A book about superheroes from one of the most iconoclastic of comic book writers, Grant Morrison. To sum it up, Morrison provides an analysis of over 70 years of the superhero mythos whilst at the same time dovetailing the subject matter into some kind of meta-autobiography.
To be honest, I was less than impressed when Marvel Studio first announced its intention to make a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The original concept art that accompanied the press release (above) certainly did not help the cause. The main concern was Rocket Raccoon (an intelligent, anthropomorphic raccoon, who is an expert marksman and master tactician!) and the feeling that if the film-makers got Rocket wrong in making him believable, then that would destroy the movie’s credibility.
Of course, so far Marvel Studios have not failed to deliver with each of its films and in bringing in James Gunn (Slither, Super) to helm the first movie adaptation of Marvel’s outer space characters, it revealed an intention to tap into the director’s distinctive quirky style. And this is clearly evident from the first full trailer which presents a comic tone that works very well. I especially like the way that everyone makes fun of Star-Lord’s name.
And… Rocket looks awesome. Take a look!
Guardians of the Galaxy opens on 1st August. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bastita, Bradley Cooper & Vin Diesel.
I suppose I am a bit late to DC’s New 52 concept which rebooted the company’s entire superhero line but the very idea repulsed me back then, so you will forgive me if I decided not to indulge when it all went down in 2011. The direct-to-video animated movie, Justice League: War, represents the first movie adaptation of the New 52 series (in particular, Justice League) and thus, I thought it would be an appropriate time to give my 2cts worth on this latest reboot.
Most PoP visitors will be aware of my ambivalence towards contemporary superhero comics. But every now and then, a series will appear that promises an intriguing take on the much maligned ‘genre’. Writer Mark Millar is a fairly big shot in the world of superhero comics and the Scot is best known for his work in The Authority and The Ultimates (not to mention Kick-Ass). Artist Frank Quitely has made his name working mainly with Grant Morrison on well-received titles like The New X-Men, All-Star Superman and We3. Last time these well-regarded creators worked together was on the aforementioned The Authority but this time, this creator-owned property gives them both a chance to let loose on the superhero mythos to fairly good effect.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer is here and guess what? The movie looks like Spider-Man 3 – y’know three villains overkill. Mm. Hopefully, it will make more sense than Spider-Man 3 did. Note: that last sequence really looks like a video game. Ugh.
I ain’t gonna sugar coat it – there is no justification for this pointless sequel, except the studio’s blind greed. I loved the first Kick Ass, I found it inventive, invigorating and highly entertaining with Chloe Moretz’s Hit Girl the icing on the proverbial cake.
Everything about this sequel is just wrong – not least the entire cliched sequence where Mindy MacCready (Hit Girl’s alter ego) attempts to lead a normal life and leaves her vigilante lifestyle behind. And when even scenes with Moretz are not able to satisfy, then it’s clear that the movie is in trouble!
There is nothing remotely interesting about the plot – predictable and unimaginative – it plods along at a didactic pace that threatened to induce sleep once or twice. Even Jim Carrey’s Captain Stars and Stripes is unable to inject any real humour into the proceedings.
By the time, the movie arrives at its inevitable denouement – the big battle between super-heroes and super-villains – one is simply past caring – there is hardly any depth of characterization that would encourage the audience to invest any concern regarding the ultimate fates of the characters.
Gravity (Opens on 3rd October)
Mexican Alfonso Cuaron earned his reputation as a leading cutting edge director with Children of Men, th etrailer for the upcoming Gravity (starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) certainly looks pretty enough but somehow Bullock’s cries for help is difficult to reconcile with a seriously cool flick. I am hoping that there’s more to the movie than the trailer suggests.
Ender’s Game (Opens on 7th November)
Orson Scott Card’s epic tale of gifted children recruited to fight an alien invasion of Earth finally hits the screen with controversy over Card’s anti-gay opinions threatening overshadow the merits of the movie itself. The trailer looks intriguing enough though…
Super-hero movies. Once upon a time the very idea was a joke. The only successful super-hero movies (Batman, Superman) were the exclusion domain of DC. How that has changed! Marvel characters have become immensely popular with movie fans since the first X-Men movie and this was further escalated by Marvel themselves entering the fray with the first Iron Man movie. With The Avengers generating over a billion dollars at the box office, Marvel licensees like SONY and Fox are dead set on holding on to its prized franchises.
In geek movie franchises (scifi, fantasy or superhero), going back to the beginning to re-introduce a iconic character is virtually unavoidable nowadays. In Batman Begins (2005), Christopher Nolan (director/co-screenwriter) and David S Goyer (co-screenwriter) succeeded in re-vitalizing the Dark Knight after the critical failure of Batman & Robin (1997). This success was due to Nolan’s approach to portray Batman as realistically as possible (within the context of a superhero movie) and Nolan and Goyer would bring the franchise to greater heights with Dark Knight (2008) and Dark Knight Rises (2012).
It was therefore natural for Warner Bros and DC Comics to look to Nolan and Goyer to do the same for Superman. By all accounts, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (2006) was a massive flop and Warner Bros was keen to turn it all around for Superman with Man of Steel. Adding director Zack Snyder (300 and Watchmen) to the mix, Nolan and Goyer applied the Dark Knight approach to Superman.
And it works.
With nods to numerous scifi movies of the recent past (Matrix, Independence Day) and a healthy referencing of the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies, Man of Steel is,without doubt, one of the best superhero movies ever made and provides a solid platform for Warner Bros to build up the DC Universe from its foundation.
So many high points – the brilliant cast, the thought-provoking themes, the appropriate flashback sequences, the astounding art direction, the sensational special effects and dynamic film score – but the best part of all was that Snyder, Nolan and Goyer chose not to pander to the comic book audience only but instilled a science-fictional tread that ran right through the well-written plot narrative.
Iron Man 2 was only half a movie, in my humble opinion. The first half was quick-paced and exhilarating but then the wheels came off and the movie came to a tired conclusion. The sequel did well at the box office but one sensed that director Jon Favreau had lost interested in the franchise that he had kickstarted. So when it came to talk about the third Iron Man movie, Favreau passed and Shane Black came onboard.
As regular PoP readers will be aware, I was less than impressed with the disaster that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine – it was simply a bad movie and totally wasted the opportunity to develop one of the most interesting Marvel characters. But of course, due to the movie’s immense success, a sequel was always going to be on the cards. According to reports, the James Mangold-helmed The Wolverine is based on the classic Wolverine mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, which is set in Japan. Looking at the new poster (above), it’s clear that a strong Milleresque vibe has been assimilated to appease and excite comic book fans. To be honest, I have low expectations (I still believe that Hugh Jackman is totally wrong for Wolverine but that’s another story) but it’s wait and see for the time being…
2013 is on the horizon and the movie studios are letting us know that there is much to look forward to next year in terms of scifi and superhero movies. Here are a bunch of new trailers that have caught the eye and captured the imagination.
Well, it’s all over the interweb so it must be true. Disney will release Ant-Man on Nov 5th, 2015. Directed by Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), the movie has been in development hell for the longest time and so this is exciting news indeed! However, considering that this release date is after that of Avengers 2 raises the important question of whether Ant-Man and Wasp will be in the Avengers sequel. I certainly hope so!
I was rather intrigued by the pilot of the Arrow TV series, based on DC Comic’s Green Arrow. It appears that the producers are intent on making the series as grim, gritty and realistic as possible whilst being true to the DC Universe in which Oliver Queen/Green Arrow inhabits. IGN revealed this exclusive first look at one of DC’s favorite villains- Deathstroke – and it’s encouraging to see the character’s mask accurately depicted as well. Very promising!
Batman Begins was – after the risible Batman Forever and Batman & Robin – a shot in the arm for the Batman movie franchise and the superhero film genre. Director Christopher Nolan together with writers Jonathan Nolan and David Goyer presented Batman in a more realistic and darker tone. Batman Begins was a critical and commercial success and paved the way for the even greater things to come.
When I arrived at Lido 5 ten minutes late due to some unnecessary administrative hassle, the film had just begun and whilst I was struggling to find my seat, I missed a scene between a very young Peter Parker and his father Richard. Great start! BUT once I settled down in my seat, the story of awkward, geeky teenager Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) began to unfold before my eyes. Very soon, his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) were introduced, in addition to the gorgeous Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and I bought it lock stock and barrel!!!
With each new trailer of The Dark Knight Rises, director Christopher Nolan has revealed more and more of his epic vision for this final chapter of the Dark Knight trilogy. This final (?) trailer is probably the best yet with enough reveals to send shivers down your spine but still with so much held back to keep one in eager anticipation of the power and glory to come. Certainly all bets are off on whether The Dark Knight Rises will be the best superhero movie ever… was there any doubt??
When I first heard that SONY Pictures had put a stop to developing Spider-Man 4 with director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire and decided instead to reboot the franchise completely with The Amazing Spider-Man I was skeptical about the idea as it had only been a decade since Raimi’s Spider-Man and I thought that it was much too soon (as did many many other geeks).
Super is a low budget indie film that never got the same kind of attention that similar super-hero themed movie Kick-Ass got. The parallels are somewhat superficial – both movies are about ordinary folk who put on costumes to fight crime but they are stand-alone films in their own right. I loved Kick Ass (read my review) and as much as I wanted to like Super (it’s got Ellen Page!), it’s just too much of a narrative and conceptual mess to truly fully enjoy.
With the resounding box office success of The Avengers, the summer blockbuster season has gotten off to the perfect start. To date, the Joss Whedon-helmed superhero movie spectacular has already grossed over US$800 million worldwide and there appears no reason to suppose that it will not surpass the billion dollar mark.
With science-fiction and fantasy themed movies capturing the imagination of the movie-going public, let’s take stock of what is the come in the months ahead and let’s speculate upon how well (or poorly – remember John Carter?) they will be received.
Despite all the hype that has been surrounding The Avengers movie, I had this nagging suspicion that the movie just could not live up to the huge expectations being placed on it. The key issue was whether writer-director Joss Whedon could juggle the four main characters (viz. Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America) and supporting characters (viz. Black Widow, Hawkeye & Nick Fury) and provide a coherent narrative at the same time.
With all the hype surrounding Marvel’s Avengers, it’s easy to forget that Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises opens in July and still remains one of the most hotly-anticipated films of 2012. A new trailer was released a few days ago and as trailers go, there’s not much slam bang action to go around but there are enough hints to suggest what will be transpire in this final installment of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.
Making a superhero movie is a fine balancing act. How to satisfy the comic book geeks without being incomprehensible to the general movie-going public? So far, I think The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and maybe Spider-Man 2, did a grand job in hitting that middle ground, the rest have been either too faithful to the comic book (Watchmen) or not faithful at all (the X-movies).
It’s been a long time since a second tier DC Comics character has been given a feature film adaptation and so much has been riding on this Green Lantern movie for Warners. With the recent successes of the Marvel film adaptations, Warners need a DC comic book movie hit. And despite the critical mauling that this movie has been universally receiving, I will stick out my neck to predict that Green Lantern will be a box office hit.