Posted by: Brian Hibbs on May 2, 2011
I’ll get back to print in the next day or so, but I wanted to dive into a few things-on-film for a moment.
(I quite imagine there will be SPOILERS here, so be careful, kiddo!)
THOR: Saw an advance screening on Saturday morning (10 am, what an odd time for a preview screening!), and yeah, pretty decent film. My reaction could possibly be the result of low expectations — I mean, seriously, did anyone ever think there could possibly be a Thor movie based on the comic, prior to 3-5 years ago? Let alone a good one?
It largely kept my attention, and it has some astonishing design on display — I particularly liked their interpretation of the Rainbow bridge — but while it won’t win an Oscar or anything, it will keep you chewing through your popcorn just fine. I’ll call it an easy GOOD.
It has problems, to be sure. For the first thing, I couldn’t figure out Loki or his motivations AT ALL. Loki *should* be the master trickster and manipulator, but as on display here he was far more capricious than clever, actually telling his family about his betrayals, rather than playing it off. Plus the denouement was a PHYSICAL FIGHT between Loki and Thor which is… well, that’s just stupid, isn’t it?
I also think that most of the earth-based stuff really didn’t work — part of that stemming from the SHIELD-centric nature of the earth stuff, part of that from giving Jane Foster a comedy-intended sidekick — but mostly going off the Odin arc.
Odin, as we all know, sends Thor to earth to learn humility. In the comic, Odin does so by binding Thor to a mortal man, where here he just depowers Thor entirely. The thing of it is, when Thor eventually regains his powers, I can’t see HOW he learned humility? There’s a thing that happens that I think is meant to be “ultimate humility”, but it really isn’t. Let’s try this for a strained metaphor: it’s like I take you to a batting cage, but put you in handcuffs. Yes, sure, you will then learn “I need to use my arms in order to hit a ball”, but you still aren’t even a single step closer to learn HOW to hit a ball.
Then there’s the whole Big Kiss at the end, and, again, I was thinking “where the hell did THAT come from?” — it’s not like there’s ANY reason for Thor to be majorly into Jane like that was presented on the screen. And, anyway, he should have a thing for Lady Sif, shouldn’t he?
I mean, I guess if felt to me like the movie was still getting rewritten up to the very moment they shot it, or something. Or maybe a bunch of stuff ended up on the cutting room floor, or something? If you know the story that already exists, in terms of Loki’s motivations, Odin’s or Jane’s actions, whatever, then you see that they “got to where they should be”, but what’s ACTUALLY UP ON THE SCREEN doesn’t really support any of that happening.
I also thought it a smidge unusual that there was much taken from THE ULTIMATES, rather than Stan & Jack proper — particularly that interrogation sequence, and the implication that Thor is just nuts (except that the audience, in this case, KNOWS he’s who he says he is, so it kinda doesn’t work), and the look of “Hawkeye” (who I don’t think is actually called that in the film — just “Barton”)
But despite all of that, I still liked it fine — and seven year old Ben who I was with proclaimed it EXCELLENT! which is maybe all that matters?
Last note: because of the preview nature, and wanting to sit in our 4-person group, rather than scattering in the theater, we ended up in the first row, which is normally just fine, but in this case, made the 3-D nearly unwatchable. It was 100% fine in any dialogue scene, but once things switched to heavy action, with shaky zooming cameras and all of that usual modern film trickery, it was nearly impossible to tell at all what was going on. I imagine it was better if you were in the “sweet spot” of the middle of the theater, but, based on my experience, I absolutely suggest trying to find a non-3-D showing.
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: Not any particular episode, really, but this whole new season has been pretty batshit insane, so far. Absolutely embracing the Morrison-thought that every Batman story is true, we’ve had utter insanity like adaptations of the Bat-Manga, Bat-Boy and Rubin, and Scooby Doo team-ups; we’ve had a joker-POV episode (including changing the opening titles to be “The Joker: The Vile and the Villainous”) where, among other things, he entirely explodes Kamandi’s future; we’ve had mummy-Batman, and Aqua-Batman, and a really really fucked up episode where Batman becomes a Vampire and kills all of the JLA; hell we’ve even had an episode with (cowboy) Vigilante breaking out a git-tar and singing about the legend of the blue and the gray.
This show is OFF THE CHARTS CRAZY, and in an utterly great way. I’m horrifically disturbed it hasn’t been picked up for more, because this is everything you want in a Batman cartoon (that isn’t TAS) — this is KITCHEN SINK BATMAN. I truly hope they put out a complete series boxed set at some point, because this is just way too good of a show to not preserve. I love this show, and will give it an overall EXCELLENT rating.
A GAME OF THRONES: I love love love love love the books (even if I’m afeared JJM is going to croak before he finishes all seven), which I would liken to the same kind of thril you get from WALKING DEAD — that is, NO CHARACTER, even the leads, ARE NOT SAFE, and the most crazy fucked up shit happens to these people. I was pretty nervous about the show, but, so far (I’ve seen the first two), I’m thinking its doing a really good of adaptation of the books. Adaptations are always hard, and usually butchered, but they got the gist pretty close here.
If you’ve seen the show, but not read the books, then I really urge you to pick up the books; and if you’ve done neither, then, yeah, pick up the books. EXCELLENT stuff there.
I’ll give the show a VERY GOOD, mostly because I don’t care for how they framed a few shots (the finding of the direwolves was pretty weak), and I’m largely unsure if the actress playing Daenerys has half of the chops needed to make it work — her thread in the novels is my favorite, and so far my lest favorite in the TV show. Peter Dinklage is AWESOME as Tyrion, though.
ACTION #900: I’m putting this in the “television” column mostly because of the crazy coverage the news media put on this. When I read the comic (before the story of Superman’s citizenship broke) I thought “Man, is that a poorly phrased way of putting that” because OF COURSE Superman isn’t a US Citizen — he’s a citizen of the world, and always has been.
SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE, anyone? Here: from wikiquotes:
Superman: Madam Chairman, I don’t represent any one particular country, but I’d like to address the delegates.
U.N. Chairwoman: Well, in that case, you will need a sponsor. [ALL delegates raise their hands] I believe that will do. Please.
Superman is not an American, per se, and hasn’t been for at least 24 years (and I’m certain I’ve read 60s era comics espousing the same principle, so probably more like 40+ years)
Either way, “Superman” couldn’t possibly be a citizen of anything — it’s an assumed name!
Anyway, what did YOU think?