Tag Archive: batman


How many films can you really have about criminals racing cars? Obviously Dreamworks felt like seven (and the inevitable eighth, ninth and probably tenth) Fast & Furious films just weren’t enough to satisfy the public – the majority of whom complain about the great success that recent installments of Fast & Furious have had. Therefore, they have decided to take on the established franchise with their own, born from video game (always a recipe for success *rolls eyes*) effort. There is one major difference though: the tone.

 

 

From that short trailer you can already see a difference between Need for Speed and the films of Fast & Furious. While Fast & Furious has always tried to beat home serious themes of family it has always been hid behind a slightly tongue in cheek atmosphere, never more so than in Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. However, with Aaron Paul giving a voice over and laying out the films premise it seems that there isn’t going to be much room for jokes in Need for Speed and seems to be more about a rivalry while giving the police and the crime section more serious undertones.

Aaron Paul’s casting also suggests a difference. Fast Five is probably the best film of the series so far but look at the cast; how many of those actors would look out of place in anything that wasn’t Fast & Furious? Can you really imagine Ludacris, Sung Kang or Gal Gadot in anything serious or better than the Fast & Furious franchise? No, of course not. But here Aaron Paul is one of the hottest names in television thanks to Breaking Bad and is one of the best up and coming actors around Hollywood at the minute. He has more drama in his little finger than the entire cast of the first Fast & Furious film. He’s paired up with Dominic Cooper (and anyone who has read my blog before knows how much I like him) and Imogen Poots, as well as Hollywood heavyweight and former Dark Knight, Michael Keaton.

 

But then there’s the almighty downfall of Need for Speed and why it probably won’t do well. Here’s the premise from IMDB for Need for Speed: Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins. This sounds a lot like an early Fast & Furious film, in particular it reminds me of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Since Fast & Furious gave itself a kick start with number four it became a lot more successful with audiences and critics alike and what was different in Fast & Furious (unfortunately the name of the fourth film as well as the franchise) to its predecessors? It was no longer really about the racing. Street racing or racing on the whole just wasn’t drawing in the audience so it was time to freshen things up in what is probably one of the best decisions in blockbuster history (maybe an overstatement, maybe not. You decide). Bringing standard racing back as the main story just doesn’t sit well with me.

I do hope that Need for Speed is a good film and I hope it brings in an audience (purely for Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper, not for the prospect of sequels) but I just can’t see it happening.

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Back in 1975 Jaws became the highest grossing film to date. It’s arguably one of the most famous films ever that has been parodied and referenced in countless numbers of films and has a theme tune that everyone can hum and recognise. The release and the popularity of Jaws marked the arrival of the summer blockbuster, which would become a staple in the cinema calendar; the summer blockbuster spots are reserved for the biggest studios to bring out the big guns and rake in the profits over summer. The whole idea of a ‘blockbuster film’ has gone through celebration and survived criticism but you can not deny that they are still apparent and, as we have seen this year, are the most bankable films of the year. But the originality has gone, and with that so has some of the fun.

Among the top ten highest grossing films of the year so far there are eight films that have been released in the summer. Only one of those is an original concept: Pacific Rim. When Jaws was released it marked a trend of ‘event’ films that major studios released to compete with Jaws and its sequels. Taking this into account Pacific Rim seems like a typical summer blockbuster remade for a modern audience. It seems like everything a summer audience want: mindless action, giant robots fighting gigantic aliens and what’s more the film had major clout behind it as it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Pacific Rim only just managed to double its budget worldwide despite all the hype surrounding it and Idris Elba booming “today we are cancelling the apocalypse” before every other summer film that you would go and see. Of course, one reason why Pacific Rim could have fallen short of expectations is because Michael Bay did such an awful job with the Transformers film that any film with robots in will now be tossed aside without thought.

 

But then a film with fighting robots also became the fifth highest grossing film of all time: Iron Man 3. So this seems to suggest that that was not the only reason for Pacific Rim‘s failure to make a huge impression on the audience. In a world with so many sequels it is becoming more important to see those sequels when they come out, especially with what Marvel are doing with each film becoming a huge stable of cinema in itself and an unmissable event. People want to see what they already know because the first films are so good and successful that it gives a sequel credibility before it is even released. The likes of Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast and Furious 6, Monsters University and even Despicable Me 2 cracked the top ten highest grossing films – all coming off the back of successful franchises or original films. World War Z and Man of Steel also join the list but they’re coming from hugely successful books and comic books. With World War Z it also seems to suggest that star power is also important for a summer blockbuster with Brad Pitt no doubt being responsible for some of the surprisingly huge audience the zombie action film found.

