Posts Tagged ‘Marvel Comics’

Media Update 8/22/19

August 22, 2019


Spider-Man: Far From Home

After the crowning moment of Avengers Endgame, the MCU has to find a way to continue and this is the first movie to lead the way. This is the first movie to really address the post “Blip” world which is confused by some time travel. However, Peter is also still in high school and has to navigate that confusing mess as well as the loss of his mentor and being a hero. Tom Holland continues to be such a good Peter Parker and Spider-Man, so quick-witted and naturally gifted at humor and drama. Zendaya returns as MJ, and she is such a great character to have around and she is given more to do in this movie. Jacob Batalon returns to steal many scenes as Ned, this time along with comedy partner Angourie Rice as Betty Brant. Jon Favreau and Marisa Tomei are delightful returning as Happy Hogan and Aunt May Parker. We get the return of Samuel Jackson and Cobie Smulders as Nick Fury and Maria Hill, trying to figure out where they fit in. Finally, Jake Gyllenhaal is so good as Mysterio. The Spiderman movies are continuing the new trend of good villains and I love it. I definitely recommend this movie as it is packed with action, comedy, and a compelling story.


The Boys

I am not the biggest fan of comic books that get dark and graphic just for the sake of shock value. Often these comics are deeply racist and misogynist and just needlessly dark. I am specifically calling out Frank Miller, Mark Millar, and, I guess, Garth Ennis. Thankfully, people are getting better at adapting these sorts of things. While Frank Miller is unsalvageable, the Mark Millar series Kickass was redeemed through its adaptation and made more palatable. The same is true of The Boys. The creators of the show have adapted the comic book to have a serious message in our current climate. This show does have a good message. In a world where the United States has tons of superheroes, we see a more realistic fallout. Superheroism has been consumed by capitalism and cynicism. Superheroes have become sponsored, corporate entities and that has led to them becoming hedonistic, sociopathic creatures. The show examines what it is like inside of their world but also what it is like to be a normal, powerless person. It is a really dark show but it has a point. I hope people see that point instead of just reveling in the ultraviolence and sex. I definitely recommend it but it is definitely triggering so be warned.


Hellboy (2019)

The 2004 version of Hellboy made me a fan of Guillermo Del Toro and Hellboy, both of which I was not fully aware of yet. When I heard about that this new movie would be taking the place of a third Del Toro Hellboy film, I was disappointed. When I found out that David Harbour was getting the lead role, I was pleased and intrigued. I was willing to give this one a try. The movie set itself apart from the original while still staying fun and honoring the source material. The movie is R rated and they have a lot of fun cursing and getting bloodier. Harbour is definitely a great choice for Hellboy. He is funny but also good at being moody and dramatic. Milla Jovovich plays the villain, an ancient witch in one of her more charismatic roles that I have seen. In this movie, Hellboy gets new sidekicks in the form of Sasha Lane and Daniel Dae Kim, both of whom are a lot of fun. Ian McShane puts in his usual strong performance as Hellboy’s father figure. The special effects were fantastic and there was a lot of inspiring fantastic imagery. My only problem is that the script needed further editing and there were probably two or three movies jammed into one movie. I recommend it as I do not believe that it earned its abysmal Rotten Tomatoes score (I think some critics were overly bitter about Del Toro but they should have just gotten over it).

Music of the Week:
Ari Lennox – BMO

Depeche Mode – Useless

Grace VanderWaal – Waste My Time

Blameshift – The Enemy You Need

F. Virtue – License and Registration

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Comic Books Adapted”
– I watched more Stargate Atlantis Season 1
– I watched more How to Get Away with Murder Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more Riverdale Season 3
– I watched more iZombie Season 5
– I watched more Wynonna Earp Season 3
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I started Game of Thrones Season 4
– I started Mindhunter Season 2

Media Update 5/2/19

May 2, 2019


Avengers: Endgame

For starters, I have watched every single movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I will continue to watch them as time goes on. I am a dedicated fan and this movie felt like a great reward for the fans. I also felt like it was a good stand-alone movie but I may not be the best judge since I have seen all the preceding movies. This movie was the victory lap eleven years in the making as it was the culmination of a central plot that slowly formed from over 36 hours of entertainment. I feel like they did a great job of touching on pretty much every single movie in the series with tiny touches and mentions and easter eggs. They also did a good job of explaining what you might have missed or reminded you of what may have been forgotten by quickly summing up or detailing points from earlier movies. Each character at least got a moment and some of the characters that have been there from the beginning got a lot of screentime to further their character arcs. I laughed, I cheered, I awwwed, I teared up, but mostly I just enjoyed myself all the way through. The 3-hour runtime went by so quickly and I could have gone for more in the end but they are going to give us more in the future. I definitely recommend this movie and I do not want to get into spoilers so I will end it here.


