Sunday, July 21, 2019
I am going to lead with something that would become apparent later.... I did not like this movie. Like at all. Even tho I am the host of a show called the Marvel Hacks, DC animation has been a huge part of my life since I had kids. When my kids were younger, they gravitated more to DC than Marvel and because their animation studio was pumping out solid comic book adaptations, it was easy for them to watch and for me to read and compare the movies to the comics.
As they got older, the shift to Marvel began and its pretty much stomped out any DC love they had. The MCU movies > DC Animation and the awfulness of the DC cinematic movies kicked DC out of my house completely. And I missed that because I was enjoying watching and reading DC books for the first time in my life and when they dipped, I kinda forgot about the DC animation movies.
Twitter and social media help when fans get excited about a movie coming out, but I have missed so many of the movies over the last five or so years. I caught the Batman: The Killing Joke and that was pretty terrible, but when I heard they were doing Hush, I got really excited. In the comics, Batman Hush was a 12 issues series by Jim Lee and Jeph Loeb. It told the story of a new villain to Gotham and how he was manipulating Batman rogues into doing his dirty work and mind fuckin' Batman all at the same time. The books had great art, action, dialogue, fight scenes and a surprise ending... several surprise endings that made the book and absolute must read( and I am not a Batman guy). Plus a love story with Batman and Catwoman! This is on part they actually get right!
When I heard the movie was coming out, I went out and read the books again to get myself familiarized with the story again. That was mistake number one. While the movie sticks with the basic principals of the comics, it falls flat in many areas. One, the animation. At this point, DC animation is still giving us a slight better version of their tv animation. One of the reasons Hush the comic is so good is the art by Jim Lee. Now recreating that is not possible, but something closer than Batman the Animated series. Two, the movie takes broad, unnecessary strokes from the comic book. They coulda did an almost panel for panel remake like they did with Batman: The Killing Joke but they skipped over so much... especially the stuff with Bruce's friend, Tommy Elliot, which I will come back to later. Three, the fight scenes come about every 5 minutes like labor pains. Any emotion that the story should carry is wiped away by the BAM, BIFF, WHOP of fight scenes. And even tho they stick closer to the comic than the rest of the movie, it still is overkill; especially the final Boss scene between Batman and Hush. Lastly, and this is me being petty, there was NO reason to stick Damian Wayne in this movie. NONE. I hate the character and this cameo made me hate him even more.
Overall, and I am not sure what the plan is because Hush is really a two part story. I do not want to spoil anything but they really only told the first half and they kinda fumbled the ball with it. Tommy Elliot's role in Hush is vital to the story and they gloss over it pretty quickly. It did not seem they were setting up the second part and the reveal of who Hush actually is and that would be a shame because the true reveal is better than the reveal in this movie.
Batman: Hush shoulda been called Batman: Rush because this felt like a rush to the finish of a classic story. It deserved better and DC needs to do a better job of making sure these classic stories match up with classic animation and story telling. They really missed a chance right here. Read the book and skip this.
Man you would have to know me very well to know how much I enjoy Lifetime movies. Before there was a whole ass movie network, the movies generally premiered on Saturday nights and then ran for large blocks on Sunday afternoon. I really cannot count how many times I have seen women get cheated on, stalked, and roughed up with domestic violence. On top of that, unruly teens always out having sex or getting caught up on the drugs. Its formulatic AF and I love every minute of it. Still do really as I binge the hell out of the movies on Sunday afternoon as I am doing work in the house or finishing a work project.
So when I turned on Netflix the other day and saw the preview trailer for Secret Obsession, my curiosity peaked a bit. I first noticed Brenda Song and then the trailer played all the way out life a Lifetime Movie. Woman in danger, women being stalked, women with amnesia, and obsessed man. This is almost a full Lifetime movie Bingo.
The problem is this is a BAD Lifetime movie. Netflix does such a good job with their original programming so for them to actually be pumping this up like its any good is a tragedy. Brenda Song stars as Jennifer Russell and in the opening scene, she is on the run from a mystery man in the shadows. She's doing her best to escape and every horror movie trope is used from locked doors failing and cars stalling when trying to escape. When she does look to have an opening to get away from the slow walking stalker, she gets run down by a car and sent to the hospital.
