Marvel NOW Anticipation

So I'll be honest, I was out of the loop on comics for a while. As a kid I read a issue or two regularly as my Dad would take me to 7-11 every Friday for a comic book or two, a slurpee and a small bag of fritos. As I got older these trips diminished and my experiences with comic books was a rare one. When I got to High School I began to buy "Graphic Novels" or Trade collections at the local bookstores in my area (remember those?). So come Fall 2011, I had went for another college semester having returned from a summer vacation that included my first ever trip to SDCC. DC was spouting all this stuff about a relaunch of the continuity. With some help of my friend and general interest of my own I decided to get into comics. I saw it as a ripe opportunity for me to get into DC as well as to get back into Marvel. As that kid in 7-11 with my bag of fritos I almost exclusively grabbed a Marvel comic. Sure there was the occasional Batman comic, but the Dark Knight was way out numbered by the legions of Spider-man, Venom, Wolverine, X-men, and Ghost Rider comics that caught my eye. Batman was the only character I ever really liked from DC. He had a awesome animated series (still awesome BTW) and had all the good movies. Superman always seemed lame to me and I hardly knew who people like Green Lantern were at the time. As an adult, and presented with a opportunity of the entire continuity being reset I jumped at the chance to start reading DC. Tons of DC fans, who were fans long before I was even a child were pissed that everything they invested time into "never happened". Hell I would be too if it were me in their shoes. But for me as a guy who never really cared to read anything but a sparse few batman stories, it was perfect. Now this upcoming fall, Marvel has announced a similar idea. Relaunch a good portion of their titles with new number ones, EXCEPT they keep the continuity in place. This makes the books not only accessible for a newer audience that perhaps saw Avengers over the summer and wants to jump into comics, but also keeps the fans that have been reading for a while happy. To me this is a great way to do a relaunch. I'm sure this has been done before, but I only got back into this world last year so I wouldn't know if they've done this before or not.

So now I'd like to spend some time in this post detailing the Marvel NOW books I'm excited for, as well as touch on some series that are unfortunately ending.

Uncanny Avengers is the first series I wanted to talk about and probably one of the bigger titles. Rick Remender has become one of my favorite writers as of late. Writing Venom, which I love, as well as Uncanny X-force, which I am only recently getting into. He also wrote the script for the game Dead Space, which is awesome. When I heard he was going to be doing a Avengers book I was on board ( yes I know he did Secret Avengers, but I never got to reading that so shush). This is far more than an Avengers book however, as it also is filled with quite a few members of the X-men as well. With Uncanny X-men, and the more Rogue-centric X-men Legacy ending as well I do need my X-men fix. Also when I got back into comics I wanted to read some Avengers books, except Bendis was attached to all of them and while I don't hate the guy, I tend to avoid Bendis if I can. Uncanny Avengers seems to be the perfect place for both. It will also be interesting to see how the Marvel comics world is post AvX, which I'm not reading...BUT STILL.

Avengers and New Avengers are the core Avengers books that I did want to check out back in the fall, but decided to skip due to the writer. I don't hate Bendis, He can write good conversations, and in the Ultimate Universe he is free to change things up and make Spider-woman a clone of Peter if he wants, but in 616 I think he does a bit too much stuff that pisses people off. From what I've heard his run on Avengers has been hit or miss. I am curious to maybe try out these series, however the fact I'm sure they will both be 4 dollars may have me skip them. I guess it really all depends on rosters. John Hickman is writing and he is great for the most part. I am loving his run on Fantastic Four and FF. I am interested but time will tell if I decide to get these or not.

Iron Man is a hero I've come to love mainly because of the movies. I have been wanting to read something with him in it for a while now, but I was intimidated due to the amount on continuity his current series had. Plus from reviews I was reading it wasn't even Tony in the suit. Tony was still involved in the comic, but he wasn't the "hero". Honestly if I am going to read a book called "Iron Man" I want to read about Tony Stark. To me Tony and Iron Man are one in the same. Its like Clark Kent and Superman. Sure someone else can put the armor on, but they aren't Tony. Doesn't give the same feeling for me. I am interested to try out his new series as I have been a fan of Gillen's run on Uncanny X-men. Although the not so stellar art of Greg Land may prevent me from keeping this book.

