Sunday, December 21, 2014

Godzilla Recommendations from a Kaiju Otaku



Best Godzilla Movies to Watch If You Like Your Movies...


- With a sober, realistic setting:
GODZILLA (1954)
GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN
THE RETURN OF GODZILLA
GODZILLA 2000
GODZILLA (2014)

- With a dark, serious tone:
GODZILLA (1954)
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
THE RETURN OF GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK
GODZILLA (2014)

- With a moral allegory that symbolically reflects the soul of a nation:
GODZILLA (1954)
THE RETURN OF GODZILLA
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK

- With a strong stance against nuclear proliferation (or allegory for nuclear proliferation):
GODZILLA (1954)
MOTHRA VS GODZILLA
THE RETURN OF GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH

- That warn of the dangers of science run amuck:
GODZILLA (1954)
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA
SON OF GODZILLA
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH
GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS
GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS

- With strong human drama/characters:
GODZILLA (1954)
GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN
MOTHRA VS GODZILLA
INVASION OF ASTRO MONSTER
ALL MONSTERS ATTACK
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA 2000
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA

- With strong female characters:
GODZILLA (1954)
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA
GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER
INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER
GODZILLA VS. GIGAN
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II
GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH
GODZILLA 2000
GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA

- With something of an anti-American sentiment:
GODZILLA (1954)
THE RETURN OF GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK

- With a unique creative sensibility:
GODZILLA (1954)
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

-With impressive special effects (for their time and country of origin)
GODZILLA (1954)
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA
INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS
GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
THE RETURN OF GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II
GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK
GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS
GODZILLA (2014)

- With great monster vs. monster action:
GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN
KING KONG VS. GODZILLA
GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER
INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS
GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH
GODZILLA VS. GIGAN
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II
GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS
GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

-With a fun, campy, humourous sensibility:
KING KONG VS. GODZILLA
EBIRAH, HORROR OF THE DEEP
SON OF GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. GIGAN
GODZILLA VS. MEGALON
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS
GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

-With a strong tinge of anti-capitalist sentiment:
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. GIGAN
GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH
GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS

-With a heavy spiritual component:
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK

-With a strong environmentalist message:
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH
GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA

-With a strong sci-fi/outer space/futuristic element:
GHIDORAH, THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER
INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS
GODZILLA VS. GIGAN
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II
GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS
GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

-With a heavy emphasis on kid-friendliness/family-friendliness:
SON OF GODZILLA
ALL MONSTERS ATTACK
GODZILLA VS. MEGALON
GODZILLA 2000

-With the max number of monsters they could cram in:
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS
GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

-With giant robots:
GODZILLA VS. MEGALON
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA
TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II
GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS

-With some espionage/international intrigue elements:
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA
THE RETURN OF GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE

-With a strong Japanese military presence:
THE RETURN OF GODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II
GODZILLA VS. SPACEGODZILLA
GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH
GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS
GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS
GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

-That pass the Bechdel test:
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. DESTOROYAH
GODZILLA 2000
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA

-That feel like a live-action anime:
GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA
GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

-With time travel:
GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH

-With Matthew Broderick, and Jean Russo, and 2 Simpsons voice actors:
GODZILLA (1998)

-With theme songs by Sum 41:
GODZILLA: FINAL WARS

Marvel Comics Recommendations for MCU Fans!


Hey, so that Phase Three announcement, right? Crazy! The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown leaps and bounds since it began in Iron Man, and now it's this crazy awesome amazing thing that DC Entertainment is totally jealous of you guys. So, in the spirit of celebrating the roots of this massive corporate/creative achievement, and to help some folks if they wanna learn more about all these crazy movie characters suddenly taking over literally all their time and money, here's a guide to the original comics that most directly inspired the MCU movies - organized by their various collected forms in book volumes rather than issue number for easy purchasing at your local book or comics store! Now, I'm only covering the MCU movies, ie. the movies produced by Marvel Studios and in continuity with each other, so not covering the poor superhero souls left behind at other studios. Also I'm totally counting Ang Lee's Hulk as an MCU movie even though it totally doesn't really count, because the script and production for Incredible Hulk began as the sequel to Hulk and it's story still shows traces of that development even though it turned into a quasi-reboot while still maintaining the sequel format. Okay? Okay?
(also I've included links to the pages for these books on the Chapters/Indigo website, but occasionally these have incorrect synopsis or cover images displayed, however thanks to the wonder of ISBNs, you can rest assured the links are to the correct volumes referenced)

EXCELSIOR!


PHASE ONE:

HULK (2004)
So, Ang Lee's Hulk is crazy and a weird attempt at a huge multimillion dollar comic book art movie blockbuster. It's trying to be all things to all people and just ends up a muddled mess. It's also got a weirdly ADD editing style that sometimes works and sometimes is insanely distracting. The cast is good, however, and Lee tried to bring in elements of psychology to the character as well. The movie's plot isn't based on any of the comics in particular, and it's depiction of the origin veers wildly from the comics origin as well (mainly because the comics origin is ridiculous), but I will recommend two books for Hulk fans connected to this movie, however remotely:
  • Marvel Masterworks: The Incredible Hulk Volume 1 - This volume collects the complete six-issue run of the originalThe Incredible Hulk series by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, before it was cancelled. Yes, the original Hulk was a commercial failure, only to become a cult classic later and be revived. This volume contains the classic origin, introducing Bruce Banner, Betty Ross, General Ross, Glenn Talbot, and Rick Jones. What's amazing about the original series is how weird it is - how and why Banner changes into Hulk is changed almost every issue, along with the format and genre of the series. Lee and Kirby knew they had a good idea with Hulk, they just didn't know how to sustain him in his own book, so after this Hulk became a guest player in other series for a while. Sound familiar? Outside of the origin, the comics here have nothing to do with Lee's Hulk, but in movies and in comics they're both the place to start, regardless of how weird they are.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/marvel-masterworks-the-incredible-hulk/9780785137146-item.html
  • The Incredible Hulk: Crossroads - This volume, plotwise, has very little to do with Lee's film either, but thematically they are joined at the hip. Because this volume collects the final issues of the legendary run of writer Bill Mantlo (creator of Rocket Raccoon) and artist Sal Buscema on Hulk. And in these issues Mantlo takes the Hulk into some psychological territory by establishing for the first time that Bruce Banner was abused as a child by his father, which is a major element in Lee's film. This established that the Hulk was a reflection of Banner's own tortured psyche, and not just a biological response, an idea that definitive Hulk writer Peter David would later run with in his epic run sometime later.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/incredible-hulk-crossroads/9780785184485-item.html
IRON MAN (2008) -
The first Iron Man movie established something of a trend for the MCU in terms of not so much adapting existing storylines wholesale, but mixing and matching what elements they wanted from prominent runs and stories. The first Iron Man not only adapts his origin from the comics, favouring the updated version of the origin from Extremis over the original Vietnam version, but also covers his battles with the Iron Monger as well as his coming out as a superhero, and his friendship with James Rhodes. Two books best suit the interest of fans of the first Iron Man movie:
  • Marvel Masterworks: The Invincible Iron Man Volume 1 - Most of the stories in this volume are bizzare Silver Age nonsense, but the origin by Stan Lee and Don Heck still forms the core of the character and his world, and these early tales give you Iron Man's technological evolution from the big bulky grey suit to the classic red and gold. The stories are mostly short and to the point, as Iron Man was merely a feature in Tales of Suspense at this time and had yet to warrant his own series. Also there's the first appearances of Happy Hogan, Pepper Potts and even the Mandarin. The real one.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/marvel-masterworks-the-invincible-iron/9780785145677-item.html
  • Iron Man: Iron Monger - This collection brings you the climactic finale of Denny O'Neil's run on Iron Man, with superb art by Mark Bright. Basically, Obadiah Stane has taken over Stark Industries, perfected his own armor, and ruined Tony Stark's life - elements that should sound familiar to movie fans. Now they battle to the ultimate finish in the series' 200th issue. It's pretty fucking awesome.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/iron-man-iron-monger/9780785142607-item.html
THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008) -
The second Hulk movie was a soft reboot, picking up from where the first left off with a new cast. Most of the inspiration for the film's tone was from the classic 1970s Hulk TV show, although many characters from the comics were included. Emil Blonsky became the Abomination, and they set up Doc Samson and The Leader, although I doubt we'll ever see those threads picked up because it now seems unlikely that Marvel will revist the Hulk's solo series. The movie took some inspiration from a few different comics series, here's what I'd recommend for fans:
  • Hulk: Gray - Part of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's "Colours" trilogy of graphic novels, which re-examined the early days of Marvel. Hulk: Gray brings us a retelling of the origin, but focused on Hulk's relationship to Betty Ross. Several scenes from the graphic novel were re-created in the film.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/hulk-gray/9780785113461-item.html
  • Marvel Masterworks: The Incredible Hulk Volume 3 - A collection covering the years after Jack Kirby stopped drawing Hulk and the character transitioned from a feature in Tales to Astonish and into his second solo series, these tales by Stan Lee and a who's who of late 60s Marvel talent are notable in this context for featuring the first appearance of the Abomination.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/marvel-masterworks-the-incredible-hulk/9780785167624-item.html
