Move over Rudolph! There’s something else to get you glued to your television (or YouTube viewer of choice) with the latest trailer for Man of Steel. So what did you think?
Well for one, it makes me feel old. Seeing Kevin Costner and Russel Crowe cast as Superman’s respective human and Kryptonian fathers is a little alarming. I remember it wasn’t too long ago when both of them were always on the top of Hollywood’s most beautiful celebrity lists. And now they’re old enough to play old parents. Eep. But anyway, I like the look Zack Snyder picked for the film. I just hope the final film is more about what it’s like being Superman than Superman fighting everything in his path.
Andrew Garfield doing the sad Charlie Brown head-down walk in The Amazing Spider-Man
I finally got around to seeing The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s not for a lack of interest in the character; Spider-Man has been among my favorites for as long as I can remember. The unfortunate combination of being really busy and being fearful of what a post-Sam Raimi Spider-Man film series would be like made me put off seeing the latest film until this week.
The new movie rehashed the whole Peter Parker becomes the Spider-Man plot with a few modifications. Peter’s dad was a research scientist for Oscorp who mysteriously was killed, with the assumption that this happened at Norman Osborn’s bequest. Peter goes on to be raised by his aunt and uncle as an awkward teenager, gets bitten by a radioactive spider and becomes a vigilante after his actions indirectly lead to the murder of his Uncle Ben. This pretty much took up two-third of the film. From then on, it’s up to Peter and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy to stop an Oscorp scientist (who used to work with Peter’s father) that’s turned himself into a lizard monster from turning everyone in Manhattan into a lizard monster.
The plot was kinda flimsy but it worked. But the biggest problem was how unlikable Andrew Garfield was as Spider-Man. This I blame not so much on him, but no the writing and directing. One of the cornerstones of the whole Spider-Man mythos is how strong Peter’s relationship with Uncle Ben and Aunt May is. In the movie, they pretty much considered him a burden and Peter wanted nothing to do with them. Garfield’s take on
Peter wasn’t as much the shy, introspective type, but more so of a jerk. One of the reasons why that Peter is an enduring character is that he reminds us of how shy and insecure we are. But Garfield was just a too.There was way too much teenage angst in this film for my liking. I felt glad when Flash Thompson picked on him. Again, this isn’t to say that Garfield wasn’t an acceptable Peter Parker. There was just a lot of unfortunate dialogue and character development. If there’s anything to complain about Garfield is that he’s about ten years too old to be playing a character in high school.
The other thing that didn’t work for me was how they really geared this film to a generation to a generation of teenage girls who grew up reading Twilight books. They were really pushing the whole romance angle between Peter and Gwen, more-so than Peter overcoming everything to become a hero and dealing with the ever-increasing dilemmas of having a secret life.
That said, I’m not completely down on this movie. The fight sequences and special effects (although over-relied upon) were really well done. Emma Stone’s Gwen and Dennis Leary as her father, Detective Stacy, really carried the movie, especially Stone.
Ultimately, The Amazing Spider-Man was a decent film that needed some improvements, mostly making itsprotagonist someone you could actually connect with on some level. Hopefully they will get that resolved for the 2014 sequel. And if they want to completely reboot the series, I’m sure Donald Glover would be interested.
July 26, 2013 cannot come out soon enough. Twentieth Century Fox released this official image of the next installment of the Wolverine spin-offs from their X-Men series of films. Hugh Jackman is back as everyone’s favorite Canadian bad-ass in next summer’s The Wolverine.
This sequel borrows a lot of its story from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine mini series from 1982, so expect lots of samurais, ninja and organized crime set in Japan. And for good measure, Silver Samurai and Viper are going to be thrown in.
Thanks to the Avengers movie this summer, a lot of characters are doing pretty well for themselves. Hulk has been rejuvenated as a film franchise; Black Widow has generated enough attention to warrant getting her own movie. But the biggest star to come out of the Avengers had under a minute of screen time: I’m talking about Thanos.
The last time I remember Thanos being this popular was during the whole Infinity Gauntlet era of the early 1990s. It may have been almost twenty years since he’s been relevant, but a film series will do that for you.
It’s no secret that the break-out characters of the Marvel Avengers franchise was SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson. He stole every scene he was in through six movies. Even though he might be dead (but alive in comics continuity), Coulson is still popular.
