Thor Ragnarok (Review)

What the hell did I just watch???

I understand that they said 80% of the movie was improv and it shows. Believe me it really shows. The acting is awful. The dialogue is cringe inducing. The CGI is terrible. SIDENOTE: YOU PEOPLE WHO SAID THAT THIS CRAPPY CGI WAS BETTER THAN THE CGI IN JUSTICE LEAGUE ARE BLIND. This movie was green screen hell. Virtually every location just looked fake. Everything about this movie was juvenile and hokey!!! Definitely the WORST Marvel movie.

Did I forget the story? The director and lack of writers sure did. Thor’s sister comes back to take over Asgard but…… Who cares??? This movie takes place on a world that is a nexus to trash. Jeff Goldblum is the grand master here and he skitters and stutters about enjoying his fighting matches that put Thor up against the Hulk. A rolicking, bad acting, and over the top time happens here. Thor has to get back to Asgard to fight his sister but don’t worry… seriously… He’ll take care of her in the last 20 minutes or so. She’s really not the point here. She’s a window dressing baddie. Nothing more. For that matter, none of the characters are more than shallow skit level characterizations. You know how Guardians of the Galaxy uses humor perfectly? Thor Ragnarok doesn’t. At all.

I see how people online either love this movie or hate it… no inbetween. I can see that. I fall on the “hate it” side and well… I’m right. My blog my rules. You people that liked this over something like Justice League (since that was what the comparison was that month), should not be trusted with movie reviews, opinions, or sharp objects of any kind, because you people are nuts.

My Favorite Catwoman List

1) Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises)
Without a doubt Anne Hathaway is my favorite Catwoman. She had the suit (practical glasses for thieving that became ears), she had the character down to be most like the comics, and she could kick ass. She also had that sexual tension with Christian Bale’s Batman that seemed to work better than ever before in Live action on screen between the characters.

2) Eartha Kitt (Batman TV Show)
Who can forget Eartha Kitt’s portrayal of Catwoman from the TV show? The sultry voice, the sexy purr, the way she rolled those “R’s”…

3) Julie Newmar (Batman TV Show)
Julie Newmar defined the character of Catwoman from being the first to play the character in the Batman TV show for 2 seasons. Next to Anne Hathaway, they share the title for looking the best in the black cat suit.

4) Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns)
Michelle Pfeiffer updated the character in Batman Returns and made her overly sexual in her tight and shiny vinyl black suit that she stitched together with claws that cut for blood. I think the big drawback was actually the suit though because all of her hair was hidden inside.

5) Lee Meriwether (Batman Movie 1966)
For the movie version of the Batman TV show, Lee Meriwether slipped into the black suit and took a turn as the cat. She held her own but routinely is overshadowed by both Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt. Some people didn’t even know that it was her and not Newmar that played the movie role even.

6) Halle Berry (Catwoman)
Halle Berry should have never been Catwoman and this movie should have never been made. Many people consider this movie to be one of the worst movies of all time. Had Berry been give a good script with some sort of characterization and decent action scenes then she might be higher on the list. As it stands, it would take a lot to truly unseat her from bottom place as Catwoman.

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 2/21/18

Ninjak vs The Valiant Universe #2 (Valiant)

Continuing on from last months issue #1, Ninjak has been blackmailed into stealing an item from MI6 and Neville has requested that LiveWire activate Unity (for which Ninjak is apart of) to hunt him down. Neville still doesn’t know that Ninjak is doing all of this because his ex-wife and child have been kidnapped. The only thing stopping Ninjak from telling him, when he was escaping MI6, was the nanites that Roku had injected into Ninjak, which she was listening in on. Cut to now and Bloodshot is the first person Ninjak goes up against. Points deducted from Bloodshot for trying to sneak up on a Ninja and getting caught in a reflection. He does get a piece of him and from that Bloodshot can verify that Ninjak has nanites in his blood, which he shouldn’t have. Meanwhile. Ninjak goes up against X-O Manowar, barely getting away, only for The Eternal Warrior to find him and try to talk him down from what he is doing. It is Bloodshot though, scoring those deducted points back, who has the final action of the issue by firing on Ninjak, which leads us into a cliff hanger for the next issue. Was Ninjak shot? Knocked out? How did the nanites relaying info to Roku go down? Was it some sort of EMP that Bloodshot fired?

This series is of course the adaption to the coming web short that will supposedly be released in April (crossing my fingers). It’s a good intro to the characters of the Valiant Universe and issue 2 here has one of my favorite covers of the year already. So pick this up because this is some good stuff!!!

