Friday, May 30, 2014

Preview: Amazing X-Men Issue 8

Coming out next Wednesday, June 4th, is Amazing X-Men issue 8.  You can check out the preview over at Comic Book Resources.  This issue is set to begin the World War Wendigo story by Chris Yost & Craig Kyle.  This story is supposed to guest star X-23, and so far seems like a fitting throwback to Wolverine's first appearance 40 years ago in a 1974 issue of The Incredible Hulk.

Kinney Pride might be diving into further discussion on Wolverine's 40th anniversary later this year possibly.

X-Men: Days of Future Past - SPOILER WARNING -

When talking of X-Men: Days of Future Past, it should be mentioned that Bryan Singer has sexual abuse allegations circling him currently.  In matters of this nature, I'm more inclined to lean on the victim is telling the truth than the alleged perpetrator.  While many want to point out the timing to now, you should keep in mind those abused, especially males, often find it difficult to come forward.  The timing of this may very well have to do with X-Men: Days of Future Past itself, but you have to consider that Singer's face was attached to much of the marketing initially too.  Think of it from the victims perspective.  You've spent much of your time since trying to tell yourself to forget that it happened, and now you're being forced to see your abusers face everywhere you turn.  For their own sanity they may have needed to stand up and let the truth out.  I tend to agree with the views expressed that having him tied to the X-Men cinematic franchise is problematic.

It should also be mentioned that Michael Fassbender has had allegations of domestic abuse in his past as well.  In 2010 there were allegations that he broke his girlfriend's nose, among other questionable behavior.  That then the victim retracted her complaints with a statement that said she didn't want to harm his career if those were to go permanently on record.

X-Men: Days of Future Past also features Patrick Stewart though.  A man who is a strong advocate of women's rights and speaks against domestic violence quite vocally.  It can be confusing in wanting to support him, while also inadvertently supporting the other two mentioned as well.

How you want to balance whether or not you want to see X-Men: Days of Future Past based on the histories of those involved is up to you.  These are some very serious allegations and complaints that can make one question if they want to support this film or not.  With Hollywood especially, there is a thick layer of protect talent and shame or silence the victim.  PR teams are paid big bucks to make things disappear and often there is an unspoken rule of "snitch on me, I'll snitch on you" so everyone stays silent even on matters they shouldn't.  Whistle blowers often get blacklisted simply for telling the truth & trying to stand up for what's right.  It's a system designed to protect and generate revenue streams by using people.  Does that mean all of Hollywood is like this? No.  It does mean that you should be aware of it though.  Many things are swept under the rug and hidden for various reasons be it good or bad.  Image to the public is king no matter what the facts are.  Hollywood bends the truth to suit its needs and tries to alter perceptions based on the gullibility of the masses to not notice.  This is also why it can be even more satisfying when seeing honest stars that are true to being themselves make it big.  It's also why it can be more disheartening when you find out ones you thought were, really are only playing image games to hide their true nature.

Since this film is part of the Fox X-Men cinematic continuity though, and to keep an eye on the trends & story paths associated to that, I did have to go see it.  How I'll balance that out on my own conscience is something I'm still figuring out personally.  While it is a great film, I am not one that wants to support or condone the actions of abusers with histories of sketchy behavior or words that often suggest such allegations were indeed true.  Separating talent from the work can often be difficult.  It's some of the same points raised here previously about supporting comics led by industry voices that enjoy harassing the fandoms their audience is a part of.  It can be disconcerting.  Much like how the Catholic church handled their own claims, these abuses can force the one that did them to be shuffled around to out of sight for awhile or to a different arm of the company to allow time for them to cool down and get out of the public's direct eye for those past behaviors or work.  Marvel themselves often has a habit of this with who they send over to their animation forays and live action departments to allow them a chance to focus on something different for awhile until they can reconsider bringing them back to the comics.  We've seen this before when questions of trends to certain authors work featuring violence against children or women became too heavy and then also again when certain editors were becoming too flippant and angry with fans, often without merit to the point an editor was cyber-bullying any who dared speak an opinion and then reveling in it by hounding their victim all over the internet.  Some still try to hide these actions blaming it on the fans themselves or hiding behind locked sign-up only forums.  That's not to say there aren't trolls and bullies within the fandom either though.  It's a fine line of figuring out the details and make the best judgement call for what you believe is right.

It's a very complicated issue if you do want to push for social justice among any industry and in the work you're willing to support because of that.

Now onto breaking down X-Men: Days Of Future Past for how it fits within the confines of the continuity!

Immediately in the film we're shown a future in shambles, and the first mutant we see seems to be a reference to Nate Grey from X-Man fame.  It's only a quick cameo, but it sets a trend of wondering what events themselves are different in this future.  Wolverine has his metal claws back, but the metal shade is different than before, so that potentially insinuates that he has had them repaired since the events of The Wolverine.  This quick cameo of Nate Grey though, raises the question of when or how did Scott Summers & Jean Grey die or if Mr. Sinister/Nathaniel Essex has a presence within the confines of this cinematic universe.  As comic fans will tell you, Nate Grey was created by Sinister without Jean or Scott ever knowing.  It suggests potentially other timeline alterations and events that led to this future existing than we are made aware of onscreen.

