Categories
Comics Movies

Rest in Peace, Stan Lee

I think most of us know that Stan Lee’s legacy at Marvel for comics is fraught.  Who truly created what, who deserves credit.  That’s covered elsewhere, like the obituary/profile linked above.  I’d like to talk about Stan’s place in my life, as a budding geek who wasn’t sure of his place in the world.

Millenials, for the most part, only know Stan Lee as the kindly Grandpa who pops up in the movies to chew a bit of scenery.  For those of us around in the early 80s through the 90s, Stan was EVERYWHERE that Marvel characters were.  Stan Lee moved to California to hustle them into TV and movies, and he gave it his whole heart.  Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends?  Stan Lee opened every episode.  The Incredible Hulk?  He’s there too.  Every entertainment TV show, late night, daytime, game show, he was always putting Marvel out there.  The consummate showman.

Stan Lee always wore his heart on his sleeve, and his enthusiasm for comics as an art form was infectious.  You knew he was selling you, but he was so darn earnest about it you couldn’t help but grin along.  It helped that he seemed like a genuine good person, trying his best to push, in his own way, for civil rights and equality.  The world would be better than it is now if more people had gotten his message.  Excelsior, Stan.

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Comics Review

Captain America’s “Hail Hydra” Is Not A Stunt But A Story

You may have heard a little something about the recent Steve Rogers: Captain America #1.  I’m assuming if you are reading this you aren’t worried about spoilers, by the way.  So yeah, Cap was hailing HYDRA.  As soon as I saw the panel, I (unlike a lot of people, apparently) thought back to what Steve just went through – getting zapped back to youth by a weird sentient cosmic cube (made from shards of who knows which cubes), the Red Skull and Sin both involved.  Plenty of reason to be suspicious and curious about it – Evan Narcisse at io9 has collected some of the internet evidence for what might be happening, it’s close to what I was thinking.

But I’m not really writing about that, but the perplexing outcry over this being a ‘publicity stunt’.  Uh, yeah?  Ideally, don’t you publicize everything?  There are previews, solicits, interviews, teaser images but the best publicity is the kind we see here, that organically grows because a bit of media gets your attention and you just HAVE to talk about it.  The last page shocker to pull you in for the rest of the storyline is a classic of comics especially.  Why is it a ‘publicity stunt’ this time, just because you don’t like it?

“It’ll be undone in a few months!”  Yeah, again, comics.  There’s only so much that ever changes in the ongoing comics universes, and even when things DO change, they’ll only stay that way until someone comes up with a story to tell that requires it to go back the way it was.  Logan is still dead because Marvel has stories to tell with Laura Kinney and Old Man Logan, but if someone had a story they just HAD to get out there that required the original Wolverine back, he’d be here.  Bucky stayed dead, but as soon as a writer came up with a kick-ass storyline to bring him back, here he is.  These are ‘publicity stunts’ that have led us to great storytelling.  How can you know what’s coming after chapter 1 of 5 or 6?  It’s Cap’s 75th anniversary year, I’m sure Marvel wouldn’t let Nick Spencer drop this if there wasn’t some huge payoff.  Maybe you still won’t like it, but I’m all for some patience and perspective.

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Movies Review

Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War

note:  some spoilers

There’s a huge reason Captain America: Civil War works and Batman v Superman doesn’t, and that’s emotional investment.  I know Zack Snyder and DC/WB wanted to do thing their own way and not ape Marvel’s so far successful approach, but when you are rebooting two legendary characters and making significant changes, you need to get the fans used to these new versions.  We KNOW Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.  We’ve seen them overcome numerous obstacles, both separately and together.  They’ve fallen on hard times, been betrayed, beaten, come back stronger.  Mistakes were made, characters have evolved, things have changed.  It’s why we can believe Captain America, the guy who wears flag colors and beat the snot out of Nazis and HYDRA for his country, would now decide “the safest hands are still our own”.  Why we can believe Tony Stark, the rebel genius whose not a team player, admonished for his ‘ready-fire-aim’ mentality, would toe the line this time after never even looking for the line before.  Cap, since being unfrozen, was lied to by Fury, found out SHIELD was infiltrated by his greatest enemy, and then had to bail Tony’s ass out after one of his creations came within a hair’s breadth of destroying the Earth.  Tony for his part, finally has to come to grips with the fact that his first impulse may not always be his best.  And this time, it wasn’t just his own life getting torn to shreds, but the entire planet.

