Tag Archive: zack snyder


Man of Steel Review

In 2006, Warner Bros. and DC decided to reboot Superman (at the same time as tying it in to the original films) with the help of Bryan Singer and Brandon Routh. Despite doing well both critically and commercially (the ninth highest grossing film of that year worldwide) any plans of a sequel were put to rest as the studios bowed down to fans’ criticism of the film. The studios have thrown caution to the wind this time with a sequel already reportedly being worked on and Man of Steel setting the groundwork for Justice League.

“Where do I come from?”

Henry Cavill is Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman, sent to Earth during the destruction of his home planet of Krypton and raised on Earth by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane). When what is left of the alien race return to Earth to find Clark and rebuild their own species from scratch, he is forced to choose between his heritage and his new home.

In something that has been given relatively little thought or sight on screen in recent years, Zack Snyder (the director being entrusted with the hopes and dreams of Justice League on his shoulders) plunges the audience right into Krypton’s destruction. The movie opens with some incredible special effects and a great sense of action as Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) come to blows over the future of their planet. Man of Steel sets the bar high for its action sequences with Jor-El and Zod engaging in the first real teaser of the super powered fights that we are anticipating seeing the red and blue of Superman engage in.

“What if a child aspired to something greater?”

On Earth the excitement continues to grow as we follow Clark around in a number of jobs, from fisherman to barman, in which we learn more about the character and his selflessness; he quickly races off to save a crew from a burning oil rig. His adult life is interrupted with trips back to his childhood: Clark saving his class from drowning on a school bus, being bullied for being different, coming to terms with his abilities. You get the impression that you might actually care about this alien. Then Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is introduced and all the groundwork laid so far beings to unravel.

Unfortunately, you can’t really have a Superman movie without featuring Lois Lane in some capacity. And while she may have served a purpose previously as bringing out another human layer to Clark’s character, in Man of Steel she is little more than an annoyance and one of the most pointless characters ever. There was no need for her to be taken aboard the Krypton spaceship, it didn’t seem like Zod had any needs for her to be on board other than so she could learn how to stop them from destroying Clark and Earth.

“Welcome to the Planet”

The character development that started so promisingly disappears when Clark meets Lois. Just two or three meetings later and Lois now knows everything about Clark and the two of them have decided that they are in love. It just feels so underwhelming and undeveloped that you being to question whether some scenes have been cut from the final edit. It’s as if Snyder and David S. Goyer (screenwriter) have decided that because everyone knows Lois and Clark are meant to be together, that’s a good enough reason in itself for it to happen without any seeds being set for a relationship. And the kiss at the end? Cliche and forced. The relationship could have been allowed time to grow and be explored if pointless scenes asking us to care about 2-bit characters who have had 5 minute screen time weren’t shoe horned in.

Despite all this, Man of Steel does offer some moments of relief. The fight scenes are incredible; one on one fights scaling over miles of ground. The enormous difference between humans and Kryptons is there for all to see. Superman’s flight, his heat vision, x-ray vision (underused) and heightened senses are all portrayed wonderfully and the special effects live up to the films early promise.

“I will find him!”

There are good performances all round, Kevin Costner makes a true return to form, providing a really great performance with limited screen time. Cavill, Crowe and Shannon all perform as well as the script allows as well. One of the main criticisms levelled at Man of Steel is the inevitable loss of human life that seems to not affect Superman and this cannot be ignored.

We’re supposed to believe that Superman, of all superheroes, this moral beacon of justice and hope, is okay with charging through petrol stations, diving through skyscrapers and pummeling his way around a small town is doing this and giving no thought to the innocent people inside all these buildings that are going to die because of his actions? I don’t buy that. And when SPOILER Superman does kill someone, he has a few seconds to regret it before being rushed off screen so the end credits can take his place.

“What do you think?”

Overall, Man of Steel does provide entertainment, that much is certain. The special effects and big budget moments are really worth seeing. But it adds nothing new to Superman that hasn’t been seen before, leaving the unanswerable question: what was the point? Cavill has the potential to be the best Superman ever, but he needs a good script and brilliant story in the sequel to attain this.

My Rating: 6/10.

Advertisements

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.

This week the first trailer for Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel was released. In the starring role is British actor Henry Cavill. The role of Clark Kent and Superman is always going to be a huge one as he is one of the most famous and iconic characters ever created; the fact that the film is being produced by Christopher Nolan perhaps adds even more pressure onto the film itself too after his success with Batman. This film could make or break Cavill’s career: if it goes well Cavill will be leading a worldwide franchise and will have work set for the next few years, but if it goes wrong he could easily be thrown back into the pool of obscurity.

