The Best Teases of 2013 – My favorite Movie Trailers for Films Released this past Year

As a movie lover/obsessor/collector, if there’s one thing that I love it’s those ten minutes before watching a movie in theaters where you’re tantalizingly teased about films that you’re highly anticipating to see. When I was a teenager, I remember that throughout 2008 I had most of the previews memorized and in what order they came in, with Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Terminator Salvation, Star Trek, and Transformers : Revenge of the Fallen being the highlights. Studios spend millions of dollars on trailers to give viewers sneak peeks, and to entice those that aren’t ready to throw our money and firstborn to the producers. A well put together trailer can do wonders for a film, as you can either sit there and laugh/troll the trailer, or look to your friends and say “that looks good, let’s go see that”. For obvious reasons, the latter is the desired effect. So, I’ve decided to compile some of what I thought were the best trailers of the year with short descriptions based on my thoughts about the movie and trailer.

#5. Iron Man 3

If there’s one thing I despise, it’s deceiving trailers. I understand that Marvel and idiot director Shane Black didn’t want to spoil the plot twists in the movie, but boy did this trailer make the movie look awesome. The great line “I offer you a choice. Do you want an empty life, or a meaningful death?” wasn’t even uttered in the film because the “Mandarin” wasn’t even the “Mandarin”. I really just want to live in this trailer.

#4 The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug

This is another deceiving trailer. Jackson teased everybody beautifully with this, the fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, fans of An Unexpected Journey, and fans of the novel series. Then, he created his own egotistical tale and ran away laughing with everybody’s money. Jerk.

#3 The Wolf of Wall Street

I confess, I have not yet seen this movie. But, from what people have told me and from what I’ve read, this trailer is spot on. All the excess, partying, and ridiculousness that comes along with the Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey led movie is portrayed in a great fashion in this trailer. Also, as Thurston pointed out in his top 10 tracks of 2013, who doesn’t love Kanye West’s epic romp, Black Skinhead?

#2 Man of Steel Teaser Trailer

This trailer really divided people, because they felt like it was too short and didn’t really offer much insight into the film. But, Zack Snyder and his production team knew exactly what they were doing when they borrowed the music in the trailer. There are very few soundtrack pieces that are better than the latter part of The Fellowship of the Ring‘s track “The Bridge of Khazad-Dum”. The Gandalf the Grey death music is simply perfect.

#1 The Great Gatsby

I was a bit disappointed with this movie, as I thought it couldn’t make up its mind as to what it wanted to be. I still enjoyed it enough in theaters and later added it to my collection, but it wasn’t all that this trailer summed it up to be. Featuring Beyonce, Florence + The Machine, and revealing Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”, this tease is a work of art, and beyond a doubt the best trailer for any movie that was released in the year past.

The Hunger Games : How and Why the Book and Movie Should Have Been Better

I know I’m rather behind in this scene, but I just finished reading “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, and watching its film adaptation. The book was an enjoyable if not a transcendent read, while the movie was a complete disappointment.  I’m writing this “review” to compare and contrast (and criticize) both versions, already assuming that you have either read the book or seen the movie, or are merely interested in what I have to say. Which means, there WILL be spoilers. So, if you, like I was, are planning to read or watch the movie, bookmark this post and see if you agree or disagree with my words afterward. That also means that instead of summarizing the plot, I’m going to jump right into the action and talk about the events and characters of the medium again assuming that you know what I”m talking about.

