Real Heroes

Real Heroes 2014

I’m wrapping up the year by trying to finish up the last of the superhero and comic book based films that have come out throughout this year. I only have a few left to go and it’s quite possible that I can watch every superhero and comic book film that I know of before the year’s end. This is one that I only recently heard about thanks to the folks over at Superhero Speak who talked to the writer/director Keith Hartman about his little indie film that takes a look at a superhero reality show along the lines of the Real World. I expected it to be a bit dated as reality shows have spread out a lot farther than the old “putting people in a house to see how they react with each other” style made famous by MTV, that and there are many different web series out there that have tried their hands and some type of reality superhero show. But when I actually checked it out, I thought it ended up being pretty hilarious. It had a nice mix of reality show tropes mixed with a superhero spin as well as the self-involved LA actor types, only with superhero costumes. If you want to check it out for yourself, you can see the trailer and find info on where you can watch it at the movie’s website.
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Filmwhys #43 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Elf-Man

Episode #43 of The Why Haven’t You Seen This Film Podcast where it’s close to the holiday season so I thought it was a perfect time to bring in a couple Christmas-related films. It also seems like I’m getting into a habit of a deadline creep where this show gets posted later and later in the week where it started getting posted on Saturdays, then Sundays, then Mondays, and the last two episodes haven’t come out until Tuesday. I’ll do my best next week to have this posted actually on Monday and I’ll be discussing the year in superhero films with a guest or two. But this week, my guest is Nick Jobe from Your Face! who asks me why I haven’t seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, one of Shane Black’s best films since the original Lethal Weapon that brought Robert Downey Jr. back on the map before he became Iron Man and of course since it is a Shane Black film it does take place during Christmas. And in return, I ask him why he hasn’t seen Elf-Man, the one and only true Christmas superhero movie where Wee-Man becomes a Christmas related superhero in a very schlocky straight-to-home-video movie.
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This Week in Superhero TV 12/9 – 12/12

A bit of a short week for you this time around, though I do have a bonus review of last week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as I forgot to watch it last week. Which is a shame because I have been enjoying the second season of this show quite a bit, it just slipped my mind. It’s time for the last 3 mid-season finales, something that I feel like is a completely artificial practice that has popped up in the past 5 years or so. Some days I think that the networks should move towards a more cable-like season formula where the seasons are shorter, but they aren’t in blocks of a year. In fact, it could essentially still be like what it is now, but it would actually be considered two seasons, the fall season and the spring season. But whatever, it’s too ingrained in the networks’ marketing at this point for them to try and shake things up. But anyway, mid-season finales for everyone! Or at least, for Flash, S.H.I.E.L.D, and Constantine.
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Men in Black 3

Men in Black 3 2012

And now it’s time to finish up this alien crime-fighting trilogy with the third installment. Though of course in this day and age it’s doubtful that this franchise will settle with a mere three films though there’s no telling if the next one will end up being a sequel or a reboot. Of course, with the way the film universe is situated, it would be easy to create a sequel with all new characters, but still within the same continuity but I’m getting way off track here. While I did watch this film back when it came out in 2012, that was during my first year of writing for this site and I had a bit more narrow definition of what I was going to be covering. But even if I didn’t think of these films as being superhero films, they are still based off of comics as inspiration if not directly source material. While the first two films had five years in between them, the next two had a ten year gap. And yet, with a larger gap came a fresher outlook on the characters and the setting. Instead of rehashing the plot of the first two films, it went in a different direction and brought up a tried and true sci-fi concept with time travel, brought in Josh Brolin doing a spot on young Tommy Lee Jones impression, and Jermaine Clement doing a spot on young Tim Curry impression. It was just as much fun as the original, and brought in some nice callbacks without feeling rehashed.
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The 10 Best Superhero Movies of All Time Relay Results

When I started this relay I wasn’t entirely sure how it would end up. I’ve seen these Relay blogathons come and go and I thought it was an interesting idea, but it felt too much like just a rotating top 10. Some names would stick around for a while, others would quickly get replaced with little rhyme or reason outside of the individual blogger’s taste. So when I came up with the idea to do my own relay, I wanted to create some additional rules that would give a definite end to the relay. Some found the rules to be a little bit too confusing, while others understood it a bit more clearly. I think it ended up somewhere in the middle. If I did this again, I would make things a little bit more simple, but I would still keep enough of it so that it did have a definite finish line. But it has reached that finish line and so I’d like to share the final top 10 Best Superhero Movies of All Time as decided by a group of 18 different bloggers who have taken their own turn in the relay.
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Men in Black

