Category Archives: Comics
Indy Datta only saw the new Superman film last night, so this review will be small, and we can’t promise it will be perfectly formed.
Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel is, in almost every way, the epitome of the contemporary fantasy comic-book blockbuster, assembled with enormous skill and craft – but also witless, repetitive, thoughtlessly cacophonous, artlessly pretentious. There’s an hour of throat clearing exposition before anything of any interest happens. The plot, on pretty much every conceivable level, makes no sense. Film and director seem needlessly cowed by the source material (the crazy Snyder grandiosity of 300 and Sucker Punch is entirely absent, and yeah, I miss it), yet also simultaneously Nolanishly embarrassed by its inherent silliness (the one time a character says the word “Superman”, it’s an inadvertently delivered punchline). Henry Cavill, in the lead, is given little scope to be anything more than a sixpack on a stick.
Not unusually for superhero movies, it’s down to the villain to save the day.
by Matthew Turner
Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for Marvel Avengers Assemble (or The Avengers, if you live anywhere other than Britain) and is intended to be read after you’ve seen the film.
With the recent release (and what already looks like phenomenal box office success) of Marvel’s The Avengers, it seems only fitting to mark the occasion with a final Comics To Screen post. This will examine how writer-director Joss Whedon, closely supervised by Marvel Studios, has blended the now established movie universe (referred to, annoyingly but conveniently, as the Marvel movie-verse) with the classic comics themselves. Arguably, with the enormous success of the three key movie franchises (Iron Man, Thor and Captain America), it’s no longer really that important to cater to old-school comics fans, but it’s nonetheless interesting to look at just how much of early Avengers history survives into the new movie and to see which elements have been drawn from elsewhere.
Tags: Avengers, Black Widow, Captain America, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man, Jeremy Renner, Joss Whedon, Mark Gruffalo, Marvel Avengers Assemble, Robert Downey Jnr, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Thor, Tom Hiddleston
by Matthew Turner
Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for Captain America: The First Avenger and is intended to be read after you’ve seen the film. Continue reading this article ›
Having written comics-to-screen pieces for this blog on both Thor and X-Men: First Class, it seemed only fair to give Captain America the same treatment. I talked at length in the Thor piece about the challenges faced by filmmakers in transferring a lesser-known superhero to the big screen for the first time and, in my opinion, Captain America director Joe Johnston (who made The Rocketeer, which is very close to my heart) has done the best possible job, both in terms of introducing the character to a new audience and in giving pre-existing fans everything they could possibly want from a Captain America movie.
Continue reading this article ›
by Matthew Turner
Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for X-Men: First Class and is intended to be read after you’ve seen the film.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece for this blog about the juggling act faced by film-makers when making superhero movies, namely, playing to their built-in audience on the one hand (by referencing the comics, lifting famous plots, making in-jokes and so on) and making the film broadly accessible to newcomers on the other. This article is intended as a follow-up to that piece, exploring how the same ideas apply to X-Men: First Class but also looking at the various ways in which the film both sticks to and differs from the comics. It’s also intended to serve as a handy bluffer’s guide to the various characters in the film.
Tags: X-Men: First Class
by Matthew Turner
What do people want from Marvel superhero movies? (Sorry, DC fans –there’s only room in this blog post for one superhero universe). Looking beyond the obvious answers (super-powered fight scenes, spell-binding visual effects, compelling characters and entertaining stories) the makers of a superhero movie about a lesser-known character like Thor (or a pre Iron Man Iron Man) have to perform a complex juggling act. On the one hand they have to appease the existing (though in Thor‘s case, relatively few) fans of the comics, bearing in mind that with characters like Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, there’s almost 50 years of backstory to draw on (this isn’t the place to go into the Ultimate Marvel Universe but it’s worth noting that film-makers have so far steered clear of its rebooted and updated versions of the properties). On the other hand they have to introduce the character to a whole new audience (usually by way of an origin story) and hopefully launch a new money-making and sequel-generating franchise – basically, everyone wants another Iron Man, the enormous success of which has led directly to the upcoming Thor, Captain America and Avengers movies. Speaking of which, Thor director Kenneth Branagh had a third ball to juggle, in that he had to lay the groundwork for the upcoming The Avengers and provide significant crossover with both the Iron Man series and Captain America, establishing a Marvel universe continuity that isn’t wholly reliant on post-credits cameos from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.