Jul 25, 2008

The Dark Knight... Pure Batman!

(I don't give too many spoilers... that's for you Peter so read this!)

Well just saw The Dark Knight (stupid late release in New Zealand!), and it was simply awesome! Definitely in the best superhero movies of all time, and my favourite movie of this year (though Kung Fu Panda put up a fight against both this and Iron Man).

First off I'll say Heath Ledger's Joker is indeed the awesome, and is everything I could want in a non-Mark Hamil Joker (the Bruce Timm cartoons still being my favourite super hero thing ever. better than the comics and any movies... though this movie nearly does it in parts!). Even if not for Ledgers death I'm sure his take on part would be getting a lot of praise... Just maybe not the over the top oscar talk it has been getting.

This emphasises the only problem with the movie. It has been over hyped. ALOT!
Yet unlike the Star Wars prequels it didn't leave a bad taste though, and in fact had me really into it for the most part. It just wasn't a surprise like Batman Begins was.

So if you haven't seen Dark Knight don't go in expecting the greatest movie ever when you do. It has flaws. Batman Begins was a much better product overall, and could be argued as being better than its sequel due to this. However when The Dark Knight was hitting its stride it was way cooler and more fun!

What I enjoyed the most is that unlike most Superhero movies that start strong and than kind of putter out towards the end, The Dark Knight started weak and got better all the way to the end. I LOVE where the third movie is heading... Though I will admit using just Batman mythos characters I'm not sure who the bad guys will be (in a way. I have my suspicions but that'll have to wait).

Rather than give a bunch of spoilers or ramble about stuff I'm sure is being talked about everywhere, I wanted to say my favourite part was not actually the Joker. Which is "funny" (pun intended) as he is my favourite comic book villain, and Ledger's version is great. Given all the hoopla going on everywhere else I wanted to emphasis the other thing that worked in this film, and that was...
The Dark Knight himself!

In Batman Begins we got a very select sampling of the character of Batman. For the Dark Knight they pulled out all the stops and give us tons of the classic essential moments in live action.

There's the night club confrontation, jumping on a moving car, using normal materials around him to turn an impossible situation around, and many more I won't spoil. When you watch it though pay attention to how every time Batman appears in this movie he is covering a lot more of the classic Batman spread than the first film.
I'm sure one of the most underrated scenes by most people is the detective work that he does early in the film. Something I felt was sorely lacking in the first film.
Perhaps the only aspect they didn't do enough of was gadgetry. My buddy I went with didn't like how he didn't adapt to a few things despite hitting them ALOT through the movie. Also the one big gizmo towards the end, though cool, was kinda a let down). I add I hated how *spoiler* he didn't use a SINGLE batrang in the whole film BOO! I love those things!
At the same time in the first movie it was a VERY gadgety Batman, and it was cool to see in this film him not having to rely entirely on high tech stuff to be a hero.
So yeah definitely go see the Dark Knight, and pay attention to all the cool Batman moments in addition to the Ledger stuff you've no doubt being hearing about non stop. Just remember it isn't perfect!

Jul 15, 2008

Well Work is Work

I've managed a steady gig for the last two weeks, and its been going well. It'll be good to FINALLY get paid.

At the same time its work LOL. Not that playing with kids all day is a new thing to me. Sadly I'm getting older though and I am feeling tried at the end of the days. Maybe it was good I graduated from the summer camp league.

As I've only been averaging a few hours after work I'll have to update on stuff at the end of the week.

Jul 2, 2008

The Lovely Ladies in My Life

Well thankfully my New Zealand Immigration problems have resolved themselves for the most part (okay and by resolved "themselves" I really mean I resolved them through sheer angry force).

As I was down in the dumps last week the lady folk in my life (currently the majority of my New Zealand based social circle are female) went out and were very thoughtful.

Rhonwyn and Clare bought me this Iron Man action figure (seen riding the beginning of my New Zealand Styracosaur collection) as a morale boost present. It did the trick. He even shots that blue thing off his arm!

Hulking Out...

Well given my recent problems with New Zealand Immigration (mostly solved now thankfully!) I've had a lot of rage and anger.

Now if there's one thing I tend to do is bottle these up and release it when there's a lot more of it stored up. Due to this tendency I've had a soft spot for the Hulk ever since I got in comics earlier this decade.

In fact it was this issue of the Ultimates, the one where the Hulk comes out in style to do battle with the Ultimates, that was my first comic purchase. Until than I'd been borrowing my friends copies of things to read. It is still among my favourite single issues of any book, and definitely my favourite Ultimates issue.

So great was my love of this issue, and Ultimate Hulk that I did something I've never done for any other Marvel character. I actually picked up regular Marvel Hulk for a while... Even more surprising I enjoyed it for that while (till the last few issues).

So how did The Incredible Hulk pan up to my expectations

Well in one word it SMASHED all my doubts.

This movie was so much better than the last Hulk movie.

At the same time it had a few things I wasn't crazy about. To be honest I liked Eric Banna as Bruce Banner a lot more than Ed Norton. Don't get me wrong Norton does fine in the role, and is watchable. I just liked Banna more (partially because he can act and be different in movies unlike Norton).

Otherwise the movie was spot on what it needed to be!

The part I enjoyed the most was how his origin mixed elements from most of the Hulk's incarnations. They had bits from the 60's comic, 80's TV show (actually there was a TON of hat tips to the show throughout the movie if you missed them), and most important the mission statement of the Ultimate verse.

In the Ultimate universe of Marvel 90% of heroes (and many villains) owe their creation and origin causing events to a Super-Human research and development. I'm really digging the way these new Marvel Studio movies are grabbing key Ultimate concepts, and building their Avengers along the same lines as the Ultimates (who are of course the Ultimate Avengers, just Mark Miller thought Avengers was a dumb name for the team as their not "avenging" anything).

Liv Tyler as Betty Ross was much better than I expected. In fact she comes across as rather intelligent which I didn't think she could do.

William Hurt as General Ross was the number one human highlight of the movie. He struck the balance that made Ross a great villain, but one we couldn't quite hate.

The Hulk though takes the cake as the best thing about the movie. Which is the way it should be. Sadly in the last Hulk motion picture the Hulk took a background role. This movie he has plenty of fights, and their extremely satisfying!

The end fight is everything I love in a fight. It also has the my favourite use of a Comic characters catch phrase in a movie for "HULK SMASH!". I won't ruin it for you, just go see it!

Tony Stark coming to General Ross at the end about the Avengers wrapped it up nicely, and definitely has me excited for Avengers, as I think it'll start off with the Avengers trying to take down the Hulk just like Ultimates #5.

Stark's appearance does require one to quickly compare his movie to Hulk's. Sadly I have to say that Iron Man was still a bit better. I'd say the key reason is that Bruce Banner just isn't as fun to watch as Stark. Especially given the casting difference too. Ed Norton is Ed Norton (sadly in 2005 I was forced to watch EVERY Norton movie made up until that point by my roommates) you're not getting anything too interesting. Downey on the other hand was too much fun to watch.

My finally thought is related to the future Hulk villain they set up in the Abomination's creation. The funny part was Mr. Blue was taken directly from the regular Hulk I was reading in 2003 so this movie was tailored very heavily from ALL the Hulk I'd read. However as clearly their setting up the Leader, the next Hulk movie enters territory of the character I hardly know (the only Leader story I read was so bad that it caused me to dump reading regular Hulk).