Superhero Soup: Marvel and DC Roundup

Marvel released a bit of a barrage of stuff yesterday from their upcoming slate for Phase III. With Captain America: Civil War now passed, Phase III begins in earnest, with Doctor Strange coming in November, Guardians of the Galaxy II in May of next year, and then the Spiderman movie no one really needs in the summer.

One could argue that Spiderman actually is required, since Doctor Strange at this point is still a nebulous concept surrounded by foolish white washing casting controversy (not to mention Marvel’s tone-deaf answers when questioned on it.) And Guardians, though popular in its own right (perhaps slightly more so than some of the established Avengers), does not as yet seem to connect back to whatever it is that’s happening on earth. So Spiderman functions as a grounding agent in the chaos–albeit one from a franchise that needed less movies and longer breaks, bot yet another stand alone reboot.

Still, even if it is the safety tentpole to soothe the fears of those convinced that only conventional white male superheros sell tickets, it’s not the one with a synopsis yesterday, Those went to Guardians and Strange. Meanwhile, DC is still racing to catch up and perform damage control. More below.

Doctor Strange Synopsis:

Marvel’s Doctor Strange follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions. Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilizing a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel cinematic universe.

Doctor Strange may yet turn out to be a decent level hit (after all, AntMan didn’t flop!) The question is how audiences will take the adding of mysticism into the otherwise science and alien based Marvel world.

Guardians of the Galaxy II synopsis

Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.

The Guardian’s universe is one that clearly can stand alone, even if the plan was never to have it combine with the Avengers, and it’s clear that the MCU is planning to take full advantage of that.

Meanwhile, Tom Holland has gone on a charm offensive, since he must have heard by now how many people think this movie is utterly unnecessary.

First day on the job and I already got my chair 👌🏻#SpiderMan :Homecoming

A post shared by ✌️ (@tomholland2013) on

I genuinely think if the movie does hit big, it will be all thinks to Holland simply being that charming.

Meanwhile, in that other superhero franchise known as DC, Suicide Squad’s got more posters showing that men are stiff bricks covered in technology and leather, while the women wear impractical outfits and look like the porn star versions of their characters.

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But the real news this morning is out of io9, which has a lengthy report from the set of Justice League. The whole thing has to be read to be appreciated, but the message is easily summed up in their secondary header: ” everyone involved all had one, simple message for us: We know. And we’re trying.”

Some choice quotes:

“The main thing we learned [on Batman v Superman] is that people don’t like to see their heroes deconstructed,” said producer Deborah Snyder. “They like seeing them in all their glory…

Translation: “audiences were too dumb to understand our meta concept take on superheros. We’re going to dumb them down! Promise!”

Then there’s this from Zach Synder:

“It did catch me off-guard,” said Snyder. “I have had to, in my mind, make an adjustment… The nice thing about working on Justice League is that it is an opportunity to really blow the doors off of the scale and the bad guys and team-building and all the stuff that I think I could justify as a big, modern comic book movie.”

Translation: Basically, we’re going to make knock off Marvel movies now. PROMISE!

The production then goes of to show that it is in fact just that sort of movie. Clearly no one involved read the X-Men reviews for Apocalypse recently,  where the movie was slammed for being just that sort of “getting the gang together to go after a single big bad.” The agreed reaction from audiences seemed to be that this plot is now very 2001, and that superhero movies have moved on from team building exercises.

But then again, in a  movie universe that thought making Superman a fascist symbol in a Ayn Rand vision of Earth, perhaps the fact that they’ve convinced Snyder and Snyder to attempt to emulate 1990s level comic book movies is a step in the right direction. And from the reports Ezra Miller as The Flash is bringing a brand new level of energy to the proceedings, and we should all be impressed that the “tech is bigger and badder than ever before.” (Even though this is followed by the admission that the guns on the batmobile have gotten bigger, which is listed under “red flags.”) So one step forward two steps back? At least the studio has recognized there are problems and are spending PR money to try to alter perception, which is better than the wall of denial they initially put up when BvS first came out.

Fingers crossed for all of them that Suicide Squad doesn’t flop.



One thought

  1. Don’t worry too much about the weirdness of Dr. Strange’s mysticism. The feel of all that stuff is very much in the “techie” feel of Ant-Man and Thor. “Magic” is just handwaving for stuff they don’t want to have boring-physics answers … much like the infinity stones.

    Much like the “magic” of Thor’s hammer “just works just so”, and the physics-defying shrinking-and-growth of Ant-Man/Giant-Man “just works just so”, and the rainbow-bridge-teleporting of Heimdall’s keyblade “just work just so” … Dr. Strange is all about empowering a handful of mystic trinkets that “just work just so”.

    It keeps a lid on the weirdness. The cloak just works a certain way. The eye-amulet-clasp just works a certain way. If they present it properly, it is much less confusing in practice than it is in theory.


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