Sunday, December 27, 2015


Well folks . . . it happened. The latest entry in the Star Wars saga came and blew us all away! While there are a few criticisms, the general consensus is that the film lived up to the hype as well as perfectly setting up a bold, new future for the franchise. JJ Abrams gave us a funny, exciting, sometimes scary, nostalgic film that delivered on all levels.

Having said that, there are still a lot of unanswered questions that need to be addressed going forward. I think we all knew that the film wasn't going to end with everything wrapped up nicely, that's just not how films these days work anymore (which is annoying, Hollywood!). The future is unclear but I'd like to share my thoughts on what I hope to see in the next two Star Wars films.


One thing that the Force Awakens was lacking on was a bad ass lightsaber fight. Now, it makes perfect sense that the lightsaber fight would be somewhat subdued given that Kylo is so experienced and Finn and Rey had never held a lightsaber before that night. The fight was simple, emotional, and extremely effective. For the first film, a simple, quiet battle is all we needed. However, we're gonna need a little more next time. I want to see an experienced Luke Skywalker kick the crap out of his nephew in a lightsaber fight. Remember how when Luke first fought Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back? Vader barely lifted a finger at first and Luke swung at him with everything he had. I want to see the reversal of that where Kylo is angry, lashing out at his former master while Luke keeps his composure and still bests the former Solo. It doesn't need to be anything as crazy as in Revenge of the Sith but it still does need to be an epic battle between the Light and the Dark Side of the Force. The stakes will be much higher this time. 
So, if we're to believe the conversation between Snoke and Ren, Rey has awakened the Force. If The Force Awakens was basically a remake of A New Hope, then Episode VIII will be The Empire Strikes Back with Luke training Rey in the ways of the Force. Obviously, like Yoda, Luke will be reluctant at first but then he'll train Rey to be a new Jedi Knight. Or . . . maybe it will be the opposite where Luke is eager to teach again but Rey doesn't want to learn. Either way, I fully expect the mythology of the Force to be explored in the next few films. Lucas had the chance to do it during the prequel films but didn't really do much with it, despite showing the Jedi in their prime. It would be great to see Luke and Rey learn about the Force together. I'd like to see Rey surprise Luke with abilities and powers that he didn't even know were possible.

One of the weakest moments of The Force Awakens was when the Republic was apparently destroyed and no one did or said anything about it. I mean . . . really. They talk about it for a second . . . But that's it. I mean, this is a pretty huge thing that gets overlooked in the film. I'm sure there will be some fallout in the next film or two. The government was DESTROYED! I mean, just imagine if the White House exploded! We would want like IMMEDIATE action to be taken to have a replacement government or something like that. That will definitely need to be addressed in the next film. I mean, the opening crawl will have to say something about it right? RIGHT??
Oscar Isaac is a wonderful actor. Sadly, he was underused in The Force Awakens. Granted the film was very crowded and the story needed to get moving but I feel like, of the new main characters, he was the one we got to know the least. Clearly, he's meant to be the "new Han Solo" of this trilogy. He was a great pilot, cocky, a bit of a smart ass, but loyal to the Resistance. A little bit of his backstory was explored in the comic book tie in Journey to the Force Awakens: Shattered Empire. I'd like Isaac to get more screen time in Episode VIII. I think that Isaac's star is gonna be on the rise especially given that he plays the main antagonist in next year's X-Men: Apocalypse. Odds are we'll be seeing more of Poe Dameron in the next couple of Star Wars films. Which is a good thing. Let's get away from the Jedi training and get back to the wars in the stars! I mean he's kinda been set up as the new Han Solo. Which brings me to my next point . . .

With Harrison Ford finally getting his wish and Han Solo being killed off, there's a gap that needs to be filled in the Star Wars franchise. I think it's going to be Poe Dameron but I also think I could be wrong. Actually, I kinda hope I'm wrong. Poe is a cool character but he has just a little too much nobility to be the new generation's Han Solo. We need a character like Solo was in A New Hope. A total asshole. He's only worried about getting paid. Yeah, he's looking after his friends and loyal to them but for the most part, he's pretty much a selfish dick. I mean let's face it, Solo went through the biggest change in the Star Wars films. He started off a big asshole only concerned with his reward for saving the princess to fighting the Empire. We're gonna need someone like that in the new films. Someone to go through a major life change. It's one thing to be uprooted from your home, it's quite another to have a total personality shift. Ford was one of the major highlights of the original films and he carried that into the Force Awakens. In true Han Solo fashion, he was still a scoundrel but he obviously had grown and was a little more mature than when we first met him. That's what we need. We need a new character that isn't a villain but also isn't a hero in the beginning. Damn it, I'm gonna miss you, Solo.
One of the (probably) deliberate unanswered questions from The Force Awakens was where Finn and Rey come from. It's said that Rey was abandoned on Jakku as a child and she has spent many years waiting for them. Finn was taken by the First Order as a baby and conditioned to be a weapon for them. Finn's story may not be as interesting as Rey's though. Rey is extremely powerful with the Force and takes it upon herself to find the self-exiled Luke. The current theory/rumor is that Rey is Luke's daughter. However, I think that is too obvious and shouldn't be the way the next film goes. I think it's much more interesting if she is either the lost twin and/or daughter of Han and Leia or someone else that we're not expecting. Odds are, she will be Luke's daughter, but I think it would just be too obvious and not as big of a reveal as Kylo Ren's origin. However, it would be interesting to see where Finn comes from. Who are his parents? Did his family willingly give him to the First Order or was he stolen because he might be Force-sensitive? I believe we will find out soon. There must be some reason he was able to fight off the brain-washing that the First Order did on him. How could he do that? Hopefully, we'll find out soon enough.

