Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wow, here we are. In one year from now, the King of the Monsters comes to theaters worldwide. It's a pretty surreal thought for a big fan such as myself. I mention Godzilla in one way or another every day, I've seen all the films. The thought of actually going into a theater and actually seeing him on the big screen is a pretty amazing thing. It had a few rough patches among development. Believe it or not, it was originally supposed to come out in 2012. Pretty insane, eh? For awhile there was virtually no news and people thought it would never come to be. Last year's Comic Con was big, because it unveiled a poster, release date, and teaser. (Which for some odd reason still hasn't been uploaded online.) Slowly the ball got rolling. Casting came later, and they're currently filming. It looks like the movie will be here in time for his 60th anniversary after all!
Godzilla getting the big screen treatment means a lot of cool things. For one thing, we can expect plenty of merchandise. How awesome would it be to walk into Wal-Mart and see some G shirts? A DVD section? A watch? And all the new fans which will come out of the cinema. The Avengers made the general public superhero fans, GODZILLA can and hopefully will do the same. This year will be important, because we can expect a trailer, more posters, a website, and marketing. Contrary to popular belief, Godzilla is a household name, you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who didn't know the monster. The 98 film did leave a stain on the franchise, but that was over a decade ago. This new film will wash that away.
I'm confident Gareth Edward's will deliver a film of quality and worthy of the Godzilla name. It's been said countless times already that it will be in the spirit of the original, so we can expect a dark movie. That won't stop it from having monster action of course, since we'll be having two other kaiju. The countdown begins!
Sunday, May 12, 2013
This chapter in the Ultraman manga could be the biggest yet. It's also one of the longest, coming in at 33 pages. The previous chapter had Shinjiro confront Alien Adacic. The latter managed to catch our hero off guard by making him think if he really was Ultraman. It took some kind words from Rena (supposedly an up-and-coming love interest) to get him back in action. This chapter ends Volume 2 on a high note. Great dialogue, awesome fight, and more foreshadowing of what's to come.
Here we have Shinjiro ready for action. Alien Adacic is taken aback by this situation and presides to put an end to Ultraman. Meanwhile Alien Z-ton talks to Ito about 'wrapping this up.' And finally...looks like there are bigger things at work there. It took a long time, but I can safely say Shinjiro is making for a fine protagonist. In this chapter we see him talking back to Alien Adacic with style. There's also a human side thanks to the thinking boxes. It gives us insight into how Shin is feeling about the current situation, something I don't think that's been fully explored in past Ultraman shows. Alien Adacic has some of the best dialogue, he's mean and humorous at the same time. It's a shame he's gone now, I would have liked some more appearances.
The fight is appropriately climatic and epic. There's beams and some melee for good measure. Rena gets another appearance, and once again she's does nothing to impress me. The art is pretty strong. Granted, the fight could have had a little more detail, but no true problem. Alien Adacic looked really creepy and deranged in some panels, props to that. Even more so a shame we probably won't be seeing him again.
Overall, a blockbuster chapter. It has it all, emotion, a big fight, and a fantastic ending. While it may have started off simple this manga is getting bigger now. With Bemular making a return soon, the story will be heating up even more.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
The prologue is admittedly very good. I love how it ties back to the first movie. It keeps a concurrent continuity and adds a rich backstory. It was something else seeing Yinsen again, definitely a great way to start out. Soon we head back to modern day where Tony has developed a way to 'summon' the armor to him. A fine invention, but can he handle the Mandarin's terror? Tony Stark spends most of his time out of armor, in fact, there's hardly any big action with him inside. Surprisingly Iron Man 2 had more satisfying action. But that's not the movie's main problem, it's the 'antagonist.' The big plot twist of movie is the realization that the man whom calls himself the Mandarin is actually not.
It's fair to see that the early scenes of the TV showing the ten rings symbol was pretty intense and well done. The Mandarin was portrayed perfectly as a terrorist threat. With lines such as "Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher," he was turning out to be the greatest Iron Man film villain and one of the most memorable comic book movie antagonists. The scenes on the TV with his followers wiping out people felt real and gave you a bad feeling inside.
Then everything went out the window.
Let me ask you a question. Is it possible for a plot twist to be unexpected but not good? Or perhaps satisfying is the correct word. Nobody was expecting the Mandarin was actually just an actor named Trevor. This fake Mandarin is portrayed by Ben Kingsly, whom was doing a fantastic job as the antagonist in the beginning. But after the plot twist he becomes nothing but the biggest joke of the whole MCU. The acting is so over-the-top and not funny. Sure, one could argue this plot twist wouldn't matter to non-comic readers. But the fact remains that the screwed up Iron Man's greatest adversary. And I thought the worst enemy relationship between Red Skull and Cap in The First Avenger wasn't established that well. Here it's virtually nothing. We've waited three films for this, so that was a very disappointing factor.
Robert Downy Jr. once again plays the quirky Tony Stark. One might question him not knowing about the pistols Rhodey gave him, but other than that he steals the show once again. It was also nice to see a more 'human' side to him when it came to Pepper. Guy Pearce portrays Aldrich Killian, the true antagonist. He couldn't be more generic or dull. Sadly he is definitely the least memorable villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Extremis part of the story worked for the most part. It was rather disappointing that the trailer made everyone think the armor would gain sentience, false advertising at his finest. We also have returning star Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. She has a pretty good role throughout, not to mention the awesome moment where she completely beat up Killian. Jon Favreau (director of the previous two films!) as Happy Hogan was definitely a highlight, despite only a few appearances. Don Cheadle returns as James Rhodes, aka War Machine. Definitely a fun character to have around, especially next to Stark. Then there's this kid called Harley. There really wasn't much point to him, not to mention the acting was pretty sub-par.
There were some pretty intense action-themed special effect sequences. The destruction of Tony's mansion was powerful. The finale isn't bad. I can't say it was as satisfying as any of the other MCU films. The soundtrack is pretty good, nothing special but alright. Something I do like is how the movie references The Avengers but doesn't go overboard like with the second entry. It has just a nice sprinkle of them with the best being when Happy called them the 'Super Friends.'
Overall, Iron Man 3 is what I call a true 'disappointment.' It's by no means a bad movie, it is enjoyable, but it's no where near the level of the first film. The true antagonist is unmemorable, and for longtime comic fans the Mandarin will be forever ruined. There's surprisingly little Iron Man action and the climax, while not bad, wasn't the greatest. I can only hope now that Marvel doesn't strike out with Thor and Cap.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Here we are with Chapter Thirteen of the Ultraman Manga. The previous installment took a break from the action to focus on Officer Endo and his partner. At the end we saw our hero come crashing down onto Rena's car. The antagonist right now is this Alien that looks strangely like Baltan. Why you ask? It turns out this guy is a Baltan mutation, rejected by his own species. So he is a Baltan, just not fully. Sadly it doesn't look like that'll be revealed in-story, you have to actually purchase Volume 2 or for those that don't understand Japanese check out the wiki. With that aside, we can talk about the chapter now. It has plenty of manga melodrama, but features some of the best writing the story has seen. Alien Not-Baltan (his real name is Alien Adacic) with this chapter is proving to be the book's best antagonist, right up there with Bemular.
So we have Alien Adacic questioning Shinjiro of who he really is. Shin is taken off guard by the alien's words and starts to wonder if he can really be Ultraman. It takes some kind words from Rena to get him back in action. The stage is set for another epic battle. Alien Adacic has the best lines by far. He shows Shin the destruction he has caused by following him. It's a great dynamic as he realizes the destruction caused with that and being slowly manipulated by the alien whom constantly refers to him as 'newbie.' Besides that it's the usual stuff you can expect, heavy drama of the main hero wondering if he's good enough, but after hearing the words of a girl realizes what needs to be done. Rena goes from awful fangirl to supporter. She's still pretty much the most generic female love interest I've ever seen in a manga, this chapter didn't help or destroy matters. I need to see what else she can do. The art is strong, there are quite a few scenes that make Alien Adacic look absolutely fantastic and a little deranged.
