Netflix’s collaboration with Marvel featuring the grittier, street-wise superheroes of New York (of the Marvel Cinematic Universe) enters into Phase Two with Jessica Jones. Whilst Daredevil has a marquee-level brand recognition, Jessica Jones would only be familiar to diehard comic book fans, from the Marvel MAX series, Alias. Thus, it represented a bit of a risk for Netflix-Marvel to produce a Jessica Jones series over a more prominent character like say, The Punisher or even Luke Cage. But the gamble paid off and how!
The latest DC crossover event Convergence gave the company the excuse to reboot its characters yet again. For some reason, Marvel and DC are convinced that comic book readers constantly want something new in lieu of memorable stories.
The Silver Age Green Lantern (a.k.a. Hal Jordan) gets his latest makeover with the Renegade storyline: Hal gets a new look as he goes rogue from the Green Lantern Corps and along the way, Jordan steals a Green Lantern prototype gauntlet and power pack from the armoury.
Yes, like most geeks I can hardly wait to watch Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens when it opens in Singapore on 16th December 2015 (and yes, I have purchased my tickets already!) BUT at the back of my mind I have lingering doubts whether the movie can live up to its enormous hype. So let’s look at SEVEN of them, shall we?
It seldom gets as meta as it did in the 4-part Airboy series recently published by Image Comics, written by Jame Robinson and illustrated by Greg Hinkle.
Basically, Robinson and Hinkle are hired by Image Comics to reboot WWII hero Airboy for the millennial generation. Instead, the mini-series is about Robinson and Hinkle meeting Airboy (!) being transported into WWII and actually participating in an Airboy mission.
Well you know when it comes to big superhero comics crossover, it’s easy to be cynical & look at them as nothing more than cash-grabs i.e. a gimmick to lure completist fans to buy every comic ‘associated’ with the main event storyline.
Well, strictly speaking, the issues focusing on Batman, Superman and the Flash do not occur within the current continuity of the regular titles so, one might argue that these one-shots do not qualify as cynical cash-grabs but a genuine attempt to explore the implications of Darkseid’s death.
Some of the best horror movies ever made involve characters getting caught up in a common misfortune: home invasion. While rampant gore, the undead, and killer clowns are creepy and frightening, nothing is scarier than a horror film which revolves around everyday events. These terrifying home invasion movies will have you triple-checking your door locks at night well after Halloween is over.
2015 is the 50th anniversary of many critical events – as we are often reminded. However, as a fan of mind-bending science fiction, I would also like to point out that 1965 was the year Philip K Dick’s novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch was published. Along with other Dick classics like Ubik & Time Out of Joint, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch questions the very nature of reality itself with the story revolving around the use & experience of simulated reality by its key characters.
Supergirl is the latest superhero TV series and joined the likes of The Flash (2nd Season), Arrow (4th) & Agents of SHIELD (3rd) in an ever-increasing costumed tights buffet. I don’t count Gotham as a superhero TV series as it is just a (boring) police procedural set in the Batman universe & worse still, a prequel (I hate prequels).
Ironically, despite the fact that the pilot was leaked online months ago, Supergirl’s premiere episode did very well out of the blocks. Presumably, the female lead and Superman associations put the new series in good stead. Apparently this series is based on the Christopher Reeve Superman continuity and thus adopts a more light-hearted tone. And thus has nothing to do with current DC comics continuity (which is messed up) or the DC movie universe as established by Man of Steel (very very dark) – which makes sense.
However, because of this, there is less Geek Out value to Supergirl compared to the other series above-mentioned & will probably appeal more to the Gotham crowd than hardcore comic book geeks. The Flash and Arrow still have an edge over Agents of SHIELD, due to the CW writers and producers being more faithful to the source material than even Marvel itself, surprisingly.
Oliver Queen’s running for Mayor of Star City (Arrow) and the appearance of King Shark (!!!) in The Flash (not to mention the new Firestorm) in the latest episodes gives us geeks exactly what we want in a superhero TV series – nods to original material, over the top heroics & of course, ridiculous villains! Awesome fun!
One of the best parts of having a new Star Wars movie this year is – apart from the film itself – the creativity demonstrated by hardcore fans. Here’s a heartfelt tribute to the original trilogy set to the score on the latest The Force Awakens trailer by Medley Weaver – it is breathtaking and emotional to witness. Kudos!
If you haven’t seen The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 3 yet, then I suggest you stop reading because SPOILERS ensue!
