The Death of Overwatch League

Ok, it might be a little early to proclaim death on OWL but it has been one hell of a bad year for them. Just for background… I myself am an OWL watcher but now OW player. I don’t particularly care for FPS games and Overwatch is no different. But for whatever reason, about a year or so before OWL started, I found that it was quite entertaining to actually watch teams play Overwatch.

When Overwatch League was announced, I was thrilled. I liked watching the game, and looked forward to more organized play. But more than anything, I always felt that one of the biggest issues with eSports was the instability of the games and difficulty to find a hook into being a fan of any particular team. I mean if you became a fan of a team, it was likely because they won a lot which isn’t my favorite reason to like a team. (Or you just grabbed one out of a hat.) I think the idea of a location based league in eSports is long overdue and I was happy to see someone take a shot at it, but I fear that the failure that is Overwatch League might actually hamper this from happening in the future. I wanted to go over the various reasons why I think the league is doomed to fail.

  1. Owned and operated by Blizzard. This is like if the NFL was owned by Spalding or Nike, there’s a huge conflict of interest here. There isn’t even a panel of league owners who make rule changes, it all comes from Blizzard, like it or hate it. I am sure league owners get to bug Blizzard about things they’d like to see, and I’m sure Blizzard has taken them up on it from time to time, but Blizzard is free to ignore. I don’t think it can happen in the modern age of “you can’t show our game without our permission” but if a league is going to work, it kinda needs to be independent of the developer of it. They benefit from the league being successful and should understand that and that should be the only benefit they get.
  2. Lack of transparency. What we know for sure is that Blizzard asks about 25-35 million per team sale, though I would guess it differs greatly from team to team. We know players get paid salaries, but we don’t know how much. We know trades happen, but we don’t know for what… often a player gets traded to another team with no visible return to the sender whatsoever. Players do sign contracts, no idea how long. Players supposedly get stipends for renting and insurance, we don’t know what that looks like either. We know that there are tournaments that award cash prizes, we don’t know how that is split between owners and players. We know there are t-shirts made for the teams, we don’t know if the players get a cut. We know that OWL signs deals with youtube and twitch and networks, no idea of the details and don’t know the cut the teams get from those deals. We know skins are sold, we don’t know if teams or players get cuts. We also don’t know if Blizzard gets cuts of merchandise. We basically know nothing about where all the money is going but my guess it is mostly going to Blizzard and i don’t appreciate that if I am trying to support my team.
  3. Lack of developmental process or parity. I don’t mean Overwatch for this… I mean there is no real minor leagues per say. A lot of teams take from Contenders and I do think Contenders was originally meant as the sort of Overwatch minor league given that the initial teams all had their own contender team that they sent lesser players to. Most teams have bowed out of Contenders entirely though. Teams seem to prefer to just dump players that still need development and pick random players from random Contenders teams, or the entire team, when they need to fill. They also don’t even need to take from Contenders… when Dafran was picked up by Atlanta, he didn’t come from Contenders, he was just a youtuber being picked up to increase the popularity of the team. There’s also no draft at all, which in conjunction to there being a lack of salary cap (at least I assume, there might be one but again no transparency) there is absolutely no parity to the game. Which means if a team pays money, they will win consistently regardless… They may not always win, but they will always be near the top… they’ve essentially created the bad part of the MLB and is it any surprise that New York in both seems to be the biggest problems?
  4. Lack of Stability. One of the reasons I wanted OWL to work was because I wanted to be able to root for players and their respective teams. But even the move between seasons 1 and 2 , there only a few teams that maintained their rosters… most teams were completely rebuilt, and this happened again between 2 and 3. And now in 3 we have the Titans just completely revamping their team mid-season. Stability is just not a thing at all. I have a hard time rooting even for the teams I want to root for, let alone two random teams that aren’t teams I like. When teams I don’t like are on, the last year I just stopped watching cause I don’t know who they are anymore. A good case of this is the LA Valiant whom in season 1 was one of my favorite teams, but by season 2 I didn’t bother watching because I didn’t know many players on the team. Another kind of stability that is lacking is just game to game stability. Blizzard will patch, add characters, and add maps mid-season and OWL will put them in mid-season. They do this purposely in order to “keep things interesting” but it means that if you build a team to handle a strategy that gets nerfed midseason, your team is out of luck and there’s zero heads up on how things will change mid-season for teams to even prepare. This got magnified in season 3 when they added the hero pools (which I’ll get to later). The changes that Blizzard makes to the league are similar to if NFL decided to limit 2 WRs on offense at a time instead of the up to 5 that are currently there “just to keep things interesting.” It’s just a terrible idea to do midseason, it’s unfair to the teams and the fans who follow them.
