Tag Archives: Bruce Osborne

Man of Steel Review

18 Jun

Man of Steel

I honestly don’t know where to begin with my review of “Man of Steel.” There is so much buzz and expectation for this film that it’s hard to pin down a suitable talking point to start off with. Critics have been lukewarm to the newest Superman affair while they practically praised “Superman Returns” even though it was a one hundred fifty minute bore fest where not a damn thing happened. But I feel that talking about how other people feel about movies might undermine my own review. It’s just that the discussion around MoS, mostly dominated by people who didn’t like it, can be really infuriating. Especially when you consider how genuinely awesome it is.

What I probably liked the most about “Man of Steel” was its pacing. It covers a great deal, but does so at a breakneck speed and almost never wastes our time or assumes that we’re stupid. The movie is able to cover emotional and abstract concepts without dunking us in a hefty amount of muck. The script is able to move from plot point to plot point without being confusing or boring. Superman’s origins are shown to us mostly in flashbacks when the information is actually relevant. I felt that method allowed the movie to grow the character of Superman at a better pace instead of just cramming everything into the first half hour. My only drawback to the pacing is that it skips over some things that I felt might have been important. For example there is no scene that shows Clark actually leaving home to start his journey to discover himself. Sure we get the emotional motivation of why, but the point where he actually makes the decision is noticeably absent.

Man of Steel Screenshot

And to be completely honest with my review, I thought director Zack Snyder might screw the pooch here. I thought “300” and “Watchmen” were decent adaptations, but public reaction to them was overblown. And after the German porn level mess that was “Sucker Punch,” my faith in the final product began to wane. But deep down, I knew that if Snyder got a good script, he would make a good movie. Much like what happened with the “Dawn of the Dead” remake. And that is exactly what occurred here. David Goyer has taken his experience with the Batman movies and crafted a script with depth, emotion, and brains. The script isn’t genius level smart, but it actually knows what it is doing. But, to sight one problem, Superman does come to the rescue at the last second one too many times. But to be fair, that’s kind of what Superman does.

The script can only take you so far though, but thankfully the strong cast and directing pick up the rest of the slack. The cast is downright brilliant with almost everyone fitting into their roles perfectly. Henry Cavill, despite having the disability of being British, does a great job as Superman with the ability to convey emotion without much dialogue and performs admirably in the action sequences. Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, and Russell Crowe all have a strong understanding of their characters and don’t fall into any clichéd archetypes. The only real problem I had with the cast was Antje Traue as Zod’s Sub-Commander Faora. There is nothing really wrong with her performance as an actress, but her character is extremely underdeveloped and has the worst lines of the movie. But I’ll give her a pass because she is really hot in a German dominatrix who likes to cosplay as Evil-Lyn kind of way. However no mention of the cast can go without talking about Michael Shannon’s performance as General Zod. It is hands down the most impressive thing I’ve seen in comic book movies since Heath Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Shannon is compelling, frightening, and engaging with his motivations without being overly sympathetic. It’s like watching Captain Ahab on steroids.General Zod A great deal of skill went into Zod’s character because Superman is only as good as the villain he fights. And in this case, it makes Superman pretty damn awesome.

And for the directing all I can really say is that Zack Snyder impresses. He thankfully avoids many of the clichéd matrixesque techniques we’ve seen in his past works in favor of methods more contemporary. My only real problem with his directing is that, aside from the shaky cam home video approach to some of the scenes, Snyder seemed to play it safe. After years of criticism, and the groan kick he took after “Sucker Punch,” Snyder didn’t seem to have the daring to experiment. Granted experiments can fail, and maybe he considered this movie to be too important to his career to play it fast and loose. But despite that, “Man of Steel” is still a beautiful movie to behold. With brilliant character and setting design, this film ended up visually stunning and a treat to look at. The action sequences used a little too much CGI for my tastes, but I suppose given the subject matter it couldn’t have been helped. Plus the military’s attack on the Kryptonian ship felt a little ID4ish, except it didn’t have chunks of retard flying everywhere. And speaking of the military, I liked how they took a proactive role in the movie instead of just sitting back to let Superman handle everything. It’s just one of those smart decisions that grounds the movie and keeps us from feeling we’re watching some kind of zany parallel world. The movie also has little touches to detail that shows that Snyder really does have a flare for the art. Seeing LexCorp in the background during the final fight with Zod was nice, and several other smart touches enhanced my viewing of the film. There are a few shots that were sacrificed in the name of crap 3D, but it’s barely noticeably. Just do what I did and spend the time rolling your eyes.

