What Ant-Man was for Marvel Studios’ Avengers franchise, Deadpool is for 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, proving that a good story and good delivery can outperform big budget, team-up blockbusters. Ant-Man stepped away from the standard superhero movie tropes to give us a flawed human trying to do right by way of some good tech, and Deadpool went to the next step and took the superhero story that much further away from the norm. As the #1 box office success of any Rated R film, it also proved you cannot predict what will fail and what will succeed.
But all the press that distinguished Deadpool as something completely new and different was really just feeding into the marketing hype. Seemingly collectively shocked by the impending change-up of “the first Rated R superhero movie,” press and critics ignored so much. From an over-the-top action standpoint was Deadpool that far different from RoboCop, The Crow, or V for Vendetta–all also carrying the R rating? And from a crude humor standpoint, is Deadpool any different from the similarly hilarious Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, or if darkness is your thing Sin City or Watchmen–also Rated R?
The reality is that the success of Deadpool can be found in the melding of all the elements you need for any good superhero movie. If you skipped this one or only watched it in the theater, now is a good time to revisit it on Blu-ray or DVD. You no doubt missed some great elements during your first watch, and the special features that accompany the home release point out plenty that will likely elevate whatever view you already have about this release.
The Blu-ray we reviewed included both the Blu-ray and DVD as well as a digital Ultraviolet code for viewing on your Vudu or Flixster account. Deadpool includes the best behind the scenes coverage of any Blu-ray we’ve reviewed this year in its “From Comics to Screen… to Screen” segment. Who knew how much stunt work was required for all the elaborately choreographed action sequences and how much was actually CGI? Sure, we knew star Ryan Reynolds was in the “Deadpool red” supersuit for part of the film, but his two stuntmen really carried a lot of the film with one stuntman tearing his ACL for one of the less-involved sequences. And like the movie’s in-joke, the two other X-Men that appear may well be lesser characters when compared to the team in X-Men: Apocalypse, yet the fact we get to focus on far fewer means we got to know Colossus that much better. Plus director Tim Miller and costume designer Angus Strathie made sure Negasonic Teenage Warhead wore the classic X-Men yellow supersuit.
Amid all the chaos and bombardment of superhero movies in the theaters these days, it’s often difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Not so long ago if someone asked about your favorite superhero movie you’d probably name it without hesitation. These days? You probably will need to mull it over in light of so many quality films. Of the classic films I would have named Christopher Reeves’ Superman. Of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I once would have named the first Iron Man. Then after many Marvel lookalikes and too many dark Dark Knights, the three that rise to the top are Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Then Bryan Singer created another X-Men entry released this summer and I’m hedging again. X-Men: Apocalypse, still in theaters, is exactly the movie I dreamed of when I was a kid reading comic books.
How often do superhero movies, or any other drama, sci-fi, fantasy, or action franchise movie, threaten stakes as great as the end of the world? How many actually take you through an apocalypse? X-Men: Apocalypse delivers the rampage and destruction I read as a kid inside the pages of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars. I was never an X-Men fan before X-Men: Days of Future Past and Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men monthly series, so I haven’t followed the ins and outs of the team for decades to know whether the movies are “loyal” enough for diehard readers. But I do know what great superhero powers look like on the big screen, and as with X-Men: Days of Future Past, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver remains the best realized superhero on-screen.
As kids we debated over what power would allow you to triumph over your superhero peers, and Singer must have done the same thing and landed with the same answer. Speed. Despite giving us the best superhero TV series of the 1980s and today with its two looks at Barry Allen/The Flash, DC Entertainment has not yet shown us all a speedster could do. Will that happen in Justice League next year? Until then, X-Men: Apocalypse is worth a first or second look for Quicksilver’s big scene. And more.
Although DC Entertainment seemed to sweep the spotlight at this San Diego Comic-Con this year, Marvel Studios released one noteworthy trailer late today. We’ve said it before: not since Robert Downey, Jr. was cast as Tony Stark has the studio really nailed its casting efforts as with Benedict Cumberbatch’s match to the classic comic book character. And he looks spot-on in this new trailer.
This latest Marvel Cinematic Universe entry is directed by Scott Derrickson, known for his horror work in films like Deliver us From Evil, the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
Doctor Strange co-stars Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes, State of Play) as Christine Palmer, Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles of Narnia, Snowpiercer) as The Ancient One, Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity, The Martian) as Baron Mordo, Amy Landecker (Revenge, Early Edition), Scott Adkins (Expendables 2, The Bourne Ultimatum), and Michael Stuhlbarg (Hugo) as Nicodemus West.
Marvel also issued a new poster at Comic-Con today:
Check out the second trailer released for Doctor Strange:
Are you a fan of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? How about a comic book adaptation whose quality is nearly as good as that of Marvel’s original trilogy adaptations in the late 1970s and early 1980s?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a Marvel six-issue adaptation is coming your way later this month and we have a preview of not only some great variant covers, but previews of interior artwork by Luke Ross. Chuck Wendig provides the script adaptation for the story.
