Pixels and Ink: Episode 202 – Wars of Civility

Pixels and Ink: Episode 202 - Wars of Civility

In this week’s Pixels and Ink podcast we engage in the most civil war you’ve ever heard.

It’s brother against brother as Jordan and Phil go head-to-head about the quality of Starfox: Zero. Lisa tries to mediate, and Phil also saw some movies.

Ranking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 2

Ranking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 2

Hello True Believers. This isn’t Stan Lee, but this is someone who can make a Stan Lee Soapbox reference. That and a parents-embarrassing career in film criticism qualifies me to do things like rank all of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Read moreRanking The Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 2

Next Spider-Man may have been leaked

Next Spider-Man may have been leaked

Sony has registered a domain name for what could be a 2017 Spider-Man standalone film. The domain, SpiderManHomecomingTheMovie.com, suggests Spidey’s newest movie will be titled Spider-Man Homecoming. Upon following the link, clickers will be redirected to Sony’s website. This news follows the reveal of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the Captain America: Civil War trailer.

Read moreNext Spider-Man may have been leaked

Will Iron Man be a Jerk in Captain America: Civil War?

Will Iron Man be a Jerk in Captain America: Civil War?

I’ve been a fan of Iron Man since I started reading comics as a wee lad. He was always my dad’s favourite super-hero, and for the same reason many people enjoy Batman so much. Iron Man is human. He wasn’t born with the X-gene; he didn’t get caught in a nuclear blast or get bitten by a radioactive spider. Everything he’s accomplished was done because of his brains and hard work. He’s a regular, boring human being, just like the rest of us.

Well, growing up rich and inheriting a multinational company from his dad probably helped, but still, he manages to go toe-to-toe with gods, aliens, mutants, and anything else you can think about, purely because of his aptitude for designing weapons.

So, as an Iron Man fan, I’m a little curious to see how his character is handled in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War. My interest stems from the fact that, like many other characters, Tony Stark was written rather poorly in the comic story the movie will be based on. In the comic version of Civil War, Tony was, for all intents and purposes, a villain. He lied to, manipulated, and even imprisoned several of his former super pals during the course of the event. So much so that it permanently damaged the reputation of the character and gave more credence to those annoying fans of the Marvel’s most boring and increasingly dated golden boy, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. Hell, by the end of it, even I was cheering for Cap’s side. Marvel kept touting the phrase “Whose side are you on?” like it was even a choice. The way it was written, no reader could possibly justify picking Tony.

But things have changed.

civilwarinsert3The explosion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be directly traced to the success of the first Iron Man movie and, more specifically, Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark. RDJ’s portrayal of the character immediately became a fan favourite and there’s an argument to be made that without that movie, we never would have had an Avengers, and almost certainly no Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, or any number of upcoming movies based on rather obscure and lesser-known characters like Dr. Strange or Black Panther.

Herein lies the issue. Comic Tony during Civil War was a dick, and a bad guy; so much so that it made long-time readers dislike the character. Movie Tony is Marvel’s cash cow and one of the biggest draws for viewers. Obviously, a story changes a lot when translated to the big screen, but Tony is still on the pro-registration side and will be battling Cap and company’s rebel forces. How much can they possibly change while sticking to the basic plotline of the original story? Will Tony still force Spidey to expose his secret identity? Will there still be a gulag for un-registered heroes?

Another worrying aspect is Fox retaining the rights (probably not for much longer, considering the flop that was the recent movie) to the Fantastic Four; the only character that was a bigger jerk in the whole event was Reed Richards. Without him to highlight what heroic qualities Tony was still barely exhibiting, he’s going to come off as an even worse person. (At least there won’t be a Thor clone running around.)

At least Marvel has built up his character in the movies in a way that his stance on registration will come off as more natural and believable, as we saw in Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I can’t really see how they’re going to pull off keeping RDJ’s Tony as a fan favourite while keeping any semblance to the plot of the comics. Then again, if you ignore some of the questionable ethics of Tony’s decisions and look at the story from a more modern and realistic perspective, as the movies have been attempting to do, registration makes a lot of sense. There’s no way a group of costumed individuals could go around fighting aliens and mad robots in crowded cities without facing some form of accountability. The whole idea of a “secret identity” doesn’t really work as well in this age of ubiquitous cameras, outrage culture, and social media.

