Why I Don’t Collect Comic Books Anymore

I love comic books, superheroes and all the things that go with them. I have been enjoying the superhero movies and look forward to each one of them.

But I no longer collect comics and haven’t for many years.

I was once an avid collector and really enjoyed it. I focused almost completely on DC Comics.

I especially like the idea of continuity, that is that the comics belonged to a shared universe and that future stories had to take into account that which happened in the past.

I was happy with the way things were working out. And then in the mid-1980s, Crisis on Infinite Earths came out. This was an attempt to clean up the continuity, to simplify things and to fix some of the issues that arose from many years of comic book publishing.

I really enjoyed that series and I liked the new universe that came out of it. But things got complicated again. So there have been numerous reboots since then. Every time there was a problem, they started over.

I was fine with Crisis as one major reboot but the continued attempts to fix things have turned me off. There is no sense of we have what we have and we build on what’s there. If something is complicated, just wipe away the continuity and start again.

I realize that many people enjoy stories just for the sake of the stories. There is part of that in me but the comic publishers have worked too hard to have the major events.

Perhaps that is the problem. The original Crisis was to fix things. The later reboots seem like publicity stunts attempting to attract new readers. But once you have restarted the universe a number of times, how can you do something bigger.

I will hold onto the few classic comics books I have kept and enjoy the movies but I won’t become a collector again.

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Alternate Versions Of Venom

I can’t say that I’m a huge Venom fan but I know he is quite popular. His first movie did very well. You might be interested in some additional information.


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Captain Marvel – First Trailer

This is a trailer that comic book fans have been looking forward to. Captain Marvel is going to be playing a major role in the conclusion to Infinity War.

In the comics, Captain Marvel was originally a guy with a female as Ms Marvel. The original Captain Marvel died and Ms Marvel became Captain Marvel. This is not to be confused with DC’s Captain Marvel, now called Shazam.

The science fiction part of the MCU is one of the most interesting and so this should be a good movie. I ‘m looking forward to it.

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The Meg – Review

Shark movies tend to be real classics (Jaws) or really cheesy (almost everything else). How does the recent movie, The Meg, fit in this continuum? Well, I wouldn’t call it a classic but it wasn’t near as cheesy as I expected.

In many ways it is a typical “realistic” science fiction movie. Scientists (and the millionaires that fund them) are fully committed to making the next big discovery and at the same time completely oblivious to the consequences (which always include plenty of innocent deaths).

In this case, scientists have discovered an isolated underwater habitat in the deepest part of the ocean. This area must be explored but unfortunately the sub that is sent is attacked and stranded on the ocean floor. A desperate rescue mission takes place to save the explorers.

Considering the title of the movie, it is no spoiler to say that the sub was attacked by a megalodon shark, a species thought to have been extinct for millions of years. The shark is able to escape its habitat thanks to the activity of the scientists and begins to terrorize the ocean.

The movie was actually pretty good. It was a lot of fun with plenty of action and some humour. One of the things I appreciated was that there was little swearing, no sex and considering it is a shark movie, very little gore.

I also noticed that the movie wasn’t near as predictable as I expected. Things would happen and I would think to myself, “I know what will happen next.” But I was always wrong. I was surprised over and over. In some cases I was actually disappointed that they didn’t do it the traditional way.

The Meg is not the most philosophical movie ever (although there are some ethical dilemmas) but it is an enjoyable movie. We saw it in 3D and our whole family enjoyed it. There are plenty of movies I have thought were a waste of money but this wasn’t one of them.

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The Impact of Batman

BatmanAs I write this, it is Batman Day. Did you even know there was a Batman Day? Although there are hundreds and hundreds of superheroes, Batman is both one of the most popular and most influential superheroes.

Batman first appeared back in May 1939 in the 27th issue of Detective Comics. Many people do not know that the DC of DC Comics actually stands for Detective Comics, reflecting the importance of Batman.

Unlike Superman, who is super-strong and invulnerable, Batman has to rely on his own intelligence and skill. Millionaire Bruce Wayne serving justice as the Batman served as a model for many other superheroes, including Green Arrow and the Sandman (both also had young sidekicks).

Batman was one of the few DC superheroes who was able to hold onto his popularity after the Second World War and he is as popular now as ever. He has had numerous animated and live-action movies and TV series.

I think people identify with Batman as someone who has experienced tragedy and responded by making things right with the resources available. We may not be able to beat up the bad guys but we can at least work for the sake of justice.

What is your favourite thing about Batman?


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Good News: Writing a Novel

I have written everything from biblical studies books to devotionals to scholarly journal articles to magazine articles. I love writing. But one thing I have never tried was writing a novel. Until now.

Am I not too busy to write a novel? The truth is that I need things that are relaxing that are not related to my work. Writing a novel is about as far away from theology as possible.

So what is my novel about? It is in the fantasy/science fiction genre. It is about a version of our world when not just a few people have superpowers, but everyone does. Or at least almost everyone. What happens when one person is born without superpowers?

The reason I’m writing this novel is mostly for my children. We have had trouble find books to read at night that they all enjoy. So I decided to write my own book. It includes characters named after all five of my children: Logan, Abby, Justus, Emma and Faith. Characters named after myself and Amanda will also make an appearance.

I read the prologue and first chapter to Justus and Emma and they absolutely loved it. Not just because their names were in it, but they really enjoyed the story. They were so excited that I was doing this.

I’m writing this book not with the anticipation of becoming a world-famous novelist. My only goal is to write something my children will enjoy. If it is only for them, that is enough.

The excitement of my children is definitely my Good News for the week.

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Teen Titans Go! To the Movies – Review

I will admit than when my kids first started watching Teen Titans Go! that I cringed. The New Teen Titans was one of the first superhero comics that I collected and I really enjoyed it. Teen Titans Go! seemed to be a mockery of a beloved comic series.

However, after being in the same room as my youngest daughter binge watched Teen Titans Go! I grudgingly began to appreciated the show. I realized that there was some intelligence behind the episodes and that it was full of thoughtful satire. This brings us to their big screen appearance in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.

Teen Titans Go

My daughter was super excited to see the movie but I was skeptical. Their short episodes were fine but a full-length movie? I was not sure.

I will begin by saying that this movie is not life-changing, nor will it affect the culture the way Wonder Woman and Black Panther did. But it was a fun movie and I laughed out loud numerous times. My children absolutely loved it. My one daughter said that after seeing this movie, “Good bye Black Panther as my favourite movie.”

Yes there was some childish humour and some fart jokes but there was more to the movie. It was really a running commentary on the state of superhero movies. There were numerous jabs made at both DC and Marvel movies. I loved it when they called Slade (Deathstroke) Deadpool, since Deadpool was a Marvel knock off of Deathstroke.

Minor Spoiler Alert

One of the funniest parts was a cameo by Stan Lee, who at first didn’t realize that this was a DC movie and not a Marvel movie. It ended up being one of the funniest Stan Lee cameos in any movie.

As a long time comic reader, I enjoyed the running gang about the Challengers of the Unknown, a team that I was familiar with. Then there was Nicholas Cage’s long awaited portrayal of Superman. Many people will not be aware that Cage once almost played Superman in a live action movie.

There were so many references to a wide variety of movies and comics that I could never comment on all of them. For someone like me, it was a good fun time of catching the connections. As a superhero movie, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies definitely wasn’t steak but it was a nice sweet dessert.


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Stranger Things: Season 2 – Review

I really enjoyed the first season of Stranger Things. Not only did I love the story, I was not much older than those kids at that time in the 1980s. I was looking forward to the second season, but didn’t jump into it because I was watching plenty of other shows.

I finally watched the first episode of the second season. It was okay but it didn’t really grab me. In fact it was a couple of months later before I watched the second episode.

