Tag Archives: DC Films

iFeature | BEN AFFLECK Out as THE BATMAN

Warner Bros. cuts ties with another of its super-powered heavy hitters letting Ben Affleck out of his obligation to continue in the role as the Caped Crusader in the studio’s much anticipated The Batman directed by Matt Reeves. 

Another founding member of the league appears to be passing on the cape and cowl. Ben Affleck who had assumed the big screen mantle portraying The Batman in the blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and continued to star as the DC Comics hero in the team-up film Justice League will not be playing the hero in the upcoming solo film directed by Matt Reeves that will be perpetuating the long-time franchise favorite.

In the week following the announcement of Affleck’s departure, the trades readily reported that he studio cited it was moving in a different direction and wanting to cast a “younger” actor to headline  in Reeves The Batman which is meant to “reboot” the titular hero on the big screen. Affleck’s portrayal of a more weathered and seasoned combatant was lukewarmly received in the press, but fans had clearly begun to come around even though Justice League didn’t meet expectations.

Affleck had been attached to writing and directing The Batman’s eventual transition into the solo arena until the discussions with the studio arrived at a decisions that Reeves would be taking over the helm of The Batman as several script revisions were under way. The film is scheduled for a release date of 2021.

Affleck stepped into the kevlar armor of the hero after Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy which featured Christian Bale in the role, and perhaps the most lucrative of the franchise films. This is yet another setback for the studio which also parted ways with Henry Cavill who had played Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel introducing the connected cinematic universe much in the vein of Marvel Studios narrative and decade long dominance of the genre.

With the darker tone of Snyder’s take on the comic inspired commodities which continued into BvS and was followed up in Justice League (even though that film passed hands and was completed by Joss Whedon), the recent successes of Wonder Woman and Aquaman have suggested that the studio may be looking to rebrand their DC properties. The box office appeal of the most recent feature Aquaman with its lighter tone worked and the upcoming Shazam! will follow suit.

Though the future of the DC Cinematic Universe is still in much turmoil; though Aquaman proved successful at the box office it still only garnered a tepid response from critics, and the upcoming Shazam! may not hold its mettle against the likes of Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel and the next installment of Avengers: Endgame which will deal the climatic finale to this phase of the Marvel Cinematic empire and starting a new chapter.

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MAN OF STEEL Henry Cavill Hangs His Cape!

Warner Bros. announces Man Of Steel Henry Cavill has left the franchise and leaving the their DC fortress of films in solitude once again! What fate befalls the cinematic universe that the studio just can’t get right?

