When the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot movie came out, fans had a lot of complaints. We want Shredder to be more of a villain. We wanted Bebop and Rocksteady. We wanted to get rid of the turtles' freaky nostrils. We wanted to get rid of the living mannequin Megan Fox as April O'Neill. Well, Michael Bay was listening, and he delivered in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of Shadows. That is to say, he ignored everything we wanted, except he put in Bebop and Rocksteady. He also somehow managed to make a TMNT movie that had even more plot holes, ruining of beloved characters, and just plain annoying crap. Here's the latest Honest Trailer from Screen Junkies where they take on the heroes in a half-shell.

What did you think of TMNT: Out of the Shadows?

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Black Lightning via FOX
Black Lightning is one of the first major African American superheroes in comic book history. Originally created in 1977, the electrically powered superhero has inspired numerous other minority heroes with electric powers. Now he's finally getting his own TV show.

Variety announced that Fox will be developing a Black Lightning TV series. The show will be about Jefferson Pierce, who has retired from his career as Black Lightning years ago. But "with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight." It will be produced by Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, who already helm the successful DC series "The Flash," "Arrow," "Supergirl," and "Legends of Tomorrow." Husband-and-wife duo Salim and Mara Brock Akil, who were producers on "Being Mary Jane" and "The Game," are writing and producing the adaptation of the comic.

We're looking forward to this series. It's great to have more original minority superheroes, and it sounds like an interesting twist on the usual superhero drama. This and Netflix's "Luke Cage" are pioneering a new wave of black heroes. Also, all that lightning will look totally cool. It's only got a pilot commitment right now, but here's hoping it goes to series.

What do you think about Black Lightning?

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Marty (Michael J. Fox) as the "spaceman" in "Back to the Future"
Back to the Future is a great title. Let's not even dispute that. It's provocative and mind-twistingly literal. It's also tells you it's a time travel movie, and kind of hints at what the story will be about. But not everyone liked it, particularly the head of Universal Studios, Sid Scheinberg. At one point, he proposed a different and thoroughly horrible title for different and thoroughly horrible reasons. Especially in hindsight, it's just mind-boggling how bad it is. Network Notes revealed the ridiculous memo:
Studio notes to Spielberg over Back to the Future

Letters of Note posted the hilarious response from Steven Spielberg.

Would you have preferred "Spaceman From Pluto?"

Howard Stark's Notes in IRON MAN 2 Had Real Science

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I spent the entire movie staring at Shailene Woodley's nose. Her nostrils are huge and weirdly shaped. Very distracting.
Shailene Woodley...seriously, look at that schnoz
Anyway, Insurgent is the sequel to Divergent, the movie that's supposed to remind us of Hunger Games, only not as good. Insurgent is set in a future Chicago where everyone is divided up into factions like the whole world is a high school cafeteria, and everyone sticks to their own cliques. All the factions have names no one but English majors would ever use like Abnegation and Candor, and none of them seem like factions anyone would willingly want to be a part of. I mean, seriously. "Abnegation" members have to live in houses with very little light, eat plain vegetables with no seasoning, and serve others all their life. "Dauntless" members have to run around all day whooping, jumping onto moving trains, and doing suicidal stunts. "Amity" members have to spend all their time growing food in farms, and take a drug in their food to keep them from being violent. Who wants that? Where's the faction that sits around watching TV and eating pizza all day? But I digress.

Once again, Tris (Shailene Woodley) is a special snowflake because she's a divergent. That means she has traits of all the different factions. I guess. But she doesn't act any different than anyone else, and doesn't seem any smarter or more skilled than anyone else, so she doesn't seem that special to me.

The problem with this movie is the same as the last one, only more so. Most of the "action" in this movie just involved virtual simulations, which have zero tension, because it's like watching a hallucinogenic dream. Yeah, yeah, if you die in the dream, you die in real life. Well, we know she's not going to die because they have two more sequels to get through, so that's not a concern. You spend half the movie watching her flying around and seeing dead people and waiting for something to actually happen.
The rest of the movie is people standing around talking and arguing, and I can't even remember most of it. It's just endless bickering with different factions, and behind it all, the topless chick from "Titanic"...I mean, Kate Winslet is trying to get Tris so she can unlock a special box to find the secrets of the universe or whatever. But a lot of it felt like padding, killing time to save some story for the sequels.

