21 April 2007

The Many Foes of Spider-Man - Vulture

Oh no, an old man with feathers... its the Vulture

Adrian Toomes is a former electronics engineer who employs a special harness of his own design that allows him to fly; his flight is directed by a pair of wings worn on his arms. The harness also endows him with enhanced strength and (according to some sources) increases his lifespan. Although Toomes is advanced in age, he is a strong fighter and a remorseless killer. On one occasion, he restored his youth through biochemical means, though this wore off after exposure to the corpse of an elemental superhuman. At one point he had used a device to steal Spider-Man's youth, leaving Vulture young and Spider-Man elderly, but this effect wore off within hours.

On more than one occasion Toomes has been in league with several other Spider-Man villains in order to destroy the wall crawler. The Vulture has been in every incarnation of the Sinister Six, and appeared in the Sinister Twelve. He has a strong friendship with fellow villain Electro; the two of them nearly beat Spider-Man to death.

The Vulture once stumbled across a plot by the Chameleon and the Green Goblin to drive Spider-Man insane by having shapeshifting androids impersonate his late mother and father; due to Toomes' interference, the androids were destroyed, leading the wall-crawler to a brief nervous breakdown. The Vulture absorbed the artificial life force from the Mary Parker android, and the effect on the Vulture was twofold; not only did he become a young man again, but he was instantly cured of the cancer that had been slowly killing him for some time. (The Vulture has since reverted to an old man once again.)

Toomes' identity as the Vulture has been claimed by imposters on several occasions. Blackie Drago and Professor Clifton Shallot are some of them. The Vulture technology was later copied by a group of thugs called "The Vulturions"; Toomes defeated these usurpers as well. Also, Toomes himself was not the first comic villain to use the name. In the 1941 comic Doll Man Quarterly, a robber named the Vulture used his pet vultures carrying bombs to commit crimes.

In the Identity Disc series, it was revealed that Toomes, with the help of Sandman, manipulated Marvel villains Bullseye, Deadpool, Juggernaut, and Sabretooth into laying siege to terrorist group A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) headquarters in order to retrieve a disc containing the identities of undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives (including that of Toomes' daughter).

During a brief time of working for the Owl, he failed in a mission and as a result was punished in that he was severely beaten and one eye was removed from his face. He subsequently revealed himself as a member of Norman Osborn's Sinister Twelve - though he wore a helmet, presumably to mask the wounds.

Under the tutelage of Al Kraven, Kraven the Hunter's son, Toomes briefly attempted a stint at heroism, but before long he returned to the other side of the law.

During the Civil War, he was apprehended along with the Grim Reaper and the Trapster, by Captain America and his growing Resistance, who chained him together with Grim Reaper to a pole and broke his nose. When he was found and taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D., he complained, "that lunatic broke my damn nose". After Spider-Man unmasked himself, Toomes was seen in his jail cell, knitting his fingers together. As someone on the television set said they hoped it wouldn't be any trouble for Spider-Man, Toomes said, "Oh I think it will be."

After Spider-Man goes rogue, Toomes is seen in a S.H.I.E.L.D prison cell speaking with agent Jamie Madrox, and commenting on Spider-Man's inherent weakness, that being his unwillingness to use his powers for personal gain. S.H.I.E.L.D. then returns his flying harness and encourages him to hunt down Spider-Man, saying that he "is now an outlaw, same as you."

Later, the Vulture attacks Spider-Man at a book signing, and manages to slash him with a powerful sedative. Toomes, however, falls unconscious and, sensing something is wrong, Spider-Man rushes him to the hospital.

Toomes wakes up a few hours later, where a doctor reveals that he has suffered a stroke, and many of his muscles on the left side of his body have been paralyzed. When the doctor leaves, Spider-Man sneaks in and Toomes asks him to kill him because he is weak. When Spider-Man refuses to do so, he says that Spider-Man is also weak, and always has been. After making remarks about Uncle Ben, Spider-Man takes a pillow and begins suffocating him. He fights back, and Spidey removes the pillow, commenting that "For somebody who's begging to die, you fight for life pretty hard."

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
The Sinister Six
Spider Slayers
The Spot

Spider-Man 3 debuts in 13 days!

Norton NOT Green After All

Avi Arad said of the new Hulk film:

It's a new Hulk, new direction, new size, new color, new attitude. Anything that was done before is not in this movie. It's a very different kind of Hulk. It's more of a love story; it's more of a heroic Hulk. It's a kind of Hulk we loved in the show, so it's kind of more influenced by the show than anything else. It's very human, very touching, and huge action. Louis Leterrier has a unique filming style that will be great here and it's going to be spectacular.

Could it be that we will being seeing the gray hulk smashing this time? Or just a different shade of green?

20 April 2007

Morpheus to Play a Weatherman

It has been confirmed that Laurence Fishburne will be voicing the chromy cosmic longboarder, The Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. As the "herald" of Galactus, the Surfer finds planets suitable for his master to consume.

Just a couple of days ago, we heard that said Galactus will be appearing in the film as a storm cloud and Larry has the honor of announcing that the planets in question have a 90% chance of galactic rain.

Fantastic Four - Extended Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)

19 April 2007

Radar Blips - Supergirl

The Year: 1984

The Players: Faye Dunaway, Peter O'Toole, Jimmy Olson from the other Superfilms, and Helen Slater as Supergirl.

