Modern Comic Book Movies - An Evaluation - Part 1.
Grant Nock sets out on a lengthy odyssey into the world of modern comic book movies, giving us his unique perspective on all the tight wearing, caped crusaders to grace the silver screen recently.
With Batman vs Superman, Captain America Civil War and X-Men Apocalypse all on the horizon, I've decided to go on a comic book movie re-watch marathon. There are only a couple of movies linked to these new releases that I haven't seen before, so I have previous experience/opinions with everything I'm about to re-watch. They vary from absolutely loving (The Dark Knight Trilogy) to being so underwhelmed by others, that I wasn't that bothered if I saw them again (Days of Future Past, The Winter Soldier).
The fact of the matter is comic book movies pretty much dominate the big blockbuster releases today and these are the films I usually enjoy the most so I might as well jump on board and hopefully I'll enjoy some of these as much as I have others in the past. Sidestepping the movies for a second, I've also stopped following a lot of the news sites on social media that constantly barrage you with pictures, trailers, opinions and sometimes spoilers, as this was one of the issues I had with the whole comic book movie genre. I felt like it was constantly being forced down my throat and admittedly, that may have clouded some of my judgement when watching these movies. I took a similar social media blackout approach when it came to The Force Awakens and that worked out brilliantly for me, so fingers crossed for similar results here.
I plan to watch the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, the last three X-Men/Wolverine movies, Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy. I may chuck some older comic book movies in there if I feel like it, we'll see how it goes. So if we're going to start anywhere, why not at the top.
For me this is probably the best comic book origin story movie and definitely one of my all time favourites. It was interesting going back and seeing how much more stylized Gotham City is in this compared to the standard City skylines we get in the two sequels. I remember being so blown away when I first saw this at the cinema and it still really works for me.
Showing part of the origin story concerning The League of Shadows and Raz Al Ghul that I had never known about before (I have very, very limited experience when it comes to comic books themselves) it, also, does a great job of showing the transition of Bruce Waynefrom the anger filled youth to fully trained Batman. All the cast are great and I still cannot help myself grinning from ear to ear at the finale on the rooftop between Jim Gordon, Batman and that playing card.
I was bit late in going to see this at the cinema but it was worth the wait. My only previous experience with this character was in X Men Origins: Wolverine so I was pretty much open to any interpretation to the character, but from what I've read they pretty much nailed this. Right from the opening credits I was on board. The action was great, Ryan Reynolds was great and it was nice to see a comic book movie not take itself too seriously and mix the genre up a little bit. The style of humour really worked for me. I can't remember the last time I laughed this much at a movie. Bravo to everyone involved for having the balls to try something a little bit different and pulling it off. I loved it.
Man of Steel
I know I'm in the minority but I really like Man of Steel. Don't get me wrong, it's not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination but I still find the different type of origin story they're telling interesting. I really enjoy all the stuff on Krypton, it looks fantastic and I really enjoy Russell Crowe. I also enjoy the jumbled up order where we get see Clark at various stages of his powers developing and that his father is very wary of him revealing his powers.
Now I know this is very different from the comics and the original Richard Donner movie but I still appreciate this approach. I'm not overly keen on the fight scenes and all the disaster porn in the finale but this movie hits a sweet spot for and that is helped by Hans Zimmer's score, whose Superman theme, much like his Batman theme, I find very emotive.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Unfortunately my social media blackout didn't start soon enough for me to miss out on all of the hate and vitriol that was being slung back and forth, by both naysayers and defenders of this movie. It was ugly and unpleasant but not surprising. I had a feeling before this was released that this one was going to get a kicking, and it did. But despite all this the movie really worked for me. It was all I could think about the next day, it really got under my skin. Part of this is because I firmly believe that if an Alien appeared and tried to help humanity there would be people that would be afraid of him and be uncomfortable with a single being having so much power and would think that he would have hidden motives about helping us.
It's not a normal Superman story and I have now heard several people (including the website's own Grown Geek Girl, Taye Del Val) say that it feels like we've missed another standalone Superman movie, one in which we see a more hopeful Superman and we see his relationship grow with Lois and with the public. I totally understand that viewpoint but it doesn't really bother me here, although I do hope we get that kind of story eventually.
Ben Affleck is awesome, providing us with the best Batman action scenes to date and the introduction of Wonder Women into the final battle (once again aided by Hans Zimmer) left me really excited with what they're going to do next with the character.