DC Comics has kinda of been in panic mode ever since The Avengers came out last year. DC was falling behind it’s comic rival, Marvel, and they had just lost their best franchise with the concluding chapter in the Dark Knight Trilogy. So DC went back to the drawing board and looked to establish it’s own DC universe starting with their most famous superhero, Superman. Man of Steel is a new origin story for Superman, which has a very similar tone to what Nolan did with his Batman films. Even with that similar tone the movie is still a Zack Snyder picture, which means that the visuals are intense and the action rarely stops. This makes for a very entertaining picture even if it sort of sacrifices the charisma of an origin story. Man of Steel does show our hero and the first time he dawns the cape but that is only merely the first hour of the film as the movie spends its last hour and half in a intense climax. Even though the action in the film is incredible and contains some of the best visuals around, it feels like it came a movie too soon. I wish that David S. Goyer (Screernwriter) and Zack Snyder could of fleshed out Superman some more but Man of Steel is one of those origin story films that do everything they can to get the origin out of the way. Instead of seeing Superman and Zod destroy all of Metropololis, I would of loved to of seen more of Clark Kent trying to deal with his newfound powers and man’s fear of the Man of Steel.
Like most high profile superhero films the cast here is impressive with lots of big names and high profiles. Henry Cavill is perfect as Superman even if the script sort of lets him down. Michael Shannon is as good as always and Amy Adams is the only really bad casting choice of the bunch as her Lois Lane is more annoying than Katie Holmes in Batman Begins. Even with my small gripes with the casting and Snyder’s reliance on intense action, I enjoyed Man of Steel for the superhero film that it is. It is not a great superhero film but it works well enough to launch one the world’s biggest superheroes into a new and exciting franchise. This isn’t your Richard Donner Superman and that is a good thing as Nolan’s more serious tone has mixed in with the sheer ridiculous nature of Zack Snyder to result in a very entertaining and at times touching Superman film.
The first of the two comedy films centered on the end of the world, This is the End is a funny look at some of the funniest individuals around trying to survive the coming apocalypse. Staring most of the cast from the hilarious Pineapple Express (Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson) as well as the witty Jonah Hill, This is the End works so well because it allows these actors to be themselves by actually having the actors play themselves. Even though each character is written to conform to the plot in some way, you have the feeling that each actor infused a little bit or a lot of themselves into the role. This translates to two hours of hilarious unpredictable madness as our characters deal with flying demons, molten pits, and themselves. Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express), This is the End works even if it can tend to be underwhelming at times. Not every joke lands and sometimes the actors get lost in the their own desire to be witty. Oh and then you also have Jay Baruchel (there is a reason I didn’t mention him above) who is more annoying than he is funny. Even with all that said there is a whole bunch to enjoy here from the numerous cameos (Michael Cera was my favorite) to a crazy ending that will have you rolling. This is the End doesn’t hit the highs that some of the casts earlier films did but it is a worthy addition to the slacker/comedy cannon and the funniest movie of the year so far.
Maybe the most anticipated Zombie movie to ever come out, WWZ is defiantly the biggest and most ambitious Zombie film around and yet it feels like a bland take on the Zombie film. That is sort of a shame seeing that it based on a novel that is extremely popular but the film relies only on its source materials name recognition, as most of the movie is a creation of its own. If you look at WWZ as a Zombie movie you will be very disappointed but if you see it as a thriller than you maybe able to find a mildly entertaining film. Taking place all over the world, WWZ’s biggest strength is when it looks at the Zombie pandemic in a sort of big picture fashion. Instead of most Zombie pictures where the characters are cut off from the world around them, WWZ’s main character is in the know with some of the world’s highest-ranking officials. This leads to a Contagion type Zombie movie which is great until the end where the movie starts to stick to one location. The climax and the hand-to-hand action scenes aren’t edited or filmed well and their PG-13 limitations become very glaring. I mean, come on, I wanna see some Zombies get their brains bashed in! WWZ is a really uninspiring Zombie movie even if it ends up being just good enough.
Other Movies I Have Seen This Past Year
42 – D+
G.I. Joe Retaliation – D+
A Good Day to Die Hard – C+
The Great and Powerful Oz –D+
Side Effects – B