Tag: Marvel

Week of Geek: Can we talk about Venom for a minute?

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Hi again Geeklings!  How’s November treating you?

Well, we got some sad news from the world of Marvel last week.  Stan Lee passed away at the age of 94.

He was a cool guy.  I had the pleasure of being in the audience when he made his last appearance at Fan Expo and he was delightful.  He created amazing characters and touched a lot of lives.  He’ll be sorely missed.  We can all take comfort in knowing that his legacy is not going away anytime soon.  Under Disney, Marvel is expanding ever outward in movies and TV shows.  The comics are still a thing and other studios are creating movies as well.  What Stan Lee helped create will be around for a long long time.

Today I thought I’d talk about one of the stranger examples of a Marvel movie to come out this year.  One that had everything going against it, and yet, and yet, has been a huge success financially.  It’s inspired memes, a lot of head scratching and a rather unexpected ship.

I of course speak of Venom.

So first of all, who, or what, is Venom?  In a nutshell, Venom is actually two characters, the alien creature known as Venom and whichever host he’s inhabiting.  Venom is from a race of these almost liquid-like creatures that can inhabit a host body.  With Venom, his host is reporter Eddie Brock (there have been other hosts in the comics, including Spider-Man himself, but Eddie is the go-to).  A symbiote (the common name for what Venom is) can give it’s host a lot of super powers but it also has a mind and will of it’s own and, depending on it’s temperament, can cause a lot of damage and can full on eat people.  Venom is a quintessential anti-hero.

This big screen version was released back in October, and it was riding a wave of heavy skepticism and bad reviews.  It’s currently sitting at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes which, if you know your percentages, is not good.  But even before the reviews came in people were expressing disdain.

First problem is that it’s a product of the deal Marvel and Sony made years ago where Sony acquired the movie rights to Spider-Man and his various properties.  Since Sony now has an arrangement with Marvel Studios to use Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony still has ownership of other Spidey-related characters, and they thought ‘Why not make a movie featuring just long-time villain Venom?’.  A movie that features a well-known Spider-Man villain… but it doesn’t have Spider-Man.  To a lot of people that just didn’t make any sense at best and at worst was downright sacrilege.

Secondly fans were hoping the movie would have an R-rating… but that didn’t turn out to be the case, as it now has a PG-13 rating.  Which is great for more people to watch it (including most of you guys) but it could also take the teeth (heh) out of the film.  And it sounds like there were reshoots during it’s production, which is not always good for a film.

So yeah, bad reviews, rough history, a lot of fan skepticism.  Venom did not arrive in theaters with a lot of hope.

But then something strange and kind of awesome happened.  During it’s opening weekend Venom smashed box-office records, gaining the highest opening weekend in October to date.  Remember that low Rotten Tomatoes review I mentioned?  That was just for critics; the audience score is currently at 86%.  Fan art emerged, the internet came up with a bunch of jokes.  And the shipping, my gosh, the shipping, that was petty unexpected too.  And just today I read that Venom is pegged to make more money globally than any X-Men movie to date, including Deadpool.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaa?

So what happened?  How did this weird problem-prone little movie become such a hit?

Well, that article I linked to about it surpassing the X-Men movies theorized that it’s because of brand value.  Venom is an iconic character and so people will see a movie about him.  I’m not so sure about that though, and if you look at the comment (there was only one at the time of this writing) written below that article the person posting thinks that it’s because Tom Hardy‘s take on both Eddie Brock and Venom was so entertaining that it overshadowed the rest of the movie.

I went to see Venom actually, after I saw all the buzz on my favorite fan sites, and I have to agree with that poster, not just about Tom Hardy (who is a great actor, let’s not deny it) but about other components of the movie as well.  Ya see, my knowledge of the character Venom is pretty slim.  I watched the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon and he was one of the villains there.  I never saw the third Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie where Topher Grace tried to play Brock/Venom, and from what I hear I’m not missing much.  And I read about him a little in the comics.  So yeah, I didn’t go into it as a hard-core Venom fan but I did know the broad strokes.

And my take on the movie?  It was not a good movie, not by any stretch, but darn if it wasn’t fun.  Eddie was a surprisingly relateable character, just kind of a doofus who genuinely wants to do good but often times messes it up.  And Venom is… well, Venom.  But the two of them learn to work together, and it actually gets kind of adorable between the two during the last act.  There were some funny moments, some good action scenes and… yeah, it was just fun.

