I thought Spider-Man Homecoming wasn’t all that great, but at least hear me out on this

Even disregarding superhero burnout, and fanboy wanking, I just couldn’t enjoy Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Read more of this post

Advertisements

#Pick #A #Side–Captain America: Civil War Review

Captain America: Civil War is a thematically confused mess of a movie.

Ok, maybe that was coming off a bit harsh. As many gripes as I had with the movie, the things it did well were enjoyable. Newcomers Spider-Man and Black Panther felt comfortably familiar to the series and were able to be of oddly large amount of use to the movie’s plot. The big superhero fight the title alludes to was stupid yet gratifying to watch (seeing Spider-Man piggyback off War Machine was just one of its many highlights). And on the whole it made me excited for the future of Marvel’s movies rather than anxious over the burnout that you’d expect come thirteen of these movies over the course of 8 years.

That said, there was plenty wrong with Civil War, too.

civil war title
Read more of this post

Spoiler-Free Review: Iron Man 3

Of the Marvel movie universe titles, the Iron Man franchise was clearly one of the more shining achievements of the bunch. Not only did it start off the string of Marvel titles leading up to The Avengers, but it was a smart, fun romp of a movie that was able to establish one of the lesser known comicbook heroes (at that time, at least) and turn him into a household name. That only made things so much more disappointing when its sequel Iron Man 2 ended up being such an uninspired, bland, movie-length commercial for The Avengers movie. Thankfully, the awkward middle-period remains just that, as the third installment in the Iron Man movies returns to its roots, while taking the bits and pieces from 2 that people will admit to liking.

Iron Man 3 movie poster

Getting past the initial shock of everything taking place around Christmas (guess around when this movie was supposed to be released) Iron Man 3 does an excellent job of not only bringing titular character Tony Stark back to the roots of his first movie in hunting down terrorists and bringing ‘em to justice (no quirky bird-obsessed baddies here!), but it also gives enough of a spin on his repertoire of abilities, making fight scenes feel fresh and not Iron Man 2-level boring. The movie baddie this time takes on the form of The Mandarin—a terrorist that takes pleasure in hijacking American broadcasts to spread his hatred of the country. The movie does a fine job of keeping any details on his true identity fuzzy, building up to a twist that while tension-deflating, works as a whole. Action is equally top-notch, with Iron Man having evolved his fighting style after three movies (and a spinoff movie). Rather than brute-forcing his way through fights with his standard repulsor blast, a new spin has been put to use that while somewhat unrealistic in comparison to the goings-on of the first movie, proves quite the spectacle to watch (the list of people under “Visual Effects” during the end credits understandably takes up a full one-and-then-some screens).

Story-wise, the movie takes place a while after the events of The Avengers, with Tony having seen better days, as the trauma brought on by risking his life to fight hordes of aliens has left him feeling far from refreshed. With all the pent up stress, Tony has been spending the majority of his time tinkering away at different iterations of the Iron Man suit, obsessing over wanting to protect those with the power he has been granted. What he fails to realize, however, is that being a hero doesn’t necessarily mean helping the helpless. And in that sense, the movie ends up playing out similarly to Spider-Man 2 (another spectacular Marvel movie). Time and time again throughout the movie, Tony is dropped into situations where he must rely on the help of others when he has become so accustomed to the reverse being true. It’s an incredibly humbling realization for the bold and brash Tony Stark, and serves as a fitting place to end his story movie-wise (though we all know that isn’t true).

As a whole, Iron Man 3 has done more than enough to escape the rut of mediocrity that was Iron Man 2, setting the bar for the second wave of Marvel movies disgustingly high.

Episodic Review: Young Justice 22 & 23… and Ultimate Spider-Man

Blah, blah, blah, Superboy problems. While I do get a kick out of seeing Superboy serve as the team’s equivalent of the Hulk, I’ve never liked him enough to fully enjoy the episodes that focused purely on him. He comes off as being so intentionally flawed just so he can have more deeply rooted daddy issues when being compared with Superman, which just doesn’t make for the most interesting of watches.