  • The Rampaging Hulk Volume 2 - The Rampaging Hulk, later retitled to just The Hulk!, was a large size black and white comics magazine specifically designed to cash in on the success of the seventies television show, and thus ape it's style. Especially in it's second half, collected in this volume, the comic focused on isolated human interest stories with a minimum of involvement from the rest of the Marvel universe, capturing the TV series tone that the 2008 movie was also trying to capture.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/essential-rampaging-hulk-volume-2/9780785142553-item.html
IRON MAN 2 (2010) - Iron Man 2 continued the mishmash approach of the first film, taking inspiration from a host of Iron Man tales across the entirety of the character's existence. That said, these elements were united in that almost all of them originated in the works of David Michelinie and Bob Layton, who produced definitive runs on the character in the 70s and 80s. Picking up an Iron Man comic with their names on it is a surefire guarantee of a good read.
  • Marvel Masterworks: The Invincible Iron Man Volume 2 - This is another collection of old school Stan Lee and Don Heck Iron Man stories, but I'm including it because it has the first appearances of Anton Vanko (the Crimson Dynamo) and Natasha Romanova (the Black Widow), both of whom feature in the movie. This volume also has the first appearance of Hawkeye, and some more awesome Mandarin stories. Too bad the Mandarin never appeared in an Iron Man film.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/marvel-masterworks-the-invincible-iron/9780785159070-item.html
  • Iron Man by Michelinie, Layton and Romita Jr. Omnibus - So probably among the best Iron Man comics of all time are those by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, and holy shit here's their entire first run on the character collected in one massive tome! Awesome! Here we have appearances by Whiplash, Justin Hammer, and the first appearance of James Rhodes. These stories developed Tony Stark into one of Marvel's best characters, and see Hammer's attempts to destroy Tony's life and business, as well as the government's first attempt to buy out Tony and his inventions after he stops building weapons. This volume also includes the legendary "Demon in a Bottle" storyline which dealt with Tony's alcoholism and forever defined the character -- a storyline that will never be in the movies because Disney decreed it so.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/iron-man-by-michelinie-layton/9780785167129-item.html
  • Iron Man: Armor Wars - None of the Iron Man films have truly adapted the character's best storyline, which is "Armor Wars" from Michelinie and Layton's second run on the character. Nonetheless, the basic brush strokes of the story - that of Justin Hammer's war against Stark, and Stark's neverending battle to ensure his technology doesn't fall into the wrong hands - form the core of the second movie's story and themes.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/iron-man-armor-wars/9780785125068-item.html
  • Iron Man: War Machine - And for all the Rhodey fans out there, here's the first appearance of War Machine!
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/iron-man-war-machine/9780785131328-item.html
THOR (2011) - The first Thor movie doesn't really adapt anything specific storylines from the comic apart from the origin, but it does serve as an introduction to Thor's world, his supporting cast, and his enemies, and as such, really only one book can be recommended to support it:
  • The Mighty Thor Omnibus Volume 1 - This massive tome collects the first third, only the first third, of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's original run on Thor. Nonetheless, it is sufficient to introduce us to Thor, Donald Blake (his unused secret identity), Jane Foster, Asgard, the Frost Giants, Odin, Sif, the Warriors Three, the Destroyer, Heimdall, the Bifrost, and of course that fucker Loki. These are fucking great comics, and yet they don't even scratch the surface of what Kirby would eventually achieve with the character.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/the-mighty-thor-volume-1/9780785149736-item.html
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011) - The first Captain America was, in my opinion, the first MCU movie that really revelled in being "comic-booky". Set entirely within Cap's World War II timeframe, it naturally took the most inspiration from the character's classic Golden Age adventures. Fans of this film have two tomes on their recommendation list:
  • The Golden Age Captain America Omnibus Volume 1 - This volume collects the entire original run on Captain America by his creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, with some later stories by Stan Lee and Al Avison. These were comics about World War II, during World War II, and it shows! They are very patriotic and propagandistic, with tons of Nazi fighting and racial stereotypes, but they're also a ton of fun and have loads of creative energy. Simon and Kirby would leave Cap after only ten issues, but the character would continue on throughout the entire war as Timely Comics' most popular character. In this volume we first meet Cap, Bucky, the Red Skull, and supertough secret agent Betsy Ross, retconned in later Marvel Comics into Peggy Carter. 
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/golden-age-captain-america-omnibus/9780785168072-item.html
  • Captain America Omnibus Volume 1 - This book covers Cap's modern age revival and integration into the rest of the Marvel Universe under the creative auspices of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s. Although set outside of Cap's WWII setting from the first movie, these stories not only modernized the character, they also contain many retroactive flashbacks, as well as featuring the return of the Red Skull and introducing for the first time the Cosmic Cube, an artifact of great power known in the movie as the Tesseract.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/captain-america-omnibus-volume-1/9780785150787-item.html
THE AVENGERS (2012) -Holyshit so The Avengers is a pretty awesome movie and a near perfect representation of superhero comics on the big screen and pretty much everyone liked it and it made a billion dollars, here's some comics for you to read: PHASE TWO:

