The Batman Gets A Director and WB Announces A Nightwing Movie

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Captured From Batman: Arkham Knight. Property of WB Games

 

It feels so good to be DC fan boy right about now. Finally a good dose of news to keep this franchise alive and fans excited instead of scared and miserable. Wonder Woman is only a few months away and spirits are high. And why might spirits be higher than Cheech and Chong hot boxing a 747? Because The Batman finally nailed down a director with the man himself Ben Affleck still set to star. Just as abruptly as it appeared the cloud of doom hanging over this movie has dissipated into a bright ray of sunshine. And the cherry on top of this really weird sunshine cake is the fact that Dick Grayson a.k.a. Nightwing will now be getting his own solo movie directed by Lego Batman Movie Director Chris Mckay!

I haven’t been this excited for the future of the DCEU since I saw the first trailer for Justice League. And here’s why. It shows that DC is taking the initiative and planning for the future in a very smart way. Batman is a legacy character. Which means that while Bruce Wayne is the first original batman, many characters have worn the mantle over the years. Same goes for The Flash, Green Lantern and even Superman. But when it come to Batman the most famous replacement is Dick Grayson.

Dick Grayson made his debut in April 1940. He was the first and generally most well-known Robin. He’s the one that fought alongside Batman in the 1960’s campy TV series, the 70’s on Super Friends and the 1990’s in Batman The Animated Series all while sporting those ridiculous green trunks and pixie boots. But in the comics he was taking a much more mature turn. Dick Grayson to me has always been a direct line to the fans. The main reason he was created was to give someone for Batman to talk to while he was on missions. And also to get kids to think that they could be Robin adventures and go on adventures with the Caped Crusader. It worked by the way, the month Robin was introduced sales doubled. But the darnest of things happened to those early readers of comics. They grew up and didn’t feel as invested in Robin as they once did. So DC made Robin grow up and sent him off to college.

Pretty soon after that Dick Grayson broke out on his own as Nightwing. Basically imagine Batman but like weirdly smug and fun. Because reader, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Batman is kind of an dick to people. Here’s an example, in case you don’t believe me. Batman is a founding member of the Justice League, a team of heroes that he considers some of his closest friends and allies. Yeah he has contingency plans to kill all of them and just didn’t bother to tell them. So yeah, Batman is a dick.

But speaking of dicks, Dick Grayson. He’s Batman with a sense of humor and has some of the best stories in comics. He’s the leader of the Teen Titans, has filled in for Batman on many occasions and is quite the ladies man. So who should play this acrobatic pretty boy? Well all signs point to Armie Hammer and quite frankly I would totally be on board with that. He’s got the look, the build and the chops. Not to mention he was cast as Batman in a cancelled Justice League movie back in 2009.

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A Saving Grace for the X-Men and Fantastic Four?

foxpostImages Courtesy of Staticflickr and Statickflickr and Statciflickr

 

 

Okay here we go. Maybe the most annoying thing when it comes to comic book movies, in my opinion. The way Fox studios handles its marvel characters. For those not in the know back in the 90’s Marvel Comics was facing bankruptcy so to get out of that little rough patch they sold off the film rights to certain characters. Mainly Spider Man went to Sony, Fox got The X-men, Daredevil, Blade, The punisher and the Fantastic Four among others. That was until recently when marvel Studios got back the rights of Daredevil, Punisher and Blade back in 2013.

Now we’re all on the same page. Fox still holds the movie rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four and Deadpool. And in Fox’s defense all of the films involving those characters aren’t terrible, specifically X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine. But everything else is either quite bad or just boring and un-interesting. Hear me out. Can you really name anything cool or fun from the X-Men movies that doesn’t involve Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine? Because I barely can and I love comic book movies. Fun Fact: Hugh Jackman’s real name is Hubert. (Not really)

So what should Fox do? Well, the answer is really quite simple. Look at what Sony did with Spiderman. As of 2015 Sony and Marvel Studios entered a deal regarding Spiderman. Basically, Marvel Studios, the guys behind Iron Man, Captain America and The Avengers, gets complete creative control over the character while Sony gets all of the profits for what we in the industry call ‘solo movies’. Which is a term that means it’s only focused on one character. For example, this years Spiderman: Homecoming is being produced by Sony while being overseen by Marvel, and Sony gets all the profits. But if Spiderman were to show up in an Avengers movie (spoiler alert: he is) then not only would Marvel have complete creative control over him they would also get all of the profits for that film.

That’s a really good deal and makes a lot of sense. Before Sony entered this deal they were struggling with Spiderman. The Amazing Spiderman and its sequel weren’t as well received as the studio would’ve liked them to be and with the Marvel Cinematic Universe getting more and more popular with each release their odds of winning over audiences was getting slimmer and slimmer. Now I wish Andrew Garfield would’ve been kept on but hey it was a reboot and time to move on. And I really like Tom Holland so far, so really not that much to complain about.

And that’s what Fox should do. Hand over certain rights to Marvel Studios and completely reboot their universe because as it stands now the timeline and continuity of the X-Men movies is a god damn mess. The only drawbacks would be losing the only good thing the franchise has going for it. The cast. Yes, Hugh Jackman is amazing but not counting him there really are some other incredible actors on board. Namely, James Mcavoy and Michael Fassbender. So yes losing them will suck but imagine the excitement of getting a brand new cast of X-Men, possibly led by Tom Hardy as Wolverine?

