Friday, April 30, 2010

Movie Review: Iron Man 2

I finally saw it last night, and now that I've had my fill, I can finally tell you guys... IRON MAN 2 is the movie to watch this season, and I say that with the utmost conviction as a big fan of the character. This may be my first impression and I'm still due to see a couple more screens of the movie, but I'll go along with this review anyway and be as brief and as spoiler-free as possible. If you're one to shy away from other people's opinions and experience everything yourself, please stop reading this review right now. I'm due to see this film numerous times in the next few days, and it goes without saying that this superhero movie kicks the summer beat into high gear... but does it payoff substantially for those looking for a big bang repulsor blast? Read on and find out.

Movie: Iron Man 2

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell

Directed By: Jon Favreau

The world knows that Tony Stark is Iron Man. Going public with his heroic identity, the "strutting his stuff" billionaire industrialist has concentrated all of his resources into making sure that the Iron Man armor does not fall into the wrong hands, preferring to defend the world on his own terms. His friends worry about him a great deal, especially his secretary Pepper Potts, who tries to manage his business affairs after Tony appoints her the new CEO of Stark Industries. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Stark's other confidant and liaison to the United States Military, tries to keep his best friend in check by keeping watch over his flamboyant activities, which have become erratic as of late due to a secret Tony's trying desperately to keep from everyone he holds dear. With problems growing and pressure to turn over his technology to the government, Tony's life is everything but peachy, and it's about to get worse when sins from his family's past comes back to haunt him. With the new threat out on the open and competition mounting from a scheming business rival, Tony must come to terms with himself and his legacy if he wants to emerge from the ashes and show just what a self-proclaimed "Iron Man" can do.

Straight into the review, I'm gonna say outright that this movie isn't just a good popcorn flick, it's a straight out comic book light show come to life. Yes, I said "light show", and I'll get right into that in a bit. Truth be told, I was expecting a lot more from the sequel, but I only came out decently satisfied. Since the origin tale is gone and done, Marvel Studios and Paramount focus now on Tony's other escapades, including his personal issues and the way the "Iron Man" has affected his life and the people around him. I'm sure glad Jon Favreau is back in the director's chair for the sequel. He did more than just a stellar job introducing Iron Man into the world of cinema, he practically nailed the entire concept on the coffin and gave a vision of the hero everyone could pretty much relate to. His decision to cast Robert Downey Jr. in the role Tony Stark was sheer brilliance the first time around, and that role revitalized the actor's career in a great way. He returns in sequel with flying colors, bringing his stellar work ethic and work ethic into making the character as interesting and flamboyant as ever... with a unique twist only he can deliver. Of course, even if everything revolves around Tony, he's got his supporting cast worried about his every move. Pepper Potts, once again played by Gwyneth Paltrow, tries to manage the business side of Stark Industries as the newly appointed CEO, but even a composed figure like her can succumb to pressure when more problems come crashing down your table in a literal sense. Col. James Rhodes also returns, with actor Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard from the last movie. Rhodey's role is expanded outright, and as you saw in the trailers, he eventually dons his own armor, has it upgraded, and becomes the War Machine. While I was at first bothered with the change in actor, Cheadle's performance wasn't bad at all, and he brought more life and fight into Rhodey than what I saw in the character in the first flick. Aside from the returning supporting cast and characters, new ones enter the fray to give Tony something else to worry about. One of course is the presence of business rival Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell, who's as young and passionate as Stark was in the weapons business, yet lacking the creativity and moral convictions the other has. In fact, Nick Fury and Black Widow, played by the talented Samuel L. Jackson and the lovely Scarlett Johansson respectively, appear in this movie to add more heroic flavor to the mix. By far, the inclusion of Mickey Rourke as Ivan "Whiplash" Vanko only adds more fuel to the burning star power the film already has by giving us a brilliant amalgamation of two popular Iron Man villains. While he may be lesser known villain to the majority compared to the other foes in the comics, people who see this movie will come to appreciate the Whiplash character even more, who's seen as a sympathetic villain like Doc Ock, but becomes increasingly menacing as the movie unfolds. Oh, and director Jon Favreau also gets more screen time, playing once again the energetic bodyguard of Tony Stark, Happy Hogan!

Of course, after describing character relations, that's pretty much what the majority of Iron Man 2 story covers, and that's probably where my problem with the movie lies - in the pacing itself. Unlike in the first movie where you have a straightforward origin story and you move up to the good guy emerging to take on the bad guys, there are several subplots scattered around the sequel that will leave some dazed and confused. Sure, the beginning was fine and we are introduced to Whiplash and his ties to the Stark Legacy, but towards the middle of the flick, I felt things starting to drag, with too much time spent on Tony's inner turmoil and the subsequent steps he made to solve his personal problems by himself. I felt a lot more things could have been done at this point to give the movie a little more "omph", but concentrating on multiple character development within a two hour period is pretty hard to do. That aside, with the final product out in the open, you work with what you got, and for all intents and purposes, Iron Man 2 is still a decent flick I'd recommend to the Marvel fan. There's lots of great special effects, and anybody who's a fan of the Iron Man suit and the other armors will get a kick out of what they see here. Personally, I enjoyed seeing the Mark V suitcase armor, and that's something you all gotta see here. True, it's not as epic as the first movie where we got to see the evolution of the Iron Man armor in smooth transition, but you get a lot of eye candy and action on this one, with sparkly repulsor and Arc reactor powered technology flying around, hence my description of a "superb light show" earlier.

Of course, those expecting ties to the upcoming Avengers movie can rest easy. There are several references comic book fans with a keen eye will notice right away, as well as some name drops and cameos true blooded comic fans will be pleased to see. Also, please please PLEASE stay with the movie until after the credits role, for like in the first flick, there's something extra afterwards. With all that said, I end my review for Iron Man 2. It's no The Dark Knight, but it's no Revenge Of The Fallen either. Knock it away and enjoy the show, Shellheads!