First off, I’ll start with the book. It’s very fast paced, interesting, and has a fantastic concept that I picked up on and almost fell in love with in the first chapter. Basically, it’s a futuristic Rome and Gladiator Games contest, with the Tributes representing the Gladiators, where winners are showered in gifts, and losers systemically killed. It’s a bloodthirsty and cold-hearted tradition, but it works for the government in the Capitol (curious how it’s an “o” not an “a”) to keep control of their realm. And, choosing children as the Gladiators is utterly horrifying yet fascinating, it’s a tactic that shows the heartlessness of the Panem government to pit those aged 12-18 against each other in a Battle Royale. The characters are relateable and three dimensional, if not somewhat predictable. The action and violence is realistic, if even at some points it’s rather graphic. And, Collins kills off a loveable main character, which is something that all good novelists need to do to accurately convey realism and portray danger. Rue was an adorable character that the reader truly cared about, and when she took one for the team it was right up there with Dobby dying in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as far as emotionalism. It’s a good book, but not a great one.

And that’s because of the romance between the main characters, the two tributes from District 12 in Katniss and Peeta. It’s really boring. For the first part of their relationship in the book, you can feel the tension, but you don’t know how it will turn out with them supposed to be pretending to be in love during the games. You can predict that it’s going to turn out badly for one of them, as one might fall for the other in the midst of pretending, but it doesn’t pan out that way. Instead, Collins draaaaaaaags out the pretending part of their relationship,  muddling it and drastically overplaying it. And then to make matters worse, she doesn’t even resolve their true feelings in the end, OBVIOUSLY bating the reader for a sequel in which there will be more kissy-kissy overplayed, clear as mud teenage romance. Blech.

Secondly, there’s how she writes the book. It is written in present-progressive first person tense, which makes NO sense, but improves the pacing of the book. For example, a normal first person narrative is told like this.

“I ran through the woods, seeking my prey out amongst the evergreens, attempting to follow the blood trail as it became faint on the pines and needles.”

Present-progressive is told like this :

“I run through the woods, as I seek my prey in the evergreen forest, following the blood trail as it is becoming faint on the pines and needles.”

It’s very very confusing, because when a story is being told in first person, it’s usually the main character relating facts to you, the reader, told as a story. But instead, in present-progressive first person, it’s like she’s telling you what is going on as it’s happening, and you’re there with her. Which makes no sense, because diaries aren’t even written in present-progressive. Basically, the reader is a split personality of Katniss who she is relating what is going on to. Uh, okay? It improves the pacing, because it feels like the events are currently happening, but it makes for a bit of confusion.

The book doesn’t play to its strength of the concept, failing to expand the universe as much as it should, and wasting too much time on a romance that doesn’t even become terribly clear. Still, it’s a good book. The point of adapting a book into a film, however, is to reach a wider audience while staying faithful to the source material. However, a film adaptation can play to the strengths of the novel, and focus less on the weaknesses because it is actually an adaptation. So, in order to make a successful film, the filmmakers could do one of two things. 1) Create a teenage-romance film, and pander to that audience only OR 2) Create a heartfelt and realistically (for a fantasy) gritty film, AKA the later Harry Potters, that plays to the universe of the book. Sadly, the producers stuck with option number one, banking on the Twilight audience to bring in the box office receipts.

Here’s my problems with the movie, listed in no particular order.

1. The Film Score.

Unmemorable. All good novel adaptations should have a fantastic score, like The Lord of the Rings series. It emphasizes all the right moments in the movie and impacts the audience drastically. Which means, you need to hire a good composer, just like Peter Jackson did in LOTR (Howard Shore) or the Harry Potter producers did in John Williams. James Newton Howard is an accomplished composer, but you gotta pair him with someone like Hans Zimmer to get something truly memorable.

2. The Non-Linear Storytelling

If you’re not Quentin Tarantino or Zack Snyder, don’t tell a story non-linearly. We get these awkward flashbacks of Katniss’ father being killed in the mine explosion, and of Peeta throwing Katniss bread in the rain. We have no background or emotion tied with either scene, it just feels so utterly disjointed and awkward that we’re not sure what exactly to make of the scenes. Here’s how I would have incorporated those events into the film.

