The SPIDER-MAN Character The MCU Needs To Add Immediately! And Who Should Play Him!


Since the day the news broke that Spider-Man was joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, via a deal between Marvel and Sony, everyone has been fascinated with how Peter Parker would interact with The Avengers. Captain America: Civil War added fuel to the excitement-fire by revealing the first pieces of Spider-Man’s relationship with the likes of Iron Man and Captain America, and now people can’t wait for Web Head to meet other MCU legends like Hulk, Dr. Strange, and, most importantly, Rocket. It seems not enough thought has been dedicated to the prospect of how other characters from the “Spider-Verse” (aside from Peter and Aunt May) could be utilized to fill recurring roles across the MCU.

Such as, a legendary nemesis that originated as a strictly Spider-Man character and has since grown into more of an overall Marvel villain in the comics.  Yes, we have seen Norman Osborn in both versions of the Spider-Man movie series, but stick with me here. I am NOT suggesting we bring in the Green Goblin at any point (though I would love to see him a few Spider-Man movies in); Norman Osborn, sans Goblin, could be a very effective cinematic threat for all the Earth-bound Avengers, based on his more recent comics history.

Norman Osborn with Marvel's Baddest Villains
Norman Osborn meets with other A-List Marvel Villains

These days, Norman Osborn has more in common with Lex Luthor than the Joker. Old school, full-on Green Goblin Norman murdered Gwen Stacy and obsessed over killing Spider-Man, much like Joker’s relationship with Batman. The version brought to life by Willem Dafoe in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) was a great adaptation of that older idea. The new version I suggest has greater aspirations and an agenda on a much larger scale. An MCU-wide threat.

We got a hint what a Green-Goblin-Free, more businessman-like Norman could look like in The Amazing Spider-Man films, though it was poorly done and never paid off. Norman Osborn wasn’t even cast in the 1st Amazing Spider-Man; he was the faceless puppeteer of the sinister Oscorp. In the MCU, such a move would be a step in the right direction, but I want to see him cast, right away! Like, “I wish he was a character already in Civil War.” Like  6 months ago “right away.” Look, Norman loomed large over Sam Raimi’s initial Spider-Man trilogy, with a talky-mirror scene in every film, and Oscorp was a huge part of The Amazing Spider-Man with Harry Osborn becoming the Goblin in the sequel, but we still need a 3rd version of Norman (we’ve had 3 Jokers and 3 Lex Luthors on thebig screen). But, to avoid overexposure of a 3rd reboot, he doesn’t even need to be a secondary villain or “boss” pulling the strings of a hired (or tricked) super-villain… at the start. I just want Marvel Studios to establish the fact that Norman Osborn clearly exists in their universe as soon as possible. Show us his new face. Because the moment we know he’s out there… the possibilities are endless.Norman Osborn as Iron Patriot and The Dark Avengers

Start small. Norman and Oscorp exist. Now… slowly extrapolate over the course of Phase 4, not limiting the character to Spider-Man solo films. Oscorp could become a more recognizable, shady company than Hammer Advanced Weapon Systems or A.I.M., but I would prefer to keep Norman Osborn completely separate from the overused Hydra. In fact, I would like to have him take over the role as primary thorn in The Avengers side. Comics Norman, like Lex Luthor, somehow manages to remain trusted enough by both the public and the government to be given the title and power of Iron Patriot as well as jurisdiction over his own team of “Dark Avengers.” Built up correctly, Norman Osborn could be the overarching threat, the “Hydra” if you will, the drives The Avengers through Phase 4 and beyond.Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn in Spider-Man (2002)But who should play the latest Mr. Norman Osborn? Let’s be real; NO ONE can top the aforementioned Willem Dafoe. I think his take is a better villain than any other we’ve seen since in the Marvel and DC movies. He’s not the best written villain, but something about Dafoe’s delicious performance makes him more dangerous, yet gleeful than Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger’s Joker, Tom Hiddleson’s Loki, and the rest. Unfortunately, no Studio likes to reuse actors in their reboots (as much as I’d also like to have J.K. Simmons back as J. Jonah Jameson), and Dafoe is tied up in the DC Extended Universe (as is Simmons!).

