Saturday, August 02, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

Did you see Guardians of the Galaxy?  Good, then this blog will not spoil the movie but hopefully it will answer a few questions.  If you haven't seen the movie yet and you don't like your surprises spoiled, then please go see the movie.  I will wait right here . . ..

Welcome back!  Now that we are all free from fear of spoilers, let's talk about what you saw.  Guardians of the Galaxy may win the prize for greatest Easter Eggs in a single Marvel film.  It connects to the more than 70 years of Marvel Comics Universe material, but it also has the advantage of linking into the now well-established Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Here are the most notable connections in the film:

1. The original Guardians of the Galaxy, who are actually from the future.  Yes, it can be confusing.  The original Guardians of the Galaxy appeared in Marvel Super Heroes #18 in 1969.  Their adventures were set in the solar system of the 31st century where they battled for the freedom of all planets against the tyrannical lizard-like Badoon.  This original yet future team was created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan.  Among the team members was Yondu, a blue-skinned alien from Centauri IV.  Yondu fought with a bow and arrow, but his arrows had a special ability.  They were made from a sound-sensitive metal called yaka.  Yondu can whistle a note and the arrows will change direction. 

Yondu in the movie is different than the character in the 1969 comic.  He still has blue skin and a trick arrow, but he is not from the future and leads the Ravagers.  And what happened to his bow and the fin on his head?  Did you notice that his metal mohawk glows red when he is controlling the guided drone arrow?  That's a callback to the comic book character.

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning developed a new team named the Guardians of the Galaxy in 2008.  Among the team members were Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket Racoon, and Groot. Each of these characters was drawn from earlier comic stories.  Groot is the first of the team to ever appear in a comic.  He's even been around longer than the Fantastic Four or the original Guardians of the 31st century who first appeared in 1969.  Groot was a monster from Planet X in Tales to Astonish #13 (1960).  Drax and Gamora (as well as Thanos) were created by Jim Starlin.  Rocket Racoon, who's name and story are a spoof on the Beatles song Rocky Racoon, was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen.  There were two other members of the 2008 Guardians who did not make it into the film.  One was Adam Warlock (more on him below) and the other was Quasar, a sword wielding warrior woman who's ancestry can be traced back to . . .

Fantastic Four #65 (1967)
2. The Kree.  In the Marvel Universe, the Kree are among the super-powers in intergalactic politics.  If there was a U.N. style Security Council for alien empires in the Marvel Universe, the Kree would be on it - and probably have veto power.  The Kree first appeared in Fantastic Four #65 (1967).  The first Kree we see is Ronan the Accuser.  The same bloke played by Lee Pace in the film.  In the comic, Ronan is a Kree "Accuser," which means he is judge, jury and executioner all in one.  Ben Grimm, the Thing, saves the earth by wrestling Ronan to the ground thus forcing Ronan to shoot himself with his own weapon.  If it wasn't for 20th Century Fox holding the rights to the Fantastic Four, then the Guardians could have used Ben Grimm's help defeating Ronan in the movie.  I accuse you 20th Century Fox!

Agent Coulson and Dead Blue Alien
If you have been watching ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. then you will recall a storyline involving a dead blue alien.  This could be a Kree, or it might be a Centauri like Yondu, or something else. 

Most Kree are blue skinned.  However some are pink skinned, which means they look like light skinned, white humans.  Blue and pink Kree have been known to be prejudiced to one another.  It can be a cruel empire.  Captain Marvel, is the best known Kree of them all.  He came to earth as our enemy and turned out to be a hero.  He died of cancer before his time, but he did save the universe all from the villainy of .....

"Courting Death makes him smile."
3. Thanos.  The grinning purple guy at the end of the Avengers is back and he is talking.  After Ronan kills his spokesman - er spokesperson - er, spokes-alien, he really doesn't have a choice.  We saw that hooded four-thumbed alien in the Avengers movie chatting with Loki on behalf of Thanos.  Thanos first appeared in Iron Man #55 (1973), as did Drax the Destroyer.  At the end of GOTG film, Drax vows to kill Thanos now that Ronan is dead.  That's the Drax we all love and know from the comics.  In the comics, Drax was created for a single purpose -- to destroy Thanos.  His origin in the movie has been changed and understandably so.  In the comics Drax was an earthman named Arthur Douglas.  He and his family were killed by Thanos.  But Thanos's grandfather took Douglas's soul and put it into an indestructible body and programmed into him the imperative to kill Thanos.  And etc., etc. etc. ....

See, that's complicated and not nearly as simple as "My name is Drax the Destroyer. You killed my family.  Prepare to die."  It worked for Inigo Montoya.

Thanos will be back as he searches for . . .

Collect All Six!

4. The Infinity Stones.  In the comics they are known as the Infinity Gems.  Six gems each with a specific power.  When you put them all together they make an Infinity Gauntlet. 
Infinity Gauntlet
We saw this gauntlet in Odin's armory in the first Thor movie.  The first appearance of an infinity gem was in Power of Warlock #1 (1972).  Adam Warlock used the green Infinity Gem to manipulate or steal the souls of living being.  It is often known as the vampire gem.  By the way, Warlock was one of the original team members in the 2008 version of the Guardians.  I am surprised we haven't seen him turn up in the movie.  They may be saving him for a larger role.  In the post-credit scene in Thor: The Dark World, there is a large cocoon in a cage.  That might be an Easter Egg nod to Warlock who was born in a cocoon like that.

In the cinematic universe, the Infinity Stones are the super-powered Lucky Charms of the universe.  In Thor: The Dark World, Odin read an Asgardian storybook to us that explained the Infinity Stones.  Now in Guardians the Collector showed us a little film strip history of the stones.  That large glowing being who was one of the original users of the Infinity Stones is a Celestial.
Don't Judge Me, Celestial!

In the comics, the Celestials are a race of giant robot looking creature who show up and judge planets; they are sort of like nosy relatives at the holidays but on a larger scale.  They were created by writer-artist Jack Kirby and made their first appearance in Eternals #1 (1976).

We have seen the blue tesseract in action: It was used by Odin in the 10th century to protect Norway (Thor: Dark World).  The Red Skull and Arnim Zola used it to power super-weapons for HYDRA in World War II (Captain America: First Avenger).  Howard Stark recovered it and researched it (Iron Man 2) and Nick Fury gave it to Eric Selvig so that he could discover how to tap its energy (Thor).  The tesseract was used to open the portal to earth that allowed the Chitauri to begin their invasion (Avengers).

What's the current rate for Aether?
Next up among the six Infinity Stones was the red liquid known as the Aether.  It was used by the Dark Elf Malekith and recovered by Thor and Jane Foster.  Odin had Sif and Volstagg take the Aether to the Collector for safekeeping. 

Now we can add the Orb to our collection.  This purple jewel is really nasty.  It eats up everything.  Odin gave the Aether to The Collector because he didn't want two Infinity Stone in the same place.  And yet The Collector is about to add the Orb to his collection and he already has the Aether.  Of course it did not work out too well.  This leads us to the man with all the Easter Eggs. . . .

5. The Collector.  In the comics, he is one of the "Elders of the Universe."  The elders are ancient beings, the last of their kind.  They take on a single function, like collecting or gardening, sort of like actual retired people.  The Collector has fought the Avengers many times and he usually summons weapons or creatures from his collection to use in the fight.  The name of his magenta slave-girl, Carina, is the name of his daughter in one comic storyline. 