Deadpool is another character that I didn't really come to know until the mid 2000's. When he hit the mainstream you had to be living under a rock or at least not pay attention to anything comic related to not at least have seen him before. He has since become Marvel's character who is known for being crazy, funny and fourth wall breaking (She-Hulk started that however and knows where Deadpool lives..). I wanted to check out his book but it is currently nearing issue 50. I was already collecting back issues on Venom and FF, so I decided to hold off on any other long running series. Deadpool is a book that given the Marvel NOW relaunch, I may take a peek at. I'm not sure if the Merc with the Mouth will secure a spot on my pull list, but if I do drop it I'm sure he will let me hear about it in a strongly worded grenade.

Fantastic Four and FF are both getting new teams and starting over numbers wise. However FF is no longer about the Future Foundation school, but rather a team of heroes hand picked by each member of the F4, to serve as backup for when they are in space or otherwise unreachable. While this premise is cool, I have to say I am a bit disappointed there will be no more adventures with Val, Franklin, DragonMan, the moloids, etc. I know they will be in Fantastic Four now, but they will be surely outshined by their parents and uncles. The roster for FF is decent. I like Antman and have always been a She-hulk fan. Medusa I never cared much for and Miss Thing.. where do I began? I know she is being added for the fun factor and all that, but she just seems so...silly. I know I am being a bit harsh of a character I have yet to experience, but she is really silly. I probably won't pick up FF beyond possibly trying out the first issue. Fantastic Four on the other hand I am excited to get and see what Matt Fraction has in store for the first family.

Red She Hulk is taking over for her father in Red Hulk. I have become a fan of Red Shulkie as of late. I am curious to see what they do with giving her a ongoing series. I do wish they would have given her a new name however. I guess if the word Hulk is in the title of your book it sells better due to brand recognition and all that (why Lyra's series was called Savage She Hulk). I am excited for the series none the less and will be reading.

Avengers Assemble, a Avengers series that was made for fans of the movie to jump onto. I never picked it up for one reason or the other. From what I read of reviews Bendis really screwed with continuity to make it work. I am a bit apprehensive to add this to my pull list, however the team doing the book as of Marvel NOW interests me. Kelly Sue DeConnick has been writing the recent Captain Marvel book, which I love. Now that she's been put on board this book she can maybe save it. I could even see her adding Captain Marvel to the team, which would be cool. Again this isn't a pull list addition right away, but I will be checking it out when its released.

And now for Cancellations. Its always sad to see something go, but I believe it is necessary to make room for new things. I certainly wouldn't be able to afford all of these new books if not for the trade off of loosing a few that I already buy.

Uncanny X-men is ending. I am not that sad to see it go. I was actually thinking about dropping it quite a few times as the Greg Land art didn't work well for me and Gillen had some stories that were bland. This however is the series that got me into Hope Summers as a character and gave me my fix of the heavy hitters of the X-men like Magneto, Cyclops and Emma Frost, so I will give it that. I am almost positive we will have another "big" X-men book come December. Remember we still don't know what that Cyclops on the Marvel NOW poster is from.

X-men Legacy is not being canceled all together but reimagined. Many complained the title, while about a Team of X-men was mainly centered on the leader Rogue. As a Rogue fan, I didn't mind this at all, but I can see how others more interested in seeing other characters would be annoyed at all the focus on Sugah. I am sad to see this title go, but I get my fix of Rogue in Uncanny Avengers so I am not too upset about it. The new title focuses on Legion, who I honestly don't care about so I will be skipping it.

Defenders was a weird series. It had a awesome team of Dr. Strange, Namor, Silver Surfer, Iron Fist, and Red She-hulk. Almost always had at least cover art by the Dodsons (who I love), but the story was always kind of wonky. It isn't until the past few issues that I found myself really enjoying it. It is a shame we will see no more of this series. I still am baffled by the random statements at the bottom of each page though. Sometimes they'd be advertisements and other times it seemed they were vague clues to what happens next in the book, while other time it just seemed like nonsense. I can almost bet that was one reason alot of people stopped reading it. Its a shame to see it go so quickly, but I'm sure these characters will show up again.

Fantastic Four and FF I already talked about. Both of these series had great runs. Fantastic Four stretching to 611 issues. I know many people are upset they are resetting the numbers after making such a big deal about the 600th issue (which was great BTW). I honestly wouldn't be surprised however if they start another long running series Amazing Spider-man over after issue 700. Its upsetting to see it go back to 1, but the characters and great stories aren't going anywhere.

