Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sunday Best: DCFANDOME

 I am a DC Comics fanatatic.

A quick look at my house will be more than enough evidence of my obsession with all things DC.  The characters and the stories that have come from this publisher have done a great deal to fill up my time and imagination and have left me with a great deal of inspiration.

So naturally, I signed up for the online hype event DCFANDOME.  Essentially it is like Comic-Con for DC, but all online.

I was unable to watch most of the live announcements and panels as I actually do have a life outside of geek culture.  I wanted to sit in on a number of the live events, but mostly I had to catch up with the major announcements on YouTube.  Here are my thoughts:

(Normally I would simply embed the videos from YouTube as my commentary on them counts as fair use.  But with the number of videos and the exclusivity of the event, I have provided YouTube links.  Also the content for the Suicide Squad game is a touch vulgar.)


The first two movies in the “Harley Quinn” series are regarded as middling to bad. But Warner Bros

is sticking with this franchise. In an effort to turn the ship around, they hired James Gunn to direct. Gunn

took a C-List Marvel team and turned them into on of the most beloved MCU movies in Guardians of the

Galaxy. When Marvel temporarily pulled Gunn from this franchise, DC scooped him up. Gunn’s most

important job, besides delivering a good movie is to generate good buzz.

And i have to say that it worked.

DCfandome released two videos. The first was a teaser for all of the actors and characters who are

going to make the group in Gunn's The Suicide Squad. The cast had been known for a long time, but now we know who we are playing. The biggest surprise is Idris Elba is playing a little-known character named Bloodsport. It was at first thought that he was replacing Will Smith as Deadshot, but recently the thinking had been the Bronze Tiger.

The second video was a behind the scenes promotional with the cast and crew giving us a brief glimpse into the movie. I particularly like how Peacemaker (played by John Cena) is described as a "douch-y Captain America." The movie was compared to a gritty 1970's action flick. And I think that is a good fit for The Suicide Squad. The sheer number of members of the squad this time around tells me that a lot of them are going to die. My guess would be that a lot of the lesser-known actors will be killed off, but I think some (like Nate Fillion as TDK) will get the axe, result in a glorified cameo. But I get the feeling that Gunn is not going to play it safe, so I wouldn't be surprised if some of the more central characters like Bloodsport would also bite the dust.

Gunn succeeded in getting me very hyped for the movie.

Finally, they showed a trailer for the new game Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. The concept is actually very good: Superman (and maybe other super heroes) have been possessed by Brainiac. Now the Squad has to take them down. It's a way to play the four main Squad members (Deadshot, Quinn, Captain Boomerang, and King Shark) right on the line between hero and villain. I also love that it is set in the same universe as the Arkham games. The trailer was action-packed and that last part with the boomerang was hysterical.


I was able to catch a little bit of the "zoom" conference with the cast and the director (with a special appearance by Sinbad) where they announced the name of the the sequel:

Shazam: The Fury of the Gods.

Good title.

But overshadowing that was the official teaser to Black Adam. This has been a project that has been gestating for years and years. While it has been official, they haven't started filming. However, they had some concept art and animatics with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson narrating. A few things about this have me excited.

-First, it looks like this is now moved away from development hell and is on the fast track to being made.

-Second, they got an A-list star like Johnson to bring this character to life.

-Third, they seem to really understand the character as developed by Geoff Johns and David Goyer. Black Adam is too complex to be easily categorized. In some sense he is a hero and in others he is a villain. Someone once said he was the Dr. Doom of the DCU and I think that is an apt analogy. He is power and violence personified, but he is backed up by an absolute sense of righteousness that justifies his actions. This would be simple if he was always in the wrong, but Adam is sometimes on the side of the angels.

-Fourth, it looks they are folding in members of the Justice Society into the DCEU as Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Dr. Fate, and Atom Smasher are all supposed to be part of the supporting cast.

-Fifth, Johnson keeps hinting at a showdown between Black Adam and Superman. This would be epic and would make me horribly excited to see.


