Tag Archives: trailer

For Your Consideration: Ned Leeds/Ganke in the Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer

Welcome to another installment of “For Your Consideration”, every one of which thus far has covered comic book and video game movies [and this week’s is no exception]. The point of this particular feature was to present just the facts, allowing readers to come to their own conclusions, as well as to cobble together a short post due to a lack of time to devote to a longer piece. The latter is less applicable this time around as this required a lot of research and was not at all published in a timely manner.

Thursday night marked the premiere of the first ever trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, as well as the international trailer online. What caught my eye watching it, and what I’m going to detailing below, is the appearance of Ned Leeds, played by actor Jacob Batalon. Below I’ve compiled a timeline that tracks the history of that character, another character named Ganke from the comics, as well as the film franchise’s track record with diversity.


asm18November 1964Ned Leeds debuts in Amazing Spider-Man [Vol. 1] #18. His character is a field reporter at the Daily Bugle, where he meets Peter Parker and Betty Brant, the titular hero’s ex-girlfriend who he will one day marry. In later years Leeds went on to become the villain Hobgoblin for a spell, and was later killed [though you know what they say about death in comic books].

Ned Leeds is, as so many comic book characters at the time, a White man with brown hair and blue eyes.

gankelee

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man  (Vol. 2). Written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Sara Pichelli.

November 2011: Ganke Lee debuts in Ultimate  Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man [Vol. 2] #2. His character is the best friend of Miles Morales, a half-Black/half-Latino teenager and the new hero headlining the title.

As pictured on the left, Ganke is of Korean descent and a larger kid. The character is also shown to be a fan of LEGO blocks, or whatever non-copyright-infringing alternative can be found in the Marvel universe.

sweetfancymoses

 

 

 


April 30th, 2014
:
 IndieWire former chief creative officer for Marvel entertainment and founder of Marvel Studios Avi Arad is interviewed by Indiewire. When asked if “Spider-Man in the cinematic realm [would] always be Peter Parker” [in reference to Morales ever taking the role] he responded: “Absolutely.” I further covered his comments a week later.

February 9th, 2015: After a two failed Spider-Man films starring Andrew Garfield it’s announced that Sony Pictures would be partnering with Marvel Studios to produce a new film for the character that takes place within the latter’s cinematic universe. President of Sony Entertainment Motion Picture Group Doug Belgrad cements which iteration of the superhero will be webslinging across the silver screen, saying [emphasis added]:

“This new level of collaboration is the perfect way to take Peter Parker’s story into the future.”

barbieriJune 6th, 2016: It’s revealed that fourteen-year-old actor Michael Barbieri has been cast in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.
ComicBook.com reveals that, according to its sources, Barbieri’s character will be new, and “based off the Ultimate Spider-Man character Ganke.”

As seen on the left, Barbieri is currently not particularly heavyset, and is also not Korean or of Asian descent at all. It’s also worth noting that Peter Parker and Ganke Lee do not currently have any kind of relationship within the Marvel universe as the latter is a stalwart part of Miles Morales’ supporting cast.

June 15th, 2016Likely in response to an article making the rounds that directly states “Marvel Casts Michael Barbieri as Ganke in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming'” director Jon Watts goes on record to deny claims of whitewashing in a couple of tweets:

July 25th, 2016: At Marvel Studio’s film panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego this year three cast members are confirmed for Spider-Man: Homecoming. One of the three is Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds. The actor describes the role he’s playing as being Peter Parker’s “best buddy.”


EthniCelebs
, while likely not the most reliable of sources, notes that Batalon was born in Hawaii and lists his ethnicity as “Filipino, possibly other”.

November 15th, 2016: In addition to the Comic-Con announcement made several months earlier, Batalon reveals on KHON 2 News, a Hawaiian program, that he will be playing Ned Leeds in Spider-Man: Homecoming. He reiterates that Leeds is “Peter Parker’s best friend in the film.”

December 8th, 2016: As mentioned,  the first Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer premieres on Jimmy Kimmel Live!; the international trailer likewise makes its way onto YouTube.

December 8th, 2016: A number of top comments in a thread dedicated to the newly released trailer on /r/comicbooks focus on Leeds’ similarities to Ganke.

basicallyganke

“So Ned Leeds is basically Ganke?”

