Aquaman: Review (non-spoiler)

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited by Warner Bros. to attend an early screening for Aquaman. So, before I start this review I just wanted to thank the good people at Warner Bros. UK for allowing me to watch one of my most anticipated movies of the year a little earlier than everyone else. I’ve been waiting so long to see James Wan’s take on The King of the Seven Seas. From the moment he was attached to the project I had extremely high expectations. And yesterday, those expectations were not only met, but beyond exceeded. Aquaman showed us that Wan could take the comic book movie genre to another level. The film rises to the occasion and will leave you wanting more as there is still so much that is yet to be explored in this universe.

A very ambitious film!

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The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this movie is the term, ‘scale’. It’s huge in every form. Look, I knew the ocean was huge, but even I was taken back when watching how they interpreted it on the big screen. I lost count on the amount of kingdoms/underwater cities were introduced. Every single one of them were distinct from each other. None of them looked the same at all. This is what I admire the most about the movie, its ambition. They could’ve easily played it safe. For example, have the whole movie take place in Atlantis or another city. But they really went all out, by going full comic book! You’re probably going to see this a hundred times while reading other reviews. Yes, Aquaman feels like a comic book brought to life on the big screen. And I believe this is why comic book lovers and the general audience will enjoy this movie.

On the subject of scale I think it would also be a great time to mention the visuals in this film. Visually, alone this movie is a huge achievement. I mean 80% of it takes place underwater and of course there’s going to be an extensive amount of VFX used, and for the most part it looked great. Every time they were underwater it actually looked natural (helped by the great sound design). In general, I really enjoyed the cinematography. There are some shots in this film that are just epic. The final act/fight between Arthur and Orm played out amazingly! Seeing the two fighting with the lights hitting their costumes provides for an incredible viewing. Once again, it helps this whole comic book aesthetic the film is going for.

Well balanced tone

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Another thing I really liked about Aquaman is how the tone was handled. At the end of the day Aquaman can be a fun movie. It can also be a more serious movie if you want to look at it in that way. It strikes a good balance in between the two. I found this even more enjoyable because not only is the film juggling tones at the same time. Its also doing that with genres too. To me these two elements go hand-in-hand. Honestly, you can find genres ranging from Sci-fi, action, adventure, horror and comedy when watching Aquaman. Like I said, because all these elements are balanced well. It really gives Aquaman this lane of its own when it comes to the comic book movie genre. Having said that, I would have personally, toned down on some of the comedy aspects. A lot of the jokes just didn’t quite work for me. But, I understand why they were there. The audience were laughing quite a lot during the screening.

Strong characters

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I think it’s time I talk about the characters in the movie. Just by looking at the of names attached to this project the acting in this movie was easily, the least of my worries. At this point I feel like I’m giving this movie too much praise. But I cannot lie I loved the characters for the most part in this film. Jason Momoa is clearly having the time of his life as Arthur Curry, and it translates on the screen. I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out a bunch of his lines were improvised on the spot. He just seems to be enjoying the role that much. Arthur’s journey back home and to the throne is one that was entertaining and has me in interested in seeing where the character goes after this.

Orm

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Orm is up there with one of my favourite comic book villains in the past couple of years. This is mainly because of Patrick Wilson’s performance. Much like Jason, you can tell he really enjoys this role too. All you have to do is look at some of his recent tweets. The guy is still in character. Orm’s motivations are both easy to understand and relatable. I think a lot of DC fans will find similarities between Orm and General Zod from Man of Steel. What I liked the most about Orm is how he isn’t just an evil version of Arthur. He can stand on his own. You genuinely believe that he’s a major threat to both Arthur and the surface world. Overall, Orm’s a really great villain in this movie. Not to mention he looks amazing too when he’s fighting in his full costume.

The women in this movie are badass!

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Now, onto the women in this movie. They are straight up badass! Starting with Mera. If you thought she would end up being this damsel-in-distress. Or just there to serve this romance angle. You’re totally wrong. Mera almost steals the show for me. In-fact she carries the movie in certain parts. She can very much hold her own and doesn’t need to rely on Arthur to get her out of difficult situations whenever she finds herself in one. Arthur’s mother too, Queen Atlanna, another strong female character. I can’t really go into detail about her character for spoiler reasons. But trust me, Arthur inherited a lot of his fighting style from his mother.