Star Trek Voyager

I was a huge fan of the Original Series and The Next Generation when I was little. When Star Trek Deep Space Nine came out, I became a devoted fan even when I had friends who were not into it. It remains my favorite series based on the actors and the types of stories they went with. Somehow, I lost interest in the franchise and I never really watched Voyager. I feel like I maybe watched a random episode here or there but I do not really remember it. Since the series is on Netflix, I decided to watch it from the beginning to get a real taste of it. The show is notable for being even better with its female characters. Kate Mulgrew is great at being a complex female captain who has a more nuanced personality than some other “strong female characters” of that time. Of course, my favorite is The Doctor, played by Robert Picardo through whose eyes we explore what it is to be a sentient being. I also really like Robert Beltran who plays the first Native American Starfleet officer in the franchise. The rest of the cast is really good too. I am only on season two now and the show seems to be getting better and better. They were a bit repetitive in the beginning but I feel like once they had a chance to stretch, they figured out where they were going. I recommend it for lovers of Star Trek or science fiction with lovable characters.


Losers

I was clued into this series through my following of the musher scene when I get into the Iditarod this year. This is a documentary series that follows sports figures who failed at one point or many points in their story and used that loss to reinvent themselves. I feel like it is a great story for those of us with anxiety, knowing there are others out there who have failed and survived and then thrived. Some of the episodes are darker than others and each one seems to capture different elements of humanity. Also, each episode looks at a different sport. So far I have watched episodes on boxing, ice skating, and curling but there are so many more. Each story I see is inspiring and informative about worlds I did not really know about. Eventually, I will get to the dog sledding episode. These messages are joyous in their positivity and openness. I definitely recommend this series.

Music of the Week:
Godholly – How I Feel

Five Finger Death Punch – Blue On Black

Billie Eilish – bad guy

Lèpoka – Yo Controlo

Zedd, Katy Perry – 365

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Getting Up and Trying Again”
– I finished Black Lightning Season 2
– I finished Grimm Season 6
– I started Doctor Who Season 10
– I watched more Lucifer Season 3
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
– I watched and followed the Iditarod
– Back to the normal routine!

RIP Stan Lee

November 17, 2018

I was rocked when I heard that Stan Lee died four days ago on November 12, 2018. I had to spend a bit of time getting my thoughts together so that I could do this right. I could not let a great man pass without saying a little something. So here are the thoughts that have passed through my head in the past few days.

I was a huge fan of comic books growing up. I loved them so much that I walked three miles to a comic book store and blew my allowance on a small stack of them. I bought both Marvel and DC (while some of my friends preferred Image). However, when I read them, I did not often think about who was making them. All I thought about was who was selling them and how I could get them. So I really did not know who Stan Lee was. I would have been impressed had I known his name because he created a lot of the characters I liked and was one of the godfathers of the modern age of comics that I enjoyed so much. Little did I know but he was a fixture on the letters page at the back of most comics but I usually skipped that while I grabbed another story to absorb. When I got a bit older, I started to read those pages and learned about Stan’s infamous No-Prize. It was the prize he (and the Marvel editors) gave out to fans who spotted continuity errors in Marvel comic book fans. A little fun smartassery pointed toward the nitpickier side of fandom. It was also a reminder that comics are just supposed to be fun and not taken so seriously.

However, the first time I really started to become aware of Stan Lee was watching a little VHS called Pryde of the X-Men. It was an animated television pilot released in 1989 (a magic year for me) for an X-Men cartoon show that never materialized. I thought it was awesome but it only spawned the one double episode pilot and the famous X-Men arcade game. (Fun Fact: Wolverine was given an Australian accent in the pilot which is a bit eerie now). I remember well how Stan narrated that first episode. That was the first time that I heard him use the phrase “true believer” and it really resonated with me. As somebody with a vivid imagination and a strong suspension of disbelief, that was a great description of what I am. He brought me right into the story and his voice could barely contain the excitement he had for the story that was about to unfold. Of course, 1989 Stan Lee probably had no idea how many shows and movies would feature he and his friends’ creations. He had to have been excited to see the X-Men clash with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in animated form.

