Tag Archives: Captain America

Movie Update: Avengers | SF: Legend of Chun-Li | FMA: Sacred Star of Milos Anime | Live-Action | My Reviews 16 JUL 2013

The Avengers (2012)

Thor’s brother, the Asgardian Loki encounters the Other, the leader of an extraterrestrial race known as the Chitauri. In exchange for retrieving the Tesseract,a powerful energy source of unknown potential, the Other promises Loki an army with which he can subjugate Earth.

In the face of this overwhelming threat, Nick Fury, director of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., is forced to activate The Avengers Initiative – and in so doing bring together a group of Earth’s mightiest heroes, namely Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye!

Having recently watching this again on DVD after first catching it in the cinema on its initial release back in 2012, The Avengers by director Joss Whedon remains one of the best comic book movies done right. From start to finish this is an action spectacular, featuring all of our favourite Avengers (and more importantly giving each and every one of them more than enough screen time to shine), pitted against an overwhelming force of aliens in a drama filled story that keeps you fully engaged from start to finish. The perfect balance of action, intrigue, drama and even a couple of laughs makes for one of the best comic book movies ever made, and when you combine it with eye-popping visuals, both camera work and flawless CG, not to mention a pulse-pounding and superbly slick soundtrack, then you truly have a comic book fan’s fantasy movie right there.

And if that wasn’t good enough in itself, then it gets even better when you realize that each and every actor fits their role to perfection, leaving you with pretty much nothing to complain about whatsoever.

Definitely worth watching if you are even the slightest bit of a comic book fan, and easily one of my favourite comic book-related movies of all time!

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Avengers_(2012_film)

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009)

As a young girl, Chun-Li’s world was ripped apart when her loving father was kidnapped by a violent crimelord right before her eyes, followed by the death of her mother from cancer. Both a talented concert pianist and skilled fighter, Chun-Li receives a mysterious Chinese scroll which leads her away from the life that she has built for herself, and instead into a world of hunger, suffering, and strife, as she links up with a mysterious kung fu master that holds the key to her unlocking the power within, as well as the path towards challenging M. Bison, the crimelord who may in fact still be in possession of her father taken from her all those years ago!

This is an interesting one to be sure. Despite characters sharing the names of characters from the hit Street Fighter universe, this movie is probably as far removed from the Street Fighter franchise as what you can possibly get. So if you dive in with that piece of info firmly in sight, then all that remains is overcoming the very silly little bit of CG they mistakenly throw in once or twice – and once you’ve done that, then you get a martial arts movie that is in actual fact pretty entertaining, engaging you from start to finish and featuring some good martial arts battles, not to mention the odd gun fight or two.

Kristin Kreuk is actually pretty enjoyable in this one as Chun-Li, as are the rest of the actors for that matter, but I have to say, despite the pretty heavy dramatic elements present in the story, it never really drives the emotional impact home very effectively, meaning that the movie will pass without you necessarily being completely drawn into it.

That said, lush and interesting Hong Kong environments, enjoyable action and fight scenes, and a pretty good soundtrack makes this a good way to pass the time if you’re the type of moviegoer who enjoys a good martial arts movie, and to be fair, I did enjoy the viewing, even if there wasn’t anything to chuckle about.

Just remember, this really isn’t a Street Fighter movie.

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_Fighter:_The_Legend_of_Chun-Li

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos (2011)

Table City in the West sits on a raised plateau, surrounding by a deep chasm all around. Occupied by the Amestrian army and threatened by the Cretan military, the oppressed people of Milos, original inhabitants of Table City, lead a difficult and harsh life down in “The Valley”, just scraping by whilst living on the dumping ground that is the bottom of the chasm.

A dangerous prisoner, with the dual alchemist control over both electricity and ice, escapes just weeks before his parole in Central City, leading Ed and Al on a chase that leads them directly to Table City – and intertwines them in a tale of rebellion, wolf chimera, and a sinister plot that would see the birth of yet another blood-soaked Philosopher’s Stone, destined to bring death and ruin to all involved!

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is the second full length animated movie in the popular Fullmetal Alchemist franchise, coming out just after the second season of the hit anime series completed its full run. To get the most out of this particular movie one does need to be acquainted with the franchise as a whole, and that said, it does hit all the right buttons if you are a fan of Hiromu Arakawa’s popular manga.

