Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Jungle Cruise) — Screenplay by Adam Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani.
Does anyone really know what Warner Bros. Discovery and DC Comics are doing with their immensely popular comic book characters on the big screen? Half the time it sounds like they want to copy what Disney and Marvel are doing, and the other half it sounds like they want to do a little bit of everything. That latter suggestion is unfocused but it is also a little bit exciting that they are prepared to do anything. That we can get a deeply gritty Halloween-set Batman film and a more brightly colored tongue-in-cheek superhero comedy for all ages in Shazam!with DC Comics is good fun, but I’m not sure fans, general audiences, or the higher-ups are on the same page. Some fans want a patient build-up in the vein of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, some want a return to Nolan-esque grittiness, and others are desperate for Zack Snyder’s vision for the DC universe to live on. Time will tell if they can have it all, but, in trying to appeal to the most amount of people, Jaume Collet-Serra’s underdeveloped Black Adam raises some eyebrows, as it feels very much like a film that has been tinkered with by higher-ups so much over the years that it has gone stale, which is a shame since Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson has been waiting for 15 years to make his mark as the titular antihero.
In recent days, it was revealed that the Warner Bros. Discovery merger had already had a huge impact on upcoming releases and the extremely popular streaming service HBO Max, arguably the service with the best content library. First, it was revealed that the upcoming Batgirl film, which had finished production, had been canceled. It was no longer to be released in theaters or on HBO Max. Then, we found out that the Scoob! sequel, an animated film due to be released later this year, had also been thrown away entirely.
All Episodes of the First Season of James Gunn’s PEACEMAKER Are Available on HBO Max Now.
I know. This show did, indeed, come out several months ago. Back then, I had been preparing to write a longer article about this show, but, then life got in the way, and now we’re in June. Sorry about that. Still, I am happy to be able to report that I think this show is absolutely terrific and I also think it’s the best DC Comics season of television I’ve ever seen. That statement is coming from someone who was obsessed with Smallville once, who loved the first season of CW’s The Flash, and who did follow the Arrowverse for quite some time. With respect to those shows, James Gunn’s Peacemaker is just head-and-shoulders above those other series in large part because it feels so director-driven. It has a distinctive style and voice that is just so right for this show.
Over the years, I have certainly not tried to hide the fact that I think 2016’s Suicide Squad, which was directed by David Ayer (though he has repeatedly made it clear that the film was essentially taken away from him as a result of studio interference), is, to put it mildly, one of my least favorite films ever made in the superhero genre. That 2016 film certainly reeked of studio interference, it was an almost incoherent mess, it was needlessly grimy and at times quite ugly, it used a decent soundtrack as a crutch and in a way that became incredibly tiring, all the while failing to get you to care about the characters or the relationships they were building. There were some decent things about it, but, on the whole, it felt like someone had tried to turn Ayer’s vision into a shameless imitation of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and that just didn’t work for the film that Ayer had envisioned.
During a watch-along of his film Man of Steel, today — May 20th, 2020 — director Zack Snyder, alongside his wife and creative partner Deborah Snyder, announced that, in 2021, Warner Bros. will, finally, ‘release the Snyder cut’ of Justice League (2017) on HBO MAX. DC Comics’ vocal fan base has been heard. In this week’s edition of Special Features, I will answer some questions about this piece of news, and I will tell you exactly how I feel about Warner Bros.’ decision. Let’s get to it. Continue reading “Snyder Cut: Zack Snyder’s Justice League is on its way to HBO MAX – Special Features #70”→
The following is a short review of Watchmen — Created by Damon Lindelof.
Alan Moore’s Watchmen is one of the most beloved comic book stories ever made. It is one of those graphic novels that comic book readers have been championing for decades, and it has been notoriously difficult to adapt. Zack Snyder tried and succeeded (to some extent) with his 2009 adaptation, which, of note, changed the ending of Moore’s story. Moore, infamously, is unwilling to endorse or watch adaptations of Watchmen, but I think it is time for the celebrated comic book writer to change his tune. Because Damon Lindelof (LOST; The Leftovers) has made a sequel to the iconic graphic novel that deals with timely issues and which also subverts all of the right tropes. Continue reading “REVIEW: Watchmen (2019 – Limited Series)”→
The following is a review of Joker — Directed by Todd Phillips.
It has felt almost impossible to drown out the noise surrounding Todd Phillips’ Joker. Any film even tangentially related to Batman has a gigantic spotlight on it at all times, but the drama surrounding the release of this standalone origin story has been different. Though the film has won numerous film festival awards, including the coveted Golden Lion-award from the Venice Film Festival, even select critics who liked the film have seemingly been apprehensive about recommending it. Continue reading “REVIEW: Joker (2019)”→
The following is a review of Shazam! — Directed by David F. Sandberg.
It pleases me to say that the DC Cinematic Universe has turned a corner. For so long, Wonder Woman, the first film in the connected universe to receive a majority of positive reviews from film writers, seemed like an anomaly in the inconsistent universe where mixed reception was the best that you could hope for. James Wan’s Aquaman, however, was a big hit — one that indicated that perhaps the DC connected film universe still had life in it. And for Shazam! — a character most audiences will be unfamiliar with — DC and Warner Bros. borrowed yet another director from the Conjuring-film universe, Swedish David F. Sandberg, who, thankfully, has made a huge homerun hit for the weakened connected universe. Continue reading “REVIEW: Shazam! (2019)”→
Remember that fantastic trailer for Man of Steel? The trailer that made it seem like DC and Warner Bros. would continue hot off the heels from the Dark Knight trilogy by introducing us to a breathtaking new Superman movie. Man of Steel was ultimately a disappointing beginning to a severely underwhelming cinematic universe. Continue reading “DC Films: Where do we go from here? – Special Features #13”→
The following is a review of Justice League – Directed by Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon.
A couple of months ago, I was looking through some old pieces of paper that I had found in a drawer. In it, I found a membership certificate for some sort of Danish Batman-fan club, and it had my name on it (actually, it was misspelled). This certificate was from when I was just around the age of six or seven.
I am telling you this to provide you with a bit of context for my own background and my love for DC Comics. I’m one of those kids who would hunker down and read Superman comics in the back of the store, while my dad was talking to the comic book store owner. Did I read Marvel Comics too? Definitely, but that shouldn’t take away from my love for DC Comics. I am now, and always have been, a fan of these characters. Continue reading “REVIEW: Justice League (2017)”→