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X-Men (2000) -vs- X2: X-Men United (2003) -vs- X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

May 2, 2009 Beau DeMayo 0

Bryan Singer’s X-Men took a little bit of Matrix and a whole lot of Marvel and jam-packed it all into an intense 90-minute film that was surprisingly more thriller than action film. This isn’t a surprise since Singer has always seemed most comfortable in thrillers, The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil being the merits that earned him X-Men’s directorial helm. In X-Men, Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine, an amnesiac mutant with indestructible claws, is found by the X-Men, a group of highly-trained mutants who moonlight as teachers at a school for young mutants. The school’s headmaster, Charles Xavier, dreams of creating a world where human and mutants co-exist. Opposing Xavier and his X-Men is Magneto, Xavier’s former best friend and militant leader of the anti-human Brotherhood of Mutants. This is a movie made by its casting since the plot is rather slim and predictable. Watching Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan wax philisophical as comic book versions of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X makes for a riveting thriller. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was risky, but amazing, casting. The visual style and look of X-Men is something to appreciate, as Singer and his production design crew throw away blind fidelity to comic book gratuity and instead adapt the comic to our real world. Gone is yellow spandex, bright purple/red costumes, eight-foot tall mutants, and Gucci-wearing shapeshifters. Everything is understated, making the film’s themes of prejudice and alienation all the more real for a modern audience.

Dr. Manhattan (1986/2009) -vs- The Silver Surfer (1966/2007)

March 10, 2009 Beau DeMayo 9

We have a cosmic showdown as Stan Lee’s Silver Surfer blasts his way toward Dr. Manhattan to find out what mortal-turned-deity remains standing. Will it be Marvel’s Surfing Herald for The Destroyer of Worlds or will it be The American Atomic Superman? With the ability to atomize objects, glimpse the future, and traverse space-time itself, what matters in the end when god meets god?

Watchmen (2009) -vs- The Dark Knight (2008)

March 8, 2009 Beau DeMayo 21

At first, this was difficult and then…it hit me. This Smackdown mimics the type of boxing matches where you watch the two combatants circle one another, weighing each other, gauging their strengths and weaknesses. Their reputations and skill sets are well-known and well-earned. The suspense is thick, the anticipation is high and then, the fight bell sounds, and one delivers a crushing blow to the other and the fight is over before it even began.

Spy Smackdown: Bond -vs- Bond

November 11, 2008 Stephen Bell 1

Editor's Note:  Before "Quantum of Solace" finally hit the theaters, we asked two of our critics — Beau DeMayo and Stephen Bell — to go into Total Bond Immersion.  After all, there have been six […]

The Dark Knight (2008) -vs- Batman (1989)

July 20, 2008 Beau DeMayo 24

The Smackdown This is a championship match, sure to incite and divide. It’s Gotham’s defender’s revered cinematic debut in Tim Burton and Sam Hamm’s Batman versus the sequel to Christopher Nolan’s & David Goyer’s Batman […]

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