It’s a fairly lengthy movie packed with the heavy drama that one has come to expect from the Fullmetal Alchemist series, and surprisingly features very few of the light-hearted moments which one has kind of come to expect based on Arakawa’s work. As expected it is a pretty dark tale, packed to the brim with exciting action sequences and loads of twists and reveals, and as a whole, is a very satisfying entry in the Fullmetal Alchemist universe.

Although I’ve never been a particular fan of Arakawa’s fairly flat and angular character designs, the film really is well animated by the Bones team, and features some particularly slick choreographed sequences and some stunning CG landscape enhancements. The backgrounds as expected are lush and very detailed, and as a whole, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is a very good looking animated film indeed!

All the voice actors from the original anime series are there, and thrown in with a particularly stirring soundtrack and some great sound effects, deliver an engaging viewing experience that will no doubt entertain pretty much any anime fan.

Well worth watching then, particularly if you are a fan of the whole Fullmetal Alchemist experience in the first place!

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fullmetal_Alchemist:_The_Sacred_Star_of_Milos

Review: The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Season 2 (2012) My Reviews 16 JAN 2013

Having thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed the first season of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, it is pretty awesome to be able to say that I was just as thrilled with 2012’s Season 2, featuring the return of Iron Man, Black Panther, Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, Wasp and the First Avenger, Captain America!

Season Two depicts the Avengers as they track down the remaining members of the Masters of Evil and end up facing the secret invasion of the Skrulls in the first half of season, followed by the Kree in the second half. Intertwined with this is a number of other story plots that get opened up and then closed again, making for an enthralling, overarching storyline that is guaranteed to satisfy any long time comic book fan, never mind the people getting exposed to the Avengers for the very first time.

The amount of characters drawn in from the Marvel Universe over the course of the series is staggering, with the likes of Ms. Marvel, The Vision, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Scott Lang, Heroes for Hire, Doctor Doom, Surtur, Crossfire, Thunderbolt Ross, his Red Hulk form, Guardians of the Galaxy, Falcon and Beta Ray Bill all making an appearance.

The show is cleverly written, the characters well handled, the touches of humour are all in place, but above all else, the unrelenting superhero action is without a doubt what makes this such a pleasing watch.

Whilst the voice actors all do a terrific job with their respective characters, and backed by an outstanding musical score and soundtrack, I remain a little disappointed with the chosen animation style – the stylized designs are just a little too square for my liking and although visually The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes does stand out as its own animal, I can’t help but feel that a stronger, more streamlined animation style could have been employed, something similar to say what Young Justice and ThunderCats is currently doing.

But this is a minor gripe because I really can’t fault Avengers in terms of keeping me on the edge of my seat and entertaining me all the way through. Plenty of twists, action and drama, and more than enough superheroes to make even the hardest to please comic book fanboy happy!

Well worth tracking down and watching then.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avengers:_Earth%27s_Mightiest_Heroes

Comic Book Art: Captain America by Adi Granov Comic Book Art | Comic Books 15 FEB 2012

The highly skilled Adi Granov is a Bosnian-born comic book artist and conceptual designer who currently resides in England, where he churns out some absolutely stellar painted cover and interior comic book artwork, mostly for Marvel Comics.

Whilst it was probably his work on Iron Man, both in designing the Iron Man suit used in Jon Favreau’s 2008 Iron man film and his comic collaboration with writer Warren Ellis following the post-Avengers Disassembled relaunch of the title, that first thrust him firmly in the fan spotlight, as you can see from this piece below – it isn’t just the Armoured Avenger that Mr. Granov can bring to life!

Enter Captain America!

Review: The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes My Reviews 24 NOV 2011

Thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyable animated television series. Thanks to a fantastically engaging, overarching story that sees plenty of mysteries presenting themselves on the way and bringing our heroes into battle with the likes of Hydra, Aim, Loki, Enchantress, Kang, Baron Zemo and even the Skrull, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes initially focuses on the original Avengers roster, meaning Iron Man, Giant-Man, Hulk, Thor and the Wasp, before cleverly expanding to include Captain America, Black Panther and the grouchy archer, Hawkeye.

Released in 2010, the first season consists of 26 episodes with a tight continuity but enough variety from writer Christopher Yost to give you stories focussing on each of the individual team members making up the Avengers whilst still bringing the team up against an absolute slew of instantly recongnisable Marvel villains. The stories are all action and adventure-packed, emotionally charged, and at the same time maintain a good sense of wit and humour around them in order to keep the series feeling fresh and enjoyable by a wide range of audience. And let’s not fail to mention the genuine unexpected surprises Yost likes to keep tossing in at us!