Black Manta! (major highlight)

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I had to save the best for last…Black Manta! Hands downs my favourite thing about this movie. Black Manta has always been one of the coolest DC characters too me. And seeing him in that outfit moving around on the screen was a joy to watch. I love his backstory too. Again, I can’t really go into detail but, I liked how he tied in with Arthur and a few other characters. If I had to pick out one issue I had with the character it’s that I wanted more of him! Don’t get me wrong I thought he was used well. But, looking back on it now I think they could have split up Orm and Black Manta as main villains in separate movies. I guess that’s still kind of a compliment at the same time by suggesting both characters/actors are good enough to carry a movie as the main villain by themselves.

The Score…was disappointing

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If you know anything about me you would know that I love my scores in superhero movies. I couldn’t wait to see what Rupert Gregson-Williams had come up with for this type of movie. I have to admit I was kind of disappointed. Apart from Orm who has a great theme, nothing really caught my attention. I can’t really tell you what Arthur’s theme is like, because it didn’t jump out to me. Again, a lot was going on during this movie and maybe I was just too caught up in the moment to notice the score. I can only speak for myself. I was going in expecting this Man of Steel/Dawn of Justice level type of score and I didn’t get that. I will still be checking out the soundtrack when it releases. Hopefully, my opinion on the score will change.

Closing thoughts

Overall, Aquaman is about as blockbuster as they come. I had a great time and would recommend this movie to anyone, not just comic book fans. I think anyone will find something they would love in this movie. From the stunning visuals, great characters and the breath-taking action. Or it could be that amazing third act/final fight which is one of the strongest I’ve seen in years when it comes to comic book movies. As for what this means for the DCEU? Is it “saved” once again? I can’t tell you how bored I am of that conversation. To me the DCEU has always been alive to me. Yeah, it’s had a few bumps in the road. But, films such as Man of Steel, BvS and Wonder Woman will continued to be talked about for the coming years. Aquaman, joins those other movies and proves that the DCEU isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Aquaman 9/10

The Avengers 4: Endgame Trailer: Less is Better

Finally! After spending months in the dark after the events of Avengers: Infinity War we get something tangible from the upcoming Avengers 4 film. Not only did we get the title (Endgame), which I love. We also, got a teaser trailer to go along with it. It was a long wait but man did they deliver.

In general I really like this trailer. What I liked the most about it, was how it was handled. A lot of times in the past we’ve seen trailers show too much. However, with this trailer they took the opposite approach. They showed as little as possible, but it still got people like me hooked. There’s so many questions people have after this short trailer. I’m just going to give my thoughts on what the main characters are going through.

Tony

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The trailer starts off with Tony at his lowest point after losing the battle against Thanos on Titan. I loved this whole opening with Tony. It brought this sense of hopelessness to the film. Just a quick reminder to us that yes, the Avengers lost. Tony for one of the smartest people in the universe looks like he has no answers left as he records this goodbye message to Pepper Potts. What I liked the most about the dialogue here was how it felt like Tony was also talking to us, the audience. Especially when he was saying things like every journey has an end. With Tony on the verge of dying, flying in the middle of no where. It feels like a certain captain might run into him. I also have to point out that he’s not alone on the ship. Nebula is also present with him as she is shown in a later shot on the same ship.

Thanos

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After winning Thanos is doing exactly what he wants… living his life. He’s in the same place where we last saw him in Avengers: Infinity War. It appears the gauntlet is still busted from the snap. Thanos looks to be on him farm, growing crops and just minding his own business. For how long though? I think the rest of the Avengers will find their way to him.

