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This was another film that I had no expectations about, but I was interested in seeing because I read so many X-Men comics when I was younger. I think there were a couple of X-Men movies that I missed but luckily this was like a reboot.

The movie was set in the 80s (whenever Return of the Jedi came out) and was quite charming because of it. No doubt it helps the movie appeal to target an older demographic with disposable income. One of the best parts in the movie was set to the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These.

I liked the movie overall because there were a lot of characters, cameos and quirky things from the Marvel universe, but from a plot perspective I think it was very fragmented. There were a ton of characters introduced which meant the story wasn’t very deep or long. Apocalypse didn’t even get to do much aside from recruit, stand around and order his minions. Kind of a boring villain.

The were a lot of grand scenes a la Batman vs Superman, but overall I found the fights not very interesting. It was kind of like trying to punch through each other by unleashing your mutant powers all at once – the exception were the Nightcrawler fights.

Before writing this review, I was thinking of giving this movie 4 out of 5 stars because i really did enjoy it. But I think that I was just marvelled about the surroundings and didn’t pay too much attention to the story. I think I’ll give X-Men: Apocalypse 3 out of 5 stars.

When I read the comic series upon which this premise was based on, I was very impressed at the scenario and the questions it posed. However, I was not confident that this story arc would transfer well into a single movie, so wasn’t especially looking forward to watching it. Also, I missed Avengers 2 so that was no good either (where did Vision come from?).

There were some good parts that discussed the pros and cons of the human registration act (Sokovia Accords) but overall this was just a beat’em up fest. I liked and disliked the commercial for the Spider-man reboot. It was fun, but it felt forced (although he was in the comic story arc). For whatever reason, the Marvel movies just don’t appeal to me as much as the DCU ones right now. I’ll give this 2 out of 5 stars

My flight down to Dallas didn’t have VOD on the chair in front of me (AA wanted you to use your own device) but my AC flight back did, so I waited until my return flight to watch Batman vs Superman. I wanted to see it but didn’t have high expectations with it being a DC film – Marvel (except the Spider-man franchise) is the gold standard even though I enjoyed the Nolan Batman trilogy. I also heard that the movie was a bit heavy-handed in the whole “Control of the Gods” theme.

I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the film a great deal – it’s at least four out of five stars. I think it was because the film was so dark. In Marvel films, the world is in despair but there is still hope and colour. In BvS, it’s like they took the feel of Gotham and applied it to the entire movie. The dystopia is inevitable so why don’t we begin acting like it.

I don’t have a good example but I also felt the plot gave the feeling of a mature world (like Ultimates vs Avengers). It was no-nonsense and trim. The fights and action were fast and crisp, just like superheroes would handle things. I didn’t feel the concept of the Gods were overblown – let’s be clear, the movie was about the three gods of the DC universe. I found Batman’s actions fitting because he is supposed to be paranoid! Luthor is supposed to scheme, Superman is supposed to do what is right, and well I guess we will see what WW does in the future (she’s more like Catwoman at the beginning than WW). I’m also glad they didn’t overemphasize Batman’s brooding or Superman’s boy scout personality.

This was an efficient and entertaining movie and I hope the future Justice League movies will be similar as I’d rather watch these than the Avengers.

Deadpool was the movie I most wanted to watch on my flight out to Korea because there was a lot of hype surrounding it when it was in theaters. I know about Deadpool and his reputation, but I had never followed his series so I didn’t know his backstory & etc. I can’t remark on how faithful it adheres to his canon but the other Marvel universe cameos were only OK, and not cool! moments (X-Men, SHIELD Helicarrier).

