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A.P. Fuchs, author of The Axiom-man Saga "www.canisterx.com"

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X-Men (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
X-Men (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Hugh Jackman
Price: CDN$ 9.96
3 used & new from CDN$ 7.75

4.0 out of 5 stars The Movie That Started the Superhero Craze!, May 16 2015
A small percentage of the world’s population has natural mutations in their genetic code, each manifesting themselves differently. For many, it leads to special talents and abilities, but such capabilities come at a high cost: ostracization from society. Two factions have risen: one which believes that these “mutants” and the rest of humanity can live peacefully side-by-side, and another which believes a war is coming between mutant and humankind, one in which only one side will prevail.

Welcome to the world of the X-Men.

This flick is considered by many to be the beginning of the modern day superhero film era. Yes, we had Blade before this, but X-Men really cracked the door open in terms of taking a well-known comic property and bringing it to the big screen. Not only that, but there is some serious acting firepower in this movie, namely actors who don’t do garbage, so right there that says something. Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Sir Ian McKellen as Magneto, Anna Paquin as Rogue—yeah, big deal stuff. Then you throw who was then an unknown into the role of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and you suddenly have a bunch of talented actors taking a serious stab at a story about mutants with superpowers.

Bryan Singer was known for The Usual Suspects before this flick, and with him at the helm, we got an X-flick that was serious, funny in the right parts, plausible and just plain cool.

They did right to take the most popular X-character—Wolverine—and tell the story primarily from his point-of-view. I mean, this role made Hugh Jackman’s career and it’s a role he’s gone back to six times, not including the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past due in 2014.

While the all-black leather costumes weren’t really my thing—I liked the more colorful ones from X-Men: First Class better, which were based off the classic comic book costumes—they brought a level of realism to the movie and prompted that joke later on when Wolverine complains about the uniforms and Cyclops says, “Well, what would you prefer? Yellow spandex?” At the same time, I’m also in the major minority of people who think that properly-armored and modernly-stylized colorful superhero costumes could work in a real world situation. There are guys going around in The Real Life Superhero Movement dressed as such and are helping police after all.

Anyway . . .

The trick with an ensemble movie is to give each character enough history and density to make them likeable and relatable from frame one. When you have only a couple hours to do that, you need to have a story that revolves around each of them so they could each have their moment in the sun long enough to get the audience involved with them. X-Men does this for the most part and it’s no easy feat.

Of course, there is the metaphor of the evils of racism throughout the movie, and how all people are equal regardless of who they are, what they can do and what they look like. This theme is strangely overt yet subtle at the same time. Kind of depends what frame of mind you’re in when watching it and your personal history and feelings on the topic.

This movie is an interesting, exciting, thoughtful and well-executed big screen adaptation of one of the biggest comic book franchises of all time. Did they nail it perfectly? No. Did they do a good job of taking the X-Men concept as a whole to the big screen? You betcha.

Recommended.

Avengers : L'ère d'Ultron [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + copie numérique HD] (Bilingual)
Avengers : L'ère d'Ultron [Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + copie numérique HD] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Price: CDN$ 30.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avengers Re-assemble! Awesome!, May 1 2015
In an effort to protect the world from future alien attacks, Tony Stark uses the artificial intelligence inside the gem of Loki’s scepter to complete his Ultron program. It works but, unfortunately, the now-sentient Ultron AI has taken it upon itself to destroy the human race.

Time for the Avengers to assemble.

Recruiting the Maximoff twins, Ultron uses them to take on the Avengers while he attends to building a robot army. Soon the Avengers are taken out and must re-assemble if there is any hope they can stop Ultron before his plan of global destruction comes to pass.

With the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, can the Avengers stand against a seemingly unstoppable foe?

Sequels are tricky business, especially when creating a sequel to not only a quality film, but one that was a hit at the box office. Usually, sequels pale in comparison to their predecessors, but now and then—and more often than not in the superhero genre—the sequels outshine the original and Avengers: Age of Ultron did just that. As good as the first Avengers was, Age of Ultron is better.

I don’t want to give away any plot points to those who haven’t seen it yet, so these are more my thoughts instead of notions on specifics of the film.

One of my greatest fears for this movie was its giant cast. Not only did the standard Avengers team return—Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, Nick Fury, Maria Hill—but it was greatly added to with the addition of War Machine, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision and, sorta, Falcon. All these characters could have quickly made the movie go the way of Spider-Man 3, but instead more or less equal screen time was given to the majority of the cast, with supporting roles coming in to do their job without making the film feel overly crowded.

On the acting front, the main Avengers team have really come into their own, the actors having now portrayed their characters a minimum of three times prior to this movie and it really shows through. There’s an air of comfort about who they’re playing and each one has made the character their own while also staying true to that character’s comic book roots. Even the humor in the movie was fitting and not once did it feel forced or cheesy or slapstick. Most of the humor was off-the-cuff comments, which made the team more human and relatable.

Ultron was a terrific bad guy. He was smart, dangerous, evil, but at the same time had a humanity to him that helped connect him with the audience. He wasn’t just some evil robot and that’s it. He was also a formidable foe for the Avengers and it did take the entire team to take him down.

The addition of Vision worked well and was a good progression of the Jarvis character. He had a specific purpose in this movie and fulfilled it to a T. I’m curious to see what role he plays either in the stand-alone Marvel movies or in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War flicks.

On a fanboy note, there were some amazing iconic superhero action shots in this flick, the kind that makes you gush and squeal (yes, I’m that nerdy). There is one particular moment—you’ll know it when you see it—where I was just, like, “Wow, oh wow.” And the action on the whole was well done, with each character fighting according to their skillset.

Going to have go back for a second outing to the theatre on this one and, of course, will be adding it to my personal movie collection when it comes out.

Highly recommended.

X-Men 2 Blu Ray + Dvd + Digital Copy [Blu-ray]
X-Men 2 Blu Ray + Dvd + Digital Copy [Blu-ray]
Price: CDN$ 25.99
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5.0 out of 5 stars An X-cellent Sequel!, April 30 2015
4.5 out of 5

The rumored war between mutants and humans begins to take shape after a mutant makes an attempt on the life of the President of the United States. Soon, the X-mansion is attacked by military forces led by a man with a hidden vendetta against them. While the X-Men band together to make a stand against those who would rather see them killed or controlled, many of them must also face the demons of their past for good or ill.

Meanwhile, Jean Grey’s powers are acting up and she’s losing control. The others take notice and try to help, but something else seems to be brewing deep within her.

I love this movie. It was my favorite superhero flick until Spider-Man 2 came out. This movie picked up pretty much where the first X-Men left off, and delivered in spades everything that made the first X-movie so good: solid story, amazing acting, high stakes (even higher in this one), and a respect for the source material. Throw Brian Cox as the main bad guy—William Stryker—into the mix and you got a recipe for a great movie.

Once again told from Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman’s) perspective, X2 is the story about facing your past and not running from what you find there. We see this not only when looking into Wolverine’s life, but that of Stryker’s, Iceman’s, Rogue’s, and others. Like the first one, the theme of being-different-is-okay is prevalent, and comes more into play as the government exercises its power while it seeks to investigate what it doesn’t understand.

The hard part about reviewing an X-Men movie is that everyone does so well in their roles, you can spend a thousand words talking about each. Space doesn’t permit that here, but needless to say I can watch Sir Patrick Stewart’s father-figure and leader role as Professor X all day. Couple that with Sir Ian McKellen’s—Magneto’s—diehard devotion to ensuring mutants are ready for the inevitable confrontation with humans and you can see how these two characters are really two sides of the same coin with both wanting the same goal: peace for mutants. Of course, their means of achieving that goal are completely different from one another.

There’s a real sense of world-building in the X-Men universe, with each location and character fully developed, and as we visit them with each outing, it’s like coming home to old friends.

This movie is more intense than the first because, like I said, the stakes are higher and all those at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters are in some real life-or-death danger.

I also appreciate how they showed that if certain people had these special mutant-enhanced abilities in real life how much of a danger they could be to themselves and to others. This is something not often seen in superhero flicks as the villains in here—even some of the heroes—seemed more misguided than simply evil for evil’s sake. And that’s the kind of world we live in, right? How often are those who do something wrong doing so out of misguided intentions? How many times do we do that ourselves?

I’m really glad they made this movie and made it so well that the franchise has kept going.

I’m proud to stand united with X2: X-Men United.

Recommended.

Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut
Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut
DVD ~ Jackie Earle Haley
Offered by torontomediadvd_com
Price: CDN$ 74.00
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Faithful to the Source Material - Extraordinary!, April 28 2015
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This review is from: Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut (DVD)
After the Comedian has been murdered, lone remaining vigilante Rorschach begins an investigation into his old acquaintance’s death. Since most superheroes were banned from existing after some legislation several years before, he looks up old allies and even old enemies in his quest for the truth. Slowly, he begins to unravel a plot that could bring about a disaster unlike anything the world has ever seen before.

