Evil organizations are all the craze these days on the silver screen, taking center stage in at least four 2015 Major Blockbusters: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, SPECTRE (ha), and the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Nothing like a whole industry of villains and evil doers, often, but not always, operating in the shadows. And though several of the “organizations” chosen are literally companies, they also fit the mold of “Nefarious Organizations.” Not just any company will do, but these certainly more than your simple morally corrupt businesses.
I’ve gone ahead and ranked them, most effective to least.
Let’s start with #8 through #5!
8. Death Eaters from the Harry Potter Franchise
I’m not even a Harry Potter fan (I’ve read 6 and 1/2 of the books, but never made it far enough in the film franchise to see said organization), but my roommate tells me I should look past my own interests, and the Death Eaters were the 1st Evil Organization I could think of outside my traditional Geek World (which would be mostly Marvel Comic Book Evil Organizations…).
Death Eaters definitely qualify as a Nefarious Organization, one that, like the best of them (that follow), have members at every level of government, Hogwarts, and even that weird Magical Bank with the trolls. Not a lot is scarier than a group of zealots awaiting and/or aiding the return of their evil leader: He who must not be named!
7. OSCORP Industries from The Amazing Spider-Man Films
In Sam Raimi’s original films, Oscorp was simply the company that Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) would experiment on himself… and kill… to remain in control and keep profitable. In Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man films, the corporation is responsible for a man-lizard, an electricity man, a mutated head of the company, and a series of enhanced soldier suits based on animals including a rhinoceros, a vulture, and an octopus.
A little hokey, sure, but it actually makes more sense than the original 2002 Spider-Man. Think about the major superhero villains these days. Tony Stark’s genius leads to Iron Monger, Whiplash, Extemis, and Ultron. The Super Soldier serum administered by the same scientist creates both Red Skull and Captain America. Batman’s appearance brings the Joker into the world as a direct response to his theatrical vigilantism. But in Spider-Man, it’s simply a hard to believe coincidence (even if you’ve bought into a man who can stick to walls and swing from webs) that Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) was bitten by a radioactive spider the very same night that Norman Osborn accidentally turns himself into a crazy super soldier to save his company. Ridiculous!
Mending this storytelling shortfall, Oscorp is behind all the foes Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker faces, whether that be an overreaction or not. Certainly qualifying the company that Norman Osborn built a spot on this list!
6. InGen from the The Lost World: Jurassic Park & Jurassic World
InGen didn’t seem like such a bad company when John Hammond was around. But since he hit his death bed, other forces within the corporation have put profits above human safety… and worse.
It starts with Hammond’s nephew in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, who will stop at nothing to grab dinosaurs out of their new “natural” habitat on Isla Sorna, a.k.a. “Site B” and present them to the masses. Even when the star exhibit, a full grown T-Rex, wrecks havoc in San Diego.
Even worse, Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) and Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofiro) clearly have a real shady deal going on behind the scenes of the theme park, Jurassic World. Hoskin’s obsession with military applications for carnivores and Dr. Wu’s gene-splicing skills offer even more trouble than in the 1st Jurassic World film, paving the way for a trilogy of InGen’s evil doings!
5. S.P.E.C.T.R.E. from the 007 Franchise
No matching tattoos here, but of course Agents of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. have matching jewelry!
S.P.E.C.T.R.E. has been on the big screen longer than any other Nefarious Organization on this list, originating in Sean Connery’s days only to be revived this year in Daniel Craig’s world. S.P.E.C.T.R.E. stands for Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion (like with do-gooder organization S.H.I.E.L.D., someone just really wanted to spell SPECTRE, albeit incorrectly).
Now, if you read my review for SPECTRE, you know the film was lacking… a lot. In fact, S.P.E.C.T.R.E., the supposed ultimate Nefarious Organization of all time, doesn’t get its due in the 2015 007 film. While Daniel Craig’s 007 movies have improved on every aspect of the character from Casino Royale through Skyfall, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. does not live up to the organization Connery built (well, fought) back in the 60’s.
Perhaps if the film SPECTRE was better, this ultimate Evil Organization would have landed on the better half of the list. After all, it is the original shadow group with tentacles in every countries government on all ends of the globe, controlling resources, governments, and intelligence rather than always seeking to start WWIII like later Bond villains.
And that’s a wrap! For now… Check back later when I reveal The Top 4 Nefarious Organizations in Cinema, including H.Y.D.R.A. and The First Order, formally the Galactic Empire!
Think about it… how many guests did you see get killed in Jurassic World?
The answer is as many guests as the Pterodactyls and Dimorphodons (a real Dino, NOT a hybrid!) hurt/killed before Owen (Chris Pratt) and his boys shot them out of Main Street’s sky.
