Skip to content

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.

Deadpool (A.K.A. A Ryan Reynolds film worth seeing more than once.)

Deadpool (A.K.A. A Ryan Reynolds film worth seeing more than once.) published on

I’ve previously detailed why Deadpool is make or break for Ryan Reynolds, here, at least in terms of comic book related films and for the most part this film delivers.

IMAX Poster

The film seems to revel in the 80s/90s action clichés with the ‘hero’ done wrong by a shady agency and sets out to seek revenge. In this instance the ‘hero’ is a former soldier who upon learning he has terminal cancer is approached by said shady agency with the promise of a cure. This obviously doesn’t go well and through the course of some very aggressive treatments Wilson’s cancer spreads breaking out in tumours over his whole body but with the side effect of activating his dormant mutant genes giving him Wolverine Esq. healing/regeneration powers. With the promise of a cure Wade in the guise of his alter ego Deadpool literally carves his way up the organisations food chain to Francis, a.k.a. Ajax, played by Ed Skrein last seen in The Transporter Refueled (2015) the one without Jason Statham, who had alluded to a cure for Wade’s “testicle with teeth” appearance before he had believed he had killed Wade.

For myself it’s a film that doesn’t quite work it has its highlights and when it works it does so really well but when it doesn’t it only marginally fails, there are no major moments of disaster in this film.deadpool-nervous

Firstly this isn’t Deadpool from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film that has largely been wiped from continuity, and at which this film takes more than a couple of swipes.

Secondly, the fourth wall is well and truly broken, even a little molested at times. However never more than is necessary and never to the point that the plot, what there is, nor the film suffers.

Thirdly, Ryan Reynolds. This is the perfect role for the motor-mouthed gob-shit who lets face it is never going to win an Oscar. Something that the film acknowledges during a meta-moment when Wade name drops Reynolds and questions his acting chops and reliance upon his looks.

Valentine’s Parody Poster

Fourthly, Morena Baccarin, who might just be the films secret weapon as Wades equally foulmouthed ex-hooker girl-friend. One a couple of occasions she really cuts loose with the profanity even if she is reduced to a damsel in distress by the final act. It’s a far cry from her roles in Gotham or Firefly.

This man needs no introduction.

And finally this features the best Stan Lee cameo ever, even if he did have fuck all to do with Deadpools creation.

Where it doesn’t work are only minor grips and most certainly personal ones, which I doubt will be shared by many given the films continuingly impressive box office haul.

The plot, or at least the non-linear timeline, the back and forth from present to past and back again seems to cover over the cracks in the narrative and the passage of time is something we have to accept from a line of dialogue or the obligatory costume making montage.

Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 9.58.35 AM
Gina Carano as Angel Dust

I also found the villains to be underwritten with the previously mentioned Ajax and his sidekick/muscle Angel Dust, played by the formidable Gina Carano, feel underwritten and lacking in motive. Their curing cancer patients by bringing out their dormant mutant genes to then sell them as slaves.

Carano beyond her climactic fight with Colossus is given very little to do which is a shame given her performance in Haywire (2011), like Reynolds she’s never going to trouble the Oscar voters but I’d hate for her to end up doing nothing but generic action films.

Speaking of Colossus, I definitely have issue with the character being pretty much 100% CGI and can understand why Daniel Cudmore chose to not return to the role where he’d be the body but not the voice of a character he’d played three times already.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead, aside from a cool name which Deadpool acknowledges, is given little more to do in the film than we have seem in the trailers. Brianna Hildebrand certainly holds her own as a moody teen and I hope the character returns, be it either Deadpool 2 or any future films in the X-Men franchise.

Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead

On the whole there is a great deal to recommend this film, it gets plenty of laughs and is a solid action film that certainly earns its 15 certificate, an R rating in North America. I have to be honest and say that I’ve never read a Deadpool comic so I have no idea how faithful this is to the 25 years of comic back story. I do know this is a damn sight better than the characters previous appearance but the films off centre position in the X-Men Universes continuity is both a blessing and a curse.