However, as the story developed, I got more into it. The 1980s charm was as powerful as ever. But it was more than that. I really enjoyed the story and the character development. I liked the new characters and what they did with the previous characters.

This was especially true with Eleven. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of her side-trip to Chicago. But it all made sense by the end of the season.

I found the final battle with the shadow monster to be quite satisfying. In fact I liked the ending of this season better than the first. And of course things are nicely set up for the third season.

Stranger Things

 


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Luke Cage: Season 2 – Review

I recently watched the second season of Luke Cage on Netflix. I had been disappointed with the first season. I thought that the first season was painfully slow, focused more on highlighting the culture of Harlem than anything else. I also found the villains, Cottonmouth and Diamondback to be rather boring.

I thought the second season was a great improvement over the first. In this season, we have a Luke Cage who is much more comfortable with the role of a hero. The pace was picked up a bit. Although part of the problem is the Netflix pace in general. I’m currently watching Agents of SHIELD and I much prefer the faster pace of that series to the slower pace of all the Marvel Netflix series.

I also liked the villain Bushmaster in this season much better. I call him the villain, even though he is not the real villain of the season. That would require some spoilers. I will say that there were some nice fight scenes between Bushmaster and Luke Cage. It is difficult to find villains than can stand up to Cage but Bushmaster had what it takes.

A highlight of the season was the appearance of Danny Rand. Iron Fist got some mixed reviews but he is actually one of my favourite Netflix Marvel heroes. There was some great chemistry between Luke and Danny. I’m all in favour of a Netflix series featuring both Luke Cage and Iron Fist.

The ending of the season left us in some suspense. Luke was victorious but his victory may be his downfall. We now wait to see if Luke’s character is equal to his strength.

Luke Cage

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Shazam! and Aquaman Trailers

I for one, have not give up on the DCEU. I’m excited about the universe that DC is building. This has been an exciting week for DC fans as trailers for two upcoming movies were released: Shazam! and Aquaman. These two characters have not always been the most popular in comics, but these trailers look promising. Each movie has a different feel but they both look very good. I’m looking forward to both of these movies.

 

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Ant-Man and the Wasp – Review

I have to confess that Ant-Man is one of my favourite heroes in the MCU. I was not that fond of him in the comics but he is a breath of fresh air for the MCU. The recent sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, only solidified this.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

What I like about Ant-Man is that he one of the few MCU heroes that I can identify with. He is a normal guy. Think about the original MCU Avengers: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk and Hawkeye. They are all professionals, people who are brilliant and talent and have it all together. Scott Lang is not that hero. Scott Lang is a hero who is thrown into extraordinary circumstances and thrives only with the strength of character.

But this movie is not just Ant-Man, it is Ant-Man and the Wasp. Hope van Dyne was a major character in the first movie and I was glad that she was able to suit up in the sequel. She is more in line with the traditional MCU hero, but that only highlights the charm of Ant-Man. The relationship between the two was fun to watch.

I can’t say that the villain(s) of this movie were the most interesting in the MCU. Not that they were really bad, just not as well defined as some. But that does not take away from the movie because it is not about the good guys vs the bad guys. It was Scott Lang and his friends vs a bunch of unfortunate circumstances.

My one main complaint was that I hoped to see Bill Foster suit up as Goliath. I hope that happens in the next sequel.

By the way, it is worth waiting for the after-credit scene as it is a major Infinity War tie-in.

Overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp was a great addition to the MCU and I very much enjoyed the movie.


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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Review

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I had wanted to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick for some time. I was aware that it was the inspiration for Bladerunner. When I hear about “inspiration,” I think of a fairly loose connection, something like the connection between the book and movie of World War Z.

I was surprised at how closely Bladerunner followed Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? There are definitely differences. In the novel, one of the themes is that most animals and even insects have died as the result of radioactive dust. Having an animal contributes to social status. As a result, those who can’t afford a real animal purchase artificial animals, not genetically created animals like the androids/replicants but mechanical animals. Hence the “electric sheep.”

There are also other elements such as empathy machines, a religious system, television entertainers and colonies on other planets. The androids are identified by administering psychological assessments. But in all that, there is the same basic story. A bounty hunter has the job to retire androids. These are androids that have escaped their masters on another planet and have fled to earth.

The novel is very thought-provoking. For example, what is life, and why is it acceptable to kill them? There are also religious questions and reflections about the nature of faith. There is a reason why Dick is considered one of the best science fiction writers. It is a book definitely worth reading.


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Solo – Review

Solo

I went to see the latest Star Wars movie, this one based on a young Han Solo. I went into this movie knowing that it was a big disappointment at the box office. It was bad enough that it is making the studio rethink their plans for future Star Wars movies.

At the same time, everyone I know who saw the movie actually enjoyed it. And so did I. There was always a risk having another actor taking over a role created for a legendary actor like Harrison Ford but Alden Ehrenreich did a great job. He really captured the essence of the character.

The movie is about a young Han Solo getting his start, first hoping to become a pilot and then extending into that of a smuggler and outlaw. We get to experience his first meeting with Chewbacca, which I really that was well done. We also see the beginning of his relationship with Lando Calrissian, played by Donald Glover. Glover did an excellent job as Lando.

I totally enjoyed Solo. In fact, along with Rogue One, it was one of the best of the recent Star Wars movie. Han Solo is one of the best parts of the old Star Wars movies and this movie nicely sets up the story of Han and at the same time uses those qualities to tell a fun story that stands on its own.

If I had one complaint about the movie, it is that it was too dark. I don’t mean too dark in terms of the tone of the story. I mean that I kept wishing that they would turn the lights on. I can see the darkness of the home planet, but things stayed too dark all through the movie.

I understand that the studio was disappointed with the performance. But especially with the revelation of the leader of the Crimson Dawn (which truly shocked me), I hope they do a sequel. I would love to see the continuing adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca.


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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The first Jurassic Park movie was an important step in the world of science fiction movies. Some of the sequels got kind of tired. But the recent Jurassic Worlds have recaptured the magic or the original and at the same time including the best of cgi.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a great addition to the franchise. One of its strengths is the role of Chris Pratt. He is a great actor whose actors, while always flawed, are still likeable.

I will admit it was somewhat predictable. I saw a lot of the “twists” coming. But that didn’t ruin it. It was still a fun and enjoyable adventure flick.

One of the the things I thought interesting was the concept of the Fallen Kingdom. This means two things. In one way, the fallen kingdom is the Jurassic Park/World. We see the abandoned island, being ravaged by a volcano. The tourists are gone and many of the dinosaurs are close to death.

On the other hand, the fallen kingdom is humanity. Without getting too theological, humanity is fallen. Humanity’s technological potential will always outpace its moral foundation. The mistakes began with the genetic experiments that led to the dinosaurs and continue with the greedy plans in this movie.

Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom was a good movie. We brought our kids and they loved it. It had everything they love in a movie.

Jurassic World

 

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Thoughts on the Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four

I finally got around to watching the 2015 Fantastic Four movie. The fact that it took this long for me to watch it tells you how bad of a reputation this movie had. This was supposed to be one of the worst superhero movies ever.

The truth is that I didn’t think that it was that bad. It was slow but not horribly so. I thought it was better than the previous version of the Fantastic Four (and I didn’t hate them either). I would say that I even liked this movie better than Iron Man 3 or the Amazing Spider-Man.

There were some things that I didn’t like. Like the previous version of Fantastic Four, I did not like how they portrayed Dr. Doom. I like the original version of Doom as a highly intelligent and devious supervillain in armour and with all sorts of high tech weapons.

I also wished that the Thing would put some shorts on.

To be honest, the Fantastic Four are not the most interesting comic book characters (I mean one of the main members is called Mr. Fantastic!). Sure they have had some good stories over the years, but they are a tough team to do well.

