Peak Crosser is set in a magical, fantastical world, but the story isn't about magic, politics or intrigue. The story is really an exploration of deep, human relationshipsRead More
From now until Dec. 6, you can participate in the launch of my novel PEAK CROSSER (EMPIRE OF THE PEAKS BOOK 1) by going to my crowdfunding page on Rocket Hub. Support me and get the book before everyone else.
5. Iron Man (2008)
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 93, Fans 94
Adjusted global gross: $648 million
Summary: Iron Man is possibly the greatest origin story on this list. They quickly set up the arrogant, greedy Tony Stark, and then show you the transformation. Not only did this usher in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (sorry The Incredible Hulk), it also restarted the career of Robert Downey, Jr. This movie is nearly flawless, avoiding some of the classic superhero movie tropes, including the double origin story with hero and villain. This is a movie about Tony Stark, a character exploration wrapped in an action movie wrapper.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 94, Fans 91
Adjusted global gross: $720 million
Summary: Earlier this year, I ranked all the MCU movies and put this second to "Age of Ultron." I think I was wrong. After watching both again, I think this is the better movie. (Actually, my initial list was flawed, and I've corrected some of that in here.) One of the best things about this movie are the villains: the smooth Alexander Pierce and the cold Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier. The best part of this movie is the interplay between Cap and Black Widow. Her amoral view is the perfect counterpoint to Cap's old school morality. And like many great movies, the ending is not some glorious victory, but a messy win.
3. Batman Begins (2005)
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 85, Fans 94
Adjusted global gross: $456 million
Summary: I believe I'm in the minority about which of Christopher Nolan's Batman films is the best. Critics might place this movie third, and fans second. But I love how tight this movie is, a simple story, great character development, and tremendous action. I even think Katie Holmes does a good job. Nolan did something I thought nearly impossible when this movie came out in 2004: he retold an often retold origin story and made it fresh. Is Heath Ledger's Joker a better villain than Liam Neeson's Ra's Al Ghul? Yes, but Neeson does an excellent job.
2. The Avengers (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 92, Fans 91
Adjusted global gross: $1,578 million
Summary: After recently re-watching this movie, I was blown away by how tight the story is. The dialogue is expertly written and delivered, perfect casting married with great storytelling. Yes, the movie builds on character development of prior movies, but it also stands on its own. The movie delivered on everything I want from a superhero movie: awesome action, interesting characters, witty banter, an excellent villain, and high stakes. Joss Whedon also kept all the characters relevant despite their varying power sets.This movie holds up, and I believe will be the standard upon which live-action superhero movies will be measured by artistically and financially.
1. The Incredibles (2004)
Rotten Tomatoes: Critics 97, Fans 74
Adjusted global gross: $796 million
Summary: As I was researching this post, I was floored by the fan rating of "The Incredibles" on Rotten Tomatoes: 74. What? That's lower than "Man of Steel" or "The Amazing Spider-Man". Do fans really believe this is just an ok movie? Crazy. This film is flawless. Brad Bird created a fun, retro, Golden Age superhero world with rich characters fueled by an intriguing family dynamic. Not only is this film the best superhero movie ever, but it's an all-time great movie and one my Pixar's greatest achievements.
I'm not entirely sure what's wrong with geekdom. Have we always been this skeptical? Have we always ripped down everything we love out of some strange need to justify our fandom?
I watched the new trailer, and I got goosebumps. I get it; some folks still feel burnt by Episode I. But I don't, and I will go to this new Star Wars movie on Dec. 17 (I've already got tickets!!!) with hope and anticipation, like a kid, because after all, isn't that the whole point? Isn't what what consuming media like this all about?
So here are the three things which got me stoked about this new trailer.
1. Character-driven story
As much as a trailer really can show this, this appears to be very character driven. In the original trilogy, the story revolved around four characters: Luke, Leia, Han and Darth Vader. This movie seems to revolve around Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren. And of course, we get to see the old crew too. The original trilogy worked because we loved the characters, and where the prequels fail, it's often around under-developed or unlikeable characters.
2. It's going to be something new
Repeat this phrase ten times: WE'RE GETTING ANOTHER STAR WARS MOVIE!!! I know many diehards were disappointed about Disney's decision to throw aside all of the novels, comics and games which filled a vibrant Star Wars universe after Return of the Jedi. Though I consumed almost the entire extended universe, they made the right decision to ditch it. The EU had become so bogged down with history that doing a new trilogy based on that universe would have been like walking through mud. I still love the best stories of the EU, but we needed something fresh, something new.
3. Awesome bad guys
Iconic villains define the Star Wars universe, bad guys like Darth Sidious/Palpatine, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Jango Fett, Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Boba Fett. Kylo Ren looks pretty badass, and so does Captain Phasma. As important as it is to make us care about the protagonists, we also need to feel something tangible about the villains. The new villains seem to deliver the right notes.
As you might be able to tell, this trailer got me excited. I've watched it a bunch, shared it with my daughters, and talked about it with family and friends. If you're a Star Wars fan, get excited, feel like a kid again, walk in with hope. Will the movie be great? I have no idea, but the trailer hinted at enough goodness to fuel a lot of hope.
For almost every piece of writing advice you might read, I can probably find a counterpoint, either in other pithy quotes or through examples of great works which seem to hold the conventional wisdom in contempt.Read More
Now that Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is nearly at it’s end with Ant-Man, and with Avengers: Age of Ultron clearing $1.3 billion worldwide, I thought I’d rank the 11 MCU movies so far and tell you why I love (almost) all 11 of these movies.Read More
I recently read an excellent piece by Mary Robinette Kowal entitled: "The Cost of Breaking the Rules." She writes about a transformative experience she had when she attended Orson Scott Card's boot camp. I had a similar experience learning from Mary last year.Read More