Wonder Woman

Patty Jenkins’s “Wonder Woman” doesn’t reinvent the superhero genre, but it demonstrates what a bit of diversity in front of the camera can do for it.

Wonder Woman PosterIt’s amazing the fun you can have with a superhero movie when the heroine isn’t grossly oversexualized, when the director isn’t obsessed with exposition and fan service, or when the humor isn’t all snarky, Joss Whedon-esque dialogue.

Such is the woman’s touch that Patty Jenkins brings to “Wonder Woman.” Just to be clear, there have been other superhero and action movies that have featured women and been directed by women. Not many, obviously. But “Wonder Woman” in particular has been saddled with the burden of saving the world from the patriarchy this week.

That’s asking a lot of this popcorn movie. Jenkins’s “Wonder Woman” doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it demonstrates what a bit of diversity in front of and behind the camera can do for it. Continue reading “Wonder Woman”

No one really cares about the Superman/Batman movie

The ensuing hype for the Superman and Batman movie will be far greater than the quality or lasting legacy of the movie itself, and it’s ruining cinema.

The announcement of a Superman/Batman movie yesterday morning and confirmed at Comic-Con is exactly the reason why cinema is hemorrhaging viewers, quality and general interest to television: no one honestly cares.

No, please do tell me how excited you are for the follow-up to “Man of Steel,” how long you’ve waited to see this mash-up finally happen, how Zack Snyder is by far the greatest choice to helm this sure to be new franchise and how whomever they eventually pick to play both Superman (will it still be Henry Cavill?) or Batman (will it be Christian Bale? Probably not. Maybe Joseph Gordon Levitt? Who knows?!) will somehow eventually be wrong.

I know you’re foaming at the mouth. I know you’re stoked. It’s great that you have something you’re passionate about. It’ll probably be good. It could even be great!

But the fact is, this movie is a hype and dollar machine. As has been true of nearly every Hollywood tent pole comic book franchise, the hype and speculation is greater than the movie is actually interesting, and it will evaporate as soon as the next one is announced, which will be post-credits.

I haven’t counted to be sure, but I have probably seen fewer major Hollywood releases this summer than in any year since I started seriously writing as a movie critic. Chalk that up to me being an adult and not a college student with all the free time, but at the end of the day, I simply no longer care.

I do not care about “Man of Steel.” I do not care about “Pacific Rim.” I do not care about “The Lone Ranger” or “White House Down” or “The Hangover Part 3” or “Fast & Furious 6,” and I will not care about “The Wolverine,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Kick-Ass 2” or “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” even if I end up seeing them.

Why? These have talented directors and stars attached. They could be above average. They could be fun enough to be worth my 10 bucks or yours.

But like a chocolate bar you quickly scarf down, they are immediately thrown away and forgotten such that you’ll grab for another. They have no sustaining value or reason to exist other than because they fill a void and enough people will buy them. Continue reading “No one really cares about the Superman/Batman movie”

The Dark Knight Rises

The bat signal is lit. Since 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” the world needed another proper superhero movie, one that tested our minds and rattled our core.

Christopher Nolan’s follow-up, “The Dark Knight Rises,” is more of an enduring challenge than some will expect. For others, it will even feel little like a superhero movie. But its heavy themes of untapped emotion and social anarchy dwarf the flimsy blandness of “The Avengers” and “The Amazing Spiderman.” It does the Batman franchise proud. Continue reading “The Dark Knight Rises”