Superheroes everywhere!

Following on from yesterday’s Suicide Squad post, here’s another entry into the DC Extended Universe. Scheduled for a 25th March release in the US and UK, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (a longer superhero film title would be harder to find) is the follow-up to Man of Steel. Zack Synder is once again at the helm and Henry Cavill will once again be donning the red cape. The major casting coup though, is Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/ Batman.

Following in the wake of Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s Batman could have been seen as a bit of a challenge, but I reckon Mr Synder and Warner Bros. have got the right man for the job. That Mr Affleck is also prepared to direct and star in what some are calling a “Batman reboot” further down the line points to headier times for our Gothan based night dweller. It’s good to see a star of Mr Affleck’s quality committing to such a project and he’s no slouch in the directing department either, picking up critical acclaim for Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo. Here’s a look at one of the trailers.

Oh yes, that is indeed Wonder Woman making an appearance. That’s what the “Dawn of Justice” part of the title alludes to. For those of a non-comic orientation, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are part of the Justice League. Think “Marvel’s Avengers” but with a DC spin – so expect more DC superheroes to be introduced in the future to fill out the Justice League roster.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Comic book adaptation obsession

This is by no means a criticism. I started enjoying reading sequential art 30 years ago and still read The Walking Dead – I’m a fan. That the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought a bunch of super-human costume wearers into the public domain and made them unbelievably popular is to be applauded. The DC Extended Universe has taken a little longer to get up to speed, with The Dark Knight Trilogy being their blueprint for the future of their cinematic outings. I suppose Man of Steel (2013) was the first “official” release into that extended universe, but the “gritty realism” shown in Christopher Nolan’s take on the world created by DC Comics clearly imbues the look and feel of Zack Synder’s Superman adaptation.

While it was obvious Man of Steel would get a sequel, it was a bit of a surprise to hear the announcement from DC and their partner Warner Brothers that the continuation of this universe would include a Suicide Squad adaptation. I’d heard of the comic but was not familiar with it at all. Of course, that’s all about to change with the realise of the film locked in for 5th August in the UK and US. With a cast that includes Oscar winner Jared Leto playing the Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, you can colour me interested. Check out this trailer to get yourself up to speed.

I’m liking the look of that! And what better way to publicise such an ensemble cast than to produce some nice character posters as well? Hopefully, the use of such a distinctive style for the posters – rather than the usual head-shots – is an indication of the value of the production itself. We can but hope.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Timing is…

…everything!

I don’t really think Warner Bros. were ever going to win with this one. From the stratospheric high of “Chewie, we’re home” we were always going to be a little let down by anything we saw after that. And that anything just so happens to be the Big Push from DC Entertainment/ Warner Bros. to muscle in on the hitherto unchallenged Marvel Cinematic Universe. Take a look.

I like it. You’ve got to have a Yin for every Yang and DC/ Warner are clearly invested in Christopher Nolan’s gritty “realism” of the Dark Knight franchise and all who now fall within the DC realm. There’s no point in going for the brightly coloured, “jokey edge” that’s worked so well for the MCU. You’ve got to be seen to be trying something different and that’s where we are with the DC Universe. OK, so it’s a bit of a come-down from J J’s (hopefully) Lazarus-like resurrection of (almost) everybody’s favourite space-dwelling characters, but I’m sure on any other day most of us would be getting extremely excited for the next chapter in the Dark Knight’s world.

I know Zack Snyder isn’t particularly popular with the fanboys and girls of this world, but I really like his style and was totally invested in his retelling of the Superman story. With Mr. Nolan behind him (a bit like Mr. Whedon at Marvel), gently guiding the DC projects along the path he created with the Dark Knight franchise, I’m sure we’re in for a real treat. So let’s get on board the good train “gritty” and see where it takes us.

And after all that brooding darkness, here’s something to draw you towards the light of happiness. Feast your eyes on a couple of fantastic new one-sheets for Colin Trevorrow’s entry into the world of genetically created dinosaurs. They’re doozies!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Interstellar – here’s the thing…

Intersteller Banner

I know it’s late to the party, but Interstellar is the film that has pulled me from my film blogging malaise. That and a little nagging from a very close friend who hasn’t seen it and wanted to know what I thought (I know…he’s easily pleased!). Having initially read about Christopher Nolan‘s latest opus some time ago – and clearly looked forward to seeing it in the subsequent months/ years – I’d pretty much avoided all forms of publicity so as to experience Interstellar “fresh”. Obviously, I hadn’t managed to avoid everything; the occasional 30 second TV spot would be glimpsed and shied away from, but on the whole I had little idea what to expect apart from (hopefully) something good. I was not disappointed.

