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! […]

Title Fight Preview >> July 2012 >> Batman versus Spider-Man

February 27, 2012 Bryce Zabel

Initially, fans seem to be anxiously anticipating every frame of The Dark Knight Rises while lamenting the need for such a fast re-boot of The Amazing Spider-Man. But with every new trailer tease for Spidey it seems less-and-less like the Sam Raimi version, no matter how well-regarded, from 2002. Andrew Garfield, we think, will eventually be seen as a more faithful version of Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire ever was and that may make a big difference.

It’s probably a good bet that both films are going to be seen by almost everyone eventually but it may turn out that The Dark Knight Rises will be the one that gets the most “must-see-now” box office. […]

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. […]

RESULTS! The SmackPoll: Comic-Con Superhero Edition

July 24, 2011 Movie Smackdown

THE RESULTS ARE IN. All the fighters have entered the ring now in this “Summer of Smackdown!” With the release of Captain America this weekend, the battle for blockbuster superiority is now in full swing. So far Thor has dropped the hammer on the competition, taking in over $446M since its international release.

From the beginning, we’ve had our SmackPoll up, asking our readers which film they think will go down as the best super-hero film of the summer. No, it’s not scientific, nor even a real fair fight given the staggered release dates, but it is kind of surprising. As of today, the film that just was released Captain America: The First Avenger is in first place, followed by Thor, followed by X-Men: First Class and it’s DC’s Green Lantern at the back of the pack.

The poll will stay open until the end of Comic-Con on Sunday at 5:00pm PST. If you’re in attendance, or following things on the Internet, pass the poll around to your friends and, now that Captain America is out, let’s see if he can hang on to his lead. […]

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?
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