Tag Archives: superhero

Wonder Woman Shows Women Can Dominate The Superhero World Just As Well As Any Man

With another summer comes another barrage of superhero movies to fill the summer blockbuster lineups. I have often been openly critical of superhero movies and the saturation to the market. For example, we are on the cusp of the second reboot of Spiderman in the last 15 years. Marvel comics have been largely the comic book company pouring out movie after movie with a small smattering of DC movies trying to get their foothold in the market. 2013’s Man Of Steel was the beginning of DC’s charge at Marvel and the beginning of the eventual Justice League movie. Last year we got a bit of a deeper taste with Bateman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Both movies seemed to just miss with fans and critics, unlike their Marvel counterparts which are adored by fans and have been reviewed in a relatively positive light by critics. Putting all that aside, DC has not been swayed and has continued ahead with their lavish plans and massive schedule of films.

This leads us to their latest effort throwing us into the Amazon world of Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot made her debut of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the aforementioned, Batman Vs. Superman. There has been quite a bit of buzz since then considering everyone knew this was to be the next DC film leading up to Justice League. For many of us, just the mention of Wonder Woman conjures up images of Lynda Carter spinning into her suit and bouncing bullets off her wrist cuffs. These images may soon be replaced with the new ultimate imaging of the character.

Director Patty Jenkins who is best known for directing Charlize Theron in her Oscar-winning performance as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003’s Monster, was given the task to helm the story of the most powerful woman in the galaxy. In the world where feminism is at as big of fever pitch as it has been in many many years, this was a challenging and delicate task that needed a woman’s touch. Jenkins stood up and embraced the challenge with every bit of energy she has, and it shows.

The film she set out to make is the origin story of Wonder Woman and through her first foray into the civilized world. Diana Prince is learning to hone her skills when a World War I pilot, played by Chris Pine, crashes near her tribe and the Great War is soon brought to their village. After a battle ensues and the pilot is saved from the Germans with the aid of her people, soon Diana goes with the pilot into the modern world of 1918 and discovers a much larger sinister force at play behind the war and one who knows of Diana and all her skills. Diana is now set to save the world for the first of many times.

Wonder Woman has been praised by fans, critics and women everywhere as the blockbuster movie that finally shows how much ass women can kick. Not only quickly becoming the film for the feminist this year, but also the movie that may have DC finally one up Marvel depending on the success of Spiderman: Homecoming. Regardless of the final numbers ad outcome, Wonder Woman has shown that DC is still very capable of competing in the superhero movie market. The correct formula seems to have driven Wonder Woman in the right direction and has left fans dying for more from the queen of the amazon.

Captain America: Civil War Continues The Superhero Film Success

imageI have been pretty outspoken on my thoughts about comic book movies and superhero movies in general. I feel the genre is fairly saturated and is leading to a big lack of creativity in the industry. All that said, I still see them and more times than not, I end up enjoying them. I never read comics as a kid and don’t know any of the background stories with the characters and how they interact. I look at them strictly from a movie fan’s viewpoint. I will agree that the depth of story and characters is very well written and thought out. They have amazing universes, the way they intertwine and coexist. One thing that is undeniable is, they are big business and a true cash cow for the studios.

The latest of these films is the latest installment in the Marvel Universe, Captain America: Civil War. The third installment in the Captain America series, ties in with The Avengers, is essentially a new Avengers movie with a few missing members, but adds a couple new members that inevitably would be joining the crew.

When the winter soldier is suspected of a massive bombing on a UN imagehearing about The Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D investigates. While the UN wants to regulate The Avengers and how they are used, this has them divided before the bombing ever happens. Post bombing divides them even further. When Captain America sets out to prove his old friend Bucky’s (the winter soldier’s) innocence, the divide grows deeper and forces harsh opinions, not just among the avengers but amongst fans as well. With Iron Man dead set against bringing Steve Rogers (Captain America) brought in to face justice for helping Bucky, a true war against both sides ensues. New allies are brought in on both sides, Spider-Man joining Iron Mans team and Ant-Man joining Rogers.

While the epic battle that ensues will never match up to the art of the original comic, it will never take away from the entertainment that emulates on the screen. Subdued from the unparalleled battle of the original Avengers, it is no less entertaining in its execution.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2016
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)
Photo Credit: Film Frame
© Marvel 2016

The lines drawn are very difficult ones to choose sides from. This is, no question a commentary on modern situations with wars and what one considers right and wrong amongst political and military views. If there is one thing the superhero genre has done a masterful job at, it is making subtle suggestions on current political crises, and how people view them differently. They have no agenda but they show that each side has legitimate reasons for their views. They also show that no matter how much fighting is done, and possibly necessary fighting, it brings no end to the bigger problem.

