Kinky Komic Book Review: Army of Darkness Vs Re-Animator

(Submitted by Mr. Dr. Prince Adam of Themyscira…Thanks, Suoer Fiend! 🙂 xoxo)

“This Army of Darkness features the crossover no one ever expected to see: Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator! Ash Vs. West! The Ultimate Lovecraftian battle as Herbert West leaps from the literary page to fight Ash! Winner takes all! Ash finds himself committed to Arkham Asylum. It’s here that he runs afoul of a rather ghoulish and creepy Herbert West… and the battle of the century begins!” (Dynamite)

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read anything by H.P. Lovecraft, nor do I have any knowledge of his work on the Re-Animator. What I have gotten used to is this Army of Darkness comic book.  The Deadites get free, chaos ensues and Ash has to defeat them, often haphazardly and leaving destruction and a bloody wake in the aftermath. This book has been able to keep this formula from getting repetitive twice over and does so a third time in this story.  Both stories since the movie adaptation has rejoined our hero shortly after the events of the film,  This story takes place literally minutes after “Shop Til You Drop Dead.”  Once again, before any of the present day action gets underway, Ash gives us a recap of the previous stories. What I like about this is that Ash pokes fun and acknowledges how ridiculous  and crazy the events that happen to him are.  This is the first time the book gets meta on us, When we get to present day story telling, Ash is surrounded in the S-Mart, by dead bodies and Detroit Police.  Ash is arrested and dubbed “The S-Mart Slasher”.  It makes sense that the police would blame him.  There is no evidence of Deadite presence, only dead shoppers, Ash covered in blood, with the only survivor being his girlfriend Sheila. A judge and jury deem him insane, and remand Ash to a mental facility for rehabilitation.  Things get interesting when the book shifts to the mental facility, named Arkham Asylum. Now either there’s a real mental hospital named Arkham Asylum in Detroit, Arkham Asylum was first created for Re-Animator, or this is a clever reference to Batman.  I’m going to assume it’s a Batman reference, so it remains cool and extremely awesome, which is what I thought when I first saw the reference.

Editor’s Note: Arkham is a fictional city that appears in many works by H.P. Lovecraft. Batman’s Arkham Asylum is a reference to Lovecraft.

What’s great about the Asylum setting is that new readers checking this out, will wonder if Ash is really crazy, only to discover he’s not as the story goes along.  Meanwhile,  long time fans know that he’s not crazy, the monsters are  real and things will get a lot worse.  This is where the Re-Animator comes in.  Herbert West is the head doctor, and in his spare time has been using the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis to perfect his Re-Animator formula, in an effort to defeat death.  He makes a deal to release the Old Ones, aka the masters of the Deadites. In exchange for Eternal life and a mastery over death, he will free them.  In anticipation of the Old Ones arrival, Herbert West opens a portal, releasing Deadites into the world.  I loved this for two reasons. Herbert West in trying to reanimate the dead, is a fresh take on more recent takes of zombies, while being a throwback to Frankenstein.  Also, it was refreshing to see the Deadites brought to Earth on purpose, rather then Ash bumbling a spell again and accidentally releasing them again. Herbert West had a bit of a Hugo Strange flavor to him. It wouldn’t surprise me if Batman writers borrowed from H.P. Lovecraft, when creating Doctor Hugo Strange.

Like previous issues, Ash has some help in his battle with the Deadites and Herbert West’s Frankenstein creations. In past issues, Ash’s help came in the form of an ancient sorcerer, much wiser then him.  Often, this humorously made Ash look like an inexperienced buffoon,  Here though, Ash is aided by a fellow inmate/movie buff and a parapsychologist, who both believe him to be the chosen one to defeat the Deadites and prevent an apocalypse.  The tables are turned this time, as the inmate/film buff Deuce Bellcamp is the clueless simpleton, whereas Ash is the Deadite fighting veteran.  Ash pokes fun at the fact that Deuce is a bit on the rotund size and is casually dismissive of the parapsychologist nicknamed Sugarbaby.  Ash’s trademark snark and attitude are on display here, but he never becomes so obnoxious that you can’t stand him.  Good on writer Jim Kuhoric for finding that balance.  The book once again gets meta, when these two unlikely allies return Ash’s chainsaw and broomstick.  These aren’t the genuine article, but instead props from a movie called Army of Darkness based on him.  They also tell him “fictional novels”, and a Broadway play based on him exist.  Is this some kind of art imitating life, inside of art stuff happening here.  Someone call Christopher Nolan, there’s some Inception level shit happening here! As the trio tries to escape Arkham Asylum,  Ash notices Sheila’s reflection in a mirror and is pulled into a Mirror Dimension.  There he discovers the real Sheila, the real Dr. Herbert West and even H.P, Lovecraft.  Meanwhile, Deuce and Sugarbaby are captured by the evil version of Dr. West. I like that H.P. Lovecraft is put into the book. A great homage to the creator of the Re-Animator.  You can definitely see the reverence the writer has for Lovecraft, as he is the one who gives Ash a special magical necklace, which allows him, and only him to escape. Before Ash escapes, he tells Sheila he will reunite her spirit with her body, freeing her from the mirror dimension. Back in the “real world” Deuce has been experimented on and his body parts used as part of the Re-Animated Masterpiece, which is multiple body parts sewn together from different people.  This “Ultimate” Frankenstein includes parts of Sheila’s body. When Ash returns, he rescues Sugarbaby, defeats the Re-Animated Masterpiece monster and prevents the Deadite Doppelganger of Herbert West from finishing a spell that would bring the old ones to Earth.  The Supernatural energy from that disruption, causes Arkham Asylum to collapse. Ash, Sugarbaby and even Herbert West’s evil doppelganger, manage to escape, before the entire building collapses.  I love that this ended on a cliff-hanger.  I have so many questions? Did Sheila die because her body was part of the Re-Animated Masterpiece? Or is her spirit still trapped in the Mirror Dimension? There’s even more of a reason to read the next volume now, not that I wasn’t going to anyways.

Sanford Greene and Nick Bradshaw share art duties for this story.  I have to give credit to Sanford Greene for his work on that recap page. It’s crammed with imagery from all 3 previous volumes but never feels like it’s overcrowded or too much to look at.  It looks as though it’s popping off the page, as if it were 3D! I loved the monsters that Ash first sees in Arkham Asylum.  They’re unique and look like a mix of a fruit on steroids, a Teletubby and a Pokémon.  We actually see drawn full pages of the Necromicon Ex-Mortis.  The imagery on the page was more muted, which was unique because the only other book I’ve seen with even less color, in black and white in fact, is The Walking Dead.  The other reason this is unique is because muted or black and white, usually denotes flashbacks but in this case, the book shows the events that are currently happening to Ash.  The Mirror Dimension looks like a dreary swamp. There is a cavernous underground bunker Here we see the real Herbert West, Sheila, and H.P. Lovecraft all in costume, as Alice in Wonderland characters. The Alice theme is here, as a nod to the portal that leads both Ash and Alice into another dimension being a mirror. It’s a nice bit of unplanned synergy, adding even more weirdness to this already strange story.   As soon as I saw these pages, I thought, if they turn this story into a film, either Guillermo Del Toro or Tim Burton should direct it.  The most gory and violent scene is the Arkham Asylum hallway scene.  Picture Wolverine during one of his berserker rages, now replace Wolverine and his claws, with Ash and his chainsaw and you get the picture.  The Re-Animator Masterpiece is almost a snake like looking collage of all different bodies stitched together, Frankenstein style. It’s quite uniquely grotesque.

Last volume had a few stumbles but was still enjoyable.  This book is a return to greatness, on par with the first few volumes. I still haven’t watched any of the Ash Vs. Evil Dead TV series, but this book led me to a resolution. After the next shortened season of Game of Thrones, I’m going to binge watch both seasons of Ash vs Evil Dead.  In the meantime, I’m going to read more Army of Darkness and so should you.

