Carl shines the spotlight on the competitive Christmas cinematic calendar…
Let’s all face it, shall we? Address the GIANT elephant in the room? The DC Universe films with the exception of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman have been appalling. Man of Steel was a soulless film. Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice was a mess with only Gal Gadot’s portrayal as Wonder Woman making the film memorable. Suicide Squad was a complete mess, only being redeemed by Margot Robbie‘s pitch-perfect portrayal as Harley Quinn.
Even box-office heavyweight actor Will Smith and Oscar-winning actor Jared Leto couldn’t come near the delightfully wicked Ms Robbie. Leto, to be honest, was a complete let down as the clown prince of crime, all but relegated to a 20-minute cameo. He and the film deserved better. Justice League was an only moderately entertaining film but I guess with its chequered history, I can cut it a small bit of slack but not much. Again, without Gal Gadot the film would be a stinking pile of rubbish.
Michael Bay took what was to many one of the greatest cartoon shows in history (and the toy line on which its based), it’s comic book story history and took a massive dump on it when he made the very first Transformers live action film. We wanted to be cheering as our robotic heroes fought their evil counterparts on the big screen. Instead what we got was a loud, explosive mess that annoyed the hardcore fans, alienated the audience and had the critics sharpening their pencils to viciously cut the film to shreds with their reviews.
Four sequels followed and got progressively worse as time went on. I did get a kick out of the late, great Leonard Nimoy returning to voice a Transformer in the third film as he did in 1986’s vastly superior Transformers The Movie but that’s where my kindness ends. The last film in the series, aptly named The Last Knight was an embarrassing unmitigated disaster. I watched it once and to be truthful will never watch it again. I would rather rearrange my sock drawer for two and a half hours than watch such drivel again.
This Christmas brings us to a battle of the movie box office. With the absence of a new Star Wars film playing at your local multiplex this holiday season, we are given FIVE films in an attempt to make the movie-going public part with our cash and sit in the dark with total strangers for a few hours. Peter Jackson returns with Mortal Engines. We get an animated Spider-man in Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse and our favourite flying nanny makes a long-awaited comeback in Mary Poppins Returns. All three of these films look to be worthy of paying the admittance fee but the other two films are the heavyweights of the season and look to be the ones to battle it out for Box Office supremacy.
James Wan’s ‘Aquaman‘ finally hits our screens in his standalone film. Portrayed again by Jason Momoa, it is the sixth DC Extended Universe film to arrive and the third in which the character appears. It is his first big-screen full-length feature film. Created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger, he made his debut in More Fun Comics #73 in November of 1941. He was initially a backup feature in DC’s anthology titles before later starring in several volumes of a solo comic book series. The film is an origin story for the character as well as a sequel to Justice League, one which Warner Bros hope will revitalise its cinematic universe and finally try to bring it on an even keel with the MCU. Reviews so far have been fairly positive so could this be the start of DC’S resurgence?
Travis Knight brings us Aquaman’s rival for the box office throne with ‘Bumblebee‘ the sixth film in the Transformers film franchise. The film is a prequel to 2007’s Transformers film and stars Hailee Steinfeld and WWE Star John Cena. Set 20 years before the events in the original film, it concerns the title character taking refuge in a small Californian beach town junkyard. He is a small yellow Volkswagen Beetle in this film in contrast to his first cinematic appearance as a yellow Camaro. This is the first in the series to not be directed by Michael Bay who steps down this time to a producers role. Early reactions to the film have been positive, claiming the film abandons Bay’s explosion-filled style for an old style spirit. Could this be the Transformers film we the fans have been crying out for and waiting for finally?
In the United States, the films will open alongside each other, giving them a straight-up fight for the title of Christmas Box Office Champion. In other territories, the films have avoided each other so its a much different fight. Both will be vying for your attention and pre-Christmas cash.
Which will you choose? The Atlantean, the swift and powerful monarch of the ocean or the friendly robot, sent here to hide from the Cybertronian wars and to defend the planet from evil invaders? Or maybe you’ll see both of them and compare them when you get home? Either way, both films have a lot of damage repair to their respective universes to accomplish this holiday season. I, for one, will sit back in a darkened screen with my popcorn and a large drink and attempt to savour what both franchises put in front of me.
The choice is yours.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!