… which is why I enjoyed the episodes B-story a million times more. I wasn’t that avid of a viewer when Justice League first aired, so I could be completely off point, but I don’t recall any point in the show that really went over the transition from the League being a small group of hand-picked people to how it stood by the start of Justice League: Unlimited. The joke about the Green Lanterns not wanting a third Lantern on the team, Zatara’s personality poking out of Dr. Fate, the intentionally awkward debate about keeping Captain Marvel… each bit of dialogue was interesting and kept me entertained, which was more than I could say about Superboy’s story. That’s not to say that Superboy’s story was a snore-fest; it’s just that it’s hard to be entertained when the story focuses on a character I personally don’t like all that much. Especially when that character’s into kinky role-playing with a certain shape-shifting alien.

Onwards to episode 23!

Wait… nevermind. Blah, blah, additional episode about a character I don’t care about made even less interesting by fleshing out a plot point I’m tired of. They’re so heavily suggesting that Artemis is the mole that there’s no way it would end up being her. And in the case that it was, we’re already told that she is, which just makes for bad story-telling.

Did kinda enjoy the small bit about her mom being the Huntress, though. I’m assuming she was a different Huntress from the one that’s buddy-buddy with Batman in the comics? Was there more than one character in the DC world that went by that name? Blah, comic continuity confuses.

So yeah, that’s about it for—

OMUHGUHWUDDUHFUUUUU

Izzat… izzat Josh Keaton voicing Black Spider?

Dear haters quoting Wikipedia articles to compare if Black Spider came before Spider-Man or not… regardless of who came first, it’s pretty obvious that in terms of the episode itself, Spider-Man was clearly being referenced. From the mentioning of a reporter, to the exact phrase “web-slinging” used, to using the voice-actor that last voiced Spidey in animated form along with the majority of the cast from that series in bit roles for Young Justice… I know the use of exact dates in the series makes people wonder if the creative team behind YJ was aware that the episodes wouldn’t be playing anywhere near the dates mentioned in the episode, but seeing this ripoff Spidey making a cameo the same weekend that Disney XD premiered Ultimate Spider-Man makes me think otherwise. DC, you trolls.

The feeling is even more-troll-tastic if you actually followed up and checked out Marvel’s latest work the next day.

This series already had a lot going against it. Josh Keaton being replaced by Drake Bell, the goofy asides, Man of Action as one of the major groups behind the show, but most importantly of all, the fact that this show is being followed shortly after the untimely death of the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series. Spectacular was able to fend off all the hate about its animation style and formed what most Spidey fans consider the best Spider-Man cartoon of all time. It was able to take on elements from multiple Spidey comics and successfully mesh them all together into one solid universe. Gwen Stacey was the love interest, Harry Osborn was a fellow nerd with well fleshed out daddy issues, Kong and Flash were a tag-team of sorts as school bullies that didn’t come off as too Saturday morning cartoon… even the special features from season one of the series mentioned that the creative team involved in writing for the series made a point to avoid using as much new characters as possible that weren’t from the comics since they knew that their main focus wasn’t to create something entirely new from the ground-up, but to breathe new life into the stories from the comics that fans identify as being Spider-Man through and through.

… instead, we get this. Don’t get me wrong; I was all for a Spider-Man show with a Teen Titans-esque sense of story-telling that was able to tell serious stories, but was willing to be weird on a regular basis. What we got in its place was an incredibly bland and uninspired take on Peter Parker, whose alter-ego of Spider-Man was even wimpier than Parker himself.