Batman V Superman just didn’t have that weight behind it.  WB wanted us to care about them fighting, and spent a lot of words during the movie hyping it up, and trying to tell us how important it was, but during Civil War?  Didn’t need a word of it.  I felt every punch in that final battle especially.  Tony, GUTTED by the horrific video of the Winter Soldier killing his parents, feeling the sting of their death again, the betrayal that Steve knew about it (remember in CA:TWS it was shown by Zola), lashes out.  The battle, which had so far been over an idea, becomes brutally personal.  I was enjoying the movie to that point, but at that point?  Riveted.

She's got her own fan art already! @marcusthevisual
She’s got her own fan art already! @marcusthevisual

Shifting gears a bit, it’s kind of amazing that I can be this far in and only now discussing everything else that happened in the movie.  We meet Spider-Man!  And it’s a poor, nerdy kid whose quippy yet awkward.  Tom Holland nails it.  BLACK PANTHER, I mean, come on.  His moves are unreal, he dismantles Bucky, but even in the midst of righteous anger over the death of his father, T’Challa can step back from his vengeance to serve justice.  What an example for the two sides fighting, eh?  The Russos made Florence Kasumba’s “Security Chief” (gotta be one of the Dora Milaje) more interesting in one scene with one line than BvS did for 90% of the characters in it.

If you are concerned this sounds too heavy, well, it’s got more weight than a lot of Marvel movies, but rest assured, it brings the funny.  Many of the best lines aren’t in the trailers, including the scene with Falcon and Bucky in the car, or Falcon fighting Spider-Man.  Or Ant-Man and the truck.  Even crazier, there was a character building moment or two for everybody.  OH, and much has already been said about the Vision and his dapper look – his relaxed home attire always slays me in his current comic, and I’m glad to see it here, but it’s his interactions with Wanda that are most interesting.  He isn’t yet to “even an android can cry” territory yet, but the groundwork is there.

Zemo, technically the villain since he really sets in motion the acts that get Avengers fighting Avengers, fares better than some of the recent Marvel villains.  Quite different from the comics but built with real, complex motivations.

As for flaws, I think the movie wasn’t as well paced out as The Winter Soldier.  Considering the sheer amount of content, that’s understandable.  With that, Captain America: Civil War can’t quite dethrone Iron Man and The Winter Soldier as my go-to Marvel movies, but it gets massive, Giant-Man sized points for being to pull off as many heroes and storylines as it did.

Categories
Comics Movies TV

Stop making Batman v Superman about Marvel versus DC

If there’s a thing in comics fandom I hate right now it’s this adversarial tone a lot of the chatter takes on nowadays.  A spirited debate is fun, no doubt, but this isn’t that, it’s just angry people shouting at each other.  It’s there in sports now, video games, even politics.  There are certain groups who cling desperately to their ‘thing’, and that other ‘thing’?  You’re the most vile piece of trash not fit for life for liking it!  UGH.  And some of the media outlets support this sort of binary thinking – they encourage it, basking in the clicks and not caring that they make discourse demonstrably worse.  Take this article in the NY Post that made the rounds yesterday, provocatively titled ‘Batman v Superman’ is too smart for Marvel fans.  In it, Kyle “Women are not capable of understanding Goodfellas” Smith posits that Marvel fans’ intelligence levels are low:

This dimension lends the film a gravity and level of interest that places it at the opposite end of the spectrum from such sophomoric Marvel movies as “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Deadpool.” All three feature brainless, low-stakes action that’s as interesting as watching a waiter fall down the stairs while carrying a tray of dishes;

