Archive for the ‘Black Widow (superheroine)’ Category

Heroes and Villains @ Phoenix ComiCon 2014   1 comment

 

I wasn’t going to attend this Con, but at the last moment I got some motivation, and so I did make the scene on Friday and Saturday.  Estimated attendance somewhere in the range of 100,000 people. That’s a great size for a media convention like this. Guarantees that the promoters will make enough money to put on a really good show.  Attracts a lot of creative energy.

As usual, I went mostly to take photos of brilliant hall costumes, play games, and talk to my friends.  All 3 goals were satified this weekend. I think I can get more than one blog out of it.  Let’s start off with heroes and villains.

I had a hard time getting the Black Widow's attention. Finally, her boyfriend poked her in the arm and said, "Natasha, this man wants you to kill him." Killer smile, don't you think?

I had a hard time getting the Black Widow’s attention. Finally, her boyfriend poked her in the arm and said, “Natasha, this man wants you to kill him.” Killer smile, don’t you think?

 

Batman looked suitably grim, but didn't seem to have any crime to fight, despite the plethora of supervillains wandering around. I got him to pose for me, and that opened the floodgates. Poor guy got stuck posing with people for another 5 minutes before he could move on. He loved it.

Batman looked suitably grim, but didn’t seem to have any crime to fight, despite the plethora of supervillains wandering around. I got him to pose for me, and that opened the floodgates. Poor guy got stuck posing with people for another 5 minutes before he could move on. He loved it.

 

Poison Ivy came by Steve Crompton's Carnal Comics booth and told us she could make something grow. This girl has a secret identity as a stripper at Christie's Cabaret. She made me an offer I really hated to refuse.

Poison Ivy came by Steve Crompton’s Carnal Comics booth and told us she could make something grow. This girl has a secret identity as a stripper at Christie’s Cabaret. She made me an offer I really hated to refuse.

 

Poison Ivy was the most popular costume at the Con. Here she is again with a Joker wannabe.

Poison Ivy was the most popular costume at the Con. Here she is again with a Joker wannabe.

 

Harley Quinn and her friend gave me these dazzling smiles when I told her I'd love to get hammered with her.

Harley Quinn and her friend gave me these dazzling smiles when I told her I’d love to get hammered with her.

 

Thor and Loki, female variants. If it works for guys, it works for girls too.

Thor and Loki, female variants. If it works for guys, it works for girls too.

 

The Transformers were larger than life, and kept behind a fence.

The Transformers were larger than life, and kept behind a fence.

 

If I saw this guy walking down the street, I'd get out of his way, then follow him looking for photo ops.

If I saw this guy walking down the street, I’d get out of his way, then follow him looking for photo ops.

 

Catwoman, Halle Berry style.  This is no house cat--this is a black tigress. (You know that would be a pretty great name for super character.)

Catwoman, Halle Berry style. This is no house cat–this is a black tigress. (You know that would be a pretty great name for super character.)

 

Not every larger than life character needs spandex. The Penguin makes do these days with simple opulence.

Not every larger than life character needs spandex. The Penguin makes do these days with simple opulence.

 

The Joker was looking better than he has for years and his Harley Quinn seemed pretty happy about it too.

The Joker was looking better than he has for years and his Harley Quinn seemed pretty happy about it too.

 

Green Arrow came rushing by just before I headed for the Troll Cave on Saturday afternoon.

Green Arrow came rushing by just before I headed for the Troll Cave on Saturday afternoon.

 

There were countless other supers at the convention, but I didn’t go with a plan. I simply took pix of those that came my way. Spider-Man was there in every conceivable variant of the spider suit. Deadpool must have cloned himself. He was everywhere. Poison Ivy sprouted almost everywhere I looked.  I saw Batman from several different alternate earths. Superman, however, could not be found. Actually Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin) and  Julie Newmar (Catwoman) were big attractions at ComiCon, although I did not see them. Stan Lee is supposed to be there today (I am writing this on Sunday, June 8).  Comics, and the popular culture associated with comics have never been so popular.

Comics conventions are gigantic parties, and people really seem to have a good time at them.  I salute those dedicated cosplayers who make marvelous costumes to represent the heroes, villains, and favorite characters from comics, cartoons, anime, and video gaming.  You guys and gals are indeed super in your own right, and I applaud you all.

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If you have been to a comics convention lately, why not leave a comment?

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Who You Gonna Call?   3 comments

Last night I finally got to see the Avengers, my most hotly anticipated film since Conan.  I enjoyed it.  The action scenes and the special effects were outstanding–Academy Award outstanding.  The acting was superb.  The scriptwriters and director gave good lines and plenty of screen time to all the major characters.  I suppose I should stop and give a well done bit of applause to all the members of the cast.  Here’s a few of them as listed at IMDB.com.

