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Comics Movies Review

Movie Review – Wonder Woman

We saw an early screening, and I’m happy to report director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman is everything DC should be doing in all of their movies.  It’s epic in scope, as befitting one of DC’s trinity of heroes.  It’s does something interesting with Diana’s origin, managing to homage both her classic origin and the more recent takes.  It has a great deal of heart, something DC’s other EU movies have so far lacked.  It’s genuinely funny, and not in the “this is a joke, please laugh” way that Bruce delivers that “I’m rich” line in the Justice League trailer.  Gal Gadot embodies Diana admirably, whether it’s handling her business on the battlefield or delighting in her first experience with snow.

The cast of characters surrounding Diana are great, with Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen leading the way on Themyscira.  Chris Pine’s is sneaky good as Steve Trevor, a man capable of being rescued and upstaged by a powerful woman.  The baby-men still railing against all-women showings of the movie could learn something from him.  Their romance never feels forced.  I wish we had more of Etta Candy as Lucy Davis’s reaction faces are great.  I was also surprised with how well Wonder Woman handled the particular horrors of World War 1 – since it wasn’t the focus of the movie it would’ve been easy to gloss over what trench warfare was doing to people, but they didn’t.

Any downsides are fairly minor.  The villain is a bit undercooked, taking a page from Marvel’s book, once you get past the surprise reveal regarding him.  The last third of the movie is a bit of a tone-shift from the first two thirds, but you just know they had to have a big battle scene to end things on.  The slow-motion, 300-esque bits with Diana fighting was overused but I’ll allow it.

Wonder Woman was the first DC movie since The Dark Knight where I found myself leaning in, hanging on the action and the character building bits.  Take your kids (not just your daughters) and enjoy the ride.

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Featured Movies

The Top 10 Superhero Movies Of All Time

I got to thinking about this thanks to a forum post at one of the sites I frequent.  Someone said there hadn’t BEEN ten good ones, which just seemed silly, so I quickly banged out my list.  But there are so many more movies, I know you guys will differ!  So I present to you, the poll for your top 10 Superhero movies:

Top 10 Superhero Movies Of All Time

  • The Dark Knight (18%, 12 Votes)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (15%, 10 Votes)
  • The Avengers (14%, 9 Votes)
  • X-Men: First Class (6%, 4 Votes)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man (6%, 4 Votes)
  • The Incredibles (5%, 3 Votes)
  • Iron Man (5%, 3 Votes)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (5%, 3 Votes)
  • Batman Begins (3%, 2 Votes)
  • X-Men (3%, 2 Votes)
  • X2: X-Men United (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Iron Man 2 (3%, 2 Votes)
  • The Crow (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Hellboy (2%, 1 Votes)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Batman (Burton) (2%, 1 Votes)
  • The Watchmen (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Kick-Ass (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Superman (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Mystery Men (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Judge Dredd (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jonah Hex (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Blade 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Spider-Man (Raimi) (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Batman Returns (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Spawn (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Spider-Man 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Hancock (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Blade (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Fantastic Four (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Blade: Trinity (0%, 0 Votes)
  • The Incredible Hulk (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Thor (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Superman Returns (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Green Lantern (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Superman 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Spider-Man 3 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • The Spirit (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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A few notes…this is semi-complete as I left off some of the lesser-known options (and of course ones I didn’t think of).  If you are missing a top choice, let me know and I can add it, but I think I’ve got the ones that will be on most of your lists.  The choices aren’t ranked in the poll, just put your 10 best (use the comments if you want to post a ranking) and I’ll see which moves get the most votes.

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Featured Media Movies Review

The Dark Knight Rises

Spoilers, in case you still haven’t seen it yet.

I’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises twice now, and my head is still swirling.  After the first time, I agreed with the prevailing sentiment that it was a good finish to the trilogy, but The Dark Knight was better on its own, and left it at that.  But it kept popping up in my mind, making me think over the parts that worked and didn’t work, and I finally decided to see it again yesterday on the spur of the moment.  I might’ve enjoyed it more, then, especially since I was seeing it fresh vicariously through the people sitting behind me.  They’d obviously only seen the previous 2 movies and didn’t know much about Batman outside of that, as every new twist brought forth a gasp or an “oh SHIT” reaction.  I’d grin to myself as I knew one was coming (spoilers:  Bane breaking Batman’s back, Ra’s al Ghul’s “appearance”,  Talia knifing Batman, Bruce Wayne appearing at the end).  I also teared up a bit more, and the replaying of the scene of young Jim Gordon wrapping his coat around little Bruce Wayne slayed me.  The first time, only Alfred at the graves got me that hard.

I really enjoyed the way fear has been used as a theme through the trilogy.  Bruce learns to conquer fear itself and use it against his enemies, but finds that without the fear of dying, you lose the strength that comes from adrenaline, that gives even us normal, non-League of Shadows trained folks the ability to perform amazing feats when our lives depend on it.  It’s an interesting twist, to me, the idea that a crimefighter who is usually outnumbered and outgunned would actually NEED fear.

Unlike some, I loved many of the fan shout-outs (some mentioned above) and would swoon if they could somehow convince DC/WB/whoever to make a Batman Beyond-ish movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a new Batman, and Bruce Wayne in a mentor role.  But that’ll never happen, no matter how well they set it up.  Does anyone know if JGL can do a raspy voice?

Hey, Catwoman.  I’m surprised I got this far without mentioning her.  I thought Anne Hathaway did a fine job, and the counterpoint of someone trying to escape the coming danger versus someone who runs headlong into it (after she pushes his buttons with the heist) was quite interesting.

Let’s discuss this, guys.  I feel like I have a lot of thoughts just below the surface, waiting to come out.

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Media

Reboots? Remakes? It’s all good

I know most of us have made fun of, or lamented, the various forms of media and their obsession with making new forms of the same story over and over.  Whether it’s yet another adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, or DC Comics pushing the reset button on darn near their whole continuity, or a carefully constructed Biblical allegory, all of this has happened before (and all of this will happen again).  But it shouldn’t be a bad thing!

The fact that a new version of something is made does not damage any previous expression of it…unless YOU let it.  Author Daniel Abraham, when commenting on this subject, uses Batman (and especially the Joker) in his examples.  Does the Adam West/Cesar Romero 60s camp somehow invalidate the darker/’grittier’ portrayals in the Nolan movies?  Does Peter Jackson remaking King Kong (again) mean that Fay Wray was never taken to the top of the Empire State Building?  If you want to get upset at the latest remake (say, Footloose or Dirty Dancing), wait at least until you know if the movie or show or book is actually BAD.  Why miss Batman Begins or The Dark Knight, because of what Joel Schumacher did in his movies?  So the next time you hear about yet another reboot of a favorite movie, try and keep an open mind about it.  You could be pleasantly surprised.  And if it sucks, there’s plenty of time to get angry.  Just don’t start there.

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Featured Review

Rules and Guidelines for Watching Comic Book Movies

Some people just don’t ‘get’ comic book movies.  Critics, or more critical moviegoers at least, analyze the movies as if they are watching Citizen Kane, fretting over characterization and plumbing for deep meaning.  On the other hand, you have the comic book fanboys, who examine every teaser frame by frame, looking for inconsistencies in every facet of a comic book character’s on-screen interpretation.  If they complain about the wrong boots, or you catch them zooming in on Thor’s chest (but not a shirtless scene), or they start a Tumblr complaining about the shade of red on Magneto’s uniform, you’ve found a fanboy.

Neither one has a good time at your typical comic book movie, though.  The ‘critics’ (and I don’t just mean the ones that write for newspapers) are perpetually disappointed that Wolverine speaks in trailer-friendly quips and that his claws and hair are the most recognizable aspects of his character.  The fanboy complains that Wolvie is too tall, the hair isn’t big enough, the claws are the wrong shape, whatever.  The costume is too shiny, the collar is too tall, the cape is too short, he’d never say THAT, she’s WHOSE sister, why did they use THAT logo??

This is not to say that every comic book geek is like this, far from it.  Only the vocal minority that takes to the tubes as soon as the first teasers and trailers and stills and concept art leak out at AICN or wherever.  The at least the high-minded critics have to wait until the movie is able to be reviewed to annoy you.  Anyway, I thought I’d give some tips on movie watching for comic book adaptations, to keep things fun.

  • Changes are OK.  This is probably the biggest hurdle with adaptations, especially of comic books – plot points will change, costumes might be different.  THIS IS GOOD.  I’d hate to see something that is a line by line rehash of something I had read.  It’s a different medium, so of course things will be different.  Embrace it!
  • Temper your expectations.  I think a couple of fantastic comic book movies have unfairly raised expectations for the rest.  Most of these movies are going to land somewhere between Elektra and The Dark Knight on the spectrum of bad/good.  You can hope for better, but if a particular movie falls just short, it’s OK.
  • Do not excuse bad direction or acting.  On the other hand, these movies are attracting big names for stars and directors, so individual performances should be decent.  I’m looking at you, Brett Ratner.  I twitched at just about everything Magneto said in The Last Stand, seemed like Ratner had no feel for the character.  It’s not his script, but, standing on the set, you have to know a line isn’t working.  Or that there’s a scene where saying nothing is better.
  • Enjoy the good parts.  Even if a comic book movie is not the greatest, there might still be parts that are good.  They usually have a little bit of everything, some humor, plenty of action, and if you are lucky, some real emotion.  If one part falls flat, sigh and wait for the next fight scene.  That’s the only way The Phantom Menace is watchable for me, just watching the Jedi fights.

Do you have any other tips?  Disagree? Amazon Link, thanks for the support!

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Media

Why…so…SERIOUS?

As you might guess from the title, I saw The Dark Knight. I managed to stay remarkably spoiler-free beforehand, so there were some twists I was NOT expecting. Great movie, but I’ll keep the real details for after the jump (to help keep others unspoiled)…