Last but not least is Avengers Academy. I've had a love-hate relationship with this series since I picked it up at issue 23. Clearly I picked it up because X-23 was being added to the team. Marvel basically threw her in there because her own series ended and people like me still wanted to see her in something. Frankly I think it would have been better to put her in Wolverine and the X-men, but what do I know? From issue 23 the series was really slow for me. I often read through it and thought it was mediocre at best. My friend kept telling me to drop it if I didn't like it but I held on to it because it was the only place to see Laura AKA X-23. So come the Avengers vs X-men event, the series starts to pick up. X-23 is more than a girl in the background and actually becomes a part of the story. The final story arch is pretty good so far and I am a bit sad to see the series end, but also glad as it is one less thing I have to buy. My biggest concern with the series ending is where all these characters will go. I hope they don't go into the void of forgotten characters. I'd love to see them appear in other books. Hopefully X-23 joins an X-men book.

So that's my look at the Books beginning and ending with Marvel NOW. I am excited to see what else comes with the relaunch. I am sure there are still quite a few series that have yet to be revealed. New York Comic Con or the December Solicitations will tell us more. When either of those happen I will update this post to reflect any other books that catch my eye or are sadly leaving my pull list. Until then.

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Super Hero Movies of 2012 PT3. The Dark Knight Rises!

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

Now that I covered the two Marvel films, lets focus on the one DC film, The Dark Knight Rises

I am a fan of the first two Nolan Batman films, however I also like the two Burton films and didn't hate Batman Forever. As this is the last film in this series that Nolan was making, I was ready for anything. I was still blown away. Nolan doesn't disappoint, at least not for me. I do have some friends who I guess expected more and didn't get what they were hoping for. One friend even called the film "not good" which is his opinion, I respectfully disagree with it but that doesn't mean he is wrong or anything. Some critics also disliked or were let down by the movie, which again is their opinion.

Now as far as my opinion goes I felt the Dark Knight Rises fulfilled what it was supposed to do, which is provide a conclusion to the Nolan Batman films. Others may disagree, they have the right too. the film begins with Gotham celebrating "Harvey Dent Day" at Wayne Manor which looks to be fully rebuilt now. Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, and no one has seen him in 8 years. Also the same goes for Batman. No one seems to notice the connection, but I'll suspend my disbelief. Commissioner Gordon is set to give a speech honoring Harvey Dent. He originally plans to out Dent as Two-Face, the homicidal maniac who tried to kill his son (I find it kind of ironic that James Jr. nearly is killed by a crazy person). Gordon can't bring himself to destroy the peace and hope that Batman gave to the city by framing himself, so he doesn't out Dent. I really enjoyed how the film is pretty much a direct follow up to TDK in that respect. Shortly after we are introduced to Selena Kyle, played by one of my favorite actresses Anne Hathaway. I never understood the hate people had towards Anne when she got the role. Frankly I was excited to see what she would do with the character. I'm guessing no one has seen her in some of her more demanding roles and only remembers her from The Princess Diaries or something like that. I feel she did a great job and was a good representation of what Selena would be in this universe. Selena goes and steals Martha Wayne's pearl necklace as well as Bruce's prints. She is obviously caught by Bruce and we get our first real glimpse of him. He has a cane which I guess is from an injury suffered in the last film. Selena escapes after flashing some of her feminine wiles. I really enjoyed how Catwoman was portrayed in this film. She comes off as cold and out for herself, and yet she clearly does have a heart as there is Holly Robinson present to show she does have compassion. I really enjoyed seeing her fight alongside Batman, that was a very cool scene and reminiscent of The Avengers. I agree that it shows a JLA movie would work.

