Jaimie Foxx is perfect choice for Spawn – Here’s why

Jaimie Foxx is perfect choice for Spawn – Here’s why

Posted by on Jun 6, 2018 in Home, News, Uncategorized

When the news that the long awaited Spawn movie to be directed by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane found a home at Blumhouse Productions, fans of the iconic Image Comics character found hope in seeing a movie many had thought lost in development hell. While fans may be a little disappointed that Michael Jai White won’t be reprising the role of Al Simmons/Spawn that he portrayed in the 1997 movie, the casting of Jamie Foxx is admittedly great casting for the character. The actor seen with creator/director McFarlane below has shown in his career for being able to play both

hero and villain and that balance is pivotal to tapping into the inner struggle that defines both Al Simmons and Spawn in this darker portrayal of the character. In the spirit of such news and to convince any naysayers hiding in the shadows, let’s review five movies that prove he has what it takes to be the famous Hellspawn.

 

 

 

 


5. Collateral (2000): Early in his film career, Jamie Foxx played Max, a taxi driver who is manipulated by Tom Cruise’s Vincent into behind his driver as Vincent drives through L.A. taking out the targets he had been hired to eliminate. Although Max is coerced into compliance with money and death threats, Max does his best to survive the situation as the night brings both the kidnapper and the kidnapped to a better understanding of each other. But as the bodies continue to pile up, Max takes matters into his own hands when Vincent’s mission becomes personal. Under Michael Mann’s direction, Foxx depicted a man forced to perform under extraordinary circumstances who is not afraid to put himself at risk to protect others from gangsters and killers alike even when it puts his own life in jeopardy. In the comics, Al Simmons always saw himself as a hero regardless of the rank he carried and as Spawn, he found himself constantly at the whim of situations that required his skill, instinct, and at times power to protect those he cared for from those that would do them harm. Jamie Foxx could show that humanity and moral compass that Al Simmons struggled to keep in his supernatural position as Spawn.

 

 

4. and 3. Jarhead (2005) and the Kingdom (2007): Although this Sam Mendes biographical war movie based on the 2003 memoir of the same name starring Jake Gyllenhaal earned mixed reviews, Jamie Foxx’s role as Staff Sergeant Sykes stood out in this movie highlighting the Gulf War and its effect on the soldiers involved. Foxx’s role as the no-nonsense Sergeant Sykes as well as his role as Special Agent Ronald Feury in Peter Berg’s The Kingdom (2007) show the actor has the experience and discipline to make a soldier or a government agent believable. In the comics, Al Simmons was a decorated soldier and later government operative who had even saved a President from assassination. His training and flexible morality under the idea of the greater good were among the characteristics Hell desired when he was recruited to become a Hellspawn. His training and skills made him dangerous and his sense of morality ensured he could be manipulated to Hell’s advantage especially in their war against the forces of Heaven. Sergeant Sykes constant dedication to the military and Agent Feury’s desire to avenge one of their own against the terrorists responsible for his death prove Foxx has the acting chops to make Spawn’s military background believable but also relatable.

                                                                                                  

 

2. Baby Driver (2017): Among the many great characters in this well received Edgar Wright heist movie, one of the best villains was Jamie Foxx’s Bats. Tattooed, unhinged, and completely homicidal, Bats proved to be a reliable but unstable member of Doc’s crew. Whether he was playing off his friction with Baby or killing crooked police or innocent people, Foxx played Bats in an honest and sincere manner that almost had you disappointed when he met his spontaneous demise. You liked him but you honestly couldn’t see his life ending in any other way. He could work with others but kept people at a distance which made them in a a way disposable should they interfere with his personal agenda. The inner conflict and isolation is crucial to balancing Al Simmons identity as a person and his career as a professional killer. Although he believed himself to be a decent person, readers watched Al struggle and eventually acknowledge the darkness within him and see the full effect of its power channeled through his powers as Spawn. Killing came natural to him although his decisions usually had unforeseen consequences at variety points in his life. While he made friends with a variety of people throughout his time as Spawn, a great majority of those relationships would be tested by his desire to free himself from Hell’s machinations regardless of the consequences of his actions. Although Bats had little to no remorse for his life and the decisions he made in it, his cool demeanor and tendency to clash with others would be perfect in flashbacks to Simmons’ old life as a soldier or his present conduct as Spawn. It could definitely be an Oscar moment right there.

