Venom the Movie: Is It Good?

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Weirdly yes and no. As someone who grew up in a household that encouraged comic reading and being immersed in the lore of those worlds I was let down by the movie. I liked the subtle nods to the comics that there were, but it is hard to have Venom in a universe where there is no Spider-Man. Venom’s entire arc through the comics is how much they hate Spider-Man. This is because the Symbiote hates Spidey as well as Eddie Brock. That hatred fuels them and is literally their only motivation through the beginning stories they are in. Recently Marvel has fleshed out the character more with a great solo title out now that I highly recommend picking up and reading. The movie takes the idea of Venom and plays with it.

Riot is not a Klyntar. Riot does have a lot to do with the LIFE foundation, but it was synthetically made in the comic books. Riot was made as a part of a team that eventually all fuse together to make another symbiote names Hybrid. Riot was never a pure blooded Klyntar and never had the powers that were show cased in the movie. Riot in the movie is more Carnage than anything. This brings up another questionable decision from the movie that I am still trying to wrap my head around.

Why in God’s is Woody Harrelson cast as Cletus Kasady? It sets up the next movie as Venom versus Carnage I get that, but the casting seems off. The wig is terrible, and Harrelson’s body type is far and away from what Cletus’ body type is. Cletus(Carnage) is scrawny. It seems like a bad choice, but I will give Harrelson credit that even in the few seconds that are the post credits scene he is in he does convey a very convincing psychopath that would make a great host for the Carnage symbiote.

How are they going to make Carnage a bigger threat than Riot was? I don’t know, Riot seemed to be able to do everything that Carnage can do so the sequel may just feel like a rehash of the same story line but with different stakes. I’m interested to see what they do but not hopeful for the franchise as a whole.

Now that I am done bitching about the weird things I will say, if you go into this movie with very little knowledge of who Venom is and the comics as a whole it is an enjoyable movie. It isn’t weirdly paced and there are only a few parts of it that don’t really make any sense that I assume can just be blamed on poor editing. The action sequences are good and Venom looks like a beast. They are tall, jacked out of their mind, and teeth and tongue were spot on. I don’t think it was an over all poor movie, but it was not a great movie.

Overall I think it is mediocre and a refreshing departure for the Superhero genre. Just the right amount of dark, grit, and gore with some scenes that were genuinely funny because they were written that way. I would give it 3 Spider-Men out of an X-Men.

Looking at the Spider-Man “Back to Basics” Story

Wow, I’ve been gone a while. Let’s get back into it talking about something that I have loved in my time away from the blog. Spider-Man specifically the new comic run that started after the events of “Going Down Swinging” and the fight with the Red Goblin.

“Back to Basics” is a great Spider-Man story line. While it is only in it’s beginning stage on the 4th issues of a twice monthly release comic. It started the story by undoing what I have called the “Peter Parker Success Story”. Without getting too spoil-y, Peter has left Parker Industries and is the science editor for the Bugle. An AI finds out the Doctor Octopus wrote his Doctoral thesis(during the events of the Superior Spider-Man comic) and Peter is subsequently fired from the Bugle after being accused of plagiarism and has his doctorate taken from him because the work was not his own. This sets the ground work for Peter being more of an average guy than being a baby Tony Stark.

The story plays with the idea of Parker not being able to be in two places at once and the age old situation of can he have a girlfriend, job, go to school to re-earn his degree, and be the web-slinging superhero Spider-Man. The writer introduces a fresh take on the concept by having the classroom in the basement of the University. As the story progresses Peter and Spider-Man are split because of a lab accident and that is where the meat of the story is taking place. The reader gets to see how Peter’s life is without the Spider-Man part of it and what Spider-Man would be like if he was a full time superhero. In all honesty this irks me a little. It is written well and works with story elements but for my personal taste Spidey is written a bit too much like a G/PG-13 rated Deadpool. In movie terms take Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man. It serves a purpose but the Spider-Man is a bit too over the top for me.

Since issue 5 and later are not out it is impossible to know where the story is headed but I am very excited to read it and find out.

I’m going to try and get back the weekly posts about fantasy and story structure and should soon be posting the rest of the Aftermath parts. I hope you enjoyed the review!

The DCEU’s Main Problem When it Comes to Movies

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Zack Snyder. Article done, we can all go home.

Honestly I wish it were that easy. We can all agree that Snyder has never read a single comic book or seen a single good DC cartoon and he makes a mockery of the characters. But, the main blame lies somewhere else.

Honestly, as much as I dislike Snyder for what he has done to DC more of the blame rests on the shoulder of the DC/WB executives that are so desperate to have a movie compete with a Marvel film/show they take everything good about the characters in the comics and ruin it by changing them dramatically. WB doesn’t care about the characters or what makes them great characters.

