Saturday, July 28, 2012

Have You Read: Ultimate Spider-Man

     Back in the year 2000, Spiderman had been a character in comics for almost 40 years and people, including the hero’s writers, began to notice that the character was aging. He was still “the most relatable hero in comics” and yes, the children who read the comics back in the day have grown up with him, but writers wanted to attract the attention of kids and teenagers of today. One way to do this would be to reboot the character. Problem is, 40 years of the character has sparked a lot of fans and to suddenly change that character and revert him back to his teenage years would be almost insulting to the readers. So Marvel found a way to successfully reboot the superhero while still maintaining him at his current age: create a new universe, separate from the main Marvel world, titled the Ultimate Universe, thus creating “Ultimate Spiderman”.

     Ultimate took a fresh, modern take on the classic character, reverting him back to his origins and redefining other key characters such as MJ, Harry Osborn and many others. But while Spiderman remained the same wisecracking, pure-hearted superhero, most of the changes revolve around Spidey’s villains. Electro is now completely made of electricity, Green Goblin is transformed into a hulk/demon-like monster and Venom’s entire origin relates to Peter’s parents and is not from outer space. New villains and new characters allowed for fresh takes on classic storylines from throughout Spiderman’s history including famous story arcs like The Venom Saga, The Sinister Six and even The Clone Saga. This new universe opened many opportunities for artist Mark Bagley and writer Brian Michael Bendis. Ultimate Spiderman lasted 11 years, ending in June of last year and released 160 issues. Overall, if you are a fan of Spidey and haven’t read the Ultimate books, I recommend you start. It gives you a look back at his origins along with many new twists and turns that keep it different from anything we’ve seen from the character before. Check it out, it’s “Ultimate”.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises- To Epic Proportions

      The Dark Knight Rises may very well be one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The story was gripping putting Gotham City in the hands of yet another madman, forcing Batman to save it from certain destruction. And the city is certainly in danger this time around and making Batman take to some unlikely allies in order to save it. The score, music and bass add to the intensity and give viewers an excessive amount of goosebumps (or was it just me?) A very big thanks to Hans Zimmer for the chilling sounds.

    Christian Bale’s great portrayal of an older, beaten Bruce Wayne, who must train to comeback to battle one of his greatest enemy Bane, is by far his best performance of the trilogy and only adds to the dramatic and intense moments of the film. On the other hand we have Tom Hardy who also played his role of the “unbeatable” Bane quite nicely, may not have been as intriguing as Ledger’s Joker, was still a great villain who should not be taken for granted mentally and especially physically. Bane’s character is explored deeply, as he was in his initial comic debut, which only added to his appeal on screen. Many believed that Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle would “ruin the feel of the film”. While she didn’t necessarily steal the show, her character was interesting, enjoyable to watch of course, and “anti-hero” you can cheer for and above all, a positive addition to the series. John Blake was a well-used addition to the film’s universe. While Bruce Wayne was off doing (well I cant say specifically what without ruining the plot but it was important no doubt) Blake remained in Gotham, dealing the problems closer to home. Blake acts as the “second hero” and the second protagonist that fans will soon enjoy watching and hope comes out victorious.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

WOW: "What does it mean?"... "Rise!"

     Unfortunately, I'm going on vacation this weekend (after I see The Dark Knight Rises of course), so there wont be anymore posts for a little while so i thought i would leave the viewers with what is my favorite Wallpaper Of The Week so far, The Dark Knight Rises!!! Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Superman, Where Have You Gone?

     I do realize that Superman is coming out with a new movie only a year from now, and it appears to be doing all of the things necessary to make a good Superman film, which we have not seen since around the time AC/DC released ‘Back In Black’ (that’s a long time folks), but hopefully The Man Of Steel delivers in 2013. Personally, I think The Last Son Of Krypton has to take another approach if he wants to win back the hearts of beloved DC fans. I’m talking about a new animated series, focused purely on life of Clark Kent and Superman.

     Whenever I hear the word Superman the majority of my brain thinks back to the classic animated series of the 90’s. Why? Because its one of the best superhero cartoons ever (up there with it’s Batman counterpart) and it got everything about Superman’s universe right. His supporting cast, his villains, Metropolis, his origins and Superman himself were all perfect representations of the characters and I would like to see something like that again. I find that cartoons about superheroes are trying to “spice things up” nowadays; Batman teams up with a new superhero in every episode, Spiderman joining a team of other teenage heroes under the watch of SHIELD. Some of those ideas work to a point, but when it comes down to it fans eventually want to see the personal experiences of those characters, something we haven’t seen from Superman in cartoons for a long time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Smallville: Top 5 Of Season Two

      Season Two introduces Clark to a new ability, to new clues about his past, to the meeting of a true legend, a friend to the secret and much more. This season is one of the best, start to finish, with season-long story arcs and amazing special effects that surpass anything in the previous year. I recommend you watch these episodes listed below if you haven’t already and you’ll agree that season two is spectacular.

5. Vortex
      This season picks up exactly where the last one ended; Clark valiantly rushes into a large tornado to save Lana. Clark and Lex then work together to find the missing Jonathan Kent and a reporter threatening to reveal Clark’s secret. The action at the beginning was cool, with Clark and Lana inside her truck, being whipped around inside the tornado. Vortex is one of those episodes that wouldn’t appear to stand out from the rest, but that’s because it was a ”classic Smallville episode”, which deserves a spot among the top 5.
Favorite Moment: When Clark saves Lana from the giant tornado, of coarse.

4. Insurgence
        Clark Kent, afraid of heights? Yes, its true, but Clark soon has to overcome his fear when he is forced to make an incredible leap from the top of the Daily Planet building to LuthorCorp in order to save his mother and Lionel Luthor, currently held hostage in Lionel’s office. It’s a good hostage story with many mysteries surrounding why the thieves are there and what Lionel’s involvement with them is, and watching Clark try on several accounts to enter the building and eventually make the leap was very exciting. It is normally the best moments of the show when Clark learns a new ability or puts his current abilities to the test, like he did in this episode.
Favorite Moment: Clark leaps across the street from the Daily Planet and just barely makes it through a window of LuthorCorp.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wallpaper Of The Week: It's Still Amazing!

       Yes, I realize that I've already featured The Amazing Spider-man in one of my previous Wallpapers Of The Week, but after seeing the movie for a second time (yes, a second time. Don't judge me its awesome), I'm so very thankful that the movie was successful, so the very least i can do to thank the movie is to feature it in yet another "WOW". Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Inspiration To Heroes: Supporting Cast In Comics

      As we watch or read about our favorite superheroes we tend to overlook key contributions to their character. We tend to ignore the importance of supporting characters. I’m not saying we all do it, but they sometimes don’t get as much credit as they should. It is these characters that can help a hero in a difficult situation, guide them to overcome their greatest challenges or even contribute to the start of their superhero career. They can be the foundation and backbone of a superhero’s entire persona and they should never, ever be taken for granted. To effectively examine contributing casts of characters I have chosen to look at the supporters of arguably the three most recognizable heroes in comics: Superman, Batman and Spiderman.

        The last son of Krypton and the most powerful being in the DC Universe. Superman is the “All-American”, perfect superhero; he’s friendly to the people, well mannered and does not see failure as an option. Hell, he’s even risked his own life to save villains who wouldn’t have returned the favor, but he wouldn’t be this way if it weren’t for his supporting cast of family and friends. There have been several “What If” stories involving the Man of Steel, mostly revolving around where his spaceship could have landed on the planet. This is a great theory because if you change where he grew up then you change his entire personality, but more importantly, if he didn’t grow up under the loving parenting of Ma and Pa Kent then he wouldn’t be the “perfect” superhero he is today.
Lois Lane, on the other hand, has nothing to do with his evolution into super-heroism, but acts as his inspiration to continue it. It seems that every battle, dangerous risk or world-saving act has always come back to the overall safety of Lois, proving that without her presence in his life, Superman’s constant need to save humanity may not have been as strong.

         If not for the large supporting cast of the Caped Crusader, Batman would have become a murdering madman, unable to tell the difference between vengeance and justice. Luckily, his fellow crime fighters, assumed father figure and long-time friend have all been able to keep him from crossing the line that “once you cross there’s no going back”. After the death of Bruce’s parents, Alfred was thrust into the role of his father. He gave Bruce the confidence and the positive influence, surrounding that great tragedy, to become a masked hero to fight for justice, not revenge. But Alfred cant always be there for Batman, especially when out on patrol, which is why Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and even Commissioner Gordon are able to comfort and assist him out on the streets and help take some of the weight of Gotham’s future off his shoulders.
Friends and family can only do so much though, sometimes it is a hero’s greatest enemy that can unknowingly support the hero and help him realize why he puts on a mask every night. The Joker, the greatest villain in the Dark Knight’s roster, has murdered innocent victims time and time again, but has also helped Batman see his parent’s death more clearly, fueling his desire to avenge them and bring murderous villains like the Joker to justice. Thanks Joker…?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review Of "The Amazing Spider-Man"

