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Steve reviews: THE AVENGERS!

At the time of this writing, I literally just got home from The Avengers. I’m still kinda shaking, but I’m going to try to keep the inner fanboy at bay while I write this review. It’s gonna be hard.

This is a spoiler-free review! However since the definition of the word “spoiler” is different to some people, I’m putting my entire review after the break:

Read more …

Filed under the avengers iron man captain america thor hawkeye black widow hulk nick fury mariah hill phil coulson agent coulson loki marvel stan lee bruce banner steve rogers tony stark natasha romanoff clint barton thanos

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Avengers Week! Steve reviews: Captain America: The First Avenger

Day 5 of Avengers Week! Today is Thursday! Avengers Eve! One more movie to go before the epic event, so let’s get started talking about Captain America: The First Avenger!

A lot of things about this movie blew my mind: CGI “Mini-Chris”, the historical setting, the patriotism of it all, Hayley Atwell’s red dress…it was very well done, all of it, except for one major flaw. However, let’s not talk about that flaw right now. Let’s talk about what made Cap one of my favorite of Marvel’s movies.

The heroes in this film are brilliant. Chris Evans has already solidified himself as the go-to guy when it comes to making comic book films, and while I still think we could’ve found a better Steve Rogers, I was incredibly pleased by his performance. Hayley Atwell plays stunning and no-nonsense British officer, Peggy Carter, with ease. Sebastian Stan plays Steve’s best friend, Bucky Barnes, in such a believable way; he plays their relationship off like they’ve actually been friends since childhood. Dominic Cooper played a very flashy, classic Howard Stark. The amazingly-talented Stanley Tucci plays German scientist Dr. Erskine with such gusto and passion, even though he’s only on-screen for a few moments. Then, of course, there’s Tommy Lee Jones playing the sarcastic and badass Colonel Phillips.

All of these actors do a phenomenal job, clearly taking their roles very seriously. Their mannerisms and speech patterns are even historically accurate. There’s not a weak link in the bunch, and it’s an absolute pleasure watching such an ensemble perform.

A lot of people found the USO musical scene cheesy and stupid…well duh! That was the point! The throwback to the original costume and comic book was a stroke of genius and perfectly fit the time period.

Speaking of the costume, I absolutely loved it in this movie, a lot better than what we’re getting in The Avengers. I get that they had to modernize it, but I loved the 40s look! It was utilitarian, and everything looked like it had a purpose. It wasn’t just for show like, say, Thor’s outfit. It was a real soldier’s uniform for Cap, and I really dug it.

The action is pretty tight, even though obviously Captain America doesn’t have the strength of Hulk or the flashiness of Iron Man. It feels a lot like a classic war film: no bloodshed, but the violence is gritty and present.

What struck me about Cap, and every member of the Avengers, is how human his problems are. Yes, he has super strength, but he also can’t get drunk when Bucky dies. Kinda like how Bruce Banner can’t have sex with the woman he hadn’t seen in years because he can’t get too excited, or how Tony’s life-supporting Arc Reactor is also killing him.

There’s a lot of positive things to say about The First Avenger, but there’s only one negative thing…Red Skull.

Hugo Weaving has been typecast throughout the years as a villain, so hearing he was going to play Red Skull was exciting. I was positive he was going to play him, dark, threatening, intimidating. Instead, we got…whatever the hell ended up in the final cut.

Seriously, it was painful to cut to his scenes. Here we established a wonderful alternate-history with wonderful characters and believable scenarios. Then, we cut to this cartoony villain, complete with a fat, dorky sidekick and faceless army of Nazi rip-offs, who takes us completely out of our illusion. It’s legitimately embarrassing, really…I don’t know much about Red Skull, but I do know that he’s definitely a force to be reckoned with in the comics. He’s not…this:

That one, huge flaw aside, Captain America is a very creative, very fun, and very different superhero movie. When’s the last time he had a superhero flick that was also a period piece and a war film? It’s a pretty impressive piece of work, and that one huge Skull-shaped stain isn’t enough to ruin it by any means. It’s definitely a very human story that everyone will enjoy.

