Tag Archives: Faint Praise

Dude Review: Captain America

by Richard

Listen closely, dudes, I am not damning with faint praise here. Captain America is the best of the superhero movies that came out this summer.

It’s also one of the best movies to come out this summer. Period.

Can you tell that I loved the movie?

With all three of the young dudes out of town and my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Working On Her Charts All The Time, not available, I had to go see the movie all on my lonesome. I couldn’t even pretend I was going with the young dudes. It was all me. And I was okay with that.

I’ve been a comic-book geek for so very long it’s a little late for me to start denying it now.

Anyway.

The big stumbling block for me going in to this movie had to have been the CGI shrimp. That is, buff star Chris Evans, had his face superimposed over the body of a 98-pound weakling for most of the movie’s first act. I’m not a big fan of the uncanny valley where people almost look like people, but this wasn’t actually that distracting. Using the muted color palate that brings to mind sepia-toned yesterdays, the movie actually made the CGI body in the WW II era.

Steve Rogers has been turned down five times in his desire to serve in the armed forces during World War II. At one point, he’s asked if he’s anxious to go over and kill a lot of Nazis. Steve replies that, no, he doesn’t want to kill anyone. He just can’t stand bullies. And that, right there, encapsulates who Captain America is and should be.

The casting is uniformly excellent, starting with Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America. Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine, the inventor of the super soldier serum that transforms Rogers from a bit player in his own story to the pinacle of human achievement known as Captain America, is amazing.

Working as a lead-in to 2012’s Avengers movie, Captain America does its share of heavy lifting in that department, but never gets bogged down by the responsibility of setting up the next movie. The script is funny, fast-paced and dramatic. It’s got lots of explosions for the little dudes and lots of just-plain fun for everyone.

For the comic-book geeks out there, the movie’s got a ton of Easter egg moments that only serve to give that little extra that can take a movie from good to great. This movie is great.

I’d give it an easy 5 dudes out of five. Seriously, get yourself to the movies right now and start enjoying.

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Dude Review: Thor

by Richard

I’m not here to damn with faint praise when I say that Thor is the best super-hero movie to come down the pike since Christian Bale growled his way through The Dark Knight.

This is a seriously wonderful movie for both the younger dudes and dudettes and the older versions of said folks. It’s fun, funny and, at times, rather touching. Plus, being a super-hero extravaganza there’s lots of stuff blowing up and cool fights and perfectly wrought emotional angst. And, of course, the good guys win. You can’t ask for more.

Starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Thor’s brother Loki, the movie opens with an astonishing sequence showing how the Norse gods defended humanity from the horrible Frost Giants, who’s very touch can freeze man or god. It’s a great scene and really sets the stage for the grandeur that is Asgard, home of the Norse gods.

Hemsworth plays Thor as someone who really enjoys being Thor. He’s good and he knows it. He’s also a bit self-righteous, cocky and arrogant. But he’s cool with that and makes you feel the same way. He’s also got a very big hammer.

With some subtle prodding from devious Loki, Thor recruits the Warriors Three and the Lady Sif to travel to the land of the Frost Giants for a little hammer-to-head negotiations. Things do not go well as Thor and friends end up breaking a fragile peace, which could lead to war.

Thor’s dad, the All-Father Odin, is not pleased. He removes Thor’s godly power and hammer and then throws them both to Midgard, also known as Earth. It’s on earth that Thor meets up with Jane Foster, an astrophysicist, who decides that Thor could only have arrived traveling through an Einstein-Rosen Bridge (also known as a wormhole or, to the Asgardians, the Rainbow Bridge). Stuff happens.

Things get blown up. Plots are hatched. And the Avengers movie franchise is set up. (Speaking of which, there is a short scene that occurs after the credits, so you’ll want to stay and see it.)

Overall, director Kenneth Branagh puts together a capable cast, a good script and some fantastic special effects to make a good movie, not just a good super-hero movie.

This one gets 4.5 dudes out of five. It’s a great movie and, if you haven’t already seen it, you should probably rush out and do so now. You won’t regret it.

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Dude Review: The Incredible Hercules: The Mighty Thorcules

by Richard

I’m going to keep reviewing these until at least one of you drops by the comments section to let me know that you actually bought a collection of the best comic book being published today. And, no, that’s not damning with faint praise. I love The Incredible Hercules: The Mighty Thorcules. It pushes all my buttons. It’s got humor, mythology, humor, butt kicking and smart alekry up the wazzoo. In short, it’s incredible. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Oh, yeah. And this collection has the best sound effect ever committed to paper. Take a look.

Come on! How can you not love the purple nurple of the gods?

Let me explain. For reasons too complicated to go into right now, the Incredible Hercules has to pose as his rival, the Mighty Thor (hence the title) and, this being a superhero comic, the two get into a fight. Now, Thor isn’t used to fighting bare chested. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem. But, see, Hercules isn’t above fighting dirty to win and is willing to give out a purple nurple (notice the sound effect “nurp” is, in fact, purple).

Being a serialized comic book, this could be a bit confusing, if it weren’t for the fact that The Incredible Hercules has the most inventive and fun recap pages ever speeding people up to brought. Basically, Herc has to impersonate Thor to stop an invasion of Earth by some particularly dire elves. Things do not go as planned and Thor has to impersonate Herc to stop the whole thing. Once again, things do not go as planned.

Dude! That hurts just looking at it.

Thor, normally one of the most noble fair-fightingest of the Marvel universe takes well to playing the part of Hercules. Perhaps too well. And, of course, notice the sound effect which, if sounded out, will sound suspiciously like nut crack. Hmm. Wonder where they got the idea for that sound effect? (To get a better look at this and the next picture, make with the clicky to enlargen.) [What? That’s a word, right?]

In the series, Herc has been accompanied by a young genius named Amadeus Cho, the seventh-smartest person on the planet. And someone who has even worse impulse control than the notoriously scatterbrained Hercules. In alternating issues, this collection follows Cho as he tries to find out what really happened when his parents were killed.

He’s looking for the man who planted the bomb, not so much for revenge, but to find out if his sister is really alive and, if so, where she is. When Cho finally does find the mastermind behind his personal tragedy, he’s confronted by an aged, bitter and more than slightly insane version of himself and forced into a no-win, life-or-death situation. His solution to the dilemma is uniquely his own.

Because this is a comic book, I wanted to say a little bit about the art. Reilly Brown on the epic Thorcules arc is absolutely fantastic. I mean, you get the expressions you’ve been hoping for when someone describes the action. While Rodney Buchemi doesn’t quite reach those heights on the Amadeus Cho sections, it still does a nice job of telling the story.

In all, I’ll give this book five (5) dudes out of five. It’s, sorry again, incredible. Go out and buy it now. Read it and laugh.

Otherwise. . . Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be you.Let's run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

Or your underwear.

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