So what of Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp? Three of the biggest movie stars on the planet absolutely tanked at the box office in 2013. Smith’s After Earth and Cruise’s Oblivion both seemed pretty similar in their basic premise: Earth has been abandoned and now Will Smith/Tom Cruise come back to Earth and find out that it’s not as bare as they might have thought. It was assumed that one film would take the spoils because they were too similar but as it turned out, neither film did and both failed. Johnny Depp looked to bring a new franchise to the big screen and should have been more successful being as though The Lone Ranger is integrated in popular culture – everyone has heard “Hi-Yo, Silver!” at least once in their lives. But a difficult time in production seemed to put an end to any plans Disney had of making a sequel. And the less said about R.I.P.D the better.

 

Another one of the most anticipated films of the year was Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium. After Blomkamp’s debut feature District 9 was an Oscar nominated film people were expecting something exceptional from Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. However, as of now it has only just managed to make back its budget and not set the world alight as people expected. Of course, a late summer release won’t have helped being as though it seems everyone had already spent their money on previously mentioned films. So why is it so hard to find a spot for originality in the summer months?

For me, I think it comes down to the cost of going to the cinema. Over summer the children are off school and people go to the cinema as a family. This means that you’re going to be spending around £25-£35 on tickets and then another £20ish on drinks and popcorn which makes it seem pretty expensive just to go and sit down for a couple of hours. Nobody wants to go and see a bad film at the cinema anyway but when it’s costing that much you want to know that you’re going to enjoy what you watch. Therefore, I believe people are more likely to go and see Iron Man 3 when Marvel have a spotless record and you’re guaranteed a great performance from Robert Downey Jr. rather than take a chance that something like R.I.P.D or Pacific Rim which you don’t know much about.

 

In the next couple of years we are going to see more Marvel films – Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. The Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman is coming out too, the same as the seventh chapter of Star Wars and presumably a third in the new Star Trek trilogy: add to that another Fast & Furious film, a sequel to World War Z and X-Men: Days of Future Past. It seems like so many huge franchises are begging for people’s money that it seems impossible for anything new to turn heads. For the sake of cinema that has to change sooner rather than later.

The entertainment industry is an incredibly fickle one; one bad movie can see you go from the top of your game to the discard pile as quick as a flash. So it takes incredible determination, talent and motivation to continue on acting for so many years. 65 is usually the age of retirement over here in Britain but here are a few actors who show no signs of slowing down as they get older, just continuing to get better with age.

Robert De Niro – Born: August 17, 1943 – 69 years old.

This man really does need very little introduction. He’s been acting since the 1960’s but really made his name in the 70s with performances in The Godfather trilogy and of course his iconic performance as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. He’s become associated largely with gangster films but in the last decade or two he’s been slightly less picky with his roles and has taken fun roles rather than the intense ones he used to, as witnessed in Stardust and Meet the Parents. Five releases are slated for this year with more coming in 2014.

Sir Ben Kingsley – Born: 31st December, 1943 – 69 years old.

It’s actually unbelievable that Sir Ben Kingsley was once in English soap opera Coronation Street. Kingsley is often forgotten by mainstream audiences but he is clearly one of the best actors that England have ever produced. He won an Oscar for his role in Ghandi and continues to show his versatility with recent roles in Hugo, Shutter Island and Sexy Beast. Kingsley can now be seen playing Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

Sir Ian McKellen – Born: 25th May, 1939 – 73 years old.

McKellen is a true thespian. It took until the late 80s/early 90s really until McKellen became a certified film star and his career continues to thrive; really, since the turn of the century McKellen has become an actor that all different types of audiences want to see. He has shown off his talents in two iconic roles in particular, Magneto in X-Men and Gandalf in Lord of the Rings (a role he has reprised for The Hobbit trilogy), while at the same time continuing to do short films and television work as well.

Jack Nicholson – Born: 22nd April, 1937 – 75 years old.

