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Monthly Archives: January 2018

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER | DVD Review

RELEASED: July 22nd 2011
DIRECTED BY: Joe Johnston
WRITTEN BY: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Alan Silvestri
STARRING: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci & Hugo Weaving

Although this film garnered good reviews at release, as of late, it has become severly underrated. When people talk about the best Marvel movies, things like Iron ManThe Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy are thrown about, but truth is, for the most part, Captain America: The First Avenger is also a pretty great film.

The story follows Steven Rogers, a young man from Brooklyn desperate to do his bit for the war effort, but constantly rejected due to his weak, fragile form. Picked as a candidate for the SSR’s Super-Soldier Program, Rogers is transformed into Captain America. But even with his new empowered body, Rogers is still doubted by her peers and sets out by himself to prove why he has what it takes to be the world’s greatest hero and bring down his Nazi (/Hydra) antithesis, the Red Skull.

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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in Marvel Studios, Movies

 

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THOR | DVD Review

RELEASED: May 6th 2011
DIRECTED BY: Kenneth Branagh
WRITTEN BY: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne, Mark Protosevich & J. Michael Straczynski
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Patrick Doyle
STARRING: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Josh Dallas, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo, Colm Feore & Anthony Hopkins

With The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man under their belt, Marvel finally stepped away from, essentially, playing it safe, with Thor, forming a larger Marvel Universe that had a solid origin story, introduced extra Avengers and successfully pushed forward their Cinematic Universe in a way that Iron Man 2 rather messily tried to do.

The story follows Thor Odinson, Prince of Asgard, as he prepares to become King. However, his arrogance and battle-hungry nature put the Asgardians’ Realm in danger, and as a result, his father, the all-powerful Odin, banishes Thor to Earth to learn humility. Meanwhile, Thor’s treacherous brother Loki makes plans to take the throne for himself.

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Posted by on January 22, 2018 in Marvel Studios, Movies

 

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Five Goals for Year Twenty Four

So, I turned twenty four yesterday, and with another year of life under my belt, I decided that I would make some goals to try and better myself before I get to the halfway point to fifty.

I suppose, in a way, you could call these New Years resolutions. But for me, I find that most people (myself included) give up on New Years resolutions pretty promptly. ‘I’m going to get fit’, and then do minimal exercise going forward. ‘I’m going to give up smoking’… but after I have one more roll-up, and then another… and another. ‘I’m going to quit drinking’… ignoring the several drinks I had in the early hours of New Years day.

However, in my mind, by starting on my birthday, it’s actually a new year for me, and the fact it’s already part way into the year means that I have a little more time to consider what it is I want to be and do going forward.

It doesn’t really make a whole load of sense, but that’s just how I think of it.

Plus, these aren’t neccessarily resolutions; I am aware that I may fail at some of them. Instead, they’re goals – ones that I can work on over time and hopefully have achieved by the time I’m twenty five. They’re all things that are within my power to do, but things that I know I won’t just click my fingers and have happen.

So, with that in mind, here are my new years not-resolutions:

1. Swear less (or ideally, not at all)

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Pretty basic one. I want to swear less. I feel people of my generation tend to swear a lot. It’s kind of embedded in our culture. In fact, us youngsters swear so much that the swear words don’t really mean anything. Not anymore.

Fuck. Shit. Crap. We’ve got some real potty mouths that need washing out, because frankly, it’s unnecessary. It’s also lazy, especially for someone who wants to be a writer. There’s a wealth of words out there that don’t have rude connotations that can convey the same point as any swear word. If anything, swear words are kind of like pointless filler or poor attempts at making dialogue more humorous.

(There are exceptions of course, case-in-point:)
(I love this show)

But, if I can cut down, I’ll feel better about myself, better about my vocabulary, and, on the occasions when I do swear, it will actuall stress the severity of the point I’m making. For instance, I previously wrote a review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and to paraphrase, essentially ended with how the underlying message of the film could be read as ‘Fuck Superman’.

Like, not literally mate with him, but the implication is that the people behind the movie didn’t much care for and were trying to assassinate his character.

But you get that, you’re smart people.

