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Here come the Summer Blockbusters!!! Part 1

It is that time of year! Summer Blockbuster Season! The season begins in May so I would like to highlight the movies that I am interested in seeing. This first movie actually comes out April 19th! I will not be placing these movies in the order they are released, but more in the order of my interest.

 Man of Steel (June 14)

Superman, my all time favorite Superhero, is getting a new start in the theaters. I have been waiting for this for a long time! General Zod is the main villain and has not been seen in a major motion picture since Superman II over 30 years ago. Directed by Zack Snyder (of 300, Watchmen) and produced by Chrisopher Nolan of the Batman movies. Now I was fearful we would get a dark brooding Superman, but from all resports that is not how this movie will be played. It will be played like it is happning in the real world, but it will not be as dark as the Batman trilogy. Henry Cavill stars as Kal-El, Clark Kent, Superman, the Man of Steel.

Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17)

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are back as Kirk and Spock, but I am very excited to see if Benedict Cumberbatch can be evil enough on his own to become a legendary sci-fi villain. Rumors are still flying around the net to just who he is playing. As a HUGE Star Trek fan I cannot wait to see this new installment of the rebooted franchise. This movie looks to have more action and adventure than the 2009 Star Trek and I am fine with that!

Pacific Rim  (July 12)

This movie will have to tide me over until next year’s Godzilla comes out in May of 2014. “Today we are cancelling the apocalypse!” Directed by Guillermo del Toro (of Cronos, Blade II, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) the movie features giant monsters (Kaiju) and human-driven robots to match them. This movie is Sci-fi as its best, and with the director being a fan of the giant monster genre he has crafted a movie with fantastic detail and designed to overwhelm our nerdy sci-fi expectations.

 Oblivion (April 19)

The second feature from sci-fi filmmaker Joe Kosinski (of Tron Legacy), this time envisioning a futuristic world where humans have been driven off Earth to space stations above a desolate planet. Tom Cruise stars with Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman. The special effects look stunning. There is still a lot about the story that is under wraps. Cruise and Freeman are two of my favorite actors so it will be very interesting to see them together. Although I often do not like depressing dystopian movies this one looks more like an action adventure with mystery thrown in.

Iron Man 3 (May 3)

The first Iron Man movie is one of the best Superhero movies ever made. (until I see Man of Steel) Yes, I enjoyed it more than Batman Begins which came out the same year, 2005. Iron Man 2 was a bit of a let down even though I still enjoyed the movie. If the trailer is any indication this looks to have upped the action. Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sir Ben Kinglsey round out this all star cast.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on Friday!


Chrisopher Nolan’s Batman Franchise.

I recently reviewed the third movie in this series, The Dark Knight Rises, and I wanted to write my thoughts and opinions about the franchise as a whole. As with many movies and franchises I often have mixed feelings that are neither completely positive or negative. Such is the case with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Franchise.

I remember all the positive reviews that Batman Begins received and I learned that this movie was going to be grounded in reality with the premise being “what if Batman really existed in the real world?” I actually liked that idea and was eager to see how it was played out. Upon finally seeing Batman Begins I felt that someone finally got Batman right and I was very pleased. To this day Batman Begins remains one of my all time favorite Batman movies. I think it has drama and excitement and a well crafted story. It is a tight story, meaning not a real complex plot with too many events and characters to keep track of.

However, that was to change with the Dark Knight. I did, and do enjoy the story, yet the plot is a little more complex and over crowded. Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is brilliant and he did deserve the Academy Award for his portrayal. The movie goes on a bit long and there are times I am confused to what is going on. Does that say more about my ability to comprehend or was it the director’s inability to keep things clear? I actually fault Christopher Nolan. He does have a reputation for making films that have very complex plots. I also enjoyed the Harvey Dent/Two Face character and the make-up special effects for him were great. The ending was also intriguing as Batman was on the run and being viewed as a true outlaw.

I was disappointed that the “Batman as an outlaw” angle was played down in the Dark Knight Rises. Bruce Wayne hung up his cape and cowl and became a recluse. Yes, by the end of the movie Batman is redeemed and seen for the hero of Gotham that he was/is. I just thought they would have played up more on the Batman as an outlaw angle. I will not rehash my review here I will just restate that I liked the movie a great deal and it follows right behind Batman Begins as my favorite of the trilogy.

There is something wrong though. I really like these movies and I will watch them again but there is something gnawing at my stomach about these movies and I could not figure it out at first. After watching the Dark Knight Rises I did figure out what was gnawing at me. What bothers me is the original premises: “what if Batman really existed in the real world?” In the end, after all the three movies are over, I still have a feeling that at some leve these were not Batman movies. These movies are supposed to be comic book movies and I think having some element in the movie that reminds us that this is a fantasy makes these movies more light and fun. While Batman is a darker character than most superheroes there still is a fantasy element to him and that was missing from the trilogy.

I think the 1989 Batman movie by Tim Burton kept Batman in his comic book world. While his sequel, Batman Returns, is a bit too dark for my tastes they are rooted in being a comic book movie. I must say the more recent Marvel comic book movies have actually achieved the best tone for these types of movies.

I am a bit Leary about the next Superman movie. Superman is by far my favorite Superhero and I think he is more of a big boy scout than a Dark Knight like Batman and he needs a lighter touch. While I am very encouraged by the Man of Steel trailers I have seen I hope Nolan and Snyder didn’t forget to put some of the fun back into the movie.

The future of Batman  on the big screen? I am not sure. I wouldn’t complain if Christian Bale joined the Justice League movie now in pre-production. Then again I won’t complain if he doesn’t either. If Warner Brothers wants to connect the Nolan Trilogy to the Justice League movie that is alright and if they want to go in a new direction with Batman I am alright with that too. The movies and his performance was good and I wouldn’t mind seeing him return as Batman.