Blog Archives

Too Much of a Good Thing?

10-batman-family

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.

14910340_1409964109038185_5419221859299399350_n

 

 

Advertisements

Geen Lantern: Movie review.

I thought I had reviewed this movie. I searched my archives and could not find it. If this is a repeat then my apologies.

Reviews were mixed for Green Lantern although all the trailers I viewed indicated that it would be a movie that I would thoroughly enjoy. And I was right. From beginning to end Green Lantern is a special effects extravaganza and an entertaining origin story. I generally do not care for origin stories because being familiar with a superhero character means I already know the story and would rather see something new. With Green Lantern we really have the best of both worlds. The movie does not delay in placing the ring of power on the finger of Hal Jordan. From there we watch as Hal struggles to meet the burden placed upon him while the Earth is threatened by Parallax one of the Guardians of Oa that has turned evil.

There is good character development with Hal who is depicted as being a womanizing cocky and brash pilot to a responsible superhero. The CGI is top-notch and the depiction of Oa, the guardians and many of the other aliens that are a part of the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps rivals the special effects seen in the more recent Star Wars prequels. The relationship between Hal and Dr. Hector Hammond, who is infected with the yellow power of Parallax, could have been better fleshed out and brought to more depth. The same could be said with Hal’s relationship with Carol Farris. There seems to be little justification for the affection between the two given the characterization of their earlier antagonism toward one another.

Parallax has a habit of easily defeating the other Green Lanterns in the Corps and after the Guardians of Oa refuse to help him, with the encouragement of Sinestro a future supervillian, Hal faces the Corps most notorious villain alone. I won’t give away the ending and although origin stories can be predictable, as this one certainly is, the story is told in a manner which is exciting and entertaining. I am unabashedly a CGI junkie and this movie delivers on that account. Therefore combined with a story that is pretty riveting despite its predictability along with great eye candy The Green Lantern is a good introduction for this underdog and little known superhero.

Also, want to add that I really would like to see Ryan Reynolds back as Green Lantern in the Justice league movie. However, I do not think that is going to happen. If the Green Lantern is in the JL movie, which I think he will be, then I am sure he will be recast since it seems like WB is going to distance themselves to all superhero movies for this project. It looks like the Man of Steel movie will be the starting point for the JL movie.

Man of Steel and Justice League? …and Some Star Trek too! And GODZILLA news!!!

http://screencrush.com/justice-league-superman-man-of-steel/

With the new trailer for the Man of Steel about to be deliverd next month and with the Justice League movie in the development phase roumours are flying around the internet. Will Henry Cavill and the Man of Steel movie be connected to the  Justice League movie? Will Joseph Gordon-Levitt Play Batman in Justice League? Can Christian Bale be persuaded to don the Bat-Cowl for the Justice League movie? So many unanswered questions!

I have some ambilance about some of the questions. I actually wouldn’t mind either way if Christian Bale were to play Batman in this new movie. I think he did an excellent job playing the Caped Crusader even though I was not completely happy with the tone established in the movies. I wopuldn’t mind if Warner Brothers casts someone else to play Batman/Bruce Wayne. I do have a hard time seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role though. He seems too small and too thin in my opinion. I do however, want to see Henry Cavill as Superman in the Justice Leauge movie. He just screams Superman to me. Even though I have not seen him as Superman I have seen him in the trailer and othe rroles and I think he will be the best Superman since Christopher Reeves. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Ryan Reynolds return as the Green Lantern in the Justice Leauge movie. I thought he did a fine job in the role and I think the movie was not as bad as the critics claimed.

I think other than those two movies, I would rather have the Justice League movie be a starting point for other solo movies such as more Batman, Green Lanter and new Wonder Woman and The Flash. Warner Brothers does not have to follow the exact path laid out by Marvel. I do think it woukld be hard to have a trilogy of Superman movies (Man of Steel is supposed to be the first of three Superman movies) while another actor was playing Superman in the Justice League movie. It would open the door to critcism and comparison. You know how people like to compare and critisize things! Also, there are many fans of such movies that do like their continuity so having both Cavil and Reynolds…and maybe even Bale..reprise their roles would give the fans some continuity.

2015 is far away and many things can happen by then. I will keep the speculations alive and as news becomes available you will find it here!

