Marvel

Wolverine 3 – #onelasttime

Hugh Jackman, otherwise known as Wolverine, has made it pretty clear that the next Wolverine movie will be the last time he steps into that role. Now he has taken to Twitter to ask the fans what they are hoping to see in his final take on Logan:

Wolverine - Hugh Jackman Twitter

I replied on Twitter to his post, but asking the question got me thinking about it, and I wanted to write up a more verbose response than the 144 characters permitted by Twitter.  I think that if Fox is serious about maintaining control of the X-Men movie rights, there’s a very clear and exciting, direction for them to take with this last movie:

Wolverine - Laura Kinney, X-23

Laura Kinney, aka X-23, a female clone of Logan.  What does this do for Fox?

  • By all accounts, X-23 is a fairly popular character in her own right, and given her existence is heavily tied to Wolverine, the only way she can really appear in any movies (without drastically rewriting the character) is for her to start with Wolverine.
  • Hugh Jackman is done making Wolverine movies.  Currently there is a glut of superhero films these days and, for me at least, more than a little ennui at the thought of yet ANOTHER superhero origin film (please stop!).  Or, even worse, rebooting the character completely with a new actor.  Introducing X-23 bypasses both of these problems.  While it would serve as an introduction to X-23, it’s also going to focus heavily on Logan, on his last days (more on that in a minute), and his relationship to X-23 and how they try to help and hurt each other.  Fox can keep the franchise going with new Wolverine movies, but focused on Laura instead of Logan.
  • Wait…that would mean that we’d end up with a solo superhero character who is both female and can kick some serious butt…is that possible?  Am I dreaming?  I must be dreaming?  Oh yes, I am dreaming, because it hasn’t happened yet.  But wouldn’t that be awesome?!?

So what happens to Logan?  Well there are two options in my mind:

  1. Logan retires to a cabin in Alaska and finds a measure of peace and happiness.  It’s the safe choice, just in case Fox is able to convince Mr. Jackman to reprise the role in the future.  I really hope this is NOT what happens.
  2. Wolverine dies at the end.  Makes it really simple and clean to turn the focus towards X-23 going forward.  And given the nature of the character, it’s the most likely way that Wolverine would ever truly find peace, especially if he was giving his life to protect someone or something that he cared about.  Like, for instance, a young girl that has a strong resemblance to himself and still has a chance to live a more full and happy life than he did.

Wolverine & Jean GreyOh, and one more thing I hope does NOT happen.  Wolverine does NOT get together with Jean Grey in the end.  Personally, it’s one of the relationships that I hate the most in comics.  Mostly because it’s never been a real relationship where the two characters could actually commit to each other.  It was always this forbidden attraction that they weren’t supposed to act on because Jean was actually in a relationship with Scott Summer/Cyclops.

So please, please, please do not give Logan some kind of closure or happy ever after with Jean Grey.

Have him go out in a blaze of glory, while passing the mantle of The Wolverine on to a young Laura Kinney.

And hey, if she’s cast as being in her mid-to-late teens, then there are plenty more movies that can be made with whoever they cast in the role.  Right?

What do you think? What would you like to see in Hugh Jackman’s last outting as Wolverine?

Wolverine 3 – #onelasttime

DC v. Marvel – Merchandise Wars

With all the superhero movies, television shows, and comic books out there, finding merchandise that is geared to women is still absolutely a struggle in 2015. And it really shouldn’t be. I think it’s fair to say that as a woman and a geek all in one, I should be able to pick up an Avengers shirt with a female on it. Maybe a Guardians of the Galaxy poster featuring Gamora? Or how about a Justice League anything with Wonder Woman? Honestly, it’s a little insulting.
Lack of female-centric comic book merchandise

While Marvel has all but written off their leading ladies, DC is doing whatever they can to rectify that situation. By teaming up with Mattel, DC has rebranded some of their most iconic female characters, both heroes and villains, into accessible characterizations for both young and teenage girls. Beginning in Fall 2015, DC and Mattel will be launching DC Super Hero Girls, a multi-product effort to expand both on the characters themselves and the growing female market.

DC Super Hero Girls merchandise

Following in the footsteps of renowned young girls franchises as Monster High and My Little Pony, popular characters such as Wonder Woman and Batgirl will be featured at an adolescent age, discovering their individual identities and how their super powers grow. Each character will have her own story line, shedding light on both major and minor characters. While 2015 will see the release of a web series, dolls, and the first set of DC female only action figures, 2016 is already planned for the release of TV specials, books, apparel, and other merchandise. LEGO has also been brought in on the deal to create super heroine-centric building sets in order to help its brand also reach out to the widely ignored demographic: girls.

This, however, isn’t the only effort that DC is attempting in the next year to market to women. The new Gal Gadot incarnation of Wonder Woman, scheduled to make her first appearance in March’s Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been front and center in the last few weeks. We got to see her in action, finally, in the trailer, she was the focal point of the new Entertainment Weekly issue, and coming Spring 2016 will be her likeness in the form of a classic Barbie doll.

DC Comics Wonder Woman Barbie merchandise

Barbie has been attacked for many years because of her body, her professions, her outfits as being a poor role model for young girls. However, many neglect to remember just how important Barbie dolls have actually been to pop culture and women’s history in total. They were some of the first dolls to feature non-white women, incarnations of athletes, and social crusaders. For the new Wonder Woman to get the Barbie treatment is a huge step for DC, proving that they value the female market and can adapt to products that were already geared to them. I know I’ll be buying at least one.

