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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice…a review.

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I cannot believe I have not yet reviewed Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The first pairing in live action of the two most iconic Superheroes in the world. There was a ton of expectation riding on this movie. The movie was heavily criticized by the professional pundits and under performed at the box office although it still made the studio money. One of the reasons for this is that the studio did not put out the three hour extended cut of the films into the theater. What was released to the theater was a truncated version of the film that was not very coherent in places. Note to film studio. Leave Zack Snyder alone and let him do his job, he knows what he is doing!

Therefore this review will be of the theatrical cut.

All movies do have their flaws…which is simply another way of saying “I would have done it differently” and although this movie is no exception the Pros greatly out weight any Cons it may have. I really enjoyed this movie so without further delay, the Pros and Cons of this film. Cons won the coin toss so they will go first. ūüôā

Cons:

The story, even in the Extended Cut, still has some issues. The scene in the desert where Lois is interviewing a terrorist and then all hell breaks loose, it really isn’t too clear what is happening. One example, Batman brands his criminals and they end up getting killed in jail/prison…but the movie never tells you why they are being killed in jail or the motives for killing them.

Alfred. I think over all Jeremy Irons did a good job but his cynicism got old after a while. Plus, if he thinks Batman was going down the wrong road and becoming something corrupt, then you would think that he would have confronted Bruce long before he did in this movie. It seems Alfred was just as jaded as Batman was in this movie.

Death of Superman. I do understand that his sacrifice was to show the world that he truly is a force for good in the world and that he will use his powers to help and not hurt. However, maybe my objection is more about the elaborate funeral they gave Superman, because it all seems too soon because it really doesn’t feel Superman truly earned the accolades and the grief. In the movie Superman has been around less than two years and there is much controversy surrounding him, he certainly isn’t universally loved.

Death of Clark Kent. This is unprecedented. Sure, they have shown Superman die in the comics and animated movies, but they always have found a way to excuse Clark’s disappearance until Superman returns. This movie paints quite a dilemma where they are acknowledging both Clark and Superman are dead! How can they bring both back without the world knowing Clark Kent is Superman!?

Pros:

Good Story. Despite the story being muddled at times the story is very interesting and engaging. It really is not a story about Batman and Superman fighting, it is a story of redemption for both iconic characters.

Superman’s character arc. I like the idea in this universe where Superman isn’t a Mary Sue Boy-scout where everyone except the villains despise him and don’t trust him. In the real world we would have people truly fear and distrust Superman so I like that realistic approach and¬† how Superman has to cope with that reality especially in the face of life taking disasters committed to tarnish his name.

Batman’s Character arc. I love how this is an older and cynical and jaded Batman who has gone through many tragedies himself. We see that Robin is dead, Wayne Manor has been burned to the ground and Batman is an outlaw. I loved the scene where we fist see Batman in the room where he just branded the criminal and he is lurking in the shadows. Classic Batman! I also like how Batman comes to once again have faith in humanity restored. The scene where he rescues Martha Kent in the warehouse is the best live action scene of Batman ever put to film.

Special effects. Excellent. I love any time Superman takes flight!! Doomsday is created with such life-likeness! Great eye candy!

Good pacing. Even though the Extended Cut is three hours long the movie flows well without any slow spots at all.

Lex Luthor. I think Jesse Eisenberg was great as Luthor…yes he is Lex Luthor and not the son of Lex as many claim, he was bitter, psychotic and unpredictable.

Wonder Woman. What can I say? She was awesome! Gal Gadot was simply amazing as Wonder Woman and Diana Prince and she stole the show! I also loved the cameo glimpses of Aquaman and The Flash and Cyborg!!

I want to close by speaking of the controversial Martha scene. Sure, it is a bit cheesy but I do understand what they were doing and I think it was a great idea and worked although all it needed maybe was one line of dialogue. That was the moment Batman realized how far he had fallen and that he had become the very thing he had dedicated his life to fighting against. If Batman would have said that to Lois and Superman in some verbal way, I think it would have helped.

I really enjoyed this movie despite some of its flaws. All-in-all a good introduction of Batman in the DCEU and I look forward to more movies with these characters!

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Too Much of a Good Thing?

