Last night an extended clip from Guardians of the Galaxy was release on the USA Network, and is now available for us online! The scene gives us a glimpse at the incredible chemistry between the films actors/actresses, some pop culture references/comedic aspects, and even a little action! Check it out here: An action-packed, epic space adventure, the movie expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. Opening in theaters on August 1, the big screen adaptation stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro.
Back in March, Dwayne Johnson (better known as “The Rock”) teased to his fan base that he and DC Comics were working closely together in attempts to find a role that would best suit him. Fan speculation immediately began; Is he John Stewart Green Lantern? Is he Lobo? Is he Black Adam?
Well, in a recent interview with Total Film, good ole Dwayne all but shouted “I’m SHAZAM! bitches!”
Though he does not outright say it, he alludes to the fact that his character possesses a certain skill set, and he tosses in a buzz word. (the buzz word is literally “word”)
Check it out here:
“I will say this. There’s a character out there that we’re going to announce very soon that I’m going to play, and I’ll just say this: This character has the power of Superman, he can throw down. Just say the word. That’s all I’m going to say.”
I guess we may/may not be finding out about this on Saturday? eh? eh?
Stay tuned here at ACR for all of your “The Rock is playing a super awesome character” updates.
With the final week left in Star Wars: Force For Change campaign, director J.J. Abrams has released a video unveiling the Star Wars Episode VII X-Wing. See the video below to check out the Star Wars: Episode VII X-Wing design.
Now we’ve also posted a screencap of the new and original X-Wing design to compare the two side-by-side. Yes, they do look rather different.
Some Star Wars fans have been saying that the new design may be what is a Z-95 headhunter from the extended universe. Which can be seen here.
Abrams may of took more of a design from a concept art piece from Ralph McQuarrie that was done during the original Star Wars that was then changed and never put in the final film.
The official Star Wars Twitter page and press release does state though that it IS an “Episode VII X-Wing” not a Z-95. You can see the tweet and full press release below.
@CDCanimation It is in fact an Episode VII X-wing, not a Z-95.
— Star Wars (@starwars) July 21, 2014
IN AN EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FROM SET, J.J. ABRAMS OFFERS FANS THE CHANCE TO WIN A PRIVATE HOMETOWN SCREENING OF STAR WARS: EPISODE VII BEFORE IT HITS THEATERS
(IN ADDITION TO CHANCE TO BE IN THE FILM)
Director J.J. Abrams unveils the Star Wars: Episode VII X-Wing in support of Star Wars: Force for Change campaign’s final week
Campaign benefitting UNICEF’s Innovation Labs and programs
draws participants from over 119 countries
Visit Omaze.com/StarWars For A Chance to Win
LOS ANGELES, CA, JULY 21, 2014 — All Wings Report In! On the set of Star Wars: Episode VII, Director J.J. Abrams was interrupted by an X-Wing pilot and rogue robot as he announced the chance for fans to win an advance private screening of Star Wars: Episode VII. “We are so grateful for the support that the fans from over 119 countries have shown for Force for Change,” said Abrams. “As we close this final week, we’ve added an additional prize that allows the fans the opportunity to see the movie early as a thank you for supporting such a great cause as UNICEF’s innovative, lifesaving work for children.” By contributing at any level by July 25th, participants will be eligible for all prizes including a chance to be in the movie.
Watch the video announcement now at http://youtu.be/xWBGrkc360M (embed link below).
Star Wars: Force for Change impressively raised over one million dollars within the first 24 hours of its launch—a record for Omaze, the fundraising platform. So far contributors from 119 countries around the world have backed Force for Change, in support of the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Innovation Labs and programs. UNICEF’s network of 14 Innovation Labs help create sustainable solutions to critical issues facing children around the world in the areas of nutrition, water, health, and education. The funds raised through Star Wars: Force for Change will impact the lives of children around the world, through projects like MobiStation, a portable, solar-powered educational kit to ensure children have access to quality learning anywhere, and Rapid FTR (Family Tracing and Reunification), a mobile phone application that helps reunite separated and unaccompanied children with their families in natural disasters. Fans can continue to pledge support and enter for a chance win until 11:59pm on July 25.
