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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Marvel 2017 Update

This has been floating around for a while so forcing myself to finish it. The comics have been so uninspiring it is hard to get inspired enough to write about them. So Kevin Feige announced that the Marvel movies are done at 22. So Dr. Strange will get a sequel , but not a 3rd movie? Or the tie-ins will stop and everyone has to stand on their own two feet. If the Spider-man sequel does well I have a  hard time imagining that they wont make a third. In cases it would be clearly going to the well too many times. Is the focus going to shift on tv? With In-humans proved to be a bust. This is too becomes a gamble. The actors are dropping from the contracts so re-booting is imminent. Though they have learned their lesson from the comics and Legacy finds them returning to the status quo. Jane Foster will die. Iron-heart could never get off the ground. I was going to write separate reviews for The Punisher and Runaways shows , but I can sum them up in a few sentences. The Punisher, had it's moments and ended strong. Too many extra story lines, and Jigsaw should have been a thing and not just an old Army buddy. More ties into organized crime would have been nice. My major complaint is no costume, having a costume is an establishing an identity which is like the crest of his shield that symbolizes what he is fighting for. Without this he is not a super-hero or anything but another character in a crime drama. The Runaways gets a good feel of the characters. It wastes too much time with origins and gets mired down into a soap opera with their parents that eclipses the kids. I keep telling myself if this doesn't change I am giving up on the show.

The bottom line is numbers talk and bull-shit walks so the cancellations this year now include The Un-believable Gwen-pool gets cancelled, Luke Cage ( a good character not meant to support a book of his own), Hawkeye, Gen X, and America Chavez. Can Squirrel-girl be far behind one wonders. Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers and X-men Blue are said to be Marvel's biggest selling books. As of Amazing Spider-Man 793, it's been reduced to haphazard mess,  this time is one with Venom symbiotes taking over people and the new Flash Thompson Anti-Venom is the only hope, as Spider-Man himself is possessed by a symbiote. Black Cat who is taking a much larger role as a villain seems to be stepping up to orchestrate this. X-men has some focus and now they have become a cluster fuck of mindless stories that feel like the kind of plot chaos that goes on in your average issue of Justice League. Avengers is not much better they are going into "No Surrender" so far it seems murky something with Kang, or High Evolutionary and building into another Infinity War in time for Infinity War to go to the big screen.

Planet Hulk is Greg Pak trying to recreate what they had with Banner using Cho-Hulk and it falls flat, though the last page of issue 711 shows Cho and Thor about to go at it. This trend continues as the go into a "World War Hulk" coming out of Planet Hulk, as this point Banner Hulk will be back so Cho-Hulk will be a mute point. Maybe he will get killed off, we can only hope, but not likely since Pak is writing it. The comics trying to cash in one the movies. Speaking of movies cashing in Black Panther continues to prove that Black Panther is a great supporting character who works in the context of the Avengers or Fantastic Four, but can't support his own book. They throw in other black characters from the Marvel Universe to try to offer support in the comic and it seems forced. The movie looks like a video and while it will be rallied behind since it is the politically correct thing to do, the story will suck, because there are no memorable Black Panther solo adventures to pull from, unless you are talking about his feud with Dr. Doom, which isn't happening in this movie.  Iron Man is taking to long to bring Tony back and in the process things could not be more convoluted than they already are.

The best news of the year is Dr. Strange bringing back THE SENTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Loki is stealing Strange's thunder and we know Sentry has ripped one god in half, and Are's is tougher than Loki. When he actually gets into action by making a triumphant return to Asgard. Moon Knight is showing some promise. The art looks like it is drawn by the same due who does Crossed, which is a good thing.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Film Review : "The Last Jedi"

Watched this a week ago , but hadn't felt inspired to write about it. Most of the die-hards have seen it by now. What's left are the people with a passing interest who might see it over the course of their vacation as it winds down around new years, god knows kids don't go back until the 5th. I am not a Star Wars fanatic. I respect the first three films , enjoy the mythology they created, and I like Rogue One for re-capturing that. So I am not clouded by that and can watch these movies with a neutral view.You have probably read a bunch of fan-boy gushing over it and might be a little confused. It really depends on if you are old enough to have see any of the first three in theaters when they came out. If you are then you are clearly not the audience they have in mind, It is written for Millennials and stick a lot of the issues they Tweet about in your face. Their is even a politically correct character, who almost gets killed, not a spoiler since every one almost gets killed. It's the tone of the movie that is the main problem. This is not a get off my lawn moment. I won't hold it up against the first three movies. I'll just hold it up against "Rogue One".

