Tonight will be my second stream of Injustice 2! The grind continues to get all characters to level 30. I plan on having a three-hour stream where Robin, Poison Ivy, and my main Aquaman see plenty of practice. It’s going to be weird using Robin and Ivy as I’m not familiar with those characters. Stop by on Twitch at robertfrowniejr. Stream will hopefully start by 7 p.m. central time.
The Spring of Sci-Fi Review #11
Before this blog became The Number One Archives, it used to run under a different name. It used to be just me working alone on this blog. Occasionally, I will scroll through older posts that I did in the past. I noticed that there were a series of posts that I never finished. Today, I will finish the posts. The posts were about Sam Raimi’s superhero classic, Spider-Man (2002). After looking back, the posts were me giving summaries of the film while intoxicated. I remember that I was trying to have a movie marathon of the Holy Trilogy (original Spider-Man trilogy) two years ago. I watched the first two Spider-Man films, then I got sleepy so I never watched the third. I still plan on revisiting the third soon. Let’s talk about the first film.
If you haven’t seen the first film by now, shame on you. I will let younger audiences have a pass. They were probably raised in the Andrew Garfield/Tom Holland era more than likely. Tobey Maguire stars as Peter Parker, who is a high school student that gets bitten by a radioactive spider. The bite gifts Parker with powers, such as webbing, enhanced strength, enhanced agility, and spider-sense. After the murder of his beloved Uncle Ben, Parker adopts the moniker of Spider-Man and begins to fight the crime that took away his uncle. Spider-Man will get put to the test as the villain Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) rises to prominence with a pure hatred for the hero. Spider-Man will have to risk his life to protect those he loves from the grasp of the Goblin’s fingertips.
Sam Raimi does an amazing job of capturing the essence of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s work on Amazing Spider-Man. In the film, Peter Parker is a person that we all can relate to. He’s in high school with a few friends and a few bullies. Rosemary Harris (Aunt May) and Cliff Robertson (Uncle Ben) did a fantastic job of recreating that loving environment that Peter Parker had in the comics. Tobey Maguire’s charm that he has helps us to connect with the character and portray to us why the movie characters want to support Parker. He’s a good kid, who has these awful struggles.
The special effects are still great, though a few are starting to look dated. A majority of these effects are still fantastic because Raimi would use practical effects when he had the chance. Spider-Man’s web-slinging through New York still has that fluidity and acrobatic movement that is to admire. The fight scenes are brutal to this day, especially the final fight between Spider-Man and Green Goblin. Raimi manages to get violent as possible while being able to maintain the film’s PG-13 rating. All of the fight scenes are full of emotion as both hero and villain know each other personally.
Raimi does well blending the genres of science fiction and horror together. We get the science of Parker transforming into a hero to Norman Osborn/Green Goblin morphing into a super villain. In these transformation scenes, we get a sense of terror from Raimi’s direction. A prime example is the scene where Norman Osborn injects himself with drugs that make him into a super human. Dafoe goes absolutely absurd with his eyes rolled up in his head during the scene. It’s exciting, yet terrifying. A scene that will stick with you.
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man is a classic that’s still memorable in millions of minds across the world. It showed that Marvel could be a heavy hitter like they are now in cinema. The world was taken by storm in 2002 when this movie released. It now has inspired several Spider-Man films to follow its path. Be warned…this film induces the drug known as nostalgia.
Overall rating: 4/5.
When I set out to review a movie I want to make sure that my reviews make sense, that they are coherent enough so people can understand my perspective on the movie and also what the movie is about; I’m not sure if I always succeed in doing that, but that is my aim. Having said that…X-Men: The Last Stand is a pile of shit, coincidentally it was also directed by one–don’t confuse this with the professional asshole from my last two reviews this is a different person who is also a total piece of garbage. Now, I don’t dislike this movie because of the pile of shit that was behind the camera, I dislike it because he somehow displayed his shit on camera for the whole world to see. There are plenty of talented actors in this movie, many which I adore and respect, but that cannot save this movie from being the pile of trash that it is.
This movie pretty much fails on every level. Not only is it poorly directed and written, but it is also as boring as watching paint dry. Actually, I would rather watch paint dry because at least I am accomplishing something by making sure that my work is done, nothing is accomplished in this movie other than misunderstanding characters and basic storytelling.
