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Tipping Point Part 2

Tipping Point Part 2 published on

On the 12th of December 2015 I wrote Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it? during which I asked whether the 8 feature films due for release along with the numerous TV shows, live action and various animated titles being released in 2016 represented a tipping point for comic book related material, along with the 50+ titles that are due to be released or are in development between 2016 and 2020 represented a market reaching saturation point with the bubble and the wider publics taste in such material soon to burst and fade as whatever the next trend is takes flight.

Well writing as I am now in January 2017, it doesn’t appear that that bubble is going to burst anytime soon, its stretched to the point that the once dark ballon is practically transparent and the sharp edges threaten to tear through at any moment but 2017 promises to be another bumper year for comic book fans. The list of titles being optioned, where studios buy up the rights to potentially make features or shows of the title, continues to grow but presently we do not appear to have any titles in development past 2020 when I wrote originally back in 2015.

2016 had 8 feature films dropping across various formats, cinema and VOD, in 2017 we get at least 9 features potentially hitting the cinema. Three titles from the MCU, Guardians Vol. 2 (April), Spider-Man: Homecoming (July) and Thor: Ragnarok (October).

The struggling DCEU has two features which lets face it are make or break for the studio in terms of general goodwill from the public and critics at large, even fans are struggling to defend the features. Wonder Woman and Justice League: Part 1, personally a horrible title, hit the silver screen in June and November respectively. Will all the behind the scenes issues that appear to be surrounding the DC films and the revolving door policy that seems to be effecting the Flash features directors chair this could well spell the end of the DCEU unless 2017 corrects the mistakes made over the past year.

As for the odds and sods, we have the highly anticipated Logan, apparently marking Hugh Jackmans final appearance as Wolverine, the potentially controversial Ghost In The Shell starring Scarlett Johansson, both in March and Kingsman: The Golden Circle in October but my personal favourite release has got to be Lego Batman in February which looks like it could be the best Batman related feature in many years.

TV isn’t much better with all of The CWs DC titles, Arrow, The Flash, Legends Of Tomorrow and Supergirl for anyone struggling to keep up, confirmed to return for new seasons in the latter half of the year. As well as their Archie update Riverdale which is due to air at the end of January.

The Marvel/Netflix stable continues to be full steam ahead with Iron Fist (March), The Punisher and The Defenders (both TBC) all dropping on the streaming platform this year. As does The Inhumans, which appears to have been shifted from a feature to an event/mini-series though the opening episode will be screened in cinemas in September.

The Fox/Marvel show Legion, that apparently has no connection to the X-Men features airs in February and sensibly runs for only eight episodes, that could change should the show be renewed. We also get the 3rd season of the long delayed iZombie in April along with the will it/won’t it ever be released Powerless from DC in February. Depending on how that show does Marvel may eventually release/put in to production Damage Control which seems to have been in development for a few years now.

Other shows due to return though lacking release dates are the two Walking Dead shows, Preacher and Wynonna Earp. So this year alone we will definitely get 16 live action shows related to comic book material with at least 7 of those being ‘NEW’ to the airwaves, that figure could increase to 17 as at the time of writing there has been no confirmation that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  will be renewed for a fifth season.

Now the reason I concluded that last sentence with ‘live action’ is because the animated shows and DTV features further muddy the waters. DC continue to dominate this marketplace, in much the same way they do with live action shows, this year will see the release of the animated feature Justice League Dark, that rather beautifully sees the return of Matt Ryan to the role of John Constantine and later in the year DC will follow that up with two more animated features Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and Batman and Harley Quinn, though neither have confirmed release dates at the time of writing. Speaking of Matt Ryan will again reprise his role in a web series, Constantine, from the same studio that brought us Vixen and which will thus tie the character to The CWs Arrowverse along with the in development Freedom Fighters: The Ray which is also due to air at some point this year, making Constantine the sixth show to fall under that umbrella.

Marvel however are not to be out done as at some point in 2017 we will get an animated spin-off from their 2014 feature Big Hero 6, and second season of Guardians of The Galaxy and a new Spider-Man series, simply titled Marvel’s Spider-Man that will replace the Ultimate Spider-Man series that ran for four seasons along with some potential Rocket & Groot animated shorts though bugger all has been heard about that since some concept art appeared online all over a year ago.

One final mention must go to Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series which has been renewed for a fifth season and will likely air in the later half of the year as at the time of writing the fourth season was still airing, mostly due to animated shows not being as closely controlled by networks and episodes dropping randomly at times, often with a couple of months between new episodes.

