All posts by Matthew Turner

About Matthew Turner

Matthew Turner (@FilmFan1971 on Twitter) is a freelance film journalist. His favourite film is Vertigo and he hasn't missed an episode of EastEnders since 1998.

Comics to Screen – a look at X-Men: First Class

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.

Continue reading Comics to Screen – a look at X-Men: First Class

Playing to the Audience: “Thor” and the Joys of Marvel Superhero Movies

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.

Continue reading Playing to the Audience: “Thor” and the Joys of Marvel Superhero Movies