Category Archives: Comics & Cartoons
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Let 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 Returns. Brandon 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.
You 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.
Michael 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.
Kevin 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.
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.
Most 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…
It’s been a while since I went to a movie theater on a movie’s opening night, but this one was one I just couldn’t pass up. Despite chronic back pain (damn those uncomfortable theater seats), I sat through almost 2 1/2 hours…
The Marvel movies that have been leading up to this with additional scenes stuck after the credits have PAID OFF. Joss Wheden did not disappoint – the character development was really well done (and considering there are 6 heroes and at least 4 other rather main characters to split screen time with, that’s very difficult), the pace moved fairly well, the initial disfunction and the eventual meshing of the group felt very natural, the battles were head-spinning, and the dialogue was perfect. There were also plenty of comedic moments to break the tension, enough so that I can’t wait to watch it again on Blu-Ray to make sure I caught them all.
In particular, I was intrigued by Tony Stark’s immediate respect and interest in Bruce Banner. Robert Downey, Jr revived his character seamlessly, of course, being such an incredible actor in the first place, and I was really interested in Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of Banner – his nervousness and anxiety over his transformations coupled with his deep desire to be helpful seemed pitch-perfect to me.
I was also left desperate for a movie to be made with Black Widow and Hawkeye. I don’t think they will have any struggle in putting one together, and after seeing and enjoying Jeremy Renner in several films, I am eager to see him again in the same character. Scarlett Johannson was the perfect choice for Black Widow the first time around, and she brought Widow more depth with this film.
My complaints about this movie are few, but one I was kind of disappointed with was Agent Coulson – Wheden decided to portray him as a gushing fanboy of Captain America, something I thought should have been severely scaled back. He could have gotten the point across with a lot less tripping-over-his-own-tongue. Agent Coulson always seemed like the consummate professional to me, and this added a dimension to him I didn’t feel fit.
Additionally, I was slightly confused how during the first transformation, the Hulk went from complete destruction hellbent on removing ANYONE in his path, to working alongside the rest of the Avengers without them fearing his wrath. Perhaps I missed something in the exposition (I was in a rather noisy theater), but this was something that nagged at me later on.
All in all, a FANTASTIC movie. Also, do yourself a HUGE favor and sit through ALL the credits. There is a mid-credit scene AND a post-credit scene. 99% of our theater missed the final scene because they left after the first one. Suckers!
Every once in a while I find a genre crossover that I absolutely LOVE, and this is one of them. Rion Vernon takes pinup art to a whole new level in the cartoon style he’s adopted. Thought some of you might like it as well so here’s a preview – Found a collection at PinUp NYC, though his main site is pinuptoons.com. ENJOY!