START out the film with the Everdeen’s father being the main character (like in Star Trek with Kirk’s father), with a young family in a dirt poor mining community. Show his relationship with Katniss and how he passes down his skills to her, and show what a caring parent he truly was. Then, in an emotional and tragic death scene, with piano music such as this playing……(skip to 13:10)

….show the death of their father in the mining accident, and the grief and spiraling depression that it sends the girls mother into. Then, altering the book a little bit, show Katniss running away from home in her emotion, and THERE have her encounter with Peeta as she is starving and hurt in the rain. Have her return home, and then in a voice-over by Jennifer Lawrence, have her say something like “My Name is Katniss Everdeen, and this is my story.” She can then narrate the history of Panem as the audience returns to the present events starting with the reaping. The part with Peeta has to be downplayed enough however, that when he gets chosen to be a tribute, the audience is thinking to themselves “oh my God that’s the kid that saved her in the rain!”

3. Casting and Character Changes

I don’t understand why Donald Sutherland plays  President Snow in this movie. The President isn’t featured in the first book, and Donald Sutherland isn’t a politician or intimidating. And, take the creative liberty to ax the term “President”. Make the ruler of Panem have a sweet title like “Augustus” or something Roman that implies dictatorship. If you insist on having an older guy be “President”, cast Christopher Lee while he is still alive, PLEASE. Or, if you want a truly intimidating two faced politician, Kevin Spacey should get the role.

The rest of the cast is actually very well done, they’re honestly just given bad lines. Someone please kill the writer for this movie, it’s another Michael Bay-esque film where they decide to explain entire things by throwing in a line of script instead of actually showing something. It’s a book, your movie is allowed to be 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Also, WHO IS THE VILLAIN OF THIS MOVIE?? You think it’s President Snow but he isn’t even in the book and is in about three scenes. You might think it’s the Careers (District 1 and 2 tributes), but you don’t hate them at all and they’re left totally undeveloped. I think the villain is the director, who butchered this movie completely.

Which brings me to the part of Rue. Her death in the book was very emotional, and she was a great developed supporting character. However, she isn’t developed AT ALL in the movie, and when she dies you just think to yourself, “oh, well she’s gone even though I don’t really know how because the filmmakers are afraid to show violence in an inherently violent movie.” HERE’S how you do an emotional impalementish death scene.

At this point in the movie, YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE BOROMIR. But, wow. This death scene is just unreal, as he comes to terms with everything. The music, the slow-mo, the dialogue is just off the chain. Which is how it should have been in the movie.

My final gripe as far as characters go is with the Peacekeepers. Supposed to be the policing force, they’re totally lame and not intimidating. You want intimidating and memorable? Go with something like this.

http://www.starwars.com/watch/encyclo_tear_this_ship_apart.html

Or, if you want to stick with the Roman theme, go with a Centurion design. That works too.

4. The Setting

The Capitol is described as being in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with mountains surrounding it on all sides. In other words, it’s Denver. But, we get no real notion or idea where it is, for all we know it’s in DC. They also describe District 12 as being in Appalachia, in other words, West Virginia. But again, the audience isn’t informed about this, and we can’t connect with the setting at all.

Furthermore, there should have been way more Roman architecture to go with the theme. Steal a page from the book of Gladiator and have more white stone paved streets, arches, and pillared structures. Yet, maintain the futuristic feel by incorporating more technology into the vast courtyards and plantation styled houses.

5. The Little Things The Movie Has To Do

-Create a convincing romance between the main characters. This is foremost and premier (and is hardly a little thing_, this drives the movie. It’s boring and unconvincing, and it’s what the producers tried to make a movie about. Thus, the movie failed.

-Create an “Evil Empire” feel for the Capitol and the Government. This means NOT omitting the fact from the novel that the Muttations are given life from the corpses of the rest of the killed tributes.  Show their atrocities and their reign, create empathy for the rebellion and hatred for the Capitol.

-Be much more faithful to the book’s portrayal of Haymitch and Katniss’ relationship. They have an understanding but not a like of each other, which the movie doesn’t show at all. Woody Harrelson does a great job as Haymitch, his part simply isn’t written well at all. It’s like the director wanted to dumb down their relationship just so simplify the movie. Collins creates a unique dynamic between the characters, showcase it as best possible.

