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Summer Movie Season staaaaaaarrrttsss.....

Here we are again.  The end of April, right before the onslaught of 'Summer Movie Season'.  Friday, The Amazing Spider-man 2 swings into theaters to kick it all off and I could not be more excited.  Sure, this summer could be a disappointment like last year or it could be amazing like the summer of the Avengers.  I'm going to choose to view it half glass full since, well, what do I really have to lose by being optimistic?

The Amazing Spider-man 2 has potential to be the best movie of the summer or the worst.  After the first one, it really seems like Marc Webb has a good grasp on things but then again I thought the same about Raimi and look at Spider-man 3.  And that main problem with that was adding too many villains.  Okay, maybe that wasn't the MAIN problem (story, that goes to you) but it was still a pretty terribly handled aspect.  So adding Electro, Green Goblin, Rhino, and references to several others doesn't seem like a terribly great idea.  But I'm gonna go ahead and say that Webb is able to handle it because truthfully, with the Spidey Cinematic Universe expanding so much, I think this is just a starting off point for them.  Does anyone remember how many references there were in the first one?  But again, hopefully that's all they are, references.

Okay, how badass does Godzilla look?  Seriously, how fucking awesome does this film look?  I remember seeing the trailer in theaters for the first time and some older person, as soon as the trailer ended, turned to his wife and went "Holy shit, now that's Godzilla."  Which is exactly the point.  THAT is Godzilla.  THAT is the creature Hollywood just has never been able to get right and with Gareth Edwards at the helm, it looks like they just may.  Plus, that cast.  Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston.  BRYAN CRANSTON!  Walter White is yelling about Godzilla.  Take that Japan.

I'm really excited for 22 Jump Street since the first already broke out of its predetermined shell and became a genuinely good comedy.  Sure, there's always a chance that they don't succeed but I'm going to trust the success wave that Jonah Hill has been riding on.  The man apparently only reads good scripts or scripts that his friends wrote.  Usually both.  Unfortunately Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes out this summer and *yaaawwnn*  Oh sorry, I just can't seem to care about this movie.  I was pumped for it and then the trailer came out and I liked it because of Fichtner's voiceover.  But every time I saw since, it has just gotten worse and worse.  The faces really bother me.  I know they're not a problem for some but I can't get over them.  They make the Turtles look like deformed humans, not turtles.  So they literally fucked up the ONLY thing no one expected them to fuck up.  That's what we get for assuming Bay would just keep to the original designs.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is a movie that really excited me around the time that they were filming it but now I just don't care.  The trailers make it look/feel like X3 which is not a good thing.  And why so much footage of the original cast?  I'm hoping the majority of what's been shown is the beginning of the film so that we don't have to spend too much time with Halle Berry or Shawn Ashmore.  But then again, I just have to remember that Jennifer Lawrence is involved so really, how bad can it be?  Oh right, this is from the same guy that made Jack the Giant Slayer and Valkyrie.  Dammit, please be good!

If I had to pick one movie out all every summer movie to see, it would be Guardians of the Galaxy.  My excitement for this film is unparalleled.  The wit, the sarcasm, the... well everything humor based in the movie is absolutely up my alley.  And I've been saying this for ages but prepare yourself for Rocket Raccoon.  You will begin seeing that face everywhere for years to come.  I'm also pumped to see Chris Pratt get his due on the big screen.  Between this and Jurassic World in 2015, I can't imagine him becoming anything but a household name.  Way to go Andy!

So in September 2014, no matter whether or not we're looking at the previous few months as the greatest in summer movie history, at least go out and enjoy the movies.  In the day and age of the internet, too many of my friends just download movies and watch them on their small computer screens in artifact-y digital format.  But nothing beats going to a movie and having the screen fill your entire field of vision, with a beautiful 5K projector making everything look seamless.  You owe to yourself.  This blog brought to you by theater owners everywhere.

But seriously, go to the movies this summer.


Arrow.  Go watch it.  This very moment.  You have Netflix?  Great, season one is on there.  Get to it.  Don't have Netflix?  Steal your friends password.  Does it sound like I'm hyped for this show, because I am.  It's the perfect mix of Buffy-level drama but with some Dark Knight action bits.  Sure it gets a little hokey at times -- that V-Day episode, please shoot me -- but it still provides enough good to make those offences forgivable.

