Here comes Spider-Man (again)

The first trailer for the new Spider-man film has finally been released and it’s a doozie! If you’ve seen Captain America: Civil War, you’ll know it (spoiler alert!) featured a certain Peter Parker in a cameo role.

It looks like Spider-Man: Homecoming picks up after that, as the trailer features the ever-suave Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) who seems to have adopted a kind of mentor role for Peter. I think it’s a nice overlap with the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe and will make sense to people who saw Spider-Man’s last outing.

Continue reading “Here comes Spider-Man (again)”

The Guardians are back!

Oh how I’ve waited for news of the sequel to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘. Finding the trailer online this morning was a great start to the day and had me laughing out loud in seconds. Baby Groot! Baby Groot!

Drax still doesn’t get subtlety and Star Lord remains an adorable sleaze-bag. The sociopathic genetically altered raccoon called Rocket is still looking after Groot. Add to this Gamora’s intensity, propensity for violence and Daddy issues and you’ve got the perfect team. 

And look at that cameo of Mantis – hope she’s joining the team for good. 

God I can’t wait to see this. I might even watch the original again this afternoon. It’s just the kind of antidote to 2016 that my brain needs. Some good quality comedy Sci-fi featuring comic characters I love. A shame it’s not coming out until next May. 

MacPsych at the Movies: Doctor Strange

I’ll fully admit that I went to see this film out of a sense of obligation. I’m a massive Marvel Comics fan and have enjoyed nearly all of the movie adaptations they’ve made in the past few years. But I was worried about Doctor Strange, as it represents such a change in tone from it predecessors.

Let’s recap. Whereas Captain America is a war hero, Stephen Strange is an arrogant and selfish neurosurgeon. Whereas Captain American makes the ultimate sacrifice (spoilers?), Stephen Strange turns away needy patients if he doesn’t think he’ll attain a successful outcome – and get the glory that follows.

So he’s not instantly likeable.

And whereas Tony Stark is also arrogant, he lives the millionaire playboy lifestyle and uses incredible technology to battle his enemies. Stephen Strange is cerebral, intelligent, a professional, doesn’t use gadgets and actually wears a cloak. Yes, a cloak.

However…

This step into the world of magic and the mystic arts is handled so well, it really feels like a continuation of the Marvel Universe story – we’re just seeing another chapter unfolding. Yes, he’s a pretty awful person, but as always in these situations, he experiences a disaster, comes out the other side and is a (slightly) better person for it.

I’m not a Harry Potter fan nor do I enjoy fantasy stories. That said, this film had me hooked from the outset. I was very familiar with the Doctor Strange story from the comics, so I was keen to see how they’d adapt it for the screen and a 2016 audience.

In short, very successfully. Benedict Cumberbatch was BORN to play Strange, just as Robert Downey Jr was born to play Tony Stark / Iron Man. The resemblance is uncanny. And while there are some interesting changes to the profiles of other characters (e.g. “The Ancient One”, now played by Tilda Swinton) the characters work.

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There’s an excellent mix of exposition and back-story, combined with humour, action and some resolution. It’s basically the origin of Doctor Strange, but immediately makes him part of the shared Marvel Universe that also contains Captain America, Thor and the Hulk. It does this really skilfully and no prior knowledge of the Doctor Strange mythos is required.

(Also, you have to stay for two excellent post-credits scenes that set up future films. Honestly, if you’re a Marvel fan, you’ll love them.)

I can really recommend this to any fans of fun, action and adventure. You need not be a comics fan or a fan of magic (I’m not, I’m really not!). In fact, there were moments in “Doctor Strange” where I was transported back to my first screening of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. It’s that fun and that full of adventure.  And the special effects are very impressive – and quite psychedelic!

I can’t wait to see more of Doctor Strange in future Marvel movies.

And if you’re interested in learning more about the character, check out this wikipedia page or some recent comics. And now, a bonus recent comic appearance of Tony Stark and Doctor Strange – I love how disdainful Strange is of everything Stark represents.

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A spoiler-free Captain America: Civil War review

Want the shortest version of this? Captain America: Civil War is excellent for fans of comics, super heroes and action films.

However, if you don’t know what S.H.I.E.L.D. is or how it’s different from Captain America’s shield, you may find it hard to keep up with this one. Indeed, if you can’t accept that it’s perfectly reasonable for two World War II soldiers to have experienced different forms of suspended animation and still be able to smash down doors and leap through walls, then maybe you should give it a miss.

But I hope you don’t as it’s tremendous fun. Continue reading “A spoiler-free Captain America: Civil War review”

The Doctor Strange trailer has landed!

What a way to wake up this morning – seeing Twitter ablaze with links to the trailer for the Dr. Strange film! I’ve been looking forward to this since it was a announced as I’ve always been a fan of these slightly offbeat comics, where the focus is on other realities, rather than heroes knocking six bells out of each other (though I’m obviously a fan of that too!).

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon whose hubris lands him with useless hands and a need to find a cure, wherever that takes him. He ends up a student of an ancient mystic ‘in the East’ and eventually becomes Earth’s ‘Sorcerer Supreme’. As I’ve said before, Cumberbatch seems like the ideal actor for this role – he does haughty disdain so well, which is really all Stephen Strange had to work with before his car accident.

