Blog Archives

Richard Donner is Super, Man

Richard Donner’s 1978 cinematic masterpiece Superman is considered the greatest (and the most perfect) superhero movie ever made. That’s not just my opinion, but the opinion of some of the most influential people in the movie industry. Director Christopher Nolan said the following regarding the Richard Donnner-directed Superman.

“I said, ‘I want to do for Batman what Dick Donner did for Superman,’ ” Christopher Nolan humbly states in the opening of his nearly half-hour conversation with the director of the original “Superman.”
Kevin Jagernauth, IndieWire

Need more proof of the super genius Richard Donner showcased in that unforgettable origin story of Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman way back in the late ’70s with Christopher Reeve?

How about getting the super rivals DC Films president Geoff Johns and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to wholeheartedly agree on the personal impact and storytelling legacy of 87-year-old Richard Donner and, specifically, that Superman film (a priceless DC property)?

Some of Hollywoods biggest stars, in front of the camera and behind the camera, gathered together recently to celebrate and honor the unforgettable work of the legendary director and producer Richard Donner at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles. Actors and actresss from his most popular movies were in attendance, including the primary cast of Lethal Weapon and the kids from The Goonies.

Here are a few of Richard Donner’s films/credits:

  • The Omen (1976)
  • Superman (1978)
  • Superman II (1980)
  • The Goonies (1985)
  • Lethal Weapon (1987)
  • Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
  • Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
  • Maverick (1994)
  • Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

This celebration of Mr. Donner’s work reaffirms the belief (and I’m a firm believer in the following) that a cinematic masterpiece does not always require mind-blowing special effects or the biggest explosions or the use of bad language for the sake of using bad language for that edge or street cred. Sometimes, a great movie just requires a hero people can believe in who struggles with similar issues and moral dilemmas as the people watching in theaters and at home.

That, above all, is Richard Donner’s storytelling legacy. In this sense, Richard Donner is a super man superman.

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Happy Monday

The first silver screen movie starring Wonder Woman is, yes, doing wonderfully with audiences and critics alike.

Actually, to be blunt, Wonder Woman is kicking some serious ass in movie theaters across the country world!

“With $100.5 million in North America and an additional $122.5 million internationally, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman can boast the biggest-ever opening weekend for a film directed by a woman, Variety reports.”
–Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Verge, June 5, 2017

Gal Gadot (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman) was the scene stealer in 2016s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Ms. Gadot proved she could hang alongside Batman and Superman. Now, she is proving she can handle the big screen all by herself.

A super statement in more ways than one.

In Wonder Woman, Ms. Gadot shows off her skills and natural characteristics of a superhero capable of shining in the brightest cinematic spotlight and, more importantly, in the cultural spotlight for women and young girls. And to celebrate the historic opening weekend, let’s listen to the epic theme song for Wonder Woman written and produced by the brilliant musicial composer Hans Zimmer from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

The specific title of the Wonder Woman theme above is, “Is She with You?”

No, she’s with all of us.

Have a Better Week Than Last Week.

A Super Future

First and foremost, my Captain America had a successful open-heart surgical procedure yesterday and this person is resting comfortably!

One certainty from this experience (though a lengthy recovery awaits) is that, from what I was told, this person was brave throughout the whole process. This individual combined a scary reality with the universe that stars Captain America to remain calm for the major surgery.

Quite a super mindset, wouldn’t you say?

For the foreseeable future, Marvel and DC Comics will be relentlessly writing and producing summer blockbusters that feature its best superheroes. It’s true. Though the most recent “Age of Superhero Movies” started several years ago, the imagination and intriguing dynamics from all of these films is unmistakable. It’s increasingly weaving itself into mainstream culture with t-shirts worn by virtually every type of person these days, more energized conferences, relevancy to real world events and dilemmas, along with the admiration of the cinematic quality from top-shelf directors and cinematographers. Also, note the popularity of The Big Bang Theory.

What does this mean?

