How To Make The Ultimate Banoffee Pie

Nah, only kidding!  I’m totally stuck for both what I’m going to write about and, therefore, what I’d title this post.  So yeah, oh!  Actually, I do have a couple of things.

Reboot.

Let’s try this again, shall wee?

Ok so the big thing happened this Tuesday, and I’ve deliberately made an effort to stay off here until at least yesterday.  Age of Ultron.  Shit the bed was that a good movie!  I had built up a considerable amount of excitement for this, as I’m sure many had, and was incredibly fortunate to get the opportunity to go to a regional premiere on Tuesday evening.  It blew me away, no exaggeration, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen all the way through and the two and a quarter hours it ran for felt like about twenty minutes.  Now, since the movie has only been out for two full days here in the UK and at the very least those in the States have almost a week to wait I’ll still keep it spoiler free, but I will say that Jeremy Renner/Hawkeye fans will be absolutely thrilled by AoU.  If you’ve not booked tickets, do it now.  If you’re in the UK and haven’t seen it yet then you’d better have a damn good reason and a plan to go see it soon.

Onto comics, I spotted a bit of news today that caught my attention, that being Miller has been confirmed to return for the final instalment of The Dark Knight.  Apparently they’re running with the title of The Dark Knight III: Master Race.  Here’s the promo image:

darkknightiii-15e7c

Three things immediately strike me here, all of which point to a big fat no from me.  First, Miller.  Second, “Master Race”.  Really?!  And third, the bleeding Superman logo means Miller has further plans to take a big steaming piss on Superman.  I’ve never really been the biggest fan of Miller’s work, some creators just click with you and some don’t.  Subjectivity and all that.  I’ve made my feelings clear several times before regarding The Dark Knight Returns and, specifically, Miller’s handling of Superman in that book and I’m not going through something like that again.  I appreciate he has his fans, that’s cools folks and I really hope you enjoy this closing chapter to the DK saga.  It can’t be worse than The Dark Knight Strikes Again, especially since they have Brian Azzarello on board, no doubt to keep things from going too far down the rabbit hole, but I’ll take a pass on this.

On a much more positive note, next week marks a huge release from Image & Top Cow, Volume 2 of Sunstone by none other than Stjepan Šejić is dropping on Wednesday.  Interestingly it’s getting a staggered release where it’ll be hitting comic shops first, that’s next week, then other book retailers such as Amazon within the first two weeks of May I believe.  If you want a copy, get to your local comic shop and buy one there.  If they don’t currently have a copy, get them to put an order in through Diamond for you.  Books like this need love and support, the only way they continue to be made is us buying them.  Not second hand, through Amazon marketplace sellers or any other crap like that, get out there and buy a brand new copy.  And tell all your friends!  For those of you unfamiliar with Sunstone, I’m just going to post you a link to Šejić’s Sunstone dedicated DeviantArt page.  Just a heads up, you’ll need to create an account there before you can read, so you can unlock the mature content filter.  This isn’t a book for everyone, but I implore you to at least give it a go since Šejić has the first four volumes available on there to read absolutely free.  The final package we get in the books features cleaned up, beautified artwork (it’s beautiful to begin with, but even more so in the print editions) and some tweaks to the grammar and such.  Go here and read now!

Final order of the day, since I really desperately need to get my arse in gear and put some laundry in, next Thursday evening I’ll be doing another Twitch live stream.  This time I’ll be playing Hotline Miami on the PC, just so anyone that watches can get a good old chuckle at my expense as I boil over into a full blown rage demon.  It’s a fun but frustratingly difficult game, so that should be a good laugh.  Anyways, I’m going to head off, I think I’ve pretty much run out of things to go on about now, so… yeah…

Peace out!

Advertisements

Batman v Superman Trailer

We knew we were due a content drop soon, something more substantial than the slivers of information we had been given before, and thanks to a Portuguese subtitled cell phone recording of the new trailer WB just went ahead and gave us a lovely 2 minute look at what we’ll be getting next March.  Today, I’ll be looking more carefully at what they show and what we can probably figure out from here.  First of all, if you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is in full.

Ok, so we open up to some sort of public figure, maybe a chat show host, news anchor or something along those lines, talking about Superman.  This can’t be set too far after Man of Steel I wouldn’t have thought, since the general population seems to be relatively split still on just how much they can trust him.  And his line here is totally right, one man with that amount of power should absolutely be a controversy, even though as a huge Superman fan I know that he’s not a threat to humankind, they don’t.  Which is why I believe this comes quite soon after MoS, if Superman had been around for long enough, there wouldn’t be such a discussion around his motives and whether he could be trusted or not, people would know he could be.  Anyway, we have a few more bits like this, some snippets of people taking a generally mistrustful stance on Superman in the media but at the same time, we get this shot from what I assume is the Day of the Dead celebration.

BvS1Here, we’re seeing pure adulation, these people see much more than just a hero in a blue and red suit, they see a saviour.  This is interesting for two reasons, the first being that even with all the destruction that happened in MoS we have people that see a man who tried his best, saved as many as he could and even though he had to resort to killing, he saved the planet.  The other interesting point, and I say interesting but I find it slightly worrying at the same time, is all those Jesus visuals in the first one have come right around to what looks like people worshipping him.  Now if we get the Superman we all know and love in this movie, this will be the absolute last thing he wants, so it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with this.

Next up we’ve got one short little clip which I love, this is probably one of my favourite parts of the trailer and I really hope we get to see much more of this in the movie, check it out.

BvS2

Superman saving people, being a hero.  We need way more of this and while I actually really enjoyed the front end of MoS, watching Clark struggle with having these great powers but trying to keep to himself so as to not being down a huge amount of attention on himself and his family, he’s out now.  Everyone in the world will have seen the events that took place in Metropolis, so he needs to step up to the plate and getting saving people.  I’d actually really like to see something with a bit less spectacle to, helping people with relatively insignificant problems that they can’t handle, because Superman should never be above helping anyone, regardless of how small their issues may be.

