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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.

SF-193

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!

fullmetal-alchemist-the-sacred-star-of-milos

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

Mark Bagley and Danny Miki: Avengers Assemble Vol. 2 #8 Cover (2012) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 26 JAN 2013

The explosive conclusion to the Avengers’ cosmic odyssey! Will the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy be able to stop Thanos from making Earth the throne world of his new empire? The fallout of this story will change one Avenger’s life forever!

Written by Brian Michael Bendis and with interior art from the team of Mark Bagley on pencils and Danny Miki on inks, issue 8 of Avengers Assemble came wrapped in an awesome pulse-pounding action-packed cover featuring Thor and Hulk taking on Thanos, courtesy again of Mr. Bagley and Mr. Miki.

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

Joe Madureira: Avenging Spider-Man #1 Cover (2012) Comic Book Art | Comic Books 23 SEP 2012

Because you can never have enough Spider-Man titles stocking the shelves, Marvel kicked off 2012 by launching Avenging Spider-Man, featuring a kick-ass Spider-Man/Hulk story from writer Zeb Wells, featuring a host of characters from the current Avengers line-up including the likes of Hawkeye, Spider-Woman,Wolverine, Thor, Steve Rogers and Iron Man, never mind the Red Hulk himself!

Handling the pencils for this 22 page story is the ever popular (and perhaps one of my personal favourites) Joe Madureira, who also stepped in to create this awesome piece of cover art, featuring some pretty angry meta-humans!

Review: Hulk Vs (2009) My Reviews 05 JUL 2012

Hulk Vs Wolverine: The Incredible Hulk has been tearing a line across the Canadian countryside, leaving a swath of destruction in his wake. He must be stopped at all costs, and there’s only one man up to the job. He’s the best there is at what he does, but what he does isn’t very nice. He’s Wolverine.

Hulk Vs Thor: With the forces protecting Asgard at their weakest, Loki the trickster seizes the opportunity to destroy his cursed stepbrother, Thor, once and for all. In an epic battle that pits god against monster, the Mighty Thor is forced to clash with the only creature that has ever been able to match his strength – the Incredible Hulk!

Hulk Vs is an interesting experiment I guess, in that it consists of two unrelated short Hulk battle movies, pasted together on one disc to be sold as a single animated feature film. Sure, this feels like a bit of a cheat, but when you think of it, it is actually pretty cool that for a change they didn’t cheat you by asking you to only buy one disc instead of two!

The first tale, Hulk Vs Wolverine is directed by Takuji Endo and is based on a screenplay by Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle. This is very much a no holds barred slobber-knocker-fest, as for the first two thirds of its shortish runtime, the feature consists of little more than Hulk and Wolverine brutally pummelling one another (with a surprisingly large amount of blood for a Marvel animated feature).

However, things take a twist with the arrival of a couple of super villains towards the end, which adds a little more depth to the tale, and thanks to the inclusion of Deadpool, injects a little humour into proceedings.

In terms of animation, it does take a moment or two to get into the heavily stylized character designs, but the animation itself is fluid and the fights well choreographed, making for a good looking animated feature. Similarly, the voice actors used work well, and are accompanied by a decent music score to take in, the end result of it all being a non-stop guy-orientated feature, with lots of animated violence and the occasional chuckle or two to go along with this entertaining little piece of Marvel eye-candy.

The second tale, Hulk Vs Thor, is a little more cerebral than the first fight-fest, also based on a screenplay by Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle, and is directed by Takuji Endo and Sam Liu.

This one sees the usual plot device of Loki attacking Asgard whilst Odin is in his Odin Sleep state, but this time around Loki manipulates Hulk into doing his dirty work for him, by extracting Bruce Banner out of the Hulk, leaving behind a rampaging monster over which Loki has some control and who pretty threatens to rip Odin’s kingdom apart if left unchecked. Enter Thor and what follows is again a great big battle movie (with less blood that the previous feature funnily enough), though this time around there are more than a few fronts on which fights need to be fought.

Certainly more serious than the first tale, but at the same time equivalent in terms of the amount of raw, untamed action you get subjected to.

The art style switches for this second feature, featuring slightly less stylized characters than in the first outing, but nevertheless stylized enough to set it apart from other animated features found on television at the moment. Again action and animation is fluid and well executed, making for a polished visual outing, complemented by a good voice acting cast as well as solid supporting soundtrack.

So in summary, Hulk Vs is an interesting experiment and well worth picking up for the short bursts of exciting comic book hero mayhem that it delivers, though you must go into it not expecting a story masterpiece to be able to get the most out of it.

A worth entry into the Marvel comic book film stable then, even if it does feel slightly out of place.

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

Sensational She-Hulk Cosplay: She-Hulk (Belle Chere) Cosplay 13 JUN 2012

Popular American cosplayer Belle Chere goes completely green and rips her little lawyer outfit in the process, bringing to life Jennifer Susan Walters, a.ka. The Sensational She-Hulk!

