Entries tagged with “comics”.


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Bullets and bad guys and puppies with sad eyes. And Colin Firth kicking butt–what more do you need? Check out my review of Kingsman: The Secret Service at tabloid.io.

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It’s been years since I saw a movie in the theater twice in as many days–Guardians of the Galaxy is that special.

An excerpt:
Guardians of the Galaxy throws you in at the deep end and turns away, confident you’ll love what you’ll see, but not really giving a darn if you do or not. And it blasts “Cherry Bomb” on a boombox at you the whole time.

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I have been terribly remiss in keeping up. Life sometimes gets the better of all of us. Several reviews have gone up on buzzymag.com and I haven’t shared! Here are links for your edification: X-Men: Day of Future Past, Maleficent, and How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Some tidbits–here’s what I had to say about Peter Dinklage playing the villain in X-Men: Days of Future Past:
A man who truly believes that mutants are a threat to homo sapiens. They will lead nations out of war with each other to unite in a common cause to destroy all mutants. He absolutely sells it. Trask Industries is a very real threat to mutants everywhere.

What I had to say about the acting in Maleficent:
Angelina Jolie is definitely the star of the show. She does a magnificent job with what she has to work with. This movie sinks or swims on her ability, and much of its success should be laid at her feet. She is by turns vulnerable, furious, vindictive, tender, naive, protective, and aggressive–the list goes on.

And a nibble about How to Train Your Dragon 2:
A great job showing what being able to travel dragon-back has done for the Vikings of Berk. The world is now a bigger place, growing the focus of the film to more than just Berk, and adding a bunch of characters. And a bunch of dragons. Lots of dragons. Tons of dragons.

Full reviews, as always, available at buzzymag.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a great movie for fans of the comic book–it’s got the “look and see” of traditional Spidey in all his teenaged angsty goodness. Both Spidey and Peter Parker pack a ton of growth into a really solid movie, with a great cast of supporting characters. See the full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
It is not power-packed with action sequences, chases, and special effects (although all are present!), instead opting for a larger dose of character development. The result: like the Spider-Man comic books of old, the viewer is drawn into Peter Parker’s complicated, angst-filled life, where decisions are more complex than just how to defeat a particular foe, and every action has a consequence.

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This movie picks up after the events of The Avengers, with the world reeling after the discovery of super-powered beings and picking up the pieces after the Battle of New York. There’s more Asgard this time, more physics, and some dark elves for good measure. And it all happens as the planets are moving into a great convergence. See what I had to say at at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
I’ll say up front that I loved this movie, and a big part of it is the awesomeness that is Tom Hiddleston as Loki.

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Hugh Jackman is back in The Wolverine, bridging the gap between X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past. While not his best outing, it’s far from his worst, and there is enough here to recommend going to see. A detailed review is up at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
On the plus side, I cannot say enough good things about Yukio–the character as created for the movie (very different from the comics) is multi-faceted, strong, and compelling. The movie definitely becomes less interesting during a long stretch when Yukio is absent from the screen.

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The latest outing of Superman is out, and the reviews are . . . mixed. This is a new take on Superman, grittier, more Dark Knight and less Boy Scout in blue tights. I’ve got a detailed review up at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
I didn’t know I was such a purist.

I love comic books.

But my Superman is definitely NOT science fiction. And Man of Steel is, at its heart, a science fiction film as it attempts to ground Superman in realism.

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Iron Man
Director: Jon Favreau
Writers: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Stan Lee (comic book), Don Heck (comic book), Larry Lieber (comic book), Jack Kirby (comic book)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Leslie Bibb, Clark Gregg, Shaun Toub, Faran Tahir, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson (stinger)

Iron Man 2
Director: Jon Favreau
Writers: Justin Theroux, Stan Lee (comic book), Don Heck (comic book), Larry Lieber (comic book), Jack Kirby (comic book)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, John Slattery, Paul Bettany

The Avengers
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon, Zak Penn (story), Joss Whedon (story)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Alexis Denisof, Harry Dean Stanton

This is a look at one pathway in Marvel’s Phase I, mostly because I sat in a theater and spent an entire day watching all of Iron Man’s prior outings, culminating in the premiere of Iron Man 3. My review of that latest film can be found at buzzymag.com.

From the very beginning, we meet Tony Stark, who is fun, fun, fun. Son of visionary weapons designer (and oh, so much more) Howard Stark, Tony lives in the ultimate Malibu bachelor pad. He’s a genius, rich, with private planes and toys galore. Robert Downey Jr. inhabits this role. He makes this movie!

Halfway around the world, he takes pride in personally supervising demos of the latest weapon from Stark Industries.

Of course, he is captured, then tortured, tormented, and locked in a cave–where, at the end of hope, with but a single friend (Shaun Toub), he builds a crude mechanical suit, reinventing himself in the process. This suit requires Yinsen to bolt him in and handle the power-up externally. But it wins Stark his freedom, while giving him a sense of accomplishment lacking in his life.

Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is Tony’s combination secretary-assistant, trying to get him to stop wasting his life. She also runs interference for him, important when folks like Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) of the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) want to debrief him. Actually running Stark Industries is Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), who is very conscious that he isn’t as brilliant as Tony, but is superb at playing corporate politics and handling the company.

Tony’s chauffeur Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) tries to keep him from doing anything monumentally stupid (he mostly fails), while Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Terrence Howard) serves as Stark Industries’ military liaison. Rhodey is mostly a party-pooper in this one, stiff and unable to think outside the box.

After returning home, and with the help of his very advanced home AI, Jarvis (Paul Bettany), Stark builds a better version of the mechanical suit. Now, robotic arms help him “suit up.” He reacts to flying like anyone would–like a kid with a new toy.

Even as Tony puts together his awesome new suit, though, mentally he’s torn up. He begins to doubt what Stark Industries is doing. And the more he tries to fix it, the more it unravels around him.

By the end, he’s grown as a person, and ready to own his actions, good and bad–he is Iron Man.

And by the time the credits have rolled, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has stopped by to discuss the Avengers Initiative . . .

In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark is enjoying notoriety at the Stark Expo, a World’s Fair-like event, while in Russia, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) is nursing a second-generation grudge. What actually happened with his father–that apparently depends on your point of view.

We’re also introduced to Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), a weapons expert who is anything but. Like Obediah Stane, Hammer is more of a politician than an inventor. And he is incredibly slimy.

On the flip side is both Stark and Vanko, who are classic comic book scientists: combination physicists, chemists, engineers, and they also are expert fabricators.

The real politicians (in the government), characterized by Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) would like control of Iron Man, too–conveniently not recognizing that there is a person involved. Everybody wants the suit . . . or a suit.

But all is not well. There are complications associated with having a tiny arc reactor in your chest that Tony has to deal with, and his response is just to be more reckless than usual–shutting his friends out in the process.

When Vanko appears, throwing around cars and shearing off bits, he is threatening. You believe that someone could die. Then the awesomeness that is the suitcase armor makes its appearance. Definitely an upgrade.

Agent Coulson is back, and he’s showing some teeth this time. Tony has turned Stark Industries over to Pepper Potts to run, and Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) turns up to help her out.

Rhodey (now played by Don Cheadle) is manipulated a bit in this one, although some of that is inherent in the fact that he’s military. He wants the suit, too, or Tony to be more responsible about being Iron Man.

With everyone so focused on wanting a suit, was it really a shock that Ivan built a suit?

Still, lots of action, more growth as a person on Tony’s part, more development of the Tony-Pepper relationship, more of Pepper as an independent person. The more Pepper grows, the more important she becomes to Tony. We meet Agent Romanoff, and see how awesome she is, and get a look at the S.H.I.E.L.D. dynamic. We see more of the Tony-Rhodey partnership that works so well when they fight together.

Lots of stuff blows up. Even better.

And there’s a mysterious hammer in the New Mexico desert . . .

After all of this–they showed us The Avengers. Really, we should have squeezed in Captain America and Thor, too, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. And this day belonged to Tony Stark.

It’s established that S.H.I.E.L.D. has built an installation out in the desert to study the Tesseract, staffed with scientists and agents, among them Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in charge.

But Loki (Tom Hiddleston)’s stolen the Tesseract. He’s not from around here. He keeps having meetings in his head with someone (Alexis Denisof), and he wants everyone to kneel before Zod.

Now Nick Fury transfers to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier and grabs a gamma radiation expert, Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). Why didn’t he have Banner working on the Tesseract before, if it emits gamma radiation? He also gathers up Iron Man and Captain America. Before long, they’ve found Loki, and Thor’s joined the party.

No one is getting along, and no one trusts S.H.I.E.L.D. or each other. Until Loki’s escape and tragedy forces them all together . . . the Avengers.

Now Loki is on the loose in New York. His allies, the Chitari have shown up, too. Now we get the Iron Man mark 7 deployment–in mid-air!

Now that they’re a team, everything works perfectly. Cap is a major strategist, the Hulk is in at least some control, and everyone plays nice with no egos.

Earth is safe, even if New York is kinda trashed. Everyone goes their separate ways. Nothing to see here, move along.

And not one, but two stingers.

Onward to Iron Man 3!

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Dredd 3D is a dark, real take on the adaption of Judge Dredd that leaves the 1990s version in the dust. See the full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
From the beginning voiceover by Karl Urban, it’s clear this is not the 1995 adaption of Judge Dredd–it’s a darker, grittier, Christopher Nolanesque treatment of the material that never lets up. For fans of the original comic book (2000 AD), this dystopian future is just what they were looking for.

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I spent Friday in the movie theater. Pretty much all day. Early matinee of House at the End of the Street, then Mike met me for a later matinee of Dredd. We hit the local Red Robin for dinner with Mark, then back to the theater for End of Watch followed by Trouble With the Curve. Now I just have to keep them all straight in my head and write them up. Good thing I took notes . . . .

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