Even more, DC is rolling out a new companion web series to their CW universe including Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow featuring their first female lead: Vixen. A Justice League favorite among fans but mostly unrecognizable character to the public, Vixen is an African hero in possession of the Tantu totem, giving her the ability to call on various animal traits in battle. Megalyn Echikunwoke will voice the leading character and will be joined by CW favorites Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin. The series has yet to be given a definitive start date, but will most likely debut in the fall on CW Seed. Check out the trailer here.

DC CW Seed Vixen merchandise

They may still be quite behind in film numbers, but DC is dominating Marvel when it comes to marketing and merchandise. You can’t forget an entire half of the population! Where’s the Black Widow Barbie? Where’s the Gamora web series? DC’s efforts may not all be successful, but at least they’re trying. Get it together, Marvel.

 

DC v. Marvel – Merchandise Wars

X-Men: Rogue Cut Review

Welcome to my review of the newly released X-Men Days of Future Past: The Rogue Cut. This review will contain spoilers so be warned.

Last time we saw Rogue she had forfeited her powers with a cure in order to be closer to her boyfriend Bobby Drake. Since the events of X-Men: The Last Stand she gained her powers back and hasn’t been heard from since the war in the future broke out and escalated. X-Men DOFP (Days of Future Past) The Rogue Cut is known as the Director’s Cut for the film. It not only adds in all of Rogue’s scenes portrayed again by Anna Paquin, but also adds in new scenes featuring various action sequences, character arcs, and deaths, and a few scenes particularly with a blue shape-shifting mutant and a beast of a man. Now some people may be apprehensive about buying this movie again when it came out on DVD last year, either because they already own it or hate what the films have done to a beloved character like Rogue. Well this isn’t the same movie and even though Rogue doesn’t get her powers like she does in the comics, she still is a kick ass female superhero and we always could use more of those in films. This movie adds in nearly 20 minutes of extra footage to the theatrical film and it is like watching a completely different movie than the one that was released in theaters.

Rogue Cut - Anna Paquin

The Rogue Cut Details

The Rogue Cut opens up the same. The future is all dark and gloomy, mutants being hunted, and the X-Men are on the run trying to find Kitty Pryde and her gang. There have been added scenes and dialogue with Warpath, Bishop, Sunspot, and Blink with all them deciding on whether or not they want Wolverine to go back in time to change the past, fearing that altering that past will have them not be born or die in some other fashion. Storm interjects saying that even though those four may never be born if Wolverine succeeds, hundreds of millions of people will survive and have a future to look foreword to. There is also a really sweet scene between Kitty and Bobby, A.K.A. Iceman, saying goodbye to one another and they will see each other in the next life. Jump ahead to Wolverine waking up in the past with a little more action scenes involving him taking out the body guards and him driving away to find Charles. The rest of the movie flows like the normal theatrical release until you come to Wolverine, Charles, and Hank arriving at Quicksilver’s house to recruit him to help rescue Eric from the Pentagon. There we have the brief appearance of Quicksilver’s little sister dressed as a princess asking Logan who he is and in return he says, “I’m the Wolverine.” Interestingly enough fans have thought from the release of a promo picture with the little girl on Quicksilver’s lap to be his sister Wanda Maximoff, A.K.A Scarlet Witch. Fans will be pleased to know this is not her, for the little girls mother then asks her to go find her big sister, which we now assume to be Wanda who is upstairs during all this. We sadly do not see her at all during the movie so hopefully we will in a future film set in the X-Men universe. All of the scenes that were added in the past are so brilliantly done and transition smoothly with how the theatrical cut was originally released you can’t tell it was an added scene. The movie works both ways. Now there are a few more scenes that are in the past that are very cool involving like Mystique and Beast, but I won’t get into those here. You will have to watch those for yourself. Other than that the scenes and sequences that take place in the past generally stay the same. The main stuff that has been added or changed happens in the future.

Rogue Cut Poster

Now what you all have been waiting for, Rogue’s scenes! Jump into around an hour and a half into the movie and Kitty is gravely wounded by Wolverine when he slips from her grasp on sending him back to the past. Bobby informs Charles and Eric that Rogue is alive and being experimented on in order for humans to add her power absorption capabilities to the Sentinels and is being held captive at the X-Mansion in Cerebro. That is the reason why Charles could not locate her and assumed her to be dead along with all the others. The three then take the new X-Jet and fly to the heavily guarded X-Mansion now turned into a base of operations for the Sentinels and humans. Rogue is rescued by Bobby, Charles, and Eric but sadly Bobby does not make it and dies at the Mansion while fighting off Sentinels. The one major difference in character deaths from the theatrical release. Now do we get the flying kick ass Rogue we loved in the 90’s cartoon and comics…sadly no, but we do get to see her save everyone by taking over for Kitty because Kitty is bleeding out so the only logical person to save them is Rogue because of her powers.