I watched the movie tonight with my son, who had watched it previously. He loved the movie and it kept his attention the second time (which is amazing).

Fantastic Four is not the best superhero movie but it’s not the worst either. I don’t regret watching it.


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Superhero Origins: Hawkgirl


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Darkseid and the New Gods Explained


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Superhero Origins: Thor


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Incredibles 2 – Review

It was back in 2004 that Pixar released the Incredibles. I look back at that movie and still hold the opinion that it was one of the best superhero movies of that time. As Pixar released sequels to its Cars, Toy Story and Nemo movies, I kept hoping for an Incredibles sequel. The ongoing answer was that they were waiting for the right story.

The wait was worth it as they got the right story for Incredibles 2. It starts right where the first movie ended, literally. It begins with their battle with the Underminer who appears briefly at the end of the Incredibles. The damage from their battle with that villain only confirms the fear of some that supers are too dangerous and need to remain outlawed.

But one wealthy visionary has another idea. With the help of his technologically-minded sister, he begins the process of rehabilitating supers in the eyes of public, beginning with an intentional presentation of Elastigirl, who is more marketable and less reckless.

This requires Mr. Incredible to stay home and be a house-husband, taking care of their children while his wife gets do the work that he wishes he was doing.

The Incredibles 2 captures all of the charm of the first movie, including returning to the Pixar magic that hasn’t always been there in their latest movies. The action scenes are fun, the family scenes are relatable, there is humour and emotion and the audience cares about the characters.

I love the retro feel to the movie, with the 1960s clothes and cars, as well as the old fashioned superhero themes. Superheroes have aimed to be more gritty and dark over time but the Incredibles brings us back to a much more innocent time. Not to say that it is less realistic, as any parent will identify with their struggles.

If you are looking for good, fun movie that has an uplifting message, I recommend Incredibles 2. Once again, it is one of the best superhero movies.

Incredibles 2

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Where Does the DC Extended Universe Need to Go From Here?

It is no secret that the DCEU movies have really struggled, especially in comparison with the MCU movies. This doesn’t mean that Marvel is better than DC or that there is no future for the DCEU. But DC does need to think carefully about the future.

If I had the ear of DC and the people in charge of the movies, this is what I would want them to hear:

 

  • The problem is not the characters. They are just as, if not more, interesting than the Marvel characters.
  • Take your time and do things right.
  • Take a break from Zack Snyder. I don’t hate his movies but three out of the five DCEU movies have the Snyder stamp. We need fresh blood. Wonder Woman proved this.
  • See the good work that has done so far in establishing the extended universe.
  • Use more interesting villains. This was the problem with both Suicide Squad and Justice League.
  • Have a plan for where to go into the future.
  • Don’t second guess. One of the problems has been a movie gets made and then they try to re-edit it to a new vision. This doesn’t work.
  • Don’t give up. A lot more Marvel movies were made before Iron Man came on the scene and lots of them were duds.

Where do you think the DCEU needs to go from here?

DC Comics

 

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How Powerful is Shazam?


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Spider-Man Movies Ranked Best to Worst

Spider-Man

Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes and the Tobey Maguire movies were some of the first really good superhero movies. There have been six movies so far and here is my ranking of best to the worst.

1. Spider-Man: Homecoming
2. Spider-Man
3. Spider-Man 2
4. Spider-Man 3
5. Amazing Spider-Man
6. Amazing Spider-Man 2

It could be argued that Captain America: Civil War was one of the best Spider-Man movies.


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History Of X-Force!

Characters from X-Force are being introduced in Deadpool 2. But who are the X-Force? Find out in this video.


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The Plastic Man Movie That Almost Was

Did you know that Wachowski Brothers almost made a Plastic Man movie? Although It’s possible that a Plastic Man movie could be done well, it’s probably for the best that it was cancelled.


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Will Spider-Man Be Leaving the MCU?

One of the most exciting moments in recent superhero movies was when Spider-Man was introduced into the MCU. Not only was Tom Holland a great Spider-Man, it was fun watching him fight alongside the other Marvel heroes.

There have been some recent rumours that Spider-Man may be leaving the MCU. The deal with Sony was never promised to be permanent.

I hope that this is not true as I have enjoyed Spider-Man’s role in the MCU. The following video tries to make sense of what is happening.

 


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History Of Cable!

Although I read some of the X-Men comics, I never had any with Cable. But he seems to be an interesting character and he will play a major role in Deadpool 2. Here is some of his history.

 


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Thoughts on Star Trek: Enterprise

Thanks to Netflix, I have been going through the various Star Trek series from beginning to end. I have watched the Original Series, the Animated Series and The Next Generation. I know that the next one I should have watched was Deep Space Nine and I did start it. But I find it so boring. I keep telling myself that even the first season of The Next Generation was bad and so I will eventually push through.

Enterprise

But I took a break from Deep Space Nine and watched Enterprise. If you have never watched it, it is the story of the first starship Enterprise and it takes place between the events of Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: The Original Series.

I absolutely loved Enterprise. As far as I’m concerned, it is the best Star Trek I have seen. Yes better than even TNG. There were a few rocky moments but it definitely didn’t take a season to find its way.

Each season was very different. The first two seasons really expressed the sense of wonder as the Enterprise as it visited new planets and met new species for the first time. I thought they really captured it well. It also dealt with the tension between humans and Vulcans and the resentment many humans felts about the Vulcans withholding technology.

The third season was very different. It was basically a season-long story arc about the Xindi threat. The Xindi, an alien people made up of a number of different race, had been warned that the humans would destroy them in the future and so they had decided to destroy Earth now to prevent that future. Enterprise’s mission was to find the Xindi’s planet-killing weapon and stop the destruction of Earth.

The fourth and (sadly) final season consisted of a number of shorter story arcs. These were some of my favourite episodes. These included the explanation of why there were some human looking Klingons in the Original Series. Perhaps my favourite was the In a Mirror, Darkly, two episode story. This took place in the mirror universe that was introduced in the Original Series and appeared in the later series, including the most recent Star Trek: Discovery. It was a lot of fun.

Some people didn’t like the final episode, which actually revolved around Commander Riker of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I actually quite enjoyed. It was neat to see Riker and Troi in their old uniforms. It was quite nostalgic. More than that, it epitomized Enterprise’s role as the thread that connects all of the various series.

That is part of the charm of Enterprise, is that it has connections right across the Star Trek universe. It includes early aliens such as the Andorian and Tellarites (and even a Gorn) but also later additions such as the Ferrengi and the Borg. A good example of this is a fourth season arc that features a character named Doctor Arik Soong (played by Brent Spiner), an ancestor of the man who created Data in TNG. But more than that, Soong is working with augments, the same genetically modified humans that Khan for the Original Series and the movies belonged.

Enterprise was just a lot of fun. Having also recently watched the first season of Discovery, I was amazed at how much Discovery relied on the events of Enterprise. This was especially true of Discovery’s own trip to the mirror universe.

If you have never watched Enterprise, I recommend you check it out.


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Superhero Origins: Doctor Strange


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Characters Who Beat Thanos!

Thanos is the bad guy in Avengers: Infinity War and he is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. But he is not undefeated. Here are some characters who have defeated Thanos.

 


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Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies Rated Best to Worst

Marvel has done some amazing movies. Some of them have been better than others. Here is my list from best to worst. I’m only including MCU movies and not the Fox or Sony movies (except Spider-Man: Homecoming since it takes place in the MCU).

Marvel

1. Avengers: Infinity War
2. Iron Man
3. Avengers
4. Guardians of the Galaxy
5. Captain America: First Avenger
6. Black Panther
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming
8. Captain America: Civil War
9. Ant-Man
10. Doctor Strange
11. Thor
12. Captain America: Winter Soldier
13: Iron-Man 2
14: Thor: The Dark World
15. Avengers: Age of Ultron
16. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
17. Thor: Ragnarok
18. Incredible Hulk
19. Iron Man 3

 

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Avengers: Infinity War – Review

The battle with Thanos has been brewing for years, with Thanos being behind the attack on earth that originally brought the Avengers together. Thanos and the infinity stones have been the threads that have tied together many of the Marvel movies. Infinity War is what we have been waiting for.