#SupernaturalSaturday: Castlevania Season 1 Review

(Submitted by Birhday Boy Prince Adam…Hope your born week has been beyond a blast, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“A vampire hunter fights to save a besieged city from an army of otherworldly creatures controlled by Dracula.” (Netflix)

This animated series is based off of a third part in a video game series I have never played. I have no preconceived notions or expectations of what it’s SUPPOSED to be like. All I can say, is that the series that Netflix produced is something I really enjoyed and I’d like to see further explored. Thankfully, Castlevania has already been renewed for a second season. So my recommendation is to definitely get in on this before that eventual second season. The good news is, the first season consists of only 4 episodes, so it’s not a huge overwhelming time commitment. Surprisingly, in that 4 episode time we see Dracula fall in love, and get married. His wife is then burned at the stake by the Bishop and the people of Wallachia, for the accusation of being a witch. Dracula, when he discovers what happened to his wife, gives the people and the church a year to make peace with what they’ve done, before he wipes them off the face of the Earth. The story jumps forward a year, and we see the beginning of Dracula’s genocide on the humans. We also see the arrival of Trevor Belmont, which brings plenty of exposition about the fact that he is the last surviving member of the Belmont family, a disgraced clan of monster hunters, who have been excommunicated by the church, due to claims of being connected to dark magic. Speaking of magic, Trevor Belmont rescues a member of the Seekers, an ancient sect that uses magic to assist and help the people of Wallachia. Guess what, even they have been excommunicated from the church because of their magic. After fighting off some of the demons Dracula has unleashed on Earth, Trevor Belmont then rescues the granddaughter of the Elder of the Speakers, who is trapped in the catacombs of a cathedral. After rescuing the granddaughter, she and Belmont track down Dracula’s castle only to find a sleeping vampire Adrian Tepes. He awakens, a misunderstanding occurs and a fight ensues between the three. When Adrian revels that they fulfill a prophecy that says a vampire, hunter and a scientist will kill Dracula, they band together and hunt for Dracula.


What I loved about this series is that it respects several incarnations of the Dracula character. We have nods to the historical Vlad the Impaler, in the character’s name and the fact that he impaled his victims and skewered their head on a lance. He was also suave debonair, tall, dark and handsome. I loved that this show also highlighted that Dracula was at the forefront of science and technology, in the time period. Thus, in this story, Dr. Lisa Tepes comes to Dracula’s castle, despite knowing the myths about him, in search of his knowledge and science prowess to put into practice with her medicine. Initially, he is cold and distant, but quickly warms up to her, and witty banter kicks into high gear. Before you know it, she encourages him to start living and travelling like a human being. The series then jumps forward 20 years, they are married and Lisa is being burned at the stake as a witch for her interest in science. I wish the season had more episodes, so that we could’ve seen the development of their relationship and the change in Dracula. That way, when he snaps after her murder, it’s even more powerful and painful. I also liked the mythologies set up for both Trevor Belmont and the Belmont family. Trevor Belmont reminds me of a cross between Peter Quill aka Star Lord and Van Helsing. However, the mythology is glossed over because of the season’s short episode order. This is also true of the Speakers but we get an even more truncated version of their backstory. This seasons really needed 10-13 episodes to effectively flesh out all these storylines and backstories. Clearly though, the producers knew they were getting a second season, clearly saving plot threads for the follow up installment. While Dracula has a horrible endgame for Wallachia and its people. the true villain of this season is not Dracula, or the demons he unleashes. The villain is really The Bishop. He is going on a killing spree, taking out people who are suspected of having anything to do with magic. It is his decision to burn Lisa Tepes at the stake, which sets Dracula off on a vengeful murderous rampage. While Dracula’s ultimate endgame can’t be condoned, I can sympathize with his pain. The Bishop is doing all this, so he can be the one to defeat Dracula seen as the ultimate saviour of the Church and the people of Wallachia, ultimately ascending to the rank of Pope. The Catholic Church was full of corrupt leaders, who took part in burning witches at the stake, and using this true to life scenario because the story is set in mid-1400’s is smart. That little bit of reality set in this fantasy world, almost makes you forget this is an animated project.


Speaking of animation and the action, both were great. The art has a mix of Manga art, infused with traditional comic book art, by the likes of Michael Turner and John Romita Jr. I love the Roman/Gothic architecture of the cathedrals and Dracula’s Castle. The castle in particular looked pristine and beautiful when the lights are turned on. It’s hard to believe a vampire and demons live in such an abode. In terms of look, Dracula reminded me of a more rugged version of Luke Wilson from Dracula Untold. The gargoyle type creatures and the devil wolf dogs looked like Man-Bat mixed with Golam and direwolves mixed with Hulk Dogs, from Ang Lee’s movies. I loved that every so often, the skyline would be seen as the sun was setting. The orange/red color was more foreboding then it was beautiful, putting the viewer on notice that blood was about to be spilled. Speaking of blood being spilled, this show is damn bloody and violent and that’s great. It doesn’t shy away from showing blood and there is plenty of dismemberment that takes place. When Trevor Belmont starts kicking ass, corrupt priests lose fingers, an eyeball and even their head. In this series, Dracula can appear as a disembodied head engulfed in fire. I don’t know that this is one of his typical abilities, but it looks cool. The traditional traveling and forming from a swarm of bats is present and made this long time Dracula happy. There’s a scene at the beginning before the title card, where the bats swarm the screen. It reminded me of a more visceral, violent version of the moment in Batman Begins, where the bats swarm the screen, forming the Batman logo at the beginning of the film.


This first season of Castlevania is short, sweet, extremely dark and beautifully violent. Having said that, the four episodes feel like a combined episode of a typical live action pilot. The four episodes are all setup, for what’s to come next season. Thankfully, there’s enough mythology and demon fighting to make this an exciting thrill ride of an appetizer. Castlevania along with American Vampire, are the two best additions to vampire mythology in quite some time. The ending promises an even more satisfying and succulent experience, so definitely take a bite out of Castlevania Season 1, you won’t regret it!

Comic Book Review – Vampirella #8-10: A murder of Crows

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks for the Vampi goodness, Superfriend! 🙂 xoxo)

“Vampirella’s back and on the hunt! Dynamite Entertainment’s acclaimed mistress of the dark continues her supernatural adventures, running a gauntlet of murder and despair across an increasingly imperiled globe. A trio of demoness assassins – the Kerasu Shimei (the ‘Crow Sisters’) – have clawed their into our world, and are intent on building a bloody monument to murder, sin and mayhem, and it will take all of Vampirella’s considerable skill to send them screaming back to Hell…” (Dynamite)

This book continues shortly after the one shot from last issue, where Vampirella was recuperating from her wounds from the battle with Dracula and Le Fanu. The book picks up with Vampirella and Sofia on a stakeout, tracking a trio of gruesome murders where three people of shady character have been crucified, with Japanese Kanji drawn in their blood beside them.  Vampirella has been contracted by a mysterious benefactor, who she has yet to reveal to Sofia, Through Vampirella’s inner musing, she reveals that she is keeping her benefactor a secret from Sofia, to not bring her deeper into Vampirella’s world.  Vampirella reveals that as much as she enjoys having a human partner, she wants to get Sofia out of this life because the last time she had a human partner, it didn’t end well for either of them.  In these quieter introspective moments, we start getting a sense of how attached and how much Vampirella cares for Sofia.  As nice as that is, the best parts of these scenes are the insinuation of the mysterious benefactor’s and former human partner.  I’m assuming her ex-partner was Adam Van Helsing, who she had a nightmare about in the previous issues.  As for who her benefactor is, I have no idea.  However, writer Eric Trautmann has me hooked liked a caught fish, waiting to see how both those plot threads play out.  In the first seven issues, Sofia is thrust into this monstrous world. She’s intrigued and captivated by it all.  Now that she’s had time to process it a little more fully, as a reader, you can see her fear and so can Vampirella, even though Sofia tries to hide it.  I love how the writer hasn’t thrust her forward so quickly, to the point where she’s okay with all the weird crap she’s witnessing.  She tries to cope by referencing that everything Vampirella does in this volume fulfills every trope from the horror movie genre.  She uses smart ass commentary to mask her fears.  That’s something I would do.  I hope the writers keep using Sofia as a conduit for the audience.  The other reason I absolutely loved this volume of issues, is due to the fact that the villains of this issue spring directly out of the first volume.  The Three Crow Sisters are Hell-Spawn, who were able to escape hell, when Vampirella’s battle with the Yag-Ath Vermellus, softened the barrier between hell and Earth.  The reason why they have killed those 3 people is because they represent cowardice, the immoral and the deceitful.  This coupled with killing Vampirella, who represents insolence, dishonors her fellow Vampires and is disloyal to them, will serve as a monument to corruption. These acts will tether them firmly to Earth, preventing them from being dragged back to hell. We also learn that the masks they currently wear are temporary tethers to Earth and amplify their strength and speed.  They are very formidable opponents, but she ultimately kills them.  However, not before the big revelation that the Crow sisters know of Vampirella’s true origins, whereas, she herself does not.  She has memories from different origins, which in actuality are different incarnations of the character in the comics, through the years.  In the book continuity, she is not sure what her real past is.  This is similar to what Wonder Woman is experiencing post Rebirth. I like this story hook, as it allows new readers to familiarize themselves with multiple possibilities, without doing too much extra “homework.”

