Collectormania 25

This weekend, returning for it’s 2nd year, Film & Comic Con Birmingham, Collectormania 25 is back at the NEC Birmingham, bigger and better and I’ll be there taking photographs of the event. 

Welcoming an amazing array of television, film and sports stars, this year’s event has stars such as Robert Englund, Adrian Edmondson, Danny Glover so basically covers a load of fandoms including Lethal Weapon, Doctor Who, The Young Ones, Harry Potter, Walking Dead, Doctor Strange, Highlander, Star Wars and much more!

Add to that three legendary reunions with Liverpool FC legends, players from the FA Cup winning 1980 West Ham squad and players from the 1971 Double Winning Arsenal team!  Adding to the sports line up is Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, Frank Bruno, Daniel Dubois, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Carl Foggerty and more!
I think on my last count there was 105 guests!

The weekend will include autograph opportunities, professional photo shoots with the stars, talks and a merchandise hall for all your collectable needs.

There’s cosplay competitions and parades taking place over the weekend too so I’m hoping to see a few familiar faces there.

Open on Saturday and Sunday, with tickets available on the door, it’s a great day out for all the family.

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AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

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I’ll try to write this with no spoilers, the occasional character costume or appearance may pop in, but if it’s in here, I don’t consider it a spoiler*. O.K. with that in mind, let’s go.

 

I have managed, even with daily social media use, to avoid any and all spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War (apart from all the flaky faced profile pictures but they don’t really mean anything, or spoil anything particularly) but thought my luck was probably due to run out any day, so we booked our tickets for the 7pm showing on a Wednesday night.

I’m at the age where sitting in a dark room after 6pm isn’t conducive to me remaining conscious but needs must.

Even though the film’s been out for a couple of weeks by this point, the cinema was still relatively busy.

The main story of the film is, before the Universe began, six singularities existed. Some time after the universe came into existence, the singularities were formed into the six Infinity (gems) Stones by the Celestials. Each stone represents a different aspect of the universe in Space, Time, Mind, Reality, Soul and Power. Now, only beings of immense power can directly wield the Stones, such as Celestials or the big bad in our story the most Titany of all Titans, Thanos.

So a quick recap incase you’ve forgotten

The Space Stone is inside the Tesseract.

The Time Stone is in Dr Strange’s pretty necklace, sorry, the Eye of Agamotto.

The Mind Stone was originally held inside Loki’s Chitauri Scepter but then ended up in Vision’s Noggin.

The Reality Stone was called the Aether in Thor The Dark World, and ended up with the Collector.

The Soul Stone hasn’t really been in any of the previous MCU films so I’ll leave it’s location as a surprise incase of those pesky spoilers.

The Power Stone was taken into the safe keeping of the Nova Corps.

If Thanos can get all of these stones and place them into the specially created Infinity Gauntlet he will, at the click of his fingers, be able to fulfill his prophetic wish to annihilate 50% of all life in the universe. He’s a nice guy like that.

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The film starts, onboard the Asgardian ship we see in Thor:Ragnarok, after around two minutes, we have the first bit of action and then it pretty much doesn’t let up for the entire, close to 2 and a half hour runtime, film.

Of course Thanos knows there are two stones on earth, cue over used character Tony Stark getting involved, along with Dr Strange as the unluckiest city on earth New York comes under attack from a couple of Thanos’s cronies.

The Avengers then get involved, newly bearded Captain America, an oddly bumbling childlike Dr Banner, and the now blonde bombshell Black Widow, you get the idea.

Pretty much every one of the people we’ve seen on screen in any of the previous MCU films either appears or is mentioned in this one, along with a few of their mates too, yet not many of them feel put onscreen for no reason. With entire sections feeling like mini movies, for Iron Man, Spidey, Guardians of the galaxy especially.

The only time the film seems clunky is in the scenes involving Thanos and Gamora, in an effort to add emotion to a CGI character they draw out a side plot involving the two which didn’t particularly tug at these heart strings and just felt like it was there to show a side to Thanos, and add some tension with another character. The side story of Vision, which I won’t go into here as it is a main plotline, also feels poorly thought out and gets slightly dull, perhaps I just do have a swinging brick for a heart?

Otherwise the film clips along at a pleasing rate, the only time I even considered looking to see how long was left was a few minutes prior to the point, as seen in the trailer, where T’Challa says “get this man a shield” and then things picked up again so much I forgot about that thought too.

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For me, this is the best of the latest Avengers Films, they seemed to have dropped the ball big time with Age of Ultron (2 hrs 22 minutes of set up for a single story point in Infinity War) and Captain America: Civil War was a confused mess.

I’m really looking forward to part 2 now, and remember always stay till after the credits. The post credit scene here gave me genuine goosebumps.

4/5 MARVELous film, if very slightly too long and overly violent for it’s 12 rating

 

*Note on “Spoilers”

I was discussing this a while ago and a friend hit the nail on the head. When we were kids, there was no internet. Your friends would see a film or tv show before you and they would come into school the next day and tell you everything about it. This wouldn’t “spoil” the film, it would make you want to see it even more! What marvels they were talking about! WHAT?! They find a real pirate ship and a big monster flies in from the sky shouting “A boooo dies”? I HAVE to see that.