IRON MAN 3 (2013) -
Iron Man 3 continued to take bits and pieces from various Iron Man runs that suited it, with elements from the works of Michelinie/Layton, John Byrne, Joe Quesada, Warren Ellis and Adi Granov, and others. That said, while it leans more heavily on the comics in some areas, it greatly diverges in others.
  • Iron Man: Extremis - Of course, the biggest inspiration on Iron Man 3 is Extremis, and indeed Warren Ellis and Adi Granov's storyline was a massive influence on the entire Iron Man trilogy in terms of the depiction of the character of Tony Stark and the visual depiction of Iron Man. However, while the movie uses characters, situations, and basic premises from the arc, it diverges heavily in terms of plot.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/iron-man-extremis/9780785183785-item.html
  • Iron Man: Armor Wars II - The sequel to Armor Wars forms the first arc in John Byrne's run on Iron Man with artist John Romita Jr. The storyline isn't used much at all in the movie, but the central idea of remote control Iron Man suits sure as hell is. The next arc of John Byrne's run would be a wicked sweet Mandarin storyline that was totally badass. Too bad Marvel never used the Mandarin in any of its Iron Man movies.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/iron-man-armor-wars-ii/9780785145578-item.html
THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013) - Having mined what they dared from Jack Kirby's epic tenure on Thor, the second movie took inspiration from the other writer/artist to make a definitive mark on the character: Walt Simonson. Unfortunately, like the first movie, the sequel flirts with being awesome rather than just going all out for it. Here's some fucking amazing comics that this movie took some stuff from: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014) -
The second Captain America flick continued Marvel's Phase Two trend of taking more direct inspiration from specific comic book storylines, although it still mixed and matched elements in order to deliver a storyline that worked for the burgeoning movie universe's needs, instead of slavishly following the comics versions.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Holyshit, who could've guessed? While the plot of this hugely significant story arc from 2005 differs quite a bit from it's movie "adaptation", the basic throughline in terms of the character of the Winter Soldier and his revelations are more or less the same. It's a pretty great storyline and it lead to a pretty great movie.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/captain-america-winter-soldier-ultimate/9780785143413-item.html
  • Captain America and the Falcon: The Secret Empire - Mike Friedrich and Steve Engelhart bring us this classic 1970s tale of conspiracy and paranoia. While again the plot is very different from the Winter Soldier film, the movie took its tone of a government out to get Cap and the sudden lack of anyone to trust from this well-regarded arc. Also, it's got Falcon in it! And he's pretty cool.
    http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/captain-america-and-the-falcon/9780785118367-item.html
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014) -
Not gonna lie, I'd never even heard of these assholes before they got their own movie. Made up of a bunch of different characters who had already existed in the cosmic Marvel universe, they were forged into a team by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning in the aftermath of the "Annihilation: Conquest" event, and quickly deemed awesome enough to make a movie about I guess.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015) -
Granted, Avengers 2 isn't out yet, so it's hard to say with certainty what I'd recommend. But what we do know for certain is that Ultron, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Vision are involved, and that while it shares a title with the recent "Age of Ultron" storyline, it doesn't actually share plot with it. So here's what I'd recommend you read to get yourself caught up based on what we do know:
Well, that's all for me for today. I'll update this page with Phase Three related recommendations one day, maybe.