Even with these creatures, unless I’m missing it in the background, no guests are killed on screen… the big kill of Claire’s assistant Zara (Katie McGraph) counting as an InGen employee (seeing as how she is an InGen employee’s assistant…). And besides little lift attacks, the only other people we actually see get the ax are Mr. Masrani and his copter’s crew.
Think about all the great scenes with Indominus, Velociraptors, and the Mosasaurus (the swimmy dinosaur who eats sharks) even… guests do not even share scenes with any these creatures, but it’s a smorgasbord on the park staff.
Indominus eats the two men in the paddock, the 1st security team with “non-lethals,” lots of innocent dinosaurs, tries to eat the kids, tries to eat Owen and Claire, eats/kills a few Mercs with some raptors, and then kills two raptors in the final fight. That’s it.
Owen’s Velociraptors aren’t even released until guests are off the island (we hear about a boat arriving and there are no guests on Main Street by the time our heroes make it back), and even then they entirely feast on Hoskins ‘ new Mercs… and Hoskins himself of course!
Finally, T-Rex don’t get to eat any people!
If you see Jurassic World again, watch for what I speak of. Except for the Pterodactyls, Jurassic World Guests are never actually around the most dangerous dinosaurs.
InGen Is the New Weyland Industries/Oscorp
Even though Mr. Masrani is the kind, fun InGen CEO with the spirit of John Hammond, let us not forget the same actor, Irrgan Khan, played an incredibly sketchy/evil Oscorp Exec in The Amazing Spider-Man.
And in Jurassic World, InGen has never been sketchier.
Sure, Hammond’s nephew wanted control of his uncle’s company to capture the Dinos on Isla Sorna and put them in a new, San Diego Jurassic Zoo in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Dr. Wu (BD Wong) and Hoskins are developing in secret.
Though Indominus Rex is the only Hybrid in the Park, Dr. Wu has more in the works. And as with Owen’s “trained” Velociraptors, Hoskins has military applications on the mind. Really feels more like the latest cinematic version of Oscorp than the company that Hammond created…
Which leads us into…
The Sequel’s Direction
A movie that breaks records as fast as Jurassic World gets a sequel. Dem’s da’ rules.
Pratt has said they’d be having him back, but where do you go from here? Open a Theme Park where people get eaten once, shame on me. Twice… shame on you, but damned was it enjoyable! And you ain’t gonna fool us three times!
Without a reboot, I don’t see how anyone will ever open another Theme Park in the Jurassic Park universe ever again.
But whatever was going on in Wu’s secret room certainly sets up a sequel distinctly different than our previous two trips to Isla Sorna aka “Site B.” Though Hoskins dies, whatever his plan is for dinosaur hybrids certainty won’t, and Wu is told he will be “well taken care of.”
Whatever happens to Owen and Claire, some form of a plot tracking Dino-Hybrids may be in their future. Yikes!
“This Is Not A Mad Science!”
Of course, Dr. Wu isn’t doing anything new by creating the Indominus Rex, the Not-So-Mad Scientist explains to Mr. Masrani. “Nothing in Jurassic World is natural” admits Wu, all the “monsters” in the Park have had segments of their D.N.A. filled in with other animals (as we learned in the 1st film).
Wu goes on to state that many of the “attractions” in Jurassic World would look quite different if they were pure; Spielberg & Co. finally admitting and explaining why their Velociraptors are eight feet tall and feather-less, as opposed to a feathery-four-feet.
Well, that’s all for now but I still have many layers of Jurassic World I wish to pull back shortly. Join us again for JURASSIC WORLD Explored Part 3.
I may have seen Jurassic World six times (I did… why lie?). With such a great number of repeat viewings comes great responsibility, including insight into new details/themes/symbols/”Easter Eggs,” producing more material to analyze and explore than in my original review for the Jurassic Park‘s best and most profitable (movie in the world?) sequel.
Some theories/ideas may be bullshit; some connections I make may seem forced or just “overthought.” I am also likely going to forget some of my deeper thoughts about the film as it is much easier to analyze every scene and moment when actually watching the movie. I’ll do my best to use my memory and cover all my observations.
Obviously… SPOILERS Abound!
Jurassic World is Meta… Man…
Writer/Director Colin Trevorrow has said Jurassic World the film is a metaphor for Jurassic World the theme park.
Universal Execs wanted more Jurassic Park (it was too for them hard to let their highest grossing franchise go extinct); they wanted it bigger, badder, scarier. So Trevorrow gave them a movie about InGen Execs pushing for a dinosaur that is bigger, badder, with more teeth; a metaphor for the film’s very existence.Like the events of the film, such an action could have “gone awry” in the wrong hands, but Trevorrow nailed it, bringing Universal their biggest movie… ever. And no one got eaten (that we know of).