Filed under captain america steve rogers the avengers chris evans hayley atwell peggy carter tommy lee jones sebastian stan bucky barnes dominic cooper stanley tucci super soldier uso red skull hydra hugo weaving marvel

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So today I picked up my ticket for The Avengers.
I’ve gotta say, guys, I’m amazingly excited. I was already overjoyed back in 2008 when I first heard Samuel L. Jackson say “The Avengers Initiative.” Since then, I’ve learned even more about the Marvel Universe, and I can’t wait to see these amazing characters clash on the big screen.
There is seriously very little anyone can say that will make me unexcited.
In other news, starting this Sunday, I’m going to be reviewing an Avengers prequel movie every single day leading up to May 3rd. It’s going to be awesome.

So today I picked up my ticket for The Avengers.

I’ve gotta say, guys, I’m amazingly excited. I was already overjoyed back in 2008 when I first heard Samuel L. Jackson say “The Avengers Initiative.” Since then, I’ve learned even more about the Marvel Universe, and I can’t wait to see these amazing characters clash on the big screen.

There is seriously very little anyone can say that will make me unexcited.

In other news, starting this Sunday, I’m going to be reviewing an Avengers prequel movie every single day leading up to May 3rd. It’s going to be awesome.

Filed under the avengers iron man the incredible hulk iron man 2 thor captain america the first avenger

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Steve reviews Captain America’s Avenging Cycle!

I’m quickly realizing that people need more than a teasing header to get them to read a blog entry. They need a much bigger incentive. So today, I’m giving it to you straight.

I’m reviewing Avengers LEGOs.

I went to Target today to buy something that I’ve completely forgotten about because it wasn’t Avengers LEGOs. See, it’s muscle memory for me to walk down the center aisle of my Target, check out the movies, and then check out the toys. Because I’m 12.

Well, today I walked past a pretty fun set-up that I regretfully didn’t take pictures of because I didn’t have my camera at the time. But it was sweet. Starting at the very edge of the toy section, there are a bunch of huge, green footprints in the ground. If you follow them, you get to this epic Avengers section that is an orgasm incarnate. They’ve got action figures, DVDs, games, comics, etc. It would be enough to make Stan Lee himself scream out “Excelsior!” if he didn’t already say that at everything.

So I’m walking around, minding my own business and enjoying the plastic nerdiness around me, when all of a sudden, I see it. That well-known cardboard box, that famous rattle of miniature bricks inside. There were LEGOs in the Avengers section.

Now, I knew that the Avengers LEGOs were coming out. I didn’t, however, know that they were already out! Plus, this was the only box in the entire store. I asked a sales dude if they had any more, and he looked at the box all puzzled, called a manager, and reported back to me: “Uh, no.”

I had the only Avengers LEGO in that entire store.

My mind was filled with possibilities. Did someone accidentally shelf it early? Is it just a miracle from God? I didn’t know, and I didn’t care. I bought it. There were no questions.

It was $12, and aside from the fact that it was Captain America riding his kick-ass “Avenging Cycle” with two members of Loki’s Army attacking him, I wouldn’t say it was worth that price. However, it was Captain America riding his kick-ass “Avenging Cycle” with two members of Loki’s Army attacking him, so it’s OK.

I still don’t know what the aliens are called. Usually, LEGO instructions reveal the names of their minifigs in the instruction booklet. No such luck this time. Not even LEGO is going to reveal the species before May 4th. I’m OK with that, and I gotta say that they make pretty sweet minifigs. They’re very gold, but they also have purple hands and intricate armor. Yeah, they’re cool.

Captain America is also a lot more awesome than I was expecting. His armor is a lot darker than his film counterpart, which gives him a very badass look, and his famous shield is flawlessly LEGOfied. A lot of people on the internet complained when they saw the leaked photos of the Avengers LEGO prototypes (because they’re idiots), but rest assured, they turned out pretty sweet.

