5 Real World Versions Of Fictional Weapons
Movies, like real life, are full of violence. But it's the fun kind of violence, full of gizmos whose main job is to look cool. This week, we're taking a close look at those wonderful toys, seeing what makes them so memorable ... and what makes them so ridiculous.
In order to become iconic, a fictional weapon needs to strike a delicate balance between badassery and ridiculousness -- it needs to look cool while being so impractical that no one in their right mind would try to create it for real. Note the "in their right mind" part. There's always some mad genius out there willing to risk life and (quite literally) limb to make these nerd fantasies a reality, such as when ...
Guy Flies Through Times Square On A "Green Goblin" Glider, Ends Up In Spider-Man: No Way Home
The latest Spider-Man movie features villains from different realities, like Doc Ock from the Toby Maguire-verse, Electro from that bizarre reality where people use Bing.com, and the Green Goblin from ... here. This universe. We're talking about Hunter Kowald, who briefly got to play GreG in the film after playing him in real life in these viral videos from last June:
Yep, all he had to do to be included in a Spider-Man movie was design a hovercraft, build it, test it over several years, and then fly it through Times Square one night at 5 am. Unlike the Goblins from other universes, this one actually got all the proper permits and refrained from dropping anyone's girlfriends off any tall places -- although we have to say that flying a noisy aircraft so low through the middle of New York is a little bit evil. Too soon, man.
Kowald says he got the basic idea for this thing when he was nine, just like everyone else who's ever been nine. The difference is that he went on to study mechanical engineering with a mathematics minor and then used that knowledge to create what he calls "the world's smallest aircraft." He's now trying to generate buzz around his invention by delivering McDonald's to influencers by air or just making California drivers wonder if they're having a psychotic break.
After his New York stunt, Kowald was contacted by No Way Home's producers and some footage of him flying through Times Square ended up in the movie. He was also invited to the premiere and was even supposed to fly his hovercraft down the red carpet, but that ended up not happening (presumably after Sony realized that Tom Holland is more valuable to them if his head is still attached to his shoulders).
YouTuber Makes A Lightsaber That Can Actually Cut Someone's Hand Off
Chances are everyone reading this played with a "lightsaber" of some sort as a kid, whether it was a flashlight, one of those toys seemingly made out of recycled plastic cups, or the old "broomstick on fire" technique. Of course, none of those options truly deserved the elegant title of lightsaber since they couldn't actually be used to cut people's limbs off. Well, it looks like we've officially entered "a more civilized age," because someone finally invented a potentially lethal lightsaber:
James Hobson, who runs the YouTube channel Hacksmith Industries, won the Guinness World Record for creating the world's first retractable proto-lightsaber. The "proto" comes from the fact that this thing is (for now, anyway) considerably bulkier than the 'sabers you see in the movies since it's connected to a backpack containing tanks of oxygen and propane gas, which probably make it way harder to do somersaults and stuff.
But, it's worth it because the combination of the two gases produces an insanely hot (4,000 degrees Fahrenheit) retractable plasma beam that can cut through metal doors, burn a hole through cement, and, yes, even slice human flesh ... as long as the victim agrees to stand very still for a long enough time, since that's just the way heat transfer works in this universe. Hobson demonstrated this by very quickly putting his hand through the lightsaber and not needing a cybernetic replacement afterward.
It's disappointing to learn that George Lucas' visions of outer space weren't completely grounded on factual science. On the other, uh, hand, Empire Strikes Back's climax would have been way more disturbing if Darth Vader had to sit there slowly cutting through Luke's wrist for like 15 minutes while Luke let out a sustained "Nooooooooooooooooo." Incidentally, Hobson is also known for figuring out how to make "self-healing" Wolverine claws (thanks to a smart alloy called nitinol), so if he does end up chopping his hand off one day, at least he has a suitable replacement handy.
Related: NASA Sent A Lightsaber Into Space
Engineer Builds A Thor Hammer Only He (And Deadpool Cosplayers) Can Lift
To our knowledge, this Thor hammer doesn't shoot lightning bolts or fly on its own, but it fulfills an even more important requirement: only the worthy can lift it. Of course, its definition of "worthy" means "having the exact fingerprints of the guy who built it."
Electrical engineer and would-be Mythbuster Allen Pan achieved this miracle via the mysterious magic known as "magnets." He bought a replica Thor hammer, gutted it, and stuffed a microwave oven transformer electromagnet and some big-ass batteries in there. When someone grabs the handle, a touch sensor immediately powers on the magnets and makes the hammer virtually impossible to separate from any metal surface, provided you're not a real-life Hulk or, we guess, Magneto.
The trick is that the handle is also equipped with a fingerprint scanner that's rigged to turn the magnets off upon detecting Pan's thumbprint. Pan baffled and humbled passersby at Venice Beach, California, with his invention ... until one guy at the end of the video figured out he could lift the hammer by simply pushing it onto a non-metallic surface without touching the handle. We're not sure if that makes this guy Loki or Captain America.
In a follow-up video, Pan took the hammer to Stan Lee's Comikaze and reprogrammed it so that there was a one in ten chance the magnets would just turn off when someone tried to lift it. Oddly enough, the three random people favored by the hammer happened to be Deadpool cosplayers of different shapes and sizes, which means one of two things: either Pan edited out a ton of other non-Deadpool lifters, or Odin is real and loves chimichangas.
An Iron Man Fan Is Slowly Turning Himself Into A Budget Tony Stark
Alex Burkan of the YouTube channel ALEX LAB has now spent about four years slowly recreating what MCU Tony Stark originally did in a cave in three months, with the benefit that Burkan lives in the real world and Tony lives ... nowhere; he's dead (spoilers). Burkan started out by making an Iron Man repulsor that allowed him to shoot plasma from his hand and even built himself an exoskeleton arm to make the necessary mess of tubes and wires look significantly cooler.
Once again, the key here is the dangerous mix of oxygen and propane. So, as a logical next step, Burkan made himself a working reactor to produce the gas needed for his repulsor blasts, and he was so confident that it wouldn't blow up on him that he strapped it to his chest (though ending up with a hole there would make him more like Tony, come to think of it). While at it, he also threw a mini rocket launcher in there. Might as well.
He has since significantly upgraded the repulsor and reactor, expanded the exoskeleton with a pneumatic muscle system, built a bulletproof armor, and created a working Iron Man helmet completely made of metal that he's worn in every YouTube thumbnail picture since then, because wouldn't you? By the way, Burkan has also made his own Guinness World Record-winning hydrogen-powered lightsaber, and he says he and James Hobson of Hacksmith Industries have a friendly relationship where they'll occasionally "threaten each other with their new inventions." So who knows, maybe we'll see a Wolverine vs. Iron Man lightsaber duel in real life before we even see one in fiction.
There Are Working Batmobiles That Can Spit Fire
Is the Batmobile a weapon? When it can burn your ass off just for standing behind it, yeah, it is. That's the case with the Batmobile replica built by Amire Adile, who specializes in creating "the most incredible vehicles a human mind can ever imagine." So, toys for people with too much money. If Bruce Wayne was real, he'd probably buy his cars from this guy.
This particular car is based on the one from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, has 700 horsepower, and, according to Adile himself, is only legal to drive in Dubai. In fact, in 2020, a 32-year-old Russian man spent $841,000 on one of these babies that also included replica guns and bulletproof glass, only to end up being pulled over and towed because the car was too wide for Moscow's roads.
No word on whether the Russian Dark Knight regretted his purchase after being charged with violating traffic laws. Given that the actual Batman disapproves of guns, he'd probably enjoy this turn of events.
Top image: Hacksmith Industries, Hunter Kowald