Tag: movies

Marvel Movie Rankings

When Marvel’s Blade reached the big screen my world changed. Below are my rankings of all Marvel movies since 1998. I’ve rated on rewatchability, characters, plot, and special effects. I generally ignore how closely it follows a comic plot as long as it maintains the same spirit.


 A  2017  Logan
 2016  Captain America: Civil War
 2016  Deadpool
 2014  Guardians of the Galaxy
 2014  Captain America: The Winter Soldier
 2012  The Avengers
 1998  Blade
B  2017  Thor: Ragnarok
 2016  Doctor Strange
 2000  X-Men
 2015  Ant-Man
 2017  Spider-Man: Homecoming
 2008  Iron Man
 2017  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
 2002  Spider-Man
 2014  X-Men: Days of Future Past
 2011  X-Men: First Class
 2002  Blade II
 2012  The Amazing Spider-Man
 2008  The Incredible Hulk
 2003  X2
 2015  Avengers: Age of Ultron
 2004  Blade: Trinity
 2010  Iron Man 2
 2003  Daredevil
C  2013  The Wolverine
 2004  Spider-Man 2
 2011  Thor
 2014  The Amazing Spider-Man 2
 2011  Captain America: The First Avenger
 2016  X-Men: Apocalypse
 2006  X-Men: The Last Stand
 2007  Ghost Rider
D  2009  X-Men Origins: Wolverine
 2013  Iron Man 3
 2005  Fantastic Four
 2003  Hulk
 2013  Thor: The Dark World
 2004  The Punisher
F  2011  Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
 2007  Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
 2008  Punisher: War Zone
 2007  Spider-Man 3
 2005  Elektra








Comic Characters Who Need Their Own Movie

Over the past decade, comics have made the big transition from the printed page to the silver screen. It hasn’t been a flawless leap, and there are a few productions that I think we as a people wish had never seen the light of day [cough, Fantastic Four, cough]. Truly, it’s a great time to be a nerd, when one of the cornerstones of geek subculture has now become part of the mainstream, and it’s a little less cool to say that you know who Wolverine is.

But here’s the problem: Wolverine’s one of the few we know. In an industry with a dearth of possible stories, we’ve seen five Spider-Man movies, six starring the X-Men, and countless Avengers titles. While more are planned, it doesn’t look like the theatrical roster is going to expand by too much. So, I decided to throw my two cents and comprise a list of characters, some from Marvel and others from different companies, that I think deserve their own movie.

Regarded as a C-List hero that gets to occasionally team up with the big boys, Darkhawk has in fact saved the entire world and gone toe-to-toe with some of the heavy-hitters of the Marvel Universe [the guy was part of the Infinity Crusade, I think that at least moves him to B+ List]. His back story starts out like many heroes—as a kid, Chris Powell basically fell into his powers, after he used an alien amulet to transform into an android powerhouse.

Unlike many, his course to heroism was somewhat erratic. His mentors include Venom and The Punisher, folks whose idea of due process is a deciding whether to skin the bad guys alive or just cave in their skulls. It’s no surprise that he’s questioned the wisdom of leaving the bad guys in one piece.

Now, let’s talk powers—Darkhawk has enough for two characters. Super strength, an energy shield, a force blast, flight, even some kind of nightmare face that terrifies anyone he looks at. Yeah, his outfit makes him look like a cyberpunk Power Ranger, but he makes it work.

Multiple Man
Jamie Madrox’s own powers have tried to kill him. There, I think that’s all I need to say.

What? I need to do more. Fine, fine….

Madrox is a mutant with the power to create a duplicate of himself through physical impact. Basically, you punch him and get two to fight with. Have fun with that. He’s a member of X-Factor, a government -run mutant team because sure, the government has always had the best interests of mutants at heart.

Despite some questionably judgment in allegiences, Madrox has proven himself a hero time and again. The guy can make as many duplicates as he needs, and as far as I know, there’s no limit to this ability. He’s basically a one-man army. More than that, he can see, hear, and experience anything his copies do. Send one to infiltrate a Hydra base, but he gets killed? No worries, Madrox Prime [as he’s sometimes referred to] saw everything he needs to stop their fiendish plan.

But that’s not all! He can learn anything his copies learn just by absorbing them back into his body. He once sent a copy to spend years learning martial arts, then gained all the skills in a moment. If he gets hurt in battle, drawing the copies back into himself can heal his wounds. It’s actually a wonder that he bothers being part of a team.