Rogue One took itself seriously. This movie did not. You will then bring up the first three movies when you rush to defend this one by saying"There was humor in the first three movies". True, but it was delivered by Harrison Ford in such a dead pan straight faced manner than it did not take away from the dynamic dramatic gravitas of those movies.Those movies were in many ways a homage to the classic sci-fi serials, so they had class to them. Rogue One followed this blueprint. The problem could be Disney as it felt like I could have been watching Mulan the way they used the force to force the humor in. It was entertaining until these cringe worthy moments pulled me out of the movie.

There is no menace. With Darth Vader dead there has been a void left in these films. Kylo Ren doesn't fill that void and still is in league with Anakin from the Jar Jar era. He still throws temper tantrums. He can still be rather tedious. I still seem him as a petulant child and lets face it Darth Vader did more bad ass shit in the few minutes he was in "Rogue One' than Kylo Ren has done in two fucking movies, so there is no defense for that. You want a villain to be bad ass you write him that way, Hollywood as more than enough examples of this happening in one movie so don't say shit about character development that is bullshit weak writing end of story. While we are on bad writing , how did we get get to Hoth? Granted by that point in the movie is was getting harder for it to keep my attention, but I should have picked up on that. Another is issue is unless it was Luke and Chewie interacting or Leia and C3p0 then the chemistry between characters was just not there. Is it a terrible movie because of these things, no it's more watchable than the Jar Jar era films, I do think without Lucas having a hand in these films they are off the beam. Glad I saw it on-line and did not pay 15 dollars to see it as it worth watching just not worth Mega-plex pricing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Film Review : "Justice League"

This Review may contain Spoilers- 

The tone of "Justice League"  matched the tone of D/C's comic output, though this is also the reason that I read Marvel not D/C. That is not to say there are not many D/C characters I favorites being Super-man, Aqua-man, Swamp Thing,Hawk-man and Martian Man Hunter. The problem the comic books have is there is tons of senseless fight with page after page of people piling in with nothing to connect you to the humanity of the character. This is why Bat-man tends to work best on screen as he is just a human not so godlike you can not relate. This movie was not as abysmal as I though it might be going into it, the end befell the same problem Wonder -Woman face where it devolved into a mindless splash of CGI being vomited onto the screen.

The number one problem with the movie seemed to take place in post-production as the timing was off due to terrible editing the part that should have been condensed drug on and the films coolest moments were too short live. The chemistry of the characters forming this team was lacking because the only character who felt comfortable in the role was Henry's Super-man. He has now had three films to grow into it. Hands down the movies best moment was when he kicked the shit out Wonder-woman. The fights with Steppenwolfe who was an awful choice for a villain, all felt the same. You really didn't care about the outcome, they never felt like they were in peril aside from Super-man's outburst. Cy-borg as a character was as flat as it got. The actor who might have been hindered more than helped by the excessive CGI , did very little to compensate for this. Aqua-man might have been the most disappointing, as he was like a dumb bro rather than regal. The Flash was ok but felt like he was trying to hard, with both Bat-man and Wonder-Woman's characters feeling like the took a step backwards in their development. The big crawling Bat-mobile thing had to be one of the film's worst moments.

