind of intensity that leaves me lightheaded whenever I’m around her, I am old enough and have been through enough to know that’s nothing to build anything on. First time I met her, we were talking as though we had known each other for years within moments of brushing against each other at the apple stand. A younger version of her had shown up to ask; ‘Aunty, won’t you introduce us to your boyfriend?”

And just like that, I was introduced to my in-laws. The whole family came out that Sunday to shop at Shoprite.

It’s not as though I don’t understand their fears and concerns; it’s just when one is embarking on a life-changing decision like the one I am about to get on, the last thing one needs is someone or people who reinforce your doubts. Do they think I haven’t thought about the implications of settling down and building a life with someone who I met in less than enough time it takes a pregnancy to show? Do they think I haven’t questioned my feelings and motivation? Do they think I haven’t worried about wanting to park it in just after two years like everybody does these days? Have they considered, too that I realize that most of the marriages that crumble once started like a fairytale?

However, in the midst of all those questions and queries is an unwavering conviction that this is the thing to do. I am convinced beyond doubt – in fact, not to be dramatic or anything but in the moment I met her – that moment I opened my mouth to apologize for bumping against her I knew how Adam felt; looking at the first and only woman and saying; “This is flesh of mine, bone of mine”.

I knew how he felt. I felt it too.

That day as I walked with her to where her dad parked their car I jokingly said; ‘You’ll marry me o.” Imagine my consternation when she answered with a straight face; “I’d like that very much.”

I was barely home before my phone started to ring.

I am in love; that much is obvious to anyone who has had more than a two-minute conversation with me recently, but much more than that, I have a friend. Someone I know will be with me no matter how rough the road gets, someone I can build a life with, someone I can give a hundred and ten percent to and get one hundred and fifty back.

What more could I want?

When I asked her to marry me, I who makes money on the side dreaming up romantic scenarios for other people to propose couldn’t come up with one for myself. I simply went to her office, wondering all the time what I was doing. When I stepped in hers, she took one look at me and said; ‘Yes’. I wanted to ask how she knew but she kissed me and I forgot.

And that was that.

They say it’s a bad idea but I have never been confused about anything in my life. I know this is my wife; everything around me knows it. Even my laptop does.

If I’m that sure, why wait?

We found each other; we have each other plus God. I know other people said that too, but we’re not them. I understand not replacing hard work with faith. I get it. She does too.

So.

Who wants to chop wedding rice o?


DC vs Marvel and the Taxpayer’s Money

 

 

Do You Bleed

 

 

By now, even the most average of moviegoers has been converted into a comic-movie fan. You have to have watched at least one of the three Iron Man movies, one of the two Avengers, one of the two Thors, one of the two Captain Americas (about to be three shortly) and so on.

At least you know the Hulk.

 

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You also would have heard about the critical ‘tragedy’ Dawn of Justice: Batman vs Superman was. And this is supposed to be a review of that movie (my editor and I argued over this); but I figure it’s pointless at this point. You know enough to have made up your mind about it – you’ve read about all the bad parts, and even though few critics saw the good in it, there are glowing reviews of that same movie.

I decided not to bother – and this is my opinion; it wasn’t as good as it could have been, but it’s not as bad as people have been raving.

Captain America: Civil War will be hitting cinemas by Thursday, and I feel sorry for DC because the movie is going to be a huge success – and it will be compared to Dawn of Justice way more favorably. Which would be an unfortunate disservice; because as I stressed, DC and Marvel universes are fundamentally different.

Sadly, I doubt even DC understands that.

It was around 1994 – 95 I decided to read the fine print at the bottom of the first page of one of my comics and I found that DC was actually owned by Warner Bros, one of the oldest and largest movie studios in the world. As at then, we had seen two Batman movies, four Superman movies, several cartoons and stage plays. I could remember seeing that WB logo on several films and television programs – and I remember wondering why we hadn’t seen more comic movies. That is a question that; till now twenty-one years later, still doesn’t have an answer.

After the critically panned Batman Forever and Superman IV: Quest For Peace, someone decided to take some time off and focus on made-for-TV shows. A number of campy, home-friendly series were premiered then while the casting for the ‘perfect’ Superman went on.

Introducing Brandon Routh.

