Sunday, March 27, 2016

Batman v Superman: Trailer For Justice

March 25th, the day legends collide on the big screen. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is one of the most highly anticipated and hyped up films of 2016, and one could go as far to say the past 5 years. It seems like they have the perfect formula for an amazing movie, take 2 of the biggest superheros ever created, and pit them against each other in a fight most fans would only be able to see in a comic book. This has never been done before on the big screen. Now that the movie is out, I've seen it, and I'm about to try and write a review with as few spoilers as possible. I'm not going to reveal anything major, but if you want to go in with a clear mind, this was your warning.

I bet you can't guess how BvS starts, that's right, with the death of Batman's parents. Right from the get-go this movie is obviously picking up a monumental task. How do you establish Batman into this film universe with Superman, and also establish Wonder Woman later on, the third major player in this movie. After the flashback of Batman's parents murder, it flashes forward to the climax of the previous Superman movie; Man of Steel. Only this time the scene is viewed from Bruce Wayne's (Ben Affleck) perspective. Bruce views the new "alien" Superman (Henry Cavill) as a dangerous being. He thinks someone with that much power is a very volatile thing, and should be kept in check. This sets the stage for the next 2 and a half hours as Batman prepares to go toe-to-toe with Superman, fight Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), team up with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), introduce The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and fight Doomsday and save the world. Yes in 2 and a half hours, all that happens, and then some, the issue here is clear.

So with that brief plot synopsis, you can see why this movie might be getting some slightly negative reviews from critics. Director Zack Snyder bites off far more than he can chew for one movie. He gets a lot of things right, and a lot of things wrong, let's start with what he got right.

Batman, everything Batman. This is one of the few times I will admit I was wrong. I pissed and moaned when the decision to cast Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but this is honestly the best on-screen adaptation of the character. I can already hear people saying "But wait Chris, Christian Bale was the best on-screen Batman in the Dark Knight trilogy." No he wasn't and here's why I will argue for "Batfleck". This is finally the Batman right out of the comic books, he can have crazy gadgets, an outlandish Batmobile and Batwing jet, he can fight alongside superhumans and still be a major player in the fight. These are all things that were never truly grasped in previous Batman films, and Snyder really gets it right, as well as Ben Affleck with his acting. They also did a fantastic job introducing the rest of the future "Justice League" while not making them the focus of the film. No spoilers, but they all do have a brief cameo, minus Green Lantern. Wonder Woman was also a stand-out. It's great to see the character finally on the big screen, it's been far too long with too few female superheroes making their debut.

Now onto the bad. This movie, much like Man of Steel before it, fails to get Superman right. Superman is always that campy, feel-good, all American hero. He's not supposed to be this dark and gritty type of hero. This movie continues the trend set by Man of Steel and tries to make Superman something he's not. Another sour note for the film is the "primary antagonist" Lex Luthor. Much like the Ben Affleck casting of Batman, when Jesse Eisenberg was cast as Lex Luthor, many people were left scratching their heads as to why. After seeing the movie, I'm still wondering why the casting was made. Going with the route of a younger Lex, we are given a whiny, millennial genius with a psychotic tendency. He comes across as this pseudo-Joker-Lite that will be completely useless to these films, after the actual Joker is introduced in August's superhero team up film "Suicide Squad" is released. His scenes dragged on because it just wasn't a proper Lex Luthor that this film really deserved. Perhaps my biggest complaint with this film comes from the title itself. You can't title a film "Batman v Superman" and then make the title fight a measly 5 minute shove fest that feels rushed to begin with. The whole fight is basically in the trailers and none of it felt high stakes or anything worthy of a climax. Sure when Doomsday is unleashed and the real final fight begins the third act of the film picks up. At that point though you're most likely getting angsty to leave because you've been sitting for so long, or you've just genuinely lost interest and are just going along for the rest of the ride.