Fabiano Neves returns on art and once again does great work.  This is going to be odd to say of a Vampirella book but the car chase scene looked good.  The art really captures the close quarters and break neck speed of the chase.  Also, the exploded car flip diversion Vampirella creates with the car, looked straight out of a Fast & Furious movie, minus Vin Diesel’s monotone acting, while still keeping the beautiful women.  The female villains wearing Guy Fawkes, V for Vendetta esque masks, looked creepy as hell.  And because the masks aren’t literally V for Vendetta masks, it never feels derivative. Since we essentially had hot vampire vs hot vampire in volume 1, they had to change things up a bit.  This is definitely visually striking.  I loved the visual of the crucified murder victims being on one hand being a darkly colored page, with his blood being the most colored object, while the other two were shown in black and white.  It gave the crime scenes a more mysterious, cold and frightening look and feel to them.  The page where Vampirella and Sofia are scouring around the abandoned farmhouse which is pitch black, and their backs are facing the “camera”/reader, is a quintessential horror moment.  It leaves you expecting and waiting for something bad or scary to happen.  That’s hard for a comic book to pull off, but to be fair, I may have cheated by playing a horror soundtrack as I read this book,

The more I read of Vampirella, the more I like the character and this book.  If you thought the story blew its load too early by using Dracula write off the bat, you’d be wrong.  I’m constantly impressed with every scroll of the digital page.  This character is under appreciated in the comic book world. If you haven’t read this book, or given this character a try, you simply must.  If you don’t, you’re truly doing a disservice to yourself and the genre!

Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

WARNING TO ALL YE WHO ENTERETH: This post contains #SPOILERS. Just scroll on down to the Marvel Universe Live stuffs if that sorta thing upsets ya. 🙂

(Review submitted with all the love by our Superheroic Ho-mie, Prince Adam…Thank you, Super Sir! 🙂 xoxo)

“Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.” (Sony/Marvel)

After his fantastically energetic extended cameo in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man gets his first solo film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  We get two prologues before hitting “present day”, which as stated, is several months after Civil War.  The first prologue is set shortly after the first Avengers film.  We see Adrian Toomes and his cleanup crew, removing debris and alien technology from the destruction sites. We see that he is so excited by landing this government job, because it puts food on the table for his wife and daughter, as well as providing for his whole crew.  However, they lose the contract when Tony Stark funds the government owned “Damage Control”, to clean up super heroic messes and such. We then see a flash forward to present day, where we learn and see that Adrian Toomes and crew have been stealing weaponry from superhero/supervillain skirmishes, propagating some for themselves, and selling other weaponry to criminals on the black market. Meanwhile, the flashback with Peter Parker/Spider-Man, actually ties into his appearance in Civil War.  The flashbacks are actually self-shot home movies, of his “trip” to Berlin.  You actually see him getting his upgraded suit from Tony Stark via Happy Hogan, as well as P.O.V. shots of the airport battle in Civil War.  These are a way to catch the audience up on where we last saw Peter, but done in an inventive and unique way. These flashbacks are great because they show us our villain’s motivations for what he is doing, and give us a glimpse into how much Peter Parker loves being Spider-Man.

Our main story picks up with Peter Parker being left back in Queen’s and dealing with being a high school student, while also dealing with being a Spider-Man that has to deal with more street level crime.  First of all, I love that this film really stayed in Queen’s as much as it could.  It gave this film a much more intimate feeling over previous installments.  Peter Parker being in high school felt like a naturalistic part of his daily routine, as opposed to being scenes that were shoehorned into the other films because the character was supposed to be 15.  I think it helps, that the actor playing our hero, as well as his classmates were actually teenaged, as opposed to Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who both had Wellingitis.  That is to say, they were both 25, cast to play a 15 year old, just as Tom Welling was on Smallville.  I also appreciated that this iteration of Peter Parker wasn’t overtly geeky, or overly hipster, like our previous versions of Peter Parker.  Tom Holland plays an average teenager who takes his high school happenings and everyday situations to the extreme, and makes everything seem like the biggest deal and sometimes the end of the world.  Peter Parker’s best friend in this is Ned played by Jacob Batalon.  The character as played by the actor, is the quintessential best bud and sidekick.  The character is a gamer and total Star Wars fanboy.  Sure, the idea that the two friends spend their after school time building a LEGO Death Star, felt a little all too obvious and convenient, given the Marvel/Disney and Disney/Star Wars connection, but it felt like something two modern day teen fanboys would absolutely do.  There is no spider-bite or death of Uncle Ben in this film.  Instead, that sort of exposition, comes from Ned, once he accidentally discovers Peter Parker is Spider-Man.  We learn of the spider bite and Peter’s abilities through Ned’s endless questions. The exchanges are so naturalistic yet humorous.  There’s a lot of humor in this film, yet never once does it go overboard like Guardians of the Galaxy 2, or feel forced like in the Thor movies.  Liz Allen played by Laura Harrier is the object of Peter Parker’s affection in this film.  She is the popular girl, with a type A personality.  Sure, she and Peter admit that they both liked each other and went to the homecoming dance together but I never felt a spark, or connection between these characters.  No offence to the actress, she did okay with what was asked of her.  Story wise, once we learn that Liz Allen is really Liz Toomes, daughter of the Vulture, any chance the two had at a relationship was gone.  I really did like the character of Michelle played by Zendaya.  This character is very intellectual and is a bit of a loner, playing it off as if she doesn’t really care about hanging out, or being around her classmates. She’s a bit of an introvert, who is lost in her reading. The banter and animosity between she and Peter, gives off a vibe of a love/hate relationship, which definitely hints at something more later on.  Flash Thompson is played by Tony Revolori.  This Flash is not the big hulking jock of a bully like in previous installments, or the comic books.  Instead, he’s more of a verbal insulter, who tries to break Peter down emotionally, not physically.  He’s still a sleaze bag.  The young actor plays that well and you won’t be able to stand him over the course of the film.

Marisa Tomei, returns from her Civil War role of Aunt May.  This Aunt May is more active in the film and in Peter’s life.  We see very simple scenes of them sharing a family dinner.  You even see her helping him learn how to do a tie, teaching him how to dance, and giving him pointers how to treat Liz on their homecoming date.  Marisa Tomei seems to be playing this younger version of Aunt May as a big sister, which makes sense, given the smaller age gap between the two actors.  Though, Marisa Tomei does let the parental Aunt mode kick in, when Peter gets home late and hasn’t been answering his phone. She raises her voice at him, telling him he can’t do that and that between the two of them, that’s not okay.  Even though Uncle Ben isn’t mentioned by name, the tone in her voice and the pain in her face, clearly makes it know, this reaction is a reaction to Ben’s death.  It’s really powerful acting by Marisa Tomei.  As was known when this project was announced and as the trailers went out of their way to point out, Robert Downey Jr. is in this film as Tony Stark/Iron-Man.  He’s at his snarky, fast talking best in this film.  The trailers for this film had me worried that this film would turn into Iron-Man 4, featuring Spider-Man.  However, happily, that’s not the case at all.  We see Iron-Man as a mentor/father figure/ big brother to Peter Parker.  You can tell that Tony Stark has a love for Peter, but in typical Stark fashion, he’ll never outright admit it.  He gave Peter the costume upgrade, to make him a more effective hero but also to keep him safe. Yet still, he tells Peter to stay safe, by sticking close to home grown, street level issues.  The suit upgrades include different shapes and modes of webbing.  The spider symbol is actually a mini drone/ tracker.  There’s also an interrogation mode, which allows Peter to disguise his voice a la Batman, to intimidate his enemies.  There’s a lethal mode, to deal with the extremely dangerous villains and lest we forget, the web wings from the early comic books, which allow him to glide.  I thought all these enhancements by Tony to the costume would minimize Peter Parker’s intelligence but the way Robert Downey Jr. and the film itself handles it, is just Tony being overprotective.  In fact, the film makes a point to show Peter’s intelligence, by showing him secretly brewing his webbing in science class.  We also see Peter disabling the trackers and security measures Tony put into the Spider-Man costume.  Iron-Man does save and assists Spider-Man twice in the film but it never feels like belittling and minimizing the character to me.  His biggest contribution happens of screen, after he realizes that Peter is too reliant on the costume and its gadgets, so he takes it away.  This forces Peter to go back to his homemade costume and find the hero within, which he ultimately does. While this is a Spider-Man film, Tony Stark does seems to resolve some father issues he had in Civil War and there is even a progression of his relationship with Pepper Potts that carries over from that film, which I won’t spoil.