We are then introduced to our main villain of Bane, played by Tom Hardy. Bane is a character I was familiar with, but didn't really know too well. After watching the 3 Minute Expert of him here on Comic Vine I am pleased to see how much they used from the actual comic character. I noticed that while they kept his massive strength intact, they removed the Venom aspect from his character. Sort of like how they removed the Lazarus pits from Ra’s al Ghul's. They do still incorporate the "venom tubes" into Bane's look but shrinks them down to oxygen tubes in his mask. It’s also cool how the mask keeps the lucadore look for him. I enjoyed Bane, however most of the time I couldn't understand him. That sort of took the menace out of him. Over the course of the film we are also introduced to Miranda Tate, played by Marion Cotillard and John Blake, play by Joseph Gordon-Levitt both of who are Nolan veterans from Inception. Miranda's role in the film was obvious to me and I did see the twist coming, more on that later, however Blake surprised me. Of the new characters he was one of my favorites. He uses his detective skills and experience with loss to deduce that Bruce Wayne is Batman, something that I'm sure would piss the Riddler off a great deal. He is also the inspiration that gets Bruce back in the cowl. One of the great parts of the film is seeing Bane's plan unfold. The amount of strategy he employs is truly impressive and its no wonder he was consider to lead the league of shadows. Though the scene that truly stuck with me was the scene when Bane overpowers Batman. He is one step ahead of Batman the entire fight and all of Batman's tricks are useless to him. That truly showed the massive strength and skill of this man. When Bane then goes and breaks Batman over his knee it was a nice reference to the comics. One nitpick I did have was I'm not so sure simply popping a vertebrae back into place and then forcing yourself to stand over months would heal a back injury, but I'm not a spinal surgeon. Also after this fight Bane takes Bruce to a hole in some foreign country. I would have liked to see a shot of them on a plane or something just to establish the travel, simply teleporting there seems out of place. It’s a minor nitpick and doesn't affect my feelings of the film however. Bane buries all the cops under Gotham, blows up all the bridges except one and then takes the city under his rule. See him break into the Wayne Armor and gain access to the Tumblers was neat, though it was shown in many of the trailers and was to be expected when Bruce gives his whole stance on keeping the weapons out of the wrong hands. The new vehicle for this film is "the Bat" an aerial vehicle that looks like a Tumbler fornicated a helicopter. It has alot of cool scenes and becomes his main way travel in the movie after he gives Catwoman the Batpod, (which I still love the way it turns BTW). This foreshadowing of things in the wrong hands also comes into play with a fusion reactor. Bruce is afraid someone will turn the reactor into a weapon and so he never turns it on. I didn't quite understand why he never decommissioned it either, but perhaps he was waiting for a time when it would be used for good and not evil. Of course Bane turns it into a Nuke and threatens to blow up the city.

The film picks up when Bruce perseveres to recover from his brutal fight with Bane and make it back to Gotham. To do so he has to climb out of a hole in the ground, which is a nearly 100 foot climb. These sequences are inspiring to say the least. Each time he attempts it you are hoping he makes it. The first time he tired I remember thinking "of course he makes it" and then when he fails and falls I was so surprised. While in the prison we are treated to a cameo from Liam Neeson as Ra's Al Ghul, which was a real treat to see. At first this had me questioning his death, but it’s revealed to be an illusion. Honestly I would have loved for it to be really him, but I am fine with the hallucination. There is another return of a character from a previous film with Dr. Crane AKA The Scarecrow. His scene is rather comical and over the top, but that suits him. I would have loved to see a hinting at the Joker escaping as well, but I guess they felt that'd be disrespectful. Also Bane freed those held in Blackgate, I don't recall him freeing those in Arkham Asylum, which is where I'm sure Joker is. Although I'd expect Dr. Crane to be in Arkham as well. When Batman returns to Gotham it’s a literal countdown to save the city from nuclear obliteration. In the conclusion we see Batman take down Bane with the help of the cops, and the reveal of the real mastermind. It is revealed that Miranda is actually Talia Al Ghul. I saw this coming as soon as she was introduced and Bruce and Fox put all their trust in her. Also knowledge of the character tipped me off to this. My friend that I went with was so surprised by this twist that he exclaimed "WHAT!?" in the theater. Throughout the film we are show bits and pieces of this story about a man whose wife was imprisoned for dishonoring his family by having relations with him and having a child with him. This woman was imprisoned in the same hole prison as Bruce was and Bane before him. It is constantly hinted at that Bane was the child and that he escaped when he was a child. This is all very similar to Bane's origins, however it is then revealed that the child is the offspring of Ra's Al Ghul, which clearly means that the child that escaped is in fact Talia. I did enjoy this twist and as my friend didn't see it coming it was nice to see the film has some big surprises for the lesser initiated. After Talia's betrayal Batman pursues her in the Bat, while Gordon tries to keep the bomb from exploding long enough for them to get it to Fox to disarm it. This chase reminds me alot of the one from The Dark Knight with the Joker Semi. In the end Bane is defeated, Talia is either killed or knocked out, Catwoman redeems herself, and Batman flies the bomb out into the bay where it can explode away from the city. I'd expect the fallout might still be a problem, but whatever, he saved the day. We are left thinking that Batman sacrificed himself, which would have been a fine conclusion to me, but I did enjoy them showing Bruce very much alive in the end and on vacation with Selena. We are also left with Blake unveiling his real name to be Robin and him finding the Batcave, presumably to become the next Batman ala Azrael or to become a Robin/Nightwing type hero.

Overall I felt it was a satisfying conclusion to the series. Batman Begins dealt with Batman's origins but also set up the league of shadows as the main threat to Batman. The Dark Knight showed Batman's progression and what occurs in response to a hero like Batman, the Joker. The Dark Knight Rises closed the series off with putting a permanent end to the League of Shadows and their plans to destroy Gotham. In doing so Bruce no longer needs to be Batman as he fulfilled the reason he took up being Batman in the first place. Saving Gotham. Sure other villains could still crop up but that's why we are left with Blake in the Batcave, it shows the city will have a new protector now that Bruce is done. Overall it was a great film and a good conclusion to the Batman Epic trilogy. I look forward to what’s next for Batman Film wise. I do hope it'll be a recast however. I don't want them to try and make a sequel off of this film.

With that I end my look at all the great super hero films of 2012. I loved them all but if I had to choose a favorite, I'd choose The Avengers. Dark Knight Rises would be second and Amazing Spider-man is my third. I hopefully will do this again next Year when we have Superman and Iron Man 3. Until then.

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Super Hero Movies of 2012 PT2. The Amazing Spider-man!

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW

Now that I talked about The Avengers, let me talk about the reboot of the Spider-man series. I have to start by saying, that I am a huge Spider-man fan. Ever since I was a kid the character just spoke to me. I always related to Peter as the kid who was this nerd and the last person you'd expect to be given super powers, (at the time of his creation at least). To talk about a reboot you have to look at what was done before. Its sadly a part of the game as there is a reason series are rebooted, mostly its done for money (or in this films case to retain the license), but it can also be done to shed a better light on the character. This was done with Batman in the Nolan films, and I think that's the same kinda reboot we get here with Spider-man. Raimi's films were great, don't get me wrong, but they always had something about them I didn't particularly like. Raimi is best know for his work on the Evil Dead series of movies, which are mock horror films in alot of ways. I think that same sense of mockery slipped into the Spider-man films over time. Spidey has always been a funny character. It's actually a recognized trait of Spidey to openly mock the villains he is fighting. I feel the Raimi films started with this fun loving Spidey and then spiraled down to nearly mocking the character of Spider-man himself. I know Raimi is a fan of the old school Spider-man and villains like Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Vulture, Sandman, etc so when the demand came for a rather new character of Venom to be included along with other demands of the studio I'm guessing Raimi started to despise the project he was working on. I can't speak for the man himself, but it does show in the third film heavily. There's a scene where to impress MJ, Peter takes Gwen Stacy to the club MJ is working at and dances to try and win her over. Peter Parker, Spider-man: dancing in a jazz club. That sounds more like a joke than a plot point in a serious Spider-man movie. That’s just one of many problems with Spider-man 3. I'm guessing that after the failure of a third movie, Sony went back to the drawing board with Spider-man. When Marvel made a studio and started snatching up the rights to their properties, Sony decided they wanted to retain the rights and green lit a reboot of the franchise.

