Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes – Part 4

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! It is now time for part 4 of the all new Scene Before series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes.” This series describes the recent happenings, or in some cases, a lack of happenings, in the film industry as the world deals with the COVID-19 outbreak.

As usual, we deal with real world matters first. Since Easter was this past weekend, gatherings at churches and homes within one’s collective connections of a family that was commonplace in years past managed to take a backseat this year.

California has recently extended its stay at home order from April 19th to May 15th. Speaking of California, the state recently joined forces with other nearby states including Oregon and Washington in what they call the Western States Pact. The three announced a plan to put health first and deliver a more scientific-based focus compared to a political focus to stopping the coronavirus. The states are still building specific plans for their area, but they are nevertheless working together to stop the spread.

Speaking of which, the northeast portion of the United States is engaging in something similar. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania are joining forces in their own coalition. So, remember all those requests for Andrew Cuomo to run for President of the United States? That won’t be happening anytime soon, but when it comes to coronavirus matters, he is currently dealing with more than just New York. Speaking of Presidents of the United States…

President Donald J. Trump stated this Monday that he is the one that should have control on opening the country back up. He suggests, “When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total.” Trump also stated he wants to open the United States back up by May 1st, which close medical expert Anthony Fauci declares is “a bit overly optimistic.”

Just today, Andrew Cuomo referred to Trump this morning on NBC’s “Today,” suggesting “We do not have a king, we have a president.” Cuomo is doing what he can to make sure that the state of New York opens back up at what he considers to be the right time for everyone’s health. While Trump is suggesting May 1st, Cuomo fears that this all-powerful decision made by Trump will lead to “a constitutional crisis like you haven’t seen in decades,” as he stated in MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Speaking of Andrew Cuomo, and somewhat transitioning to movie news a bit early here, he suggested the possibility of making drive-in theaters an exception to non-essential businesses that remain closed. Keep in mind, drive-ins have still been in operation during the ongoing crisis, but it does not mean that there are some that are not in operation, plus there are others that are just closed because it’s not the proper season for a drive-in to be open. Cuomo suggested, “Where is the public safety issue? It’s a drive-in theater. You’re in the car with the same people.” He is not wrong. Drive-ins make for a fun night out while also promoting social distancing. I would not mind drive-ins opening up, but the problem is… What movies are they going to play? Are just going to play “Trolls: World Tour” over and over? Maybe they’ll bring back some classics since there’s nothing else to do.

Going outside the United States, specifically in Wuhan, China, where early cases of the virus originated, the city opened back up after a lively lightshow and countdown declaring the disappearance of COVID-19. Despite the reopening, restrictions still appear to be in place including the closure of schools, shops, and sadly, cinemas. But one thing that has opened is the region’s wet markets. Outsiders are suggesting immediate closure of said wet markets as it serves live animals, including bats, which sources suggest is the reason why COVID-19 spread in the first place.

But of course, we have some movie news to talk about like usual. More delays, more new releases on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital, and some big news involving acclaimed filmmaker Bong Joon Ho (don’t worry, that part is all good news). Also, there’s a big movie that tried something new this weekend, going straight to digital while also having a theatrical release. Before we dive into that, I do want to point out that despite there being a major pandemic, some movie theaters are still open. Keep in mind, many of these theaters are drive-ins. This is now old news, but according to Deadline, 14 movie theaters remained open on the first weekend of April. I also want to point out another article I saw from The Wrap, which suggests that “Trolls: World Tour” played in 21 drive-in theaters this weekend. Even in desperate times, theaters are still active. Speaking of optimistic news, here’s more!

JAMES GUNN SAYS GUARDIANS 3 AND THE SUICIDE SQUAD WON’T BE DELAYED

Usually when I dive into these main topics during the series, I have often emphasized the bad news at hand. A common example is when a major film gets delayed such as “F9,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” or “Top Gun: Maverick.” However, it’s about time we get some good news in here and talk about a couple of films that are not being affected by the outbreak, both of which are being directed by James Gunn. To specify, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which is a big movie, especially since it’s the third consecutive entry to the franchise being helmed by Gunn himself, but also “The Suicide Squad,” which has finished filming in February and is set to release August 6th, 2021. Gunn spent time on Twitter recently taking questions from fans and he had some notable things to say regarding these two films.

Alright, this resembles some decent progress on the film, and it shows that even in a time like this, people like Gunn in the entertainment industry are still working. But let’s see the next tweet.

Keep in mind, “The Suicide Squad” is not set to come out for a bit under a year and half, so there is plenty of time to edit the film, develop a marketing campaign, and lay out all the elements needed for the film’s post-production process. So the film is coming, and should this pandemic fizzle, there is a solid chance that “The Suicide Squad” will be in theaters during 2021. Now what about that other big comic book James Gunn has up his sleeve?

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is not currently listed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fourth phase, but there have been previously established plans to make the film. Unfortunately, the film was supposed to come out this year, but due to James Gunn’s controversial tweets leaking, his business relationship with Disney was no more and he was no longer attached to direct the third installment to the franchise. Judging by this tweet right here, Gunn still seems to be working on the film, but an official release date seems rather uncertain at this point. IMDb lists it to come out in 2021, but given how Marvel has many other projects going on, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” might have to wait. But “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is nevertheless a film that I will see should I get the chance to witness it come out, so this information pleases me to say the least. I was not the biggest fan of “Vol. 2,” but I am curious to see what Gunn could deliver to this third installment.

MORE MOVIES GET DELAYED

But of course, with good news, comes bad news. In this case, the bad news is that yet another delay is happening. As if Pixar didn’t suffer enough already by having to put “Onward” on digital early, they just pushed back “Soul” to November. Nobody behind Pixar seems to be popping bottles at this point. “Soul” was originally supposed to come out June 19th, but now has been pushed back to November 20th. By the way, this is releasing the same day as “Godzilla vs. Kong.” I honestly have no idea how well that movie is going to do box-office wise, but given Pixar’s name recognition and since there already has been some anticipation towards this film, there could be a chance that “Soul” is the box office champ of the two when it comes to seeing how they play out on opening weekend. The film is directed by Pete Docter, who also directed 2015’s “Inside Out,” which this film honestly reminds me of. Kemp Powers will co-direct by the way. While conceptually different, “Soul” seems to present the vibe of “Inside Out,” not to mention a somewhat similar concept. The film follows a musician (Jamie Foxx) who loses his passion for music. After being transported out of his body, he interacts with an infant soul while trying to return to said body. The film definitely sounds like it could be emotional, which would not be much of a shocker for a film by Pixar. But now here’s a problem for not just this film, but a bunch of others coming out this year. I don’t know if it is just me, but it now feels like November is CRAMMED with popular titles. From “Soul” to “No Time to Die” to “Black Widow.” While I could look at this as a benefit because it likely means this November will be a pop culture haven, it’s also a negative because I imagine some films that could potentially be big will underperform because they are in such a congested schedule. Or to make matters more interesting, November is also a big month for award season, and now there is probably a bigger focus on pop culture titles that might not be awarded much of anything as opposed to what could be nominated for the Academy’s Best Picture in a couple months.

Also, remember how “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” got delayed to late July? Paramount’s “Infinite,” an upcoming sci-fi flick starring Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Ted), which was originally come out July 31st, has officially been pushed back to Memorial Day weekend in 2021. The film follows a man whose hallucinations are visions of his past lives. I would like to go into some of my past lives at this point just to get away from whatever the hell is going on right now. Think I was done talking about “SpongeBob?” Well I’m not! I say so because the film has been delayed again, but this time only by a week. As of now, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” is coming out August 7th.

TROLLS: WORLD TOUR DEBUTS DIGITALLY

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I’ve talked about this news already, but given how this does document a rare incident, I might as well talk about it. Certain movies like “The Irishman” have a limited run in theaters before being put on Netflix, but for “Trolls: World Tour,” the sequel to DreamWorks’ successful 2016 flick, that’s a different story. You won’t be able to find it on Netflix, but you will be able to find it through services including Prime Video, FandangoNOW, and Vudu. The reason, Universal wanted to put “Trolls: World Tour” out on digital the same day they put it out in theaters. This is kind of an unprecedented situation as movies typically start in theaters and there is a waiting period until the movie comes out on digital and DVD. But nope, Universal thought it would be better to just digitally release the film. I have not seen the film, in fact, I have no plans on seeing the film given how I have not watched the original, but others did manage to show up for this new installment. The movie managed to make more through its digital run than “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” did when it debuted digitally. “Trolls: World Tour” managed to make around $30 million according to reports. This is compared to “Fallen Kingdom,” which managed to rack up $2-3 million. Keep in mind, these reports are exclusive to the United States. Also, another thing to keep in mind, that even though many of the purchases were through digital platforms, theaters were open during the initial days of “Trolls: World Tour,” many of which are drive-ins, so it is not like everybody had to be stuck in their house to watch it. Also, while $30 million may be considered successful in this circumstance, the movie cost $90 million to make, so there could be a chance that Universal will lose money over this. Even though a $19.99 rental for 48 hours can cost more than a single movie ticket, the target demographic for “Trolls: World Tour” is families, especially kids. You can take a family of four to the theater and pay double that price to see the movie, maybe even more. It’s also short of what the first movie raked in on its opening weekend back in 2016, which was over $46 million. If this sequel was in theaters, it probably could have surpassed that due to factors such as name recognition. My biggest wonder for “Trolls: World Tour” is how well it will do over these next few days, not to mention next weekend. I say that because, sure, the movie can have excellent debut to rave about. But if we are treating this as the closest thing to a theatrical release we can get, we have to consider how much of a drop it could make this following weekend. Will it make $15 million? $12 million? $10 million? Could it possibly make more this weekend than it did last weekend? Only time will tell. This straight to digital rollout is an experiment if there ever was one, and its chances towards success have recently shown that maybe theaters COULD have been much better for “Trolls: World Tour,” but this is a new way of doing things, and if we are still in this crisis, things could change.

