Tag Archives: Comic Book

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

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I’ll just get it out of the way and say that if you grew up as a fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you probably should indulge this film at least once. If you’re a film fan who didn’t, it is pretty average to poor and offers little, even for a summer blockbuster. This has Michael Bay-isms all through it (banal scripting, video-game sheen, blatant sexism and product placement – the movie is basically a Pizza Hut ad at times) and even if he didn’t direct it, he might as well have. And, if you’re a kid (specifically a boy aged 10-15), you should definitely lap this cgi-fest up just as Bay planned. If you fall into neither of those categories, there is no reason what so ever to watch this movie even in the context of a kids/family action film.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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Captain America: The First Avenger was pretty low key. A little bit twee and humorous as well as largely harmless. At least Chris Evans (as with Rob Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth), proved a great casting choice for Marvel Studio’s juggernaut of heroes brought to life on the big screen. The thing was though, compared to the booming Iron Man films, the mega-popular Thor and the super hero blockbuster to end all blockbusters; The Avengers, Captain America’s origin movie was mainly uneventful, even for a “Phase 1” flick. But you can’t exactly make such a character that glamorous anyway can you? I enjoyed it and while it was admirable in forging its own vibe (that of a glossy WW2 matinee), it ultimately seemed plodding and lacking purpose. Ironic, considering it sets up a lot of the ground floor elements for the entire Avengers universe.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

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With X3 being a total missed opportunity and First Class an ok to mediocre prequel/reboot effort, Days of Future Past is a vast improvement over the last two instalments, but then when Marvel reinstated director Bryan Singer – the man whom instigated quality and respect for the franchise in the first place, that was always going to be the case. It’s not a total celebration though of course.

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Man of Steel (2013)

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In 2006, director Bryan Singer was given the reigns to reboot the DC Comics Superman franchise which, at the time, seemed long overdue. A new Clark Kent was found to replace the iconic Christopher Reeve interpretation from Richard Donner’s original film (and its woeful sequels) and a fresh vision of probably the most well-known comic book character ever was on its way. Singer was a big fan of Superman – a very big fan. His approach was to not make a new origin story and ended up producing what felt like a follow on from the 1978 film. Such was his love and respect for Donner’s movie, everything about Superman Returns felt like homage, right down to the title cards and the original score left untouched. A new love-triangle story was evolved but ultimately it felt like a re-tread. Many didn’t find much to like in Singer’s film, but I actually quite enjoyed it. I felt it had a classic feel, an old-fashioned approach to its direction and a subtle, story-driven plot. Not to mention a great lead in Brandon Routh.

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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight was the second film in the re-booted Batman saga kicked off in 2005 by director Christopher Nolan’s genre levelling Batman Begins. Both of those films have received praise for various reasons, possibly none more so than their influence upon the modern comic book based or more specifically, “superhero” film.  The seriousness and intelligence Nolan as director and his co-writer David S. Goyer approached the initial material practically reinvented not only the genre, but an iconic figure. Batman, whom had seen no less than four films in the two decades before Begins arrived, was reborn as a brooding wall of justice, inhabiting a real-world looking Gotham City. A decided change that had already occurred many times over in comic book and graphic novel form, though in the pre-reboot movies, was brought to life in a much more garish and campy sense (though Tim Burton’s original film retains a respectable comic book flair the three sequels didn’t). Established British thespian Christian Bale was given the task of taking on the mask, cape and alter ego of Bruce Wayne. Bale, not really known to mainstream audiences at the time, later appeared in Nolan’s film, The Prestige. The combined involvement of all three men meant the tone was set and anticipation was high for a new, darker take on one of DC Comic’s marquee franchises (the other being Superman; soon to be rebooted itself after one already failed attempt).

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The Avengers (2012) – A guest review by Miss NJ!

Marvel Comics, arguably the world’s most well known comic book publisher, had a task on their hands when attempting to adapt the story of the Avengers to the big screen. First, there were the origin stories, which had to stay true to the original source material in order to satisfy die-hard fans, but to also keep a level of clarity within what can be a murky universe. The origin stories had to then each sew together, which meant having carry-over characters in each film, carefully inserted so as to not ruin the general premise of the film, but with enough of a punch so their presence would be well noticed. And now finally, director & uber-nerd Joss Whedon has been tasked with taking each character out of their own film and into the collective known as The Avengers, fusing literally year’s worth of building and crafting of characters into one giant action romp.

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Chronicle (2012)

Chronicle is without doubt a fun and enjoyable exercise. Among all the enthusiasm of bewildering flying sequences and other astonishing FX however, writer Max (son of John) Landis submits several disappointing moments that almost completely erase the good time everyone was having before they left the cinema. The story and teaser trailers doing the rounds seemed to promise a unique take on the ideas of super-powers and telekinesis. I personally was hoping for something special, but clearly it rightfully lent itself to dubious frowns from many a cinefile as well. I decided to have faith in our new young visionaries of writer and director (Josh Trank), but it only ended up feeling average and primarily a missed opportunity. Was I victim to the hype then? Expectations too high? I’m not so sure to be honest, because Chronicle suffers mainly for the same reasons a lot of genre films do; good concept, unfortunate execution.

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