So, years after Pryde of the X-Men, in the 1990s, I started to become more aware of authorship as I started to create my own worlds in my head and on the page. I became more curious about behind the scenes of comic books. I bought books to try and learn how to draw them but I just never took to visual art as much as the written word. I ended up collaborating with my friends on comic books since one of my best friends could draw and loved to do so. As I said, I started to look at the letters page. I also started to look at who was drawing the comics I liked and who was writing them. I started to look for them at the stores like I looked for directors and movie stars at the Blockbuster Video. As I got older, I became better at picking comics that I really liked, not just what was hot at the moment. As a result, I became a bigger fan of comics creators. When I saw interviews with a lot of these creators, they mentioned Stan Lee as their inspiration. He was the grandfather. He was one of the sources on high. He and Jack Kirby practically created Marvel with their own blood, sweat, and tears.

Now, the first time I saw Stan Lee was when I watched the movie Mallrats made by Kevin Smith. In the movie, he has his first live-action cameo, giving advice to a lovelorn and desperate comic book fan. In that cameo, he describes the characters he created being a reflection of what he felt inside at the time, a mirror to his emotions. Of course, later he did cameos in live action movies of his properties. One of the first cameos was actually my favorite since it was so pure. He appeared in Spider-Man (2002) as a man in the crowd. In a scene where Spider-Man is fighting against Green Goblin, he saves a little girl from being crushed by debris. The man who became famous for writing heroes finally got to act out being a hero. It was such a great moment to see a writer get to actually be in his own work. This sparked a chain of cameos in live-action movies leading more casual fans to lean over in theaters and ask “who is that?” which allowed fans to explain and spread his legend.

Of course, getting to be a hero in the movie was probably a thrill but Stan did not just write heroes, he was a hero. It is obvious from the outpouring of grief and respect following his death that he touched so many lives. He was one of many who inspired me at a young age to not only read but to write as well. His affable nature made comic books more accessible and fun, knowing that the people who made them did not take themselves too seriously. His legacy will continue and it is as unlikely that he will be forgotten as Shakespeare, Stephen King, or Jim Henson will be forgotten. He left an indelible mark on history and fiction that will stand as a monument to him. He also left marks on the psyches of those who consumed his stories and carried them in their hearts. Count me among them. He lived to the ripe old age of 95 so I will not see Stan Lee cameos and feel sad. I will smile and remember what he gave me and what he gave the world.

Media Update 2/22/18

February 22, 2018


Black Panther

When my friend texted me saying that they had gotten our group tickets for a Friday showing of Black Panther, I was excited all week to see it. I had heard such good things not only from critics but also from celebrities whose tastes are aligned with mine who got to see it early. Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther was one of the best parts of Captain America: Civil War. The intelligence and emotion of the character were just as important of all the cool flippy stuff he did in battles. His movie is an even deeper dive into the character and his world and it also confronts a lot of social issues that always need confronting. It explores a lot of themes that include but are not limited to the black experience in the United States, the black experience in Africa, imperialism, isolationism, and foreign aid. There are also more intimate themes of family, doing what is right, honoring your past while looking to the future, dealing with the sins of the past, and so on. Boseman was even better than he was in Civil War. He was joined by the powerhouse team of Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett as possibly the strongest female characters I have seen on film. I am talking physical, emotional, and mental strengths by the way. It was awesome to see Daniel Kaluuya again and he gave a great raw, vulnerable performance. Michael B. Jordan earned his place as one the best Marvel villains so far if not the best. Andy Serkis was really fun (and not mo-capped!) and it is always nice to see Martin Freeman. The movie is nonstop enjoyment and I definitely recommend it.


