REVIEW: DEADPOOL 2: THE SUPER DUPER CUT

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (The Hitman’s Bodyguard)
Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Julian Dennison (Godzilla vs. Kong)
Zazie Beetz (Geostorm)
T.J. Miller (Cloverfield)
Brianna Hildebrand (The Exorcist TV)
Jack Kesy (12 Strong)
Stefan Kapicic (Big Miracle)
Leslie Uggams (Empire)
Karan Soni (Office Christmas Party)
Shioli Kutsuna (The Outsider)
Eddie Marsan (21 Grams)
Lewis Tan (Iron Fist)
Bill Skarsgård (IT)
Terry Crews (The Expendables)
Brad Pitt (Ocean’s Eleven)
Alan Tudyk (Rogue One)
Matt Damon (Dogma)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road)
James McAvoy (Split)
Evan Peters (Kick-Ass)
Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One)
Alexander Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In)

The “Super Duper” cut of Deadpool 2 probably isn’t going to drastically change anybody’s mind on the movie: if you liked it, there’s more stuff to like; if you didn’t, and unless your chief complaint was “the tonal balance didn’t get it quite right,” it’s not like Ryan Reynolds suddenly decides not to be the same kind of character he always likes to play. It’s still a bit of a superhero tonal clash, as the satirical vibe of the first Deadpool collides with what feels more like the X-Men cinematic universe proper. But where the theatrical cut went for a fairly even balance, the Super Duper version falls (I don’t want to say “errs,” because it’s not really an error) on the side of Deadpool. The fact that a two-part post-credits scene featuring Wade “Deadpool” Wilson (Reynolds) encountering baby Hitler has been reinstated really says it all in that regard.This is a lot more thoughtful than a standard “unrated” cut, however. Yes, you’ll see more violence, more graphic stabbings, more blood, more nudity (including an oddly digitally pixellated male private area), and more shots of characters flipping each other off. Jokes are allowed to run longer, which may be a matter of taste–I’m a fan of jokes that go on and on to the point of absurdity, and by giving Josh Brolin’s time-traveling cyborg Cable more “grimdark” speechifying, this version actually turns him from a Frank Miller-type character to more of an Alan Moore parody of same.But then there are actual cinematic changes, too. Music cues in some cases are completely different, substituting hard-charging action score for lower-key or counter-intuitive tunes that make for a more comedic tone and render some of the extreme violence more slapstick (Boo to replacing the acoustic “Take on Me” with a replay of Celine Dion’s “Ashes,” though). We now meet Russell/Firefist (Julian Dennison) before Deadpool does, as their stories are shown on parallel tracks: as a broken Deadpool goes to the X-Mansion to be fixed, a not-broken Russell goes to the “Reeducation Center” to be tortured by Eddie Marsan’s headmaster, whose evil is more telegraphed in advance. When Russell later laments how he keeps waiting for someone to save him but nobody ever does, it carries that much more weight.Some choices feel like freedom from studio mandates: there are more digs at Fox and competing superhero movies, and a running gag about Deadpool accusing Cable of being racist that was probably too iffy for the suits. Other added running gags make existing ones more funny with callbacks: “Donde esta la biblioteca,” is the most notable, but Deadpool also snickers like Beavis and Butt-head in a few scenes now; for example, whenever Cable says something like “You always make it hard.” Speaking of butts, the whole “prison wallet” sequence involving Russell’s hidden pen has some enhanced gross-out sound effects, which actually make Deadpool’s revulsion to it throughout the movie a bit more understandable. And Colossus gets propositioned a lot more, with Deadpool at one point getting close to undoing his pants…and we won’t speak of what he does to the soap dispenser (what was only hinted at before is spelled out in full now).None of this takes away from the movie’s central theme, however, that Wade Wilson is presented with two possible alternate versions of himself: in Russell, a funny kid consumed with pain; and in Cable, a guy who’s gone past pain to being dead inside and stone-cold ruthless outside. Forced to find a way to somehow make peace between the two, Wade’s going to need a lot of luck and compassion, which he finds literally embodied in Domino (Zazie Beetz) and Colossus (Stefan Kapicic). It becomes, as promised early on, a (dysfunctional) family movie about pushing yourself and others out of emotional ruts, and not making friendship conditional. In that spirit, the scene that calls back to X-Men Origins: Wolverine now basically has Reynolds pleading for a Wolverine and Deadpool movie. It’s unlikely he’s hinting at something actually in the works, rather than just trying to get an idea out there, but it’s a significant change.Is it an entirely different experience, as Ryan Reynolds suggested at the Comic-Con panel earlier in the day? Not really. But it does feel a touch more comic-booky, and if you’re a Deadpool fan, that’s pretty much a plus.