I’ve been saving this actor for my dream casting for another Spider-Man character, Eddie Brock, the 1st and most definite host to the Venom symbiote. But, with a rumored Venom film independent of Spider-Man on the way from Sony and the problems the character had in Spider-Man 3, it’s actually less likely that we will see Brock than Norman. So… I nominate… Michael C. Hall (Dexter) for your MCU Norman Osborn!Michael C Hall - Norman Osborn?

Think about it. Hall could play intimidating, likable but slimy businessman Norman, no problem! And, if need be, he can go full “Dexter’s-inner-monologue crazy” if his role is evolved to full villain. Which hopefully, it is. Because if Norman can’t pay off as Iron Patriot due to prior MCU story-lines, I’d love to see the Goblin and his own team eventually face The Avengers… or he can just act big across the MCU  as Norman and just pester Spider-Man as Goblin in a sequel to Homecoming… or we can forget the Green Goblin all together… I just want some God-Damn Norman Osborn in my MCU! Right away!

Thanks, Marvel Studios. You’re a peach!

Batffleck Soars and Visuals Are King In Uneven BATMAN V SUPERMAN


Note: This is a Spoiler Free! Review of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. If it wasn’t in the trailer (a disappointingly large amount was) or the 1st act, I won’t reference anything too directly. There are so many universe building moments and DC Easter Eggs for a Geek to pour over that I will likely cover in a follow up discussion full of spoilers in the coming days.

How many reviews have you read for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice that were written by someone who has seen it twice? How many reviewers are self proclaimed amateur Batman Scholars? And yet, not so blindly obsessed with the Caped Crusader  that he proclaims a ridiculous “20 out of 10! Best Movie Ever!” Well, soon you will have read one such review!

Batman V Superman is not the best superhero movie ever made, in fact, it doesn’t come close, not even cracking my top 10… or likely even top 20 Comic Book based films. Yet, it’s also far from the worse. Neither should be a surprise in today’s world where we have received 2-6 Superhero Films a year since 2002’s Spider-Man.

Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Review Heroes Face Off Henry Cavill Ben AffleckBvS is both better than I expected, yet still a bit of a visually beautiful mess. After all, Zack Snyder is at the helm; the controversial Director behind a horrible film (Sucker Punch), a fan favorite I hate (300), an incredibly average comic book film (Man of Steel), and another beautiful mess that I have a soft spot for (Watchman). Snyder continues to showcase the same weaknesses (plot, story pacing) and strengths (incredibly rich CGI visuals that truly brings comics to life). Luckily, Snyder has help from writer Chris Terrio who has written Academy Award nominated films like The Town, saving BvS from being the complete train-wreck it could have been.

The opening credits scene is a perfect sampling/representation of the film as a whole.

The movie opens with Martha and Thomas Wayne’s funeral (yes, we’ve seen this before), which flashes back to the Wayne Murder in Crime Alley (something we’ve more than any other Comic Book scene). I went to Batman V Superman with my best friend, a self proclaimed Superman fan, who has watched everything Batman with me from The Dark Knight films, to animated features like Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns, and even TV’s Gotham, in addition to having read countless comics. More than most, this friend has a hatred for the Wayne Murder that pops up in all these stories, especially the once artistically genius choice to showcase Martha’s pearls crashing to the ground; that by this point has become just as repetitive a image as as young Bruce Wayne screaming under the spotlight of a street lamp.Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Review Wayne MurderWhen we saw the funeral, and then the flashback to a family walking out of a Zorro film, yet again, we both sighed. Then something amazing happened… Zach Snyder actually presented the scene in a way we’ve never seen it before with an very creative and bold choice. Instead of Joe Chill (the man who murder’s Bruce Wayne’s parents) ripping the necklace off Martha’s neck, he slips his gun against her throat so that the gun’s hammer holds the necklace tight between her neck and the gun. When the gun fires, the hammer recoils, splitting the pearl necklace and dropping the pearls in a very visual pleasing, surprising, and brutal way.

