Thursday, December 22, 2011

An Action Movie, A Super-Hero Comic, a Humor Book of True Facts. I Consumed These.

Starting Things Up
I saw the new Mission Impossible, and speaking of impossible missions, someone was able to wrap up the Supreme Power comic that J. Michael Straczynski started and then quit awhile ago before Howard Chaykin tried his hardest to kill it. Lastly, I've read a pretty entertaining book by the editors of Cracked, website (yeah, its just a website now, I checked) full of alarmingly true facts that also make you laugh, possibly even guffaw. Let's get down to it, okay?

Enjoyable, With Lots of Pretty Special Effects.
I saw the newest Mission Impossible Movie, which instead of being called, "Mission Impossible 4," is called, "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," because if they had a "Four" in the title people would probably have thought, "Eh, I prefer trilogies." Luckily, they didn't do that, and with just as much luck this movie continues the trend that only the MI movies and Lord Of the Rings seem to pull off where they actually get better with each new one.

I have to admit, I really don't care for Tom Cruise in lots of movies. However, the Mission Impossible flicks are right where I enjoy him being. It just makes sense, so when I see his face pop up in those, I'm cool with it. Tom Cruise in a movie about Germans who try to stop Nazi Germans even though everyone inexplicably talks with American or British accents? No thanks. Tom Cruise in a movie about crazy spy stuff full of explosions and chases? I'm in.

Not to spoil too much, but as the previews for the movie have made clear, Tom Cruise and his team have been framed as terrorists and now have to prove that they aren't. They also have to stop a terrorist-type threat that never makes much sense but the movie tries to write that off by just saying the guy behind it is crazy. Well played, Mission Impossible, well played. In fact, the most glaringly obvious plot issues usually get pointed out by the movie itself in an almost clever bit of meta-commentary on action movies that bumps this up a tiny bit past the usual popcorn fare.
Plus, do you want action? Oh, because there is plenty of action. Skyscrapers are climbed, people are chased, guns are shot, and all kinds of cool explosions happen. The movie also tries to keep you on your toes by throwing in twists or action when you don't expect it--along with the usual times that you do. To the films's credit, there were a few bits that I did not see coming, even if there were plenty I did.
This was a genuinely fun film and one I would recommend to fans of the Mission Impossible series, action, or just good times. Kick back, relax, and watch Tom Cruise doing what he does best--not talking too much, but instead doing his own stunts and letting that ever-catchy Mission Impossible theme let us know we're in for a great time.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

That Was Satisfying Enough--Supreme Power (2011 mini-series Now Titled "Gods and Soldiers")
There was a great series called, "Supreme Power," that J. Michael Straczynski started writing. However, like most things he does, he left it in the middle. Well, sort of. First it became an all-ages-ish title for no good reason and then he left it. So the series gained all these extra characters under writer Howard Chaykin who made it one of the worst comics ever. He seriously took the series out back, hit it over the head with a shovel, and buried it in the backyard. However, Marvel called in pretty-skilled writer Kyle Higgins to come and dig up the body and try and do something, anything with it. What we have is a series that drops almost all of what Chaykin did except some big plot beats, and draws primarily from Straczynski's earlier parts of the run--and that's just a-okay with me. 

Sure, some characters who should have maybe shown up like Nighthawk don't at all, but this thing was just given four issues! You can tell Higgins wanted it to be longer, it starts to feel rushed towards the end, but still works. Why? Because it actually tries to provide a somewhat satisfying conclusion to the story Stracznski started so long ago. It has action, it is thoughtful, and it is in fact a Marvel Max title as it should be. That means we can have the characters swearing if we want and such--but also the title can be more adult in the sense it deals with some serious subjects. This was good. Hopefully more good stuff could be coming along in this universe? Just don't let Chaykin near it. That man is good with some things, but God did he nearly destroy this.
4 out of 5 stars.

I Laughed And Learned--You Might Be A Zombie And Other Bad News
There was a humor magazine called Cracked. It seems they stopped publishing it. There is still a Cracked website however, and they make some fun and crazy lists. This book, You Might Be A Zombie and Other Bad News,contains some of those. It is all supposedly true and fact-checked. From what I already knew and double-checked it seems this book is quite accurate with its lists. From ones about movies based on true stories that aren't factual at all, to the most dangerous animals people think are cute (You should fear hippos and if you see a platypus you need to run) it's a fun time.

I laughed occasionally, learned some new things, and would recommend perhaps flipping through this at your local bookstore the next time you peruse it. If you find it as funny or informative as I did, why not purchase it? You don't want to be one of those people who read the whole book at the bookstore and then put it back. Those people are dicks.
4 out of 5 stars.

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