While the success of the Marvel Studios movies has had an impact on Hollywood, it has also changed the face of Marvel comic books. Where once the X-Men held sway as Marvel Comics’ main draw, now it’s the Avengers. Look at the teaser for the post-Secret Wars All-New All-Different Marvel and you will hard pressed to find a single X-Man or Fantastic Four member. Why? Because Fox owns the movie rights to those characters and from a business perspective, why would Marvel promote these characters? See how screwed up it all is now?
As Spider-Man is back in the Marvel fold – in the sense that Marvel is collaborating with Sony on the character – the Spider-verse is high up on Marvel’s priorities. Except that Peter Parker/Spider-Man has morphed into Tony Stark/Iron Man. What a revolting development! Also, there are titles for Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman & the Ultimate Spider-Man, all in the same universe! Confused yet? Don’t worry, you will be.
Speaking of Stark, the Invincible Iron Man #1 at least reads like a proper title compared to the anthology nature of Amazing Spider-Man #1. The most interesting moment in this reboot comes in the form of a date with an Indian (female) scientist where the latter recounts that she has invented a cure for the mutant gene with no negative side effects. And there you go, with one stroke of the pen, Fox will have no more mutant characters to make movies about! Will Marvel do this?
Avengers #0 crams an introduction to all the various A-teams (remember when it used to be X-teams?) in the new Marvel Universe. I must admit that I did not understand a single storyline and was bemused by the fact that the Squadron Supreme – which began as a Marvel parody of the Justice League – is now a fully fledged title within the Marvel Universe. How lame can you get?
So yeah, don’t expect me to re-visit this rebooted new Marvel anytime soon – except perhaps to explore how badly Marvel has messed up the X-Men and Fantastic Four.
Based on the book by writer Andy Weir, The Martian is the story of astronaut Mark Watney’s survival on the planet Mars after he is left stranded. In that respect, one might say it’s basically Robinson Crusoe on Mars with better science and no Friday. It’s also similar to Gravity, where Sandra Bullock’s character is stranded in outer space and has to find her way back to Earth. Or even Tom Hanks’ Castaway? Or… what was the name of that movie when I was a child? Lost in the Desert?
As you can tell, the premise is nothing new and there are numerous stories about the lost or stranded protagonist who needs to survive and to find his or her way home. Therefore, there was a sense of trepidation before watching The Martian – mainly because of that familiar storyline. But to the credit of director Ridley Scott, scriptwriter Drew Goddard and the cast, The Martian is executed brilliantly and is ultimately a very emotionally resonant, thought-provoking and entertaining film. And also rather surprisingly, very funny as well.
Speaking of the cast, apart from Damon’s usual reliable star turn, special mention must be made of the performances of Jeff Daniels (as Teddy Sanders, head of NASA), Chiwetel Ejiofor (as Vincent Kapoor, a NASA mission director), Jessica Chastain (as Melissa Lewis, Ares III commander) and Sean Bean (as Mitch Henderson, a NASA mission director).
The presence of Bean inspired probably the most bizarrely comical segment when a secret project is dubbed “Elrond” with references of The Lord of the Rings being thrown about! Unbelievable! If you don’t quite get this then you need to understand that Bean played Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring.
Most everything worked in The Martian, which is not often the case in recent movies helmed by Scott but it does seem that the veteran director has gotten his mojo back – which bodes well for the Prometheus sequel.
But well before that, make sure you do not miss The Martian – a feel good scifi movie that affirms the ‘never-say-die’ ethos of the human spirit.
This week brought along the return of The Flash and the third episodes of Limitless and Agents of SHIELD (Season 3).
Bit of a curveball as we started Season 2 of The Flash with the disappearance of Ronnie Raymond (yeah, we know he isn’t dead – Firestorm is part of DC: Legends of Tomorrow) and Barry Allen isolating himself from his loved ones in the six months following. Well, along comes the really lame super-villain Atom Smasher, whose only purpose is to introduce the villain of the season (Zoom) and the family all coming together as one. If you are wondering, Jay Garrett (the ‘Golden Age Flash’) appears at the end. But slow moving – c’mon this is The Flash – but next episode promises more…
Agents of SHIELD is finally a fully-fledged superhero TV show with Daisy (formerly Skye) demonstrating her Inhuman powers. However, the team is fragmented with May hiding out with her father & Simmons on some desolated planet. But not for too long as Ward reforms HYDRA and the Agents get together again to face the emerging threat.
