A Movie Entry – 10 Things I Learned From Black Panther

1) Yep, the universal constant is daddy issues.
2) Team MCU can create a well-rounded sympathetic villain not named Loki.
3) Not only is Wakanda awesome, everyone in Wakanda is totally kick-ass.
4) Princess Shuri is far and away the best Disney princess.
5) Apparently Agent Ross was the only non-Avenger paying attention to Black Panther during “Civil War.”
6) Keeping ancient traditions isn’t a bad thing, but maybe it’s not good to have a traditional physical fight actually determine rulership.
7) I like all the protagonists so much I actually can’t decide which one I like best, and that is quite the compliment.
8) Vibranium is practically magic.
9) Team MCU can still create a mostly self-contained solo movie, which I appreciate.
10) Team MCU can also create a mostly serious movie, which I also appreciate.

Other thoughts – this is one of the best movies, if not the best movie, in the MCU catalogue. It’s primarily a political and family drama with some kick-ass action sequences. There’s not a lot of levity and certainly no quips or zingers, but that would have not worked in this movie. I hope the MCU has some more of these in waiting.

A Movie Entry – To Borrow from Mel Brooks Again

“God willing we’ll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money.”

Hollywood is going into franchise overload. I’m not surprised. “Avengers: Endgame” has apparently made all the money and as of this writing hasn’t technically been released to general audiences yet. But this trend is so aggressive that I am beginning to understand the frustration people who don’t like superhero movies experience when all the upcoming movies appear to be nothing but superhero movies. And yet while studios try to ride the lightning that is the success of the MCU, they are still completely missing the foundation of that success; to wit, make movies people want to see and then plan out some sequels.

Continue reading A Movie Entry – To Borrow from Mel Brooks Again

A Comic Book/Movie Entry – 10 Things I Learned from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

1) Max Planck was wrong. The universal constant is apparently daddy issues. I mean, wow.
2) Earth people do have a lot of hang-ups.
3) Rocket is not a raccoon, but he may want to start telling people that because the alternative names are much worse.
4) No, nobody has any tape.
5) Baby Groot is so adorable even vicious space pirates won’t kill him.
6) The creative team is clearly well-versed in Marvel Comics’ galactic lore.
7) Peter should really trust Gamora’s instincts on recognizing dangerous situations.
8) Do NOT get on Yondu’s bad side.
9) Never underestimate the power of friendship/love.
10) There is honor among thieves.

I really enjoyed this movie although some of the abrupt transitions suggest edits that weren’t smoothed over. I’m sure I missed lots of easter eggs (this movie was jam-packed with them). Alternate titles include, “How Peter Got His Groove Back,” and “Peter and the Amazing Technicolor Cosmos.” I’m glad Gamora and Nebula got some time devoted to their arc. In the first movie, all we were told about Nebula was she was Gamora’s sister and wanted her dead. It was good to have those reasons explored. And goodness there was a lot of color in the cosmos. I feel like the movie team is giving a solid “nah nah” to the grimdark color palette of WB/DC (and a lot of other movies, frankly). My only objection is that several of the characters have merely a passing resemblance to their comic counterparts. I understand why, but it is still a little annoying to see Yondu the Alpha Centauri equivalent of the Dalai Lama being turned into a vicious, greedy space pirate (who is definitely not Mary Poppins, y’all).

A Movie Entry – 10 Things I Learned from “Thor: Ragnarok”

or, “Thor and Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”

1) So apparently Loki can just take over Asgard off-screen.
2) Tonally, this movie is more like a Guardians of the Galaxy Thor spin-off than the sequel to “Thor 2.”
3) Loki needs to up his trickster game. Even Thor is catching on.
4) Further evidence the universal constant is daddy issues.
5) Hela style can almost make up for a lack of substance.
6) But Tony Stark, despite not even being in the movie, still proves what a jackass he is.
7) Thor has clearly spent a lot of time around humans.
8) Every god-level Asgardian has absolutely no sense of self-preservation in a fight (except Loki, which is how you know he’s adopted).
9) This is the buddy road-trip comedy starring Team Thor you never knew you wanted but totally needed right now.
10) As much as I dislike how Jane Foster was dismissed in a few throwaway lines, Valkyrie is a much better character.

Further observations –
a) Bruce Banner cannot catch a break.
b) “The Immigrant Song” was expected. Some of the other recognizable music selections were very much not.
c) So this is what happens when a member of Devo gets to score a movie.
d) Jeff Goldblum at his hammiest works very well here.
e) A good, fun movie, but suffers from the systemic problems of the MCU.