The basic premise is that Thanos is gathering together the infinity stones, six gems that have been around since the big bang. With possession of these stones, Thanos (already incredibly powerful) will become unstoppable. It’s up to the good guys to stop him.

Who are the good guys? Pretty much all of the Marvel heroes that have appeared up til now, with the exception of Hawkeye and Ant-Man. This boils down to the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange.

The biggest danger for this movie is that with so many characters, none of them would get the attention that they needed. Really this movie couldn’t have happened until now as the foundation for each character was laid in the previous movies, allowing Infinity War to bring them in for the appropriate role.

This movie is able to juggle all the characters and to keep things interesting. Yes, certain characters have greater roles (I’m talking about you Thor and Doctor Strange), but most of the characters get at least a moment to shine.

One of the strengths of this movie is the portrayal of Thanos. He could have easily been a one dimensional cosmic thug. This was one of the main problem of Steppenwolf in Justice League. But they actually make Thanos a complex villain, someone more than just a weapon of mass destruction. I was quite surprised by how much they developed Thanos as a character.

I also appreciated how this movie was more than just transplanting characters into a totally separate movie. The Guardians of the Galaxy scenes felt like their movies and the Black Panther scenes felt like it was from his movie. They even brought in the lighter tone of the most recent Thor movie.

The term epic is thrown around too often. Movies are called epics just because they have lost of action or exotic locales. Infinity War lives up to the label epic. The thought that came to mind is that this is what would happen if Lord of the Rings was about superheroes. Infinity War is truly epic.

A minor spoiler to say that the movie ends with a major cliffhanger. There is no satisfying conclusion to the story. The end of Infinity War only serves to set up the next chapter in the story. I only hope that it is just as good.

Infinity War

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History of Shazam!


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The Titan – Review

One of the latest Netflix original movies is The Titan. The name has a double meaning. On one hand it is about sending people to Titan, one of the moons of Saturn, on the other it is about transforming people into better humans, if not gods then titans.

The premise is that Earth has been wracked by war and ecological disaster (it takes place in 2048). Humanity needs to look for another home (so far it sounds like the new Lost in Space). The chosen place is Titan, a moon that has plenty of resources but is toxic to humans.

Instead of terraforming Titan, it is decided to Titan-form humans. A select group of military personnel are chosen to have their DNA tampered with. The goal is to force evolution by introducing animal DNA to enable humans to survive on Titan. The procedure is dangerous, both physically and psychologically.

The movie focuses on one man who is able to go the complete distance of genetic modification and how that affects him and his family. The basic premise is interesting enough and the actors did a good job. Unfortunately it is not enough to save the movie.

There are some major problems with the The Titan. One is the presence of the family. I understand that it was wanted for the dramatic tension but it is completely unrealistic. All of the trial subjects have their families with them and that doesn’t make sense for the kind of top secret experimentation that was being undertaken. Add to this, the wife who is a paediatrician is able to understand the level of genetic modification that was taking place.

Beyond that is the entire plan to save humanity. How would genetically modifying a handful of humans to live on Titan help anything? The plan was never to terraform Titan and not enough humans could be changed to produce a sustainable population.

Spoiler Alert

The movie ends with one transformed human on Titan. And that means what? It is celebrated as hope for humanity but what hope does it provide?

While the movie was somewhat interesting, the plot holes prevented this movie from being effective in what it was trying to do.

 

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History Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe – The First 10 Years

Perhaps one of the most radical steps in action movies in recent years has been the shared universe featuring the Marvel Comics characters. When we first watched Iron Man, we had no idea what we were in for.

The good people at Variant provide a nice overview of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, just in time for Avengers: Infinity War!

 

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Timeless: Season 1 – Review

My son got me watching the Timeless series. I had never heard of it but listening in to a few of the episodes that he was watching got me into it. My wife and I went back and watched all the episodes.

The premise of the series is that a time machine has been invented. Unfortunately, the time machine was stolen by a person who is going back in time and is changing history. Thankfully, the first version of the time machine, called the lifeboat, is still around. A small team is using the lifeboat to go back in time to try and stop the changes to history.

In the midst of all this is a secret organization called Rittenhouse. The person who stole the time machine claims that he is attempting to stop Rittenhouse and its evil plans. Unfortunately, he is killing innocent people to accomplish this. This leads to numerous ethical dilemmas.

Two of my favourite things are science fiction and history. Timeless brings both of these together. Not only have I been entertained, I have learned lots about history that I never knew.

I’m really looking forward to watching the second season. Timeless is thoughtful television at its best. Definitely worth checking out.

Timeless

 

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Lost in Space – Review

The old Lost in Space series was a part of my childhood. I didn’t watch the original run as it was cancelled the year I was born. It was not my favourite science fiction show but it was okay. Although I saw the remake Lost in Space movie, I can’t say as it made a big impression on me. I can’t remember if I liked or disliked it.

Lost in Space has recently been remade again as a Netflix series. To be honest, I wasn’t overly impressed with the first episode. It gave me some doubts as to whether I wanted to continue to watch it.

I kept with it and I ended up really enjoying the ten episode first season. I thought they hit a nice balance between the innocence and charm of the original series and the complexity and action of modern science fiction.

The basic plot is that earth is in trouble and a plan has been created to establish a colony in Alpha Centauri, consisting of the best of the best. The main ship is called the Resolute, on which are attached Jupiters, much smaller ships in which families dwell. An attack on the Resolute has caused a number of the Jupiters to crash land on a planet that is in neither the Sol or Alpha Centauri systems. The Robinsons encounter other survivors from the Resolute, as well as an alien robot. Their goal is to get back to the Resolute and continue their journey to their new home.

The Robinson family has been updated to reflect modern concepts of family. One daughter is adopted and the parents are estranged. But they still are loyal to the original concept. The actors were able to portray the individual personalities of each family members.

One of my favourite characters is the robot, who as in the original series, has no name. He is radically redesigned for this new series. He reminded me of the redesigned Cylons from the latest Battlestar Galactica series. Much of the season could have been titled, “A boy and his robot.”

Like the robot, another character from the original series brought back is Dr. Smith. This time Dr. Smith is a woman. Sort of. The real Dr. Smith is a man (played by the actor who played Will Robinson in the original series), but a woman steals his identity to get on board one of the Jupiters. There is a real darkness to this Dr. Smith, far more than the original series. Another Battlestar Galactica echo is that this Dr. Smith reminded me of the reimagined Baltar of the recent series. The actress who plays her does a great job of capturing her devious personality.

There were a few plot holes of course, but over all I really enjoyed the new Lost in Space. I liked the acting, the writing, the special effects and the humour. Interestingly, there are only three gun shots in the whole season and yet they were able to keep the action going.

For those concerned, there were a few bits of swearing but nothing bad. I had no problems or concerns watching it with my family.

I sincerely hope that it gets picked up for a second season as Lost in Space was good old fashioned science fiction entertainment.


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History of the Suicide Squad


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Pacific Rim: Uprising – Review

Pacific Rim

I went to see Pacific Rim: Uprising with some interest. I didn’t see the first Pacific Rim movie in the theatre as it looked like a mindless monster movie. I did end up seeing it and thought it was a fun movie. I was more open to seeing the sequel.

The premise for the series of movies is that some giant monsters were coming from another dimension through openings in the Pacific ocean. Humans have responded by creating large robots that are controlled by two people in a mental connection.

