It goes without saying, but Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 was amazing and I had a great time. There was a lot that I did and didn’t get to do, but probably one of the most memorable parts of my experience was helping break the World Record for the most people dressed as Comic Book characters in one place.
Yesterday, I began my look at the two big comic book companies’ future movie plans with a look at Marvel. I think, at this point, the only thing you can really call Marvel’s attempt at creating one cohesive television/movie universe is a big success. Well, more like a giant success. With GOTG being the major blockbuster it was last year, it became apparent that Marvel can do no wrong (as long as you forget Iron Man 2). They are the reigning champs, and it doesn’t look like they are looking to give up that title any time soon. Avengers: Age of Ultron looks amazing, and somehow, Ant-Man is picking up steam. DC has only put one movie out there as part of their cinematic universe, and that was a couple of years ago. It will have been 3 years by the time the next one, Dawn of Justice, comes out. By comparison, in that same span of time, Marvel will have released 7 films total. 7. It almost seems like DC isn’t even trying.
That’s not totally true. The idea for DC to put together their own universe like Marvel’s has been around for a while, but they just haven’t been able to get it off the ground. The original plan was to launch the DC universe with Green Lantern (2011), and begin building from there. Unfortunately, we all saw Green Lantern and it was just painful. That put the stop on the whole one universe, Justice League idea for a while. DC started going in a different direction, called TV, as it launched Arrow. The series became a hit, leading to a spinoff series, The Flash. These two series, however, were not attached to the Green Lantern film. Or to the Nolan Batman trilogy, which was also not connected to the Green Lantern film. Leaving DC with three different universes in which their heroes now resided. Enter Man of Steel (2013). This introduces yet another universe, and DC’s first hit movie of this century not starring Batman. In the time between 2011 and 2013, it became apparent that Marvel’s whole plan is coming together nicely, and with MOS’s success, DC revisits the idea of creating one big universe where all their heroes can reside. They decide to go for it, but they still take a different approach, as Geoff Johns refers to their productions as being part of a Multiverse, instead of a universe. Oh bother, DC.
What is it?
Basically, it was DC is calling their upcoming productions, both Films and TV shows. Marvel had their catchy “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” so DC had to come up with something catchy to compete. Hence, the DC Multiverse. Think of it as being similar to when DC started their “New 52” in the comics, so Marvel had to respond with “Marvel NOW!” The good news for comic book fans is that both companies have kept both stupid monikers going for way to long. (What is the rule for how long something can be called “New”?) To be fair, DC isn’t just trying to come up with a clever name. They are also trying to cleverly sidestep a major issue. They don’t want to tie in Arrow and The Flash with their upcoming films. They want them to be totally separate. So, because fans eat this stuff up, they have decided that DC will have a multiverse in their Television/Cinematic world just like they have in the comics. In other words, don’t expect to see Stephen Amell or Grant Gustin sharing the screen with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. In fact, they have already cast Ezra Miller to play the role of the Flash in the Justice league and Flash movies. No special appearances by the heroes in the big movies on the small screen either. It’s just not happening.
Why it Works
It will work for one big reason. We, the fans, want to see it. We finally got to see the Avengers come together, and it was awesome. Now we get to see the two biggest superheroes ever come together for the first time on the big screen. That alone is worth all of it. At least I hope it will be. DC really has an opportunity to make all of this something special, just like Marvel has. Let’s just hope they don’t screw it up. In addition to seeing Batman and Superman together, we will get to see Wonder Woman for the first time on the big screen, as well as the Flash, and of course, everyone’s favorite, Aquaman. DC has so many characters that we have not seen up on the big screen before, so it will make for some exciting, fresh characters.
It will also work, because this model allows DC to do whatever they want on the big screen as well as the little screen. They have a good thing going on Arrow and The Flash, but they aren’t tied to making that world the same for every character. In fact, it seems like Gotham is taking place in another universe as well. The result is, Gotham is not hindered by what’s happening in Arrow or The Flash. The studio doesn’t have to give any explanation for any kind of inconsistencies fans will see when Batman is on the screen in Dawn of Justice and something doesn’t match up to what is happening in Gotham. The studio has already provided us with the answer to any of those questions-it’s a multi-verse.
Why it Doesn’t Work
To be clear, The Flash and Arrow are not reasons why this model does not work. Well, maybe indirectly. More like examples of a potential issue. That issue is that it is going to get confusing. Right now, DC has 3 different universes going: The movie universe, the “Flarrow” universe, and the Gotham universe. Wait, 4. I forgot Constantine. 4 different universes right now. That could potentially grow with other projects that DC has announced, like Titans on TNT and Supergirl for CBS. Both of these series could be set in a different universe. A different universe from the 4 mentioned, and a different universe from each other. That could bring it up to 6 different universes. That is going to be hard to keep track of. Who is in which universe? And who knows about whom, and so on. Maybe the plan is to have a universe for each network that DC has a show on, and then the plan is to have a show on 52 different networks (they seem obsessed with 52). I doubt that is really the plan, but hopefully you get the point. It seems like, at least on TV, there is little to no cohesiveness, and that is kind of lame too. At the very least, keep all the TV properties in one universe and the movie properties in another.