Look! Up in the sky! That barometric shift in the air isn’t the approaching hurricane that’s about the hit the Northeast it’s the wind being taken out of hundreds of fans’ sails upon hearing the news the Warner Bros. has given Henry Cavill the pink slip and asked him to turn in his cape and curl. The Man of Steel actor responsible for launching the expanded DC cinematic universe headlined director Zack Snyder’s 2013 feature film, which brought the most iconic comic book character back to the blockbuster stage. Though Snyder’s film was met with mixed emotions, Cavill interpretation of Superman was regarded as one of the best and made the character with a more than 80 year history much more contemporary. Cavill appeared next as Superman in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice which also introduced Ben Affleck as the notorious Dark Knight Detective, Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, finally marking the Amazing Amazon’s big-screen introduction. The trinity of characters and actors once again reunited for the team epic Justice League. The decision came as Cavill entered into a full-time role on Neflix’s The Witcher currently in production, and an apparent scheduling conflict that led to his surprise cameo in the upcoming Shazam! getting left on the cutting room floor. The actor had also been linked to the big-screen Supergirl project that is currently in pre-production, and a tentative sequel to his own Man of Steel that would featured once again in a stand-alone Superman story. According to early reports the studio is proceeding with Supergirl while retooling it’s next steps regarding “Superman”.
Henry Cavill appeared once again as Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which lead to the introduction of DC’s expanded cinematic universe in Justice League.
DC’s Kryptonite! The publishing may have met its match when it comes to the competitive blockbuster market. Its own arch-nemesis has appeared in the film of a largely critical audience which finds many of its most recent film adaptations taking a turn on the dark side, leaving many of its fans, well — in the dark! Looking to compete with Marvel Studios winning streak of features, Warner Bros. had reported an itinerary listing the release dates of its own DC films properties that would be developing its own expanded universe, with Cavill, Affleck and Gadot leading the pack each with their own titular release in the works. Gadot struck gold with Wonder Woman in 2017 heralding the success of a film with a super heroine on the marque, though its follow-up Justice League was wrought with intense scrutiny and controversy, leading to director Josh Whedon finishing the film. Since then, WB has wrestled with Ben Affleck’s star power on his proposed solo-outing The Batman. The actor has reportedly been dissatisfied with the script and the film has passed several hands before landing Matt Reeves in the director’s chair. With a script that’s still in much debate, and a pair of “Joker” movies that have been green lit and proceeding as planned. Whether The Batman will ultimately star Affleck is still to be determined, and with the news that Cavill has been released from his obligations to “Superman” who knows what boot will drop next. What’s certain is that fans will get to dive into the upcoming Aquaman starring Jason Mamoa, also introduced in Justice League (it was suggested at one time that Mamoa was among Snyder’s first choices for the lead role in Man of Steel). Another sequel that has fans anxiously awaiting its first trailer is Wonder Woman 1984 which reunites Gadot with her director Patty Jenkins, and places the Amazon princess’ adventures during the advent of the Cold War. As to what’s next for Superman, after setting the bar so high, Henry Cavill’s successor will find his boots hard to fill.
 

UnBoxing | JUSTICE LEAGUE Action Figures from MAFEX

There’s no end to the merchandising of JUSTICE LEAGUE but do the releases from MAFEX really capture the action in their latest figures based on the movie’s heroes?

The feature film may have polarized its fanbase, yet the endless marketing and branding of the Justice League has ensured the continuing proliferation of the characters that appeared in the movie that finally introduced the extended DC Cinematic Universe. With an endless opportunity to rake in the profits, the items that are most attractive to collectors are those that inspire the opportunity to bring the action home — action figures are inevitably the best way to do that, and based on the DC heroes the collectibility is boundless.

Japanese toy maker Medicom is among the licensees that have purchased the rights to produce movie accurate facsimiles of the league. The high-end line of fully articulated, intensely detailed MAFEX Action Figures are among the best available for the avid collector who wants to assembled a league of their own. Historically the on-average 6 inch figure line has experienced a share of product mishaps in early runs including those based on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. The manufacture has listened to the consumer and made major improvements!

Those enhancements have made their way into the current Justice League figure line which features all 6 of the main cast members, including some alternate versions of some favorites that appeared in the film.

Assembling the League

Although the film was released theatrically in 2017, its enjoyed a significant momentum since its availability on Blu-ray and additional formats for home viewing. Merchandise continues to hit the market, including the MAFEX Action Figures which were introduced at the last Toy Fair and have now become widely available with the first in the series based on Batman hitting shelves in spring. Gotham City’s Dark Knight is captured in his current look, as portrayed by actor Ben Affleck. Since returning to full-on active duty, The Batman’s look in Justice League has been beefed up.

The action figure design by MAFEX is extremely film-accurate and captures the look of its star suited up proper in the darker and much denser color scheme than was first experienced in his theatrical introduction with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This bat-suit has more polish and a bite to it that is apparent in the highly articulated figure, and also sports a leather-looking cape that helps to complete the silhouette. The detail and paint job on the utility belt are well crafted, as are the gauntlets which are a flat gold which pops beautifully against he black.