And sometimes that’s all a movie has to be.  Just fun.  Clearly it’s struck a nerve with a lot of people, and now there’s a good chance a sequel will happen.  Maybe we can even hope for that crossover with Spider-Man.

One last minor point; I’m really glad they changed the pronunciation of ‘symbiote’ in the movie.  Yeah, it’s a made-up word, but every time I’ve heard it spoken in a Marvel property they’ve always pronounced it as sym-BEE-ote.  One of the early trailers for Venom tried to pronounce it sym-BYE-ote.  It just sounded wrong to me.  But when I saw the movie it was back to the original sym-BEE-ote.  Thanks Marvel/Sony!

Also, this was my favorite bit of dialogue.  What a power move!

Anyway, did any of you guys see it?  What did you think?  Post away in the comments below.

Have a great week guys, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: For when you’re too young to see Deadpool 2…

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Hiya Geeklings!

So, let me guess what some of you may be thinking.  The big geek news this week is the release of Deadpool 2, which is obviously the sequel to the smash hit Deadpool, a film finally worthy of the Merc with the Mouth (the less said about X-Men Origins: Wolverine the better).  BUT, for anyone out there younger than 18, there be a problem; the movie, like it’s predecessor, is rated R.

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Yup, sorry guys, you gotta be 18 to see it unaccompanied by a guardian or parent.  And as a full-fledged adult who has seen the original, let me tell you, that R rating is well earned and the sequel is not going to be any more sanitized, so I have to agree.  And I also agree that to give the character anything less than an R rating would not do him any justice.

Quick history: Deadpool is actually a total ripoff of a DC character.  He was ‘inspired’ by Deathstroke (not to be confused with Deadshot, from the Suicide Squad), a villain from New Teen Titans, and at least in the beginning both of them were pretty interchangeable.  Same style of costume, same MO, same skills, same superpowers, just… same, same, same.  Even their alter-ego names are similar; Wade Wilson (Deadpool) and Slade Wilson (Deathstroke).  If you look at them side by side the comparisons become painfully clear.

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But as the character developed, we discover that Deadpool has one extra superpower over his predecessor; comedy.  Deathstroke is a pretty humorless guy, but Deadpool is not only hilarious but also completely off the wall, often speaking to the audience or having full on conversations with the voices in his head.  It’s these qualities that helped him become his own character, one that’s fairly divisive but to his fans he’s the bomb.

Though you may be too young for the films, fear not!  We have stuff for you to read that will tide you over until the day comes.  We have some YA graphic novels that, while still violent, don’t quite cross the line into ‘only for adults’ stuff.

Deadpool Deadpool Vol. 1: Dead Presidents – “Dead United States presidents, from George Washington to Gerald Ford, have been resurrected – and that’s bad. The Marvel heroes can’t be the ones to stop them… Someone is needed with the reputation, skills and plausible deniability to take out these com-monsters in chiefs. Be here as Deadpool de-un-deadifies ex-Presidents left and right…matching wits with Tricky Dick Nixon, fighting a grudge match against Honest Abe Lincoln, and battling Ronald Reagan – in space! COLLECTING: Deadpool 1-6.”  The first volume in the Marvel NOW! era of Deadpool is as wacky as that summary suggests.

Deadpool Deadpool Vol. 5: The Wedding of Deadpool – “The day of Deadpool’s wedding has arrived! It’s the biggest wedding since that one guy married that other guy as Deadpool and his mysterious bride tie the knot in a tale by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn & Mike Hawthorne. Featuring stories by every writer to ever pen Wade’s series to celebrate this magical occasion! Then, the Deadpool Annual answers the most asked question since Deadpool’s new series began. Whatever Happened to the White Caption Boxes?’ Collecting: Deadpool 26-27, Deadpool Annual.”  Who is the mystery bride?  Read to find out!

Deadpool Deadpool: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – From Goodreads; “It begins with a lost Deadpool adventure from the groovy seventies as DP hits the streets with Power Man and Iron Fist! But when the threat the Trio-For-Hire faced resurfaces in the modern day, Deadpool must track down his old pals for a rematch!
Then, when Deadpool’s past in the Weapon X Program returns to haunt him, he recruits fellow Weapon Plus alums — and reluctant allies — Wolverine and Captain America! In the heart of the enemy’s clutches, the three get sucked deeper into the mysteries they uncover — but when the heroes learn that Deadpool’s past has been weaponized, can they unite to take this new threat down in time?”  One of my favorite Deadpool storylines is when you throw his antics in with the other Marvel characters.  It makes for great dynamics.

