Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: Gravity Falls "Tourist Trapped"

You know, as I write this Recap and Review, Gravity Falls will be coming back to TV soon after that huge cliffhanger. As such, I fully expect some of the stuff I say about this show to be proven wrong. Like…. I don’t know, maybe Dipper will turn out to be the bad guy, who knows.

Recap: Gravity Falls "Tourist Trapped"

Despite my blog's focus on superheroics, I do like to branch into other genres. One of my favorites is pulp fiction. Not to be confused with Pulp Fiction.
  
Which is not to be confused with made-up stories about juice vesicles.
Pulp fiction stories were named after the cheap-as-dirt material they were printed on: wood pulp paper. The idea was that they could churn out a quick magazine; you'd buy it, read it, and be done with it.

Without getting into too much detail, in the 1900's, there was no YouTube. Shocking, I know. In those days, kids really had three sources of entertainment: radio, print, and like, marbles. So without an endless supply of ten-second clips of cats falling into boxes, you listened to the radio. If you didn't like what was on the radio, you took that ten cents you made from a week of shining shoes and bought yourself a cheap-o magazine with some kind of thrilling story inside.

It could be a detective who guns down an entire crime ring, or a young boy who builds himself an electric rifle, or even a mysterious masked man who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

Pulp stories knew what their audience wanted. Adventure, mystery, that sort of thing. And we still enjoy the same thrills to this day. Lost is just a post-modernization of the standard shipwreck plot, superhero movies are the modern equivalent of the Blue Beetle radio serials, and the Goosebumps books are what kids these days read instead of Tales From the Crypt.

...

Do kids these days still read Goosebumps? Am I getting old?

No matter. My point is that I'll be recapping today draws on many elements of classic pulp stories without actually being what you would classify as pulp fiction.

Mystery. Thrills. Science fiction. Fantasy. Horror. All rolled up into one. Not to mention it's one of the cleverest shows out there in terms of writing, plotting, foreshadowing, humor....

Twin Peaks meets The Simpsons, as the show's creator, Alex Hirsch, put it.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Gravity Falls.

You had me at hello, Gravity Falls. You had me at hello.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sketchbook: D&D Character: Orne Deepstrider

Another one from my D&D archives today.

This is Orne Deepstrider. I don't remember what the character's class was, and I'm pretty sure the player didn't know half the time, either.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: The Spectacular Spider-Man "The Invisible Hand"

Before we begin, I’d just like to unequivocally state that the views expressed in the previous Recap regarding Evil Lincoln do not reflect the views of the NewtCave toward our actual sixteenth President. The man was not only a great speaker, but he freed the slaves and slayed vampires before Sarah Michelle Gellar made it cool.

And he could probably beat me up.

Recap: The Spectacular Spider-Man "The Invisible Hand"

The Economics arc of The Spectacular Spider-Man ends here with an episode that has nothing to do with General Grievous's spaceship. Although considering that Disney owns both Marvel and Star Wars, that's not to say that particular combination won't happen somewhere down the line....

I mean, who's to say the Reality Gem won't get up to some shenanigans....

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man "Me Time"

The moral of the story: Never go on vacation. It's almost as unlucky as being two days from retirement.

Recap: Ultimate Spider-Man "Me Time"

Everybody could use a little "Me Time." Especially if you're a teenage superhero whose private life has been taken over by four people who hate you on the orders of a man in an eyepatch.

And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse.... well, let's take a look at just what happens when Peter takes a little R&R.

You know how the moment you look away from a pot of water, it boils? Well....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Recap/Review: Marvel One-Shots "The Consultant"

Marvel One-Shots were a series of short films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They weren’t essential to watch by any means, but they were a fun little way to breathe a little more life into the universe outside of the scope of the films.

Many different shorts were pitched, including ideas for Jessica Jones, a young Nick Fury, Luke Cage, the Black Panther, a young Loki, Damage Control, you name it. But not all of the ideas came to fruition. As of the time of this writing, June 2015, there have only been five of them. And the announcement was made that there are no plans to continue, which is a darn shame, but understandable. They’re not what you’d call a high priority, seeing as how they’re only available on the Blu-Ray/Digital Copy releases of various MCU movies.

But they really are something special, and I wouldn’t really be covering the whole MCU if I didn’t talk about them. So let’s begin with our first short film set in the MCU. It has to do with The Incredible Hulk, which is why it was naturally included on the Thor Blu-Ray. Mainly because the MCU wasn’t even a sure thing when they made The Incredible Hulk.

Now let’s begin.

Hopefully, this isn't just a four-minute clip of an IT guy giving advice.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review: The Spectacular Spider-Man "Competition"

Before I start reviewing this episode, I'd like to put a little bit of football-related wisdom from the great John Madden right here.

“The best way to gain more yards is advance the ball down the field from the line of scrimmage.”

Truer words, Madden. Truer words.

Recap: The Spectacular Spider-Man: "Competition"

Our economics class continues as Spider-Man gains a competitive edge on the field while losing it off the field. And I don't mean, like, performance-enhancing drugs when I say he "gains a competitive edge."

Well, I guess the spider bite could count.

Winners don't use, Spider-Man.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Future of the NewtCave... Again

Two years and a day. Wow.

First of all, I love working on the NewtCave and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This isn't my farewell speech. Just wanted to make that abundantly clear before I say my next thing.

Next, I'd like to thank you all. If it weren't for you all, not only wouldn't I be doing this, I couldn't be doing this. I am so lucky to have such wonderful people reading my blog.

