Incredibles 2 Poster Looks Like A Marvel Film

I was looking at the poster for the upcoming Incredibles 2 film, and noticed that it looked awfully familiar. And not just because I saw and enjoyed the first Incredibles film in 2004, but because the poster seemed…exactly like a Marvel film. Specifically, one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, AKA, the MCU.

Here’s the poster for Incredibles 2:

Notice the shape, the look, the radial bi-symmetry of the thing, the arms reaching out, the circles on circles.

Now compare that with the current MCU blockbuster…..

 

 

 

Avengers: Infinity War. See the background circle, the hands stretching out, the DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man of the thing?

This is the new look in the last few years for action and superhero movies. I’ll go back a few more MCU films to point this out:

 

 

Black Panther‘s got the circles, the big head at the top, similar character groupings.

 

 

 



Thor: Ragnarok really has the thickly layered Vitruvian Man thing going on, lots of circles, the bilateral symmetry. We can clearly see there’s some branding going on.

 

But wait…another Marvel property followed the look:

Deadpool 2 can get away with this, because a) it’s a Marvel superhero  film (not in the MCU, but still), and b) it’s a parody film that sees no harm in poking fun at the “Avengers thing”.

 

 

Where it gets a little weird is seeing this imagery pop up in non-Marvel, non-superhero films, like Solo: A Star Wars Story.

It’s not exactly the same, but someone definitely got the memo about the symmetry, the circles, and the layered character arrangement. Here the circles actually make sense, in-story, because we’re obviously looking through the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. But the similarities are still there. We know that Star Wars is now owned by Disney, who owns Marvel, and also owns Pixar, which is how we get right back around to Incredibles 2, a Pixar film.

Disney’s probably doing some branding, and us good little audience goers now recognize this poster imagery as a form of code: Adventure Ahead. Universal Studios is, by contrast, not doing this little movie shorthand on their posters. Look at Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom for reference:

 

See? There ARE other ways to make an adventure poster. We’ve just gotten used to Disney’s featured look. We’ve been “branded”.

My guess is we will keep seeing this kind of poster until a certain level of saturation sets in. And then Disney will come up with a new stylized code for their big blockbuster properties.

 

Back to Incredibles 2 – this is, like Deadpool 2, a superhero parody that also plays the story straight. (Incredibles is a reworked version of the Fantastic Four, just done right.)

There’s no big meaning to these kinds of things, but it’s still interesting to see how we relate to movie poster images. And the callback to the Vitruvian Man is surely one of the oldest memes. Someone on Disney’s team grabbed that ancient archetype and ran with it.

 

I look forward to what happens when a non-Disney poster unthinkingly follows suit and uses this look. Like maybe when the next DC superhero film comes out. Disney will probably freak and file a lawsuit, but last I heard, DaVinci’s art is royalty-free, and circles are even older.

Alternate Avengers 2 & 3 story

[Note: this is an alternate plot to the Ultron/Thanos storyline; a different version of Avengers 2 and 3. Play along! However, I wouldn’t suggest reading this until after you have seen Infinity War, or it won’t make sense.]

So. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Infinity War (Avengers 3). Even though it left me numb from the action and deaths in the final moments, it did convey a sense of urgency rarely achieved in superhero films. I gave Infinity War a super rare A+, after all.

But — hey — just for fun, let me suggest another possibility for how the story of Ultron and Thanos could have played out.

Suppose Thanos appears in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and his plot to wipe out half of the sentient beings in the universe is discovered. The Avengers realize they are powerless to stop Thanos, so Stark pulls out his secret, powerful trump card: Ultron. After much debate, the Avengers agree and Ultron is created. All seems right with the world. Ultron evolves at an astounding rate and seems to be the force they need to contain Thanos.

However, eventually Ultron realizes that Thanos is only half right. He sees all biological life as a blight on the universe, and the next logical step is the perfection of existence: himself. (Basically, the idea Ego has in Guardians 2, but more so.)

Once the Avengers catch wind of Ultron’s motivation, they feel all hope is lost. Now they face TWO seemingly unstoppable foes. One who wants to wipe out half the life in the universe, and the other wanting to wipe out all life in the universe.

