Superman Returns Rocked

blastr LogoIn Not Guilty: Superman Returns revisited, blastr.com’s Cher Martinetti expands on a point I’ve been making for years: “Superman Returns” [IMDB] rocked. While I normally prefer to defend the position by suggesting opponents lack the ability to find their elbows with both hands, Cher has decided to present well-constructed arguments instead.

I agree with every point she makes. The movie was a delicate homage and spiritual climax to Richard Donner’s 1978 classic, “Superman” [IMDB] and his sadly marred vision for “Superman II” [IMDB] (which was only realized partially decades later with his labor-of-love, special edition, “Superman II: Richard Donner Cut” [IMDB]). It also does the world a favor by completely ignoring the existence of “Superman 3” and “Superman 4: The Quest for Peace” (sorry, folks: I won’t even link to them).

The three movies together, “Superman”, “Superman II: Richard Donner Cut” and “Superman Returns” perfectly transition Superman across multiple generations. I was eight years-old when I first saw “Superman” in the theater and my son was eight years-old when I took him to see “Superman Returns”. I was thrilled to be able to share Superman with him. Not a “reimagining” or an “interpretation” but – essentially – the same Superman that had made such an impact on me.

I’m not against change. I loved “Man of Steel” [My Review] and I’m looking forward to seeing more of our new Superman. But I’ll always be thankful to “Superman Returns”, however, for allowing me to share a new adventure of my Superman with my son.

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Superman 75th Anniversary Tribute

In a continuing celebration of Superman’s big 75th birthday (and my realization that I’ve been enjoying his adventures for almost half that time) Time Warner has released a wonderful, two-minute animated retrospective.

The DC Comics Blog has a complete run-down of the references.  The short was development by Zach Snyder and Bruce Timm and produced by Warner Bros. Animation.

Movie Review: The Man of Steel

IMDB, Man of SteelAdventure, 143 Minutes, 2013: Man of Steel on IMDB

This is the first truly new take on Superman in film since Richard Donner’s [IMDB] 1978 classic “Superman” [IMDB].  Bryan Singer’s [IMDB] 2006 “Superman Returns” [IMDB] essentially completed Donner’s Superman films (rightly ignoring the execrable, non-Donner, third and fourth films).  While this excellent film is often misunderstood it must be considered an extension of Donner’s vision rather than a true reboot of DC’s flagship character.

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Superman is 75 Years Old Today

SupermanSuperman was introduced to the world 75 years ago today, April 18, 1938.  I was planning on writing up a heartfelt review of my personal history with the character but Kyle Orland over at ArTechnica.com did it better in his article, Why Superman is still interesting on his 75th birthday

My history with Superman is very similar – even if it’s clear that I have quite a few years on Kyle – although I did stick it out through the bizarre “Red and Blue” phase (really, DC, what were you thinking?!)  In my case I began to lose touch with ‘Supes when my son was born and my time just wasn’t my own anymore.  But I continued to collect the issues only having stopped a short time ago when it finally sank in that I wouldn’t ever have the time to catch up.

One of the most profound, for me, moments, is a simple sequence and I can’t even remember the story it appeared in.  Clark and Lois are cooking dinner and the overhead light burns out.  As Lois turns to fetch the step-stool Clark rises softly up to replace bulb.  When she turns back to see the job completed the look they share is priceless.  This simple exchange epitomizes how quietly powerful Superman is while also highlighting how humanly accessible Clark is.

Superman is something special.  He means something; something worth understanding.

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Action, 164 Minutes, 2012: The Dark Knight Rises on IMDB

There are two ways (at least) to consider “The Dark Knight Rises”.  The first (and correct) way is as the capstone to a self-contained “Batman” story that owes us nothing but a profound respect of the character we love.  The second way, one that the angrier parts of the Internet seem to have latched onto, is as an entry into a larger, continuing “Batman” timeline.  Considered as part of a larger whole, or worse, as a stepping stone to the rumored, much-anticipated “Justice League” movie, the film fails to properly stage the character.  I would simply argue that there was no requirement to do this.

(As an aside I was also thrilled to be able to see this in Cinemark XD without having to deal with extra shit on my face.  While I’m not militantly against 3D it is continously annoying that you’re forced to choose it to see something with the best screen and sound.)

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Game Review: Batman: Arkham City (PS3)

Rated Mature, Reviewed on PS3, Batman: Arkham City at Amazon.com

“Batman: Arkham Asylum” was a revelation.  It single-handedly redeemed the entire gaming industry for the multiple generations of terrible, hackneyed, money-grubbing excuses for Batman games that littered the landscape before.  Never before had the depth of the character and its history been explored so completely.  Fans truly couldn’t have asked for a better game.

The problem with making something nearly perfect is that you really can only go down from there.  Arkham City doesn’t fall far, but fall it does.  The absolute largest problem (hell, really the only one worth mentioning) is the setting.  How shall I put this delicately?  Well… It’s really fucking stupid.

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Movie Review: Green Lantern

Action, 114 Minutes, 2011: Green Lantern on IMDB

I’m surprised at the vitriol that reviewers seem to have for this film.  Could the entire industry just have been having a bad day?  Because the movie, while far from the best thing ever, is also very far from the worst.  One of the criticisms that I continually hear is that it’s too “formula” or “clichéd”.  Of course it is: DC Comics invented the formula!  The Green Lantern was created over 60 years ago – doing the source material any justice at all means painting-by-the-numbers to at least some extent.

Like all origin-stories the film does sometimes get bogged down in the back-story.  There’s a good reason why “The Dark Knight” was better than “Batman Begins”: we could focus completely on the story because our hero had already been established.  “Spiderman 2”, “Iron Man 2”, “Superman 2”: all cleaner, more engaging stories than the originals.

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