Monday, August 26, 2019

The Boys, The Comic

First I watched first season Amazon's The Boys. Then binged the comic. I just had to have more of it. I don't remember if I read comics as fast as this one. It was more because I wanted to see how it ends than because it was best comic I have ever read. And I had injured my leg so I couldn't move that much at the time.

The Boys is CIA's covert ops group whose task is to control superheroes. Everyone has reason to hate superheroes or need to target their violent needs to something. In this world superheroes work for one corporation. Comic book industry keeps up their clean image. They try to do some good at times but must of the times it is sex, drugs and bad behavior.

You get more out of this if you know DC's and Marvel's biggest superhero groups and individual heroes. Most of the heroes we meet are more or less based on those companies' character. Changed enough to avoid courtroom but close enough to say something about the referenced characters.

Amazon's series concentrates on The Seven (Justice League). In comic The Seven is the big price but not the only price. Stories concentrate on Tek-Knight (Batman/Iron-Man), Payback (Avengers), G-Men (X-Men) and other superheroes and superhero groups.

For some reason most stories revolve around sex. It is either having sex or about sexual minorities. Having records of someone having sex can destroy their life and career. Two final stories are less about sex because there are other themes but almost every other story have something sex related. Unless it is about The Boys. Some of the sex related stories are well written where relation to sex makes sense. Others feel like sex is there to make characters look worse.

First half is tight. Every story takes story forward somehow and have something interesting offer. Second half feels they wanted to extend the series. There are those stories where story moves forward to originally planned end. But there are too many filler stories which only offer more background or just jumps away from main story arch. Hughie and Butcher each got their six issue stories. Mother's Milk get two issues for his background. Frenchie and The Female have to do with one. The Boys's history get four issues as does first encounter with The Seven. All these stopped the story moving forward. There was background issues during first half but story moved forward during those issues because telling background wasn't only thing going on. On second half it was more like someone telling what happened before.

I liked main story arch. Some stories were really good. Some were too much superhero bashing. I am surprised how well the whole thing stays together. Sometimes there is extreme violence and other times it is just talking about normal childhood. Maybe that is Garth Ennis' style. This time I liked the theme but it didn't make me want to check rest of his comics. To be honest I probably won't be reading this again any time soon. This time I wanted to see where this goes and enjoyed the ride.

If you wonder will reading the comic spoil Amazon's series I would guess no. Both are different stories. Twist at the end of first season is incompatible with biggest twist of the comic. Series is re-imagination of the comic. Stories are different. A-Train and Deep have character arcs in series. In comics they are there doing very little outside couple events including A-Train but those are far from character arc. Comic doesn't have Translucent. There is no character like him or has his arc in comic. So far series has hit same beat but differently than comic. It doesn't try to redo the comic. Maybe ending is similar but you can expect it after watching the first season.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Boys (2019)

Amazon's The Boys is based on a comic by a guy who really hates superheroes. I mean he loathe superheroes. You understand the level of dislike when you read the comics. I am currently on fifth volume and so far level of dislike has increased all the time. No-one in right mind would put everything in comic to live action tv-series. To be honest what is in comics goes bit too far at times.

In The Boys' universe superheroes are working for corporation. Corporation takes care of them, markets them and makes money on them in any way they can. Superheroes are like real world movie stars and other celebrities. Their imago is that of superheroes of our comics and movies. But things are different behind the scenes,. Corporation takes care of collateral damage. Superheroes are less perfect than their imago.

The Boys are group wanting to take down superheros or supes as they like to call them. Series has two good people Hughie who joins The Boys and Starlight who joins biggest superhero group The Seven. Others can be called bad guys but even bad guys get some positive traits and good story arcs. This is what makes series so good. Even ones you know you should hate has something you can relate or something that makes you feel for the character.

The Boys is dark. It has graphic violence and vulgar language. But it is also really toned down version of the comic. It is why it seems to work for so many people. It has taken the comic in to peaces. Taken the core concepts. Added few memorable scenes and filled rest with other point of view to subject matter. The comic doesn't show superheroes as this complex characters and series doesn't go as far to deep end as comic does.

