Posts Tagged ‘Spider-Man’

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

Interview Questions 18

May 13, 2019


Pick a superpower: Flight or Invisibility?

This question was recently asked in the movie Shazam. Basically, I have read that it is an indicator of whether somebody wants to be in the background or in the spotlight. I can see why that is but I feel like the question is flawed. I often prefer to be in a support role and therefore in the background. Every job I have ever had has put me safely in that role while allowing me to stand out when I want to stand out. Invisibility would offer a guaranteed shot at that kind of thing but physically. I could appear and disappear at will and choose when people see me. That would be great but I cannot think of many uses for it. Now that I am no longer in theater, I have no reason to sneak around. I do not wish to use a superpower for crime either. Flight, on the other hand, would allow me to travel faster than walking or even driving. That seems of more use to me. I could lower my carbon footprint and travel would not be as much of an issue anymore. However, if we are talking about crimefighting, I would choose invisibility. It would allow me to catch criminals unawares and hide my face so that nobody could figure out my identity.


Batman vs. Spiderman: Who Would Win?

I have been a fan of both of these heroes since I was little so it is hard to choose between them on the basis of popularity. Interestingly enough, both characters’ paths to becoming heroes started with the death of a loved one. Batman went on a long journey around the world, training from masters on how to be good at basically everything. He learned martial arts, escapism, and how to be a brilliant detective among other things. Spider-Man was a young high school kid who got bitten by a radioactive spider and he gained superpowers. Spidey had to learn a lot of skills on the job and slowly cobbled together the skills to save the day. Over the years, both got really good at being superheroes. Initially, I thought that Spidey would win. He has a scientific mind and has super strength and agility. Basically, his trump card in a fight like this is his spider-sense which is basically a warning signal that goes off in his head that alerts him to imminent danger. I thought that would be the deal breaker but Batman has a history of creating plans that account for everything. He would simply set off that alert over and over in several fake-outs until Spidey did not know which way was up. Either that or he would come up with something that jammed spider-sense and take Spidey out when he was clueless. In any version of the characters, Batman has the edge on experience and forethought. Spidey usually relies on having fast reflexes but acting often beats reacting.


If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

This is actually a difficult question because the question is left vague when it comes to the rules. If I could bring a laptop and a device for an Internet connection, I would definitely bring that. I could still connect to the world and I could easily do research while writing. Though, that probably is not within the intended purpose of the question. Besides, the Internet connection would probably end up being more than one item. Also, there’s the whole power issue for the laptop. Unless it’s all magical. But, if we are bringing magic into the equation, I would simply bring a portal back to my house in Baltimore and a magic wand capable of telekinesis. That way I would have an island getaway and the wand would help me build a structure. Again, this does not seem to be the intention of the question. The real-life answer ends up being a bit boring but practical. I would bring a pencil and a ream of paper. I would write and write until the pencil ran out and then I would hope to burn some wood for charcoal and write some more. Boring yes but I can entertain myself for hours through writing and dreaming. The rest of the time on the island would be spent building a structure the old-fashioned way.

Media Update 2/28/19

February 28, 2019


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I have been a big fan of Spider-Man comics since I was little. The idea that anybody could be under that mask was an important thought even at a young age. When Marvel kind of ruined Peter Parker with the One More Day storyline, I was excited when they created first Miles Morales and then Spider-Gwen. Both are fresh new takes on Spider-Man while staying true to the basic principles of the mythos. The movie is mostly an exploration of Mile Morales, the young Brooklyn boy with both Latino and Black heritage. He struggles with going to a private school when he really connects to the street culture he grew up in. When he gains powers, he struggles with yet another burden. The movie explores his relationship with his family (mostly his Dad and his Uncle) and how each person we are raised by effects who we are. The Peter Parker in the movie is the best version which is the one with the dad bod who has seen just about everything. Gwen Stacy (aka Spider-Woman) is as much fun as she was in the comics. We also get appearances from Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, and Peni Parker. A lot of praise has to be given to newcomer Shameik Moore who had to literally introduce himself at the Academy Awards. Except I already knew him from The Get Down. The rest of the cast was superb but he had so much heart that it would be difficult not to fall in love with the character. The movie is funny as well and includes quite a few easter eggs and references for comic book fans. I wholeheartedly recommend this.


Umbrella Academy

I am a sucker for retro “mystery man” type of superhero stories. This is about a team of young superheroes who have grown up into dysfunctional adults. They all have problems stemming from being both crimefighters and famous as children. The show is also full of a lot of weirdness. Besides masked hitmen, time travel shenanigans, talking to the dead, and otherworldly creatures, there are plenty of other weird things going on. Some of it is funny and some of it is tragic but it is all entertaining. The grown-up kids are played by Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castaneda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, and Aidan Gallagher. There are also great performances from Mary J. Blige, Cameron Britton, and Adam Godley. The show is wonderfully strange and I never know where the plot is going to go. I recommend it a lot.


Astroboy

I never really watched the anime but I always saw pictures from it in magazines and online. When I was looking for a movie to complete this week, I was originally gunning for Battle Angel Alita but I did not get out to the theater to see it yet. Then I realized that I had not seen this movie yet and it definitely formed a good theme. This was a surprisingly good movie. The movie follows a little robot boy who goes on a quest that involves robot rights and economic disparity. I really liked the world building of the movie. They created two very different worlds that still worked together well. I also really liked the art design and especially the character designs. It also has great voices from Freddie Highmore, Nicolas Cage, Kristen Bell, Bill Nighy, Donald Sutherland, Samuel L. Jackson, and Eugene Levy. They all played characters that were instantly clear, fully formed, and entertaining. I especially loved Freddie Highmore (Astroboy) and Kristen Bell (Cora). Although, it should come as no surprise that I adored Kristen Bell once again. The movie was pretty deep and endearing for what looked like a throwaway PG animated movie. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:
While She Sleeps – ELEPHANT

Cardi B & Bruno Mars – Please Me

Jennifer Hudson – I’ll Fight

Alex Lahey – Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Blackbriar – Arms of the Ocean

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Young Heroes”
– I finished The Punisher Season 2
– I finished Wynonna Earp Season 2
– I watched more Lucifer Season 3
– I watched more Fate/Apocrypha Season 2
– I watched more Carmen Sandiego Season 1
– I watched more The Seven Deadly Sins Season 3
– I watched more Russian Doll Season 1

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.

Top 11 Favorite 90s Characters

February 17, 2018

Top 11


11. Bob (ReBoot)

When I played my first video game on the Atari, I was hooked. Even though the games of my youth were next to impossible, I loved trying each and every game I could get my hands on. Computers were also becoming more and more of a thing as I entered my teen years. I spent a lot of time playing computer games and video games with my friends and we bonded over them. So when Reboot first premiered, I was instantly in love. The show is about the programs that live inside a computer city called Mainframe. The show’s main hero is Bob who is a guardian. Being a guardian means that Bob would enter the games the user played and would “reboot” himself as an enemy character and try to beat the user at the game. If he succeeded, he protected Mainframe and if he failed, that section of Mainframe was destroyed. So it set up most gamers as unintentional villains opposed by guardians like Bob. Bob was always level-headed and did not let fear override his thoughts as he could not afford to get distracted. Bob also had a multitool that could transform into a lot of gadgets he might need to save the day both in the games and out of them. Even with the danger, I envied Bob’s life of basically living in video games.


10. Freakazoid

As I was growing up, my sense of humor started to evolve and animation started to move beyond the laugh track humor of past cartoons. Instead of corny humor of shows like The Flintstones or He-Man, family shows started to really figure out humor. Just because you are putting out a PG product, does not mean that your humor has to insult even its youngest audience members. The makers of Freakazoid obviously embraced a lot of different types of humor. Most of all, they seemed to embrace smarter forms of humor like Monty Python or Bugs Bunny. Combining the silly and the surreal was what that sort of humor was about. Dexter Douglas is a young nerdy teen (like I was!) who got zapped by his home computer and was transported into the Internet. Let’s pause there because I would have loved to be able to be zapped into the Internet. That would have been a geek’s dream. The experience turned Dexter into Freakazoid, a manic but enthusiastic superhero. Freakazoid is always out for a good time but, like Bugs Bunny, he often has to take care of villains just to get back to the fun. Freakazoid was also the defender of Washington, DC which is close enough to my hometown for me to get a little excited. This show had the same humor as The Animaniacs (more on that later) with low humor blended with high humor. Freakazoid was impossible not to root for too.