Yes. This! When I was a kid, I really looked up to Luke Skywalker. Although he was an untrained Jedi and there was the fear that he would turn to the Dark Side, he was still an ace pilot. Before he blew up the Death Star he was kicking ass and blowing up TIE Fighters left and right. Because of his bravery and self-sacrifice he was promoted to Commander in Empire. It was a well deserved promotion and Mark Hamill was great in the role. I loved seeing Luke in the X-Wing and was kinda bummed he didn't do anything with it during Return of the Jedi. I'm hoping that in Episode VIII we'll see Luke want to jump back in that orange jumpsuit. Maybe he and Poe can geek out over different flight patterns and attack scenarios. I definitely think and hope that Luke will play a much bigger part in future films. We got to see Anakin fly around during the Clone Wars! Why not see Luke get back in the X-Wings and show these kids how it's done?

So we've seen two Death Stars and the Starkiller base. That's uh . . . That's enough, Disney/Lucasfilm. You claim that the First Order is based on the Nazis, well then show them as an invading force rather than a terrorist group blowing up planets. We've seen planets, ships, and whole star systems blown up by the First Order and Empire. I'd be more interested in seeing the First Order invade star systems and force their rule. Since the Republic was destroyed (and not talked about) this would make perfect sense. There's no need to keep blowing up planets or else there's nothing left to rule. Instead, let's see the First Order fight to take control of the galaxy. That would be a very exciting and different way to go with a Star Wars film.
Maz Kanata was one of the new characters created for the new trilogy clearly meant to be this new generation's Yoda. She's a small, wise, weird, old, cryptic speaking character. As quickly as she was introduced she was taken off screen. Obviously her story is just beginning. She knows about Luke, Kylo Ren, and the ways of the Force. How did she get Luke's original lightsaber? Was she a Jedi? Was she one of Luke's padawans that survived Kylo Ren's destruction of the new Jedi order? Maz was introduced simply to set up Rey's connection to the Force. Next time, I'd like to see her do more in the film than just advance the plot a little bit. Let's see her in action or give her more of a reason to fight the First Order.
Seriously, who is this guy? Clearly he's someone that is powerful with the Dark Side of the Force. He wants to eradicate the Jedi. But why? Is he threatened by Luke's power? What does he have to gain by destroying planets and turning people to the Dark Side? Andy Serkis is a magnificent actor and he definitely deserves more screen time. I'd like to see him in the flesh this time fighting side by side with Kylo Ren against Rey and Luke. Like I said before, we got a subdued fight in The Force Awakens. In the next film, let's see more than just lightsaber fights. Let's see what the Jedi and Knights of Ren can really do in a fight. This guy is obviously very powerful if he was able to rebuild and rebrand the Empire. Instead of talking about how dangerous he is , let's see it! This film gave us a great new antagonist with Kylo Ren, now let's see Snoke in action!
I loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens! My major complaint is that a good chunk of the new characters were created just to set up the sequels. That's all well and good but let's actually see the next film really expand the new characters and take the series into a new direction. I personally can't wait!
Till Next Time!
JJ - The Comic Junkie



Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Next year is going to be a really X-citing year! I'm absolutely X-static! Can't you feel the X-citement in the air? Ok, ok that's enough X puns. Last week Bryan Singer gave us our first look at the latest installment of the X-Men franchise. This film looks to be bigger, scarier, and darker than the previous X-films. Singer has said that we're seeing a full on disaster movie and the trailer does give us a glimpse of some world wide destruction courtesy of Apocalypse.

Actual scene from the film . . . Well . . . a film . . .
I have high hopes for this film. I've always been a big fan of the X-Men films. I kind of grew up with them. When the first X-Men came out it showed the world that superhero films didn't have to be campy and goofy. Despite a couple of misfires, it's safe to say that the X-Men films have been pretty bad ass. Given the busy-ness of next year's blockbuster films, X-Men: Apocalypse has to stand out among the rest. Also it has to be a worthy follow up to the awesomeness of X-Men: Days of Future Past, regarded as the best of the X-films. Well . . . to me at least.
Anyway, I'd like to share with you my hopes for what X-Men: Apocalypse will bring us next summer.
One of the coolest twists at the end of Days of Future Past was definitely seeing Stryker retrieving Wolverine's body but wait! It isn't Stryker at all! It's Mystique! What is she planning to do with the body? Was Mystique involved in the Weapon X program? Was she just there to rescue Logan from military experimentation? The latter seems likely given that Jennifer Lawrence has stated that since the ending of DOFP, she's been running around saving mutants, similar to what she did in her opening scene in that film. I think we should get an answer in this film or possibly the next Wolverine film. Why include a cool twist if there is no follow up? That's just mean, Bryan!