There are some major differences between comic and series. Comic has own versions of DC's and Marvel's biggest superheroes when series concentrates on The Boys version of Justice League. In series The Boys are normal people. In comics they have superpower and can fight against superheros. This is probably biggest change between the two. Or the biggest is not having The Legend in series. He was probably excluded because he is all about critic of superhero comics and series superhero critique is not as limited to comics as in the comic. Characters are bit different. I liked more of comic's version of The Female. In comics she has need to hurt people. In series she has name and she is confused. Starlight of the series is better than comic version.

I binged the series first. Wanted more of The Boys and checked first volume of the comics. Now I am binging comics. Both have their strengths. I recommend watching the series first because it is more suitable for general audience. If you want more then you should check first volume or first few issues of the comic. But be warned the comic doesn't hold any punches. It has good writing but it goes to extremes at times.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Scorpion King (2002)

This is last mummy related movie for now. I won't be reviewing The Scorpion King sequels. The Scorpion King is kind of prequel/spin-off from The Mummy Returns (2002). I say kind of because this Scorpion King has little to do with Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns. The Rock plays both characters and character has same name. maybe those direct to video sequels tell how this guy become Scorpion King of The Mummy Returns. I am not going to waste my time trying to find and check those because they have even less to do with this movie than this has with The Mummy Returns.

The Scorpion King is quite good for sword and sorcery movie. It doesn't try to be high art. It runs on Rock's charisma and constant action scenes.You have bad guy. Nice sets and costumes. Few interesting characters. That is enough for entertaining movie. The Scorpion King doesn't want to be anything else. It is just entertaining action movie.

The Scorpion King is second best movie in Brendan Fraser's Mummy series. I like it more than The Mummy Returns where the character was introduced. Movie at least has consistent story and knows what it is.

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is third movie in Brendan Fraser's Mummy series. This time Evelyn's and Rick's kid is adult. He finds the Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Rick and Evelyn are tricked to be there when Dragon Emperor awakes. Jonathan happens to be there too. This time Evelyn is played by different actress and magic of the first movie is completely gone.

It is always nice to see Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh but they are not enough to save this. Moving setting to China gave series new energy but losing one of the main cast didn't help. It is weird Evelyn now knows ancient Chinese legends when she was into ancient Egypt in first movies.

This was last movie in Brendan Fraser's Mummy series. There were plans for next one to be set to Peru but plans were cancelled for Tom Cruise's reboot and Dark Universe. Reboot was bad but this series had lost what made first movie good. Main characters had become generic action characters. Dragon Emperor was generic pure evil. Ending was cgi characters fighting cgi characters.

If you want good movie based on China's history you should watch Jet Li's and Michelle Yeoh other movies. This is lame attempt of the style.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Mummy Returns (2001)

The Mummy Returns is sequel to 1999 version of The Mummy. I wondered why I didn't remember anything but bad CGI Rock from the movie. When I watched it I saw there was nothing to remember. Like typical sequel this has more of everything and few would it be nice to see if scenes. Surviving cast of first movie returns with addition of Evelyn's and Rick's son.

First movie had nice story. This feel more like they did this because first one was successful. They didn't have story to use so they changed story little bit and added new bad guy. This time Imhopet his lover's Anck-Su-Namun's reincarnation and they try to find legendary Scorpion King to take his army. I don't know how reincarnation of Imhotep's lover and bringing him back to life again fits into first movies rules. Maybe he got some penalty because he isn't as powerful this time.

To mix things up Evelyn is reincarnation of first movie's pharaoh's daughter who was guardian of key item of this movie. Because of this she know where to find key items and can fight. Rick is revealed to be ancient guardian which came important later when they meet Scorpion King. At least Jonathan stayed the same.

The Mummy Returns doesn't catch magic of the first movie. It tries too much to be the same and not the same. Supporting cast isn't as good as in first movie and story jumps from one place to another. What made sense in first movie is replaced with something similar which makes less sense. You can enjoy it if you want to see more of these characters but it is not on level of first movie.