When Guardians comes out on Blue Ray, I will be searching the background for object in the Collectors gallery.  What was immediately visible were the following:
When Nova Met Cosmo
  • a Dark Elf from Thor: Dark World.  Carina is washing the window of his cage
  • a Chitauri from the Avengers.
  • Cosmo the Space Dog.  That dog in the Russian space suit is a character in the 2008 GOTG comic book series.  He originally appeared in volume four of Nova, issue 8.  Cosmo was a Soviet space dog who got lost in space and ended up at Knowhere - the giant floating head in space.  Cosmo developed psionic powers and made a living as the security chief of Knowhere.  He was helped in his adventures by an Earthman named Richard Rider, also known as Nova who was given powers by the Nova Corps of the planet . . .
6. Xandar.  The Nova Corps are intergalactic protectors and police.  In Nova #1, Richard Rider of Earth is given the powers of a Nova Corps "Human Rocket" by Rhomann Dey, a member of the Corps.  Much about Xandar and the Nova Corps has been changed for the movie.  One wonders if we will ever see Richard Rider in a future movie.  It is good to know that there is a Xandar out in space.  Thankfully not every extraterrestrial world is a terrifying place like the Kree world or Chitauri space.  We need the Xandarians to lend some credibility to the Guardians and give them some back up.  After all, Iron Man has Stark Industries.  Thor has Asgard.  Captain America has, or did have, S.H.I.E.L.D.  Xandar can do important things for the Guardians such as scanning Peter Quill then telling him that he is half alien.  Oh yeah, how about that . . . .

7. Spartax.  Star-Lord's origin has been rewritten many times.  The creators of the character were Steve Engleheart and Steve Gan.  In his first appearance in Marvel Preview #4 (1976), it was suggested that he was a new messiah and his birth was perhaps a virgin birth, hence the name Star-LORD.  That origin story did not endure and after a few reboots, Star-Lord soon became more of the space pirate depicted in the film.  His roots on earth were maintained but the identity of his father was revealed as a the prince of the Spartax empire, who crash landed on earth and fell in love with an earth girl.  In the comics, Star-Lord knows his father, J-Son, who is King of the Spartoi and a political manipulator.  The stage is set to reveal Quill's father for the sequel, but it remains to be seen how close the filmmakers will adhere to the comics.  For all we know they could reveal that Star-Lord's father is ....

Fear #19
8. Howard the Duck.  By now you should know to stay until the end of the credits at a Marvel movie.  The poor Collector, his gallery has been blown up, is sipping on a cosmic margarita and getting a slobbery kiss from Cosmo the Space Dog.  Then he gets some sass from one of the strangest characters in the Marvel Universe.  Howard the Duck was created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik.  He first appeared in Fear #19 (1973) as a minor character.  Soon, Howard got his own comic and later a black and white magazine. 

Howard was a misplaced native of Duckworld who fell through a cosmic nexus and landed on Earth.  He was trapped in a world he never made.  The comic book adventures of Howard were popular for its intelligent satire, humor, and relevant commentary.  Howard even ran for president in 1976 and the character received write-in votes in the actual election. 

The first Marvel movie ever released was Howard the Duck.  It was released on August 1, 1986, exactly twenty-eight years prior to the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy.  The Howard the Duck film had none of the wit of the comic book and the character was creepier that anyone intended.  The 1986 film is justifiably regarded as one of the worst films ever made and George Lucas would probably prefer that that we all forget he had anything to do with it.  Yet, he is probably prouder of Howard the Duck than he is with The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Friday, July 25, 2014


I am not a fan of the Harry Potter movies.  After all the trouble Voldemort has caused you would think that someone in the magical world would finally have had enough and jab a magic wand in the old snake's forehead.

I am bored and annoyed with the Hunger Games films.  President Snow should have been overthrown - or better yet thrown over a cliff - in the first ninety minutes of the first film.  The narrative is too cynical for an over the top premise.  If you begin with a dystopian future in which bloodsports are televised, then go ahead an allow for a larger than life hero who can dismantle the unjust system with flair.  Remember "The Running Man?" Arnold Schwarzenegger dismantled Richard Dawson's murderous game show in 101 minutes.

Other than a few super-hero films, there has not been enough of the genuine action hero films that make you cheer when the hero wins a battle or takes out a villain in one shot.  (Remember when Indiana Jones shot the cutlass-wielding swordsman?) Hercules is the type of movie that has been missing from the cinemas for a few years now.  This is why I liked it . . .

