Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Problem With Marvel's All New All Different Comics

I should preface this post by telling you that Iron Man is my all time favorite Marvel superhero. 
So two of these issues do have to do with him so I have a personal interest in these decisions Marvel is making.

As of late Marvel seems to be in a "shock value" mindset to try and sell more comics
...and it's starting to become annoying honestly.
I was one of the few people who actually liked the idea of a story where Captain America thought he was a Hydra agent all along and was looking forward to seeing the story through.
I don't know if it was because of the outpour of man-children crying about their childhoods being ruined or what, but they couldn't stick to their guns and the very next issue gave away the big "twist" that (to make a long story short) he was more or less brainwashed by Red Skull.

Recently Marvel released info of once again stirring the "Who's Tony's REAL parents" shit pot that blew up in their faces the last time. There are even rumors of Black Widow being revealed as his real mother. Even if you ignore that both of those characters are near the same age, there's still a large ugly glaring issue with that.
I'm not okay with Tony Stark suddenly being written with an Oedipus complex, but I don't think it will turn out to be Black Widow anyway. Personally, I think they should just leave his parents alone.

Then there's today's announcement of a 15-year-old black girl named Riri Williams going to be the new Iron Man.
Apparently after the events of Civil War 2 end, Tony will be retiring once again and this random new character will be taking up the Iron mantle.
First off, before anyone thinks I'm being racist, I don't give a damn what color a character is. But I want them DEVELOPED ahead of time rather than just throwing her in the suit and going "they'll get used to her" which seems to be Marvel's M.O. these days. (See Jane Foster's "Thor" for further proof)
The people that are defending this idea and character are using the excuse of "well Rhodes was Iron Man for a while".
Yes he was, but they spent a LONG time developing his character, letting us get to know him, and seeing the friendship he and Tony had to understand WHY Tony would have him as his replacement when he was fighting his own demons and the world still needed Iron Man. It was well thought out and executed accordingly.
This is just sloppy. There is no connection whatsoever and they seem to think that's fine.
If they wanted to make this transition flow well with good writing and a strong connection, she should have been Rhodes daughter.
They should have introduced her a long time ago, shown her skills and intelligence here and there, given us an uncle Tony relationship between the two.....and THEN make this move.
It still would have been a "new" character, but it wouldn't be some random person he's "had his eye on for a while" that just so happens to share his intelligence.
THAT'S how you write a strong bond to an existing character so the passing of the torch works!
The sad thing is, that took me less than five minutes to think of. Yet the Marvel writers have been getting paid to make up random characters with no connection to the heroes they're taking over.

And that is what is really wrong with Marvel comics right now.
They're more interested in cheap controversy and appealing to the PC diversity crowd, than telling well thought cohesive stories.
Marvel may have the better films, but the same cannot be said for the current state of their comics.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

CREED Review | *Spoilers Warning*

(Obvious spoilers ahead...seriously, don't read this till after you'd watched the movie) 

