Tag Archives: x-men: the last stand

Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Helped produce X-Men, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and more.

trumpOur first reality television President sure seems to be tapping into his Hollywood connections when it comes to asking opinions on what he should do as well as his nominees for different roles. It is being reported that President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Steven Mnuchin to be his Treasury secretary. You might be asking why we’re reporting on this, but Mnuchin is more than a former partner at Goldman Sachs, his career is actually relevant to this site!

Founded in 2006 Dune Entertainment was a movie financing company started by Mnuchin. The company helped co-finance 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Fox 2000 Films such as X-Men: The Last Stand (which was a co-production with Marvel Entertainment and The Donners’ Company), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (a co-production with Marvel Studios, Constantin Film and 1492 Pictures), Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (a co-production with Marvel Entertainment, The Donners’ Company, and Seed), Avatar, Predators, X-Men: First Class (a co-production with Marvel Entertainment, The Donners’ Company, and Bad Hat Harry), Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Prometheus, and dozens of more films.

Marvel is mentioned because Marvel’s CEO Ike Perlmutter is buddy buddy with Trump.

RatPac Entertainment (aka RatPac-Dune Entertainment) was a movie production and financing company formed in a merger by producer-director Brett Ratner, James Packer, and Dune Entertainment’s Mnuchin after a collapse in a negotiation between Dune and 20th Century Fox. That company then closed a deal with Warner Bros. to become their key co-financing partner replacing Legendary Pictures.

That new venture helped produce such films as Gravity, The Lego Movie, Godzilla, Edge of Tomorrow, Mad Max: Fury Road, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (co-production with DC Entertainment, Cruel and Unusual Films and Atlas Entertainment), The Legend of Tarzan (co-production with Village Roadshow Pictures, Jerry Weintraub Productions, and Dark Horse Entertainment), Suicide Squad (co-production with DC Entertainment and Atlas Entertainment), The Lego Batman Movie (co-production with Warner Animation Group and DC Entertainment), Wonder Woman (co-production with DC Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment and Cruel and Unusual Films), Justice League (co-production with DC Films, Atlas Entertainment and Cruel and Unusual Films), The Flash (co-production with DC Films), Aquaman (o-production with DC Films and Cruel and Unusual Films), The Lego Movie Sequel, Shazam (co-production with DC Films and New Line Cinema), Cyborg (co-production with DC Films), Green Lantern Corps (co-production with DC Films), and the Justice League sequel (co-production with DC Films and Cruel and Unusual Films).

There’s also the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie… so, yeah. He even acted in Rules Don’t Apply where he was a “Merrill Lynch Executive.”

Mnuchin has worked with Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse, on some of the major comic films of the last decade and next five years. The guy even has an IMDB page.

So, when you nerd rage over how much upcoming geek films suck, you can turn your venom towards our possible next Treasury secretary.

Deadpool Stays on Top

Deadpool-poster-2Deadpool remained on the top of the box office dropping 58.5% from its opening weekend. The film earned $55 million in its second weekend. That brings the film to a domestic total of $235.4 million and the film earned $256.5 million in foreign markets for a worldwide total of $491.9 million.

In second place was Kung Fu Panda 3 which earned $12.5 million in its fourth week.

Risen is a new film and earned $11.8 million to come in third and The Witch earned $8.7 million to come in fourth. How to Be Single rounded out the top five and earned $8.2 million.

In other new films, Race earned $7.3 million to come in sixth; The Mermaid earned $1.02 million for sixteenth; Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer earned $900,000 for eighteenth; Neerja earned $585,315 to come in 23rd; Embrace the Serpent earned $50,165; and City of Women earned $7,008 for 47th.

Back to Deadpool, the film has now returned the most compared to its budget for a R rated film based on a comic book. The film has earned 8.48 times its budget so far beating the previous record of of 300 which returned 7.02 on its budget.

Deadpool is now the top at the domestic box office when it comes to X-Men related films. It passed X-Men: The Last Stand this weekend. That film earned $234.3 million. But, the film isn’t top overall. When adjusted for ticket price, the film still sits in fifth with The Last Stand in first. Also, worldwide, the film sits in second sitting behind X-Men: Days of Future Past which earned $747.9 million in its 2014 run.

