Monday, May 30, 2011

Bane!

Hi  Everyone! If you haven't seen it already, I just wanted to post this first image of Tom Hardy as Bane from "The Dark Knight Rises" that leaked over the internet about a week ago. Tell you what, I think this is just about the darkest, most creepy incarnation of the character I have ever seen and I am genuinely a little worried for Batman knowing he will inevitably have to go toe to toe with this dude at some point in the next film. Just looking at this image makes me think of a caged animal ready to tear apart the first victim that wonders unsuspectingly into its path. I hope The Dark Knight is up for the challenge!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thor: Tales of Asgard

Hi everyone! So the other night I treated myself to the new Marvel animated feature “Thor: Tales of Asgard.” First off, I have to say that this is one I had been looking forward to since I watched the first glimpse featurette that was attached to the studios previous animated offering “World War Hulk.” (very cool for those who have not seen it.) The plethora of interesting characters involved, the stunning renderings of Asgard in all of it’s Nordic glory, and the promise of a good heaping of swashbuckling adventure got me excited for this dvd to hit the racks and I was frustrated when I learned I would have to wait nearly a year and a half for that day to come.
Well, last week Tuesday marked the end of my wait and after work, and a checkup on the cat I bum rushed it to my local Best Buy to pick up my copy of this new Thor adventure. My thoughts? It was good. Not run around the apartment in a bed sheet pretending to be Thor good, that would be giving the movie too much credit not to mention a little weird too lol) but a fun ride nonetheless.
In the beginning, we are introduced to Thor, not the storm commanding titan we all know from the comics mind you, but a younger, untested Thor who fights with a sword for having not yet possessing the experience, not to mention muscle, necessary to heft his destined weapon, the mighty hammer mjolner. Imbued with more than a hefty dose of the undeserved pride typical of many young people born into a life of status and privilege, Thor fancies himself the greatest warrior in all the kingdom though not once in his life has his father, king Odin, allowed him to venture outside it’s walls. Thor’s inflated ego is enabled by the indulgence of pretty much all the citizens in the kingdom, including the royal guard who purposely lose to the young prince during public sparring sessions even though he is obviously overmatched. It is only Thor’s friend Sif who is not afraid to tell him like it is and she easily bests him in combat during a scene in a stable when he quickly becomes offended by her blunt honesty.
Determined to prove himself worthy of the people’s admiration, Thor stow’s away aboard a ship helmed by The Warriors Three, Fandrall the fair, Hogun the grim, and Vostagg the valiant who are off on their latest campaign or so they say. Accompanying him is his brother Loki, a precocious adept of mystic arts and not yet tainted by the jealousy and malice that will lead him down the path of villainy later on. Setting sail across the rainbow bridge which connects Asgard to all the other nine realms the trio stop for a pint at the middle earth equivalent of a seedy roadhouse patronized by trolls, wolf-men, and all manner of brothers grimm riff raff. Thor and Loki follow them in and, upon revealing themselves, much to the shock and horror of their involuntary cheuffers, incite a massive brawl after taking a few too many liberties at the other pub goers expense.
Escaping from the melee by the skin of their teeth, the gang decides to sail to Yoddenheim at the behest of Thor who believes his mettle will be confirmed if he can retrieve “the sword of suttor,” a powerful weapon imbued with dark magic that was wielded by an enemy of his father in an epic battle that resulted in Odin ultimately emerging victorious and the sword being displaced somewhere in the mountains. Descending into the heart of a mountain near were the the battle took place the group discover the infamous sword and free it from its age long rest. Trophy it hand, Thor and his crew commence on their journey home, but it is not long before they get a cold reception (no pun intended) from Yoddenheim’s native inhabitants, the massive frost giants. Reacting with his characteristic brashness and overconfidence, Thor overestimates his ability to control the malign forces seeping from the mysterious helm and accidentally kills two frost giants in what is meant to be an act of self defense. thus shattering the tenuous peace treaty preventing Asgard and Yoddenheim from plunging into war.
It is really here that we glimpse a the major turning point in Thor’ s character arc as, after having lived up until then as a spoiled palace brat, Thor learns the hard way of the serious consequence his choices out in the real world entail. With his innocence tarnished, a humbled Thor relinquishes the sword to Algrum, a trusted advisor and friend of the family who is the last surviving member of his race of dark elves. This proves to be a terrible mistake as the weapon’s evil siren song influences Algrum into believing that Odin was partially responsible for the decimation of his kind due to his uninvolvment in an earlier confict with the Frost Giants that also ties in closely with how the sword of suttorw wound up lost for generations amidst the frozen wastes of Yoddenheim. Bent on revenge and armed with one of the most feared weapons in all the nine realms, Algrum races off to cook Odin’s goose while Thor and his companions rush home to stop the bloodthirsty elf while also having to quell the hordes of frost giants that are mobilizing against Asgard for Thor‘s earlier transgression. So how does it all turn out!? You ask, teeth biting nails. Well, as Thor would surely put it, “Nay! Thou must watch it for themselves!” Haw! Haw! Suffice it to say Thor takes some definate steps into becoming the hero he is destined to one day become.
All in all I thought “Thor: Tales of Asgard,” though not on par with “Planet Hulk” and many of the gems DC’s been churning out in terms of animated features, is a fun ride and definitely worth a watch if you are interested in the character and the truly distinct world he inhabits.
 