 

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REVIEW: DEADPOOL 2

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (The Hitman’s Bodyguard)
Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Julian Dennison (Godzilla vs. Kong)
Zazie Beetz (Geostorm)
T.J. Miller (Cloverfield)
Brianna Hildebrand (The Exorcist TV)
Jack Kesy (12 Strong)
Stefan Kapicic (Big Miracle)
Leslie Uggams (Empire)
Karan Soni (Office Christmas Party)
Shioli Kutsuna (The Outsider)
Eddie Marsan (21 Grams)
Lewis Tan (Iron Fist)
Bill Skarsgård (IT)
Terry Crews (The Expendables)
Brad Pitt (Ocean’s Eleven)
Alan Tudyk (Rogue One)
Matt Damon (Dogma)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road)
James McAvoy (Split)
Evan Peters (Kick-Ass)
Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One)
Alexander Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In)

Ryan Reynolds and Zazie Beetz in Deadpool 2 (2018)After successfully working as the mercenary Deadpool for two years, Wade Wilson fails to kill one of his targets on his anniversary with his girlfriend Vanessa. That night, after the pair decides to start a family together, the target tracks Wilson down and kills Vanessa. Wilson kills the man in revenge. He blames himself for her death and attempts to commit suicide six weeks later by blowing himself up. Wilson has a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife, but the pieces of his body remain alive and are put back together by Colossus. Wilson is left with only a Skee-Ball token, an anniversary gift, as a final memento of Vanessa.Josh Brolin in Deadpool 2 (2018)Recovering at the X-Mansion, Wilson reluctantly agrees to join the X-Men as a form of healing. He, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead respond to a standoff between authorities and the unstable young mutant Russell Collins / Firefist at an orphanage, labeled a “Mutant Reeducation Center”. Wilson realizes that Collins has been abused by the orphanage staff, and kills one of the staff members. Colossus stops him from killing anyone else, and both Wilson and Collins are arrested. Restrained with collars that suppress their powers, they are taken to the Ice Box, an isolated prison for mutant criminals. Meanwhile, a cybernetic soldier from the future, Cable, whose family is murdered by an older Collins, travels back in time to kill the boy before Collins ever becomes a killer.Cable breaks into the Ice Box and attacks Collins. Wilson, whose collar has broken in the melee, attempts to defend Collins. After Cable takes Vanessa’s token, Wilson forces himself and Cable out of the prison, but not before Collins overhears Wilson deny that he cares for the young mutant. Near death again, Wilson has another vision of Vanessa in which she convinces him to help Collins. Wilson organizes a team called X-Force to break Collins out of a prison-transfer convoy and defend him from Cable. The team launches its assault on the convoy by parachute, but all of the members die during the landing except for Wilson and the lucky Domino. While they fight Cable, Collins frees fellow inmate Juggernaut, who agrees to help Collins kill the abusive orphanage headmaster. Juggernaut destroys the convoy, allowing himself and Collins to escape.Cable offers to work with Wilson and Domino to stop Collins’ first murder, and agrees to give Wilson a chance to talk Collins down. At the orphanage, they are overpowered by Juggernaut while Collins attacks the headmaster, until Colossus—who had at first refused to help Wilson due to Wilson’s murderous ways—arrives to distract Juggernaut. When Wilson fails to talk down Collins, Cable shoots at the young mutant. Wilson leaps in front of the bullet while wearing the Ice Box collar and dies, reuniting with Vanessa in the afterlife. Seeing this sacrifice, Collins does not kill the headmaster; this changes the future so that Cable’s family now survives. Cable uses the last charge on his time-traveling device, which he needed for returning to his family, to go back several minutes and strap Vanessa’s token in front of Wilson’s heart. Now when Wilson takes the bullet for Collins, it is stopped by the token and both survive. Collins still has his change of heart, and afterwards, the headmaster is run over by Wilson’s taxi-driver friend Dopinder.Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2 (2018)In a mid-credits sequence, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio repair Cable’s time-traveling device for Wilson. He uses it to save the lives of Vanessa and X-Force member Peter, and kills both X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s version of Deadpool and actor Ryan Reynolds while he is considering starring in the film Green Lantern.The first Deadpool is one of my favorite films of all time, and I figured no way even DP2 could beat it, but it did. This film is sheer perfection in every aspect. We need more of these type of films that make you forget all the garbage going on in today’s society… a film that has every positive element including top-notch non-stop comedy . Props to  Ryan Reynolds for topping what I thought could not be topped! This franchise needs to continue and I can’t wait for DP3! I will see this film again and again and I can’t wait to add the bluray to my collection next to DP1. A perfect and well deserved 10/10 from me!