Man of Steel Screenshots

There are those who might be tempted to compare this film to the Richard Donner classic and its utterly inferior sequels. But to those people, I say pay someone five bucks to hit you with a bullwhip. The 1978 “Superman” was a great film in its own right, but that was thirty-five years ago. It’s just unfair to compare the two. If you’re going to compare comic book movies, I would suggest you compare it to “The Avengers.” And it is in this comparison that will probably decide if you like “Man of Steel” or not. Avengers was a very fun movie, but ultimately not a very good one. The musical score was horrible, there was only one good camera shot in the entire movie (the shot after where Hulk transforms at the final battle and the camera circles around the Avengers), and the script didn’t even have twenty percent of the amount of wit and characterization I expected from Mr. Joss Whedon. Still, the movie was a lot of fun and had much going for it despite its gaping flaws. On the other hand, “Man of Steel” is grim, lacks humor most of the way through, and can get very dark at times. If you thought Avengers was the end all and be all of comic book movies, then Steel might be too much of a punch to the gut for you. But don’t get me wrong, this movie is still Superman. We still get all the powers, the world changing decisions he is forced to make, and even a few Jesus metaphors. It’s just darker, closer to the ground, and harder on your senses for those who like their movies all soft and warm. And people who are only familiar with movie Superman and not comic book Superman might take issue with it as well, but personally I felt this new direction was bold. “Man of Steel” does have a few problems with it, but nothing that can’t be overlooked except maybe by the most joyless of people. Those flaws do keep the movie from reaching true greatness, but this might be as close as we’re going to get to a superb modern Superman movie. At least until they put Superman up against Darkseid. But I’m not going to hold my breath for that one.

4

Mom's Basement Movie Article about Man of Steel by Bruce Osborne

Also, in a shameless plug to myself, check out Bruce Osborne on Facebook. I post/link all my stuff there, including chapters on a book I’m working on. Feel free to hit the ‘Like’ button as if you’re an addict.

I also write publish works of fiction on my Bruce Osborne Blog. Feel free to read, follow, or even hate my stuff. I don’t care if people like it, only that they read it.

There are too many movies for me to review in full, so I created a twitter account to give brief opinions on the many movies I view. If you wish to read my smart ass remarks, follow M.O.V.I.E. Reviewer @MutantOpossum.

Jubilee is Sooo Cool

8 Jun

X-men #1

X-men #1

I wasn’t actually going to read this new X-men comic for a variety of reasons. Mostly because I try to limit my comic intake and the amount of money I spend on said comics. But I recently dumped a few DC comics, and figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least check out this first issue. And I’m glad I did. Brian Wood is virtually unknown to me and his bibliography is a long list of obscure titles that have passed under my radar. But I will say he has written a rather impressive first issue. Not Hickman or Snyder good, but much better than I was expecting. His characters are distinct and interesting, the plot remains exciting without having to fall back on old comic book formulas, and he formed an all female team without a single panel being sexist or unintentionally belittling. This comic just broadcasts good writing. Olivier Coipel also brings an interesting artistic style to the comic. The writing was good, but I doubt I wouldn’t have liked it as much as I did if the art also didn’t properly display the characters and their actions. First issues rarely impress me this much, even if they are written and drawn by people I totally fanboy over. The writing and art of this comic is solid and every mutant fan should give it a try. It even made Jubilee interesting, which I thought to be impossible.

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Superman vs. the Elite

5 Jun

Only 9 days to Man of Steel!

Superman vs the Elite

What’s so funny about truth, justice, and the American way? It’s a question writer Joe Kelly proposed us in 2001 in “Action Comics” issue #775. It countered more violent comics by showing us Superman still has relevance in today’s world. That things like honor and morality are not outdated concepts, but rather cherished virtues that we should hold on to. Even in the face of increased violence and cynicism. Over ten years later, this question still has importance as this story is adapted into the animated movie “Superman vs. The Elite.”