I’m sure they’ll all be pals again by the end of the movie; after all, they’re going to have to bury the hatchet eventually when the Mad Titan comes a knocking, but that takes away from any tension or conflict the story has. It’s known that RDJ has said he’s more or less done with the character; perhaps the old adage of “die a hero or live long enough to become a villain” is applicable here. Wouldn’t that be a fun twist!

Highly doubtful though, as there’s no way Infinity War won’t feature the big three battling it out side-by-side. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

And yeah, as much as it pains me to admit this, Cap was right.

Is Spider-Man coming to the MCU?

Is Spider-Man coming to the MCU?

Will Spider-Man make an appearance in the climactic finale of Marvel’s ever expanding movie universe? Are we finally going to see him trading quips on screen with Robert Downey Jr.?

Yes… And then no.

Let’s backtrack a little and explain what happened.

Yesterday, Dave over at Latino Review reported that our favourite webslinger, heretofore absent from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will indeed be making an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War 2. According to the leak, Captain America: Civil War will see Steve Rogers killed and Iron Man sent off to space (potentially joining up with Chris Pratt and the Guardians of the Galaxy). The leak also hints that Thor and his Asgardian homies will be locked away in some kind of galactic prison, thus taking him out of the picture too.

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For those of you who are more DC oriented, this is essentially like making a Justice League movie with no Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.  It appears that all of the new characters getting movies in Marvel’s phase three stage, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, and Ant-Man among others, are going to be the stars of Infinity War part 1, with the “big three” making an epic return for part 2. Including, allegedly, the resurrection of Captain America.

While all this is still conjecture, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. What better way to introduce a whole new cast then giving them their own, gigantic movie? There’s no way any film with the word Avengers in the title will be anything less than a blockbuster, thus ensuring the further success of solo films for each of the featured heroes.

But by far Marvel’s biggest cash cow, indeed the comic industry’s number one franchise, is Spider-Man. Over the last several months there have been rumours aplenty surrounding Mr. Parker and the battle for movie rights between Sony and Disney. With lacklustre box office numbers and a not-so-great critical reception, the latest Spider-Man movies have really put Sony into a corner as to what should be done with the character. As Marvel prints money and laughs from their shiny new golden Disney castle, it’s only a matter of time before Sony cracks and sells the rights back to Marvel. What better way to re-introduce the character than feature him in what will easily be the biggest, boldest and most lucrative comic book movie on the horizon.

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Alas, the guys over at Comic Book Resources have reached out to Sony to confirm or

deny this rumour, and they responded with sad news for Marvel fans.

Will Spidey appear in Infinity War?

Not as of yet, with Sony reps telling CBR that this news is an “old rumor” with “no validity whatsoever.”

Oh well, it’s still years away, and after the infamous hack scandal, Sony Pictures is not in good shape, which means that they are more likely than ever to bite the bullet and get some cash out of the deal while they still can. Regardless of this official statement, I know that myself and many others will be staying in the theatre to watch the inevitable post-credits teaser in Captain America: Civil War with high hopes that a certain red and blue wall-crawler will be making his official MCU debut.

 

Plans To Share Spider-Man?

Plans To Share Spider-Man?

It’s been a rough week for Sony Pictures. Hackers claiming to be North Korean but who knows for sure, leaked thousands of personal email exchanges between the higher ups at the company. These emails revealed a lot, like the company wide hate for Adam Sandler movies, questions about President Obama’s taste in movies, and a potential Spider-Man deal with Disney and Marvel Studios.

According to the emails, Sony Pictures president Doug Belgrad details a plan to co-chairman Amy Pascal that involved a possible co-production between Sony and Disney for a brand new Spider-Man trilogy. Marvel Studios would handle the actual film, possibly bringing back popular director Sam Raimi, the man who helmed the more widely loved and critically successful original trilogy, but keep current star Andrew Garfield. Sony would retain creative control and marketing rights, still a huge bonus considering Spider-Man is Marvel’s most financially successful property by far. Yet another email reveals that Sony Pictures wanted Spider-Man to be included in Captain America 3: Civil War, which makes sense considering that in the comics Spider-Man plays a central role in the event, with Captain America and Iron Man battling for Spidey’s loyalty.

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Unfortunately for the fans, these talks seemingly fell through, and we’re left with Sony Pictures retaining control over the popular super-hero. This is especially bad news for those who didn’t enjoy the latest outing, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which wasn’t exactly considered a fantastic movie, and severely underperformed at the box office. What we’re left with, according to the Wall Street Journal, is this:

“As of late November, executives were planning a “Spidey summit” for January to discuss future plans.  Among projects in development are an animated Spider-Man comedy that would be produced by Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the team behind “22 Jump Street” and “The Lego Movie,” as well as previously disclosed Spider-Man spin-offs focused on villain team Sinister Six, super-foe Venom, and women from the webslinger’s life.”