The Amazing Spider-man does alot of things right. It keeps Peter in High School, which for me was one of my favorite parts in the Spider-man mythos and why I enjoyed the original Ultimate Spider-man comic despite it being a Bendis work. The film also completely retells the origin which is a necessary evil in this films case. I agree with something G-man has said that as we continue to make more and more movies of popular heroes, we should stop telling the origin story and just do a recast like Bond does. In this film however it works nicely. They offer the same story you know, but with a nice twist to keep it fresh. Here we see a part of Peter's past not mentioned in the Raimi films, his parents. His father, for the most part, becomes an important character right from the get go. There becomes a very nice dynamic between Peter and his father and I really enjoyed seeing that. This also in-turn helps to shape Uncle Ben as the father that was there for him, which I think strengthens the relationship between them. Peter here is played by relative newcomer Andrew Garfield. I can see why Andrew was chosen for the role, He is Peter Parker. I did enjoy Tobey McGuire's Peter Parker, but he always felt a bit too wholesome for the role. As if they caught his role in Pleasentville and said "DO THAT! PLAY PETER LIKE THAT!” It’s as if Raimi didn't want to update the character at all and use the character from the 60s. It clearly did work for a time, but obviously failed once the third film hit. Garfield comes across with a much more updated version of Peter. The filmmakers strive to show us this by giving him a skateboard and showing a montage of him doing tricks with it and his spider-powers. Frankly I don't think this was all that needed, but if it helps to get teenagers to relate to him then go nuts. Garfield's Peter seems more like a kid from Queens, while Raimi's always felt more like some kid out of the 50's who was transported to 2002. Peter in the film is a loner, he is awkward, but also very smart and that makes him relatable. Overall I think Garfield was a great choice for this new age of Spidey films. He also does a great job as Spider-man himself. Joking at the expense of a car thief and other criminals, and even spitting out a joke or two when facing off against the Lizard. The rest of the cast was also chosen well. The casting of Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is arguably one of the reason I was so interested in this film. Ever since I saw her in Superbad, I had a vested interest in her as a actress. she is one of the most talented and beautiful actresses out there and I always enjoy her work. As Gwen Stacey she does a great job of bringing in her trademark charm and sarcasm to the role of Peter's first love. I can say it now that her inevitable death scene in a future sequel is going to be as heart-wrenching as it was in the original comics as she leaves such a great impression on you. This is more than I can say for Kristin Dunst's Mary Jane in the original franchise. She came across as interesting in the first film but quickly lost her appeal in the second film. I can't even tell you what happened there. I can recall an interview with Kristin Dunst with some entertainment news program where she just showed disdain at doing constant sequels with the Spider-man films. Perhaps that started to come across on screen, or perhaps that interview just tainted my own perception of her. Whatever the reason, I feel that Ms. Stone is the better romantic interest. Whoever is cast to play Mary Jane needs to be able to top them both, big shoes (also hopefully if Black Cat is in a sequel, then there's some sexy shoes to fill....what?). The rest of the cast is just as well chosen as Peter and Gwen. Captain Stacy is played by Denis Leary, who's no stranger to playing law enforcement or father's. He does a wonderful job here as the Commissioner Gordon type. Sally Field plays Aunt May. Sally Field always reminded me of my mother, so casting her in a motherly role works well for me. I was pleased to see Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. That role was practically made for him and he does not disappoint. Rhys Ifans, plays Curt Conners/ The Lizard, our villain of the film. I am honestly very pleased to see him in a film finally. He was teased for so long in the last trilogy. Conners is portrayed very well in this film. He is a man of desperation. He not only wants to be successful in his work but also grow his arm back. That coupled with being fired from Oscorp prompts him to test his life changing serum on himself and become the Lizard. I enjoyed seeing the Lizard start to take over Conner's mind at some points in the film, the inclusion of this sort of dual personality was a nice touch. The design of the Lizard is a cross between the actual character and Batman's Killer Croc. It was a bit odd at first when I got to see it at SDCC last year, but overtime it grew on me and it makes alot of sense. It sort of shows the more human side to this Lizard and man fusion.