Nearly all of the action beats are tied to our villain, Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton.  As hard as it is for me to see Michael Keaton as anything but Batman or Beetlejuice, he is absolutely fantastic as the Vulture.  He’s easily the best villain in the MCU since Loki and he might even be better than Loki.  As I mentioned earlier, the cleanup contract is so important to him, as he’s trying to provide for his family, as are his crew.  When he loses that contract to the joint venture of Stark Industries and the government, he feels pushed aside and stepped on by “the man.”  This is why he hates The Avengers and turns to the black market to sell stolen alien weaponry.  He’s not a one dimensional, over the top, mustache twirling villain, which has become the norm in the MCU. What the script and Michael Keaton convey so well, is that while Adrian Toomes motivations are relatable, his actions remain 100% wrong and the viewer never over sympathizes with him.  This is a mistake the Sam Raimi films made with Dock Ock and Sandman.  They became too sympathetic, to the point where I gave their actions a pass.  While Michael Keaton was great throughout, his best scene happens with Peter Parker when both men are out of costume.  I won’t spoil it but I guarantee it will make your spine tingle. Michael Keaton is particularly chilling in this scene.  The Vulture’s crew introduces other villains, namely the Shocker and the Prowler.  They’re not overly developed. They’re more in service to the Vulture, which I prefer.  The Prowler is of course the uncle of Miles Morales.  There is a small nod to him in the film, which could open the door for Ultimate Spider-Man in the future of the MCU.

In addition to Peter Parker, Tom Holland excels as his costumed alter-ego Spider-Man.  He’s got the inherent goodness and altruistic nature that Tobey Maguire had and he’s got the incessant quipping, which was present in Andrew Garfield’s take on the character.  Mixed in with Tom Holland’s youthful excitement and energy and what you have is the most screen accurate Spider-Man to his comic book counterpart, when it comes to live action portrayals.  The action scenes aren’t just randomly inserted into this film to fill an action quota, instead they service and enhance our hero’s journey.  What’s also unique is that Spider-Man is wearing his fancy superhero attire, in the first two acts, when he is more of an unpolished hero, while wearing his makeshift home-made costume for the third act, when he becomes the full-fledged hero. Usually, it’s the other way around in superhero films.  The early action beats are definitely smaller scale.  We see Spider-Man stopping a bike theft, bank robbery, and we even see him giving an elderly lady directions.  There’s situational humor present in the film when Spider – Man seemingly thwarts a car robbery but in fact, it was just a guy who’d been locked out of his car.  The way the onlookers yelled at Spidey and defended their neighbors innocence, really sold the tight knit community feel of this Queen’s neighborhood.  Also, Stan Lee gets a rare cameo where he speaks, which is nice.  When the Vulture first swoops in grabbing Spider-Man, preventing him from chasing down his crew, the frantic, up-close perspective of the scenes, looks like a brief moment that belongs in a horror film.  The Ferry sequence and the plane fight with The Vulture, as well as the Washington Monument Rescue are the 3 stars of this film, as far as action goes.  The Ferry Sequence has a moment were Spider-Man is trying to hold the Ferry together in one piece, His positioning, actions and pose are eerily similar to Spider-Man 2, when he tries to stop the train from crashing. The scene showcases how effective, yet inexperienced this Spider-Man is.  Seeing Spider-Man crawl up the Washington monument, leap from the top of it, using his web wings to clear a helicopter was so damn epic.  Not quite as epic as Superman’s first flight in Man of Steel, but a pretty close second.  The plane fight between Spider-Man and the Vulture was unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a Spider-Man film.  Not only do they fight inside of the plane but on top of the plane as well.  It took eleven years, but we finally have a scene that surpasses the Superman Returns flight rescue. Kudos goes to the costume designer, who actually made the Vulture’s costume intimidating and menacing, as opposed to looking ridiculous like it does in the comic books.

Spider-Man: Homecoming just feels right.  For the first time in six films, Spider-Man feels like he’s right where he belongs, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The plot and the reason why Spider-Man is taking on the Vulture is very straight forward.  Instead, this movie focuses on getting the characters right.  In this area, the film 100% succeeds.  My previous favourite Spider-Man film was Spider-Man 2, however, I think Spider-Man: Homecoming slightly surpasses it.  In terms of MCU solo films, this ranks 2nd, behind only the first Iron-Man.  In terms of my favourite summer movies, this ranks 2nd behind Wonder Woman and is definitely a MUST SEE film.

Ho-stess’s PS- I saw SMHC last night, and agree wholeblackheartedly with Mr. P’s review…Ho-wever, I saw Marvel Universe Live on Tour today, and have to say THAT is the Marvel production we should all be talking about. #GreatestShowInTheGalaXXXy!! 🙂 xoxo

Box Office Update: Wonder Woman Makes History & Muscles Her Way Past Man of Steel

(Submitted by Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

Before we get to specific numbers, I’d like to congratulate director Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman on having and being the largest grossing live action film directed by a woman! I think it’s only fitting that Wonder Woman is the film to have this distinction. Now, onto the specifics. In its 4th weekend, facing competition from Cars 3 & Transformers: The Last Knight, Wonder Woman still managed to take in $25,175,000. That represents a minimal 39% decline from last weekends $41.2 Million intake. All of this means, that Wonder Woman now has a 24 day domestic haul of $318,380,158. Remember when early box office predictions had Wonder Woman’s entire domestic run finishing at $225 Million!? The moral of that story? NEVER underestimate the Princess of Themyscira! In North America, Wonder Woman has now surpassed the entire runs of Logan, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Incredibles, Doctor Strange, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider Man 1 & 2, Batman (1989) and Iron – Man 2. In terms of her DCEU counterparts, the 4th entry into the shared universe has surpassed Man of Steel, the film that started it all back in 2013. What’s just as impressive is that Wonder Woman is performing equally as well overseas. Internationally Wonder Woman added another $20.5 Million. . The new running total for the film starring this amazing Amazon, is $334,500,000. When added together, Wonder Woman has crossed the milestone of $600 Million. Specifically, she has soared passed that total with a wonderful World Wide cume of $652,880,158. Next weekend Wonder Woman is poised to do what many, even myself deemed impossible and I’ll be back next week to tell you what that is! Until then, continue experiencing the wonder.

Farewell Batman – An Adam West Tribute.

(A lot of folks are hurtin’ right now…Here’s Prince Adam’s personal take on Mr. West’s passing. Thanks for sharing this with us, Super Friend. 🙂 xoxo)

The world lost some of its light last weekend as Adam West, better known as TV’s Batman left this world after a brief battle with Leukemia.  Those who know me, know that I love Batman and have since my childhood.  It’s also true, that Michael Keaton and Tim Burton rocketed my Batman fandom forward, with the release of Batman & Batman Returns. However. You know that age old saying, you never forget your first?  It’s true, even when discussing Batman.  Given my age, and my self-professed love of the Keaton and Burton era, you’d think that Batman would be my first.  However, you’d be wrong.  My first Batman was indeed Adam West, via syndicated reruns.  Watching that show created a ritual in my house.  It became part of my after school ritual.  I’d come home, my mom would have milk and cookies waiting for me and I was allowed to watch Batman, before getting to my homework.  