Men in Black 1997

I’m down to the last few films left on my 100 Essential Superhero Movies list and the perfect excuse came for me to revisit the Men in Black trilogy when I was offered to guest on the As You Watch Podcast. Or you could say, offered to make my triumphant return considering that I am one of the founding members of the podcast. But as for the movie, I initially questioned whether or not to even classify Men in Black as a superhero movie vs. a comic book movie, considering the fact that it is based on an indie comic book that was later published under the Marvel label before the movie was made. It does follow enough of my own qualifications for me to include it: It’s set in the modern day, the heroes have superhuman abilities via the alien technology, they also have a costume of sorts, they also have a secret identity of sorts considering that they lose their normal identity when joining, and they are fighting something that is superhuman. I’m certain that I had seen this in theaters back when it was released and the song is ubiquitous with the movie as well. It was a lot of fun revisiting this film even though there were a few moments that definitely felt a bit dated this time around.
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This Week in Superhero TV 11/30 – 12/5

Welcome back to another week of super-heroics and a little bit of news for you. I don’t generally talk about news much, but I am a big fan of the underrated show Don’t Trust the B– in Apartment 23 with Krysten Ritter as the lead so I wanted to talk a little bit about a recent announcement. There hasn’t been a whole lot of news that I’ve noticed that concerns the Netflix Marvel shows that aren’t Daredevil. But they recently announced the leads for the upcoming shows Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. I personally don’t have any exposure at all to Luke Cage or Jessica Jones other than the fact that all of the Netflix series are supposedly more down to Earth and less superpowered. I also don’t know much about Mike Colter who was cast as Luke Cage, but I’m completely on board with Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones. Things are starting to ramp up before slowing down as the current shows start getting into their midseason finales, with Gotham last week, The Walking Dead this week, and the Flash next week. While Agent Carter starts a month from now and iZombie somewhere around there as well. And as always, I’d like to thank Rachel Thuro for tackling the Walking Dead. And I just realized that I forgot to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week, I’ll either add it in tomorrow, or add it to next week’s post.
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The Worst Movies of 2014

It’s getting close to that time of year once again. The time of year when the bulk of the “best of” and “favorites” of the year come out, but it’s also often time for film writers to take a look at the other side of cinema, the “Worst of” the year. And if you clicked on this link looking for the films that I thought were the worst of the year, then go ahead and click somewhere else because I’m not here today to spend any more of my time talking about film that I didn’t like. Instead, I much prefer to celebrate the films that I did enjoy for one reason or another. I have indulged in calling out some of the worst superhero films, but I’ve also talked about the “best worst” superhero films, the ones that are bad but I still enjoy watching them. Instead, what I’d like to do is to reach out to the other film writers that read this site and encourage them to drop the “worst” lists this year, and instead only celebrate what’s enjoyable to watch.
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Men in Black II

Men in Black II 2002

The way it tends to go with superhero movie sequels is that the first movie is good, the second movie is better, and the third movie is where it all goes to hell. Men in Black surprisingly bucks that trend and instead goes to crap in the first sequel only to redeem itself in the third. It doesn’t help that there is quite a bit of time between the three films. Five years have passed since the first Men in Black and they wrote out what made the original so great: the chemistry between Will Smith’s and Tommy Lee Jones’ Agents J and K. In a lot of ways, this sequel felt like the writers just wanted to recapture what made the first one so great and thought that the best way to do that was to just recreate all the elements of the first film that worked instead of expanding on them. And except for a brief moment here and there, it does not work for me at all. And somewhat surprisingly, even though I did watch all three films in order, it was just so much easier to pick out all of the flaws in this movie rather than try to determine what exactly it is about the first movie that makes it so great.
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Filmwhys #42 Rashomon and The Guyver

Episode 42 of the Why Haven’t You Seen This Film Podcast wherein lies the answer to the life, the universe, and everything. And I welcome my guest Will Kouf from Silver Emulsion who asks me why I haven’t seen Rashomon, one of Akira Kurosawa’s most well known film next to Seven Samurai and a film that handled a storytelling device so well that the term for showing the same event through different viewpoints is referred to as Rashomon. And in return, I ask him why he hasn’t seen the Guyver, a very campy sci-fi superhero comedy based on a Manga of the same name and starring Mark Hamill post-Star Wars alongside Jimmy Walker of all people.
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