Variant covers include some beautiful interpretations by Phil Noto and Joe Quesada (above), and John Cassaday and Esda Ribic (below).
After the break, take a look at some interior pages from Marvel’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Issue #1:
Get thee to the comic book store tomorrow!
It’s that time of year again. It’s time for the annual pilgrimage to your local comic book store for Free Comic Book Day, this Saturday, May 7, 2016. Dozens of new books are available this year, for kids of all ages. Like these:
Alan Tudyk has a new comic book out called Spectrum. He talks about it here:
And despite what you hear below from that familiar guy from Reading Rainbow, most comic book stores will let you select more than a few issues, not just one:
We first previewed the return of the classic borg series Micronauts here at borg.com back in January. Now borg.com Hall of Fame inductee ROM, the original Hasbro cyborg blinking-eye spaceman action figure made famous in a line of 1970s-1980s Marvel Comics, is returning next month for Free Comic Book Day with an ongoing series beginning in July from IDW Publishing, titled simply ROM.
Rom first appeared in ROM Spaceknight #1 (December 1979) by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema. Based on the Parker Brothers toy designed by Scott Dankman, Richard C. Levy, and Bryan L. McCoy, the early cyborg action figure was considered a failure in the toy industry, only selling between 200,000 and 300,000 figures. But the comic book series went on to continue in 79 issues.
With a #0 issue as its launch point, ROM is back in a series written by Christos Gage and Chris Ryall with artwork by David Messina and several great cover variants available. ROM faces off against the Dire Wraiths in the first story, “Earthfall”.
Mike Mayhew, illustrator on The Star Wars series for Dark Horse Comics and an incredible cover and interior artist on many major sci-fi and superhero titles, has created new cover artwork for the Star Wars prequels. Much like the original trilogy received last year, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith will see their own hardcover editions of their comic book adaptations for your comic book library.
If you couldn’t imagine getting interested in the prequels again, just check out these three beautiful covers. Mayhew nails both the look and feel of the Star Wars universe and he gets the characters, like Yoda and General Grievous, and the actors behind the characters, all spot-on.
We’ve also included some other recent cover art by Mayhew (above and below). You can meet Mike Mayhew this weekend at WonderCon at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Marvel Studios released the second trailer for Captain America: Civil War, the first film from Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just like in the comic books, the Avengers aren’t getting along, just like the ever-recurring Avengers v. X-Men stories, and like the similar themed Batman v. Superman from the DC Universe. The bickering and inability of a team of super “heroes” to resolve differences shows why hero worship isn’t a good thing. Nice role models! Sure, the good guys fighting good guys storyline has been around as long as the superheroes themselves, but Marvel has been dwelling on this since early in Phase I. So if you think the Captain America vs. Iron Man feud is getting old, you’re not the only one. But the real enemy is Thanos, and war against Thanos is on its way in this new Phase of films.
What would be more fun to see? How about the studios get their acts together and have the Avengers battle the X-Men? If Spider-man–who makes a welcome appearance in the latest trailer shown below–can make the studio leap, let’s show fans what can really be done. And check out that new Spidey-suit. Finally, a suit that looks as great as we imagined it from the comic books.
If you’re scratching your head over the Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III distinctions, how about a quick walk through Marvel’s plans. Phase I includes, in order, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avengers, and The Avengers (or Avengers: Assemble in the UK). This was the introduction of characters, S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, and revolved around the Tesseract, which is one of the Infinity Stones.
Bryan Singer’s next X-Men movie keeps looking better and better. 20th Century Fox released this new poster for this summer’s superhero release, X-Men: Apocalypse, honing in on Oscar Isaac’s villain Apocalypse. He is watching over his henchmen in the form of Michael Fassbender returning as Magneto, and newcomers Olivia Munn as Psylocke, Ben Hardy as Archangel, and Alexandra Shipp as Storm.
Other actors old and new for the next mutant bash are James McAvoy as Professor X, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Beast), Evan Peters as Quicksilver (the best speedster to ever appear on film), Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler.
If you missed 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past reviewed here at borg.com, or the expanded Rogue Cut from last year reviewed here, grab yourself a copy and experience one of the best superhero films of all time. Here is an earlier image from the new film:
And here is the new poster from X-Men: Apocalypse:
Marvel Comics continues to expand its offerings in the Star Wars universe with this summer’s new monthly Star Wars: Han Solo. Marvel released the first images of the new series this week, including cover art by fan favorite artist Lee Bermejo. Here is the promotional summary for the series:
Han Solo has finally entered his ship into the Dragon Void Run – an infamous high-stakes race across the stars. You know, the race Han has dreamt of winning. Only there’s a catch – his entry into this legendary race is a top-secret undercover mission for Princess Leia and the Rebellion! Will he keep his mind on the mission? More importantly – can he manage to pull it off while still maintaining his lead in the race?!
Urban fantasy author and Marvel Comics writer Marjorie Liu will script the series with interior art by Mark Brooks and cover art by Lee Bermejo, whose painted art always looks great in his distinctive style: