The DC Cinematic Universe could use a little lightening up these days. Excusing the not so subtle pun, the DCCU has invested a little too much time into two of their hallmark characters, Batman and Superman, while not expanding on their other memorable and successful characters. Batman had three fairly successful and well-received movies under Christopher Nolan’s vision and Superman got a decent re-introduction through Zack Snyder’s direction. DC Comics and Warner Bros. have continued to make both heroes household names known throughout the world but what have they done to expand that universe? Despite not wanting to follow the Marvel method, they seem to be making some of the same mistakes Marvel did when they started making superhero films back in the early 2000s. After X-Men and Spider-Man, we found Daredevil, Incredible Hulk, The Punisher, Elektra, and a few other films which had great star power and potential but managed to fall flat despite their good intentions. One could draw parallels to Jonah Hex, Green Lantern, Catwoman, Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, and Suicide Squad and their mixed if not poor reactions with critics and audiences. Are these movies on the campy level of Howard the Duck or just plain bad like Steel? Absolutely not but I don’t think they had the reaction Warner Bros and DC Films wanted. After Man of Steel failed to perform as well as they anticipated, they scrapped the two planned sequels and jumped straightforward to Batman vs. Superman (I’m sorry I refuse to call it by its “proper” movie title, it sounds more like a court case than a movie) and eventually Justice League which brought together characters hinted at in the former movie. Neither made back the kind of money the companies were hoping for and honestly the DC Cinematic Universe needs a win like Wonder Woman. In other words, this lantern is in dire need of a recharge.
Like I said before, Green Lantern had his shot in 2011. Despite having a decent Hal Jordan played by Ryan Reynolds and a fantastic Sinestro played by Martin Strong, this movie just didn’t make any lingering sort of impression. Too much info dump, weak villains, cheesy special effects and other factors could have contributed to why this film under performed and any plans of a sequel were scrapped. Nobody returned to Green Lantern outside of animated shows or films until 2014 when they announced a Green Lantern film was in the works with the title Green Lantern Corps. Controversial writer David S. Goyer and writer Justin Rhodes were attached to co-write and produce the script based on a draft by Goyer and DC writer/GL guru Geoff Johns. Having Geoff Johns not involved would be a horrible idea for he has expanded the Green Lantern universe more than most writers involved with the title have. The Green Lanterns that would be portrayed in the movie would be Hal Jordan and John Stewart, two of the most well-known Green Lanterns. Recently they have considered director Christopher McQuarrie to direct the film which has lead people to speculate that they will cast veteran actor Tom Cruise, who McQuarrie worked with on at least four movies, to play Hal Jordan.
Now everything is still speculative. There are people who are making articles about who would be great choices for John Stewart, this being his first big screen appearance. Nobody has been confirmed for Hal Jordan or what story they’ll be working with. The only thing we know is the script has been described as “ Lethal Weapon in Space” which sounds pretty fricking cool to me. Whomever is cast as either Green Lanterns matters little to me ( although if it is Cruise, I never imagined Hal Jordan being that short) compared to what the story is. The reason the 2011 Green Lantern movie failed was the story seemed to care more about introducing everything about the Green Lantern Corps and trying to get new audience members instead of educating them simply with the great characters, story, and dialogue that comes with a good movie. Nobody knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy was outside of a comic con before the movie and now you can’t hum “Hooked on a Feeling” without somebody knowing what the hell you’re referencing.
