News Round-up – Spidey villain Venom set for spin-off, Matrix reboot, Early Man trailer and more

It has been a busy week for superheroes in movieland, with some intriguing announcements hitting the internet as Logan slashes its way through cinemas and we wait eagerly in anticipation of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Sony is delving into the Spider-Man back catalogue for what seems like the millionth time and there are some smart personnel picks going on over in the thus far ill-fated DC Extended Universe.

We also heard news that several classic movie franchises might be about to come back from the dead and we got a trailer for the latest film from Aardman – master of claymation.

Here’s your round-up of this week’s movie news.


Spidey villain Venom swings in for spin-off

Topher Grace appeared as Venom in Spider-Man 3
Topher Grace appeared as Venom in Spider-Man 3

The notion of a spin-off movie for Spider-Man villain and eventual antihero Venom has been spinning around the boardrooms of Sony for quite some time. This week, Venom was officially announced for an October 2018 release, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The villainous symbiote, which infected Topher Grace in the rather terrible Spider-Man 3, is considered a fan favourite and arguably deserves a proper big screen outing. It seems that the film was a beneficiary of DC’s decision to move Aquaman from October to December 2018.

This is an intriguing prospect, albeit a weird one. Given the fact that Tom Holland‘s Spider-Man is now fully ensconced within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s tough to see how Sony can introduce the character of Venom in a way that will provide a hook for audiences who may not be familiar with the character’s previous outings. There are certainly a lot of questions surrounding Venom, but this is certainly an intriguing move for Sony, who are perhaps still smarting after they were forced to abandon their plans for a Sinister Six film.


Matrix franchise set for brand new reboot

Keanu Reeves as Neo in cyberpunk classic The Matrix
Keanu Reeves as Neo in cyberpunk classic The Matrix

Since its release in the nineties, The Matrix has become something of a classic sci-fi movie, with its most iconic moments now an indelible part of popular culture. We could be about to return to that world with a reboot of the franchise over at Warner Bros, The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week. Given the success of the original film and its sequels, the notion of a reboot has been around constantly, with Keanu Reeves admitting he’d be happy to come back and a TV series floated for a while. WB is reportedly keen on Creed star Michael B Jordan to lead the new project and there is no word yet on whether original filmmakers The Wachowskis will be involved.

I’m no big lover of The Matrix, but the wisdom behind a remake is clear. If there’s a similarly original idea for a new spin on the premise then I don’t see any reason for this not to work, but it’s certainly possible that everything that made the first movie ahead of its time now leaves it looking dated. I suspect Warner Bros will be watching the fate of Blade Runner 2049 very closely indeed.


DC eyes Vaughn for Man of Steel sequel

Henry Cavill in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Henry Cavill in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

DC is reportedly looking to put an end to its current crisis by hiring Kick-Ass and Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn to take the helm of the next Superman movie. The studio is pushing ahead with Man of Steel 2 and, according to Collider, they want Vaughn in the director’s chair. The report adds that DC is so keen on Vaughn that they want him on board for another movie even if he turns Superman down. Vaughn would be a solid choice to reinvigorate the DC universe, having done acclaimed superhero work with Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. Given his trademark independent streak, though, there’s no guarantee that Vaughn will say yes.

Elsewhere at DC, the studio has hired The Legend of Tarzan writer Adam Cozad to pen Suicide Squad 2, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The studio, which has approached Mel Gibson to direct the sequel, is currently looking to nail down a story. The first film was a financial success, even though it netted poor reviews from fans and critics. I actually quite liked a lot of what the film did and I am intrigued to see where that corner of the franchise goes next.


Aardman unveils first look at Early Man

Eddie Redmayne leads the cast of Aardman animation Early Man
Eddie Redmayne leads the cast of Aardman animation Early Man

British animation studio Aardman treated us to our first look at their upcoming film Early Man this week, when a teaser trailer hit the internet. It’s short on plot, but sees us follow Eddie Redmayne‘s caveman as he tries to take down a rabbit, which fights back in a distinctly Monty Python and the Holy Grail fashion. Aardman’s unique stop-motion style is present and correct and, given their remarkable hit rate, it’s always great to see them releasing another of their lovingly crafted films.

It’s a fun trailer, albeit a brief one, but it does plenty to get fans excited to see what the studio has up its sleeve. The plot of the film seems enjoyably odd, culminating in one of the first ever football matches, so there’s plenty of scope here for Aardman to produce a film to rival Chicken Run or the Wallace and Gromit movies. Early Man is due to hit British cinemas in January 2018.


Another remake of The Fly buzzes into action

Jeff Goldblum transformed in David Cronenberg's take on The Fly
Jeff Goldblum transformed in David Cronenberg’s take on The Fly

Hollywood’s cannibalisation and regurgitation of old material shows no signs of abating and this week, we heard news that there’s going to be a new take on The Fly, which already became a film in 1958 and then in 1986, courtesy of David Cronenberg. Deadline reported that upcoming horror director JD Dillard has been tapped to make the new film for Fox and will also write the script alongside writing partner Alex Theurer. Dillard’s debut film Sleight recently made a big splash at Sundance.

The Fly is a great story and, although the previous movies are well-loved, there won’t be many objections to the idea of giving the material a fresh crack of the whip. It’s smart to see some new talent at the helm of this film and hopefully they can stamp their own mark on this movie. It will certainly have to do a lot to beat Cronenberg’s grotesque imagery and Jeff Goldblum snapping arms.


Cavill and Cruise team for Mission: Impossible 6

Henry Cavill promotes Justice League at Comic-Con in 2016
Henry Cavill promotes Justice League at Comic-Con in 2016 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Tom Cruise got a highly experienced action buddy this week, with the news that Henry Cavill is set to join the cast of the sixth Mission: Impossible movie. Director Christopher McQuarrie broke the news of Cavill’s involvement and Variety later reported that he is set to play the right-hand man of the head of the IMF. It’s a big casting coup for the movie, which will see McQuarrie become the first director to return to the franchise after making last installment Rogue Nation.

Cavill is a smart choice given his action blockbuster credentials as a result of Superman and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. He’s a good presence when he’s given the opportunity to be slightly arrogant and smug, which will hopefully be his character in this new film. He should have an interesting relationship with Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and this could inject a bit of new blood into the franchise, which bizarrely seems to still be going from strength to strength. Mission: Impossible 6 is due in July 2018.


Vikander boards Ben Wheatley’s new thriller

Alicia Vikander promotes The Man From U.N.C.L.E. at Comic-Con in 2015
Alicia Vikander promotes The Man From U.N.C.L.E. at Comic-Con in 2015 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

After he’s done promoting arms deal action comedy Free Fire, which hits cinemas at the end of this month, Brit director Ben Wheatley is set to get to work on. his next movie. That film, Freakshift, looks set to add an interesting name to its cast list in the shape of Alicia Vikander, according to Deadline. Vikander is in talks to play the lead role in the film, which pits police officers against monsters. It is due to begin shooting in August, which would fit in with Vikander’s Tomb Raider schedule as she continues her quest to appear in every movie.

Vikander is a great actress and Freakshift sounds as if it could be yet another home run for Wheatley, who seems incapable of making a film that is anything other than very good and completely different to the last one. There’s seemingly no stopping Vikander in her path towards sheer domination of Hollywood and working with Wheatley is a very interesting development for her career, which is currently balancing indie and blockbuster to great effect.


Do you think the Venom movie is going to work for Sony? Are you excited to return to the Matrix universe again? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.


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