1. The hero is flawed, but not so flawed that he's broken.  Hercules has had some setbacks and he is bothered by an event in his past, but he remains a heroic figure.  However, Herc's character is not overwhelmed by his psychological baggage.  Also, Hercules and his companions are not frustratingly weak and powerless.  I am bored of cinematic heroes that lack any sort of strength, confidence, skill, or power.  I do not want to sit through a series of ten films until they become the hero of prophecy.  Let's just fast forward!  Hercules and his team have real power and the challenge is to watch them apply that power to the noble causes.

2. The hero is virtuous.  Hercules is an admirable figure.  Even though he is a mercenary when we first meet him, we also sense that he stands for something more.  When the opportunity for him to do the right thing comes along, we know he is going to do it because he cannot be bought and he is genuine.

3. The heroes win.  I go to the movies for a good story told well.  I do not need to get frustrated by having the main characters die a meaningless death or getting depressed when the unjust prevail.  (If I want that I can watch HBO Original Series!).  I want the heroes to win and I want them to win big.  Hercules delivers and so do his companions.  He has a noble army of followers who follow him because they are family.  They are loyal and dedicated because Hercules inspires the best in them. 

4. The villains get what is coming to them.  Yeah that's right - they actually lose!  Sometimes there's no need for a sympathetic villain.  Sometimes there is no point to complexity.  If I want to struggle to figure out who is a hero and who is a villain I could watch Game of Thrones.  We make films like Hercules to remind us that wicked tyrants who hurt others can be beaten.  In the (paraphrased) word of G.K. Chesterton, "We need a St. George to remind us that dragons can be beaten."

5. The humor is entertaining.  Thankfully, the humor is mostly above the belt and not sickening.  Cheap humor erodes I.Q.  and distracts from a good story.  Hercules has the right blend of action and humor.  The humor lifts the story and entertains.  The ancient meaning of comedy was a tale with a happy ending.  Comedy was hopeful.  This movie's comedy and humor aptly contributed to the hope that the right would prevail.

Why should you go see Hercules?  Because sometimes the heroes do win - and it only takes them two hours!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

You stayed through the credits because it's a Marvel movie and you know by now, at least you should, that there will be a stinger mid-way through the credits.  But what does it mean? After the credits roll on Captain America: Winter Soldier you saw a bunch of Nazis and two creepy kids in cages. You might have thought, "What is this? Paranormal Activity?"

Please allow me to assist.  (My idle time reading comic books should somehow serve humanity after all.)

First up, an unknown character appears looking like Col. Klink on steroids, complete with monocle.  Seriously? Who wears monocles these days except for Mr. Peanut?

This is Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker.  Although his four-color version in the funny pages has tangled with Captain America, Strucker is Nick Fury's nemesis.  In the comic book world, Fury and Strucker's grudge match began in World War II.  The stories were written in the 1960's, but they took place in the 1940's.  Sgt. Fury was in charge of a group called the Howling Commandos.  (For the movies, Cap was made the head of the Howling Commandos - recall the scene from the Smithsonian?)  Fury and his Howling Commandos had to have an equal foe among the Nazi's.  So, Lee and Kirby created Baron Strucker and his Blitzkrieg Squad.

Marvel Comics in the 1960's was always paying attention to what was popular.  In the 1960's, World War II stories and James Bond were big draws.  So, Marvel updated Sgt. Fury, promoted him to a Colonel and made him an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  They updated Baron Strucker as well.  He became to Fury what Blofeld was to Bond.  007 battled SPECTRE, so Fury took on HYDRA with Strucker at the helm.

Many of you have been wondering what happens next for Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. in the movies.  Remember that Nick Fury (the Samuel L. Jackson version) tells Cap that he's going to Europe.  Maybe he's going to walk the earth like Kane on Kung Fu.  Maybe he's going to meet people and get into adventures.  Maybe he's just going to be a bum.  But I think there's a good chance he will run across Baron Strucker.  By the way, if you noticed that Fury's tombstone misquoted Ezekiel 25:17, you are right.  Ezekiel 25:17 only mentions the "Path of the Righteous Man" in the Tarantino version.  It's sort of a twisted version and I don't recommend it for serious study.

