Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Super Heroes and Comic Book Flicks


I was, for a three month period, pretty consistent with my blog entries. My life has been fairly busy as of late, and in my downtime I've become less reliable to head up things that I deem constructive. Writing these little bastards felt entertaining as well as a worthwhile use of time. They also are pretty testing. I don't like reading blogs that wreak of self aggrandizing writings, not that they don't have a place or offer a good read, its just that blogs that have a pattern of focus always seem like a reliable visit. My pattern was bitching or praising recent flicks.

Why don't we continue that trend?

The comic book movie and super hero genre is Summer '08's whore, and I'll be in that red light district for the next couple of months.

The kickoff, in my opinion, was the release of Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau (Star of Swingers, director of Elf)

and starring Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man was never a comic I followed, or was interested in. I don't mean that in a negative way. I didn't hate the comic or the character, it just wasn't one that grabbed my attention. Maybe it was because he was a rich guy in an armored suit, and for many years if the protagonist hadn't powers, then they had to be a vigilante to be interesting. Later I found that there were many characteristics to Iron Man and his story that were dark and fascinating.

The Iron Man flick was entertaining from beginning to end. Stark's character, an uber intelligent, rich, Howard Hughes-esque weapons mogul turned do-gooder, peace activist super heroe left so much for Downey to play with. Robert Downey Jr. has been, once again, walking up the ladder in hollywood thanks to a slew of intriguing roles both major and independent. If you haven't seen him in Shane Black's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, go out and rent it, net flix it, download it, whatever, just see it.

We watch as Stark, post being attacked in the desert by terrorists, creates several stages of the Iron Man suit, joined by hilarious tests, all the while he escapes the lime light previously depicting him as a death dealing, out of touch playboy. Jeff Bridges plays Obadiah Stane, who becomes the Iron Monger, Stark's former partner and secret rival.

The movie is rich with clever dialog, awesome action (the flight scenes are worth the entire flick) and great effects. There is very little character development other than Tony Stark's. His sassy sidekick Pepper Potts is played by Gwenyth Paltrow, and servers very little purpose in the movie other than to be a formidable female character.

Overall, one of the best comic book transitions to the theater in a long time, and very much worth seeing on the big screen! Don't just rent this!

The Incredible Hulk opened last weekend and took the box office over M Night Shalamahamahmayhamahaymajsmdofaasdf 's The Happening. Many movie goers and comic fans were greatly disappointed in the last Hulk movie back in 2003.

I was just very, very, very bored by it.

It was long winded, and not at all cohesive.

The Incredible Hulk, starring Edward Norton, Tim Roth, and Liv Tyler was EVERYTHING opposite. Norton who plays alter ego Bruce Banner hulks out SO much during this flick, its easy to forget who Ed Norton is.

Mind you there isn't many scenarios you come up with to make him Hulk out other than throw lots'o'dem military people his way.

Norton is fun to watch, but doesn't do much for Banner's character. Its hard to see him transform into the tortured scientist, it mostly feels like you're simply watching Edward Norton running around the screen trying not to turn into the Hulk. Tim Roth plays the "Russian" antagonist who later becomes the Abomination, a creature just as strong as the Hulk, but sans those handsome good know let me just stop here. If you want to go see a very entertaining movie with lots of explosions, punches, kicks, chases, loud music, sound effects and CGI, this is the perfect choice. Its pure escapism and comic book corniness. It is not a SMART movie, but its also not a BAD movie. Hulk proves to be very entertaining and brainless, much like the character himself....well he's more scary and brainless...until those later comics where he retains his intelligence in the Hulk form.........nevermind, the point is Incredible Hulk is fun on the big screen, but is fine as a rentable experience.

Opening in the next two weeks are Wanted, based off of the ungodly vulger/violent comic mini series, and Hancock, a unique character made specifically for film.

For those interested in comics, Wanted is quite an experience.


The original series tells the story of young Wes who is revealed to be the son of a great super villain recently bumped off by a mysterious assassin. Wes is trained by the Fraternity, a club of Supervillains who secretly run the world. You see back in the 80's all the super villains got together and waged war on the super heroes, killing almost all of them, and either crippling or forcing the rest into retirement. From there they erased the Super Heroes from everyone's minds, and divided up the continents between villain groups. Wes is trained by Fox, a super villainous loosely based on Catwoman. In fact all the characters in the miniseries were parodies of DC villains (I don't recall any Marvel characters), for example one of the main antagonists being a rendition of Joker. This comic is wonderfully written, very unique, and depicts all their characters as awful, hideous creatures of personal satisfaction.

The film versioin cut out everything dealing with superheroes and supervillians, but left in the basic concept of Wes finding out he was the son of a major assassin, with Jolie playing Fox, and James McAvoy as Wes.

What stokes me about this movie is that (apparently) the scenes involving any special effects were shot with the Red camera, a very new type of HD camera that rocks my techno geeky side!

I don't know much about Hancock other than what the trailers have revealed, but it looks awesomely funny, as well as full of action. Smith is playing a superhero who drinks too much and doesn't give a rats ass if people like him or not. One trailer reveals that he hasn't a clue where his powers came from, or much about his past. Jason Batemen is a PR specialist who tries to fix Hancock's public image, and there seems to be a major fight scene some where during the flick. You're able to see Smith fighting somebody in that trailer. If that turns out to be Charleze Theron I'm going to drown myself in the tub of popcorn that will no doubly have way to much white cheddar salt.

Hancock's character is also a drunk, and this aspect has caused Iron Man director Jon favreau to second guess bringing Tony Stark's alcoholism into the sequel. This was a major plot point in the comic book, but Favreau doesn't want his audience to get an unoriginal idea....even though it IS an original idea, and Hancock is the one being unoriginal.

I digress....

21 MORE DAYS!!! 21 more days until the Dark Knight, and already it receives praise from my all time favorite movie critic Peter Travers, long time writer for Roliing Stone Magazine. My myspace page has been portraying a Joker image for over a half a year since the first trailer was revealed last fall, and will continue to do so until I see this flick at the IMAX, midnight on July 18th! If you haven't read the review, go to my last blog, and READ! GET PUMPED!


Man, I really hope I'm not hyping myself up just to be disappointed.

Oh well, we'll end this blog with some Dark Knight Trailers! Enjoy and let's hope we keep getting genuine comic book movies that stay true to the original concepts, and not rape the hell out of it just because "Some people might not get it"!





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