At the end of the first movie, the monsters were defeated and the openings closed. But that didn’t end the danger. I won’t spoil anything but the monsters make a reappearance.

I actually enjoyed the sequel more than the original. The plot was more complex than simply monsters vs robots. There were a number of twists and turns and the characters were interesting.

I especially liked the drone robots and how they were used. I thought I knew where they were going with it but was surprised in the end.

It was not the deepest movie but it was fun. Watching monsters rampage through Tokyo brought back great memories of the monster movies of my childhood.

Is Pacific Rim the quality of science fiction like Bladerunner or Alien? No, but it is still far superior to the Transformer movies. I enjoyed Pacific Rim: Uprising as a fun action movie that was entertaining.

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But That is Not My Superman!

SupermanSome people seem to be having trouble with the portrayal of Superman in Man of Steel and now Batman v Superman. This is not the Superman that they have grown up with.

The truth is that the personality of Superman has changed and developed with the times. To be honest, the good old fashioned Superman was pretty one dimensional and kind of boring. Clark Kent was the bumbling reporter and Superman was the boy scout powerhouse.

I too grew up with the Christopher Reeves Superman. The movies were fun because there were no other superhero movies. But neither Superman nor Clark Kent were all that interesting. I had high hopes for the Return of Superman movie but was disappointed when they tried to just continue the Reeves Superman.

The Kal-El and Clark Kent of the current movies is someone that I am interested in. Some thought his killing of Zod ruined the character. I saw it as making sense of the character. In his choice to kill rather than let innocents be killed, we saw why Superman is who he is.

In Batman v Superman, the way Superman reacted to Batman made sense. Without spoiling anything, his motivation for being willing to fight Batman, fit with what we know and want to believe about Superman.

The nobility of the hero and the humanity of the Kansas farm boy was all there. I can watch Clark Kent without cringing and I can cheer Superman on with some understanding of who he is.
This Superman may not be the one you grew up loving but it may be a better one.


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Jessica Jones: Season 2 – Review

I have just finished watching the second season of Jessica Jones. I will confess, as a character, I find Jessica Jones the least likeable of all the Marvel Netflix characters. This is unfortunate as Marvel doesn’t have a lot of strong female superheroes in their shared universe.

Jessica Jones

Having said that, I understand why they portray Jones in this way. She is suffering from PTSD after the trauma of the death of her family at a young age, experiments performed on her, being adopted by a manipulative woman and finally being controlled and raped by Killgrave. Being messed up is understandable.

The good news is that I didn’t find this season as dark as the first. The entire tone of this season was completely different. The bad guy in the first season was very disturbing and it could be argued that there was no bad guy in the second season.

On the bad side, there was too much gratuitous sex in this season. I’m not a prude and I don’t expect every TV show be Sunday school. But there were some scenes that I didn’t think moved the story much and were only there to reach their targeted mature audience. They could have been cut out and would have improved the story.

Spoilers below. If you have not watched this season but expect to, go and read something else on my blog.

Are you still there?

I really liked the character of the Whizzer in the first episode. The Whizzer was featured in the first issue of the Avengers comic book that I ever owned. I hadn’t realized how funny his name sounded until I heard it said out loud. It was too bad he was killed.

It was an interesting twist to have as the main protagonist, Jessica’s mother as a likewise super-powered  who was twice as strong and twice as unstable. I thought the actor who portrayed her did a fantastic job of switching emotions and turning on the rage.

Finally, there was the cliffhanger with Trish. I’m embarrassed to say that I had no idea in the comics that Trish was Hellcat. In this season, we find that Trish is jealous of Jessica’s powers and desperately wishes she had the powers to help people. An interrupted experiment may have given her what she wished.

Overall, this season was better or at least more enjoyable than the first season. I do hope to see Jessica Jones interacting more with Defenders colleagues.


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Avengers: Age of Ultron – Review

Age of Ultron

I finally had the opportunity to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. It is a movie that I have been looking forward to for some time.

The basic plot is that the Avengers have been trying to make the world a better place. Tony Stark, emotionally scarred by the events of the first movie, tries to see the big picture. Hoping to invent himself out of a job, he creates an artificial intelligence named Ultron. Without giving away any spoilers, it does not go well.

What did I think of it?


Movies like this are in a tough position because they tend to be compared to two things, the trailers and the previous movie. As for trailers, they have become so entertaining that it is hard for the actual movie to live up to the hype. In this case, the trailer makes the movie look more exciting than it really is.

I did not enjoy the sequel as much as the first movie. There was something about the timing of the Avengers that made the story flow nicely. Also the humour seemed so natural.
While I enjoyed the story of Age of Ultron, the pacing was not as good and I found myself hoping that things would move along. The humour also seemed forced. While I laughed a number of times, it was just not as natural.

Having said that, there were things that I liked.

  • I liked that Hawkeye had a much better role in this movie.
  • I liked Ultron, even though he was not the stereotypically emotionless killer computer.
  • I liked the twins (Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver). It will be natural to compare this Quicksilver to the one in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Although the X-Men version had one of the best superhero scenes ever, this one was very well done.
  • I really liked the Vision. He was one of my favourite Avengers in the comics and I think Marvel did a great job of bringing him to the big screen.
  • Of course there were some pretty awesome battle scenes, with the one between Iron Man and the Hulk being particularly good.
  • I was pleased with the conclusion, which I will not share here.

So I did enjoy Age of Ultron. It was not as good as the first one or even as good as Guardians of the Galaxy, but it was still an enjoyable movie and worth seeing.

Best Quote:
“If you get hurt, hurt back. If you get killed, walk it off.” – Captain America


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The Amazing Spider-Man 70´s TV Series

Do you remember the Amazing Spider-Man TV series from the 1970s? I remember flipping through the channels and coming across it. I had no idea that there was such a thing at the time and I never saw another episode. I do remember that this was pretty cool. Before judging it too harshly, remember the times. Here is the pilot episode.

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History of Swamp Thing

I remember a time when Swamp Thing was one of the most popular characters in the DC Universe. He is also one of the first DC characters to have his own movie.


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Superhero Origins: Iron Fist


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Characters Who’ve Broken Captain America’s Shield


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The 1970s Shazam! TV Series

I used to watch this show when I was a kid. I enjoyed it at the time but it doesn’t hold up very well. I hope the new Shazam movie will be better.

 



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Thor Ragnarok – Review

Ragnarok

I didn’t get a chance to see Thor Ragnarok in the theatre but I was really looking forward to seeing it when it was available for home release.

There was so much that looked good. It had a Thor and Hulk team-up. It had Cate Blanchett and Karl Urban playing the villains. It included a mix of mythology and science fiction. And I knew that it did very well at the theatres.

I will admit that I was quite disappointed once I saw it. The basic storyline was good. I liked the concept of Hela taking over Asgard and Thor needing to return from a distant planet where he was forced to fight as a gladiator.

But it was the execution that was the problem. Ragnarok tried too hard to be funny. I like humour as much as anyone and I understand DC has been criticized for being too dark and Marvel has had success with a lighter tone.

But to me, Ragnarok almost felt more like a parody of superhero movies rather than a superhero movie with touches of humour. I didn’t mind Jeff Goldblum’s humorous portrayal of the Grandmaster. Jeff does that well and the Grandmaster was a new character to the MCU. However, I couldn’t stand the way they did the Hulk. He was fine in the fight with Thor but his characterization outside the fight was annoying.

Plus there were things that needed explanation. Why was the Hulk able to talk like that or remain as the Hulk when not angry? And how was it that the Hulk ended up on the same planet as Hulk?

This will be unpopular, but I actually enjoyed Justice League far more than I enjoyed Thor Ragnarok. Justice League was able to find a much better balance between the action and the jokes.

