Reje-X-men Profile #1 – Captain Above Average American

Reje-X-men profiles applicants who weren’t accepted to Charles Xavier’s elite team of mutant superheroes.

Reje-X-men Profile #1 – Captain Above Average American

What powers do you possess that your average countryman does not?

My mutant DNA gives me two powers the statistically average American does not have. The first power is tallness. I am 6 feet 8 inches tall. That makes me three standard deviations taller than the average American male.

Intriguing. And what other power do you have that most Americans do not?

I know what a standard deviation is.

The Ultimate Introvert

Hulk just want to be left alone

I know how you feel sometimes, buddy.

The Amazing Spiderman is Great

We watched the latest Spiderman movie this weekend. I had heard mixed reviews from friends, so I was surprised how much I really, really liked it. My kids liked it, too. So did my wife, who wasn’t really looking forward to it.

I wasn’t a fan of the first three Spiderman movies. They weren’t terrible or great, I didn’t love or hate them. Mostly, they just left me cold. Nothing about them really inspired anything in me. They got Spiderman basically right as the wisecracking but selfless hero who uses his brains as much as his superpowers. What they got wrong was Peter Parker.

I knew 30 minutes into The Amazing Spiderman – before he gets his superpowers – that this was a better movie. They painted Peter Parker to a T. Problems at home, picked on at school, striking out with girls. (And later in college, problems with money and problems juggling work, classes, girlfriends, and being a superhero.) You can’t help sympathing with such a perennial underdog and cheering when things finally go his way.

AS follows the basic origin story, with a twist.* It shows what happens to Peter’s parents and why he’s living with Aunt May and Uncle Ben. In the movie Richard Parker was a scientist who was forced to flee in the middle of the night from some unseen threat. He only has time to get his wife and child and a mysterious folder hidden in the false bottom of a drawer. After that Mr. and Mrs. Parker go into hiding. Peter later finds the mysterious papers in his father’s attache and links them to work at Oscorp.

I didn’t have many criticisms. There were a few places where the effects weren’t great and the budget limitations showed through. The Lizard looked kind of stupid. If anything The Lizard looked like The Abomination in The Incredible Hulk movie.

The performances in the new Spiderman are generally better than the old. Andrew Garfield is a much better Peter Parker. Martin Sheen’s Uncle Ben is a fully drawn character who gets more screentime than in the last series. Emma Stone made a fantastic Gwen Stacey.

* That twist may be part of the reason some people didn’t like the movie. There’s a contingent of comic book fans who will not tolerate deviations from canon. They treat the original storylines as holy scripture to which thou shalt be faithful.

Todd Alcott Does His Thing with X-Men: First Class

Screenwriter Todd Alcott has finished his script recap of X-Men: First Class and it’s a doozy. He really brings out the contrasts the movie develops between Erik and Xavier.

Alcott also spends a lot of time on the homoerotic subtext between Erik and Xavier. A lot of time. There’s no doubt that subtext exists to some degree. It’s no secret director Bryan Singer (who is openly gay) has used being a mutant as a metaphor for being gay in the X-Men films. In some cases it’s hardly subtle. When Xavier accidentally outs Hank to his boss as a mutant, his boss expresses surprise, and Hank says “You didn’t ask, so I didn’t tell.”

But Alcott uses it to explain to explain the motivation of practically every scene that involves the two. He also tends to get overzealous in his descriptions to the point of bordering on slash fiction:

Holding Xavier, Erik looks like he wants to kiss him, and I’m reminded that the helmet, that barrier, is Erik’s last defense against intimacy, like a chastity belt he wears on his head, to keep himself, his vengeance, his identity, pure.

Even with all that, it’s a good read. He catches a lot of cultural and historical references. I knew parts of the movie were Bondesque, but Alcott calls out the specific Bond references by movie.

 PreviouslyAvengers Fanboys, Check It Out

Avengers Fanboys, Check It Out

Screenwriter Todd Alcott has a series of great posts about the Avengers movie that look at the movie with a different set of eyes.

