Posts Tagged ‘Action’

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Arkon’s march across Weirdworld continues in issue #2, but what new and unbelievable terrors await him?  In this issue of Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo’s series, we find the main character being held prisoner by the city of Apelantis… yes, that’s correct, underwater apes.  However, a strange cell mate might hold Arkon’s key to freedom.

Aaron’s writing continues to shine here, as he writes the bull-headed character of Arkon.  The strong will of the character seems to plow through what could otherwise be a relatively mundane story in the hands of a less talented writer.  Arkon’s cell mate here is also quite interesting, in both an intriguing and somewhat tragic way, and he illustrates just how difficult life in Battleworld, and more specifically, Weirdworld can be.  The grand plan of the main villain in the series is not quite clear yet, but I’m ok with that, as it seems little pieces keep falling together with each passing issue.

Mike Del Mundo’s artwork is… weird, but in a good way.  The lines are rough, the creatures are hideous, and the surrounding environment is both beautiful and terrifying at the same time.  It seems to fit the style of the narrative perfectly, and the images are almost like pictures painted onto a scroll, or cave wall.  There’s an interesting depth and texture here that you don’t often find in comics, and it all adds to the rough nature of the story being told.

Admittedly, I was hesitant about this series at first, but it has certainly become one that I look forward to now.  A solid creative team, and a unique story combine to make this series great.

The Verdict for Weirdworld #2:
5/5 – Must Have Moar!!!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
March of the Crabs, Volume 1: The Crabby Condition
Old Man Logan #3 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Squarriors #3
Thors#2 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
X-Men ’92 #2 (Secret Wars Tie-In)

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The thirty year old franchise about killer cyborgs from the future is back for its fifth installment, but is it a worthy addition to the already dense mythology of this universe?  There’s no better time like the present to find out.

Terminator Genisys begins by telling the story of the events that set the first movie in motion more than three decades ago.  In the year 2029, Skynet sends a terminator 800 series, model 101 back in time to 1984 to assassinate Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) before she can give birth to her son John (Jason Clarke), who will become the leader of the human resistance against the machines.  In response, the humans send back a lone soldier, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), to protect Sarah.  And that’s about where the similarities end, as Kyle witnesses an event just before he goes back that changes everything.  When he arrives in 1984, the Sarah he finds is not weak and helpless as she was in the first movie, as a matter of fact, her first action is to save Kyle’s life.  She then explains to him that the timelines have been changed somehow and that she’s actually been under the protection of a terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) since the age of nine.  The Sarah that he was going back to protect does not exist.  They then work together to try and prevent Judgment Day from ever happening.  Confused yet?  No?  Good.

So, it’s pretty well accepted that when it comes to these movies, it’s best not to think too much of the time-travel element, lest you make your head explode with all of the paradoxes created, which brings me to one of the major issues I have with this movie.  Time-travel is EVERYWHERE.  Characters are moving backward through the time-stream, then a completely different set of characters are going backward, then characters travel into the future.  The whole premise of the first three movies was that there was just enough energy to send back two things, the assassin, and the guardian.  It kept things simple, personal, a one-on-one conflict between a ruthless killing machine, and the person/reprogrammed cyborg trying to stop it.  In this movie, there are (no joke) T-1000 terminators at at least three different points in the timeline, plus the two T-800 “Ah-nuld” models, as well as a third surprise (I chose a different version of the poster to avoid spoiling it).  When you add Kyle into the mix, that’s at least seven different beings that have gone back through time.  It’s too much to keep track of, and it’s less believable as a whole.

The other major issue that I have with this movie is that it effectively erases all of the other movies that came before it in the franchise, which in turn obliterates Sarah’s transformation from a helpless character in The Terminator to the supreme badass that we find in T2: Judgment Day.  Her changing throughout the first movie is what made her an endearing character.  Growing into the militant soldier that we find in the second movie was on her terms, no one else’s.  She knew she had to prepare for what was coming and train her son at the same time.  In Genisys, that choice and transformation is taken away from her.  She’s a strong character because the T-800 raised her that way after the death of her parents.  Please note, this is more an attack on the story rather than Emilia Clarke.  I was pleasantly surprised with her portrayal of Sarah.  She is tough, she is strong, and she is… much shorter than I initially thought she was.

This of course, brings me to the acting.  As I mentioned, Emilia Clarke is perhaps the bright spot here.  She’s not quite Linda Hamilton, but she is much closer than I thought we were going to get for this movie.  Arnold… is Arnold.  There’s really no other way to describe it.  He’s at his best when he plays a massive cyborg hell-bent on destruction.  I think he gets far more lines in this movie than he ever has before, but he’s able to pull it off relatively well.  Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese is a little bit of a stretch.  When Michael Biehn played the character in 1984, he was skinny, wiry, he had a tremendous sense of urgency about him, and you believed he was from a terrible future where people scratched and clawed for everything they could get, Courtney is simply too well-fed and muscular to be believable in this role, and his delivery is a little wooden as well.

