17 February 2007

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - Scorpion

Don't get stung by the Scorpion.

A former private investigator named Mac Gargan who was initially hired by J. Jonah Jameson to find out how Peter Parker is able to get those incredible pictures of Spider-Man, Gargan's efforts set off Peter's spider-sense and the teen was able to easily frustrate the detective. Jameson then decided to hire Gargan as the subject of a barely tested process that would endow him with the useful characteristics of a particular animal. In this case, a scorpion was the base for the purposes of creating a powerful agent capable of defeating Spider-Man.

This mutagenic treatment seriously affected Gargan's mind, driving him insane. He promptly turned on his benefactor and when Spider-Man intervened, Jameson found himself in the strange position of praying that his investment was insufficient in defeating the superhero he hated. Since then, the Scorpion has repeatedly attempted to indulge in his deadly vendetta against Spider-Man and Jameson, only to be defeated each time. Jonah does appreciate the irony.

The Scorpion, through the course of his career, acquired a few items: a new costume, and a new tail that spurted acid. He also fought Ms. Marvel. In one instance, Scorpion became more psychotic than usual after his battle with Ms. Marvel, resulting in his being dumped in acid. In the sewers, Scorpion came to believe that his costume couldn't come off, but after a quick encounter, Spider-Man proved to him that his belief of being a monster was in his mind.

Later on through circumstances yet to be revealed, Norman Osborn reveals Spider-Man's true identity to Gargan and gives him orders to kidnap Peter's Aunt May should Osborn ever be captured and imprisoned. When Spider-Man defeats Osborn, he is imprisoned and Gargan carries out Osborn's orders in kidnapping Aunt May. Gargan eventually summons Peter and tells him the only way he can see his aunt again is to break Norman out of jail. Shortly thereafter, the Venom symbiote approaches Gargan, offering him new abilities, and Gargan becomes bonded with the creature. This would later give him an extra edge as part of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve. Even with these additional powers he was still swiftly defeated by Spider-Man, as the Avengers dealt with the rest of the Twelve. So far he remains bonded with the symbiote. Though incarcerated, Gargan is unfazed, as with his new powers came the respect of becoming an "A-list" villain.

Villain Profiles:

the Beetle
Black Cat
the Chameleon
Doctor Octopus
the Green Goblin
J. Jonah Jameson
Jack O' Lantern
the Kingpin
Kraven the Hunter
the Lizard

Spider-Man 3 debuts in 76 days!

16 February 2007

The Buzz of Bee Movie Begins

Check out these ironically live-action trailers. The movie may suck, after all I think we have covered the animated insect genre by now, but at least the previews are funny. Oh, and no chicken wire or play-doh is a plus

Superheroes on Screen - Retrospective 1998

1998 and feelin' great


In March, the direct to video Batman: Sub-Zero was released focusing on Mr Freeze, the same villain that "stole the show" in 1997's horrendous Batman and Robin. As if B&R needed any more criticism, this animated movie gave Mr Freeze a great treatment showing the lost potential of the live-action disaster.

In May, Nick Fury got the spotlight in the made for TV Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. starring none other than David Hasselhoff. So, yeah, its pretty much as bad as it sounds.

In August, Blade, a movie about a lesser known Marvel vampire hunter, earned a surprising $70 million. The suits at Marvel realized that if one of their small properties, starring Wesley Snipes. could turn a profit, what of the big guns. Thus, the modern superhero genre was born.

1998 also saw a brief run for an animated Silver Surfer series which lasted a mere 13 episodes due to Marvel's bankruptcy.

And that folks is 1998, a pretty dull year.

Previous Retrospectives
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999

Batman Collection DVD 3-Pack (Mask of the Phantasm / Sub-Zero / Return of the Joker)

15 February 2007

Radar Blips - Clash of the Titans

The Year: 1981

The Players: Harry Hamlin as Perseus, Laurence Olivier as Zeus, and stop motion effects master Ray Harryhausen

The Take: $41 Million

Do the Titans really clash?: By the strictest definition of Greek Titans, No. Zeus has a quarrel with Thetis (who actually is a sea nymph, not a goddess as portrayed here) over their sons who both want a piece of Andromeda.

Why you should see it: Perseus is a tough sonovagun. He takes on the goatlike Calibos, a two-headed dog, Medusa, and The Kraken among other beasties all for the lass Andromeda. The movie has plenty of action, and its nice to see some of the good guys die. As if that's not enough, there is even a mechanical owl that does an impressive R2-D2 impersonation.

Clash of the Titans

14 February 2007

Wonder Woman in Smallville...?

...Kind of. Lynda Carter AKA TV's Wonder Woman is slated to play the long missing mother of Chloe Sullivan. This is sorta cool news. More in the department of Chris Reeve, Margot Kidder, and Terrence Stamp stunt casting than the more recent flavor of Tori Spelling, Bow Wow, and Batista.

When is Stan Lee going to make his cameo? I know this isn't Marvel, but that won't stop him from showing up next week on Heroes.

13 February 2007

Ink Blots LI - All Dogs Go to Heaven

Since dogs are supposedly just naturally good, when they die they all go to heaven. Ironically, most of the dogs in this film are criminals, and not even particularly good natured ones at that.

So, Charles B Barkin gets bumped off by the notorious Carface Malone and goes to heaven. But once there, he steals a watch that returns life to him as long as the watch keeps ticking. Also, since he left heaven, now if Charlie dies, he will be the one and only pup in doggie hell (maybe a better title would be "All Dogs Go to Heaven... Unless Banished to Hell for Misdeeds"). Once Charlie returns to Earth, he immediately begins plotting revenge. He steals away Carface's secret to gambling success - a little orphan girl that can talk to animals and thereby lets Carface know who will win the "rat-races." This little girl named Anne-Marie, modeled after the animated Snow White, it tricked into helping Charlie win at the races with promises that the money will help the poor. But when Anne-Marie gets recaptured by Carface, what will Charlie do?

All Dogs Go to Heaven was another product of our good friend Don Bluth who left Disney in the early 80's to try and bring back magic to animation. His first film, The Secret of NIMH was a masterpiece, but then Bluth's films started to slide. The Land Before Time, An American Tail, and All Dogs Go to Heaven are all decent films with redeemable parts, but then Bluth bottomed out with films like Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park, and Rock-a-Doodle. He finally got his mojo back with Anastasia and Titan A.E., but sadly he would never match the greatness of NIMH.

So, how does All Dogs rank? It's OK. It has some decent tunes that are wedged into the film without really advancing the story, and it has pretty standard Bluth Animation... which is better than average. The character of Charlie isn't very likable and the story is not too compelling, so overall the film is pretty forgettable, but at least it doesn't have anything in it too annoying or terrible. The movie was successful enough to spawn a sequel (which many regard as superior), a TV series, and a Christmas Special though without Bluth. And while that may like a lot of milk for a so-so film, remember that The Land Before Time was milked for like 12 sequels, so by comparison... not so impressive.

In 1989 the film earned $27 million bones, and would have likely done much better if it hadn't opened the same day as The Little Mermaid, the Disney film that ushered in the Disney renaissance. In all, Dogs is so-so for Don Bluth and so-so for animated films. At least it has a bit of a dark edge to it distinguishing it from the typical kid and dog movies. And, I do prefer it to Oliver & Company, a similar film that preceded Dogs by a year but had an unlikeable human rather than an unlikeable dog as the hero. This pack of pups runs away with its tail 'tween its legs and a C+.

All Dogs Go to Heaven & All Dogs Go to Heaven 2