News Bleed: The “THE GREAT WAR IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Edition

Finally…YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MSN

Another reason to shoot your load… 😉 Hollywood Reporter

Get your first taste of Netflix’s Castlevania! 🙂 i09

Check into Hotel Transylvania: The Series this June! 🙂 Cartoon Brew

Sneak a peek at the Alien 6 Film Collection and the Alien: Covenant Steelbook! IGN

The Resident Evil film franchise is set to rise from the grave with a reboot. (It’s been so long since the Final Chapter came out…IN DECEMBER!!! ;))  Variety

Tom “Spider-Man Not Child’s Play” Holland swings into an Uncharted prequel film. 🙂 Deadline

Cujo will leave his paw print on The Dark Tower. 🙂 Dread Central

The Tales from the Crypt Complete Series Set screams its way onto DVD on Robert Englund’s and my birthday…BEST PRESENT EVER!! :)) Bloody Disgusting

In #NotHorrorButSuckIt news, Tom Cruise confirms that Top Gun II is happening. That Maverick! 🙂 Screen Rant


To a new world of Gods and Monsters… Universal gets serious with their new monster series, now known as the Dark Universe! 🙂 Nerdist

And, sadly, we had to say goodbye to the great Roger Moore this week R.I.P., Mr. Bond. 🙁 xoxo Movie Web

 

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 & 2

(Submitted by our Superhero Scifi buddy, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Super Friend! 🙂 xoxo

In Guardians of the Galaxy, a group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2′ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. (Marvel Studios)

When I saw the teaser trailer for the first Guardians of the Galaxy, I wasn’t all that into it. I fully blame the Thor franchise for this, as the forced humor in those films, seemed to be rearing its ugly head here. However, to be fair, I knew very little about the Guardians of the Galaxy. Instead of getting on the internet to bitch and moan about what I wasn’t liking, I hopped on to Amazon and bought two trade paperbacks of the newest comics. In truth, the humor was perfectly appropriate for the odd ball bunch of characters that make up the team. After finally seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, I absolutely loved it. It quickly became one of my favourite MCU films and ranks in my top 5 from Marvel Studios. Yes, there’s a lot of comedy throughout but what James Gunn does, is make you care about the characters and shows you their tragedies, so that the humor has greater effect when it finally happens. This film starts with young Peter Quill by his mother’s bedside, as she gives him one last parting gift and words of wisdom, before succumbing to brain cancer. He then runs out of the hospital, only to get abducted by an alien space ship. That is a harrowing but heartbreaking way to open a film. While the rest of the story also hinges on Peter Quill, the other Guardians have their own issues. Most of these aren’t brought to bear visually like Star Lord, however they’re all discussed. Gamora has familial issues, being the adopted daughter of Thanos and having a sibling rivalry with her sister Nebula. Not to mention, she’s acting as a double agent of sorts, in the process of double crossing Thanos. The family drama is very real world, just like Peter’s mothers death from cancer is, it just takes place on an intergalactic scale. I love that no matter how odd these character are, their emotional baggage is very relatable. Rocket Racoon and Groot are more unique from the rest of the humanoid looking group. Rocket is a creation, a genetically altered talking racoon, while Groot is the last of his kind, a talking tree, with a speech impediment, where everything he says is heard as “I am Groot.” While both characters are adorable, they are outcasts amongst a team of misfits. If you’re someone who doesn’t feel comfortable in their own skin, or you feel misunderstood, you will gravitate towards these characters beyond their cuteness. Drax is the only character that’s hard to relate to. After all, when we first meet him, he’s in prison for going on a murderous revenge tour. However, he is trying to avenge the deaths of his family and has killed or is going after, Thanos and or those connected to him, or took part in the murder of his family. So while you might not identify with him, you will sympathize with him.

In several trailers and promotions, the Guardians of the Galaxy were classified as criminals and outlaws and technically they are, but that’s a misrepresentation. They don’t do anything in the film to make you second guess them, or root against them. As you discover their backstories throughout the film and watch them interact with each other, they’re nothing but lovable characters. This is an ensemble film but as I said, Star Lord is the main character and the team all meet through him. That occurs when the film picks up with the adult Star Lord stealing an orb contain an infinity stone and attempting to sell it to a dealer. The dealer reneges on the arrangement when he learns Thanos is after the stone. Speaking of Thanos, not only does he send Gamora after Peter Quill, he sends out a bounty for the capture of the self-proclaimed Star Lord. This gets Groot and Rocket on his trail, as well as his old partner/father figure Yondu. Yondu is the alien who kidnapped Peter at the behest of Peter’s mysterious celestial father, who Yondu describes as an asshole. He decided not to take Peter to his father and groomed him as a Ravager. However, he feels betrayed by Peter and wants to get in on that bounty cash. As Gamora, Rocket and Groot try and apprehend Peter, they are all caught by Nova Corps officers and are thrown in the Kylm, a prison in a trading post called Knowhere. It is here where the characters truly meet. They decided to team up to not only break out of prison, as well as selling the orb/gem to Gamora’s contact, the Collector. Drax comes into the equation because he wants to kill Gamora, in his quest for revenge on Thanos. However, Peter Quill talks him down, suggesting that if he joins them, he will get his revenge on Thanos, so he acquiesces. Speaking of Thanos, displeased with Gamora’s efforts, he sends Ronan, essentially his overpowered henchmen to take them out and retrieve the infinity stone. After they escape prison, they eventually strike an accord with the Nova Corps and Yondu, to join forces and bring down Ronan, which they obviously do. As for the infinity stone, even though Star Lord promised to give it to Yondu, he double crosses him and entrusts it to the Nova Corps. I mentioned the humor throughout the film and it comes in the characters interactions. I loved all of Peter Quill’s 80’ references, including Patrick Swayze in dirty dancing, and Tony Danza in Who’s the Boss. Not to mention, Peter’s ship being named after Alyssa Milano. Gamora’s naiveté mixed in with her overall badassery made the character a good addition. As I said Groot and Rocket were the most adorable characters but having Rocket be the only one to understand Groot is hilarious. It’s like a one sided version of broken telephone, where based on Rocket’s response, we the audience can piece together what Groot says. Also, Rocket being a sarcastic jackass and asking the group to steal another inmates prosthetic leg to assist in his escape plan just to see if they’d do it, made me laugh.. Drax’s humor came from his bluntness and lack of understanding of sarcasm. For example, when Star Lord says a pun went over Drax’s head, Drax responds; “Nothing goes over my head. If it did, my reflexes are so fast, I’d reach out and catch it. “Or when he refers to Gamora as a “Green Skinned Slut”, when he admits he has gotten over his grudge against her . He’s so straight faced and honest about it, I couldn’t help but laugh at the dichotomy of calling someone a slut and your friend in the same breath.