Based on what some would argue is the greatest graphic novel and superhero story of all time, Watchmen written by Alan More and Dave Gibbons, this movie adaptation was years in the making. Not this specific rendition, but from what I know, the book was optioned way back when it came out in the ’80s but never got off the ground. One of the reasons was very few filmmakers had the guts to touch it because Watchmen is such a revered work amongst comic fans and even in some literary and academic circles.

Enter director Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead (2004), Man of Steel, 300 and more), whose eye for detail and a knack for visual storytelling takes on the gargantuan project and does his best to faithfully adapt Watchmen to the big screen. Him and his creative team nail it, in my opinion, and adapt the book the only way something like Watchmen could be adapted: panel-by-panel. It was the safest route but also the smartest. Some changes were made—like the ending—but for the most part, the book is translated completely as is to the big screen. Even the director’s cut includes additional scenes and animated clips from Tales of the Black Freighter interspersed throughout just like the graphic novel has bits of the pirate comic peppered throughout the main narrative.

Watchmen asks the question: what would superheroes be like if they existed in the real world? Whether they are of the superpowerless variety or something more Superman-like ala Dr. Manhattan, you get an honest portrayal of superheroes in real life, all centered around the mystery of the murder of one of their friends.

This story is about as down-to-earth as you get regarding superheroes in real life, and depending on the angle you’re coming from, can be equal to or more so than Kick-Ass in that regard.

Each character in the flick matched their character in the book, all the way from the crazy-yet-cynical Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), to black-and-white-justice-seeking Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), to idealistic-yet-obsessed Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), to insecure-but-strong Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman), to misguided-but-you-can-see-how-he’s-right Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), and a supporting cast that makes every moment believable.

The Watchmen story is so dense that the fact they were able to take the twelve-part series and showcase nearly all of it in around three and a half hours—I’m talking about the ultimate cut of the movie, which includes Tales of the Black Freighter and a bunch of additional footage not seen in the theatrical release—is pretty impressive. What’s amazing about the Watchmen narrative and thus the movie is the incredible amount of history for the characters that needed to be shown without bogging down the main story, which was the Comedian’s murder. You get to know these characters intimately, their pasts, their present and in some cases, their future.

Zack Snyder’s knack for visuals gave this flick its own flavor and tone thanks to the color filters on the film. The score is fantastic. The action scenes were well done and quickly-paced, using brutal fighting techniques and the right amount of blood.

Watchmen is certainly not your traditional superhero flick. It’s a superhero drama and is meant for an audience who likes to have some thinking along with their superhero slugfests. As a comic book fan, I appreciated the movie’s faithfulness to the graphic novel, the overall story of Watchmen, and how each person involved really seemed to take this movie seriously. Nothing was tongue-in-cheek.

Watchmen ranks right up there as one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. If you consider yourself a superhero fan, then you should check it out. It’s a serious look at the genre through the lens of a clever story with amazing characters, all of which you feel like you’ve known for ages instead of just for a few hours on the screen.

Highly recommended. Not for kids.

V for Vendetta / V pour Vendetta [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
V for Vendetta / V pour Vendetta [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Price: CDN$ 7.96
20 used & new from CDN$ 5.92

5.0 out of 5 stars A Virtuous Victory of a Movie!, April 24 2015
4.5 out of 5

In the late 2020s, the United Kingdom is the only last stable government in the world and is led by the oppressive Norsefire party. Under such a tight regime, the people are controlled at every turn. The exchange? Bow down and you’ll live in peace and safety.

From out of the shadows rises V (Hugo Weaving), a Guy Fawkes-mask-wearing caped activist who has a thorough plan meant to topple the present government and, over the course of a year, expose the Norsefire regime for what they really are and inspire the people to be free.

After being saved by V from an attempted rape, Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) goes into hiding in V’s lair and learns not only of V’s plans for the UK, but also about herself, her fears, and what it will take for her to rise from her own ashes to help him on his quest.

This movie was based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.

Hugo Weaving is insane in this. His acting is through the roof! I mean, come on, the guy had a mask on the entire time. You don’t see his face, and yet with every nuance of every word, every expressive tone, every bit of body language, you didn’t need the aid of a face to sell you on what he was saying or why he was saying it. No small feat and was truly amazing. And that “V speech” when he introduces himself to Evey? Go. Watch it. Now. Awesome.

Natalie Portman is the bomb as Evey Hammond. I love her in nearly everything she does and her performance in V for Vendetta is no exception, especially when her character starts going through the wringer and she starts to break down. That scene where she gets her head shaved? That happened in real life. That was really her hair and was a one-take deal shot with three cameras, and a very poignant scene in the film. Her journey from start to finish is the audience’s on-screen link to V and his quest, and by the end, you’re with him one hundred percent.

While there are some differences between the movie and the graphic novel, they by no means take away from it, in my opinion. There will always be differences when adapting books to film.

V in this flick is a kind of Robin Hood-meets-Zorro figure, but instead of having the people behind him, he’s on his own with only Evey at his side. However, over the course of the year the story takes place, and as V unfolds his plan, the people start to get behind him, first in their hearts and then in their actions.

Speaking of action, I love V’s fighting in this, spinning his swords and holding his own against multiple opponents. Some of the trickery he uses to evade capture also reminds me of Batman-like tactics.

The movie is a strong one, interesting from start to finish, and one that not only inspires, but makes me grateful I live in a free country like Canada and not in a fascist state.

V for Vendetta also spilled over into the real world—our world—inspiring folks to wear Guy Fawkes masks during public demonstrations, like Occupy Wall Street. If that doesn’t show the impact of a movie, I don’t know what does.

This is a superhero movie with depth and is an important addition to any superhero fan’s library.

Highly recommended.

Unbreakable [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Unbreakable [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
DVD ~ Bruce Willis
Price: CDN$ 14.96
25 used & new from CDN$ 10.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Real--and Well Done--Superhero Origin Movie, April 22 2015
Ordinary David Dunn (Bruce Willis) has a failing marriage, a son who needs him, and a job as a security guard. However, all that changes after a severe train wreck and he is the only survivor. Even more miraculous, he is completely unharmed. When confronted by a man named Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), who suggests David is invulnerable, David shrugs it off but eventually begins to test himself and discovers that maybe he’s not that ordinary after all and soon learns he can do things no other man can. At Elijah’s insistence, David explores his abilities even more and soon begins a journey that reveals maybe he is indeed unbreakable.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love superhero origin stories and Unbreakable is just that. Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan of Sixth Sense fame, Unbreakable is a story deconstructing the superhero, and suggesting a possible real life origin for these amazing people, while keeping your interest from start to finish.

Using the real-life medical condition osteogenesis imperfecta as a springboard, suggesting that if someone with such frail bones can exist, is it not possible someone with unbreakable bones—even body—can exist? And thus is the story as we follow Elijah Price as he searches out this amazing possibility in the person of David Dunn.

This movie also heavily references comic books, Elijah posing the idea that comic books are modern day retellings of stories of times past and of real people who once were able to do things other people couldn’t.

Each moment of this movie is an in-depth look at what makes the superhero tick, everything from the discovery of his power, to his motivation in using it, to the doubt that such a possibility could exist in a person, to finding a possible weakness, to balancing having this special ability with the demands of everyday life, and more.

This movie is a drama and not an action flick. While there is some action, namely toward the end, it’s a life and times superhero story that makes you stop and think about what being a person with an extraordinary ability might actually be like, if it would be easy or hard, or a bit of both. What kind of challenges would you face? What kinds of benefits?

Apparently, M. Night Shyamalan came up with the idea following the standard three-part structure of a superhero story: the origin, the rise to being a hero, then the final confrontation with the villain. The movie has all these elements, but because he found it the most interesting, Shyamalan spends most of the time focusing on the origin. As a result, there is such depth surrounding David Dunn and Elijah Price that as the hero and villain, they rival characters that have been around for decades in terms of richness. Very well done.

This movie is just so, so good and is one of my all-time favorites. It’s one of those flicks to throw on on a rainy day, get under a blanket, and get swept up in the world of the superhero only to be inspired to look for the spectacular in one’s own self.

Highly recommended.

Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther (2006)
Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther (2006)
Offered by marvelio-ca
Price: CDN$ 8.97
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4.0 out of 5 stars Avengers (and Black Panther) Assemble!, April 18 2015
Picking up pretty much right where Ultimate Avengers left off, Ultimate Avengers 2 starts off in Wakanda and the kingdom falls under attack from Herr Kleiser, who kills the king and sends the prince, T’Challa, into action by taking up the mantle of the Black Panther. Black Panther then heads to the city to find Captain America. The Avengers are assembled and head to Wakanda to stop the Chitauri threat, resuming their battle from the first movie.

I liked the first movie a bit better, but probably because it was the birth of the Avengers vs them in full swing but that’s just me: I like origin stuff. Ultimate Avengers 2, however, is still a solid flick and falls right in line with its predecessor. (Always recommend watching these two back-to-back if you have the time, and with a little-over-an-hour runtime each, that’s definitely doable.)

The battles in this flick are awesome and showcase some all-out superhero-vs-alien mayhem. Like the first, each character gets their moment to shine and it’s like being reacquainted with old friends.

I love the depiction of the Avengers in this. Everyone is their stereotypical selves, something that they captured in the live action movie, but, to me, got even more right in this flick. Totally adds to it.

Like the first, the art direction is top notch. Everyone matches the way they looked in the first movie, giving it that sense of continuity. They had the same voice talent as the first for this as well. I love it when animated flicks keep the cast consistent outing-to-outing.

Watching this flick along with the first makes it a good final act to a stellar movie, but can also stand just fine on its own.

Glad I have it as part of my superhero movie collection.

Recommended.

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie
Ultimate Avengers: The Movie
DVD ~ Justin Gross
Offered by DealsAreUs
Price: CDN$ 10.62
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars This Movie is the Ultimate!, April 17 2015
This review is from: Ultimate Avengers: The Movie (DVD)
In World War II, the Nazis tried to launch an intercontinental missile and was thwarted by Captain America, but at great cost: Captain America fell into icy waters and was presumed dead. Some sixty years later, he was found and revived by S.H.I.E.L.D., who ends up convincing him to join their fight against the alien Chitauri. When the Chitauri attack, S.H.I.E.L.D. implements Project Avenger and begins assembling together Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to take on the Chitauri and put a stop to them once and for all.

This ensemble flick is one of the greats and is a solid introduction for the uninitiated to the Avengers—Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Giant Man, Wasp and Hulk—all led by Nick Fury.

It’s evenly paced, exciting, and gives each member of the team enough screen time to give them a chance to lock in with the viewer and make that viewer-character connection before moving on to the next guy.

Marvel’s direct-to-video efforts have been lacking and haven’t been that great because they’ve been very busy—albeit very successfully—focusing their efforts on bringing their heroes to the big screen. Ultimate Avengers and its sequel are the major exceptions to their animated shortcomings and this movie is every bit as good as their live action counterparts. I also think that’s the secret to making a good animated movie: treat it with the same care and seriousness as a live action film and you’ll hit it out of the ballpark every time. It works in Japanese animation. No reason why it wouldn’t work here in the West.

This movie was good start to finish. Had a story that spanned decades, and made you care about what was going on from first frame to last.

You have multiple plotlines going on, ranging from the Avengers dealing with the Chitauri to Bruce Banner trying to find a cure for the Hulk, to Captain America trying to find his place in the world. The amazing thing is they fit all these plotlines into a very short runtime (just over an hour).

The art direction was superb and I enjoyed how everyone looked in this, especially Hulk. (For me, he’s one of those guys that don’t always come out well.)

While there’s a pretty good dose of violence in this movie, it’s much more kid-friendly than the majority of DC’s animated features and is safe for kids (depending on your household rules for this sort of thing). Personally, I let my kids watch it but don’t let them watch the DC movies.

Whether a Marvel fan, an Avengers fan, or a superhero fan in general, Ultimate Avengers is a fantastic flick worth watching many times over. What’s cool is it’s basically part one of two and goes right into its sequel, Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Panther, without missing a beat, so if you have both, you’re in for a doubly-good time.

Recommended.

Thor (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD]
Thor (Bilingual) [Blu-ray + DVD]
DVD ~ Chris Hemsworth
Price: CDN$ 29.99
14 used & new from CDN$ 25.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Mighty Thor!, April 15 2015
Long ago Odin (Anthony Hopkins) led Asgard to victory against the Jotunheim Frost Giants and captured the source of their power, the Casket of Ancient Warriors. Over a thousand years later, Odin is about to crown his son, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), as King of Asgard, but the coronation ceremony is interrupted when the Front Giants find a way into the weapons vault and try to steal back the Casket. Fortunately, it wasn’t stolen as the giants fell before they could take it. Wanting to make an example of them, Thor and some of his loyal companions travel to Jotunheim against his father’s wishes and start a war with the giants. Odin rescues them but not without grave consequences: upon returning to Asgard, Thor is banished to Earth for his actions, powerless and alone. Only his hammer, Mjolnir, is sent with him, but now with an enchantment that only the worthy can wield it—and Thor is not.