Sure, now I know that show was chalk full of tongue in cheek humor120, but back then, I took it dead seriously.  While Adam West keyed adults into the humor with his delivery and slight vocal inflections, he still played it 100% honest for the kids.  When I was a kid, Adam West’s Batman costume was the most comic book to screen accurate I had ever seen! I wanted one of my own and as an adult I still do.  The other thing I liked, was that Bruce Wayne conformed to the stereotypes I had of rich people at the time.  He lived in a mansion, had a servant, went to parties, even holding gala’s himself.  He even went fishing with Dick Grayson.  Though, those fishing trips would often be a ruse, for explaining away their Batman duty.  What I loved as a kid, were the little life lessons Batman would give Robin, and by extension us the viewer.  Whether it be walking an older lady across the street, paying for parking, wearing your seatbelt and yes, the dangers of jay walking. Adam West as Batman gave us all the essential advice and advocated drinking milk and eating vegetables.  Batman with Adam West under the cowl, reaffirmed all our parents’ teachings.  He was essentially our uncle.  And come on, who wouldn’t want Batman as their uncle.  When you think about it, Adam West was the first live action Batman to highlight his detective aspects. Every week, he would comb through the evidence of a case with the bat-computer, other gadgets and the help of Alfred and Robin.  The detective aspect of Batman was barely present in Batman 1989 or Returns, it was nowhere to be found in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.  Hints of it were found in The Dark Knight Trilogy, with the caveat that it was largely all done by Alfred & Lucius Fox. There was a decent sample size of detective Batman in BvS, which was carried equally between him and Alfred.  However, Adam West as Batman carried the torch of that character trait in bulk, from 1966 to 2016.

As an adult some of the best aspects of Adam’s performance is in his flirtation with Catwoman and specifically the will they/won’t they aspect of the relationship because he sides with the law, while she has criminal tendencies. What’s impressive, is that Adam West has the same heat and chemistry with all 3 Catwoman, so that even though the actress changed, the relationship maintains its history and so believing that all 3 actresses were the same Catwoman was an easy ask of the audience.  The way the relationship between the Bat & the Cat were portrayed here and their interactions, still serves as the backbone of that relationship to this day.  Some of Adam West’s best pure Batman superhero moments came against The Joker and The Riddler. Adam West an Caesar Romero were electric and in a tamer way, you never really knew what would go down between the two.  Also, no matter how many times you see it, Adam West and Frank Gorshin verbally sparring with riddles and answers never gets tiresome.  Most people will say their favorite Adam West moments rage between getting rid of a bomb, Bat-Shark repellent, and a surfing contest with The Joker, or even Adam West doing the Batusi.  For me it’s the scene where Bruce Wayne is having a 3 way phone call with Batman and Commissioner Gordon to discuss funds transfer for a ransom payment.  Seeing Adam West alternate between the Wayne Manor house phone and that red Bat phone, altering his voice to fit the appropriate character, depending on what phone he was holding was hilarious.  It also shows West’s acting talent, his range and the level of nuance he could achieve. 

For years, specifically in the mid 80’s this series was shunned by Batman fans as not a valid interpretation.  The problem with that line of thinking. Is that it and Adam’s version of Batman, are a valid interpretation.  This version of Batman is replicating and mimicking the comics from the 50’s and the 60’s.  The tone look and color pallet at that point are the same.  It’s also worth noting that this series saved the Batman comic books. DC was considering cancelling the books, but Bat mania began as a result of the show, bringing interest and popularity back to the comic books. I’m so happy Adam West was around long enough to see Bat mania 2.0 to return for his series, when the show became available on Blu-Ray.  In addition, they sold toys, based on the look and iconography of the show. Things came full circle for me, one night at my sisters house. The adults were enjoying coffee and cake, while the kids watched TV.  Suddenly, my nephews came in excitedly because a “New” Batman show was on TV! They had never seen it before! So I explained that I used to watch it, when I was their age. So I went down to their toy room and experienced their first time seeing Adam West as Batman.  It was a beautiful moment. PS: They loved it! Honestly, I think I’m going to do retro reviews of the Batman TV series here periodically. I’ve got the itch.  Unfortunately for us here on Earth, heaven needed a Batman, so Adam West will watch over the citizens of Gotham from above! Thank you for being my first Batman & the memories and for being a piece of what turned out to be a great childhood. I’ll miss you but I’ll never forget you!! Rest In Peace old chum!

Wonder Woman Leaves The Mummy In Her Dust Retaining #1 Spot at the Box Office!

(Submitted by Prince Adam…Thanks, Heroic Ho-mie! 🙂 xo)

Over the weekend, Universal Studio’s launched its connected series of classic Monster Films with a reboot of The Mummy, While I enjoyed what turned out to be a flawed, yet entertaining film and hope it’s worldwide box office is good enough for the Dark Universe to continue, the North American box office was still fixated on the power and grace of Wonder Woman. In the U.S. and Canada, the superhero origin story collected another $58,520,627.  This coupled with strong weekday performances has led the Patty Jenkins directed film to a 10 day domestic total of $206,343,175. That number means Wonder Woman has surpassed the lifetime domestic output of Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Ant-Man, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men, X-Men First Class, and Superman Returns.  As I write this, it is likely surpassing the total domestic gross of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.  Other Batman films, whose total Wonder Woman has absolutely eclipsed are Batman Returns and Batman Forever. As far as second weekend grosses go, Wonder Woman ranks third amongst all DC Comics films, behind only The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.  However, against her fellow DCEU Films Wonder Woman’s second weekend haul, outperformed Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.  The reason this was possible is due to the fact that Wonder Woman only suffered a miniscule 43. 3% decline in business.  The only other superhero film able to hold that well during its second weekend, after opening on a traditional Friday was Sam Raimi’s Spider- Man in 2002. Internationally, Wonder Woman dipped a normal $58.1 Million.  This represents a 54% decline from last week. Therefore, Wonder Woman’s international intake stands at, 230,200,000. Added together Wonder Woman has ricocheted a total of $436,543,175 off of her bracelets and into Warner Brother’s bank vault.  I’ll be back next week to see how Wonder Woman fares against another new release, that being the animated threequel Cars 3.  No matter what happens, there’s no doubt that when it comes to box office, Wonder Woman has got legs and she knows how to use them.

 

#SuperheroSaturday Movie Review: Wonder Woman!!!!!!!!!!

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (Submitted with all the love by our Heroic Ho-mie, Prince Adam…Thanks, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo)

“An Amazon princess (Gal Gadot) finds her idyllic life on an island occupied only by female warriors interrupted when a pilot (Chris Pine) crash-lands nearby. After rescuing him, she learns that World War I is engulfing the planet, and vows to use her superpowers to restore peace. Directed by Patty Jenkins” (DC Entertainment)

Wonder Woman is an iconic character of the DC library.  She is part of the famed Trinity, along with Batman and Superman. She certainly holds her own place in popular culture.  However, despite appearing in a popular live action TV series, and a slew of animated series including Super Friends and Justice League, when it comes to live action film, Wonder Woman hasn’t enjoyed the spotlight as her Trinity counterparts have.  She made her feature film debut in a fantastic extended cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, 75 years after her inception, Themyscira’s favourite daughter is finally headlining her own live action film.  While this is obviously part of DCEU cannon, the references and nods were thankfully kept to a minimum.  Those references actually bookend the film, featuring the World War 1 photo we saw in BvS. The film starts with a delivery of the original photo in a frame, courtesy of a Wayne Enterprises delivery truck. In it, Bruce Wayne sends a letter saying; “Maybe one day, you’ll tell me your story.” This gets Diana thinking about her past and is our entry way into her origin story.  From there the story takes us to Themyscira, eventually to “Man’s World”. Specifically London, and ultimately to the front lines of World War 1.  Much like with Man of Steel’s depiction of Krypton, the scene’s set on Themyscira made me want an entire movie set there.  If you though Baby Groot was the cutest character, you’d see in a superhero film this year, little Diana will prove you wrong.  Seeing her watch the other Amazon’s train and she is mimicking their movements and also when she bargain with her mother to let her train, even if she doesn’t use the weapons with the sharp edges is just too damn cute.  Her mother says she is not meant to be a warrior and tells her the story of her people.   Ares corrupted humanity with evil and hatred and tries to overthrow the gods by killing his brothers and father.  Before his death, Zeus uses all of his power to create the Amazon’s and the private island of Themyscira for the Amazon’s to live away from the now corrupt Mankind.  Zeus creates an invisible barrier on Themyscira to keep men and Ares from finding it.  Despite Hippolyta’s protesting, young Diana begins secretly training with her Aunt Antiope.  After finding out, Hippolyta reluctantly agrees for Diana to train, in case Ares should ever return again. Diana is trained harder than the other women on the island and there is a great training montage that takes you from little Diana training, transitions to teenage Diana, and ultimately ending with Gal Gadot.  I loved this training montage, because it shows you how skilled and intense the Amazon’s are and how exceptionally gifted Diana is throughout her training.  Also, the film gives you her training, without wasting too much time on it.  These sequences are all phenomenal. When Hippolyta tells Diana the story of their people, the books images actually move. It is so inventive and unique. Almost as if a renaissance painting had been turned into a motion comic book. The idea of Diana sneaking off to train comes right from “The Lend of Wonder Woman.”  Difference being the film has Antiope train her, while in the book it was Alicippe. During her training, we find out why Hippolyta was fearful of letting Diana train.  While Diana was told that she was formed in clay and brought to life by Zeus, we later learn Hippolyta had sex with Zeus and Diana is their daughter. During her training, her natural enhanced ability when funneled through the gauntlets creates a blast after deflecting Antiope’s sword, which hurls her aunt backwards.  The film respects the history of the character by acknowledging the clay origin and the demi-God origin.  Though, I’m glad they went with the daughter of Zeus, New 52 origin, as that one is my personal preference.