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One of the things I enjoy about such superheros like Superman, Batman & The Flash (my favorites in that order) is how unique they are. Superman is invulnerable, impervious to pain, can fly and run near at or better than the speed of light, has ex-ray and heat vision, super hearing…Batman is a human with no superpowers but an intellectual genius billionaire who has mastered several martial arts, has access to and developed many advanced gadgets, dresses up in a Bat-costume and fades into the night to scare and terrorize criminals. The Flash can run, move, think, and react at light speeds as well as having superhuman endurance that allows them to run incredible distances. Some, notably later versions, can vibrate so fast that they can pass through walls in a process called quantum tunneling, travel through time and can also lend and borrow speed. The Flash can heal more rapidly than an average human.

So what does DC Comics do with these unique characters? It creates a “Family” of similar superheroes with similar powers and abilities. Superman has Supergirl, Superboy, Krypto, Powergirl, Mon-El, Val-Zod Red Superman, Blue Superman, Asian Superman and Russian Superman etc. The Batman has many Robins, Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwoman, The Red Hood, Batman Beyond etc. The Flash has Jay Garrick (the earliest incarnation of the character), Barry Allen as The Flash, Wally West is the first Kid Flash and the third Flash, Bart Allen the second hero known as Kid Flash..and many more. Even Flash’s villains are just evil personifications of the Flash, such as Reverse Flash, Zoom and Doom etc..There are also many versions of the Green Lantern that originated from earth…Alan Scott, Hal Jordan,¬† Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz.

My complaint is that with so many Superheros with the same name or powers within these families it waters down and dilutes the original characters and turning what was a special and unique character into something more ordinary. I am conflicted about this because there are actually some of these extra characters I love (Supergirl, Val-Zod, Jay Garrick, Reverse Flash, John Stewart). I even plan on doing a blog post dedicated to Val-Zod in thew future….Plus, as an artist and creative person myself, I certainly do not want to stifle creativity…

I just cannot also ignore this nagging feeling that all of these similar characters take something away from the original characters. I stopped watching the Flash TV series because of this problem. Not only does he have a team helping him but the majority of the villains are just like him to the point where The Flash himself doesn’t stand out, isn’t the star of his own show and is simply one of many with the same powers. I think Supergirl suffers from this a bit also.

This was just a little venting and I don’t really want or expect anything to be done, it just explains why I gravitate to stories that depict the original character rather than these many similar extensions in these superhero families.

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Superman vs Superman.

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Let’s face it. Christopher Reeve left pretty big boots to…and cape..to fill. We now have two movies under our belts with Henry Cavill as Superman so comparisons will be inevitable. I have begun to throw such comparisons away and stopped using the words “better” in my vocabulary when asked to compare the two men (or any actors who have played superheroes) because such comparisons end up being biased and subjective to the point of being futile and unnecessary. Why the need to compare? I can enjoy what each actor brings to the role in the specific movie and story being told.

I understand that many 20 & 30 somethings grew-up with Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the Last Son of Krypton and given his tragic accident and untimely death makes him and his donning of the big S on his chest as something sacred. However, time does march on, and while I can revere Christopher Reeve as well as the next guy, I think ultimately comparisons fail because it isn’t comparing apples to apples but apples to oranges despite the comparison being between the same characters, albeit, the way two different actors portray the character.

The reasons I feel comparisons are unfair and unwarranted are due to the fact that the makers of these new movies are taking a different approach to the character. They are putting Superman in more real world settings and circumstances. So this Superman, while interested in doing the ultimate good, also faces real problems such as not everyone will love him and like him, he cannot save all and there may be political, physical and social repercussions to his actions. This Superman isn’t the happy boy-scout Reeve’s Superman was. That is not a criticism on either portrayal but a justification why comparisons between the two portrayals are not fair comparisons because each are different.

Recently on Facebook someone made the claim that Reeve’s Superman was the most powerful live action portrayal of the character. To me that was just silly because there were times, due to the special effects of the day, Reeve’s Superman was not able to be shown doing what many of us expect Superman to do. The special effects of the day were pretty ground breaking and they still hold up today.

But when the premise of the OP states that Reeve’s Superman was the most powerful, special effects of the era do come into play, for the makers of the 1978 movie were not able to show or demonstrate the premise that Reeve’s Superman was the most powerful. The premise of the OP calls for comparison and they only way to compare the relative powers of each live action Superman is to judge them by the special effects used to demonstrate the power. Today’s advanced special effects are unlimited and Cavill’s Superman can be shown doing all we expect Superman to do. This makes comparing the two moot and just plain silly.