The twist in the end ruined the movie. Without giving it away, basically, the movie says, "Yeah, the faction system makes no sense on its own. Here's the real reason it exists." Since the first movie was all about Tris getting into and struggling with the faction system, this makes the entire last movie a waste of time.

I haven't seen her in anything else, but in this movie, Shailene Woodley is a bad actress. Most of the movie has her with a "deer in the headlights" look of fear and confusion. Unlike Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games, Shailene's fight scenes are completely unconvincing. She punches like she's swinging a mile away from people, and she practically flinches every time she shoots a gun. At no time did I believe she was actually good at combat.
This is absolutely not a real boxing stance
Even my wife, who loved Divergent, didn't like this movie. She didn't even bother to watch the third one.

There will be no review of Allegiant, because the only way I'll watch it is if you drag me to the TV with rusty hooks in my nose. I seriously can't believe enough people read these books to make them bestsellers.

What did you think of the Divergent series? Would you ever watch it?

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Luke Cage is coming to his own series on Netflix, and Marvel released a couple of awesome trailers to whet our appetite. If you haven't seen Luke's appearances on "Jessica Jones" or you have no idea who he is, get ready for three minutes of school.

And if you want to see Luke Cage in action, check out this teaser where Cage is brawling and bouncing off bullets.

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I'm a huge fan of the Tick. I started out reading the original comic books back in the eighties, watched the cartoon show in 1994, and watched the live-action show in 2001. I was really excited about seeing the Tick return in a new Amazon Pilot. But this is not the Tick I knew and loved. In some ways, it's better. In some ways, it's lacking.

In case you're not familiar with it, Amazon creates original TV shows like Netflix and Hulu, but they work differently. Instead of creating a full season, they work more like traditional TV in creating a pilot to see if it works. But the network doesn't decide if it's worth making a full season, viewers do. Viewers submit feedback, and the shows that get the most positive reviews go to series. It's more interactive than both models. This is a review of the half-hour pilot without knowing if a series will follow.

The episode opens with an alien spacecraft arriving in Siberia in 1908, bringing with it the arrival of "not-Superman" superhero Superian. Cut to an online TV show starring Whoopi Goldberg (yes, it's really her) interviewing Superian about the death of his nemesis, the Terror. There's a persistent conspiracy theory that the Terror isn't really dead, but they found his teeth after the crater Superian left him in. That's a running joke in the show, that everyone insists his teeth proved he's dead.

But one person doesn't believe it, and that's Arthur Everest. Unlike other iterations of the Tick, where Arthur is just a comic foil for Tick, this show is all about Arthur. Arthur is obsessed with the Terror for reasons I won't give away, and insists he's still alive. But everyone thinks he's crazy, and pities him for the incident that traumatizes him. Arthur isn't a superhero, but wants justice by staking out a mysterious shipment of weapons.

And then literally the Tick walks up to him, introducing him to the world of superheroes. There's no explanation for who he is or where he came from, but he's still the same non-sequitor spewing optimist of the original series. He's played very well by Peter Serafinowicz, who makes you forget about Patrick Warburton's iconic performance within seconds. He's less goofy and more straight-laced, but just as funny. From there, Arthur finds himself pulled kicking and screaming into the Tick's world, and becoming his sidekick. The episode ends with a cliffhanger, so I hope they end up making it into a series.

The new Tick pilot is a very different tone from the original comics and even the TV shows. The Tick has always been a bizarre and quirky riff on superheroes with parodies of superheroes and the superhero community, and a G-rated sensibility. In Amazon's The Tick, there's more of a realistic feel, like it's more a parody of our world and fame than superheroes. There's also death and mutilation, which was hard to watch sometimes. But the original comic had characters like the Man-Eating Cow, so I can't say it doesn't fit the concept. But when the Tick walks into a scene, the whole tone of the show changes for the better.