They don’t care if the fact that Superman is not an unfeeling god but really just a chill guy that loves burritos who was raised in Kansas. They don’t care to show that even though Superman is from Krypton he is a human first and Superman second. His character is so much more than his powers, but all mainstream media has really seen him fir is the powers first and Clark Kent second. Just look at the image below and tell me you see an unfeeling god character.

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Superman is a good man first and Superman second. Always.

They don’t care that Batman isn’t some gun toting badass à la Red Hood(who is a better character than angry Batman). BvS makes a mockery of the character that I knew and loved when I grew up and read when I was in college. Batman puts life first and this can be seen in the comics. It’s why he raises Dick to not become him. (We’re not going to touch Titans and what Dick Grayson has become.) Like in the Justice League show when he talks to Ace while she is dying and makes sure that she is comforted when she dies. Just watch below and you can get the real sense of the character.

Or recently when he is trying to groom his son, the newest Robin, Damian into not an unfeeling killing machine the Ra’s al Ghul wanted when he trained the boy from birth. Batman may be the most detached because of childhood trauma but that doesn’t mean that his view on humanity is as grim-dark as the DC movies would want you to believe.

Let’s look at the shows and the other problems that comes from them. Everyone is a Batman Dominatrix. Take Arrow for example, Oliver Queen is the most removed from his comic counter part. Green Arrow is more Iron Man in his personality than Batman, but because of Smallville he had to become Batman for legal reasons. He disappears, is dark and moody, and even his costume is dingy and dark. GREEN ARROW IS BASED OF ROBIN HOOD. He is not supposed to be in dark green and sneaking around. Arrow wearing leather is fine it slightly fits the base character, but there is another show in the Arrow-verse that puts the characters in leather that makes no sense.

Flash. Flash runs faster than light. Leather cannot stand up to that kind of friction, very few materials can. In the comics his suit is specially crafted to reduce the amount of friction so that it doesn’t burst into flames at a moments notice. When the first images of Wally West from the Flash show were released my first thought was: “Why is he in leather?” Then I did research and found everyone is in leather so it’s ok? Credit where it is due though Flash and honestly Super Girl give the most care to the characters out of all of the DCEU. This may change before SHAZAM releases because it looks promising.

Where did the problems come from? Christopher Nolan is where. His Batman movies were some of the best comic films to be released during that time. They were different from anything else with the dark tone and realistic portrayals of the characters, but as Marvel started to mature with their movies and crank out great film after great film the things that made the Nolan films great became what made them not stand up and the poison to the DCEU as a whole. WB made everyone Batman after those movies came out. Hell, everyone wanted to be Batman (or the Joker) after the films came out but it was based on the edgy 1980’s Batman and not the one that was currently in the comics.

WB wants to be on top of the Superhero movie genre and they don’t understand that having people that know the characters and that will take the care to show the true character underneath will make the movies better. Look at Wonder Woman, the director took great care with the character and made a great movie despite having that DC tag on it.

DC comics along with Marvel were the things I was raised on. I grew up with these stories and learned all about them their origins and what makes them so great. DC isn’t bad it just wants to compete and the studio doesn’t care about its.

Also, Tim Drake is the best Robin and Red Hood makes more sense than Batman.

The MCU and the Ever Present Power Struggle Between Spider-Man and Captain America

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I love the MCU and I love comics, but recently I re-watched Civil War and with Infinity War out as well I feel like this needs t be touched on. The MCU is trying to make Captain America the strongest hero in the MCU when that unfortunately is not true.

I understand that for Marvel, at least in the movies, Cap is their Superman. This is all well and good except for the fact that if it’s broken down Spider-Man is really more the Superman mirror in the comics. Let me explain, Superman and Spidey both work for a Newspaper, they both have a multitude of super powers, and probably the biggest is that they both wear the iconic red and blue outfit. Captain America is like Superman in the fact that they both stand for “truth, justice, and the American way.” But, more to my point Spider-Man is more powerful than Captain America.

I will back up these claims with facts. Captain America has super strength there is no doubt about it. He is on the same level as Black Panther and Bucky. Spider-Man is much stronger than him. The only members of the Avenger that is truly stronger than him are Thor and Hulk(I’m not counting Iron Man because his strength is not form him or an accident but a suit). They have the abilities of a god and a giant green rage monster that only gets stronger the angrier he gets. Spider-Man has the proportionate strength of a spider but for a human. His base strength is approximately 10 tons, his muscles are dense not large making him quick and strong.

Cap is another animal all together. The best way his power can be described is that he has the strength of 10 men. His base strength with a bench press is around 1200 pounds. Still a lot, but not close to Spidey. He is the cream of the crop compared to other humans, but as far as super strong he is not.