  1. Django Unchained (2012): This movie alone proves that Jamie Foxx has the character and motivation to portray Spawn. In this Quentin Tarantino spaghetti western, Django is a freed slave now turned bounty hunter who travels alongside his fellow bounty hunter in a quest to free his wife from an infamous plantation and its owners. Django endures all sorts of hell and loss in the pursuit of love and that fact alone is crucial to portray Spawn because everything Al Simmons endured as Spawn was made for the same reasons. Al Simmons agreed to become a Hellspawn and return to Earth simply to be reunited with his wife Wanda. When he returned years later to find his wife remarried with a family, he reneged on his agreement to be a Hellspawn and did his best to protect Wanda and her family from all manner of evil forces that targeted them. He constantly tried to be reunited with Wanda proving his love for his former wife was the catalyst for a path of redemption for a lifetime of sins. So much of Django Unchained  parallel things we could see within the new Spawn movie. The amount of death and bloodshed guaranteed in Django’s crusade parallels the amount of bodies and blood spilled in Spawn’s constant battles with forces from both Heaven and Hell although the latter constantly upped the scale on an almost cosmic level.                                                                         The relationship Django shared with fellow bounty hunter and friend Dr. King Schultz could parallel Spawn’s relationship with adviser and former Hellspawn Cogliostro or Spawn’s relationship with Detectives Sam and Twitch, two NYPD homicide detectives  who become trusted allies.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Django’s struggle and eventual acceptance into the world of bounty hunting could properly show Simmons struggle with the idea of being a Hellspawn and the powers he now wields and what price they have. But the overlapping theme of what hell one can endure to save those they love is not only crucial to portraying Spawn but Jamie Foxx’s performance in Django more than any performance on this list convinced me that the actor could portray Al Simmons/Spawn just as well as Michael Jai White did in the 1990s.

As always, many factors contribute to how well a movie is received by the public. The script, the director, the actors, marketing are but a few that can make or break a film and the audience can even be more unpredictable especially in this age of comic book movies on the rise. Adaptations are unpredictable in both execution and public reception but fortunately this film brings to mind 1987’s horror film Hellraiser which had  creator Clive Barker participate as both writer and director for the film to great success. With McFarlane heavily involved in the process and its titular character cast, perhaps this reboot might be a welcome break from the Marvel and DC films that have dominated the market for the last two decades. The only question I’m wondering is who else could we see in the film from the comic series? I wonder indeed.

While we wait, here’s a clip from the 1997 Spawn which was simply a good idea made at the wrong time. Regardless I still admit I still have a soft spot for it.

 

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Do we really want more Watchmen?

Do we really want more Watchmen?

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons 1985 series Watchmen is without a doubt one of the best and greatest comic series ever published. Describing an alternate earth with similar but different timelines, this serious and adult series was one of the first comic book series to be viewed as literature instead of comics. Watchmen also has a serious and controversial backstory involving legal ownership rights which resulted in the permanent dissolution of Alan Moore’s working relationship with DC Comics. If you’ve read into the matter, you may better understand Alan Moore’s distance from modern comic companies such as Marvel and DC and why he wants nothing to do with any of the modern adaptations based on his work; his distaste for such matters includes his insistence that his royalties go to support his fellow co-creators instead of himself. But like an old prospector who can’t help returning to the well until his supply is exhausted, DC Comics continues to return to the Watchmen series. Previously they had their Before Watchmen series in 2012 which elaborated on origins and backstories of main characters before the main series which debuted to mixed results from fans and creators alike. Recently DC Comics has incorporated the Watchmen character into their mainstream DC Universe in their DC Rebirth relaunch. Now with the unauthorized sequel to Watchmen titled Doomsday Clock slowly being published this year and an HBO produced series taking place in the Watchmen universe, we must ask but one question: Are these really stories that need to be produced and/or published?

When the Watchmen movie came out in 2009, I had never read the book before seeing the movie. While most of the comic literate world would cry foul, I still found the movie to be a decent and faithful adaptation despite the limitations that you would expect from a Zack Snyder directed movie. I even read in a magazine that even the articulate and ever distant Alan Moore thought it was “okay” which coming from him is a big compliment. When one reads Watchmen, the content is so rich and complex that you get the sense that not only do you understand and follow the story but by the end, you feel like you understood the entire world you just read within the thick manuscript of its pages. There is this sensation that all the loose ends were tied, and anything left dangling you didn’t need to question because some of it was good storytelling and the rest common sense. You knew that Dr. Manhattan was still out there among the universes, the cover-up about the “alien” attack had resulted in world peace instead of nuclear war, and that Rorschach’s journal detailing the entire incident would continue the deceased vigilante’s quest for justice without compromise. That was all you needed to know and that was fine.