One of my main complaints from the original X-Men films is the little to no focus on Cyclops. Which is a shame for a few reasons: First because James Marsden is a fantastic actor and a great choice for the role, second because Cyclops is a wonderful leader for the X-Men, third because Cyclops, especially in the past few years, has proven to be a much more complicated and rich character than previously thought.  In the recent comic books Wolverine has taken on the role of teacher and Cyclops has been a leader rescuing persecuted mutants. In a way, Cyclops has become the new Magneto and Wolverine is Professor X. Well, at least they were before they were both killed off in Death of Wolverine and Secret Wars. I mean, they'll probably be back soon . . . But still! Cyclops was portrayed well in the first X-Men film. I look forward to seeing a great arc for this character in Apocalypse.
For the majority of the X-Men films, Magneto has been the primary antagonist. Even if other characters were introduced they were overshadowed by Magneto. That's partially because Ian McKellan and Michael Fassbender are such strong actors that they can carry the film effortlessly. It's also because the creators haven't fully explored the amazing villains that the X-Men comics regularly feature. Luckily, this film seems to be shaking things up and is bringing in a brand new, unseen X-villain. Apocalypse has a bit of a confusing history in the comic books but it looks like his basic story of being a former Egyptian "god" and super-powerful mutant is being kept intact for the film. I think he's exactly the kind of character these films need to stay fresh and exciting. We can't just have another Magneto-hates-humanity-climax like we have for the past few films. I'd rather see a totally unpredictable, truly terrifying new antagonist. Speaking of which . . .

I mean this literally and figuratively. It's not too surprising that in the first trailer for the film we only see Mystique in her human disguise given Jennifer Lawrence's star power. However, it's kind of annoying because it goes against what the character stands for. She makes a point to say "Mutant and proud" but still feels the need to disguise herself all the time? Out in public is one thing but she's shown standing next to the X-Men as an attractive blonde. Maybe in the film she'll appear more in her blue form but it's a little irritating from a fan's perspective. Also, I like Mystique better as a villain. Granted, she did have a redemption story in X-Men: Days of Future Past but in the comics she's Magneto's right hand. She's fully capable of leading the Brotherhood of Mutants in his absence. Why keep her as one of the good guys when she's far more suited to be the villain? I mean technically she's not the villain because she's fighting for mutant rights, just in an extreme way. You know what I mean! I kind of hope by the end of the film she and Magneto rekindle their relationship and form a new Brotherhood of Mutants.
This may come as a shock to you, but my favorite X-Men villains are the Sentinels. Technically they're just robots programmed to kill mutants but that to me makes them so interesting and exciting. In multiple different incarnations of the X-Men from the movies, to the comics, to the cartoons, the Sentinels at some point gain artificial intelligence and wipe out not just mutants but the humans that created them as well. True it's the plot to the Terminator films but it's an effective story for X-Men. First, it shows that we shouldn't be too reliant on technology to do all the dirty work in the world. Secondly, it's another great racism metaphor for the X-Men stories. It shows that humanity is so afraid of another species that it's willing to build robots to kill them. Can you imagine that? What if robots were created to destroy or police all Muslims or anyone that might be suspected of being loyal to ISIS? Plus, given the power that Apocalypse has, it makes sense that the Sentinels would play a part in the story to stop him. It was done on an episode of X-Men: Evolution. Made sense to me then, it makes sense to me now!
Much to everyone's surprise, Quicksilver was one of the highlights of X-Men: Days of Future Past. He's actually one of my least favorite characters in the comics because he always seem so whiny and searching for daddy's love and approval. It was nice to see him portrayed as a confident young man. It helped that the special effects on the character and the scene in the Pentagon kitchen were very well handled. Clearly, Singer and his crew are working hard to top that scene and I am anticipating something spectacular. I'm also hoping he'll be in more than just a handful of scenes. It would be nice if Magneto was revealed as his father and he joined the Brotherhood at the end of the film, but it's also not necessary. Like I said, I don't want the character to turn into a whiny bitch.