This story is supposed to be the culmination of everything that has transpired over the past two films, but the only thing it has in common with the previous two films is that it doesn’t know what to do with Cyclops, instead, he gets a shitty off-screen death that fits the absolute nothing of material that he was presented in the previous installments. This movie is supposed to finish Jean Grey’s arc as well, showing her transition into the Dark Phoenix–this movie is the first of two failed adaptations of a classic comic book arc–but instead Jean Grey becomes a lackey to Magneto’s band of weirdo villains who are trying to destroy “cure” for mutants. This cure comes in the form of a character named…who the fuck cares. He is given no more than 10 minutes of screen time at most and serves as an object rather than a character.
The only two things I like are the castings of Kelsey Grammar as Beast (who is not used properly), and the addition of Elliot Page as Kitty Pride (a personnel favorite X-Men character of mine who again is given shit to work with). Also, can someone tell the pile of shit that directed this movie that Juggernaut isn’t a mutant so the Mutant Suppressor Non-Character boy shouldn’t affect his abilities? What does it matter? This movie doesn’t care and why should you. I have a feeling when James Marsden and Patrick Stewart read the script they went and celebrated the fact that they got to be killed off, I know I would rather die than sit through this movie again. There is a possibility that movies like this cause brain aneurysms so watch with caution. Now, you are probably thinking to yourself: It can’t get worse than this…but it does. Next up is X-Men Origins: Wolverine which is even more of a waste of time, although it wasn’t directed by a professional asshole or a pile of shit so it is a move in a proper direction…well the professional asshole does come back at some point.
X2: X-Men United, still directed by the same professional asshole, is an example of a sequel that surpasses the original. I’ve always complained about the X-Men movies being low-key Wolverine films, and while that still somewhat applies to this movie, I forgot how much more of an ensemble this movie is. Characters like Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Storm (Halle Berry), and Magneto (Ian McKellen) get plenty of screen time and character development that adds to the team element that I feel these movies should have more of. Some of the characters get sidelined, looking at Cyclops here who gets the Hawkeye treatment of being brainwashed by the villain early on and then doing absolutely nothing, but all in all this movie does an excellent job of building up the fact that this is a team, not a solo effort. Hell, we even have Magneto acknowledging the Wolverine-centric previous movie by saying, “You still think this is all about you,” this is probably paraphrasing, but it stands to show that this movie is attempting to be more about the team than just one character.
The plot of this movie follows the themes that the previous movie established, dealing with people’s intolerance of mutants and the lengths they will go to eliminate that threat. Following a threat on the President’s life by a brainwashed Nightcrawler–an excellent scene that remains one of my favorite comic book movie moments–people begin fearing mutants even more which makes the President contact a man named William Stryker. William Stryker, played wonderfully by Brian Cox, is an excellent antagonist. He not only serves as a threat to mutant-kind but is also a shadowy figure from Wolverine’s past that adds a layer of mystery to the action elements of the story. While Stryker’s nefarious goal seems generic, eliminate all mutants, the villain is given a clear motive and we see what dangerous lengths prejudice can lead to.
One of my favorite aspects of this movie has always been the team up the X-Men have with Magneto and Mystique, the only remaining members of Magneto’s Brotherhood–they get a new addition at the end with Pyro joining the team. This team-up shows that while the X-Men and Magneto have differing goals and methods, their viewpoints are not that different and they are fighting similar fights. We see that Magneto is less of a pure villain and more of a misguided man that has been corrupted by the darkness he has witnessed over his lifetime. We even see Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) getting some deeper character development with limited screen time. We know that she is someone that has been judged by her appearance, and based on her brief conversation with Nightcrawler we gain some sympathy for her even though she has been apart of some atrocious acts. This movie gives mutants a common enemy in William Stryker allowing for the filmmakers to develop the world.
X2 is an improvement on a movie that was already good. The characters are given more screen time and the filmmakers build out the world by giving the mutants a common enemy in William Stryker. The movie ends with a set-up for a sequel, and I can already tell you that payoff is not worth it–that review will be coming soon.
