Archive for May, 2014

LanternCast Episode #181 – Green Lantern New Guardians 25-27!

Transportation metaphors (again), super friendly aliens, alternate timelines and the all powerful (yet still somehow completely oblivious) Kyle Rayner! Listen in as Mark and Chad continue their reviews! All this and, of course, LISTENER FEEDBACK! Be sure to chime in on our voice-mail at 708-LANTERN!

Download the episode HERE!

X-Men: Days of Future Past

With “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, Bryan Singer makes a triumphant return to the franchise he started and in the process gives us the best X-Men movie to date

Staying true to the basic concept of the classic 1981 story line, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” tells the tale of a dark, doomed not-so-distant future and the desperate attempt (via time travel) to change the past and alter the time line.

Wolverine once again takes center stage as his healing factor enables the surviving future X-Men to send his consciousness back into his younger body.  Once there, he must seek out both the younger Xavier and Magneto in order to prevent Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask.  The assassination of Trask would trigger the implementation and use of his anti-mutant weapon system (the Sentinels), and herald the beginning of the end of both man & mutant.

There is a nice balance between the time spent in the past with the “First Class” cast and the original cast’s final battle in the future, as they struggle to buy Logan enough time to complete his mission.   Bishop and Blink also get some good moments as they engage the ever-evolving Sentinels.

Hugh Jackman gives his best performance as Wolverine, bringing some restraint to the table this time, along with his usual humor.  Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy build on the great chemistry they established in “First Class.”  The breakout star though is Evan Peters as Quicksilver.   Despite the early concerns regarding his look, the character really works in this movie.  The use of his powers during an important prison break sequence is highlight of the film.

“Days of Future Past” should have a special appeal to the millions (and millions) of X-Men fans who were less than thrilled with “X3: The Last Stand” as it mostly erases the bad taste left from that poor effort.

Overall, this is the most enjoyable and satisfying movie of the summer so far, and it helps breathe new life into a franchise that had seemingly seen its best days already past.

Mark J. Marble

GODZILLA (2014)

By Chad Bokelman:

Classic rock, grilling, camping, family values…and Godzilla. These are the things I got from my father. The latter of which was via video cassette rental viewings one on one between my father and I. Therefore, to me, Godzilla TRULY is the King of the Monsters. Now, I’ll be the first to admit, 1998 Godzilla is a guilty pleasure movie for me. If it’s on? I’ll watch it. BECAUSE IT’S GODZILLA. So when I heard they were releasing a NEW Godzilla movie…I was stoked. When I saw the teaser trailer, I LITERALLY watched it 20+ times that night. When the first ACTUAL trailer came out, I jumped out of my chair.

My standards were high.

And they were not let down.

Now I’ll admit that the criticism that has been leveled at this movie is justified. Not enough kaiju, too many characters, “bad” acting, etc. But here’s the deal. 1998 Godzilla left a BAD taste in peoples mouths. They had to set the reset button. The original movies we all love so much? They had to set the reset button. There is TOO MUCH history to Godzilla bogging him down. TOO MUCH that fans (including myself) bring to the theater seat with them. They had to break free of those constraints and yet remain true to the core of who Godzilla is. That is an incredibly difficult task.

But they did it. Godzilla wasn’t overly benevolent or cuddly. He was feral and ancient and powerful and massive and intimidating. He WALKED and let nothing get in his way. He used his arms, he used his teeth, he used his tail, he used his size. His roar was true to form and FANTASTIC. His origin was plausible and not overly complicated. It still maintained a slight air of mystery to be explored (or not) later on. The MUTO’s were nicely designed. I felt they looked too…Clover (from ‘Cloverfield’) meets the alien from ‘Super 8’. I guess I’m trying to say it looked more ALIEN than anything that originated on Earth (whereas Godzilla looks…domestic).