While I love a good pratfall (Pratt-fall?) as much as the next guy, you’ll notice he singles out a couple of things from the Marvel canon, as if only Guardians and AoU represent the MCU.  As I read that, I pictured Mr. Smith as Anton Ego in Ratatouille, sitting in his coffin-shaped room, ready to eviscerate Marvel for releasing a movie that has the audacity to be ‘fun’.  Where is The Winter Soldier on his ‘spectrum’?  TWS may be the perfect comic book movie in that it isn’t really a comic book movie.  It’s a spy thriller that just happens to star Cap, Natasha and Nick Fury.  The first Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Jessica Jones, Daredevil…none of those represent Marvel, because it doesn’t fit Smith’s ‘us versus them’ narrative.

Ratatouille coffin

We need to stop letting the media gleefully hammer on the wedges that are splitting us apart.  There’s no reason we can’t like BOTH The Avengers and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  But even if you don’t like a thing, it doesn’t make the people who DO like it stupid.  Let’s be better than that.  Comic book fans were marginalized, looked down upon for so long, now that we are finally getting our day in the pop culture spotlight we shouldn’t turn on each other, we should be celebrating.  DC fans, you are FINALLY getting your Justice League movie!  Marvel fans, you get the freaking Infinity Gauntlet!  Don’t stomp on something just because it’s too dark/gritty/goofy/noisy or whatever.  We can be better than this.  Build, don’t tear down.

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Android Games Review

Mobile Game Review – Marvel’s Avengers Academy

Marvel’s latest mobile game is Avengers Academy, which is one of those thing where they reimagine existing characters (hero and villain) as teenagers.  It works well here, as it seems like there’s some time travel-type shenanigans hinted at as far as the story goes.  It’s by TinyCo, and if you’ve played one of their other games, you’ll get the gist here right away.  Build buildings, recruit new characters, level up, all overlaid with an interface replete with ways to pay to hurry up your progress.

1-Screenshot_20160216-191311

What makes the game work (mostly) for me is the art and voices.  As you upgrade the heroes (and uncover the truth of what’s happening), they begin to look more like their comic book counterparts, and the animations and designs are sharp.  It’s fun watching a giant Hank Pym hop up and sit on his lab, or Wasp and Falcon zipping around the quad.

3-Screenshot_20160209-123035

As far as paying for things goes, the key is to treat it like a game you pick up and play a few minutes at a time, and not rushing through.  Some actions take hours, but I just pop in every once in a while and collect everything and start new actions and it progresses (albeit slowly).  Will I stick with it long term?  We’ll see, but it’s a fun diversion for now.

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Comics

Should I Read It? – Marvel’s Civil War

This is the first in a recurring series where I look at an older set of comics (either an event or a series) and decide whether it’s worth tracking down.

Mentioning the Civil War comics among comics fans is sure to elicit a strong response – usually negative.  Having heard of that for years, when I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to Marvel Unlimited, I knew that Civil War would be on the list of stuff I wanted to read and judge for myself.  Doubly so once the next Captain America movie was announced as a loose adaptation of the storyline.

The gist of the story, if you are unaware, has anti-superhero sentiments coming to a head after the New Warriors (a group of teenaged heroes with a reality TV show) attempt to apprehend a group of supervillains, including Nitro.  As you might guess Nitro’s power is that he can explode, and he does, killing over 600 people including 60 kids at a nearby elementary school.  The American government quickly passes the Superhuman Registration Act, with the full support of Tony Stark and Reed Richards.  Stark believes that costumed heroes should register their identities with the government in exchange for training and support.  Captain America opposes this, as there are numerous heroes that have families whose safety would be threatened if their names get out.

The biggest issue I had was, in order to get clear battle lines drawn, Mark Millar and company had to skew the personalities of the main characters wildly from the previous status quo.  Iron Man was my favorite hero growing up, and I’ve probably read more issues of his books than any hero.  While Tony certainly had a tendency to think he was right about things and go all “ready fire aim” it really felt like just about every issue had SOMETHING that I felt just wouldn’t be done by Iron Man.  There’s the greater good, and there’s working with the Kingpin.  Stuff like that.  Cap, too, had been an interesting, complex man in Ed Brubaker’s Captain America comics of the time.  He’d moved past the whole ‘man out of time’ thing, fully informed as to the intricacies and nuance of the modern age.