Black Lightning

I was inspired to check out this show after coming home all jazzed from seeing Black Panther. I had heard good things and I love the relatively recent trend of good DC Comics shows. This show is more similar to Black Panther or Luke Cage than it is to the Arrowverse. The show is an adaptation of DC Comics’ first African-American superhero. Jefferson Pierce is a school principal by day and a superhero by night. The show explores a lot of what it means to be Black in an urban setting with all of the traps laid in the paths of America’s Black youth. Within the first few episodes, the show introduces a lot of great characters from the comic books. There are even Outsiders references as a nod to Black Lightning’s association with Batman and his daughter’s association with future iterations of the team. While the superhero stuff is compelling, watching Pierce and his family try to navigate personal relationships is just as interesting. I cannot remember another television show that attempts to capture the experiences of a school principal, at least not with the strong community connections Pierce has. Every character so far is deep and nobody is completely good or evil. I definitely recommend this one as it is just getting started and it is self-contained for now.


Sleight

I was not sure what to expect with this movie but I did know that it shared a producer with Get Out. Of course, producers are facilitators, not artists themselves. I knew that it was kind of heralded as a new kind of superhero movie. What it ended up being was much more than that. It definitely feels like a superhero origin story in certain ways. It has science fiction/science fantasy elements but it is really about a kid who has to take care of his little sister after their parents die. It felt a little bit like a Miles Morales/Peter Parker story because of that. The kid gets caught up in a bad scene and has to figure it out. Aside from the fantasy elements, the movie really felt like a great story about surviving as a young black man on the streets of Los Angeles. There are drug dealers, cops, and gangsters all around. Jacob Latimore plays the main character and he just obviously has a good heart and I found myself really rooting for him. Dule Hill plays the villain of the movie which was really cool because I have never seen him play a bad guy before that I can remember. I really liked the movie as it was and I would not be mad if this ‘superhero origin story’ was just a one shot. However, if they could come up with a good sequel I would be hungry for that as well. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
George Clinton – Atomic Dog

Kendrick Lamar, SZA – All The Stars

Migos – Stir Fry

Future – You Da Baddest ft. Nicki Minaj

Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Black Superheroes”
– I watched more of Happy! Season 1
– I watched more of Criminal Minds Season 11
– I watched more of Peaky Blinders Season 1
– I watched more of Mad Men Season 1
– I watched more of The Librarians Season 4
– I watched GT Live, Critical Role, Game Grumps, and KittyKat Gaming

Top 11 Superheroes That Need a Movie or Show

January 14, 2017

These are a few characters or teams that I feel could use their own show or movie. Some of them have already been animated and some of them already have a television show but they could use more. I purposely left out characters who are confirmed to already have a movie or show in the works.


11 Deadman

There have already been some allusions to Deadman’s origins when Nanda Parbat was mentioned on Arrow. Boston Brand is a deceased circus performer who clings to the land of the living in order to right wrongs and save the day. While I have really only experienced the character during crossover events, I feel like a lot could be done with this character. In death, he is merely a spirit but he has the power to possess people to use their bodies to accomplish his tasks. He is also often a conduit between the lands of the dead and the living. The problem with putting this on screen is how to depict the possession. Frankly, it could be fun to see a bunch of different actors doing an impression of whoever is playing Deadman. I am not sure if the character could carry a movie on his own but a movie teaming up with somebody like Zatanna or some other mystical DC Comics characters could be fun. It looks like he will be in the upcoming Justice League Dark but that is one animated feature. He could also be in a television show with a whole bunch of guest stars standing in for him in each episode.


10 The Shadowpact

While they were not around for long, I always liked the Shadowpact. They were a ragtag group of mystical heroes and anti-heroes who confronted mystical threats. They always kind of struck me as kind of a blue collar superhero team. They all met each other at a magical bar that exists beyond space and time that is owned by formerly retired leader Nightmaster. Probably the most famous character is Blue Devil, a guy who sold his soul for demonic powers and fame. He struggles with the decision and how it might inspire others to sell their soul too. My favorite character from the issues I have read was Detective Chimp. He is an actual chimpanzee who can talk and was also a very intelligent, chain-smoking detective. In fact, two reboots ago, he was somebody that Batman would consult with to help the World’s Greatest Detective figure out tougher mysteries. The problem here is that the team also had The Enchantress in it and Suicide Squad kind of screwed that up. She is not very necessary and Nightshade (another magician) can easily fill her role since she is already on the team. I won’t go into everyone on the team but they would make a good movie.