What if I were in charge of a Spider-Man movie series?

So, I first started thinking about this insane, implausible, hypothetical question after Spider-Man 3 came out and I got really burned on the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies and realized I didn't really like any of them that much. None of them truly got Spider-Man, in my opinion. Yes, even that one you really like. So I started thinking "if they were to reboot Spider-Man in, like, ten or fifteen years, how should they do it?"

And then they rebooted Spider-Man, like, five years later instead and I was all "oh. That sucked." Then ASM2 came out and everyone hated it, although I liked it quite a bit. I actually felt ASM2 negated a lot of the things I hated about ASM1, and incorporated a lot of the stuff I would've done in my hypothetical reboot anyway. But everyone else hated it, and it didn't perform to expectation at box office, and now it's super super clear Sony has no clue what they're doing with the franchise.


And now there's these talks of maybe yes, maybe no, who knows, maybe Spider-Man coming into the MCU fold. Which would be awesome. But how would they do it? Is there time enough to do it for Civil War? Would it continue from the Amazing series or reboot again? Will it even happen? Who knows, but it got me thinking about this hypothetical again.

So yeah, how would I do a Spider-Man movie series if it were up to me?

Well, first up, Peter's already Spider-Man when we start. Obvs. We really, really, don't need to see him get bit by a radioactive/genetically modified spider and get Uncle Ben killed again. We just don't.

So in the first movie (The Amazing Spider-Man), Peter's been Spider-Man all through high school, already having adventures, already working freelance at the Bugle, etc. And instead we start with him going into University. Basically I think the best way to go would be to adapt the plot of Amazing Spider-Man #31-33, which is the best Spider-Man story anyway, and has never been used for any of the movies. As part of the original Lee/Ditko run, this story arc really feels like the culmination of Spider-Man and of Peter's character arc of growing up and learning to take responsibility and be a hero. But in the overall context of fifty years of Spider-Man comics it also feels like the start of a new chapter. Peter enters into university on a science scholarship, with his old bully Flash entering on a football scholarship, but he also meets a bunch of new characters like Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, and Mary Jane for the first time. Because in the original high school, none of those three went to high school with Peter. Also, the central character arc of that story, ending with the amazingly spectacular #33, forms enough of an arc to really do the job of a "hero's journey" arc without going through the origin again. It's the story where the boy becomes the man, essentially.

So we can meet these new characters, set them up, and have Peter battle Doc Ock and get buried under that debris and have to metaphorically lift the weight of the world off his shoulders to save his friends all like in those original comics. If you've never read them, do so. It's great. I'd also incorporate bits of other issues, like #37, #42 and #43, to establish characters like Harry, Norman Osborn, and MJ more fully, and also establish Peter and Gwen's relationship in this movie, as well as the death of her father at the hands of Doc Ock in ##88-90, because that fits with Ock as the villain of #31-33 and serves as a good emotional suckerpunch, similar to what was done in ASM1 but handled better. But #31-33 would be the spine of it. So by the end of the first movie, Peter's dating Gwen, has met MJ but she's dating Harry, and he's in University, has fought Doc Ock, who has killed Captain Stacy, but Spider-Man is blamed for it, so the Bugle has started a whole "Spider-Man's a Menace" hate campaign.

