Tag Archives: Superman

Brian’s Review – Man Of Steel (2013)

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Man of Steel

Directed by Zack Snyder

4 out of 10

A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race:

I blame annoying ass comic book fanboys for this film. After the release of Bryan Singer’s 2006 resurrection of the franchise with Superman Returns, fanboys bitched and moaned up and down with quotes like:

“There’s not enough action.”

“Why is the film all about the romantic element?”

“Why isn’t the film darker?”

“Why can’t it be more like Batman?”

Well asshole fanboys, you got what you wanted. And guess what? Your dream version of Superman isn’t very good. It’s not a complete catastrophe but it’s way too long for such a thin story and it literally sucks the joy out of the Superman experience.

The film opens with a long stretch similar to the far superior 1978 version that shows the end of the planet Krypton. What are the differences? Instead of showing an imaginative ice world filled with overly confident scientists whose own arrogance proves to be the destruction of their planet, we get a rock world filled with too much CGI and fisticuffs between Superman’s Dad and Zod. Despite the obvious advances in special effects, it doesn’t draw the viewer in. It’s cold and boring. The unfortunate part of that is that it permeates through the entire 2 1/2 hour running time.

After the obvious jettison of baby Superman to Earth in his ship that is curiously shaped like a penis, baby Supes goes through growing up bullied, alienated, and rejected. Does he discover new powers? Does he realize he’s capable of abilities that make him God-like? No! He mopes, he whines about how he’s different, and he makes himself the victim all the time. It’s again a far cry from the 1978 version that showed a young Clark Kent laughing and smiling while out running a train. Also, unlike the original film, this version does everything in flashback. Clark is roaming place to place in search of where he comes from and once in a while, he finds people to save. There’s no characters even brought into the experience that we relate to.

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I’ll run down the list of things this films gets wrong:

1. It’s not fun. Superman hates being Superman almost the entire film.

2. Lois feels crowbarred into the story. She’s in it a lot and you’ll scratch your head as to how she got there in the first place.

3. Clark doesn’t work at the Daily Planet. He’s a fisherman or something else for almost the whole film.

4. There’s no chemistry between Superman and Lois. This was the entire backbone of the original film.

5. Zod is terribly boring. He’s single-minded and 2 dimensional.

6. Perry White is in the film but doesn’t have any bearing on the story.

7. Kevin Costner dies trying to save a dog. Yes, a dog…. Remember the original Johnathon Kent. He had a heart attack and Clark couldn’t save him? It added extra meaning because it reminded him that as powerful as was, he couldn’t save everyone. It was poignant. This is not.

8. Action scenes go on and on without purpose, or suspense, or involvement from the viewer.

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What did I like? Henry Cavill could be a terrific Superman in a better film. There’s a few decent moments between Clark and his adopted parents. The problem is that these scenes are few and far between because we keep getting thrown into action scenes that aren’t interesting. It’s a city under destruction that was done better in the Avengers. That films had character development within the action. This does not.

I have always been a fan of the Superman character. He is a representation of the American myth that we are all capable of amazing things. We may not fly, or have super strength, or X-ray vision. But, he represented the inner good and possibility o the human spirit to help his fellow man without the need for reward. It was a character and story-line that was fun, romantic, and made you believe a man could fly. The “Man of Steel” felt like he never left the ground.

“Man of Steel” Teaser Trailer with Russell Crowe VO


Dark Knight Trailer #3 Released

Matt

The Dark Knight Rises, coming July 20, is the final and much anticipated conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s brilliant vision of Batman. The latest trailer looks very promising, leaving much to be the imagination while whetting our appetites for what promises to be an incredible closing chapter in the Nolan series. Enjoy.

 

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer Released

Matt

The promise of “The Dark Knight Rises” is unlimited. I felt like that before “The Dark Knight,” which is hands down one of the best comic book films ever made.

I had concerns about the number of characters and villains in “The Dark Knight.” There was Two Face and Joker, and it’s difficult to pull off two villains in the same film because they can often not be developed into anything more than a cookie cutter bad guy. But that was not the case, at all. Christopher Nolan understands storytelling and has handled the Batman franchise with great care and respect for his audience.

I have no qualms saying that “The Dark Knight Rises” will be just as good as its prequels. The Bane charater, played by Tom Hardy, looks nothing short of menacing and terrible. The above photo is enough to give you the creeps. We also get a small glimpse of Catwoman, thought it’s hard to see much. Even though this trailer is a mere wetting of our appetites, “The Dark Knight Rises” already looks amazing. It’s going to be a long year of waiting.

Thanks for our sister blog TV-Tastic for the trailer!

Superman director named

Zack Snyder has been named the director of the upcoming Superman reboot of the franchise, according to a report by deadline.com and several other news agency.

