Robert Downey Junior dons the mask of Iron Man in the 3rd installment of his superhero series, which is a sequel to both his Iron Man movies and Marvel’s the Avengers. It’s a character focused story about who Tony Stark is and how his life has become larger than life, while alongside moving forward the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Mechanical engineered weaponry clashes with DNA-based bio-weaponry.
Shane Black takes over Jon Favreau as director with Drew Pierce as his co-writer; they both seem to have a lot of creative energy with introducing concepts like the Mandarin, the Extremis and Advanced Idea Mechanics. The main appeal of the movie remains to be what’s important; The characters, the interaction between Tony Stark and his life, from his girlfriend Pepper Pots to Happy Hogan to James Rhodey, the dialogue is fine and there are tons of pop culture jokes, but somehow somewhere that energy of creativity got lost into this big mess which makes the movie have an identity crisis: Is it an incredibly childish kids family movie or an entertaining action comedy thriller?
There are scenes of serious thought, only to be completely made fun of like it was an parody of itself, this whole movie feels like it was a 90s kid’s movie that makes a parody out of Iron Man, or perhaps this Is the mass commercialism of Iron Man? It’s just weird seeing characters gaining random super powers (that include the instant knowledge of Kung Fu?), Tony Stark hanging out with a little kid, becoming Mac Gyver (instead of just getting his back-up armors) and the movie happen during Christmas!
While the movie is not a spark of entertainment that Iron Man or the Avengers, it still gives show cases solid performances from the actors. Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) alongside Eric Savin (James Badge Dale) bring the villains to live with their menacing facial play, albeit their motivations for the entire movie is questionable and weak, the Ben Kingsley theatrics we’re convincing but they are simply just sad I’m afraid. I would simply recommend fans of the series to just re-watch Iron Man again, but this movie can become a cult hit for its utter weirdness.
Lois Lane being awesome in “Superman: Unbound”
A tale of eternal love between Hawkman & Hawkgirl, but there is a twist: as their souls have reincarnated in the 20th century only Hawkman remembers the past, is it love he feels or obsession? Geoff John’s story tangles on the everlasting conflict that people have in relationship with a mix of super heroism. James Robinson co-wrote the earliest issues assisting Johns while the art duties we’re penciled by Rags Morales.
Today Hawkman is known as Carter Hall a college professor of archaeology and a superhero adventurer eat your heart out Indiana Jones! Exotic locations range from India with Elephantaur Warriors of Ganesh, the cold Himalaya with its Yetis & the good old’ crime filled streets of the various cities DC universe has.
Johns uses the Hawk legacy to its full use tying many characters into the vast history from the days of Prince Khufu during the reign of Ramesses II with Teth-Adam (Black Adam) & Nabu as his allies. Brian Kent, the Silent Knight of the 16th century medieval times. Hannibal Hawkes, the Nighthawk was his identity during the 19th century, America’s Wild West days. Hall’s own son even has become Dr. Fate (Nabu) and Black Adam is trying to mold the world in his views, so you have so many legacy aspects tied down with Hawkman and the Justice Society of America which whom play a big role in the last story arc of this Omnibus; Expect cameos from your favorite JSA members from Flash to Wild Cat to Green Lantern to Shazam!
Nick Fury is one of the most hardboiled dedicated master spies in the shadowy wars within shadow organizations; it’s the high espionage thriller war between Fury’s Howling Commandos & Caterpillar Teams, Hydra, Hammer & Leviathan. Hickman is flawless with the details the story details, the shadow war setting mixed with larger than life action sequences, badass one-liners, manipulation, double agents, sex, moles, variety of secret headquarters, it’s all there in the story like you’d suspect from a spy thriller.
Hickman utilizes the vast history of the Marvel Universe right from the very beginning of World War Two as Captain America, Nick Fury & the Howling Commandos we’re fighting the good fight against Nazis & Hydra. The wheels within wheels begun spinning there and the story utilizes non-chronological storytelling, so you get full shocks as your jaw drops at the clever plot twists that almost seemingly come out of nowhere.