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The History of Comic Books


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Who I Would Like to See in a Teen Titans Movie

Teen Titans

Even though the Justice League didn’t do as well as desired, I hope they continue to dig into the DC Universe and bring the characters to the big screen.

One of the groups I would like to see is the Teen Titans. But who should be in a Teen Titans movie? There have been many characters as part of the team over the years. The shared cinematic church that has been set up already will have some say as to who could be in such a movie.

For example, the Flash has been introduced as a young Barry Allen just starting out. Although I like Kidflash, I don’t think he would work at this point. Also Cyborg has become a charter member of the Justice League, so that won’t work either. Aquaman as he has been portrayed seems unlikely to have an Aqualad sidekick. What about the others?

Nightwing – There are plans for a Nightwing solo movie, but I think he would be great as a leader of a Titans movie. With Batman having been around for 20 years in the cinematic universe, Nightwing is likely not a teen. But an adult Nightwing leading the team would work.

Wonder Girl – Wonder Woman has been around since the First World War, so there is plenty of time for a Donna Troy character to have been given powers.

Speedy – Green Arrow has not been introduced yet, but there is no reason for the character to not have been around for a while like Batman. Roy Harper, whether as Speedy or Arsenal, could work.

From the New Teen Titans era, I would love to see Starfire, Raven and Changeling/Beast Boy. Perhaps including Terra as preparation for a future storyline would be good.

That brings together a team of seven interesting characters that would have potential for an awesome Teen Titans movie. Who would you want in a Teen Titans movie?


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The Matrix Revisited

I recently rewatched the Matrix trilogy.  Do you realize that the Matrix came out in 1999? That was almost twenty years ago!

Matrix

Watching the Matrix, I was amazed at how well it held up. When it comes to science fiction movies, they can become dated very quickly. But that is not the case with the Matrix.

Even having watched the Matrix half a dozen times, I thoroughly enjoyed it again. The Matrix was an extremely influential science fiction and action movie and its influence continues today.

Part of the draw of the movie is the investigation of long standing philosophical problem, what if what we think is reality is not reality? The Matrix mixes some important philosophical reflection with cutting edge special effects and exciting fight scenes.

As much as the Matrix draws on philosophy, it also draws on theology. Neo is a messianic figure who experiences a death and resurrection. I actually showed clips from the Matrix one Easter at church.

Watching the Matrix, I also watched the rest of the trilogy, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions. I didn’t enjoy either of the sequels near as much as the first movie. They were okay but nothing close to the quality of the Matrix. I would say that Matrix Revolutions was better than Matrix Reloaded.

If you haven’t watched the Matrix lately, I would encourage you to watch it again. If you have never seen it, what are you waiting for? But I wouldn’t worry about the sequels.

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Thoughts on the First Season of Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek Discovery

The first season of Star Trek: Discovery has just concluded and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. The only other first season of a Star Trek series that has even come close to being this good was that of Enterprise.

I have heard a number of people describe Discovery as “good science fiction but not good Star Trek.” I would like to take issue with this. I recently watched all of the original series and the animated series and am currently going through Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. My observation is that there is not one thing that makes it “Star Trek.” And if we use the original series as the measure, the first season was good, the second season really good and the third season really bad.

The rest of my post here will include spoilers, so if you have not watched Discovery and if you intend to, you might want to move from this post to Why I Love Star Trek: Discovery.

The series, more than being about the USS Discovery or even the captain of the ship, is really about the character Michael Burnham. Michael, as a young girl, was brought into the family of Sarek, the father of Spock. We follow her adventures, about ten years before the Enterprise’s five year mission under Kirk.

Michael Burnham, although fully human, has Vulcan training and this makes her a formidable leader. She also shares a special mental link with Sarek.

Michael was charged with mutiny, which technically she was guilty of. But she was brought on board the Discovery to help in the war with the Klingons, a war she was involved in starting.

Discovery becomes key to the Federation’s war with the Klingon Empire, as they have a means of travelling far more sophisticated than traditional warp drive.

Much of the season is about this war and it often reminded my of Battlestar Galactica and the war against the Cylons.

Familiar Star Trek characters such as Harry Mudd are reintroduced in some pretty fresh ways. I hated Mudd in the original series but this darker version was quite interesting.

One of the neat storylines that I didn’t see coming was their accidental journey to an alternate universe. This was something introduced in the original series and it was one of my favourite episodes of the original series. This universe has been revisited by a number of Star Trek series.

I quite enjoyed this storyline and there were plenty of twists and turns. One that was a surprise to me was the revelation that the captain of the Discovery was actually from that alternate universe and it had always been his plan to return.

Another important story line was that of Ash Tyler. Tyler was a Starfleet officer who had been captured by the Klingons. The fear for some time was that he was suffering from PTSD, but it was actually much darker. Tyler had actually been turned into a Klingon, including receiving the memories and personality of an important Klingon. I suspect that this is going to be used to help explain the human appearance of some Klingons in the original series.

The final episode of Discovery was amazing. The ending was a cliffhanger that is going to make the break before the second season very difficult to endure. On their way back to Vulcan, they receive a distress call from a starship. It ends up that it is the USS Enterprise under the command of Christopher Pike.

I thought Discovery was excellent space opera. It was so good with well thought out stories and plenty of battle scenes. It always kept me guessing but had a goal toward which the stories were leading.

I’m not all that worried with how this fits with other Star Trek series. There have been ties, especially with Enterprise.

If you enjoy Star Trek or science fiction in general, I encourage you to give Discovery a try.

 

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Black Panther – Review

Black Panther

One of the first Marvel comics I ever owned was a Jack Kirby drawn team-up between Captain America and Black Panther. It was my introduction to the Black Panther character. My first thought was that he seemed to be Batman without a cape.

Last night I saw the Black Panther movie. I enjoyed the character in Captain America: Civil War and so I had high hopes for this movie.

I was not disappointed. It didn’t strictly follow the Marvel formula which was refreshing. There was humour but it was not forced the way it was in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.

One of the things I liked about Black Panther is that it was not a one-man show starring T’Challa. There were other strong supporting characters. Two of my favourites were Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister and M’Baku, leader of the Jabari tribe. This latter character was nicely reimagined from his horrible comic identity as “Man-Ape.”

One of the most interesting parts of the movie was the struggle of conscience. Wakanda is the richest and most technologically advanced country in the world and yet they are surrounded by some of the poorest countries in the world. They have isolated themselves for their own protection, but at what price?

Interestingly, it ends up that both the good guys and bad guys agree that something has to be done. But what? Killmonger wants to arm black people around the world with weapons based on Wakandan technology to overthrow the colonizers (white people). But could there be another way?

Another important part of the movie is about the consequences of our actions. Decisions we make, which might seem reasonable at the time, can have drastic consequences for tomorrow. T’Challa struggles with a decision made by his father and wrestles with what that means for his own decisions as king.

I will admit that I was not all that impressed with the villains. I found Klaue to be annoying and Killmonger not very believable. The good news is that the other characters in the movie are so well developed that it doesn’t really hurt the movie.

The depiction of Wakanda as a society both based on traditional African culture and extremely advanced technology was fascinating. It made me want to see more of it and I hope any sequels also take place in Wakanda and not in the overused New York.

Black Panther works not just as a good action flick (which it is), but as movie that asks important questions. The message doesn’t hit us over the heads but it is there plain and clear.

I really enjoyed Black Panther and it is definitely one of the top Marvel movies.

You can find some background on Black Panther here.

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History of Black Panther

With Black Panther having his own movie, you might be interested in some of his background. He is much more than Batman without a cape. Variant provides a nice summary of his history.


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Supergirl TV Series – Review

SupergirlI watched the first episode of the new Supergirl TV series today. Kara, cousin to Kal-El (aka Superman) was sent to Earth as a child to protect her young cousin. A space accident caused her to arrive after him and to be physically younger than him on arrival. Superman provided an adoptive family with the Danvers so that Kara could grow up normal, her intended mission no longer necessary.