That wraps up my look at the two different models, at least for right now. It is really hard to tell what will happen with DC because we just don’t have enough from them right now to make any kind of judgement. All we can do is speculate on how it will all play out. I am hoping for the best. I am not really interested in who “wins” between the two companies, because in the end,I am hoping I win and we have years and years of quality superhero entertainment coming our way. What are your thoughts on the whole thing? Do you like Marvel’s or DC’s model better? Let us know in the comments.
This week we got to see a little bit of Felicity’s past and a little bit of her dark side. As always, with my reviews, please be aware of spoilers. I am assuming you have seen this episode, and are wondering what I thought of it. If you are looking for a review without spoilers, please look somewhere else. I don’t want to ruin it for you. You have been warned.
We finally get a little depth to Felicity’s character. She has always been a nice addition to the show, but there was always a little something lacking. She was just there, no back story, no history, nothing. Now we know a little bit more about her, and frankly, it is a good thing she is on our side. She played the bad girl very well, and it was interesting to see the always straight arrow Felicity breaking rules and laws just for fun. I liked the back story, and it goes a long way to explain why she is so straight arrow now.
The very end was interesting as well. If you haven’t seen this episode, and you are planning on watching it, please stop reading this right now. I don’t normally offer an additional spoiler warning, but I am this time because the ending was a shock, at least for me. Just so you don’t accidentally see the spoiler, here is a picture of one of my favorite comic book covers of all time:
Now, if you have made it this far, it is by your own choice, so I can’t be held responsible for what you read next. What the heck?! Did Roy really kill Sara? Is that really how it went down? As he was having that dream, I couldn’t believe it, but he was seeing it just like it happened and it showed him as the one who threw the arrows. That was quite the twist and the cliff hanger. I can’t wait for the next episode to see if we start getting any answers. This twist at the end was the best part of the episode.
This episode was painfully predictable. When Felicity’s mom showed up, I knew she had to be roped in with the hacker attacks on the city. In fact, when the hacker attacks started happening, I knew 2 things: 1. It was Felicity’s super virus, and 2. It was her college boyfriend. Even when she said he was dead, I still knew it was him. All the twists and turns were just so painfully obvious, it was almost silly. I really enjoy Arrow, and I know there is always a little bit of predictability in each episode, maybe more than some might enjoy, but I can usually look past it because I like the show so much. This episode was just over the top. I couldn’t ignore it. The only twist I didn’t see was the one at the very end with Roy. (Again, seriously?!)
The Final Verdict
This episode helps very little to move the story along, and it interrupts Ollie’s Hong Kong story and really, other than the final twist, it doesn’t do a lot to bring us into the next chapter. Really, all this episode did was provide Felicity with a little depth and back story. Other than that and Roy murdering Sara, this episode could be skipped, and I don’t think you would be terribly lost. I don’t think it will be one that I will watch over and over again. I saw it once, got the shock, now I am ready to move on to the next episode. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it is a little better.
In case you missed it because A. You’re not really a geek, or B. You have been living under a rock somewhere, DC made a major announcement involving 12 films between now and 2020. They even managed to one up Marvel by not just revealing the dates they have marked and set aside for the movies, they have also told us which titles will be released on which dates. It is clear, they are stepping up to go toe to toe with Marvel. This leads me to ask the question: Which is going to be better in the long run, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) or the DCCU (The DC Cinematic Universe)? First of all, I don’t even know if the new DC movie world will be called the DCCU. I just did that because of MCU. I saw it called the DCCC or the DC Cinematic Continuum. That’s a lot of C’s, so I like the DCCU better, but of course they will need to be different from Marvel, so maybe the DCCM-The DC Cinematic Multiverse. Or maybe the DC C52-The DC Cinematic 52, because we all know how much DC loves the number 52. In any case, the question remains, will DC be able to compete with the Marvel on the big screen? Or is it too late? Marvel has been doing this for a few years now, and it seems like they can do now wrong, with Guardians of the Galaxy blowing up the box office this summer, after being a title that no one had ever heard of over the last 30 years. The truth is, I don’t think that is going to happen with every random title Marvel might try to ram down our throats, and I think DC really has an advantage to be more successful in the long run. It may not seem like it now, but trust me, it’s going to happen. Let me tell you why, I think, DC is going to outlast and eventually take down Marvel at the box office.