I didn’t think that Deadpool was worthy of the praise. The breaking of the 4th wall was not too useful (and I think this is probably something he does in the comics?) It was rated R because there was definitely a lot of (gratuitous) blood, but I don’t think that added to the movie. The plot was interleaving, but still straightforward because there wasn’t a lot of substance to it, and the X-Men inclusion seemed forced (doesn’t help that these are B and C-list X-Men). If you’re fine with impossibly accurate shooting from the heroes and horrible aim from the bad guys, then this is a great movie. For me, I rate this movie as a 3 out of 5 because while there are a lot of bad points, it is a (perhaps non-typical but) enjoyable summer blockbuster movie.

  • The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel, the Experiment That Changed Superheroes Forever
    It’s been several years since I stopped reading comics, but when I did I devoured the Ultimate universe comics from Marvel. I didn’t know that it was winding down (not by choice) so this was news to me, and it is always interesting to hear some of the back story behind the genesis of the idea.

    The history of Ultimate Marvel is, in a way, a story about warring approaches to a reboot: Bendis’s and Millar’s. Bendis wanted to polish the old archetypes; Millar wanted to aggressively critique them. Bendis sought timeless stories; Millar craved biting contemporary political critique. Bendis was looking to inspire; Millar aimed to disquiet. As Bendis put it: “I’m writing about hope and he’s writing about nihilism, and I know he doesn’t always think he is, but he is. Constantly.”

  • In Flight
    An article that has been going around, written by a pilot, about what happens on a routine trip from London to Tokyo. There’s a lot of colorful English being used but beyond the high school english assignment, there are some interesting tidbits that you wouldn’t be aware of unless you were a pilot.

    INTAK is a waypoint. An airplane typically navigates through sky countries along a route composed of a few radio beacons and many waypoints. Waypoints are defined by coordinates or their bearing and distance from a beacon, and by a name, which typically takes the form of a five-letter capitalized word — EVUKI, JETSA, SABER — that’s pronounceable and distinct to controllers and pilots regardless of their first language. Waypoint names are the sky’s audible currency of place, atomized and distinct.

  • Viacom Is Having A Midlife Crisis
    Viacom used to be great, but the owner is not as involved anymore and it seems like it’s going downhill because of that. Of course, no one wants to admit that that is the reason…

    Dauman has taken an unusual tack when he’s spoken to analysts about Viacom’s recent performance. The lower ratings for its programming, he says, aren’t the result of the rising popularity of YouTube or poor creative choices at Viacom. Instead, the loss of viewers is an illusion, he says. The fans are there in growing numbers. They just aren’t being properly counted. According to Dauman, Nielsen’s ratings fail to account for the TV that people consume via apps on their smartphones, streaming devices such as Roku, desktop websites, or various video-on-demand services. “Inadequate measurement undermines innovation,” Dauman said during a recent earnings call, “and disproportionately impacts those leading programmers like us who effectively provide the multiplatform experiences that viewers demand.”

  • When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China
    A primer on how WeChat is different and why it’s successful in China. I tried using WeChat and Weibo in the past but since I can’t read Chinese, it was a non-starter for me. I guess I’ll have to wait until some company in the Western world brings over the idea.

    This focus on function over social has significant consequences for brands. Where brands must rely on static, one-size-fits all blasts in U.S. social networks — and users are confined to only liking, favoriting, commenting on, or sharing posts — WeChat shows us what’s possible when brands are offered more options for interacting with their users. For example, where Starbucks could post an offer for all users on its Facebook page, on WeChat, it could theoretically also allow a user to inquire after their gift card balance, place a favorite drink order, find the nearest store without having to specify intent, or receive a promotion tailored to drink preferences based on the weather in that city. Where a celebrity like Taylor Swift can share 140 characters about her upcoming concert on Twitter, on WeChat, she could send a concert discount code to users who purchased her album, or charge users a small fee for daily pre-recorded morning greetings (some celebrities in Asia actually already do this!).

  • How Canada’s economy went from boom to recession so fast
    Not surprisingly: lower resource demand and China.

