Crystal Ball: Taylor predicts 2016!

Deadpool:


I saw X-men Origins back in 2009 at a black curtain pre-release screening; it was awful. That said Ryan Reynold’s very brief appearance as Wade Wilson wasn’t bad, granted for some reason “Wade” had super sword based powers and the absolute hatchet job the end of the film did on “Deadpool” who legit was closer to Mortal Kombat’s Baraka than any version of the comic character certainly didn’t do Fox any favours in boosting excitement for a future ‘Pool film. Fast forward to today and Deadpool looks set to be the first blockbuster hit of 2016, Ryan Reynolds appears to have nailed the character, the general tone of the film fits the tone of the various Deadpool books, the only potential negative is the portrayal of Colossus due to the decision to use a body suit rather than CGI.

Despite all this, I have been fooled before; if I were to judge it exclusively by the trailers Amazing Spider-man 2 seemed like it’d be a good movie and it sure as hell was not. Conversely the Force Awakens didn’t have a particularly enthralling trailer but ended up being my pick for best film of 2015. The point to take from this is that trailers are almost never representative of how a film will turn out, there are terrible films with awesome trailers, and awesome films with terrible trailers and vice versa. I want Deadpool to be a good film, I’ve adored the Deadpool character since his debut in the 90’s (Form a line ladies, I’ve got a copy of Deadpool #1 as a first printing), Ryan Reynolds seems like the perfect actor for the role he’s demonstrated a decent acting range and has been depicted in various comedic roles as well as an underrated made-for-tv film as a cancer patient so I’m hoping for the best.

My biggest worry is that much like the abysmal X-men franchise and catastrophic Fantastic Four, Fox Studios just doesn’t know how to make a comic book film. They’ve demonstrated time and time again that they suffer from Tim Burton Syndrome (TBS), in which filmmakers make a conscious decision to talk down to their audience and simultaneously insult the source material by insisting they’re superior to comic writers. That said, I’m hoping for the best and being as realistic as I can Deadpool will likely be a solid 7/10, falling short of the high standard of Marvel’s films, but reaching heights so far unknown by Fox.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice:

Okay let’s get this out of the way; Man of Steel is not a good movie, it’s a fucking awful Superman movie but even ignoring the genre it just isn’t a great film. Batman V Superman is the sequel to Man of Steel and also an attempt on behalf of DC comics/Warner Bros. to jumpstart a cinematic universe to rival Marvel. I want this movie to do well, but the closer it gets and the more trailers they release the worse I feel about the potential film; as it stands the following characters are going to feature in the film: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Perry White, Lois Lane, Alfred Pennyworth and Doomsday. Now Lois, Supes and Perry White have already been introduced in Man of Steel, but as I said MoS wasn’t good and in terms of Lois and Perry very little was done to establish these characters, similarly MoS didn’t do a great job of explaining Superman beyond he’s strong and he has a cape.

To draw a parallel to Marvel, BvS is basically looking to achieve what the first Avengers film achieved, except it doesn’t have the four years of build up or the five successful lead-in films. To put it plainly this is a baby trying to drive a car before it has learned to crawl and it has the potential to blow up in the faces of everyone involved. Aside from the inherent risk in trying to force a series rather than allowing individual films to come together organically, BvS has an incredibly large number of characters to get through which can cause pretty serious issues as far as establishing characters effectively, the last thing I want is a rush job where I barely understand the motivations behind specific characters.

In particular the decision to include Wonder Woman when she already has a solo film due out next year doesn’t sit well with me. She should’ve been limited to a cameo like Samuel L Jackson’s appearance at the end of Iron Man, allowing her character a full film to develop without needing to compete against Batman and Superman over the course of a single film. The other elephant in the room is Doomsday; Doomsday is a Superman villain. Throughout comics history Doomsday has been almost exclusively a Superman villain, in his first ever appearance he killed Superman, he is a villain so iconic and powerful that he is entirely deserving of his own film in which he and Superman battle it out one on one. Pushing him into a film that already sells us the idea of Batman facing off against Superman seems like DC’s just trying to crush as much fan service as possible into a single film and it bothers me that instead of getting the genuine article I’m going to be served up a mediocre Doomsday who goes down without a fight.

Personally I’d prefer it if Batman V Superman had been limited to Batman and Superman duking it out while Lex Luthor manipulates the conflict and ends up being the primary villain. I’d have left Wonder Woman to an end credits cameo and saved Doomsday for a future Superman solo film. As it stands, I really hope Batman V Superman works out, because it if it does then it’ll be a damn good film, the last thing DC needs is another reboot.