I just got completely caught up on the show last night and dear lord, does this show continue to amaze.  Season two is particularly strong but the last few episodes... holy jebus.  Pure insanity.  Don't worry though, I'm not going to get into massive spoilers.  That would be counterproductive; I'm trying to get you into the show, not ruin it for you.  So let's get into it.  The show is about Oliver Queen, who is shipwrecked on an island for five years, finally to be rescued and taken back to his home in Starling City.  Only something happened to Oliver on that island which makes him take up some nightly activities.  He soon becomes known as The Vigilante, and sets out on ridding the city of crime.  Basic comic book origin, right?

What's great about the show is it goes from Oliver's life on the island while stranded, to his life in present day.  So we get to see The Arrow in action fighting bad guys but also get to see how he got to be that man.  It keeps the show fresh and while I prefer the present day stuff over the flashbacks, it adds dimension to the various characters involved.  I've felt from the beginning that the problem will be that it's gonna be a lot for the writer's to accomplish a well-done evolution of the Oliver character to get him to the point he is at the beginning of the pilot when he's rescued.  So far though, the writers have done a good job with his training and psychological abuse to make the transition seamless.  Here's hoping they keep it up.

The strongest point is probably the lead, Stephen Amell.  This guy came out of nowhere and I'm glad he did.  Not sure if the show would work as well if it were someone well established in the role, so I'm happy with this casting choice.  Once Arrow ends, I'm sure this guy won't have any difficulty getting work.  Playing a character in two different periods of time, always separated by five years, is more taxing on an actor than one would think and Amell handles it with aplomb.  And seriously, that man in costume is exactly what I'd want a real-life superhero to look like.  Totally badass and yet completely maneuverable.

Outside of Felicity, who is potentially my favorite character on the show, there isn't really any good female characters.  Laurel is headstrong, stereotypical (until season two), and uneven. Thea is young, naive, and stupid.  Moira is manipulative, cold-hearted, and pretty cruel.  Meanwhile Felicity is smart, strong-willed, and speaks her mind.  If it weren't for her, I'd say women have a gripe with the writers of this show.  They tried to make up for it in season two with an added female character, but she's more or less Oliver-lite.  At least we have Felicity though.

TV action is rarely good, this is just a fact of life.  There are few fights happening in Buffy the Vampire Slayer that really left a mark.  They all look staged and weren't shot right.  Angel got things a little more right but still struggled to create a realistic and well shot fight scene.  Arrow fucking nails it.  There have been several times throughout my viewings that I audibly say "No fucking way!" or "Whaaaat!"  They're (obviously) staged, but they're staged to a degree that everything feels fluid and natural, not choreographed.  And the use of the bow and as a short-range combat weapon allows for some of the coolest actions beats of the series.  And let's talk about that bow for a second.  How.  Fucking.  Badass.  I want a bow to be used in every series from here on out.  Flash?  Bow and arrow.  Friday the 13th? Bow and arrow.  Fargo? Bow and arrow.  But seriously, coolest weapon ever.  If they used a bow to this degree of badassery in the Hunger Games, we'd have a new trend on our hands.

Both seasons have a Big Bad (to you non-Buffy watchers, this refers to the main villain of the season) and both times, the characters are superb.  Both actors can chew scenery with the best of them and it makes them more and more maniacal.  Notice how I'm not mentioning names?  That's how much I care that you go out and watch this show immediately.  Not even joking.  Stop reading this right now and go do it.  What?  Don't think it's gonna be good because it's a CW show?  Well fuck you, I watch it.  See that?  That's my style of writing.  I tell my reader not to read my stuff and then insult them.  Really drives up business.  Hire me?

Anyway, Arrow.  Get on the bandwagon, there's plenty of room.  I have been spouting this shows praises since the first episode I watched.  Want to know how many people I've actually gotten to watch the show?  Zero.  Yep, pretty staggering numbers.  It's just that type of show and I know it because I lived it.  I had no intention of watching this show and no matter how many good things I saw and who recommended it to me, I couldn't get past the CW label.  Once I did, I was amazed.  If you're into comics, watch this.  If you're into good TV shows, watch this.  If you just have a Wednesday night to kill, watch this.  Did I get my point across?  Okay good.