MY SPY GOES STRAIGHT TO PRIME VIDEO

For those of you who don’t know, “My Spy,” the film where Dave Bautista goes undercover and makes a connection with a nine-year old girl, is a movie that has been promoted from time to time by STX here in the states has already released theatrically in select regions including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. But for the United States, it’s a different story. The film has already had free screenings before it was supposed to come out, one of which I went to in January by the way. But the film has had a rough history when it comes to getting a proper release. “My Spy” was supposed to release on August 23rd, 2019. The film had a trailer put out a year ago, so the promotion and marketing process was getting into gear. However, it was pulled from STX’s release schedule in July. The next release date that was announced for the film was March 13th, 2020. And of course, to get the ball rolling on word of mouth and that sort of thing, free screenings started popping up and I got to attend one of them. But, just in the snap of a finger, the release date changed from March 13th to April 17th. I would imagine that the COVID-19 crisis could be a contributing factor, but I also wonder if STX thought if it would be a better time for the film to release in terms of financial gain compared to competition. Nevertheless, it was just announced on April 8th that the film is now going to be distributed by Amazon Studios and instead of going to theaters, it is going directly to Prime Video. So if you are a Prime member, you are likely going to be able to watch “My Spy” for free on the service.

CBS SCHEDULES SUNDAY MOVIE NIGHTS

CBS is a leading name for television. Their standard channels air daytime staples like “The Price Is Right” and “The Young and the Restless” along with notable shows at night such as “Young Sheldon,” “MacGyver,” and “Mom.” Meanwhile, they have been building a name for themselves through streaming by providing material such as a couple of “Star Trek” original shows and a spinoff of “The Good Wife” known as “The Good Fight” through CBS All Access. But if you get access to the main CBS channel, which I’m sure a lot of you do, one thing you might want to keep an eye on is their schedule for May. Every Sunday, CBS is going to air movies under the Paramount label. This will begin with a movie that is very likely to garner attention, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” In addition to that “Indiana Jones” film, the network is also airing “The Last Crusade.” Oddly enough, they are skipping over “Temple of Doom.” Other movies to be aired by CBS will include “Titanic,” “Forrest Gump,” and “Mission: Impossible.” This run will last for five Sundays from May 3rd to May 31st. By the way, all the movies are scheduled to begin at 8PM, except for “Titanic,” which will start at 7PM. Earlier on in the series, I discussed that ESPN was going to air movies on Friday nights, said movies are all Disney-owned and focus on sports. One thing that I think would help CBS in a case like this compared to ESPN just a little bit is its accessibility. CBS is a slightly more recognizable channel and unlike ESPN, you can get it on an antenna.

HULU ACHIEVES BEST PICTURE WINNER PARASITE

One of my favorite films of the past year is the Bong Joon Ho-directed masterpiece, “Parasite.” Lucky for me, I own the Blu-ray, therefore I have the ability to watch the film as much as I please through a physical disc. But if you have Hulu, you can consider yourself lucky because “Parasite” is now available on the service. For the record, the film is not the first of its kind to be on Hulu. To be clear, the film was distributed in the States by Neon, which also helped distribute titles including “I, Tonya,” “The Beach Bum,” and “Honeyland.” Films like these have also made it to Hulu. So if you wanted to watch “Parasite” without paying much, just make sure you have a Hulu subscription and you’re good to go. And remember, it won the Academy’s vote for Best Picture, so every film aficionado will tell you that it is bloody important. If you are a little skeptical on watching “Parasite” because it is in Korean, let me just remind you of this quote given by director Bong Joon Ho himself.

“Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Speaking of Bong Joon Ho, his 2013 work “Snowpiercer,” which is being adapted into a series set to air on TNT, is coming out for the first time in the United Kingdom on DVD and Blu-ray. The film is set to release on May 25th. It’s one heck of a time to be Bong Joon Ho.

NEW HOME VIDEO RELEASES

Stuck at home? Jack’s here to help! This week for digital has got a few new movies coming your way. For starters, we have “Underwater,” one of the last films to display the 20th Century Fox label. For the record, Disney did complete their acquisition of Fox’s assets during March 2019, but for a little under a year, they kept putting out films like “Ford v Ferrari” that had the studio label that has achieved fame. Although, with the recent release of “The Call of the Wild,” they are now using 20th Century Studios instead. Sticking with “Underwater,” the film stars Kristen Stewart alongside a crew of researchers as their underwater facility is hit with an earthquake. The film is a box office bomb, making $37.2 million on a $50 million budget. It has a 47% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 60% audience rating, so it’s hard to know what exactly you’ll think of it upon first glance. The film is also now available on DVD and Blu-ray if you prefer the physical copy.

“Fantasy Island,” which is based on a TV show of the same name, is now available for digital purchase. If you want to wait for a rental option, that is coming May 12th, the same day the film comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. Keep in mind, the film has a 4.6 on IMDb, which might not be the best of signs.

Also coming out, “The Rhythm Section.” This action flick stars Blake Lively and Jude Law, and is about a woman whose family dies in a plane crash. This woman joins the world of espionage as she seeks vengeance. The film is not out on DVD and Blu-ray until April 28th, but it is available for digital purchase today.

Thanks for reading the fourth part of the ongoing series “Movies and COVID-19: Behind the Scenes!” Even in the apocalypse, there is one thing I can promise, and that my friends, is content. Maybe not the content that I want to make, but content nevertheless. Last week I said that I’d probably get shoved into an abyss by STX executives if I talk about “My Spy” at this point. So with that in mind, now that it is owned by Amazon and has no official release date, I will probably be shoved into an abyss by Amazon executives, or maybe even Jeff Bezos himself, if I talk about “My Spy” at this point. So what is happening with the movie is clear, but when I will review it, is unclear. Only time will tell. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, is there any big news I missed regarding COVID-19 and entertainment over the past week? Also, since it is appropriate, what are your thoughts on “Parasite?” Personally, I think it is one of the most twisted movies I have seen in recent memory and it is a blast from start to finish. Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Marvel Cinematic Universe PHASE 4 Plans Announced

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Hey everyone! Jack Drees here! You thought we were in the endgame? Think again, because, to my lack of surprise, as well as others perhaps, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not going anywhere, and as part of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige and crew have officially announced their gameplan going forward in regards to movies and television. While I could not make it to San Diego this year (just like every other year), I had the pleasure of receiving a number of these announcements through social media, which is something Captain Marvel should have brushed up on by now.

This first announcement, doesn’t relate to what some would call “phase 4,” but it happens around that certain timeline and takes place in the same universe, so why not leave it in? Anyway, as you may or may not know, Marvel is finishing up their series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..” It’s a series that I tried watching when it first started, but for one reason or another, I just couldn’t latch onto it. It just didn’t work for me. The show will begin its seventh season during the 2019-20 television season, and will air for 13 episodes. However, if you are caught up with the series, you’d know that season 6 is still in progress, so the show still has time left before ABC dusts it away from its current lineup.

Speaking of television, Marvel in general is seemingly changing the norm of how they release their television programming. Before now, they would release various MCU-related content on ABC such as the recently mentioned “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Agent Carter,” and the short-lived “Inhumans.” Netflix also had a fair share of content, all of which was recently cancelled such as “Iron Fist,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and to what I believe is to a lot of people’s surprise, “Daredevil.” These platforms, for all I know, could lose the ability to air new Marvel content for awhile whereas the TV channel Freeform, and streaming services Hulu and the yet to be released Disney+ are going to be the big three for some time. Speaking of Disney+, Marvel announced a plethora of shows to be exclusively released on the upcoming service.

For the record, Disney+ is expected to be released during the fall. So just a reminder, none of these shows will be available on day one.

The first show to premiere on Disney+ is going to be “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” As you can tell by the title, the series revolves around the known characters played by actors Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. It is expected to start filming October 2019 and premiere in August 2020. While there are not many details about the series just yet, Mackie and Stan have previously wanted to do their own spinoff film at some point, particularly in the style of a buddy cop story. So who knows? Maybe this series could have some sort of comedic buddy vibe. But only time will tell.

Moving onto 2021 programming, up next we have “WandaVision,” which is short for the characters Wanda Maximoff and Vision meshed together. This series is going to star actors Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as the characters we have previously come to know throughout the Infinity Saga. Although I must point out. This takes place after “Avengers: Endgame,” and Vision died in “Infinity War” only to never come back to life. So my question is… How will they allow him to return? Let me guess, time travel. Because now if the Marvel universe has a problem. Boop! You got a time machine! Want to save Nick Fury from losing an eye? Boom! You got a a time machine! Want to stop Tony Stark’s home from being destroyed like it was in “Iron Man 3?” Boom! You got a time machine! Want to give Captain America the most advanced pop culture lessons of his life? Boom! You got a time machine! Granted, there’s probably more to it, but a time travel element would not be surprising. The show will hit Disney+ in Spring 2021.

Also coming in Spring 2021 is a “Loki” series. Without going into much detail, because this does involve a spoiler for “Avengers: Endgame,” which as of writing this, is still in theaters, it will involve a Loki of the past. That’s all I’ll say. The series will of course star Tom Hiddleston. I don’t know if I am going to watch any of these series, but I think out of all the series on this list, I feel like this is the one I’d be least likely to watch. It almost seems like an idea from a think tank meeting (even though a number of these shows feel the same way). “Remember that mysterious guy from ‘Thor’ who keeps dying and coming back to life? Nobody knows if he’s good or evil? Let’s not deal with any new characters, let’s use this guy some more! Yay!” The way I wrote that sounds generous, but when I imagine it, it sounds like a business meeting all involving out of shape guys in suits smoking cigars.

OK… I take my last statement back, this is a series I’d probably watch. Granted, I don’t want to pay for Disney+, I don’t see any reason to. Plus, as someone who wants to avoid witnessing Disney’s plan for world domination put into action, I want to spend as little money towards them as possible. Although I kinda do want to go to Disneyland to see Galaxy’s Edge the more I think about it. Nevertheless, the next series is “What If…?” For those of you who don’t know, “What If…?” is a franchise that creates and realizes perhaps unlikely or alternate scenarios related to Marvel characters. Some examples from comics include: “What if the Fantastic Four all had the same power?,” “What if Captain America had been elected president?,” and “What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor?.” While I’m not getting Disney+, if they are ever to release any of these shows on DVD or Blu-ray I am very likely to pick up “What If…?” simply for the concept. The stories presented in the show will not affect the MCU’s timeline, but merely exist just to answer questions through the power of imagination. It is simply something that just provides a unique take of some sort.