What is there left to say about Jack Nicholson that hasn’t been said before? He is undoubtedly one of the best actors that has ever worked. That’s just a simple fact of life. He’s been acting since the 1950s and although he is taking longer breaks between work at the minute that doesn’t mean he is getting any worse. Over the years Nicholson has won three (THREE!) Oscars for his work and turned out great performances in the likes of The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Batman and The Departed. That’s a career well spent.

Morgan Freeman – Born: 1st June, 1937 – 75 years old.

He’s probably the only man in the world that people could just listen to every single day and never get bored. Has Morgan Freeman really ever been young? A lot of Freeman’s work up until the 90s was largely television work but what a decade the 90s became for him: Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption and Se7en saw Freeman in quite an incredible rise to fame. One that continues thanks to his role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.

Robert Redford – Born: 18th August, 1936 – 76 years old.

Redford has slowed down in recent years but he is not only an acclaimed actor but also has been nominated for Oscars for his directing as well (and won). This is a man who starred in some of the most famous films of all time: The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He’s made something of a return to acting in the last couple of years with The Company You Keep (2012), All is Lost (2013) and he is set to appear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).

Sir Michael Caine – Born: 14th March, 1933 – 80 years old.

This year, the great actor turned eighty years old. Unbelievable considering the energy and the emotion that he still brings to all of his characters. Michael Caine has a filmography to rival anybody, he really has reached the top of his game and been there for decades as well now! The Italian Job, Zulu, Alfie, Get Carter, Hannah and Her Sisters and of course more recently he has become a regular collaborator with Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight trilogy, The Prestige and Inception. A true legend of the acting world.

Christopher Plummer – Born: 13th December, 1929 – 83 years old.

Remember The Sound of Music? One of the most iconic films of all time? Released in 1965? Well Christopher Plummer was in that. And his career is one that seems to have really got better with age and has, in fact, flourished since the beginning of the 21st century. He has recently had roles in A Beautiful Mind, Nicholas Nickleby, National Treasure, Syriana, Up, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and finally won an Oscar in 2012 for his role in Beginners.

These actors are true legends of their profession.

DC and Warner Bros. have really shot themselves in the foot by slating a 2015 release for their big superhero team up movie: Justice League. One of the main things that saw Marvel’s The Avengers pay off so well is that the process for creating that film began way back in 2008 when, at the end of Iron Man, Nick Fury turned up and told Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative. What followed was the incorporation of big characters in other strands of the franchise: Tony Stark in The Incredible Hulk, Agent Coulson in Iron Man and Thor, Nick Fury in Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and Hawkeye in Thor. It’s too late, or too soon depending on how you look at it, for Justice League to be able to do that. Christopher Nolan just wrapped up The Dark Knight trilogy for Batman, Man of Steel is just rebooting Superman, Aquaman has become a joke among mainstream audiences largely thanks to Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory while The Green Lantern bombed. So what should the line up for the Justice League look like and who should play the famous characters?

Justice League_Warner Bros

 

Batman

Batman would be the hardest character to bring to Justice League. After what Christopher Nolan did with the character it’s going to be incredibly hard for anyone to reboot Batman so soon after one of the greatest trilogies of all time. The world of The Dark Knight doesn’t really fit with the fantastical element of Justice League either. I think that, although he is one of the biggest and best characters that DC have to offer, Batman should be left out of the roster until at least the sequel. Controversial, I know.

Superman

Even with Man of Steel looking like it’s going to be a grittier take on the character that I absolutely despise more than anything, it will still fit in with the fantastical element because at the end of the day, Superman is an alien who can easily be defeated by ‘space rock’. It won’t be too hard, I imagine, to connect Man of Steel to Justice League. New information released in the past 24 hours seems to have leaked a possible line up for Justice League and according to that, it will be the same Superman from Man of Steel so Henry Cavill would reprise the role.

 

Wonder Woman

The original and the best female superhero. Wonder Woman was been the subject of a very recent unsuccessful attempt to transfer the character to the big screen and casting is vital in terms of this character. Apparently there is a script in the works for a Wonder Woman solo film that will take place before Justice League (whether it will be released before it or not remains to be seen though) but who should play her? Gina Carano would be the pick for me; getting her break out in Haywire and soon to be appearing in the sixth Fast and Furious film, the mixed martial arts fighter has proven she can act and would be perfect for the role.