    1. 2-2-2: Adding on specifically… 2-2-2 was a terrible move on Blizzard’s part. It was bad for the game and bad for the league. They did it to try to solve GOATS as goats was widely using 3 healers and 3 tanks, and it was a slower game than Blizzard wanted but it was really powerful (In fact, Blizzard has since said they never really intended for there to be off tanks so it’s odd that they even went 2-2-2 which forces offtanks). The hope was that by forcing players out of that 3-3 format, the game would be more interesting if they had DPS. I understand why they did it, it just was a dumb move. One problem is that by the time 2-2-2 was implemented, counter strategies were being developed, including 1-3-2 or 2-3-1… which was way more interesting and fun than either the GOATS or the 2-2-2 comps). They were extremely exciting matches and in an instant, blizzard removed them for a composition that was dying. And the composition that players moved to… it’s pretty much GOATS just in a 2-2-2 format. It is still super slow and team based, it just has different characters being used. Blizzard instead should have enforced 1-1-1 which would have allowed teams to vary, but still forcing them to have a little bit of everything. Then we could have kept those excellent 3 DPS comps.
    2. Hero Pool: Another terrible idea… the Hero Pool. Now Fans have been asking for a Hero Ban pretty much since season 1, but this wasn’t what they were asking for. Traditionally, a hero ban makes it so that one team selects a hero, the next team selects two, the first team selects two, and so on. One character can only be used once on both teams combined. An alternative way to do this would be to allow each team to ban 1 character from the opposing team’s hero pool for a map. Both ways allow methods of strategizing how to deal with your opponent that can be planned by teams ahead of time. Instead… Blizzard decided to automatically ban 4 heroes every week with heroes that were heavily used being more likely to be banned than heroes that weren’t. To me, this screamed Blizzard throwing their hands in the air and saying “we can’t balance the game so we aren’t going to try.” This does make the games more interesting because they are an absolute mess with teams not having enough time to prepare for the heroes that they are allowed to use and having no idea how opponents might react to the same problem. It lowers the amount of strategizing by the team… I think this sort of thing would work as a once a month sort of throw down that teams would have a couple weeks to prepare for. But doing it every week has increased stress on players and coaches, causing many to retire mid-season, and has made the game such a mess it’s actually kind of obnoxious to watch.
  5. The Onscreen Personalities: They are terrible. They aren’t all bad… but they aren’t all good either. Most of them are extremely punny and overly-zelaous with the hyperbole. I for one, did not find it cute when so many of them said “we don’t have to lie about every game matters anymore” when talking about the removal of the 4 game format. We all knew you were lying bro. It’s not good to point out though that you are not an honest or objective observer telling us what is happening on screen. The unfortunate part is that many of the best personalities they had in the first two seasons are now gone. Their 3 best casters left before season 3 and to offset that, they moved their two most obnoxious desk caddies to announce instead. Ugh. Goldenboy was only around in season 1, but he was their clear best desk guy. The only real bright side remaining for their casters is Soe who went from being a “sideline reporter’ to the main desk host…. and she is great… Custa who has also done well on the desk and adds credibility to the desk…. and Jake… who struggles at times because it is his first year but shows a ton of promise.
  6. Only one game at a time. Can you name one sport that has only a single non-playoff game going at any point in time? The only ones you can think of really are special games and NFL’s weekly Sunday night and Monday night games. What’s funny about this is that they have 3 sets of casters… they don’t have to have them separate for any real reason outside of they want to milk everything they got. They probably realize that they don’t really have the viewership to cover 3 games at a time so they do 1 and hope that everyone watches all of them (or forgets the stream is on) and that artificially inflates numbers. But what ends up happening is all too many games that are equivalent to Mayhem vs Dragons or Dragons vs XL in season 1…. games that almost no one wants to watch, except maybe fans of the teams. I actually didn’t mind separating out all games in the first, even second seasons… it helped you learn about the teams which was good… but now that’s not needed. People have gravitated to teams. I think before COVID, they were doing 4 games on Sat & Sunday each separate, it would have been better to have 2 time slots on each day with 2 games playing a piece and then having a 3rd game on one of the days (or maybe even both) that was the “featured” game that had a higher level of competitiveness.
