Showing posts with label spider-man. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spider-man. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Steve Ditko Merges With the Infinite

Comics creator Steve Ditko passed this weekend at the age of 90.  As you may know, Ditko co-created Spider-Man and was responsible for the art chores and certainly deserves co-writing credits with Lee on the early years of the wall-crawler's adventures.  He was behind some of my favorite Spidey villains like Sandman, The Lizard, Electro, Doctor Octopus, and - of course - Green Goblin.  Not bad. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Spider-Watch: Spider-Man - Homecoming

So, I hadn't actually paid all that much attention to Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) prior to showing up to see it in the theater Thursday night.  Sure, I'd watched the trailer and was pleased they went with The Vulture for a villain.

At this point, I'm fine with just noting the release date of a Marvel movie, paying my money and showing up.  Marvel hasn't always knocked it out of the park, but I'm generally guaranteed a pretty good time out at the movies, and some of the films have been spectacular, reminding me both why I love superheroes and a trip to the movies.

It wasn't too hard to figure out that this Spider-Man film would stick to the high-school years, abandon comic canon (all the Marvel movies have done that), but stick to the core of what makes the character work (also, all the Marvel moves have done that).  After feeling let down by Sony's reboot of Spidey with The Amazing Spider-Man - so much so (gulp) I never watched the sequel - I was thrilled that Marvel and Sony saw the light (and potential for profit) enough to bridge differences and make it work.

I'm pleased to say I enjoyed myself as much as I did at Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and many other Marvel films of the past decade.  And, while there are huge changes from the comics, Spider-Man: Homecoming reminded me why I ever liked Spider-Man, his world, and his niche in the Marvel Universe.  And, that I am very much not alone in wanting to see Peter Parker swinging from a web and trying his hardest.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Stuff I Didn't Watch All the Way Through This Week

It's been a long week at work and in the news.  I was bemoaning one of these projects on twitter, and when I told CanadianSimon I'd quit watching the movie and two other things this week, he did point out - hey, it's been a weird week for Planet Earth.

Still, my patience was a bit raw, and that meant I didn't make it very far into a few things I'd been meaning to check out.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 

I didn't see this movie when it came out, mostly because I didn't really like much of anything about the first one.  Highlights included the casting of Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and Stan Lee's cameo, but I didn't really get where Peter Parker as mouthy, non-nerdy teen-ager was coming from, and I was super-annoyed that they were trying to go down the 1990's path of exploring Peter's parents' death as integral to his history (dude got bit by a radioactive spider.  We don't need to heap 30 years of back story into it).  To top it off, their Spidey was never actually *funny* when quipping from inside the mask.  He came off a bit more like someone bragging while playing a video game against a hopelessly outclassed opponent.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Marvel Re-Watch: Captain America - Civil War (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.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Holy Cats, True Believers! Sony and Marvel are going to share Spider-Man!

According to Comic Book Resources and no less than the Marvel website, Spider-Man is going to get rebooted (again) and join in with the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As if you didn't know:  Sony has had the Spider-Man film rights since way back in the day, and as Marvel was their own studio and is now owned by Disney, Spider-Man has never been a part of the Marvel Universe in films or television.  At least not since he was web-slinging on The Electric Company.

I know it would lose the GDP of Croatia for Sony, but I'd love to see this on the big screen

I have to assume that a weak showing for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and a critical smackdown on the sequel meant that Sony may have decided they'd prefer to share in the money-printing machine the Marvel folks have got going on over at Disney rather than just keep stamping their feet and insisting they know how to do this.  (I think you can point to whatever went down on Spider-Man 3 vis-a-vis studio notes as the beginning of the problem).

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Very Spidey Christmas

Paul sent this along.