I am unsure where they added more Wonder-woman and could not really tell where they did the re-shoots, so maybe in doing so they lost the story they were trying to tell. The film might have been better served with the impostor Super-men showing up to take the throne, like Eradicator, though they would have been even more outclassed. I did like the little glimpse of a Green Lantern at the beginning, and wondered why was he omitted. Another female on the team like Hawk-Woman might have made sense . It's not like they were trying to really develop anyone aside from the big three and solo movies from Aqua-man and Cy-borg are bound to be huge flops. Mera's three seconds on screen was cool but pointless. It's clear unless it's Bat-man, Super-man or Wonder-woman, D/C can never touch Marvel on screen. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Film Review : Thor Ragnarok

The third installment of the Thor movies is the most entertaining of the three, but is that really saying much considering how flawed the first two are. The first well Thor doesn’t have his powers most of the movie, the depowering route means the writers don’t know how to handle the character in their true form. The second movie was better to some extent though we had elves in space ships. The third film is fun , but has major problems. I am a huge Thor fan, I have the Walt Simonson Thor tattooed on me. So the bar is high, but I want to see Thor on screen. I like Chris as Thor, I think the script he has to work with most of the time leaves something to be desired.

Clearly this movie was following a blueprint laid out by the Guardians of the Galaxy films.As it tried to inject more humor into the story. To the point of making the Hulk come across like Drax when he was given something to do aside from smash. Sometimes this worked better than other, using the Hulk in a humorous context worked better on the first Avengers movie , if the Hulk was going to have a sense of humor which he is typically to angry to have one, it should be handled more like it was there. But of the movie’s problems this was actually the mildest one. I can understand on following the comic books frame for frame. When it comes to the actual Norse mythology, the comics have been more faithful to it than others , but have adhered to the basics, aside from obvious faults like turning Jane Foster in a Thor. I get that Valkyrie was not Brunhilde, though I did like the wink to her in the flashback sequence. The problem is Valkrie’s are not sworn to protect Asgard they are sworn to take dead warriors to Valhalla, pretty basic core stuff.

Another big plot fail is the fact Hel is the daughter of Loki, not his sister. OOPS, that pretty much pisses on the point of the movie. Toilet flushing inserted here. So with the basic premise being foolish, let's look at what I liked. Dr Strange being way more powerful was cool to see. I also liked Korg and Meik being included in the wink to the Greg Pak “Planet Hulk” storyline. Funny how it made it into this movie after having Beta Ray Bill replacing the Silver Surfer in the cartoon adaptation. Why Beta Ray Bill wasn’t in the movie I don’t know , while the Hulk is my favorite superhero I would have prefered Beta Ray Bill fighting Thor in the arena if we had to go that route. I thought Hel looked good and Skurge was fairly true to the character. The film leads us up to where Thor and Loki are going to fall into the Infinity War. We already know the Hulk buddies up with Rocket Racoon. So it’s too bad the Thor films never got it right , but at least this one was fun getting it wrong.  

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Marvel the Summer of Discontent

I have been sitting on this one for awhile and need to just get it out so I can move on. I think if it took my all summer to get this post out then it is obvious that Marvel has been less than inspiring considering when I started this blog I wrote once a week about comics. So this is a collection of various glimpses into the releases of the summer as well as a grim look at the big picture. Secret Empire continued to suck as well as Marvel comics in general. This isn't just me, I went to a panel of comic retailers and they all agreed , Marvel might have you fooled when it comes to the movies , but the books are not selling. People are pissed and want their characters back I am not sure Marvel has had an event worth a shit in past few years.The best part was bringing back Banner for an issue and watching him plow through everyone.  X-men even with it' overly cerebral slant is one of the best books going since Dedato is doing the art. Not my favorite team of all time, but I'll take it. Mighty Thor 22 issues later is even worse of a mess, like when they had Hulks of too many colors now there is Volstagg as a war-Thor. Speaking of Hulk the Hulk Generations was ok and brought Banner Hulk back, but I am unsure what is really the point of this the Generations Wolverine book was about the same quality, no real point considering those two had already met, it just looked like something else to mess with the time line. Speaking of messes the Infamous Iron-man's 11th issue seems like something that should have gone down in either the Fantastic Four who needs a return to comics or in Dr.Strange. Nothing to do with Iron Man at all.