REVIEW: MARVEL KNIGHTS – BLACK PANTHER

CAST (VOICES)

Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Stephen Stanton (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Kerry Washington (Django Unchained)
Alfrie Woodard (Star Trek: First Contact)
Jill Scott (Girlfriends)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Rick D. Wasserman (Planet Hulk)
JB Blanc (War Dogs)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Taye Diggs (Equilibrium)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Stan Lee (Chuck)

The concept of the motion comic is controversial to say the least. Many comic purists would argue they are pointless endeavors, while others, like myself find them an interesting supplement and even more a way to get those uninterested in comics to seek them out, provided they enjoy the program.

The newest release in the series may be their biggest yet, produced not just for DVD but as six-episode animated series. With “Black Panther,” Marvel adapts Hudlin’s own take on the character from 2005 and the end result will induce much headshaking and confusion.

Unlike the previous two installments in the Marvel Knights Animation line, I had not read the original source material, however, it’s safe to say, with the author being directly involved in the adaptation, it likely follows the comics quite closely. The most apparent change viewers familiar with the motion comic concept will notice is the consistency in runtime. Each episode runs around 18 minutes long and is paced like an episode of a TV-series. There are no more abrupt endings as before and this is a truly welcome change. Also worth noting is the star power in the voice cast. Hudlin has secured veteran voice actors Kevin Michael Richardson and Nolan North, as well as Hollywood stars Alfre Woodard, Kerry Washington, and in the title role Djimon Hounsou. It’s all downhill from this point, with Hounsou’s involvement being the only positive memorable aspect of a disaster of a series.


“Black Panther” is a muddled mess, attempting to weave an origin story amidst a half-baked plot against our hero’s life by a band of largely second (or even third) rate villains. The tone of the entire series is wildly inconsistent; one minute our villains will be bickering with each other in classic Saturday morning cartoon fashion, giving the impression the series is lighthearted, but all this comes following an intro that is decidedly more mature, featuring tribal warriors getting impaled on sinister traps and severed Nazi heads on pikes. Add to that a very mean spirited tone, resulting from most characters not related to Black Panther being either stupid, bigoted, or both and the 132 minute runtime feels achingly brutal.

Comic book fans may immediately take issue with the series’ sad attempt to establish dominance of the Black Panther by having him swiftly defeat Captain America in hand-to-hand combat. The character doesn’t need such a wildly unbelievable fight to appeal to audiences, nor does he need the sympathy formed from broad stereotypes attempting to hold him down because he’s the leader of a small African nation. What should be a fun fantasy tale is instead drenched in an underhanded political theme that is downright tiresome and boring; if more time was given to developing supporting characters, a little bit of preaching would have been tolerable. To Hudlin’s credit, his take on Black Panther or T’Challa (Hounsou) is a fascinating, three-dimensional creation, and his home country of Wakanda is given admirable life and scope. Hounsou brings strong balance of kindness and fierceness to the role, and a scene midway through the series where he removes his mask to speak to a boy who worships him as a god, is one of the more heroic and humble moments I’ve seen in a superhero adaptation.
On the flipside, Kerry Washington, delivers a strangely overacted vocal performance as T’Challa’s sister, while Stephen Stanton is in full on, evil for evil’s sake mode, as Klaw, the main villain, an assassin responsible for murdering T’Challa’s father decades earlier, who returns to finish killing the royal family. The less said of Klaw’s inept cadre of support, the better, but the Vatican Black Knight is worth mentioning of only for the fact his character adds another layer into the theme of the evil Western world; not only does a rival nation want Wakanda overthrown, but so does the US (led by a cartoonish and ignorant General voiced by Stan Lee), and yes, the Pope. As a final insult to comic fans, Hudlin shoehorns in the story of T’Challa’s romance with Ororo Munroe, or Storm as she’s more commonly known. The addition is nothing more than a way to artificially extend the overly long runtime of the series and find an excuse for a few worthless X-Men cameos.