  7. Expanded too Quickly. They added 8 teams in season 2… this flooded the game with teams too quickly. It was a mistake. I think they felt they had to to try to even out the global map a little, but even so, they added 3 teams on the east coast (which was already flooded), 1 team on the west coast (take or leave it), 3 teams in china (needed) and 1 team in europe (needed). And with the flood of teams, came a thinning of talent. Which btw is the entire reason NFL doesn’t expand more. Has less to do with whether their is viewership for them and more to do with the fact that they just don’t have the talent to sustain it, and I feel the same is true in OWL. Granted, it showed just how bad talent evaluation is in OWL as there was an entire team in Contenders that turned out to be better than almost all of the OWL teams from season 1. They should have maybe added the 3 chinese teams and the 1 european team in Season 2 and re-evaluated, but I suspect that it was a money grab by Blizzard. OWL seemed hot after season 1, so they wanted to get the money from new teams while the getting was good.
  8. Homestead Weekends. When the league started there was a promise of home and away games. When they started doing homestead weekends in season 2 i thought it was a great way to test out away games because it was going to be technologically challenging no doubt. After they announced homestead weekends for the entirety of season 3… and they still aren’t really talking about it, my assumption is this is what they had planned for all along. Not the “every game has a home team and away team” that was promised, and also not the magical “7th member on the team” that casters keep talking about. What was worse about how they set it up is that it wasn’t even equal… I think originally Dallas had the most scheduled at around 7 homesteads, other teams had 3. If the 7th man is truly an advantage, that is a ridiculous advantage you are giving to one team. And if Dallas makes most of their money off these homestead weekends (again we don’t know how that money is split either), then they are also going to be making more money in general than other teams so it is a twofer. Part of the reason this was done, I suspect, was to alleviate issues that players had with traveling on a daily basis, which is a legit concern. But MLB already solved this problem like 80 years ago, why are they trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist? You can fix this by doing one of two things. 1) you could make it so teams play the same team 2 times every weekend and they only visit each team once, twice if they are in the same division. 2) Make sure when you bring in teams they are paired off in locality… LA & LA is a good example… If you Have NYC going to play LA Valiant, they hit up Valiant one day and Gladiators the next day. The next LA trip they do San Francisco and Valiant, the third trip is SF and Gladiators. This is easy peasy stuff to work around and I’m surprised Blizzard didn’t think of it. And yes, in addition to that, you increase the number of bye weeks, especially with international travel. Really Europe with only 2 teams presents the biggest challenge to this aspect. They should have had 4. Hell if they had 6/6/6/6 in each region, they would be in a great position. Even despite their practice attempts, the OWL homestead was riddled with technical issues before they ceased it due to COVID. I honestly don’t think these issues will subside without stadiums being built, and to date only Philadelphia has announced plans to do so… and even that I wonder if it will still happen (I think they may also own a CS team so that may be the reason).
  9. Skirmishes. This is a really minor and weird complaint. But am I the only one who thinks it is incredibly weird that teams play each other mid-season for practice? I remember when NFL teams used to do pre-preseason skirmishes between other teams and this practice stopped for several reasons… The primary reason… it offered a free preview on how to play other teams. It’s basically a scouting opportunity, which in a competitive landscape is a really bad idea. At least in the NFL it was before the season started and a lot of the times it was third or 4th string players. Well Overwatch League does it all season long with first stringers. Like seriously wtf. I know one problem OWL has is that they need another competitive team to play against… it’s too bad they don’t have a minor league team associated with them that they could play against… that would work better honestly. Yes you would have potentially players with less talent playing against players with more talent, but that happens a lot in major sports teams. They often pit second string against first in practice, not first on first (they do that too for the record). You might think, well you don’t get as much from them if you don’t get equivalent level of competition, and to a degree you are correct. But you sacrifice the practice almost completely if you can’t use real tactics in practice because the other team is actively scouting you while you do it. You are actually better to practice real tactics against lessor talent. Than no tactics against equivalent talent. Also it helps practice the minor league team and helps you find those gems in the minors that might mesh better with your team.

