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Comics Review

Comic Book Review – Secret Wars 2015

Sometimes, the heroes can get a happy ending.

That’s my takeaway after reading Secret Wars #9.  Sure, they saved the multiverse, put things back the way they are supposed to be, but Secret Wars really felt like a love letter to Marvel’s first family.  At the end of all things, we get Reed and Doom fighting, and it’s not even about the stretchy punches and magic as it is the words.

ReedDoom1

Yes, and Doom knows it too.  Admitting this causes Owen Reece to decide to give the power of the Beyonders to Reed, who does what Victor couldn’t – be a creator without being God.  Remake the universe, fix things…and let go.  Reed, Sue and the Future Foundation kids are using Franklin’s ability to create new universes to remake the multiverse.  No more superheroes for now, but scientists and explorers.  Johnny and Ben are still kicking around, of course, but this feels like a fitting end (for now) for Reed and Sue.  They’ve been through so much in the past 10 years or so, I think it’s a good play to keep them sidelined for now until the perfect writer comes along who wants a crack at them.  And if that coincides with Marvel getting the rights back or making a deal for them, well, even better.

ReedFixesThingsAs for the rest of Secret Wars, I really enjoyed it.  Yes, the mainline book ended up a bit overstuffed.  A few too many characters got a look, but it’s easy to forgive as Hickman’s ideas and Ribic’s art worked so well together.  The other books range from so-so to amazingly fun, though I am a sucker for these re-imaginings and alternative takes on heroes, but honestly, just look for the ones you think are interesting and read ’em.  You can safely ignore the ones that don’t matter to you.  But really, Cap and Devil Dinosaur?  Weird-World?

At the end of the day, I feel like Secret Wars (2015) was worthwhile.  The first block of issues have hit Marvel Unlimited if you are a subscriber.  Otherwise, check out the hardcover when it hits.

Categories
Comics Movies

How to Fix the Fantastic Four

FF84_zpsec633de3I finally broke down and watched last year’s Fantastic Four debacle.  It’s terrible, joyless and soulless in a way no movie with “Fantastic” in the title should be, let alone anything with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the DNA.  You can’t blame the actors here – we know every one of them can act.  It’s practically a who’s who of rising young stars and solid character actors for support.  Here’s just a few of the things that stood out to me after one viewing of this cinematic atrocity:

  1. It’s so DRAB.  Do a search for ‘Kirby Fantastic Four’ and take a look at the images that come up.  I’ve added an example to the post.  What do we have?  Vibrant colors, big action.  Where was that in this movie?  Trank’s FF looked like it was filmed in a warehouse almost exclusively with security cameras.
  2. Too much backstory.  Ben had an abusive background?  Nobody liked Reed’s inventions or believed in him?  Why did this stuff need to be added?  The FF’s origin is simple – they steal a ship and get zapped by cosmic rays.  I know they looked at the Ultimate FF for inspiration but even so, we don’t need 40 minutes of dreary “woe is me” bullshit before they get changed.  I felt more of Rocket’s pain after one drunken outburst in Guardians of the Galaxy than I did after all of this.
  3. Doom.  Sweet Christmas, stop fucking associating Doom’s powers with the same accident that gives the Fantastic Four theirs.  I’ll delve into this when I give my fixes later, but having Doom get powers like this takes away one of the big things that makes him unique as a supervillain – the fact that he’s the leader of his own country.  He has resources, and diplomatic immunity.  You dare to capture Doom and throw him in jail?  Be prepared to be swarmed by thousands of Doombots – assuming your prison could even HOLD Doom.
  4. It’s so humorless.  I can’t recall laughing even once.  There may have been things meant to be funny, but the dreary settings and the direction made it seem like you weren’t even supposed to.
  5. Sue.  This has been covered by other writers previously, but come ON, “I made the suits”???  Of COURSE the woman made the clothes.  At least in the previous two attempts Sue had an intellect that was nearly a match for Reed and Victor (even if Jessica Alba couldn’t quite demonstrate it/the writers and directors forgot about it for a whole movie).

Okay, I’m stopping at 5 so I’m not here complaining all night.  Obviously this is a deeply flawed movie even without considering the source material (possibly due to Fox’s interference), but I feel like the Fantastic Four can be done right.  The first thing I’d do is NOT make another movie.  Instead, do a TV show.  I’m not sure what the rights are for that, but I feel like a major problem with the latest movie especially is the filmmakers trying to wedge in all of this world-building and character introductions and backstory, and pushing action and fun to the bottom of the list.  A 9-13 episode season (similar to The Expanse or Legends of Tomorrow, even Daredevil or Jessica Jones) gives you time to get to know everybody, while not forgetting about great action set-pieces and humor.

Still, Fox may not be able to do a show, but there’s still a way to make a movie that can do justice to Marvel’s First Family.

  1. Don’t start with Doom.  I know he’s their most iconic villain.  Heck, he’s Marvel’s best villain at this point, and he just starred in their HUGE comic reboot.  But doing what’s been done before, having him be there and know them and be empowered by the same incident just doesn’t work.  Instead, have him working behind the scenes.  He’s in Latveria, he’s gathering power to himself – which INCLUDES SORCERY – but he hears about the accident that empowers our heroes.  Doom has worked his whole life to build what he has, sacrificed much…and these four just get power thrust on them.  Finding out it’s Reed would just amplify the resentment.  HOWEVER, in that first movie, Doom does nothing but watch.  He should be behind the scenes, biding his time, learning what he can about the Four and formulating plans.  Not quite Thanos, but the idea that he’s just out of sight playing puppetmaster should build tension for the sequels.
  2. Go Cosmic.  So far Marvel’s own Guardians of the Galaxy is the only comic book movie to successfully go into space and get really weird (hi, Green Lantern!).  There’s an opening here, and Fox should take it.  Blastaar, Annihilus and the Negative Zone?  Sure!  Mole Man?  Let’s do it.  Psycho-Man and the microverse?  Hey, that gets us Sue as Malice, there’s some strife for you!  The Skrulls, for crying out loud, there’s a lot of wacky stuff you can put out there.
  3. It’s a family.  I can see this is hard to pull off, but the attempt needs to be made.  It’s husband and wife, brother and sister, the childhood best friend.  It’s a subtly different dynamic than your standard super-team with interchangeable parts and the writing should reflect that.  It’s something that bugs me in the comics currently.  They just love to split the Four apart, but I know eventually they’ll be back.  It’s another thing that can separate the Fantastic Four from other comic book films.
  4. Gadgets!  Reed’s stretchiness may be fun, but his true power is his mind, and the best way to show that is with his inventions.  This latest movie never got past the teleporter thing, but there needs to be more than that.
  5. Galactus.  Not.  One.  Cloud.  The world is ready for the real Hunger That Does Not Cease.

Above all, whoever gets the next crack at the Fantastic Four needs to remember that this is supposed to be FUN.  They EXPLORE the unknown.  They have cool powers.  They fight monsters and forces of cosmic undoing.  And they love each other.  Show me that, and I’ll be a happy fan.

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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.

Categories
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.