    By the time the smoke cleared, nearly $3.2 trillion had been wiped off the Chinese stock market—or, about twice the value of India’s entire stock market value. Put another way: Greece’s total government debt—the cause of austerity measures, panicked bailout renegotiations, and even a referendum—is only $375 billion, or about one-10th the amount lost by Chinese stock traders.

After watching Gone Girl on my flight back from SF, I had enough time for one more movie. Unfortunately the selection of recent movies on Air Canada was poor this month and I ended up picking Kingsmen: The Secret Service. As I don’t watch TV/pay attention to movies, I didn’t really know what this movie was about – nor did I know that it was based on a comic book.

It turns out that this movie is somewhat of a satire of Bond/Spy movies. But not in an Austin Powers type of way, so I enjoyed the parts that were a parody much better. I’m sure the plot will be dated in 5 or 10 years, but it was entertaining for me right now.

As the movie does not take itself too seriously, there is also a lot of liberty in the plot. As long as you approach it as a fun movie that will kill 2 hours, then I think you’ll enjoy it. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

Unlike The Imitation Game, I had wanted to see Big Hero 6 for a long time – ever since I heard that the visuals were a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo. But I was hesitant to see it on my flight because I had a copy at home that I hadn’t watched yet – so should I bother watching it on a small screen? I decided that I might as well since my copy at home has been unwatched for awhile.

Aside from the little nugget above, I didn’t know much about the film. But it was interesting right off the bat – the premise is there is a prepubescent hotshot who has his eyes opened about how cool tech is being researched at a nearby technical school (cartoon equivalent of Berkley or Stanford). I liked how Disney basically wove in Silicon Valley (but being a cartoon, they could make up a lot of technology).

Following that is your basic superhero group story, fighting against a super villain. One good thing is that because there’s no backstory/fandom, they could build a group from scratch (it doesn’t help them avoid clichés though). Given that the movie is for kids or pre-teens, I’m not too bothered about that.

I’m going to give Big Hero 6 5 stars out of 5! That might be a little overrated but I’m fine with it. It’s a kids movie so I don’t expect a lot aside from it being fun – and it was. There were actually quite a number of funny parts that appeal to adults/comic book nerds and having a cool mash up city definitely helps its score here.

After a long break from reading comics, I read a couple this week – but it’s not what you think. I’m not reading comics by Marvel, DC, one of those smaller indie publishers (Top Cow et al – do they still exist/are independent)? Nor is it manga or anything of that sort.

I read a couple of comics books by Guy Delisle who is a Quebecer (trained locally at Sheridan) but now lives in France. His work and life has taken him to a couple of places in Asia and he wrote/illustrated his impression and adventures there.

What tipped me to his books was one about his trip to Pyongyang, North Korea. I enjoying reading about that country and his version of events is a nice, light read. There’s nothing about prison camps, just what daily life is like as a foreigner in that country.

I then read his book about Shenzen (and thus China) and Burma. The adventures in China are not surprising as I’m familiar with the culture, but Burma was new to me. Apparently he has a couple of other books that I might look up a little later!

I had a little over 2.5 hours left after my first movie on my flight, so I decided to fill that by watching Captain America 2. I wouldn’t typically watch this movie, but there just wasn’t anything else worth watching. It wasn’t a bad movie and overall more enjoyable than In Bruges but as a comic book fan, I didn’t like it very much.

Black Widow is in it, but I think it could be any sidekick beside Cap and it would’ve sufficed (although I suppose there needed to be a female co-star). Falcon is in it, but I think he wasn’t that important either (assuming there could be another plot that doesn’t require flying). The Winter Solider is in it, but he wasn’t in it enough. The (comic) history of the Winter Solider would have been more interesting to focus on, especially his relationship with Steve Rogers; and while they dwelled on it for awhile, it was only one of several plotlines.

The action scenes with Captain were great, he fought like how you would expect him to fight; but I thought the action scenes got worse as the movie went along – but I guess an “enhanced” human could only do so much. Because I had low expectations and wasn’t keen on seeing it anyways, I’ll give this a 3 out of 5 stars; just like the first Captain America movie.