The Batman action figure is no. 056 in the series and is packaged with a multiple set of hands for added poses, including grips for handling Batman’s weapons and paraphernalia which includes his harpoon gun and “batarangs”. There’s also a more tensely expressive face sculpt that will make the Caped Crusader appear more than battle ready. The figure’s proportions are stylistically more flattering than other figure releases on the market, especially Mattel Toys more commercially playable sculpt and even the smaller, more tout looking from competitor S.H. Figuarts.

Following on the heels of the release of The Batman figure, is Superman based on Henry Cavill who has now starred as the Man of Steel in three feature films, including Justice League. This is perhaps the most the character has ever resembled his comic book counterpart. For Justice League Superman’s classic uniform was giving a major retooling which is most evident in the vibrant color palette and clearly makes the action figure itself appear to pop like neither of its predecessors.

Certainly the previous incarnation of the Last Son of Krypton which was fashioned for BvS proved unpopular with collectors who complained the figure fell apart and was impossible to pose. It certainly didn’t capture the actor’s appearance all that well either in the face sculpt and dulled when compared with other releases like the far superior version by ONE:12 Collective from MEZCO’s which incredible articulation and a fabric suit. For MAFEX Superman from Justice League the colors are outstanding, and the figure is much more solid in construction.

Superman is also packaged with multiple hands for various poses, and 2 alternate face sculpts to help recreate the action from the movie. Fans will also be happy with the cape which can be properly positioned whether the figure is floating in air or calmly assembled alongside his teammates. An additional feature of the MAFEX line is that each figure is packaged with a display stand so you can pose your action figure is interesting positions, and given the level of articulation the action is almost limitless. Superman is no. 057 in the MAFEX line.

In The Box

Compared to other high-end manufactures including the series from S.H. Figuarts by Bandai which sport a significantly lower price tag (averaging between $50 and $60 on shelves), the MAFEX releases have really lived up to the hyped and delivery a genuinely deluxe collectible experience to fans. The face sculpts are among the best for the comparable sizes of these releases, and very closely resemble their film versions in detail, and the accessories are also scaled to match.

The colors are also beautifully captured and appropriately fixed; when a detail is glossy on film, the figure will have a sheen that reflects, and when something is matte finished, it appears as such on the figure as well. With the rest of the Justice League line from MAFEX hitting specialty retailers over the rest of the season pretty soon the league will be fully assembled. Expect Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg to round out the collection, along with a Batman in his “Tactical Suit” from the final act of the film.

Visit the Medicom Toy website here for more product information including details on the Justice League line of figures as well as others in the MAFEX inventory.

Celebrate the LEAGUE On JUSTICE LEAGUE DAY!

Come Together as the most anticipated blockbuster of the season finally arrives in theaters! This weekend, Saturday, Nov. 18th celebrate JUSTICE LEAGUE DAY with fans from all over the world!

Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are pulling out all the stops as the Justice League comes together in theaters and debuts this weekend. The film will unite for the first time on the big screen DC Comics greatest pantheon of heroes and to mark the occasion Saturday, November 18th is being heralded as “Justice League Day”! With more than one thousand comic retailers, bookstores and libraries, along with Six Flag Theme Parks and additional partners around the globe hosting special events!

Directed by Zack Snyder (Man of Steel and Watchmen) with an assist from Joss Whedon (Marvel Studio’s Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) Justice League will continue the momentum of its predecessors and continue to establish the cinematic DC Extended Universe which was launched by Snyder’s Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill and was most recently perpetuated in the blockbusters Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice which featured Ben Affleck as Batman and Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot.

Justice League will introduce additional team members The Flash played by Ezra Miller, Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg. After the apparent loss of Superman to the killing machine Doomsday , the world finds itself hopeless and vulnerable to an unspeakable threat. The group of metahumans is brought together under one banner by Affleck’s Batman to stop an alien invasion that is only the first wave in an epic struggle to overthrow the planet! The Justice League stand together as the Earth’s first and final line of defense.

