May 28th Mailbag and Catch-Up – POST CIVIL WAR

Did you know that since every year from 2010 to the present day, Scarlett Johansson has only been in movies that have received a “Fresh” rating on RottenTomatoes?

So it’s been a month since I published Barton Returns, which I had a blast writing. I know I said I’d write about the 15th, so my bad. But here I am, with a lot to preview, tease, and talk about.

First and foremost, I have now seen Captain America: Civil War. I was very excited for it when I heard the premise, then when I saw the first trailer, I thought to myself “this is going to be THE film…” And without giving anything away, it lived up to that billing! It’s one of my favorite films ever. So, I’m going to preview some works that I’ve already done planning and drafting for and make some quick hits. I’m going to try to deliver this time around.

In the works: (No Particular order)

  1. Hey Daniel Craig turned down 100 million to be James Bond for two more films and the typical “Tom Hiddleston as the next Bond” rumors are sparking. I’m going to deliver that column on why I think Kobe Bryant should be Bond (yes, the dude that dropped 60 in his last NBA game). And since that will probably not happen, I’ll detail some of my personal picks outside of Hiddleston who I think could be and should be Bond.
  2. The College Basketball Coaching Carousel? I’m not sure if this one’s something I’d write a whole column about, but I’ll try to touch upon it.
  3. How the NBA Draft rules helped players, who made good/bad decisions, which teams benefit, and how the 2016-17 College Hoops season is effected.
  4. Marvel Cinematic Universe Fan’s movie guide – for those into the MCU, like myself, it’s hard not to love the actors as well. So, I’m going to come up with a guide of must-see movies with MCU Actors in non-MCU actors. Teaser: Jeremy Renner has some pretty big parts in this, as I’d say he and Scarlett Johansson are the two who have accomplished the most in recent years (refer back to the first sentence of this post).
  5. Captain America: Civil War spoiler discussion AND a review. I want to discuss the entire movie, analyze the themes, and the implications.
  6. Power ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe post-credit scenes.
  7. I haven’t come up with anything specific just yet, but I’ll do NBA draft related articles. Whether it be a mock draft, analyzing the key teams and players in the draft, or breaking down potential sleeper prospects and busts.
  8. Lastly, given how much fun I had writing a fictional screenplay, I’m going to maybe write some screenplays about what happens AFTER Captain America: Civil War. Remember, I don’t have insider knowledge this is just my take on the characters and the general story arc of the MCU post-Civil War.

Alright, mailbag time it is. There will be some Civil War related stuff, but I’ll keep it non-spoilery.

The Warriors were down 3-2, and are now down 3-1. Should the panic button be hit? 

Yes and no. There should definitely be a sense of urgency because the Thunder are an extremely good team loaded with talent and they are just one game away from ending the dream season for the Warriors. I think whoever wins game 6 wins the series. Don’t hit the panic button, since I think they are poised and confident. But, they need to have urgency, which I’m sure they do.

If the Warriors DO lose this series, does that take away from the 73-9 season? 

I hate to cop out with this answer, but yes and no. To me, it doesn’t take away from the fact that they had the best regular season record ever. I’ll always think of this team as a fun team that was an all-time great whether they win it or not. But, pundits and former players (like Scottie Pippen won’t). So for me, no, for many others, I think yes.

When is the next time LeBron James won’t be the in NBA Finals? 

So I’m writing this about 30 minutes after the Cavs beat the Raptors in Game 6 in the Six (yep, I crack horrible jokes). Well the last time he wasn’t there was 2010, when Kobe capped off back-to-back titles.

Well the East hasn’t exactly challenged LeBron James much, so I don’t see this changing anytime soon. But given how crazy it’d be for him to make like 10 straight Finals, I’m going to place a year (cause it’d be cool if we saw a new face right?). I’d bet that in 2018, there’s a new team representing the East.

Was Tom Holland really the best ever on-screen Spider-man/Peter Parker?

 I think this was the best interpretation of the character. Tobey Maguire did a great job as Spider-Man – he really captured the sentiment that Peter was supposed to bring. In the original Spider-Man trilogy, you really felt bad for him – he was trying to do what was right but sometimes, it seemed like nothing would go right for him. That scene in the train from Spiderman 2 still gets me every time (when he stops the train, has to take his mask off cause the eye socket gets ripped, and then passes out). The emotional music is playing, and one of the adults looks at Peter and says, “He’s…. just a kid… no older than my son…” You really felt for that guy. Tobey played that nerdy side of Spider-Man well.