This is when the movie really gets bad. Breaking all sorts of hospital protocol, a man who claims to be her husband shows up and is giving access to Jennifer and stays( stalks) her through her recovery but.... Jennifer has amnesia and cannot remember why she was on the run and even if this man, Russell played by Mike Vogel is actually her husband.
Jennifer recovers enough to be released even with the amnesia and given to this man who takes her and moves her out to this remote area with no internet access and she is really just left alone with this kidnapper as she tries to recover her memory and life. Meanwhile, a detective, played by Dennis Haysbert is investigating a missing persons report and the accident as a part of a much larger case that. Plus a new man shows up.... the real Russell Williams and his confrontation with his imposter leads him to being killed.
The rest of the movie is just Jennifer uncovering that this man is a full on psycho who became obsessed with her and her life after a brief encounter previously. The reveal is long and boring and the final escape fight scene and mystery ending are quite a bore.
Look, I don't watch Lifetime Movies for psychological thrillers. I watch it for cheesy acting and dialogue and pretty women who overcome all kids of shit to put shitty men in jail. So you would think since this movie covers all that I would be happy. WRONG. This movie is a bad Lifetime movie with terrible acting, writing, and plot and no matter how much Jennifer recovered, it was not enough to cover the plot holes and general awfulness Secret Obsession served.
So hard pass. Do not watch. Netflix out here charging $18 a month for a movie you could watch for free on Lifetime Movie Network.
Marvel came back to Hall H for a huge presentation after taking last year off to present at D23. MCU fans had been skeptical and confused about what direction MCU was headed in post Endgame. There had been the Eternals and Black Widow movies announced but outside of that, everything was speculation. What about Black Panther 2 and Captain Marvel 2? What about Fantastic Four and X-Men? Well Marvel came out swinging! Lets look at the major announcements and you might want to get your credit card ready to order Disney Plus because you gonna need it!! In no particular order...
The movie comes out in 2020 and takes place in the time between Captain America: Civil War. The often referenced Budapest scene will be addressed so I am sure Hawkeye is in the movie and we have Taskmaster as our villain. For me, I am not that excited about this. One Scarlett Johanssen has been problematic AF and this movie shoulda already been made. Why are we going backwards in the Avengers Saga?
Verdict: I will not be seeing this in the movie theater. I cannot with ScarJo
In my years of reading comics, I have never gotten much traction with the Eternals. Their function and purpose in comics and now in the MCU does nothing for me. The movie has a great cast and I am sure their movie is a set up for bigger things to come in a post-Thanos world. This has an Inhumans feel to it tho.
Verdict: Will probably see it. Too soon to tell.
Thor: Love and Thunder
The Thor MCU movies are probably the most debated in terms of quality of all the movies. Many people like the first one and hate the second one. Ragnarock almost started fights with the folks at Brothascomics. This 4th movie is bringing back Thor and Valkerie and the huge announcement that Natalie Portman is coming back as Jane Foster AND she will be Thor- a straight up storyline from the comics. I am sure this pisses off white fan boys who had found their spirit animal in Fat Thor which makes me delight even more in their pain.
Verdict: Not a huge Portman fan, but a huge fan of Lady Thor comics and if they can bring that energy, this movie will be awesome. Definitely gonna see this in the theater.
Speaking of hotly debated.... Jeremy Renner. Personally, I like the actor, even tho they have never come close to capturing how awesome Hawkeye is in the comics. He is basically Captain America in the comics. Now, on Disney Plus, he gets his own series and it looks like a hand-off to Kate Bishop to be the new Hawkeye and I am all for that. If you did not read the Matt Faction run of Hawkeye, go read it now. Should be fun and interesting and possibly a lead up to the Young Avengers
Verdict: Definitely gonna watch!
An animated series for Disney Plus based on the comics of the same name which deals in What if situations from established stories. It appears all MCU actors are lending their voice talents to this project which give it instant credibility. Hopefully the animation matches up as Marvel is leagues behind DC animation.
Verdict: Definitely Gonna Watch!!
