Randomly Related Slightly Salient Stuff 9

Happy Thanksgiving!  Loads of little things to comment on since the last RRSSS, including a Wonder Woman press release and Civil War trailer.  Let’s just get right to it!

Production Begins on Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman Feature Film | Warner Bros

image courtesy minty http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/MintyNewsAndReviews/news/?a=127208

The press release:

BURBANK, Calif.— Principal photography is underway on Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman feature film, the highly anticipated action adventure from director Patty Jenkins (“Monster,” AMC’s “The Killing”), starring Gal Gadot (the “Fast & Furious” movies) in the role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. The character will make her big screen debut this spring in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but the new film will mark her first time headlining a feature.

The film also stars Chris Pine (the “Star Trek” films) as Captain Steve Trevor, Robin Wright (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Netflix’s “House of Cards”), Danny Huston (“Clash of the Titans,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), David Thewlis (the “Harry Potter” films, “The Theory of Everything”), Ewen Bremner (“Exodus: Gods and Kings,” “Snowpiercer”), Saïd Taghmaoui (“American Hustle”), Elena Anaya (“The Skin I Live In”) and Lucy Davis (“Shaun of the Dead”).

The film is being produced by Charles Roven, Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder, with Richard Suckle, Stephen Jones, Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and Rebecca Roven serving as executive producers.

Joining Jenkins behind the camera are director of photography Matthew Jensen (“Chronicle,” “Fantastic Four,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Oscar-nominated production designer Aline Bonetto (“Amélie,” “A Very Long Engagement,” “Pan”), and Oscar-winning editor Martin Walsh (“Chicago,” “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” “V for Vendetta”), and Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (“The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Topsy-Turvy”).

Principal photography will take place on location in the UK, France and Italy.

Set to open in 2017, the Wonder Woman feature film is based on characters created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

I don’t really have anything to say that hasn’t already been said.  I’m excited that a military brat is directing (her wiki states she lived in “15 different countries before she was 6”) and is on location in the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.  Although Superman is an alien immigrant, Wonder Woman has been more of a foreigner in most portrayals, and shooting in Europe with a diverse cast under a multicultural director is a good way for that flavor to come across.  Jenkins has an incredible amount on integrity and, by all accounts, seems to be working well with the DC brain trust, so I’m looking forwards to more information about the film.

Aside from any creative intentions, I think the first glimpse we got has the added practical consideration of hiding the costume in Wonder Woman.  In the past, on the show, we’ve cited Michael Wilkinson as indicating that the costumes will iterate in every film.  So it’s likely that there will be changes, however subtle they may be, to the costume.

Speaking of superhero costumes, be sure to listen to Eric Molinsky’s podcast, Imaginary Worlds, specifically episode 22, “Fixing the Hobo Suit” where he speaks with Wilkinson and other notable superhero costume designers.

Captain America Civil War Trailer | Marvel Studios

I’m not terribly interested in Dr. Strange or GotG2 (the reasoning for my bias against magic tends to encompass cosmic entities) so this is the most interesting MCU film until 2017’s Spider-Man for me.  I like that the Captain America films tend to be a little more grounded, more practical, and the raise bigger ideas even if they don’t necessarily give those ideas their due.  They also seem to progress the larger MCU in ways that get referenced more.

The fluidity of the fight choreography is perhaps on the slick dance-routine side of things (still fun to watch), but at the same time, where else are you going to see this kind of sequence right now?  So, I’m glad it has a place in the MCU.  I really like the idea that there might be an ethical quandary at the center of the film and hope the trailer dialog is misrepresenting the issue as nothing more than subjective loyalty to one friend over another (it’s not going to boil down to the fact Steve likes Bucky better than Tony… probably).

