How do you like the news that Affleck will be the Caped Crusader on the big screen?
Posts Tagged ‘Batman’
It’s that time of year again when temperatures are warm, skies are blue — and we want to go sit in the dark with a tub of popcorn and watch flickering images.
Here are the movies we’re looking forward to seeing this summer:
Nerd: Andy Smith
Movie: “The Avengers”
In theaters: May 4
Somewhere around the mid-2000s, Marvel had finally gotten around to reading my diary and announced that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were coming to the silver screen. I have been camped out beside the restrooms of my local cineplex since then, and this Friday marks the culmination of years of anticipation for a live-action Avengers film and backaches from the lobby floor.
Some have been waiting since that pivotal after-credits scene between Tony Stark and Nick Fury in “Iron Man.” This is our reference point for “The Avengers,” followed by “Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” For others, it goes back further than the inception of the so-called “Marvel Cinematic Universe” and into the comic book films of the early 2000s. They would say Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” lit the wick (and others would push up their bifocaled lenses to say that 1999′s “Blade” was the first great comic film of this generation). Preceding those were years of sporadic comic films with entries that are both treasured and shunned. Moviegoers, obviously, have been up for this film for some time.
And then there are folks like yours truly — a comic nerd from the time he knew what a comic book is (and figured out it wasn’t a tiny band inside his parents’ car radios making them pretty noises). It seemed so simple as a kid: Just make a great movie out of this great comic book. Just take any of these classic arcs — Stan Lee’s original run, “Trial of the Yellow Jacket,” and toward adulthood, Mark Millar’s “Ultimates,”a reimagining of the team. And, as weird as it is to say, they actually ended up doing it.
It’s a brilliant concept, really: release all of these solo films, providing a foundation for each primary member of the team. Though we all have our misgivings, I stand by the casting of each Avenger. If any of these films has to be truly great, it’s this one. Thankfully, they gave the keys of this magic carpet ride to Joss Whedon. Whedon has dominated just about every entertainment medium short of puppet theatre (though I hear something’s in the works). His “Astonishing X-Men” comic book run is one of the best superhero stories ever crafted. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” has a lore and television fanbase that rivals many of the genre (though to be honest, vampires are super lame). And though he hasn’t been truly tested as a director, he’s an immensely successful film scribe.
So let’s hope “The Avengers” is as good as all of those early reviews claim. I know I haven’t anticipated a film more than this one, and I’ll be counting down the minutes until that midnight showing. And mostly, I just want to go home and get this popcorn smell out of my hair.
Nerd: Ashlee Maddy
Movie: “Dark Shadows”
In theaters: May 11
Tim Burton is known for giving a unique spin to all of his projects. You know immediately when you’re watching a Burton film. His adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, for example, have changed the way we see the classic stories. For his latest project, he has chosen a slightly obscure soap opera with a cult following.
Burton will collaborate once again with Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows, which opens nationwide May 11. The gothic Shadows originally aired from 1966 to 1971 and featured an array of supernatural creatures. Burton and Depp have both admitted to being fans and were thrilled to bring the show to the big screen. The film focuses on the most famous inhabitant of Collinwood, who made his appearance one year into the series, a vampire named Barnabus Collins.
Depp’s Collins awakens after 200 years to find himself in the middle of the 1970s. Although the initial trailers give off a campy vibe, all the reviews and interviews I’ve read have assured diehard fans of the series that the movie has the perfect balance of eccentricity and darkness we’ve come to expect from Burton’s films.
I’ve watched the original Shadows recently on Netflix and am really looking forward to Burton’s take on it. With Depp anchoring the cast, I’m sure it will at least keep my attention.
Nerd: Me (Brad McElhinny)
In theaters: June 8
The trouble is, I have no idea. It might be a prequel to “Alien” or it might not — but there are hinty hints that it exists in a universe where space predators with big teeth come crashing out of chest cavities.
