Tag Archives: Movies

Underrated: The Watchmen Movie

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Zack Snyder directed Watchmen movie.



 

With the upcoming crossover taking place in issues of Batman and The Flash, coupled with the news that there would be an R-Rated animated version of the comic coming soon, I thought it was an ideal time to turn back and have another look at Zack Snyder’s adaptation. I’ll try and keep this as spoiler free as possible for those who haven’t read the comics or seen the movie – but honestly if you haven’t read the comic at this point, then why the hell not?

When talking about the movie, there are three different versions of the same flick that I’ll be referring too: the Theatrical Cut which was 162 minutes in length, the Directors Cut coming in at 186 minutes, and the Ultimate Cut which clocks in at 215 minutes. The Theatrical Cut is the version that everybody saw first in the cinema, and for a great may people it is the only version they have seen. It has been a long time since I watched that version, but I can recall when watching it that it was a good movie, but it wasn’t as great as it could be. Watchmen‘s director, Zack Snyder, had a very tough task ahead of him when he was charged with bringing Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s miniseries to the silver screen. Watchmen has been hailed by many people as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time; it’s a story that is near and dear to the hearts many a comic fan. Adapting the full story, and doing it well enough to meet the expectation of thousands of comic fans whilst at the same time appealing to those non-comic fans who had never read Watchmen, would have been nigh on impossible; even the Ultimate Cut is still missing at least two entire plot lines from the original comics, and that comes in at three and a half hours.

Although what was released to theaters was still a very good movie; the casting choices were fantastic (Jackie Earle Haley’s Rorschach was more than I could have ever hoped for), and the choices that were made when writing the script kept the movie as faithful to the source material as possible. Indeed, many scenes in the movie reflect certain panels almost exactly. The change to the ending I understand; to have the original  ending included, without adding perhaps an extra thirty minutes of screen time to build the subplot that would be needed to have the ending from the comics make sense, would have taken away from the story as a whole. The movie’s ending worked very well for what it was, and while ultimately the same result was achieved, it was done so in a more believable method for cinema audiences. It wasn’t the same as the comics, no, but the movies are a different medium than the comics and face more constraints in terms of run time and budget. The version released to theaters was version of the movie that the studio, producers and directors felt was best suited to a theatrical release.

But when Watchmen was initially released, it wasn’t complete. It was a good movie, and the story told was coherent enough (especially for those of us who were familiar with the comics), but it did feel like something was missing.

That something missing largely disappeared wen the Directors Cut was released; the additional forty plus minutes of footage that really added to the film, and thanks to the extra run time it told a story that echoed the source material more than the Theatrical Cut did. Glimpses of one of the missing subplots were shown, and the movie felt much more complete; but when the Ultimate Cut was released which included the previously separately released animated Tales Of The Black Freighter woven into the extended Directors Cut, well then the movie took shape. The Ultimate Cut is still flawed, but it’s as great an adaptation as we can ever expect.

Unfortunately, however, the Ultimate Cut hasn’t been seen by as many people as the Theatrical Cut, which is a shame because the Ultimate Cut is as faithful a movie adaptation as we’ll ever see, and stands head and shoulder above the Theatrical Cut in terms of quality. Watchmen was a movie that had huge expectations heaped upon it, and when it appeared theatrically it never quite lived up to those expectations, the Ultimate Cut comes very, very close; although the Ultimate Cut is an outstanding movie, it has done little to elevate Watchmen‘s stature in terms of being talked about as a great movie; making this a surprisingly underrated gem.

 

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Underrated: Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice Ultimate Edition

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice Ultimate Edition.


 

Batman v Superman Dawn of JusticeLet’s not beat around the bush here: the theatrical cut of Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice wasn’t the greatest superhero movie of last year and while it wasn’t the worst comic book movie of the year, it was perhaps one of the most disappointing – for me at least. I had expected so much from the movie, because it was fucking Batman and Superman on the big screen together. And… well we got an average movie. There were parts that were great (Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot), and parts that were pretty good (Henry Cavil), and… some less than savoury parts. I left the theatre feeling quite unsure of how I felt; did the good outweigh the bad, or did it balance it out? What didn’t click for me? Could the movie had been better?