I suppose you recognized Loki's wand, the one that killed Agent Coulson in the Avengers.  But what about those creepy looking twins in the cages.  The young man has a bad case of tremors and the girl is making blocks float in the air.  The twins are a brother and sister duo known as Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. They are mutants but we can't say that in the movie because 20th Century Fox, not Disney, owns the movie rights to Marvel Mutants. This is where some interesting crossovers with the X-Men movie could have happened, but no super-power imagined can overcome studio production rights.

Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, aka Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, started out as adversaries of the X-Men in the 1960's comics.  They joined in with Magneto and his "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants," a rather sexist, uncreative, and self-deprecating title for a freedom movement.  I mean, come on, if you think you are fighting for mutant rights, should you really call yourselves evil?  Maybe it was supposed to be ironic.  Later on, Pietro and Wanda learned that Magneto was more than just their boss.  He was their father.  So Vader of him. 

Pietro and Wanda were two of the first three replacements for the second assembly of Avengers in comic book history, unless you count Captain America who replaced the Hulk, but it is questionable if Hulk was ever officially an Avenger.  Even if he was, Hulk no like puny Avenger's charter.  Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were selected to be Avengers in issue #16.  Who was the third replacement Avenger to join Captain America's team? That would be Hawkeye, but of course in the movies he is already on the team. 

Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will appear in next year's Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.  Production photos are already on the internet.  Ultron is one of the Avengers toughest foes.  He is an indestructible android.  An artificial intelligence that hates humanity.  In the comics he is created by Hank Pym; who as Ant-Man was one of the founding members of the Avengers.  There is an Ant-Man movie coming in 2015, but this will not be Hank Pym nor will he be the creator of Ultron.  A few clues appeared in Winter Soldier that suggest the origin of Ultron.  Remember when Cap and Black Widow go to the Apple Store in the mall to download the huge flash drive that Fury gave Cap?  Of course you do because that's when Black Widow was getting all "girlfriend" with Cap.  Anyway, she said that the flash drive was difficult to hack because of a sophisticated A.I. program.  Hmmmmm.  Next clue, there was talk of an algorithm that would detect potential threats to HYDRA and eliminate them before they could become a problem.  That algorithm was developed by the computer mind of Arnim Zola.  If Zola can live in 1970's IBM analog computer tech, then don't you think he can give birth to a 21st century digital consciousness?  My guess is that these are indicators of how Ultron will emerge in the Marvel movie world.

The Winter Soldier has also given us the first acknowledgment that there is a Dr. Strange.  Agent Sitwell was being interrogated by Cap, Black Widow, and the Falcon, and he mentioned Bruce Banner, whom we know as the Hulk, but he mentioned Stephen Strange.  Who is he?  In the comics, Stephen Strange is known as Dr. Strange.  He was a neurosurgeon whose hands were injured in an auto accident, so he gave up medicine to study the mystic arts.  His new profession led to his appointment as the Sorcerer Supreme of earth.  How Stephen Strange will emerge in the tech-heavy Marvel Movie-verse is difficult to foresee.  Even Asgardians are not magical, they just have super-high-tech.

Before someone pulls my geek card, I do know that this isn't the first cinematic name drop of Dr. Strange.  That official credit goes to J. Jonah Jameson's assistant, Hoffman, in Spider-Man 2 (2002).  When they were brainstorming a name for Doctor Octopus they had the following dialogue:

J. Jonah Jameson: What are we gonna call this guy?
Hoffman: 'Doctor Octopus'?
J. Jonah Jameson: That's crap.
Hoffman: 'Science Squid'?
J. Jonah Jameson: Crap.
Hoffman: 'Doctor Strange'.
J. Jonah Jameson: That's pretty good.
[Hoffman looks proud]
J. Jonah Jameson: But it's taken! Wait, wait! I got it! 'Doctor Octopus'.

Let's hope that dialogue doesn't give Sony the rights to Dr. Strange, the Avengers need him.

