THE GREATEST CREATION SINCE SOLID MATTER AND SENTIENT LIFE!!! Right, Well-Red? ;D
It’s that time again. Spider-Man time. With the long-running Dan Slott era of Spider-Man finally about to end soon after a whole decade, it’s time to go back and read all the good old stories of my favorite superhero. Bear with me, this might take quite some time… Continue Reading
Back in the early 90’s, before the great dark age began, Marvel suddenly decided to start a whole new line of comics that took place in the future. The original 2099 universe died out after only 3 years, but it was never forgotten and some of the characters still pop up every now and then. Spider-Man 2099 even had his own series again for a while there not long ago.
Anyway, let’s talk about the wacky future world of Marvel and its various ups and downs.
Doom 2099 was one of my favorites of the line. A big super-villain suddenly getting his own ongoing title was pretty unusual back in the day, and this one also stood apart from the others by featuring an original version of a character from the present day instead of a futuristic replacement like the rest of the line. They never really explain very clearly how Doctor Doom is still alive in the far future, but whatever.
John Francis Moore, a writer that’s mostly known (or unknown) for entirely forgettable runs on some big titles, does possibly his best work ever here, bringing a surprisingly entertaining tale of a seemingly timelost and semi-amnesiac Doctor Doom trying to conquer a dystopian cyberpunk future.
The later issues of the series also feature some early work by Warren Ellis, who has Doom become the President of the United States. He sets up a lot of interesting things with a lot of potential, but it ends up having a pretty rushed ending since the whole 2099 line ended up collapsing. Still a pretty decent read overall though.
Punisher 2099 is one strange book, co-written by Pat Mills, head of 2000AD and writer of classic stories such as Marshal Law, ABC Warriors, and Slaine. This version of The Punisher actually feels very much like a mash-up of Marshal Law, Slaine, and maybe a bit of Judge Dredd. It wouldn’t be a Pat Mills story without some biting social commentary so here we see a disturbing vision of the future where the police only protect those who can afford to pay their subscription fees. Future cop Jake Gallows gets fed up with this system and decides to dish out his own brand of brutal justice for free. He’s also more than a little bit mentally unstable and naturally, it’s debatable whether or not he’s just as bad as the criminals he punishes.
It’s a very chaotic and over the top book, almost to the point of satire (which is also standard fare for Mills), which will surely not be to everyone’s taste and the art is very 90’s X-TREEEEEEEEEME, but I thought it was a pretty fun series overall.
And then there’s Ravage, the one main 2099 character that wasn’t based on a pre-existing character, though you could hardly be blamed if you thought that he looked suspiciously similar to Grimjack. Surprisingly, Ravage started out being written by Stan Lee himself. Ravage is a very confused character though, starting out as a clean-cut corporate man who literally just transforms into a rugged dystopian tough guy overnight, complete with entirely new behavior and speech patterns. There’s no actual reason for these drastic changes other than the fact that Ravage lost his job and became a fugitive and so instantly became a completely different person. Later he suddenly also gains the ability to shoot energy blasts out of his hands.
The early issues are actually pretty awful. It’s no surprise at all that they had to bring in a new creative team and completely revamp the character after only 8 issues. Pat Mills was given the title and suddenly Ravage lost his Grimjack look and energy blasts and became some kind of weird werebeast. The book improves a lot with Mills, but it still never really takes off beyond average quality. In fact, it starts going downhill a lot again in the later issues, where Ravage suddenly leaves his dystopian future city setting to go run around in the wastelands and jungles outside with his new giant bat companion and transforms yet again into a kind of bad Hulk knockoff. Unfortunately, Ravage is ultimately better left forgotten.
Other than the fact that all the characters are mutants, there’s almost no connections at all to the modern day X-Men or any of their villains in X-Men 2099. It might as well be an entirely unrelated property, but it’s still a decent book for what it is. The problems the team faces are pretty off-beat, and it all feels very different than your usual, everyday superhero team book. It kinda feels more like one of those strange independent superhero teams like Ex-Mutants or something. It never really rises above being merely “decent”, so I don’t know that I’d exactly recommend it, but it’s a lot better than Ravage at least…
There was also a short-lived spinoff series, X-Nation 2099, which focused on a new team of younger mutants. Now THAT one was truly fucking awful. It got canceled after only 6 issues and it’s easy to see why. It’s one of those unbearable X-TREEEEEEEME 90’s teen books where everyone talks like they’re in a bad 90’s toy commercial, and have about the same level of character depth too.