Summary

There are still quite a few more scenes involving Rogue and the others so don’t be afraid that I spoiled it all. Believe me there is a lot more where that came from. Anna Paquin still looks the same as she did when we last saw her in The Last Stand and still stands out in a huge cast for her brief but pivotal scenes. This film sheds a whole new light on characters and events that we either didn’t get to see in the theatrical release or were briefly mentioned. I know a lot of people feel like the character of Rogue has been watered down so much from her original comic portrayal that they were happy she was cut out of the film. If you still feel that way I would give this version of the movie a chance. Can I also just say Anna Paquin looks absolutely beautiful as Rogue? Say what you will but don’t forget that a few months prior to filming she also had a child. So for her to be wearing a skin tight white suit is impressive to say the least. Rogue is still a cool and vital character and it was nice to see her added back into a film where most if not all the original cast returned in some shape or form. I am not sure if the Rogue Cut will be counted as canon leading in to X-Men: Apocalypse which opens in 2016, or if they will stick with the theatrical release for the canon. Either way I am very happy that I own and have seen what Bryan Singer has been teasing us with for the past few months. All if these scenes have added so much to the film and have made it so new that it truly has been like watching a whole new movie. I won’t say too much more about most scenes, you will have to just wait and see those for yourself when you buy the copy of X-Men Days of Future Past: The Rogue Cut, in stores now.

X-Men: Rogue Cut Review

Ant-Man Review

I’ll admit to being a fanboy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Marvel’s movie studio has managed to consistently do two things that so far, no other movie studio churning out comic book adaptations has figured out yet:

1. Remain faithful to the heart and soul of the original material

2. Present these crazy characters and ridiculous concepts to the general public in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they’re missing vital information because they don’t already read the comics

Ant-Man follows the MCU movie formula, which isn’t terribly surprising considering how well it has performed for Marvel so far.  The humor in the movie is great.  But the moments where the movie wants you to feel some kind of more serious emotion didn’t work very well.  In order to discuss why that is, it’s necessary to discuss some extremely minor spoilers for the movie.

*************************** MINOR SPOILERS BELOW ***************************

Ant-Man poster

For example, Scott Lang befriends one of the ants he works with, and names it Anthony.  So when Anthony is shot later on in the movie, and the camera does the slow-motion linger on one of Anthony’s wings as it falls to the floor, we’re supposed to feel some measure of sadness, right?  The problem is that not enough time was spent in the movie actually seeing the relationship between Ant-Man and Anthony develop, other than in a training montage.  And then after Anthony dies, he’s immediately replaced by another ant who remains nameless.  It’s hard to feel any sense of loss there.

*************************** MINOR SPOILERS DONE ***************************

Ant-Man Evangeline LillyOverall Ant-Man does a great job of fitting nicely into the MCU.  Multiple references are made to the Avengers as a whole, and to individual members of the team.  There are a number of fun cameos that I hadn’t expected.  Falcon gets to make a more-than-cameo appearance, which in some ways makes up for his lack of involvement in the battles scenes from Age of Ultron.  There’s even a line or two that points to Spider-Man already being active and doing his thing out in the world.  That would be great.  We do not need another Spider-Man origin movie.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the movie, while definitely a solo film, is meant as a stepping stone for Ant-Man to join the Avengers.

One of the major criticisms that the MCU has faced, especially recently, is the dearth of female superheroes.  Thankfully Ant-Man introduces us to Hope Pym (Evangeline Lilly), the daughter of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and by the end of the movie, well, let’s just say this:  I started imagining what it would be like if Marvel made a movie where Black Widow and Wasp become friends, snark off about (among other things) how dumb the men in their lives are, and generally beat the crap out of everyone that tries to stop them.  There is only one response to that dream:

GIVE IT TO ME NOW!

So here’s hoping that Hope Pym will be making many more appearances in the MCU.  Between Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, and the upcoming Captain Marvel, it feels like the MCU is ever so gradually trying to bring more of these strong and amazing characters (that just happen to be female) to the screen.  Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before we’ll have more solo films starring these characters.

But I digress.

Ant-Man was fun.  The humor is great, the action is well done, especially when it works the humor into the action.  I was a little disappointed that, despite showing Scott Lang tinkering with the suit at various points of the movie, nothing really happened with it.  There is a case to be made that it was his tinkering that allowed him to do something late in the movie, but I disagree with that assessment.

All in all, Ant-Man is a great addition to the MCU, and definitely feels like the end of Phase 2.  Stay all the way to the end of the credits, and tell me if you don’t walk out of the movie theater thinking, “Uh oh, something big is coming…”

What did you think of Marvel’s latest film? Where does it rank for you? What are you hoping to see in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War? Comment below!

Ant-Man Review

DC vs. Marvel

Comparing the commercial and popular successes and failures of Marvel and DC is not new topic of discussion. The prevailing opinion, which I happen to agree with, is that Marvel is winning in the movies, while DC is winning (barely) on TV. But today I’m not talking about the movie or television adaptations. Today I’m talking about the actual comic books.

My first comic book was Superman, in the story line that originally introduced the time traveling Linear Men. It was my first introduction to DC comics, and it wasn’t until several years later that I first began to explore Marvel comics, so I’ve always had a preference for DC. And while I enjoyed Superman, there was a different character that quickly became my favorite: Captain Atom.

captain_atomA big part of the reason for that is because of how his solo series was built, especially during the earlier years of the series.

Origin

Nathaniel Adam was a Captain in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War.  He was framed for a crime he didn’t commit, and sentenced to death.  Under the purview of Colonel Wade Eiling, he was given an alternative: participate in a top secret project and receive a Presidential pardon. The experiment involved sealing him in a shell of alien metal…and then detonating a nuclear weapon underneath him. The detonation appeared to have obliterated the shell and its occupant, but in reality Nathaniel Adam had been sent hurtling though time. He reappeared in 1986, and was now connected to the alien metal which provided him with a fairly standard powerset: super strength, flight, and energy blasts.