Once Thanos discovers this, he approaches the Avengers. As we now know, Thanos doesn’t think of himself as a destroyer, but as a savior. He wants to make the universe better. So he teams up with the Avengers to defeat Ultron and achieve his aims.

After barely defeating Ultron, the Avengers set upon stopping Thanos again…but now, Thanos is weakened from his battle with Ultron. The Avengers are — barely — able to defeat him, teaming their skills together (as we see in Infinity War).

Of course, along the way, we still wipe out a sizable portion of the Avengers cast, which feels necessary at this point in our decade-long franchise culmination.

What do you think? How would you like to see the story played out?

Mark Ruffalo Sneaks in a Hulk Movie

We’ve had two prior Hulk movies no one was happy with, and then Avengers rolled around. Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk was the one we’ve been waiting for, gifting us with a charming, quietly surprising underdog in his version of Bruce Banner. His friendship with Tony Stark enchanted, matching Robert Downy Jr.’s alpha male character unassumingly, while Banner’s tender, unexpected, and  tentative relationship with Black Widow was satisfyingly organic (if completely up in the air at this point).

Suffice to say Ruffalo could sell the big green goods in a way no one since the 1970s could, when the combo of Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno touched us via small screen.

All well and fine. So, will we finally we get a proper Hulk stand-alone movie? Apparently there are rights issues. Spiderman had rights issues, and it worked out eventually with Marvel’s Civil War and Homecoming. But at this point in the MCU (Phase Whatever), I’m not sure a Hulk standalone would fit. He’s shown up in an outstanding co-starring role for Thor: Ragnarok, and Hulk’s story will continue through Avengers 3 and 4 (the Infinity Wars).

According to this quick interview below, Hulk gets a “mini-movie” snuck in, spread out over the course of other Marvel ensembles. I guess we’ll have to be content with that. If Ruffalo is fine with it, we can be too.

So…for Thor 3 – Ragnarok…Rotten Tomatoes has it rated among the highest-rated Marvel films yet. Our two RunPee Ragnarok reviews (here and here) rate it in the A to A+ range, and we agree it’s a magnificent addition to the MCU. Thor’s Ragnarok is hysterically weird and beautiful, with a great plot and stylish characterization. It’s also got a direct lead-in to Thanos’ big entrance. A must-see before Avengers – Infinity Wars!

Where the Hulk will continue his “mini-movie” is anyone’s guess, now that we know Bruce and the Green Guy are at dire odds in their uneasy connection.  We’ll probably see Bruce Hulk out again…but at what cost?

How would you continue — or possibly end — this story? And will a Black Widow romance be a part of it? We find out part of these answers during the first part of Avengers: Infinity Wars. Soon, friends, soon.

Read More Marvel-Related Articles on RunPee.com

 

Movie Review: Thor 3 – Ragnorak (Jilly’s POV)

Thor 3, AKA Ragnarok, was incredibly engaging and hard to tear my eyes from. It’s now in my top tier of MCU movies, beaten only by the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Hemsworth’s slightly dim but mighty character is a joy, from his 4th wall-breaking open, to the mid-credit end, and the man’s got surprisingly perfect comedic timing. Who knew? Turns out Hemsworth really can carry a movie on his muscular back, with more than raw beauty to show for it.

I wasn’t expecting too much going in, but admittedly the bar was so low with Thor 1 and 2 (especially 2). The director used Thor wisely in his 3rd, and presumably final, solo film. Although it’s essentially a buddy movie about Hulk, too. Just like Captain America 3: Civil War is basically an Avengers ensemble movie, right? It works.

Along these lines, I have a few alternate titles for Thor: Ragnarok that I think would work even better (unless you are a huge Norse Mythology fan). List whichever you prefer in the comments section:

  • Thor: God of Hammers
  • Thor: Gladiator Edition
  • Thor: The Funny One
  • Revengers (like the Avengers, with added dysfunction)
  • Hulk 2
  • Thor and Hulk: Road Trip to the Devil’s Anus

What’s unusual about this film are the villains. They aren’t bland meanies, like most superhero supervillans; they’re actually okay.  Damning with faint praise, I know. Cate Blanchett does a decent job with what she’s given (I sense there were more scenes left on the editing floor). The Ragnarok fire demon was fine – he wasn’t intended to be more than a burning lava monster, from cold open to the unusual climax. And Golblum isn’t even a “bad” guy — he’s just an amiable meglomaniac with a harem and God Complex. He reminded me of The Collector. I hope we see them both again.

