Movies & TV / Columns

Six Questions About 2017’s Comic Book Movies

January 5, 2017 | Posted by Michael Thomas
Gal Gadot Wonder Woman

The hosts of the The Reel Word Podcast are here with thoughts on things. There’s a twist though. We’ve typed out our thoughts this time.

Mike and Matt like to talk to each other on Skype about comic book movies and then subject dozens upon dozens of people to their conversations. However, they are also occasionally capable of doing more. They are also occasionally capable of writing things, including – but not limited to – words.

With comic book movies being big and fun and a passion for us, we thought it would be a great idea to try to get some hits on this fine website by previewing the big comic book movies coming out in 2017.

 

1. Logan

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Will it provide a satisfying conclusion to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and the original take on the X-Men movie series?

Matt: Possibly. This depends largely on how fast and loose you want to play it with terms like “satisfying” and “conclusion.” The overall legacy of this character is admittedly broadly a positive one, but given Wolverine has yet to have a remotely successful solo outing, it’s not like Logan sucking too will ruin anything. But given the staggering amount of time Jackman has spent playing this same role, it would be nice for him to finally get a win. It gets an immediate thumbs up from me for introducing my favourite mutant X-23, and I’ll admit the concept of Logan finally beginning to break down in a post-apocalyptic setting battling the Reavers is theoretically interesting. [Bold twist prediction: Xavier is revealed to be dead after all to explain how he’s outlived so many younger characters and Logan has been hallucinating him as a manifestation of his survivor’s guilt/conscience.]

Mike: Almost certainly not! I have this theory, and you’re going to have to work with me just a bit. Logan should have died at the end of Days of Future Past. He drowns in the river, but his sacrifice meant giving all of his friends a chance to make a new future. The film would have to be reworked a little to  put a little more emphasis on his journey, but it would have been a beautifully tragic end to his character that they are never going to have a chance to recapture.

That was my roundabout way of saying that this last Wolverine film is almost certainly going to be disappointing because Fox.

Completely Uninformed Worldwide Gross Prediction: 632 million!

 

2. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

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Will the second installment continue to feel fresh and original or will it feel like more of the same?

Mike: NO – I’ve done my best to avoid learning too much about this film, as I feel like there’s little to be gained from that. However, from what little I have seen, it seems that the film’s cast is expanding ever so slightly.

While this corner of the MCU could be a great vehicle to introduce us to all sorts of crazy and innovative characters and plots, the first film was already filled to the brim with characters and several villains predictably came off as completely insubstantial as a result. I have a bad feeling that the cast expansion will cause that to happen again which will cause this film to feel like more of the same.

Matt: The trailer is certainly extremely promising. I’m going to need a hard-sell on Ego the Living Planet as the main villain, but given the unwieldy strength of this cast I’m willing to wait and see. While I could be wrong, indications are this film will be even more fun than the first, crammed full of wacky aliens and monsters, but without getting dragged down by a dull final act. The inclusion of Mantis appeals to the reader in me, and my fingers are crossed for Moondragon and Phyla-Vell. Fun fact: You can see the precise moment Mike stopped reading this paragraph and angrily walked away from his computer.

Completely Uninformed Worldwide Gross Prediction: 1.1 billion

 

3. Wonder Woman

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Will this be the first good film of the DC Extended Universe?

Matt: Based on the current evidence I’m not at all sold. Neither of the trailers that were met with rave responses did a great deal for me, and while it certainly seems more promising than the previous three efforts, I just have a gut feeling it won’t be very good. While not very good is an improvement on bad, it’s still not good.

I’d also like to echo Mike’s sentiment from an episode of The Reel World Podcast and hope the film does in fact succeed so that the narrative of it failing because it was a film directed by and starring women can’t be created.

Mike: Yea, I’m pretty worried about this one. “Going backwards” should be an opportunity for DC to get their shit together for one film. There is no pressure to make anything fit in with future/past films. All they have to do here is make a good flick. One good flick. And I just cannot see DC pulling that off.

Some of the footage from the trailers look fun, and the cast is good enough.  It’s just… it’s DC. They are 0/3 so far, and they’ve missed so badly every single time. There is no reason to believe they can make a good film until they actually manage to do so. That’s how bad they have been so far.

Completely Uninformed Worldwide Gross Prediction: 500 million

 

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Will this be the best take on Spider-Man yet

Mike: YES! I possess the fairly common and basic opinion that the Sam Raimi Spider-Man flicks were better than the Marc Webb ones, but that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were both really fun and deserved better than what they got.

With that in mind, my gut is telling me that Marvel Studios will be able to be combine the best elements of the previous attempts at Spider-Man to create a film that is both satisfying in its own right while also delivering strong performances and a “true” representation of who Peter Parker is meant to be. I doubt this film will reach the heights of the best Marvel films, but it should be good in its own right.