Last week we posted that Darren Aronofsky was rumored to be the next director of “Superman: Man of Steel,” being produced and co-written by “Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan. I would have been happy with Aronofsky, but Snyder is also an excellent choice. He’s best known for the movie “300″ which I didn’t care for, but he also directed “The Watchmen.”The film is also being co-written by David S. Goyer, another heavy hitter. He co-wrote “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight.”

Director Zach Snyder

“The Watchmen” is based on the best-selling comic book series of the same name and was met with mixed reviews. The problem with the film, for those who aren’t fans of the comic, was they didn’t get it. I think he handled “The Watchmen” as perfectly as possible and it’s one of my favorite comic book films.

Snyder said he’s looking forward to taking on the king of comic book heroes.

“I’ve been a big fan of the character for a long time, he’s definitely the king of all superheroes, he’s the one,” Snyder told deadline.com. “It’s early yet, but I can tell you that what David and Chris have done with the story so far definitely has given me a great insight into a way to make him feel modern. I’ve always felt he was kind of awesome. I’ll finish ‘Sucker Punch’ and get right at it.”

As opposed to “The Watchmen,,” Snyder has a source material with Superman that will be very familiar and welcome by mass audiences. He also has the benefit of having Nolan producing and writing the script along with Goyer. Nolan he has a clear track record of being a superb director and is quickly rising as one of the best of the current generation of directors with films like “Inception” and “Memento.” With all this talent around Snyder, it’s hard to see how he could fail.

Much thanks to Shawn at TV-tastic for passing this along!

Top 5 comic book movies

This is a tough topic to tackle. It’s not because there’s a huge pot of truly great comic book movies. In fact, the film industry has crapped out careless comic-based movies without any respect to the fans and great respect to the possibility of turning a buck, as we discusses last week. This week, Matt and Brian compare their Top 5 comic book movies of all time.

Matt

5. V for Vendetta, based on the masterful graphic novel by Alan Moore, was treated with both care for the source material and respect for fans – both key elements to a comic film. Hugo Weaving brought great dimension to V with a dark passion for justice while combining elegant body language that gave depth to a character with no face. He also wasn’t afraid to add some humor. Natalie Portman gave another steady performance in a film by the Wachowski brothers, Andy and Larry (better known for the Matrix series). All in all a stand out film for people who never even knew it was a comic and die hard fans of Moore.

4. Iron Man was my favorite book as a kid, and it killed me to rank this at number four. Jon Favreau shook off critics to bring a fun, multidimensional film about the complex character of Tony Stark, played with precision by Robert Downey Jr. Stark is an alcoholic, womanizer who deals weapons that kill people while facing down those demons as he becomes a hero. This was a great origin story supported by a cast that has never been matched in other comic films – Downey, Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, all of who have been nominated or won Academy Awards. The only downfall was Terrance Howard, who was wooden and too chummy as Stark’s best friend Rhodey.

3. The Dark Knight is simply a great detective, noir film with excellent acting and superb directing. The show was stolen by the Joker, portrayed in the Academy Award winning role by Heath Ledger. Sadly, his death means the character will no longer exist in the series, brought back to life by director Christopher Nolan. This is a comic book movie that reaches a broad audience because it’s simply a good film with engaging characters, smart action, and villains that work. The scene where the Joker slams a thugs face down on a pencil was simply perfect.

2. Watchmen is a movie that will turn a lot of heads on this list, and perhaps rightfully so. However, the film was perfect in my mind. There was great respect given to the source material, which was the best selling comic book in history. The film looked beautiful and was no easy task to complete given the amount of characters and the depth they are given in the book. However, director Zach Snyder was wise to focus in on Walter Kovacs/Rorschach, who is the most challenging character to the viewer – he‘s a murderer of evil people, but still a murderer. There were several scenes that were directly taken from the pages of the books, including dialogue, which is something that really hasn’t been done before. The ending was changed, which made many comic fans complain, but was a wise choice. It still had the same result, but eliminated the giant squid – which wouldn’t have worked on the big screen.

1. Superman: The Movie was the first film to take the comic genre seriously, and it is a flawlessly made film. It is a charming, funny, exciting film with a performance by
Christopher Reeve that can never be matched. He was a bumbling nerd as Clark Kent, and graceful and beautiful as Superman. Margot Kidder was a feisty Lois Lane, who brought humor and romance to the story, while Gene Hackman brought a comical, but dark Lex Luthor. This movie has yet to be surpassed in the genre. Richard Donner clearly loved Superman and gave the utmost care in casting and writing this wonderful origin story of America’s most famous and beloved super hero.