“Black Panther” is heavily dissappointing, and it’s a damn shame, as there is great potential with the character. The writing has a bad pace to it; dialogue driven scenes are sometimes choppy, flashbacks are overused (even as an origin story), and the action sequences often have great buildup but result in a sad whimper in terms of execution; a half-assed inclusion of zombies in the final episode tempts me to a giant stamp of “fail” on the series, but there are more than a few Panther centric moments to elevate it from the lowest possible rating. Animation wise, John Romita Jr’s art style translates horribly to the motion comic format, and some sequences are animated in a amateurish fashion at best; the fact I waited this long to mention it, is a strong indicator of how forgettable it is. There are strong talks that the Black Panther will see life on the big screen and I’ll reiterate again, Hounsou deserves a shot at the role, however, I hope this series is used as an example of what not to do.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: X-MEN EVOLUTION: ON ANGEL WINGS

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ON ANGEL WINGS
CAST
Meghan Black (Elf)
Alexandera Carter (Masters of Horror)
Neil Denis (Stargate SG.1)
Mark Hildreth (Earthsea)
Christopher Judge (Lord of The Elves)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)
Michael Kopsa (Dark Angel)
Scott McNeil (Highlander: The Series)
Kirby Morrow (The Flash)
Maggie Blue O’Hara (Dragon Ball Z)
Venus Terzo (Da Vinci’s Inquest)
Kirsten Williamson (Juno)
Christmas time in New York City. In Worthington Tower, a man watches the news. A disabled woman is trapped inside of a burning building and no one is able to reach her. Warren walks out to the balcony, takes off his coat and spreads his wings. Outside of the building, firemen are holding back a teenage girl, named Jamie who keeps begging them to let her go in and save her mother. Angel flies in through a window and saves the woman without being seen. He drops her off on a bench nearby and flies away. The woman calls over her daughter and tells her that she was saved by a real angel. At the Institute, a holiday party is underway. Kitty, Jubilee, and Amara are all opening presents from Jean. Kurt shows up with mistletoe and chases Kitty around trying to get a kiss. Xavier invites Logan to stay and spend the holidays with them. Logan tells him that he has important things to catch up on. Rogue gives Scott a gift, and tells him that it might be fun with just the two of them, Xavier and Beast for the holidays. Jean watches from across the room as Scott opens his gift and acts kinda jealous. Kurt finally corners Kitty on a sofa. As he closes his eyes and leans in for a kiss, she slides out of the way and he kisses Bobby instead.
Later, Everyone loads up into cars and heads home for the holidays. Ororo is dropping off Jubilee, Bobby, & Sam, while Ray is dropping off Kitty, Jean and kurt. Presumably all at airports. While reading The Daily Bugle Angel catches a mugger in Central Park. As the victim explains to a mounted policeman that he was saved by an angel, his briefcase drops from the sky and lands between them. The victim points up and they both see him flying away. As Warren picks up his coat and walks away, he’s watched by a man hiding behind some trees. The news starts reporting all of the Angel sightings. Xavier tells the others that he thinks that the “angel” is really a mutant. He sends Rogue and Scott to NY to try and recruit him. In NY, they go about questioning all of the witnesses. Scott shares some personal stories with Rogue, while they warm up in a diner.The man from Central Park continues to follow Angel. As Angel is flying over the Brooklyn Bridge, the man uses his powers to cause a car accident in such a way that it could only be Magneto. Angel goes to the rescue of a little girl and her family and saves them just as their car is about to go off of the bridge. As the crowd ohhs and ahhs over him, Magneto coils a bridge cable around his leg, causing him to knock the little girl, Hailee off of the bridge. He manages to pull her out of the water, but Magneto yells out that he saw him knock her in on purpose. The crowd turns on Angel, calling him a freak and Angel flies off.
Hailee ends up sick and in the hospital. Angel flies in through her window to visit her. He gets trapped by a nurse and disguises himself as a doctor to sneak out of the room. At the desk, Rogue and Scott are asking to speak with her parents. The doctor tells them that they said they were going to their church to pray. Angel overhears this as he walks by, but as he leaves, a feather falls out of his coat. Rogue sees the feather and they chase after Angel. He escapes from a window and they watch as he flies away. At the church, Angel watches the parents as they pray. Magneto shows up and tries to recruit him. When Angel refuses, Magneto tries to take him by force. Rogue and Cyclops arrive just in time, and between the three of them they’re able to knock Magneto out. Rogue manages to touch him, but Magneto comes to and knocks her away. When he takes off, Rogue flies after him (using his own power). She chases him through the city, but he ambushes her and uses a magnetic pulse to send her flying into a building. She saves herself at the last minute, but he sends a huge piece a building hurtling towards her. It knocks her out and she falls towards the ground. Angel arrives at the last second to scoop her up and save her.
Later, back at the hospital, Rogue and Scott invite Angel to come and visit the Institute and meet Xavier. A doctor comes in and tells the parents that Hailee will be okay. Scott tells Rogue that he doesn’t think that Angel will come with them. They join Angel at a window to watch as the parents hug the little girl. They show the other X-Men celebrating the holidays with their families. Jean and her family are picking out a Christmas tree. Kitty is lighting a menorah as her parents watch. Kurt meets his parents in the airport as he arrives home. Evan, Storm, and his parents have a snowball fight. Wolverine is in a bar alone, shooting pool. And Beast and the Professor sit in front of the Christmas together.
On_A's_Wings_-_5_rogueA great Christmas episode for the holidays and a great way to introduce Angel, who every round this time of year mistakes for a real Angel. Its a heartwarming story and real pleasure to watch at Xmas.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – HAVE YOURSELF A MORLOCK LITTLE X-MAS