I’ve gotta admit, part of my excitement about this movie has to do with my curiosity about what’s going on here.
The Ridley Scott film has familiar elements — Charlize Theron as a corporate heavy, Michael Fassbender as a synthetic life-form crew member and Noomi Rapace as a badass archaeologist. Sounds like an Alien-ish cast to me.
Even if there’s only a sliver of relation to “Alien,” the premise sounds pretty chilling: a group of adventurers headed to a distant planet in search of a civilization that visited earth long ago — and the events that go wrong in a dark corner of the universe. It promises to be a chest-buster.
Nerd: Duane Maddy
Movie: “G.I.Joe: Retaliation”
In Theaters: June 29
As one of the dozen-or-so people who enjoyed the prior Joe flick, ‘Rise of Cobra’, I am eagerly awaiting this Jon M. Chu movie. I must say, for the record, I could live the remainder of my days and never see Channing Tatum or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in another film, but the anticipation for seeing Zartan, Jinx, and Snake Eyes on the screen makes me happy.
Bruce Willis plays a character named General Joe Colton, or G.I.Joe, who heads up the top secret missions associated with the Joe team in the imaginary G.I.Joe universe, but it’s unknown how big of a roll he’ll play in the movie. Ray Park revisits the roll of Snake Eyes. Park’s always excellent at bringing action – single handedly making Star Wars Episode 1 tolerable – so his ability to bring Snake Eyes to life was a great choice.
The brilliant success of the G.I.Joe comic books and cartoons of the 1980s was the nearly science fiction type atmosphere of the villains. This movie is said to have more of a relation to that style of storytelling as Cobra Commander gets a helmet a little closer to resembling his original and Zartan has more of a diabolical roll. This movie should provide all the action of a Summer blockbuster while offering some avid Joe fans something to keep their attention.
Nerd: Summer Shelton
Movie: “The Amazing Spider-Man”
In Theaters: July 3
While Tobey Maguire’s Spidey only ended his run in 2007, I’m pumped for another take on this classic comic book hero. With Mark Webb ((500) Days of Summer) in the director’s chair, The Amazing Spider-Man is set to have a more realistic and contemporary feel. A guy named Webb directing the latest Spider-Man installment? Yes, please!
Add a Brit in the mix, Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), as Spider-Man, and you know that I am game. The only thing that would have gotten me more excited about the movie is if Donald Glover (Community) would have been cast in the role. However, as a nod to the internet campaign that tried to get Glover cast as Peter Parker, there will be something hidden in the set design of Peter’s bedroom that will be a shoutout to Glover. Everyone remember to keep your eyes peeled!
Further adding to my excitement for The Amazing Spider-Man is the absence of Mary Jane Watson, who was played rather annoyingly by Kirsten Dunst. Peter’s love interest in this movie is Gwen Stacy, who will be played by the gorgeous, funny, and talented Emma Stone. Gwen is Spidey’s first love in the comics—her relationship with Peter in this movie has been described as having a Hepburn-Tracy dynamic. If this is so, I look forward to some fast and witty Adam’s Rib-type dialogue.
The casting of Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Uncle Ben and Aunt May is also intriguing. The villain is Dr. Curt Connors, a.k.a. the Lizard, played by Rhys Ifans. Not being a devoted reader of the comic book, I have little name recognition with the Lizard, so I hope it means something to you nerds. I do know that he is missing an arm and his past has something to do with Peter’s dead father.
Fans of the comic will be pleased to know that Garfield was a devoted reader himself. He grew up loving Spidey, pretending he was him, and identifying with the nerd-hero. It is safe to say that this beloved character is in good hands, hands equipped with the original artificial web-shooters.
Nerd: Zack Harold
Movie: “The Dark Knight Rises”
In Theaters: July 20
The movie I’m really looking forward to this year doesn’t come out until November. That’s “Skyfall,” the new James Bond flick. But this summer, I’ll get to my second-favorite fictional hero in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“Rises” is the last of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, which started with 2005′s “Batman Begins” and 2008′s “The Dark Knight.” Both were fantastic films and huge blockbusters. I doubt “Rises” will break that trend.
Take, for starters, the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GokKUqLcvD8
Bane, the super-villian who first appeared in 1993′s “Batman: Vengeance of Bane” comic book series, is back. And unlike his last live-action film appearance (1997′s “Batman & Robin”), he looks really freaking scary. I mean, he blows up a stadium full of football fans after that little boy sang the national anthem. Can’t get more evil than that.
The tagline for “Rises” is “The legend ends.” I don’t know what that means, exactly–Bane breaks Bruce Wayne’s back in the comic books, though Batman eventually makes a comeback–but Nolan has said previously that this movie will end the trilogy.
What does that mean? Will Bruce Wayne die? Or will he rid Gotham of its bad guys once and for all? Both scenarios are unlikely, I think. Guess we’ll have to wait ’til July 20 and find out.
Nerd: Josh Work
In theaters: June 22
I’m a fan of traditional animation over computer animation for the same reason that I don’t care much for 3-D movies – that is, I don’t feel that movie makers should compensate for poor story and lack of character development by throwing in flashy visuals. That said, Pixar has done a good job of not disappointing me in the past with cinematic marvels such as “Wall-E” and “Up.”
From everything that I’ve seen of “Brave” so far, I’m pretty excited. It promises a great mixture of goofiness and drama, with a fiery young heroine to boot. It brings to mind another animated film, “The Secret of Kells,” a Celtic tale that touches on the art of illumination, though I would bet that “Brave” will prove to be a more accessible – and therefore more enjoyable – movie.
It’s also kicking off a few firsts for Pixar. The heroine of “Brave,” Princess Merida, is the studio’s first female protagonist. My nerd sense tells me I should point out the random fact that Pixar has some ties to the Japanese (traditional animation) company Studio Ghibli – Pixar executive John Lasseter is good friends with Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, whose films tend to star young girls with short haircuts. Is that detail relevant? Who knows!
“Brave” is also Pixar’s first fairy tale, and as such, it has the potential to take a darker turn than the studio’s usual fare. Early synopses make mention of a breaking of sacred customs and a curse that must be undone. This film has the potential to draw deeply from Scottish mythology while maintaining enough humor and action to keep audiences entranced to the end.
Much has been written on Nerd Living about DC Comics complete reboot, dubbed “The New 52.” The comics publisher is starting all their series over from scratch (Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #1, Justice League #1, etc.).
Most comics fans, it seems, were intrigued. Some weren’t so happy, convinced DC was throwing away decades of history in some Hail Mary maneuver to increase readership.
Well, it worked. The New York Times had this story last week. An excerpt:
In the last five weeks…sales of DC comics have increased by leaps and bounds. The first issue of the new Justice League, the company’s flagship book, has sold more than 200,000 copies, compared with the roughly 46,000 for each of the last few issues before the reboot.
An all-star creative team — the writer Geoff Johns and the artist Jim Lee — and the collector’s tendency to buy multiple copies of first issues almost guaranteed that Justice League No. 1 would be a top seller. But more surprising is that nine other series, including Action Comics, Batgirl and the Flash, at least doubled their normal sales and sold over 100,000 copies, a milestone that had proved increasingly difficult for comic-book publishers to reach.
Of course, that’s probably no surprise to anyone that’s tried to buy one of the New 52 releases. Cheryl’s Comics in Kanawha City was wiped out of the first Detective Comics release. The other titles seem to be selling well, too.
Rabbi Victor Urecki joins us again this week for another trip through DC’s New 52 comic book relaunch. This past week’s offerings included some goings on in Gotham City, as well as some titles that might or might not be appealing to female readers.
Me: There are several Batman titles debuting. Three of them came out this week: “Batman,” “Nightwing” and “Red Hood and the Outlaws.” First question: Who is your favorite Bat-sidekick? Second question: Which is the best of these books so far?
Urecki: Great questions. The success of Batman in recent years has been the ability to extend the durability of this franchise with an impressive number of supporting characters. Batman is no longer just Bruce, Alfred and Dick (Grayson), but several Robins Jason, Tim, Stephanie and now, Damian), Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman ,Oracle, “WayneCorp” company leaders (Lucius Fox) and Gotham City’s Finest (James Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Maggie Sawyer). For a “loner”, Batman has a rich and diverse family. The fact that so many characters have graduated into their own titles is indicative of the strength of this comic book juggernaut.
Having said that, Nightwing (the first Robin, Dick Grayson) has always been a great character. Dick has shown the most development throughout his life and has emerged into well beyond being merely Batman’s former sidekick. From his love interests to his leadership on teams, Nightwing is no longer living under the shadow of Bruce. Nightwing #1 was beautiful, nicely written and impressively drawn.
“Red Hood” follows the continuing adventures of rogue Robin (Jason Todd). Killed by the Joker but back from the dead (ah, comics. Does any character ever really die?), this book teams him up with Green Arrow sidekick and badboy Roy “Speedy” Harper and former Dick Grayson lover Princess Koriand’r “Starfire” ( Tamaranean and former slave). Jason has become less about Batman and has emerged as a complex and quite fascinating character. This book may one of DC’s best buddy books with Jason and Roy leading us on a rollercoaster ride of fun and adventure.
But favorite sidekick? Right now: Young Damian Wayne , the new Robin. Son of Bruce Wayne and Talia (daughter of supervillian Ra’s al Ghul), Damian is one of the best characters to be developed in years! Damian has the abilities and brilliance of his father with none of his father’s discipline and ethics. Bruce and the Batman family are slowly molding this rebellious and brash kid into a true hero. Watching him develop is fun.
Best book? No question: Batman. The artwork is stunning with some beautiful and creative panel work that cannot be described but must be seen. The narrative is a joy to read as is the storyline. Reviews of this book have been glowing and it’s obvious why. The creative team works seamlessly together . Batman is easily going to be in the top 3 of the new 52!
Me: There are a bunch of Green Lantern books, too. This week is “Green Lantern Corps.” First question: Who is your favorite all-time ring-wielder? Second question: How does this book differ from “Green Lantern?”
Urecki: Guy Gardner has been my favorite GL ever since his membership in the 1980’s Justice League. The ultra macho “greatest Green Lantern ever” ( Guy’s words) adds humor and slapstick to every book he is featured.
Right now, “Green Lantern Corps” has him and John Stewart (another notable earth GL) in what may shape up to be one of the strongest titles in the DC Universe. Writer Peter Tomasi has joined Geoff Johns on the Green Lantern titles for quite some time and has given us some wonderful creative storylines. Tomasi has a gift for developing unique voices for the large stable of GL characters and his sense of high adventure is heightened here by some extraordinary art by Fernando Pasarin. Pasarin’s pages simply pop out at you and his flight and battle sequences are flat out remarkable.
Me: The Birds of Prey are a group of female crimefighters. This go-round they’re without Barbara Gordon, who has regained the ability to walk and has returned to her role as Batgirl. Can they do without her?
Urecki: Uh…maybe…but it is going to take some time. This is one book that is hurt by the reboot. Birds of Prey has been an absolutely marvelous collection of terrific female characters, written by one of the best writers in the business, Gail Simone. Simone not only writes well but is able to create more than two dimensional heroines. Too often, female characters in comics have been nothing more than male character in skirts. Simone redefined the super heroine and her work on Birds of Prey was stellar. Losing her and the heart and soul of Birds of Prey, Oracle, hurts.
Still, Duane Swierzynski (writer with the great scrabble name) hits the ground running with a triumphant debut. Lots of great action and nice character interplay. Classic heroine Black Canary will be carrying the heavy lifting on this team but it remains to be seen if the team can ever reach the heights of its previous incarnation without Oracle.
Me: Besides “Birds of Prey,” this week also features “Supergirl” and “Wonder Woman,” two of the best known female superheroines ever. Plus, there’s “Catwoman.” Will women like these titles? I realize we’re two guys talking here…
Urecki: Sigh… This is a growing problem for both DC and Marvel.
The comic book female fan base is limited and characters such as Supergirl and Catwoman seem unappealing to them.
My middle daughter reads comics but her interests are mostly with the independent titles, stories and adventures that have strong female characters that have developed on their own and written with an understanding of what appeals more to the modern woman of today.
These DC titles are quality books but do not seem to generate the same types of enthusiasm. In sum, DC needs more Gail Simones in their stable of writers.
Me: This coming week is the final week of the New 52 rollout, right? What are the highlights?
Urecki: This is going to be a tough week for this rabbinical fan. I will have to wait a while to enjoy this coming week’s books with Rosh Hashana and the High Holidays beginning Wednesday night September 28 and continue through the 30th. I won’t be able to pick up my books until the following week (Thank you, Cheryl at Cheryl’s Comics for saving my books).
Still, another week of DC 52 and another week that gives meaning to the saying ”saving the best for last.” We have Superman , Aquaman (absolutely gorgeous Ivan Reis art and once again, master story teller Geoff Johns), Flash, and Batman the Dark Knight .
Jonah Hex is the legendary gunslinger/ bounty hunter created in the 70’s. Forget the film and give this character a look and you will see why for over 30 years, he has been a critical success and a cult classic.
And nothing says that DC is serious about creativity than Justice League Dark. Take some of the most original characters of the occult (Zatanna, John Constantine, Deadman, Madame Zanadu, and Shade the Changing Man), throw them together as a team fighting the forces of evil and you have all the makings of an incredible book.
This is a book that draws from the great strength of the massive library of characters at DC and will showcase the diversity of its universe. Should be quite a ride! Enjoy! Shana Tova, Happy New Year!
Of particular note was Resurrection Man. Resurrection Man is a brilliant concept, a man who dies but every time he does, comes back with a new superpower. The creators of this wonderful series from the 90’s, return to their character and have written a strong debut. No surprise. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have been handling several titles over at Marvel of late and have totally re-energized that company’s “Space” heroes. These guys are able to tell a cover to cover action story and are doing that here! Fans of the original series will love it and new fans will feel right at home.
Batwoman, Deathstroke, Suicide Squad and Superboy were all outstanding in their debuts as well. The stuff going on in Superboy is not to be missed. If you still think Superboy is just the “Adventures of Superman When He Was a Boy”, then you better check this out! You’ll be in for quite a surprise.
Me: You’ve previously mentioned looking forward to Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Can Frankenstein hold up a series? And what should new readers know about it? Is he a badass Boris Karloff or what?
Frankenstein, yes the Frankenstein based on the Mary Shelley novel, is a badass agent under the employ of the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive, a secret government agency that works the supernatural part of this new DC Universe.
Joining Frankenstein are, you guessed it, Werewolf agent Warren Griffith, Vampire Vincent Velcoro, Mummy “medic” Kahlis, and a few other characters including the Bride of Frankenstein. I know! Weird stuff, but Jeff Lemire (“Animal Man”) throws all of this together in a crazy, odd ball fashion and trust me, it works! I am solidly on board with this title.
Me: This week also marked the debut of “Demon Knights,” which is set in medieval times, as well as “Resurrection Man,” whose name kind of speaks for itself. What’s going on with DC and its darker, more magic-realmed characters?
Urecki: This question actually gives me the opportunity to tell you why I like this re-launching so much.
DC is creating a complete line of titles that have something for everyone. They have books for every genre: superheroes, sword and sorcery, science fiction, supernatural, mystery, horror, humor, war, and westerns.
The art ranges from noir to frenetic to abstract. The writing varies from heavy expository to letting the art tell the story. The DC universe is home to a powerful magic realm, a well-developed science based fantasy universe and a diverse line of heroes! Nothing cookie cutter here! A lot of thought has gone into this universe and it shows.
Me: Sinestro stars in “Green Lantern.” He’s a longtime Green Lantern nemesis. What gives?
Urecki: First off, Green Lantern #1 was a joy to read and a visually treat. The writer Geoff Johns has so totally owned this DC franchise character for years; Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps (there are 3600 of them!) has never been more popular. Doug Mahnke is a brilliant artist and has created the definitive Sinestro look.
This book will grab you from the get-go and its last page will have you screaming: “when is number 2 coming out?” Pure energy. This is how to make a comic book!
As for Sinestro, I have to say that one’s enjoyment of this book will deepen by grabbing some of Johns’ earlier GL work. Sinestro has been nicely developed into a multi-faceted and complex villain for quite some time. This is no one dimensional bad guy but an engaging and magnificent character that literally steals the scenes from Hal Jordan (GL) whenever he is in the panel. Sinestro’s approach to how order needs to be maintained in the Universe makes him a far more interesting character than he has ever been and a large part of the success of this book.
Urecki: In a word….maybe. The entire Green Lantern Corps has undergone quite a new look in recent years and the multi-colored lanterns (of which one are the Red Lanterns) are all part of this expanded part of the DC Universe.
Again, reading the previous adventure of the Green Lantern Corps would add to one’s understanding and help appreciate the rise of the Red Lanterns but give Peter Milligan (writer) and artist extraordinaire Ed Benes ( artist) a few issues here. You will be hooked on the entire Green Lantern line
Me: Several members of the Legion of Superheroes, usually based in the far future, are stuck in current times in “Legion Lost.” There was a 12-issue series of the same name a decade ago. How does the new version compare?
Urecki: It must be age, but I don’t really remember much about the previous series. Having said that, this book is going to take a few issues to judge fully.
I have never been a huge fan of the Legion of Superheroes, a group of teen heroes of the 31st Century. The Legion has had a loyal following for decades but the large cast of characters may make it impenetrable for the casual reader.
Still, the artwork by Peter Woods is great here and the story has some potential.
Me: Mister Terrific gets his own series. But the group he’s traditionally associated with, the Justice Society of America, does not. Is there any explanation? Are you worried about the good ol’ J.S. of A.?
The JSA was a hot property for several years (no surprise. Geoff Johns was writing the book!) but of late, had been losing a lot of its fan base. DC must probably feel the line needed to be placed on the sidelines for a while.
I have confidence that DC is going to be bringing them back sooner rather than later. How will these characters, originally from the 40’s, fit into this new DC timeline remains to seen, but in comics anything is possible.
Me: What’s coming up this week?
Urecki: One word: BATMAN! Scott Snyder’s work on Detective Comics and American Vampire means we are in for an unforgettable run on Batman. Joining him is Greg Capullo whose art is the absolute best. Early preview pages have been stunning. This book must not be missed!
And although I have never been a Wonder Woman fan, with Brian Azzarello on board handling the writing, her book could actually be one of the best of the entire 52! Azzarelo is a genius, with such great previous work as his fantastic 100 Bullets and his classic takes on Lex Luthor and the Joker! Word has it that the new Wonder Woman series will be more along the horror genre.
In other words, more amazing titles next week!
Turns out citizens are being warned about sounds they might not be used to hearing.
Zap! Pow! Bam!
According to Pittsburgh’s WTAE:
Emergency management officials have prepared 911 dispatchers for calls about explosions and shootings that may be related to the filming of action sequences in the movie.
Film crews have provided filming schedules to emergency officials to let them know when they might expect some calls about the special effects.