Was rather skeptical about this TV adaptation of the Limitless movie but this episode demonstrated that the over-arching story concerning the plans that Senator Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) has for our protaganist Brian, has legs and the introduction of the diabolical Mr Sands (Colin Salmon, Walter Steele from Arrow) into Brian’s life is a masterstroke. Looking forward to see how the show develops this. Oh and Jennifer Carpenter is a pure gem as always!
… still there’s more …
Spoilers lie in wait. You have been warned.
Following the ongoing success of The Walking Dead, AMC and creator Robert Kirkman brought us the prequel companion series Fear the Walking Dead, having decided to give us the chance to experience the infection from the beginning. Concluding its first season this past Sunday, the show gave us an interesting look at the slow fall of civilization that led up to the impending zombie apocalypse we see Rick and gang battling. But for a season that (according to most fans) started out slowly, it ended with quite the bang and one of the largest walker hordes shown to date.
The new TV season is upon us geeks – even as Fear The Walking Dead and The Strain end their respective storylines for the time being (both will definitely be back), The Leftovers returns.
Considering how popular The Walking Dead is, it’s no surprise that this spin-off did well in terms of viewership. Fear the Walking Dead was a disappointment though and never got near to the intensity, drama and characterisation that its parent series managed in its powerful debut season (which was also only six episodes).
The Strain‘s second season was rather mixed. Plotlines were left dangling, women characters were killed off & still we are nowhere closer to resolving key issues.
Now, I enjoyed the polarising quasi-religious HBO series The Leftovers and am glad to report that Season 2 is off to a great start by introducing a new town and a new family into the storyline before more familiar faces turn up. As usual, all the weird elements remain intact – goat sacrifice in a diner, anyone? – with ominous undertones bubbling under the surface wonderfully.
If nothing else, the Fantastic Four reboot has gotten us thinking about the worst superhero movies out there – of which there is an abundance, sadly.
Well, first up, of course, the obvious ones from DC’s World’s Finest, no less.
SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE (1987)
How did this franchise go from highly acclaimed (the first two instalments) to an absolute dud?
BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997)
Tim Burton revived the Bat-franchise with two well-received dark movies before Joel Schumacher decided to have some campy fun with the character. George Clooney famously said that he almost single-handedly killed the Caped Crusader! A nadir for the superhero genre.
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006)
Again, two hit movies in the franchise somehow led to a turkey. Bryan Singer abandoned this 2nd X-Men sequel to helm Superman Returns (more of that later) leaving Bret Ratner to pick up the pieces. What he assemble was a travesty that subsequent X-Men movies have barely acknowledged. Favourite line? “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009)
Now, Fox had a huge hit with The Last Stand (based on the goodwill generated by the first two X-movies) so they probably thought, let’s take the most popular X-Man and make an origin movie that is just as bad. Here’s how awful this was – they sowed up Deadpool’s mouth! Seriously WTF!
SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006)
Not content in being an indirect cause for X-Men: The Last Stand sucking so bad, Bryan Singer had to foist on us all this ill-judged sequel to Superman II. C’mon! It was obvious from the beginning that this was the wrong approach for Superman in 2006.
Yes I do realise that there are still many more out there but the ones highlighted above were serious tentpole movies that spent a fair amount of money but failed as creative endeavours (some of them actually made big bucks). Thus, I ignored the likes of Daredevil, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, Green Lantern, Amazing Spider-Man 2 etc. Considering the only superhero characters at risk now are solely in the hands of 20th Century Fox (Daredevil and Punisher have thankfully reverted to Marvel and SONY is working with Marvel on Spider-Man), there is still scope for bad superhero films with the upcoming Deadpool, Gambit and upcoming X-movies. Fingers crossed, everyone!
(Note: This review is filled with spoilers. Mainly because I find it hard to believe that after reading this, you would be insane enough to still want to watch this turkey!)
This Fantastic Four reboot never had a chance. From the get-go, geeks hated it. From director Josh Trank boasting about how his version would be a ‘game-changer’ to the controversial casting, this reboot has had a troubled journey. Sadly, the finished movie justifies the hate and then some.
In an attempt to ‘modernise’ the origins of the Fantastic Four – and borrowing from the Ultimate Fantastic Four series – the movie gutted out everything that made Fantastic Four so special in the first place. That sense of connection. One never got that sense from this movie.
In the comic book origin, scientist Reed Richards and pilot Ben Grimm were best friends; Susan Storm was Richards’ girlfriend and Johnny Storm was Susan’s brother. Without the pre-existing relationship between Reed and Susan, their link is tenuous. Also, in the movie, Susan and Johnny are adopted siblings and of different races as well. This made any connections between them rather hard to swallow.
