Movie Review Mashup: Man of Steel, A Superhero Flick with Kick…and Kick Ass

You know the story. Delayed with my blog reviews, life is busy…yadda yadda yadda. Instead of excuses or in-depth analysis of dozens of recent movies I’ve seen, I am going to try something different. A movie review mashup: taking two of the same flicks (kinda sorta) and reviewing in same piece.

Bear with me. It’s not perfect. But it’s what I got. So, if you like it, give me a shout out. If you don’t well, read another one of my posts. I am sure I have something you like. šŸ˜‰

Man of Steel

As a die hard superhero fan it may come as a surprise that Superman is not my favorite superhero (this would be Huntress and Hawk Girl as I’ve said on more than one occasion). Sorry, I just never joined the forces of Underoos wearing boys my age to jump on the Superman bandwagon. I never understood how a green rock from his home planet could reduce a man with the strength of steel to mush. Also, I could never understand how that annoying reporter Lois Lane couldn’t tell that Clark Kent was really just Superman wearing glasses. Really – the glasses were THAT big of a disguise Lois? Get real. But slowly I began to understand the power that small things can wield on a person (read: Jimmy Choos) and well, I guess you can say I get the Kryptonite thing. I may want to poke holes in that part of his story, but that doesn’t stop me from getting it.

However, as one of the most iconic of superheroes I always understood the power of the man and well, there you go, I am part of the masses who were waiting with baited breath when the first teaser trailers forĀ Man of Steel began trickling out last year. And when the movie hit theaters in July I, along with millions of men who heralded him as their childhood hero (wouldn’t be surprised ifĀ  under their pants were an adult size pair of red tightie whites trying to be as Underoos), waited in line to be one of the first to check it out.

Net net: I loved it. The origin story was well thought out and went way beyond the story of the strong man in the cape and red tights, in a way that not even the comic books (yeah, you heard me right) have done. The writers took some liberties with the story of planet Krypton and what led to its destruction, and overall, I think they did the story incredible justice.

Russell Crowe did an amazing job for the little time he was on screen as Jor-El, and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as the Smallville couple to raise Superman, were surprisingly touching. There was an emotion in the film that was always within reach, beautifully anchored by Lane’s simple, yet honest portrayal of a mother who at the end of day, only wanted her son’s safety and happiness, despite his destiny. This realness, along with the dark theme of the movie’s main character questioning his role in a world he doesn’t quiet understand, kept the movie grounded in a way the previous reboot (read Brandon Roth failure) could not. And while I will admit, Henry Cavill could have been better on the acting side, he couldĀ  not have looked better. The man was/is stunning. I mean my, God. (I’m only red blooded, give me a break).

I will say one annoyance in the film was Amy Adams’ Lois Lane. I used to like her but ever since Julie & Julia she just, oh I don’t know, bugs me. She had a cute outfit or two, though. So I guess it wasn’t a complete failure for her. But in general, the character of Lois Lane has always bugged me, even where crazy ass Margo Kidder played her. So well, that’s all I have to say about that.

Overall, I have to give two thumbs up to Man of Steel and I can’t wait until the next one. As a special nod to the score, which helped pull at my heart strings in just the right way at just the right moments, I’ve incluced a sample of Hans Zimmer’s insanely beautiful score for your listening pleasure. Also, I’ve included the ethereal “Elegy” by Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy, which was featured in the films’ trailers and can be heard subtly in Zimmer’s score.

 

Kick Ass 2

Time to change the tempo and talk less about ass kicking Superman and more Kick Ass 2.

I loved the first Kick Ass. The action/comedy/crime/superhero flick was totally unexpected one randomĀ  night when I rented a few years back. It had me on the edge of my seat the minute its off beat story began. When I heard plans for a sequel were in the works I was stoked. Yeah, I said it, stoked. And when trailers began leaking earlier this year, I was more than anxious.

If you haven’t seen the first Kick Ass, it is paraphrased (according to IMDB) as such: “the adventures of an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.” The movieĀ  was surprisingly good with decent acting from the always divine Mark Strong and used to be divine but now weird, Nicholas Cage.