The next scene I want to talk about, however, is where the problems begin.  I’ll give my first impression, then how I look at it now, more rationally.

BvS3My first thought on this, was the in the god damn hell do WB think they’re doing?  Look closely at those shoulders, those soldiers are wearing the symbol of the House of El.  No.  No no no.  This is not how Superman operates, Superman does not create an underground military movement to try and take over the bloody world.  There is no way in hell Superman would ever sanction something like this, this is not Injustice, there was nothing that happened in MoS that would have triggered a response like this from Superman, absolutely nothing.

Then I stopped, and thought.  Superman looks ominous here, almost like WB are trying to paint him as the villain in this movie, but what if he looks like that because he’s pissed as all hell.  This guys clearly revere Superman, they’re god damn bowing to him for shit sake, but as I said earlier there’s not a chance that Superman would ever actually want people to react to him in this way, in the same way he’d never try to fight crime with fear.  That’s Batman’s play, not Superman’s.  So what exactly are we looking at here?

I think we’re looking at a military force, maybe some sort of PMC, set up by a radical who believes Superman is literally a god, come down to Earth to protect humanity and bring them into a new golden age.  This has been done without the knowledge or consent of Superman, and now they’re going round dishing out their flavour of justice and Superman is not happy about it, he’s got that look about him like he’s pissed and if this is the situation, I’m not particularly surprised.  So perhaps he’s shown up here to put a stop to  what this group is doing, that’s pretty much my hope for this scene anyway.

Now this next one is pretty huge, not for what you can see, but what you can hear being said, and by whom.  This particular little bit kicks off at 0:44, have a quick listen before the next jump and see if you can pick up on this before you read on.

BvS4Now visually, yes, we have what is clearly a statue of Superman in Metropolis.  This is nothing new, he’s had this kind of treatment in the comics and has generally found it to be both flattering and a powerful reminder to those that might cause trouble in his city.  It’s quite easy to be appreciative of this kind of treatment without the expectation of deification.  What’s of particular interest here, though, is the line “devils don’t come from hell beneath us, no the ycome from the sky”.  That line is delivered by Jesse Eisenberg, this DC Universe’s Lex Luthor, and those words immediately lay down the foundations for the kind of Lex we’ll be seeing in these movies.  He’s not here to get rich, buy up loads of land or collapse the west coast into the ocean.  Lex, here at least, is that silly type of super villain, he’s gunning specifically for Superman and he’s doing it through the media.  With all his financial success and media based power he most likely wants to be the man looked at as the saviour of Metropolis, the man who came in with all his wealth and used it to help the city back onto it’s feet after the cataclysmic battle with Superman and the other Kryptonians.  Now he’s witnessing a large portion of the public hailing Superman as a hero, perhaps the hero who has had a monument built in his image and he’s jealous.  Furious.  Now he’ll lead the media charge to bring down Superman and muddy his name.

This may not be everything, in fact I have no doubt this isn’t everything.  From a purely speculative stand point, what if those soldiers we saw in the second image were actually contracted by Lex?  What if he manufactured that entire scenario, placed the symbol of El on their uniforms and sent them out to deal out rough justice, while also being very aware of a certain caped crusader in Gotham, and made sure that he saw everything that had been going on.  If this is the case, this is the smart, vicious and incredibly capable Lex I’ve been waiting to see on the big screen since I became a fan of Superman.  Obviously this is all speculation, but from something that could look inherently negative for the Man of Steel in regards to how he’s portrayed by the film makers, this offers some hope that maybe, just maybe things aren’t as they seem in the trailer.

BvS5Well now, isn’t this one interesting too?  This image is shown while the audio of a seemingly large group of people chanting “Go home”, over and over.  It’s a fairly powerful image, one that could be quite telling in a level of naivete on the part of Clark, perhaps?  If he’s really pulling out all the stops to be the big hero for planet Earth, and he’s actually doing some really good work, who are we to say it would be easy to resist the temptation to get swept up in all this?  And if he did, even momentarily, then he’s accidentally set himself up for a massive fall.  A humbling fall, certainly, but one that would shake the public’s confidence in him and could set the precedence of mistrust for other superheroes that we know are on their way further down the line.  I hope this isn’t the case, but for religious types it would be hard to view a man who can do the things Superman can as anything other than a god.  For those that are dedicated followers of existing religions, however, this will be an affront to their god, their beliefs so I guess even if Superman doesn’t get swept up in this, just having people that revere him will be enough to get reactions like this out of devout religious folk.  I just hope this movie, and those in the future, don’t get bogged down in this religious stuff too much though, this isn’t what I want from my superheroes and certainly not Superman.

And this brings us onto the next clip, another one voiced over by a famous actor playing an iconic character.

BvS6Bruce Wayne, the man himself, looking remarkably pissed off.  The voice over this time is provided by Jeremy Irons, who is of course playing Alfred.  Alfred is talking about how resentment, rage and a “feeling of powerlessness” can lead to good men turning cruel.  I assume this is being spoken to Bruce, once he’s found out about Superman and the legion of soldiers kicking hell out of people and has announced his decision to go take down Supes.  Alfred has always been a voice of reason, so it’s good to hear him, again assuming here, but it’s good to hear him speaking out against hunting down Superman.  We get all this while Bruce is staring at the Batsuit, the shot that had been used in the mini teaser released a few days earlier.  It’s kicking off now!

BvS7

Honesty, I only have one thing to say about this shot.  Riddler confirmed in this universe!!!  I’m sure he won’t be in this movie, maybe he won’t be in the first standalone Batman movie, but he’s there.  It’s good to know.

Now here’s where it gets potentially worrying again.

