Posts tagged “Marvel

The Cap is Back! – J. A. Bove

Okay movie goers, this review is long over due, but with my recent trip to Germany and some other distractions out of the way, I’m ready to give my two cents on my favorite marvel hero, Captain America. As many of you are aware, Captain America: The First Avenger, staring Chris Evans as the iconic Steve Rogers opened in theaters a few weeks back. Even though it’s been some time since I saw the movie (watched during opening week), I still have my thoughts fresh in my mind. If you didn’t see the movie, be aware that I will reveal some spoilers.

When Disney first acquired Marvel over a year ago, I had some reservations as to how they would handle the product. As expected, the market is now flooded with super hero paraphernalia of anything and everything imaginable in the stores. Is this a bad thing? Depends on how you look at it, I suppose. Point being, if there’s a consumer out there willing to by the product, then go make your money. What concerned me most however, was how they would handle the movies and the characters portrayed in these movies.

We’ve now had three opportunities to see what Marvel/Disney could do during this past summer alone. Thor, well done. The ending was a little confusing, but all in all a good film. The X-Men movie, excellent. A very revealing tale of how the X-Men got their start. Captain America, I rank as good, not the best in the group, but good. They clearly took some liberties in the history of the characters with both Cap, and his partner Bucky Barnes, but overall it was a good portrayal of the character and his creation back in the 1940’s.

I had to admit, seeing Chris Evans’ face on this ninety-eight pound weakling looked very strange. You knew they had to do it to show the transformation, but he looked really odd. I did like the fact that they took you to the very beginning and showed you how he became who he was now. It was interesting to see the struggles he endured before becoming a super soldier, and the brief history of his family played a nice background into why he was so determined to join the army. Evans did a great job in playing the role and stayed true to the Boy Scout attitude the Captain had all throughout the movie. Well played Mr. Evans, well played, a far cry from his devil may care attitude he had while playing Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four series.

Hugo Weaving also did an impressive job of portraying the Red Skull, the captain’s evil arch nemesis, and Hitler’s version of a super soldier. I really liked the fact that they brought you into a war torn Europe during WWII. The attention to detail as always was amazing … maybe a little too gloomy. The only time they took you out of the forties story line was in the beginning and the very end. Unfortunately for most viewers unfamiliar with the story line the beginning was a bit confusing. I had to do a little explaining to clear up some big questions.

My only beef, it there’s any to be had, was that they did make some dramatic changes to the original story line. Specifically the way they killed off Cap’s best buddy Bucky and even Cap’s own descent into the icy abyss. A far cry from the original version of being kicked off a German missile. Even the way the finished off the Red Skull, was inventive, but different. Does he come back from the prison created by the cube, or does he perish? I guess we’ll have to wait until Cap 2 for the answer to that question. No worries though, both versions were entertaining. Bottom line, it was a good film and definitely worth seeing if you’re a fan of the character, but it was probably the weakest of the three super hero movies released this summer. I do look forward to next year though, when they do the first Avengers film. This has been a long time in the making. I only hope it lives up to expectations.

So that’s it. The summer blockbusters are done. I’ve done my part to see and review every big film released this summer with two notable exceptions: The Green Lantern (never really a fan, wait for DVD) and The Planet of the Apes – looks awesome, but I’m spent for summer movies. Frankly, I don’t think I could sit through another thirty minutes of commercials and previews to get to another film. All in all, it was a great summer – now give me a book.

X-Men: First Class is X-cellent – J. A. Bove

I recently saw the latest installment of X-Men films entitled X-Men: First Class, starring James McAvoy, as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender, as his frenemy, Erik Lensherr, a.k.a. Magneto and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. When I first heard that Marvel was doing another installment of the X-Men series I wasn’t too excited. I thought the last X-Men movie: The Last Stand was decent, but the series felt played out. The, us vs. the world, mentality had built over the past few movies and culminated in a battle of good mutants vs. evil in where Logan’s love of Jean Grey triumphed all and helped to save the day for mankind. End scene, end series. Good run, but how do you build on that?