Rest of the Avengers

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After spending the opening moments with Tony. The rest of the trailer is centred around the Avengers who survived the snap. It’s mainly up to Captain America and Black Widow, to somehow bounce back after their greatest defeat. I just love how the impact of Infinity War is felt here. With half the population gone the world seems so small now.  Seeing Steve cry was tough. Thor too. He didn’t even have to say a word. You can see what’s going on in his mind. After all, he didn’t go for the head. He must be blaming himself for all of this. Hawkeye is back! I mean Ronin! He looks to be in Japan just kicking ass. My guess is he’s gone full Ronin since his family were taken away from him by the snap. The trailer ended with Ant-Man showing up to the Avengers HQ. The last time we saw him, he was stuck in the Quantum Realm. Well, it looks like he can get in and get out of the Quantum Realm. This means he’ll be crucial in the movie. Because I guarantee the Quantum Realm will be used in this movie to help get the rest of the Avengers back.

As for the Avengers who fell victim to the snap? Well, we have no idea what they’re doing. And good! I don’t want to know until I sit down in the theatre next April. This trailer was overall a great appetiser for what’s to come. I hope they keep this vague approach with the rest of the promotional material for the movie.

Let me know your thoughts on the trailer

 

Daredevil Gets Cancelled… and it F*****g Sucks!

Back in 2015, I was depressed as hell at University. To make a long story short I spent most of my hours outside of lectures, locked up in my room. Netflix helped me get through a number of tough days. In particular, I fell in love with this one show… Daredevil. I can’t remember why I started watching it or who told me to check it out. But thankfully, I did. Because prior to the show all I knew about Daredevil was the film starring Ben Affleck. Yeah… the less said about that, the better. As I finished the first season back then I was blown away. Daredevil, had not only became one of my favourite series, but I had also fell in love with the character. Now, having finished watching season 3 just last month, it’s safe to say Daredevil is one of the favourite shows ever. It’s definitely my favourite superhero tv show ever without a doubt. So, news of series getting cancelled yesterday left me confused and angry. To me, the series was only getting better. And with how the last season ended, it felt like they were far from finished with Matt Murdock’s story.

Why I love Daredevil

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I could be here for hours explaining why I love this series. For the sake of time I’ll keep it short. I mean where do I start? The writing, the choreography, the cinematography, the performances! Everything about this show just screamed “high quality” to me. Like it deserved to be on the big screen. It’s just levels above the other superhero tv series that are available today. Including the ones that are under the same Netflix/Marvel umbrella (Luke Cage and Iron Fist).

Was the writing on the wall?

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While I was surprised that Daredevil was cancelled I also wasn’t at the same time. If that makes sense. First Luke Cage then Iron Fist and now Daredevil. To be honest, when the likes of Luke Cage and Iron Fist were first cancelled I didn’t look to much into it. I mean, these were shows that were poorly received (especially Iron Fist) and it would make sense for them to cut ties so they could focus more on the likes of Daredevil. Unlike the two I just mentioned Daredevil was always well received by critics and fans. Plus it has a cult-like fan base. Now with Daredevil cancelled what’s left of the Marvel/Netflix universe? It’s only a matter of time before The Punisher and Jessica Jones suffer the same fate.

Something is going on behind the scenes at Netflix. I mean the writers of Daredevil were having meetings about the upcoming season last night, only to find out their show was cancelled. I also don’t feel like Netflix have been promoting their Netflix shows as much as they used to before. The trailer for Daredevil season 3 was only released a month before it was made available for streaming.

It’s tough to guess what’s really going on behind the scenes. I’ve seen people blame both Disney and Netflix. Personally, I think it might be a mix of both. If Netflix had just cancelled one show clearly, it would be on their end right? But to cancel three? Something bigger is going on behind the scenes. Keep in mind, in this year we’ve got seasons for Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Daredevil and Jessica Jones. All in one calendar year! Any other company would space out these seasons over a couple of years. Not one year.

What’s next for Matt Murdock?

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While the series has been cancelled the character Daredevil is set to live on in some type of media. Before I go any further it would be a crime for me not to also mention the future of the supporting cast that came with this series. I love Charlie Cox as Daredevil, but the supporting cast around him are equally as great. Vincent D’Onofrio, as the Kingpin in particular, is one of my favourite comic book villains ever. I would put him up there with Thanos, to be honest.

Deadline claimed Marvel still had plans for the character to feature in future projects. Today, Disney released a statement claiming:

“We look forward to more adventures with the Man without Fear in the future,”

Now what does this mean? I have no idea. I personally, don’t want to see him just show up in other character’s series. I just can’t see them bringing him to the big screen along with the rest of the Avengers. I’ve seen a lot of people hoping the series would get revived on Disney’s upcoming streaming service. I for one am less confident of that. They already have series for the likes of Loki, Scarlet Witch and The Mandalorian in the works. I don’t see Daredevil being high on their list of priorities.