Overall, this is definitely a strong chapter. Alien Adacic has the best dialogue, I'm hoping he stays around for awhile. There isn't too much physical action, but that's okay since there's plenty of mental action. Rena still isn't anything special. The main thing accomplished is Shin realizing that he is Ultraman. The next chapter should be another 'epic' one.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Teen Titans GO! to many people was going to be a huge slap in the face for two reasons. The cancellation of Young Justice and Green Lantern was met with a pretty big emotional response from fans. The fact that they were replacing these two amazing shows with an episodic comedy was pretty hard to take in. That's the first reason. The other reason is that this would be a 'sequel' to Teen Titans, a pretty great show with really good storylines. So the fact that we'll never know what happened with Terra or other things but instead have to sit through comedies was pretty painful to bear. But, I am open to things, and thought maybe this would be a funny toon with the characters. It has the original voice actors as a plus. Unfortunately almost everything I don't like about modern cartoon comedies is here, this premiere really is slap in the face to viewers of the original show. It's also pretty mindless.
Like Powerpuff Girls or Dexter's Lab, the episode is divided into two segments. The first one, 'Legendary Sandwich,' is easily the better of the two. Here we have Robin, whom claims he makes the best sandwiches. So Raven, to get everyone out of the house so she can watch Pretty Pretty Pegasus, sends the rest of the team on a mission to find the legendary ingredients to making the ultimate sandwich. It's a silly premise, but it works. The main charm is hearing the original voices. Some of the comedy is alright here, such as Robin hating the supermarket. (Where he knocks down a Batman cereal mannequin.) The biggest thing however is definitely the parody of My Little Pony, where we see that Raven is a PegaSister. It's pretty awesome stuff (Sparkleface is the name of one of the characters,) and hopefully continues to be a running gag like the Star Trek one in TMNT. Besides Raven and maybe Starfire however, the other characters are sometimes painful to watch as seen in the next segment...
Pie Bros. revolves Cyborg's birthday. Beast Boy finds out that his best friend wants an ultra expensive video game, so he tries to get a job. The comedy is painful to watch here. Cyborg is a pale representation of his former self and if you thought Best Boy was annoying sometimes in the original show, picture that ten times increased. The pie song is painfully cringe worthy. There's not too much else to say about it, it's pretty much just slapstick using parodies of the characters.
Overall, Teen Titans GO! is off to an un-impressive start. There are somethings that work, such as Raven, Starfire, the original voice actors and bringing back the nostalgic theme song. But in the end it's just a parody, and not a very good one. I don't see it lasting too long. You want comedy? Go watch The Looney Tunes Show instead.
Monday, April 22, 2013
The second season of Monsuno premiered last night. To this day I'm honestly surprised that we actually got another season. It's really hard to find people talking about the show, it's not exactly the most popular thing. But, somehow it was popular enough to warrant a second season, which is pretty cool since there's a lot of potential. The first season introduced the characters, concepts, villains, and how things would go. Overall it was a fun monster battle toon like Pokemon or Digimon, but there were some problems preventing it from being called 'great.' Really generic villains, the writing was average, and it just overall needed a better story. Searching for Jerdey got old quick. So I was looking forward to this season because it would be a fresh start, no more searching for the dad, and a new plot with (hopefully) better villains. Sadly the premiere retains some of the same problems, but the ending does make up for it.
The story is usual Monsuno fare. Interestingly, the show is fully under the impression that you've seen the first season, because it jumps right into the action with the characters. Chase is on a mission from his father to retrieve a device, but before he can get to it a double agent S.T.O.R.M. trooper steals it. I will give the show credit, it can truly surprise. This is one of two plot twists. The second one involves Drezz, Jerdey's 'source.' It turns out he's actually working with a brand new evil group called Forge. It was a pretty good twist, considering the fact of how well he played a crazed lunatic. So these two are the new characters here. While not fantastic, they are serviceable as side-villains. I say side because they're working for someone called Professor Tallis, whom is thankfully not Dr. Klipse. (Though sadly it looks like he will return.) He's basically Cobra Commander, and already a far better antagonist than Klipse. Of course that's not saying much, but he's off to a decent start.
