Tag Archives: robert downey

Virtual Action Figures

6 Apr

Some people collect action figures. I collect virtual action figures. 

Freedom Force - Iron Man

All right, I also collect action figures. But nevertheless …

Behold! My Virtual Action Figure collection.

Using the game Freedom Force (Irrational Games, 2002), I have built (or I like to think curated) a collection of character meshes and skins. I’ve always considered it a collection of digital action figures, which I have preserved by meticulously copying files from PC to PC as I’ve upgraded my hardware over the years. Recently I re-installed Freedom Force from Steam and have been spending time with my collection again.

In the run up to Iron Man 3, I am dedicating this entry to ol’ shellhead himself. In my collection I have eight Iron Man suits.

My collection represents heroes from what I consider to be the best age of comic books (i.e. when I was feverishly collecting comic books as a kid in the late 1970s to the late 1980s). Today, one of my favorite pastimes is to run the game in “Watch Mode” and recreate some epic moments from my childhood. In the run up to Iron Man 3, I am dedicating this entry to ol’ shellhead himself.

For example, here’s Iron Man facing off against the Raiders, three mercenaries in the employ of the Cord Conglomerate (a rival of Stark Industries). Here’s that first encounter with the raiders straight out of Iron Man #145 (April, 1981).

What about this classic battle between shellhead and the Titanium Man? (You have to remember that this was during the height of the Cold War. So billionaire/industrialist/super-hero Tony Stark had to have an arch-nemesis who was from the Soviet Union and wore similar hi-tech armor, right?)

For those of you who have only come to know and love Tony since the first movie (Iron Man, 2008), here’s a recreation of Tony in his Mark I armor escaping from the desert camp of the terrorists of the Ten Rings. (I am using the Mark I from the comics, not the movies, by the way.)

Again, for the movie fans … most of you probably don’t know that the alien race called the Chitauri, Loki’s invasion force, was originally just another name for the Skrulls in the Marvel Ultimates universe. Here’s my comic book-style recreation of the movie’s final battle scene, with the shape-shifting Skrulls standing in for the Chitauri. I decided to throw in a special guest star, too!

And finally … the one disappointment from the Avengers movie (The Avengers, 2012) was that we never got to see Iron Man go toe-to-toe with the Hulk. So here’s what might have happened.

(I think the computer gets the outcome right.)

You might have noticed that I have tons of characters in my collection: from Marvel, DC Comics and even some others. Who would you like to see in action? I just might have them in my collection.  Let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

NOTE:

I must emphasize that I am not an animator nor a digital artist. I didn’t create any of these skins or meshes. I owe everything to what the awesome Freedom Force modding community has generously shared on the web for free for over 10 years. Special shout out to folks like the Beyonder, Courtnall6, Tommyboy, Renegade, Grenadier and the gentlemen of Heroforce, who keep Freedom Force modding alive even today. Thank you all!

The 1st ‘Iron Man 3’ full trailer hits the web

23 Oct

After the leaked photos from the set, the officially-released photos, the teaser trailer and the teaser trailers for the trailer … the first full 2-minute trailer for Iron Man 3 is finally out.

As the image shows, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) isn’t exactly in a happy place. The trailer reveals that an all-powerful enemy (The Mandarin played by Ben Kingsley) destroys everything Tony has — his mansion in Malibu, his armory of Iron Man suits, etc — and even threatens the love of his life, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Longtime Marvel fans should notice a number of not-so-subtle reveals: the Mandarin and his Makluan Ten Rings of Power, the Iron Patriot armor (whose pilot is unknown at present) and a hint of the self-assembling armor from Warren Ellis’s award-winning Extremis story arc.

The trailer is big, loud and ends on a cliffhanger with Tony at his lowest, dragging his deactivated and useless armor through the snow. It’s textbook Hollywood movie magic that leaves you wanting more. Iron Man 3 is the first instalment of Marvel Entertainment’s latest series of movies leading up to Avengers 2 in 2015.

Iron Man 3 opens in Singapore on 25 April 2013.

Avengers Blu-Ray trailer

2 Jul

 

The trailer for Marvel’s The Avengers Blu-Ray special combo pack is out. I bet you can’t wait to get your hands on it, either. A lot of the footage is familiar but I swear there are parts there I’ve never seen before (and I saw the film three times).

The Avengers in Blu-Ray will be out 25 September 2012.

The Avengers: movie vs comic book

30 Apr

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As a reader of almost four decades, I place a great importance on faithfulness to comic book canon. I winced when Spider-Man spun biological webbing instead of from mechanical web shooters. I groaned at an original X-Men lineup that didn’t include Scott, Jean or Warren. I was furious when Galactus appeared as a formless space cloud.

Where The Avengers (and its forerunners Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Incredible Hulk and Captain America: The First Avenger) differ from other super-hero movies is Marvel’s retention of full creative control. That is, unlike most other films based on comic books where the characters are simply licensed to a film studio, they instead remain in the hands of the comic creators at Marvel themselves.