The film as a whole (with one giant exception) offers great visual takes on heroes and action set pieces we’ve seen before (in one case, literally, but that in a later…), much like his Watchman film flawlessly captured what looked like actual panels from a comic book. It’s not just perfect CGI, it’s great choices including a visual tone that doesn’t just feel richer than Man of Steel‘s faded look, but also more true to a comic than Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (visuals and a certain actor being the ONLY way the film tops the now sacred trilogy). The characters, costumes, settings, and action look fantastic from this new take on the “Pearl Scene” to the rained out battle between Superman with a fantastic rendering of the Batman “Battle” suit that’s even better than how Frank Miller was drew it in The Dark Knight Returns.Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Review Ben Affleck Steps on Henry CavillVisually, things do fall apart in the grand finale, where you have a boring flaming backdrop (EVERYTHING is on fire!) and messily animated Heroes literally lunging/flying at each other over football stadium length for epic punches, even when said characters are not known for flying.

Back to the opening scene: though presented in a brand new brilliance, we’ve seen it all before… many, many times. So follows the rest of Batman V Superman; though we’ve never watched Batman fight Superman in live action, we’ve seen all the pieces before. Superman’s scenes don’t feel fresh, which isn’t a terrible crime as this film is direct sequel to Man of Steel. Though he’s never looked so good, we’ve seen Batman in a ridiculous amount of movies. Marvel has already stolen the magic of bringing multiple titans to the same battlefield, and the destruction of the finale may be over red burning ground instead of Man of Steel‘s grey rubble, but really, what’s the difference (besides the not subtle at all lines about how everywhere anyone fights in Gotham or Metropolis is “uninhabited”)?

Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Review Ben Affleck Bruce Wayne MetrpolisThe 2nd scene, though one of the best in the film (if not the best), is not just a repeated image like the death of the Waynes and the ever present Pearls, but a literal repeat of the Battle of Metropolis from Man of Steel, this time from Bruce Wayne’s (Ben Affleck) perspective. The scene is visceral and real with painful yet effective 9/11 imagery, from Bruce’s race to the Wayne Fiances skyscraper to the building’s collapse and the remaining, living victims. The destruction is more real and seems to be on an even larger scale when we are watching the laser vision of Zod and Superman (Henry Cavill) rip Wayne Fiances to pieces from a far, with the two “Gods” (really Aliens) just specks in a sky flying around giant ships exploding, destroying nearly everything.

It’s not just the visuals that make this stand-out scene so emotional, for the film’s other greatest strength is also essential in saving what could have been boring Batman/Bruce Wayne scenes in any other Batman actor’s hands. I’m of course referring to Ben Affleck, who is indeed the Batman AND Bruce Wayne we have always deserved (no actor has pulled off both sides of the coin so evenly). His brooding and anger are the only real thing in this film (because all those visuals I’ve been praising were manufactured in a computer).Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Ben Affleck Bruce Wayne Looks At BatsuitQuick props to Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as the latest Alfred Pennyworth for both not playing their roles conventionally, yet still delivering satisfying versions (especially Jesse Eisenberg!).

Back to the opening of the film: it’s a dream! And this film has an overabundance of dreams/possible visions, from Bruce’s apocalyptic “Knightmare” (get it?) of a world run by a heartless Superman, to Clark Kent seeing Pa Kent (Kevin Costner) in the mountains. These kind of scenes drive the story forward (and even begin to set up the greater universe including the Justice League) in a movie that feels surprisingly slow with so many characters packed in.

