Archive for May, 2012

A promo poster for The Avengers made by frmjewduhh and available at http://frmjewduhh.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d2r1jjm

Promo fan art by frmjewduhh. Click the image to link to his page.

The short version:

Astounding.  The movie is exciting, hilarious, clever, and has some of the most exciting and interesting action sequences ever filmed.  If you’re an Avengers fan, a comic book fan, an action movie fan, a comedy fan, or there’s any chance you’d enjoy anything on that list, then you will almost certainly love the Avengers.  If you’re none of the above, your odds of loving it are still better than 50/50.

The long version:

The greatest danger (in my mind) in bringing together so many super-powered good guys is that it can be hard to find a villain or team of villains powerful or clever enough to pose a realistic threat.

Loki from the new Avengers movie.

Enter: Loki

I already enjoyed Loki in Thor, so to see him displaying both physical and mental prowess was exciting.  He was charismatic and clever, looking both twisted and majestic at the same time.

Didn’t just one of the Avengers already beat him?

I’m actually retroactively impressed by the Thor plot after seeing this movie.  (Thor Spoiler: Loki never bent himself on defeating Thor and as a result, Thor and friends merely defeated Loki’s guardian while Loki succeeded in orchestrating the end of an entire world–an effort which was only prevented by Loki’s own loss of confidence and a particularly powerful and pissed-off Odin.) In other words, we know Loki is capable of bringing down the planet and he makes it very clear very early on that he has no intention of doing otherwise.  Brilliant and scarily clever.

The Plot (without spoilers):

There are definitely some question marks for the team at How It Should Have Ended to parody, but as far as viewers are concerned, the plot holds together, remains consistent (with enough twists and revelations to stay gripping), and doesn’t contain any glaring “why didn’t they just…” moments.

The Avengers and their Screen Time

The movie did a wonderful job of balancing screen time, giving each character at least two “WTF!?!? THEY ARE SO AWESOME!!!!!” moments, and most importantly, making each of the characters enjoyable and interesting.  There was never a time in which I found myself thinking–as I have in other movies–“I’m really tired of this character.  Let’s see someone else.”

Acting:

I’m not an actor so I gauge good acting by this single criteria:

If I don’t notice a line or action being delivered poorly, then I’d consider the actor to have done good work. – Bastion

By that standard, all of the actors (most of whom we already knew rocked) were great.  It’s a comic book movie about gods beaming in from the Odenheim to join up with super-powered humans to battle aliens, so there are obviously some sentences that must have felt really strange in the actors’ mouths, but the delivery was always appropriate, contextual, and believable. The cast of The Avengers posing at Comicon.

The Credible HULK

I was worried about the Hulk for two reasons:

1.  He’s my least favorite Avenger. 2.  He wasn’t played by Edward Norton.

Fortunately, I was not only pleasantly surprised, but both Bruce Banner and his big green alter-ego became my second favorite character(s) in the movie (Loki stole it, as far as I’m concerned).

A blended image of the Hulk and Loki from the new Avengers movie.

The Hulk, Loki, and if you click the picture, an article about the characters and actors who played them.

A note on the Avengers in general:

I’ve always been an X-Men fan but I had never been that big on the Avengers.  I’ve read a few of their comics (mainly the ones in which they interact with the X-Men) and I’m familiar with most of the characters, but aside from enjoying each of the prequel movies (Thor, Ironman 1 and 2, The Hulk, and Captain America), I’ve never immersed myself in them. Something I noticed in this movie is how spectacularly branded each of the Avengers are.  I enjoyed the characters in X-Men first class because I knew them–not because any one or two of them were cultural icons.  I was awestruck the first time I saw Ironman and Captain America standing beside each other because that’s IRONMAN AND CAPTAIN AMERICA.  When you finally see the whole team, together, ready to rock, well…  I hope you managed to get to the bathroom BEFORE that scene.

Special Effects

What special effects?  I never once felt like I was watching anything that wasn’t actually filmed in real life. In other words, the effects were absolutely seamless.  I think we’ve finally gotten to the point where (at least in high budget movies) movie producers can show us anything they want.  In the Avengers, they evidently wanted to blow our minds. A wide-shot of the Avengers doing battle, featuring Ironman, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and Hawkeye.

Action and Interaction

When I saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon, I was sure of two things:

1.  The final battle was the most moving I’d ever seen. 2.  It would be a few years before a movie topped it.

The action sequences through the Avengers were all exciting (and furthered the plot–not just unnecessary fighting), but the final battle(s) changed my world.  I’ve always had a lot of faith in technology so even when watching incredible things that I’d never seen before (like the Matrix movies as they came out or Transformers 3’s war in the Chicago streets), I’ve never been terribly surprised that it was done. By the end of the last action sequence of the Avengers, I was amazed.  I had winced more than three times.  I had leapt from my seat in laughter more than three times.  I had felt senses of excitement, fear, and vengeance multiple times each.  The few times my mind was able to catch up with itself, I found myself marveling at the fact that I was seeing what I was seeing. This was a roller-coaster.  Hilarious, moving, exciting, and awe-inspiring.  Definitely worth the wait, the hype, and a second viewing. Movie poster for The Avengers.

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com. You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my Pinterest.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got. – Bastion, of Grace at Arms

I’m really in love with internet memes these days (if you’re unfamiliar with the term, internet memes are the recurring images with clever text on them that you see everywhere–for LOTS of examples, check out my Pinterest boards here).

I don’t usually celebrate of Star Wars Day though I do give a “may the fourth be with you” to all of my Star Wars fan friends, but today I noticed a meme that made me decide to make an image of my own.

Someone posted this on Facebook:

An internet meme making fun of people who pretend to be nerds picking on non-Star-Wars-fans celebrating Star Wars Day (May 4, 2012).

That meme (that image of that girl) is normally used to pick on people who claim to be nerds but really just watch the Big Bang Theory or own a Star Wars t-shirt (welcome to the internet–“nerds” is now an elitist group).

The picture is funny, but, as a member of the internet, it’s my duty to jab at everything, whether I like it or not!  In an appropriately passive-aggressive move, I designed a little picture (for those purists out there, it isn’t a meme–it’s just a picture until it catches on) of my own:

An image of a Star Wars geek with funny text by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) prepared in celebration of Star Wars Day (May 4th, 2012).

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

It’s Friday again and we hope it’s the start of a great weekend for everybody! Here’s what the members of GRACE@ARMS are up to:

Bastion:

I’ve done some stupid things in YouTube videos like drinking a bottle of Tabasco sauce or speed-eating Qdoba burritos, but I hadn’t yet attempted to chug a 40.  Some people had been pushing me, so here it is (oh, I decided it wasn’t awesome enough so I went ahead and chugged a bottle of Tabasco sauce, too)!  Here’s the short version of the video.  If you want to see the whole version with the Capri Sun and me sitting around, scroll down!

Milo:

I’m fired up because the show on Saturday went well [Thanks, JB for covering! – All] and now I’m preparing to intern in Chicago this summer!

Bastion (again):

If you want to see the whole video (the only parts I really cut out are me waiting to burp), I decided to post that, too:

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) chugging a 40 oz Magnum high gravity malt liquor while wearing a Grace@Arms shirt.  This is a screen capture from a YouTube video.  All art and logos copyright Grace@Arms, Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC.