Tag Archives: superman

Man of Steel: the Grumpy Fanboy review

15 Jun

Man of Steel is thrilling, audacious and sometimes even touching. But it’s too damn loud for its own good. 

Henry Cavill as Superman

Man of Steel is the re-telling of the origin of Superman by director Zach Snyder (300, Watchmen). It reboots the Superman franchise with a new hero played by the impeccably-cast Henry Cavill (The Tudors) and a grittier tone, possibly one that sets up a series leading to a Justice League movie. Man of Steel is filled with the impressive cinematography and special effects one would expect from a superhero-genre film.

That’s not to say Man of Steel isn’t without its tender moments. The flashback scenes between Clark and his foster parents Jonathan and Martha Kent (played by Kevin Costner and the eternally-beautiful Diane Lane) are genuinely touching. Cavill also convincingly portrays the tragically lonely but gentle alien trying to find his place in the world. But ultimately, this film suffers from being too imbalanced, toggling awkwardly between otherwise well performed character-development scenes and the obligatory action sequences of a ginormous summer blockbuster.

Despite its intense buildup, action and moving origin story (the scenes with the Kents were by far my favorite moments), I found myself looking at my watch midway through the film. Characters talked about their motivations rather than acting them out. Supporting cast members ate up large amounts of screen time without moving the story forward. And after seeing it for the third time, even watching an invulnerable Kryptonian being punched through entire office blocks gets old really fast.

Superman’s ability to fly, the feat that captivated audiences’ imaginations when the character debuted on the big screen in Richard Donner’s 1978 film, is relegated to motion blur and sonic booms. It’s hard to feel a sense of awe and majesty when Superman simply bends his knees and disappears from view in a split second.

This is a very loud movie. Its action sequences are bombastic to the point of distraction and feel unnecessarily extended. It’s as if either the studio or Snyder himself was under constant pressure to outdo last year’s superhero summer blockbuster Marvel’s the Avengers. (That film’s climactic action scene was also an alien invasion in the heart of a major city. Coincidence?) Man of Steel‘s response is simply bigger explosions, more buildings destroyed and people being killed on a disaster movie scale.

In the end, Man of Steel may be a credible addition to Superman lore but it is sadly unrewarding. The arrival of the world’s greatest superhero is no triumph when it happens amidst the deaths of tens of thousands. As the credits roll, you find yourself wanting more. Not more super-powered battle scenes but more character.

I really wanted to see more Clark. And much more heart.

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Top 5 Most Improved Superhero Franchises

5 May

Can you imagine David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury? Yes, it really happened. Be happy Samuel L. Jackson replaced him for the Marvel movie francises.

Super hero franchises don’t always get it right the first time. A number of comic book franchises today flopped miserably in their first forays into television and film. Through some trial and error (Captain America with a plastic shield? A Batman suit with nipples?) , various comic-book movies and television shows have gotten their acts together and delivered incarnations that audiences have finally come to embrace.

See the full list published in Yahoo!

 

Here are clips from the Captain America TV movies:

 

Here’s a clip from that awful Justice League live action pilot:

 

And finally, here’s “The Hoff” as Nick Fury:

Grumpy Fanboy’s DC Comics Secret Identities Quiz

3 Sep

DC Comics recently revealed that, following Bruce Wayne’s return from the dead, Dick Grayson will hang on to the cape & cowl. That means that two characters will get to call themselves the Batman. (The last time this happened was during the aftermath of the Knightfall story arc, when Wayne forcibly reclaimed the Batman mantle from Jean-Paul Valley by beating him to a pulp. This time, it seems the sharing of the Batman name will be on decidedly friendlier terms.)

DC Comics has had a long career of characters sharing hero names. Over the years, names like Green Lantern, the Flash, Green Arrow, Doctor Mid-Nite, Doctor Fate, Wildcat and Starman have been passed down to a younger generation of heroes (usually family members or former sidekicks).

Think you know a lot about the secret identities of DC Comics characters? Take this quiz and find out.

Top 10 Actors Who Played Comic Book Characters

19 Aug

Comic book themes in television and film are a multi-billion dollar industry. Last year, The Dark Knight became one of the highest grossing films in history and one of only six movies to earn more than a billion dollars worldwide. Today, film fans and comic fanboys alike wait breathlessly for the upcoming Thor, Captain America and Avengers films.

