Sunday, July 29, 2018

Broly: A Life Unlived

We take it as fact that the villains of Dragon Ball Z are not complicated people. They usually have a simple goal in mind, one instantly recognizable as evil. Our characters come up against them, halt their plans, they engage in combat, and the good characters inevitably prevail. Sometimes their defeat eventually turns the villains to the side of good, which allows them more space to develop as characters, such as Piccolo or Vegeta, but otherwise they just die, without much more to define them. When speaking of one-dimensional villains from the Dragon Ball series, there's one name that seems to rise above the rest: Broly.

Out of the shallow villains from DBZ, Broly seems the most so. While Cell was programmed to kill Goku and took joy in facing a strong opponent, or Frieza reveled in conquest and victory, Broly lacked even that much complexity. Broly wanted to kill Goku. Unlike the Androids, he was not programmed to do so by someone with a grudge, unlike Vegeta, it wasn't out of some drive to be stronger. We are meant to believe that as a young child, Broly heard Goku's cries, which etched so deeply in his psyche a hatred for him, that even as an adult, the hatred has only gotten more virulent.

At a cursory glance, this seems one of the weakest reasons for a villain to try and kill Goku. Broly has no other plans, no ambitions. Does he just enjoy destruction for its own sake? However, unlike most of the antagonists Dragon Ball holds, we see Broly's past. We see his family, his origin, and looking deeply, we see something far more tragic than at first glance.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Dragon Ball Super: Broly Trailer


Had to get that out of the way first. But yeah! Broly, the Legendary Super Saiyan, from the identically titled (non-canon) DBZ film, is the main event in a new Dragon Ball Super movie!

Now this film is different than the DBZ movies out there, which were little side-adventures that didn't actually matter in the main plot of the show. In fact, you couldn't even really place them in the timeline of the show, they just had ideas and villains that sometimes worked out to be really cool and sometimes did not. Broly was one of these, featured, oddly enough, in three movies, The Legendary Super Saiyan, Broly - Second Coming, and Bio-Broly. However, this new film, simply titled Broly, is actually considered canon in Dragon Ball, like Battle of Gods and Resurrection F. So what that means is for the first time, Broly is a real part of the story of Dragon Ball. Honestly, I'm jazzed about it.

The thing about Broly in his movies is that he was almost entirely one-note. See, when he was a baby, he got put in a nursing pod right next to baby Goku, who cried incessantly no matter what anyone did. Somehow, this became a crucial part of Broly's psyche, so when he sees Goku, he loses all reason and becomes an unstoppable killing machine. And that's about it. He screams "KAKAROT" all the time and has a green aura instead of yellow.

Despite all that against Broly, I actually kinda like him. I always liked his design, maybe it's just because he's a tip-top beefcake maxed out buffways, but he had a look of incredible power you just don't usually get from DBZ villains. The weird green Super Saiyan transformation he had lended a lot of mystery to him, like this was an entirely different level from any other Super Saiyan we'd seen. Obviously his characterization was a bit lacking, but these films were more or less just extended fight scenes to begin with.

The real question is: What's going on in this film? From what I can tell, it looks like there's more Saiyans who survived the destruction of Planet Vegeta, and they come to Earth and fight. You really shouldn't expect much more than that for a Dragon Ball movie. But! From certain shots, it seems like there's going to be some flashbacks to Planet Vegeta before it was destroyed, with hopefully a new origin for Broly.

There's babies in tanks there, possibly alluding to some kind of genetic modification program to create the ultimate Saiyan. That could explain Broly's immense power and green Super Saiyan, which seems only less ridiculous now that Super Saiyan Blue exists. I'm always excited to see more adult Saiyans, firstly because they still have tails, which are rad, and secondly they won't have designs like fucking Cabba.

On that point, Broly's design for the movie looks pretty good. They swapped out his shirtless look for some new battle armor, and instead of the red sash he's got some green fur-looking garment, and some purple pants. For most of the trailer he's not even Super Saiyan, which is kind of nice since that's the only way he's ever been portrayed since his first movie. In the initial shot of Broly, he's got a device around his neck, possibly another power limiter like he had in his original movie. That seems pretty likely, since he doesn't wear one once he's Super Saiyan.

So this trailer brings up a lot of questions in only a minute and a half. Will Broly have a tail? Will we see any Great Apes in this movie? Why does Kale have a similar transformation? What's Frieza doing there? It's too early to tell yet, but I think I'm letting myself get too hyped, especially after the tensionless trifle that was Resurrection F. Ah well. Gotta be excited for something.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Venom First Trailer

So... Venom Theatrical Trailer. It's... out.

I, uh. Hm. I'm not really sure what to say about it. I'm thinking my thinly-veiling pessimism from the last trailer was appropriate.

Firstly, looks like the Agent Venom rumors were wrong, which I'm relieved about, but what's the deal with Tom Hardy's voice? Why does he have to put on some weird accent for each movie he's in? Is it even an accent, or just an odd inflection on random syllables? But I can't just blame Hardy, these lines are terrible.

"The guy you work for is the evil person."

Who... who wrote that? Speaking of voices, why in god's name did they give the symbiote a voice? And not just any voice, but the most cliche evil voice anyone has ever used. Why is it just evil right out of the gate? Typically, the symbiote is a character in-itself, but it doesn't need to actually talk to anyone to do that. They're just going with the laziest thing possible, and making the symbiote as close to a devil on his shoulder as they can get.

