In their mad rush to kickstart a cinematic universe without actually giving new characters individual movies, Warner Bros. has often struggled in the shadow of its Marvel competitors. Fans who are rooting for the success of the DCEU — those willing to see see the good and the bad of the movies, at least — know that movies like Wonder Woman are important because they create personal and well-rounded characters that we can then smash up against each other in movies like Justice League. After all, nobody would care who gets invited to an All-Star Game if there wasn’t an entire season’s worth of plays and memories to get us to that point.
Here’s a question for you: is it time to add Vin Diesel to the list of actors whose career is defined entirely by a single film franchise? Sure, Diesel has shown up in other successful movies throughout his careers — Saving Private Ryan, The Iron Giant, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all been critical and commercial successes, not to mention his more niche productions like Find Me Guilty and his Riddick movies — but none of this holds a candle to his work on the Fast and Furious franchise. He’s been producer, screenwriter, and star of those movies for over 16 years now… I mean, nobody goes up to William Shatner and praises him for his work in Judgment at Nuremberg, right?
While Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been dominating the conversation, Rian Johnson’s film wasn’t the only movie featured in next week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. Their annual Fall Movie Preview includes updates and photos from a handful of upcoming releases, including Stephen King’s It, arguably the most highly anticipated movie of the fall. We’ve already seen Mark Hamill fight people with a lightsaber, but a bunch of kids running around the Northeast in the 1980s fighting a supernatural monster? Why, we haven’t seen that since Stranger Things came out! And that was a whole year ago!
Let me make this perfectly clear: I’m less of a Top Gun fan and more of a fan of putting Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer in more blockbuster movies, but the end result is pretty much the same: I am ready for a little Top Gun 2 action. The long-rumored film — or perhaps just long-desired film — was finally confirmed by Cruise earlier this year, and now Paramount Pictures is cranking up the movie-making machine to deliver on the promise of more midair dogfights and subtle homoeroticism. With Cruise back, and Kilmer hopefully soon to follow, this could be the perfect throwback to the heydays of studio filmmaking of the late ’80s and early ’90s.
With all the new pieces in play in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it sure seems like Lucasfilm is setting the Star Wars universe up to go somewhere special. Once Kathleen Kennedy and company made the decision to blow up the preexisting Star Wars canon, we watched firsthand as they began the process of stitching together a new continuity. There were Star Wars books explaining the events that followed Return of the Jedi, new television shows that wove together the old and new trilogies, and even video games fleshing out some of the new planets and species we’d seen in The Force Awakens.
It’s been a few years since Charlie Sheen has appeared in a feature film of any type, but to hear the actor say it, he’s already lined up his big comeback project. For a while now, Sheen has been talking up the possibility of a Major League sequel that brings back the cast and crew of the original film. And now it sounds like the actor has put in the work and might be closer than ever to getting that film made with a bunch of familiar faces.
Unlike the previous Obi-Wan Kenobi — sorry, Alec Guinness — Ewan McGregor has long been excited about the prospect of returning for more Star Wars movies, telling Empire Magazine last October that he was the “right age” to make two more movies as the beloved character. While fans were sometimes unimpressed by the prequels, McGregor’s winning performance as the young Jedi was one of the highlights of the film, leading fans to clamor for a standalone Kenobi movie while McGregor was still the right age.
It’s been a few months since the world lost Carrie Fisher, and while many would prefer to expand the conversation to her accomplishments outside of the Star Wars universe, plenty of people are anxiously wondering how her death might affect her character in the upcoming Star Wars sequels. For some, this can be viewed as a tacky approach to celebrity, but there’s a sweeter side to things as well. Leia Organa remains an icon for people around the world; finding an appropriate way to say goodbye to her character will be, in essence, the way many Star Wars fans say goodbye to Fisher herself.
What came first, the raunchy beach comedy or the Baywatch movie adaptation? Hollywood seems to have discovered in recent years that it can take an existing license — typically one associated with a semi-popular television series — and give it new life as a profane comedy for adults. Sure, there are probably a handful of Baywatch purists out there who have watched the sophomoric humor in the trailers with horror, but for everyone else? A vague recollection of the Baywatch brand and an appetite for 21 Jump Street-esque humor is all they need to be enticed.
If nothing else, the announcement that Warner Bros. is working on expanding the universe of The Matrix really makes me want to revisit the original films. Like most people, I was enamored with the first and disappointed by the sequels; the now-outdated CGI character modeling and frequent technobabble written by the Wachowski Sisters caught me a bit by surprise, and I was unnecessarily tough on the movies as a result. Now, though, I wonder if I might see the sequels with different eyes. When was the last time a blockbuster movie franchises so clearly marched to the beat of its own drum? Maybe this time around I will fully embrace the weird.
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