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Venom: Circle of Four (Review)

If you had told me that I would enjoy a Venom collection quite this much, I would have laughed. I picked up the oversized hardcover collection of Circle of Four after enjoying Rick Remender’s Venom issues tying into the Spider-Island crossover. Which, I guess, is one of the benefits of such spin-offs and crossovers, I suppose. Anyway, intrigued by Remender’s take on the character, I was curious enough to take a look at this collection, featuring a crossover between Venom, Red Hulk, X-23 and the new Ghost Rider. Of course, two of those books had been cancelled by the time the crossover rolled around, so the whole “mini-event” was rolled up into Remender’s Venom. While Circle of Four isn’t necessarily a groundbreaking comic book storyline, or even a truly exceptional event, it does demonstrate that even the most conventional premise can work well in the right hands.

Back in black, baby!

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No Venom Intended: Thoughts on the Inevitable Amazing Spider-Man Spin-Off…

Apparently Sony is pressing full speed ahead with this Spider-Man license. I suspect they looked at the massive success that Marvel, Paramount and ultimately Disney have had with their series of Avengers films. Releasing a series of relatively independent superhero films that all tied together proved to be quite the financial success, becoming one of the biggest earners of all time. It’s easy enough to understand why other studios might want to follow the business model. The problem? Sony only really has the license to Spidey and his supporting cast. How do you build a multi-character franchise when you only own the rights to one admittedly iconic? You spin-off his supporting characters, of course. In this case, it’s the villain Venom, who is reportedly getting a film from director Josh Trank, who made quite the impression with his début directing Chronicle, and possibly tying into the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man.

He’s coming right at you!

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The Trouble With Trilogies: Why Superhero Fanchises Have Trouble With the Third Instalment…

So, it turns out that The Dark Knight Rises has a top secret ending. That’s very interesting, and I wonder what it could be. A few obvious possibilities have popped into my head, but there’s one facet of this news which really fascinates me: this piece of information gives weight to the suggestion that Nolan is going to give his superhero franchise a definitive ending, something that perhaps explains why we don’t really have a “classic” superhero trilogy yet, despite the fact that quite a few comic book characters have pushed well past the third film. So will Batman be able to do what Superman, Spider-Man, the X-Men and even another Batman have failed to do before him? Will he craft a complete and wonderful trilogy?

Batman really wants to know what the ending is...

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Non-Review Review: X-Men III – Last Stand

I’ll confess right off the bat that I don’t share the same honest-to-goodness hatred of this third film in the X-Men series that most on-line commentators do. It isn’t a patch on Bryan Singer’s original two films (and – looking at Superman Returns – it might have been better for all if he’d stayed on here), but it isn’t quite as weak as other third-instalments in other superhero franchises (Spider-Man III and Batman Forever, for example). It’s not a fantastic film, and it’s not the final chapter that the film series deserved, but it’s not a complete disaster.

Weathering the Storm...

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Non-Review Review: Spider-Man III

This is a post as part of “Raimi-fest”, the event being organised by the always wonderful Bryce over at Things That Don’t Suck.

Spider-Man III has a lot of problems. I’ll get to a couple of them in a moment. However, the single biggest issue with the movie seems to be that nobody seems especially interested in making it. It’s a feeling that it’s hard to back up with substantive evidence, but there’s just this general sensation that the film wasn’t the product of the same love and enthusiasm that made the first two films so refreshing. It almost seems like the movie was made out of a sense of obligation, rather than because anyone wanted to be there. It seems that they didn’t really care.

Back in black?

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March (2011) In Review

That was a fun month.

I’m still, to be honest, entirely speechless. I picked up the Best Pop Culture Award at the Irish Blog Awards earlier this month, and I’m still delighted and humbled and honoured and all those things. I know I don’t blog to win awards, but I really feel motivated to try even harder to justify the huge vote of confidence that it represents.


Other than that, there was tonnes of stuff. I’m currently blogging along with Things That Don’t Suck‘s  “Raimi-fest”, which is a blast. Always a joy to be asked to take part. March also had some fairly decent films – with two brilliant films in Source Code and The Adjustment Bureau, along with a slew of quite good films to go along with it. So that was pretty fantastic. Although maybe I’m just a big softie.

I got to ramble (at length) about the upcoming Superman film, and revisit Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy (and just why he was so damn suited to it). I had my first honest-to-goodness interview, with the wonderful Grace Dyas.

I defended big budget blockbusters, wondered who killed The Mountains of Madness and got to discuss why this year’s Academy Awards felt like a great big group hug.

It was a fun month. Hopefully the trend will continue!

Leapin’ Lizards: Spider-Man’s Next Opponent Revealed…

It was recently revealed that the villain of the Spider-Man reboot would be The Lizard as played by Rhys Ifans. While the presence of Andrew Garfield and Rhys Ifans in the film run the risk of turning the movie into a British invasion, I’m actually relatively impressed by the way that this film is coming together – the casting of Emma Stone and the hiring of director Marc Webb have helped greatly. However, I remain somewhat skeptical of the film – given the nature of its production, the fact that it’s a reboot and unfortunate departure of Sam Raimi. So it comes as something of a bittersweet pill that the villain is named as Spider-Man’s long-term reptile opponent. Apparently Raimi had a long and on-going argument with the studio about the character, him wanting to use the man-sized reptile adversary, but the studio balking over it.

It's not easy being green

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