Showing posts with label comic books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comic books. Show all posts

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Venom (2018) Makes Comic Book Movies Fun Again

Venom Movie Review
Sony Pictures
Why so serious comic book genre? This is the big question that pops up in my mind over the intense division, even backlash, over Venom. Sony's latest attempt at their own comic book universe is an unexpected detour from the expected adaptations we've seen over the years, and reminds us of how the genre used to be: purely fun for fun's sakes. Venom's splash of action, sci-fi, and rom-com is not the most traditional story of its kind, and that works both for and against the film.

Humankind is depleting all of its natural resources. So much so that it's gonna need a better planet. Creator and inventor of the Life Foundation Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) uses his spaceships to bring back aliens known as symbiotes with the hopes of finding human hosts, but they’re deadlier and dangerous than even his multi-million dollar corporation ever planned for. Enter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), an investigative journalist who uncovers shady dealings with Drake’s corporation and inadvertently becomes the host of a violent symbiote called Venom. Forced to act as a hybrid, Eddie and Venom work together to take down the Life Foundation.

Venom is an absurd comic book movie that embraces how absurd it is, and honestly, the pure joy of the film comes out of its leading performance by Hardy. Already having a reputation for going all in for his characters, he makes no shift in changing his methods now, and here it really works – he’s not only playing Eddie but gives Venom his voice and comically, awkwardly, and believably acts like there’s an alien taking over his body - it's some of the best, and most importantly playful (and not method-esque performances) he’s ever given. As much as the film includes the typical CGI combat scenes between the two of them against Drake's cronies, there are a few set pieces of Eddie fighting his body's reaction to Venom's invasion and embracing Venom until they end up creating a weird bond of compromise and trust. Their arc from enemies to frenemies and friends is one of the best on-screen relationships to come along in a long time, especially in the "superhero" genre. It’s almost impossible to think that another actor could’ve carried the film as entertaining as he does.

Following behind Hardy is the supporting cast who aren’t “bad” in any sense of the word, but in comparison to Hardy don’t have as much to carry in terms of showy performances or transformations. Riz Ahmed as Drake is sort of your typical Marvel villain as a rich inventor who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, but Ahmed is charismatic and tries to rise above some of the cliche tropes his character has. More minor characters are filled in nicely: Jenny Slate as one of the few doctors who questions the lengths Drake is willing to go to; Celphas Jones as Eddie’s steely boss are fine the roles that they have; Reid Scott as a doctor who tries to help Eddie. The only casting that felt out-of-place was Michelle Williams as Eddie's girlfriend Anne; she's well-balanced as stuck between loving or leaving Eddie, but the chemistry between herself and Hardy didn’t quite gel - I had a hard time trying not to imagine someone else in the role.

Therein lies a small crux to Venom: it entirely rests on Hardy’s beefy shoulders. If his performance works for you, it’s guaranteed to be a good time; if it doesn’t, well, the whole film falls apart.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) Trailer Reaction

When we think of The Avengers, the originals like Iron Man and Captain America might be the first team members come to mind. As the Marvel cinematic phenomenon starts filling out their universe with Black Panther and Spider-Man, one tiny funny and heartwarming installment Ant-Man stole our hearts and continues to slip under the radar. After the depressing but exciting hellfire that was Avengers: Infinity War, we've been blessed with the adventurous, lighthearted sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp. Let's see what the gang is up to lately. Hold tight as we zoom into the new trailer! SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Wonder Woman (2017) is the timeless feminist movie we need

For decades, frustration mounted as Hollywood churned out franchises, reboots, and spin-offs for male superheroes while a comic book icon Wonder Woman was shelved. Sometimes it felt like her time would never come, but it's moments like this when we realize the anticipation, worry, and excitement was worth it. Everything had to align with the director, actors, and story, not so we could just get a female superhero movie just to have one, but because it needed to be good.

Thank the movie gods. Wonder Woman isn't just good, it's amazing.

No longer waiting on the sidelines, director Patty Jenkins dives into the origin story of the Amazonian goddess Diana Prince (Gal Gadot). As a daughter of Zeus molded out of clay, Prince was born on a paradise island Themyiscra populated by female warriors and hidden from the modern world. Though shielded from mankind's penchant for destruction, she trained for the day when another war would arise. When trouble swings by in the form of spy-pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) revealing humanity's fate in the midst of World War I, Prince departs from her homeland to put an end to the brutality.

Blending an origin fable and fish out of the water into an empowering warrior, Prince is the heroine of her story. Told through a splendid cast, deep well-rounded script, and sharp direction, Wonder Woman blazes a trail for superheroes and movies in general.

