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Deadpool

Deadpool 2

Movie banner32191888_1925746840803063_7710354267923546112_nThe sneak preview began with an intro from the man himself.
“You @#$%nuggets are among the first to see Deadpool 2! And I’m sure you’re wondering the same thing I am; are the guys on Sesame Street full on Muppets or just puppets?” ‘Pool then warned us not to google the origin for Cable because it would just confuse us.

We launched directly into a gratuitous action sequence (there may or may not have been a chainsaw involved) before hitting the title credits. I’m really very pleased to report that the title credits are just as funny this time around as they were in the first film. I was genuinely surprised at how well the Celine Dion song works for this title sequence, but it fits the whole James Bond homage they seem to be doing here and the previous scene actually set the mood just right for it.

32286570_1925746834136397_103568789836136448_nJust as we see on the poster, there’s a lot of film homage and parodying here. More cribbing film styles than actual movies, done so they can poke fun in a goofy post-modern way. The film is drowning in fan service and in-jokes hitting X-Men, Avengers, Batman, Superman, Marvel in general….there’s even a pretty dead on swipe at Deadpool’s creator Rob Liefeld. If you are familiar with the genre it all lands with great hilarity, though I fear some of the broader audience is going to feel left out by some of these jokes (I’ll find out in a week when I go back to see it with the wife). It went to great lengths to poke fun at the hyper-politically correct culture we find ourselves in as well. At least, I think that’s what it was doing. It’s hard to tell sometimes, considering they had to change the race of one character and make another one gay in the name of diversity… isn’t that the very thing they’re supposed to making fun of?

The buzz around the lobby was Deadpool 2 exceeded the first. A lot of people felt it was a 32290812_2128876233819748_267699569188405248_nbetter film. I’m not so sure. It definitely had better villains and I really dug the whole X-Force connections. Honestly you could not have gotten better casting for Cable than Josh Brolin. He’s just pitch perfect – not too over the top, not to gritty and grim.  He looks the part and just embodies the character in a way  Ican’t imagine anyone else doing. I’m actually a big fan of Domino here as well – or at least of the character they are calling Domino. Honestly, Zazee Beetz’s character has more depth and heart than the rather one dimensional character she’s named after. It genuinely makes me wish they’d created her an original character to play instead of just flipping race. She’s sassy, dangerous and fun, with a touch of 70’s blaxploitation to her. It would be nice to see more of her (May happen in an X-Force movie) I’d totally read a comic series based on her instead of the albino Domino from X-Force. Like I said, shame they didn’t create an original character.

The problem is there’s moments where the movie just kind of stops dead. And in the end, I think that if I were looking at my library shelf with this and the first Deadpool, I’d be more likely to pull the first. It’s good, but the first was great.

Still, this is definitely a must see…and in the theater. More importantly, Deadpool 2 absolutely wins post credits scenes. That’s it, we don’t ever need another post-credits scene again… It will never, ever be as good as this. Trust me on this, just lay back, close your eyes, and wait through the entire credit sequence.

And if you can, hit it at the Midway Atlas Theaters in Elyria. Friday night, there will be superheros hanging out before the 7:30 screening, that…and this movie are not to be missed.

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Deadpool : The Next Generation part 2

commissionsLast month we talked a little bit about these pics that inspired a Deadpool/Star Trek cosplay. Well, we only showed about half of those pictures… here’s a slew more!
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Deadpool

Movie banner12733359_1116381018406320_2647713768612134809_nI hit the Deadpool premier at Atlas cinemas this weekend with a group and it was a great time​. I made the questionable decision to show up as origins Deadpool  (I troll at an Olympic level).

The movie itself was pretty much what I expected it to be – well perhaps a bit more male nudity than I expected, but I am assume Ryan Reynolds decided that if his face were going to be covered for so much of the movie he better show off his second most recognizable asset.

I’m really not trying to make puns– it just keeps happening, sorry.

I seriously liked the very firm connection to the X-Men films the movie had, it’s not just dropping a character like Colossus in there, it’s the X mansion, the blackbird, the little X symbols that we frequently see. Stuff like that reminds us that we are in a greater universe, and that’s a nice thing. Hardly essential, but nice.