Bruce Banner and Stephen Strange being mentioned together is not necessarily an accident.  In the comics, they are partners.  Dr. Strange and the Incredible Hulk were part of a super-hero team called the Defenders.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Thor: The Dark World

So, I told you to stay through all the credits at Thor: The Dark World and now you are asking me, "What the heck was that all about?"  That is unless you have close to the same geek level XP that I do - or you work for Marvel.  [How strong is my comic book kung fu?  Let's just say I have corrected Sheldon Cooper more than once - yes, it's that sad of a condition, but let me turn my tragedy into your benefit]

I'm not going to warn you that this is a spoiler warning, because you came here seeking answers and even if I told you what was in the scene you would still want to know.  So this isn't a spoiler, it's an education.  Let the learning begin . . .

First, let's go back to the Avengers.  Remember that purple smiling guy at the end of the movie.  The one who is willing to "court death?"  If not go watch the Avengers epilogue and we will continue.

And we're back.  Professor Plum there is a cat named Thanos.  He first appeared in Iron Man #55 back in 1973.  He's the creation of an artist/writer named Jim Starlin.  If you have this comic laying around the house somewhere you should probably let me know.  I will happily give you $20 for it.  I know, that's an awful lot to pay for a stupid comic book, but I am crazy like that.  Trust me I will be okay.

That same issue also introduced a green-skinned character . . . wait for it -- no, it is not the Hulk.  Let's get one thing straight right now, not every green-skinned person is a Hulk.  Besides some Hulks are gray and some are red.  Anyway, the green-skinned gent is Drax the Destroyer.  He hates Thanos and we will say more about him later.

Thanos and Death sittin' in a tree . . .
Meanwhile, Thanos is obsessed with death.  He literally wants to "court death."  As in he wants to buy her flowers and chocolates, give her a ring, or destroy the universe for her.  Just what a girl wants.  To do this, Thanos needs some very powerful artifacts known as the Infinity Gems.  There are six of the gems and when you combine them they give the holder the infinite power.  Throughout Marvel's history, Thanos has always been trying to get his hands on either the Infinity Gems or the Cosmic Cube.  In the movies, the Cube is called the Tesseract - and I must admit that this confuses me.

The Cosmic Cube, um Tesseract - is the blue ice cube thingy that the Red Skull was using in Captain America: The First Avenger and then Loki stole it from S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Avengers movie.  Thanos probably wanted that Tesseract, just like he did in
Captain Marvel #28, which is another comic you should talk to me about if you have it.  In fact it's probably illegal for you to have it and best you just give it to me.  I will take the heat.

Thanos would have gotten away with the Tesseract if it hadn't been for those meddling Avengers.  However, Thanos is a smart dude and he always a Plan B, which will be the Infinity Gems.

Thanos is working behind the scenes in the Marvel Movie-verse.  He didn't attack New York directly but worked through pawns like Loki and the Chitauri.  He seems to be doing the same thing with his quest for the Infinity Gems, or rather the Infinity Stones as they are called in the movie.

Thanos will be challenged in his quest for the gems by the efforts of The Collector.  That's the character played by Benecio Del Toro in the Thor: The Dark World epilogue. 

The Collector first appeared in Avengers #28 (1966).  He is a villainous version of one of the American Pickers --  he even collects people!  That's why you see weird alien folk in glass cages during the end-credit scene.  The Collector was later revealed to be one the Elders the Universe.  They are ancient immortals who specialize in something.  One is a Collector, another is a Gardener, and yet another likes to play games (he's called the Grandmaster).  Just think of them as a cosmic AARP.  In the comics, it was mostly the Elders who held on to the Infinity Gems.  I doubt that the other Elders of the Universe are going to be brought into the movies.

So why are Sif and Volstagg giving The Collector an Infinity Stone?  Well, that is all going to be answered in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie in 2014.  I think that we can assume that the appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet in the first Thor movie was just an Easter Egg. Nevertheless, it is there in a brief glimpse in Odin's armory.  If it were the real deal and the Collector wants the full set of six, he could have just gone to Asgard and made Odin an offer.