It might seem like Marvel has some amazing stuff coming our way, especially with the announcement that Captain America 3 is bringing us the Civil War story line. And that is probably true, but this announcement brings up what I believe are the two biggest issues facing the MCU right now. Let’s look at issue number one. Civil War is going to be massive and huge and change everything, and then what? Cap will be dead, it looks like Robert Downey, Jr. is planning on playing Tony Stark forever, we don’t know if Hemsworth will be back as Thor, and for whatever reason, Marvel has zero plans to do a really good Hulk movie. The four biggest names and most marketable characters Marvel has in the MCU will be gone. The Iron Man movies were all huge hits, and Cap and Thor did alright on their own, leading to the massively successful Avengers movie, leading to more successful sequels, that will be followed by another huge Avengers movie, which will lead to another round of successful movies for the big four (minus Hulk, sorry big guy) that will lead to a huge, epic Avengers 3, followed by nothing. Talk about a let down. The good news is that Marvel has plans to expand their universe with the likes of Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. These characters are popular with hard-core comics fans because their titles typically had some of the premiere writing and stories, but they are not that marketable. Marvel led with the biggest names they had, and like it or not, they will be on their way out, just as DC is hitting their stride.
The lack of back ups for the big four brings us to issue number two. Quick think of your favorite Marvel super hero not named Thor, Iron Man, Cap, or Hulk. Did you think of this guy?
Or maybe this guy?
Or maybe these folks?
Or maybe even this guy?
Well forget about all of them. While each of the above referenced characters will be appearing in movies, none of them will be appearing in the MCU. Way back in the day, in the time before RDJ became Iron Man, the idea of a combined cinematic universe for Marvel’s characters just didn’t exist. Marvel believed their characters were marketable, and could draw in big crowds, but they didn’t have any way to put it out there. There wasn’t a Marvel Studios, and at the time, marvel wasn’t doing so hot. They did what seemed like the only smart thing at the time. They sold off the rights to their more popular characters. Spider-Man went to Sony, X-Men went to Fox along with the Fantastic Four. Other characters were sold off too, like Daredevil, The Punisher, and Ghost Rider. Their movies were so horrible, that we won’t mention them here again. The point is, this was the only way Marvel saw to get their product out there, so they sold the rights, and those studios all still have the rights, and they’re not giving them up. The only reason Marvel still had the rights to the Avengers is because nobody wanted them. That worked out well and lucky for Marvel, but the time is quickly approaching when the Avengers as we know them won’t be around, and having properties like the X-Men or Spider-Man would be nice when that happens. Plus, now that they are doing these major events like Civil War in the movies, it is going to hurt to not have those properties. Spider-Man played no small role in the Civil War story. I’m just saying.
These are the two major issues why I think in the long run, DC will do better and outlast Marvel. When it comes to forming one unified Universe in the films, DC just has the upper hand. Yes, DC is leading out with their two most well-known characters to start things off, but they have a lot of interesting, main stream characters that they can throw at us as well. I mean, Yes, Superman and Batman are as big as it gets, but the Flash and Green Lantern and Aquaman and Wonder Woman are all pretty well-known as well. The movies that they have announced are all heavy hitters, minus Suicide Squad, which will end up being DC’s version of GOTG, incase you were wondering why the rush for that title. There is not really an Ant-Man in the bunch.
Of Course, the reason why this is the case is because all of DC’s characters have been owned by Warner Bros. for a while. They have always had a medium for their films, so they haven’t sold off the rights to their characters like Marvel had to. Not only does this mean that all of their popular characters are available, it also means that there is zero crossover issues that they will need to overcome as they start making the films. If they want to throw together a “phase” that focuses on one of the Crisis events, they can, and they don’t have to worry about who they might sub in to take Barry Allen’s place to save the world and die for 30 years, since some other studio owns his film rights. They own the rights, so he’ll be in the movie. No problem. They have a whole universe, nay, a multiverse available to them. No legal barriers to stand in their way.
There are a lot of different directions DC can go too. Unlike Marvel, not every DC character or title revolves around New York City. Each Hero has his own distinct city with its own distinct feel to it. Gotham is very different from Metropolis, which is different from Coastal City or Central City. Plus, Green Lantern can be his own whole spinoff universe, going throughout the cosmos and involving the other Green Lanterns and the other corps. It is a limitless supply of backdrops, expanding way beyond just New York City.