-Expand and enhance the scene where Thresh spares Katniss’ life. This is about a 40 second scene in the movie, where it’s several pages and is very dramatic and the book. Make the audience feel the pressure and the emotion of having to owe somebody for a kindness

-Show the REAL way that Katniss obtained the Mockingjay pin. In the movie, she gives it to Prim “for luck”. Apparently, it’s not lucky at all because Prim gets selected as Tribute. And still, Prim gives Katniss the pin as Katniss volunteers to take her sisters place, “for luck”. Uhhhhh……..why? It was just proven that that pin is not lucky what-so-ever.

-Include Cato’s Body Armor from the book. At “The Feast” where Katniss receives the medicine for her and Peeta. It’s integral to the plot, and the fact where in the movie she puts Cato out of his misery while being devoured by the Muttations. The body armor came without a facemask, which would amplify this further.

-Don’t skimp on the exposition of the movie. The audience needs to understand the disparity between not just the Capitol and Districts, but between the Districts themselves. Explain the universe as best possible.

-Don’t be afraid to push the limits of a PG-13 movie. I feel like this could have easily been up for a PG rating, whereas the book can get rather graphic and definitely merits a PG-13 rating with its brutality. You shouldn’t go overboard, it being a teen novel for the most part, but portray more of the violence more realistically, make the audience feel the pain and the sorrow in having children kill each other.

Despite all the negatives I’ve listed, the movie is very well cast (other than Sutherland) and the last 20 minutes are done particularly well. However, if you really like the book and have half a brain, you shouldn’t love the movie. I only enjoyed the book and I still hated the film. I did just purchase the second book which I’m told is an improvement, but there’s no way you could drag me to see the second movie after this chop job. My advice? If you want a good read, buy it cheaply (I did for $6) or borrow it from the library. It’s a good read and great concept that you won’t regret, but it without a doubt pales in comparison to Lord of the Rings or even Harry Potter. The book gets a 8/10 whereas the movie 5/10.

DC Doesn’t Create Despicable Crap

Well, the title of my post is at least mostly true. No film studio is ever perfect, but for the most part DC comics are well represented with solid movies. The DC Film universe is somewhat less cluttered with films, and has a little bit more longevity to it than those of Marvel. Read into this however you like, it could be that DC is simply less greedy than Marvel, or that the DC universe isn’t as relatable on the big screen as the Marvel characters. For all intents and purposes, I’m going to leave out the original four Superman and Batman movies. What makes super hero movies real is the quality of the effects to supplement the story. And, as beloved as those movies may be to some people, if you go back and watch them today without a sentimental connection, the effects and production value seem quite silly. To enlarge the DC film universe a little more, however, I am including those DC graphic novel imprints that were made into movies. Now, to begin, we’ll pick up with DC’s movies post-1997, after two of their arguably worst movies ever, Shaquille O’Neal’s Steel and George Clooney’s nipple-suited Batman and Robin.

Such a horrid movie.

Road To Perdition (2002) – If you haven’t seen this movie, do yourself a favor and find a stream or copy of it somewhere when you have some free time. With an all-star cast that includes Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig and Stanley Tucci, this film is a fantastic 1930s gangster period piece that follows a former mob enforcer in his revenge path against a mobster who killed his family. Hanks and Newman give especially great acting performances, and cinematographer Conrad Hall won a posthumous Academy Award for the movie’s cinematography.  7/10

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) – I almost equate this movie to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I want so badly to like it a lot. And it starts out really well, and stars Sean Connery, so about a third of the way through I’m really excited about where it’s all going. And then, things just start getting weird when they start taking the whole fantasy part of the League a little too far. Then characters start acting without motivation, and general lunacy and chaos descends upon the plot. What could have been a really cool action movie with some interesting characters forming the League, turns out into a disappointing strange mess. 4/10

