MARVEL v DC: The Ultimate Movie Smackdown

April 16, 2016 Bryce Zabel

Forget Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Old news. In fact, forget Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice v Captain America: Civil War. Soon to be old news. Those films are just the surrogates fighting when the real war is something much larger. We’re talking about universes in collision. This is really the one for the ages, “Marvel v DC.” […]

Man of Steel (2013) vs. Superman: The Movies (1978/1980)

June 13, 2013 Bryce Zabel

It’s axiomatic when discussing Superman to know that the only one who can give Superman a fair fight is himself, or a close approximation of himself. That’s why the comics, TV and film have consistently given us Evil Superman, Clone Superman, Bizarro Superman and, of course, Other Kryptonian Supermen.

The latter, of course, is what drove the Richard Donner-directed first two Superman films in 1978 and 1980, with the climactic arrival of General Zod and his superpowered villains, all of whom with the same powers as Superman, released from the Phantom Zone. Now, along comes Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder, who has taken the action of those Donner Supermans (Superman: The Movie and Superman II), smashed them into a single movie’s length, and filtered them through a dark prism.

It’s a fair fight then. Superman-vs.-Zod vs. Superman-vs.-Zod. By Krypton, let these games begin! […]

The Avengers (2012) -vs- X-Men: First Class (2011)

May 2, 2012 Bryce Zabel

If one superpowered superhero can fuel a super-blockbuster (Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, Batman, Superman, Captain America), just imagine what a half-dozen of them in the same movie can do.

A few years ago, Marvel Studios did just that. After giving movie-length origin stories to its key players, Marvel now brings all their power-hitters together into the ultimate superhero combo group — The Avengers. Imagine this group fighting not just evil but each other for screen time: Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Iron Man and a couple of second tier-types, the token hottie, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, the guy with the bow and some very fancy arrows. […]

THE AVENGERS: Assembling a New Classic?

October 11, 2011 Bryce Zabel

After carefully setting them all up with their own movies, Marvel now brings all their dashing superguys together into the greatest superhero group of all time with Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and, for good measure, the token woman Black Widow and the archer who’s never quite gotten out of the Marvel second tier, Hawkeye. […]

Arnold (2011) -vs- Arnold (1998) What’s He Thinking Now?

May 21, 2011 Bryce Zabel

Probably no one will admit to this in the future, even if it’s true, but I think confession is good for the soul.

I voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Twice.

Honestly, I did it because I felt that his oversize personality allowed him to stand out from the stupid party animosities that were bankrupting California in their dance of mutually assured destruction. For a while he did, and he kept trying. So there’s that.

But, of course, it’s not enough, even if you’re an Arnold fan outside of the movies. Clearly we haven’t heard the end of the story cycle and more “shockers” will dribble out, but the whole thing feels icky. At least this happened when he was out of office. You can just freaking imagine the media circus this would be if he was still up in Sacramento. […]

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… […]

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

March 10, 2009 Beau DeMayo

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?
[…]