Tag Archives: movie

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.

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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Convention Artists

3 Jun

I’m sure you’ve all heard of various conventions that take place across the country. From Comic Con to Anime Central, there are several different Cons that cover all different areas of geek culture, whether it’s video games, comic books, film, or anime. There is at least one time a year at one location where the fan of a particular media can get together, share their passions, have an amazing time, and then separate until they reconvene one year later. At these conventions, there are a plethora of people showing how much they love their particular area of interest.

Comic Con

The diverse crowd at a convention

Two of the most common people at these conventions would be cosplayers and artists. Cosplayers are people who take time to create a costume that represents a character from a TV show, video game, anime, etc. They then wear these costumes at their convention of choice, typically mobbed by photographers who want to get a picture of the person and the end result of all their efforts. The other type of people, artists, are those who make hand-made merchandise that they sell at the convention, typically in an artist alley where they are all gathered together for ease of navigation. These artists make all sorts of cool items, such as paintings, plushies, prints, magnets, pins, and anything else you can dream up that represents something geeky. However, not all cosplayers and artists are genuine about their craft.

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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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Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Sherlock

23 May

Star Trek Into Darkness

Pop quiz hot shot. What is the most pretentious movie title in the history of cinema that didn’t even come close to living up to its expectations? Answer: “Star Trek Into Darkness.” I was confused as to the title choice when it was first announced, but figured it would make sense once I watched the feature. Now that I have seen J.J. Abrams’ second shot at the Star Trek franchise, I have to say that I am even more confused by the title than before. Darkness, real and metaphorical, isn’t even referenced in this movie. The title just comes off as a hipster’s attempt to market Star Trek. Or it’s just bad writing. Both explanations work.

However the title is probably the smallest problem this movie has. The directing is subpar from what we expect from Abrams, the writing is piss poor, and Zachary Quinto’s yelling of “Khannnn!!” makes William Shatner look like a great actor. Oh, in case you haven’t figured it out by the previous statement, the villain of this movie is Khan Noonien Singh. No spoiler warning for this reveal because it doesn’t deserve one. There was a great deal of misinformation spread around to keep the villain identity a secret, but they weren’t fooling anybody. Well, at least they weren’t fooling me. But bad marketing aside, they don’t make good use of Khan as a character. Sure Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance was hands down the single greatest part of this movie, but the bad writing doesn’t really do anything with it. Khan is inconsistent and his motives are more sympathetic than they should be. I was just never convinced he was the super intelligent threat he was supposed to be.

There are a few good things about this movie, but hardly enough to save it from the rental pile. The performances from all sides were nice. Peter Weller was the most interesting and his character was the only one I didn’t have at least a small problem with. The special effects, in both design and function, are splendid. The inclusion of Klingons was a good touch, but they are still the most under used aspect of the post-reboot Star Trek universe. And the movie has little bits of awesomeness sprinkled about with a better use of humor this time around. But everything good about this movie can’t save it from the overall lackluster emotional impact or the plot holes the size of the Mutara Nebula. Star Trek Into Darkness - Enterprise FallingEven the vengeance dialogue Khan recited in almost every single advertisement was cut out of the movie because it wouldn’t have fit among the lame motives the writers cooked up. Either that or I zoned out for a few minutes during the movie. Considering the continuing lack of interest I developed while watching this film, it’s entirely possible.

But despite all the good and bad this film has to offer, it still can’t surmount one huge problem. “Star Trek Into Darkness” isn’t really a Star Trek film. It is a Star Trek reference film. Instead of using the plot tools of the Trek universe to invent something new, this film has, and more often makes fun of, old Star Trek references. For example there is a part late in the movie with a dead tribble that is being used by McCoy for an experiment. Now, that tribble could have easily been replaced with a rat or a monkey, but a tribble was used for no better reason than because it’s a reference to an old Star Trek episode. It’s one thing for this movie to have a few references here and there for the fanboys, but the film’s script is operating under the belief that if five minutes go by without a senseless mention of pre-Picard Star Trek than you’re not doing it right. This film was created with the desire to please fans with in-jokes and tributes to the classic series instead of depth and characterization. If you take the bait you might actually have fun with this film. But if you’re like me, the only time you’ll truly enjoy yourself is when you realize you were right about the villain being Khan all along.

3

Mom's Basement Comic Article about Star Trek Into Darkness 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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Khannnnnnn Reviewwwww!!!!!

15 May

Star Trek Into Darkness will be unleashed this weekend and I’ll be on a small island far away from the American continent. I’m hoping to view, review, and post something by this time next week but no promises. At the time of this writing I obviously haven’t seen it, but my guess for the villain is still Khan. Hence my retro review is of the first second Star Trek movie.

Mom's Basement Movie Article about Star Trek by Bruce Osborne

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek 2 - The Wrath of Khan

This review of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” is obviously a retrospective one that is written decades after its original release. I point this out because such a fact makes it impossible to write a review as if it came out yesterday. I try to be as objective to a film as possible, but Star Trek is such a huge franchise that it’s almost impossible to review one without comparing it to the others. That being said, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” is the best Star Trek movie ever made. Granted “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” is more relatable and the more likable film, but Khan is the best of the classic Star Trek movies. It succeeds in every aspect of a movie with great writing, acting, and directing. ST2 is brilliantly paced and even twenty years later remains a shining example of great plot structure. The dialogue is similarly masterful with equal amounts of humor and drama to balance things out. The only downside to the great writing is that it practically holds down Herman Melville as they bloodily rip off “Moby Dick.” It is done on purpose, but I can’t help to think of what ST2 would be like without adapting Melville masterwork. The characters and acting also feel like that of a classic novel with strict characterizations. Everyone from Kirk to Khan has a deep fixture to the story despite their rather cheesy origins. And director Nicholas Meyer, one of the smartest people in film, delivers a well constructed narrative and makes good use of the special effects of the time. But what makes ST2 work above all else is the fact that it’s a real story. Not real as in true, but rather a story that explores human thought and motivation. The plot and drama of this film cuts like a knife and forms a great film containing both entertainment and deeper meanings. I could fall back on my Melville argument again and say that it’s unoriginal, but such a thought process is that of a prick. Khan adapts the theme of revenge very well and brings us one of the best films of the genre. And William Shatner didn’t even need to take his shirt off.

5

Mom's Basement Movie Article about Star Trek 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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