Greetings from the Odinson,
Lots of topics are running through the Odinson’s mind this week, so many that it’s hard to nail one down and make it the sole subject of this week’s column. So I’ve decided to talk about all of them with a round of Quick Thoughts.
*** This last week, thanks to Diamond, I was made aware of a short film entitled Dirty Laundry. It’s a little over ten minutes long and it stars Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea, Mutant Chronicles) and Ron Pearlman (Hellboy, Blade 2). The short is really well done and the makers of it do a great job of fitting a lot into a very short window. And though it’s not blatant and in your face about it, the best thing about this short film is that the main protagonist is none other than Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher. That’s right, Thomas Jane reprises his role from the 2004 movie The Punisher. Now, the Odinson has never been a huge fan of the Punisher’s style of justice. That being said, this is easily my favorite Punisher movie to date, though War Zone starring Ray Stevenson was pretty good (for a Punisher film).
What really got me jazzed about this short film, other than the quality of it, is that it got me thinking that maybe they are onto something here. This is how Marvel should introduce characters like the Iron Fist, Black Panther, Silver Surfer, Shang Chi, and many, many others in solo adventures to the movie-going audiences, as short films that play before their full length features. Back in the day, movies used to always have animated shorts and/or short films that preceded the main picture. A lot of Pixar films still do. Marvel should seize this opportunity and re-visit this gimmick. Sure Heroes for Hire has fans, but trying to talk a Hollywood investor into shilling out hundreds of millions of dollars to bank a movie about B and C-List characters is a Herculean feat to be sure. And even if you do, by the time Hollywood know-it-alls get done tweaking it, the product is so far removed from the original source material as to be made almost unrecognizable (i.e. Doctor Doom has electrical powers, Wha?!). I for one am a huge Rom fan, but I won’t hold my breath till the day I see a major motion picture based on my cyborg hero. However, Marvel Studios could finance these shorts themselves and introduce many of their lesser known characters to the world at large with little or no financial risk. And if the buzz is good enough, then the next time you see Power Man and Iron Fist it’ll be in a full length feature film. So go to YouTube and check out the short film Dirty Laundry. This could be the beginning of something really cool.
*** Speaking of YouTube, somebody sent me a video which showed all three actors to have played the Man of Steel on the Big Screen, Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, and Henry Cavill, standing side-by-side in uniform and by far and away Christopher Reeve looked the best. I know he’s the Superman I grew up with and I will always say that other Supermen, be they movie, TV, cartoon or comic book versions, will all be judged by how he defined the role, but just objectively looking at the costumes, Reeve’s, without a doubt, says SUPERMAN. That’s Superman in all his glory, unapologetic about the bright colors and the source material that inspired it. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, but there’s a reason this character has been around for 75 years; he works. There’s an old saying, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” The new costume for Man of Steel aside, can someone please explain to me why the New 52 Superman needs knee pads and armor plating?
*** I saw an interview with Joss Whedon from Comic Con and in it the man said that if someone (meaning a major movie studio) were to put up the money for him to do another Firefly movie that he would put it right to the top of his to do list. What a thrill this was to hear. All right, Browncoats unite! The Odinson definitely has his fingers crossed for this one to happen.
*** Recently I was going through my comic collection and culling it down a bit for the sake of room, selling some books on webuycomics.com, and came across some old gems I haven’t visited in a while. I came across Avengers #262. It’s an issue that features a classic super hero vs. super hero brawl, Sub-Mariner vs. Hercules to be exact, and I remembered how much I really liked this issue when it first came out back in 1985. At that time, I remembered I liked the character Sub-Mariner from when I read The Invaders and saw him pop up from time-to-time in the pages of Fantastic Four, but this is the issue when I became a fan of the character.
As the story goes, Namor is distraught and saddened because he has recently lost his kingdom (see Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner #1-4), lost his love interest (see Alpha Flight #15-16) and the world at large still hasn’t really forgiven his attempted invasion of the surface world (see Fantastic Four Annual #1). The Avengers, keeping tabs on this possible threat via satellite, notice his melancholy demeanor. This is where the tale takes off. The bombastic Hercules is taken aback by the pitiful sight of such a great man. The Son of Zeus only knows of Namor through legendary tales and has always heard of the great strength of the Savage Sub-Mariner. So Hercules, being Hercules, decides to cheer up Namor the only way he knows how, through the glorious rigors of battle!
What follows is a Mighty Marvel Classic, two of the pantheon’s mightiest heroes clashing in a jungle-shaking brawl for the ages. I remember at first knowing Hercules would win hands down, but found myself starting to respect the awesome might of and actually cheering for the Savage Sub-Mariner. To this day, I can’t be sure who would actually win between these two titans. But needless to say, by story’s end Captain America informs the good Prince about his important role in Marvel History (see Avengers #4) and Namor accepts Captain America’s invitation to join the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. And to this day the Avengers #262-285 run on the book has one of my all time favorite rosters – Captain America, Black Knight, Captain Marvel II (Photon), Wasp, Hercules, and the Sub-Mariner, with Dr. Druid, Thor and She-Hulk showing up as well. During this run we saw the Return of Jean Grey; learned the final fate of the Beyonder; saw the ultimate Avengers vs. Hulk throw down; witnessed a Kang the Conqueror tale for the ages and an epic undersea crossover with Alpha Flight; gasped as the Masters of Evil stormed Avengers Mansion in Under Siege; and thrilled as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes went to war with the Olympian Gods! I was a fan before this run, but this is when the Avengers became my all time favorite team book
NOTE: New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Perez is still a close second.
*** The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy hit theatres this last week and I wish I was here to talk about the film, but misfortune and tragedy have happened. First, on a prominent movie review website known as Rotten Tomatoes, after somebody wrote a negative review about the movie, he started receiving over-the-top hostile responses. I even read in one report, borderline death threats. The internet community is full of Trolls but this is taking it too far. Agree with him or not, the man is entitled to his opinion and someone taking their jeering to the level of threatening is inexcusable. And what makes this an even stranger tale is that the movie on this site is getting an 87% positive rating. So what are these people so bent out of shape about?
Then ICV2 reported on this little gem (see Limbaugh Sees Conspiracy in 'The Dark Knight Rises'). Well known radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has decided that because the main villain in the movie is Bane and that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney who founded a company named Bain Capital that voting in the fall will be affected by this. Really? I am by no means a political expert, but Mr. Limbaugh has clearly shown that he has very little faith in the American citizen to be able to differentiate between real life and entertainment. I haven’t heard the audio, but I sincerely hope the man was saying this tongue-firmly-in-cheek.
And finally, on to an even sadder subject, at a midnight showing of the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado, a demented madman entered a movie theatre and with a gun opened fired on the crowd, murdering several attendees and injuring even more. Why do we live in a world where things like this happen? My condolences go out to the family members and friends of the victims.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell