February 23, 2009
Comic Book, Movies/Shows, Reviews
Batman & Robin, Brandon Routh, Bryan Singer, cheesy, Christopher Reeve, Clark Kent, comic, flick, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, kryptionite, Krypton, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, movie, Perry White, Richard Donner, Richard Lester, Richard Pryor, superhero, Superman, Superman Returns, uncle critic, X-Men, ZOD
Superman (1978): Ah the first Superman movie. There exists two cuts of this movie, the one that came out and the Richard Donner cut. I’ve always heard the Richard Donner cut was better and I just recently saw it. It is better but don’t go thinking there’s an amazing difference. There’s basically 3 added scenes that were cut out put back in the movie, no biggie. Richard Donner comes over from The Omen fame to direct this cheesy great film. A lot of people hate this movie today, say it was never good or it hasn’t aged well. Ah maybe they’re right on some counts but I like it. It is kind of cheesy but not only is Superman not an easy movie to make I suspect, this is also 1978, effects weren’t all stellar yet. People can argue that Christopher Reeve was great or terrible here, I think he did a fine job here…but people also praise Marlon Brando in this flick who I think was sub-par. The real gem of this movie no matter how you look at it is Gene Hackman filling the shoes of Lex Luthor, in quite a stellar way. We’ve basically got your run of the mill origin story here with Lex Luthor hating Superman, for oddly enough, no real reason explained. But it all works out, kryptionite is used and an evil plan is thwarted. The only thing about this flick I really hate is the ‘killing’ of Lois Lane, only to be brought back to life by Superman flying around Earth to reverse time…If you can get over that you’ve got a pretty decent superhero movie.
Superman II (1981): As with Superman you’ve got more than one cut of this movie. The main ones are the theater release and once again the Richard Donner cut because Richard was booted out of this movie for very unclear reasons, if you dig you can find the different versions of the story’s why. The big difference here between Superman and Superman II, the two different cuts of the movie are actually different. The Richard Donner cut of this one and the Richard Lester (new director) cut have about a 20 minute time difference and there are key plot points that are slightly different. Its certainly the same movie, just flows very differently. I must say I think I like the Donner cut a little better once again but either copy is still good. We’ve got Christopher Reeve back as Superman and Margot Kidder back as Lois Lane and the great Gene Hackman doing Lex Luthor again. This time however we’ve got the three villains from Krypton doing the main bad guy damage. Remember the Krypton criminals from the start of the first movie? Yeah those guys finally pay off. This also gives us the brilliant “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!” line, that rates up there with Star Trek’s “KKKKKAAAAAHHHHHNNNNNN!!”. This movie however as great as it is, has more things in it that I hate than the first one had. We’ve got Kryptionan powers that never existed, such as telekinesis apparently, Superman can now make some sort of dumb-ass plastic net thing out of his S and has this amazing power to create amnesia when he kisses Lois Lane. Also Lois finds out that Clark is Superman and not only do they end up hooking it up but Superman gives up his powers then mysteriously gets them back. Seems like I hate this movie, I know. But its still great even will all its flaws. You’ve got a big super powered fight at the end, and that really makes up for everything.
