Sunday, 22 July 2012

My vision for the Fantastic Four reboot

A few weeks ago news broke that Josh Trank, the director of last year's 'Chronicle', was set to direct Fox's reboot of the Fantastic Four. This set me thinking about how the film should be and two things stuck out for me. Firstly, Trank's use of handheld cameras and the 'found-footage' format. Secondly, what I feel defines the Richards from other superhero teams, the dysfunctional family dynamic. Not only are the Fantastic Four a powerful group of heroes, but they are first and foremost a family. In fact they're also known as 'Marvel's First Family'.

The Fantastic Four
So how could this two different ideas be used in a film? I'd look towards the (quite frankly, awful) E! show 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians'. I know this sounds crazy but bear with me. In the comics the Fantastic Four have been public with their powers for many years and have a celebrity-status. So why couldn't they have a TV show following their lives?

Obviously this would skip over the groups origins, but they don't really need to be retold. Nearly everyone knows how The Fantastic Four got their powers and it's not the most interesting story to tell. That's not to say they can't be referenced. Every reality show needs a great opening. Why couldn't 'The Fantastic Fours' show their origins? So how to show the reality show set up.

They could take the route 'The Hunger Games' used and have an actor portray a presenter commentating on the events of the film. Why not take a character from the Comics for this? One character they could use is Dazzler. Fox has the rights to the X-Men characters, including Dazzler. Although she is a singer in the comics, during the 'House of M' reality she was portrayed as a talk-show host.

We could have a great first act exploring life as a family, heroes and celebrities, which should create a dynamic different from most other Superhero films. This would follow shows like the 'Kardashians' or even 'Modern Family' allowing characters to speak to the audience and should have a comedic tone.

But every great superhero film needs a great villain. I'm not entirely sure who should be the main villain of this film but know that it shouldn't be Doctor Doom. He should be saved for a later film and pose a huge threat. That's not to say he couldn't be referenced but he shouldn't be the villain of the piece. If the piece focuses on the family dynamic and fame I think the Puppet Master could be a great foe. He could control the Fantastic Four and try to turn public opinion against them. It probably won't be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (although I can dream) but if it is it would be great to see cameos from other Marvel heroes.

These are just a few ideas for how I think the film should go. Chances are I'm completely wrong but I can dream...

Deathly Hallows: 5 years (plus a day) on

Let's all just pretend this was posted yesterday (21st July), on the actual anniversary of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' release, otherwise I just look stupid.

J.K Rowling and Deathly Hallows
It seems like only yesterday that I was queuing to receive my copy of, what is arguably, the most highly anticipated book of all time. Being just eleven years old, I (much to my dismay) couldn't go by myself to a midnight release and had to spend the night waiting whilst others were already reading and some were probably already nearing 'The Battle of Hogwarts' or even finished when I finally got my copy (a whole eleven hours after the books release, thanks Mum and Dad). I still remember being given the book by a man dressed (quite believably) as Hagrid and rushing to the checkout so I could finally learn the fate of Harry, Hermione, Ron and (most importantly for me) Lupin.

The next two and a half days were spent going through a mixture of emotions. Firstly, frustration at family and friends keeping me from reading. Secondly, sadness. I cried countless times throughout my first reading of 'Deathly Hallows'. Considering I cried nearly every time a character died (even Pettigrew) and for most of 'The Battle of Hogwarts' you can imagine how tear-stained my copy became (Okay, I'm probably exaggerating a bit but that's how I remember it). But mostly I felt excited and exhilarated for every twist and turn and whatever J.K Rowling had planned for the next chapter.

Reading "All was well." and closing the book was a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, it was over. Harry, Ron and Hermione had survived the war, beaten Voldemort and had grown up. Truly a happy ending. On the other hand, it was over. There would never be another book. There would never be a new story. No more Hogwarts. No more adventures with the Trio. No more magic.

The Deathly Hallows in the sand
(made by Me!)
Sure, there was still three films left to look forward to but would it ever be the same? Would Harry Potter still be there now the books had finished. I thought 'No, it can't not without a new book', how was I? Since that book we've obviously had the film, but also a Tour, Pottermore (finally new information from Jo!), countless fandom projects and events (MyHogwarts, LeakyCon, Starkid's musicals, the list goes on and on) and a theme park (which I've yet to visit, fingers crossed for 2013)! I could spend forever talking about how strong the fandom still is, how Potter will continue and how it changed my life but they're all stories for another day. This is about the final book.