So I want to end this by saying that I don’t think all is lost. My assumption at this point is that season 4 will be played with Overwatch 2, which may provide some much needed fixes to how games are played all the way around provide new energy to the game. My hope is that with that stuff like the hero pool and 2-2-2 will go by the wayside as well as a better balance between characters. Hopefully some lessons get learned. Unfortunately, many of the issues noted above, are doomed to be continued… Hopefully, if OWL does fail, other games won’t point at it as a reason not to do location based teams, because it’s a good idea. This league is just poorly implemented. And I for one, am done watching unless major (positive) changes occur.

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

I’ve been waiting to post about the Nintendo Switch. Waiting for more and solid info, not just the rumors that have been going around. I’ve been waiting for my initial considerations to settle and get a more complex view of the system. And I finally feel that it’s time to sit down and write about what I think of Nintendo’s upcoming system.

First, let me say that I am excited. I currently have two preorders for the system sitting at Gamestop. One online with a couple bundled games, one from the store with just the system. I’m currently contemplating whether to cancel one or to scalp it. Not sure. But I am a Nintendo Fanboy and I get that my excitement is me being excited to see what Nintendo has next.

I looked at the previews for the various games coming out and personally I thought how different the games look. The last couple of consoles, we have been treated with gimmicky and kiddy games, and while that is still there, I felt that Nintendo has a line-up of RPGs which is fairly strong. In 2017 alone you have: Disgaea 5, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Skyrim, Zelda: Breath of the Wild (I hate calling this game an RPG, but this release seems more RPGy than most), I am Setsuna, Dragon Quest XI, and Dragon Quest Heroes 1 & 2. And that’s just what has been announced for 2016’s RPGs. On top of those, we have Project Octopath, Dragon Quest X, Shin Megami Tensei, and Tales of being announced as Switch games, if not this year then in the future. And then we have rumored games of Pokemon Stars, Mother 3, and that Ubisoft Mario/Rabbids crossover RPG. This is such a huge RPG lineup and I don’t think people fully comprehend this. RPGs have been where Nintendo  has struggled most since the SNES, which may very well be the best RPG console ever. Since the SNES days, Nintendo consoles may have 6 to 9 total RPGs in the entire lifespan of the console. Now, Nintendo may cross that mark in their first year with this console.

This shows Nintendo has definitely changed their tune for getting third parties involved. Obviously they are missing the mark on getting the prime 3rd party support that everyone wants. No Madden announced, no Red Dead Redemption 2, not even GTA V. But it feels like Nintendo is picking a niche that generally does well with a  certain segment of adults and trying to add it to it’s repertoire.  Let’s consider something else here when talking RPGs… Xbox One has , to my knowledge 4 RPGs after 2.5 years of console life… Final Fantasy XV, Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Dark Souls 3. Unfortunately for Nintendo, these are all considered AAA titles and it doesn’t look like Nintendo will score 3 of them, though there is a fairly large chance for Dark Souls 3 to enter into Switch’s lineup at a later date.

Outside their strong RPG lineup, I am slightly dismayed at what I saw from Nintendo. Again, no big sports games outside of FIFA and NBA 2K18, I usually get one Madden per generation and that won’t be on a Nintendo console yet again. Nintendo themselves have a good threesome of Splatoon 2, Mario and Zelda. Though Zelda is just a port from the Wii U and Splatoon 2 looks a lot like Splatoon 1. Mario looks great, but I don’t feel Mario holds the same sway that it once did, I could be wrong on that… Galaxy 1 & 2 were well thought of and those weren’t that long ago. I don’t think that 1, 2 Switch or ARMS were strong showings and outside that there really isn’t a ton out there. But I love the RPG support. It makes me feel so much better about the Switch than  the Wii  U.

I feel the best games for Switch outside of the RPG & Mario is Snipperclips (which I may not get because I don’t think I’d have anyone to play with) and Bomberman R. Neither of which is getting much mainstream press. I’m not interested in a lot of the other stuff, I feel Arms might be great, just not targeted towards me. I could be wrong. I looked at it and was like why isn’t this a Punch Out game? But I do think it goes places Punch Out doesn’t and probably is a more deep game than Punch Out even.

