Of all the Marvel Comics characters being brought to the big screen, Thor is the one who seems like he would be the hardest to explain. Yes, he's a Norse god, and as such his stories have been told since time immemorial (mostly to Norsemen), but his home isn't a palace in the clouds, it's a sci-fi city in space, one that connects to Earth via a rainbow. Unsurprisingly, the rainbow is downgraded to a slightly shimmering transit beam in the movie, but everything else about Thor is translated to the big screen pretty effortlessly, insofar as a Shakespearean family drama played out on massive, shiny, golden sets can be called "effortless." But since the science and magic aren't dwelt on as much, it allows the drama to play out unhindered, with plenty of bellowing and backstabbing, and action that hits like a hammer to the face.
So apparently, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, which has inspired countless knockoff films, was actually based on a short story from 1942. And while most of those knockoffs flew under the radar, apparently 2007's Disturbia, with Shia LaBeouf in an ankle bracelet standing in for Jimmy Stewart in a wheelchair, has not, and the company that represents the deceased author's estate has filed a lawsuit against Dreamworks, according to Reuters. Apparently, they were waiting for Disturbia to make it to Blu-ray? And for Blu-ray to be declared the next generation of media player? And for all of the Disturbia HD-DVDs to go on closeout?
Out on the trail to promote the 22nd James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig revealed that Marvel Studios had approached him to play Thor, according to IESB. Craig said he passed on the chance to play the comic book version of the Norse god of thunder, because "it would have been too much of a power trip," what with the mystical hand tools and flowing blond locks. Really? That's it? Too much power for one guy to handle? Somehow, I doubt it. I think there's more to it than that, after reading Craig's recent revelation in The Guardian that his scantily clad ocean scene in Casino Royale came about entirely by accident. I think the whole experience has put the actor off skimpy spandex shorts.
Comic book movie casting news changes faster than Clark Kent in a phone booth. Just a few days ago, Michael Caine (better known as Alfred to some, and as Alfie to others) was telling MTV News that he'd heard it from a Warner Bros. executive that the studio wanted Johnny Depp as the Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin. It seemed all but confirmed that Hoffman would waddle onto the big screen as the Bat's next nemesis. When asked about it the next day, though, Hoffman himself denied the long-standing rumor, saying: "No one has talked to me about it, ever -- never." He added that he's "such a fan of those [comic book] movies," but explained that he'd rather watch them than be in them.
Comic book fight! And I don't mean of the POW! CRACK! variety. I mean that Marvel Comics' own Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., totally slammed the locker door in the face of Dark Knight helmer Christopher Nolan, and pretty much everyone else on that film and at DC Comics. I'm totally ducking out of Biology to stand in the hallway and watch, because the gauntlet has been thrown, y'all. Apparently, RDJ didn't get The Dark Knight. In an interview with Moviehole for his role in Tropic Thunder, the big screen's Tony Stark railed against the critically acclaimed Dark Knight, saying he didn't get what was so brilliant about the film and eventually working up enough of a lather to drop the F-bomb on the entire DC Comics empire.
Today, the news broke that Disney has bought Marvel Entertainment, lock stock and barrel, for $4 billion. That includes Marvel Comics, with over 5,000 characters, and Marvel Studios, with the successful Iron Man and Hulk film franchises, plus the upcoming Thor, Captain America and The Avengers. It seems like it's a win-win scenario -- Disney gets a boys' brand to bookend the Disney Princesses, and Marvel gets some global multimedia clout -- but what does this really mean for our beloved Marvel superheroes? As fans, these are just a few things we're worried and/or excited about.
Being that this is a short work week, you'd think it would take more than hearing that Nicolas Cage is in talks with Marvel Studios to make a sequel to Ghost Rider to ruin my day. You'd think wrong. The trailer for the first movie was so bad that it alone soured me on Nicolas Cage, probably forever. And now they want to make another one? In a discussion with Dark Horizons, Cage said that he'd met with the studio three months ago and they discussed changing the setting completely. "The general idea was to take the character to Europe where he will work with the Catholic Church, deal with supernatural stuff on the continent and figure out a 'connection working with different religious figures.' The film's main antagonist has yet to be decided." Um, how about me?
It looks like Disney's purchase of Marvel Entertainment has lit a fire under Fox. After all, they own the film rights to the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Silver Surfer and Daredevil for as long as they continue to make movies. So, now that it's been two years since the last FF movie, they're getting ready to reboot the franchise. Frankly, I'm glad. The first film was good, clean kiddie fun (except for the fact that Jessica Alba kept taking her clothes off), but the second was boring, had Mr. Fantastic stretch-dancing and managed to make Marvel's biggest (literally) villain look like a rain cloud. Fox wouldn't say what they're doing, or even if they hope to bring back the serviceable original cast, but I hope they announce reboots of the rest of their Marvel properties (and Sony's, while they're at it), because, frankly, they all need it.