I can't actually believe it's been five years since the last book (and a year since the last film!). As I've already said it seems like only yesterday I was reading it for the first time and thinking it was the end. But I was wrong, as J.K Rowling said "Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home". All was well.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Thor Predictions

A few days ago I made some predictions about the Marvel Cinematic Universe; specifically that Malekith the Accursed would be in 'Thor: The Dark World'. Well, it looks like I was right...

(I also wrote this article. Just thought I'd point that out)

Some (very) brief thoughts on the Emmy nominations

Before I start saying my thoughts I should probably admit, that living in England, I haven't seen all of these series so my opinion is probably widely inaccurate. However I still have some thoughts on a couple of categories I thought I'd share with the world.

So, my first reaction to the Drama nominations was... I need to watch my drama. I am not lying when I say that I haven't seen any of the series nominated. The only one nomination I can judge is Uma Thurman's nomination for Smash. Thinking about it the only Dramas I watch are Sherlock and Once Upon A Time leading into my next point...

Where were all the nominations for Once Upon A Time? I don't know how well it's been received critically in America but it's definitely one of the best (and I'd argue the best) programme on TV. At the very least I thought Robert Carlyle would get a nomination and I think many more of the actors deserved a nod. Although as long as Once gets the award for costume design I'll be happy, Eduardo Castro truly earned it.

I really hope Smash wins the award for best original song. 'Let Me Be Your Star' has become one of my favourite songs since I heard it in the Pilot, but I'm surprised some of the other songs ('I Never Met A Wolf' specifically) didn't get a nomination.

Now a few thoughts on actors. I hope Dot Marie Jones wins for 'Outstanding Guest in a Comedy'. I know Glee doesn't get the critical acclaim it once did, but her performance in the show was amazing. Benedict Cumberbatch should win, although I'm not sure why 'A Scandal in Belgravia' was the Sherlock episode put forward. I found 'The Reichenbach Fall' was much better. Lastly I'd love Zooey Deschanel to win for lead comedy actress as I love her in New Girl and Sofia Vergara for supporting. I loved the number of nomination Modern Family has in 'Outstanding Supporting Actor in a comedy'!

Just a few of my thoughts on the nominations with my limited experience with the nominations, probably not right though.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

'Monsters of Men' by Patrick Ness

I'm not exaggerating when I saw that 'Monsters of Men' by Patrick Ness is one of the best books I've ever read. Just like it's two predecessors in the 'Chaos Walking' trilogy it's thrilling and a joy to read yet also makes you think about some pretty big themes and ideas.

'Monsters of Men' is the third and final book the trilogy which began with 'The Knife of Never Letting Go'. To avoid spoilers I won't discuss the plot too much, but just say that the setting and characters are rich and well-developed drawing you in as a reader. The plot has so many clever twists and turns that I didn't see coming (despite my friend warning me to look out for them). Ness creates suspense and tension masterfully and manages to juggle three distinct narrative voices throughout. I found this created a great dynamic, although got slightly frustrated by this device at times. Not because it wasn't used well or I didn't like it. Simply because just as I was on the edge of my seat with one characters story I was left on a cliffhanger and moved to another's. Apparently I'm a very impatient person.

Some very large themes are also addressed incredibly well. The book forces you to think about quite dark concepts including war, power and redemption. One line which really stuck out for me was "a frightened but willing army being led by a blind man". In the novel there's a very obvious literal interpretation but this quote just stood out to me with all the different connotations and meanings which could be found about war and whether it's necessary and if anyone truly wants it.  I know plenty of young-adult novels address similar themes ('The Hunger Games' anyone?) but I felt these ideas were much more strongly represented in this book.

To sum up I loved this book! It was a breath of fresh air (sorry about the cliche) and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good read. It was the perfect conclusion to what has become one of my favourite book series. Now if someone would be kind enough to lend me a Kindle I can read the prequel 'A New World' and be all set for the film (I can't wait).

5 Stars

Next Read: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - A classic I've never got around to reading. I'll also finally understand Bella Swan's obsession with the book.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Disney/Pixar and Sequels

Let me just say right now that I loved Toy Story 2 and 3. Somehow Pixar managed to improve on a masterpiece each time and managed to make films about toys which still make me sob (I can't help but cry every time Jessie sings 'When She Loved Me'). However those two films were rare jewels in Disney's line of sequels, which are often terrible successors to great films, and for some reason they seem persistent to continue this trend.

Following the Disney Renaissance, beginning with 'The Little Mermaid' in 1989 and ending with 'Tarzan' in 2000, I think it's fair to say Disney hit a bit of a creative block. Let's face it films like 'Home on the Range' were going to fail after 'Pocahontas' and 'Beauty and the Beast'. Disney then started churning out direct-to-video sequels of many of the classic films. I'm not saying all of these films are bad, but they don't stand up to their predecessors and the Disney legacy.