Last year they announced the HBO Watchmen series was in the works and people debated whether it would be an adaptation or a sequel to the original series. When producer Damon Lindelof revealed actors and actresses cast in the project, he also elaborated on the writers approach to the show. “We have no desire to adapt the twelve issues Mr. Moore and Gibbons created 30 years ago. Those issues are sacred ground and they will not be retread nor recreated nor rebooted. They will however be remixed.” He compares the process in the writer’s room to sampling beats to create new music or comparing the original Watchmen and this new series to the Old and New Testament by saying the New Testament didn’t erase what the Old had established but continued the stories. While those are some creative metaphors, that kind of high praise leaves me feeling anxious and inquistive instead of relieved and ready to put the matter to bed. They want to pay tribute to the original source material but tell their own stories with it which is what most if not all comic book movies have been doing since their introduction to the silver screen. But what more could they tell that wasn’t elaborated on in that dense and literate Bible they’ve put on a pedestal? They want to tell these stories in a contemporary context meaning the series will happen after the events depicted in the original Watchmen series but in the modern day. So this is a sequel but not really? In essence how is this any different than the current Doomsday Clock series except that our mystery characters won’t be interacting with characters like Batman, Joker, or Lex Luthor ( at this time anyway)?

I understand Lindelof’s desire to “ask new questions and explore the world through new lens” and with a cast consisting of Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, Loui Gossett Jr and other actors’ familiar with comic book storytelling and adaptation, they certainly have the tools and the potential to do so. But I recall Lindelof’s involvement with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus which served as a not-prequel to the Alien franchise which attempted to do something similar to mixed results from fans and critics alike. Because sometimes in telling more of a story you lose the appreciation for the mystery and imagination the story left behind with its ending. This is a dangerous balancing act because in wanting to be vague and not spoil what is to come, you create unrealistic expectations and demands for something that wasn’t in demand in the first place. Sure the project has talented creators and people involved but so did the Before Watchmen series in 2012 and I can’t tell you how many of those back issues with the yellow and black lettering I’ve seen untouched in comic book outlets over the years. If the public does not want it, the ratings and attention will speak for them. I remember Alan Moore, when speaking out against DC’s 2008 Blackest Night series which he felt had been inspired by some of his earlier Tales of the Green Lantern comics, said “these days, I increasingly get the sense of the comic book industry going through my trashcan like raccoons in the dead of the night.” While I don’t always agree with some of what Alan Moore says, I do believe that DC Comics should leave the world of Watchmen alone and continue to concentrate on telling exciting and fresh stories instead of revisiting projects that feel less creative and more cash cow. I don’t have high hopes for this series but I’m open to be proven wrong. Maybe in the end it’ll all be some kind of grand joke. Everybody laughs. Roll on the snare drum. Curtains.

On another note, I would definitely be down to watch something like this.

 

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Avengers Infinity War: Worth the 10 year hype?

Avengers Infinity War: Worth the 10 year hype?

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Uncategorized

 You have been warned.

It began with the culmination of 4 years work back in 2012. Since Iron Man had birthed what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, a small collective of directors, actors, and writers slowly started to establish characters which had only existed on the pages of a comic book. The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and others found audiences beyond the comic shop and the TV at home. Then they decided to come together in one movie in 2012 where these feisty, sarcastic and powerful people managed to come together to stop an alien invasion and become the Avengers. But as powerful as they were, a hint of a power greater than all of them combined smirked from the darkness of space. Shortly after we discovered of something called Infinity Stones which became some of the most powerful weapons in the MCU. Other heroes and characters arose from these conflicts such as the Falcon, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Winter Soldier, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Along with them came villians who would oppose and test them but due to general storytelling and cinematic expectation, more than enough of them fell by the wayside; chapters in their heroes journeys. A villain emerged over time with a goal that could literally be the end of everything and all the ambition to achieve it. His name was Thanos and he was coming to Earth.  In 2018, after 10 years of anticipation and proper build up, we were given this film: Avengers Infinity War which would change the entire fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever and let me say, that was worth every f@#c&!ng minute.