If nothing else, I’m just grateful this reboot does not involve (spoilers) Uncle Ben dying on screen for a third time in fifteen years.

Matt: Almost definitely. Time to rip off some band-aids; those first two Spider-Man films aren’t as good as your memory thinks they are, they just came out in an era when comic books movies were few and far between and almost entirely awful, and there’s a decent chance they came out when you were a teenager and are in some way protected by nostalgia.

Tobey Maguire was bad in those films. I enjoyed the Amazing films more than most I think, but all of the nonsense with the mystery of his parents and the cross-breeding storyline were too much even for me.

Like Mike (hey remember that movie) said, Garfield and Stone were delightful, but across the five previous films we’re yet to get a movie that truly rises above the rest of the genre and that’s what Spider-Man deserves because he is objectively the best superhero ever created. Don’t waste your time trying to fight me on this issue, you’ll lose. Definitively.

Coming out of Civil War there was nothing in the world I wanted more than to see the new Spider-Man movie. Tom Holland was perfect. PERFECT. The humour was just right. He was giddy as a school girl to be interacting with the Avengers while casually exhibiting abilities beyond most of them. Something about the first trailer dulled that excitement a little bit for me though. It wasn’t very funny and there was a real Garfield-vs-Lizard-in-the High-School vibe to it. My fingers are crossed that they’re just doing the refreshing thing and not giving away all their best jokes and moments ahead of time and that they can still deliver the deliriously fun, action packed film ya boy Pete deserves.

Completely Uninformed Worldwide Gross Prediction: 1.2 billion

 

5. Thor: Ragnarok

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Will a Thor film finally not be terrible???

Matt: You can tell who wrote this question because personally I enjoy both Thor films, but concede that’s not a popular opinion where The Dark World is concerned. That being said his hoodie-wearing Infinity Stone-chasing sub-plot has left a lot to be desired. Thor’s corner of the MCU should be all about grandiose, buccaneering fun, with Thor, Sif and the Warriors Three drinking and fighting their way through the nine realms.

While we won’t be getting that, the decision to backdoor their way into a Planet Hulk film is a smart one given they’re unable to do a Banner solo film, and the Thor/Hulk dynamic was a tonne of fun in the past. Doctor Strange was only so-so, but adding the Doc to the mix creates the most powerful grouping put to screen, appropriate given the connotations of the title, and gives Mike that ensemble cast he so craves.

Jeff Goldblum, Cate Blanchett and Tessa Thompson are all fantastic off-beat castings, but the biggest factor for me has to be Taika Waititi at the helm of the project. What We Do In The Shadows made my list of top films of 2015, and while somebody with a background in quirky indie comedy sounds like they’re completely mismatched for a grand fantasy epic, I’m still excited to see what he can do.

Mike: Yes! I cannot wait for this film! It feels like they are taking a completely different approach with the third Thor film compared to the previous two installments. Marvel is thankfully getting further and further away from the “star-making” approach to the individual films and instead moving towards telling the best stories with a wide cast of characters. These are positive things.

Completely Uninformed Worldwide Gross Prediction: 850 million

 

6. Justice League

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Even if Wonder Woman is good (by no means a guarantee), its prequel status possibly prevents it from correcting course for the DC Extended Universe. With that in mind, will Justice League become a fresh start for DC and get things back on track?

Mike: NO! While roided up J.K. Simmons is certainly something to be excited about, Zack Snyder is still Zack Snyder and until there is no reason to be optimistic for another Batman/Superman film until he is no longer at the helm.

It’s worth noting that the first (and carefully selected) footage released by DC is slightly encouraging. There appears to be HUMOR and general MERRIMENT in this film. There is no reason to suspect that that footage captures the film’s overall tone though. On top of that, the hints about DC’s endgame should give everyone feelings of unease.

Matt: Negative. Zack Snyder, David Goyer and/or the people with the authority to overrule them don’t understand the characters they’re presenting or what audiences want from superhero movies. They simply do not.

Goyer can write dark and broody, and sure, Batman and Blade fit that aesthetic, but Superman does not. The Flash does not. Most characters do not. DC stories and characters are ridiculous but in a good way. They’re gods and monsters. They’re bright colours and silly names. To try and warp them to fit the Dark Knight blueprint is a fool’s errand.

I’m reasonably confident the jokes in the trailer are almost all of the jokes in the final movie which will likely be 3 hours long with a 4 hour extended cut that fixes the story. Snyder struggles with focus, and giving him so many characters to play with isn’t going to fix that, and will only encourage him to move quickly from plot point to plot point and fill in none of the gaps to create a very pretty 3 hour montage.

I think this is the most negative I’ve ever been about anything. Let’s say Aquaman will probably be a lot of fun. There we go. That’s better.

Completely Uninformed Worldwide Gross Prediction: 750 million

 

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