In this trailer, we get the briefest of glimpses into the origin story: the car wreck, his travels to the Asia and his meeting with ‘The Ancient One‘, played by Tilda Swinton. Cue lots of mystic arts and mind-bending travels through other realities and we have the makings of an excellent Marvel flick.

The very final scene is what set my heart aflutter – mere seconds of Strange, wearing his red cape, walking up the steps towards the iconic window that looks out from his Sanctum Santorum.

This is (hopefully) going to be a welcome change of tone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Somewhere between the Avengers and the Netflix-based dark violence of Daredevil. And boy does Benedict Cumberbatch look like he was born to play this role.

New trailer for Captain America: Civil War

There’s no other way to put this – Captain America: Civil War looks epic. I’m more excited for this film than any of its predecessors in the Marvel Studios catalogue.

After several high-profile outings for the Avengers, featuring not a small amount of collateral damage, the government brings in a registration protocol. The need to register with the government splits the Avengers down the middle, pitting them against each other. Hence the ‘Civil War’ title.

Calm down, dear…

This latest trailer is exciting for a couple of reasons: one, it features more of the Black Panther, who I’ve been dying to see on the screen for quite some time. I hoping he gets more than a brief cameo in the film itself.

Secondly, the last couple of seconds of this trailer feature the long-awaited appearance of Spider-Man alongside the Avengers. Unless you’re a complete comics geek, you might not know that, as well as swinging between tall buildings in New York and battling tentacled super-villains, Spider-Man has also been a member of the Avengers.

Due to various copyright shenanigans between the studios, Marvel have been unable to feature him in their own films.

Until now, that is.

An ensemble piece?

So… this latest chapter of the Avengers (because that’s what it is, really) will feature one hell of an ensemble of characters: Captain America, Winter Solider, Black Widow, Iron Man, The Vision, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, War Machine, The Falcon and Spider-Man. And I’m betting we’ll have at least one or two more exciting cameos. Exciting for the geeks, anyway!

I know I’ll be squirming with glee as each appears on screen, but I can’t help but wonder how a non-geek audience will react. Are there just too many characters? And will they be confused that they’re beating seven shades out of each other and not some magical super-villains? How will we learn why each hero has chosen the side they have?

This is all going to require some neat writing and some subtle expositions along the way. Comics can always start with a recap on the front page, so you can catch up. How will the writers allow the audience of this film catch up? Especially if they haven’t seen all of the other Captain America, Iron Man and Avengers films?

Well, we won’t have long to wait: it’s out on April 29th in the UK.

Oh how they’ve changed…

An epic post from Comic Book Resources, outlining all the various teams the X-Men (and spin-offs) have constituted since the 60s.

I’m not that old, but I remember from number 3 onwards. Such happy memories of hours spent reading x-books (even when they were so god-awful back in the 90s) and trying to figure out the horribly complex back-stories of all the characters.

I must have read Jim Lee’s issue 275 a hundred times. That and his X-Men #1 were truly things of beauty.

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Though I have to admit I’m enjoying Avengers and Star Wars far more these days…

Expecting a Civil War?

I am. And I’m looking forward to it!

Here’s the first trailer for ‘Captain America: Civil War‘ which, if the comics are anything to go by, will pitch hero against hero as they fight over the government requirement to have a ‘register’ of super-heroes. The Avengers ‘schism’ and find themselves on opposite sides of the law. Friends are forced to side with either Captain America (who goes on the run) or Iron Man, who enforces the new rules.

Just from this trailer, I can see they’re deviating from the original story (which is one of my favourites of all time!) and drawing in the Winter Soldier as a fall guy.

There’s also a glimpse of the Black Panther (squeal!) kicking ass and what looks like a hell of a smack down between Cap, the Winter Soldier and Iron Man. So much to look forward to. And May 2016 seems so far away.

Good thing there’s Star Wars to keep me going…

Oh. And it’s new comics day.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be knee-deep in Comixology on my iPad.

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man #1

I know what you’re thinking. Another Spider-Man relaunch? Just how complicated can a Spider-Man story get? He swings between buildings and delivers snappy one-liners while smacking the bejaysus out of costumed criminals. 

Before you get too cynical and wonder why the need for a new #1 issue, let me explain that this is more fundamental revisting of the Spider-Man story than anything I’ve seen in years. 

And it’s excellent

  

I won’t spoil it with too many details, but time has passed since the events of Secret Wars and now Peter Parker isn’t a penniless down-on-his-luck researcher and part-time crime-fighter. He’s more like a Tony Stark, if Tony Stark had a conscience. 

There are quite a few twists and turns in the first few pages alone and, along with a guest appearance from Mockingbird (presently kicking ass in Agents of SHIELD on TV right now), a certain Spider-vehicle makes a welcome return. 

This is the best #1 issue I’ve read in some time, though I have to say there are more than a few ‘catch up’ moments, where the writer has had to crow-bar in some characters to bring new readers up to date. It’s not too distracting, but the entire issue is just one “Boom!” scene after another. 

Excellent writing (as ever) by Dan Slott, a superb cover by the elegendary Alex Ross and some nice interior art by Giuseppe Camulcoli make for a great first issue. Based on Dan Slott’s work on Spirder-Man in recent years, I was definitely going to give this one a go. But it became a definite subscription in my Comixology account as soon as I’d finished reading it. 

Just before I started reading it over from the start. 

If you like Spider-Man and have enjoyed Dan Slott’s earlier writing, you’ll love this. It gets multiple thumbs up from me.