There are other minor continuity quips associated to this story as well.  How it connects to the first X-Men film where mutants were just starting to be noticed by the government and other minor continuity blips raises questions.  As a film that connects to the larger franchise, there are many little hiccup spots and glaring inconsistencies to the previously established timeline.  This includes how the timeline itself was reset at the end to be a positive future where Jean and Scott lived.  This ending scene showed us that the film universe is now more in line to what people have come to expect with Rogue still seeing Iceman, and Kitty Pride suggested to be with Piotr Rasputin instead.  Because of the inconsistencies though, it makes you wonder what events still took place.  The events of the first X-Men film are how Wolverine and Rogue arrived at the school alongside how she got the white stripe in her hair.  So these alterations to the timeline have ramifications throughout like a riptide, but we aren't shown their effects at all.  DOFP skews the timeline from all sides to create a brand new one and essentially reboot the X-Men cinematic universe entirely while already being a reboot by skewing the timelines from the past before time travel comes into play.

That being said, it's a decent and fun film.  With how it resets the timeline solidly, it opens the door for many more stories to be told of the future of the X-Men and their past.  Gone now are the confines of any of the events to X-Men Origins: Wolverine after 1973.  This means that Gambit, Silverfox, Deadpool, and more are all different events that we know nothing of as yet(unless Mystique sends Logan to Vietnam after DOFP).  The same can be said of how Rogue arrived at the school, or how Jean was accepted(Charles and Eric may or may not work together again after the events of DOFP), or even how Scott Summers himself came to the school.  Much of this may be explored in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse as it's set within the 1980s.

That's right.  The next film will be dealing with En Sabah Nur, otherwise known as Apocalypse.  An ancient Egyptian character that has been repeatedly stated as having been the first mutant.  With his involvement we may see the inclusion of Mr. Sinister as well.  They have often been connected through most previous media forays.

With the reset in the timeline's entirety to being closer to what many know of the comics and from the various animated forays, it becomes much easier to align decent miniseries to be adapted or other stories to be told.  Elements of X-Force v3 are easier to intermingle into the future X-Men timeline with minor changes now.  X-23's story won't need to make reference to any of the X-Men films previously, and could even help establish more elements of this new timeline like if the Xavier school is public about being a mutant school and when they announced that.

There's a wide open door here for any direction or recasting if they choose as DOFP effectively shrugs off nearly all the baggage and continuity these serial films have built.  While I enjoyed the film, and its message, even enjoyed the subtle nods, I do wish it had taken better care with working within the confines of the established timeline it was going to rewrite anyway.  As it stands now, DOFP is a future timeline that's suggested to having already diverged from the previous timelines at the Trask Industries point even prior to the time travel element/event.  These inconsistencies to the continuity created would be problematic if it weren't for the complete timeline reset anyway.  While it can be disconcerting for anyone looking at the films as one large continuous story, it is still a satisfying movie nonetheless.

The film should be commended on some of the newer characters used though.  Blink has quickly become a favorite among casual fans.  Warpath and Sunspot were both given decent action scenes.  Iceman was finally able to be the Iceman longtime fans have come to expect, and we even get to see Colossus in more robust action scenes.  Quicksilver himself nearly steals the film with his scenes and they even make reference of his sister Wanda, or maybe I should say his half-sister as implied by the story(Magneto was imprisoned for 10 years, and Peter's sister is much younger than that).

The pieces it establishes for future films sets the stage for much that audiences can enjoy.  Mystique is no longer a follower of Magneto, opting to walk her own path.  The portrayal by Jennifer Lawrence gives us that perfect blend of comic to cinematic convergence.  We get to see the character's personality stand out while also blending the action choreography that the first trilogy established her as capable of.  Magneto is now on his path to create a new brotherhood of mutants.  Xavier is re-establishing his school.  Beast has a more Jekyll and Hyde approach to his transformations that could be built upon for when it finally settles to one side or the other and how he enters the political arena if he ever does.  As of the events of this movie, the public is aware of mutants.  So the entirety of events from 1973 to the present are an open book to re-write now.  This film brings the excitement back to X-Men cinematic universe overall even with the hiccups along the way.

The X-Men cinematic universe is rebooted entirely now into an easier slate to work with all around.  This will allow for much easier idea integration across the board as well as film or TV spin-offs.  How it's done this may be questionable, but it's been done.  Now let's hope they can keep with this new established timeline so that there aren't anymore inconsistencies.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Updated Fan Casting For An X-23 Live Action Movie

I've gone over this topic many times in the past, but for this one, I wanted to try a new approach.  If you want to read over the previous an entry will be following somewhat soon that archives them all into one handy reference list.

Thanks to X-Men: Days Of Future Past we're given a clean slate to work with entirely.  (A spoiler filled post about that is coming up!)

For this one, I wanted to use the best elements from each to create a new singular vision on what it could convey overall for an origin feature.  Is this the definitive entry on it?  Probably not as I do have more ideas about this that I'm saving for other entries on this topic soon.  In particular an idea where I kind of want to see the X-23 role itself portrayed by several actresses pertaining to how it's handled for which film.  There are many actresses that could handle this role per the type of story being told.  There's even the possibility of allowing several actresses to portray X-23 within the same film if they were to approach it more towards a mix of Grindhouse and the Batman The Animated Series episode "Legends of the Dark Knight."  An episode that featured several stories of Batman in different styles based around the recollection and stories that kids told from their perspectives.  In X-23's instance, it would be people she's saved. (A full post on that is coming up too!)