Every year I always look for that one movie. Not the big money making blockbuster, but the underdog movie that leaves you wanting more. In 2001, it was 'Drive'. In 2003, 'The Last Samurai'. And in 2014 it was 'Gone Girl' just to name a few. 2015 came and went. There were a few movies I had wanted to see but never got the chance and 'Creed' was one of them. 
I finally got around to watching it the other night and I am happy to say, 'Creed' is my favorite 2015 movie! Before I get into the review, I'd like to provide you with a little history of myself and the Rocky films. I grew up watching Sylvester Stallone movies. I was and still am one of his biggest fans. The Rocky films always held a special place in my heart though because as a child, I wasn't allowed to watch some of his more adult films that involved nudity or excessive violence...though I more than made up for that when I got old enough! 
I was always allowed to watch the Rocky movies from the start though and honestly, as a kid, I never liked the first one. I was too young to appreciate how great of a movie it was, so I used to start at 'Rocky II'. I'm sure I wore my VHS of 'Rocky II' quite thin, though thankfully it never stopped working. 
I loved 'Rocky III' just as much and eventually when 'Rocky IV' came out, it became my favorite. I was never a fan of 'Rocky V', though over the years I've come to appreciate what it tried to do. All it would take was to hear "Gonna Fly Now" or "Hearts on Fire" and I would immediately get up and start working out. I wanted to be like Rocky so much and those songs always fired me up and still do to this day. 
From there I would always go back and re-watch the series probably hundreds of times. I realized how great of a movie the first film was, and in my teens and early 20's realized the style of these films. 'Rocky', 'Rocky II' and 'Rocky V' were his serious attempts where as 'Rocky III' and 'Rocky IV' were beautiful 80's cheese at it's best...but I loved them all. Sixteen years went by before there would be another Rocky film and to say I loved 'Rocky Balboa' (aka Rocky VI) would be an understatement. That film has some of the best acting from both Sly Stallone and Burt Young (Paulie), some of the most inspiration quotes of all time, and a great story! At the end of the film, I felt it was the perfect way to end the films and I thought that was it. Then I heard about 'Creed' being made. At first I wasn't sure how I felt, seeing as Hollywood has made a habit of re-hashing older films and tv shows only to half-ass it and coast on the nostalgia alone. But when I heard that the film would involve Rocky training Apollo Creed's son to be a boxer, I became interested. After watching the first trailer, I was hyped and I decided not to watch the second trailer in case it spoiled anything (am I ever glad I did, because the second trailer does spoil huge important things about this movie). I had planned to see 'Creed' in theaters, but I never ended up being able to. So after avoiding spoilers and clips for months, I finally got the chance to watch it a few nights ago. ................again, this is your last warning because there WILL be Spoilers ahead This is a fantastic film from start to finish! When Sylvester Stallone said "this isn't a Rocky film" he wasn't kidding. There are only two scenes in the entire movie where we the viewers aren't following Adonis Creed, and both times serve to further Rocky's side of the story. I want to start by saying, if you're going into this movie looking for a big fight boxing movie, you're going to be disappointed. This is a character film that involves boxing. Every one of the main characters (and even some side characters) have rich depth to them and are the furthest thing from one dimensional they could be. Adonis is a great character. I thought from the trailers that he hated his father, but that's not true. Even though it's one film, Adonis has a great character arc going from "I don't wanna make it off my fathers name, I wanna make it on my own", to "I need to prove that I wasn't just a mistake!" The music is perfect. I wasn't sure hip-hop would work in a film like this, but it flows beautifully with the original score and suits ever scene. The cinematography is great. If I'm being honest though, at first I didn't like the close up boxing style the director chose. But it grew on me fairly quick and by the time the second fight happens, I was loving it. Speaking of the second fight. If you've ever watched the second episode of Netflix Daredevil, you'll remember the hallway fight. It's one single long shot that doesn't end till Daredevil leaves the hallway. 'Creed' is a work of art in film making! The scene starts back in the locker room, follows Adonis out to the ring, and moves in and around the two fighters while they box. Which sounds normal on paper, but here's the thing. During this one long single take...Adonis and his opponent start looking bloodied up and bruised. That would require a cut to go apply the makeup to continue the scene. But it doesn't cut the entire fight. It's seriously a work of art and you have to see it to believe it! The acting in this film is some of the best I've seen. Michael B. Jordan is a great actor and in my opinion, he should have been at least nominated for an Oscar. Sylvester Stallone got screwed at the Oscars. Period. That man had me laughing on minute, crying the next. And I don't cry easily at films! Now I'm going to mention one of the big spoilers that absolutely should not be spoiled before seeing this, because it you're a big Rocky fan like me, it will hit you like a brick wall! Three words. Rocky has cancer. That shocked me (because I never watched the second trailer where they just tell you he's sick...damn you Hollywood) and watching his reaction to the news was rough. 
The next scene involves the scene that SHOULD have won him an Oscar this year. He stands in front of Adonis and explains how since he had to watch Adrien go through the same thing, he's not doing the chemotherapy. And if he could take everything good in his life, and put it all in a bowl to trade for another minute to see Adrien again, he would. He's done, he's got nothing left to live for, everyone he's ever loved is gone (Paulie is also dead in this film by the way). It's just such a raw and real emotional scene and I got quite choked up during it. After Adonis convinces Rocky to do the chemo (through a great line about how fighters fight) the big fight training montage kicks in...but this isn't your usual training montage. It's Adonis training, interlaced with scenes of Rocky who is now doing the chemotherapy, slowly getting sicker, losing his hair, and being helped around by Adonis. Even as I write this, I'm starting to swell up again. Though the scene I mentioned above was the best acting job, the training montage hit me the hardest. As I mentioned, I grew up watching Rocky. I've grown to love and care about that character as if he were real. And there I sat, 4:30am in the dark, by myself watching someone I grew up watching, deteriorating before my watery eyes. It broke my heart seeing Rocky like that. The love story between Adonis and Bianca was great too and fit the film well. It didn't feel forced and they even gave her a lot of character to make me interested in her as well. The idea that Adonis loves her enough to be with her, knowing she'll go completely deaf someday is just beautiful. The final fight of the film was great and had me worked up like the old Rocky films used to. I LOVED how Adonis doesn't win, but goes the distance and proves he is worthy of his fathers name. The ending is perfect, Adonis and Rocky climbing the famous steps together talking about seeing their future as "not bad at all". 'Creed' is a masterpiece of film making and my only negative to say (and it's really more of a nit pick) is that there's not a single reference to "Little Marie". She was kind of a big important part of 'Rocky Balboa' and in this movie, she's not even given a mention. Just seemed strange, but nothing I can't look past. I plan on getting this on Blu-Ray to add to my Rocky collection, and I 100% recommend it! 

