Was Superman the first superhero movie
Shane Black's jagged-edged debut in the Marvel hotseat might easily have been a by-the-numbers "threequel", especially with star Robert Downey Jr out of contract and The Avengers' stupendous box office success a year earlier. Instead, the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director delivered the series' best instalment so far via a perfectly-pitched twist that comes about as close as the superhero genre will ever get to its very own Crying Game moment.
Ben Kingsley's nefarious Mandarin is a preposterous, shadowy Bin Laden clone with a big bushy beard and rhetoric drawn from the Acme guide to over-the-top comic book villainy, taunting Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man with lines like: "You'll never see me coming!" The problem is, he's right. We're contentedly caught up in another movie entirely (the enjoyment of which probably says some pretty shoddy things about our own prejudices) when the twist in the tale manifests, and the effect is instant. Black's movie slips slinkily from the predictability trap as we find ourselves blinking at the screen in disbelief, wondering if we are about to miss another deft sleight of hand. With the viewer (not to mention Iron Man himself) suddenly way outside the comfort zone, we find ourselves hurtling headlong towards the final credits with renewed vigour. Ben ChildGetty
When Stan Lee came up with the idea for Spider-Man in 1962, the wisecracking web-slinger was a revelation. Here was a callow teenage superhero with the same doubts and foibles as the audiences reading the comic, desperately trying to balance his duties to the people of Manhattan with his studies, chores and need to earn enough pocket money to take Mary Jane out on a Saturday night.
Fittingly, the incredibly successful 2002 film version saw director Sam Raimi transforming what had become a tired and directionless genre with a character-led approach that similarly invited viewers to identify and empathise with its wall-crawling, skyscraper-straddling hero. Suddenly, Batman and Superman felt like distant, statuesque figures representing vague concepts of fearless, epic valour.
As portrayed by goggle-eyed Tobey Maguire, Spider-Man/Peter Parker was defined by a likeable, everyman quality which made his romantic adventures just as tantalising as his battles with the bad guys. Speaking of which, has there ever been a better big screen super-villain that Willem Dafoe's sneering, leering, gurning Green Goblin? This was the movie which, more than any other, ushered in a new era of high-quality, visually spectacular comic book adaptations. BCNone credited/Public domain
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Entertainment Memorabilia ()
SUPERMAN * ORIG MOVIE POSTER LOBBY CARDS SUPER MAN 1978
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