A Movie Entry – Coming Distractions 2017

I don’t go to see movies very often, but I am subjected to numerous trailers. So this entry is about movies that in theory I should be excited to see but can only muster a disinterested, “Meh,” at best.

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A Movie Entry – Coming Attractions 2017

or, “the movies I’m most likely to drag my lazy self out to a theater to see.”

I realize there’s a bit of time yet until the summer movie season is upon us, but with 2017 shaping up to somehow be even worse than 2016, I’ve got to take what joy I can. So as usual there are a whole bunch of movies coming out that aren’t even on my radar but a few that are, and they are, of course, superhero-themed.

Wonder Woman:
My enthusiasm for this movie has gone from, “Oh, yeah, here we go!!!” to “I really, really hope this doesn’t completely suck.” Yes, at this point I would be pleased with mediocre and pleasantly surprised with adequate. WB/DC done brung me low and it’s so weird to me the studio’s movies are so awful but CW/DC TV is pretty good. And I’ve heard even the comics are worth reading again with the new Rebirth taking off. Somewhere in the vast organization that is now WB/DC, there is talent and skill and yet since Chris Nolan wrapped up his trilogy, that talent and skill hasn’t been anywhere near the studio lot. Still, hope springs eternal and the trailers look good.

Spider-man: Homecoming
I just don’t know about this. Sony’s last reboot was objectively terrible, but I know Marvel has creative control. I also know that this isn’t supposed to be an origin story (thank goodness) and the trailers make the movie look pretty good. Of course, the trailers also make it look like this Spider-man story is borrowing heavily from Ultimate Spider-man Miles Morales and I’m not sure I like that. I’ll keep an eye on the reviews and make a decision then.

Thor 3: Ragnorok
My understanding of the plot is, roughly, Thor‘s on a road trip through the realms to find Odin, who’s gone missing. Odin pulls this stuff a lot in the comics, but with Loki pretending to be Odin and somehow no one noticing (or maybe they have; I’m still fuzzy on the details), it’s kind of important Thor get his Asgardian in gear. Also, Thanos punched into the vault and stole the Infinity Gauntlet, so that’s kind of bad. I knew the Hulk was supposed to join Thor although I have no idea why and apparently Dr. Strange will at least cameo and perhaps have a bigger part. I have to say, I’m much more interested in a Thor/Hulk buddy comedy road trip than another sort of generic “get the MacGuffin (in this case Odin) and fight some one-off bad guy” flick. So far Thor’s movies have been fairly unimpressive to me. My base level to judge success for this movie is if the plot doesn’t unceremoniously ditch Jane for the majority of the running time.

The LEGO Batman Movie – This is probably not a movie for anyone who actually liked Batman v Superman: This Title Goes On and On Like the Movie Itself. I really enjoyed the LEGO Movie and I can see LEGO Batman being considered a break-out character. I’m sure the plot will be almost by the numbers “Batman finds out he really does need friends” plot, but that’s fine. I see this version of Batman as making fun of the recent super-dark, super-serious incarnations. Not sure I’ll get to this one in the theater, though. I don’t know the scope requires coughing up the cash for a ticket.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2 – Of course I’m looking forward to this! The second trailer has been my go-to happy place. I’m excited not just for the CG characters, but the real-life ones as well. Drax’s attempts at learning any kind of social skills should be hilarious. I’d like to get some background on Star-lord and find out how come once he got his own spaceship he didn’t go home again? He’s obsessed with Earth, obviously. That one cassette is literally his groove. My only worry is that with the addition of Mantis, and how Gamora was already shafted character-wise, that these two kickass characters will be relegated to so much comic relief and Star-lord’s crush, respectively. Gamora is the deadliest woman in the universe and Mantis is the Celestial Madonna. I want to see that, damn it!

A Media Entry – Fandom Rage

So I recently posted about how Jurassic World put a hole in my soul with its awfulness, mean-spiritedness, and almost insulting disregard of the original movie. Well, a friend of mine took a bit of umbrage with that entry, even though he didn’t disagree with my fifteen-minute summary. He said the entry sounded like the reason I disliked the movie so much was because I was in a fandom rage over the departures from the source material. He likened my reaction to those people who said the rebooted Ghostbusters was the worst thing in existence and it ruined their childhoods.

So I figured I’d better set the record straight.

Continue reading A Media Entry – Fandom Rage