Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: "Spider-Man 2"

You know, for as dated as this movie is, it did manage to beat Captain America: The Winter Soldier to a world-building Doctor Strange reference by nearly a decade. Pretty ahead of its time, if you think about it. And yet, it’s a product of its time in many other ways.

Certainly, we expect more “realistic” interpretations of these characters instead of more comic-accurate ones. But is that a good thing or a bad thing? Or neither? Or both?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sketchbook: Reaper Redesign

In my Recap and Review of the Doctor Who episode "Father's Day," I mentioned how disappointed I was in the monsters of that episode, the Reapers. Meaning I had the perfect excuse to bring back Redesigns to the NewtCave after two years!

Because when I think "Grim Reaper," I think... bats?
As always, I gave myself a few rules.
  1. Keep the brown leathery skin.
  2. Keep the general design of the mouth.
  3. Keep the scythes.
  4. Make it look more like its namesake without making it look overtly humanoid.
Here's what I came up with.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Recap: "Spider-Man 2" Part 3: The Tentacles and the Trap!

Call me crazy, but I think the existence of a Spider-Man 3 sort of eliminates any suspense as to whether or not Peter Parker gets his powers back.

And the memetic dancing scene from that same film indicates that he'll get his groove back, too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Recap: "Spider-Man 2" Part 2: Spider-Man No More!

And so, Peter Parker has been having a little bit of trouble shooting his sticky fluid.

One in five men, so I've heard.
 So let's see if I can make it through the rest of this Recap without any more innuendo.

Arach-tile dysfunction? There, I think I got it out of my system.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Recap: "Spider-Man 2" Part 1: Tangled Web

Now that Spider-Man 2 is over a decade old, let's take a look and see if the best superhero movie Roger Ebert ever saw can hold its own in a world that has, as of this writing, rebooted Spider-Man twice.

I bet Batman knows how that feels.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Recap: "Spider-Man 2" Intro

A year ago, I took a look at the first installment in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. While incredibly dated, the first film holds up as an authentic, if goofy, representation of Spider-Man. And apparently, Stan Lee has recently gone on record stating that the first Spider-Man movie is his favorite superhero movie. Probably because it encapsulates his Silver Age run on Amazing Spider-Man.

But Spider-Man 2 has often been called the best film in the trilogy. And occasionally, it gets called the best superhero film ever.

Roger Ebert does not make such statements lightly.
In the years after the film’s release, people said that it even rivaled the previous critical darling, Superman: The Movie. And that makes sense; Superman was made in the 70s, so the genre had about three decades to improve. But the passage of time is a double-edged sword, since the 2008 double-whammy of Iron Man and The Dark Knight changed the game forever and unleashed a flood of superhero movies that’s still going strong even now.

"You're welcome, world. Batman would have joined me here, but he's too busy getting rebooted."
So does Spider-Man 2 hold up after a decade? Well, I’ll get to that in good time. But right now, I have to talk about how absolutely bonkers Spider-Man 2 almost was.

And bonkers isn't a word I use lightly, either.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

ISP Issues

So, it seems as though my town's main internet service provider is down. My internet doesn't work, and neither does the Internet for everybody I know.

"But Newt," someone wonders, "how are you typing this?"

I'm doing it on my phone while praying that my Verizon signal won't crap out before I can send this.

It kind of sucks living in the sticks sometimes.

Spider-Man 2 posts will go up as soon as the problem is fixed.

And I was actually going to fix a bunch of blog pictures today, too.

Dang it.

Review: Doctor Who "Father's Day"

This episode isn’t Doctor Who.

That’s not an insult to this episode, or even to Doctor Who as a whole. Sometimes, TV shows will do an episode far outside of anything you’d expect it to do.

The utterly misnamed Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy had a book in the middle where Arthur Dent goes back home to England and spends most of the book on Earth getting a girlfriend while solving the mystery of why Earth suddenly stopped being destroyed, since its demolition was pretty much the start of the series.

Then there's Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Family,” where the Enterprise was kept in spacedock while Captain Picard went home to France in order to hash out issues with his brother while also recovering from his recent psychological trauma after being assimilated by the Borg.

M*A*S*H had the episode "Dreams" where plot was traded in for a series of dream sequences illustrating the main characters' greatest fears.

Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man had an issue where the titular character is tangental to a plot that focuses on a Wile E. Coyote-like character willingly being exilied to the real world to save his universe from the wanton, senseless violence demanded by a godlike cartoonist.

And that’s what “Father’s Day” is to Doctor Who.

“Father’s Day” is probably the most unique episode of Doctor Who so far, since the sci-fi aspects only exist to fuel the interpersonal drama. This isn’t an episode about stopping shapeshifters, defeating Daleks, or kicking invaders off of Earth. It’s about the last band of survivors in time, where even the Doctor is largely helpless to save them. Honestly, this is something I’d expect from The Twilight Zone.