Did I truly care about the human-based plot? Not really. But, to be fair, I really didn’t want a knock down, drag out monster fight for the entire movie either. I’m GLAD they took the time to introduce Godzilla to a modern audience and build the threat level enough to where you can see the NEED for Godzilla.

The fight scenes weren’t overly one sided and the “final blow” was quite possibly the best Godzilla moment I’ve seen on the big screen.

Bottom line? This was the best movie I’ve seen in a good long while. Is it the best movie I’ve ever seen? By no means. But it ABSOLUTELY is a fun, action packed, true to form, Godzilla movie. I give it a 4.3 out of 5. Small changes here and there, but overall a FANTASTIC flick!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a tough movie to put your finger on because it truly is a mixed bag.  The things it does right, it does very right, but there are also some problems with the film as well.

The strength of the movie is the chemistry between Andrew Garfield’s Peter and Emma Stone’s Gwen.  Their relationship is the glue that holds the film together.

This is also the most accurate on-screen portrayal of Spider-Man we’ve seen yet.   He moves, acts and jokes like the character many of us grew up reading about when we were kids.  The fight scenes are also probably the best yet in the franchise.

While Jamie Foxx’s Electro hovers close to an over-the-top performance that would make Joel Schumacher proud, he does manage to rein it in just enough to make entertaining.   Dane DeHann’s  Harry Osborn is much less successful.  His version of Harry lacks the warmth or depth of James Franco’s version in the Sam Raimi trilogy.   It is also much harder to buy into the close friendship between him and Peter.  Purists will also be troubled with the decision to make Harry the 1st Green Goblin and have him essentially take over his father’s (Norman) role in one of the most important events in Spider-Man’s history.  The choice also seems odd since we’ve been told repeatedly how director Marc Webb wanted to be true to the Peter/Gwen relationship and history, but yet gives us this big change.  Paul Giamatti is quite effective as the once and future Rhino, despite barely getting any screen time.  He is used essentially as a framing device to bookend where Peter/Spidey is at the beginning and end of the movie.

The movie is probably at least 20 minutes too long, with way too much time being devoted to showing us what happened to Peter’s parents and tying all the evils in the Spider-Man universe seemingly to Oscorp.  Beginning the film by seeing Peter abandoned again with Aunt May and Uncle Ben and spending those opening moments focused on Peter’s parents, instead of Peter himself, was an odd choice.

The reviews overall have been pretty bad, and while I think they might be too harsh, I definitely see where they are coming from.  “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” does seem often to be more interested in setting up what comes next more than what is happening now.  While it is definitely better than “Spider-Man 3,” I don’t know if I’d rate it above any of the other Spider-Man films.   Like I said earlier, it’s a tough movie to wrap yourself around (at least after only one viewing).

–  Mark J. Marble

Sinestro #1

Chad and I will be getting to our review of Sinestro #1 in the not-so-distant future, but I still felt compelled to write a little something about this book. While one issue does not necessarily a good series make, the first issue definitely steers the book in that direction.

Getting a look into Sinestro’s mind alone is interesting in the early pages.  His new mission, brought on by his reunion with Lyssa Drak , is believable and clearly is the kind of trigger that would get Sinestro back in the game.  How his mission will jibe with Arkillo’s refocused Sinestro Corps (or Arkillo Corps) should make for fascinating reading, as will the role Soranik Natu will play as the series goes on.

Sinestro #1 already has me looking forward to the next issue more than most, if not all, of the other Lantern books.  Hopefully, the book can follow-up on a great premiere issue and if it can, Sinestro will one-up Hal Jordan once more: He’ll be starring in a more interesting comic.

Mark J. Marble

LanternCast Episode #180 – Green Lantern Corps 25-27!

Green Lantern Corps continues on and so must the reviews! Pointless “obvious money grab” tie-ins! Lanterns complaining at every turn about light usage! Hal’s face is irresistibly punch-able! All of this and MORE unbelievably exciting things await us in these three issues! Be sure to chime in on our voicemail at 708-LANTERN!

Download the episode HERE!

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