The invisible barrier of Themyscira gets breached of course to allow Steve Trevor onto Paradise Island.  However, along with Steve Trevor comes a boat load of German soldiers chasing him. Since I didn’t see an explanation as to how Steve Trevor breached the barrier, or I was too mesmerized by the beauty of Themyscira itself, I’ll just assume it’s like some kind of Bermuda Triangle incident.  The arrival of Steve Trevor and his would be assailant’s, leads to one of the many great action sequences of the film.  The beach battle between the Amazons and the German’s is an incredible sequence. It looks like a hybrid between battles in 300 mixed with Gladiator. I loved how the Amazon’s fought. There was a lot of areal movement and spinning. The battle wasn’t always taking place in an upright position. The parkour aspects of the fight, combined with Zack Snyder style slow-mo, really made this fight look extra special. There’s juxtaposition of the beauty of Themyscira and the brutality of war. You could see the influence of “Man’s World” instantly tarnishing Themyscira a little bit. In addition to a cool action sequence, this scene offers up a huge moment in Diana’s development that furthers her character. During the fight, Diana’s aunt and mentor, Antiope takes a bullet to save her life. This is the first time in her life she has experienced death. Not only that but death at the hands of war. This event shakes Diana at her core. This, plus Steve telling the Amazon’s his whole story, when under the influence of the Lasso of Hestia.  He tells her, that before his plane got stranded, he was on his way back to his British General to hand over the secret plans of the Germans, who are concocting mustard gas and other poisons to prevent German surrender and turn the tide of the war. The two people spearheading this endeavour are General Ludendorff and his chief scientist Dr. Maru, aka Doctor Poison. Diana no longer glorifies or welcomes battle and warfare.  She believes Ludendorff is Ares and implores the Amazon’s to head to “Man’s World” and defeat Ares. Hippolyta emphatically says no and forbids Diana to go. Much like with her training, Diana takes the lasso of truth and the Godkiller sword, adorns the famous Wonder Woman “costume” and plans to head off to London with Steve Trevor.  The superhero costume was never explained, except for the tiara, lasso, and the Godkiller sword.  The tiara was given to Diana following Antiope’s death. Almost a rite of passage if you will.  It was already discussed that the lasso is from Hestia, and its ability is pretty straight forward, it compels those in its grasp to be honest, pure of heart and tell the truth. The Godkiller is said to be a gift from Zeus that can kill Ares, However, as we discover, that gift from Zeus, the Godkiller, is in fact Wonder Woman herself.  Much like with her training, Hippolyta, gives into Diana, allowing her to leave with Steve.  There’s a touching moment where mother and daughter build farewell to each other. This is also the first two shining example of Diana’s compassion.  That she is willing to sacrifice all she knows and those she loves, to save humanity, shows her inherent inclination for heroism, before she starts truly kicking ass! This was the first time I teared up in the film. Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright were excellent in their limited screen time! Can’t wait to see them back in the prologue for Justice League.

One of the reason this film works is because of the chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine.  He being her conduit to man’s world and she being so naïve and innocent, makes for some real heartfelt and humorous moments.  This interaction starts on Themyscira after the beach fight when Steve Trevor is bathing in what essentially is the Themyscira grotto.  As he’s getting out, Diana walks in on him! She looks at him and asks; “What’s that?” Steve believes she is asking about his package, while she is curious about his watch. There’s another scene on the boat where Diana asks Steve if he is going to sleep with her or not.  She innocently and literally is thinking about sleeping, while Steve is apprehensive because of the sexual connotations “sleeping with someone” has in “Man’s World.”  When Diana senses Steve’s apprehension, she tells him she’s read books about sex and that while men are needed for reproduction, they aren’t needed for pleasure. There’s more to these scenes but I don’t want to ruin the moment.  I thought the sexual innuendo was handled tastefully.  Adults would get the jokes, but they’d go over younger kid’s heads.  This is a sharp contrast to Guardians of the Galaxy’s overuse and overt dick jokes in the span of one scene.  Gal Gadot sells that innocence and naiveté because that’s how she comes off in interviews.  It’s so endearing.  The way Chris Pine conveys male cockiness, but awkwardness over his sexual tension towards Diana, is among one of his best performances. There are two scenes where Diana is completely awestruck by the newness and wonders of “Man’s World,” Along their travels, Steve and Diana come across a mother and her baby.  Diana immediately runs towards the baby jubilantly screaming “BABY!”, as it was the first time she had ever seen a baby.  That jubilation felt so justified and honest, which surely has something to do with Gal having two children, one of which is a relative newborn.  I’ve seen mothers react to their child or others’ children, as if they are the first they’ve ever seen, so that reaction felt complete and utterly believable. The other moment, is when Diana tries ice cream for the very first time.  She says; “This is wonderful” and tells the vendor that he “should be very proud.” I don’t care if you’re a man, woman or child, Gal Gadot’s Diana was every one of us trying ice cream for the first time. Especially since it was European ice cream.  Director Patty Jenkins has said that Superman (1978) made her want to be a filmmaker. As such, there are a couple of nods to the Christopher Reeve film.  There’s the alley sequence that we saw part of in the trailer, where she saves Steve with her bracelets, from being shot. The scene is almost identical to Clark Kent stopping a bullet from hitting Lois Lane with his hand. There’s also the scene where Diana struggles getting through the revolving doors with her sword. This is similar to Clark stumbling through the revolving door of the Daily Planet, while holding his coat. These are great nods to the original Superman movie, while putting a Wonder Woman spin on it.  If only Bryan Singer understood the fine line between homage, which is what Patty Jenkins does here and plagiarism, which constituted 90% of Superman Returns, maybe that movie would’ve actually been good. There is one portion of Diana discovering “Man’s World” that didn’t work as well for me! These scenes involve Diana shopping for a new wardrobe with Etta Candy. Don’t get me wrong, the jokes all land and Lucy Davis is incredibly funny. I even liked that Etta assisted them in locating the location of Ludendorff and Dr. Poison.  However, one of the central aspects of the Etta Candy character is her close friendship with Diana. Naturally, that’s not there yet, as they just met.  However, there’s no real inkling that much of a friendship is percolating or developing by the last frame of the World War 1 moments in the film. If the sequel doesn’t take place during a period setting, allowing a friendship to fully develop, than I feel an opportunity has been wasted and I feel for Lucy Davis.

