I went in to the theater filled to the brim with skepticism. The mental trauma of Batman v. Superman had just fully healed. On the CW, Supergirl has gone from being a good television show to being a preachy political drama, constantly thrusting the issue of illegal aliens and homosexuality in our face every week.
I was worried that in this age of political correctness, this would be a movie about women, women’s rights, women in a man’s universe. I’m not saying those things are important, but you have to remember one thing. Women are not the big readers of Wonder Woman in comic form. You don’t see a comic shop packed with females. It is male readers that kept that comic alive over the decades. If they went down the woman-in-a-man’s-world rabbit hole, they risked alienating the true fans of Wonder Woman. Thankfully, someone at DC had half a brain and avoided making that kind of movie.
To be blunt, DC needed a hit, if only to keep the embers of hope with the upcoming Justice League movie burning. Wonder Woman was the best part of Batman vs. Superman. We demanded…no, desperately needed a good DC comic book movie.
Wonder Woman is that hit.
Now, I’m a WWI historian and I could easily go off on a rant on the inaccuracies in the film; I’m entitled to do that. I won’t, because in the end they don’t matter. This was a solid movie with a good plot and fantastic performances from Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. I feared it would be a thinly veiled rip-off of Captain America, The First Avenger. You have to admit, the potential for that was there. Fess up. You thought it too. DC dodged that shot as easily as Wonder Woman deflects machinegun fire.
This was a story built on solid characters and a good story line. It was not driven by CGI or special effects, but on the evolution of the characters.
DC finally gave us a movie in their new rendition of their universe that met, if not exceeded expectations. I give it four-point-five out of five stars. (The WWI historian in me held back that half star, just to be a douchebag.) The only thing lacking in the film that prevented it from being perfect was no cameo from Linda Carter. What were you guys thinking? She had to appear, if only in the background. Doh!
I’m a big fan of Captain America, I have the entire collection on DVD-ROM and have read them (no minor task mind you) so when I saw that DK was publishing a definitive guide to Cap, I put it immediately on my wish list. Even better, it was written by Matt Forbeck, a fellow gaming author and comrade in arms.
DK has published some awesome books covering comic books. Their encyclopedias for DC and Marvel are must-haves if you are running a superhero RPG or are just a fan. This book falls in the same category, concentrating on Captain America starting with the WWII era books up to the present. I hope that DK is planning more of these hero-cetric books having read this one cover-to-cover.
The very early material interested me the most – the pre-Marvel days when Captain America was punching out Adolph Hitler. There was some material there I was not familiar with (these early works are not in my collection). Matt did an awesome job of bringing this forward for a new generation.
As you read this book you come to grips that Captain America, Bucky, and Red Skull have been rebooted more times than the James Bond franchise. A lot of people have picked up the shield over the years and I had forgotten that until I dove into this book. Forbeck does an outstanding job of walking you through all of the incarnations of this fantastic hero. I love the summery write-ups of key issues as well.
From a writer’s perspective, I have to applaud Matt’s work here. For those of you that have never written a book like this, with lead articles and a number of sidebars, it is a lot of logistical work. Been there – done that. Forbeck’s prose is tight and there’s a lot of consistency here which I’ll attribute to him (though I’m sure his editor played a role). Writing a tome like this is not an easy undertaking and keeping it organized had to be a big chore. Of course we all benefited from it.
I purchased it as a hard copy book so my grandson Trenton could enjoy it. He took two nights of reading time to flip through every richly illustrated page. It passed his muster and mine from a reading perspective. There’s a lot of material here and the stories are all very interesting. We get all of Cap’s allies and enemies detailed out, as well as how they have morphed over the decades.
I give this five out of five stars if you are a Cap fan. If not, this will get you up to speed pretty quick. Pick it up and enjoy!
Arguably the best of the Marvel universe movies is Captain America Winter Soldier. Guardians of the Galaxy or AntMan and I might concede. So this is the scale that Civil War has to be compared against. Well, it more than exceeds Winter Soldier.
This plot is not what you might think from the trailers – Marvel is masterful at manipulating us with the trailers. Clearly there’s a Team Cap vs. a Team Iron Man – it’s call Civil War duh. The reason that they are fighting is not as straightforward as you might think. I went in thinking I would side with Captain America but I came away thinking that both sides were right. That’s what makes a good Civil War scenario.
