Friday, April 27, 2012

HOUSE OF LIMITED IDEAS?

I went to see Avengers Assemble, as it is called in the UK because the Sixties TV series called The Avengers trumps Lee and Kirby's creations. Before I begin, I just want to say that Avengers Assemble isn't a bad film: it rolls along at a decent pace and there are moments that make you smile. But one of the big problems with gathering together half a dozen or so characters on screen means that it is nigh on impossible for any character development or much characterisation. Every review so far has been falling over themselves to declare Avengers Assemble as a movie classic, up there with the best films ever made. Now, Whedon has made a decent fist of bringing Marvel's franchise movie creations into a single film but there are occasions when Avengers Assemble feels like The Transformers it's okay to like. Action sequences descend into Michael Bay-style video game artifice very quickly and the mcguffin of the film, Loki bringing alien invaders to Earth to rule it, is a plot so slight that it disappears if you look at it sideways. For anyone reading this review who thinks that I am damning it because I don't enjoy films of this kind, that is not the case. Branagh's Thor was a fun superhero movie that offered intelligence and some well-orchestrated action and Favreau's first Iron Man was a mainstream delight. Downey Jr's Stark has a few zingers here, Chris Hemsworth's Thor has a few moments that match the best that Thor had to offer and Jeremy Renner looks the part as Hawkeye. But Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow couldn't be much less wooden if she tried and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/ The Hulk really doesn't have a great deal to do. Plus, Samuel Jackson's Fury almost makes you forget that there was a time that he was an actor to contend with. There is no sign of director Joss Whedon's smarts here and Avengers Assemble really does feel like a toy movie with some decent scenes in it, created by committee. As of writing this, it has had the third biggest opening weekend in UK cinema history so it will clean up at the box office. So Disney/ Marvel must be pleased as must its shareholders but Avengers Assemble is a likeable piece of fluff that goes out of your head almost as soon as you've seen it…


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Monday, April 09, 2012









HIT THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST PART TWO
And here's a few more photos from the Seattle/ Emerald City Comic Con including Matt Wagner, Joelle Jones and a few more cosplayers…

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HIT THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST PART ONE
It's been a while since I went to a US show, partly because of the flat move last year. So when Wonder Con announced that they would be at Anaheim rather than San Francisco this year, I decided to try a new show. Emerald City Comic Con has been running for a decade and since I hadn't really been to Seattle before (I spent an afternoon and an evening there about a decade ago while I was staying in Portland), I thought it was worth a proper visit. It has a reputation for rain and on a few of the days, this reputation was deserved. We did see some sunshine though including on the Monday after the show when myself and travelling companion Andy C walked to the Space Needle, which on a clear day does have some fantastic views. I did a number of interviews during the show with comic creators like Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Chris Burnham, Barry Kitson, Darick Robertson and Georges Jeanty and took loads of photos (there's a shock, eh?;). Andy C and myself also got to catch up with Andy Grossberg and Susie Lee, who we haven't seen since San Francisco last year. We wandered down to Pike Place and the market, which made for a fun couple of afternoons and also checked out the Elliot Bay Bookstore, a great bookshop. I didn't realise that it would be quite as hilly as it was but this did give it some interesting vistas. I felt that we had only scratched the surface of the city with our six-day stay there. So here's a selection of my photos both at the show and in the city itself…


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