Where is the helicopter going?  The helicopter is going to some sort of government installation, The Joint Dark Energy Something.  What’s happening at the Joint Dark Energy Something is that everybody there is getting the hell out.  This, in screenwriting, is called “getting into the scene as late as possible.”  We don’t know what everyone is running from, we only know that they are running.  This, too, increases audience involvement.  The audience leans forward to gather information when they are not spoon-fed it by a cautious narrative.  We don’t even get a clear look at the sign.  Do we need to know exactly what this place is?  Not really — the sheer size of it, which we’ve seen from our helicopter’s POV, is enough to indicate that it is “important,” and the panic erupting all over is enough to indicate that it is in great danger.  Again, stakes.  “Important” and “Great Danger.”  Concision.

Everyone at the Joint Dark Energy Something is in a panic, except this guy, this guy who’s there to greet the helicopter.  This guy is, Marvel fans will know, Agent Coulson, beloved agent of SHIELD.  But to the viewer who just wandered in from off the street, all we know is that he is The One Guy Who Isn’t Running Around Panicked.  That makes him very powerful in his own right, and the fact that he is waiting for the helicopter makes whoever is in the helicopter that much more powerful. Keep in mind, we’re still only a minute or so into the movie — if nothing else, The Avengers is a sleek deliverer of information.  We’ve not only been given a ton of information, we’ve been given it in a highly cinematic style.

And finally, after an exhausting two minutes of movie, we meet our protagonist, Nick Fury, getting out of the helicopter.  This is the powerful man in the helicopter, this is the man The Only Man Not Panicking is waiting for.  Everyone else is Running Away, this man is Walking Toward.  You don’t need to know anything else, he hasn’t opened his mouth, he hasn’t introduced himself, all he’s done is fly in in a helicopter and get out, and already you know he’s very important and very powerful. Read more of this post

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

The Editing Room’s Abridged Script

Oh my God, look at the TV! Hardy has released all of Gotham’s prisoners except for you-know-who! I dare not speak his name, but he’s a smoker and a midnight toker getting his lovin’ on the run, if you catch my drift.

Iron Man 3: Tony Stark Beats the Snot out of Ghandi

May 3, 2013. The rumor forever was that Stark was going to fight the Mandarin in one of the movies and it’s finally coming true, with Ben Kingsley as Mandarin.

Link for RSS readers that don’t play Flash.

I kid about Ghandi. Kingsley’s range isn’t limited to Indians who preach non-violent resistance against the British empire and who inexplicably get stiffed for the Nobel Peace Prize. At the opposite extreme he was the psychotic Don Logan in Sexy Beast. He can play anything. Guy Pearce has a part, too. Whatever else happens in Iron Man 3, the acting will not suck.

Dirty word alert:

Wolverine Movie Teaser

I just heard about this. July 26, 2013. Takes place in Japan post- X-Men 3. Will probably cause even more people to yell about continuity problems in the movies. More movie pluggin’ here.

Word of the Day – Manica

From Wikipedia:

The Latin word “manica” means a sleeve.[1] A manica was a type of iron or bronze arm guard, with curved and overlapping metal segments or plates, fastened to leather straps, worn by Roman gladiators called crupellarii, and later by soldiers.

Construction and use

Bishop lists likely components as one shoulder plate, about 35 metal (ferrous or copper alloy) strips, 90-120 leathering rivets, 3 or 4 internal leathers, and one padded lining. The lining may have been a separate component, in order to avoid it being torn by the articulated metal plates. The metal strips were about 25 to 30 mm wide and 0.35 to 0.5 mm in thickness; they were longer at the top of the arm. Each strip had holes at its lower edge, through which flat-headed copper alloy rivets passed from the inside to hold the leather straps in place. It also had a hole punched at each end, which did not have a rivet and presumably served as an attachment point for an organic fastening. The lower few plates were in some cases riveted together, rather than articulated on leather. One depiction appears to show a manica terminating in a hand shape.[7]

The usual arm position depicted for Roman swordsmen is with the upper arm vertical and close to the torso, the forearm extended horizontally with the thumb uppermost. The plates were probably not long enough to cover the whole circumference of the arm, but would have extended from the upper arm down to the thumb, leaving an unprotected area at the back. The plates overlapped upwards, directing any blow to the inside of the elbow which had a particularly dense coverage of multiple plates.[7]

More here. Found on 10 Reasons There Won’t Ever Be an Aquaman Movie. I almost waited four days to run this so it could be Manica Monday.