Jessica Jones Trailer 2 | Netflix

I haven’t had time to finish this but, of course, I enjoy things that try to approach things from a grounded stance.  I won’t say that Jessica Jones is perfectly self-consistent, but that may be because the characters are inherently flawed humans who don’t always act optimally and much of the show is about bringing those flaws to the forefront.  There are some parallels to Man of Steel which highlight the similarity in realistic approaches (spoilers):

  • Luke Cage doesn’t know and doesn’t want to test the limits of his invulnerability.
  • Being a costumed superhero is something viewed with heavy skepticism.
  • Maintaining your secret when young is still important.
  • Martial arts do not overcome or overwhelm differences in strength and power.
  • Struggles with the morality and necessity of killing.

Creed Trailer | Warner Bros

I’m a Michael B. Jordan fan, a boxing fan, and a Rocky fan (to a slightly embarrassing degree that I won’t get into here) so I’m unbelievably excited about this, now that the positive reactions are pouring in.  I hope it over-performs at the box office, especially considering the stiff competition.  Can’t wait to see this.  With seven films within the same franchise, Creed is one up on Superman.

The Best & Worst Superman Movies Ranked | Movie Feuds

A video ranking the live-action Superman films.

There’s a Good Reason Darth Vader Is Interesting While Superman Is Just Boring | David Mitchell

Commentary about how archetypes don’t make for good main characters in stories, where Superman, unfortunately, gets cast as a perfect and flawless paragon without issues. If you give Superman the paragon he gets criticized as boring but if you give Superman the character he gets criticized as not being Superman! Thankfully, Batman v. Superman will popularize a more modern take on a Superman that errs on the side of character over icon.

Superman’s Dumb Disguise | Omnibus

G&S’s Amy Dallen and Hector Navarro are no fans of Man of Steel, but still an interesting video about the difficulties of maintaining Superman’s secret identity. Mark Waid comments and essentially files it under suspension of disbelief, which seems to be the right fictional approach ultimately. It remains to be seen how or if it will be addressed in Batman v. Superman.

Superman vs. The KKK | ScrewAttack!

A concise summary of Superman’s fight against the KKK in the real world.

Grant Morrison Talks Superman’s Politics | Forbes

image courtesy minty http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/MintyNewsAndReviews/news/?a=127208

With time, it seems Grant Morrison has softened in position on Man of Steel and has diplomatically acknowledged the creative intentions behind the approach. Although he’s injecting additional political commentary, I think it’s interesting nonetheless. In MOSAIC 34, we referenced the Strauss-Howe generational theory, which may place BvS on the precipice of the accord and cooperation necessary to accomplish things. Despite their differences, Batman and Superman will come together and for some, during an election year, it’s particularly hard not to villainize those we disagree with. Sometimes, for example, it’s difficult to give Frank Miller his due in history because of how his book skewered Superman.

Speaking of The Dark Knight Returns… only the first issue is out, but so far it’s a good Elseworlds Trinity story, I’m cautiously optimistic about the rest of the run.

Is Ron Dumbledore?? | Idea Channel

Putting forwards the idea that fan theories are striving for coherence (the quality of being logical and consistent) above and beyond authoritative blessings by creators.  I think I’ve touched on that in the past repeatedly, whether or how much to weigh the canonicity of creator statements or intentions which do not make it into the film.  I think I’ve pushed back slightly on a number of things, but nonetheless, creator intentions are valuable insights whether or not those intentions fit coherently into the final work.

Historic Rocket Landing | Blue Origin

So shortly after releasing MOSAIC 34, wherein I suggest orbit for the Fortress of Solitude to avoid North Pole tourists, this proof-of-concept video makes steps towards turning low-orbit into a tourist destination. Seems Superman would have to put his Fortress out further or else find some woefully inaccessible corner of the Earth. Perhaps the Amazons or Atlanteans can help him with that.