 

Aquaman

According to the leaked line up Aquaman is going to be pivotal to the story in Justice League. If it is going to be a big part then a big name actor should be cast, in order to reclaim a positive reputation for the character. Let’s keep it short and sweet. Ryan Gosling.

 

Green Lantern

Unfortunately, the Green Lantern movie flopped and probably will not be getting a sequel (that’s not unfortunate though). The unfortunate bit is that the Green Lantern in Justice League is likely to be the same character but be re-written. However, will Ryan Reynolds return or will he be re-cast Hulk style? David Boreanaz voiced Green Lantern in Justice League: The New Frontier and is a very good actor who I would like to see in the role. However, I think the character would need a darker rewrite if that was to be the case.

 

Flash

The fastest man on Earth, Flash is a character who must be in the film. The casting of Flash largely depends on which incarnation of the character they go for, although it is likely they will go for Barry Allen. Every comic book fan wants to see Nathan Fillion in a comic book movie and he was largely tipped for Green Lantern and Marvel’s Ant-Man but I think he would make a great Flash.

 

Martian Manhunter

If Darkseid is the villain of the film then it is imperative that Martian Manhunter is involved. Martian Manhunter is an alien who has lived on Earth (just like *yawn* Superman) for over one hundred years who has knowledge of Darkseid and his reign. If a Black Panther movie isn’t going to be made anytime soon and if Djimon Hounsou isn’t cast in it then he should surely be Martian Manhunter.

I’m back from my Christmas hiatus and in the past couple of weeks critics and fans alike have been compiling their lists of the ten best films of 2012 or twenty best or whatever you like, but I have decided to take a different approach to compiling my list and I will be looking at, month by month, what were the best releases. I’ll be using the UK release dates for films and, in doing it month by month there will be some big omissions and some surprise inclusions.

Will any of these films feature on the list?

 

January – The Grey

To be honest, if you look at what was released in January it doesn’t really fill you with enthusiasm for the rest of the year as there weren’t really many films worth noting released this month. I think that people were still more bothered about seeing the previous year’s Christmas releases (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) however there were a few films that stood out. You might think that We Need to Talk About Kevin, Shame or War Horse might win this month but I decided to go for Liam Neeson’s The Grey. Neeson continued his rebirth as an action hero in 2012 and it was largely down to his enounter with wolves in the partially surprising hit: The Grey.

 

February – Chronicle

February brought a lot of very disappointing ventures to the cinema. Safe House was a blockbuster than lacked a punch, Man on a Ledge was a very boring ‘thriller’ and One For the Money is one of the most boring films I have ever seen! However, saying that I was really impressed by Woman in Black which seemed to reinstate Hammer Films at the forefront of the horror scene but for the best film of the month it fell short and I went for Chronicle. Chronicle was seen by many to be very refreshing to an overcrowded superhero genre. The characters that appear in this found footage film are not from the pages of comic books and, like The Grey, Chronicle was another surprise hit but worth of all it’s critical acclaim.

March – 21 Jump Street

If you think that 21 Jump Street is a strange and ridiculous choice to be on this list then I really do encourage you to look at films that were released in the UK in March this year. March saw releases from some very highly anticipated films that were subsequently big disappointments, none bigger than John Carter. Of course, March also brought us the beginning of a huge new franchise with the Jennifer Lawrence led The Hunger Games, however I enjoyed 21 Jump Street a lot more. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much in the cinema, 21 Jump Street was a welcome injection of humour to an otherwise dull month.

 

April – Avengers Assemble

There was a clear winner for this month. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble became the third highest grossing film of all time, breaking no end of records on its way to this achievement. This was the event that film fans had been waiting for for 4 years and it did not disappoint, The Avengers (as it was known sensibly in other countries) provided big entertainment, big action, big characters and big laughs. The only real competition in this month came from another film with Joss Whedon’s name attached: Cabin in the Woods, which was seen to redefine the horror genre but really, nothing could top Avengers Assemble.

