Why I am excited for Wonder Woman 1984

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What is my favorite superhero movie of all time? It is none other than 2017’s Wonder Woman movie that starred Gal Gadot and was directed by Patty Jenkins. That film is truly a spectacular spectacular!

Naturally I am heavily anticipating the next movie Wonder Woman 1984 which is set for a June 2020 worldwide release in cinemas. It was originally set for a November 2019 release but Warner Bros. had to push it back.

Why am I excited for the movie?

1) Gal Gadot as the Queen of Superheroes – Israeli actress Gal Gadot is a lot more than a talented actress. She has proven in the 2017 that she IS Wonder Woman as she captured the core values of the icon and convincingly dramatized those values and character elements on the big screen. With Wonder Woman 1984 coming, I am excited to see how Gadot will flesh out Diana/WW as she spends time in Man’s World in the year 1984. When it comes to spectacle, Gadot is a proven action performer and knows how to please viewers with WW in action. Of course, the stunt and fight coordinators as well as the physical trainer all contributed to the spectacle in the first movie and for sure they are working hard to fill WW84 with new spectacle.

2) Patty Jenkins’ direction – To make things clear, Patty Jenkins is a storyteller first and foremost. Her work in the 2017 WW movie was very good and there was a nice balance between spectacle, character development and plot development. The strong focus on the development of Diana from the world of Themyscira to Man’s World really reminded me of what I read in the comic books long ago (particularly George Perez’s WW in the post-Crisis DC Comics universe that started in 1986). Not only that, the sequence from the early part of the moving with the narrative drifting from the present day into Diana’s past as a child in Themyscira was easily the most immersive narrative transition I’ve ever seen in any superhero movie! Don’t forget the now iconic No Man’s Land scene which heavily emphasized Wonder Woman’s presence in Man’s World. Before I forget, the implementation of humor in the film was clever as supporting cast members performed it leaving Gal Gadot free to play Wonder Woman straight.

Considering what was achieved in the 2017 movie, I am confident that Jenkins has new concepts to realize on the big screen in WW84. We just have to wait until June 2020 to find out.

3. Kristen Wiig as Cheetah – This one is more intriguing. Kristen Wiig is often identified with comedy and this alone made her look like an unlikely candidate to play one of the classic Wonder Woman villains…Cheetah. In the comics, specifically during the George Perez era, Cheetah was tough and rough against WW. I believe that with the strong support from the film crew and director Jenkins, Kristen Wiig can prove herself to not only be serious but also gritty as Cheetah. So far there are no images showing Cheetah in her anticipated beastly look which is fine with me because I prefer that Warner Bros. should keep such images secret until the film’s opening.

4. The 1980s setting – While it is a fact that nostalgia for the 1980s has waned in reality, having Wonder Woman in the said decade could create something new and memorable for all moviegoers. As far as we know, Wonder Woman is into a conflict with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and Cheetah lurks somewhere. Will the sequel adapt key story elements from George Perez’s 1980s Wonder Woman? Will there be references to the Iran-Contra connection of the decade that saw the murder of many men, women and children? The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan perhaps? We won’t find out until June 2020. The 1980s setting, by the way, could be an opportunity to add zest to the ongoing superhero movie craze that Hollywood as a whole has been benefiting from and, story-wise.

5) Gradual build-up for the DC Comics cinematic universe – I have no doubt that Wonder Woman 1984 will gradually help build-up the DC Comics cinematic universe in terms of storytelling and world-building under the watch of Walter Hamada. The recent mega-blockbuster Aquaman was a finely crafted movie that portrayed the origin of Aquaman while at the same time tell an epic story in the present day set after the events of Justice League no less! In my view, there is a clean slate for universe-building as far as DC Comics superheroes in cinema is concerned. While the future of the cinematic Batman and Superman remains unclear, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are here to stay and then there is also the upcoming films of Birds of Prey and the Suicide Squad sequel that will add to the cinematic universe build-up. Personally I prefer the cinematic universe build-up to be gradual and not rushed and heavy loaded (as seen during the watch of Zack Snyder). Building up the current cinematic universe piece-by-piece by releasing standalone movies of DC’s superheroes (and teams of intriguing characters) from time to time is preferable. Under the watch of Walter Hamada, I am confident he is executing plans on not only improving the DC Comics cinematic universe but also defining it. Going back to Wonder Woman 1984, I really look forward as to what its plot will add to the cinematic universe as a whole.