Why Mars Has Less Atmosphere | The New York Times

After The Martian, YouTube was filled with videos on this aspect of habitability on Mars. Here’s one from NASA, one from Gizmodo, and two more here and here. Proposing Mars as a candidate is almost always based on the assumption that one technical capability gives rise to another and that technical capability is the only barrier. Jor-El’s novel Phantom Drive technology does not mean any planet can be terraformed at will. Even if Mars can be terraformed (and we’ve discussed extensively why it likely couldn’t), Zod would plausibly lack the will to do so or subsist as superhumans on Mars or otherwise. That’s hardly a radical proposal. We have the technological capability to accomplish many things, including feeding every person on Earth comfortably. Yet, the discomfort in getting there and will to do so is lacking.

Why Haven’t We Found Alien Life? | Space Time

Yet another video about the Fermi Paradox, etc.

THR’s Studio Executive Roundtable 2015 | The Hollywood Reporter

So, unsurprisingly, Kevin Tsujihara did not participate in this year’s THR roundtable.  THR has been a tad passive-aggressive towards Tsujihara in the last roundtable and in print, so with a weak film year and no expectation for better treatment, the WB went with Variety instead:

A great series of articles that really go into depth about the WB’s performance and strategy.

Toberoff’s Never-Ending Battle | US Court of Appeals 9th Circuit

This is extremely dry unless you’ve kept up with the entire saga, in which case, it’s mildly amusing.

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  1. Interesting Stuff Doctor, I hope you don’t mind me expressing my own POV and doubts in some of those topics. (Sorry beforehand for the long post)

    Regarding the upcoming Civil War, I still wonder how accurate the film’s story will be in comparison to the source material. If they would make the “winner” the same character as in the comic. Since we have no idea what will happen, I wonder if the same/a different epilogue would affect the story’s quality. They could make the other guy win and people would criticize for being unfaithful to the source, while also following the source and being criticized for not being original. But at the end, who the “victor” of the conflict is really matters that much?

    The same I could say for Dawn of Justice, they could follow the same way TDKR went as the Batfanboys are expecting (even though is just an inspiration, in contrast to an adaptation as they blindly believe), or they could surprise us and make Superman win! But you think either one or the other outcome would make a significant dent in the story? Not to mention that winning or losing is a matter of perspective; At the end of “Balboa” Rocky lost the decision to the champion, but the audience (both in and out of the film) kept exclaiming Rocky’s name as their real winner. The same as Atom from “Real Steel”. And not to mention that some “victories” can be really taken out of proportion.

    Like you have previously mentioned (a year ago?), Batman’s victories over Superman are really exaggerated and hardly accurate, since the examples fanboys use in favor of Bats are anything but real wins, remember?

    TDKR: Broken ribs, heart attack, ravaged armor, 20 years of planning and the “winner” ended up semi-dead in the floor while the “loser” remained almost unscratched and standing on his two feet even though he was severely depowered.

    Red Son: Dead. The always prepared Batman couldn’t foresee that an ally of Superman would be a nuisance for him, and with all his supposed intelligence and presumed cunning the best he could so after his original plan failed was kill himself.

    To mention some…

    In the Darth Vader v Superman stuff, I can’t help but feel that whoever made that video was kinda bias, and maybe hypocrite. I could easily made a video in the exact opposite fashion and would be just as valid, Superman being interesting and Vader being boring. I mean, isn’t Vader himself also an archetype of villain? A stereotyped bad guy that when it wasn’t given a paragon in the prequels was criticized for not being Vader? That’s my opinion of course, I was never a fan of Star Wars but I look forward to Force Awakens, reasonable minds will differ.

    And about Morrison, I too can see that he is slowly warming up to MoS, or at least the Superman it gave us. Seeing such focus switch in someone as intelligent as him gives me and other MoS lovers hope that in the future, the film that was once not-so-loved will be looked with new light and appreciated by those who initially didn’t. While it’s true that a film’s quality shouldn’t depend on its sequels, that doesn’t changes the fact that some sequels have such an impact that they actually influenced the previous films’ perception.

    “The Dark Knight”, a film so acclaimed that “Batman Begins”, a movie that didn’t even surpassed the $400m, is now considered the second best Batman movie (and one of the best superhero movies) of all time. It even stands atop “Dark Knight Rises” in terms of fan reception…for some reason.

