2017: A Great Year for Super Heroes, so far.

It has been several years since the super hero movie genre has taken its hold over audiences and box offices world wide. There have been ups and downs, but it seems like this year has had mostly ups. Starting with Fox’s Logan and continuing to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the super hero movies have already had a great start. Now, with DC’s Wonder Woman being released world wide, the greatness continues. Aside from the money these films have made, all three of these movies have shown another side to the super hero genre that has been in desperate need for something fresh and new.

Starting with Logan, we see a vulnerable and old aged Wolverine. Despite his plans, he is given a quest to help Laura (X-23) get to North Dakota so she can meet with others like her. Even with his objections, Logan does it and brings Xavier along.

In the meantime, they are being hunted by Donald Pierce and a bunch of Reavers. The story, at its core, is rather simple. Logan has to get from point A to point B, but that journey is powerful. He gets to experience what it is like to have a family. He even gets to sit down with one and have a meal.

The emotions in this film are so raw and heartbreaking that it becomes memorable for its fantastic storytelling. All the symbolisms and the action lead to a climax that eventually leads to a fulfilling end. The acting is superb. The setup is clear. And, the movie delivers a rated R take on a beloved superhero’s journey.

Next, there is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. This film, although a sequel, found a way to be different from the first Guardians of the Galaxy and it shows in the way the characters interact with each other. In the first film, they all barely know each other so it is the goal of the film to unite the team.

For the sequel, the team is united, but now the focus shifts to familial themes. Considering Starlord’s background, he has a bit of an issue with connecting with others until he finally gets to meet Ego, his father. It is in the events that follow that allows Starlord to see the difference between the man that helped create him and the man who was there to raise him.

Ultimately, the team reunites and becomes stronger than ever. The family theme in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 resonates and shows that sequels can be fun and original.

Then, finally, there is Wonder Woman. This movie showed that a female leading superhero film can be successful at the box office and be a rather decent film. Even though it is an origin story, it takes place in the World War 1 era so it removes itself from the current DCEU timeline. This allows the movie to create a contained story about Diana and how she became the hero that she is now.

The movie begins with her living with her mother, Hippolyta, on the island Themyscira. As the events in the film unfold, Diana journeys with Steve Trevor to modern day Europe so she can help end the World War.

As a result, she is able to become the hero that is known to fight for love and justice. The plot is rather simple in many ways, but it gets the job done. It tells a straightforward story, while also giving a hero to millions of girls and women around the globe.

Wonder Woman also showed the box office that both men and women alike will go see a movie about a female superhero as the main focus of the story. With a character as beloved and iconic as Wonder Woman, it is great to see this film’s success as it becomes one of the most successful movies in the summer of 2017.

With these three movies in mind, it is refreshing to see the super hero genre alive and well. It is also splendid to see them evolving into emotionally driven and character-focused stories that inspire millions. Hopefully, this trend continues as Spiderman: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnorak, and Justice League come out later this year.

Storytelling 101: Conflicts

So, I am thinking about trying my hand at writing some stories or even continue some projects I had tucked away for some time. Then, my contemplation spiraled into considering narrative structure, especially conflict.

Then, I remembered that I had recently been in a discussion with someone about this topic and we used an example from Marvel’s Netflix series Jessica Jones.

The conversation was about what made that series work. For me, what I enjoyed about the show was the small scale stakes. In other words, the world wasn’t in trouble in this series. The protagonist’s problems were mostly her own and the villain was more of a danger to her rather than the entire human population.

This example made me think about how important it is for stories to feel relatable, but it is equally important to realize that the size and scale of a conflict can influence relatability. It isn’t to say that big apocalyptic stories are bad. What I am trying to get at is this idea that smaller, internal conflicts can also make a story appealing.

That said, I contemplated this subject for quite some time since one of my projects deals with the inner conflicts of a character while also dealing with a big apocalyptic problem. Again, neither of these are wrong, but I really love being able to delve deep inside a character’s mind.  Hopefully, this will result in me creating more ideas for characters and conflicts for future stories.