A Day to Unite

For comic book fans everywhere the Justice League feature-length film has been a long-time coming. Finally uniting these most favored heroes in one film will deliver on the swelling demand for more DC Comics heroes come to life. With the film opening on the weekend to an international audience, WB and DC have announced that Saturday, November 18th will be celebrated as “Justice League Day” and several exclusives will be made available to fans via participating retailers at comic shops including Special Edition releases of Justice League #1.

Additionally several deals are being offered online and in bookstores with over 50% off on ebooks and specially priced book deals in the DC Comics line that feature the Justice League. Purchasing advanced tickets will also entitle the consumer to free digital downloads as well as exclusive movie posters. DC Collectibles is also releasing the entire line of 12” statues based on the cast of the film in their already classic superhero alter egos and posed ready for action. This is just the beginning as additional exclusive items will also be available through retailers.

Download the “Justice League Day” activity kit here and stay connected with the DC All Access for all the ongoing action as Justice League comes to theaters this weekend.

iReview :: WONDER WOMAN

The most anticipated film of the blockbuster season shatters all expectations! WONDER WOMAN does more than crack the glass ceiling on action films, it busts it wide open and brings the DC Comics trinity full circle on the big screen.

(WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!) This article makes several allusions to major plot points in the new Warner Bros. Pictures release Wonder Woman.

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After a gratuitously remarkable introduction in director Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, all eyes were on actress Gal Gadot who was saddling up to the big boys and going toe-to-toe as the third part of a pop-culture trinity, weaving her way into this summer’s most anticipated blockbuster Wonder Woman. DC Comics has been languishing behind the competitor Marvel Films when it comes to establishing a cohesive cinematic narrative, though under the guidance of executive producers Snyder and his wife and producing partner Deborah, the pair may have finally set the train on its tracks, and it took the Amazing Amazon to light the way.

The Stuff of Legends

What has always made the character of Wonder Woman so compelling is her backstory which is rooted deeply in theological mythologies, as the daughter of the Queen of the Amazons she is raised on an island populated only by a society of woman, isolated from the prying eyes of men, as a warrior destined to protect the innocent from the ravages of the worst of injustices: WAR! Wonder Woman’s origins have been revamped, retooled, and reedited throughout her more than 75 year history as a cornerstone character of the DC Comics pantheon.

Introduced as a backup feature in All-Star Comics #8 released in 1941, Wonder Woman would begin her groundbreaking episodes in pulp fiction and comic books, and would also set herself apart from other heroes — one of the first to carry the moniker of “woman” and not that of “girl”. Created by William Moulton Marston and first designed by artist H.G. Peter, Wonder Woman trail blazed a path that had traditionally been paved by her male counterparts.

Where Superman is an alien, the ultimate immigrant on our planet, who derives his superhuman abilities from his exposure to our sun, and Batman is a darkly obsessed billionaire adventure delving out his own brand of justice, Diana is an obviously otherworldly figure with extraordinary gifts bestowed upon her by the gods, but at her core she’s a beautifully incarnated piece of the very planet that she has dedicated herself to protecting. Diana is undoubtedly the most human of all characters.

For nearly a century Wonder Woman has established herself as an icon, representing not only as an obvious force in feminism, but also for the disenfranchised and the innocent — for those who can’t speak for themselves — and with her lasso of truth by her side, Diana has fought for truth, justice as a champion of love and equality. This (of course) only scratches at the surface of this heroines more impressive resume, but begs the question: Why did it take so long to bring Wonder Woman finally to the big screen?

The answer may be something of debate depending on who you might ask, but consider the perfect storm of events in our own culture, and the evolving tide of social civil rights, and it becomes crystal clear. The time for Wonder Woman is now!

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Gal Gadot as the titular heroine embodies everything audiences have been anticipating in Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins and now part of the growing DC Comics expanding cinematic universe.