    The opposite is seen with “Batman and Robin”, it went as far as making people criticize “Batman Forever” more than before.

    So in your opinion, you think that if BvS is indeed the definition of superhero perfection and is more acclaimed than we expect, would it change the opinions of several people about MoS for the better?

    • In RRSSS1, I linked to a 2011 Sequel Map analysis which tends to indicate that critically over-performing the original is an outlier… and in the rare circumstance when reception is better, it’s only by a few points (to be fair, any movie granted a sequel is going to have fewer points to gain than to lose). [Note, we’re not talking box office at this point.] Which is to say, I wouldn’t “worry” about scenarios where BvS is “the definition of superhero perfection”… the approach is inherently controversial and there are critics opposed to the very concept of the film, even before watching a single frame of the film as intended. There are some critics who will literally resent having to watch BvS simply because of its relevance. I say that not because I don’t want it to be universally praised, but as a reality check for our expectations… there are those who have already decided to dislike this film and those who will go in hostile; the film may convince some but not all.

      That said, with open minds and proper expectations, I think people will have a better grasp of what went on in MOS. When we see the world’s reactions, Jonathan’s fears will be more clear to them. When Superman fights again, they may have better intuition for his powers and limitations, rather than expecting invisible super speed at every turn. When they see the story of collateral damage play out, they’ll see why it wasn’t the story in MOS. When they see Superman’s experience level, they’ll understand why MOS was a beginning and have a better picture where we’re going. Personally, you don’t need BvS to see all these things in MOS, but for more casual fans and critics BvS will help flesh out those arcs in a way where they understand the larger grand design and, in some cases, appreciate it.

      Remember, though, the main purpose of BvS is to build a bridge to the future of the DC films not apologize for or explain MOS. So I don’t expect a ton of explicit call backs necessarily.

      • Thanks for answering me Doctor. Right now I have no clinging questions because I just saw the new Sneak Peek! OMG!!!!

        You will cover it, right?

        • Maybe he should wait until Wednesday night or Thursday when the new trailer debuts.

          It premieres December 2nd at 11:35 PM EST.

      • Hi Dr Awkward,

        I don’t understand why some of the critics as you mention above already oppose or hated the concept introduced in bvs before they even seen it. What do you think the reason why they hated the story themes that intended to be presented by bvs and the upcoming dceu??

        • I think, in my POV, that unfortunately is the same “issue” that they had with MoS, preconceived notions and expectations. Tons of people waited the first appearance of Superman and Batman together in the big screen to be as a team, friends that already knew each other.

          Others simply dislike the idea of Wonder Woman’s film debut to be as a (what some call) background or side character, conveniently forgetting all the evidence that says otherwise.

          Or simply because is the MoS sequel.

          And obviously because it’s so different from the MCU.

          At the end, doesn’t matters how good the acting, script, cinematography, directing or any part of the film as a whole is, there is people that is ready to dislike the film regardless of how well made it is.

        • I don’t think I’d paint them all with the same brush, but I think much of it is how tightly one adheres to a particular vision and their ability to roll with a different take or something not exactly their taste.

          As a science fiction lover, I really appreciated the approach to Man of Steel, because much of modern science fiction is about confronting the contemporary. Yet if you didn’t want to be confronted but coddled and look entirely for escapism from fiction, it’s obviously not going to be to your taste… that said, people can handle that differently… they can still appreciate it for what it is even if not their favorite or they can say something that isn’t to their taste is trash. If you have an open mind or a broad palate, you can enjoy more works irrespective of your preferences.

          Being appreciative in general helps too. If you’ve lived through or watched movies like the 1990 Captain America or 1997 Steel, what we have is utterly incredible by comparison. Framing it as what we’re getting, elseworlds, or whatever, makes it easier to appreciate than framing it as not getting something you thought you were entitled to or imagined.

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