The other side of things is the art.  Now, some of the tie-ins are okay, but many of the books are emblematic of the late 90s/early 2000s art that was dark and grimy without fail.  Did none of the rooms have any lights?  Was the sun constantly red?  It’s like every bit of outdoor action happened at dusk after a dust storm.

At the end of the day, Civil War should not be a reading priority.  If you have Marvel Unlimited and nothing else jumps out at you, go for it, but no need to try much harder than that.  Especially since only the barest bones of the story will be in the moving coming out this summer.

Categories
Comics Life

The “For Boys” Problem

MattieCapSweatshirt
My girls!

This is my daughter, Mattie (and the back of my other daughter, Eva).  The girls have taken on my love of comics, mostly due to the show Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  M is wearing her new Captain America hoodie which may be her new favorite possession.  Upon seeing it in the store, Eva squealed “Daddy, do they have a THOR ONE???” but a quick check of the racks showed that they did not.  Hey, his last movie came out a while back.  So I did a search for ‘Thor hooded sweatshirt’, and the first link went to the Disney store.  As soon as the link loaded though, I rolled my eyes.  “Thor Costume Hoodie for Boys” it says.  The thing is, for a kid that is under say, 10, hoodies are all pretty much the same.  I had no problem buying that out of the ‘boys’ section, but a lot of people would avoid that.  Online, it shouldn’t even BE a problem.  Just tag it for both and drop the “for boys” out of the name.

It didn’t get any better when I scrolled to the bottom of the page.  Six more related items, all hoodies for Marvel heroes (and R2D2), all “for boys”.  The Thor character page for girls is desolate, with a Mr. Potato Head toy, a set of figurines, and Disney Infinity 2.0.  Last I checked, glasses, wall clings and books work the same for either gender.

BoysHoodies

I find the lack of Thor stuff for girls particularly funny right now, as Thor in the comics is going to BE a woman in just a few weeks.  Cosplayers of both genders have been dressing as Thor forever.  Women and girls go to comic book movies, they work in comic book stores, they read comics.  Why don’t the companies making this stuff get that?  There are sources for stuff at some of the more niche sites on the web, but most folks aren’t going to WeLoveFine or SuperheroStuff.  The girls who want to wear this now are the ones who will pick up a Spider-Man comic on a whim when they get to be teens, and will be filling Tumblr (or whatever fills that role in 10 years) with GIFs of whoever the next Hugh Jackman, Chris Evans or ScarJo is.

I hope this gets better.  DC and Marvel both have some really great books starring female heroes they could get more gear out there for, but sometimes your daughter just ends up loving Captain America, despite how many times you read Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel around them.  Let’s support it, okay?

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Movies Review

Movie Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I’ve been a Marvel guy since I first read my brother’s few remaining comics (the ones my Mom hadn’t tossed, that old story), but Captain America never appealed to me.  The costume seemed like a bit much, and he just didn’t seem to be as much fun as Iron Man or Spidey, and didn’t have the way-out nutso stuff that was happening in the pages of the Silver Surfer.  I’ve come to enjoy Cap as an adult, devouring Ed Brubaker’s run on the Captain America book, including the story adapted loosely in the latest movie, The Winter Soldier.  There will be spoilers from here on out, so for those of you not continuing on, I loved this movie a TON.