If I am going to compare Cavill I will compare his to George Reeves. George Reeves from the 50s TV show was not all smiles. His Superman and Clark were pretty tough! Cavill is from that same mold!

In the end Superman will always be my favorite superhero and instead of comparisons I will just sit back and enjoy every incarnation of the character. superman-george-reeves1.jpg

 

 

Who was the best Clark Kent?

A while back I did a post on who was my favorite Superman. Of all the live action portrayals of the Man of Steel which was my favorite. It came down to George Reeves for me because he personified and projected strength. So have Cavill and Christopher Reeve but not to the extent George Reeves did. But what about his later ego, Clark Kent? Who played that part of the character the best. Ironically, I have to eliminate George Reeves right off the top! He played the role very well. However, my problem with his portrayal of Clark was that it was hardly no different from his portrayal of Superman. Clark is supposed to be a “mild mannered” reporter. George’s Clark was a very hard nosed reporter. Sure, there were moments that they portrayed him as being timid but those were very brief and far in between.

I think in order to portray Clark and not to reveal that he is Superman the personalities must be distinct. However, there are always two ends of the spectrum. George was too far at the end of the spectrum where there was too little distinction between the two roles. Christopher Reeve went too far in the other direction! He made his Clark Kent a bumbling fool! That was not always that much fun to watch. Plus, we really didn’t get to know his Clark Kent that well…

...and that is where things have changed! Both Reeves and Reeves came out of a time when Superman was the primary identity and Clark was the secondary identity. In other words, Superman was who he really was and Clark was just a disguise. That changed later in the 80s and 90s to where Clark Kent was the true identity while Superman was the disguise. In this paradigm we get to see a Clark that is much different and not just a throw away character.

The recent Man of Steel movie went in that direction. The entire movie is about Clark Kent discovering who he is. At the end he becomes Superman but Clark is the real person it seems. I cannot pick Cavill’s Clark as the best because we really haven’t seen this Clark play both roles yet. So we do not know how different, if at all, will his Clark and Superman be?

 

 

My Favorite Superman Part I

Ever since his debut in 1938 Superman has had many incarnations. He has been in comic books, graphic novels, radio shows, television shows and theatrical films. Today I want to focus on the live action portrayals of the Man of Steel in both film and television. Many actors have donned the red cape and the blue tights and soared into the sky. I will not be counting the portrayals of Superboy for I see him as a different character. Therefore this leaves out Tom Welling from Smallville for he only became Superman in the final episode of the final season. However, I will say he did a spectacular job throughout the run of the series. The reasons that spurred this article was the most recent Man of Steel movie where Henry Cavill played the dual role of Clark Kent/Superman. Although the film did very well and Henry, in particular, was excellent in the part, I have read on various message boards and through conversations with fans that Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the iconic character was still the favorite portrayal of many people. Although Man of Steel is my favorite Superman movie to date, I had to ask myself is Henry Cavill my favorite portrayal of Superman? So I did a little soul searching. The first portrayal of Superman on the big screen was by Kirk Alyn who played in 15 serial episodes of Superman between 1948 to 1950.

They were filmed in black and white on a shoe string budget. All portrayals of Superman flying were done in animation. Once Kirk Alyn jumped up an animated cartoon took over, obtained through the process of rotoscoping, until his feet landed once again on the earth. Noel Neill,who would later play Lois Lane in the Adventures of Superman, made her debut as the iconic love interest of Superman. I do not own this serial on DVD although I do plan to pick it up soon. My opinion is that Kirk Alyn did a very good job as Clark Kent but not as good as Superman. It wasn’t because of the lack of special effects either. Alyn just didn’t have that sense of power, authority and strength that the role needed. In 1952 the first Superman television came to the small screen after the success of Superman and the Mole Men had a theatrical release the year earlier. It amazes me how short some theatrical movies were back then. Superman and the Mole Men clocked in at just 67 minutes long! It starred George Reeves as Superman/Clark Kent and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. Coates would reprise her role as Lois Lane but for only one season. After season one Noel Neill from the Kirk Alyn serials reprises her role of Lois Lane. A bit of trivia for those who complained that Amy Adams played Lois Lane as a strawberry-blonde instead of a brunette should remember that Neill played Lane as a fiery redhead! The first two seasons of the Adventures of Superman were filmed in black & white and were not only dark in looks but dark in tone.

This was not a show for children! Although you would not see much science fiction in this series, the majority of the shows consisted of Superman fighting organized crime. After the first two seasons the producers realized that children were watching the show, along with adults, and began to show more lighthearted shows along with their more serious fare. However, even the more serious shows never reached the level of seriousness that the first two seasons produced. Having foresight the producers also began shooting the show in color knowing that some day all TV shows will be in color and that these color episodes would be more valuable and could be shown for years to come. Although they were filmed in color from the third season onward they were not broadcast in color until 1965. George Reeves played Superman and Clark Kent virtually the same. Both were tough no nonsense types of characters. Even though the open monologue called Clark a ‚Äúmild mannered reporter‚ÄĚ he really was no such thing. Although in the later seasons they mentioned that Clark could be a bit of a Milquetoast we never really saw him act that way. For myself seeing a tough Clark Kent was a positive draw for me.

 

The supporting cast was also great and the chemistry between the actors is what helped make the show great. Along with Reeves and Niell, Jack Larson was the definitive Jimmy Olsen and John Hamilton internalized the gruff editor of the Daily Planet, Perry White. The show also featured a character, Inspector Henderson, that was not featured in the comics. He was brilliantly played by Robert Shayne. In the first season there seemed to be a very antagonistic relationship between Kent and Lane and Kent and Henderson. This added to the darkness of the tone of the series. r many the tough yet friendly portrayal of Superman by George Reeves was the way people measured the role for a long long time. Sadly George Reeves life came to an end in 1959 before he could film the last season of Superman. Was it murder or did he commit suicide? We may never know the truth. It would be 20 years until Superman was once again on the big screen. This time the actor to portray him was Christopher Reeve, no relation to George Reeves who did have an ‚Äús‚ÄĚ on his name. Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman is legendary and iconic. He does seem to have walked off the pages of the silver era Superman comic books and onto the big screen. With the vast improvement of special effects in that 20 years you could really believe that a man could fly.

Man of Steel: My Expectations

The other day I wrote my expectations for the new Godzilla movie. Next up are my expectations for the next Superman movie, Man of Steel, and then next week will be my expectations for Star Trek Into Darkness. I think this will be a new theme. It will be interesting to write of my expectations prior to a movie’s release and then compare that with my actual review.

I am a big Superman fan and I own all of the Donner films on DVD, the animated series, the George Reeves 50s TV show and Lois & Clark. I even liked Superman Returns. Ok, I agree it needed more action but all-in-all it wasn’t too bad. Superman saving the airplane was the best part of the movie.

I actually wanted Brandon Routh to be Superman once again. However, once I learned they had cast Henry Cavill as Superman I was happy with the choice. I think this is the first buff Superman we will be getting. No offense to the other actors playing the role but people like Christopher Reeve and the aforementioned Brandon Routh were way too skinny. I actually was happy that this movie would be a fresh start and not connected to the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

Well, I had mixed feelings actually. I didn’t mind saying goodbye to those movie and that¬†specific continuity. Even though I own Superman III & IV I will admit they aren’t that good. What I had mixed feelings about was having another origin movie. Sure, Superman’s origins had not been told on the big screen in over 30 years but that wasn’t the problem. We have had so many origin movies over the last few years. Batman, Green Lantern, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, 2 Spider-Man origins, Captain America¬†and on and on. I just didn’t want to sit through another origin story!! However, from¬†all the trailers I have seen it looks like it will actually be a very good origin story. I hope we see a lot of Superman and don’t have to wait more than half the movie before we see the man in the blue suit.

Speaking of the new Superman suit..I freaking love it!! I think it is a brilliant¬†design. I know that there are some fans that do not like it, but I think it looks great. Best suit ever. Many complain about the colors, a very deep blue rather than the a more light sky-blue color of Reeve’s suit. The biggest complaint has been the lack of the outer-underwear from previous incarnations of the suit. However many new designs, Batman for instance, have been going in that direction and I think this design looks fine without them. I love the deep rich colors and the extra-large cape. The only thing I do not like is the yellow in the “S” on his chest, it¬†looks dull and dirty.

My only concern was with the involvement of Christopher Nolan. Now I do not mind a more realistic take on the Man of Steel, I just don’t want them to go as dark and gritty as his Batman trilogy. Superman is a bright character. Some have complained that he is a Super Boy Scout. To some degree he is. Superman Returns depicted him as a Christ-like figure. However, from the trailer I think we will get the best of both worlds. We will see a young Clark Kent struggling with who he is, but I think we will also get a movie with a lot of action an adventure.

