Wonder Woman 84 Review

So its finally here, one of the most anticipated DC movies ever, release date pushed and pushed to the point that I thought it might never be released! But its out, here in the UK we’ve had it for a couple of weeks in the cinema although most of those are closed currently! But for everyone in the US the cinema and HBO Max dual release has happened and people are having thoughts! So here at Earth9 we like to throw our hat in the ring with thoughts, here are mine!

Wonder Woman 84 is unapologetically a comic book movie, everything that happens is over the top and the story could be ripped straight from the pages of a Wonder Woman graphic novel, this is its strongest but also its weakest point.

Lets talk the good first Gal Gadot is once again amazing as Diana Prince, we know this it’s not news, Chris Pine is back and is still fantastic as Steve Trevor but we have new kids on the block with Kristen Wiig as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah and Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord and they are awesome! For someone who’s more known for comedic roles Kristen Wiig really turns it up and is totally believable in her role as mild timid Barbara turning super villain and the introduction of Maxwell Lord to this universe is great and Pedro plays him with such intensity and at times desperation that he just works!

Now lets talk the bad, the story can feel rushed and disjointed in places, there are worldwide events going on that seem to happen almost off screen, then while the character development for Barbara and Max are good but there is not enough Cheetah in this film, as one of Diana’s biggest enemies in the comics I expected more, however it does feel like an origin story to build to a further sequel. Also I felt that Wonder Woman’s character development seemed a little counter-productive she’s a saviour, a god, the best of us, but seems to be pining after Steve Trevor to the point that him coming back makes him her saviour and kind of pushes her to be Wonder Woman, that doesn’t really sit quite right with me. I get that he’s kind of her weakness but it takes away a little from her badassary.

Overall though I did really enjoy this film, it looks amazing, the opening scene is awesome and we do get an absolute ton of fan service so for someone like me I’m picking up all the little things its just great and builds a larger universe. the music is great her new redone theme is excellent and with this being set in the 80s the visual aesthetic is tremendous, there’s a part that gave me the opening of Superman 3 vibes which I think is a good thing lol.

Is it as good as the first film? I don’t think so, but it is a enjoyable sequel that is a fun watch and one that I would happily watch again once its out on blu-ray or if we ever get HBO Max in the UK!

Man Of Steel Review

So here is my next review in my Superman movie series, Man Of Steel, the first in what was supposed to be the new Zack Snyder DC Universe otherwise known as the Snyderverse, funny looking back after all this time as to how exactly that all went! But that’s a conversation for another review, this time we are just going to look at this movie on its own, what it did well, what I wasn’t a fan of and my overall feeling now after rewatching it again.

So lets start with this, visually this film is stunning, one thing Zack Snyder knows how to do well is make a fantastic looking film. The first thing we are introduced to is this incredible vision of Krypton, very different from the other movies but much close in my opinion to the comics, the landscapes, the scope of it, the suits, this planet is fully realised and adds so much more gravitas to it when the inevitable happens! I’m gonna come right out and say it Russell Crowe is my favourite interpretation of Jor-El, he cares about this planet and you can tell, he’s spent so long trying to save it and even at the end he does everything he can to save what he can of his homeworld, I love it all…… well all except those prison pods that look like they were bought from Love Honey, that’s definitely an artistic choice lol

Michael Shannon as Zod is excellent, different enough from Terrance Stamp that you don’t really compare them but still with enough passion that you can kinda see where he’s coming from at points, you know until he tries to terraform Earth, not cool Zod, no cool!! And all the additional Kryptonian zealots really add to the overall threat to Earth and Antje Traue as Faora is an absolute badass!