December 9th, 2016: Comic Book Resources publishes an article titled “No, That’s Not Ganke In The Spider-man: Homecoming Trailer”. The second paragraph reads:

“Admittedly it’s a very easy mistake to make. As we see in the trailer, Batalon plays Spider-Man’s best friend and one of the only people to learn his Spider-secret. Ganke Lee, a supporting character introduced in 2011’s “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man” #2, is also the best friend of a Spider-Man and also knows his secret identity. And yeah, both Batalon and Ganke are of Asian descent (Batalon is Filipino American and Ganke is Korean American). To be honest, maybe Batalon should be playing Ganke. But he’s not — he’s playing Ned Leeds.”

The final line hammers that point home, with columnist Brett White writing, “So right now, Spidey’s best friend looks and sounds a lot like Ganke — but he’s not Ganke. He’s Ned Leeds.”

December 9th, 2016: Inverse, the website responsible for the article Watts was likely responding to back in June, publishes another titled “‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Appears to Have Jacked a Miles Story”. Their coverage includes tweets from comic book fans who find the inclusion of Ned Leeds as he appears particularly damning, with one noting:

The article also highlights a moment within the trailer, drawing comparison between it and a moment in the comic books.

whatnothing

whatnothing

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man (Vol. 1). Written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by David Marquez.


To summarize, Jacob Batalon will be appearing in Spider-Man: Homecoming as Ned Leeds, Peter Parker’s best friend. He bears a very heavy [no pun intended] resemblance to Ganke Lee, Miles Morales’ best friend in the comics. While the appearance of an Asian character in a major role certainly backs up Watts’ desire for the Queens depicted to reflect being “one of—if not the—most diverse places in the world” what may need to be addressed, by Watts or whoever else, are some fans’ concerns about poaching a POC character from another POC character’s story.

Miles Morales ever making an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to be confirmed, but the question many have been asking since Thursday’s trailer dropped was if Ganke showing up is even possible now that this Ned Leeds exists onscreen.

The Deepwater Horizon Film Reminds us That Hollywood is Still a Propaganda Machine

I’m kinda furious about this:

When first watching the trailer, I tried to remind myself that it was just a movie.

But it’s never just a movie, is it?

Given enough time, I’m sure I could list hundreds of films that changed my perspective on the world. The Hours was the first time I felt challenged on my once very black-and-white perspective on LGBT rights. Hotel Rwandadespite being called “revisionist junk” by then UN peacekeeper/now senator Romeo Dallaire, was the first movie to open my eyes to the role of politics in preventing, or allowing, genocide and devastation. There are just so many movies that moved me to reconsider my stance or opinion by challenging me to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Movies do affect us, often more than we’d like to admit. Heck, that’s exactly why we talk so much about representation in movies here on the blog.

So I am a movie fan who believes that movies impact their viewers. That’s why I’m furious that there is about to be a major blockbuster that will hero-wash “the worst oil spill in U.S. History” a spill that polluted the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days and leaked approximately 3.19 million barrels of oil. Continue reading

The Problem with Leaks [And the People Who Want Them]

So I missed my window with last month’s Comic-Con, but there’s always something going on and thankfully the D23 Expo, a biennial Disney convention, this past weekend has given me a chance to take another stab at this topic. I’m too lazy put any effort into coming up with a pun involving plumbers, but today I’m going to be discussing leaks.

Here’s an image to kick things off:

To provide a little context, the screenshot up top is a tweet from Marvel Entertainment that was posted shortly after the trailer to Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked last October. Hours to minutes later they released the official trailer themselves, days earlier than originally intended.

The second screenshot is the text that accompanied the full trailer to Warner Bros.’ Suicide Squad that was posted to the film’s Facebook page. It was penned by Sue Kroll, the President of Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution for the company. Similar to Marvel Entertainment this was done after another leak, though in this case the source was an unknown individual who had illegally recorded a trailer screened at Comic-Con.

As you might be able to tell by the way the image was put together, the internet populace in general thinks much more highly of one reaction than the others. While the context surrounding each leak is important I’m going to be discussing why at the end of they day it’s all the same, and how I think the entire attitude surrounding this sort of thing is weak and selfish and I don’t respect it. Continue reading

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer Released, Comics Lover Swears He Will Watch No More

As anyone who has been on the internet since Wednesday night probably knows, the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer has been released online. As a person who has professed his enthusiasm for comic books time and time again let me say to all of you, right now-

Shot-By-Shot Breakdown Of Avengers 2 Trailer Reveals Spoilery Details

-my mind and body are ready.