Catwoman (2004) – This is actually a really really really really really bad movie. I won’t waste my time explaining why, because the one time I watched it I shut it off about twenty minutes in. At least Halle Berry is attractive, which saves this from a goose egg. 0.5/10

Constantine (2005) – Honestly, I don’t mind this movie a whole lot. It’s one of Keanu Reeves (John Constantine) better roles, as he seems pretty fit to play Messianic roles rather well. The movie is filled with religious symbolism and has a rather complicated plot filled with inconsistencies and holes, but at the very least this movie makes you think, especially if you have religious beliefs. It’s fun to watch and talk about once, but that’s about it. 5.5/10

A History of Violence (2005) – Just like Road to Perdition, this is an oft forgotten DC graphic novel movie adaptation that is one to not miss. Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn in Lord of the Rings) stars as a small town local restaurant owner who in defense of his employees kills to robbers who hold up the place. As his fame grows, a big city mobster (Ed Harris) comes to town stalking him and his family, claiming that Mortensen’s character is actually a gangster with big city ties from years ago. He then has to face the accusations while dealing with the growing tension and newfound popularity at home, and his questionable past. Maria Bello and William Hurt also co-star in an Academy Award nominated screenplay in which everything is so well done that it all seems real, where you can relate to the characters and their trials. Because so few people have seen it, I can’t really say a whole lot more without ruining the plot, so take my advice and find a venue to watch it if possible. 8.5/10

Batman Begins (2005) – This is where DC starts getting their ball rolling. With bringing in Christopher Nolan to direct, Batman has been changed forever thanks to this realistic, gritty reboot of the popular caped crusader. Nolan’s cast is spot on, with Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Katie Holmes (love interest Rachel Dawes), Gary Oldman (Lt. James Gordon), and Liam Neeson (villain Ra’s al Ghul) starring. This movie spawned the idea of series rebooting, as Nolan did this film so well after the 1997 disaster of Batman and Robin. Right up there with 2008’s Iron Man, this is one of the, if not the best superhero origin stories ever put onto the big screen. Chances are that you have seen this movie and most of its sequels, so you know how good it is. The only criticism I can think of is that I would have liked to see more of a romantic subplot and attachment built up between Bale and Holmes’ characters, which is the only place this movie really falls short at. 8.5/10

The Dark Knight (2008) – The best superhero movie franchise just keeps getting better with this installment. With Katie Holmes being replaced with Maggie Gyllenhaal, the only possible acting weakness has been removed. Bringing in Heath Ledger as the Joker and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two Face, Ledger steals the show with his character, leaving what are great performances by the rest of the cast, in the dust with the audience begging for more of the Joker at each go-around. A seamless plot chronicling Batman’s psychological battle with the Joker, this movie is astoundingly good. If you haven’t seen it, please come up from whatever rock you live underneath and steal a DVD player and a copy of this movie if you have to. Words really do not do this film justice, but I’ll attempt to use numbers to demonstrate how good it is. 10/10

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – The conclusion to the Dark Knight Legend, Tom Hardy is brought on to play the enormous villain Bane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is introduced as the police officer John Blake, and Anne Hathaway is cast as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne (Bale) has hung up his cape and cowl, and retired from his role as Batman. He lives with his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) in his manor, holed up to live a secluded life. It isn’t until the international terrorist Bane (Hardy) comes to Gotham City that Wayne is forced to take up his mantle once more and face a foe who at least equals his physical prowess. Hathaway, Gordon-Levitt, Caine, Morgan Freeman (Wayne Enterprises tech expert Lucius Fox), and Marion Cotillard form an ensemble cast to bring about the conclusion of the series. Unfortunately, this movie is the most marred with plot holes and inconsistencies, and leaves a few questions at the end. However, the entire political atmosphere created by director Christopher Nolan paints a fascinating scene in which most of the plot holes end up being forgivable. Overall, a fantastic movie, yet one that could not live up to its predecessor and is about on par with the first series installment. 8.5/10

