Tag Archives: captain america

Kids on Classics: Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter (Alex vs Lukas)

It took a couple of weeks but I got Alex and Lukas back on the arcade console. I thought we might play something new but all, Alex could think about was Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter and I can’t blame him. It is a great game! So for the first time we get Alex going against Lukas (in video games, they go against each other in real life constantly). At least they do for a few minutes until Lukas gets distracted. Okay so maybe it is a little false advertising but what do you want from me? Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Kids on Classics: Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter

After playing King of Fighters, Alex got a taste for fighting games and wanted more. Since he tends to be a button masher (he’s 5 so of course he is) I decided to show him on of the best button mashing fighting games. Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter. You can pull off amazing moves completely by accident. He also sees his love of octopuses and the color green combine when he discovers Shuma-Gorath. If that’s not enough, we get to learn how Alex reacts when he loses. Spoiler alert, he doesn’t like losing. Enjoy!

 

 

Solo Mode – Captain America and the Avengers

With the kids asleep and some free time on my hands I take a shot a making a video by myself. Hopefully I can be as entertaining as my 5 year old son. Captain America and the Avengers was a game I played endlessly on Sega Genesis. Not because it was so good that I couldn’t put it down, but because there weren’t many games I could actually beat and this was one of them. Enjoy!

Iron Man 3 Review

Iron Man 3 Iron LegionMarvel’s Phase 2 is officially underway with the release of Iron Man 3, and after everything I had heard about the movie and where the next series of films were going, the word that best describes the movie is “surprising.”

Set after the events of The Avengers, Iron Man 3 spends a lot of time showing us what Tony Stark went through following a battle where a guy in a metal suit fought with a super solider, a green beast and a norse god against aliens from another dimension. Here lies one of the movie’s greatest strengths as Tony basically goes into shell shock after such a huge battle. It’s a completely logical reaction that puts Tony against a mental condition that can’t just be fixed with science and technology like his broken down body in Iron Man 2. Of course this wouldn’t be a super hero movie if there wasn’t some type of physical threat, and that’s where the Mandarin and extremis come in. Exremis is essentially a genetic steroid that destroys the body it’s given to only to rebuild it to an almost indestructible state. This makes regular people a match for Iron Man. Led by the Mandarin, soldiers injected with extremis turn into a terrorist organization set on killing the president of the United States and doing other things that terrorists do. Meanwhile Aldrich Killian, the man who developed extremis, has an axe to grind with Stark after an encounter before Tony became Iron Man that comes back to haunt him. Sir Ben Kingsley plays the Mandarin about as realistically as you could expect such an over the top villain to be portrayed in a movie, leading right into another one of the movie’s strengths. Surprises. This movie has more twists than a bag of pretzels. You never really know who is aligned with who, and at one point it seems to be more political thriller than action movie. Don’t worry, it hits plenty of those action notes though. I guarantee your jaw will drop more than once.

The action and special effects sequences are top notch of course. Like the previous couple of movies, Stark doesn’t actually spend too much time in the Iron Man suit, only this time there are a lot more suits and he doesn’t need to be in them in order to have them function, This premise is used in a lot of creative ways throughout the film, leading to some very unique and thrilling action sequences and even some dramatic moments. The much talked about attack on Stark’s Malibu home was very impressive, and even made you care about the sentient machines as the house is going down. The final battle also spares no expense, and found a way to match the single shot fight sequence featuring all of the Avengers by just having a ton of Iron Man suits doing the same thing (Hulkbuster FTW!)

A big part of this films success goes to Robert Downey Jr, who has his most developed performance as Tony Stark to date. Unlike the Iron Man 2, where Downey seemed to be doing an impression of himself, there is a real depth and natural progression to Tony’s behavior. The laughs and quirks are still there, but it comes with a certain charm that was previously missing. This is specifically so when Tony is without his suit and has to be a hero anyway. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts gets a little lost in the shuffle during the middle section of the movie, but comes on strong in the beginning and ending, essentially becoming as much of a hero as Stark. The same can’t necessarily be said for Happy and Rhodey but it isn’t Jon Favreau and Don Cheadle’s fault as there is only so much movie to go around. Rhodey specifically just gets dumped on for practically the entire film series now that I think about it.