She’s a Wonder

Director Patty Jenkins own journey to bringing Wonder Woman to life, is itself mythic. The acclaimed filmmaker made her own distinction directing actress Charlize Theron to her Oscar win in 2003’s Monster. Jenkins wasn’t the studio’s first choice for turning this into a feature film. After her initial appearance in BvS which set in motion the expanded DC Comics Cinematic Universe, the task had fallen to Michelle MacLaren in 2013, but she left after citing “creative differences”, and with pre-production in full swing, Jenkins was lassoed in to realize a script by Allan Heinberg.

Basically an origin story, Wonder Woman opens up with Diana (Gal Gadot reprising her role) receiving a distinct attache case from a friend containing a unique item — a recovered photograph of Diana inside the square of a small village flanked by a group of freedom fighters at the conclusion of a campaign during World War I — although Diana doesn’t appear to have aged all that much since that day. The mystery surrounding that moment, first glimpsed in BvS sets up the story for the film…

A very willful child, Princess Diana escapes the confines of her school books and classroom to marvel at the glorious sight of the Amazon warriors engaging in their defensive training, led by her aunt and the general of the armies Antiope (Robin Wright). Though bred for combat, the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) doesn’t want her daughter engaging in battle, at least not anytime soon, preferring that Diana be a child — the only child born on their sheltered isle of Themyscira, a paradise cloaked and sheltered from the world outside.

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One of the film’s first released images illustrates the world of the Amazons beautifully.

But Diana cannot be contained! She sneaks out at night after her bedtime to train with Antiope, and when the pair are discovered, the queen has no other resolve but to comply, and requests that Antiope train Diana to be the best among them. True to her word, the general develops Diana into a fiercely strong and capable combatant, but when a small aircraft crashes just off the edge of their waters, Diana rescues the stranger piloting the ship, brining Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) onto the island. Unfortunately the intelligence officer is being pursued German agents!

A battle between the German invaders and the Amazons ensues and in the melee, Antiope is shot — the bullet’s intended target: Diana! The attack on the island stirs Diana to take action when Trevor reveals that the world is at war and a final initiative is preparing to launch led by the merciless German agent Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) and his chief collaborator, Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya). Diana, convinced that Ludendorff is the reincarnation of Ares, the God of War, whom the Amazons are sworn to defeat. Determined to wield the God Killer sword, she orchestrates hers and Trevor’s escape from the Island to return to the war and destroy Ares.

And so begins Diana’s journey to becoming Wonder Woman. Although Hippolyta is not in agreement with Diana’s course, she knows it would be impossible for her to detract her daughter from her mission, and the queen reluctantly gives her blessing, but warns Diana: “The world does not deserve you.” With those words, Diana begins her quest and sets to sail for Man’s World and the world war awaiting her with Steve Trevor at her side. The pair arrive in London circa 1918 and begin to strategize their next steps to prevent Ludendorff from exacting his dreading plan, and Diana fulfilling her destiny to stop the God of War.

A New Hope on the Big Screen

Director Patty Jenkins perfectly navigates our heroine from the more than lush and etherial confines of her legendary Paradise Island — a perfect utopia dedicated to the highest arts of culture, philosophy, of body and mind — and displaces the young and naive princess into the middle of the 20th Century and a world in chaos. Diana is uncomfortable with the way that the men govern from behind the safety of their bureaucracy, and the women are relegated to the background often silenced. None of it rings true to the princess, who becomes very frustrated when it’s obvious they aren’t capable of figuring things out on their own. This dimension is perfectly realized by Gadot, who balances impertinence and patience as she becomes more familiar in her new environment.

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Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and Diana (Gal Gadot) prepare to stage a plan that will bring them into the lion’s den and closer to their mutual enemy in Wonder Woman.

When Diana can no longer tolerate the brutality and injustice she is witness to, as men, women and children become victims of Ares influence and the war escalates, she reveals herself as a superpower to be reckoned with. The instance that Diana becomes Wonder Woman in the film, is singular more exciting than the first time that Superman takes flight in Man of Steel — it is the moment that will make the audience cheer with abandon and joyful that finally she has arrived! For the rest of the film you are invested — you’re with her!

