Powerhouse’s Summer Superhero Movie Review

Hello Citizens, Powerhouse here. This Summer has had not one, not two, but three Superhero films that have brought characters out of the comic books and on to the screen. Who better to rate this Superhero films than a superhero?

So taking my vast knowledge, I’ve seen all three of them and here’s my brief review:

The Avengers: A stunning movie that Marvel’s been putting together for five years since the release of Iron Man and continued through four other movies. There was so much hype for the movie it was almost impossible to be what everyone expected. But somehow it was. It cleared the bar and raised it.

Every superhero got his time to shine in the course of this epic story. Iron Man may have a had little more to work with than others, but in awesome film, let Tony Stark have the glory.  There’s a lot to go around and besides, if you don’t, he’ll take it any way.

There’s already plans for an Avenger sequel. Really, I don’t know how you can hope to do it. Hopefully, not some done to death sequel formula where “everything gets darker/you must unlearn what you learned” Empire Strikes Back thing.

However, there are many stories in the comics that could work and so far they haven’t missed yet. The movies have been very respectful of the original stories. One great thing about the Avengers is even using Loki was a tip of the hat to the first ever Avenger Story which also had Loki as the villain.

It’s a shame that we’ll never have a Justice League film this good. (Adam will address why in a future post.) Woe are those of us who are fans of the Justice League. All we have are fifty-five years of Comic Books, several animated series, and direct-to-video animated spin-offs.

Rating: 10.0 out of 10.0

The Amazing Spider-man: I wasn’t one of those people who whined about them rebooting the Spider-man franchise after three years.  That happens. Superhero franchises are always rebooted. It gives different geniuses a shot at telling the superhero story.  And they’re a lot of ways to do it.

Since the great Spider-man: The Animated Series ended in 1998, it only took one year until there was a a new Spider-man and there have been three more since then.Each has had to be a little different. They’ve shown the challenges the web-slinging hero faces: grief, loss, conflict with Aunt May, fear, loneliness, and in the case of the 2003 Series, plumber’s crack.

And so it is with the movie.  Spider-man is a character that has been done so much that there’s room to do things a little different. A good example of this is the Gwen Stacy character which is Peter Parker’s love interest in this film while Mary Jane Watson filled the bill in the Sam Raimi Spider-man trilogy.

The film does a great job portraying Spidey’s sense of humor and sarcasm. The action shots and special effects were awesome. It dials back his geekyness when compared to the Toby McGuire Spider-man films. However, it’s still making less money compared to those three. Even Spider-man  3 did better.

There were two big problems with The Amazing Spider-man that could explain why it didn’t make as much money. First of all, while hardcore comic book fans may enjoy Spider-man as a sarcastic teenager, the general audience, particularly parents, may be less happy. I mean Spider-man’s a role model. Anyone out there want their teenagers to be more sarcastic?

The other thing is that the Lizard makes a pretty poor villain when he’s the only villain around. He’s a tragic guy who meant well and instead turned into a hideous monster through no fault of his own. That would make him a good supporting villain for a movie, but he wouldn’t be able to carry the whole villainous mantle like the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus in the original Spider-man films, the Joker in the 1989 Batman movie, or Lex Luthor in Superman.

Still, I give it:

Rating 7.5 out of 10.0

The Dark Knight Rises: The Dark Knight took a very dark turn. The first part of the movie was full of hope as Batman was taking his battle against crime right to the mobsters. With the Joker, Batman was challenged. At the end, hope had turned into cynical despair with Batman forced into exile to cover up for the crimes of Harvey Dent, so that the city could make Dent a hero. I haven’t cried so much since they killed Bambi’s mother.

In the Dark Knight Rises, we begin a different trajectory where things are dark and depressing with Bruce Wayne. Things get even darker as Batman has lost his girl, he loses his money, his house, and his butler,  and is then cast into a hole in the ground prison to suffer. I kept waiting for a country music song to start playing to fit the mood, but sadly they missed that chance.

Meanwhile Bane takes over the city. I was dubious about making Bane the villain, but Nolan proved me wrong. Bane was the ultimate super villain. The normal insane villain who wanted to blow up Gotham,  once he had Batman crippled up in prison and control of an Atom Bomb, would kill Batman and blow up the city. Bane however, sets up a government based on the French Revolution only with machine guns and gives Batman several months to recover, escape prison, and have a final battle sequence. Bane even does the ultimate supervillain trick by being surprised that Batman didn’t stay in his cell.

Dark Knight Rises has some great action scenes and had some great characters. The character of Officer John Black was a great addition as he rides Bruce Wayne to get back into action. Anne Hathaway is great as Catwoman, who has a great journey as a character. The one character I really wish there’d been more of was Alfred, who disappeared from the film early and didn’t come back until the end.  Michael Caine’s Alfred was the best version ever and the movie wasn’t as good without him.

The end wasn’t everything I’d hoped for. Any time you tie up a lot of lose ends from three movies and especially with a character like Batman, things will get a little messy and require some suspension of disbelief. But the point is that it ended! Thing about the Christoper Reeves Superman Series and the 1989-90s Batman movies. There was no idea of what to do with these characters other than to keep making movies until they started getting stupid. The Spider-man Trilogy left a lot of loose ends, and I can’t believe the ending from Spider-man 3 was what anyone had in mind when they started out.

With Batman, it’s different, everything is brought a conclusion. They took our Dark Knight on a journey and gave him a great story. After watching this movie, I know how the story of Batman ends.

At least I do, until the next reboot.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

If I have one problem after watching these three films, it’s this:  The films fail to accurately show the life of a superhero.

My friend, Chief Stone Bachman of the Seattle Police Department told me that because of TV and Movie portrayal, people have an unrealistic view of police. They expect tests to be completed immediately that actually take weeks. They also don’t know the boring parts of police work.

These movies don’t accurately portray that there are a lot of boring hours on patrol. More important than that, it makes every superhero battle seem like it has to have gigantic stakes. Batman battles Bane who was threatening to blow Gotham  up with a nuclear bomb, the Avengers have to fight off an interdimensional invasion that’s beginning in Manhattan, and Spider-man has to save New York City from being transformed into Giant lizards.

I know the movies have to be big, but it puts a lot of pressure on real superheroes, and can hurt our self-esteem. I was landing today and someone came up and asked me  if I saved Seattle from mortal peril or stopped an alien invasion. I didn’t tell him anything. All I’d done that day was stopped an armed robber who’d taken $20 from a 7-11.

Powerhouse is a superhero who lives in Seattle. His first book of adventures, Tales of the Dim Knight is available for Paperback and also on the Kindle (available as a free borrow to those who have Amazon Prime) and his novella-length sequel, Powerhouse Flies Again is available for the Kindle..