Saturday, March 28, 2020
Viewing: fourth. fifth? I don't know.
For Jamie's birthday she wanted to watch Avengers: Endgame (2019), one of her favorite recent movies - even if spring of 2019 now seems like it occurred several decades ago.
In a time when we're in lockdown, watching a movie about a group of people reeling in the face of loss, disaster, tragedy and personal failure that impacted a universe is a hell of a thing.
Monday, January 27, 2020
PODCAST: "Captain America: Civil War" (2016) - Avengers Chronological Countdown 13 w/ Jamie and Ryan
We get to the dark middle chapter of the Avengers Chronological Countdown as Cap and Tony cannot agree on some paperwork, Bucky says a farewell to arms, a "Cats" understudy becomes a hero and Aunt May is suddenly way more interesting. It's "Captain America: Civil War"! and Jamie and Ryan are going to talk about it!
Captain America: Civil War, Main Theme - Henry Jackman, Captain America: Civil War OST
Complete Chronological Countdown:
Friday, June 7, 2019
Viewing: Third? Fourth?
Jamie slogs through a movie she does not care for and about which Ryan is ambivalent. It's the second outing for Earth's Mightiest Heroes as we come face to face with an AI that's kind of a self-replicating Mean Girl. Join us as we puzzle through Avengers: Age of Ultron, the one you haven't seen in a while and that you only sorta remember.
The "Avengers Chronological Countdown" Playlist
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
The kids today will never *quite* appreciate what Marvel pulled off, starting with Iron Man and continuing on with this week's mega-release of Avengers: Endgame. But, more than that, they'll never really understand what it was like to go from an era where you'd stay home on a Friday night to see a TV movie of the week starring David Hasslehoff as Nick Fury. Truly, any crumb of a glimpse of a live-action version of the comics you enjoyed was like a signal beamed from weirdo space and invading the lowest-common-denominator normalcy of broadcast TV. Any cinematic appearance of anything even superhero adjacent was a reason to trek to the movies (a habit I am just now breaking, pretty unsuccessfully).
These days every basic jerk out there tries to claim nerd status for just *liking* something other than sports and *admitting* they have something they enjoy (heads up! you cannot be a wine-nerd. You can be a vintner, wine enthusiast, sommelier or lush. Pick one. But a "wine nerd" is not a thing.). But in an era before Bryan Singer turned the X-Men into a box office smash, and the internet gave us hidey-holes into which we all disappeared and Watchmen made the 100 Greatest Novels Since 1923 list... comics were for children. Or for nerds, losers, the mentally slow, the emotionally damaged, perverts and delinquents.
Movies might come out based on graphic novels or comics, and sometimes that source was acknowledged - but I grew up in the 1980's, and my comics habit made the adults around me visibly nervous.* Parents, teachers, etc... knew to be disapproving and angry about musical selections (thanks, Tipper!), but comics? What were we even doing?
Thursday, May 2, 2019
Watched: 04/25 & 26/2019
Format: Alamo Slaughter Lane/ South Lamar
Viewing: First/ Second
Jamie and Ryan went to see "Avengers: Endgame" twice in two days. We talk the epic conclusion to the first ten or so years of Marvel Studios, what worked for us, what challenged us, and how it fits in with the world of comics from which it sprang. Don't listen in if you're avoiding spoilers - because we've got plenty.
Portals - Alan Silvestri, "Avengers: Endgame" OST
Thursday, February 21, 2019
PODCAST! "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"! Avengers Chronological Countdown #09 - w/ Jamie and Ryan
We reach one of Jamie's all-time favorite movies, a tale of a handsome man who is neck-deep in issues he thought he fixed before he went down for a long nap. Cap returns in an espionage thriller, but - also - a story of friendship. And blowing things up real good. It's one of the big turning points for Marvel as they put their best foot forward with a solid story that takes things up a notch.
Avengers - Alan Silvestri, Avengers OST
Captain America - Henry Jackman, Captain America: The Winter Solider OST
Saturday, November 17, 2018
PODCAST! AVENGERS COUNTDOWN - "AVENGERS" (2012) - Jamie and Ryan take on the great big superhero mashup
Viewing: Unknown. 6th or 7th.
