Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Superhero Movies


It's Thursday, so that means it's another episode of Thursday Movie Picks!  This one is a pretty popular theme, since we see a new one every other weekend.  Yup, you probably guessed it...

This week's theme is:



So, I thought about this one, and while there are many variations of X-Men to chose, I wanted to try and steer clear of the super obvious or the super popular...you know, except for one because I can't help but shower it with love.  I decided to cover a few basis, so we have the superhero that isn't immediately thought of as a superhero, the superhero that doesn't have his own comic-book and the superheroes that came out of nowhere to dominate everything.

The Mask of Zorro
Yes, Zorro is a superhero.  He is a masked avenger of the downtrodden, defending them against the evil forces of men who are willing to strip them of their legal rights, their land, their money and make slaves out of them.  He's also a wise-cracking 'human', flawed and highly likable and charming as hell. 

Unbreakable
One of the most intriguing takes on the Superhero origin story, here is a film that does something different and unique and remains a benchmark of nontraditional superhero storytelling.  I just wish that more directors would take these kinds of risks with their superhero films. 

Guardians of the Galaxy
Had anyone even heard of The Guardians of the Galaxy before last summer?  I mean, they had a short running comic book series that apparently didn't make a dent in the states because no one had a clue who they were and so making a film about them seemed...risky, and yet that risk paid off since it went on to be far more popular than imagined!  The film is the perfect blend of action, comedy and suspense and is easily the best film that Marvel has ever released.

40 comments:

  1. Haha, 2/3 of your choices are also my choice. Great minds think alike. M. Night has made some absolute stinkers, but Unbreakable isn't one of them. A generally fine film.

    Completely agree with you on Guardians of the Galaxy, I had no idea who they were (I don't read comic books so that's probably why) and the trailer didn't sell me the movie at all. So I went in with low exceptions and was completely blown away at how entertaining and funny it actually was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great minds indeed!

      I was big into comics as a kid, but apparently Guardians ran for like 8 issues or something like that in 2008 and was a hit in Asia but never really over here, despite splintering into some of the more popular comics. It kind of died almost as soon as it was born, but I have a feeling it might get a reboot due to the incredible success of the film.

      Delete
  2. Great choices! I made no attempt to think outside of the box this week, I just went with my favorites. Guardians was so unexpectedly good. I was so cautious about it, it's nice to be proven wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup! It was the most fun I had in the theater all year last year.

      Delete
  3. My husband loved GoG well before the movie, and was so stoked for the movie, and then totally fell for it. It's one of his picks this week, in a genre that's pretty crowded for him because his heart is never too far from comics. Nice list. I'm right there with you on Unbreakable

    Jay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's cool to hear that someone knew and followed it before the film, since I haven't met anyone who had!

      Delete
  4. You're right, I had never heard of Guaridans until last summer. In fact, when I first heard about it, I thought it was going to be a He-Man movie (but I think that's Masters of the Universe). I didn't completely get into the movie but I'll take it over The Avengers any day.
    And I love Unbreakable. Excellent choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, He-Man...that's in the works too, isn't it?

      And yes, I'd take Guardians WELL over Avengers!

      Delete
  5. Love the choice of Zorro! I liked the Tyrone Power/Linda Darnell version better but this one was fun. Unbreakable is one of Shyamalan's better efforts and Guardians a refreshing surprise.

    I'm suffering superhero burnout to an extent. There are just so many made now and aside from an exception like Guardians they have a bland sameness. So here's my three:

    Fantastic Four (2005)-A group of astronauts on a routine mission unexpectedly run into a cosmic radiation shower that reformulates their DNA in remarkable ways. This lacks a little focus and takes itself too seriously at times but Chris Evans saves it with a high spirited performance as Johnny Storm.

    Spider-Man (2002)-Terrific effects and tight direction make this one of the best superhero movies. Tobey Maguire’s quiet almost recessive screen presence is a good match for someone who is supposed to be unobtrusive in his daily life. That calm also plays into the control he shows when he is fighting the villain. Everybody else is good but without Maguire the picture wouldn't be what it is. The CGI is impressive but Raimi doesn't let it overwhelm the film's story.