9 Runaways

The Runaways were a breakout success in comic books that seemed to come out of nowhere not long before the Civil War storyline in Marvel Comics. The Runaways were young superheroes who were struggling with a very difficult truth. Their parents were some of the most powerful yet relatively unknown supervillains in the world. While villains like Doctor Doom and Loki were tearing down cities while loudly proclaiming their intentions, the Pride were villains that controlled things more from the shadows similar to the early days of the Mafia. They were grooming their kids to take over the family business but the kids had different ideas and ran away from home, struggling with not wanting to be villains but also not really wanting to fight their parents. The series deals a lot with dealing with the strong emotions that come with youth and being on the lam with superpowers and/or superweapons. There were also some very interesting gay, lesbian and transgender themes which we haven’t really seen a whole of in superhero stuff so far. There were so many interesting concepts in this book that would be amazing adapted on screen.


8 Green Arrow

A long time ago (at least a decade), a movie was announced as being in development. This was long before press conferences where the big two revealed their movie schedules for the next four years. DC Comics revealed a potential movie that at the time was simply called Supermax. In reality, the movie was a vehicle for the Green Arrow. In it, Green Arrow would be imprisoned in a new state of the art prison for high-profile lawbreakers and would have to escape to survive. It would have had cameos from a whole bunch of DC Comics villains who would be imprisoned alongside him and thirsting for superhero blood. I really wanted that movie to happen but it was canceled a while ago with the new darker and edgier concept that DC has going on. Green Arrow always felt like a more lighthearted superhero. Like Batman, he was a rich man who combatted crime in a costume but he was always a little more snarky. He is also one of the most liberal superheroes around and that is not bad in my book. Of course, we already have the fantastic show Arrow so nothing like Supermax will probably be made but I would actually love to merge the two ideas at some point and allow Steven Amell to have a movie under his belt.


7. The Outsiders

This was a short-lived offshoot of the Teen Titans (who will probably get a movie eventually). Nightwing and Arsenal (two former sidekicks) put together a more pro-active superhero team. They hunt down supervillains before they finish putting their master plan together instead of waiting for them to attack Metropolis or Gotham and having to scramble to defeat them before stuff really hits the fan. It was a cool concept to see these characters not only react to situations but also try and track down villains before their plans were made. That way, the innocent bystanders of the DC Universe were not in danger as much. When the battle occurs in a remote supervillain hideout, the characters can be more free with their wanton destruction. I am sure Lex Luthor probably insures his hideouts anyway. Along with Nightwing and Arsenal there were plenty of young heroes just trying to figure things out. Metamorpho is basically a walking chemistry set. Grace Choi (no superhero codename) is a super strong bartender who does not take any crap from anybody. Thunder could manipulate her density to cause all sorts of havoc. Then there’s a super powerful android named Indigo and Jade who is basically a Green Lantern. The comic also had a positive outlook toward LGBTQ issues and had a fairly light tone. I cannot stress enough how much DC Movies need a lighter tone here and there.

6 Sandman (Wesley Dodds)

Soon there might be a movie based on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and if it makes it through Development Hell, then I think I will be in love with it. However, there is another character involved with DC Comics with the same name who is actually connected. Wesley Dodds is a rich inventor who lives in the roaring twenties. Wesley’s problem is that every night he cannot sleep because of horrible prophetic dreams connected to the Dreaming from Neil Gaiman’s series. These dreams may keep him up but they also push him toward solving or preventing horrible crimes. He wears a suit, a World War I gas mask and uses a gas gun to put his enemies to sleep. In the Sandman Mystery Theater series, he fights extremely evil people. Dodds himself is a quiet mouse of a man but when he dons his mask, he is confident and ready to risk his body and freedom to bring criminals to justice. Along the way, he is helped and hindered by a party girl/flapper named Dian who is often able to figure out a lot of the mystery without Wesley’s help. Together, they are a formidable force. If Warner Brothers wants to go dark and gritty, they should do it with characters and situations built for it instead of tarnishing their bright, shiny symbols of justice.


5 Blue Beetle and Booster Gold

This is pretty much the opposite of the above entry. There is a time for things to get dark and edgy but if Warner Brothers keeps playing the same song, then people are going to leave the party. Suicide Squad attempted to be more lighthearted but it still had muted colors and struggled with portraying villains vs. having characters save the day. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are two heroes who bring both the best and worst out of each other. A movie starring the two of them has a lot of potential to be very funny while also adding a little variety to the DC Movie universe. Booster Gold is a man from the future who stole a bunch of equipment and traveled to our time to become famous and a superhero in that order. Blue Beetle is an inventor superhero who has a tendency to be a little too serious. Put them together and they are a formidable team that is constantly cracking jokes on each other like a buddy cop movie. Something in the vein of I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League would work. It would be kind of a gentle parody of Batman v. Superman and other offerings in that universe mashed together with an almost improv style of comedy.