At the end of the first flick it wasn’t clear whether or not there would be a sequel and when the release date was set, chatter started reaching fever pitch in online fan circles. There was even a lot of talk around Kick Ass 2 at this year’s Comic Con. Fans wondered if writers could recreate the magic created in the first movie, something the film’s stars addressed in a panel with the movie’s writer/producer.

Well, I saw Kick Ass 2 last weekend and thankfully, it was incredible. It was as dark/funny/action packed and off beat as the first movie, and to my surprise moved the story along in a way that was a nice progression from the first film and even brought out a new level of maturity in the movie’s main characters, portrayed by Aaron Taylor Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

From what I hear there are plans for a third and final installment in the franchise in another year or two. No formal announcement has been made announcing its green light, but I suspect it will only be a matter of time it is doing that well at the box office. But until then, I am definitely going to add this to my collection when the DVD is available just so I can hear zingers from 15 year old Hit Girl, including my favorite: “Act like a bitch, get hit like a bitch.”

I don’t think Superman would call anyone a bitch, but well, since both films are superhero driven, include angst in different ways, and show impressive kick ass action, they are the subject of my first movie mashup. Pair the gorgeous Elegy (above) with the theme song from The Banana Splits (i.e. “The Tra La La La Song” best heard in the first Kick Ass when pre-teen Hit Girl is eliminating a room full of gangsters and dealers, and well, there you go. Mashup!

 

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Movie Review: Chronicle

We’ve all seen our share of superhero movies. Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of them for the most part over the years. Sure, I grew up with Superman– there was an undeniable magnetism in Christopher Reeves that would turn any moviegoer into a fan. And sure, I ran around in Wonder Woman Underoos like many other 70s babies. And well, ok, who didn’t love Batman when it hit theaters in 1989-“ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” But these caveats aside, I shied away for the most part from flicks centered around superheroes whenever they hit the theater.

All that changed for me when X-Men arrived in 2000. Maybe my passion in film had allowed me to finally look at movies, all movies, in a whole new light; to think about the stories behind the characters, the messages of the films, and in some cases, check out mentally, and simply watch the good guy beat the hell out of the bad guy. It may have taken me awhile, but I finally got it, and superhero flicks no longer seemed juvenile, or even boyish, but well, pretty darn fantastic.

This past Friday I checked out Chronicle. It had been on my list of movies to see for a few months when the trailer began making the rounds. I was curious about a movie where three high school friends possessed a power that gave them the ability to move things with their mind, liked its short run time (too many movies have run on and on lately when really, they could have ended way before the 2 hour mark), and (honestly) the movie I wanted to see was playing later than I thought my sleep eyes could handle (the joys of getting old).

I sighed in disappointment when I realized after the first few minutes it was a found footage film . I’ve not been a fan of those either, except for Blair Witch which scared the hell out of me — the guy, standing in the corner at the end….what the hell was that?!?! But I quickly got over it as the movie unfolded.

Wrapped around three classmates who make a discovery that leads them to develop a strength that can only be described as Godlike-telekinesis,Ā  the three become unlikely friends, and as their powers grow, use it to deal with the everyday perils of high school and their lives as they know it.

It wasn’t your typical superhero movie, but when the lights came on and credits began to roll, I found myself pleasantly surprised.Ā There are moments that make you laugh out loud and moments of darkness that pull you so far down you wondered how it was possible in a film centered around such a simple story arc can go from one emotion to the next. But it did and in the end what I saw was an incredible story centered around the simple question of what if – what if one day you were given a power that could change your life, powers like those of a superhero? Would you use it for good, bad, or could you handle it?

Through its unique story, told through characters you can’t help but like, Chronicle answers that question simply: you wouldn’t use it, it would use you. And unlike superhero movies which leave you wanting the abilities of its characters, this movie left you glad you didn’t. To me, it was a fabulous twist on the superhero movie and for that, it gets a solid thumbs up from me.

Have you seen Chronicle? Did you like it? What are your favorite superhero movies?