The Take: $14 Million

Super Who?: Even though Kal-El AKA Super-Man is the "Last Son of Krypton," there is a whole colony of "Super Cousins" living in a pocket universe in a city called Argo City (which is somehow in a lake on Earth). Kara Zor-El comes to Earth to reclaim her cities power source which was lost when she used it to make a giant dragonfly. She just happens to have a super costume with her for the trip, so she becomes Supergirl... but that doesn't stop her from assuming an alter ego, Linda Lee, for her brief stay.

Why you should see it: To see how bad it really is. The film has some big names attached, but the only good performance is delivered by Helen Slater who captures a charming naivety that makes Supergirl very endearing in the middle of the mess of a movie she finds herself in. This film is full of plot holes and nonsensical happenings, but some of the fights are ok. Its too bad Slater didn't have a better script to work with.

Supergirl (Unrated Director's Cut)

18 April 2007

V*Ger Returns in Fantastic Four 2

Weather or not you take this story as good news will depend on how much you enjoyed Star Trek: The Motion Picture... You know, the one with the giant cloud that turned out to be a renegade satellite name V*Ger. Anyways, as it turns out old "purple head" Galactus has got a new look for Fantastic Four : Rise of the Silver Surfer. He has shed the armor and will be appearing as a cloud. Yeah, really. What we dont know is if it will be a cirrus, or perhaps a cumulo-nimbus.

Screenrant.com has an excellent review of the moments leading up to this disappointing reveal:

Here's a quote from Tom Rothman, stated back before the first Fantastic Four movie was made:

"There won’t be any giant robots in any movie my studio makes."

This, of course crushed the idea of ever having Sentinels appear in any Rothman-helmed Marvel superhero flick. (Sentinels being the 10 story tall robots that were created to hunt down mutants.) And since Galactus is portrayed as a giant the size of a planet in the comic books, I guess he fits under that category.

In September of last year Rothman had this to say in regards to Galactus appearing in the movie:

"Yes, I think that Galactus, look, I don’t want to give away too much, right, but I will say this, Galactus will appear and fans will not be disappointed."

Now remember that five months later, in an interview Ioan Gruffudd stated the following regarding Galactus' appearance in the film:

"...his presence is felt in the movie. He doesn't physically appear, no."

Now I'm not saying that a giant dude would necessarily work as Galactus in the movie... sometimes things need to be changed from the comic book version in order to fit better into a live action movie. However, having said that, here's an image a fan did on his home PC using just Photoshop:


So yeah, I think it could have worked.

Well, here is hoping F4:2 outshines the guilty pleasure of a turd that was F4 1.

Fantastic Four - Extended Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Star Trek - The Motion Picture: The Director's Cut (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition)

17 April 2007

Ink Blots LX - The Lord of the Rings

This presentation is a decent condensed version of the first half of the story, but the 2nd half is missing entirely. The compressed nature of this film leaves out a lot of information, but if you have seen the Peter Jackson films, or read the books, it shouldn’t be too hard to follow; however, as an introduction to the Lord of the Rings, the movie will be very confusing. The nature of the compression is odd too as the early parts are done well, but as the film moves on the holes in the story are bigger and more frequent, making it seem that the film makers ran out of time, or film before the movie could be finished.

Some of the details of this version are also a bit strange. Sauroman is called Auroman, but only sometimes (if this was done to prevent confusion with Sauron, then why only sometimes?). And though he is Sauroman (Auroman) the White, he is inexplicably wearing red. Also strange is that the Gondorians, including Boromir, are presented as Vikings complete with horned helmets. While these artistic choices stand out like sore thumbs, the film does strive to be true to the source material and much of the dialog is pulled straight from the text.

As is true with many of Ralph Bakshi’s film’s rotoscoping in heavily employed, though this is an example of rotoscoping gone wrong. Many of the characters appear much like the characters in Tron, with animated hair over a sepia toned, live-action face. And during battles, its not easy to tell who is who.

In spite of its shortcomings, Lord of the Rings performed well at the box office. In 1978, this film which cost $4 million, earned back $30 million. Comparing this to the masterful trilogy made by Peter Jackson makes this film seem like an utter failure, but this version preceded Jackson’s by over 20 years, and even had some influence on artistic choices made by Jackson. So, over all, it’s not a complete waste (or at least it wasn’t when it came out) and at least it is not an insult to Tolkein’s works. Still it is hard to overlook the fact that half the story is left untold, and no sequel ever came. Maybe I would feel different if the film was called Lord of the Rings - Part 1 (To be fair, Return of the King was released as a TV semi-follow up to this film, though its presentation was in style of The Hobbit, complete with songs, and much more family friendly). Lord of the Rings fans, or fantasy fans in general should check this out, but its not really worth repeat viewings, and Bakshi fans would be better off sticking with Fire & Ice. As for Rings, it earns a C.

16 April 2007

The Incredible Ed

While the Invincible Iron Man has been getting all sorts of press for the upcoming Iron Man film including great casting and a nicely designed prototype armor, next years Hulk movie has remained fairly buzz free. Well, hopefully this bit of casting news while up the excitement a little.

According to Variety, Ed Norton will be taking over the role of Bruce Banner / The Hulk. In my opinion this is a pretty decent choice, much better than Adrian Brody or David Duchovny as previously rumored.

Now all we need to get hyped is some images of Hulk smashing stuff.