The Star Wars: Force for Change Grand Prize includes:
· Airfare and accommodations to London for one winner and a guest
· Behind-the-scenes access on the closed set of Star Wars: Episode VII as VIP guests of J.J. Abrams
· Winner will have the opportunity to meet members of the cast
· Winner and their guest will then be transformed by makeup and costume teams into a Star Wars character and filmed for a scene in Star Wars: Episode VII
Disney committed US $1 million to support the launch of Star Wars: Force for Change. Star Wars continues to inspire generations of dreamers and doers to use their creativity to accomplish great things. Star Wars and Lucasfilm were built on the belief that in uniting creativity with innovation, you can make the impossible possible.
Visit StarWars.com/ForceForChange to learn more about this new charitable initiative and the work of UNICEF’s Innovation Labs and programs, and be sure to enter through contribution or free entry for your chance to win at Omaze.com/StarWars.
May the Force be with you!
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org. Find us on Twitter: @unicefusa; join us on Facebook: UNICEF-USA.
Founded by writer/filmmakers and friends from college, Matt Pohlson and Ryan Cummins, Omaze is an online charity platform that gives anyone the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences that also support remarkable causes. Omaze has worked with top actors, musicians, and athletes around the world including George Clooney, Ben Affleck & Matt Damon, Lady Gaga, Will Smith, George Lucas, Jennifer Lopez, and Phil Jackson, to name a few. For more information, please visit www.omaze.com.
STAR WARS: FORCE FOR CHANGE PROGRAM: RESTRICTIONS AND LIMITATIONS
No purchase necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited. Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age or the age of majority in your domicile, to enter and a resident of Argentina, Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, USA, or the UK, and not a resident of Belgium, Italy, Malta, Singapore, or Thailand. Residents of Australia, Brazil, China and the Republic of Korea are not prohibited from participating, but local rules and laws may restrict or prohibit the award of certain prizes or impose additional restrictions on participation.
Rewards are separate from sweepstakes prizes. Rewards are limited in quantity. Odds of winning depend on number of entries. For free entry: (i) send post card to Sponsor at PO Box 3190, 1217 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, California 90408 by applicable mail date; or (ii) visit www.Omaze.com/StarWars. Entrants may receive additional entries via Facebook. Maximum number of entries: 10,000 per Entrant. Travel and accommodations are at Sponsor’s discretion and subject to availability and change. Winner and Guest may be required to pass a background screening or security check, to receive the prize and/or reward. Visa conditions may apply. All taxes are Winner’s responsibility. Not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook®. Residents of certain territories may be required to successfully complete a trivia question to qualify. For full entry requirements, details, limitations and restrictions see Official rules at www.Omaze.com/StarWars. Sole Sponsor: Omaze, Inc., PO Box 3190, 1217 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90408.
Batman (various comic titles, television shows, movies, and video games 1940-now)
You might be thinking that I’m crazy for placing the Joker as low as number 41 on this list. Wizard Magazine has him listed as their number 1 top comic book villain and top 5th comic book character of all time, so why wouldn’t I make him in a similar spot? While I wouldn’t say he’s overrated (because he’s definitely a BEAST when it comes to doing the unthinkable in terms of villainy), he’s OVERUSED. I mean he is EVERYWHERE! Granted that he’s THE MOST iconic comic book supervillain of all time, it just rubs me wrong when I see one Batman villain hog 90% of the glory in his really dark stories when writers have a plethora of fantastic Batman rogues that could share the spotlight. The last kick to another villains balls was in the video game Batman: Arkham Origins where Black Mask was advertised as the main villain placing a bounty on Batman’s head. Lo and behold the Black Mask was actually the Joker in disguise as a ploy to take over the Black Mask’s criminal empire. While it worked out fantastically for the Joker’s character, it sorely left Black Mask looking like a chump.