BvS8

That’s the Batwing, yes?  It looks pretty cool, very high-tech and it’s all black.  That tends to be a bit of a give-away to be fair.  But then we see this:

That guy taking cover behind the car and shooting up at the Batwing looks pretty dead to me, from what I can see here.  Now, I’m very familiar with the early years of Batman and Superman.  I know that, in continuity, Superman had killed before and Batman, Mr. No-Guns-No-Killing, used to run around with little remorse about killing and seriously maiming gangsters.  But the modern day iterations of these characters both have a very strict moral code of no killing.  Always find another way, even if that other way nearly gets you killed.  Hell, even it it actually comes down to sacrificing your own life, find another way.  This is what a lot of us are used to, this is what has been ingrained in at least my generation since the animated series that ran for both of these characters through the 90’s.  Again, there’s so many things we just don’t know yet, this could quite easily be a bit of tech stolen from Bruce and remote controlled, this could be the way that Lex plays up Batman to be a villain for Superman maybe.  If so, playing both sides against one another is a sure fire way to kick off a fight, then eventually have both heroes realise and turn on you.  This will no doubt happen, we know that the Justice League is on it’s way so they have to buddy up at some point.

BvS12

And then we get to see him, in motion, suited up and oh my god.  For starters, look at the bloody size of him!  Affleck looks like a god damn tank!  I like the fact that seem to have edged away from armour plated suits, I much prefer a Batman that has some sort of kevlar weave suit which looks like a slightly heavier spandex but boasts way more protection.  A man who goes swinging round, being stealthy and combating crime with martial arts can’t be heavily armoured.  You know what happens to Batman when you put him in too much armour?  He turns into a brawling thug.  This suit looks good, I’m really impressed with this.

BvS13

Ok, Batman has a… sniper rifle?  What the hell?!  I can’t, I just… no I got nothing for this.  If I see Batman shoot someone I’ll walk out.  See my point above about the Batwing.  But multiply it ten-fold if Batman actually holds a rifle and shoots someone.  No.

And then the final scene, which brought me mixed feelings.

Right, so the suit takes heavy inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns which we knew already.  Frankly, it looks like this is pretty much the extent of the inpiration they’ve drawn, which I am so thankful for.  DKR is one of the few comics I’ve read in recent memory and genuinely, passionately disliked.  And when I say passionate, I bloody mean it.  Frank Miller fucked up Superman, more so than I’ve seen pretty much any writer do.  I’m going to go ahead and say that I liked G. Willow Wilson’s stand in issues on Superman more than Miller’s take on him (for reference, they’re issues #704 & #706 of Superman.  They’re shite).  It doesn’t look as though Superman is a government stooge, unless god-forbid that’s the deal with the soldiers at the start.  I doubt it, they’ve already come out and said that they’re taking bits they want from that book, so no doubt if they want an enjoyable Superman they’ll disregard everything Miller did with him in that book.  Also, not overly keen on the line Batman throws out.  “Do you bleed?  You will.”  I don’t like that at all, why is he going into this situation with words like that?  He just comes off as a dick, to be blunt.

Overall, there seems to be a skew towards Batman in the trailer, but when you look deeper and consider the possibilities then actually, it’s fairly well balanced.  Obviously this was meant to build hype, get people reacting and talking and that’s exactly what it’s done, good job WB.  I’m keeping my hype under a relative amount of control for now, there’s still around 11 months to go before this movie comes out and there’s a lot to keep me going until then, looking at movies, TV, comics and games there’s no shortage of amazing things lined up to come out before this.  But this trailer was welcome none the less, as a big DC fan it’s helped ease some concerns I had and allowed me to start properly thinking about what they might be doing.

There were two more trailers dropped over the course of late last week and into the weekend, one for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and another for Star Wars: Battlefront.  Both of these were announced at the Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, both were incredibly exciting and I will talk about them some more at a later point, but not right now.  Right now, I want to get back to more Mortal Kombat, because it’s incredible!

Peace out!

All The Movies!

Took another little break, as I’m sure you noticed, mostly because Top Cow have announced the opening of their now yearly Talent Hunt, so I’ve been massively distracted trying to figure out what I want to do.  One thing I know though is that once the competition is closed and the winners announced, I’ll post my script up here and politely ask you all for feedback.  Anyway, I thought I’d pop back and get things booted up with a little piece about all these movie updates put out by the big two.  I’ve never really been a huge cinema goer, there have always been a few movies pop up here and there that take my fancy but for the most part I usually wait to watch a movie until it gets a home release or is available on a streaming service such as Netflix.  That notion has changed wildly since 2008, the year Iron Man first came out in cinemas.  Since then, there has been at least one movie out every year that I’ve been to see at least once, often I find myself going twice and this year saw me going to the cinema to see a movie three times, the first time this has ever happened.  Now I’m looking at the offerings from WB/DC and Marvel and I’m actually slightly concerned that I’m not going to have enough time or money to cover off everything I want to see!  Everything Warner announced, quite simply, I’m in for the lot.  All movies slated up to 2020, I am 100% in for.  Marvel Studios almost have the same power over me, the only movie they have confirmed that I’m not interested in is Ant Man, and that’s more down to the loss of Edgar Wright than anything else.

So, with all that said and done, I want to put out a few hopes and a bit of speculation most of which will be based on other speculation I’ve heard and read alsewhere.  So what I’m saying here is that I could be way off base on so many things, but I want to get this all out anyway.  Just remember, pure speculation.

First off, we have an announcement for a Captain Marvel movie!  Boom!  Carol Danvers will be coming to the big screen which is huge, it means we get a Wonder Woman movie in 2017 and a Captain Marvel movie the year after.  If I’d been told that we’d get both of those films in back to back years back in 2008 I’d probably just laugh in disbelief.  What we haven’t had, however, is a casting announcement.  It’s unknown right now as to whether Marvel has cast Carol yet or not, but if they have they’re playing their cards very close to their chest.  I’ve got my own wish when it comes to this, an actress I think is perfect for this role, she has a great acting range and I just can’t think of anyone else I’d want to see play Carol.  Yvonne Strahovski.  Check it.

