All I’m going to say considering this date and my geographic location is that I hate living in a swing state. But on to random pop culture (mostly comic book) musings!
Sorry for missing the weekend posting. I’ll try to keep up with Wednesday and weekend but there’s some serious stuff going on right now that may derail my schedule. Anyway, enough doom and gloom. A bunch of trailers dropped at San Diego ComicCon, and here are my various thoughts:
Captain America: Civil War – Early reviews are that the movie is very good. I’m still doubtful, but I know which reviewers share my taste so that helps allay my fears. Also, a local theater is hosting an event for the movie and my friends were interested, so I in fact have a ticket to see this in the upcoming weeks (not opening weekend; I’m not insane). Hopefully I won’t be disappointed.
Dr. Strange Love (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Aplomb) – I saw the first trailer and I’m excited. The A-list cast, the top-quality special effects (a movie like this requires advanced visual effects), and an origin story that appears to follow the comics, well, it’s as much as I could have hoped for (although I still want to hear Benedict Cumberbatch yell, with conviction, “By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggath!” [which is going to sound weird because this most British of British actors in the world will have an American accent]). There is some controversy about the casting of the Ancient One, but, well, my thought is that the Ancient One was recast for the same reason as the Mandarin was…
But besides the movie, I’m interested in how this narratively fits into the rest of the MCU. Thus far, the other MCU movies have all but disowned the concept of magic. Most of the Avengers get their powers from technology or science except Thor, and in his case the Asgardians are portrayed as having technologically sufficiently advanced enough to appear to be magic (hell, the dark elves were just another alien race). Only Loki has been shown to use magic and none of the movies have really gone into whether he truly uses magic. This would be a good place to introduce the Soul Stone though.
WB/DC – And far from the cohesive and well-regarded MCU, there’s the sad excuse for a cinematic DC universe. I really don’t pay too much attention to the individual pieces of a film-making team unless said team screws up something royal. And the film-making team behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been giving out multiple interviews explaining the critics are wrong and the box office numbers are wrong. But out of all this, I only want to remark on one point – Zack Snyder and “fun” (also, spoilers).
"This word you keep using. I do not think it means what you think it means." - Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride.
Some sharp-eyed and dedicated fans remained to read the credits and realized that an entirely forgettable CIA agent who gets gunned down before he’s even given a name was in fact Jimmy Olsen. When asked why he chose to kill off Superman’s long-running sidekick (who had more than a few solo comics) and fan favorite in such an ignominious fashion, his response was, “…We don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?” … Um, what? And as to why there’s a Robin costume on display in the Batcave, “In my mind, it was that Robin had died 10 years earlier, during some run-in with the Joker. So there was a fun backstory there to play with.” … Um, what? Okay, maybe that last one was sarcasm, or maybe both were sarcasm. But another WB executive said the movie was “just fun.”
"Obviously this is some strange usage of the word 'safe' I wasn't previously aware of." - Arthur Dent, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
And this is from the studio that gave the world Looney Tunes, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Animaniacs. The inherent contradiction here just boggles the mind.
Ghostbusters – And speaking of poor reviews, this movie isn’t even out. I admit, I don’t pay a lot of attention to trailers, especially when I’m not interested in the movie in the first place, but I’m baffled at the response to this. I’m talking about the trailer for the 2016 all-female reboot. When I watched the trailer, it had over 600,000 dislikes. I admit, having the distaff-Peter get thrown up on in the opening seconds didn’t endear me to the movie, but it doesn’t look as bad as all that and certainly not earning three times as many dislikes as likes. It’s probably going to be mediocre and frankly what did anyone expect of a reboot of a classic comedy like that? What’s with all the hate?
Danger Mouse – And speaking of reboots, I know why this old, low-budget, British cartoon series suddenly showed up on Netflix. I was delighted when I saw it show up because of course I like dry British humor (with more than a dash of insanity). So it seems Netflix decided to reboot the show because why not, I guess? There are some noticeable changes. The world is no longer the human world but an anthropomorphic animal one and the evil Baron Greenback is no longer a parody of an American Mafia godfather but German (although Stiletto is still uncomfortably close to an Italian stereotype). Danger Mouse is also less suave and more silly. Still, it’s pretty good, all things considered. The reboot keeps the theme song and the voices of Danger Mouse and Penfold are really, really close to the originals. The meta-humor is increased a bit too. But as much as I enjoy it, I still ask myself, why does this exist? The original show had 10 seasons, which is crazy long for a kids’ show. It had a good run. There’s plenty to binge on already.
Well, it is what it is, and at least it’s something I’ll probably watch, which is more than I can say for other reboots.
I’ll get to DC at another point since it is actually outpacing Marvel in output at least. But I will write a bit about the two studios’ approaches to their TV franchises. Marvel is endeavoring to make a holistic universe; that is, the TV shows tie into the MCU. DC, on the other hand, is treating the TV world like Earth-2; that is, the TV shows are pretty much entirely separate from the movies. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. For Marvel, it means that the TV shows are advertisements for the movies, which is certainly an advantage. However, that also means the TV shows are at the mercy of what happens in the movies. For DC, it means the TV shows can pretty much go in their own direction from the movies. However, it means there may be confusion when the TV characters appear in the movies with completely different back stories.
So I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because my life isn’t conforming to the schedule I need to do that. For reasons. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t care much for watching dramas because I feel life has enough drama that I don’t need to get invested in fictional drama to punch me in the feels. I understand the purpose of fictional drama is emotional catharsis; the audience gets emotionally invested in the story and whether or not there’s a happy ending, the audience gets to release all that emotion. I understand the theory but do not usually indulge in the practice, again, because life puts me in plenty of situations where my emotions are already wrapped up.
But I do occasionally make exceptions, and here are two. Option 1 is the darker option that doesn’t have a happy ending, although there is a conclusion. Option 2 is the lighter option with a happy ending and shorter.