Only a day after announcing actor Henry Cavill was released from his contract to the studio to appear as the Man of Steel in any future feature film, WB plays coy with possibility of a Superman return?
On Wednesday, or actually late on Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter had announced that WB the studio holding the lease on the franchise film properties linked to the DC Comics universe had released actor Henry Cavill from any obligations he had to appear as Superman in any future installments of the hero’s one-off features or the expanded universe spin-offs, that included an appearance in the studio’s proposed big screen Supergirl which was green-lit and sped into pre-production over the summer.
The reports came as Cavill who has become a sought-after commodity in Hollywood recently appearing opposite Tom Cruise in the latest Mission: Impossible, was preparing for his next role in the highly anticipated Netflix Original Series The Witcher. The actor’s busy schedule had prevented him from shooting a “surprise” cameo in next summer’s Shazam! which stars Zachery Levy as The World’s Mightiest Mortal. regrettably, the studio was not able to make the schedules work and decidedly move forward.
While fans were arguably critical by the actor’s interpretation of Superman in Man of Steel and his subsequent appearances inside the DC Cinematic Universe, Cavill’s latest appearance as Superman in 2017’s blockbuster Justice League seemed to right the course of the much beloved iconic character. Rumors immediately began to circulate about the actor’s continuing participation in the franchises including co-starring in the aforementioned Supergirl and following-up with Man of Steel 2.
On social networking it looked like fans immediately took umbrage with the studio decision and Cavill himself posted a rather somber, though cryptic response, leading many to speculate that his fate may not be sealed, and that perhaps he might return to the cape, especially when WB decides to revisit Superman in a feature down the road. With the overall lukewarm perception that Justice League received in theaters, the one indeterminate stand-out was Cavill’s very hopeful portrayal of Superman.
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”.
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.
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 herefor more product information including details on the Justice League line of figures as well as others in the MAFEX inventory.
Still the “Gold Standard” by which all superhero blockbusters should be measured, director Richard Donner’s SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE gets a new Blu-ray release of the very rarely seen “3-Hour Long” TV Version!
In 1978 director Richard Donner did more than just prove that a man could fly — he made moviegoers believe in a super hero, and it made their hearts soar! Superman The Movie has since become one of the cinema’s most beloved adaptations of the DC Comics icon. The film inspired a franchise that has endured for decades, would incite the studios to seek out their own big screen counterparts, and that’s not to mention how many industry creatives, including DC Comics own Geoff Johns, who were indelibly impacted by the success of the film.
The feature length film was huge at the box office and would be followed by an equally successful sequel; Superman II would itself be well received by critics and audiences alike, though the film would be highly scrutinized and years later fans would learn of the conflicting personalities behind-the-scenes. When the original Superman The Movie made its way to primetime television, the film would receive a “Special Edition” redux and not long after, in a very special televised event, it would be exhibited in a re-edited 3-hour-long TV Version.
Though the Special Edition release has been commercially available on Blu-ray ever since the turn of the new millennium, it’s 3-hour-long cut has only just been given the same attention. For nearly 3 decades this version of Superman The Movie has gone unseen by many, and although it’s being hailed as the “definite” version of the film, it doesn’t diminish the greatness of Richard Donner’s vision. In an era of filmmaking that has become jaded to or expectant of “director’s cuts” or “extended versions” of theatricals Superman The Movie was way ahead of the curve.
A Man Could Fly
I’m reminded of the exhilaration I felt that first time sitting in a darkened movie theater whenever I see that curtain opening at the beginning of Superman The Movie and the opening notes to John Williams’ score. Donner’s movie intro harkens back to the origins of the Man of Steel, who was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster during the Great Depression. The character became a beacon of hope for many who felt powerless and stifled by the threat of war and poverty. Superman inspired a purpose; his incredulous deeds and powers made possible the impossible!
More than 75 years later, Superman is still DC Comics most iconic character and is as relevant a part of the motion picture franchise. The hero will be among the line-up that makes up part of the most anticipated cast of heroes to headline a full-length blockbuster when Justice League launches worldwide in November. In the heroes most recent big-screen incarnation, he is played by Henry Cavill (who will reprise his role in JL) who embodied the Lost Son of Krypton first in Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel released in 2013.
When Cavill returned to the world of DC Comics it was for 2016s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice also directed by Snyder, the film would mark the first time in contemporary cinema that both Batman and Superman, along with Wonder Woman would be appearing on film together. The event would also set the stage for what fans had long hoped would be the case, the inauguration of the expanded cinematic universe that would include a linked-up continuity that would match the pace established by the Marvel Films.
Though the feature-length film received very mixed reviews, it’s the Extended Cut released for home exhibition that truly fully incapsulated the story that should have been played for audiences in theaters. Through the reedit, Snyder was able to flesh out more character nuances and add some filler to scenes that felt stunted in the theatrical release. BvS The Extended Cut benefitted from its release and undoubtedly rallied the troops especially after the successful reception that its follow-up film Wonder Woman got.
3-Hours More Super!