A great fear of mine going in was that, not unlike Watchmen (which also had soooo many characters and events to cover) or overstuffed semi-messes like Spider-Man or even Avengers: Age of Ultron, this film would feel rushed, trying to get to the big battle referenced in the title as quickly as possible with little thought and space given to the connective plot tissue.Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice Review Final BattleQuite the opposite is true, in fact. The movie is almost too slow, allowing the themes of what it means to be just a man in a God’s world  and absolute power corrupting to breath for the 1st two acts. That is, before any theme or reason from earlier in the film is quickly forgotten in favor of “Smashy, Smashy, Punch Time” in the 3rd act.

Are there plot holes? God, yes, but I don’t want to go in so far as to spoil any plot points, nor am I trying to be “Honest Trailers” or “How It Should Have Ended.” Some plot holes and choices do make more sense as a comic fan as they are less of a stretch for someone who has read variations of these stories in the comics. Others are just dumbfounding, but even the Marvel films are guilty of that sin.

One thing The Avengers did pull off that BvS fails at, is giving Batman something to do when fighting a villain meant for the likes of the more powerful Superman and Wonder Woman. While armies of aliens or robots in the two Avengers films gave heroes with no powers (Hawkeye and Black Widow) or limited ones (Captain America) something to fight, Batman runs and stands around more than he fights in the grand finale, waiting for Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, who is okay, but doesn’t shine) and Superman to do all the real fighting.

So, there you go! A review written by someone who had the chance to put the thoughts generated by not one, but two viewings of Batman V Superman down on (digital) paper.

Is this a Batman V Superman that rivals The Avengers? No. Is it a watchable film that actually makes you excited for the prospect of Justice League: Part One? Absolutely!

The old, classic, Zack Snyder mixed bag.

5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

 

 

 

The New ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Poster Is… Kind of Pretty, Actually.


Marvel Studios has released their official poster Poster for 2012's 'The Avengers'for May 1st’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (we have only seen a teaser poster up until this point) , the sequel to 2012’s ‘The Avengers.’

Though the painted poster-style of artists like the incomparable Drew Struzan may be dead, the final poster for ‘Age of Ultron’ is way classier and less of a Photoshop mess than the final poster for the 1st film.

Or the Photoshop messes of overcrowded ‘Iron Man 3,’ ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ and ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ posters. (The ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ poster was actually pretty sweet…)

Avengers Phase 2 PostersThis poster, though also a Photoshopped hodgepodge, has way more style and is much more pleasing to the eye than Marvel Studios’ previous attempts at a good “final” poster for a film.

Here it is.

The official poster for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron.'
The official poster for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’

There you go. Notice the curved flow of the images, making the poster more pleasing to the eye, as art, than any of the previous posters from Marvel Studios.

Plus, we get Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, AND our best official look at The Vision yet! No “Ultron Prime,” though. Just the Ultron Drones.

And my favorite Avenger, Captain America, is finally front and center where he belongs! Team leader (now with high franchise potential)! Capt.’s not wedged behind Iron Man and Thor like last time!

May 1st can’t come soon enough, kids!

YOU Are (most likely) a Geek!


There are many types of geeks. To be a geek is to be obsessed… with anything. You don’t have to be big into ‘geek culture’ like comics, video games, STAR TREK films, yada, yada, yada.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS - More mainstream than your father's TREK, but still geeky as shit!
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS – More mainstream than your father’s TREK, but still geeky as shit!

This obsession… or extreme passion, fuels the geek. Are you obsessed over sports? Do you know baseball or football stats? You’re a sports geek, not a jock (unless you also play the sport on the reg). You are an even bigger geek if you participate in a fantasy leaf. Fantasy? That’s practically ‘Dungeons and Dragons,’ geek.

Most people have an idea in their head, a strong passion for something; maybe multiple things. Continue reading “YOU Are (most likely) a Geek!”