Posts Tagged ‘Marvel’

Movie Review – Big Hero 6 (2014)

This past weekend saw the release of Big Hero 6, the 54th feature film released by Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Set in an alternate version of San Francisco (called San Fransokyo in the film), Big Hero 6 tells a story of a gifted young robot engineer named Hiro who is persuaded by his older brother to apply for an advanced engineering school.  When Hiro’s brother is suddenly killed in a terrible accident (or so it seems), Hiro befriends Baymax, an inflatable nurse robot that was his brother’s last invention.  Hiro soon learns that it was no accident that killed his brother.  With the help of Baymax and his late brother’s friends at the engineering school, the group of them form a super hero team and they track down the killer.

Big Hero 6 (2014) - movie poster

Big Hero 6 (2014) – movie poster

Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams, Big Hero 6 stars Ryan Potter as the voice of Hiro Hamada and Scott Adsit as the voice of Baymax.  This movie also features the voices of James Cromwell and Alan Tudyk, and a cameo by Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee.  Otherwise, nearly all of the voice actors/actresses are from obscure talents in Hollywood.

Big Hero 6 is set in the near future in San Fransokyo, a blending of San Francisco and Tokyo.  The movie begins with 14-year-old robot engineer Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) participating in a back alley robot fight.  He hustles his way to an easy victory and collects a large amount of money for winning the fight.  This doesn’t go too well with the other contestant, and Hiro has to make a quick getaway.  He’s rescued by his older brother, Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney), but they’re both caught by the police along with everybody else at the robot fight.  The robot fighting technically wasn’t illegal, but betting on it was.

The two brothers are soon bailed out of jail by Aunt Cass (voiced by Maya Rudolph), the boys’ aunt and legal guardian.  It’s briefly mentioned that the brothers’ parents died about ten years ago.  Aunt Cass owns a popular bakery and coffee shop, and she and the boys live in an apartment above the cafe.  Tadashi tries to sit down and talk some sense into Hiro, but Hiro is more interested in hustling for money at robot fights instead of going to college and getting an education. Read more…

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - November 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm

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Movie Review – X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Released this weekend is X-Men: Days of Future Past, an X-Men film that brings together almost all of the main characters that we’ve seen in the six previous films.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is a science-fiction film that involves time travel to save the future from an oppressive society where mutants are actively hunted by Sentinels, a series of killing machines that can adapt to better defend themselves from mutants.  Wolverine is sent back in time to try to stop a key event from occurring, causing a chain reaction that will change the future.

This film takes place after the events in X-Men: The Last Stand as well as X-Men: First Class.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - movie poster

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – movie poster

Directed by Bryan Singer, X-Men: Days of Future Past stars Hugh Jackman as Logan / Wolverine, James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, and Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkholme / Mystique.  The film also features a bunch of other actors in the X-Men universe including Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult and Shawn Ashmore.  New faces in this movie include Peter Dinklage and Evan Peters.

X-Men: Days of Future Past begins nine years from now in the year 2023.

In a dystopian future, killer robots known as Sentinels actively hunt and kill mutants.  Those mutants not killed by the Sentinels are rounded up and placed in internment camps.  In addition to hunting and killing mutants, the Sentinels also hunt for human beings who carry the X-gene in their system.  Although those humans are not mutants, the X-genes can be passed down to their children.

In the film we see a small band of mutants hiding from Sentinels.  The mutants include Peter Rasputin / COLOSSUS (Daniel Cudmore), Bobby Drake / ICEMAN (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde / SHADOWCAT (Ellen Page), BISHOP (Oman Sy), Clarice Ferguson / BLINK (Bingbing Fan), Roberto da Costa / SUNSPOT (Adan Canto), and James Proudstar / WARPATH (Booboo Stewart).  When the robots discover the mutants, the mutants fight back and delay them until Kitty Pryde can send another mutant’s consciousness back in time to warn the group about the approaching danger.  By the time the Sentinels reach Kitty, she and the other mutants disappear as if they were never there in the first place.

A short while later Kitty’s group of mutants meets with Eric Lehnserr / MAGNETO (Ian McKellen) and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).  Also with them are Ororo Munroe / STORM (Halle Berry) and Logan / WOLVERINE (Hugh Jackman).  The mutants know that they cannot keep fighting the Sentinels, and it’s just a matter of time before they’re all killed by the killer robots.  In order to end this war, they’re going to have to travel back in time to prevent them from being created.  Thankfully Kitty Pryde can send a person’s consciousness back through time.

