Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

The Amazing Spider-Man Just Went From “Meh” To “Bleh.”

Pictured: The kind of shit I'd probably do if I had a Spider-Man costume.

*SPOILER ALERT!* If you prefer not to have the appearance of The Lizard from The Amazing-Spider-Man spoiled for you, stop reading NOW! *SPOILER ALERT!*

As goofy as the photos above may be, sadly, they aren’t responsible for my rapidly darkening mood in regards to the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie.

It’s funny actually, despite being a reboot of a major Marvel franchise, amid all the buzz surrounding The Avengers, Man of Steel, and The Dark Knight Rises, the production of The Amazing Spider-Man has been somewhat of an enigma as of late.

Unlike fuckin’ Turn Off the Dark

*Shiver* Spider-Man villains putting on a fashion show… The stuff of nightmares I tells yah’.

Truth be told, aside from the infamous “Mirrors Edge trailer,” and a quick article I did a few months back regarding the new costume design, The Amazing Spider-Man has been almost entirely off my radar.

Sure, I grit my teeth a little over the prospect of rebooting a barely 10 year old film series, however outside of that, I really could care less.

I lied. Officially, I care less about Ghost Rider. Don't tell anyone I said that though.

That being said, the one thing that could’ve got me excited about this movie, has just been ruined by a leaked image of a goddamn Pez dispenser.

Allow me to explain.

In my youth, animals were one of my greatest passions, in particular lizards and other reptiles.

At one point the Komodo Dragon was my favorite animal, prompting me to do a number of school projects based around them.

I used to flip through my (vast) collection of Zoobooks just about every fucking day, in particular the reptile and special edition dinosaur issues.

Godzilla was, and still is, one of my biggest heroes.

And when it came to comic book characters, in particular Spider-Man villains, you can sure as hell bet The Lizard was my favorite.

BAAAAADDDD-ASSSSSSSSSSS.

In truth, he was kind of a lame character, particularly in regards to his power set, but even so, I’ve always liked him regardless.

That being said, seeing Dylan Baker cast as Dr. Curt Connors (The Lizard, dumbass) in Spider-Man 2 and 3 was cute in the sense that it paid homage to the greater Marvel universe, (something that has since become widespread) however I’m not gonna’ lie, it sucked some serious balls being teased with the prospect of a Lizard story arc over 2 movies only to end up with the lame-ass, cluttered finale of Spider-Man 3.

Imagine my surprise when it was announced that The Lizard was going to be a/the(?) villain in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Being a Lizard fan, my initial reaction was that of:

“Fuck yeah!”

Despite boasting some decent acting credentials, I still think it’s funny that Welshman Rhys Ifans AKA the Welsh guy from Little Nicky and the Welsh kicker from The Replacements, is going to be playing Curt Connors.

By the way, did I mention he was Welsh?

Seriously though, I really don’t have much of a frame of reference as to whether he’d make a good Lizard, but oddly enough, it’s not him that has me less than thrilled about The Amazing Spider-Man.

Which brings us back to the aforementioned Pez dispenser:

Pictured: An unfortunate shaved monkey dipped in green paint.

While it may not be an official rendering of the character’s design for the upcoming film, or even a reflection of what the character’s final appearance, given the possibility that his transformation in the film may in fact be done progressively instead of all at once; the fact of the matter is:

This looks like fuckin’ garbage.

Seriously man, aside from the green skin, the features of the character don’t even look reptilian to me.

Last time I checked, reptiles, lizards in particular, are noted for their rigid facial structure and beady eyes.

This fuckin’ lizard has his eyes on the front of his face, and doesn’t even have so much as a goddamn snout.

I know they were probably trying to humanize him for dramatic purposes, or more likely, made him more human shaped to make animating his lip movements somewhat easier, but even so; this ain’t the fuckin’ Lizard.

Jesus fuck man, even if you were to put all of my “science-y” gripes aside, at the end of the day this design looks just plain fuckin’ boring.

Probably the worst part though, is the fact that this thing bears an uncanny resemblance to the Goombas from the Super Mario movie:

Cosmic...

And we all know how well that little venture worked out, right?

To whoever designed this Austrian dispenser of confectionery FAIL, congratulations, you have succeeded in making a superhuman lizard-man look boring.

My guess is they recruited the guy that did the Time Ninja cover to do the concept art for The Lizard:

Just in case you forgot...

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The Avengers Trailer Looks Like They Need To Fix It In Post.

It’s funny, as the release date for The Avengers slowly draws nearer, I’m starting to realize more and more the fact that there’s very little chance of it being shitty.

I have a great deal of love for Marvel comics, so just getting a chance to see the characters of that universe being brought to life in 200 million dollar budgeted films is enough to make me happy.

It doesn’t matter so much if the acting is great, or the plot deeply layered, as long I get to see the spirit and energy of the characters brought to life, there’s very little chance I’ll walk away from an Avengers movie wanting my money back.

Then again, I would’ve said the same about Transformers, that is, until Michael Bay dumped ass all over my childhood and raped my wallet…

TWICE.

"I swear I will not kill anyone... But I WILL shit on all of your childhood heroes."

That being said, while it’s a bit difficult to determine exactly what the plot of the movie is based on the trailer, (as should be the case, given that it’s only the first theatrical trailer) in many ways I applaud the marketing folks over at Marvel/Disney for cramming in screen time for virtually all of the heavy hitters that have been confirmed to be appearing in the film.

Tom Hiddleston’s Loki appears to be the central villain of the film, though based on the uncertain events at the conclusion of Captain America, in my mind it’s entirely possible that Red Skull could have a hand in things as well.

My bet is, he does.

Given the Hulk’s unstable nature, as well as the plot of the first Avengers comic, I’m guessing he’s going to end up being manipulated by Loki at some point; resulting in a heel/face turn at some point in the film.

I don't think I'm alone in saying I'd like to see a bit of THIS somewhere in there though.

Speaking of the Hulk, his reveal at the end of the trailer was well utilized, as he’s the one confirmed Avenger we really haven’t seen up to this point.

Despite no shortage of explosions and FX shots though, I can’t help but feel that this first trailer was cut from footage of a yet unfinished product.

At least I hope that’s the case.

There are numerous shots that feel very “static,” lacking in energy and purpose to a degree that they feel almost amateurish.

Seriously man, count how many shots there are of single characters, standing in boring and vacant locations.

"DURRR!!! I'M THE BLACK WIDOW AND I JUST FARTED A BUS EXPLOSION! DURRR!!!"

Chances are you’ll run out of fingers and toes on that one.

At the same time, many of the FX shots, particularly some of the exploding cars, look to me as if they are meant to be templates for CGI compositing.

It’s rare to see explosions in Hollywood films these days where the detonation source and materials seem plainly visible, and as such; I wouldn’t be surprised if the aforementioned exploding car shots are awaiting some sort of energy beam effects to cover all that up.

It’s funny, as I write this nitpicky article, I can’t help but be reminded of the early trailers for Iron Man.

I remember seeing the early TV spots for Iron Man, and being largely unimpressed.

I don’t know if you recall, but the pacing of these commercials was very weak, and some of the effects shots were not quite finished, resulting in advertisements that didn’t at all reflect the awesomeness of the final product.

Compare this early TV spot:

To the later released full trailer here:

Not only is the composition better, the special effects, particularly in the “tank shot” sequence, are rendered with more detail and smoother animation.

When you’re dealing with effects heavy films like this, it’s entirely possible that the computer effects crew will end up working on the project up until the release date.

While I could be wrong, I’m really hoping this is the case with The Avengers, as while it looks totally acceptable at this point, it doesn’t look at all exceptional.

What else can I say about this?:

Captain America’s costume looks a little bit too stretchy and “pajama-y” for me to give it a thumbs up.

Am I wrong in thinking it looks kind of like the live-action Kick-Ass costume?

Hank Pym should get a nod or a cameo, as I’d love to see The Vision or Ultron show up in a movie someday.

Kudos to the marketing department for excluding any and all shots of the Avengers working together or “assembling,” as that’s one of those oh-so-important fanboy moments that’s probably best left for the theaters.

Here’s hoping Agent Coulson gets an action beat somewhere in there, ’cause he’s been consistently fun over the years.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that the always solid Jeremy Renner won’t suck as Hawkeye… ‘Cause let’s face it: he’s Hawkeye.