Why you go back forty-nine years and show us how it all began. Ah, an interesting twist you say, tell me more, you say. All right I will. If any of you have been reluctant to watch the X-Men trilogy released between 2000-2006, because you felt you didn’t know the characters, or understand why they became the way they became, this movie is for you. This is finally your chance to get in on the ground level. No more unanswered questions, no more wondering whose side to take, no more asking: why is he like this, and how did he become like that, etc. This movie answers all those questions and more. Below is my top five list of best-unanswered questions revealed in the X-men: First Class.

*Spoiler alert, if you have not seen the movie and would rather not have these unanswered questions revealed, then stop reading and go see the movie.

How did Charles Xavier become paralyzed? He was shot in the back by a stray bullet deflected off of Magneto. Next.

What put a strain on the relationship between Magneto and Xavier? They seemed like such good friends, and throughout every movie, they always shared a mutual respect toward one another. Then why the love hate relationship? Oddly enough, it wasn’t the bullet. Short answer – Xavier loves mankind, Magneto (Erik), not so much. It’s complicated. Okay then, well that begs the next question.

Why does Magneto hate humans? You would originally think it was because the Nazi’s took his parents away from him and placed him in a concentration camp, but no, that was only the beginning. It wasn’t until his mother was shot in front of him that he finally snapped. I find it odd though, that it was actually a mutant who killed his mother, not a human. Regardless, it certainly didn’t help mankind’s cause when instead of thanking him for saving the world from World War III (Kennedy who?) they shot a hundred missiles in his direction with the intent of wiping him off the face of the world. Bad politics.

Where did Xavier get the school for the X-Men? You ever notice that huge mansion all the mutants get to hang out in … how could you not? That place is pretty awesome. Well apparently Xavier’s parents were loaded (and also rich). The school was actually his childhood home. They never did go into what happened to his parents, or how the made their money, but this kid had it all (even a blue girlfriend).

Why are they called the X-Men? This one seems rather obvious, but for some reason I didn’t place it together until it was mentioned in the movie. They’re called the X-Men, because they’re Xavier’s men (and women). Duh to me, but admit it, you didn’t know either until I just told you.

So there you have it, five unanswered questions answers in one short blog. Now I know many of you may still have a number of questions out there, but why spoil the entire movie. Go see it for yourself and be the judge. You’ll discover that Charles, (when he had hair and could walk), was quite the ladies man. You’ll also be impressed to know that Magneto is fluent in at least four languages. Finally, you can show-off to your friends when you explain to them that it wasn’t Kennedy who thwarted the Cuban missile crisis, it was the X-Men. You’ll even see a surprise cameo. Who? C’mon, I don’t want to give everything away. Let’s just say he had a great line that my son enjoyed repeating. My bottom line: X-Men First Class, best of the group.

Awaken from the Odinsleep – J. A. Bove

Summer blockbuster-time is back! And what better way to open the season than with a classic superhero adventure. The latest installment comes from Marvel (my personal preference over DC, but let’s not go there, that’s another argument).  Thor opened in theaters last Friday, and of course, I was there to welcome him to the Tampa Bay area. You can imagine my surprise when I found my father in the theater waiting as well. The love of adventure apparently runs deep in the Bove family.

The latest superhero to grace the silver screen is Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, played by Chris Hemsworth. The movie also starred some other well-known Oscar worthy actors such as Naboo native, Natalie Portman, and I’ll eat your face, Anthony Hannibal-Hopkins. Did I mention this was a superhero movie? How cool is that? When was the last time you saw a couple of Oscar nominated performers doing a superhero movie? Fantasy is finally getting legit!

I had to admit, when I first heard that Marvel was going to bring Thor to the big screen, I had to scratch my head. Granted, I’m a fan of the comic, but I wasn’t sure of the crossover appeal to the general public. Let’s face it, he’s not as kid friendly as Spidy and Iron Man, he’s a bit more mature. If the masses have anything to say about it though, he was a huge success. According to IMDB figures the movie has already grossed over $60 million (within a week of its release).

Without giving away any spoilers, I will admit that I was both pleasantly surprised, and slightly disappointed at the same time (if that’s possible). Of course, I had to see the film on IMAX (nothing screams hero more than IMAX-3D) and the graphics were amazing. It’s definitely worth your while to stick around to the end and watch the universe flow in 3D as the credits fly by. The scenery was incredible, and the costumes were not over the top.