Rating - 4/5

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mini Review: AC/DC Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 is just around the corner, but we can't move into the movie without talking about this!
Who doesn't enjoy music? It's an energetic and emotional experience that takes your mind somewhere else beyond the realm we know as reality. I'm sure there's a certain song or band out there that catches your mood or puts you in an all time high that never seems to fade out until the beat stops completely. Yes, music is awesome, and if it didn't exist, I think life wouldn't be as thrilling as it is.
That's exactly how I see legendary Austalian rock band AC/DC - a totally energetic and thrilling experience. I've been a fan of the group for some years now, and if you haven't heard about them, they're a rock n' roll group that has been in existence for over four decades, beginning their career in 1973 and still going strong to this day thanks to the release of several classic tunes that many people of all ages have enjoyed over the years. Recently, the group found a resurgence in their popularity thanks to the inclusion of many of their infamous tracks in Jon Favreau's Iron Man movies. The director/ actor, who enjoys the music the band performs, incorporated the band's songs into the superhero movie's trailers and key moments, perfectly illustrating that rock n' roll can blend well with heroics given the right opportunity. In light of this union and to promote the Iron Man sequel, label Columbia Records has commissioned the release of a new studio album, aptly dubbed as "AC/DC Iron Man 2". The record officially went on sale last April 19, 2010, and I got my copy just last week when it arrived on our local shores and retail stores. As a promotional item for the movie and another AC/DC release, this album compliments both mediums and allows a younger audience to experience what the band - comprised of Lead Guitarist Angus Young, Rhythm Guitarist Malcolm Young, Bassist Cliff Williams, Drummer Phil Rudd, and Vocalist Brian Johnson, have given so many people and fans over years - a total adrenaline rush full of excitement and win.

Here you see the standard edition of the album, which includes a CD containing 15 tracks of songs, and an accompanying pamphlet/ artbook with images from the movie and the group's stellar moments in history.

To call this a "Greatest Hits" compilation is not necessarily a proper way to describe AC/DC Iron Man 2. Sure, most of the famous tracks like "Shoot To Thrill", "Back In Black", "Thunderstruck" and "Highway To Hell" are in the list, but there are other songs in the album that include the performances of former members, including AC/DC's first vocalist, the late Bon Scott, Bassist Mark Evans, and Drummer Chris Slade. Most people won't recognize "Rock N' Roll Damnation", "Cold Hearted Man", or "The Razor's Edge", but it goes without saying that if you like AC/DC, you'll get a charge out of the other classics, one form or the other. One of their recent songs, "War Machine", coincidentally shares its name with James "Rhodey" Rhodes alter ego, who's the other armored hero set to appear in Iron Man 2. Listening to that track will put you on the warpath guaranteed, and like the rest of the songs in the bundle, everything is loud and hard, the perfect compliment to Marvel Comics armored avenging hero, Iron Man. Recommended? You bet your horses it is! Just take a look at of the official music videos below and find out for yourselves how to rock n' roll in style!

AC/DC - Shoot To Thrill "Iron Man 2" Music Video

That was AC/DC's "Shoot To Thrill", the same song used in the scene where Iron Man takes a skydive off a military cargo plane to make a flashy entrance to the Stark Expo 2010!

AC/DC - Highway To Hell "Iron Man 2" Music Video

This is "Highway to Hell", another classic and memorable tune from the group used in several motion pictures in the past. Now, it represents Iron Man's adventures by being packed together in this illustrious album!

Did you feel the excitement and strut around like a metal hero after listening to these? If you did, then go out and grab this piece of awesome music in stores now! Also, Iron Man 2 officially premieres tomorrow, so don't miss it!

Album Rating - 5/5

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Looking Forward To Toy Story 3!

It's almost time to play with some old toys again, because Toy Story 3 is fast approaching its release date! I'll admit, the kid in me is really excited to see Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang back and animated in full Disney Pixar glory, and I'm looking forward to seeing them all back in June 18, 2010 by watching this animated release in 3D!

As shown in the interwebz and Enewsi, a new international poster has been released to promote the movie! As you can see, the gang's all running to escape from the daycare center they were "donated to" in order to return to their beloved owner, Andy, who's now in his teens and ready to venture off to college. Yes, the subtitle above the movie's logo is a tribute to the classic "Great Escape" flick, and by viewing the latest trailer below, you know Woody and Buzz have a lot more dangers to traverse and conquer before they and their friends get back home in pieces! Take a look!

Toy Story 3 - Woody and Buzz Trailer!

For those who missed the actual theatrical trailers, here's trailer #3 to sum up the plot of the movie.

Toy Story 3 Trailer 3!

Man, nostalgia kicking inside me again! I wouldn't mind grabbing a Woody or Buzz Lightyear action figure again, haha!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Return Of The Life-Sized Gundam!

Something is back in Japan. Something HUGE. And I wish I was there to actually see it!

Gaming news site Kotaku reports that the big and life sized "Real Grade Gundam" is making a comeback! The large 1:1 model of the mobile suit was originally erected on Odaiba in Tokyo at September last year to commemorate the 35th Anniversary of Gundam, and now it's set to make its debut once again today in front of JR Higashi Shizuoka Station, where it will stand in display until sometime in January 2011. The grounds were even blessed by Shinto priests, making it quite the landmark to visit! Any mecha or Gundam fan would definitely not want to miss this spectacular sight, and if your plans to visit the land of the Rising Sun fall within anytime this year, this would make a perfect location to note on your map and take a quick detour to!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mini Review: Super Street Fighter IV: Collector's Package!

Finally! It's here!
After months of anticipation, disbelief, and excitement, Super Street Fighter IV has finally arrived for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, much to my delight and satisfaction! This game is still set to launch tomorrow in the U.S, but as luck would have it, us fans here in Asia get to enjoy the game a day early! As one of the must have titles on my list, I'm practically swooning over my latest purchase right now, and the fighter in me couldn't be any happier. I've been waiting for this baby for a long time... and now it's here at the palm of my hand! Plus, I didn't just grab the regular edition of the game, I got the Collector's Package! It's a wonderful treat and a true testament to the game's worth, since it includes extras the regular SF fan will definitely enjoy next to the game itself!

