Man of Steel Is The Superman Movie We Wanted Right?

June 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Man of Steel Is The Superman Movie We Wanted Right? | Man of Steel Review

ZACK SNYDER’S SUPERMAN THROWS PUNCHES!

I had my tickets to see Man of Steel two weeks before the film’s release.  I’ve written many articles about the film and broken down just about every trailer.  The more I saw, the more excited I became.  Could THIS be the Superman movie I’ve always wanted to see?  To say I was pumped would be a gigantic understatement.

When Superman Returns was released, I was incredibly disappointed in the lack of action as well as Lex Luther’s ‘land’ scheme.  That movie focused on Clark Kent and his integration into society but failed to deliver a Superman worthy of the big screen.  Man of Steel is very much the opposite.  This reboot focuses almost entirely on Kal-El and his integration into society.  Would humanity accept a savior from another world?  What would happen if an alien revealed his/herself today?  It’s a fascinating theme that lays the foundation for a Superman movie unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

I’m going to start at the end and work my way backwards.  The final hour of this movie is as big (if not bigger) than the finale of last year’s smash The Avengers.  The destruction caused by Superman and General Zod’s Metropolis death match is gargantuan.  Buildings crumble, roads are shattered and Zack Snyder delivers some of the most exciting action I’ve ever seen on the big screen.  Finally, the Man of Steel is unleashed with a worthy opponent backed by some spectacular visual effects and direction.

When I woke up this morning and gathered my thoughts for this review, all I could think about was the final act.  I can’t wait to see it again but I don’t think I’ll see it in theaters twice.  Why?  Because it took over 2 hours to get to the explosive finale.

Man of Steel Is The Superman Movie We Wanted Right? | Man of Steel Review

THE DARK KNIGHT THIS IS NOT

I think comparing Man of Steel to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy isn’t entirely fair.  True, they share a similar real world approach but there can only be one Dark Knight.  The one glaring difference between the two is the time it takes to establish the hero’s origin.  With Batman Begins, Nolan created an effective and exciting back story while remaining economical with screen time.

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We don’t even see Earth for nearly 30 minutes in Man of Steel.  From there we follow a broken timeline that mixes in important events from Clark’s youth as we follow his journey as an adult.  All the usual Superman moments are included but several scenes felt better suited as deleted scenes on the Blu Ray.

It’s interesting for such a fast paced movie to feel slow.  Time crawls when you can’t wait to see super speed.

Man of Steel Is The Superman Movie We Wanted Right? | Man of Steel Review

Still, it’s hard to fault a movie for providing such detail as they built up the universe’s mythology.  I think my excitement to see Superman in action worked against me as I waited.  Regardless, this movie definitely feels long in addition to actually being long.

I went in to Man of Steel thinking there was no way the film would earn less than 8/10.  When the credits rolled I was blown away by the action but surprisingly found myself considering a 6.  Upon further review, I decided that Man of Steel is a worth a trip to the theater.  It’s worth it because THIS is the best Superman movie I’ve ever seen.  Years ago, I was angry because there wasn’t enough action in Superman Returns.  Many fans were.  People demanded a Superman that threw punches and the talented filmmakers behind this epic delivered exactly what we asked for.

Man of Steel Is The Superman Movie We Wanted Right? | Man of Steel Review

This is a Superman movie filled with iconic moments and massive action set pieces.  It features a truly stellar cast with scene stealing performances by Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon and Amy Adams.  There are slower moments and an incredibly long build up to the enormous finale but in the end, it was entertaining.  A 7/10.

It may not redefine the superhero genre as many hoped but not all movies can be as big as The Avengers or as complex as The Dark Knight.

THIS IS THE SUPERMAN MOVIE I ASKED FOR

An action packed epic where Superman battles a worthy foe and holds nothing back.  Maybe I will catch it again on the big screen after all.

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Larger Than Life Movie Villains Revealed!

May 9, 2013 at 8:19 am

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!

EPIC VILLAINS IN A SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

If I may quote Mission Impossible 2:

“Every search for a hero must begin with something which every hero requires…  A villain.”

We all love great villains.  They are the reason our heroes are called to action in the first place.  Throughout history we have been blessed with iconic and unforgettable villains.  The Wicked Witch of the West, Hannibal Lector, Darth Vader, Auric Goldfinger, Nurse Ratched, The Joker, Norman Bates, Freddy Krueger, Verbal Kint, Biff Tannen, Bill the Butcher, Doc Ock, Tommy DeVito, Alex DeLarge…

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!

