Saturday, March 29, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

I have this feeling that Marvel is continuously trying to better themselves, and are learning from their mistakes. Now, I don't really mind any of the movies from Marvel Studios, but there are obvious quality differences, with Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers and Iron Man 3 in one end, and The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The First Avengers in the other end.

The first Captain America movie wasn't bad, rather than flawed. The movie didn't feel like a fluid piece. It's difficult to make the origin story look good in the movies. Now, we're past this. The movie universe knows Captain America. The movie audience knows Captain America. We can be treated to a story that stands on its own. Expectations were surprisingly high, after seeing the various trailers, and trying to figure out the plot line without getting too much of the movie spoiled, I found myself unusually excited.

Expectations were met, it was a complete blast. Now, the part I was looking forward to the most, didn't exactly pan out how I had hoped, but it didn't really matter, as I was fully enthralled to the very end.
A thoroughly fun movie: Interesting characters and character interaction, impressive battles, well-paced story, and lots of goodies for the Marvel enthusiast.

Read on for a complete review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And beware, there could be some spoilers.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vintage style Captain America Poster by Paolo Rivera

Yes, I'm strangely enough excited for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Me and girlfriend saw The First Avenger again the other day, and are now ready for this next Cap movie. I liked Thor 2, but it would be seriously impressive had it surpassed the first Thor movie. But with Captain America, it's a bit different. The first one is good, but certainly not great, while the trailers for the new one are promising, to say the least. I expect it to be significantly better than The First Avenger (and I also expect teasers for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie).

Now, by now you have probably seen the various promo pictures for The Winter Soldier, the actual movie posters, trailers, toys (see the last update), stills, and so on. But this one is something different. A poster made in the vintage style that you would see in the 70s spy movies. Roger Moore's James Bond movies comes to mind.
Done by skilled artist Paolo Rivera, you can also check out his blog here:

Marvel has said that it will indeed be a spy movie, with conspiracy and treachery being parts of the plot. But we have also seen the trailers, where stuff is being blown up. Passionately. I like both, and I think Paolo's poster resonate with this.

I love it, and it makes me even more ready for the movie the upcoming weekend.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hot Toys Captain America Comparison

Well, with the new Captain America movie coming out, titled "The Winter Soldier", we are getting new action figures from Hot Toys. They already showed their new Black Widow, which caused somewhat of a discussion on the internet. People are surprised how life-like it looks.

No shit! Hot Toys have been doing this for a couple of years, and they're just getting better and better at it. They have already done three Black Widow figures, the first one from Iron Man 2, then the Avengers version, and now for the upcoming Cap movie. I still prefer the Avengers one.

Today, at Hot Toys facebook page, we were shown the pre-release pictures of their new Captain America - Golden Age costume. Apparently, Steve Rogers wears his vintage outfit in the last battle in the movie. It looks as fantastic as you could expect.

Of course, Hot Toys already did the golden age costume, from the first Captain America movie. Which one is better? You tell me.

Here are the two side by side.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Toys are fun. I collect toys. I play with toys. Article number 300.

Would you know, I've written three hundred articles in this blog. Some of them are pure nonsense, some of them are well thought out, and some of them are extremely personal. This leans towards the latter, but I suspect any collector can find some meaning here. It's about stepping out of the comfort zone and finding something that re-ignites the passion. 

How do you use action figures? 

Pictured: Story line.
Well, there are many ways, and I've talked about this before. Of course the most common way to use an action figure is to play with it like a child would. Well, I'm not a child, so you will probably not find me clashing my toys together and make explosion sounds. But what is the child really doing while playing? 
The child is creating a story line, interacting with the toys, taking part in the story. It's entertainment and creation at the same time. 

If I had a new years resolution this year, it would be to not collect stuff just to collect. The last few years I feel like I have been doing just that. Most of the toys I collect, I really like. That goes for my other collections as well. But I also found my self buying action figures and toys I simply didn't use

Now, my action figures are being played with, but not exactly like I describe above. You see, I also consider it playing with toys just to pick them up, and hold them, look at them, pose them. And in some way, I do the same as the child. It's a combination of appreciation of the toy itself and the creation of story lines. The story lines are probably not as strong and as lively as when I was a kid, but they're still there in some way. I look at some of the pictures I take, and there's definitely story lines.  
In storage...

Far too many of my toys see little to no play time. And that's not how it should be. Sure, some of them I have stored away for a specific purpose, and for good reasons. Some of my toys are appreciating just by sitting in storage, like a few sealed vintage pieces. Some of them I simply have no room for in my current apartment, like the bigger Lego sets. And some of them are valued treasures from my childhood, that I couldn't possibly get rid of, even though I don't necessarily use them any more - my entire G.I. Joe collection for instance. 

But I own toys that doesn't fall in any of these categories. What's really the point of these? I don't play with them, and I don't really need them. It's just stuff that's clogging up my closets. 

So since Christmas, I have been getting rid of - selling a lot of toys. We're talking a significant amount, both in numbers of action figures, and in money. 

Some of this money obviously goes right back into collecting, but this time more focused. I have been drooling over the Hot Toys Marvel superheroes ever since the Hong Kong company made toys for the first Iron Man movie. And naturally, I too start with Iron Man - more specifically the Iron Man 3 Tony Stark Suit Test. 

Now, this isn't about this specific Tony Stark toy, and I have only half-assed taken a few pictures of it. These pictures doesn't do the toy justice, and it's easy to find better pictures online. This is about what these figures are bringing to the table. These are the ultimate superhero action figures. 

In the past, my reasoning for not picking up Hot Toys figures have been: "These doesn't feel like toys". It's a common critique. They're extremely expensive, they're 1/6 scale, they're not intended for children. 

Tony Stark plays with toys as well. 
But when I display them in my cabinet, are they not toys that I play with? When I can't even leave them alone in said cabinet, am I not playing with them? 

I'm having more fun playing with the Hot Toys superheroes than I have had in a long time. The last time I had this much fun playing with toys was when me and Runar built a G.I. Joe diorama for a museum

The details on Tony Stark are amazing, his head sculpt is so realistic it's almost creepy. He has great articulation and comes with tons of cool accessories. Light up functions. I mean, apart from the high price, there aren't any reasons this couldn't be the perfect toy for anyone even remotely interested in action figures, comic books and the likes. 

When I think about it, I actually understand why it has been difficult for me to make this jump, and that may also be the reason I enjoy these toys more than I had thought. These aren't rooted in my nostalgia in the same way as say G.I. Joe, Transformers and Masters of the Universe. These are only indirectly connected to my childhood. I have always collected action figures, and I have always read the superheroes. But as a child I never had superhero action figures, and I was never into 1/6 scale. 

In that way, my Hot Toys Superheroes are something new, something exciting. Fear not, I'll still be into all the other stuff, Joes, Lego, robots and so on. But this is deliciously refreshing. 

Current collection consists of Tony Stark, one of his suits, one of his super powered colleagues, one of his adversaries, and two members of the espionage agency. All are obtained by simply getting rid of stuff I didn't use.