The Amazing Spider-man #796 (Marvel)

I haven’t read this one yet but it is selling like hot cakes due to bad speculation. So much so that shady local comic shops (LCS’s) are jacking up the price from day 1 on loyal customers. I know, this doesn’t hurt me because I’m all digital, but it is another reason I’m happy to be done with buying physical copies. The reason I’m highlighting this issue is because this is yet another awesome cover this year. With this cover, the Ninjak cover above, and a coming X-O cover (I’ll be posting that when it hits stands), I’m loving the cover art that is being put out there this year. This is an Alex Ross cover, so you know it is awesome just based on his name alone. Just look at it… Simply marvelous!!!

My Favorite & Least Favorite Batman Movie Bat Suit List

My Favorite Batman Movie Bat suits:

1) Michael Keaton (Batman)
His head may not turn and the Bat symbol may have extra points (fixed in Batman Returns, though the suit looks more like armor in that one), but this is still my favorite Batman movie suit. the way the cape flows forward and extends from the cowl is a big part of the reason why I like this version.

2) Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises)
More tactical than what the normal Batsuit would be in the comics, it is by far the most practical looking suit for real use. Lighter than most suits and Batman can finally turn his head. Slap the yellow and black symbol on the chest and this suit might even tie Keaton’s on my list. As it stands, it comes in at the number 2 spot just missing the top position.

3) Ben Affleck (Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice)
This suit may be the most comic-like, especially if you hold it up to the costume in the graphic novel, “The Dark Knight Returns.” The gray suit is a nice change of pace from the all black suits that we have been used to for so long. Also, the bat ears being shorter work really well with this suit in the way that Affleck bulked up his body for the role. For some reason, I just don’t think the taller ears would have worked here.

4) Adam West (Batman 1966)
It’s classic comedy and we all remember watching this version of the campy Batman at some time when we were growing up. You have to admit, this suit at least beats my “Worst Batman Suits” below.

The Worst Batman Movie Bat suits:

1) George Clooney (Batman & Robin)
Any suit Clooney wears in this abomination of a Bat movie (it made Batman ’66 look like an Oscar contender) is THE Worst. As a matter of fact, the entire cast makes the list for ugly Bat suits here.

2) Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
This was the Bat suit that defined the Bat Nipple. Not only that but the overly sharp and defined gauntlet “blades” with the super pointy and long ears make him almost look like Porcupine man. It also doesn’t help that the suit muscles are smooth and shiny like some muscle man tournament. While not as bad as Clooney’s suit, where Schumacker doubled down on bad taste, this one was the beginning of that slide into Bat hell.

What If Michael Keaton came back to play Batman in a Movie for The Dark Knight Returns

 Michael Keaton is the right age for The Dark Knight Returns to be made and this could even be done alongside the current slate of DC Universe movies. After all, The Dark Knight Returns is a separate universe in the graphic novel. Here to, Warner Bros. could capitalize on bringing back the Batman that everyone remembers for kicking off comic movies. Hell, I’d even be for Tim Burton coming back to put his spin on it just to keep it as a cap to his version’s trilogy. Would it not be cool to see Keaton suited up one more time as Batman? Or that stylized and cool Batmobile once more in action?

Granted, it would take some writing to be done because, Joker died at the end of the first Batman movie and Jack Nicholson is for the most part retired (unless something spectacular comes along), but it could still work. It wouldn’t be just like the graphic novel but I’m pretty sure a cult of Joker and the Superman fight could all be done. Also, if done right, this could even kick off a Batman Beyond movie franchise where Keaton could reprise the roll of Bruce Wayne but not have to suit up.

Warner Bros. should be on the phone with Keaton, Burton, Pfeiffer, and whoever else needed to make this happen. Especially since the current DC Universe seems to be being picked apart by the critics at large (unfairly I would say but the fact is it is happening). The Dark Knight Returns as a movie and done in this way could be huge though!!!

 

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 2/14/18

Ninja-K #4 (Valiant)

There’s this trend happening throughout Valiant and I’m hoping it comes to an end soon… That trend is what I call: The Set Up. It seems like month after month each book is doing a set up. Recently it has been set ups for the bad guy or group (Bloodshot – Rampage, X-O Manowar – A bad guy group). In Ninja-K it has been a set up for each ninja of the alphabet that MI6 has used. In this issue, it is Ninja-G, a black woman betrayed by MI6. The entire book is her history so basically Ninjak just stands around listening. Thankfully, by the time I got to the end, the blurb said that this arc will conclude next month. This volume started out well enough but it is really no match for the prior volume. It really does feel like Valiant is spinning its wheels and doesn’t want to let anything get started before the coming of the Harbinger War 2 event. It’s been frustrating to say the least. Art was once again beautiful but the story and direction don’t live up to the “Ninja Spy” tales we had been promised so far. Ninjak is a character with so much more storytelling potential, hopefully it moves in a direction more like the last volume and less like what we have been getting.

