Thursday, April 29, 2010

Super Mario Bros Crossover

Simply put, one of the best "indie" and fan games of the year.

If I ever need to relieve some stress, I can simply go Contra on the Mushroom Kingdom. With the Spread Gun!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kick-Ass - Review

Before heading to the theaters for the first time this year, I shopped around at Best Buy. A woman came up to me and asked for my opinion of movies, something I wished happened more often. She said she was a fan of romantic comedies but wanted to change her status quo by getting some action films. Other than recommending and getting her to buy THE HURT LOCKER, she singled out two other films. She expressed interest in WATCHMEN, which I quickly shot down since its faithful recreation of the comic was more for the fans of the book than the average viewer. I recommended WANTED instead, since its loose adaptation of the source material and heightened action sequences would be better.

KICK-ASS, based on the series by Mark Millar who also wrote WANTED, is pretty much a faithful adaptation yet made some well-made decisions to excise the more darker cynical story elements in the original material. This made it more easy to fool the average viewer especially with its "comic books are fun" advertising campaign. However, there is a lot of cynicism left to make an entertaining black comedy/satire of why superheroes can't exist.

The film is about how one scrawny teenager decides to stop reading graphic novels and starts his own career in the non-existent superhero business. The only things he have is a green scuba suit and two short staffs. That is it. Sure, the point of his story is that he has the desire and the heart of a hero, but as the film continues you'll notice that powerful weapons, fighting skills, and a good dose of reality is what's needed to be a vigilante against crime and the mafia.

Enter Hit-Girl and Big Daddy, the genuine stars of the film and the real "super heroes". This father-daughter pair, played well by Nicholas Cage and Chloe Grace Moretz (age 11), are to leave your mouth wide open, both to be constantly laughing and cheering and to be shocked at their actions and beliefs. I included Moretz's age both as an lame in-joke to an infamous comic book and also since it's some type of requirement for the review of the film. I liked Moretz and her performance as the murdering moppet, but I wasn't Waltz-ed away like every praising and condemning critic of this film.

Matthew Vaughn does a good job with the film by trying to balance out the bright colored theatrics and the harsh social reality, but it could been done a little better. I thought that the violence wasn't violent enough to create a bigger sting, as there were more gallons of blood then gore. Though, that's somewhat an understatement considering heads, legs, and mouths blow up or are severed. Vaughn could have made a Verhoeven, but the all-out action finale, while thrilling, lost some hold on myself. Also, that extensive shootout with constant strobe effects and flashing was very annoying and should have been handled with better care. I feel so bad for the cinematographer when they shot that.

KICK-ASS is a fun and interesting comic book film and will probably get a good future cult following. It is refreshing to see a statement that largely denounces the Spiderman myth and say that the Punishers and the Cassandra Cains are our only hope. In a way, this film really shows the history of American comic books; as the generally happy heroes with a social conscious were left to the side for the gun-wielding, pouch-heavy assassins during the 80s and 90s. I could go on but this review would just be myself geeking out on comic books. Still, this was more on target discussing the film than Roger Ebert's.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thoughts on the Blackest Night Event

With the release of the last issue on March 31, DC's Blackest Night has finally ended. The event that sucked me back into the comic book world. (Though to be more precise it was the corresponding Green Lantern DTV release)

Now that the war has ended and the results have been displayed in panels, my overall reaction to it has been more positive than good. What could have an all-out awesome fest simply ended up being enjoyable for the most part.

Some grips and thoughts on the entire event:

  • With Green Lantern #43 and the first issue of event series, I was anticipating a more harsh and darker event. Instead, it became a giant Lantern war. There is nothing absolutely wrong with this change, but it is somewhat of a bait-and-switch.
  • Thank god I didn't buy all of the tie-ins. Except for the Suicide Squad story, they either weren't all that great/important or useless.
  • Unlike some cynical critics, I enjoyed Mera getting a big push.
  • Green Lantern Corps was my see-saw series. I would be annoyed with the direction, say I'm going to quit next issue, and that very next one would hook me back in again. Now that it's over, I might finally give it a rest.
  • I'm still unhappy about the outcome of Owen Mercer.
  • How come certain Black Lanterns (Superman, Ice, Animal Man, etc.) that were around near Hal Jordan when he became a White Lantern were given life again but nobody else except for the selected few at the end? Practically everyone was right there. Shouldn't there have been a bigger resurrection?
  • And now, for the "Event 12". The "Event 12" are the characters granted life again as picked by Geoff Johns at the end of issue #8. I dubbed them Event since the majority of them were killed during or in relation to previous events in DC. Some were expected (The Hawks and Aquaman), some interested me (Jade, Osiris), and some were odd (Max Lord ? Deadman ?? Capt. Boomerang I ???) At the very least, Johns picked a diverse bunch than just play the popular game.
  • "I think DEAD is DEAD from here on out..." Thank you Johns, for possibly enacting a new rule in comic books I have waited for....
  • But then, the final cliffhanger might reverse it. Though, I do like to see who becomes the one who is stable enough to be the White Lantern.

So, on to Brightest Day?

I don't know. Maybe a couple of issues and then play it safe with the trades.