And if you think Fox has got it under control when it comes to their Marvel characters I encourage you to go and re-watch the hit 2015 film Fant4stic. I am totally kidding that film is like watching a baby seal get hit by a bus. But it proves my point. Fox has run that franchise into the ground and the X-Men might be next. Seriously don’t watch that movie.

 

 

 

Is the End Nigh for Ben Affleck or the DCEU as a Whole?

Okay, I know my last post was also about this train wreck but this one is a bit more serious. A director can be replaced, but the face of a franchise, which Ben Affleck is the new face of the DC movie franchise.  John Campea of Collider Movie Talk claims that Ben Affleck “make no mistake, he does want out…He doesn’t want to be Batman anymore.” So, this is a few things…for one it’s an incredibly wild accusation, two: makes some amount of sense and three: a fun excuse to do some

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Image Courtesy of Flickr

theorizing and fan casting. And that’s mostly what this will be. Me attempting to give some semi viable options and alternatives to this giant calamity of a franchise.

Just to be clear, in my personal opinion I don’t buy this story of Affleck leaving. I’m just using it as an excuse to stretch my fan casting and hypothetical legs.

First up. Replacing Ben Affleck is possible but not going to be well received. Especially since we’ve barely seen any of him. Since the direction of his portrayal  is a man who has been dressing up like a giant bat and punching people in the face like a damn lunatic for the past twenty years he’s getting close to retirement. But that’s the problem with it! Yes, I loved his take and everything about it but if you’re starting a brand new continuity that is a terrible idea. Ben Affleck is currently 44 years old, he doesn’t have that many years left to punch on with the likes of Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot. This is a problem Marvel is also facing with their golden boy, Robert Downey Jr. But if you’re going to do it I have some ideas.

Shift the focus to a younger character, specifically Nightwing. If you don’t know who that is I’ll explain. Nightwing is the first Robin, Dick Grayson, who got tired of living in Batman’s shadow and set out on his own. Long story short is he’s like Batman in terms of abilities and training but way more fun and not a dick. In terms of casting there have actually been a lot of rumors and the one I like the most is Armie Hammer, who was actually set to be Batman way back in 2009. He’s 30 years old and clearly has the look of a chiseled white guy who could put on a domino mask or a cowl. Eventually Dick graduates from Nightwing to the mantle of the Bat itself. That’s what I would focus on is a passing of the torch from a father figure to a surrogate son.

Now for my second and much more extreme suggestion. Reboot the entire universe. But you don’t have to scrap everything. DC Comics has this really sort of fun habit of making reboots part of their continuity. The best example is 2011’s Flashpoint event where the Flash travels back in time, altering the world and returning to a brand new timeline. This would actually be perfect considering the Flash is currently getting a page one re-write. And no, a page one re-write is not where they just re-write the first page. The story ends with the Flash handing a letter written by Bruce Wayne’s now dead father from the alternate timeline where he lived and Bruce died. That right there would be the perfect point to just let Ben Affleck walk and drop in a new fresh faced guy in the role of Bruce Wayne.

Or, maybe DC should just focus on other characters for awhile. I think it should be Superman or Wonder Woman’s turn to be the king or queen of DC’s movies. Or, and I really hope this doesn’t happen because I really do love these characters, maybe just drop it for a few years and let the franchise rest. But on the other hand I am so tired of watching Warner Brothers pump out such disappointing movies so if that means we have to wait a few years to make sure the new batch doesn’t make me want to claw both my eyes and ears off then I’m all for it.

Sad Batfleck Returns

 

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia

So, Ben Affleck dropped out of the director’s chair for the upcoming Batman film? Great, because Warner Brothers and DC weren’t having enough problems with their cinematic universe. First there was the critical flop that was Batman V Superman, the train wreck that was Suicide Squad’s production and Jared Leto’s studio backlash, the rumors that Wonder Woman is a mess, The Flash losing two directors and getting a page one rewrite. And after all of that the shining beacon of hope that was a solo Batman film helmed by Affleck has been snuffed out. After all of that the only production that seems to be somewhat on top of something is Aquaman. Who would have thought that Aquaman, the laughing stock of comic book heroes would be the only film that wasn’t a total shipwreck? Get it…shipwreck, water, Aquaman. Okay I apologize. Moving on.

Alright, now that Warner Bros. has lost its golden boy what should they do now? Well as of right now the rumor is that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves will take over as director which is a great sign but DC has a habit of losing directors like kids lose teeth, it’s always messy and the grownups always have to pay. If Matt Reeves were to drop out, then how should the studio proceed? Well, they could do a few things. The first, and the one I would personally go with, is throw as much money as they can at Affleck to let him do whatever he wants. Don’t give him some ridiculous schedule and don’t tell him what he can and can’t do. Let the man work and do what he needs to in the time it takes. And if that isn’t an option for Warner Bros. then they need to work really hard and find someone that Affleck gels with creatively.

Now if all of those suggestions don’t pan out then maybe Warner Bros. just needs to take a step back and think about the future of their cinematic universe. I mean, super hero movies make a ton of money and are by all accounts really fun to work on so clearly if they’re having trouble finding someone to direct Batman, you know their most popular and profitable character, they might just need to scrap this entire universe and let it rest for five years. Especially if Justice League is a flop, but that’s something for me to get bent out of shape over another time.