While it’s true that in many iterations of Spidey in comic form, he’s been rather fond of the older superheroes in the Marvel universe and look up to them to some extent, it was very rare that such a point would be repeated to the point that it came off as more of parody than anything else. Even in his earlier years of superhero-ing, Spidey was fully capable of handling issues in his own way, with his own unique and more importantly, intelligent approach to take down his villains. And while he may have made some mistakes in his career as a hero, it was ultimately his intelligence and how he applied it in battle that brought the attention of the SHIELD organization in the Ultimate comics. Rather than focusing on all the good that Spider-Man has been able to contribute, the Ultimate cartoon really brings home the point of Spidey being a rookie with absolutely no experience whatsoever, which becomes even more baffling of a plot point when mentor Fury decides to make Spidey the leader of a group of fellow teenage superheroes. Add to this the most cheeseball of cheeseball of lines (seriously, puns galore) and you have one of the least desirable iterations of Spider-Man I’ve seen.

So with the main protagonist botched character-wise, is there any hope for the supporting cast? Well, actually, there is… or at least was. Mary Jane Watson, as expected by this point, is hinted at being Parker’s love interest. However, a decent job of throwing viewers for a loop was done when Parker mentions that romance was attempted when the two were younger… and it just turned out awkward. As for best friend Harry, he actually does keep to the Ultimate comics’ character of a popular rich kid that acts as something of a bodyguard to Parker at school. In the case of both characters, though, they’re given a good enough establishment, but by the end of the two-episode premier, they end up coming off just as stale as the show itself.

Even the hints of future villains in the form of Norman Osborn and the shadowy (and apparently somewhat shaggy and unkempt) figure of Otto Octavius aren’t enough of a curiosity to keep me watching. The general uninspired-ness of the premier episodes put me in a bad enough mood to indefinitely halt any and all plans I had of keeping up with this series.

Spectacular Spider-Man, please come back and save me from this atrocity of a show. If you could somehow incorporate Josh Keaton’s perfect Spidey voice when you do so, that’d be even better.

“Rehd-ee to keehl some Not-sees?” Captain America: The First Avenger Review

Having not seen the Thor movie, but hearing the disgustingly large amount of praise it received, I assumed the following Captain America movie would be to the Hulk as Thor was to Iron Man—an alright movie that suffered from having followed a better superhero movie before it. Skimming early showing reviews only helped support my theory. Having said all that, though, I love it when all that is proven wrong.

Going into the movie, the extent of my knowledge on the good Captain was that he was a “super soldier” created in an effort to bring World War II to an end, having originally been an average Joe that was too scrawny to even be considered for the army. Based on that, I thought the movie would go the typical route of the hero losing sight of his original morals only to gain them back after having suffered a terrible loss. Thankfully, the movie takes a different direction than expected.


Unlike other superhero films that claim to have your average run-of-the-mill guy transformed into something extraordinary only to have the blender of Hollywood casting ruin the effect by casting someone disgustingly good-looking, Captain America takes a slightly different approach of putting the already buff for the role main actor in a scrawny CG body. The effect has had some mixed reactions, though I personally didn’t find it distracting at all, probably due to the fact that the last time I saw the actor was in the Fantastic Four movie which I’ve by now erased from my mind entirely.

Rather than taking advantage of the one super soldier created, the Captain is treated no different than he was previously; still acting like the noble American that hates bullies more than anything. This sort of theme carries on throughout the movie, the Captain eventually taking on his own ragtag team of abandoned outsiders with good hearts for one mission: taking down Hydra, who apparently puts Nazis to shame. While introduced somewhat late into the movie, the ragtag team of characters is made up of quite the ragtag team of characters, each of them with their own little quirks that you can attach to. And while the Captain is clearly at the forefront of all the action, others do have their moments as well, Cap’s signature shield even being used by someone else on more than one occasion, giving off a sense of synergy between the super-powered and ordinary that I haven’t seen since Spider-Man 2.

Other secondary characters are also surprisingly made use of. Besides the Captain’s Merry Men, you have the tinkerer Howard Stark behind the creation of the Captain’s suit and shield. And while mentions of Stark Enterprises are present, references to Iron Man aren’t made to a disgusting degree and are just enough for people to make the connection between the franchises. Love interest Peggy Carter also has quite the strong role, being more than eye candy, holding her own in a fight, and working well alongside Tommy Lee Jones (playing every other role he’s played), acting as his foil of sorts.