The animation is handled by Film Roman and although the lines are simple with a bit of a square look which does take a little while to get used to, the series definitely carries its own style and in the end comes out looking pretty good, capturing the action-packed sequences very fluidly in the process, with some great special effects to boot!

Bad City’s “Fight As One” opening theme track is an absolute brilliant fit for the series, and the good start is continued with a great selection of voice actors who fill the boots of these big time heroes and villains, as well as a music score which effectively conveys the tone of the story throughout.

Overall, there is very little NOT to love about The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. It is action packed, fun, gives us all the superhero action we could possibly want, wrapped up in its distinctive look and an edge-of-your-seat, engaging storyline that simply does not disappoint at any step of the way. Very easy to recommend to anyone who enjoys their animated fare, be it kids or adults who simply refuse to grow up! ;)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avengers:_Earth%27s_Mightiest_Heroes

Date Nights Weekend My Life 30 AUG 2011

Well, we certainly enjoyed a very different weekend this weekend past. Monty and Cheryl had been missing Jessica and so asked us if they could borrow her for the weekend. After a lot of careful consideration, Chantelle finally decided that she would be able to survive a weekend without Jessica’s cute little face, and so on Friday afternoon the handover commenced, meaning that for Chantelle and I, date night was on! :)

A quick change after work and then it was off to Somerset Mall, where we enjoyed some fantastic pizza at Panarottis (so high class, I know :P), before dashing out to catch Captain America, my movie pick for the night which ended up being fairly enjoyable, though certainly not a movie I’ll need to see again any time soon. (Chantelle also enjoyed it to an extent, particular the parts where Evans didn’t have a shirt on after receiving the Super Soldier serum!)

Saturday was our first sleep-in in literally months, before we eventually roused to make our way through to the Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, where Chantelle treated me to breakfast at the Lourensford Deli on what turned out to be a stunning morning in terms of weather, fully complemented by the quite beautiful surroundings I might add! With our omelettes being no more and our tummies sated, we then strolled out towards the Lourensford Family Market that conveniently happened to be held this weekend, where the locals were having some fun with plenty of little stalls selling all sorts of odds and ends neatly set out, a giant bedouin tent to provide some shade as well as shelter for a pretty monotonous singer and loads of families out and about enjoying the sun and eats to be had (hint, the pancakes were delicious).

On our way back to Gordon’s Bay I popped into Mountain Streams nursery, the first time I had been to this little floral paradise in our own backyard, and must admit to being pleasantly surprised by what I found in this little unassuming operation. As it was, I picked up some cobblestone pavers to add some decoration to the cement slab work that I was planning on doing on my return home, the end result of which is actually pretty pleasing if I say so myself! :) (Chantelle slept through the whole thing!)

Outside of my epic long phone call with Candice all the way from Potchefstroom (as Chantelle was unavailable at the time), the other mission that was achieved was a fair bit of weeding, the first time our garden has seen some action in weeks! (It really did help that Jessica was away for the weekend – so much more time to do all the necessary chores and work around the house!)

Anyway, the wind eventually started to whip up, forcing Chantelle and I to call it quits and pack up for the day, prompting the decision to make it two date nights in a row, the end result of which was another trip through the mall, Simply Asia cuisine for her and Subway for me, followed by Conan the Barbarian in 3D, Chantelle’s pick for the weekend, but possible only because she wanted to lick actor Jason Momoa’s nipples.

Unfortunately for us though, the movie did drag on a bit and ended up not engaging either of us, ending up by just sapping up what remaining energy we had and sending us straight to bed!

Sunday it was an early up and at them, compared to Saturday morning’s lazy pace, as we got ready and set out on a detour to pick up Michelle Oosthuizen’s Respisense device that she had purchased from a guy out in Strand (plus a long overdue phone call to Claire to find out how life on that side of the world is treating Riley and herself), before hitting the N2 and heading out to Bellville to join up with the Montgomery Clan, where Chantelle got busy preparing the epic pork belly roast which was to be the highlight of the upcoming lunch. I in turn popped out to spend some time with Ryan, fitting in a quick three tight games of FIFA in the process, before spending a bewildering bit of time in the completely unnavigable Tygervalley which is currently undergoing major renovations in search of a cheap HDMI cable and some extra necessities for lunch that Chantelle hadn’t yet had a chance to pick up.