Packed with a copy of the game is a sweet looking character artbook, featuring the promotional images and illustrations of each of the 35 characters appearing in this update! Those who enjoy the brush art style the game exhibits will definitely like what they see, and it's all compiled into one mini booklet full of goodness!

What's more, the slip case with Ryu's mugshot on it is a two disc set piece - containing a Character Sound Collection Disc and a Promotional Video Disc. It's basically the game's soundtrack and commercials, so if you enjoy listening and viewing some of these extra, then Capcom has compiled together the perfect treats for you!

Finally, the game itself! Being a R3 Asian copy of the game, this official release of SSFIV gives players the standard game packed together with an instructional manual for reference. Anybody who sees the game's boxart will notice it's the North American design, but players have a choice over this matter, as they can simply flip the flyer in reverse and switch it to the Boxart design of the Japanese release of the game! It's a real treat, and one I definitely enjoy as it gives me free reign over what cover art I want to see. Also, anybody with a Asian PSN account will get a Downloadable Content voucher that allows them to access new alternate costume packs that can be used in the game, namely for specific characters like Gen and Guile.

Aside from what I've mentioned, there's not much else... except to dive straight into the game and play it to your heart's content! It's Street Fighter IV refined, improved, and given a whole lot of extras for 2010, including new modes, new characters, and additional moves to explore! I've already played through the game and tried out newbies like Hakan and returning favorites like Cody, so there's a lot riding here to get the fighter in you excited! Whether you fight against the CPU or play online, it doesn't really matter. This is Super Street Fighter IV, and it's time to take the fight to the next level! If you enjoy fighting games, this is definitely a must have!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Toyz Review: Marvel Select Iron Man 2 War Machine

There's been a drought on my toy review escapades lately. It's not that I haven't been keeping up to date with the latest figures around town, but I've just been too lazy and hesitant to make thoroughly detailed reviews about anything plastic and articulate. But right now, all that's about to change with this post... as I finally got my hands on Marvel Select's latest release - the Iron Man 2 War Machine figure!
With the big Iron Man sequel up on the horizon for theaters next weekend, the hype fever has spread quicker than a demon in a bottle, and plenty of collectors are looking for nice little toys based on the movie to add to their own unique collections. Big international toy manufacturing company Hasbro has already unleashed the 3.75" figures and other related kids merchandise on the retail market, and other toy manufacturers like Hot Toys are following suit with very detailed and pricey figures for serious collectors to consider. Anyone looking into the middle ground are in luck, as Marvel and Diamond Select Toys have released their own wave of Iron Man 2 figures for the cool and pristine Marvel Select line. The first of these just came out last Wednesday in specialty shops, and it was none other than Tony Stark's best friend James "Rhodey" Rhodes, all dressed up and armed for battle in his War Machine armor! I didn't hesitate to grab it when I saw this baby, and it's arguably one of the best figs I've gotten since the MS Thor a few months back. Why? Well, read on and find out as I review this sucker full of heavy firepower!

Marvel Select Iron Man 2 War Machine

Released: April 21, 2010

Synopsis taken from back of packaging:

"Created for James Rhodes by reverse-engineering Tony Stark's Iron Man, the War Machine armor differs from its predecessor not only in terms of color but also possesses more destructive weapons and raw firepower. Forced to choose between following orders and helping his friend, Rhodes must decide once and for all where his loyalties lie."

Yes, this is THE War Machine armor you're going to see in Iron Man 2, and by the summary and trailers alone, I know this is going to be a beefed up version of the Mark II, which Rhodey "acquires" from Tony and gives to his best friend's business rival Justin Hammer to redesign and use for military applications. We'll be seeing those two duke it out with one another, but they'll eventually team-up and fight on the same page, as we've already seen on the trailers.

First things first, I've gotta say that of all the War Machine figures I've seen through the years, this one impressed me a great deal! This figure exceeded my expectations by leaps and bounds, and I'm hardly excited for the new Marvel Select figures nowadays! Also, the movie hasn't even come out yet, and I'm already relishing on Iron Man 2 goodies that capture the characters' likenesses almost perfectly!

Looking at the figure's paint job and sculpt, and I can't find any major faults on this area. Yep, War Machine here looks pretty much like he does in the movie, and I gotta give credit to the sculptors for doing a nice job in carving the figure out almost perfectly. The figure's got a nice frame. The detailing is excellent, with every piece of his armor shouting heavy duty firepower all over, right down to the side arm guns mounted on his wrists. Keeping the color scheme intact is also big plus, with coats of black, grey, and silver lighting up his armor right down to a tee. However, anyone with a keen eye may notice some paint quality issues, and that the Edwards Air Force decals are missing. Given that it's a Marvel Select release, the former is unavoidable of course, but it would have been a big plus if the decals were added on at least.

For clarity's sake, you can see the differences for yourself by checking out the pic of the War Machine figure above and comparing it with the one sheet poster from the movie here. Take a look.
Got a nice good look at it? Spot the differences? Alright, let's proceed with the rest of the review.

Aside from the faceplate and mini-gun, War Machine also comes with a display base that reads "Hammer Advances" on the door, so it's pretty obvious that it was Justin Hammer who reverse-engineered Stark's armor and refitted it for Rhodey to use. They come tucked in behind the figure in it's clam shell packaging as two separate pieces you have to connect together to make into the stand. Accessories are always a plus for a Marvel Select release. They help structure and create potentially dynamic poses that toy lovers and collectors can enjoy, especially for photo shoots and displays. In War Machine's case, he's only got two removable accessories packed with him, namely the armor's faceplate and shoulder mounted mini-gun, and the aforementioned "Hammer Advances" stand you can use to display the figure.

Pictured above is Rhodey wearing the faceplate to complete his transformation into War Machine. As you can see, it's a tiny and delicate little item, with two tiny pegs on the rear side that fasten neatly into corresponding holes located in two different spots in the figure's head, namely in the forehead and on the scalp. These areas simulate the effect of Rhodey tilting his "mask" on and off, giving collectors quite the display choices on their hands.

