Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Movie Review: Man of Steel

mosLet me start by saying I was born in the 70s, which means – in terms of Doctor Who – Christopher Reeve was my Superman.  Other versions have been fine, I really have no quarrel with any of them, but Reeve is still near and dear to my heart.  I didn’t even mind Superman ReturnsBrandon Routh did a decent job and hey, Kevin Spacey was in it being awesome.

So I go into Man of Steel thinking I’ll be entertained for the 2+ hours, but that was about it. Holy crow was I wrong.  Mild spoilers ahead if you have lived under a rock and have absolutely no idea what the Superman story is at all.

rcroweYou almost immediately get the story of Krypton, which moves at a pretty fast pace towards destruction.  Russell Crowe as JorEl?  Kick.  ASS.  He’s not just an intellectual like the earlier movies suggest, he can hold his own in a fight too.

ShannonZodMichael Shannon plays General Zod, and his portrayal is fantastic.  Determined to save Kryptonians the only way he knows how (by killing Kryptonians?), he ends up banished to the Phantom Zone only to be reawakened when Kryton imploded (and then exploded.  It was a pretty epic destruction).  Rather than Terence Stamp’s evil, mustache twirling portrayal of Zod (don’t get me wrong, he was awesome), Shannon actually gets you to feel sympathy for him.  Just before you want Supes to kill him.

maandpaKevin Costner and Diane Lane play Jonathan and Martha Kent, both excellent casting choices.  I was wary of Costner, but I thought he did a great job doing his best to help his adopted son navigate his moral dilemmas, and both actors were more appropriate ages to play the roles.  Earlier versions always seems to be closer to grandparent ages to me.

Amy Adams was an interesting choice for Lois Lane.  Gone is the typical raven-haired Lois, but her grit and determination keep the character familiar.  Like Margot Kidder, she exudes confidence and gets the information she’s after, gets herself in trouble, but never acts the damsel in distress.

la_ca_0422_man_of_steelLaurence Fishburne rounds out the big names as Perry White.  His role is not groundbreaking, but Fishburne’s name brings it more respect and it’s always a pleasure to watch him on screen.

Of course Henry Cavill takes the title role of Clark Kent/Superman, along with a couple of younger actors for the younger versions of Clark.  Both kids pulled off their roles perfectly, conveying the internal struggles of a child who can’t fathom why he’s so different from others, and doing his best to calm his frustrations.  Cavill portrayed a rather zen Clark Kent, having over the years obviously perfected the act of turning the other cheek in the face of aggression.  It is not until General Zod threatens his adopted homeworld that he really focuses on what’s important to him.

cavillMost of the movie is a simple re-telling of the Superman origin, with a few differences.  The movie establishes that the atmosphere between Krypton and Earth are different enough to be physically demanding, requiring Lois to wear breathing apparatus on Zod’s ship, and causing Zod incredible pain when exposed on Earth.  Yes, JorEl still speaks to Clark Kent to teach him about Krypton, but he comes across as more sentient and interactive.  In fact, it is through JorEl that Lois Lane learns how Superman can defeat Zod and his group, and acts as a Kryptonian Jedi in helping her escape from Zod’s ship.  Lois also knows him as Clark Kent and Superman – she is a smart woman, a pair of glasses certainly would never fool her.

I miss my Christopher Reeve, but in all honesty, this movie was incredible to watch.  There is also one specific point in the movie where I could swear they worked a little CGI magic and made Cavill’s facial features to look like Reeve, so much so that I actually teared up.  The action was thrilling, the struggles felt real.  I can’t wait to own whatever special edition comes out so I can absorb more of the behind the scenes details.  Five bright yellow suns for this movie.  ENJOY!

 

EDIT:  My husband found this article which backs up my claim to have seen a CGI glimpse of Christopher Reeve – at the time I wrote this review, I could not find a screenshot of the part where I saw him, but this article shows some of it…

Movie Review: Fast & Furious 6

FF6mpIt’s all empty calories, but yeah, I find the Fast & Furious series to be very entertaining.  For a movie or two there it looked like they were just going to crank out vaguely similar movies based on overclocked cars and skinny, barely-clothed women, but over time they’ve woven a bit of an interlocking story together, which continues in Fast & Furious 6.

They’ve brought the majority of the cast from Fast 5 back, and began the story watching how the characters each were spending their share of a $100 million heist they pulled off.  Here’s where the story comes right out and begins with the ridiculous.  You assume that each character was given about $11 million, and yet, a couple characters are acting like they got all $100 million.  Spending as quickly as they were, they should have run out of money about a month and a half in.  BUT this is F&F, so let’s put a pin in that one and move on…

In walks Dwayne Johnson’s muscles, followed a week later by Dwayne Johnson, reprising his role of CIA Hulk imitator Luke Hobbs, who delivers the news that a former member of the group, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) long though dead is actually still alive.  He tempts these former criminals into helping him take down a criminal mastermind (Owen Shaw, played by Luke Evans) who appears to have taken Letty under his wing.  Dom (Vin Diesel) is more than eager to get to Letty, and of course Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) are there to help him, provided they are all given full pardons for prior crimes.

My daughter thinks it's hilarious how Han always has to be eating something.

My daughter thinks it’s hilarious how Han always has to be eating something.

So they reassemble the team, bringing in Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sung Kang), Gisele (Gal Gadot), and Tej (Ludacris).  They left out a couple of previous players, but for this installment, we’ll just assume they are sipping drinks somewhere warm and sunny.  Gibson’s chemistry with Kang, Ludacris and Johnson all bring a perfect amount of humor to the film, while Gadot and Kang continue to drop hints as to the story behind F&F3: Tokyo Drift (which is supposed to take place sometime AFTER this movie… yes, a little confusing).  And the party starts.

flying

WHEEEEEE! And there’s no way I will be killed doing this! Seriously!

From completely unrealistic chases, crashes, mid air 90MPH catches, and fist-fights, this movie is full of all kinds of ridiculousness, but you really don’t care.  As long as you put your brain on MST3K mode and just accept the ridiculousness, it’s a bunch of fun.  The villain is so stereotypical that he even has a pencil-thin mustache I was waiting for him to try twirling.

The one thing, oddly enough, that I just COULD NOT get past…  The final action scene.  I had accepted people flying through the air and receiving naught but perhaps a scrape or bruise.  I had accepted a totally hellacious girlfight that should have resulted in several broken ribs as best, broken backs and death from blunt force trauma at worst but again resulted in perhaps a scrape and bruise.  I had totally accepted complete decimation of hundreds of vehicles, many of which our heroes were in when they were decimated and SHOULD have resulted in mangling them to bloody pulps, but again produced only a scrape or bruise.  But the end scene involved a very large cargo plane attempting to take off and of course our team is chasing it down with their awesome cars, using crazy weapons and whatnot.  FOREVER.  I said at one point… HOW LONG IS THIS FREAKIN RUNWAY???

Apparently someone else had the same question I did.  And created this:

runway

Yes, after everything I saw in those two hours.  THAT is what bothered me the most.

But it’s all in fun.  Can’t wait until #7!

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