Marvel and Mighty Fine have a line of Coulson inspired t-shirts! You can view all five shirts in the line here. My favorite is the one pictured, which lovingly pays tribute to Jim Steranko’s cover for Nick Fury: Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #4.
Thomas Jane’s 2004 The Punisher is probably the most criminally underrated super hero films.Borrowing a lot of its tone and plot from the Garth Ennis Punisher stories, it was dark, gritty and a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the next Punisher film was a complete reboot without Jane playing the role of the gun-toting vigilante.
This summer, Jane teamed up with movie producer Adi Shankar for the short “Dirty Laundry.” Debuting at Comic-Con, this was an amazingly well done fan film that shows a particularly violent day in the life of Frank Castle. It’s a gory love letter to the character.
It really makes me want to see another Punisher movie with Jane done like this. Although that doesn’t really seem like a possibility at this time, at least we’ve all learned how we can use a bottle of Jack Daniels as a weapon.
Marvel Studios unveiled a new slate of films for the next two years. So what does the film division of the “House of Ideas” have for us? The biggest announcement was the confirmation of a Guardians of the Galaxy film, slated to come out on August 1, 2014. For most people new to comics or just fans of the movies, the question is why should you be excited about this.
Guardians of the Galaxy first debuted in Marvel Super Heroes #18 back in 1969, a few months before Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Space travel was a big thing at the time and Arnold Drake and Gene Colan created a team of super powered aliens in the 31st century. Present day astronaut Vance Astrovik (with a name like that he really could do nothing else than be an astronaut) is rocketed into space in suspended animation and wakes up way far into the future. That must have been one hell of a nap.
Anyway, Vance teams up with some well-meaning alien warriors to stop the Badoon, a race of genocidal aliens bent on conquering the universe. Occasionally the Guardians would travel back to present day in crossovers with the Avengers and Defenders. The team is probably best known for Image Comics founder Jim Valentino’s series from the early 1990s.
Guardians of the Galaxy was rebooted a few years back, this time taking place in the present day. Long story short, it’s a collection of Marvel’s alien heroes teaming up to prevent catastrophes, whether they be cosmic natural disasters or intergalactic warfare. I would assume that the film will be of how the team gets together and has to save Earth from something awful. Maybe they even might involve Thanos, since it looks like this will be out before Avengers 2,
So who are the Guardians? Based on the concept art that Marvel revealed it looks like the team is the following:
Star-Lord: a human who winds up becoming an intergalactic police officer.
Gamora: Thanos’ adopted daughter who happens to be the most deadly woman in the Marvel Universe (think a lady version of Chuck Norris).
Groot: A humanoid living tree who debuted in Tales to Astonish long before the Fantastic Four.
Rocket Raccoon: An anthropomorphic raccoon with mastery of combat and military strategy.
Drax the Destroyer: A synthetic humanoid created to kill Thanos.
So yeah, it sounds like Thanos is going to be involved in this. Call it a hunch.
Anyway, this is a big gamble since it is going to be a movie featuring C and D list characters. No matter how great the film is, it’s going to be a harder sell to the public. Do you remember the last time you saw a Drax t-shirt? Me neither. I would assume they are banking on how well received the previous Marvel did. At the very least I hope I can get a stuffed Rocket Raccoon out of this.
As for the rest of the announcements:
Ant-Man will be directed by Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame). They even showed some test footage of it, which sadly hasn’t leaked out yet. Apparently they were super-strict about the no photography/videography rule.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is slated for April 4, 2014 and pretty much confirms that Bucky will be back, turned into the Soviet killing machine. It’s reported that Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) is in negotiations to play the role of the Falcon, Cap’s sidekick/partner.
Thor: The Dark World comes out November 8, 2013. Just in time for Halloween!
This week it was announced that the next installment in Hasbro/Paramount’s GI Joe saga, GI Joe Retaliation, will be pushed back from its release date of June 29 to March 2013. Why would they do that, being that they’ve started the marketing push for the film.
I don’t know, but there are various rumors floating around. The party line has been that they needed more time to properly convert the film into 3D. Certainly the success of the Avengersreminds us that there is a boat load of money up for grabs.For me that’s a valid enough excuse.
