Much ado about pleasant surprises

I love being surprised by media that comes out of nowhere. Whether you discover something that’s been around for a long time, or that’s just come out -but you didn’t know about it- there’s always that same reaction: “How did I not know about this!?”

That’s exactly how I felt yesterday when I saw the movie Chronicle. To start off, I had never even heard about this film until several days ago. When I read up on it I realized that it was a superhero film in the “found footage” style. You know, like Cloverfield or Blair Witch.  The whole shaky-cam, handheld deal. The story focuses on three high school boys who obtain super powers, chronicling the events that follow.

To summarize how I felt, I was extremely pleasantly surprised. Not only did they end up approaching this material in an extremely fresh manner, but it never resulted in feeling silly, over the top, or flat out stupid. The “found footage” style even ends up playing a significant role towards one of the characters’ attitudes and eventual plot development. It’s worth noting that it never reaches the intense shaky-cam feeling that some people experienced when watching Cloverfield. I mention it because I had a friend who had to leave the theater back then, but go into Chronicle knowing full well that your stomachs will stay exactly where they are….filling themselves with popcorn.

I won’t go into any extra detail concerning the film since I want you all to be just as pleasantly surprised as I was. I’ve become tired of always knowing what’s coming out, so being able to admit that I don’t know everything was not only humbling, but rewarding due to the quality of the film.

Now that I’ve got all that excitement out of the way, how about some comic talk?

I’ve seen The Avenging Spider-Man sitting around the store for the three months since the comic launched and, admittedly, I didn’t want to get involved. Spider-Man and the Marvel universe have a history of having many tie-ins to fully understand the depth of their stories and characters. So, when I finally decided to check it out it was yet again…a pleasant surprise!

For those of you who were smart enough to start pulling this series from the beginning you’ll already know this: The Avenging Spider-Man is awesome. Instead of it being an entirely new universe or variation of the popular web-slinger it instead focuses on various team-ups with members of the various Avengers teams. There’s no need to know the background of most of these characters or any of the Marvel events. either; it gives you exactly what you need to have fun from the get go.

What I find so entertaining about this series is that it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. This is all about Spidey in every sense of the word, cracking jokes and pissing off his teammates, so, of course, it only makes sense that his first teammate for the initial three issue story arc would be the Red Hulk.

After the Avengers have finished destroying a giant robot, Spidey has to return to New York to deal with the Mole Man’s invasion. But how will he get there? Of course the Red Hulk is the only one who has the time to bring him. And so ensues their battle with the mole people -not without some antics from J.Jonah Jameson. With the next story-arc to feature a team-up with Hawkeye the series doesn’t seem to be slowing down. This is a serious recommendation for an entertaining read for any Avengers or Spidey fan.

If you’ve only just heard about Chronicle or The Avenging Spider-Man, it doesn’t stop there! There are many more pleasant surprises to be found here at The 4th Wall, simply ask us and we’ll run you through the gamut of the less-than-familiar -but equally awesome- hidden gems.

Do you have any “pleasant surprises” that you’ve found recently in comics/film/videogames? Share them in the comments section!

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