Sounds like pretty standard comic book fare so far, doesn’t it? So why was this my favorite character?

Because it felt like his adventures as a super hero only took up about half of the space in each issue.  The rest of the space was dedicated to Nathaniel Adam, typically outside of his Captain Atom persona, struggling to put his life back together. While it was true that he received a pardon for the crime of which he had been accused, there were still those that felt he was guilty and deserved to be punished. Even more seriously, the man that oversaw the project that nearly killed him, now General Wade Eiling, had married Nathaniel’s wife and raised his children as his own. Nathaniel spent a lot of time trying to reconnect with his son and daughter, which proved incredibly difficult given that Eiling raised Nathaniel’s kids to hate him.

The most frustrating aspect of the series is that it was heavily implied that Eiling himself was the person that framed Captain Adam (get it?). Regardless of if that was specifically to have a test subject for his special project, to have a chance at his wife, or some combination of the two, Captain Atom never comes to a full realization of how much the course of his life has been altered by Eiling. The series was canceled before any kind of true resolution was made between the characters. And while Eiling did eventually become a full-blown supervillain, Captain Atom was not involved in those conflicts.

But that’s why I loved this series: the focus of the storytelling was about this character, who despite the fantastic powers now at his disposal was primarily focused on trying to put his life back together, while still trying to serve the country he had sworn to protect, even though the system in which he originally served had betrayed him. He was a flawed human being and a very interesting character, with a fantastic and gradually expanding cast of supporting characters in the series that was really fun to read about.

So what does this have to do with DC vs. Marvel?

Given the example above, it should be fairly clear the kind of comics and stories that I prefer: the ones with a strong emphasis on characters, their flaws, and how they change and grow.

So let’s look at what the two big comic book companies have been doing lately. They both have put together a (fairly standard) big summer crossover event, where multiple realities have clashed for whatever reason. The big difference is in how those events conclude.

With DC, at the end of Convergence, the Multiverse is (once again) re-established. So there are multiple universes out there, each universe potentially having a different version of a ‘standard’ character. So any version of any character can now be used in a story.

With Marvel, on the other hand, Secret Wars sees their multiple universes appearing to be collapsed down into a single universe, so that the only characters are the ones from the ‘mainline’ universe. There’s no more Iron Man and Ultimate Iron Man as two separate characters from two different universes, there’s just the one Iron Man.

I love Marvel for making that decision, and I loathe the decision that DC has made. Why? Because it’s all about character.

Marvel is committing, at least as much as any comic book company can, to tell stories about these characters. The conflicts and decisions they face will have consequences down the line.

DC is essentially saying they don’t really care about telling consistent stories about their characters. They just want the freedom to tell whatever story they want, with whatever character they want, regardless of if there’s any reason for the audience to actually care.

Spiderman

I can’t say that this is actually a surprise. DC has a long-standing habit of running a big event that resetd their official continuity in some way every couple of years. I don’t always agree with the storytelling decisions that Marvel makes (hello Spiderman & One More Day), but at least I can respect their desire to do what they think is best for the continued development of the character, even if I disagree with what actually is best for the character.

And the winner is…

According to Diamond Comic Distributors, I think it’s fairly obvious that Marvel is winning, not only in the movie adaptations, but in the original comic book medium as well. From January 2015 to May 2015, Marvel dominated the top 10 comic titles sold every month except for 1. We generally give Marvel a lot of credit for their movies, and their ability to tell very entertaining and impactful stories about relatively normal people with extraordinary abilities. Meanwhile, DC (via Warner Bros.) continues to catch a lot of flak for their inability to produce a really good superhero movie.

I used to think that was because Marvel (the comic book company) has oversight over the movie studios that makes the movies, where DC is a subsidiary of Warner Bros, and therefore has very little power to control how the movies are made. But the more I look at this situation, the more I wonder if the problem runs deeper than that.

Booster Gold

Maybe the people at Marvel are actually doing a much better job at telling interesting stories with the characters and rules they have established for themselves. As much as I love the DC pantheon of superheroes, I’m finding it harder and harder to really care about any of them, knowing that everything I like about a given character could be undone in the next upcoming reboot (or the character could disappear entirely).  In addition to everything else, I’m still mad about the awesome character development that Booster Gold was getting before the Flashpoint/New 52 monstrosity just erased it.

What do you think?  Do you prefer either DC or Marvel over the other? Are there any characters, or aspects of a character, that has been lost due to a reboot or retcon that you really miss? Let us know in the comments!

DC vs. Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy Cartoon Gets a Release Date

With the smash hit taken by Guardians of the Galaxy last summer at the box office, it comes as no surprise that an animated series was to follow. The show will premiere on Disney XD on September 26, 2015. Also, as expected, none of the original actors from the movie will reprise their roles. Nevertheless, a plethora of talented voice actors will lend their voices for the now iconic Guardians. Among them are Jeff Bennett (Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast), Will Friedle (Batman Beyond), Kevin Michael Richardson (Planet Hulk, Legend of Korra), Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Rebels), and James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: Clone Wars), among others.

Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon poster

Disney released some test footage of the Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon, which looks fairly impressive and can be viewed below. With any luck, this show could be as good as Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Guardians of the Galaxy Test Footage:

Are you excited for the new Guardians of the Galaxy series? What are you looking forward to on it? Let us know in the comments.

Guardians of the Galaxy Cartoon Gets a Release Date

Batman Vs Superman: Breaking Down the New Set Photos

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is less than a year away.  Little by little new information gets released to us.  The nerds are awaiting patiently. But we want more. We’re all on the edge of our seats for the next tidbit. The tension is palpable.