Superman III (1983): Ah Superman III, the one everybody loves to hate. (This is of course, because everybody forgets they even made a part IV). Richard Lester jumped back in the director’s chair and we have most of the rest of the cast back, Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in their title roles. We’ve also got Richard Pryor in for this one, which people either love or hate. Oddly enough most people remember this movie as either terrible, or as to the main plot for Office Space (stealing the fractions of cents from the company’s payroll). Lex is missed but he wasn’t in every Superman comic either, now was he? This despite all the hate it gets is actually my favorite of the series. Superman’s just a jerk-hole and it’s amazing. The villain here, we’ll just call him the bootleg Lex because that’s what he is, hires Richard Pryor to mess up the weather because hes a super villain and all, Superman stops this so they start to target him. How do you hurt Superman? Kryptonite. But they don’t have any, so they make some. Problem being 0.57% is unknown so it’s just made up as Tar. This makes the Kryptonite act more like the red kind and causes Superman to not care and turns him into a super jerk, and this is amazing. About 3/4 of the way through the film we get to my favorite part, where Superman gets all drunk, if you can’t enjoy this you have no soul. Well as this movie progresses it does get pretty stupid, Superman fights Clark Kent?? The whole sequence makes little to no sense, either way its been one of my favorite ever sense the first time I saw it when I was a kid. But really when it comes down to it it may be the dumbest thing in the movie so there’s that love/hate relation I have with that scene. I guess the point here being is this is by no means a perfect movie, or even a great one but at the same time it is an awesome one.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987): Now this is the worst movie by far of the Superman series. This is the “Batman & Robin” of Superman if you will, big difference being, Superman IV is worse than Batman & Robin. B&R at least had I donno, maybe 5 minutes of entertainment, where’s this does not. Problem one, written by Christopher Reeve, I got no beef with the guy as an actor but apparently he’s not a writer. Problem two, director Sidney J. Furie, this man has not directed anything worth a damn in his life. Problem three, which I guess can be tied to problem one, the plot – Superman gets a hard-on for world peace. This plot is stupid to say the least, just some hippy propaganda in an attempt to brainwash us into thinking the same. On the plus of this atrocity we’ve at least got some familiar faces back. Of course Christopher Reeve is the alien in the blue suit. Jackie Cooper is back as Perry White, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane and thankfully we’ve got Lex Luthor back played once again by the brilliant Gene Hackman. This movie is so bad it’s almost a parody of a Superman movie. It’s corny and cheesy both in very bad ways. I really don’t think there’s one good thing I can say about this except Gene Hackman being back. Basically I’d say avoid this movie if you can. Its not even really a fun watch, its just bad. Its probably in the bottom 10 comic movies ever made (it may have taken the worst spot if it weren’t for the cycle of crap that was unleashed on the world in the 2000’s).
Superman Returns (2006): A new Superman movie? Come on Bryan Singer don’t fuck this up. You can make a good movie, you did The Usual Suspects, but on the other hand you fucked up X-Men. Well this time it looks like Bryan went middle of the road and made a pretty decent movie. There are things I like and hate about this flick. It was pretty good, and slightly cheesy which I liked because the originals were pretty cheesy. It takes place after part two so its like number three never happened which is pretty fucking stupid, part three rules. But at least its not another remake I guess. Brandon Routh did a pretty Superman, Kate Bosworth did a meh Lois Lane. Speaking of Lois, she had a baby, apparently from Superman, what the fuck is this shit? This almost ruined the movie for me. Lois doesn’t have a kid, and a stupid kid that doesn’t exist with super powers? Fuck this shit, goddammit Bryan what are you doing? For all its faults (fucking baby) this movie does have one stellar shinning ray of awesome hope, the great (my personal favorite actor), Kevin Spacey stealing the movie as Lex Luthor. He’s so good he even puts Gene Hackman’s Lex to shame. The story here is a little odd, Lex finds out that he can make land so he goes and makes an island because, land is money and power. A little wacky but a decent villain scheme. The flick turned out pretty well, I was happy, I look forward to the sequel, hopefully they leave the baby out of the next one.
Get the Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Superman – The Movie/ Superman II/ Superman II – The Richard Donner Cut/ Superman III/ Superman IV – The Quest for Peace/ Superman Returns) from Amazon HERE
February 12, 2009
Comic Book, Movies/Shows, Reviews
Aaron Eckhart, adam west, Alfred, Alicia Silverstone, American Psycho, awesome, Bane, Batgirl, Batman, Batman & Robin, Batman Begins, Batman Forever, Batman Returns, batmania, Batspray, Bruce Wayne, Burgess Meredith, burt ward, campy, Catwoman, cesar romero, Chris O'Donnell, Christian Bale, Christopher Nolan, Christopher Walken, Cillian Murphy, comic, Danny DeVito, Dark Knight, Drew Barrymore, Edward Nygma, flick, Frank Gorshin, George Clooney, Gotham, graphic novel, Harvey Dent, Heath Ledger, Jack Nicolson, Jim Carrey, Joel Schumacher, Joker, Lee Meriwether, Michael Caine, Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Morgan Freeman, movie, movies, Mr. Freeze, Nicole Kidman, Nicolson, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Ra's Al Ghul, revenge, Riddler, Robin, Sandman, Schwarzenegger, serial, sexy, shark, suicide, terrible, Tim Burton, Tim Drake, Tommy Lee Jones, Two-Face, Uma Thurman, Val Kilmer, villains
Batman (1943, serial):
This was a collection of serial shorts made in ’43. They’re definitely dated but a lot of fun, especially if your a Batman fan. Some of the stuff is really ridiculous, but much less then the campy series with Adam West. These serials seem a lot like serial versions of the comics from that time period, pretty wacky but fun. I’d recommend these for a Batman fan but probably not the casual fan.
Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin), Lee Meriwether (Catwoman), Cesar Romero (The Joker), Burgess Meredith (The Penguin), Frank Gorshin (The Riddler)…With this cast it can only be the campy Batman series from the 60’s. But this is so much more because this is the movie version of that gem. The villains team up to destroy all the worlds leaders from a peace summit. And on top of this Batman and Robin have to fight a fucking exploding shark! Luckly Batman has his handy Shark Repellent Batspray. I highly recommend this for anyone that liked the old Batman series or anyone that likes fun.
Now this is one of my favorite comic movies ever made, and still my favorite Batman movie ever made. It’s got Michael Keaton and Tim Burton on top of their game, and the always great Jack Nicolson in an amazing job as the Joker. There’s the telling of both origin stories (a little inconsistency in both stories but close enough) then goes into one of the Joker’s crazy plots, to basically be the Joker and do what he does – be crazy. This also has one of my favorite movie quotes “Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” – that has nothing to do with the actual review, it just rules. Some people bitch about Jack just playing ‘himself’ or the movie not being violent enough. But you know what? Fuck them. There’s a reason Jack Nicholson was chosen to play the Joker and it still stands as the best choice ever, and as for the violence even the great Tim Burton (who wasn’t mr. bigwig back then) had to adhere to standards and practices of big budget movies of the late 80’s. (Late 80’s being the key because they got anal about the rough stuff for a while there which is when this was made). But you’ve got to work with what you can and this turned out quite excellent. I highly recommend this for everyone especially comic and Batman fans.
The Penguin gets screwed by the mayor and vows revenge, meanwhile else were in Gotham a secretary knows too much and is thrown out a window. Once again Tim Burton is back directing, Michael Keaton is still Batman, but we’ve added some awesomeness to the cast. Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman back when she was still sexy, the great Danny DeVito as Penguin and there’s even some of everyone’s favorite strange/creepy/great guy Christopher Walken as the mayor in this one. While not a bad movie, it does have it moments overall I didn’t really enjoy it. I remember I was even disappointed as a kid when I saw this. I’m not sure why, caught somewhere between rushed/forced and possibly half-hearted its not even close to the worst Batman movie made, its certainly not one of the best. There is however a massive penguin army which gets this movie some awesome points.
This movie I have almost a love/hate relationship with. Basically what we’ve got here is more origin stories which seem to be the norm with this series of movies. Once again the origins aren’t spot on but good enough that I can overlook that for now. Two-Face ice’s Tim Drake’s parents, which causes Tim Drake to become Robin. Meanwhile Bruce Wayne fires Edward Nygma which leads him to become the Riddler in a revenge plot. During this plot Riddler finds out Batman’s identity. Gone is Tim Burton and the new guy in is (ugh) Joel Schumacher, this could be a big part of the problem. Also out is Michael Keaton, instead we get the bootleg version Val Kilmer, he did an ok job but he’s no Michael Keaton. In pulling sidekick duty is this Chris O’Donnell jerk, whom I hate to this day because of his poor job in this role. There’s even Nicole Kidman and Drew Barrymore throw in for some eye candy. However the only real redeeming part of this movie is the villains. This time around we’ve got my second favorite Batman villain, Two-Face, played by one of my favorite actors, Tommy Lee Jones. This was stellar. I know a lot of people hated how this was done but I thought it was great. Granted it was a way over the top, super charged version of Two-Face, but it was fun, he killed some people and it was fucking Tommy Lee Jones. One of my favorite Jones roles (most people’s least favorite). Second on the map is the Riddler played by Jim Carrey who was bigger than comedy Jesus at this point in time. Once again this is a over the top version of said character, but then again it is Jim Carrey. I though it fit pretty well, not the best Riddler known to man but it was a quality performance. So basically if they could somehow cut all the fat in this movie and just have Two-Face and Riddler owning Gotham, this movie would rule, as it stands…its ok.