"Who? Me?"

For once I’m actually hoping Joss Whedon decides to “George Lucas” his movie with distracting lights and colors in every shot.

Seriously man, this is the fuckin’ Avengers movie.

It’s only gonna’ premiere once, and you’ve been hyping it for like 4-5 years now.

Go balls out, or don’t waste my motherfuckin’ time.

No Avengers film, or any film for that matter, should have boring-ass shots of The Black Widow standing ever so casually in front of pitiful exploding buses, or for that matter; Nick Fury firing rocket launchers while standing in front of my dad’s garage.

BOH-RRRRRIIIIING.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got to say on this one, hopefully it turns out fun for everyone, ’cause at this point if any one film this coming year could hope make good on that promise, it’d have to be The Avengers.

If it does in fact start to suck when I’m in the theater though, I know exactly the phrase that’s going to come to mind:

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Marvel’s Movies Are About To Get Weird…

So, at this point pretty much everyone’s excited about The Avengers movie, right?

Well, good, ’cause once that’s come and gone, (roughly by the year 2014) there’s a good chance we’re all gonna’ be in for a shit ton of weird, and potentially awful Marvel films for the forseeable future.

After the dust has settled on all of Marvel’s A-list adaptations, the Spider-Mans and the Avengers related stuff; it’s inevitable that Marvel is going to be forced to branch out, and whore out some of their more obscure characters to the movie industry.

Maybe that means we'll finally see a Sleepwalker movie! Sarcasm: It's For Dinner.

Then again, DC and Warner Bros. Animation have been so weary of producing anything outside of Batman and Superman related projects, that it’s starting to seem kind of pathetic.

Now, it’s hard to deny that superhero movies are, at their core; inherently strange and mildly inaccessible to non-comic fan audiences, but there’s just some characters that work better than others.

For instance, something along the lines of Iron Man is far more likely to succeed, both critically and financially; than something totally fucked up and off-the-wall like….. Oh, I don’t know, MAN-THING.

He's kind of like Swamp Thing. Only y'know, more man and less swamp.

Thus is the reason we will likely end up with an Iron Man trilogy, a Thor trilogy, a Captain America trilogy; and only 1 shitty Elektra film.

While announcements for movies like sequels to the abysmal Ghost Rider, as well as reboots, and sequels to said yet-to-be-released reboots of Spider-Man are somewhat alarming/confusing, the really weird shit comes in the form of the recently announced Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Dr. Strange has never really been my cup of tea when it comes to comic characters, and as such I don’t know much about him or his history; but I can you this:

Dr. Stephen Strange is deus ex machina on 2 fucking legs.

In the world of Marvel comics, “magic” is one of those ongoing plot contrivances that just never really got hammered out to the point of being what one would call “fair.”

Magic does shit in Marvel, and really that’s about the extent of the restraints that have been placed on it’s capability.

Dr. Strange’s magic is like Kenshiro’s Hokuto Shinken, only without the head explosions.

In other words, much in the way Ken can cure cancer and explode body parts using the power of martial arts, Dr. Strange can do ANY FUCKING THING HE NEEDS TO so long as the plot demands he do so.

Special thanks to whoever saved me the time of making this for myself.

This works in the comics, because let’s face it, Dr. Strange is a comic book hero, and his stories are naturally kind of cheesy/stupid, but mostly acceptable given the standards of the medium.

Movies deserving of the same combination of adjectives, even when based on comics, are often easily dismissed by critics and audiences alike.

Best of luck to the screenwriter who has the honor of inevitably toning down Dr. Strange’s power set in favor of injecting drama into the story, only to end up creating a boring film that ends up being hated by all 5 of the the Doc’s hardcore fans for that very reason.

Moving on, as awesome as The Guardians of the Galaxy comic has been over the past 5 years or so, the idea of even trying to do the series justice on film, particularly in regards to it’s earliest storylines; just seems ludicrous.

I double-fucking-dare you to name even one of these guys.

The cosmic universe of Marvel has always been great, but rarely, if ever; accessible to any degree.

Hell, I’ve been reading Marvel comics my whole life and even I have to rely on the index and character biographies in between issues of Annihilation and War of Kings to keep me up to speed.