Intersteller PosterIn this age of spoon-fed exposition and by-the-numbers narrative progression I believe we’ve lost the art of watching films. Most Hollywood fare these days requires you to deposit your brain at the door, consume as much popcorn/ dirty-water-dogs/ nachos/ carbonated beverage/ slushy/ pick-n-mix as possible – ’cause that’s what’s making the money – and look at the screen. I don’t really need to say it, but I will anyway; looking and watching are two completely different things. And that’s what Interstellar asks from its audience. It needs to be watched. We don’t necessarily have to understand straight away; good writing reveals those wonderful kernels as the narrative progresses. But we do need to watch. Allow the narrative construct to take us on its ultimately rewarding journey. And what a journey. For all its sci-fi bombast – I’m sure Legendary Pictures’ publicity department wants us to think nothing else – I believe this is a film with a wholly different central theme and one which deeply resonated with me.

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey

With a great cast – and a couple of pleasant surprises for me, having avoided most of Interstellar‘s publicity – I would venture to say that Interstellar is Mr. Nolan’s best film to date. Matthew McConaughey continues his remarkable career renaissance with another powerful performance – and yes folks, I have witnessed Sahara. Another highlight would be the wonderful turns from Bill Irwin and Josh Stewart lending their voices to TARS and CASE, two automaton “guardians”. TARS in particular provides the right level of sass and schtick – allowed through his programming – to keep the crew on their toes and the audience invested in its’ own journey. Not since Huey and Dewey from the marvelous Silent Running have I cared so much for a couple of hunks of metal and electronics.  It would be churlish to describe Anne Hathaway‘s delivery as perfunctory, but it must be said that she is the (slightly) weak link in an otherwise solid chain. That said, there is nothing glaringly distracting from the whole process that would detract from this impressive entry in Mr. Nolan’s oeuvre. Go and see Interstellar – in IMAX if possible. You won’t be disappointed. I know I wasn’t.

Thank you for reading.

Man of Steel & why I loved it!

An alternative review

Empire Magazine gave it 4 stars and Mark Kermode was “disappointed”. The Flixster app – in conjunction with Rotten Tomatoes – is showing that, to date, out of 81 reviews, only 56% have been positive. Two people I’ve spoken to this morning both disliked it – both citing a lack of a decent script – while my best friend gave it an 8 and summarily changed that to a 9, post a quick text conversation with me.

An alternative poster

An alternative poster

I’ll put it out there straight off the bat…I LOVED it! (Use of Caps & Italics definitely intended!) I got it! I see where it’s coming from and I’m so along for the ride. It’s got all the ingredients and ticks all the boxes. Christopher Nolan (intelligent filmmaker), Zack Synder (great cinematic debut, loved 300 & Watchmen), Henry Cavill (eye-wateringly handsome), Michael Shannon (oscar-winner in waiting – watch Take Shelter to find out why), Amy Adams (great actor), Russell Crowe (in majestic form) and Kevin Costner (just keeps getting better & better). I loved the “real world” setting. I loved the playing with the chronology of the narrative. I loved the “vulnerability” of Clark/ Kal. I loved the screen-chewing presence of Zod. And I particularly loved the relationship between Clark/ Kal and his fathers.

Man of Steel alternative review

Russell Crowe as Jor-El

Maybe it was because I had been taken to the cinema by my daughter on Father’s Day, I don’t know. It just felt lovely. Jor’s sacrifice for the greater good felt so noble. Being able to see Kal interact with Jor later in the film was great – you can never get enough of Russell when he’s on that sort of form! But it was the portrayal of the relationship Clark had with his “Earth father” Jonathan that sealed the deal for me. Kevin Costner was just fantastic! As far as I’m concerned there wasn’t enough of his character in the film. And I know the final act is a bit long. I know the visuals are a bit what-the-hell-is-going-on-it’s-too-damn-much-and-too-blurry. I know it may seem too reverential. But, you know what? I. Don’t. Care. It was that central bond between Clark and his father. That sense of good. That belief that he knew his son was put on his planet to strive for the greater good.

Man of Steel alternative review

Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent

It was that core of Man of Steel that I loved!