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Why did we include THAT?

“I wasn’t going to cut corners. I wasn’t going to miss something obvious. Somewhere along the way, I started to go overboard. I may, in fact, have started to go a little insane.” -Ready Player One, page 62

So I really should have written this a lot earlier…but you know. I’m still learning about how all this works and what the project should really be. Coming up on 9 months of working on the blog I’m finally getting into a rhythm with actually getting things done and reviewed (movies and music are pretty easy, tv isn’t so bad but literature is tough to get through even with the rate at which I read…)

And I’m only one person.  While my brother watches a lot of things with me and is trying to help me work up to playing video games live on twitch, which I am not good at keeping up with, he doesn’t write for the blog.  And I have a small circle of friends that will help me with things like finding books or letting me borrow them…or to let me come over and mooch off their streaming services for a tv show I need to watch, they are really just there for moral support.

So, consuming and writing about all of this is a LOT…it’s a full-time job. And I work and have a house on top of it.

Then why have you included all of the things you have (even if they weren’t exclusively mentioned in the book)?

I get asked this a lot.  And it was a hard decision to make as I developed this project over the years. Here is what I decided and why…

The book Ready Player One takes place in the year 2045.  Halliday grew up during the 1980s. 1990s, and was in his formidable adult years during the early 2000s into the 2020s…. but the book was published in 2011.

Which leaves a lot of time between the publication of the novel and when the actual story takes place.

I could have made the decision to just deal with any media that came before 2011. But it didn’t seem right.

Then there was the route of just going off the references that are directly named within the book.  And boy are there a LOT of those.  Yet again…this just didn’t feel like the right way to go.

So what was left?

In my opinion it was this:

If Wade was doing his research from around 2040-2045 which are the dates from Halliday’s death to when the first key was found by Wade himself then it would make sense that during that 5-year period he would have delved into all the references in Anorak’s Almanac.  

Since we don’t have direct access to the actual Almanac (I’m working on a version of it to post in the blog in case anyone wants to try this for themselves) I am left to guess about what all it contained.  Many of the references and things that would have been in the Almanac are quite apparent.  Throughout Ready Player One they are listed plainly: The Muppet Show, PAC-MAN, Firefly…

But the issue is with references that were vague…or that had more of the universe than what was mentioned directly.  Or even references that were expanded after the novel was published.

Using some general guess work and some logical reasoning the Almanac would have contained many additional items from pop culture that WOULD have existed in 2040 when Halliday died.

For example: Star Wars.  Directly in the text Wade talks of the “Holy Trinity’s” which included The Original Trilogy and The Prequel Trilogy.  There were several other films out in the series when Ready Player One came out that I do believe Halliday would have watched such at The Star Wars Holiday Special, The Ewok Adventure…etc., as well as a few tv shows, that came out before the book was released. Then after 2011 there was an expansion to the Star Wars Universe. Another trilogy, two more stories set in the Star Wars world…and don’t get me started on the insane number of comics, novels and other media that has existed throughout the years.

And I do believe that Halliday would have been interested in the extended universe of a world that he considered important enough, that he revered enough, to call “holy”.

So that is what I have done. I’ve included some things that wouldn’t have been considered part of the world in 2011 but would have existed in 2040, when Halliday died. Extended universes, more novels, new TV shows…and other things that maybe just weren’t directly messaged.

I’ve done this for a few reasons.

  1. I think that Halliday would have had these in his Almanac.
  2. Halliday shows Neurodivergent tendencies (I am also ND and show many of the same traits) that include hyper focus, obsession and an inability to connect with the people around him…which can often be seen in extensive research, over recording and obsession of a specific topic and other coping mechanisms seen throughout the book (and subsequently the film).
  3. Because it just felt right.

So here you go.  My reasons that you will see things like Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Trek: Picard, newer novels from Stephen King, obscure pieces of media from long dead authors, new music from the bands he loved (and maybe some that aren’t in the book just because it was something I thought he would have listened to because he liked They Might Be Giants), AND references from Ready Player Two… because Kira and her likes were much closer to my heart than Halliday’s.

And remember…I’m only one person who doesn’t have “12 hours a day, 7 days a week” to devote to this as much as I would love to.  So I’ll get to reviews as quickly as I can.