We might speculate as to the reason our Asgardian heroes are giving away a powerful item.  They say that Odin did not think that two of the Infinity Stones should be in the same place.  But wait, Odin did not say that.  It was really Loki, yes?  Since Loki is pretending to be Odin, he might be in on the scheme and ordered Sif and Volstagg to give the Stone over to the Collector.  Or it may be that the Collector just wants the entire set of six, but he does wait until the good Asgardians are out of earshot before saying "one down and five to go." He could be working for Thanos or trying to keep the Stones from Thanos.  So Loki is either working with The Collector, or they are both working for Thanos, or Loki is trying to get back into Thanos' good graces, or the Collector is a free agent.

In the comics, the Collector was misguided and problematic for the Avengers, but he often tried to keep dangerous objects like the Infinity Gems out of the hand of bad guys who might want to court death.

Drax is the Green Guy on the Far Left
In the final analysis, this is a tie-in to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie and you've just seen one of its characters.  Another character, actually one of the Guardians, will be Drax the Destroyer.  And if I didn't mention it, he hates Thanos.

As for the final scene at the end of Thor: The Dark World, well that is just a happy ending. 

Monday, January 07, 2013

Les Misérables

If you want to fully appreciate this movie/musical then brush up on your Bible and theology.  Besides, reading the Bible might be much quicker than reading Victor Hugo's tome.

Jean Valjean, a.k.a. 24601, a.k.a. Monsieur le Mayor, is a man reborn twice by grace and redemption.  First when he is given a new life by the priest who meets him with love and mercy, and second when he shows love and mercy to his adopted daughter Cosette.

I am not a fan of musicals, but this story is rich and the music (with the exception of perhaps one or two songs that are bit "show-tune-ish") is deep enough and powerful enough to craft the epic tone.  I endure the musical because I believe Jean Valjean is a super-hero.  He has super-strength (seriously) and although reluctant at times, he rescues people and he is merciful.  He always fights for a higher power and his cause is just, or it at least becomes God's work.

Richard Beck has written an excellent article that defines Valjean as an alternative to the politics and religion of both the left and the right.  So, with that I give you Dr. Beck and his Experimental Theology . . .

Thursday, March 15, 2012

John Carter

Discussion coming soon. 

In the meantime - go see it.

No, it's not a "Disney-movie."  Well, yes Disney produced it, but it isn't a "Disney-movie" as in Mickey Mouse or Hannah Montana, etc. 

It's about a Civil War veteran from Virginia who becomes a great hero and saves a Princess from Mars.  He fights alongside twelve foot tall four-armed Martians and saves two worlds from the power of mysterious evil aliens who work in the shadows to destroy civilization.  He has super-powers, a dog-beast named Woola, and flies around on a motorcycle that glides through the air.

Just go see it already!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What I Want to See This Summer - 2011

April  29 - Hoodwinked Too! (Even funnier than the Shrek franchise)
May 6 - Thor (Kenneth Branagh directs a super-hero movie - awesome!)
May 13 - Priest (Finally, someone is killing vampires instead of falling in love with them)
June 3 - X-Men First Class (Mutant Rights - 1963 style)
June 10 - Super 8 (Buzzworthy)
June 17 - Green Lantern (One of my favorite heroes as a child - don't mess it up!)
June 24 - Cars 2 (Yeah, its for kids but who cares?  This is Pixar)
July 1 - Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks film - but will it be available in my theatre or will they have it chock full of the Transformers non-sense?)
July 15 - Harry Potter (Would somebody please kill Voldemort and all his cronies already!)
July 22 - Captain America (Of course he's the first avenger)
July 29 - Cowboys and Aliens (director of Iron Man + Indiana Jones/Han Solo + James Bond = ultra-cool)
Aug 5 - Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Aug 19 - Conan the Barbarian (it will be hard not to think of Arnold)
Aug 31 - The Debt (heavy stuff for back to school)