The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies (Janie’s Take)

Okay, my turn.   I understand both Adam & Anthony’s opinions and agree with some of them.  But some…not so much.

Here’s my take on Superhero films (which I fear is going to lead to me receiving some sort of Pollyanna label): I like my heroes to be heroes. There are exceptions to that rule, because I don’t mind my heroes to be a wee bit naughty (a la Tony Stark). But I’m a little sick of the tortured hero.  I get it, we all struggle with the battle of good and evil within each of us.  But with where I am in my life, I want less Dark Knight and more Captain America.

I guess I said that to prepare everyone for why none of the Dark Knight pics made it onto my list. Without further ado, my favorites:

#3: The Fifth Element

Okay, go ahead and scoff, but I’m putting it on the list anyway. Leeloo is perhaps more alien than superhero, but the fact is: she has superhuman strength, is willing to sacrifice herself to fight evil, and she has a costume*. Thus, in my book, she’s a superhero. Add that to Bruce Willis’ antihero and you’ve got a great mix. I loved this movie in 1997. Still do.

Plus, let’s face it, part of my job on this blog is to bring the ladies into the geek conversation as much as possible.  If we want to have a real discussion, let’s talk about the serious lack of female superhero movies. I mean, what do you want me to put on the list, ElectraCatwoman? Barb Wire???

* – if you don’t believe that’s a costume, wait until I wear it for Comic Con 2014

#2 The Incredibles

I know, I know, the mother of four speaks.  But I want to say first that I am not a big animated film fan, so for me to put this on the list should be a statement of how much I like it.  This is storytelling at its very best. It’s gut-bustingly funny, appeals to adults and children, has awesome action, but most importantly has heart. A classic from the moment it hit the screen.

Ummm… and did I mention I loved this movie so much we named our youngest daughter JacJac?

#1 The Avengers

Two words: Joss Whedon.  You’ve either seen it and love it or you don’t have a pulse. ‘Nuff said.

(And every night I say a prayer to the Hollywood gods that they will make a Black Widow/Hawkeye spinoff. In the name of Spielberg, Scorsese, and Hitchcock. Amen.)

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The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies (Anthony’s Take)

Because 10 items is just too damn much for Monday morning.

While I agree with some of what my compatriot says, I have no compunctions about adding new or recent movies to my top lists. Nor do I have some sort of nostalgic hang-up where Christoper Reeves’ Superman brings back memories of hot vinyl backseats and trapped B.O.

However, I will readily admit that my love for various characters, and various portrayals of them, will promote movies to a higher standing than they likely deserve. Then again, we’re talking superhero movies; not “Citizen Kane.” Characters are the tent poles upon which the gauzy veil of plot and logic is draped.

My list after the jump!

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The Threeway: Top 3 Superhero Movies

This weekend’s Top 3 is something, that I imagine, we’ll revisit in time. It is also one that I think will have some fun disagreements.

The top 3 superhero movies is an interesting idea. There is no question that superhero films are in the midst of a fantastical rebirth (that can be traced to either “X-Men” or “Iron Man” depending on your viewpoint. But, ever before that, a smattering of great “Superman” films by Richard Donner graced the screen (and let’s not forget the first real superhero juggernaut film in Tim Burton’s “Batman.”)

Spoiler Alert… “The Dark Knight” doesn’t appear on my list. This is really for two reasons:

  1. It is 30 minutes to long. More to the point, you can actually take whole chunks out of that movie and you wouldn’t miss a beat (like anything to do with China). It is horrible bloat that makes the final product suffer.
  2. It is obvious that Nolan would love to make a Batman movie without the pesky Batman. That comes up again in “Dark Knight Rises.” Batman is completely “shoe horned” in to an otherwise great movie. “Dark Knight” may be the greatest Michael Mann movie that Mann didn’t direct. As a crime-thriller, it is great. As a Superhero movie… it isn’t.
  3. (I know I said 2…) I honestly enjoyed “Dark Knight Rises” a lot more. DKR isn’t as good of a film, but it’s a better movie.

So, what are my Top 3…?

Assemble3. “The Avengers” – I hate, hate, hate putting a recent movie on this list. I feel that movies (especially Superhero ones, for some reason) live “in the moment” of the cultural mindset. I’m afraid that upon re-watching this I won’t like it as much. I fear that a viewing at home will render a fantastic cinematic experience moot. I hope not. For now – I love the “Avengers” and it has assembled in the Top 3. It is almost perfect (although, again, it is bloated. Trimming 15 minutes from this would have upped the amazing). The dialogue, the action, the set pieces, the end battle – this is a great comic book movie.

2. “Superman 2” – this has an assist to “Superman” as well. They are interchangeable to me in the terms of this list. I think “Superman” is the best origin story ever filmed (and, honestly, one of the two things I think “Superman Returns” got right was not retelling it). “Superman 2” was the perfect action Superman IIfollow up. I vividly remember being trapped on a month long car trip vacation the summer “Superman 2” opened. Somewhere halfway through it (probably around Virginia) my parents bought me a “Superman 2” movie magazine. I read it constantly the rest of the time time. That memory means more to me now, as I buy my son similar magazines, and I watch him rifle through them. I’ve recently re-watched “Superman II” with my son and it still holds up.