There are my thoughts on the entire situation.

Let me know your thoughts down below.

Early Social Media Reactions To Aquaman

DC’s biggest movie of the year is only a couple of weeks away from its release. We’ve gone a whole year without a live-action DC movie (minus Teen Titans Go!). It doesn’t feel like that for some reason. It feels like Justice League was only released a couple of months ago. Speaking of Justice League, some would say James Wan’s Aquaman, is an opportunity to take Warner Bros. back into the right direction. There’s a lot of pressure James Wan’s shoulders with this film. Just the scale of the film alone is something that very few people in the industry can pull off. And today, we’ll get to see what the media thought of the film and whether James Wan’s Aquaman lives up to the hype.

As with all major releases the film was screened early to the press. A couple of weeks ago members of the press were shown the film and here are their thoughts:

Paul Shirey (Joblo)

Umberto Gonzalez (The Wrap)

Sean O’Connell (CinemaBlend)

Digital Spy 

Andrew Dyce (ScreenRant) 

Brandon Davis 

Jim Vejvoda (IGN)

Sean Gerber (SuperheroNewsCB)

Mike Cecchini (DenOfGeeksUS) 

Jenna Busch

Carly Lane (SYFYFANGRRLS/SYFYWIRE) 

Ben Mekler

There you have it. These are most the early reactions to Aquaman. You can clearly see it’s mostly positive for Aquaman. As always I will judge the movie for myself. Roll on December!

 

Release Dates For Spider-Man Spin-off movies revealed (Venom 2 & Morbius?)

After a number of attempts it may finally look like Sony’s Spider-Man universe is going to be taking off after all. Or, should I say Spider-Man-less universe as the web-slinger is yet to make an appearance. With Tom Holland’s Spider-Man flourishing in the MCU it was left up to Tom Hardy’s controversial Venom movie to take the reins. Now, regardless of what you think about Venom, the movie is a hit. The film has only been out for more than a month and it has already made up to $800m at the box office. Did the studio just strike lucky with Venom? Well, it looks like we’re going to find out in the next couple of years as Sony have revealed two release dates in 2020 for further spin-off movies.

The first of these dates is July 10, 2020. And going by what we know about the films in development so far. My best guess would be that Jared Leto’s Morbius movie is going to be released on this date. Of all the Sony movies in development this is actually the closest to going in production. It has been reported that the studio are looking to shoot the project early next year. Also, a couple of weeks ago Morbius himself (Jared Leto) posted a video on his Twitter teasing the potential look of the character.

The second date that has been added to the slate is October 2, 2020. This would have to be the Venom sequel. It’s a no brainer. The film was highly successful and the studio already laid the groundwork for the sequel with the post credit scene in Venom.

Let me know your thoughts on this news down below.

Are you looking forward to Sony’s spin-off universe?

Feel free to check out my review for Venom! 

 

 

Venom Review: An Entertaining Mess

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Venom is Sony’s first instalment into their Spider-Man spin-off universe. But after watching Venom, I’m not sure how successful this universe will be. Before I start this review, I just want to preference it with this. I’m a huge comic book fan. Spider-Man is my second favourite superhero after Superman. I have to say a Venom movie without Spider-Man doesn’t bother me too much. Ever since the film was announced a lot of comic book fans have been against it because of the lack of connection to Spider-Man in this movie. And I totally understand their complaints. But speaking for myself, I was actually really looking forward to this movie (mainly because of Tom Hardy). Would I love to see Venom go up-against Spider-Man? Of course, but you can’t always get what you want. So, I went into the movie last night open-minded and hoping for the best…