June 2020 is still far away but it will come and already I am looking forward to watching Wonder Woman 1984 on opening day on an IMAX screen.

For your enjoyment, here are some YouTube videos I embedded. Also included is a short clip of Kristen Wiig’s act.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

Aquaman is truly a triumphant superhero movie

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I can say it out loud that Aquaman, directed by James Wan (Furious 7), is easily one of the most thrilling superhero movies I’ve seen and it sure came fully loaded with a lot of fun. This is a great development on the part of Warner Bros. as it pushed to salvage and improve its DC Comics lineup of big budget superhero movies with executive Walter Hamada leading the DC Comics movie productions. I can say that Aquaman is a clear sign that the current DC Comics cinematic universe is moving away from the dark and gritty vision implemented by director Zack Snyder with 2013’s Man of Steel.

Not clear enough for you? Consider the fact that Aquaman made over $1,000,000,000 in ticket sales worldwide. Aquaman himself is not part of DC Comics trinity (Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman) and yet the character memorably played by Jason Momoa proved to be attractive to moviegoers around the world.

Firstly the story emphasizes very relevant themes like Aquaman’s origin as the human creation of a man living in the surface and of a woman who is the queen of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. There is also attention paid to Aquaman’s heritage in the royal family, his being a half-breed made an issue on royalty, and most of all his destiny. Behind the superhero’s struggles is the conflict and light political developments concerning the underwater kingdoms laced with some elements of real world aquatic pollution caused by humans and industrial players.

For the most part, the plot manages to remain solid from start to finish and there was not a single moment where I felt lost. The movie follows Aquaman and his interactions with Mera, Black Manta and others then takes its time focusing on the underwater kingdom’s stakeholders and how their decisions affect each other. The pacing moves from moderate to fast for the most part and because there were a lot of thrills and surprises, there were never a dull nor a sleepy moment for me when I saw the film.

Performances
Actor Jason Momoa clearly was born to play Aquaman and in terms of talent he proves to be not only very capable with the action scenes but also successfully bring the DC Comics superhero to life on the big screen while still being able to perform comedy smoothly. In fact when it comes to on-screen superhero humor, I would say that Momoa is comparable with Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man) and I am not exaggerating here.

Then there is Mera memorably portrayed by Amber Heard. As soon as she first appeared in the film, Mera’s importance becomes hard to ignore and with regards to both screen time and interaction with Aquaman, Mera is easily the 2nd lead of the film. Because Amber Heard’s character had a lot of screen time and proved to be almost as important as the titular superhero, sometimes I felt the movie should have been titled Aquaman and Mera. Amber Heard clearly is very talented as she not only excelled with the action scenes but also emphasized Mera’s intelligence, courage and emotional range very nicely on screen.

Then there are the supporting players. Nicole Kidman’s role as the mother of Aquaman is probably the most significant supporting character performance in any of the recent DC Comics movies in recent years. Patrick Wilson delivered a very solid performance as the power-hungry brother of Aquaman while Dolph Lundgren and Willem Dafoe both played wise old men and added nice variety to the film’s strong cast. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II meanwhile was a surprising good performer even though his presence as Black Manta did not register enough screen time. I have this feeling that Black Manta will be more prominent in a future movie.

Presentation
I must say that Aquaman is indeed an epic superhero movie laced with many elements that defined Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Sure we get to see Aquaman’s development and his connection with the underwater kingdom but director James Wan and the screenwriters ensured that the movie has more than enough variety to keep moviegoers engaged. They were indeed successful.

There are key parts of the film where I felt like I was watching an Indiana Jones-inspired adventure complete with changes of interesting locations. The big battle build-up in the 3rd act reminded me a lot about Star Wars which I found intriguing and even engaging at the same time. To lighten the mood, humor and romantic comedy (nicely done between Mera and Aquaman) provided nice relief to us moviegoers.

