Friday, 24 July 2015

I met the real life Hal Jordan & Barry Allen!

Tonight I was lucky enough to meet some genuine, real life heroes!

On 14 October 2012, Felix Baumgartner flew approximately 24 miles into the stratosphere in a helium balloon before free falling then parachuting to Earth. While falling Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier, becoming the Fastest Man Alive! Truly, a real life version of Barry Allen, The Flash!

Baumgartner also broke the record for the highest altitude jump. This record was originally set by Baumgartner's mentor, retired USAF Colonel Joseph Kittinger, who also jumped from a helium ballon, in 1960! Kittinger is a fearless test pilot who is basically a real life version of Hal Jordan, Green Lantern!

Here's me with Felix Baumgartner:



Here's me with Joseph Kittinger:


Here's Baumgartner's capsule and pressure suit:



I was also lucky enough to meet Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space! Sharman travelled to the Mir Space Station in 1991. Here's my astronaut selfie:


Very cool people! It was an honour to meet them.

Monday, 20 July 2015

A few thoughts on Ant-Man (SPOILER-FREE)


Ant-Man is a fun film that I intend to rewatch a lot in the future. Having said that, there was something missing in the film for me. It's difficult to say this without sounding like I'm doing some tired 'small' joke, just like every other reviewer of this film, but Ant-Man is a lot more lightweight than the other Marvel films. I came out feeling like I'd just watched a particularly good TV pilot rather than a great movie. 
At first it was difficult to put my finger on what was missing from Ant-Man. I thought at first that it might be Paul Rudd's performance. It felt like he was going for Robert Downey Jr's laid back attitude but ended up coming across as flat and unengaging. 
But that wasn't it. 
Then I thought it might be the charmless, dull, bog-standard villain, played by that bald bloke out House of Cards. But let's be honest, there have been other Marvel films that have suffered from weak villains (Guardians of the Galaxy being the latest) and that usually doesn't spoil the film too much.
Then it hit me. Ant-Man really feels like the ghost of an Edgar Wright script. 
Ant-Man was originally to have been scripted by Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, and directed by Wright. Somewhere along the line Rudd apparently rewrote the script with the new director, Peyton Reed. I must emphasise at this point that I had honestly forgotten all about this when I entered the cinema and while I'm a fan of Wright's work, I didn't enter the film with any prejudices about "the film we could have had". Despite this however, lines and scenes that should have been hilarious raised only a smile or a brief laugh. To me, these scenes felt like they'd been conceived by Wright but executed without his pace or wit. If you gave a Spaced script to a director who was unfamiliar with Wright's humour and timing I imagine you'd get a similar result.
This certainly isn't true of every scene. There's a lot that works. The ending, while predictable, is beautifully executed. Michael Douglas is fantastic, a joy to watch in every scene he's in. He's helped by the fact that Hank Pym's backstory and the way it fits into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most interesting parts of the film. Evangeline Lilly is for the most part great, but unfortunately has very little chemistry with Rudd.
Ant Man's not the strongest Marvel film ever, but it's still very entertaining. And come on! Edgar Wright or no Edgar Wright, bloody Ant-Man just made $58 million in its opening weekend! Ant-Man! That's awesome!!! Truly we are living in a golden age of cinema!
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Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is over, and so here is my ranking of every Marvel film so far from favourite to least favourite (although I must emphasise, I love them all). Feel free to shout at me in the comments.
1. Iron Man (2008)
2. The Avengers (2012)
3. Iron Man 3 (2013)
4. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
6. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
7. Iron Man 2 (2010)
8. Thor (2011)
9. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
11. Ant-Man (2015)
12. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Josh Trank's Fantastic Four (Hanna-Barbera Style)

When I was a kid the Hanna-Barbera Fantastic Four cartoon was on at six on a Saturday morning. I didn't have an alarm clock so I made myself get up really early and then just watched Ceefax until it came on. Needless to say I can't wait for Josh Trank's Fantastic Four, so I made this.



UPDATE: Look who shared (and loved) my video!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! :)

Friday, 10 July 2015

Doctor Who: Is Maisie Williams Playing Susan?


The BBC have released the trailer for Doctor Who Series 9! It's already set me (and countless other fans) off on wild flights of fancy, trying to figure out what the series has in store for us. The biggest question posed by the trailer is, just who is Maisie Williams playing? The Doctor seems to know her and she seems to know him. They seem to have not seen each other for some time ("What took you so long, old man?"). Could this be The Doctor's granddaughter, Susan?

If this is the case, this is pretty huge!

As we saw in The Name of the Doctor (2013) Susan escaped from Gallifrey with her grandfather, The Doctor back when he first nicked his TARDIS. She was with him right at the start! Apart from The Name of The Doctor (where we only see the back of her head) she hasn't been seen properly in the TV series since she was abandoned by The First Doctor in future London following The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964). Well, technically she turned up in The Five Doctors during the '80s, but she didn't really do much except fall over for no reason, so that doesn't count.

There was one blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the trailer that backs up the theory that Maisie Williams is Susan. If you look carefully during the trailer you can glimpse a grey Dalek with smaller lights on it's head...
The Dalek is blurry but what we can see of him looks very much like the Daleks seen in Dalek Invasion of Earth, Susan's last appearance!



Am I right? Probably not. After all, my Missy theory was way off. But it's fun to speculate. Can't wait for the 19th of September!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

DC Comics' Kevin Dooley VS The W.E.T.R.A.T.S


DC Comics and Marvel Comics are currently putting their characters through quite a few changes. Captain America is black, Thor is a girl and the Marvel Universe has been completely destroyed, save for a single "Battleworld" on which alternate versions of Marvel's Heroes & Villains battle for dominance. Meanwhile over at DC, Superman's secret identity has been revealed by Lois Lane, Commissioner Gordon is Batman and Wonder Woman has pointy bits on her bracelets! Online fans have been divided once again between those who cry "This character has changed too much, it's all ruined!" and those who cry "What's the point, it's just going to change back to the status quo?!"

For the most part I'm enjoying the ride, although I have had the odd fanboy moan over the cancellation of Fantastic Four. It's amusing to see fans, some of whom are older than me and should know better, acting as if this is the first time the Big Two have monkeyed around with their characters in order to shift a few extra comics.

In the early 90s Superman was killed and Batman had his back broken, and it all ended up being quite a money spinner for DC. DC sought to repeat this success in a number of ways, for example Green Lantern went evil and was replaced by a younger model, while Aquaman had his hand chewed off by piranhas. The editor in charge of the changes to GL and Aquaman was a man named Kevin Dooley. Dooley apparently got sick of the constant complaints he was receiving from hardcore fanboys and eventually, in the letter column of Aquaman #0 (Oct, 1994) he let rip. His infamous WETRATS rant is still bitched about on message boards to this day, but I have to say, I completely agree with him. Most of what he said can easily be applied to today's fans and today's comics. The only difference is that many of today's fans are moaning because comics aren't more like they were in the '90s!

Here for your enjoyment is Kevin Dooley's WETRATS rant (I've highlighted the bits I thought were particularly relevant today).

What do you think? Are you a WETRAT?


Intro to Letters Page - Part 1

Intro to Letters Page - Part 2

Reply to letter


Reply to letter

Reply to letter


Closing column - Part One 
Closing column - Part Two

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