Sunday, July 30, 2006
My Super Ex Girlfriend
Fairly cute movie. I liked the fact that all the characters just assumed the existence of superheroes. Yes, it was neat if your buddy happened to see G-Girl putting out a fire, but it wasn't a life-changing event. Superheroes as celebreties, in other words; as cool as if your buddy saw Uma Thurman in a restaurant. The concept was clever, but I think it would've been better if the script had focused more on the female superhero as a metaphor for men's basic insecurity about strong/successful women. Maybe that's why G-Girl is so incredibly unlucky in love, and neurotically paranoid. As it is, her character is barely explored and we really have no idea why she goes insane after Luke Wilson's character dumps her. Yes, there are hints that Luke Wilson's character considers himself a fairly open-minded guy (at least in comparison to his wonderfully loathesome best friend played by Rainn Wilson) and some hints that he feels intimidated by G-Girl (and not just in bed), especially once he learns her secret identity, but more could've been done with it. There is a funny scene at the end where Wilson's character and reformed supervillian Professor Bedlam (wonderfully played by Eddie Izzard) are left holding their super girlfriends' coats and purses as they fly off to save the day. So, all in all, a pretty clever idea, with some genuinely funny moments, but it could've been better with a little more work.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Recent Comics I Have Read
New Avengers #20 & 21: The end of the Michael saga was good way to bring back Magneto. I now officially regret looking forward to Chaykin's artwork. It comes across as stiff, unwieldy and the characters inexplicably have tiny skinny little legs with huge torsos balanced on top.
Batman #654: Artwork is still uneven. The storyline would be better if we had been given more time to empathize with Harvey Dent, so we actually felt bad when he descended back into madness, which took about 2 pages. Has the Great White Shark appeared before? If so, did he seem as lame then? The ending is nice.
Brave New World: Several short stories, all fairly mediocre. The New Atom is interesting; the Marvel Family remains impenetrably lame. The new Freedom Force is...intriguing. Who the heck is Father Time?
Captain America #19: Finishing up the more or less decent Union Jack team-up. The art is either getting better, or I'm getting used to it. Yet MORE cameos by super secret Soviet cyber-Bucky! Feh.
Civil War #2: A let-down from the first issue. How many times have we seen this cliche? Protagonist is "kidnapped" or otherwise "disappears" and when the blindfold is removed, he's in a hidden lair and someone says "Welcome to the resistance." The internets are of course all a'buzz about the big outing of Peter Parker. I personally have no problem with change. I have no problem with big change. Characters grow up, get married, sometimes they die. This change, however, seems completely gratuitous, just another gimmick to sell comics.
Invincible #33: Alternate Universe Brain-head guy strikes! Does Invincible's mom have any point other than to be drunk, menaced or have the crap beaten out of her?
Iron Man #9: Still not sold on Zircher and Hanna's artwork; looks too...I dunno...manga? Not big eyed, microscopic-nosed manga, but--well, just can't put my finger on it, but I don't like it. Again, why the hell is Nick Fury running things? Have I missed a memo? And I still don't understand how we are realistically ret-conning Iron Man's origin out of Vietnam and into the Afghan war. That makes Iron Man, tops, 4 years old. Couldn't we have at least used the first Gulf War?
JSA #86: Big lead-up to the final issue. Artwork is very very not good. A close-up on Power Girl makes her look like some kind of buck-toothed Bizarro world caricature. The Gentleman Ghost is just not enough of a villain to pull this story off.
Ms. Marvel #4: I liked it. Good art. Nice House of M mystery tie-in. DC are you taking notes? Dr. Strange was presented well. Some sinister undertones to Ms. Marvel's agent. Good. I'd like to see a tie-in with Carol Danvers' blog. That could be a good storytelling device.
Outsiders #37: Yeah, nothing like love between a giant talking gorilla and a...brain...in a pickle jar. Alan Scott, Agent of SHIELD (including the eye patch BEHIND his mask). And we can never have too many lectures by Superman: you're going too far. I have my eye on you. And Nightwing THREATENS HIM WITH KRYPTONITE! WTF? Yeah, this is stupid and I don't think I will buying any more of this.
Squadron Supreme #4: The origin of Inertia, and unsurprisingly, it involves sexual assault (evidently mandatory for all female comic book characters) and also a hypocritical right-wing Christian preacher with a penchant for domestic violence. Okay, guys, know what? This horse is DEAD. It's been overdone since at least Elmer Gantry. Can there be NO positive Christian characters in comics? Even Nightcrawler had to be turned into a stooge for some white supremacist outfit instead of a Catholic priest.
Ultimates 2 #11: The battle against the Evil Liberal Army continues. I get the distinct impression there's going to be some big, reality-altering magick thingamabob at the end of this, probably involving Odin. Which might explain why there is NO cross-continuity with this storyline in any of the other Ultimate titles.
Young Avengers #12: Very entertaining team-up with the New Avengers. I'm starting to like this book alot. Weird, silly, unnecessary, self-congratulatory back-up story.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Playing the Bendis Card
From the almost-always hillarious Nodwick!
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Nothing Says "Liberty"...
Labels: World of Warcraft
Saturday, July 01, 2006
****CHOCK FULL O' SPOILERS****
That John Williams theme. Every geek my age can't help but feel stirred at that crashing martial beat as a red-and-blue streak crosses the sky. Frankly, it's too bad Williams didn't score the whole thing, as the rest of the music was fairly generic. Brandon Routh does an excellent job of playing Christopher Reeve playing Superman. Actually, as Clark Kent, Routh is at times virtually indistinguishable from Reeve back in '78. I had originally thought, looking at stills, that he was too slim to be believable as a superhero, but it wasn't that bad on screen. Kevin Spacey does an excellent job out-hamming Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, but he adds an air of menace that Hackman never had. You believe Spacey's Luthor would kill someone with his bare hands and never think twice. Kate Bosworth looks WAY too young to be believable as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. She's twenty-three but looks maybe 18 in the movie. It's supposed to be five years after Superman left, so she was working at the Daily Planet as what? A high school intern? Couldn't Bryan Singer have cast someone who was at least old enough to have graduated college? I have to say I did NOT like the new costume. The brick-red on the cape and shorts and boots is too dark and detracts from the whole familiar American flag theme. And the cape's material seems too much like pleather, okay for the Batman, maybe, but not Superman. I also found myself missing the gold "S" shield on the cape, as well. The story is good, but drags at points and would've benefitted from some tighter editing. Singer goes way over the top with the religious iconography, practically hammering it home. From a Pieta scene with Ma Kent at the beginning, to guards gambling after they beat the crap out of a temporarily depowered Superman, to Lex Luthor piercing his side, to a cruciform Man of Steel plunging to Earth, to a nurse finding that "the tomb was empty," to Marlon Brando's recorded voice intoning, "My only son..." Enough already, Singer! We get it! Geez! So to speak. And, of course, there's Super Out of Wedlock Boy. I really saw no need for this particular plot point at all, really and I found myself annoyed by it the longer it went on. And poor James Marsden! His characters just can't catch a break. Superhumans are either disentigrating them or muscling in on their girlfriends by being a Super-stalker. The idea of Superman scanning my house, by the way, is actually pretty creepy. I would've liked to see Superman actually fight somebody, even Luthor, as opposed to spending the whole movie lifting or catching things. The cinematography is practically claustrophobic; seemed like half the damn movie was an extreme closeup of something or other or someone's face.
Okay, so that was the bad. The good was, it's an entertaining film. Singer is obviously a fanboy, obviously has a great deal of reverance for the source material, both the comic and the iconic 1978 film and it shows in the respect and love he demonstrates for the characters. Singer also adds some nice touches, like Superman having to fight the semi-real laws of physics to rescue a crashing airplane, a thug who nevertheless plays the piano and is nice to children, and a cameo by Jack Larson. Overall, I have to agree that the world needs Superman and this was a classy if slightly plodding vehicle to bring him back on the big screen.