I can only imagine how this would have gone for 5 year-old me. Mind would have been blown...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: The Amazing Spider-Man

I think it may have been Tom Spurgeon who commented that, to him, Spider-Man was this thing that occurred between 1962-1972 or so.  And if you've ever read early Spider-Man, it's not hard to see why that might be.  So much of what came afterward has been either retread or adding unnecessary baggage to the Peter Parker formula that seeing the story about the kid who puts on tights to fight crime and super-villains got lost somewhere with alien symbiote suits, clones, clones of clones, clones in symbiote suits, etc...

I've read probably the first 100 issues of Spider-Man in Marvel's phenomenal Essentials collections (and that artwork sings in black and white.  Trust me.).  I can't exactly remember when I first came to Spider-Man, because he was on The Electric Company, starred in TV movies, was in the paper, and was on Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.  I don't remember either the first Spidey comic I read, nor the last.  I do remember reading the wedding issue when it hit the newstand (it was such a big deal, guys).  But reading Kraven's Last Hunt totally wigged me out and made a bit of a Spider-Fan of me.*

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Let's agree we're going to think before we use the term "Twilight-y" or "Twi-Lighty"

Let's start with the notion that we all hate the 4-novel/ 5-movie cycle of "vampire" tales of Stephanie Meyer. And, people, having now seen the first three of those movies (with the support of wine and RiffTrax), I can confirm that there is no small amount to hate.

gah.  these two.

We've previously covered the deep seeded issues we had with Twilight
, but as a quick re-cap:

  • Bella is our focus.  Over three movies her character utterly fails to develop or even deliver dialog.  There is nothing remotely unique or interesting about her except that supernatural creatures seem to give a great big 'ol damn about her, but cannot explain why.
  • Edward is written as a psychotic stalker, but in the context of the movies, this is played up as desirable and sexy.  He does mope in expensive clothes and drive an expensive car and have a surrogate huge (vampire) family that all love Bella.
  • There's some werewolf kid who the female audience loves because of his abs and dopey, blank stares who also pines for Bella.  His entire storyline seems like a C-plot thread that somehow stole focus completely from anything actually happening.
  • Having had seen 3 Twilight movies, I cannot tell you what they are about other than that "bad" vampires want to kill Bella for inexplicable reasons, and that everyone is willing to die to protect her.
  • The movies are comprised about 60% of filler material of characters standing around having "emotional" scenes wherein the plot is not moved forward, the characters do not advance, and everyone feels badly.
However, in the past year, an interesting phenomena has occurred.  Superhero media featuring youngish men dressing like youngish men and going through fairly standard melodrama are getting the label of "Twilight-y" affixed to them in media commentary.  And it is not meant as a compliment.


Comic-Con Spider-Man fan makes me want to totally see "The Amazing Spider-Man"

from Bleeding Cool

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No, I haven't really thought much about the fact that Ultimate Spider-Man died/ is going to die/ whatever

I used to read Ultimate Spider-Man with great fervor, but before issue 100, I quit reading.  I have many, many volumes of Ultimate Spidey.  At one point, I looked forward to each new volume, and then one day I just sort of realized I wasn't into it anymore.  This was all before the big world-shattering event a couple years back, the name of which I don't remember.

The "Ultimate" comics were the intentional second-universe of Marvel books intended to, initially, kick-start the Marvel U for a new generation.  That didn't really happen (although one could argue the creative directions in the books significantly helped guide the mainstream Marvel U), and it mostly meant Marvel now has an "Earth 2" that they can muck with and use to kill characters when it seems "neat".  These books sell decently, but their star has certainly fallen in sales and "who gives a @#$% anymore?" in the comics geek-o-sphere.

A while back Marvel brass said they planned to start routinely killing characters because of what it did for sales.  They were maybe joking, but it sure didn't sound like it.  Plus, they do, in fact, keep killing characters because of what it does for sales.  It was when they made the announcement that I felt the last vestiges of my Marvel fandom slip away.  I'm now a fan of creators who go to work at Marvel, and I'm a fan of certain characters (see:  Rocket Raccoon), but I just don't care anymore about the company.

Anyhow, RHPT asked if I knew about the death of Ultimate Spider-Man/ Peter Parker occurring in the pages of Ultimate Spidey this week.

I knew it was coming thanks to the fact that Marvel called their months' long storyline "The Death of Ultimate Spider-Man", but I didn't know when it was going down as I don't buy Ultimate Spidey anymore and haven't since about 2007 or so. 

From the article:
Fans of Spider-Man need not worry much, though, because the Ultimates imprint is separate from Marvel's bigger universe. Whatever fate may befall Ultimate Spider-Man won't count in the pages of the other series, including Amazing Spider-Man.
So, there's another reason I don't take much notice.

I am sure the death is story driven, etc...  but I'm just not involved as a reader or fan.  So, aside from basically knowing Ultimate Spidey is dead as a point of trivia, its not anything that I'm worked up about.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I am pretty sure you won't finish reading this meandering blog post

It would be bad form to not have a post ready for a Monday, but I'm kind of running dry at the moment.  Bear with me.

The weekend 

The holidays are here, and that meant Saturday we were able to attend a lovely get together at Matt and Nicole's place.  Sweaters were worn, cocktails embibed, and a cold front hit just before the party, so it didn't feel odd or unseasonal. 

I learned a lesson in trying to be a safe driver:  if you're planning to cab it around town - do not decide its time to call a cab at 2:00 AM on Saturday night/ Sunday morning during the middle of holiday revelry.  They will never, ever show up.  And you will spend an ugly hour regretting that last cocktail with SyFy Channel on mute showing some horrendous movie with Alan Cumming painted blue, and Jamie just staring at the window and repeating "where are they?", only to give up and force a sober Nicole to drive you all the way back to your house at 3:10 AM.

Today was fairly lazy.  Played with the dogs.  Read.  Cleaned up a bit.  Walked the dogs.  Fixed the fence.  Slept for a while in the afternoon, facedown on the sofa.  Denied the fact that I need to go to Lowe's and do a few last bits of Christmas shopping (I am way, way out ahead on Christmas shopping).  Met up with Matt and Nicole at a sort of Italian bistro near Nau's, ran into Keora and Laura (wife of SimonUK). 

And now I'm sitting in front of the fake fire with sleepy dogs. 

Big 12 and Longhorn Football

OU won the Big 12 Championship, which is secretly good news to me (as OU is my second favorite college team, but we do not say such things in Austin). 

And it looks like UT's long-bemoaned Offensive Coordinator, Greg Davis, will be leaving UT's coaching staff by hook or by crook early this week. 

I don't know much about Davis.  He doesn't get in front of the mics or cameras very often, but I know that in a city that screeches to a halt on game days, I have never heard one person who didn't second-guess or immediately leap to chip in to question Davis's coaching and play calling.  That's not an exaggeration for dramatic effect, that's a fact.  And it seems that UT's great recruiting of the past 10 years finally wasn't able to overcome the deficit in offensive coordination.  At some point, you can't have 100K people in the stadium all slapping their foreheads, and everybody but the Offensive Coordinator knowing that the play called was not going to work.

That's not to say people aren't warily eyeing Will Muschamp (UT's Defensive Coordinator), his millions per year and the fact that UT oddly already anointed him Mack Brown's successor despite the fact that Brown isn't scheduled to retire or leave Texas.  I don't think Muschamp is on the chopping block quite yet, but if UT is giving up as many touchdowns next year as they did this season?  That sweetheart deal is going to dry up pretty fast.

Anyway, strange days for Texas football.

On the positive side:  Looks like Oregon will challenge Auburn for the National title spot!  Very happy for our man in Oregon, Fantomenos.  The Ducks have been building to this point for a while, and I'm personally planning to dress in green and watch that one.

Jackie Chiles returns

Back in the 1990's Seinfeld was (and still remains) one of my favorite shows.  Many will remember the OJ-case inspired character, Jackie Chiles, loosely based on now-deceased showboating attorney Johnny Cochrane.