In short, Guardians of the Galaxy, a story about a ragtag group of warriors from nearly extinct alien races teaming up to save the universe from the monster-of-the-week just doesn’t strike me as something everyone’s gonna’ bite for.

Knowing Hollywood and their fascination with impossibly bankable, wisecracking animal mascots, the whole movie was probably green-lit solely on the marketability of Rocket Raccoon.

Haha! It's funny 'cause he's cute and little but talks like a bad-ass! Sarcasm: It's For Dessert.

I mean yeah, the story has color going for it in the sense that it offers filmmakers the chance to throw lots of flashy effects and unique characters at the audience, but reeling it all in and trying to find a way to do so in a fashion that could be interesting, let alone comprehensible to typical audiences, seems like a near insurmountable task.

Then again, I suppose there’s a reason some screenwriters and filmmakers get paid the big bucks to prove dumb ass bloggers like me wrong from year to year.

Make no mistake, I’m happy to see any comic book movies, good or bad; make it to the theaters, I’m merely venting my skepticism now, so I can eat my own words and blog about how awesome these movies look whenever the first trailers come out.

That being said, I’d just like to say that if Marvel is willing to take the massive risk of making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, then why the fuck don’t they buckle down and make a Moon Knight one!?

I ask you: Who in their right mind WOULDN'T want to see THIS on the big screen!?

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Early Avengers Poster Makes Me Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside

Photo courtesy of Toplessrobot.com. Hope they don't mind...

It’s funny, even though this is nothing but a (official) photoshopped mock-up of what a real poster for The Avengers might look like; it actually looks kind of good to me.

These days I find myself actually consciously trying harder to be excited/positive about things; and it’s quality products like this one that make said task just a little bit easier to manage.

Probably the coolest part about the poster, at least to me; is that it serves as my first real look at what all the live-action versions of the Avengers look like next to one another.

While I have no idea whether the art design for all the Avengers tie-in films has been directed by the same crew/individual, I must say; the character designs gel together quite nicely.

With the exception of maybe Thor, the costumes all bear a weighty, leathery, almost utilitarian feel to them that gives them that always appealing combo of being “ornate, yet plausible.”

Much unlike anything seen in Final Fantasy, which tends to throw "plausible" out the window.

Hell even Hulk, with his more streamlined Incredible Hulk look; seems to fit in quite well.

Hawkeye’s digs seem perhaps a little too subdued for my tastes, however I can definitely understand why Marvel would want to turn down the guy’s purple quotient; as much like Jem, in the comics it is truly outrageous.

Truly, Truly, Truly Outrageous!

On a side note, Iron Man’s design appears to have been altered since Iron Man 2, as evidenced by the gray patches on his collar.

Though it may just be an artist’s flub, the shape of the glow on his chest emblem looks more round than triangular to me; leading me to assume that either:

A): Tony Stark decided to reshape his new element core into a circle for aesthetic purposes.

B):  Severely inebriated and desperate for a way show the world how fat his cock is, Tony Stark decided to outfit his newest armor with one of his old and HIGHLY TOXIC palladium cores.

C):  I’m wrong, and his chest emblem is in fact triangular.

or D):  The poster artist isn’t as OCD as the average comic fan and/or hasn’t seen Iron Man 2.

My vote would go to option A, though if you’re going by some of the comics, option B is equally plausible.

Option C is of course a statistical impossibility, and was only suggested in jest.

"I am so smart! S-M-R-T!"

Anyway, I know it’s cheesy, I know it’s childish; but for whatever reason, this poster pleases me.

It’s exceedingly well designed, the colors have been tweaked to vivid perfection, and seeing all of the characters posing together makes me believe the movie could work.

Now let’s just hope Captain America doesn’t drop the fuckin’ ball next month and kill my buzz…

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New Godzilla Comic!

Godzilla is one of my biggest heroes.

Anyone that has read even a single article on this blog is probably aware of that by now.

I’ve been watching Godzilla movies since the cradle, and despite the character’s less than stellar film catalog over the past decade; I’ve remained an ardent fan ever since.

One particular aspect of Godzilla mythology that was particularly special to me in my youth however, was the Dark Horse comic series of the early 90’s.

While there was in fact a Marvel Godzilla comic sometime before the one in the 90’s, even as a little kid I found the art, storylines and characters to be somewhat disagreeable.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't like Avengers in my Godzilla...