One of the main questions supergeeks liked to ask was how could Iron Man work in a solo movie after the Avengers assembled. What is to keep him from calling his buddies if things got bad. In what was one of very few sticking points I had while watching, they do and don’t answer this question at the same time. On the one hand, you can see how Tony would not contact his superfriends (although it is revealed that he is still in touch with them) but on the other hand, somehow there is no presence of SHEILD as a terrorist group tries to kill the President with fire breathing super soldiers (yeah you read that right). I’d imagine that would be right up SHIELD’s alley.

There was a certain finality that came after the finale of the movie. Characters seemed to resolve all of their issues and move forward, passed the adventures of the last handful of films. If this indeed was Robert Downey Jr’s last appearance as Iron Man, his story was certainly told in it’s entirely. There is very little in terms of loose ends here.

I thoroughly enjoyed Iron Man 3 but not in the way that I thought I would. I expected an action packed movie filled with witty one liners and comic easter eggs that would leave me thinking as much about the next movie as I would this one. One I got instead was an interesting character piece with twists, heart and a personal journey to go along with those explosions and action scenes.

Also, of course you need to stay through the credits, but don’t expect the earth shattering reveals that you were getting in phase one.

 

 

Iron Man 3 Trailer and Screenshots Revealed

The trailer for Iron Man 3 debuted today, and it doesn’t look like things get much easier for Tony Stark after the events of The Avengers. Check it out:

Pretty grim huh? Marvel Studios has also posted this synopsis on the movies website:

“Marvel’s “Iron Man 3″ pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?”

The movie is based largely on the Extremis storyline, where Tony Stark is severely beaten by a stronger, faster opponent who is using a test drug called extremis. To counter him, Tony is forced to undergo the extremis procedure himself. During the process he injects himself with a control sheath that allows him to control and apply the Iron Man armor mentally, making him faster and more powerful. In the comics, while it does increase several abilities, extremis is considered a virus that will kill most people it inhabits. Only those with a rare genetic code (like Stark) will be enhanced by it. This is where Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin fits in. The Mandarin sets out to expose large amounts of the population to extremis in order to reshape the human race. He is not aware of the consequences and obviously Iron Man must stop him.

It’s a great story that goes into the struggles that Tony has with all of the decisions he has made, both as a former arms dealer and as a hero, and the consequences that he faces, both personal and on a larger scale. The trailer certainly takes steps in that direction. In addition, we also get a shots of the Iron Patriot armor (most likely War Machine), as well as glimpses of the extremis armor being developed and Mandarin himself. Several screenshots are also available on the website. You can check them out here though too:

Iron Man 3 is set to be released on May 3rd, 2013.

Domino Confirmed For Deadpool Game (NYCC)

At this point we all know that High Moon Studios is making a Deadpool game due to come out in 2013 right? Well at the Marvel Video Games panel at the New York Comic Con we received an update on how the game was progressing.

Everything looks great, the combat is coming into shape and blah blah blah. Thankfully Deadpool himself decided to crash the panel, start a dance party, and announce that none other than Domino is confirmed to make her first video game appearance.  A fellow mercenary, Domino is also known for having a relationship with Cable, and you can’t have a Deadpool game without Cable being involved somehow. By the way, the game will be rated M for mature. That means cursing and boobs and blood and guts! They also showed this highlight reel of Deadpool’s appearance in San Diego:

Some other notes from the Marvel Video Games panel:

-The Amazing Spider-Man game will come to the Wii U in the spring. It will include all of the DLC, will have optional motion controls and the touchscreen controller with act as the cellphone hub during gameplay. This is similar to how the navigation and gadget controls are being applied to the Arkham City Armored Edition.

(On a side note, I watched some people run through a brief demo of Arkham City on the Wii U. Graphically it looks just like the current version. The armor’s main function seems to be providing a brief but large impact in combat, electrocuting enemies and adding range. It only works when fully charged. Gadgets like the remote batarang and detective vision make you look at the touchscreen. This gave a lot of players fits as it’s against everything we know as gamers to look away from the giant tv in our face to look at a smaller one below us. The controller itself takes some getting used to but I’m sure that after a little while you get used to it.)

-Marvel Pinball will be debuting a Civil War version by the end of the year. In it, you pick a side (Captain America or Iron Man) and the object while playing is to recruit allies. The side you select determines what moments play out from the series.

-There was some new footage shown for the free to play MMO, Marvel Heroes. Among it was the announcement of three new characters: Nova, Luke Cage and Jean Grey (as Phoenix). The video also showed a glimpse of Rocket Racoon from Guardians of the Galaxy, which got a big response from the crowd.