Ghost Rider 2099 unsurprisingly has absolutely nothing to do with the original Ghost Rider. No more supernatural stuff here, instead Ghost Rider is now a high-tech android body inhabited by the mind of a dead hacker who was placed there by a mysterious group of AIs. The tech jargon can be a little silly at times, it occasionally feels like Len Kaminski was just throwing random computer terms in there just to sound futuristic. Despite that, the story is still pretty interesting and it’s all extremely 90’s cyberpunk.
And then there’s the original Spider-Man 2099 series. This was my first and favorite 2099 title as a kid. Does it still hold up today? Ehhhhh…it’s a mixed bag. Peter David writes some interesting scripts, as usual, but the overarching story is just so scattered and directionless, and the art is almost constantly changing and usually it’s not very good. There are some decent stories in here, but that’s about the highest compliment I can give it. Sometimes decent. Far from David’s best work.
This sentiment sums up the classic 2099 line as a whole, really. It has a lot of great ideas with a ton of potential, and occasionally it would get really close to realizing that potential, but it just never quite came together all the way. There are some entertaining stories here, but none of them are what I would call essential.
But wait, it’s not quite over yet!
Spider-Man 2099 returned a few years ago with Peter David at the helm again, was canceled 12 issues in when Secret Wars hit, “replaced” with a Secret Wars 2099 mini-series, and then immediately relaunched yet again for a 25 issue run. Confusing? That’s superhero comics for you.
Anyway, this run of Spider-Man 2099 is easily the best thing to ever come out of the 2099 universe. Unfortunately, it also relies heavily on references to Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 history, so I imagine that it’s probably not very new-reader friendly. Great for long-time fans like me though. A weird and complicated long-running plot that features a lot of convoluted time-travelling and alternate realities, but I’m all for that sort of thing.
Ultimately, I don’t think I’d recommend most of the 2099 world to anyone but the most die-hard Marvel fans that were looking for something off-beat and obscure and were willing to overlook a lot of flaws. It was an interesting experiment to see what superheroes might be like in a dystopian cyberpunk future, but overall I’d say it was a failed one.
I don’t get all the hype surrounding this one. Sure, Robert Pattinson plays a convincing criminal scumbag, but that’s about the only nice thing I can say about Good Time. It’s a really grimy crime drama where very little actually happens, it just focuses on how terrible the main character and his friends and family are. I suppose that’s why people like it, because the characters are so convincing in how repulsive they are, but that’s not much of a positive in my book. Terrible pacing, unpleasant characters, and an oddly blaring synthwave soundtrack that doesn’t feel like it matches anything that’s happening on screen. No thanks.
After watching Mother I realized that I hadn’t actually seen the last few Aronofsky movies for some reason. Black Swan is no Mother, but it was a decent thriller with some surreal reality-bending twists, even to someone with absolutely no interest in ballet.
Ah, I should have known. Pretty much anything that has to pad its title with “a much more famous director presents” is going to be shitfest, especially yet another “Wes Craven Presents” horror movie. Just another piece of typical late 90’s straight-to-video trash that was almost entirely filler that was trying to disguise the fact that the budget was about $500.
Well this was a strange one. Cast A Deadly Spell is a detective noir story in a world where everyone uses magic. The intro text is literally just “1948, Los Angeles. Everyone uses magic.”! It seems like something you’d expect to see in an old Vertigo comic, and it’s kind of surprising that they actually made a whole movie of it back in the early 90’s. It’s very ambitious, and while the budget isn’t quite capable of backing up everything they try to do here, and it’s more than a little cheesy, it still managed to be decently entertaining.
Now this is one that actually lives up to all its hype. This is easily Martin McDonagh’s best movie so far. It’s kind of hard to describe the plot. A woman is looking for justice for her raped and murdered daughter and gets into a weirdly complicated conflict with the local police and other townsfolk. It’s part drama, part black comedy, and it has an amazing cast of complex characters. Highly recommended.
This was a surprise. A Netflix horror movie that seemed to appear out of nowhere that’s actually good? Quite good, in fact. The Ritual had a great atmosphere that starts out feeling like a higher quality version of The Blair Witch, but then takes some strange, unexpected turns. Definitely check this one out if you’re a horror fan.
Ugh. Why do they keep making these? Why do I keep watching them? I suppose that it’s technically an improvement, since I couldn’t get through 20 minutes of the last Hellraiser, but it’s still a pretty bad movie overall. It’s a shame, because I get the feeling that the people behind this had good intentions and that they wanted to tell a better Hellraiser story than the last several barely-related sequels, but they just didn’t have the talent to pull it off. It has an interesting core concept, but it’s all just so shoddy, including the standard garbage horror movie move of padding most of the movie with a huge stretch of barely anything happening in the middle because they just didn’t have the budget to do anything more interesting. What a waste.