4 Squirrel Girl

Squirrel Girl kind of became a meme a couple of years ago as writers dug through the archives and realized that this minor hero had beaten a lot of Marvel’s biggest villains. She has defeated Doctor Doom, Galactus and several more heroes with determination, smarts and being underestimated. The character has a lot of charisma as seen in her own book recently. She has been a babysitter for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage’s baby (spoiler maybe?) and has been an asset to a couple of different superhero situations. Lately, she has been going on her own adventures as she has tried to figure out who she is and where the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl fits in. Her character has a similar can-do spirit to Kimmy Schmidt and actually has a similar disconnect from the way things really work. She also regularly breaks the fourth wall in her adventures and pokes fun at a lot of superhero tropes and other things we take for granted. In fact, she literally takes some of this from Deadpool who gifted her a set of flashcards which explain most of the characters in the Marvel Universe. Her movie or television show could be kind of like a PG Deadpool. We all know that the reason Deadpool worked was not because of its rating. A similar thing with the same fast-paced, cartoony action with smart dialogue would definitely work.


3 Static

I was just old enough to be able to watch the animated show Static Shock when I was a kid. I would love to see them reexamine that character since there are tons of issues around starring the character. Static comics put a spotlight on what it is to be a black kid in American cities while also showing what it is like to be a young superhero. Power over electricity and electromagnetism is a powerful ability and I was always impressed with the different ways the character could use that power. He wasn’t like most characters with energy-based abilities which includes the similar Black Lightning. He did not always zap his problems away and instead either used his powers indirectly or thought his way out of a problem. Virgil Hawkins was an inspiration, especially to young black Americans who wanted a hero who looked like them. In addition, his villains were people you would actually meet walking around a city who just happened to have superpowers. Deciding what cause to further through use of those powers was a big theme in the cartoon and, from I’ve read, the comic. Apparently,  there is a live action television show that may or may not be happening and I hope that it stays true to the spirit of the character. Also, please do not cast Jaden Smith.


2 Hawkeye (Kate Bishop)

I fell in love with Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye series. Not only does it portray Hawkeye in a very human and relatable way, it really does a lot of good for his protege Kate Bishop. Kate took over the mantle of Hawkeye for a while for Clint Barton, especially why she teamed with the Young Avengers. She is younger and just as good a shot as Clint is but she comes from an entirely different background. She comes from wealth but tends to shrug off her birthright more often than not. I would love to see something with Kate in it because she is a pretty complicated character in her own right. Also, Hawkeye gets a lot of crap from fans of the Avengers series of movies. I love Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, the kind of blue collar/military hero that is just trying to survive while more powerful heroes rage around him. I would love to see a Hawkeye movie where he mentors Kate and they fight villains together. We already saw a little bit of Hawkeye’s urge to mentor during Avengers II And Civil War with Scarlet Witch but Kate would be snarkier yet more receptive. To me, that would be the best way to do a Hawkeye movie which could lead into a Young Avengers movie or just stand on its own.


1 She-Hulk

Please. Please. PLEASE give me a She-Hulk movie or television show. Jennifer Walters is Bruce Banner’s cousin and she accidentally gets transformed into She-Hulk through a blood transfusion needed to save her life. Unlike Bruce, she does not need to be angry to transform but being angry definitely will transform her more easily. She also is not the bottomless pit of rage and self-loathing that Bruce is and actually becomes a better person through being She-Hulk. Hands down the best part of her is that she is a working lawyer more than she is a superhero. My favorite stories about Jen are when she is actually trying cases and researching the law and making closing arguments and getting this done legally. Punching somebody is at the bottom of her list to do when she can simply get an injunction and end the fight before it even begins. I want to see her try some superpowered cases and deal with villains with legal skills. She could bring in Patsy Walker (from Jessica Jones) as her investigator and there could be cameos from all sorts of great characters. This is probably the whole reason I wrote this list. Give me a She-Hulk show or movie or both.