As you can see, this is how War Machine looks with the faceplate tilted up, revealing the face of Don Cheadle, who portrays Rhodey in the sequel. The sculptors did a great job rendering actor's likeness into the figure, and it's faithful enough to make him give a big thumbs up for quality assurance alone.

With the faceplate on, War Machine looks like a total Bad Ass. He breaks down a cold mean stare that will have crooks thinking twice before attacking him, and for somebody who's literally packing some serious firepower inside of him, he has to look the intimidating part to elicit that cowardly response from villains. Also, the armor's helmet emits a crimson red color from the lens, much like what we've seen in the trailers and promotional photos. However, the arc reactor chest plate IS colored blue instead of red, and that may be a point down for some when it comes to consistency. It's not too much of a thing to worry about though, and if you really need to fix these issues, a little customization can always remedy the situation.

As far as posing goes, the War Machine figure has a few joints you can play around with to create different positions of your liking. Bear in mind though, it's REALLY limited, so don't expect any of that "Marvel Legends" flair and hyper-extending to be found on this guy. Just like I mentioned in the Thor review, Marvel Select figures are primarily designed for display purposes only, so you can throw the big grand acrobatic act out of the window. However, that doesn't mean that this puppy doesn't pack some points of articulation, and War Machine can do some rudimentary movements to adjust his posture ever so slightly. There are ball joints located on the neck, wrists, and feet. Pegs located on the limbs allow Rhodey to move and twist his shoulders, arms, and legs around, provided he doesn't move around like Spider-Man. Hardening of some areas may occur due to the production paint drying up, but you easily fix that with some cooling/ heating methods, or carefully popping the appendage back into place. Unfortunately, this guy doesn't have any articulation on the waist (UPDATE: I was wrong. I double checked, and there is Upper Torso movement, so this baby can move sideways!).The side arm guns can't be tinkered around with either, leaving the shoulder mounted mini-gun as the only tangible weapon you can pose around with. It's a bummer, I know, but I can't complain that much since this is primarily a display figure, and there's a lot of excellent detailing placed into this baby already, like the repulsors on the hands and the boot jets on the soles of the feet.

There may be a few discrepancies around and the lack of articulation may be a disappoinment to some, but the Marvel Select IM2 War Machine figure is a pretty solid choice if you're just looking for a livelier version of the character without having to worry about displaying it in a variety of ways. If you're looking for something in line with the Marvel Legends brand, skip this and just look out for the 3.75" or 6"figures that have more poseability options for collectors to decide on (not the 3.75" comic book version or 8" diecast figure with limited poseability posted above). In fact, the 6" Hasbro figure has the most articulation and interchangeable accessories, and the Edwards Airforce decals are present on that one. Unlike the Select figure though, it doesn't have a removable faceplate and the Hammer stand, so there's the trade-off there. Bottomline, if you don't want to worry too much about detail, accessories, and just want a simple, decent representation of James Rhodes suited up, this is the figure for you. Grab it alongside the Mark IV/ Mark VI Marvel Select Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr's likeness, and you're good to go!

As a final word for comparison's sake, here's a pic of War Machine, standing side by side with the old Marvel Select "Extremis-Like" Iron Man. They stand on the same scale and look decent together side-by-side, but I'd much rather prefer pairing it with the Mark IV or Mark VI Marvel Select figure once I get my hands on it. Stay tuned for that, and until then, I hope this review helped out! Can't wait to watch Iron Man 2 this week!

Rating - 4/5

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Iron Man 2 Update: New Spoiler Clips and Fujikawa's STARKHUD!

Iron Man 2 is less than a week away... and if you fear for SPOILERS, you DO NOT WANT TO SEE WHAT'S BELOW HERE! Yahoo! Movies and Superherohype have posted three (yes, THREE) new clips from the much anticipated superhero sequel, and one of them in minute's worth of seeing Tony Stark don the "Mark V" suitcase armor to do battle with Whiplash at the race track! True, we've seen bits and pieces of it on the trailers and TV Spots, but this is the uninterrupted clips fans who can't keep their excitement contained may want to see! Click the video player and see awesomeness!

Remember, SPOILERS! View at your own risk!

Iron Man 2 Clip: Suitcase Armor vs Whiplash!

For the other clips, check out this link here from Superherohype!

After seeing what the other subsidiary companies can offer, Stark Fujikawa steps up and shows off their part in making mankind connected with one another through the use of their latest creation - the STARKHUD 2020 eyeglasses! Among all the products that promote what the Stark Expo 2010 event has to offer, this has got to be the handiest one yet, and this Japan TV Commercial featuring cute host Miki demonstrating the device around her native Shibuya is awesome! Check out 20-20 vision in a new way by clicking the player below!

For more information, visit the official Stark Fujikawa website!

Iron Man 2 launches on April 30! Get ready!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Iron Man 2 Update: Two New Posters and New Promo Clip!

One week to go before Iron Man 2! That's exciting news already if I do say so myself! However, Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures aren't letting the updates die down anytime soon, as they've released new promotional material to keep the hungry fans like myself drooling even more!

Now THIS was the poster I was expecting and waiting for since I saw the second trailer! Movie fansites Superherohype and Marvelousnews just got the exclusive new look at the latest Iron Man 2 poster, featuring the Mark V "Suitcase" Suit in all its wacky techno glory! Arguably this is the fan favorite suit coming into the movie, and I don't blame anyone who likes it! It's sleek, sexy, and unique, and pays tribute to the comics by honoring Tony's suitcase armor and the Silver Centurion armor with its color scheme. You can notice a bit of battle damage on the IMAX promoting poster, but still... Awesome is the word.

Next up, we have another new IM2 villain poster from Marvelousnews, with none other than Ivan "Whiplash" Vanko in it! Here we see the Russian genius standing silently and contemplatively, armed with his energy whips and primed to get revenge on Tony Stark! I gotta say, Mickey Rourke has truly come back to the spotlight playing this character, and he looks as menacing as ever!

