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Oh hell yes. It’s on. I rarely get amped for movies but when we’re talking superheroes this is the creme de la creme. The mountaintop. Mount Everest. It’s Superman baby. Do we even need to talk about anything else? In fact we do. The Man of Steel makes his reappearance while Seth Rogen and company deal with the end of the world.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
Man of Steel
Do you realize it’s only been seven years since the last Superman movie? Seven years. That’s it. The reason it feels like such a long time since Superman Returns (76%) isn’t because that flick utterly disgraced the red and blue “S”. Bryan Singer’s film wasn’t horrible, it was just completely forgettable-- appearing, disappointing the fanboy faithful and disappearing just as quickly. I was actually surprised at how high the Tomatometer was for that flick considering it is barely mentioned, ever.
That movie appeared around the time the landscape for superhero movies was changing, starting with Spider-Man 2 and Batman Begins in 2004-2005 respectively, moving through the Dark Knight trilogy, throwing in the Iron Man’s along with the rest of the Marvel Universe, and culminating in The Avengers. So many other superheroes have taken the big stage that being just “okay” doesn’t really cut it anymore. It isn’t good enough to slap a brand name on something and assume the comic book culture will just love it unconditionally (I’m looking at you Green Lantern and Ghost Rider). The movies themselves have to be great, independent of the character. The outfits and superpowers are just bonuses.
And that’s why it’s time to get excited for Man of Steel. Though Singer is a quality director-- he’s handled the X-Men franchise superbly-- the story of Clark Kent/Kal-El is part of our cultural lexicon, a story as red, white and blue as America itself. For something this big we needed to call in the big guns. When Christopher Nolan came on board as producer/ writer a collective sigh of relief seemed to spread through the comic book universe knowing the story was in great hands. One of the most difficult aspects of creating the great superhero movie isn’t how to handle the dude and his abilities (those are fairly straightforward) but rather how to handle the world around him. How to create a world that is much like ours, but can also accept a dude running around in his underwear fighting crime. And then making that seem “realistic”. Nolan did it with Batman and how he’s turned to someone in Superman with a much higher margin for error. But if the trailers are any indication, he and director Zack Snyder have pulled it off.
Snyder’s career has been critically mixed, with his two big timers Watchmen (64%) and 300 (60%) coming in fairly close to the middle. There’s a part of me that wants almost bump up the scores on those two films, as they were pretty big undertakings considering the source material. That being said, Sucker Punch (23%) did him no favors so we probably just need to look at his resume and say, “Okay, he is what he is.” But whatever misgivings you might have with the dude, I think Nolan more than makes up the difference. In this latest Superman tale, they’ve placed Henry Cavill as Clark in our world, surrounded him with an amazing cast, kicked up the special effects to the nth degree (watching the ground shudder and shake as he begins to take off in the North Pole gives me the chills), added an aura of doubt and uncertainty around the character in his early life, and even spiced up the uniform a bit. All around this thing looks like a winner. A part of me wants to go really crazy with this score, but I’ll temper my excitement just a bit (it’s strictly an emotional hedge). The Rotten Watch for Man of Steel is
This is the End
Ah the apocalypse, the thing the loony fringe has been dying to happen for years. Anything to legitimize their already crazy thoughts and fallout shelters built in the backyard, stuffed with 400 years of dry goods and ammunition. Honestly, I haven’t thought too much about the end of the world, my life being amazing and all. But if I had to ride out the end of days with a group of dudes, the ones from this movie might be the posse I’d choose. It’d at least be hilarious right?
Playing supposedly fictionalized versions of themselves, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and James Franco are together for the long haul after the world starts crumbling around them. What happens next seems an ever-escalating series of no-goodness as they struggle to survive with little more than Franco’s mansion, some beers, ‘shrooms and a sex-crazed Michael Cera running amok. In other words, it looks hilarious.
These are all guys who not only bring a fairly consistent form of funny to their recent works, but also don’'t seem to have a problem poking fun at themselves and each other. It’s an interesting concept to have these dudes, again, as themselves, hunkering down amidst their own incompetence when it comes to things like getting along and survival.
Seth Rogen and longtime friend and Superbad (88%) writing partner Evan Goldberg make their directorial debuts with this film. Early reviews are strong to great. Through more than twenty reviews it’s sitting at a cool 89%. Granted, the early opinions usually favor the film so I expect the score to dip a bit as the week goes on and it hits more of the mainstream media (the pot jokes and over-the-top sex gags might not rub everyone the right way - pun intended). But overall, this will be a strong comedic showing from a group of actors who really should be getting consistent laughs when all teamed together. It only took the apocalypse to get them up on screen at the same time. The Rotten Watch for This is the End is
Recapping last week:
How in God’s name did The Internship (Predicted: 17% Actual: 32%) get this high of a score? The trailer looked awful. Vaughn and Wilson haven’t been consistently funny in years. The premise appears inane. Granted 32% is a pretty much a trainwreck, but if anything I thought 17% was going too high. Hey, I guess some people still think these guys are good for a few laughs. I didn’t see it in the trailer, but what do I know?
Meanwhile, The Purge (Predicted: 47% Actual: 41%) was a total win for the Rotten Watch. It dipped as the week wore on with many critics giving some roundabout version of “cool premise, bad delivery.” And just a reminder to my neighbors, if our country ever decided to do something like this, you’ll be sorry you weren’t diligent about bringing those garbage cans in quicker. I’m coming for you guys.
Next time around Monsters head to college and our final world war is against zombies. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!