Unfortunately Pixar seems to be starting down a similar path. Later this year Monsters University will be released, whilst Finding Nemo 2 (rumoured for release in 2015) and Toy Story 4 are reportedly in development. This worries me. These films may be amazing and prove me wrong (I really hope they do) but it just seems Pixar are running out of ideas. The Toy Story sequels have admittedly become classics and I would love to see more from the characters in Finding Nemo, but don't belittle their legacies by rushing and producing less than stellar films. Make sure there's a valid plot and give the films enough time to be made properly and whatever you do never make a sequel to 'Wall.E' or 'Up'. Those films are perfect just as they are

That's my slight rant about Pixar and sequels over. Now for something a bit more positive but still related. Disney finally seems to be turning things back around. 'The Princess and the Frog' and 'Tangled' were both amazing film, which I hope will be regarded as classics in years to come, and 'Frozen' is sounding better and better the more I hear about it.

A fan's predictions for Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Since Comic-Con everyone now has a better idea of the direction Marvel is planning for their film universe and their plan for the next few years. However we don’t know the exact details of each film, so using my powers of deduction (which aren’t great), I’m going to try to piece together what’s coming up in each film and how they’ll link together. Before we start, I'm guessing each film will feature Maria Hill (or as I like to call her 'Robin Scherbatzky') and Thanos.

Iron Man 3                                     

Iron Man 3, the first film in Marvel’s second phase and the third in the Iron Man franchise. This is probably the easiest film to make predictions about as we know the most about it. We know it’s going to be a more personal story for Tony and after the footage screened at Comic-Con we know The Mandarin will appear. So which story are they focusing on? My guess would be ‘Extremis’. It’s been rumoured for a long time now and it’s pretty much been confirmed this film will feature nanotechnology. We’ll likely see Tony manipulate the virus allowing him to mentally activate his armour.

With the reveal of the Mandarin it’s also likely that they will be adapting a story in which the Mandarin, a long-time villain of Iron Man who possesses ten rings each granting him a power, releases the virus into the general population, though that's just one of thousands of Mandarin stories. I'm hoping Mandarin will be the only major villain. He can easily carry a film, and everyone knows what happens when a superhero film tries too many antagonists (Spider-Man 3?). We may have the government continue to try to take control of Tony's armour designs, but it won't be a major storyline, just setting the scene a little more for the eventual Civil War film.

My guess as to how this will link to ‘Avengers 2’will be that one of the Mandarin rings will have an Infinity Gem which Thanos will arrive to steal. We may also see a link to Ant-Man such as Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) as the daughter of one of Tony’s business partners. I don't think this film will link into the next Thor film, though we might see a post credit sequence setting up for Captain America.

Thor: The Dark World

This films a little trickier to make predictions about. All we know is the title and that it will focus less on Earth, but on Asgard and the other nine realms. From ‘The Dark World’ I’m betting that one of three storylines will be adapted. Firstly, The Dark Elves. If they appear, will be led by ‘Malekith the Accursed’ and will use the ‘Casket of Ancient Winters’ (seen briefly in Thor) to attempt to conquer Asgard. On the other hand Hela, the Asgardian goddess of Death, will likely be trying to expand her power outside of Hel and Niffelheim. Thirdly they may be adapting a story about 'The Dark Gods' a group of Asgardians who were banished by Odin, but escape and attempt to take over Asgard, but this is a really obscure plot to choose this early into the series. I'm hoping 'The Dark Eleves' will appear just so we can see more of the nine realms and their population. However these are really just guesses and anything could happen in this film.

However I'm pretty certain that at some point in the film Loki will escape from prison and steal the ‘Infinity Gauntlet’ or gem for Thanos tying into Avengers 2. If Hela is introduced she may be used as a substitute for the personification of Death which Thanos is in love with.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

This will be a pretty faithful adaption of Ed Brubaker’s ‘Winter Soldier’ story-arc. We’ll see flashbacks to ‘Captain America’ but after Bucky supposedly died he’ll be saved by a group of Russian scientists. He’ll then be ‘re-programmed’ and given biological enhancements and act as a super-soldier for Russia. In the present day Captain America and Black Widow will find out about this and attempt to free Bucky and remind him of his past life. How it links to the other films is a bit harder to work out. My guess is that Bucky is being controlled using the Mind Gem (one of the Infinity Gem’s Thanos is collecting) and we’ll be introduced to several more S.H.I.E.L.D agents who will play a role in future films. At some point in the film Cap’s shield will break and an after credits scene will show S.H.I.E.L.D agents travelling to Wakanda to get Vibranium to fix it. We’ll then see the Black Panther who will be introduced in ‘Avengers 2’.