Two aspects of the first film I didn’t like were the villain and the third act finale. Ronan is another terrible villain. He’s a glorified lackey for Thanos, and the character is so over the top. It’s mustache twirl level. The film tells us that he wants to use the infinity gem to put an end to the Kree/Xandar treaty, which he feels has wronged his people the Kree, but the story never delves further into that. His antagonism to the Guardians of the Galaxy is nothing more than them being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as well as being in position of the Infinity Gem. The other thing that I didn’t care for was that Star Lord challenges Ronan to a dance off to distract him, while the others get the Infinity Gem away from him. As noted, I’ve loved every bit of humor in this film up to this point, but this dance off was out of place. The fate of Xandar and potentially the universe is at stake, and that’s the first thing you come up with. Does Marvel have a “1 Joke per Script Page” rule for their films or what? Not only did this gag pull me out of the film, but it lessened the severity of the situation and the impact of Groot’s death to spare his teammates. Don’t worry, in typical Marvel fashion, Groot didn’t really die, Rocket was able to collect pieces of him and plant him in a pot, so he could regrow.

The sequel for my money is a step up from the original in my opinion. Make no mistake, in terms of story, and story structure it’s pretty much the same. Characters and situations change, but the story structure doesn’t break the mold. This time around, the Guardians of the Galaxy are hired by the leader of the Sovereign nation to retrieve special batteries from a monstrous alien. In exchange for returning the batteries, the group is granted custody of Nebula who was captured for stealing the batteries in the first place. As they are dismissed, Rocket can’t help but steal a few batteries. Upon discovery of this the Sovereign leader sends of fleet of ships to attack the group and retrieve the batteries. When that fails, she hires Yondu and his Ravagers to retrieve the batters and capture the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians of the Galaxy eventually team up with Yondu and his crew, not only to defeat the Sovereign army, but defeat the much larger threat of the film. A Guardian of the Galaxy even sacrifices themselves for another team member. Sounds a lot like the first film doesn’t it!? Despite this, there’s enough fresh elements that make this sequel better than the original.

The film does pick up on several open ended threads left open from the first film. One of which is Peter Quill’s celestial father. The character is first introduced in a flashback to his courtship and mating with Peter’s Mother. For this scene, the filmmakers used the de-aging CGI on Kurt Russell and you know what, it looks really good. I thought I was watching actual footage of 1980’s Kurt Russell. We first see him in earnest in the film, when he mysteriously provides an escape route for the Guardians as they evade the Sovereign Fleet. After a rough landing by the Milano, Star Lord finally meets his father Ego. Ego invites his son and crew to his planet. Once there, we get plenty of exposition detailing that Ego is a Celestial that manipulated matter to form a planet and placed itself at the planet’s core. After hundreds of years, he got lonely, so he formed a human body and traveled the universe, which ultimately led him to Earth and the love of his life Meredith Quill. When Peter asks why he didn’t return to Earth when she got ill and died, he intimated that a world without Meredith was a world he didn’t want to be on. He reiterates that he sent Yondu to retrieve him after Meredith’s death and blames Yondu for their delayed reunion. We get scenes of the newly acquainted father/son do bonding over shared taste in Earth music and Ego teaching Peter how to use his celestial power and manipulate energy and matter. This leads to a celestial game of catch. I got so swept up emotion of these scenes, that I didn’t see the twist coming. That twist being that this is all a ruse and Ego is the true villain of the film. He’s been looking for his son all this time, to use his son Peter’s celestial power, combined with his, to activate the seedling he planted on Earth to terraform it into an extension of himself. If that isn’t bad enough, he reveals he planted the tumor in Meredith’s brain, so she would die, allowing him to be left alone and easy for the taking. Even worse still, he’s attempted to do this on other planets he’s visited, but failed because his other progeny died when trying to harness their celestial powers. To use a wrestling term, I did not see that heel turn coming. One of the main reason I like this film a bit more than the first, is because Ego is a much better villain than Ronan. Part of that is the familial connection between Star Lord and Ego and part of it is the acting of Kurt Russell. The way both he and Chris Prat switch between being best of friends, to mortal enemies is emotional, raw and flawless. I could feel both the love and hate between the two characters through the course of the film. This plot point also gave us more info and more screen time for Yondu.

In the first film, you saw that Yondu and Peter Quill had an admiration for each other but the relationship was fractured. From Peter’s perspective, he believed that the only reason Yondu took him and kept him around, was because he was someone who could help him steal, getting into places where Yondu and his team couldn’t fit into. In this film, Yondu reveals that the main reason he kept him around, was because he didn’t want Ego to get his hands on Peter. Yondu taught Peter how to be self-sufficient and fend for himself. In a revealing dialogue with Rocket, Yondu reveals that he grew to love Peter and considers him his son. His action of taking Peter as a child got him in trouble with The Ravagers higher up personnel. Child trafficking is a no-no amongst The Ravagers. This plot point gives a cameo by Sylvester Stallone, who plays Stakar Ogord, and Michael Rosembaum as his right hand man, who exile Yondu and his crew from the Ravagers. Yay to James Gunn for including a cameo from Sly and Rosembaum. Boo to James Gunn for not putting Stallone and Russell in a scene together, for a mini Tango and Cash reunion. Anyways, back to Yondu. The moment where he sacrifices his life, to save Peter from dying in an explosion in a fight with Ego, was epically tragic. The moment before his death, where he says; “He may be your father, but I’m your daddy”, brought me to tears. This death does have a finality to it as well. Earlier in the film, Yondu makes a Marry Poppins reference that is quite funny. I won’t spoil it but keep an eye out for it. Michael Rooker is known as a character actor but he steals the film. By far my favourite character in the film, with Ego coming in second.

Three of my favourite characters from the first film left me with a mixed reaction. Groot was even better than last time, while Rocket and Drax left me wishing they would just shut up and had me rolling my eyes. Groot had only one way to go and that was up. As much as I loved Groot the first time around, how can you not love Baby Groot? The cutest part was how at every chance he got, he cuddled every member of his Guardians teammates. You will “aww” every time you see it. The funny part is when Rocket tries to explain to him about not touching the button to set off the bomb. He understands the words coming out of Rocket’s mouth, but he can’t truly comprehend them, which is why he wanted to push the button that set off the bomb. Essentially he has the mind of a two year old. Every time he appeared in a scene, that dynamic when mixed with what the rest of the group was going through, added the perfect amount of levity and fun to the situation. Rocket’s attitude in the first film was bold, brash and justified given his characters circumstances. However in this film, his attitude was amplified, to the point where he actively tried to push his crew members away. I understand that he felt that getting close to people hasn’t worked out in the past, so why go through that again, however, he got through those issues by the end of the first film. So this behaviour felt like retreading old ground from volume one. Speaking of retreading, Drax was a huge step backwards in volume 2. In the first film, his bluntness and naïveté was a driving force of humor. So James Gunn decided to ratchet that up ten notches, to where it became forced. This resulted in Drax becoming a cackling misogynistic brute, who besmirched and insulted Ego’s assistant Mantis, just to deflect his apparent growing feelings for her throughout the film. He flat out calls her ugly, I believe the word he uses is hideous. Then there’s the barrage of dick jokes he makes. He literally stops Ego in a piece of important, character building dialogue, to ask Ego if he created a dick for himself and how big it is. Then he and Star Lord make suggestive comments about the sizes of their package, I’m good with a raunchy penis joke now and again, but I think the four or five in this film were a bit excessive. Also, seeing as the Guardians of the Galaxy is the most kid friendly franchise to date in the MCU, you should be mindful that there are youngsters in the audience. There may have been more dick jokes in this film then Deadpool and for me, that’s problematic.

Much like the rest of both films, I am overall extremely satisfied with the visual effects in the films. The entire VFX team should be commended for making two entirely CGI characters Rocket Racoon and Groot look so real. Not going to lie, there were so many times in the first film, I wanted to reach out and pet Rocket or swing from Groot. Yes the performances are what connect you to characters, however, the first visual impressions makes you believe these characters exist, and these visuals succeed in that aspect in spades. Considering his background in smaller, low budget films I was impressed with several action scenes he crafted. Both films feature a space battle, between The Milano and Ronan’s warship in the first film, and the Sovereign fleet in the sequel. The space battles are epic in these particular scenes, almost Star Wars level worthy. Notice I said almost, so no one freak out. During the fight with the Sovereign fleet battle, when looking at the space battle from a POV shot of inside the Sovereign’s ships is a visual nod to an 80’s video game, which is in keeping with the fun tone of these films. The opening scenes of both films, are some of the most enjoyably interactive I’ve ever seen. Seeing Star Lord dance his way through an alien landscape, using dead fish like creatures as a microphone, dancing his way to stealing the orb, is like a hilarious absurd melding of So You Think You Can Dance and Indiana Jones. That shouldn’t work, but it does, making for an incredibly fun opening montage. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 starts with The Guardians fighting an alien monster, while Groot has music blaring in a stereo and is dancing, oblivious to the fight in the foreground. I love this opening because as a viewer, you’re totally transfixed, wanting to watch the battle, but at the same time, hooting and hollering over Groot’s adorably hilarious dancing. The third act featured Ego the living planet being destroyed. We almost got a firsthand look at a planet crumbling to its extinction. I’ve never seen it done quite like this. Ego transforms into a disembodied head at one point, which normally I don’t like, but it forces Peter to manipulating matter into Pac Man. Any time I can get Pac-Man references in a film is a positive. There were two instances where the CGI looked terrible. In the first film, when the Guardians join hands, trying to grab the infinity stone, the scene is engulfed in purple, as the team is literally being torn apart. This had to be one of the lamest looking third act finales in a comic book film. A clear sign that the filmmaker had exhausted his budget. In the second film, during the aforementioned fight with the alien monster, said monster looks rather rubbery and obviously CGI. Not as rubbery as the shark in Batman ’66 but considering we’re in 2017, this shouldn’t be an issue.

As I mentioned, when this film franchise first began, I had no idea who The Guardians of the Galaxy even were. As I said, the first trailer for the film didn’t even get me excited for the film. Yet, here we are two films into the franchise and their two of the best of the Marvel brand. One of the best things about these movies is, while they’re part of the MCU, they are standalone films in their own right. While I seem to have more issues with the second film, there was enough positive elements in Volume 2, that I still put it ahead of the first film. No matter which film you enjoy more, you’re guaranteed a sci-fi space opera full of emotion, humor and action featuring instantaneously lovable characters. Revisit the first one and most definitely see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, if you haven’t already.

Movie Review: Logan

(Submitted by Mr. Prince Adam, and contains spoilers…Consider yourself warned on both counts. 😉 xoxo)

“In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.” (FOX/Marvel)

17 years of Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine comes to a close with this film. It’s a great bookend for the character overall.  This movie does borrow from Old Man Logan and X-23: Innocence Lost. What they take from Old Man Logan is an aged Wolverine traveling desert landscapes. They also take the family dynamic from that story.  However in the movie, Logan’s family aren’t two children and a wife we’ve never heard of. Instead, the family dynamic consist of Professor Xavier, Caliban, an albino mutant with mutant tracking abilities, and Laura, a girl implanted with the mutant gene, created from the DNA of Logan. While in Old Man Logan, Wolverine and company take the fight to that story’s big bad, in this film, the group is fleeing being hunted by Dr. Rice.   Speaking of X-23, a majority of that plot point was kept intact. A company called Transigen headed by Zander Rice are breeding mutants.  Laura is one of the results but unlike the X-23 comic book, other kids survived the breeding process. However, when Dr. Rice realised that the kids were harder to control as they grew and their powers continued to develop, he began working on the X-24 project. When that was ready, he ordered the X-23 kids to be terminated. When nurses at Transigen realized what is happening, they help some of the kids escape to a safe haven known as Eden. A nurse Gabriella takes charge of Laura and goes to Wolverine for help in transporting them to North Dakota.  Before they can leave, Gabriella is killed, which leaves Logan and Charles Xavier with the task of getting Laura across the border, while evading cybernetically enhanced Reavers hired by Dr. Rice and led by Donald Pierce.  The reavers, armed with X-24, a younger clone of Wolverine constantly in a berserker rage, are determined not to let Logan, Prof. X and Laura cross the border and get to North Dakota. They track our trio using Caliban, who they kidnapped and tortured.  Yes, there is a power-hungry man named Donald trying to prevent Mexican born children from crossing the border to America. Think that was done by accident? I think not! Talk about a film being socially and politically relevant. It could win an Oscar for that reason alone. As for why mutants are being bred? That’s because Transigen’s previous experiments suppressed the mutant gene by tampering with everyday food products, which eventually led to no mutant birth’s in 25 years.  This plot point takes its cues from an X-Men story known as Messiah Complex, I love that this film continued the trend of borrowing elements from several X-Men stories and fusing them with new elements. The result is a fresh but familiar story.

Something I’ve never seen in one of these X-Men films are Logan and Professor Xavier ill.  This movie gives us that right away. When you see these two men and characters, who have been physical and mental pillars of strength in this franchise, suddenly struggling with a mental illness and physical degeneration respectfully it’s incredibly jarring.  Charles Xavier has a neurodegenerative disorder similar to Alzheimer or ALS.  He loses control of his abilities and has psychic seizures.  Due to Xavier’s powers, he can paralyze those in his vicinity.   These seizures ended up killing the X-Men a year earlier and several humans, This scene is heartbreak when the truth is revealed, reminding us how powerful Xavier is and why the government fears unchecked mutant abilities.  The idea that the adamantium inside Logan’s body was poisoning him, is something that has been explored before in the comic books and the fact that his bones are coated in it, is why his healing power is slowing as he ages.  The scenes between Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are so emotionally raw.  The father son dynamic is more present than ever here. Seeing Wolverine carry professor X, remember to give him his medication, and have to deal Charles bouts of memory loss and fits of anger and paranoia, are hard to watch. I think this movie genuinely depicts a little of the frustration, pain, heartache and ultimate toll it takes on a person dealing with ALS and Alzheimer’s, as well as the loved ones who care for them. When tensions are really high, Professor X accuses Logan of waiting and hoping he’ll die, and he tells Logan he is a disappointment. In his moments of clarity, Professor X still counsels Logan, telling him it’s not too late to have a family and how he needs to and should approach being a father to Laura. Several times he stresses and reminds him she is still a child. The two also share playful banter with each other. The history and chemistry with these actors, throughout the previous movies makes the relationship feel authentic. You don’t have to have seen a previous X-Men/Wolverine film to appreciate these movies but the references are there if you have. Charles references the Statue of Liberty event from the first film. Logan mentions that Charles used to run a school that Logan got kicked out of and left a few times. This of course, referencing X2: X – Men United and X-Men: Days of Future Past.  I love that this film went meta and featured X-Men comic books existing in the film. I mean, in the film universe it makes sense that comic books and depictions in other media of a group as well-known like the X- Men would exist. I liked that Logan said the books were only partially how events happened. However, Logan’s protest about Wolverine wearing the costume, were a little insulting, referring to it as being self-absorbed and a form of branding.  While it may be true, doesn’t that hold true for the black leather outfits and the yellow and blue 60’s era flight suits seen in this film franchise before. Writer/director James Mangold is somewhat deriding the franchise he is a part of. That doesn’t seem all that smart.

The character of Laura/X-23 was a great new addition to the X-Verse and was played wonderfully by new comer Daphne Keen! This little girl was absolutely fantastic in the role. She was silent for about half the movie but her body language sold the unease of a young girl who had little contact with the outside world and who was held captive and experimented on for much of her young life. One of my few criticisms of the film was that the X-23 backstory was far too truncated. Having just read the comic version, I felt the levels of horror and harm these kids went through was definitely watered down.  Expanded scenes would’ve amplified the characters stand-off silent nature, which the young actor played so well. This young actress is adorable. It’s amazing how insane she can look when she goes full berserker rage. You could definitely see why her attackers would not be alarmed by her at first glance given her general adorability when she first enters the film. Her chemistry with Hugh Jackman was on point. I love that the relationship built from uneasiness, anger and a lack of understanding, to one of, loyalty, respect and love. That growth and transition, as well as, watching Logan navigate fatherhood brought much levity to this otherwise dark, emotional film.  Also her instant bond with Prof. X will have you saying aww. It’s the Granddaughter/Grandfather relationship you didn’t know you wanted but you absolutely needed from this franchise. Her ability to act side by side with these two acting powerhouses bodes well for her acting future and the future of the X-Men film franchise.  I thought Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce and Richard E. Grant as Dr. Zander Rice should’ve swapped roles. Both actors were good, but their performances seemed as though they would’ve been better serve as the opposite role.  Plus, Boyd Holbrook actually looks like Zander Rice from the comic books.

The action and fights are incredibly violent, as it should be when you make the decision to go for an R rating.  The violence was necessary and had consequences.  It wasn’t violence just for violence sake.   The scene in the bunker on the Mexican border where we see X23 in action for the first time is one of my favorites. When you see her go berserker rage for the first time it’s shocking.  For the longest time, we’ve only seen Logan slicing and dicing and that was always restrained given the PG 13 rating of the other films.  When you see that berserker rage coming from a 10-year-old, 4’1 girl, who not only has hand claws but foot claws as well, you can’t help but echo Wolverine’s sentiment and say; “Holy F**k!”  I mean she cuts off limbs and walks out of the bunker with a severed head in her hands.  The next brutal fight is when Logan, Xavier and Laura stop at a farmhouse for dinner and a good night’s rest. X-24 aka Wolverine’s clone lays waste to the entire family, while the reavers burn the house down. While the family isn’t Logan’s family, the scene does echo the pages in Old Man Logan, where Logan’s family is killed by The Hulk gang.  Although, Professor Xavier is killed and Laura is almost kidnapped and they are very much Logan’s family. Professor Xavier is stabbed in the heart by X-24 as he wakes from what he described as his best sleep in years. When I first saw the scene and the killer was revealed to be “Wolverine”, I thought it was a dream. It wasn’t.  This drove an already wounded Wolverine nuts and he went to town, ultimately wounding X-24 and taking out his eye. At Xavier’s burial, Logan is so choked up he couldn’t utter a word.  Did I cry? You bet your ass I did! For many, Patrick Stewart is Captain Picard, but for me Sir Patrick Stewart will ALWAYS be Charles Xavier and I was emotionally gutted, as Charles was physically gutted.  The third act is a battle in the forest, which seemingly is a prerequisite for every X-Men film.  This fight has a bit more of a traditional X-Men battle as the young mutant survivors of the X-23 project use their powers to battle and defeat the reavers. Meanwhile to protect his daughter Laura, Logan battles his evil doppelgänger X-24.   The fight is brutal. Logan gets stabbed an endless amount of times, prior to ultimately getting impaled on a tree branch. The fight harkens back to a cover image of Wolverine crucified on an X in the Uncanny X-Men issue #251.  It’s a brutal fight and it’s somewhat poetic that Logan is killed by an evil Wolverine.  Hugh Jackman brought Wolverine to life on-screen and he also literally killed him off of the big screen as well.  The scene where Laura cradles the body of her dead father in her arms, and finally refers to him as “daddy’, felt like stab wounds to my nerd heart. Yes, I cried again, but damn it, Hugh Jackman’s been Wolverine for 17 years of my 33 years of life.  His goodbye to the character deserves my tears.


I can’t think of a better way to end Hugh Jackman’s tenure as Wolverine than this film.  He started in this franchise as a lost soul who didn’t have a purpose or a family. Professor Xavier took him in, mentored him, gave him a purpose, and the X-Men became his family.  17 years later, Logan takes in a lost soul, a child who’d been tortured and experiment on. She had no family or true purpose.  Logan gave her a father and before his death, helped her find her own family of mutants.  He also gave her a defined purpose; to not become what they made her. The story of James Hewlett aka Logan aka Wolverine is truly complete.  Thank You Hugh Jackman for 17 years of dedication to the role and always making sure you gave a BADASS performance as Wolverine!

Comic Book Review: Wolverine: Old Man Logan

(Big hugs to Prince Adam for wettin’ our whistle with this whilst we wait on Logan‘s return to the big screen. 🙂 xoxo)

“Collects Wolverine (2003) #66-72 and Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size. In the future, Logan lives a quiet life. But one day an old friend shows up to ask a favor of him. And on a journey across America, the mutant Wolverine will become a hero again…” (Marvel)

 

This summer, will mark Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine, or so he says.  The film is titled Logan and features an aged up Hugh Jackman. Both Hugh and director James Mangold have sited the comic book Wolverine: Old Man Logan as inspiration. So I thought why not take advantage of the opportunity and review the graphic novel. The book is set 50 years into the future, featuring an America devoid of superheroes. The man once known as Wolverine now lives a peaceful, docile Christian life on a farm with his wife and two children.. In a conversation with his wife, Logan reveals that he hasn’t popped his claws, let alone raised his voice, in 50 years.  Before knowing the how or why, one of my favourite comic book writers, Mark Millar instantly has me intrigued, because this is the opposite demeanor and behavior I am used to from the character. Finding out why he had taken this stance, made this story even more intense. The Marvel Universe is bereft of heroes in this story because the Red Skull managed to gather all the villains together, to kill all the heroes. To neutralize the X-Men, Mysterio alters Logan’s X-Men teammates to look like a group of villains . When the X-Men return home, he sees the mansion as under attack, goes into a berserk rage and kills all the X-Men. When he realizes what he has done, he is distraught, and shock sets in. From that moment on he vows to never pop his claws or go berserker rage again. This scene was incredibly heartbreaking. If you’ve read any X-Men or watched any of the films, you know that despite his penchant for being a loner, Wolverine considers  the X-Men his family and their deaths at his hand, even accidentally would break him to a point of retracting his claws for good.  With Wolverine, and the X-Men out of the way, Red Skull, and his  lieutenants which include, Magneto, Doctor Doom, the Incredible Hulk, and others are able to kill  and capture most of the heroes. They follow this up with a take over the United States government. Red Skull installs himself as the president and separates the U.S into 4 territories, giving his lieutenants control.  The Hulk was controlling California, Doom’s domain is the bible belt and Magneto reigns over Las Vegas. The way America was split in this book, with certain factions presiding over different areas reminded, me of shows like Into the Badlands and Dominion.

Logan is urged back into the fray by Clint Barton, also old now, as well as blind.  He needs to make a cross country delivery to New Babylon, and requires Logan’s sight to drive. Logan is hesitant, but is convinced by the former Hawkeye’s promise of a big payday, so Logan can pay his land rent fee to The Hulk Gang.  These are the inbred children and grandchildren of The Hulk and his cousin She Hulk.  If Logan can’t pay, the Hulk Gang has threatened to harm his wife and children. So Logan agrees to be the driver, as long as he doesn’t have to get physical. Mark Millar throws in some clever nods to Hawkeye’s past. At one point, Logan questions Hawkeye’s allegiances, by calling out his time as a villain and his drug use. Something that I think is new to this mythology for this possible future, is Hawkeye’s familial connection to Spider – Man. Hawkeye was married to Peter Parker’s daughter. While that union ended badly, it produced Spider-Man’s grand-daughter. She’s going around calling herself Spider-Woman. She is held captive by Kingpin, She is freed by Logan and Clint. Shortly there after, she kills Kingpin and assumes control of Las Vegas and sends men chasing after her father and Logan. In addition to the Kingpin, Wolverine and Logan are confronted by Moloids, they take on two Ghost Riders and a cloned dinosaur infected by the Venom symbiote. All this before they reach New Babylon. The delivery Hawkeye and Logan had to make was viles of super soldier serum to SHIELD agents who are part of an underground resistance group trying to build a new Avengers team.  However, that SHIELD team are undercover Hydra agents working for Red Skull. The agents kill Hawkeye and Wolverine knocks them out and takes the case full of money.  This road trip segment of the book feels a little bit like a Jason Statham Transporter  film in it’s plot.  My problems with this book is that, Wolverine and Hawkeye  go through a gauntlet of villains far too quickly, It felt like a video game, just going through minor bosses to get to the big bad.  For this comic book story, that results in characters who are supposed to be important, getting a passing reference or cameo. Doctor Doom gets a two panel cameo with no dialogue and Magneto is killed off panel, by a no name thug calling himself King Pin.   Peter Parker’s grand-daughter is hyped up to the nth degree, and gets less then a full issue in the story,  One thing that I don’t understand, is that pretty much every character in this book is a villain. Spider-Woman even becomes the Kingpin. There is zero explanation as to why The Incredible Hulk is an evil overlord.  How and when did this happen? As much as I like Mark Millar as a writer, it is lazy not to include these details. The third act of the story is a tale of heroism, yet also vengeance.  Logan confronts the Red Skull , ultimately defeating and killing him. He then returns home to California to find his wife and children dead at the hands of the Hulk Gang. Here the book comes full circle. Earlier in the book, the death of his X-Men family signaled the death of Wolverine. Now the death of his human family, signals the rebirth of Wolverine. What follows is the methodical dismantling and destruction of The Hulk Gang, including Bruce Banner himself. This sequence is essentially the movie John Wick but with claws. Every member of the Hulk gang is killed, except The Hulk’s youngest child, who Wolverine vows to train and make a member of his new team, as they ride off into the sunset.

 

Steve McNiven, a frequent collaborator of Mark Millar, is the artist on this book and his work is Xtraordinary (couldn’t resist)  One of the aspects of his work I adore, is that all of the characters faces and expressions look distinct and unique. The aged versions of Logan, Clint Barton and Bruce Banner all look uniquely different.  Speaking of which, does anyone else think Wolverine looks like a short, stubbier version of Clint Eastwood? The scene of Logan looking out over the farm at the sunset  is such a beautiful peaceful image that evokes his more peaceful and Zen like attempt at life early in the book.  The shot of Logan and Hawkeye in the Spider-Mobile, being chased in the desert by a venom infected dinosaur was incredible. So much detail is on display and it looks like a mashup of movie scenes from Jurassic World and Mad Max: Fury Road.  There is a lot of violence and blood in this book.  More so then in most of the horror genre books I’ve read and reviewed for this site. The scenes when Logan accidentally  kills the X-Men or battles Red Skull are prime examples. The way Wolverine decapitates Red Skull with Captain America’s shield is pretty inventive and expertly drawn. Old Hulk looks creepy and is even scarier then his regular MCU counterpart. The scenes where he rips Wolverine apart, eats him and then Wolverine bursts through him cutting him from the inside, are the most gruesome, highlight reel scenes of the book. My ultimate favorite single page from this book, features Wolverine angrily popping his claws, knuckles full of blood, after finding his slain family.  It signifies that berserker Wolverine is back and on the war path.

 

In terms of relatively new stories, this story is simply a modern day classic.  There are a lot of good Wolverine stories out there but this one ranks as one of the best.  Wolverine: Old Man Logan, is Wolverine’s The Dark Knight Returns.  While Frank Miller did it better, Mark Millar gave us a story that is a close second. There is a current Old Man Logan monthly book that I’m curious to know if it connects to this. I’ll have to check it out and review it for you guys and gals. This is quintessential Wolverine story telling that is a must read for any fan of the character. Get It!

Comic Reviews: Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation

(Submitted by our Superheroic/SciFi buddy, Mr. Prince Adam…Thanks, Superfriend! 🙂 xoxo)

“Collects Ghost Rider (2005) #1-6. He’s paying the price for his deal with the Devil – is the Ghost Rider condemned to ride the highways of Hell for all eternity? His saving grace could be in the form of an unlikely ally – an industrious angel with a deal that would free Ghost Rider once and for all!” (Marvel)

ghostr1
I’m not well versed in the character of Ghost Rider. I’ve seen the two movies starring Nicholas Cage, which I liked by the way (reviews for those coming soon). When it comes to Ghost Rider comics, I’m a newbie. Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation caught my eye because it was a miniseries that reintroduced Ghost Rider into modern continuity, and was written by Garth Ennis, the mastermind behind Preacher. Garth Ennis does go over Ghost Rider’s origin. Johnny Blaze sells his soul to the devil, in order to save a loved one from a terminal cancer diagnosis. In exchange, Johnny becomes the devils soul bounty hunter with a flaming skull and a cool motorcycle. While Johnny’s friend is cured of cancer, but dies in a stunt accident, as the devil screws Johnny Blaze into becoming the Ghost Rider anyway. The main difference between this origin and the movie version, is that the loved one stricken with cancer in the movie is Johnny’s father, where’s here it’s his best friend. The change doesn’t alter the impact, or gravity of the situation, or Johnny’s reasoning for making the deal and is largely an unnoticeable change. Where the book does dovetail from the film, is that the forces of hell do catch up with Ghost Rider, and he is brought down to hell, where he is subjected to the torture of trying to race his way out of hell, only to be caught and torn to pieces by a horde of demons, night in and night out. The repetition of the torture, and the frustration of Johnny Blaze almost being able to break free, but ultimately being beaten down, is like watching a twisted version of groundhog day, really emphasizing how hellish, an eternity in, well… hell would really be.

