My Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Review(Spoilers abound)

So last night I went to the movies.  Got in line, got ready to pay, and found that my friend, who happens to be the GM of the theater, had comped my ticket.  I was very thankful.  I got in line to get my pop and headed in to the theater where I was treated to two minute trailers of both Spider-man homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

When someone comps your ticket to anything there is a certain amount of pressure to like what you’ve seen.  To be honest, I was very disappointed.   Let me explain.

When the original movie came out, I loved it.  It was colorful, funny with a sense of urgency, witty and the special effects were at a level that people working on Star Wars even perked their heads up and took notice.  The characters in the movie seemed to be written relatively close to the comic books as well.

Fast forward to Vol. 2.  Why didn’t I like it much?  It seemed to be pandering to the crowd a little too much.  For instance, the opening sequence could have been a very cool fight scene between an interdimensional monster and the Guardians but instead it was a Baby Groot dance sequence.  It seemed like executives at Marvel saw dollar signs behind the Funko toy and decided they needed an obligatory dance scene.  The problem was it was 5 minutes of the team fighting and then stopping to warn Groot to get out of the way.

My biggest beef with the movie is, again, the hopes that the movie might try to follow some of the canon of the comic.  In the comic, Peter Quill”s father is the narcissistic ruler of a planet called Spartax that came to earth and had a child with an earth girl which led to Peter quill.  In this movie, and you should not read beyond this point if you don’t want to know, a celestial by the name of Ego came to earth to find a species he could impregnate so she could have another celestial being.  The two celestials would go on a father/son romp through the galaxy destroying civilizations and rebuilding them in their image.  To do this Ego plants what looks like an innocuous looking plant in a forest that we learn wI’ll kill everything.  

But first Ego must find Peter.  Luckily, he tracks them down to a planet of golden aliens that have asked The Guardians to kill the interdimensional being that is stealing from them.  Their prize for killing the beast…. Nebula’s(Gamora’s sister) freedom from captivity.  Instead, rocket steals from them( a bunch of highly expensive batteries, yes you read thst right) setting off a giant manhunt for The Guardians that eventually includes Yondu and his crew.

The majority of the movie is set to a very lackluster soundtrack and takes place between Ego and Quill.  Ego has used his celestial power to build a planet that he actually has become.  He is trying to convince Peter that Peter has the same powers too.

While this is happening, Yondu and Rocket are forming a plan to rescue Quill because Yondu knows that Ego is a bad dude because he used to bring children to Ego to determine if they could be celestials too (his progeny after many failed attempts to create another celestial).   Yondu was hired to bring quill to Ego, but didn’t, which was one of the final plot lines delivered in the last movie. 

The movie spends it’s time too heavily on preaching to its audience about the importance of family.  There is a subplot between Nebula and Gamora being family that feels forced, Rocket feeling connected to Yondu, Ego and Quill and a love story brewing between Gamora and Quill.

The characters are softer this time around too which is uncharacteristic.  In the comic both Nebula and Drax are bad ass.  In the movie, she still has moments where she’s the assassin she’s in the comics but she’s also a sentimental love sick character which is not true to her at all.

Drax, who has some funny dialogue in the movie, has some one liners that come off as cruel instead of funny.

And Baby Groot goes right up to the line of being cute but highly obnoxious and teases us at that line.  He, however, does have one of the best scenes in the movie that plays very well.

What was good?  The last 15 minutes of fighting.  The special effects here were very cool.  A little gross but very cool.  The movie was fun to look at but nothing stood out as being something we hadn’t seen before.   All in all I’m giving this movie a grade of C.  It was very medoicre.

Comic book reviews for the week of 4/24/17( Spoilers Abound)

I have been gone from the blog for a while.  Mostly because Marvel comics has felt very uninspired for a very long time.  And it pain’s me to say that a lot of it has to do with diversity in comics.  Marvel has been trying to attract younger readers of different ethnicities.  So, on order to do this, they killed off heroes we love and replaced them with knock off replacements.  For instance, Bruce Banner was killed by Hawkeye in Civil War 2 and replaced with an Asian teenager who is now referred to as the totally awesome hulk.  Tony Stark has also been replaced by a teenage African American girl.  This has alienated many long time readers and Marvel sales have plummeted.  

The good news?  Starting in August, Marvel will be starting an event called generations, which will bring together legacy characters with today’s counterparts.