The movie really hits another level, when Steve brings his findings about the secret gas being developed and urges his General’s to send him and a covert team to stop these nefarious plans.  The General and the rest of the Imperial War Cabinet deny his request, fearing that it would hinder the signing of the armistice with Germany.  Steve insists that Ludendorff will finish developing and deploy the gas killing many soldiers and innocents. The General’s response is simply; “They’re soldiers, they die….It’s what they do.  This response sets Diana off. She bursts into the room and verbally unleashes on the entire cabinet.  She calls them all cowards and insists that a real General would stand and fight with their soldiers, not dismiss their lives as beneath those they serve.  The energy, ferocity and conviction that Gal Gadot delivered these lines with were so rousing, that the people in my screening where all cheering.  The attitude presented by the general, seems to echo in certain news outlets covering soldiers fighting abroad today.  The fact that those people fighting are humans who are putting their life on the line for our freedoms, sometimes seems like an afterthought the way war is covered by media and governments alike. I think that partially played into the reaction at my first screening.  Diana is infuriated with Steve for seemingly going along with his General’s orders and blames human apathy as the reason Ares is able to force humans into warfare. Sensing Diana is losing faith in him, Steve wraps his arm with the lasso and reveals that he is going against his general’s orders, and with the secretive backing of Sir Patrick Morgan, the man who put forth, crafted and is negotiating the armistice.  The team Steve assembles doesn’t get as much focus as Steve and Diana, yet I liked each character and on some level, hoped and wished we could spend more time on them.  The team consists of Sameer, a spy, Charlie a marksman, and Chief, a smuggler.  Each character is going through their own issues. Sameer wants to be an actor, but is shunned by the acting community due to his skin color. Charlie is suffering from PTSD and can no longer truly hit his target. The Chief has now been reduced to selling furs and other antiquities from first nation’s people to make ends meet during wartime.  What I loved about these characters, was that they aren’t necessarily the best of humanity in terms of their past deeds, but they are coming together for the greater good of humanity,  These people reaffirm Diana’s conviction about saving humanity and blaming Ares for the horrors of war. More so, what I adore about these characters, is how compassionate Diana is to them, as she learns of their hardships.  This is specifically true of Sameer and Charlie. Diana not in so many words, tells Sameer that nothing should stand in the way of his dreams, especially skin colour.  When Charlie has a panic attack and misses his shot, he later refuses to go further with the group, because he is no use to them.  Diana protests and insists they will need his singing talent, to lift their spirits after the battle is fought.  Gal Gadot was so reassuring and nurturing to this band of ragtag soldiers.  It was the exact trait Alex Ross keyed in on in his over-sized comic book, Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth.

So I told you Gal Gadot was great portraying Diana’s naiveté, conviction and compassion but how does she stack up as a badass warrior!? She was brilliant! We get to see Gal’s Wonder Woman in all her kick ass glory when the crew arrives at the heart of the Western Front in Belgium. They get slowed down by the enemy trenches but when Wonder Woman hears that innocents are being harmed as a result of not being able to cross “enemy lines” for basic life necessities, she takes action. The allied soldiers had tried countless times to cross “No Man’s Land” and free the village. Wonder Woman takes it upon herself to cross “No Man’s Land”, deflecting their bullets so that the Allies cross behind her and together, they liberate the village.  This is Diana’s debut as Wonder Woman and when you see it, you will have goosebumps.  Yes there’s some slow-mo in this scene, but it works brilliantly as the bullets bounce off her bracelets and then when she holds her position, blocking bullets with her shield.  The score in this scene by Rupert Gregson-Williams is slow, almost somber at first, highlighting the horrors of war, then it becomes operatic as the slow-mo kicks in.  Once Wonder Woman and the allies cross enemy lines, the scene transitions to the full liberation of the village from the German’s.  Here, we see Wonder Woman smash through a bell tower, using her now famous leg kick/sweep we’ve seen in the trailers. There’s even a moment where Wonder Woman body checks a tank and throws it over her head, before whipping and wrangling in German soldiers with her lasso.  The tank scene was obviously inspired by the scene where Wonder Woman head-butts a tank, in volume 1 of the Injustice Gods Among Us comic book. To make this extend scene even more exciting, the score ratchets up to eleven, by featuring Wonder Woman’s entrance theme from BvS aka, the “Is She With You” scene.  As far as superhero debut scenes go, this is right up there with Superman rescuing Lois and the helicopter in 78, saving the plane in Superman Returns, and his first flight in Man of Steel. As far as a pure fight scene, it stands alongside Batman’s warehouse fight from “Dawn of Justice.”  If anything, I’d rank Wonder Woman’s higher because it’s happening in a real world time period and setting, and because of the emotional significance and power, that Wonder Woman conquering “No Man’s Land” has.  This massive action sequence ends with the villagers applauding and adoring Wonder Woman, and features her, Steve and the others taking that famous photo that bookends this film and first appeared in BvS.  Seeing this moment actually take place, brings both films full circle.

Before I get into the third act of this film, I must discuss the previously mentioned villains.  Those of course being General Ludendorff and Doctor Maru. It’s quite unique that Patty Jenkins used a real life historical general for the piece. It blends the fantasy of Wonder Woman with the reality of World War 1. I though his reasoning for enlisting Dr. Poison to make the mustard gas was believable. He was disenfranchised with the German’s agreeing to surrender and wanted to prove that was the wrong choice and that the German’s could with the war with this new gas weaponry. After all, wasn’t Hitler’s rise to power and the start of World War 2 partly due to the bitterness over Germany’s surrender in World War 1?  Dr. Maru’s reasoning for siding with Ludendorff was far more flimsy for me.  After being burned and scarred, she assists Ludendorff with the gas, because she feels she’s been wronged and because Ludendorff was the only man, who gave her attention.  She was by far the weakest character in the film for me.  The film sold me on Diana’s belief that Ludendorff was Ares. I thought Danny Huston played dastardly evil, cruel and heartless well, even if his accent was a bit much on occasion. I didn’t bat an eye when he sniffed Dr. Poison’s gas. I though Areas would have to do something to restore his strength, since he likely lost his ability when Zeus struck him down from Olympus. Further cementing the Ludendorff/Ares connection for me, was the fact that he released the gas on the village Wonder Woman and the others liberated earlier in the film. Horrified, Wonder Woman squares off with Ludendorff, eventually stabbing him straight through the heart.  I thought, much like Diana did, that once Ludendorff died, Ares wold revert to his true form and that would be the beginning of the end of the war. That didn’t happen, leaving Diana almost traumatized. Steve tries to snap her out of it by telling her, that it wasn’t Ares who was responsible for the war, that it was mankind, He stresses that mankind is capable of evil and this was their doing, not to be blamed on Ares. Diana at one point is so shaken, that she reiterates her mother’s claim that mankind don’t deserve the Amazonian’s help. Steve tries to convince Diana that it’s not about human’s deserving Wonder Woman’s help, but rather whether she believes humanity is deserving of her help. He then goes off to complete the next phase of his mission.  Chris Pine delivered that line incredibly, with such power and resonance.  For me, this was Chris Pine’s greatest performance. There was so much range here.  I think he channeled two iconic Harrison Ford performances. I saw bits of Han Solo and Indiana Jones in his Steve Trevor. I loved every bit of his character.

As for Ares, he is the villain behind the curtain, but it’s obviously not Ludendorff. In a Batman Begins esque twist, Sir Patrick Morgan appears, revealing himself as Ares.  He tells Diana that the reason he was the one who proposed peace, was because he knew that humanity would reject it and revert to their base instinct of war.  He reiterates that he just whispers in their ear, telling them formula’s and such and lets them decide for themselves.  He’s put all this in motion, to show Diana that humanity doesn’t deserve the help of the God’s and that they should remake the Earth as a home for the God’s. Diana refuses and the two begin an epic battle. I was happy that in this moment, Ares took his true form and appeared in his comic book accurate God of War armor.  The fight is darkly lit and there’s fire everywhere.  I love that each fight sequence has a different color pallet.  This led to each one having a uniqueness, which sometimes lacks in the superhero genre. The Themyscira battle is so brightly lit, almost like the battle is taking place on heavenly terrain.  No Man’s land has a grey, Earthy, muddy look to it, while the battle with Aries looked like hell on Earth. At one point Diana is trapped in metallic debris, which calls to mind any cover or page that featured Diana in chains or bound.  As she sees the other members of her team destroying Dr. Maru’s lab, she also sees Steve in a bomber plane, filled with the gas, where he shoots himself, creating an explosion and destroying the gas.  Upon seeing this, Diana remembers when Steve told her he loved her.  These two factors, lead Wonder Woman to channel all her power and energy to destroy Ares, but not before telling him that she decides to stand with humanity, not because they deserve it but because she believes in love.  As I was crying at the beauty of that statement, the war ends and the film ends with present day Diana thanking Bruce Wayne via email for the picture, before flying to where she hears trouble, to save the day as Wonder Woman.