Black Panther 17 was the best yet from the new writer, but I have a hard time seeing how he can hold up a movie on his own. Speaking of movies bound to flop based on the comics , the Mighty Captain Marvel is an even more contrived space opera that is hard to care about even with the Alpha Flight involved. Now to further clutter things up we have Hyperion and the Ultimates. Granted the latter at leastw works with Danvers current mythos. When it comes to Avengers there does seem to be some hope for the Uncanny Avengers who find Scarlet Witch back in their ranks in the 26th issue. I think this book would work better with Beast in it instead of Rogue. Johnny Storm as needs to go. The team doesn't need two magic users, ask anyone who plays D&D so get rid of Brother Voodoo. That would leave us with Quicksliver, Wasp, Scarlet Witch and Synapse. Bring in Beast and another odd Avenger from the past like Jocosta, Mantis or Tigra and it would be a great book. See I just named off three more female super-heroes so I am all for girl power. Just not a she-Thor.

X-men Blue is decent in it's 10th issue . None of the X-books have really been that great though I am glad that Daken is back.Jean Grey finds it 6th issue being much better than you would ever imagine her being able to hold down her own book. Granted each issue has guest ranging from Dr. Strange to Thor to Scarlet Witch, you might notice I just named some of my favorite characters to I am sure that factors into the equation, but I think this book pays homage to the canon that came before it. So lets hope the fall finds them making some better choices with Legacy.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Movie Review : " It"

Friday night my daughter and were talking about what her mom was going to do I told her she was going to go see “It”.Because 7 year olds know everything My daughter replied “No she is going to see a movie about a scary clown. I then tried to explain to her what the title of said scary clown movie was . But if you are wanting to see a movie about scary clowns you might be better off with the current season of American Horror Story. As “it’ doesn’t limit itself to just being about a scary clown and the bigger more sinister picture is well painted . itself among the some of the better Stephen King adaptations to film, this movie falls short of the Shining or the Mist in terms of scares , but has a lot of heart.This is only the first chapter so if you go in wanting to for them to return to Derry as adults then you better stock up on pop-corn and wait for the next movie. Generally speaking I think the director nailed the personalities of kids. This was the studio putting a ton of faith in a director whose other work “Momma” was luke warm. This film does a better job than the Tim Curry tele-vision miniseries. The big question you are really going to ask here is how does Pennywise stack up?

So you are asking Bill Skarsgard to stuck up against Tim Curry. If you strip away any cgi that was augmenting Skarsgard’s performance and kept it do who delivered their lines better than Curry would win.This also outline’s one of the movie strengths that blows the nostalgia horror fans are known for hanging onto out of the water. That is no saying we need to re-make “The Exorcist” of “the Shining” with today’s effects. In fact since this was originally a made for television mini-series and not a full length theatrical release then technically it’s not a remake. So it’s 2017 and has a bigger budget than the televised version, so it looks better. This is not just from a effects perspective there are some well placed shots, most of these you have seen in the trailer. Though a few like right before Pennywise starts dancing in his lair, so effective.

Pennywise never goes full out bug in this version, just like we are once again not shown the kids giving it to Beverly in sewer, I think that is something you can only see in Second Life. The sexual tension was more present. Not just with the kids, but a few of the townspeople and her father. Much like the lesson Joss Whedon taught us in Buffy that highschool is a terrifying place. The early adolescent world of these kids is just as scary as anything they encounter in the sewers. So it is much truer to King’s vision in this regard. I think the maniacal headshaking charge we see repeated by Pennywise was the only part of the movie I did not like, though the inclusion of the Wolf-man the protagonist sees in the book would have been a nice touch but perhaps Universal had too tight a reins on those rights. I haven’t read the book since it’s release in 1986. But the impact the book had still made me able to weigh it against the film and able to chant”he thrusts his fist against the posts, and still insists he sees the ghosts” which could have been given a little more context. So even the overblown drama of the Hollywood moments was not able to diminish the films entertainment value. If you are a horror fan you might find it lacking in the scares department, but it’s still a fun ride for Stephen King Fans.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Strange Case of Dragon-con