The plot is not overly complicated. The writing of this movie, the core of a Marvel film, is solid and crisp. There were some one-liners where the audience laughed out loud – especially Stan Lee’s cameo.
New characters are introduced – Black Panther and Spiderman. You know, the new Spiderman comes together without having to get into the whole “radioactive spider bit me,” stuff. His role is good and oddly seems true to the comic.
Black Panther is awesome. We don’t need his origin story…I didn’t care. He was just incredible. Marvel is genius at knowing that we don’t need to be buried in a lot of backstory. Just give us solid characters that develop in the film and some well-grounded writing and the fact that these are superheroes is almost unnecessary.
I have to admit, having AntMan in this film made it for me. His role in the battle at the Leipzig Airport was, well, incredible. In fact, the airport battle sequence set a new standard for superhero battles. There is a lot going on yet somehow it all seems to flow together fairly smoothly.
This movie is a visual treat. There’s a lot of special effects, but no where the level of horrific CGI we were forced to endure in Batman vs. Superman. In fact, this movie made me hate Batman vs. Superman even more. Marvel knows how to handle their intellectual properties (with the exception of the Hulk and Fantastic Four movies). Even the lighting levels and colors of this film are in stark contrast to DC’s latest offerings.
There is no part of this movie I disliked. The pacing was brisk which is good; the movie is very long.
There are two post-credit scenes – both of which are solid.
On a scale of five stars, this is six-and-a-half. Not a movie for kids, far too much violence. Though the language was cleaner than Age of Ultron (joke intended). Go see this movie…go twice!
As crazy as it sounds – I think these things are all related!
This week the Flash totally redeemed last week’s quasi-controlled-cluster-fu*k and delivered one of their best episodes. This set the stage for two more speedsters – Wally and Jessie; and gave us some good classic Zoom villain moments. I also think there was a lot more going on…
We got the see Barry’s dad – which I don’t think was a fluke. These writers are comic book guys, they don’t just have scenes for no reason. He’s been absent this season, but he’s back, and we learned his mother’s maiden name was Garrick. Significant? Yes. Hear me out…I think I’ve pieced together the secret of the man in the mask!
My theory is that the man that Zoom is keeping in the iron mask is actually the real Jay Garrick – which will be Barry’s father from an alternate Earth. Think about it. Zoom has only hinted at who is there but refuses to tell Barry. Why hide it? Why even hold a prisoner unless he is of some use to you? Barry’s dad has a link to the name. This Jay wouldn’t necessarily be Barry’s dad per se, but at least the actor playing him. Most likely it woulds be a version of Barry’s dad from Earth 2, who we haven’t seen yet. I like to think that the writers still want to give us the doughboy-helmet-wearing Jay Garrick; merely with a different actor playing him – in this case John Wesley Shipp. My theory is that when they do crack open that mask, we will see Shipp in the role of Jay Garrick.
The writers have already have demonstrated a fondness for the original Flash TV series, bringing back Mark Hamill as the Trickster – twice. The producers and writers are pretty good at playing up to the comic book fan base.
Best of all, we as Flash fans would get to see the 1980’s Flash recast in a role as the Golden Age Flash. Not only that, we will probably get one of those awesome villain scenes with Zoom holding (essentially) Barry’s dad by the scruff of neck, threatening the hero. Otherwise, why would Zoom keep a prisoner if not as an ace up his sleeve to hold the Flash in check.
Frankly, I hope the writer’s do go down this path. One, it’s cool. Two, it’s a treat for those of us that remember John Wesley Shipp playing the role of a Flash, even if it is the Golden Age speedster.
I saw this week’s episode of The Flash (Versus Zoom) and I came away more confused than ever before. This felt like the first episode in the series that just didn’t hit the mark. In fact, it kind of felt like it was a hop-skip-and-a-jump into the twilight zone. Sadly, it was the first time I found myself at odds with the writers.
We had the big reveal – that Zoom was not Jay Garrick but Hunter Zoloman. That on its own was okay. What was confusing was everything else. First you had the fact that Dr. Wells saying that Zoloman was the most recognized serial killer on Earth 2; yet for some reason, it never dawned on him that Zoloman was Garrick. There was a bizarre description of Zoloman killing himself in a previous episode as a result of “time remnant” which we have no idea what the hell it is but it seems weird. A friend of mine, a Flash expert (if there is such a thing) was just as perplexed as I was with this remnant thingy.