And this is the thing I felt the Raimi movies really botched. They portray JJJ's hatred of Spidey as the lone voice of a crazy person, while we're shown that on the whole NYC LOVES Spider-Man. Which makes Pete's "the world's against me, why bother" stuff in the second movie so hollow compared to the issue it's adapting, #50. In the comics, the Bugle is riding on public opinion, and taking advantage of it. JJJ's editorials really sway people. People don't like Spider-Man, they really think he's a bad guy. And that's the point. The idea is that the media sways the public and the public hates the hero, but the hero KEEPS being a hero ANYWAY, because that's the right thing to do.


So anyways, the second movie (The Spectacular Spider-Man). It would be the big Green Goblin flick. Norman becomes the Goblin, discovers Spider-Man's identity, goes crazy, Harry od's on drugs, and Norman kidnaps Gwen and kills her. Basically it'd be a condensed version of Amazing Spider-Man #39-40, Spectacular Spider-Man #2, Amazing #96-98, and #121-122, maybe incorporating a bit from #50 as well, although that was done in Raimi's second film. By the end of it, Norman's dead, Harry's crazy, Gwen's dead, and MJ is the only one left to comfort Peter and be his friend.

Ultimately both movies would end similar to the existing Amazing Spider-Man movies, with the deaths of the Stacys, but be structured more cohesively with a better emotional throughline through each -- ie, Gwen dies at the hands of the main villain of the second film, instead of a crazy side villain who shows up just to kill her.

Where things get a little messier in my head would be what the third film would be about, but the thing is, I don't see Spider-Man as being a "trilogy". The third film wouldn't wrap everything up in a bow. To me, Spider-Man could be ongoing as long as it needs to be. Heck, I even truly think the Amazing series could redeem itself in a third entry (I liked Amazing 2, after all), and I'd have no problem with Andrew Garfield in the MCU as is. But looking at Spidey and just Spidey, and purely on a hypothetical, this is how I see it. 

But to me, the third film (Web of Spider-Man) would essentially be the Roger Stern/Tom DeFalco era of Spider-Man. The new, mysterious, Hobgoblin shows up, casting a spectre over Peter. The Kingpin is involved in the background, with him and his subordinate the Rose seemingly pulling the Hobgoblin's strings. Peter and MJ's romance continues, and she reveals she knows he's Spider-Man. But the Black Cat also shows up, complicating things -- Peter's all excited by her, but Cat only loves Spider-Man, not Peter Parker, while MJ accepts him for his true self, even if she doesn't like the risks he takes as Spider-Man. Peter gets the black symbiote suit, and slowly realizes over the course of the movie that it's trying to kill him/feed off him/etc. Harry takes over Oscorp, but is clearly kind've fucked up. Is he the Hobgoblin, or is it someone else? After the climatic battle with the Hobgoblin, Peter finally frees himself of the black suit in the church. He proposes to MJ and she says yes. Roughly this would be all based on #238-239, #244-245, #249-252, #258-261, #284-292, Annual #21, Web of Spider-Man #1, the Hobgoblin Lives miniseries, and the related black suit, Black Cat, and MJ subplots from that time, but all very much pared down and streamlined, because as good as they were, the Spidey comics of that era were sometimes a confused mess being pulled between different directions, writers and editors. But I'd like it if it ended with the black suit "gone", and Peter and MJ married, and the Hobgoblin defeated and unmasked (as Roderick Kingsley, as it should be).

So, a fourth movie (Peter Parker: Spider-Man)? Well, that's where you bring in Venom. It's the Michelinie/McFarlane era of Spidey! Peter and MJ are newlyweds, Eddie Brock gets the symbiote, and you base it on #300, and #315-318. It'd be pretty straightforward, but you could incorporate many of the subplots of the era, as well as continuing some from the third movie, to pad things out, chief among them being Harry learning that Peter is Spider-Man and killed his dad, as well as keeping stuff like the Kingpin alive in the background. You could also end it on a cliffhanger setting up Carnage, if you really wanted to.

A fifth movie (Sensational Spider-Man?) to me would be where I'd want to end it. Harry becomes the second Green Goblin, and fights and defeats the "pretender" Hobgoblin, loosely based on #314, wrapping up that storyline. I'd have Aunt May die, based on Amazing #400, and I'd have MJ announce she's pregnant, which happened in Spectacular #220, and then Peter and Harry have their final battle and Harry dies, as in Spectacular #200. Maybe Carnage as a secondary villain (#361-363?)