I'll talk to you in five years when you do watch the show.

Talking Comics

Well, it’s been quite a while since I last talked about my comic book obsession so I figured I’d provide a bit of an update since I’ve been a little more versed in the medium.

I have expanded my horizons and read quite a few different comics per month.  It’s become a hobby that feeds me both creatively and satiates my desire for collecting.  It’s something that has eluded me since my favorite collection -- my DVD/Bluray collection -- can be a tad pricey.  $3.99 for a comic book?  Yeah, I can deal with that.  I’ll save those discs for Black Friday shopping.  Let's get into the reason I'm here though: the actual comics.

Superior Spider-man just ended which sucks as Doctor Octopus as Spider-man was one of the most refreshing times for the character in years.  31 issues of absolute joy.  Okay, maybe not that, but it was rather entertaining through and through and took some chances that I haven’t seen in a Spidey book ever.  Bravo.  I look forward to the Amazing Spider-man relaunch because I’ve always been a fan of the character, but I know I’ll certainly miss the morally ambiguous SpOck.  With that said, I'll never tire of Peter Parker.  He's the ultimate good guy and more morally inclined than practically all other superheroes, no matter what is at stake.  Good guy to look up to.  Can't wait to see him get his ass beat by the new Sinister Six.

That's my segue into my love for The Superior Foes of Spider-man.  Seriously, this is the best thing going on in comics.  I can't praise it enough.  I was as worried as anyone that the series might be coming to an end given that it's companion piece, the aforementioned Superior Spider-man, was ending.  But thankfully that doesn't appear to be the case, with there seemingly being no end in sight.  Every issue feels unique and unlike the last but I do wish that the story would start wrapping up quicker or at least furthering that main storyline.  I love the little side story issues but they certainly don't interest me as much as the ones that progress the story.  I'm hoping that everything will come together in the end, I'm just becoming anxious for a more complete story.

Guardians of the Galaxy is one that I’m collecting more for the fact that the movie will blow up.  The characters are great but nothing is really happening since Bendis has brought out this series.  It’s rather soulless, and in a time when so much creativity and passion is being put into comics, it’s hard to stay so invested.  Admittedly, the series has picked up since The Trial of Jean Grey but it’s hard to say if it’ll keep the momentum.

I also have ready through over one hundred issues of Ultimate Spider-man which, I hate to admit, is the best Spider-man I have ever read.  Sure, it does a lot of stuff that I’m not a fan of (eg. Monster Green Goblin, Gwen’s Death, Clone Saga) but there’s also so much good.  I have never gotten more worked up over a comic than I did during this one.  Peter and MJ breaking up?  That was brutal.  And being Bendis, it was dragged on for issues.  He’s a cruel Sonuvabitch.  And this may be the only time in the history of entertainment that I've actually enjoyed a "body-swap" storyline.  I mean, Peter Parker and Wolverine?  Yeah, that was more entertaining than anything in the current Deadpool series.

As you can tell, most of what I read is Marvel.  It’s not any bias, it’s just what I like.  But there is one non-Marvel comic series that absolutely blew my mind and that is Saga.  It’s real, it’s in your face, it’s set in an alien world far away.  Wait what?  Yeah, this book is about other-worldly creatures yet it manages to be the most human book on the market.  The writer never holds back with adding true-to-life moments in amongst the chaotic story.  I’ve only read through the first two volumes but anxiously await Volume Three in the mail.

I got a little worn out on comics for a bit but I've been consistently reading since late November of 2013.  I don't see myself slowing down because they really help me think creatively, which I've realized starts to become a less important aspect to life the older I get.  Being a creative person and not having a creative outlet for too long can be a problem so I tend to dip my foot in as many things as possible.  Whether it's playing guitar, writing a screenplay, watching a movie, or reading a comic book, they are all mentally satisfying and satiate my creative side.  So, in short, expect many different things from this blog.

I write what I like.

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