When Comic Book Film Costumes Stray

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of comic book-based films. New stories are optioned often, and the wait usually isn’t more than a couple of months for the next theatrical release. Part of the fun of following these adaptations is witnessing the choices made in transferring the bold costumes of the printed page to the silver screen. In any adaptation of material from one medium to another, changes are bound to happen, and sometimes for the better. Of course, it can also be disappointing when the choices unnecessarily stray from the established lore. Let’s take a look at a few of the most drastic examples of unfaithful costume choices in comic book films, and whether those changes were appropriate, or way off base.

In writing this article, I made a few rules to help keep things focused: 1) No animation, only live-action projects. 2) Nothing before Superman: The Movie in 1978, just to keep the comparisons relatively similar. 3) Any cases where the alter-ego of a comic character was introduced but not exhibiting powers (such as Dr. Curt Conners in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy; he never became The Lizard) was not eligible. 4) Characters created with heavy CGI (like The Hulk) were also in a different category, so they were out.

comic-punisherTHE PUNISHER, Dolph Lundgren, 1989.

1) Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher, The Punisher (1989): A cornerstone of most iconic superheroes is a symbol that sums up their mission and their persona. In the case of The Punisher, this is especially true. The skull emblazoned on his costume is a harbinger of death. And yet, in the first feature adaptation of The Punisher starring Dolph Lundgren, his black tactical gear featured no skull at all. There were tiny skulls on the knives that he used as weapons, but that was all. While this film debuted at a time when comic book films (especially those few licensed by Marvel) were not even a shadow of what they have become, it still doesn’t excuse the omission. Beyond the skull, the other parts of the costume are negotiable and variable, but the skull really ties it all together (to paraphrase The Dude). Whatever you may think of the 2004 and 2008 versions of the character, the filmmakers at least had the good sense to include the skull.

comic-x-men x-men-film-cast

2) The Main Cast of X-Men, X-Men (2000): After Blade became a surprise hit in 1998, Marvel upped the stakes by adapting the much-beloved X-Men. Under Bryan Singer’s guidance, the key word was realism, and that extended to the costumes. For the X-Men team, Singer decided on black leather uniforms with hints of color. While the idea of coordinated battle uniforms remained from the earliest comics, otherwise they were quite different from anything seen on the characters before. While at first it seemed that Singer’s choices unnecessarily toned down the bold world of the X-Men, it proved to be a wise choice in the bigger picture. X-Men was a pivotal film in legitimizing the comic book film to worldwide audiences. While Blade may have cracked the door, X-Men pushed it further so that 2002’s Spider-Man could kick it open. Viewing it through that perspective, the care that Bryan Singer and his team took in creating an X-Men film for the masses seems downright prophetic. A film that completely tackled all the outrageousness of the X-Men comics could have alienated some viewers, perhaps causing a much different comic movie landscape.

comic-witchbladeWitchblade Complete TV Series on DVD, starring Yancy Butler as Sara Pezzini

3) Yancy Butler as Det. Sara Pezzini/Witchblade, Witchblade (2001 – 2002): Of all properties to be adapted to basic cable television, Witchblade must have been far down most people’s list. But it was adapted for TNT, where it aired for two seasons. While the show had a decent share of fans, the realization of the Witchblade itself left a bit to be desired. While in the comics a self-aware organic gauntlet/armor, the Witchblade of the show took on the look of a medieval knight’s armor. Perhaps it was inevitable on a television budget, yet the result was still disappointing. The subsequent anime adaptation presented a truer version of the Witchblade, though it wasn’t Sara Pezzini wearing it in that series. Plans for a feature film reboot have been floated, but nothing has yet landed.

comic-huntress tv-huntress

4) Ashley Scott as The Huntress, Birds of Prey (2002 – 2003): Smallville debuted in 2001, and proved to be a decade-long success for the WB network (which became the CW). In response to the success of that show, Birds of Prey came along one season later. While some aspects were very faithful to the comic book series (Dina Meyer as Oracle, formerly Batgirl), others were wildly divergent (Dinah Lance as a psychic teenager rather than martial artist Black Canary). In the latter column was Ashley Scott’s Huntress, a curious mixture of old and new versions of the character. Her costume, however, favored neither version. A strange mix of club wear that included no mask or other source of identity concealment, this Huntress looked like she had just finished crime-fighting and was headed downtown to blow off some steam. While on the show Batman was her biological father, he obviously never instructed her in the importance of anonymity.