What they got right

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This film has a lot of issues but hands down the best thing about it is Venom himself. Venom is brutal, scary and surprisingly very funny. Not to mention he looks great too. The VFX team did a great job with the character’s design. Watching Venom and Eddie Brock go back and forth was really the highlight of the movie for me. I’ve seen this movie be described as a buddy cop movie. And honestly, I could just watch them two walk the streets of San Fransisco for two hours. One of the main reasons why Venom as a character works so well in this film is because of Tom Hardy’s performance. Granted he wont be getting nominated for any Oscars with this performance. But I think his take on Eddie Brock is a lot better than I expected. And of course, if you didn’t know he also voices Venom too. That’s probably one of my favourite aspects of the character, I just love his voice. The voice is so out there and crazy it bounces off Eddie Brock perfectly. Also, I can hear everything he’s saying this time. The relationship between Venom and Eddie Brock is so good, I just wish we got to that point a lot quicker than we did. Because to be honest, the film is pretty boring at the start until Venom is introduced.

The bad…writing

The biggest issue I had this with movie is the writing. Going into this movie I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece in storytelling and character development. However, I expected a lot more than what I got. I just don’t know where to start and how best to describe it to you. I’m so confused at the some of the decisions that were made. As I just stated the relationship between Venom and Eddie Brock was the best thing in the movie. It feels like that’s where all the attention went in the writers room. Because everything surrounding it was just bad. From the dialogue, story and character motivations, a lot of it felt so rushed and underdeveloped.

The biggest causality of the writing in this movie is easily the TONE of it. To put it simply, it’s all over the place. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. At certain parts the film is a straight up comedy. And in the next scene they’re trying to be super serious. I’m fine with a film having a dark/light tone but Venom, didn’t strike a good balance at all to me. For the most part I really enjoyed the comedic parts of the film. Like I said Venom was really funny in this movie. But I couldn’t help think during certain parts of the film “was I meant to laugh at that?”. It was hard to tell when they were being funny on purpose of if it was done unintentionally. This is where I have to also lay a lot of the blame at the feet of the studio here. I don’t think they knew what they wanted with this film. Is it going to be PG-13 or R-Rated? Eventually they’ve opted for the PG-13 route in order to make more money and create a universe that would be Spider-Man friendly. Personally, I feel the studio should’ve gone the Deadpool route. Make it R-rated, go all the way with it. Think about how you want to incorporate Spider-Man later.

Riot

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Comic book movies today for the most part are defined by their main villain and Venom is no different. The main villain of the movie Riot, (played by Riz Ahmed) who I think is an amazing actor suffers from once again, bad writing. From the moment we’re introduced to his character you just know he won’t be that compelling. The final fight between the two only lasts for what felt like five minutes. It was also hard to tell what was going on during their fight. What doesn’t help is how Venom and Riot look similar when it comes to colour and size. And when you have them fighting in a poorly lit environment it just became hard to follow the action. Granted, I haven’t seen many people bring up this issue, it might’ve just been me. The action in the rest of the movie was great and it flowed really well. It also helped show why this character is loved by many because of how differently he conducts himself from Spider-Man.

Is it really that bad?

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Now I know it may sound like I’ve just been beating this movie to death. But I can’t lie, despite all of its flaws I have a fun time with Venom. Look, If you go in expecting an incredible film you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. I have a love/hate relationship with this movie which I haven’t experienced in a long time. If you go in looking for flaws you’ll definitely find them. If you just want to have a fun time for two hours I believe you would be satisfied for the most part here. The aspects that work (mainly Tom Hardy) are really entertaining. Take Tom Hardy out of this film I don’t think it would work at all. Yes, the movie is riddled with issues but it never got to the point where I wanted the movie to end. I’ve seen this movie get compared to the likes of Catwoman and Batman & Robin. I 100% disagree with these views. The film is getting a lot of undeserved hate. However, let me clarify this, I totally understand why some may not like this film. But in the era of superhero movies Venom is no way near one of the worst comic book movies ever. It’s kind of in the middle for me. I don’t hate it, but I also don’t love it. Will I be picking it up on Blu-ray? I’m not sure yet. If the studio decides to release an R-Rated cut along with some extra footage, then they will definitely be getting my money.

Venom: 6.5/10

Let me know your thoughts on the film

 

Chris Evans Bids Farewell To Captain America Role?