While X-Men: the Last Stand was not my favorite one in the series, it did have a really great fight scene at the end of the film. We need to see the X-Men fighting together as a team against a common enemy. In the Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron we see the Avengers fighting as a team and showcasing their individual talents and powers. It's part of what makes these films so much fun to watch. Especially nowadays where the technology is much more advanced, we can see Cyclops lasering one guy while Storm calls down thunder and lightning while Quicksilver runs around beating up ten or twelve guys. Seeing the X-Men fight (and die) against the Sentinels in DOFP was pretty cool but this time let's see them all try, and fail, to take on Apocalypse. The film has a huge budget - let's spend it on showcasing awesome superpowers! Speaking of which . . .
One thing that's really frustrating about the X-Men comics is that there are thousands of mutants. The films have done their best to showcase as many as possible, but given that the film already focuses on 8-10 characters and their arcs it's difficult to give every mutant their day in the sun. However, it's frustrating seeing so many great characters like Colossus, Bishop, and Jubilee given supporting roles with no real arc for their characters. Given the weird relationship between Marvel and Fox there are no X-Men toys released with the films. It's strange to me that the films would want to show off all these cool mutants and their powers if only for a minute or two of the film. We've seen Wolverine, Magneto, and Mystique do cool and interesting things with their powers and get great character development. Let's see what these other characters have to offer not just with their powers but to the overall story. And while we're adding mutants . . .
Before Apocalypse is released we will have already seen the Deadpool film and later on we'll be seeing Gambit. I mean, right? It didn't get cancelled did it? Well, for the purposes of this article, we'll say it's still on. What we don't know for sure is if Deadpool, Wolverine, and Gambit will be making an appearance in this film. While I don't think that any of them are essential to the plot or marketing, I do think that they should get a nod of some sort (like my Wolverine/Mystique suggestion). These are important, popular, fan favorite characters in the X-Men universe. They should get some screen time with their fellow X-Men. I think that all three of their solo films will take place in the present while Apocalypse takes place in 1983. Knowing that, it might be difficult for the characters to appear since it's 30 years ago for them and they are probably not born yet. I still think it's important to have these characters cross paths at some point. It helps make the films seem more cohesive and exciting.
One of the most fun things to do during a Marvel movie is to find Stan Lee. He's like the Alfred Hitchcock of the Marvel films. He has a brief but memorable cameo in almost every film. However, he is noticeably absent from a good chunk of the X-Men films. It's not like he is necessary to the film's success, but it is great to see him in every film. He's guaranteed to get a laugh out of the audience. Plus I mean come on! He may not have created every one of these characters but the X-Men exist because of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee! Let's get him back in the films!
These are simply my hopes for this new X-film. As I said, I'm a huge fan of the X-Men movies and can't wait to see what Bryan Singer and company have in store for us next summer.
Till Next Time!
JJ - The Comic Junkie! 




Sunday, December 13, 2015


Next year is certainly going to be an exciting and potentially game changing year for comic book movies. We're going to see two films where the heroes are fighting each other, an X-film that looks like a Roland Emmerich disaster film (one of the good ones), a film that focuses almost exclusively on the bad guys, and Deadpool. So what makes Captain America: Civil War stand out? It's the only one that's based off an actual comic book to compare it to. While the others are inspired by the source material, Civil War will actually have the same plot and possibly the same outcome as the comic by the same name.

I've watched the trailer several times and I gotta say - it looks better than I expected. From the same directing team behind Captain America: Winter Soldier to Robert Downey, Jr making an appearance as Iron Man to a great follow up to the unresolved Bucky story this film looks to be a worthy addition to the Marvel slate of films. Granted I'm a sucker for a good trailer but Marvel usually delivers on the goods.

Usually . . . 

I'd like to share with you my thoughts on how I think the movie Civil War will differ from the comic book. Please keep in mind that this is all speculation based on the trailer, interviews, and the comic book itself. It's not based on any insider knowledge. Because I'm not that lucky . . . Anyway! Here we go!
This is just logical. In the comic book, Spider-Man unmasked himself in a press conference to show his support for Tony Stark's pro-registration side of the conflict. Later on, during one of the battles, Peter sees just how ruthless that Tony is and switches to Captain America's side. In a way, Spidey represented the audience's point of view on the conflict. At first, it seems logical that one would side with Iron Man - superheroes should be held accountable for their actions. Then, as Captain America feared, that side grew too violent and uncompromising, so it makes sense to join with Captain America and his "freedom fighters." However, it doesn't make much sense for Spider-Man to go through this type of arc within this one film. For starters, the MCU will be introducing a brand new Spider-Man instead of keeping the Andrew Garfield timeline. In my honest opinion, that's stupid. Garfield was perfect as Spidey and deserves the chance to work side by side with Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans. BUT it's done and Tom Holland has been cast as the newest Peter Parker. I have nothing against the young Mr. Holland, but that's just my take on the matter. However, with such a reduced role for Spider-Man it looks like the spotlight instead will go to . . .