Let me follow that up by asserting that I plan on doing ever single thing within my power to not look at another trailer before I watch the full-length film next May. I repeat, I will not be watching any new trailers that are released.  Continue reading

Internet Disgusted By Video Game Promotion [Also: Zombie Breasts]

Way back in the February of 2011 the following trailer was released for the video game Dead Island:


It was so impressive that last I heard, Lionsgate was going to make a Dead Island film based on the trailer. Not the game, the trailer for the game. A feature-length film based on the trailer for a video game. Think on that for a bit.

What it does is speak volumes for the game’s publisher, Deep Silver, and those it hired to advertise the game. There was an emphasis placed on the feelings of terror and loss and the need to protect one’s family; it sought to set itself apart from other zombie games [of which there are so many]. Unfortunately the game turned out to be your fairly standard run-of-the-mill zombie hack and slash, but that’s not the point here.

The point is that this trend was actually continued in the promotion of the game’s sequel, Dead Island: Riptide, the trailer of which can be viewed here. The tone is once again consistent with that of the first, highlighting the terrors of a vacation gone horribly, horribly wrong. Which is great. And which is why the following seems so shockingly out of place.

The image you see above is a promo image for the European “Zombie Bait Edition” of the game, the crowning glory of which is the statuette at the centre. This was, earlier this week, described as being “Dead Island’s grotesque take on an iconic Roman marble torso sculpture.” This was met with understandable outrage and disgust from the internet, which prompted those at Deep Silver to scramble wildly and release the following apology:

“We deeply apologize for any offense caused by the Dead Island Riptide “Zombie Bait Edition”, the collector’s edition announced for Europe and Australia. Like many gaming companies, Deep Silver has many offices in different countries, which is why sometimes different versions of Collector’s Editions come into being for North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

For the limited run of the Zombie Bait Edition for Europe and Australia, a decision was made to include a gruesome statue of a zombie torso, which was cut up like many of our fans had done to the undead enemies in the original Dead Island.

We sincerely regret this choice. We are collecting feedback continuously from the Dead Island community, as well as the international gaming community at large, for ongoing internal meetings with Deep Silver’s entire international team today. For now, we want to reiterate to the community, fans and industry how deeply sorry we are, and that we are committed to making sure this will never happen again.”

 So no harm now foul, right? Dead Silver took back their horrible statuette and we can chalk another victory up for the internet! But why exactly were people upset? An article on Rock, Paper, Shotgun which I linked to but will link to again said this about it:

This is beyond disgusting. It’s as if someone were attempting to demonstrate the most misogynist idea that could possibly be conceived, in an attempt to satirise the ghastly trend. A text book example of the most extreme ends of misogynist fantasy, a woman reduced to nothing but her tits, her wounds hideously depicted in gore, jutting bones, and of course barely a mark covering her globular breasts.

It’s very prevalent in a lot of zombie imagery you can find nowadays, and it’s certainly present in this picture of a zombified Snow White on the left. Her body is mutilated [appropriately so, for a zombie] but her breasts remain completely untouched. There’s this sense of the grotesque from the image as a whole, but her chest remains an object of potential titillation.

I don’t think I have to say too much about how grossly sexist this is, and how prevalent it is in the society we live in. What I am going to say is thank God that on some level we can make enough of a public outcry to stop stuff like this before it happens. The bottom line is this: if we as a community [on the internet or otherwise] care enough about something, we really can do something about it.  Even if it’s just stopping the production and sales of a tasteless statue.

———

A rebuttal to essentially everything I’ve written can be read in an article by Daav Valentaten on Venture Beat entitled “The Dead Island: Riptide reaction was an equality fail.” I present it as a counterpoint to my own post.

Why Superman’s Briefs Matter

The Hobbit is due to touch down in theatres next month [yes, I watched the Grey Cup last night], and with it will come a new, full trailer for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel With all of that happening, I’m going to touch on . . . hm, maybe not the best choice of words. . . I’m going to write a little about the new suit we’ll be seeing in the 2013 summer flick.

On the right is what Henry Cavill is expected to look like as the Last Son of Krypton. Many fans have [as usual] expressed great displeasure in the loss of Supes’ signature undies, as can be read in the aptly titled “‘Man of Steel’: Is Superman’s new suit made of fanboy Kryptonite?