And Anorak’s Almanac is forthcoming…

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SPOILERS ABOUND….you have been warned.

With the release and subsequent reading of Ready Player Two I believe a warning should be posted… this wasn’t really a spoiler free blog in the first place but as Ready Player One is a few years old I didn’t feel the need to make a big deal of the fact that every single post here could possibly be a spoiler for that book.

HOWEVER

As we continue to move forward with both books this is NOT A SPOILER FREE BLOG.

Spoilers can happen in all sorts of places in this blog from the tags, the pages, the titles of articles….and especially in the content of those articles.

You have been warned.

Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Smallville, created by Alfred Gough and Miles Miller based on the comics by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster: a Television Series Review

Synopsis:

Smallville, Kansas seems like your regular, every day, small, Midwest American town.  The city center is quaint and full of mom-and-pop shops.  Cornfields and farms line the edges as far as the eye can see.  And football is the local religion.

Until one day when a series of meteors strike down around the town.  Little does the town know how much of a ripple effect this event will have.

Twelve years later, Clark Kent is going to high school.  The all American boy.  Corn fed and farm raised.  Except he as a secret.  A deep dark secret that may be exposed.  Hes super fast, super strong…and apparently impervious to the sports car that hit him going 60 miles per hour hurtling him and the driver into the river below.

When they emerge from the water something seems to have changed in the small town.  Weird occurrences start to happen more frequently around town…and always seem to be tied to the strange green meteor rocks.  Lex Luthor has moved in and is trying to investigate the crash that nearly took his life. Clark’s friend Chloe is trying to tie all the strange things in town to the meteor strike and write about them in the school paper…

But all Clark wants to do is figure out how to ask out cheerleader Lana Lang…if only he could stop being so clumsy around her. 

Who knew high school could be so tough?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Action/Adventure, Drama, Teen Drama

-Creator: Alfred Gough and Miles Miller based on the comics by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

-Length: 10 Seasons, 21 Episodes each (44-52 minutes per episode)

-Rating: TV-14 (for superhero violence, mild sex and nudity including implied sexual relationships and discussions, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of drugs, alcohol and smoking, mild frightening and intense scenes)  

-Where to Watch: Hulu (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Tom Welling, Kristen Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, Eric Johnson, Sam Jones III, Allison Mack, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, John Clover, Jensen Ackles, Erica Durance, Aaron Ashmore, Laura Vandervoort, Cassidy Freeman, Sam Witwer, Justin Hartley, Callum Blue

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

General Overview:

I am going to preface this by saying that I did watch this show when it was running so some of my review may be colored by the fact that I really loved the show when it was on.

Overall, the show is a really interesting take on the beginnings of Superman and Clark Kent as a teenager.  But because it starts with Clark and his friends in high school there are a lot of plot lines that focus on things that adults really need to remember were the end of the world when they were a teenager.  Between love triangles, the school dances, cheerleading and football, school sports and arts, and even the vote for school president…the first few seasons are kind of cheesy and harder to get through as an adult. 

But as I hold onto the fact that these were life or death situations as a teen (just without the superpowers and the crazy meteor rocks) the show becomes really fun and a cool extension of the Superman world that we have been introduced to over the year.

Season 1:

Oof.  Just as drama ridden and cringy as I remember.  But that is because it all takes place their freshman year of high school.

I appreciate the parallels in the new characters that have been introduced to the characters we know later on in the comics and other films.  Chloe and her school paper as well as Lana Lang both have characteristics of Clark Kent’s later love interest, Lois Lane.  And old favorites have returned but with a more youthful twist such as Lex Luthor.

With the long form seasonal format of a tv series instead of a series of movies we really get to explore the friendship between Lex and Clark, the effects that the Kryptonian meteor rocks have on humans that were in the vicinity of the crashes and even later, the relationships Clark forms with his parents and other friends….even the conflicts that arise from keeping his secret safe. 

It is really enjoyable to watch the stories unfold.  Even if parts of it are still a little more than unbelievable…like a teenager running an entire coffee shop by themselves, or the fact that the Kents keep their son’s spaceship in the basement…without any decent locks.

