Marvel

Avengers: Endgame...

…or How This Grown Man was a Giddy Child for 3 hours

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It’s been 11 years and 22 films in the making. The hype machine has been running overtime here at Empire Ink. Anyone that has been tattooed by us over the last few months has no doubt heard us debate and theorise over the most eagerly awaited film since The Force Awakens.

Avengers: Endgame is finally here and, like always, the Empire Ink team booked seats to the midnight screening. As usual, we went to our local Cineworld and decided to go for the Infinity War/Endgame double bill.

Infinity War was great to see on the big screen again. After it finished, an hour passed, it was midnight, and the screen was still blank. 10 minutes later, we were informed that they were having issues with the projector. 30 minutes later, and we were updated that they were working on it. At 1am we were told that it wasn’t going to happen. To say that we (and the other 340 people in the cinema) were disappointed is a massive understatement.

So, after a few hours sleep, we tried again. At 7am we drove to the Vue in Livingston to catch the 8am screening. This time (thankfully) we got to see the film… and what a film it was.

It was everything we could have possibly imagined. There’s very little I can say for fear of spoiling even the slightest element for anyone. It really is an experience that people should go into knowing as little as possible.
It made me cry with sadness, cry with laughter, and (mostly) cry with giddy joy. It may have been the lack of sleep or the emotional trauma of having the previous night’s screening ripped away from us but Laura Jane, and myself were tear soaked messes by the end of the 3 hour and 5 minute run time. Me being the macho, bearded man I am, did my best to hide the various tears but it was futile.

If you’ve ever opened a big cross-over comicbook and marveled at the big splash pages then you understand a fraction of what this film delivered. Is it perfect? Pretty close. Did any of the minor imperfections diminish our enjoyment? Not at all.

Going by the box office numbers, everyone has seen it. If you haven’t but like the franchise, what the bloody hell are you playing at?*

If you would like to get yourself a sweet Avengers tattoo, contact the studio here.
-Baz

*Kyle has, at the time of typing this, still not seen it and is stopping us from being able to talk about it in the studio.

April 2019 is probably the best month for geeks, ever.

April is shaping up to be a bloody good month if you’re a bit of a geek. Between comicbook movies, great TV, and a couple of sweet lookin’ video games, this nerd ain’t getting a girlfriend any time soon.

Movies

Comicbook movies are as big a part of the Empire Ink team’s life as tattoos are. Apart from the obvious big release, there’s another couple of comicbook movies out this month.

Shazam

Shazam came out last weekend. Alex, Laura, Kirsten, our guest artist Edgar, and myself all went and saw it last Saturday night. Whilst the film received mixed to negative reviews from most of our group, I personally loved it. It’s great to see DC embracing the sillier side of comics and moving away from the murderous moapy pricks that have been ruining their films. I’d personally say it’s DC’s best film yet (fans of the Dark Knight Trilogy, come at me).

Hellboy

A new Hellboy film was released yesterday and it’s not faring well with the critics. General audiences have been a bit more forgiving so I’ve not lost all hope. Hellboy’s previous two films starring the fantastic Ron Perlman were great and I’d like this one to be entertaining too. Apparently this one is a bit more gory as it’s moved away from the fantasy element and embraces the horror side of the comic. I won’t be racing in opening weekend to see this one but I’ll definitely check it out soon.

Avenger: Endgame

There’s a little known series of comicbook films called the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s seen a bit of success but in case you’ve not heard, there was a film last year called Avengers: Infinity War that ended with a bit of a cliff hanger.

As you’ve likely not seen a Marvel film, here’s a comprehensive recap of the story so far

On April 25th, the follow up film, Avengers: Endgame is coming out. We at Empire Ink like to support these small independent films so we bought our tickets for opening night. It’s strange that the screening is at Midnight.

TV Shows

I was gonna add the new Twilight Zone series to this list but since it’s been out for over a week and I’ve made no effort to watch it yet, I’ll leave it off. There is another couple of shows that I’m well on board for starting with…

The Tick Season 2

The Tick was pretty big in the 90s. I was a massive fan of the wonderfully quirky Tick cartoon and the great live action series starring Joe Swanson himself, Patrick Warburton. When I heard that Prime Video were releasing a new Tick series starring Peter Serafinowicz, I was over the moon.