Wow I haven’t watched a movie for a long time but I had a 6 hr flight to SFO so there was ample time to change that. I was surprised by the lack of selection as the last time I looked at the in flight entertainment was when flying overseas. The one movie I wanted to watch the most was Guardians of the Galaxy.

I wasn’t very familiar with the characters in this Marvel flick but knew of them because I had played the Android game recently. So that was pretty useful. A lot of them actually used their weapons/skills so it was enjoyable to see those in action.

I also had a chance to buy the soundtrack for 99¢ a few weeks ago but declined as I didn’t like the songs well enough. However, I think the music and soundtrack works well with the movie and listening it with headphones was probably beneficial

The movie was pretty fun and I think its ok even if you don’t know the characters. It’s a good mix of comedy and action. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars (but maybe it’s because I have low expectations)

The Dark Knight Returns is probably the most anticipated movie of the summer for me (by that I mean that I’m actually aware it is coming out this summer!) and in preparation for this huge event, I decided to be a good student and do some studying beforehand; that is, I rewatched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Interestingly, I would have switched my ratings of the movies now (5 for #1, 3 for #2); Batman Begins felt like a typical comic book movie, while TDK felt more epic and I appreciate the characterization of the Joker more now (although probably would give it 4/5 instead of 5/5).

After cramming the movies, I watched The Dark Knight Returns last Friday in UltraAVX. This was my first time seeing something in UltraAVX and I was not too impressed. The seats/legroom was better, and the reserved seating was good; but I didn’t really notice better video or sound. There is a price differential but considering how often I go to see movies, it wouldn’t be burning a hole in my wallet.

I avoided the spoilers for most of the week before I saw it, but did hear that TDKR was not that good (as its predecessor), and I tend to agree. The problem I had in all three movies is that Batman seems to be a vehicle being carried through the movies. Sure, he has the benefit of miraculous technical capability, and the uncanny ability to be in the right places at the right time; but these things are unbelievable and exist only because of our willing suspension of disbelief – nothing explains these as core Batman “powers”. In the comics, Batman is seen as a master stratagem and in control of the situation (i.e., the villains are playing into his hands); and we don’t really see this in the movies. Commissioner Gordon just reacts (sometimes foolhardily) to the situation, as does Batman. It is only the Joker who exhibits this characteristic and is one of the reasons that TDK was so good (I think there are shades to this in TDKR once we find out the final villain, but their effect isn’t visualized like the Joker’s is).

Without a Joker as a foil, The Dark Knight Returns is not as strong a movie. It’s not as fun to see a villain whose strength is Batman’s obvious weakness. It’s more interesting to see a villain beat the hero using their strong points – like how Doomsday outmatched Superman in strength. In fact, my comparison from my TDK review is Iron Man, and I think that analogy is apt; Batman has as much technical superiority over his combatants as Iron Man.

It wasn’t a bad movie, it was just not as good given the expectations of Nolan and the precedent he set with The Dark Knight. I’d rate it three out of 5 stars.

Here’s the last DC comics movie review for awhile, I promise!

I expected this last one to be the most boring so I saved it for last. Many reasons for this, one is because it focused on a single hero instead of the eclectic JLA (and resident joker Flash). Second, the store focused on Batman. I like/liked Batman, but I am just a bit tired of his brooding act. And it makes him one dimensional in my opinion; as the cartoons never focus on his Bruce Wayne persona. So I didn’t expect much, but fortunately I was slightly happy with the result.

The story of Batman: Under The Red Hood focuses on the death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, and his subsequent re-emergence as the quasi-villain and current incarnation of the Red Hood. Batman and the Red Hood fight, and as Red Hood is his protegé they are fairly evenly-matched. Eventually they deal with the conflict; well I’m not going to say how as that would spoil the ending 🙂

Looking at it impartially, it isn’t that good; but because I didn’t expect much, it was more entertaining than I would have thought. I will give it 2.5/5.

After I saw Justice League Doom, I decided to see if I missed any other Justice League features, and apparently I did. A lot of time. The first one I watched in order to catch up with Justice League: New Frontier.

What struck me as odd while watching New Frontier is that it seemed new and fresh. Apparently, I forgot that I had watched it only four years ago even though the story is out of weird and a throwback. Huh. All I can say is that the other animated films I saw in that blog must have been horrible because this time around, New Frontier wasn’t that great. I suppose it is because the story wasn’t a surprise and didn’t wasn’t greatly rewritten to suit TV and the times?

On the other hand, I liked Crisis On Two Earths a lot more. I guess I never saw it before, but it did have a lot of memorable themes – the parallel universe JLA (Crime Syndicate), cameos by (former) JLA reserve members (Black Canary, Firestorm, Black Lightning etc), and random tie-ins/in jokes to the DC universe (Wonder Woman’s invisible jet). I thought the writing was much better, with funnier jokes. I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 and a 3 out of 5 to New Frontier.

I stopped reading comics about a year ago because it was too much of a hassle to follow the release cycle (and I didn’t want to subscribe to a service to deliver them). So I didn’t know that the Justice League animated series had released any more features until recently when I came across Justice League Doom.

Justice League Doom centers around the contingency plan Batman has for each Justice League member in case they go rogue. Unfortunately this plan was stolen by Vandal Savage and then enacted against the JLA in order to prevent them from thwarting Savage’s larger plan.

Much like the Avengers, I felt the film went a bit scatter brain in having to give each JLA member a this-is-me scene, and then another scene where they had been neutralized. This made the story choppy. I also felt that the movie wasn’t as interesting as the previous episodes that I had seen; the jokes weren’t as funny (or adult) and it was just a lot of fighting. Unfortunately, I’d give Justice League Doom a 2 out of 5 stars.

The last movie that I saw in theatres was Captain America, almost a year ago. I’ve followed that up with another Marvel movie, which features Captain America – Avengers! I haven’t really been too enthusiastic about the movie because I’ve never really been interested in the Avengers. The X-Men or Justice League of America are more intruiging to me. Nevertheless, I went and saw Avengers and didn’t regret it.

I would give it 3.5 stars out of 5, although I know many people liked it much more. I think Joss Whedon’s comedic writing gave it an additional 0.5 rating. I really only felt his impact in the comedy, I didn’t think there were more or less comic geek in-jokes in this one compared to other Marvel films I’ve seen.

I actually didn’t think that highly of the movie, mostly because I felt that there was too much talking and character development; even though at the same time I noticed that the character development was compressed and each character was only given a short time to establish why they should be in the movie. I feel this way because I already know a lot about all the characters (including Maria Hill of SHIELD) so I just want to see the bashing and smashing (and the comedy I suppose). So at times, the 2:15 film dragged for me.

There’s an Avengers movie coming out in 2012, and in order to make it as action-packed as possible, Marvel has been spending the last few years releasing movies about the various super-heroes in Avengers (Hulk Remake, Iron Man, and Thor). The last in the series is Captain America.

Captain America on the surface is a boring hero. He has no mystical or “superhuman” powers; in a sense he is a lot like Batman. He’s also THE flag carrying member of US military so many of his stories revolve around the typical US vs Nazi/Soviet/Vietnam war themes. But, he’s also the leader of the Avengers so it’s important to build up his back story.

The movie version of his backstory is somewhat faithful. It takes place back in the 40s where the US super-soldier program was happening to give the Allies an advantage of the Axis. There are a couple of new secondary characters, but the main theme of puny Steve Rogers becoming the only successful super-soldier still remains. He helps take down Nazi Germany but ends up in present day. That’s the good fan-boy part.

