Spider-man (N64)

spdyn64 Ah a true classic, the game that truly broke me into Marvel and cemented me as a Spidey fan. Whether on the Nintendo 64 or PlayStation, the game is a gem. The story revolves around a reformed Dr. Octopus premiering a new invention at big Science Expo only to have it stolen by Spider-man, though Peter Parker was standing in the audience the entire time! It’s a set up. It’s up to Spider-man and even Venom to unravel the mystery of Ock’s theft and a invasion of alien symbiotes.

Spider-man can use a wide variety of web techniques like web gloves, web dome, impact web blasts, and even yanking them one of three directions. The web swinging isn’t very impressive but does get you from point A to B, but does require a small amount of web fluid which is a nice touch of realism. The voices are fitting but the voice of Venom shines on; in my opinion its the perfect deep growl Venom deserves. There’s a list of sweet Marvel cameos laced throughout like Daredevil, Human Torch, Punisher, and even THE Stan Lee as the game’s narrator. The villain roster is fun too with his familiar’s like Scorpion, Rhino, Venom, and a pretty cool fusion boss of two of Spider-man’s most dangerous foes. The game’s a definite play for any aspiring comic nerd or any Spidey fan

spdyn64 2 Yay Venom.

What to do with Fantastic 4?

f4 4 I have something of a tradition that has served me well over the past few years when it comes to shitty superhero movies. I go find the comics and check them out for myself if the movie turned out crappy. Each time I’ve done this I’ve been greatly surprised, even finding two of my favorites with Deadpool and Green Lantern. The third was the Fantastic 4.

f4 2  My first experience with Marvel’s first family was the 2005 film. I was alright with it when it first came out; hell, I even enjoyed the sequel. But I couldn’t understand why I felt something was off about it. Years later I was in my local comic shop in downtown Scranton and found Ultimate Fantastic 4, volume 1 on the discount table so I picked it up and was immediately got interested. Between the Ultimate and Marvel Knights series, I came to love the deep sci-fi elements of classic Star Trek or Lost in Space with a dysfunctional family of interesting characters and strange stories. The Fantastic 4 have a wide range of villains from Mole Man, Diablo, Puppet Master, the Thinker, and the Skrull to the planet swallowing Galactus and of course Dr. Doom, one of Marvel’s most iconic villains. Dr. Doom has been in all three big screen adaptations of the 4, and never done remotely right. I can’t blame the actors though because from my understanding there has never a F4 movie made with passion like the Avengers or Iron Man. Pretty much every iteration was made because Fox Studios was about to lose the rights to the franchise and they didn’t want Marvel and essentially Disney to get the rights back. In 2015 it finally exploded in their faces like a trick cigar with :

f4 3    Fant4stic, named by many critics to be one of the worst movies of 2015 but one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Now I started to hear rumors of a fourth iteration of the family coming to light. Whereas Fant4stic focused on a darker, grittier sci-fi version of their origin, this fourth version is allegedly going to revolve around Sue and Reed’s children under the guidance of The Thing and Human Torch is going to be more of a family film. After three consecutive crap-shoots in a row, I’m not a believer. I’d be ecstatic if Marvel retook the rights back like they were able to with Daredevil and Ghost Rider, both formerly Fox properties. Both, reinserted into the TV side of the MCU have been far more successful than as big budget, half assed movies with A-list actors. The Fantastic 4 would fit in especially great now that the cosmic side of Marvel is opening wide with the Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming Captain Marvell, especially integrating the Silver Surfer and Galactus would be damn right epic. Dr. Doom alone is an asset all by himself. He has technological intellect to compete with Iron Man, Knowledge of mysticism to contest Dr. Strange and has gone toe to toe with not only Fantastic 4, Iron Man, and Dr. Strange but the X-men, Thor, and the Avengers too. Done properly he could take Loki’s place in the MCU as most memorable villain to date. A huge problem the movies have had so far is trying to condense Doom into an origin villain; he deserves to be developed over a longer period. I would do a simpler villain for a first movie; any of those first few I named would be interesting and could be epic if done with care. I just wanted to share my views and if anyone agrees  or has any ideas what to do with F4, please leave a comment below or hit me up @TorstenV on twitter. May the gaming gods be with you all.