So yeah, things are a little messier after that second movie idea. The third feels really packed, but hard to seperate its' threads, while the fourth and fifth feel a little light, but I strongly believe that the symbiote costume should be introduced, worn and discarded by Spider-Man in one movie, and become Venom in another, and I really feel Harry-as-Green-Goblin should be it's own A-story as well. So, I dunno. A sixth movie? Jesus! Um....
....
...Clone Saga???

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Holy New Blog, Followers!

I'm pleased to announce that in addition to my ongoing look at the Golden Age Batman in Bat to the Beginning, which recently started looking at the influential but problematic Batman serial, and my series of Silver Age Iron Man reviews at All Jets Ablaze!, I will be launching a new series of reviews and analyses!

Focused on the "New Look" era of Batman comics from 1964-1969, Holy Retro Reviews, Batman! will examine the wonderful Silver Age era of Batman comics when editor Julius Schwartz and artist Carmine Infantino restored the character's popularity after years of shoddy sci-fi storytelling. These energetic, stylish and modern tales eventually served as the primary inspiration for the classic 1966-1968 Batman television series starring Adam West and all of its resultant spin-offs.

It's a very cool, exciting era in Batman history and I hope you'll enjoy looking back on it with me as much as I do. So watch out for new reviews of Batman, Detective Comics, World's Finest, and The Brave and the Bold in the Silver Age, along with reviews of the Adam West show as well, at this new site. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Video Game Series With Complex Timelines

To be updated with more examples as I can think of them.
Dates are Anno Domini/Common Era unless otherwise noted.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA 

Skyward Sword
The Minish Cap
Four Swords
Ocarina of Time - Split into three timelines after this (A, B, C)
B) Majora's Mask
A) A Link to the Past, B) Twilight Princess, C) The Wind Waker
A) Oracle of Ages & Oracle of Seasons, C) Phantom Hourglass
A) Link's Awakening
A) A Link Between Worlds, B) Four Swords Adventures, C) Spirit Tracks
A) The Legend of Zelda
A) The Adventure of Link

METROID
2075 CC (Cosmic Calendar) - Metroid/Metroid: Zero Mission
2076 - Metroid Prime
2076 - Metroid Prime: Hunters
2077 - Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
2078 - Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
2079 - Metroid II: The Return of Samus
2079 - Super Metroid
2080 - Metroid: Other M
2081 - Metroid: Fusion
 

CASTLEVANIA
1094 - Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
1450 - Castlevania Legends
1476 - Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
1479 - Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
1576 - Castlevania: The Adventure
1591 - Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge
1691 - Castlevania/Vampire Killer/Haunted Castle/Super Castlevania IV/Castlevania Chronicles
1698 - Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
1748 - Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
1792 - Castlevania: Rondo of Blood/Castlevania: Dracula X/Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
1797 - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
180X - Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
1830 - Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
1844 - Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness
1852 - Castlevania 64
1897 - Bram Stoker's Dracula
1917 - Castlevania: Bloodlines
1944 - Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
2035 - Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
2036 - Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
-- The (POS) "Lords of Shadow" games take place in a new, rebooted continuity--

1047 - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
1073-1103 - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate
2057 - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

METAL GEAR
1964 - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater/Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
1970 - Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
1974 - Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
1975 - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
1984 - Metal Gear Solic V: The Phantom Pain
1995 - Metal Gear
1998 - Snake's Revenge
1999 - Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
2002 - Metal Gear: Ghost Babel
2005 - Metal Gear Solid/Metal Gear Solid: Integral/Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
2009 - Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty/Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
2014 - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
2016 - Metal Gear Acid
2017 - Metal Gear Acid 2
2018 - Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

ASSASSIN'S CREED

The framing story of Desmond Miles takes place entirely between September and December 2012.
1190 - Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles
1191 - Assassin's Creed
1192 - Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines
1476-1499 - Assassin's Creed II
1499-1507 - Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
1511-1512 (1190-1257) - Assassin's Creed: Revelations
1712-1725 - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
1753-1783 - Assassin's Creed III
1765-1777 - Assassin's Creed: Liberation