Adaptations

April 1, 2015

When ever somebody comes up with a good idea (or a bad idea really) in one medium, a lot of people try and think of a way to adapt it into another form of media. This has been happening for a long time and will continue to happen and I love it. Except when I hate it or I am indifferent. Adaptations are often very divisive among the more intense sections of a fandom especially when the adaptation changes details from the original work. People seem to either love or hate an adaption based on how much and what has changed from the source material. Quick thought: do you think people were pissed about I Am a Camera being adapted into Cabaret? Don’t research that. I’m certainly not going to. There probably were people who complained but it won Tony awards so probably nobody cared.


Iron Man 3

I love Iron Man 3 but there was a lot of grumbling from some comic book fans around the time this one came out. There is a certain twist at the end of the second act that throws a lot of people who are huge Iron Man fans. Those same fans were upset at how Whiplash was done in Iron Man 2 and so on through the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, I have a friend who can’t help but complain about every single movie Marvel puts out. He says he can’t enjoy them because they got details wrong. Each and every movie he hated, I loved because they were good movies. My thinking is that the movies are part of a separate universe where events came about a little differently. If the movies were exactly like the comics then I would be extremely bored. Instead, I like that they feed me little bits that are like the comic book and flesh out other details to make their own story.


Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

Again, I loved all of the Lord of the Rings movies. I haven’t seen the last Hobbit movie yet but I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. There was some criticism because they left a lot of the stuff out of the books. A lot of that stuff was interesting but I have the extended versions on DVD and those things are already 3 – 4 hours long per movie. I can live with losing a few events and poems so that I can not be watching the same movie for 5 hours. The same goes for Harry Potter movies by the way. So people complained about all of this stuff getting cut out and then they turned around and complained about Return of the King having multiple endings even though that’s how it is in the books. It’s a hard balance to strike when you want to please the hardcore fans and the casual fans and the people who had no clue Lord of the Rings is even a thing.

Which brings me to The Hobbit which decided to go the opposite direction. They threw everything from the book in and then invented a lot of stuff to flesh it out. Some have argued that this was done merely as a money grab. While that may have been the original motivation, I believe that the movies benefitted from the original story getting stretched out. The Hobbit is as chock full of detail as any of Tolkien’s books but he actually left a lot out. There are whole sections where Gandalf disappears and then they end up telling rather than showing what he was doing. It’s much more interesting to see all of that played out. Also in the original book the Dwarves were just extra characters with little personality and it was nice to see them fleshed out a little more. Again, it doesn’t make the source material bad or incomplete, it just makes for a better movie.


Man of Steel

Here is where I might start coming off like a hypocrite. I hated Man of Steel for two reasons. The first reason was that I didn’t think it was a good movie on its own merits. The second reason I didn’t like it was because I didn’t think it was a very good adaptation of the source material. In the comics Superman isn’t an asshole, Lois Lane isn’t a ditz and Jonathan Kent isn’t an idiot. I kind of went into a little more depth on this in my Man of Steel review. Still, apparently they were adapting the jerkier Superman from the recently rebooted New 52 initiative that I haven’t really read any of. That’s fine, I guess, but at least make it a good movie.

Conclusion

There’s more examples to be sure but they all amount to the same basic premise. Adaptations are their own animal and shouldn’t be judged by the original source material. There are exceptions, of course, but as long as the differences between the two aren’t too big then I usually see it as a faithful adaptation. I’m commited to keeping an open mind about things and not letting more negative sections of the fandom piss me off. This is the guy who liked Daredevil talking though so maybe you just wrote off everything I just said.

A Blade Restrospective

January 22, 2015

Hello and welcome to the Blade retrospective where I talk about the Blade movies since I got the whole set cheap at Walmart.  I love buying cheap DVDs from Walmart and Target to add to my geeky movie collection.  I think that overall the Blade movies are good but don’t hold up to the current Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

All of the films are written by David S. Goyer who is very hit and miss as a writer.   He is responsible for good stuff like all three Nolanverse Batman movies, Dark City, the Constantine tv series and Jumper.  However he also is responsible for the awful FlashForward series, Nick Fury tv movie and Man of Steel.  He definitely has his faults but is just as capable of putting out decent stuff as he is of putting out crap.  There is no consistent director so all three films have different tones and visuals.

