The Vision! Nuff said.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in Singapore on 23rd April.
Well, it’s been slim pickings regarding the Fantastic Four reboot even after the release of the teaser trailer. But Empire has first pictures and here they are!
It’s Reed Richards (Miles Teller) in some kind of astronaut suit with Tim Blake Nelson (who is playing the Mole Man) in the background.
Susan Storm (Kate Mara) in a black outfit with bodies on the floor.
Now, I will come right out and say that a lot of Oliver’s motivations on “Narda Parbat” make little sense. I mean, after everything that Malcolm Merlyn has done, why the hell would Oliver risk, not only his own life but that of Diggle’s, to save Merlyn? Kudos to John Barrowman for making Malcolm a deliciously despicable villain that nobody but nobody has any sympathy for. C’mon, at least Slade was utterly messed up in the head by the mirakuru in his system. So what’s Malcolm’s excuse?
Anyways, much of this episode feels like a re-tread of the one where Oliver voluntarily challenged Ra’s Al Ghul despite everybody (but Malcolm!) trying to dissuade him and for that reason it falls rather flat most of the way. It does seem that ever since the mid-season finale, Oliver has been guilty of incredibly stupid decision making! And… did anyone expect Oliver and Diggle to succeed, against the bloody League of Assassins? C’mon! That all said, I did not expect that final scene with Ra’s – alright, you got me there. Well done!
By the way, can someone tell me why Atom comes across as a second rate Iron Man? That is NOT the Atom, CW? WTF
10 films that have changed the face of the movie industry. 10 films that exist within an unprecedented shared universe. 10 films that have collectively grossed over US$7 billion worldwide. Yes, there’s no doubt that commercially, the MCU films have done fantastically well but what about creatively? Can the films stand up to critical scrutiny or is their popularity a product of marketing hype and nothing more? Let’s investigate.
IRON MAN (2008)
You know the story. Grossing over $500 million worldwide, Iron Man was an unexpected mega-hit for Marvel Studios’ first venture, marking the comeback of Robert Downey Jr and making the movie industry sit up and take notice. The post-credits scene was used for the first time, to introduce the concept of the MCU to movie audiences as Nick Fury said the words “Avengers Initiative” as a promise of things to come. Putting aside the milestones, it’s worthy to remember that this Jon Favreau-helmed film was very well made with strong performances from Jeff Bridges (Obadiah Stane), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) and Terence Howard (James Rhodes). The age of Marvel (films) had begun. (9/10)
When DC first collapsed the multiverse into one universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths, I was rather upset to lose the alternative earths that gave DC its unique flavour. Most of all, of course, I hated what it meant for the Legion of Super-heroes. But that’s another story, altogether. Well, a couple of years ago, DC went the opposite direction and brought the multiverse back – 52 universes to be exact (I rather enjoyed the process though – the Flashpoint event). In the Multiversity series, writer Grant Morrison has begun to develop this concept and take it to its logical conclusion, exploring the diverse universes that the New 52 had introduced into the continuity.
Thus far, the most interesting issue was undoubtedly the one with “Pax Americana” (featuring the ex-Charlton characters) drawn by Frank Quitely and coming across like a Watchmen homage of sorts. The latest issue – subtitled as “Guidebook” brings the concept home with Morrison detailing the 52 universes that exist (with a few mysterious exceptions) within the greater DC continuity now. Potentially, this provides creators with lots of room to work with, without having to be limited to the continuity of Earth-0 (see below).
After all, there are 51 other universes to be explored! Seems like DC is the place to be to at least see whether they can make this ambitious concept work. Time to investigate them universes more closely!