Seriously.  Perfect.

Seriously. Perfect.

And really, that’s all I’ve got for the Marvel Studio announcements.  This was the announcement that stood out to me the most by a long way, and with regards to the stories they’ll be telling I can’t speculate too much due to my releatively limited knowledge of the wider Marvel Stories.  I’m guessing, thanks more to my knowledge of Norse mythology than anything, that Thor: Ragnarok will see the end of this iteration of the MCU Thor and he will die.

On to Warner and DC, and the main things I’ve heard recently are that the big bad guy lined up for the first Justice League movie is Brainiac.  I like this, granted I’d rather see Brainiac come in as a Superman villain, but if I get Brainiac on screen then I’m happy.  We’ve seen that Green Lantern has a new movie coming, and I think it would make a lot of sense to almost do a soft reboot on it, allow the events of the first movie to remain canon within this shared universe.  Re-introduce Hal Jordan at the end of JL part 1, warning Earth’s heroes of the approach of Darkseid, setting up THE big bad for the part 2.  Now bear with me, because this is where my wishful thinking comes into play in a big way.  JL part 2 plays out, the heroes save the day and GL goes back off into space ready for his solo movie.  I think Hal’s next movie should be completely offworld, give us more of the Green Lantern Corps, some of the most interesting characters are the alien members of the Corps.

Then this should be where WB swoop in and announce two more movies, introduced in the closing moments of the Green Lantern movie.  The Sinestro Corps War parts 1 & 2, with part 1 taking place on and around Oa and part 2 bringing the war to Earth and involving the rest of the Justice League.  Also, bring Mark Strong back as Sinestro, he was awesome.

Those are my hopes for these movies, there’s quite a few more things I’ve been thinking about but I am absolutely starving so I’m going to wander off and sort out some dinner, no doubt I’ll be back soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

Weekly Update 25/05/2014

Can’t believe we’re almost at the end of May already, time is flying by me way too quickly.  This was a pretty fun week, got some plotting and scripting done for the first online comic I’m going to be posting in a couple of months or so, picking up a graphics tablet in a few days to get cracking on colouring.  There are two or three different comics I’d like to get up on the old internet, all are going to be short stories essentially testing the water with regards to my story telling abilities before I consider something a little more ambitious.  I’ll have more details by mid June I reckon so keep an eye, it’ll all be discussed on here first.

Went to see Godzilla yesterday, which is why I’m doing this today, thought I’d put out a few brief points.  Firstly, the King of the Monsters himself looked and sounded absolutely incredible.  I’m a huge Godzilla fan and have been since as long as I can remember, my fandom of ‘Zilla predates my love of any superhero so this was always a big deal movie, and it delivered in most areas.  There were a few niggling issues with it, it did seriously lack any impactful women or “minorities”.  The main heroes were both white men, the main shot caller (and idiot, but that’s a little beside the point) was a white male and the most fleshed out character and arguably most important character was only in it for the first ten minutes or so, and that was the heroes mother/wife.

The human parts on the whole were more of a hinderance than anything, and the funny thing is if these scenes were played out in any other film it would have most likely been ok, they weren’t inherently bad in my opinion, but the issue was they got in the way of Godzilla fighting big ass monsters.  That’s what I wanted, and when he was on screen I genuinely couldn’t be happier I thought his characterisation, his motives, appearance and sheer power were all spot on.  It was genuinely exciting, there just wasn’t enough of him.  But I came away from it satisfied, it was what I’d consider a “proper” Godzilla movie for the most part so it gets a pass from me and I look forward to the sequel.

https://i0.wp.com/fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2014/108/e/c/godzilla_2014___nature_s_order__by_sonichedgehog2-d7ezaa7.jpg

Nice bit of news from the gaming world caught my attention this week, that being the upcoming release of Metro: Redux for the Xbox One.  The retail package will contain a fully reworked and optimised Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light, running on a brand new engine made for next gen, reworked gameplay and multiple playstyles available to cater for everyone.  The real kicker is that even with all the work going into this both games will come packaged together for a cool £34.99 RRP.  It’s looking like a meatier upgrade than Tomb Raider received, you’re getting two already good games and it’s coming out at a lower, albeit slightly lower, price point.  Oh, and it comes with all the DLC too.  Since it’s due to arrive sometime in the summer I think this’ll make a nice summer drought beater.

Over the past week I’ve managed to get myself into watching a new (for me) TV show too, one that airs almost every night and has me in stitches throughout, that’s be the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  I’d been flicking through loads of YouTube videos recently, checking out some of the things he does with his guests and some of his monologues at the start of each show and have loved it all, so I did a bit of digging and found out it airs over here on CNBC (Virgin channel 613) at about 11 at night.  Needless to say, it’s now on series link and has become my regular go to show for dinner time.  If you’ve not seen anything from the show before, check out some of the lip sync battles for starters, they are hilarious.  In fact, here, have one now.

Moving on to comics, the one thing I have taken away from this week is that I will most likely be dropping DC’s Worlds’ Finest title from my pull ist when the new Earth 2 weekly kicks off shortly.  It’s been said that while this is running, Helena (The Huntress) and Karen (Power Girl) are going to be involved so their original title will have a “change in format”.  Basically, they’re going to be making it another Batman and Superman book.  I’m sorry, but I don’t need more of them right now, and if all that’s being said at the moment is true it’ll be stories about the original Earth 2 Batman and Superman that have been dead since it started, they’ll be stories that’ll have absolutely no impact what so ever and frankly, I don’t care enough.  I also find it a little disappointing that DC are taking a title led by two of my favourites and two strong, independant female heroes and replacing them with two guys that already have their fingers in so many books.  Yawn.  Hopefully it’ll be a temporary thing, then I’ll quite happily pick it back up if those two return after the weekly is done.  We shall see.