Green Lantern has decades of great stories about a space cop who literally has one of the best weapons in the DC Universe. A tool that lets you create anything you can think of; its limits are only defined by your own imagination and willpower. You have two of the greatest Green Lanterns that were ever written as your main characters ( I’m still hoping to see Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, or even Simon Baz in the future). This film could open up the DC Universe beyond Earth and if this movie is good enough, it could expand on other characters and concepts from the Green Lantern universe. Will we see any of the emotional spectrum Lantern Corps? Will we get to see famous villians like Sinestro, Despero, or Parallax? Will we get to see the planet Oa, the Guardians of the Universe and other characters like Ganthet, Sayd, Arisia, or Killowog? Time will tell but the possibilities are enough to get people excited. But what DC Films needs to remember is we’ve been here before and still left the theater disappointed and sometimes shaking our heads. We’ll read these articles and watch these trailers with a healthy mix of skepticism and hope. DC Comics, you have a universe full of exciting, interesting, and creative characters which in the right context could inspire both new and old fans. You have the upcoming Aquaman, Flash(point), Shazam, and Batman solo films along with Wonder Woman 2 on your roster. There’s still the possibility of redemption with Suicide Squad 2 or with spin-off’s like Gotham City Sirens. You have this potential, please find the right creators to tell the best stories you can with these characters. If Green Lantern Corps is a step in that direction, then push back the fear of failure from your mind and go for the stars. Sometimes it’s the risks that end up paying off in the end. Until we get some concrete facts, please enjoy this clip of Green Lanterns G’nort from Batman: Brave and the Bold attempting to remember the famous Green Lantern oath in a moment of crisis.
Avengers: Infinity War comes out April 27th, 2018 and it is a big deal. The second trailer recently dropped and just increased the hype tenfold. It’s not just the entire Marvel universe coming together to battle the omnipresent threat of Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet. It’s not just one of the biggest blockbuster superhero films in recent memory. It’s not just the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s all of that and more! This movie celebrates 10 years of Marvel movies that have captured the imagination of the world and made many of these Marvel Comics characters household names. So as we countdown to this much anticipated debut, lets take a look back all the Marvel movies that paved the way for this movie and future movies like it and fun facts about the movie or its process that’ll make us appreciate them even more. EXCELSIOR!
1. Iron Man (2008): Burger King changed Robert Downey Jr’s life
In an interview with Empire Magazine, Robert Downey Jr. thanked the fast food restaurant Burger King for helping his decision to go straight from drugs in 2003. One day he stopped to get a burger and the burger was so disgusting that the overall experience made him rethink his life and what direction it would go. Afterwards he proceeded to dump all the drugs he had in his car into the ocean. He would re-enact this moment of revelation in the movie when he returned from captivity and ate the burger during his unorthodox sit-down with the press. Speaking of, those four hundred extras who were a part of the press conference were to be filmed standing but Robert thought they should be more comfortable and relaxed sitting down. Considering the impact this burger had on Downey Jr’s life, I can only imagine what might have happened if he went to Wendy’s instead.
2. Incredible Hulk (2008): Ed Norton got recommended by the other Hulk for the part.
Edward Norton was recommended to play the role of Bruce Banner by Lou Ferrigno, who famously portrayed the angry green superhero in The Incredible Hulk (1978). Ferrigno stated that Norton reminded him of the late Bill Bixby who had played Bruce Banner alongside him on the show. When approached, Norton turned down the offer despite being a huge Hulk fan as he was concerned about how the film would end up. After meeting director Louis Leterrier and Marvel Entertainment to discuss the movie in depth, he signed on. Ironically, Leterrier originally wanted Mark Ruffalo to be Bruce Banner but Marvel insisted on Norton being cast. Ruffalo would be re-cast as Bruce Banner in The Avengers (2012) and continue to portray the role to this day.
3. Iron Man 2 (2010): The Mandarin helped Whiplash get to Monaco to confront Iron Man
According to director Jon Favreau, the Asian man who hands Anton Vanko aka Whiplash the false papers that enable him to get to Monaco where he confronts Tony Stark was a member of the Ten Rings. The Ten Rings is the organization whose membership consisted of Raza, the leader who captured and demanded Tony Stark make them weapons which lead to him creating the first Iron Man suit. Most importantly, the Ten Rings leader is the Iron Man nemesis known as the Mandarin so even from the beginning, the Mandarin’s fate was intertwined with Tony Stark aka Iron Man’s life.