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr.
Chris Evans Chris Evans
Mark Ruffalo Mark Ruffalo
Chris Hemsworth Chris Hemsworth
Scarlett Johansson Scarlett Johansson
Jeremy Renner Jeremy Renner
Tom Hiddleston Tom Hiddleston
Clark Gregg Clark Gregg
Cobie Smulders Cobie Smulders
Stellan Skarsgård Stellan Skarsgård
Samuel L. Jackson Samuel L. Jackson
Gwyneth Paltrow Gwyneth Paltrow

I am not a Hollywood groupie, and I don’t keep track of movie stars in my daily life.  I have seen Robert Downey and Gwynneth Paltrow enough in other films to recognize their names.  I still remember the terrific performances turned in by Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Helmsworth as Thor, but if you had asked me last night before the film who played Cap and Thor in those movies, I couldn’t have told you.  Of course everyone in America knows Samuel Jackson from lots of different films–he does the Nick Fury, leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. routine.  However, I thought the actors were very good, even the ones in throwaway bit parts.  Tom Hiddleston as Loki really carried the movie.  Super heroes require super villains, and he was great, combining arrogance, cunning, and sheer mad egotism in a bravura performance.  I think there is a tendency to overlook the bad guys in hero action films, but we members of the audience should give those actors more credit.  Without them the heroes have no reason to exist, and nothing to emote against.  Think about it.  There was one real bad guy in the film–Loki.  He took on Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, the Black Widow, and Nick Fury and gave them all they could handle.  One vs. seven. I’m not giving away any secrets if I tell you they beat him in the end, but think of the odds.  Hero stories are usually stacked the other way–more bad guys than good guys, and in a sense this was since Loki had an army of formidable aliens to back him up, but they were just extras.  Loki, and for 2/3 of the movie, Hawkeye who had been mind-controlled by Loki, were the only real bad guys.

The plot can be summarized easily enough.  Loki and his army of alien monsters decide to conquer the Earth.  Loki’s main problem is in bringing his troops to Earth from their outer space/other dimesnional homeworld.  Nick Fury and his agents of SHIELD, including the group he pulls together as the Avengers have to stop him.  Lots of combat and property destruction ensue.  Much of the conflict occurs on a personal level.  Marvel characters are all people first, heroes second.  They have their own motivations and lives, and often resent being forced to protect the world from one threat or another, but because they are good guys at heart–at least most of them are–they get over their greivances and cooperate to save the day.  Take out all the character vs. character petty antagonisms and the movie is half as long.

I don’t know why the publicity departments for these films always choose the least interesting photos.

The movie really starts with the theft of the Tesseract (also known as the Cosmic Cube in the comics) from a SHIELD base somewhere.  Loki takes on the whole base, beats it, and gets away with the maguffin.  But it only gets interesting when we switch to the Black Widow, in her crimson underwear, tied to a chair, and being interrogated by an evil Russian general arms dealer.  She gets a call from SHIELD saying they need her to “come in” and this leads to an escape featuring the most incredible display of chair fu ever filmed.  Jackie Chan would be so proud.  That’s the scene I want a picture of, not her in a black rubber suit pointing a pistol.

The two Chrisses. Blondes rule when it comes to street-fighting in New York.

Thor and Captain America, although no dummies, spend most of their time kicking butt and looking hunky.  I suppose the beefcake is for the ladies in the audience, but there is a lot of barely concealed homoeroticism in superhero comics.  These guys are just so damn pretty.  I like it better when they’re kicking butt.

Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD, is a hands-on kind of guy. He does his own dirty jobs, and butt-kicking. Does he look like a mastermind to you? He doesn’t to me, but appearances can be deceiving. You can never trust a cyclops.

In the course of the film we learn that SHIELD is really run by a secret cabal who are utterly ruthless.  I guess having it just be an arm of the United Nations or the U.S. government isn’t enough any more.  We need conspiracies.  And the government looks evil enough to the American public without the movies making it worse.  Far better to have secret leaders who can’t be traced back to the Republicans or the Democrats or the Communists pulling the strings.  Fury is shown to be a devious bastard, but still a man with heart who does his best to protect people.

Alpha-males never get along when they meet each other. Give them a common foe, and they can certainly cooperate, but social situations are just plain nasty.

Thor and Iron Man go head to head in combat about half way through the movie.  I didn’t buy it.  No matter how good Stark’s technology is, Thor’s hammer should have blasted through it like it was tissue paper.  He’s a god.  So, suspend your disbelief for this part and just enjoy the smashing and bashing.

Loki has the best costumes, the best lines, and the best smile in the movie.

Remember that building in the background from the Ghostbusters? When there’s someting bad in the neighborhood, who you gonna call? Bad doesn’t come much worse than Loki on a power trip.

Who ya gonna call? Iron Man, I guess. I like Iron Man–he’s witty, smart, courageous, lecherous, and rich–just like me. Heh. Well, I can match him in one of those characteristics, and it isn’t the rich one.

The movie ends in an epic battle scene.  All of our Avenging heroes fight like heroes.  Hulk and Thor do the heavy hitting.  The rest take on the alien storm troopers who are quite bad enough to give any normal human being fits.  This is the part of the movie I liked best.  Bring it on!  Take out one gigantic space dragon.  Not bad.  Here’s ten more of them.  Now what are you gonna do, Hulk?

I liked the Avengers and give it 4 stars out of 5. ****  If you like superheroes at all, don’t miss it.

One more thing:  my personal rant–People are so hypercritical of the movies these days.  The Avengers is an amazing achievement as a movie.  Can you nitpick it?  Yes you could.  I’m not going to.  Try to see the terrific acting, the great storyline, the amazing special effects (even if it was all done with computer animation), and skip over the implausibilities and impossibilities that glare out of the movie at you.  It’s a comic book world, bearing a heavy resemblance to our world, but it isn’t our world.  It’s a wilder place than our own universe, and wilder things happen.  Accept them!  Enjoy them!

Biggest surprise for me: Joss Whedon had his name all over the credits.  Wow!  He must be on top of the world right now.  He is, imnsho, the best storyteller in Hollywood, perhaps in the world.  Didn’t know he was a Marvel fan, but I stand in awe of his achievements.

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If you have anything to say about the Avengers, the Ghostbusters, or Joss Whedon, please leave a comment.