This seemed like it could be an interesting story, but it just didn’t work for me. I think most of the blame lies in the inexplicable decision to present most of the story as if it was a comedy, despite almost nothing actually being funny. None of the serious situations seem to have any tension because they’re too busy trying to play everything as a joke without actually putting any jokes in. Cruise just kind of fumbles around like Jack Tripper and there are some strange animated transition sequences, all of which seem like they’re supposed to be making you laugh, but just end up draining the tension out of what would otherwise be a pretty serious story. Oh well.
Another movie from the horror crap pile, Cheerleader Camp is painfully 80’s, but in all the wrong ways. It feels more like some bad 80’s teen sex comedy than a horror movie. Not enough focus on the horror and the jokes just aren’t funny in either an intentional or accidental sense.
The latest Scott Adkins film, which is based on the 2000AD comic by Pat Mills of the same name. Pretty standard Scott Adkins movie, kind of mid-range quality, neither amazing or terrible, but with some pretty impressive fight scenes. This one has Adkins playing an assassin who suddenly finds himself up against all the other members of his local assassin’s club in a very John Wick kind of way (though the original comic came out almost 30 years ago). Pretty enjoyable if you’re into that sort of thing.
Awww yeah. It was even better than I expected. I don’t know why, I guess I felt a tinge of doubt because of the less familiar characters and setting. Silly, I know, but the sad truth is that there just aren’t a whole lot of good Black Panther comics out there, so I wasn’t sure how they would go about making something great out of mostly weak source material. They really did it though. They did a great job making this whole new unknown world and its culture strange and interesting, yet not so alien that it wasn’t understandable or relatable.
It was a little deeper, darker, and surprisingly light on comedy compared to most other Marvel movies too. It felt like something refreshingly different, yet still something that fits well in the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. The supporting cast and villain were really done too. They didn’t feel like just background characters or plot devices, they had a lot more personality than a lot of secondary characters in superhero movies usually do. Good times. Can’t believe Infinity War is almost here already too! Wooooo!
An interesting movie about a man who wakes up an amnesiac after a car crash and comes to find that everything that comes within 50 feet of him instantly dies. It does a pretty good job of keeping this seemingly limited premise interesting throughout the whole movie, with some interesting twists along the way. It’s no Blade Runner, but it’s still worth checking out for fans of sci-fi thrillers.
I’m pretty sure that this didn’t actually play in theaters. Not in this country anyway. What a shitfest. Another cheap cash-in attempt on the brief comic-movie craze of the 90’s where everyone was trying to ride the coattails of Tim Burton’s Batman. Red Skull is Italian for some reason. Captain America’s damn mask doesn’t even fit right. Just awful stuff.
Well, it wasn’t as terrible as the 90’s Captain America, I’ll give it that much. Still not a very good movie though. It didn’t feel much like a Punisher movie, really. It’s just a generic Dolph Lungdren movie with the Punisher name slapped on it, and not a very good one. Not horrible, but completely forgettable. Oh well.
Strange movie. It’s listed as an action/horror, but despite all the violence, I wouldn’t really call it either of those. It’s really more of a comedy. It’s about a law office building being infected by some semi-rage virus, but it’s really not about the virus. It’s about a disgruntled, recently fired employee who’s trying to fight his way to his former boss at the top of the tower so he can give him a piece of his mind before the quarantine’s lifted in eight hours. The time is important because of a legal precedent that was established regarding the liability of people for their crimes while under the influence of the virus, so he has to hurry and kill his boss while it’s still technically legal. Like I said, strange movie. Enjoyable enough though, if you’re into that kind of violent office struggle business.
(This movie is All The Colors of the Dark, as I just realized this poster doesn’t even have the name of the movie on it for some reason) Mix a giallo with Rosemary’s Baby and any given generic 70’s movie about satanic cults and you’d get this movie, which is not even slightly like the poster suggests. It’s mainly just about this woman who’s being stalked by some weird guy that she has dreams about where he kills her. She agonizes about this for a long time and gets freaked out by him randomly popping up all over the place, until she meets a new friend who suggests that she should stop seeking help from psychiatrists and such and…attend a black mass. What a great idea! Naturally, she agrees to do it, with very little need for convincing, and quickly finds herself being forced to drink dog blood and getting gang raped. Great. That’s more than enough of that. I’ll have to live without knowing how it turns out, though I’m sure I can make a pretty good guess.