2. Calm the fuck down

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This is, in a way, and extension of ‘Goal #1’, because along with cleaning out my vocabulary, I think my mental state needs a bit of spring-cleaning too.

I’m not saying I’m depressed or anything; just that I feel like I get unnecessarily agitated and rant-y (ask my mum or girlfriend, they will confirm) about certain things, and it’s not necessary.

Because at the end of the day, while there are some things that do rightfully annoy me, most of the stuff that does grind my gears is unimportant in the grand scheme of things, and getting annoyed about it only serves to dampen my spirits when they don’t need to be dampened.

By being calmer, I can make steps to being more positive. Just yesterday I was debating with someone whether we were ‘glass half full’ or ‘glass half empty’ kind of people. I settled on ‘probably glass half empty’, and in a world where everything’s a bit shit rubbish, being more positive, not getting worked up over stupid things and generally being relaxed a bit more should, hopefully, lead to a brighter, ‘glass half full’ life. And if it doesn’t? Well, at least I tried.

3. Save up enough money for the Millennium Falcon

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This one takes a bit more explaining because it’s not exactly what the title point would suggest.

So, when I was younger, I was quite into LEGO. It was my favourite toy, specifically the Star Wars line. Anyway, time went on, I grew up. I still occasionally kept an eye on what LEGO put out, because frankly they’ve made leaps and bounds with their designs and ideas since I was kid, and also, it can help with film news writing because things like Marvel Movies and Star Wars can occasionally have details gleaned off of them from early set leaks.

Then, on my 23rd birthday my gal-pal bought me a new set, Darth Maul’s ship from The Phantom Menace, and my passion for the toy was reignited. I’ve bought a couple of ships since then, one of them being the Millennium Falcon from someone who actually worked on one of the movies. I don’t sit around and play with them, but the building process I find soothing, I admire the ingenious ways in which the sets come together and the process of collecting is something that, as a comic-book fan and general nerd, I am very much into.

And then, in the past year, LEGO unveiled their biggest set to commemorate the anniversary of Star Wars. And it was beautiful (as you can see above); it’s immensly detailed and ridiculously big.

And it costs £649.99.

Which, frankly, is a ludicrous amount to spend on a toy, and something that I’m fairly certain I will never do.

But having just £650 to spare to spend on whatever I wanted? £650 that’s not consigned to bills, rent, food… That would be pretty cool. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much. A lot of people have a lot more than that, but considering it’s been well over a year since I was last out of my overdraft, having money that is just mine and not owed to anyone or being saved for any particular thing. That would be cool.

4. Publish 183 articles

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Past considerations for new years resolutions have been things like ‘write every day’, which fail quicker than you can imagine. Sure, it is possible to do some writing every day, but with 365 days in the year, I am 100% sure that, were I to pursue that resolution, I would definitely miss quite a lot of days.

So instead, I’ve found a compromise. I want to have 183 new articles published before I turn twenty-five.

That can be articles on here, or for sites I write for like VultureHound and Cultured Vultures. It could even be other places, if I find other places to write for. But if I get 183 articles published before twenty five, then at least I’m halfway to writing every day, more or less. Because sometimes I may write more than one article a day, but then I won’t feel so bad if I skip the next two. As long as I reach my end goal, I’ll know I will have boosted my portfolio a significant amount and it will have perfectly set me up for my final not-resolution.

Also, yes, this blog post does count as number one.

5. Find some stability in my various projects

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In writing those 183 (or more) articles in the next year, I want to find myself in a more stable writing position. I want to get back into the habit of writing, and share these articles out across a spectrum of outlets.

The first and most obvious, is of course this blog. I have been liable to let the content coming out of it lull in previous years. Quite frequently, in fact. That needs to stop.

The second is my other blog, newtocomics.com. It’s a blog I made for my MA degree, got a distinction with, and then let die. Then it was resuscitated, then it died again. Thing is, though, I own that web address, so it really is a waste to let it die out. So I’ve decided I’m going to give it a third and final try. I’ve planned the topics I’m going to write about for the rest of the year. I’ve started buying some graphic novels on the cheap to write about (so far, I’ve ordered Watchmen, All-Star Superman, Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 1, The Flash: Rebirth and Iron Man: Extremis). So I’ve got no reason not to do it, because otherwise I’m just wasting money (not just on comics, but also the fact I paid for the website).