But what really makes the movie is the fact that it takes place in the ‘40s. Aspects of the period are captured perfectly, from streets riddled with kids in suspenders, all cars being the same model, people dressing up to go to the movies, ladies getting away with overly red lipstick… it just screams of the different culture at the time, and I love it. On top of that, with all the hype about the following Avengers movie, you’re hard-pressed to find a fan that isn’t aware of the fact that ol’ Cap is frozen, being later found in the present time to eventually buddy up with a certain awesome eye-patched black guy. The 70 year gap leads to a number of possibilities for the plot, and makes the likelihood for the bad guys succeeding being that much more believable.

With Captain America: The First Avenger as the final movie to set up The Avengers movie, there exists some pressure to have it succeed and set the tone for what’s to come. Thankfully, Cap not only whets our appetite for Marvel’s next big movie, but stands well on its own as an interesting take of what a superhero in the good ol’ days would result in.

The Life and Times of Charles Xavier (or The Rise and Fall of Erik Lehnsherr): X-Men First Class Review

Before I even get to talking about the movie itself, lemme say that adaptations of any sort are able to still be just as good as the source material it’s based off of, even in the case that it takes liberties with the characters and their relations with each other. Just look at Batman: started off as a detective in bright blue and grey tights fighting crimes and adaption after adaption has changed the character to the point that his movies have been described as pretentious.

Like it or not, X-Men was one of the first comicbook franchises to hit during the new wave of big budget superhero movies. And regardless of liberties being taken here and there, each movie was at the least able to stand well on its own, taking an interesting spin on the source material. Now, nearly 11 years since the first movie hit the screens in the summer of 2000, X-Men: First Class—the second in line of movie prequels for the series continues to flesh out the movie mythos of some of the older characters, giving more insight between the characters of Erik Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier.


With Erik’s backstory clearly being defined as taking place in the ‘40s in previous movies, not only has a clear time period been set, but so has the fact that in this movie universe, actual events from the real world are acknowledged as well. As such, the movie ends up meshing pieces of history (both in a textbook and pop cultural sense) with the general theme that’s been driving the franchise all this time: mutants. The film starts off with Charles and Erik’s separate stories, allowing viewers to get a good idea of their general upbringing and thus their separate yet similar ideals. As Erik begins to fall further and further into his obsession with revenge, you begin to feel even more for the character, anticipating when he crosses paths with Charles. Their odd-couple dynamic is played off in such a sincere manner that you really get invested in both of their causes, wanting to support both of them since you were literally shown where they were each coming from, but at the same time know that one must overcome the other eventually. The movie’s certainly not a bromance by any stretch of the imagination, but the budding friendship between the two is still clear.

While the other mutants in the film aren’t the same “First Class” as the original lineup from the comics, each still has something to add to the table. Besides the future Magneto and Prof. X, there’s a young Mystique, who as expected has real body image issues due to her mutation. However, regardless (or maybe even because) of it, she has quite the bubbly personality at times, making for an interesting character to interact with the more serious Charles and Erik, to say the least. There’s also something of a relationship between her and a young Beast, who only wishes for mutations to be hidden from public view. Yes, their relationship isn’t “canon,” but it makes sense in the context of the movie. Other additions to what eventually results in the first mutant team are Angel (played by Zoe Kravitz, daughter of Lenny Kravitz and girlfriend of Ben Foster, who played a different Angel in X3), Banshee (played up as a comic relief character, but has his moments in fight scenes, too), Darwin (the one black guy that sadly serves as the role of the one black guy), and Havoc (pointed out by my sister to be Lucas Till from that one Taylor Swift music video). The team works well together and isn’t nearly as angsty as the mutants in the previous movies, this time more anxious to come to the rescue without the fear of any persecution yet, which makes for a fresh take on things.