 HAVE YOURSELF A MORLOCK LITTLE X-MAS

CAST
Cedric Smith (Mutant X)
Cathal J. Dodd (Ace Lightning)
Norm spencer (Rescue Heroes)
Alison Sealy-Smith (Dark Water)
Chris Potter (Andromeda)
Lenore Zann (Def-Con)
George Buza (Odyssey 5)
Catherine Disher (Forever Knight)
Alyson Court (Silver Surfer)
It’s Christmas time and the X-Men are decorating the house. Rogue, Jubilation Lee, and Scott Summers are dressing up the tree and signing Deck the Halls, which Scott doing a terrible job. Jubilee tries to get Logan to sing Jingle Bells with them, since Scott isn’t doing too good of a job, but he refuses and leaves. Rogue then picks Jubilee up so they can put on the Christmas tree star. In the kitchen Remy LeBeau and Jean Grey are trying to cook some dinner, while trying to put up with each other. Gambit wants to add some Cajun spices while Jean wants him to stay away. In his lab, Hank McCoy is also preparing a yule tide beverage. Down below, Charles Xavier and Ororo Munroe watch the others on video monitors commenting on how happy everyone seems. Suddenly a blast occurs and they fear they are being attacked.
The X-Men all rush to the site of the disturbance only to find that Beast’s cranberry glaze exploded everywhere. Logan finally arrives and also finds it was a false alarm. Distressed by all the good cheer he decides to leave the mansion. Jubilee convinces him to go Christmas shopping with her and Ororo. While shopping Jubilee is so excited she doesn’t know where to stop. On the other hand, Logan just can’t wait to get out of the store. The three decide to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Again, Jubilee is having a great time while Wolverine wants to leave. Logan then smells something happening with sirens in the distance. Eventually an ambulance almost crashes onto the ice, if Ororo hadn’t used her powers to move it away from anyone. Two Morlocks, Ape and Annalee, exit the cab and tear the back door off. They tell Ororo that Leech is very sick and needs medicine badly. They tried to take him to a hospital but his powers were out of control and he was refused service. Ororo believes them and commands the others to follow. Jubilee grabs all her presents before leaving. In the Morlock tunnels, Callisto, who is currently watching over Leech, is not to happy that their “glorious leader” has just arrived. Despite their differences they agree to help Leech together. Logan notices a small branch with a broken ornament on it standing in for the Morlock’s Christmas tree. He is interrupted by Storm who orders him to take Leech to the mansion immediately so Beast can help. However, Logan believes it is too late and moving him would be fatal. Jubilee then sees a small girl, Mariana, and the two comfort each other while they watch. Ororo refuses to accept that Leech is already lost. Jubilee questions whether Logan can use his powers to help, but he claims it’s impossible. Ororo wonders whether he is letting his personal feelings guide his decision but Logan maintains that it’s only been done twice before but may not work at all.
