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Superheroes!

Discussion in 'Arts & Entertainment' started by EgonSpengler, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    Link to video.
    Check out Caity Lotz in The Machine. It's an independent film in which an AI researcher is killed and her mind is implanted into an android using the researcher's AI coding. It's sad to say that she's approaching the 30 year mark, and so will have less and less opportunities for arriving so late to the game.

    She's got a future in Hollywood, particularly in action films. She'd be an appropriate person to play any number of female superheroes. She could easily play Super Girl/Power Girl, Sue Storm of the FF. She's a little too petite for Ms. Marvel though.

    The problem is a shortage of female actors who have the physiciality to do the stunts themselves, can act, and fit into the correct age to get the demographics to pay for a very expensive film. How many women can do that? There are several Asian stars who were former martial artists, but can't do American superheroes very well.

    She was also in The Pact which isn't a bad horror film. I'd give it at least a 7.

    Link to video.
    ...
    I'd like to see Zatanna show up, say do the Books of Magic DC miniseries, but I'm not very hopeful it will really happen. It's one of the top ten graphic novels ever made.
     
  2. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    Green Lantern was pretty stupid but fun. Jonah Hex was surprisingly decent, except too short. But then I liked Daredevil, so what do I know?
     
  3. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    El Guillermo wants to do Justice League Dark. But then, G talks about doing a lot of things. I still want to see his Lovecraft movie, which probably isn't going to happen.



    I think The Machine is buried somewhere in my Netflix queue, only because I noticed Lotz's name and it's sci fi. Maybe I'll dig it up.

    Ordinarily, anything that had Michael Shannon, Michael Fassbender, and John Malkovich would be at the top of my list of things to see over the weekend, but... Megan Fox?

    As for Daredevil... um... yeah, you might be on your own there. ;)
     
  4. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    Also, neither the comic book nor the show are "in continuity" with other DC stories, but the tv adaptation of iZombie looks pretty good so far. It's co-created by the duo who did Veronica Mars, which is a good start. In the pilot, I particularly liked...

    Spoiler :
    the fact that Dr. Chakrabarti had her pegged right from the beginning. None of this stereotypical "superhero has to hide from her friends" business.
     
  5. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Deity

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    You apparently know at least as much as and probably far more than me...I agree on all points.
     
  6. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    The main problem with doing a Justice League Dark film is Swamp Thing and the Spectre. Both have god-like powers. The Spectre can be (it depends upon his comic book history) so powerful as to defeat almost anyone. As long as the Swamp Thing is located on the Earth, he's practically invulnerable and can regenerate. Even in the vastness of space, he survived and adapted flora on those worlds.

    Look to the Matrix trilogy and you'll see that the more Neo becomes god-like, the less interesting the character. Personally I think what made the Batman of lasting significance is that he's entirely vulnerable and yet his inventions and intellect keep him alive.

    DC has had a strange relationship with the supernatural characters in its history. Only by luck and the attention of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing did Vertigo arise. Finally with Sandman did it establish constant criticial praise and sales. If you haven't read the Books of Magic miniseries, go to a good university library, and check it out. Open up any Sandman graphic novel and be prepared to have to do research into arcane subjects to get the whole story.

    DC tried to do several Swamp Thing stories and failed miserably. Even though the first Constantine was so far off the mark, the film was enjoyable (and they've been in talks to make another ever since). The current Constantine is more like Hellblazer but seems off, and it's more like a poor copy of the very dark series.

    TV has evolved from just a regular attempt to serialize characters with a new situation into today having a major mytharc, lots of nuanced development, and attempting to create a minireality. It's arguably why it's a superior format for the transferal of comic books into a medium.

    A film is a major investment, with a very high expectation of production standards, salaries, and marketing costs. Only Marvel has managed to do this successfully in more than one character.

    One of the biggest errors, I believe, is having more than one superhero in a show. Think, if you're the actor, and there's lots of superheros, you're fighting to have sufficient lines to display your ability and to flesh out the inner world of the character. Sometimes this forces voiceovers which are secondary to dialogue. Less is always more.

    This is why the upcoming DC film of multiple characters: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc is doomed to failure. Only a great writer and director can make that work AND ONLY if the actors themselves can do the work.

    DC has stumbled. On the heels of their most successful franchise, instead of doing that, they should have proceeded with Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns...showing an aging retired Batman, now 65+ who has to deal with a large mob of criminals and without the popular appeal of the public and without law enforcement fixing all of his legal issues. Now that would have been a great film. It's too bad that Clint Eastwood is too old to do it.

    Link to video.

    Lovecraft fans have waited and waited and waited for a good transferal of his mythos into cinema. Each time it's been poorly executed. John Carpenter tried his best with the now critically acclaimed The Thing (it was mercilessly chewed up and spit out prior to this present generation). Carpenter also tried to do this with In the Mouth of Madness.

