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Spider-Man: Homecoming – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  July 7, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  2 hour 13 minutes
After Credit Scene:  YES (and during credits)
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  9 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Spider-Man Homecoming is the movie of the summer and my favorite film of the year.  It will take a lot to knock this one from the top of my list.  If you saw Captain America: Civil War then you already have an introduction into who Peter Parker and Spider-Man is.  Every actor pulls his or her weight in this film.  Ver pleasantly surprised how characters were used and few I wasn’t expecting were revealed.  Tom Holland and Michael Keaton had such great chemistry with their characters.  Holland is Parker and Keaton is Vulture.  It all works and works well.  Marvel Studios has done it again!

What works:  We didn’t need an origin story and we didn’t get one.  EXCELLENT!  The movie is very well written and met all my expectations of the film.  It is funny where you expect it to be without going overboard.  There is enough action to see Spider-Man spinning webs and jumping around.  The casting was excellent.  Even the supporting cast is loaded with names/faces we know and what a great job they did.  The story takes some unexpected chances that I’m not certain how people will feel, but I like their decisions because they are trying to make Parker/Spider-Man relevant in 2017.  Although the movie felt a little long, I’m fine with it because they gave us a very good Parker.

What doesn’t work:  I’m not so certain that kids today in high school are listening to 80’s bands.  I was expecting a bit more contemporary music; however, I’ll take my 80’s where I can get it.  Although I listed this as a “what works,” taking chances on some of who the characters are is so risky.  I may not mind, but purists may take a step back.  Without spoiling anything, there are a few moments in the trailers that would have been better if kept for the movie only.  It would have had a better impact.

I think most people who see this film will leave feeling happy with what they saw.  Be sure to stay to the end of the credits as there is an after-credit scene worth seeing.  Small little spoiler here, there is no Venom and no mention of Venom in the film.  Good, no need for us to rush things with Spider-Man even though I’m aware that Venom is a Sony property, not Marvel.

My viewing was not in 3D nor IMAX, but I can only imagine how spectacular and amazing it must be (ya, I couldn’t resist).

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Spider-Man: Homecoming a 9.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a popcorn combo.  I look forward to seeing it again very soon.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

spiderman poster

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Trailer Snark (May 5, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (Disney) – Adventure/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content
Tag Line: Obviously.
Starring:  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper
Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.
Running Time: 136 minutes

Chris: If anyone thinks this is not going to be the movie I end up seeing, you don’t know me very well.  That said, this trailer gives us all of the campy laughs and charm that the first movie delivered to us.  A feast for your jolly Marvel soul!
Jim: Surprisingly, I was disappointed in the original. However, this is one of the best trailers I’ve seen in a while (and scored to “Fox on the Run, nice!). Not only do I want to see this movie, I want to have another look at the original. That, to me, is a successful trailer.
Robert: The Guardians trailer is so exciting to me. It gave just enough not to give any big moment of the movie away, and had laughing multiple times. But I maybe biased since I fan-girl over everything that Marvel does.

The Lovers (A24) – Comedy
Rated R for sexuality and language
Tag Line: A love so strong it can survive marriage.
Starring: Debra Winger, Tracy Letts
Plot: Debra Winger and Tracy Letts play a long-married, dispassionate couple who are both in the midst of serious affairs. But on the brink of calling it quits, a spark between them suddenly reignites, leading them into an impulsive romance.
Running Time: 94 minutes

Robert: This will be a good date with the wife.
Chris: Not a chance.
Jim: Welcome back, Debra Winger. She alone would make this worth a rental.

The Dinner (The Orchard) – Drama/Mystery/Thriller
Rated R for disturbing violent content, and language throughout.
Tag Line: How far would you go…to save your children.
Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney
Plot: Two sets of wealthy parents meet for dinner to decide what to do about a crime their sons have committed.
Running Time: 120 minutes

Jim: I couldn’t get into the book and I can’t get into the trailer.
Robert: This trailer left me confused but interested enough to look into reading the book.
Chris: Looks like a taut thriller/drama.  I haven’t seen much from Richard Gere lately that has made me want to affix me to my seat, but this one has my attention.

3 Generations (The Weinstein Company) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, some sexual references and language
Tag Line: Three of the most acclaimed actors of their generations in a human comedy for today.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Elle Fanning, Susan Sarandon
Plot: After Ray decides to transition from female to male, Ray’s mother, Maggie, must come to terms with the decision while tracking down Ray’s biological father to get his legal consent.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Chris:  This trailer has me confused.
Jim: I’m with Chris—3 accomplished actresses in a hazy trailer.
Robert: That cast is amazing. It’s not my type of movie but I’m happy that a topic like that is getting a good movie

Tickets Purchased:  3 for Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2!

Oh, but we do Drax. We do.
Oh, but we do Drax. We do.