Charles Xavier believes that the turning point was back in 1973 when Mystique assassinated Bolivar Trask, the military scientist who designed the Sentinel robots.  His assassination sparked an anti-mutant hysteria which led to the government authorizing the Sentinel program, which eventually led to the war against mutants.  Mystique would also be captured by the government, and her blood would be reverse-engineered and adapted to the Sentinels, giving them the power to change and absorb any type of an attack. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 23, 2014 at 11:12 pm

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Movie Review – The Wolverine (2013)

In 2009, Hollywood created a stand-alone Wolverine film called X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

As we know, Wolverine continues to be one of the most popular of the X-Men characters, and his origin could have made for an interesting story.  The problems though were that the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine failed to tell a good story and refrain from cheesy clichés.

Despite the flaws and other problems with the story, the film still made a ton of money, and Hugh Jackman did an outstanding job of performing as the comic book character.  This was a sign that the audiences wanted more of the character, something better than what we saw in the 2009 film.

The answer was resolved in the 2013 film, The Wolverine.

Set after the events in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine is a film that takes Logan to Japan to meet with an old acquaintance from World War 2.  This quickly proves to be Logan’s most difficult challenge yet as not only is he stripped of his power of regeneration, but he also has to battle with the Yakuza as well as ancient warriors that date back hundreds.  It’s Logan versus the ninjas, samurai, and the warrior way of life as he battles to save lives, starting with his own.

The Wolverine (2013) - movie poster

The Wolverine (2013) – movie poster

Directed by James Mangold, The Wolverine stars Hugh Jackman in the lead role of Logan / Wolverine.  Co-starring in the film are Tao Okamoto as Mariko Yashida, and Rila Fukushima as Yukio.  The film also features Famke Janssen as Jean Grey.

The Wolverine begins in 1945 in Nagasaki, Japan.

Logan (Hugh Jackman) is a captured American soldier being held in solitary confinement.  In other barracks near him are hundreds more American soldiers being held prisoner.  Suddenly the Japanese guards go on alert when they spot a B-29 Superfortress bomber flying over the city of Nagasaki.  The guards think that it’s another air raid.

The Wolverine (2013) - (c) 20th Century Fox

The Wolverine (2013) – (c) 20th Century Fox

One of the Japanese guards, Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), frees the American prisoners at the anger to his superiors.  Logan notices this, so he tries to warn Yashida that the bomber is carrying a nuclear bomb, something that will destroy the entire city.  Just as the bomb is dropped and Nagasaki is destroyed, Logan gets Yashida to hide with him in his underground prison cell.  Logan uses his body to shield Yashida from the nuclear fire.  Afterwards, Yashida watches Logan’s body regenerate and heal itself from the horrendous burn scars.

Fast forward to today. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm

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Movie Review – X-Men: First Class (2011)

In 2009, the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine gave us an origin tale that was mediocre at best.

While the film was a financial success, many of the fans of the X-Men series were disappointed in the film’s story, some clichés and plot holes, and the repeated action scenes.  X-Men Origins: Wolverine could have been a significantly better film.

Fortunately, this opened the door for an X-Men origin film to be created correctly.  That bring us to the next film in the X-Men series of movies, 2011’s X-Men: First Class.

Primarily set in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, X-Men: First Class is a prequel to the main X-Men films and tells a story about how the X-Men team was formed.  This includes the origin stories of Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr, and the first members of Xavier’s team of mutants.  Working with the CIA, the mutants help stop an evil plot by Sebastian Shaw and the Hellfire Club as they push the U.S. and Soviet Union to nuclear war.

X-Men: First Class (2011) - movie poster

X-Men: First Class (2011) – movie poster

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, X-Men: First Class stars James McAvoy as Charles Xavier / Professor X, Michael Fassbender as Eric Lensherr / Magneto, and Kevin Bacon as Dr. Klaus Schmidt / Sebastian Shaw.  Supporting them are Rose Byrne as CIA agent Moira MacTaggert, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkholme / Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Dr. Hank McCoy / Beast, and Oliver Platt as Man in Black Suit.

X-Men: First Class begins in Poland in 1944.

X-Men: First Class (2011) - (c) 20th Century Fox

X-Men: First Class (2011) – (c) 20th Century Fox

After teenage Eric Lensherr is separated from his family in a concentration camp, Dr. Klaus Schmidt (Kevin Bacon) witnesses the boy use a magnetic power to bend the metal gates in the camp.  He orders the boy to his office and demonstrate his power, but he cannot reproduce it.  To make him try harder, Klaus brings in Eric’s mother and threatens to shoot her unless Eric and use his power to move a coin.  When he does not make it move, Klaus shoots and kills Eric’s mother.  This enrages Eric and causes his power to significantly grow, allowing the teenager to bend and manipulate all the metal in the room. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 21, 2014 at 11:40 pm

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Movie Review – X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

In the highly successful X-Men films, one of the most popular characters is Wolverine.

We know that Logan has retractable metal claws, he can smell enemies approaching, and his body can regenerate his health and recover from injuries.  Not only is Wolverine deadly but he’s practically unstoppable.

But what is his origin?

How did a person become the Wolverine?

Those questions and more are answered in the 2009 Marvel action film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  This is an origin film that focuses on Wolverine, from how he became a mutant to his associations with Colonel Stryker and Sabretooth.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) - movie poster

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) – movie poster

Directed by Gavin Hood, X-Men Origins: Wolverine stars Hugh Jackman in the title role of Logan / Wolverine.  Liev Schreiber co-stars in the film as Victor Creed / Sabretooth.  Supporting them are Danny Huston as William Stryker, Taylor Kitsch as Remy LeBeau / Gambit, will.i.am as John Wraith, and Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson / Deadpool.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine begins in 1845 in Canada.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) - (c) 20th Century Fox

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) – (c) 20th Century Fox

James Howlett (Troye Sivan) is a young boy who is frequently ill.  One night he sees his drunken father killed by a groundskeeper named Thomas Logan.  This hostile action infuriates the boy and causes a freak mutation to occur.  We see a set of bone claws extend from his arms.  James rushes forward and uses his bone claws to kill Thomas Logan.  As he’s dying, Thomas tells James that he is his real father, and not the drunk man who was killed.

Fearing the response from everybody else, James flees from the house along with Victor Creed, his half-brother.  Victor has also mutated and grown a sharp set of claws in addition to a growth in strength.

The opening credits of X-Men Origins: Wolverine roll across the screen and we see James (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) as soldiers in the U.S. Army.  We see them fight as Federal soldiers in the American Civil War, fight in the trenches in World War 1, storm the beaches of Normandy in World War 2, and then continue their lifestyle as American soldiers in Vietnam.  Even though the men are “killed” in the battles, both James and Victor are able to regenerate and heal themselves, allowing them to continue living and fighting.  As the years pass, James notices that Victor becomes more and more violent towards people in general. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm

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Movie Review – X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

The 2003 film X2: X-Men United was a smash hit with both the audiences and critics.

The film ended with Magneto betraying Charles Xavier and escaping with Mystique and Pyro before the dam broke.  Jean Grey then sacrificed herself to save the lives of the X-Men, helping them flee before being crushed by the wall of water.

It was natural to expect a sequel to the film, perhaps a film even bigger and better than what we experienced in X2: X-Men United.

The next X-Men sequel was released in 2006 in the film X-Men: The Last Stand.

X-Men: The Last Stand was written to make the X-Men films a trilogy.  The first film introduced us to the characters, the second film had a killer plot, and the third film was meant to tie all of the stories together and finish the story.  This third film does so, but it’s not an epic of a film that you may be expecting.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) - movie poster

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) – movie poster

Directed by Brett Ratner, X-Men: The Last Stand brings back pretty much the entire cast of characters from the second film.  The movie stars Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Jansse and Rebecca Romijn.  Also in this film you’ll find Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Hank McCoy / Beast, Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat, and Vinnie Jones as Cain Marko / Juggernaut.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) - (c) 20th Century Fox

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) – (c) 20th Century Fox

X-Men: The Last Stand begins twenty years ago as Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Eric Lensherr (Ian McKellen) visit the childhood home of Jean Grey.  They are there to recruit the young girl with telekinetic powers to Xavier’s private school in upstate New York.  Jean demonstrates her telekinetic powers by levitating all of the cars in her neighborhood.

Ten years later, industrialist Warren Worthington II (Michael Murphy), the head of Worthington Labs, discovers that his young son, Warren Worthington III, is a mutant.  The boy is caught while trying to cut a large pair of wings off his back. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 19, 2014 at 10:15 pm

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Movie Review – X2: X-Men United (2003)

Back in 2000, the film X-Men was a huge hit with the audiences.

Not only did the film showcase some of Marvel‘s biggest super heroes, but it also proved that, when done correctly, comic book films mean big business.  Really big business.  It can be argued that the success of X-Men paved the way for the Marvel comics to be a major player in the film industry, including today’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While the first X-Men film was good, it still had a few drawbacks from parts of the story to the special effects to some of the characters as well.  Fortunately, those areas were *all* corrected in X-Men‘s first sequel, the 2003 film X2.

X2, also known as X2: X-Men United, brings back all of Charles Xavier’s X-Men plus Magneto and Mystique.  We also see a few new characters in this film as well.  The story for X2 involves a renegade army colonel who embarks on a personal crusade to ride the world of ALL mutants, whether they’re good or evil.  The X-Men have to band together with the Brotherhood of Mutants to defeat their common foe.

X2 - X-Men United (2003) - movie poster

X2 – X-Men United (2003) – movie poster

Directed by Bryan Singer, X2 has a strong cast including Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.  New faces in this film include Alan Cumming, Brian Cox and Kelly Hu.

X2 begins in the White House in Washington, D.C.  It seems to be a normal day when suddenly a person disguised as a visitor begins attacking the security guards.  This mutant, Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), easily moves from room to room, teleporting himself to always keep the Secret Service guessing.  He makes it into the Oval Office and defeats the last of the President’s Secret Service guards.

X2 - X-Men United (2003) - (c) 20th Century Fox

X2 – X-Men United (2003) – (c) 20th Century Fox

Nightcrawler tries to assassinate the President of the United States (Cotter Smith) with a knife, but he’s shot in the arm.  He drops the knife and flees.  As we see, attached to the knife is a message that says “mutant freedom now.”

Meanwhile, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is investigating a dam and old military compound at Alkali Lake in the Canadian Rockies, but he doesn’t find anything.  The dam is still functional but it looks like nobody has been there in quite some time. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 15, 2014 at 9:46 pm

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Movie Review – X-Men (2000)

In anticipation of the upcoming Marvel film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, we’re going to be reviewing the previous X-Men films.

Since September of 1963, the X-Men characters have been fascinating comic book fans and leaving them craving for more.  Animated television shows have followed as well as video games.  But that transition to the big screen wouldn’t occur until the year 2000.

The 2000 film X-Men has a world where mutants live along side of regular humans, but most of them remain in hiding for fear of exposing their powers and being treated as freaks or threats to the human race.  The film follows along as the mutants Wolverine and Rogue are caught in the conflict between two mutant organizations:  Professor Xavier‘s X-Men, and Magneto‘s Brotherhood of Mutants.

X-Men (2000) - movie poster

X-Men (2000) – movie poster

Directed by Bryan Singer, X-Men stars Hugh Jackman in the role of Wolverine.  Co-starring in the film are Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier / Professor X, Ian McKellen as Eric Lehnsherr / Magneto, Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe / Storm, Famke Janssen as Dr. Jean Grey, James Marsden as Scott Summers / Cyclops, and Anna Paquin as Marie D’Ancanto / Rogue.

X-Men begins in German-occupied Poland in 1944.

At a Nazi concentration camp, 13-year-old Eric Lehnsherr is forcefully separated from his parents.  He tries to fight back and get to his parents, but the prison guards hold him back.  He reaches out and tries to grab the metal gates, and the gates mysteriously bend back towards the boy, as if by magnetism.  It’s a pulling contest between several guards and Eric’s “grip” on the metal gates.  This suddenly ends when a guard hits the boy on the head, knocking him unconscious.

Fast forward to the near future.

X-Men (2000) - (c) 20th Century Fox

X-Men (2000) – (c) 20th Century Fox

In Meridian, Mississippi, 17-year-old Marie D’Ancanto (Anna Paquin) dreams of taking an adventure across Canada, starting at Niagara Falls and trekking west to Alaska.  She shares this dream with her boyfriend, David.  When Marie gives David a kiss, she’s shocked that he nearly dies and goes into a coma.  She learns that she can absorb the life force or mutant abilities of anyone who touches her.

Now knowing that she’s a mutant, Marie runs away from home and eventually works her way to northern Canada. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 14, 2014 at 9:09 pm

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Movie Review – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Released to the theaters this weekend is The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the sequel to 2012’s hit film, The Amazing Spider-Man.

While the first Spider-Man film in this series is an origin story, the sequel jumps right into the middle of action.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shows us a version of Peter Parker who has to wrestle the emotions of whether or not to continue his relationship with Gwen Stacey.  At the end of the first film, Peter made a promise to Gwen’s dying father that he would not see her and, thus, keep her away from Peter / Spider-Man’s enemies.

While Peter and Gwen deal with their relationship there’s the sudden creation and rise of Electro, the main villain for this film.  We also see the arrival of Harry Osborn and his takeover of OsCorp after the death of his father.  Harry later transforms into the Green Goblin and becomes another of Spider-Man’s enemies.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) – movie poster

Directed by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 returns James Garfield in the title role of Peter Parker / Spider-Man.  Also returning are Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Sally Field as Aunt May, and a brief cameo of Dennis Leary as George Stacy.  New cast members in this film include Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon / Electro, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn / Green Goblin, Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich / Rhino, and Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn.

Spider-Man creator Stan Lee has a cameo role as a parent in the stands at Peter and Gwen’s high school graduation ceremony.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 begins about sixteen years ago as Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) is rushing to destroy his research experiments at OsCorp.  He knows that he had been betrayed by somebody, and him and his wife are both in grave danger.  After destroying the material and returning home, Richard and Mary (Embeth Davidtz) know that their young son, Peter, is also in danger.  They decide to give him to his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and then Richard and Mary Parker flee the area.

The two of them end up in an OsCorp aircraft.  There’s trouble though when one of the aircraft’s pilots turns out to be an assassin.  He has already killed the pilot.  He tries to shoot and kill Richard when the scientist fights back.  Mary is shot in the process and the aircraft suffers some damage as well.  Richard is able to connect to a computer network and transfer his secret files to a secure location before the aircraft crashes, killing everybody on board.

Fast forward to today.

There’s a police chase on the streets of New York City.  Russian mobster Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) and his gang had just stolen an armored truck full of radioactive material from OsCorp.  They’re trying to get away from the police when Spider-Man (James Garfield) swings into action and does whatever he can to end the chase. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm

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Movie Review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Opening this weekend is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the next big-budget Marvel comic book film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be released to the theaters.

Set a couple of years after the events in The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier puts Captain America and the Black Widow against a powerful assassin known as the Winter Soldier.  As they battle the assassin throughout Washington, D.C., the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. learn that there’s a much greater conspiracy at play, something that dates back to World War 2 and the events in Captain America: The First Avenger.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) - movie poster

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Captain America: The Winter Soldier stars Chris Evans in the title role of Steve Rogers / Captain America.  Co-starring in the film are Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Sebastian Stan as James “Bucky” Barnes / Winter Soldier, and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon.  Also appearing in the film are Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier begins with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) exercising one morning in Washington, D.C.  While out running he meets Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a former Air Force special forces pararescue soldier who now counsels war veterans with PTSD.  Rogers is still adjusting to living in the 21st century, and he’s been catching up on the history of the past sixty years as well as the changes in culture.

Suddenly Rogers’s cell phone alerts him to an urgent mission with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.)Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) picks him up in a Corvette, and they race away to SHIELD’s headquarters. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm

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Movie Review – The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

I’ll admit that I was very skeptical when first learning about the reboot of the already popular Spider-Man franchise.  Spider-Man 3 had some issues, but I thought that Sam Raimi did a good job with the first two Spider-Man movies.

I mean, is it too early to reboot a movie series?  Then again, it has been ten years now since the release of the first Spider-Man (2002) movie.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (2012) - movie poster

After watching The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, it feels like there’s a night and day difference between the two Spider-Man series.  This newer telling of the familiar tale is pretty darn awesome.  The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is doing to the Spider-Man series what Batman Begins did to the Batman series.  It’s that good of a movie.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man begins with Peter Parker as a young child.  One day he’s playing a game of hide-and-seek when he discovers that somebody broke into his dad’s office.  His dad rummages around and finds a secret folder that the thief missed.  Realizing that their son is in danger, Parker’s parents leave him in the care of his Uncle Ben (played by Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (played by Sally Field).  His dad says goodbye to young Peter, and he doesn’t see them again.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) - Flash Thompson beating up Peter Parker.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) – (c) Columbia Pictures

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man jumps ahead to what we assume to be Peter Parker’s (played by Andrew Garfield) senior year of high school.  He’s an avid photographer for his school, has a passion for science, and has the guts to stand up to Flash Thompson, one of the bullies in his class.  One day he stands up to Flash and gets a pounding from the bully.  His beating wasn’t a complete loss though as it caught the attention of fellow classmate, Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone). Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - December 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm

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Movie Review – Fantastic Four (2005)

The first half of the 2000s had a five year segment with some incredibly popular superhero films by Marvel Studios.

From the first two X-Men films to the Spider-Man franchise to other Marvel Comics films such as Daredevil and The Punisher, the film company was impressing the audiences and seemed to be hitting the high notes.  The next major Marvel film was 2005′s Fantastic Four, a big-budget action / science-fiction film that pitted the elite team of superheroes against Doctor Doom.

Fantastic Four (2005) - movie poster

Fantastic Four is another superhero origin story that shows the creation of the team of people with incredible powers.  We see the five of them on board a space station when something goes wrong and they’re all exposed to cosmic radiation.  They return to Earth to discover that they’ve all slowly mutated and become extraordinary people, though not everybody is pleased with this new version.  Dr. Victor von Doom becomes the infamous Doctor Doom, and he wages war against the Fantastic Four.

Directed by Tim Story, Fantastic Four was written by Michael France and Mark Frost, and the film’s music was by John Ottman.  The film stars Ioan Gruffudd as Dr. Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic, Jessica Alba as Sue Storm / Invisible Woman, Chris Evans (who would later portray Captain America in Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)) as Johnny Storm / The Human Torch, and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm / The Thing.  Julian McMahon has the honor of playing the film’s villain, Victor von Doom / Doctor Doom.

Fantastic Four (2005) - Dr. Richards explains his intentions to Victor von Doom.