I finished the entire thing in a little over five minutes, and…again, I don’t think it was worth twelve bucks. The Avenging Cycle is pretty cool, but the two weapons/vehicles the aliens get are lackluster. However, those came with some ace looking blade things. They were supposed to be used on the alien vehicle, but I prefer to use them as swords and/or guns. Because they look too cool to not be.

Another big problem I have with this set is this:

STICKERS.

Dammit, LEGO, you know everyone hates stickers! They peel off after a few years and it’s almost impossible to put them on straight. Why do you keep giving us stickers?! You used painted bricks in the past, and those worked beautifully! Why use stickers?!?

I put all of them on perfectly fine this time, but that’s because I’ve had years of frustrating practice.

Anyways, aside from those minor gripes, I’ve gotta say that this is one of the happiest surprises of my week. I love LEGO. I’ve written blog entries about them since before I even had a blog: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=45366913039

I also love The Avengers, and I’m super stoked to see them combine their epic powers on the big screen.

Now, I’ve got Avenger LEGOs. And you can be damn sure I’ll collect every single set.

Did I mention how cool Cap looks on his Avenging Cycle?

Filed under the avengers lego captain america loki loki's army minifigures toys review

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I’m with the Avengers.
Here’s the deal: I’ve been reading comics for a while now, but I’m still pretty new to the whole “buy comics on a weekly basis” sort of thing. For most of my life, I’ve just been reading back issues of Marvel comics, which I don’t regret at all because now I know a bit of history. Recently, though, I’ve started reading the actual new comics on the stands.
Anyways, the point is that I’m an Avengers guy. I really dug the X-Men cartoons in the past, and the movies have been pretty awesome, but I’ve never gotten into them in the comic book continuity. It’s always felt a bit too crowded to me, and I didn’t want to have to buy a bunch of trade paperbacks to catch up on recent X-Men events.
With the Avengers, however, each of them more or less have their own titles. So I know what’s going on with Iron Man, Cap, and Spidey at the moment. Plus, I’ve been a big fan of most of them for years. I can relate more to Iron Man, Spidey, Thing, Daredevil, and Ms Marvel more than I can Cyclops, Emma Frost, or Magneto.
The whole “Hope” thing is really fascinating, and I can really feel for her. I get that she’s scared and frustrated. But Cyclops just wants her to accept her new fate, while Cap not only wants to protect all of mankind, but maybe even her as well.
Say what you want, but I’m on Team Avengers right now.
What about you, True Believers? Whose side are you on?

I’m with the Avengers.

Here’s the deal: I’ve been reading comics for a while now, but I’m still pretty new to the whole “buy comics on a weekly basis” sort of thing. For most of my life, I’ve just been reading back issues of Marvel comics, which I don’t regret at all because now I know a bit of history. Recently, though, I’ve started reading the actual new comics on the stands.

Anyways, the point is that I’m an Avengers guy. I really dug the X-Men cartoons in the past, and the movies have been pretty awesome, but I’ve never gotten into them in the comic book continuity. It’s always felt a bit too crowded to me, and I didn’t want to have to buy a bunch of trade paperbacks to catch up on recent X-Men events.

With the Avengers, however, each of them more or less have their own titles. So I know what’s going on with Iron Man, Cap, and Spidey at the moment. Plus, I’ve been a big fan of most of them for years. I can relate more to Iron Man, Spidey, Thing, Daredevil, and Ms Marvel more than I can Cyclops, Emma Frost, or Magneto.

The whole “Hope” thing is really fascinating, and I can really feel for her. I get that she’s scared and frustrated. But Cyclops just wants her to accept her new fate, while Cap not only wants to protect all of mankind, but maybe even her as well.

Say what you want, but I’m on Team Avengers right now.

What about you, True Believers? Whose side are you on?

Filed under avengers vs x-men avengers x-men marvel captain america cyclops iron man thor hawkeye ms marvel spider-man protector black widow vision war machine captain britain valkyrie doctor strange spider-woman red hulk luke cage mockingbird daredevil thing giant-man ant-man iron fist black panther wolverine beast

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Steve goes to Countryside Antiques and finds awesome stuff that you should totally read about!