There’s also a rumor floating around that Hasbro/Paramount wasn’t very happy with the poor reception of Battleship (a film adaptation that I still shake my head at) and somehow this is in response to it. I don’t buy that at all. Battleship was doomed from the start, as it was a very hard sell. Retaliation on the other hand is a property that already has a large audience, and the fact that this sequel looked so much better than the original just from comparing the trailers alone, this seemed like a can’t miss.
Even look at the movie schedule. Retaliation would have had a strong opening weekend and week. The biggest movie the previous weekend will probably be Brave, which I assume would skew a more family audience. The next similar film is Amazing Spider-Man, which comes out the next week. That could draw some of the Retaliation audience, but with it being released for the Fourth of July midweek, there’s more than enough moviegoers for every one.
Then there’s the ever crazy rumor that they are re-shooting scenes and weren’t happy with the results of the original film. I don’t know about that.
The rescheduling of this film also is going to throw off next year’s Wrestlemania. The Rock is scheduled to be at that event, so he’s going to have to promote both the biggest WWE show of the year and a new movie release. Eep.
I guess I’ll have to watch the original GI Joe cartoon movie instead.
Tonight (well technically tomorrow) Avengers makes its movie debut. For the last four years, Marvel/Paramount/Disney has made five films that have gotten us to the point where Earth’s mightiest heroes together.
What they’ve done is put together a cohesive universe for the Marvel films at least for the Avengers characters. So what does that mean for the future?
Captain America’s costume was on display at the New York Comic Con.
I read a blog post (from the LA Times I believe; sadly I cannot find the bookmark for it) saying that it may raise the bar for super hero films too high, especially in regards to the number of costumed characters.
They brought up the concern that this would lead to a veritable super hero appearance arms race, with all future films having to have a large cast of characters.
That said, should we be worried about this in regards to future comic book films? To that I’m going to say no. Avengers is a special case. It may be team film, but there is definitely a three-tier system to its characters.
Obviously at the top we have Iron Man, as Robert Downey Jr. has spent the last five years convincing us about how cool the character is. If it wasn’t for Iron Man doing so well, we might have not seen the subsequent Avengers family films. Captain America and Thor are up there as well, but that’s mostly because they had the last two blockbusters.
But after that, there really is a drop off with the rest of the characters. Yes, the Hulk is huge–literally and figuratively–but this is the third launch the character has had in the last decade. Consider him a gamma powered supporting character. That’s about the same for Nick Fury and for a lesser degree with Black Widow. Hawkeye is a step below them, not even being verbally identified during his debut in Thor.
What this film looks to do is less then introduce an audience to new characters, but to tell a story about how three (well four, we’ll give Hulk his due) extreme personalities can put aside their differences to work cohesively in an extremely intense situation.
I still haven’t seen the film yet and plan on doing so shortly. I hope I’m right.
Hot damn, does this look like it’s going to be an awesome movie. As much as I’m a fan of pretty much anything GI Joe related, I’ll admit that the first movie didn’t really do it for me. But this looks awesome with all the ninja feuds and the whole GI Joe on the run from the American government which has been infiltrated by Cobra.
I wasn’t sure how I felt a bout the Rock playing Roadblock in this film, but this trailer convinced me that this is a good thing. Not only that, but the sequence with Bruce Willis was mindblowingly cool.
There are two complaints that film snobs always have:
The source material was infinitely better.
Direct to video films always suck.
Lionsgate and Marvel refute these claims in the 2010 direct to video release Planet Hulk, which adapts Greg Pak’s epic story of Hulk’s new life on the planet Sakaar.
The plot is fairly simple and you don’t need any current comics knowledge go follow. Hulk has been launched into space by the other heroes, as they’ve had it with him not being able to control his anger and being a huge problem (I would’ve said major pain, but I wanted this post to be free of any Damon Wayans references). Unfortunately for Hulk, instead of taking him to the happy planet where he could spend the rest of his life, he landed on the war-torn, wasteland of a rock called Sakaar.
Hulk gets imprisoned by the planet’s evil dictator the Red King and forced to fight in an arena, something straight out of Gladiator. By leading his new group of warbound gladiators in a rebellion, he finds himself fulfilling the an old Sakaaran prophecy of a “worldbreaker” coming to unify the population and start a new golden age.
