Saturday, May 26, 2012

Alien: Resurrection

I stumbled across this movie the other day while channel surfing; I had memories of seeing it in theaters when it first came out, but couldn't recall if it was any good. When the credits popped up, I was surprised to find a familar name as screen-writer: Joss Whedon.

Rewatching the film, his fingerprints are all over it; a small group of hip (and visually interesting) characters struggle against near impossible odds while tossing clever and salty quips. The plot device of returning Ripley as a clone, with neat 'powers' to boot, is intriguing and handled deftly. All in all, a fun 'comic book' movie, way before the genre began to dominate steamy Summer movie theatres.

It's cool to consider how Joss paid his dues, while producing material that was obviously near and dear to him. His early scripts led to Buffy, which eventually led to Astonishing X-men (one of the finest runs on the book in its history), and ultimately the runaway success of Avengers.
I have tremendous respect for his skills and creativity.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Avengers: My review

Saw the movie this past Saturday with my lovely wife. Overall, I thought it was fun romp, my low expectations were solidly met.

Joss Whedon has always shown a deftness with dialogue and banter, and I enjoyed the character development and clever zingers. As a matter of fact, I think I preferred the quiet moments to the loud and bombastic action sequences. Today's movies approach fight scenes as a hyper-kinetic video game, which tends to get tedious. The over reliance on CGI and shots awkwardly inserted solely for the purpose of 3D were other annoyances.

That being said, The Avengers is an entertaining blockbuster; I left my brain switched off (I gave up trying to follow the logic of the plot early in the flick) and went along for the ride. Performances are great (although there was way too much Robert Downey Jr, it almost felt like an Iron Man sequel with special guest stars) and the film treats the comic book material with the right mix of awe and humour, without being condescending.

I was surprised to see young kids in the audience; although language is tame, there are intense and violent scenes that may be too much for young ones.

I had a geek moment when I recognized that deadly grin after the closing credits!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Avengers assemble!

One of the first comics I ever purchased was Avengers 221. I think I was sold by the cool cover (props to Ed Hannigan, who had an excellent design sense) which made me want to find out who might be joining this particular team. The artwork inside was clean and appealing, and the story really entertaining (Jim Shooter was on a roll at this time, and I followed the title for a dozen issues or so).

I don't think I ever would've imagined an Avengers movie as a kid; even when I heard it announced a couple years ago, I figured the logistics of appeasing actor egos and coming up with a coherent plot for such divergent characters would be doomed to failure. As it stands, it looks like Joss Whedon may have pulled off a minor miracle in delivering  a comic book blockbuster that might feel like a good ol' fashioned comic book.

On the threshold of Avengers mania, I think a loud shout out should go to the dudes behind it all: Stan and Jack. Considering the wealth of characters both conceived or put their stamp on is absolutely humbling; it always puts a smile on my face, considering a time when creativity wasn't hampered by focus groups or Twitter trends, and books were put together on the fly. 

A couple of talented guys thought it'd be neat to put Iron Man, Ant Man, Thor, Wasp, and the Hulk together to beat up on Loki, and dammit, they were right! Cheers to the Earth's Mightiest Heroes, I hope the movie kicks tail and maybe inspires some kid to think up new characters to save the day in the funny books!