2018 Rewind : Marvel kills it with Infinity War and DC finds a new hero in Aquaman12 min read
2018 was a pinnacle in the life of everyone who appreciates American comic books , the panels being brought to life on the silver screen. With a cultural monolith as big as Black Panther , Marvel set its foot in a new breed of comic book movies ; something which might become the essential component of Marvel Cinematic Universe in future.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther was the proper definition of ethnic representation through the lens and opened up to massive and unmatched success – being both the year’s first comic book movie and the history’s first comic book origin movie to break the billion dollar seal.
But it was not the zenith yet. And frankly speaking , we knew that . Avengers : Infinity War was just around the corner and it couldn’t get any bigger. Massive event from the comics , an anticipation in progress throughout the decade and a culmination spread over a score of movies featuring a ton of superheroes. It was like a comic book reader’s wet dream. Avengers : Infinity War left me content and wondering whether DC could ever project Darkseid in the big screen now that the shadow of Josh Brolin’s Thanos was looming large on everyone’s eyes.
I was not content with what Justice League came out to be and was quite dissatisfied with the direction DC was going in. Steppenwolf seemed to be a wasted potential and the studio cutting out almost all of Snyder’s Darkseid reference was a bad indication.Thus I was happy when I learnt Ana DuVernay was directing a new Gods movie , thought it was perfect to tease Darkseid without making him first fight some or all of the Justice League. It was not too later , that Marvel too decided to dig up their history and go millions of years ago to explore the Eternals.
After Infinity War , there was a tinge of sadness in everybody’s heart as to what would become of the heroes after the Decimation event. Thankfully , there were other things to keep us on our edge. After a little hiccup from Comcast , Fox accepted the $72 Billion deal from Disney. X-Men and Fantastic 4 were now back home. X-Men is the only way Marvel can make something bigger than either of Infinity War or End Game with Marvel’s first family and the mutant gene now in their control again.
It couldn’t be any better and still now promises great things ahead. You shall see. The greatest thing about Marvel is that if it announces something , you can expect it to become a reality in a couple of years. However , the other rival studios can not match the holistic and promising presence of Marvel Cinematic Universe. DC/WB has made a couple of promises over the last couple of years , but only a couple of them makes it into what we call “production pipeline”.However , one of my most anticipated off shoot DC movie made it to the list – Todd Philips’s Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix.
I know a lot of you do not like the project , but there is a couple of reasons for me to stay hyped for the same. I respect and love Joaquin for his acting skills but I have always stayed loose towards the fact that the man needs to drop in an acid van to become the Joker. Standing in 2018 , I appreciate cinematic improvisation to comic book material and anything that can make the source material more grounded can not be more welcoming.
So there’s that. Then we had Ant-Man and the Wasp , which was more like a cool breeze of air for me. Though I am surprised from its box office collection ; what not a brand does this days ? The world of comic books was as much a roller coaster as every year : it saw lots of dark twists in the form of Scott Snyder’s Dark Nights Metal and it saw the Black Panther rise through both the movie and “Rise of the Black Panther” by Evan Narcisse and Paul Renaud. I loved reading Geoff Jonn’s Doomsday Clock and the implications it continues to bring to DC Universe and I enjoyed seeing
an Afghanistan war veteran and single mother become the new Kickass.
But what moved me the most is Superman’s 1000th issue : what can you do to commemorate a hero’s existence of 80 years – a hero that started it all. DC brought in a team of writers for the event and made a story which can be considered a true Superman story in years. Young generation look onto movies for their perception of the character and the modern movies is not even a measure of a quality to who Superman is. I am glad to have read the issue and as a long fan of the character , made me shed a tear or two.
My most anticipated comic book series moving in 2019 ? Its easy – Batman : Three Jokers. I do not read much of comics nowadays but I am thankful that whatever I get my hands on are pretty…tight ! Speaking of tight , you might not wanna miss the new Watchmen series to debut in HBO , 2019.
I must confess I am pretty much excited for HBO’s Watchmen. The series will be taking place way after the Cold War , a world where the people are slowly starting to embrace the truth. Jeremy Irons is playing the older Ozymandias and it is looking pretty solid till now. We shall see if this modern take can justify the grandeur storytelling of the world of Watchmen.