Arthur is played by Griffin Newman as a wonderfully complex and deep character that you really sympathize and root for. As the Terror, Jackie Earle Haley is fantastic. I really loved how Haley chewed the scenery with menace. With conspicuously large teeth.

Slight spoiler: if the flashback showing Arthur's "voices" is true, it points to an intriguing connection between Arthur and the Tick.

Thing I didn't like: I missed the off-the-wall craziness of the original Tick. Der Fleidermaus is my favorite Batman parody, and Batmanuel is a close second. I'd love to see characters like Chairface and The-Evil-Midnight-Bomber-What-Bombs-At-Midnight, but this show will probably never go that far. I know the dark tone is intended to make the show fit in with superhero TV shows like "Daredevil," but I think it will turn off some viewers who would prefer more light and optimistic fare.

I also thought the Tick costume looked too much like a suit of armor like "The Dark Knight." There's all sorts of textures and patterns on it that I found distracting.

In the end, I decided this show is still worth seeing, and I want to see more. I hope it goes to series, and lightens up a little bit to make it more fun. If you have Amazon Prime, it's definitely a must-watch for any comic book fan.

Would you see the Tick? If you saw it, what did you think?

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I'll say this for Marvel. They have some problems, but they're also leading the way for diversity in comics right now. Their willingness to take beloved white male superheroes and transform them into minority and female superheroes is almost startling. They broke ground with an African-American teenage boy as Spiderman with Miles Morales. Then they created a female Wolverine, a female Thor, an African-American Captain America, an Asian-American Hulk, a female Muslim Ms. Marvel, and now the role of Iron Man will be taken over by Riri Williams, a teenage black woman.

According to the announcement by Brian Michael Bendis in Time, the character will debut in Invincible Iron Man. At the end of the current crossover event Civil War II, Tony Stark will quit and turn over his role as Iron Man full-time. Williams will be a teen genius who impresses Stark by enrolling in MIT at the age of fifteen, and building her own Iron Man suit in her dorm room. It's unknown as yet how or why Tony Stark will give up his armor, but we look forward to new adventures with a new female hero.

What I found most gratifying in the interview with Bendis was how he described the racist reaction online to the announcement. He said: "Some of the comments online, I don’t think people even realize how racist they sound. I’m not saying if you criticize you’re a racist, but if someone writes, 'Why do we need Riri Williams we already have Miles?' that’s a weird thing to say. They’re individuals just like Captain America and Cyclops are individuals. All I can do is state my case for the character, and maybe they’ll realize over time that that’s not the most progressive thinking. But increasingly we see less and less of that. Once Miles hit, and Kamala Khan hit and female Thor hit — there was a part of an audience crawling through the desert looking for an oasis when it came to representation, and now that it’s here, you’ll go online and be greeted with this wave of love."

I love his response to people who say there are enough minority characters in comics. I've even heard some people argue that comics should have a specific percentage of minority characters that matches the specific percentage of minorities in the United States. But the same people aren't complaining there are too many white male superheroes. The anti-diversity trolls aren't saying, "There's already a white male Batman. Why do we need a white male Superman?" There's no quota that needs to be met. How about we just make the ethnicity of the characters a part of who they are and what fits the character best, instead of assuming it's about some sort of progressive social justice warrior affirmative action agenda?

It's nice to know Marvel gets it.

I also think the new character will bring a lot to the character. What does it mean when a woman is playing the role of Iron Man? Will she be trying to pass herself off as a male? Would her being revealed as a female change how people perceive her? Will she have the wealth and power of Tony Stark or will she have to be the technological genius with limited resources? Looking forward to it.

What do you think of the new Iron Man?

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Good news, everyone! Futurama is back! Well, sort of. It's unlike anything you've seen before.