That’s saying a lot coming from a hardcore Godzilla fan.

Anyway, the 90’s Dark Horse comics were, in my humble opinion; actually quite good.

I still have every issue I collected from way back in the day, and I find that every time I crack one open for a little taste of nostalgia; I end up having a good time.

While the art and writing staff would change pretty much from issue to issue, I found that Brandon McKinney’s pencils stood as some of my favorite in the series; not to mention Arthur Adams’ always stellar cover work.

My first, and favorite issue, featuring the work of both the aforementioned artists.

The overarching plot of the series concerned the exploits of “G-Force,” a team of Godzilla-focused Japanese scientists who curiously seem to spend almost no time on Japanese soil.

Over the course of their adventures, they end up doing battle with Godzilla, attempt to protect Godzilla, fight several varieties of alien species, and even travel back and forth through time to thwart the nefarious machinations of an evil scientist.

Needless to say, the storyline wasn’t exactly the main draw of the comic.

The real selling point of the comic, was the same as is typically the case in most Godzilla movies, that of getting a chance to see Godzilla stomp through cities and beat the shit out of other monsters.

... Or in the case of Godzilla vs. Barkley, shut up and jam.

The biggest success of the comic, in my opinion; was that it managed the rather impressive feat of crafting it’s own unique characters and universe, all while maintaining the feel of the Godzilla movies, both new and old.

While there were a few issues that I purposely ended up skipping do to poor artwork or writing, the Dark Horse Godzilla comic of the 90’s is one that I regret not fully collecting, as well as one that I wish had lasted a little longer than it’s 17 issue run.

Fortunately, I happened across a news article on Sci-Fi Japan today announcing the impending release of a brand new American Godzilla comic published by IDW.

While no real details are available as to the nature of the comic at this point, one thing that’s certain, is that Toho is involved in it’s production on an advisory level; and the creators of the comic have been given free reign over their use of the extensive roster of Toho’s monsters.

While it might not seem like a big deal to some, both of these points do quite a bit to bolster my optimism regarding the release of this comic.

The sum of these points is that Toho trusts IDW enough to allow them use their characters; but more importantly, it means that I’ll finally get a chance to read a Godzilla comic where he fights a monster I actually give 2 shits about!

Pictured: A monster I give 2 shits about.

Anyway, the new comic comes out in March, and rest assured; if it comes out in trade paperback and is at least somewhat good, I’ll pick it up without hesitation.

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Thoughts On The Thor Trailer

Let it be known, the Azn Badger is in no way an authority on Thor.

Like most kids, I dabbled in Norse mythology in my youth; however when it comes to the Marvel version of the Nordic god of thunder, I’m really kind of a newb.

Truth be told, I’ve never read a Thor comic in my life, largely because I could never find an appropriate jumping on point in the character’s expansive continuity.

That being said, while I don’t know Thor all that well, I do consider myself a fairly knowledgeable movie buff; and it’s from that perspective that I’ve decided to throw together this article regarding my impression of the new Thor movie based on it’s recent trailer.

When I first heard that Thor was going to be directed by the great channeler of Billie Shakes himself, Kenneth Branagh; I found myself struck with a crystal clear vision of what to expect:

Shakespeare-ian melodrama, obscenely lavish and over-the-top costume and set designs, and a cameo by the director himself; most likely shirtless and covered in physique enhancing oil.

"I shall now remove my shirt.... For SCIENCE."

Basically, I expected Branagh’s Frankenstein, but with Norse gods and (sadly) no Bobbie D.

Upon viewing the trailer, I can’t help but feel that most of what I expected, good and bad; has come to fruition.

I’m a little disappointed in the fact that, based on the trailer anyway; many of the principle Asgardian (heh heh, “Ass-Guard”) characters are shown without their helmets and garb, most likely due to a creative decision along the lines of:

“The audience can’t connect with the characters if their faces are covered by their helmets!”

On that note, costume designs seem appropriately lavish and extravagant, and the sets seem impressively vast as seems to be the norm for any Kenneth Branagh film, however I feel it must be mentioned that the sets that appear to represent Niffelheim (the Norse realm of ice) seem a little anemic compared to the Asgardian ones.