Oh, thank goodness, we ARE getting that Aunt May romantic comedy everybody has been asking for.

Hope is not entirely lost though, as the rumours continue to swirl around this topic. According to the website Latino Review, which in the past has been both completely right and totally off the mark when it comes to Marvel news, the parent company of Sony Pictures, Sony Japan, isn’t happy with Ms. Pascal and her team’s handling of such a goldmine property like Spider-Man.

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The website claims that the deal Sony decided against was in fact a totally new trilogy, with Marvel and Sony co-producing and Marvel fronting most of the bill. Apparently Sony Japan is pretty cheesed with some of the execs over at Sony Pictures and wants to start lining them up against the wall.

The article, who has unnamed sources at the company, claims that “ Sony’s parent company in Japan are apparently very angry at how this is all playing out. I’ve heard that the atmosphere is that anyone could end up getting fired over this if it begins to cause serious financial damage,” and follows up with “Sony Japan thinks the Marvel deal for Spider-Man is still on the table and they want to renegotiate as a return to quality, the 60/40 split is can be negotiated and Sony Entertainment’s October hardline stance of wanting creative control is now mostly moot in the eyes of the higher-ups.”

Whether or not any of this is true remains to be seen, but more and more emails and intercompany exchanges are being leaked every day, so it’s a wait-and-see game at this point. Hopefully even just the reaction to these rumours will be enough to see some changes made. I know I can’t be the only one who claims to be a diehard Spidey fan and decided against seeing the latest movie because of its questionable quality. If this is the kick in the ass Sony Pictures needs to stop running the franchise into the ground that would be great. If this is the final screw up that causes the rights to be sold back to Marvel, all the better. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to see Robert Downey Jr. and Andrew Garfield trading quips as they battle in the streets of New York.

 

 

Marvel Wants Spider-Man in Captain America 3

Marvel Wants Spider-Man in Captain America 3

The massive hack that allegedly stole 100 terabytes of Sony documents and information has been slowly leaking information about movies, actors, employees and other internal affairs. One of the most recent info nuggets was that Marvel wanted to include Spider-Man in the third Captain America movie, Civil War.

According to the Wall Street Journal, an email from Sony’s motion picture chief, Amy Pascal, reveals her telling a business partner that Marvel wanted to have the web slinger in the third Captain America film.

In another email Sony Pictures president, Doug Belgrad, talks to Pascal about a scenario where Marvel would produce a new trilogy of Spider-Man films  with Sony retaining “creative control, marketing and distribution.”

Spider-Man plays a large role in the Civil War run of comics and after The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel were received so poorly, fans have voiced their desire to see Marvel take back control of one of their biggest heroes on the big screen.

Sony still holds the right to Spider-Man when it comes to the big screen and they don’t seem ready to give them up yet. The same Wall Street Journal article mentions a summit of Sony executives in January that will discuss the future of spidey.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Is Marvel gearing up for Civil War?

Is Marvel gearing up for Civil War?

According to a recent article in Variety, Robert Downey Jr. is “on the verge” of signing on to play a significant role in the third Captain America movie. This has led to speculation that the plot of the movie will be based on the Civil War crossover event of 2006. This could be great news, or this could be terrible news. It all depends on how you feel about the story, with fans standing as divided as Cap and Tony. The potential for a movie version leads to several big questions about the direction Marvel is planning to take their ever expanding movie universe. What changes will be made to the story when adapting it to film? Will Civil War be a lead in to the Infinity Gauntlet? Are we going to get a two-part Avengers 3, and if so, what new characters will we get to see?

And arguably the most important question, especially considering recent rumblings of talks between Sony and Disney regarding the future of the character, will we FINALLY get to see Spider-Man in a Marvel movie?

That last question is relevant for a few reasons, the biggest of which being the fact that Spidey is integral to the plot of Civil War and absolutely essential to any big screen adaptation. Last week rumours began circulating that Marvel and Sony were in “delicate preliminary conversations” around potentially sharing the character in a way that would allow Spidey to appear in a Marvel movie. During Civil War, Captain America and Iron Man compete like Victorian-era marriage suitors for the hand and heart of Spider-Man, who is basically the moral compass of Civil War and the Marvel Universe as a whole. Following the less than fantastic box office returns of the Amazing Spider-Man 2, it’s no surprise that Sony is entertaining the idea. For comics fans though, this news is gigantic. If only Fox would stop being jerks and allow the X-characters to show up, I would finally be able to see this moment on screen.