Before the advent and popularization of the now very common post-theatrical release of the “Director’s Cut” of a film, Superman The Movie: Extended Cut was way ahead of its time in delivering a more full-bodied narrative to its audience. The film just released on Blu-ray finally puts into the hands of fans a 188 minute cut of the film, that is a touch different from the “Special Edition” version that was released in 2000, and is touted as the director Richard Donner’s definitive version of the film.
The pace of the film is much more deliberate; the added scenes allow for more story to evolve for example, for the film opens on the planet of Krypton, Jor-El (portrayed by the legendary Marlon Brandon) has just sentenced three criminals to the Phantom Zone (who will infamously return in the sequel to spell doom for Superman). The following scene has Jor-El confronting the Kryptonian council on the theory that their planet will soon face its own destruction, and unless they do something quick, their race will become extinct.
Although Jor-El promises that neither he or his wife Lara will leave the planet, the council detect an energy signature coming from his lab that would suggest they are likely preparing to evacuate and send a sentry to capture Jor-El. Unfortunately, Jor-El’s prediction comes true and the planet begins to crumble, but not before he sends his infant son Kal-El into space. The destruction of Krypton is much longer as its citizens make haste to try to escape, a futile attempt, and as Kal-El’s rocket soars into deep space along its trajectory to Earth, it passes the Phantom Zone prisoners.
When the baby finally arrives on Earth, he is rescued and raised by The Kents in Smallville, Kansas. As an adolescent the young Clark Kent (Kal-El’s new adopted name) must keep his powers a secret from everyone around him. Inevitably Clark must leave home, and after his father dies, he is determined to uncover his true nature. There are extended moments from Clark’s moments on the field in Smallville, and after his dad passes away, his journey North is much more perilous, as we get a better idea of the terrain he crossed before finding the Fortress of Solitude.
The extended scenes runout plenty of the film’s quieter moments, giving breath to scenes like Clark’s first day at the Daily Planet and when he first meets Lois Lane. Christopher Reeve perfectly captures the moment as he sits across from Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane for the first time and takes her in — for Clark it’s love at first sight. The scenes that don’t work all that well are the ones that are applied to Lex Luthor’s backstory. Although the criminal mastermind is expertly played by Gene Hackman, the additional buffoonery doesn’t do him any favors.
Superman The Movie: Extended Cut is worth the experience, and will appease the die-hard fan, but for the definite extended experience the “Special Edition” release is just as eloquent and charming as is the Theatrical Version equally well executed.
Superman The Movie: Extended Cut 2-Film Collection is now available on Blu-ray and can be purchased through the WB Shop www.shopdcentertainment.com.
As METAL continues to heat things up the DARK NIGHTS stake their claim in the DC Comics Universe!
First a little backstory! The Dark Universe is descending across the DC Comics multiverse! The latest major crossover event Metal continues to reshape the course of the mainstream continuity, all part of a major push to reignite the legacy initiative inspired by the “Rebirth” rebrand. A consequence of the less-popular “The New 52” relaunch of 2011 that rebooted the major characters and completely eradicated others from, the imprint is now juggling a series of epic events to realign, retcon and return things to what they were!
Metal is a story set within the Earth-0 (or “Prime” Earth) continuity which is considered the first-earth of the multiverse, or the plane on which the DC Comics primary pantheon of characters exist, although most of those characters backstories and origins have been a little wonky ever since the “Flashpoint” event. In that story Barry Allen, the hero known as The Flash attempted to rewrite his own history and went back in time to prevent the murder of his mother Nora. Altering that bit of his storyline had a dramatic impact on the entire timeline!
With no other choice but the fix the mistake of that particular incursion, The Flash returns to the scene of the crime and attempts to set things right, but the universe — in its infinite wisdom — has other plans for him and intervenes! The result was a bolder, younger, braver world — “The New 52” continuity along with the reemergence of the multiverse. Since then the universe appears to have taken matters into its own hands and is presently struggling to set things right. The “Rebirth” event is helping to put things back, but there is more danger on the horizon…
A Dark Universe
Batman scribe Scott Snyder insists that the makings of the Metal arc have been hinted at ever since he began his infamous run dictating the story of the fabled Caped Crusader. In the now legendary The Return of Bruce Wayne story arc written by Grant Morrison, that details the adventures of a time-displaced Batman, Snyder began to introduce elements of a dangerous figure that has always had a direct influence in shaping the existence of The Batman. When The Batman was most recently confronted by his arch-nemesis The Joker, it cost him a great deal — Bruce Wayne was literally reborn!
As is often the case, resurrections come at a great price. Something is stirring in the heart of Gotham City! A huge mountain appears out of nowhere in the heart of the city and inside is a mystery millennia in the making, and it’s all connected to the metallurgical discovery of a metal — a new element — one not unfamiliar to longtime DC Comics readers. 9th metal is often associated with one of the imprint’s classic heroes, the archeologist Carter Hall also known as the winged Hawkman and his paramour Hawkgirl. Both characters have resurfaced within the pages of Metal and will have a significant affect as the story continues to progress.