The Joker was actually created for Batman’s first solo title and appeared in the first issue in 1940. For the most part his original Golden Age self resembled the Joker we all associate with in our minds today (just a bit more dated). He was a criminal mastermind that went on killing sprees with a twisted sense of humor and a wit to match Batman himself. During the 1950’s The Joker was reduced to a minor annoyance for Batman as a childish prankster because of the Comics Code Authority which had banned many of the edgier things that could be used in comics like sex and violence. It was because of this era that many people believe that comics are simply for kids still to this day (because that was what the market was reduced to after creative writing was censored.) Although the character almost nearly died out in popularity in this era much of his gimmicked weaponry was established and it became the inspiration behind Cesar Romero’s portrayal of the Joker in the campy Batman TV show in the late 60’s. It was kid friendly.
It wasn’t until Denny O’Neil took over the Batman comics in 1973 that the maniacal murderous Joker came back to life which even lead to the creation of Arkham Asylum as an alternative for prison because of the Joker’s case of insanity. It was during the 70′s that Joker began making major credentials in hatching ridiculous cartoony plans that could only be described as “insane” but would involve his victims living in intense fear of the serious threat behind his smile. Of course the 80’s intensified the darkness to come with three stories: The Dark Knight Returns (a non-canon future where Joker finally pushes Batman to kill), The Killing Joke (where Joker was given his widely accepted origin story as he crippled Barbara Gordon ending her career as Batgirl), and A Death in the Family (a story arc that led to fans voting for the Joker to brutally murder the second Robin, Jason Todd).
Alan Moore’s depiction of the Joker’s origin in The Killing Joke set him as a failed comedian trying to make ends meet to provide for his pregnant wife. In desperation he signs up with criminals on a job to raid a chemical plant, but is informed of his wife’s death shortly before the job takes place. Without proper time to react, “Jack” is given the Red Hood costume and identity then blindly thrust into the facility by the other criminals while Batman stalks them. Eventually Jack is frightened by the Batman and accidentally falls into a vat of chemicals only to emerge clown-colored and insane. It’s not the chemicals that caused his insanity; rather it was the shock of his “bad day” overall that plunged him into a belief that madness is the best and only way to escape the cruelty of the world. This “bad day” concept was also used as a parallel to Batman’s origin story in that he had something deeply tragic happen to him that caused a huge psychological change in his life. In this we see that through Batman’s bad day he strives for ORDER while the Joker wishes to make the world as CHAOTIC as he is. Focusing on this aspect is one of the many reasons Heath Ledger’s award winning performance of the Joker in the 2008 film, The Dark Knight, was so true to the character and powerful.
Since Batman the Animated Series, DC Comics has adopted Harley Quinn as Joker’s sidekick and “girlfriend” although he is mentally and physically abusive to her. His control over the once sane psychologist can be accredited to the Joker’s twisted logic in breaking someone down to the point of insanity and her own obsession with extreme personalities. While I’m not a fan of Harley, the idea behind Harley is a testament to the Joker’s manipulative fear he holds over people as well as his psychotic lack of empathy and conscience. Often times other supervillains outside of Gotham are too afraid to team up with the Joker due to his habit of killing friends or enemies impulsively on a whim. The Trickster (a Flash villain) once said, “When supervillains want to scare each other, they tell Joker stories.”
To my surprise the Joker has rarely been used so far in DC’s New 52 context aside from a “Batman Family” crossover story called the “The Death of the Family” where he makes his return after years of hiding and threatens all of Batman’s known associates that he has knowledge of their true identities. Now the Joker has cut off his own face but has it strapped with wires like a mask over his bloody skull structure. While this look has taken the Joker to a whole new level of creepiness, I can’t help but see this image-change as a kick to the balls to all the other Batman villains with facial disfigurements (such as Two-Face, Black Mask, and even the Great White Shark…). Come on, Joker! Just give Great White Shark a chance to shine!
Venture Bros. (animated cartoon, 2003-now)
Venture Bros. is equally a humorous homage and parody of old school action cartoons and comics as it is its own respectable universe and continuity. The Monarch himself is a parody of all things “arch-nemesis” about most clichéd comic book antagonists even lacking in a reason for having a personal grudge against the “protagonist” Dr. Venture. The Monarch simply hates him BECAUSE while playing a role of villainy that he doesn’t even fully understand. This aspect of seemingly unmotivated evil-doing was further explored in later seasons of the show with the Guild of Calamitous Intent, which acted as a “arching” agency that set up rivals for costumed villains to collide with hand-picked heroes and super scientists.
