Iron Man – Photo credit: Marvel Entertainment

‘Iron Man’ – the MCU begins on Disney+

Iron Man (2008) is a superhero in both the mythic mode and the modern world, the hero felled by his own arrogance and revived with an Achilles heel. Behind the mask of the heavy-metal superhero is a playboy gazillionaire and armaments mogul with a bad heart and a high-tech pacemaker that powers not just his […]

‘X-Men: First Class’ on HBO Max and HBO Now

X-Men: First Class (2011) is both a reboot and a prequel to the big screen comic book series about a team of mutant superheroes with new, younger models of the series elders Charles “Professor X” Xavier (James McAvoy as a flirtatious, precocious incarnation of Patrick Stewart’s more professorial figure) and Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender, […]

‘The Incredibles’ – super-powered family dynamics on Disney+

Brad Bird works with the computer animation pros at Pixar for the first (but not the last) time in The Incredibles (2004), which drops cartoonishly exaggerated super-heroics into the typical (by all outside appearances) suburban nuclear family, creating a super-powered dynamo of dysfunction and frustration in hiding (they’re in witness protection from years of personal […]

Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman

‘Wonder Woman’ on HBO Max

Wonder Woman (2017) is, if you’ll pardon such an obvious comment, a wonder of a superhero movie, a film that doesn’t transcend the genre but most certainly sets a high bar, especially next to the ponderous, humorless films of the new big screen universe of interconnected DC Comics heroes. Gal Gadot debuted as Amazon princess […]

Heath Ledger is The Joker in the Christopher Nolan Batman sequel starring Christian Bale

‘The Dark Knight’ vs. The Joker on Hulu

Superhero films became increasingly sophisticated and decidedly darker as they become (for better or worse) a full-fledged genre in the 2000s. With Batman Begins, writer/director Christopher Nolan (drawing inspiration from the revisionist Batman comic books by Frank Miller and Jeph Loeb) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back […]

Christian Bale is Batman in Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins'

‘Batman Begins’ – Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight on Hulu

One of the defining films in the elevation of comic book movies to adult fare, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005) rebooted the Batman mythos for the big screen, bringing the often lighthearted hero back to the shadows, both figuratively and literally. It’s quite a leap from the previous Batman revival launched by Tim Burton’s 1989 […]

Tobey Maguire stars on Sam Raimi's big screen superhero movie

Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ – The original big screen webslinger on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Superhero movies have been a big screen staple ever since Superman first flew through his first animated adventure in 1940. But for all the glory of Richard Donner’s majestic 1978 Superman and the kooky dark weirdness of Tim Burton’s Batman films, it took comic book fan-turned-fan-boy director Sam Raimi to capture the graphic thrills and […]

What to stream: more ‘Altered Carbon’ and ‘I Am Not Okay with This’ on Netflix, ‘Frozen II’ and ‘Knives Out’ on VOD

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …   A new cast is in place for the second season of the Netflix Original Series “Altered Carbon” (2020, TV-MA), a science fiction thriller based on the novels of Richard K. Morgan, set in […]

What to stream: ‘Spider-Man’ on VOD, ‘Amazing Grace’ on Hulu, ‘High Life’ on Amazon, ‘Raising Dion’ on Netflix

Here’s what’s new and ready to stream now on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, video-on-demand, and other streaming services …  The weekly column is featured in The Seattle Times, The Oregonian, The Spokesman-Review, and other newspapers. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019, PG) sends the web-slinging teenage superhero (played by Tom Holland) to Europe, where […]