Season 2:

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Season 6:

Season 7:

Season 8:

Season 9:

Season 10:

Additional Notes:

Tom Welling and Erica Durance did reprise their roles as Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane in the DCEU multi-television show crossover mini-series/storyline “Crisis on Infinite Earth”.  This crossover officially tied the early 2000s series into the new DCEU Arrowverse. 

To see the review for the “Crisis on Infinite Earth” crossover mini-series: Crisis on Infinite Earth

To see our article on how the Arrowverse is connected and the shows tied into it: Arrowverse and the new DCEU

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Superman The Movie, based on the comic Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster: a Film Review

Synopsis:

It has been discovered that the planet Krypton is going to be destroyed when it shifts further out of orbit.  But none of the Kryptonian high council believe this is the case with the exception of Jor-El.  To save his infant son, Kal-El, he creates a spaceship and sends the child to Earth where he will be able to blend in due to the fact that the Kryptonians and Humans have similar physical looks…though it will not change the fact that he will have other things he is capable of due to his parentage.

Kal-El’s ship lands near the tiny Kansas, USA town of Smallville, where he is found by an elderly Jonathan and Martha Kent.  The couple who was unable to have their own children raise the small boy to adulthood.  When he turns 18, young Kal-El (now Clark Kent) suffers through the death of his father, Jonathan, eventually hearing the psychic “call” from the spaceship hidden on the farm.  A glowing green crystal and his mother’s blessing send him on the hunt for his Fortress of Solitude where he is meant to learn all about his origins.

Over the years Clark learns of everything he is able to do eventually laving the Fortress with a blue and red suit emblazoned with the House of El Crest on his chest.  Traveling to Metropolis he takes up the mantel of Superman, protecting the city from local crimes and disasters.  Particularly anything the Luthor family comes up with.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Origin Story

-Creator: based on the comic Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

-Length: 143 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild smoking, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Trevor Howard, Margot Kidder, Valerie Perrine, Maria Schell, Terence Stamp, Phyllis Thaxter, Susannah York

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

So, I’m going to try to review this with the perspective that this was a 1978 film and it would have been top of the line for the time period.  We will see if I can do that when I watch it.

Overall, it’s a great introductory film for Superman.  Christopher Reeves is by far my favorite redition of the character.  He has the ability to play the shy, studious and detailed but ultimately forgettable Clark Kent as well as the suave, confident and gorgeous Superman.  The balance he achieves is incredible.

I fid the fact that he tells Lois Lane about all of his super powers as Superman so quickly a little odd…but I also haven’t followed the Superman comics from the beginning…though I am trying to start to catch up on everything bit by bit.

There is some bizarre costuming choices (the glowing suits of Krypton), some set ups that didn’t come back in this movie (Zod and his cronies being stuck in the Phantom Zone)… and just the overall age of a film that was created in 1978 but being watched in 2021.  Don’t get me wrong.  Its CLASSIC Superman.  Honestly, Superman at its finest. 

Most of the effects and stunts hold up even after all these years, the same way the ones in the Original Star Wars Trilogy do.  There is something about practical effects and stunts (as much as possible) that hold up well over the years.

In general I found this movie entertaining and a great entry into the world of Superman…and most superheroes in general

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Harley Quinn, created by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey, based on comics by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm: an Animated Television Series Review

Synopsis:

Based on the comic series of the same name, this animated series follows Harley Quinn as she builds herself up after her breakup with Joker.  While she begins to deal with the aftermath of her relationship with Joker, Harley tries to put together a crew to help her show the Legion of Doom that she isn’t just a sidekick but a fully fledged super villain.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS IS NOT A SHOW MADE FOR CHILDREN.  PLEASE SEE THE RATING BELOW.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero/Supervillain, Black Comedy, ADULT Animated Series

-Creator: created by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey, based on comics by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm

-Length: 2 seasons, 26 episodes (around 22-25 minutes each)

-Rating: TV-MA (for mild sex and nudity, severe violence and gore, severe profanity, moderate use of alcohol, drugs and smoking, moderate to severe frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Kaley Cuoco, Lake Bell, Ron Funches, Tony Hale, Jason Alexander, J. B. Smoove, Alan Tudyk

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS IS NOT A SHOW MADE FOR CHILDREN.  THIS SHOW WAS CREATED FOR ADULTS, EVEN THOUGH IT IS ANIMATED. THERE IS SEVERE LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE FROM THE FIRST SCENE ON.

