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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!

the avengers movie captain america

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

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