I do feel bad for Hela…there could have been a lot more depth to her arc. I guess she needed to get in line for scene time after Loki and Odin and Heimdall (who, thankfully, had something to do this time around). I’d be super happy with a Heimdall movie, for reals. The man was wasted, although the teaser suggests more to come. Saying anything more would enter spoiler territory, so let’s just move along.

Finally, Loki was appropriately used, and is more understandable — this director “got” what the God Of Mischief is about. Loki is like the “Scorpion” in the parable with the fox (Google it) — it’s true to his nature to sting. Yet he does try (when it suits hims, natch) to be a hero. He wants to be better, and if you recall from the first Thor movie, both brothers had some moral growing to do. With Thanos mad at him, we can guess which side he’ll lean on now. Loki has always been a scene stealer, as well as a PITA to boot, but here I’m fully onboard with his character. He can be a positive force, if he’s just accepted and understood — that’s become super clear, finally, in Ragnarok.

I’m really stingy with my A grades, and the last time I gave out a full A+ was the 2017 space cruise ship flick Passengers. Strangely enough, my favorite MCU film is still the original Guardians of the Galaxy. The blue and purple villains were underwhelming though, and I can only give GoTG a A- grade in good conscience. (I’ll link to that article when I write it.)

But, we’re still talking about Thor here, and Thor 3 manages to pull a win from their previously low Marvel tier buttocks.

And yes, I rank Marvel movies by tier: Great, Good, Okay, and Fetid…and Thor’s been scraping the bottom in his stand-alones,  til now. I credit the director — who also played the delightful Rockman — for understanding what Thor should be used for, along with Hemsworth for embracing his slightly slow but funny godhood (“Because that is what heroes do!”), Ruffalo for being freaking awesome in his dual roles, and for the writers giving us something happy in these dark times…YES. Thank you for the color, the fun, and for Goldblum. He’s the perfect weirdo to be the Grandmaster, and I hear he smartly improvised most of his lines, playing himself, as usual. Go Goldblum, go.

And now I’ve got The Immigrant Song, by Led Zepplin, stuck in m head. It’s a good choice, so that’s okay by me. The reprise was certainly welcome, and the audience clapped at it. I was a happy movie goer that day, and saw it this three more times in the cinema later. Watch it in the theater, and watch it again on DVD.

Movie Grade: A+

Want more? Read Dan’s review of Thor: Ragnarok

And our Thor 2 – The Dark World Rewatch Review

Or the Complete Compilation of Thor 3’s Deleted, Bonus, and Blooper Scenes

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Jilly’s POV)

Now DC has its own cinematic universe. That’s fine: I won’t turn down good entertainment. I’m a geek through and through, and NEED my sci fi fix to sleep well at night. But DC has a history of being either 1. Disappointing, or 2. Really and Truly Grim. Contrast this to Marvel and the Avengers, which engages me, making me happy. Life is tough enough; my entertainment choices should make me laugh and smile and feel better about being alive. Mostly, Marvel does just this.

So, DC. Specifically, The Justice League. I’m old enough to remember the original Saturday morning cartoons about the Justice League, AKA Super Friends. I liked it then, Wonder Twins and all. Now, I’m cautious. Ambivalent. Waiting to see where things go.

Here’s what I’m thinking: we had the earnestly serious but ultimately depressing Nolan-version Batman films. Health Ledger made those watchable. Then we had some rebooted Superman flicks that were also dark, which for Supes is simply unforgivable. Superman is about lightness, apple pie, and good vibes, and making the world a better place. See Superman in the 1980s, when it was done right. Ya with me?

The new Superman made him unbearably moody. I understand a broody Batman, who is admittedly an alcoholic, a loner, and just a breath away from being a supervillain himself.

Then DC brought them together in Batman vs Superman – more grimdark stuff – and Suicide Squad, which was…okay? Guardians of the Galaxy it wasn’t,  though it tried. It shot high, landed low.