Finally, a new clip from the movie has surfaced on MSN, featuring Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, Justin Hammer, and the Vanity Fair reporter Christine Everhart in it! You can check it out via the link here! Watch out for spoilers!

Iron Man 2 comes soaring into theaters in April 30! Be ready to suit up!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Secret Avengers Update: Nova and Steve Rogers Revealed!

With this week's Marvel Comics' releases and the latest issue of Marvel Previews, the final two members of Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato's "Secret Avengers" have been officially revealed, and it's none other than spacebound superhero Nova and the former Captain America himself, Steve Rogers! Bringing the team together as a 6 man (and woman) fighting unit, this is arguably the strangest, yet most powerful gathering of Avengers since the formation of the West Coast Avengers years ago, and it's actually an interesting setup if you look at it.

Nova, aka Richard Ryder, has been a member of the intergalactic police force known as the Nova Corps and the New Warriors, and has kept the peace back and forth between the cosmos and his home planet. Recent events due to the Annihilation Wave and Civil War have changed Ryder drastically and forced him to leave the planet, but his time to return to the forefront is now, as a member of the shadow elite known as the "Secret Avengers".

Now out of his Cap duds and shield-less, Steve Rogers has to lead a team of Avengers that will probably form the "Black Ops" unit of the Avengers family, and as a born leader and World War II Vet, nobody resonates as much charisma and inspiration to his fellow heroes as Ol' Steve himself. With Bucky still holding the mantle and on the main Avengers roster, what else can Rogers do better with his time other than lead a secret team of his own? Oh yeah, even with the "new uniform", Steve will be back to his red, white, and blue tights eventually.

As you can see in the cover to Secret Avengers #3 above, Nova and Steve Rogers join Moon Knight, Beast, Valkyrie, and War Machine (not pictured) to make up the powerhouse roster. However, why are Black Widow and Ant Man in there as well? Will they be occasional team hopping members like Spider-Man and Wolverine, or are they just making a cameo appearance in that particular issue? Time will tell for sure, but right now we welcome the Heroic Age, and these are your Secret Avengers people!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prepare for Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate Of Two Worlds!

In case you haven't heard about it yet, I will say it again. MARVEL VS CAPCOM 3 IS CONFIRMED, and it's coming to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 sometime on 2011! The trailer broke out earlier, much to the glee and anticipation of the millions... AND MILLIONS of MvC fans who have waited for a decade to get a taste of another that features Hyper Combos and Aerial Raves! As a longtime fan of fighting games and all things Capcom in general, this is the announcement to make everyone go insane, and I'm getting ready for the next, intense battle of heroes and villains striving for dominance and supremacy!

Breaking out the news officially today following a week of silence in respect to Captivate 2010's embargo, Kotaku mentions in grand detail what players can expect from this grand sequel, once again combining the forces of Marvel with the superb fighters from Capcom's gaming roster. Officially called "Marvel Vs Capcom 3: Fate Of Two Worlds", the only details that have surfaced so far is that the game will boast over 30 characters from both sides of the fighting coin, with 6 characters already revealed in the launch trailer - namely Wolverine, Hulk, and Iron Man (in his Extremis type armor) from Marvel, and Ryu, Morrigan, and Chris Redfield representing Capcom. In total counting the unrevealed shades in the trailer, that's 16 characters "confirmed" to appear in MvC 3, and people have begun speculating as to who these fighters are, Kotaku included. So far they've listed people like Captain America, Super-Skrull, and even Devil May Cry's protagonist Dante as candidates to appear in this versus game, so anything is pretty much up in the air. As for how the game will play, It'll still be classic 3 on 3 tag team fighting, but with 3D sprites sparring on a 2D plane. The graphics will be totally new, utilizing an advanced version of the MT Framework game engine used in Resident Evil 5 and Lost Planet 2. At first, I thought Capcom would be using a retooled Tatsunoko vs Capcom or Street Fighter IV engine as their basis for the game's creation, but looks like that won't be the case.

By golly, this is truly exciting news for the average fighting game fan, and like everyone else, I'm pumped up to see actual gameplay soon. You can check more about the big MvC 3 announcement via Kotaku here! For the mean time, enjoy the announcement trailer below, and dream for more Marvel Vs Capcom madness soon!

Mavel Vs Capcom 3 Captivate '10 Trailer

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I was waiting for official word, and hot dang... IT'S OFFICIAL! From Captivate '10, Capcom delivers the kicker to make everything awesome - MARVEL VS CAPCOM 3 IS COMING!

I can phrase it in a lot of ways, but this is the most geekgastic gamer news that I've been waiting to be confirmation from this week! Finally, Marvel and Capcom join forces once more, to bring back the fighting game series that will take the world by storm! See for yourself the first trailer that pretty much sums up how epic this moment is... as well as an appearances from old faces and new that will make up the roster of this upcoming fighter! Check it!

Marvel Vs Capcom 3 Trailer!

WOAH! They're going for the 3D Artsyle now ala Tatsunoko Vs Capcom! Marvel has Iron Man, Hulk, and Wolverine joining the roster again, and joining the Capcom side is Ryu, Morrigan, and... CHRIS REDFIELD! Yes! The Resident Evil hero in his RE5 costume is joining the fight this time! May all hell break loose!

Words cannot describe this triumphant feeling that me and fellow gamers are feeling right now. As we bask in the glory of this mighty trailer, may we hope to see more details arise as the months pass, and inevitably take hold of a controller/ arcade stick and duke it out with the rest of the world! THIS IS MARVEL VS CAPCOM 3 PEOPLE! IT'S HERE!

Iron Man 2 Update: TV Spot #9 and PG-13 Rating.

Marvel Studios and Paramount have released yet another TV Spot to promote the inevitable launch of Iron Man 2 in theaters next week! The clip has stuff we've already seen in previous trailers, but there are new bits in there as well, including more scenes of the fight between Whiplash and the Mark V suit! Check it!

