Sorry about the lateness of the column. I’ve been stuck on the couch for the past week with a nasty upper respiratory infection. This is the first time I’ve been off heavy narcotics since Monday long enough to put two sentences together. In practical terms what this means is that between the Sci Fi Channel,Vongo.com and my own personal collection I have watched an assload of bad movies, anime and even some entertaining movies. So, I thought, what better time to talk about some of my favorite comic and comic inspired movies.
Sky High. This Disney film starring Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell and Dave Foley deals with the trials and tribulations of the as-of-yet unpowered son of two of the world’s greatest superheroes. Sky High is the name of the top secret high school where super-powered teens go to be sorted into Heroes or Sidekicks and taught accordingly. When his powers manifest in the middle of a fight with the son of his parents’ former archenemy, he finds himself one of the heroes, and unthinkingly leaves his friends behind. He winds up dating the most popular girl in school, which turns out to be a double-cross.
The cast is excellent, it’s well-paced and tackles the topics of cliques in high school and peer pressure inside the superhero dynamic. I really enjoy this film and watch it pretty frequently as a pick-me-up. Lynda Carter as Principal Powers is great. And the female heroes are as powerful as their male counterparts, same with the villains.
Zoom. This film starring Tim Allen and Courtney Cox followed Sky High by about 9 months. I vaguely remember the ads for it, and wanting to see it, but it didn’t last long in the theaters. Tim Allen plays a washed up superhero named Zoom, whose team was killed by his brother after the brother was driven mad by a super dose of gamma-13 radiation given to enhance his powers by the military. Zoom (Tim Allen) is shanghai-ed into training a new Zenith Team, when the military realizes his brother is coming back for him. At first he’s resistant and keeps sabotaging the efforts of Courtney Cox’s character, but eventually he realizes that the kids need him.
My main problems with this film were that it really could have done with a strong editor. A really strong editor. Plus, it couldn’t seem to make up its mind about whether it wanted to be a kids film or a sly poke at the genre. There were a couple of scenes that very obviously were included solely because someone (God knows who) thought they were funny, and not because they in any way added to the plot or development. However, it was a cute story, and if you can get past the “The Military is bad, mmm’kay?” needling of the metaplot, it’s not a bad little flick. Not as good as Sky High, but not hideously bad.
The X-men movies. X-men and X2 were great. Honestly, my hopes for the first X-men film weren’t high. I went with my buddy Ryan to see the first one, and when we walked out of the theater we were both floored by how good it was. X2 was, likewise, very, very good, helped of course by the fact that the opening scene featured Nightcrawler and made me all sorts of happy in my panties. X-men United (3) was pretty disappointing for me. A. They tried to combine far too many plots into one film (Weapon X, Morlocks, Dark Phoenix). B. They completely screwed with the Dark Phoenix and not in a good way. C. Why did Logan’s shirt disintegrate, but not his pants? D. No Nightcrawler.
Daredevil. I liked Daredevil. First off, I think Ben Affleck did a pretty good job. I also really liked Colin Farrell as Bullseye. He does psycho really well. The one major stumbling block of the film for me was Jennifer Garner as Electra. Seriously, at no time did I believe she could kick even my 30-something, arthritic, aging jock ass, let alone supervillians. Plus, she couldn’t act her way out of a wet paper sack. I did attempt to watch Electra on FX one night. Don’t do that. Trust me.
The Spiderman movies. I loved Spiderman and Spiderman 2. And, OK, I have to admit, I haven’t seen the third one yet because it came out during the summer of surgical doom for me, and I haven’t gotten around to picking it up. I really, really enjoyed the first two films. The one criticism I never got was when people complained about the blatant emotional manipulation of the script. Well, duh, it’s a comic book movie. Comics are a melodramatic media form.
Batman Begins. I loved this film. It was beautifully done, gorgeously filmed and mostly well acted. I did not like Katie Holmes as the love interest. But I really enjoyed the rest of the film. I felt it was a good antidote to the cartoon-like feel of the Burton Batman films. Not that I don’t enjoy those films, but I really like the grittier, more raw feel of the new film. And Cillian Murphy was brilliant as the Scarecrow.
Hellboy. I really, really liked Hellboy. A lot. I enjoy the supernatural horror feel of the comic, and the movie definitely did not disappoint. Ron Perlman, as always, did an excellent job. The gal who played Liz was amazing. I found the Karl Ruprecht Kroenen character very creepy. I’m really, really looking forward to the next one.
V for Vendetta. I really feel, in spite of Alan Moore’s kvetching, that the Wachowski brothers did a really good job of capturing the spirit of the graphic novel even with the updates. I felt that Hugo Weaving did a great job, as did Natalie Portman. An excellent film.
You’ll note these are getting shorter. I think it’s time for me to hit the codeine cough syrup again. Hopefully next week I’ll be more coherent and, well, healthier. And maybe next week I’ll cover the horrible, horrible horror movies I’ve been watching this week.