Like Thea, viewers of Arrow might be getting a little exasperated at the little twists and turns the CW series needs to take, in order to tell its stories. The last few episodes have been tough on Oliver’s little sister as she has had to deal with an almighty info dump and this latest episode was probably the worst, when she discovered that she was responsible for Sara Lance’s murder. The episode was a bit of a stopgap, serving as an incredulous training lesson meted out by Malcolm Merlyn (why do the Queen siblings continue to trust him when he has proven time and again to be untrustworthy?) but at least brought back Wilson Slade/Deathstroke for more unnecessary violent fun.
In the flashback narrative, Oliver finds himself back in Starling five years ago with Maseo (who is one of the brighter cast additions) which leads to Oliver acquiring his fathers guilty list notebook (remember?). Naturally, the show could not resist throwing in familiar faces into this mix – 2010’s version Tommy, Laurel, John, Felicity, Thea and a drunk Det. Lance all featured in mostly character-revealing moments with the introduction of Lt. Matthew Shrieve (Marc Singer!) at the conclusion spicing things up once again.
But in the present day, things need to move forward with the Ra’s Al Ghul plot line and soon. C’mon!
The Firestorm two-parter may well have been the best Flash episodes so far – which is really saying something. No stone was left unturned to flesh out the characters that make up Firestorm (i.e. Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond) and there was a sense of inevitability that the two would eventually merge once again. Harrison Wells (Reverse-Flash) is manipulating events behind the scenes and as the ending suggests is also somehow related with Gorilla Grodd as well! I am curious to see what Wells’ motivation in the scheme of things because the writers have done a good job in keeping Wells’ true intentions hidden.
The episodes worked so well that it played like a set up for a Firestorm spin-off and depending on how the audiences respond, I am guessing that that series may happen sooner than later. Victor Garber (Stein) and Robbie Amell (Raymond) have settled into their respective roles rather well and it would be intriguing to see how a Firestorm series will explore this unique dynamic. But for the Flash, it does feel that we getting ever closer to Barry’s encounter with the Reverse-Flash in a race to save his mother. Can hardly wait!
Just an aside to pay tribute to the creators of these wonderful super-heroes. Even as the credits omit this fact (based on characters in DC Comics), the Barry Allen-Flash was of course created by writers Robert Kanigher & John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino, whilst the original Firestorm was created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Al Milgrom. Credit where it is due!
Getting more and more intense with each passing episode, Arrow season 3 is maintaining its status as the best dark superhero soap opera out there.
Secrets are revealed left, right and centre and the impact on the series remains to be seen. Laurel Lance is accepted in her new role as the Canary and Ra’s Al Ghul makes his play and the Queen siblings realize that they have to trust Malcolm Merlyn, for better or worse.
Meanwhile, Oliver’s flashback narrative brings us an unexpected twist.
The secret origin of Firestorm! It took some time but finally The Flash revealed to us how Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond merged to become the Nuclear Man. In the meantime, Joe West recruits Cisco Ramon to investigate further the death of Barry Allen’s mother, with Dr Harrison Wells being the prime suspect.
Well written overall, with emotional resonance but somehow Firestorm’s lack of a costume made him look terribly lame. But Cisco’s investigation turns out some shocking results and the cliff-hanger ending kept the interest high. And.. where is Grodd?
The ‘death of Arrow – Brick takeover’ saga comes to a conclusion. But the threat of retribution from Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Assassin towards Merlyn and Arrow remains very real. A myriad plotlines come together nicely but not without setting off more new ones.
Laurel settles into her role as Canary as the Arrow team plot to take down Brick. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen struggles to return to Starling City, after rising from the dead. There is some back-story for Merlyn to get through, which humanizes him just a little, so that perhaps the audience can accept somehow Arrow’s difficult choice at the end.
Good superhero TV!
Disappointingly, no development of the Reverse-Flash story line but instead we are pushed into the direction of Firestorm as Hartley Rathaway reveals the mystery of the disappearance of Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein.
On the side, Barry Allen has some down time with Caitlin Snow, which provides the show’s lighter moments. At the centre of attention – Peekaboo, a teleporter whom Flash and the team have to overcome.
A typically good episode for The Flash, with different plot strands being examined in the coming weeks.
Finally, the first teaser trailer for the new Fantastic Four movie arrives and frankly, it’s looks fine to me. After all the trepidation of the supposedly ‘un-superheroic’ approach of the reboot, the movie comes across like a Warren Ellis comic book, specifically Ultimate Fantastic Four!
Of course, the movie could still suck but at this point of time, I am looking forward to see what Josh Trank has come up with. Check it out!
After the apparent death of Oliver Queen at the end of the mid-season finale, how do the Arrow team carry on without their intrepid leader? Not very well by all accounts, as they get their asses whupped by Vinnie (“I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”) Jones’ silly Brick character. Which is just as well that Olly returns from the dead at the end of this episode. Spoiler? What spoiler? You expected CW to kill off its lead character? Seriously??
But at least, the Arrow’s absence pushes Laurel Lance to put on Black Canary togs and kick arse – so it’s win – win for everyone, eh? All good fun and at least they didn’t milk Olly’s death for too much cheap emotional shots. Although… it’s always cool to see Felicity all vulnerable and so on. Normal service to be resumed? We shall wait and see…
The Flash is back and he’s bringing a couple of rogues along with him! Captain Cold and Heat Wave team up to confront the Scarlet Speedster!
Sorry for all the excitement but how cool was it to bring back the stars of Prison Break (remember when?) Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell (above) to play the cold and hot villains respectively?!?
Once again, The Flash proves that you can have good fun with superhero TV, without being silly, while still being true to the tone of the source material.
As the ending suggested, we will definitely see more of Captain Cold & Heat Wave (their personalities fit as well!) in the coming episodes – awesome casting and great writing! Bring on the Trickster….
For a scifi-superhero movie that is slated for release later this year (August), virtually no advance information of the new Fantastic Four movie is available online except a couple of interviews, a plot summary and this fuzzy photograph (above) of the cast when shooting wrapped last year!
Yes, this reboot of the comic book that launched the Marvel Universe itself is only seven months away and the silence over at Fox is deafening. And can anyone blame Fox? After all, the initial buzz of having Chronicle’s Josh Trank helm the movie dissipated quickly when the cast was announced (Miles Teller as Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Sue Storm, Michael B Jordan as Johnny Storm and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm).
The last two choices were particularly controversial for obvious reasons as fans opined that physically, both Jordan and Bell did not resemble the characters whatsoever. The situation worsened when actors admitted that the movie would not be faithful to the source material – Mara confirmed that director Trank advised her NOT to read the comic book before shooting began!
Directed by Ethan Spaulding
Written by Heath Corson
Starring (voices of) Matt Lanter, Sam Witwer, Jason O’Mara, Shemar Moore, Jerry O’Connell, Christopher Gorham, Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Sean Astin, Harry Lennix.
Ostensibly a sequel to Justice League War – the animated movie introduction to the New 52 continuity – Throne of Atlantis is a very loose adaptation of the storyline that ran through the Justice League and Aquaman comics from 2012-2013.
Considering that Aquaman was replaced with Shazam (the original Captain Marvel) in War, it’s clear that Throne was to be used as an introduction to Aquaman. Thus, major changes to the comic book plot were made that greatly weakened the storyline. (AND seriously, why change Mera’s costume?)
In that context, it is recommended that you skip this movie completely and go straight to the source material.
However, if you do feel the need to compare and contrast.
The 2nd trailer for the much anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron is out now. Although Ultron is set up to the villain of the piece, it does appear – based on this trailer – that internal strife within the Avengers ranks is the real enemy. If so, this plot point would lead us nicely into Captain America: Civil War.
Date of release: 30th April (Singapore)
Our first proper look at the Ant-Man movie is a teaser trailer that comes with a Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) voice-over, as Pym attempts to convince the convicted felon Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to become the Ant-Man (or ‘Ent-Man’ as Douglas pronounces it!).