Why did I go on a tangent about this? Because the MCU has a problem where Captain America is the strongest possible when it helps the narrative, and I get that I really do. All I want is a little more continuity with the comics. Just make Spider-Man strong, keep Cap as the symbol, but when he over powers Sider-Man is Civil war it’s just not possible Unless, Peter’s heart wasn’t in the fight and he let himself lose just like in the comics.

Let me know your opinions, I’m sure there are going to be many. Keep it civil and I eagerly await the responses of anyone and the discussion to follow.

The Different Types of Fantasy and What Is Fantasy?

Recently I have been posting my original story Aftermath here. I decided to take a break from posting on here to get a little bit ahead on my Patreon. Today I wanted to talk about the different types of fantasy out there and what really constitutes the term “fantasy”.

The most common is the sword and sorcery fantasy in a medieval setting where technology doesn’t exist in the terms of the modern world and this can be cut into two subgroups: 1. High fantasy where magic is very present and the problems face the world and plate armor is the armor of choice for every warrior. 2. Low fantasy that focuses more on the people and smaller problems, less war more personal conflict.

Then it starts to get a little bit more weird with Modern Fantasy. It starts to blur the line of fantasy and sci-fi. The marriage of technology and magic can begin to become more of science than fantasy. But, that brings up the point of what constitutes as fantasy? Is there a hard line drawn or is it more ambiguous and all encompassing?

I have been labeling Aftermath as a fantasy series because I focus more on medieval style of combat than a modern one. There is not a magic system per se but there are various people in the story that have extra abilities. Abilities that would give them an advantage in a fight. It’s definitely more on the comic book superhero end of fantasy, but I believe is still a fantasy story.

Fantasy is really anything that couldn’t happen in the real world. This means that superheroes are fantasy and that Science Fiction is fantasy as well. They are both on different sides of the fantasy spectrum but still on it. There are some people that would argue this with me and honestly I encourage it, I would love to talk more about this subject one on one with any one. But, it comes down to is there something that sets others apart from the common folk in the way of magic, powers, or science? If yes then it is a fantasy tale.

Again, I encourage the discussion, if you agree with me let me know and tell me your reasonings. If not then tell me why you disagree (politely). I would be happy to have a discussion with you about your viewpoints and opinions.

Aftermath Pt. 6

The bolt stung as it went into Jareth and his vision was dark. His eyes went white as he heard bolts thud into the old wood pews of the abandoned church. The shouting was deafening but through it all Jareth could tell where the main threats were.

Jareth pictured it in his head. He knew there were 10 men firing at them at different positions up past the Father. It would be hard to get the shots off that he needed but he shrugged the bow off and notched the first arrow.

The pulleys made the draw easier and he readied, spun around, and let the arrow fly once he got the shot. The first one went down with a shriek and a thud. Jareth fell back and readied another waiting for the lull in between the volleys. It was almost rhythmic, thud, lull, thud, lull.

On the third he turned again and loosed another arrow and as he spun for cover heard another shriek followed by another thud. He was making headway in the assignment he was given by Red and more importantly he was enjoying it. Enjoying the feel being a combatant.

Another lull and another one down. This went on until the bolts stopped. He stood and looked down to see that the pew looked like a porcupine. He moved from his cover and went for hand to hand against the other members of the Fallen Priests now rushing him with blades of their own drawn.

He was still outnumbered but instinct took over and he blocked, parried, countered, and waited for an opening to make his own offensive.

Bodies hit the floor one by one as he lashed out finding openings. He cut his way through each of the priests as they charged and swung at him wildly. He kept walking forward until he was face to face with the father and caught the axe at the last second. This man was not what he let on, he was way too fast.

“You thought you could waltz into my church and demand I stop my work?! And then try to kill me?!” The anger was obvious in the Father’s eyes and as he spoke Jareth saw two teeth poking out from under his lips.

The teeth were sharp and thin. They looked like needles and they dripped venom that flung out as he spoke and spat out the words.

Jareth swung and hit him in the stomach and jumped back. He readied himself for the next onslaught and yelled at the Father.

“You think what you are doing is helpful? You are poisoning these people and using them for your own praise!” Jareth narrowed his eys the white shining through and they shone brighter than they did the last time.

The Father lunged again this time with bare hands and fangs at the ready to plunge into Jareth and kill him there. Jareth had little time to react, the Father was powered and more than most people.

He looked more like a snake than he had when Jareth had seen him the first time. His stance and the way he walked in a circle now with Jareth all seemed more reptilian than human. Jareth studied him and watched his movements looking for an opening to strike.

It was a long while back and forth blocking the Father and pushing him back waiting for him to slip up. Jareth could see that despite the powers he was starting to tire. His posture was starting to get slumped and his attacks were slower and sloppy. A few more onslaughts and Jareth would be able to find the opening he had been searching for.

One, two, three more attacks and Jareth saw it. His arms that had been defending him slipped and Jareth lunged knife first and sank it between the the Father’s ribs and into his lung.