It was a hefty week of buying comics this week, thanks largely to getting lumped with a 10 day straight run at work without a day off, meaning I couldn’t get in to get my books until Thursday afternoon, so all in all I think over the last couple of days I must have read a good 20 or so issues from various series so to be completely honest, I’m not going to go too much into it now.  What I will say, the standouts for me were ASM #2, Batgirl #31, Harley Quinn #6 and Forever Evil #7.  On the point of the latter, it’s good to finally have that series over and done with now, DC have managed to drag their heels on it so much it’s impacted the main Justice League book too and prevented me from reading the 0 issue of Justice League United.  The ending left a little to be desired, but I’m putting that down to it being put back, and therefore anticipated, so much.

Going to keep it short and sweet here and to be quite honest, I’m probably not going to get my Top 5 out until tomorrow as I have a stack of things I need to do this evening.  It’s my own fault, I started playing Diablo III earlier and then it was suddenly evening and I’d completed the Belial chapter (2 maybe?) on Nightmare with my Demonhunter who is now at level 45.  I think, I’m actually kind of hazy on it already.  Anyway, I’ll definitely be back tomorrow for Top 5, don’t know which one I’m going to use yet but regardless it’ll be tomorrow.  See ya!

Why I’d Like A Ms. Marvel Movie

Title says it all really, today I’m exploring why I’d like to see Marvel/Disney bring out a full blown, stand alone Ms. Marvel movie.  As regular readers and friends will know, I’m a big DC fan, much more so than I am a Marvel fan.  That’s not to say I don’t like Marvel, far from it in fact and my appreciation of the House of Ideas is increasing all the time, but I’d say roughly 80% of my pull list is made up of DC titles.  Realistically my knowledge (proper knowledge as oppossed to passing knowledge) of Marvel is pretty much just Spider-Man right now, I’m beginning a bit of a delve into Captain America and will start reading some Thor stuff, but outside of Spidey it’s all pretty much an unknown.  So why is it so important to me to get a Ms. Marvel film then?

First and foremost, and this has been said a lot already so I’m not going to get too into this point, but I think it’s still worth touching on anyway, there is a massive gap in the market for female led superhero movies.  This isn’t “agenda pushing” or whatever bullshit the silencers generally spout, it’s a simple fact.  There is a genuinely huge female contigent to our geeky corner of the world, those who lap up the superhero movies, buy comic books and play video games, and while the industry is moving towards a more female friendly environment we’re still getting a tonne of stuff that seems to be aimed more at the typical 18-30 men.  Let’s take a quick look at the movie side from the big two and their respective movie studios, from 2008 onwards.  Marvel, since then, has released a grand total of 11 movies (if I’m remembered right) of which 0 have been female led.  Yes, Black Widow has popped up in a few and was pretty much a co-lead in The Winter Soldier, but that was still a Captain America movie.

https://i0.wp.com/www.pagetopremiere.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/bed4aptain-america-2-pics-black-widow-steve-rogers.jpg
A small step in the right direction

Now, again since 2008, DC have released 5 movies.  Can you guess how many were female led?  Yup, none.  It shows that while things have moved on a little, it’s nowhere near enough and this is an issue that needs to be addressed, make no mistake.  And this needs to be a film marketed at everyone, don’t just make it a superhero film selling sex appeal to get all the lads in again.

I genuinely believe Marvel will be the first to break this mould, let’s face it they have been the trailblazers for superhero movies since Iron Man hit, they’ve shown how to build a coherent movie universe that ties together and make it appeal to the comic fans and the masses.  It’s no small feat, and if their track record is anything to go by they will absolutely be the first to put out a solo female superhero movie.

So, given my poor knowledge of heroes outside of Spidey with some passing knowledge of Cap and Thor, why am I looking to Ms. Marvel to get this ball rolling?  Well, regardless of what I’m reading each month in singles and whatever trades I’m picking up when I can, I still keep up to date with news and trends within comic books, it’s good to keep your ear to the ground.  Keeping up to date with as much as possible often leads to a good idea of what may be coming to things I am reading, it’s also good to take in as many opinions on things as possible and for someone pretty much looking on the Marvel universe from the outside in, it gives me a good idea of where I might want to go next.

Ms. Marvel is a big hit.  She has a very dedicated fanbase, known as the Carol Corps, and even people that maybe haven’t been too interested in the past have been picking up and enjoying Captain Marvel.  She’s a character with enough gravitas to lead her own movie, and given the right actress it wouldn’t be too difficult to transfer that to the big screen.  And this is where we roll right back around to Marvel Studios and how they’ve handled their movie universe so far, their casting has been absolutely spot on.  Even if some hardcore Marvel readers might disagree, for an outsider to the wider MU like myself all the movies have been as much fun as they are largely down to the awesome casting choices.  So Marvel have a character that their readers love, the ability to cast this character absolutely perfectly and begin to plug this gap in the movie market.

https://i0.wp.com/grizzlybomb.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/captain_marvel___legacy_by_windriderx23-d4ux83v.jpg
Show ’em how it’s done, Marvel!

If Marvel can put out a successful Ms. Marvel movie, which I see no reason why they couldn’t considering her popularity and their ability to put out consistently high quality superhero movies, this opens the door for something that should have been done a long, long time ago.  Wonder Woman.  We know full well that DC/WB have been pushing to get Batman and Superman on screen together so hard because of Marvel’s success, and the same goes for their recently announced Justice League movie.  They want to get their own shared movie universe off the ground, and having seen how well it’s all gone for Marvel they know people want it, they can see how it should be done and are beginning their own execution.  That doesn’t mean to say their movies need to be of the same sort of tone, but the framework is there for everyone to see.