I though this was getting out of hand in 2015, but 2017 just goes to show that studios and networks are going to continue to churn out shows, features and animation based on comic related material, there is the in built market, new generations of fans are born ever year and whilst they continue to make money and be profitable comic related material will be seen on a screen somewhere in one form or another.

In a side note we may also get two Death Note feature films, the US version and the 3rd Japanese feature, ‘Light Up the New World’ that was released in Japan last year. As well as an animated feature of Chew, that has been in development for a number of years and did have Robin Williams attached before his untimely death.


Invasion! published on

This was a bold move on the part of The CW, combine all four of its DC properties, including Supergirl after her move from CBS, into one big crossover story. I was really looking forward to this, the previous cameo’s, Constantine, and crossovers between The Flash, Arrow and Legends Of Tomorrow had for the most part been successful and whilst Gotham is out there on its own these shows have far more cohesion going on than Marvel’s own TV shows, Netflix’s aside, that share the same universe but never really converge. (At the time of writing).


One of the biggest benefits for Invasion! is that it was able to balance the overall storyline whilst still tying up various threads from each shows storylines and how they impact upon the other shows. Of the four shows Supergirl was the weakest but that was largely down to the episode having nothing to do with the over-arching plot, with the final scene merely involving Barry Allen and Cisco Ramon travelling from Earth-Prime to Earth-38 to enlist Supergirl’s help in their battle with the Dominators.

benoistsupergirlSupergirl however proves to be one of the highlights across the entire arc, Melissa Benoist’s acting is superb as Supergirl attempts to navigate around the vast array of characters presenting us with some moments of gold. Her reaction to Mick Rory’s (Heat Wave) backstory of having burnt his childhood home down with his entire family in it is absolutely priceless as is her interaction with Ray Palmer (The Atom) during the Legends episode that leaves Palmer commenting that she ‘looks like my cousin’. In fact I found the overall story to be a little flat with the various character interactions being the one thing that held everything together, from Cisco’s comments about Curtis’ (Mister Terrific) penchant for quoting films as, sarcastically, ‘original’. These knowing moments where the production team acknowledge that maybe some of their characters are a little derivative of each other works in the shows benefit, as does the reaction of various characters to ‘Flashpoint’ particularly the Legends team who ‘deal’ with time abnormalities on a weekly basis and their questioning of Barry’s selfishness and the repercussions that are being felt across the Arrowverse shows.

Barry’s selfishness which will no doubt continue to have repercussions across the remainder of season 3 for the scarlet speedster and potentially the other Arrowverse shows beyond some superficial changes, such as Diggle now having a son as opposed to previously having a daughter. Oliver Queen’s sometimes prickly nature also works well within the show, although he has had various teams around him during Arrows, now, 5 seasons as a character he has always preferred to work alone where he has total control of the situation. The inclusion of Supergirl and the various characters is something which doesn’t sit well with Oliver and he is not backward in letting his feelings be known about it. It’s character moments like these that are the highlights, the acknowledgement of Snart’s (Captain Cold) sacrifice during the first season of Legends is given a poignant moment of levity along with Dr. Stein’s discovery that he has inadvertently altered his own history with the revelation that he now has a daughter.

The characters are the real bonus of this arc, not the story, and I hope should the shows continue for a few more years that we get some more crossovers. Hopefully one where the Supergirl episode is more than just the introduction and we get some interaction between her cast and Arrowverse characters beyond Barry, though I am massively looking forward to the musical crossover episode, there is some real musical pedigree amongst the casts of Supergirl and The Flash. It is certain that Kara and Barry work best together and this probably has more to do with their shows slightly lighter tone when compared to Arrow or the ensemble of Legends.

Suicide Squad: A review in two parts

Suicide Squad: A review in two parts published on
Suicide Squad Group Wallpaper
The cinema Squad. (L-R) Slipknot, Captain Boomerang, Enchantress, Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, El Diablo. (Front) Katana

Part 1: Before

Is this do or die, make or break for the DCEU (DC Extended Universe), so far the films have failed to impress. Man Of Steel was a disappointing mess of ideas, Batman Vs Superman well here are my thoughts. The Squad has a lot riding on it especially after DC/Warner Bros. pulled the plug upon The Arrowverses fledgling Squad.

The TV Squad. Bronze Tiger, Shrapnel, The Wall, Deadshot (L-R)

This fledgling Squad had hinted at Harley Quinn, Arrow has also featured versions of Katana and Captain Boomerang, though not as part of the Squad, and Deadshot as well as Amanda Waller and also included Bronze Tiger and Shrapnel in the team.