Jareth saw the gasp but didn’t hear it. He pulled the knife the Father fell to the floor gasping silently and wriggling. Jareth spate the blood on the floor and went to retrieve the axe from the floor.

He looked around at the people who were in huddled masses trying to shield themselves from the combat around them.

“If you want to leave then you should. Without the Priests this place will be dangerous. Seek shelter elsewhere and try and build your lives anew.”

With that Jareth grabbed the father form the ground and headed to the Blood Skulls HQ to deliver Red the news of what he had done.

Aftermath Pt. 5

Out of the run down buildings, the church that Jareth walked towards had the least of the ruin. It still stood with all of its walls intact and a small bit of rot on the door. Jareth let out a heavy sigh and walked up the few stairs with the wrought iron handrail in the middle up to the door and knocked three times.

He stood there a while in the cold and the quiet. Just long enough to think he had come to the wrong church when he heard the click of the door handle turning and unlatching. The door swung open and revealed something that Jareth did not expect to see in the headquarters of a new gang, or any gang.

A man dressed in a black robe with white markings that Jareth couldn’t make out at the moment. His smile was warm if not unsettling.

“Hello there, brother!” His tone had the same unsettling feel as his smile, “Have you come to see the way of the light?”

Jareth shifted uneasily in his boots, “I am hear to speak with your leader. Would it be possible to arrange an audience?”

“The Father is always open to talking to future members.” He turned and gestured to Jareth,

“Come in and follow me. I am Brother James and I will take you to the Father.”

The walk down the pews was interesting, there were people huddled around the walls eating scraps of food that they had either found or been provided. It was odd, most gangs demand tribute from the townsfolk in the form of food to provide protection, but this one seemed to provide both food and protection. Jareth wasn’t sure how they did it because he saw no garden and there was no farm close to hear for them to maintain.

The walk was nearing its end when Jareth turned his attention away from the people on the walls to the man standing at the pulpit with the same inviting but disturbing smile on his face that Brother James had. His robes were a different color than any one else’s in the church. They were white and across the front as he opened his arms to greet Jareth was a black cross upside down. Jareth hadn’t studied the religion of his ancestors, but he knew that wasn’t a good sign.

“Welcome, welcome, welcome!” The Father exclaimed, “I see another downtrodden has come to join my flock!” His tone seemed inviting and jovial but something was there on the edge of his voice that made Jareth’s skin crawl all and want to leave him behind. “Tell me child what brings you here? How did you hear of my flock and the wondrous things I do for them?”

He was an egomaniac for sure and here Jareth was in his lair surrounded by supporters who would most likely die for him. The Fallen Priests weren’t a gang, no they were a cult and this leader would take over all the gangs territories to hear more people praise him. The reservations Jareth had about these being good people were gone, but he was unsure about how to proceed with his task.

“My name is, Jareth.” He started with no real plan of where to go from here, “I have heard things about your flock. Mostly that you are invading another gangs territory. They go by the name the Blood Skulls.” Jareth was not sure what he was doing or how things were going to go down when he told the Father about his mission.

“Ah, yes the heathens in their palace. I have heard of them and knew that we were in their territory but we are not a gang my child, we are merely a religious group here for the well being of the people and my flock.” His tone was still uneasy, but it was easier for Jareth to see the snake in this man.

“Father, if you don’t mind me asking how do you feed you flock? There are no farms nearby that are not owned by others and I did not see a garden or farm behind the church and you have plenty of mouths here. How do you manage it?” It was a question that Jareth knew the answer to but he needed to hear the man say it. He wanted the death to be justified. He played with the hand axe handle as he waited for the answer.

“That is a good observation, my child. We liberate the excess food from the farms surrounding us, not so much that they can’t feed their families but enough to feed the mouths we have accumulated here.” The Father’s smile was still there, but there was a fire in his eyes that Jareth hadn’t seen before.

“You take the food that people use to pay the Blood Skulls for protection.” This was an accusation. Jareth was angry because he knew what would happen to them if they couldn’t pay, “You steal so that you can feed yourself and those here, but say that you are here for the well being of the people. You’re vultures that want worship but don’t want anything to do with gaining the sentiment of the people.” Jareth ended his statement and as the smile fell from the Father’s face Jareth whipped the axe at his head.

Either the throw was too slow or the Father was faster than he anticipated but he caught the axe and roared.

“KILL THIS HEATHEN WHO WOULD QUESTION AND ATTACK US!” As the Father’s mouth closed Jareth swore he saw fangs dripping venom.

He had no time to think about that as he turned and ran towards the door his knife drawn and cutting down those in front of him to get cover from the crossbows that were being leveled at him.

He ducked behind one of the pews but a touch too late as he felt a bolt land into his shoulder from the back. His vision went dark, he never dealt with pain well.