Another really busy week of movie news that I thought I’d comment briefly on. Annoyingly, AMERICAN HUSTLE is still being showered with critical praise (just give Jennifer Lawrence an award and leave it at that!). More inspiringly, GRAVITY is keeping pace with David O Russell’s uninvolving 70s slog, and even breathing down the neck of the Best Picture Oscar favourite 12 YEARS A SLAVE (it shared the PGA’s top prize). Sadly, we also lost Roger Lloyd-Pack, British TV favourite and occasional supporting player on film. What follows are my thoughts on the three most noteworthy stories of the past seven days.
Batman vs. Superman vs. Father Time
Well this was a unexpected, though not entirely surprising. Warner Bros/DC’s most ambitious superhero film project to date, still tentatively titled BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, and involving the enticing prospect of the Last Son of Krypton (Henry Cavill) meeting, for the very first time in live-action film, The Caped Crusader (Ben Affleck) has been delayed for another year. It pulls it out of the already infamous blockbuster “Summer of Death”, meaning it no longer has to compete with Marvel’s THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON and ANT-MAN, JURASSIC WORLD, TERMINATOR: GENESIS and FAST & FURIOUS 7. What does this delay mean? Officially, Warners say it’s to give director Zack Snyder more time to make the best film possible, echoing Disney’s similar justification for delaying STAR WARS EPISODE VII until Christmas 2015. But does this have greater implications? Has Zack Snyder bitten off more than he can chew, does Warner Bros not have faith in their films’ chances against its competitors, or are we going straight into a grander, more ambitious JUSTICE LEAGUE movie after all?
Information about the film, its main cast (beyond Affleck and those returning from MAN OF STEEL) and the progress (or lack of) that it’s making in production is so far dispiritingly spotty.
A long time ago on a hard drive far, far away…
Speaking of dispiritingly spotty, the script for STAR WARS EPISODE VII is, according to J.J. Abrams, finally finished. Being the kind of relentless hype-mongerer he is, don’t expect much information about the story until the film’s release is imminent, but it does mean we might get some concrete casting news soon, which is a relief, because everyone in Hollywood and beyond (latest: Judi Dench) has been linked with this, the hottest ticket in town.
Michael Douglas has been cast as Ant-Man. Well, the first Ant-Man, the inventor of the all-important shrinking technology Hank Pym. So Paul Rudd is playing the second Ant-Man Scott Lang, who takes on the insectoid mantle years later after turning his back on a life of crime. This could allow Edgar Wright to set up an interesting relationship between the two Ant-Men, contrasting two brilliant individuals and the different driving forces that caused them to become heroes (duty vs. necessity). I can just see Douglas lecturing Rudd about right and wrong (“with great power”) and I’ll be interested to see how much of the story is given up to each character – is Pym just a supporting player facilitating Lang gaining his powers or will we get to see a younger Pym in action? I’ll be watching developments with interest. SSP