The action is about what you would expect from a Terminator movie.  However, it kept ramping up and up, until it became a little over the top in the latter portions of the movie, but overall it was fun to watch the monstrous metal killing machines try to find new and ever more explosive ways to try and destroy each other.

Overall, this is not a bad movie, per se, but it really does not hold up very well to its predecessors.  The self-contained story here is pretty jumbled, and it also muddies the waters of the films that came before it.  However, solid performances from two of the three leads keep it from being completely terrible.  I do genuinely feel like it will appeal more to newcomers than to those of us already familiar with the franchise.

The Verdict for Terminator Genisys:
3/5 – Meh…

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
Secret Wars #4
Ultimate End #3 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Secret Wars Journal #3
March of the Crabs, Volume 1: The Crabby Condition

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In Where Monsters Dwell #2 Garth Ennis and Russ Braun continue the story of Karl Kaufmann and his passenger Clemmie, after they’ve crashed in the Valley of Flame to discover that it’s populated by dinosaurs and other creatures that should be long extinct.

The pacing and comedy of this issue are very similar to the first.  It’s almost reminiscent of watching Gilligan’s Island… except here there are gigantic monsters that want to kill our main characters around every turn.  Ennis’ dialogue paired with Braun’s artwork make for terrific comedic timing, and a thoroughly fun story to read.  Also, with Marvel seemingly pushing as much diversity as possible lately, it is nice to see a genuinely strong female lead character.

Braun’s art is still slightly cartoonish, but it doesn’t really bother me with this story.  For some reason it just seems to fit perfectly with the events and setting that we’re given.  That being said, there are also some pretty violent scenes in this comic as well, after all, giant monsters have to eat something…

At the end of the day, I won’t go so far as to say this is the best series to come out of Secret Wars, but an argument could certainly be made for this one being the most fun to read.  That fun factor paired with solid writing and artwork could turn this into the sleeper hit of the entire event.

The Verdict for Where Monsters Dwell #2:
5/5 – Must Have Moar!!!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
Planet Hulk #2 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
X-Men ’92 #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
East of West, Volume 4: Who Wants War TPB
March of the Crabs, Volume 1: The Crabby Condition

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It’s been three decades since “Mad” Max Rockatansky last made a theatrical appearance.  Was this drive on the Fury Road worth the wait?  Let’s find out.

Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy in the titular role, and was written and directed by George Miller, who was also the writer and director of the original trilogy of Mad Max films.  It starts with Max being chased and captured by the first of many desert gangs you’ll encounter in the movie.  While he’s being held captive, Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, goes on a supply run for the gang, and from there things quickly swerve into a non-stop stretch of car chases, shootouts, fist fights, flying bodies, and other general vehicular carnage.  What a lovely day, indeed.

The story in this outing is easy enough to follow, as there’s nothing too subversive going on here, and it moves the plot along well enough.  But let’s be honest, you probably aren’t considering seeing this movie for an incredibly deep plot, are you?  You went in for the action, and there’s certainly plenty of it.  And the best part about it?  Most of the effects are real.  It certainly seems like the filmmakers lived up to their word and only used CGI effects when absolutely necessary.  I may be old fashioned, but I find that to be a nice touch.  There’s a genuine weight and gravity to a real car flipping through the desert and kicking up rooster tails in the sand that you just don’t get with a digital image.  It generally just makes the movie “feel” more real, and some of the realistic stunt pieces in this movie are nothing short of spectacular.

On to the acting.  To put it bluntly, Charlize Theron steals this movie.  She’s tough, she’s gritty, and she isn’t afraid of anything.  Her portrayal of Furiosa is not quite in the same league as Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor, or Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, but it’s not very far behind either, and that in itself speaks volumes.  As for Tom Hardy as Max… well… I kinda didn’t buy it.  This is a much more haunted Max than we’ve seen in the previous films.  He has flashbacks, and genuinely frightening hallucinations about the people he’s failed to save, and that’s the part I was OK with, as I felt it gave the character some serious depth.  However, at different points in the movie, he almost seems like he’s two different characters.  For the most part he’s quiet and brooding (which I had come to expect from Mel Gibson’s Max in the original trilogy), but at other times he almost comes off as spastic, similar to some of the antagonists in the movie, which I really didn’t care too much for.  The other actors here perform their parts well, particularly Hugh Keays-Byrne, who pulls off at times a genuinely terrifying Immortan Joe, the film’s primary antagonist.  Fun fact: Keays-Byrne also played the Toecutter, who was the antagonist of the first Mad Max film in 1979.

In the end, this movie is a seriously fun summer action flick, but some of the stylistic elements that I had gotten used to from the franchise’s previous installments, particularly those pertaining to the main character, just weren’t quite there this time.  However, those minor quibbles do not in any way take away from the fact that this movie was incredibly enjoyable to watch with its truly epic action set pieces.  I would highly recommend checking this one out in a theater.

The Verdict for Mad Max: Fury Road:
I can dig it

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us TPB
Secret Wars: Battleworld #1
Ultimate End (Battleworld Imprint) #1
Wytches #1-#6