She-Hulk, also known as Jennifer Susan Walters has been a member of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Heroes for Hire, the Defenders, Fantastic Force, and S.H.I.E.L.D. A highly skilled lawyer, she has served as legal counsel to various superheroes on numerous occasions. She also just happens to be the cousin of Bruce Banner, better known as the Incredible Hulk.

She is the small and somewhat shy daughter of Los Angeles County Sheriff William Morris Walters and Elaine (née Banner) Walters (who died in a car crash when Jennifer was seventeen). Operatives of Nicholas Trask, a crime boss who had crossed paths with her father, shot and seriously wounded her on a day that Bruce Banner happened to be in town for a visit. Since no other donors with her blood type were available, Banner provided his own blood for a transfusion; as they already shared the same blood type and DNA, his radioactive blood, combined with her anger transformed Jennifer into the green-skinned She-Hulk when the mobsters tried to finish her off at the hospital.

As She-Hulk, Jennifer possessed powers similar to those of her cousin, though at a reduced level. She also possessed a less monstrous, more amazonian appearance. Initially, the transformation to her She-Hulk form was triggered (as with Bruce Banner’s) by anger. Like her cousin Bruce, his counterpart, the Leader, Doc Samson, and most other persons mutated by exposure to Gamma Radiation over the years, her mutated form was originally explained as being molded by her subconscious desire to look like the ideal woman. She eventually gains control of her transformations when Michael Morbius cures her of a lethal blood disease.

Originally ill-tempered and violent, she is now depicted as a fun-loving, kind, empathetic, yet still feisty woman who frequently uses humor when fighting. She has stated that she does not want to kill her foes, especially ones that she has already subdued.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/She-Hulk

Comic Art: Hulk vs. Thing by Simon Bisley Comic Book Art | Comic Books 05 DEC 2011

It is a classic match up in the comic book world, namely the unstoppable Incredible Hulk versus the Fantastic Four’s resident rocky orange power house, the Thing. Both don’t give up much in terms of raw power and to a degree, invulnerability, making for a proper knock down slugfest every time these two go head to head.

But what happens when you turn this power battle of street shattering proportions over to one of the world’s finest producers of psychotic, stylized, twisted, dark and dramatic art, British-born 90’s punk comic art legend, Simon Bisley?

Well, then the epic battle looks a little something like this:

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

Planet Hulk Comic Books | My Reviews 21 AUG 2010

So Planet Hulk is the latest straight to DVD animated film to be thrown out at us by the awesome Marvel Animation and Lionsgate Home Entertainment partnership, and after catching it I have to say that for the first time I really wasn’t blown away by what up to now has been a pretty exciting surge in comic book-related film releases.

Based on the comic “Planet Hulk” storyline by Greg Pak and Carlo Pagulayan, Planet Hulk basically throws Hulk (from the phase when he was still the half intelligent green guy instead of the constantly morphing Bruce Banner to Hulk mode) off of our world thanks to some combined super hero ingenuity and sends out towards an uninhabited planet where he can’t be harmed and more importantly, can’t harm anything around him.

Unfortunately the plan goes slightly awry and Hulk finds himself cast upon an oppressed world where he is enslaved and tossed into the gladiator pits to become a fighter that will entertain the crowd as well as the all important Red King, the tyrant that rules the people of this planet in his iron grip.

However, Hulk’s appearance coincides with the natives’ legends of a saviour for their people and as Hulk slowly begins to gather followers (whether he wants them or not), the tide begins to shift as the Warbound, basically his band of fighters, continue their quest against ever stronger opponents to earn their freedom – and perhaps even that of the planet while they are at it!

While there is certainly nothing wrong with the story itself, the pacing just feels horribly wrong and we are shuttled from sequence to sequence, sometimes making huge leaps in the story being told and then simply be expected to fill in the details and make the mental leap ourselves. Stripping away everything else, this is pretty much a gladiator film and worse, a pretty tired gladiator story with the only new thing being aliens in Roman gladiator dress instead of humans.

The animation is pretty okay and the battle scenes are nice and fluid, though the visuals are kept pretty simple in terms of line count and colouring, and there isn’t all that much in terms of atmosphere created by the line art are shadowing. Also, I kept wondering to myself where Hulk’s nose kept disappearing to – for some reason they seemed intent on giving him the cutest little button nose whenever the opportunity arose! :P

Of course, as with all these new breed of animated films, there is a fair bit of animated violence to contend with, including the squishing of bug aliens by a huge brick monster. Nothing that should induce nightmares in kids, but something certainly worth taking note of.

The musical score and voice acting on the other hand are all pretty good and although I didn’t recognise most of the names on the voice roll call, I thought that just about everyone put in a pretty fine performance.

So in summary, a pretty average outing delivered to us courtesy of director Sam Liu, and it must be said that I can’t help but think that the work he delivers for the DC stable of animated films continues to be stronger than the work he delivers for Marvel. Still, it is an animated movie, it does feature the big green rampaging giant and so for any Marvel or comic book reader, this remains a film that should be watched and will bring joy to those fans of the jolly green giant! :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Hulk_(film)