While I’m on the topic of Niffelheim, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I’m excited to see how the Norse frost giants are depicted in this movie.

In glancing at the imdb for Thor, I happened to notice that Ymir is listed in the cast; which in my mind means we’ll be treated to a bit of a throwdown between him and Thor at some point in the film.

Call me crazy, but the idea of a big fuckin’ Scandinavian dude winging away with a mallet against a mountain-sized man of ice just seems like good watching in my book.

Here’s hoping Mr. Branagh doesn’t fuck it up by having the 2 of them give a soliloquy before initiating a “gentleman’s duel.”

...Or fuck it up by having Ymir look any less cool than THIS.

Sorry, I’m not much for Shakespeare…

Getting back to the movie, I don’t know if maybe the intention was that the Niffelheim sequence in the film was meant to be intentionally “stagy” or theatrical, but at this point the set just looks kind of cheap.

Like, Jerry Bruckheimer King Arthur cheap.

Pictured: A still from the climactic battle sequence of King Arthur.

Moving on, from what I can tell, the cast for the film seems fairly solid.

Casting Sir Anthony Hopkins (that’s right, I call him “sir.”  The question is: Why the fuck don’t you?) as Odin was pretty much a no-brainer.

The man has a voice, and gruff old man presence about him that makes him perfect for pretty much any elder god in all of mythology.

Curiously enough, both the actors for Loki and Thor are strangely unknown to me.

Tom Hiddleston, at least physically anyway, seems to fill Loki’s shoes rather well.

When I picture Loki, I picture a frail, weasely motherfucker that does pretty much all of his fighting with his words and his voice.

That is to say, while Hiddleston seems to look the part at this point; the effectiveness of his performance will likely be determined by the strength of the script… which will most likely suck ass.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor, seems to be a bit of a gamble; but a fairly well justified one.

Remember when Daredevil came out, and people were up in arms about Michael Clarke Duncan being cast as the Kingpin?

People were upset that a black man was cast for a white character, however they did so without taking into account the fact that the Kingpin, in the comics anyway; was supposed to be built like a brick-shit house.

Can you name any legitimately talented actors, black or white; with a physique that could meet that description as well as Michael Clarke Duncan?

BRICK. SHIT. HOUSE.

Didn’t think so.

My point is, while Chris Hemsworth is pretty much an unknown in Hollywood; I honestly don’t know of many actors that can pull off the whole “musclebound viking look.”

I said "actors." Yes, he probably would fill the role just fine though.

And don’t say “what about Brad Pitt?” because I honestly don’t think he’d be a good choice given that he’d probably put too much swagger into his Thor.

Stupid Brad Pitt, bein’ all sexy n’shit…

The last thing I’d like to say about the cast of Thor, is that I don’t know anything about the nature of her character in the comics or in the film, but the way they showed her in the trailer, Natalie Portman seems like she’s just there.

Nonetheless, that tends to count for a lot when you look like this.

Seriously, I don’t know if the marketing guys over at Marvel are to blame, but the way she’s treated in the trailer suggests that this may very well be a case of “Tree #3 as played by Natalie Portman.”

Maybe it’s just the fact that she’s the only one in the cast that doesn’t have a flashy and heavily ornamented suit of Scandinavian power armor, or the fact that her schedule was very likely crowded with, y’know; good movies she had to act in, but seriously; if it wasn’t Natalie Portman, I don’t think any of us would’ve even noticed her character in the trailer.

In closing, Thor looks to be pretty much what I expected.

I don’t expect an epic, fast-paced, or even all that entertaining an experience out of it, but it’s a Marvel movie, it has superheroes hitting each other, and yes; that is enough to make me go see it.

I want to see the Destroyer armor blow up cars.

I want to see how many creative ways a big hammer can be used to kill frost giants.

I want to see if Tadanobu Asano AKA the Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp of Japan, can make a name for himself in American films.

But most of all, I want to hurry up and skip this pile of ass so we can get to the good shit like Captain America and The Avengers.

Fanboy as I am, it’s more than likely that all of the above will end up sucking balls though.

Though Thor is the only one that can boast the possibility of a random shirtless Kenneth Branagh.

"I must do this scene, SHIRTLESS! The integrity of the film demands it!"

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