A successful solo female superhero from Marvel will immediately put the pressure on DC to emulate this, it may even result in some of the more obscure/less popular characters to be brought out to try and compete.  This is my real agenda here.  I want Marvel to put out a great Ms. Marvel movie because I want to see some of my favourite DC characters brought to the big screen.  Give me an epic, badass spectacle of a Wonder Woman movie, give me a high octane Supergirl movie and give me a lower budget, street level Birds of Prey movie.  Yes, I’d go and see Ms. Marvel at the cinema and much like all the other Marvel movies, I’d more than likely enjoy the hell out of it and it would probably encourage me even more to get reading some of her comics, but for me it would be more about opening the door, showing DC how it’s done (again) and pushing them into getting their act together.

Granted, it would no doubt still be a good five or six years until they actually followed suit, but better late than never I guess.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131204012959/marveldatabase/images/0/03/The_Amazing_Spider-Man_2_(film)_banner.jpg

Right then, I’m going to break this review down into two very specific parts, the short beginning where I’ll give a brief run down of what I liked and didn’t like so much, and give an overall impression and then we’ll move onto the bulk of this review where I’ll go into more detail.  Needless to say, the second part of this post will be so heavily reliant on spoilers that if you haven’t seen it, just check out the first bit and leave it at that, yeah?  Ok, cool, let’s get this rolling then.

Clocking in at a whopping 142 minutes run time, even for a huge Spidey fan like myself it does feel like a bit of a slog at times.  It’s a fairly slow starting film, then it begins to drag it’s heels around the middle before finding it’s feet again for the climatic third act.  There were most certainly scenes that I felt could have been cut shorter and some dropped altogether to help move things along a little better, but I get what Sony are trying to do with this film.  The acting was sublime from all the main cast, much like the first film, and the main plot was simple enough for anyone to enjoy while having enough punch to it to keep me engaged.  The news swirling around the internet before the film came out that there would be three villains showing up in this film had me a little concerned, but only one is in the whole film, another shows up in the latter part of the second act and the final villain was properly shown off in the final moments, so thankfully it didn’t get bogged down in serious villain origin time.  As mentioned before, being a big fan of both 616 and Ultimate Spider-Man I loved what Webb has done with this series so far, and I think Andrew Garfield is THE perfect Peter Parker and Spider-Man.  Save for a few bits I felt could have been cut or dropped, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and will absolutely be hitting this up on Blu-Ray when it drops in stores.  I may even go and see it at the cinema again.  Recommended for the fans of Spider-Man and those who enjoy a good superhero movie, but be prepared for the length and be aware that this is a film clearly intended to set up the rest of the franchise Sony wants too.

Right then, just so we’re clear here… SPOILERS AHEAD.  I REPEAT, MAJOR FILM SPOILERS THROUGHOUT.  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

https://static-secure.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/4/9/1397002958045/The-Amazing-Spider-Man-2-014.jpg

So the movie kicks off looking back at the events that directly followed on from Peter being dropped off at Ben and May’s, showing what happens to Richard and Mary Parker.  We get to see that Richard was trying to warn the world that Oscorp was into some serious devious stuff, sending research notes and evidence off to a secure location called Roosevelt while trying to escape retribution from his former boss with his wife on a jet.  It’s a little slow paced, and rather shockingly this whole situation from the point of Peter wandering into his father’s ransacked office to the jet going down and Peter’s parents apparently dying (let’s face it, it’s not entirely off the table that at least Richard is still alive, we don’t really see him die) takes approximately 40 minutes to play out.  Frankly, I think that a fair amount of this section alone could have been cut back by half at least, I see what they wanted to do and yeah, I wanted to see more of the Parker parents, but I think it was a little too much and made me feel a little disengaged from the film, which is definitely a bad thing for the opening sequence.

Following on from this we get a hell of a lot of time played out for the on-off relationship of Gwen and Peter, again something I felt was done really well but probably could have been stripped down a little.  I think it worked as well as it did just because of how amazing (going to try and limit my use of that word today) Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are, both on screen together and individually as actors.  They have a wonderful chemistry, which is no surprise, but they dealt with their own characters issues very well.  Peter is still reeling from the death of Captain Stacy, clearly showing serious signs of guilt over his death and the fact that he’s broken his final promise to the Captain that he’d leave Gwen well out of his crazy life.  This culminates in them deciding to split, or rather Gwen finally having enough of him being unable to fully commit to her.  I love that they put this relationship front and centre for a portion of the film, and while I think a couple of bits here and there could have possibly been shortened a little, the reality is if that level of focus hadn’t been used then the events later in the film would have been less hard hitting.  But I’ll get to that shortly.

The scenes with Spider-Man were thrilling to say the least, and even though I viewed ASM 2 in 2D, the web slinging around the city and the action scenes involving Spidey made me wish I’d seen it in 3D.  No matter what’s going on in Pete’s life, there’s always a sense of overwhelming joy when he’s flinging himself around the city on his webs, and this is something the film plays on to great effect.  It fills me with a great sense of joy too.  What we also see from Garfield’s performance is the huge rift in confidence between Parker and Spidey, they’re pretty much two different people.  His quips and jokes while he has the costume on are fantastic, and despite it’s gut wrenching ending ASM 2 provides an incredible sense of humour almost all the way through.  When he’s in the back of the Oscorp truck at the start, trying to hold onto all the radioactive containers it’s a very simple, almost slapstick style humour which suits the film so well.  One of my absolute favourite moments was quite far through when he’s having his final showdown with Electro, who shall be covered next, after already dubbing him Sparkles.  Electro has taken down power across the whole city and says something along the lines of “They shall know me as a god!” and Peter turns it back on him with “What?  A God called Sparkles?”.  I was almost in tears with that, absolutely genius writing and pulled off perfectly by Garfield.