WinterSoldierFinishedThe movie starts with a ‘Meet Bro’ scene between Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson, an Iraq vet.  They bond over stories of too-soft beds and lost friends.  Cap gets called away on a mission, where Batroc the Leaper (ze LEAPER!) has taken a SHIELD ship used as a satellite launch platform.  It’s a great action scene, I absolutely loved how acrobatic yet powerful Cap was.  GSP could actually do some ‘leaping’ and actually got a few shots in on our hero.  But why was the ship out there?  Why was Agent Sitwell on it?  And what intel was the Black Widow taking from it?  Cap has those questions, and Nick Fury isn’t answering.  He has trust issues, moreso after he can’t decrypt the data stolen, despite it apparently being locked down…by him.  He heads out to meet Maria Hill, but is ambushed by assassins on the way.  His car gets blown up by the Winter Soldier, but he escapes.  Fury goes to Steve’s apartment, broken and bleeding, and gives him the flash drive with the encrypted data.  He gets shot by a sniper – the Winter Soldier! – and Steve takes off after him, with Agent 13 being revealed as Steve’s neighbor.  The Winter Soldier escapes, after the shield-slinging scene all over the trailers.  Fury is taken to the hospital, where he succumbs to his injuries. (right)

SHIELD exec Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) asks Steve about why Fury was in his apartment, and what he told him.  When he declines, he has his strike team attempt to capture Rogers – which goes as well as you’d expect.  That’s the elevator fight.  Cap meets up with Natasha and they go to a location they found when trying to decrypt the flash drive – Camp Lehigh, where Rogers was training when he became Captain America.  There is a hidden SHIELD base hidden under it now, and within it, old computers.  It’s all very strange until they fire up and you see…Dr. Zola!  He, along with other German scientists, were enlisted to help SHIELD after the war was over (much like what happened in real life), but Zola was secretly still working against them from the inside, placing agents loyal to HYDRA in key places.  When he knew he was going to die, he had his consciousness transferred to a computer to live on.  No crazy robot body, but they may have wanted to avoid that with Ultron being the next Avengers villain.  SHIELD (the bad ones) try to blow up the bunker with a missile but Steve and Nat survive.

Not knowing who else to trust, they head to Sam Wilson’s house, and he wants to help Cap figure out what’s going on.  After grabbing Sam’s Falcon wings, they find Jasper Sitwell, and he spills it after getting thrown off the roof – Zola created a program to sift all of your personal data to determine if you are going to be a threat to HYDRA’s version of order, and will use satellite guided munitions from three new heavily armed helicarriers to blast potential troublemakers (like Tony Stark and Dr, Strange) to bits.  It’s a terrifying vision of the future.  They head out to the Triskellion (SHIELD HQ) but are taken out by the Winter Soldier on the way.  Cap and the Winter Soldier fight, and Steve is horrified when he knocks the Winter Soldier’s mask off…and sees Bucky’s face.  Buck doesn’t recognize him, and they are captured by HYDRA/SHIELD.

But Maria Hill to the rescue!  She’s disguised as one of the SHIELD agents that puts them in a truck, and they slip out when it stops.  They head to another secret hideout, and discover NICK FURY IS ALIVE??? and planning how to stop Pierce’s plan.  They namecheck Bruce Banner as having developed a drug to try and slow his metabolism down as what Fury used, which was a neat reference.  The team has to hit each of the three helicarriers and swap in a device that will decouple them from the satellites (which are targeting hundreds of thousands of people on the ground).  Two carriers get switched, but on the third is the Winter Soldier.  Steve tries to refresh his memory, but it seems to be for naught.  Meanwhile, Natasha snuck in to SHIELD HQ disguised as a member of the Security Council, and they put all of SHIELD/HYDRA’s secrets online.  There’s a struggle, and Fury shoots Pierce, who gets out a final ‘Hail HYDRA’ before dying.  A badly hurt Captain America gets the third helicarrier under their control, and Hill uses the weapons on each one to blast the others out of the sky.  He falls into the Potomac…but Bucky drags him out before leaving.

There’s more, but seriously, that should be enough to get you off the couch.  I loved everything about the movie.  The fight scenes were dynamic, with great use of the shield by Cap.  Natasha’s gadgets come into play, and Anthony Mackie is just so darn likable as the Falcon that I want to see him in every movie Captain America is in.  I wish more could’ve been done with Agent 13, but something probably had to be kept out to keep it under 2.5 hours.  Robert Redford was a bit understated as Pierce, but it kind of worked – he was Fury’s nemesis at the end, not Steve’s.  The Zola reveal was fantastic.  Sebastian Stan was suitably frightening as the Winter Soldier, and looked great.  The final post-credits scene shows Barnes checking out his exhibit at the Smithsonian, remembering, perhaps, something of his past life.