And if that Jay was the one that interacted with Caitlin, and he was killed by Zoom/Zoloman, why did Zoom seem to have some attachment to her (enough to kidnap her)?
Barry trapped Zoloman with images from his past. That was cool. Where did he get them? Especially since Zoom was on Earth 2. I mean, it was neat, but you can’t find images of my parents online, and I am a New York Times Bestselling Author.
Adding to my frustration is the fact that Barry has still not told Wally West his secret identity. I need to maintain a list of people he has told up to this point. Even villains know who he is. In fact, he told Supergirl after less than two minutes of conversation with her. Barry hasn’t posted it on the web yet, but it’s really just a matter of time – yet for some reason he doesn’t want Wally to know.
Barry tested the tachyon device and traveled to the CBS network to meet Supergirl and fight crime with her, but when he gets back to Star Labs he never mentions, “I travelled to another Earth, met a super chick, fought some crime, we rocked….” You’d think that kind of thing might come up in conversation.
And Zoom dressing up as Flash to give people hope then rip it away from them…just seemed, well, stupid. Serial killers generally are not bent on robbing populations of hope. They are more into blood and terror. Trust me, I write true crime books.
Barry has got to stop getting into discussions with villains before they are stripped of their powers. Take a lesson from The Incredibles dude. You should have sucked the speed force from Zoom, locked him up, then gotten into the discussion with him.
Overall, I have loved this season of The Flash, but this episode was a train wreck of weird and unnecessary sidebar stories and subplots that go nowhere. The writers let me down for the first time, pouring five gallons of content into a one gallon bucket. Yes, introducing Zoloman plays well to the comic book fans – but story lines like this have a way of disenfranchising the non-comic fan-base.
My recommendation: Keep it simple and cool like you did in season one. Do that, and we’re all cool.
Timing is everything and the crossover Supergirl and Flash episode on CBS offered a glimmer of hope after a mediocre Batman vs. Superman week. The episode worked, though at times was a bit forced. What made it stand out was the fact that it was made in the first place. We have two DC heroes, from two different networks, showing up on the same show. Just pulling that off was something of a miracle.
I happen to like Supergirl – now that it is past all of that “she’s a female hero,” stuff that dominated the early episodes. And the Flash is a solid series as well. Together, Kara and Barry were great. There was a hint of chemistry there. Barry is a great team player and his arrival on Kara’s Earth was at a time when Supergirl’s reputation was marred. They were not unstoppable by Livewire and Silver Banshee…in fact, the villains have the upper hand for a lot of the episode. Still, Supergirl and Flash together worked and worked well.
Unlike the darker Dawn of Justice movie – Supergirl and Flash have a comic book feel to them. The heroes are good, in fact, Supergirl is more of the boy scout that the Snyder version of Superman. Barry is idealistic and gregarious, more than willing to be a part of something bigger. Their chemistry was great and it is my sincere hope we get the girl of steel showing up in the Flash universe at some point.
If I seem surprised, it’s that DC did something totally right in bringing these characters together. Having slugged my way through Batman vs. Superman, I was worried that they would somehow botch up this combination.
Let’s be honest, we needed a race between the characters and we got it in the last few minutes of the episode. It was done right – and done well. Best superhero episode ever? No. It WAS solid and in many ways, awesome.
Spoilers exist in this – though I have tried to keep them limited to my rantings about this multitude of faults baked into this steaming loaf of a film. Like many self-anointed geeks, I have been waiting for this movie most of my life. As a generation that saw comic books as a story-telling artistic medium, nothing could be more iconic than Batman and Superman together on the screen.
The anticipation of this movie left me disappointed with the final product.
This is a movie that could have and should have been so much more than what was delivered. Oh, it had some moments that were good, but most of it felt forced, overly contrived. Watching this movie was like looking up the ass of a dead dog with fleas. Like a car wreck alongside the road, you are drawn in to look at it, even if the scenes are horrific.
For this movie to work, you had to accomplish some cinematic feats. Included with this:
You had to give us the two characters on the screen so we could see their contrast (The ever-brooding world’s greatest detective vs. the boy scout in blue.) We want the characters to be true to their established backgrounds.
