Saturday, June 16, 2012

For The Man of Steel, I Have High Hopes, Low Expectations

DC Comics characters, from
I am a long-time DC Comics fan. As a child of the 70s, my earliest comics are from about 1974, the days of the 80-Page Spectaculars. While I had a few Marvel Spider-Man comics, I was a DC boy, all the way. As such, I was treated to some pretty good Hollywood adaptations in my youth. We had the Batman TV show. We had the Wonder Woman TV show. And we had Super-Friends, Batman and Robin, Superman, Aquaman and by the late 70s, Superman: The Movie.

All the while, Marvel fans had a half-way decent Spider-Man cartoon, some really lame Marvel Super-Heroes cheapo cartoons, a supremely lame Amazing Spider-Man live-action show (and Spidey on The Electric Company) and the dour The Incredible Hulk. Eventually, the Hulk series degenerated into a movie-of-the-week pseudo series, with desperate attempts for spinoffs of Daredevil, Thor and others. DC was winning the pop culture battle.

Sort of. The Flash was a short-lived DC prime time effort. Batman won acclaim at the box office under Tim Burton, until Joel Schumacher killed it with bat-nipples. Cat Woman died at the theater, and Spider-Man kicked ass. The Fantastic Four gained dollars for Marvel with two films, though it was critically drubbed. The X-Men had a three-movie (or five, whatever) series that was mixed, but somewhat successful. There was Ghost Rider and Watchmen and Constantine and many others. But outside of the latter day Dark Knight (Batman) movies, Marvel Comics is winning the pop culture battle decisively. That's a huge caveat, since DK movies are the critical holy grail of movies. I--curiously enough (a lonely fan of Superman Returns) found those flicks to be rather meh. Whatevs.

70s Spider-Man, from Zaki's Corner
So, now we have a brand-new, rebooted Marvel Amazing Spider-Man, just a couple of years outside of the original trilogy. And we have a brand new, rebooted Man of Steel, Superman movie, six years after the previous reboot/continuation of Superman: The Movie and Superman II (and ignoring Superman III and IV: The Quest for Peace). Brandon Routh, the star of the previous movie, was the very essence of Clark Kent and Superman. He was a doppelganger of Christopher Reeve, and a good actor. It was not his fault that there were several false starts, and tons of money spent in the interim between IV and Returns.

But, the idiots in Hollywood decided that the 2006 movie was at fault (and I'm in the minority of viewers who believes otherwise). So, it's reboot  time. Which isn't surprising when you consider that DC Comics reboots itself every six or seven years these days. They went along with one continuity from 1938 to 1984 or so (with an invisible transition in the 1950s-60s), and rebooted it in 1986. Then, they couldn't stop doing that, and made it a regular event. So, we've got to get used to rebooting, and rebooting and rebooting. It will be so with every popular franchise of every kind of character from now until the end of pop culture.

So, I'll hope for the best of Man of Steel, while expecting the worst. Henry Cavill is the new Clark, and he's British (just as the American born, but English-raised Andrew Garfield, the new Amazing Spider-Man is). He looks nothing like Christopher Reeve nor Routh, though he's plenty handsome.  There's something odd about both Spider-Man's and Superman's new costumes. The previous movies' versions were exemplary, the best combination of real-world and classic design possible. The new ones look derivitive and somehow dirty.  Not digging it, guys. I'm willing to change my mind if warranted. But I'm not optimistic.

Image from source, LA Times

‘Man of Steel’: Zack Snyder says film has ‘date with destiny’ 

When the Warner Bros. film “Man of Steel” opens one year from today it will be flying in formation with history, which is  a source of considerable excitement for director Zack Snyder.
“The thing that’s really special and hasn’t really been acknowledged is that ‘Man of Steel’ comes out on the 75th anniversary of ‘Action Comics’ No. 1,” the filmmaker said just before a stage appearance at the recent Hero Complex Film Festival.  ”That’s the very first appearance of Superman. I haven’t seen people talk about that yet. . .”

Read more at: Los Angeles Times

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