Hawkeye in the MCU is an “interesting” character to say the least, because just about every time he appeared in an MCU movie when he first started, I did not care about him as much as the other characters. Then I saw “Endgame” and thought he was one of the best characters of the whole thing. Coincidentally, of the upcoming shows on Disney+, “Hawkeye” is one of them. Also, according to what I have gathered, this series will introduce Kate Bishop, who in the comics is the first woman to earn the Hawkeye title. She’s also a member of the Young Avengers. Here, this show will seemingly spend some time on allowing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye to pass the torch to this younger character. The question is… Will I care about her? Or will she just be another boring bow and arrow fetishist?

That’s it for TV shows. I’ll probably watch NONE of them. Mainly because I feel that the way that everyone is trying to push streaming service upon streaming service towards the consumers is going to eventually make streaming as a whole a significantly worse deal than cable. My family and I have not cut the cord, and honestly, I’m happy. Especially considering how I still have my game shows (streaming IS NOT a good alternative if you are a game show fan for the most part), plus it’s nice to watch a new episode of a show and have it feel like an event, whereas an episode or two of a show, or a whole season, drops on Amazon or Hulu and it’s almost like you unintentionally DVRed something. Plus, I enjoy my livetweeting. It makes me feel like I am part of a community. Another reason why I’ll probably miss out on all these shows is because I REVIEW MOVIES DAMMIT! Movies are a top priority of mine and because I watch and review them excessively, I barely have time for TV. And speaking of movies, let’s reveal what Marvel has planned for that realm of entertainment in phase 4.

First up for movies is a project that I think a good number of people know has been in full swing, “Black Widow.” The plot and details are mostly unknown at this time, but Scarlett Johansson, the woman that I have a crush on who says she should be allowed to play trees, well then, if that’s the case… Vin Diesel? Watch out, you might be fired soon! She is returning as the title character who we have seen in several parts of the MCU such as the “Iron Man,” “Avengers,” and “Captain America” franchises. From speculation, I would imagine this would take place long before the main events of the MCU, kind of like in “Captain Marvel.” I am also willing to bet this will be a grittier film in the franchise (even though they aren’t going for an R rating), while also trying to be fun. After all, Black Widow isn’t really a superhero, kind of like Iron Man, she just plays with toys. And based on what we have seen from her character in comics and movies, this is very likely to be a spy flick. If you ask me, this is not my most anticipated spy-related film of next year, I’d reserve that spot to “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan, but I’ve been eager to see a “Black Widow” solo film for quite some time, so I’m excited!

Plus, ScarJo is a dream girl. Just saying. The film will be released on May 1st, 2020.

Up next is a newcomer to the MCU, specifically, “Eternals.” Some big name actors in the film include Salma Hayek (Grown Ups, Desparado), Kumail Nanjiani (Stuber, Silicon Valley), Angelina Jolie (Kung Fu Panda, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), Richard Madden (Rocketman, Game of Thrones), among others. It is going to be about a bunch of eternally living beings who have spent infinite portions of their lives fighting a force of evil referred to as The Deviants. One character, Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff is going to be the MCU’s first deaf hero. The film will be released on November 6th, 2020.

The third movie is one that I personally think will be a mega hit at the box office. It’s not to say the others won’t be, but if “Black Panther” from phase 3 has proven anything, it’s that if you put a “visually different” person at the forefront of a superhero project, people will see it. That’s because this movie we’re talking about is “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” I don’t know if the final product will have a title this long, but only time will tell. Then again, it’s not as much of a mouthful as say “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” The main reason why I’d say this film has a bonkers chance of success is because Shang-Chi is Chinese, and in this film, he is going to be played by Chinese Canadian actor Simu Liu. Not to mention, based on comic-related images I have seen, this movie could be a visual treat. Another thing to consider is the Chinese movie market. If this movie is as visually impressive as I think it will be, not to mention as honorable to the Chinese culture as I think some would want it to be, I think a lot of people will go see this in the theater. China, at least to my knowledge, seems to go to a lot of spectacle type films. Some historical examples that come to mind include “Transformers; Age of Extinction,” which to be fair, was partially shot in China, and “Warcraft.” While “Transformers” is popular in the United States, “Warcraft’s” domestic returns led to its underwhelming final box office total despite making more than twice its budget. But it couldn’t reach the total $450 million needed to completely break even. But if anything has been proven, Marvel is an automatic success in the United States. In the US and Canada, “Black Panther,” a culturally significant film for the African community, managed to make over $700 million, which for those countries specifically, is actually more than “Infinity War.” But with the massive potential for winning over China and perhaps other somewhat related Asian communities, plus Marvel’s domestic success, it has a chance of being possibly a bigger success than “Black Panther.” The movie is scheduled for a February 12th, 2021 release.

Another film I saw coming was “Doctor Strange 2,” and we got it! But it technically has a more specific title, “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” Based on what I’ve heard, Scott Derrickson could be coming back to direct this sequel. It is also suggested that Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong, or in this case, just for fun, I’ll call them Team Benedict, will be returning to reprise their roles. One thing that I found interesting though is that Wanda Maximoff will be in the be in the movie as well, and it will be tied directly to the Disney+ series “WandaVision.”

OK… You gotta be kidding me. I know people give flak to DC for how they do their movies, but at least you don’t have to watch a freaking TV show to perhaps understand or comprehend what is happening in one of the DCEU’s films! Guess I’ll just read the Wikipedia entries for the WandaVision episodes, because I ain’t paying for Disney+. But one thing that does intrigue me, is the notion that this is going to be a more horror-esque movie compared to a lot of the other MCU installments. So who knows? Maybe this could have a wacky funhouse vibe, or maybe be the MCU’s version of “The New Mutants.” Although now that I think about it, “The New Mutants” could possibly end up being another version of this movie depending on how many more times it gets pushed back. Man, that movie premiere is gonna be one big realistic version of a FaceApp demo. This is definitely a movie I would want to see on an IMAX screen, maybe in 3D. Because I saw the original “Doctor Strange” in IMAX 3D, which made for one of the best visual trips of 2016. This film is expected to drop into theaters May 7th, 2021.

But my one request for this movie. JUST GIVE A MORE MEMORABLE VILLAIN. Then again, it’s Marvel, it’s not their strong suit.

When 2015 first started, the YouTube channel RedLetterMedia made a video where they jokingly predicted that we’d eventually get a fourth “Thor” movie called “Thor 4: More Thor.” Believe it or not, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” used that title in their show. Unfortunately, we’re not getting “Thor 4: More Thor.” But we are getting a fourth “Thor” movie titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” I have mixed thoughts on this movie, because I REALLY enjoy 2011’s “Thor,” probably more than I should. I know some people don’t like it, but I enjoyed Thor’s character arch and Loki was a solid villain. Granted, the followup in 2013, “Thor: The Dark World,” is in the conversation to be my least favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. And even though “Thor: Ragnarok” was… “better,” it’s not what I wanted. I thought it was too comedic, and some of the jokes didn’t land. While it is visually stunning, somewhat appealing from a story perspective, the tone just didn’t work. Basically, Asgard is in a state beyond repair in this film. It could have been dark, gritty, maybe a little funny, but not like it was “Deadpool” for kids. I don’t think Taika Waititi is a bad director, in fact, I thought he would be a better suit for something like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but he did a “Thor” film instead. It just didn’t stick the landing for me. I’m hoping “Thor: Love and Lightning” will be better, but from what I can imagine, it could be tonally similar to the previous “Thor” installment, which if that’s the case, I’m just hoping that the story actually fits the tone.

One thing that could be interesting is that Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, is making a comeback. And similar to a comics storyline, Foster is going to be taking on the mantle of Thor. And based on visuals presented from San Diego Comic-Con, it looks like her character will be holding Mjölnir at some point during the film. As long as Kat Dennings doesn’t show up to play her character from “2 Broke Girls” everything should be rather fine and dandy. The film is predicted to be out November 5th, 2021, so I demand there should be at least one reference to “V For Vendetta,” ESPECIALLY since Natalie Portman is returning!

Now let me just say, I have no idea when these next films are going to be released, part of me is willing to bet that one or two of them, are not even in phase 4, but Marvel Studios chairman Kevin Feige has confirmed that these movies are in development, therefore we are going to cover them. So let’s continue!

Remember the 1998 film “Blade?” Guess what? Marvel is getting to do another project with the character. I personally can’t say I have seen “Blade,” but part of me is willing to imagine that this will be a somewhat different take on the character because the original trilogy was rated R, whereas all the MCU films so far have gotten a PG-13. If you ask me, I would not mind seeing an R version of the character in the MCU, kind of like with Black Widow, but you cannot have everything. One thing that does intrigue me though is that Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Green Book) is attached to playing the lead role. He’s a fantastic actor who has a ton of range, and he actually pitched this sort of idea to Marvel Studios through a call. Coincidentally, Ali has been attached to a couple of alternate recent comic book-based products including Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Netflix’s own MCU show, “Luke Cage.”

There’s not much to say on this next film, but I KNEW this was gonna be made at some point, perhaps soon. Why? Because again, it made SO MUCH money. I guess this is what happens when Disney remakes “The Lion King” for a new generation. Wait… I’m talking about “Black Panther 2.” There’s not much to say about this movie yet, but Ryan Coogler suggested that he’d write and direct this film, which does intrigue me because I thought he did a rather decent job with the first one despite its flaws. So… what Disney movie are they gonna retread next? Are they gonna do “Dumbo” because Black Panther is learning to fly for some reason? Are they gonna do a film in the style of “Wreck-It Ralph” where it is revealed that Wakanda is in an arcade cabinet? Are they gonna do one like “Frozen” where Shuri or Okoye just breaks out into an annoying catchy tune? By the way, screw “Frozen,” that movie can rot in hell!

Up next is a film that was supposed to come out in 2020, but based on recent controversy, that’s not happening anymore. Specifically, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” This is a film that I am honestly curious to see, because while I imagine this could potentially be a capper for a trilogy, director James Gunn has previously exposed that this installment is not meant to be a powerhouse of emotion. It is still going to be fun and lively. But if you have been following the news in terms of film recently, you’d know that Gunn was fired by Disney/Marvel over the resurfacing of less than family friendly tweets. Tweets that even he admits, he’s not proud of. If you ask me, I believe James Gunn is a competent director, who may have deserved the criticism that he received, but I’m not sure if Disney should have gone as far as firing him, especially when you consider how much he has changed over the years in terms of his outlook. Nevertheless, I am quite curious to see how this upcoming “Guardians” film turns out, and I do have a shortlist of soundtrack ideas, but I think I should save that for another time. The movie is not expected to begin filming until 2020, but that’s because James Gunn is currently doing a DC movie, specifically “The Suicide Squad.”