The action was well done, lots of impact shots and gore – that’s also nice to see in an action movie again, particularly in an error when “action” frequently mean to bloodless. This is a nice change. It’s actually more of a throwback to the 80s action films then The Expendables was. Let’s face it after all, the action films in the 80s really were what super hero films are nowadays – just at a much higher rating.

That “R” rating is completely appropriate here by the way, there is a ton of nudity and constant foul language. You could possibly clean up some of it, but never enough to get it on television – it’s Tarantino and Rob Zombie levels of blasphemy. A good deal of it is warranted – some of it is excessive and gratuitous but I get what they were going for. Still, I’m not taking my kids to see it – I really don’t want the first wang they see to be Deadpools, looking like a hot dog that was left in the microwave too long.

Really, the biggest problem with this film – and I was worried about this going in- is that we’ve already seen most of it in the trailers. In fact, the trailers are pretty much your PG-13 edit of the film. There is very little outside of the F-bombs that we didn’t see previewed, and that’s a shame because this is a good film – the action starts right off. He is immediately in the red suit, and the origin is told in pieces throughout the first act via flashbacks. It’s somewhat the same technique that Man of Steel used, but far more in your face with a ton more costumed antics during that first act.

The jokes here are genuinely funny. This movie is as much a comedy as it is an action film. That’s a hard balance to maintain too, horror generally does it better. It was given a valiant try in the Rush Hour films – and completely failed in others like Hollywood Homicide. Deadpool is designed for this kind of blend of comedy and action. The fourth wall references, especially the ones to the other X films are just so spot-on that you can’t help but appreciate them.

All in all, it’s a recommended – and very gratifying to see it getting the love that it is, as specially considering how few people showed up for the R rated dread film just a few years back. It’ll make it onto my DVD shelf not too long from now and maybe for dead Paul to I’ll dress will look more appropriately – scroll down for some photos from our screening this weekend!

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Indiana Comicon

Conman

I should have known better.11037259_933256620052095_4418008790832503459_n

Seriously, I should have snagged a clue when I passed the billboard for Indiana Comicon on my way to Days of the Dead, but honestly, even with the attendance of Carrie Fisher, they really didn’t have a lot of media guests… it wasn’t going to be THAT big of a con was it? I was beginning to have misgivings, but still, I grabbed my Shadow costume and hit the road.

Indiana is possibly the biggest convention I’ve attended. easily as big as Wizard World Cleveland was. Big cons arn’t my thing. I don’t dig standing in lines all day, fighting the crowds. I want to be able to interact with the guests and hang out at the panels. The bigger the con is the less of that I get to do and this thing was HUGE.New_100_6502

It’s their second year and it shows. They haven’t quite gotten the hang of scheduling or crowd control. Last year people were unable to get in, refunded admission after standing in line for hours. This year those problems were solved, but they crept up again inside with the guests. There were a lot of upset attendees who stood in line for Carrie Fisher for up to 4 hours only to be turned away. It wasn’t  just with her either though. Paige O’Hare (Belle from Beauty and the New_100_6504Beast) had her line closed three times while I was there. It would open for an hour or so (less than an hour that last time 4:30 and closed around 5:15) and shut down again for a photo op or panel. I didn’t make it up to see her and my girls were disappointed.

Still, truth be told, I wasn’t there for the media guests. I was there for the comic guests – and this is to Indiana’s GREAT credit. They are VERY focused on comics, and brought in some amazing guests.

Punisher_Vol_2_11Whilce Portacello mentioned that working on the Punisher was great training for young artist.

“I had to do so much research on the guns, I had to get everything right all the lines all the look.”.

I always love the way that Whilce  created speed and action, and  he told me “You’ve got to do that sometimes.” he pointed to a particular punisher cover.  “Look at this, it’s an old cannon. It’s boring! You got to do something to make that look cool!”

One of the other things I love about his era, is this is when we got away from the cylinders as teeth on the Punisher’s skull.