Iron Man 2 TV Spot #9

Also via Marvelousnews, the movie has finally been rated, and it's going to be PG-13 on theaters everywhere! That means kids can watch, provided they have parental units accompanying them of course! Look forward to the Superhero Sequel of 2010 this April 30!

Preparing To Be Captivated By Capcom!

Last week, Capcom held it's annual Captivate 2010 event on Hawaii, and tons and several news bits, previews, and announcements were on site for the attending game journalists and writers fortunate to be there. Gaming news site Kotaku happened to be one of the attendees, and tomorrow, the embargo is about to lifted, and players will be treated to the juicy details previously withheld by tomorrow, along with some news from Bungie news for the Halo fans as well. Check up on Kotaku for more updates as they come.

Among all the announcements I expect to hear, I sincerely hope that THIS is one of them.

One of the widely circulated rumors abound is the long awaited announcement of a VS game sequel everyone has been dying to see come to pass - MARVEL VS CAPCOM 3. Several fighting game sites have related posts that supply some info to the speculation, but it wasn't until PlanetXbox360 posted this report that everything is all but confirmed that the game will be made. As a fighter, I have witnessed the evolution of the franchise since day one with X-men Vs Street Fighter, all the way to the grand battle royale title that is Marvel Vs Capcom 2, which is arguably the best Versus series game to this day. To see Capcom and Marvel team up again and bring us another one of their classic crossover installments is a fanboy's wet dream come true, and I can't wait to get a glimpse of images, or heck a trailer perhaps, of the game once an official announcements been made. Think of all the new possibilities - new gameplay tweaks, graphics, and most importantly, new characters joining the fray! Imagine Street Fighter IV Characters or Devil May Cry's Dante duking it with the New Avengers or Astonishing X-men! We'll just have to wait until official word comes in, but here's hoping to a new NEW age of heroes, and make mine Capcom!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Iron Man 2 Update: CORDCO and the new TV Spot!

With updates flying high and a week to go before the movie's premiere internationally, Iron Man 2 is in full repulsor mode to blow us away with any form of teases in plain sight. In anticipation for the upcoming Stark Expo 2010 event, CORDCO, another Stark subsidiary company, has launched their own website and video to promote the "Sonic Fire Extinguisher" - another product that utilizes the technology of the Mark IV suit, and is utilized to combat forest fires from spreading. Check out the video below for more info on this tech wonder device, and visit the official CORDCO website here!

Not one to give up on the teasers and trailers, Marvel Studios and Paramount have released another new TV Spot that's just a nod to the amazing suits and new characters we're going to see kick ass in the new movie! If you haven't seen Tony Stark's new armor set or his buddy James "Rhodey" rhodes War Machine suit, this one's got it all compressed in 34 seconds, along with an appearance by the lovely Black Widow, and a heroic moment at the end of the clip that only Iron Man can make awesome! Talk about product placement, so check it!

Iron Man 2 TV Spot #8!

Iron Man 2 shoots out repulsor rays of gold and red on theaters this April 30!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hit-Girl Is Love!

She's still pretty young and in her pre-teen years, but hot dang, that kid totally made the whole world swoon over her!

Yahoo! Movies reports that Actress Chloe Grace Moretz has become the buzz of the interwebz, more than Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, and it's all thanks to her absolutely stunning performance as the character "Hit-Girl" in the comic book film "Kick-Ass"! Chloe's role as Big Daddy's sugar plum killing machine has everyone who saw the movie rattling with excitement and glee. Honestly, if there was ever a kid around with those killer skills, I'd be scared. Heck, her language alone will send shivers to the spine of any punk who dares to mess with her. Of course, Ms. Moretz isn't anything like that in real life, but she definitely kicked ass and stole the spotlight from that movie! Having trained with Jacky Chan's Stunt Team, Chloe did most of her stunts, and she even brought home one of the spare Hit-Girl costumes as a keepsake. Unfortunately, she's had a growth spurt that makes the outfit too small for her to fit in, so there'll be no comeback for the lil' vigiante in time for Halloween. Still, her act is already immortalized in our hearts, and for all the Matrix and Rainbow Six shots she has taken in her action scenes in the movie, we all have fallen in love with Hit-Girl, whether we admit it or not!

One of the scenes that got me to admire the young actress even more was her use of the Balisong (which she pronounces "bah-LEE-Song"), a Filipino switchblade/ folding knife that she handles with excellent proficiency. This clip here may be a spoiler to those who haven't seen the movie, so vie at your own risk. Being from the RP, I find this quite fascinating to watch, especially when it's used by a young girl who really KICKS ASS.

Kick-Ass "Birthday Present" Clip

Kick-Ass is in theaters now. Go and see it!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Movie Review: Kick-Ass

Fresh from watching the movie last night with my friends and buddies, all I can say about Kick-Ass is pure and simple - IT KICKED ASS!!!

Into the start of Saturday and still geeking over a fantastic movie experience, I can honestly say that the film adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's work is AWESOME. So awesome that even if I said a number of things to clarify the differences between it and its comic book counterpart, it wouldn't matter. This film uses the same premise I know and twists it around into a unique version that absolutely caught me off-guard and impressed the hell out of me. Nothing says fangasm more than seeing a comic book movie outdo its printed counterpart, and that's saying a lot already. Don't get me wrong here, I still like the original Kick-Ass story presented in the books, but this one totally blew me away, and I'll get right to explaining why as soon as I kick off this ass kicking review. Pardon the puns, but it's soooo true.

Movie review: Kick-Ass
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Nicholas Cage, Mark Strong, Chloe Grace Moretz

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Following mostly the same plot as in the comics, Kick-Ass tells the story of Dave Lizewski, your average teenager and student who has a dull life and decides to become a real life superhero. His first attempt to fight crime nearly gets him killed, but he soon recovers and is still determined to pursue his passion. Eventually, he succeeds in saving a guy and becoming an instant sensation via You Tube, as well as taking up an identity - the alias of "Kick-Ass"! However, Dave isn't the only hero around town, as the mysterious team of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl take on the mob and leave a body count trail behind them. With his actions causing more trouble in his life than he bargained for, Kick-Ass will learn firsthand what it means to be a hero, even if could get him killed.