Jamie and Ryan return and we finally get to the big team-up movie! Which... people seem to like. We take a look at how it stacks up as part of the bigger Marvel picture, what we like, what we don't (brace yerselves), and try to sort out what Loki was actually up to in this movie.
Avengers Chronological Countdown Playlist
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Ryan and Jamie talk about "Captain America: The First Avenger" - and it goes on way, way too long. We talk about why the movie felt like a risk, how it fits in with the Avengers overall mega-narrative, and how it compares to the comics. This may or may not be one of our favorite movies, so we may have shown up with multiple type-written pages of notes, ready to go.
Get your audio episodes at:
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Format: Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane
Warning - this write-up will have spoilers. Do not read this post until you've seen Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Sunday, August 27, 2017
You're going to see the names Jack Kirby and Jacob Kurtzberg a lot today. Jack Kirby is the pen-name of the greatest comic artist and creator to grace this orb we call planet Earth.
Here, on the centennial of his birth (August 28th, 1917), it's possible to suggest that Jack Kirby may be one of the most important artistic and literary figures of the past 100 years. The recognition came late, decades after his passing, and, still, his name is hardly a household word. But the creations he unleashed upon popular culture from the 1940's to the 1990's would either be taken up directly by the public (at long last), becoming part of the parlance, or influence generations who could never produce that same spark of imagination, but built either directly or indirectly upon what he had done before.
There are Kirby bio sketches out there a-plenty (but no definitive monograph that I'm aware of), a magazine dedicated to the study and fan-splosion around his work, and Mark Evanier - who apprenticed under him - has become the living memory of his professional life while his grandchildren have taken up the cause of preserving the memory of the man. Now there's a virtual museum (which deserves a physical location), and a charity it's worth considering giving to sometime. And a slew of collections and books celebrating Kirby's influence and work.
Kirby was not first in when comics became a way for kids from the rougher neighborhoods of New York picked up a pencil or ink brush to start bringing in bread, but he was there really early. He was a workman who put everything he had into the work, comic by comic, year by year, becoming better and better. As they tell you in art-school, master the rules before you start breaking them - and that's what he did, finding his own unique style, his own way of creating action and drama, and eventually shattering what it meant to create a comics page.
Taking from mythology, from science-fiction, from films, from his colleagues and the bottomless well within, Kirby created whole universes, pockets within those universes, and held the lens to each character, bringing the internal life of gods, men and monsters to life.
Monday, September 26, 2016
I re-watched Captain America: Civil War because I bought the BluRay.
In general, I like this movie quite a bit. But I've written on it twice this year, so that seems like plenty.
The image above appears on a t-shirt my mother purchased for me. She's generous to a fault, but she usually is on the side of "you have plenty of Super-America Man stuff" which is usually followed by an unprompted "Poor Jamie" and a look of pity tossed Jamie's way.
But... My mom bought me this. I wear it all the time because - yeah, I like it fine on its own, but sometimes it really is the thought that counts.
Thursday, June 2, 2016
With a Monday afternoon off for Memorial Day, Jamie and I weighed whether we'd be seeing X-Men: Apocalypse versus anything else. Jamie, a solid fan of Cap and luke-warm on X-folk, pushed for Cap as she wanted to see it again on the big screen, and as I thoroughly enjoyed myself on the last go-round, I was more than happy to agree. We'll catch X-Men soon enough, and I have a post brewing as to 'why' when we're kinda not huge X-nerds in 2016.
There isn't much to say that I didn't already say, except that on a second viewing, when I wasn't just trying to keep up with the rocket-propelled trajectory of the movie, a lot of things that felt like bullet-point plot points as they went along suddenly felt much more organic. Cap's arguments for non-compliance not only held up better on a second-viewing, but the death of Peggy, which I took as mostly an emotional beat in the first viewing, I now could see how that scene was really about Sharon quoting Peggy and giving Steve the resolve he needed in his moment of crisis. The best person from the point in his life where he found his true self was speaking to him via her niece.
And, speaking of that niece, there's a lot more goo-goo eye stuff going on between Sharon and Steve - and, in fact, her very cooperation with Steve suddenly doesn't seem so much like a "doing a pal a solid" as her clearly breaking protocols for this guy. They just don't actually say anything before that first kiss, and so it is a bit less jarring once you catch the interplay a bit better.