A while back, we profiled a makeup creation of Professor Farnsworth from Futurama. Well, someone has gone full walrus with a live-action version of Futurama called "Fan-O-Rama." "Fan-O-Rama" has all the major characters, using makeup to bring Farnsworth, Leela, Bender, Zoidberg, and even Hermes into the real world. It looks like it's even doing it without CGI, using practical models. The project is led by Dan Lanigan, with special effects by Martin Moonwalker Meunier, Kody Frederick and Katie Lanigan to co-star and co-write, and Eric Diaz to produce music and costumes. Together, they created this trailer to prove that if Futurama existed in the real world, it would be really creepy and disturbing, but also fun to watch. We hope...

What do you think of Fan-O-Rama?

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There's an action comedy out called Central Intelligence starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. They're high school buddies who become a special agent and an accountant who team up. It's not a scifi movie, but there is some interesting science behind-the-scenes. There's a flashback where it's revealed that Dwayne Johnson's character used to be an awkward fat kid in school. It shows Johnson singing in the shower to En Vogue's "My Lovin'," and subjected to a cruel prank of getting thrown into the gym naked.

For all of the Rock's fans, the results are pretty startling:


The interesting thing is that they didn't use a fat suit, like they usually do for these movies, and which usually look pretty bad. They actually used CGI and motion capture to create a younger digital version of Johnson's head, and pasted it onto the body of overweight viral Polynesian dancer Sione Kelepi to create the effect. I'm always fascinated by how computer graphics have replaced makeup and costumes. Here's a great little breakdown of how they did it, presented by Wired.

What do you think of the effect? Should they have just used a fat suit or was it worth the effort?

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Namor the Sub-Mariner
Can Marvel bring Namor the Sub-Mariner into the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Yes, but it's complicated.

He's the biggest superhero that no one has ever heard of, but a big screen movie could change all that. Remember Ant-Man? Black Panther? Both were virtually unknown outside of the comic book world, but now they're household names thanks to movies like Captain America: Civil War. Namor could be just as popular. So who owns the movie rights?

Let's follow the history of the movie rights and see how Marvel lost and got the rights back.

Who Owned The Movie Rights To Namor in the 1990s?

Through the 1970s to the early 1990s, Marvel sold the movie rights to popular comic book characters for quick cash (they still went bankrupt, but it helped). From the late 1980s to 1996, most of the major characters like the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Daredevil, Hulk, Silver Surfer, and Iron Man had been optioned to the studios. They even sold movie rights to "minor" characters like Man-Thing.

In 1997, Phillip Kaufman, known for movies like the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake, began discussions with Marvel Studios to develop a movie based on Namor. Batman writer Sam Hamm was rumored to be writing the script.

At the time Kaufman said it would mirror his own interests in environmental issues. Prince Namor was described as a man who has "certain bad feelings toward the people up above, on Earth, because of his ecological concerns." He added that this as a time that "there is no Russia or other large international bad guy to focus on, comics provide a way of dealing with good and evil in another context, and one brought up to date."

Who Owned The Movie Rights To Namor in the 2000s?

In 2002, Saban Entertainment began working with Marvel on a Sub-Mariner movie, with a script written by Randall Frakes who also wrote The Terminator novelization.

The next year Universal Pictures hired David Self to write a new script for the film around the same time they started working on the Ang Lee Hulk movie. Marvel Studios president Avi Arad suggested the story would have Namor "battling polluters responsible for such threats to ocean life as oil spills, underwater bomb testing, and global warming."

Arad said Sub-Mariner "will be an epic underwater tale of majestic fantasy." They were hoping for a 2004 release of the film but the prediction stalled after Hulk dropped a gamma bomb at the box office.

Then, in 2004, director Chris Columbus entered talks to direct the film for a 2007 release but he left the project the next year. In 2006, Jonathan Mostow took over the film with the planned title of The Sub-Mariner which dropped the name Namor.

Six years later, in 2012, Marvel's CCO (Chief Creative Officer) Joe Quesada said the film rights had reverted back to Marvel. At the UK "Kapow! Comic Convention" Quesada said that "to the best of his knowledge" Marvel had the movie rights to Namor the Sub-Mariner.

But the next year president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige told Empire magazine the Namor movie rights are definitively "at Universal."

