And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

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The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Dr. Strange (1978)

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Our review of the last Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie. Thank God. (Cf. our reviews of 1977’s Amazing Spider-Man, 2002’s Spider-Man and 2004’s Spider-Man 2.)



The Avengers (2012)

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

The Punisher (1989)
I guess Frank picked up some silver smithing skills in between bouts of punishing the guilty.

I guess Frank picked up some silver smithing skills in between bouts of punishing the guilty.

Like Ghost Rider before him, the Punisher is one of those breakout characters from early ’70s that seemed dark and edgy in his time, only to be surpassed by any given action movie hero on any given weekend of any given summer. Vengeful murder became a novelty in American comic books after the Moral Panic of the mid-1950s sanitized everything. The 60s and 70s were sad times, and they produced some sad sack characters, but at least the wave began to roll back towards a grim, more gruesomely violent place. That’s something, right? Sure as hell makes things more marketable.

But since I don’t do what so many do and confuse marketable levels of violence for “realism” I’ve never been able to take the Punisher all that seriously. He would’ve been yet another one-off Spider-Man villain in an age that already overflowed with them, were it not for the fact he shared Parker’s tendency to monologue like a Spalding Gray robot and constantly question the merit of his own actions…even as he murders bad guys by the mansion-full. The contrast can be hilarious, depending on how overwrought the prose turns out, and so obvious even Marvel’s realized it on occasion. Continue reading



Spider-Man (2002)

Thor (2011)
If I had a hammer...I'd...oh, wait. I already used that joke for Drive. What is it with 2011 and hammers?

If I had a hammer…I’d…oh, wait. I already used that joke for Drive. What is it with 2011 and hammers?

I feel the same way about Thor most people feel about Superman. After all, Thor’s the Norse god of thunder. As such, he’s ridiculously over-powered and more than a little alien, depending on the personal taste of who’s writing him at the time. Over a fifty year history as convoluted as any other comic book superhero’s, Thor’s been a god trapped in a man’s bod, a man driven insane by a magic hammer, and more or less everything in between. Now he’s a movie star and I say, Good for you, Odinson. Maybe you can tell me why your movie isn’t better?

Except he doesn’t have to because I know the answer. You don’t exactly need to sacrifice one of your eyes to know the problem with all these post-Iron Man Marvel movies: they’ve stopped being movies and started contenting themselves with being prequels to The Avengers. In the four years since Iron Man it’s become evident Marvel approaches all their  films with a giant check-list of shit they’ll have to introduce before an Avengers movie even begins to make sense. Continue reading



The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)