 

ghostr4

ghostr5

To get Ghost Rider into the land of the living, he is thrown into the midst of a war between heaven and hell. An evil entity known as Kazaan escapes to Earth with the intention of bringing hell to Earth. To stop him and send him back to hell, God has sent the archangel Ruth, while the devil has sent a low level grunt in Hoss. Ghost Rider is called to the battle from a lower level angel Malachi, who promises to set Ghost Rider free from hell and restore his soul, if he can defeat Kazaan and send him back to hell. I thought it was unique to see an angel enlisting the devil’s bounty hunter, in aiding in the return of a demon back to hell. That’s been nonexistent in the various comics dealing with this conflict before that I have read. Kazaan was an incredible force to be reckoned with. The way he cons a rich oil tycoon into collecting humans for him, so that he can create a body to assume on Earth. He then uses that billionaire’s technology and manpower to drill a hole in the heart of Texas and open up the hell mouth on Earth. Kazaan is built up as such an evil bastard; you’d think he was the devil himself. I loved that Ruth was the most badass of characters and it was she, who was God’s spirit of vengeance. I’ll speak more to her badassery when discussing art but girl power was definitely on full display. Ruth’s power and importance is stressed by saying that only heaven’s highest ranking angels have bible chapters and verses named after them. There’s a big twist in this book, which is that Malachi and Kazaan are actually brothers, who have orchestrated all this to gain power in both heaven and hell. The book actually comes full circle with Ghost Rider’s origin, as once again Johnny Blaze is screwed over by a celestial being. Despite successfully defeating Kazaan, Malachi reneges on his promise and refuses to free Ghost Rider from hell. However, Ghost Rider gets his revenge by dragging Malachi down to hell on the back of his bike, forcing him to also experience the same torture as he does, night after night. I would’ve liked more story detail spent on the hierarchy and battle for power within heaven and hell but the book focuses on hell erupting on Earth and the apocalypse taking place in the third act. What’s up with Garth Ennis and making Texas the epicenter of hell on Earth. He did so in Preacher and now here. Is he trying to tell us something, or does he not like Texas?

ghostr2
The art for this story is by Clayton Crain. Clayton Crain is someone whose work I had never seen before this, and I must say, it’s some of the best comic book art I have EVER seen. He’s so good, that after one view of his work, I easily put him in my top 3 artists with Alex Ross and Jim Lee. His art balances life like realism and comic book fanaticism. All the imagery of Ghost Rider on his flaming bike looks incredible. It gets the testosterone pumping, that I can’t’ help but grunt like Tim Allen during an episode of Home Improvement. The art featuring Malachi overlooking humanity is also a standout. It’s such a classic artistic depiction of the angel. Kazan’s Earthly form looked quite interesting. It wasn’t humanoid at all. At one point he looked like a bull made up of chains and at another point he looked like the world engine from Man of Steel. The devil’s lackey made me laugh, as he looked like a Wild West version of the Austin Powers character Fat Bastard. There is plenty of violence, most of which is perpetrated by God’s archangel Ruth. The best example is when she rips the rich tycoon in half and beats Hoss with half of the body, as if it were a baseball bat. It had a Tarantino esque vibe to it and made me laugh. The art coupled with colour gave this book a sort of claymation like quality to it at certain points.

ghostr3
If you are a fan of horror or super heroics, you definitely will be extremely entertained and content after buying and reading this book. Ghost Rider is a fantastic character and is finally getting some attention over at Marvel. A version of the character currently appears on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, as well as just recently launching a new ongoing comic book series. Yet, I want more. The character would be a much better fit on Netflix then he is on ABC. So let’s keep showing the character love by buying his comics. Hopefully continued interest and sales, will spur Marvel to give the character his own Netflix show.

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War

(Submitted for this lovely #SuperheroSaturday by Prince Adam…Thanks a heap, my Heroic Ho-miebot!! 😉 xoxo)

Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps-one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability. (Marvel Studios)

civilwar

Captain America: Civil War is a film with two agendas, serving as a sequel to both The Winter Soldier, and Age of Ultron. The film succeeds in both respects. The film toggles back and forth between being a Cap movie and an Avengers movie perfectly. Plot points left over from Winter Soldier feed in to those left over from Age of Ultron and vice versa. One of the things I outright LOVE about this film, is that Marvel is finally acknowledging and dealing with the consequences of the actions of the heroes and villains. During a battle with Crossbones, the villain tries to set off an explosive he’s wearing. Scarlet Witch contains him in a force field. However, as she levitates him further from the populated location, she accidentally gets close to an inhabited building. She loses control ever briefly; the bomb goes off, destroys the building, killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers. This scene not only sets the stage for the conflict within the Avengers, but it sets the stage for the Winter Soldier’s inclusion into this story. Before he detonates himself, Crossbones tells Steve, that Bucky is the reason for all this. With Cap left to ponder that, the next scene sees Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (The Incredible Hulk) with Tony Stark by his side to introduce The Sokovia Accords, which 150 countries are prepared to sign. Given the events in New York (The Avengers), Washington (The Winter Soldier), and Sokovia (Age of Ultron), this accord would give the U.N. final say as to when and where the Avengers could intervene. What was interesting here is that the film flips the script in terms of what we expect our two central characters to do. Captain America uncharacteristically refuses to comply, going against the government. Though, given the events of Winter Soldier, you can kind of see why he would. Tony Stark has always been the rebel, the anti-establishment kind of guy. So seeing him side with the UN here was awkward. But, it’s explained when Tony admits to Ultron being his fault, and when he is emotionally confronted by a mother of a college student who was killed in Sokovia, during the battle with Ultron. This shift in perspective for both characters really shows character growth.

civilwar2Even though our heroes disagree on the Sokovia Accords, they go their separate ways until the documents are set to be ratified. The assembly is bombed, killing King T’Chaka of Wakanda along with countless others, and evidence points to The Winter Soldier being responsible. When Sec. Ross orders a manhunt to capture the Winter Soldier, Captain America and his team of Avengers set out to find and help Bucky evade prosecution. Meanwhile, Iron-Man and his team of Avengers, are sent out to bring the whole lot of them in. Speaking of Bucky, I’m glad the film actually showed his Winter Soldier origin in the flashbacks. As much as I loved the first Captain America sequel, I was disappointed, and felt a bit cheated that we didn’t get to see any of the how’s and why’s of The Winter Soldier. Civil War certainly rectifies that, and in doing so, stays pretty close to the comic books. The timeline may be jumbled to fit the MCU, but the core element of Hydra agents in Siberia brainwashing him, and using him on missions, including tracking down remnants of the super-soldier serum, so Hydra could recreate an army of evil super soldiers. One key difference from the comics is the fact that Winter Soldier killed Tony Stark’s parents to get the super soldier serum and Steve Rogers knew about it. While this plot point reeks of convenience, it serves it’s purpose of making the schism between Tony and Steve personal, as well as political. Before I get to the heroes vs. heroes element of this film, there is another villain pulling the strings. Helmut Zemo is the real villain of the piece, framing Bucky for the bombing, using the Winter Soldier to expedite the Sokovia Accords. The ultimate goal is fracturing The Avengers from within. It’s a more brains over brawn plan, which is really unique to the MCU to this point. Also, Zemo’s reasoning for brainwashing Bucky, and setting this all in motion, is because his family was killed in the battle of Sokovia in Age of Ultron. This is his way of avenging them. In the character’s monologue to Black Panther, you can’t help but feel for him, and understand his reasoning. Even though he is apprehended, his plan of dividing The Avengers ultimately succeeds. This was essentially Zemo Begins and Daniel Bruhul plays him very effectively. He ranks as one of the strongest MCU villains, so here’s hoping for a return. Speaking of the end of this film, I was happy that it ended with Cap freeing his Avengers team, and them essentially being on the run. However, I was disappointed with Steve leaving a note for Tony, saying; “If you ever need me, I’ll be there.” Seriously, is there a mandate over at Disney forcing every Marvel movie to end on a happy note. Can these two not stay mad at each other for more than the duration of one film?

