Ongoing Investigations: Case #174

I finally saw The Avengers and you know I loved it. Though it may shock you to know this was only my second experience of Joss Whedon’s direction (the only other thing I’ve seen is Dr. Horrible).

My favorite thing about the film, really its strongest quality, is the interaction between all the heroes. Their arguments, quips, conversations, and actions all felt very cohesive and solidified them as a team.

I was really pleased with the portrayal of Black Widow and left the theater saying she was my favorite. Black Widow shows herself to be a resourceful, badass, master spy throughout. Her scenes talking with Loki were fantastic as were the one’s with Bruce Banner. There is no doubt Scarlett Johansson is amazing looking but it never becomes the primary focus of her scenes.

The action throughout was well choreographed and thankfully didn’t suffer from shakey cam madness. The alien invasion scenes are complicated but had a roundness to them as it switched between the heroes, too.

If I have anything to complain about, it would probably be Hawkeye’s too serious personality. I’m a fan of the character and I always enjoy Clint’s sarcastic/quipy self in the comics.

I have more to say but it would be veering into spoiler territory!

I had a blast with this movie it was full of action and a right balance of humor. I cannot wait for the sequel! But first we’ve got a ton of others like Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and Captain America 2 and I’m rather excited about all of it.

The Avengers did exactly what it needed to do. It was a fun action movie, with some snappy dialog, great fight scenes, and a generally peppy pace that moved along nicely without feeling hollow. If you wanted something that was ponderous like The Dark Knight I think you were setting yourself up for disappointment. In fact you actively complained that you thought the movie should have been smarter I merely point you to 2003 Hulk film. Meditate on that. The Avengers is never stupid but it is also knows how far it should reach.

As Narutaki mentioned the best part of the movie was the team’s dynamic. I think it is important to note that everyone felt vital. All too often as much as people may say all the team members are necessary it always seems like someone is merely along for the ride. As much as I love the Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes I always feel like that other than a few rare occasions the Wasp feels more like the team mascot than a full member. But it did not matter that Hawkeye and Black Widow did not have super powers. You felt that had either of them not been there then the final battle would have been lost. And everyone contributed in multiple ways. That is amazingly important for a team movie like this because time is short. So anyone who is not contributing as much just feels even more wasted than normal.

I think my favorite character was Bruce Banner. I know that with two previous modern Hulk movies some people were worried about Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk but I think he pulled off the roll quite well. He does a good job as playing up the intellectual and well as deeply troubled scientists.  Plus his science bros rapport with Tony Stark was great. He was unexpectedly a stronger character then I ever assumed he would be.

It is always nice to see a movie that you can enjoy effortlessly but also without reservations. I am sure that Narutaki and my roommate will pick this up on Blu-Ray ASAP so I look forward to watching it again with them.

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NY Comic Con & Anime Festival 2011: Screenings

At NYCC you can get exclusive toys, play games before they are released, see new trailers, and get some exclusive news of the hottest geek properties, but one of the biggest draws is the ability to see select movies or episodes before anyone else. This year had a good deal of exclusive content just like the years before. I hardly saw all of it but I was glad to get a sneak peek at somethings I was really interested in. There are also some really impressive anime premiers along with the cartoon, movie, and TV sneak previews so the otaku don’t feel left out in a sea of American media nerds.

Premieres have been something that I’ve started associating with New York Comic Con the last couple of years, it is something that really draws me. Between anime, movies, cartoons, and television you could have probably just seen premieres for the bulk of the weekend! While I didn’t get to attend as many as I have in year’s past, I was still pleased with the overall choices.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #140

I am not a huge reader of webcomics, but I’m hooked on Hark! A Vagrant which never ceases to give me a good chuckle. So it comes as little surprise that the writer of such a hilarious and witty comic is those same things in person. This was the book launch party and you could tell she was very happy about it. And even with technical difficulties, she just rolled with it. Once she started telling her little history a lot was learned and laughed about. She comes from a very small town where her classes through primary school were 22 people large.  She was the only artist and she always felt that comics and drawing were things she did but not jobs she could have. It was rather inspiring to hear how in college in life and then after further after graduation, with no formal training, others encouraged her to do it. She did say she feels it is much harder now to really get a webcomic going, when she jumped in it was just a fairly new idea. Showing off many of her comics over the years it was fun to track her progress and ideas. She also showed which comics went over really well for her like the Tycho Brahe one that pretty much went viral. It was also evident how much more freer her style has become, by her own admission because she wants to continue to evolve and can’t image drawing the same things in the same ways forever. This was a great talk with a wonderful turn out.

I found out about Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant from Otaku USA’s own master of moe Caleb Dunaway. He of course loved it because it is a slightly off kilter mostly historical based comedy web comic. Narutaki and I being fans of history in general were drawn to the comic as well. So when Kate Beaton was giving a talk in New York we had to go. The Housing Works bookstore was a cozy little shop that is run by volunteers where all proceeds from the café go to providing support services for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. You quickly realized that the bookstore was not huge when the events started with about a hundred people in attendance. Fortunately we can early enough that we had seats but the place was packed. When the event started she tried to do a reading of some of her strips but technical problems with the projector nipped that in the bud. I put up a little video of that if you were curious. When that was not working out she went into how she got into web comics and the processes that she uses to make her comics and how it has changed over the years. She then did some Q&A which she eventually just had to cut off so everyone could get a signature. I think the most interesting thing was that growing up in Canada she knew almost nothing of American superhero comics. But when she got involved with the web comics community she picked up an interest just by osmosis due to going to various conventions and talking to other artists. A was also impressed with the amount of research she does. I always knew she had to do research for the comic but the amount she does seems insane. Overall she was quite friendly, intelligent, and witty. Also by the end of the night she was a bit tipsy but she was extremely cordial and gave everyone a personalized sketch with their copy of her book. We got Elliot Page a sketch of Sir Issac Newton, Clarissa from AWO a sketch of one of the Strong Female Characters, and Caleb a sketch of Queen Elizabeth. Also if you see an Einstein comic in the future we are going to take full credit for that.

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