Directed by the guy who produced Snatch and directed Stardust, Matthew Vaughn brings an excellent re-imagination of Kick-Ass to the big screen. It's the flick to start off an awesome month laced with comic book movies, and even if it's not a big time superhero name you would have normally heard off, this film pays tribute to the heroes that inspired the making of this story, with several references and montages placed all around the story. The right combination of story-telling, action, and comedy is what makes Kick-Ass work, and the cast in the movie bring the two-dimensional comic book characters to life gloriously.

Aaron Johnson takes the lead and is the guy who plays Dave Lizewski/ Kick-Ass. Although the character was a blond kid in the comics, this version is just about the same, living with his dad and suffering a pathetic, Peter Parker-esque life in High School each and everyday. Dave's quite a likable fellow, albeit insecure and almost unsure of his actions most of the time. It's only when he takes up the mantle of Kick-Ass that he gains a sense of renewed confidence and self-esteem. But that itself is thoroughly tested as he realizes how big a hero's life is. Johnson's performance was excellent, and he kind of reminds me of a younger Tobey Maguire with the role he's taken up here. His previous film, Nowhere Boy, had him in the lead role of a younger John Lennon, and that's still pending a US and International release date later this year.

As a veteran actor and legend in his own right, Nicholas Cage knows what it takes to play heroes in the big screen. Being a big comic book fan himself, he's played Marvel's demon riding hero, Ghost Rider, and now gets another heroic role in Damon Macready/ Big Daddy. This version of the character is vastly different from its comic book counterpart, but that's on the good side, and a better improvement thanks to adjustments made to the story's narrative. Big Daddy is a former cop who was framed by the mob and sent to jail, losing his wife to drugs but gaining a daughter just before she died. After leaving prison, he decides to get payback, raising and training his daughter to exterminate crime and donning costumed identities to hide their faces. Damon Macready was just a man... but Big Daddy is ready to kick the mob's ass. Instead of an accountant who sold his comic book collection to fund an ideal future for his daughter, Cage plays a Big Daddy who actually wants revenge, and dresses in a costume that has a noticeable similarity to Batman. The actor also pays homage to the legendary DC character by incorporating a "utility belt" and speaking in a manner that would make William Shatner and Adam West proud. Good performance I've got to say, but wait til you get a load of BD's daughter.

Young actress Chloe Grace Moretz plays Mindy Macready/ Hit-Girl, Big Daddy's "Baby Girl" who completely steals the movie's spotlight with her moves and kick-assery! Much like her comic book counterpart, Hit-Girl is the character that makes Kick-Ass work, and as adorable looking as the 11 year old lady looks, you DO NOT want to mess with her. Her knowledge of using guns and the balisong thanks to her daddy's training comes a long way, and unlike the comics, she gets a lot of great action scenes that pay tribute to a number of games and movies people will probably recognize outright. I love Hit-Girl, and she made this movie totally awesome to watch.

Another familiar Hollywood face who last appeared alongside Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes is actor Mark Strong, who breaths new life into the role of Frank D'Amico, a mob boss who was not such an intimidating villain in the Kick-Ass comics, but becomes a serious threat with some serious martial arts skills to show for it in the movie adaptation. D'Amico mixes his calm and organized nature with some aggression and frustration, and that adds a new layer to the character that was just another punk waiting to get his ass kicked by the right person. He's not all ruthless, however, as he shows a father side to his "strictly business" attitude with his son Chris D'Amico, played by Christopher Charles Mintz-Plasse.

A comic book reader himself, Chris actually respects Kick-Ass in this film unlike his comic book counterpart, but also takes on the role of Red Mist to draw out the hero and impress his father in relation to the mob killings. He's not so much the Harry Osborn type of guy, but that soon becomes apparent by the end of this film that Kick-Ass has gained a new enemy instead of an ally in the superhero business.

Kick-Ass Red Band Trailer

Co-produced by Brad Pitt and co-written by the actual comic book's creators, Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. themselves, the movie adaptation of Kick-Ass does more than good, it really KICKS ASS. Tons of actions, lots of nods to other films and videogames, and great acting and comedy only serve the film well. Even if it deviates from the comics and improvises on certain scenes, it's fresh enough to feel great about this movie, especially on the changes made to Dave and the characters around him. True, it won't replace that feeling of awesomeness I got the first time I read the comics, but Kick-Ass The Movie is another great experience for the comic book/ action movie lover. This is certainly looking like a sleeper hit to many who don't know about the premise of this film, but if you be curious enough to give it a try, rest assured, it WILL KICK YOUR ASS.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Kick-Ass Retrospective!

Kick-Ass: The Movie premieres today on cinemas everywhere. Most of you have probably seen the trailers already and gotten a gist of what it's all about... but did any of you read the comics on which the movie is based upon? If you haven't, you're missing out on what is probably one of the most awesome, gruesome, best written superhero stories ever written in the history of comics, and one that touches on life as we know it rather than the surreal adventures of an alien refugee from another planet or a boy endowed with radioactive spider powers! Warnings should be given of course, and this IS NOT FOR YOUNG KIDS, and STRICTLY FOR MATURE READERS ONLY. If you wanted to know what it meant to be a superhero in this day and age, look no further. Kick-Ass is here.

Written by Mark Millar and drawn by John Romita Jr., Kick-Ass tells the story of Dave Lizewski - your average high school teenager living with a single father and has a big love for comic books and porn. He's neither athletic nor the smartest boy in class, and everytime he makes a move on his crush, Katie Deauxma, he's rebuffed with insults that would make any man feel puny. Yep, life seems pretty dull for Dave... but all of that changes one day when he has an epiphany. "Why does everyone work to get a job they don't want and a future that isn't the least bit exciting"? "Why hasn't anyone tried to be a superhero"? With those thoughts feeding his energy and imagination, Dave sets out to carve a heroic legacy for himself by purchasing a spandex suit online and hitting the streets in search of trouble wherever it may be. After a few hits and big mistakes, Dave strikes gold when he manages to save a guy from a serious beat down from some goons, and with bystanders seeing and recording the whole thing, he soon becomes a You Tube sensation, and finds a moniker to call himself by - "Kick-Ass". Following the sudden surge of popularity, Kick-Ass' influence goes from media hype to trend setter, as other wackos start coming out of the woodwork and begin dressing up as superheroes, such as the crimson vigilante Red Mist and the mob killing duo of Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Yes, it does feel great to be a hero... but there are consequences that follow because of it. What Dave Lizewski doesn't realize is that his actions have triggered the ire of the mob, and they will see to it that Kick-Ass and his cohorts get a less heroic ending than they thought.