Ok so now that I have that warning out of the way (because I wasn’t expecting the first slew of cursing in the first 3 minutes), I have to say this show is great so far.

My overall review of this is that I am absolutely in love with the storytelling and the character development that the creators are manifesting in this show.  They are showing a Harley that is dealing with the trauma of her relationship with the Joker.  Ivy is doing what she can to help and to be a good friend but ultimately this is the journey that Harley Quinn needs to make to become her own person.

Season 1:

This was a wild ride.  I knew it wasn’t made for kids but having the first five minutes riddled with curse words wasn’t what I was expecting when I turned on this animated television show.

The trauma that Harley sustains and is dealing with throughout the season is well done.  She is by no means playing the victim card at any point but the back and forth between wanting to be her own person and wanting the Joker to actually take her seriously is quite common amongst abuse victims.  It is extremely difficult to believe in yourself as a person…you do believe everything you’ve been told about yourself by your abuser.  And they handled this beautifully.

Harley’s team is funny, silly, and a little deranged.  They all fit together in the “odd men out” kind of way but they are quite effective when they are working together.

I haven’t completely read though all of the comics that are tied and that influenced this show but if they are anything like this I know that I am going to love it.

Overall, a strong first season start to the show and I can’t wait to get into season 2. 

Season 2:

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, OR Birds of Prey, created by Christina Hodson, based on characters from DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Joker has (finally) broken up with Harley Quinn for good…four years after the defeat of Enchantress.  He tossed her out on the streets of Gotham and didn’t look back.  As Harley begins to rebuild her life without her beloved Puddin’ she starts to see that she doesn’t need him anymore.

After getting drunk at a club owned by one of Gotham’s crime lords, things kind of take a downhill turn for Harley.  She is almost abducted at the club, narrowly being saved by the burlesque singer from the club, Dinah Lance.  Deciding that she is completely done with the Joker, Harley drives a tanker into Ace Chemicals to officially announce their breakup.

Meanwhile, Dinah is recruited by Roman Sionjs, the club owner, to retrieve a diamond embedded with the account numbers to another crime family after seeing her break up Harley Quinn’s abduction.  When she and Roman’s right-hand man get the diamond in hand they never expect it to get stolen by a local pick-pocket.

As a group of mercenaries and other people Harley has wronged are after her including Sionjs’ men, Harley realizes she is about to end up in the middle of a territorial feud… and its not just the people who hate her who are going to be an issue.  When the police, a new “crossbow killer”, the criminal underground, and Sionjs’ men all show up to come after the little pickpocket things are going to get pretty messy.  And Harley (as well as her new “team”) better figure out what to do and FAST.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero/Supervillains, Girl Power, Origin Story

-Creator: Christina Hodson, based on characters from DC Comics

-Length: 109 minutes

-Rating: R (for mild sex and nudity, severe violence and gore, severe profanity, moderate drug and alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rozie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, Ewan McGregor

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

I absolutely love this film for so many reasons.  Between the fact that the movie focuses so much on Harley Quinn coming into her own and the storyline not focusing on her ass (I’m looking at you Suicide Squad), this is an incredible movie..

The film is such a beautiful piece of cinematography.  The director did an incredible job with so many things.  From the egg sandwich being filmed like a love interest to the fact that she helps out a punk kid (even if its just to save herself at first) this really shows a big difference to the sexed-up version of Harley we see in Suicide Squad.

The women in this movie are strong.  They speak their mind, fight for themselves, and aren’t always the quiet flowers that we see in a lot of other films. They are loud and at times obnoxious, slightly vulgar and don’t shy away from their trauma.  And that is very appealing.  Women being themselves.  Not being overly sexualized and made up to be some sort of fantasy caricature of what women actually are.

However, as wonderful as all of these things are this movie should NOT have had its name changed to Birds of Prey.  While the movie is the origin story for the newest redition of the Birds it is not about them.  It is not a Birds of Prey story or film.  They just happen to be in it. 

