Big Day Monday?

Strange doings over on The Other Blog…

Batman Villians Cast

OBLIGATORY BATMAN DISCLAIMER: I am aware of the Internet Law declaring that Christopher Nolan can do no wrong in any way, ever. I am aware that “Dark Knight Rises” is thus¬†awesome until proven guilty, so there’s no reason to get in a huff and bury me in infuriated rebukes if I happen to say anything that sounds like even the slightest hesitation at jumping into the circle-jerk. Thank you ūüėČ

As most of you are certainly already aware, Warner Bros. has announced the identities and casting of the villians (or maybe not in at least one case?) in the next Batman movie. Anne Hathaway is CATWOMAN, while Tom Hardy is… BANE.

Okay. Those are both pretty suprising.

Catwoman less so, since she’s really the only enemy other than Joker that’s always on the must-do list; but I’m rather impressed that they were willing to risk reminding everyone of Halle Berry’s career-suicide only a few years ago.

Seeing how she’s realized will be FASCINATING, for two reasons: Firstly, “hot chick who dresses like a cat… because” is bit over the edge from Nolan’s thus-far insistent hyper-realistic grounding for these things; so you have to wonder how they plan to make it “work” without just ripping the bandaid off the whole “it’s Gotham City, it’s the DC Universe, when you start a criminal career here you get a nickname and a costume” bit. In Frank Miller’s “Year One,” which they’ve been using¬†as a reference for the series,¬†she got an updated origin as – what else? –¬†a prostitute (because… well,¬†because Frank Miller, pretty much) and some subsequent interpretations have had the “costume” be repurposed S&M gear, neither of which¬†you’d expect WB to let slide in a PG13 tentpole.¬†I think a lot¬†the audience will “forgive” minor logic-leaps if the trade-off is Anne Hathaway in a rubber/leather/whatever catsuit… but I doubt Nolan would, for good or ill. I actually would not be the least bit surprised to learn that the character will just be Selena Kyle: Attractive Burglar – no costume, no nickname, maybe she has a pet cat so everybody gets the reference.

But even setting aside “fanboy” concerns… film fans who’ve kept an eye on Nolan’s career HAVE to wonder how he approaches a character like this. Catwoman, traditionall, is “about” only two things: Sexuality and femininity – neither of which he’s ever shown much (cinematic) interest in. In fact, it’s been persuasively argued that one of the BIG recurring themes in his films is the idea of no-nonsense masculine professionalism being “undone” (if not wholly corrupted) by an unwelcome feminine influence – hell, that’s actually a good PLOT SUMMARY of, say, “Inception.” So what does “Catwoman” look/act like, and what function does she serve, in the vision of the most sexless major filmmaker working today? Color me intrigued.

And then there’s “Bane.” I… egh. This is the part where the “trust in Nolan” thing is REALLY taxing. Bane sucks. Bane is basically useless. Basically¬†a¬†super-smart¬†bruiser in a¬†mask who turns into a Latin-American Incredible Hulk with super-steroids, he’s the Batman equivalent of Venom – a deeply uninteresting character mainly popular in the 90s¬†whose perplexing¬†shelf-life is solely based on participating in a memorable story-arc. Unlike Venom, Bane’s story – which involves Batman getting crippled and replaced by a reformed religious-nut baddie who regresses and becomes an armored “evil” Batman – is probably not going to be told¬†in the movie. There’s potential in the idea… but if not for the “Nolan pass” this would NOT be very encouraging news.

What I’m interested in is how they plan to even “do” this guy: Again, the thus-far strict no-fantasy/no-scifi/real-world theme of these films doesn’t really seem to have room for a guy who turns into an invincible muscle-freak by juicing himself with chemicals… so what is he?

Of secondary but interesting concern: Will it be an “issue” that they’ve cast a white¬†British¬†actor to play a character who’s typically supposed to be of Latin or at least South-American descent? I mean, this is just as much of an “OUTRAGE” as Idris Elba in Thor, yes? No?

The X-Men look like The X-Men (UPDATE!)

Yes, this will do nicely. (via MSN)

UPDATE: MTV says that Fox has “indicated” that is “not an authorized image” from the film. “Not an authorized image” is a stupendously weasley-sounding use of language – especially when “fake” is so much simpler and¬†easier to say.¬†So, you can probably take to mean that it’s NOT a “fake” so much as it’s not a “final” piece of official production art – which is fairly clear from the photoshop used to get everyone into the image. Likely scenario: It’s a piece of “mockup” key-art that someone leaked – in other words, these ARE the¬†actual¬†costumes/makeups, but not “official” images thereof.