What’s probably unknown to most of them, however, is that director Zack Snyder fought to keep the supehero’s look traditional. In an interview with the New York Post he said:

“The costume was a big deal for me, and we played around for a long time. I tried like crazy to keep the red briefs on him. Everyone else said, ‘You can’t have the briefs on him.’ I looked at probably 1,500 versions of the costumes with the briefs on.”

Ultimately the studio [as usual] had their way, and the iconic red briefs were done away with. There are a few reasons why I think they should’ve stayed, though, and they have nothing to do with the iconic depictions of the character.

The first reason, if you look up, is staring you right in the face. It’s- well, it’s distracting to say the least, and was actually a problem when suiting up Brandon Routh for the 2006 Superman Returns. From what I can tell, costume designer Louise Mingenbach had her hands fu- sorry . . . had a lot to deal with when it came to the suit. The film’s IMDB page tells us:

According to an article in the 12 September 2005 issue of Newsweek, the biggest question concerning Superman’s costume involved the size and shape of the bulge in the front of his tights. Costume designer Louise Mingenbach finally decided on a bulge that wasn’t too big. “Ten-year-olds will be seeing this movie,” she explained.

A less reputable source [The Sun], told second-hand via KillerMovies reports that a source had this to say about the film:

“It’s a major issue for the studio. Brandon is extremely well endowed and they don’t want it up on the big screen. We may be forced to erase his package with digital effects.”

The current costume design is definitely not doing them any favours in that department, and if anything calls even more attention to Superman’s unmentionables.

My second point has to do directly with design. As archaic and old-fashioned as the red shorts over tights are, they were great in breaking up the blue of the rest of the costume. Although the golden belt buckle attempts to do that in Cavill’s costume, it ultimately fails, and in fact draws added attention to my first point.

To bring up something I mentioned in passing in my post about the immensely talented Kris Anka, there are ways of omitting the briefs while still maintaining a good balance:


In the above design Superman’s midsection is broken up by  the two red lines and the golden buckle, which form an incomplete belt. This, along with the darker blue of the costume’s sides does wonders in not making it feel like the character is simply wearing a full set of blue tights and a cape.

I suppose we’ll have to wait until next summer to really determine whether or not the new suit works. Until then, these are my thoughts

If you want to keep reading about this particular topic, io9 wrote a great article called “The War on Superman’s Underpants.”

The Avengers and New Footage Fatigue

Mild spoilers, if you’re not constantly watching for comic book movie news [like I do].
                                                                                                                                                                      

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to see The Avengers this summer. The thing is, I may as well be watching it for the second time.

Joss Whedon’s biggest directorial experience to date will hit in a little under three weeks with a running time of 155 minutes. After all of the trailers, previews, and TV spots I’ve seen I think that only leaves me about half an hour of footage to experience in the theatre for the first time.

Seriously, though, today I found out that Maria Hill and Nick Fury will have an argument of some sort. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be about, but I know that it will happen because of an interview Cobie Smulders [playing Hill] did with David Letterman. I also know that Captain America will tell the Gamma-Powered Goliath to smash something. At some point in the film I know that Black Widow will soundly thrash a general and his cronies, because a 43-second clip was released by Marvel.

I don’t mind that Marvel has been advertising this film with everything from Dr. Pepper to Wyndham Hotels. Pixar’s Cars made something like $462 million in the box office, which isn’t bad. What’s even better, though, is the $5 billion they made in merchandise. Movie tie-ins that include toys and such are not at all what worry me. What worries me is knowing too much about the movie before I see it on the big screen.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was what the summer of 2010 held for me, and while waiting for in the ’09-10 academic year I spent a great deal of my free time trying to find out more about the game. In the process I became privy to information on seven or eight missions. That’s about a third of the game. Not only that, but I also perused a site that had posted unit models, robbing myself of experiencing them in the game first-hand.

We live in a world where information is at our fingertips, and leaks and spoilers of any kind can be found within seconds. At this point in time I have no idea what the image on the right is of, only that they are part of Loki’s army and the primary antagonists in The Avengers. I don’t want to know what they are until I see the movie, and it’s getting harder and harder to when I daily visit sites such as ComicBookMovie.com, ComicsAlliance, and io9 [the latter even has a daily feature called Early Morning Spoilers].

From this point on I refuse to watch another TV spot for The Avengers. There’s only so many seconds of new footage they can cram in there before I’ve seen more of the movie than I wanted to. I’m going to see if I can hold out until May 4, and I hope that when I finally see it in theatres I’ll be able to enjoy every second of those 155 minutes like I’m watching them for the first time.