How Does Daredevil Fit in the Marvel Movie Universe?

There have been a lot of rumors surrounding Marvel characters going from Fox to Marvel Studios lately, but this week some news actually happened as the movie rights to Daredevil have officially be relinquished by Fox and are now controlled by Marvel Studios. It’s a big deal for Marvel, who also announced that the Avengers’ sequel (currently unnamed) has been given a tentative release date of May 1st, 2015. It’s also a little surprising since Fox seemed to be working toward producing a 70s style retro film directed by Joe Carnahan. Based on the sizzle reel he made, it looked like it could have been pretty good too:

Regardless of how cool Carnahan’s vision might have ended up, we can be pretty sure that Marvel Studios will have their own take on the man without fear. Marvel has managed to make all of their movies blend into each other, and that brings up my question; Where does Daredevil fit in the Marvel movie universe?

The short answer is that he doesn’t. The rumors suggested that Marvel was willing to give Fox an extended period to get things going with Daredevil, as long as they released the rights to some of their other properties, specifically Galactus and Silver Surfer from the Fantastic Four franchise. This would make sense considering that there is a Guardians of the Galaxy movie in the works and that Thanos and the Cosmic Cube will be in play for the sequel. The devourer of worlds and his messenger boy would fit right into all that.

Would this work on the big screen?

Not so much for Daredevil though. Marvel seems to have their eyes set on space and technology, and I’m not sure how a blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen fits into all that. What’s more, Daredevil has never been a big team guy. In fact, he turned down being an Avenger twice already. I would think that while Marvel ended up with the bigger name, they might have preferred the other characters instead. Let’s not forget Ben Affleck’s failed DD movie as well. The stench from that one might be part of why Fox let it go in the first place.

So now that they have him, what to they do with him? Daredevil has been more involved in the rest of the Marvel Universe lately, most recently teaming up with Spider-Man and Punisher (not Marvel properties, I know), and did hook up with the Avengers during Fear Itself. Daredevil has also been among the hottest comics Marvel has had to offer lately, with Mark Waid giving us a lighter take on him than we have seen in the past. Since the movies have tried to reflect the current comics and vice versa, putting one of its current top sellers in the mix does makes sense. Iron Man 2, Captain America and The Avengers were all largely based in New York, so Matt Murdock wouldn’t have to go too far to find his new super buddies.

The other option of course is to make a movie in Joe Carnahan’s original vision. Hell maybe he could even direct it. No one said that every Marvel character has to work together. The idea of a more mature 70s style action movie sounds pretty great to me. It would also give them the opportunity to get more characters into the mix without everyone having to be in the Avengers sequel and fight for screen time. This could be a place for Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Songbird and other characters that don’t necessarily fit into the grand scheme of what Marvel has called, “Phase 2.” Only time will tell how they incorporate Daredevil into Marvel Studios’ grand scheme, but I would bet that Joss Whedon is working on it as we speak.

The Character/Writer Comic Conundrum

Rick Remender’s run writing Venom came to an end this week with issue #22. It has been one of the surprise series of the last couple of years, bringing back a character that was left behind in the 90’s and remade him into a modern anti-hero that was interesting and fun to follow. Eddie Brock was fine, but Flash Thompson? Back from war without his legs and now he’s a military styled Venom clouded with guilt and rage? Loved the idea from the start. When I started getting back into comics Venom was one of the series that kept up with and it was well worth the ride thanks in large part to Remender’s vision.

But now Remender is leaving Venom for greener pastures and it brings up an interesting question. Do I still follow the same books with a different writer at the helm?

What’s more important? The character…

Back in the day this would have been a non issue. As a young reader I was drawn to the characters and the action. The art was more important to me and I wasn’t smart enough to know if what I was reading had any depth to it. All I knew is that Spider-Man kicking Vulture in the face was awesome! But I need more than that now. Yes the artwork is very important, as it often can make or break a book. However I need that writing to draw me in. This is especially the case as I get into more dramatic book, that are more about espionage and emotion than explosions and fight sequences. I love the current Venom character, but I specifically love Rick Remender’s writing of the character. Would you read a Harry Potter novel if it wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling? Of course you wouldn’t. That might as well just be considered fan fiction.

Remender is still working on X-Force, Captain America and Secret Avengers (which has Venom!). The Dark Phoenix Saga was amazing and the others have been good as well. Would I be best served leaving Venom behind and just following around writers that I like? Could the same go for artists? What if Remender takes on something like the Fantastic Four, which I’ve never been interested in?

Naturally a lot of this also depends on who takes over Venom.

…or the man writing the character?

People will always buy Batman and X-Men and Spider-Man. They are so popular that even if you mess them up badly you will still get at least some people who just need their Batman fix (of course Scott Snyder is doing a great job with Bats and that helps too). But Venom is a little bit more of a niche character. He is still a work in progress that can go either way. Mark Waid has done similar work in remaking Daredevil into a fantastic read again but he did have more to work with. The better comparison might be what Geoff Johns has managed to do with Aquaman. Did anyone thing he would ever be cool again? Will he remain as cool if someone else takes over writing him? Like the King of the 7 Seas, Venom can lose its audience a little more easily. Cullen Bunn is taking over for Remender full time with issue #23. He had been co-writing this recent arc with Rick and has been very busy doing work on Captain America and a miniseries, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, which all point in the right direction for what would make a good Venom book. The other books circulating are getting mixed reviews, but thanks to the run so far I am emotionally invested in this symbiote wielding maniac. Can I just drop it because I don’t like the current author? I guess I’ll just have to read it and find out for myself.

What do you think? How much does the writer influence what you buy? Am I a fool for thinking of ditching a book just because it’s being written by someone else? Sound off in the comments below.

Read comics!

The Avengers Movie Review

For seven years we have watched Marvel Studios pump out movie after movie. Each one teased us a little more on what was coming. A movie combining four different franchises? Never done before. The Avengers promised to be the Smash Bros. of summer blockbusters. Could it be done? Would the final product pay off in the end? Well after almost a decade of waiting, I can tell you that it can, and it most certainly did.

The Avengers is pretty much a 143 minute money shot. Pretty much all of the Marvel films had that one moment that made the entire audience applaud in geek pride. Well The Avengers does that almost every 20 minutes. There are big reveals, huge set pieces, familiar faces in despair, with some real drama thrown in. And that’s just the prologue.

If you saw either of last year’s Marvel films (Thor and Captain America), then you have an idea of the plot already. Loki comes back to steal the cosmic cube (the Tesseract in the films) so that he can take over the universe. Nick Fury then assembles the Avengers (see what I did there?) in a last ditch effort to save the day. But guess what? They don’t get along initially. Will they overcome their differences to keep Loki from destroying the universe?

SO MUCH AWESOME ALL OVER!

Of course they will! It’s a comic book franchise turned summer blockbuster. You know damn well what is going to happen. That’s not the point though is it. In the process of getting this team together you get every possible confrontation you ever saw in the comics and wanted to see on screen. Captain America vs Iron Man, Hulk vs Thor, Black Widow vs Hawkeye, it’s all there. You get just enough of a taste of what everyone can do individually that get the sense that they are all equal, which of course is the point. It then makes it that much sweeter when they eventually work together and form a cohesive unit against the bad guys. This of course is headlined by the movies primary money shot which is the money shot to end all money shots.

While everyone gets their screen time and chance to shine, it’s the Hulk that surely stole the movie. Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner is great. Where Ed Norton, who I like a lot, played a man on the run who happened to be a scientist, Ruffalo plays Banner as a scientist first. Also, like all of the characters in this movie, Banner is more of a smart ass as well (even Tony Stark). We get teased with the Hulk for most of the movie, but when he finally shows up, he’s here to stay and totally worth the wait. The Hulk does something every time he is on screen that is amazing, and by the end of the movie is he is on screen a lot. You might even see a little more of the Hulk in The Avengers than you did in The Incredible Hulk. You will find yourself simultaneously in aw and laughing at the awesomeness of what the Hulk is capable of.

Perhaps the greatest testament to this movie was that despite everything thrown at you, from metal power suits to super soldiers to aliens to gods, at no point did it seem too over the top. Everything, and I mean everything, was giving reason and purpose and dosed with just enough reality that you buy that it could possibly almost kinda happen. A big part of this was just from how everyone referred to each other. No one calls Iron Man, Iron Man. They call him Tony. Hawkeye is just Clint. Their “superhero” names are only veiled at for the most part. Thor is Thor of course but you get the idea. The point is that by making such detailed origin stories that explain all of the details of how each individual entity came to be, The Avengers is able to get away with concepts and ideas would normally be completely unbelievable, yet we’re still able to accept them.