When the cast list and title of the film was first announced I was skeptical. Bucky's story was left wide open at the end of Winter Soldier and not following up on that would be a huge mistake. The first trailer was able to put my fears to rest. It looks like after the events of Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron that the Avengers could have a very natural, believable split. First there's the matter of Stark creating Ultron and being responsible for the destruction of Sokovia. Then there's this unmasked assassin that was the cause of several deaths and led to the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I'm glad that Bucky will have a prominent role in the film. In the actual Civil War comic book, Bucky is not seen, instead he is working his own agenda during the Captain America tie in issues. It's comforting to know that not only is Bucky front and center in the Civil War conflict but he's no longer the villain. His story is now his own to choose and opens him up to great new story possibilities in the MCU. This is assuming of course that he makes it out of the movie alive.

The odds of Kevin Fiege and the Russo brothers killing off one of their stars during this film are slim to none. The comic book ended with Captain America surrendering to the authorities and willing to take the fall for his half of the Avengers. However, shortly after this, he was murdered by the Red Skull and a brainwashed Sharon Carter. Chris Evans is still contracted for at least one more Avengers film so it's unlikely that he'll be killed off in Civil War. It's much more likely that he'll be killed off in Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 but that's a story for another day. Now it is likely that the film might end with Cap being arrested but not guaranteed. Feige has said time and again that he doesn't want the Marvel movies to get too dark. With that in mind it's just as likely that Stark and Cap will kiss and make up before the end of the film. I mean not literally . . . But maybe! I don't know . . . Either way, I'd bet that Captain America will not die in this film.
This is obvious given the rights to the Four still belonging to 20th Century Fox. Which is a shame because the Fantastic Four went through a great arc during Civil War. Granted, it would not be plausible to see this particular arc in the film given where the Four were at the end of their film plus the rights issue. However, it's still a shame to miss out on this. In the comic, Reed sided with Stark and even helped him create the Thor clone (more on that later). Sue, Ben and Johnny refused to fight their fellow heroes. Sue defected to Captain America's side, Ben moved to France hoping to get away from the conflict, and Johnny was in a coma due to angry bystanders blaming him for being a hero and not being held accountable for his actions. All four went through very believable and compelling arcs during the comic book. It looks like in the film we will see their stories played out by the other Avengers. Black Widow and Hawkeye will be at each other's throats on opposing sides. And the Vision . . . is not in the trailer. Maybe he moves to France? Or joins Thor on Asgard? Only time (or the next trailer or two) will tell!
As a comic book fan, it's really exciting to see characters like Luke Cage, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones get their chance to shine. It's also extremely frustrating that it's that much more difficult for these characters to appear in the MCU films or even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Given the actors' schedules, screen writing, filming, and obvious character overload, it's difficult for the Netflix heroes to appear in the Marvel films. In the comic, it's really easy for the artist to just draw as many characters as they want in a splash page battle scene. The tie in comics like Captain America, New Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, etc can flesh out their stories. It's not so easy in a two hour (somewhat) self-contained film. Granted they all exist in the same universe and often reference each other, but still . . . it's a huge let down that Cage, Murdock and Jones won't play any role in Civil War. Even more upsetting is that they probably won't be in Infinity War either. From a business and story telling point of view I totally understand. From a comic book fan's perspective, I'm annoyed as hell. But if I have to sacrifice their appearances in Civil War for quality TV shows on Netflix I'm ok with that.

Winter Soldier ended with Captain America being disillusioned with the "security" that the government was trying to give America. It makes sense that he was willing to side with the Avengers and be agents of Freedom and Justice. Cap even says, "The price of freedom is high, but it's a price I'm willing to pay." He believes what our forefathers believed in. We should be free to govern ourselves and not have our beliefs, ideals, or values imposed upon us. Cap fought against Hydra for this very reason and is willing to stand against Stark and the Sokovia Accords for the same reason. This is keeping with the comic book but is slightly different. In the comic book, when the Superhuman Registration Act is announced, Cap is hesitant due to the fact that he doesn't like the idea of the government knowing all the Avengers' secrets. He thinks that if the government controls the Avengers then they'll be able to say who the bad guys are and the Avengers will have to follow orders without question. That doesn't sit right with Cap and he flees. I think the film will be similar except that Bucky will be used as a prime example of unchecked power in the wake of Hydra's destruction. I think the film will show Cap trying to prove Bucky's innocence and show the world that Bucky is a hero and not a dangerous villain.
One of the most compelling and game changing moments of the comic book was when Thor showed up and was on Iron Man's team. Turns out, it wasn't the real Thor (who was dead at the time - he got better) but a clone created by Tony Stark and Reed Richards. The Thor clone, later named Ragnarok, murdered the hero Goliath during one of the fights. It was then that Spider-Man defected to Captain America's team and Sue left the Fantastic Four. There are a couple reasons why I don't think we'll be seeing this character in the film. First, it would look kind of ridiculous for Chris Hemsworth to show up as a robot clone and murder an Avenger. Second, the character wouldn't fit in the story. There are rumors of General Ross becoming the Red Hulk and taking Ragnarok's spot in the story, but in my mind the character is unnecessary in the film. The point of the character was to show just how far Tony was willing to go to win the war and how much it cost him. Given that it's a Captain America film first and foremost, giving Stark this subplot would definitely make him the villain and irredeemable in the audience's mind. The point of the film is to make Cap and Stark on the good side but on opposing sides of what they think is right as opposed to Stark or Cap the outright villain. But that's not the case here . . .