Mice Templar
OK, this would be likely be multiple films, but the premise is amazing: infusing Celtic and Norse legends to tell a tale of destiny, revenge, and war. On the surface this seems like standard Disney fare: an army of mice taking on the evil rat empire, but the similarity ends very quickly. And very, very bloody

While this certainly has the potential to be a good animated series, let’s just say the parental warning would be high for this one. It’s about as gory as the movie Braveheart, and has a complex, ever-evolving story that follows a young mouse named Karic, someone who wants absolutely nothing to do with the destiny thrust upon him as a great savior, only agreeing once he sees that he’s the only thing saving his kind from complete annihilation. So, no pressure, right?

A lesser-known member of the second incarnation of the New Mutants, Tattoo isn’t actually a mutant, and has no powers that are his and his alone. Instead, he employs a mutant tattoo artist, whose gift allows him to make any ink he draws a power. Draw the biohazard sign on your hand: congrats, you can now broadcast the plague to anyone around you. A set of wings on your heels: heads up, you can fly. Hell, the guy even gave himself the powers of the Phoenix. Yeah, the same one that decimates worlds for fun. That Phoenix.

To be fair, Tattoo isn’t a real hero, and only gives himself these powers for his own gain, but when the chips are down, he steps up and does the right thing, even when that “right thing” puts him in a coma.

Max Bowen founded Citywide Blackout five years ago to support and promote Boston’s music scene. The show has grown significantly over the years, with many different co-hosts bringing their distinct personalities, experience, and expertise to the table. This show wouldn’t exist if not for their hard work.

Today, Citywide Blackout airs on WEMF every Thursday at 9 p.m. with co-hosts Matt Zappa and Tom Crossman. The show shines the spotlight on musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers, and much more.

In addition, Max is a regular contributor to The Noise Magazine, which covers the Boston music scene through live show and CD reviews and in-depth articles. He has worked as a journalist for Gatehouse Media for the last 10 years. Today, he’s the editor of the Westwood Press and Medfield Press newspapers.

Golden Age of Comic Book Movies

When did the Golden Age of Comic Book Movies start? How long will this trend of superhero movies last? Why is it so popular? Seems like nowadays we can’t go three months without a new superhero movie releasing in theaters. When nerds like me start seeing trends, we typically want to know how. Is it popularity that keeps superhero movies coming back, year after year, month after month? If that was simply the case, wouldn’t this trend have been said and done with back in 1978 with the release of Richard Donner’s Superman, staring late great Christopher Reeve and Marlon Brando? Superman was widely loved by critics and fans alike and spawned four sequels and a spin-off movie, Supergirl in 1984. Or was it the Tim Burton directed Batman films? Certainly darker and more gritty than the bright colored 1966 TV series starring Adam West, but more popular? Well, that begs the question. Honestly, I think the popularity has always been there, even in the early days of The Shadow, Zorro, The Green Hornet, and even The Lone Ranger all the way into the cowabunga years of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Around the mid-90s is when, according to movie listings, we begin to see superhero flicks picking up, instead of the typically two-three a year quota, now we’re getting four or five, and this is despite low-quality production, which is another argument altogether. CGI alone has a short life span. Consider 1994’s Judge Dread or 1997’s Spawn, both widely loved by fans but now universally loathed as being both cheesy and unwatchable. If anything, we can say the quality in movies has improved, but not just graphics and effects, but also storytelling.

Let’s slow things down here and take a closer look.

While some of the past superhero movies had a gem or two regarding the art of story, for the most part, it was cut and paste motivations. Bad guy kidnaps so and so, evil genius threatens world domination, Hero must overcome some negating characteristic and win the day, blah blah blah. Spawn is a great example. One of my more beloved comic book storylines, it was very dark but also very in-depth, pitting a man who was never really that good, to begin with, but is in love and wants to be a better man is killed and returns as a Spawn, basically a demon with powers, yet at one point ends up giving said powers and ending his life to save “the other guy” his estranged wife married. There’s way more there, I kinda had to skip from comics one to fifty, but you get the idea. Complex characters with deep motivations. In the movie variation, we get the jest of the gov’t assassin who wants out so he can be with his wife. But after that, things get stuck one-dimensionally. Bag guy has a “doomsday” device. Hell works on releasing said doomsday device. The hero must learn to use his powers and save the world. In the comics, Spawn wouldn’t give two shits about the world.

