Tag Archives: comic book movies

Avengers Assemble!


If you are wondering whether or not to see The Avengers, whether or not the movie could possibly live up to the hype, wonder no more. Go see the freaking movie as soon as you finish reading this review because it ROCKS.

If you look at it logically, how could this movie NOT rock? You have a demi-god, a living legend (who does an awesome job holding up the legend part), a brilliant doctor with a massive anger management problem, the world’s greatest archer (sorry DC and Green Arrow), the world’s greatest spy, AND the icing on the cake — a billionaire philanthropist playboy genius inventor who happens to own some really cool suits of armor.

Not impressed? How about Samuel L. Jackson? In a freaking EYEPATCH! Yes! Jules Winnfield / Jedi Master Mace Windu is the man behind getting this superhero buffet together.

Oh, before I forget, one other thing.  Joss Whedon wrote the script and directed the movie. What’s that? You don’t know who Joss Whedon is? Crap, dude, you live under a rock? He’s ONLY a guy who “plain and simple wakes up in the morning to piss excellence” — to paraphrase Ricky Bobby. I mean, come on, the guy made a hugely successful and long running TV show out of a vampire chasing cheerleader. If he can turn that chicken sh. . . . um feathers, yeah, chicken feathers (sorry mama) premise into chicken salad, how could a fanboy like him miss with the kind of material The Avengers bring to the table?

Seriously, the script is very well written. The first half of the movie gets everyone in place without resorting to an over abundance of deus ex machina and the second half of the film lets the newly assembled, torn apart, and reassembled-with-resolute-purpose team loose to take care of the bad guys. The pacing just doesn’t lag. You aren’t sitting in the seats going “When is something important going to happen?” Important stuff is happening all the time, but in an easily followed fashion . . . . sort of like — and I’m really going fishing here — A COMIC BOOK!

What makes this movie work is it never takes itself too seriously. This is a fantastic action film that will make everyone involved with it a tandem-axle dump truck load of money. It is NOT an Oscar vehicle. The witty one-liners and sight gags abound, but they aren’t all dumped on one character. Everyone has a great line or scene or two — even the guy playing Galaga on his terminal while the SHIELD ship is under attack.

With all the huge stars in this film the potential for someone to want to hog the screen had to be overbearing, but everyone gets plenty of screen time. That brings up another point of excellence in the movie — all the casting was spot on. I think casting Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man is probably the most underrated but important move a director has made since someone picked a collie to play Lassie. Downey IS Tony Stark. He doesn’t even have to act. Mark Ruffalo, meanwhile, is the best Dr. David Banner since Bill Bixby famously said, “Don’t make me angry, sir. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!”  Jeremy Renner and the ever lovely ScarJo play their roles as physically perfect but non-superpowered members of the team to perfection as well. One piece of bad news though, girls, Chris Helmsworth / Thor never takes his shirt off in this film. In short, it’s an ensemble cast of established and rising starts who interact extremely well and make the movie a huge success and a ton of fun to watch.

Watching the movie is like reading a comic book complete with the same breathlessness and desire to turn the page. It also stays in the ballpark with established comic book canon. Not every little detail matches up, but enough stays behind from the Lee and Kirby days to make us purists happy. All in all, The Avengers gives viewers all the excitement and value for our entertainment dollar that a really good comic book movie ought to give and for longtime Marvel fanboys like me, that’s all we ask for.

So, love y’all, keep those feet clean, aaaannnnddd

Bring on Iron Man 3!

Cowboys and Aliens is Worth Seeing


Okay, a movie has to be able to hold a lot of weight to be the kickoff for a 15th anniversary celebration. Cowboys and Aliens delivered nicely. Budge and I made a last-minute decision to skip Captain America in favor of Cowboys and Aliens mostly because the latter fit better into our evening dinner schedule, but also because I am a Cap Am fan and I always dread movies about my favorite heroes because I always end up getting one of two extremes — Iron Man or the first Incredible Hulk. In other words the movie is either outstanding or wretched. Of course, critics and other viewers may love comic book movies that I hate (e.g. X-Men: First Class), but they are watching a movie while I am watching over 40 years of canon, origins, and history slaughtered.

It’s not easy being a fanboy, but someone has to do it.

So Cowboys and Aliens is great. It starts interesting and finishes strong. In between is a strong enough plot to keep the viewers guessing and if that isn’t enough, well . . . the ladies can stare deeply into Daniel Craig’s sky blue eyes. (Parenthetically, while I am most definitely straight with absolutely no homosexual tendencies, I must admit that Daniel Craig is one well put together man.) He also does a fantastic job carrying the movie’s lead role.

If you are staying away from this movie because you had the misfortune of losing two hours of your life to the egregiously nauseating cheesiness that was Will Smith’s Wild Wild West, DON’T! This is not a cheesy or campy movie. It is a luxurious cinematic fusion of two genres — Western and Sci-fi. Yes, aliens invade a small town in the Old West, but that is as far as you must suspend disbelief. The aliens have vastly and overwhelmingly superior technology. The cowboys and their Apache allies have Winchester rifles, Henry Repeaters, and Walker Colt revolvers with some stone point arrows and a few Apache lances tossed in for good measure. The aliens are effectively bulletproof . So this isn’t about a bunch of sharpshooting Texans saving the day OR the magical “discovery” that aliens computers have the exact same programming language as Earth computers so a hastily written virus will bring down the mothership. The good guys do have ONE of the alien’s weapons and Daniel Craig’s character comes by it quite plausibly during his escape from his initial alien capture. It helps, but from the first you know that single weapon won’t defeat this marauding bunch of extraterrestrials.

What carries the movie is the story of a group of people determined to get their people back from these invaders regardless of how hard (basically impossible) that task might be. Characters are deep, especially Harrison Ford’s turn as a hard-bitten Mexican and Civil War veteran who “despises battle, but refuses to run from it.” Daniel Craig’s amnesiac gunslinger character is also intriguing BECAUSE of his amnesia.

This movie is definitely worth seeing. It is as plausible a sci-fi flick as you’ll find. The aliens even obey the laws of physics and at no time do they speak English. It’s also full of memorable lines like, “Do you want to spend your last hours drunk on some beach in Mexico — which, by the way, is NOT a bad plan — or do you want to ride with me one last time?” Finally, it doesn’t succumb to a full-bore Hollywood ending, which I found refreshing.

Go see it. I bet you’ll like it.

Love ya’ll and keep those feet clean.