 

May – The Raid: Redemption

May saw a lack of big releases as the prospect of going up against Marvel’s box office Goliath seemed a little bit daunting for many studios. And of course there is a bit of a lull in the cinema calender before the big summer smashes get released. The Raid was something that we don’t see nearly enough on this side of the Atlantic, a foreign release… and a successful one at that! The Raid is a brilliant, action packed, adrenaline fueled Indonesian martial arts film and it should come as no surprise that there are plans in America to do an English language remake.

 

June – Killer Joe

Now, June saw the second big release of the year: Prometheus. And don’t get me started on how over rated that was and what a bore fest it unfortunately turned out to be. Rock of Ages was a very very dull adaptation of the successful stage musical and The Five Year Engagement was about five years too long. Killer Joe proved that Matthew McConaughey could really act and it turned out to be a very gritty, gothic crime drama that also featured Emile Hirsch who is quietly going about proving what a good actor he is too.

 

July – The Dark Knight Rises

At the beginning of July The Amazing Spider-Man was released and was a very good attempt at reshaping Spider-Man’s origins; then on the 20th of July Christopher Nolan turned up to show everyone how it was done. Nolan’s Batman trilogy ended with one of the greatest films of the year. Full stop. He brought an all star cast here and cranked up the tension, cranked up the stakes and people flocked to the cinema to see how the greatest superhero trilogy ever made would end. And it did not disappoint. Sure, it never quite reached the heights of The Dark Knight which preceded it but I thought that the ending of The Dark Knight Rises was one of the greatest and most satisfying endings I have ever seen.

 

August – Ted

Fans of controversial humour, outrageous humour and toilet humour were delivered an early Christmas present back in August when Seth MacFarlane made his feature film directorial debut in this story of a child’s teddy bear coming to life to become a sex-craved, pot smoking best friend (voiced by MacFarlane himself). I think Ted may suffer from a lack of rewatchability but all in all it was a very funny film with some great cameos and hilarious scenes. The “white trash girls names” scene is one of the best scenes of the year in itself!

 

September – Looper

There were some very popular films released in September: Anna Karenina, Dredd, The Sweeney and House at the End of the Street to name a few. Lawless, featuring wonderful performances from Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce among others was an incredible film and gives Looper a run for its money but when I saw Looper I knew I was watching something special. Looper is one of the best films that I have ever seen and has fast become one of my favourites. The time travel plot device that has long been a staple in the science fiction genre and Looper gave an alternate look while skirting around the edges of Rian Johnson’s own laws of time travel. Looper was incredible! My best film of the year.

 

October – Skyfall

2012 saw the return of James Bond to the big screen in Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes. After a disappointing Quantum of Solace Bond returned in a flood of critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide in the critically lauded Skyfall. Skyfall delivered a more personal look at the characters in Bond’s world, including a small trip into Bond’s background, a more in-depth look at M and revealed a few dark secrets of MI6. Skyfall also brought back some famous characters in a new style, Q and Moneypenny. Skyfall was simply fantastic and should be an outside bet for a couple of Oscar nominations.

 

November – Argo

My heart longs to say that Rise of the Guardians was the best film released in November but my head says otherwise. November saw End of Watch and Silver Linings Playbook released as well but I think that Argo was a really really incredible achievement for Ben Affleck. Argo was crammed full of suspense and tension and had audiences chewing on their nails whilst sitting on the edge of their seats. A true story of a rescue attempt using the undercover story of being a film crew for a science fiction film seems almost unbelievable but Argo brings it to the screen with such perfect realism.

 

December – Life of Pi

Life of Pi was very hotly anticipated as soon as it was announced. Being a best-selling book Life of Pi already had a huge audience waiting to see how the adaptation would turn out. The story is of 16 year old Pi who suffers a ship wreck which kills his family and leaves Pi stranded with just a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. It is a truly touching and emotional story and is already reaping the rewards of their hard work with Golden Globe nominations for Best Score, Best Drama and Best Director.

This week’s news comes from three of the biggest franchises in the geek world right now. Let’s start with Star Trek Into Darkness. Ever since LOST JJ Abrams has been known for keeping his projects very low key in terms of information that fans know and this has been true of the upcoming sequel to his Star Trek reboot. We’ve seen photos from set and we know Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the villain. This week an official synopsis has finally been released for the sequel:

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

This obviously still doesn’t give away any identity to Cumberbatch’s villain but it seems, from the synopsis, that Cumberbatch could be playing an old rival of Kirk’s from within the organisation of Starfleet that has become this ‘one man weapon of mass destruction’. Either way, it still sounds fantastic.