Dramas, horror, thrillers, comedies…  Every genre has it’s classics but no group faces more scrutiny that the Summer Blockbusters.  Big franchises, sequels and the unstoppable force known as the comic book movie.

It’s the first question we all ask when a giant blockbuster is announced.  Whether it’s a new franchise or a sequel we all want to know who our favorite heroes will fight next.  How will these villains look?  Sound?  Move?

Fans crave every detail leading up to the movies they cannot wait to see.  I remember staring at this image wondering what Christopher Nolan’s Joker would be like.

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!

The Joker was brilliantly realized by Nolan and wonderfully portrayed by the late Heath Ledger.  However, by the time the movie arrived, we had several trailers, clips and more that took away at least a little of the mystery. Is that a bad thing?  I don’t think so.  We live in a different time.  I suppose the question is…

Can you keep a big villain secret?  Should you?

I wonder how much scrutiny Darth Vader would face if Star Wars was released today.  A world where studios preemptively release images from sets in order to beat the spies to the punch.  Every time a movie shoots an exterior scene, images shot on cell phones pop up online.  We live in an age of social media.  An era where promotion is 24/7 and fans are closer than ever to the development process.

Now, I don’t want to sound like a spoiled brat.  Here I am, discussing my relentless craving for new villain reveals while complaining that we know too much before they are unleashed.  I just appreciate the evolution of the villain reveal.

We may have 4 or 5 trailers for each big blockbuster these days but I could choose to avoid them.  I just don’t.  I simply cannot resist pressing play and envisioning the adventures that await on the silver screen.

There are filmmakers out there who work tirelessly to keep their big projects a secret.  J.J Abrams immediately comes to mind.  When he and his team produced Cloverfield, it nearly broke the internet when they unveiled the mysterious trailer.  What the hell did the Cloverfield monster look like?

Cloverfield awesome monster movie

Personally, it drove me nuts for months.  The director repeated this tactic when he created Super 8. It’s a proven way to generate interest in a film.   Super 8 was actually my favorite movie of 2011.

He’s doing it again with Star Trek Into Darkness.  Who is John Harrison?  Is it really Kahn?  The answers are coming.

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!

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Honestly, I can’t decide which side I’m on.

Do I prefer the shroud of secrecy and the anticipation it ignites?  Or do I want a constant stream of updates and risk burning out before the lights dim?

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

In the last few weeks, we were treated to new trailers that revealed Superman’s enemy Zod and Thor’s next challenge Malekith.  Both look incredible.

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We were also given a glimpse of Jamie Foxx as Electro in next summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2:

Movie Hype: Larger Than Life Villains Revealed!

Would you rather wait to see the villain?

I’m not sure if you can argue one way or another which approach is better.  Secrecy is frustrating but could ramp up the hype to impossible heights.  On the other hand, transparency invites discussion online and the promotion never stops.  There are pros and cons to both.  Sometimes too much secrecy can be seen as a weakness or a lack of faith in the studio.  Sometimes, a villain is revealed and hardcore fans tear it apart in vicious blog posts, tweets and parodies.

Yet sometimes, magic can be captured in the imagination of a film fan’s curiosity.  The same blogs and tweets can also be overwhelmingly positive.  Take Electro for example.  I think he’s going to look awesome on the big screen.  I can’t wait to see what he looks like with added effects.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how or when a villain is revealed.  Whether it’s a year out or opening night, the only thing that really matters is…  The story.

The next generation of heroes and villains are coming.  Which ones will claim their place amongst the greatest of all time?  That’s a search that will never end.

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All Time Best: 2012 Movie Moment

January 11, 2013 at 10:17 am

All Time Best: 2012 Movie Moment

BANE VS BATMAN

“The shadows betray you because they belong to me!”

We waited years for the follow up to 2008’s The Dark Knight and what a follow up it was.  The Dark Knight Rises was a thrilling way to bring Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy to an end.  It was a bitter sweet end as Nolan’s brilliance will never again guide a Batman movie.  It’s a series of epic films that brought us so many incredible moments.  So it’s fitting that my favorite movie moment of 2012 come from The Dark Knight Rises.

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All Time Best: 2012 Movie Moment | Bane vs Batman The Dark Knight Rises

The second that gate slammed behind Batman trapping him in a cage with Bane, I was at the edge of my seat.  It was time for a battle we were promised for years.  Bane vs Batman.  Who would come out on top?  Would Bane break batman’s back?  Could Bruce Wayne rise to the challenge?