A colleague of The Signal Watch is a contributor to award-winning legal blog Abnormal Use, which recently swung an interview with the actor who portrayed Jackie Chiles, Phil Morris.  We encourage you to read the interview

I confess that, yes, I do still watch Smallville on the CW (I'm quite a fan of Ms. Durance who plays Lois.  Rowr.).  For the past few years, Morris has guest-spotted on the program as J'onn J'onzz/ John Jones (aka:  The Martian Manhunter), and he's been a real highlight in a show that I usually enjoy semi-ironically (because, man, Smallville...).  I figured it was too much to ask that they spin the character off into his own, better show, so I take what I can get.

You can also see Morris in new clips as Jackie Chiles on Funny or Die!

Congrats to Abnormal Use for a great 2010!

Spider-Man play suffers another injury

An actress playing a major role as a villain suffered a concussion when a rope smacked her in the head.  This same actress has to sit in her harness 6 hours per day. 

I really do think people will turn up to watch the show, but its for the same reason you go to NASCAR races: horrendous accidents.

Never Assume

You people can enjoy the malarkey that is The League in small, bite sized chunks and opt in or out of dealing with me as you please.  Even Jamie has the option to tell me to shut it, and/ or leave the room.  But there is a person who does not have any options.  8 hours per day, 5 days per week, my officemate (who also reports to me in the org chart) has to sit and listen to whatever I say.  And I kind of just talk.  And talk.  And talk and talk and talk and talk and talk all day every day.

And its kind of unfair.  Literally nobody else on the planet has to put up with my monologuing or fear for their livelihood.  And so it came to pass that I was completely under the impression that my officemate and I were on the same page that KANYE WEST IS THE GREATEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED, EVER.

Apparently, not so.  So, if anyone else has some ideas for what to get an officemate for Christmas that isn't the new Kanye West album, please let me know.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Spidey is on Broadway

Things I think are an okay idea:

1)  Broadway musicals
2)  The music of U2 up to Zooropa (but, really, not much since then.  Sorry, Bono)
3)  Spider-Man
4)  Magic tricks on stage

The combination of these things...?

I cannot say if this is either really great or really terrible

In the case of the soon-to-premiere Spider-Man themed live-action stage musical Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, we're getting a singing, dancing Wall Crawler and Mary Jane Watson led by a director with what seems like an increasingly Ahab-esque desire to recreate special effects usually seen only in movies (and thanks to CG, at that), and who, apparently, is figuring out that in order to do the things Spider-Man does in the comics and movies, one would need the proportionate strength, speed and agility of a spider.  Us mere mortals tend to break.

Our own Horus Kemwer suggested this NYT article as blog fodder, and its an interesting read.

I'll be honest:  I don't care if the Spider-Man musical succeeds of fails.  I do want it to succeed, because, hey...  I like for people to have jobs and whatnot.  But...  I don't really have a dog in this fight.

  • I like Spider-Man in general, but have been off the character since the 1-2 punch of Spider-Man 3 and One More Day.*  
  • I like movie musicals and the (better staged) musicals I've seen on stage**.  
  • I am not enamored of U2 in the way the producers seem to have bought into.  
  • And, frankly, I've found the early looks at the costumes of the villains that I've seen (they kept Spidey's classic reds and blues), pretty much exactly why comic fans cringe when they hear the phrase "re-imagining". But the fact that the Sinister Six seems to at least get alluded to in the commercial for the show wins me over a bit.
  • It would be sort of interesting to see Spidey beat back the doom-sayers

Here's that commercial:

As a side bar, after growing up reading Spidey, my first thought when I hear "lavish Broadway musical" is the inevitable jab they would have done in the comics showing Peter Parker unable to afford getting into see a musical based on a fictionalized version of his own story, and, should he get in, being fairly embarrassed of a singing, dancing version of himself.  I can almost see the "Oh, brother!" thought bubble now.