You had to demonstrate that their friendship made both men better.
You need to give us a villain worthy of these two heroes.
Based on the title, we needed a battle worthy of the two heroes.
Warner/DC…how could you have possibly missed that mark with some of these?
First off, we have Superman who’s more brooding than the Dark Knight. Yes, he’s plucking cats from trees, but he wears a furrowed brow through most of the film. What makes comic book Superman identifiable is that his parents instilled in him that he has a higher obligation to the people of Earth. In this film, Martha Kent tells him, “You don’t owe this planet anything…” (I’m paraphrasing, but close enough.) Um, Ma Kent, that’s actually a big part of who that character is.
I get it – Zack Snyder wants a darker, grittier DC universe. It makes it much more difficult to swallow for the viewers. The reason that the Marvel films do well is they are true to their comic book roots. Snyder wallows in darkness like a pig in mud.
I know it’s going to be popular to take shots at Ben Afflick as Batman but I won’t go there. I actually thought the actor was good as Batman. It was no Daredevil role, for which we are all thankful. He certainly brought more to the role than George Clooney did. I think his Bruce Wayne is actually pretty solid, especially his coy smile. The harm to this character was the script, not the acting. Batman, who has always stayed away from guns as part of his character, uses them a lot in this film. We don’t get The World’s Greatest Detective. We get a marginal data thief. Zack Snyder felt it necessary to show us Batman’s origins, which was a waste of time. We all know Batman’s origin story better than any of the Presidential candidates. Cutting that stuff would have saved the film and those of us watching a few precious minutes.
Alfred (Jeremy Irons) isn’t a butler – there’s no Wayne Manor to attend to. He’s a mechanic for Batman, a remote co-pilot, with some good one-liners aimed at his employer during the film. It’s a new take on Alfred, which seems to work for me.
The movie taps two of DC’s best storylines for its “plot” – The Dark Knight Returns and The Death of Superman. Based on the material, you would have thought that the producers would have had a huge hit on their hands. Instead there’s a deliberate fumble that plays out on the screen for us. It’s as if the writer’s skimmed the books without actually reading them, and plucked a handful of scenes to recreate as opposed to relying on good story telling. As a result, you get a jumble of storylines stitched together with a plot that seems implausible.
We’re denied seeing the characters become true friends. Forced allies, yes, but not really close. Lex Luthor is both insane and a genius, well played by Jesse Eisenberg. It’s not our traditional Lex, but a solid (if not creepy) character. Like Alfred, it was okay to see a new twist on the character. I just never really felt that Lex was worthy of the two character he squared off with.
The film is all build-up and little delivery. That climatic battle between Batman and Superman is sort of boring when it’s just the two of them. Once more Metropolis insurance rates are going to spike because Superman lives in town. The special effects are over the top and border-line Green Lantern-ish when it comes to Doomsday. (I know it’s wrong to pick at that GL scab, but I had to go there.)
The dream sequences should have ended up on the cutting room floor – they didn’t add squat to the film and in fact made it seem too long. Likewise too much time is spent laying foundation work for The Justice League movie – which, based on this film, is likely to suck. All of this bogs down a long movie. There are scenes like one with Pa Kent that are wastes of time and downright confusing. Even if these scenes were chopped (as they should have been) it wouldn’t be enough to get this dog to hunt.
Gal Gadot almost saves the movie as Wonder Woman. She fought better than both of her male counterparts in the quasi-climatic battle. Her accent made her sound exotic. We weren’t bogged down with her origins which was also a plus. Frankly, she battles Zod v2.0 better than her male counterparts. Thanks to scenes we didn’t need in this movie, we know that DC/Warner will ruin WWI in its upcoming Wonder Woman film. (Yes, DC can ruin an entire war.)
The Dawn of Justice has more plot potholes than a stretch of Michigan road, and many are so deep and obvious that you’re better off hitting them than mentally trying to swerve around them. Example: Wonder Woman gets off a plane with two light carryon items to rush off to the battle. She shows up with a big honking shield and sword. Where did those come from? Certainly not from her luggage. The whole manipulation of the characters into a battle has so many over-complicated failings that it is a pathetic joke at times. Also, Gotham is apparently ten blocks away from Metropolis. It’s like Hoboken NJ in relation to Manhattan. What in the hell Zack Snyder…you can see the bat signal from Metropolis? Lois Lane helicoptered over to Gotham in five minutes. The entire US Capitol scene was just bizarre in terms of how it was painfully set up and what it actually accomplished in terms of plot.