Clearly DC/Warner Bros. think they have a dynamite script on their hands to effectively tell The Arrowverse to pull the plug upon these recurring characters but the signs have not been great so far. There has definitely been a feeling that the cast have had fun whilst making the film, tattooing each other, with SKWAD and other behind the scenes antics including Jared Leto staying in character as The Joker, sending ‘gifts’ to his cast mates including live rats to Margot Robbie, but now reports have started to surface that there are/were two competing edits. And at the time of writing the film has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 29% and imdb has it at 7.7 out of 10, based on 16543 reviews/opinions even though the film hasn’t been released worldwide yet.

As always I’ll go in with an open mind but the trailers that were released during the films promotion were uneven in tone making it unclear what sort of film we will be getting and I draw particular issue with the sexualisation of Harley Quinn during one trailer where it appears an entire airforce base stands around and watches her get dressed.
Suicide Squad PosterPart 2: After

The film you get is far from the one that the trailers lead you to believe you are going to get, The Jokers prominence in the advertising leads you to believe that he is the main antagonist, sadly he’s a secondary character at best. Leto is fine in the role but it’s nothing special personally and the behind the scenes antics must have seriously got on the tits of everyone involved given the 20ish minutes of screen time The Joker has.

I found the tone of the film to be very uneven, obviously given either the character or the actors prominence then it wasn’t exactly a no brainer that Deadshot and Harley were going to be the most significant members of the group. They command the majority of the screen time for the group but everyone gets a moment or line that allows them to shine. Except Slipknot, which is a shame as I really like Adam Beach, he was great in Smoke Signals and Flags of Our Fathers.

But that is the issue with the advertising, no clear indication of what the film is really about which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this day and age where trailers give away the majority of the plot and usually a big twist or reveal. As I’ve said the trailers lead you to believe that the film is about one thing but then it’s about something completely different and we are used to scenes featuring in trailers that don’t make the final cut but in the case of the SKWAD the majority of the trailers fail to make the film or are edited to within an inch of their lives.

The soundtrack is littered with rap, pop and classic rock tunes that play over huge chunks of the film, pretty much every character has song that plays over their introduction and becomes incessantly more annoying as the film progresses. As does the constant slow motion, I’m pretty certain that modern blockbusters would be about 10-15 minutes shorter if scenes played at their regular speed.

It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s just that the film is so ‘meh’, so much wasted promise. It’s loud and brash and has moments of pure joy, Will Smith is clearly having a blast playing a badass and I love the ‘gangster’ feel to Killer Croc from Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje along with Diablo’s barrio street thug turn from Jay Hernandez but for the love of god will someone please tell me why studios keep putting Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang) in stuff.

The flashback/forward within a dream sequence!

In the run up to the film it was also unclear where this film would fit in with Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, for anyone wondering, it is post BvS with a few flashbacks thrown in. The Batman scenes personally just add confusion to how long Batman has been active or inactive for his appearance in BvS to be such a surprise to Clark Kent, especially in light of director David Ayer stating that each member of the SKWAD has a personal vendetta against The Bat, only two of the villains are seen interacting with Batman and one is apprehended by The Flash (Ezra Millar). I hope that boy gets a solo feature as he’s been in as many films as Batfleck at this point.

Another aspect that I really liked was the Dirty Dozen/Magnificent Seven not everyone survives to the end, though in this case their are obvious exceptions to this. Some we know going in are obviously going to survive through star power alone, whilst others are apparently going to be getting their own solo feature and others you think are going to survive don’t.

In Conclusion

DC/Warner Bros. have got to pull their act together, Marvel are leaving them for dust. Whilst the MCU isn’t exactly perfect and doesn’t always flow fluidly it still holds together after a decade whereas the DCEU is a car crash of forced continuity and ideas after only three films. Whilst Suicide Squad didn’t suck it didn’t live up to the hype, that same hype that supposedly had studio executives giving BvS a standing ovation and signing Affleck on for a multi-picture deal with a shit load of creative control going forward. But for the love of god someone please show Zack Snyder the door or maybe Harley’s oversized mallet now that Harley Quinn Smith has her baseball bat.

Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it?

Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it? published on 1 Comment on Tipping Point. Are we there or have we passed it?