In the series Kara comes across as a female Clark Kent in her all her nerdiness, except in her case it is no act. The first episode deals with her struggle in deciding to move from a normal life to a super life.
I enjoyed the first episode. Kara is likeable in all her insecurity. I really liked the portrayal of James Olsen and his role as link between the two Kryptonians was done effectively. Cat Grant is annoying, exactly the way she is supposed to be.

Watching the first half, one might think that these series is just about a young woman seeking her identity. It is that, but the battle scenes that took place were done very well. This series promises both characterization and action.

Will Supergirl duplicate the success of Arrow and Flash? Only time will tell. I will confess that I enjoyed the first episode of this series more than I did of Gotham.


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The Cloverfield Paradox – Review

Cloverfield Paradox

I have been going through a bit of a Cloverfield binge, concluding with the new Netflix movie, The Cloverfield Paradox.

The good thing about all the Cloverfield movies is that they are all so different. And the connection between the movies is much more complex that three successive chapters in a story. It is even unclear as the chronological relationship between the the three movies.

Paradox revolves around experiments with a particle accelerator on a space station orbiting the Earth. This is no act of scientific curiosity. Earth is experiencing a serious energy crisis and is on the brink of war over the limited resources. The scientists on the station are attempting to create a sustainable source of energy with the particle accelerator.

They almost run out of fuel for the accelerator with every attempt being a failure… until it wasn’t. But the success of the accelerator may have created more problems than solutions. Nothing seems to be as it should be.

I won’t give any spoilers here, but I will say that they explore a number of theories popular in speculative science. Like the other movies, it is all about trying to sort through the clues and to discover what is really happening.

I would say that this movie, of all the Cloverfield movies, follows science fiction formulas. But that is not to say it is not good. I quite enjoyed the movie.

One of the interesting things about the Cloverfield movies is that the connections are not forced. There is a connection and like the previous movie, it is not until the very end that we find out what it is.

The Cloverfield Paradox was a good movie and I’m looking forward to the next installment.


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10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane

I recently rewatched Cloverfield. Watching that movie was a reminder that I had never seen 10 Cloverfield Lane (the sort of sequel). Well it was time to fix that.

I really did not know what to expect. Even though it came out some time ago, I hadn’t read any of the spoilers, so everything was a surprise.

The basic plot is about a young woman who is in a car accident and is then taken to an underground bunker by a survivalist type, played by John Goodman. This survivalist claims that there had been some sort of nuclear or chemical attack and that everyone outside the bunker was dead.

The tension is created by the question of what really happened. Is the survivalist just a paranoid psychotic or a deceptive criminal? The young woman and another young man try to get to the bottom of it.

The audience is left with the same questions. There is some evidence that he is telling the truth and some that he is misleading them. Then there is the question of how this connects to the first Cloverfield movie. I won’t answer that in case you have not seen the movie.

I will say that I really enjoyed 10 Cloverfield Lane. Like the first movie, it is a fresh approach, not falling into tired old formulas. Although this movie has some of the feel of Stephen Kings, Misery, it really crosses over genres, making it difficult to pin down.

John Goodman does a masterful job as Howard Stambler. He is totally believable in his role, keeping everyone guessing as to his real motives.

For those wondering, there is a connection with the first Cloverfield movies, as well as the later Cloverfield: Paradox. But you will have to watch the movie to find out.

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Cloverfield Revisited

Cloverfield

In order to prepare to watch Cloverfield Paradox, I watched the original Cloverfield movie, which came out in 2008.

Most movies today rely completely on CGI and follow a pretty standard formula. Cloverfield is genuinely unique. It is filmed by a camcorder held by characters in the movie. It is not caught on camera, it does not appear in the movie.

We don’t get back story on the monster or ultimately find out what happens to it. The story is about the small group of friends who are trying to get away and to save the people they care for.

The movie doesn’t end in a typical fashion. It’s not exactly a happy ending.

Cloverfield is still one of my favourite science fiction movie. It still holds hop ten years later. Next up is to watch 10 Cloverfield Lane.

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12 Characters Who Have Become Batman


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DC Comics Movies I Would Like to See

Despite what many critics say, I have enjoyed all of the recent movies (starting with Man of Steel) based DC Comics characters. DC has announced their upcoming movies and I’m looking forward to all of them.

But there are some that are not listed that I would love to see. If DC ever came to me and asked me to choose their future movies, these are who I would choose.

1. Dr. Fate
2. Legion of Superheroes
3. Doom Patrol
4. Hawkman/Hawkgirl
5. Kamandi

Who would you like to see?

DC Comics

 


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Teen Titans Go!

Although my son likes superheroes in general and one of my daughters likes certain superhero movies, my youngest is not interest at all. Except for Teen Titans Go!

I need to make a confession. When I first saw Teen Titans Go, I hated it. I used to collect the Marv Wolfman/George Perez New Teen Titans. Since the Teen Titans Go lineup is similar to the NTT, the differences are huge. Teen Titans Go seemed like a mockery of classic comics.

My kids binge watch Teen Titans Go. At the beginning it drove me crazy. But over time, it actually has grown on me.

It is kind of fun how they pick a variety of characters from the DC Universe and give them a twist. But they include so much more of that. There are tons of cultural references, many of which only parents would get.

The stories are actually well written. I would describe Teen Titans Go as the Simpsons of the superhero world. It is satire that can be extremely entertaining for adults and kids.

So the bottom line is that I’ve been corrupted. Young Justice they are not, but fun TV it is.

Teen Titans Go

 


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Thoughts on Jessica Jones

Jessica JonesMy wife and I finished watching the first season of Jessica Jones last night. What did I think of it? I thought it was one of the best superhero seasons I have watched. Having one long storyline made it almost seem like the old serials.

Jessica Jones was a very interesting character. She is very complex, wanting to deny her role as hero but unable to escape it. The portrayal of her PTSD was well done.

Killgrave was one of the best villains I have encountered. He too is a complex character, very evil but also broken by his own experiences.

If there was one thing I did not like about the series, it was the sex. I’m no prude but to me it seemed unnecessary for the story. Seeing Jessica and Luke break bed did not move the story forward. It felt like the series was trying too hard to show itself as dark and gritty. But Walking Dead is dark and gritty and it avoids the sex.

Overall, it was a good season and I look forward to what happens next in the Hell’s Kitchen corner of the MCU.

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What I Miss About Collecting Comic Books

Comic Books

Collecting comic books was an important part of my childhood. While I no longer collect comics, there are things that I miss about it, something that I can’t get back.

When I started collecting comics, I did not buy them from a comic book store. I got them from one of two convenience stores near my house. It was good to have two to choose from, as sometimes one store would sell out of an issue before I got there.

There was something exciting about showing up at the store with a handful of quarters (yes, they were that cheap then) and not know what you were going to walk out with. The comics were placed in a spinning rack and I would spin it around, scanning for the next issue of a series I collected or something new to try out.

Kids today will not know that feeling. I have nothing against comic book stores, as I eventually moved to those as well. But I still miss the spinning rack and the anticipation of what I was going to find.

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Big Hero 6 – Review

 

Big Hero 6

We recently took the family to see Big Hero 6. What many people probably do not realize is that this is based on a Marvel comic. In fact if you watch carefully, you will see a brief appearance by Stan Lee.

We absolutely loved the movie. The animation was beautiful and the story was engaging. The basic story is about a boy named Hiro who needs to deal with a loss. In this, he is aided by some friends and a medical robot called Baymax.

By far the best character is Baymax. Despite being a robot with no emotions, he has the most entertaining personality of all of them.

That does not sound like a standard superhero movie and it is not. It is better. The moral message of the movie is about dealing with desires for revenge.