There were scenes that made the audience cheer but even some of these were awkward. Lex Luthor losing his hair for example. It wasn’t even entertaining, but it stressed how the audience wanted some of that good old fashioned comic book story elements. When you have people cheering baldness, you know the movie is limping to a conclusion.
Despite all of this there were things that I enjoyed in the movie. The new Batmobile rocks as does the Bat Cave. Some of the redone scenes of Zod fighting Superman from Man of Steel are quite good. Batman going to save Martha Kent was one of the coolest fight scenes I’ve seen in a while. I actually liked the fact that there were consequences to Superman’s trashing of Metropolis. Batman had the best line in the movie: “Oh shit.” (Yeah – this isn’t going to win any Academy Awards for best screenplay.)
The folks at Marvel/Disney have to be chuckling with the release of this movie. The figured out that what makes a good comic hero movies is great characters and solid storytelling. This is something that the Warner/DC team has tried to drive over as if it were a speed-bump to their evil marketing intentions.
The movie didn’t deliver on my laundry list of things I needed for it to. We never see Bruce and Clark become friends. The plot suffered to lay a foundation for a Justice League film.
I give this a low three out of five stars and I’m being generous. If you’re a fan, you’re going to go no matter what. Oh, there’s no after credits scene – so don’t hang around ‘cause DC doesn’t want you to compare this to a Marvel film in any way; and with good reason. Also, do NOT take your kids to this. I saw parents there with little kids and that was just wrong.
I went into this movie with moderate expectations given Ryan Reynold’s two previous ventures into comic-book based movies. I was stunned at the four-quarts of awesome sauce that this movie was simmered in. The opening credits had the audience laughing and there wasn’t a single word spoken or even any moving-action on the screen. Deadpool proved one thing, Marvel has a magic touch, albeit a dark, evil, black-magic touch in the case of this film. Still, it’s magic, so soak it in.
Deadpool is not a series of hilarious one-liners. Well, okay, it is this, but it is more. There’s a real plot here, even a Beauty and the Beast thing woven into the story. The film didn’t need much of a plot but the writers rose the occasion and made this much more than a spoof of super hero movies. They made art. Watching Deadpool is like watching Blazing Saddles. The jokes are all wrong, you shouldn’t laugh, but you can’t help yourself. The writers deserve academy awards for their work on this film. The lines come at you like a MG42 spewing bullets, each having sometimes multiple jokes tied to them. I will have to see this movie multiple times because I’m sure I missed jokes because I was laughing so hard. I have not heard so much laughter in a theater in years.
This is not a movie for the weak at heart. If you take your underage kid to Deadpool, you’re a horrible parent. This is not your typical superhero movie, not by a long shot. There’s gratuitous sex and inane violence in this movie, it is the backdrop to an artistic work. The parents that take their kids to Deadpool are the same ones that buy them booze on prom night to be “the cool parents.” In other words, douchbags.
The film dovetails in with the X-men, with cameo’s in the film. They don’t overpower the movie, they add to it. The supporting cast is perfect. T. J. Miller, known from Silicon Valley, is great in this film, almost the perfect verbal foil for Reynolds. My favorite scenes involve the cab driver’s dialogue with Deadpool near the finale. Stan Lee’s cameo is priceless as well, with his own zinger of one-liners.
Deadpool doesn’t just break the fourth wall, he climbs into the theater with you, steals some popcorn, then wanders back into the movie. It happens so fast you will need to check to make sure he hasn’t lifted your wallet in the process.
Deadpool delivers across the board, carving out its own niche in terms of comic book films. There is so much happening in this film that I can’t wait for the Blu Ray. I give this five out of five stars. Just don’t take your wife or girlfriend unless they are into gratuitous violence and insane amounts of sexual innuendo – in which case you have chosen well (wink).
You will need to stay for the end of the credits too.
As hard as it is to believe, this week (January 12) marks the 50th anniversary of the Batman TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Five decades…that can’t be right? Crap – I’m getting old. Batman…this is a series that is worthy of a few minutes of nostalgia.