 Unlike the comic where there was no clear cut good guy or bad guy, in this case there will be actual villains for the heroes to face off with at some point. Confirmed for this film are the return of Crossbones and the introduction of Baron Zemo (a personal favorite Cap villain to me). These guys are gonna be the one pulling the strings and screwing with the heroes to get them to fight and possibly kill each other. This way we get to have Stark and Cap as opposing sides but it doesn't automatically make Iron Man the villain. Cuz let's face it, without Baron Zemo and Crossbones, Stark would be the bad guy. I mean the film is called Captain America: Civil War and not Marvel's Civil War for a reason!
Full disclosure - I'm team Captain America all the way. I loved the comic and I'm excited to see what happens in the film. I know the film won't follow the comic beat for beat but I am excited to see a bad ass Captain America vs Iron Man fight. Winter Soldier was my favorite non-Avengers MCU film. I think this film will be a worthy follow up and set up a new stage for the Marvel movies.
Till Next Time!
JJ - the Comic Junkie 


Saturday, December 5, 2015


The last Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer was released a few days ago. Oh. My. God! I was grinning from ear to ear.

Kinda like this
It gave us just enough information to get us all the more excited for the film while still raising many, many more questions. The film looks incredible and full of action. I'm getting more and more excited as the days go by. I've watched the trailer several times and each time I find out more and more information. I'd like to share with you the thoughts I've had while watching the trailer.
The trailer opens up with Clark covering some sort of billionaire charity event (as per usual with rich comic book heroes) and he meets Bruce Wayne for the first time. Both men seem to be sizing each other up. It seems that Bruce sees right through Clark's disguise and maybe Clark sees right through Bruce's. The trailer wastes no time in setting up the conflict. It's probably safe to say that this scene takes place early on in the film before Batman and Superman fight. However, it's telling to see that Clark is always standing up for Superman just like Bruce stands up for Batman as well as taking pot shots at Superman. And just as these two men are having an epic staredown we meet . . .

I couldn't help but laugh when Lex showed up. "Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent! I love it! I love bringing people together!" It's almost as if, for a moment, he was the embodiment of Zack Snyder for us. But more importantly - WE FINALLY HAVE A LEX LUTHOR THAT ISN'T OBSESSED WITH REAL ESTATE! Now we will finally see the eccentric billionaire Lex Luthor that most of us grew up loving/hating. A genius that believes that humanity should solve its own problems without the help of an all powerful alien that thinks himself as a god. I also couldn't help but wonder, does Lex know Bruce and Clark's secrets? That would be a great twist . . .

Alfred questions Bruce right away saying that there's no need to start a war with Superman. Bruce counters saying that, "That son of a bitch brought the war to us!" This point was established in the previous trailer. Bruce feels that it's his responsibility to stop Superman before he levels another city or brings more alien threats to Earth. While Bruce's motivations aren't entirely clear, it is clear that he feels it's his duty to stop Superman before he hurts anyone else. The popular theory (and semi-confirmed by the trailer) is that Lex is manipulating both Batman and Superman into their fight. Lex probably hopes he can prove that humanity doesn't need Superman. A victory for Batman is a victory for all of us. But, as we will discuss later, he has a back up plan.
There's a moment in the trailer where Batman tells Superman that he's going to make him "learn to be a man." There are rumors of Bruce getting a hold of some Kryptonite, which is pretty much the only way he's going to be able to stand a chance against Clark.
Take that, mother fucker!
I think Bruce will know that Kryptonite can hurt Superman and will be more than willing to teach him a lesson in humility. The best kind of heroes excel at taking down villains that are more powerful than them. Batman is no exception. Even though Superman isn't really his enemy, Bruce will stop at nothing to prove that he can take him down. However . . .
Nine years ago, Superman Returns was released and underwhelmed a lot of audiences. When Man of Steel was released it showed us that Superman was able to kick ass and take names too. If you ask any person on the street who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman I'm willing to bet a lot would say Batman just because he's so bad ass. This film has the difficult task of proving to audiences that Superman is just as bad ass when he wants to be. His line, "Stay down! If I wanted it, you'd be dead already" gave me chills. Superman doesn't want to kill anyone else like he did with Zod. He just wants to help. And someone, even the great Batman, trying to stop him really pisses him off. I'm looking forward to seeing these two icons do battle on the screen.
Everything is the devil with you, momma!! . . . Sorry, couldn't resist a funny Waterboy moment. Anyway! As I stated before I think Lex is deliberately manipulating Batman and Superman into a fight with each other. He believes that "man" does not need "god" to fight his battles. In his mind, humanity should strive to solve its own problems and not rely on some super powered freak. I think that Lex will be rooting for Batman. But just in case he fails, Lex is willing to accept his role as "the devil" and end the reign of the alien "god" forever . . .