It truly is the fantabulous emancipation of one Harley Quinn.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Catwoman, based on characters from DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

A brand-new product is about to hit the market.  Hedare Beauty has developed a skin cream that is toted to reverse the effects of aging.  However, there is a dangerous side effect that the company is hiding.  When designer Patience Phillips discovers that they intend to ship the product regardless of the issues she finds herself on the wrong end of an assassination attempt.

Waking up from nearly drowning, Patience realized that she was revived from death by a cat name Midnight who was bestowed certain powers due to his lineage.  She is now the Catwoman, reborn with certain powers granted by Midnight and the goddess Bast for whom he serves.

Donning a disguise and taking on the mantle of a vigilante, Patience is determined to discover who tried to kill her and why.  When all clues lead back to her former employer, she must make a vital decision: expose Hedare Beauty to the world…or take things into her own hands.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: based on characters from DC Comics

-Length: 104 minutes

-Rating:

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Lambert Wilson, Alex Borstein, Frances Conroy, Sharon Stone

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the film

Review (contains spoilers):

Yeah….i remember why I kind of blocked this one out of my mind.

First off whoever designed the costume…and approved it…was crazy.  It just looks so haphazard.  And not in the cute way that say Spider-man as a teen who had no real resources or abilities to make something was.

All I can say is this character was underutilized and underestimated.

But that aside…its just…yeah.

If you watch it I’m sorry…but you’ll get what I mean.

Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Elektra, based on characters from Marvel Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

After being killed by Bullseye after an altercation with Daredevil, Elektra Natchios is brought back by Stick, a blind master of Kimagure.  The martial art, which can give practitioners the ability of precognition, is one that few people can master.

Elektra is expelled from the training grounds as her rage and fear take hold.  Instead she uses what skill she had acquired to become an contract killer.  One of the best in the world.

When she is contacted by a mysterious client with an abnormally large sum, things get complicated.  The job?  Spend some time in a rented home where the assassination is to be carried out…and only then will the buyer reveal who the names of the targets are…

Add in the fact that it is hard to not fall in love with the adorable Abby and her father, Mark Miller, and Elektra has a tough choice to make.  Do what she is good at and get the payment…or dig deeper to see what is really going on with this contract?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero

-Creator: based on characters from Marvel Comics

-Length: 97 minutes

-Rating:

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tafawa, Terence Stamp

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This one goes right up there with Green Lantern….its about as bad as I remember.

Sadly, Elektra is a pretty cool character and this movie just doesn’t do it justice.  I hope that they decide to remake this like they did with Daredevil.

I just feel like her character was wasted on this early 2000s film.

The one good thing is that these early superhero films…the good and the bad…were what paved the way for the films we enjoy so much now.

Here’s hoping they redo things.  No offence to Jennifer Garner because she really did everything she could with what she was given.

Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Wonder Woman 1984, based on characters from DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

While competing in a competition against much older Amazonian warriors, young Diana falls from her horse and in an attempt to regain her footing takes a shortcut, missing a crucial checkpoint.  As she makes it to the end of the competition, ahead of her fellow Amazonians, Antiope grabs her out of the contest…explaining that anything worthwhile including winning the competition should be obtained honestly and with the truth.

Now in 1984, Diana is working as a curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.  Between her work and her heroic moments as Wonder Woman, she has carved out a satisfying life for herself as the years went on.  When new museum employee Barbara Ann Minerva, shy and unnoticed, becomes jealous of Diana wishing to be like her while holding an old artifact…one that is inscribed with the ability to grant someone’s greatest and deepest desires…if they only wish it.

Failing business tycoon Maxwell “Max Lord” Lorenzano tricks Barbara to get his hands on the stone.  When he wishes to “become” the stone itself all of its powers are transferred into his body. 

But what are the consequences of our wishes?  And will Diana be able to set aside her own deepest desires in order to live her truth and save the world?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Cautionary Tale/Fable, Action/Adventure

-Creator: based on characters from DC Comics

-Length: 151 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

Once again I am absolutely floored by the work that Patty Jenkins and her crew are doing for the film world.  She is truly showing that the combination of excellent writing, great casting, stories that have morals and teach real (and often difficult to swallow) truths, and costumes/hair/makeup designed for the female gaze are creating a world that is more immersive than so many before them.