As far as the acting was concerned, I thought everyone came to play. Natalie Portman has truly become a fantasy/sci-fi favorite. Even newcomer, Chris Hemsworth, did a solid job (showed a good sense of humor). He looked a little younger than I thought Thor should be, but he carried the role well. The only role I had a problem with was Loki. Not that the actor did a bad job, as a matter of fact I thought Tom Hiddleston did a great job with the part given to him. I just thought the Loki character could have been more evil and devious than they portrayed. Instead you received a bad guy with daddy issues.

Was the movie true to the comic form? For the most part yes, but let’s face it, when Hollywood gets involved, things tend to glamor up a bit. I thought Asgard was a bit more Star Wars than Norse Mythology, but creative none-the-less. Did the story make a whole lot of sense? Eh. Did I care? Not really. I went with one mission in mind and that was to be entertained, and entertained I was.

Up next I think is yet another X-Men film, or The Green lantern. I’m not sure. I may just wait on those films (so much to see, see little time to see it). The movie I’m truly looking forward to viewing this summer is Captain America. This character is long over due for a re-make. If Thor is any indication of what to expect from Marvel going forward, then I’m enthused.

In the end, I thought this was a good start to the season. Granted it may not have posted as well as Spider Man, or Batman, but Thor clearly had a tougher crowd to win over. If you’re looking for a solid story line, you can wait for the Blu-Ray disk, (wow, I said Blu-Ray, not DVD). If on the other hand, you’re looking to escape, then you won’t be disappointed. I look forward to Thor 2. For Asgard!

Aquaman vs. Namor the Sub-Mariner

Lego Aquaman

Lego Aquaman

Growing up, I admit, my first recollection of Atlantis didn’t come to me by reading Plato, or even learning about it in school, it came to me via a comic book hero named Arthur Curry, a.k.a. Aquaman. It wasn’t so much that I read many Aquaman comics books, I was more into Spiderman back then, but I do remember watching The Justice League. Yes there was Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, but who was that hero riding the giant seahorse and talking to fish? Why that was none other than Aquaman himself.

It wasn’t long after I received my first Aquaman action figure. No, it wasn’t a doll as my sister would say, it was an action figure. You didn’t dress him up and put on pretty little outfits. You would smash him, throw him, drop him from the second floor, it was pure action. I remember taking him with me whenever I had any underwater adventures, which for me back then was either in the bathtub, or the local swimming pool. This was where I first imagined Atlantis as an actual undersea world.

Now, when it came to the comic world, both DC Comics (Aquaman), and Marvel (Namor the Sub-Mariner) did a wonderful job in exploring the idea of Atlantis in very creative ways. The most important impression they left me with was that Atlantis was indeed a thriving underwater nation that currently existed in the world we live in today. Both Aquaman and Namor were the respective rulers of their great nation; Aquaman a king and Namor a prince. But who better represented Atlantis? This is where it gets a little complicated.

Let’s start with Aquaman … talk about your identity crisis. When he was first created, it was said that his father, a famous undersea explorer discovered Atlantis. He taught his son, Arthur, how to breathe underwater and speak with sea life. From there it gets a little fuzzy. Was he the son of a common man and woman, or was Arthur’s real mother Atlanna, an outcast from Atlantis, who gave him his underwater super powers? Regardless, he viewed as the king of Atlantis. He then joined up with the famous Justice League, and from there, so many twists and re-creations of his character entered his life that now I don’t think even he would recognize himself. The last I recall, he has a spear in place of his left hand and he turned in his super hero good looks to become the Grizzly Adams of the sea. That aside, his adventures took place all over the world, and his base was in Atlantis.

Now let’s take a look at Namor the Sub-Mariner. Namor was actually born in the Atlantean empire. His father was an American sea captain, and his mother, the daughter of the Atlantean Emperor, Thakorr. He was raised in Atlantis, and later became their prince, and a warrior for their nation. He’s still around today, alternating between living there and adventuring above land. The last I recall he was seen with some pretty questionable characters and had a distaste for people who lived above the sea.

That said, both did an excellent job of representing Atlantis as a prosperous and thriving nation still in existence today. The question of who did a better job of opening up your imagination to the lost city really depends upon the character you followed closest. To me, even with all his flaws and changes, my nod still goes to Aquaman, his name said it all. Namor, not really sure how his name came about, never did it for me. I don’t think I cared much for his European style swimming trunks. This is just one man’s opinion, what do you think?