While not obvious, but definitely implied by the trailer, it looks like Lex has created Doomsday from the corpse of General Zod. There were rumors of this happening early on in production, but it looks pretty much confirmed. Why is this such a big deal you ask? Because if there is anything that has proven effective against Kryptonians it's Doomsday! If he was created from Zod, then that means he is definitely powerful enough to fight and kill Superman.

Damn . . . Superman is fucked!
Plus if Doomsday has any lingering Zod memories, then it will want to not only kill Superman but all of humanity with him. Good thing Superman won't be fighting him alone . . .

This is the money shot! Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are united against a common threat. Today it's Doomsday and Lex Luthor! Tomorrow? Darkseid? Brainiac? Some other threat that we know nothing about? Thanos? No . . . probably not him . . . But who knows! We're gonna see the beginning of the Justice League! This is what I've waited my whole life to see on the big screen!
I think it's safe to say that the main thing that the Marvel movies have thrived on is having a healthy dose of action and humor in their films. Some might argue too much, but that's part of the blockbuster entertainment. Action and humor are important to these films. I will admit that Man of Steel was lacking a lot of humor, but I think this film will pick up the slack. Seeing an eccentric Lex, Batman swearing, and some banter between the heroes will be refreshing for the DC films. Fans definitely want to see lots of action but it doesn't mean anything if there isn't some humor and fun to balance it out. Snyder has proven before that he can make entertaining films. Let's see him reclaim that with this "gladiator fight."
There is little doubt in my mind that this film will be epic and incredible. This trailer not only made me ask a lot of questions, but it got me amped up for more. As with my previous post about great trailers, I'm willing to say that this film might not be great, but I'm also willing to get my hopes up. This is the film I've wanted to see my entire life. I'm excited to see it and then see what comes next. Let's go! Bat of Gotham v Son of Krypton!
Till Next Time!
JJ- The Comic Junkie! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Once upon a time, comic book films were thought to be nothing but campy children's films and couldn't be taken seriously. Well, lucky for us, Tim Burton proved those nay sayers wrong and gave us a gritty, dark, mature take on Batman. Then you know . . . Joel Schumacher went and ruined it again. But it's all good!

Tim Burton is definitely one of the most visionary, unique directors in Hollywood. From Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Burton has made a name for himself making quirky, visually stunning films. Although some of his recent efforts haven't been as strong as his 80s and 90s work (Alice in Wonderland . . . Weird choice . . . ) I still think of him as a talented director.

I got to thinking recently how cool it would be if Tim Burton took on another superhero film. His Batman films were really awesome and favorites of mine when I was a kid (yes even Batman Returns). Several years ago, he was even tapped to bring Superman back to the big screen.

This was almost real . . . *Shudder*

Now if you've read the stories on what happened with that film, it was going to star Nicolas Cage as Superman, feature Brainiac, Lex Luthor, and Doomsday (possibly, I think). It would've been . . . Let's say quirky . . . Ah who are we kidding? It would've been either the coolest fuckin movie ever or the worst. Sadly, we'll never know . . . 

However, it is fun to think what other characters Tim Burton could tackle with his unique vision. His films always have a character or situation that's entirely in black and white and then juxtaposed with a world full of color. Think of the Joker and Batman, Edward Scissorhands and the suburbs, Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka. Lots of color vs black and white. I started to think of what characters could fit that motif and what those films by Tim Burton would look like. I'd like to share my thoughts . . . 


There are rumors of this character getting a Netflix series, but for now let's pretend he was just optioned for a film by Tim Burton. This is a character with a severe personality disorder. During the Brian Michael Bendis / Alex Maleev run, he thought he was teamed up with Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine while out on missions. Turns out, it was all in his head. Given Burton's love of characters with a lot of mental complexity and emotional strife, Moon Knight would be a perfect fit for a Burton film. Also, it would be a great reason to cast Johnny Depp. Depp could play all four parts (Spidey, Cap, Wolverine, and Knight) at once and really give the audience something visually exciting to watch. Plus, Moon Knight's costume is all white with hints of black. There's your black and white element! In the Bendis run, Knight was in LA. So there's your color! The brightness and colorful world of movie making with a hero dressed in white and black. That would be an awesome movie!


Zatanna would be an awesome choice for Tim Burton to adapt. Zatanna is a powerful sorceress in the DCU. All she has to do is say a sentence backwards and it happens. So something like, "Feiht pots!" would stop a thief (Thief stop!). It's a bad ass power set. Given her level of power, it's up to her to combat magical threats that may arise. She frequently works with the Justice League, especially Batman. Zatanna travels around the country putting on magic shows. It would be really cool to see a superhero film set in Las Vegas (there's your element of color!). I think Burton could craft a really exciting and visually stunning film based on Zatanna. Films like Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow show that he is good at crafting a dark and scary but still fun film filled with magic and mayhem. And the role should totally go to Christina Ricci.

