And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


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)

Justice League: Doom (2012)
Dutch angles!

Dutch angles!

…is the thirteenth straight-to-video DC animated superhero movie and the last one credited to Eisner Award-winning writer/producer Dwayne McDuffie, who passed beyond the Source Wall to join the fundamental forces of the multiverse on February 21, 2011. He will be sorely missed.

Especially since Doom is far from his best work, that being all those episodes of Cartoon Network’s Justice League show that weren’t written by Stan Berkowitz, Rich Fogel, or Bruce Timm. Together, that team did more to introduce superheroes to “normal” people than the last thirty years of comic book company presidents, all while working withing the constrictions of network television censorship regime. Their movies…I don’t know. They’ve been okay…but I’d only recommend four out of the thirteen to you fine people with any degree of seriousness. Doom could’ve been number five, and it almost was…until I made the mistake of thinking about it for more than two seconds at a stretch. Continue reading



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)

AYTIWS Commentaries: Catwoman

One year ago today (well, one year ago Sunday, but whatever) we posted our first video review. To celebrate, we present this, our first episode-length commentary. Join us as we relive all the fun, excitement and adventure of listening to ourselves bitch about a shitty superhero movie from 2004. Hope you’re all stocked up on catnip.

(And if you’d like me to talk over any of the other episodes, don’t hesitate to ask.)



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



Batman: Year One (2011)
Yeah, when I heard this was coming to DVD, I more or less pulled this face.

When I heard this was coming to DVD, I more or less pulled this face. Because I knew, sooner or later, I’d have to write this review.

I hate to sound like an ungrateful fanboy but I find myself with no other option. Why does this film even exist? It’s too late for Year One. What idiot would want to adapt it now, after all its major elements have been translated to the silver screen at least twice?

Non-comic book readers should know Year One first appeared as a four-part story arc in Batman #404-407 (February – May 1987). Like most of the Bat-stories published around that time, it quickly became a cornerstone of the character’s modern continuity. Creative teams have referenced it and referred to it ever since, and it’s inspired some of the finest stories of Bat’s modern age.

For example: Bruce Timm (who executive produced this film), Paul Dini and Alan Burnet used it as the inspiration for whole sequences of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (otherwise known as The Greatest Batman Movie Ever Made), including the flashbacks to Bruce’s early crime-fighting years and his extended  flight from the GCPD in the second act. Christopher Nolan turned wide swaths of Year One into my favorite parts of Batman Begins, including the slow build-up to our first sight of Bruce in the Bat-suit…and his extended flight from the GCPD in the second act. Both used Year One as inspiration: a ball they ran with into their separate In-Zones. How can any screen adaption of Year One hold up against that, or the quarter century of expectation Bat-fans have built up? Continue reading



The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)