Previous WOTDCoppicing

That’s good Batman

I read Haunted Knight while watching my youngest daughter’s soccer practice tonight. It’s a collection of three Batman Halloween stories all of the same piece with fantastic artwork.  It’s worth it for the frame with Batman and the gargoyle alone. Good stuff.

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

Saw the movie and liked it a lot. It has a good villain, which is always a good start. Bane is every bit Batman’s equal, which keeps our hero in peril throughout the movie. Selena Kyle made a great foil.

I loved the big scene between Bruce and Alfred. Batman doesn’t get enough credit for its humanity.

I had heard some people complain that Dark Knight Rises was too long. I wonder if some of the people saying caught the midnight premier and were just sleepy. Even at two hours 45 minutes it didn’t feel long.

The ending worked for me. If you want to see an example of someone either calling or leaking the series end 9 months in advance in almost every detail, read this Cracked article from November, 2011. But see the movie first.

The Editing Room does “The Avengers”

If ‘Avengers’ Was 10 Times Shorter and 100 Times More Honest (dirty word alert)

SAMUEL L. MOTHERF—–G JACKSON delivers a heartwarming speech about togetherness, the foundation of which is CLARK GREGG’s man-crush on CHRIS EVANS.

Well, now that someone has died due to our egomania and tardiness, I feel like we can finally call ourselves the Avengers and validate our namesake. Teamwork!

My Random Quip Generator got damaged in the last fight, so yeah, I’m in.

I shall assist, mainly because I’m stuck here on Earth without the Blue Cube, but also, more importantly, because I’m stuck here on Earth without the Blue Cube.

You’re going to need a strong female character down there. My boobs will hold her position open until she arrives, and I can use my pistol, which will be of absolutely no use whatsoever, I don’t even know why I’m bringing it.

And don’t worry, everyone, Hawkeye is back, ready to shoot an arrow at something in case we run out of bullets!

Favorite Quote from the Avengers, Famous Last Words Department

“You are, all of you, beneath me. I am a god you dull creature, and I will not be bullied.”
 — Loki

What makes it good is what happens to Loki right after that. I’m also a fan of Cap’s “Hulk – Smash.”

Watchmen Prequels

DC Women Kicking Ass – DC Comics announces Watchmen Prequels.

So That’s Why Cyclops’ Death in X-Men III Sucked

Not only did they kill him off at the beginning of the movie, they didn’t even show it onscreen. Wolverine saying that Jean Grey may have killed Cyclops is the first hint you get dude’s even dead. Pretty crummy way for a superhero to go out.

CrackedThe 5 Worst Deaths Written for Great Characters (And Why):

What Really Happened:

[Cyclops actor James] Marsden was being unfaithful. He was cheating on the X-Men with another comic book franchise, Superman. He didn’t have much time on the set of X-Men: The Last Stand because he was cast in Superman Returns, which was shooting at the same time.

Rumors floated around the Internet that Cyclops’ death was intentionally bad, as Fox was upset over Marsden’s choice (Superman Returns was owned by another studio and helmed by X-Men 1 and 2 director Bryan Singer). While we are not ones to indulge in unconfirmed Internet rumors, yeah, that’s what probably happened.

The bigger question is, why would Marsden do it? Keep in mind, he didn’t leave to play Superman, or Lex Luthor (possibly the only two characters in the Superman universe worth playing). No, he bailed on being Cyclops just to play the guy who bones Superman’s girlfriend when Supe’s is out of town. There can’t be much job security in stealing Superman’s girlfriend.