But the race to save Bucky feels far more grounded on a second viewing as well. Steve's intentions felt more clear, and his insistence on saving Bucky somehow feels less like "well, because he's the good guy" and because of that shared history, even as he seems to know Bucky may actually be guilty and may actually kill him this time.
Anyway, I highly recommend catching the movie again. I watch all the Marvel movies more than once not just because - hey, sometimes I pick up things I missed before - but it's fun stuff to see again, especially in the theater. It's really amazing how well Marvel has managed these movies, film after film, finding just the right talent for each role and directors to fit the film.
More on what I'm getting out of these movies in a future post.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
I don't believe Steve Rogers has secretly been pulling the wool over our eyes or Marvel's hero who just raked in a billion dollars at the box office has actually been an Agent of Hydra all along or whatever it is Tom Brevoort, Marvel's personal Salacious Crumb, said to the New York Times.
Yes, Captain America was designed by two Jewish guys to punch Hitler in the face, and, yes, of course, if Marvel were actually turning him into a villain longterm, it'd be kinda gross. But, y'know, comics. I'm pretty sure it's some usual sci-fi comics monkeyshines, Cosmic Cube business or time travel or whatnot, and by tale's end, we'll all be back to normal.
What I'm irritated about is that I can't actually remember the last time I read a good Steve Rogers story about Steve Rogers being Steve Rogers. Don't worry - it's not limited to Steve Rogers - I'm pretty sure DC hasn't had Superman as Superman in an in-continuity comic in at least four years, and before that we had Superman walking America (Grounded Part 1 = garbage, Grounded Part 2 = pretty darn good), Superman not being Superman for a year in the comics because New Krypton, Superman with no powers... And, if I never felt like the New 52 Superman was Superman, well, it seems like DC is set to confirm that suspicion).
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Marvel Watch: We Admit We Watched "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) for the 5 Billionth Time
Oh, FX Network. I know when you aren't playing some of my favorite shows (Fargo, The Americans, Louie, Baskets...) your other primary job seems to be playing Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) on what seems to be an infinite loop. You're following the 1990's TBS Raiders of the Lost Ark model, and it worked for them there, and it's working for you here.
I don't always write up or post when I watch a movie on cable, especially if its one I've seen before, especially multiple times, as I usually wander in after the beginning and don't always make it to the end. But CA: The First Avenger is one that I seem to turn on as I'm flipping channels, some time will pass and suddenly and I'll realize I'm finding myself watching Peggy Carter talking to Steve about meeting him at the Stork Club as the Flying Wing plunges into the Atlantic.
I wouldn't say this is a perfect movie from a technical standpoint - and the CGI breaks down here and there (even as Skinny Steve still looks seamless to me). But, man, it works for me. And not just because of Hayley Atwell (which doesn't hurt).
What's funny is that, oh, gee... I guess back in 2009 when they were talking about this movie getting made, there was all sort of concern that the amazingly savvy audiences of the modern era wouldn't take to Captain America as a character because of something or other about how much smarter we are in the 2010's than we were in the 1940's and that having something to do with being a decent human being no longer being a "relatable" trait for a character.*
Well, the marketing wasn't all there for this movie, and it didn't make a mint, but, boy howdy, the sequels did just fine, it seems. And we got two good seasons of a spin-off TV show with Peggy Carter, which happened to be one of the few watchable things on network TV in the past couple of years.
Anyway, I dig this movie, and I should probably not just turn it on and leave it on as much as I do, but there you have it.
*I cannot tell you how annoyed I get at the idea that audiences of the modern era are more "sophisticated". Watching a ton of TV doesn't make you more sophisticated, but it will train you to expect certain things. I sat through two movies from the 1940's last night with an audience that giggled at anything they didn't understand like a herd of middle-school kids. The techniques change and symbolism and execution change with technology and perception, but your hip, modern ideas are going to look positively quaint in fifteen years, so, get over yourself, you knobs.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Let''s be honest - if you're trying to look at Marvel movies as individual installments - you're utterly missing the point. I suspect you're the sort of person who, while selecting a computer, asks the sales associate what gauge typewriter ribbon this contraption will require. The strength of the Marvel U is the serial nature and continuity, something more traditional critics seem to balk at, continually expect to flounder, but then engage with once they get down to brass tacks in their discussion of the semi-annual Marvel release. Captain America: Civil War (2016) is the culmination of the past decade's worth of Marvel studios box office success, tight narrative management, and editorial vision of a shared universe reflecting the best aspects of more than 50 years of Marvel comics.