 

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Trailer Snark (Captain America: Civil War Edition)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Editor’s Note: We are foregoing the usual format of this week’s blog, because by and large most movie studios have wisely cleared their release calendar for what could very well be the year’s biggest film. Captain America:  Civil War, the third installment in the Steve Rogers series, and really what amounts to Avengers 3 in terms of the ensemble cast showcases the characters we have come to know and love, under the expert tutelage of the Russo Brothers, who take the reins from Joss Whedon.  The team gives their thoughts below, along with their pledge of allegiance to either Team Cap or Team Iron Man.  Enjoy!

Captain America:  Civil War (Disney) – Action/Adventure
PG-13 for violence and thematic situations
Tag Line:  Whose side are you on?
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlet Johansson, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Paul Rudd, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman, and more.
Plot: Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.
Running Time:  146 minutes

Thoughts on the trailer…..
Jessica: I am SUPER EXCITED about “Captain America: Civil War”, I think the trailer looks like yet another hit for Marvel and I do really enjoy the Captain’s story as he finds his place in the “new world” after being asleep so long
Chris: The only thing that exceeds the trepidation of watching to of Marvel’s most famous icons draw the battle lines is to see how they can pull it off effectively and leave fans of both sides satisfied.  And from all accounts, this is one for the ages!

Whose Side are They On?
Ken: Team Rogers, no question.  I agree with Chris that these are beings of unimaginable power, capable of massive destruction and as such should be be held accountable. However, I don’t believe the responsibility of policing the gods should be left in the hands of a few, un-elected individuals. Who died and made Iron Man the sheriff of the MCU?  It’s a question of personal freedom vs conformity. Cap is the ultimate soldier, and like a good soldier he fights to protect his country and the government it represents, but he also fights for the guy next to him in the foxhole. He’s fighting for his brother when he believes that his brother is being treated unjustly. Is there a more noble cause? Like Jess, I sincerely doubt that Tony’s motivations for heading up the superhero registration act are entirely altruistic. What eccentric, billionaire wouldn’t want a position of power with near-unlimited resources at his disposal?
Jim: I don’t know what side I’m on. I just want to be entertained.  I just hope that this isn’t the slog that Age of Ultron was and the squalid excuse for a movie that Batman vs. Superman was. If Hollywood’s going to spend truckloads of money on superhero movies, they can at least make them fun and well-made. Here’s hoping.
Jessica: I am completely torn as to what side I want to be on. I see both sides of it but in the end, I think Tony Stark’s militaristic approach is a bit too much and would have to side with the Captain in the end. His heart is in the right place and I think he has the moral compass to do the right thing, whereas Tony Stark’s moral compass is nonexistent and I simply don’t trust him to make a decision that benefits mankind if it gets in the way of his own ambition and brain powers. I think Stark’s biggest fault is thinking he’s always the smartest man in the room. Whether he is or not, he never takes into account the emotional toll his decisions take and that is a big problem in the long run. So yeah, I’m Team Captain America!
Chris: I love Captain America, and I love the idea of Captain America.  In an ideal world, I would be in his camp, and beating my libertarian drum to the max, but the simple fact is that this is an unreal fantasy world where individuals hold more power than one can imagine.  That power unchecked is a threat to all.  As for who they should answer to is a whole other question, but I find myself aligning with Tony Stark on this one.  This is the movies folks and real world politics do not apply.  Team Iron Man

Added to the Ranks of Team Cap:  Ken and Jessica
Added to the Ranks of Team Iron Man:  Chris
Jumping in on the Winning Side at the Last Possible Moment?  Jim

The debate rages on!
The debate rages on!
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 10/28/2015

Happy Halloween comic booOOooooOOOook fans (read in a ghost voice). Welcome to a spooktacular edition of the Crank File, written in spooOOooky script. It’s the end of October folks and monster month has been an absolute treat. The Marvels relaunch was a little shaky, as expected, but everyone I spoke to seems to be finding something to enjoy. I liked what I saw from Iron Man and Captain America. The latest Star Wars Force Awakens trailer went a long way to ease any doubts I had about the new Star Wars movies. The internet dropped a crazy Batman vs Superman theory that actually sort of makes sense and AMC’s Walking Dead stabbed it’s audience square in the gut (for the watch). Week four delivers a merciful break as we enter All Hallow’s Eve. So without further adooOOoooOOoo…

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

The Top of the Pile: Manifest Destiny #18 Image

 

MD18

 

As the arc comes to a close, extreme measures are taken to protect Lewis & Clark’s mission.

Always finding its way up to the front of the stack, Manifest Destiny is some of the most fun I’ve had reading comics. The series continues to horrify and delight with more monsters, more terrors and more grisly deaths. Manifest Destiny really hit its stride in the third arc Chiroptera & Carnivores with a balanced mix of action and storytelling. Issue #18 will undoubtedly close out with fireworks so Westward, ho!

