Archive | September, 2010

Captain America: The First Avenger – All You Need to Know

10 Sep

Looking for news / rumors / leaks about the upcoming Captain America movie? Grumpy Fanboy does it for you.

If you’re like me, you’ve waited for decades in frustration for a decent on-screen adaptation of Captain America. You’ve thrilled to Cap throwing his mighty shield in the original cartoon. You’ve also grimaced through the live action attempts that followed, from the helmet-wearing, plastic shield-bearing 1970s television series to the more faithful but still clumsy straight-to-video 1990 production.

This time our hopes are actually high because the upcoming Captain America: the First Avenger (target release date: July 2011) is coming to us from the same people who have (so far) delivered two excellent Iron Man films and have a grandmaster plan to assemble all their main characters, including Cap, the Hulk (released June 2008) and Thor (due in May 2011) in a star-studded Avengers film in the summer of 2012.

With Captain America still 10 months away, only so much information has been released officially. Here’s what any self-respecting fanboy needs to know:

THE CAST

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America – He played Johnny Storm / the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies. I would not have picked him myself but I remain hopeful because he’s charismatic enough and has proven he can do physical roles (The Losers, Push).

Hugo Weaving as the Red Skull – Best known as Agent Smith from The Matrix trilogy and Elrond from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I have no doubt he can capably pull off the role of Cap’s arch-nemesis.

Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter

Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark

Tommy Lee Jones as Col Chester Phillips

Stanley Tucci as Dr Abraham Erskine

Sebastian Stan as James ‘Bucky’ Barnes

Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan

Toby Jones as Arnim Zola

JJ Field as Montgomery Falsworth

What the casting reveals about the story:

With so many well known actors playing characters like Peggy Carter, Col Philips, Dr Erskine and Bucky, you can guess that much – if not most – of the film will take place during World War II, when Cap first became active. Arnim Zola’s casting indicates there will be more than one villain and hints at the involvement of the criminal organization HYDRA. Falsworth is the first of many in the comic books to wear the costume of Union Jack, Britain’s own version of Captain America. Will Union jack make an appearance? Finally, Barnes becomes Cap’s sidekick in the comics. Will Bucky be in costume and meet an untimely death towards the War’s end?

The presence of Tony Stark’s dad and Nick Fury underlines that this story is part of the same continuity as the Iron Man films. Sam Jackson as Fury (with no casting announcements about a younger Fury) tells us that a good chunk of the film will be set in the present, though it’s hard to tell whether his appearance will be as brief as in previous films. The presence of Dum Dum Dugan, Fury’s second-in-command at SHIELD, also suggests more modern-day scenes.

IMDb also lists Bruce Willis, Nicholas Cage and Helen Mirren as part of the cast, though their roles have not been listed. (IMDb has made bad calls before so this should be considered just a rumor.)

THE COSTUME

Artist renditions of Cap’s new costume first began surfacing last June.  The suit is more reminiscent of the Cap from Mark Millar’s The Ultimates, rather than the classic Cap outfit with wings on the mask and shirt made of chain mail.

In contrast, an eyewitness account by an extra describes Chris Evans in costume, though the version he saw was dramatically different from the ones in the artist renditions. He describes an outfit made of old fashioned materials that did not fit as snugly as in the drawings. This description clashes with Chris Evans’ own description of the suit in an interview with MTV. Most recently, shots of a stunt double in Cap’s costume filming a motorcycle chase sequence have surfaced, showing Cap’s outfit as more loose-fitting than in the drawings.

What these sneak peeks at the costume reveal about the story:

All these imply that we will see not one but several costumes as we follow Cap’s career from his origins in World War II to his being discovered in suspended animation in modern times.

Personally, I would be very happy to see the Jack Kirby-esque Cap suit, no matter how briefly. The new costume design looks great, with updates that make it look like it belongs in the real world. The shield looks beautiful, as it’s pretty faithful to the comic book. But I do miss the little wings in Cap’s temples.