Fury, Baron Strucker, Gorgon, Valentina de Fontaine, Kraken, Orion, Quake. All these characters and plenty of more from different groups are simply people who have for the longest time kept secrets from each other, lies are told after lies and their hearts are being closed from the ones they care for. The story spans over 70 years of events and when it reaches to the end, nothing remains the same. It’s easily one of the best spy action stories out there.
the Squadron Supreme are a Justice League knock off originally created by Roy Thomas for Marvel’s the Avengers to battle DC’s Justice League for the sake of pure comic book fun. Mark Gruenwald who was an editor of Marvel Comics for years, still had his heart towards DC’s Silver Age heroes, specifically the Justice League of America. In 1985 Gruenwald finally receives the opportunity to write the Justice League of America under Marvel’s 12-issue limited series the Squadron Supreme.
Hyperion (Superman) decides that it’s time to create an Utopia and change the world for the better, instead of always just reacting to crime happen, this time they will ensure it never happens, alongside finding solutions to diseases, war, criminal behaviour, unemployment, etc. The Squadon Supreme is composed of Hyperion, Nighthawk (Batman), Zarda (Wonder Woman), Doctor Spectrum (Green Lantern Hal Jordan), Whizzer (Flash), Amphibian (Aquaman), Blue Eagle (Hawkman), Arcanna (Zatanna), Golden Archer (Green Arrow), Lady Lark (Black Canary), Tom Thumb (Atom) and the story expands with more familiar characters you can easily recognize as DC characters, it’s incredibly fun.
The Squadron struggles through trial after trial, while finding solutions such as reating jobs and replacing guns with pacifier pistols, getting rid of all world’s nukes, creating protection-bubble-belts incase of criminal activity, the biggest turmoil and conflict comes from the Squadron trying to find cures to world diseases alongside stopping crime altogether. It becomes this Big Brother movement when Tom Thumb creates the ”Behaviour Modification” device. the Squadron begin mind altering criminals into what they want them to become, so the heroes themselves start becoming rulers and inner conflict is created with Nighthawk & Amphibian leaving the team, you then know it’s gonna end up with that big clash of the titans with Superman’s Justice League againts Batman’s rebels, here titled Nighthawk’s the Redeemers, which is mostly composed of criminals, so even Nighthawk makes sacrifises for the sake of the world.
Tho i think Mark Gruenwald was too ambitious with this project, but the flaws really lie in focusing on other subplots such as Captain America guest-starring, alternate dimension Hyperion infiltrating the Squadron at the behest of Master Menace (Dr. Doom) instead of really getting a bigger emphasis how the world was changing, sure we do see and read how people are getting jobs, the solutions to diseases is clever enough but things like the Squadron taking away all weapons while their own members still carried weapons was hilariously hypocritical as was the obvious use of Behaviour Modification, tho my main disappointment lies with the book’s ending.
Nighthawk’s argument is how creating the Utopia program requires as noble people such as Hyperion to maintain it for it to not dissolve into a totalitarian tyranny, so there is a danger of escalation but the same argument applies to superheroism as well, if Nighthawk is the Batman of this universe, he surely knows that his crime fightning has escalated villainy into supervillainy and the city itself has moved onwards in both good and bad, so by his own words he shouldn’t be a hero because there might be a chance his replacement will be gruesome and vile? I just can’t buy into this argument and the story ends there. The Omnibus collect’s the sequel to the story ”Death of a Universe” but it is a basic Squadron Supreme vs. Nth Man (Kang the Conqueror) storyline with the whole reality at stake, but it barely touches anything on how the world has reacted to the Utopia project, it just scratches the surface a little.
While Squadron Supreme is an overlook comic and an exhilarating Justice League of America story, it sadly has a handful misses with it’s story for it to be considered one of the best Superhero comics out there.
the Dark Reign has begun with Norman Osborn becoming the head of US Security, the Punisher is needed more than ever before & the whole world is againts him! This is Remender’s Punisher where everything escalates to more grand epic proportional fantasy war, alongside showing a wider take on the Marvel Universe from the Hood’s army of criminals to supernatural monsters to Hank Pym’s inventions.
That’s what makes this run so memorable and unique that you can recommend it to the classic Punisher stories, where else can you read a comic about Punisher utilizing Hawkeye’s bow, Ant-Man’s Pym particles & helmet alongside teaming up with Man-Thing, Morbius the Living Vampire, Werewolves to wage war againts monster hunters as the terrifying Franken-Castle?! Not to mention things get very personal between the Punisher & Wolverine’s evil son Daken!