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Brian

5. Batman Begins: Christopher Nolan did the impossible. Within 15 minutes, he manages to wash away one of the worst film experiences ever in Batman and Robin by bringing us a gem of a film. This is Detective Comics: dark, moody, atmospheric, gripping, and rooted in a loose reality that we can believe in. The cast is superlative. Bale perfectly embodies the angst of Bruce Wayne along with the rage of Batman, Caine is brilliant as Alfred, and Cillian Murphy gives us a chilling Scarecrow. The lone miss in this film is Katie Holmes who comes in flat and nearly sinks any dramatic moment she’s associated with.

4. Iron Man: This is nearly as brilliant a comedy as it is an action film. Robert Downey Jr. carries this entire film and cements himself as an A list star who is gripping every time he is on screen. It’s an oscar caliber performance and a true breaking out for director Jon Favreau who previously was mainly known for his low budget comedy hit Swingers.

3. Spider-Man 2: By far the best of the Spider Man series. This takes Peter Parker in a much darker direction where he has to confront a crossroads in his personal life interfering with the gift that has been given to him to help save the world from itself. Most comic book films are at their best when the hero’s true fight is against their own demons and this is no exception. This film also gives us Alfred Molina in a terrific turn as Doctor Octopus who manages to grab our sympathy as well as our attention. That’s pretty impressive for a film about a guy with Spider powers.

2. The Dark Knight: The quintessential Batman film. Nolan essentially took a complex interwoven Scorsese film and managed to slot it in Gotham City. This film raises serious moral question about choices that people make when they are at their lowest and most desperate moments and how their instinctive reactions can label their good or evil. Of course, the puppet master in all of this is a sick and crazed anarchist that we know as the Joker who is played note perfect by Heath Ledger in an Oscar winning performance that can never be overstated as stunning and masterful. The plot weaves, characters die, decisions are made, and at the end few are left standing. It’s a must see for anyone who just likes good movies.

1. Superman: the Movie: I was torn between this and Dark Knight but I had to choose the originator of the serious comic book film. Before Richard Donner gave the Verisimilitude to Superman, comic books were known for Adam East’s Batman and George Reeves’ Superman. While entertaining, they were treated as a joke that never took the material more seriously than a comic strip. Donner changed the rules by taking Superman and placing him in an epic adventure the likes of Ben Hur of Lawrence of Arabia. We follow him from being a baby , to his teenage years at Smallville, to his rise as Superman with breathtaking cinematography by the late Geoffrey Unsworth(of 2001 fame). The cast is absolutely perfect. Christopher Reeve absolutely embodies Superman to such a degree that he never really broke out from the role. He WAS Superman. All these years later, when I hear John Williams score, I still believe a man can fly.

Darren Aronofsky rumored as director of next Superman

Matt

Darren Aronofsky has been tied to a remake of “Robocop,” the cult sci-fi movie of the 80s, but today news hit that the celebrated director is attached to a reboot of the Superman film franchise, according to the L.A. Times.

I’ve got a lot of faith in this film because Christopher Nolan, who directed Inception and Memento, is producing and will have his hand in writing the script. Before Superman, Nolan also resurrected the Batman franchise with “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” which was one of our favorite films of the decade.

There have been a few directors rumored to take the chair. Most recently Ben Affleck, who directed the recent hit “The Town,” was tabbed but Reuters is reporting he’s backed out of the project. I think Aronosfki would be a better choice than Affleck, who has only directed two films. Granted “The Town” and “Gone Baby Gone” were both excellent, but Affleck’s only comic book film was “Daredevil,” a complete and total failure.

Aronofski has some serious directing chops. Movies like “The Fountain” Requiem For a Dream” and “The Wrestler,” which is one of my favorite films ever. He also won best director at Sundance Film Festival for “Pi” and the grand jury prize for best picture. His latest film, “Black Swan,” is already getting critical acclaim.

I’m pretty stoked about a reboot, not just because Nolan is attached, but because I was a little disappointed by the last one, 2006′s “Superman Returns,” directed by Bryan Singer. It’s not that it was bad, it was fun and enjoyable. But it was like a cover song. You can try and make it as close to the original as possible, but it’s never as good as the original. I think Nolan and Aronofsky could take Superman to new places.

Top 5 Worst Comic Book Movies

There are a ton of bad comic book movies. In fact, the ratio of bad far outweighs the good. Victor and Matt compare their choices for worst of the worst.

Victor

5. Superman 3: Poor Supes. This series of films was always thought to be the equivalent of a very cute baby that turned into a butt ugly adult. Chris Reeve and the iconic man of steel deserved much better. Richard (post “Oh shit I just caught on fire from freebasing cocaine!”) Pryor? Really? Why not Cheech and Chong? Or Abbott and Costello meet Superman? After the wretched slapstick opening when Clark is involved in “pie in the face” antics you just knew you were in for a crapbag of a sequel. Annette O’Toole was pretty hot, though, but the corny video game attack on Superman really made me cringe.