9. Mega Man

I was an early adopter when it came to video games even though I have always been kind of in the middle of the pack when it comes to skill. Still, I have always loved the aesthetics that video game developers come up with. Even a lot of the worst games at least look interesting. When I was young, I immediately glommed onto Mega Man 2. It was an incredibly difficult game but I loved the franchise’s idea of having elemental-themed enemies with a high degree of character. The show combines the concepts from the video games with anime. Rock is a robot who gets redesigned for battle and uses an energy blaster to fight evil robots. He also had an onboard computer feature that could copy his enemy’s abilities when he touched them which was similar enough to the games. I just remember Mega Man being so cool and confident and I liked the idea of not being stuck with one power but being able to use your enemies’ powers against them. The cartoon was short lived but it included a lot of stuff from the franchise and Mega Man eventually teamed up with his future counterpart Mega Man X as well. What kid didn’t want to be a robot with a robot dog?


8. Xena: Warrior Princess

Before I discovered the Evil Dead franchise, I discovered something else that Sam Raimi and his gang produced. That something was Hercules: The Legendary Journeys but, while it was a good show, Hercules was kind of a bland show compared to its spinoff. Xena was supposed to be a one-off character on Hercules, a brutal female villain for Hercules to contend with. At the end of her turn on Hercules, the audiences loved her so the decision was made for her to reform and to start her own legendary journey to right wrongs. Basically, she was fighting the patriarchy before most people were even using that term. She was also one of the first lesbian characters on television and even gawky preteen me understood that subtext. Xena was a total badass and she never met a situation she couldn’t fight, intimidate, or trick her way out of. She was also funny in the same way that Batman was funny which is funny without trying to be. She also fought a lot of the mythology that I had fallen in love with after reading The Oddysey, The Iliad, and other Greek/Roman tales. She also is one of three characters to get stuck in a Groundhog Day-esque scenario that ended up funny and interesting. (The other two are Sam Winchester and Phil Connors himself, of course). I also often have a soft spot for tough people who secretly have a heart of gold.


7. The Blue Ranger (Billy Cranston)

Power Rangers was a show that I was a huge fan of. I had no idea at all that it was edited from footage from a similar Japanese show. However, Saban was able to turn that into an unstoppable franchise that became its own animal. For me, Power Rangers was something I watched before leaving for school at one point. I remember being really interested in the idea of normal teenage kids becoming superheroes. It also scratched the same itch that magical girl shows would later also scratch. Billy, in particular, was my favorite because he had abilities beyond being a Power Ranger. He was yet another example of blue characters being the smart ones. He was an inventor who came up with a lot of the extra gadgets the original Rangers used and a lot of those gadgets continued into later series. He was also the awkward one, a little insecure about being among other people. When it came to actual Power Ranger powers, he was on par with everybody else. Episodes focusing on him often dealt with more real issues like rescuing a new girlfriend, phobias, or science.


6. Gambit (Remy Lebeau)

When I was a kid, I hated the Boy Scouts of America. I was briefly part of the Indian Guides (now thankfully called Y-Guides) and the Scouts were our rivals. Even today, I do not put much faith in the organization. But when I was a kid, I was kind of averse to “boy scout” characters like Superman and especially Cyclops. I much preferred to see more subversive characters like Wolverine, Rogue, and especially Gambit. Gambit was a thief from New Orleans who had the mutant power to replace an object’s kinetic energy with explosive energy. Anything he touched basically turned into a grenade. He did not wear a team uniform and instead wore a custom costume with a big trench coat. This was at a time when I was very tired of wearing uniforms for sports. While Gambit did not get nearly enough time on the animated series during the nineties, they meted out just enough of him to keep people wanting more. On top of that, I always wished I had his confidence growing up.