There’s a lot of serious stuff to think on here – even though the Russos stated the NSA scandal wasn’t blowing up until after production had started, this movie says a lot about freedom versus privacy.  HYDRA was playing a slow game, sowing chaos in the world, so that when they came to ‘secure’ the world, no one would stand up to them.  It’s pretty chilling.  There are a lot of Easter eggs for movie and comics fans, such as Garry Shandling’s senator reappearing, and Dr. Strange getting mentioned again.  We meet Baron von Strucker mid-credits, along with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.  They have Loki’s scepter, so you know nothing good is coming (though what that’s going to have to do with Ultron will be interesting to see).  I’m dying to see the rest of Agents of SHIELD now – are any of our team the HYDRA plants?  Will Fury contact them?  It makes sense now why they were set loose to operate more or less on their own.  The movie worked well on so many levels.  Just a blast, and I’m going to have to find my way to it again.

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Featured Movies

The Top 10 Superhero Movies Of All Time

I got to thinking about this thanks to a forum post at one of the sites I frequent.  Someone said there hadn’t BEEN ten good ones, which just seemed silly, so I quickly banged out my list.  But there are so many more movies, I know you guys will differ!  So I present to you, the poll for your top 10 Superhero movies:

Top 10 Superhero Movies Of All Time

  • The Dark Knight (18%, 12 Votes)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (15%, 10 Votes)
  • The Avengers (14%, 9 Votes)
  • X-Men: First Class (6%, 4 Votes)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man (6%, 4 Votes)
  • The Incredibles (5%, 3 Votes)
  • Iron Man (5%, 3 Votes)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (5%, 3 Votes)
  • Batman Begins (3%, 2 Votes)
  • X-Men (3%, 2 Votes)
  • X2: X-Men United (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Iron Man 2 (3%, 2 Votes)
  • The Crow (3%, 2 Votes)
  • Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Hellboy (2%, 1 Votes)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Batman (Burton) (2%, 1 Votes)
  • The Watchmen (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Kick-Ass (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Superman (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Mystery Men (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Judge Dredd (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jonah Hex (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Blade 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Spider-Man (Raimi) (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Batman Returns (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Spawn (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Spider-Man 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Hancock (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Blade (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Fantastic Four (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Blade: Trinity (0%, 0 Votes)
  • The Incredible Hulk (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Thor (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Superman Returns (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Green Lantern (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Superman 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Spider-Man 3 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • The Spirit (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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A few notes…this is semi-complete as I left off some of the lesser-known options (and of course ones I didn’t think of).  If you are missing a top choice, let me know and I can add it, but I think I’ve got the ones that will be on most of your lists.  The choices aren’t ranked in the poll, just put your 10 best (use the comments if you want to post a ranking) and I’ll see which moves get the most votes.

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Featured Movies Review

Movie Review – The Avengers

Be warned:  Spoilers, I have them.

I’ve been struggling with how to approach reviewing The Avengers.  I mean, I’m a comic guy from way back, but not an obsessive one.  Iron Man is one of my favorites, and I’m not sure I can be entirely impartial.  Had I stayed up last night (got home at 1:30am) and wrote this, my post would be peppered with ‘FUCK YEAH AVENGERS WOOOOO’ and stuff like that.  By this time, you’ve read a bunch of other reviews and know pretty much what you are getting – but I have to write something!  I thought Joss and the rest handled so many egos perfectly.  Just about everybody had a great line or three that left people guffawing.  As anyone that’s watched Firefly knows, Joss has excellent comic timing, and a way with having the unexpected happen that only amps it up.  This is funnier than you are expecting, yes, even if you like the jokes in the trailers.  There’s a few spots of real emotion, though they were kept a bit to the sideline so that the movie would keep moving (one particular scene with Agent Carter and Steve Rogers was cut as it ‘brought the movie to a halt’).