Here’s another no-brainer, “Captain Marvel 2.” When your film has the sixth biggest opening of all time, you know you have to make a followup. I’ll be honest, the first “Captain Marvel” did not work for me. I thought the chemistry between Fury and Danvers was kind of hit and miss. The scene where “Just a Girl” plays honestly, while I guess it was trying to be empowering, felt really off for an action scene that was most likely trying to be kick-ass. The final fight, which I imagine was trying to be funny, just ended up being questionable to me. And don’t even get me started on Goose the Cat! But, we are getting another movie, and I’m honestly hoping it is better than this one, but only time will tell. I like Brie Larson as an actress, but when she plays Captain Marvel, she honestly sounds like she’s only been in straight to DVD content. Come on, Brie! You won an Oscar for “Room!” Show me the magic! She did alright in “Endgame,” but she was not in the movie that much so there is that to consider. Then again, I’m a straight white male. So is my opinion even valid to begin with?

Another film on the list of “in development” is a third “Spider-Man” movie. By the way, by the time you finish reading this post, five more “Spider-Man” movies will be released, because they keep cranking them out! I finally saw “Spider-Man: Far From Home” the other day, and honestly, after seeing that film, I’d say a third one HAS to be made. And without going into detail, Kevin Feige suggested that the mid-credits scene from that film implies the third film will involve “a Peter Parker story that has never been done before on film.” And it does not surprise me that this is happening. I believe Sony is already satisfied with making their own “Spider-Man” movies in their universe and still enjoys the success they can get from spinning their webs in the MCU. Nevertheless, can’t wait. But if I had any requests, make sure the word “home” is in the title. That way I don’t have to end up confusing “Spider-Man” trilogies and can refer to this as the “Home” trilogy. Seriously! Even if it simply means that there is a minute of the two of the film where we find Peter Parker watching a Mets game, and for that reason it is called “Home Run,” it would still work because the other two movies have the word “home” in their titles too!

The next two films are a couple of projects that I think a lot of people have been asking for. Why? Because Disney just acquired 21st Century Fox recently, meaning they have retained the rights to a couple of big name franchises. One example is “X-Men.” I have no idea how the film will present itself. If anything, it is definitely going to be a complete reboot, staying away from the timeline Fox originally showcased to audiences since the early 2000s. After all, while I didn’t go see “Dark Phoenix,” probably just like everyone else in the world, maybe that movie tarnished the franchise enough to say, “Screw it, it’s over.” But some movie franchises or IPs are like Jenga, you can end the game by collapsing the tower, but you can always start a new one by rebuilding it. Maybe “X-Men” has a place in the MCU. And honestly, if a couple of the phase 1 heroes are going away, I think this is the perfect time to add in new heroes, because if they were still there, I’d honestly worry about clutter in the MCU. Granted, even with them showing up now, that is still a worry. But I also have a slight intrigue as to what this mega franchise can bring to the cinematic universe.

Speaking of Fox, one other franchise they once had, not to mention wasted, is “Fantastic Four.” Since Marvel has the rights to them, they can now possibly… NOT screw it up this time… Hopefully? I imagine it’ll be good, but I’m keeping experience in my back pocket. It’s in different hands, but for all I know, despite its popularity in the comic book world, maybe “Fantastic Four” is simply cursed as a movie franchise. But I am curious about this film and how it’ll turn out, and perhaps a little more excited about this than “X-Men.” Will Dr. Doom be the main villain again? Will the movie have the four in the middle of its title? Or… How about this? How about we get Chris Evans to play Johnny Storm again? Do it just to get some other character in the movie for a second. Maybe the group will be going around New York City grabbing lunch or something and they run into Peter Parker walking with Ned, which leads to Peter pointing at Johnny saying, “Hey! You look like someone I know!” I highly doubt that will happen, but it certainly would make for a proper more realistic “What If…?” scenario. Plus, with Stan Lee gone we’re gonna need new cameo ideas.

That’ll probably do it for all of the MCU-related announcements for phase 4, and again, a lot of these films and TV shows are in development. So who knows? One could get pushed back, maybe one gets cancelled. Perhaps it ends up being a part of an eventual phase 5. Nevertheless, I’m excited for a large number of these projects, and hopefully they will all end up being good! Also, James Gunn, I know it is a little late, but welcome back. I want to know, is there something I’m missing from this list? I think I’ve covered all the ground, after all I have 4,000 words inserted into this thing! Or, what is something that you want to see from the MCU as a TV series, as a movie, as a concept? It doesn’t even have to be for phase 4 if you want it someplace else. Let me know down below! Thanks for reading this post! Pretty soon I am going to be reviewing Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which is out this upcoming weekend. I’m going to one of my local theaters for their first screening of the film in 35mm, can’t wait! Also, speaking of Tarantino, be sure to stay tuned for my final installment in my Quentin Tarantino review series, “The Hateful Eight.” Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, if you could do me a favor, like this post, share it around with those you know, it really helps me out. And speaking of that, like my Facebook Page! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

James Gunn FIRED From Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?! Who Should Replace Him?

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I’ve got some very big movie news I want to go over very quickly here. When it comes to recent movies, a lot of people seem to think that Marvel has been killing it lately. With installments added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe such as “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Black Panther,” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” audiences have had something new from Marvel to rave about every few months. But something in particular could affect the future movies, mainly ones containing the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

If you have watched “Guardians of the Galaxy” or “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” you may or may not be aware that a guy by the name of James Gunn wrote and directed both of those films. Some may say that “Guardians of the Galaxy” may be what it is as a movie because of James Gunn, so therefore a lot of people praise him. I can personally agree, it almost seems that he knows the style of the film and that really pops off the screen right into my eyes whenever I watch both installments. I may not have enjoyed the second installment, but the first one is definitely one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Given the schedule of the MCU and success of both “Guardians of the Galaxy” installments, it just seems natural that the filmmaker suggested he was set to tackle a third installment in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. He seems to have made progress on a script, recent talks between him and “Star Wars” god Mark Hamill got fans wondering if he would be taking on a role in the upcoming film, everything seemed to be going according to plan. That is… until July 20th, 2018.

It has now become apparent that James Gunn has made some controversial jokes on his Twitter account. Some of these older tweets were reported by Fox News, which to me is false advertising, because there are rarely any foxes on Fox News. You think CNN is fake news? At least their name is accurate! They’re a cable news channel! Fox News may call itself what it wants, but the day they get a bunch of foxes running around the studio would be the day that they’d win the Internet! Anyway, Fox News reported some of these tweets, eventually earning Disney’s attention. Once Disney’s attention had been earned, they severed their business relationship with James Gunn.

Now we are in a bit of a sticky situation here, because there are two sides to this very story that I can personally get. Some of you may be expecting me to say, THAT JAMES GUNN IS A F*CKING CREEP! HE DESERVES NOTHING! And trust me, now that this has been brought to my attention, I’m on your side. If this means that James Gunn is actually a pedophile (which I highly doubt), then wow! As much as I appreciate dark humor, I can personally understand why some people would be offended or upset by this. If these tweets were maybe put in a movie script for a dark comedy then maybe I’d appreciate this just a little more, but this is real life, where there are consequences for actions such as this. But there’s also another hand that really makes me wonder what the future for “Guardians of the Galaxy” will truly be. Gunn has basically made the franchise his own and he seems to have a particular sense of style that can not only be closely associated with himself, but the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. Having seen this, I seriously wonder if this situation has a bigger impact on moviegoers than say Mel Gibson’s controversy. Granted I was only ten years old when he made that rude remark towards his girlfriend. I think this may be bigger because I imagine some kids may look up to James Gunn or really appreciate the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, and it’s part of a big and relevant cinematic universe that gets brought up in conversation somewhere every single day now. Then again, let me just say, kids probably look up to James Gunn. They may not know who he is, but maybe without even knowing it, they look up to him. It wouldn’t be pretty for a kid to find out that their idol has been making rape jokes.

Plus, this has a bigger impact on me than a recent Disney affiliated firing that occurred. Some of you may know, FOR SOME REASON, they brought back “Roseanne,” with the forever lazy tagline “Same cast. New episodes.” Just a couple of months after the show started its revival season on ABC, the show’s star, Roseanne Barr, goes on Twitter and spits out a bunch of mumbo jumbo towards a senior advisor to former US President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett. This tweet ended up being controversial, and ABC therefore canceled “Roseanne,” which is something I’ve been asking them to do with “The Bachelor” for a very long time but apparently they won’t listen! Nevertheless, “Roseanne” was pulled off of ABC’s schedule, and any content related to it has been removed from the ABC website. The thing about “Roseanne’s” cancellation however is that I was never a fan of “Roseanne” to begin with. One of the first thoughts I had about “Roseanne” coming back to ABC was “Why?” Granted, once I saw the ratings for the premiere episode, I could kind of see the point, but still, why? “Guardians of the Galaxy” isn’t anywhere near my favorite movie of all time. I thought it was one of the better movies to have come out in 2014, I gave it a 9/10 when I reviewed it, and I thought it was a very fun time. Judging by that, you might as well say I find “Guardians of the Galaxy” a lot more amusing than “Roseanne.” Heck! I found “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a lot more amusing than “Roseanne” and that says something!

I wouldn’t say Disney’s wrong for what they did, but at the same time, I imagine it could be a sacrifice in quality towards “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” But, I will say, Disney, if you’re reading this, I will give a list of directors I think are qualified to helm “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and for some of them, I’ll go into a bit of detail behind why I chose them.