More and more of these all most wonders were coming out, and then…

1998’s Blade is when the superhero movies started taking themselves a little more seriously and not just “for kids.” Certainly not Blade, which boasted an R-rating. I think Dolph Lundgren’s 1989 Punisher flick was the first of comic book movies to brave an R-rating. The issue with the 80s Punisher variation, among a majority of early superhero movies, is the omission of certain aspects of the characters that made them more compelling, giving realism to motivations, and letting us audience types to give a crap about them. Now Blade, some may say had issues. They wouldn’t be wrong. However, 1998 was the first time I actually cared about a superhero, other than Blankman, but no one was going to take Blankman seriously. People still don’t. But Blade. Oh my, Blade was a badass. I saw it in theaters in 98’ with my friends. Loved it then. Still, do. Even if the “cheesiness” in the CGI is starting to show. Yup. That’s right. I’m picking Blade over the Michael Keaton Batman flicks. Yes, those Bat-films were fun and awesome, but Batman is a very complex character and Tim Burton did nothing with exploring that. Burton is a great visual director. But his characters have always been 2-D. There’s room for argument, I’m sure. But while Blade may have had similar qualities as Batman, i.e. moody grumpy badass loner type, there are moments we see more. Blade has a twisted sense of humor, sadistic some might say. And when it comes to Whistler, there’s a father-son dynamic that adds just enough flavor to the Blade persona to make viewers care.

This is not when the Golden Age began, this is only a foreshadowing.

Trust me. While Blade is not a definitive moment when the Golden Age of Superhero Movies clock started, it is certainly the start of what made the Golden Age possible. It wasn’t a perfect start, by all means. But Blade marked the moment when hero flicks took themselves more seriously. And the popularity from there rose, not immediately, but steadily, climbing into a near explosion of movies based on Marvel, DC, Image, and other more obscure comic book label characters. Seriously, who outside of obscure comic book readers ever heard of Guardians of the Galaxy? Not many, I can assure you. Yet, despite said obscurity, Guardians of the Galaxy became one of the more successful superhero movies for Marvel to come out of 2014. And now fans eagerly await the release of Vol 2.

The road hasn’t been without its bumps. While 2000 gave us the first of many Bryan Singer directed X-Men movies, giving what fans had been dreaming about for years, Wolverine on the big screen, the early 2000’s also gave us the not-so-great Affleck flick Daredevil. That being said, we did get X-2 and Sam Raimi’s Spiderman, which wowed audiences back in 2002. There was a hiccup somewhere in the mid-2000s, between Daredevil and Catwoman and Fantastic Four that fell due to campy forced storytelling. But the good ones were starting to outnumber the bad, V for Vendetta being one of the best to come out of 2006.

Okay. I’ve been blabbing on and on here. I hope some of this has made sense. But here’s the meat. Let me say first though that this article is an opinion piece based on my own personal analysis of movie and story trends. People more learned than I may have a different opinion, you may have a different opinion. BUT… I believe 2008 was the start of the Golden Age of Comic Book Movies. In 2008 alone, nine different comic book movies released to theaters. Some of those, not so good. But among them started a decade-spanning series that is still ongoing. That’s right, I’m talking about the Jon Favreau-directed Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr., an actor who up until that point was slipping into obscurity, somehow beat the odds and helped launch a multi-million dollar franchise.

But not just that, since Iron Man’s release, the number of crummy, 2-D storytelling superhero movies has exponentially (nice big word there) decreased. For example, while in 2009, Wolverine’s Origins movie may have been questionable, we did get Watchmen, which I thought was very in-depth and developed. In 2011, while The Green Hornet failed miserably, we got both Thor and one of my all-time favorite superhero movies, Captain America: The First Avenger. In 2012, some asshole released Ghost Rider 2, but…we did get The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Dark Knight Rises, AND Dredd, which I feel is an overlooked movie. Superman returned in Man of Steele in a not too shabby 2013 new flick, as did Thor in an even better sequel to his first film. In 2014, we got THE WINTER FREAKING SOLDIER, not to mention Days of Future Past, and Guardians of the Galaxy, huge films that overshadowed some lesser greats with the return of TMNT in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And last year, 2016…oh my. Even the TMNT upped their ante with Out of the Shadows, giving longtime fans what they’ve been wanting since the 1990s, Bebop and Rocksteady on the big screen, and a relaxing breather to go with the more serious toned superhero films like Captain America: Civil War, Apocalypse, and Batman V Superman. But not just those, we also got the surprise hit Doctor Strange, which blew my freaking mind, and lastly but not least, Deadpool, the next in hopefully a long series of R-rated superhero movies. I don’t think I’ve laughed as hard as I did at a movie before, other than maybe South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.