It took decades before the public widely accepted these characters’ transition from the page to the big screen. Here are 10 actors whose contributions were invaluable in making comic books a part of mainstream Hollywood.

10. Adam West

Best known as: Batman / Bruce Wayne from the Batman television series (1966-1968)

West was one of the pioneers in bringing the super-hero to life, albeit, with a more tongue-in-cheek flavor. While the Batman series can be credited (or blamed) for placing super-heroes in the realm of campy one-liners and gimmicks, it also brought them out of kids’ bedrooms and into our living rooms.

9. Hugh Jackman

Best known as: Wolverine / Logan from X-Men (2000)

X-Men led the pack of Hollywood blockbusters that dominated the last decade and its success was largely thanks to Jackman’s ground-breaking performance. Comic book fanboys are a tough crowd and Wolverine is one of their most revered icons. You can’t deny their acceptance of Jackman as Logan was no mean feat.

8. Mickey Rourke

Best known as: Marv from Sin City (2005)

The success of Sin City set a darker, grittier tone for comic book-based movies. Rourke’s was one of the rare performances when you completely forget you’re watching an actor and believe instead that Marv has come to life.

7. Julie Newmar

Best known as: Catwoman from the Batman television series (1966-1967)

Catwoman demonstrated how on-screen comic book characters can deliver raw sex appeal. Although two other actresses (Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt) shared the role of Catwoman in the Batman series, no one else defined modern “sexy” or filled a catsuit quite like Newmar.

6. Kevin Conroy

Best known as: the voice of Batman / Bruce Wayne from the Batman animated series (1992-1995)

The animated Batman is often held as the best portrayal of the dark knight detective in any medium. Conroy continues to personify Batman from the landmark original animated series through to the Superman (1996-2000), Justice League (2001-2006) and a number of animated films and video games that followed. (I continue to wonder how much Christopher Nolan’s films would improve if they dubbed over Christian Bale’s contrived raspy voice with Conroy’s.) Kevin Conroy is the voice of the Batman.

5. Bruce Lee

Best known as: Kato from the Green Hornet television series (1966)

Lee fired the imaginations of a generation by demonstrating how good a super-hero inspired action sequence could look onscreen. Quick fists and high kicks versus gun-toting goons never looked so damned good. Lee’s smoldering performance as Kato, both masked and unmasked, set him on the path to international superstardom. (Editor’s Note: a purist might argue that the Green Hornet was originally a radio serial, not a comic book, character. Yeah, yeah, smart ass! Lee plays an important enough role for me to bend the rules.)

4. Marlon Brando

Best known as: Jor-El from Superman (1978)

Having an actor of the caliber of Marlon Brando on Superman brought instant credibility to the genre. Brando’s performance was so powerful and unforgettable that they couldn’t make Superman Returns (2006) nearly 30 years later without somehow bringing him back.

3. Lynda Carter

Best known as: Wonder Woman / Diana Prince from the Wonder Woman television series (1975)

No one else filled a costume (or my boyhood dreams) like Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. Hers remains one of the rare instances where it’s difficult to separate the character from the actor who played her. There is yet to be a modern Wonder Woman TV or film production, though there have been a number of attempts. Could it be because no one else could ever hope to equal Carter’s performance?

2. Robert Downey, Jr.

Best known as: Iron Man / Tony Stark from Iron Man (2008)

Downey delivered one of the performances most beloved by comic book fans and non-fans alike by making the role of Tony Stark his own. Iron Man redefined comic book film-making and cemented Marvel’s dominance of the genre. Yes, Robert. You are Iron Man.

1. Christopher Reeve

Best known as: Superman / Clark Kent from Superman (1978)

No one else made us believe so convincingly that a man could fly. ‘Nuff said.

New Trailer from DC Universe Online

18 Aug

The folks at DC Universe online unveiled today its latest trailer for DC Universe Online. Unlike the six-minute trailer shown at Comic Con 2010, which was a fully rendered cinematic, this latest trailer appears to consist entirely of in-game footage. And it looks great!