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Instead of starting a thread for the summer movies season like I did last year, I thought in light of all the film series this could be a thread to discuss superhero movies in general, new or old, regardless of release date.

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TDKR was a good film, as you have come to expect from the makers of The Dark Knight, Batman Begins and Inception. It had a fairly original dramatic story with some very exciting scenes and (mostly-unexpected) plot twists. It was well-scripted. I like that the movie included elements of the first film to make it seem more like a unified Batman trilogy. I also like a couple new things like the flying "Bat" vehicle being chased by missiles scene. Catwoman was great. Anne Hathaway is beautiful and does a great job with the character. I plan on buying this movie, but TDKR is a somewhat different kind of Batman movie.

 

TDKR wasn't as overall capivating as TDK or even BB. It actually suffered from some somewhat boring stretches, unlike the previous two Batman films which I felt didn't have any at all. And Bane is just not that interesting of a villain to me, not even as close to being as cool as the Ra's al Ghul, Scarecrow, Joker and Two-Face. Bane is not even visually interesting to me, and surprisingly his heavily-modulated Vaderesque voice doesn't do anything to make me like the character more. Maybe it also doesn't help that Bane is after my comic-book-collecting era, so he just doesn't seem "Batmanish" to me.

 

As much I enjoyed Catwoman, I have mixed feelings about the use of her in this movie. The classic ambiguous morality thing comes across as cliche due to the fact that she just seems out of place in this film. Not that she doesn't have an important role in the plot, but it seems like she may have even been added to the story an afterthought or as preexisting requirement that she had to somehow be shoehorned into the plot this movie. TDKR is definitely a Bane film, but it is not really a Catwoman film. The presense of Catwoman at least does make this film seem a little more Batmanish to me.

 

There is absolutely no mention or even reference to the Joker in the film, and Chris Nolan has long stated the reason is because of the real-world tragedy of the actor's death. Nolan feels that is was the best way to respect the memory of Heath Ledger and his outstanding singular performance in the Batman Trilogy. From a real-world perspective, I totally respect that, but from an in-story perspective, that doesn't help to unify the trilogy. Yes, the events of TDKR do chronologically follow TDK, and TDKR has several references to the deaths of Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes, but TDKR still seems more like another sequel to BB than the third part of a trilogy. Nolan admittedly didn't have the series planned out ahead of time and instead just made them one at a time with very little thought given to the next. To me, none of that excuses TDKR's mere cameo use of Jonathan Crane, with no appearance of him as Scarecrow and no final resolution existing for this "trilogy" character.

 

As good of a movie as this was, TDKR just didn't feel like an inherently "Batman" film (as opposed to the previous two movies which I both consider to be quintessential Batman films). It seems like you could replace all the Batman mythos characters with original ones and still have a not too disimilar decent standalone movie. The movie is defintely epic in scale (maybe even too epic for a Batman story), but the film is resultingly overly dark and depressing. And although nuclear explosives have been an exciting climatic plot device of other recent films I have enjoyed (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Avengers), I fear that their dramatic value may seem cheapened by oversaturation.

 

I re-watched my blu-rays of BB and TDK to have them fresh in my mind before viewing TDKR. I tried to watch TDKR with an open mind to remain unbiased by my prophecy that there was no posible way the new movie could top TDK, but sadly I was right. Despite all this, I still see TDKR as the third greatest Batman film ever made. My rankings of the Nolan and other Batman films I have seen:

 

1. The Dark Knight

2. Batman Begins

3. The Dark Knight Rises

4. Batman (1989)

5. Batman Forever

6. Batman (1966, sometimes subtitled "The Movie")

7. Batman & Robin

8. Batman Returns

 

Warner Brothers started planning the next Batman reboot even before the release of TDKR. Like with The Amazing Spider-Man, it will probably be too soon, but the next Batman film will also serve a greater purpose of being part of a unified "Justice League" cinematic universe (a la Marvel's Avengers) that will kick-off with the new Superman movie next year.

Edited by Whill
tense

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As far as the big 3 superhero movies this summer, I have to rank them this way:

 

1. The Avengers

2. The Dark Knight Rises

3. The Amazing Spider-Man

 

Avengers is defintely my favorite superhero group movie ever made (it blows away any X-Men film), but it is hard for me to compare Avengers to even it's own preceeding MCU "solo" hero films (my favorites of which are the original Iron Man and Captain America).

 

It was definitely too soon to reboot Spider-Man, but I suspect Sony's license only has so many more years left. I went into it not expecting it to be as good as Spider-Man (2002), and it wasn't. But it was still an OK movie by its own right. If you love Spider-Man, I suggest seeing The Amazing Spider-Man someday. I recommend viewing it as just another take on Spider-Man and trying not to compare. If you feel it is too soon for another Spider-Man movie, then I suggest not watching any Spider-Man films for a long time before watching this new movie, to allow it to be as fresh as possible for you. And for the other film score nerds out there, I have to say that the sometimes-great James Horner blew it. The music was terrible for this film.

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My personal belief is that they need to rest some of the more commonly seen super heroes and focus on some newer heroes. Both Spiderman and Superman, and to some extent Batman, have been done, done, and done again. Let them rest.

 

I can only hope the X-men don't start doing the same thing. This new X-Men better be the last iteration for a while...and I'm talking a decade AT LEAST between the last X-Men movie with this new cast and the next reboot of the X-Men with a new cast playing the same characters. The Hulk is another that certainly falls into this category, though I will say the Mark Rufallo did a pretty nice job of the part compared to some of the more recent attempts at the Banner/Hulk persona.

 

The Avengers was a great movie in that it did not focus too much on any one particular hero, and instead focused on them working as a team. I liked that. While I liked the individual super movies that lead up to the Avengers (Captain America probably first, followed by IronMan/Thor), I much preferred them working as a team in Avengers. I would certainly be in line for the next Avengers movie.

 

So here's hoping there will be more super hero movies that aren't just yet-another rehash of a super hero movie we've seen before (a la Spiderman, Batman, or Superman). Can they pull off a Justice League? Only if they can have a super smash hit with their newest incarnation of Superman. Without ol' Supes, Justice League will flounder and perform badly. Plus they'd need to come up with a believable and entertaining Wonder Woman.

Edited by Grimace
fixing a stupid omission

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My personal belief is that they need to rest some of the more commonly seen super heroes and focus on some newer heroes. Both Spiderman and Superman, and to some extent Batman, have been done, done, and done again. Let them rest [...]So here's hoping there will be more super hero movies that aren't just yet-another rehash of a super hero movie we've seen before (a la Spiderman, Batman, or Superman). Can they pull off a Justice League? Only if they can have a super smash hit with their newest incarnation of Superman. With ol' Supes, Justice League will flounder and perform badly. Plus they'd need to come up with a believable and entertaining Wonder Woman.

 

Amen. I realize the economic realities of re-using the same characters over and over again... but even digging through the back catalog of Marvel or DC would be worthwhile. Or better yet, some new superheroes would be better. I know Jon Favreau is a big fanboy, for example, but I'm sure he could come up with some pretty cool guys. Whedon too. I enjoyed "Hancock" a lot for that reason, not a perfect film, but at least a different kind of SH. I'd enjoy some 70s-sendup filming of Power Man or the Legion of Scantily-Clad Superheroes.

 

As for the Justice League, good luck. I enjoyed the Super Friends as a kid, but figuring out ways for Superman and Aquaman to each fight a villain is going to challenge the best filmmaker.

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There are actually two X-Men prequels* in the works, the next First Class and Wolverine movies. I collected the X-Men comic series in the 80s, but to me, none of the X-Men franchise movies are spectacular. X-Men 3 was the worst of them all, so going the route of prequels has been a good call so far.

 

The new Superman reboot is largely what the last Superman film was supposed to be before Bryan Singer convinced Warner Brothers to instead let him make a sequel to the two Richard Donnor films. I'm not a big fan of the character, but this new Superman is supposed to be a darker and less-powered version, so I am a little intrigued. I read that they are proceeding with mindset that there were no previous Superman films to attempt to be as new and fresh as possible (for the first time they are not using John Williams' classic themes). Currently Superman is mainly nostalgia for my childhood - not only the Richard Donner movies I enjoyed much more as a child, but also for Superfriends.

 

Superfriends is where my love affair with DC began. I think it is very possible to write threats/challenges into a Justice League movie for both Superman and Aquaman. The Superfriends stories usually had something for Aquaman to do, so how hard can it be? :-)

 

Plus they'd need to come up with a believable and entertaining Wonder Woman.

 

I couldn't agree more! My favorite superheroes are Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel (better known as Shazam), probably due to them both being heavily-based on classical mythology. Josh Whedon (now of Avengers fame) was once attached to the development of a Wonder Woman film but with the Avengers and its sequels, I'm sure he is very happy with the way things turned out.

 

 

* The Wolverine (2013) has since been announced as being a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand, instead of being another prequel to X-Men.

Edited by Whill
(The Wolverine has since been announced as a sequel to X-Men the Last Stand, instead of being another prequel to The X-Men.)

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The X-Men movies are "fair". Not great. The first was pretty good. The second, while better in some regards, really felt rushed. The third was not so good. The reboot was fair, with decent potential. It'll be interesting to see where they go from there. I wasn't aware they were going to be doing TWO more X-men movies with the new cast. I figured on one for sure.

 

I had heard the next X-men film was going to attempt a fairly superb run in the comics: Days of Future Past. I have a feeling it'll be as rushed and truncated as the Wolverine origin story was in the second X-men movie. And I really, really, REALLY hope they do the Sentinels justice. Make them the size and intimidation factor that they really were in the comics (but hopefully do away with the purple undies look of them...make them INTIMIDATING looking, darn it!)

 

 

Side note: On the Captain Marvel / Shazam naming...I always get confused when I see the name Captain Marvel. When a person says Shazam, I know exactly which character they're talking about. I used to read the Shazam comics as a kid, so that's what I was mostly familiar with for naming.

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When I said two more "X-Men" movies, that's including the next Wolverine movie. Sorry for the confusion, but the Wolverine films are a part of the X-Men film series so I include them. They are all intended to take place in the same continuity (despite some minor discrepencies between them). The Wolverine, based on the 1982 limited series by Claremont and Frank Miller, comes out in 2013.

 

X-Men: First Class is not really an all-out "reboot" per se. It is a prequel that happens to include a few minor retcons, just like X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And yes, the next film with the First Class cast is indeed entitled X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and based on the the 1981 Uncanny X-Men comic story I also remember from my childhood.

 

Side note: On the Captain Marvel / Shazam naming...I always get confused when I see the name Captain Marvel. When a person says Shazam, I know exactly which character they're talking about. I used to read the Shazam comics as a kid, so that's what I was mostly familiar with for naming.

 

First published in February 1940, this is the original Captain Marvel. You may remember that "Shazam" is the name of the ancient wizard that granted his powers, and also the word that Billy Batson says to call down the magic lightning bolt that transforms him into the Captain Marvel persona. When the character wasn't being published in the 60s, Marvel (the comic publisher) somehow purchased exclusive rights for any titles including "Captain Marvel". So when DC began publishing the original Captain Marvel in the early 70s, they were blocked from using Captain Marvel and so marketed the character using the word Shazam instead. Since then, the character has understandably become better known by that world.

 

Last year, DC launched their biggest continuity reboot ever. DC has now completely embraced Captain Marvel's "Shazam" identification, and is about to relaunch the character under the name of Shazam. So it's finally official. Since Marvel are being greedy jerks about a comic title they rarely use, it's just as well that Shazam won't have "Marvel" in his name anymore. And honestly, unless a superhero really is a captain of sorts, having "Captain" in the character's name is corny. So I'm OK with the hero being known as "Shazam" too.

 

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