I also didn’t feel like any of the games they showed, really pushed the system past what the Wii U could do which really gave me pause of what the Switch could do. I felt like though it wouldn’t hit PS4 and Xbox One levels, it would outdo what the WU could do by far, but after watching their presentation, I question that. I have no doubt it is better… but it doesn’t feel like it is much better. I wish Nintendo had something that really made me feel like OMG this thing is so much more powerful than the Wii U AND I can take it anywhere. But really I feel like it is the Wii U, just portable. Which is cool, but disappointing at the same time.

Which kind of brings me to what is the biggest disappointment of the Switch. Their marketing. You would think that they would have learned from how the Wii U failed to NOT fail the same way, but I feel they are doing the exact same thing they did before and I think it might bite them. From watching everything they do, you would think that the Switch is a console that you can take anywhere. But the problem with that marketing is it puts it up against the Xbox One and PS4. Which if the Switch was slightly weaker than those two but portable, people would be OK with it. But it isn’t. It is drastically weaker than those two and so the comparisons to those two systems are really going to hurt the Switch I fear. They should be marketing as a portable that you can play on your TV. The reason this is an important distinction is that this puts the Switch into the realm of competing with the 3DS and Vita and maybe tablets to a lessor extent. In this comparison, the Switch does much better. It is hands above those systems in nearly every aspect. When someone complains to me about the graphics capabilities of the Switch vs PS4 I reply back.. yeah but the PS4’s battery life is crappy and it’s hard to play in the car while someone else is driving. My point obviously being that really the Switch is a portable. The problem Nintendo  has is that the 3DS still has steam and they are really scared of replacing the 3DS and the Wii U with the switch because while the Wii U has done poorly, the 3DS has done OK for itself. This past Christmas saw a huge seller in Pokemon Sun & Moon, so huge, it was hard to buy a 3DS from retail because they wanted to get one to play the new game. It puts Nintendo in an awkward place with this system, but they really need to sell it as a replacement to both, I think sales and 3rd party support would do better if they did.

At the end of the day, while companies were not supporting the Wii later years, and the Wii U…. support for the 3DS never really failed. And now with reports of the Vita being discontinued in American territories… the big place I feel Switch is picking support up is those Vita developers, hence the huge RPG support they seem to be getting. I think we may see a number of games which will be PS4 and Switch only, not because the Switch is the second most powerful, but because people are choosing #1 console and #1 portable. But if Nintendo continues to insist that it is not a  portable because they are afraid of galvanizing the 3DS market, they may find that instead the 3DS is galvanizing the Switch market and dooming the Switch. Nintendo needs to pick their poison at this point in time… and it is hard for them to change. They don’t want to admit that they are leaving the console market. But the Switch’s best hope is that they have.

iZombie Review

I haven’t actually done a review or early thoughts of pretty much anything recently. Very strange for me. Not sure why that is, but I felt compelled to do something for iZombie. Why? Because when I first heard of the show I thought… well that sounds stupid! And well conceptually the idea of a Zombie living amongst us living folks is very stupid and I’m not a huge fan of Zombies anyway, but as it turns out, this particular show is really really good.

To give a basic breakdown of what the show is about… iZombie is about a girl who becomes a Zombie in a world where a Zombiepocalypse is NOT occurring, yet at least. Big surprise. And where Zombies aren’t generally just mindless drones wandering around eating brains. I mean she does eat brains, and seems to be able to zerk out, thus becoming a mindless drone, but it is temporary. Zombies also seem to have the ability to see moments of their victims lives, which leads into the fact that she helps solve crime pretty well.

So this isn’t your normal zombie TV show. If you were looking for gore and violence with brainless killing, you are looking in the wrong place. This show is actually about someone coping with changing into something new, coping with the struggles of this change, and keeping the secret from those she loves. In essence, this show has more to do with a super hero ™ show than a zombie show, just using zombiism as the super power.

The show also doesn’t take itself overly seriously. It is more than anything a comedic crime fighting show. I couldn’t help but think of Psych while watching it when she plays off her zombie visions as a Psychic vision.  It’s style really plays into Psych a lot as well with its comedic crime fighting.

iZombie is a show very solidly aiming at an interesting mix of demographics. You can tell that the general every day life of the lead character is meant to appeal towards teenage girls, the zombie aspect and humor is geared towards everyone else. The creator of the show has also created Veronica Mars and the new 90210, and these roots definitely show. But this doesn’t entirely detract from how entertaining the show is. You as the viewer just need to let it entertain you.  If they can keep it up, you won’t be sorry.

