ORBzine - Superheroes Movie Reviews

Batman Franchise

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight This is a hard-edged thriller, a more than suitable follow-up to Batman Begins . It starts with a bank robbery, and the pace does not let up. The film is almost three hours long, but it is just the right length.

Gotham's mobsters, led by Eric Roberts ( Dr Who TV Movie ), are sick of Batman and new DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart - Paycheck ) cracking down on their operations. The crooks are desperate enough to make a deal with The Joker (Heath Ledger - A Knight's Tale ), a psychopathic genius who shows himself capable of matching Batman at every step. Unfortunately the Joker has an agenda of his own ...

Bruce Wayne is beset on all sides. The Joker is on a kill-crazy rampage, and Harvey Dent is seducing Bruce's lost love Rachel ( Maggie Gyllenhall ). Everything is in place for three hours of mayhem and violence ...

All in all, an unmissable film!

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  • The Dark Knight Rises

    The Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan brings his Batman trilogy to an explosive conclusion. It has been eight years since the events of the previous film. Harvey Dent's fall to the dark side has been whitewashed, and he is a martyr while Batman is treated as a villain. In his wake the Governmant passed the Dent Act, which allows a thousand hardened criminals to be held without parole. And Gotham seems to be peaceful. Twelve million citizens, with only three thousand cops and one thousand convicts ...

    Masked Mercenary-cum-Warlord Bane (Tom Hardy - Star Trek: Nemesis ) and his army of gun-toting henchmen move into Gotham's sewers, with a mysterious plan.

    Cat-burglar Selina Kyle ( Anne Hathaway ) does the cliched one last job to buy her way out of a life of crime.

    A couple of Nolan veterans from Inception round out the supporting cast. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a cop, and Marion Cotillard is an eco-friendly millionairess.

    The only gaping hole in this film is the complete (and deliberate) lack of reference to the Joker. If anything, this in itself acts as a memorial to him.

    This film could also have been called The Cat, the Bane and the Daggett.

  • Catwoman is a Burglar who dances with Bruce Wayne, acts as a Defender of Womyn, and plays both sides against each other for her own profit.
  • Penguin/Bane is a Freak who lives in the tunnels under the city with an army of minions. We get Flashbacks to an origin story. He has a team-up with catwoman, although they have a falling-out.
  • Shreck/Daggett uses Boardroom trickery to get control of the power plant that controls the city. He double-crosses catwoman, who bears a grudge against him.
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  • Kick-Ass Franchise

    Kick-Ass

    Kick-Ass British director Matthew Vaughn delivers an awesome adaptation of 2000AD veteran Mark Millar's Graphic Novel. Although it is made by Brits, and the supporting cast includes familiar faces like Dexter Fletcher ( Below ), it is set in New York City.

    A teenage comic-book fan wonders why nobody ever becoms a super-hero in real life. Nobody bothers pointing out the distinction between Super- and Costumed heroes, but that is the least of his problems. He buys a costume and sets himself up as a hero, with the nom-de-guerre Kick-Ass.

    Unfortunately Kick-Ass walks into a secret war between rent-a-villain Dimico (Mark Strong - Sherlock Holmes ) and murderous vigilantes Hit-girl ( Chloe Moretz ) and Big Daddy (Nic Cage - Family Man, Ghost Rider ).

    Dimico's son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse - Role Models ) decides to take Kick-Ass and the others down, by posing as a superhero himself!

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  • Kick-Ass 2

    Kick-Ass 2 This takes up a few years after the events of the original film. Chris Dimico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse - Role Models ) decides to become a supervillain. He calls himself The Mother-F*cker and builds a crew of super-villains.

    Hit-girl trains Kick-Ass, but will not patrol with him. Instead he joins another group of heroes led by Jim Carey ( The Mask ). The other heroes include Lindy Booth , who is hidden behind a mask and some cleavage.

    The former Hit-Girl ( Chloe Moretz ) has problems fitting in at school. Luckily, she has a sick-stick from Minority Report . However, the actress covered the same ground in the recent remake of Carrie .

    All in all, this is actually quite a disappointing follow-up to an impressive original film.

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  • Non-Franchise Films

    Hancock

    Hancock Will Smith plays the title character, an alcoholic superhero. Not so much a hero, in fact, as a good-hearted down-and-out with a hero complex. And superhuman powers, of course. He can fly, he is super-strong and bullet-proof. However, every time he overpowers some high-profile criminals he causes a lot of property damage. Nobody gets hurt (except sometimes the crooks) but apparently nobody in the city has insurance either. As a result, saving human life at the cost of a little bit of money has made Hancock very unpopular!

    Luckily, Hancock saves a PR Guru who then offers his services for free. Hancock tries to turn his life around, and become a real hero.

    Of all superhero movies, the one this most resembles is Unbreakable . It is a drama about the hero coming to terms with his powers. There is a sub-plot about his criminal enemies, but there is no super villain.

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  • Push

    Push Chris Evans, once known as The Human Torch in Fantastic Four , is an on-the-run mutant hiding out in the slums of Hong Kong. Then fellow superpowered type Dakota Fanning comes a-calling, with news that he must help her defeat the MIBs who are oppressing mutantkind.

    Director Paul McGuigan , veteran of grimy gangster flicks like Gangster No. 1, delivers a gritty little thriller with a good cast and some down-to-earth superhero stuff.

    There are a few plot holes, however. The MIBs only send their two top men to Hong Kong - naturally, an army would attract the attention of Red China. But the Chinese government is not even mentioned. The only other interested party is a local small-time gangster!

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  • The Spirit

    The Spirit This was delivered by Frank Miller , the writer of Sin City & 300 . It apes the visual style of the former, which explains why despite the relatively small cast it has hundreds of technicians listed in the crew!

    The title character (Gabriel Macht - The Others ) is a superhero who prowls the city at night, clad in trenchcoat and face-mask. The Spirit's arch-enemy is super-villain The Octopus (Samuel L Jackson - Sphere ). Their powers include superhuman strength and healing.

    The Octopus, his sidekick ( Scarlett Johanson ) and their army of idiotic hench-clones (Louis Lombardi from 24) are after a mysterious locked box. A femme fatale named San Serif ( Eva Mendes ) is also after the box. And as always in this kind of thing, by incredible coincidence she was once the Spirit's love interest!

    Despite its Film Noir look, it is set in the modern day - the characters use mobile phones, for example. There is a lot more story and characterisation than in Sin City , the nearest comparison, so this effort pretty much wins hands down.

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  • Watchmen

    Watchmen Zack Snyder delivers the long-awaited adaptation of Alan Moore's incredible comic-book. This is taken directly from the original source material, so there are very few surprises. That said, there are quite a lot of changes - tiny little changes, insignificant and almost unnoticeable little things that niggle at anyone familiar with the original work. The fanboys tore this film apart on-line because of those changes, though it really is not worth the effort.

    The Director took a deliberate decision to make this as shocking as the comic. He deliberately put in extra sex and violence, pushing the censorship rating up to an "18".

    The story is simple. It is 1985, President Nixon is in the White House (on his fifth term) and superheroes are real (but retired). One of the costumed vigilantes gets murdered, and his former colleagues must hunt down the killer. There is a conspiracy, a supervillain ... all again a backdrop of impending nuclear war.

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