“Submitted for your approval.”
“A young lady finds herself twenty years in the past, on the day of her father’s death."
“Presented with the opportunity to give him back that precious miracle known as time,
she unwittingly takes it away from the rest of the world.”
“Now, a small band of survivors must wait for the inevitable end of existence… in the Twilight Zone.”

Recap: Doctor Who "Father's Day"

Happy Father's Day to all! ...Except for all the countries that don't celebrate Father's Day on the third Sunday in June. Or at all.

But even so, there's no better excuse to talk about the Doctor Who episode of the same name.

So hurry up and put on your ugly ties and your annual pair of khakis, because we're in for a long one today.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sketchbook: Reverse-Flash Redesign Revisited

So, story time.

I used to be the proud owner of Corel Painter IX, a wonderful digital art program. I tinkered around with it for a few years, but just as I was starting to seriously try to get good at it and maybe make a living with it, my computer died.

And for some reason, my new computer won't run the decade-old program without crashing. Go figure.

With a recent art venture looking like it would need something better than MS Paint, I would an amazing program online known as Krita. Open source, completely free, and pretty dang good, if a little tricky to use.

So in order to get some practice hours in with this new program, I spent about three hours revisiting one of my old redesigns. The second one I did, actually.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Character Study: Dr. Strange

It’s been three years to the day since this blog began. So let’s keep the annual tradition going by taking a look at another Steve Ditko character.

This time, surprisingly enough, the character isn't a mouthpiece for Objectivism. In fact, the character in question doesn’t seem like anything Mr. Ditko would ever create, knowing him. Serial drug-avoider Steve Ditko is responsible for the most mind-bending Marvel character until Grant Morrison came along.
NewtCave readers, it’s time to look at the Master of the Mystic Arts, the Sorcerer Supreme himself…

Doctor Strange.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Review: Teen Titans Go! "Dog Hand" aka "Raven's Daddy Dearest"

I must say, I'm actually enjoying the process of going over Teen Titans Go! more than I thought I would.

The most fascinating thing about these early episodes looking at all the experimentation at work. The first season in general has a really weird balance of zany humor with slightly more grounded fare, and it can actually be pretty interesting to take a look at some of these episodes and examine where the writers' creative boundaries currently are.

In this episode’s case, the basic story is pretty much what you'd expect a humor cartoon to give us when it comes to a story about a monster trying to reconnect with his teenage daughter. But the direction of the jokes show Teen Titans Go! beginning to take its eventual shape.

It's really surprisingly fascinating, like an animated vivisection.

Recap: Teen Titans Go! "Dog Hand" aka "Raven's Daddy Dearest"

Today, Teen Titans Go! brings us the story of a young man who fights demons with a magic arm he got from...

No, wait, sorry. That's the story to God Hand. Whoops.

My bad.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Review: Doctor Who "The Long Game"

There’s was really no place in my Review of this episode to squeeze this in, so I’ll just say it here. When you take away the aliens, the future is very.... well, no getting around it. Monochromatic. 90% of people are white, and the majority of the remaining people are black. So whatever happened to all the Native Americans, Indians, Mexicans...?

The apparent belief that human beings are either white, black, or indeterminate-beige-with-no-specific-ethnicity will be an ongoing problem in this show for a while.

Recap: Doctor Who "The Long Game"

I won't be wasting your time with a lengthy introduction; this Recap's ridiculously long enough already. So let's take a look at Adam Mitchell's greatest adventure in the TARDIS!

Though there's not much competition for that title....

Monday, June 6, 2016

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man "I am Spider-Man"

In the comments for "Run Pig Run," a commenter described this episode as "the 'One Little Thing' of Ultimate Spider-Man.

I would like to respectfully disagree.

Recap: Ultimate Spider-Man "I am Spider-Man"

Ultimate Spider-Man is about to tempt fate.

Longtime readers will probably remember that a few months after starting this blog, I graduated from college with a Major in both English and Theatre. Today, Ultimate Spider-Man tries its hand at a theatre episode.

You're on my turf now, show.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Marvel One-Shots Review

Almost exactly one year ago, I talked about the first Marvel Cinematic Universe One-Shot, “The Consultant.” I feel as though I should talk about all the Marvel One-Shots as a whole… but they’re a tough beast to talk about all at once, since each one is quite different from the others. The only real way to discuss each one and do them justice would be to talk about each one in turn.

Which is exactly why I did just that already.

So think of this as more of a retrospective.

I miss you already, One-Shots.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Site News: June, 2016 Announcements

It's a big month coming up, not just for the blog, but for me personally. More details on that later this month, probably, but it has delayed me from fixing the missing blog pictures. Very sorry about that, but the one thing that I need to fix them is the one thing I don't have: Time.

Though I have been actively making room in my upcoming schedule, which should help. It should also help that this month won't be as packed as last month.

As it is, I'll be celebrating the NewtCave's third anniversary in the usual fashion with another Steve Ditko-themed Character Study as well as a look at Spider-Man 2. And that won't be the last spider-related treat at the NewtCave this month, believe you me. And that includes a look at Ultimate Spider-Man next Monday!

See you then!