In an era where institutions and its leaders are continually (and sadly predictably) letting us down, there is an empty vacuum to be filled for over-arching societal guidance. It’s becoming more and more apparent that characteristics of famed-superheroes are being adopted and relied upon by us to help react to the chaotic events of our personal lives and the world around us. Instead of looking up for leadership, we’re looking next to us at our fellow men, women and children. The varying exercise of the power of the individual in our highly publicized, social media-driven culture is generating a collective pulse of inspiration (remember Batkid?) that all of us can admire and reach to for our own struggles.

Maybe, just maybe, we’re building the foundation for a super population and culture in the 21st century.

“A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.”
–Batman

Gal Gadot Looks Pretty Wonderful

For fans of Wonder Woman, the news that the 5’9” Israeli actress Gal Gadot will portray the female superhero equivalent of Superman was likely met with long, overdue jubilation. Plus, a dose of ambiguity. Why? Because Wonder Woman fans have long wished to see this lasso waving superhero on the big screen as the central figure and not necessarily as a supporting cast member, potentially.

(Zimbio)

(Zimbio)

The specifics of her role will remain a mystery for everybody around the world except the very select insiders: writers, producers and director of the “Man of Steel” sequel. Before too much speculation and analysis, there are some positive characteristics Gal Gadot will instantly bring to Wonder Woman, regardless of her ultimate character contribution.

First, she is absolutely gorgeous. Second, she has some film experience (mostly with the “The Fast and the Furious” movies) and, therefore, will bring a fresh face and impression to audience members. In other words, most people will see her as Wonder Woman and not as a character from a past project/series trying to portray Wonder Woman. She will be Wonder Woman. And third, she will inherently receive an elevated standing (at least initially) because of the nature and anticipation of the movie and the sensational credentials of the director, producers and writers of “Man of Steel” and, yes, “The Dark Knight” trilogy.

Interestingly though, has the global box office success of 2012s “The Avengers” (~$1.5 billion) and forth coming sequel put a rush delivery on the DC Comics super get together for The Justice League, despite the global box office success of summer blockbusters with solo superheroes in “Man of Steel” (~$662 million) and “The Dark Knight” trilogy (~$2.74 billion)? Without seeing the “Man of Steel sequel, it’s impossible to judge the decision to inject the DC Universe together so  quickly after introducing Superman. Still though, seeing a longer, deeper character and story arc for Superman, Wonder Woman, the new Batman (maybe not so much) and The Flash would be legendary.

But, because of “The Avengers,” is there enough time or patience? Time will tell, but the fans were willing to wait (and excitedly!) during the 7-year, A-movie quality Batman trilogy…

Lassoing back to Wonder Woman, here are 10 questions (for today anyways) surrounding the announcement of her presence in the untitled “Man of Steel” sequel that will hit theaters in 2015, in no particular order:

  1. Doesn’t Wonder Woman deserve at least a solo movie treatment, given the story and cultural popularity of her character, plus her positive superhero image for girls and women alike?
  2. Will and how will her character fit into the darker, grittier Zack Snyder/Nolan superhero universe?
  3. What “world” will she, Superman and Batman exist in? Will there be multiple locations/cities?
  4. Will her costume have a narrative like Superman’s in “Man of Steel?” (ie- his suit was actually made of steel links) If so, what will it look like and what will the narrative be?
  5. Will Gal Gadot look like the Wonder Woman people know from the comics and television show or will she be a new, modern adaptation?
  6. There was no Kryptonite in “Man of Steel.” Will Wonder Woman keep her Lasso of Truth?
  7. Will Wonder Woman be merely introduced or will she feature in a starring role alongside Batman and Superman?
  8. Will Wonder Woman battle Batman and/or Superman?
  9. Will Alan Harper make an appearance somewhere in the movie as a star struck admirer while slinging his own Lasso of Truth?
  10. Bottom line: Will Gal Gadot define Wonder Woman for a new generation?

The anticipation will be wonderfully mysterious and intriguing.