It’s my favorite fight in the entire trilogy by far because of the physical threat Bane is to Batman.  He’s trained by the same people and angry.  I’m pretty sure Bane would win in a fight with Ra’s Al Ghul.  Regardless, it was fantastic to watch a fight that Batman could lose.  The suspense of the scene is truly remarkable and the lack of a sound track adds to the phenomenal atmosphere.  Not too mention, Bane’s clever taunting of Bruce Wayne throughout the battle.

My favorite movie moment of 2012.  Bane vs Batman.

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All Time Best: 2012 Movie Moment

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time

September 21, 2012 at 7:29 am

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES REPEAT VIEWING

I loved The Dark Knight Rises.  Many did.  I thought it was a worthy conclusion to The Dark Knight trilogy.  Coming out of the theater I felt like the third installment came close but ultimately did not surpass 2008’s The Dark Knight.  However, I saw that film three times on opening day.  It took a little while to finally see Bane torment Gotham again but I’m happy I did.  It’s an incredibly ambitious tale.  It has it’s flaws but it was so much fun to watch and that’s what summer blockbusters are all about.

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I decided to compile a list of 10 things that stood out watching the film a second time.

Honorable Mention: I want to play through Arkham City again.

10. “So that’s what that feels like.”

A lot of people raved about Anne Hathaway’s performance as Catwoman.  I’m one of them.  I think this is by far the best Catwoman we’ve ever seen on screen.  I laughed when she disappeared on Batman leaving him to ponder how people feel when he disappears on them.  Catwoman added a completely different energy to the series that worked.  I wasn’t a big fan of her up beat music though.  I didn’t think it fit with the rest of Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

9.  A subtle mention of The Joker would have been nice.

There is a novelization out there that claims that The Joker is the sole inmate in Arkham during the events of The Dark Knight Rises.  It also hints that he may have escaped.  Either way it would have been nice to reference where the legendary villain was after The Dark Knight’s credits rolled.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

8. “No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.”

Bane vs The Joker.  Who had the better introduction?  Overall, I think The Joker’s intro was better but Bane wins for sheer brutality.  Tom Hardy’s performance is tremendous as his eyes tell the story of a violent and ruthless man.  I’m so happy they fixed his voice.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

7. I wish Alfred was in it more.

I understand why he doesn’t play a larger role in this film but Michael Caine was brilliant as Alfred throughout the series.  It would have been nice to see him in a couple more scenes.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

6. Bane is ruthless and it’s awesome.

“Search him.  Then I will kill you.”

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be that nameless henchmen who knows there is nothing he can do to escape Bane.  It’s not like he can sulk and apologize to the man.  It’s a terrifying thing to tell someone and that’s what makes Bane a fantastic villain.  Tom Hardy’s delivery here is awesome.  He’s so calm about it.  I loved that scene.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

5. Gordon looks hilarious climbing in and around that truck.

Come on.  Tell me you didn’t find it a bit humorous watching Gordon climbing around that armored truck as it speeds down the road?

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

4. They really never found the Bat parked on that roof?

I wish Batman hid The Bat somewhere else.  I just can’t see people missing it.  I suppose we were just meant to go with it.  Much like Batman suddenly appearing in Gotham after climbing out of The Pit.  If it’s so difficult to get out of the city how is it any easier to get in?  And when did he find time to make an elaborate fiery design of the bat symbol on that bridge.  Again, it’s just a movie, so I went with it.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

3. Bane’s death was WAY to abrupt.

A villain is only as good as his final moments.  The Joker’s final moment was incredible with his maniacal laughter echoing as he dangled above the city he tried so hard to corrupt.  Ra’s Al Ghul’s final moment with his eyes closed was fantastic as well.  Here we don’t even get to see Bane go down at the hands of Batman and it came out of no where.  It’s a shame.  I don’t know if there is a better way for him to go down without hurting the story but I was disappointed.

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

2. “The shadows betray you because they belong to me.”

Bane vs Batman was incredible.  Their first encounter will go down as one of my favorite fight scenes in any movie.  Period.  The reason is because of Bane’s constant taunting.  Exposition has never been so much fun.

“Let’s not stand on ceremony here.  Mr. Wayne.”

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

I remember back when Batman Begins was released and people were complaining about the fights being to frantic and shot with too many closeups.  I didn’t have a problem with them but this fight was so different.

“I am The League of Shadows.”

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

It all leads up to an iconic moment from the comic books in which Bane breaks Batman’s back.  Expertly choreographed fights can only take you so far on the big screen.  Add in incredible characters and you raise the stakes to amazing heights.  Watching Batman fight Bane was worth the wait.