Fantastic Four (2005) – (c) 20th Century Fox

Fantastic Four begins with Dr. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) having a meeting with Dr. Victor von Doom (Julian McMahon) at von Doom’s headquarters.  Reed has been working on some research and he’s convinced that life on Earth evolved after the planet was hit by a high-energy cosmic storm.  A similar cosmic storm is once again approaching the Earth, and Reed would like to use von Doom’s orbiting space station as a research platform to conduct some experiments and analyze the cosmic event.

Victor von Doom is a business man and the CEO of Von Doom Industries.  He won’t agree to let Reed use his space station unless von Doom receives a significantly large percentage of the financial returns from the experiments.  Reed agrees to von Doom’s terms.  Going along on the space mission is Susan “Sue” Storm (Jessica Alba), von Doom’s top genetics research.  She also happens to be Reed’s ex-girlfriend.

After the meeting we meet Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), Susan’s sister.  Johnny is a former hotshot NASA pilot who formerly served under Ben Grimm.  He’s also a womanizer and a bit of a daredevil.  Johnny loves standing in the spotlight and receiving attention and glory.  It turns out that Susan has appointed her brother as the pilot for this upcoming mission, a move that greatly disturbs Ben Grimm.  This really isn’t an issue in the film though as we see virtually nothing of the upcoming space flight. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - July 30, 2013 at 11:37 pm

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Movie Review – Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Finishing out Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy is the third installment, creatively named Spider-Man 3, released on May 4, 2007.

Like 2004′s Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3 brings back the familiar cast of the first two characters along with some people we haven’t seen since the first movie.  Tobey Maguire reprises his role as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, Kirsten Dunst is Mary Jane Watson, James Franco is Harry Osborn / New Goblin, and J.K. Simmons is once again the leader of the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson.  Spider-Man 3 introduces us to Thomas Hayden Church as Flint Marko / Sandman, Topher Grace as Eddie Brock / Venom, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy.

Spider-Man 3 (2007) - movie poster

Spider-Man 3 continues some time after the events of Spider-Man 2.

New York City is currently on a Spider-Man craze.  The hero is immortalized and the talk of the town.  Peter Parker is making a living as a photographer for the Daily Bugle, doing well in his college studies, and very much in love with Mary Jane Watson.  Mary Jane has advanced from the small stage and is now starring in Broadway productions.  Harry Osborn, in the meantime, still carries his grudge towards Parker and has been tinkering with his dad’s weapons at Oscorp.  He’s also subjected himself to his father’s performance enhancing drugs from the first movie.  Harry’s hatred towards Peter has reached its breaking point.

Spider-Man 3 (2007) - Things are just about perfect between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson.

Spider-Man 3 (2007) – (c) Columbia Pictures

In the beginning of the movie we see Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) spending time together in the evening.  Not too far away a meteor crashes in the park.  Unknown to Peter and MJ, a strange black substance crawls from the wreckage and attaches itself to Peter’s moped.  He unknowingly transports the extraterrestrial creature back to his apartment. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - July 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm

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Movie Review – Spider-Man 2 (2004)

The smash hit of 2002′s Spider-Man virtually guaranteed that Hollywood would give the fans a sequel.  2003′s record-breaking X2: X-Men United would only further fuel this thirst for another a sequel to Spider-Man.

Released on June 30, 2004, Spider-Man 2 thrilled the superhero audiences once again.  Spider-Man was back, and this sequel was bigger and better than its prequel.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) - movie poster

Once again directed by Sam Raimi, Spider-Man 2 brought back the cast of the first Spider-Man film.  Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco all reprise their roles in the first movie.  Spider-Man 2 also brings along Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus.

Set in New York City, Spider-Man 2 picks up where Spider-Man finished.

Peter Parker’s (Toby Maguire) life is harder than ever as he tries to juggle a part-time job and his college classes, all while saving people and stopping criminals while disguised as Spider-Man.  In addition, Parker is trying to improve his relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst).  Mary Jane finally got herself into acting, and she’s trying to get Peter to see her perform on stage.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) - Peter Parker struggles in the world of pizza delivery.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) – (c) Columbia Pictures

We see Peter Parker try to make it as a pizza deliveryman.  His only problem is that while rushing to delivery the pizzas, people keep needing the help of Spider-Man.  Parker is forced to don the costume and save people, all while racing the clock to make his delivery on time.  He ultimately fails with the delivery and loses yet another job.  Parker’s financial problems double at home as Aunt May is facing foreclosure from the bank. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - July 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

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Movie Review – Spider-Man (2002)

The country is in spider-fever again as everybody’s favorite masked, wall-crawling superhero once again hits the movie theaters.

In honor of The Amazing Spider-Man movie now in theaters (NOTE – This is a new version of Spider-Man and not a continuation of Sam Raimi’s blockbuster trilogy), let’s take a step back and look at the Spider-Man trilogy that began ten years ago.  Wow, has it really been ten years since Spider-Man premiered in the the movie theaters?  Time just passes way too quickly.