Don’t get me wrong, I have at least one major issue with the new DCCU. Well, maybe a couple of issues, that are really rolled up into one issue:
There will be no crossover between the DC shows and the DC movies. In fact they have already announced that the guy playing Flash is not the same actor playing him currently on TV. They haven’t even announce Green Arrow having any kind of presence in the upcoming films. That makes me sad. I have enjoyed the Flash so far, and I love Arrow. Plus there is also news that TNT maybe picking up a Teen Titans pilot involving Nightwing, which may be existing in the same world as Arrow and Flash. DC is really putting together a nice little universe on TV, but it will have nothing to do with the movies. Maybe the TV shows will serve as practice for the movie universe. Who knows? But this is the saddest part of the announcement this week. I would love to see Stephen Amell show up as Green Arrow in one of these films, but I won’t hold my breath.
So what do you all think? Does DC stand a chance, or will Marvel always rule supreme at the box office? All I know for sure is that both studios will be getting a lot of money from me over the next 5 years.
Fall is just around the corner. Ok, for all intents and purposes, it’s here. That means that new TV is on the air, and right now, geeky TV is all the rage. A big portion of this new geeky TV is a bunch of shows based on material from comics, mostly superheroes. The two big comics publishers are presenting quite a bit of new material this fall, and a lot of it looks pretty good. While Marvel seems to own the summer box office, the small screen seems to be up for grabs. Here are the offerings from each company for the Fall:
This may be the best superhero themed show ever. Notice what I wrote there. Not just going on right now, or in recent memory, but EVER. It is well written, well acted and well produced. When this show premiered a couple of years ago, it took me a couple of weeks to really get into it, but once I was in, I was in. I like the Oliver Queen/Green Arrow character. He’s like a grittier, somehow darker version of Batman. Plus, even though he’s filthy rich, like Bruce Wayne, he seems more relatable. Plus, the growing supporting cast is pretty good too. This has a lot going for it, and as it continues to succeed, more money will go into it and it will only get better. Plus, Ra’s al Ghul. This is worth checking out for sure, and until I see something better, this is the champ of the comic book shows. Arrow: Season 3 premieres on the CW on October 8.
Want to know if a show is doing well? One clue is if the studio behind it decides to make a spinoff. Enter The Flash, featuring a Barry Allen that we meet for the first time in Arrow during Season 2. This is the second full on super hero show that DC is bringing to the masses on the CW. It looks to be of the same quality as Arrow, so let’s hope it holds up, and maybe there are more shows coming down the pipe for us, based on more characters in the DC multiverse. The Flash is about a guy, Barry Allen who gets struck by lightning near some chemicals and this gives him super powers, as he becomes “the fastest man alive.” I love the Flash character in the comics. He was always upbeat, positive, a genuinely good guy, and I think this Barry Allen looks the part. Another interesting thing is that the show introduces us to the term metahuman, which is the DC version of people with super powers. I am excited to see where this new series takes us, and I hope it does well. The Flash also premieres on the CW on October 8.
Gotham brings us the story of Gotham City and James Gordon before Batman. It gives us a glimpse of life in the city before Bruce Wayne grew up. It seems like we are going to get the back stories of some pretty nasty characters and see what life was like for a young Bruce Wayne just after his parents were murdered. From all of that, I feel like this is basically giving Batman the Smallville treatment. However, this has been getting rave reviews from critics, and geeks everywhere are anxiously anticipating the premiere of this series. One major difference between this show and Arrow and the Flash: Don’t expect to see the Dark Knight in costume, similar to what we saw with Smallville. The show still looks interesting, with plenty of very disturbing and fascinating supporting characters in the Batman universe. Gotham premieres Monday, September 22 on Fox.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents returns for round 2. This was a runaway hit last year for Marvel. Many people wondered how fans would respond when Marvel tried to bring their big screen world to the small screen, and people loved it. Of course, most of the season was partially building up to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, helping people to get excited for the new film. In return, the film rewarded the show by destroying the titular organization, S.H.I.E.L.D. I imagine that this season will deal with how these agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. go on in a post-S.H.I.E.L.D. world. The biggest draw for this show is the connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It builds on that hype, but really delivers little in the way of actual super powered people. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 premieres on Tuesday, September 23.
Agent Carter from Captain America will also be getting her own series this fall. Late this fall. No trailer on this one, and not a lot of information, except that this series will follow the adventures of Agent Carter and Howard Stark. Fans have been excited about this idea for a while now, so there is a lot of buzz. The series, though, will not be starting with the rest of the fall bunch of shows. Instead, it will be premiering during Agents of SHIELD’s mid year break.
Lots to look forward to from the big comics studios. In addition to the shows listed here, DC’s Constantine will be premiering on NBC this fall, and the productions for Marvel’s NetFlix shows are moving forward. IT’s too bad that we have to wait for Daredevil and Ironfist on Netflix before we get a Marvel show about actual super heroes.
What do you think? What are some of the shows you are looking forward to this fall? Share your thoughts in the comments.