Yes. Let's make this happen!

Ricci does have history with quirky films (Casper, The Addams Family,Sleepy Hollow). She's a great actress and it would be fun to see her tackle a great character like Zatanna. Also . . . she's a huge childhood crush of mine. So . . . I'd die if this actually happened!


So this one might be a little out of left field, but hear me out! Like with my Zatanna choice, I think it would be a really exciting film. Burton has a knack for tortured characters and they don't get much more tortured than Ghost Rider. Now let's pretend that the Nicolas Cage films never happened.

It's hard to forget sometimes . . . 

I think it would be great to see a new, really radically different take on the character and Burton excels at that. His take on the Penguin and Catwoman in Batman Returns and even some of the characters in Alice in Wonderland prove that he doesn't mind messing with the formula a little bit. It's good for the audience to be surprised by the film and excited by the changes. Granted, fans are hard to please but given the last couple of Ghost Rider films, I think a major change should be in order. Plus, as I said with Zatanna, Burton is really good at crafting scary but fun films. Ghost Rider could easily fit into his quirky vision.


Boy, if you thought my last choice was weird then you're really scratching your head at this one! As far as quirky characters go - Osborn is definitely one of the top picks. Given his history as businessman, terrible father, Green Goblin, head of S.H.I.E.L.D. replacement H.A.M.M.E.R. back to Green Goblin it's no wonder the dude has a few screws loose. One thing that Burton excels at is showing the striking differences and eerily similarities to his heroes and villains. Look at Batman and the Joker. Vastly different characters that Burton showed aren't far off from each other. To a lesser extent there's Edward and Will Bloom in Big Fish. A father that tells outrageous but captivating stories and the son that can't learn to accept it until his father passes on. Burton excels at having somewhat simple looking characters have many deep layers. 

 In this case, you can have Norman Osborn take on any of the Avengers or just Spider-Man. Show the world how similar Osborn is to Stark. Both are rich, powerful men with a knack for paving the road to Hell with good intentions. Then there's Osborn and Peter Parker. Both are geniuses who are willing to risk everything for what they believe in. Then there's Osborn and Captain America. Both are patriots. There are probably other similarities but I can't think of them right now.

 Anyway, this would be amazing to see adapted on screen. Plus the way Mike Deodato draws Osborn makes him look like Tommy Lee Jones. I know he's already been in Captain America: the First Avenger but let's give him this one too! I'd love to see Burton's take on Norman Osborn's story. Dark Avengers and the Dark Reign storyline following Secret Invasion was one of my all time favorite comics. If Tim Burton chose that as his project I would be one happy fanboy!


Yes. Everything about this yes! From the obvious choices to the less obvious ones, let's examine why Tim Burton should totally direct a Batman Beyond live action film:

That. Right there. While Michael Keaton isn't as old as Bruce Wayne is in Batman Beyond he's still a capable actor. Birdman proved that Keaton is still in good shape and is beyond capable (pun intended) of playing an older, harder Bruce Wayne. Plus this time he wouldn't have to wear a restricting costume, so that would be a bonus for him. Keaton and Burton already have a great working relationship, otherwise they wouldn't be considering doing a Beetlejuice sequel (even though they shouldn't make that movie . . . ever). So there's already a great rapport there. Hire a young buck that no one knows and make him Terry McGinnis. Keaton can pass the torch and start a great new franchise.

Earlier I said that Burton is great at juxtaposing black and white with color for his characters. Batman Beyond, whether the producers realized it or not, did a similar thing. Gotham City looked bright and exciting from the top but at the bottom there was less color and more shadow. You'd get characters like Blight and the Jokerz that were very colorful and then Batman who was in the shadows and literally invisible due to his suit's technology. That would make for a visually stunning film as well as having colorful characters that Burton loves to utilize.

Also there's the nostalgia factor. This could either be a straightforward Bat-sequel or an entirely new film. But if Keaton were to be cast then most would assume it was a sequel. Either way, it's fine with me. If you two are considering a damn Beetlejuice sequel after almost 30 years then certainly a Batman Beyond film can't be out of the realm of possibilities! Granted, it might be difficult for some audiences given the direction of the new DC films with Ben Affleck as Batman, but hey . . . who cares what they say! At the end of the day, fans both casual and hardcore want to see a great film. I have little doubt that a Burton-ized version of Batman Beyond would be amazing to see.

Burton has proved that he's great at making visually stunning as well as character driven films. I'd love to see him tackle any of these characters and give them a unique spin. I doubt he will ever make another superhero film. However, it's fun to think about. For me, I grew up on the Tim Burton Batman films and they helped shape my opinion on the character both visually and emotionally. While it's too bad we never got to see his quirky version of Superman, maybe someday we'll see a quirky Avengers or Justice League film. A man can dream . . . 

Till Next Time!

JJ - The Comic Junkie!