So lets talk Superman, Henry Cavill is an amazing Superman he has that quiet strength but immense passion for life that is a fundamental part of Superman as a character and I really like that, he looks great in that suit and overall just awesome, however here is where things don’t really gel for me, obviously this is a different take on the character and I dig that I don’t want to see the same things over and over again and I really don’t mind sad Clark trying to find his place in the world, what I do struggle with is this version of Ma and Pa Kent, they have always been Kal-Els humanity, they ground him and show him how to be a good person, in this film they are definitely not that! Its odd to say but Jor-El has more humanity than Jonathan Kent, my favourite line of this film will always be this from Jor-El –‘You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun, Kal. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.’ all of this is what Superman is, but then you have Pa Kent telling Clark to hide who he is, I dunno It just doesn’t sit right with me.

Lois can be a difficult character to crack, you need strength and tenacity without making her a unlikeable and Amy Adams nails it, I have no issue with her knowing Clark’s secret straight away, she’s a world class reporter it just makes sense and the scenes between them are exactly how you’d imagine their relationship to be, they work best as a team not Superman just saving her all the time and I really like that about this film.

Now to tackle the controversial ending of ‘Superman doesn’t kill’ well he does, he has, probably will again, does he like it, of course not but if there are no other options he does what is needed to save the world, he has to make the hard decisions for the betterment of mankind and always puts them first, that’s what Superman is, that’s why he’s an inspiration, so ultimately that didnt really bother me too much.

Overall I really like this film, it’s aged really well and sure while there are things that I’m not a huge fan of there’s more than enough that I love to make this an enjoyable film and one that I’ll happily watch over and over again. Oh also Hanz Zimmers soundtrack is incredible and for me Superman’s main theme from it is nearly as iconic as John Williams, not quite, but very nearly!!

If you haven’t seen this in a while definitely have a rewatch and enjoy it as a stand alone Superman movie, we will get into the DCU issues next review when I tackle Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice!

Superman Returns Review

*So let me start by saying that we here at Earth-9 think that both Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer are deplorable human beings and no other mention of them by name will be made in this review other than this statement, however a film is not just made by a director and one actor so it would be a disservice to all the other actors and crew who worked hard to make this film, so out of respect for those people we will continue with this review.*

So I have a bit of an affinity with this film, of course I do with most Superman films but this one a little more, when I did my first review I mentioned how Superman The Movie was special because it came out the year I was born. Well this movie came out the year my son was born, he is named Reeve after Christopher and so this film ties in with a big part of my life, so it’s a bit more special than maybe it would’ve had it been released at another time.

Ok now this film is technically a sequel to Superman II, with Lex’s obsession with land and revisiting the Fortress of Solitude, Marlon Brando being featured as Jor-el, and with Superman, well returning! But lets talk about the elephant in the room that is Jason White, Lois and Superman’s son, now when this first came out I was not a fan of this plot point it seemed odd and out of place. Now while it still creates issues, like does Lois remember sleeping with Superman in Superman II and if she does why doesn’t she know that Clark is Superman? Or does she think it was some kind of immaculate conception? I actually don’t hate this idea anymore, I think because we’ve had Superman’s son in the comics for a while now it had made me more used to the idea.

Brandon Routh is great as Superman and Clark Kent, obviously he styled his mannerisms after Christopher Reeve but there’s still enough scope that he’s able to add his own elements to the character, his earnest yet clumsy portrayal of Clark is perfect and his quiet confidence and strength of Superman really shines through and it was absolutely amazing that he got to reprise the role in the recent Arrowverse crossover event Crisis On Infinite Earths.

The problem with this film being a sequel is unfortunately you are constantly being reminded of the original actors to play these exact roles, while Routh may not be Reeve his portrayal is enough of Reeve to get a pass, however its very difficult to pick up after Margot Kidder and Kate Bosworth for me just doesn’t have the grit that Lois needs and falls short. Also Gene Hackman will always be the best Lex Luthor period.