“We Need More Teeth”
Obviously, the above line was important enough to the finale of Jurassic World that you likely remember it. Gray’s (Ty Simpkins) statement gives Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) the idea to release more teeth against Indominus Rex in the form of Jurassic Park‘s original T-Rex (more on in a future issue).
Teeth are a recurring image throughout the film (not literally, though there are a lot of shots of simply Indominus Rex’s mouth) starting in the 1st act when Gray and his brother Zach (Nick Robinson) board the ferry for Isla Nublar and Gray cannot help but discuss the carnivores and their “teeth” count in a Dino-obsessive one-sided discussion that would make young Tim from Jurassic Park proud.
If you listen for it, there are many conversations about teeth, including Claire’s description of what the public wants in the park’s “New Attraction,” Verizon Wireless presents Indominus Rex, and Dr. Henry Wu’s (BD Wong) talk with Mr. Simon Masrani (Irrffan Khan) about his newest “Asset.”
“You Are Not In Control!”
Just like Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) said 22 years ago to then InGen CEO John Hammond, “You never had control! That’s the illusion!”
So it is in Jurassic World, but it appears John Hammond never shared that wisdom with Mr. Simon Masrani, just the fact that he “spared no expense.” Control is often discussed in the film, but very rarely in terms of controlling the dinosaurs, rather in reference to which human is in control (a big miscalculation).
My favorite piece of irony involving the different characters vying for control comes during the scene where Claire sends in an ACU unit with “non-lethals.” Owen Grady (Chris Pratt!!!) makes the observation about the practically unarmed men, “Those men are going to die,” ordering them to get them out of there before the Indominus Rex rips them to shreds. Claire shouts at Owen, “You are not in control here!” The irony is, neither is she.
“Control” is passed around ending with InGen’s Isla Nublar division being taken over by the War Hawk Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), from the control room to “the mission” involving putting the raptors that under Owen’s “control” to the test.
Of course, as Owen says himself earlier in the film, “It’s not about control with these animals, it’s about respect.” This makes him the only man to understand the fragility of the park’s ecosystem/security; a real Ian Malcolm want to be!
We’ve only scratched the surface of what is left to explore in Jurassic World. I’ve started a little obvious with the recurring imagery I’ve pointed out, so hopefully those looking for a more immersive experience will gleam more next post!
Or even for the common fan who just wants to know all the Easter Eggs from Jurassic Park… Welcome, to Jurassic World!
Perhaps writer/director Colin Trevorrow put it best in a recent article: Jurassic World‘s very story is a commentary on its existence. Universal Execs wanted to revive their 2nd biggest film franchise (it used to be #1 but has been bested by the sheer number of Fast & Furious films); they wanted Jurassic Park again, only bigger, scarier, more action packed. So, Trevorrow made a film about greedy InGen executives wanting something bigger and more dangerous, resulting in Indominus Rex and the popular synopsis for any film: “things go awry.”
Does Jurassic World live up to its real life mirror? Is bigger, scarier, and more action packed, a film gone “awry,” disappointing fans the world over? Or have the Universal Execs outsmarted InGen’s, creating a new monster that is not dangerous to your Jurassic Park loving self?
I am happy to report, that though no film could ever top the intelligence, heart, and magic of 1993’s original Jurassic Park, Jurassic World is an incredibly worthy sequel; something The Lost World and Jurassic Park III could never manage.
The best way to sum up the movie is that I saw every scene and location I wanted to see! Indominus Rex wrecking havoc? Check! A little bit o’ T-Rex? Check! (Human) Siblings in peril? Check! Chris Pratt continuing to rock the summer blockbuster? Double Check!!!
Most importantly, are the scariest parts of Jurassic Park, the famed Velociraptors (sometimes in the kitchen), neutered pets for Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to control? Fuck no! This is by far the scariest and most vicious the famed raptors have been since 1993’s trip to Isla Nublar.
Jurassic World smartly builds on Jurassic Park with a few fun winks; not so much as to feel like a rehash or a misguided attempt to reference the original as much as possible.
It’s amazing to see that red flares are used to get the attention of the T-Rex to ensure he actually eats the goat at feeding time; Ian Malcolm taught old Rex flares mean tasty treats 22 years ago (it is, indeed, the very same T-Rex that provided the franchise’s best scene when he famously escaped his pen). The events of Jurassic Park are also referenced by the Lowery, played brilliantly by Jake Johnson. He wears a Jurassic Park shirt he found on Ebay for $150, which may or may not be in poor taste. He’s a Jurassic Park groupie in the same way Charlie Day played a “Kaiju groupie” in Pacific Rim. And a hero.
Likewise, contrary to popular theories going into the film, InGen head Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) isn’t a greedy man like John Hammond’s nephew in The Lost World, he is like Hammond himself, reminding us that though Hammond spared no expense (Masrani actually says that very line, crediting Hammond), the Park was always intended the be for everyone, not just for the rich. Masrani believes this should be the fun division of InGen, not necessarily the profitable one.