civilwar3

Regarding the two Avengers teams partaking in this Civil War, the combatants and the sides they chose are, for the most part, obvious. On team Iron Man, is War Machine, Black Widow, The Vision, Black Panther, and Spider-Man. On team Captain America is Hawkeye, Winter Soldier, Falcon, Ant-Man, and Scarlet Witch. The benefit of this being the 13th film in the cinematic universe, means most of these relationships are established, so these pairings feel natural. The Tony/Steve animosity only works because of the tensions that were put in place in The Avengers, and then expanded upon in Age of Ultron. As a result, when Iron-Man says that he and Cap used to be friends, and then accuses him of no longer being worthy of the shield, it hurts one’s fanboy heart. Both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. deliver intense performances in their scenes together. Rhodey and Bucky were ever the loyal friends for their respective leader. Sebastian Stan had more dialogue as Bucky Barnes this time around and gives his best turn of the franchise. I’ve always found Don Cheadle to be rather bland as Rhodey Rhodes. This film does nothing to change that. However, I was sad that the character was paralyzed during the fight. Although, I was affected because of Robert Downey Jr’s reaction as Tony more than anything else. While I preferred Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Winter Soldier, she was still really good here. She starts on Team Iron-Man, but she defects, and joins Team Captain America. I should’ve somewhat expected that, given the fact that she started out as a SHIELD liaison to Stark in Iron-Man 2, before becoming a field agent partner to Captain America in his first sequel. The fact that I didn’t see it coming, suggests that ScarJo has become very in tune with her double agent spy character. The Vision and Scarlet Witch were the newbies last time out, and here they share most of their scenes together. There’s this unique friendship, and somewhat romantic relationship at play here. They bond because their power sources stems from mind stone infinity gem. They also bond over the fact that they are the most powerful heroes in The Avengers, and everyone is afraid of them. I thought Elizabeth Olsen and Scarlet Witch were underused in Age of Ultron, but here she truly shines. We see even more of the extent of her powers, and how volatile and out of control she can be. Their relationship is a little oddball and weird, but both Olsen and Paul Bettany are quirky enough as actors to pull off a bond between an android and a witch. Thanks to their chemistry, their schism is just as important and poignant as Tony and Steve’s dissention. The fact that they ended on opposite sides also makes sense. The Vision was created by Tony Stark, with the intent of making the world a safer place, and minimizing the need for The Avengers; just like the Sokovia Accords. Scarlet Witch meanwhile, is being sequestered and being told when, where, and how to act, being told to keep her power in check. It’s a no-brainer that she would take Cap’s side in this debate. One character that stole the film for me was Black Panther, played wonderfully by Chadwick Boseman. He only aligns himself with Team Iron Man, because he’s out for revenge against Bucky who he thinks set off the bomb that killed his father. We get very little about Wakanda or Black Panther mythology, but the little we get as told by Boseman, has me so pumped for the Black Panther solo film. Here Boseman plays an emotionally distraught son bereft of his father, while exuding a confident and regal Prince ready to assume the mantle of king, and costumed hero to a nation. I loved the scene where he takes off his mask, revealing himself to police and authorities, as if to say; “I’m the King of Wakanda Bitches! I’ve got diplomatic immunity, and can do whatever the F**K I want.”

civilwar4

Ant-Man and Hawkeye have no organic reason for being in this, other then that The Hulk and Thor are too powerful, and would make the fight moot. While Ant-Man brought humor and levity to the film at much needed times, Hawkeye proves what an utterly useless character he is. Paul Rudd as Scott going all fanboy when meeting Steve Rogers was a definite highlight. I feel sorry for Jeremy Renner. He’s been wasted in the MCU. Maybe they should put him in a spy thriller type spinoff with Black Widow, where he can really shine. Or maybe even a Netflix series! Aside from Black Panther, I was most excited to see Tom Holland as Spider-Man. Holy Shit was my excitement justified. As much as I loved the Sam Raimi trilogy, and liked the two Andrew Garfield films, in 30 minutes of screen time, the young actor delivers the start of what could be the definitive version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man to date. I love the fact that we have an actual teenager playing a teenage character, as opposed to a 30 year old playing a high schooler. It makes his youthful exuberance more authentic. His joy of being Spider-Man is infectious. His interplay with Tony Stark provided the best, most naturalistic comedy in the MCU, aside from Guardians of the Galaxy. The fact that Spider-Man never shuts up during a fight, always cracking, wise, and even makes a Star Wars reference is just pure, unadulterated comic book Spider-Man. I can’t really comment on Tom Holland’s chemistry with Marissa Tomei’s Aunt May. There simply wasn’t enough of a sample size. However, I totally called a scene where Tony Stark hits on Aunt May prior to our screening. Also, thanks to The Wrestler, we live in a world where I can say; I’ve seen Aunt May’s tits, and they’re spectacular!

civilwar5

There were four huge action set pieces in this film. We have the Avengers mission in Lagos, tracking down Crossbones. This fight further highlights the Mission Impossible/Bourne Identity style fights that are typical of the Captain America franchise to date. What I loved about this scene was the focus on the ladies, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. Black Widow using a motor bike as an effective prop in a fight, to propel her and give her an advantage was great! Black Widow’s hand to hand combat is better than any of her male counter parts in the MCU. I spoke briefly about Scarlet Witch’s levitation and telekinetic abilities, but I liked how those manifested on screen. Next the three way chase sequence was something special. It’s a car chase, motorcycle chase and on foot chase all in one. Black Panther outruns both a car and a motorcycle. That is beyond cool! Even better is the fact that he runs with a feral, animalistic crawl. All I know is after that scene I wanted more Black Panther ASAP! The airport fight, while it looked confined and small in the trailers was rather large in scope. When the two Avengers teams charge each other, it looked like two football teams locking horns on a football field. It was like watching The Panthers play the Patriots, as I was conflicted as to who to cheer for. (Haha Nice, and I feel your pain. 🙂 -D.P.) It was quite a shock to see Ant-Man turn into Giant-Man and rampage his way through that airport runway. Even better was seeing Spider-Man reference and use a Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back tactic to help take him down. I won’t spoil it, but it is the most unique form of inter-company crossover references ever, and one of the best Spider-Man action moments on film. During the airport fight, Scarlet Witch tells Hawkeye that he is pulling his punches with Black Widow. However, this is not the case with Iron – Man vs. Captain America at the abandoned Siberia Hydra base. It was the most brutal and hard hitting fight of the 13 film MCU, Between Bucky and Cap double teaming Iron-Man with shield shots to the face, and Captain America driving his shield into the chest of Tony’s armor; If I didn’t already know Robert Downey Jr. was signed on for more films, I could easily believe Captain America might kill Tony watching this scene.