The plot arrives at its destination, but there are a lot of nonsensical scenes where suddenly the world is OK again (for example, Cap jumping through fire – how did they get out of the building?). I think the editing could use some work because it plot didn’t work smoothly as a movie. I’ll give this a 3 out of 5 stars.

I forget why I wanted to watch Iron Man 2, and now that I’ve seen it, I’m pretty sure it’s not because it got good reviews. The movie’s not very good and it feels like you’re locked in a track and have to wait as it reaches its destination. It didn’t seem like a movie from this generation in that there were several scenes where the characters seem to just sit around and shoot the breeze (maybe I’m too familiar with the Iron Man/Marvel backstory). I suppose it’s character development, but I personally found it boring. The fights weren’t impressive at all – although Iron Man doesn’t have a lot of special powers, he can’t Kung Fu or anything; he can only be impervious and shoot some repulsor beams.

There were a couple of enjoyable things. The snippy dialog between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts was fun, although maybe a bit too fast. And I finally got interested in the movie when Nick Fury showed up. I also liked the cameo of a half-constructed Captain America shield.

I’ll think Iron Man 2 is 2 out of 5 stars. It just doesn’t feel very well put together. The plot has too many holes – for example, what happens now that the US military have Arc Reactors? Iron Man is no longer 20 years ahead of the game.

I haven’t seen a movie in a movie theatre in over a year! But my streak was finally broken when Nelson suggested that we go see Scott Pilgrim vs the World. I don’t watch commercials, pay attention to media, read movie blogs, etc so I had no idea what this movie was about; and for so many parts in the movie I kept thinking, “Wow, that makes no sense at all”. But it was an enjoyable experience and fun to watch.

The premise is that Scott is an early 20s loser (ok – aspiring musician) hanging out in what looks to be Toronto’s Annex, and has to do battle with his new girlfriend’s 7 exes. And by “do battle”, I mean “do battle” but not in a fighting way. It’s actually in a crazy Chinese-movie style way, where the combatants all of a sudden have super powers. The battles imitate video games where Scott can leap into the air and air combo his opponent with a 60-hit combo. So it actually is more like Street Fighter. Plus, there is actually an animation that tells us he did a 64-hit combo.

The movie centers around these incredulous fights between Scott and the Exes; but surprisingly, those are the most relatable parts of the film (well at least if you’re familiar with video games). Linking the fights together are some awkward moments between the characters. It almost seems like bad acting, but now that I think about it, it is almost like live comic strips. The scenes are simple and not complicated by extraneous cognitive load – there is straightforward dialog which leads to a comic strip punchline, before repeating and setting up the next punchline (or fight). But because of that, it feels disjointed, although not in a way where it doesn’t make sense nor is it detrimental to the plot.

Aside from the fact that it was interestingly odd, the appeal of SP vs tW is that it was placed in Toronto. There were a lot of Toronto landmarks (Casa Loma, Honest Eds, Lee’s Palace) and culture (CBC, SARS, Second Cup). It felt home grown! Although the movie both makes sense and doesn’t make sense at all, and is deeply entrenched in video game culture, it was strangely entertaining. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.

When I get lazy with blogging, I just post links to some neat stuff around the web:

I haven’t been watching movies anymore which means that I haven’t been doing a good job of paying Hollywood for their investment in comics as a source of inspiration means to rip off stories. The major release last year was The Watchmen which I finally got around to err watching.

I never read the series which probably explains why I wasn’t in a rush to see it. That also mean I didn’t know the characters or the back story (and even now it is very difficult for me to understand how to pronounce Rorschach). The movie did an adequate job of explaining the universe and performed enough character development so that you understood the characters.

The world of the Watchmen is similar to ours until WW2 at which point masked heroes started changing history. The opening credits showed some of the changes in history including Nixon’s third term in office, the superhero involvement in the Vietnam war, and a superhero killing JFK. I always enjoy what-if scenarios and so enjoyed this too! I also liked the way they portrayed historical events. History was shown with individuals moving (very) slow. So it was like you were watching an interactive picture of the past.