And really I don’t think enough can be said that even though iZombie’s title makes you think it is a show about Zombies, it really is anything but, and to me that is what makes it special. I suggested it to my daughter who likes Zombies and she wouldn’t even let me finish telling her what it was about because a Zombie show shouldn’t be from the point of view of the Zombie. “Zombies are undead and are supposed to decay” she said. Well maybe, Vampires never did decay so I am not tied to that philosophy quite as much. Zombies were always boring previously. I applaud that someone decided to sit down and think about Zombies and try to make them more interesting and dynamic rather than just brainlessly create another show that was the same as all of the others, like the creatures that they are portraying. The original point of the zombie was that we shouldn’t all be part of a brainless horde, and each zombie creation that gets made just emphasizes how much of a zombie the creators actually are. The fact that this show is stepping away from the same old formula is in and of itself a commentary on the genre. Good for them.

Comic Book Movies I’d Like to See

Now that Marvel is going into the realm of “we can do anything bitches” with Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Doctor Strange. And likewise we are seeing DC going all in with movies like Suicide Squad and Aquaman (really?), and Sony even making a movie based on the Sinister Six.1 Well why not start talking about what movies we would all like to see get made? So I present you my list.

1. Bishop – We had a glimpse of Bishop in Days of Future Past, and we might see him again in Age of Apocalypse considering he did play a part in that storyline. Bishop was one of the more popular additions to the X-Men squad in the 90s Bishop has the ability to absorb energy and then redirect it back wherever he wants it. It’s an interesting dynamic and he tends to be more powerful than Gambit who can just kind of create it out of nothing. The absorbed energy also seems to amplify his strength, he has a robotic arm, and he time travels. What isn’t to like?

2. Cable – Another X-Man who became really popular in the 90s spawning his own comic series, and another time traveler that had a hand with Apocalypse a few times. Cable would be an interesting choice in the movies because he is the son of Scott Summers and a clone of Jean Grey. The likelihood of the original actors returning in those roles to any extent is slim to none, but Cable was always kind of shrouded with mystery and could make an entrance into the X-Men series pretty easily without the parents. Like Bishop, Cable has  a cybernetic arm, but Cable is essentially a muscular Jean Gray with guns. I honestly don’t foresee both Bishop AND Cable, and given that we have already seen Bishop, we’ll have to rest our hopes on Bishop spinning off.

3. Alpha Flight – Wikipedia describes Alpha Flight as “Canada’s answer to the Avengers” but it could easily be replaced with the X-Men. The group is all Canadian and was a major part of Wolverine’s back story. They are kind of off the beaten path but I always took a fancy to the group. I find this group would be extremely unlikely to get their own movies, but we might have a better shot at seeing in a Wolverine movie at some point now that the Wolverine movies with Hugh Jackman seem to be making a return.

4. Moon Knight – Moon Knight has never been an overly popular Marvel franchise but definitely has a cult following. I will be honest I don’t know a lot about him, but I appreciate the Egyptian motifs that he has and the Batman-like feel. He does have powers of strength and reflexes that wane with the cycle of the moon, but they seem to play a minor role. He also has multiple-personalities which might make for a very interesting movie. He also has been on and off on the Avengers and has movie rights actually owned by Marvel so there is a decent chance we eventually see a Moon Knight movie.

5. Jonah Hex – I mean a real one, not that crappy one that was made a few years ago that was so bad no one even knew it was there. I am reminded of him constantly with the Gotham TV show because in a lot of ways, Jonah Hex actually is the pre-quel to Batman. He is a character from the old west days of Gotham, that is a lot like Batman mixed with Two-Face. He’s got a distorted face and is very rough around the edges but is generally out looking to do the best by what is out there. Like batman, he sometimes travels that fine line between good and bad, though he seems to fall to bad a little more often.

6. Silver Surfer – He kind of had a movie, but it was a small part in a bad Fantastic Four movie. They are rebooting Fantastic Four, and I am kind of hoping that Silver Surfer gets a second chance because of it. Now that Guardians of the Galaxy did so well with being a space-set super hero, I think it is totally in the realm of possibility. He did have some time on the ground, but a full on Space movie would be a pretty cool route to go with him.