Henry Cavill is relatively new to this acting lark having really only made a name for himself in 2007. He starred in the films Tristan & Isolde and Stardust in this year but he was far from the leading man. It was in fact on television where Cavill got his big break, in British television drama The Tudors. Cavill starred in The Tudors up until 2010 and then went back to the world of movies full time. Last year he starred in Immortals which was deemed pretty average on all floors and this year he appeared in The Cold Light of Day alongside Bruce Willis so his career certainly seemed to be on the up before he was plucked from nowhere and chosen to don the tights and cape of Superman. It is a huge, very quick leap to the top that Cavill has made but this has not come without his fair share of bad luck and near misses that could have seen his career pan out very very differently.

Back in 2004 the Superman franchise saw an unsuccessful return to the big screen with Superman Returns. The film was eventually directed by Bryan Singer who dropped out of a third X-Men film in favour of the job. However, originally Superman was to be rebooted with Supernatural producer McG at the helm and when that was the case Henry Cavill was set to star as Superman, but when Singer dropped out so did Cavill and Brandon Routh replaced him. This was probably a lucky escape for Cavill because, well, where is Brandon Routh now?

Henry Cavill and his following probably aren’t huge fans of Robert Pattinson because of what happened next. In 2005, Cavill was the subject of a write-in effort made by Harry Potter fans in an attempt to get their man Cavill cast in the fourth instalment of the franchise Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as Cedric Diggory. As Potter fans will know Diggory has a huge part to play in Goblet of Fire and the success of these films surely would have helped boost Cavill’s profile. In 2008, Twilight was released. The author of these vampire romance books, Stephanie Meyer, claimed that Henry Cavill would be the “perfect Edward [Cullen]” and showed her preference to Cavill being cast in the lead male role. By the time production of the film began Cavill was deemed too old to play the part and lost out to Robert Pattinson once again who has gone on to become a world famous actor (despite his acting skills not being that good).

Cavill still has his eyes on the James Bond role once Daniel Craig leaves.

In 2005 MGM were looking for the man who was going to become the next James Bond for 2006’s Casino Royale. There was reportedly a list of 200 possible people to replace the outoging Pierce Brosnan. The man who eventually landed the life changing role was Daniel Craig, who actually turned down the job after the first offer but upon reading the script decided to change his mind. It was later revealed by Martin Campbell, director of Casino Royale, that the only other actor in serious contention was Henry Cavill, however he was only 22 years old and this time was deemed too young for the role!

Despite all of this bad luck for Henry Cavill it could have been even worse. There are rumours that Cavill auditioned for and almost got the job of Batman before Christian Bale won it but Cavill himself has debunked this rumour and said there was absolutely no truth behind it. With all of those near misses in his career it is really good to see that Cavill has now landed what is sure to be the most iconic role of his career. Man of Steel is in the safe hands of Snyder and Nolan and will surely springboard Cavill’s film career into action making his first option for so many more films in the future!

UK Release Date: 14th June 2013.

Stars: Zack Snyder (director), Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane.

Plot: A child sent to Earth from a dying planet is adopted by a couple in rural Kansas. Posing as a journalist, he uses his extraordinary powers to protect his new home from an insidious evil.

With The Dark Knight Rises now out in cinemas and Christopher Nolan’s brilliant The Dark Knight trilogy coming to a close, Warner Bros. are keen to promote their newest superhero project, Man of Steel. This will be a reboot of the Superman story with another Brit, Henry Cavill, in the lead role of one of arguably the most iconic, yet most boring, superhero of them all, however, with Christopher Nolan in place as co-writer and producer, the signs should be good for Superman.

The teaser is pretty boring to be honest and compared to reports of what the comic con trailer consisted of, this one sounds a lot worse. Here we just get lots of miserable shots of an adult Clark Kent trying to find himself on a road, or on a fishing boat, or at the docks, and these shots are intersected with shots of a child wearing a cape who we presume to be a young Clark Kent. The final shot we get is a full costumed Superman flying through the sky, but this shot is a bit distant and really does nothing to peak interest in the character.

The comic con trailer included shots of Russell Crowe in costume, of Krypton, of Superman in handcuffs with the police and scenes all over the city of Superman or Clark Kent fighting people or saving people. No doubt as the release date draws nearer, especially next year, the general public will get to see this too. Until then, we’re stuck with this boring 90 second effort.