Remender’s voice for Punisher carries on within each issue giving us a indepth look on Punisher’s voice, his code of honor and what makes him tick. Remender also gives a great look thru the villains’ perspective and how much of a legacy Punisher carries around New York city. The artists Jerome Opeña, Tan Eng Huat, Roland Boschi, Stephen Segovia & Tony Moore illusturate gorgeously how dark, violently gruesome & action packed Punisher’s world is, not to mention Moore’s talent on faces & emotions are unparalled, while Tan Eng Huat & Jerome Opeña’s opening arc is just visceral to Punisher’s victims.
My top favourite movies I enjoyed from 2012:
Shame: Powerful movie about addiction & the damage it can cause to yourself and loved ones. Michael Fassbender delivers a truthful portrayal of an sex addict, Steve McQueen doesn’t dare to shy from the explicit sex & Harry Escott’s powerful theme for Brandon is just saddening, haunting but addictive tune.
Raid: the Redemption: Hell yeah movie of the year! Beat ‘Em up action with a great vibe of music to get your manly thrills out there, heck yeah, i feel more the man just by thinking about this awesome film. Mad Dog is a hell of an villain and did i mention the action scenes are just wonderful? Yeah, this movie delivered.
Moonrise Kingdom: Fantastical romantic comedy with such an powerful orchestrated soundtrack, Kubrick-esque cinematography and a star assmbled cast from Bruce Willis to Edward Norton, you won’t be finding a movie quite like this in a long shot. The sense of adventure and fantasy blends with reality in this tale of two love birds.
Haywire: Steven Soderbergh delivers a smooth jazzing spy thriller with Gina Garano as the lead star, she oozes with confidence, sexual charm and most of all: style. Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas & Michael Fassbender give their talents as well but Gina keeps the spotlight all to herself. David Holmes’ soundtrack is just pure jazz goodness.
ParaNorman: Stop-Motion Animated movie that deals with bigotry, prejudice, death & loneliness? ParaNorman delivers emotions and serious subjects thru horror comedy, but it doesn’t forget it’s place as a family movie with fun characters, homages to slasher films and a variety of fun characters.
The Grey: Liam Neeson’s late action career as this hard grizled magnificent bastard is becoming a thrill. Joe Carnahan’s movie of the force of nature, the inevitable death that looms over us all was a early surprise hit of the 2012 and definitely a strong contender of the best movies of 2012.
Lincoln: Steven Spielberg knows cinema, giving us this historical biography of Lincoln’s struggle for egual rights movement, but he doesn’t shy away from the reality of how cunningly manipulative Lincoln was with his abuse of power, and Daniel-Day Lewis truly transforms into the 16th president of the United States. Incredibly powerful movie, nuff said!
J. Edgar: Clint Eastwood doesn’t shy away from the reality that the man who created the FBI was a cruel manipulative man, but also carrying the burden of being a closeted homosexual in a time when gays we’re despised. Judi Dench is fantastic as always, Leonardo Dicaprio & Armie Hammer play their love for each other as real as it must have been back then, while Eastwood waves the tale in an entertaining non-chronological order that keeps revealing more & more of itself as the story unfolds.
Dredd: The comic book movie of the year, not to mention the badass buddy cop movie! Karl Urban gives Judge Dredd the badass mofo portrayal he is, the gruff violent force of the law. Director Peter Travers gives an immersive 3D joy ride from beautiful drug illusions, brutal fatalities and a wide range of sceneries that some seem to be taken from your worst nightmares.
The Dark Knight Rises: The poor vs. The rich, a city in turmoil, fanatic cultists taking down airplanes as the fire rises and all hell is unleashed by the League of Shadows!? The mere grandscale and scope of epics in the final Christopher Nolan Batman are so vast, so fangasming that i could talk about them all day! Tom Hardy’s excellent acting, the way he utilizes his body & eyes to give such a malicious evil presence, Michael Caine’s Alfred is always excellent and for me Christian Bale is the god damn Batman. Anne Hathaway is an excellent addition to the women playing Catwoman and god damn do i love Joseph-Gordon Levitt! The script should have been revisited and i would have preferred more onlook on the city’s inner turmoil, especially regarding the poor and the rich, but otherwise this was a major summer blockbuster with a fantastic conclusion to the saga.
