Archive for the ‘Marvel’ Category

Dr. Strange (1978 TV movie)

Posted: November 21, 2016 in Marvel
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Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is currently hip-deep into its third phase of films with seemingly no end in sight. The next film to be released in that increasingly fleshed-out universe is Doctor Strange. As mentioned previously, the character is no stranger (oh god, I’m so sorry for that) to adaptation, however few seem to remember the first time he graced screens. And those who are aware (usually by screenshots or on-set pictures) tend to regard the original film with snickering animosity.
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punI have gone on record, time and again, defending this film. I feel it is the most true representation of The Punisher that we’ve ever had in expanded media. And, when it comes to film, this is likely the as close to the comic as we’re ever going to get. It wisely accepts his origin as read and crafts a narrative around his obsession with punishing evil-doers. Ray Stevenson’s stoicism as Frank Castle is dead-on and is a nice counter-balance to the rambunctious ridiculousness that is Dominic West’s Jigsaw. While I find that each adaptation of the character has some merit, this is the one that I consistently go to when I need a real Punisher fix. Director Lexi Alexander also ensured that the film retained the palette and many characters from the comic. In the past, Baer has been less complimentary of the film, but I think some of my enthusiasm rubbed off on him during this recording.

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Much has been made about the failure and ineptitude of the recent Fantastic Four adaptation. From the public squabbling between the director and studio to the seeming lack of promotion, it sure sounded like the cards were stacked against it from the very beginning. After hearing about its disastrous opening weekend and universally negative reviews, I almost started to believe that there was no way it could be that bad. I mean, even Catwoman was fun to laugh at, right? Then I sat down in the theatre, the movie started and all hope vanished.

Coming soon: FantFourStic

Coming soon: FantFourStic

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**Once, a loooong time ago, the Marvel brand was not the cinematic behemoth that it is now. Yes, youngsters, there was a time before X-Men, Iron Man and Blade. Novelist Brian Baer took a 90-minute look into that dark time recently and came back with this dispatch of what he witnessed.**

The 90’s was a weird period for Marvel. Between the chromium covers and bankruptcies, the company had found success in animated series, namely with X-Men and Spider-Man. They attempted to spin that momentum into live-action properties in 1996 with a made-for-TV movie/pilot for a Generation X TV series. That show wasn’t picked up, but in 1998, they gave it another try with an adaptation of their long-running super-spy, Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD.

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Blade is the first new CommentaryCasts to be posted in this new format. Starring Wesley Snipes, this 1998 film is the first to kick-off the modern “Golden Age” of comic book films. That’s especially interesting since the studio that released it, New Line, didn’t promote it as such. It’s not too odd considering the cinematic pedigree of movies based on comics at the time (and let’s not forget that this was only a year after the Great Bat-Implosion…also called Batman and Robin). But it’s cool to see the cinematic juggernaut that comic book movies (and Marvel especially) have become, with much thanks going to the strong foundation that Blade laid. Brian and I discovered that even with dated cgi, it’s still an incredibly entertaining action flick. (more…)

The 2014/15 television season has become well known as the season of the comic book television series. While we used to be content with the occasional Smallville or Birds of Prey (ok, no one was content with Birds of Prey), it’s now possible to watch comic book programming 5 nights a week (or more thanks to DVR). While most of these shows have been ratings successes, I’ve been looking at them on my own scale of general artistry and adaptation. To me, not all of them have been stellar, but it’s certainly been interesting to watch them grow, regardless.

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The third CommentaryCast ventures into one of Marvel’s first pseudo-failures at the box office. While the original theatrical cut of this film is fundamentally flawed, this director’s cut does a lot to correct those issues. It still ends up being an odd mish-mash of silly and serious, but it’s much easier to watch. That said, it hasn’t aged exceptionally well. I was once a staunch defender of this film, now some of its problems are much more evident. It seems odd that Marvel would follow up X-Men and Spider-Man with a relatively little-known hero like Daredevil. And yet, it was a surprisingly faithful adaptation, even down to some visual cues. With that, enjoy Brian and I discussing Daredevil and see if your thoughts on it have changed (for better or worse) over time.

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**This edition of The unadapted was written by Brian Baer, frequent collaborator and author of the upcoming Bad Publicity from Portfolio Press. Be sure to check it out. But first, read his thoughts on why Marvel’s Batman should be brought to life.**

The problem with Moon Knight has never been that he was unknown. The character has been the star of several comics series, many with high-profile creators and respectable lifespans. He’s even been ranked as one of the greatest comics characters by Wizard and IGN.

The problem with Moon Knight is that most people know him, but only as a Batman rip-off.
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Daredevil is a character that I know a lot about. I find him very interesting, but apparently not enough to keep up on his monthly antics. Confession time: I’ve read very little of his adventures in print. Other than a good chunk of Frank Miller’s work on the character in the 80’s, I’ve only read “Guardian Devil”, Kevin Smith’s late-90’s re-invigorization of the titular red-clad hero. And yet, I know insane details about the character’s history, backstory and tertiary cast members simply because of how fascinating he is.

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Powers has a premise that’s almost better than any story that could possibly be spun out of it. Set in a world filled with super-powered beings, it follows two normal detectives who are tasked with solving cases involving superheroes and villains (known as “powers” on the street). From that ingenious and deceptively simple premise has sprung a creator-owned behemoth that has been in near-constant publication since 2000. As such, it has been a popular candidate to transition into other media.

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