My Reaction to Trailers

 

 

It has been awhile since everyone’s favorite webslinger has been on the big silver screen and seeing this trailer has – like the first – given us more reason to be excited. Not only do we get to see a younger Peter Parker (portrayed by Tom Holland) but we also get to see him in an origin setting without that actual origin story.

After two tries, this Spiderman: Homecoming gets it right with this fresh start. We get to see Peter Parker on his way to becoming a hero while also dealing with life as a high schooler. It is a blend of fun and action that I think will go well amongst fans (myself included).

My only criticism of this trailer is seeing so much of Tony Stark (portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.) since it seems like he is in quite a bit of this movie. I have also seen others criticize the trailer for this as well. What does this mean if Ironman’s presence sticks around in the movie? Does it take away from Spiderman’s debut in the MCU?

In some ways, I am concerned with seeing so much of Ironman but I have a feeling the movie will prove itself to be a delight. Just judging by the trailer, the action and the drama with the villain – Vulture (played by Michael Keaton) – will prove to be entertaining enough for us to forget these concerns.

 

 

Now, where my concern really picks up is with this Justice League trailer. I loved this trailer, don’t get me wrong. I love the look, I loved the music, and the action seems great. But, I feel like I have seen this before where there’s an amazing trailer. And yet, the movie itself proves to be either controversial amongst fans or just outright awful.

For me, the biggest past offender of this was Suicide Squad. I thought this movie had the coolest trailer and I was so excited for the better part of 2016. Then, the critical reviews rolled in and I saw the movie openminded only to be sorely disappointed. Of course, there are those who like this film. Nothing wrong with that. But, I really want the DCEU to become what it should be since I love the characters in the Justice League.

Hopefully, the past is in the past and this movie is as good as the trailer looks. But, ultimately, I am looking forward to a time where these studios can get to the point that they want to be in for their comic book cinematic universes, so we can start focusing on the story instead of the set up for future movies.

 

Netflix’s “Iron Fist”: a Symptom of Fatigue

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Super heroes have been dominating the movie industry for the last couple of years now and it has not spared the world of television. From shows like Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, The Flash, and a few others, there has been an increase in these comic book series that feature a hero from either DC or Marvel. However, network television is not the only one clued in on this phenomenon. Netflix also features its own Marvel shows, such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. The latest entry on Netflix being Iron Fist, which continues to develop the Defenders universe that has already been established by the other three shows.

Despite the success of all the prior super hero shows, however, Iron Fist stands out as the one with the lowest ratings among critics. This got me curious since I am not always on the same side as critical review, so I made sure to check out the show when it came out.

I started the first episode and waited patiently as the characters were introduced. I watched as the story began to present itself. Halfway through, I lost focus and turned it off.

Why did I do that?

I hardly ever lose focus on a show enough to shut it off right in the middle. So, what happened?

Well, I got bored. Actually, I laughed at the first fight scene then got bored.

To be fair to the show, it was the first episode and pilots are not usually the strongest part of a season but I just could not get through it. Every second felt like a chore and the character lacked the depth that the other three Netflix Marvel heroes have in their own pilots. So, that got me thinking about the super hero genre as a whole. Yes, there has been some great entertaining material produced from this genre, but at what point does it become a tedious task to watch?

For me, the main reason why I wanted to watch the show was to see how it expands on the Defenders universe while also wanting to see what the critics and fans had seen. Unfortunately, the negative criticisms were true for the most part.

Now, I will admit that my analysis is not complete since I did not even finish that first episode of Iron Fist. But, the idea of going back and watching it just sounds dreadful at this point. And, with the influx of super hero shows and movies, I at least have the option to pick out something else that I enjoy. However, this does beg the question of how much is too much?

Even though I love super heroes – and I do enjoy seeing them on the big and small silver screens – I think we are hitting a point where these new shows and films become an item to check off instead of something that we actually want to see. I mean, was this show even necessary? Probably not. They could have just stuck him in another character’s show like they did with the Punisher.

So, with all of this in mind, I am willing to admit that the super hero fatigue is real and that it is affecting me when it comes to watching this show. I just hope that it does not spread to other comic book properties but that all depends on how much more these studios are willing to produce.