When it comes to spectacle, this movie delivered tons of great visual stuff (great art direction by the way) complete with many moments of fast-paced, high-intensity action! Hard action, energy blasts, weapon combat, fast rides, monster encounters, the smashing of walls, the explosions and stunts really filled up the screen many times and the energy behind them all made it very hard for anyone to get bored when watching the film. It rivals Michael Bay’s Transformers on on-screen spectacle but it never felt brainless to me.

Director Wan, whose most successful movie is Furious 7, really knows how to entertain moviegoers and give them a lot of fun in return for the money they paid to watch the film. Thanks to Wan and his creative team, Aquaman is the most action-packed, most thrilling and visually stunning movie of the current DC Comics cinematic universe (formerly called DC Extended Universe or DCEU) and in some ways its epic presentation even rivals that of Avengers: Infinity War. I think James Wan should be hired for a future Justice League movie.

The music? Rupert Gregson-Williams did a solid job on making the movie lively to the ears and he succeeded on keeping up with the film’s epic concept. Gregson-Williams, by the way, also scored the music for the acclaimed Wonder Woman movie. The most memorable song in the movie is undoubtedly Everything I Need which was greatly performed by Skylar Grey. That song was truly perfect to end the film with and I remember its impact inside the theater. When it started playing, I simply stayed on my seat enjoying the song while waiting for the mid-credits scene to play.

Overall
The way it was made, Aquaman is easily one of the best superhero movies ever made as the combined talents of director Wan, the creative team and the actors fused a lot to create cinematic greatness. This movie has strong characterization, a solid story, strong performances from the actors and tons of spectacle to enjoy. Speaking of enjoyment, I strongly recommend watching Aquaman on the IMAX screen as the visual spectacle really was immersive.

I don’t know with you guys but I am already anticipating Aquaman on Blu-ray disc.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to your fellow comic book geeks and Aquaman fans. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format for you to order.

Author’s Note: This article was originally published at my old Geeks and Villagers blog. What you read on this website was an updated and expanded version. In other words, this newest version you just read is the most definitive version

What I’d like to see in a Man of Steel sequel

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Superman is more than just a comic book character. He is an American icon as well as a pop culture icon with global appeal. He is arguably the reason why we have superheroes to enjoy through varied media forms like comic books, video games, movies and television.

Co-created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman debuted in comics way back in 1938. The icon became even more iconic around the world in 1978 with the success of the Superman live-action movie that starred Christopher Reeve. To this day, Christopher Reeve is still beloved and millions of people around the world still hang on to him as their preferred cinematic Superman.

Then in 2013, Warner Bros. released Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill and directed by Zack Snyder. While it grossed $668 million globally, the movie was divisive among fans and movie critics due to its dark and gritty presentation.

In 2016, the hyped Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie was released featuring DC Comics’ two famous icons (plus Wonder Woman). It was darker, grittier and simply was not entertaining enough for the many moviegoers who seek fun with superhero movies. It did not help that Superman was secondary to Batman in the film.

In 2017, Justice League (directed by Zack Snyder but Joss Whedon finished the film) was released and brought back Superman who was portrayed by Cavill to be more optimistic and somewhat inspiring much like Christopher Reeve. The movie ended up as a disappointment which prompted Warner Bros. to adjust again their executives handling the DC Comics movie production.

The good news is that Aquaman (released December 2018) gave the DC Comics movie franchise a new lease on life as its optimistic tone (laced with humor and even romantic comedy), intense action scenes, memorable performances and immersive presentation of the aquatic world from the comics made it succeed big time. Like the Wonder Woman movie of 2017, Aquaman was made to be fun with thrills (none of the darkness and grit) while at the same time paid close attention on presenting Aquaman/Arthur Curry as an inspiring cinematic superhero.

This brings me to my main point – it is high time for Warner Bros. to bring back Superman on the big screen big time with a Man of Steel sequel with optimism, fun and straightforward heroism in mind.

I know that as of this writing there is uncertainty about Henry Cavill reprising DC Comics’ famous icon. Still I really want to see the British actor return on the big screen and his legacy on playing Superman can be improved while giving moviegoers a lot of fun.