Of course, other InGen employees tend to disagree, starting with Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), day-to-day park manager who can’t make time to see her two nephews visiting Jurassic World (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) because she is obsessed with creating newer, scarier attractions for the profit of literal sponsorship (her vision is “Verizon Wireless Presents Indominus Rex”). Claire’s own greed puts extra lives at risk, with a scene reminiscent of Jaws featuring Claire refusing to evacuate the park because of the loss in profit and a second where she sends mercenaries/security to track Indominus Rex with non-lethal weaponry, because he is a mulit-million dollar “asset.” Of course, she comes around after the men are all slaughtered and she learns her own nephews are lost in the park.
Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins are the best kids the JP franchise has seen since Lex and Tim in the original film. They don’t ruin the danger of the movie by beating Velociraptors with gymnastics (The Lost World) or by surviving on an island by themselves for weeks (Jurassic Park III). They are closer to the original archetypes of scared siblings lost in the wild, though there is a moment where they are a little too smart and inventive for their own good.
Speaking of Jurassic Park archetypes, Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady is an interesting mash-up of Allan Grant and Muldoon. He isn’t given a ton to do, acting wise, but he brings life and charm in what could have been an overly stereotypical role. And of course he can handle action scenes like the best of them.
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD. Skip the next paragraph if ye’ be afraid.
Like any good Zombie movie, what would a Jurassic Park film be without human villains? (Besides Jurassic Park III which is 100% rotten in my opinion.) Here we seem to have two, Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), the only returning cast member from any Jurassic Park film, and Vincent D’Onofrio (who is on fire this year with Run All Night, JW, Daredevil, and being cast in the remake of Magnificent Seven… with Chris Pratt) as Hoskins. Between the two of them (Hoskins’ exact role is unknown, is he just a military man, or a former military man who seems to run the shady side of the company?), InGen has begun to look more like The Amazing Spider-Man’s Oscorp. Hoskins has a dream of using Velociraptors to hunt down terrorists in caves, while being involved in some sort of hybrid program with Dr. Wu that goes deeper than Indominus Rex and may even be the strand used to build a sequel.
SPOILERS OVER… For Now.
Finally, let’s talk Dinos. You can tell CGI has come a long way in 22 years, from the new level of detail to classic Dinos like Gallimimus and Velociraptors, to the creation of a new dinosaur; Mr. Indominus Rex.
Indominus Rex avoids the pitfalls of the Spinosaurus, Universal’s bright(?) idea for a scarier dinosaur than T-Rex in Jurassic Park III. He’s bigger, smarter, etc, but he’s also… cooler? Is that the best descriptor? He really gets the best of all worlds, with a size bigger than T-Rex, useful arms for slinging humans into trees to kill them, and intelligence that may surpass the Velociraptor… as well as a bunch of other nifty feature I won’t spoil here. He gets all the scenes T-Rex got back in day, crushing a vehicle with kids in it and leaning close to Owen Grady, nostrils flaring and a mouthful of teeth opened just wide enough to get the point across.
Back to the Raptors… no one could ever hope to top Raptors in the kitchen, or that “Clever Girl” moment, but Jurassic World delivers the best Raptor thrills and scares since the 1st film. It’s great watching Owen train them like dolphins at the beginning, only having to test his Raptor whispering skills when a young paddock worker falls in with the dangerous, intelligent Dinos. But it gets better when greedy Hoskins finally gets what he wants and sets the Raptors free… leading to exactly what you would expect. MINOR MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
Before I wrap up this overly long review, I want to express my excitement about one element of the film I was hoping for going in. A look at the OG Jurassic Park buildings from 1993, reclaimed by the jungles of Isla Nublar. Revisiting the original Visitor Center (no pun intended) was a treat, especially the uncovering of a small part of a film-famous banner and the use of an Original “Jurassic Park” labeled Jeep.
MAJOR 3RD ACT SPOILERS AHEAD. Skip to last paragraph if need be.
The finale is probably the most polarizing part of the film. Some people will love it, others may think it is cheesy. Let’s just say it’s T-Rex and the Raptor named Blue squaring off against Indominus Rex… even with an assist by the aquatic Mosasaurus. The fact these three work together to fight off the “monster” dinosaur that shouldn’t exist, could simply be “Life Finding A Way” (again, though technically all the dinosaurs are unnatural “monsters,” built from Dino AND Frog DNA – among other things) or it could be over-the-top action with little sense. For whatever the reason, just like in Jurassic Park,T-Rex does save the day in an almost Godzilla (2014) way; a monster simply bringing balance to the ecosystem and saving “mankind.” The last scene of the film even has the classic King of the Dinos (well, Queen, all the animals in Jurassic Park were supposed to be female) T-Rex, roaring over his domain of Isla Nublar from on high. Still, since the T-Rex only appears in the 3rd act (mostly…mostly), he remains a letdown, no scenes to rival the first film or even Lost World. At least his neck isn’t broken by a Spinosaurus in the 1st act like Jurassic Park III… * Shudder*
Like 99% of sequels, Jurassic World has moments that make you cringe or upset you because it doesn’t play close enough to the original film. But, overall, it is a fantastic film, not disappointing this Jurassic Park mega-fan (JP is in my top 5 favorite movies and JW is my most anticipated movie of the year), becoming the best Jurassic Park sequel to date (you know they want to make another, especially with the one loose thread involving Hoskins and Dr. Wu’s secret work), delivering every scene and dinosaur scare I expected to see.
