Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Superman The Movie, based on the comic Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster: a Film Review

Synopsis:

It has been discovered that the planet Krypton is going to be destroyed when it shifts further out of orbit.  But none of the Kryptonian high council believe this is the case with the exception of Jor-El.  To save his infant son, Kal-El, he creates a spaceship and sends the child to Earth where he will be able to blend in due to the fact that the Kryptonians and Humans have similar physical looks…though it will not change the fact that he will have other things he is capable of due to his parentage.

Kal-El’s ship lands near the tiny Kansas, USA town of Smallville, where he is found by an elderly Jonathan and Martha Kent.  The couple who was unable to have their own children raise the small boy to adulthood.  When he turns 18, young Kal-El (now Clark Kent) suffers through the death of his father, Jonathan, eventually hearing the psychic “call” from the spaceship hidden on the farm.  A glowing green crystal and his mother’s blessing send him on the hunt for his Fortress of Solitude where he is meant to learn all about his origins.

Over the years Clark learns of everything he is able to do eventually laving the Fortress with a blue and red suit emblazoned with the House of El Crest on his chest.  Traveling to Metropolis he takes up the mantel of Superman, protecting the city from local crimes and disasters.  Particularly anything the Luthor family comes up with.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Origin Story

-Creator: based on the comic Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

-Length: 143 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild smoking, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Trevor Howard, Margot Kidder, Valerie Perrine, Maria Schell, Terence Stamp, Phyllis Thaxter, Susannah York

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

So, I’m going to try to review this with the perspective that this was a 1978 film and it would have been top of the line for the time period.  We will see if I can do that when I watch it.

Overall, it’s a great introductory film for Superman.  Christopher Reeves is by far my favorite redition of the character.  He has the ability to play the shy, studious and detailed but ultimately forgettable Clark Kent as well as the suave, confident and gorgeous Superman.  The balance he achieves is incredible.

I fid the fact that he tells Lois Lane about all of his super powers as Superman so quickly a little odd…but I also haven’t followed the Superman comics from the beginning…though I am trying to start to catch up on everything bit by bit.

There is some bizarre costuming choices (the glowing suits of Krypton), some set ups that didn’t come back in this movie (Zod and his cronies being stuck in the Phantom Zone)… and just the overall age of a film that was created in 1978 but being watched in 2021.  Don’t get me wrong.  Its CLASSIC Superman.  Honestly, Superman at its finest. 

Most of the effects and stunts hold up even after all these years, the same way the ones in the Original Star Wars Trilogy do.  There is something about practical effects and stunts (as much as possible) that hold up well over the years.

In general I found this movie entertaining and a great entry into the world of Superman…and most superheroes in general

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, OR Birds of Prey, created by Christina Hodson, based on characters from DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Joker has (finally) broken up with Harley Quinn for good…four years after the defeat of Enchantress.  He tossed her out on the streets of Gotham and didn’t look back.  As Harley begins to rebuild her life without her beloved Puddin’ she starts to see that she doesn’t need him anymore.

After getting drunk at a club owned by one of Gotham’s crime lords, things kind of take a downhill turn for Harley.  She is almost abducted at the club, narrowly being saved by the burlesque singer from the club, Dinah Lance.  Deciding that she is completely done with the Joker, Harley drives a tanker into Ace Chemicals to officially announce their breakup.

Meanwhile, Dinah is recruited by Roman Sionjs, the club owner, to retrieve a diamond embedded with the account numbers to another crime family after seeing her break up Harley Quinn’s abduction.  When she and Roman’s right-hand man get the diamond in hand they never expect it to get stolen by a local pick-pocket.

As a group of mercenaries and other people Harley has wronged are after her including Sionjs’ men, Harley realizes she is about to end up in the middle of a territorial feud… and its not just the people who hate her who are going to be an issue.  When the police, a new “crossbow killer”, the criminal underground, and Sionjs’ men all show up to come after the little pickpocket things are going to get pretty messy.  And Harley (as well as her new “team”) better figure out what to do and FAST.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero/Supervillains, Girl Power, Origin Story

-Creator: Christina Hodson, based on characters from DC Comics

-Length: 109 minutes

-Rating: R (for mild sex and nudity, severe violence and gore, severe profanity, moderate drug and alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rozie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I absolutely love this film for so many reasons.  Between the fact that the movie focuses so much on Harley Quinn coming into her own and the storyline not focusing on her ass (I’m looking at you Suicide Squad), this is an incredible movie..