Ross



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Smallville Finale

I can’t remember a more anticipated moment in the history of television (for nerds like me anyway) than that of Tom Welling finally donning the iconic Superman costume in the seaon finale of Smallville. After a succession of mouth watering teases showing the sapphire and it’s accompanying scarlett cape suspended in a glacier Its intended was at last deemed worthy to embrace his destiny and rock the red and blue’s! Was the pay off worth it? Well…maybe.
Last Friday’s episode concluded the Darkness storyline, (whatever it was called?? Bad memory) the villain of which, Darkside, acted very much as a corrupting force throughout the entirety of the season, infiltrating Clark’s adopted planet and having his infernal agents sow seeds of discord against the burgeoning superhero community.
Still unsure of himself and his place in the world, Clark’s must overcome Darkside’s influence by putting aside his lingering self-doubts, becoming the hero he was always meant to be and inspiring good in others.
Yes, as I mentioned earlier this does include his finally putting on the suit but frustratingly the makers of the show seemed to try and go out of there way to annoy the fans by never giving us a good shot of Welling in the costume. Instead we only seemed to get either images of him from a distance or images of him from the shoulder’s up. C’mon WB!
Another thing that really irked me about the finale was minimal, barley consequential Michael Rossenbaum’s Lex Luthor seemed to play in the grand conclusion of everything. Aside from Clark’s first donning of the suit the other momentous event fans were wringing their hands for was the return of Clark’s former best friend turned worst enemy Lex Luthor from the dead via the miracle of cloning. But when he finally show’s up all he really does is tell Clark that they have a destiny together and later loose his memories through some weird twist having to do with the cloning process. And here I was expecting some diabolical scheme that Clark would have to thwart on top of contending with Darkseid. Your loosing your edge Lex!
Despite my griping the finale was still pretty entertaining and does a pretty decent job of streamlining the tv storyline into the classic Superman mythos. Hands down the best scene had to be the very last after an emergency is announced o ver newroom intercom and Clark calmly walks out onto the roof of the Daily Planet, removes his glasses, and unbuttons his shirt to reveal the big yellow S underneath all the while the classic John Williams Superman score is pumping in the background. Yeah, I’d have to say that one scene pretty much made up for any of the shortcomings in the two hours that preceeded it.
 
Ross


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thor Review


Hi everyone! So the other night I went to the midnight screening of “Thor.” My thoughts? It was good. Really good actually. It didn’t re-invent the wheel as far as comic book movies go but it was still great fun and I walked out of the theater with a new appreciation for Marvel’s hammer wielding hero.
A lot of that had to do with the awesome performance of the lead actor Chris Hemsworth who was by far the standout of the movie. Looking as though he stepped right out from the pages of Norse mythology, Hemsworth plays Thor with the perfect mix of arrogance and charisma, seamlessly transitioning from badass warrior in one scene to silver tongued charmer in the next.
The movie begins with Thor being banished to earth and found by the lovely as always Natalie Portman who plays Jane Foster, a physisist studying trans dimensional wormholes, after she and a couple teammates accidentally nail Thor with an suv in the chaos of a dust storm that ensues from his exhile to earth.
From here the movie backtracks to an earlier time were we are introduced to Odin played with kingly perfection by Anthony Hopkins, the ruler of a god-like race of people who live in a fantastical realm called Asgard. I have to point out that some of my favorite scenes in the movie (despite the absence of Natalie Portman) were the ones that featured Asgard, it is an stunning picture of natural and architectural beauty and a place that is truly worthy to be called home to the gods.
Odin feels he is coming to the end of his reign as king and wants to bequeath his crown to his favorite son, Thor. The relationship between the two quickly sours however as the god of thunder defies his father’s wishes and leads a contingent of his warrior friends in an ill-planned attack on a neighboring realm belonging to a race of ice giants, breaking an uneasy truce that had kept the two realms from war.
Enraged by his son’s thoughtless disobedience and foolish attempt to make a name for himself Odin strips Thor of his godly powers and banishes him to midgard, which is there name for earth. Placing a powerful enchantment on Thor’s hammer, Mjolner, Odin also casts it to earth as well, were it lands in the middle of the desert.
Picking up from were the film began, Thor befriends Jane Foster and her crewmates after a rocky first day on earth which sees the raving Thunder god tossing around orderlies at a New Mexico hospital and being mistaken as someone with a serious case of mental illness.
Developing a fondness for the bearded blond, Foster agrees to help Thor on his quest to find his hammer and regain his godly powers. There are some very funny “fish out of water” scenes around this portion of the film which sees Thor who is totally na├»ve when it comes to the customs and etiquette of earth, approach situations with a typical Viking mentality. A great example of which is when he walks into a local pet store and demands a horse.
Back on Asgard, Thor’s half brother Loki, who unknowingly played a sly hand in orchestrating Thor’s banishment, conspires to steal his brother’s inheritence by manipulating events to his benefit.
Meanwhile, after finding his displaced hammer which has been quarantined by the covert government entity “shield,” Thor reaches a pivotal moment in his road to enlightenment when he realizes he is no longer worthy of hefting his faithful hammer when in refuses to budge under his still formidable strength.
Lost and confused, with his former confidence all but evaporated, Thor comes to appreciate the importance of humility and selflessness through his experience living as a mortal and growing emotionally attached to Jane and her friends. This internal transformation is complete when the end of the film sees Thor ready to pay the ultimate price to protect those his earlier self would certainly have looked down upon as beneath him.
All in all, I found Thor to be a wonderful blast of superhero fun that I look forward to revisiting again. By Odin’s Beard!
 
Ross