Now You See Me (2013) vs. The Prestige (2006)

May 30, 2013 Arthur Tiersky

Magic. Now there’s a subject that, over the years, hasn’t gotten a great deal of cinematic attention. Reason being, one surmises, that magic acts need the immediacy of live (or at least taped live) performance to preserve their thrill… and if we’re being honest here, most of them don’t have that much thrill to preserve in the first place. So wouldn’t you know it, after humming along for so many years all but magic-free, in 2006, Hollywood not only coughs up two magic-themed movies within weeks of each other but two turn-of-the-century Europe magic-themed movies. (Now that’s a Smackdown!) […]

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) -vs- The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

July 19, 2012 Bryce Zabel

We’ve know it’s coming all year — a super heavyweight championship — and now it’s finally here in the beat-down heat of summer.

Fresh off the super-fan orgy at San Diego Comic-Con, we have the Sony 3D reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man against the third and final installment of Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises (July 20).

It’s Ali and Frazier. Well, technically, it’s DC and Marvel and Sony and Warner Bros. Oh, and Batman and Spider-Man.

These two awesome franchises — both successful with critics and hugely so at the box office — mean to fight it out in the cool, air-conditioned movie palaces of our globally warmed summer. […]

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) -vs- Batman Begins (2005)

July 24, 2011 Bryce Zabel

These two characters are flagship iconic brands for the Marvel and DC universes. It’s almost impossible to conceive of either of them really existing properly without what these characters bring to the table, whether that table is part of the Avengers or the Justice League.

Batman has clearly outstripped Captain America in overall name recognition in our times (although that could change), but both characters are equally important in what they mean to their caretakers.

Like the new Green Lantern, X-Men: First Class and Thor from earlier in the summer, Captain America: The First Avenger is an origin story. So, too, was Batman Begins when it came out in 2005. Captain America hopes to launch a franchise while Batman re-booted a faded franchise by starting over.

Despite my historical embrace of the First Avenger, I promise as a former honorary junior member of the Justice League of America, I am perfectly capable of rendering a judgment for the Dark Knight if he’s deserving. So then — which of these origin films is the most successful adaptation from the page to the stage? Here’s the Tale of the Tape, matching up with the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. […]

Round 2: Inception

July 18, 2010 Beau DeMayo

Having seen Inception twice now, I feel the need to clarify a few points in my earlier review, as I said that my review — in all fairness — was half incomplete as Inception demands a second viewing. After having now seen it twice, I would definitely say this is a movie that must be seen twice. […]

Inception (2010) -vs- The Dark Knight (2008)

July 16, 2010 Beau DeMayo

Christopher Nolan. The Dark Knight. That’s all about you need to know when it comes to how Inception has been marketed, a film whose title could easily be mistaken as “From The Director of The Dark Knight” as its actual title.

Inception and The Dark Knight are two movies that are so radically different, yet so fundamentally the same. Both films strive to do something radically different with their genres, turning the typical tropes on their heads and challenging audiences to keep up.

Now we put what many consider to already be Nolan’s masterpiece up against his newest film. Another masterpiece or just another movie? […]

Superman -vs- Clark Kent

March 13, 2010 Bryce Zabel

How clueless do you have to be to not realize that Superman and Clark Kent look exactly alike?

That’s the question for the ages — something that has haunted every version of Superman since he debuted as a comic book character in 1938. His was one of the original “secret identities” and the concept involved the Man of Steel being accepted by everyone as an alien visitor (who looks human) known as Superman. Even so, no problem there. Part two got tricky…

When he put on a pair of glasses and a business suit and acted a little differently in order to pass as Clark Kent, however, it seemed that nobody realized they were the same person. As comic book films have gotten more and more realistic, the cognitive dissonance we experience in enjoying the character has grown greater and greater.

Back in 1994, I got a chance to wrestle with that conundrum for a while when I was supervising producer of the first season of ABC’s Lois & Clark. Now it looks like it’s Christopher Nolan’s turn since he’s been tapped as the Chosen One for the latest Superman feature reboot. He’s probably already obsessing on this and many other issues and, maybe, just maybe, he’s going to take the license to fix this one. I think he can — even while keeping the original conceit — and we’ll get to that in a minute… […]

The Dark Knight (2008) -vs- The Godfather, Part II (1974)

December 12, 2008 Beau DeMayo

When “The Dark Knight” hit movie screens earlier this year, critics screamed that cinema history had just been made, that it was even better than the movie that spawned it and, just possibly, one of the best films ever released. In 1974, the same thing happened.

“The Godfather, Part II” was not only seen as the best sequel ever but it stood up as a great film, winning the Oscar for Best Picture, like its predecessor from two years earlier. The test for these sequels is whether they managed to continue and expand upon the originals that came before them, by charting fresh new territory, raising the stakes and deepening the concepts. […]