Category Archives: Other Comics

Hellboy: Blood & Iron

Hellboy: Blood & Iron

This movie finishes out my Hellboy marathon and is my 99th superhero movie review of the year. I’m very happy to finish out my goal of watching and reviewing over 100 superhero movies this year. My 100th movie is a great one and a nice way to cap off my goal, though I will keep reviewing over the last couple weeks of the year. But back to Hellboy, Blood & Iron was the second animated movie and even though it came out after Sword of Storms, it takes place before the first Hellboy movie, focusing quite a bit on Professor Broom and shedding some light into his backstory. After many years of retirement from active duty, Broom takes on one more assignment that was initially introduced as a publicity stunt, though it ends up bringing back an old horror from the Professor’s early days in the BPRD. In other words, this is Hellboy’s take on vampire mythology. Taken as a whole, the Hellboy movie series really runs the gamut of different mythologies, giving them new life and putting the Hellboy spin on it. Instead of the typical vampire origin, this brings in the Greek Goddess of the witches, Hecate, and a figure from history just as infamous as Vlad the Impaler, Elizabeth Bathory. I was actually somewhat familiar with the story of the Blood Countess due to a City of Heroes player who created a custom mission arc with her history which I made a trailer for. Vampires, especially nowadays, are such a popular topic they have almost been done to death, and yet this movie was able to breathe some new life into the undead creatures, even though once again it briefly reminded me of Vampire Hunter D, the sequel this time. There was also a bit of Memento inspired chronological order shifting, with the flashbacks being intercut with the current day story in almost the same way.

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Hellboy: Sword of Storms

Hellboy: Sword of Storms 2006

In between the two Hellboy movies, there were a couple animated movies that were released on DVD. Apparently they also aired on Cartoon Network, but I never knew that until just now. It’s a little tough if you really want to nail down the timeline between all four of the movies, but since this one doesn’t include any references to Professor Broom, I imagine that it takes place after the first movie, while the next animated movie: Blood & Iron takes place before the first movie. It doesn’t really matter much though, because they are all separate stories that really have no connection to anything else. They are both very stand-alone BPRD missions, but in the context of what Hellboy and the rest of the BPRD do, it makes perfect sense. One of the things I greatly enjoyed about this movie is its exploration of Japanese mythology. In fact, taken as a whole, each Hellboy movie seems to explore a different facet of the world’s mythology, with Cthulhu in the first movie, Irish and other European folklore in the second movie, Japanese mythology in this movie, and vampire mythology in the second animated movie. And yet they all are tied together with a slightly tongue in cheek yet at the same time completely serious tone.

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II: The Golden Army 2008

It had been a long while since I had seen this movie. I actually bought it on Blu-Ray before I even started this site and had not gotten around to watching it again until now, and that’s a real shame because this is such a gorgeous and amazing movie. It has so many things that are very different from the first movie, but what it does keep is the sense of fun and the fantastic visuals. What the first film did for the Cthulhu mythology, this movie does with a completely different set of mythology. Not only that, but it gives many of the characters extra depth, there aren’t really any bad guys, there’s a lot more moral ambiguity and really explores the grey areas of what Hellboy and the BPRD does. And mixed in through all of that are some amazing action setpieces.

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Hellboy 2004

Before watching this movie, I went through and did a full count of how many movies I’ve actually reviewed so far this year. My original goal was 100 superhero movies, and by my current count I’m up to 95. Plus, I’ve reviewed 7 “Almost Super” movies. So that means I’ve got five more movies to watch and review over the next few weeks to hit my goal. I’d like to pick something good for #100, I’ll likely put a poll up tomorrow. But for #96-99 I’ll be watching all the movies in the Hellboy franchise, both live action and both animated. I’ve enjoyed these movies ever since I first watched them, Ron Perlman was and still is the perfect casting choice for the big red guy. There’s so much in this movie to enjoy, from the practical effects to the amazing designs on everything, to Hellboy’s attitude, this movie is one of my favorites and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to watch it. In fact, the poster I’m using to headline this post was actually one of my first movie posters, and hung on my wall for years. Such a great looking poster.