Well, we got more than our little geek hearts could handle.  Warner Bros. and Entertainment Weekly released these photos earlier.  And I’m going to break them down for you.

Batman vs Superman - Henry CavillLet’s start with my favorite one.  Just by the environment, we can tell it’s taking place in a Latino neighborhood on Day of the Dead.  Superman is striking a very classic pose, however his face is filled with concern.  The people are practically falling over themselves trying to touch him (I’d do it too, but probably for other reasons not related to the pictured situation.)  He’s clearly a god to them, to all of us.  Just one touch would change them.  Maybe it would be the proof they needed of the impossible.  Maybe it would fulfill an unbelievable desire to hope.  For whatever reason they want to touch him, he’s not resisting or fighting them off; he’s letting them do it.

Batman vs Superman - Bat SignalThis one is also pretty cool.  The beautiful blues that fill the scene perfectly set the mood.  Even without the bat signal shining, we would know that’s Gotham. Why? Because it’s always night time in Gotham, and rarely has clear skies.  Duh.  There Batman stands, in what appears to be his Superman-battle-ready-mechsuit.  But it doesn’t look like the bat signal was for him.  I think it’s an easy assumption that the light was meant for someone else, maybe the man the mechsuit was made to take down.  I will say that even though I’m on board with both the batsuits we’ve seen so far, I am not loving that bat logo.  It’s just not as imposing as ones of the past.  It doesn’t have that darkness and terror to it. What do you think?

Batman vs Superman - face off

 

Oooh! I was right. I’d be totally okay if they kissed right now.  I can tell that’s not the mood, they just don’t have the ‘kiss me’ eyes, but still. I digress.  Stare down between the knight and the god!

Batman vs Superman - Affleck behind the scenesFinally a behind the scenes shot!  Of course it’s our Batman, Ben Affleck, and director, Zack Snyder, but look closer.  That vehicle behind them is absolutely destroyed!  This is the remains of a battle scene.  That’s not car wreck wrecked! That’s Zod and Kal duking it out in Metropolis wrecked!  And there’s an older, worn out Bruce Wayne (see you can tell because he’s not wearing the cowl).  He is sporting some graying temples that put Mr. Fantastic to shame.  We’ve never seen this Batman, or Bruce, before.  They keep saying that he’s going to be weary of the world and of Superman, but I’m still not sure if the audience will be fully prepared to the extent they’re planning on taking that story line.

Batman vs Superman - Bruce Wayne and Wonder WomanWhat a gorgeous shot of Gal and Ben.  There’s always an occasion for Mr. Wayne to get dashingly fancy, but why Wonder Woman?  How does she play into this?  Is she an unsuspecting bystander, just another victim of the Bruce Wayne charm?  Very doubtful.  Whatever kind of party this is, be it charity event or what have you, she is there for a purpose.  She could be just as suspicious of Superman as Bruce Wayne is.  She could be the link they need to quell their feud.  She could be there to get down with her bad self.  We don’t know! I do know, however, that she is giving Bruce the cold shoulder.  You go, girl.

Batman vs Superman - Entertainment Weekly coverAnd there they are!  Your Batman vs Superman stars!  And Wonder Woman is front and center! Believe it or not, that is both intentional and meaningful.  Even if her part in the film isn’t as large as one might hope, she will be important to this story and the people behind the movie know it.  Also, this is a huge merchandising jab at Marvel.  While the Avengers tend to forget about the ass-kicking Black Widow, DC is assuring you that Wonder Woman is just as necessary as the boys behind her.  What would the sacred Trinity be without her to hold them up?

Batman vs Superman - Lex LuthorAnd then there’s this. Why? Why? Can we have one Lex Luthor without a hair plot line?  They’ve done it various animated incarnations and it works just fine. Just…stop. Nope, nope, nope.

 

What do you think about the new images from Batman vs Superman? Any of them get you excited? Or disappointed?  Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman Vs Superman: Breaking Down the New Set Photos

The Grid Ranks: Marvel Cinematic Universe

We at The Grid have ranked the Marvel Cinematic movies from favorite to least favorite.  There were arguments, folks. Hair pulling, fisticuffs, the works. We may not be friends anymore.

Nah, just kidding.  It was a fairly easy consensus for all of us. Disclaimer: None of the MCU movies have been bad. It’s not like we’re talking Daredevil here (the Ben Affleck film, not the new Netflix series, of course).  All of them were impressive feats of cinema and will most likely continue that into Phase 3!

Marvel_Cinematic_Universe_logo

Now! On with the list!

Iron_Man_2_Poster11. Iron Man 2 – If any other movie had been its predecessor, this film would be much higher on the list, because, like we said before, it wasn’t bad.  The few missteps taken were just enough, though, for us to lose our hype from Iron Man.  We all just wanted it too much for it to be amazing and when it didn’t live up to Tony Stark’s first outing, we were all just a little disappointed.  The film scores points for being a prologue to Avengers and introducing us to Black Widow.

Overall ranking: one Ex Wife missile

 

10. Incredible Hulk – This movie just was not handled well. The great ideas behind it seemed to get masked by the overall theme of sadness.  We all know the Hulk is a pretty sad guy, butMV5BMTUyNzk3MjA1OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTE1Njg2MQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_ he’s also a brilliant scientist with a sense of humor who’s actually pretty easy to love…wait, that’s Banner. The Hulk is about the smashing! The balance between Banner and the Hulk was so off and poor Edward Norton just didn’t have it in him to be as interesting as his counterpart.  It was a very smart move to not have another origins film.  Even though everyone can agree the Ang Lee film never did any justice to the Hulk, redoing the origins of a character we already know is questioning the fan’s love and knowledge.