Now, Electro, the first of the three villains established in this film was awesome.  Played by Jamie Foxx, he goes from a very nervous and near enough invisible man to a commanding and fearsome villain.  His origin is typical comic book stuff, falls into a tank of water filled with electric eels while holding a live cable and is presumed dead, then boom!  Villain with control over electricity.  What was interesting is that when he gained his abilities he was still the mild mannered engineer he was before gaining these powers, what tipped him over the edge was Spidey not recognising him (he’d been saved by Spidey earlier and was a huge, obsessive fan), the news feed on all the big screens switching focus from him to Spidey and a police sniper taking a shot at him.  All this combined proved too much for Max Dillon to cope with, and he flipped out.  It made him into a pretty sympathetic villain, showing that it wasn’t Max’s fault he became this way and that he wasn’t just some total psychopath that gained powers, similar to what they did with Kurt Connors in the first ASM.  And the final battle between Electro and Spider-Man was a real spectacle to behold.

The second villain that made his first appearance of this rebooted series was the Green Goblin, and refreshingly it wasn’t Norman Osborne that kicked it off first time round.  Norman dies quite early on and leaves control of the company in the hands of Harry, the long absent childhood friend of Peter.  Turns out that Norman died of a disease passed from generation to generation within his family, warning Harry in his final moments that it would start to affect him soon and he needed to find a cure.  Well, this leads him down the path of deciding the blood of Spider-Man will save him, and when Spider-Man refuses he loses his shit completely and tracks down some of the venom extracted from the experimental spiders that were destroyed when Richard was about to blow the whistle.  Thing is, the venom was encoded to only work with Parker DNA, so, to be blunt, it fucks Harry over and turns him into the Goblin.  He jumps in the suit, which basically saves his life, and goes off in search of Spider-Man who he feels is fully to blame for the state he has been left in.  The ridiculous mask from the last film series has been done away with, going instead with a totally messed up face, and the armour looks absolutely badass.  And bringing us back around to the actors, Dane DeHaan is superb as both Harry and Goblin, showing he can play the role of scheming, power hungry rich kid and full blown nut job in style, he absolutely nails it.

https://i0.wp.com/collider.com/wp-content/uploads/the-amazing-spider-man-2-dane-dehaan-1.jpg

The main thing I think is worth noting with Green Goblin though, is he has (I think) two major reasons for being around in this film.  The first one was to set things up for one of the spin off movies, the Sinister Six.  Oscorp has already developed wings for whoever will eventually be The Vulture, they’ve made Doc Ock’s robotic arms and they provided the suit for Rhino, the villain who gets a brief appearance at the end.  Thankfully, one thing the writers and Webb did extremely well was tie in the lead in to that spin off with the fallout from ASM 2 seamlessly.  It didn’t feel tacked on, everything was tied to the forward motion of the main plot with Harry teaming up with Electro before becoming Goblin.  The other main pull for bringing in Goblin was a little darker.  Who else could they have help cause the death of Gwen Stacy?  Realistically, no one, and now there will be a burning hatred between these two and with good reason both ways.

And boy, that death hit me like several tonnes of falling conrete.  I loved all the back and forth between Gwen and Peter and there’s a scene which has them both stood at the top of a bridge and I’m sitting there waiting for Goblin to show up and throw her off.  He doesn’t, and much like many others that know how she dies in the comics, I sighed a breath of relief, thinking that Webb had thrown us a huge red herring and that, maybe, she’d be ok.  What actually ends up happening is after the fight with Electro when Goblin does show up, he tkaes her up to the top of a clock tower where the two rivals face off, and drops her.  At first, Pete saves her and drops her on some of the inner workings of the clock, and it’s a little tight but looks like things might be ok.  Then she drops again, and we have this long, slow motion scene of Pete shooting a web at her to catch her.  It just about creeps through falling parts of the clock, slowly reaching Gwen and reaching out like a hand to grab her, only when it does it quickly and violently speeds back up to regular speed.  She stops just before hitting the ground, but way too sharply and there is a spie chilling, gut wrenching crack as she stops.  At this point, you know.  You know he’s misjudged it, he’s almost saved her, but not quite and exactly what Captain Stacy feared has happened.  It hit really, really hard.  I still can’t shake that scene from my head any time anyone mentions the film, I don’t think I will for a while.  I’ll be damned if I can find a screenshot of it anywhere, but trust me when I say it is some seriously grim viewing.  Not much shakes me up, but that did.

I can sort of put that down to the fact that I hate to see my heroes fail, and what bigger failure is there than that?  Just to top it off, since I can remember Spider-Man has always been a favourite hero of mine, it hurts to see and then you get Garfield reaction to her death and it literally breaks him.  It’s such a powerful scene, it makes the Superman reaction to killing Zod look pretty pathetic in comparison.  I know that scene doesn’t hold up well for a lot of people so that may not mean much if you’re one of those, but I thought while the killing was wrong Henry Cavill’s reaction afterwards was pretty powerful.  Garfield shows him how it’s done here, it’s nuts.

We then get a nice little through-the-months montage type thing where Pete has sacked off being Spidey completely and looks as though he’s put the rest of his life on hold to grieve.  Something you can hardly blame him for really, this is something he rightly feels responsible for.  But he’s drawn back into the game when he hears reports of Rhino smashing things up, directly answers his challenge and throws himself back into it.  It’s a nice way to finish up, they don’t dwell for too long on Peter moping around feeling like crap, but what they do show is adequetly impactful.

All the key players in this film did a wonderful job in bringing one of the greatest heroes in comics to life, and I have a lot of faith in this series.  This film was meant as a set up for this new franchise direction Sony have decided on in the wake of the success they achieved with the first ASM and the success garnered from The Avengers, I think that accounts for the slightly excessive length of the film.  There are also some plot threads that won’t get paid off until the next ASM at least, so you have to go into this film now knowing that you’re in it for the long game.  This is the only real downside to franchise building, and I think to an extent Sony have possibly over played that a bit in this installment.  One thing Marvel/Disney have done very well is organically grow this interwinding multi movie cinematic universe where everything and everyone work together without forcing the issue, with ASM 2 this franchise building feels a little artificial like they’re trying a little too hard at it.  Still, it made for a largely enjoyable film and regardless of it’s faults with dragging some things out a bit, I already hold this rebooted series in a much higher regard than I do the original Raimi series.  Which I hated.  So there’s that.

