The X-MEN movies

The X-Men movies timeline

There was a long period of time where the only super hero movies we had were the Christopher Reeve Superman films, which (as we discussed HERE), had their considerable ups and downs (mostly downs), and the Batman franchise (which we discussed HERE, HERE, and HERE), but this was before the excellent Christopher Nolan reboot, so it was also mostly bad.

X-Men teaser posterThen the late 90’s hit and Marvel (with New Line Cinema) had a surprise hit on their hands with Blade, and all of a sudden it felt like there might be a chance we’d get some more. That’s when Fox dropped a bombshell and announced they were going to finally, FINALLY, release a live action X-Men film!

Say what you want about the first movie, and we will, but it really opened the floodgates for the huge wave of superhero films (that mostly sucked) for the early 21st century. For better or worse we probably wouldn’t have the Spider-man movies without this one!

Fifteen years later, and the franchise has had its ups and downs (notice a trend?), but found its footing again with X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past. Now, with X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool, and a third Wolverine film looming, the franchise appears to be in as good a shape as it has ever been.

But how did they get here?

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The Superman Movies! (part four)

Previously on All UR Movies Are Belong to Us, we tore into the Christopher Reeve Superman movies (and then briefly skimmed over Supergirl and Steel), this time we’re looking at the last two outings of the Last Son of Krypton… which could not be more tonally different!

 

Superman Returns - poster with Lois

SUPERMAN RETURNS

Directed by: Bryan Singer

Starring: Brandon Routh (Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman), Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane), Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor), James Marsden (Richard White), Parker Posey (Kitty Kowalski), Frank Langella (Perry White), Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen), Eva Marie Saint (Martha Kent), Kal Penn (Henchman #2), and Marlon Brando (space dad hologram).

Plot: Nothing happens for the first 90% of the movie, and then for the last 10% the stakes are finally raised to EVEN MORE nothing happening. Also, Superman is a deadbeat dad who spies on Lois Lane constantly, never punches anything, and has a dorky bastard kid with superpowers and a terrible haircut. Speaking of terrible haircuts, Lex Luthor is back at it again with another ridiculous scheme involving real estate!

 

Comic Zombie: Superman Returns is the exhibit A some people point to when they say that superhero movies shouldn’t be made by fanboys (to which I counter with The Avengers). It seemed like a no-brainer: Brian Singer had just made two very successful X-Men movies, it has a solid cast (on paper), a huge budget, and was a do-over for parts 3 and 4, which this film pretends never happened. Just like the rest of us.

I mean, nothing could go wrong this time around, right? Right??!!

WRONG! - Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey)

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The Superman Movies! (part 3)

Previously on “All Ur Movies Are Belong To Us!”…

The Superman Movies: Part One (Superman: The Movie, Superman II – both versions)

The Superman Movies: Part Two (Superman III, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace)

Supergirl2

Supergirl (1984)

Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc

Starring: Helen Slater (Supergirl), Faye Dunaway (Selena), Peter O’Toole (Zaltar), Hart Bochner (Ethan), Mia Farrow (Alura), Brenda Vaccaro (Bianca), Peter Cook (Nigel), Simon Ward (Zor-El), Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen), Maureen Teefy (Lucy Lane)

Plot: Supergirl does stuff and… it’s just so bad. I can’t.

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The Superman Movies! (part two)

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

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.

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The Superman Movies! (part one)

Superman 1978

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.

Superman actorsWhat 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.

Man of Steel

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…

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The …um… other Spider-man Movies! (Part Two)

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.

 

Amazing Spider-man poster

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.

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The Amazing Spider-Movies! – Part One

Tobey Maguire / Andrew Garfield

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…

 

Spider-man Movie Poster

Spider-man (2002)

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.

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