I should point out right here that I still have not seen Batman v. Superman, so I'll do my best not to make any comparisons between this film and one I haven't seen. It's not fair to either.
My relationship with the original Civil War comics from Marvel is not a great one. I loved the art in the main series, but I didn't entirely buy either Cap or Tony suddenly coming to their respective positions, and due to events in recent Captain America comics - Steve had unmasked on camera and said his name directly into a microphone as a sign of strength while confronting terrorists (it was just post 9/11) - I didn't really think it made sense for him to be the standard bearer in the comics for being anti-government management. After all, Steve has been roughly a government op for SHIELD since his return in the 64' era and getting his own title.
At the series' conclusion, it felt like they took dozens and dozens of comics, from the mini-series to the associated mini-series, to the in-continuity issue tie-in's, to tell a story which only really needed about 5-7 issues to tell. And, at the conclusion of that series, I dropped Marvel as a line, except for, I think, Black Panther - which I only stuck with for a while longer, and then Cap. They were headed into doing the same thing over again with another storyline (that Skrull dealy-o), and I just raised my hands and said "I can't afford this, and you need to do this better".
Thus, I was a bit skeptical when Marvel selected Civil War as the basis for its next storyline for Cap following Winter Soldier. If I was cheered a bit, it was that I felt Winter Soldier was an entirely new story using pieces of the comics (which I'd enjoyed terrifically), maintaining the central conflicts and many of the characters while telling an entirely different story.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
About three years ago I did a post where I took a bunch of photos of my collections. But it's been a while, so I thought for National Superhero Day, I'd take some pics and show you where we're at today with the collections of The Fortress of Nerditude/ League HQ/ Signal Watchtower.
Friday, March 11, 2016
Of course I'm excited about Captain America: Civil War. It's a new Marvel movie, so I'll go see it. Plus, it's a Captain America movie, which means I'll see it opening weekend. Plus, it has The Falcon, Black Panther, Black Widow, Iron Man, War Machine and more. So, I'm seeing it opening day at 7:30. Tickets are secured.
I was not, of course, a fan of the actual Marvel Civil War comics, and I am concerned I'd have the same issues with this movie. If Marvel wants to pretend it has any attachment to the real world, yes: superheroes kinda sorta seem like they need to be regulated folks under the supervision of some sort of legal authority. Otherwise, it's "person with an agenda and a mask on the street with lethal force at their disposal". What made the Marvel Civil War comics all the more ridiculous was that Cap, who was a working government agent with no secret ID at the time of the series' release came down on the side of anarchic superheroes avoiding legal repercussion.
We live in a country of laws, sir.
Friday, March 4, 2016
Tuesday evening saw the conclusion of Season 2 of Marvel's Agent Carter, a short-run ABC television program. ABC is, of course, a Disney company, and Marvel is also owned by Disney.
The show is a spin-off from the Captain America movies and a lodestone pointing to the mid-20th Century origins of the Marvel comic characters and the fictional origins of the doings of the Marvel Universe films. If you're not keeping up (and both ratings and anecdotal evidence suggests you're not), Agent Carter follows the post-WWII, post-Captain America: The First Avenger doings of Special Agent Peggy Carter of the Strategic Science Reserve - the forebear of SHIELD.
You may remember Peggy as the uniformed sidekick to Tommy Lee Jones as Steve Rogers transformed into Captain America, who stayed on the radio with him as he piloted the Red Skull's plane into the Arctic. Yes, yes, I was quite smitten with Agent Carter back during the first go-round, and I was a bit disappointed that - as we then jumped to the 21st Century, that was the last we were going to see of Peggy. The film had written Peggy as pointing a new way forward for female characters in Marvel movies, and, Peggy was based on a character from the comics, who - in turn - reflected the sort of bad-assery women were displaying in all sorts of very, very real covert and resistance-fighting roles during WWII.