the dark knight rises

V for Vendetta (2005)- Remember, remember, the fifth of November. Next to The Dark Knight series and Watchmen, this is DC’s best movie. An action/political drama, this film has the best entire cast of any movie save The Dark Knight or Man of Steel. Hugo Weaving stars as the titular masked character, the outcast vigilante known simply as V. In near futuristic Great Britain, following the collapse of most ordered governments due to disease and war, England has been strengthened but also taken over by the government who now runs things in a Nazi-esque dictatorial style. Weaving plays the outlaw who attempts to restore freedom to the people and reveal the true nature of the forming of the dictatorship by exposing its horrific origins and past. Natalie Portman co-stars, feeding off Weaving’s fantastic performance and putting on a good show of her own as Evey Hammond, a British Television Network employee with her own torrid past that is used in conjunction with Weaving to bring about change in the fascist state. Stephen Rea almost steals the show with an amazing acting job as the Inspector tasked with hunting down V, as he wavers on the line of doing his job and doing what he knows to be morally right. John Hurt, Stephen Fry, Roger Allam, Rupert Graves, and Tim Pigott-Smith are also featured, finishing out what is a great working cast. A great detective and political story, this is a must-see for anyone with any sort of natural intelligence. 9/10

Superman Returns (2006) – Personally, I really disliked this movie. I love Kevin Spacey, but not a bald Kevin Spacey. I like Superman as a hero, but not when this movie picks up from after the second Superman movie which was released 30 years prior and nobody from my generation is going to remember. I also just don’t like anyone else in the cast, apart from Kevin Spacey. It’s a boring, vanilla cast with a boring, vanilla story, that when it put me to sleep, it was the best thing to happen to me all movie long. I did stay awake enough to see that the plot was pretty dumb with Spacey’s Lex Luthor attempting to create a continent out of kryptonite and become a real estate mogul. That’s such a cool movie premise (sarcasm). 4/10

Stardust (2007) – I confess, I didn’t see this movie, nor did I have any plans to at all when it was released. Reading its synopsis now, ehhhh………. I like Matthew Vaughn (X-Men First Class, Kick-Ass) who directs, but a romance-fantasy film just wasn’t appealing when I was 16. If it’s on Netflix, I’ll give it a chance. The late great Roger Ebert gave it a 2.5/4 and called it “fun”, so I’ll say……6.5/10

Watchmen (2008) – This epic I have to watch every year to remind myself of how good most of it is. Taking place in an alternate-reality 1985, the movie starts with the masked vigilante The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) being killed by an unknown foe. The so-called Watchmen superhero group made up of various masked vigilantes has recently been outlawed by third term President Nixon as the United States and USSR are on the brink of nuclear holocaust. The film follows the main character Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley in an amazing acting job), a psychopathic vigilante who tries to find out what is happening to masked heroes and why The Comedian was killed. The movie follows typical Zack Snyder non-linear storytelling style which works out perfectly in this film. Not for those with weak stomachs, this movie has very well done stylized action and can be rather gory. Although not a Hollywood A-List cast, every single cast member from Matthew Goode to Malin Akerman delivers big in their roles and creates a fascinating and very well done adaptation of the famous graphic novel on realistic heroes. It’s an entertaining and thought provoking tale that although a few rather awkward sex scenes and some blue penis on display, makes for a fantastic film. 8.5/10

The Spirit (2008) – Another movie I must admit that I haven’t seen, it’s apparently a good thing that I’ve skipped over it. It’s said that the cinematography is akin to Sin City and pretty gorgeous, but everything else in the movie aside from Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes being in it is awful. I’ll buy that. One point each for hot actresses, and one for cinematography like Sin City. 3/10