Okay, so there is a ton to discuss here, but I have to leave for work.
We get to see that, indeed, even though Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady is a “raptor whisperer,” Velociraptors are still willing to devour a man! And the park still has a T-Rex! And Dr. Wu! And we see how the Pterodactyls escape! Aaaaaaannnnnddddd…. everything is awesome (for the 3rd time for Chris Pratt)!
We do see a little more of Indominus Rex than I would have liked, but this look at her does not disappoint! Nor does the entire trailer!
Don’t get me wrong, I have no delusions that ‘Daredevil’ will be as good as DC’s ‘The Dark Knight,’ but the trailer still reminds me of ‘Batman Begins’ none-the-less. And that is a fantastic thing!
Unlike Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and to a lesser extent, ‘Agent Carter,’ ‘Daredevil’ is the 1st MCU show that doesn’t feel nor look like TV. It plays like it has the effects and intensity of a more down and gritty Marvel movie, but with the bonus of 10 episodes instead of 2 hours (2 and 1/2 if you’re ‘Age of Ultron’).Unlike the globe-trotting/Earth saving, “Captain America and his colorful friends,”* Daredevil (played by Charlie Cox) sticks to the streets of his city, Batman style: Hell’s Kitchen in NYC.
But it doesn’t mean his struggle is any less intense then his could-be-eventual-allies’ silver screen adventures.
Watch the trailer now!
“I have to be the man this city needs.”
Hmmm, Matt Murdock/Daredevil, that sounds like something Nolan’s Batman would say…
It’s not a copy, it’s just the darkest we’ve seen the MCU get, a trend that will continue with all five planned Netflix series: ‘Daredevil,’ ‘AKA Jessica Jones,’ ‘Luke Cage,’ ‘Iron Fist,’ and then the ‘Avengers’ style team up, ‘The Defenders.’
The UK rated ‘Daredevil’ a 15 (we here in the US don’t rate Netflix programming), the closest to ‘R’ that Marvel Studios has ventured. Mike Colter, who plays the title character of his own show, claims ‘Luke Cage’ will be equally dark and gritty.
Yet, the trailer doesn’t let you forget ‘Daredevil’ is part of the MCU:
“Maybe if he had an iron suit or a magic hammer, that would explain why you keep getting your asses to you.”
Maybe one day, he’ll join the Avengers. Or, even cooler, why not have ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Spider-Man’ cross paths now that the web-head is part of the MCU? They’re both dedicated to saving NYC and would make interesting allies.
Whatever ends up happening with the Daredevil character down the line, it sure looks like Marvel Studios and Netflix are off to a great start!
Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’ hits Netflix on April 10th!
* Quoted from Baron Von Strucker in the mid-credit sequence for ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
Marvel Studios and Netflix have assembled as a super-team to create four Marvel shows. The first is ‘Daredevil,’ set to premiere all ten episodes on April 10th.
(Side-note: Marvel & Netflix also plan on spinning the four heroes from their four respective shows into a fifth show featuring Marvel’s lesser knon, Earth-bound superhero team: ‘The Defenders.’)
As anyone who saw the original 2003 ‘Daredevil’ film starring Ben Affleck knows, that movie was terrible (listen to Andrew and I rant about it on this podcast). So I assumed the character was equally terrible. Worst than terrible possibly; he’s a blind man whose superpower is sight!
Similarly, over a decade ago I initially assumed Batman was an awful character after witnessing the horror that was ‘Batman & Robin.’ But Nolan’s movies completely altered my perception of the Dark Knight and now I consider myself a sort of “Batman Scholar.”
Now I can see that Daredevil’s true power is that he can see in the dark as he sees everything through sonar (more-or-less). The superhuman hearing that allows said sonar sight also gives him an advantage when sneaking around criminals or listening in from afar.
If you boil Daredevil down again (especially after viewing the trailer) he is basically Batman with the “Bat-Sonar” seen in the finale of ‘The Dark Knight.’ Minus the wealth and nickname, “World’s Greatest Detective.”