4. Superman 4: The Quest for Peace:
Gee, Superman 3 kinda sucked so let’s get it right this time…but Nooooo. When I saw that this movie was to be produced by those hairy hacks Golan/Globus of infamous Cannon films fame I wanted to yank my eyelids off. What the hell happened to this once great franchise? Did Warner Brothers just run out of money and hand over the reins to a bunch of pimply high school foreign exchange students? Why was Margot Kidder completely bombed through this film while looking like she fell asleep under a hot lamp? What’s with that “Quest for Peace” title? Is this about King Arthur and the knights of the round table? Let’s not mention the bad hairdo on Reeve and the very bad effect shots that were used over and over again like some a Japanese monster movie. Reeve did not deserve to end it this way. Oh and I just wanted to kick that Jon Cryer’s ass everytime he was onscreen.

3: Catwoman: Huh? Where the hell did Michelle Pfeiffer go? I thought she was Catwoman? I’m confused and scared because I saw Sharon Stone playing opposite what’s-her-name who is not Michelle Pfeiffer. The scene where she orders milk at the Nightclub…UGH. What is one most likely to find in a dirty box of kitty litter? A DVD copy of Catwoman.

2. The Punisher (1989): When you can’t even put Frank Castle AKA “The Punisher” in the right Punisher costume then your production is going into the proverbial comic book movie crapper. I couldn’t even understand Lundgren when he spoke much less believe he had the mental capacity to exact revenge on the people who killed his family. Sorry Dolph, I know that was harsh. Sorry.

1. Batman and Robin:
Now come on…how could this film NOT make the number one spot? The cancer that was Joel Schumacher continues to spread in the this Batman outing when we were introduced to homo-erotic statues inundating Gotham’s cityscape, shots of bat nipples and asses and every frame and shot being lit by neon. Joel keeps the crazy train rolling with this way, way over the top Dayglo Sissyfest. A nail in the coffin that was the Batman franchise. The lame Mr Freeze one-liner puns like “Ice to freeze you” are an insult to true Batman fans. The action pieces were like watching really bad off – Broadway shows about disco dancing. Are those ice skates in your bat boots??? Clooney was just dull and his annoying head wobbling make him look like he needed a heroin fix. I would have rather seen Adam West come back to do a film. Well, maybe not.

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Matt

5. Supergirl: Even Helen Slater’s hotness can’t save this film. While her long, golden locks and tight, complimenting Supergirl costume are titillating, the plot is horrible. She comes to Earth to save her home city on Krypton (which was blown up a long time ago, by the way) and dukes it out with a witch. Couldn’t we come up with a better enemy than a witch? Also, how did they convince Sir Peter O’Toole and Faye Dunaway to make this? The producers should have been given an Academy Award for that alone.

4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The most unfortunate part of this film is that it was the swan song of the Oscar-winning great Shawn Connery. The brilliant career of Connery was punctuated by a film where Captain Nemo is Middle Eastern, complete with turban and pointed shoes. They really should have thrown in a flying carpet for good measure, but instead he had a submarine the size of Manhattan and he was a sword swinging ninja. Alan Moore is a brilliant comic book writer, but this movie was a piece of garbage. And why would Tom Sawyer be a sharp shooting cowboy-type? It makes no sense.

3. Judge Dredd: Sylvester Stalone stars in this futuristic film about a future where police are the judge, jury and executioner. Stop. You had me at Sylvester Stalone – the man who has to remake movies that were a success thirty years ago. The movie looks ridiculous with the silly outfits and bad acting and dialogue.

2. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: This movie was a waste because it brought back the complete original cast of the first film, which was a triumph for comic book lovers. The dialogue in this film is so horrible, not even an Oscar-winner like Gene Hackman can rescue it. In fact, Gene Hackman had to do the voiceover for Nuclear Man, played by Mark Pillow (who never acted again) because his delivery was so bad. The dialogue killed this film even more than its plot, and Nuclear Man’s Lee Press-Nails didn’t help, either. What’s even harder to fathom, is that this could have been worse. Here are deleted scenes of the original Nuclear Man:

1. Batman and Robin: Iceman asks the question: “What killed the dinosaurs?” His answer: “The ICE AGE!” I ask the question, what killed Batman? The answer: Joel Schumacher.

This movie steps over the boundary of camp and well into the land of crap. Tim Burton’s memorable Batman from 1989 was campy but good. Lines from the Joker, like, “Where does he get those wonderful toys” stay with you, but at the same time are funny and fun.

This Batman, which includes Batgirl and Poison Ivy, wreaks of bad writing and gratuitous Batman butt shots. Schumacher has since publicly apologized for the film. The movie’s dialogue made me wriggle in my seat with discomfort. They couldn’t have crammed in any more ice puns if they tried. (see video below). Thank God for Chritopher Nolan.