Now the big question is, are the critics right? I would say no. This is not a bad film by a long shot, but at the same time, it's not a great film either. This is a classic popcorn flick, I enjoyed myself while I watched it. Sure I could pick out everything that was wrong with it. But as a comic book fan there was so much on screen to feast on. While some scenes will confuse the average audience member, Comic book aficionados will be in their glory with some of the Easter Eggs hidden throughout. In the end though, this felt like a big 2 and a half hour tease for what's to come in DC Comic's expanded movie universe.  Now that we have one superhero fight out of the way, it's time to get ready for "Captain America: Civil War" in May. Until then, check out "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" in theaters right now!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spider-Man Comes Swinging Back To The Big Screen!

When you think of truly iconic superheroes, the same few frequently come up, Batman, Superman, Captain America and Spider-Man. When it comes to Spider-Man on the big screen though, for reason it always ended up being a struggle. The early 2000's film trilogy, with Tobey Maguire in the starring role, was relatively well received, with Spider-Man 2 frequently being cited as one of the best comic book films ever made, until Spider-Man 3 was made, and that convoluted mess of a film closed off that trilogy for good.

Now this is where things started to get complicated for Spider-Man. In 2008 Marvel studios released Iron Man and the infamous end credits scene of that movie revealed the over-arching plan the studio had, they were going to assemble the Avengers for a major motion picture after introducing them all in their own solo movies. Most people were hopeful that Spider-Man would be included with this, but unfortunately Marvel had sold the movie rights to the Spider-Man character to Sony. They were in charge of that character and they had other plans. This is where The Amazing Spider-Man comes in. It was released a couple months after The Avengers, and met mostly mediocre views, Sony was attempting to establish a sort of Marvel-esque Spider-Man cinematic universe. After the equally mediocre sequel, the whole plan was cancelled.

Fans were outraged at how Sony was handling their favorite wall-crawler. Then came the Marvel announcement that the third Captain America film would be an adaptation of the Civil War storyline from the comics. There was just one issue, Spider-Man was a major player in those comics. It would be next to impossible to adapt this to the big screen without him. Then came the next major announcement which caused fans to rejoice; Sony Entertainment and Marvel Studios reached an agreement to use Spider-Man in their films. It was confirmed that Spider-Man will make his first Marvel film appearance in the Civil War movie.

After months and months of waiting, it wasn't until this past week, in the final few seconds of the new Civil War trailer, that fans got what they had been waiting for, a look at the new Spider-Man.
It was for just a few seconds, but it gave us fans something to dissect and breakdown. It gave us the first look at the route they are going with Spider-Man, Tom Holland is going to be playing Peter Parker, but at the high school level. This separates him from the previous incarnations of the character, as they were more at the college level. This will give us a younger, more immature Spider-Man, something we haven't seen yet.

This reveal was definitely a power play by Marvel. With Batman v Superman coming out in a couple weeks, it's up to Marvel to really market their big Superhero fight film itself. Showing the highly anticipated Spider-Man can help them take attention away from their rival film. It gives the fans something they've been waiting for, and for the casual moviegoer the ending to the trailer can take them by complete surprise and generate that much more hype for the movie. 

I really have to applaud both Marvel and Sony for coming to this agreement and looking towards the greater good of their films and really trying to please the fans. This is a massive move and with how fractured some of Marvels greatest heroes have become on the big screen thanks to different companies owning different characters (looking right at you Fox, hogging the X-Men and Fantastic Four), this gives hope that someday we will be able to go and see Spider-Man fight alongside Hulk, Thor, Captain America and maybe even Wolverine or the Fantastic Four. I'm beyond excited and I can't wait to see Spidey swing his way into the fight between Captain America and Iron Man on May 6th!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Deadpool's Success and The Hollywood Curse

One of the most anticipated movies of 2016 was the February 12th release of Deadpool. While it seems as though it would just end up falling in with the constant onslaught of Superhero movies we're subjected to today, Deadpool had one unique thing going for it, that R rating. 