A major plot point of the new season are these core-bombs, which are capable of destroying cities. (So that makes two G.I. Joe inspired things.) Such a powerful scene when it ignited, which literally destroyed a whole city. Already the second season looks to be slightly darker than its predecessor. Naturally there's a new theme song. It trades techno for rock, it doesn't have that 'classic' feeling like the previous one, but still isn't bad. Charlemagne (whom appeared in this episode) and Dr. Klipse are returning, which is disappointing. Now I don't mind Charlemagne too much, but Klipse is by far one of the most generic villains of all time. I hope his role is being canon fodder to Cobra Commander 2. There's quite a few new Monsuno making their debut. The designs never fail to impress. The standout is Drezz's, a three-headed dragon named
THE DEATH OF QUICKFORCE
This was truly shocking, and by far the most emotional moment of the entire series. Here we have Bren telling Quickforce to make a barrier against the fire. Once that was done he ordered him to return, but Quickforce wouldn't. With a look back at his master, he disintegrates into the fire, but in the process saves everyone. This was truly an amazing moment, the show literally killed off one of the major Monsuno. The look Quickforce gives Bren before being engulfed by the fire was tear-inducing. Now the challenge is staying dead. Quickforce is one of my personal favorites, so I technically wouldn't mind him coming back...it would just destroy such a powerful scene.
Overall, Season 2 of Monsuno opens up with a just above average premiere. If it wasn't for the ending, it would have just been another episode. The city getting blown up followed by Quickforce dying might be the greatest scene in all of the series. I hope as the episodes go it can shock us with more surprising stuff. Surprisingly, the fights aren't that great here, so I hope to see some memorable ones soon...and a much better soundtrack.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
The Ultraman Manga keeps getting even more interesting. The previous chapter had the story move with pretty big plot developments. Alien Z-Ton revealed he has deeper plans no one had been aware of, and on top of that Shinjiro confronted a new alien menace. This invader is revealed here to be none other than Alien Baltan, or at least something that looks exactly like him, which puts a whole new spin on things. Despite that, this chapter takes break from the action and shows us what's up with the cops whom are curious of why the Science Patrol has taken over the investigation. While not an overly exciting chapter, it's still pretty interesting and gets you scythed for the next one.
Officer Endo is a curious man, so curious that he goes to investigate against orders. What he and his partner find is some disturbing stuff, and then they chase an alien down the street. Meanwhile Shinjiro comes crashing down, it looks like Baltan's going to be trouble. It goes without saying that the biggest thing about this chapter is the arrival of Alien Baltan. Technically he appeared in the previous chapter, but here he takes on his more familiar form. What's interesting is that it's not outright stated it's him. In fact, it could very well not be him, but the design is ultra similar. So that in itself is cool. However, the focus is not on the fight, but the officers' investigation. It's an interesting thing when a manga takes a chapter away from the big action to develop another part of the story. I will say that it's pretty unique, it echoes stuff you would see in Ultra7, very down-to-earth. We also have the return of Rena, whom I was rather critical about a few chapters ago. Not much to say about her here, it'll be what she does next time.
I love the choreography here. I particularly like when Shin crashes onto Rena's car. There's a sense of danger and power that the art conveys greatly. Baltan from we see of him looks really good. Moroboshi appears for a page, it's interesting to mention because of his bewilderment of Z-Ton's objective. It's plot points like this that make the story even more engaging for the reader since there's a slight mystery element.
Overall, the Ultraman manga keeps getting more intriguing by the chapter. Plot points are established subtly, and of course we have a classic foe(?) established. The next chapter could be the biggest yet.