1. Is this the last great Batman movie?

One of the greatest trilogies we’ve ever seen is over now.  This is the last time we will visit Nolan’s remarkable vision of Gotham City and the Caped Crusader.  I loved that the third film was so closely connected to the first.  Everything came full circle.  Batman was meant to inspire others.  Anyone could be Batman.

We will never get a Robin movie staring Joseph Gordon-Levitt but it doesn’t matter.  The Dark Knight’s legend lives on in Gotham.  (How bad ass was that statue by the way? I’ll bet that thing is in Christopher Nolan’s basement right now.)  Even though the ending felt rushed, (which is a compliment considering the film’s epic length.) it was a fitting end to the story.

So the question remains…  Is this the last great Batman movie?

10 Things That Stood Out Watching The Dark Knight Rises A Second Time | Review

Who will rise up and take over the franchise when it inevitably reboots in a few years.  Will we respond to a different set of rules?  What kind of Batman will we see next.  People will line up regardless.  I know I will but it remains to be seen if they will reach and exceed expectations like Nolan’s trilogy has.

Time will tell.  Thankfully, we will have Batman Begins, The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises forever.

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Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite

July 17, 2012 at 7:43 am

Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite | Screenwriting Blog

I was channel surfing the other day and I stopped the second I spotted The Dark Knight. One of my favorite movies of all time.

With The Dark Knight Rises officially released, I was definitely in the mood for Christopher Nolan’s version of The Caped Crusader. Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t watched Batman Begins in a while and so I crawled into bed and put on the DVD.

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I was instantly reminded of two things. First, Christopher Nolan’s brilliant film is still on of the best comic book movies ever made.  Second, it reminded me of a page one rewrite the film inspired way back when it first debuted in theaters.

PRINT YOUR SCREENPLAY.  START OVER.

Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite | Screenwriting Blog

I was in in college studying Broadcasting and an unfinished feature length screenplay was weighing heavily on me.  I started it in high school and it was painfully obvious when I saw all the rookie mistakes.  The characters came across as immature and there was a glaring plot hole in my story.  Yet, I wouldn’t allow myself to write anything new until I finished it.  This caused a problem because I couldn’t find the motivation to work on it.  In those days, it was easier to just go out and have fun then stay home and write.  Procrastination can be a dangerous habit to break.

The story was called Behind Max and it was about a high school basketball star desperate to find the support he needed to go for his dreams.  When I finished the first draft I really rushed to the end and this resulted in a very weak final act.  But really, the entire screenplay needed work.  What I needed was a spark.

That spark was Batman Begins.

Christopher Nolan’s incredible interpretation of Batman taught me a very important lesson. It taught me to step back and look at my own films in different ways.  To open my eyes to new approaches and different directions to take my screenplays.

I distinctly remember humming that unbelievable theme all the way home.  That night, I stayed in, printed out my script and read it start to finish.  I find you resist stopping to rewrite and tweak your script when it’s on paper.

Once I was finished reading the screenplay, I got out my notebook and got to work

What is my story about?  What am I trying to say?  What have I said already?  How can I say it better?

By the end of that night, I had outlined a much better approach to Behind Max and I felt alive.  Things changed for me that day.  Making the choice to go out to the bars was more difficult given the work I desperately wanted to finish at home.

Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite | Screenwriting Blog

Two days after that magical night, I went and saw Batman Begins again and it had the same effect on me.  It was such a unique and realistic take on Batman.  Who knew you didn’t have to have incorporate a high level of cheese just because it’s based on a comic book. What Nolan did was treat the material as if it could be real.  A different approach and one that certainly entertained and inspired me.

After I saw the film a second time, I sat down with my outline and my old script and started from scratch.  It took two weeks to finish the screenplay and I haven’t touched it since.  It was exactly the story I wanted to tell.  It’s still a story I began in high school and thus, suffered from a lack of maturity but I was proud of what I had accomplished.  Proud to be a screenwriter.

Finally, it was time to move onto new projects.  I have Batman Begins to thank for that.

Years later, when the DVD ended, I dug up Behind Max and read it again.  Holding that screenplay always gives me chills.  As I read it, I actually found a couple typos but it doesn’t matter.  Writing that screenplay taught me how much I loved to write.  I’ve faced many challenges since then.  After a few down years, I’m finally writing features again.  It’s fitting that a new Batman movie came along.

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Batman Begins A Screenwriting Rewrite | Screenwriting Blog