Concept Art for Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2

Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2 ‘Biggest Spectacle of all time.’

Whilst promoting his latest sure-fire hit, ‘The Magnificent Seven’, Chris Pratt had a few interesting words to share with the Toronto Sun on the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2:

”It’s a fabulous script. I think it’s going to be – I’m not using hyperbole, here – I think it’s going to be the biggest spectacle movie of all time.”

Pratt, who lays Star-Lord in the franchise, says he isn’t bothered by the haters who claim that superhero/comic book films are sucking the life out of the industry:

“to be part of a franchise that really is so totally different. It’s new and exciting and unlike anything people had seen before. There are a lot of superheroes out there, but I think we do something a little different. The genesis of these characters was in the Marvel Universe but we do something a little different, more cosmic, with Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is scheduled to be released on May 5, 2017, in 3D and IMAX but if you can’t wait that long to show your Guardians love then check out our GOTG-inspired Milano t-shirt today:

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The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk – Marvel Cinematic Universe Retrospective

Marvel’s Incredible Hulk is considered by some as the ugly step-child of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It’s gestation began as the sequel to Ang Lee’s 2007 Hulk.  Universal stalled wondering what to do with the ill-received deconstruction and exploration into rage and daddy issues. While Marvel galvanised the alloy soon to become its flagship cinematic outing, Louis Leterrier pitched for the Man In A Can losing out to John Favreau.  However, Marvel had something else for the Transporter director: The Incredible Hulk. It’s a confusing proposition.  Not only could nobody decide if it was a follow-up or reboot (even producer Gale Ann Hurd coined the phrase “requel”), Leterrier knew enough that he didn’t want to ape Lee’s foray into the superhero genre.  In hind site following in the wake of the seminal Iron Man must have been daunting, even with one of Marvel’s most recognisable characters, but The Incredible Hulk crash-landed into our multiplexes in the same year.  Universal’s failure to produce a sequel since 2003 meant Marvel could produce and use a double-hander to get its road to Avengers off to a gamma injected start.

Being the second offering in the MCU cannon is something of a benefit to The Incredible Hulk.  Free from the ingredients of a yet to be tried-and-tested formula, Leterrier was free to do a little more experimentation.  Forget about the hubris offered Tony, Thor and Star Lord before realising the error of their ways.  This incarnation of Bruce Banner would already be painfully aware of his frailties.  He’d also not waste time with a 40 minute origin story that we were all pretty much familiar with.  For the uninitiated quick cuts between opening credits would get you up to speed with Banner’s odyssey.  However, now fully in control, Marvel would also be free to interlock this with the other DNA strands making up the MCU.

After watching the espionage-tinged Captain America: The Winter Soldier, audiences wondered why Marvel Studios hadn’t had more of stab at other genres.  However, after watching The Incredible Hulk after such a long reprieve it’s an uncomplicated actioner – why else would you get the kinetically competent Transporter helmer?  Bruce Banner works with “Thunderbolt” Ross on revitalising Cap’s Super Soldier Program.  Things go awry.  Bruce now changes into the very manifestation of rage.  Ross afraid of the connection to his daughter along with his error in the experimental military operation turns Hulk into a threat, chasing him a round the globe.  We’ve all bought cinema tickets for less!

Now while we all have our favourite instalment it’s universally agreed that The Incredible Hulk isn’t the crown jewel of the MCU, but it does have a lot to offer.  Taking more than just a passing nod to the TV series (and a surprising amount from the comics) it means our hero gets to continent-trot and meeting Banner in the Favelas offers something refreshing.  Not only do we get to see him with the kind of home-made set-up that could win second prize at the science fair, he’s doing a convincing job of staying out of trouble.  His mawkish schleping around the soft drinks factory is enough to throw anyone off the suspition that he could crush you like a worm.  The first introduction to our not-so-jolly green giant is also tantalisingly fun.  Hulk lurks in the abundant shadows supplied by huge vats and walkways.  Even the special ops team are confused by what’s literally hit them.

The lulls do draw somewhat from the impressive set pieces that follow.  While it’s necessary, the love story between Bruce and Betty is little more than functional – although the set up of Bruce not being able to hulk-uglies is a thread continued in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The antagonising Ross and his ultimate about-face on the Hulk doesn’t have the effect it needs.  But there’s a big, green fist of fun to be had!  If the Captain America, SHIELD and purple panted easter eggs weren’t enough, the emancipating set pieces are.  Watching Hulk tear apart a battalion on a college campus is such a release its cathartic.  Rather than question the devastation left by the big guy, you’ve waited so long while being bullied you cheer him on while he body checks HUM-Vs and bring down gun ships.  Then if that’s not enough of an entré we get to watch him do 10 rounds while he slugs it out with Abomination using cop cars as boxing gloves.  It really is an inventive foray of comic book violence and Letterier is not afraid to get in close rather than look away from the pain.

3* – The Angriest Hobo

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Gotham Season 3 ‘Nothing Else Matters’ Promo Released

Looks like you can’t keep a bad Penguin down as this promo for the third season of Gotham seems to show Robin Lord Taylor’s version of Oswald Cobblepot taking control of Gotham in a more official capacity. We also get a few snatched glimpses of some new characters, one of which appears to be the show’s version of Killer Croc…maybe?