Today, I decided to go to a magical place where nostalgia and musty smells rule. A place where childhood memories now cost five bucks, and the price of your grandma’s memories would put you on welfare. Yes, I’m talking about the antique store!

My antique store doubles as a craft store, which automatically doubles the chances of bumping into large groups of old ladies.

Now, the antique store isn’t one of those little dusty joints that’s filled to the brim with old furniture. In fact, there’s hardly any furniture in the store, which is fine with me because that leaves room for more interesting odds and ends. Everywhere you go, you find yourself bumping into little knick knacks that you wish you were old enough to actually appreciate. Now let’s take a stroll down somebody else’s Memory Lane…

It was unusually crowded at Countryside Antiques today, making me hope beyond hope that there was some sort of sale on everything I wanted in particular. Of course, I wouldn’t find out until I ventured inside its warm walls. Upon walking into Countryside, you’ll notice that the entire store is split into two parts: antiques and crafts. Obviously. I tend to stay over to the antique side of things, mostly because I’m not particularly fond of scrapbooking and dollhouses.

Man, I could live here. Shelf upon shelf of countless and seemingly pointless things littered every which way. Among the old issues of Family Circle and seductive black-and-white prints of Marilyn Monroe, you could find such fantastic treasures. Let me share some of my amazing finds with you, friends.

There were many ways to win me over as a kid. In fact, buying me anything other than clothes would’ve made me jump up and down with glee like an epileptic kid watching Pokemon. But there was something about novelty drink ware that really excited me.

I remember we had a few of these. We had a Fozzy Bear one from the Great Muppet Caper, and we had Officer McBurgerhead on another (I don’t think that was his real name, but he was a police officer with a Big Mac for a head, so it’s close enough).

Also, since when did McDonald’s have a pirate mascot? Because I want to go back to those times. Pirates make every meal better.

Why, yes, that is Fievel from American Tale sharing a rocking chair with a maskless Leonardo of Ninja Turtles fame. Ah, only at Countryside…

If you know me, then you know I love Spider-Man. If you don’t know me, then know that I love Spider-Man. However, I’m an adult now, and having this in my possession would just be immature and silly.

That being said, it will be mine one day. Mark my words, I will answer a Spider Phone someday. And I’ll answer it like I’m expecting a call from Officer Stacey and it will make my life all the more awesome.

This is a Captain America pillow. It’s in amazing condition, and Cap looks ready to kick some serious Nazi ass. The employees at Countryside marked it as a “Batman Pillow”, which I would normally forgive if Captain America’s name wasn’t printed in perfectly readable print in the top right corner.

Guys! Seriously! I ate this! Who else ate this? I stocked up on maybe 10 boxes of this stuff, and I must’ve eaten it all within a week. Was it great? No, not really. In fact, from what my taste buds can remember, it was just red, white, and blue web-shaped Honeycomb cereal. But it was Spider-Man cereal! And just look at that box! The shiny eyes, the epic pose that just screamed “With great power comes a great balanced breakfast”…yeah, like I said, it didn’t take much to get me excited as a kid…

Bubble gum cards!

I was too young to appreciate these things as a kid. In fact, to my knowledge, they were already uncool by the time I was able to talk. However, according to my random knowledge of 80s pop culture that I collected from various Saturday morning cartoons, they were once pretty huge.

These were original bubble gum cards from the year 1989, and they were filled with collectable cards from Back to the Future part II! At 25 cents a pop! Yeah, those were going home with me.

Some more glasses, these graced with some classic DC characters. While I’m personally more of a Marvel guy, these are pretty ace. That Batman glass is pretty epic. It’s just him standing there, arms on his hips, judging you on your lifestyle.

It’s funny how some of my younger followers didn’t grow up with these. I mean, yeah, looking back I would never use them over a DVD, just because of the inconvenience of them. Nostalgia can only be so forgivable. However, seeing these big, bulky, plastic cases just make the seven-year-old in me smile.

I’m not sure if the picture does this bad boy justice, but this Silver Surfer was huge.