This film was incredible from the first set of action sequences featuring a 9–10-year-old Diana competing against full grown Amazonians to the ending cameo of Linda Carter.  The world that was built up in the first film was just continued in this one…even though it took place nearly 40 years after.

The lesson in this one is absolutely needed, particularly in this time.  The things we wish for will always have consequences…and if we all got exactly what we wanted the world would be chaos

Having Chris Pine reprise his role in the way he did was surprising and a wonderful insight to Diana and what drives her.  I also loved all the little nods to the Wonder Woman comics that came up in this film from the Invisible Jet to several of her flying positions.  It so nice to see little things like that in the movie versions of the comics.

Action packed with a great story to back it up this film did a spectacular job taking a really big villain from Wonder Woman and turning both his fate and his story on their head. 

The cast did an incredible job.  It was wonderful to see Pedro Pascal without a mask on in a role (though his performance in The Mandalorian was incredible).  The introduction of Kristen Wiig to the story was a great idea…her Cheetah was so great. Gal Gadot was wonderful, as usual…and Chris Pine’s reprisal role was perfection.

I highly recommend watching this film.  One of my new favorites and one of the few shining stars in the DCEU.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Wonder Woman, based on characters from DC Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In present day Paris, Diana Prince reminisces on her past after receiving a gift from Wayne Enterprises.

The daughter of Queen Hippolyta, Diana was raised on Themyscria.  The island of the Amazonians, female warriors created to protect mankind, had been hidden away from the world.  There Diana was trained as a warrior.

At 18 Diana does the unthinkable and saves a pilot who has crashed just off the island.  Her good will and kind heart cause an issue with the barrier around her world allowing for the German Nazi’s to invade Themyscria.  Though the Amazonians win the fight it is not without great losses.  When it is discovered that a Great War is happening outside of the world of the Amazonians Diana decides that she will go into battle with the pilot to try and save the world.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Origin Story, War Story

-Creator: based on characters from DC Comics

-Length: 141 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild use of alcohol and drugs, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This is just such a good film for so many reasons.  Above all it is just a beautiful film from start to finish.  The crew that worked on it made sure that every location was absolute perfection…I mean, I don’t even like the beach, but I want to live on Themyscria.  It’s that stunning.

Gal Gadot was the perfect choice for Diana.  She had that air about her of belonging no where and everywhere all at once.  She is beautiful and exotic in a way that catches everyone’s attention…and the dress with the sword just put it all over the top.

This is what happens when you get a female director for a female led superhero film.

You get costumes that look like proper armor (more on that in the Justice League review…), a handsome leading man, a stunning female lead, a script that is a real story from start to finish….it is just an overall excellent piece of art.

This is one of my most rewatched superhero film.  I cannot get enough of this or its sequel. 

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, MARVEL

Women in Comics: A Little Girl Power for you Weekend!

With the weekend release of the Black Widow film (finally…stupid Covid…) I thought we would spend the weekend celebrating women in comics!

Female superheroes have existed since the concept of a person with superhuman powers was created.  In fact, the first most widely recognized female superhero was none other than Wonder Woman.

While there were quite a few other female superheroes that came before Diana’s debut in 1941 with the release of an issue of All-Star Comics, she is by far the most iconic of the early women appearing in comics.  She was beautiful and dressed in a leotard, knee high boots and a golden tiara…and had come to America to fight fascism, the enemy of democracy.

Many saw her as a shining light in the comic book world.  Her ideals were in line with the feminism of the day (and even more so now).  She fought for equality for people, celebrating their differences and defining moments.  She brought hope to people when they may not have had much…for 1941 was the year that the US entered WW2 and the next few years would be grim indeed.

But not everyone was taken with the beautiful brunette and her male counterparts.  Comics were often called a “national disgrace” and Wonder Woman herself has come under much scrutiny for everything from her beliefs to the way she dressed.

Yet this was just the start of women in comics.  From her brash and beautiful origins to the modern films she is in today… this was just the start.

Now we have women all over the comic book world…

From the X-Men and their diverse cast (most notably characters like Jean Grey, Rogue, Kitty Pryde and Jubulee) to Jessica Jones, The Scarlet Witch and Black Widow it is nearly impossible to open a comic book and not see some incredible female character staring back out at you.  Most even have their own series now. 

