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.” […]

(Super) Men of Steel

May 30, 2014 Movie Smackdown

While he’s not necessarily the world’s singularly favorite (or only) superhero any more, Superman still maintains a strong pull on the audience’s loyalty. Many brave actors have tried on the tights and cape over the years.

Please vote for the man who was the superest of the Supermen in our poll. We’ve set it up so you can vote several times if you want to vote for more than one. […]

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! […]

Men of Steel (Smackdown’s Superman Smashup)

January 9, 2013 Movie Smackdown

If you count Christopher Reeve (ignoring the earlier Kirk Alyn “Superman”) as the original fully-realized film Superman in 1978’s “Superman: The Movie”, that makes Brandon Routh’s 2006 “Superman Returns” the reboot and 2013’s “Man of Steel” the reboot of the reboot.

But don’t forget the TV Supermans: George Reeves from “Adventures of Superman” to John Haymes Newton and Gerard Christopher in “Superboy” to Dean Cain in “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” to Tom Welling in “Smallville.”

Our latest Smashup pays tribute to the reality that we’re almost getting to the point where as many actors have played Superman/Clark Kent as have played Hamlet. […]

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. […]

Jackie Cooper: Best. Perry. White. Ever.

May 5, 2011 The FilmGuru

“Don’t call me Chief!”

This week, the Daily Planet has lost its editor-in-chief. We at the Smackdown mourn the loss of Jackie Cooper.

Cooper, a child-actor in the Depression era and later a TV executive and producer, died this week at the age of 88. And though he had a score of acting credits, his name evokes just one image for me: Perry White, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet.

In all four of the Christopher Reeve Superman films, Cooper played Clark Kent’s boss at Metropolis’ number one newspaper. And though Perry White is most known for his signature catch phrase “Don’t call me Chief!” (most always aimed at poor Jimmy Olsen), he didn’t utter those words in Superman: The Movie. Instead, a mix-up with the morning coffee and the sugar gave us the humorous line “Don’t call me ‘sugar’!” instead. […]

Thor (2011) -vs- Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (1980 | 2006)

May 4, 2011 Rodney Twelftree

Down here in Australia, we actually got Thor in our theaters a full two weeks before the God of Thunder finally visited the United States. Along with our Aussie pride that the title character is played by local lad Chris Hemsworth, that still doesn’t quite equal what our American friends may be feeling over the success of Seal Team Six, but we take our thrills where we find them.

Comic book heroes coming to blows is a concept as old as the medium itself, but this Smackdown pits entire universes against each other. Thor versus Superman. Marvel versus DC. Yes!

The extraterrestrial Superman is the most recognizable comic book character ever created and Thor, the mythically awesome Stan Lee-created Asgardian God who comes to Earth, are the powerhouse figures of their respective comic book universes. DC Comics has published Superman since 1939, while Thor has been around since Marvel introduced him in 1962. Both have incredible powers. Superman derives his incredible strength and abilities from his proximity to Earth’s yellow sun, while Thor’s powers come from his family lineage as a Norse God (who may be an extraterrestrial himself) — the God of Thunder, to be exact. […]

Lois & Clark: The (Old) New Adventures of Superman

May 3, 2011 Bryce Zabel

I have so many great memories about the Man-of-Steel, it’s hard to know where to start. Like… being a six year old buying a Superman comic from a magazine rack in a drug store… Running home to watch George Reeves in a syndicated re-run of the first TV series… Standing in line for hours to watch Superman: The Movie starring Christopher Reeve.

Nothing compares, though, with working on that first season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. It ranks as one of the greatest creative satisfactions I’ve had in the series TV business.

I had first worked with Deborah Joy LeVine (she received the WGA “Developed By” credit) on an ABC law series called Equal Justice. A gifted writer, she had written an exceptional pilot that ABC had picked up and, at the same time, ordered a half-dozen back-up scripts. So before film was even being shot, Deborah Joy, her brother Dan and I were throwing “super” ideas around every day in a little trailer on the Warner Brothers lot. […]

Let’s At Least Agree on Truth and Justice…

May 2, 2011 Bryce Zabel

UPDATE (5/3/11): In one of the most spectacular examples of bad timing imaginable, Superman has renounced his America citizenship when the world’s attention is focused on the United States military’s success in taking out Osama bin Laden. Nobody at DC Comics can be happy about this. But in this post, done the day before Osama’s death, we questioned whether they had the tone right on their decision in the first place, even if they felt it was the inevitable evolution of their character.

Like a lot of people, I was taken by surprise hearing the news that Superman has renounced his American citizenship. Honestly, this felt more striking than even the news in the early ’90s that D.C. Comics planned to “kill” him. Of course, in the comic book universe death is not forever while this new “citizen of the world” orientation probably is.

In short: In Action Comics #900, Superman tries to intervene in Iranian protests but gets perceived as a tool of the United States. He gets peeved and announces he will go to the United Nations and renounce his citizenship. Aside from the obvious inflammatory nature of this to some people (most of whom do not read Superman anyway), I can’t get the image out of my head of Superman talking to the U.N. in that dreadful fourth installment of the Christopher Reeve film series, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. […]

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