Category: reviews

The Doomino Effect for January 2, 2019

I forgot to do this column for the past 200 or so weeks, and I tried several new series this week, so let’s get back into it, shall we?

We’ll start with Uncanny X-Men #8. It’s really hard to make a quality weekly comic book, and Uncanny X-Men is sure doing its best to prove the rule. Doominator dropped in a few weeks ago to share some thoughts on the series, but my general feelings tend to be “This is the kind of mess I’d expect from the Chuck Austen era, and not any kind of grand return of the team worthy of a restart to the numbering.”

One of the drawbacks of doing a weekly series is that it’s nigh impossible to have consistent art. And for me, inconsistent art styles equate to basically the storytelling equivalent of watching a movie and suddenly everyone is speaking in a different accent.

On top of that, the story really revolves around the petulance of four X-Men understudies, validating the fact that they’re treated like kids by acting like kids. It also ties into the Age of Apocalypse storyline from the 90s, which essentially every surviving homer blog tries to convince you was good, but was actually terrible.

So you’ve got this all-star crew of reunited X-Men, and the story focuses on some D-listers. Magneto is playing a marginalized supporting role. Apocalypse is in this story in order to spend the majority of it tied to a chair (though he is actually out walking around in this issue). I keep reading in the solicitations that after this storyline, Wolverine and Cyclops have to clean up after the decimation of the X-Men, and I’m like “sweet.”
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Doom & Doomer Two-fer: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse & Bumblebee

spider-man into the spider-verse posterDOOM DELUISE: Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of Doom & Doomer, where Jim Doom and I sit down for a back-and-forth conversation about the latest superhero movie releases of the day.

Today, we’re here to discuss Bumblebee and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, but before we get to that, let’s check in with Jim and see how he’s doing. Hi, Jim!

JIM DOOM: Hey hey hey. Let’s do this!

You know what today is the anniversary of?

DOOM DELUISE: Nope, what?

JIM DOOM: When we went to see The Spirit together.

Not to spoil the ending of this, but I liked these movies better.

DOOM DELUISE: Damn. Superhero movies have come a long way since then.

What year was that?

JIM DOOM: 2009. On the 10th anniversary of seeing that movie, we’re back!

DOOM DELUISE: Whoa! That’s crazy. Ten years ago, I was unemployed and going to see terrible movies with every bit of free time that I had.

Whoa! Nothing has changed! I’m unemployed again, and still seeing terrible movies all the time!

JIM DOOM: Is that a segue into what we’re here to talk about?

DOOM DELUISE: Yes, except for the fact that the movies we’re here to talk about were actually pretty fun (unless you want to talk about Aquaman, too).

JIM DOOM: I haven’t seen Aquaman yet, so let’s keep it to Spider-Man and Bumblebee.

We can give Aquaman its own review another day.

Although today at the comics shop, the lady at the register pointed to Aquaman on the cover of one of the comics I bought, and was like “Have you seen Aquaman yet?” I said no, I haven’t. She said “It’s really fun!” I asked “Is it good?” And she paused for a long time, and then replied “I think I’ll just stick with saying it’s really fun.”

So between Bumblebee and Spider-Man, where would you like to start? I saw Spider-Man first, so I guess maybe I’d like to vote for starting there, but I could be easily talked out of that. I saw them both the same day so it’s not like Bumblebee is all that fresher in my mind.

DOOM DELUISE: I saw Spider-Man a couple of days before Bumblebee, so I’m happy to start there.

JIM DOOM: I’ll start. I thought this was one of the best superhero movies ever. When we left the theater, I said “I can’t think of a single nit to pick!” Since that time, I’ve thought of one, but I thought it was fantastic. That’s my headline review. What about you? (more…)



I-Earn Fists:
Iron Fist: Episode 1

iron-fist-with-fist

Welcome to I-Earn Fists, the review of Netflix’s Iron Fist, where I assess attributes of each episode based on how many fists they earn. Given the limitations of the human body, these assessments will be made on a scale of zero fists to two fists, where earning zero fists means “bad” and earning two fists means “great” and earning one fist means “okay.”

Scratch that, I haven’t reviewed a thing yet, so let’s change the rules. Fists will now be earned based on punishment that needs to be dealt. If you earn zero fists, you’re doing all right! But if you earn ten fists, you’ve earned yourself a beating!

I’ll tell you why I called this audible: I expect bad things from this show. It’s terribly reviewed, but garbage like Daredevil got pretty positive reviews. If something as bad as Daredevil gets good reviews and this thing gets piled on, it’s probably going to earn a lot of fists.

Before watching a second of this show, I will tell you that I love Iron Fist, the comic book character. I became a fan late during the Brubaker / Fraction run, and I despise his rendition in the recent Power Man and Iron Fist series, where he’s little more than comic relief.

NEW POWER MAN AND IRON FIST SERIES: “How many fists do I-Earn?”
JIM DOOM: “You earn 10 out of 10 fists!”

fist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-smallfist-small

There, that’s how it’ll work. Spoilers and fists follow.
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Doom & Doomer: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

batman v superman posterDOOM DELUISE: Hello, and welcome to the latest installment of Doom and Doomer, wherein Jim Doom and I take a back-and-forth look at comic book movies.

Today, we discuss Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the sequel to 2013’s abysmal Man of Steel. Was this film able to rise above that one, or is this whole DC Comics Cinematic Universe doomed before it’s barely even started?

We’ll get to that eventually, but overall, in regards to Batman v Superman, what did you think, Jim?

JIM DOOM: I think I told you that I was going in with an open mind, ready to be pleasantly surprised. But I have to be honest, even with good intentions I was ready and eager to hate this movie with all my heart.

And it’s still not the movie I would have made, and I still won’t be all that bothered if Zack Snyder gets booted from the franchise (and it looks like that might happen sooner rather than later), but this movie at least did a lot of the things right that I think Man of Steel did wrong, and while that’s basically the measuring stick that I hold it against, it makes me more hopeful for the movies that are coming up.

So where should we start? All the things that are terrible about it? Because I really hate the terrible things, and there were plenty.

DOOM DELUISE: Sure, we can start with the terrible things, but then I don’t think we’ll have much left to talk about after that’s out of the way. (more…)



Thoughts on Leto’s Joker

I was skeptical of the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker.
He didn’t look like Jack Nicholson’s Joker.

He didn’t sound like Jack Nicholson’s Joker.

He didn’t act like Jack Nicholson’s Joker.

But once we saw him, it was clear that the way he looked, sounded and acted was awesome.

A lot of the most noticeable discussion around Jared Leto’s Joker, as revealed fully in the new Suicide Squad trailer yearerday, involves these comparisons, as do the inevitable defenses.

“Oh, you just don’t like it because it’s such a different take on The Joker from what Heath Ledger did.”

And that’s true.

Jared Leto’s Joker doesn’t look like Heath Ledger’s Joker.

He doesn’t sound like Heath Ledger’s Joker.

He doesn’t act like Heath Ledger’s Joker.

That’s ok. None of those comparisons are necessary.

Because Jared Leto’s Joker doesn’t look, sound or act in a way that I would describe as awesome.

The comparisons are irrelevant. 

What is relevant is the fact that his portrayal looks and sounds really stupid. 



Dawn of Justice trailer review: Revealing Superman’s true identity

The expression on Superman’s face at the beginning of the trailer for Dawn of Justice really sums up the tone:

“I don’t have time to explain to these stupid people how lucky they are that I’m clumsily destroying their city.

“But if you’re going to make me explain myself…” (sigh) “…I’ll humor you.”

(It doesn’t help that Henry Cavill plays this disdainful character perfectly.)