    Superman (1978)-This really revolutionized the whole superhero genre taking it from a Saturday matinee cheapie feature into a mass crowd pleaser. Full of fun and some cool effects with perfectly cast leads. Margot Kidder may not be the most glamorous actress but she is absolutely right as the spunky Lois Lane and Christopher Reeve gets the mix of dorkiness and heroism without overdoing either. Gene Hackman, Valerie Perrine and Ned Beatty, understand that their villains are supposed to be slightly ridiculous and join into the spirit of the movie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a fan of Fantastic Four too much, but I loved Spider-Man and the sequel (hated the third film). I have yet to see any of the original Superman films, but I will eventually.

      So glad to see you're a Guardians fan!

      I need to see the Power/Darnell version of Zorro. I'm sure I'll love it.

      Delete
    2. Oh the original Superman is so much fun. It's full of a sense of joy and wonder. It leans towards a more humorous take on the material and is free of the pervasive darkness that has overwhelmed most of the films in the genre now. It's also full of familiar faces. Unfortunately the sequels got progressively worse until the last one which is a disaster.

      I don't love The Fantastic Four but I was looking for something that didn't start with X and it happened to be on TV. If it hadn't been for Chris Evans' fun take on Johnny Storm though I'd have kept looking.

      Delete
    3. Which is the one with Hackman as Lex Luther? I've heard Hackman's perf is great.

      Delete
    4. Gene's in the first one, with Valerie Perrine and Ned Beatty as his henchmen, and yes he's having a blast in it.

      Delete
    5. I'll add this to the watchlist!

      Delete
  6. LOVE Mask of Zorro - Banderas and Zeta-Jones make such a hot couple onscreen. Unbreakable was one of my picks too, and I almost can't believe how popular it is this week! It's a great movie, and I'm so glad to see it hasn't been forgotten. I loved Guardians of the Galaxy, mostly because it was FUN. Remember when superhero movies were FUN? I just want them to embrace their silliness and comic book qualities. There are plenty of other places we can go to get "serious" films full of "big ideas" and pseudo-political subtext.

    In other words, give me the Burton and/or Schumacher Batman films over the Nolan ones any day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What I loved so much about Guardians is that it managed to balance out the humor with the seriousness of the premise, never delving into camp and making every joke strike in just the right way. Like, I found a lot of the dialog in The Avengers to be awkward and unfunny, almost campy at times, and just plain silly in others. Guardians had the jokes, but they were GOOD JOKES, and the charisma dripping from Pratt was a perfect balance to the action going on on-screen.

      But Batman is an entirely different entity, and I applaud Nolan for realizing that. Like, Batman, played for humor, would not work (as Batman and Robin proved). Even some of Burton's films fizzle in areas due to the humorous details. Macabre is one thing (and that is where I think Batman Returns succeeds because it is less 'funny' and more maniacal) but jokes do not really belong in a Batman film.

      Delete
    2. True - Batman played for humor (or camp, which is what Batman & Robin was) may not work (although it worked just fine for the 60s TV series!), but there's no reason for it not to be FUN, and there's very little fun to be had in Nolan's films thanks to the oppressive atmosphere portentously hanging over everything.

      Delete
    3. I kind of ate all that up, but that's me. I loved how dark and depressing the whole thing was. I liked my tortured hero being truly tortured.

      Delete
  7. Zorro is a very interesting choice!

    I also want to stay out from the obvious, but I only watch the mainstream ones. Hell, I haven't watched Guardians and Kick-Ass.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was happy to include Zorro as I figured that it wouldn't be chosen by anyone else.

      I haven't seen Kick Ass either...

      Delete
  8. Love the inclusion of Unbreakable! Shame Shyamalan burned out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is a shame. He started with such promise. I love both Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, but it's all downhill from there. He's an excellent director of suspense, but he needs to hire better writers because his twist ending gimmick is getting old thanks to his inability to make things feel believable.