Visually this film is stunning, the art deco style of Metropolis is amazing and works so well, this Daily Planet globe is my favourite! The Fortress of Solitude looks incredible and the aeroplane crash sequence still holds up now 14 years later and is probably the best action scene in the film, the bit where Superman is above the earth, cape fluttering, listening out for cries of help is everything and the bit with the bullet to the eye is just epic. What this film does well is show how much Superman cares, how he’s willing to sacrifice himself for the rest of the world.

I think where this film falls down is the story, there are so many good elements that had they been put together in the right way this film would’ve been a success, this is a Superman film but the threat is essentially a big rock that he doesn’t even get to punch! The action scenes while they are great they are few and far between, far too much time is spent setting up the world that we already know, they could’ve hit the ground running and people would’ve got it, this film feels more like a set up for a sequel than a stand alone film, which is a problem when you don’t get the sequel that apparently would’ve involved Brainiac, Bizarro and possibly more, with the new krypton land mass being a big plot point too. Now that all sounds great but you can’t under deliver in one film hoping to fix it in the sequel, that’s not how it works unfortunately and that sequel was cancelled.

Overall I do enjoy this film for what it is, a love letter to the Donnerverse with stand alone action pieces and a visually attractive setting, but it could’ve been so much more and that’s whats a real shame but it gave us Brandon Routh who I have met on numerous occasions and is just a wonderful human being so that’s more than enough to help me enjoy this movie.

(Photo Circa 2007)


Superman IV Review

So, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, where do I start?…..

I always say films are subjective and different people take different things from films but on this occasion I think we can all agree that the final entry into the Christopher Reeve Superman franchise was bad, really, really bad. Not that I don’t love it, I do, I genuinely cant help myself but to love its over done cheese, complete lack of reality and super hammy performances!

So the budget for IV was cut dramatically due to it being put out by Cannon rather than Warner Bros themselves and boy you can tell, bot just due to the fact that a lot of the special effects shots are just reused bits of Superman from other films and put over new backgrounds but the location of Metropolis, in the past New York has been a perfect stand in for the Big Apricot but less money means less resources, so New York is replaced by Milton Keynes……now I’m not sure if you’ve had the pleasure of visiting Milton Keynes but I actually used to live there and believe me New York it is not! It is cool being able to visit actual places that are featured in the film like the Train Station which doubled as the UN and the outside of the Daily Planet, the Home Retail head office as the high end Metropolis Hyatt Hotel, or the Bannatynes Health club (former Winter Gardens) being the Metropolis museum, but once you’ve seen them in real life you get how much they cut that budget!

So location aside the rest of this film doesn’t fair much better which is a shame as Gene Hackman and Margot Kidder return to their roles after their absence from Superman 3, and all the usual suspects are back in force Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure and obviously Christopher Reeve but they are joined by Lenny Luthor played by Jon Cryer who has taken over his uncles role as it were by playing Lex on Supergirl and hes doing an incredible job there! Then there’s Sam Wanamaker as David Warfield and Mariel Hemingway as his daughter Lacy Warfiled and lastly Mark Pillow as Nuclear Man……and that’s where things fall apart, not because Mark does a particularly poor job as Nuclear Man, he works with what he’s given and unfortunately what his given is just well, kinda trash.

The story as a whole isn’t a bad one, Superman ridding the planet of Nuclear weapons, Lex takes advantage of that and creates a being to destroy Superman perfect comic book story but to do it live action takes time and money and a good script and this film just has none of that and it’s a shame, also Christopher Reeve has a writing credit on this film and apologises for it in his autobiography haha!

A lot of licence is taken in this film, with Superman’s powers, his ability to rebuild walls with his super vision is a new one, with reality, Nuclear Man flies Stacy fully into space and shes absolutely fine, which I guess would be ok if we hadn’t seen Russian Cosmonauts at the beginning of the film in full space suits….I could go on! Though that scene where Superman puts all the Nuclear missles into a massive net and hoofs it into the sun is still amazing!