  • Kay Cannon (Blockers, Pitch Perfect)
  • Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation)
  • Anthony & Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
  • Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople)
  • Brad Brad (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol)

Starting my discussion portion of these directors, we have Kay Cannon. I’ve been exposed to some of this girl’s work. I saw “Pitch Perfect,” which personally I hated, I wasn’t really that fond of it for the attempts at humor coming off as typical Hollywood studio comedy jokes that you’ve seen before, and it just didn’t feel like anything I’d write home about. Although, that movie is probably not made for me, I’m definitely not in the target audience. There is one thing however that made me go from HATING Kay Cannon to LOVING Kay Cannon, and that is “Blockers!” Based on the trailers, “Blockers” looks like your typical studio comedy, although in this case it’s really trying to be the next “American Pie,” but I ended up loving it after seeing it in the theater because of how relatable it came off not only to me, but from what I imagine, a number of parents who have teenagers. And most of all, it was funny! Another thing to consider about “Blockers” is that Kay Cannon had to tie together all of these characters, all of their storylines, and give them all their own individual beginning, middle, and end. Cannon didn’t write the screenplay for the movie, but given the amount of characters that may be aruged as being the “main character” of the movie, she did a spectacular job with what was given to her. Given the size of the character list in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” she’s probably gonna have to deal with just as many storylines while simultaneously having to make sure all of the humor in the movie works. Plus, “Blockers” is Cannon’s only directing credit. Since that movie came out, I wanted to see more work from her, and this is a good opportunity.

Next up is Alex Garland. Thus far he has directed two films, “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation.” While both don’t really have as big of a budget as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” they have been well received by critics. I personally thought both weren’t at the tippity top of my movie ratings scale, but VERY HIGHLY ENJOYABLE. Just a few weeks ago, I went back and watched “Ex Machina” for the fourth time, it’s that good. I’ve seen “Annihilation” twice, and while I don’t think it’s the best movie ever, I thought it was conceptually and visually beautiful. I will say though, according to IMDb, Garland’s directorial debut, “Ex Machina,” has an estimated budget of $15 million, and his next film he directed, “Annihilation,” has an estimated budget of $40 million. If he takes on “Guardians 3,” you might as well consider those past two films stepping stones towards the big guns. Plus, both films, kind of like “Guardians,” are in the sci-fi genre, so if Garland does well with “Guardians 3,” he would have three well received sci-fi films.

Up next, we have Anthony and Joe Russo. While these two may be known to some as the creators of the situational comedies “Community” and “Arrested Development,” fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know them as co-directors of three films in the series that have been currently released, and another that’s set for a release next year. To me, the Russo brothers have directed the two best MCU films to date, “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Captain America: Civil War.” Both films, kind of like “Blockers,” involved a ton of characters that could potentially clutter the film. Personally, the way both of them turned out were phenomenal to me. Plus, let me say again, these guys have already directed four MCU films, one of which hasn’t been released yet. In fact, two of them have the Guardians in it! So not only do they have experience with superhero movies, comic book movies, Marvel movies, films with a ton of characters, but also characters from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise! From what I know, none of the actors from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise seem to have any major gripes with either director, so maybe that will allow the experience of making “Guardians 3” to be somewhat of a breeze.

Another director who has already helmed a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Taika Waititi, as much as I personally found “Thor: Ragnarok” enjoyable, I wasn’t afraid to criticize it. Can any of you guess what my main complaint with “Thor: Ragnarok” is?

Anyone?

Hello, anybody home? Think McFly, think!

The main problem I had with “Thor: Ragnarok” is that it’s too much like “Guardians of the Galaxy!” As much as audiences found the attempts at humor in “Thor: Ragnarok” to be hysterical, I was just sitting down thinking, this is not “Thor.” It’s just a weird change of pace towards his character and it’s kind of ridiculous. And maybe it’s not because of Taika Waititi. After all, he didn’t even have a writing credit on the film. In fact, what I think should be done is if the director “Guardians 3,” whoever it may be, doesn’t want to write the film, Marvel should try getting the trio that wrote “Thor: Ragnarok,” otherwise known as Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost to work on the script. This could be especially useful towards Alex Garland, because he doesn’t put much humor into his movies. Then again this is the same guy who had a writing credit on DMC: Devil May Cry, a video game with this exchange:

MUNDUS: I am Mundus.

DANTE: You’re an asshole!

Given the script of “Thor: Ragnarok,” Waititi’s direction must have worked well enough lead to this “Guardians of the Galaxy” wannabe, and if they really wanted to take “Thor: Ragnarok” and make it a “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, someone could have just told them, “Hey! Want to make ‘Guardians 3?'” Well, that movie is happening now, so now is this crew’s chance to take it on!

The last director suggestion I have listed here is Brad Bird. When it comes to animation, Brad Bird is probably my favorite director of all time. He’s done both “Incredibles” installments, “Ratatouille,” and “The Iron Giant.” If you ask me, if Brad Bird happened to work on the screenplay of the film, that would be great too, because I feel that Bird’s best films are ones that not only he directs, but also writes. As much as I liked “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” that’s a film he directed, but didn’t write. One of my other comments towards Brad Bird that may sound odd, is that I feel he does better with animated movies than live action movies. While I will consider “Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and “Tomorrowland” solid movies, they’re not anywhere near masterpieces. Some of you may be questioning why I am saying this because “Guardians of the Galaxy” is live action. You’re right there, but another thing to consider is how much green screen that film has. It’s all on computerized backgrounds! Plus, Brad Bird seems to have a good relationship with Disney, having done multiple films with them, which is something that James Gunn apparently doesn’t have anymore.

Now before I close this off, I want to share a true story with all of you. James Gunn is not exactly my favorite director, however I do find him to be one of the bigger standouts when it comes to the directors who have done recent film work. But James Gunn, despite how I feel about him, was apparently worthy enough, to have earned something that I think you all as an audience might want me to change. Just over a month ago, I graduated high school, and around that time, I got my yearbook. In the process of making the yearbook, I was encouraged to put something in as a senior quote. So after some searching on the Internet, I found what I thought was the perfect quote. Taken directly from IMDb, this is the quote I used in my yearbook:

“I have a very strong imagination and have since I was a little kid. That is where a lot of my world comes from. It’s like I’m off somewhere else. And I can have a problem in life because of that, because I’m always off in some other world thinking about something else. It’s constant.”

Guess what? JAMES GUNN SAID THAT!

I made a post on my Instagram with photo proof that James Gunn is the speaker of my quote in my high school yearbook! If anyone that’s affiliated with the making of the yearbook is reading this, I gotta ask… Is it too late to change my senior quote now that everyone is calling this guy a creep? Jostens, if you’re reading this, let me know! I mean, it’s only been a month since I graduated high school, I haven’t even started college, and I already have an excuse to change my senior quote!

Guys, thanks for reading this post that goes over a life-altering moment I never thought I’d have to face. James Gunn is a creep apparently, who knew? I love the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I’ll miss James Gunn’s unique and somewhat quirky style, and while I heard that Disney never confirmed Gunn was going to direct “Guardians 3” in the first place, it would have been easily predictable for him to do such a thing. With that being said, I hope an official director is announced soon, maybe one of my suggested candidates. As for upcoming content, tomorrow I’m going to see “Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again,” stay tuned for that review once it comes time to show it off, and also stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what do you think about this whole James Gunn situation? Also, if you were to find a director or writer for “Guardians 3,” what would your pick be? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

2017 Box Office: Little Room For Originality

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Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! As it is the beginning of 2018, I feel it is appropriate to leave links to two posts down below for you to read in case you haven’t read them. My top 10 BEST movies of 2017, and my top 10 WORST movies of 2017. I’ve had fun making these lists, I’m sure you’ll have fun reading them, and I’m also interested in hearing what your best and worst films of the year are. So, read the posts, leave a like, comment, add Scene Before to your subscriptions through email or WordPress, and keep life going!

TOP 10 BEST MOVIES OF 2017: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/top-10-best-movies-of-2017-2/

TOP 10 WORST MOVIES OF 2017: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/top-10-worst-movies-of-2017/

Staying on topic, the end of the year and the start of a new one has a meaning when it comes to film. From one perspective it means January is here and a lot of crap is being put in theaters that people are gonna suffer through if all the award winning movies are high in ticket sales. Another perspective goes along the lines of what I just did with the posts above which I have links to, my top 10 best and worst movies of the year. Not only that, but we also have a bunch of award shows that are on the rise. January has the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the BAFTA awards, and the Critics’ Choice Awards. In February you got some stuff here and there, but when it comes to film, many people say the Academy Awards might be the only thing that matters (unless you’re that one guy who handed Warren Beatty the wrong card). When it comes to reflection, that’s not the limit to what’s been done this year so far. I’m pretty active on Twitter, and one account I occasionally surf is Collider. They posted a tweet which contained the five highest grossing films at the box office for 2017. This tweet had a link which lead to the highest grossing films of the year, looking over 2017’s box office winners and losers. Here’s the tweet:

This list reveals the top five for the specific category, and as I looked at the results, I’d say that it all makes a lick of sense. How do I feel about it? Honestly, not too good. Because a some time ago, I asked something about the future of movies, and so far nothing has been done about it. Although then again, it wasn’t that long ago that I asked. The question I asked was also the title of a post I did, the post is called “Where Are The Original Movies?” The answer, not here.

Of the top five films mentioned on this list, THREE are superhero films based on comic books, ONE is from a franchise that people recognize instantaneously once you put a picture of a lightsaber in front of them, and ONE is a live action remake that only adds a couple new things in of a Disney animation which is considered a classic by a lot of people. By the way, those aren’t the only two adaptations of the story! Oh yeah, did I mention FOUR of these have Disney at least partially associated with them? I will admit that I personally am at fault. I managed to see four of these films. These include “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “Wonder Woman.” I review movies, and it feels like a job where I don’t get paid because I don’t monetize my site at the moment, and I actually legit wanted to see all of these films.

Out of the four I saw, I only found one to be great, in fact it made my top five of the year, specifically “Wonder Woman.” I gave it a 10/10 in my review and while it’s not technically flawless, given the villain side of the story, I thought it was an amazing ride with Gal Gadot proving to the world that she is this kick-ass superhero. Plus I felt for the most part this seemed like it was not a studio-type film unlike 2016’s “Batman v. Superman,” it was more like one person (Patty Jenkins) unleashing their vision and sharing it with everyone.