Review Written By: Matt Hollands

Friday, March 11, 2016

What A Time To Be Alive

What A Time To Be Alive

Can we all stop just for minute and recognize what's going on here!?

12 years ago: 
Batman was still looked at as a cinematic failure (thanks to 'Batman & Robin'). Superman's film history was still up in the air.
The idea of a Marvel Cinematic Universe was nothing more than a fantasy we all wanted but never thought we would actually get.
Superhero tv shows were mostly panned by both critics and fans.

Fast forward to 2016, and we're getting to witness history.
We started the year with the perfect 'Deadpool' movie. Something we never would have guessed would happen.
For the first time ever, The Dark Knight & The Man of Steel will both be in a film together. 'Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice' will feature the two heroes duking it out and as an added bonus, Wonder Woman will be on screen with them as well. The Trinity, on the big screen!
We're going into season 2 of Daredevil on Netflix after a fantastic season 1 of both Daredevil and Jessica Jones, with an upcoming Luke Cage, and Iron Fist series on the horizon.
Then we're getting our 12th MCU film 'Captain America: Civil War' featuring more pieces of comic history come to life. For the first time, we're getting to see Ant-man, Black Panther, and Spider-Man interact on the big screen with the Avengers we've been watching for 8 years.
Last but not least, we'll be getting a 13th MCU film in the 'Doctor Strange' movie. Something else we never thought we would see

I see many of us being so cynical all the time of the little nitpicks like suit designs, film style, casting choices etc. We have become so used to these superhero films that we've begun taking them for granted! I wrote this for us all to just take a minute to sit back, breathe, and realize just how amazing this time is for us!

Written by: 
Matt Hollands

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage.. was literally THE ULTIMATE VOYAGE. An homage to the last 50 years of Star Trek. We were so blessed to have won tickets through FANatics for this show. We went to Budweiser Gardens in London Ontario Canada for the performance, with great seats. So I can't thank FANatics enough for hosting these winning tickets. This meant so incredibly much to me!

The performance was a little over two hours long with a 20 min intermission, at which I was much to excited to do much other than get back in my seat for the second half. The Orchestra was phenomenal, and you could feel their passion through the notes. Reminding me quite fondly of Captain Picard and his Ressikan flute.

In this performance they took us from the very beginning to the very sad end. Touching on all the amazing and memorable events that have touched so many lives over the last 50 years. Some gave us smiles, others a good laugh, and I know I speak for several when certain key scenes with certain characters and actors came on....yes they made us cry and miss them so. 

This incredible roller coaster of pop culture, wonderful memories and nostalgia, was what brought what appeared to be a couple hundred people together in community for just a few hours.

I was inspired and reminded just how MUCH I love Star Trek and everything it stands for last night. I really hope you get a chance to see it as well. You can find out if they will be stopping in near you by clicking the photo below!