The Smackdown It’s been a dark time for comic book movies since Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” and Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns.”Â Over the past two years, “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “X-Men: The […]
On October 23, Warner Home Video will launch the first in their new series featuring influential films from some of history’s greatest directors, starting with Stanley Kubrick. Among the new films, “2001: A Space […]
The Smackdown Whenever aliens invade our planet, the vaunted resources of humanity’s technological aggression pale in comparison to their greatest “weapon”: luck. Sure, the heroes of those films will preach about courage, history, and the […]
The Smackdown So far this summer, I’ve swung dizzy on the thinning web of a spider, gotten sea sick while sailing with pirates in the Caribbean, and gambled successfully on a bunch of con-men.Â This […]
The Smackdown When it comes to movies, the third time is rarely a charm. For whatever reasons — chalk it up to audience expectations, weary and bored filmmakers, or corporate greed — “triquels” rarely seem […]
The Smackdown After facing responsibilities while battling an eight-armed mad scientist, what more can Peter Parker learn by confronting a vengeful best friend, a sandy common criminal, and a disgruntled photographer overtaken by alien goo?Â […]
The 70s-80s Christopher Reeve Superman and the 80s-90s Michael Keaton-Val Kilmer-George Clooney Batman were many things, but one of them was not realistic. They were comic book films made by studios that thought superheroes were still best when served up just a little bit silly. This was ironic because the actual comic book adventures of these two heroes were getting grittier every year and the problems and conflicts more and more adult. Still, we had to get to the 00s of the 21st Century to see studios wise up to the idea that audiences wanted more — they didn’t want to escape so much as they wanted to immerse. Batman Begins kick-started an entire new look at the franchise that was wildly successful followed by Superman Returns the next year with a more mixed critical response. Now Batman is nearing the end of its proposed trilogy and Superman is getting a re-re-boot. That’s a story for later; right now, let’s look at these two monster-sized franchises and see which new beginning did the best job.