For X-23's origin story to be told in its entirety though as one complete solid feature film, currently this is where I personally lean.

Dr. Sarah Kinney
Laura's mother.

Summer Glau is an obvious choice as she brings much to the table from her heavily geek oriented filmography.  She also presents an interesting symbolic moment of passing on the torch so to speak.  The main drawback here being that she's already portrayed a character similar to this.  It does nothing about bolstering her filmography and really is only asking her to reprise a role she's pretty much already done before that has led to a similar outcome.  It'd create quick comparisons to her character from Dollhouse and may even induce an overall audience confusion between the two roles.

Recently, I've started to grow fond of the idea of Eliza Dushku portraying Dr. Sarah Kinney.  She has the talent to make this role standout and be fully defined.  Her animation voice work has shown a capability for line delivery to convey Dr. Sarah Kinney's letter with an unmatched oomph.  She's displayed such capabilities as Selina Kyle in the Batman: Year One animated movie as well as the Catwoman animated short.  The multitude of video game voice over work she's done (Rubi Malone in Wet, Shaundi in Saints Row 2, and Killer Frost in Batman: Assault on Arkham) helps further the point of how well her narration of the Dr. Kinney letter could go for the overall initial narrative before the story shifts back to Laura's perspective.  She carries within that same symbolic notion of passing on the torch as Summer Glau represents, and in many ways, does so to an even deeper degree.  Having portrayed Faith in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer followed by copious amounts of empowering female protagonists, she truly stands as a pure icon of women are bad ass.  From Tru Davis in Tru Calling, to Echo in Dollhouse, even her genre stereotype mocking portrayal of the jewel thief Sissy in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, she has proven time and time again to be one of the women that helped define for the decade what being a bad ass on the screen can be.  If not for her successes and how well she portrayed her characters, we may have never had a River Tam for Summer Glau to portray, or had Dollhouse last as long as it did for them to introduce Summer Glau's character.  Currently Ms. Dushku is voicing Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk) in Marvel's Agents of S.M.A.S.H.  She may very well be a fan of Marvel comics to begin with and may relish the chance to portray such a character in live action that's also obviously well within her wheelhouse of talent.  With her in the role of Sarah Kinney, it could bring a new level to that metaphorical passing of the torch to a new icon of female empowerment.

Laura Kinney

Recently I've started leaning more towards Lucy Hale for this role.  That old yet young Tennessee soul she carries in her music and the astounding range she's displayed in Pretty Little Liars brings a tangible reality to the role outright for an origins piece.  Her previous work in Fear Island has shown she is capable of displaying that cold offsetting stare blended with innocence, and her role in Sorority Wars has helped show how diverse her acting talent is for the more happy celebrating life scenes.  Pretty Little Liars is what really hammered down the point perfectly though.  During season 4 in particular, she absolutely perfected the kind of blended emotional fury that'd be needed for this character.  Ms. Hale's range is truly underrated as she's shown time and time again that any role that comes her way she can carry with an unmatched authenticity that makes her characters feel genuine and come alive on the screen.  Even her eyes carry that hue that make her perfect for the role.

Not only is her eye color a close match to the character, but her acting talent reaches her eyes which is one of the reasons all the characters she's portrayed come across as authentic people in their own right.  She lacks a defining action piece for her filmography as well which helps overall bolster the potential of her in this role.  This prevents any form of typecasting and presents an opportunity of subterfuge to the role that can carry well over to the audience themselves.  This allows the character to shine on screen and help truly make the audience feel her plight as well as help convey the more direct shocking nature that elements of the origin story have that show the horror of what's been done to her.  Ms. Hale presents an interesting opportunity to both do this story proper justice as well as yield an interesting blend of comic accuracy to film universe accuracy without having to compromise the integrity of all that the character is.  She presents a unique spin with her social media marketing skills and in many ways already fits perfectly for this role overall.  Her ample charity work and endorsement of causes that look to help children and women further helps show she herself embodies all that is Laura Kinney in many ways off screen already.  Even the song "Nervous Girls" on her upcoming country album Road Between (in stores June 3rd!), her commentary about it and what it means to her all speak to how well she truly does carry the essence of this character within that could shine unmatched on the silver screen.  Marvel should take notice of her as well, many of her geek fans are already starting to push wanting her to portray Kate Bishop (the *other* Hawkeye) for the Disney owned Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Debra Kinney
Sarah Kinney's sister, Laura's aunt, & Megan's mother.

Ginnifer Goodwin quickly comes to mind per her role as Snow White in Once Upon A Time.  It's hard to pick anyone else that stands out and defines the struggling single mother role that Debra Kinney is as well as Ginnifer Goodwin could portray.  Ms. Goodwin's hairstyles for her role in Once Upon a Time is a perfect match for Debra Kinney's as well.  To the point if you wanted to make an X-23 fan trailer, Once Upon A Time is the best show to draw scenes from to portray Debra Kinney.  Ms. Goodwin has the talent to carry the role and defines this casting as well Patrick Stewart himself evokes Charles Xavier.  She is just as suited for the Dr. Sarah Kinney role itself as well thanks to her wealth of talent displayed in her various works.