I’ll admit that this trailer made me more excited for the movie than I had been. The previous trailer looked as if Zack Snyder was just redoing Watchmen, only this time with more valuable intellectual properties. Almost entirely thanks to how great Ben Affleck appears to be playing Batman, I’m significantly more excited — but not without skepticism.

I hated Man of Steel. I thought it was a terrible movie that made no sense as a Superman movie.

“If you want to make that movie,” I thought to myself and said out loud to anyone who would listen, “why make a Superman movie?”

Snyder recently told Entertainment Weekly that the destruction in Man of Steel was always part of the point — that there would be consequences for what happened.

Barring anything short of leaked emails from screenwriting discussions before the production of Man of Steel, I would be willing to guarantee you Zack Snyder is lying.

And the main piece of evidence is the movie he made.

Half the city is laid waste, and what does Superman do? He stops to make out with Lois Lane.

There is absolutely zero acknowledgment of the consequences amid the damage. Absolutely none! Snyder has gone on to say that the “thesis of Superman” is “that you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences.”

Beyond the point that WHEN HAS THAT EVER BEEN THE THESIS OF SUPERMAN? (which supports the idea that Zack Snyder was not setting out to make a Superman movie, but an indulgent Zack Snyder movie using DC’s properties) that theme was not reflected in Man of Steel at all.

Snyder’s defenses betray an exasperation — “I don’t have time to explain to these stupid people how lucky they are that I’m making epic films for them.”

And I’m afraid that explains what we see in this trailer.

Given the fact that there is absolutely no evidence for Snyder’s claim in the film he made, his defenses come off as baseless rationalizations. He has to pretend this was what it was all about to begin with.

And now he’s made a movie to bring those rationalizations to life.

The theme of this trailer is clearly that Superman is a benevolent godlike creature who is here to save us in spite of ourselves. Whether it’s our rash and cruel judgment (Batman) or our cynical fear (Luthor) only we as humans can really deny ourselves the salvation we desire.

The symbolism reflecting Snyder’s disingenuous quest to legitimize his blockbuster blunder suffering under the knife of jealous critics and insecure fanboys is a little creepy.

I really hope I’m wrong about this. Visually, Dawn of Justice looks like it’s going to be exciting. And I am fully aware of the fact that you can’t judge a movie based on a selectively edited trailer.

CJzHAU5WgAAfa0mAnd I hope that’s the case! Because when you peel back the spectacle and step back and look at this, what do you have?

A contemptible Superman who offers audiences absolutely nothing to sympathize with.

A Batman who appears set up to be a rage-fueled madman hellbent on crippling Superman for no real reason.

Humanity, through the form of the masses and the politicians, who appear to desire nothing more than to be led.

Who wants to watch a movie like that?

I’m clearly skeptical, but also hopeful this might end up being halfway decent, so I showed my girlfriend the trailer to get her opinion. She liked Avengers and the Thor movies (largely because of Chris Hemsworth) but has no dog in the comic book movie fight. She never saw Man of Steel (which is a good thing, because the movie is terrible).

Her first words — “My jaw dropped.”

I was surprised — maybe this looks good after all! So I asked, “You’re excited to see it?”

She was, but for one reason — to see Batman kick Superman’s ass.

“It took me about half a second to be on Team Batman,” she said.

As cool as Batman looks here (He wears armor! He’s in an inexplicable fight in the desert!) there’s little about this trailer, through the apparent moralizing and positioning, that suggests Batman is going to win this fight.

It concerns me that Snyder and DC are so unaware of their completely unlikeable take on Superman that they’re setting up a downer of a movie.



Doom & Doomer: Avengers: Age of Ultron

SPOILER ALERT: THE FOLLOWING DISCUSSION CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE THE MOVIE.

avengers age of ultron posterJIM DOOM: So I remember being in the parking lot outside the theater in Bellevue after seeing the Hulk, or Incredible Hulk — whichever one was part of Phase 1 — thinking, “This is going to build up to an Avengers movie someday, but that is so far away.”

And now not only did that happen — they’ve done it again.