This is also new! Here is the approved synopsis for the new Star Trek movie!

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS – Approved Synopsis 11/26/12

In Summer 2013, pioneering director J.J. Abrams will deliver an explosive action thriller that takes Star Trek Into Darkness.

 When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

This sounds good…Very Good!

GODZILLA NEWS!!!

It is being reported that the script for the movie is completed and that filming begins in March of next year!! I have not heard much as far as casting goes!!

http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/monstroushotzone/news/?a=70454

One more…The Trailer for Pacific Rim is due in Decemer also and the viral marketing for that movie is stepping up.

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=97464&utm_campaign=facebookfan&utm_source=facebookfan&utm_medium=referral

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!!

 

The Amazing Spider-Man

I really liked the first two Spider-Man movies starring Tobey McGuire and directed by Sam Rami. The third Spider-Man movie?…not so much. I was not surprised to have heard that Spider-Man 4 was not going to be made given how poorly received Spider-Man 3 had been. What did surprise me was that Sony Pictures Entertainment was going to reboot the franchise and start all over. I really didn’t think that was necessary. Just make a better Spider-Man 4 were my thoughts. Plus, I really don’t care for origin movies (I must interrupt myself here and say that my love for Batman Begins, Iron Man 1, Green Lantern, Thor, Captain America, X-Men First Class is having me rethink that statement). The film stars Andrew Garfield in the title role, with Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors.

I followed the making of the movie and I had no clue who Andrew Garfield was, the actor tapped to play Spidey/Peter Parker, and when I saw the picture of him I thought he didn’t look right for the part. Can anyone say prejudiced? I was also not happy when it was reported how they were going portrayed his web slinging ability. The comics had his web slinging ability come from a device that Peter, the boy genius himself had made. The Sam Rami movies changed that to where the ability to sling webs was a natural part of his powers. I liked that better so I was disappointed to learn that this movie would return to the concept that was depicted in the comic books. Many fans were upset over the concept of the lizard, the main villain in the movie, because he didn’t have a snout. I had no such problem. Some fans hated the costume. I didn’t have a problem with that either. Watching the trailers did give me hope because they looked so good.

I generally try not to buy DVDs without seeing the movie first but since I love Spider-Man (my favorite Marvel character) I decided to give it a try. I Loved It! This is the best Spider-Man movie. In many ways it is a Peter Parker movie even though we do get to see Spidey a lot through the film. We see Peter Parker go from an abandoned teen who gets kicked around to somebody who, thanks to a radioactive spider bite, discovers who he is. He also discovers his past and what happen to his parents, especially his father, a brilliant scientists who leaves one night to never return.

This is actually a very character driven movie. Peter explores the relationship he has with himself, the bullies that pick on him, the girl he has a crush on, her father, his surrogate parents (Uncle Ben and Aunt May) and his father’s partner, who becomes the villain he must face. These relationships are all balanced with the type of action and adventure we come to expect from such movies. They all help shape Peter into who he is to become and likewise they are impacted by him.

Andrew Garfield did a wonderful job in both roles. He was excellent as Peter the shy awkward genius who has to navigate the minefield that is adolescence. He also does a great Spider-Man who can be a cocky superhero and Garfield delivers his lines to make Spidey funny without being an annoying character. The other performance I have to mention is Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. Sheen has such a wide range in his acting skills. He can play a tough individual with an authoritative presence. He plays Uncle Ben as a simple minded, strong, yet warm and friendly. I really liked his portrayal. Sally Field played Aunt May and she did a fine job, really no complaint about her performance, my complaint is that they didn’t really give her too much to do. After the death of Uncle Ben all she is given to do is worry about Peter. It would have been preferable for an actress of such caliber to have been given more to do by the third act of the movie.

The special effects are top notch. In the Rami movies Spider-Man was depicted a lot with CGI. Although I am sure there were some scenes of Spidey rendered with CGI many of them were live action and I found them to be more realistic. If I am in the mood for a Spider-Man movie I know this will be the movie I grab. I think Sony Pictures did the right thing with this reboot and I really look forward to the next installment with anticipation.

 

Top 20 Super Hero Movies.

First a Disclaimer. I may be one of the few that have not seen Marvels’ The Avengers so that it is why it is not on my list. As soon as I see it I am sure it would be on there! Also, the Dark Knight Rises comes out in two days and I am sure that would be on my list too! 

