THE FILM YAP » Lex Luthor We Never Shut Up About Movies Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:02:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lex Luthor and Alfred cast in “Man of Steel” sequel Fri, 31 Jan 2014 18:09:34 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The Social Network - lede

Warner Bros. Pictures announced that Jesse Eisenberg (pictured right) has been cast as Lex Luthor, and Jeremy Irons will play Alfred in the upcoming Zack Snyder-directed untitled Superman/Batman film. The dual announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Snyder stated, “Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

The director added, “As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Snyder’s film stars Henry Cavill, reprising his role as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. The film also reunites “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

The new film is currently being written by Chris Terrio, from a screenplay by David S. Goyer. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller, David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.

The film is set to open worldwide on May 6, 2016, and is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, Batman characters created by Bob Kane, and Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment.

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All-Star Superman Tue, 15 Feb 2011 05:01:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

The latest in DC’s line of direct-to-video animated features, “All-Star Superman” is a nice effort to present a different take on the Man of Steel, but it falls short.

Based on the Grant Morrison comics run, “All-Star Superman” deals with Superman’s death yet again, this time at the convoluted hands of Lex Luthor (voiced by Anthony LaPaglia). Turns out Luthor sabotages the first-ever space mission to the sun. When Superman (voice of James Denton) comes to the rescue, he is poisoned by overexposure to the sun’s rays when he extends around the crippled spacecraft the bio-electrical field that protects him.

Now slowly dying, Superman is free to do the things he’s long denied himself, namely sparking a real romance with Lois Lane (voice of Christina Hendricks).

Meanwhile, Luthor, thought to have reformed and been helping the government on the sun mission, is arrested, convicted and scheduled for execution but still is able to plot against Superman from behind bars. This film offers perhaps the best look at the rivalry between the two, Luthor’s motives for trying to kill him and his singular, final obsession for beating Superman.

But the film is also laid out in a clipped, scattershot way with odd transitions and plot developments. At one point, in the space of a few minutes, Lois goes from her usual in-love-with-Superman mindset to convincing herself that he is dangerous and plotting — then actually trying to carry out — a plan to kill him, only to return to normal immediately afterward. (There is an explanation I’m not going to go into, but it’s suddenly nonsensical to a pointless degree.)

There are other characters, both heroes and villains, who show up, figure into a few scenes and then disappear for the rest of the film. Lois Lane briefly gets Superman’s powers through some mystery serum that somehow a villain manages to get a hold of, and the film’s climax, for building to Superman’s death, is oddly anticlimactic.

This adaptation is at its best while showing the minutia of Superman’s life. We learn a great deal about the Fortress of Solitude — that he has robots there helping him, that the key to get into the fortress weighs 200 million pounds and that he has a variety of weapons and creatures living there (we have learned some of this from previous incarnations, of course).

The animation and art is similar to previous films, but pulls in some of the visual style of the Morrison books, specifically with Superman’s look. His cape is much more bunched around the collar of his costume and is shorter; it hardly even reaches his upper thighs, making it look more like Captain Marvel’s cape than his own, which typically hits mid-calf on Superman.

DC’s adaptations of some of its more critically acclaimed comic stories have been hit-or-miss, as have most of its other entries. “Justice League: New Frontier” was strong, as was “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” (save for a silly ending), but others like “Superman: Doomsday” and this one have been less so. It is fun to see DC branching out with these, but the consequence in not connecting the films is that they feel artificial and not set in a single world. With no consequences from one movie to the next, it’s easy to pull out a bunch of gimmicky ideas, as this film does. It feels less like its own film and more like a scatterbrained, truncated version of the comic series.

The Blu-ray extras follow the progression of previous films, with some features on Superman, on this particular series, a look at the next film, “Green Lantern: Emerald Knights,” and, oddly, a look at the previous DC Universe film, “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.”

Film: 3 Yaps
Extras: 3.5 Yaps

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Heroes of the Zeroes: Superman Returns Sat, 16 Oct 2010 04:01:05 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Superman Returns”
Rated PG-13


Those who’d been holding on the best they can waiting for Superman saw director Bryan Singer deliver a 2006 juggernaut with all the weight and whimsy of the Flaming Lips’ song about the superhero.

“Superman Returns” reclaimed the Man of Steel’s good name from bad movies almost as well as “Batman Begins” did for the Dark Knight. Whether dabbing furiously or employing smooth strokes, Singer had a painter’s eye, and the budget (a whopping $260 million) allowed you to believe Superman could do more than fly.

Wisely pretending “Superman III” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” never happened, “Returns” depicts yet another nefarious Lex Luthor plot. (Kevin Spacey imbues the bald baddie with fresh, palpable menace without losing sight of the villain’s raconteur style.)