As for the baddies of the movie, I don’t know exactly what it is, but they each give off something about themselves that screams the old Superman movies from the ‘70s. Maybe it’s the slightly-flashier-than-others outfits, or the fact that they spend their time scheming while in the luxury of a boat or a men’s club, or the fact that they’re clearly not as young as the film’s hero’s, but not old enough to play off the whole “youth vs. geezers” theme… whatever it is, it works well for the movie, which doesn’t come off as trying too hard to tell the viewers just exactly what time period it is.

But like most good prequels, the movie especially works on the level that the viewer’s seen at least some of the previous movies in the franchise. Knowing the fates of most of the characters from the later movies, First Class does a particularly good job of setting everything up, establishing each character at a vulnerable point in their life, for the dramatic fall that concludes everything, either destroying the characters in a literal or mental sense. And once the dust is cleared and the sides are clearly established, you can’t help but be pumped, even fully knowing what direction things go.

As a whole, I’d describe the movie as “fun,” but that’s not to lump it in with other (crappy) movies that I’d describe as such just because the plot itself sucked so hard. On the contrary, X-Men: First Class plays to its strengths without coming off as too preachy or a full-on action movie. I’d say it undid the rep of the prequels caused by X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but I never even bothered seeing that movie after all the hate it got.

Iron Man Anime: Initial Thoughts

East meets West mashup projects are always fun. Though I’m not sure if the same can be said for the Iron Man anime.

Part of a four-part project, Iron Man is the first of four Marvel titles to be adapted into a 12 episode short series by Madhouse animation. Now for the most part, mini-series are fun little bite-sized shows meant to tell a simple yet meaningful story over its short run of episodes. In the case with the Marvel anime project, however, it seems like even that much will come off as quite the hurdle. Since the project’s announcement two years ago, it was clear that fans would be split in opinion, some all for the jump to anime adaptations, while others preferring such liberties with some characters not be taken at all. With the four announced series to be Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men, and Blade, the field was set, viewers waiting to see just how well the project would start.

Enter the Iron Man anime. Let me just start by saying that I’ve never been the biggest of Iron Man fans. Growing up while Marvel’s ‘90s animated adaptations of their bigger titles were airing, Iron Man seemed the most distant of characters to me, having practically nothing of interest to my five year old self. He was some kind of businessman, who according to any and all pop culture at the time automatically made him a douche character that I didn’t want any part in. Still, I guess it’s better than changing him to some kind of teenage rich-kid in an attempt to appeal to the kiddies in a Nicktoons show 14 years following its original animated series.

I don't think anyone was ready for this.

Back to the anime at hand, protagonist Tony Stark’s made it to Japan with some kind of “go green” project that viewers were probably only half-listening to in anticipation for a fight scene. Still being known for a company that specialized in weaponry, however, it seems like all of Japan is a bit skeptical about Stark, believing he has some kind of ulterior motives. Though as much such was said, you’d find it rather hard to believe considering how well he wins over a crowd in an act of showboating involving his new Iron Man suit, the Dio, alongside some airplanes.

The Dio has been made in anticipation for Stark’s retirement as Iron Man, apparently already having some Japanese people in mind to pilot the new suit. But in typical superhero fashion, something goes wrong in the middle of his showboating and Stark is forced to abandon the suit to be recovered by his men at a later time. With apparently no men to pick him up, he takes advantage of his situation and gets a lift from conveniently close to the site of his crash spunky girl reporter whose actual name probably won’t matter in the long run.

Following the awkward car interview to his place, Stark arrives to his place where his men (er, I guess lady and three men) report in on the Dio. Completely ignoring the fact that something went wrong with the suit, one of the pilots tries it on only to be “brainwashed” (yeah, I don’t get it, either) by the suit which pulls an Evangelion and goes into berserker mode, killing the other two pilots and escaping HQ. Being prepared for anything, Stark dons his original suit and catches up with the rogue Dio only to meet up with Scorpion—part of the Zodiac organization and apparent baddie of the series.