The plot is overall well done. It follows the traditional Spider-man Origin story, but adds a bit more meat to it as there's the plot of Peter's father's work in there. I liked that while they don't have Peter try to earn money with his super powers through professional wrestling, they still hint at that part of his origins by having him crash through a ceiling and land in a wrestling ring, which in turns inspires his mask. Uncle Ben is still killed as result of Peter's failure to act. I did notice a real lack of the Spidey motto "With great power comes great responsibility", I guess it was drilled into the first series so much they didn't want to overdo it in this one. Peter gets his powers from a genetically altered spider, as always. The bite occurs in a truly creepy scene of hundreds of spiders crawling on him, which made my arachnophobia sister cower in her seat. One spider does bite him and the powers start from the next scene onwards while he is sleeping on a NY subway. As a person who lives in NY state and has been to the city many times, sleeping on the Subway is not the smartest thing to do. The plot eventually takes Peter to becoming the full Spider-man. The main motivation for this is seeking out his Uncle's killer. Unlike the original series he never does find his Uncle's killer. I found that honestly surprising, and I do hope they touch on that in future movies. The plot also forces Doc Conners to take his serum and become the Lizard in an act of desperation for his job. Norman Osborn is mentioned quite often and is referred to as being deathly ill. This will obviously be built on more in the next film. With all the talk of cross-species genetics it makes me wonder if they will go the traditional route of "goblin serum" for Osborn to make him the crazy Goblin who flies on a glider and throws bombs, or if they will lean towards the more hulked out Goblin from the Ultimate Comics, which sort of resembles the Lizard from the film. Hopefully its the former. The Lizard is done very well and I am glad to see him as the villain for this film. What I did find odd is they never touched on Billy or Martha Conners. Apparently there was a scene with them, but it was cut which is a shame as I always felt that Conners' family is what humanized him and made his transformation into the Lizard a curse for him. Overall the plot is sound and makes for a great Spidey film.

I loved the moments when we get to see Spidey in motion. It truly is more representative of how Spidey should move as opposed to how he moved in the previous trilogy. The fight scenes between Spidey and the Lizard were great. Also this film has the best Stan Lee Cameo ever. I also enjoyed the romance scenes between Peter and Gwen. They are very reminiscent of director Marc Webb's previous film 500 Days of Summer, which I also enjoyed. This film marks a great fresh start for the Spider-man films. I can't wait to see what they do in the sequel. Speaking of, at the mid-point of the credits we see a final scene of Conners in jail being confronted by a Man in the Shadows. At first, like most, I believed this to be Osborn. But now that I got the chance to see the film again I am thinking it is Electro, which would be wonderful. This film series has plenty of potential, and is off to a great start.

Up Next- The Dark Knight Rises

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Super Hero movies of 2012 PT1. The Avengers!

So now that The Dark Knight Rises is out and I've had the pleasure of seeing it, I wanted to do a little blog post on my thoughts on the top 3 super hero films of 2012. I'm leaving out Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, mainly because I didn't like it that much. I will be covering The Avengers, Amazing Spider-man and The Dark Knight Rises. Please note these posts will spoil the movies. Go see them first if you don't wanna be spoiled.

First up is The Avengers. The Avengers is a culmination of Marvel Studios' efforts to get their arguably biggest team on the big screen. I do believe they succeeded. Bringing all the heavy hitters from their recent movies into one giant film was amazing. Having so many main characters is often a challenge for films. If you look at Batman and Robin or Spider-man 3 you can see how something like this can fail when trying to do too much at once. Luckily Marvel brought in Joss Whedon to direct. When I heard Joss would be at the helm I wasn't worried. I (like most of the nerd world) am a fan of Firefly and Serenity, in both of those Joss juggles several big characters and manages to make a wonderful TV series and a movie to accompany it. The Avengers brings together Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Chris Evans Captain America/Steve Rodgers, Scarlet Johannson's Black Widow/ Natasha Romanov, along with newcomer Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye/Clint Barton and Mark Ruffalo as the new Hulk/Bruce Banner all under the supervision of Sam Jackson's Nick Fury to fight Tom Hiddleston's Loki. One would think with all this star power the movie would be a convoluted mess, but actually it all just works. The amount of chemistry between these characters is just wonderful. Stark brings his ego and snark which gets matched with Thor's pride and boastfulness which in turn is checked by Cap's boy scout like attitude. Seeing them all interact with each other is a true delight, not only for a Marvel fanboy like myself, but really for anyone. I think that's where this movie shines. Its seeing all these characters together and their struggle to not only overcome the external threat of Loki and his army, but also to get over their own shortcomings and work together as a team in order to save the world.

