What a week for news here on the Geek Beat! With news on the fronts of Man of Steel, Justice League, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Star Trek Into Darkness, it’s certainly been an interesting last couple of days for genre fans everywhere!
Let’s start with some of the breaking news as it showed up in this week’s top Geek articles here at Movies.com:
1) 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Poster Teases Mass Destruction
2) 'Chronicle''s Dane DeHaan to Play Harry Osborn in the 'Spider-Man' Sequel
3) New 'Man of Steel' Poster Reveals Superman Is a Bad Guy
First thing’s first, so let’s take a look at the news surrounding the adaptations of the four-color world of comics!
Harry Osborn Cast in Spider-Man Sequel
Well, the rumors can finally be put to rest, since it was officially announced that actor Dane DeHaan has been cast as Harry Osborn in the sequel to this year’s Webhead reboot The Amazing Spider-Man. DeHaan is obviously best known to audiences for his portrayal of troubled Seattle teenager Andrew Detmer in Josh Trank’s Chronicle, which follows Andrew’s rise from outcast to supervillain in the surprise hit.
DeHaan’s turn in Chronicle may have been more help to him than anyone had thought, since the role of Harry Osborn has similar dimensions. James Franco’s turn in the same role during Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy shows a hint of this, with a strong foundation of friendship between Harry and Peter devolving into a bitter rivalry over the death of Harry’s father. While those films were a bit more peripheral than the journey Harry and Peter take in the source material, DeHaan seems to be a good fit with the character that fans of the comics are intimately aware of. Harry and Peter’s friendship is one of legend that’s been through some twists and turns (with Harry taking a few violent swings at Spidey from time to time), but the dimension that DeHaan has proven he can master in a film like Chronicle makes the role of Harry feel somewhat tailor-made for the native Pennsylvanian.
I’m personally a bit more thrilled at the confirmation that Harry will even be in the film, because that means that dear old dad, my favorite Spider-Man villain, can’t be far behind.
Man of Steel Teaser Poster Released
Out of the wide pantheon of superheroes, for some reason it seems like Superman has proven the most difficult for modern audiences to connect with. I think a lot of this can be blamed on the fact that we haven’t had a generationally representative Superman film in about 34 years, since the most recent outing was a paean to a bygone interpretation of the character. Well, early signs on the Christopher Nolan-produced and Zack Snyder-directed Man of Steel seem to show a Superman film that will be taking a fundamentally different approach to working with the Last Son of Krypton.
In the previous films, Superman’s always been shown as definitively on the side of law enforcement. They didn’t always know what to make of him, but they were never really afraid of him, never asking questions like, “What makes you think this demigod won’t try to crack the planet in half with his awesome power?”
Now, it looks as if Man of Steel will be taking that ball and running with it, since it’s very likely that if a super-powered bulletproof alien who can defy gravity really did show up, they might be concerned for their safety even if he were on the side of the angels. While that may not be the context of the teaser poster, take a look and tell me it isn’t at least possible:
The coolest part of this poster for me is that Superman seems to be showing a display of good faith. He doesn’t need to have his hands bound like that. If he wanted he can melt those cuffs just by looking at them. Instead, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s playing by the rules in an effort to show them he’s not to be feared, and that screams the Man of Steel to me.
I don't mean the film, but the character that I’ve known and loved my entire life. I can’t wait for June 14, as I’m very hopeful that the Last Son of Krypton could likely have his finest hour.
The Justice League vs. Apokolips
According to a report originating from the fine folks at Latino Review, apparently it’s been revealed who the main antagonist will be in the planned DC Comics team-up film Justice League, and it’s none other than the intergalactic despot New God Darkseid. For those not in the know, Darkseid is basically an evil god in the DC Universe that seeks the universal subjugation of all peoples, everywhere. He’s a being with an indescribable thirst for power, and a foe that is truly beyond compare in DC Comics. Few characters can truly pose a threat to him if he comes to town, one of them being Superman. But either way, a threat like Darkseid is one big enough that would actually (and actively) warrant the World’s Greatest Heroes to combine their efforts and put a stop to his attempts to make Earth his latest conquest.
For modern comics fans, this decision would seem to be a no-brainer. Geoff Johns and Jim Lee felt similarly enough that they made Darkseid the one villain that could initially bring the Justice League together for the New 52 relaunch, and the current comics-based origin for the team told exactly that story. Although, if Darkseid is indeed the villain of the film, then I have to question the wisdom surrounding the rumored 2015 release date for Justice League. If Avengers 2 is coming out that year using Thanos, who is a conceptually similar character, then it might benefit Warner Bros. to give it another year before releasing the DC team-up film.
That’s my two cents, what do you think?
Star Trek Into Darkness Debuts Teaser Poster; First Trailer Arrives Thursday
Okay, now, stop me if you’ve seen this one before…
Pretty similar, right? Well, that’s okay, because I think most big Star Trek fans (like yours truly) are absolutely dying for any new information surrounding the mysterious Star Trek Into Darkness. The first one-minute trailer will arrive online this Thursday, with a two-minute trailer in theaters with The Hobbit next week (as well as that nine-minute IMAX footage preview). First, though, the poster. Fitting in with the recently released plot synopsis, the poster seems to promise quite a bit of destruction in the wake of the villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. That synopsis talked about a “one-man weapon of mass destruction” that is from “within their own organization,” which leads me to believe right now that the villain of the film will be Gary Mitchell.