The first season was pretty good. It took itself a little too seriously for such a silly franchise but still had a few fun moments. It suffered from what I call the Dark Knight effect. That’s where you take a comicbook property and try and twist what makes it good by adding too many real world elements (if you haven’t noticed, I’m not a fan of the Nolan Batman films).

I’m a couple of episodes into the new season that was released last week and I’m pleased to say that it has (literally) shed its Dark Knight elements. Starting with the Tick’s costume which lost it’s armored look and is more in line with the original. It’s also started adding some other silly heroes so I have high hopes for this one.

Game Of Thrones Season 8

Almost as hotly anticipated as Avengers: Endgame. Game of Thrones is loved by everyone in the studio (except for Ross). If you watch the show then you’re already hyped for this. We’re running a Game of Thrones season 8 deadpool in the studio. Everyone has put £20 on the outcome of the season predicting who will live, who will die (or get White Wakered) and who will win the Throne. It all kicks off tomorrow night so we’ve been watching Season 7 in the studio today. Can’t bloody wait!

Video Games

If all this TV and films isn’t enough to gobble up your free time, there’s a couple of awesome looking video games to sink your teeth into.

Mortal Kombat 11

In the 90s I would have pumped thousands of Aussie dollars into Mortal Kombat machines. Now I buy every incarnation of the game as it’s released on home consoles. I love a MK game and MK 11 is looking prettier and more brutal than ever. I’m itching to get my hands on this one and look forward to decapitating some of my mates online.
Check out this bloody cinematic set to the only good techno song

Days Gone

Playstation has really excelled with its exclusive this generation. Days Gone looks to be no exception. I’m always keen to sink my teeth into a good zombie game but this one looks next level. If the story and gameplay is half as good as it looks, it’ll be a great filler while we wait for The Last of Us 2.

-Baz

Captain Marvel

Marvel make some bloody good films, don’t they? After what feels like forever (due to being treated to 4 in under a year then waiting 8 months for the next one) the 21st film in the MCU film series is finally here. As we do with all of the Marvel films, the Empire Ink team went for a midnight jaunt to the cinema to see the first screening.

So was it any good? Absolutely it was. I’d rather not give away any spoilers so I’ll be as vague as possible. I’ll limit specifics to things seen in the trailers.

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I really liked Brie Larson as the titular Captain Marvel. She was strong, engaging, and charming; a perfect fit with the other heroes in the Universe. Her journey to become the hero we’ll see in next month’s Avengers: End Game made for one of the better origin films in the MCU. Larson’s chemistry with Sam Jackson’s Fury was fantastic. I hope we get to see them reunited in future films.

Speaking of Nick Fury, it was a lot of fun seeing him as the green, bi-ocular field agent after his many appearances as the hardened, cycloptic Director of SHIELD. Whilst Captain Marvel wasn’t as comedy heavy as some of the more recent MCU films, some of the funniest lines were given to Fury.

Disney really have perfected their de-aging CGI. At first it was a little off-putting because I know what Sam Jackson now looks like and we’ve never seen it for prolonged periods of time before. Once I settled into it, I believed that what we were seeing was a Die Hard 3 era Samuel L. Jackson. The de-aging on Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson was a little less convincing, possibly because the studio had less footage of Gregg from that time period to work from.

Ben Mendelsohn is also great as the MCU’s first Skrull, Talos. The Skrulls have always been a comic favourite and it’s great to see them join the cinematic universe. Like Jackson, Talos had some very funny moments. Also, as an Australian, I like the idea that the Skrulls have an Aussie accent. Wait… maybe I’m a Skrull sleeper agent and just don’t know it yet.

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I can’t continue without talking about Goose. Goose is a cat, a cat that everyone is going to love as much as Rocket Racoon and Baby Groot before him. No this cat doesn’t talk but there are a lot of cute, endearing, and hilarious moments featuring Goose. I really hope that we see more of him in future instalments.

Captain Marvel is mostly set in 1995 and, as someone that was 19 during that year, I had a nostalgic love for all the moments that poked fun at the time period. The soundtrack was lifted straight from the early 90s and brought me back to high school. One thing that may annoy younger viewers, the film is also paced similar to a film from that era. It doesn’t move at the breakneck pace of most modern blockbusters so if you’re not used to that, it may seem a little slow at points.