Clearly, this was a huge gamble by 20th Century Fox, and the numbers don't lie. This movie was a huge success domestically as well as internationally. It was a refreshing take on what seemed like the same cookie cutter set up most super hero movies had been doing recently. Many things contributed to this success, such as Ryan Reynolds, in one what may have been the best superhero casting since Robert Downey Jr. as Iron-Man. It also played extremely close to the character of Deadpool from the comic book pages. After watching the film it felt as if it came right out of the comics, the proper research was done and the film reflected that.

Now what does any of this have to do with a Hollywood curse? Well it seems when something goes right for one film, everyone else will feel the need to replicate it until it's been done too many times before. Immediately after Deadpools explosive opening weekend, it was announced that the anticipated final Wolverine movie featuring Hugh Jackman, would be rated R. Fox has since said they were always intending for an R rating, something that seems a bit too difficult to believe. Before Deadpool, an R rating for a superhero movie seemed like cinema-suicide. How will you be able to market this without the family entertainment angle? Now that the Hollywood executives have seen that an R rated movie can indeed succeed within the genre, they're going to want more.

On top of the Wolverine announcment, it was also just announced that the also, equally anticipated film, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is due out later this month, would be given an R-rated Ultimate Edition on blu-ray. Coincidence? I think not. Deadpool has shown that there is indeed an audience for this type of film and everyone is going to want a cut now. This also brings up the question of "how far is too far?". Look at Batman and Superman, as a comic book fan yes, these characters have some potential for some truly dark stories, especially Batman. But is this what we need on the big screen? I don't think so. Kids idolize Superman and Batman, and if we continue to make these films darker and darker, when will they be able to enjoy them like the rest of us?

With the way Hollywood operates, I think after Deadpool's success we are going to see a plethora of new R-Rated superhero films. For better or worse that's just the way the business works. It does somewhat irritate me because one of the things that made Deadpool so fun and fantastic was that it had no limits to go by, it went in looking for an R rating and they had a lot of fun with the freedom they were given. This is going to have diminishing returns with the more films that try to follow that same formula. For the time being though, go heat up some chimi-changas and if you (somehow) haven't already seen it, go check out Deadpool while it's still in theaters, I can guarantee you will have a blast!

Monday, February 1, 2016

What Is The Super Hero Report?

So here we are, I'd like to welcome you all to my blog, The Super Hero Report. What a fantastic time it is to be a comic book fanatic. In a little over a month we will be getting to see two huge icons, Batman and Superman, duke it out on the big screen. In 12 short days, we get to see the jester of the Marvel Universe, Deadpool, kick some major butt through his feature length movie. But here's where it gets interesting...

That's TWO new superhero movies over the course of two months. And a few months after that we have Captain America: Civil War being released in May, followed by X-Men: Apocalypse a couple weeks later. A few months after that, Suicide Squad makes it's theatrical debut. Marvel is looking to try and release 3 major productions a year, and DC Comics is going to start pumping out movies to play catch-up. Fox is trying to establish a cohesive Cinematic Universe for X-Men, and Sony is rebooting Spider-Man with collaboration from Marvel/Disney.

Is this fad going to remain as strong as it is now? Well the big Hollywood executives sure seem to think so. I will be using this blog to look into the future of this genre of film as it explodes into something bigger than it has ever been. There are plenty of entertainment websites out there that help keep me up to date on these sort of films.

I will use these sites to help me in various ways to help decipher the never ending news flow for these movies. I will be looking at new trailers, I will be covering rumors, I will be comparing movies to their source material, I will be looking back at why some movies were successful, and why others weren't. I really hope that this will in time become a one stop shop for all things superhero movie related, and I am very glad that you have all come to join me on this wild ride. So go make some popcorn, pop in your favorite superhero movie and get ready because with superheroes, the sky is the limit!