Mitchell only appeared once on the original Star Trek series played by actor Gary Lockwood, in the unprecedented second pilot entitled, “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” In it, the Enterprise journeys to the galactic barrier, the edge of our galaxy, and the “strange energies” of the barrier cause Mitchell to undergo a pretty horrifying transformation that turns him into the most godlike being that Trek fans would encounter at least until the first appearance of Q, 21 years later in the premiere episode of The Next Generation.
Mitchell, a Starfleet helm officer and longtime friend to James T. Kirk, pretty much became a one-man weapon of mass destruction, exhibiting telepathy, telekinesis, extrasensory perception, conscious control of autonomic functions, and the ability to manipulate energy (including the weapons fired at him). He was only stopped because another officer who had garnered similar abilities saw the damage he was causing, and sacrificed her own life by leveling her power at him. This weakened Mitchell enough that Captain Kirk (in his first appearance) was able to overtake Mitchell, and bury his former friend beneath a ton of rock before leaving him for the Enterprise, presumed dead.
With this first look at the aesthetic of the film, it looks like we’re in for quite a ride presuming that the villain is indeed Mitchell. Abrams in his infinite craftiness could pull a switcheroo and surprise us all, but right now, Mitchell will remain my guess. What's yours?
Big Home Releases This Week
There are two big DVD/Blu-ray releases to look out for that are out today, so if you’re inclined, you should pick them up either as gifts for Christmas or as a little gift for yourself. The first, most obvious one is the release of the epic conclusion to the Dark Knight legend in Christopher Nolan’s summer smash The Dark Knight Rises. This is a particularly meaningful release for me, since the film I spent so much time covering for this very site can now sit on my shelf and be enjoyed over and over again.
Rises also brings with it a respectable amount of bonus features, including a sizeable Batmobile documentary chronicling the cinematic history of the famous vehicle, and in-depth looks at both the production and the characters. It’ll definitely be a necessity if you loved the film and even though there’s an ultimate collector’s edition of the full trilogy coming down the pike, there’ll have to be quite a wait for that so you might want to think about jumping in now. Being the hard-core Bat-fan that I am, I’m going to have to get my fix before I eventually get the big set (damn you, Warer Bros.!). For this film, you can currently find it for $18.99 at Amazon and Best Buy.
The second big release this week is the completely restored and remastered Blu-ray set of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s complete second season. As I’ve mentioned before, the restoration work currently being undertaken by CBS to bring TNG into true high-definition experiences is mindblowing. Taking all of the original film elements, scanning them in at 1080p, and taking the film elements of the original visual effects, recompositing them, and then editing every episode together into broadcast order is a monumental task. This set is proof that they’re pulling it off, and the well-received first season set was just a taste of the work that will go into the rest of the series.
The second season was also where two of the most celebrated episodes of the entire series were broadcast. “Q Who” brought about the first appearance of legendary Star Trek villain the Borg, and sought to question the wisdom of the crew of the Enterprise and the Federation in exploring the unknown. Also airing this season was the landmark episode “The Measure of a Man,” which sought to answer the complex question of whether or not Lt. Cmdr. Data (played brilliantly by Brent Spiner) had rights as a person under the law. For this release, the episode also received an extended cut, fleshing out more of the character details in trying to answer this question that could have lasting repercussions not only throughout the galaxy, but for a crew and their friend.
While on the whole it’s not the best season of the series, it definitely found a lot of it’s footing this year and would rise to meteoric status and popularity by season’s end. I can’t wait to get my copy, since these Blu-rays really make it feel like you’re almost watching a brand new show.
My Pick This Week at the Comic Shop (Releasing 12/5)
This week’s releases made it really difficult to choose a pick. While I’m greatly looking forward to Grant Morrison’s Action Comics as well as the beginning of the new Avengers series by Jonathan Hickman, I think what I’m most looking forward to is a little punishment.
From writer Greg Rucka, Punisher: War Zone #2 continues the story of the Avengers deciding that it’s finally time to take down one Frank Castle, aka the Punisher. After learning that Frank stole and used a web-shooter in an operation to kill the leaders of an organized crime gang, Spider-Man is absolutely incensed that one of his tools was a party to the taking of human life, and demands to Captain America that it’s time to take Frank down. While on the outside it might seem like a no-contest, Rucka has assured fans that the Punisher has a contingency for everyone, including a certain God of Thunder. Beyond that, Rucka is one of my favorite comics writers and always has a memorable story to tell.
What do you make of the news? Let me know below, because we’ve reached the end of this week’s Geek Beat. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, so please let me know what you think or continue the conversation in the comments. We have a lot of things to keep our eyes on this next week, so let’s all meet back here next Tuesday and see what else we have to talk about.
Chris Clow is a graduate of Western Washington University, in addition to having an obsession with film history and general geekdom. He is a comic book expert and retailer, contributor, and overall geek to Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his comic book reviews for various monthly titles and his participated podcasts at BOF and MMM, as well as his regular piece The Geek Beat right here at Movies.com every Tuesday. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.