The Falcon and Winter Soldier
I should not even have to tell you this is a definite watch. Black Captain America. Period. I know some people hate on Anthony Mackie but I'm here for him with this. Sebastian Stan in back as Winter Soldier and masked Baron Zemo is coming as well. The chemistry that Sam and Bucky have is great and I have high hopes for this series. Its the one announcement I am most excited about and you know damn well Steve Rogers is gonna show up!
Verdict: Nuff said
Man I love Tom Hiddleston but I have no real use for this series. Loki's fate after Endgame is for sure interesting and I am sure he winds up in the 4th Thor movie somehow. I just don't have a real interest in seeing it. I am sure someone will tell me about it tho.
Verdict: Ima pass until told otherwise
Title aside, this seems to be interesting as we get to explore the relationship between Wanda and Vision. How they gonna put some life back into his caved out husk of a body will be interesting as well. But the biggest news coming out of this show was that actress Teyonh Parris will be playing Monica Ranbeau AKA Photo. That puts us ever so closer to the Ultimates! All we need is Blue Marvel and America Chavez and I am beyond excited about this!!!
Verdict: Bitch yaaasssss!!!!!!
Shang Chi and The Legend of the 10 Rings
My knowledge of Shang Chi could fit in the Monopoly thimble. For real! But I am open to the idea of reading more about him and the actor cast as Shang Chi is Simu Lui, from Kim's Convenience and I like him a lot. Plus we get the real Mandarin and not the bullshit they tried to pass off in Iron Man 3. You have to wonder is this movie a one-off or the set up of a series of movies to a larger event like Phase one!
Verdict: I will probably see it!
Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
I was not a huge fan of the first Dr Strange movie. His incarnations in Thor 3 and the two Avengers movies tho really showed how powerful he is. This movie is also gonna star Scarlett Witch and you gotta think we maybe get a No More Mutants situation but in reverse. Word is this might be a horror movie, too. If that's the case, if you know me, I wont be seeing this movie ever because I don't mess with horror.
Verdict: If not a horror movie, yes. If a horror movie, hell to the no!
Look, Blade started it all and Marvel and the MCU need to give Wesley a big ass check to help pay off his taxes to the IRS. And I know people wanted him to come back and have a role in the MCU now but Wesley approaching 60 and even tho Black don't Crack and he is in great shape, its time to pass the mantle. I was thinking they was gonna do a show on Hulu with Blade's daughter but Marvel said, "bump that shit" and went out and got 2x Academy Award winner
Verdict: Bring it all on!!!!!
So Phase 4 is in full effect even without the Fantastic Four or the X-Men. Marvel goes to Hall H and steals the con again as DC didn't even bother to try. Gonna be a hype next 3 years and I am all for it!!
Going in, let me just say that I am not a huge fan of all the reboots of comics. Its not a continuity thing. Its a, " these books need direction and you hamper creative when they know the book could be done in two years" thing.
Regardless of that, I love the X-Men. I have been here for the reboots and bought several new #1 issues against the wishes of my wife and my wallet. At San Diego Comic Con this weekend, new X-Men savior, Jonathan Hickman unveiled the new slate of books so I am gonna give you my initial impressions with the limited information that we have about each book.
By Gerry Duggan and Mateo Lolli
The team is interesting but the concept of mutants on the high seas searching for other mutants seems kinda far fetched. I mean in a world with cerebero, high tech planes, and the internet, why are mutants being pirates. Kitty is front and center which makes me think she is the leader of the team which I hate. Storm is on the team and not the leader, deferring to Kitty again like she did in X-Men Gold and I think that is BS. And this push of having Emma be a "hero" needs to end. Let her be the villain she is and stop the charade; especially since it appears her relationship with Scott is over. And a pirate book without Nightcrawler? Cmon son?!
By Jonathan Hickman and Lenil Francis Yu
Its a Summer's Family Reunion ya'll…. Its interesting that the mainline X-Men book is the Summer's family and Wolverine. Its an odd group to say the least and it appears this may be space based with Corsair being on the team. Rachel Summers/Prestige is back which I am not a fan of. Jean is back to Marvel Girl and in that old school costume which seems a bit dated. This book probably interest me the least of the bunch of them. Why bring Scott back to then ship him off into space. Plus Scott and Alex on the same team? Basura!
By Tini Howard and Marcus To
I would be so much happier with this is Apocalypse was not standing back there. New Captain Britain..awesome. Mr and Mrs. X back on an X-Team.... perfect. I never liked Jubilee but whatever. But Apocolype…. really? So no more culling the weak? No more being a bad guy? Now he is the muscle on a team of mutants that need a big guy? Kinda weird. I will read it but I definitely don't understand the purpose.
By Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara
This book was probably the one I was most excited about because the teams seems the most interesting. Jean Grey makes her second team call but with Domino co-leading. You get your muscle with Colossus and Wolverine makes his second team appearance as well. Black Tom? Kinda an odd choice but this team looks very interesting.
Fallen Angels #1
By Bryan Edward Hill and Syzmon Kudrasnki
I don't got much here..... I see that Psylocke is back and we get rid of Kwannon. But young Cable is here even tho old Cable is on the Summer's Family Reunion team. X-23 is here and its very surprising that she is not on one of the X-team books. Gotta wonder if Honey Badger will also be a part of this. Not feeling this one. Feels very much like a mini-series, not a monthly book.
New Mutants #1
By Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brisson
Historically, I have never been a fan of the New Mutants. Over time, even tho these kids are old as hell and should be the Old Mutants, they have grown on me. Its funny that most of the team was killed by Rosenberg in his Uncanny run which kinda weakens the impact of his run from an emotional and continuity point but whatever. I like this team and adding Chamber gives it more of an edge. Will definitely cop this one.
Overall, I am still a bit skeptical. This is a lot of books and a lot of mutants in a comic book economy that cannot support all these comic books. I have argued for years on our podcast( find it here https://soundcloud.com/brothas-hutchinson) that less books is a better look for the X-Men; much like the Avengers with a set team and rotating heroes in and out as the story fits. Every mutant does not need a team and is waters down the overall product. But Marvel keeps cranking them out.
I see a lot of people are "In Hickman We Trust". I think dude is great too but this is a lot of moving pieces and I hope he can keep it all together. Regardless, I know what will happen if it does not work and I'll be blogging about the next reboot in 3 years.
Friday, July 19, 2019
Growing up, the members of Brothascomics all really enjoyed pro wrestling. Like we really enjoyed it. In the days before the internet and the Monday Night Wars, wrestling was only what you saw on tv. Yeah, we kinda had an idea that the outcomes were predetermined, but that really didn't matter. We really just loved seeing our favorite characters on Saturday beat the crap out of each other.
With the Monday Night wars and the birth of the internet, we got an inside peak into pro wrestling that was unheard of before. From dirtrags like Wrestling Insider and the Torch, to chat rooms, not only was the outcomes predetermined, we got a look into the business and how it was run and how dirty it could often be. Why is my favorite wrestler jobbing now? Why is ( fill in the blank) on tv so much now?
The pro wrestling term about a wrestler being over or getting over applies to a wrestler who has won the cheers( if a babyface/hero) or the jeers( if a heel/villain). There are several ways a wrestler can get over. Some get over by their look or their gimmick- like the Road Warriors and the Undertaker have great gimmicks.
Some wrestlers get over because they can work the mic... meaning they can talk or cut a promo and this makes the fans love/hate them depending upon if they are a heel or a face. Wrestlers like the Rock fall into this category.
Some wrestlers get over because of their in ring work... meaning they can flat out wrestle and can make a bad wrestler have a good match with them and the fans appreciate their work rate. Brett Hart falls into this category.
And when you have a wrestler that is good at all three, you have a legendary wrestler like Ric Flair( WHOOOOOOO!!) who was great at all three.
Well getting over in wrestling is not that easy. Its why for so long you saw many of the same faces being champions over the years( we see you Hulk Hogan). Getting a wrestler over takes talent by the wrestler for sure, but it also takes patience and creativity by the booker( the person who is writing the storylines). The booker decides who gets pushed( who gets a chance to be a star) and if they can get over...great... maybe they become a main event/headline wrestler. If they can't, they will get pushed back down the card and wont become a huge star.