Ororo continues to be berated for ignoring the Morlocks for so long but decides to try a transfusion, and will contact the mansion to have Rogue fly Hank and his medical kit there. Meanwhile, Logan remains the only way to keep Leech alive. Back at the mansion, Jean and Remy are still arguing over how to cook dinner. Xavier bursts in to tell Rogue to fly Hank to the Morlock tunnels. While waiting for Leech to get better Mariana shows Jubilee their Christmas tree. Mariana tells her that Leech was the one who found the tree for them. She then shows Jubilee the food that Leech brought for them for a Christmas dinner, before the cold made him sick. Mariana then asks if they can stay for dinner. Meanwhile, despite the transfusion Leech does not seem to be getting better. Hank arrives and the Morlocks beg him to help. However, it seems the transfusion helped after all and Leech appears fine. Oror then uses her position to take the Scepter of Power and Callisto questions her claiming she has been no leader to them. She then relinquishes her command over the Morlocks and gives it back to Callisto. Her first decision as leader is to extend an invitation to all the X-Men for dinner, though it is not much. Jubilee decides to give the Morlocks the presents she bought since they need it more than she does.
Understandably both Remy and Jean are not quite happy that their meal will not be eaten. Xavier tells Jubilee how proud he is that she decided to help the less fortunate despite wanting a big fancy Christmas Eve.
X-men: The Animated series will always be a classic series, the Christmas episode is anything but classic, that being it’s still nice to watch around the holidays despite how out dated it is.

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN (1994) – SEASON 1-5

 

 

CAST

Christopher Daniel Barnes (The Little Mermaid)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Linda Gary (He-Man)
Rodney Saulsberry (The Animatrix)
Jennifer Hale (Wreck-It Ralph)
Gary Imhoff (The Green Mile)
Sara Ballantine (Batman Year One)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Liz Georges (As Told By Ginger)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Joseph Campanella (Ben)
Patrick Labyorteaux (Yes Man)
Maxwell Caulfield (Alien Intruder)
Neil Ross (Rambo)
Roscoe Lee Brown (Babe)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Batman: TAS)
Dawnn Lewis (Futurama)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
George Buza (Mutant X)
Cedric Smith (Earth: Final Conflict)
Norm Spencer (Rescue Heroes)
Catherine Disher (Forever Knight)
Alison Sealy-Smith (You Kill Me)
Alyson Court (Beetlejuice TV)
Chris Potter (Heartland)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek Generations)
J.D. Hall (Undercover Brother)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday the 13th – Part 8)
George Takei (Star Trek)
John Vernon (Batman: TAS)
Courtney Peldon (Frozen)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Robert Hays (Airplane)
Barbara Goodson (Power Rangers)
James Avery (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 80s)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Dorian Harewood (Earth: Final Conflict)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Jeff Corey (Conan The Destroyer)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
David Hayter (X-Men)
Roy Dotrice (Hercules: TLJ)
Paul Winfield (Star Trek II)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

The set itself is well presented, although the artwork is a little cheap, and clearly done in a way as to mimic the style of the 90s series. Anyone who has the recent X-Men Season releases will be familiar with this. Unlike those, this one also has a slipcase. A booklet with episode synopses is also included.