Megan Kinney
Laura's cousin, & Debbie Kinney's daughter

Megan Kinney is the confidante and rapport point for Laura.  She humanizes Laura and shows her the beauty in the world from the simplest aspects of everyday life.  Megan is a character that can be portrayed by many actresses, but two in particular standout for this role.  Ashley Benson of Pretty Little Liars fame has the acting range that could the spectrum of emotions Megan yields, and we've also seen Ms. Benson's onscreen chemistry with Lucy Hale through that show as well.  Ms. Benson brings a lightheartedness to behind the scenes that may be much needed for some of the more drama heavy aspects of the film.  Her presence involved could help keep the filming and those following the filming from becoming too muddied up in the darker aspects this film presents at times.  The high jinks that her and Ms. Hale could get into behind the scene while also tweeting about the filming could play well to the film itself as the same happens to Laura and Megan within the film.  There's a mirroring here that helps push the marketing itself in a fun lighthearted manner.  Both being part of the PLL family also yields that already built bond that helps play into that kind of marketing.

There's also Britt Roberts who has handled similar characters to Megan via Secret Circle and Life Unexpected.  Ms. Roberts has shown directly the exact emotional spectrum needed to portray Megan repeatedly.  So much so, that if you were to make a fan trailer and wanted to feature Megan in it, all three shows mentioned would be great drawing from points(Pretty Little Liars for Benson, and then Secret Circle or Life Unexpected for Roberts).

X-23's Handler.

Kimura is a character that's hard to figure out who could portray her best for the big or small screen.  There are a lot of character history questions that haven't been explored yet fully in the comics on her heritage.  Personally, I lean on Naya Rivera to portray this character because she has that onscreen attitude that works well with the character and the balanced filmography that really helps sell the point.  It'd allow Ms. Rivera to have a breakout big screen role, and would also really sell the character as believable.  The only other actresses that could match this that I'm aware of are Mila Kunis and Shay Mitchell.  Mila Kunis with her filmography (especially American Psycho 2: All American Girl) carries all the skill needed to sell the look and character as believable onscreen.  Shay Mitchell with her cheery demeanor and emotional spectrum as shown on Pretty Little Liars also presents an interesting spin on the character.  Ms. Mitchell's line delivery could carry that joyful eeriness that Kimura is known for with her blend of acting talent that would make the portrayal the stuff of nightmares for any age.  All around all 3 choices present their own spin and bring interesting potential to the character that will linger in your mind long after the film is over.  Personally, I'm still leaning on Naya Rivera overall for this role because of the bite she's displayed over in Glee, but all three do present potential and should be given the chance to audition for such a role.  Assuming at least if they are interested in it.  Overall, it'd be interesting to see which works best with the cast in question and the intended vision the director may have in mind for what's needed to be portrayed and felt onscreen from this character.

Agent Alisande Morales
MRD/FBI Agent assigned the X-23 case.

Easily this role could be portrayed by Michelle Rodriguez or Cote de Pablo.  The question is if Fox has the rights to her.  If not, as she is an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. an appearance in the MCU under the same actresses would also be heavily advisable.  Unless Marvel and Fox could work together to allow this to feature Steve "Captain America" Rogers himself, Alisande Morales is a decent replacement for his role.  This would shift up her interaction with X-23 from Not Forgotten to the origin tale instead, which means the role she plays in Not Forgotten would have to be changed or used by a different character.  It could also be slightly altered to fit the fact she has met X-23 previously and there are many story directions that could take on why she would be re-assigned this case having thought X-23 had gone back to the life Morales tried to save her from.  Which of course would only be because of misinformation from the Facility.  It's not likely that the rights are available for this character under Fox's current paradigm.  So it may be best to start thinking of a replacement for the replacement.  Which brings us to...

Agent Neena "Domino" Thurman
Mutant that works for the MRD or FBI that's assigned the X-23 case.

While the original story didn't feature Domino herself at all.  Due to rights issues, a backup plan should be in place in case Alisande Morales is in Marvel's rights playbook instead of Fox's.  With Morales being an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. there might need to be some adjustment for her usage as the replacement for Captain America's role that she could replace.  With using Domino for this, it allows several factors to come into play.  It showcases that in this new X-Men cinematic universe the Mutant Response Division exists, and it does have mutants employed for a co-operative effort.  This helps set the stage for many things.  In doing this it presents a more expanded view on how Xavier's dream has impacted this new world.  It also helps set Domino herself up for how she could be in X-Force and why X-23 could be too.  In having Domino in the origin feature for X-23 in Steve Rogers spot, it helps show us exactly how X-23 could be captured for how she was interrogated.  Domino's lucky powers help make that scenario come across as believable.  This sets the stage for X-Force by also showing that Domino as a federal employee sees the horrors committed against mutants by hate groups daily.  While her employers may not be able to do anything, with her resources she may reach out to or help form a group that can.  In doing this, it also helps set the stage for an X-Force: Not Forgotten feature.  By having Domino having gone rogue from her MRD agency, another agent may be assigned her cases.  Which could lead to the events as depicted in Not Forgotten that Alisande Morales experiences.  This in turn would help come back around to having that agent understand why agent Thurman had gone rogue and potentially even setup a point of X-Force now having a person on the inside of the MRD.  On a character standpoint, Domino herself shares many of the same notes that X-23's story does.  So it may play well to her own narrative to be the character that frees Laura, and begins the same turning point for Domino that mirrors what Sarah Kinney had come to the conclusion of towards the end of her part of the story.  It also helps highlight that as a mutant within the organization she recognizes the abuse that could happen to Laura if the MRD got their hands on her.