Upcoming Super Hero Movies

Has been a busy few weeks when it comes to super hero movies. A lot of interesting info has come out from Marvel and DC and I have a lot of thoughts in regards to all of it so I wanted to take a moment and put them into writing.

Let’s start with  DC. DC recently announced their lineup of movies through 2020. The movies include Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, 2 Justice League movies, Flash, Wonder Woman, Shazam, Green Lantern, Cyborg, and Aquaman. Left out of their announcements are new Batman and Superman movies, though I suspect there will be at least one of each of those. I am a little surprised to see them putting up a Shazam movie in particular as that character, formerly known as Mr. Marvel,  is relatively unknown and unliked but whatever, might as well try something. Aquaman also is curious as he is generally another unliked character and the casting of Jason Momoa as Aquaman also seems strange as Aquaman was never a very muscular man of color.1 Out of the lot of the movies, I am glad they are giving Green Lantern another shot and am interested to see how they deal with a Suicide Squad movie. I got into the Suicide Squad with the New 52 and quite like that particular series.

For casting, I don’t particularly like most of the casting that they  have announced so far. Like I said, I like  Momoa but he doesn’t fit Aquaman. Similar feelings towards Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, though I think largely that character is difficult to cast and I think she could make it work. A lot of people disdain Ben Affleck as Batman but I feel he could turn out rather well. He has the chin for the mask and I think he can pull off the playboy Bruce Wayne which tends to be the trickier part. He could work out very well and I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until I actually see him for myself. They haven’t cast Shazam yet, though they have cast The Rock as the villain in that movie, and that alone to me speaks volumes of how bad the movie will likely be.

DC is going for 2 movies a year, and the fact that they are doing the ensemble pieces first rather than introducing the pieces and building into the ensemble like Marvel did is interesting. People think now that the only way to do it successfully is to do it like Marvel, but let’s take a step back and realize that Marvel’s recent success actually started thanks to X-Men which is an ensemble piece. X-Men had some misteps but seems to be back on track and has one fairly successful individual hero film under the belt (The Wolverine) with a few more to come. This track isn’t fully vetted as of yet but don’t forget how much the current success of all super hero movies owes to the X-Men franchise. Again, willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. There is a lot to worry about with DC’s upcoming movies, this  is the least of their problems.

With that, looking at Marvel, they are going for 2 movies a year as well but that isn’t including Sony or Fox movies. All said, Marvel will have anywhere between 4 and 5 movies a year for the next several years, which coupled with DC’s concerns me of over saturation. I like the Super Hero Movies quite a bit, but when is it going to be enough?

Marvel has announced some rather interesting choices as well including Doctor Strange which had been talked about for almost a decade previously. Still no word on who, though I am kind of excited by the prospects of it. I think the weird characters in Marvel is a sign of over saturation, but I also find them to be the most appealing. Super Man, Spider Man, Batman, Captain America, etc. Those heroes have all been done to death for years both in comics, on TV, and in theaters. For those guys it is becoming same ol same ol and guys like Doc Strange and Guardians of the Galaxies are a breath of fresh air. This is a double edged sword though. DC tried a Jonah Hex movie a few years ago and it was utter crap. I am interested to see the upcoming Ant Man, but I’m not sure how good a movie that stars someone who rides a flying ant actually will be.

DC is winning at one thing though, diversity. Cyborg is African American, Green Lantern could be as well, they have Wonder Woman, and Aquaman seems to be not white now too. The only diversity in Marvel’s wallet seems to be side-kicks or bit parts. They don’t even really have any planned coming up the pipe. Luke Cage on Netflix seems to be about it and who knows how good that is. They showed a clip of the Daredevil show at NY Comic Con recently and the word that is spreading about it is that it doesn’t look very good. It is entirely possible that the Netflix Marvel shows share the same quality that Agent of Shield. That’s another thing DC is beating Marvel at. Flash, Arrow, Constantine and Gotham are all quite good shows, will be interesting to see how DC enters the digital realm with their live action Static Shock.

And finally there is Avengers 2 which last week had to release their trailer early due to a leak. It looks really freaking good. Yet again. Though one thing is for sure… their Quicksilver doesn’t look like he is going to be as spectacular as the one from X-Men: Days of Future past.