The Avengers puts its foot on the gas from the very beginning and never lets go. The best thing I can say is that I didn’t want it to end. If I had to nitpick I would say that if you didn’t watch the previous movies you might get a little lost, but it was made for you anyway and you’ll be very entertained regardless. It’s everything that’s right about the summer blockbuster and I’m pretty sure I’ll be seeing it again as soon as possible.

Also the post credit scenes are amazing.

Free Comic Book Day Q&A with Joe Field

Christmas is great, but if you’re looking for a present now know this: Free Comic Book Day is just days upon us. The annual event is exactly what it sounds like. Comic book stores around the world give away comics to anyone that walks in. This year it is this Saturday, May 5th. Yes, that’s the day after The Avengers hits theaters. In honor of the best idea since pizza Fridays at school, I spoke to Joe Field, the founder of Free Comic Book Day, about the comic book industry.

-What inspired you to come up with Free Comic Book Day?
The business of comics had come through a tumultuous time in the late ’90s. When things started turning around, I saw a need for a massive invitation for everyone to check out what’s going on weekly in their local comic shop. I wrote a column for a trade magazine, outlining Free Comic Book Day and suggesting it be modeled after other “free” events. The column was met with enthusiasm!

-What went into getting all of the other comic book stores involved?
I knew that I couldn’t coordinate the event, so I turned to the dominant distributor of comics in the English-speaking world, Diamond Comic Distributors. Their team has regular contact with all comic book stores on a regular basis, so I was confident they could do the job— and they’ve done it exceedingly well for these last 11 years.

-Was there any suggestion by the comic book industry to have The Avengers movie come out on the same weekend as Free Comic Book Day?
Free Comic Book Day  has been the “first Saturday in May” for 10 of its 11 years. In most cases, there has been a comics-related movie attached to the same weekend. I choose to look at it as Hollywood coming to comics, rather than comics being a barnacle on the Good-Ship Hollywood.

-Do you think the industry is taking enough advantage of the comic book movie franchises and their popularity?
Movies are passive entertainment. You pay for your ticket, then sit in your seat and watch. The reading of comics and graphic novels is a much more involved experience. There’s reading the words, interpreting the art, filling in the time between panels ans scenes. In short, there’s more required of a comic book reader than there is of a movie watcher.

Really, I think the movies have been a great calling card for comic books. I honestly hope that more movie-goers will want to check out the source material for all these comics-based movies!

-What do you think of the current state of comic book stores?
With some 2500 comic shops in the U.S. and Canada, I don’t think there is one “current state.” Many retailers are thriving and some are having a tough time paying the bills. That’s just like any other business segment these days.

As the current president of ComicsPRO, the only retailer trade association of comic book specialty retailers, the trends look good right now. More people are reading comics, other media are getting some of their biggest ideas from comics and comic retailers seem to be better prepared and more professionally adept than at any time since I got into the business 25 years ago.

-Are digital comics helping or hurting business?
I have seen no indication that digital comics are putting a dent into print comics. Every other print media would love to have the conditions that are current in comics— handling growth rather than managing a slow steep decline, new ideas, formats and ways of doing business, rather than the same old reliance on advertising to drive the editorial.

Make no mistake, digital comics are a growing segment of the overall comics business, but so are print comics.

-How difficult is it to maintain a store these days?
Owning any small business has a multitude of challenges.  I discovered a long time ago that I had a difficult time have anyone as my boss. Now that I am my own boss, I find the pressure much more significant, but also much more satisfying.

-Do you see this event growing more in the upcoming years?
Free Comic Book Day has been growing for the last ten years and it sure looks like there’s a lot of life in it! This year, events will take place in 2000 stores in nearly 50 countries, with more than 3.5 million comics available to be given away.

-Are there any changes you think should be made with stores or the industry itself?
The most significant thing to come out of the success of Free Comic Book Day , in my estimation, is that it has led to many retailers working much more effectively on reaching outside of their stores to find new customers, to do more events, to really integrate their comics’ businesses in with the overall business of entertainment.

-Anything else you would like to add?
Comics are a lot more than just being about whatever the latest super-hero movie is. If you like to read, if you enjoy reading novels or you enjoy going to art galleries, if you enjoy any of the visual arts, then I maintain that regularly visiting a well-stocked comic book specialty store is definitely worth outing on your “to do” list. Comic books and graphic novels are the white-hot core of visual entertainment!