From that poor foundation, it becomes impossible for Trank to build up an effective story with too many plot holes to fill. For example, Reed is recruited by the Baxter Institute by way of a science fair experiment? Ludicrous. Susan gets her power without even being part of the inter-dimensional jaunt? Illogical. After the accident, Reed disappears for a year – a plot point that fails to serve the story at all!
The movie takes ridiculous short-cuts throughout, without any explanation. We never see how the characters develop their powers – we are given the finished product instead. The battle scenes are incredibly lame and do not get me started how Fox utterly fucked up Doctor Doom yet again!
Firstly, how did Victor Von Doom survive for a year in Planet Zero (not the Negative Zone, as it should have been). Secondly, why are there no security precautions to deal with Doom when everyone who returned from Planet Zero has some incredible powers. Finally, why is it so easy for the Fantastic Four to dispatch Doom when earlier he was shown to kill people by merely looking at them?
Suffice to say that this is one of the worst superhero movies in recent memory and will take its rightful place alongside X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Superman Returns and Spider-Man 3.
DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE ENOUGH OF A FAILURE SO THAT FOX WILL GIVE UP AND RETURN THE FANTASTIC FOUR TO MARVEL.
The Merc with the Mouth gets his own movie! And it certainly looks like Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool – though am not sure if that’s much of a compliment. And judging from the red band trailer, it’s everything you expected a Deadpool movie to be. Not quite sure if that’s a good thing though.
Deadpool hits theatres on 12th February 2016.
The spy movie genre still remains popular amongst film goers even in this age of superhero dominance. To demonstrate that, here are three upcoming spy movies that fans should pay attention to.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION
Tom Cruise and company are back to save the world and this time, they face their most formidable challenge ever – a nation of enemy spies (!) and Cruise himself has to up the ante (performing some very dangerous stunts) to provide that box office spark! Opens on 31st July.
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
Now, the original TV series meant quite a bit to me when I was a kid in the 60s – though to be honest I can’t remember a thing about the show – so I suppose I have a certain stake in wanting this to be a success. That said, the trailer looks quite silly but am hoping that the charisma of Henry Cavill (as Napoleon Solo) will carry the movie through. Opens on 14th August.
The grandaddy of all spy movies is still going strong. The James Bond franchise has outlasted all pretenders and this time round the Daniel Craig-Bond finally encounters his arch-nemesis SPECTRE. Opens on 6th November.
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Last time out, Fox botched its characterisation of Dr Doom – one of the most iconic of super-villains – and that, and it’s rather campy approach marked its first attempt at adapting Marvel’s Fantastic Four as a failure. Watching this final trailer for this FF reboot, it is clear that the critical point of acceptance will once again hinge on the handling of Doom.
Apart from that, based on the trailers so far, this reboot looks like a serviceable origin story, using the Ultimate Fantastic Four series as a strong inspiration. In a year of mega-blockbusters like Fast and Furious 7, Jurassic World and Terminator: Genisys letting us down on the basic story front, hopefully Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four will surprise us all with a solid plot and characters, even as Marvel Studios itself roots for it to fail.
Fantastic Four opens in Singapore on 6th August.
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There have been doubts about Warner Bros throwing in a Suicide Squad movie adaptation so quickly in the mix but they wanted to different themselves from Marvel Studios, then this is certainly one way to do it! A super-villain team-up? How more contrasting to The Avengers can you get? From the trailer, it is clear who will getting the most fan attention – Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and of course, Jared Leto’s Joker. Looks like an interesting ride, if nothing else.
No finer time to be a geek!
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Zack Snyder has well and truly thrown down the gauntlet for DC superheroes with this new Batman v Superman trailer!
The trailer explains the background behind why the Dark Knight would want to take down the Man of Tomorrow and in doing so gives a solid middle finger to all the trolls who have been bitching about the third act of Man of Steel all this time!
There are great shots of Wonder Woman to savour as well and it does look like B v S is going to give Captain America: Civil War a good fight for superhero movie of 2016.
No finer time to be a geek!
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CW is on a roll with its superhero TV series and the new trailer for new series DC Legends of Tomorrow tries to ensure that you do not forget this fact!
So… we are ‘treated’ to a recap of the origins of Arrow and The Flash – for the newbies probably – before being introduced to the Legends team one more time.
Rather inconsequential all told but keeping expectations in holding mode till 2016.
See what you think.
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