Pushing a wrestler is a delicate process. If you push them too much or too soon, fans will reject that wrestler( like they did Rocky Mavia- before he was the Rock). If you push them for too long and they don't get over, the character can become stale and rejected by the fans.
This is a lot of preview ahead of my main question: Who is Hickman going to push for the X-Men? The reboot is wrapped in mystery and that is understandable. But, over the last four years, X-Men and their fans have been subject to several reboots and each one is like a failed push. From All New, All Different, to the return of Blue and Gold, to this most recent reboot that came out of Age of X-Man, there has been no real direction on who are the main event X-Men and who are the X-Men on the lower part of the card.
And there is a lot to getting a comic character over. ALOT! Its why so many comic books seem like they star the same people over and over. And much like wrestling, it takes creative booking to create a new star and have them get over. Creators use gimmicks and looks to help characters get over but sometimes there is not enough substance to the character and they just become their gimmick. Its why you see new characters make a big debit and then get pushed down the card. Its why we have so many books and stories with the same heroes and villains.
My initial thought is are they gonna push the Giant Sized X-Men team: Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Wolverine, and of course the resurrected Jean Grey. Those characters are all over with the fans but have been pushed so much they may have become stale.
Are they gonna push the 90's X-Men with Cyclops, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, and Wolverine as their base. Again, all of them over, but are they like Hulk Hogan where you cheer for him but know you've seen this act before....
Are they gonna push the more new characters such as X-23 and Honey Badger or do a mix of old and new characters like they did in X-Men Red. Many of these characters are not over with fans, but they do have a vocal fan base.
I really don't know. And what of characters such as Bishop, Cable, Domino, X-Force.... all characters that have great looks/gimmicks but are maybe not so over they need their own comic book.
This would be a fascinating conversation if we hadn't done this so many times over the past four years. The X-Men have been treading water on the mid-card of the show for so many years now. Maybe it was the lack of creative( booking), maybe the characters look/gimmick didn't resonate with fans anymore. Maybe the idea of a world that hates mutants just doesn't work anymore. Who knows? I do know this tho…. people are putting a lot of hope and faith into this Hickman reboot and if he does not deliver..... there will be another reboot in 2 years. And whatcha gonna do about that brother?
As a part of the human condition, we often seek out any and all outlets to avoid dealing with painful shit that life puts us through. Some people drink to numb the pain, some people shop, and some people fill their life with things and people just to not deal with real emotions because they can be overwhelming. And in that thinking, our judgment about who we are and how people see us can define us and nudge us into making even more poor decisions.
Its in this breath, the Amazon Prime show, Fleabag lives. Our title character is Fleabag, even tho no ones calls her by that name. And like most of us, life has dealt her some serious tragedies and instead of seeking help to move past those issues, Fleabag makes compromised life decisions that often makes life worse, not better.
Now you would think with that lead in, I was talking about a drama- and this show definitely has dramatic moments to it. But this is a comedy. A hilariously written comedy, by the shows star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Fleabag the tv show is an adaptation of a play that she had written and starred in herself. Fleabag is a single woman living in London in the aftermath of those two tragic events. She has a loving, supportive live-in boyfriend who she is entirely bored with. She has an over achieving sister who is not Fleabags biggest fan, and she has a father who has grown quite distant over the past few years. Top that off with a failing business and you have a therapists dream patient.
The show is cleverly written and its punctuated by Fleabag constantly breaking the 4th wall and speaking directly to the viewers as things fall apart in her life. Its quite brilliant really because often she is speaking exactly what the viewers are thinking. The humor is biting, sarcastic, and in some of its best moment, wonderfully vulgar. It pushes the boundaries of what the viewer would find acceptable and makes you think how you would handle a situation.
There are two seasons; each with 6, 30 minute episodes. Season one focuses on Fleabag's relationship with her sister, Claire and how their relationship is strained( at best) and on Fleabags many dating and relationship issues. Also, there is a tragedy that I do not want to spoil that gives you more insight into how a seemingly well put together person can consistently make terrible decisions. Season 2 focuses on Fleabag's dads marriage to their Godmother and Fleabags attraction to the Catholic priest who is set to marry them. Season two is as consistently strong as season 1.
Fleabag is incredibly funny, yet dramatic without being overly preachy. The characters feel authentic and the actors and dialogue are incredible. So, try a new show out! Fleabag will not disappoint!!
Sunday, July 14, 2019
For the 3rd year in a row, I was fortunate enough to attend DragonCon in Atlanta as a member of the media covering the event for Brothascomics.com. As a Blerd and Atlanta resident for the past 25 years, I have seen DragonCon grow from this small event that only a few thousand nerds attended, to this international event that now close to a half million people attend over the Labor Day Weekend.
My experience with Dragoncon has come full circle. First I was a participant with my friends renting a hotel and gaming all night long. Later, I became an active volunteer working the in the game rooms and helping my new con-friends find and play games they have never heard of before. Now, as a member of the media, I get to see up close and personal some of my favorite stars and creators and bring that content to our blog and podcast.
But throughout all of this, the biggest change at DragonCon has been the needed expression of Black Nerd culture. DragonCon, like most conventions, can often become very white spaces and not welcoming to nerds expressing themselves in nerd culture. I have seen that as a fan and a volunteer. Over the past ten years tho, DragonCon has become such a cultural awakening for Black Nerd Culture in Atlanta and throughout the southeast. Black Nerds from around the country circle this event on their calendar to make sure they are to be seen with cosplay and heard in panels to make sure people understand that Black Nerds are here and want to express themselves and be seen and accepted in nerd culture.
One of the biggest ways to do this is through cosplay. I have covered so many events over the past few years, and no one shows up and shows out like DragonCon for cosplay. So many fans spend months and months getting ready for this event and it shows in their costumes. Brothascomics uses the tag #wehere as an expression that we are here and in this place and want to be recognized for our contributions to nerd culture.
Here are some of the many examples of Black Nerd Cosplay at Dragoncon this year
Overall just a wonderful experience again this year and I cannot wait to get invited back next year to cover this event. Its such an experience to be with like minded friends and fans for these 4 days every year!
Saturday, July 13, 2019
For the third year in a row, the great people at Orlando Megacon granted Brothascomics press access for their event and we are forever grateful. Check out my review of the con below and links to our pages for video and pics of the event.
Megacon is held in the Orange County Convention center and getting into the con can be challenging with the parking. Visitors must be aware of where they are parking in relation to entrance into the convention. If you arrive early enough, you can back in the north or south lot and walk into the convention space to big up your badge. If you arrive later, you will need to park in the west lot an that will require taking the free shuttle Megacon offers to get to the con. That may not seem like a big deal, but after a long day of nerding it up, looking to take a shuttle and then finding you car will feel exhausting.
|Yes that is the Predator riding on the Shuttle Bus|
The Badge Process
This process changed since last year. Much like the past three years, press badges are picked up at a separate location than the fan badges. Before that, you will need to go through security where they will check your bags and if you have props, they need to be cleared before you make it to the convention floor.
The badge process depends on if you are walking up and purchasing or picking up from will call or if your ordered on line. Megacon is huge and a highly recommend buying your badges on line and getting there early to pick up your badge. The lines can be long either way and frustration mounts very easily. And even if you purchase on line and get their early, the line for entrance into the convention is long. Very long! Bring your patience with you.
And an added wrinkle this year, once you have your badge, you need to register your badge on line at the convention which, with the limited bandwith was challenging. Then you need to scan the badge in with a worker before you could make it onto the convention floor. This was a new process for Megacon this year and it seemed to go smoothly, but my process as media was a bit different.
Megacon is Florida's largest convention the second largest in the southeast after DragonCon in Atlanta. The Convention center has plenty of space. This year, the crowds were even larger. My convention strategy is to go on Thursday and Friday to avoid the huge crowds and miss on Saturday's because Saturday convention is mega crowded. This year, Thursday and Friday at Megacon had huge crowds; it almost felt like Saturday on Friday and I was not expecting that. But with a great guest list, its easy to see how Megacon keeps growing and growing each year. I highly suggest, if you can afford it, get a hotel near the host site. This allows for you to go to the con, take a break, a nap, grab something to eat, and then head back to avoid the crowds. Saturday is a great day to con, but if you have issues with large groups of people in confined spaces, pick Thursday, Friday, or Sunday.