Here are some things I want to see in a Man of Steel sequel:

    1. Henry Cavill playing a more optimistic and inspiring Superman – What this means is not necessarily Cavill copying the way Christopher Reeve memorably portrayed the caped icon in the 1978 movie. Rather it’s more about the British actor making Superman his own but without the darkness, without the grit and without the depressing stuff of Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. With the right script and right direction, I believe Cavill can make Superman inspiring and believable for moviegoers similar to how Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa produced results with Wonder Woman and Aquaman respectively. When it comes to delivering humor, I prefer to see members of the supporting cast to do it and let Cavill play the superhero straight.
    2. Maintain the brutal action (but no neck-breaking)  – This one requires having the right director and creative team. While Man of Steel’s cinematic tone was not ideal for most moviegoers, I still loved that film’s brutal action involving Superman and there is nothing like watching invulnerable characters hit each other, crash through walls and causing collateral damage. In a sequel, I’d like to see brutal action again but with key limits: toning down somewhat the collateral damage (way excessive in Man of Steel) and no neck-breaking. However the filmmakers will plan the action scenes, they should pay close attention to what has been presented in the comic books of the past twenty-five years.
    3. Bring back Doomsday – OK. This one could be divisive. A lot of geeks I encountered felt that the filmmakers brought Doomsday to the big screen way too early in the current DC Comics cinematic universe as he appeared in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Doomsday’s appearance in one of the movie trailers already generated a lot of speculation that Superman would be killed on the big screen given the literary history that the monster did just that in Superman #75 in the 1990s. For the Man of Steel sequel, I feel that Doomsday can be used to give the caped icon a major physical challenge. I can imagine that Superman, remembering what Doomsday did to him in the 2016 movie, will be more cautious on fighting the monster while at the same time ensure that civilians won’t be harmed along the way. That being said, I don’t think Doomsday needs to be the main antagonist which brings me to my next point…
    4. Have Lex Luthor and Brainiac as the main villains – These two villains I would love to see on the big screen working on a scheme to overwhelm Superman and the people of Metropolis. This is also an opportunity for actor Jesse Eisenberg to play Luthor in a more focused way that would resemble how the villain really thinks and acts in the comics. As for Brainiac, I can imagine him in his classic green-skinned human form laced with cybernetics and he can use technology to not only hurt Superman but also cause chaos on the world. With Luthor and Brainiac as the top schemers backed with Doomsday as their muscle, Superman will surely have his hands full and he will need the help of some allies from Metropolis.
    5. James Wan should be the director – Considering the success and impressive presentation of the Aquaman movie, I feel that James Wan should be hired for the Man of Steel sequel. I know this might sound like a rushed idea but in my experience watching Aquaman twice in the cinemas, Wan and his team delivered the big-time spectacle (lots of thrills and action), handled the large cast who delivered solid performances and told the story with a moderate-to-fast pace (not a single boring moment). Remember the interactions between Aquaman and Mera? There was really nice chemistry between Jason Momoa and Amber Heard. As such, I believe Wan has what it takes to make Henry Cavill and Amy Adam click more positively (and with romantic comedy) on the big screen as Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane.
    6. Colorful visuals – As the DC Comics cinematic universe is moving forward under the watch of Walter Hamada, it is obvious that moviegoers have a preference for colorful visuals when it comes to superhero movies. Look at the movie Aquaman. Its visuals are very lively with colors combined with fantastic art by the filmmakers. Look at the Themyscira scenes in the Wonder Woman movie of 2017. They literally are so wonderful to the eyes. Going back to Superman, a new movie for the icon must be in full color. No more color desaturation (decoloring)!

Those are my ideas about what I’d like to see in a future Man of Steel sequel. The DC Comics cinematic universe we have right now is moving forward and clearly the Wonder Woman and Aquaman movies respectively have the correct formulas to succeed with movie critics and moviegoers. Considering his iconic status, Superman deserves much better and so do the fans and all other people who are willing to pay good movie to watch him in the cinemas and have fun. I am appealing to the executives of Warner Bros. to make the best and most optimistic Superman movie they can with Henry Cavill.

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