When it started out back in 2008, I didn't really know what to make of Kick-Ass. The idea seemed too crazy to imagine - a kid wanting to make a difference decides to become, of all things, a superhero. As an avid comic book reader, I could relate to the idea, but I don't know if I'd actually survive the world's scrutiny and abuse if I dared to step out in a pair of tights and fight crime.

That, my friends, is where the brilliance of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. comes in.

If you ever longed to read a tale where a regular ol' joe like you and me wanted to become a superhero, this is the book for you. It comes along so natural and down to earth that you can relate to Dave's situation every step of the way. Every punch, kick, insult, injury, frustration, and emotion the kid takes is a hit to our character, and we feel the up and down moments as if we were actually experiencing them firsthand. Millar, the guy who delivered classic Marvel books like The Ultimates and Civil War, taps into life's daily going ons as inspiration to create a tale that doesn't have anything special... except people kicking ass as heroes and learning things the hard way. He's not one to censor things either, and being a book away from the norm means that the kid gloves are off and the shit is about to hit the fan. You will see about every curse word there is to know, and the most violent, gore-fested death scenes you can actually see in a comic, and all that artwork comes from the talented hand of John Romita Jr. It's not the artist's first team up with Millar either, as both worked on an epic Wolverine run with Wolverine: Enemy Of The State a few years back. To say that this is a dream team come true is an understatement.

If you haven't read Kick-Ass, you're sorely missing out on a true classic. As an 8 issue miniseries that only concluded recently, the Hardcover is finally out and ripe for the picking at a bookstore near you. Of course, with the movie out in theaters now, it's going to be a little hard to come by, but when you actually see one, don't hesitate to grab a copy. Comic book stories do make for good movie material, but it's always a constant fact that not everything makes a complete or faithful translation to film. There are very noticeable differences between both mediums, but I would definitely recommend to check out both when you have the time. Rest assured, it will definitely Kick-Ass.XD

For kicks, here's the trailer for the movie one more time... in case you missed it.

Kick-Ass International Trailer

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Secret Avengers Update: Valkyrie and Moon Knight Revealed!

Marvel. com has just released two more images that shed more light into the identities of the "Secret Avengers"! The first update saw the X-men's furry feline scientist, The Beast, and Iron Man's partner in armor War Machine join the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes once more, but now we have a newcomer and another veteran showing they've got the stuff to be members of this special ops Avengers team! Say hello to Valkryie and Moon Knight!

"I am in control of my life"

With Thor as a member of the main Avengers roster, I guess it would make perfect sense to add another Asgardian powerhouse to the ranks. Being a member of the Defenders and fighting alongside other Avengers through the years, Valkyrie stands out as one tough female warrior you don't want to mess around with, and with her firm resolve to control her own destiny guiding her, we may be seeing an interesting addition to this so called "Secret Avengers".

"I strive for redemption"

This was a no-brainer guess when I saw the dark silhouette image for the first time, and now it's confirmed that Moon Knight has officially rejoined the ranks of the Avengers as a "Secret Avenger". A former West Coast Avenger and Defender himself, the mysterious man known as Marc Spector has gone over a number of personality changes through the years, thanks to the God Khonsho and the schizophrenia constantly plaguing his mind and sanity. Garbed in white and willing to use excessive force such as martial arts and deadly weapons, Moon Knight is one tough bad ass, and I'm sure glad he's on the heroes side.

The "warrior princess" and "Marvel's Batman" have joined the ranks of the secret elite, and there's still a few members to be revealed before the first issue gets released next month in time for the Heroic Age! Penned by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Mike Deodato, Secret Avengers is shaping up to be a solid book! Look for more info on these guys at!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ultimate Spider-Man Gets Animated On 2011! and Brian Michael Bendis have just landed some serious Spider-Man related news for the following year, as the landmark Ultimate Spider-Man series gets the animated treatment! Set to debut on the Disney XD channel on Fall 2011, this series will depict a modernized, teenaged Peter Parker as he tries to come to terms with his newfound powers after being bitten by a genetically altered spider. Learning the hard lesson that "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility", the young superhero soon finds himself encountering fellow heroes and monstrous villains, using his abilities to protect his loved ones, rescue the innocent, and make it to school at the nick of time!

As a comic book reader, let's hope this new show follows the setup Bendis has already made for the Ultimate version of ol' Webhead. That series has set the basis for a lot of innovations and themes utilized in the Sam Raimi Spidey movies and the"Spectacular Spider-Man" TV series. However, now that this announcement's been made, will this replace the latter show? I certainly hope not, but if that's going the case, I'm really gonna miss it. Like it or not, Spidey reboots are swinging all over these days.

For more info on "Ultimate Spider-Man", check out!

Avengers Movie Update: Joss Whedon As Director?!

The buzz has been circulating for weeks now, but it appears that Buffy, Firefly, and Serenity creator Joss Whedon is in final talks to direct Marvel's upcoming live action film adaptation of the Avengers! As reported by comic sites like MarvelousNews and Newsarama, the writer/director has been in serious talks with the House Of Ideas since last week, and his presence as director of the film could prove to be a fanboy's wet dream come true.

Whedon is also no stranger when it comes to Marvel heroes, having penned the first 24 issues and Giant Sized issue of the highly successful Astonishing X-men series! Hopefully, things will finally be confirmed in the next few days, and we'll finally see a director for Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Stay tuned for more updates when they come!