This series seems to be regarded as a cult classic, but I sure can’t tell why from this original film. This is a fucking awful movie. Terrible characters, terrible actors, terrible effects. It’s not scary, it’s not funny, I don’t know how anyone could like this movie. It’s a miserable, ugly mess. Maybe they like the sequels? I hear those got bigger budgets and are allegedly better. Ugh. Guess I might as well try one.
Surprisingly, the sequel actually was better. It’s still pretty awful, but it managed to climb a few steps from completely irredeemably awful to kinda funny awful. The budget clearly got a bit bigger and they spent it all on the effects of a whole house full of bizarre new freaks. It’s almost like a comedic, poor man’s version of Nightbreed.
The 3rd one picks up directly where the 2nd one left off, and continues the story with the same tone and most of the same cast. Again, this is another objectively terrible movie, but there was something strangely compelling about how utterly ridiculous it all was. I’m not sure what I would even compare these to. I guess Dead Alive is the closest in tone. Just completely terrible and insane, but somehow a charming aberration.
Beowulf answers the question “what if the story of Beowulf happened in some weird half-assed medieval steampunk future where Christopher Lambert was a Beowulf who carries around a bunch of weird Bloodborne-type trick weapons, Grendel is some weird ghost/monster who has to be covered with a weird cgi purple fog almost constantly so you can’t see how shitty his costume is, the music is all weird 90’s industrial bands, and the director was clearly lazily trying to replicate the style of Mortal Kombat the movie for some reason?”.
It’s…not a good movie. The production value is amazingly bad considering the 1999 release date. Terrible sets, terrible effects, terrible costumes, terrible quick cut action with a guy who is clearly not Lambert doing a bunch of fancy air flips. If you have some kind of morbid fascination with crappy old Christopher Lambert movies (and maybe I do just a little…) you might find it slightly entertaining, in a fascinating train wreck kind of way, but otherwise you should really avoid it.
This is another Italian Rosemary’s Baby, but also an Italian Exorcist. Much like the previous Italian Rosemary’s Baby, it’s also terribly slow-paced and boring. It was almost interesting for a few minutes when the protagonist family is introduced and you meet the complete asshole father and the strange, foul-mouthed children, all of which are so unusual that it’s briefly entertaining, but that quickly fades and it just slides right into snoozefest territory. Bleh.
In typical Italian horror fashion, there were actually 3 of these movies, and each one was by a different director and had no relation at all to any of the other films. The 2nd one was by Mario Bava, who I’ve learned I’m not a fan of, so I skipped it and went straight to the 3rd, which sounded like it might be more my style. Well, it gets a little closer at least. This is more of a typical 80’s Italian horror, with a lot of strange characters, synth music, and imaginatively gruesome deaths. Even by those standards though, it doesn’t really stand out that much from other similar movies. The plot is goofy and near-incomprehensible, as are some of the characters’ actions. It’s also all about a mysterious Satanic cult and most of the movie takes place aboard some kind of possessed, evil train, I guess? I’m not even sure what exactly the deal with that train was. Even with the whole train thing, it doesn’t do anything particularly memorable. It’s pretty average overall, at least by the standards of bad Italian 80’s horror. I wouldn’t really recommend it, but I think I’ll hang on to it just the same.
A decent, but pretty predictable fireman drama/thriller that still holds up relatively well. Not much else to say about this one way or the other!
A very fun action-adventure movie. Much like the first movie, it plays out like some kind of crazy R-rated extended episode of James Bond Jr. (anyone else even remember that show?), full of cartoonish characters and violence that feel like they shouldn’t work, but it’s all done so well that it’s all quite entertaining. Matthew Vaughn has truly become a better Mark Millar than Mark Millar is these days, if you know what I mean.
What a waste of time and talent this was. Pacino just kind of sleepwalks his way through this, Karl Urban does a decent job, but can’t really carry this mess all on his own, and everyone else around them is pretty disappointing. I can’t blame any of them either, because this is a pretty badly written movie. Hangman is trying hard to be the new Seven, but it’s just a constant string of missed opportunities. The killer’s shtick is that he hangs his victims and carves letters into their chests in order to slowly spell out a word. His methods aren’t interesting in any way. His motives, when they’re finally revealed, are so simple and boring that they don’t feel at all genuine. The way the cops go about trying to track him down is just baffling. No one in the entire fucking movie ever even suggests the idea that maybe they should try to figure out what the fucking word is that the killer’s spelling. I suppose that was for the best though, as the revealed word turns out to be something that has no meaning or significance to anyone except the killer, and serves only to make his motives even more confusing. Not worth watching at all.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back, and is now suddenly in space and in the future, because sure, why the hell not. Things seem to be off to a good start so far though, and I’m confident that this will be another enjoyable season full of surprises and comic book craziness.