      This movie is what you would expect just by hearing the title, amazing! For one thing, all of the actors played their roles incredibly like Rhys Ifans who effectively portrays the determined scientist mentor to Peter, as well as the mad man, bent on “evolving” the human race. Andrew Garfield brings a realistic, modern approach to Peter Parker and was even a humorous Spidey at times. He does a great job of drawing the audience into his characters problems and making us care for him. Emma Stone represents a likable Gwen Stacey and had good scenes interacting with Garfield. She was an intrical part to the story, as well as her father George Stacey, captain of the NYPD and played by Denis Leary, who also brought a bit of humor to his character.

        Spiderman, this time around, appears to be a little less “powerful” then in the Raimi films and a little more grounded, which fit well with the modern representation of the film. He does appear to be very acrobatic making for some cool stunts and exciting fight scenes. The visual effects were amazing and the Lizard looked great. The fights between he and Spiderman were done well visually and the constant motion and involvement of the camera added to the intensity and coolness of the fight. The first-person Spidey scenes were short and fast, but were effective in drawing the audience into the action and giving us quick glimpses of the world through the Webhead’s eyes.

       Some of the slower scenes seemed to have dragged on a little bit, not because they were too long, but because their would be one slow scene after another. Then again, if it were all fast-paced it wouldn’t have been very good at all so I guess it works out. The action scenes made up for those anyway. The origin may have been a little familiar, but some slight changes made it worth seeing again and the mystery of the disappearance of Peter’s parents is examined, but not fully explained (possibly because they are leaving some of the mysteriousness for future sequels).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Amazing", Revolutionary: The Best Of Spidey's Games

       After playing and completing The Amazing Spiderman game for my Xbox 360 I realized how spectacular and revolutionary this game is and will be for future games, so I took a look at previous Spiderman games that were spectacular and/or revolutionary. They’re also just personal favorites of mine and if you (for some strange reason) haven’t gotten the chance to play any of the Webhead’s games listed below then go out, buy it, play it and enjoy it (but first finish this article).

Spiderman (PS1)
       By today’s standards this game wouldn’t seem so spectacular, but this is the first Spidey game of the “new” consoles and included the use of web-slinging from building to building, chasing a villain across several rooftops, a large number of levels and an even bigger roster of villains such as the Scorpion, Venom, Rhino and the Black Cat, along with two surprise villains at the end (I wont give it away). It has also been said that this game is supposed to take place during the 90’s Spiderman cartoon due to the fact that all of the characters are designed like the show. It was enjoyable because it was unique for its time. Like I said before, it wouldn’t be considered great by today’s expectations but I defy any true Spiderman fan to not have fun while playing this game. Plus, you have like 20 bonus costumes to choose from, it’s a little ridiculous, but awesome. So if you have not played this one, talk to a friend obsessed with superheroes, go through his stash of old videogames he wishes he wanted to play again but doesn’t, and try it out for yourselves.
Favorite Moment: You and the surprise villain must battle it out at the end, resulting in you fleeing for your life. That, and being able to select 20 other costumes including the classic symbiote.

Spiderman 2: The Game (PS2)
      The phrase “does whatever a spider can” never fully applied to the Spiderman videogames… until this one. Finally, you can set foot on the ground, interact with the people and objects on the ground, stop crimes on the ground! Don’t judge me, cause this was a pretty big chapter in the Webhead’s videogame career. You could go anywhere and do anything over the entire city. The graphics and the game play were a huge difference between the first two Spiderman movie games, and the swinging involved in this one set the bar for future Spiderman open-world games. The game is loosely based on the film and features guest appearances from Shocker and Mysterio, and Rhino and Black Cat (again!). The fighting however is really simple, meaning you hitting an enemy as you, and that enemy, progressively float higher and higher into the air until he “dies”, but that’s fine because the main focus is the open-world, go anywhere concept and the swinging.
Favorite Moment: Just like in the movie, the battle with Dr. Octopus on the train is just as entertaining, but for me personally, it’s climbing all the way to the very top of the Empire State Building, diving off and seeing how close I can get to the ground before needing to shoot a web.