Spider-Man has season-long arcs, which when viewed in succession make for great television. Christopher Barnes is brilliant as Spider-Man (especially in those fleeting moments of extreme rage), and the guests were memorable too, particularly Rob Paulsen’s oafish Hydro Man and Jennifer Hale as Felicia Hardy/ Black Cat.

The music was great too, but while Spider-Man relied on several repeated  cues,  Another thing about Spider-Man is that even after all these years I find myself being surprised by some of the plot twists, which were even more abundant upon first viewing. Thankfully, John Semper (creative head of the show) was bold enough to change much of the original stories to make them worth animating in the first place. What else? A minor triumph, but the colouring on this cartoon is the best of any I’ve ever seen. A simple praise. While the show lost its way during the muddled fourth year it had some great episodes in the last series, with one of the greatest resolution-with-cliffhanger endings in animation history. A rare treat in that its much, much better than you remember it.

Some of the best episodes were – the three-parter, “The Alien Costume”- a marvellous introduction for the ultimately underused Venom (a deliciously insane Hank Azaria)- and the two-part “Hobgoblin” are among the best in the show’s five-year run. “Night of the Lizard”, a pilot of sorts, is interesting in that there’s an awful lot more effort put into the animation than in later episodes, as is often the case.

Animation from the 1990s doesn’t come much better than this, and Marvel have yet to top it.

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS – SEASON 1-3

 

CAST (VOICES)

Dan Gilvezan (Transformers)
Kathy Garver (Family Affair)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Dick Tufeld (Lost In Space)
June Foray (Mulan)
Image result for SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rino Roamno (The Batman)
Alan Young (The Time Machine)
Michael Ansara (Batman: TAS)
Michael Bell (Rugrats)
Peter Cullen (Transformers)

Image result for SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS

Spider-Man, Iceman, and Firestar are fighting crime and protecting the world from villains. As Peter Parker, Bobby Drake, and Angelica Jones, the three heroes are not only teammates, but roommates and friends. As they try to keep Aunt May and Angelica’s dog Ms. Lion in the dark, the Spider-Friends battle enemies from Doctor Octopus and Doctor Doom to Green Goblin and the Red Skull. Fortunately, the Spider-Man, Firestar, and Iceman have allies in Captain America, the X-Men, and other heroes…saving the world is a hard job!

Image result for SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDSSpider-Man and His Amazing Friends ran for three seasons on NBC from September 12, 1981 to September 10, 1983. The series was produced by Marvel Productions and aired with The Incredible Hulk cartoon starting with the second season. Saturday mornings was ruled by the Super Friends. DC Comics had gotten the jump on the super team show and Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Wonder Twins were already well established when Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends premiered. Despite that,

The series was cheap. There are episodes where there are out and out mistakes (my favorite is “The Origin of Iceman” where a flashback of Iceman’s time with the original X-Men accidentally features two Cyclops in a group shot). You get lots of coloring errors and animation that changes. In addition to that, there are inconsistencies and things like just unknowns about the series…like Wolverine having an Australian accent instead of a Canadian (which would have been a lot easier for Hugh Jackman). It even stole character designs like for Cyberiad in “The X-Men Adventure” who was a complete copy of Legion of Super-Heroes’ Fatal Five enemy Tharok. Surprisingly, the show is loaded with cameos. Characters like  Matt Murdock, Captain America, Iron Man, and others make cameos throughout the series and the series helped introduce the X-Men to a larger audience.

I would say that the best addition to the Marvel Universe from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends is easily Firestar. Firestar was meant to be the Human Torch who was tied up in legal tape. Firestar was created for the show to look like Mary Jane Watson, but ended up being retconned into the Marvel Universe in Uncanny X-Men #193 (May 1985). I love Firestar and she’s one of the few characters who really transitioned well from “made-for-TV” to comic. pider-Man and His Amazing Friends is a fun series…if you grew up with it. The cheapness of the series probably won’t impress younger viewers, but as a fan from childhood, it is great to revisit the show.