5. Darkwing Duck

This was officially my first experience with the combination of Disney and superheroes which would end up often being a very satisfying combination. Drake Mallard is a duck living in the DuckTales universe and he dresses up and fights crime as Darkwing Duck. He is basically Batman, James Bond, and The Green Hornet combined into one hero. He is a serious hero but the show was both a serious superhero show and a parody superhero show. The character of Darkwing Duck is a superhero who fell in love with being a detective and fighting crime. However, he also had a huge ego and tended to be rather clumsy at times. He often only saved the day when he managed to get serious and get out of his own way. He fought alongside Disney-fied versions of popular superheroes and fought Disney-fied versions of popular comic book villains and James Bond-esque villains. Unlike annoying heroes like Inspector Gadget, the humor did not come from him being incompetent but from Darkwing’s quips and physical humor. The character was also a good father to a little girl he had adopted who often helped to fight crime along with DW and his sidekick Launchpad (from DuckTales). As the show continued, Darkwing’s history was added to and there was a lot of great world-building.


4. Yakko Warner

The Animaniacs was a cartoon variety show that focused on a whole cast of zany Warner Brothers style characters updated for the nineties. The main focus of the show was the Warner Brothers and their sister Dot. They were cartoons deemed too zany and disruptive and were sealed in the water tower on the Warner Brothers lot. At the beginning of the series, they finally made their escape and the studio spent the entire series trying to acclimate them to polite society with no success. The kids were not evil, though. They were rambunctious and sarcastic but, like Bugs Bunny, they really only caused malicious chaos when somebody crossed the line and upset them. Their revenge was out of proportion but justified. Out of the three, Yakko Warner was my favorite. His form of comedy was mostly wordplay. He employed puns, sarcasm, and just good old-fashioned tricks with words. He was basically a cartoon form of Groucho Marx. He always seemed to be the smartest guy in the room and he leveraged that to make mean or rude people pay for their behavior. He also sang quite a few of the show’s most memorable songs including the highly educational Yakko’s World and Yakko’s Universe. Like Groucho, he usually ended up as the leader of his siblings and their spokesman. Inside my head, the words always flowed like Yakko but outside, especially as a kid, I was never as glib.


3. Sailor Mercury (Ami)

When I was sitting on my bed, watching episodes of Sailor Moon from Cartoon Network’s line up, I always loved Sailor Mercury the most. She never had the coolest power but in retrospect, her abilities usually gave the Scouts a tactical advantage such as fog or freezing the enemy. I mean, Sailor Jupiter obviously had the coolest powers. However, Ami was present from the fifth episode and it is a good thing that she was. She is by far the smartest of all of the Scouts and was the only Scout to be granted a magical supercomputer. There is only one episode of the original anime when she pulls out her Mercury Goggles which was basically a VR overlay visor for scanning things. That blew my mind because the combination of technology and magic was amazing. I identified with Ami because she was the “smart one” and my teachers kept claiming I was intelligent. I was also interested in the emerging technology of computers just as Ami was. Also, I was probably drawn to Ami because she was the shy and timid one and that was how I felt as well.


2. Spider-Man

In the middle of the decade, Marvel finally got its crap together and started to put out really good animation. Spider-Man is a character who I have always loved. His origins are as a nerdy and shy high schooler who got to magically transform into a superhero after being bitten by a radioactive spider. As a kid, I dreamed of finding my own radioactive spider (figuratively, of course). He also got to work for a newspaper in a sort of creative job all while studying cool science in college. That cool science enhanced his gear with gadgets but his main deal was his brain, his strength, and his speed. The cartoon in the 90s was great. It really captured a lot of what I loved about reading Spider-Man comics and it included pretty much his entire rogue’s gallery. They really captured both Peter’s internal monologue and the quips that Spider-man uses to disarm his foes mid-battle. The show also explored a lot of the angst that a young superhero felt while also trying to juggle a career, school, and a girlfriend. The show and the comics made me feel at the time that I could be Spider-Man which is one of the main strengths of the character. Anybody can be under that mask as long as they have radioactive spider blood too.


