Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.
You can’t escape the marketing blitz. Superhero movies have targeted your local multiplex and they WILL. NOT. STOP.
Ever since Hollywood took a risk by turning Tim Burton and Michael Keaton loose on BATMAN, studio execs in Hollywood figured out yes, you can make mountains of money on superhero movies–if you do them right.
Marvel perfected the formula of interlocking movies, and now DC is trying to copy it with BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN leading up to 5.6 bazillion movies with Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman (what?) and 16 other superheroes only fanboys would know.
Here’s a look at the six comic book films I’m aware of so far. Somebody will point out strays I’ve missed. By the year 2019, every weekend there will be a new Marvel or DC movie opening up, competing with Star Wars and Pixar sequels. All other movies will be relegated to Netflix.
DEADPOOL (February 12)
Yes, the Batman trilogy with Christopher Nolan was dark, gritty and tough. DEADPOOL, though, for the first really adult Marvel movie. From all reviews and reports, it’s dark and funny. But you can’t take your pookies to it.
Verdict: I’ll catch it on Blu-Ray or Netflix.
BATMAN VS SUPERMAN (March 25)
Whether you love Batfleck or not, the trailers do look good, and I like an older, angrier Bat better than a reboot where he’s starting out again. You really can’t improve on BATMAN BEGINS.
The great part of making these movies interlocking, with the same heroes and villains, is you avoid the Villain of the Week problem.
The bad part about making movies with the same recurring heroes and villains is you tempt the wrath of the Tinseltown Gods, who ask that you simply add up the number of heroes, sidekicks, villains and minions, then divide the total number of characters by the running time of the movie.
Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Lex Luthor, General Zod, Alfred and six other characters I’m forgetting = a whole lot of people fighting for tiny scraps of screen time that aren’t consumed by Batman and Supes.
However: I like what Zack Snyder did with zombies, Spartans and the first Superman movie, and what I’ve seen from the trailers. Looks like a fun time.
Verdict: Imax 3D, opening night, with popcorn, the whole shebang. Then I’ll probably watch it again.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (May 6)
For decades, Captain America has battled Aquaman for the title of Least Lovable Hero in Comic Books.
Yet the Marvel movies with Cap have been surprisingly good. WINTER SOLDIER is my favorite of the entire bunch–dark, twisty and different. Just beautifully done.
The trailers have rocked, especially Cap fighting Iron Man.
My one concern is this: this movie has even more characters than BATMAN VS SUPERMAN, with only the most dedicated of fanboys able to count all the heroes on each side. From memory, all I’ve got are Captain America, Winter Soldier, Ant Man, magic woman, Falcon and five other people I’m forgetting vs. Iron Man, Iron Man’s Sidekick, Black Widow, Black Panther, Black Adder, Vision, Spider Man and ten other random heroes I’m forgetting.
So yeah, there’s a problem there, because Cap, Winter Soldier and Iron Man look to be gobbling up most of the screen time, leaving about ten seconds apiece to show why each of these heroes picked sides to fight other good guys.
Verdict: Imax, opening weekend.
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (May 27)
The best pilot in the galaxy, Poe, comes to earth to re-use the effects from ARMAGEDDON.
This looks like the first X-MEN movie without Hugh Jackman, who’s reportedly doing a new solo Wolverine movie that promised not to suck this time. I do like the younger Professor X and Magneto, both great actors. And this does look like a fair fight.
Verdict: Opening weekend.
SUICIDE SQUAD (August 5)
A surprisingly great trailer to what looks like a different kind of comic book movie.
Harley Quinn seems to be the star, and though this is another team-up with a cast of dozens, at least it’s got a different feel to it. If they can keep up the atmosphere of the trailer, it could be a sleeper hit, a cult favorite. Also excited to see Jared Leto’s entirely fresh take as the Joker.
Verdict: Opening night, Imax, popcorn.
DOCTOR STRANGE (November 4)
There’s no proper trailer yet, and few leaks to know what the movie is about at all.
Benedict Cumberpatch, though, can’t go wrong.
Verdict: Have no idea. Need more to know.
Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.