4. Thor (2011): Thor’s banishment brought tears to almost everybody involved.
During filming, director Kenneth Branagh asked Sir Anthony Hopkins to improvise his reaction to Thor yelling at him during the scene where Odin strips Thor of his power and banishes him to Midgard/ Earth. He agreed and by the time the scene was finished, most of the cast and crew were sobbing, even Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston said it was difficult to keep their emotions in check during filming. When complimented later on it, Hopkins gave credit where credit was due by saying “ Ken’s fantastic, isn’t he?”
5. Captain America First Avenger (2011): Peggy couldn’t resist touching Cap.
Looking’s free but touching almost cost Hayley Atwell while filming The First Avenger. When Steve Rogers first appears from the pod transformed into Captain America, Peggy Carter spontaneously touches his chest and looks surprised and a little flustered at his significant physical changes. That touch was very much improvised and the look on her face was genuine as she admitted to being attracted to Chris’s physique. That attraction had her not only break character for a moment but also ruined the take that made into the film’s final cut. Fortunately, we couldn’t blame Peggy or Haley for such a reaction because thousands of women in audiences all over the world would have done the same and probably more.
6. Avengers (2012): Even in real life everybody answers Cap’s call to Assemble.
During the filming of The Avengers, there were a few times that the entire cast were in town at the same time. During one of these rare moments, Chris Evans sent them all a text with one word: Assemble. They all got together and had a night out on the town. While we don’t know the details of what went down, Clark Gregg who plays Agent Coulson in the MCU has said this is the best text message he has ever received.
7. Iron Man 3 (2013) : Iron Man was to Join the Guardians of the Galaxy
The original ending of the Iron Man trilogy was going to introduce another upcoming Marvel movie: the Guardians of the Galaxy. At the end of the film, Tony would have blasted off into space to meet up with the Guardians. He would have had a cameo in the Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) which was a reference to his then recent membership in the comics. This idea was removed when Robert Downey Jr. discussed that he may step down from the role of Iron Man in future films. So they went with Downey Jr.’s idea about a post credits scene with Tony re-telling the story to a heavy-eyed Bruce Banner.
8. Thor: The Dark World (2013): Jane Foster had to slap Thor just right
In cinema, sometimes you must film the same scene more than once to get the perfect take. In Thor: The Dark World, the part where Jane Foster slaps Thor had to be filmed repeatedly because Natalie Portman kept fake slapping Chris Hemsworth. After the thirtieth take, she stopped caring and was slapping him for real. Funny enough the scene where Jane meets Loki and punches him for his role in the Battle of New York during The Avengers (2012), it only took her five takes before she was actually hitting Tom Hiddleston.
9. Captain America : Winter Soldier (2014): Falcon likes to cut the check!
Anthony Mackie who played Sam Wilson/The Falcon liked to say “Cut the check!” whenever something had gone well or a scene had been completed during The Winter Soldier. The phrase caught on and eventually everybody in the cast and crew were saying it. Unfortunately, according to the Russo Brothers, Mackie overdid it so much during the filming that it eventually lost its appeal.
Well cut the check for Part 1! Stay tuned for Part 2 in a few days and remember, Thanos is coming…