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Captain America: the First Avenger

Capfa2  What else says hi-ho-America besides me drunk in a alley on Superbowl Sunday, good old Captain America! Besides being the field commander of the Avengers as well as one of Marvel’s very first superheroes, he’s also a symbol of the American spirit. First Avenger is the story of Steve Rogers, a scrawny young man with a heart of gold who dreams of serving his country during WW2. His weak physical condition keeps him out so he keeps hopping from recruitment center to recruitment center with fake papers trying to enlist. Finally he’s spotted by a Dr. Erkliner who believes Rogers is the perfect candidate for a super soldier experiment called “Project Rebirth”. He’s further convinced seeing Rogers kind and selfless heart in action, revealing that another scientist in germany had tried a similar experiment and failed because of his dark heart- Johann Schmitt, the Red Skull. Rebirth is a success, transforming Rogers into the pinnacle of physical human peak. He’s stronger, faster, more agile, with a heightened metabolism and keen reflexes. Armed with his vibranium shield that is essentially energy proof, Cap takes on Hydra, Hitler’s rogue science division lead by the Red Skull.

Chris Evans redeems himself for the Fantastic 4 movies as his portrayal of Steve Rogers; I’m a huge fan of his World War 2 suit and the realistic approach that was taken in the design. The supporting cast is good, and the !940’s aesthetic is truthful for most of the movie and the ending does well to connect it to the MCU as set up the Avengers movie. I do believe the first Cap movie is the weak link in Phase One however. Hugo Weaving is a corny Red Skull with a lame German accent you’d expect to hear in a 50’s cartoon. While Evans does Cap’s character justice, the action scenes don’t so much. He can’t shoot a gun to save his ass, which leads me into my biggest problem: it’s a WW2 movie that doesn’t have much WW2 in it. I just wanted some hardcore battle scenes with Cap taking on hordes of Nazis, not Cap fighting guys in armed suits with fictional laser weapons at the same time WW2 was going on. Overall, this ain’t a bad movie but still the weakest link of Phase One next to Iron Man 2, but hey, it’s the fourth of July.

Capfa1  GO TEAM CAP!!!! (in the book anyway).

Independence Day

id4 So funny story, my dad took me to the opening weekend of Independence Day back in 96, and well to this day it’s the only movie to ever scare me so much we had to leave the theater. I was six.

Anyway,  Independence Day is the story of aliens invading Earth over the course of a few days leading up into a battle for Earth on Independence Day. What much more can I  say? It was Will Smith’s breakthrough role into movies; Jeff Goldblum is quirky and likable; Bill Pullman deliveries one of cinema’s greatest speeches of all time. Watching the destruction pieces blew my mind as a kid, and may I say a lot of the effects hold up well to this day. What scared the shit out of me was the alien autopsy scene, the slow tension of the doctors peeling back the layers of skin, revealing the fetal, glassy eyed creature under it’s leathery, tough exterior. Overall, Independence Day is a fun movie that while cheesy, isn’t ridiculous. Check it out this fourth of July before the aliens come for us all.

The Hellbound Heart

Hbh1 So because the Savior reviewed the iconic movie adaptation of Clive Barker’s disturbing romance novella, I figured I’d cover the lesser known novella, The Hellbound Heart. In a rare instance, Barker did the novella as well as direct the film adaptation which definitely shows. Both are very similar. Frank Cotton, a discouraged sexual deviant, sits in a candle lite room and toys with the ominous Lemanchard’s Configuration (or Lament Configuration), a beautiful, ornate puzzle box that once opened will call forth the seraphic Cenobites to bring him absolution and pleasure. Little does he know how subjective pleasure can be. Frank disappears and his house back in the states goes to his brother Rory, his beautiful but cold wife Julia, and his daughter (in the book their relationship is less specific and she never really refers to him as Daddy or father but rather implied) Kirsty. Rory is a kind, boring man. Julia is a prude who fantasizes about banging Frank, and the brief affair she had right before marrying Rory, and Kirsty is a normal teen girl who loves her dad and tolerates Julia. When moving, Rory scratches himself on a nail and that little bit of blood summons the horrible remains of Frank to find Julia and our plot begins. Julia needs to bring horny men to Frank so he can slaughter them and take there flesh to recover his flesh before the Cenobites find him. Desperate for zesty love Julia obliges. Kirsty, suspecting Julia of having an affair, follows her only to find the horrible truth and comes face to face with her skinned perverted uncle Frank. She manages to escape with her life, waking in a hospital with the box. She opens its and out emerge the Cenobites, not the angels we were lead to believe but gruesome, deformed creatures lead but a tall, colorless figure with a grid craved into his face and nails dug in that would be called Pinhead by fans for decades after. The Cenobites tell Kirsty they want to show her pleasure; she barters her life if she produce Frank. They agree, only sparing her if they can punish the bastard who fled them.