In typical villain tradition, The Monarch has woefully explained his tragic origin of being orphaned after being the only survivor of a plane crash as a child. While wondering the land around the crash, he claimed to have bonded with and been briefly raised by a pack of monarch butterflies (similar to how Tarzan was raised by apes… only in this instance; a relatively lame animal did the parenting). Days to possible weeks went by where the child unsuccessfully attempted to mimic the lifestyle and diet of the butterflies until he was found by humanity once again to claim a large inheritance. Years later, the man that became the Monarch attended the same college as Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture and developed an extreme hatred for him (for unknown reasons) although Dr. Venture had no idea who he was years later. This implies that the Monarch’s rivalry with Venture is primarily just a part of his imagination. The Monarch’s first attempt at villainy caused a laboratory explosion intended to kill Dr. Venture but instead disfigured his roommate, Werner Underbheit, which caused Underbheit to become a Dr. Doom-type menace who blamed Venture for the accident. As misplaced as Baron Underbheit’s vendetta against Venture was, he at least had a legitimate excuse for hating him.
After joining the Guild of Calamitous Intent, The Monarch was initially placed as henchman for a bigger name villain at the time, Phantom Limb, as “Shadowman 9.” Passionately yearning for the life of a true supervillain, he ditched the henchman suit and snuck into a villain party disguised as his new persona The Monarch. Here he hooked up with the future Dr. Girlfriend then known as Queen Etheria (and later Dr. Mrs. The Monarch). With her brains backing him, The Monarch became an unsanctioned villain who used his inheritance to build a massive flying cocoon base along with an army of henchmen of his own and began to “arch” Dr. Venture. Eventually he was arrested and brought to the Guild shortly after marrying Dr. Girlfriend and became an official VILLAIN member.
Now that he was married, The Monarch was torn between arching Dr. Venture and giving his passion up for Dr. Mrs. The Monarch who forbade it. In the following months The Monarch viciously killed several of his Guild selected arch enemies being nothing in his mind compared to his passionate hatred for Dr. Venture, while secretively dispatching his trusted henchmen to spy on him. Where this passion and sense of purpose comes from is still anyone’s guess, although it was later revealed that The Monarch was childhood friends with Dr. Venture before the plane crash incident and his real name was Malcolm. This detail could be further explored to give a reason behind his hatred but I think it works better as a parody without one.
Although depicted as a scrawny powerless man with a somewhat whiney mentality in a butterfly costume, The Monarch has had many menacing scenes where he and his Fluttering Horde go on mass killing sprees and prove that they are capable villains. His resiliency in his goal to arch Dr. Venture is especially impressive since he has avoided death at the hands of Venture’s one-man-army of a bodyguard, Brock Sampson, for so many years. However, this is mostly because his plots usually involve throwing hundreds of henchmen at Sampson as cannon fodder. Throughout his years of villainy he’s made enemies with Phantom Limb, a Superman/Batman parody named Captain Sunshine, members of the inner circle of the Guild of Calamitous Intent, and many others for the sake of being the arch-nemesis of Dr. Venture and occasionally carelessly playing by his own rules. To his credit he’s a very ballsy guy but his glory is dampened only by the fact that it was all just to be the villain of a middle aged former boy adventurer.
Fatal Frame is a series that has been around for well over a decade. It’s never quite reached massive popularity here in the United States, but it does have a cult following. Japan and Europe seem to be a different story however, there the series is known as Project Zero and is massively popular. It was revealed a few months ago that the latest sequel would be a Wii U exclusive and would rely heavily on the system’s gamepad.
Yesterday we got our first look at the game as well as a brief synopsis of the story. You play as Kozukata Yuuri, a young woman that can see the dead. The game centers around Mount Hikamiyama, or the less friendly name Mountain of the Dead. If you enter the mountain during the right hours it seems people can pass from the world of the living to the world of the dead.