 

The Mainstream One: Justice League The Darkseid Wars Batman #1 DC

 

JL1

 

As the Darkseid War rages on, Batman’s role in Gotham City–and the world-alters drastically as he’s forced to accept his new role as a God of Knowledge.

Batman sits atop the Mobius chair and becomes god. An unstable man with violent tendencies and a thirst for vengeance gains omnipotence. What could possibly go wrong? I wasn’t planning on picking this one up initially, but I heard that in this issue Batman confronts the man who shot his parents all those years ago, Joe Chill.

 

The Indie One: Rumble #8 Image Comics

 

r8

 

Special Halloween issue, introducing a new major character!

I read the first issue of Rumble when it came out and liked it enough to add it to my pull list. Issues 2-7 had been sitting in my pull box since then and I decided the reading load for monster week wasn’t enough, so I decided to tack six issues of Rathraq on top of it. I didn’t really need to sleep anyways. It’s hard to boil Rumble down to a blurb, but it is action, fantasy, humor, horror and heart and it’s all done incredibly well.

 

The #1 One: Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D #1 Marvel Kirby Monster Variant

 

HCa

 

Hidden deep beneath AREA 13 lies the clandestine headquarters of S.T.A.K.E.–a top secret division of S.H.I.E.L.D. housing aliens, mythical beasts, and all manner of extra-normal entities. Under the command of legendary soldier DUM DUM DUGAN, these monsters step out of the shadows and defend the world against supernatural threats too dangerous for normal men.

Marvel’s answer to the Justice League Dark, S.H.I.E.L.D’s Howling Commandos are a motley crew of monsters and humans who specialize in dealing with the weird stuff that their super-strong counterparts can’t punch through. I like the premise, it allows Marvel to tell dark, supernatural stories that don’t work elsewhere but I was underwhelmed by the preview. My Newbury 50% special of the week, I’m going to try to grab the Del Mundo Kirby variant.

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Paper Girls #1 Image

 

PG1

 

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds in this mysterious young adult adventure.

The Paper Girls debuted a few weeks back and it was awesome. If you’re like me and love Brian K Vaughan’s writing, then you probably already own a copy. But right now, Midtown Comics is selling copies signed by creators Brain K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Jared Fletcher and Matt Wilson for cover price plus shipping. It even comes with a COA. Be sure to snag a couple cheap comics to protect your copy of Paper Girls during shipping, Midtown does not ship their comics with backers.

 

The Speculation One: Self Storage #1 451 Media Group

 

SS1

 

What if you found a zombie locked up in a self storage unit? Would you keep it? Chris Smith has eked by in life hocking the auctioned-off junk from those people who no longer pay the rent on their self storage units. He spends his days hopping from one storage facility to the next, bidding on units sight-unseen, only to sell whatever’s inside to antique dealers and pawn shops for as much money as he can squeeze. But Chris has never found anything like what’s waiting for him inside unit # 83… …Her name is Jessica.

Small, indie publishers are all the rage this year. Last week’s Sunflower #1 from 451 Media Group sold out quickly and immediately shot up to $15 in after market trading. I’m hoping for similar results with their zombie book, Self Storage. The previews looked great and should be an entertaining read regardless.

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 10/21/2015

Hey there comic book nerds. All of you Marvel fans out there, are you struggling to keep up with the All-New, All-Different relaunch? Feeling that void in your wallet growing wider and wider each week? Want to check out all the yarns spinning out of the big red machine without having to resort to a Ramen noodle diet? Check out a Newbury Comics if there’s one in your area. You might be able to get 50% off any Marvel comic priced $3.99 or lower until the end of October. $3.99, that’s just about every book out from Marvel this week. Oh happy day.

 

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

 

The Top of the Pile: Weirdworld #1 Marvel

WW

 

The final battle for the fate of Weirdworld. To save his home of Polemachus, Arkon must lead his newfound allies against the armies of Morgan le Fay!

You will have to excuse me for sounding like a broken record, but Weirdworld has been my favorite thing from this Secret Wars event. It is truly unique and awesome in so many ways. A smash-em-up world of some of the craziest creations to have ever graced Marvel’s pages. The entire Marvel reboot has been worth it for Weirdworld alone.

 

 

The Mainstream One: Star Wars: Shattered Empire #4 Marvel

 

SW4

 

Concluding the first new-canon comic tale set between episodes VI and VII! As the Empire Shatters around them, Rebel heroes fight for a better tomorrow!

The last issue in the first cannonical volume of Star Wars to be published by Marvel, Shattered Empire has not been what I had expected. Solicited as a story that would bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and the Force Awakens, I was hoping for hints of subplots that would tie into The Force Awakens. Sadly, it has been not that kind of series. Heavy on the character drama, I’m guessing that this is an introduction to relatives of our Force Awakens heroes.

 

 

The Indie One: Tokyo Ghost #2 Image

 

TG2

 

Constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay are given their final mission: purge their bodies of all technology and invade the Garden Nation of Tokyo.

I enjoyed the first issue of Tokyo Ghose a lot, my only criticism was that it was dense. It threw a lot at the reader and wasn’t big on subtlety. Not an easy read but I think Remender did it intentionally to get the reader up-to-speed on the details so that he can get to the stories. Looking forward to where this series heads in issue two.

 

 

The #1 One: Back to the Future #1 IDW

 

BttF1

 

‘Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines,’ part 1: Take a trip back to 1985 and be there when Doc Brown and Marty McFly first meet, and then jump even farther back, to 1945, to witness Doc’s involvement in the super-secret Manhattan Project. All-new canonical stories by Bob Gale, creator and screenwriter of Back to the Future.

There are movies that were experienced by everyone of a certain generation. Back to the Future was seen at least once by anyone who was alive during the 80’s. Me and my friends watched it wayyyy more than that. The fist movie was an instant classic and keeps a special place in my heart.  This is some heavy stuff doc!

 

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Beauty #3 Image

 

B1

 

The Beauties are dying. They’re dying bad. Foster and Vaughn find unlikely allies in their fight to find the truth.

Three issues of Beauty, three gorgeous variant covers. Story ain’t half-bad either. Recommended.

 

Carpe Comics!

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The Female Perspective: The Twitter Hissy Fit Of Josh Trank

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


The Not So Fantastic Four.
The Not So Fantastic Four.

DISCLAIMER: I have not seen Fantastic Four yet and to be honest, with all the terrible reviews, I am not rushing out to spend my hard-earned money on what sounds like total crap. I’ll wait for the DVD most likely. Which stinks because I was really excited to see this “reboot” (God how I detest that term) of a story I find enjoyable. I’ll admit that I actually enjoyed the other two, with Chris Evans and Jessica Alba, I thought they were campy, sure, but in a way that was fun. Either way, I was okay with a studio doing a harder-edged, dark version of the Fantastic Four. It seems like it was a monumental failure, only taking in 26 million at the box office this past weekend (I never thought in my life I’d use failure and 26 million dollars in the same sentence).

So what am  I writing a blog about if I haven’t seen the movie? I’m writing it about the director, Josh Trank. He published  a tweet this week that caused a fair amount of controversy.

“A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s the reality, though.” – Josh Trank

Seriously dude? Are you 12 or something? I read that tweet and shook my head. Here’s a young guy making his first really big studio movie and because people don’t like it, he feels the need to publish a Tweet that makes him sound like a petulant child. Totally unprofessional. He removed the Tweet as fast as he could (I imagine someone like his dad told him he sounded like a baby) but the damage is done. The fact is Trank, directors make lousy movies once in awhile, it happens. I actually read a pretty okay review of the movie from a friend of mine who said it was … good. That’s nice to hear but still, not a rave review.

"Batman & Robin"
“Batman & Robin”

I read something today about Joel Schumacher and his thoughts on his failed (and often mocked) Batman & Robin film. He recently said;

“They immediately wanted a sequel, but I said yes. There’s nobody else to blame but me. I could have said, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’

“Val [Kilmer] left at eleventh hour to do The Island of Dr. Moreau. It changed everything. George [Clooney] made a noble effort. I was the problem with Batman& Robin. I never did a sequel to any of my movies, and sequels are only made for one reason: to make more money and sell more toys. I did my job. But I never got my ass in the seat right.

“I just hope whenever I see a list of the worst movies ever made, we’re not on it. I didn’t do a good job. George did. Chris [O’Donnell] did. Uma [Thurman] is brilliant in it. Arnold is Arnold.” – Geek Tyrant

Now this guy is a class act. Not only does he not blame his actors, he openly blames himself for the failure of the movie.  That is how you gracefully accept blame. Then again, Shumacher has been around for awhile and he knows the Hollywood machine. Not to mention, it’s been years since the debacle that was Batman & Robin. I should also add that Twitter and all this “glorious” social media also did not exist during the time of Batman & Robin so who knows how things would have played out had Twitter existed back then.

fantastic-four-poster-800x533-137754

The fact remains that Trank is a talented guy, I recently saw his movie Chronicle, a small budget flick about kids who accidentally gain superpowers and what then happens. It’s a great, simple story, low budget and a lot of fun. It’s real world superhero stuff, which I adore. It’s well-directed, well acted and all around really good. So what went wrong with Fantastic Four? I can’t say for sure since I haven’t yet seen the movie but I can guess, Fox Studios. And maybe, just maybe, Josh Trank acted like a baby over some things. Maybe he didn’t speak up when changes were made. Maybe he folded under the pressure that is the superhero genre. Hard to say and it’s not really my job to discover the answer to the mystery.