It has been a tense year. So I am sure many people wanting the vacation like escape from Dragon-con that they has been waiting all year for, found themselves unable to detach from the real world around them and submerse themselves back into the fantasy of their escape. Some reached further back into child like places to to his as there were more costumes that paid homage to things from child hood, like Scooby Doo, Strawberry Shortcake, Sesame Street and Disney. Wonder Woman who is celebrating her 75th anniversary, beat out Harley Quinn this year, when if comes to female costumes. Even the Danger Woman panel had some tension where she would not acknowledge the death of Bill Paxton in her homage to the recently deceased called "Victim of a Lie , Victim of Goodbye", she did give Glen Campbell props when it thought of him but , when asked said Bill Pxton was a stranger. Dragon-con ca be a cruising spot for nerds, that as not even in as full effect as past years. The drinking did not have as celebratory a tone and since I don't drink and was looking at that fishbowl from the outside, it appeared more like self medication.

Perhaps geek culture has been given less to celebrate.Game of Thrones is the only thing to celebrate at the moment. Hollywood churns out abysmal dreck like the "Dark Tower" which bombed as it should have and the escape that we want is now relegated to Netflix, who allows Marvel to push their political agenda through the lack luster Defenders show. I never over the course of the weekend heard a single person sing the praises of that show. All of this tensions and depression was notice when I arrived at the Westin on Friday and heard someone talking to an someone I know who works at the hotel about a incident involving someone getting violent when trying to cram into an elevator . So people showed up with high tensions.  After that I went to panel on the Skeptics Track about Science vs Religion. The panel revolved around some comments Bill O Riley had made, so we could not escape the outside world. We then hit a filking panel that we could not take more than about twenty minutes of. Then the rest of the day was spent watching costumes in the Hyatt, we posted up by the escalators where I ran into the bulk of my friends that I saw at the Con this weekend. Talked to a girl who was Wednesday Addams Ash mash up called Ash Wednesday and then hit my A.A meeting in the basement of the Hyatt. The next night was met with a more serious tone as people began to notice the kind of drinking going on was less playful than years before.

After noting most of the cosplays were taking on a androgynous flip with gender bending bringing almost as many men playing Wonder Woman as women, why were they not Simon Williams, if they wanted to be Wonder man? So we went to a panel on fashion in comics, which was better than I expected. My days are already beginning to blur This was followed by a panel about making bad guys in comics. Another panel where the terrible flop that is the Dark Tower was ignored. Instead we designed a villain for a wild west comic.This was more fun than not.We then encountered more drunks at the bar this time it was earlier around 5 or so. Side not restaurants had raised prices more and made only partial menus. Danger woman offered needed laughs and the Marriot that night proved to be a unpleasant place to be, Some guy in a back pack who was intentionally running into people, made a mistake of running into me and just bounced off me, I didn't really notice what happened til my friend pointed it out.

By Sunday it felt like Con-drop had already hit, I spent the first half of the day by myself. I went to paranormal panels this day with the "Malevolent Entities" panel being the most enjoyable. Wandered the hotels a bit ended up at a meeting. Went to one each night if the con. There did seem to be less people. One friend did not return after Saturday. From Saturday on I tried spending most of my time in the Westin and Sheraton. The crowds that were there seemed to be clustered in the same places, the Hilton made the outside deck a party spot which was somewhat fun as it allowed the organized cosplay at platform. Monday I it more comics panels and even the retailers admitted Marvel fucked themselves which was the affirmation I needed. Overall I can say I found Frolicon to be a much better time than Dragon-con this year. I think the programming was lacking and over all mood tense and guarded, perhaps this is just a reflection of what happens when you put pople who only interact through social media together and we are just not seeing the long term side effects, whatever the case it was unwelcome and generally a downer.