By LordRequiem 1 Comments
"Annnnnnd scene." Well not entirely, this section is yet to be finished, but I shall do my best to sate your taste buds for all that is comic movies. Previously discussed was the mass that is Marvel's movie library, now we move into territory more of old than new. That is to say, much of DC's film endeavours tend to be less recent. Anyway, let's get started.
I'll go chronologically-ish for each series. "Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No... it's a success both critically and commercially, err I mean Superman." Supes' first outing, a portrayal by ever endearing and immortal image of Christopher Reeve. Some would say it looks dated now, but that's what people say about the first Tron, to which I disagree, on both counts. I can't admit to liking Margot Kidder as Lois (I guess she was flavour of the month at the time of casting) or Gene Hackman as Lex (you'll probably disagree to that one) but I'm just not a fan of his for that sort of role, he smiled too much. The second installment features less of Hackman, thankfully, and more of what makes films great; THE TERENCE STAMP as megalomaniacal Zod, no one cares about Ursa or Non they're stereotypical and boring, still a great film though, the bar scenes (with and without powers) are especically memorable to me, for no reason in particular except them being awesome. Ah the third Superman, spoiled by Richard Pryor's non-serious display and the general tongue-in-cheek/campy/bullshit approach. Not to say it has no merits oh no. Christopher Reeve as the corrupted Superman is brilliant, yes I repeat BRILLIANT (I've read this showing of bad supes was much to the chagrin of fans, shame on you I say, unwarranted harsh criticism), the junkyard scene is forever seared into my memory, had it been more like this throughout I'm sure it would have been better, the whole Brainiac (self aware super computer scene) shoe-horn was very silly, might I add. The Quest for Peace, a much less compelling affair, of course I've got the quadrilogy box set, what self respecting Superman fan wouldn't own this? There is little good to say about this one, Reeve gives a sterling performance as ever, interestingly it retained its principal cast, very rare for a fourth outing, I suppose they were more loyal back then. Overall this series has spawned a great image for Superman, the music alone is known by all and only since this new 52, I believe is Superman not being drawn to resemble Reeve, impact enough for me.
Superman: Returns now, and what treat I must say. Brandon Ruth has bears an uncanny resemblance to Sir Christopher Reeve (he should've been knighted dammit! Hail Britannia and all that). I love this film, ostensibly an homage to the great first series, it still holds its own in the current superhero films community. Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth did seem a little misplaced here, and James Marsden's appearance attributes to the tarnishing of X-men: the last stand, but we're not switching sides. This is a great movie, with Supes displaying the greatest amount of strength he has in any film lifting that continent, that was epci in every sense of the word. I like it!
Now this thing is in full swing, and that poetry was divine, not, the time has come to cover arguably DC's most prominent figure at present, Batman. For a first try and with nothing to compare except the completely comical Batman television series, I think this was done rather well. Michael Keaton brings a certain solemnness and severity to the role, one which has been reiterated in most films apart from one striking departure, you know which. Tim Burton's product seems destined to only ever behold a darkened atmosphere, which fits the bill perfectly for a Batman movie. He has his gadgets, his money and a cowl to end all cowls. Oh yes, and in my opinion the coolest Batmobile, on par with the Tumbler. Jack Nicholson gives an unnerving performance as Joker. I'm sure I'll be the minority on this one, but I recognise this as a better depiction than Heath Ledger's, who smiled only a few times, made cryptic jokes and apparently has trouble with mood swings. To clarify, Heath Ledger's version of the iconic villain is great, albeit less to my liking than Jack Nicholson's. Batman Returns has me mostly on the fence. Allow me to simplify. Excellent Batmobile (armour ftw). Great Batman (sitting in his mansion in the dark, waiting for something to happen, how cool right). Annoying Michelle Pfiefer. Over the top Christopher Walken (toned down would have sufficed). Danny Devito penguin, good in places, bad in others (arcade car controller springs to mind). An enjoyable watch nonetheless. Aside from Val Kilmer's lisp, clearly a well implemented flaw to make Bruce Wayne appear human??? Jim Carrey plays Riddler as if he were born to be a crazy, yeah he was. Two face looks really cool, but has far less screen time than I would've liked. This film actually works well with multiple villains. Nicole Kidman's emotionless demeanour was the weakest link here. Chris O'Donnell, back then, suited Robin down to the ground. Val Kilmer kept the quiet, dark persona which I love. Let the bashing begin for Batman & Robin, overall I can still watch this and smile. It's a few things that really do my swede (yes that is a real expression). Uma Thurman could not do anything to increase my liking of her terrbile screen presence and camp/exaggerated acting. Alicia Silverstone, likewise. Clooney, as much as I admire some of his works, has too much character for this role. Chris O'Donnell works as well as can be expected. I wish whatever hocum John Glover used to form Bane would have created Solomon Grundy instead, for he is a mindless brute. In my eyes, Schwarzenegar fits as Mr. Freeze and I applaud the costume design, the snow-camoflauged costumes look really awesome (Nothing about nipples? No, a barely noticable feature, exacerbated by the remedial).
Christopher Nolan's turn, and I think it only fair for him to have an entirely seperate paragraph, such is my appreciation for the quality of these films. Batman begins is ridiculously good. It remains to this day one of my favourite films of all time, of any genre. The cast is stellar, the atmoshpere is intense, the training montage rules all, the gradual building of a character is excellent, the score by Hans Zimmer breathes depth into every moment. Bale's bulking up, I think is a very fair, realistic representation of a man of that stature (as it should be with any superhero depicted as such in comic books).The Dark Knight similarly so, bar a few of the cast, Maggie Gyllenhaal chiefly amongst the failures (Katie Holmes was much better suited), most of the crime lords at the table excluding Eric Roberts, Heath Ledger tried too hard, IN MY OPINION. Such a good film still.
Finally for this bout, Jonah Hex. I apologise in advance for my use of foul language, but the film was crap. Josh Brolin is very good as the lead and Michael Fassbender hasn't put a foot wrong from anything I've seen him in thus far. That's all the good I could summon here.
To summarise, DC have a myriad of outstanding pieces, to the same degree as Marvel, most definately. They do, however, show a little less variety, which I have no problem with so far, perhaps when Superman 12 and a fifteenth Batman film are produced I shall complain more. I cannot wait for next year's big four i.e. Spiderman, Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Man of Steel. I must express my love for the soundtracks to nearly all of these films, it seems great composers collaborating to produce something spectacular and moving in superhero cinema is commonplace, damn straight! The final 2 hour long section, will focus on those films that I have not already given mention, so that with little association between the big two companies (or those I interpret to fit this mold). What are your opinions on these films? Until the next time.....