Seriously, guys. I can't believe that there are this many people reading.
So, again, thank you all for everything you've done.

But aside from letting you all know how awesome you are, there's another reason for this announcement.

The NewtCave is going to be undergoing a few changes. Nothing too drastic. I like to think of this as the "Yes, and..." moment.

Long story short, I've been testing the waters for the past few months, and I think it's time to expand the NewtCave's subject matter. I won't stop doing what I do already, I just want to add two-or-three non-comic book shows into the mix.

Not all at once, mind you. And I think the three non-comic shows I've chosen still fit the general feel of the NewtCave pretty well. The first one will be posted at the end of the month, with more to follow.

"But Newt," the hypothetical masses say, "you keep adding shows and never finish any of them!"

An excellent point. Which is why I plan on correcting that, too. As of right now, I will redouble my efforts to catch up on Marvel's current animated shows. This month, I'll continue cracking down on Ultimate Spider-Man.

But not before a quick detour into Spectacular Spider-Man.

See you then!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Character Study: The Creeper

Two years ago, I started this blog with the intention of writing these Character Studies to inform and entertain. As you can see by the abundance of cartoon reviews, things changed at some point down the line. Once again, I choose to mark the NewtCave’s Anniversary with a return to form. And once again, I’ll be looking at a Steve Ditko character.

This year, I’ll be looking at a real… Creeper.

Nope.
Wrong.
There ya go.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

"Ultimate Spider-Man" Editorial: Harry Osborn as Venom

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’ve thrown many a criticism at Ultimate Spider-Man. I’ve made my arguments about the numerous wasted opportunities and Nick Fury’s apparent villainy, and I’ve used the phrase “Nova, you’re an idiot” a lot more than I thought I would.

And I try to be an open-minded reviewer. I mean, I don’t go into each episode determined to hate it. It just kind of happens for various reasons. And I do my best to point out episodes where the show really shines, whether it be individual episodes or just aspects of them.

But Ultimate Spider-Man is a very divisive show. And one of the things that has sparked possibly the most complaints aside from the show’s humor is the fact that Harry Osborn, traditionally the second Green Goblin, becomes this show’s version of Venom.

Well, if I wanted to keep my opinions to myself, I wouldn’t have started a blog.

So here’s my two cents.

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man "Venomous"

I find it really interesting how a single episode can hit both the point and low point for a series. How many episodes of any show can make that claim?

Recap: Ultimate Spider-Man "Venomous"

The Venom arc continues.

Spider-Man stands against Nick Fury.

And the biggest problem with the entire series rears its ugly head.

This is going to be a long one.

Hope you're comfy.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Review: Ultimate Spider-Man "Field Trip"

I'll tell you right now that this episode wasn't what I'd call "memorable." In fact, I'd say the only thing the average viewer will remember...

...is that this happened.

Recap: Ultimate Spider-Man "Field Trip"

Good old field trips. I don't think I know a single person who didn't love field trips. I mean, even when the destination sucked, you could still play Pokémon on the way there.

What's even better is that the last episode to be themed around something having to do with school wasn't too bad. Perhaps this episode will be even better? Or maybe it'll be as disappointing as that field trip to the Organ Museum I took in elementary school.

Pipe organs, not human ones. I was very disappointed.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Review: "Spider-Man"

Spider-Man was blending the sillier aspects of the Silver Age with a 21st century sense of verisimilitude before Iron Man turned that into the norm. So a lot of the more groundbreaking parts of this movie won’t really be appreciated by modern viewers. And without that, does this movie still stand on its own merits?
Let’s see….

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Recap: "Spider-Man" Part 3: Amazing Fantasy

And so, the Green Goblin decides to prolong the conflict, despite accomplishing everything he set out to do. Let's see how that works out for him.

Can't fault him for staying the course, I guess. He's been on a roll so far.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Recap: "Spider-Man" Part 2: Great Responsibility

Well, maybe Spider-Man will actually appear in this part of the movie. Geez, I haven't seen a superhero show up so late since Hulk.

Well, except for Ant-Man. He was supposed to show up before The Avengers and was three years late.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Recap: "Spider-Man" Part 1: Great Power

When it comes down to it, I’d say Spider-Man is a happy little tale about an average, ordinary guy without a care in the world. So let's take a look at it and see why it stuck a chord with so many theatergoers.

It probably helped that the chord was composed by Danny Elfman.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Recap: "Spider-Man" Intro

There are some movies that people continually bring up when you’re talking about terrible superhero movies.

Elektra. Hulk. Steel. Batman and Robin.

And then there are the ones that people hold up as shining examples of the genre.

The Dark Knight.

Batman.

Superman.

Iron Man.

Spider-Man.

And yet, as more time passes, fewer people have seen these movies. Especially when they get remade.

More of those in the key demographic for superhero movies these days have seen Man of Steel than Superman. The Dark Knight has supplanted Batman, and will probably be supplanted in turn with Batfleck. We find ourselves on the verge of Spider-Man being supplanted by a second reboot of the film series. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is set to give us a Spider-Man adaptation which will most likely define how an entire generation sees the character.

Someday, the 2002 Spider-Man movie may find itself forgotten by pop culture, but does that necessarily mean it will ever be irrelevant? Let’s examine how 2002’s highest-grossing film came out of the planned “film to define the 80’s.”

And let's see how it dodged a bullet by skipping that particular decade.