But things are slowly starting to change  Marvel actually put out a mini event called Monsters Unleashed that was fun to read.  The story followed a young inhuman boy that had the ability to summon monsters by drawing them.  All the Superheroes were forced to fight these monsters when all they had to do was rely on the young boy to create new monsters to fight the already created monsters.  The mini series lead to its own ongoing series which I highly recommend.  It just started a few weeks ago so if you’re new to comics, it’s a great place to start.

Marvel has also just begun a new event called Secret Empire where Captain America is being manipulated into believing he’s the leader of hydra.  I’ve not read it but I hear it’s amazing.

So let’s get started on this week’s comics.

1.  While X-men Gold #002 is not as controversial as it’s first issue, it seems that this time the author ( instead of the artist ) is attempting to add to the controversy.  If you are unaware of this controversy, Ardian Syaf, the penciler of the book, hid references from the Koran in his art that were anti-semetic in nature.  His contract was immediately terminated causing the value of the book to skyrocket.  Syaf is still the penciler of the book but it’s only because the issue had already been sent to the printer.  Syaf, despite his own religious views, is a very good artist, and to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about firing someone who practices freedom of expression in a society that values that trait.  Still X-men is about inclusiveness so it’s not the best place to express those views.  X-men Gold follows the team of Kitty Pryde, Storm, Nightcrawler, Collosus, Prestige and Old man Logan.    The book is mostly about trying to start over as the mutants faced the difficult challenge of trying to rebuild after a war with the Inhumans.  

As any reader of the X-books might know, Xavier”s school is now in the heart of Central Park.  The Gold team is dispatched to the United Nations headquarters where they are attacked by a new team of brotherhood of evil mutants.  Of course the whole conflict is televised which prompts a political pundit to call for the deportation of all mutants.  And here is where the controversy begins.

It is not hard to figure out that this issue is a slam on Trump and his desire to deport illegal aliens.  I don’t even think it tries to hard to mask that intentionally.  And, as I mentioned that I’m all for freedom of expression, but I also think that there are so many different voices decrying the same thing, it can get tedious.  I am not a trump supporter by any means but the disdain for the man, warranted or not, is overbearing at times.  I think this comic takes the issue right up to the line of being too much but doesn’t quite cross it.  I’m just wondering how many other groups Marvel can alienate through this title.  I guess we will see.  Grade: B+

2.  X-men Blue #002 is not as controversial.  As many of my readers know the original 5 x-men were transported through time to stop Cyclops from the present from starting a war between mutants and humans.  Once they got to our present, they couldn’t return to their time frame.  The team is technically lead by Jean Grey but their benefactor is Magneto.  Magneto is now an anti hero and wants peace between humans and mutants.  

This entire issue is based on the duplicity of Jean grey.  She acts one way around magneto while secretly training her team to fight magneto.  But it also shows Magneto secretly working on a project that questions his motives as well.

All in all, this was a good issue.  Sometimes the art in this book annoys me.  I haven’t been able to put my finger on it yet but I think it has to do with the book feeling like it’s trying to be anime like.  Grade: B.

3.  Weapon X #002 is quick becoming one of my favorite books.  The reason:  It’s Greg Land’s book.  Who is Greg Land?  One of the best comic book artists in the business.  What do I love about this book?  Well, to start, the cover of this issue is very reminiscent of hulk #340 where you see the reflection of the hulk in Wolverine’s claws except, in this issue, sabretooth”s image can be seen in old man Logan”s claws.

This issue is divided into two plotlines.  For reasons that have not been completely revealed yet, the Weapon X program is trying to capture Warpath, Lady Deathstrike, Domino, Sabretooth and Old Man Logan.  They have sent adamantium machines against Old Man Logan, Sabretooth and Warpath to study their powers and capture them.    What makes this interesting is Old Man Logan can’t detect the monsters through smell so he h as s to be extra careful when fighting the machines.

In this issue we learn that the machines sent to capture the mutants have new features that weren’t seen in the first issue.  The feature Is  actually a bit creepy but youll have to read the issue to figure out what it is.  