On Earth, Thor meets Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), an astrophysicist who was there along with her mentor, Dr. Erik Selvig, the night Thor came through the wormhole.

Meanwhile, Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), finds out that his own heritage is not what he was told and, upon finding out his true origin, seeks to ensure his brother never returns to Asgard so he could become the king instead.

While on Earth, Thor must learn what it means to be humble, care for others, and thus earn his place as the proper king of Asgard, all in time to stop his brother from leading the Frost Giants into Asgard and destroying Odin’s kingdom.

This flick was Marvel’s fourth film in its Phase One plan leading up to The Avengers.

I love this movie. It’s down-to-earth, fun, has a good story and enough action to keep things exciting but not so much that it bogs down the entire movie.

Up until this flick, Thor was basically an unknown character to the movie-going public, and Thor does its job on giving the character a rich history, making you care about him, and making you cheer him on on his path to redemption.

The scenes on Asgard were breathtaking—heavenly, even—the size and scope of the city enough to inspire awe. The stuff on Earth, well, it’s just the stuff on Earth and this is the first I’ve personally seen the realms of fantasy and reality merge so well. There was a bit of that in the Harry Potter movies, but those kids never went to another world where it’s fantasy-type stuff 24/7.

The special effects were awesome and, to me, were a kind of unintentional preview to an exciting live action Superman movie, with Thor being the one in the red cape this time. The flying sequences were powerful, the strength, the lightning blasts—all good stuff, and with The Avengers on the horizon, the climatic fight scene between Thor and the Destroyer was well-paced and well done, saving Thor’s best for the ensemble film to come a year later.

The relationship between Thor and Loki was done especially well because most siblings feel that their parents favor one above the other. There’s always going to be some sibling rivalry, jealousy and competitiveness. This flick nailed that, in my opinion, especially on Loki’s side of things. I mean, at times you can’t help but feel bad for the guy and sympathize with his motives (that’s the mark of a good villain, by the way).

Thor is a sweet introduction to the character, sets him up really well for The Avengers, and this reviewer can’t wait to check out Thor: The Dark World and see how the Mighty Thor grows as a hero and as Asgard’s king.

Superman vs. The Elite [Blu-ray]
Superman vs. The Elite [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Various
Price: CDN$ 9.25
2 used & new from CDN$ 9.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Strongly Themed, Very Important, April 14 2015
Upon meeting the Elite, Superman hopes to have found new allies in his quest against evil, but when he discovers they bring a new brand of justice to the table, he must make a stand against them.

That’s basically the premise of the movie and it’s not so much a story with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, but rather a story about the fate of how villains should be dealt with hanging in the balance. Bottom line is the question: is the world ready to move on from using temporal solutions to stop criminals—super or otherwise—to permanently stopping them by simply killing them?

Superman believes in the potential good in everyone whereas the Elite, led by Manchester Black, believes that if you mess up, you should die to a) bring justice to whatever crime you did, and, b) stop any future chance of it happening again. While in a way you can see where he’s coming from, his black-and-white view of how to deal with evil leaves a lot to be desired. If anything, his view mirrors Superman’s in that justice must come to pass, but Superman also believes in mercy and forgiveness and the idea of learning one’s lesson then trying to make a positive go at things versus getting one shot and if you blow it then that’s it.

Part of this movie asks the question about Superman’s place in our modern society and if his ideals and motives are still relevant. Face it, we live in a very cynical, hard-edged world where people would sooner see the worst in others—while missing the bad in themselves, of course—than acknowledge people’s shortcoming(s) for what they are, try to fix the issue(s), forgive and move on. This is the product of a self-centered society—especially in the West—so self-centered that we won’t even acknowledge we have this issue (or get mad when confronted with it), thus creating the need to produce movies like Superman vs the Elite as, it seems, there are only a few who want to bring it to light.

That’s the deeper stuff. The lighter stuff is this movie has a fairly interesting story to bring the above to pass. I did find it slow in parts. The action sequences were pretty good, especially when Superman starts battling the Elite. I wasn’t a fan of the art direction, though, and have seen better presentations of Superman and his supporting cast in other direct-to-video DC movies.

If it weren’t for the strong themes of this movie, I would’ve given it a three, but because it’s about something important, it gets bumped up a point.

I do recommend this movie if you’re not sure if Superman is still relevant today or if you find him an unrelatable hero. This flick might change that for you. Take a look and decide for yourself.

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