Sunday, June 16, 2013

Man of Steel

If there was ever a franchise that needed saving after the nineties, other than Batman, it was Superman. I don't know much about Superman's lore or mythos, but I do know that his original franchise was similar to Batman's in a lot of ways. The first two were good, if perhaps a bit corny, and the third and fourth sucked balls. Around the time that Batman Begins came out, Warner Bros, also tried reviving Superman with Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, which was a continuation of the Superman canon, while leaving out the third and fourth movies and denying they existed. Which was great except that Returns ended up being mediocre at best and not the savior that fans were hoping for. Since then, Warner Bros has been looking for a way to resurrect the franchise in the same way that Nolan resurrected Batman. For a while, it was rumored that Nolan himself was going to direct a Superman film and maybe even a crossover film with his Dark Knight trilogy. Admittedly, that was not an idea that I was all that excited for, and I would still like it if that never happened. However, I was interested in seeing a new Superman and thought it would be interesting to see what Nolan and his team, including famous comic book writer David S Goyer could bring to the table. The result is Man of Steel.

There are a lot of things to like about Man of Steel. For starters, I think the prologue on Krypton could be made into an entire movie itself. It was really interesting to see a new take on the planet's culture and history and I got to admit, I was not a fan of the way it was portrayed in the original series. They made it seem too perfect. In this new storyline, they make Krypton a once great planet whose ambition and over reaching its grasp had lead to its destruction. And to me, that is far more interesting since in here, it's their fault that Krypton was doomed in the first place. The rest of the story is pretty good, though I feel that the stuff on Krypton was a bit too rushed because I was really hoping to see more of it. Also, what almost kills the movie for me is that the villain's plot is exactly the same as the villains on all of the Transformers movies. Though, I think this was noticably better than in the Transformers movies, I still could not get over it.

I've never been a huge Zack Snyder fan, but when I heard that he was hired to helm the project, I thought that was the perfect choice. Even in Snyder's duds, like Suckerpunch (it sucked guys, get over it), I give him credit for his visual style so that there is never a dull moment in the movie, and you can see he really went all out for his scenes on Krypton as well as any scene where Superman is flying or fighting.

And the casting was the one area I was hoping the movie would soar, and in some cases it did, especially with Henry Cavill and Russell Crowe, but in other areas, I thought it fell flat. Michael Shannon is a talented actor and is great on Boardwalk Empire, and I was really pulling for him to steal the show here, perhaps not to the degree of Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch or even Heath Ledger, but I was really hoping he would just command the screen and while he did a good job, it wasn't the scene stealer I was hoping for. The rest of the cast is okay, but considering it includes A listers like Laurence Fishburne and Amy Adams, I was hoping there was more done with them.

So, overall not a bad movie, but I think it would require me to see it again before I say whether or not I would buy it on Blu-Ray. But, I would definitely say that I recommend it.

Final Grade: B, I'd see it again, not sure if I'd buy it on DVD/Blu-Ray

Fast and Furious 6

I have to admit, I have never really given the Fast and Furious franchise much thought, which is why when I first saw Fast Five, I didn't really get that these were movies that were made for the sole purpose of being big stupid fun, so when I saw the fifth movie, which was the first one that I ever saw, I ripped it apart. In recent years, however, I have grown to appreciate the movies more and say that while I wouldn't say that any of the Fast and Furious movies are ones that I am rushing out to buy on DVD, I do see their value and I guess I wouldn't mind sitting and watching them if they were on TV or if I was at a friend's house.

I guess I just gave away all of the review that I had lined up for Fast 6, so I guess there isn't a whole lot else to talk about. Well, why don't we cover the high points. The biggest high point of the movie has to be Dwayne Johnson. If anybody gets what the point of these movies are, it's this guy. For a while, people were saying that he was the one to take the baton from Arnold, and I think that is really the case with his character. He's an FBI agent that has a massive build and is never, and I mean NEVER seen without a black Under Armor shirt on. I honestly think he has a whole closet full of them. And just the way he acts and says his lines just shows that he really knows what these movies are, and you can tell he is just having a blast with it, which makes him so much fun to watch.

The other high point of the film is the climax, which is so stupid and awesome, that I can only attempt to describe it. All I can say is that it takes place on the world's longest runway.

Other than that, there isn't really much else that I can say that you don't already know. The key to enjoying these movies is to just detach yourself from reality, leave logic at the door and turn your brain off and just enjoy the ride.

Final Grade: B, not rushing out to buy it on DVD, but I still liked it