1. “Spider-Man 2” – From start to finish Sam Raimi knocked this out of the park. It is, without a doubt, the most “Character-centric” superhero film ever. Character drives everything in this movie and it does it fantastically. But, that’s only half the equation. If this was just a great character study it wouldn’t have made the list. It is also exciting, fun, thrilling… let’s sum it up with “spectacular” or “amazing” or some other adjective that has appeared as a comic book title with the Spiderman masthead.Spiderman 2

Feel free to disagree below. Maybe you think that I should have throw in “Dark Knight,” or “Iron Man” or “Condorman.” Throw down with some thoughts below.

Monday Morning Take 3: Fictional Cursewords (Adam’s Take)

A good topic for the Weekly Top 3 list. I think Anthony’s introduction sets it up nicely but I think he fails to reach the real point. When I think of my top 3 fictional curse words I think not about the ones that impacted the environment of that Universe – but has that word found its way into my lexicon. When I hit my thumb with a hammer – do I shout out “frell”? Never. Not once. It just isn’t strong enough. And “Slag”? I don’t even know where to start on that one. All I remember, swearing-wise, from the Transformer’s universe is in the ‘80s cartoon movie one of the characters throws out a “shit.” Apparently they thought Slag wasn’t worthy enough then either.

So… which fictional curse words are my Top 3? Which ones do I actually use? Here we go:

1)      Frak – There is no question here. Anthony leaving it off his list is just irresponsible. Sure, he mentions it in the Frell discussion, but not including it is just frakking wrong. It’s a frakking miscarriage of justice. Honestly, the (over) use of the word “frak” 100% influenced how much I liked “Battlestar Galactica.” It added a layer to the grit the show was going for. The added bonus is that it is sooooooo useful in the real world too. If you haven’t used “frak” in a sentence… you probably have stopped reading already.

2)      “Tar chi car gole, tu ne taag” – wait, what? I very well could have spelled this wrong. I have a hard time spelling words in English, much less figuring out the phonics of Huttese. In “Return of the Jedi” Jabba yells this at Luke. C3PO translates and… he doesn’t translate a curse word (I blame that gorram Lucas). But, in my mind, it always was. And, I use it as such – frequently. When I see a green light in the short distance turn to yellow – this spews forth. It just feels right. It’s a grumble. It’s that moment of “I was so close and this just annoys me.” Sure, as curse words go (for the real world) it is lax, but if fills a nice gap for me.

3)      Gorram – Anthony got this one right. “FireFly” introduced us to a fantastically versatile word that flows from my mouth just as easily as it did Mal’s. When you find yourself in a gorram situation, you know it. You’re screwed. There’s no good solution. You’re certain to die. Gorram, you will find a way out though. You won’t let anything get the best of you. You’ll power through it.

Now, let’s use them all in a sentence: Tar chi car gole, tu ne taag; I don’t understand how Anthony’s gorram mind frakking works.

Monday Morning Take 3: Fictional Cursewords

Because 10 items is just too damn much for Monday morning.

Star Trek had it easy. By the 23rd century, civilization had advanced enough that we no longer expressed ourselves with base language that referred to bodily functions meant to indicate displeasure. In reality, it was the 70s and swearing like actual military personnel would have been verboten on national TV. Luckily sci-fi endured into the modern era and we realized we were still going to keep our old four-letter pals around (and TV censors would allow a fuckton more than they used to). But the challenge was how to depict natural usage of language without your show sounding like an Emergency Broadcast System test (or your comic from looking like a declassified FBI doc). Enter the fictional curseword! Here are three of my favorites.

  1. Slag: Transformers comics in the 80s had a very distinctive young male audience. Ones who thought that “shit” was the pinnacle of discourse. But how do you have your giant robots indicate displeasure when they have no biological functions to speak of (despite the fact that they ate, drank, and bled)? Use a word for metal that looks like it was excreted, of course! The adoption of this word was a rather unfortunate development for the Dinobot, Slag.
  2. Gorram: Introduced by “Firefly,” gorram is one of those special words that’s not just meant to stand in for a standard curse, but it’s also meant to be a pidgin of foreign languages. So maybe it could mean something else? Like “fluffy bunny.” It’s just you potty-mouthed nerds that keep attributing negative connotations to it. Because Mal always walks around telling people to get off his fluffy bunny ship. Right.
  3. Frell: I know that for many nerds “frak” holds the top spot in the fictional curseword Olympics, and it rightly should. It’s widely adopted and much better suited to stand in for Fuck than this, more antiquated, version that was coined in “Farscape.” The reason it tops my list though is because “Farscape” is the first time I encountered the F word so prominently dressed up and trotted about. It was also the first one I used in regular conversation, much to the confusion and embarrassment of those around me. It’s not as slag simple as “frak;” but it gets the gorram job done.