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Batman & Bill

Batman & Bill 2017

Everyone knows who Batman is, Bruce Wayne, billionaire, crimefighter. Not everyone knows who’s listed as the creator of Batman unless they’re a comics fan, and very few people unless they’re die-hard comics fans know who really created Batman. This documentary follows the research of novelist Marc Tyler Nobleman as he not only uncovers the seldom told story of Bill Finger but also manages to get him officially credited as the rightful co-creator of Batman right alongside Bob Kane. The documentary itself is a fascinating story that has a few surprises going for it as it tells its quest for recognition that was long overdue. The interviews are bolstered by comics inspired simple animations. It’s a story that I didn’t know but I’m glad I know it now.

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Doomed!

Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four 2016

In the superhero movie world there’s one big secret out there that’s very poorly kept, the fact that there was a Fantastic Four movie fully produced, completed, and then shelved never to be released back in 1994. It’s also fairly widely known to those with any hint of an interest that the film was made merely to extend a deadline for the filmmaking rights to the characters. The only problem was that everyone below the line was never aware of this, from the director to the actors, and all of the crew. This documentary tries to tell the rest of their story and is able to fill in quite a few gaps in this story, though the entirety may never be fully known since the executives who know the other side of the story aren’t exactly keen on sharing. But regardless, this doc paints a fascinating picture through the eyes of people who were passionate about making this little movie that could despite a low budget, a rushed schedule, and a practically non-existent post production. This is an early review and the film will be released digitally on October 11th and available on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 20th through distribution by Uncork’d Entertainment.
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Superbob

Superbob 2015

It’s time to catch up with another movie from last year that I wasn’t able to see because it wasn’t released here in the US. This is a little independent comedy from Grain Media and first time director Jon Drever. Often, I think to myself that there’s almost nowhere new that a superhero movie can go, it just has to do something that’s been done before well. And while there have been several concepts out there about a loser who gains super powers to become a superhero, there hasn’t been anything that’s gone quite the same way about it that Superbob does, and that’s not even discussing the pseudo-documentary style of it either. I initially wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie, but the nervous charm of Bob made me laugh quite a bit throughout the film and it has a nice heart at the center of it all. A pleasant surprise of a movie and currently available in the US to stream via Flix Premier.
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Batkid Begins

Batkid Begins 2015

It seems like forever ago when the news of Batkid’s Make-a-Wish in San Francisco hit it big, but it’s actually only been two years. This documentary essentially follows the wish from it’s first inception to the massive media coverage all the way through to the event itself. It doesn’t really go for any bigger picture, it stays with the family and the main players who made the event happen. When all is said and done, it’s a simple story and it’s told very simply. But that doesn’t make it any less touching, inspiring, and amazing to see how it all came together one day in November, 2013.
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Superheroes

Superheroes 2011

It’s been a while since I watched a superhero related documentary, but this one has always been popping up when I looked around for them here and there. It was originally aired on HBO after a premier at the Slamdance Film Festival. It’s a very rudimentary look at the Real Life Superhero Movement (RLSH) as it existed in 2010 as it has in depth interviews with several members of the RLSH as well as a few members of police that they encountered during their time together. It generally lets the superheroes speak for themselves, though it does give an overall impression of looking down upon the movement as a whole where most of the heroes focused on are kooks or have other issues and there’s only a small portion near the end that really sheds a positive light on the whole concept.
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The Death of “Superman Lives”; What Happened?

The Death of “Superman Lives”; What Happened? 2015

It seems that I’m finally getting around to some of the backlogged non-theatrical releases that have come out this year. This film was originally launched as a kickstarter by John Schnepp a couple years ago to chronicle his quest to find out what happened to this multi-year project that ended up never getting made. He gets interviews with many of the major players including all three script writers, producer Jon Peters, director Tim Burton, and plenty of concept artists. Enhancing the interviews are snippets of the film recreated in animation or in a couple cases live action as well as plenty of concept art and behind the scenes archival footage. It’s not really an investigation of how this film got cancelled, instead it’s more like a look back on the making of the film that ends just before they would have started filming. As someone who has heard a little bit about this project, and probably from the source that most people would have heard it from: Kevin Smith, I thought it was generally fascinating, though it did run a bit too long for my taste and especially for my wife’s taste.
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Legends of the Knight

Legends of the Knight 2014

It’s not so rare these days to find interesting projects looking for funding on Kickstarter, it is a bit more rare to find projects that actually catch my own personal interest. But when I heard about this project, I was happy to make it my first Kickstarter donation, giving $10 so I could get a digital download when it became available. This is a project by Brett Culp which takes a different look at Batman. It doesn’t look at the character himself, but instead takes a look at the impact that character has had on the world itself through a handful of people and their inspiring stories of how they take one part or another of Batman’s philosophy or his story as a whole and use it to improve their own lives and the lives of others. It is a documentary which takes a look at about a dozen people across the country who all have a strong connection to Batman in one way or another. Through a series of interviews and plenty of Batman artwork and children dressed up as Batman, we get to see a slice of these people’s lives and how Batman has made their lives better. You can view the trailer and find out more information at their official website.
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Wonder Women!

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroes 2013

Wonder Women is more or less a documentary about the history of Wonder Woman and her effect on feminism in America. It’s interesting how closely Wonder Woman has been connected to the feminist movement throughout the years. The documentary is presented as a series of interviews with both figures connected with the Wonder Woman character, like comic writer Gail Simone and actress Lynda Carter, as well as figures prominent in the feminist movement like Gloria Steinem and the lead singer of Bikini Kill. All of the people represented in this doc are interesting to listen to and presented a lot of information I never knew about. And all of it is connected with plenty of artwork from Wonder Woman comics animated in a somewhat motion comic-esque way.

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Superhero Me

Superhero Me 2010

I’m finishing up this week of documentaries with Superhero Me, which I found by randomly searching “superhero” over at Hulu and this was the first movie that popped up. It’s an odd mix of comedy and interviews based around the recent real life superhero movement combined with the filmmaker, Steve Sale’s quest to become a real life superhero himself called SOS. The humor comes from the affable nature as well as the general absurdity of the whole process. There is a large amount of charm in this movie, and it was made completely on the cheap, with practically no budget, which is really the biggest downside to the movie.

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Stan Lee’s Mutants, Monsters, & Marvels

Stan Lee’s Mutants, Monsters, & Marvels 2002

After watching Confessions of a Superhero, I thought it would be a good idea to watch a couple more superhero themed documentaries, and since I actually own this one, I figured it was a no-brainer. It’s not a traditional documentary, in fact it’s almost more of a bonus disc to a non-specific movie. It was released right around the time Spider-Man came out in theaters, and the first part of the film is strictly about Spider-Man. It’s basically just director slash writer slash podcaster Kevin Smith, interviewing the father of Marvel comics, Stan Lee. As I mentioned, the first part of the interview is all about Spider-Man, and the second part covers pretty much the rest of his career. It’s quite interesting, as both Lee and Smith are both great speakers, even though it’s essentially just the two of them sitting down talking to each other for about an hour and a half.

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