Avengers: Spidey

 

Yes, it is awesome.

And I love the way Spidey just casually blocks Bucky’s punch and holds him back, just to remind you how strong the Peter Parker actually is.

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Deadpool: The Film

What it got right: Everything

What it got wrong: Nothing to almost nothing.

First of all: Best opening credits EVAR! (Especially appreciated the nod to the writers, without whom Deadpool would not exist, let alone have a film.)

Granted, Wade isn’t as batshit crazy in the film as he is in the comics, but I think introducing him as he is in the comics would have alienated the uninformed audience so I’m cool with toning that aspect of the character down a bit. And he is off the wall enough to be an entertaining, if gorily violent, loon. He also (Spoiler Alert: though if you have not seen it by now, you are either not interested or really? What the hell not?) gets a happy ending (a phrase which the character would make no end of double entendres with), which the comic book character, despite his many flirtations and actual love interests, does not.

The breaks in the fourth wall and meta commentary are well delivered and just enough to be entertaining without overdoing it or feeling kitschy.

They greatly altered Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s powers and gave her a personality, but as the character was just a walk-on (or in that case, a carry-on) in the Genoshan massacre…

Neasonic teeage warhead

…and then showed up as a psychic projection of Emma Frost’s survivor’s guilt, with very undefined psychic abilities, in Joss Whedon’s run of Astonishing X-Men (which is also made of awesome, really brought the x-men back, in Whedon’s own way, to the Claremont era)….

Negasomic v Kitty

…they had a lot of leeway with a character that even the comic book readers had almost no attachment too. Most consider the movie version to be an improvement. Her powers are at least in keeping with her “code name” (which is taken from the name of a song by Monster Magnet).

 

But the story of the film is engaging, the action is imaginative and, of course, the characters are great. A+ all around.

And speaking of imaginative action, this is something that has been, or was when I stopped collecting, missing from superhero comics for a long time. It used to be that writers found interesting ways for the superheros to use their powers or use teamwork to combine their powers to great effect. Then in the 2000’s, the current crop of writers had no imagination and just started giving the characters new powers (“secondary mutations”), some of them completely unrelated to their initial ones. Emma Frost’s diamond form being the most glaring (no pun intended) example. In the films (X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Avengers I and now Deadpool, well, once), you get to see what imaginative writers can do using existing powers in imaginative ways as a team rather than just having the heroes pounding away at the villains one on one.

(Again, another double entendre Deadpool would not let go of for hours.)

If I was to nitpick at one thing, it would be how Colossus was portrayed. Colossus, who is a pure-hearted hero, an honest to the Gods nice guy, is much, *much* more sanctimonious in the film than he is in the comic book. Nor is the comic book Piotr nearly that pushy. He’s pretty humble and leaves most of the speech making to Professor X or Cyclops.

Colossus joke

Also, he is one of the top four physically strongest characters in the Marvel Universe, barring cosmic beings like Thanos. (The Hulk, Thor and the Thing are the other three.) He should not have had his ass kicked like a punk.

Still, It’s an awesome movie and I’m going to see it again. And I almost never do that.

It’s going to be very interesting how they get Cable into Deadpool’s world in the next film. Cable is a character that is…well, his backstory is more confusing than trying to follow the Habsburg family tree. Cable’s no-nonsense attitude and Deadpool’s, well, being Deadpool, make for a very interesting, and one of Marvel’s favorite Odd Couples.

P.S. Also loved the quick nod to Bob: Agent of Hydra.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

So I finally saw this yesterday evening with some friends, and I was very pleased. The story was satifyingly complex. The character work by Fassbender, MacAvoy and Lawernce was fantastic. The action was great. Quicksilver stole the show! (The Avengers film is going to have a very hard time topping that.)  Lots of great fanservice and nods to the comic. Yes, it differed from the story, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The one thing I could not get over was that Kitty Pryde’s power has nothing to do with what she was doing in this film. Kitty “phases” through solid matter by making her atoms (and the atoms of the person she is in physical contact with) pass through the spaces between the atoms of the object she is phasing through. Her power is neither telepathic or temporal. She can’t send someone’s conciousness back in time. There needed to be some technobabble to explain that or set up another ways for this to happen. Also Charles’ serum affecting his telepathy. “Affects my genes” doesn’t make any sense. “Affects my nervous system and therefore my brain” would have worked much better and also made sense in terms of how quickly the effects wore off.

The Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past story was published in 1981. Written by Chris Claremont, who is still considered *the* seminal writer of the X-Men, and drawn by John Byrne and inked by Terry Austin.

(Even some comic book readers do not realize how vital inkers are to what they see on the page. The writer writes the story similar to a screenplay script with some, often vague, stage directions. The penciler/artist choreographs the action, creates the layout and draws in the lines for the figures and usually a vague background. The inker is the artist who gives those lines depth, light, shadow, the appearance of three dimensions. He often creates background detail as well. The writer then goes back in to tweak the dialog or narration to fit what the penciler & inker have put on the page. Then it goes to the colorist and letterer, who do not have quite as much prestige.)

The X-Men were created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but it didn’t catch on for quite some time. After a brief run of a couple years, the title was cancelled. There were attempts to resurrect the series, both in a new run (notably Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, who was breaking ground in comic book art at the time) and reprints. But it wasn’t until Chris Clarmeont came along that the X-Men finally found their voice. Claremont, working with penciler Dave Cockrum, picked up the title and restructured the team with new faces like Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Banshee and some little obnoxious dude named “Wolverine.” (Yes, Logan had a single appearance before in The Hulk, but you get what I am saying.) Claremont/Byrne/Austin is the team that catapulted The Uncanny X-Men into one of Marvel’s top selling titles and created some of the most iconic storylines that the comic utilizes and references back to even today.

Days of Future Past was one of them. In the original story, in the distopian future in which the sentinels have taken over, Rachel Summers (daughter of Jean Grey and Scott Summers) utilizes her telepathy with Kitty Pryde’s phasing abilities to send Kitty’s mind back into her younger body in order to stop Mystique from assisinating Senator Kelly whom was introducing the first piece of anti-mutant legislation.

So as you can see they kept the essential premise. However, the changes they did make were big ones. Most of them worked well, but losing Kitty as the focus to the we’re-burnt-out-on-this-guy-please-move-on Wolverine was disappointing. I understand the logistical need because of the timeframes, but it was still disappointing. Storm was horribly miscast so I am glad her role has always been small, but she led the X-Men after Scott left. Emma Frost was criminaly misused in First Class. The Wasp was a founding member of the Avengers, but she was dumped in favor of the sexpot Black Widow who has not even gotten her own film despite the male characters around her getting at least two each. Comic Book films need to bring forward and develop more of the strong female characters that grace their pages.