24 February 2007

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - Shocker

He terrorizes while wearing a quilt. He is the Shocker.

Herman Schultz was a high school dropout who had brilliant talents as both an inventor and an engineer. Instead of using such talents to gain legitimate employment, he became a successful burglar and the world's best safe-cracker. After finally being caught and incarcerated for his crimes, he developed a pair of gauntlets designed to shoot air blasts, vibrating at high frequency.

Schultz used the gauntlets to escape from prison and became the super-villain known as "The Shocker". He defeated Spider-Man in their first confrontation, but was later beaten and sent back to prison by Spider-Man (who pinned Schultz's thumbs away from the gauntlets' triggers with his webbing).

The Shocker would go on to prove a constant presence among Spider-Man's gallery of enemies, often times as either a thief or subordinate to a more prominent of Spider-Man's foes (notably Wilson Fisk and the Owl). He regularly works either as a member of a team (including Hobgoblin's Sinister Seven, Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve, Doctor Octopus's most recent Sinister Six, and the Masters of Evil) or in partnership with at least one other villain (previous alliances include Boomerang, The Beetle, Rhino, Leila Davis, the Trapster, Hydro-Man, and Speed Demon).

Likely Schultz's most ambitious solo exploit was his attempt to hold the city of New York for ransom by blacking out various electrical grids to spell out his name.

The Shocker found a rare moment of victory over Spider-Man when he teamed up with the Trapster. Sent by the Friends of Humanity to assassinate Paul Stacy, the duo managed to glue Stacy and Spider-Man together and corner them, only to be called off of their assignment moments before finishing them off.

Shocker would later turn on the Trapster at the bequest of Norman Osborn (who sought to have the Trapster eliminated as a potential witness against his recent attempt to frame Spider-Man for murder). Preparing to kill the resigned Trapster in an alley, he was attacked and rendered unconscious at the last minute by Spider-Man (then disguised under the alias of Dusk).

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 69 days!

23 February 2007

Wonder Woman Royale

So, first Joss Whedon gets booted off the Wonder Woman project, and then we get even more casting rumors. Its hard to know what to believe. Frankly, I would be a little surprised if this movie actually started getting made in the near future. But the rumor du jour is Casino Royale's Eva Green. Take it for what its worth.

22 February 2007

Radar Blips - Enemy Mine

The Year: 1985 (2 years after Return of the Jedi)

The Players: Dennis Quaid, Directed by Wolfgang Peterson, and featuring the Sarlaac Pit Monster's cousin.

The Take: $12 Million

So, who's Enemy is it?: A human and a reptilian Drac both crash land on a barren planet after being involved in an interstellar dogfight. They hate each other, and are thus each other's enemy.

Why you should see it: Although a tad heavy handed, this film shows that bitter enemies can become friends when they begin to understand each other and overcome misconceptions. Of course all of this is aided by killer meteor showers, pregnant men, and a turtle eating Sarlaac pit monster. It is one of those good science fiction stories where a thoughtful message outweighs the need for non-stop action.

Enemy Mine

20 February 2007

Ink Blots LII - Balto

Balto is supposedly based on a true story, but obviously many liberties were taken. After all, dogs can't really talk. In 1925, a diphtheria outbreak threatened the lives of many youngsters in Nome Alaska. The only available serum was located over 1,000 miles away in Anchorage and the medicine was sent to Nome through treacherous weather by dog sled. The medicine arrived in a sled led by the dog Balto (That is the true part of the story, and it is actually quite amazing).

So basically, Balto and Steele are two hounds after the same female canine Jenna. While Steele is a championship sled dog, Balto is a mutt with heart that inspires other woof woofs to follow him.

Balto made only $11 million in 1995 though 2 direct to video sequels followed. Overall, the animation is pretty decent, as is the music, but other than the fact that this is based on an inspiring true story, I just didn't get too excited about this movie. Thus Balto limps away with just a B-.


18 February 2007

The Rider Shall Return

Even before the opening of Ghost Rider, Avi Arad and others at Marvel had begun talking about Ghost Rider 2. Now, thought I, this was pretty ambitious planning for a franchise yet to prove itself. I figured that Ghost Rider, being a relatively unknown, would struggle to cash in at the box office. On top of that, its $110 million budget was a large sum to recapture. Don't get me wrong, I am excited to see it, but I am an ubergeek. Well, the Rider opened this weekend to a President's Day record of $44.5 million. Not too shabby for a flaming skull.

After the Monday holiday, Ghostie will most likely have crossed the $50 million mark on his way to recouping that budget. Sure, its not a Spider-Man sized success, but its not the flop may had predicted. In fact, as superheroes go, Ghoat Rider has already topped Catwoman, Punisher, Supergirl, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Elektra, and Steel. Though the film will not be a smash bang hit at the box office, these comic book movies make most of their money for Marvel as DVD sales and the even more lucrative toy sales. So, move skull face from C to B hero status. Marvel has struck another hit and all the crazy sequel talk wasn't completely unfounded.