I am also glad we have the return of General Zod, first scene in Superman II. It would have been so easy for them to use Lex Luthor once again as the villain but I think he has been used way too often. If this movie is to be a reboot and a fresh start then I am glad they have gone a different route in this aspect. I have not really cared for the depiction of Lois Lane on film so far. Kate Bosworth was pretty good in Superman Returns. She was a cute and spunky and feisty Lois. I also liked Erica Durance as Lois in the long running TV series Smallville. I am very intrigued with Amy Adams as Lois. I think she is pretty and a fine actress and I look forward to her portrayal. For those that complain Amy Adams has strawberry blond hair in this movie may have forgotten that in the 1950s Adventure of Superman TV series Noel Neill also had red hair.

In closing I have high expectations on this movie. From what I have seen from the trailers I think we are going to get an excellent Superman movie!

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!

Adventures of Superman: Part II

Now for the conclusion of my review:

The other changed that occurred when the series switched to color was the episodes become more child friendly. The first two seasons were dark and serious and even more violent. This was toned down and we began to see more fun and lighthearted episodes. For example, in “Through the Time Barrier” a A nutty professor uses his time machine to send Clark, Lois, Jimmy, Perry and himself back to 50,000 B.C., along with a notorious gangster who decides he likes prehistoric times. Although the series did get a reputation for child friendly episodes that doesn’t mean they abandoned the more serious themed episodes. The season six episode ‘The Perils of Superman” where criminals wearing lead masks are trying to kill Perry white, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent is as dark as any of the episodes from the first two seasons.

One of the issues that was played down and almost non-existent in the series was the romance between Superman and Lois Lane. It was hinted at and one dream episode examined the topic, but for the most part it is generally ignored. In the first two seasons Lane and Kent actually have a more argumentative relationship. This is gone by the later seasons. In the early seasons Lois often suspects Clark as being Superman but this theme too is dropped in later episodes.

One of the last things I want to talk about is George Reeves portrayal of Superman/Clark Kent. It is one of my favorite portrayals of both Characters. As I have said on other occasions as I have grown older the Superman/Clark Kent secret identity is hard to swallow. Most actors portray each character differently giving some plausibility to the situation. The interesting thing about Reeve’s portrayal of both characters is that he doesn’t play Kent as a weak, baffoon¬†type of character that some have played him. Reeves played Kent as a tough, smart and crafty individual.¬†Superman/kent knows the audience is in on his secret and he plays wonderfully off that. There are times Kent is in peril but we the audience knows that he really isn’t in any trouble and that does add to the excitement of the drama. We wonder what will he do to get out of trouble and keep his identity. George Reeves really did embody Superman and while others have also played the character well, he is the yard stick I use to measure others by.

I also love the world of the 1950s. The Superman comic had him fighting exotic and equally strong and alien villains. The show has him fighting the average and everyday crooks at a time when organized crime was at its zenith. I like the more realistic criminal he faced. It grounds the show more in reality for me. The clothes, the cars and the primitive technology of the 50s and it is all¬†part of the tone of the show that give it its charm. I know many younger people do not like older shows..even ones from the 60s let alone the 1950s…so it may be harder to convince a younger person to give the show a try. I do highly recommend it though. It is a well done show and even the special effects, though not as good as today’s standards, do fit the tone of the show and does not detract from the enjoyment whatsoever. So give Adventures of Superman a try!

Adventures of Superman: Part I.

The Adventures of Superman. Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! (“Look! Up in the sky!” “It’s a bird!” “It’s a plane!” “It’s Superman!”)… Yes, it’s Superman … strange visitor from another planet, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! Superman … who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way! And now, another exciting episode, in The Adventures of Superman!

Superman is by far my favorite Superhero and Adventures of Superman is still a favorite of mine. I have been working my way through the entire series on DVD and it amazes me how enjoyable it is. I will never forget the first time I saw the series. I was in a Catholic school and I was about 10 years old. One afternoon my entire class was taken to the Church basement and no reason was given. When we got there we saw a movie projector set up and chairs waiting for us. There was also popcorn! I still had no clue what we were about to see. I sat with anticipation and curiosity as the room grew dark and the projector tuned on and started to hum. Suddenly on the screen with all fanfare was the title screen for Adventures of Superman!! My head was about to pop with excitement! I was in heaven!! We saw one color episode, “The Seven Souvenirs” and one in black and white, “The Deserted Village.” I was hooked on that show and within a few years when cable TV came to town I was able to view more episodes. Ah, those were some of my most fondest memories.