Now while I may have just written about how bad this film is, I still hearken back to one of the first things I said, I love this film, it fills me with good memories, I remember when it came out on VHS for rent and my dad spent £25 to get me an ex-rental copy and I wore that tape out, for me it was just more Superman, sure now I can look back and see all the poor quality things about it but then it didn’t matter to me, it was more Superman and I loved it.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is looked at as a low point of the Superman franchise or in film generally and I get that, I can see that definitely. But I also see 9 year old me running around with a red blanket on my back pretending to fly and that for me is more important than anything else, films are for entertainment and this film above anything else sure is entertaining 🙂

Superman III Review

I ask you to kill Superman, and you’re telling me you couldn’t even do that one, simple thing. – Ross Webster

So here we are in what a lot of people class is the down turn in quality of Superman films, do I agree? I guess to a certain point sure, there is definitely a shift in tone to a more comedic one to accommodate the inclusion of Richard Pryor. I have great memories of this film as a kid due to it being a little less serious.

But does this make it a bad film? Personally I don’t think so, it’s not as good as the first two obviously but it’s still a serviceable film, with some good elements in it. With Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor gone and Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane reduced to almost a cameo that does open the film up for new people to take their place. Enter Robert Vaughan as Ross Webster owner of Webscoe Industries and just a hellbent on World Domination as Lex, with his sister Vera and ‘psychic nutritionist’ Lorelei by his side his penchant is for coffee and oil! And he needs help from Richard Pryor’s Gus Gorman, but we’ll come back to him.

And in place of Lois we have Lana Lang played by Annette O’Toole who would go on to play Ma Kent in Smallville, I think Lana is an excellent addition to the movie, we saw a little of her and Smallville in the first film but here Clark’s early life is really fleshed out and I for one love Lana as a character, the difference between her and Lois is really shown here, Lois has her obsession with Superman but Lana always cares for Clark first and foremost, this is no more evident than the scene where Lana asks Clark if he can get Superman to come to her son Ricky’s birthday and when he says he can she replies ‘Superman is wonderful… but Clark… youre the best’. Clark deserves some attention bless him.

On to Gus Gorman, Richard Pryor is amazing, let’s start there, was it right to try and write a Superman film around him, probably not but his performance as Gus a jobless down on his luck nice guy turned super hacker is awesome, he’s earnest as down to earth and makes you really warm to him, especially the scene in Smallville with Brad getting drunk and trying to insert both keys at the same time into the computer terminal is one of the best scenes in the whole film! Even though he’s part of the bad guy team you know he’s in over his head which keeps you pulling for him through the whole film, also he’s really funny, sure it’s not you’re standard Pryor affair but he does well with the material he’s given!

So the biggest thing about this film is the whole Superman Vs Superman, after given a variation of Kryptonite with an unknown element in it, Superman slowly turns bad and apathetic, it’s closer to a version of Red Kryptonite but I guess that would’ve taken too much explaining! So after him flying around causing mischief like straightening the leaning tower of Pisa and flicking peanuts into bottles of booze and generally being a scamp, Superman has a crisis of character and goes and splits in two like any good hero turned villain and fights himself! This scene is epic I don’t know what more to say! its Clark fighting the worse version of Superman and winning, giving us one of the best moments of any Superman films of him pulling open his shirt revealing the S underneath, incredible! I even own an amazing painting of that exact scene!

As a whole could this film have been better, of course, there a few films that can’t be improved but is it a bad movie? I don’t think so, just because it’s different from the first two doesn’t make it bad its just something else, it adds to the lore of the first two by putting in more Smallville and Lana, it gives you a new villain that’s not just Lex again, well not completely more like Lex Light haha and a robot woman, who lets be honest was super scary but defeated very easily! And who didn’t want to play that Superman game from the super computer!

I like Superman III a lot, some of it is nostalgia of course but its not a terrible movie, its just more lighthearted than the other two. Now lets see if the same can be said next time with Superman IV The Quest for Peace………somehow I doubt it!