Choosing to extrapolate Wonder Woman as a period piece will remind savvy audiences of the similarities to its Marvel Films contemporary Captain America: The First Avenger which also ultimately launched the combined universe with Avengers. In the case of Wonder Woman it makes for an interesting palette and less romanticizes the narrative, which becomes much more visceral and real, a far contrast to the character’s brightly colored comic book interpretation. For fans, the favorite interpretation of the heroine during writer/artist George Pérez’s run on the comic, the film pays great homage to his creative contribution.

With the exception of only one little thing, which may turn out to be an important plot note, Wonder Woman is without a doubt (and so far) the best of the DC Comics Films, although the truth is that the bar was set pretty precariously. Wonder Woman had no where to go but to rise above the cacophony of its two predecessors, and although it climatic confrontation with the “big bad” will no doubt inspire similarities to MoS and BvS the greatest difference is how deep and textured the emotional arc of this film is.

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Diana (Gal Gadot) begins to realize that there is more to her newfound powers than even she is aware of in Wonder Woman.

Now about that “one little thing” — it’s a minor detail, but one that I felt would have been integral to the script, especially considering the fate of the film’s hero Steve Trevor, is the final moment that the two characters share. During the ensuing confrontation and climax of the film, they are reunited, and Trevor confides in Diana — professing his true feelings for her — before taking command of the German army’s ultimate weapon. Unfortunately Diana can’t hear everything that Trevor is saying, her ears ringing from Ares’ onslaught.

When it all begins to sink in, I half anticipated Steve to use his long held term of endearment for Diana, but alas there is no “angel” in sight. Like I said, it’s a small thing, but I needed it. It didn’t diminish my excitement over seeing our heroine rise to the occasion and save the day, and when the credits finally rolled I found Wonder Woman was deeply satisfying, exciting and powerful — and a long time coming! She will unite us all, indeed!

See the trailer here:

Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Robin Wright is now showing in theaters everywhere and is distributed by Warner Bros.

Cover-to-Cover • Entertainment Weekly features WONDER WOMAN

After the Amazing Amazon finally makes her big screen debut this summer, many will ask why did it take so long for DC Comics WONDER WOMAN to get the attention she so rightly deserves!

 

It’s incredible to imagine that it’s taken 76 years since her conception for Wonder Woman to make it to the big-screen in a solo adventure of her own, but pretty soon (June 2 as a matter of fact) the Amazon Princess will finally emerge out from under of the shadow of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and step into the spotlight! And it’s about time!

The latest cover of Entertainment Weekly has placed Gal Gadot the modern day embodiment of the DC Comics legend front and center, and the set piece of the issue is a story by Nicole Sperling who spoke with Patty Jenkins the director who inherited the reigns of the blockbuster feature. Jenkins explains her connection to the character and what it has meant to her to bring Wonder Woman’s origin story to theaters.

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The film stars Gadot as Diana the Princess of the Amazons, a tribe of warrior women who live outside of the realm of “Man’s World”, but when one lands on their shores (co-star Chris Pine as Steve Trevor) and brings war to paradise, Diana is compelled to fulfill her destiny to become the most integral part of the DC Comics pantheon and a founding member of the Justice League  — Wonder Woman!

Her journey to the big screen didn’t come without its own set of hurdles, but Wonder Woman is already proving she’s got what it takes with advanced word on the film incredibly favorable. Some critics have gone on the record saying that Wonder Woman will be the “best DC Comics movie so far!” After the lukewarm reception that both BvS and its follow-up Suicide Squad received by fans and critics alike, this is a good sign especially as the cinematic DC Comics Universe launches!

The article takes a close and detailed look at Wonder Woman throughout her 76 year history and how she’s evolved with every generation as an icon and symbol not only for feminism, but for all people!

Read the full article in this week’s Issue of Entertainment Weekly available on stands now and digital download, and Wonder Woman hits theaters this weekend on June 2.