The issue was that Tobey was not a teenager and he was actually closer to 30 than he was to 20, so there’s the age issue. Also, he wasn’t as funny as Spider-Man was in the original comics/TV shows. Yeah, he had some sarcasm, but he didn’t have this cocky and youthfulness to his quips and humor. I think Tobey however, did a good job. Don’t even get me started on Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man (I think it was terrible)!

So I think Tom Holland really did embody both the funny and young reckless side but also the teenager who was going through a lot emotionally and in his personal life who just wanted to do what was right. And how perfectly did the Russos nail their casting? I mean Tom Holland hit it on all cylinders. Since I won’t give any spoilers, maybe I’ll do a column on why Tom Holland killed it as Spider-Man.

Speaking of Marvel Studios and casting, what casting have they not nailed? Evans has portrayed Captain America so well, RDJ is actually Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson is so talented and great for Black Widow, Jeremy Renner brings the right savvy and previous acting background (2 Oscar Nominations, roles in films like The Hurt Locker, American HustleKill the Messenger, to name a few…), Anthony Mackie as Falcon, Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, CHADWICK BOSEMAN AS BLACK PANTHER (THIS GUY IS LEGIT)…. The list goes on and on. I mean Chris Hemsworth isn’t a super accomplished actor outside of Thor, but he takes on that character so well. Shoutout to Marvel and their casting.

What made Civil War such a great film and live up to the hype, and why didn’t Batman v. Superman do the same? 

When I heard some people suggest that BvS, Apocalypse, or Deadpool may be superior to the latest Captain America film, I laughed a bit. Yes, I’m very into the MCU and I lean that way for the time being of all the studios, but look at their track record and tell me why I shouldn’t.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t work as well as Civil War for a few key reasons. One I’d have to say is the directing. Zack Snyder hasn’t shown that he’s going to be serious about effective storytelling. He’s been arrogant in press tours, he doesn’t sound too thoughtful about his analysis and themes, and he also takes shots at others who don’t like his films or those who say Marvel is outdoing DC. I will cut him some slack though – his action scenes have always been well done. The other is that BvS is the 2nd film in the DC Extended Universe and people are wrongfully expecting another Christopher Nolan movie. Meanwhile, Marvel Studios has the infrastructure, creative teams, and process to ensure that the movie doesn’t have major lapses and holes and it doesn’t flame out. I mean, all the MCU directors talk to each other and watch the others films and give feedback to ensure continuity and quality storytelling. There’s the entertainment and storytelling going for it, plus there’s the emotional stakes we’ve built in because there have been 12 movies to really flesh out some characters and set up other expanded arcs. That’s why It’s okay for Civil War to introduce Black Panther, Spider-Man in an organic way while setting up future films, also naturally. And, the fact that this is the 13th film in the franchise, you CAN have supporting characters like Hawkeye, Ant-Man, and Scarlet Witch, and actually efficiently give them real arcs and motives to be in the conflict. They weren’t just throwing in characters to get more people on the poster. They weaved into the storyline perfectly.

Also, the plot structure really differentiated the two. Civil War had real stakes – the world wasn’t going to blow up, you didn’t know if guys would make it out (I won’t say if they do or don’t, but if you look at upcoming Marvel films, Cap, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, etc. weren’t confirmed to be in any of them back in November). It wasn’t going to follow the predictable plot. There were real stakes and I was genuinely worried about the consequences of the conflict. To casual fans, they thought the plots were the same but they really weren’t. Dawn of Justice had a trailer that really gave away what it was – Batman and Superman get manipulated into fighting each other, realize there’s a larger threat, they fight Doomsday, Wonder-Woman appears, they’ll beat Doomsday. That’s just a matter of the script.

One criticism of Marvel is that it’s predictable, they follow a scheme of heroes fighting, kicking ass, all this feel-good stuff, and the final act is “The World is in Peril.” Well, knowing the premise of this film, seeing the first trailer, knowing how grounded and serious about storytelling the Russo brothers were, I knew that this would be THE new standard for modern superhero films and one of the best films I’ve ever seen.

The tone, is so well done. The stakes are high without pulling the bullshit of “Oh well the worlds about to blow up and the heroes will come in time to save the day.” The conflict is political, yet it’s also personal. And it’s not like the movie is too serious and grimacing – there’s hilarious moments all over. That cast is just loaded too, like I said earlier. I mean when Jeremy Renner can only get like 12-15 minutes of screen time but he’s effective and every second really adds something to the film, that’s when you know the story is just so well thought out.

What did you think of Civil War? Want me to touch upon a topic or answer some questions of yours? Hit me with your questions. I’ll be back soon to write more!




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