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Barb Wire

Barb Wire 1996

Ok, so first off I should probably mention that it’s taken me about three days to write this review. It’s not that it’s a terribly complex movie, or that I’ve wanted to go on and on and on about it. It’s just that for about two days, I’ve been sitting with this post open on its own tab, and I’ve been finding any and every online reason to distract myself from writing it. I do have to admit that it’s been very refreshing to essentially take a break from blogging. I went from being quite disappointed that my traffic wasn’t increasing at the same rate it had been for a handful of months, and that it was way lower than several other sites that had started around the same time, and that posting daily was way more taxing than I realized and after a few days, I realized it wasn’t having a huge effect on traffic. I’m obviously getting less traffic than I was when I was posting daily, but it’s not a huge drop. And if I really cared that much about traffic, I would simply review more popular movies. But taking this break has helped me focus on what this site has really become for me, a way to seek out and share my thoughts on a little niche genre that I enjoy, a way to find the undiscovered little gems that others may get a kick out of. But before I go way off topic (too late), let’s get back to the movie at hand. Before I started looking into it, all I knew about Barb Wire was that it was Pamela Anderson’s attempt at acting, an adaptation of some comic book, and Pam Anderson showed off quite a bit of her body in it. After I started looking into it, one of the first things anyone mentioned about it was that it was essentially a remake of Casablanca. Now Casablanca is one of the few black and white classic movies that I’m a big fan of. I’ve seen it three or four times (which is a lot for me, I rarely re-watch movies unless it’s a favorite), so I was curious how many similarities I would be able to catch, which did kind of make it more interesting to watch, if only a little.

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Dick Tracy

Dick Tracy 1990

Before I get into some more classicly bad and/or cheesy superhero movies, I picked this movie for our new podcast. I won our first game and next Tuesday will be the second episode of the As You Watch Podcast. You can be involved too. If you want to watch Dick Tracy and review it on your site, I will gladly link to your reviews so we can all discuss it together. Anyway, Dick Tracy came out on the heels of Tim Burton’s Batman movie and tried to cash in on that first wave of Superhero movies, but it was fairly short lived as nothing besides Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles seemed to have any pull with audiences at the time. Dick Tracy was inspired by a classic comic strip that dates back to the 30’s. Warren Beatty pulled a lot of his influence to make this pet project, initially getting it greenlit under a moderate budget before ballooning it to almost double before he was done. The results were fairly impressive for the time, with all the bright colors and unique characters that looked like they were almost taken directly off the comic book page. But while there are still a lot of great things about the movie, it just doesn’t quite hold up as well anymore, at least in my opinion.

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Son of the Mask

Son of the Mask 2005

After sitting through My Super Ex-Girlfriend, I thought I’d turn this into a mini marathon of bad superhero comedies. The Specials wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t that great either. And today’s movie trumps the both of them by a longshot. It rightly has a place on my earlier list of 33 of the worst superhero movies ever made. It shares some of the same mythology as Thor, and shares some of the same backstory as the Mask, but it goes in a completely different direction to try and make it into a more kid friendly, and seemingly therefore brainless, movie. There was not a single joke that made me laugh, I did not care about any of the characters, and the cartoonish action was a stale rehash of the actual cartoons that inspired it.

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Mystery Men

Mystery Men 1999

I more or less just picked a random movie to watch today, I guess it does share a lot of similarities to both Dr. Horrible and Scott Pilgrim, especially to the latter as it was a box office bomb, grossing about half of its sixty million dollar budget. I think it’s considered somewhat of a cult classic, though I think it’s mostly just forgotten. One of the few things it has going for it is its unique cast, mixing offbeat comic actors like Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, and Paul Reubens with Geoffrey Rush and William H. Macy. There are all sorts of big, or at least moderate budget effects combined with a large number of fart jokes. It’s hard to tell exactly what audience this movie was aiming for, but I generally enjoyed it.

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World 2010

I have heard all sorts of praise for this movie since it came out, even though it seemed destined to become an immediate cult movie. It was a pretty dismal failure at the box office, making just over half of it’s fairly impressive $60 million budget. I find that it’s actually rather fitting that I watched this movie after watching Unbreakable. Because it’s like different sides of the same coin. Where Unbreakable was understated, slow paced, and ultra realistic, Scott Pilgrim is over the top, fast paced, and extremely stylized. Yet it can be said about both of them that there is no other movie out there quite like either of them. I went into this movie knowing very little about it. I knew the basic plot that Scott falls in love with an alt chick and has to fight her seven exes, and there’s a resounding comic book slash classic video game slash anime influence. That’s putting it mildly. It’s like an anime ate a comic book while playing a video game and had a love child with a superhero movie and this is the resulting child of that event. It’s definitely not a movie for everyone, I wasn’t sure where it was going at the beginning, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it.

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Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon 1980

As I continue my venture into the great chasm of cheesy superhero movies I decided to seek out the 1980 movie of Flash Gordon. There was very little about this movie that I knew of going into it. I knew the hero was named Flash Gordon, the villain was named Ming the Merciless, Queen did the theme song which I had heard, and of all people my older sister actually gave it her endorsement. I do have a Facebook account, but I only use it for old friends and family. I posted about the poll I had on what to watch, mentioning the cheesy movies like Flash Gordon was tied with X-Men and my sister wrote “Flash Gordon isn’t cheesy, it’s awesome!” After watching it, I agree. It’s awesome, horribly horribly awesome. This movie made me laugh harder and more often than the Avengers. There was so much wrong with this movie, but it played it all so earnestly I just had to buy into it.

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