Leading the movie with ease, Gadot in the titular role is absolutely effervescent. It's not just the inspiring qualities her character possesses which makes her so damn lovable and invigorating, it's the actress's innate ability to be funny, endearing and bad-ass. Critics might point out her sheer beauty as an asset to play this icon, which she is, but her performance is everything Wonder Woman's reputation is based on: graceful, courageous, animated, and wise. As natural as it is for Chris Evans to don Captain America's shield or George Reeves to don Superman's cape, Gadot was made to wield the Lasso of Truth.

Her performance is aided by a glorious script which gifts Prince with the hero-myth treatment typically reserved for male protagonists of any genre. By her looks, personality, and prowess, she might be labeled as perfect, but Prince's beliefs grow and shift; she's confident as well as doubtful; her empathy is a virtue but a liability; she's human as much as she is a goddess. As much as we are obsessed with superheroes, their humanity makes them relatable. And to superheroes, humans are their way into understanding their purpose. Impressively, she journeys from a young girl holding onto glorified idea of combat to an idealist struggling to understand humans less-than-kind motivations, to a matured super warrior.  In the midst of such an ugly world filled with death and destruction, she is a source of love, sacrifice, and compassion as an agent of good. It's impossible to not walk away feeling like you've witnessed an incredible transformation. AKA THE FEELS.
Smash those expectations!

In light of the ridiculous backlash to the women's only screening, and the complete ignorance that women and people who identify as women, in general, aren't as worthy as men, Wonder Woman is an acceptable example of feminism, and what it can look like in the world, especially movies. Equality is not the irrational idea of opportunities being taken advantage of at the expense of others; it's women and minorities moving into open spaces that are, by default, possessed by men. It's offering everyone the ability to identify with characters in all of their glory and flaws; who are fully dimensional and well-rounded; showing a woman can take the lead with confidence and not to feel belittled or others to feel less than; for a man to not always be in control. Though it definitely could've had more diverse representation, the legacy of the comic books and television series lives on, no doubt making women's dreams come true on the big screen.

Prince wouldn't be as impactful if it wasn't for the supporting players backing her up all the way, whether their screentime is limited or lengthy. For the former, Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright as mother and aunt, respectively, set Prince on her path of valor and warmth. They're protective, loving, and ruthlessly skilled in combat. For the latter, Pine as Trevor is aware he's there to support Gadot but also be her leading man, and melds wonderfully opposite Gadot. Their friendly banter grows seamlessly into a sweeping romance, building a perfection combination of ying-yang, head vs heart, cynical vs optimistic, but bonded in their resolve to do right in spite of unspeakable horrors. Prince might be holding the reigns, but she doesn't do it alone.

Wonder Woman, both the character and the movie, comes along at a time where inclusiveness is being lost to hate and putting 'the other' in their imaginary place at the bottom of the totem pole. It's the superhero movie we didn't just deserve, but wholeheartedly needed. Her kindness, strength, determination, and power is a symbol for everyone who identifies with their sheer humanity. The story itself has a great equal pace, drawing parallels to another origin film Captain America: The First Avenger, which encourages the little guy towards a destiny greater than himself; where their heroics have to find a balance to the evil some people are capable of. Mixing action, humor, and romance, Jenkins makes the superhero movie fun again, more focused on the adventure than dropping easter eggs and tying franchises together. Jenkin's tough, funny, smart, and powerful flick possesses the power to make us all heroes just like Diana Prince: compassionate, curious, brave, and bad-ass; to own who we are and to believe in each other. At the end of the day, we're all in this together.

Rating:★★★
Have you seen Wonder Woman?
What did you think?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wonderful Artwork Celebrating Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Artwork Gallery
The Wonder Woman movie is on its way. And if you haven't seen the trailer, but I know you have, right? RIGHT?! It's sparked bold, beautiful and kick-ass artwork across the web. Warner Bros Studios created a beautiful collection of submissions from all over the world. I like to do the same thing around here, so let's celebrate the new release with amazing fan art collected from talented and creative artists. All credit is given to their owners. Click on any image or the link underneath to see more work by the original creators. Like what you see? Feel free to share in the comments. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wonder Woman (2017) Trailer Reaction

I’d love to know what galaxy you’ve been living on, if you didn’t know Wonder Woman is getting her own movie. WONDER WOMAN HAS HER OWN MOVIE.

This summer, director Patty Jenkins will bring Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) to the big screen. The long-awaited adventure centers on the Amazon princess' origins while growing up and training on the island of Themyscira. When she learns about the events of World War I from an American military pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) who's washed ashore, she leaves home to stop the war.

Previously released trailers over the past year have been nothing short of exciting as they’ve hinted at Wonder Woman flying solo. This latest one finally deserves a proper trailer reaction ‘cause I can’t contain my thoughts. Can you? Let’s check it out! What do you think – feel free to share in the comments!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Captain America: Civil War (2016) beautifully hangs up on the shield

Captain America: Civil War movie review
Photo Credit: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is arguably one of Marvel fan's favorite films of all time. For the next installment of Captain America's franchise, the series' fate rested on hardcore hype. After the amazing press tour and anticipated excitement this year, Winter Soldier solidly has some tough competition against Captain America: Civil War.

The old foe known as Hydra takes a backseat as a new question looms: should the Avengers face political consequences when innocent bystanders are killed and countries' security feel threatened as a result of their missions? 

U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross and the United Nations believe so. The Avengers are presented with an Accords, a document which the world government control their missions and dole out punishments if they step out of line. To not sign the Accords forces the Avengers into retirement or face charges as criminals if they act out.

Stark believes they should sign to stop more senseless deaths, but Rogers fears how much of their liberty they'll lose if they do. The line drawn in the sand between the Avengers is much deeper than who's team we are on. (Though I am Team Cap all the way.) This is just the start of the brewing feuds. Woven into their dissension are motivations dealing with vengeance, betrayal, justice, regret, fear, grief and responsibility.

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo unite a lot of amazing combatants to make this civil war come to life. Familiar faces like Hawkeye, Black Widow, Falcon, and Bucky keep the battle tied to previous Marvel movies, but also fresh by adding (fairly recent) newbies like Vision, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Spiderman, Ant-Man, and Rhodey. We'd assume with so many personalities squaring off, the freedom to explore who they are would be limited. But that's not the case.

Every character moves somebody else forward either to victory or demise. How the teams form plays against the action scenes and also raise the stakes for certain characters in peril. The airport showdown, in particular, provides a lot of laughs to see all these new superheroes battle it out, but it's also so creative with how they pull out all of the stops against each other - not necessarily to kill but because the dynamics are so dysfunctional (like people on a reality show who talk over each other and in confessionals about their problems but not to each other's faces). The Russos pulled maneuvers out of their hat which was just plain cool. You'll find yourself more invested than just in Roger and Stark butting heads, and that is pretty awesome.

Though the film toys about which team we're on, other villains heighten our sense of whether the Accords is needed or will do more harm than good. Zemo, a bereft war operative enacts revenge for what happened to his homeland Sovokia. Many have said that he doesn't offer much, but I thought he adds a lot of parallels to the Black Panther's agenda and corrects his course before it goes too far down the wrong road. The intricate story of Cap versus Iron Man, Zemo vs the Avengers, and the mix of political issues is full of action, humor, heart, and never loses its ability to entertain.

The film comes down to family: old and new, deceased and reborn, lost and rediscovered. Stark and Rogers are head the Avengers clan, and skeletons in their closets affect how the group moves forwards.

Tony *brush it off* Stark becomes a more conflicted leader, and in doing so, Roger's side of the struggle feels a little less intimate than how we've seen him before. He is not entirely missing in action, but Stark's obstacles are focused on more strongly for a fair portion of the film. Even if Rogers and Bucky's friendship successfully pummels our feels into a pulp, a more personal epilog to one of his other important relationship with Peggy would've made Rogers story more touching and complete. Her death was explored too quickly and delivered for laughs rather than something heartfelt. Chris Evans is wonderful as always (as is Robert Downey Jr,) but the old chapters Cap closes and the new ones he opens feels less detailed than the attention he's given in The First Avenger and Winter Soldier...at least until we're near the end of the line.

With so many superhero films released already, and Marvel making more films well into the future, it's hard to say Captain America: Civil War is the best there ever was or will be. It's too tall of an order and to each their own. But it's even harder to find a movie entertaining on its own, builds upon the comic book universe we (might) already know, and launch the next era of multiple franchises. The cast, story, and action is all great. There's nothing else to say except: I could watch it all day.

Rating: ★★★
Have you seen Captain America: Civil War? What are your thoughts?

Monday, May 16, 2016

If You Love Agent Carter, You Might Like....

Agent Carter books, tv shows, and movie recommendations
Peggy's legacy is one of the most beloved and inspiring examples of female characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hoping her journey on television would fare better, it was a disappointing loss when Agent Carter was one of many, many shows to be cancelled.

Even though the spirited leader's spin-off was critically acclaimed and adored by fans, ABC studio execs weren't convinced to keep the crime-and-sexist fighting maven around longer.

Marvel and ABC may be short-sighted in fully exploring the female protagonists we want to see more of. For what it's worth, we'll always have both seasons of her show and Peggy's presence in the Captain America franchise. We know the value of Miss Carter, and anybody else's opinion doesn't really matter.

