Archive for the ‘Superheroes’ Category

Avengers Assemble

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Avenger's AssembleBack in 2008, the release of Iron Man garnered rave reviews from audiences and critics alike.  This opened the door for Marvel to move forward with bringing its epic universe to the big screen.

The grand plan of having Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk springboard from their own movies into a single all-out action fest, with scope to continue their own stories afterwards, has come to fruition, with the big green guy’s recasting proving the only real continuity blip.

Downey Jr.’s wise-cracking, arrogant but hugely likeable Tony Stark has made for a great Iron Man, even if the second movie was a little weak. Chris Hemsworth has also proved a genius piece of casting for Thor, blending brash with stoic to give viewers a hugely watchable embodiment of the mythological god, and the film was a fast, fun affair.

Chris Evans as Captain America is certainly better than the film itself, as the second half struggles to deliver on a promising start. Evans does a great job of merging the all-American action hero with a man driven purely by his morals, so he looked a smart choice for the role.  It was just a shame that the film came loose.

Edward Norton was entrusted with the role of Bruce Banner. The Incredible Hulk was itself a reboot after the dullard, lifeless effort Hulk from Ang Lee, and whilst Norton’s movie was a stark improvement, Marvel obviously felt he didn’t fit going forward, and recast him with Mark Ruffalo. Rumours suggest it was actually about money, but surely, in Hollywood, the land of charity and low wages, this cannot be true.

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Star Trek – in cinemas now

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

star-trekAs a sworn non-Trekkie who generally detests science fiction, I was awaiting Star Trek with some trepidation. Could I take a story seriously which claimed that the evolution of languages on other planets had so exactly matched our own that their inhabitants spoke a perfect North American vernacular? Could a film about non-existent creatures with squashed-up faces who seem bent on destruction for destruction’s sake really hold my attention for a whole two hours and seven minutes?

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

wolverineThe first in series of planned prequels to the original X-Men films, Wolverine traces the violent history of the titular mutant whose knuckles conceal sharp, lethal blades. An aggressive marketing campaign will no doubt attract Marvel readers in droves, but viewing figures threaten to peter out when audiences realised they’ve been conned into watching what is merely a bland and unnecessary money-spinner.

The story begins in 1840 in the Northwest Territories of Canada, where a young Logan (aka Wolverine)  unwittingly kills his father and later throws himself into the turbulence of war. As it happens, Canada wasn’t founded until 1867, but why let historical accuracy get in the way of a ‘good’ plot?

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Watchmen – coming soon

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

It’s ten minutes to midnight.

Released over twenty years ago between 1986 and 87, to say that Watchmen was an influential success would be a pretty epic understatement. It cemented Alan Moore’s reputation as a writer in the graphic novel medium and since then, more than a fair few of his graphic novels have (much to his chagrin) been adapted for the big screen, most notably V For Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Constantine, and Jack the Ripper conspiracy theory yarn From Hell. His treatment of the Joker in his celebrated Batman one-shot The Killing Joke, is widely cited as being a major influence on both Tim Burton’s 1989 movie, the subsequent Batman animated series, and recent outing The Dark Knight.

No Watchmen, no Heroes. Simple as.

The comic book is set in an alternative universe where superheroes exist – it is 1985, and the Cold War is on the verge of becoming a very, very hot one.

In this universe, the USA won the Vietnam War, and Watergate never happened – Nixon is still the President. The West is defended by a small elite corps of licensed superheroes, the most powerful of which, Dr. Manhattan, has given the States an edge over the Soviets. However, things take a turn for the worse – the story begins with the discovery that The Comedian, an ultra-patriotic American superhero is found dead, having been hurled several stories from his apartment.

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The Dark Knight – in cinemas now

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Anyone expecting the standard superhero CGI-endowed spandex suit romp should take note of the title; they warned you up front that this film was going to be dark. And at nearly 3 hours long, The Dark Knight certainly feels like a long, dark night of the soul.

The film comes lumbered with the albatross of the much documented and unfortunate passing of actor Heath Ledger, who practically steals the show as the Joker – at times the film feels like Silence of the Lambs in that it is dominated by the presence of a character whether he’s on screen or not. And, like Dr. Lecter, the Joker knows how to put stationary to effective use and how to win an audience over via sheer charisma and an arsenal of wisecracks. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger,” he quips.

With a plot as winding and labyrinthine as the corridors of Gotham’s own Arkham Asylum, the follow up to 2005’s Batman Begins is a relentless and intelligent superhero movie that demands your attention.

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Hancock – in cinemas now

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Having been maligned by many reviewers upon its release a few weeks ago, the DVD Rental crew weren’t expecting much from Hancock, the latest Will Smith sci-fi action outing, but we left our local cinema pleasantly surprised.

Vigilante superhero crimefighter John Hancock (Smith) can fly, pick up cars, stop trains with an outstretched hand, is impervious to bullets, beatings, rocket propelled grenades, but is unloved by his public, who repeatedly refer to him as ‘asshole’, as his actions invariably cause more damage to his adopted hometown of LA than the criminals he sets out to apprehend – think the first five minutes of Team America: World Police and you’re kind of on the right lines. He is also an alcoholic smartarse.  ‘I can smell the liquor on your breath,’ snaps one irate rescuee. ‘Well, that’s ’cause I’ve been drinking, bitch.’

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The Dark Knight – coming soon

Monday, June 9th, 2008

The latest instalment in the Batman movie franchise is arriving on screens this month, and is shaping up to be one of the biggest movie titles this year, despite its release being both delayed by the WGA writer’s strike and overshadowed by the tragic passing of Heath Ledger, whose ragged and anarchic take on Bruce Wayne’s arch nemesis the Joker has already galvanised interest – his powdered face and lipstick-smeared mouth appeared over the internet like rash as part of a viral campaign last year.

The Dark Knight follows on from 2005’s Batman Begins, and is not, as was briefly suggested, a movie adaptation of Frank Miller’s successful The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel mini series.

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Heroes Season 1 Boxset

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

With the second season of the hit sci-fi serial Heroes due to touch down on BBC2 anytime soon, everything Heroes-related has been flying off the shelves like hotcakes of late.

According to our sources, the Season 1 box set has been one of the most requested items on customers wish lists, as subscribers have been keen to take advantage of the fact that multi-disc box sets (sensibly) only count as one order, and those on unlimited plans can keep hold of an order for as long as they want. (more…)