Shortly after seeing the movie I found out that there would be an R rated extended cut of the film released for home media, and I wondered whether that would do anything to set the film right.

As it turns out, it did.

Almost every problem I had with the pacing, plot and direction of the movie was made better by the extended cut. I still wasn’t happy that the entire movie had effectively been told in short form in the trailers, but there wasn’t much I could do about that other than not watching the trailer in the first palace. Since that wasn’t an option…

Look, I get that Warner Brothers probably had concerns about audiences sitting for an extended period of time… I mean the near two and a half hour run time of the theatrical cut was the longest movie in recent memory, and understandably Warner’s were concerned about audiences attention spans. It’s not like we’d ever sit patiently during Lord Of The Rings, or binge watch five hours of Daredevil in one sitting. That’s just not who we are. And to think we’d rather have  a great long movie longer than a slightly shorter average one would never cross their minds. 

It’s okay, though.

Whether it’s thanks to the success of Deadpool, or the critical slamming early on, or both, the Extended cut of the movie is a much better story in every way. The plot holes that resulted from the opening sequence are fixed because of the additional footage showing the soldiers using flame throwers to incinerate bodies to mimic Superman’s heat vision, if you wrote the movie off based on the theatrical cut then you’re missing one of the better superhero movies of last year.

Yeah, I said it.

The Extended edition is a better move than Civil War is, but because the real version of the film was never released in theaters, the movie as a whole got quite an unfair reputation – albeit fairly earned based on the expectations people had for this supposed juggernaut of a film, and what was initially delivered. If you’ve only seen the theatrical cut of the movie, then give the Extended edition a shot. The additional scenes add significantly to the overall experience, delivering a much better experience than anything you’d have expected from the theatrical experience.

Underrated: Six Comic Book Movies

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Six Comic Book Movies.


You’ve probably noticed that I’ve written an entire column about some movies, but I’m doing something a little different this week and we’re having a brief overview of six comic book movies, although we’re not ruling out revisiting some of these movies in a longer column down the road.

A few things before we start; firstly, these comic book movies may have been well received when released, but may never have garnered as much attention as they deserved. Secondly, some of these movies I’m probably viewing with the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia, and as I haven’t seen many of them in years be prepared for some potentially foolish claims. Thirdly, this isn’t a complete, or inclusive, list and it is completely subjective. Lastly, I am aware that at least two of these movies are borderline comic book movies, but this is my list and I’m including them anyway.

  • phantom-movie-posterThe Phantom (1996)
    This is probably one of the only comic book movie on this list with an actual spandex bodysuit in it, and Billy Zane does admirably well in the roll. I haven’t seen this movie since the 90’s, but not for lack of trying – it is very tough to track down for a reasonable price. The Phantom is a hugely enjoyable movie, so long as you take it for what it is (Guardians of the Galaxy, it is not), you can’t fail to not enjoy it. But do yourself a favour and skip the two part mini series released in 2010.
  • Batman Forever (1995)
    Joel Shumacker ruined the Batman movie franchise with Batman and Robin, that’s no lie, but before he did that he madeBatman Forever. I still enjoy this flick to this day. It echoes the Adam West TV show of the 1960’s, updating the camp foolishness of that time into a slightly more modern and darker time, bridging the gap expertly between Tim Burton’s films and the TV show. The movie stars because of its villains; Tommy Lee Jones’ Two Face and Jim Carry’s excellent portrayal of the Riddler.  No, the film isn’t the best batman movie out there, but it isn’t as bad as Shumacker’s other offering.
  • Watchmen (2009)
    Watchmen did have some success, there’s no denying that. But the true brilliance of the movie lies with the version that has the animated Black Freighter edited in to the live action movie. Although it clocks in at around four hours long, this version trumps the theatrical version significantly. If you haven’t, and you have the time, give the full version a try.p8022770_p_v8_aa
  • Solomon Kane (2009)
    Originally character created by Robert E Howard (if that name doesn’t ring a bell, you may recognize another of Howard’s creations: Conan) Solomon Kane originally appeared in 1928 in pulp magazine Weird Tales, but has since then starred in several comics through the 70’s and 80’s, and three miniseries published by Dynamite in the last ten years or so. Solomon Kane is probably one of the best films on this list; starring James Purefoy, the film (intended as the first of a trilogy, but it does stand alone) is a dark action adventure that perfectly encapsulates the characters pulp roots.
  • Fantastic Four (2005)
    Say what you want about the new Fantastic Four movie (and people have, and loudly, voiced opinions – even myself), the first one wasn’t horrible. It was actually quite good, all things considered. The main downfall of the movie lies in the conflict throughout. I was happy just watching the F4 simply be themselves and felt that the Dr. Doom final conflict was shoehorned in to a comedy movie because the superhero movie need A Big Final Conflict. The movie would have been far stronger had they used Doom to set up the second movie; have the first movie be more about the the-crow-salvation-movie-postercharacters finding themselves and maybe foiling a more mundane threat to New York City. This isn’t a great movie, but it certainly isn’t as bad as the sequel.
  • The Crow: Salvation (2000)
    Sequels to the 1994 The Crow movie generally range from absolute tripe, to just a little bit above bad. The reason for this is that they all try to follow the same formula. Well, Salvation is no different, but something here clicks. As far as sequels to the original movie go this is the best of the bunch, but that’s ultimately not really saying much. Not the best Crow movie out there, but if you’re a fan of the first movie it’s worth a rent.

There we have it – six underrated comic book movies. Are there other comic book movies out there that are, for whatever reason, underrated and under-appreciated?

Absolutely.

Because of that, expect a sequel to this Underrated at some point in the future. In the meantime, if you do get a chance to look for Solomon Kane do it; it’s probably one of the easier movies to track down (with it being on Netflix) and is well worth your time.

Underrated: Daredevil (Yes, The Movie. No, I’m Not Joking)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Daredevil (Yes, the Ben Affleck movie).


 

With Daredevil being one of the more vilified Marvel movies (aside from last week’s Underrated subject), and seeing as how we’re going to be getting a new season of a Netflix TV show featuring the Man Without Fear at some point this year, I wanted to take a look at the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie. We’ve all heard how the movie’s bloody terrible, that your time would be better spent plucking your nose a hair at a time, but is it really as bad as you remember it being?

I say remember it being, because I bet none of you have actually watched it in years (I hadn’t until I decided to write this and felt I needed to refresh myself on the movie before I tried to claim it in’t as bad as you think) Before you start yelling at me for writing a column about why the worst reviewed Fantastic Four movie doesn’t entirely suck, I’m not saying the movie is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s not. But it is unfairly shit on by so many of us, and that’s the whole point of Underrated.

As with any of the previous Underrated columns featuring comic book movies that have been reviled by fans and critics for so long, there is going to be context to this column. Daredevil may not be as good as the Netflix series featuring the same character, but it’s not as bad as you’ve heard – once you let go of any preconceived notions of what a Daredevil movie should be.

When I first heard that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman, I cringed. But then I remembered his turn as Daredevil in this movie and I realized that he was unfairly shit on; he was actually pretty good, and turned in a solid performance despite the script he was given. He wasn’t the only person who stood out for me, either; Colin Farrell as Bullseye and the late Michael Clark Duncan as The Kingpin were fantastic; neither man ever really given the credit they deserve.

 

So why is the movie so reviled? Well, much like Affleck’s more recent superhero out, Batman V. Superman I think it was down to the expectations people had that the movie failed to deliver on, rather than it being actually terrible. Daredevil was far from a bad movie – yes, there were scenes that people could do without (I didn’t mind the playground fight scene, but I wouldn’t miss it if it was removed), and some of the effects are quite obviously dated now – but once you look past the surface issues like that and go into the movie with some reasonable expectations, i.e. that the movie isn’t as good as the Netflix series, then you’ll be able to find something to enjoy.