      Delete
  9. Very inspired choice woth Zorro. Solid movie, too. Tough to beat CZJ in her va va voom prime. Love the other two movies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that that was her introduction to the world. I wish she worked more.

      Delete
  10. Oh I love that film "Unbreakable" and thought it deserved more love than what it got. Great choice. I have to go with Superman with Christopher Reeve. I saw that in the theatres twice cos I went all dreamy over him:) I love that you picked Zorro-wonderful choice and they were a great team-Banderas and Jones. I have to go with the Dark Knight trilogy-forget the films of Batman in the 80's and onward. Christian Bale is Batman to me (Adam West will always be TV's Batman's Mr chunky). I have to go with The Avengers. Robert Downey was so great in that film with his one liners. It was a great story and who didn't lobe the Hulk beating up Loki.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great picks! And, yes, Bale is Batman ;-)

      Delete
  11. Good pick with Zorro, wish I had considered it actually :) Unbreakable has interested me for years, but for one reason or another I haven't seen it yet. I've been seeing Guardians of the Galaxy mentioned a lot today, I'm not as big of a fan as many, I pretty much only liked the movie for it's soundtrack.

    Mike's Cinema

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you check out Unbreakable. It's one of the most interestingly developed Superhero origin stories out there.

      Delete
  12. I would have to watch Zorro in order to decide on whether or not I consider it a superhero. It does meet several of my specific criteria: he has an alter ego, a costume, and a taste for the theatrics but not the rest. I'm a big fan of Unbreakable, it's often overlooked as not being as good as the Sixth Sense and just look where he's at as a filmmaker now, but it's got such a great visual style to it and there's a lot to dissect in the overall structure to it. And Guardians of the Galaxy is just damn fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I look at Zorro as a mix of Batman and Robin Hood. To me, he meets the criteria. What do you think he's missing?

      Delete
    2. I just think that those older swashbuckling heroes are a different type of hero. I think a large part of the superhero mythos is that they take place in the modern era. Also, FYI that is the only movie on anyone's list that I haven't seen before.

      Delete
    3. You haven't seen The Mask of Zorro!?!?! You need to see it :-D

      You are the superhero expert, so I'll await your thoughts after you check it out.

      I will say though, that a Google search for 'Superhero Movies' pulls up Zorro ;-)

      Delete
  13. Great picks! I don't remember much of Unbreakable but liked both Zorro and Guardians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, The Mask of Zorro is a really great flick. It's a shame that the sequel was a dud.

      Delete
  14. Yay on Unbreakable!! I didn't participate this week but two of non DC/Marvel ones I'd pick would be that one and The Rocketeer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I came inches from picking The Rocketeer, but because I used that one for the Superhero Movie Relay, I decided to pick a different movie.

      Delete
  15. I never saw the Mask of Zorro. Don't know why. Oh yeah. Because I can't stand Antonio Banderas. Guardians of the Galaxy was a lot of fun. I love Chris Pratt. Total man crush on that dude. I wanted to love it more. Some of the over-the-top makeup and costuming just didn't play for me. And that villain was just not good, even though I like Lee Pace. Still, I'll do the sequel for the fun factor alone.

    Shyamalamadingdong FTW! In all seriousness, I love all of his movies, even The Village and The Happening. And I don't care who knows it.

    And I just saw the mention of The Rocketeer above. That would've been a cool pick. Loved that movie as a kid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't stand Banderas? Why? I saw Zorro in the theaters like four times. My dad loved it.

      LOL, Shyamalan love. I loved his first two films, kind of liked Signs, admired The Village and then...that's all I got.

      The Rocketeer is one of those films from my childhood that I still wholly adore!

      Delete
  16. Nicely done! I enjoy all of these films, and I can only hope Shyamalan has another film like Unbreakable in him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hoping the best for this 'walk across the USA' flick with Willis...even though it sounds...odd.

      That 'Visit' movie about the demonic grandmother looks dreadful, though.

      Delete