"Chronicle" the tag line reads, "Boys will be boys," and boy will they ever...
“Chronicle” the tag line reads, “Boys will be boys,” and boy will they ever…

Social media is both a blessing and a curse these days, so many people take to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites to show off what they ate for dinner, talk about their latest read, or completely barf out their emotions/feelings/thoughts/etc. I’ll admit that up until a few years ago, I was guilty of expressing my innermost thoughts and feelings online but I’ve started to realize a couple of things.

1. I do not want everyone on my friends list to know my every issue, problem, etc. If I need to talk to someone about something private, I email, text message or call the people I love and trust more than anything else. I do not tweet about it.

2. Vaguebooking is annoying as Hell. Don’t post something on Facebook that says, “Life Sucks” or “I think I’m dying” or “Squirrels have attacked, run for the bunkers,” without giving some kind of context or explanation. Social media is NOT therapy people. Trank thought it would be a good idea to explain himself using 140 characters or less and guess what, everyone took it the wrong way and he’s gotten a lot of crap for it this week.

I sincerely hope that Trank learned his lesson on this. If he wants to work in Hollywood, he’s going to have to get tougher skin and he’s also going to have to learn to make a movie he likes within the constraints of a studio. Otherwise, he’s not going to be getting much work.

For the rest of us, let’s hope that Fantastic Four dies a quick death and we can move on to being excited about other things, like cotton candy grapes (yeah, they’re a real thing).

Did you see Fantastic Four? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 8/5/2015

Is there a particular issue that haunts you? The second print of Captain Marvel 17 is mine. My Moby Dick. The one that got away.

A while ago I was hunting down Kamala’s back issues I came across a small stack of CM 17s that had been forgotten on the rack. She makes her second cameo appearance in Captain Marvel #17, and is the first time we see he using her embiggening power. I flipped through and pulled four clean copies. And as I was putting the left overs back on the shelf, I noticed the second print. While the first printing had Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, on the cover, the second printing cover featured Kamala donning her Ms. Marvel costume. After some deliberation, I decided to leave the second printing on the stand because in my experience 2nd printings don’t do well on the secondary market. I’ve been kicking myself since. This book currently cannot be had for under a c-note and its memory keeps me up at night.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Top of the Pile: Airboy #3 Image

AB3

Airboy #1 was some of the best fun of I’ve had reading a comic in a while. It was so good that the second issue was my Indie One last month and it did not disappoint. This week Airboy rockets all the way to the top of the pile and blasts us back to the 1930’s. This book is honest, crude and laugh out loud funny. Fly on you dirty angels

.

The Mainstream One: Ms. Marvel #17 Marvel

MM17

Ah, this was the title that inspired this week’s opening rant. Ms Marvel teams up with the former Ms Marvel, currently Captain Marvel Carol Danvers to save New Jersey from the destruction left in the wake of the Secret Wars event.

The Indie On: Imperium #7 Valiant

I7

Valiant’s Divinity 4-part mini-series introduced their first new superhero since the 90’s. Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine crafted a masterful origin story for the character which has become an instant sensation. Divinity makes his first appearance since his mini-series debut in Imperium #7 and the fans will be all over this book. Already sold out at distribution, don’t sleep on this one.

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: ASM Renew Your Vows #3 Deodato Comixposure

fullsizerender

The Amazing Spiderman Renew Your Vows #3 Comixposure Deodato variant is the most hyped variant this week. It’s a swipe of Deodato’s Amazing Spiderman’s 678 variant, currently the most valuable comic from the past decade. High grade copies fetch close to $2K. However don’t expect that this cover will ever come close to that mark. $25 is a bit much for a swipe but I’ll gladly pay cover price for this swipe of the iconic Amazing Spiderman #50.

The Speculation One: Lobo #9 DC

L9

A new character is introduced to the DC universe. Who is Wyvern Cross? The preview looks cool and Cullen Bunn has been on fire lately. Worth a pick-up.

Last week’s leftovers: Sex Criminals #11 Image

SC11

I didn’t get a sketch cover last week. If there are any pink polybags still on the shelf I’ll take a gamble. Some of the more hilariously sketched covers are selling for over $100 on the bay.

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The Female Perspective: Ant-Man!

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Last week I promised to give you all a review on the movie Ant-Man and I did not tell a lie. What follows are my thoughts on the movie and its female character. Before I get into that though, I must warn, there are SPOILERS! If you haven’t seen the movie and WANT to see the movie then stop reading. Like, now.

Still with me? Cool.

Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!
Ant-Man, in Theaters Now!