 

Next up. There has been a lot of talk about characters returning to the X-Men franchise for Days of Future Past. With the return of Bryan Singer as director of the franchise it seemed every more likely. Already James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and Michael Fassbender are set to reprise their roles but now we also know that Patrick Stewart AND Ian McKellen are both returning! Bryan Singer has also said that there are “more announcements to be made” which could hint at several other returning characters from the original trilogy. It has long been a source of speculation but these announcements have absolutely made it clear that this will tie together all of the strands of the film series so far (hopefully). And it will be great to see two Xaviers and Magnetos on screen (especially since Stewart and McKellen do it so well).

They’re two of the most lovable old fellows in the acting world.

 

And finally.. this is just a rumour for now but as we all know there is a Justice League film in the works at Warner Bros. and this week Zack Snyder hinted that his Superman reboot Man of Steel could be tied in to it all. However, that’s not the news I’m bothered about. The rumour doing the rounds this week comes from an insider that has said that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in line to take up the Batman cowl for the superhero team up that won’t be as good as The Avengers. Obviously, if he did this would be a natural progression as JGL’s character (Christopher Nolan’s Robin) in The Dark Knight Rises, it is hinted, takes on the mantle of Batman after Bruce Wayne hangs up his job. However, it is still unknown whether Justice League will respect what happened in The Dark Knight trilogy (probably not) so JGL could still play Bruce Wayne if this was to be done, but like I said… for now this is just a rumour.

UK Release Date: 22nd March 2013.

Stars: Bryan Singer (director), Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Bill Nighy, Ian McShane, Warwick Davis, Eleanor Tomlinson

Plot: The long-standing peace between men and giants is threatened, as a young farmer leads an expedition into the giants’ kingdom in hopes of rescuing a kidnapped princess.

Jack and the Beanstalk is the latest fairy tale to be adapted into some modern war/adventure film, following in the footsteps of Snow White and the Huntsman and the upcoming Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters. Here we have the simple naive farm boy of the fairy tale transformed into some brave, giant killing soldier.

Being directed by Bryan Singer, who took the X-Men films into darkness before Batman made it cool, I am surprised by how much it looks as though Jack the Giant Slayer is being aimed at children. A lot of what we see in this trailer, the attempts at humour and even the whole aesthetic look, makes it seem as though the family audience is being targeted although how many adults are going to be prepared to sit through this film I’m not sure.

I’m not saying this looks bad though because I actually think it could be a lot of fun. I’m pleased to see Nicholas Hoult getting main parts in films these days and its good to see Ewan McGregor offering some comedy up. Jack the Giant Slayer does look incredibly CGI heavy but hopefully that won’t distract viewers too much and, from the trailer, it looks as though it won’t. This one won’t be a film for everyone but it could be a fun ride.

Disney now owns three of the biggest companies in the world of movie making: Pixar, Marvel and LucasFilm, in particular the Star Wars franchise. So with these three huge franchises all working under the same roof it is inevitable that comparisons will be made, but just which is the biggest and best franchise? I will be ranking Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars out of 10 in categories such as Oscar recognition, box office takings, quality of the films and star quality.

 

Box Office

The box office takings are vital to companies and film franchises such as these three as it indicates whether there is any demand for their films any longer and obviously, at the minute, there is. The Star Wars franchise (the original trilogy and prequel trilogy) have taken $3,793,650,642 at the box office, making an average of around $632million per film. Marvel Entertainment have so far released six films of their own, from Iron Man to The Avengers and have made $3,772,055,196 (with The Avengers making up the most of that) averaging $628million per film. None of this quite matches Pixar who, since releasing Toy Story have amassed an incredible $7,794,770,758 at the global box office, however on average this only amounts to just under $600million per film.

Marks out of 10 for Box Office takings:

Pixar: 6

Marvel: 7

Star Wars: 8

 

“Son?”

Oscars

Each year the Oscars acknowledge the best films and the best efforts in making films. Marvel are really lagging behind in this area with just three nominations, two for Iron Man and one for Iron Man 2. Star Wars have so far managed to win seven Oscars with another fifteen nominations! But still this is far far behind Pixar who have been storming the Oscars with almost all of their films and have won ten Oscars for their feature films with another 30 (yes 30!) nominations!