Even ignoring the fact the Zodiac will more than likely be made up of 11 more villains, spanning the remaining 11 episodes in the series, the Iron Man anime just feels rather stiff, lacking any kind of charm that’s expected of well-written American action animations as well as any crazy-awesome fight scenes expected of even your most standard shonen anime. In that sense it reminds me a lot of Cubix… except with less creepy character designs and not Korean.

Your Friendly Neighborhood, Spectacular, Ultimate, EX Alpha…

From marvel.com:

Hey, webheads!

Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man begins a new saga starting Fall 2011 on Disney XD’s “Ultimate Spider-Man”!

The new series will chronicle the adventures of naive high-schooler Peter Parker as he comes to grips with his new powers.

Along with his new powers, the challenge for the young web-slinger in the new series is balancing his relationships with his friends and family and his super colleagues who can help him gain an understanding of his parent’s legacy and his destiny.

“Ultimate Spider-Man will be a unique journey exploring our favorite web-slinger as he teams up with other fan favorite Marvel Super Heroes in never before seen stories with a new life filled with great challenges, new friends, intense action and character growth,” said Eric S. Rollman, President of Marvel Animation.

Keep it locked to Marvel.com for more on “Ultimate Spider-Man” before it premieres on Disney XD!

Wha-whaaaaa?!

While the Ultimate comic line was what got me into the Spidey series in general, I must say that having yet another new Spider-Man animated series is just plain overkill.

But wait, what’s this? Apparently, inklings on the internet say that the announcement of Ultimate Spider-Man pretty much means the end of Spectacular Spider-Man… you know, the other new Spidey series that was doing a pretty good job of combining the best of all Spidey reincarnations into one new show before this new hotness suddenly walked in, leaving Spectacular on a somewhat cliffhanger ending.

Seriously, in the mere two seasons it ran in, each episode of Spectacular had me on the edge of my seat, with each scene making a big difference in future episodes whether the viewer was aware of such or not. As expected of anything Spidey-related, the dialogue was snappy and the stories were developed in a way that never spoke down to the audience, keeping a good balance between dialogue and complete silence to get the point across. In that sense, some may even go as far as saying that it’s the new generation’s Batman: TAS.


So why would anyone in their right mind cancel such an awesome show? Considering that the Toonami era of action cartoons has long gone, it couldn’t be that the series wasn’t holding up with similar shows airing at around the same time slot. I mean, off the top of my head, the only new action cartoons I can think of airing on TV in America are Naruto Shippuden, and the yet to be aired as of this blog Dragon Ball Z Kai.

If anything were to be blamed, I would go for the means the show was aired. For one, Disney XD ain’t your basic cable channel, hacking off a good percentage of potential viewers right there. Also keep in mind that the season 2 episodes of Spectacular were aired overseas before ever reaching the states—a pretty shoddy move, unless Disney and Marvel wanted more illegal episode downloads than TV viewers, that is.

But alas, what’s done is done. I’ll be missing you, Spectacular Spider-Man, and here’s to hoping…


As for this new series coming around the corner, at the least people should be somewhat pumped for it assuming (and I personally think that’s a pretty big “assuming”) that the series will be at least somewhat based on the Ultimate graphic novels. Though going off said assumption, and considering the edits that still go around these days, some details will have to be pretty watered down—not exactly the best thing to do if you’re aim is to accurately adapt a comic series that was made to revamp and grittify one of your bigger cash cows.

Then again, based on the official announcement, one could just as much assume that Ultimate is in response to DC’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold


… in which case I will hate Marvel even more than I hated them after watching the third Spidey movie.

Only time will tell, I guess. Though personally, I’m hoping that all this nonsense will end up being Spectacular seasons 3 and up since honestly, even for a somewhat new fan such as myself, I’ve gotten just about enough Spidey origin stories, thankyouverymuch.

%d bloggers like this: