4.28.2007

Gadzooks! (Shameless Self-Promotion)

Many of you are familiar with the bloggers extraordinaire over at Legion of Doom, as well as the weekly feature they run, entitled Books of Doom.

Likewise, many of you may also be aware that starting this week, the Legion has decided to let a weekly rotating "celebrity" blogger in on the fun.

I am humbled to say that the first of such individuals chosen is myself - one who, I might add, is hardly deserving of such an honor.

So, if you're so inclined, head on over to LoD and see what the Legion and I have to say about this week's Book of Doom, Fallen Son: Avengers.

Thanks for reading.

/self-promotion

-M

4.23.2007

It doesn't really live up to its name

In my mind, Pathfinder kind of had a lot (okay, a little) going for it. It had kind of a cool concept, and it looked like there would be some nice action and hopefully a well-written story.

Unfortunately, only two of those three are true for this film.

Pathfinder tries to be one of those action movies that makes you go "OMFG THAT WAS THE COOLEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN" with cool action scenes - the kind of movie that you watch and leave feeling more masculine than you have in your entire life. While there are a few really cool action sequences, it's nothing that hasn't been done better in other films - Lord of the Rings and 300 in particular. If this movie was just a few months earlier (or later), it might have more of an impact stylistically, but coming so close after the release (and insane success) of 300, it really just looks like its aping the style of a superior film.

There's also not much reason to care for the characters. Most of the characters are tragically stereotypical Native Americans or Vikings, and those that aren't are really just boring or ill-defined as characters. This is most true, unfortunately, of the main character, Ghost (played by Karl Urban of Doom infamy - and it should also be noted that the character's name is never once mentioned in the film; none of the main characters' names are, in fact). He's an "action hero" torn straight out of a 90's action flick - he's really just there to look pretty, do cool stunts, and not much else. I think he has literally four lines throughout the entire film - the rest of the time, he's either chopping up Vikings or looking conflicted. There's really no reason for the viewer to be at all invested in the characters or what they're going through - even though the film DOES try - if only half-heartedly.

The narrative - if it can be considered such - of Pathfinder is also poorly done. Pathfinder begins as a tale of revenge and it's ill consequences (Ghost spends the first half of the movie hunting and being hunted by Vikings for the slaughter of his village), but halfway through the film - if it can be considered such - it changes gears without warning (the main characters are captured and must devise a way to escape while also preventing the Vikings from finding another village to slaughter). It's fairly disconcerting and really just serves to make the movie feel forty minutes longer than it should be.

I doubt many people were really rushing out to see this, but if you were at all considering it as an option, do yourself a favor, save your money, and see Spider-Man 3 a second (or third or fourth) time come next week.

That's all for today. This is Matt, signing off - watching bad movies so you don't have to.

-M

4.18.2007

World War Whatever

I was tempted to pick up the "World War III" titles today, but after a quick flip-through each of the three companion titles, I decided against it. From what I'm reading around the blogosphere, I made the right choice.

From an outsider's perspective, it appears that "World War III" was nothing more than another big event in a long line of big events that are, for the most part, disappointments.

Then again, I didn't actually read it, so I want to hear your thoughts - was DC suffering from a bit of Civil War-itis or is this just another example of comic fans being ridiculously hard to please?

-M

What I'm reading - 4/18/07

Very small week, which is fine by me since I'm broke. Let's get right to it, shall we?

Justice League of America #8: The first part of the JLA/JSA (and apparently, now LSH) crossover, "The Lightning Saga." I suppose it works well as a set-up for the rest of the storyline, but other than that I'm mostly indifferent to this one. I suppose I can say that it's better than last issue, but then again, I don't think that's that difficult. There are some cool scenes here - I kind of like the training session, and I think it's cool that every now and then Wildcat (the cool one, not the lame knock-off) and Mr. Terrific might just show up at the Hall and whip people into shape. All that aside, though, it still just kinda feels like a reason for the JLA and the JSA to be in the same place at the same time to justify the team-up. To me, this is kind of one of those issues that you can't really look at until you see how the rest of the story shapes up. I guess we'll see.