Lastly, Stan Lee’s cameo may be my favourite one yet. It’s a wonderful nod to time period that will delight anyone that picks up on the reference.

Alex is dying to do a big, 2 day Captain Marvel piece to fill his cancellation for next week and is offering a hefty discount to anyone that gets it done. Contact the studio here if you would like to capitalise on this great deal.

-Baz

Rant-Man and the Wasp

...Or How Marvel Fans Were Screwed Over by the FIFA World Cup 2018

People all love the FIFA World Cup and nobody would have time to watch a 2 hour film with the rigorous football watching everyone will be doing. When your entire week is filled with 8 hours worth of people kicking balls, there is no way anyone can possibly fit in a fun romp about a tiny/huge bloke and his (more competent) flying, shrinking girlfriend.

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Balls are being kicked alright... and those are the figurative balls of every MCU fan in the United Kingdom.

The entire Empire Ink team is in love with the MCU. Even the weaker films bring us joy. Alex, Laura, and myself attend the opening night, midnight screening, for every Marvel release. Imagine our horror when we (as people that have zero love for football) discover that the rest of the world were getting the first MCU release (post Avengers: Infinity War) a full 5 weeks earlier... and the reason was football.

Apparently the powers that be thought that the box office would suffer if the film came out during the World Cup. Whilst I'm sure there is a cross section of the population that are both big fans of football and big fans of comicbook movies,  I doubt that it would be a big enough blip on the global box office to warrant shafting those of us that love these films. They released it in Brazil on the same weekend as the United States and murder is not out of the question when it comes to football and Brazil.  They are clearly more passionate than those of us in the UK (World Cup 1994).

So what's a geek to do? Well our solution was to look at the release schedule in the Republic of Ireland and fly there to watch the film. It was looking good! Vue Dublin had Ant-Man and the Wasp listed for release on the 28th of June. Alex and Laura were already going to be in Ireland for a wedding and I was going to fly over for the afternoon to watch the film. Crisis averted... but no, it turns out that Vue Dublin was working with outdated information. Our cunning plan had been foiled. The jocks (sports guys, not Scots) beat the nerds again.

So what do we do now? Do we completely avoid the internet as to not have the film spoiled, or do we fly to Australia to see it in a timely fashion? Both are ridiculous options! So we silently prey to Thor (the one true god) that we can make it to the 3rd of August without the surprises of the film being spoiled for us.

Here's a spoiler for you, Scotland isn't gonna win the World Cup (and England probably won't either)!

Have a look at how great this looks! Why would anyone wanna watch a bunch blokes kick a bag of air around when you can watch the glory that is a bloke growing to 65 feet?

-Baz

Tattooing the Marvel Cinematic Universe

No, we haven’t given Tony Stark a tramp stamp (but if Robert Downy Jr wants one, we’ll happily do it).

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Disney/Marvel, with the MCU, have done something that no other film franchise have managed. It’s managed to tie 19 films (and several TV series of varying quality) and hundreds of characters into one massive, coherent universe that has all come together with the release of Avengers: Infinity War last week. With many other films planned, it’s showing no signs of stopping. Infinity War is set to break all of the box office records and it’s well deserved. The film is breathtaking.

I’m not here to review the film or get into any spoilers but if you haven’t already seen Infinity War, but have watched some of the MCU films, get to the cinema and get it watched before someone spoils it for you. It’s a spectacle to behold. It’s worthwhile watching the first Avengers film, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, the 2 Guardians of the Galaxy films, and Thor: Ragnorok beforehand though. It’s a big film with a lot of characters and it takes no time to go into their backstories. Ideally, you would want to watch them all first… but I tried to slim down the time needed to get to the big one.

Over the years, our artists have tattooed many MCU characters on many of our clients. The requests for new MCU tattoos come in all the time. These characters have touched people’s hearts in a way that’s only rivaled by the Star Wars franchise.

Here’s a few examples of some of the pieces done by Alex and Laura over the years. Details on how Alex did some of his bigger Marvel pieces can be seen in our previous blog here.

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