After the setting had been set and the characters were portrayed, I didn’t enjoy the movie was much. The seemed to be a sort of a lull and the final villain’s plot seemed convoluted and overcomplicated. Although this was somewhat rectified with a non-traditional ending.

The Watchmen is rated R and it is indeed a mature movie. In the fight scenes, you see bones bent in gross ways that they shouldn’t be bending, and there is a lot of blood spurting. I’m glad I’m old enough not to get nightmares from comics. There are some good parts and some bad, so I would rate it overall as a three out of five movie.

I missed it last year because I was flying back from Japan, but this year I went to Fan Expo again. It was a lot like the first time, with the cosplay and lining up (strangely though, there wasn’t as much NDS action); so I won’t describe all that stuff again.

Peter and I went to a couple of events, the first one was a DC Universe Editorial Presentation by Dan DiDio (Senior VP / Executive Editor). I didn’t really have any expectations or idea what this event was about, and it turned out to just be a presentation on the key DC “franchises”. It was a bit surreal sitting in the room and hearing the talk. Dan would talk about how they were revitalizing the Green Lantern franchise with the Blackest Night DCU event and people would start clapping and wooting. I can’t imagine the same reaction if I went on a stage and started talking about the products I work on, or if the CEO of Walmart was up there announcing a new line of clothing for American people. Now I know what it’s like to sit in a Jobs keynote.

We also went to two sketch duels (which I kept calling sketch-offs and that confused a lot of people who were asking us what the line was for). The first one was between Ethan Van Sciver and Ivan Reis. Ivan is from Brazil (and the artist on Blackest Night) so his English was very poor. He couldn’t understand the questions well and so the Q/A part of the duel was mostly done by Ethan. Ethan drew Sinestro and Ivan drew Killowog. Other than that, this duel wasn’t very noteworthy.

The second sketch duel was between Marko Djurdjevic and Olivier Coipel. I though I recognized Olivier’s accent, and it turns out he was in the other sketch dual I saw two years ago! The highlight, for better or for worse, of this dual was Marko though. People would ask him questions like, if you could draw any book which would it be, and he would just say “I don’t know”. At one point he complained about the “philosophical questions” people kept asking him! I thought this was hilarious that he was rejecting the fandom that the audience was giving him. He really did only want to draw, and in the sketch dual he drew Thor and 2 bonus pieces: Dr. Doom and The Hulk. Later J. Michael Straczynski showed up to raffle off the 4 drawings but unfortunately I didn’t win anything.

The other awesome thing that I saw at Fan Expo (well I saw a lot of awesome things) was a 2D girlfriend! The little note is awesome “Perv Pillows – You know you want one – $30.00”. I didn’t see anyone carrying them around though.

Wanted is based off of a comic series which I read when it came out. It took place in some alternate universe (i.e., no Supes or Bats) and was an interesting read. Unfortunately the movie tanked the reviews (64% on Metacritic) so I waited to watch it from PacMall.

The opening sequence was great, and followed the comic faithfully, even having all the monologue. After the first action sequence, I was wondering what made this movie deserve the low marks that it was given; was it because I was biased because I had enjoyed the print version? Well I found out soon enough because they deviated from the comics and decided to tell their own inbred story.

The comics were cool because in this universe, the bad guys teamed up and took out all the good guys. Now, the bad-guys-in-charge thing is overplayed thanks to the Marvel Universe, but when I first read it, it was pretty cool. The villains then split up the world into several factions and the story had Mr. Wanted involved in a global turf war. Oh, and there were all sorts of weird (only in comic world) assassins.

It’s too bad that they turned an intriguing premise into a typical Hollywood story. While there were some neat plot twists, and fun action sequences, the nonsensical behaviour in some scenes made things dumb. I’m torn about this, it was a five star in the beginning, but a three star at the end. I think I’d keep it at a three.