Director Patty Jenkins made a Wonder Woman film that had everything I wanted in a Wonder Woman film.  She made a movie about an Amazonian Warrior but a film that doesn’t glorify war but instead uses this Wonder Woman to inspire peace and love.  I can’t praise Gal Gadot enough. She embodies every facet of this character and now her performance is as iconic and career defining, as Christopher Reeve’s Superman performance.  If you don’t love Gal Gadot after seeing this move, there is seriously something wrong with you.  Now that I’ve seen Wonder Woman, not only is it the best of the current DCEU Films, it’s one of the best DC Comics films too. Check that, it’s one of my favourite superhero films ever made! As far as Superhero Origin Films, it’s my favourite, edging out Batman Begins and Superman: The Movie! Go see it, it truly is WONDERFUL!

Wonder Woman BoXXX Office Report

(Submitted by my Superheroic friend, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Wonder Twin! 🙂 xoxo)

We’re now living in a post Wonder Woman world as the fourth DC Extended Universe film, the first ever solo film to star the Amazonian Warrior, is in theaters now.  Critically, everyone is loving Wonder Woman.  She has a Certified Fresh score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and an A CinemaScore. How does that translate into box office receipts? Wonderfully.  Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins is the highest grossing film directed by a woman. The Gal Gadot starer is also the highest grossing female led superhero film. In North America alone, Wonder Woman roped in $103,251,471.  This figure marks the 4th consecutive time a DCEU Film has opened to $100 Million+.  While Wonder Woman earned less than its DCEU predecessors, that is somewhat of an unfair ask or expectation.  Firstly because Batman and Superman have much more of a presence and awareness of the film going public.  Not to mention, Batman V Superman had Good Friday and Easter Sunday holidays to boost it’s opening weekend.  As for Suicide Squad, it was the last big blockbuster of its summer and heavily advertised a Batman cameo and two of comic books most famous rogues, Harley Quinn and The Joker in it.  Add to that, the big name movie star that is Will Smith to inflate its opening weekend numbers.  Wonder Woman outperformed the opening weekend of the Marvel Cinematic Universe origin films.  That means Diana Prince outpaced Iron-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. Moreover, Wonder Woman had a better opening then MCU sequels,  Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.   So for the “Fake Feminists” and Insecure “Pin Dicked” men who complained about the supposed lack of marketing of this film and who got offended by the “all-women screenings” in Texas, both can take their imagined controversies and fake outrage and shove it where the sun don’t shine..

Wonder Woman also opened in 55 international markets this weekend and found even more financial prosperity abroad. In those offshore markets, Wonder Woman amassed a heroic total of $125,000,000.  Keep in mind the film has several important markets to open in over the next few weeks, including, France and Germany.  While Wonder Woman didn’t outperform Man of Steel’s opening weekend domestically, it did outmuscle the modern day Superman origin film overseas.  Like its domestic result, Wonder Woman once again bested her MCU counterparts but to an even greater degree. That foreign opening weekend is better than both Iron-Man & Iron-Man 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, Doctor Strange, Captain America 1 & 2 and Ant-Man.  When you add the domestic total with the foreign numbers, Wonder Woman has amassed a grand total of $228,251,471.

Not bad for a movie with no marketing huh!? 😉 Clearly, the world was indeed waiting for Wonder Woman.  I definitely think she’s here to stay, as the positive reviews and strong word of mouth will give this film longevity at the box office!  I think the success of Wonder Woman will not only bring about official confirmation of a sequel re-teaming Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot, as well as likely moving Joss Whedon’s Batgirl and David Ayer’s Gotham City Sirens up the priority chart over at Warner Brothers and DC Films.  Be on the lookout for my review of the film soon, right here on this website. I’ll also be back next weekend with an update on Wonder Woman’s performance during the week and following its second weekend in theaters. If you haven’t seen Wonder Woman, GO NOW! If you have seen it, GO AGAIN and GO OFTEN!

(Figures Courtesy of Box Office Mojo)

Kinky Komic Review: Hellboy – The Corpse

(Submitted by my Wonder Twin, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, my hellishly heroic ho-mie! 🙂 xoxo)

The third volume of Hellboy consists of several short stories, so I decided to review them each on their own. This first story takes us to 1959 in Ireland, where Hellboy is brought in to investigate a child abduction case. However, when he arrives at the home, the child is in her crib. However, the child’s mother believes that the baby is not her daughter Alice Monaghan, citing that the baby says awful things and laughs at her, when her husband is away. Hellboy believes the mother and burns the child with a hot iron, forcing it to reveal it’s true form. Being a supernatural/horror book, that form is that of a fairy. This fairy named Gruagach instructs Hellboy that baby Alice is being held by other fairies. He confronts them and they offer him a deal; In exchange for burying one of their deceased brethren on the holy ground of one of three possible Christian churches, they will allow Hellboy to return the child to her parents. At two of the churches, the dead spirits rose up shouting; “No Room”, preventing Hellboy from burying the deceased skeleton. When they reach the ruins of a castle with a Christian cemetery, Hellboy is confronted by a disgruntled Gruagach who is furious over being burned with an iron and wants revenge. Things gets really weird when our angry fairy summons a Pig-Man to rise from deep underground, and battle Hellboy. Hellboy is able to defeat this strange adversary, while in the nick of time honoring his deal to bury the corpse the other farriers entrusted him with and returns Alice to the loving home of her parents.

After two volumes of Hellboy battling Rasputin and mystical Nazis, this was a weird and refreshing change of pace. When reading Hellboy, I’ve come to expect the unique and strange. Between his coworkers Abe Sapien, the mystical Nazi’s and the lizard creature in last volume, who knows what we’ll see our favorite horned paranormal investigator take on. Despite all this, I’ll be honest and say I did not expect we’d get a story with fairies. What Mignola does well, is once again balancing something as mystical as fairies, with a real world earth bound fear/predicament as child abduction. In the forward to this graphic novel, Mignola mentioned being influenced by Irish folktale for this story, which is something that definitely shines through in the work. The way the fairies spoke read like an Irish dialect. That, coupled with the fact that the fairies were little people, and that the corpse requested to be buried with gold had me thinking of them as leprechauns more than fairies. Once I made that connection, I instantly developed a craving for Lucky Charms cereal. The best parts of the story for me, was the banter between Hellboy and the corpse that he was tasked with burying, They argued about every possible detail along their journey, From everything to how Hellboy carried the corpse, to the road Hellboy took to eventually get to their destination. This reminded me of a relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild. As both get older, the little habits each have start to get on the other’s nerves, as they spend more time together. The Pig-Man creature cane across like a creepier more demonic version of lesser Batman villain Professor Pyg. I also couldn’t stop thinking of that Seinfeld episode where the gang were at the hospital, and Kramer was convinced he saw an actual man-pig hybrid.

As is usual with Mike Mignola, he also does the art. Superman’s signature pose is his hands on his hips, Batman’s is being crouched on a gargoyle and we all know Wonder Woman is a badass no matter what pose she assumes. Hellboy’s signature pose appears to be carrying a skeletal corpse on his back, as it’s happened in two of three graphic novels. While there are fairies, they aren’t your traditional fairies. In fact, the fairies look like the progeny of Golem and a Leprechaun. Try and get that image out of your head. Mignola’s art isn’t as hyper detailed as more current comic book artists, yet his rendition of Ireland, especially the castle ruins really looks great and makes me want to visit there. Well, that and the fact that Game of Thrones films there. Mike Mignola’s art looking so good is dependent on the work of the colorist. Matthew Hollingsworth was responsible for that aspect of this particular story. I loved the use of black, and then highlighting certain traits of Hellboy, while most of a panel is shrouded in darkness. Specifically in this book I liked how the orange/yellow of Hellboy’s eyes became more vibrant and noticeable when he was angered or frustrated. Even in comic books, the eyes can be the window to the soul.

This story was a quieter, more intimate story featuring Hellboy. I also liked that it was a Hellboy standalone story, in the truest sense of the word, as it solely focused on Hellboy, leaving out his associates in the BPRD. This story is by no means a game changer in the grand scheme of the stories relating to Volume 1 & 2, but it’s a nice little respite, while still giving you a Hellboy fix, as the next epic scale story surely approaches. Definitely worth a read.