Gotham returns to FOX for season 3 on Monday September 19th but UK audiences are going to have to wait until early next year.

If you can’t wait to show your love for Gotham then try out one of our Gotham inspired tee’s:

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Iron Man

Iron Man – Marvel Cinematic Universe Retrospective

There was a time when superhero movies were personal gems found on the deserted beaches of geekdom.  Studios sporadic attempts to capture the market they just knew was out there.  For every Batman (1989) there was a Phantom.  Later Spider-Man had it’s Fantastic Four.  In true comic book fashion there seemed to be villainous adversaries, poised to strike at the zeitgeist and ensure the general population would look at most comic book movies in the same way they looked at the funny pages.  There were still the adaptations that went under the radar:  Red, A History of Violence and Road to Perdition all seemed to come away unscathed from the nerdy apprehension that came with super heroes.

Then, following the success of Spider-Man and to a lesser extent X-Men, Marvel took a look at the properties still in their war chest and decided they could do what FOX and Sony/Columbia did with the franchises they had the rights to.  Even better, they’d be completely in control and, if successful, their characters could share the universe just like the comics.  Creating Hollywood’s first major independent studio since Dreamworks, Marvel secured a $525 million revolving credit facility with Merrill Lynch and began setting up the building blocks of what we would know as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

It’s easy to take the first Iron Man movie for granted nowadays, just like the Mk 1 Armour that birthed our hero from the cave.  Years of multiple viewings, improved sequels (Iron Man 3, if not Iron Man 2) and dizzying interlinking timelines from other superhero outings have left Tony Stark’s breakout movie encased in its very own Hall of Armour.

If you’ve not donned the original Iron Man Armour for a while you’ll be struck with how the opening packs quite a repulsor blast.  The raw riffs of ACDC’s Back in Black as the HUMV’s glide across the Afghan desert pulls you straight into the hull while Tony mixes it up with 3 troops.  It’s a brilliant introduction to Stark.  It establishes his trademarked wit and hyper-verbalisation.  Not only that, but while Tony shows off to the troops and chalks up the previous years MAXIM cover models, he also puts them at ease.  It also lulls the audience, before we’re reminded of where we are and the danger it brings.  No sooner are we grinning like we’re in the “FUNV” that the vehicle in front explodes in a jolting blast.  The discs special features show an extended scene that really pushes the bluster and percussion of a firefight.  The final film succeeds in half the time by illustrating just how precarious a situation Tony’s in.  The panicked concussion as Stark stumbles bewildered from the truck before we see him flat on his back, helpless, his life literally seeping out of him into his taylored shirt.  If that wasn’t perilous enough, a sack is then whipped from his battered and bloody head and he finds himself front and centre of his own fundamentalist hostage video (or so it seems) while terms are harshly delivered and the kidnappers cohorts proudly brandish automatic rifles.  Amidst the hustle of this intro some if the impact may be lost that during this time we’d become used to the highlighted horrors of very real videos on our news.  It’s an unsettling and brave prospect.  The fledgling studio must have bitten off a few nails while they considered the controversy.  Iron Man (MK 1), seemed to be all about brave choices…

Downey Jr’s spiral and phoenix-like resurrection is well documented, but Favreau was yet another brave choice for studio.  Now one of the architects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and credited as an Executive Producer, by 2008 he’d cut his directorial teeth with Made, a spiritual sequel to Swingers, delivered the surprise seasonal hit with Elf and then the under-performing Zathura.  Perhaps, not the experience that other studios would’ve been willing to gamble on.  However, John Favreau brings an impromptu (rather than improvised) energy to the proceedings.  There’s a real feeling of Tony winging it throughout the adventure.  Even the characters that orbit his charismatic sun all seem to be reacting spontaneously to him.

Iron Man also set the template for the proceeding movies.  Not just the hero’s fall from narcissistic heights to be humbled by a chance event and realise their errors before trying to walk a higher path, but post credit sequences and cheeky referencing.  You just don’t know your bad guys if you haven’t figured out why the planes that chase Iron Man across the sky mid-way through are called Whiplash 1 and Whiplash 2.  Even the most engrossed of us would have noticed the geekgasm of certain audience members when they noticed Captain America’s shield in the workshop.

Setting aside all the referencing, inside scoops and the kudos of knowing this was the genesis of the MCU, Iron Man is still an accomplishment.  One that can stand tall not only to those in its cannon, but the majority of star vehicles or Friday-Night-Actioners.  It still has its problems, though; the jittery narrative sometimes feels like it’s picking up strands its forgotten about, the obvious switch-and-bait villain and let’s not forget the fact that the MK 1 looks nothing like the missile Yenson and our eponymous hero were tasked to make!  However, the successes drown out the problems.  Tony’s have-a-go inventing of the upgrading armor while his mechanised helpers worryingly spectate is a delight.  The cast too seem to commit to presenting a (hyper) real version of the characters.  Paltrow’s Pepper certainly develops more as the sequels progress, but there’s enough here to be getting on with.  Jeff Bridges convincingly predatory Obadiah Stane is a great villain, capable of persuading the characters around him he is what he presents, before explding into the third act.  One moment in particular is a wakeup call as he bellows “TONY STARK WAS ABLE TO BUILD THIS IN A CAVE, WITH A BUNCH OF SCRAPS!” As an audience we start to rub our hands for the moment Tony will have to go up against him in the Iron Monger suit.

