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Posts tagged movies

Film Crit Hulk Smash: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY AND THE ART OF CONSTRUCTING JOKES 

I saw Guardians last week at the Ziegfeld theatre in New York. It’s my favorite theatre and (I’m pretty sure) it’s the largest non-IMAX screen in the city. It’s the perfect place to see action movies (it’s the perfect place to see anything, really, but it lends itself to big action movies a little more).

Anyway, after reading Film Crit Hulks review (it’s not really a review, but I don’t have a word for it) I think I like the movie more than when I left the theatre. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Guardians. I’m happy I saw it in theaters and I’ll probably watch it again, but the internet really over hyped this film.

I kept seeing it compared to Star Wars regarding its scope, size, and characters (specifically Rocket and Groot) and that sets a very high bar for me. It’s not Star Wars. But almost nothing is. Heck, even some Star Wars movies aren’t Star Wars. So when I walked out of the theatre I was a little let down when really I shouldn’t have been.

Reading Hulk’s assessment of the story and characters makes me appreciate this movie more than I did after seeing it. And actually makes me want to see it in theaters again.

Why Marvel wants the X-Men to fail 

Great read. 

I’ve been hearing for a while that Marvel was considering canceling all Fantastic Four comics in an attempt to hurt the movie, but I didn’t think Marvel would do this to the X-Men.

And then Vox pointed out this:

The story lines involving the X-Men could be taken as affronts. In 2005, Marvel implemented the “Decimation" storyline, where Scarlet Witch (an Avenger) altered reality and took away powers from over 90 percent of the mutant population. This eventually resulted in the deaths of some mutants, as well as classic mutants like Jubilee — a long-standing member of the X-Men — losing their powers.

I was reading X-Men back then and I would have never thought anything so evil.

Alex Abad-Santos points outs that the X-books are immensely popular, and are currently being used to help promote Guardians of the Galaxy. So Marvel probably won’t be canceling any X-men comics, but they’re certainly not going to make an X-Men cartoon or merchandise that would coincide with any of the new X-men Movies.

And it’s kind of a bummer because First Class and Days of Future Past were both wonderful films. I’ve been a huge fan of the X-Men (I read them from 1993 until 2007) and I’d love to see them make it to the mainstream the way the Avengers have been the past couple of years.

dcu:

While on the phone with Creighton from Nerdology a moment ago, we got into a debate on which was the worse movie, X-Men The Last Stand or Superman Returns. Creighton (a Marvel guy) argued that The Last Stand is worse, but I felt Superman Returns was worse. Since neither of us would budge, we figured we would let you all decide. So…

Which is a worse movie: Superman Returns or X-Men The Last Stand?

A very important question.

Better titles for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Here are a list of better titles for the upcoming Man of Steel sequel:

  • Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Superman / Batman
  • Superman & Batman
  • Man of Steel Returns
  • Return of the Man of Steel
  • Superman: Worlds Finest
  • Superman II
  • Dawn of Justice
  • The Last Son

Because I was under the impression that it was a Superman sequel, not a new Batman movie. I’ve seen “Worlds Finest” thrown around a lot, and the more I see it, the more I really like it.

Taking 5: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - a terrible subtitle for a movie that doesn’t need one

The full title of Batman v Superman was just revealedBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s… it’s not good. Worse, it’s unnecessary. And after thinking about it for a few munutes, I felt like I had to write something. 

Let’s be very clear, I am excited to see Batman v Superman. I think Affleck is a really good choice for Batman and while I don’t really like Snyder’s movies I thought Man of Steel was OK and I’d like to see where he takes the franchise.

I also tend to criticize things that I love and care about. I wouldn’t waste my time otherwise. So let’s fly backwards around the earth a few times and go back to 2011.

2011’s Captain America movie had a subtitle. It was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to receive one, and it’s the only movie in Phase One to have one. The full title, if you forgot, was Captain America: The First Avenger.

I used to read Captain America comics (up until he died in 2007… spoiler). Yes he was an Avenger, the leader of the Avengers for a while, but up until Marvel started making movies he was always second tier. Spider-Man, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, and The Hulk, have always been the top tier for Marvel. They are the most popular, and have been for decades.  As much as I loved Iron Man he was always second tier. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and a hand full of X-men make up Marvel’s second tier.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a powerful second tier of superheroes, but you can’t compare the popularity of Captain America to Spider-Man. Spider-Man is leaps and bounds (pun intended) more popular.

There’s a reason why X-men, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Fantastic Four movies were (licensed and) made before Marvel started making movies on their own. Those were the most popular characters, and therefor the easiest to get made. Unfortunately since Marvel licensed those characters they are unable to bring many of them into the fold of the MCU. So they had to turn to their second tier characters and make them more visible (again this was pretty easy, since their second tier is full of very good characters). 

By the time Captain America was released we had already seen the release of 2 Iron Man films, a Hulk (in the cinematic universe), and Thor. I think those characters are easier sells. Hulk is top tier after all and Iron Man, (well, aside from Robert Downy Jr crushing it,) the character has a dark side and is very human despite being a billionaire, genius, philanthropist. At this point everyone knew an Avengers movie was coming, it had been teased on the backs of four films already. But why would we, as an audience, want to see Captain America? What does a guy fighting Nazi’s have to do with The Avengers?