This ‘Daredevil’ trailer does seem to have a lot in common with Nolan’s Batman films… which is actually a great choice for the character. In a world where lighter heroes like Superman (‘Man of Steel’) and the Fantastic Four (‘FANT4STIC’) are getting overly dark movies in a reaction to ‘The Dark Knight’s success, Daredevil is a character who deserves that grittiness.
It’s no surprise that this MCU version of ‘Daredevil’ is drawing from the source material ‘The Man Without Fear’ graphic novel by Frank Miller. Frank Miller, who also wrote the graphic novel ‘Batman: Year One’ which served as the basis for ‘Batman Begins;’ both in scenes and tone.
Further proof is in the Costume. Rather than the “Devil red” suit Ben Affleck had to wear, the MCU’s Daredevil wears a black ninja-looking-getup with his eyes covered (because he doesn’t need to see! See?). This look was established by Frank Miller in ‘The Man Without Fear.’
Daredevil does indeed have a lot in common with Batman, lamenting about his corrupt city and jumping around rooftops, taking out bad-guys from the shadows.
I’m already on-board for anything MCU (except for ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D which lost my attention in season one), but this trailer finally makes me believe that ‘Daredevil’ can (and hopefully will) be awesome…
…Because he is Marvel’s equivalent of my favorite hero of all, The Batman (let’s not get into Tony Stark territory here).
While Matt Murdock (Daredevil’s secret identity) is just a poor lawyer in Hell’s Kitchen, Bruce Wayne is Gotham’s “drunk” playboy billionaire. But you know, other than that they’re the same.
Watch the trailer now and see if you agree!
You got Charlie Cox playing Matt Murdock/Daredevil and, most importantly, Vincent D’Onofrio playing Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin. A role played by Michael Clarke Duncan previously in the film.
There’s a lot to take in here, so we’ll cover that later. We do have 3 months until the show bows on April 10th.
No, I don’t mean the 2003 film ‘Daredevil’ starring Ben Batfleck as the title hero. 2015’s ‘Daredevil’ is a brand new show, officially part of the the Marvel Cinematic Universe, by Marvel Studios. Fox made the original film but let the rights slip back to Disney/Marvel, allowing the pros that brought us ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ to create and execute the first of five planned Netflix shows.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) hasn’t had much luck on TV, especially when you compare it to DC’s successful ‘Arrow,’ ‘Flash,’ and ‘Gotham;’ all shows that look like they will be around for a few seasons. My personal favorite, ‘Constantine’ is the most enjoyable, as though it can get dark as hell, the tone is closer to that of a Marvel movie than the aforementioned darker DC shows or the new DC Cinematic Universe (the DCCU) kicked off by Zack Synder’s overly dark ‘Man of Steel.’
Meanwhile, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ clings to life and is a complete disappointment when compared to the rest of the MCU, or even Fox and Sony Marvel films like ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘X-Men.’
‘Agent Carter’ may be great (the premise sure is), but I have yet to watch it (I think I’ll hop on Hulu+ following this post) and haven’t seen any TV ratings yet.
Though we have yet to see any real footage from Netflix’s’Daredevil,’ one would expect the gutsy “online network” that brought us ‘House of Cards’ to deliver a more cinematic product with a much higher budget than ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ The former should also feel less constrained by network television standards than the latter.
And ‘Daredevil’ is just the beginning of a run of MCU Netflix programming that could eclipse DC’s thus far successful television efforts.
Here’s the poster.
Following the 13 episode ‘Daredevil’ series starring Charlie Cox as Daredevil/Matt Murdock and Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpen, Marvel and Netflix will release ‘AKA Jessica Jones’ starring ‘Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter as the title character and Mike Colter as Luke Cage. Seeing as how the two are an item in the comics, Mike Colter will play Luke Cage in ‘Aka Jessica Jones’ before he gets his own show, ‘Luke Cage,’ next. Following that we get ‘Iron Fist’ which has yet to be cast, followed by an ‘Avengers’-esque series called ‘The Defenders’ that brings all four characters together for an ensemble superhero team.
Basically, Marvel has focused their TV efforts on an MCU of Netflix’s own; one that could lead to appearances of the characters on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ which desperately needs more superheroes and even a possible team-up in ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ Part 1 or 2.
This does raise the question, where and if these shows exist within ‘Phase 2’ or ‘Phase 3.’ Being a part of the MCU means they have to fall somewhere. I would guess that somewhere is ‘Phase 3’ as we won’t see Daredevil on the big screen helping with the sadistic Ultron. But IT DOES come out before ‘Age of Ultron’ and ‘Ant-Man,’ the latter ending ‘Phase 2.’ Maybe some plot points do feed into either film and are a part of Phase 2?
We’ll know more on April 10th when Netflix drops all 13 episodes of Marvel Studios’ ‘Daredevil;’ the next frontier of superhero shows.
