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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is flashier, funnier, more colorful than the first, but that may not be enough to live up to it.

James Gunn heaps upon us a double serving of everything that made the first Guardians of the Galaxy more than $700 million worldwide, from the action to the comedy to everything in between. You thought the first movie was the first dash of color for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Then prepare your retinas for some dazzlingly colorful scenery and laser-blasting action that really should be seen on the big screen to be believed!

But while everything is undoubtedly "more", GotG Vol. 2 dials down on the galaxy-saving for a more contained, intimate story about how the Guardians of the Galaxy come together as family. There's a whole lot of quaint character moments and parallels between guys like Drax (Dave Bautista) and the equally socially-inept newcomer Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and the catharsis of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula's (Karen Gillan) relationship. If family drama is not your cup of tea, there's still the threat of the golden-skinned Sovereign and the arrival of Ego (Kurt Russell hamming it up and loving it), Peter Quill's dad who's been searching for his long-lost son for decades, though he may be planning something more than quaint father-son bonding...


If you're the type of person who thinks everything Marvel Studios puts out is "Quips: The Movie", you'll find strong evidence in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as the movie's run time gets bogged down to play out comedic scenes to cringey lengths, or dramatic moments being undermined by a throwaway quip. More jokes does not usually translate to more funny, and you'll find that your mileage may vary when going through GotG Vol. 2's seemingly endless joke assault.

Nevertheless, this movie will see its audience in the hardcore Marvel fan, who will positively delight in the metric ton of Easter eggs to the vast cosmic Marvel universe. I can't say much about them without spoiling anything, but if you know your Celestial from your Starhawk, then you have no idea how happy this movie will make you.


Oh, and if Baby Groot doesn't make you squee, I want nothing to do with you.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may not live up to its predecessor's potential, but now it's got even more laughs, thrills, and nods to the greater Marvel universe to keep you entertained for two hours.

And haven't I told you enough to stay after the credits?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review


It's not often that a movie is fiercely confident in what it actually is. Kong: Skull Island makes no aspirations to being anything other than the most fun you'll have at the theaters today.

Gravitas has no time or place when you're trying to survive an island where everything is actively trying to kill you, which is basically the plot of Kong: Skull Island. Here, a group of scientists and military embark on an expedition into uncharted Skull Island, but they bite off more than they can chew (as humans are wont to do) when they grab the attention of Kong, a hundred feet of ape and angry. And he's not the only dangerous thing lurking there...

Kong knows what you want, what we all want.  It's characters that are introduced in bite-sized, easily digestible chunks and emotional beats that are mercifully short to make way for a pulse-pounding tale about a big frikkin' ape. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts directs like a madman, giving Kong: Skull Island a frenzied, dream-like feel, keeping you on your toes as monsters bear down on its hapless cast.



Speaking of the cast, even if the movie is about Kong, the humans are still front and center of the conflict. Tom Hiddleston smolders and shines as the former SAS expert tracker and resident action man. Samuel L. Jackson as the badass warmonger with a Kong-sized chip on his shoulder is probably the most fleshed-out of all the characters here. Everyone else, from John Goodman to Brie Larson to John C. Reilly have their roles to play, which usually involve getting the hell out of the way of Kong and everything else on Skull Island.


The true breakout star here is King Kong himself. No longer the giant gorilla of yesteryear, Kong in this movie is a ferocious, massive mountain of an ape, a true force of nature unlike anything we've seen. It's absolutely satisfying seeing Kong own every scene he's in, demanding your attention as he swats Huey helicopters like gnats and battles monsters to the death. If you aren't a fan of Kong yet, this movie might just be the one to win you over.


Sure, some may say the plot is simplistic or that the characters are cookie-cutter caricatures. But you know what? We've had "serious" monster movies with "serious" themes demanding to be taken "seriously." It was high time we get a monster a movie that throws a 100-foot killer ape at us in the first 10 minutes and lets us see where it goes from there. Kong: Skull Island is a hair-raising thrill ride from start to finish and a fitting return for the King of the Apes. Highly recommended!

Oh, and you owe it to yourself to stay in your damn seat for the after-credits. Thank us later.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

MAFEX Iron Man Mark 45 Action Figure Review


Iron Man lends his design to pretty awesome toys. So much so, that you'll be hard-pressed to find a toy company who doesn't make Iron Man action figures! One such company is Medicom, whose MAFEX division announced a new Iron Man a year ago, Iron Man Mark 45 from the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron. Pictures got me hooked. It looked damn good! But what sets him apart from all the Iron Man figures already out? Read on to find out!

