Category Archives: Movies

"Avengers" review

I got to see "Marvel's The Avengers" at the theater on Saturday, and have been very slow in getting up my review. Which is a shame, because everything I would have said has already been said multiple times, but I wanted a good excuse to talk to my fellow geeks about it. So here goes!

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"John Carter" mini review

I just got back from seeing "John Carter" and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Several great chase/fight scenes, an excellent framing device, spot-on acting, and excellent editorial choices in the script made for a fun, engaging, quite thrilling adventure. I think Mr. Burroughs would be proud if he could see it.

Also, seeing the Avengers trailer in IMAX 3D was so awesome it made me weep.

Let me be briefs

Several new photos have been sneaked out of the new Superman "Man of Steel" set, this time featuring full frontal Superman:

I say it every time, but it's hard to judge a motion picture super hero costume from stills, or even fan videos. You have to see it in motion, with full effects treatment, in the context of a story to know if it "works" or not. Having said that, I am very dubious about the choices made here, specifically about removing the red trunks.

I know the arguments against them, made most prominently by Dan DiDio, Co-Publisher of DC Comics, that modern audiences simply cannot accept the sight of an actual man running around in his underwear. If that's your position, that's fine -- I don't necessarily agree, but I can understand it.

However, just removing the trunks without paying attention to the impact that has on the overall design is, in my opinion, a serious mistake. And lazy. That visual band of red with the yellow belt serves to separate the uniform into a shirt and pants. Simply removing them, as it appears has been done in the movie costume, means you end up with a grown man running around in a onesie instead of his underwear. I'm not sure that's necessarily an upgrade.

You need either some kind of a visual break there like a belt (that's not the same color as the top and pants!), or you need to design the tunic and pants in such a way that they're clearly separate elements. You can do it with piping, or seams (the modern equivalent of the Nineties pouches), or you can make them subtly different colors (i.e. different blue tones), but you need something to make it clear that we're not looking at a one-piece leotard. Because outside of the Bolshoi or an NHL game, men in one-piece leotards look ridiculous.

Friend of HeroMachine John Hartwell had another excellent point as well arising (if you will) from these shots:

It's like a naked blue buff man in a cape. Are the Village People in town?

And I'm sorry - but the tight "onesie" look (well said) only draws attention to his groinal area when the light catches it the wrong way, as you can see in the shot where he's facing the camera. There's this expanse of blue, then, hell-oooo! It's a super-crotch! It's just...disturbing.

Now, I don't necessarily have anything against seeing the outline of a guy's junk. Goodness knows, I have junk myself and I'm happy for it. But in terms of costume design, if you don't have anything else going on in that region then the junkage becomes the focus, rather than the costume.

Fundamentally, that's my problem with this. It's not that the trunks are gone, it's that the trunks were removed and seemingly no thought was given to how that impacts the overall design.

I poked around online and found some suggested "no trunks" alternatives that I thought solved the problem in a much better way, and which in my opinion would look better "live" than what I see in the stills above. Thoughts?

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Captain America Avengers Costume

Over the last few days, several sites (NewsRama and SuperHeroHype among other) have released sneak peeks at the new Captain America uniform from the upcoming Avengers movie. If you're not wanting to spoil the joy of seeing it for the first time on the big screen, do not read further!

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“Green Lantern” review

I took the day off yesterday to see the "Green Lantern" movie. With the massive power of my will, I have generated the following (SPOILER ALERT!) review.

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“Thor” Review

I actually went to see "Thor" on opening night, which I hardly ever do as I am not really a crowd guy. Which was lucky, as it turns out Durango is not a Thor town and thus the "crowd" was only twenty people or so. It was also my first major Hollywood film to watch in 3D, so it was a big day for the Bald Avenger.

I'll put my review after the jump for those of you who haven't seen it yet and don't want any of the impact ruined. In other words:

BEWARE! Here there be SPOILERS!

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Marvel Movie updates

Besides being a good read about the role of scientists as advisors for the upcoming "Thor" Movie, this "Cosmic Variance" article drops a couple of cool tidbits. Namely (emphasis mine):

Kevin Feige, president of production at Marvel Studios, is a huge proponent of having the world of these films ultimately “make sense.” It’s not our world, obviously, but there needs to be a set of “natural laws” that keeps things in order — not just for Iron Man and Thor, but all the way up to Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme who will get his own movie before too long.

There's going to be a Doctor Strange movie! I always thought he was pretty cool. Also (again, emphasis mine):

One was constructing a coherent framework for the Marvel universe — ultimately, this story about Thor the thunder god is going to have to be compatible with Tony Stark’s Iron Man world, since the two characters are both part of the Avengers. (I also got to read the script for that, and yes — it is as great as the rumors suggest.)

Has there ever been a better time to be a geek? I mean, a geek who didn't found Microsoft, that is.

I am officially in "I can't hear you!" fingers-in-my-ears period regarding Thor. I don't want to see any more previews; I'm going to see it, I'm excited about it, and I don't want to know any more. I want to be as surprised as possible and just let the movie happen to me.

But this kind of background stuff is cool, yo!

Green Lantern Wonder-Con trailer


Poll Position: All-Time Great Super-Hero Movies

Continuing our "Best Of" series of questions, this week I'm going to take a chance and open up the list to allow you to add your own entries to the ones I nominated. Please be responsible with your newfound power! The question is simple:


Brief discussion after the jump, or jump right to comments to tell me what you think! Also, note that I am not a film critic, I'm just a guy who likes super heroes. So take my observations for what they are -- uninformed, yet published anyway. Thank goodness for the Internet!

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Poll Position: Green Lantern movie

Short but sweet this week:


You can view the trailer here. Go watch it, I'll wait.

Back? Good. Did you bring me popcorn? Get out.

I would say the trailer makes me somewhat more interested in seeing the movie. It helped sell me on the idea of Reynolds in the lead role, and I am buying the "Hal Jordan, cocky test pilot" angle.

Where I'm still struggling a bit is with the fundamental difficulty of melding an intergalactic space opera with an Earth-bound spandex-wearing super-hero. Those are two tough genres to pull off, and mashing them together is exponentially more difficult.

Anyway, what do you think, having now seen the trailer?

Updated to add: Man I hate the costume in this shot. It just looks ... muddy. And why have glowing, cool CGI effects in the threads but make the insignia look so pasted-on? I'd have liked to see them go whole-hog and make the insignia a floating hologram or something to match the rest of the costume.

I hope it's just the way the image is lit, but I miss the sharply defined color areas, the deep black of space and the crisp white of the gloves in the original design.