    Lovecraft had an editor (john W Campbell Jr.) who read and published At the Mountains of Madness, then created his own version and published that story in 1938. Carpenter copied that editor's story and made THAT into The Thing. The reality is the original story is a far better one.

    The tale that should have been told was At the Mountains of Madness (1931) which can be read about here.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_the_Mountains_of_Madness

    Note that some of this entered into the story of The Thing, but now any film that wants to cover those details will have to wait a decade or more to become a film so that The Thing and its prequel fades from this generation's minds. Hit the cc widget for an English translation.

    Link to video.
     
  7. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    The Dark Knight Returns is good, but it's not as good as people say, I think. The story is muddled, the Joker is dull other than his death scene, and the fight with Superman is anticlimactic (defeating Superman without kryptonite would have been impressive). The artwork is messy and the lettering is very busy and cramped. It may be partly that I don't like Miller's art, but I thought that Batman: Year One was much better. But both are blown away by Watchmen, which is arguably also overrated in some ways, but in my view still a much more impressive achievement.
     
  8. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    I know what you mean. I liked Hellblazer when it began, but I couldn't stick with the television series, and I can't really articulate why. I had just chalked it up to the passage of years (*cough*decades*cough*), but maybe it's more than that.

    I'm a big John Carpenter fan. :D

    iirc, it was At the Mountains of Madness that Del Toro wanted to adapt as a movie, and he wanted to be faithful to the original story. I believe one of the problems in pre-pre-production was that he couldn't get the budget he wanted and still be allowed to do an "R-rated" movie, so he put it in a drawer.

    It's almost always true that a highly-praised piece of art can't live up to its hype. That said, I agree with you, I've always thought that The Dark Knight Returns' place in history has been a wee bit overblown, and Frank Miller wouldn't have been on my Top 10 Comic Book Artists list, even back in the day.
     
  9. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    Frank Miller's work in Daredevil and Batman ushered in an era of major change to comic books in general. I think you'd see articles written about that, as well as Alan Moore being discussed in books.

    Is it perfect? Nope. It's dated of course (1986). We can't hold it up to 2015 standards.

    And I agree, Miller followed with a superior dark beginning of Batman, and some of that bled into the Batman films with Christian Bale.

    Poor Del Toro. At the Mountains of Madness has been in development Hell forever. I can't see it being made for some time since they decided to do The Thing Prequel. That ruined any chance of a new look at the origin of the story...which is quite different than Campbells' vision. It also would be very expensive to do with CGI.

    Here's two clips about Black Panther, one an origin of him in Fantastic Four, and the upcoming film. I'm disappointed that Idris Elba isn't playing him. Black Panther is a very large man, a scientist, and eloquent leader. Maybe this actor can pull it off, but Elba would have been ideal.

    It is true that the first depictions show him smaller when introduced in FF, but subsequent depictions show him LOOMING over others.

    It looks like they needlessly fiddled with his origins, but that's unclear from the current information. That doesn't look like Wakanda at all. The Black Panther (T'Challa) reminds me more of Ozymandias in the Watchmen, and as Rorshact states, "I can't imagine a more dangerous foe." He's agile, supremely intelligent, and powerful. It's why Black Panther was a significant comic book superhero in Marvel history.

    Link to video.

    Link to video.

    A video showing more of Black Panther's history including recent comic history.

    Link to video.
     
  10. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Too bad they also already killed off Summer Glau on Arrow. I thought Adrienne Palecki had a really good look for Wonder Woman. Unfortunately the pilot for that show wasn't good enough for the show to be picked up.
     
  11. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    Yeah, there's nothing wrong with either actress. Certainly Summer Glau's younger self was able to do very active stunts and so would then have been qualified to do it. It's just that Antje Traue and Caity Lotz impress me more. Hollywood is a cruel business and discards women too quickly, but much of that is about having the skills and dedication.

    Angelia Jolie was very hungry and determined and did Tomb Raider with the correct frame-of-mind, and seriously impressed me. Watch some youtube video of her practicing and demonstrating those skills, either with weaponry, or agility, or strength, or martial arts.

    In Japan, there's a special school for martial artists. The USA should begin one to cultivate this. Certainly many of our athletes could transition into commercial careers in this manner, especially many of our gymnasts or rock climbers. They have the physical abilities, but need to learn how to do stunts, as well as acting classes.

    There are several female rock climbers who demonstrate incredible agility and there are just as many female gymnasts too.

    The wonderful Kacy Catanzaro, female gymnast and winner of the Ninja Challenge. I would love to see her in a superhero film.

    Link to video.
     