Pixar: 10

Marvel: 1

Star Wars: 6

 

Film Quality

There is no doubt about who makes the best films out of Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. Ever since their first release Pixar have continually churned out near perfect, enjoyable family films almost every year. With their recent releases it looks as though they have started to lag but their discography cannot be ignored. Marvel, aside from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, have dominated the superhero genre and continue to bring out fun, light hearted but still very very good films and all of this culminated in one of the best films of 2012: The Avengers. I have never really liked Star Wars but I can appreciate that the original trilogy was good (yet nothing to really shout about) however the prequel trilogy is universally disliked.

Pixar: 10

Marvel: 8

Star Wars: 6

Star Talent

Star Wars made stars out of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford primarily, although they were virtual unknowns at the time. However, they did attract Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness to the franchise. In the prequels they managed to cast some good British talent with Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor along with the huge Samuel L. Jackson. Marvel also signed Samuel L. Jackson up along with huge stars Robert Downey Jr, Ed Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Renner, Hugo Weaving, Tim Roth, Jeff Bridges and Sam Rockwell (and that’s not even all of them!). Tom Hanks, John Ratzenberger, Michael Keaton, Kevin Spacey, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi have all provided voices for Pixar characters but a lot of the time the actors are unknown to audiences.

Pixar: 6

Marvel: 9

Star Wars: 4

 

Overall Ratings:

Pixar: 32/40.

Marvel: 25/40.

Star Wars: 24/40.

So overall Pixar comes out on top which is unsurprising to say the least! Although with their two most recent films (Cars 2 and Brave) not going down as well as previous efforts are they on the decline? Marvel have just released the third highest grossing movie of all time this year and their universe of films is only going to continue to grow and get more and more exciting. Star Wars has continued to live on in television shows since the end of the film franchise and everyone is expecting big things from the new instalment. In the next few years it will be interesting to see who Disney is getting the most from.

Bale as a fictional hero on the big screen.

Christian Bale’s acting talents have brought him praise after praise for a number of films including The Fighter, The Prestige and 3:10 to Yuma but in terms of his public image Bale is sometimes dealt a raw deal. In fact, you never really hear much about Bale off screen but one infamous news story took place back in 2008 whilst Bale was filming the largely unsuccessful Terminator Salvation. You may remember that a video was released onto the internet of Bale having an incredible rant at the director of photography after he walked into Bale’s line of sight during a take. This incident was reported all over the world on main news channels and made Christian Bale look like a petulant little brat. When he later apologised for his actions this was kept away from most of the news. Therefore, it is common when people think of Christian Bale nowadays to associate him with this incident and strike him down almost instantly as not a nice person. However, I aim to change that with these news stories that didn’t quite do the rounds as much as the ‘rant’ but should have and should be brought to the forefront of people’s minds to show just what a fantastic character and heart warming person Christian Bale is.

Christian Bale is known for taking his acting very very seriously and has shown it time and again by slimming down radically, to the point of looking really ill, to pull off roles accurately (The Fighter, The Machinist). But Bale seems to have taken the role of Batman to heart and is carrying out all his duties to make people see what a real hero he is. Earlier this year upon the release of The Dark Knight Rises there was a tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado. 12 people were killed with a further 58 reportedly injured. These victims were just waiting to see a midnight screening of the third and final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Just a few days later Christian Bale was in Aurora visiting the survivors of the attack. Bale spent a few hours at the hospital where he spoke to victims, doctors and police officers who were among the first to respond to the shooting. These people wanted to see Batman and Christian Bale made sure that they did.

Bale meets Aurora shooting victim.

And now Bale has been at it again, making a young child’s wish come true. Five year old boy Jayden Barber was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer back in 2010 and it was his dream to meet Batman. A Facebook campaign was started by Jayden’s family to try and get Christian Bale to visit his young fan and sure enough, Bale was more than happy to oblige. Christian Bale flew Jayden and his family out to Los Angeles to meet him and he had dinner with the family too. This isn’t something that Bale needed to do but he obviously takes his job seriously and playing Batman he will have become something of a real life hero and a role model and this is a wonderful thing of him to do: making a young boy’s wish come true. And there was more good news for Jayden and his family as they recently found out that the cancer was in remission.