Friday, February 03, 2017

DC Icons Batgirl Toy Review


The DC Icons line of collectible action figures has a new addition to their ranks, quite possibly one of the best figures we've seen this year! I'm talking about DC Icons Batgirl, which I'll be reviewing today!

The moment I laid eyes on her was the moment I knew I had to have her. Fast forward to an excruciating amount of months later, and I now have in my hands one of my most wanted figures in the DC Icons line!

The box is nice and huge, giving you a good view of the toy and her accessories within. They had to go big, if they wanted space for that big-ass motorcycle she comes with! It's a great display piece, that's for sure


But a figure this nice should not be contained in that box for long!

DC Icons Batgirl packs a lot of detail for something so small. From the zippers in her costume to the creases in the leather to the laces on her swaggy boots, this figure totally feels like a premium collectible.


The paint work on the figure is excellent, with no errors aside from some sort of misapplied brown paint on the face of the extra headsculpt included. Since it's not that noticeable I don't consider it a big deal, but really that's the worst I could say about this figure, and it's something you could look out for in the future.


Standing at a few hairs under 6 inches, DC Icons Batgirl will look good among your DC Universe Classics figures, if you're planning to mix and match. Most of the figures in the DC Icons line is out of scale with everything else, though. Thankfully, this version of Batgirl is younger, so her smaller proportions fit her character.


Batgirl uses the same plentiful articulation system as previous DC Icons releases, meaning you can put her in a lot of heroic poses with ease. The weakness I saw in my DC Icons Flash is still here though, notably her inability to look up to save her life. Really, a neck hinge is all that's standing in the way of DC Icons from becoming one of the classics.


DC Icons Batgirl comes with one of the biggest "accessories" around: her own Batcycle, a nicely detailed piece that's bigger than the figure it comes with! It looks stylish and futuristic, with painted details and free-spinning wheels that make it more than just a solid piece of plastic. I don't know if you can turn the front wheel left and right, but I don't want to risk breaking such a beautiful thing.


The bike can attach to a base with "screeching tires" effects to simulate motion and so it can stand on its own for display. Attach the extra "gripping" hands on Batgirl and she can "ride" the bike with relative ease and minimal fiddling. She also comes with an extra "whipping hair" headsculpt and "flying" cape to give the illusion of movement, which are very nice and thoughtful inclusions. The only missed opportunity is again her limited neck articulation, meaning Batgirl'll be staring at her front bumper forever.


And just when you thought that's all of it, DC Icons Batgirl has more accessories! She has a little grappling hook gun and an extra hand to hold it with...


...and a little smartphone for all her selfie needs! It's positively microscopic, so be careful not to lose it!


Batgirl has seen a renewed popularity with this Batgirl of Burnside incarnation, so it's a treat that we got an awesome collectible figure out of it. With a great sculpt and a ton of cool accessories, DC Icons Batgirl is the total package and a great addition to the DC Icons line. A must-have if you're a Batgirl fan!

It's out in your local comic book shop and specialty stores, so you better snap this up on sight!

What's your favorite DC Icons figure? Leave a message in the comments and let's talk about it. Thanks for reading!



Thursday, February 02, 2017

MAFEX Spider-Man Homecoming Ver. Images

It's happening: MEDICOM's MAFEX line just released mind-blowing images of Spider-Man from Sony's Spider-Man: Homecoming!



Even for preview images, it looks awesome, and their likeness of Tom Holland looks spot on. It's even got the 'poseable' eyes that made this Spider-Man version so amazing! I'm shaking in my seat, wondering when I'll get my hands on it to complete my Infinity War set up!


Haven't had experience with MAFEX yet (my Iron Man Mk. 46 from Avengers: Age of Ultron has yet to arrive), but I don't care. I need this thing so bad.

MAFEX Spider-Man (Homecoming Ver.) will cost you 6,800Yen and will be released on October 2017. For more images, check out the official MAFEX site.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

SH FIGUARTS WWE Stone Cold Steve Austin Toy Review


How lucky we are to be alive right now, to live in a time when we have the near-perfect toy of a certain mudhole-stomping, beer-swilling, tough-talking sumbitch!

Finally, in my hands is a dream toy of mine. I'm talking about the newly-released S.H. Figuarts "Stone Cold" Steve Austin figure from Bandai, which I'll be reviewing today!


First off, I love the box the new Figuarts toys come in. More compact than previous releases, it makes for easy storage. And if you're a collector, Stone Cold Steve Austin's glaring mug is right at the plastic window for you to peruse at your leisure.

But a fig like this doesn't like being boxed in. Let's take a look at the figure itself!