In this case, the subtitle “The First Avenger" was necessary. It told the audience, who probably only knew Cap on the surface, that his story was important to The Avengers (the movie and the team). It said, “he’s the first Avenger of many upcoming Avengers, and if you don’t see this movie you’re going to be lost.”

It’s a bit of a stretch, but it worked. Captain America was my least favorite of the MCU Phase 1 and I bet you could have seen the rest of Phase 1 and skipped Captain America and been fine. But the subtitle, as bad as it is, was necessary for Marvel to push their second tier hero out to the masses. 

That brings us to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Batman. Superman. They are the two most popular, most recognizable superheroes of all time. DC has already put their names side by side in the title, and they’ve linked their logos together. You know what this movie doesn’t need? A subtitle. And to make things worse, it’s a pretty terrible subtitle.

Granted, I’ve been paying attention so I know this movie will set up/lead into the Justice League movie. And I know DC is shooting them back to back so they’ll release in 2016 and 2017. But a subtitle like Dawn of Justice only works when setting up for something bigger / more popular than the first film.

The Avengers as a team are more popular than Captain America as a hero. But Batman and Superman, on their own, are more popular than the whole of the Justice League. DC doesn’t need the Justice League to sell people on a Batman and/or Superman movie the way Marvel needed The Avengers to sell people on Captain America.

There’s a reason why Batman and Superman are still around and popular after almost 90 years. They have the staying power and adaptability very few pop culture icons have gained. The Justice League may be made up of several heroes, but without Batman or Superman that movie doesn’t get made.

But here we are. A Man of Steel sequel that gives the Dark Knight top billing and a subtitle that weakens the actual title. We’ve got two more years of this, so glad we’re getting the rough stuff out of the way. See you guys at the theatre in 2016.

The title to the new Batman / Superman has been revealed

I think my texts to Bryan from dcu cover my feelings:

The subtitle is as bad as The First Avenger. We get it. It’s setting up the next movie. Also, enough with the ‘V’ or the Versus. it’s Superman and Batman. They’re not enemies. 

Intersteller - full trailer

Oh man. This looks incredible. I. Can’t. Wait.

dcu:

This article was first published in Empire Magazine Issue #2 (August 1989). A great/historic read about one of the most important superhero movies of all time.

A perfect morning read.

REVIEW: Star Wars: Turn To The Dark Side - Episode 3.1 

I wanted to to talk about Star Wars 3.1. At the time I’m writing this it’s still up on the internet  If you have any interest in watching an edit of the prequels, you should do so ASAP. [UPDATE: it’s been pulled] It’s worth mentioning that this cut is loosely based on Topher Grace’s cut of the film that has made the rounds among his friends, but this is not his cut. His film is 1:25 long and this one is 2:47. 

Since Attack of the Clones came out in 2002 I’ve been reading posts on message boards, and in some cases writing them myself, about the benefits of combining Star Wars movies. I thought then, and still think that you can tell the story of The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones in one movie. (The Phantom Menace, for example, comes to a screeching halt in the middle and we’re shown 15 minutes of Nascar. The podrace is the very first thing I would remove if I were to retell that movie.)

While I think you can tell the story in one film, what I don’t think you can do, is take the existing footage and combine it to make one complete film. That point was proven as I watched Turn To The Dark Side.

After a pan down from the stars this edit launches right into the final lightsaber duel at the end of The Phantom Menace. It completely removes the rest of the battle, as if this fight is happening on its own. It’s an ok opening that suggests we’re going to be thrown into a lot of action… unfortunately that isn’t really the case.

That fight scene is the most of Menace that we see. While I know people love to hate on The Phantom Menace there are some useable bits that make the latter part of the film make more sense. The editor tried (and mostly succeeds) in covering the events of The Phantom Menace in the opening crawl.

image

One interesting plot point he changed was that someone was out killing the leaders of star systems. It’s a perfectly fine reason to dispatch two Jedi and allows the film to jump into that duel. Unfortunately without knowing who these two people are, or what they’re doing, there is no weight to Qui-Gon Jinn’s death.

Why should we care about either of these characters during this fight? A lightsaber duel is different than other kinds of fighting in Star Wars. They are made more important as the weight of the story presses down on them. A lightsaber duel effects the characters in ways that a gunfight wouldn’t because the adversaries are so much closer. Luke gets extremely emotional during both fights with Darth Vader. First because he thinks he murdered his father, than because he threatened his sister. It’s never about the fate of the galaxy, Opening on this duel makes it meaningless.

image

After the duel Obi-Wan Kenobi is granted Anakin as his apprentice and we fast forward 10 years (with an ugly “Ten years later” text on screen… more on that later) and we learn that Padme is still concerned about who is out to kill her. Are we to believe that she’s been hunted for 10 years and no one has done anything about it? That the galaxy has been “on the brink of civil war” for that long?

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