Let’s start reviewing the Blade movies.


Blade

The first movie is pretty good.  Wesley Snipes is absolutely the best casting choice anybody could have made.  He has the ability to be stoic while having the charisma to deliver a one-liner or two.  He actually does a decent job with a few emotional moments as well.  Kris Kristofferson is amazing as the gruff but loveable Whistler.  Stephen Dorff is Stephen Dorff, a villain you want to punch in the face forever which is actually a good thing here.  Rounding out the main cast is Donal Logue who I am actually a huge fan of.

The fight sequences are the highlight throughout which makes a lot of sense when you consider that Snipes knows martial arts.  The rest of the movie is pretty formulaic but that’s just fine with me.  There are plenty of cliches and corny bits but I found them fun and not yet tired.  Overall I recommend the movie if you like action and cool effects.


Blade II

The best Blade movie ever and not only because it was directed by Guillermo del Toro.  This time around they actually saw fit to develop the characters more.  They also went for a much creepier mood which fits a story about a vampire hunter teaming up with vampires to fight the next stage of evolution.  We get Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson returning and turning in even better performances.  Leading a cast of relative unknowns is awesome character actor Ron Perlman who is awesome.

As with any del Toro venture, this one is loaded with awesome visuals and dark storytelling.  However, the a lot of the cool fighting is still there as well.  This movie has more substance but it does have a few third act problems.  Since the movie was del Toro experimenting and proving that he could helm a Hellboy movie that makes some sense.  It still holds together better than the first one which was a bare bones action/horror/comic book film. Again, I recommend this film.


Blade Trinity

A lot of people did not seem to like this movie and, to be fair, I can see why.  After Blade II, Trinity is way too light with a change in cinematography and more jokes.  There is a distinct absence of Kris Kristofferson but we get Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds instead.  Then you add in four named villains.  One of them is played by Hunter Hearst Helmsley of WWE fame.  With all of this going on you could accuse the movie of having too big a cast but it’s only slightly bigger than Blade II.  Snipes seems to be barely trying which makes sense as he was upset and feuding with the screenwriter during production.

There seem to be less fight scenes due to the limitations of Biel and Reynolds and spreading the attention between the three leads.  Instead of fight scenes we get more action sequences and more ranged weapons.  I don’t see this as a huge problem but it does kind of stray from the meat of the first two movies.  Overall I would say that Trinity is not as bad as people think.  I think it follows the spirit of the first movie.  Reynolds is actually pretty funny and there’s plenty of vampire killing action.  While the movie feels lighter there are definitely some darker moments that seem edgier than the first movie. You know what?  I recommend this one too.

So that’s the Blade movies…  Wait, what?  A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES!?

3 out of 4 ain't bad
Blade IV: House of Chthon

Yes there was technically a fourth blade movie.  I was intrigued when I first bought the DVD and wondered why I never knew about this.  I usually keep abreast of comic book news.  I knew about the Blade anime series (which is decent) but I didn’t know about this.  It turns out this was the pilot for a Blade series that went 12 episodes.  It was on Spike TV which is the first nail in its coffin being on what is basically the Cops network.  I struggled through this movie because I apparently hate myself.  It was poorly paced and passionless throughout most of it.

The series includes Blade who is now played by a man named Sticky Fingaz who acts like LL Cool J doing his best Wesley Snipes impression.  Though, for a series supposedly about Blade, there is a distinct lack of Blade actually doing anything.  Instead we spend most of the “movie” following the female protagonist, Krista, trying to investigate the death of her brother and stumbling upon the existence of vampires.  Blade pops up now and then to kill a few vampires but is otherwise laughably ineffectual.  Eventually stuff actually happens and Krista gets captured and transformed into a vampire.  In the end, Blade and Krista seem to make an agreement to use Krista as an undercover agent inside the House of Chthon.  I yawn and I am grateful that the movie is over.

I have two words for you as advice concerning this movie:  Stay away.  It probably had potential considering the relative success of Dusk Till Dawn: The TV Series and Fargo: The TV series.  The pacing and acting are horrible and they probably decided to save all of the exposition for a later episode.  The writing is muddled and they save a good concept for the last twenty minutes after boring you for over an hour and 10 minutes.  All I know is that I don’t want to hear anybody badmouth Blade Trinity after watching that.


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