You can read about Supergirl, Batwoman, The Gotham City Sirens, Harley Quinn, She-Hulk, Vixen, Gwen Stacey (aka Spider-Gwen), the new Iron Man who is now a 16-year-old black girl, Kamala Kahn, Black Canary, The Birds of Prey, Echo…name them and you can find them.

Their stories are being told and we really do need them, from the rebellious to the criminal, the dark to the bright…the original takes.  The celebrations and downfalls.

We have seen some of them throughout the reviews so far this month: Sue Storm, Black Widow, The Wasp, Pepper Potts (who becomes Rescue in the comics), Wanda Maximoff, Gamora and Nebula, Jane Foster (also Thor in the newer comics), Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau….and so many more.

The comics are so much more in depth than what we see on screen.  Their stories are expanded, full of hopes and desires….their drives to make the world a better place in their own ways.  And they are some of the most popular characters in the comic book world.

So this weekend we are going to celebrate women in comics….the good, the bad and even the villains…some turned anti-villain. Because as always, representation matters and seeing ourselves in the pages of a comic is no exception.

The next few days we will be focusing reviews on film, tv and comics that are primarily about female characters in comics.

Starting with the fantastic new Wonder Woman films.  And stay tuned for a review of the new Black Widow film…but if you don’t wants spoilers stay away from it until you have seen the movie!

Resources:

Smithsonian Magazine: The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman

Cbr.com: 10 Female Superheroes Who Were Created Before Wonder Woman

Gamesradar.com: The Best Female Superheroes of All Time

Wikipedia

My own experience as a life long nerd!

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, MARVEL

Fant4stic, based on characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Reed Richards has always dreamed of creating the first teleportation device for biomatter.  Laughed at as a child and still adamant that he will be successful Reed works quietly in his home garage trying to build a prototype.  When he is caught by Ben Grimm at the Grimm family junkyard looking for a piece the pair become fast friends, bonding over the success of a first attempt as sending matter through space.

As the pair grow up they enter the high school science fair.  While literally disqualified from the contest they catch the eye of Professor Franklin Storm who is the director of the Baxter Foundation, a research institute for young prodigies.

Reed is offered a place at the Foundation, where his focus will be on working with Sue Storm and Johnny Storm, Professor Storms children, as well as Victor Von Doom, to complete the “Quantum Gate” that Von Doom had designed before his dismissal from the program.

When they are successful the facility supervisor plans to override Professor Storm and send a group from NASA to venture into the parallel dimension the group has discovered.  After getting drunk, and angry about the fact that they were told they would be travelling through first, Victor, Reed and Johnny decide to make the trip themselves.  Reed drags Ben in and the four travel through the rift into the other dimension remotely.

When the exploration goes badly the group needs Sue’s help to return…but all is not what it seems when only three come back and the entire facility, as well as the machine, are reduced to rubble…

When they awake it is to a myriad of changes…and captivity from the US Military…which isn’t exactly the best situation to be in.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Origin Story

-Creator: based on characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee

-Length: 100 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, Reg E. Cathey, Rim Blake Nelson

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

It’s not as bad as I remember it being.  But it isn’t great either.

The biggest issue that I have with the changes that were made to the story isn’t the origins of the Fantastic 4 so much as the fact that they are all teenagers/very early 20s (in the case of Victor).

So much of what I remember in the comics of the Fantastic 4 (it has been years since I read them so if I’m wrong, I’m sorry) deals with the fact that they are all adults.

Between the traditional superhero stuff…fighting general bad guys, having nemesis, dealing with cosmic entities that want to eat the earth, etc.… there is a lot of depth to their relationships that doesn’t really translate well to teenagers.

Unlike Spider-man who grows up in the comics and his life changes based on his age such as the relationships as well as his personal life, the Fantastic 4 are grown adults with degrees and are dealing with situations as such.

It’s quite unbelievable that four teenagers, no matter their powers, would get handed the keys to a government facility like Central City.

But maybe I’m just looking at it from the perspective of an adult who knows how teens work, regardless of how smart they are.

Overall, it’s not the worst twist to the comics.  But its not the best.  It’s just…okay.

Rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.