mellicious: (Wonder Woman)
I mentioned lately that I was a big fan of the late-60s Wonder Woman comics. In retrospect, they may not have been as wonderful (so to speak) as I remember, but there was just nothing else like that out there at that time. (I wish I still had my old comics, but I think they were falling to shreds anyway.) What I remember is that there was some stuff on "Paradise Island" - I don't think it got named Themy-whatever until later on - and then there was the plotline similar to the 70s TV show where Diana goes to America and calls herself Diana Prince and maybe loses her superpowers for a while? I'm not sure. I probably need to go back and read up on this in Wikipedia or something. In a way it was sort of a defanged, powerless version of Wonder Woman. (I started to say "emasculated" but well, no.) Even the 70s version had some powers. In any case, I remember those comics fondly, whether they actually deserved it or not.

And I've wanted to see some sort of female superhero in her own movie for ages. I was never sure about Joss Whedon's efforts to get a WW movie made - if I'm remembering this right Gal Gadot's name first surfaced some years ago in connection with the Whedon version, and I didn't know who the hell this Gal person was and honestly, much as I've always loved Joss Whedon, I never quite trusted him about that whole project. Maybe I was just waiting for the day when they'd actually entrust it to a woman. (I do have to admit that I couldn't have told you Patty Jenkins' name until recently, and actually I couldn't even have told you the name of that movie of hers that won Charlize Theron her Oscar - Monster, in case you don't remember either - even though I saw it in the theater at the time and really liked it.)

Well, so, amazingly it got made, directed by a woman (screenplay still by a man, mind you) - and it's pretty good. It's not perfect, by any means, but it's good. It has the same third-act problems that pretty much every superhero movie has, that whole Big Action Climax thing. They're all the same. (Write your own joke there.) Back to Joss - he pulled the third act thing off best, in the Avengers, and he did it by making it funny. Wonder Woman lost its sense of humor at the end, although at least it had one in the first place. Also I have to say that if Joss really is the person responsible for first suggesting Gal for this, well, he was right about that part, She is awesome. The best part of the movie is the middle, the No Man's Land part and the Belgian-village section that comes afterwards, although really like I liked almost all of it til it bogged down at the end.

And did anybody else notice that once they left Paradise Island, it was pretty much just as gray and dreary as any other DC movie? That's not really intended as a slam, because at least it was well-made gray-and-dreary, but I just thought that was sort of amusing and I hadn't seen anybody mention it at all.

I say I liked the whole movie up til the end, but actually we went to a 3D showing (just because it was at the time that we wanted to go) and I thought for a while that I was going to feel uncomfortable for the whole movie about the 3D, because the whole island section had this really weird look to it, where it looked like it was almost in 3D but then it wasn't. I felt like my eyes were trying to focus and refocus on it as it went in and out of 3D - does that make sense? Really I don't like 3D at all, but what happens most of the time I notice the 3D for about 5 minutes, if that, and then forget about it completely, for most movies. But in this movie, the whole island section seemed like really-badly-made 3D and then once they got off the island I forgot about it like I usually do. There was something about the way they shot the island part that looked really weird and almost ruined it for me. (But obviously it didn't, really, or I wouldn't have forgotten about it until 5 paragraphs in.) (The fact is, I don't like 3D and really I should stop paying extra for a "feature" that I don't even like and then depending on my brain's ability to ignore it.)

Added: I've been watching various videos about this, like I always do these days, and I did see somebody else say that something was off about the Theymiscira (sp?) sequence. But I don't know whether they saw it in 3D or not. Since so many people have seen this and I haven't seen more complaining than that, I assume the 2D version is fine.

Added (even later): I saw somewhere in the last couple of days that it was actually Zack Snyder who first wanted to cast Gal Gadot, not Whedon. And Patty Jenkins said that she didn't think it was a good idea at first, that she would have cast an American actress, probably, although obviously she was won over eventually.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
(Sorry, hopefully this is not completely incoherent - certainly it's totally parenthesis-riddled - but I already posted it by accident so I'm going with it as is!!)

The beginning credits of GotG2 are the best thing in the movie. Maybe my favorite movie credits ever, actually. (I'd have to think about that some more, though.)

And apparently there's a reason for that. I read somewhere - one of the umpteen things about this I've read, and I tried to find it again and had no luck with that - that James Gunn has been working on that credits sequence since the original GotG movie came out - three years ago. Maybe he should have worked that hard on the rest of the movie.