As a kid, I used to love the Surfer. Or, should I say, I loved his look. Sleek, silver, riding a hoverboard. He was awesome. I had a bunch of Surfer action figures, even though I never read a single one of his comics at that age. That’s how I was: if it looked cool, then it was cool. Just how my mindset worked.

When I finally did get around to reading Silver Surfer comics about ten years later, I wasn’t interested. An indestructible herald to a planet-eating monster wasn’t as interesting as, say, a blind attorney fighting ninjas in the dark alleys of Hell’s Kitchen.

But that doesn’t take away the fact that Silver Surfer still looks awesome!

I only barely remember when action figures were like this. Companies would release action figures based on immensely popular comics, not just on the next summer blockbuster.

It was a simpler time, it was a better time.

I remember my first Silver Surfer toy was in a package like these. And man do I miss this packaging. It just screams late 80s-early 90s.

I wanted each of these toys, I really did. The Joker toy filled with water and squirted it out of the flower on his jacket, because that was really cool in the early 90s. Daredevil had a gun that launched a plastic grappling hook. Doc Ock had suction cups at the end of his tentacles so he could stick to the inside of my car…or, you know, any other glass surface.

Alas, I didn’t bring that much money with me to Countryside that day. Which might actually be a blessing, because I would’ve just spent every single penny on stuff like this.

The last time I was in here, the comics section was huge. Today, however, it was reduced to a few cardboard boxes underneath the vinyl section. I went through and tried to find some gems, but all of the good stuff was gone, probably sold to someone with great taste and a ton of money. However, in between the old Dracula and Cheryl Blossom comics, I found one epic issue that I’ll save for another entry.

Isn’t the suspense just killing you?!

The Bat-Frisbee. Nuff said.

I don’t know what this is. I don’t want to know what this is. For all I know, it’s just a flat, plastic bust of C-3PO. And I’m perfectly OK with thinking that.

The blue-grey-yellow Batman costume of the 70s and 80s has always been my favorite look for ol’ Bats. I don’t know why. A lot of people call it cheesy and camp, but I find it visually striking and a lot more fun to look at than all black. Hell, even if you replace the blue with black, but keep the grey and yellow, I’m alright with that.

Anyways, this is a tin lunchbox with my favorite Bat Suit on it.

Speaking of tin lunchboxes, here’s one from 1980. Yeah, this is an original Empire Strikes Back lunchbox. The front has Han, Leia, Chewie, and Threepio inside the Millennium Falcon, dodging TIE fighters and asteroids. And inside…

…is a Yoda thermos.  How magical is that?

This is my favorite find of the day. It’s a limited, special edition Anakin Skywalker figure. Back when nobody knew who Hayden Christiensen was, back when people were still extremely excited that Episode 1 was in development. Back when Anakin’s story was still a mystery, and Darth Vader was still the evil, tragic, awesome character Lucas originally wanted him to be.

There’s a book inside that chronicles the then-untold-story of Anakin Skywalker (a story that I’m sure is better than what the prequels gave us) and a pretty massive figure of Anakin, back when he was played by Sebastian Shaw (the British Shakespearean actor, not the bad guy from X-Men: First Class). There’s a little inscription inside that says “This figure shows Anakin free of his robotic bonds, in his Jedi robes, finally redeemed.”

I really hope this goes to a good home, because it shows the promise that the prequels had and Lucas’s original idea for Anakin. Hell, I’d be happy if it stayed here and gave other nostalgic bloggers a look into the true Anakin Skywalker.

Whelp, that’s my trip to Countryside Antiques. Was it long? Yup. Was it boring as all hell? Yup. Will anybody read it? Nope.

Oh well. There are tons of antique stores like this around the Metro-Detroit area to write about in the future…

Filed under antiques nostalgia muppets mcdonalds pirates american tale leonardo teenage mutant ninja turtles spider-man cereal captain america batman back to the future bubble gum cards joker riddler green lantern vhs 90s disney silver surfer marvel daredevil dr. octopus doc ock comics c-3po threepio star wars empire strikes back