The writing and pacing of this story is really good.  There is enough tension in both of these issues that leave you wanting more.  And while I’m a huge fan of Greg Land,  I’m not sure this was his strongest work.  I’m giving this issue an A-

4.  Hulk has been one of the more annoying and bizarre comic books of the last few months.  It turns out that since Bruce Banner is dead and Jennifer has come out of a coma she has started practicing law again.  Her first case back is a client named Maisie that mysteriously summons monsters to kill people that give her a hard time.

This issue(#005) we get a little back story from when Jennifer comes out of her coma and we get more of the Maisie story.

What makes this book annoying is there has been no hulk yet and we are already 5 issues into the series.  I don’t really have a lot more to say.  Grade: B-

Comic book reviews for the week beginning 11/14/16

It is been awhile since I’ve done a blog post on my favorite comic books. And honestly I don’t know if I’m looking forward to this or not. Putting my thoughts down on paper or on a computer screen takes time and it’s time I don’t always have. But it has also been nice to be able to read comic books again. So let’s get started.

1.  The first book that I read this week was Uncanny X-men Annual.#1. Most annual issues have at least two stories. This issue is no different.  The book starts with the story of Elixir, a mutant with the ability to heal who recently was brutally murdered by a band if baddies called The Dark Riders.  This story examines what happens if he resurrects and what that would do to his nutant healing abilities.  You will have to read to find out.  

The second story  is about Domino being asked by.Sunspot to go on a mission to assassinate a bad guy.  

Each of the stories is really well written and very dark.  The art is intriguing and worth the read.  I think if I had one beef with the annual is that the transition between the two stories is too abrupt.  Im giving this an A-

2.  The Amazing Spider-man #21 is another tie in to the Marvel mini event called Dead no more:  The Clone Conspiracy.  In this issue we meet up with Kaine again.  For those of you unfamiliar with Kaine, he is a clone of Peter Parker who was killed during Spider Verse.  Well, he’s back from the dead and in loomworld.  The master loomer determines he has been infected by the touch of a group of zombie like creatures called Carrions.  The Carrions were brought to life by Miles Warren.  This issue focuses on Kaine’s search for an antidote.

This issue wasn’t my favorite.  Not necessarily because it was a bad book but I really only liked one or two stories that tied in to the Spider-verse event.  The events in this story by themselves are interesting but I’m struggling to understand how the story fits in to the current event.  I am sure that I will get that answer soon.  Grade: B.  Not because it was bad.  I’m just not invested in.the character.

3.  Silk has always been one of my favorite books for its grasp of how important relationships are.  Silk #014 is another tie in to Dead no more: A Clone Conspiracy.

I have not read this series in a while so my basic understanding of it is slim.  How does it tie in to the mini event?  You’ll need to read it to find out.  But in a short sentence it has to do with a loss that J. Jonah Jamison has experienced lately

What I appreciate the most about this book is how it doesn’t try to deal with being a teenager at a frenetic pace.  It deals with real emotions but gives them the weight they deserve.  

I’m not a huge fan of the art but in fairness, it fits the story and the character perfectly.  I’m giving this comic book a grade of A.

4.  To say Thanos #1 is a bit complicated, would be a bit of an understatement.  He is back and the news about him is not good.  But that doesn’t come for the final page so I’m not going to ruin it for you.

This story is divided into three distinct parts. A) Thanos regaining  power by overthrowing the current ruler of the Black Quadrant B) two mercenaries banding together against Thanos and C)  finding iut who hired the mercenaries

The author did a pretty good job keeping the stories straight, the transitions were great and the story was interesting.  The art and coloring were also decent.  I look forward to see where the book goes because Thanos is not a good guy.  Grade: B

Those are my reviews for the week.  I will try to post more as time goes on.  Thanks for reading.

Review of Doctor Strange

 I always go into a Marvel movie with a sense of trepidation and fear. There have been some great Marvel movies and some not-so-great ones. Some of the great ones include Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers, and the first Iron Man movie. Some of the more lackluster movies have been Iron Man 3 and Ant-Man.
I have never been a huge fan of the Doctor Strange character. I am always a little weary of characters that use the spirit Realm as part of their power. Having grown up in a fairly strict religious household, I believe that the spirit world is very real. To the director’s credit, he did not choose to exploit the fact that one of the villains is a ruler in limbo, which looks a lot like Hell in the comic book.  

The main crux of the story is how Stephen Strange became Sorcerer Supreme.  And before you poo-poo another origin story, this one is actually interesting.  From here on out there are spoilers.  

