Tagged: Chris Evans

DENNIS O’NEIL: Enough with the Superhero Movies?

Not long ago, I was chatting with a movie guy (yes, that was me, riding shotgun in the gold Ferrari, tooling down Rodeo Drive, heading for Brad and Angie’s…) and he said that the summer of ’11 could be make-it-or-break-it time for superhero flicks.

As you know by now, there have been four – count ‘em four – such entertainments released in the past several months, raising the question: Have we had enough?

Hard to say. Three of the four films were solid profit-makers and the last will probably limp into the black eventually, if it hasn’t already. So the chair-fillers aren’t reacting against super-doers, but if you squint, you might be able to detect signs that the honeymoon is over. A hundred and ten minutes of a dude in a funny suit doing grandiose stunts and bashing other dudes, also in funny suits, is no longer box-office surety. The novelty value is gone.

Remember when kung fu flicks first hit the U.S.? (Okay, most of you don’t because that happened before you were born, but indulge me.) For some of us, including me and my post-toddler son, any martial arts movie was the right martial arts movie and we spent a lot of afternoons in sticky-floored theaters watching them. The new approach to action-melodrama, the exotic casts, and – oh yeah! – the nifty fight-acrobatics (and whatever amusement could be gotten from bad dubbing) were enough to engross us, regardless of these Asian imports’ other merits or demerits. Then along came Bruce Lee and Enter the Dragon and then Jackie Chan and…

And, eventually, kung fu became just another genre, like westerns and war and romance and family comedies and raunchy comedies… Another genre. I still watch and enjoy martial arts films, particularly those with acrobatics, particularly acrobatics as practiced by performers from Thailand, and you can enjoy them, too, because your local Blockbuster has a goodly selection for rent and you don’t have to troll too far on your cable TV hookup to find one or two or…

Another genre, yes, but one that comes in a lot of sizes and shapes and languages and one you might patronize because of the virtues of a particular movie, not because of that movie’s label.

Superhero movies are, I shyly contend, undergoing a similar evolution. Already, perhaps, some of you don’t go to see a Marvel flick, you go to see Robert Downey, Jr., doing his Iron Man, and it’s well worth the trip. The acting is improving, the themes becoming more complex and the special effects…well, sometimes you aren’t aware of them as effects; they exist to serve the narrative, not to make us ohhh and ahhh as though we’re watching a spectacular fireworks display. It’s about story, not spectacle.

Spectacle is fine, but narrative offers other rewards, and most movies are narratives. The best special effect I’ve seen all summer happened early in Captain America, when somehow the cinematic wizards grafted Chris Evans’s head onto someone else’s body – seamlessly, perfectly realizing a plot element. No explosions, no shattered planets, just splendid storytelling.

Recommended Reading: The Boy Who Loved Batman: A Memoir by Michael Uslan.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

Marvel Studios Regains Punisher and Blade

Marvel Studios has reacquired film rights to the characters of Blade and The Punisher according to Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada. He announced this during his Cup O’ Joe panel during Comic-Con International, but cautioned the audience that this did not mean either was being put into active production.

As a result of these acquisitions from New Line Cinema and Lionsgate, respectively, this leaves the X-Men, Ghost Rider, and Fantastic Four franchises still under 20th Century-Fox control while Sony continues to produce Spider-Man films. A Ghost Rider sequel with Nicholas Cage returning as Johnny Blaze is in the works while a reboot of the FF is in pre-production. X-Men: First Class performed so well this summer sequels are already on order.

Marvel has indicated that as the first cycle of films based on their best known heroes chugs along, the focus is shifting to their lesser known characters, most likely leading off with Doctor Strange and Edger Wright’s Ant-Man. At present, none of these projects have been given release dates meaning they are far off.

At the Marvel Television panel conducted by their VP Jeph Loeb, it was shown that the ABC pilot for Alias Jessica Jones continues to move through the production process, and would include Luke Cage in the supporting cast. Cloak & Dagger is also in development for ABC Family.

2012 will see The Avengers on May 3 followed by Amazing Spider-Man over July 4 weekend with 2013 already ticketed to screen Iron Man 3 and Thor 2. Beyond that, the calendar and options remain wide open even though lead actors including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Samuel L. Jackson are signed for multi-picture deals. Evans, for example, has a nine picture deal with Captain America and The Avengers only covering two of the nine.

Avengers, Assembled: First Looks of Mark Ruffalo as Hulk and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill

Marvel Comics released a wide variety of posters at the San Diego Comic-Con this weekend with Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johannson as the Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, all in advance of the May 2012 release of the Avengers movie directed by Joss Whedon, and all making a giant poster after it’s all, ahem, assembled.

The images were created by Marvel Studios Co-Visual Development Supervisor Ryan Meinerding and Charlie Wen. Check ’em out.

New ‘Captain America’ Footage Released — See It Now!

To lay the groundwork for next week’s premiere, or in anticipation of San Diego Comic-Con, or simply to take some of the wind out of Harry Potter‘s sails, Paramount and Marvel released four new clips from Captain America: The First Avenger.

First how Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) got the job from General Hammond (Tommy Lee Jones) and Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci):

Then how he got the body:

Then how he got the shield:

(more…)

The Point Radio: The Man Who SHOULD Be Captain America!

The Point Radio: The Man Who SHOULD Be Captain America!

We think that JOEL GRETSCH should have been given a chance to Wield The Shield, but it seems he’s busy fighting those nasty alien visitors and trying to get V to a second season. Joel fills us in on what the rest of the series has to offer, plus how the summer of 2012 is going to get you into the movies (alot) and how Freddy made box office dreams come true!

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Chris Evans cast as Captain America

Chris Evans cast as Captain America

Variety reports that square-jawed lady-killer Chris Evans will be under the winged-mask of Captain America for Marvel’s upcoming The First Avenger: Captain America, set to hit theaters next summer.

Also noted from Variety: Evan’s deal looks to be for at least three pictures, not including the already mentioned “Avengers” film set to come out in 2012. Evans will be hurling his shield next to Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, as well as Edward Norton’s green skinned goliath, the Hulk.

The First Avenger: Captain America also has cast the neo-hating turned neo-nazi, Hugo Weaving as the villainous Red Skull.

Of course, comic book fans should not be surprised by Mr. Evan’s turn as a hero, given his lengthy comic book twinged resumé. Starring first as the hot headed Johnny Storm in the less-than-beloved pair of Fantastic Four pictures, Evans will also debut as the alliterated Lucas Lee in the upcoming Scott Pilgrim flick, as well as the jacked-mouth hacker Jake Jensen in the forthcoming Losers movie coming out this April.

So, ComicMix fans, what do you think? Does Evans belong wielding the shield? Where do you think Stan Lee will cameo in the Cap film? Do you think Ben Grimm will enjoy a quieter Baxter building while Johnny get’s a little patriotic? Tell us what you think, soldier!