Megacon probably does not get its due for the quality of cosplay it receives. Fan cosplay is fantastic and you can see the hours that fans have put into their cosplay. Everyone is always open to take a picture either by themselves, in a group, or with you. There is a real sense of community and its one of the most enjoyable parts about Megacon. On top of that, their professional cosplay guests are diverse and welcoming to their fans.
In the three years I have been to Megacon, the guest list has not failed to disappoint. Whether its tv stars or movie cast reunions like Back to the Future and Goonies this year, you can definitely get that picture and/or autograph with someone you admire. My daughter met John Barrowman this year and even tho I do not watch a show that man stars in, he was such a delight to my daughter. I attended the Goonies Cast reunion panel and was able to relieve my excitement of watching Data, Mike, and Mouth tell stories about the filming of one of my favorite movies ever. Plus, we were able to attend a Zack Levi panel. and if you have never done that, you are truly missing out. What a wonderful human being and a treasure to have at Megacon.
If the celebrities don't do it for you and you are into for the comics only, Megacon has you covered there, too. Heavy hitters like Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder were there. Plus, awesome writers such as Tom Taylor and Charles Soule were also there and all were willing to sign and chat with their fans. Such a great chance and opportunity to meet with legends in the comics industry.
I joked a few years ago that Megacon could be called Vendor Con because the convention floor is so packed with vendors. Again, that is not necessarily a knock. The vendors allow you to find whatever it is you want in geek swag. Whether t-shirts, lanyards, comics, or toys... on the floor, there will be someone selling what you are looking for. Bring cash tho because the ATM's on site charge almost $4 per withdrawal and its easier to haggle with vendors with cash than with a credit card.
A great experience once again. This year, I did get a hotel and stayed over Friday-Sunday and had a wonderful time with my family at Megacon. It seems to get better and better each year and the moved up date off of Memorial Day Weekend was an added bonus. Once again, thank you to the folks at Megacon for putting on such a wonderful event this year!!!
It’s easy to be a critic. The level of effort required to create something – anything – compared to the level of effort to criticize something is no comparison at all. I feel compelled to say this to make myself feel different from all the other a-hole trolls behind a keyboard (a-trolls? That could totally be a thing.). It’s from that sentiment that this piece emerges, sort of a corollary to the adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
At Brothascomics.com, we’ve dissected the MCU over an over. Praised and ripped, ranked and sorted. I think there are some truly great movies in the MCU. I think the majority of them are not great, but they are perfectly fine, enjoyable movies. We all have our favorites, but the bottom of the ranking is pretty consistent amongst us. There are movies that I don’t like and that doesn’t necessarily make them bad movies. I wanted to go back and find the goodness if I could.
My bottom four (in order of release to keep it simple) are The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Let’s get into it.
The Incredible Hulk – By the time Marvel’s The Avengers came around, Marvel Studios had figured out that despite being the strongest there is, the Hulk works way better as a supporting character than a lead. Without that lesson, we get another Hulk movie and we are still stuck with the not particularly likeable Betty Ross and the not at all appreciable Thunderbolt Ross. This time, we at least get a villain that appears in the comics in Abomination instead of a character that is kind of like a comic villain in the Absorbing Man-esque version of David Banner that we got in Hulk. There is a tease of the Leader that we have to accept that we will regrettably never see payoff. Of the four movies that I didn’t like, this is the one I didn’t have to re-watch to figure out something I liked. I distinctly remember, sitting in the theater and watching Emil Blonsky, after receiving his first injection of the discount Super Soldier Serum, sprinting across the battlefield, popping off some sweet acrobatics and staring down a threat way above his power level. Obviously that didn’t go well for Mr. Blonsky, but I remember sitting there thinking, “Holy shit, this is what it’s going to be like to see Captain America on the movie screen!” So for The Incredible Hulk, the thing I like is the ties to Captain America and our first glimpse of a Super Soldier in action.