Doug Ramsey
A mutant that acts as a liaison/lawyer for mutant rights.

Fox has lost the rights to Daredevil.  So Matt Murdock's being in the origin tale would have to be shuffled off to a different character that could equally convey what he is used for.  Doug "Cypher" Ramsey of the New Mutants presents a similar ability via a different route.  This allows the X-Men cinematic universe to portray a slightly older New Mutants character that helps set the stage for them to have a period film that's set prior to these events.  Cypher with his language ability presents an interesting notion to explore as well.  Body language is a language unto itself too.  By reading it, he could tell if X-23 is lying or not.  This gives the same facet that Matt Murdock is used for in the story as a human lie detector, alongside setting up more stories that could be told for later within the confines of this character's own history by being presented.  Unless Fox and Marvel can work together.  In which case, the Daredevil actor from his upcoming netflix miniseries should be used to best match the original story.  Allowing both characters to be mutants for the portion they represent also brings a new dynamic to their scenes and final decision.

James "Logan" Howlett  
The man known as the Wolverine.

Hugh Jackman is the definitive Logan/Wolverine.  He has defined the role for over a decade.  This story in particular makes for a great cornerstone to that portrayal.  It'd allow a fitting sendoff for his portrayal of the character, if he is inclined to want to hang up the claws.  It would highlight and showcase his passing of the torch to someone new and it'd give Fox a character that could easily gain just as much attention and fanfare.  Even if he chose to stay on for a few more X-Men cinematic universe features after this, it'd still help set the stage on not needing to recast his character anytime soon in the foreseeable future.

On the marketing side.  It'd still be best to push this from the angle of X-23: Daughter of Wolverine as the origin starting point title.  This angle raises eyebrows immediately.  On the negative side, it does bring definition to X-23's character by her tie to a male character, which is problematic if you assume that is based on misogyny reasons as opposed to seeing it for the intent of using that character only as a point of reference for audiences unaware of who she is.  Audiences immediately want to question this aspect of Wolverine has a daughter?  It piques their interest immediately because they do know who Wolverine is.  Go ask your casual X-Men movie viewer.  Ask them simply "would you watch a movie that was about Wolverine's daughter?"  See how they react.  Due to modern science fertility treatments among other developing sciences, it's not far off from the heart of the character.  The semantic argument it presents also starts a dialogue among fans and creates its own form of immediate geek buzz that will spill over to the mainstream and science circles.  All around this makes the marketing angle start to create its own news cycle and attention.  It'll spark conversations across many topics.

Mix this in with other aspects of notice and choices like approaching this as a reverse dynamic of The Women by using an all female led talents of the industry for behind the scenes, as well as a charity that pushes for helping women escape abusive situations or stopping sexual abuse or fighting human trafficking and you've got a potential box office juggernaut that would be talked about for years.  The all around message within the story, the heroes it highlights, and the familial dynamics alongside these choices would help cement the film as one for the history books as well as make a difference.  Not only could it break the box office, it could change lives in doing so.

Monday, May 26, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past *Overall Spoiler Warning for Future Speculative Movie Entries*

X-Men: Days of Future Past is a fantastic movie and contribution to the overall cinematic X-Men canon.  Due to spoiler reasons, much of what it has done to the cinematic film timeline and potential sequels or spin-offs is being held off for discussion until tomorrow at minimum.

Thanks to the film, an entire new approach to X-23's origin and casting can be taken under consideration as well as how X-Force itself is approached.  Fair warning, if you do not want to read spoilers pertaining to X-Men: Days of Future Past, you may want to avoid the next several entries that discuss these ramifications for the X-Men cinematic universe as a whole as it pertains to the possibilities of X-23 feature films and X-Force.  Due to the same world connotations that a joined cinematic universe yields, the events that were changed will have to be discussed.

One of the major views coming up for discussion is another piece on casting, including a focus on a different actress that could portray Laura Kinney for an origins piece(if you follow the Facebook page, you know who).  As well as an entry discussing the potential of approaching X-23 as a character multiple actresses could portray within the confines of the same feature film.

X-Men: Days of Future Past has left a door wide open for ample directions and ideas to be explored.  Starting tomorrow, Kinney Pride will start exploring them.

Misogyny in Cinema

So this trailer for a movie called The Equalizer popped up today.  It looks like it may be an interesting movie.

It may even get a decent box office draw.
Now while this movie does look fun.  Here's the thing.  It's a male lead.  It won't get any flack for being an action movie because of that.  Films like Haywire, Hanna, Columbiana and more did.  Fantastic movies that were torn apart by misogyny because they dared show a female lead doing the exact same stuff this film above does.  Fantastic movies that received nowhere near the same marketing push because they featured solo women stars that the film centered on.