Vikings has also returned. I have to admit, it feels like it’s missing something with Travis Fimmel no longer around. Ragnar’s various sons were able to maintain the show’s momentum even without him for the rest of the previous season, but will they be able to keep carrying this show on their own when more and more of the original cast seems to keep disappearing? Guess we’ll see…
What a great cover! So naturally it’s a disappointing snoozefest. Fulci actually plays himself in this, in a weird story where he’s starting to lose his mind after directing all those nasty horror movies and his psychiatrist uses it as an opportunity to go on a killing spree and try to pin it on his patient. Wait, wasn’t that the plot of Night Breed (and many others)? While the movie Nightbreed actually came out the same year as this, the book came out a few years earlier. Tsk tsk. It doesn’t actually share any similarities beyond that though. It’s just a kind of boring slasher movie that’s apparently supposed to be a satire, but there isn’t a laugh in sight. Certainly not Fulci’s finest moment.
This Fulci film was much better. It’s kind of a cross between Carrie, Suspiria, and Patrick. An unpopular girl gets tricked Carrie-style, but then ends up getting knocked into a coma in the course of the prank, and then starts possessing another girl and causing strange things to happen to her tormentors with her mysterious coma-witch powers. It’s everything Cat in the Brain wasn’t, with cool over-the-top synth music and a lot of bizarrely memorable death scenes. Great stuff.
Another strange giallo movie. Pretty standard giallo stuff, with bizarre, compelling characters wrapped up in a murder mystery full of crazy twists and turns. Not amazing, but strange and interesting enough to be decently enjoyable.
This is a classic that I’ve seen quite a few times already. Sexy energy vampire from space invades London and causes an epidemic of weird life-sucking zombies. A must-see 80’s sci-fi/horror that was written by the late, great Dan O’Bannon and directed by the also late and great Tobe Hooper.
An interesting werewolf movie from the 90’s. A bit goofy, but the effects were pretty good for the time (except for that one awful CG transformation scene). The interesting hook is that the family dog is really kind of the main character here, with everything kind of revolving around him, as he’s the only one who realizes what’s really going on and trying to do something about it. The writing of the human characters is actually a little frustrating. Spoiler alert: the tough lawyer mom who is supposed to be the actual main character ends up becoming unbelievably stupid. She sees news reports about a bunch of people being found savagely killed in the place her brother just moved to her place from, goes in his trailer and finds pictures of girlfriend having been horribly mutilated, and even finds a journal where he flat out says I’M A WEREWOLF AND I’VE BEEN KILLING A SHITLOAD OF PEOPLE, but when the police find a mutilated dead body near her house after all that she says “OH. I GUESS MY DOG MUST HAVE DONE IT. BETTER SEND HIM TO THE POUND TO BE PUT DOWN!”. Pretty bad even by conveniently dumb horror movie character standards. Still, the rest was good enough to be enjoyable despite that.
This is one of those ones where I really should have known better. The horrible quality was actually kind of funny at first. It seemed like some college kids just made this on their personal camcorder and they seemed to be having a good time and not taking it too seriously, but the novelty wears off as the story just stops going anywhere at all after the first 20 minutes or so. You can’t be awful AND boring. That just doesn’t work.
This is like a cheap, Italian version of The Exorcist. Oddly enough, it’s by the same director as the infamous Troll 2, but it’s nowhere near that level of awfulness. It’s not great, but it’s not completely terrible. I enjoyed it a bit, but I don’t think I’d go out of my way to recommend it to anyone else.
Hm. Another winner, surprisingly. This is a very strange horror comedy about two brothers who run a popular vegetarian diner, but secretly make all the food out of people, but that’s also a cover for their real goal of creating a patchwork body for a ritual to summon their weird fake Egyptian goddess, Sheetar. One of the brothers is also a wrestling fan and ends up doing an exhibition match against a guy called Jimmy Hitler. Very strange stuff. I got a good laugh out of it though.
And finally, we binge-watched the new Punisher series. It’s sure a very different version of the classic Punisher origin, leaving all the familiar Vietnam War ties behind and pretty much cutting the mob out of the story altogether. It was an excellent show though, one that I’d think would be enjoyable for both fans and newcomers to The Punisher. Extremely violent at times, not that I’m complaining.