Overall ranking: two Hulks hulking out on the hulking streets

 

MV5BMjIzMzAzMjQyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzM2NjcyOQ@@._V1._SY317_9. Iron Man 3 – It was the ending to this film that places it so low on the list.  We had been promised Mandarin.  We had been promised Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin.  Tell me there is better casting for that role (at least that particular interpretation)?  There really isn’t. But to pull the worst bait and switch in comic cinema to date made every single movie-goer say “WTF” out loud. This act was so egregious that the only thing that saved this from being last on the list was the All Hail the King one shot available on the Captain America: The Winter Soldier home release.  That made us all feel so much better inside. It made the bad things go away.

Overall ranking: take three shots of Extremis and call me in the morning

MV5BMTQyNzAwOTUxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTE0OTc5OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_8. Thor: The Dark World – Let’s get one thing straight: it’s the title of this film that is the worst part about it.  You could have named this anything else and it would have worked out much better. Seriously. Thor and Loki’s Excellent AdventureStraight Outta Asgard. Weekend at Malekith’s. All of those are better options.  They also managed to make Jane Foster annoying, which is really bothersome considering how much they improved the character with the first film.  The film also cut out a major missing plot point, which was the true motive behind Malekith’s actions. A director’s cut of the Dark World would most likely bump this up a few notches. Thank goodness we got to see much needed depth to Thor and Loki’s characters, major damage to a city that is not New York, and deserved respect for the great side characters of Asgard.

Overall ranking: four lightning strikes to Malekith

MV5BMTYzOTc2NzU3N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjY3MDE3NQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_7. Captain America: The First Avenger – This movie may have lacked the depth of Iron Man and the glory of Thor, but it made up for it by grasping the true nature of what a hero is.  Evans’s first go as Captain America continued Marvel’s trend of perfectly casting their characters. He also managed to uphold everything that makes Captain America interesting and special.  But the best reason to watch this film was unarguably Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull.  His interpretation of the character was everything it needed to be: imposing, misguided, and terrifying.  It’s the reason why his death is debated constantly among fans.  We’re all overtly hoping he returns again despite every shred of evidence he will not.

Overall ranking: five shields to the Red Skull’s red skull

MV5BMTYxMjA5NDMzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTk2Mjk3NA@@._V1_SX214_AL_6. Thor – Asgard was beautiful.  The costumes were beautiful.  The effects were beautiful. Chris Hemsworth was beautiful.  Okay, maybe not everyone is on board with that last bit, but everything else is true.  This addition to the MCU brought us the first look into a world away from Earth, something that resonated throughout the MCU since.  Director Kenneth Branagh took his Shakespearean background and elegant wit and baked it into a two hour long spectacle that was incredible to behold.  It also introduced us to a man who has become the pride and joy of the MCU: Tom Hiddleston.  His work as Loki has really been impressive. Not only has he gathered a fan base all on his own, but he has managed to take that popularity and force himself into other movies in the overall universe.  No other villain has done that!

Overall ranking: six more shirtless scenes, thank you!

MV5BMTU4MDU3NDQ5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5MDUxNTE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_5. Avengers: Age of Ultron – The newest MCU addition lands right above the halfway point in our list.  While many critics (most notably fan critics) take issue with the film, we don’t.  For many reasons, the film achieved its purpose of being bigger, better, grander and it did all of that with the odds stacked against it. Since then the movie and director Joss Whedon have taken multiple beatings for complaint this and complaint that, which to us seem unnecessary.  The Avengers faced challenges previously unknown to them and came out with more respect for each other and the world around them.  While rumors of a three hour long director’s cut swirl, we were happy with what we got and what this film did to set up films to come.

Overall ranking: seven Ultrons on a floating city

Ironmanposter4.  Iron Man –  While it is often lauded as the best Marvel film to date, Iron Man remains special because of its individuality.  Never before had we seen such perfect casting.  Never before had we seen such a well-thought out superhero movie.  This movie proved to more than just the fans that comic book films could be taken as seriously as its sci-fi, drama, and action peers.  This was the film that got the rest of the world watching superheroes.  The credit for this film goes to everyone involved, but none more so that Robert Downey, Jr. Every minute that man was on screen, he loved it.  And we all could tell.  It makes the movie that much more enjoyable when an actor is just as big of a fan as the collective audience is.  Not to mention this is the film that brought us Agent Coulson, which could have been enough.

Overall ranking: eight arc reactors built in a cave

MV5BMzA2NDkwODAwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk5MTgzMTE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_3.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier – There’s not really anything negative one can say about this film.  This movie made Captain America more than the boy scout.  It made him a bona fide superhero.  Of course, he was heroic before, but this film made his character stand above the others.  Watching Cap in his predecessor films was pleasing, but this one made him seem as if he legitimately can go toe-to-toe with Thor and Iron Man, something which neither The First Avenger or Avengers had done before.  He was and always will be the fearless leader (it’s why everyone follows him so quickly, why we put our trust in him), but this film raised the bar for the Marvel movies to come.  We now hold Captain America to a higher standard than he has been before and Marvel plots must match that standard too.