My expectation is that The Avengers should stay true to the original comic book source material like no other film franchise. So does it deliver?

I answer the obvious questions about how the Avengers movie compares to the original comic book source material in this story written by myself and published in Yahoo! 

Join the Avengers!

14 Apr

SingTel allows you to create your personalized Avengers Priority Card

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Get your very own Avengers identity card that grants you access to special offers at retail partners right here in Singapore, including the SingTelShop.

This is for a limited time only so better sign up for one now! Only at SingTel’s Facebook page.

The Avengers opens in Singapore on 1 May 2012.

Avengers Trailer #2

1 Mar

The Avengers opens in Singapore on 1 May 2012.

Avengers Super Bowl XLVI Commercial (Extended)

6 Feb

 

Here it is, sports fans. Enjoy!

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

Top 10 Actors Who Played Comic Book Characters

19 Aug

Comic book themes in television and film are a multi-billion dollar industry. Last year, The Dark Knight became one of the highest grossing films in history and one of only six movies to earn more than a billion dollars worldwide. Today, film fans and comic fanboys alike wait breathlessly for the upcoming Thor, Captain America and Avengers films.

It took decades before the public widely accepted these characters’ transition from the page to the big screen. Here are 10 actors whose contributions were invaluable in making comic books a part of mainstream Hollywood.

10. Adam West

Best known as: Batman / Bruce Wayne from the Batman television series (1966-1968)

West was one of the pioneers in bringing the super-hero to life, albeit, with a more tongue-in-cheek flavor. While the Batman series can be credited (or blamed) for placing super-heroes in the realm of campy one-liners and gimmicks, it also brought them out of kids’ bedrooms and into our living rooms.

9. Hugh Jackman

Best known as: Wolverine / Logan from X-Men (2000)

X-Men led the pack of Hollywood blockbusters that dominated the last decade and its success was largely thanks to Jackman’s ground-breaking performance. Comic book fanboys are a tough crowd and Wolverine is one of their most revered icons. You can’t deny their acceptance of Jackman as Logan was no mean feat.

8. Mickey Rourke

Best known as: Marv from Sin City (2005)

The success of Sin City set a darker, grittier tone for comic book-based movies. Rourke’s was one of the rare performances when you completely forget you’re watching an actor and believe instead that Marv has come to life.

7. Julie Newmar

Best known as: Catwoman from the Batman television series (1966-1967)

Catwoman demonstrated how on-screen comic book characters can deliver raw sex appeal. Although two other actresses (Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt) shared the role of Catwoman in the Batman series, no one else defined modern “sexy” or filled a catsuit quite like Newmar.

6. Kevin Conroy

Best known as: the voice of Batman / Bruce Wayne from the Batman animated series (1992-1995)

The animated Batman is often held as the best portrayal of the dark knight detective in any medium. Conroy continues to personify Batman from the landmark original animated series through to the Superman (1996-2000), Justice League (2001-2006) and a number of animated films and video games that followed. (I continue to wonder how much Christopher Nolan’s films would improve if they dubbed over Christian Bale’s contrived raspy voice with Conroy’s.) Kevin Conroy is the voice of the Batman.

5. Bruce Lee

Best known as: Kato from the Green Hornet television series (1966)

Lee fired the imaginations of a generation by demonstrating how good a super-hero inspired action sequence could look onscreen. Quick fists and high kicks versus gun-toting goons never looked so damned good. Lee’s smoldering performance as Kato, both masked and unmasked, set him on the path to international superstardom. (Editor’s Note: a purist might argue that the Green Hornet was originally a radio serial, not a comic book, character. Yeah, yeah, smart ass! Lee plays an important enough role for me to bend the rules.)

4. Marlon Brando

Best known as: Jor-El from Superman (1978)

Having an actor of the caliber of Marlon Brando on Superman brought instant credibility to the genre. Brando’s performance was so powerful and unforgettable that they couldn’t make Superman Returns (2006) nearly 30 years later without somehow bringing him back.

3. Lynda Carter

Best known as: Wonder Woman / Diana Prince from the Wonder Woman television series (1975)

No one else filled a costume (or my boyhood dreams) like Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. Hers remains one of the rare instances where it’s difficult to separate the character from the actor who played her. There is yet to be a modern Wonder Woman TV or film production, though there have been a number of attempts. Could it be because no one else could ever hope to equal Carter’s performance?

2. Robert Downey, Jr.

Best known as: Iron Man / Tony Stark from Iron Man (2008)

Downey delivered one of the performances most beloved by comic book fans and non-fans alike by making the role of Tony Stark his own. Iron Man redefined comic book film-making and cemented Marvel’s dominance of the genre. Yes, Robert. You are Iron Man.

1. Christopher Reeve

Best known as: Superman / Clark Kent from Superman (1978)

No one else made us believe so convincingly that a man could fly. ‘Nuff said.