1. Batman

When I was a little kid, reruns of the 1966 Batman show came on and, while I enjoyed it, I never really engaged with it. It was better than I Dream of Jeannie reruns because it had superheroes even though Adam West was never really super. My relationship with Batman drastically improved when Bruce Timm and Warner Brothers released Batman: The Animated Series. B:TAS was everything that I wanted Batman to be and it became the bar by which I measured future Batman stories. The Animated Series was an amazing mix of both light and dark. I welcomed the darkness which was so sorely lacking from the campy Adam West series. I realized that Adam West was never really Batman. This was Batman. Kevin Conroy’s strong voice matched the shadowy, adventurous character on screen. His voice could be scary, brave, warm, vulnerable, and even funny at times without losing the character of Batman. The writing made it clear that Batman was not perfect but he lived in a world that believed he was. He put the weight of the world on his shoulders and then still saved the day the best way he knew how.

Media Update 8/3/2017

August 3, 2017


Spider-Man: Homecoming

I was a huge fan of Spider-Man growing up and therefore I bought a lot of Spidey comic books with my allowance in the mid to late nineties. So I got both good and bad storylines including my favorite Maximum Carnage. I do not read the comics anymore because I have fallen behind and the One More Day storyline kind of convinced me that I was done with Spidey comics for an indefinite amount of time. However, any animated or live action version is something I feel compelled to check out. Therefore, I was beyond excited to see the character in Captain America: Civil War. This is the first stand alone Spidey film in the connect Marvel Cinematic Universe. There was a definite John Hughes vibe to the non-action parts (and some of the action parts) which I read they were going for. Tom Holland is the youngest version of Peter Parker to date and he did a great job bringing out that part of the character. He was a kid, he made dumb decisions and made mistakes but with the purest of intentions. They also redesigned the costume to give it expressive eyes so that we did not get the action figure quality from the first Spider-Man film and he did not have to take off his mask to convey emotion. They had a great supporting cast with Robert Downey, Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jennifer Connelly, Zendaya, Jon Favreau and newcomer Jacob Batalon. Michael Keaton played an excellent villain with a blue collar vibe to him which felt like just the right inaugural villain for this new Spidey. I definitely recommend it.


Justice League: Gods and Monsters

DC Comics loves its elseworlds stories and frankly, I like a lot of them because I like theories on alternate universes. In this story, we get an alternate Justice League caused by changes in the timeline. In this timeline, General Zod’s son is sent to Earth when Krypton explodes instead of Kal-El and his trajectory places him in the care of a pair of migrant workers (they seemed to be from Mexico). He grows up with a distrust of authority but a strong sense of justice and the desire to defend the weak. Bekka, the wife of Orion, comes to Earth to escape a massacre and names herself Wonder Woman with no Diana of Themyscira in sight. A young Kurt Langstrom tries to cure his cancer with a biological/nanite solution and accidentally turns himself into a vampire and he calls himself Batman. As far as we see, a lot of familiar faces from the comics do not make the move into becoming heroes and villains and the Justice League spends most of their time fighting terrorist cells. All three kill freely with varying degrees of regret. As usual, the animation and voice acting are on point for yet another DC Animated feature. There is plenty of action but the movie ends up being more of a mystery than a straight superhero thing. With the minimal cast, we get more time to explore each character in more depth. If you are a fan of these sorts of things then I definitely recommend it.


