Archive for category Comic Books

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Is Spidey Back?

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Imageworks

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Imageworks

When a film that rakes in big box office numbers faces an alarming volume of critical backlash, it is a challenge for filmmakers and production companies to know what parts of their formula to tweak for the sequel. Case in point, 2012’s THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. While the franchise reboot was not universally panned, fans and critics who saw glaring issues with the film were much more vocal than you might find with other lifeless blockbusters. Sony Pictures and, by extension, director Marc Webb had to have had this in mind when developing THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, and the result is a sequel that is substantially better than that its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t a great film, and perhaps this review will be equal parts whining about what I don’t like and damning the film with otherwise faint praise. Either way, I think it is worth noting that the filmmakers at least tried to make a better film than the previous installment. 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 presents itself more like a trailer for the four upcoming Spider-man franchise films that have been announced than as a work that can stand on its own two feet. I’m not normally one to complain about franchise building in the age of modern-day filmmaking; Disney/Marvel thrives by positioning each of their films as a teaser for the next to come, and Warner Bros. is looking to emulate that strategy with the JUSTICE LEAGUE franchise. What the AVENGERS films do effectively is contain their narratives in way that are individually satisfying if not seen in the context of the overarching cinematic universe. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, on the other hand, clumsily juggles several narrative threads that serve no purpose than to set up the sequels. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Humanity of the Man of Steel

Warning: This review / analysis of Man of Steel is loaded with super-sized spoilers that are more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings with a single bound.

Man of Steel

Lore is a tricky subject for filmmakers to try to tackle, especially when making movies based on well-loved, well-established franchises. This is particularly evident in the science fiction genre, where ‘fandoms’ protect their cult icons from mainstream homogenization that is geared towards the masses. In many ways, there is nothing wrong with this mentality; a watered-down characterization or one that misses the point of the source material not only produces a disappointing story, but also prevents more faithful adaptations from being created.

Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel is an amazing film, one that I consider to be amongst the best superhero films ever created. With breath-taking action sequences, smart casting decisions, a menacing, yet potentially justified villain in General Zod, and intriguing flashbacks which focus on Superman’s origins as young Clark Kent growing up in Smallville, Man of Steel does not fail to deliver an edge-of-your-seat experience. In fact, I was such a fan of this film that at the time of this writing, I can comfortably argue that it is the only 10/10 film of 2013. Even more so, Man of Steel is an interesting study in how a film can remain true to the origins and character traits of a pop culture icon while still attempting to move the character forward. Read the rest of this entry »

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You Should Be Reading This: Saga

Saga

There is a saying that goes something like, ‘everything has already been written.’ The idea goes that there are no original concepts or themes left to be written about, and that all that remains for modern writers is to retread existing ground. This is usually meant as a slight against scribes who resurrect the bones of stories long since buried. While I do believe that every basic literary theme has been explored in some way, shape, or form, I also believe that the strength of a tale rests in how strongly (or poorly) it embodies these themes.

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You Should Be Reading This: Hawkeye

Hawkeye 7

Growing up, Hawkeye was always one of those comic book characters that I appreciated from a distance. I was into a lot of fantasy and roleplaying games as a kid… well, as an adult, too… so the idea of a super-hero that goes toe-to-toe with aliens, criminals, and gods armed only with a bow and arrow appealed to me.  However, he never really struck me as the type of character who could hold his own title, at least not for long. Solo titles and mini-series have come and gone, and I’ve held by my opinion.

Until now, that is.

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Why Are There So Many Gay Comic Book Characters?

A friend of mine, a fellow comic book lover, recently reached out to me via Facebook with a simple question: why does it seem like there are there so many gay characters popping up in comic books these days?  Frankly, I was honored to be chosen as the spokesman for all of gaykind, and took my new role as the voice of all homos to heart.  After all, I am a huge fan of comic books, and it does seem as though LGBT issues are becoming more of a staple in mainstream comics than ever before, but why is that?  Is it because of a change in comics, is it a change in society, or is it a change in perspective?  This nerdy gay dude thinks the truth lies somewhere in between.

Batman and Robin

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Is Superior Spider-man #1 All That Superior?

Warning, True Believers:  This blog post will spoil The Amazing Spider-man #700 and Superior Spider-man #1.  

Superior Spider-man #1

Spider-man is one of the most popular superheroes ever.  Fact.  No citation needed. Since his debut in Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962, Spider-man has been a pop-culture powerhouse, with appearances in multiple movies, cartoons, and Halloween costumes.  Any product that can have Spider-man branding slapped on it, has.  It is like Rule 34, but instead of porn, we have Spider-man product placement.  Recently, The Amazing Spider-man ended its run after 700 issues, which is an astonishing feat.  Even more impressive is the amount of controversy the final issue caused. Read the rest of this entry »

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