The plot revolves around the Cosmic Cube (called the Tesseract here), which was established in both Thor and Captain America (as well briefly in Iron Man 2). The Cube falls into the hands of Loki, who uses it under the orders of a mysterious figure to bring forth an alien army (The Ultimateverse Chitauri) to conquer earth. It is up to Nick fury's band of super heroes to save the world from this global threat. The main thing I loved was the fight scenes towards the end where you see all the Avengers working together to fight the aliens. Those scenes are what I was hoping to see in the movie and it did not disappoint. That along with the interactions between each character was great, and left me more than satisfied when I left the theater. As for the characters themselves, I felt the movie did them all justice. Stark got probably the better end of the stick in this film. We get to see his Stark Tower, which becomes a major plot element in the end. He also pretty much saves the world single-handedly in the end. Plus there's all his wonderful jokes which are pretty much the only reason anyone would find Schwarma funny in 2012. The movie did Iron Man very well, which I am glad to see as Stark is one of my favorites in the Marvel U. Captain America is one of the lesser represented heroes in the film, but he still gets a nice share of the spotlight. The movie seemed to glance over Cap adjusting to the 2012 world. One thing I did like alot about the animated Avengers movie from a few years ago is it did give Cap a scene where he wanders around the present day NYC and is stunned at whats changed. I know we got a bit of this at the end of Captain America, but I still would have liked to have seen a bit of it here. Other than that, Cap lends himself to be the one who tries to see both sides of the fence and be the moral compass of the film. There's a great part in the film when he manages to gain the respect of all the Avengers and leads them. Its probably one of my moments in the film. Thor along with Hawkeye are the two characters who got glanced over the most I think. Hawkeye can be expected as he is a new character for the common non comic reader (Yes I know he was in Thor for 5 seconds), but Thor had a movie and was still glossed over. Thor was there as a heavy hitter, but also for his relationship to the antagonist, Loki. Thor is a complex character and I would have liked some more of that showing up here. Jane Foster was reduced to a picture cameo, as a representation of Thor's ties to Midgard it would have been nice to see her in person, but I guess paying Natalie Portman for 5 lines would have been a bit much. Thor's relationship to Loki could have been flushed out a bit more, but for the most part they nailed that. Hawkeye should really get his own movie. Jeremy Renner is a cool guy, I'm sure the success of his Bourne film and the Avengers itself might prompt a Hawkeye movie so we shall see. Hawkeye spent half the film as a villain, which worked for the plot but it also meant he had to spend the last half of the movie redeeming himself to the audience which kinda stinks. Hawkeye was originally a villain so I guess that does follow the comics a bit. I still would like to see him do more in the next film, which I'm sure he will. Black Widow was excellent in this film. I felt they really did her justice here. She wasn't treated as the oversexed female member of a mostly male team, she was given the signature Whedon Female role. Basically she was able to kick major ass just like Iron Man, Cap and Thor. They also delved into her past a bit which would be a great set up for a possible Black Widow movie at some point. Widow and Hawkeye also resemble the human element to the Avengers, as all the other member have either a enhanced body or armor or are a demigod. It was nice to see that the characters that specialized training aside are only human keep up with the Hulk. Speaking of the Big Green guy, I believe he stole the show. Especially the one scene when he slams Loki into the floor. It was great seeing the Hulk unleashed in everyway I'd imagine him to be. From punching a giant space whale in the face and killing it to leaping from on building to another to smash, he was great. Ruffalo played Banner wonderfully and I'd love to see him in his own Hulk film in the future. The supporting cast of Shield and Fury were all done well. Sam Jackson does his usual with Fury which is enjoyable. Maria Hill was played well by Colbie Smulders, and wasn't a complete bitch, though time will tell (please no Civil war for Avengers 3). Coulson was here again for his final romp, and he goes out like a true champion. Now as far as the villain goes, Loki was great. He gives his grand speeches of how superior he is and his mastery of trickery and deception are shown off very well. He is truly a villain you love to hate, and its ever so satisfying when he is beaten. I would love to see Hiddleston stay with the role for future Thor movies as well as Avengers 2. The characters of the film really make the film what it is, Amazing. Of course the best part of the film was the big reveal of Thanos as the guy pulling Loki's strings. Its truly awesome to be able to look forward to his reign of terror in future films.

I managed to get into AMC's Marvel Avengers Marathon when I first saw Avengers. Being able to see the build up from Iron Man 2 all the way to the Avengers was really awesome. It goes to show what the proper amount of planning can do. I'd actually Welcome WB and DC to copy this model for their future JLA movie, as I'm sure it'd work for them too. Overall The Avengers is probably my favorite Super hero film. That goes for this year as well as out of all the current ones out there. It delivers on so many levels and appeals not only to Comic Book fans but to the general public as well. Like Avatar set the blue prints for 3D effects in films, The Avengers sets the blue prints for what a super hero team film should be.

Next Up- The Amazing Spider-man!

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