Big Hero 6 is the kind of movie that adults and children will enjoy. It is one that we intend on buying when it is released on DVD.

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Guardians of the Galaxy – Review

Guardians of the GalaxyI know that this is a bit late for a review of Guardians of the Galaxy but we just had the opportunity to see it on Sunday.

Although I enjoy the Marvel movies, it does feel as if they are just plugging characters into a formula. That is why I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, it actually stepped outside of the formula.

Part of is it that it was a mixed genre movie. Even if I was not a superhero fan, I would have enjoyed it based on my love of science fiction. It would have worked even without the tie to the comic books (truth is I have never read a comic with the Guardians of the Galaxy).

The main draw, however, was the characters. It is interesting to compare Star Lord with Captain America. Cap couldn’t be anything but a hero. Star Lord has to choose to be heroic. He is a much more realistic character, he is someone we can identify with.

I also loved the character of Drax the Destroyer. As a parent of children with autism, it is nice to see a character who doesn’t get metaphors. Besides, he is just plain funny.

My favourite character is definitely Groot. Besides having some neat powers, he is a very interesting person/being/tree. I enjoyed every scene with him. I would say this is the best role Vin Diesel has ever had. “I am Groot!”

So if you have not had the chance to see Guardians of the Galaxy, go and see it. Even if you do not like the other Marvel movies, this is definitely a movie worth watching.

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Doctor Strange – Review

Doctor Strange

I had the opportunity to see the Doctor Strange movie today. Since it was the day before my birthday, I had the choice of which movie my wife and I would see. Thankfully, my wife also enjoyed Doctor Strange.

First I need to say that I never collected Doctor Strange comics. I was more of a DC guy and the few Marvel titles I collected did not include Doctor Strange. But from what little I know, it seems the movie was fairly faithful to the source material. In fact, the dark dimension with all of its CGI definitely had a Steve Ditko feel.

What are my first thoughts? I must say that it was one of the most visually striking of any superhero movie so far. The special effects were amazing, not just in the quality of the graphics but in the imagination of those who conceived of it. My wife and I generally avoid 3D movies, feeling that most movies don’t take enough advantage of the 3D for it to be worth the extra cash. But Doctor Strange really used it well and it is one of the few movies that I would recommend people see in 3D.
Doctor Strange is basically a story of redemption. Stephen Strange thinks he is looking for healing for his hands but he is really needing healing for his soul. His materialistic worldview is shaken to its core.

Doctor Strange, despite having the temptation to be dark, chooses to embrace the trend of injecting humour into it. While not quite at the Guardians of the Galaxy level, there were some pretty funny moments. In fact one of my favourite characters in the movie is Strange’s cape. You need to see it to understand.

Doctor Strange was a fun and entertaining movie. Benedict Cumberbatch did a fantastic job of portraying both the pompous neurosurgeon and the humbled superhero. If you like superhero movies, this is one is worth seeing.

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Black Lightning – Review

This is a great time to be a superhero fan when it comes to television. Both DC and Marvel have invested heavily in bringing their characters to the small screen. The latest is the DC hero Black Lightning.

Black Lightning is really Jefferson Pierce, a former Olympic athlete and current principal of a high school. Instead of presenting an origin story, it starts nine years after Pierce has given up his Black Lightning role. He returns only because of the kidnapping of his daughters by the 100 gang.

I like the Black Lightning character. I used to collect Batman and the Outsiders and Black Lightning was one of my favourite members. He was strong, noble and intelligent. I had high hopes for this series.

I was pretty disappointed by the first episode. It overly relied on the contemporary frustration between black people and white police. That is an issue that needs to be addressed but this felt like a shallow treatment. It didn’t accomplish the purpose of engaging the audience.

The story felt very clunky. I understand that this is only the first episode, but it fell far short both of other Marvel and DC shows. It seemed like an attempt to copy Luke Cage that didn’t quite make it.

It is not that I’m overly critical. I really enjoyed both Iron Fist and Justice League, which the critics hated. I’m not that hard to please. But Black Lightning was a disappointment. It was everything from the horrible costume to the laughable villain of Tobias Whale. It reminded me of a superhero series from the 1980s.

I can’t say as I will spend my limited television time watching more episodes.

 

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History Of Black Lightning


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Batman Movies From Best to Worst

Batman

At the time of this post, we are still waiting for the movie titled, The Batman. I have actually liked the Ben Affleck version of Batman and am sorry that he will be giving up the role.

I’m going to rate my favourite Batman movies. In my list, I’m not counting the serials from the 1940s or his appearances in Suicide Squad or Justice League. Nor am I counting the animated movies.

1. Batman Begins
2. The Dark Knight
3. The Dark Knight Rises
4. Batman v. Superman
5. Batman (1989)
6. Batman Returns
7. Batman (1966)
8. Batman Forever
9. Batman & Robin

How would you rate the Batman movies?


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History of Justice League Dark


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Jimmy Kimmel Hires Doctor Strange


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Logan (Wolverine 3) – Official Trailer


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History of Supergirl


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Deadpool – Review

Deadpool

I finally got around to watching Deadpool. My thoughts? That was two hours of my life I will never get back. I’m only thankful that I watched it on Netflix for free and never spent money on it.

Seriously, I just don’t understand why it was such a hit. To be completely honest, I actually enjoyed the most recent Fantastic Four movie more than I did Deadpool.

My only thoughts regarding the success of this movie is that people were amused by its R rating and their willingness to be far cruder than any other comic book movie. It was a novelty.

I will admit that the language and other raunchy parts of the movie made me less likely to appreciate it. But even if it was cleaned up, there really wasn’t much of a story. It was just a bad movie.

I did like Colossus in this movie. He was always one of my favourite X-Men and it is too bad that they did not make much of him in the movies. I thought he was pretty fun here.

I know that they are making a sequel and they will try to make it even cruder. It will also likely be a big hit. I doubt I will enjoy it any more. Hopefully this is not the future of comic book movies.


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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence

Ghost Rider

Last night I finally watched Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence (it was actually my son’s idea). I remember watching the first movie and thinking it was okay but not great. It must have done well enough to allow a sequel.

I found Spirit of Vengence to be one of the worst superhero movies that I have ever watched. It was painful. I did like the appearance of the Ghost Rider and some of the fight scenes were entertaining (although one sided). Also, the scene where the bad guy who supernaturally makes everything rot picking up the Twinkie with no effect was pretty funny. But the rest was rather boring.

I have tried to figure out if it was just a bad movie or if it was just that Nicholas Cage did a poor job. I really did not like his acting. But the storyline seemed rather weak as well. The movie just did not work.

Seriously, those who thought Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad were bad movies, need to go back and revisit this movie!

If you want to watch the movie for free on Netflix, go for it. But I wouldn’t pay money for it.

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Supergirl and Superman – Review

Tonight I watched the season 2 premier of Supergirl. I need to say that I have not been following Supergirl. Before this episode, I only watched the first episode and the episode with the Flash.

I will confess that I enjoyed this episode much more than the little I had seen before. This is not just because of Superman. In general, I found the characters much less annoying than previously. There was a maturing of Supergirl from what I had seen before.

I did like the way did Superman (except the cape attachment, which looked weird). It was a pretty old school version of Superman and Clark Kent. It was much different from the current Superman in the movies. While I don’t mind the Henry Cavill Superman, I really liked Tyler Hoechlin here. This was a Superman who doesn’t take himself too seriously, but is by no means a joke.

I loved the Richard Donner references in this episode, the appearance of Miss Teschmacher being only one. You can find out more about these references here.

I also found the relationship between Superman and the Martian Manhunter. An aside, I really like the Martian Manhunter in this series.

This episode was good enough to make me consider continuing with the series from now on. I may even go back and see what I missed.

Supergirl and Superman

 

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