Batman was one of those series that you remembered distinctly after you saw it. Yes, the acting was over-the-top. It was campy beyond description…right down to Cesar Romero’s makeup-covered mustache. The villains were always filmed at bizarre angles. The show aired twice a week, with a cliffhanger that commanded that we all tune in, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel, to see the conclusion. There were signs on every piece of equipment, as if the dynamic duo couldn’t remember what the Bat Computer was. The show had stunning colors, a highly-repetitive theme song that we all knew the words to (Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na…Batman!)
Batman and Robin climbing up the side of buildings as guest stars popped out of windows…that was classic. It was one part Laugh-In, one part awesome sauce.
And the fights…they were awesome. It was like watching a comic book on TV…Bam! Biff! Pow! Battles were choreographed with all grace of a 3rd grade dance recital. As a four year old kid, I have to tell you, I thrilled with every flying kick or “Socko!” punch.
Let’s not forget the Batmobile. Few cars earn the title of “sexy” but the Batmobile was one of those. “Atomic Batteries to Power – Turbines to Speed!” It was as much of a character as Bruce Wayne or the Boy Wonder. That car had lines, and gadgets. Remember the red Batphone in the car. We all saw that as a far flung future. Now we all carry a computer/portable TV station in our pockets and think nothing of it. In 1966, we looked at that one gizmo as pure science fiction. Forget Marty’s Delorean, the Batmobile was much cooler and more futuristic.
The later seasons gave us something else – Batgirl. Her theme song sucked, but let’s face it, she was hotter than hot. Batgirl did something that was rare on TV. She conveyed sexy without showing us any skin.
And as goofy as the series was, it had an all-star line up of guest villains every week. Yes, they all had silly monikers and costumes, but to us, that didn’t matter. A lot of big name stars wanted to be on the show so their children/grandchildren could see them.
For many of us, aside from the 12-cent comic books, this was our first real taste of Batman as a character. I daresay that if it hadn’t been for this series we never would have had Batman as the film franchises we know today. Adam and Burt set the bar. Even the mighty George Clooney in his campy best could not hold the cowl to West’s Batman doing the Batusi dance.
So, if you are old enough to remember when the show was on the air, take a moment and allow yourself to envision Gotham City as it was in 1966. Picture Commissioner Gordon picking up that glass dome over the Batphone and placing that call to stately Wayne Manor. Let your memories of the Shakespeare bust being tipped back to activate the hidden door revealing the Batpoles to the Batcave. Remember that roar of the Batmobile you heard in your youth. Allow yourself a chance to smile and embrace those memories – be they black and white or in color. For a half-an-hour, twice a week, we all wanted to be superheroes. We tied towels around our necks for capes, and we made the “Boffo!” fighting noises when we played with others.
Well, Heroes Reborn is on hiatus until January when it will return with the last three episodes of the season. As I wrote about in an earlier post, I was surprised at how well Heroes Reborn has kept my interest. The last few episodes were pivotal and upped the ante on this rebooted series.
For much of this season we’ve been slowly piecing together what happened to the Evos (mutants, heroes, whatever) at Odessa Texas the day that Claire died. The episodes “June 13th” Parts I and II were incredible. They tied together so many of these seemingly random characters into a cohesive plot – one that was awesome.
SPOILER ALERT: We learned that Claire died in childbirth – and that Noah Bennett had has memory erased to protect the grandchildren. Better yet, Hiro, (my favorite character) saved the children by taking them out of the reach of the evil Erica Kravid…back in time! We learned that there is a looming disaster that will destroy all life on Earth. Erica’s plan was to send colonists into the far future (after the disaster) to repopulate and rebuild the planet. Claire’s children were foreseen to be possible saviors of the world – but Erica was hedging her bets.
It was an incredible two episodes – on par with the first season of Heroes – “Save the Cheerleader, save the world,” moment.
The series is hitting on all cylinders. This is a complex story that was presented in a very cohesive manner. There are a lot of moments where the writers have treated us to some discontinuity in the timelines. Noah stepped on the proverbial butterflies in messing with the timeline, and the world may yet pay the price.
Heroes Reborn has redeemed the failings of the old series. It has given us some wonderful tid-bits, links to the past, while breaking new ground in a great bit of storytelling.