 

Bloodshot Salvation #6 (Valiant)

Bloodshot takes his baby to the Deadside in this issue, in the hopes of finding some way to save her life. This issue flies by mainly because you are hypnotized by the beautiful artwork that is on every single page. Oh yeah… and at least we get some more Ninjak here!!! There really isn’t much action in this one and I’m already dreading issue #7 because it is the “blind issue” where every panel but the last page is black. I don’t feel like skimping on artwork next month, at $3.99 an issue, is a nice thing to do, but I will give them credit for the art in this issue which again, was beautiful in every panel.

 

Scooby Apocalypse #22 (DC)

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again… Scooby Apocalypse is way better than The Walking Dead. Same premise… monsters instead of zombies, but a much better and humorous story. The art is always fun to see and the bickering between the members of the team are hilarious. In this issue, they want to finally settle down and take over a mall as a base of operations. It was brought up in the last issue that that is the major mistake that happens in every zombie movie, but hey… why not? Daphne and Fred go into the mall to scope it out and they see two different sides of warring monsters, but because they are warring on each other, none of the monsters from outside are trying to get in. So Thelma thinks it’s still a good idea to take over some part of the mall and fortify it while these two groups kill each other off. I’m still happy with this series. It’s an enjoyable read. I do wish they would kill of the backup Secret Squirrel story and devote more pages to Scoob and the gang but… oh well…

Spawn (Full Series Review)

Spawn issues 1 – Current (282 as of this writing)

Spawn has had about 4 iterations in the series so far. There was the beginning with Al Simmons and the deal with Malebolgia that started everything off. He was more of a superhero back then. Then came the Jim Downing version which took the series into a very dark and occultish place. Then the return of Al Simmons in a soft reboot that reveled in inconsistencies, and now Al Simmons de-powered and human fighting crime as a superhero, which is thankfully moving back toward the occult and horror genre. As an FYI, Todd McFarlane has had total control over the character since issue #1. While there have been creative teams on the book, McFarlane has always had a say in how the book goes. When Spawn hits issue #300 it will officially be the longest running independent comic book on record. That in itself is a great achievement. How it got there is a tangled web filled with action, horror, drama, and so many inconsistencies that if you read it straight through, you have to scratch your head. Even so… You’ll love every minute of it.

Al Simmons Makes a Deal

The First Iteration: #1 – #185

It all started off easily enough… Al Simmons is killed on a mission, makes a deal with a devil (Malebolgia), is sent back to Earth 5 years later in a time jump, and sees that his wife has remarried and has a child, he can’t change into himself and instead transforms into a white man, and his whole life has been changed. We get the introduction of Sam and Twitch, the two detectives that this series utilizes extensively and then from time to time just forgets. We get Al’s wife Wanda, her husband Terry (Al’s former best friend), and then their daughter Cyan. Al/Spawn is confused throughout this run and routinely hides away in the shadows of the city’s alleyways. When Spawn does leave the ally’s, you as the reader kind of rejoice because a lot of time is spent in those ally’s, maybe too much time. You jump from occult evil villains to mistreated gorillas becoming cyborgs, and then everything in between. I kind of felt that for at least the first 100 books Spawn has an identity crisis of what it should be. Are they 90’s superhero or occult horror? In a way, it makes sense, because Malebolgia is basically screwing with Al the whole time and he is being made to be confused about his surroundings. Taken in monthly… it probably plays out better. Taken in a binge read… You can feel and see the fight for what the book should be.

When the book reaches a box, the twins are brought in. These twins, born to Wanda in a miraculous and accelerated birth end up being God and the Devil. From there, there is a massive fight between Spawn and the twins which supposedly results in the gateways to Heaven and Hell, to and from Earth, being closed. I say supposedly because all of this is forgotten later. From the Twins, locked away in their heaven and hell, to the gateways being locked. We end up coming to our first soft reboot when Al blows his own head off with his powers and the mysterious Jim Downing wakes up from a coma.