comic-dracula film-dracula

5) Dominic Purcell as Dracula/Drake, Blade: Trinity (2004): When the third Blade film rolled around, he had already battled and defeated Deacon Frost and a horde of mutant bloodsuckers. So what could up the stakes? How about Dracula? Yes, I know Dracula isn’t originally a comic book character, but he was published by Marvel in Tomb of Dracula in the 1970s, and that comic was where Blade debuted (he didn’t headline his own book until after the original Blade film became a hit). Marvel’s version of Bram Stoker’s big bad took a page from Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee and even Jack Palance, whom his facial features were based upon. He also had a jaunty mustache. But in David Goyer’s take on him, Dracula (here using the name “Drake” as an alias) wore no cape, nor evening wear, nor even a mustache. Instead, he settled for a silk shirt and leather pants like he was shooting a 90’s R&B video in the desert. He did have another, more demonic-looking form that was cooler, but it was underused. Couldn’t they at least have kept the mustache?

comic-catwoman film-catwoman

6) Halle Berry as Catwoman, Catwoman (2004): It felt weird typing “Halle Berry as Catwoman”, because this film is a concrete example of using a familiar name to sell an unfamiliar character. Berry’s character in this film, Patience Price, has no affiliation to Batman or any previous version of Catwoman. And then there’s the costume. A goofy mask that sits too high like a trucker hat, a bikini top with mismatched straps, and ripped leather pants create a look that doesn’t make sense even in the weird pocket universe of the film. At least there is a whip involved; as much a trademark of any Catwoman as of Indiana Jones. A creative misfire added to the list of misfires that comprise this deeply misguided film.

comic-dark-phoenix film-dark-phoenix

7) Famke Janssen as Dark Phoenix, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): After the exciting tease for The Dark Phoenix Saga at the end of X2, fans were piqued to see Jean Grey take a walk on the wild side. Unfortunately, the combination of two major plotlines in X-Men: The Last Stand left only half the space for the Phoenix story, and so her debut wasn’t all it could’ve been. That included to her costume as well. The comic story featured a maroon and gold bodysuit complete with a gold sash and a flamebird emblem. For the film, Famke was outfitted with a red dress that alluded to the comic costume, but without the gold, sash or emblem. A choice that paid a bit of service to the look, but minus any of the detail. Would something a bit more bold have worked better to sell her character as a being of incredible power? It couldn’t have hurt.

comic-green-goblin film-new-goblin

8) James Franco as New Goblin, Spider-Man 3 (2007): The film costumes of the Green Goblin have always been offbeat choices, from Willem Dafoe’s shiny lime-green armor to Dane DeHaan’s grotesque cyborg combination. But perhaps the most off-the-wall was James Franco as the New Goblin. Harry Osborn’s turn to super-villainy had been progressing for two movies, and by the third film the idea was ripe. If only the execution had been better. The New Goblin opted for a suit based on extreme sports, including a flying snowboard-like glider and a modified paintball mask. While Dafoe’s suit was on the goofy side, it did possess elements of intimidation. But the New Goblin simply came off as the drunken creation of a pissed-off ski patrol douche. Hopefully in the future a more traditional route may be attempted.

film-wanted wanted-comic

9) James McAvoy as Wesley Gibson, Wanted (2008): Now this choice runs perilously close to breaking my rule of “no alter-ego characters”. In the original Wanted comic series, Wesley was outfitted with a very tactical costume that looked like a high-tech cross between Snake Eyes and SWAT team. Because of the change from super-villains to assassins for the film, he never wears anything other than street clothes. However, since he uses and exhibits his skills in those street clothes, he is in full “super” mode. It is definitely the most unfaithful costume choice on this list, since there was no particular attempt made to replicate the comic’s costume. It’s a shame, too, as that costume would’ve looked slick onscreen.

comic-deadpool film-deadpool

10) Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009): I feel much the same way about Deadpool in this film as I do about Halle’s Catwoman – i.e., I just wish they were named something else. In my opinion, the Wade Wilson scenes in this film were good – funny, while also showcasing the character’s powers. But then there’s that troublesome climax, with the eyebeams, the teleportation and the absence of a mouth. It isn’t enough to awkwardly suggest the look of Deadpool’s comic costume. If it’s only half-Deadpool, then it’s not Deadpool. Thankfully, it really does look like Fox is correcting their mistakes with the upcoming solo film. Ryan Reynolds is great casting, but there has to be commitment to the character.