After the speech, Lang responds with typically Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) light humor and whilst the action montage does not seem that exciting (the special effects of Ant-Man and trademark flying ant was underwhelming), it’s too early to draw any conclusions.
Evangeline Lilly looks hot as Hope Van Dyne (Pym’s daughter with Janet Van Dyne) but everything else is a blur. No clue as yet how they are going to handle this idea of Pym being a elder gentleman and how the MCU history will handle the original Ant-Man and even Wasp. All to be revealed on 17th July.
Fans will recall how Marvel released an ant-sized teaser trailer a couple of days ago? Well, enough of the PR gimmicks, here’s the full-sized teaser, with the proper trailer coming out on 7th January.
Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly & Michael Douglas and will be in Singapore cinemas on 16th July 2015.
… still there’s more …
“The Priest & the Dragon: The October Incident: 1966 ” by Grant Morrison & Joe Quesada. | “The Miracleman Family: Seriously Miraculous” by Peter Milligan & Mike Allred.
Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?
Alan Moore’s re-invention of the superhero genre with Marvelman/Miracleman was for me, akin to the Sex Pistols/Punk’s impact on rock music. This legacy is self-evident from reading the Marvel reprints of the Miracleman collected editions, which has thankfully brought the iconoclastic material to a new audience. Read some background here.
So what does Marvel do, to cash in? This highly dubious Annual – which features a Grant Morrison Kid Miracleman tale originally rejected by Moore (justifiably as it turns out!) for publication in Warrior magazine back in the day and a pointless Miracleman Family adventure done in retro style.
Favourite movies of 2014. And why.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy (Directed by James Gunn)
No surprise here. Gunn took an unlikely B-grade space opera comic book story and transformed Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot into a family of heroes fighting for the galaxy. In doing so, Gunn infused comedy and drama brilliantly to convey all the wonder of a ‘real’ comic book experience.
2. Predestination (Directed by the Spierig Brothers)
Sleeper of the year! Low budget scifi at its best. Sterling performances from Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook coupled with a very tightly woven tale makes for an enthralling film. Very faithful to its source material (Heinlein’s -All You Zombies-), Predestination is way up there with all the best ‘mindfuck’ flicks like 12 Monkeys & Inception. Keep a close watch on Michael and Peter Spierig.
3. Nightcrawler (Directed by Dan Gilroy)
An intense study of sociopathic attitudes (as embodied in Jake Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom), debutant director Gilroy presents a scathing commentary on the modern law of the urban jungle. In the mind of Bloom, survival of the fittest takes on ominous tones and Gyllenhaal’s masterful performance is both chilling and impressive. Gilroy is another directorial talent to look out for.
Our look at the geek movies of 2015 continues with the 2nd half of the year dominated by the return of the Star Wars movie franchise with Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. Nothing even comes remotely close between that and Avengers: Age of Ultron – which means serious moolah for Disney, doesn’t it? Not many trailers to feature here but will update as and when trailers are released. Check out Part One here.
Terminator: Genisys (1 July)
Cameron’s Terminator gets rebooted with a couple of twists & turns along the way. Most ridiculous thing is that Arnold is back as an aging robot! A non starter but might be good for (unintentional) laughs.
Here we go again, as 2014 wraps up, let’s take a look at the geek movies coming our way in the first half of 2015 and examine which are the ones we must watch and the ones we might need to avoid.
Alien Outpost (30 Jan)
Typical alien invasion flick with the look and feel of those recent Iraq/Afghanistan war movies. The aliens (heavies?) looked really silly in the trailer though. Not essential whatsoever.
Jupiter Ascending (6 Feb)
The Wachowskis are back with an original screenplay, their first since The Matrix trilogy. With Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis as the leads, this movie will appeal to the young adults set. For the rest of us, it’s hard to tell at this stage but The Wachowskis have still enough goodwill left for geeks to give this film a chance.