There is more to the story, but I think I’m going to save that for a piece on the original comics. I will say that this is a very straight up adaptation of Pak’s story, save for Beta Ray Bill being substituting for Silver Surfer as a captive in the Red King’s coliseum. It turns out that this wasn’t as much of an editorial decision as a legal one, as the Surfer’s animation rights were held by someone else.
Throughout the film, there’s a bunch of cameo appearances by Marvel’s cosmic characters in the coliseum, including Gamora, Adam Warlock and Star-Lord. It was a nice nod to super fans.
I really enjoyed Planet Hulk. The visuals were great, and the animation was smooth. This is definitely recommended. Get it from your Red Box or local library today.
Out of the three comic book/super hero films, Thor stands out to me as the best of this summer’s crop. For those of you who don’t know me, I have admittedly bad taste in movies. If it isn’t really funny or have a lot of explosions, chances are I haven’t seen it.
Even though I’ve been a lifelong Thor fan and wanted the movie to be as awesome as the Simonson and Kirby and Ellis comics, the thought of a super critically acclaimed serious Shakespearean director like Kenneth Branagh directing the film scared me. What if he was going to make the movie serious in tone? What if he tried turning this into an epic like Lord of the Rings…and by that I meant long and painful to watch? What if he decided to turn this into a critically acclaimed piece of cinema?
Well Branagh didn’t do that; he made a perfect Chris film, balancing action and humor. Other people seem to like it as well; Thor has pulled in receipts of almost $460,000,000 worldwide and the movie had many positive reviews. Branagh made Thor in the image of the first Iron Man, where the audience is introduced to the super hero, and elaborate action scenes are passed over in lieu of ample character development.
Stop! Hammer time!
At heart, Thor is a film about family relationships. Odin, king of the Asgardians, has two sons. Thor is the more well liked and respected one, but is ultimately to brash and immature to take his throne. Loki is a bit conniving and genuinely means well, but Thor’s status as Odin’s favored son hurts him.
This family feud ultimately comes to a boil, as Thor is exiled to Earth and stripped of his power by Odin for arrogantly trying to defeat Asgard’s long-standing enemies the frost giants of Jotunheim. Things only get worse in the house of Odin. Loki learns of his true frost giant heritage and becomes enraged at Odin for hiding this from him. As a result, Odin (who is masterfully played by Anthony Hopkins) collapses into a catatonic state.
Loki, realizing this is his only chance to be the ruler of Asgard, takes his adopted father’s throne and plans to destroy Jotunheim once and for all, as a way of showing Odin that he is just as powerful (if not more) than his brother Thor, that he is just as strong a leader as his father, and that Loki would be willing to kill off every single frost giant–even though he himself is one–if it would gain the love and favor of his adopted father. To make sure that Thor doesn’t interfere, Loki convinces him that he should never return.
Ultimately, Thor accepts his humility (as he spends time learning about the human condition and spirit with human scientist Jane Foster) and returns to Asgard. He takes it upon himself to stop Loki, as slaughtering the frost giants of Jotunheim is ultimately wrong. The two brother fight through the realms of Asgard and Jotunheim, destroying the bridge that connects the two realms. Odin comes to stop them from fighting and prevent his sons from being lost in the cosmic abyss. Humiliated by being defeated in front of Odin and now having to reach out to be saved by his brother Thor, Loki would rather fall into the cosmic abyss then be rescued by Thor.
Even though Loki would never believe it, the film ends with Odin and Thor mourn his loss, as they always unconditionally loved him.
There was some comedy, mainly as Thor tried to fit in with the humans. The action scenes of Asgardian viking battle were well executed. But this story is what made this movie.
At the heart of Thor isn’t as medieval battles, instead there is a strong examination of family dynamics reminding us of why we have to be compassionate to others and to strive to be supportive. Loki’s demise is tragic as it was spurned by him never understanding how much his family cared for him.
This was always the theme of the Thor comics and Branagh found a way to tell this epic, grandiose story, making it just as heartfelt and complex as anything Shakespeare could come up with.
And that is why I loved this film.
And if that’s not good enough, Thor comics legend Walt Simonson, his wife and writer Louise Simonson, and longtime editor Ralph Macchio (not the Karate Kid) all make an appearance during Asgaridian banquet scene.