Fox obviously want to exploit the Marvel properties it has following the Days Of Future Past soft reboot but dependent upon how the upcoming Apocalypse and the in-development Wolverine 3 along with any future films in the franchise effect this new continuity remains to be seen. I do hope however that Deadpool is brought into the fold as it were as I look forward to some fourth wall breakage about his inability to ‘Shish kebab’ villains due to studio interference in much the same way that Deadpool comments upon the lack of X-Men due to the films small budget. Deadpool cost $58m in comparison to Days Of Future Past’ $200m or even the first X-Men film which had a $75m budget back in 2000.

I’m looking forward to Deadpool 2, how often do people say they are looking forward to a Ryan Reynolds film, and hopefully some questioning about Cables parentage, now that the character has been tipped to appear in the sequel.

Original Artwork by Vulture34. (


Directed by Tim Miller

Fantastic Four (2015)

Fantastic Four (2015) published on


Director: Josh Trank


  • Miles Teller as Reed Richards
  • Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm
  • Kate Mara as Sue Storm
  • Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/The Thing
  • Toby Kebbell as Victor Von Doom/Victor Domashev

I’ve always tried to hold to the opinion that any film is worth watching once, yes this has lead to some questionable films over the years. Particularly The Twilight Saga. But if I haven’t seen the film then I’m on no position to criticise it. So with the rising price of cinema tickets it forces cinema goers to be more selective of what they see.

On this occasion however I threw caution to the wind, I was also armed with a £6 student ticket and a childlike hope that it can’t be as bad as I’d been hearing. In recent years I’ve also tried to avoid as much supplementary material as possible to preserve the cinema experience with this in mind I’d chosen to not read any reviews and at the time of writing, roughly 24hrs after seeing the film, I’ve still only read two articles on “Den of Geek”, here and here, and the trivia page for the film on IMDB. So with that in mind this is largely unencumbered with outside opinions and influences. But as we all know now, about a week after the films release it has been universally derided.

A word of warning from this point forward there will be SPOILERS.

So what did the film do well?


The Thing; of all the live action versions of The Thing this is by far the best version of the character we have seen so far in cinema. There is real weight to the character, helped by the marvellous sound design, you can feel the solidity to the character as he moves. There is a sense that every movement for the character is pure agony as joints, now turned to rock, grind against one another.


Which leads me to Tranks desire to create a Cronenberg influenced body horror film. Which he does, for about 10 minutes. As events take a turn for the worse and the experiment goes horribly wrong, Tranks Cronenberg influences are clear for all to see. Reed faints upon turning around to see his body stretched beyond reasonable proportions but not before witnessing Johnny Storm as little more than a burnt husk and Ben Grimm a disembodied voice in what appears to be a pile of rumble. Sue we, the audience, have seen struck by a blast of energy from the experiment but it isn’t until a little later on that it is revealed that her body is phasing in and out of reality. Something she has no control over and another nice Cronenbergian touch.


Speaking of Sue, one of the biggest things that sent the internet into melt down was Johnny being African American. Aside from some clunky dialogue between Reed and Sue to explain the mixed ethnicity of the Storm household, the supposed controversy is a non-event. It doesn’t affect the film in any way shape or form.

So what did the film do wrong?

In fairness the film doesn’t specifically do anything wrong, it just doesn’t do a great deal right.

Everybody feels woefully miscast, aside from Jordan. Teller looks uncomfortable, as though he is struggling to get to grips with a role he doesn’t understand. Bell is given almost nothing to do until his transformation, other than chew gum and fold his arms, and even once he is transformed he has very little to really do. Mara also is given almost nothing to do other than being lusted after by at least two of the cast. I was also left confused as to whether Grimm was attracted to Sue as during their one scene together, before the transformation, all Grimm does is stare at her, its neither one thing or another. Just odd.

The transformations of the characters looked wonderfully promising. Following the accident they are all taken to a secret military base, which for added drama during the films conclusion is suddenly adjacent to a heavily trafficked road. The following scenes looked as though they were about to be the standout moments of the film and indeed they were. Sue, as noted, is phasing in and out of visibility, possibly sedated though this is unclear. Johnny who also has no control of his abilities appears to be constantly screaming in pain before the occasionally flare turns everything around him to ashes. Reed is strapped to a table, as we can see in one of the images above, limbs stretched about him like a grotesque vitruvian man. Whilst Grimm is locked away in a darkened room like Frankensteins monsters or Quasimodo.