Iron Man 3 – The third Iron Man movie is the seventh movie in the MCU. You cannot take away from what Robert Downey, Jr. did in Iron Man to set the stage. If that movie bombs, we have a DCU situation on our hands. But it didn’t. Iron Man 2 gets a lot of hate, but I put it in the perfectly fine category. Iron Man 3 though … not good. We get lots of Tony Stark out of the Iron Man armor. We get a kid sidekick. We get an A.I.M. reference with no real payoff. We get inaccuracies in the computer hacking scene with an Internet Protocol address displayed on screen that clearly violates every Internet Engineering Task Force standard. Ok, clearly that third one is not going to bother everybody. Anyway, it sure seems a lot more like this is the movie that Shane Black and RDJ wanted to make, comics be damned. The part that I liked may seem like a cop-out, but I really like the Mandarin. Mandarin is a Fu Manchu-esque villain that is inherently problematic in 2013. The shift to a more general terrorist theme is interesting enough before we get the swerve (wrestling term) that Trevor is a deeply flawed actor fronting for a much less interesting villain. Iron Man purists were probably pissed, but only if they are racists.
Avengers: Age of Ultron – We talk about the Batman Begins effect, where a passable movie seems that much better when it follows a truly terrible movie. I think there is definitely an Avengers effect, where a surprisingly great movie lends creative control to a filmmaker who neglects the lessons imparted by Uncle Ben Parker. If I have to elaborate that lesson, you clicked on the wrong link at some point. This one gets a dose of studio meddling that normally hits the end of a trilogy. We get a shaky CGI re-creation of the panoramic scene of Avengers assembling that seemed way more organic in Marvel’s The Avengers. We get a big F. U. to the Marvel Television Universe as Hydra gets squashed (wrestling term) despite being the big bad of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We get a poorly cast voice actor for Ultron. We get the totally surprising (sarcasm) death of Quicksilver. The whole farm sequence, which by most accounts was the major sticking point between the director and the studio, completely derails the character of Hawkeye. MCU Hawkeye sucks and it would have been better to just leave him out than to try and work him in at the end. There, I said it. You might think I would cite “Cap nudges Mjolnir” as the thing I liked, except the movie takes a dump on that when Vision tosses Mjolnir around like nothing. What I did like? The Hulkbuster sequence. I am not a huge Hulk or Iron Man fan – comics or movies – but that sequence was great. There are times when we get a comic book on screen. This was one of those times. “Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Go to sleep.” That said … Hulk probably would have still one that fight.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. – Remember that discussion of the Avengers effect? I present to you, Exhibit B. I absolutely hate Baby Groot. The soundtrack is way worse, and I loved the soundtrack from the first one. The humor of Drax seems forced. Everybody goes through the same story arc with some form of Daddy Issues. A scene chewing villain is never the answer. (Side Brotha topic – I’m going to allow an exception for Cate Blanchett as Hela, and I can’t elaborate without committing text to the internet that I will come to regret). I didn’t like this movie when I saw it and when I re-watched it, I liked it even less, so much so that I am willing to consider this as the worst movie in the MCU. My initial thought of what I liked was the Sovereign: the supposedly perfect race that was so clearly flawed, they had me chuckling at a number of points. But … I think there are about six people credited as Sovereigns and the one person of color that is credited is the “Sovereign Chambermaid.” I may very well be wrong about the casting and crediting, but if the people of color are still subservient when everyone has gold skin, then there is still a problem in the galaxy. I kind of like the scene when Rocket springs a trap for the Ravagers. If you thought I would like the reference to the OG Guardians (which technically exist in a future not yet covered by the MCU), then you would be wrong. Casting Stallone to satisfy some Tango and Cash fetish and calling him Starhawk by giving him some shoulder pads when he looks way more like Major Victory which is the way worse incarnation of Vance Astro who has a storyline that is at least as complicated as Cable from the X Men … that earns you a STFU. So, what did I like? I guess the best way I can end this piece is to channel THE most electrifying man in sports entertainment: “It doesn’t matter what I like!”