Spoilers don’t really spoil anything, it is entirely possible to avoid them anway. You neither have to go on the internet, or read anything about anything before you’ve seen it. Honest. It’s not compulsory.

Preston Comic Con

On 23rd September it was Preston Comic Con 2017.

The annual event began in 2014 and has got bigger and better every year since with attendees returning and having a great day.

This was my first time attending alongside 4,000 plus other people.

I’ve never visited Preston, let alone the Guild Hall 

It’s a decent place to hold the event with plenty of room for the various vendors and guests to prevent it from feeling TOO crowded.

As at most cons, the fun begins even before you get into the venue proper, with cosplayers and attendees milling around outside, and in the small shopping centre type entrance way with passers by stopping and asking for photos.

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As I came up the escalator I could see the queue was already around the whole entrance square. With plenty of people in costume as their favourite characters from comics, film and T.V.

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The queue was dealt with quickly and everyone was inside with the minimum of fuss, really well organised at the door.

As you came in there were traders in the first small room and then upstairs were more traders and the guests. An area at the other side of the building was were the gaming room was, with retro games galore and a section for the latest tech, including VR.

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The organisers describe Comic Con as a

‘gathering of fans for all genres, film, tv, comics, art and gaming where fans can meet,chat and express themselves’.

The guest line up across the comic and media sections saw artists from Marvel, DC, 200AD and stars from Red Dwarf, Power Rangers and Game of Thrones including:

Steve Cardenas who played Rocky DeSantos the Red Ranger in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series (eventually the Gold Ranger in Zeo), and he later became the Blue Ranger for Power Rangers Zeo.

Robert Llewelyn comedian and writer best known as the Kryten in Red Dwarf and as a presenter of the TV engineering gameshow Scrapheap Challenge.

Hannah Spearritt now a regular and fan favourite at cons across the country, she is an original member of the pop group S Club 7 and perhaps best known for playing the role of Abby Maitland in Primeval.

Trevor & Simon The comedy duo from Going Live! and Live & Kicking were there to swing their pants

With comic artists like the legendary John Higgins, Dave Taylor, Lew Stringer and David Millgate there to draw sketches and sign memorabilia it was a great line up of guests.

I would have spent more money but with how popular these artists were, they were busy sketching and signing and I’m far too impatient for that 🙂

I saw a half finished/started drawing by David “Max” Millgate of an ABC warrior which just called to me so I had to have it. He agreed to sell it to me. It now adorns my wall, and my screensaver on my phone 🙂

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I had a great time at the event, below are a few more of the pictures I took on the day, I’ll look to be back next year.

 

 

 

MCM COMIC CON MANCHESTER!

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MCM Manchester Comic closed its doors to a successful weekend of pop culture, superhero fandom and 36,567 sci-fi fans, gamers, comic collectors, movie buffs and anime enthusiasts attending the two-day extravaganza.

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Featuring everything from comics, movies, games and sci-fi to cosplay, anime, steampunk and online video, the show returned to Manchester Central on 29-30 July with an awe-inspiring line-up of guests.

Guests included Actor, voice artist and screenwriter David Hayter, famous as the voice of Solid Snake in the hugely successful Metal Gear Solid videogame franchise.  Making his MCM Comic Con debut and had fans queuing round the block to meet him.

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Lou Ferrigno, star of iconic ‘70s superhero show The Incredible Hulk also headlined the show.

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Manu Bennett from Arrow, The Hobbit and Spartacus, Star Trek

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Doctor Who spin-off series Class also took the show by storm when cast members Greg Austin, Sophie Hopkins and Vivian Oparah made an appearance at the fun-filled weekend of geeky goodness.

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“Manchester Central was bursting with incredible cosplayers, dedicated gamers, passionate comic readers, excited movie buffs and just about every pop-culture niche represented,”  said Danny Aindow, national event manager of MCM Expo Group.

“It was a delight to see so many people turn up for a weekend of unleashing their inner geeks; from adults fulfilling childhood dreams of meeting their childhood icons, to children exploring a new world of superheroes and fantasies for the first time.

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Aindow added: “The turnout at the weekend demonstrated the desire for a place to celebrate our love for all things pop culture, and we’re already exciting about returning to Manchester in 2018.”

Next up in the event portfolio, MCM Expo will be returning to Glasgow with MCM Scotland Comic Con on 23-24 September at the SEC!

Wonder Woman. Well it did make me wonder.

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Throughout this film the beauty of Gal Gadot shines through, it shines brightest through the massive holes in the plot.

There will be spoilers ahead. Turn back now if you’ve not seen the film. If you have seen it continue on brave traveller and see if you agree with me.

By the rave reviews it’s getting, you probably won’t.

 

Wonder Woman isn’t a comic I ever remember reading, so I have no vested interest in the character, I was approaching this as a fantasy film. Obviously I know it’s a comic book film but I know little about the titular character.

It opens well enough, a slightly confusing voice over explains in a rushed way what’s been going down, we see a bit of Diana’s background, seeing how even as a child she wanted to fight and was strong willed and fearless etc etc.

We saw how the women of Themyscira are bad ass Amazon fighting warriors, training for the day they will once again have to defeat Ares the God of War. Diana proves herself to be the most powerful warrior of them all, accidentally almost killing the best of all the warriors on the island. All well and good, if the tiniest bit Thor.

Then a plane appears  it starts to go South for me.

The Nazi’s attack the island it’s WW1 after all, loads of these bad ass Amazonians are about as much use as a chocolate teapot and it’s all a bit Planet of the Apes. In fact I’m sure on the corner you would see Charlton Heston’s Horse.

Diana leaves the island with Steve, and goes off to find Ares and put an end to all wars.

O.K. not a bad start, but then I think they must have had an accident at the studio were 12 different screenwriters ideas got dropped and made into 1 pile, one of which was the Captain America first draft.

They essentially tried to make Wonder Woman DC’s Captain america.

Here’s my main issues with the film, which I enjoyed, just won’t be in any rush to watch again.

Diana speaks 100 languages, doesn’t know what a secretary is.

She does however appear to have absolutely no problem with planes, battleships, cars and tanks. She doesn’t even bat an eyelid at those.

Where was the peril with Doctor Poison?

What exactly was she doing? It was essentially like they forgot to give that bit proper thought. He stole a book of her designs and got it really easily back to England. There was no mention of what exactly the plot was she had concocted, or if they had even got a fully working gas. They just seemed to show gas masks being melted. I don’t knwo, perhaps I just need a “there’s a huge gas canister under Big Ben set to kill everyone at midnight Batman!” type of plot for what turns out to be a side baddy.

Steve, played nicely by Chris Pine, is an American, undercover as a Nazi, spying for the British. Confused, again perhaps it’s just me. Why not just use an English Actor, or not have the British involved. After all according to Hollywood, America wins all the wars so the Brits don’t need to be mentioned.

The whole stealing the plans thing was a complete waste of time, it didn’t seem to have any point to it at all, told them where they might use it. But any military intelligence would have done the same.

The bad guy that Diana thought was Ares was about as menacing as a sponge cake.

When she pushes a sword through him fairly graphically and with a lot of anger (some might say war like), it seemed to go against the rest of the film. Then it turns out that it wasn’t even him, it was the other fella we all had a feeling it would be all along.

He turns into a big CGI Transformer and they both have a CGI battle in a brown setting with a brown sky above them.

Why not cut the film down to a more manageable hour and a half.

Utilise the bad guys a bit better, even the ridiculous Red Skull in Captain America was more menacing than Ludendorff (Ludecruss would have been a better name)

The WW1 setting was not required. We’ve seen Wonder Woman in the modern era in previous DC films (and this one starts in modern day) so it adds nothing other than wanting to give her the Captain America vibe of “She’s realllllly old” They didn’t appear to use the WW1 setting for any major plot reason that couldn’t have been done in modern times. It felt to me like a film that the studio had given a lot of notes to during production. A mishmash of ideas with none really hitting home, and certainly overly long. It really felt like they had decided on a bad guy but then later decided that you can’t just have one point of interest any more, people need content damn it!!

Like I say, I think I’m in the minority but it just didn’t have the fizz I was expecting.

I left the cinema feeling how long the film was, the last comic book film I watched was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, I left the cinema that day with a big smile on my face.

DC films still playing catch up to the MCU. They need to stop trying to do a Nolan.

Is there any gaping plot wounds that I missed? Let me know.

They all feel like set up filler material for Justice League.

Which looks like it’s going to be awful too.

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Black Panther Teaser, does it?

So the teaser trailer for the latest in the long line of character, shall we just admit they’re all Avengers Spin offs now?movies from the MCU.

Now admittedly, I don’t recall ever reading a Black Panther comic, I only know of him through appearances in other comics, Marvel anthologies/encyclopedias etc.

So, this “teaser” trailer is required to have that effect on me. It fails in it’s most basic task.

Dark Tower, Dunkirk (those 3 spitfires coming in alone!) are two examples of trailers that make you say “ooh that looks good” no matter what your knowledge of the subject matter.

Where I think Black Panther falls down is it begins with 2 fine screen actors, Andy Serkis is this generations finest living character actor imho, and then the rest essentially relies on you “letting it off” a bit because it’s part of the MCU, and like, the character was quite  good in Civil War.

It had no moments that made me say “ooh that looks good” and I think that’s a real shame. It kind of shows that Marvel know you’re going to go and watch it, because you might miss out on something important for the Infinity War.

It smacks of the Activision Call of Duty  attitude. Everyone will buy it/see it because it it is what it is, regardless of quality or content.

I think Black Panther could be a great addition to the MCU, with plenty of crossover of enemies between him, the MCU film and the MCU television shows.

Anyway, it’s just a teaser so I’ll hold out saying nope until a full trailer hits, but it’s not looking promising.