Overall ranking: nine Hydra agents exposed

MV5BMTAwMjU5OTgxNjZeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDUxNDYxODEx._V1_SX214_AL_2. Guardians of the Galaxy – The movie that was considered by so many to be Marvel’s first guaranteed flop came out of the gates kicking ass and destroyed box office numbers (it’s apparently a Chris Pratt thing).  This epic ensemble took the overall ridiculous premise and ran with it, never looking back.  From the beginning, viewers are strapped in and ready to adventure into the unknown with five of Marvel’s oddest characters to date. (Yes, we read comics. Yes, we know there’s weirder. Yes, we know the difference between weird and dumb.)  Then without any warning, Sean Gunn brings us an emotional overload that no one was expecting.  Who knew we’d ever get so attached to a tree?  We’ve all got high hopes for that sequel!

Overall ranking: ten Groot hugs

That means that the number one spot goes to…

MV5BMTk2NTI1MTU4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODg0OTY0Nw@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_1. Avengers – That’s right. It totally had to be and you know it.  This film was every nerd’s dream come true.  This film was the culmination of our hopes and dreams (as far as movie magic goes; let’s not get ridiculous here).  We got captivating characters who had come together in a logical, respectful, and interesting story.  We got cheeky comic moments and nudges to fans of every hero of every medium.  Joss Whedon, along with every actor, producer, and extra, poured his soul into making this film the glorious spectacle it needed to be, and we can’t thank him enough.  It’s because of this movie that a Phase 2 was possible and why we’re going to finally see DC films create a universe of their own.  This movie made it possible for ensemble action films to exist without lengthy exposition or dull segues.

Overall ranking: eleven more Avengers films!

Did we hit the nail on the head? Did we have things out of order? Tell us how you’d rank the Marvel films!

The Grid Ranks: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Ant-Man Collector Corps Unboxing

If you’re not familiar with Marvel’s Collector Corps subscription box, it’s essentially their response the rising trend of nerd-themed boxes like Loot Crate. Here we unbox the recent Ant-Man themed box. Obviously the video will contain spoilers regarding the content of the most recent crate. So you may want to avoid if you’re a member of the Collector Corps and your box hasn’t arrived yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5yjC5X5kpU

Did you get different exclusives in your crate? What do you think of Marvel’s Collector Corps so far? Let us know in the comments below!

Ant-Man Collector Corps Unboxing

Civil War and Civil War: A Comparison

I don’t know about you but I’m excited for 2016.  There’s a plethora of films that I’ve been looking forward to before they were even announced, none more anticipated than Captain America: Civil War. The extraordinarily popular Marvel crossover event by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven ran from summer 2006 all the way until winter 2007, giving collectors everywhere months’ worth of highs and lows.  The series pitted the Invincible Iron Man against Captain America in an ethical battle between security and personal freedoms, with the rest of the Marvel characters being forced to choose sides.

Do you choose Iron Man’s pro-registration Avengers or Captain’s band of freedom rebels? Whose side are you on?

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By the time the film comes out, the Civil War comic series will be celebrating its 10th anniversary and its effects are still being felt throughout the Marvel Comics Universe.  Its massive storyline and numerous tie-ins was a phenomenal commercial success, despite mixed reviews from critics.  In fact, it inspired them to attempt a repeat two years later with Secret Invasion (an arguably better storyline, but nowhere near as successful). There’s no doubt in my mind that the upcoming film adaptation will achieve comparable success this time next year.

There will be large differences between both versions of this storyline.  There is no way the film can possibly play out the exact same way as the comic series did, which has its obvious pros and cons.  The biggest pro is that you do not have to read the comic before you go into the film.  In fact, it may actually help you submerse yourself in cinematic enjoyment as I will be too busy counting differences my first go around.  (This is how Marvel breaks records; people like me pay multiple times to see the same movie because we’re that intent on spotting everything!)  The biggest con is you will most likely miss some of the nuanced “Easter eggs,” sprinkled into the film to add depth and winks to the comic fans.

But you’re not completely out of luck! I’m going to quickly catch you up on the comic series and then give you my film predictions because, honestly, why not?

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What happened in Civil War?

-The New Warriors star in a reality TV show where the premise surrounds teenage superheroes tracking down villains. Nitro, in this case.  Nitro is a being capable of spontaneous explosions with minimal damage to himself.  During the New Warriors attack on Nitro, his explosion ends up causing the deaths of over 600 people in Stamford, Connecticut.  This is what the world sees as the event to spearhead superhero accountability.

-Iron Man reveals his identity as Tony Stark and heads the charge for the Superhero Registration Act.  It doesn’t take long before he begins his recruitment of heroes.  Captain America immediately opposes it.

-The superhero community is split down the middle, causing more friction than good. Here’s where the major players stand:

Pro-anti

 

-Tony recruits Spider-Man (a now 30 year old science teacher) and convinces him to reveal his identity as Peter Parker.  Parker ends up losing his job at the Daily Bugle (J. Jonah Jameson is a jerk in the comics, too, folks! Go figure.) and putting his family in danger.  Stark creates the Iron Spider armor to help keep Spider-Man on his side.

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-The pro-registration heroes slowly become more authoritarian and aggressive.  Villains, such as The Thunderbolts, take it upon themselves to be government mercenaries, hunting down members of the rebellion.  Heroes for Hire are sent after Captain America and Luke Cage.

-A major clash between the pros and antis results in the clone of Thor (a controlled weapon of Tony Stark) killing Goliath, a Young Avenger.