The Losers (2010) – The last DC film that I have not seen, but I rather want to. It barely made more than its $25 million budget, but still starts Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen), Zoe Saldana (Star Trek), and Chris Evans (Captain America). Described as an A-Team of sorts, it is said to be full of action movie clichés and is big, loud, noisy, dumb fun. Which, I can live with on occasion. 5/10

Jonah Hex (2010) – Jonah Hex was billed to be an awesome western shoot em’ up with Megan Fox being a babe on the side, and the ultimate dude flick. In reality, it turned out to be the ultimate idiot movie that actually was painful to watch. Thankfully, including the credits, it was only 81 minutes long. I was ready to be put out of my misery far before then however. 0.5/10

RED (2010) – I didn’t enjoy this movie. That being said, I didn’t hate it. I also don’t care to synopsize it because I was primarily bored by everything that happened in it. Normally, I like Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman movies. Something just doesn’t gel in this one for me though. It’s like throwing firecrackers down groundhog holes. It’s exploding, loud, and occasionally funny. But after nothing really happens for about ten minutes, I move on with my life. 5.5/10

Green Lantern (2011) – Green Lantern is not as bad as some people bill it. That being said, it’s also simply just not a good movie. There’s wayyyyyyyyy too much CGI, the villain is idiotic, and the cast is pretty bad. I think that Ryan Reynolds could conceivably be Hal Jordan, and he could do a fine job as the protagonist, but he’s just weighted down by poor writing and too much unrealistic razzle-dazzle. The hope for this movie coming in would be that it could potentially be a Justice League origin movie, which instead turned super-messy with special effects and lost all semblances of reality. My advice for the series is to create a sequel more grounded in reality that’s grittier and more realistic, and keep both Reynolds and Blake Lively on the cast, while forgetting pretty much everything else that happened in the first film. 4/10

Man of Steel (2013) – This is the Superman reboot and story that everyone has been waiting for. With Zack Snyder at the helm directing, this fantastic cast of Henry Cavill (Immortals, now playing Superman), Russell Crowe (Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian father), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Michael Shannon (General Zod), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), and Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) puts together the darkest, yet most realistic take on Superman yet. With Snyder’s nonlinear directing style, this movie shows Clark Kent/Kal-El coming to Earth and having trouble dealing with his non-human powers on a very human level. With General Zod arriving on Earth in search of Kal, it’s up to Clark to become who he was sent and born to be to stop the aliens from punishing humanity for hiding Kal from Zod. Very well done acting, directing, and action wise, the script could be a little better with some actual attempts at humor (it’s a movie that might take itself too seriously), and the large-scale destruction we see in Metropolis is a little bit too much to believe. Not a perfect movie by all means, but a very good one and a great reboot for the series. 8/10

Red 2 (2013) – What reason would I have to pay money or even time to go see this? ????/10

Part of the reason for DC’s success can be attributed to the fact that they have created several movies based on graphic novels instead of a series of comics. There’s less to draw on for a graphic novel, and more of a linear story to be told than the masses of comics and alternate universes and characters that are in play when we venture into comic book territory. Although the film branch of DC is without a doubt without its faults, it seems that the movies they create are designed to do more than just make money. They retain good actors and directors for successful franchises (see Snyder and Nolan), and focus on the cast, the story, and the realistic nature of how it gets conveyed to the audience. The future of DC film is unknown though, as the only established movie they have concretely on tap is a Man of Steel sequel that will introduce Batman into the Superman universe, which will likely be the prelude to a future Justice League movie. Rumor has it that Christian Bale and the rest of The Dark Knight series cast will not stay on for their roles, which would be a true shame not just for the audience but for the bean counters at DC. Honestly, I do not care how they explain it, but Christian Bale needs to play Batman and the rest of the universe needs to translate over with Man of Steel. There simply is no replacement for Christopher Nolan’s series. If DC were Marvel, there would already be a Batman reboot in place so they could make even more cash out of all the movies to follow. Let us hope that DC continues to stay the course and invoke (mostly) well done movies instead of following the Marvel path to greed.

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