Van Helsing (2016)

I really like Wynonna Earp and I like vampire lore so I thought I would give another Syfy series about a famous ancestor a shot. As you might expect, this series follows the modern day (2019) descendant of fictional vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, Vanessa Helsing. She was born with special blood, a mystery I have not yet seen solved on the show. In fact, there are a lot of mysteries that have yet to be solved in the few episodes I have seen so far which is great. What is known in the first episode is that Mt. Saint Helens has exploded again, scattering ash over a large portion of the United States. As soon as the eruption happens, people mysteriously start attacking and trying to drink blood from other people. Without direct sunlight, these vampires have free reign of the outdoors now. Most of them are feral and attack like rabid animals without provocation. There are intelligent vampires but what their role in things is not yet clear. However, the rational vampires do fear Vanessa Helsing because she is said to be the key to eliminating all vampires. The show starts slow but picks up in the second episode as we start learning more character backstories and the driving forces behind the show. I am interested in seeing more. It is pretty gory as you might expect but I recommend it as a pleasant diversion if you are looking for something a little scarier.

Music of the Week:
The xx – Dangerous

Spankin – Smith and Pyle

Anilah — Warrior

PUP – Sleep In TheHeat

Against Me! – Crash

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “With Great Power…”
– I finished Season 1 of Glitter Force
– I finished Season 4 of Agents of Shield
– I watched more NCIS Season 14
– I started watching Criminal Minds Season <>
– I watched more Blood Drive
– It is August which means we are in the commercial Halloween season

Media Update 6/11/2015

June 11, 2015


The Amazing Spider-Man 2

 

I really liked The Amazing Spider-Man as I thought that everyone involved did a really good job at establishing a well-balanced and grounded Spider-Man movie. The sequel brought a lot of what I liked back. The visuals are amazing and fun and really give you a feel of what it’s like to be Spider-Man. A lot of the dialogue is really great and I especially enjoy the Spider-Man quips just like he did in the comics and cartoon shows from my childhood. I really wanted to like this movie and I guess I liked it well enough. However, the pacing was off and it didn’t feel like there was any dramatic tension. Nothing looked especially difficult for the hero to overcome at least in my opinion. It also felt like they tried to cram too much in as Green Goblin and Rhino could have been cut out and they could have simplified the Gwen Stacy romance a bit. Still worth watching though.

 


Daredevil

 

Alright. I see you looking at me funny for posting a trailer for 2003’s Daredevil instead of the awesome Daredevil TV show that I’ve already raved about. Don’t worry, I have a point. I finished watching Season One the night before last and it was an awesome end to an awesome season. I can’t wait for Season 2.

 

But I’ve already praised the Netflix show so what was my point again? Oh right. I’ve said it before (and gotten death glares for it) but I like the 2003 Daredevil movie. It’s written down now and entered into the ledger forever. Is the Netflix show better? Yes. Is it a better adaptation? Yes, of course. Does that mean that Daredevil (2003) sucks? No. In all seriousness, I do like the movie but I insist on only watching the Director’s cut which is much more watchable. I was actually shocked when people started to rip the movie apart because I didn’t think it was that bad.

 

The movie is actually well acted in its quieter moments. I thought that Ben Affleck did a good job at playing a character struggling with internal conflict while trying to protect a city. I really like the concept behind the visualization of the sonar abilities. The action and story arc fit the kind of popcorn movie this should have been.

 

I think that’s the major problem with the movie that people can’t get past. The movie has tone problems and can’t decide what it wants to be. One minute Matt Murdock is draped in shadow and dealing with shadows of Catholic guilt and then the next he’s wire fighting with Elektra in broad daylight out of costume. The movie tried to straddle the line between Batman Forever and The Dark Knight and failed. Also, because it was the early 2000’s it suffered from a horrible overuse of CGI and wirefighting. Still, I enjoy it for the deeply flawed movie it is. It definitely deserved to be better but it doesn’t deserve the epic pile of hate that is usually shoveled onto it.

 

Trailers on Youtube (Update)

 

Last time I broached this subject I ranted about having two different trailers for Pitch Perfect 2 rammed down my throat. It pissed me off but I might have been a little hasty. I’ve since spoken with people who liked the movie and they confirmed the trailers were awful. Was I going to see the movie? Probably not. However, that probably not turned into definitely not when the trailers annoyed me. I’m sure Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2 have their audiences just like Melissa McCarthy films have their audience. Now they’re doing it again with Ted 2 and with each trailer I want to see it less and less. I don’t mind seeing ads on videos online but not the same one over and over and over.


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