The play has had a widely publicized and troubled past, including cast injuries, a complete lack of money, dead producers, very public rehearsals that went supposedly pretty badly, reportedly complicated and oft-failing wire work, a spot on the Today Show that went over like a lead balloon, and costumes that left many scratching their heads (not Spidey, btw.  He looks like Spidey). 

Its not that the costumes are, as my officemate pointed out, any sillier than the original Green Goblin costume.  But as has always been the case with the movie and television adaptations, there's a certain...  irregard for the source material that's just part and parcel of people who aren't fans adapting the comics to other media. 

oh boy
And there's this:

“What I really wanted to do, and what the ‘Spider-Man’ movies and comics haven’t done, is go to this absolutely fantastical, mythic place that is out of time, somewhere between reality and the dream world,” she said.
(cough)  (crickets)


"Making it dreamlike", "mythic" and "fantastical" is (a) not what Spider-Man is about as a character -but, hey, its your show, (b) I assure you, they've gone there already dozens of times before in comics, cartoons, etc... and (c) be careful that "dreamlike" isn't a dodge for "wow, this is a muddled, goofy-looking mess". 

According to early reviews of the show from preview night, unfortunately,the show may tilt toward option C.  The notes suggest that the show is far from ready and that the vaunted flying FX?  Pretty much what you see at Cirque (which...  I saw one Cirque show but my memories are hazy).
At the end of the day, a DOA Spidey musical won't tank Julie Taymor or even really Spider-Man, in any meaningful way.  Its just the umpteenth non-invested creator deciding "I know better than the people who make the comics and movies, the fans of the material, and if this fails, its 'cause comics/superheroes are dumb".   And in a recent 60 Minutes story, Taymor and company come off as a bit defensive and its not too early to start seeing the finger pointing at an audience who will not "get" Taymor's vision.

What's funny about Broadway is that as much as comics have fanboys, so too does the Great White Way.  Surely they don't think of it as such, anymore than Fantasy Football fans think of themselves as playing Dungeons & Dragons with football stats, but there's also an appreciation for the specialties of the theater, a differing perspective, etc... and   I foresee a lot of rationalizing and posturing around the "magic" of the show and the uncultured masses who can't appreciate legitimate theater (which has varying levels of truth). 

Spider-Man is bigger than any single piece here in a way that's going to be treading into new territory for all involved (possibly even U2).  In some odd ways, its going to be two geek audiences going head-to-head.  Spidey fans and the general audience don't care if Julie Taymor made Lion King a puppet show or not, just as its not on the docket for theater-lovers to care about 40-odd years of Spider-Man comics. 
So, look...  I'm never going to get to Broadway to see this show.  Even if I were in NYC, there's nothing that says I can afford to see a show at $100 a ticket.  As of today, its unlikely the show can travel, given the technical challenges.  So let's call it a draw.

Frankly, I choose to invest my excitement in the Batman Live Arena Show.  Sure, its a show aimed at 5-year-olds and their parents, but its also most definitely going to be BATMAN, its likely to come to Texas, and nobody will care if I'm eating an enormous pretzel and drinking a Coke while watching Batman punch the Penguin in his smug little face***.  I can expect a Batmobile, explosions, Bat-villains and all other forms of Bat-Malarkey.  Not what Bono and Julie Taymor decided to do after seeing the movie poster for the 3rd movie and catching part of the first movie on an airplane.

But, you know, I also genuinely hope that this Spider-Man play will be good and make a fortune. Because, seriously, that would be the greatest stunt of all.

Bonus Link:  A Quick Look at Previous Attempts at Superhero Musicals

*and there's a whole other post in here somewhere about how Spider-Man has succeeded in reaching the cyclical state of icon-hood that DC deals with every day and how Marvel is fumbling that ball
**I have only seen one musical actually on Broadway, and only a handful of touring productions
*** this same scenario involves Jamie buying a glow necklace and a giant foam finger reading "Batman #1!"