If you're still head over heels for the brains, brawn, and beauty kick-assery that Peggy inspired, you might like some of these similar books, movies, and tv shows. Know of a book or movie that's not on this list? Feel free to share below in the comments! Hope you enjoy!

Read

Letters Home by Bernice Falk Haydu - avaliable here
Bernice Falk Haydu attempts to become and remain a pilot in the 1940s. Her mother's saved letters of their correspondences describe her training and tour of active duty. It's recommended this book is purchased at Wasp Letters Home as profits will go to towards the WASP scholarship fund.

Millions Like Us by Virginia Nicholson available on here
This account doesn't simply one protagonist, but multiple accounts of women who raised families, worked, and stepped up to the frontlines.

The Wolves At The Door by Judith Pearson - available here
Virginia Hall is one of history's greatest spies. As a secret espionage, she slinked all over Europe to come to the Allies' aid, leaked the sources for weapons and money exchange, among other dangerous exploits.

Stream

Bomb Girls - available on globaltv
Venturing to Canada, this mini-series profiles four women who work in a munitions factory beginning in 1941. Fans prized the show for its ability to explore gender roles, female-centric storylines, and tackling difficult issues from PTSD, physical abuse, sexual harassment, and patriotism/nationalism.

Jessica Jones - available on Netflix
Former superhero Jessica Jones uses her gift as a private eye to open up a detective agency and hunt down a past tormentor. (Thematic warnings for the show include rape, assault, and posttraumatic stress disorder - so it's definitely for a mature audience!)

Supergirl - available on CW
Melissa Benoist balances life in and out of her superheroine persona known as Supergirl. So this may be a DC series, but Supergirl explores the journey of a human being really realizing their potential!

Watch

Keep Your Power Dry - available on DVD
Lana Turner, Laraine Day, and Susan Peters star as three women from very different backgrounds who join the WACs (Women's Army Corps) during WWII.

Restless - available on DVD
Hayley Atwell stars in an adaptation of William Boyd's novel of a young Russian woman who is recruited as a spy by the British secret service in World War II.

So Proudly We Hail - available on DVD
Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard, and Veronica Lake star as U.S. Army nurses when their active tour duty begins after the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the time of its release, the film's situations realistically portrayed what female service members experienced as they came to the aid of wounded soldiers.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

I Survived The Ultimate Captain America Marathon

Batman used to be my favorite superhero.  It's fair to say I was far outside the Captain America bandwagon when The First Avenger and The Winter Soldier hit theaters. At the time other movies pressed my attention much more like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Divergent, respectively. When my sister introduced me to the Sentinel of Liberty with the Winter Soldier in 2014, a whole new world opened up.

My first time watching the movie sparked an obsession for everything Steve Rogers, Peggy Carter, Bucky Barnes, and their whole universe. Two years later and I was quite literally jumping out my pants for the Ultimate Captain America marathon. I didn't know I could get so excited! It was months in the making, and then it was finally here!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Favorite Captain America Tumblr Posts

Captain America Tumblr Posts
Tumblr is a pretty amazing epic blog space for everything and anything you're a fan (or hater) of. So this post doesn't even scratch the surface of Captain America awesomeness you can find on there from gif sets to artwork and meta.

I couldn't resist putting together just a smidgeon of my favorite posts. (Credit links are available where I could adequately find them!) Follow an awesome Steve Rogers / Captain America tumblr I should know about? Feel free to leave a link in the comments!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Celebration of Marvel's Peggy Carter and Steve Rogers


I love Peggy Carter and Steve Rogers. They might be one of, if not, my biggest OTP. With Captain American: Civil War coming soon, there's no way we can't celebrate this amazing realtionship. It's too complex and touching for words.

From gifs to illustrations, here is some incredibly heartfelt artwork of the life they shared in the films (and could've shared beyond them). Hope you enjoy and that I don't break your feels!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Good Ol' Patriotic Artwork of Marvel's Captain America

Captain America artwork collection
Courageous, diplomatic, and a team leader, Captain America is one of the best superheroes around. It's just as well that he would garner amazing artwork from around the web from artists and fans around the world. I browsed as much of the internet as possible searching for creative interpretations of Marvel's hero. Here is some incredibly patriotic artwork of the freedom fighter Steve Rogers in all his good ol' USA glory. Hope you enjoy!







source


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Reasons I'm Excited for Captain America Civil War

Captain America Civil War Movie
Captain America: Civil War hits theaters in less than a month! Ya'll excited? Since he is my favorite Avenger, and overall superhero next to Batman, yes, I am!

This place will be in full red, white, and blue swing throughout April - you've been warned!

There are so many reasons why I can't wait for this epic showdown between Tony and Steve to go down. Here are just a few. Let's do this!