So now that we’re at the conclusion of Phase 2, I’d like to ask you this question kind of in two ways — how are they doing in terms of the movies, as in, what are your top-level thoughts on Avengers 2, and how are they doing in terms of the long-form universe-building?

DOOM DELUISE: It’s interesting that you put it that way, and I want to get back to making a point about the phrasing of that question, but, to just go ahead and answer it, I think they’re doing a pretty great job on both fronts. When it tips too strongly toward ignoring the long-form storytelling (Iron Man 3), it’s obviously not a very good thing (though I personally loved that movie), but the same can be said for when it goes the other way (Iron Man 2).

But the Avengers movies are in a really weird, never-before-seen-in-movies spot, in that they have to blow off an entire “Phase” of movies, but they also have to lay the groundwork for not only the next “Phase,” but also the next chapter of Avengers movies themselves.

That’s not much of an answer. I think Avengers 2 struggles with this problem, and it probably is the number one strike it has against it, as I feel it sometimes spends too much time trying to shoehorn in stuff for what’s coming next.

That said, it still delivers a really great movie, and I loved it. (more…)



The Doomino Effect for Jan 21, 2015

I forgot to do this column for the past 80-some weeks so let’s get back in the swing of things, shall we?

Speaking of swinging, that reminds me of The Amazing Spider-Man #13, part 5 of Spider-Verse.

I cannot tell you the last time I thought a crossover was this much fun. I think on paper, this is probably everything I would hate about crossovers. A lot of the action happens in other series, and there are a lot of other series in which that action is happening, meaning if you want the whole story, you have to buy a lot of other books. There are ridiculous characters, such as a spider-pig and a 1960s Spider-Man, and one that appears to be newspaper Spider-Man, presented in all their absurd glory, and often presented for laughs. Much of the storyline is little more than let’s fight, flee, argue, repeat.

But my goodness, it is flawlessly executed — story and art — and incredibly fun.
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Podcast of Doom (transcript): Survivor Series 2014 Predictions

[SFX: Intro music]

JIM DOOM: Hello and welcome to the latest Podcast of Doom. I’m your host, Jim Doom, and with me as always is Doom DeLuise.

DOOM DeLUISE: Hey.

JIM DOOM: Ever since Fin Fang Doom declared us to be a wrestling site also, we’ve made a little more effort to talk about wrestling —

DOOM DeLUISE: Definitely more of an effort than we’ve made to talk about comics.

[audience laughter]

JIM DOOM: — and last month, we previewed WWE Hell in a Cell. I don’t remember how we did, but shall we take this month like we did last month, and start from the bottom of the card and work up?

DOOM DeLUISE: Yes!
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Doom & Doomer: Thor: The Dark World

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THOR 2 ABOUND. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE THE MOVIE.

loki thor 2 the dark world posterDOOM DELUISE: So Thor 2.

You attentive readers out there may remember, when Jim and I sat down to review the first Thor a few years ago, we were in agreement that we both enjoyed the movie.

As Jim said at the time, he thought it was better than Iron Man 2, but not quite as good as Iron Man 1.

Now that some years have passed, and we’ve seen several more Avengers-related movies, how would you rank this new Thor edition in the Marvel pantheon?

JIM DOOM: Well, since you teed it up that way, I’d like to say that I recently re-watched Thor 1, and I thought it held up incredibly well.

DOOM DELUISE: Ditto! I liked Thor 1 even more the second time I watched it, about a week and a half ago.

JIM DOOM: And in some ways, I would put Thor 2 above it.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Thor 2 — it did much of the things I loved about Thor 1, and improved on the things I didn’t.

I did not see that coming.

I figured it’d be enjoyable, but I heard it was getting some poor reviews, so at best I was hoping for a decent filler movie.
I guess when it comes to the Marvel movies that set up the Avengers movies, I should’ve known better.

Though I’m glad I went in with low expectations. That’s always more fun. (more…)