civilwar6

Is Captain America: Civil War an exact translation of its comic book namesake? No it is not, but the core essential elements are there, making it a very faithful interpretation. Is Captain America: Civil War the best Marvel Cinematic Universe film? It could very well be! It’s the most mature, adult and serious MCU film yet, but knows when it can pull back and throw some fun and banter at us. The film definitely amped my excitement up for Black Panther & Spider-Man: Homecoming! Finally, you’re probably all wondering which I Liked better, Civil War or Batman v Superman!? I’m #TeamBvS all the way! (WooHoo!!! Ditto!! :)) Sorry Marvel, you gave it a good try. Nothing compares to seeing Batman and Superman share a movie screen for the first time! If Marvel and DC were sex partners, Marvel would be my fling/one night stand! When we get together it’s great. A good romp and some hot hookups. Ultimately though, there are not commitments for either of us. DC on the other hand, is the woman I’m passionate about, the one I’d serenade outside her window, even if it was freeing. We’ve been together through good times (The Dark Knight Trilogy) and bad (Batman & Robin). DC Films is the woman I’d walk down the aisle and spend the rest of my life with. You know, I’m convinced comments like this are the reason I’m single! Anyways, go see Captain America: Civil War! It is awesome!

civilwar7

Ho-stess’s PS– That was the perfect analogy for CA:CW vs BvS! I’d totally fuck Captain America (and ho-w!!! ;)), marry Superman (he’s too perfect to sully of a relationship outside of wedlock ;)), and kill Tony Stark, then Batman. (Sorry, but “millionaire playboy” types are just not my jam. I’ve had more than my fill of those IRL…Gimme the Boy Scout- type any day!! :)) xoxo

 

Comic Review: Ultimate Fantastic Four 21-23 & 30-32

(submitted by Adam…Thanks, Superhero Sci-Fi Ho-mie!! 😉 xo)

ffgn2

“Reed Richards has found a way to travel to an alternate Earth in another dimension. Being the imaginauts they are, the Fantastic Four set out on a mission of ultimate discovery -but discover the Marvel Zombies. The Fantastic Four are being pursued by the most unlikely of enemies on an alternate Earth – the Marvel Zombies. And the only ally they can turn to is…Magneto? The Fantastic Four must join forces with one of their world’s greatest villains to survive an epic battle on an alternate Earth against the Marvel Zombies! Dr. Doom returns, and the zombiefied F.F. escape from their Baxter Building prison! The deadly debut of the Frightful Four! Johnny Storm finds out he has only 28 days to live! The zombified Fantastic Four break free, plus, an alien object Johnny brought back from the N-Zone begins to grow and will soon consume every living thing on Earth. Only man on Earth can stop it. And that man is Doctor Doom! The Ultimate Fantastic Four versus the Zombie Universe Fantastic Four!” (Marvel)

ffgn1

The beauty of the Fantastic Four being sci-fi inclined, be it the regular Marvel Universe, or in this case the ultimate universe, is that the Fantastic Four can employ time travel and parallel universe, more often and more palatably then some other characters and comic book series. The book accomplishes both, while fulfilling the superhero elements. They’re stopping computer hackers.. The catch being, these hackers are threatening to cause a break in the time steam, by killing a prehistoric fish. As a result, we get to see The Thing, wrestling’ with a dinosaur. This was a very serendipitous moment, because I just watched Jurassic World, adding to my excitement while reading. Next, the story shifts to Reed having a holographic Skype-like conversation with an alternate universe version of himself. This was written really well. It had all the awkward funny moments you’d expect from such a meeting. In all that, you get a great character moment where Ultimate Reed tells Alternate Reed about his satisfaction with being a government tool, rather than just being able to be a full blown superhero. These moments were very Stargate SG-1 like for me. You also get lulled into a false sense of security that Alternate Reed is part of the Marvel Universe proper. It was truly a shocking twist, when it is revealed that this Read is, and lives in a universe full of Zombie superheroes.

ffgn3

I was impressed with how easily I bought into this development. But as I said, when you have time travel, alternate timelines, and contact with alien life, why not throw zombies into the mix. What impressed me the most was that the book relies very minimally on gore for fright factor. It’s more the Zombies on the hunt that provides the fright. They’re grotesque visage certainly helps. There is a small group of people in the resistance against the zombified heroes. As the description said, Magneto leads these humans. Seeing Magneto fraternizing with humans is definitely not the norm, but end of the world scenario’s do make for strange bedfellows. I liked the fact that the Zombified Fantastic Four, or the Frightful Four, are intelligent. I’ve seen plenty of mindless Zombies, so it was refreshing to see intelligent ones, specifically one as smart as Reed Richards. While held in captivity in the Ultimate Universe’s Baxter Building, Reed would taunt the FF, scientists, and doctors, about how and when the Frightful Four would break free, and terrorize and turn the Ultimate Universe. That is creepy, and was written so well by Mark Millar. The horror element doesn’t end there. We have an alien parasite hatching inside of Johnny Storm, which could devastate and destroy the human race. We then have Dr. Doom coercing Reed Richards to swap bodies kind of evoking Body Snatchers, so that he can take credit for saving Johnny, and ridding the world of the Frightful Four. I really love the focus on horror in these arcs, because it is a call back to the characters origins. If you listen to Stan Lee talk about the Fantastic Four, he talks about the importance of the family dynamic, and that the Fantastic Four was his monster book. Both elements are present here. I was slightly disappointed in the fact that the how’s and why’s of the virus weren’t explained in any detail. I also felt a little cheated that we didn’t get to see a full on Fantastic Four vs. Frightful Four show down. They likely saved that for the ensuing Marvel Zombies book, which I will review soon, but it still would’ve been nice to see here.

ffgn4

Here comes a cheesy pun, but it’s necessary. Greg Land’s artwork is absolutely fantastic! (HA!! Also, cheesy puns are always necessary!! 😉 -D.P.) The opening pages suck you into the book right away. He draws a scene that highlights how physically imposing a T-Rex is, but at the same time highlights the beauty of the scenery of the pre-historic era. Also, Greg Land may have been restricted with the amount of gore he could show, but he still made the zombie superheroes look scary. The splash page with several zombified Marvel Heroes, and the page with the Frightful Four finally getting to feed on some helpless victims stood out to me. Greg Land is such a detailed and clean artists. All his pages are beautiful. It’s a real talent in my opinion, that he is able to create pages with grotesque looking zombies, while still being true to his style. It should be a dichotomy but it works. The covers are phenomenal, Some of them, if it weren’t for the Fantastic Four title card, you would think they were full on horror comic books.

ffgn5

This storyline was incredible. The horror elements never once felt shoehorned or forced into a superhero book. These two storylines not only make up one of the best Fantastic Four stories I’ve read, but gave me a super heroic take on zombies. What could be cooler then that! If you like horror and superheroes, or even just horror, this book definitely falls in my MUST READ category!

Ho-stess’s Note: Since we’re talking comics, this bit o’ gore-geousness was released this week. Reviews for Issue One are kinda miXXXed, but it’s VAMPIRELLA and ALIENS (hell-o!!! ;)), so it’s definitely worth checking out. 🙂 xo

STK682629-300x450