1. The Guardians of the Galaxy were originally the Wolverines from The Red Dawn.
Comic Writer Roy Thomas said the Guardians of the Galaxy “started out as an idea of mine: about super-guerrillas fighting against Russians and Red Chinese who had taken over and divided the USA. I got a sort of general approval out of [editor-in-chief] Stan [Lee] (I think), and gave the idea to Arnold Drake, since I had not time to write and research it. Arnold went in for a conference with Stan, and Stan (maybe Arnold, too) decided to change it to an interplanetary situation. All the characters and situations in Guardians were created by Arnold and/or Stan.” The story took place in the 31st century of an alternate Marvel Comics timeline with the main team consisting of Major Victory, Martinex T’Naga, Captain Charlie-27, Yondu Undonta. Many of these Guardians (with the exception of Yondu) made their big screen debut at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
2. Peter Parker was a victim of sexual abuse
Now before you jump to any conclusions, this story came out in 1984 when Marvel was working with the National Education Association and the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse. In this story, Spider-Man recalls a story to a child having difficulty opening up about something that happened to him. Back in the day, lonely Peter Parker befriended an older boy named Skip and in the beginning, things were fine. But they took a dark turn when Skip forced Peter to perform some kind of sexual act with him while they were alone reading pornographic magazines. Peter told Aunt May and Uncle Ben what happened and the situation was resolved shortly after but Peter never forgot what happened. When Spider-Man’s story’s convinced the child to talk to his parents, Peter realized what happened in him wasn’t his fault.
3. Captain America was once a drug addict
In the Streets of Poison , Captain America took on both drugs and supervillians such as Bullseye, Kingpin, Crossbones, and Diamondback when an unexpected explosion had the strangest result. The All American poster boy finds himself fighting through a meth lab when it explodes. Instead of dying in the explosion, the designer drugs somehow seeped into his bloodstream and quickly turn him into a Star Spangled Junkie. Cap becomes a supercharged paranoid addict who doesn’t shave, hears voices, picks fights with his teammates when he can’t control his anger and apparently as seen above, is not afraid to cluck like a chicken. Although we’re surprised the Super Soldier serum didn’t protect him from this reaction, we’re glad he’s been living the clean and sober life ever since.
4. Professor X also had a thing for Jean Grey
Back in the 1960s when the X-Men were introduced, they were merely teenage mutants under the guidance of Charles Xavier who trained and helped them to use their powers, especially fellow telepath Jean Grey. Now everyone is more than familiar over Cyclops and Wolverine’s battle for Jean’s affections but during those golden years, Xavier telepathically admitted to caring more for Jean Grey than a simple teacher-student relationship. Charles Xavier at that time was the ideal teacher and this moment made us question Charles Xavier’s logic where an improper attraction seem less compared to the responsibilities of leadership or even his physical handicap. This moment was forgotten until years later when Jean, with the help of the all-powerful evil amalgamation known as Onslaught, took a look into the past and learned how seriously twisted Xavier’s behavior had been. The worst part was the revelation that the Professor never confronted or eventually let go of his feelings for Jean, he simply suppressed the memory of them with his powers and moved on.
5. One time The Flash became fat and everyone made fun of him
Naturally with a Speed Force metabolism, you’d think many of things of Barry Allen aka The Flash before you’d even think obese. But back in the Silver Age of comics when any idea was possible, ape adversary Gorilla Grodd hit Flash with a blast from a science gun that caused him to absorb the air’s moisture to the point where his size made it impossible for him to run. In Flash #115 titled “The Day the Flash weighed 1,000 Pounds” instead of helping the hero, Central City’s people turned him into a sideshow attraction subject to constant ridicule. When The Flash couldn’t take it enough, he figured out how to reverse the condition by dehydrating himself in a special room and went on to defeat the villain and save the very citizens who laughed at him. Although Barry Allen never had such an issue again, we’d like remind you all that dehydration is not the way to lose weight but quite the opposite.
6. There were other Green Arrows throughout the world
We know Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow but according to Adventure Comcs #250, there are others who wear the mantle of the Green Arrow much like Batman Incorporated decades later. The idea is interesting but the execution is more than hilarious as we see the Green Arrow of Mexico. Japan, Britain and others but they only seem to reinforce stereotypes in their depiction. The Mexican Green Arrow is nothing more than a Caucasian man wearing a sombrero and long mustache and the Japanese Green Arrow looks like an Asian caricature driving a rickshaw but if you think that’s ridiculous you should see their trick arrows. Britain’s GA has a Big Ben Arrow and the Japanese GA has a Jujitsu Arrow which is somehow is an arrow with arms. Green Arrows, you have failed these countries.