Why are we in a Golden Age of Superhero Movies? Seriously? I don’t know!!! That’s not what this post is about, but I thought I should mention the why since I explained the how. For me, the how is obvious. Back in 1998, Blade showed us what a good superhero movie was or could be. And over time we showed our expectations at the box office. And now we’re at a point when quality versus quantity seems mute. We’re getting quality movies and we’re getting a lot of them. And the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing. In 2017, we’re expecting Power Rangers, which BTW actually looks interesting and worthwhile (we’ll see), Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2., Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Justice League.

There are movies projected, as from what I’ve been able to find, through 2020.

Will the Golden Age of Superhero Movies come to an end? Maybe eventually. But right now they’re offering a mode of storytelling that has become very appealing to audiences worldwide. This thirst of seeing the “best of us,” heroes more or less. Not just “super powered,” but human, regardless of superpowers or not. And that’s also why I titled this post as “Golden Age” instead of “Golden Era.” An era is typically confined to a decade. An Age can last, well…for reference, the Bronze Age, which is bronze weaponry, lasted for over 1700 years… Just saying, this can be awhile.

Thomas S. Flowers is the published author of several character driven stories of dark fiction. He resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter. He is published with The Sinister Horror Company’s horror anthology The Black Room Manuscripts. His debut novel, Reinheit, is published with Shadow Work Publishing, along with The Incredible Zilch Von Whitstein and Apocalypse Meow. His military/paranormal thriller series, The Subdue Series, both Dwelling and Emerging and Conceiving (coming soon), are published with Limitless Publishing, LLC. In 2008, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army where he served for seven years, with three tours serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2014, Thomas graduated from University of Houston Clear Lake with a BA in History. He blogs at machinemean[dot]org, where he does author interviews and reviews on a wide range of strange yet oddly related topics. You can keep up with Thomas and all his strange books by joining his author newsletter, at http://goo.gl/2CozdE.

Movies That Need To Be Better Than Their Trailers

This movie has had some serious controversy revolving around Hollywood’s obsession with white washing cinema. I’m not going to get into the politics of it, I’m too excited to see one of my favorite animations turned into a movie. This movie asks questions about who we are, what makes us “us,” and ultimately, do we have souls? The action will be astounding, and the set design from the trailer looks spectacular. But will it get the message?

I’m nervous because we know ScarJo has some acting chops, but she’s also been in some major bombs. I am truly fearful this will turn into Lucy 2.0. If it can maintain the trailer level of intensity, you’ll be seeing me in tears as the happiest of geeks!

Hugh Jackman is making his final appearance as our favorite (actually, my least favorite) mutant, Wolverine. However, unlike the “I’m the best at what I do,” crazy aggressive feral man, we’re seeing an elder, tamed, almost reserved man in this comic. Honestly, if he had this kind of development in the comic, I may grow to love him. When Logan takes on his fatherly role, I find him the most charismatic and endearing. I like knowing that underneath that protective quality he has the rage, not the other way around.

My problem with this trailer is it’s showing us very little of the plot. We’ve seen X-Men look beautiful and then go wrong as the plot unravels. We’ve seen the Reavers, and I hope we see them with even more cyber enhancements (I’m hoping for somebody with a tank body.) But where does Sinister fit in? Does he make 23? Is it going to be a throw away plot line? This is where my hesitations lie, we can only hope this is a character driven plot. I have high hopes, it’s been a great run Hugh, even if our relationship has had bumps along the way!

I’m the guy who has never played the video game but fell in love with the movies. I wanted apocalypse, zombies, and badass fight scenes, and Resident Evil has almost always delivered. There have been some hiccups along the way as it started to focus more on the characters and lose the zombie horde chasing feel, but they’ve consistently maintained a good movie. The last one had Russian Military Zombies didn’t it?

The last movie expected for the franchise features a stunning Milla, dirty, tired, and angry. You’ve got me. Now let’s see some technology, some surprise zombie encounters, and a small group of people against the world. As long as I get to watch senseless zombie violence I’ll be happy. I hope she goes out with a bang, literally, I want to watch Raccoon City Burn (again.) This is going into my “sure to meet expectations” pile.