20. Batman & Robin

I know it is terrible right? But to me it is still a fun and corny movie. 

19. X-Men 3: The Last Stand

Another movie that I don’t think it deserves the bad rap it gets.

18. X-Men

I was never in to Marvel Comics or its Characters that much but I have really enjoyed the movies based on their characters. 

17. GI Joe: Rise of Cobra

The epitome of a fun over -the-top movie.

16. X-Men 2

I solid sequel to the first movie.

15. X-Men: First Class

A very good prequel to the franchise. Very good story. 

14. Green Lantern

I really enjoy this one and think it got a bad rap. The scenes set out in space are the best. 

13. The Mask of Zorro

One of the first superheroes. Very good story with Sir Anthony Hopkins in a delightfully engaging and fun role. 

12. Batman Forever

Another over the top movie but I really like the addition of Robin and how he plays into this story. 

11. Hancock

A bit uneven in places. It gets too serious in the later half of the movie but still enjoyable. I really enjoy Will Smith.

10. Spider-Man 2

I am not always keen on origin stories so that is why I like Spider-Man 2. Sorry, haven’t seen the reboot yet.

9. Kick-Ass

A very different superhero movie!

8. Batman (1989)

Tim Burton’s take on the Caped Crusader is like a graphic novel come to life.

7. Thor

Perfect mixture of science-fiction and fantasy.

6. Superman Returns

Great Special effects! Superman saving the jumbo jet is worth the price of admission.

5. Superman: The Movie 

Gets bogged down in the origin story but once it is rolling it still holds up very well today.

4. The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker will be the standard by which all villains and usage of the Joker will be measured. 

3. Batman Begins

I did actually like this one better than the Dark Knight. I think the story is a little tighter in this movie and not as dark.

2. Iron Man

Didn’t know much about him until the movie. Robert Downey Jr. is spectacular both as Tony Stark and Iron Man. 

1. Superman II

With his origin story out of the way Superman gets down to a fun, sometimes corny, action adventure movie with a great villain  and special effects that still hold up well today. The best Superman and superhero story. 

What’s in the Hopper this week?

A few of interesting movies are in various stages of development.

1. Justice League. With the Avengers movie bringing in bucket loads of cash the executives at Warner Brothers, the studio that holds the movie rights to the DC characters, are scampering to put together a Justice League movie. This movie has been stuck in development hell for a while. In 2008 the movie was in production but due to an overblown budget and script rewrites that could not be done due to a writer’s strike the production was halted.

It seems that Warner Brothers is once again going ahead with a Justice League movie and has hired Will Beall to write the script. Warner Brothers is also taking an opposite approach to the movie than Marvel Studios did with their Avenger Movies. Marvel launched most of these characters in solo movies prior to bringing them together in the Avengers film. There was a thread running through each of these movies that culminated in the Avengers movie.

With the DC characters we have already had a Green Lantern movie that did not perform as well as expected (although I liked it) and with the Nolan Batman series coming to an end and the Man of Steel around the corner Warner Brothers is looking for a Justice League movie to launch these characters into their own solo movies such as the Flash, Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Although I doubt very much that Christian Bale would don the Bat Cowl for a Justice League movie and it remains to be seen if Henry Cavill will reprise Superman for this movie once the Man of Steel is out, I am happy to hear that this movie is moving forward once again.

2. Hollywood is preparing to go all Old Testament on you. Aronofsky’s Noah has been in production Purgatory since 2008 but in March Russell Crowe (who will be playing Jor-El in the Man of Steel) has been cast as Noah and Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth have been cast to play two of Noah’s sons. It would be interesting to see the Ark and the Flood depicted on the big screen.

There is possibly two movies on the life of Moses that will be coming to your local theaters. Steven Spielberg is already engulfed in pre-production work on Gods and Kings, and hopefully will bring us a sweeping and epic tale of the law giver. It was reported this week that Ridley Scott (his movie Prometheus a prequel to his Alien movie is in theaters tomorrow) is saying that his idea for a movie about the life of Moses is definitely going to come to pass. However, from what I understand is Scott will often take up a project on a whim and then just as quickly place it back upon the shelf. So it remains to be seen if his Moses picture will ever be made. I am very interested in Spielberg’s take on the story. He is a master story teller.