The Downing Files

The Second Iteration #185 – #250

The mysterious Jim Downing wakes up from a coma in a hospital and a whole new cast of characters are introduced. The book goes full on occult and horror and guess what? It works. The art style becomes one where it looks as if every panel is painted. It’s dark, Spawn is more terrifying, and the foes of Spawn are actually quite scary. We have the introduction of the Catholic church and Vampires even. Don’t get attached to these storylines though (I did), because they end up being left unanswered. This section of Spawn ended up being the best story so far. It had a great set up, it was very in depth, it felt like it had a direction and was leading somewhere. Sure we missed Al but then we had also found out that before Al offed himself, he had abused Wanda and took the life of their unborn child in that abuse. So in a way, it was easier to get over him and move onto Jim Downing.

When issue #250 hits and Jim’s story is rapidly ended in another soft reboot, it is a jolt and not the good kind. What happened with the cast that was helping Jim? What happened with Marc Rosen’s girlfriend who was being inhabited by a demon? What happened between the two sects of vampires? What happened to Clown’s plans? Even the build up of the vampire Bludd and his ultimate plan to use the Spawn symbiote to breach the gates of Heaven is left to wither in the wind. None of these are answered because “Al just decided to come back.”

Al’s Back…

The Third Iteration Issues #251 – #262

Al comes back and Jim Downing is in a coma again. We get a new artist who is not very good (thankfully he is not around for very long!!!) and we get books that revel in inconsistencies. I could forgive the whole gates to Heaven and Hell being closed inconsistency in the last iteration because hinging it all on the suit and the dead zones are partially acceptable. But now, those gates are no more. The twins of Wanda and Terry are back (????????). I’m not sure how since the twins were God and the Devil and they both went to their respective homes. Doesn’t matter apparently. The unborn soul of a son of Al and Wanda is a factor, even though in Al’s previous tenure as Spawn, he fought a person named Morana who was the unborn daughter of Al and Wanda. It turns out this soul is now Al’s soul (???????). God and Satan are now the visage of an old man and a demon though God does turn into Granny (???????) and a dog (????????)… Seriously, this third iteration felt like Twilight Zone Spawn.

Al finds out that Wanda burned alive in a car accident and since Heaven and Hell go even/odd on where souls go, Wanda was unlucky and went to hell. So Al is going to go to Hell and save her. This sets up a massive battle where Wanda is ultimately sent to Heaven, Satan is defeated, Spawn is made human and gives up his symbiote suit (keeping but a piece of the living suit secretly), and once again, the gates to Heaven and Hell are closed and locked on Earth… Again.

Honestly…. I didn’t really like these issues. From art to story they just felt like flimsy tangents after the depth of the Jim Downing story. It was a retread of the battle against Malebolgia and had no meaning other than to make Al realize that his wife, who he formerly abused, loved him and wanted him to become a superhero to protect the children of the world… Ugh… Wanda should have stamped the hashtag #MeToo on Al’s head and sent him to hell while she emerged as the new Spawn. That would have been preferable even.

Al is Superhero Spawn…oh wait… maybe…

The fourth Iteration Issues #263 – #275 (and possibly the fifth iteration with #276 – #282)

Al has no powers, a fragment of the symbiote suit that must grow, and a storage locker of money and guns so he can become Batman/Punisher on the streets and stop crime. Yes, we are now a superhero in tights book again. I really felt that this stretch was just searching for an identity again. It’s with issue #276 that we start to feel like we are at home again with the “Dark Horror” arc. This arc is once again that dark and creepy painted style and the horror aspects overtake the superhero. I’m not ready to split this iteration up yet because this arc just ended and I’m not sure if it will stay with the good occult slant or revert to superhero stuff again next month. However… I do like that Cyan now has a dark power and it seems she may be getting here very own monthly, which I think is pretty cool. Issues #276 – #282 were simply beautiful to look at and read because it did feel so much like the Downing/Spawn. With luck, this current creative team can stick around awhile!!!

For all of the inconsistencies, soft reboots, and retcons… I still loved reading through every issue (not so much #251 – #262 but I digress…). Spawn at its best is a dark adult comic that deals with the occult and horror situations. When it shrugs off the “superhero” moniker it pulls the reader into a world that is truly frightening and yet exciting at the same time. When the full cast of characters are being attended to (and not forgotten for issues on end), we get a very dynamic book with much depth and drama that makes you want more. I’ve got the first 30 issues from when the comic originally came out and then I’ve re-bought them and have the whole series in digital via Comixology, and new issues are subscribed too, so I’ll be continuing down this dark path with Spawn and I can’t wait to see what is coming for #300 and beyond!!!