Here’s a look back at some highlights from my previous posts this year… — Erik
We discussed the surprisingly solid “Superman: The Movie” and it’s inferior sequel, Richard Lester’s “Superman 2” (and it’s much, much better alternate Richard Donner cut) here in Part One. I suggest reading that before diving into hell here, if for no other reason than to remind yourself that Superman movies can be fun, if not outright good, because these two train wrecks will do everything they can to prove that statement wrong…
Superman III (1983)
Directed by: Richard Lester
Starring: Christopher Reeve (Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman / Evil Superman?), Richard Pryor?! (Gus Gorman / low-budget Brainiac?), Annette O’Toole (Lana Lang), Robert Vaughn (
Lex Luthor Ross Webster), Jackie Cooper (Perry White), Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen), and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane – cameo).
Plot: Webscoe (really?) CEO, Ross “I’m not Lex Luthor!” Webster, blackmails Gus “I’m Richard Pryor!” Gorman to help him use his computer to take over the world or some stupid shit that’s not worth mentioning, and to use a “weather satellite” to somehow (?) decimate the coffee crops in Colombia so he can monopolize the coffee market… I promise, I’m not making this up. Superman reunites with his ex-girlfriend Lana Lang while on a trip home to Smallville, and while there is exposed to a weird off-brand form of Kryptonite that makes him a huge asshole, going around straightening the leaning tower of Pisa and blowing out the Olympic flame (what a dick) before going on a drinking binge (what?). Superman splits into two personas: Dickhead Superman and Morally Righteous Superman. Mr. Moral beats Mr. Dick, the regular Superman is back, and beats the bad guys. Audiences wiped away the blood coming from their noses.
The first, and greatest, super hero, Superman has had a rather mixed bag when it comes to adaptations of his comic book adventures. There have been numerous television shows, radio serials, animated series, animated movies, video games, and live action movies, more of which were either just ok or straight up bad than good.
What is it about the big, blue boy scout that leads to so much crap?
You would think the elements that have been in place for 75 years now would be easy to adapt to the big screen, or the small screen. It’s not like there aren’t literally hundreds of pre-made stories in his publication history that are begging to be filmed and thrown on the screen, yet time and time again people think they can ‘improve’ upon the man of steel and his epically large library of awesomeness, and time and time again they fail miserably.
That’s not to say there haven’t been some success stories… “Superman: The Movie” was a high point, as were the Bruce Timm animated series and his representation in that same universe’s “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited”, as well as a handful of direct to DVD animated movies that did well. Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” may have divided some fans on its quality, but both Erik and I will go to our graves defending it.
But for each of those, there are Superman 3, Superman Returns, Lois and Clark, most seasons of Smallville and the dreaded Superman 64! It’s curious. And as bad as those are, you wouldn’t believe some of the utter shit that almost got made. (6 Terrible Superman movies, you won’t believe almost happened!)
For now, just to keep things relatively simple Erik and I are skipping 1951’s “Superman vs the Mole Men” and are only going to discuss the live action feature films, starting with…
Erik: Over the past year, I’ve been putting together articles for SuperHeroBeach.com. A few months back, I invited Comic Zombie and several others to share their favorite Spider-man comics to promote the Spider-verse comics event. This was the result…
Ever since his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-man has had some of the most iconic story arcs in comics history. Since 1962, Spidey has been swinging across the New York skyline from page to screen in numerous incarnations, from web headed teenager to star crossed lover to fighting alongside the Avengers.
Now that Marvel’s “Spider-verse” event is upon us, I thought I’d ask a few people around town to share some of their favorite Web-slinging adventures from our favorite wall-crawler: Jonathan Sanders (manager of Super Hero Hive), Badr Milligan (of The Short Box Pod Cast), Adam Wollet (local comic creator), Brett Ricketts (creator ofTheDirectEdition.com), Comic Zombie(blogger @ comiczombie.wordpress.com), and of course myself, Erik Slader (writer of the blog Epik Fails of History and content creator for this here site).
For those of you living in the Negative Zone these past few months, Spider-verse is a current story line where every single Spider-man ever from all corners of the multi-verse must unite against a common threat.
So we covered the flawed, yet still pretty awesome, trilogy of Spider-Man films here, and while there was still plenty of room for stories to tell with the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man and the universe Sam Raimi crafted, Sony Pictures decided that Spider-Man 3 was to be the last installment in the series. They rebooted the franchise, and drafted director Marc Webb (kind of ironic) and cast Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man for the new series. The new franchise improved on the work the previous group did in a lot of ways, most notably casting and effects, and had some missteps of their own, which we will try to cover below.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012)
Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker / Spider-man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Connors / The Lizard), Dennis Leary (Captain Stacy), Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben), Sally Field (Aunt May), and Chris Zylka (Flash Thompson)
Plot: Peter Parker is bit by a genetically modified spider gaining the proportionate strength and agility of a human spider. When his Uncle Ben is killed by a robber he could have stopped, he learns that ‘with great power must come great responsibility’. Now, as Spider-Man he must battle the monstrous Lizard to save the people of New York, and as Peter Parker explore his new relationship with Gwen Stacy while working with Dr. Curt Connors to learn more about the mysterious death of his parents and his father’s work they may have been killed for.
Because you demanded it, we’re back with more breakdowns of the super hero movies you love, hate, and love to hate! Last time we covered the terrifying highs and gut wrenching, suicide inducing lows of the Batman franchise. This time we’re going with something a bit lighter, the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb Spider-Man franchises. That’s right, five movies of web slinging, cool villains, not so cool villains, great character moments, horrible character misfires, great casting, worst case scenario casting, all of it. From Raimi to Webb, Dunst/Howard to Stone, Maguire to Garfield, we’ll cover it all.
First up, the one that started it all, and really kicked the super hero movie craze of the early 21st century into gear…
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Starring: Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Willem Dafoe (Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin), Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane Watson), James Franco (Harry Osborn), Cliff Robertson (Uncle Ben), Rosemary Harris (Aunt May), J. K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson), Joe Manganiello (Flash Thompson), Elizabeth Banks (Betty Brant), and Bruce Campbell
Plot: Peter Parker is bit by a genetically modified spider gaining the proportionate strength and agility of a human spider. After his Uncle Ben is killed by a car jacker and he learns the killer is a man he could have stopped before, he tragically learns the lesson ‘with great power must also come great responsibility’. Now, as Spider-Man, he tries to balance fighting crime and the new menace of the Green Goblin with his personal life, which includes his now widowed Aunt May, his best friend (and son of his new enemy) Harry Osborn, and the girl he loves, Mary Jane Watson, as well as a new job taking pictures for J Jonah Jameson and the Daily Bugle.