When it comes to “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” it tried to be a different “Spider-Man” movie, but in the end, the execution could have been better. The script had Spidey cracking jokes all over the place. And I think that’s fine, this is Tom Holland playing him, and he played the character in “Captain America: Civil War,” another movie where Spidey cracks jokes. Not to mention, BRILLIANT jokes. Unfortunately, the brilliance wasn’t repeated in “Homecoming.” In my review, I gave it a 7/10, but right now it’s borderline 6-7/10. Speaking of failed attempts at humor, let’s talk about “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

When I saw the first trailer for “Guardians 2,” I was in instant hype mode. Granted, I don’t consider the first installment to be the best movie in the MCU, but I also think it is definitely one of the better ones. Not to mention, I consider it to be the most fun out of all the movies released in said cinematic universe. This second installment however wasn’t exactly terrible, but it should have been WAY better than it was. It shoves too much into one movie, kind of like “Age of Ultron,” and at the same time, it feels like it doesn’t feel it inserts too little. No pun intended, but BABY GROOT SUCKS! The humor seemed to land with just about the five-hundred other people watching the film alongside me, but I only laughed at various times. It just wasn’t that funny. The first one is lovable, quotable, and memorable. This one isn’t lovable, but you can say it’s quotable and memorable. I remember a turd joke. I remember a conversation about male genitalia. I will say that for the most part, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” at least tried to be one thing. I can’t exactly say the same for the conundrum that is “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

I love “Star Wars.” There are so many days where I think about “Star Wars” and how much it has brought a tremendous influence on our culture. When it comes to “The Last Jedi,” it’s a very weird installment when it comes to the “Star Wars” saga, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I say that because you can look at a movie like “Colossal,” think of it as weird, and praise it for being weird. The way I’m using “weird” when it comes to this movie is not a good kind. I mean that as in, this movie is “not ‘Star Wars.'” I do appreciate it for not ripping off “The Empire Strikes Back,” but the way they’re taking a lot of the stuff shown in the movie made the whole experience more of a wreck the more I think about it. Also, I’m glad Porgs aren’t in the film for that long, but seriously, they can go to hell.

For the record, the results I talked about are domestic. These results make me wonder what the rest of the decade will look like for box office returns. In the 2010s decade, there have been a small number of original films making the top five for box office returns. These include “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Inside Out,” and “Frozen.” I will give credit to “Inside Out” because I do feel it deserved every penny it made. I watched that and it was extremely emotional. I did watch “The Secret Life of Pets” in the theater, and while it was a technically passable animation, it wasn’t exactly something I would ever want to watch again or show to a kid. I also watched a portion of “Frozen,” and it made me want to die. Beautiful animation, but what else does it have going for it?! The further we go in terms of cinematic history, the more I’ll probably miss 2009 because in that year, “Avatar” came out, and it shut the door on other movies at the box office. And while I do consider that movie to be overrated, and already somewhat dated, I do have to give credit because at the very least, it’s a property that nobody’s heard of.  People have picked up on how much it can be compared to movies like “Pocahontas,” but still. Although I wonder how many people confused it for “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Sure, it’s from a well known director, but it’s still better than paying money to see “The Hunger Games.” Why did it make so much money? IT’S F*CKING POPULAR! But wait, there are other films on this list too. Just for the sake of letting out information, let’s add on the other top films at the 2017 box office. Just to tell you which ones are actually original ideas, I have those in bold.

6. IT
7. Thor: Ragnarok
8. Despicable Me 3
9. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
10. Justice League
11. Logan
12. The Fate of the Furious
13. Coco
14. Dunkirk
15. The LEGO Batman Movie
16. Get Out
17. The Boss Baby
18. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. Cars 3

As you can see, only TWO original films are in the top 20 for the 2017 box office numbers. Just a fun fact, I saw neither one of those, and I’m deeply disappointed in myself. I never got around to watching “Coco” because I don’t know anyone who would want to watch animations, but I heard so many great things about it. As for “Get Out,” I was in a similar situation, I don’t know many people who would want to watch a horror film. I almost picked it up on Blu-ray based on thoughts I had in the past, but I never got to it. Although for those who actually did manage to go see those films, I have tremendous respect for you. Admittedly, I saw five of these fifteen films from beginning to end. I saw another one, “Kong: Skull Island” for the first ten minutes, but my 4K Blu-ray player was having problems therefore not allowing me to watch the rest of the picture. Of the five I saw, I loved two of them. This seriously does beg a question I asked in the past. Why do people watch these movies?

If you want my theory, it’s because everyone is familiar with a particular property. This is why “Star Wars” has owned the box office for the past three years. Main saga installments such as “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” broke box office records because a large number of people wanted to see these films since it’s part of a well known franchise that a lot of people admire. They didn’t really know what the verdict was from critics who saw the film early, in fact many people, including myself, bought tickets as early as about two or so months prior to release. People went to see “Thor: Ragnarok” because it’s Marvel, the same can be said for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Also, you can consider how both of those movies received positive ratings from critics. People saw “Logan” because the Wolverine’s in it. People saw “Justice League” because it’s DC, although in reality you can say that’s why some folks skipped this movie. You can also say because it has Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, those people. People saw “The Fate of the Furious” because it’s “Fast and Furious.” Not to mention, it’s not that complicated of a movie, it’s not one of those films where you have to sit down and think. You just eat popcorn and let time go by. People saw “The LEGO Batman Movie” because it’s animated so it’s good for the kids, it has Batman, and “The LEGO Movie” was not only popular, but well received. People saw “Cars 3” because it’s animated, it’s from Pixar, there are a couple of installments leading up to it, and there’s a good chance your kid dragged you to it. You see my point?

I also have to say that studios are partially responsible for this craze. When studios like Disney put out another “Star Wars” movie or another Marvel movie, do you think they’re doing it because they want to put out a quality movie that will be talked about generations to come? It’s possible, however it’s also possible that they’re thinking with their wallet, or in this case their Scrooge McDuck money vault. Yes, I’m still talking about “The Force Awakens” today, and I think it’s an amazing movie. One of my biggest problems with it is that they played it safe, but it’s a very minor issue. There’s a good chance I’ll probably still be talking about “The Last Jedi” too, but I might not be talking about it saying that it’s a great movie. The name “Star Wars” will put almost anyone in the theater. If “The Phantom Menace” didn’t prove that already, these past few years certainly have. Disney also released “Beauty and the Beast,” which I heard is visually dazzling, but ultimately just the same story as the animated version, just told in live action, with a couple songs added in, and changing someone’s traits to make them homosexual. I’m not saying live action remakes from Disney are terrible, after all I really enjoyed “The Jungle Book.” I will blurt that I actually might not have the right to say what I’m saying because I didn’t see any version of “Beauty and the Beast.” This is the problem. Hollywood is just redoing old ideas and passing them off as new. It works for “Super Mario Bros,” not for Disney movies.

As for 2018, originality isn’t looking too great for Disney either. Let’s see what movies they have lined up:

  • A Wrinkle in Time (based on a book by Madeleine L’Engle)
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story (Star Wars)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (Marvel)
  • Black Panther (Marvel)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (Marvel)
  • Incredibles 2 (Pixar sequel)
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Based on a story and ballet)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (Disney animation sequel)
  • Mary Poppins Returns (Title pretty much says it all)

It’s not just Disney to blame here. Let’s talk about some other unoriginal films coming out in 2018!

  • Deadpool 2
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • Ready Player One
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising
  • Rampage
  • Tomb Raider
  • Fifty Shades Freed
  • Creed 2
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Bumblebee: The Movie
  • Aquaman
  • Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindenwald
  • Venom
  • Slender Man
  • The New Mutants
  • Sicario 2: Soldado
  • Johnny English 3
  • Goosebumps: Horror Land
  • The Grinch
  • Super Troopers 2
  • Scarface
  • The Equalizer 2
  • Barbie
  • Mission: Impossible 6
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  • Insidious: The Last Key
  • Animal Crackers
  • Ocean’s 8
  • The Purge: The Island
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
  • Teen Titans Go! to the Movies
  • Robin Hood
  • The Predator
  • God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

You get the point by now…

I get that filmmaking is technically a business, and people use it to make money, but they have to realize what they’re doing to people who watch the films. They could walk in, walk out, and say that they had an experience. It could be good, it could be bad. The real question is: How many experiences like the ones I just described will have a good chunk of people who felt like they experienced something new? Granted, storytelling has been around for a long time. The oldest written story passed down to us, The “Epic of Gilgamesh,” was introduced to the world around 2100 BC. We’ve been telling stories for as long as time can stand. It’s quite possible that original stories are going the way of the woolly mammoth. In fact a lot of original stuff we’re actually getting now borrows elements from other pieces of work. At this point, I don’t really care if we get a new franchise or a new movie from something we haven’t technically watched in the past, but I want to see more of that and less sequels each and every day. I may be a picky eater, I always have been since I was a kid, but my tastes in film go like this: As long as the film’s good in any way possible, it’s cool. Do I like unoriginal work? Yes, as long as it’s good. I’m not saying every original film is good either. Heck, 2017 gave a ton of original crap! Films like “Gifted,” “Downsizing,” and “The Space Between Us.”

I’m also not saying every unoriginal film did well at the box office in 2017. Films like “Blade Runner 2049,” “xXx: Return of Xander Cage,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Underworld: Blood Wars,” “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” “A Bad Moms Christmas,” “The Mummy,” and “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” didn’t appear to be as successful as other films during the year. By the way, for those of you who skipped out on “Blade Runner 2049,” you missed a work of art.

What I want studios and filmmakers to learn is this: It’s OK to take risks, it’s OK to be different, that’s what storytelling is about. Showing a unique vision to the world, not grabbing everyone’s wallet and swallowing it because of something they already know getting a new installment. How do you think Quentin Tarantino is popular today? How do you think he got popular in the first place? Is he doing the same thing as everyone else? Is he recycling old ideas? Sure, he definitely has influence from others, but his ideas are usually original so people usually view his movies as refreshing. Christopher Nolan has borrowed ideas from others, including his own brother, but at least he has done some stuff of his own like “Inception.” Not to mention, he stays away from traditional Hollywood conventions, even in unoriginal content like “The Dark Knight.” Another director I have my eyes on now is Nacho Vigolando. He wrote and directed “Colossal,” one of my top films of 2017.

The concept of “Colossal” itself, takes a number of elements from other movies, but in end, it’s truly its own thing. A girl named Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend who goes by the name Tim (Dan Stevens). Gloria moves back to her hometown where she reunites with a childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis). As the movie progresses, we are shown that a monster recently attacked Seoul, South Korea. The thing that everyone has yet to realize, Gloria is responsible for the monstrous actions. You can do so many things with this, and what they did with it was just imaginative. It tries to be a lot of things at once, and believe it or not, it actually works! Films like this are something that I could imagine inspiring a generation of filmmakers. The problem is that it’s not all that popular, it’s an independent film, and was never really marketed all that well. In fact, I never really anticipated “Colossal” to be the absolute masterpiece that it is. People never really talked about it much before or even during the release. The same can’t really be said for a chunk of unoriginal content.