X-Men, directed by a professional piece of shit, was released in 2000, way before the onslaught of comic book movies and television shows that audiences are used to today. Before X-Men, the primary comic book/superhero films that had been released were four Superman films of varying quality–and by that I mean it ranged from good to abysmal–and four Batman films of varying quality (see my comment about the Superman films). Comic book films in the early 2000s weren’t at the same level that we see now. X-men was something unique and special and we can attribute the success of the MCU to its success and the success of the Spider-Man trilogy that would begin shortly after this movie was released.
X-Men tells the story of a group of people called mutants and explores how they are faced with prejudice and bigotry from a world that doesn’t understand them. It is common knowledge that Stan Lee began writing the X-Men series to comment on the civil rights movement that was brewing in our own country at that time. One could argue now would be the perfect time to see the X-Men come back into the forefront of superhero media as a way to comment on the turmoil we see minorities still facing to this day.
This particular X-Men story focuses on the character of Wolverine, iconically portrayed by Hugh Jackman, and Rogue, played by Anna Paquin, as they enter into the larger mutant world. Both Wolverine and Rogue are taken in by Professor Charles Xavier, played by Patrick Stewart, who runs a school for mutants. There they meet Cyclops (James Marsden), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Storm (Halle Berry), and come into contact with radical mutants such as Magneto (Ian McKellan), Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), Toad (Ray Park), and Sabertooth (Tyler Mane). The differing viewpoints of Xavier’s X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants drive the primary conflict of the story. Charles wants cohabitation with humanity, but Magento wants superiority. Magneto is a holocaust survivor and is plagued by the haunting memories of what humans are capable of, ironically he becomes the same kind of monster subjecting others to violence and terror through prejudice and fear.
If I had one complaint about the movie, it would be that Wolverine takes too much of the center stage. He is an iconic character and I think it is an excellent idea to use him and Rogue as a way to help explain the world to the audience, but for me, X-Men has so many excellent and iconic characters that fall to the wayside so the movie can show the badassery of Wolverine. Cyclops, who is a massively important figure in X-Men comics and stories is here played as the butt monkey. His heroism and leadership are portrayed as corny and unnecessary next to the gruff and gritty Wolverine. Another complaint, and this is a personal preference, I hate the black leather costumes. The costumes from the comics are colorful and add layers to the characters that wear them; what we get here are knockoffs from a Joel Schumacher Batman film, minus the nipples.
X-Men is an iconic and important movie that helped design and influence the culture of blockbuster movies today. It is not without its flaws, but if you are looking for an entertaining action film with some excellent performances you can’t go wrong with X-Men.
Third stream of the day. Let’s keep grinding. It’s time for some heroic beatdowns. I’m getting back to work on my Aquaman build. Come join in as the stream begins shortly.
Part One – Amazing Spider-Man #139
The Original Clone Saga is a Spider-Man series that started in Amazing Spider-Man #139. The issue that starts the saga is written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Ross Andru. The comic released in December 1974. New villain The Grizzly debuts with surprising villain Jackal appearing at the comic’s end. The comic is a slow start of potential things to come.
The story shows us that Peter Parker’s civilian life has been struggling. He’s looking for a new apartment that’s cheap enough for his income. That’s a hard act to complete in a city such as New York. Conway does a great job of quickly connecting readers to Peter and his plight. It’s sad to see Peter, who has done so much for the city, not even be able to find an affordable home. It’s a reminder of the homeless that are wandering the streets of New York at night.
Grizzly is a formidable opponent in his debut. He will remind readers of the Rhino. However, he will become a forgettable villain as he’s just the muscle for the true villain. Peter Parker in the issue investigates a townhouse in New York. Grizzly and Jackal await inside. They capture Peter Parker, then attach a device to Peter’s wrist. The device is to help Jackal figure out who Spider-Man is. This sets up the next issue where Peter has to figure out how to remove the device.
This is a slow start to the saga without giving much info to lure in readers. The only hint is that Jackal is playing a part. The artwork is superb in the book. Ross Andru is fantastic so far. Conway does great with the several issues that Peter faces. He just doesn’t have readers hooked yet into what’s to come.
Overall rating: 2.5/5.