 

Give it a try if you can find the film – then you’ll see why it’s an Underrated superhero film.

Underrated: Ghost Rider (The Movie)

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Ghost Rider



 

reyesGR.PNG

Robbie Reyes in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel’s Agents. Of S.H.I.E.L.D. recently brought Robbie Reyes to our screens as the latest Ghost Rider in the first half of the current season. It was easily one of the highlights of the fall 2016 television schedule for me, and with the show returning this week to our screens without Reyes (as far as I know – as of this writing I haven’t seen the mid-season premier yet), I felt it was time to rewatch Ghost Rider.

I did it for you, folks.

So you may be wondering why I wanted to focus on another critically panned movie, and while part of it is because I never hated the flick when I saw it in the theater the first (and only) time I watched it, despite the panning it received from fans and critics alike.  We’ve all heard how the movie’s bloody terrible, that your time would be better spent watching paint dry, but is Ghost Rider really as bad as you remember it being?

Once you get past the fact this Ghost Rider movie is about a man possessed by a demon with a flaming skull, that just happens to share several surface similarities to a Marvel comic book, then the movie isn’t bad. It’s not great. Before you start yelling at me for writing a column about why the worst reviewed Fantastic Four movie doesn’t entirely suck, I’m not saying the movie is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s not. But it is unfairly shit on by so many of us, and that’s the whole point of Underrated.

moviegrLook, I’m not going to sit here and claim this is a fantastic movie, because it’s not. But if you go in with either an open mind or expectations that are lower than the Marianas Trench, then you’ll find something to enjoy. Nicolas Cage isn’t on top form here but he’s clearly enjoying the role, and treats the B-movie script with the respect it deserves when we see him on screen. It’s not one of his best movies, but I’ve seldom seen him give as entertaining a performance as he does in this movie, even if his characterization may not be on point given what fans of the character expect (even with my admittedly limited knowledge of Ghost Rider comics, it didn’t seem to jive too well).

But the thing is, despite the movies flaws (the wasted conclusion for Carter Slade’s story is a prime example) it’s a good turn-your-brain-off movie. 

Ghost Rider plays like a modern day interpretation of a 50’s Western comic set this century on the screen. Not necessarily a Western movie mind you, but because I don’t recall many Western movies being as silly as Ghost Rider, but comics? I don’t hear many people taking Western comics set in the 50’s seriously at all (that’s not to say they were overly silly, however, just that I don’t hear of many people thinking of them that way). Once you forget this is a movie about the Marvel Comics character Ghost Rider, this isn’t that bad.

And that’s why this movie is Underrated

Underrated: Fantastic Four (2015)

Before you start yelling at me for writing a column about why the worst reviewed Fantastic Four movie doesn’t entirely suck, I’m not saying the movie is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s not. But it is unfairly shit on by so many of us, and that’s the whole point of Underrated. This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character.

The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are underrated in some way.

fantastic four featured

This week I wanted to talk about the much derided Fantastic Four movie from 2015. Or Fant4stic, as the stylized logo goes, which is how I’ll be referring to the movie from here on out. The flick was directed by Josh Trank and starred Micheal B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm and Tobey Kebbel as Victor Von Doom. The relatively unknown director Josh Trank had previously directed the cult hit Chronicle and one other movie that I’ve never seen before being handed the reigns to Marvel’s first family, but based on Chronicle there was hope that Fant4stic would be on par, with, or better than, the other superhero flicks of the year.

Obviously that wasn’t the case. But was the movie really as bad as we think it was?