P.S. I think my LCS might hate me, just a little bit. Out of the eight issues of JLA to be released so far, I think maybe one of them has not been the Turner cover. Why, LCS, why? Why are you such a cruel mistress?

Sensational Spider-Man #37: I don't know how Aguirre-Sacasa does it, but Sensational Spider-Man is consistently the best "mainstream" Spider-book on the stands right now. Part of that, I think, is the fact that this book doesn't try to be more than it is - the last half-year or so, Amazing has been nigh-unreadable without the latest issue of Civil War as a guidebook, and Friendly Neighborhood has been simultaneously trying to both tie up the loose ends of "The Other" and get out of its shadow since the crossover ended. And all this time, Aguirre-Sacasa has just been telling fun little stories that pay attention to continuity and the current state of the Marvel U., but aren't enslaved by it. This latest story is no different - it's not essential reading, and it's not "OMG GOING TO CHANGE PETER PARKER'S LIFE FOREVER," but it is a neat, well-written story that you can come into with a minimal amount of knowledge and get more or less the same enjoyment out of as the guy who has a doctorate in Marvel. If anybody at Marvel is reading - snatch this guy up and get him on ASM, stat.

Ultimate Spider-Man #108: A solid issue, although I think the first two chapters of this "Ultimate Knights" story were stronger. I've never much minded Ultimate Moon Knight's wacky inner monologue before, but something about in this issue seemed...I don't know, off? I can't really put my finger on it.

I'm also kind of morally opposed to the idea of Ultimate Ronin. When a character has yet to be firmly or satisfyingly established in the Marvel Universe proper, I think it might be a bit too early to "Ultimize" him/her/it/whatver. I don't even know of too many people who like the character as a concept, so it's not like people have been clamoring for Ultimate Ronin.

This arc has been pretty solid so far - then again, I was saying that about "Ultimate Clone Saga" right before it all went to shit, so I guess we'll see. So far, I think this arc is standing head and shoulders about "Clone Saga" for the simple fact that we're actually seeing Spider-Man in Ultimate Spider-Man.

Other than the quibbles, this issue wasn't bad. Solid writing, some decent art, and a pretty good fight scene. If Bendis can keep it up, I might not make #110 my last issue of this book after all...

A small week, and nothing really groundbreaking one way or another. I didn't love anything and I didn't absolutely hate anything...a very "meh" week.

What'd you guys think?

-M

4.17.2007

Queen of the Tards

Today, CBR reported about some internal strife with the cast and crew concerning the possible production of Spider-Man 4. Here's the story as they published it:

Director Sam Raimi talked to Entertainment Weekly about the possibility of directing "The Hobbit" ("If Peter [Jackson] didn't want to do it, and Bob [Shaye, chairman of New Line Pictures] wanted me to do it -- and they were both okay with me picking up the reins -- that would be great. I love the book. It's maybe a more kid-friendly story than the others"), but even the rumor of Raimi taking on something so time consuming and leaving the franchise in other hands sent actress Kirsten Dunst into a tizzy. "It's disrespectful to the whole team, I think, to do that," Dunst said. "And audiences aren't stupid. It'd be a big flop without me, Tobey, or Sam. That would really not be the smartest move. But they know that already. [Sony chief] Amy Pascal would never do that." Sony's President of Production Matt Tolmach laid down the law: "Listen, we're making 'Spider-Man 4.' Our hope, dream, and intention is to do it with Sam. But I don't have a crystal ball."

Man, I really dislike Kirsten Dunst - as an actor and, from what little I've seen, as a person. It seems like every time she opens her mouth - especially concerning the Spider-Man flicks - she says something ridiculous that gets her into trouble.