Back at the Montgomery stronghold it was a return to my daddy role as I played with a very joyful Jessie who is now actively rolling from her back to her tummy, clapping hands, holding her own bottle and reaching out for toys if she spots them. Lunch was served, consisting of a delicious mix of pork roast belly, pork chops, crackling, roast potato, savoury carrots and salad, followed by ice-cream, strawberries and Bar-one chocolate sauce!

It was a pretty late lunch and the day stretched into Idols which of course Chantelle needs to religiously watch, but eventually it was time to pack up the Getz, retrieve our long lost child and head back home, all without incident, before going through the usual Sunday night chorelist and at last, hitting the bed hard! :)

(P.S. For the rest of the Lourensford Wine Estate visit, check out the gallery here.)

More Marvel T-Shirt Geekery! Comic Books | My Life 18 JAN 2010

Did I mention that all of a sudden all my t-shirts happen to feature Marvel superhero characters? I don’t know how this happened (clue: it was Christmas’ fault) but I do know that it is awesome – and I like it! :P

So in no particular order and because I want to share these awesome Marvel t-shirts garnered from the most unlikely of sources namely Pick ‘n Pay Clothing Store and Mr. Price here are the latest batch of shirts in my T-Shirt Geekery collection!

My Spider-man threads

Classic Iron Man blasting away

The Incredible Hulk pounding away as per usual

Captain America and his allies storming forth t-shirt

Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther Comic Books | My Reviews 13 FEB 2009

Ultimate Avengers2Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther is yet another release in the ever-increasing Marvel/Lionsgate animated movie stable and this time it is a direct follow-on sequel to their 2006 Ultimate Avengers: The Movie release. Like last time the screenplay is once again handled by Greg Johnson, but directorship however falls to newcomer Will Meugniot, a man better known for his comic book work than anything else.

The story continues where the first movie left off, but this time the focus is shifted to the African kingdom of Wakanda, famed for its technical prowess as well as vibranium ore resource. However, things are not quite right in his usually peaceful home as T’Challa, Prince of Wakanda, soon finds out on his return from the outside world. The alien Chitauari menace, led by the shape-shifting Herr Kleiser, are after the nation’s vibranium and will stop at nothing to get it.

Even the legendary protector Black Panther’s might is not enough to resist them and soon T’Challa realises that in order to survive, Wakanda must summon reinforcements from the West – a job that the revenge-seeking Captain American and the rest of the Avengers are more than willing to accept!

It’s interesting that it was decided to move forth by continuing directly on from the last outing’s story because it means that all the baggage from the first movie essentially travels through to this one from the get go. We’ve still got the Avengers who don’t quite seem to fight like a unit just yet (though they are much better at it this time around) and all the cringing and whining amongst the principal characters continues unabated, though at least this time no space has to be wasted in introducing the enemy and the story simply jumps straight into the action-packed business of putting the alien menace down!

Again, as with any team-based movie, the story jumps in and out of a number of plot threads which do serve to keep everything interesting but unfortunately carries the disadvantage of making the movie feel a little rushed and perhaps a little incomplete as all this jumping around generally leaves a couple or so of threads not fully developed, unanswered, or at least answered rather poorly in the first place. Perhaps this leaves space for another sequel, I don’t know, but it would have been perhaps a little nicer to have a bit of a tighter, more complete story in my opinion.

However, Johnson does manage to pull his story together towards the end and we finish up with a huge slobber-knocker epic event that is sure to please every hot-blooded action-orientated male watching and at the same time give us some pretty exciting fanboy sequences that pulls one right to the edge of their seat. There is intrigue, drama, romance, action and even sacrifice – seriously, what more could one ask for?

Well perhaps for everything not to feel quite so boring at times I guess – or at least not everything all at once for a change!

Visually Ultimate Avengers retains the fairly detailed but simplistically styled animation that worked so well for it in its first outing and apart from a few enhanced battle sequences and explosions, there isn’t all that much to write home about. That said, the action sequences ARE particularly well handled and there really are some great visual moments to take in. Fight choreography also seems to have been improved and this adds an additional level of enjoyment to the already pretty decent visuals on display, so I am assuming that we can thank Tae-Ho Han who is in charge of cinematography for this one then.