“That was Mike Baron. We started out with the Cylenders, but he wanted to take it back to the early look. It dosen’t make sense anyhow! Why Cylinders? They don’t bend!”

I also talked to Mike Grell about Green Arrow : The Longbow Hunters asking how this came about it he come do do this. Did they come to him?

“They asked me if there was any one DC character I’d like to take and revamp and relaunch who would it be? My first thought was Batman, But at that time Frank Miller had just done Batman and I had a feeling that his version with stick for the next 20 years, and I was right!” he said,  referring to the changes in the new 52.

“I always loved Green Arrow and they suggested what about Green Arrow as a hunter – well this was perfect for me!”

I mentioned to Grell that I thought Jon Sable was the one of the most interesting character in comics. I really do believe this. He smiled and shook my hand, saying “I’d really like to get back to this character some day. I think there are a few more stories in him.”

I had questions for Mark Wade about Kingdom Come, curious if all that background imaging we see throughout the graphic novel was all Alex Ross

“All that background noise was all Alex.”  he said. Waid is currently writing the Green Hornet and loving it. Dynamite is just a great home for these characters and he asked if I was reading the new Avenger series as well.  I haven’t picked it up yet although I very much enjoy Batman_419Justice Inc.

I question Mike Zeck on his covers for 10 nights the beast which I love, but why does the beast look so different on his covers and he did on the inside?

“I didn’t really study the inside of these issues” Zeck replied and it appears to have been an access issue although he did create a stunning painted cover which is more in line with the character design for the trade paperback which I love.

I got a moment with Jae Lee to gush about how much I loved his Masks covers, and we discussed the Dark Tower a bit (I’m working on the novels right now, and was listening to an audiobook on the way down to the show) and his work on the comic prequels.

Art Thibert was up next and I’m a big fan of Art’s. Particularly when he inks Dan Jergens. There is this era of superman right after Jerry Ordway leaves and we are really missing his art. Dan Jergens is adequate. He’s more than up to the task but there’s just something Adventures_of_Superman_473about the Thibert over Jurgans that’s got this kinetic look.

“A lot of what I was doing were actually finishes not just inks. All that hatching and speed lines. though it might be credited as inks, Dan was doing a lot of layouts and leaveing thefinishes for us.”

Bob McCloud is unassuming, quiet and friendly. His career spans decades he’s done just about everything he’s inked everybody. “I’ve been very lucky” he said.

Denny O’Neill has fond memories of the shadow, especially of Anthony Tollin who was his go-to guy for preparation.

“Any time I had any questions he said I can immediately go and call Tollin. There is a guy who has lived his life exactly the way that he New_11054479_936408949736862_4026787195773672807_nwanted to.”

We discussed both Tollin and Walter Gibson’s love of magic. I’m a magician as well, and I can see how that is part of the appeal.

“Gibson was a lazy writer. He would stop typing after his fingers started to bleed!” O’Niel joked, referring to Gibsons prolific output.

He loved my Shadow costume. So did Allen Bellman

“I though the Reaper had come for me!” he exclaimed as I came up to his table. One of the things I love about cosplaying the Shadow, is it’s a simple costume – and I can get out of it and look reasonably normal for photos with guests, but slip  that scarf right back up and get into character in seconds. It’s also unique. I see dozens of Deadpools, hordes of Harley Quinns, but no one else is dressed like the Shadow, and it’s one of those characters – when people recognize who you are it makes them incredibly happy.

imagesOne last note, I’ve really got to hand it to the little girl from Frozen, she stayed at that booth all day and was energetic and happy period she reminds me so much of my children, with the exaggerated movements the excitement the little bundle of kinetic energy 22 a poster and showing it off, greeting kids with high-fives and hugs to takeing photos and talking with them and interact with them. You can see she wants to be here too, she wasn’t just dragged here by a momager, she’s loving this, and that makes me feel good about her appearance at these kind of shows.  I have the utmost respect for this young woman and almost regret not taking a photo of her, but let’s face it, that would be creepy…

All in all, I’m not going back. Too far to drive for what I got. Not all of that is the cons fault, but it wasn’t one of my better days and more and more I think I need to stick with the MUCH smaller shows. I have a better time with them.  Wasteland in two weeks.