One of the movies I’m really looking forward to in 2018 is “Incredibles 2.” Not much has been shown for it yet, but regardless, I want to see it. Why? Because the original film is my favorite animation ever made! This just really makes me wonder, how rare is it for someone to actually go on for a long time, hyping for something totally original? Hype is something that people usually have for unoriginal content for no other reason other than because what they’re hyping for IS that unoriginal content. I’ve hyped for original content, but the more I look around, that’s not the case with everyone else. Look at all the hype “Avengers: Infinity War” is getting right now! This based on comic book story has been built up for quite some time through the release of a ton of films, and now that it’s almost here, there’s an enormous craze regarding it.

I’m not saying all unoriginal ideas are bad, I think I’ve made that clear already. In fact, I want to say one of them could be a future masterpiece. This year I was one of those people who actually got off their ass, went to the theater, and saw “Blade Runner 2049.” Just about everyone who saw the film would agree with me when I say it’s good. I’d bet not everyone would say they enjoyed it as much as I did. There will inevitably be those people who were bored out of their minds due to the movie’s slow pace, but in the end, this movie is just a testament to cinema. From a technical perspective, I was blown away. Roger Deakins’s cinematography was some of the best I’ve seen all year. The visual effects were eye candy that you’d want in your mouth instantly. Watching every single frame pass by was like looking at neon Heaven. Story-wise, I was also impressed, especially for a sequel like this. It develops all of its characters perfectly, continues in a future that probably will not happen entirely, but based on the world of “Blade Runner,” it does seem like something that would make sense from a certain angle. I’ll remind you that the original film came out in 1982 and took place in 2019, this sequel released thirty five years after, 2017, and took place in 2049. Sadly, not many people saw this when you compare the results this movie got against others. Although you might as well consider that not many people left their houses to go and see the first “Blade Runner” either. One of the biggest things I appreciated out of this sequel is how it didn’t set the stage for endless sequels or a cinematic universe. It felt like a movie, not a neverending TV series.

As interesting as cinematic universes are, they are becoming more and more common and the concept is just becoming rather boring. I will say, I have an idea for a cinematic universe, I think it could work, but as far as standalone franchises, I’m only incorporating two of them. It’s simple and effective. Standalone sequels have a beginning, middle, and end. They can give a sense of satisfaction. I’m not saying cinematic universe movies don’t have a beginning, middle, and end, but meshed in there is setup. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just comes off like a kid trying to get attention. Despite how much “Avengers: Infinity War” may sound like a finale for the MCU, trust me when I say it’s not. For one thing, there’s going to be a fourth “Avengers” film the following year, and Marvel still has more plans for films afterwards. They have another “Spider-Man” movie and another “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie! According to James Gunn, writer and director of the first two “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, not to mention the possible writer and director of the upcoming third installment, he says that “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will expand the cosmic universe. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel. At least “Two and a Half Men” had a conclusion! It took about twelve or so years to get to it, but it happened! Although you know what could happen once this cinematic universe ends? One word. Reboot. And you know what? It’ll probably make some f*cking money!

You know what else could be true? I don’t know, we’re probably just reaching the bottom of the barrel and running out of ideas. Although I can’t say that’s true because I have an idea for an original film. I won’t say what it is, but if any major Hollywood studio wants in on it, I’d be happy to send it to them. I don’t have the script finished yet, but I can definitely work on it if you want to see this idea realized in the future.

I’m not against unoriginal content, but from my personal viewpoint on society, these results make it seem like that’s all anyone watches now. Is it a popular thing? Someone watched it. Is it based on something that happened before? Someone watched it. I just want to see a future where at least some original content gets to shine as much as unoriginal content. Well, as long as said original content is good. I want to say to both studios and audiences, take some steps off the beaten path. I did that when I saw “Colossal,” I was originally planning to see “Kong: Skull Island,” but “Colossal” was the movie I ultimately had time for, and it was f*cking worth the ride.

Thanks for reading this post! As far as upcoming reviews go, I do plan on seeing this film called “The Commuter,” there’s a chance you may have heard of it on TV. It stars Liam Neeson as a person on a train who’s caught in a criminal conspiracy. The director who’s doing this film directed “The Shallows,” which was pretty great, but it’s January, so anything could happen.

Also I want to inform you that pretty soon I’ll be starting a new mini-series of reviews, specifically for the “Maze Runner” movies. I’m gonna watch “The Maze Runner” and “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails,” and I’ll review the first film one week, and follow up with a review for the second film the week afterwards. This is all being done in preparation for “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” which comes out January 26th. Stay tuned for those reviews and more great content! I want to know, which movies did you see in 2017? Did you see any that made the top results at the box office? Do you think we need more original content? Would you watch more original content? Leave your comments below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Marvel Cinematic Universe Will Continue For Decades, Not Surprising, Although Slightly Concerning

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! I have to say right now, this week may be the craziest I’ve ever witnessed when it comes to comic book movie news. Nothing new is coming out this weekend, however when it comes to news, it’s absolutely insane. I’m actually gonna cover multiple segments here, however only one portion here matters more than others. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s an idea, when introduced at the time, seemed original by the standards of film. It has now inspired other cinematic universes such as the “Dark Universe” from Universal, the DCEU (Detective Comics Extended Universe), and the Monsterverse Warner is focusing on at the moment. “Thor: Ragnarok,” which will be released in November, is going to be the seventeenth movie in the universe. That’s not the only future movie planned, there’s gonna be a couple of “Avengers” sequels coming up, “Ant-Man” is getting another standalone film, Captain Marvel is gonna have a movie, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is gonna have a sequel, and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will be happening. Speaking of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” let’s talk about that.

If you don’t know me personally, I enjoyed the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie. The vibe worked perfectly, the comedy landed for the most part, and it took characters that not many people, including some people who read comic books out of enthusiasm, didn’t know much about. Not many folks, until 2014, heard about Starlord, not many people knew about Gamora, they weren’t aware of Groot, they didn’t ever think about Drax, nobody traditionally thought of Rocket as a badass raccoon. What Marvel was able to do with these characters kind of amazes me. As far as their movies go, this might be their most family friendly one yet.

As much as I enjoyed the first “Guardians,” the sequel was big letdown for me. It may have been due to my hype for the film, but then again, I anticipated “Wonder Woman” and “Dunkirk” to death and look how those movies turned out. It’s by no means a bad movie, nor is it the worst in the MCU, but it is not a great movie either, it’s just passable. The humor didn’t land as much, although some worked, like the Taserface gag and the Mary Poppins joke. Some of the characters were not as cool as they were in the first movie, although the movie did get a better villain and they did improve the character of Drax in some ways.

*UNPOPULAR OPINION WARNING, FLAME SHIELD READY*

Baby Groot is by far one of the single most annoying characters I’ve seen in anything! I get he’s small, and supposed to be cute, but this film literally tries to force it down your throat! It almost reminds me of the stupid kid the lead characters have from the piece of crap they call “Sharknado!” It’s like watching YouTube, you’re watching cat videos, and the person taking the video is constantly saying look at this cat playing the piano! YOU MADE YOUR F*CKING POINT! YOU SAID IT ONCE! YOU ALREADY TOLD ME! I ALREADY KNOW! It’s like if BB-8 from “Star Wars Episode VII” was constantly shoved into random scenes just because he’s cute. And granted, the cuteness factor was there, and a lot of people see him as a cute droid, but he’s there when the plot needs him, he’s not randomly in shots just shoving jelly beans down his gullet. Wait a minute that makes no sense, droids can’t eat or drink. Also now that I think about it, trees don’t eat jelly beans either. Whatever, you probably get my point! I’m sorry if you hate me, but this is how I feel.

If you are a mega fan of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, both 1 & 2, and you don’t know the main man to thank, I’ll have you know the man you probably should be thanking is James Gunn, he directed and wrote the first and second films which are out right now, and he’s also working on the third one. The man definitely knows how to direct and write these movies based on how the actors deliver their lines and how well the humor plays out. Recently, he did a stream on Facebook Live, and something… …interesting came up. When he was on the livestream, a bunch of users asked some questions, and one user asked if Richard Rider/Nova would ever be put in the MCU films. At one point when answering the question, Gunn uttered this: “One of the things I’m doing with creating “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” it will take place after the next two “Avengers” movies and it will help to set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies. It’s going to really expand the cosmic universe.”

That’s right, you’re probably getting at least a decade’s worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. How do I feel about this? While I love Marvel and I’m excited to what they have in store, I’m simultaneously worried. The Marvel Cinematic Universe began back in 2008 with “Iron Man,” since then it has expanded with many films loved by audiences everywhere. Some people still say they prefer superhero films outside the MCU such as the older “Spider-Man” films, Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy, Donner’s “Superman,” or movies in the “X-Men” franchise. We’ve had film franchises go on longer than the MCU, such as the “Bourne” series, “James Bond,” “Fast & Furious,” and “Star Wars.” Although I’m noticing that compared to these franchises, the MCU is producing movies more rapidly and when it is compared to a franchise like “Bourne,” you can tell that “Bourne” might have an intended stopping point. The MCU is basically the cinematic universe version of “The Neverending Story.” Me personally, if I had a cinematic universe, and I actually do have one in mind if I ever have the opportunity to make films in Hollywood, I would end it at a point. I’d give it a sense of finality, but I only wonder if the folks behind the MCU will ever feel the same way.

While I am concerned about the franchise going on forever and ever, allow me to address some positives. Starting off the positives, this isn’t Michael Bay’s “Transformers” nor is it “Sharknado.” Also, Marvel has clearly shown how it can make stellar movies that people want to see. A lot of their flicks have been well received by both average moviegoers and critics. When it comes to comic book fans, they do a fine job appreciating that particular audience for the most part. Some notable mistakes they made over the years has usually been with the villains. With the exception of villains like Ego from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or the Vulture from “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” the MCU hasn’t really featured terrific villains in their films. This is why I love “Captain America: Civil War” so much, it didn’t have a villain, it had sides, neither good or evil. Another notable flaw many people have with the MCU is in “Doctor Strange.” You may remember the Ancient One in that movie, she was played by Tilda Swinton because it’s an example of whitewashing. While the MCU may not be perfect, it certainly has a lot of likability to it. Despite saying that, I wonder how much it has left.