Honorable mentions in no particular order:
End of Watch
Rise of the Guardians
Man with the Iron Fists
We Need to Talk about Kevin
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Cabin in the Woods
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
A Dangerous Method
Ides of March
The Woman in Black
This Must be the Place
Rock of Ages
The Flowers of War
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
How I Spent my Summer Vacation
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
PS. Now this comes off as a slight rant, but i won’t see Django Unchained, Seven Psychopaths, the Master, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook & Zero Dark Thirty untill 2013, so i will be mising those out, just like last year i missed plenty of movies, some which made to this list. I mean, i could always wait till February 2013 since some of these movies here are purely delayed due to the free marketing they gain from the Oscar awards, but i’m not gonna wait till then personally.
Skyfall is James Bond’s 23rd appearance in theatres since his premiere in Dr. No in 1962. That’s 50 years of Bond & Skyfall carries on the legacy, not just as a good Bond film, but a good film in general.
Skyfall feels like a high fantasy tale of the British MI6 with James Bond (Daniel Craig) being like a raw force of nature that effects the world around him. The cyber terrorist Rauol Silva (Javier Bardem) is the other side of the same coin, the unstoppable force meets the immovable object as one fights for the sake of their country, these aren’t ordinary people, they feel like the archtypes of espionage, the golden age of pulp with its steel cold hero and the nefarious villain.
Director Sam Mendes takes a great vision on the world Bond operates within. Having a big part of the story revolve around the history of MI6 and its agents, M (Judi Dench) has a pivotal role in the story; Her relations with Agent 007 a& the sheer power of Judi Dench’s acting gives a powerful emotional connection within, she is Britain’s Guardian Angel.
The new Q (Ben Whishaw) also gets to show off his young egoistic innovation to the “Old Dog” 007 as the new Q is a mere young adult, but you get these interesting dynamics and even other minor side characters such as M’s assistant and Chairman of the Intelligence & Security Committee.
What’s important about Spy thrillers is the sense of cool smooth style & with Cinematographer Roger Deakins, the visual coolness is spot on. London is majestic, royal and beautiful, the tunnel mazes of London are ancient, Scotland is a beautiful piece of nature’s beauty, but what steals the show are the scenes in the Western Content: Shanghai & Macau. Shanghai in night is a city of beautiful neon lights with its advertisements & Macau is a mixture of golden lights melding with the night, it’s just very beautiful scenery and takes you right into this world.
Thomas Newman’s soundtrack is stylish, but it’s sadly quite nothing spectacularly new, to me it felt like it had either cues to the older James Bond franchise, such as the everlasting epic that is the Bond theme, or inspirations taken from other modern blockbuster movies composed by someone like Hans Zimmer.
What’s appealing and at the same time funnily entertaining for me, is the sexual factor this movie has. Yes all Bond movies have very beautiful & sexy women (especially Sévérine played by Bérénice Marlohe), this movie is no different, but I want to factor in the sexual factor that Daniel Craig provides in this film & how director Sam Mendes utilizes the body language of James Bond in this film.
When was the last time Bond was this raw pure beast? It goes back to comparing any Bond actor with the legend Sean Connery, but this isn’t a blog post about that, but simply pointing out how Daniel Craig is bringing aspects of the Ian Fleming character that I personally felt we haven’t seen this strong since the 1960s. Daniel Craig’s body gets a lot of visual show, so does the Agent’s pure strength & kinetic energy, this man doesn’t give up at all.
Daniel Craig’s Bond franchise has handled action choreography very well. The move begins with a stunning heist. It has some obvious green screen involved, but it doesn’t take away from the scene. The scale gets bigger as Silva nears his end game. Sit tight for the massive action sequence in the finale; it delivers everything you would expect!
Skyfall is a very good film showcasing why the James Bond franchise is so loved, giving us that fantasy feeling we’ve had since the early days of pulp espionage, powerful acting with so much charisma, you can’t help but to love Daniel Craig’s latest mission as the 007.