And now – about a hundred photos.

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Superheroes vs the Cleveland Pops

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Summer is almost over and this weekend here in my hometown of Elyria there was a free concert by Cleveland Pops.

And a bunch of Superheroes.

The city coordinated the Orchestra’s visit with a local volunteer group called Superheroes to Kids in Ohio who work with kids in hospitals and terminally ill patients. They introduced sets and worked the crowd as the orchestra played selections from superhero films such as Avengers, The Dark Knight and Spider-Man. There was even a Frozen set.

This was a good time, in the middle of the city, surrounded by superheros, with the orchestral score playing in the background and fireworks in the sky. It’s also EXACTLY the sort of thing Elyria needs more of.

Happy Labor Day.

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By the way, even though it’s Labor Day there IS still a new Violent Blue up today!


In Defense of X-Men Origins : Wolverine

defense

1This is actually a hard Colum to write. The rules are it has to be about a property (mostly movies, but comics and music are fair game too) that everyone in general hates and that conventional wisdom tells us is bad, but that I like. And I mean LIKE. Not just a “meh…that’s not really THAT bad a movie….”

Here’s how I can  tell that Wolverine isn’t a bad movie. I like it – and I don’t like ANY of the X-Men movies. The second one is  the only one I might ever bother to rewatch besides this one (and the way Wolverine cuts through those soldiers in the mansion really bothers me). I actually change the channel if any of these movies come on broadcast TV.

I read the comics, but let’s face it, the cinematic X universe bears little more than a passing resemblance to the comics. That’s actually a good thing too, because I can’t stand Wolverine in the comics. Hugh Jackman however, actually makes me care about the character. he makes me like him. The first three X-Movies are really just all about Wolvie, so why not finally admit it and put his name on the shingle?

The action is good here. It’s a lot of CG, 3but we’ve come to expect that from X-Movies. Wolverine broods a bit, but I think it actually fits the character. I’m hearing a lot of complaing on that same subject for the Days of Future Past film as well, but if you genuinely know the character, you’ll realize he’s more than a hack ’em up brute. It’s a role Jackman plays extraordinarily well.

The lack of continuity with Sabertooth has bugged some people. I get that. I really wish it were Tyler Man again, or that this guy had played him in the first film. It would have helped my suspension of disbelief. However, Sabertooth isn’t just a brute either. In the mid 90’s there was some real development of the character, imprisoned in the mansion and while they were attempting to rehabilitate him, he was 2playing mind games with the crew. There’s aspecial hatred between him and Gambit. It’s a shame that actually never played itself out on screen here. It’s a missed opprutunity, but then again, perhaps one that would have made the plot look too crowded to casual fans.

Gambit by the way, it perfectly realized here. I’m a fan of the character and loved the portrayal in this film. My only complaint is that he’s underused. That’s been the excuse for three previous films as to why they never brought him in by the way – they felt they wouldn’t have a big enough role for him. After waiting so long though, it was good to finally see Remy LeBeau realized on screen.

6Which brings me to the big sticking point for a lot of people.

Deadpool.

For all you haters out there….I’ll give you this one. What they did with deadpol was a real waste. It smacks of studio interference by a group of people who just don’t understand the character. A shame too, because before his transformation into the bizarre weapon X without a mouth. Ryan Reynolds actually does a nice job as Wade Wilson. If anything, it’s a bit underplayed.

Here’s why it didn’t ruin the movie for me. I barely knew ANYTHING abut Deadpool when this came out. He’d shown up in X-Force as a fairly generic Vanilla character and I was completely unfamiliar with the more loony 4characterization he’d grown into (and thanks to Jesse Vining who re-introduced me to the character when I was getting back into Heroclix). I imagine a great deal of the general public was the same way….it was just another bad guy to them. Still, to a fan, I can see how this could poison the film for you. I have similar feelings about Alien 3 (but more on that next month). The fact that we still haven’t gotten a proper Deadpool feature (especially with that script that’s been floating around) makes it even more of a slap in the face.  In this case, I’m genuinely asking you to set aside that and pretend he’s just a random bad guy. This really is a fun film, and there are too few X-films with this kind of rewatchability to just throw this one aside.