Stephen Strange is a nuerosurgeon and he prides himself with having steady hands.  He has to.  Other people’s lives depend on it.  So when he gets in a car wreck and damages the nerves in his hands, he begins losing his mind because his livelihood is taken away from him.  He contacts different surgeons to get repair surgery but no one will help him.  

Enter Benjamin Bratt.  He plays a man who should not be able to move but is leading a very productive life.  Stephen Strange asks how he does it and he is reffered to The Ancient One who initially refuses to help Strange.  Strange, being a man of science, has trouble grasping.the concept of a spirit realm and initially thinks its hogwash, until The Ancient.One pushes Strange’s Astral self out of him.  From that point on, he becomes a voracious learner and seems to surpass the people teaching him.

There is a lot more to the story including two villains that.Strange must face during the course of the movie.  The final confrontation was humorous and highly original in how it was handled.  Im not spoiling that.

Everything about this movie.was excellent! From the rich colors to the amazing special effects to the acting.  Usually when a movie relies too much on special effects, the story is lacking.  Not this time.  The movie stole some of the visuals from the comic book.and had at least one or two scenes that inception would have been jealous of.

If you are looking for a fun popcorn flick, this is it.  I highly recommend it.  Grade:A- 

Long silences

It has been a while since I sat here and wrote anything about comic books.  Mainly because I haven’t been able.to afford buying any.  But I got a second job and ive recently been picking up issues here and there.

I am not ready to jump back into writing detailed book reviews yet.  But let me.tell.you what I am reading.

1.  Uncanny X-men-  I primarily read this series for one reason only.  Greg Land draws it.  When an artist is as detailed as Land is and he has a colorer as talented as this book does, it’s almost as if the content wouldnt matter.  The latest issue was a little silly but it was still pretty to look at.

2.  Extraordinary X-men-  maybe it’s because apocalypse is featured as the villain in the movie that he has returned as the main baddie in this current storyline but I gotta admit, I really like it.  The writing in the book is pretty tight. 

3.  The.Amazing Spider-man.  Peter Parker has always been one of my favorite characters and Dan  Slott has done a great job with it.  The book is in an event called The Clone conspiracy where The.Jackal is cloning super villains.  Right.now that is all.we know.  Fun series.

There will be more series but that is what im reading now

Marvel’s Captain America Civil War Review

Marvel Studios owed us an apology for making Mandarin a blubbering idiot. They owed us an apology for making Ant Man so very bland and they owed us an apology for hiring James Spader for voicing Ultron because, let’s face it, there wasn’t a minute of that movie you weren’t waiting for Reddington from the Blacklist to appear.  And lastly, they owe us free movie passes for not throwing enough money at the studio who created Fantastic Four to get their movie rights back.  The good news:  with Captain America Civil War all can be forgiven.

The Russo brothers created a great movie, if not the best superhero  movies of the entire genre of films.  Without giving away scenes from the movie the premise of the film centers around the argument that powerful individuals should be given oversight so that their power can’t be without consequence.  From the title you can guess what it means for the Avengers.  Every punch and fight in the movie is even more powerful because of what is at stake.  

Although I have not read the original Civil War storyline, I know enough to know that they didn’t follow the script.  In the book it’s a villain the causes the beginning of the conflict in the story.  In the movie:  it’s not.  But I’m okay with it. In many ways, not knowing the plot allowed me to enjoy the movie even more.

  The addition of certain characters was very cool.  The addition of Spidey and Black Panther were both welcomed however the new origin of Spideys costume was a bit heavy handed and cheesy.  Still the action scenes with Spidey might be the best in the movie.

I think my only beef with the movie is that Zemo seemed a little too underdeveloped.  Zemo is a villain and his origin is explained in the movie but not shown enough to make him the worst villain in the Marvel Universe only rivaled by Kilgrave.  Instead, the movie focuses on The Winter Soldier and whether or not he’s a hero or a villain

This is a movie that needs to been seen in 3D.  I don’t say that very often but everything in the movie is enhanced by seeing it that way.  

While the movie starts an interesting discussion about surrendering powers to oversight, the conflict is not fully resolved.  That actually is very satisfying because it really is a dialogue that shouldn’t be contained to one movie.  I am very interested in seeing where this all leads.

This is well worth the money to see.  The action, humor, dialogue and everything else is very well done.

My grade: A-