7. Supergirl had a creepy space horse that wanted to hook up with her.
When anyone looks up Comet the Super-Horse, I’d love to go back and see what the creator’s train of logic on this bizarre character in Supergirl’s history was. Originally written as a space centaur trapped in a horse’s body, he would drift space with no purpose until he discovers Supergirl’s lost vessel also drifting aimlessly. He immediately is attracted to this baby girl and follows her to Earth where he watches her grow up while intensifying his attraction to Kara by infiltrating her dreams. If Freddy Krueger’s horse wasn’t enough to re-think Supergirl’s death and reboot in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Comet eventually gets his wish when he is turned into a human rodeo man called “Bronco Bill”. Supergirl randomly finds him and of course they make out, twice. Sometimes not getting a pony for your birthday might actually be a good thing.
8. Marvel’s Deadpool was modeled after DC’s Deathstroke
Once, artist Rob Liefeld was tinkering with a new character that he showed to writer Fabian Nicieza. Knowing Rob was a fan of the DC Comics series Teen Titans, Fabian couldn’t help noticing the similarities of the outfit and skill set to a popular DC villain summed up in his message “This is Deathstroke from Teen Titans.” Normally that would stop any creative team but Fabian and Rob took this and ran with it. According to Fabian, Rob created the visual design and name while Fabian focused on establishing Deadpool’s speech patterns and created his real name “Wade Wilson”, an inside joke to Deathstroke’s civilian identity Slade Wilson. After Deadpool’s debut and reoccurring role in X-Force, his following mini-series gathered enough success to earn him first ongoing series with Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness which helped establish him as the psychotic, pop-culture fourth wall breaking Canadian Marvel anti-hero that millions of people laugh and reference to this day. Your move, DC Comics.
9. Legion killed and absorbed the psyche of a terrorist who tried to kill him.
Before he was known as Legion, the star of a hit FX show with a second season on the way, David Haller was simply the illegitimate child of Professor Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. When he was very young, he was a victim of a terrorist attack of which he was the only survivor. The trauma from the situation was so intense that it triggered his mutant powers to manifest and incinerate the minds of all the terrorists present including their leader Jemail Karami. The event was too great for David’s mind and he was rendered catatonic and recieved care at the Muir Island mutant research facility under Moira MacTaggert who also was a former paramour of Charles Xavier. The massive trauma fractured David’s personality with each personality formed from the splinter controlling a different aspect of his power. Somehow Karami’s psyche survived and later struggled for years to separate himself from David’s consciousness after he recovered and continued to explore his powers and his place in the Marvel Universe. Karami once attempted to use David’s powerful telepathic abilities to reintegrate the multiple personalities into David’s core personality. This mental coup was resisted by other personalities who wanted to destroy Karami’s consciousness while maintaining their own independence away from David’s core personality. None of the personalities were successful and they continued to be David’s more dominant personalities at the time. I guess in Karami’s case, there are some fates worth than death indeed.
10. The Tick was originally going to be Brown instead of Blue
Back in the day when this lovely little superhero satire was the mascot at New England Comics in Massachusetts, creator Ben Englund had originally intended for The Tick to be brown similar to the insect the hero derives his name from. In the beginning when the character was a black and white character on newsletter and small comic printing, such details as brown instead of blue wouldn’t have mattered much. However when the Tick started to gain more and more success, the color blue was chosen as it would look better in color. They would later reference this costume change in the TV cartoon episode “The Tick vs. The Tick” where The Tick encounters a loud unstable man named Barry who also calls himself the Tick but wears a brown costume closer in reference to the insect accompanied with a red tick shaped shield that gives him incredible strength. They fight over the right to call themselves The Tick and in the end there’s only one hero for the City and he sticks out like a sore six foot blue thumb. SPOOOOON!
Thanks for making it this far. I hope you learned a thing or two! As a reward… enjoy this hilarious imagining if what Justice League could have been like…if they went with the B-team.