Oh, and there was someone called Felicia in it, Harry’s PA.  Which was awesome and very exciting (I’m a big Black Cat fan too and who else is it going to be, really?).

I know there are a few more things I could go over here, but I think I’m going to cap myself here before I end up writing a full blown essay.  Thank you for stopping by and checking out my opinion on the film.  I know there were some negatives in there but it is most definitely in my recommended watch pile, I still came away from the cinema a very happy, if a little shell shocked, Spidey fan.  That’s all folks!

Weekly Update 20/04/2014

Welcome, and happy Easter everyone!  Time for another brief run down of anything interesting that may have happened over the last week, you know, like going to see a certain web-slinging hero in the cinema yesterday…  So, first of all I’m going to ackownledge that yes, this is a day late and no, I have not decided to start doing this on a Sunday now I was just too busy having a fun day off yesterday, something everyone is entitled to at some point.  There will also be a Top 5 later today, not sure when but it’ll appear at some point.

So, it was a good week for the pull list this week, with two Batman books, the new Birds of Prey and Superior Spider-Man finale.  Unfortunately, since I only picked them up yesterday before going to see Amazing Spider-Man 2 I’ve only had the chance to read one, which funnily enough was Superior.  It’s been such a fantastic series from start to finish and I was so hyped up on Spidey yesterday, that was the one issue I absolutely had to read.  No doubt I’ll look through the others at some point today, since there was nine on the list this week I could do with making a start on them!  But yeah, back on to Superior, I thought the series ended on a real bang, there was the resolution of Goblin Nation which has left the whole situation in a very interesting state, things could well be a lot tougher for Pete after the way he dealt with Goblin.  Then you got to see resolutions to two of the main relationships Peter maintains, Carlie and MJ, both of which ended in similar fashion and both surprised me quite a bit actually.

One thing they didn’t touch on, however, was Anna-Marie which is going to leave Peter in a potentially really awkward spot, she is seriously in love with who she thought Peter was when Ock was inhabiting his brain, but the reality is Peter has no idea what she’s like and may not feel the same at all.  He has a lot to deal with on both sides of his life, Parker Industries and Sajani are going to need some TLC too and he still has the Avengers to deal with.  I do not envy Peter his situation right now.

There was one other thing they touched on which I thought was nice, and that’s when Anna-Marie is falling off a building Peter shoots his web at her to catch her and as he’s catching and saving her there’s an inner monologue running about how he’s fully practiced at this now, knowing exactly how much force to use and how much give to allow to ensure there’s no terrible accident.  And while that relatively subtle hint is given, when MJ and Carlie are talking later in the issue MJ specifically mentions Gwen by name, saying how nothing has truly been the same since she died.  Overall, I thought it was a great way to bring Peter back in and hint at all the stuff he’s going to have to deal with in his private life and his Spider life.

As I mentioned earlier, I saw Amazing Spider-Man 2 yesterday and was utterly blown away by it.  I was asked yesterday whether I thought it was better than “The Winter Soldier” or not, but really there’s no way I could call it between the two.  That’s as much a compliment to Cap than anything since I’m both a huge fan of Spider-Man and a big supporter of the newly rebooted film series.  I’m going to do a full blown, spoiler riddled review for Spidey tomorrow evening so keep an eye out for it, although obviously if you’ve not seen it you’ll want to keep away.  But for those of you that do want to see it and haven’t yet, go as soon as you can.  For fans of Spider-Man it’s faithful to both the main book it’s named after while bringing in certain elements of “Ultimate”.  It’s got perfect Spidey humour, awesome Peter Parker moments and at least one scene that will stick with you for quite some time.

Ok, so this might all seem a bit disjointed today, but I actually started this post about 10 hours ago, having to pause for various things including lunch and family coming round so since then, I’ve managed to squeeze a couple more comics in.  Batman #30 was thoroughly entertaining and the very long playing Zero Year is starting to pay off now.  I, in all honesty, was starting to get a little fed up with ZY, waiting for it to be over so I could get back to reading current time Batman from Snyder and Capullo, but this new overgrown Gotham run by the Riddler is both fun to read and beautiful to look at.

Riddler as self appointed mayor made major cut backs in the public sector, no-one to mow the lawns anymore.

I also read Batman Eternal #2, which is continuing to be a great read.  Issue 1 set us up with the city in ruins as the end game, then brought us right to the start of it with Gordon being arrested for shooting an unarmed man and causing a huge subway accident resulting in the deaths of many innocent civilians.  Well this one carried right on from there, showing us the Bat family coming back together to help prove Gordon’s innocence, something Jim himself is unsure of at this point.  It also introduced us to a new player for the dark side of Gotham, a damn big player too that has me extremely excited for the next issue.

Oh, and I read Supergirl #30 too.  It made very little sense largely due to the fact that I’m not reading Red Lanterns, but it continues to be a development that sucks.  I just don’t agree with this story arc at all, I get that Tony Bedard is working this in such a way that Kara will come out the other end the Supergirl she should be, but let’s be quite honest she should never have been written to this point in the first place.  Bedard shouldn’t have to fix her situation by making her a Red Lantern.

On the more personal front, I went and signed up all the paperwork for my new car yesterday, so now it’s properly sinking in that I’m about to have a brand new car.  It’s just a little bit exciting, unfortunately I still don’t have a collection date yet so I don’t know how long I have to get by on the crappy car I’m running now.  While the car itself is not such an issue, I can’t be bothered to be constantly filling it up in very small amounts of fuel so I’m not exchanging the car with any real amount of fuel in it.

So, final point of the day, happy Easter everyone, hope you’ve had a good day and an even better weekend.  Take care, and I’ll see you later on this evening for the next Top 5 installment.  It may or may not be spider related…