Batman & Robin:
Ok here’s the stinker movie of this series and basically what killed the Batman franchise for 10 years (give or take). Not that this movie is without its moments but its really just not good. I tried to defend it for years but I’ve finally come to terms with its shittyness. The story is pretty generic and still doesn’t make a lot of sense. You’ve got Poison Ivy (Played by Uma Thurman somehow looking not sexy), who’s basically being a pissy crazy woman all about the plants. We’ve got Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) being pissed off about being Mr. Freeze. There’s even Bane in here for about 10 seconds…Yeah sounds pretty shitty doesn’t it? But wait, there’s more! We’ve got a new Batman once again, George Clooney trying to climb up the ladder to get someone to notice him as Mr. Wayne. Once again not a bad job by him, but not that great either. He played a much better Bruce Wayne than a Batman but the movie’s not called ‘Bruce Wayne & Robin’. That dick stain Chris O’Donnell is crapping up the role of Robin again. However there is a bit of light here we’re introduced to Batgirl is this movie brought to us by Alicia Silverstone. Not a stellar performance, but it was good and she looks good in a skintight Batgirl suit. No surprised on this sorry excuse for a comic movie There’s Joel Schumacher at the wheel directing this train wreck again, that explains a lot. I think this movie pretty much proves that a movie can’t get by on just a few big names, there’s got to be a decent movie to start with. Oh and as I recall there’s some sort of sky surfing scene in here somewhere too…
Eight years after ‘Batman & Robin’ Christopher Nolan comes out of almost nowhere with a reboot of the Batman films breathing life into them again. It’s not too much of a surprise seeing as how so far all of his movies have been pretty awesome, but a Batman movie was pretty unexpected. Reboot of the series however means another retelling of the origin story, which leads to one of my only gripes with the movie. Although cool, I had no idea what was going on the first 10 minutes of the movie. I walk into a Batman movie and I see mud-wrestling, luckily it all worked out. Everyone’s favorite American Psycho, Christian Bale is in the batsuit this time. Unforchinatly not wielding a chainsaw and talking about music. Bale does a damn good job in this movie, good choice here. We’ve also got the awesome Michael Caine as Alfred, and the also awesome Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox a Wayne employee who basically becomes Batman’s gadget dealer. Villains come in as Ra’s Al Ghul in a couple forms and Cillian Murphy appearing as the Sandman. Excellent movie to kick off the new Batman series, definitely in the top group as far as Bat flicks go.
Christopher Nolan is back with a sequel, and one hell of a sequel. I’ve got a little resentment towards this movie but I still like it a lot. So far this is my second favorite Batman flick to date. There’s kind of a lot going on here. You’ve got the Joker introcuded played by Heath Ledger (I’ll come back to this), being the Joker, just fucking crazy. Meanwhile you’ve got Harvey Dent (played excellently by Aaron Eckhart) trying to clean up Gotham until his woman gets killed and he gets charged, then Two-Face comes out (with goddamn fucking awesome stellar effects). Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman are all back doing bang up jobs in their previous roles. (with the exception of Batman’s ridiculously low voice, this was literally laughable) We even get a cameo of Cillian Murphy back as the Scarecrow for a minute (or less). Now my big beef with this movie isn’t even with the movie, this is totally an editorial rant. Heath Ledger. The man was a good Joker (no Jack Nicholson, but who is) But most of the popularity of this movie came from Ledger committing suicide before the flick came out. Not only that it got a bunch of bandwagon fans jumping on and every goth kid within a two billion mile radius suddenly thinking he’s Heath Ledger’s Joker. This was not the comic Joker in the movie, the performance was good but the makeup was god awful, had nothing to do with the Joker really, just made him look like a jack-off. So because he OD’d you’ve suddenly got everyone who wouldn’t give a fuck about the movie before suddenly loving it, everyone praising his performance as the best thing ever, and a bunch of jerk-offs dressing up like this poor excuse for a Joker. I’m done here before I anger more, go see the movie but chill the fuck out.
Get Batman – The Complete 1943 Movie Serial Collection from Amazon HERE
Get Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology, 1989-1997 (Batman / Batman Returns / Batman Forever / Batman & Robin) from Amazon HERE
Get Batman Begins from Amazon HERE
Get The Dark Knight from Amazon HERE