After Superman (Brandon Routh, making the role his own with internalized angst) returns from the shards of his home planet, he finds Luthor running rampant and that his longtime lady love Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has moved on to Richard (James Marsden), with whom she has a son.

Through this, Superman must measure out what he sees as abandonment from the woman he loves against her and Richard’s capacity for goodness. It’s the Atlas icon weighing whether the world that really made him warrants saving, and it’s given graphic-novel seriousness, though never so solemn so as not to be a good time.

Just a shade shy of great, “Returns” was easily one of the best superhero films ever made.

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Superman/Batman: Public Enemies Sat, 19 Sep 2009 12:45:24 +0000 Continue reading ]]> superman-batman-Luthor

Lex Luthor (Clancy Brown) is President of the United States. Superman and Batman are Public Enemies 1 and 2.

That’s essentially the premise of “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies,” the latest in a line of straight-to-DVD animated features put out by DC Comics. But the film is so much more than that.

“Enemies” is a rich, layered tale with robust characters, a dynamic, plausible story (and plot developments, which has been largely missing in these DC and Marvel stories), satisfying action sequences, and abundant cameos from other heroes.

Luthor’s rise to the presidency seems startlingly relevant, his ascention highlighted in newsreel details that could be taken straight from today’s headlines. Soon he’s calling on costumed heroes to work for the “government,” by which he means for him, and actually recruits a respectable slate of heroes, led by Captain Atom.

Determined to have Superman join him or die, Luthor sets up the defiant Supes by framing him for a murder, then declaring him a terrorist, offering a $1 billion bounty for anyone who can bring him to “justice.”

This sparks a frenzy of supervillains and heroes alike who try to bring in Big Blue, with only Batman, who was witness to Superman’s framing, there to help him.

Superman Batman inside 3The rogues gallery stretches across the DC Universe and not just into our stars’ group of villains. Captain Cold, Black Manta, Grodd, Bane, Metallo, and many other DC Universe baddies are represented and make meaningful contributions, if just for a fight scene or two.

Among the heroes, Captain Marvel and Hawkman make the heavies, making short appearances, with secondary heroes like Major Force and Power Girl playing larger roles.

Screenwriter Stan Berkowitz, going off of the graphic novel by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, details the sometimes contentious relationship between Superman and The Dark Knight, with a sense of respect and friendship that belies the outer appearance of rivalry.

Luthor’s arc is believable and, dare I say, even realistic, especially at the outset, until his lunacy is finally revealed.

The fight sequences are fluid, dynamic, and well-choreographed. At times waves of villains are coming at them simultaneously, and director Sam Liu and editor Margaret Hou do a wonderful job of intercutting between the two characters both when they’re on their own and working in concert, and there are plenty of creative uses of each hero’s unique powers (Superman’s heat vision is used in particularly cool ways).

Superman Batman inside 2The animation works in the film, giving a different look than previous cartoon versions of these characters, but not radically so. Bodies are large and muscular, jaws and brows are thick and square, and the colors are vibrant and rich. The animation is certainly superior to “Superman: Doomsday,” and it’s more contemporary than the throwback “Justice League: New Frontier.” It’s similar to the animation style of the recent “Justice League” cartoon series, but different enough to tell you it’s not the same storyline.

The voicework is stellar as well, using vets Kevin Conroy as the Dark Knight (thought by many fans to be the definitive aural representation of the character),  Tim Daly and Brown as Superman and Luthor, respectively (each provided voices in the 90s animated version of Superman), and bringing in talent like John C. McGinley, Jerry O’Connell, CCH Pounder, Xander Berkeley, Allison Mack (of “Smallville”), LeVar Burton and Michael Dorn in smaller roles.

The abundant DVD extras feature mostly fillers on Disc 1, with a behind the scenes of the DC Comics story “Blackest Night,” which is more of an explanation than a preview (the arc began in July), along with looks at 4 other straight-to-video DC flicks.

Superman Batman inside 4Disc 2, though, features a wonderful documentary on the dynamic between Batman and Superman, with writers and executives including Dan DiDio, Jeph Loeb, Goeff Johns, and Alan Burnett going into great detail into the psychology of the characters and their relationship.

Other bonus features include a “dinner” with some of the DC Universe creators and  Conroy,  a sneak peek at the next DCU film “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths,” and bonus cartoons from the late-90s Superman animated series selected by Bruce Timm.

Of this latest line of Marvel and DC films, I’ve seen several, but not all. “Public Enemies” is the best of what I’ve seen, by far.

Movie: 4.5 Yaps
Extras: 4 Yaps

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