First off I’ll admit that I had never heard of Ant-man before this movie. I read comics, sure, but Ant-Man, lost on me. The name is lackluster and ants have a tendency to creep me out a tad. But then I saw the trailer for the movie and I started to get excited, this movie looked fun. The kind of fun that Guardians of the Galaxy had. The kind of fun that I have come to expect from Marvel movies.

It did not disappoint.

Let’s start off with the fact that the lead character, Scott Lang, is played by one of my personal favorites, Paul Rudd. I remember Rudd back from his days in the movie Clueless  and I thought he was both hysterical and cute back then. I have since come to enjoy his dry humor in movies and on TV. I was interested to see someone like Rudd take on a Marvel superhero (it worked for Chris Pratt right?). I am also a huge of Micheal Douglas (as Hank Pym) and Evangeline Lilly (as Pym’s daughter Hope). I’ve liked Lilly since her days on Lost so this flick was shaping up nicely.

Evangeline Lilly as Hope.
Evangeline Lilly as Hope.

The story is a simple one, Lang is an ex-con trying to set his life in order (and befriended by a ridiculously funny cast of misfits) to be a better dad to his daughter. He hooks up with Pym who convinces him to help with a heist. The heist is to get the Pym Particle technology away from Darren Cross. Hank sees it as too dangerous for wide use (he himself has kept it a secret and used the Ant-Man suit to save lives these many years), he is right.

Ant-Man manages to take the best of the Marvel-verse and add in some surprises, we see an Avenger and we also get to see Agent Carter and a few other familiar faces. I have to say, the way that Marvel is weaving all these stories together makes it an even better experience for moviegoers.

Rudd does a really good job of being the down on his luck Lang while also infusing the character with his trademark wit and dry delivery. It’s a perfect fit for a guy who stumbled upon the superhero life. Douglas is solid as Pym and it’s really nice to see him having some fun a few times in the movie as he tries to teach Lang how to handle the suit.

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.

The only hitch (for me) was Hank’s daughter Hope. When first you meet her she is the typical, call your dad by his first name because he ignored you while you were growing up female cast member. Then we dig in a little deeper and we see that she actually does get along with her father, sort of, and wants to be in charge of the heist herself because she already knows how to harness the powers of Ant-Man. Which begs the question, why bring Lang in if Hope already knows how to do it?

The answer comes simply and beautifully, because Hank can’t stomach the idea of putting his daughter into the line of fire whereas Lang is expendable. It’s a really well-done and well thought out scene when Lang himself explains this to an angry Hope. Is it believable? Sure. In the context of the Marvel Universe I bought it. Especially when we realize that Hank’s wife was killed because he let her suit up and join him on missions. It makes sense.

I read an article that had a very confused argument about the whole situation between Hank and Hope. At one point it asks why she isn’t the star of the movie and cries sexism and then goes on to say that Hank’s reasoning is actually pretty sensible.

Huh?

Make up your mind Daily Dot article. Is it sexism or is not?

I have to go with not.

The fact is, this movie isn’t just about Ant-Man and his adventures. It’s about superheroes and saving the world from factions of Hydra but it’s also about Fatherss and Daughters. Lang is motivated to do all that he does in order to make his daughter proud of him and Hank wants nothing more than to keep Hope safe from harm. What Hank begins to realize is that after a certain point, you can’t do that anymore. He realizes by the end of the movie that the best way to keep his daughter safe AND have a relationship with her is to give her what she wants (no, she doesn’t don the Ant-Man suit but if you stay for the credits scene, you’ll see what happens!)

Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket
Ant-Man versus Yellowjacket

I love that this movie was about more than just a fancy suit and ant charming, I love that it was about relationships and family as well as being about saving the world from Hydra getting Pym Particles to wreak havoc. It’s why I enjoy these Marvel movies so much, they constantly surprise me.

Not to mention, the special effects were phenomenal! The scene with Lang and the villainous Cross duking it out in Lang’s daughter’s bedroom is hysterical and amazingly well done.

Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine
Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket versus Thomas the Tank Engine

All-in-all, two thumbs up from this lady. Ant-Man is a great addition to the Marvel Universe and I can’t wait to see more of Rudd as Scott Lang!

What about you? Did you see Ant-Man? Did you love it, hate it, have nightmares about ants? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Supergirl and Pose-able Ta-ta’s: It Must Be Monday!

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


There are some days I wonder why I write this blog (those days are usually when I have a lot of writing work to do and no time to write the kind of stuff, like this, that I want to write!), those are the bad days. Then there are days that I am so glad I have this outlet for my perspective, for my voice. Those are the good days.  Today is one of the good days.

Oh Marvel, I'm disappointed in you.
Oh Marvel, I’m disappointed in you.