Does that seem fair to you?  Haywire itself starred a woman that could do nearly all the things shown in her film, yet it was called unbelievable.  All because it dared to feature a woman as the protagonist who could defend herself and outwit men from her training.  A woman who wouldn't back down from doing what she thought was right and used her spec-ops military training to right the wrongs committed.

Misogyny has ruined what great cinema could be by the myths it keeps perpetuating.  It's damaging lives.  It even kills.  Yet all men and those brainwashed by it do is make excuses for it instead of correcting it.  Warner Brothers has yet to do a Wonder Woman movie because apparently they think a deeply rooted in mythology powerful character with flowing hair is too complicated and detrimental to a box office draw.  You know, the only difference between her and Thor overall?  She's a woman.  Does that sound fair to you?

Songs like Blurred Lines and other misogynist anthems of treating women like crap get ranked high on the billboards.  Singers like Justin Bieber who call women bitches, harass and mock women in their songs, persist to abuse ex's long after they've left because they dared to leave and respect themselves over the money, these singers who let their fans make excuses for mistreatment of women and others reign in popularity.  Women who try to speak up for themselves and make a difference get told to be quiet and mocked.  They get told they need a man to make it better.  They get eye candy thrown at them like they need a hot guy to validate their womanhood.  Rape jokes persist in video games.  Authors get harassment for making valid points all because of their gender.  Yet all that happens is we're told it's expected.  That they should have thicker skin.

"Oh those poor boys are mocked incessantly, they're called gay, and worse."  How is that an excuse?  Why is being called gay an insult?  Why is what they've gone through as a male celebrity for barely any time at all come anywhere close to what women go through daily for their entire life since hitting puberty?  How does that compare at all?  Why do men get impunity for such blatant actions, sometimes even praised for it, yet women get mocked for it and turned into a joke?  "Oh that's such a Taylor Swift approach to songs" when a song dares to speak up about any kind of disrespect a woman has gone through from a man.

Miley Cyrus does outlandish things and gets demonized for it?(She should be demonized for promoting drugging people's drinks though!)  Boys will be boys.  Which isn't an excuse.  Far from it, it's further perpetuating a patriarchal standard of saying all men are rapists and monsters.  That it should be expected that they can't control their urges.  As a man, I take offense to that especially.  Feminism not only fights for women, but also tries to show that men aren't supposed to be like that.  That it's not right.  Women deal with this daily and have their self-worth questioned or the double standards thrown at them.  Not all men are monsters, but yes all women deal with those monsters daily from all sides.

This is barely even scratching the surface of the reasons why I want to see a solo X-23 film with sequels.  This isn't even the beginning of why it's needed.  The #YesAllWomen hashtag (Which sadly stopped trending today.  Don't let it stop! Get it back up there!) isn't even a fraction of the reasons of why such a film needs to dominate the box office right alongside Wonder Woman.

Women get compared to each other and told to compete with each other.  They should be lifting each other up and helping each other.  They should be praised for their own merits.  They should never be compared to another because they aren't that other person.  They are themselves.  They should be praised for all they've accomplished, all they can still do, and all the talent they have.  Not for their appearance in what they wear or who they remind you of.  Women in Hollywood especially are forced to compete over limited roles because male roles are more dominant.  They are told they have to look a certain way or change aspects of themselves to fit in.  Yet audiences want to see more women take the action leads.  Audiences want to admire these actresses for not changing who they are to suit these misogynistic whims of what they claim audiences want.  Audiences want strong women who bow to no one.  Audiences want to look up to and celebrate these women.  There needs to be more iconic characters that stand out and shine for how they refuse to let this go unchallenged.  Look at the awe that surrounds the ones that do exist.  Michelle Rodriguez's character in Fast & The Furious made a triumphant return.  Alice in Resident Evil is still praised even while many men moan about not having one of the male leads from the games as the star.  Kate Beckinsale in Underworld is praised and her films get viewers.  Angelina Jolie's character in Wanted stole the show and made that film memorable.  So yes, women leads and roles are wanted.  Yes, films that star powerful woman are box office draws.  Look at Hunger Games itself which has proven this repeatedly with each film outing.  More need to be made.  More need to be out there so any person looking for a film to watch can find that film they want to see and not a film selection that majorly consists of men as protagonists fighting to save or get retribution for a damsel in distress across whatever genre.  When you can count on less than you have toes and fingers compared to the hundreds if not thousands of male dominated protagonist films, yes there is a disparity that needs to be rectified.

Misogynist singers should be blacklisted and ignored.  They should crawl off back under the rock they came from.  The same to any actor that dares to lay a hand on a woman or refuse to accept no or refuse to leave a woman alone that dared to walk away.

It's a false equivalency.  Nothing a man has been through could ever come anywhere near what women have to put up with or endure.  To say otherwise is ego and wounded male pride.  There simply are bad people out there, and it's time to stop making excuses for it.  It's time to hold humanity itself to a higher standard.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

#YesAllWomen Trends on Twitter

The hashtag #YesAllWomen is trending on twitter.  It's been rising to prominence over the last couple of days, and it's people speaking up about very real and hard issues of misogyny and harassment.  This inequality has been perpetuated too long.  This is speaking against rape culture.  This is why feminism exists.  This affects everyone.  This is not a joke or something to make light of.