But those are things that I’m solely responsible for, and to be honest, although increased viewership would be nice, I don’t expect it. For things I’m not writing for myself, so much as for the readers, there’s those sites I mentioned before, VH and CV. I’m just a contributor at CV, but at VH I’ve been one of the subeditors for quite some time (I recently moved section though, so I’m now focused on features rather than interviews), which means people rely on me – so that’s another driving factor in actually writing.

So if I can uphold my commitments to those two sites and keep my two blogs up and running to a degree that I could consider taking on a fifth outlet, well, that would just be swell. Not to necessarily follow through, but to find myself in a position that I’m comfortable enough that I could (although I really should, I need that money).

We’ll see how it all goes.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2018 in What's Going On?

 

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IRON MAN 2 | DVD Review

RELEASED: May 7th 2010
DIRECTED BY: Jon Favreau
WRITTEN BY: Justin Theroux
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: John Debney
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke & Samuel L. Jackson

In the same way that Captain America: The First Avenger is somewhat similar to Wonder WomanIron Man 2 also shares similarities to a DC film. Unfortunately, this time it’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

After Tony Stark reveals his costumed identity to the world at the end of Iron Man, his fame and popularity has increased exponentially, as he effectively ends war in the middle east and continues to prove he’s a different type of superhero than anything you’ve ever seen by taking his showboating to new extremes. However, his very presence invites challenge, as rival engineer Ivan Vanko sets out to destroy the Stark legacy for a long-forgotten family feud, and fellow weapons designer Justin Hammer vies for Stark’s weapons contracts and fame. Meanwhile, Rhodey and the government make a move on Stark’s cache of ‘weapons’, while Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. try to mould Stark into something that more resembles Avengers material, as Stark comes to terms with the fact that his arc reactor is killing him.

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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Marvel Studios, Movies

 

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THE INCREDIBLE HULK | DVD Review

RELEASED: June 13th 2008
DIRECTED BY: Louis Leterrier
WRITTEN BY: Zak Penn
PRODUCED BY: Avi Arad, Gale Anne Hurd & Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Craig Armstrong
STARRING: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake Nelson & William Hurt

With the exception of one particular scene in 2012’s Avengers, the Hulk has become a very comic-book-y force of nature; sporting a brighter green skin tone and some humorous character traits. But here, in Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk, we see a different side to the jade giant; a horror aspect to Bruce Banner’s monstrous alter-ego that works particularly well.

After experimenting on himself with an untested variant of the super-soldier serum, Bruce Banner goes on the run from the United States military, who seek to use his monstrous new power as a weapon. When they finally begin to catch up with Banner, assembling a new task force to bring him in and confronting him in Brazil, Bruce is forced to confront his past; returning to the U.S.A. and his former love Betty, in search of a cure.

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Posted by on January 8, 2018 in Marvel Studios, Movies

 

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IRON MAN | DVD Review

RELEASED: May 2nd 2008
DIRECTED BY: Jon Favreau
WRITTEN BY: Mark Fergus, Hawk Otsby, Art Marcum & Matt Holloway
PRODUCED BY: Avi Arad & Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Ramin Djawadi
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jon Favreau, Shaun Toub, Clark Gregg & Jeff Bridges

Looking back at the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can see a big change between this and later films like The First Avenger and what came after. While films like The First AvengerGuardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok would fully embrace their comic-book roots, Iron Man was still taking steps to truly establish the superhero genre as its own thing seperate from general science-fiction. As such, it feels more real and serious, not unlike films like The Dark Knight (and to a lesser degree, the leather-bound X-Men). And while there are those signature Tony Stark quips being thrown out every now and then, the film is much more somber, and unlike the films that would follow, pretty dark.

I think this is particularly interesting, as in later years, audiences would complain that the MCU lacked stakes and that everything was too jovial. But if you go back to the beginning, you find a film about a war profiteer who kills terrorists after being held hostage and tortured for the beginning of the film’s run-time.

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Posted by on January 1, 2018 in Marvel Studios, Movies

 

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