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Reshoots for next year’s Avengers 4 movie have been going on for a number of weeks now. A couple of weeks ago, on social media Chris Hemsworth, told fans that he had completed his scenes for the reshoots. Now, it was time for Chris Evans, Captain America, himself to complete his final scenes for the upcoming movie. Judging by what he posted on his Twitter a couple of hours ago, he might’ve just shot his final scenes as Captain America!

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As you can see from the tweet above Chris Evans, heavily implies this could be the last time we’ll see him in this role. I have to say this was a strange tweet to put out before the movie is released. We don’t even know the title of the movie yet. Or it’s possible that he does feel emotional after playing this role for nearly a decade. Personally, I think we will see the end of Captain America in Avengers 4. Whether the character dies or retires, I’m not sure about that. In the comics the likes of Falcon and Bucky have gone on to replace him. The main issue here is how great Chris Evans has been in the role. He’s set a really high bar for anyone else to pick up the shield after him.

Or is this all a trick to build more hype for the upcoming movie? I wouldn’t put it past the Russo Brothers at this point.

Let me know your thoughts on his tweet

Is Avengers 4 going to be the last time we will see Chris Evans, as Captain America?

 

First Look At Joaquin Phoenix As The Joker

In case you didn’t know already. There is a solo Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix  (directed by Todd Phillips) currently in production. Filming only just started last week and thanks to Just Jared, we have gotten our first look at Phoenix’s Joker in action. Also director Todd Phillips, I’m guessing has responding to these leaked by giving us our first official look at Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker.

See below for the set photos and Todd Phillip’s post:

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Just a couple of minutes after these set photos leaked. Director Todd Phillips took to Instagram and gave us our first official look at Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker (Arthur).

View this post on Instagram

Arthur.

A post shared by Todd Phillips (@toddphillips1) on

This Joker movie is going to be an origin movie which is set in the 80s. It will not feature Batman. But, it will feature his father, Thomas Wayne. The movie is not going to be connected to the DCEU at all. And it will stand alone in its own universe.

The Joker movie is set to be released on 4, October 2019

Avengers 4 Concept Art Shows Major Changes Made To Characters

Information on next year’s Avengers movie has been scarce. We don’t even know what the official title of the movie is yet. However, as we go into September, expect to see Marvel release tons of information on one of their biggest movies ever. I know, I feel like I find myself saying that with every Avengers movie.

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A couple of weeks ago this concept art had leaked from Avengers 4. Initially this promo art was labelled as a ‘fake’. However, just a couple of days ago, someone has leaked a better version of this promo art. The most interesting to note about this concept art is how it only features the Avengers who survived the ‘snap’.

Here’s a close up on a few of the characters:

Captain Marvel

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Captain Marvel, is expected to play a huge role in Avengers 4. The concept art shows the character in her traditional suit which she will obtain in her solo movie.

Hulk

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This might be the most interesting aspect of the concept art. Yes, Hulk in his own suit. It looks odd but, he has had this type of look a number of times in the comics.

Captain America

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When looking at Captain America, again, this concept art looks to be accurate. Having seen set photos from Avengers 4, we know Cap will no longer have the beard and will be wearing an earlier version of his suit.

The likes of Iron Man, Thor and Rocket remain unchanged from Avengers: Infinity War:

Let me know your thoughts on this early concept art down below

Do you think it’s real or fake?

Matt Reeves Submits First Draft Of The Batman Script

It feels like Matt Reeves’ Batman movie has been in development forever. Information surrounding the project has been scarce. Matt Reeves has been tight-lipped during the whole process, and I don’t blame him. However, in the past couple of months he has slowly been giving up updates. One of the major things he revealed was how he’s close to submitting his first draft for the script. While Matt Reeves hasn’t publicity stated that he’s submitted the first draft yet. Umberto Gonzalez responding to a fan on Twitter last night revealed the first draft has been submitted to the studio.

This could also most likely explain Matt Reeves’ trip to the Batman ’66 exhibition last week. It’s possible he was taking a well deserved break after submitting the script.

People have their own thoughts and opinions on Umberto as a source. Personally I find him to be pretty reliable. And I trust him here. With the first draft submitted this should hopefully mean the studio are still on track to start shooting the project next spring!

Let me know your thoughts on this

What would you love to see in Matt Reeves’ Batman script?