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Dipping a toe back in

Brian Hibbs

[I’m kinda cheating a little bit here, because this isn’t about comics, per se (Thursday for that, I suspect, once I’ve read some of this week’s books)]

One of the things that happens when you own a comic book store is that people expect you to magically know everything even tangentially related to comics, but especially movies. I’ve had people asking me for weeks what I think of Joss Whedon’s AVENGERS film, or about THOR.. and there’s not so much I can say, is there? I have no magical insight, and, in fact, I try to avoid reading “movie news”, so I’m actually surprised when the movies comes out.

In fact, I’m probably the WORST person to ask about comic book movies, these days because I have a seven year old. Oh, I’ll go to movies that a seven year old can watch (though, really on most of them I leave that to the grandparents), but I’m having a hard time recalling exactly what the last aimed-at-adults movie I saw in the theaters actually was. Tzipora and I made several tries to go see INCEPTION, but we never actually made it (for a variety of silly reasons)

So, I wait for DVD… and, even worse, I usually wait for DVD from the San Francisco Public Library. You can put yourself on waiting lists before the films are even released, and it’s not unusual to be person #127 in line for a new or popular film. Buuuut, the upside is that they’re free (well, I’ve already paid my taxes for them, that is), and they’re delivered to your local branch, whcih we’re already going to 2-3 times a week as it is.

But this puts me months and months and months behind the zeitgeist.

Case in point: just this last week I watched two films I’ve been waiting some time for — KICK-ASS and SCOTT PILGRIM.  *Now* I can finally tell people what I thought of them, and just about the point where no one cares any longer! Yay! So….

KICK-ASS:  I totally thought that the comic book “lost the thread” of the story once Hit-Girl was introduced, and KA himself had less and less to do with the comic, but in the film version I thought this was much less of a problem. In fact, the film is really more about what an ineffectual boob KA is, so to have him upstaged in his own movie is almost clever.

And Hit-Girl is just an awesome character in the movie — pretty much everything one would want, and a portrayal that worked for me in a way that the comic simply didn’t. On the other hand, this is a movie my wife had ZERO interest in watching, and after watching it, I couldn’t find anything to recommend it to her, in particular. (Ben really wanted to watch it, but that was a big “NO WAY, DUDE!” from day one)

So yeah: Shiny action, loud coarse vulgarities, lots and lots of gore, and a cute little girl in the middle of it all. I enjoyed it while I was watching it, but after it was over I felt reasonably cold — it’s all 16 year old boy wish fufillment, with 16 year old boy insecurities — dude, the 10 year old girl is better than you are! — and that’s about it.

Really only one thing stuck with me, this weekish later, and it’s something really kinda stupid and throwaway and insider, and maybe I’m even reading in to it something that isn’t actually there. In the old 50s Superman TV show, thugs would routinely empty their chambers at Supes, then kind of stare in disbelief, then throw the empty gun at him. Christ, what can THAT do?

But there’s this little eensy bit in one of the big fights where Hit Girl runs out of ammo, and she kind of stares at the gun in disbelief, then she throws it at her attacker. A absolute perfect reversal of that moment. Like I said: I have no idea if that was even intended — it’s an obvious enough bit of business that didn’t have to be inspired by Superman, but I’m going to keep believing it was intentional, because I really really liked that.

So, yeah, I’ll give KICK-ASS a GOOD while I was watching it, but only an OK days after the fact (hows that for being an inconsistent reviewer?)

(Also: Aside to Millar [yeah, and Bendis, and anyone else publishing an Icon book] — given that “Icon” is *effectively* self-publishing, can y’all take a little personal responsibility on your Final Order Cut-off notifications? It is EXTRAORDINARILY TIRESOME to place your “final” orders for KICK-ASS 2 #2 week after week after week (or the latest POWERS, etc.) Please please please don’t put a book on FOC unless you’re SURE you’re ready to go to press. Anything else makes you look bad, and turns us into liars when we start telling customers “yeah, three weeks. Er, no, three weeks now. Um, no, three weeks NOW” Thanks!)

(Also? 4+ months between issues? Not good)

SCOTT PILGRIM VERSUS THE WORLD:  Walking into this one I expected very little. For the most part I find Michael Cera extraordinarily uninteresting as an actor, for example. Plus, I was pretty concerned that you could cram 6 books into a single movie, and have it work well (or at all)

And yet, I liked the film, in certain ways, even better than the book — Knives, for example, is pretty fully realized in the film in a way I didn’t really think she was in the comic; and I got a stronger sense of specific time and place, and I thought the music was very effective in the film.

Even Cera, I thought, showed some relative “range”.

At the end, I told Tzipora that she might even like it (I dunno how the video game stuff would go over for her, though), which is always the Big Move. This strikes me, maybe, as one of those films that is going to to be a “cult classic”, like, dunno, BIG LEBOWSKI or something. (Unless the video game stuff dates it out too much)

Either way, I enjoyed it immensely — VERY GOOD.

OK, that’s me warmed up (well, still warming up, aren’t I?) — comics later in the week, and, here’s hoping for twice-weekly for at least the next 3-4 months…

What did YOU think?


8 Responses to “ Dipping a toe back in ”

  1. Yay! Written stuff!

    Absolutely agree Brian. Took the Mrs. to Kick-Ass for our anniversay (she’s a very cool Mrs.) and, while enjoyable in the theater, I’ve had zero interest in seeing it again. Fun for a bit but Kick-Ass doesn’t do anything exceptionally well (with the exception of Hit-Girl and some general fun loudness).

    Scott Pilgim turned out particularly well. Its what I enjoy most in a comic movie – it succeeds as a film all on its own. The music helped, the fantastic art direction helped and I thought there were a ton of fun performances in the supporting cast. I thought Brandon Routh’s casting was a stroke of genius and (being a video-game nerd) shrieked with glee both times the Legend of Zelda music popped up. Why didn’t this movie do better in the theater? Because they made it for me – a romantic action comedy with video game jokes and based on a comic book. How many tickets do they expect to sell for something like that? Sheer awesomeness (if thats your take on what awesome looks like).

    Thanks again Brian!

  2. I loved, loved, *loved* Scott Pilgrim. I almost never watch movies twice (there’s not enough time in my life), but I saw it in the theater when it came out and watched it again when it came out on video.

    Kick-Ass was OK. Nick Cage was the best part, I though.

  3. In regards to the FOC issue, my fear is that Marvel actually views it this way – “What do you mean its a problem? We gave you 5 opportunities to adjust your orders and you still couldn’t get it right. How is that our fault?” I’d love to see a change at Diamond that any item that is FOC’d more than once becomes returnable. Hopefully that would keep Marvel from abusing the FOC system to avoid returnability.

  4. Marvel itself is actually pretty good about not FOCing over and over again — it’s really Millar and Bendis who are abusing the system past all rationality.


  5. In the old 50s Superman TV show, thugs would routinely empty their chambers at Supes, then kind of stare in disbelief, then throw the empty gun at him.

    That bit always cracked me up because Supes would always stand there with his fists on his hips and a smile on his face while the bullets bounced off him — and then duck when they threw the gun at him.

  6. Well, sure! George Reeves could be hurt by the prop guns!


  7. Ha, to the last two comments.

    Jim Gaffigan has a routine about a guy reviewing a movie long after the fact. It’s pretty funny, maybe look it up. “Hey guys, I just saw HEAT! I wanna talk about it NOW.”

    I liked Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim as well. Neither were great, but they were very fun. “Now switch to Kryptoniiiite!”

  8. Gaffigan on HEAT:


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