It would appear that The Batman though has the most crucial part to play in this earth-shattering event that has revealed the existence of a “Dark Universe” — and evil alternate, alternate universe that is a sinister contrast to the multiverse we’ve all become more familiar with. In fact the negative realm appears to function in a very obvious and start contrast to our own mainstream multiversity. It’s been well established that Superman the Man of Steel, is essentially at the core and a constant within the multiverse, an infinite influence throughout many of the known worlds.
The Kryptonian refugee stands as a primary force, almost always alongside a version of Batman and Wonder Woman — the heroic trinity. But in this Dark Universe it’s becoming obvious that The Batman is the primary template, and is in most cases catering to his base instincts, running afoul of his own heroic instincts and preferring to connect with his darker side. Regardless of the consequences, The Batman appears to be of service to only his own devices be they selfish or determinate.
And it would appear now that these evil counterparts are working together and seeking to claim the DC multiverse for their own! The Dark Universe it appears does not exist as an infinite element to its counterpart, the multiverse — it was never meant to exist. Each of its worlds eventually fall to their own cataclysm, and it seems that this crisis is inevitable! Seeking to change the circumstances of their predicament, the Batmen of the Dark Universe have arrived!
And no one is safe!
“Dark Nights” part of the current Metal story arc is currently playing out as part of the DC Comics crossover event of the season.
After months of speculation a mysterious adversary of the Man of Steel’s steps into the light and prepares to throw asunder everything that Superman has ever believed!
When DC Comics promised that it’s “Rebirth” rebranding would return many of its long-standing titles to a more proper state of familiarity, reestablishing years of legacy and working to retcon much of the unfavorable reaction that it received for “The New 52” era or reboots, many dedicated readers felt that perhaps the imprint had heard their cries! The “Rebirth” rebrand introduced an even more dense conundrum that was initiated with the return of Wally West!
The one-time Teen Titan, turned Flash had seemingly been eradicated from current continuity, along with much of the Golden Age heroes, and Superman had died — only to be replaced by his “pre-Flashpoint” counterpart; the “post-Crisis” Man of Steel that was apparently saved during the “Convergence” crossover event. Another additionally confounding mystery has also presented itself and that’s the fact that a decade of time has apparently been stolen!
Someone has been watching from the shadows, and we’re getting closer to learning the identity of the being that was powerful enough to steal time from our heroes, although most fans have already gathered there’s only one being capable of moving so fluidly between time and have such an adverse affect on the multiverse, but another shrouded agent who calls himself “Mr. OZ” has been exerted his own influence especially over the life of the Man of Steel.
It’s been theorized that the “someone” responsible for affecting the continuity is none other than the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan from the classic Watchmen series. There have been many clues to have lead us in that direction, but as for that other mystery man — Mr. OZ — who has been manipulating elements mostly connected to the world of Superman, that character’s identity has finally been revealed — and big surprise — it’s not exactly who you thought it might have been.
In the latest issue of Action Comics #987 feat. Superman the Man of Steel finally confronts Mr. OZ and after month’s of speculation it’s none other than (SPOILER ALERT) — Jor-El! That’s right! Mr. OZ is Superman, Kal-El’s Kryptonian father who so many years ago sent his son rocketing to Earth in order to survive the destruction of their home planet. Jor-El sent his infant son to Earth knowing that under our yellow sun, he would grow invincible and be gifted with unique abilities.
After some reflection though Jor-El is now regretting his decision, and has instead been plotting from the sidelines, setting in motion events to reveal humanity for the monsters that they truly are, convinced that his son — now Earth’s greatest hero, Superman — is not worthy of their protection. As the shrouded Mr. OZ, Jor-El manipulated the events that lead to the “resurrection” of Superman on Earth in a battle of wills against the mischievous Mister Mxyzptlk.
That event was chronicled in the recent “Superman Reborn” story arc that also cemented Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s marriage and place within the present continuity and firmed the legitimacy of their super-son Jon.
The OZ Effect
With the reveal of Mr. OZ’s identity marking the first part of this story event, and after the recent investigation by The Flash and Batman in “The Button” narrative that brought those characters back to the world of “Flashpoint” and back again, this latest part of the “Rebirth” chronicle is bringing everything closer to the upcoming “Doomsday Clock” limited series that is promising a final show down between the DC Comics heroes and those of the Watchmen continuity.
In the meantime, readers will have to digest and come to terms with this latest twist — one that places Jor-El not-necessarily on the side of the angels. If this is truly the Man of Steel’s long-thought dead father, how did he survive all these years and why has he been keeping his identity a secret? Why did Jor-El keep and capture some other heroes including Tim Drake, Red Robin a partner of the Caped Crusader?
What could Jor-El have in store for Superman, and does he indeed play an overall part in the entire “Rebirth” storyline, what role does he play in the scheme of things. What does this mean for Superman and his wife Lois, not to mention their son Jon?
“The OZ Effect” Part 1 is written by Dan Jurgens with art provided by Viktor Bogdanovic and is featured in Action Comics #987.