Christian Bale makes a young boy’s wish come true.

Christian Bale isn’t the only big screen hero to have done this recently though as Ron Perlman, famous for playing Hellboy has done the same recently this year. Perlman donned full make-up and costume to visit leukaemia sufferer, six year old Zachary . When asked for what he wished for most Zachary said that he wanted to meet Hellboy and don the make-up himself. Sure enough, Perlman and Spectral Motion made this boy’s wish come true.

Ron Perlman becomes Hellyboy to make a young boy’s wish become reality.

There are no awards for guessing that Warner Bros. and comic book company DC Comics are desperate to get their superhero team The Justice League to the big screen. After the phenomenal success of Marvel’s The Avengers, DC seem to be desperate to compete with them on the big screen which recently, they haven’t been able to do: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy is really the only good effort from DC recently with Superman Returns and The Green Lantern paling in comparison to Iron Man and Thor. Now Warner Bros. are pushing on with the Justice League project with directors being lined up (Ben Affleck has been reported to have been approached & turned it down) but this could lead to a huge failure rather than success.

The most obvious problem to me is the Batman problem. Before The Dark Knight Rises was even released there was talk of Warner Bros. planning to reboot the caped crusader as soon as just two or three years down the line. After the huge acclaim that Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises received it seems a ridiculous idea to want to reboot the character of Batman immediately, with fans not even having time to let the old Batman go first (although this didn’t seem to be too much of a problem for The Amazing Spider-Man, another Marvel success). With Batman being a founding member of the Justice League a movie version would seem to be lacking something without him.

Next up, there is Wonder Woman. The Avengers sole representative of the female genre came in the form of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and she was a very popular character in the third highest grossing movie of all time. This was no doubt down to the fact that she is largely a supporting character and at the helm of The Avengers was Joss Whedon, a man famed for his strong female characters. Wonder Woman is very different to Black Widow; Wonder Woman was the first female superhero and is a real staple in comic book history. She is the epitome of female superheroes and needs to be treated as such. Wonder Woman fans won’t want to see their favourite woman as a background character in someone else’s movie, they want to see her on par with the likes of Batman and Superman. Why is this a problem? Well, how well did Elektra and Catwoman do in their individual movies? And what happened to the new Wonder Woman television show? That’s right, cancelled after just a pilot. Not promising at all.

The new Superman film Man of Steel comes out later this year and, so far, it is unclear whether this will hint at a future Justice League movie. If it doesn’t then surely we will have to endure yet ANOTHER Superman reboot which would be horrible for film fans (and me especially as I already think Superman is a pretty boring character). It would also be pretty disappointing if it did because DC’s most recent non-Batman film was of course the largely disappointing Green Lantern. Green Lantern didn’t hint at a Justice League film either and you’ve got to really hope they’re not going to rehash it again just to get a Justice League movie out. Also, there is a very vast difference between The Green Lantern and (what we expect from) Man of Steel in terms of how real and grounded in reality each film is.

The wonderful thing about Marvel is that they had The Avengers planned for years, it was a long time in planning. The Avengers was a five year project that began back in 2008 and even before that when the film was in production. Whilst each film was coming out, though, we could tell that each film was happening in the same universe and little hints were laid (Cap’s shield in Iron Man 2, Tony Stark turning up in The Incredible Hulk, Agent Coulson’s constant appearances) to remind us what each film was leading up to. With each main character introduced in their own solo film we were given the chance to get to know each character by themselves then watch them change, grow and adapt as part of a team in The Avengers. It was a wonderful journey and an incredible moment in cinema history that showed just what could be accomplished with the right planning.

The Justice League so far has not laid any trails for fans to latch on to. I highly doubt there will be a moment in Man of Steel where Superman suddenly refers to The Green Lantern or anything like that. Warner Bros. really needs to take their time and make sure that they get individual films for Wonder Woman, Flash and, a little more difficult, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. Warner Bros. are going to need someone special at the helm just as Marvel had Joss Whedon and a bad sign already is that Christopher Nolan has said he will not be involved.

As fans of movies, comic books and superheroes we can only hope that Warner Bros. and DC just take their time, rather than trying to rush a cut and paste job onto the big screen in reply to Marvel.