This is the moment that I thought was going to set this new adaptation apart from other comic book films. Reed crawling, stretching through an air vent, having gained some semblance of control over his wayward limbs sees what has become of his childhood friend. Promises to ‘fix it’ then flees into the wilderness. In previous comic book films, characters have appeared to merely accept what happens to them with little to no issue, be it X-Men or the previous Fantastic Four adaptations.

At this moment I felt like the body horror was going to be played for all the promise that these characters offered. Psychosis, depression and insanity are all potential symptoms for what has happened to these teens. Instead were given ‘One Year Later’ and a montage of the Storms controlling their powers with the aid of some suits developed by the government and apparently none the worse for their ordeal. Grimm has been pressed into military service, though sadly this is only something we see on military monitors. Though it would appear that trousers are optional, luckily though their is no giant rock penis on display to upset the kids.

This weaponisation of the characters makes perfect sense, given that that is usually the first course of action for any ‘civilised’ nation. Nuclear power was most obviously used first as a weapon before becoming a power source, but this like the body horror is yet another missed opportunity for the film as it fails to carry through on this idea.

Doctor-Doom As is Victor Von Doom or Victor Domashev as the character was originally written. The character is introduced as a misanthropic, anti-social loner with a genius level IQ and a healthy mistrust of the government and the militaries potential involvement in the project. This version of Victor is fine for the first half of the film, I can even accept his lusting after Sue, she is pretty much the only woman in the film and therefore the universe. What doesn’t sit well with me is Victor’s motivations for being involved in the project, beyond having the hots for Sue, if he is so opposed to the projects potential to exploit another planet. Maybe its an ego thing, Victor’s desire to always be the smartest person in the room, but sadly this is never really explored. Its Victors ego which eventually costs him as well, he drunkenly encourages Reed and Johnny to be the first to another world with a wonderful analogy where he describes the whole world knowing who Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. But nobody knows the name of the men who actually put them there.

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (Nov. 1961), pg. 9
FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (Nov. 1961), pg. 10

For shits and giggles Reed brings Ben along as well. Why? Bros before Hoes? Or probably because Fantastic Four mythology decrees it. Its also a flip of the comic origin of the group where for reasons beyond anyones knowledge Reed and Ben being the only ones qualified to be on the mission inexplicably allow Sue and her teenage brother Johnny along for the ride.

So as we know the trip goes tits up and in this case Victor is left behind seemingly dead, having fallen into what can only be described as green lava, which melts his protective suit. Following this we have the aftermath of the experiment, the scenes at the military base and then following the jump ahead one year Reed is captured in South America because the American Government don’t seem to be able to recreate the experiment of a group of teenagers. Something Reed is able to do in about 10 minutes.

And though I have detailed some of my misgivings about the film, the miscasting of most of the cast, the failure to follow through upon a number of aspects, the body horror and weaponisation of the characters it is at this point that the film really goes off the rails.

A team return to the other planet and find Victor, who has somehow survived for a year and whose suit has been moulded/burnt to torso. Clearly these men have never seen Alien or are aware of any form of quarantine procedures, beyond Hazmat suits, as they bring him straight back to Earth. Sadly from here the film turns into a teenage boy spending his first night with a girl there has been so much build up but then the film is over in the next 10 minutes. The whole final act feels rushed, under thought and is just a mess.

Victor once back on Earth goes Scanners on everyone and starts exploding heads, his reason being that we have ruined Earth so why should we get the opportunity to do it to another planet, and promptly heads back to the other planet where he is followed by the Fantastic Four who promptly set aside their underwritten differences to defeat him and his big glowing light that is sucking the Earth through a portal.


In conclusion:

Like a parent, I’m not angry I’m just disappointed. There was a lot of potential with this film, a move away from the bright, light and fluffy version of the characters from the previous decade but what we sadly get is an uneven film that fails to satisfy anyone.

Secondary Sidebar