Have you noticed a trend in your favorite blockbusters of late (well… “of late” meaning “the past 5 years or so…”)?
Are your villains more interesting? Do the actors portraying them have past Oscar nominations and/or can they overcome the action-movie stigma to achieve at least pipe-dreams of one? Are these bad guys crazier than normal? You know, more unique with a funny voice or passion for mayhem?
If you answered yes to any of those absurd questions, perhaps you, like me, feel that the past decade has produced some of the most memorable and unique villains in the history of cinema. (No, not just memorable because they’re recent, memorable because they’re so good it feels like they have some real staying power.)
2012 alone has been particularly giving, including last weekend’s SKYFALL, anchored by villain Javier Bardem. I’d like to take this time in “movie villain history” to recall past favorite villains of mine and compare them to the current crop that catch audience’s eyes for their originality (like Bane… that is some really bizarre shit).
Patterns will quickly emerge, suggesting that these modern villains we love to love for their originality, actually share quite a bit in common with one another. It’s less that each breaks the mold, more that each fits the current mold; a mold that itself has evolved from what came before. Even the mold is not original, it has simply built on our past, perfecting the traits of a great villains past rather than inventing them.
My personal favorite antagonists from decades past range from those widely-considered classics to a few lesser appreciated gems (especially recently)*:
*I am a lover of film, but I am also only 24 years old, so I apologize if my naturally limited knowledge of films before the 70s cause me to leave out an obvious villain for this list. Likewise, I am writing this all in one night (instead of sleeping); I’m confident that later today I will be like “oh fuck, I can’t believe I forgot ___________!”
*Also, to set up some sort of limits as to what qualifies as a villain/antagonist/bad guy, I’ve decided to draw the line at live-action man. No sharks a la JAWS, dinosaurs a la JURASSIC PARK, no machines a la 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and no animated baddies like Gollum. After all, though many (including myself) would argue three of the four preceding examples are incredibly emotive/iconic in their execution, are they really the same as an actor doin’ their thang’?
*Finally, to simplify shit even further, I eliminated any characters who may be imaginary, a la FIGHT CLUB.
TOP CLASSIC BADDIES
1964 – Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) – Really set the mold for the classic Bond villain better than DR. NO and FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE had established before. Besides keeping a light and witty rapport with the hero, Goldfinger seems to take great pleasure in his own eccentricities, something we will see time and time again in the Bond universe and elsewhere.
It is this pleasure in action I am trying to drive home today, this aspect that is essential for an interesting antagonist today.
1977, 1980, 1983 – Darth Vader, uhhhh I’m not even gonna say what movie he’s from cause I’m insulted – Obvious choice. No one is more ruthless than him. None more iconic. He’ll death grip the shit out of his own men. And look great doing it. The guy to imitate when it comes to getting results from your henchmen.
And even back in his day we were using tricks like interesting voices and masks (again, see Bane) to give villains identity in a world full of ’em.
1981 – Dr. Rene Belloq (Paul Freeman), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK – Rene Belloq is my favorite type of villain, the doppelganger; that is, a baddie who is very similar to our hero/nearly the mirror opposite. Belloq and Indiana Jones are both archaeologists, peers in their field, but they differ in methods. As Belloq tells Jones, “I am but a shadowy reflection of you, it would take only a nudge to make you like me.”
1982 – Khan (Ricardo Montalban), STAR TREK II: WRATH OF KHAN – It never hurts to make it personal, not for the audience at least.
Not JAWS 3 or TAKEN-I-want-my-daughter personal. More like the villain feels as though the protagonist has personally wronged them, personal. So, rather than the good guy going on a rampage limited by what makes him a good guy, you have a sadistic madman who don’t give a shit ’bout no’body out to settle a score, and no one will stand in his way. When this happens, there are no Innocent and the world (and/or the universe) burns.
So is the case with Kahn who seeks revenge on Kirk for marooning him on a baron planet, and so will be the case with one of the top villains of 2012.
1987 – Joshua (Gary Busey) with an assist by Endo, LETHAL WEAPON – Joshua is perfect parts crazy and loyal as proved by the classic flame-to-arm scene. Besides, it’s hard to forget that crazy cop on crazy mercenary beat-down with Riggs (Mel Gibson). Joshua would also be considered a doppelganger for Riggs (noticing some patterns here?).
And as far as Endo goes, one need only quote Mr. Joshua, “Endo here has forgotten more about dispensing pain than you and I will ever know.”
Live or die by that reputation, Endo.
Live or die.
1988 – Hans Gruber, DIE HARD – Fine, I admit that so far, very few of my choice are controversial or unknown. Don’t worry, that comes later, like in the 90s where nostalgia clouds my judgement.
Characters popular in the 80s are in-proportionality represented on this list because it’s a personal favorite time period in cinema. Like today, villains were quirky and took great joy in their “work.” Gruber didn’t just have a killer, well thought-out master-plan; he also had fun! (Sound familiar?)