Tune in for more updates about the upcoming Captain America movie from Grumpy Fanboy:

Twitter.com/grumpyfanboy

Facebook.com/grumpyfanboy

Grumpy Fanboy’s Youtube channel

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Grumpy Fanboy’s Top Legion of Super-Heroes On-screen Appearances

5 Sep

Toyfare #158 announced that DC Direct will soon be launching 12 new action figures from Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes. I’ve always had a soft spot for teenagers with super-powers – Captain Marvel, the Teen Titans, the X-Men – but I love the Legion most of all.

Since they first appeared in Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958), the Legion of Super-Heroes has rarely had more than cult-status success, never quite achieving the popularity levels of other comic book teams like the Justice League, the Avengers or the Fantastic Four.

So if you’re a long-time Legion fan like myself, you’ve waited breathlessly for any appearance of the Legion outside the pages of the comic books. Here’s a quick look at all their on-screen appearances so far:

“New Kids in Town”, Superman the Animated Series

Aired in 1998, Cosmic Boy, Chameleon Boy and Saturn Girl travel back in time and team with young Clark Kent. Although these three get the most air time, other Legionnaires make cameo appearances, too.

You get no more than a glimpse of the Legion but seeing these familiar characters for the first time in animation was a real treat. To my knowledge, this is the first time the Legion appeared in a story outside of the printed page.

“Far From Home”, Justice League Unlimited

Aired in 2006, Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy travel back in time and bring Supergirl, Green Arrow and Green Lantern to the 31st century to rescue the rest of the Legion from the Fatal Five. You also get to see Blok, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy and Wildfire in action. At the end of the episode, Supergirl decides to stay behind and fulfill her destiny as a full time Legionnaire.

Overall, a satisfying story though I wish it had focused on more of my favorite Legionnaires. (I mean, why Bouncing Boy???) I also particularly enjoyed the emphasis on  Kara, who appears in her more familiar blue & red outfit for the first time in the series.

Legion of Super-Heroes animated series

Aired in September 2006, the Legion with a core team of Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Superman and Timber Wolf were introduced with its own full series. Other Legionnaires such as Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Colossal Boy, Ferro Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, and Triplicate Girl would also appear in later episodes. The series lasted two seasons, the longest ever on-screen run of the LSH.

The extended exposure was terrific and the series even revisited familiar events in Legion lore, such as the death of Ferro Lad at the hands of the Sun-Eater. I did not like that Brainiac 5 was turned into a machine and that (again) Bouncing Boy was selected to be a central character. The introduction in the second season of Superman X, a clone of the original, to fight side-by-side with the original Superman was a strange choice. What were they thinking???

“Legion”, Smallville

Aired in January 2009, the Legion of Super-Heroes appeared in live action for the first time ever.  Reprising their first appearance in the comics, the original Legionnaires Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl travel back in time to rescue Clark from a time-displaced menace.

As much as I hate Smallville for its low production value, lousy acting and – most of all – its penchant for shitting all over DC Universe continuity, I couldn’t help but download this episode. Seeing the original three Legionnaires raise their flight rings and say “Long Live the Legion!” still makes this appearance worth seeing.

Check out my Youtube channel for more appearances of the Legion of Super-Heroes in my Virtual Action Figure Collection. LLL!

Grumpy Fanboy’s DC Comics Secret Identities Quiz

3 Sep

DC Comics recently revealed that, following Bruce Wayne’s return from the dead, Dick Grayson will hang on to the cape & cowl. That means that two characters will get to call themselves the Batman. (The last time this happened was during the aftermath of the Knightfall story arc, when Wayne forcibly reclaimed the Batman mantle from Jean-Paul Valley by beating him to a pulp. This time, it seems the sharing of the Batman name will be on decidedly friendlier terms.)

DC Comics has had a long career of characters sharing hero names. Over the years, names like Green Lantern, the Flash, Green Arrow, Doctor Mid-Nite, Doctor Fate, Wildcat and Starman have been passed down to a younger generation of heroes (usually family members or former sidekicks).

Think you know a lot about the secret identities of DC Comics characters? Take this quiz and find out.