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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

 

 

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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?

 

 

The Seventh Son

From wikipedia…

Seventh Son is an upcoming 2015 fantasy film very loosely inspired by the novel The Spook’s Apprentice (titled The Last Apprentice in America). The story centers around Tom Ward, a seventh son of a seventh son, and his adventures as the apprentice of the Spook. It is directed by Sergei Bodrov and stars Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, and Julianne Moore. It features music composed by Marco Beltrami, which he replaced A. R. Rahman and Tuomas Kantelinen. It is scheduled to be released in 3-D and IMAX 3D February 6, 2015.

Seventh Son has switched release dates multiple times. It was originally scheduled for release February 22, 2013, but moved back to October 18, 2013, to complete post production. It again moved from October 18, 2013, to January 17, 2014, due to the film’s backer Legendary Pictures parting ways with Warner Bros., who were initially intended to distribute the film. On August 15, 2013, it was announced that Legendary has sold the distribution rights to their new partner Universal Studios which pulled the film off its January 17, 2014 release date. The release of the film has been moved to February 6, 2015.

 

  • My thoughts. I am really looking forward to this film. I just love fantasy films set in the middle ages with Dragons and wizards etc. One of the things that looks good about this movie is the fact that it seems like a mixture of action and adventure and some humor.
  • In recent years many movies, such as the Batman Trilogy, have taken a more serious approach to these types of movies. Even Man of Steel was too serious for some. In some recent movies of the science-fiction-fantasy genre I have seen a slow moving away from the super-serious approach.
  • In my opinion that is a good thing. While I do not mind the serious approach, I do not like a movie to be super serious for the entire film. I think movies such as the Avengers and Iron Man and Captain America have struck that balance with seriousness, fun and action and adventure.
  • The Seventh Son seems to be the same in that regard. The special effects look great and the story looks interesti9ng and engaging.  I love the look of the dragon and other monsters!
  • I was a little worried and frustrated that the movie kept being pushed back. Some fear this means it won’t be good. Some feared, like myself, that it would never see the light of day. Movies released in February are generally not bad but not seen as being of the quality of a summer blockbuster. However, since I am a very easygoing viewer and I love the trailer, I have little doubts that I will like this.

Here is the YouTube Trailer…

 

 

 

 

 

Man of Steel: My Review

I really like the Donner/Reeve’s Superman movies and still do. I even liked Superman Returns. I was disappointed that Superman Returns didn’t get a sequel. I thought Brandon Routh did a pretty good job filling the shoes of Christopher Reeve and I wanted to see more of him in the role. I did come to accept that the studio desired to move away from the Donner created Superman universe and began to look forward to something new.

However, I was not happy when I heard there was going to be another origin story! With all of the new superhero movies out in the last 10-12 years many of them had origin stories so I had grown tired of them. Plus, everyone knows Superman and I didn’t think we needed to see his origins once again. I thought they could do a movie with Superman as an already established character.

If you have been following this blog you know I have mixed feelings about Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies so I was also afraid of Nolan being attached to it. I didn’t think the serious approach would work with Superman. I began to be won over when Henry Cavill was cast as Superman. I thought he was an excellent choice. When the first picture of Cavill was released with him in the newly designed Superman suit I was thrilled. I loved the new Superman suit.

I have to report I do love this movie and I cannot count how many times I have seen it on DVD! Blu-Ray to be more precise. My worries were put to rest that the serious approach would not work. I thought it worked real well. True there is very little humor in the film but I do think the movie has a lot of heart. The heart of this story is about discovering who one is. The special effects are the best ever seen in a superman movie. The way superman flies with super speed and power over majestic landscapes is a wonderful sight to be hold.

I Will not give ways too many spoilers to the movie but I do want to speak a little bit about some of the negatives aspects of the movie. First a small synopsis of the plot. General Zod wants to save the blood line of Krypton and after an ill-fatted coup is sent to the phantom zone. Kal-El is sent to Earth as Krypton explodes. The explosion of Krypton frees Zod and his minions from the Phantom Zone and he begins his search for Kal-El who’s body contains the DNA of all Kryptonians. The movie flashes forward 33 years as we find an alienated Clark Kent trying to find his place in the world. As the government finds an ancient spaceship buried in the ice Clark goes to investigate the craft to see if he has any connection to it and any answers to his questions.

While exploring the ship he encounters investigative reporter Lois Lane. Clark also encounters a holographic image of his father who teaches him about who he is. He gives him the “Superman suit” and tells Clark to help the humans better themselves. Lois was injured in her pursuit of the alien craft and Clark uses his heat-vision to heal her. She then pursues to discover who this alien is that saved her. When Clark found the ancient ship it sent out a signal that was received by General Zod who was searching for him. Zod comes to earth looking for Clark/Kal-El forcing him to reveal himself to the world. Revealing himself to the world was something he feared. This fear was instilled in him by his earthly father Jonathan Kent.

Kal-El turns himself in to the military who decide to turn him over to Zod. After learning that Zod wants to turn Earth into Krypton and therefore killing the entire human race, two epic battles are fought. One in Smallville and the other in Metropolis. This is where much of the destruction occurs. Some critics, not all, have complained there is too much destruction. Although the battles are well done and the movie depicts great action scenes, I do agree that it could have been trimmed down a bit.

Another complaint is that in the destruction that takes place in both Smallville and Metropolis there is a large amount of lives lost and casualties. Though these death are not shown you do suspect that many people are dying. Many fans are used to the Superman movies that Christopher Reeve acted in. Those movies were true comic book movies that did not take themselves all too seriously. Any deaths or destruction were done in a lighthearted manner. Therefor it does come as a shock to some fans. Some fans were angry thinking that Superman would not allow those things to happen.

I can have some empathy for those fans even though I was not as upset as they were. I understood that director Zack Snyder was going for a more realistic approach like they had done in the Nolan Dark Knight trilogy. In that vein then when you have a group of super powered aliens fighting one another with advanced technology there is going to be some mass destruction. There were times in these battles when Superman (just barely called that twice in the movie) was not in control over the situation and moving that battle to less populated areas was not an option for him in this movie. Also, the way Supes finally defeats Zod does make sense and I for one felt he had no other course of action.

This has become my favorite Superman movie. It is different than the Christopher Reeve movies. In this day and age film makers are going for a more realistic and less comic book feel to these Superhero movies. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if the next Superman movie does lighten up a little.

Happy New Year! Year in Review!!

These are the Science Fiction/Fantasy films I saw this year. Here is a simple list of the ones that were my favorites and the ones that I enjoyed and the ones I was disappointed with. In the weeks to come I will review each of these films plus keep you updated with new science fiction and fantasy film news.

Pacific Rim
Man of Steel
Star Trek Into Darkness
The Lone Ranger
Oblivion

Enjoyed:

After Earth
Olympus Has Fallen
G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Disappointment with:

White House Down
Oz the Great and Powerful
Iron Man 3

Jack the Giant Slayer

This is the End

Ben Affleck as Batman: My Thoughts.

It is a nice warm and sunny Friday morning as I write this. Late last night it was announced that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman for the upcoming sequel to the Man of Steel movie. My first reaction was one of disbelief and shock. He wasn’t even on the radar. He wasn’t even mentioned as being in the running for the role. I also honestly thought that they would select a relative unknown and not a big name such as Ben Affleck. I think that is why I am so shocked.  But the more I think about it the more I do like the idea. I think he can really pull it off. Today as I write this I am watching the majority of my fellow nerdlings have a meltdown as the interweb explodes with the fallout from this news.

I actually like the guy and his work. Like most of us, I was introduced to Ben Affleck when I saw the movie, Good Will Hunting. An excellent film. He and his friend, Matt Damon, crafted a great story and both acted superbly in that movie. Sadly, Affleck’s acting career had some misses as well as hits while Damon’s acting career really took off. I am also a fan of Kevin Smith’s movies and Ben has acted in several of them, my favorite is when he teamed up with Damon once again for the movie Dogma. Ben also had a highly publicized romance with Jennifer Lopez. Ben also was the star of Marvel’s superhero movie, Daredevil, which was not well received. All of this creates too much baggage in the minds of many fans of superhero movies.

But that is not the whole story. He starred in and directed in last years Academy Award winning film Argo. He also starred and directed the critically acclaimed film The Town. He played George Reeves in the well acclaimed film Hollywoodland. Ben Affleck does have  awide range as an actor. He can do comedy as well as serious drama. Not every actor can do that.

I do understand that the last Batman, played by Christian Bale, is the most popular actor to don the Batcowl. So Ben does have some awfully big shoes to fill and hopefully he will not be in Bale’s shadow during his portrayal of the character.

Another point I want to make as my fellow nerds are all upset this morning is that back in the late 80s there was a similar outcry when Tim Burton cast Michael Keaton as Batman. Even I thought that was pretty certain back then that Keaton was wrong for the part he proved all of the nay sayers wrong and did two great performances as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The other thing I find fascinating about the nerd meltdown is that they have a problem with long-term memory. When Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker for the movie, The Dark Night, many fans were all up-in-arms and outraged about that! Today he is, and for a long time will be, the standard by which any portrayal of the Joker will be measured.

I am “borrowing” some points by a blogger   and they are all points that I completely agree with.

Let us go back through the history of movie casting:

  • When Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Iron Man, people thought he would be TERRIBLE because of his past. This actually helped his character and made him the face of Iron Man.
  • When Christian Bale was cast, people still thought of him as a small actor who would be terrible.
  • Heath Ledger was BASHED up and down the street because of his pretty face when he signed on to play the Joker. Now most people now consider him the greatest Joker ever portrayed.
  • Daniel Craig as James Bond… people did go crazy about it which most of you should remember, since it was just a few years ago.
  • Chris Evans was the Human Torch and was thought of as a terrible actor. Uhh, have you seen London? And now he IS Captain America.
  • Chris Hemsworth looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch model and he was in Star Trek, but now he IS Thor.
  • Hugh Jackman was a broadway star. How in the hell is he going to be the ferocious Wolverine? Go remove your foot from your mouth now.

Read more at http://nerdreactor.com/2013/08/23/ben-affleck-batman-awesome-news/#P1HWDMlZFBvU2FXI.99

As I said, Ben Affleck was not even on the radar as being in the running to play Batman. Many sites on the internet listed whom they believed would be a worthy successor to Christian Bale to play Batman. The favorites were: Matt Bomer (my personal choice), Richard Armitage, Josh Brolin, Armie Hammer, Ryan Gosling and others. I think Affleck as a better choice than Brolin. I just don’t think he has the looks. I now am wondering if these were true rumors, that the studio was looking at these actors, or were they just the dreams of fan boys?

I am more than willing to give Ben Affleck a chance in the role and I think he will do just fine. There are more important things to consider such as the script and the tone of the film. I am more concerned about the script than who they cast as Batman. Look at Clooney in Batman and Robin. While I may enjoy the movie as an homage to the campy 60s show, Clooney did not do a bad job acting as either Wayne or Batman. The problem was people did not want a campy Batman movie, or at least the level of camp that was in that movie. So if Clooney had been Batman in a less campy movie I think people would not be putting the blame for that movie on his shoulders.  If they set the tone of this movie like they did with Iron Man then I think Afflack will do just fine.

I am sure the tone of the film will be similar or exactly like the one established in Man of Steel. If that is the case then I really have no worries about Ben Affleck being able to play Bruce Wayne and Batman. I just hope they have a good story to tell and that the script is well written.

The tone of Comic Book movies…what should it be?

The Man of Steel movies has not done as well as WB had hoped, although it is still success and it is more successful than 2006’s Superman Returns. Does this mean that Superman doesn’t translate that well into being a more serious character? What should be the tone of a superhero comic book movie? Many sing the praises of the Nolan Batman trilogy for its gritty realism. Some do not like it at all. I am between those two extremes. While I do like the trilogy, with the first movie, Batman Begins, as the most enjoyable, I do think that there are times when these movies seem like something else rather that a superhero movie. So, what should a superhero movie look like?

There is not one answer to this question  but I do see a common denominator. To ironically quote the Joker from the movie The Dark Night..”Why so serious?”

That is they key element. At some level in the movie it needs to not take itself so seriously. After all these are stories where adults are dressing in costumes and fighting crime. If this were to happen in the real world such a person would be spending some time in a psychiatric center. I find many of the Marvel movies, specifically the first Iron Man movie, does strike the right tone. I also notice that there is a continuum of tone. As I mentioned that Iron Man strikes a good tone but can there also be a time when a more lighthearted approach can also work? I think so….and this is the heart of the issue; To balance seriousness with a lighthearted approach. For the next couple of paragraphs I will defend one of my favorite Batman movies, Batman Forever, and demonstrate how that movie does successfully balance the  seriousness with a lighthearted approach.

First of all, the set designs, costumes and cinematography all let the viewer know that this is indeed a fantasy and not the real world. Gotham is not realistic but it is a character all its own that adds to the verisimilitude of the movie. Direct Joel Schumacher used brighter colors than the previous director, Tim Burton, but it still kept Gotham as a foreboding gritty crime filled city. The setting does establish the tome of the movie that it will be serious but lighthearted. The over-the-top portrayal of the villains, Two-Face and the Riddler, played wonderfully by Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carey, also lets us know that this movie is to entertain and to not take it so seriously.