For those of you who don’t read comics, or are unfamiliar with the Civil War storyline, here’s the basic gist of the whole thing. A group of super-humans, while filming a reality show, are having a fairly stereotypical good guys vs. bad guys battle near an elementary school in Stamford, Connecticut. At one point in the skirmish, the villain Nitro explodes himself, resulting in the deaths of 600 people. This is all caught on film and results in a public outcry to implement some form of legislation that would hold super powered individuals accountable for their actions. Enter the Superhuman Registration Act, which requires any super powered being operating in the States to register their identity with the government. Anybody who refuses to do so will be thrown into a super-prison built by Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Long story short, Captain America thinks this idea is fascist bullshit, and goes underground to start recruiting other heroes who feel the same way. Iron Man, on the other hand, thinks this forced registration is a fantastic notion, and joins up with S.H.I.E.L.D. to hunt down the rebels. Nearly every major and minor character eventually picks a side, with the central tug-of-war revolving around Spider-Man, who starts off on Tony’s side but eventually realizes he’s doing the wrong thing and signs up with Cap’s guerrilla group.

The event received mixed reviews from fans, and left most feeling that Iron Man had been railroaded into becoming a straight up villain. While it seemed that Marvel really wanted everyone to pick a side and split readers down the middle, it was pretty difficult with the writers strongly pushing the idea that if the pure of heart and impeccably moralistic Captain America thinks something is a bad idea, you best feel the same way or you’re a bastard with no soul.

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This brings us back to the other major issue in adapting Civil War to the big screen. Thanks partly to the unbelievably smart casting choice of Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man has become the mascot for the MCU. He is without a doubt their biggest and most popular character at this point, with the three films grossing over two billion dollars worldwide. How can Marvel successfully adapt a story that made readers hate a character who has become the company’s biggest cash cow while simultaneously ensuring it remains at least somewhat faithful to the source material? There’s always the classic switcheroo plan, which could see the two characters switch roles; an arrangement that most fans assumed would be the setup when Civil War was originally announced but looks pretty unlikely at this point.

There are hints dropped in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Iron Man 3 make this pretty unlikely. Following the events in the Avengers, Iron Man 3 finds Tony questioning the culpability and responsibility super heroes take on- whether willingly or not- when they don the tights and start throwing aliens through office buildings. On the other side of the coin, the end of The Winter Soldier sees a jaded Captain America on the run after losing faith in a corrupt system, and has Black Widow taking the stand at a congressional hearing that is questioning the burgeoning super powered community and who exactly will take charge and ensure it is held accountable for its actions.

Making a big screen Civil War seems like a no brainer for Marvel and the interconnected cinematic universe they’ve been building over the last seven years, but this is worrisome news in regards to another question posed at the beginning of this article. What does this mean for the Infinity Gauntlet? Are we still going to see a monumental struggle between all the heroes and the Mad Titan, Thanos? Ever since the notorious post-credits scene in the Avengers, followed up by a small cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, everyone assumed it was basically written in stone that the colossal finale for all the MCU movies would showcase the gigantic battle against Thanos for the fate of the universe. Civil War is just too much content for one film, and if they do plan on bringing the event to the big screen, how long will we have to wait for Marvel to do it justice while also setting up the Infinity Gauntlet?

It seems pretty likely, given the trend set by film franchises like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, that the third Avengers movie will be split up into two parts. When one takes into account the absolutely massive scale of Marvel’s crossover events, and the slew of new characters getting their own films in the next few years, this might be the only viable option to include everything and everyone on the same screen. However, Marvel might be biting off a lot more than they can chew if they plan on doing both Civil War AND Infinity Gauntlet, and who knows if people will even still care about all of this by the time it happens. Luckily, all this is mostly rumour and hearsay at this point, even if one can easily connect the dots and extrapolate where it’s all headed. I’m all for more Marvel movies, and at the time Civil War was a lot of fun, but I will travel to LA and burn the Disney offices to the ground if I never get to see Thanos, with his cheeky grin and fiery eyes, holding the universe hostage and battling every single hero at the same time in IMAX 3-D.