SvE pulls off this adaptation quite well with clever writing and a deep plot. Much of it works fairly well as a standalone story and doesn’t have to rely much on the DC continuum. Characters that we are familiar with (i.e. Superman and Lois Lane) are done with a strong amount of loyalty to their comic counterparts. In fact, they would have to be given the nature of the story. The characters that aren’t as common (i.e. The Elite) are introduced with rapid efficiency but are creatively designed and well written. The animation is good, but Superman’s design seems to be inconsistent. Most scenes he comes off as normal, but there are a few moments he looks like his chin is bigger than his chest. Jimmy Olsen also dresses like he is going to a Pearl Jam concert, but his role is so small in this movie that it didn’t really bother me. The only real flaw the movie has is that it doesn’t spend enough time on Superman’s point of view. Sure most people are going into the movie knowing that Superman stands for truth, justice, and the American way. But the movie should act like we don’t already know that. It clearly emphasizes the point that might doesn’t make right, but doesn’t explain why being nice is such a good idea. The movie just assumes we already know. Almost everything here is done very well, but I just felt it could have dived a little deeper into the debate. I highly recommend this movie even though some people might not appreciate a movie that doesn’t keep its mouth shut. But at least this time it’s a movie that has something worth saying.

4

Mom's Basement Movie Article about Superman vs. the Elite by Bruce Osborne

Also, in a shameless plug to myself, check out Bruce Osborne on Facebook. I post/link all my stuff there, including chapters on a book I’m working on. Feel free to hit the ‘Like’ button as if you’re an addict.

I also write publish works of fiction on my Bruce Osborne Blog. Feel free to read, follow, or even hate my stuff. I don’t care if people like it, only that they read it.

There are too many movies for me to review in full, so I created a twitter account to give brief opinions on the many movies I view. If you wish to read my smart ass remarks, follow M.O.V.I.E. Reviewer @MutantOpossum.


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The End of Hal Jordan as We Know It

1 Jun

Green Lantern #20

Green Lantern #20

There are some comic book runs that are truly legendary. Frank Miller’s Daredevil and Peter David’s Incredible Hulk just as a couple examples. Well you can add Geoff Johns’ run on Green Lantern to the list as issue twenty brings his tenure to a close. Since 2005, Johns has been the creative powerhouse behind the return of Hal Jordan and has defined the Lantern universe like no one before him. So much so that I can’t imagine what it is going to be like without him. In my eyes, the Geoff Johns’ vision of Hal Jordan and the universe Johns expanded on will always be how I perceive Green Lantern and the Corps. Johns took what many considered to be an irrelevant portion of the DC universe and made it into a major player just by sheer creative will. It might be hard for older fans to admit, but the last few years we have seen Green Lantern become more important than Superman or Batman. But sadly, every legendary run must come to its end.

Issue twenty is a massive oversized book that rivals a trade paperback of The Walking Dead. And while some of the issue is padded with goodbyes and an unnecessary side story, there is still a great deal to read and take in as everything wraps up. Everything concludes, as it should, with a massive battle where every Lantern corps throws everything they have at the First Lantern. The issue is also able to keep a healthy focus on Hal Jordan to remind us that this story is really all about him. There are some major happenings here and an epic change that I didn’t see coming. Personally, I was thoroughly satisfied by the ending but won’t go too much into it as not to give it away. I’ll just say that if you’ve been following Green Lantern for at least the past few years, then you’ll probably enjoy the hell out of this book.

Green Lantern #20 - Panel

I only have one real complainant. Most of the book feels convenient and rushed. Some of the plot points just seem to conclude on their own without any real explanation to the reader. And Johns could have easily squeezed out another five issues with what was left in this story, but instead crammed everything into one issue to have one last epic battle. But maybe I’m just not used to seeing something important happen on every single page of a comic.

Still, this is an epic conclusion to an epic run. If you’ve been asleep for the past several years, or just new to comics, you’ve missed one of the best runs of recent memory. Green Lantern has been so successful it has taken Johns to the forefront of almost everything important in DC comics. We’ll probably be enjoying his writing for years to come on his major push into Justice League. However, nothing will ever stick out in our minds as much as his work on Green Lantern. It was some of the most creative and profound work ever done with the character. Before, Hal Jordan had a reputation as being the greatest of the Green Lanterns. But now, he might as well be the only Green Lantern.

Mom's Basement Comic Article about Green Lantern by Bruce Osborne

Also, in a shameless plug to myself, check out Bruce Osborne on Facebook. I post/link all my stuff there, including chapters on a book I’m working on. Feel free to hit the ‘Like’ button as if you’re an addict.

I also write publish works of fiction on my Bruce Osborne Blog. Feel free to read, follow, or even hate my stuff. I don’t care if people like it, only that they read it.

There are too many movies for me to review in full, so I created a twitter account to give brief opinions on the many movies I view. If you wish to read my smart ass remarks, follow M.O.V.I.E. Reviewer @MutantOpossum.


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It’s Full of Stars

29 May

Only 16 days to Man of Steel!

The more I see of this film, the more I get excited about it.