Yet, the movie does have some serious themes. It shows Bruce Wayne/Batman, played greatly but Val Kilmer, struggling with his identity and the guilt over his parents death. We see Dick Grayson/Robin, played brilliantly by Chris O’Donnell, struggling with grief, the murder of his family and the desire for revenge. Although this movie does have camp like the 1960s version of Batman, this movie does not show that the relationship between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Dick Grayson/Robin was anything but smooth and it took them time to form a partnership. For myself this is the strength of the movie and watching them come together is what makes it so enjoyable for me.

Batman Forever is on the more campier side of the verisimilitude of comic book movies, much more so than Iron man, but it does demonstrate that there is a continuum within the less realistic approach of the recent Nolan Batman and Superman movies. The sequel to Batman Forver, Batman and Robin, although a guilty pleasure, did cross the line in the other direction and demonstrates that going too campy can also cause a problem. So for myself with Batman Forever on the campier end of the spectrum and the first Iron Man being the more serious end of the spectrum gives comic book movies a great deal of space to work with to find that perfect tone for these types of movies.

An older Batman?

Word is out that WB is looking for an older Batman to appear in the sequel to Man of Steel. From my sources I have learned that Zack Snyder will be meeting with Frank Miller about the next film. Frank Miller is the author of the well-known classic graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns which depicted an older Batman coming out of retirement. 

This pretty much seals the deal that this Batman will not be from the continuity of the Nolan films. So, who be a good choice to play the older Caped Crusader? Richard Armitage, 41 — The British actor appeared in TV’s Strike Back is a contender, as is Max Martini, 43,. But the front-runner seems to be Josh Brolin, 46 an actor that WB studios has worked with on so many films. An actor others have suggested is Jim Caviezel who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ. At 44 and with chiseled good looks many feel he would be good to play an older version of Batman. John Hamm, another older actor, once thought to be too old to play Batman, may just be the right age now to play this incarnation of the Dark Knight.

Brolin, Caviezel and Hamm (sounds like a law firm), any of these three would be my personal favorites to play Batman.

My one concern about a Superman/Batman film is that in these graphic novels the two characters are depicted to be rivals and even adversaries . We saw this type of relationship in the Avengers at the beginning when many of the superheroes were actually rivals until they saw the wisdom in joining forces. While I understand that a Superman and Batman movie does need to have drama and tension in the movie, I just hope they do not go overboard. I grew up in an era where Superman and Batman were friends and not adversaries.

Bale will not play Batman Again: My thoughts

Last week it was announced that Christian Bales said that he would not play Batman in a Justice League movie. Many fans, myself included, are a bit disappointed. I really thought that Bale’s Batman would fit in the same universe as Superman, given the fact that the tone of both the Dark Knight Trilogy and the new Man of Steel movie work very well together. Many on the internet feel that if WB threw enough money at Bale he would don the Bat Cowl once more. I tend to agree with that.

I recently re-wathed the entire trilogy and while I always have liked it, and think Batman Begins is the best of the bunch, I have a better appreciation for the Nolan’s trilogy.

Although I am disappointed that Christian Bale will not be Batman for the Justice league movie that means the Batman movies will need to be rebooted. But is it too soon and who would play the caped crusader?

Last year’s Spider-Man reboot, just a few years after Spider-Man 3, was aid to be too soon also. However, I really enjoy that movie and over all the responses for that film have been positive and many fans are looking for the next installment.  If they do the Justice League movie first, with Batman, and then reboot the Batman franchise after that movie…we still can be looking at another 5 years before we see a Batman movie. I think fans will come to the theater and I do not think that would be too soon.

I want to recommend an actor to play Batman. His name is Matt Bomer (you’ll have to google him, I am having trouble with posting pictures on this site). He plays the lead in As the lead in USA Networks’ White Collar and was also in the movie Magic Mike (2012) a movie I DID NOT SEE! DC and Warner Bros. have also noticed Bomer’s range, signing him to voice Superman in their next animated feature, Superman: Unbound (2013). He resembles Henry Cavill, Superman, and the two could be brothers.

I do not think that would be a deterrent because they both have those chiseled features and square jaws one expects in these two superheroes. Since Bomer is not a house hold name it will not seem strange seeing him as Batman. Ever since George Clooney played Batman (in a movie I do happen to enjoy in a strange way) I do think these superhero movies do need to cast unknowns for the most part. Of course there are always exceptions. I recently saw another list of possible actors to play Batman and one of them was a black man and I thought that would be a great idea.

It will be interesting to see what unfolds in the future for Batman!!

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.