The series’ signature camera makes its return, allowing Kozukata to capture spirits within it. This seems like the perfect use of the Wii U’s gamepad, when you need to take a snap of a ghost you’d just raise the gamepad up in line with your TV. There is no word yet on a release here in the states, the game will launch this September in Japan. Hopefully they will at least release it here as a digital version. Stay tuned to ACR for all your gaming news!
Double Dragon Neon (video game, 2012)
With all this talk about these villains being mass murderers or having deep and dark origins sometimes you have to take a step back think about the fun villains. Don’t let his design fool you, Skullmageddon may look intense but he’s really a shameless parody of the franchise that birthed him; Double Dragon. His first and only appearance was from a severely underrated downloadable game reboot called Double Dragon Neon. As a fan of classic beat ‘em up titles I cannot praise this game enough, and it’s one of the few games I’ve truly enjoyed playing recently.
As a whole the Double Dragon franchise has been plagued by 80’s action movie clichés, early Nintendo years programming goof ups, and storyline confusion. Although the “storyline” is slightly changed up from game to game, the classic Double Dragon’s premise is that Billy and/or Jimmy Lee’s girlfriend, Marian, is kidnapped by a mob of gangsters called the Shadow Warriors and it’s up to the brothers to get her back. Depending on what version you play or how you play it, the leader of the gang is either a machine gun slinging guy named Roper (AKA Machine Gun Willy) or Jimmy Lee as the Shadow Boss. Without getting into details it’s a clusterfuck. I think the actual reason behind Marian’s abduction was that she was supposed to be Billy and Jimmy’s sensei in the ways of Sosetsuken and she could do some crazy magical stuff, but most people see the opening scene where Marian is punched and taken away and think it’s a random kidnapping as the basis for the story (which is enough for the average person to get into it). Over time through several different mediums a specific character design was made for an actual standalone “Shadow Boss” or “Shadow Master,” which was like most of the boss characters of the game; a big bulky guy wearing some sort of menacing S&M type of costume.
All of that being said; Skullmageddon and the Neon reboot itself are fun jabs at all those aspects years later. Skullmageddon has now taken the place of the Shadow Boss as the bulky gruesome looking villain leading a new (yet similar) gang called the Black Warriors. He’s not completely unoriginal due to fact that he’s a magical lich-esque skeleton with an oriental motif, he kidnaps Marian only because he wants to date her, and that like the popular Marvel character, Deadpool, he breaks the “4th wall” with critiques of the game’s design flaws or clichéd aspects of the levels within the game. During a boss fight with him he tells the player “When I’m about to swing my sword, just punch me and I’ll stop. I’ll save you a trip to the Internet!” which not only points out flaws in classic beat em up style mechanics when compared to real life but also humorously pokes fun at the player if he wouldn’t be able to figure it out the boss strategy on their own. Another funny rip Skullmageddon makes on the logic of video games is when he points out a red blinking weak spot on a giant tank boss fight. He asks why a tank would even have a weak spot and why one of his minions wouldn’t have put a cover over it.
Aside from his delightfully cheesy one-liners and 4th wall shattering statements, Skullmageddon throws an impressive amount of resources at the Lee brothers to prevent them from catching up to him as he escapes with Marian. He ends up shooting them into space while inside of his rocket-dojo base, cloning the twins to use as a new batch of mutilated enemy types, genetically splices a giant plant to have leaf-like bulbs revealing a shark and tyrannosaurus rex head within them, and dispatches a helicopter (or kill-a-copter) that can fly upside-down and a giant expensive tank to kill the brothers. Inevitably Skullmageddon is defeated by the Lee brothers after transforming into his Giga Skullmageddon form and sings a song about his troubles and how he “dared to dream” as he falls through space. Obviously his song is explaining the dilemma of a video game character that is destined to be beaten because ideally that’s the purpose and objective of the game.
You might not initially fall in love with the character but after hearing his side of the story and accepting the game for what it is he’s incredibly lovable. I just find it a shame that Double Dragon Neon received bad reviews critically and wasn’t as popular as it should have been. Aside from not being able to play online multiplayer it’s actually a solid game in regards to gameplay, visuals, soundtrack, and story (even though it’s a ridiculously campy one).