Hellbound Heart is my favorite love story; and it is a love story as well as a soap opera. The Cenobites are written to make you picture them as angels and are masterfully revealed not to be both in the opening and the third act. Clive Barker write Pinhead to have a fearsome, quiet presence reminding me a lot of classic Darth Vader, which is the best compliment I can give. Even in his later works, anytime Pinhead is involved, he gives the story a sense of dread and despair that only the best characters in horror can. It’s a short read, maybe 130-140 pages if that, so definitely pick it up for a good scare and stay away from old music boxes!

Hbh2

The Lego Batman Movie

lbm  I gotta say this was a weird turnaround, watching the grim and bloody Logan to popping in fun and campy Lego Batman in the same night. Essentially Lego Batman is the story of asshole Batman who has to learn it’s ok to need people, even his villains, and it’s ok to open your heart and accept people care about you. First, I gotta give a huge round of applause to the animators of this movie because holy shit it was cool to watch. It was epic how fluid Legos could actually be. Alot of this movie”s humor wasn’t for me per say but I loved how many jokes there were regarding all of the pre-existing Batman films, and the awesome password to the Batcave. Zach Galifinakis is indeed a better Joker than Jared Leto; sorry bro. The climax is pretty sweet where Joker unleashes a army of our most well known, dastardly bad guys from the Phantom Zone Like Voldemort, Sauron, King Kong, The Krakken from the original Clash of the Titans, and even the damn raptors from Jurassic Park. My favorite laugh involved Adam West’s shark repel-ant and Jaws. The cameos are impressive. It’s a fun, energetic movie that’s a fun way to keep you and your kids entertained for a couple hours.

Logan

logan It took 17 years but we finally got our R-rated Wolverine movie and they did save the best for last. Logan, adapted from the popular story Old Man Logan, is the story of an ancient, weathered Wolverine in a world where the x-men are no more and mutant-kind is on the brink of complete extinction. He lives in the Mexican desert, caring for a diseased Professor X who is suffering from erratic seizures that can be deadly not just for him but everyone around him. Logan is no longer the spry killing machine we’ve come to known him as the past 17 years but a angry drunk whose incredible regenerative ability is now almost nonexistent as we see him with unhealed scars all over his body, puss bubbling over his knuckles- a chore to even draw the claws we’ve all come to know and love, and even his sight is beginning to fade when we see him wearing glasses to read. One day a woman finds him, offering him a huge sum of money to take her and her “daughter” across the US to a place referred to as Eden. He refused and is immediately questioned by the Reavers, a group of cyberneticly enhanced men tasked with hunting down the last mutants. Wolverine goes to confront the woman only to find her dead, with just her daughter left. Professor X urges Logan to take her with them, that she was the mutant he’d been communicating with. Her name is Laura, at first mute and peculiar. Soon Logan discovers how when she shows her own metal claws, two protruding from each hand and two from each foot, along with a very similar regenerative capability; she is clone born to be a Reaver weapon in there dark plot to have the ultimate mutant weapon. So it’s up to Logan and Prof X to deliver her to Eden where she can be safe.

I’ve seen many reviews praising the hell out of Logan as a masterpiece; I wouldn’t go that far. It’s no way a bad movie. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart deliver great, complex performances as a fitting finale to their iconic roles; the supporting cast is great but for me, the winner here was the R-rating. X-Men films in particular have been hindered if not damn near murdered by the obligatory Pg-13 superhero rating it took 2016’s Deadpool movie to break by showing not every movie with supers in it has to be for kids and can be succesful. Movies like The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future’s Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse  would have benefited much more from a R-rating, dealing with violent characters and dark themes; it was a pleasure to see the Wolverine I’ve always read about cleaving through people as a growling bad ass. <y problems with this movie is that it’s a 2 and a half hour movie that feels like 3. Also a question about what timeline is this story supposed to be taking place in comes to mind, is it the original timeline or the timeline from the very end of Days of Future Past or perhaps a new one considering the meta element of the X-men comics not only existing but playing a key role in the story? Also, I don’t hate the final boss of Logan as I HATED it at the end of the origins movie, but I couldn’t help but have that taste in my mouth resurface briefly, but thank god it was done much better than the movie no one should ever speak of. Overall, If you love Wolverine or like dark movies in general, I suggest it. Just please don’t think it’s a kids movie; if Logan’s a kids movie than Deadpool’s guest starring on Barney next week.