Read it.  Men especially.  Men, don't add to it.  Read it and listen.

You should also read this article on the damage misogyny and ignoring it is causing on society.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

CBR's Top 50 X-Men!

X-23 made it to Comic Book Resources list of top 50 X-Men.  Not only did she make the list, but she ranked pretty high on it!  Coming in at #27, she blew past the competition including even Mystique!

Check it out!  (And you may want to ignore CBR's little attempts at being humorous in her description though.  It's a little bit of a slap in the face to X-23 fans and even how highly she was ranked among the voters.  It does make a valid ending point about how the X-Men have treated her, but their own insulting tone prior to that distracts from the point made.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Preview: All-New X-Men #27

Comic Book Resources has the preview up for All-New X-Men issue 27.  It will be available at your local comic retailer Wednesday, May 14th.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Opinion: 10 X-Men Based Series Fox Could Make.

Over on Comic Book Resources, there's news that Fox may be looking to bring X-Men and Fantastic Four to TV screens much akin to what Marvel is doing through Netflix as well as ABC with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

With this news of Fox exploring the potential of expanding the Marvel licenses they hold to television, here's a quick overview of ten ideas that could prove quite successful for such endeavors.  All of these are based on the idea of either being tightly interwoven, or only tangentially interwoven to the established cinematic universe they are building.  This allows them freedom to explore various ideas that may be too time consuming or inconsequential for feature films but are still audience draws nonetheless to allow the audience to feel more deeply connected to this established cinematic universe.

M.R.D. (Mutant Response Division)
This one you would think is a no-brainer.  Take the 90's show Cops, but spin it into a faux-reality show using mutants.  This show would be about a film crew that tags along with various M.R.D. officers, like how Cops was setup, and focuses on the press management angle of this brand new initiative within the X-Men cinematic universe.  The lower grade digital of the camera setup (to mimic the infamous look that Cops itself yielded) allows for an easier budget maintenance and effects blending at lower cost.  It gives cameos out the wazoo, and even allows for all manner of new ideas.  With no over arcing story point, it can be weaved into nodding and referencing any of the films as well.  Of course, they could also flip this idea and tap into a full on dramedy similar to other shows of this nature like Sirens, Blue Bloods, and the like.  It depends on which angle provides the best outlet.  Would you want to see an agency more akin to how X-Files or other offbeat procedural shows were handled on a case by case basis?  Or would you rather see a full series done like how the X-Files Cops crossover episode was handled with multiple examples of mutant interactions and power displays per episode?  This allows a deeper understanding of the officer interactions and lingo to how they categorize mutant abilities or threat levels, and would yield a more boots to the ground everyday view of this world.  Either one could play well to the intended audiences and expand on this world they've established.

Academy X
With Glee soon out the door, Fox may want to try a new angle at the teen angst and maturation type story lines.  Academy X gives them that.  The stories of this run have covered a wide gambit of topics from sexual orientation, school shootings, body acceptance, and how do you get anything past a headmistress that can read your mind.  It covers pretty much all the topics everybody needs to learn about!  This also helps establish a newer generation of X-Men and starts to expose the public to the fact there are more X-Men than just Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, and Storm.  In the long term it could help generate new fan favorites and recognition for world wide audiences to allow a better expansion within the films.  Throw in some classic cameos where fitting and this could blossom into a new world-wide hit even bigger than Glee ever was.  Of course, this also means they could interweave in some of the X-23 crossover story lines that also featured Kimura(portrayed by Naya Rivera) that could help bolster and round this out as a joined continuity.  Think of it as Degrassi High but with mutants at a boarding school and you can see exactly how successful this show could prove to be alongside how long it could run with no shortage of stories to cover.

X-Factor: Private Investigators
Well obvious first issue with this one is the title.  They'd have to change it because of the singing show of the same name.  The X-Factor Agency gives Fox a unique television show spot though outright.  A mutant private investigator business could prove highly successful and allows for ample cameos and stories.  This allows for a myriad of stories from how mutant powers could play a factor in P.I. cases.  "What if your client wanted to find out if her husband was cheating on her but her client was a teleporter?"  That and much much more could make for an interesting spin on this tried and true television sub-genre.  It'd definitely bring a fun element to play with for episodic story telling as well as an over-arcing plot.

What happens to mutants that fall in the cracks?  What if Xavier or any other mutant school never found them?  The NYX miniseries explores these concepts with a group of kids, some homeless, some runaways, one was even kicked out of her own home by her mother, and much much more.  It covers gang violence, bullies, drug usage, prostitution, and many more topics that are still prevalent in the modern world as much as we choose to ignore them.  As gritty and shock inducing as the source material is, no one would make the mistake that it glamorizes these lives and could give even more weight to the causes trying to help out those in these situations.

Nashville is all the rage currently.  Glee has done rather well itself.  Music shows are in, and within Marvel's mutants there's no better candidate for a similar such show as Alison Blaire (aka Dazzler), the mutant who can turn sound into light.  This could take an interesting spin diving into the pop industry world among other musical worlds as she attempts to find her taste and where she wants to grow and how best she can apply her powers.  Over time, it could even introduce Megan Gwynn (aka Pixie) and approach the story angles presented by her hallucinogenic abilities.  There's no shortage of stories that could be told between these two, and it'd be interesting to see how even real world topics are handled within the confines of this established world.