The final trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 arrived. I think the earlier teasers were better, but this trailer did nothing to dissuade me.

The biggest plus was seeing more Kristen Wiig as Cheetah. Wiig is an excellent comedic talent, though she has a tendency to go very broad in her comedy. My worry is that she will bring a level of camp to the role that will not suit the movie, like Jim Carrey in Batman Forever. But the footage of her in the trailer is very on point. I don't think I've ever seen Wiig like this and I'm curious to see how it all fleshes out.

Other than that, the action still seemed very good. I especially like the shot of Wonder Woman pushing the two trucks apart. But my favorite was her spinning the lasso and deflecting the bullets.


On the game front, they gave us a trailer for Gotham Nights. It is an interesting concept that I will get behind, but I am unsure how the general gaming public will like it. The concept: Batman has died and now Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood, and Robin have to carry on his legacy.

I love the Bat-Family, and I'm excited to see them take center stage. I'm curious if gamers will want a Batman-less Batman game, however. I also cannot tell if the Robin Tim Drake or Damien Wayne (it looks more like Damien). If so, I wonder if they will incorporate the other Robin into the story somehow.

But the very big news was The Batman trailer.

Director Matt Reeves laid out a lot more of the basic ideas for the movie: It is Batman's second year in Gotham, so it is not a full-on origin story. Our hero is taking stock of what kind of impact his crusade is having while coming to terms with the full-scale corruption that goes deep in the city. The catalyst for the story is a series of murders that Batman has to solve (and it looks like it will done by The Riddler played by Paul Dano).

I love the idea of this being a murder mystery. Remember that Batman debuted in Detective Comics and the cinematic versions of him have never leaned too heavily into this aspect of his life.

I think Robert Pattinson looks great in the role. What sold me was the shot of him at what looks like a funeral, with a fiery intensity in his eyes. I didn't like the early releases of the suit, but the trailer makes it look very good and gritty. I love the scene where he beats the crap out of the street thug.

I cannot believe that Colin Farrell is playing the Penguin. I could not have called that in a million years. Zoe Kravits looks good as Catwoman and I have always loved Jeffrey Wright and think he will be a great Jim Gordon. I didn't see any shots of Andy Serkis as Alfred, but I heard his voice. Serkis is such a scene stealer and I think he will add some nice levity to his dynamic with Bruce.

I have to say I am more excited for this movie than I thought I would be.

Also nice use of Nirvana.


The trailer for the Snyder Cut of Justice League is so odd and I love it.

Instead of using traditional scoring, Snyder is using the song Hallelujah, and not a very pretty version either. It's a bit raw and weary, but emotional and glimpses of light. I especially love the moment that the music crescendos and cuts right when Superman punches the bad guy.

There is a meta-narrative in the trailer about the struggle that it has taken over the last three years to bring Snyder's true vision to life. HBO Max will be turning this into four one-hour parts and then release the whole thing together at some point in the future.

The footage looks great. It feels very much in keeping with the tone set by Snyder's first two movies in his trilogy.

I wish I could say that the special effects looked great, but I have to be honest that they do not. It's great to see Darkseid, and even though he and the other villain designs appear to be an improvement on the theatrical Steppenwolf, they are way behind the designs of Thanos from the MCU.

Assorted things I picked up in the teaser:

-Cyborg will have his origin told and his story looks to have a very emotional arc.

-We get to see Barry meet Iris. Also, Barry looks less silly.

-Black suit Superman looks very cool. I also like the emotional moments with Lois and Martha.

-Ben Affleck's performance is so noticeably different that it makes me wish that he would keep playing Batman forever.

-As mentioned before, Steppenwolf looks better, though still a bit cartoonish

-I loved the shot towards the end fo the six heroes looking over the battlefield.

There were more things brought up at Fandome, like the return of the Milestone imprint and the new designs to the cinematic Flash's costume. But I think that is enough for today.

Again, as a DC fan, this was a home run for me. Even though I already had a positive view of these upcoming project, this event stoked my excitement and has given me a lot to think, write, and talk about for the foreseeable future.


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