The Russo brothers and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley had a herculean challenge, they had to put 10 years’ worth of Marvel films in one huge story that paid tribute to its source material but also continued the stories that had already been established on the big screen. Similar to how well the Avengers had been handled, the material or characters needed little to no introduction. We know these guys, we know what the Infinity Stones are and we know Thanos is looking to collect them all. That required little to no introduction but what amazed me was how well the movie moved. Clearly ignored the rapid place jumping that plagued films like Batman vs. Superman and Justice League which failed to replicate a plot device found in comic book storytelling, there were place cards telling you exactly where we are. The characters moved a steady pace that made it easy to understand regardless of the grandiose of the story or the dangers they faced. Nothing felt rushed and it honestly felt like I was reading a true movie adaptation of a comic book come to life. The film not only told its own story but managed to connect all the movies and even tie up plot points that had been left behind from previous MCU Gems. What was amazing was it all felt so real. The characters joked, they argued, they fought both villains and among each other while battling Thanos and his enforcers, the Black Order.  They had problems arise and personal demons to push past while they did what they had to do knowing they may not walk away in the end. When somebody died or was hurt, the entire audience was silent because you were invested in the story. You weren’t being talked down to or given the same plot formulas over and over and over again. This was something new, this was bigger than any Avengers or Marvel movie you had ever seen. Although you are pumped to see your favorite heroes coming together , the same idea keeps your eyes hooked on the screen: What happens if they lose? What happens if Thanos gathers all the Infinity Stones and snaps his fingers? What happens when the heroes fail? That’s the magic of storytelling, eventually you become so invested that the characters become you.


After all these years of separate films, it was spectacular to see everybody all together united under one cause. In Avengers, it was everybody against Loki, the Ultron, or even pitted against each other; this time it’s the entire Marvel Universe against Thanos and his armies. While the action never really disappointed, I thoroughly enjoyed that the film took time to address every plot line poignantly. Very often ensemble projects have characters or story-lines fall apart or become underdeveloped compared to others but there was an excellent sense of balance here, When Tony Stark stumbles realizing his nightmare has come true, when Gamora falls, when Peter crumbles or when the Avengers fail, each moment is hammered into your mind and remains. In the past, I have agreed that Marvel movies sometimes rely too much on comedy to break apart serious moments instead of letting them breathe. In the last few years, we have seen darker and more serious moments start to emerge as tragedy is a crucial block in building memorable heroes but it is a slow process. In Infinity War, there were definitely some serious and dark moments but in a way, that made the jokes even funnier because when it was funny, the entire audience laughed. If you asked a group of people what was their favorite moment or line, guaranteed a lot of people would same much of the same thing. Characters like Spider-Man, Drax, Groot, Thor and a few others had some of the best moments but other great laughs came out of nowhere. This movie did great to push and evolve so many of its characters further and leave us eager to see where they go next.


A movie is only as great as its villain and Thanos is most definitely one of the greatest Marvel villains we’ve ever seen. Josh Brolin played this character with such honesty and sincerity because Thanos doesn’t believe what he is doing is wrong and overall movie has you sympathize with him. He has judged the universe and found it desperately in need of balance and thus his quest for the Infinity Stones has him deemed as the hero. He must stay strong in the face of unsurmountable resistance, he will be forced to make difficult decisions that will require sacrifice from his body and soul, he will cry and at the end he will have to reap the fruits of his labor, no matter their taste or size. Thanos has bent this idea of good and evil and he does it so effortlessly to the point where you can’t believe that you’re rooting for him at the end. While his enforcers in the Black Order certainly stand out in the movie, they are still background characters; they are merely extensions of Thanos’ will and such characters are exactly why you see him here in the first place. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Just like the heroes grew with you, you have watched Thanos evolve. You got to know Thanos the tyrant, Thanos the madman, in this movie you met Thanos the father and Thanos the god. At the end of this film he has broken the Avengers, he has amassed greater power unlike any other being before him, and he has literally wiped out half of the known universe’s populace. He sits down on a perfect world and finds himself at peace. He won and we lost. Game over, man.

Although some comic fans would cry the movie has barely touched on most of the story from the Infinity Gauntlet comic book, this is one of the rare cases where I don’t give a damn. The entire Marvel universe has changed before our eyes and nothing will be the same until we see how it concludes in 2019. Sure we will have films like Deadpool, Ant Man 2, Captain Marvel and others to entertain or fill in the gaps in the Marvel timeline but the damage made in this movie will not be forgotten and honestly that’s all we could ask for. In the end, comic book movies have slowly become a polarizing opinion in the cinema world. Some have welcome this new stage in film-making and some look at it as cinematic arsenic gradually killing this artistic and creative genre. As both a fan of comics and cinema, I applaud this movie for being exactly what anybody should expect: a great movie worthy of its story. In the end, we were simply entertained. We laughed, we cried, we shushed people who talked during and we cannot wait for more. You know what they say: once you hit rock bottom, the only place to go is up.

 

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