Jumping on to TV series , it was a wild run this year. Jessica Jonns was meh , so was Iron Fist but it was Luke Cage and specially Daredevil what stole the show. Show runner Erik Oleson blew all the steam off as Charlie Cox’s Devil went against the like of Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk and his special man , Agent Poindexter. Nobody wondered at that point that it was the last time as almost the whole coaster of Marvel heroes in Netflix were pulled out soon after. Punisher returns for a second season , but looks like that would be it.
Disney is gearing up for its streaming service , Disney+. The streaming service , a top priority of the studio in 2019 , will bring consumers curated content from the plethora of Disney owned content. That ranges from Disney/Pixar to Star Wars to Marvel to FOX owned content. A Scarlett Witch show featuring Elizabeth Olsen , a Loki show featuring Tom Hiddleston and a limited duo series based on Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon is on the works for the service.
Talking of CW’s Arrowverse , Flash and its sibling shows has improved a lot. Specially Flash , as the Season 4 was just straight awful and horrendously written. The crossover was epic introducing Ruby Rose’s Batwoman to the show and a tease that her personal standalone show might be on their way. With Flash zooming in towards what seems to be an epic second half , we take a moment of time to discuss the new contenders. DC launched its exclusive streaming service this year named DC Universe with lots of original content.
One of the name worthy series was a new and gritty take on Teen Titans named Titans. Though the show’s writing was fine with frequent brilliant performance from the cast , lets just settle on the fact that it ended on a point where the second season looks promising. Plenty of new shows is on the way with Swamp Thing , Legion of Doom and Stargirl to name a few. Back to movies , I was left dissapointed with Venom and was both surprised and worried with its global box office response.
Venom could be a lot more entertaining product but the creative team chose a weird path to go on , which more weirdly worked commercially. Lets hope , the sequels would be much better off. However when we come to other Spider-man products these year , I am happy to say SONY and Insomniac Games didn’t disappoint. Spiderman PS4 was a mind blowing game and one of the most beautifully written superhero game since the Arkham series.
Spider-Man : Into the Spider-verse , which is now running in theaters , is another celebration of the character : which is pure yet rare. The sequel is already started to take shape and you wouldn’t like to miss this one. Moving on , we have a lot of slated films revealed this year. The most anticipated movie for Marvel fans would have to be the standalone Black Widow film since it took so much of a time for Scarlett Johannson to get the presence she deserves in the MCU.
Some of the slated movies revealed this year by official/non-official sources include a Shang Chi movie , Ms Marvel movie , Zatanna movie , Birds of Prey And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (featuring Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress , Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary , Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn , Ewan McGregor as Black Mask and Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz) , Batgirl movie ( with a screenplay by Christina Hodson who is also writing Birds of Prey) , Joker and Harley movie , a Morpheus movie starring Jared Leto as the living vampire , a Plastic Man movie and a Doctor Strange sequel.
Movies that will grace us in 19/20 include Wonder Woman 1984 ( principal photography wrapped up) , Shazam (post-production work ongoing) , Avengers : End Game ( Editing ongoing ) , Captain Marvel (Post-Production work ongoing and entering promotion) , Spider-man : Far from Home (principal photography wrapped up) , Glass ( movie complete and entering final phase of promotion) , Hellboy ( post production work going on) , Joker ( post production and gearing up for re-shoots) , Spawn movie ( to start production 2019) and Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (pre production).
With the past and future sorted , it’s now time to talk about the present. James Wan’s Aquaman is now in theaters and its passing past milestone one after another , soaring towards $800 Million worldwide collections now. I found the movie average but the comic book movie in it appealing and beautifully made. It is surely a step in the right direction for DC. And as the billion dollar goal seems more and more likely with each passing day , it is now interesting to note what WB will learn from it apart from the prospect of a sequel.
Of course , the sequel is the immediate wise response from any studio executive. But Marvel’s inter connective game has been one of the most strategically brilliant decision taken in Hollywood and has developed new methodologies to work out with popular characters. Most of the films slated in DC/WB end up being in development hell : Green Lantern Corps , Deadshot movie , Man of Steel Sequel , Cyborg and eventually the Batman movie as well. So its important for DC to plan out their game and stay in competition.
For let’s be real , if DC loses we all do. They have some of the finest lores and characters in superhero community. And a fine film not made is a loss to all. So that was it. 2018 was brilliant but 2019 looks extraordinary. Wishing a very happy new year to all of you and your families ahead. #BYEBYE2018