Produced between 1952 to 1958. The series starred George Reeves¬†as Clark Kent/Superman with Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen, John Hamilton as Perry White, and Robert Shayne as Inspector Henderson. Phyllis Coates played Lois Lane in the first season with Noel Neill¬†taking over¬†role in the second season (1953). I must admit the show is pretty formulaic, with an assorted gangsters¬†and criminals trying to commit some crime which will drag Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen into trouble that will require Superman to rescue them. Even though it is a predictable formula it never grows old or tiresome. The scripts were creative in bringing new colorful characters to keep it interesting. The shows first two seasons were¬†reminiscent of 40s film noir style and absent¬†from the series was Superman’s number 1 arch nemesis, Lex Luthor.

To say that it stuck to a formula does not mean¬†the show didn’t change. It did change over the seasons. One of the changes showed great foresight. The first two seasons were in black and white as all shows and the overwhelming¬†vast majority of TV sets were in the 1950s. After the second season an executive¬†got the bright idea of filming the episodes in color realizing that color TV was going to be the wave of the future and that the color episodes would be more valuable in syndication. He was right. Starting in season three until the end of its run, ¬†Adventures of Superman were in full color…even though it would be 10 years or more until the majority of Americans could view it in color. By then color TVs were growing in popularity and availability and the majority of TV shows changed to color.

To keep this review to a digestible level I will bring you part II on Wednesday. Come on back!

Secret Identities

This is a fun topic for me. What I want to examine is the contrasts of how the issue of secret identities are handled between Marvel Characters and the DC Characters. At first this was going to be a criticism of how Marvel handles the issue of secret identities in their comics and films but after growing more familiar with these characters I see them as being just different and my criticism is more toward the DC characters.

In the Marvel Universe the keeping dual identity of the superhero a secret doesn’t seem to be a significant issue. In the film Iron Man Tony Stark reveals himself to be Iron Man and in the next few movies everyone knows he is Iron Man and it doesn’t seem to be a big deal. Contrast this to a similar character, Batman. Both Batman and Iron Man are Billionaire playboys who wear a costume to fight crime. With Batman these are only a few souls that know Bruce Wayne is the caped crusader. In both Marvel and DC the secret identity is supposed to protect those who are close to the superhero so a¬†villain¬†will not harm their friends and loved ones. But since there friends and loved ones are the ones constantly in trouble and in need of rescue the point is moot.¬†

Spider-Man seems to be the only super-hero who tried to keep his identity secret in a similar manner to the DC Characters. He wore a mask that completely covered his face and very few people knew that Peter Parker was Spider-Man. I have actually come to appreciate the way Marvel approaches the secret identity issue. Both methods are fun and enjoyable. On the plus side of it Marvel is more realistic in its approach. I think it would be truly implausible for a person to actually be able to hide their superhero identity.

A good example of this is in the new Green Lantern movie. Carol Farris recognizes Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern despite Hal wearing the mask. I laughed at that part and was pleased to see it. The older I get the more difficult it seems for me to suspend my disbelief about secret identities. I am sure if I showed up at a friends house wearing Batman’s Cowl I am 100% sure I would be recognized and laughed at. I think that is why I like Iron Man and Spider-Man’s masks the best. They cover the entire face leaving no features of the real person exposed.

Don’t get me wrong I still like the idea of a secret identity. It is enjoyable knowing that people do not know who these superheroes are..even though at times it is implausible.

I want to close with a little rant. The Secret Identity that I struggle with the most is that of Clark Kent/Superman. It is just so implausible! I think Christopher Reeve was excellent in pulling off the dual role. In Superman II when Clark Kent reveals to Lois he is Superman and Christopher Reeve takes of his glasses and stand up straight you can see the physical changes! Now that is subtle but excellent acting! But it is still implausible. I am 100% sure if I showed up at my friends house in a Superman Costume while not wearing my glasses I would be recognized and laughed at. Superman is my favorite Superhero by far. But I wouldn’t mind if they redesigned the costume to include a mask similar to Spider-Man’s.

See you on Friday everyone and to those readers in the US…HAPPY THANKSGIVING tomorrow!!