Sure it was certainly disappointing when it came out, almost entirely failing to meet the vast expectations heaped upon on it – of course, I’m being facetious, because almost from the get go it seemed this movie was doomed to fail. From the way people turned their nose up when talking about the rumours swirling about choices made around Doom’s origin, at one point he was supposed to be a Russian hacker called Victor Von Domashev; the reprehensible reaction to the casting choice of Micheal B. Jordan as the Human Torch (yes, there were some who were more worried about the lack of perceived blood relation between the Storm siblings rather than the colour of their skin, but the sense that many – myself included – got was that the outcry was a bit more racially tinged); and the dreaded Studio Involvement toward the end of the filming and editing process.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the strife between the director and the studio (if you haven’t there’s a good account of it here), but when Trank tweeted his frank tweet about Fant4stic you could hear geekdom cry “I knew it! It’s so bad even the director hates it!” And Tobey Kebbel seemed to agree with Trank in an interview given last year, saying that “the honest truth is [Trank] did cut a great film that you’ll never see.That is a shame. A much darker version, and you’ll never see it.”

tranktweet

Kebbel goes on to say that much of the footage of Doom in the movie isn’t him, due to the amount of the film that was reshot “I played Doom in three points: Walking down a corridor, killing the doctor and getting into the time machine, and lying on the bench. They were the only times I played Doom. Everything else was some other guy, on some other day… doing some other thing. I was infuriated that he was allowed to limp like that!”

With all the vitriol surrounding the movie prior to it’s release there was realistically no hope for the movie (indeed it barely made enough money to cover the budget, let alone the marketing costs), and many people took a rather large shit on the movie because they felt that they had the right to do so – whether they’d actually watched the movie or not.

Almost a year after the movie came out, I sat down and watched it on Netflix for the first time. And you know what? It wasn’t anywhere near as terrible as I expected it to be.

Fantastic Four The ThingNow I did go in with some pretty low expectations but, dare I say it, I actually enjoyed the movie; even though it seemed to do everything possible to prevent that from happening. Yes, there are moments that seem contrived only to move the plot from point A to B in the most straight forward manner, and there is a sense that there are two visions on display here due to the reshoots, but this isn’t as bad a movie as you’d expect based on the hatred and criticism that Fant4stic received upon it’s release.

While some of the acting is questionable, the performances of Jordan and Teller (and Bell’s vocal performance) are pretty solid. While we’ll never get to see the original version of the movie, the one we did get does have a visual punch that’s better than you’d think. As a slow burning action movie, this isn’t too bad.

Was this a great Fantastic Four movie? Hell no.. but it’s not as bad as you’d think, and if you look at it as a movie very loosely based on the Fantastic Four rather than an actual Fantastic Four movie, then it’s actually watchable.

That’s why it’s Underrated.

Around the Tubes

P1060324The weekend is almost here! Some of our team is heading to the Marvel museum set up in Las Vegas! What geeky things are you all doing? Sound off in the comments!

While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Cleveland – Self-published zines are now in Cleveland Heights-University Heights main library – Awesome to see this.

One India – Rohit Sharma launches first superhero cricket graphic novel ‘Hyper Tygers’ – We await the graphic novel to explain this sport to some of us.

CBLDF – Organizations Urge U.N. To Take Action Against Free Speech Violations in Turkey – Sign us up for this fight!

Newsarama – Millennials Are Fleeing Movie Theaters…Or Are They? – Who cares, just stop looking at your cells and chatting during movies!

SKTCHD – The Long Article to End them All: On Ending SKTCHD and Riding into the Sunset – Another geek site shuts down.

The Beat – Awesome Con report: will this be the next fifth biggest convention? – A solid report. We’re a bit behind in ours.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Alibi – Kaptara Vol. 1

The Outhousers – The Wicked + The Divine #20

Sunday Roundtable: Do You Feel Pressure When Giving Advice to Friends?

JLA Roundtable adviceSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

There’s a concept known as influencers, these are people who are gone to when an individual needs advice. Do you think you’re the “geek” influencer in your social circle, and if so, do you feel responsibility in giving the right advice when asked a question?

Elana: Absolutely. And proud of it! I do my research when people ask.

One thing I’ve learned is that there is no right answer to the question “what, should I read?” You always need to find out what people’s tastes are in other forms of media before suggesting which comics they might be into

Alex: A lot of my friends have the same interests as me generally in terms of pop culture, books, movies etc. Some like comics, and have probably been reading longer than I have.