So much came into my inbox today, articles about a leaked Marvel email about why we can’t have nice things…wait, it was about why a female-centric superhero film wouldn’t work. The email then went on to site 3 examples of failed superhero movies, one of them, Supergirl from the 80’s was filmed THIRTY YEARS AGO.

Author FYI: I love Supergirl. It made me feel like girls could be powerful. It also makes my day every time I watch it and actually, I sense a viewing coming my way very soon. I mean, seriously, FAYE FREAKIN DUNAWAY as the villain!! And Peter O’Toole!!! Dear lord…when Supergirl has to escape the Phantom Zone I die every time, it’s one of the best, most perfect examples of “girl power” I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, watch this…NOW (please).

Seriously, when she stands up in front of the light with that music playing I get chills, CHILLS.

Anyway, I lost my point there for a moment, I’ll come back to it now. The fact is, in terms of money, the film Supergirl was a flop and I full understand that that is all movie execs look at and consider. In the interveneing 30 years though we’ve had Wonder Woman the TV show, we’ve had Agent Carter which is coming back for a 2nd season (Can I get a Hallelujah for that!?) and we have Black Widow in the various Avenger-themed movies. We have there 3 prime examples of women super hero’s getting it DONE with power and style. To try and say in this day and age that a female-centric hero movie wouldn’t work? Well, that’s antinqated and useless thinking. it’s thinking that shouldn’t be working at Marvel anymore.

The author of the Marvel article (linked above) did a fantastic job making the arguments I would have made, the point being that there have been PLENTY of failed superhero movies with men at the helm (Daredevil with Ben Affleck or The Green Hornet with Seth Rogen are just 2 examples). What matters to comic fans and movie goers isn’t who is the star (though, that is taken into account), it’s whether the movie stays true to the character and is well written, acted and directed.

The guy at Marvel who penned that email should be fired and then fired again for good measure and perhaps even fired one more time to prove the point that he needs to retire and/or educate himself on what draws people to theater.

Super girl played by Helen Slater
Super girl played by Helen Slater

Another example of why I love being able to write this blog is because I also came across an article about an action figure, the title of the article is this:

This Metal Gear Solid V Figure Has Poseable Breasts

I thought it had to be a joke at first but nope, it’s a real thing.  From the article itself.

Hideo Kojima tweeted out images of a figure of the character that is being designed by PlayArts. It reveals that some of the material it’s made of is softer so it can be “lifted” and “pushed”. That material is on the character’s breasts. ~ Bleeding Cool

There truly are no words for how … puzzled I felt when I read this.

There are some days where I think that women have come in terms of equality only to find out that really, women will almost always be treated like pose-able figures to be manipulated at will by fans, dirty old men or other strange people.

There isn’t much more to say here because either (as the author states), you’ll love it or you’ll hate it and that’s your prerogative either way. Which I agree with to a certain extent. I do believe people can make their own choices but the fact is, when toys (is it a toy?) like this are sold it demeans women while also perpetuating the sexism that is rampant in video games, comics and other forms of entertainment. If no one bough it, they would stop making it. Sadly, I’m not sure I believe that that will ever happen.

The words can't even help me express my displeasure at this one...
The words can’t even help me express my displeasure at this one…

The fact is, being able to write this blog gives me an outlet for my frustration and my amusement at the abject sexism that abounds in our world. Some days it breaks my heart, other days it makes me laugh and still other days it makes me good an angry. I can tell you that I’ve gotten comments from readers that either know or not (who am I to judge the words of others?) that they are being sexist and it frustrates the holy heck out of me. My retaliation? I do my absolute best to respond with kindness, reason and intelligence. Once I’ve said my piece I move on.

The beauty of our world being so connected is that it gives people like me an opportunity to talk about what I truly love and I love talking about comics and feminism and pop culture. It really makes my day. I also just realized that I love to talk about the movie Supergirl and I cannot wait for the TV show that’s coming our way (fingers crossed). I can only hope that it is as good or better than the movie because the movie made Supergirl powerful and it made her a woman who finds her inner strength and defeats the bad guys which this feminist nerd loves.

Exactly.
Exactly.

What do YOU think? Is a toy with “pose-able breasts” acceptable? Why or why not? And what do you think about Supergirl – is she indeed a super feminist girl or something else entirely? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Black Widow, Has Everyone Gone Crazy?

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I would be Black Widow in a second, uterus or no uterus.
I would be Black Widow in a second, uterus or no uterus.

I’m going to assume that most of you who read this blog know who Black Widow is, many of you probably know more about her than I do and that’s cool, please feel free to share that knowledge in the comments! That being said I want to address the fact that there seems to be a bit of a firestorm out there about Black Widow’s treatment in the last Avengers movie. Now, if you haven’t seen the movie, there are some spoilers in here so don’t read on if you don’t want to know!