Spider-Man/Deadpool - Kelly, Joe Spider-Man/Deadpool Vol. 1: Isn’t it Bromantic? – “The Webbed Wonder and the Merc with a Mouth are teaming up for their first series EVER! It’s action, adventure and just a smattering of (b)romance in this episodic epic featuring the WORLD’S GREATEST SUPER HERO and the star of the WORLD’S GREATEST COMICS MAGAZINE. Talk about a REAL dynamic duo! COLLECTING: SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL 1-6”.  The first volume in a series where the two most quippy superheroes ever team up?  Count me in!

Hawkeye Vs Deadpool Hawkeye vs Deadpool – “Meet Hawkeye: ladies man (‘ladies man’ because the ladies love to hate this man), mighty marksman and, most importantly, Avenger. He’s the only guy on the team without any powers, though. Then there’s Deadpool. He can be shot, stabbed and punched in the face, but nothing can keep him down. What do they have in common? Halloween in Brooklyn, and a S.H.I.E.L.D. espionage mystery that has both heroes racing the clock! But will Deadpool and Hawkeye kill each other before they figure it out? Collecting: Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool 0-4”.  Another great dynamic to be had here.

Any books I missed?  Are you bummed about the rating for the Deadpool films?  Sound off in the comments or on WriteIt!

Have a great week Geeklings, whip up some chimichangas, and until next time End of Line!

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Week of Geek: How emotionally ready are we for Infinity War? (Me? Not very)

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Hiya Geeklings!  Enjoying the nice weather?  Finally?!  It’s actually starting to feel like spring right now, so go out and enjoy it!  (Even if it is a little rainy.)

Today I want to talk about what’s happening this Friday.  Something that has taken 10 years and almost 20 movies to come to fruition.  Something that we’ve been waiting for with simultaneous excitement and dread for a while now.  It’s all going down this weekend.

Avengers: Infinity War will finally drop.

And… well, is there a word for when you’re both hugely excited but also kinda terrified?  TrepidationApprehensionFrisson, maybe?  Yeah, I like frisson, let’s go with that, though this is definitely not a brief feeling.

So why the frisson?  Well, this is a big moment, not just for the franchise but culturally.  Over the last decade Marvel Studios has put out some of the most profitable and successful films ever.

There’s nary a person who hasn’t watched at least one of the MCU movies.  They’ve been so successful at the idea of a shared universe and interconnecting films that they’ve completely changed how Hollywood works now, with other studios rushing to catch up (some with more success than others).  It’s been a tremendous accomplishment on everyone’s part.

And it’s all been leading to this moment.  While Infinity War won’t be the last Avengers film as we know it (that’ll come in 2019) and there are still a few more movies to come out for Phase 3 (this summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp and next year’s Captain Marvel) plus at least 2 more post phase 3, this is the first time we’ll see it all come together on this grand of a scope.  If the first Avengers film, with all the characters thrown together at once for the first time, was groundbreaking then Infinity War will be mind blowing.  We’ve got the Avengers & Spider-Man & Doctor Strange & Black Panther & the Guardians of the Galaxy & maybe Ant-Man & Hawkeye (they haven’t been in the promos, like at all).  All that time we’ve imagined Tony Stark and Star-Lord in the same room will now be a reality!

And that’s just one example!

But there is one big shadow looming over this whole celebration, and it’s not Thanos’ enormous ship (OK, it’s not just the enormous ship).  It’s one big question that the internet and fans alike have been abuzz about for a long time now; who will survive Infinity War?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Darn it, it’s probably going to happen, isn’t it?  Someone’s not going to make it.  Maybe multiple characters.  And the suspense is killing me!  I love all of these guys so, so much!  Iron Man, Loki, Thor, Cap, Widow, Hulk, Black Panther, Shuri, Okoye, Nakia, Bucky, Spidey, Strange, Vision, the whole Guardians crew, just… WHY?!  Why are any of them in this kind of danger?  Darn it Marvel writers!

*deep breath*

So anyhoo, I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens… which is excruciating, but them’s the breaks.  The early reviews and audience reactions have been pretty positive so far, so it looks like we’re in for a good movie regardless (*whew* How awful would it have been if everything built up to this and then it was a bad movie?  People would freak).  In the mean time, here’s the previous films we have in our system.

What do you guys think?  Will you see Infinity War opening weekend?  Later?  At all?  Any Marvel super fans or is anyone sick of it all by now?  Post away in the comments or on WriteIt.

Catch you later Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.