We bet that you didn’t know that, did you? Aquaman has been to college. In 1947, writer Joe Samachson and artist Louis Cazenueve had the nautical superhero attend university to expand his knowledge of deep-sea animals/creatures. That is an admirable reason for Aquaman to go to school as he hasn’t seen every sea creature that there is. With extra analysis, people who study fish are called “ichthyologists.” It is a branch of the field of zoology.
In the story, Aquaman tells his finny friends that he’s going up to land to study fish after interacting with one that had poisonous spines. The fish with spines made Aquaman sick for a few days, so Aquaman wants to investigate fish that he hasn’t interacted with yet. Aquaman attends Weston College that has the top ICHTHYOLOGIST in the country. You will have that big word memorized by the end of the day. Professor Hatcher, the top ichthyologist, is in charge of the financials of the university. Aquaman overhears Hatcher talking to Mr. Reed, who donates his own money to keep the university open. Mr. Reed tells Hatcher that if the university doesn’t field a winning sports team, he will stop funding the university. Aquaman tells Reed that they will win an upcoming swim meet. Reed says he’ll give the university a million dollars if they win. Aquaman starts dominating the meet, while Mr. Reed is on the ocean with his boat sinking. A finny friend finds its way to Aquaman to relay to him that Mr. Reed may die. Aquaman swims his way to the ocean where he saves Reed with his finny friends and earns the million-dollar donation that Weston needs to keep operating.
The story is brief, but captures the lightheartedness of past Aquaman tales. Samachson crafts an intelligent script with the limited page length that he has. The transition of Aquaman’s academic career to saving Mr. Reed/Weston in the script is well-paced. Aquaman going to college could’ve been inspirational for readers back in the 1940s. Cazanueve is brilliant with his art and the colors make it pop. Some objects are colored oddly in the story, such as Mr. Reed’s ship being purple. The colors of when Aquaman is underneath the ocean has this beautiful, space vibe.
Overall rating: 3.5/5. It’s not a memorable story. It is a pleasing, short story that will make you smile.
Today, Fortnite fans witnessed the epic conclusion of season four of chapter two. Marvel villain Galactus arrived to destroy all of reality. Players got to see how huge the character is as he stood boldly–towering over the map, the world, and outer space. The game briefly became an arcade shooter as players got to shoot at objects while flying up the gigantic arms of Galactus. The event ended with the players and Marvel superheroes thwarting Galactus. Galactus is sent through a portal to where he came from prior. This caused the universe to crack like a mirror. The screen goes black as Fortnite enters downtime for season 5! What exciting events await in season 5? We’ll find out soon.
Today, we take you back in time. We love time travel. More Fun Comics #73 released in November of 1941. DC Comics asked DC editor/writer Mort Weisinger in 1941 to create a few new characters. He quickly created three hits: the speedster Johnny Quick, the archer Green Arrow, and the underwater hero Aquaman. Aquaman made his debut in the back pages of More Fun Comics #73. Today’s review is of that debut story written by Weisinger and co-creator Paul Norris that did the art for the book.
In Aquaman’s debut story, we see the nautical superhero take on the Nazis. It was 1941, when the United States was in the middle of World War II. Comics during the time was featuring the war in their stories and Aquaman wasn’t the only superhero fighting the Nazi regime. Weisinger begins the story with suspense as a German submarine is going to attack a small boat filled with men, women, and children that are seeking help. The submarine fires a shell at the boat, then Aquaman’s hand rises from the water. Aquaman grabs the boat, then swims quickly away from the submarine. After Aquaman saves the survivors, he heads straight for the submarine to kick the asses of the Nazis.
In this sequence, there is a shift in the story’s mood. It goes from worrisome to happy. Weisinger liked to have a fusion of suspense and lightheartedness in his scripts. Aquaman busts onto the submarine–throwing punches and delivering hilarious nautical-themed quips. Norris portrays this beautifully with scenes of despair and scenes of enjoyment. Norris features bright colors to give happiness to this tale. You can tell that Aquaman is a tale to bring smiles upon readers’ faces in a time of darkness.
Aquaman defeats the Nazis in the book. Weisinger briefly introduces Aquaman’s origin story quickly in the comic. Across three panels, readers are introduced to Aquaman’s father. It’s not enough to truly get a grasp of who the character is. It is enough to entice readers for more info of Aquaman’s past. Overall, the short story is fun and entertaining for readers to want more.
Overall rating: 4/5.