In 2016 we will see the release of 8 features based upon comic book sources. 6 of those are from the heavy hitters, DC has 2 features and Marvel has 4, along with the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film produced by Michael Bay as well as Joe Casey’s Officer Downe, published by Image being the only real wildcard and at the time of writing the only one without either a confirmed release date or whether it will see the insides of a cinema.

Original work by MessyPandas
Original work by MessyPandas
Release Date: February 2016
Release Date: February 2016
Release date: June 2016
Release date: June 2016

Then factor in the New Year returns of The CWs Arrow and Flash series, ABCs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and CBSs Supergirl which is now confirmed to be getting a full season. The return of Agent Carter, The CWs third show Legends Of Tomorrow and the Luke Cage series that is due to premier on Netflix at some point along with a second season of Daredevil. Throw in returning shows Powers, Dark Matter and Fear The Walking Dead all getting second seasons, The Walking Dead which along with returning after the holiday hiatus already has a 7th season confirmed for the fall season.

Due to air January 2016
Due to air January 2016
Due to air January 2016
Due to air January 2016
Air date unknown
Air date unknown

Then there’s the debut seasons of Preacher and Lucifer at various points throughout the year, before we get onto the multitude of animated features, predominantly from DC, including Batman: Bad Blood, which features Batwoman, and the eagerly anticipated Batman: The Killing Joke. Whilst Marvel are dominating the small screen with new seasons of its animated shows Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy in the latter half of the year which will also see Nickelodeons Ninja Turtles returning for a fifth season.

Due to be released February 2016
Due to be released February 2016
Season 4 currently airing. Season 5 due Autumn 2016.
Season 4 currently airing, season 5 due Autumn 2016.

As comic readers, fans pick and choose the series they read, drop them as the quality declines then pick them up again if the title secures a noted creative team. But fans are less likely to do that with a TV show, we tend to watch the first half-dozen episodes before sticking with a series or dropping it. Shows like Arrow or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tend to require more commitment, due to their seasons being 22 episodes, than Agent Carter or Daredevil which tend to be referred to as ‘event series’ due to their season lengths being anywhere between 8 and 13 episodes. Animation tends to be a little easier to digest, they don’t really require the same level of commitment as a live action show. Whilst they may have an over arcing plot line, they are far easier to dip in and out of than live action shows and at about 22 minutes in length they also don’t require the same amount of time commitment. 22 episodes of Arrow are going to require about 17 hours of your time to watch the entire season where as 22 episodes of Ninja Turtles are only going to eat up about 8 hours of your free time.

But making some rough estimates and assuming that all the shows currently airing, that haven’t been renewed for what will become the 2016/17 television season, are renewed, along with the animation series, the animated features and the feature films will require about 10 days commitment from each viewer should they chose to watch every comic related show and film that will be released in 2016. Thats a lot of time to give up and that doesn’t even take into account someone watching any other number of films, shows, podcasts or even listening to music. Factor in LIFE and work and suddenly your free time becomes a lot more precious.

In Conclusion

It is inevitable that viewer fatigue will begin to set in soon, if not amongst fanboys and the diehards then eventually amongst the casual viewer, the people that helped push Avengers: Age Of Ultron past $1 Billion at the box office. It’s not much of a leap to assume that most cinema goers couldn’t careless about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Daredevil and how they expand the MCU or how they potentially impact upon future films in the franchise, if at all. Warner Bros. and DC have a lot riding upon the success of Batman Vs Superman and sooner or later one of the Marvel films is going to tank heavily at the Box Office and regardless of how many comic book films that either have a release date on the calendar or are in development studio bosses will soon begin pulling the plugs once the bubble bursts. This could prove costly however for the studios, many actors especially with the Marvel films have multiple film deals in place and others could have ‘pay or play’ contracts in place that could cost the studios millions regardless of if the films get made or not.

Between 2016 and 2020 there are potentially 50+ feature films either, due to be released, in development or in production related to comic book material. Sooner or later these films could collapse under the weight of their own expectation or the general public will just loose interest leaving the die hards with unanswered plot threads and more questions than answers.

A similar fate could also befall any number of the TV shows currently airing or due to air. Constantine was sadly left with unanswered questions just as it started to get really interesting, and many of the shows currently airing could end on cliffhangers. Not every show will get a ten year run like Smallville most will likely make it to a 3rd or 4th season before viewing figures drop off and the axe falls.

This may well be the golden age of comic book adaptations so perhaps we should make the most of it whilst we still can, though that doesn’t mean we should blindly watch everything just because its from DC or Marvel but sooner or later the bubble will burst.

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