Okay, stop laughing. I know, I just put Power Rangers onto my “must see” list. Actually, it’s been on my “must see” list since 1995 when I saw the first episode. When the Fan Film was released a year ago I fell in love all over again. The concept is there, it’s not bad, even if it has some hokey aspects. What it needed, a dark, very very dark, overhaul with somebody willing to remove the overwhelming do-gooder aspect and let these teens be as dysfunctional as real teens would be. If you had a Zord, be honest, you’d be causing havoc.

I’m not sure I’m going to get what I’m after, but I think they’re going down the right track. The franchise has possibilities and they just need to realize we’re living in a world of morally ambiguous decisions and people willing to play dirty to win. The trailer gives me a bit of hope. My expectations are low, but I’ll admit, this is the one I have the biggest hopes for. Come on Saban, make a big ol’ meanie happy.

What On God’s Green Earth Went Wrong?

green-lantern-movie-poster-banner-corps-mtv-brandedDisclaimer: Rewatching this movie, I fell asleep part way. Multiple times.

Relationship: We know my affinity for Marvel, but if DC has produced anything to rival my dedication to mutants, its Green Lantern. Contained in a tiny object, a man is given ring with the ability to create anything he can imagine, and only his willpower can sustain these creations. My knowledge of the mythos is scarce, but the many incarnations of this protector of the sector has captivated me.

Ryan Reynolds however, did not.

Review: I am glad I watched this movie again. The ratings decimated any hope of this becoming a franchise opener, but I may actually defend Ryan Reynolds. From Wolverine to Green Lantern, I thought Reynolds would be the actor to kill any superhero movie. His halfwit humor, bad puns, and annoying chipper half-smile seemed to spell certain doom for his career. If Ryan’s abs can’t save a movie, then really, what chance did he have? But Deadpool showed us, he isn’t a bad actor, but he can only act within the limitations given to him. Green Lantern must have set a lot of limitations.

“Ryry, you did a great job with that take, I lol’d. Let’s try it again and less lol and try it more laugh out inside.”

“Ryry, your abs are looking fabulous. This time, can you have more of a blank look on your face? Like you’re at a spelling bee and asked to spell quiche.”

“Ryry, did you just ask for motivation? Does your paycheck need more 0’s?”

“Ryry, put your shirt on. Your abs aren’t abby enough. We’ll fix that in post production.”

We spend the first part of the film trying to prove he has no fear. If we haven’t figured out from his flight abilities, every character makes references toward his bravado. They chide him for it. They worship him for it. It’s literally beaten into us. Then when he winds up on Oa with the other Lanterns, he does everything but throw a hissy fit. I think he threatens to quit? I fell asleep. The special effects were so outlandish I figure I’d wake up when something exploded later.

I wake up to some bad puns about his mask.

galactus_vs_parallaxThis movie suffers from the superhero pitfall of needing too many enemies and then splitting film time between them. When you have an entire planet full of amazing looking aliens, we spend more time with a crazed scientist with a severe receding hairline. I fell asleep again, but I think he got beaten. I mean, I assume he did? Did it really matter? And then there is Parallax, the bad guy only beatable by the most valiant Lantern. The baddie even manages to smoke a whole squad of the most elite Lanterns. Don’t worry, Ryry has no fear, so he’ll be safe and capable of stopping Galact….I mean Parallax. But no worries, the guy who just picked up the ring happens to be able to master these new abilities without even the slightest of montages! I can’t believe he’s this capable without a montage, has nobody ever seen a superhero movie?

green_lantern_trailer_101117_vidimSo the script, yeah, a third grader with refrigerator magnets could have come up with a more convincing script. So let’s talk about the giant, green, rippling, elephant in the room. Never have I been so flabbergasted by the horrible use of CGI as I was in this movie. I would have been happier if they just slapped him in spandex and hung him from the end of the rope. But okay, they wanted to have no limitations so the CGI was used to show the powers of the ring. So, you can imagine anything, and this is what you come up with? A race car? A sword? A machine gun? And somehow you manage to beat the most dangerous evil in the universe? I started rooting for the villain. At least his scary cloud looked like it might be hard to breathe in? Perhaps it could win with lung cancer. But even with an amazing post-credit scene promising us the villain we really wanted, the franchise died. Dead. Like really dead.

So yeah. I went to bed after that. That was the most exciting part of the night!

Plot – D-
Script – D-
Comicness – C

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