Guy Michelmore returns as the music composer for the series once more and as per usual he comes up with some brilliantly inspiring and epic compositions that fits the story like a glove. Similarly most of the original voice cast return and their familiarity with the characters proves itself as they all provide some sterling voice performances.

Overall, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther is a worthy addition to the ever-growing Marvel animated features library. It has good, consistent production values that both look and sound good and as a whole it comes across as a finely polished package. The story on the other hand is a little bit too full of different threads for my liking and also unfortunately slows to a bit of a crawl at times, but that said there are some fantastic action sequences that pulls the movie right back up and makes it an enjoyable watch for anyone who calls themselves a Marvel fanboy.

So not bad boys, not bad at all. I’m looking forward to the next installment then…

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Avengers_2

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie My Reviews 20 JUL 2008

Ultimate AvengersTowards the end of World War II, America’s greatest hero in the form of the US super soldier Captain America was lost at sea as he battled to prevent a Nazi nuclear missile launch – but only after he had discovered that the real threat was in fact not the Nazis…

…but rather an alien life form that we now call the Chitauri!

Present day and the body of Captain America has finally been located, seemingly alive and in a cryogenically frozen state. S.H.I.E.L.D director General Nick Fury needs this living legend up and running as soon as possible as the scramble is on to set up a meta human task force (Project Avenger) in order to deal with the rising threat of the Chitauri aliens who are now coming out of their long dormant state and threatening the world as we know it.

Nick Fury is targeting Iron Man, Giant-Man, Wasp, Thor and the Black Widow to form part of the team under Captain America’s leadership, but assembling this kind of super-powered team is certainly easier said than done. And then of course there is the ever present threat of the dormant savage Hulk lurking within the obsessed scientist Bruce Banner – who happens to be leading the team in charge of resurrecting Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum project!

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie is a 2006 direct-to-DVD animated film based on the Marvel comic book The Ultimates and is directed by Curt Geda, Steven E. Gordon and Bob Richardson. It is produced and distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment and Marvel Studios.

Ultimate Avengers assumes that you at least have a little bit of knowledge when it comes to Marvel characters and pretty much jumps straight into the story without hashing character origins too much. Of course, familiarity with the normal Marvel universe isn’t paramount, as The Ultimates pretty much rebooted the original character origins anyway, and you would be better off being familiar with that comic run so as not to be to annoyed at the ‘different’ way in which some of your favourite characters may be depicted.

The story isn’t too complex and pretty much follows three separate storylines, namely Captain America waking up and finding himself in a completely foreign time, the battle against the powerful Chitauri aliens and Bruce Banner’s losing battle with sanity as the Hulk remains trapped within him. Of course, the Avengers being about a team dynamic means that story attention pretty much has to be spread over everyone, and this does take away any depth that you might liked to have seen with regards to any one particular character – with the exception perhaps of Captain America and Bruce Banner as they admittedly do manage to steal a large chunk of the screen time in the end.

The story is pretty formulaic, straightforward and ends off on a nice action high, so youngsters should get a good bit of enjoyment out of the movie as a whole, though it should be noted that it doesn’t follow the usual norm of cartoon violence – bystanders do actually die for a change and not everyone gets saved at the last minute.

Visually, the animation and backgrounds aren’t quite as nicely detailed as one would have hoped for considering this is Marvel and Lions Gate production, but it is solid and smooth and manages to be pretty easy on the eye in the end. Colouring feels a little dull in places, but this is easily explained away as most sequences tend to take place at night anyway. I guess that one could sum up the visuals on Ultimate Avengers as being pretty much standard American cartoon fare.

This being an direct-to-DVD production means that no big name actors or actresses were brought in for the voice acting duties, but the production staff have made sure to include a lot of established voice actors from the industry with the result that Ultimate Avengers ends up sounding pretty good – even the goofy sounding Thor!

British composer Guy Michelmore is the current favourite for Marvel’s animated releases, and produces a pretty good sounding score for this movie that manages to convey that feel good heroic tone that is so essential for these types of super hero movies in the first place.

In summary, Ultimate Avengers: The Movie is a solid, action-packed and enjoyable movie for fans of the Marvel universe but doesn’t try and do anything special and ends up feeling pretty much ordinary. Your kids may pull a bit of entertainment value from it, but don’t expect it to sit on the top of anyone’s DVD pile just yet.

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Related link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0491703/