1989 – The Joker (Jack Nicholson), BATMAN – Really, who has more fun killing people than the Joker? The Joker is supposed to be having the time of his life, even when things don’t go according to plan. Jack doesn’t disappoint, though his version still pales in comparison to that of Mark Hamill. Goddamn it though if the man doesn’t commit.
1989 – The South African Consulate’s Minister of Affairs and his Henchmen, LETHAL WEAPON 2 – “Diplomatic Immunity,” really says it all, don’t it?
(Answer: “Yes, it don’t. It really don’t.”)
A little advice, don’t kill the hot South African chick Riggs is fucking AND THEN tell him you murdered his wife. That is, unless you want your house pulled down a mountain.
That shit’s just super personal, and Riggs goes the appropriate amount of ape shit, like 007 post-Vesper.
NOSTALGIA SETS IN: VILLAINS FROM MY FORMATIVE YEARS
1995 – Alec Trevelyan aka 006 aka Janus (Sean Bean), GOLDENEYE – There’s a reason 006 was/possibly is still my favorite Bond villain. Again, everything’s super-personal (he’s Bond’s old friend, plus Bond scarred him by “setting the timers for 3 instead of 6.” He knows MI6 and is another perfect example of a doppelganger (perhaps the most perfect as Bean was nearly hired as Bond). All the correct chips are in play, driven home by all the witty banter between “006” and 007, up until the end.
millennium006 shares quite a few similarities with the still to be discussed Silva from SKYFALL, and is certainty a precursor for the new villain. His past drives him a different direction than “For Queen and Country” Bond, feeling a similar need for revenge to that of Javier Bardem’s character.
1995 – John Doe (don’t wanna spoil the surprise), SEVEN – He’s certainly one of the most quirky/sadistic killers on film. And he knows how to deliver an unbelievable third act, important for any villain worth his salt (if that is even a saying).
Returning our attention to 006, while he’s always great, but it’s the combo of an incredibly strong introduction action scene and the finale showdown that cement his role in 007 history. Likewise, with an ending like that of SEVEN, I doubt we’ll forget this serial killer soon.
1997 – Edgar (Vincent D’Onofrio), MEN IN BLACK – Really, unlike anything else I’ve ever seen, D’Onofrio’s performance of a space roach in an “Edgar” suit still astounds. Certainly one of the most “out there” threats. Again, fun work with the acting and voice make for fun times at cinemas.
1998 – Don Rafeal Montero (Stuart Wilson) & Captain Love (Matt Letscher), THE MASK OF ZORRO – Double the doppelgangers, double the fun!
With old Zorro facing his old arch-nemesis (who just happened to accidentally murder his wife then intentionally -d’uh – steal his daughter) and new Zorro facing his brother’s killer, after years of training and dreams of revenge. Really, Nick Doll’s wet-dream.
From the director of the aforementioned GOLDENEYE and CASINO ROYALE, Martin Campbell, I like to think of MASK OF ZORRO as the movie Campbell made simple because he couldn’t, at that juncture, make a 007 movie. ZORRO follows all the rules of 007 from the detective work, to the “Bond” girl, to a madman with a country changing plot, Don Rafeal Montero, his lead henchman, Captain Love, and an epic, explosive finale.
2002 – Norman Osbourne (Willem Dafoe) aka The Green Goblin, SPIDER-MAN – “Work was murder”
Now, there’s an actor who chewed the scenery in the best way possible. Whether realistic or not, Dafoe’s approach to the over-the-top Green Goblin set the standard for modern comic book movie villains like those of the AVENGERS and DARK KNIGHT.
Limited by an expressionless mask, Dafoe does a lot with a little. His conversation with “the Goblin” is thing of super hero movie legend, making it ok for mechanical arms, black goo, sand, and lizards to talk to mad scientists in SPIDER-MAN sequels for years to come.
Talking to yourself is a unique place to go with your villain, and comics like Spider-Man nearly demand it. What is most important and fun about the character though is, again, the extreme joy felt by “Gobby” whilst terrorizing Spider-Man and New York. This really laid the groundwork for silver screen villains like Loki.
If they were to cast Norman Osbourne in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 tomorrow, I’d insist it remain Willem Dafoe. He embodied a comic character perfectly even before RDJ ever became Tony Stark.
We’ll continue this analysis of the modern blockbuster villain as derived from his aforementioned history next time on BREAKING GEEK in “A Better Class Of Criminal: Part II” including the final era of movie villains, “Adult” Life: Nearly Modern To Today… And Beyond!
Find out what Bane, Joker, and Silva all have in common!
Find out which villainous strategy is hot, hot hot! (clue: Joker, Bane, Loki, and Silva all recommend it!)