Guardians of the Galaxy Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Infinity Gems

Posted by Mkilroy89

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Earlier this week, the AV club ran an article that examined the late 80’s/early 90’s Batman franchise. It is a well-written article that offers a point of contrast, to the current landscape of blockbusters. The most notable point the author made, is that regardless of quality, the one thing, those four Batman films did right, was allow a certain degree of authorial control, on the part of the director. Batman and Batman Returns are Tim Burton films and Batman Forever and Batman and Robin are Joel Schumacher films, they just happen to feature Batman. In his new film Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn accomplishes the same trick. He does it so well, that Guardians emerges as the most unique of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. The reason being, that at its core, it remains a James Gunn film.
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Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer Gets Everyone Hooked on a Feeling

Review: Infinity by Jonathan Hickman

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Posted by mkilroy89

Marvel’s Infinity, written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Jim Cheung, Jerome Opena, Dustin Weaver, Leinil Francis Yu and Mike Deodato is one of the most successful event comic stories ever completed.  Not only did it craft a story that was compelling through its entire publication, but its structure, marketing and production was the best the comics industry has ever seen.
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Review – Thor: The Dark World – And this review makes three

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This film review may be a unique one since it is from the perspective of someone who knows a very little about the Thor of the Marvel universe.  Sure, I like to think I know a lot about Norse mythology gained from years of playing video games, listening to heavy metal and being a nerd.  But that only gives me a cursory knowledge about the Thor that Marvel fans hold dear.  I mean, the little I know about Thor comes from Marvel 1602.  Imagine my shock when space dark elves burst on the scene with implosion grenades.  I don’t remember that from the folklore.  But its blended so effortlessly that it all sort of makes sense.  What other movie would you suspend your disbelief that a rock ogre and hover viking longboats could coexist?  Granted, I have no idea if this is what the comics are like.  But I don’t care.

I think part of the reason I liked this film so much was it sort of snuck up on me.  I completely forgot this was coming out, and whenever I did remember I took care to avoid looking up any information about it.  I think I also got confused by the trailer.  It felt like enough of a cross between Star Trek Into Darkness and Super 8 (purely for the floating truck scene) that everytime I saw it the trailer I would think “I already saw this, no need to pay attention”.  But eventually it hit theaters and I went to see it.

It’s tough portraying a hero that is basically invincible.  That’s what Thor seems like compared to the other Avengers.  I mean, he’s a god for crying out loud, what else can hurt him besides other gods?  How can he be portrayed without getting “Superman-syndrome” (You know, furrow your brow a little bit like you’re actually having a hard time fighting but of course you’ll win in the end).  I know, make him fight other gods!  The world they’ve built for Thor is exactly what it has to be.  Sure, he may be the Hercules of this pantheon, able to crush a rock ogre with a single swing, but you still feel like he’s struggling the whole way.  This movie also doesn’t have to spend the time introducing us to characters like the first movie.  He doesn’t have to learn how to become a man to learn how to be a hero.  He’s already a hero and we get to tag along as he saves the world.

Overall the film had a good mix of comedy, action and suspense.  And it might be because I’m one of the unwashed masses that never read a Thor comic, but I sat spellbound through the whole film wondering where they were going next with the story.  Heck, even I was tricked by some of the twists sprinkled throughout the movie.   It was just a fun movie that I can see myself coming back to in the coming years each time Marvel sends another hero to the box office.

<<Spoilers ahead>>

I have plenty of cool parts that I liked in the movie, and I liked them because they stand out as something I hadn’t seen before.  Implosion grenade destroying the throne of the All-father?  Check.  Teleportation battle between the nine worlds of viking myth?  Check.  Magic hammer dowsing rod that can turn on a dime?  Check.  That last one was my personal favorite.  (“Mew-mew!”)  Even what I thought was one of the weaker parts of the movie wasn’t bad enough to ruin it.  I didn’t much like the dark elf phoenix force and how coincidental it was that Jane Foster found it but at least Marvel got to redo this famous scene with Dr. Selvig’s teleportation spears:

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<<Spoilers behind>>

All in all a great movie that I had a lot of fun watching.  I generally have a gut feeling of how I like a movie in how much I check my watch throughout the showing.  This film I give a Wrist Watch Rating of:

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Marvel, Nails It with Thor: The Dark World

Posted by mkilroy89

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I have to preface this review, with the fact that auron1456 and I, went to see this movie, at a recently renovated theater, which as a result, has gained an influx of patrons.  Luckily, we had preordered our tickets and preselected our seats, because on our arrival, the place was a madhouse of activity.  I had arrived a good half hour early and our showing of Thor, was already sold out.  When we entered the theater, a good number of seats were full and by the time the lights dimmed, it was a full house.  Prior to the previews, the theater was filled with a pleasant din of excited filmgoers, talking quietly and snacking on popcorn, as they fiddled with their new recliner seats.  With this as a backdrop, I thought to myself, how cool it was, as a comic book fan, to see that all these people were here, looking forward to this movie.  And it was not even Iron Man.  If that was not enough ammunition, the previews that were selected were top notch, in terms of geek cred: Hunger Games, The Hobbit Part 2, the new RoboCop, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Then the new Marvel logo appeared.  It seemed to me, that the entire audience was now at a fever pitch of excitement.

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Good Reads with Mead

If you just can’t wait to see Thor, this weekend, or are interested in what to read, after you see the movie, I would suggest cracking open one of these graphic novels, to go along with the Odinson’s favorite elixir.

1. Thor: God of Thunder Volume 1: The God Butcher

The first volume in Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s epic, time traveling, Thor story.  It is the best Thor has been since Walter Simonson’s famous run.

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2. Thor: God of Thunder Volume 2: Godbomb

The second volume of the story that features one of the greatest endings to a comic book arc.

3. Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus

The biggest and the best.  This hefty hardcover collects writer/artist Walter Simonson’s entire saga into a recolored edition.  It remains the mightiest take on the character.

4. Thor: The Mighty Avenger: The Complete Collection

This was a great all-ages super hero book that was cancelled, unfortunately, before it finished its story.  This volume collects the completed eight issues plus the FCBD special from 2011.  It features some great team-ups between Thor and several other Marvel characters.

5. Journey into Mystery by Kieron Gillen

This book is not about Thor, but instead uses Loki as the protagonist.  It is a new take on that character featuring a de-aged version; Loki is now a smart-mouthed teenage kid!

Enjoy and Happy Thorsday!

Verily, His Box Office is Mighty!

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Ticket aggregator Box Office Mojo reports that over the weekend, Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World made $109.4 million in its overseas debut.  That appears to be a boon for the God of Thunder and makes me wonder how the film will do, when it opens in the US, this Friday.

The original Thor film had an opening of $65 million and ended up finishing at $181 million domestically.  I think the sequel will do even more business for three reasons.

1. The Avengers has since been released.  Thor was really an introduction to the character, but I don’t think people really understood him, until they saw him in the context of a larger Marvel Universe.

2. Iron Man 3 and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have both premiered this year and audiences are now comfortable with the Marvel brand.  When they hear Marvel, they think that is something they might enjoy.

3. Marvel has done a great job of heavily marketing this film since Iron Man 3 debuted.  Word of mouth and anticipation seem to be high.

Plus: More Loki!

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