-Spider-Man, Spider-Woman defect and join the New Avengers.  Spider-Man dons the black suit since the first time since the symbiote story.

-The anti-registration heroes have been forced into hiding and their numbers are few.  To spare any more deaths, Captain America surrenders and is arrested.  On the way to his cell, he is gunned down by Crossbones and dies.

-Tony Stark is placed as head of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ms. Marvel is the new leader of the Mighty Avengers.

-After Captain America’s funerals (there were three: public, private superhero, and the actual resting of his body, which Stark and Sub-Mariner were the only ones to know about), Bucky assumes the Captain title.

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What you can expect from Captain America: Civil War

The events of Avengers: Age of Ultron will resonate throughout the world.  Tony Stark, with the help of Bruce Banner, took it upon himself to create A.I. with the sole purpose of keeping peace that inevitably went awry and tried to destroy humanity.  The plots of the Avengers films, along with the destruction from Abomination, Malekith, and Whiplash will add together to create a government need for superhero accountability.

-None of the Avengers possess a secret identity.  Everyone is known to either the public or American government, so the great hero divide will not be a registration but more of a forced government employment for all enhanced heroes. Tony, fearing his Scarlet Witch induced nightmare will come true, will most likely feel the need to atone for his crimes and take a pro stance, and Captain America will inevitably oppose.

-Who will follow suit? Here’s my predictions for where the heroes will stand:

Pro-anti 2

 

-Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel are all wild cards at this point.  Black Panther has been cast for months with the original plan being his character would take the Spider-Man role, forcing him to choose sides among colleagues. This is still the largest possibility considering Spider-Man’s casting announcement hit just a few days ago; however, they’ve already shuffled everything around for him as is, so a little more shuffling to make way wouldn’t be out of place. Captain Marvel has yet to be officially cast, so while I have no doubt they will shove her in this film once that happens, her role will be small. Combining all of that with the fact none of them have any character allegiances/bonds with anyone else on the team, there’s a chance they could all end up taking neutral stances anyway. But where’s the fun in that?

-Captain America may still die.  I don’t want it to happen, you don’t want it to happen, but rumors have been floating around for more than a year that Chris Evans is retiring and someone else (most likely Sebastian Stan’s Bucky) will fill that role instead.  Now Evans has since waivered on his retirement, but his six movie deal is just two away from expiring.  He may die, but he also may come back.

-This is going to break the family apart permanently.  Age of Ultron was the last time we saw our six cinematic Avengers be friends.  Sure, there’s a good chance they’ll all fight side by side in Infinity Wars, but that will not make them friends again.

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These, of course, are only speculations based solely on what I’ve seen from the films as of now.  I’m sure the Russo brothers have some twists and turns in store for all of us.  Either way, the film will bring in the Marvel fans, new and old, in droves.

What do you expect to see in Captain America: Civil War? Comment below!

Civil War and Civil War: A Comparison

Day in Review – June 23rd, 2015

Today was a big day for movies and video games.

First, as you may have seen in one of our posts earlier today, James Horner, long time movie composer, died in a plane crash.

Then, Marvel announced they had found their new Spider-Man in Tom Holland. This incarnation of Spider-Man is expected to show up in Captain America: Civil War next year and he will be getting his own solo film directed by Jon Watts. The Untitled Spider-Man film is slated for a July 2017 release. Tom Holland’s resume is a little short with noteworthy performances being released this year including In the Heart of the Sea. Jon Watts also has a fairly short director resume having directed several episodes of The Onion News Network and Onion SportsDome. His movie Clown came out last year and his latest work, Cop Car is slated for 2015.

Marvel continued their announcements by noting that Dr. Strange has headed to London to begin production. Dr. Strange, which is set to release in December 2016 stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Remember that Independence Day sequel? Well, it’s really happening AND it has an official title, Independence Day Resurgence. The final is set to star Liam Hemsworth in addition to some returning players including Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, Bill Pullman, and Brent Spiner. Will Smith will not be returning to the franchise. Many think it might have to do with the rough reception After Earth had but that is mainly just speculation at this time.

Star Trek: Axanar‘s latest Kickstarter is set for July 8th, per their blog. This will be their third crowdfunding campaign if you include their original Prelude to Axanar Indiegogo and their first Kickstarter. This new one will focus on production while the first had more to do with construction of the bridge set, finding warehouse space, and other pre-production tasks. I’ve actually contributed to both of their first two campaigns, so I’m sure I’ll continue with this one.

Remember the old video game Rampage? Well, whether you do or not, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is set to star in a film adaptation of the classic city destroyer arcade game, produced by New Line Cinema. In the original game, players got to choose from one of three animalistic monsters, George, Lizzie, and Ralph. You then tried to destroy more of the city than your competitors. Well, this time, it looks like Dwayne Johnson will be the hero but we’ll have to wait for Ryan Engle (Non-Stop) to be done with the script. Do you think Johnson will play a human or a giant monster terrorizing a city?

Speaking of video games, GameStop started their Retro Classics sales today, providing vintage video games and consoles including the NES, Genesis, and even Dreamcast. Check out our full article on the story.

To those excited for Batman: Arkham Knight, I hope you didn’t buy it on PC. Reports show that while xBox One and PS4 show no issues, the PC version has been loaded with graphics and performance issues. So keep an eye out.

What was your biggest news moment of the day? Anything we missed? Comment below!

Day in Review – June 23rd, 2015