Captain America: Civil War:

Okay at this point I feel very comfortable kicking back and just accepting that this film much like its predecessor The Winter Soldier is going to be a slam dunk, home run, touch down, sports metaphor. So yeah, I’m a Marvel fanboy and yes I think it’s very unlikely that the guys who made arguably the best comic film so far are going to fuck it up this time. The whole method of Marvel’s set up to this film has been perfect; yes Cap, Bucky, Falcon and friends are going head to head with Iron Man, War Machine, the US government and BLACK MOTHERFUCKING PANTHER! For those of you unaware Black Panther is one of the coolest superheroes ever, he’s basically a superior version of Captain America from Africa with magic panther powers and a suit made out of vibranium (the stuff Cap’s shield is made with).

The set up to this film has been phenomenal; we know they’re fighting, we don’t quite know why which leaves the audience enough to enjoy when the film drops. Other things we know that haven’t been shown to us; Crossbones a villain who debuted in Winter Soldier as a HYDRA agent that nearly killed Falcon will be debuting as a supervillain this time around, so too while Captain America arch nemesis Baron Zemo. Spider-man is confirmed for a brief cameo, Ant-man too and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Go and watch the trailer for arguably the most feeling driven moment between Cap and Tony. If this film isn’t outstanding I’ll personally eat my computer.

Star Trek Beyond:


Fuck, I really hope I’m wrong about this but as it currently stands Star Trek Beyond looks like a franchise killer if ever there was. In 2009 when JJ Abrams rebooted Star Trek with an updated formula for contemporary audiences I was very happy, I love Star Trek but it’s very true that the drawn out classic sci-fi of Gene Roddenberry looks very dated in today’s film world. I didn’t even min Star Trek Into Darkness, it’s not a bad film, it was a very bad idea to basically make the film one giant Wrath of Khan reference but if you ignore that it’s a pretty decent film. This on the other hand looks awful, Abrams have moved back to executive producer, most likely because he’s got the property he really wanted now in the form of Star Wars. Still, getting the guy who made Fast & The Furious to direct? What were you thinking?!

This trailer just doesn’t look like a Star Trek film, the quips, frequent fighting sequences and there’s even a scene where Kirk rides a dirt bike over some sweet jumps. I really feel like someone missed the memo where these movies are supposed to be about space exploration, and occasional conflict with alien races. Instead I’m “treated” things like Montgomery Scott jumping off a photon torpedo and hanging onto a ledge…Seriously Justin Lin your shitty car movies were shitty car movies stay the fuck away from Star Trek. I’m calling it now Star Trek Beyond is the flop of 2016 and if it isn’t then much like my view on Civil War I will eat this fucking computer like it was a Grill’d bacon and cheese burger.

Suicide Squad:

By this point you’ve read my BvS prediction, so it may shock you but I think Suicide Squad is going to be fantastic. Jared Leto was a perfect choice for the Joker (cue the fucking Ledger fans, face facts you chodes he was shit), Margot Robbie is perfect for Harley Quinn and while I have my doubts about Will Smith successfully playing a morally ambiguous character like Deadshot effectively (be real, Will Smith couldn’t even frown believably), I really think this film will work wonders. There’s talk of a Ben Affleck cameo as Batman, but for the most part this film is going into a new territory that comic films haven’t ventured into; bad guy centric films.

Keep in mind the Suicide Squad aren’t like Daredevil or the Punisher, they’re not anti-heroes they’re straight up mass murdering psychopaths. Characters like Killer Croc, Harley Quinn, The Joker, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang are almost exclusively seen in the source material as criminals and so this film has a shot at completely flipping the genre on its head. Quite literally Suicide Squad has the chance of becoming the Breaking Bad of comic movies, imagine how weird it’ll be for an audience to cheer the Joker instead of the Bat. This film has the chance to break new territory and establish a universe for the alleged Affleck-directed Batman film, a combination of excellent actors and an exciting premise has me very excited for Suicide Squad.

X-men Apocalypse:

It’s gonna suck. Yeah I see it now you’re scrambling for those reviews of Days of Future Past, I don’t care the X-men movies suck. There has been one good X-men movie: First Class. You know why First Class was good? Because Bryan Singer had zero involvement, Bryan Singer is like Tim Burton in 1992; he’s so far up his own ass that he refuses to believe that he’s fucked up the X-men series. So arrogant is Bryan Singer that he killed off every mutant introduced in First Class that wasn’t signed to a multi-film contract. I’m being completely honest here, Emma Frost, Azazel, Banshee, etc. Each of those characters was awesome, unlike previous X-men films where Singer and Ratner used the characters as little more than special effects sequences, First Class actually made me give a fuck.

