It’s a pretty slow day in movieland with the main stories being non-stories like another possible slow down in the ongoing backstage drama involving the purchase of NBC Universal, which I’ve been ignoring because, I’m not sure how it would really change anything about the movies you’re seeing except who’s collecting the shekels (I’m sure I’m wrong about that in some way, however), and a venue change from the Independent Spirit Awards from Santa Monica to downtown L.A. That’s almost ten whole miles inland (which is like one mile in most cities).
Also, Jon Favreau won’t be directing the Avengers movie when that finally comes to be made, and the Hulk won’t be appearing in Iron Man 2. I wonder what else isn’t happening today? I’m sure someone, somewhere is “in talks” for a remake of something that will probably be not as good as the original, unless I’m wrong and it’s an improvement.
And, not yet a flashy superhero Ryan Reynolds may star in an untitled comedy which will have him in drag. How does “Van Tootsie” or “Some Like it Wilder” sound?
Anyhow, the lull is cool with me as I’ve got stuff to do, including tonight’s weekend movie preview, so I’ll catch you on the flipside. Until then, enjoy a non-eventful movie moment on me.
The second volume of Marvel’s new “X-Men” animated series may contain a few more episodes than the last DVD, but that doesn’t change the simple fact that anyone who wants to invest in the series will end up spending nearly twice as much as they would on a normal season release. I mention this not as a disgruntled fanboy, but as someone who believes that the show deserves much better. Like me, you probably had your doubts at first, but “Wolverine and the X-Men” is quickly shaping up to be just as good as (if not better than) the popular 90s cartoon. “Deadly Enemies” doesn’t feature an overarching story like the previous volume, but instead offers up five standalone episodes that longtime fans will appreciate. We probably didn’t need another Wolverine vs. Hulk match-up so soon after the release of the DVD movie, but we do get a cool Wolverine/Gambit team-up episode (“Thieves’ Gambit”), a story dedicated exclusively to Nightcrawler (“X-Calibre”), and the debut of fan favorite, Psylocke. If there’s one thing writers Craig Kyle, Greg Johnson and Chris Yost know, it’s how to please the fans with mutant cameos galore. Now if only we could enjoy them on DVD without having to worry about going broke.
There were quite a few surprises at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but none as enjoyable as Marvel’s world premiere of “Hulk Vs. Wolverine.” As one half of the studio’s Hulk double feature, the film isn’t very long, but it actually works better than the full-length movies that Marvel has been putting out . Part of that has to do with the fact that “Hulk Vs. Wolverine” is more focused than the other animated films (it’s essentially just a 37-minute brawl), and when you throw four of Wolverine’s most famous enemies (Sabertooth, Lady Deathstrike, Omega Red and Deadpool) into the mix, well, it’s bound to be awesome. In fact, it’s Wolverine’s fight against the Weapon X crew (and not The Hulk) that proves to be the most entertaining aspect of the film, and with any luck, we’ll get to see a rematch sometime in the near future. If nothing else, it only reaffirms why Deadpool deserves a movie of his own, because even alongside such heavy hitters as Wolverine and The Hulk, he steals the show every time.
Unfortunately, “Hulk Vs. Thor” fails to do the same for the God of Thunder. Maybe it’s because the movie crawls in comparison, or that Thor has never really interested me as a character, but where “Hulk Vs. Wolverine” is riveting from start to finish, “Hulk Vs. Thor” is a bit of a bore. The last thing we didn’t need was another Avengers movie (especially after last year’s “Teen Titans”-esque “The Next Avengers”), but that’s exactly what it feels like. Still, despite the disappointing B-side, “Hulk Vs.” is hands down the best direct-to-DVD feature Marvel has produced, and they’d be wise to stick with this double feature format moving forward. It may not be ideal for telling the kind of epic stories that some of these characters require, but it’s the closest they’re ever going to get to bringing a comic book to life.
For anyone that loved Marvel’s on-again-off-again “What If?” series, you’ll probably enjoy their latest direct-to-DVD film, “Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow.” It plays out in much the same way, and in this alternate reality, the Avengers have fallen victim to Ultron. Tony Stark, the supergroup’s only surviving member, has taken it upon himself to raise the children of his former colleagues – James (son of Captain American and Black Widow), Torunn (daughter of Thor), Azari (son of Black Panther), and Pym (son of Giant Man and Wasp) – but when Ultron returns 13 years later to finish the fight, the young teens must fill their parents’ shoes in order to save the world. Despite the fact that this sounds more like a Saturday morning cartoon than something comic book fans would be interested in, “Next Avengers” is actually one of studios best animated films to date. The idea that all these superheroes would leave behind children to take over for them is an interesting concept, and the addition of an elderly Tony Stark/Iron Man and Bruce Banner/Hulk (who’s living in seclusion in the Savage Land) helps to give the project a little validity. Here’s hoping Marvel’s animated division continues cranking out these cool one-shots, because it’s only a matter of time before a “Marvel Zombies” film becomes a reality.