Category Archives: Movies

March Madness of Superhero Movies

Dante Troina
Staff Writer

Many brackets were made and broken last month, but not even one is more important than the hypothetical bracket of superhero films. Doing a solid forty minutes of research to come up with the seeds, and being faced with the question of which film is better, the fan of both superheros and film in me has never been happier while being put to a challenge.

Method of Seeding
The seeds for this tournament are based off numbers, combinations of the IMDB score, Rotten Tomatoes Meter, fan following for the film, and box-office revenue all went into consideration when forming the seeds. The Dark Knight is the top dog here, having the fourth best rating for any movie ever on IMDB, a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and being a billion-dollar box office movie. Films such as Deadpool and X-Men: First Class received lower seeds, while Deadpool has a cult following, it was reviewed as a good-but-not-great film, whereas First Class was reviewed well, but didn’t have a huge box office or cultural impact.

Matchups:

1) The Dark Knight (2008)
16) Thor (2011)

8) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
9) The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

4) Spider-Man 2 (2004)
13) Deadpool (2016)

5) Captain America: Civil War (2016)
12) Watchmen (2009)

6) Logan (2017)
11) X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

3) Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
14) Doctor Strange (2016)

7) Iron Man (2008)
10) Batman Begins (2005)

2) The Avengers (2012)
15) X-Men: First Class (2011)

Sweet 16 Matchups
Thor is good, but The Dark Knight obviously cleans it up in the matchup. The higher seed wins almost every matchup, with the two exceptions being Deadpool and Batman Begins. The first thirty and final twenty minutes of Begins is what overpowers the original Iron Man; both of which are under-seeded in my eyes. Deadpool beats Spider-Man 2 because of its re-watchability and stronger action sequences. Guardians of the Galaxy and Logan both win close matchups against films that are arguably as good as them.

Matchups:

1) The Dark Knight (2008)
8) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

13) Deadpool (2016)
5) Captain America: Civil War (2016)

6) Logan (2017)
3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

10) Batman Begins (2005)
2) The Avengers (2012)

Elite 8 Matchups
The Avengers in this tournament is comparable to Duke in the NCAA Tournament; an over-placed seed with a lot of style, but not that much substance. Don’t get me wrong, Avengers is a solid, fun, action packed movie, but the middle hour of setup feels like an eternity, whereas Batman Begins sets a pace from the start and all around out does Avengers in pulling together as one movie. Ask anyone to recite the plotline of Avengers, and all they’ll bring up is the crazy end fight, ‘cause it’s cool!’ The Dark Knight blows past Guardians of the Galaxy, because as much as the mainstream audience loves it, it’s just a good movie with a couple solid one-liners, and some above average action sequences, not to mention that the villain is complete garbage when compared to Heath Ledger’s Joker. The Winter Soldier squeezes past Logan, because of its faster pace and better plot; and Deadpool barely beats Civil War, because of its simplicity and enjoyment factors, whereas Civil War has a tone that can feel unnatural at times.

Matchups:

1) The Dark Knight (2008)
13) Deadpool (2016)

3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
10) Batman Begins (2005)

Final Four Matchups
Batman Begins’ luck has run out. If I were making my four best superhero movies, the first of The Dark Knight Trilogy would’ve been an outsider to the list, but, just like in the NCAA Tournament, there are seeds that get lucky with matchups and win over higher ranked seeds that it is better than. But The Winter Soldier is not overmatched by the underdog; the pacing of the film is key, action is used perfectly to advance the plot, and the villainous Winter Soldier keeps the film thrilling throughout. The thrill ride that is The Winter Soldier is just too much for Begins to handle. The other Batman movie on this list wins sparingly though, Deadpool is a great movie, but The Dark Knight is an all-time, once in a lifetime kind of movie. Knight wins again because of its villains, and the better, more broad plotline.

Matchup:

1) The Dark Knight
3) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Final Matchup
The Dark Knight was given the number one seed in this tournament for a reason. Its 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, 8.9 on IMDB, billion-dollar box office showing, and Oscar win are very hard to argue against. The one movie that is capable to stand a chance against that on this bracket is The Winter Soldier. The second Captain America film has been given much praise for its complex plot and more personal story than the first. Having Bucky Barnes as a villain also creates an internal conflict that few superhero movies have. The final conclusion, however, is that The Dark Knight is just too good for The Winter Soldier. Captain America’s second crusade seems like a story trying to emulate the themes, tone, and plot of The Dark Knight. Batman’s war with The Joker, the mob, and his city itself doesn’t just make for one of the best superhero films, it makes for one of the best films of all time.

The Book is Better… Most of the Time

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By Dante Troina
Staff Writer

The Golden Compass was such a terrible movie, I didn’t bother reading the book. That is the problem often times when a book is turned into a movie. In most situations, movies don’t live up to expectations created by the book. There are many prime examples of books that have been turned into terrible films.
For every book that is made into a great film, such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or The Harry Potter Series, there are just as many that are adapted to screen, and don’t share the same success.
Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief was everyone’s favorite book in my fifth and sixth grade elementary school classes, and I remember going on a field trip to the theatre as a class to go see the first film when it came out. What I remember most however is leaving the theatre and, for the first time, I’d had a terrible experience. The mess of the movie that is The Lightning Thief made me realize that not all great books are as great in movie form.
English Teacher Linnaea Troina believes that the film wasn’t even comparable to the novel.
“I was very excited to take my fifth and sixth grade class to see The Lightning Thief, but after seeing the movie, I didn’t even feel like I had just watched a film based on the book,” said Troina.
Junior Largim Zhuta, who loves watching and analyzing films, thought that The Lightning Thief didn’t capture the world in the same way the book did.
“There’s something about the movie that just doesn’t make you care as much, it doesn’t set up or get you interested in the world.”
There are many other films that pale in comparison to the book.
Junior Sarah Kuharich claimed that Ender’s Game film lacked value in characters.
“When I watched the movie, I was immediately turned off to it, because of the fact that it didn’t have the same characterization that the book did,” Kuharich said.
Some books turn out as better movies, which people mainly seem to think is a direct result of great characterization, but also, it’s a result of movies sticking to the books. Films often get criticized for not developing the characters as well as the books do, and also not capturing what the novel was about.
Junior Luke Reynolds, who wants to be a scriptwriter in the future, gave many examples about books that have been adapted into films very well.
“Obviously there are films such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Harry Potter Series that have done it better than others,” said Reynolds. “But there are more examples, like The Martian and The Wolf of Wall Street that are very great adaptations.”
Zhuta and Reynolds also gave insight on what makes a good film.
“What makes a good book into a great film is likable characters, while having them look and act accurate to what their on page counterparts do.”
Reynolds agreed with Zhuta, then talked about how the setting is important as well.
“Also, what is important is the universe around the characters, because if you don’t care about what is going on around your protagonist, or if it is a dull setting, then you don’t get as invested in the film,” said Reynolds.
Some luxuries that books have is that they don’t have as much time constraints when creating a universe, the author can spend as much time as they need creating a setting and evolving characters. An average length of a film is 146 minutes, which is two hours and twenty-six minutes. That means that the director has to sometimes squeeze up to ten hours worth of story and turn it into a two hour film.
Add that on top of the pressure that a fan base of a good book can generate, and that’s what an average novel-turned-film faces. There are many reasons why some films haven’t been as successful as their on page counterparts.
Taking all of this into account, it is a difficult task to turn a novel into a film, and not all novels are meant to be turned into great movies.