But I’d say I’m probably the person who is the most immersed in the comic book world…

Comics have become a part of who I am in a very intrinsic way; do I know everything about them? Do I bollocks. But I’ll still tell you what I loved and why. So when I’m asked for a recommendation for something, I’ll happily give the best one I can.

Elana: Most of my friends are geeks about something that’s in a traditionally geek-y domain. I’m just one of the designated comics experts. If you want to talk about video games you to to Chris or Mike. If you want horror films it’s my husband or Tait. Trek is Peng or Daisy (who are married to each other of course). And of course my friend GP contributor Steven Attewell is one of the leading experts on A Song of Ice and Fire in the world. So I do have other people to go to.

Alex: Yeah, I’ve got a few friends who love ASOIAF books, and while I tried to read them, I just couldn’t. It’s awesome having people who know the material when I have questions, so I’ve always tried to do the same for them with comics.

Paul: I definitely am. Comics, pop culture, general geekdom…I am my friends go to guy, and like Elana, proud of it. I don’t worry so much about giving the right advice; I just give my opinions and let them make their choices, But I try to steer them the right way tongue emoticon

Christopher: 9 times out of 10, I am, which I’m strangely proud of that. For the most part I don’t have uber geek friends, but those who are trying get into comics outside of the stream of movies from the big two. I try to ignore some of the pop culture stuff, like the soap opera with zombies, The Walking Dead. I’m still waiting on Game of Thrones to complete the books before getting into the show. Which a good chunk of my friends watch, without much knowledge of the books. I usually try to that opinion to myself, about that.

Madison: It depends on the social circle. I’ve been the sole comic reader in a group, which means the friends in that group get my biased recommendations. (Shoutout to my mom, who gets to listen to a lot of comic-based rants and has no context for understanding any of them. She’s the real hero, here.) However, I do enjoy hanging out with friends who read comics, because then it’s more of an even exchange of recommendations.

Being (relatively) new at comics, I don’t feel qualified to answer many questions correctly, so to speak. I do enjoy recommending things, though, and I’ll happily research to the best of my ability to fill gaps in my knowledge to suit someone else’s tastes.

Alex: Honestly, I think when it comes to giving recommendations on comics, so long as you’re honest there’s no wrong way to do it… and sod the people who think that just because you’re relatively new your opinion doesn’t carry as much weight as others.

Madison: I agree. I mean, I’m always going to be biased because I have writers and genres that I absolutely favor…the trick is finding people who share, if not exactly the same, then similar interests.

Alex: I think bias is healthy, though. I’d rather hear your honest opinion of a product than hear an emotionless response. If something made you angry, then I wanna know why.

Madison: In that case, would you rather have the twenty minute speech on Ant Man or Age of Ultron? Haha

Elana: Madison

what can't be both

Alex: Haha, I haven’t seen Ant-Man in awhile, so AoU, maybe.

Elana: Never to late for us to run another piece about AoU in advance of the new movie…

Javier: Unfortunately, as I got older, and moved from job to job, my social circle has shifted. I have friends who have geeky interests; but usually that centers on a movies or shows that are based on sci-fi/fantasy novels or comic books I’ve read (obvious examples being Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and the Marvel Movies). I give my opinions when asked, and try to avoid spoilers; but as far as comic books and graphic novels go, I’m pretty much a lone wolf nowadays.

Brett: I actually feel some pressure. I know people are going to ask me how the latest comic movie is, so I feel like I need to see it opening night or watch all the shows.

Elana: People expect that of me. But I never do opening night. I always have to remind them of that. You are great at going to see everything so you can review it. If I think something is going to be bad, like the green lantern movie, I just don’t even go

Alex: Batman V Superman was the first time I’ve been to an opening night comic book movie in years. I’ve usually seen it within the first week, but rarely opening night.

Steven: For me in my inner circle of friends, i’m usually the guy they go to for sports advice or questions, but at work, my co-workers usually come to me with questions about comic books and questions about superhero shows. And ironically enough my best friend asked me today some questions about power rangers.

Brett: And what about you readers? Sound off in the comments below!

