Tag Archives: Commentary

All The Legends & Lore That Inspired Shazam

20 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Amongst Baby Boomers, The Adventures of Captain Marvel defined the pulp-action superhero who would later be known as Shazam. For Gen X’ers, The Shazam/Isis Hour was a maligned television show of the mid-70s and it has its cult appeal. Jump to 1981, The Greatest American Hero showed how Stephen J. Cannell developed a fun, purposeful superhero sporting a different kind of symbol who wants to do what’s right in a cop buddy sitcom formula. The problems the character faced as the series progressed include learning how to use his powers, talking to the aliens in why he was selected and trying to keep those he loved safe.

To bring all those previous iterations of a superhero sitcom movie, Shazam, took several decades of storytelling in the television world to experiment with and the payoff is terrific. Ignoring the troubled property when it was first introduced in the ’40s to its reinvention by DC Comics, this 2019 movie borrows on many comedic tropes from the small screen as Billy Batson (Asher Angel) tries to figure out what being a superhero means. He has no book to guide him. He only has a comic book superhero obsessed foster brother Freddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) to offer tips and his own moral compass to keep him pure. The only misfire is in how nothing new is added to make it stand out.

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Thoughts on Toho’s Creation of Godzilla: Monster Planet

10 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Spoiler Alert

Toho Picture‘s Gojira: Kaijū Wakusei (Monster Planet) had me asking a lot of questions and I had to view it at least three times to see if any answers lay buried in the layers.

Netflix’s quiet release of the first film of the series had me excited, and the tease it made has me thankful that the wait to see part two will not be too long. When considering Kessen Kidō Zōshoku Toshi (literal translation: Decisive Battle Mobile Breeding City) arrives May 2018 in Japan, it’s safe to assume the worldwide release by Netflix will be near the end of the year — if not beginning at the start of the next, if I’m to assume there’s a pattern. For the last film of this animated trilogy, it could sedge way to new live action films, or look at an earlier chapter altogether.

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Connecting the Dots in the Insidious Series and The Last Key

5 Jan

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The Insidious series is one of those guilty pleasures where I hope some answers are given about Darth Maul — er, The Red Faced Demon. The previous films, which I had to see again before penning this article, and the latest, The Last Key, do not necessarily follow in a logical order. This franchise is taking just as long as the Paranormal Activity series to offer answers. I fear I will have a complete head of gray hair by the time any will be offered.

One great jump scare is offered with this latest film. I was wondering when it would leap at me. It’s very rare for me to get startled. Specs and Tucker (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson) are hilarious as always. This movie’s saving grace is with how well-developed the character of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) is. She defines this franchise.

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[Spoiler Alert] Which Stars Shine Bright in The Last Jedi?

18 Dec

Star-Wars-8-1162258

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

After the events from The Force Awakens, both sides are in disarray. The First Order lost their planet destroyer (technically a new Death Star). The trailers and opening scroll in The Last Jedi reveal the Resistance will have to start running for their lives as the bad guys are hot on their heels.

As mentioned in my review of the previous film J.J. Abrams crafted a love letter to the fans. He offered plenty of nostalgia to enjoy and made sure the digital technology got exercised to its fullest to make those moments count. Watch it too much, and everyone will agree it’s basically A New Hope.

There’s no denying that Star Wars, in all its other iterations in the animated front, comic books and novels, are built on a lot of tropes George Lucas created and improved upon from Episode IV to VI.  They range from classic one-liners and visual moments we always get excited by. From exhilarating trench sequences, varied variations of a ‘speeder bike’ chase to crazy aerial dog fights, is it even possible to add anything new? Writer/Director Rian Johnson offers a bit of the same old thing with a great new look and injects some fantastic narrative spins not everyone saw coming.

In what I loved after a second viewing (I bought tickets for Thurs and Friday) is with how actor Benicio Del Toro chewed up the scenery. To say more and to read ahead contains major spoilers.

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