At the time, there was a lot of talk about the Afghan sub-text or the metaphor of America’s exit from the middle east , but if anything the climate at the time is used as a backdrop for the amoral rabbit hole our hero is in danger of falling in.  To it’s credit, Iron Man isn’t trying to be that clever.  If it doesn’t know quite what the finished narrative armour may look like, Favreau and Co certainly know what they want it to do.  Just like the suit itself; the development is painful at times, but throw a little hot rod red in there and you’ll be hard pushed to find anything as cool.

4* – World’s Mightiest Douche Bag

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Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad SPOILER-Free Review

The movie offerings from DC haven’t been able to catch the kind of breaks that Marvel has. Man of Steel seemed to catch a kryptonite bullet from the fans. Then Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice took a baterang to the face from critics and audiences alike. DC have been a little braver – for better or worse – Snyder guiding a moodier and more sub-textual ship than Captain Feige. Whatever your opinion is, DC always had one thing over Marvel…it’s villains. As devilish as Loki may have been, he pales in the mythos of the Joker. So then, it’s surely a no-brainer to stuff DC’s rogues into a movie and watch them cause chaos.

Suicide Squad carries on the courage of it’s older, more mature relatives. From the opening sequence it’s bold and unapologetically brash. While the movie almost presents itself as a reflection of it’s title characters – messed up, haphazard and certainly not afraid to have a little fun – it also feels at times likes it’s uncertain of itself; making too much of a rawkus to try and persuade us of what a rip-roarer it is. There’s crash cuts, character bios that clatter audibly over the frame and overlaying graphics that nearly hammer you into submission. It’s first act is a whistle stop tour of the universe it’s setting up. The super maximum security prison of Belle Rev is walked through while characters are introduced with names and stats that seem like top trumps on ecstasy. Once the tastier bat-involving origins are run through, it all gets a little noisy. Great music cues seem reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy, but never quite hit the note they’re going for. As intros go it’s fun enough but it’s oddly unconvincing.

It’s hard enough to accomplish the narrative juggling act when there’s a handful of main characters. Too little development and no one cares what happens to your two dimensional characters. Too much time spent on each and every character means the story unravels as the audience forget why they’re even there in first place. While Suicide Squad does enough to keep you entertained the juggling gets wobbly despite the titular effort it makes.

Suicide Squad really does have it’s moments. This is thanks, in no small part, to it’s cast. Although all are careful not to ambush each other with jostling scenery chewing, there are those that stand out. Will Smith deftly handles the balancing act of merc with a heart, but the film doesn’t seem interested in developing this and it’s a tough sell to have us believe any stirring of his conscience. Margot Robbie exudes lunacy while her humanity peeps from behind her eyes as Harley Quinn, but then it’s quickly back to the same shtick for a quick laugh. Jai Courtney is spectacularly cast as the audacious Captain Boomerang, but isn’t given the screen time to really flesh it out. It’s a wince-inducing disservice, particularly when each character should have their own air-punching moment, but falls a little flat.

Despite the giddy spell Suicide Squad tries to put you under, you feel a little bit groggy when you come around.

3* – Where the Wild Things Almost Were

Gotham inspired t-shirts to try:

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The Screen-Printing Process

Ever wondered how Cape Killer t-shirts get made? Well wonder no more, the guys at our printers Visible Art have put together this little video to demonstrate all the care and attention that goes into each and every screen print. The video shows automated process for adding the ink to the Chopper’s Surf Shack t-shirt with the manual placement of each garment and then the drying process which stabilizes and fixes each print in place. Every t-shirt then goes through an extensive quality assurance check to make sure you get the highest quality product.

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Buy now!

Latest Design – The Milano

Usually we only take our inspiration for our t-shirts directly from comic books but we all enjoyed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG) movie so much that we needed to put something out to show just how much we loved it. As is so often the case, even though all the actors were spot-on, the car’s the star which is why we decided to focus our Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired tee on Peter ‘Call me Star Lord’ Quill’s ship, The Milano.

Named after Quill’s childhood crush, Alyssa Milano, this ship is more than just a way of getting from A to B, it’s home for the Guardians, plus it does look pretty awesome:

Concept art for the Milano in Guardians of the Galaxy

Concept art for the Milano in Guardians of the Galaxy

But how do you honour  a ship on a t-shirt without just whacking a huge picture of said ship on the front? Well that’s where our design team came into their own, utilizing the colour scheme of the Milano and incorporating that with the Guardian’s iconic logo. We’re pretty happy with the final product, we hope you are too:

 

The Milano is available for purchase now, just click here.

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