The universe owes Armie Hammer a superhero franchise. A few years ago, when Warner Bros. was working with Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller on a Justice League movie, Hammer was signed, sealed, and delivered to play a young Bruce Wayne in the film. Hammer would’ve been an interesting choice for the role; he’s funnier and has more range as an actor than most people might expect, suggesting that Hammer could’ve bridged the gap between Christian Bale’s brooding dark knight and Adam West’s silly caped crusader. For my money, Hammer could’ve been the best Batman yet.
Look, I know that Tom Cruise must be getting older. There are lines on his face that weren’t there before and, like many gym rats, he’s been forced to trade leanness for bulk over the years just to maintain his active lifestyle. And I know that, someday, Tom Cruise will reach an age where the aches and pains catch up to him and he’ll no longer be able to pull off at least three incredible stunts per movie. But you know what? Today is not that day, and if this new batch of Mission: Impossible 6 set photos is to be believe, this is not that movie.
For years, one of the internet’s dirty little secrets has been that people really enjoy The Fate of the Furious: Tokyo Drift. A healthy flop at the time of its release — the film’s $60 million gross is half that of 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second-lowest grossing movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise — Tokyo Drift has climbed steadily back into fans’ favor due to the lasting appeal of Sung Kang’s Han Lue and a bit of chronological trickery in a later film that boosted this one’s reputation. It’s amazing how much better a film gets when you stop being mad at it for failing to bring back any of the main characters.
In the beginning, there were illegal street races and high speed heists, and Vin Diesel looked upon that which had created and saw that it was good. But as the franchise continued, the stakes became a little more… let’s say a little more insane. Cars parachuted out of the sky. Characters leapt their vehicles between skyscrapers. Tanks exchanged missiles with a submarine. As each movie has progressively upped the wow-factor of the franchise, there seems to be only one natural outcome for the Fast and the Furious family: they’re definitely going to head into space.
Would the horror genre work as the basis for a cinematic universe? It’s an interesting question. While horror films are certainly no strangers to sequels and prequels — there are eleven Friday the 13th movies, after all, and most of them are pretty much unrelated outside of their central villains — they are fairly reliant on individual characters to support the weight of new movies. There’s not enough depth to the Friday the 13th franchise to make a movie thatdoesn’t feature Jason Voorhees; for a horror film to truly inspire its own cinematic universe, you’d need a B-roll of characters who could each terrify audiences in their own right.
Whether you choose to overlook the accusations of whitewashing levied against Paramount’s upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie is entirely up to you, but there are certainly some who are rooting for the film to open doors for other anime projects. Studios aren’t exactly hot-spots for innovative thinking; if Ghost in the Shell bombs next weekend, there will no-doubt be executives at Paramount who claim the only real lesson is that American audiences don’t like Anime. That would be a real blow to fans of the long-gestating adaptation of Akira, the seminal 1988 animated movie by Katsuhiro Otomo that has been an inspiration to countless science fiction movies and television shows that follow.
If we live to be a hundred years old, we may never see another casting process take the internet by storm quite like Disney’s untitled Han Solo movie. Some rumors suggest that the studio looked at thousands of actors for the iconic Star Wars character; this led to dozens of different alleged studio shortlists for the role. Remember when Miles Teller and Dave Franco were the names most likely to step into Harrison Ford’s shoes? That took place one year and about a million Star Wars rumors ago.
When we last left the caped crusader, things weren’t looking all that bright. Sure, he had a new super-friend in the form of Diana Prince, but Superman — the complete-stranger-turned-mortal-enemy-turned-best-friend in Batman’s life — has sacrificed his life to protect Earth (or something) and now the weight of protecting our planet rested heavily on the shoulders of Bruce Wayne. If Wayne could organize others like him, then maybe Earth could stand a fighting chance.
Earlier this week, a few little birdies spoke with /Film about Warner Bros. standalone superhero film The Batman being rewritten completely from scratch. According to the site’s sources, the studio has chosen to start all over again with input from director Matt Reeves; additional sources also noted that Reeves wouldn’t even meet with prospective cast members until sometime this summer. This came on the heels of comments from a Variety reporter that Reeves is still under contract for War for the Planet of the Apes through the end of June, meaning The Batman was unlikely to even enter production until 2018.
If nothing else, the announcement that Warner Bros. is working on expanding the universe of The Matrix really makes me want to revisit the original films. Like most people, I was enamored with the first and disappointed by the sequels; the now-outdated CGI character modeling and frequent technobabble written by the Wachowski Sisters caught me a bit by surprise, and I was unnecessarily tough on the movies as a result. Now, though, I wonder if I might see the sequels with different eyes. When was the last time a blockbuster movie franchises so clearly marched to the beat of its own drum? Maybe this time around I will fully embrace the weird.
With the success of both Deadpool and Logan, 20th Century Fox has found a way to effectively differentiate itself from the other members of the superhero studio trifecta. Disney releases superhero films with broad appeal and a bright aesthetic; 20th Century Fox aims for more mature themes and isn’t afraid to incorporate both violence and profanity into its projects; Warner Bros…. well, they’re working on this, and when they figure out, it’s gonna be yuuuge. You’ll see.
Right now, at this very moment, there are people in Austin, Texas who have seen Edgar Wright’s new film Baby Driver. And yes, I’ll admit it, I’m insanely jealous. It’s not just that Baby Driver is the first film by Wright since 2013’s The World’s End; it’s also not that Wright has assembled one of the more effortlessly cool heist film casts in Jon Bernthal, Jon Hamm, Lily James, and Kevin Spacey; it’s also that the first trailer for Baby Driver seems to show Wright pushing his own stylish sense of rhythmic editing to the max, going all in on his visuals in a way we still haven’t seen in one of his movies. You thought you liked Wright before? Try him with a couple of machine guns a few really fast cars.
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