And seriously? The films would flop without you (or Tobey or Sam)? Doesn't that seem a little bit egotistical, you think? To be honest, I've been hoping Mary Jane would bite the bullet in this one simply because she's played by Kirsten Dunst. Somehow, I honestly doubt that a lot of people are buying tickets to Spider-Man 3 simply because of the fact that you're in it.

Tobey and Sam? Yep. Sam Raimi is a pretty good director, and Tobey hasn't done a bad job as Peter Parker. Without them, Spider-Man 4 probably won't do as well or be as strong of a film. But Kirsten Dunst? Completely expendable.

And I understand being pissed off about Sam possibly moving on after this one, because that essentially means your "era" of Spider-Man flicks (and a semi-regular paycheck) are over, but you don't go blabbing that shit all over town about a guy you claim to admire and respect. Show some restraint, woman!

I knew we couldn't get to the premiere of another Spider-Man flick without her saying something incredibily ridiculous and retarded. With any luck, maybe she won't come back for the fourth go round (oh God, please oh please oh please...).

Bah. Rant = over.

-M

4.14.2007

He lives! He walks! He conquers!

I'm a little bit behind the curve with this one. I hope you can forgive me for that; I was in Chicago for a couple of days and alas, I was separated from my beloved blogosphere.

A day or so ago, the lovely folks over at Superhero Hype! broke this little bit of juicy info: the first look at Iron Man's "Mark One" suit of armor for Jon Favreau's big-screen adaptation of the character, to be released in the not-too-distant future.

Please allow me to say this - sweet ass. This image is beautiful and realistic. Looking at that, it doesn't seem so absurd that a billionaire playboy would climb into that baby to fight communists.

And it's damn faithful to the source material, to boot. If anyone needs a point of reference, let's take a look at Iron Man's first appearance in Tales of Suspense #39:

Thank you, Mr. Favreau. Thank you. As long as you can avoid depicting Tony Stark as a fascist douchebag, I think you might have a solid adaptation on your hands.

-M

4.07.2007

The Third Day

Just wanted to take a second and wish any and all of you out there reading a Happy Easter, or Passover, or whatever it is you may celebrate this time of the year.

And if you don't celebrate anything, well - at least have a damn fine Sunday.

See you folks next week. Hopefully I'll have something worth posting.

See ya then.

-M

Batman of the Future

I've been watching quite a bit of Batman Beyond lately, as I recently procured a copy of the Season 3 DVD and I've been playing a bit of catch up.

And as I've been watching these assorted episodes, I'm remembering just how much I really love this show.

I've seen it get a whole lot of crap from fans, but I don't think it deserves the flack.

I like that Terry McGuiness is at once Dick Grayson and Peter Parker. On the one hand, you have a young man with a tragic past, taken in by the Batman in order to learn to control and direct his anger and walk the path of the hero (a journey that isn't really completed, in my mind, until the JLU episode Epilogue). On the other hand, you have a teenage superhero born of tragedy still dealing with the same hassles as any other teen - bullies, relationships, friends, and grades.

I also admire that Bruce Timm and the rest of the producers didn't let the show fall into the same pattern as a lot of other "future versions of current superheroes" do - a Batman of the future must also spawn a Joker of the future, a Two-Face of the future, etc. Timm and the rest occasionally ressurrected old villains (Mr. Freeze and the Joker, both of which were superb stories) but for the most part they made (mostly) original villains for better or worse, and I think that's to be commended.

And honestly? Maybe it's just me, but I've always thought that the outfit just looks badass.

I've always thought that the Batman Beyond concept could work well as a monthly ongoing. I know there've been some Batman Beyond Adventures books, but I'm talking a more mature treatment. Sort of an Elseworlds/MC2-style alternate future book that's not restricted to an "all ages" format, so you can get a little bit darker and a little bit mature with the material.

I know it's a pipe-dream, but I think with the right kind of writer it could be a great book.

What I really want to know though, is what you guys think of Batman Beyond. Am I on the money here? Or is my childhood nostalgia clouding my vision?

-M