Spider-Man (2002) - movie poster

2002′s Spider-Man finally brought the superhero to the movie theaters as part of a growing superhero craze.  2000 saw the release of the first X-Men film along with Unbreakable, and 2003 gave us Daredevil, Hulk, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  2005 would rock the audiences with the retelling of the Batman stories with Batman Begins.

Spider-Man tells the tale of Peter Parker as he becomes the legendary superhero.   Set in New York City, Peter Parker (played by Toby Maguire) lives with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in Queens.  His best friend is Harry Osborn (played by James Franco), son of Dr. Norman Osborn (played brilliantly by Willem Dafoe), a brilliant engineer and president of Oscorp manufacturing corporation.

Spider-Man (2002) - Peter Parker meeting Harry's father, Dr. Norman Osborn.

Spider-Man (2002) – (c) Columbia Pictures

In the beginning of the movie we see Peter Parker as a nerdy student in high school.  His smarts keep him out of trouble from bullies, but his shyness keeps him away from his female classmates.  He really wants to get to know his fellow classmate and next door neighbor, Mary Jane Watson (played by Kirsten Dunst), but Peter just can’t seem to get a chance to talk to her. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - at 7:53 pm

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Movie Review – The Avengers (2012)

What do you get when you combine the mighty forces of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Hulk?

The answer, my friends, is The Avengers, a major motion picture that combines the Marvel Cinematic Universe into one massive movie.  What started in 2008′s smash hit Iron Man has grown tremendously and culminated into The Avengers.

The Avengers (2012) - movie poster

Before seeing The Avengers, you’re best off seeing Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011) and Captain America (2011).  With all of the back stories and references to the previous movies, you’ll get so much more out of The Avengers if you’ve recently seen the other Marvel super hero movies.  That is, if you’ve seen the movies and little teaser clips after the credits in the movies, too.

What about The Incredible Hulk (2008)?

Although The Incredible Hulk is a great movie, very little of it is mentioned in The Avengers.  The production crew even switched actors and this time around it’s Mark Ruffalo playing the role of Dr. Bruce Banner, and not Edward Norton.  Basically, all you really need to know about The Incredible Hulk is that Bruce Banner gets angry and transforms into the Hulk, and he destroyed part of Harlem in New York City during a rampage in the previous movie.  That’s about it as far as The Avengers is concerned.

The Avengers (2012) - Loki is given a powerful weapon.

The Avengers (2012) – (c) Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The Avengers begins on a distant world as Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), makes a deal with the Other (Alexis Denisof), the leader of a race of aliens.  If Loki is able to provide him with the Tesseract (seen in Captain America and after the credits in Thor), then the Other will provide Loki with an army of aliens that he can use to conquer the Earth. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - May 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

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Movie Review – Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger is the final prequel movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the superheroes return in the highly anticipated movie, The Avengers (2012).

Although it was released last in the series, Captain America: The First Avenger is chronologically the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as 95% of the movie takes place in 1943, whereas the other four movies primarily take place in modern times.

Captain America: The First Avenger begins in Norway in March of 1942.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - movie poster

Nazi officer Johann Schmidt (played by Hugo Weaving) and his men invade a castle in Norway.  The Tower Keeper tries to hide the Tesseract, but Schmidt finds it hidden in a mural of Yggdrasil (Norse legend of Tree of the World).  After finding it, he has his men open fire on the people in the castle, killing all witnesses.

Over in New York City, a skinny young man named Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) is rejected for military service.  Apart from his frail build, he’s also full of health problems.  His pleas for being accepted for service fall upon deaf ears.  The medical examiner claims that denying Rogers for service is actually saving his life from certain death.

As we later learn, that was not Steve Rogers’ first time being denied for military service.  He’s known for using fake names and addresses to get into the service, but all of his attempts have ended in failure.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - Steve Rogers standing up to a bully.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – (c) Paramount Pictures

Down on his luck, Rogers goes to a movie theater only to have to deal with an unappreciative bully making rude comments during the news reel.  Rogers stands up for what’s right and isn’t afraid to fight him in an ally behind the theater.  Naturally, the physically larger bully beats Rodgers again and again, knocking him down to the street.  But Rodgers keeps getting back up to his feet claiming that, “I can do this all day.” Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 24, 2012 at 11:48 pm

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Movie Review – Iron Man 2 (2010)

The next movie prequel to The Avengers (2012) and part of the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe is 2010′s hit film, Iron Man 2.

The first Iron Man movie came out of nowhere and blew audiences away with the arrogant yet fascinating genius of Tony Stark and his Iron Man powered suit.  The end of that movie had Tony Stark admitting in a news conference that he indeed was the Iron Man.