  12. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    In Expendables 3 a new actress, Ronda Rousey, did reasonably well. She came up through MMA fighting, and is now attempting to become an actress. An action star, at any rate. She's got the looks and the physical ability. Hard to know how well she can act to make it that way goes.
     
  13. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    Link to video.
    Sasha DiGiulian could probably be a good superhero in a film. Can't you see someone like her, who has to be very intelligent to estimate handholds plus be incredibly agile, then be a Teen Titans film or a young X-men character? Perhaps Wonder Girl?
     
  14. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    It's seems to me that it's always better to cast a decent actor in an action role than to try to teach an athlete to act. Ronda Rousey is one of my favorite athletes, so I hope she doesn't commit fully to acting any time soon.

    The Teen Titans and an X-Men spinoff are both in the works as television series. So far, all we've heard about Titans is that it will star Dick Grayson as he splits from Batman and forms his own team. The X-Men tv show is even more mysterious; speculations are that it could be based on either The New Mutants or X-Factor.
     
  15. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    I think it takes both to be an action star within a superhero film.

    Although it certainly has its detractors, I personally enjoyed Unbreakable by Shyamalan. That film treats the comic book superhero as the natural evolution of Egyptian registers, Greek myth, Viking saga, and into the postmodern era. It's a phenomena both in manga in Japan as well as comic books within the USA. As such, it's not merely a puerile entertainment, but a part of the Humanities.

    Link to video.
    Post Miller and Moore in the eighties, we see characters who have unusual powers, and yet are not entirely heroic, but flawed and have difficulty coping with these abilities. Without the actions of these writers and the ones who followed them, I doubt Unbreakable would have been the same kind of film.

    That's why there's the emphasis, not merely for action and special effects, but in a film like the Watchmen or in Man of Steel, to show that inner struggle. That takes an excellent actor, and someone willing to bulk up for the role, train extensively, and not just put in time and expect CGI to sell the film. Most actors can't handle it.

    Note: if you were to sit down, read the Dark Knight Returns, and then read the Watchmen, and compare Dr. Manhattan and the version of Miller's Superman, you'd see the main concerns of Facism taking root in America, something we're seeing play out today. In many ways, they're the same two characters who are allowed to operate as meta-humans and as the enforcer for the USA.

    Scarlet Johansson did an impressive job as Black Widow. She was perfect for the role.

    Link to video.
    This is an actress largely known for independent films, and yet she's poised, confident, and stunning in this role.
     
  16. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Scarlett really isn't particularly athletic, though. Yet she still did a credible job of playing a character who has no superpowers, but is physically able to hold her own in that world.
     
  17. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    In more than one film: Lucy and Under the Skin. All of these characters had otherworldly powers. And she's lucky to have stunt doubles and wirework to help her "sell" the part as well.
    ...
    I'm waiting for some realistic superheroes, particularly female superheroes without big cleavage in armor plating. One of the biggest disappointments in the evolution of comics is the perpetual sexualization of a female superhero as some aspect of her power. Her physical looks should be incidental, right?

    The Marvel superheroine Valkyrie is essentially the model for Lagertha on Vikings.
    ...
    I'd love to see the British export Miracleman (aka Marvelman for copyright reasons) come to the big screen, but don't hold your breath. It would be too controversial.

    Link to video.
     
  18. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Linda Carter had the role of Wonder Woman back in the day because, in the immortal words of Nikki Cox, she fit the clothes. That is, the most common way Wonder Woman was portrayed was tall, black hair, blue eyes, and statuesque figure. I like Summer Glau for action parts, because her background in ballet means that she has the physical ability to do pretty much anything that they can choreograph. Kelly Hu has a background in the martial arts, so she did well in those parts. I've noticed that recently some of the women who are playing actions roles got a start as stunt doubles. And moved to acting from there. So they have the action chops. Though whether they had the acting chops is a tougher question. I think Lucy Lawless did a very credible job as Xena. Which isn't precisely a superhero role, but certainly an action one. But many of those actresses are now older than the ones who are considered for new movie superhero roles.
     
  19. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    I'm a dinosaur, so I remember when Linda Carter played Wonder Woman. It was terribly campy, which wasn't unusual give the time period. They did the same thing earlier to Batman and Robin. She certainly was lovely with the most intense blue eyes ever.

    Kelly Hu certainly did a fine job as Lady Deathstrike. She had a brief role in the Vampire Diaries, but naturally given the earlier time period that Pearl is supposed to be around, it simply didn't fit with American history. She also played as China White in Arrow, but is largely unrecognizable. She doesn't look 47, does she?

    Link to video.
    Kelly Hu as Lady Deathstrike
    While some wirework and chinese kung fu choreography has appeal, it's now way way overdone. Less is more.
     
  20. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    "What's that thing for?"

    "Distracting me from work."

    :D
     

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