 

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Brandon & Reeve

 

Meanwhile at Marvel, things were less than stellar. In 1996 December, the company after being taken public by then-owner Ronald Pearlman (not to be confused with actor Ron Pearlman) had to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

 

What a blow on the house Stan Lee built.

 

But they didn’t stay down that long – even though they had been forced to let a lot of the rights – to the movies at least – to their characters be acquired by studios who could afford to do movies of those characters. Maybe DC saw this as a reason to relax?

 

In 2001, Marvel relaunched and things started picking up almost immediately. A few powerhouses in the building came together and they agreed that they weren’t making as much money as they could be, so they decided to build Marvel Studios.

 

Damn.

 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe started in 2008 with Iron Man, a movie that had a time of it finding writers and then a director, in spite of being owned by and planned for/on by Universal Studios since 1990. Fast forward, eight years and twelve films later (including a 4 billion dollar acquisition by Disney) and Marvel is rich.

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So rich, they can afford to make studios who own rights to some of their most popular characters renegotiate.

 

In 2005, DC signed with Christopher Nolan to reintroduce Batman, which he did with amazingly visual storytelling – although some parts of the character development were frowned upon by fans. However, his Dark Knight trilogy went on to collectively gross 2. 464 billion dollars on a collective 565 million dollar budget. No wonder Nolan was retained as producer and executive producer for 2013’s Man Of Steel and Dawn of Justice: Batman vs Superman.

 

And therein lies the rub.

 

Marvel had at least three years to plan for their cinematic universe. They took the time to plan and sketch out what they want to see happen. They knew what the risks were – and in fact, Avi Arad, then head of the Marvel’s film decision was so unsure about the shared universe idea he resigned.

Now DC is trying to do in two films what Marvel did in five (the first Avengers movie was the sixth movie). The sights of all the billions seemingly flying around is pushing them – and therefore they are not actually acting; they are reacting.

What this means is; instead of taking the time to plot and flesh out things, they rush into things. And that leaves us with a lot of un-explainable plot holes and a storyline that leaves so much to be desired.

As a ‘by-the-way, who designed Flash’s and Cyborg’s logos in Dawn of Justice? I can understand Wonder Woman’s (it’s the logo on her tiara) and Aquaman’s (it’s the sign on his belt), and both of those guys have been heroes for more than a minute, but as at Dawn of Justice Flash and Cyborg were still un-costumed. Where did they get logos?

Just wondering.

For example, we had to wait fifty years for the official death of Superman at Doomsday’s hand – yet two movies into the DC Extended Universe and Supes is dead. At the hands of Doomsday no less.

 

doomsday-BvS

 

That to me, as I noted when I heard the news is desperation.

So far, none of the two movies released under the DC Extended Universe banner (2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Dawn of Justice) has hit the billion-dollar mark at the box office. Man of Steel grossed 668 million and Dawn of Justice has 862 million so far. Meanwhile, February 2016’s Deadpool made 781 million on a 58 million budget in what looks to be the greatest dark horse of the year – a relatively unknown character.

DC had three of it’s biggest guns/stars/characters in Dawn of Justice. What a flop.

Let’s not even go to the Marvel/Netflix Universe, which has Luke Cage primed for a September release, Iron Fist has begun principal photography and Netflix just ordered a stand-alone Punisher series. After watching Jon Bernthal in Daredevil’s Season Two, who can blame them?

Spoiler Alert: If there’s going to be a Season Three of Daredevil, I know the storyline!

Compare all these victories to DC/CW’s campy and for-kids shows like Green Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham and Flash. While some people would argue that every world has its own audience, the DC shows are simply not good enough.

My opinion.

As far as the movies go however, I applaud DC’s decision to stay with a darker-themed universe (that may suddenly be in question; as I heard August’s Suicide Squad has ordered some humorous-reshoots) because I can only stand one world in which every dialogue line contains one family friendly one-liner designed to make the family audience laugh – and Marvel has the lock on that.

So what’s the way forward for DC?

Visually, I like their new world. They just need better stories; I wonder what they’re still doing with David Goyer who is too busy to turn in good scripts now. There are several great writers on the DC roster; Geoff Johns and Stan Berkowitz (RIP to Dwayne McDuffie) amongst others. And then, they need to stop rushing and plan properly with a strategy. Until then, Marvel wins. And both of them are taking our money home.

Watch for my Captain America: Civil War Review.