Hollywood has drawn inspiration from a lot of comic books in recent years: Spider-man x 3, X-Men x 4, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Electra, Daredevil, Fantastic Four x 2, 300, Sin City, Watchman, Wanted to name a few. There are also several coming up, including Green Lantern, Avengers, and various sequels. Comic books are pervasive in Hollywood now, but Hancock is special in that it is a super hero movie about a super hero that was not sourced from comic books (the only other one I can think of is My Super Ex-Girlfriend).

I thought this was a great movie. Like Children of Men, this allowed me to watch an interesting environment evolve. I liked it more because I can relate more to comic book heroes (I mean, I read comic books more often) and because Will Smith’s character was more compelling than the character drawn by Clive Owen. For a long time I associated Will Smith with comedic one liners, and while there are a few of those in this movie, his acting made me believe that Hancock was a disinterested superhero.

I was a bit let down by how they decided the movie needed an ending instead of more exposition and character development on the part of John Hancock but I’m going to give this movie four stars out of five. Was it as good as Iron Man? I think so, because this story was fresh and the plot twist in the middle was pretty good. I didn’t see it coming at all!

In the few short days between the wedding and the honeymoon, I went on a shopping spree for animated, comic DVDs. I bought Ultimate Avengers 1, Ultimate Avengers 2, Superman: Doomsday, and Justice League: The New Frontier.

I was particular interested in the Ultimate Avengers series because I never watched a cartoon featuring the Avengers, and secondly this series is supposed to be based off of the Ultimates series which combines the Marvel universe with our real life one, complete with mature themes and scandals. However, after watching both, I was disappointed by the execution. They tried to combine too many back stories into the plot, and watered down the dialogue and story to kid-cartoon level. I don’t think I’ll buy any more Marvel comic DVDs because both of these were two out of five movies.

Superman: Doomsday was better. This movie dealt with the death of Superman at the hands of Doomsday, and was great up to the death part. Then the story took on a turn (couldn’t end the DVD at 30 minutes) and the plot suffered. However, the movie still had the DC experience in cartoon making going for it, and so it wasn’t too bad. Although, Superman had some weird wrinkles on his face for some reason, which he never had in Justice League. Three out of five for this one.

The best was by far Justice League: The New Frontier. This story didn’t really fit in with the current timeline, and is a flashback to the Silver Age of comics. The Americans had just finished fighting a war, and the Justice League did not exist yet. However, a greater enemy brought the heroes together. The neat aspect of this movie was that setting was in the 50s-60s and so had a classic feel. This one gets a three point five.

Even before it came out, The Dark Knight was destined to be the biggest movie of the summer. Advance sales hit records, and it looks like it’s going to be the #1 movie for 2 weeks in a row. I saw The Dark Knight yesterday in an event my early career group at work organized, and I exercised my patience since we had to schedule the event almost a full week after the movie came out.

For all the positive reviews, I didn’t think The Dark Knight was that good – in fact I think Ironman was a superior movie. I noticed two interesting about how the plot was structured, first they constructed outlandish scenarios in order to show Cool Things. For example, why was Batman in Hong Kong?? How did the Joker engineer the lower 5th scene without planning (I thought Batman was the schemer). This made Batman seem dumb, and not the resourceful super hero he should be.

In fact, the Batman character was really weakly written in the movie. The movie didn’t even focus on him! The Joker is the main draw; his and Harvey Dent’s story was the point of the movie, Batman was just there so people would come. How did Batman’s character development? All we learned is that he will persist at being Batman. He could’ve been a kung-fu robot dressed in a black suit and the movie would have been the same.

Looking back, I was disappointed at the movie because of such high expectations the press and Batman Begins put on the movie. The Dark Knight was not as good as Iron Man, and I would only give it 3 out of 5 stars.