Finally, DC hit a home run in Wonder Woman. YES! It was exactly what we, the long-suffering fans, hoped for. Fun, a tiny bit joyous, ambitiously pretty, and sprinkled with humor. It felt like Fantastic Beasts in the Harry Potter franchise and the first Captain America movie: all three take place roughly in the same timeframe.

This loooong lead in brings us to Justice League. Did it do the job, bring it, give us what the DCEU needed? Hmmmm, somewhat. It was definitely an ensemble piece with fun beats, good 70s tunes, and an amiable premise. However, the producers seemed in too big a hurry to catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not earned. The MCU has a lot of groundwork and years on DC. When The Avengers came together, it was simpatico.

To explain: We “get” Diana Prince/the Wonder Woman. She carried Justice League on her lithe Amazonian back. We know her; we like her. She brings the action and the humor. She leads the team. I have no WW complaints.

The Batman? Hmmmm. Gloomy and underserved. I don’t have much to say on his role in JL, besides, “What the frak he was thinking to bring Supes back?” Oh, is that a spoiler? (Not if you watched the trailers.)

It’s been said here before: the problem with Superman is that he’s too powerful. You can only hurt him with Kryptonite. There’s not much else to say or do with this guy.

He also makes The Flash unfortunately redundant. Why have someone who can run fast when Superman can best him in speed?

But, speaking of The Flash himself: awesome. Admittedly, he owned most of this film’s humor, and the actor was up to the task. He’s clearly the DCEU version of Spiderman, and I want more. Gimme, gimme. I’ll be very happy to watch the standalone Flash film when it comes.

But then, there’s Cyborg. He’s a cipher, an Iron Man without the personality. I think he could have been better written. Next…

That leaves Aquaman. Superbly cast and executed — he needs his own origin movie. That’s all, mike drop, end of story. I loved the energy, the raw power he brought to the screen. What was frustrating: his character’s lack of mythological depth. What is the deal with Atlantis? What’s his relationship with Norway? Do fish obey him or what? Stuff was missing. In the meantime, I LOVED what we got, which was funny and engaging, both. DC needs to move up his movie in their queue, and drop the terrible pathos of Batman and Superman, who are frankly played out.

It’s not like you HAVE to pander to the fans, but in this case, give the Bat a break. Move on. Give us something fun and pretty and new. We want good storytelling, not another angsty reboot.

So, the JL movie was fine. A solid B, IMO. The villain was a bust, but hey; I’m used to that and have learned to ignore it. Steppenwolf was a low-rent Sauron from Lord of the Rings, but I frankly don’t care. Marvel has had its share of Macguffin villains (see Guardians of the Galaxy, my favorite MCU movie). So, I can forgive the Justice League baddie as a sucky ripoff, as long as the ensemble story works. Which it mostly does. (Oh, and the “Mother Boxes” — give me a break. Infinity Stones much? Come up with your own plot. Even Voldemort was original.)

Altogether, was Justice League good? Well. It was fine. Middle of the road; basically non-offensive superhero fare. See it in the theater, but don’t pay extra for IMAX or 3D. Joss Whedon’s involvement helped the banter significantly (you can really tell his lines in this – they stand out – mostly with The Flash, and Aquaman).

To sum: the best DCEU movie yet, coming in just a hair ahead of Wonder Woman (mainly because I loves me a good ensemble film). But, really, if I had to choose, I’d see Thor: Ragnarok again. That movie just slayed me, and I’ve seen it four times now.

Movie Grade: B

Movie Review – Justice League (RunPee Dan’s POV)

I enjoyed the movie. Not a lot, but enough. There was some decent humor — most of which revolves around Barry Allen/Flash. The action/fight scenes were fine. A few awesome moments here and there.

The actors all did a good job. I’d say Ezra Miller, as Flash, stood out as the best. Ray Fisher, as Cyborg, was good, but his character is so basically unemotional that it’s hard to mess it up. Jason Momoa, as Aquaman, was almost great. He brings some power, and not just the physical type, and he handled few humorous scenes well.

That being said, there’s a LOT that I don’t like about the movie.

First, why is DC in such a hurry to create the Justice League? I can understand that the studio/producers probably feel like they’re light years behind Marvel, but who cares? They have all the time in the world. There were five stand alone(ish) MCU movies before we got to the first Avengers. But the DC team just skipped over at least three standalone movies: the origin of The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Each one of those could have been a movie by themselves. Plus, a few more to introduce the mythology in the DC universe. Oh well.

