Batman and Superman get a title…

…and it’s a doozy.

Are you ready  for 2016’s planet-bashing team-up picture, the luxuriantly-titled “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”?

Well, it's a title, I guess?

I’ve got to admit, that’s on the cheesier end of the spectrum of proposed titles for this Zack Snyder-helmed, uber-franchise.  But if you’re going to go big, you go titanic, I suppose.  I still think that the WB are onto a loser by not using my Batman Vs Superman: The Smashenating” title, but you don’t want to give away all your eggs in one basket, do you?

The shenanigans erupt on 6 May 2016 – if the film doesn’t back down from another two-fisted, titanic clash – going up against Marvel Studios‘ “Captain America 3″ on the same weekend…

“Guardians of the Galaxy” – Marvel’s cosmic gamble?

Never let it be said that Marvel don’t take risks.  Not since Kevin Feige and the Cinematic House of Ideas took a chance on a trash-talking billionaire has there been such a risky proposition for the filmic arm of the comics giant.

Somehow, after watching the second trailer for August’s “Guardians of the Galaxy“, I get the sense that Marvel Studios and writer/director James Gunn have pulled together the kind of cosmos-spanning, action-driven sci-fi comedy which DC’s misbegotten “Green Lantern” adaptation tried to be and failed.

Of course, a trailer can be cut to accentuate the positive and obscure the very worst that a film has to offer – I was hyped for “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” until I, you know, saw it – but the energy, snark and bonkers creativity just pours off the screen, doesn’t it?

Dare we hope that Marvel’s cinematic slate for 2014 is a one-two punch of awesome (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” being the other part of the equation)?  Heck, if you count the mysterious “Big Hero Six” animated feature from Disney this autumn, we’ve actually got three Marvel Cinematic Universe entries this year.

My most eagerly anticipated film of the year stars a talking tree and a homicidal, ordinance-packing space raccoon: I’m not sure what that says about me…



Batfleck Revealed

Ben Affleck as Batman, Image (c) Zack Snyder/Warner Bros
Ben Affleck as Batman, Image (c) Zack Snyder/Warner Bros

So, after teasing us mercilessly with a tarp-on sneak peek at the Batmobile on Twitter yesterday, cheeky rapscallion Zack Snyder only goes and drops our first look at Ben Affleck as his Batman in the still-untitled cinematic dust-up between the Dark Knight and the Last Son of Krypton.

Early nerd word is pointing to the close resemblance to the Jim Lee take on the character – which I can see.  I’m also getting a bit of Frank Miller‘s two-fisted battler from the costume and from Affleck’s physical heft.  This is one Gotham Knight who looks like he can wipe the floor with the reimagined Superman.

Well, for a few seconds at least, until Supes drop kicks him all the way to Star City.

Zack Snyder’s next exercise in filmic shock and awe is still scheduled for 29 April 2016 – the same weekend, currently, as Marvel’s yet-to-lens “Captain America 3”.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, audience – nil…

Long time, no hear.  Blame it on the fractured shoulder which I sustained earlier this year.  Not conducive to blogging, you’ll be surprised to learn.  Still, that errant joint which made a mockery of the months from March to May is becoming a thing of the past and I can now blog anew – huzzah!

To which end – I went to see Sony’s 800 ib gorilla, The Amazing Spider-Man 2″, so you didn’t have to.   I kid – it’s not a total disaster, but Marvel Studio‘s Captain America – The Winter Soldier does rather embarrass it by comparison.

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone make cute anew as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey respectively, freshly graduated from High School and making their way in NYC.  Pete’s determination to live up to Gwen’s father’s dying request – kindly stay from my daughter – sees him being cut adrift by Stacey junior mere moments into the flick, in a pleasing inversion of genre movie insistence on marginalising female characters’ agency  to make their male counterparts look more noble.

The plot, ravenously complicated beast that it is, sees Spidey fighting crime, scheming to get Gwen back, trying to make in-roads at the Daily Bugle, getting to the bottom of the last movie’s grafted-on parental disappearance mystery and duking it out with this instalment’s Big Bad, Electro, played in tragic monster fashion by Jamie Foxx.

You’ll get the sense that I’m not entirely in swooning geek love with “TASM 2” and that’s mostly down to the dread disease which most regularly afflicts blockbuster sequels in comic book adaptations – too many villains well and truly spoiling the broth.  Whilst Electro is very much the main nemesis of the piece, “TASM 2” wants to kick start a connected “Spider-Man” movie universe for Sony.

Battling bad guys, a faulty economy and chafing lycra - the Amazing Spider Man
Battling bad guys, a faulty economy and chafing lycra – the Amazing Spider Man

When we should be dealing with Spidey and matters plotty, the film veers left and right to drop in characters Who Will Become Important In The Next Movie:  Look, true believers – it’s Felicia Hardy!  Why, Spidey-Fans, isn’t that the guy who will become the Spider Slayer?

Rather than build things up a-la our friends at Marvel Studios and their multi-film model of connected stories and characters, Sony’s insistence on chasing the MCU audience doesn’t really pay off for the faithful fans of the Web Head – this is a messy, tonally jarring and frenetic film – action scene/lovey-dovey cute bit/serious bit of exposition/digressive character moment setting up the Spidey movie universe/misjudged comedy cameo/action sequence.  You get the picture – it’s an exhausting experience, especially at the length that this film goes in for.

It isn’t a bad film, but I do suspect that it might be a more enjoyable one to watch at home, especially if you have a new-fangled 3D telly of decent size.  Comfort is all when I go to the cinema these days and as “TASM 2” slipped into it’s third hour, I really did wish for a friendly couch to ease back into and a nice cup of tea to imbibe.

Yes, I am old.  Get off my lawn…