To start with Ant-Man may not even appear in Phase 2 but, with filming slated to start next year, hopefully he’ll be ready to join the team for ‘Avengers 2’. This film probably won’t have many strong ties to the ongoing storylines in the other films, apart from the odd S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Edgar Wright’s already said that the film is going to focus on both Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, and Scott Lang, his successor. I’d expect flashbacks to Pym in the 60s discovering Pym particles and inventing the Ant-Man suit and helmet. This will probably be a faithful adaption of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s ‘The Man in the Ant-Hill’. If Scott Lang is involved, they will likely be adapting a story where Lang steals the Ant-Man suit and uses it to steal money to save his dying daughter. As a long time 'Young Avengers' fan (I'm planning a Wiccan costume for Kapow Comic-Con next year) this excites me. Even though Cassie won't be old enough or in a position to take on the role of Stature, she'll still be the first Young Avenger introduced to the MCU setting the stage for the others.

As I've already said there won't be much to tie this into the other films. We will hopefully see Janet, but I don't know if she'll ever make it to The Avengers and maybe an after-credits scene will show Nick Fury inviting Lang to join the Avengers. I think it's weird that Pym isn't being introduced into the modern MCU. It sort of puts a barrier against loads of great storylines and characters (Janet, Ultron and Vision).

Guardians of the Galaxy

This film will probably be used as an introduction for Thanos, as well as the Guardians. I’d predict that Thanos will manipulate the Guardians into helping him but will ultimately betray them to steal an infinity Gem. The Guardians will attempt to fight him whilst one travels to Earth to warn them. We know the team features Starlord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket Racoon and Groot; but I'm guessing either Ms Marvel or Nova will be introduced as S.H.I.E.L.D or S.W.O.R.D (basically space S.H.I.E.L.D) agents, either in this film or before (maybe in Captain America 2) and will gain their powers at some point in the film. This gives the film a human basis and someone who can act as the eyes of the viewer. 

An after-credits scene will show Fury watching footage of one of the guardians (Ms Marvel or Nova if they're in the film) crashing towards Earth, before ordering Maria Hill to assemble the team. The camera will pan out and show Fury in possession of the last Infinity Gem. Cue heavy rock music as a teaser for Avengers 2 plays featuring the team looking distraught and scared interlaced with shots of explosion and fights before ending with Thanos wielding the Infinity Gauntlet and the films logo.

Avengers 2

There's not much to say about Avengers 2. We pretty much know that Thanos will be the main antagonist and any comic book fan knows that this means the Infinity Gauntlet. The only major variables are who will make up the team? My guess:
  • Iron Man
  • Captain America
  • Thor
  • Black Widow
  • Hawkeye
  • Hulk
  • Ant-Man (Scott Lang) and maybe The Wasp
  • Black Panther
  • Ms Marvel or Nova.

Obviously that's a huge team with potentially nine members (unless Marvel surprises us all and kills off one of their major heroes), plus all of the supporting characters. I'd hope some of these characters would leave the team at the end. The obvious member to leave is Tony Stark as Robert Downey Jr. contract doesn't last much longer, but anyone could leave in this film. Nick Fury could even assemble a team without some members because they're not needed to face Thanos. As long as Janet Van Dyne and Thor are there I'm happy (Janet probably won't be so I'm not getting my hopes up). 

These are just a few ideas of where Marvel Studios could be heading in the next few years. I might be right or I might be completely wrong (probably the latter). All I know is the Phase 2 is set to be pretty incredible.

Who am I?

I think the title of the blog says it all. I am a geek. Well, I don’t really like that label but that’s what society tends to call someone who spends their time obsessing over literature and books (particularly Harry Potter), reading comics and sitting on the Internet trying to find a place to shout their views. I aspire to become a journalist one day and like to write fantasy fiction in my spare time. That’s probably one reason why I started this blog; A love of writing.

But I won’t bore you with the specifics of my life. All you really need to know about this blog is that there will be a lot of three things.
A)    Harry Potter – Something I have an (probably unhealthy) obsession with.
B)    Marvel Comics – I only really began reading comics in the past year and a half and have since fallen in love with the medium, but particularly Marvel and their characters.
C)    Broadway – Not the street, the theatres. Specifically musicals. A love of mine from a young age. Also where I’d be heading in life if I could sing, instead I’m settling for regular old New York.
These are just a few of the things I’m likely to blog about, but I don’t know why I’m saying any of this. It’s not like anyone really cares. You can probably find a million blogs virtually identical to this. Oh well, I’m just going to carry on talking to myself anyway...