Who Owns The Movie Rights To Namor Now?

Fast forward two years to 2014 and Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter tweeted "Universal does NOT have the rights to the Sub-Mariner. Marvel has them." The guy has a ton of insider knowledge so he would know, but it turns out it's even more complicated than that.

Later that year Kevin Feige confirmed in an interview with IGN that Universal and Legendary Pictures couldn’t make a Namor the Sub-Mariner movie even if they wanted to. While he did confirm that Marvel Studios is the only one that could make a Namor movie he said, "there are entanglements that make it less easy.

"There are older contracts that still involve other parties that mean we need to work things out before we move forward on it. As opposed to an Iron Man or any of the Avengers or any of the other Marvel characters where we could just put them in."

Finally, in June of 2016, Joe Quesada again said that the Namor movie rights are back with Marvel. On the "Fatman on Batman" podcast when he was asked about the Namor film rights he said "I can't speak for studios...As far as I know, yeah we do. It’s not at Fox, it’s not at Sony...Yeah."

So maybe it took two years for them to work out the “entanglements” or maybe they’re still working them out. That’s a pretty vague statement but it’s less vague after statements about the complicated film rights for characters like Hulk and Spider-Man.

In the case of Spider-Man Sony agreed to license the character to Marvel Studios with a number of restrictions. For example, Marvel can use him in the movies, but can’t use him in spin-off shows based on the M.C.U. like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. For the Hulk, Marvel can use him in Avengers movies, but Universal has "first right of refusal" to distribute a stand-alone film.

Who is Namor?

Namor in Marvel Comics #1 (1939)
For those who don't know, Namor the Sub-Mariner is one of Marvel’s first superheroes. He first appeared in Marvel Comics #1 (1939) back when Marvel Comics was known as "Timely Publications". He was a hit and one of Timely's top three characters along with Captain America and the original Human Torch.

Namor's the son a human captain and an Atlantean woman, so he has characteristics of both. As the son of the princess of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis he has super-strength and the ability to breathe underwater. He also has wings on his heels which allow him to fly.

He's known to be a hot-headed character and one of the first anti-heroes in comics. While he's worked with superhero teams like the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Invaders, the Defenders and the X-Men he's also been an enemy of them as well.

Back in 1940, Namor threatened to sink Manhattan underneath a tidal wave. In fact, in his first appearance he kills two men in revenge for attacking their underwater city. The guy has some serious anger management issues.

Who Came Out First: Namor Or Aquaman?

Aquaman and Namor the Sub-Mariner
Both DC and Marvel have an underwater superhero that's the king of Atlantis. The obvious question is which came first? Namor the Sub-Mariner came first as he was first seen in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly (1939). Aquaman didn't show up until 1941 in More Fun Comics #73.

While Namor came out first, Aquaman is more well-known thanks to the 1960s Super Friends cartoon. DC has beaten Marvel to the underwater superhero punch too thanks to his cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice played by Jason Mamoa. Aquaman is co-starring in Justice League which opens November 17, 2017 and he gets a solo movie which is scheduled to open July 27, 2018.

But Stephen McFeely, one of the writers for Avengers: Infinity War says they'd like to bring Namor into the movie. "He is kind of a jerk and has a chip on his shoulder and he is a king and lives underwater," McFeely said, "The degree of difficulty is so high, though. Cause it could be a great movie or it could be truly terrible."

Infinity War is scheduled to open May 4, 2018 so he may make an appearance before the Aquaman solo film. We'll see.

So that's the story. Marvel could make a Namor movie deal happen if they can work it out with the right people. The movie could be a hit with all the environmental issues and global warming. He could really be a major player and would be a nice contrast to King T'Challa AKA the Black Panther.

Would you watch a Namor the Sub-Mariner movie

About the Author: Maurice Mitchell
I'm an avid science fiction fan, former professional graphic designer and certified blerd. After the death of my Star Wars action figures, I use my powers for good and not for evil.
Visit my concept art blog: http://filmsketchr.blogspot.com

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