In the amazing world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the events in Iron Man 2 take place about six months after the first Iron Man film, and just after most of the events in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.

Iron Man 2 (2010) - movie poster

Iron Man 2 begins in Russia where Ivan Vanko (played by Mickey Rourke) is tinkering with electronics and watching Tony Stark’s (still played by Robert Downey, Jr.) press conference.

Looking closely at the scene, we saw that Ivan had construction blueprints from Stark Industries, and his father’s name was on it along with Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s father.  Vanko’s father is with him and dies shortly after the press conference.  Ivan Vanko promises to extract his revenge against Tony Stark and Stark Industries.

Six months later, Tony Stark is busy jumping out of an aircraft in his Iron Man powered suit and making on hell of an entry for the newly re-instituted Stark Expo in Flushing Meadow, New York.  He removes the suit and gives a speech to the crowd about how he’s responsible for world peace.

Iron Man 2 (2010) - Tony Stark / Iron Man arriving at the Stark Expo.

Iron Man 2 (2010) – (c) Paramount Pictures

Upon leaving the Expo, Stark is handed a summons to testify before a Senate Armed Services Committee the next day.  Naturally, Tony Stark turns the hearing into a circus with his antics.  Senator Stern (played by Garry Shandling) demands that Tony turn over his armored suit to the government as it’s viewed as a weapon.  Tony refuses, claiming that the armored suit is his property and part of him, and turning himself into the government would be the same as indentured servitude. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm

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Movie Review – Thor (2011)

Up next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and series of prequels leading up to The Avengers (2012) is Thor (2011), a superhero based on the Norse god of thunder.

Apart from roles in animated television shows and direct-to-video animated movies, this is Thor’s first appearance in a live-action movie.  And this movie was a great way to welcome the god of thunder to the big screen!

Thor begins back in 965 AD when Odin (played by Anthony Hopkins), king of the realm Asgard, goes to war against the Frost Giants of Jotunheim, to prevent them from conquering the Nine Realms and plunging them into a new ice age.

Thor (2011) - movie poster

After a mighty battle Odin and the Asgardians defeat the Frost Giants and seize their source of power, the Casket of Ancient Winters.

After that we see Odin talking to his young sons, Thor and Loki, telling them the history of their people and showing them the Casket of Ancient Winters safely secured within the inner walls of Asgard.  He warns them that one day the day will come when one of them, Thor or Loki, will have to defend that peace that currently exists in the Nine Realms.  While the young Loki exercises concern for the Frost Giants, young Thor is already brash and arrogant about hunting and killing their enemies.

Odin tells his sons that although only one of them can be king of Asgard, they were both born to be kings.  The only question is which one will be worthy enough to assume the throne of Asgard.

Thor (2011) - Thor at the throne of Asgard.

Thor (2011) – (c) Paramount Pictures

Fast forwarding to the present day, we see a grown-up Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) playing into the crowds of Asgardians as he prepares to approach the throne of Asgard.  During the ceremony, three Frost Giants suddenly appear deep inside of Asgard and attempt to retrieve the Casket of Ancient Winters.  Odin summons a Destroyer machine to kill the Frost Giants before they can escape with their prize. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - at 12:55 am

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Movie Review – The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Another Marvel Studios movie review, and another character introduction to The Avengers (coming soon!).

Or rather in this case, it’s more of an anti-hero.

The Hulk character was first introduced to comic book fans in May of 1962.  In the comics, Dr. Bruce Banner was accidentally exposed to the blast of a gamma bomb that he invented.  The gamma radiation transformed Banner, allowing the monster inside of him to wreck havoc whenever the scientist became angry or emotionally unstable.  Once the situation calmed, the monster would recede and the human form of Banner would once again take control.

The Incredible Hulk (2008) - movie poster

Fast forward to 2008.

The Incredible Hulk movie tells a slightly different story about the accident that led Dr. Bruce Banner (played by Edward Norton) to become the big green monster known as the Hulk.

The opening sequence of the movie shows us how Bruce Banner was part of a military experiment that went wrong.  General “Thunderbolt” Ross (played by William Hurt) met with Dr. Bruce Banner regarding an experiment to make soldiers immune to gamma radiation.  The experiment (which was really part of a secret “super soldier” program) failed, and Bruce Banner was bombarded with gamma radiation.

Bruce’s anger transformed him into the Hulk, and he subsequently destroyed the laboratory, accidentally injuring his lover, Betty Ross (played by Liv Tyler), in the process.  The Hulk then fled while being pursued by the U.S. Army.

The Incredible Hulk (2008) - Bruce Banner learning Portuguese in Brazil.

The Incredible Hulk (2008) – (c) Paramount Pictures

The film opens five years later in Brazil. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Dan - April 22, 2012 at 7:21 pm

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