For years and years Danny Boyle has been my favourite director. With so many great and bigger names in the directing world at the minute (Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese etc. etc…) Boyle does seem to fly under the radar because of his low profile and because of the fact that, despite being critically acclaimed and having won numerous awards, he continues to work and remain in his homeland of British film. For the past few months Boyle has been kept busy with his latest project; this time it is not a film though. In just under two weeks the whole world will be watching as the Olympic games kick off in London and the opening ceremony has been put together and directed by Danny Boyle himself, no pressure. It’s been a long but very worthwhile journey for the lad from Lancashire.

Before getting into the film world Boyle began directing theatre projects; he directed plays for both the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company so right from the very beginning he was clearly ready to take on big projects. After that Boyle got into television and directed a few episodes of various television series such as Inspector Morse and Mr. Wroe’s Virgins. Then he finally got his big break in the world of movies with Shallow Grave, a crime thriller starring Christopher Eccleston and Ewan McGregor.

In 1996 Danny Boyle was responsible for directing one of the greatest films ever without a shadow of a doubt; Trainspotting. Again he teamed up with Ewan McGregor who this time took on the lead role and helped to make Trainspotting what it is, often voted the best British film of all time. Trainspotting received one Oscar nomination for it’s scriptwriting and Boyle was unjustly left out of the Best Director nominations. It was always going to be difficult to carry on the wave of success that Trainspotting brought him and his next couple of films were pretty far from that standard; first was A Life Less Ordinary (again starring Ewan McGregor) and The Beach. Originally Ewan McGregor was cast in the lead role for The Beach but rumour has it that Hollywood executives wanted to push through Leonardo DiCaprio as he was the current Hollywood pretty boy and hot property so DiCaprio got the role and, to this day, Ewan McGregor still hasn’t worked with Boyle since that dispute.

Anyway, Boyle returned to his best with horror film 28 Days Later… and followed that up with Millions. Since these two projects Boyle has continued to direct to the very highest standard. It took three years after Millions for another Danny Boyle film to be released but it was well worth the wait. Sunshine is a sci-fi film about a team of astronauts who are trying to reignite a dying sun to save the planet and it is absolutely brilliant! It was also named as one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite films of recent years, pretty high praise indeed!

In 2009 Danny Boyle finally won an Oscar for his direction on Slumdog Millionaire which pretty much cleaned up at the 2009 Oscars; as well as Boyle’s directing Oscar it also won for it’s cinematography, film editing, original score, original song, sound mixing, adapted screenplay and it won the big one, Best Motion Picture of the Year. This time round as well, Boyle was able to follow the success of Slumdog Millionaire with another one of my favourite films, 127 Hours which got nominated for six Oscars (including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film).

After the Olympics Boyle will return to the big screen with Trance, a crime thriller starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. He is also working on a follow up to 28 Weeks Later… which he has stated that it should be called 28 Months Later… in theory. Boyle has also expressed in interviews his desire to work with Ewan McGregor again on his next feature film. I hope that he does but I really hope that he continues to make prominent British films and remains to make them of the highest quality!

Michael Fassbender is one of the hottest properties in Hollywood right now and over the last few years he has really shot to the forefront of the movie industry. With his choice of films he has really shown that he has a fantastic range of skills and is a very versatile actor. The short answer to the question ‘Is Michael Fassbender really that good?’ is simply Yes; but feel free to continue reading if you want the longer answer.

Fassbender first rose to prominence on television where one of his first main roles was on the Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks produced mini series Band of Brothers which received hugely positive reviews and brought plenty of publicity for the cast. Fassbender continued to work in television with another critically acclaimed television series, this time British: Murphy’s Law.

The first big film that Michael Fassbender featured in and set the sparks in motion of the fire that Michael Fassbender was soon to light Hollywood up with was 300, a fantasy action film directed by one of my favourite directors Zack Snyder. It’s not a film that many people would instantly think of when trying to list Michael Fassbender’s movies but it started off something big in the movie industry. Fassbender won over critics at the Cannes film festival in 2008 with Hunger, directed by Steve McQueen.

But it was thanks to Quentin Tarantino that people were really forced to sit up and take notice of Michael Fassbender. Inglorious Basterds is one of Tarantino’s best films and Fassbender features in one of the best scenes in the movie in my opinion. This film came out in 2009 and overshadowed the small British film that Michael Fassbender also featured in in the same year: Fish Tank. Fish Tank is the story of a rebellious teenage girl growing up on a run down council estate living with her alcoholic mother and tearaway younger sister. Michael Fassbender is the creepy love interest of the mother and manages to pull off a kind of safe but sinister paedophilic character scarily well. To this day this is my favourite role I have seen Fassbender in although it is one of his least well known but the performance he puts in is nothing short of sensational.