The MCU has been around for nine years and people still enjoy it, but what if it goes on forever and ever to a point where people begin to become tired of it? If you ask me, I’m not exactly tired of it, but I am starting to think the series might go on longer than it should. Keep in mind, Marvel is owned by Disney, the Bill Gates of movie studios. Disney basically owns us now since they have Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and their own animations along with those animations that are being remade into live-action form. The top 5 films of 2016 in terms of box office performance are all Disney films. “Captain America: Civil War,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Finding Dory,” “Zootopia,” and “The Jungle Book.” Right now, three of this year’s films owned by Disney are in the top 10 in terms of box office performance. Those films are “Beauty and the Beast,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” I’m not counting “Spider-Man: Homecoming” here because despite how it is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony distributed the movie. Disney has also had successes with 2015 films like “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “Inside Out.” If you look at what Disney is doing, you may see that they’re making buttloads of money. They now own all of these things we, as viewers, know about. Although I want to make a comparison to this and a popular video game franchise you guys may know about.

Have you guys ever played the “Call of Duty” games? I don’t play as much as other people do, but I know people who play the games. If you know a bit about them, you may know that they do this thing where they release a new game every year. We’re getting Marvel movies, quicker than we’re getting “Call of Duty” games. Keep in mind, many people say that some of the older games like “Modern Warfare” and “Modern Warfare 2” rock whereas newer games like “Advanced Warfare” and “Infinite Warfare” suck. If there’s one thing I noticed, personally, it’s that I thought Marvel movies got better as they went on. the oldest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie I currently have a 10/10 for is “Iron Man 3” which was released on May 3, 2013. Then there was “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Ant-Man,” and “Captain America: Civil War,” which is currently my favorite movie in the MCU. Also, you have to keep in mind, I don’t witness many people talking about the first “Call of Duty,” the second “Call of Duty,” anything along those lines. While it seems that a lot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are widely talked about today, I could tell you that when “The Avengers” came out, this is when a majority of people flocked to the theater to see these movies. Also keep in mind, this came out in 2012, the same year that “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” came out. Both “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Dark Knight Rises” were successful at the box office, in fact in some cases, “The Dark Knight Rises” may have gotten more positive reception than “The Avengers,” the case isn’t really the same for “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Spider-Man and Batman are both argued among nerds all over the world between which is the better hero, they both get their own movie in the same year, and they are beat by “The Avengers.” Although when you think about it, it makes sense, you get more superheroes, some you may know, some you may not know, and the idea of “The Avengers,” unlike “Batman” and “Spider-Man,” hasn’t really been done much on screen. Although the “Fantastic Four” movies have more than one superhero and look how those movies turned out. However when you look back before and realize what “Spider-Man” did in terms of box office performance in 2002, such as being the only film to make $100 million in its opening weekend at the time, and how “The Dark Knight” not only won the box office in 2008, but avoided a comic book movie from having the slightest bit of childishness, this is kind of interesting to think about. The Marvel Cinematic Universe did have some successes before “The Avengers” like with the first two “Iron Man” films, and while 2011 brought “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” they didn’t quite reach the top 10, making them get a lower score in the box office than “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1…” (sigh). Right now, if you can’t tell already, the box office isn’t a problem for the MCU, and I don’t think it will be in the future. However, I wonder about their movies in terms of quality.

There’s a saying that all good things come to an end. We all know we are going to die one day. OK, I’m not saying all people are good, just look at Adolf Hitler! You know movie franchises that have technically come to conclusions in the past? Just look at “Back to the Future,” “Jaws,” or “Revenge of the Nerds.” The people behind these movies knew when to stop, “Back to the Future” stopped at three movies suggesting that the characters’ futures are what they make them, and all three franchises according to popular opinion have never made a movie better than their first installment. You know what’s still going today? “Transformers,” “Sharknado,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and “Fifty Shades.” Traditionally, these movies are not well received, however they are popular over a certain demographic. “Transformers” continues to make lots of money even though people are literally paying to see the same thing every time, “Sharknado” is on TV, but people watch it because it’s “so bad it’s good,” which I thought at first with the original, but upon rewatch it became worse, and the later installments are just plain awful, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is popular among families and kids, including some who know about the books, and while it was fun to watch as a kid, it became worse the more I thought about it. Not to mention their newest installment, if you haven’t heard about it, may be one of the most forced sequels in movie history, and for “Fifty Shades,” while it may be popular among women and those who have read the books, it wasn’t well received because of its characters, along with the fact that it is technically “porn” and yet the movie fails to deliver on that for a lot of people. Also ladies, for those of you crushing on Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey in the series, the actor says he didn’t want himself nude in the movie. If you’re gonna make a movie for women, that’s technically a porno, KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE! If you ask me, I haven’t seen any of the “Fifty Shades” movies, nor have I read the books, so I can’t really say my true thoughts about it, but I honestly don’t want to see or read it unless I have a girlfriend who wants to watch it and she feels like watching it with me, if it means I get to go to a free screening, or if someone is paying me to watch the movie. With Marvel, I can enjoy myself throughout the process of watching one of their movies, but how much longer will it take for me to not enjoy myself?

So far, two movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been released this year, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” While I enjoyed parts of both movies, I thought both needed improvement. I said what I needed to about “Guardians 2,” but I didn’t really say much about “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” I thought they aced Peter Parker and Spider-Man for the most part, it could have been funnier, they had Iron Man in the movie but they played their cards right and kept the movie from turning into “Iron Man 4,” the AI annoyed me, and the villain was cool. I gave the movie a 7/10 in my review, and I said it would probably drop to a 6. For the record, I gave “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” a 6/10, which I also gave to “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which was fun at times, but ultimately a disappointment. The only film I gave a lower score to in the MCU was for “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which was a 5/10. Based on this you can tell that Marvel is capable of making good movies, but every year since 2013, I’ve seen one Marvel film that is worthy of a 10/10 for me. In my top 10 MCU films, I have only one movie that is a 7/10 in my book, all the others are 8/10 at minimum. If “Thor: Ragnarok” isn’t a 10/10, then the streak I’m talking about is officially over. If you ask me, I’m somewhat excited as a Marvel movie lover for “Thor: Ragnarok,” but at the same time, worried. It looks like it could be a good movie, but the marketing makes it look like “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Now, I like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but for a movie like this, I want a darker tone. You have Planet Hulk in this movie, it looks like there’s gonna be a lot of destruction on Asgard, and yet in the trailer they’re playing “Immigrant” by Led Zeppelin. Good song, but it makes me worried here. You can still have humor in the movie, you can still have flashy effects, and granted the effects look stunning in the trailers, but I want a darker vibe than what I’m getting when this movie comes out. Now, I’ll say if “Thor: Ragnarok” is a 9/10 or 8/10, that’d still be cool. Although if it’s a 7/10 or lower, I’d start to worry.

Also, you have to consider the fact that these movies are based on comic books, so they might be taking material from the comic books, and turning that into movie material. That’s fine, but part of me wonders, will we ever run out of good material to copy? I don’t read comic books all that much, but this is something I wonder similarly as a movie watcher. I wonder if we will stop seeing original material and start always seeing unoriginal material. Although comic books have been going on for years and we are still getting lots of new stuff, but they always do unoriginal stuff. They do stuff based on other sources, they do a new series or a spinoff with certain characters, or they might do gender or race swaps. If we want to keep these movies going, we either need to introduce new characters that haven’t been written in comic form or we need to get people writing new comic book material. This has been done before though, you guys know Harley Quinn? Her first appearance was actually in “Batman: The Animated Series.”

And if you think that comic book movies are stopping anytime soon, you’re completely under a rock. People continue to watch those movies, people keep making them, and they’re even making movies on villains, kind of like they did with “Suicide Squad.” That’s not all, Sony is coming out with a “Venom” movie in 2018 with Tom Hardy as the lead actor, and there’s also gonna be a “Joker” movie that I hear is gonna be in a different universe than the DCEU. In fact tonight, just when I thought I covered everything in this post, I took a break, thought I’d add some finishing touches a little later, ONLY TO FIND OUT MATT REEVES’S “BATMAN” MOVIE ISN’T GOING TO BE PART OF THE DCEU EITHER! What is happening? It’s becoming like “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” only instead of running out of food on an Island in the Atlantic, we’re running out of new and fresh movies quite possibly throughout the world, and instead of just having sardines to eliminate our hunger, we just have comic book films to fulfill our movie watching desires!

I love movies. I love comic book movies. I love Marvel Studios. Although at the same time, I’m concerned about its future. Maybe they’ll continue on creating original content and keep rocking it not only at the box office, not only on home video, but also in the minds of the viewers. As much as Marvel Studios makes good movies, there may be a day where it goes the way of McDonald’s, by that I mean there will be a MCU movie on every corner, and it may just be processed as opposed to crafted. Guys, I don’t think “Thor: Ragnarok” will be great, admittedly I’m excited for “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” If “Thor: Ragnarok” is good, there’s less of a chance I have of going into these MCU films in the future with a bit of skepticism. So I want to know, what are your thoughts on this? Also, what is a movie you want to see from Marvel Studios, but hasn’t happened yet?

Also I want to break a little announcement to you all, while I still plan to do reviews of new movies, I also want to tackle some older ones too. If you recall me doing my “Spider-Man” review series along with my Christopher Nolan review series, I’d like to let you know I’m doing another one. If you think about big action stars, I’d traditionally think about Liam Neeson (Taken, Non-Stop), Jason Statham (The Transporter, Death Race), Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix), and Vin Diesel (xXx, The Fast and the Furious). Another one I think of is someone who I’m starting a series on, that my friends is Tom Cruise. Over the years, Cruise has proven himself to be a very talented actor in many ways, and I’m gonna talk about three movies he stars in. I’m gonna be starting off with “The Last Samurai.” At some point I will include a review for “Risky Business,” I’m not sure where I’ll put it, either as my second or third review, but that will be an intention in the future. I will also be reviewing another movie Cruise is in, but I’m not sure what it is yet, you’ll find out when the review comes around! Stay tuned for those reviews, and Marvel Studios, if you are planning on continuing the universe for another 10 or 20 years, focus on the movies first, and focus on the money later. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!