Let’s just get right too it, shall we? The controversy that I have read about and am annoyed by, is the fact that Widow admits that she cannot have children, she is talking with Bruce Banner about her time in the Red Room and her final test,

“You know what my final test was in the Red Room? They sterilized me, said it was one less thing to worry about. You think you’re the only monster on the team?” – Age of Ultron, Black Widow

To me, when I saw that scene all I felt was overwhelming pity for Widow. What a horrid way to grow up, what a horrible test, to be forced into sterilization because others think that that makes you a better killing machine. What I loved about it was that it bonded her and Banner in a way he never expected. He is feeling monstrous, defeated and as if he’ll never have a future with anyone, least of all with this woman he is starting to love. He’s having a pity party and then BAM! someone has it harder than he does. It’s a wake up for Banner.

What Widow is doing is what she does best, revealing little bits about herself so that others understand who she truly is and what she is about. So that people don’t assume she is nothing more than a killing machine, she is a human being.

What Widow is NOT freakin’ doing is proclaiming that she feels sad or sorry for herself. She is NOT saying that this is the worst thing the Red Room did to her (contrary to a theory posed on iO9), she is merely talking about ONE thing that happen to her, that was DONE to her, in the Red Room. Why people have latched onto that as a thing to be pissed off about, I have no idea.

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Oh wait, I do, because she’s a woman and God forbid that a woman, especially one as tough as Widow, admits to any kind of soft side. GOD FORBID. I have to say that as a woman, being forced into sterilization seems like a pretty horrendous thing to have happen. Yes, becoming an assassin and having to kill is bad but that’s something you can eventually change (as Black Widow has done). Being forcibly sterilized can never be changed so yeah, it’s pretty f-ing bad.

I’d like to know, in that scene, was Widow supposed to first say, “Oh yeah, on top of having to be a cold-blooded assassin I was also sterilized and that all just sucks so bad but none of it sucks more than any of the other parts of it,” is that what she should have said?

Give me a break people. Stop reading more into the scene than there actually was.

Now, I agree, there is a huge hole in the world of marketing for Black Widow, even Mark Ruffalo complained about the lack of Black Widow toys for his kids!

@Marvel we need more merchandise for my daughters and nieces. Pretty please. -Mark Ruffalo

To me, that’s more indicative of the problem than Widow expanding her character depth. The issue of her not being up front and center with the boys is a huge bummer for girls, old and young.  That should be what the discussion is about, not about Widow’s uterus and it’s functionality.

I’m going to throw this out there, I adore Joss Whedon, I think he IS a feminist and he does great work. He has written amazingly powerful female characters that are both strong and soft- he showcases HUMANITY in his work, he doesn’t just paint his characters as one-sided. I mean, for pete’s sake, look at Buffy Summers! She wasn’t perfect but she could kick butt. She made bad choices about men, she cried and she fell apart like a regular person. Albeit, a regular person with super powers. Look at Willow, same thing, she turned evil after her girlfriend was killed! What I love about Whedon’s writing is that he doesn’t shy away from allowing a character to be rough and tough and then also weak and soft. He let’s the audience see BOTH sides of his characters (both male and female) and that makes them fuller, more interesting characters.

The fact is, Black Widow does some very cool stuff in Age of Ultron and she saves the day more than once. Yeah, she gets captured but while being captured, she tells the team where the heck Ultron is so yeah, she saves the day and is NO damsel in distress (as a few have complained about).

She can’t ever have babies, so her life is ruined. She is an incomplete woman. –iO9

Is this seriously the argument being used? Lots of women find out they can’t have kids or that the kid making machinery has been taken from them due to illness or injury – to my understanding, it’s always a bad thing, it’s always a tough pill to swallow, why should Black Widow feel any differently about this? Internet people, please don’t twist it to make it sound as if Black Widow has said she is incomplete. That’s reading into a subtext that frankly, isn’t there. She’s trying to tell Banner that they both have issues’s (to put it mildly) and that’s what makes them so perfect for one another. She’s trying to hold onto the man she loves (like any woman would do) when that man is struggling with an emotional crises of faith and person.

the_avengers_black_widow-wide-1024x1022

Honestly, Black Widow needs her own movie and I think Joss Whedon should write/direct that bad boy so he can show us how Widow came to be the woman who is desperately trying to get the red out of her ledger.

Oh yeah, as an added note, this whole BS about Jeremy Renner calling Black Widow a slut for a second time?

Check Out The Video Here

That’s just class-A poop. It’s a non-story that some are trying to make into a story. I saw the video clip of the interview and I was not offended in the least, if you actually LISTEN to the interview, he calls himself a slut as well so internet people who think they are fighting for the feminist cause by adamantly defending a fictional hero, calm down and let’s all get back to acting like grownups.

What do YOU think? Tell me in the comments!