This time Deadpool is the jerk

Marvel Clix

There are times when you see Deadpool sneaking up on someone, he’s stealthed and just being generally annoying. you know an attack will hit and do no damage, but you just feel like you have to take the shot anyhow.

clix heros idea


Deadpool

gamer

thI finally got around to playing the Deadpool video game while I was on vacation.  Gameplay is reasonably straight forward, though there are a few places you have to backtrack to achieve game effects. Still, that’s all standard. That could be any other review.

What Deadpool stands on is the tory and the character. This is the merc ith a mouth and boy, do they go out of thier way to live up to that reputation. I’ve never played a game where there was this much talking in game. As he slices and dices he taunts and talks and jokes. Spider-Man game developers could really learn from this mechanic.  A lot of the material is repeated, but that’s to be expected. Heck, I tell the same jokes to diffrent audiences on a regular basis.

th3There’s a heavy X-Men influence here as well. Much more than I expected to see. Sinister is the villian and I was a little surprised about that. He dosen’t strike me as a typical Deadpool baddie.  Cable and Domino show up enough to make me feel like I was reading old Liefield X-Force off-issues.  Wolverine makes an appearance and it’s JUST enough. People have a tendancy to overuse him and he could have easily taken over a good level or so but no, in fact Rogue has more screen time than Wolvie.

I love the Rogue level.  It’s easily the best one in the game and she comes off remarkably well in the game. We even get to play her for a minuet after Deadpool lends her his healing factor….and mask. Deadpool spends most of the level searching for her so he can make her fall in love with him. Maybe that’s why I really dig this part -I’ve had a thing for Rogue since I read Asgard Wars (and  then there was that year I dated a girl who absolutely wanted to BE Rogue). I can relate with Deadpool’s low motives.

th2Nolan North captures Deadpol perfectly by the way, whenever I read the comics from here on out, it’s his voice I will hear. He’s as definitve as Kevin Conroy is to Batman. Daniel Wray has written a brilliant script.  This FEELS like Deadpool. Even the potty humor (which I usualy don’t go for) works in this context.  I’m not one of those people who thinks video games are the next evolution  of entertainment…that thinks they are the natural progression from film, but I will say this: This game is far more satisfying than any Deadpool movie I could imagine (and I say that having read the excellent screenplay  by Reese and Wernick).  THere’s an inheriant goofieness, and breaking the fourth wall fits better here. One of my favortie moments is when Deadpool has to get across a huge chasm and he does it by jumping on old dialogue boxes.

Overall, a great game with a fun attitude and atmosphere that sets it above a normal hack and slash. It’s a shooter where the witting matters, and I love it.

 

 


It was Merc team against my Brute squad. Now, to be fair, the dice were really rolling my way all night and I was making insane successes. Jessie was having the exact opposite kind of luck.

I don’t usually roll with Brutes – I prefer ranged attackers and would like to use some skill….except I really don’t have much skill as far as clix goes! Still I wanted to try out that Composite Superman and the Joe Fixit (grey Hulk) I got and it seemed like a good game to try it.

There was t his one moment when my Hulk Robot (one of those figures I got ENTIRELY because it looked cool – but it’s turned out to be a nice little piece after all) had Deadpool and Bob : Agent of Hydra based. Deadpool was maxed aout and about to get a big Hulk Smash with a light object. Bob rolled breakaway and ran for the hills. I kind of see the entire encounter going a little like this:


Deadpool’s new power

You know, I don’t usually do these kinds of gags (that’s why this isn’t appearing over at Violent Blue) but it was a funny bit that happened one night as we were playing over at Warzone. I forget what all figures Jesse was playing, but he had his everpresent Deadpool, along with another piece that gave a free smoke cloud barrier each turn. His turn came and he started up the clouds around Deadpool. Someone (possibly Mark) made acomment about how he didn’t realize Deadpool had that power, and before he could point out that it was coming from another figure..well…..

I’ll admit to laughing.