 

 

It’s got to be a tricky assignment for costume designers to create the film version of characters with such striking ensembles. You have to pay homage to the source material to please the fans, but you can’t make beloved characters look goofy for their mass-audience debuts. The most successful projects seem to walk the thin line of heightened reality leavened by common sense and real-world input. But make no mistake, it doesn’t take much more than a misstep to lose that line. Still, much of the outside wrappings can be forgiven if the structural integrity of the characters’ personalities are intact. When both are missing, you have Catwoman or the first attempt at Deadpool. When both are present, you have Iron Man or Hellboy. We can only hope that as comic book-based films continue to evolve, more filmmakers will find ways to exhibit both in a satisfying way.

Friday Five: Best Marvel Movies


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Okay, I’m going to rank what I think are the top 5 movies featuring Marvel comics characters.  I won’t include anything from before 1998, because, well, Marvel movies from before that year are things I’ve tried to block out from my memory.  I also won’t be including Marvel-owned imprints like Icon (so no Kick-Ass, sadly), I’ll just be going with the main Marvel universe comics.  One other thing, for the sake of avoiding repetition, I’ll leave out Blade, since I already specified that last week as my favorite Marvel movie.  So, with no further ado, here are my Top 5 Marvel Movies (Excluding Blade):

Honorable mentions: X-Men (2000), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Blade: Trinity (2004), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

5. X2 (2002): The first X-Men movie suffered a little from having to tell the backstory of so much of the X-Universe and because some of the actors didn’t really fit their roles particularly well, but the second one got all of that out of the way and combined several of the greatest X-Men storylines into one awesomely fun movie.  The movie has a lot of great actors in it, it has a great director in Brian Singer and the special effects couldn’t be better.  It also spends more time with some of the characters that got the short shrift in the first movie.

4. Spider-Man (2002): This is the first of the Marvel movies to really get it right as a comic book adaptation.  It isn’t just a good movie, it’s a good comic book movie.  It’s true to the source material, while at the same time being a really great movie.  The cast, which was suspect going in, all performed better than could’ve been expected and it was a huge success, guaranteeing that there would be many more Marvel movies to follow.

3. Spider-Man 2 (2004): The sequel did everything the original did right, except it had better special effects and a tighter script and story.  There was no way for Spider-Man 3 to live up to the first two.

2. Blade II (2002): Blade II is just a damned good horror movie.  It isn’t so much a comic book adaptation, since Blade really is a minor character at Marvel, so they had to come up with original material that wasn’t taken from the comics.  They did an awesome job.  The enemy-of-my-enemy team-up, the scary super-vampires, the family subplot, the betrayal, the amazing special effects, and, my favorite, the venture of Ron Perlman’s Bloodpack into the clausterphobic sewers to battle an evil you couldn’t have imagined for yourself.  All that along with the always-awesome Wesley Snipes and direction by Guillermo del Toro and this is an awesome flick.

1. Iron Man (2008): Building on the success of the Spider-Man films, this one really perfects the superhero movie.  It is true to the source comics and, in fact, influenced them to go in a new direction that improved them.  The acting is superb and it’s hard to imagine anyone being better at being Tony Stark than Robert Downey Jr.  The rest of the cast is great, notably Jeff Bridges as the villain.  The movie looks better than any superhero movie that I could’ve imagined when I was growing up reading this stuff.  And, most importantly, this is a really good movie.  If you’ve never read the comics, or any comics, you can watch this and have a great experience.  At the same time, longtime fans have things that appeal to them, too, and thus we get a film that appeals to multiple audiences on multiple levels, which is an amazing feat.