New Mutants
What happened to Xavier's first graduating class?  It's been often talked about that New Mutants would be an eventual X-Men feature film, but there is room for it on the small screen too.  The easiest approach to this would be treating this as "life after the Xavier Institute" and set the time period to an appropriate decade to match.  This could help build on the story aspects and questions of where do the students go after they graduate.  Playing off of various dramedies that focus on the after high school years, this one could prove interesting as it'd essentially be a mix of MTV's the real world but with mutants and how they are adjusting to being roommates in a house while also looking for work out in the world and the other problems that could arise.  Overall it'd help establish the world as well as what the job market is like for mutants.  Do some get their powers taken advantage of for careers?  Do others get denied jobs because of their abilities?  How does it impact their daily life?  Another perk to this show is it could also help establish Doug Ramsay (aka Cypher) and preferably in this world, his rise as pro-mutant rights activist or lawyer.  Potentially even a Mutant Response Division liaison that joined to keep them humane(and may even explain the origins of the M.R.D. press initiative of their actions being recorded and aired for that show).  With Fox having lost the Daredevil rights, Douglas Ramsay makes the perfect replacement for such stories because of his language translation abilities that includes reading body language.  This would also help establish his character for an eventual usage in an adapted take on the X-23: Target X miniseries.

With how successful shows like Leverage have proven to be, it could be interesting to see how it's approached from the mutant standpoint.  There's no better thief to express this with than Gambit.  If they can manage to get Taylor Kitsch back to reprise his role, this could be perfect.  Even if not, they could dive into his younger years with the thieves guild to build his character history up.  Having Remy LeBeau as he grew up and became the man he is alongside the stories that could be told worldwide, or even only in New Orleans could be quite fun.  It'd alleviate the strain on how much of his story would need to be condensed for a film, and would also help generate new stories that could be told within the confines of the X-Men films later.  While starting as a youth and reaching the X-Men Origins: Wolverine Taylor Kitsch role, this show could dive into the after effects of that movie too about where he went next, and potentially even build to how he could be involved in more modern X-Men features that take place outside of the 80s or 90s through various story devices.

Future Foundation
With news of Fox's plans to merge the Fantastic Four with the X-Men universe, here might be the best place to capitalize on that immediately.  Diverging from the comics, this series could focus on a corporation sponsored by the Fantastic Four that does research and problem solving in a futurist type manner.  It could dive into anything from products for special needs to solving larger issues associated to this world while providing a suitable place for cameos and intermingling of the licenses.  This would be a perfect place to showcase such mutants as Artie and Leech, or even dive into other repercussions left over from various films.  The corporate angle helps explore those themes in this brave new world, and also gives an employment outlet for graduating mutants suited to this line of work.  The directions they could take are endless as this could also be approached as a genius level college type program for those it could suit.  The only hindrance on this idea is the writers themselves for what they could come up with and how they could approach the various aspects tied to what being a futurist in this world means or brings.

A victorian era period piece that could grow over time.  This idea centers around the infamous Nathaniel Essex (aka Mr. Sinister) and how he became who he is.  Starting off in the Victorian era, we could see his origin, but they could also offset it to a degree by using Ms. Sinister in the present day with the story running in parallel.  This past and present composition could show how science has evolved, as well as the character's motives and explore many topics that only a character such as this could provide.  Akin to Dexter, or Hannibal, or Dracula, and other shows of the more twisted but engaging variety, this show could fill that void Fox has while also expanding even deeper on the roots of the X-Men cinematic universe.

While normally I lean heavily on serial movie features with this idea(still do!), taking it this direction could prove an interesting endeavor.  As a TV show I'm not sure of it being in Fox's hands as they have a tendency to muck around with the schedule too much on shows that have high ratings, inadvertently killing them.  This is one that plays up on so many different levels that it could still be an interesting endeavor.  The first season could cover Target X in an expanded fashion similar to what the recent From Dusk till Dawn TV series is doing and also could then dive into a wider world of stories after the season finale that featured an assault on the Kinney household by the Facility and Kimura(who could be portrayed by Naya Rivera).  They could also do some overlap here between the movies and the TV show, allowing for the origin piece to be a pilot movie or feature film in theaters that then spins into a series of Laura traveling to understand herself while staying out of the reaches of the Facility and the various mutants she runs into while on the road(which could also tie into the Academy X show idea, or feature movie nods in itself).  The ideas here are endless, but a lot of it is determined by the casting choices and the schedule availability of those choices.  Depending on those choices it may be more prudent to go for this as a live movie that leaves room open for cameo potential in an established universe expanding show like Academy X and then much later expanded upon as solo a made for TV mini-series or movie sequels to her own solo film.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A CBR Short Editorial From Allison Types

An interesting short editorial popped up over on Comic Book Resources.

It's well worth the read and raises an extremely valid point.  Speaks enough for itself, so go read it!

Someone once tried to tell me "that's just how the world is and how it works."  Personally, I refuse to accept that.  People are finally starting to speak up more.  Change is happening.  It's been long overdue.  Until the day where it's not a novelty notion that a female superhero can maintain a solo movie is the goal.  Until the day where it's not a novelty notion that a televised or filmed superhero tale can be of any creed, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.