Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Movie Review

The phrase 'style over substance' has become a little cliche as of late, but right now I'm hard-pressed to describe Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance as anything but. In fact, if you check out the definition of 'style over substance' right now, you will probably see a picture of directors Neveldine/Taylor, all shake-y and skewed just like their camera work, grinning ear to ear.

Which is weird, because you would think that Neveldine/Taylor's unique brand of hyperkinetic and over-the-top film making would have been a perfect fit for the maniacal, bike-riding flamehead. Even Nicholas Cage, back in the saddle as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider, was obviously inspired by the duo, hereby tapping into acting energies so primal that mortal eyes aren't ready for what it's gonna see.

But I digress...Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is insane. Insane. Whatever grounded the first Ghost Rider film is nowhere near it. Ghost Rider here is grittier, dirtier, twitchier, more crazy. He also kicks more ass than the previous installment, and isn't relegated to just riding bikes (the scene you saw the trailer involving a bucket wheel excavator, one of the biggest machines in the world, is as awesome as it looks.) But the shining star here is a completely unbridled Nicholas Cage, who delivers Wicker Man-levels of overacting, actually making his co-stars visibly uncomfortable. It's safe to say it's okay to watch this movie for Cage alone!

But being insane is one thing, being coherent is another, and Spirit of Vengeance unfortunately lacks that one basic thing. Characters come and go like Iron Man's girlfriends (there's even a Christopher Lambert cameo!), and the plot is just a means to put Cage in a position to look twitchy and fight bad guys in awkward, drawn-out action scenes, made even worse by Neveldine/Taylor's inability to know when to stop (one particular scene, where Ghost Rider is longingly staring down a goon he's holding, goes on for minutes without anything happening. Is he gonna Penance Stare him? Headbutt him? Kiss him on the lips? What?). The movie's saving grace is the final 10 minutes of the film, in an exciting chase scene that finally shines a heroic light on Ghost Rider, but by then it's already too late.

Bottom line is, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance boils down to 'What if Nicholas Cage was always batshit insane and had a flaming skull for a head?", and if you're willing to pay good money to watch that, more power to you. This movie is good enough for brainless action entertainment, but if you want a good story to go with it, you're short of luck.

Oh, and don't watch it in 3D unless you like being ripped off.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Week in Comics: Supergirl #6

Heroes's when they get back up that makes it awesome.

In Supergirl #6, the Worldkiller known as Reign has landed on Earth, and she's picking a fight with every armed nation in the world! Our only hope is Supergirl...but has she bitten off more than she can chew?

This is it. Supergirl's first big battle that doesn't involve innocents or superheroes! I've been jonesin' for Supergirl's fist to meet some supervillain's jaw for a long time coming, and this issue doesn't disappoint. I liked the sweet little moment between Kara and the memory of her parents that takes our hero from confused alien girl to super with a's a rousing, inspiring scene that caps off what writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson have been working on since issue one. By letting Supergirl grown into her role slowly but surely, we get a fleshed-out hero that reads like someone we've known for a very long time. You can't buy that kind of relatability!

The book is made even better with Mahmud Asrar's art. It's here that he gets to stretch his drawing muscles for a while (check out that double splash page of Argo falling towards that blue sun!), and with what I've seen so far, I can't wait to see what he brings to the table come next issue, when all hell is sure to be let loose. Just great, great work.

It's safe to say that this is THE book to get your fix of strong female heroes you won't be ashamed to show your kids. Pick this up on sight, and jump on the wagon while you're at it. This gets a 4 out of 5.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Week in Comics: Wolverine and the X-Men #5

How do I describe Wolverine and the X-Men #5 in one word? "Crazy".

And that's exactly why I like it. Series writer Jason Aaron is taking Wolverine and his merry band of X-Men to places both unseen and unheard of, and it makes for a comic you just don't see from anywhere else.

So you wanna see just exactly what they teach in this school? Aaron takes a simple biology class and cranks it up to 11, in a fun and visually amazing sequence (with big thanks to Nick Bradshaw's amazing art) that encapsulates the direction the book is going. But it's not all just fun and games. I like how Aaron juggles so many emotions, so many characters in this book like it's no big thing, while still reading like a cohesive whole. From monetary problems (running a high-tech school for mutants isn't exactly cheap) to the problem of a pregnant Kitty (!), to giving the students of the school their small moments to shine, Aaron balances all that while still making the book fun to read.

I've already mentioned Nick Bradshaw's art, but it bears repeating: it's amazing. It may not have the crazy kick of Chris Bachalo, but Bradshaw's distinct style works to give this book a little bit more clarity and focus. And hey, if you wanna see clean-shaven and a-little-bit-too-gorgeous Wolverine, this is the book for you!

It's funny, it's scary, and it's comic book fun. Wolverine and the X-Men #5 is good comics, and we need more of this than ever. This gets a 4.5 out of 5.

Become Earth's Most Fragrant Heroes with The Avengers Cologne

Ever dreamed of becoming your favorite super heroes? We all did. But is there anyone who dreamed of smelling like one? Because that dream comes true right now.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...