If 2009 was one of Michael Fassbender’s best years in films then 2010 was definitely one of his worst. Perhaps high on the success of Inglorious Basterds Fassbender made some rather, well… questionable choices. He appeared in Centurion and the horribly tragic comic book adaptation of Jonah Hex, both films making a loss. Probably a year that Fassbender wouldn’t like to dwell on anytime soon. But these failures didn’t put him off or seem to put him out of favour with movie big wigs.

2011 brought several Michael Fassbender films to the forefront without making people sick of him. Fassbender took up the part of Edward Rochester in an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre (one of the greatest stories ever written, end of story) for which he received a lot of praise. Another comic book movie, with a lot better fate than his last one, gave Fassbender huge success and stability as it comes with a several movie contract. X-Men First Class is the movie and Magneto is the character; although at times Fassbender seemed to get complacent and his accent slipped back to Irish it was overall a great performance and Fassbender proved yet again how good he is at playing a conflicted and bad natured character. This movie reunited Fassbender with his old Band of Brothers co star James McAvoy.

A Dangerous Method followed starring Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley which was about the relationship between psychologists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Fassbender then reunited with director Steve McQueen for Shame, which is probably his most critically successful film and role which won Fassbender a number of awards at film festivals and awards ceremonies and picked him up even more nominations. He then returned to mainstream cinema with Haywire which saw him co-star with names like Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas.

This year, 2012, Michael Fassbender only has one film slated for release after a busy twelve months. This comes in the form of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. After recently seeing this I was not a huge fan of the film but as a fan already of Michael Fassbender I was excited for his performance and I was not left disappointed by him. Fassbender, for me, is the stand out performer of the cast and the only really memorable character or performance from the cast. There is no doubt that Fassbender is set for a huge and successful career in my opinion and he deserves it.

Is Michael Fassbender really that good? Yes.

Amy Adams has just entered into negotiations to star in Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s critically acclaimed novel Dark Places. Adams provides an example of a modern day actress with a fantastic ability for acting as well as looking incredibly beautiful at the same time and has been nominated for three Oscars throughout her career.

Amy Adams got her first film role in comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous and this was the start of what would become a fantastic career. After this Adams spent a couple of years working on television, appearing in episodes of Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville and The West Wing before, in 2002, appearing in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can alongside the brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio. Spielberg even said that Adams’ performance in Catch Me If You Can should have launched her career, yet still it stalled.

It was in 2004 that Amy Adams got her next film role in The Last Run as well as bagging regular roles in television series’ King of the Hill and Dr. Vegas, then her career really gained speed. After The Wedding Date was released Amy Adams starred in indie flick Junebug, a film for which Adams herself received critical acclaim and she was getting the recognition she deserved everywhere, including being nominated for an Oscar for her performance.

Not many comedy actors or actresses get recognised as talented actors as well as people who make us laugh, but this didn’t sway Amy Adams from appearing in more comedies as she attempted to crack mainstream cinema. Adams appeared in Talladega Nights, The Pick of Destiny and The Ex and then, in 2007, she made herself known to a wider audience than ever before. Enchanted, the part animated/part live action modern Disney fairytale, cast Adams in the role of the princess and the film was a huge commercial success and prepared Adams for the success that was to come.

Amy Adams then starred alongside Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War, Emily Blunt in Sunshine Cleaning as well as making Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, all three of which were well received by audiences. Doubt was released in 2008 and it was this performance that saw Amy Adams nominated for her second Oscar.

Leap Year, Julie & Julia and Night At The Museum 2 followed before Amy Adams put in one of the best performances of her career in The Fighter and was rightly nominated for her third Oscar so far and arguably should have won it but it went to her co-star Melissa Leo. More critical and commercial success followed with Jason Segel’s reboot of The Muppets where she showcased her vocal talents.

With several projects in the pipeline there is no doubt that Amy Adams, one of the most versatile and well respected actresses working today, is set to achieve even more success. This year she will be appearing in the hotly anticipated and long-in-making film On The Road. Trouble With The Curve and The Master follow before what could become the defining and most important role for Adams to date: she is to take on the role of Lois Lane in Zack Snyder’s Superman tale Man of Steel, produced by Christopher Nolan.

Hopefully, Adams will continue to work in films for a long time to come and maybe one day she can win the Oscar that she quite rightly deserves.