Standing at 6 inches tall, S.H. Figuarts Stone Cold Steve Austin might be a smidge out of place amidst your Mattel WWE figures, but it more than makes up for it in aesthetics. The detail on this figure is amazing. The sculpt looks a bit soft, but there's no denying that this is the Texas Rattlesnake in toy form. It even has his patented knee braces! Even better, they're also functional, meaning you can adjust the braces for your posing needs. What?!


Stone Cold uses the standard S.H. Figuarts articulation to good effect, so he gets to do a lot of the moves your favorite wrestler is known for. Finally, you have a Stone Cold toy that can do a proper Stone Cold Stunner and look good doing it!


The joints are smooth and tight and holds poses well, though mine has a hip joint that's tight as all hell. It's not exactly something you can look out for, but I guess I just have to be careful; many a tight joint has snapped in my careless hands.

S.H. Figuarts Stone Cold comes with a lot of cool accessories, aside from his entrance vest thingy, including not one, not two, but three extra heads, portraying an emotion the Texas Rattlesnake is known to do! From the screaming face to a sideways glancing face that says "You are this close to gettin' your ass whupped", there is an emotive Stone Cold face that fits your every need.


Of course, Stone Cold ain't Stone Cold without brewskies, and I'm glad Bandai graciously supplied his S.H. Figuarts toy with two cans of beer for him to swig. The pouring beer effect is a tad cartoonish for my taste, though. Wouldn't a translucent pour be better?


As a huge Steve Austin fan growing up, I'm glad I live in a time when we're capable of creating a toy that gives justice to the person it represents. S.H. Figuarts Stone Cold Steve Austin is the type of figure that will see a lot of play and may just be the crowning jewel of any 6" Stone Cold toy collection.

So get this toy while you can, coz Behold the Geek says so. *glass shatters*


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Doctor Strange Movie Review (Spoiler-Free)


Doctor Strange is my most-anticipated Marvel movie, bar none. The very look and feel of it tickles me to no end. This isn't a dude with a shield or missiles or who shrinks. This is a character who traverses possibilities and bends reality itself. I'm a sucker for characters like that, so I went in trying my best not to expect so much...but it's hard to do when you've got Benedict Cumberbatch front and center.


In what may be the most spot-on Marvel casting since RDJ as Tony Stark, Benedict shines as Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon who suffers a tragic accident and loses the use of his hands, his most precious tools of the job. Desperate for a cure, Strange stumbles upon Kamar-taj, where a mysterious group of mystics led by The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) "opens his mind" to reality's unlimited possibilities, turning him into a powerful magic-wielding sorcerer. But when a mysterious enemy threatens to destroy the world and let darkness swallow it whole, it's up to Doctor Strange to stop this threat no matter the cost!


It sounds like Marvel's usual movie formula because it is. To director Scott Derrickson's credit, the movie makes up for it by marrying eye-popping visuals with interesting characters. It's no secret the entire thing would not have worked if Benedict Cumberbatch wasn't cast in the role. Benedict is damn charismatic, wonderfully portraying both Stephen Strange's arrogance and vulnerability, making Strange his own rather than doing Tony Stark 2.0. The rest of the cast is made up of highs and lows. Tilda Swinton is stunningly surreal as The Ancient One, but Mads Mikkelsen's Kaecillius is too much of a walking nihilist rhetoric to be compelling. Chiwetel Ejiofor is fine as Mordo, but I wanted more out of this future Strange archenemy.


Of course, we can't talk about Doctor Strange without talking about the visuals. Inception has nothing on this thing. Doctor Strange really takes its visuals to the limit as sorcerers summon crackling mandalas in the air to shift and tilt their environment like Play-Doh in their hands. At one point, the film goes full M.C. Escher in an exciting action sequence (as was seen in the trailers) where Strange and Kaicellius give chase to each other, with their magics turning roads into ceilings and ceilings into walls. It's disorientating as all hell, but director Scott Derrickson tries his best to keep the important beats of the action front and center, so you yourself don't get lost in the movie's visual maze.

But while I loved the visuals and the acting, there's a rushed, incomplete feeling to Doctor Strange, like the movie is in a hurry to go through Strange learning of the mystic arts and facing off against the Big Bad at the end, glossing over a lot of things that make the character and his world so interesting, and ultimately leaving you wondering why the movie is over so quickly. But to its credit, I left feeling I wanted more, way more of this mystical goodness.

Despite all that, Doctor Strange didn't fail to keep me spellbound all the way to the end. Truly unlike any Marvel movie you've seen, it's safe to say that Doctor Strange is quite the fun ride, provided that you open your mind to do so.

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