Favorite bits:

  • Stark referencing “life model decoys” from the comics
  • Captain America’s “There’s only one God, ma’am…” line
  • “Puny God” and the absolute ass-kicking Loki received just before it
  • Rogers/Cap paying up the $10 (total Joss move right there)
  • “Hulk…smash”  *grin*
  • “He’s adopted”
  • Banner on Loki:  “That guy’s brain is a bag full of cats. You can smell crazy on him.”
  • Tony’s speech to Loki at the final battle.  “You’re missing the point. There’s no throne. There is no version of this where you come out on top…”

If there’s one bit that didn’t work, it was Stark with Pepper at the beginning.  Could’ve used som polishing, and possibly Pepper should’ve worn some pants.  Not that I don’t mind the fan-service daisy dukes there, but it distracted from them as a couple.

Minor quibble, though.  I’ll be seeing this again on Wednesday, and probably again once it reaches the second-run theater, or maybe at the drive-in if there’s something good paired with it.  Highly recommended for all except the little ones.

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Featured Movies Review

Movie Review – Captain America: The First Avenger

I went to see Captain America: The First Avenger this weekend, and I have to say, it was a TON of fun.  It comes close, to me, to the first Iron Man as far as quality of the movie.  It does lack some small bit of the emotional impact I felt with Iron Man, but Captain America shades more towards adventure and further away from personal intrigue, which is fine.

 The movie centers around Steve Rogers, a scrawny, asthmatic orphan who nevertheless wants to join the Army and fight for his country.  In his last attempt, he catches the ear of Dr. Abraham Erskine, who recruits Rogers for a secret project led by Tommy Lee Jones’s Col. Phillips to make ‘super-soldiers’.

I won’t go too much deeper into the plot so as not to spoil it if you’ve never read the various Captain America origin stories.  Cap ends up leading the charge against the Red Skull and his Nazi off-shoot organization, Hydra.  It’s worthwhile to see Thor before this, as there are a few references that you will ‘get’ that you may not otherwise.  A friend of mine lamented that Red Skull never seemed to threaten Cap, though I’m not sure about that.  They basically are equals in strength and they do have a solid if somewhat short fight in the endgame of the movie.  I could see how that could be underwhelming, but it worked for me, especially with what occurs after.

All in all, I had a lot of fun watching The First Avenger.  Make sure you stay after the movie, AND after the credits for some more scenes, and a trailer for The Avengers.

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Media

Lanterns, Hornets and Captains of America

Some Twitter discussion sparked by back to back viewing of the Green Lantern and Green Hornet trailers has got me thinking about these movies.  Okay, and other comic book movies forthcoming too.  The question is:  why are fans the way we are?

Think about what happens when the first stills and teasers and trailers appear.  You had one of two reactions.  Regular movie-goers either thought ‘Cool!’ or ‘Lame!’ and moved on.  The rest of us, who grew up with the comics or the shows, immediately started looking for flaws.  They picked HIM?  The color green is ALL WRONG.  That guy can’t act in his native language, why make him speak English?  That uniform is NOTHING like what he wore during <insert favorite story arc> so the choice to use it is STUPID.  They left out <favorite obscure character only you care about>!

The thing is, none of these changes should matter if the movie is good.  I guess the movie industry only has itself to blame, as they set the bar high in the modern era of superhero movies from the start (X-Men, Spider-man).  There’s not much margin for error.  Iron Man was fantastic, but Iron Man 2 probably got more heat than it should’ve, it was still a fun ride.  I liked Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but a few unfortunate choices by the filmmakers is all anybody talked about (Jessica Alba’s hair).  Daredevil is just plain terrible, though, no one denies this.

My point is this:  can’t we just enjoy these movie adaptations for what they are, and not worry over what changed in adapting it?  If the movie is bad, fine, but don’t put two strikes against it because you don’t like this actor, or the stripes on the uniform are off.  Pop in Hellboy, ignore the fact that Liz isn’t supposed to be a love interest for Hellboy, and enjoy.