It is the social commentary and the legend and story that draws the multitudes to the theater to enjoy these films on the big screen. No matter how many studios complain about profits and losses, there is no denying the amount of revenue that is generated by these films. I wish I could see the times of great new worlds and characters were created just for the screen, like the worlds of the original Star Wars trilogy and Indiana Jones. But I will continue to enjoy the superhero genre, but always hope for something more.

Downey Once Again Flies High In Iron Man 3

iron_man_3_new_poster (2)One of the great turn-around/recovery stories in Hollywood, is that of Robert Downey Jr. A man notorious for his addictions and legal woes has since gone on to be one of the most entertaining and biggest box office draws currently working. His resurrection has been nothing short of spectacular with some great films and performances including an Oscar nomination for his role in the film Tropic Thunder. But the feather in Downey’s cap just might be his bringing to life the comic book superhero, Iron Man and the man in the suit Tony Stark. His role of Stark in 2 Iron Man movies and the Avengers and a cameo as Tony Stark in the incredible Hulk has significantly helped push The Avengers movies forward and make Marvel Studios the leader in superhero movies.

In Iron Man 3 Downey once again dons the iron suit and takes on the quick witted and always charming Tony Stark to take on his latest foe, The Mandarin played by Sir Ben Kingsley. Iron Man 3 takes place directly after the events of The Avengers movies tho that is more or less referenced and has no bearing on the plot or your ability to follow it. With The Mandarin viciously attacking various spots throughout the country he soon directly targets Tony Stark and those b23052e3-1094-3302-8be9-1cef2e1d1ae2whom he cares about including his love Miss Pepper Potts played by Gwyneth Paltrow. After his former body guard and head of Stark Industries security, Happy Hogan is severely injured in one of The Mandarins attacks, Stark calls him out publicly, leading to an attack on his home almost killing him and Miss Potts. He is then sent on a personal mission which leads him to Tennessee where he is alone and without the use of his lab left to repair his suit and try and stop the heinous mad man. With the help of a young boy who remarkably shares Starks love of mechanics and engineering he is once again able to do what it is that Stark does.

This is the first of the three Iron Man films not directed by Jon Favreau and therefore naturally has a different feel to it than the first two. Iron Man 3 is directed by Shane Black who had previously worked with Downey on the mystery/comedy, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and is more well known for his writing such as the Lethal Weapon series. Black brings a tougher more real element to the Iron Man franchise. This element of realism fits well at this point in the franchise because of the events of The Avengers and Tony’s deeper and growing love for Pepper. Dealing with a form of post traumatic stress disorder and the fear of not being able to protect those he cares about is not the side we normally see from a superhero. This is the side of the story that Black brings to Iron Man.

mandarin-iron-man-3Make no mistake the sharp wit and humor of Stark is still a plenty and everything we have come to love about Stark and his alter ego Iron Man is still present in this edition of the series. The action and battle scenes are second to none with spectacular effects and no shortage of explosions to keep everyone enraptured for the whole two hours and twenty minutes. Shane Black and the whole crew aren’t without their surprises as well, within the story and even with their Avengers ties after the credits. One thing is for sure, we know The Avengers 2 is happening but what we don’t know is if this is the end for the Iron Man franchise. With all that said, it is the perfect beginning to the summer blockbuster season.

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Chronicle Is Not All It Could Have Been

With a recent rash of new films using the “found footage” style of film making, Chronicle continues that trend with a superhero/sci-fi twist. The story revolves around three high school students. One who seems to be an outcast with an extremely difficult home life and his cousin who tries to keep him in his life. They soon become connected to a third student in a most unusual way. While Andrew, the outcast, begins filming every moment of his life with a newly acquired hand held camera, they come across a strange happening while attending a party. After discovering a strange underground occurrence they are bestowed with what appears to be superhuman powers.

While the movie continues each character begins to define who they are in a superhero story line. With one emerging as the villain and one the hero, the beginnings of a comic book-esque story starts to develop. Trying to bring a reality  to this style but severely coming up short. When making a faux documentary style movie, the one key to making it believable is that the acting has to be very good and Chronicle falls very short in this department. Along with poor acting is the sub-par special effects, which also becomes key with this style of film. Not unlike a similar style movie a few years ago, the J.J. Abrams abomination, Cloverfield which also suffered from bad acting altho the effects were just fine until the creature appeared on screen.

If you are really in the mood for an off standard superhero type movie you may be better off watch the underrated M. Night Shamaylan movie, Unbreakable. Or if you are a fan of the pseudo documentary style no one has been able to top the original which is The Blair Witch Project.

With Disney channel acting levels and obvious green screen graphics, Chronicle disappoints what could have been a better story had it been in the hands of the right people. Still, it will have it’s appeal to some. Not every movie is perfect and all movies have a redeeming quality somewhere, Chronicle felt to be lacking in too many areas to be able to truly recommend it as a decent movie.