Unsurprisingly, doesn't look like Spider-Man is involved. Just looks like Eddie Brock stumbled on a secret company program and got the symbiote, which then makes him be evil. Is he even going to have an active role in this movie? Looks like they're going with the rote superhero story where Bad Guy is made the same time Good Guy is, Good Guy fights Bad Guy minions for most of it, and at the end Good beats Bad, the end. You'd think with an antihero as the lead, they might mix it up a bit, but from this it looks like the villains are unambiguously bad, so whatever Brock does is good.

I guess the suit looks... okay? I'm not sure I like the slimy texture of it, but I don't know what else I could expect. The eyes look too small for me. I always thought they looked better when they were bigger, more jagged, and more expressive. Since Spider-Man probably isn't a part of this, Venom looks sorta like him just because. They could have done worse, but I'm not blown away.

The only thing we can't get from this trailer is details on the villain. Obviously it's going to be the "evil person," Carlton Drake, as we were so charitably told, but the real question is: How is he going to have a big fight at the end. My guess is he's going to either alter the symbiote or find a new one and become Carnage. That seems the most predictable route, so there we go.

Gotta say guys, this is inching ever closer to Amazing Spider-Man 2 territory. But then again, after The Emoji Movie, did anyone expect Sony Pictures to produce something good? There's still a chance I won't hate it, but you won't catch me holding my breath.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Spider-Man Redemption Parts 1 and 2

Man, you know who loves clones? I love clones. People always refer to the Clone Saga in Spider-Man is the worst, but there are some parts I can't help but enjoy. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some clone action!


What I really mean is the sequel to everyone's favorite, the most 90's comic in existence, Spider-Man: The Lost Years, which I've covered previously. This is during the same period of time where Marvel decided Peter Parker was too old and married to be Spider-Man, so they decided he was in fact, the clone, and Ben Reilly was the original. But that doesn't mean Ben gets a family or a home or anything. It just means he has to be Spider-Man. And he has to keep dying his hair blond. What a life.

Comic Review: Spider-Man: Redemption Parts 1 & 2

We open with who else, Kaine, Peter Parker's evil degenerating clone. He's in full-on brood mode, at some random nobody's funeral, so he can think about death. Some cops show up wondering why some weirdo in spandex is caressing a corpse, and he threatens them with the Mark of Kaine, that thing he does where his hand can dissolve someone's face somehow. But instead he does it to himself.


So after Kaine thinks about how much he wants to die, we cut to the other Peter Parker clone, only not really, (only really) Ben Reilly. He's also thinking about death.

He's sad because Harry Osborn is dead. Well, because Harry died during Ben's years of exile, had a son Ben never met, and all that clone angst. It's almost like they can take a weird subject matter and make a relatable, compelling story about it! Okay, almost. Don't worry, Ben, he'll be back! While that happens, we get narration from some red haired lady on a train. I would say, "I wooonder who!" but considering how many redheads there are in the Marvel universe, this could be anyone.

Back at Ben's apartment, Kaine breaks in and they have a little scuffle which leaves Ben knocked out cold on his floor next to a broken table. I guess this just happens sometimes? Like that's how they hang out, Kaine shows up, smashes Ben's head with a piece of drywall and leaves. After that, Ben's gotta get a drink. At the bar, who else does he run into but Flash Thompson, coincidentally talking about Peter Parker.

Well shit. It would be so weird for a Spider-Man comic now to explore depression and regret like this, where Ben's lost life is mirrored in Flash's squandered one. There's a subtle bit where they both envy Peter, even though one of them is Peter. But Dan Slott doesn't do subtle.

At any rate, after dispensing some life advice, Ben goes back to his apartment to find... Mary Jane?

No no, it's Janine! Who just so happens to look exactly like Mary Jane, but that is never once commented upon. She's back and Ben is incredulous, because apparently she seemed to have died. We cut from their tearful reunion to Kaine, who's having a fun time with friends at a bar.

There's a montage of Ben and Janine together, with So Happy Together by The Turtles playing in the background. Their happiness is cut short when Kaine kidnaps Janine! They have a chase through a closed supermarket, but don't worry, Ben finds Janine!

Oooooooh. I don't think she's taking a nap.

So we open the next issue with Ben confronting some cops who want to know what the hell is going on.

They don't get any more answers.

So turns out Kaine pulled out the ol' switcheroo, putting Janine's clothes and... a mask of her face on a mannequin. Man, he put a lot of effort into this. Did he have a bunch of outfits ready, just in case she wore something different? Anyway, we find Kaine at the "Womb," where the Jackal cloned Ben and Kaine. Typical Friday night for him, just staring at himself naked in a mirror.

After checking on Janine and being super creepy, Kaine meets Ben in the lab. They have another fight, and Ben is knocked out. When Ben wakes up, Kaine is testing out his experimental botox formula.

Ben's knocked unconscious once the cellular degeneration takes effect, and when he comes to, Kaine's brought them both to Peter Parker's house. Kaine jumps through a window, looks at a picture, and leaves. Ben falls unconscious for like the fifth time that day. Geez, I'm having some uncomfortable flashbacks to college. He wakes up on a rooftop, finding that Kaine undid his pain elixer for some reason. Also Janine is back at the apartment and perfectly okay. So... was this just the longform version of beating up Ben and fleeing? Was that it? What was the point?

Whoopsy-doodle! How're they gonna get out of this one?! Find out next time!