The film is such a beautiful piece of cinematography.  The director did an incredible job with so many things.  From the egg sandwich being filmed like a love interest to the fact that she helps out a punk kid (even if its just to save herself at first) this really shows a big difference to the sexed-up version of Harley we see in Suicide Squad.

The women in this movie are strong.  They speak their mind, fight for themselves, and aren’t always the quiet flowers that we see in a lot of other films. They are loud and at times obnoxious, slightly vulgar and don’t shy away from their trauma.  And that is very appealing.  Women being themselves.  Not being overly sexualized and made up to be some sort of fantasy caricature of what women actually are.

However, as wonderful as all of these things are this movie should NOT have had its name changed to Birds of Prey.  While the movie is the origin story for the newest redition of the Birds it is not about them.  It is not a Birds of Prey story or film.  They just happen to be in it. 

It truly is the fantabulous emancipation of one Harley Quinn.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Fant4stic, based on characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Reed Richards has always dreamed of creating the first teleportation device for biomatter.  Laughed at as a child and still adamant that he will be successful Reed works quietly in his home garage trying to build a prototype.  When he is caught by Ben Grimm at the Grimm family junkyard looking for a piece the pair become fast friends, bonding over the success of a first attempt as sending matter through space.

As the pair grow up they enter the high school science fair.  While literally disqualified from the contest they catch the eye of Professor Franklin Storm who is the director of the Baxter Foundation, a research institute for young prodigies.

Reed is offered a place at the Foundation, where his focus will be on working with Sue Storm and Johnny Storm, Professor Storms children, as well as Victor Von Doom, to complete the “Quantum Gate” that Von Doom had designed before his dismissal from the program.

When they are successful the facility supervisor plans to override Professor Storm and send a group from NASA to venture into the parallel dimension the group has discovered.  After getting drunk, and angry about the fact that they were told they would be travelling through first, Victor, Reed and Johnny decide to make the trip themselves.  Reed drags Ben in and the four travel through the rift into the other dimension remotely.

When the exploration goes badly the group needs Sue’s help to return…but all is not what it seems when only three come back and the entire facility, as well as the machine, are reduced to rubble…

When they awake it is to a myriad of changes…and captivity from the US Military…which isn’t exactly the best situation to be in.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Origin Story

-Creator: based on characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee

-Length: 100 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Rim Blake Nelson

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

It’s not as bad as I remember it being.  But it isn’t great either.

The biggest issue that I have with the changes that were made to the story isn’t the origins of the Fantastic 4 so much as the fact that they are all teenagers/very early 20s (in the case of Victor).

So much of what I remember in the comics of the Fantastic 4 (it has been years since I read them so if I’m wrong, I’m sorry) deals with the fact that they are all adults.

Between the traditional superhero stuff…fighting general bad guys, having nemesis, dealing with cosmic entities that want to eat the earth, etc.… there is a lot of depth to their relationships that doesn’t really translate well to teenagers.

Unlike Spider-man who grows up in the comics and his life changes based on his age such as the relationships as well as his personal life, the Fantastic 4 are grown adults with degrees and are dealing with situations as such.

It’s quite unbelievable that four teenagers, no matter their powers, would get handed the keys to a government facility like Central City.

But maybe I’m just looking at it from the perspective of an adult who knows how teens work, regardless of how smart they are.

Overall, it’s not the worst twist to the comics.  But its not the best.  It’s just…okay.

Rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Fantastic 4, based on characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Dr. Reed Richards is convinced that his theory of the evolution of life on Earth is the correct one.  Having been triggered millions of years ago by clouds of cosmic energy from space he has studied and calculated when the next such phenomena is going to pass by the planet.  With the help of his best friend, Ben Grimm, he goes to a former MIT classmate of his for funding.

Dr. Victor Von Doom, an equally brilliant but incredibly narcissistic scientist, is the CEO of Von Doom Industries.  He agrees to help Dr. Richards out with the tests, including the use of the Von Doom Industries Space Station.  One condition of the use is that Victor brings on his chief of genetics research, the lovely Sue Storm. 

The group is joined by Johnny Storm, Sue’s younger brother and new astronaut studying under Ben Grimm, when they take to the station.  As they get to the station to set up Reed realizes he has made an error in calculations and the storm is approaching much faster than anticipated leaving Ben stranded on a spacewalk while Sue, Reed and Johnny try to save him.

Back on Earth, having barely survived the cosmic energy cloud, the group finds themselves on the other side of some very bizarre effects, each more different from the last.

What will they do with these new abilities?  Will Dr. Richards be able to find a cure?  And what exactly is going on with Dr. Von Doom who claims that the force field he closed to protect himself did just that?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Origin Story

-Creator: based on characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee

-Length: 106 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild alcohol use and smoking, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Julian McMahon, Kerry Washington

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I don’t know why I remember this and the second film being a lot worse than they actually are.

I was quite impressed with the movie overall.  It did a great job capturing the feel of the Fantastic 4 team.  There are real world problems intermixed with the science and background of the origins of the Fantastic 4.

While it isn’t’ the most spectacular of films it is a good movie overall.  The effects are pretty solid.  The acting is decent and the writing is done fairly well.  There really aren’t any negatives to the movie…other than the fact that I think the newer MCU and Marvel Studios could do an even better job.

But even if it isn’t fantastic… its really fun to see Chris Evans as the cocky Johnny Storm.  And I do think that Ioan Gruffudd was a great choice for Reed Richards.  Really the casting was pretty perfect…even Jessica Alba which isn’t who I would have thought would be a good choice for Sue Storm.

The little moments and trials were lovely too…like the budding relationship between Ben and Alicia.  As well as the ruined relationship between Reed and Sue.  And of course Johnny and all his general insanity.

If you like the nostalgia of the first superhero films that paved the way for later films in both the MCU and the DCEU then you shouldn’t skip this one.  Others sure but the Fantastic 4 duology is pretty solid.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Guardians of the Galaxy, created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The year is 1988 and a young Peter Quill is privy to his mother’s death after a long fight with cancer.  When he runs from the hospital room he is abducted from Earth by the Ravagers, a group of alien smugglers led by Yondu Udonta.

Twenty-six years later Quill is attacked when he attempts to steal a strange orb from a planet.  The Kree fighters are followers of the fanatic Ronan the Accuser, who is known for his association with Thanos.  When Quill escapes the team and leaves with the orb Ronan sends Gamora, daughter of Thanos and a renown assassin, to hunt him down and obtain the object.

Unbeknownst to both Thanos and Ronan, Gamora is ready to betray them all, to get away from the prison that she has been trapped in since her adoptive father ripped her away from her home planet and her parents.  When she begrudgingly joins forces with Quill, a genetically and cybernetically enhanced racoon called Rocket, and a humanoid tree-creature Groot they end up at the beginning of one of the greatest (and possibly last) adventure of their lives.

What happens along the way could be anyone’s guess…they can only hope it doesn’t end in their deaths.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Origin Story

-Creator: created by Marvel Cinematic Studios, based on characters created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

-Length: 122 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, moderate profanity, mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Rilley, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

THIS is how you introduce a group of characters that most mainstream people don’t know!

I knew basically nothing about the Guardians of the Galaxy before these films.  They weren’t the comics that were in my house, and I never really thought to pick them up myself.

When the first few songs of the soundtrack hit and you get the first few interactions with the cocky Quill it just set the stage for what is to come.  I know that the Guardians (like so many other superhero groups such as Green Lantern Corp or The Defenders or even The Avengers) have interchanging and ever-changing members.  It’s a way to keep the team fresh and, if someone were to die or retire, is much easier to get a new member with very little question.

But I am so glad they chose this particular group of Guardians.  They work well together.  They balance each other.  They are a little off center and crazy but in ways that make the others seem a bit more together.

That paired with some great writing, excellent introduction to characters and stories most are unfamiliar with, and the killer awesome soundtrack was a great foot to start these movies with.

Definitely worth the watch!

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.