Rey: The Most Important Character of 2015?

rey 02Fair warning: There will be very minor spoilers for The Force Awakens within this post,  centered largely on the awesomeness of Rey – I will try my utmost to ensure that no plot points are revealed, but there may be some comments on dialogue and her ability and prowess in the movie. I’ll try to be as vague as I possibly can, however, as the movie has only been out for a relatively short time and there’s a chance that some people may not have had a chance to see the movie yet; although you really should, if you haven’t this post shouldn’t completely ruin the movie for you.

That being said, I genuinely feel that the most important thing about the movie isn’t that it’s the sequel that we should have received back when the Phantom Menace came out, and the sequel that millions of people have been hoping and waiting for since Return Of The Jedi (although those are certainly pretty note worthy), but rather the main character; Rey.

Final warning: minor spoilers will follow from here on out, but again, I’ll try and keep it vague.

Historically most action movies are lead primarily by male characters, or place women in a role that’s little better than a damsel in distress archetype; not all, granted, but more often than not that is the case.

Rey is a breath of fresh air. Played by the talented Daisy Ridley she is an extremely capable character that more than holds her own amidst some of the biggest names in the Star Wars universe throughout the movie.

rey 01It’s tough to talk about Rey too much wile keeping the spoilers to a minimum because a lot of what’s so great about her is highlighted so well; she is exactly the kind of character that needed to be seen on the silver screen. In an age when female led action movies don’t seem to garner the attention that others do – whether because of a lack of quality, star power, or interest – she shows little girls that they don’t have to rely on men to save them from peril; very early in the movie, Rey proves that she’s not going to be the stereotypical damsel in distress. Which is something that’s not unfamiliar to Star Wars fans; Leia wasn’t exactly useless in the original trilogy (I’ve only seen the Prequels once and I don’t remember much about them, or Amidala‘s role within them, and I couldn’t bring myself to rewatch them for this article).

Rey is already resonating with fans of all ages, as the image from Daisy Ridley‘s Instagram of a young fan in full Rey costume a week or so after the release of the movie below shows, and her popularity will only sky rocket from here. That’s an incredibly good thing.

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That Disney, director J.J. Abrams, or whomever else had the final decision, did decide to have Rey be the ass kicking capable character that she is, is commendable. With all of the superhero, comic book or generally geek orientated movies released over the past few years, it’s about time young fans had a strong female lead to look up too, and what better place to have Daisy Ridley shine than in the biggest movie of the year?

But (and there is always one) there have been rumblings on line  wondering where is all the Rey merchandise? According to some reports and comment threads there is a distinct lack of Rey toys. While that was certainly the case (initially) for Black Widow and Scarlett Witch from Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron, it’s certainly not the case with Rey. Her toys are hard to find because they’re selling faster than the Millenium Falcon made the Kessel Run. Whether somebody was  either trying to stir the pot, or they just didn’t know that the toys were sold out, I’m not sure,  but the demand for her toys far, far out stripped the supply – and that just reinforces the importance of the character.

Indeed, this Tumblr post has a list of the numerous toys featuring the character that have been released (and may even be slightly outdated by now), and so while it is certainly true – for a time – that there were limited toys available for Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, the same cannot accurately be said for Rey. Somebody clearly learned from the outcry over the Age Of Ultron; indeed the same outcry is still happening now, and while it is depressingly easy to make the same assumptions based on recent history, this time there is at least a case to be made that there is an effort to get the Rey toys into the hands of those that want them.

Except the Force Awakens version of Monopoly (you can read more about that, and Hasbro’s response here).

Rey is a character that has the potential to change the way women are looked at in cinema, especially in science fiction action movies. The fact that Daisy Ridley‘s acting chops, and her ability to keep the audience’s attention on her when sharing the screen with some pretty big names, both play a massive part in bringing her character the attention of fans across the globe.

I think that this letter to Hasbro from an eight year old girl says it all (via Radio Times), don’t you?

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X-Men Apocalypse Official Trailer

Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-Men: Apocalypse. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

X-Men: Apocalypse comes to theaters May 27, 2016.

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