My biggest gripe is that the villain is honestly plain horrible in this movie. Basically, he’s a big bad god type thing, bent on destruction. There’s absolutely no lead in. And all I could think after seeing the one minute of exposition of the villain’s origin was, “Hello, Lord of the Rings much?” Really, he’s a big bad thing bent on total domination, because he has united these three boxes. And after the three armies of Amazons, Atlantians, and men defeat him, they divide up the three boxes so they can’t be reunited again.

Besides all that, the villain is basically a prop for our heroes to crush, after an appropriate amount of struggle.

My last gripe is a potential spoiler. So scroll if you want to read more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Superman is the single worst superhero ever. He’s just too strong. Once he enters the fight at the end, it’s like playtime for him. Where’s the fun in that?

New Black Panther Trailer is Fantastic

I saw the new Black Panther trailer when I went to see Thor: Ragnarok, and it looks GORGEOUS. Sumptuous. Luxuriously detailed and kind of intense. Seriously, I could watch this preview all day: New Black Panther Trailer. Gimme, gimme!

Marvel sure knows how to create anticipation for their universe of movies. It’s all about the story, and the producers keep me wanting more, and wanting it now. I’m shocked to find I’m more into the MCU than the Star Wars films (I’m and a true geek who waited in line for hours back in 1978, to see Star Wars in the theater at least a dozen times).

Anyway. Go watch the trailer and enjoy!

Movie Review: Thor 3 – Ragnarok (Dan’s POV)

Sometimes you leave the theater loving a movie, but after giving it a little thought it starts to diminish. Other movies don’t make an immediate impact, but after some thought, and rewatching, becomes a favorite. I think Thor: Ragnarok will be one of the few films that accomplishes both. I enjoyed the movie throughout, and walked out impressed, and I think this will be one of the most enjoyable MCU movies over time. Right up there with the first Guardians.

What sticks out most is the humor. It starts off funny, and just gets better and better. And I never felt that the humor was forced.

It looked like all the actors had a good time making this movie. I feel that special recognition should be given to the writers and director. The character of Thor has come a long way since the first Thor movie. While not perfect, there’s a really good growth arc that came out in the writing, directing, and of course, the acting by Chris Hemsworth.

What really stood out was how well the actors used expressions to add depth to the story. It shows a maturity of direction that is rarely seen in action movies these days.

Lastly, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but the story comes around full circle in a beautiful way. Of course the good guys are going to win in the end. But it’s so much more meaningful when it comes with a price. Kudos to the writers for creating a story that’s easy to follow yet isn’t entirely predictable.

Movie Grade : A

Here’s more! Read Jilly’s review of Thor: Ragnarok

Thor 3’s Deleted, One-Off, and Blooper Scenes

And our Thor 2 – The Dark World Rewatch Review

Review – Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

This is a slow character tale about how the Wonder Woman comic came to be. While seemingly a superhero origin story, it’s really a drama about how an unconventional threesome bucked the odds of their time to create a gentle — and mostly uncomplicated — love story.

Was Wonder Woman a part of all this? She’s background and foreground simultaneously. It’s honestly not her film. It’s a true-ish tale of a man and two women, who have love amongst all three. Yes, even in our time, this is hard to understand and accept: imagine how it might have been more taboo in decades past, in the golden age of comic books. And now, in our ‘enlightened’ era, the topic still makes people uncomfortable.

Yet it’s not an uncomfortable film. It’s sweet. You root for the characters and want their happiness. It helps that they are super smart people, but they also have an emotional intelligence that doesn’t often accompany intellect alone.

It works as an historical piece, and fills in the gaps of anyone wondering WHERE exactly a superpowered woman took her place among such luminaries as Superman, Batman, The Flash, Captain America, and Aquaman. The film makes it clear that Wonder Woman was an aberration, and difficult for people to accept.

In our modern age, we have Xena, Buffy, River Tam, the Bionic Woman, Black Widow, Sarah Connor, Starbuck (the Kara Thrace version), female Terminators, and a whole lot of modern a$$ kicking women. But it had to start somewhere. Burning Wonder Woman comic books was a thing, in the day.

Movie Grade: B