That, OR it’s an especially good con and Fox is just being needlessly coy about it. I doubt that, but I hope it’s not the case: I’m very fond of most of this, and it’d be a real shame if the “real thing” ended up not looking as good.

This is, apparently, the first of what may or may not be a big forthcoming “dump” of character-reveals from “X-Men: First Class.”¬†Unless it’s an excellent fake, this is our first glimpse of¬†what most of the new/younger characters will look like.

Let’s get the obvious question out of the way first: Yes, I think the outfits overall¬†look much better –¬†purely from a design standpoint – than they did in the previous films. Sure, partially because the yellow/blue scheme that (most) of them are wearing is more “classic” but it’s also just more aesthetically pleasing: They’re more immediately evocative of “uniforms” than the custom-molded-gimp-suit look used previously.

But let’s be real here: The most attention is going to be given to January Jones as Emma Frost/White Queen – who, even setting aside the more obvious appeal, literally looks like she just jumped right off the comics page. Holy Shit. I feel like I should send the producers a thank you note in advance for making Halloween 2011 that much better (to say nothing of the cosplay circuit the rest of the year…)

Obviously, there’s plenty of reason to be wary given that it’s¬†a Fox production; but I trust Matthew Vaughn and this is a good indicator as to why.

Spider-Man has web-shooters

Now more-or-less confirmed via MTV, the new Spider-Man will have mechanical webshooters as opposed to biological webbing.

It’s an incredibly minor detail, the definition of fan-only concern (see also: Captain America’s wings, Hulk’s purple pants) – theoretically important to the storytelling and characterization i.e. increased-tension and Peter Parker: Science Whiz concept but not exactly make-or-break stuff.

Still, make a note of it: This is the first thing the reboot has – potentially – done “better” than the originals. So, that’s something of a landmark.

Off to the Con

Quick note to Boston-area and Boston-area-visiting fans; I’ll be out and about at the Arisia convention¬†for much of the weekend. Not as a panelist or guest or whatever –¬†I’ll just be hanging out and seeing what’s up – but if any of y’all are going to be around maybe I’ll see you around ūüôā

Captain America and New Spider-Man: REVEALED! (Update!)

Seen here, via ComingSoon: A Superhero costume-redesign done right.
Chris Evans, in full mask and gear as Captain America. It works. It just effin’ WORKS. The mask/helmet works. The “repainted combat gear” works. The shield really works. Even the wings work.
I’d call it a near-perfect “compromise” between the classic look, the Ultimate look and real life; though I wouldn’t be surprised if they give him something close to the “modern Ultimates” look in “Avengers.” But THIS is going to look fantastic onscreen, versus all the Hydra gear and the (supposedly) note-perfect Red Skull look.
We’ve got four major “question-mark” comic movies this year, and THIS is easily the one that’s looking like the surest-thing at this point – with the awesomeness of this uniform being the biggest assurance of that (to me, anyway) yet. After the jump: How NOT to do one of these…

…Okay, maybe a little hyperbole there, but the overall impact is pretty “meh” at best. Underwhelming, certainly, but not disasterous.

Andrew Garfield, unmasked but otherwise offering our first look at the “new” Spider-Man outfit. They’ve kept the “textured” look from the Raimi films, but with lots of reworked “angularity” on the web-pattern and the insignia. I’d be amused to know if anyone at the design phase mentioned that losing the “belt” of red around the midsection now essentially leaves Spidey wearing either¬†a giant red arrow pointing to his Spider-Junk or a custom version of Borat’s bathing suit.
Of course, he probably won’t dance at all in this one automatically making it The Best Spider-Man Movie EVER!!!! Right? Yes?

UPDATE: Commenters here and elsewhere are taking note of a curious-looking bulge on the interior of the gloves, hugely-suggestive of this new Spider-Man having traditional mechanical webshooters as opposed to the “biological” ones from the previous films.

If so, AWESOME. I’ll say that without any qualification: That would be awesome. I’m actually getting pretty sick of the “you want to hate this!” nonsense that gets thrown around every time I cover this project, to the point that I’ve begun to greet each new item with hope that there’ll be something that excites me about this other than Denis Leary being in it just to alleviate some of that.

FWIW, the biological-shooters thing goes back a long way: It was a surprise-twist in the James Cameron script, and in the script Raimi initially signed on for he had mechanical devices to “control” his built-in webs.