Days of Future Past didn’t, whether it was the decision to include Quicksilver as a stab at Marvel for putting their version of the character in Age of Ultron or the time travel powers of Kitty Pryde (Fucking seriously, she can walk through walls not travel through time), DoFP was a piece of garbage. Apocalypse looks much the same, need some examples? Apocalypse has four mutant disciples his Horsemen, in the comics these are Death, Famine, War and Pestilence. The most popular depiction of Death is the mutant Warren Worthington or Angel, who gains a metal set of wings and becomes The Archangel of Death or simply Archangel. This is the only horseman they got right, for some reason the other horsemen are played by Magneto: An ego driven character who would never allow himself to be second fiddle to another being. Storm: a perennial X-man who’s power of the weather gives her almost godlike abilities and for the record has a terrible history when it comes to Bryan Singer who originally cast Halle Berry back in 2000 and gave her lines like “Do you know what happens to a toad when it gets struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else”. Finally the last horseman is Psylocke; Psylocke is one of the best X-men characters ever she’s an Asian character named Elizabeth Braddock who grew up in England, now Olivia Munn isn’t the worst choice, she’s a damn good actress (Go watch her as Sloan Sabbith on the Newsroom) but Psylocke oddly enough has also been the horseman or horsewoman of Death.

So understand this from a comic perspective; Apocalypse’s horsemen are made up of two horsemen of Death and two characters who’ve never shared an affiliation with Apocalypse. In fact in the Age of Apocalypse storyline Magneto led the X-men after Charles’ death in direct opposition of Apocalypse. Just to really understand how dumb this is, Magneto is a holocaust survivor and Apocalypse’s core belief is in eugenics. Can you perhaps see a problem in a holocaust survivor teaming up with a guy who would’ve agreed with Hitler’s policies regarding gene purity? Just a little bit of an issue? Yeah.

As for the rest of the film let’s be frank: James McAvoy is a shitty Charles Xavier. Charles is supposed to be calm, intelligent and calculating; McAvoy is a whiny bitch; that has been his entire acting range ever since I first saw him opposite Forrest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland. Sophie Turner is also a whiny bitch, she’s fine as Sansa Stark but casting an actress with no background in playing a strong female character as Jean Grey is bad and again Singer has a horrible record with the character, go back and watch the first two X-men films Singer cast Famke Janssen as a total damsel in distress who routinely cried and screamed, never got to showcase her powers and failed to capture the impressive nature of her source character. Sophie Turner doesn’t have the experience to pull off such a powerful female figure and honestly casting her as a young Jean Grey seems like an easy way for Singer to avoid criticism of his inability to depict stronger females by falling back on the notion that “she’s young in this one so she hasn’t developed into a strong character yet”.
Also included for fun: Cyclops who much like his original casting with James Marsden is an unsure, tentative character instead of the focused military leader and later straight up terrorist that he is in the comics, also Nightcrawler is there he has a scene-kid fringe. That in particular is going to be funny given that Mystique is supposed to be Nightcrawler’s mother and in this film Jennifer Lawrence would’ve needed to give birth to him at age 10 for that to fit. Oscar Isaac was fucking brilliant as Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens, he’ll probably do a damn good job as Apocalypse but for the most part I’m predicting a 3/10 at best.

Rogue One:

star_wars2c_rogue_one

This film, I’m not sure what to think. I originally assumed this film would be set either just before or just after The Force Awakens and focus on hotshot X-wing pilot Poe Dameron. Instead it’s set between Revenge of The Sith and A New Hope, it covers the efforts of the Rebel Alliance to obtain the plans for the original Death Star. I am intrigued to see how this film will work, the designation Rogue One is used for X-wing pilots which means it’s very possible this film will feature some epic space battles. I for one will be very happy to see a film set in the Star Wars universe that doesn’t have any lightsabers (Seriously, go back and watch the originals or the new film, Lightsabers are special weapons that only a few people have, 90% of battles in the Star Wars universe rely on lasers).

That said I am hesitant due to the film technically being a prequel spin-off. Star Wars has a bad history with prequels and personally I had hoped that all future films would focus on the series moving forward and not spending time focusing on a time period long gone by, one does have to ask the question do I really need to know how the rebels got the Death Star plans? They already blew the Death Star up. That said, The Force Awakens was fantastic, George Lucas has 0 involvement so if you go by the numbers this movie should be a damn good sci-fi film.

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