Mom's Basement Movie Article about All-Star Superman by Bruce Osborne

All-Star Superman

All-Star Superman

You know what I hate about reading books before I see the movie version? The fact that I usually can’t like the movie as much as I should because I was spoiled by the book. Such is the case with “All-Star Superman.” What we have here is a perfectly fine animated film, but I just couldn’t appreciate it for doing a good job. This is for two reasons. One, as stated above, I read the book first. Because of that, there weren’t any real surprises for me. This film follows the book almost word for word except for some large admissions that were obviously made for time reasons. The strict following of the source material is a strength of the film, but also ends up being a weakness. And this brings me to my second reason. The format of the original book was centered on each issue having its own story with a connecting arc. While this can work in a limit series comic book, it doesn’t translate as well into film. The individual stories come off as padding, and don’t do much to help the story along. If they weren’t trying to be so loyal to the book, a good portion of the content would have ended up on the cutting room floor.

I’m not saying the film is bad, but rather just flawed in its execution. The animation does a good job of bringing Frank Quitely’s artwork to life. The voice acting is managed by a talented cast even though some fanboys will probably complain from the lack of Tim Daly as Superman. It’s also well directed, well written, and a fairly faithful adaptation from one of Grant Morrison’s best works. If you haven’t read the book this film is based on, then you might find yourself having a real good time. Otherwise, you can expect to be disappointed if you go in with the high standards the book sets. Either way it’s worth watching. It’s not bad, but I still didn’t like it as much as I probably should have.

3

Mom's Basement Movie Article about All-Star Superman by Bruce Osborne

Also, in a shameless plug to myself, check out Bruce Osborne on Facebook. I post/link all my stuff there, including chapters on a book I’m working on. Feel free to hit the ‘Like’ button as if you’re an addict.

I also write publish works of fiction on my Bruce Osborne Blog. Feel free to read, follow, or even hate my stuff. I don’t care if people like it, only that they read it.

There are too many movies for me to review in full, so I created a twitter account to give brief opinions on the many movies I view. If you wish to read my smart ass remarks, follow M.O.V.I.E. Reviewer @MutantOpossum.


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There and Back Again… Again

25 May

Hawaii 1

Normally you would see a comic book article this week. But for the past couple weeks I’ve been too busy staring at girls in bikinis like a creeper to read many comics. But since I had a fairly long travel time, I was able to read a few freebies thanks to an app called ComiXology. It’s an app for your phone and/or tablet that allows you to purchase and download a wide array of comics. They also have a number of free comics for download as well. Ninety percent of them are just number one issues to get your beak wet, but I hardly have any right to complain about something free. So here are my thoughts on the free samplings I enjoyed while on vacation.

Mom's Basement Comic Article about Hawaii Vacation by Bruce Osborne

Saga #1

Saga #1

You know what happens when a man swears an oath to never use his weapon again? He’ll end up using his weapon again. There is a one hundred percent guarantee of that. It’s like a universal law of physics or something. But aside from the small bit of obvious foreshadowing, this was a really great comic. It hodgepodges modern and classic literature into something that is ultimately new and very creative. Saga is one of the best first issues I’ve ever read and contains more than enough depth and complexity to build into a super great series. I’ll be sure to get the trade paperback next time I’m in the comic shop.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Infinite Comics

Guardians of the Galaxy - Infinite Comics

There are four of these digital exclusive comics that highlight a character from the guardians’ team. Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, and Groot each get a small side story that loosely ties in the main comic we have to pay money for. The comics themselves have mediocre writing and art, but they do use the idea of digital comics to create a more interesting experience. When you slide a panel, the frames use more of a stop motion animation technique instead of the panel by panel slideshow of a more traditional comic. It shows a creative way to introduce the idea of digital only comics and that they have a place in the future of the industry. So all we need now is a better story and art with a creative multi-issue story.

Fatale #1

CRIM008_cvr

I’m actually ashamed that I haven’t read this comic before. It’s one of those I wanted to wait until the trade paperback came out, but just never got around to. But thanks to the ease of free digital comics, I was able to taste the first chapter. Fatale doesn’t disappoint in any way and Ed Brubaker’s noir style satisfies all of my fanboy needs. It’s fairly a typical Brubaker affair with heavy internal dialogue and deep characterization that feels so human you would swear that you could feel a pulse in the panels. However I should warn you that you shouldn’t read this one unless you’re old enough to be legal for everything except to run for President. Fatale is bloody intense, literally.

Mom's Basement Comic Article about Hawaii Vacation by Bruce Osborne

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