Not that it's bad, it's not. But that opening credits really captures the - whatever it is, magic, I guess! - that made the first movie so extraordinary. And the rest of the movie is brilliant off & on but not consistently, and there was a long stretch when they're on Ego's planet (which I guess is just Ego, but that sounds weird) where I was flat-out bored for a while. Anyway, I did like it (and it's been a couple of weeks ago now so I'm a bit fuzzy on the details) and I definitely want to see it again. (Rob doesn't seem to be quite as enthusiastic but he never wants to rewatch stuff as much as I do, that's pretty normal for us.)


We actually have not been to see anything together since then. I couldn't work up any enthusiasm for Alien Covenant so Rob finally went by himself. (He came back laughing, he seemed to think it was pretty ludicrous.) Certainly no Baywatch for us. I was going to mention the Joss Whedon news bit that I just saw - not only is he apparently directing a Batgirl movie but he is doing the reshoots for Justice League since Snyder is not available. (I was watching that Kevin Smith YouTube thing, here. But if you want to know what happened with Zack Snyder, google it, because they didn't talk about it and and it's depressing as hell so I'm not going to either.)

I'm sure we will go to Wonder Woman next week, since (even though actually reviews are still embargoed) the general consensus seems to be positive. I adored Wonder Woman as a kid - I'm talking about 60s comics, not the 70s TV series, although I watched that too. (It comes on METV or someplace and I've seen a couple of those recently - for 70s TV it doesn't hold up all that badly. Although it's still pretty ludicrious.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fangirl squee)
omg, they gave LJ entries a like button? That's just wrong.

Rob was out of town two weeks ago when Doctor Strange started. I hadn't been to a movie by myself in ages but I bestirred myself for this one. As I've mentioned (probably several times), I've been playing Marvel Heroes for... coming up on six months now, I think, so I'm all into that stuff. I'm not a fanatical Benedict Cumberbatch fan but I do like him, and he's definitely a good actor. And I adore Chiwetel Ejiofor (although I had to look up how to spell his name but not how to spell "Cumberbatch" - go figure). I was a bit uneasy about the whitewashing issues but I do like Tilda Swinton a lot, too, and I do pretty much buy the argument that this movie was gonna have some issues related to race no matter how they cast it, just due to the way it was written 50 years or so ago.

So I went, and I pretty much loved it. (Surprise!) Not unreservedly, because when do I ever love anything completely without reservations? I'm pretty good at seeing at least some of the flaws in most things, no matter how much I love them. This movie is pretty much the same old Marvel stuff, as far as the plot is concerned, and those amazing cityscapes certainly do owe a lot to Inception, and, well, I'm sure I could think of more if I worked at it, but you get the idea. It has flaws, plenty of them. But still, it's a good movie. And especially since I had been playing that damn game and I knew a lot of the lingo in advance, the magic stuff was really fascinating. And the effects were gorgeous, even the Inception ones. Especially the Inception ones, really.

It always floors me when people walk out of a Marvel movie before the credits. Actually about 90% of them stayed until the Thor bit, after the main credits (is that what you call them? the ones that would be at the beginning except they're at the end) but after that about 90% of the people who were still there, got up. I had already checked on my phone and I knew there was more at the very end, but it's always a very small group that stays. Of course I was in Pearland, and Pearland is weird, but still. I don't know if they don't know or don't care or just have to get the kids to the restroom, but most everybody left.

Well, anyway, so then during the next week Rob came back. Rob and one of his brothers talked about going to see the movie in Ohio, but Rob had gotten up at something godawful like 3:30am or maybe it was earlier - I've already forgotten - and spent most of the day travelling, and he said he just didn't have the energy to stay up any longer by that time, and you can't blame him for that. And I wasn't really unhappy about that because I really wanted to go again anyway, and since Rob hadn't seen it, that gave me an excuse, and so last weekend we went again. And I really enjoyed it, in a different way from the first time. To tell you the truth I'm not sure how much Rob loved it. He didn't hate it but he didn't have much to say about it - probably partly because I was talking too much and he's too polite to talk over me while I told him about relics and stuff.

I always watch different things the second time I see a movie, but they vary. Sometimes I get really involved in the music on repeat viewings, but I didn't really get as far as paying much attention to that here. I remember that I was watching the way they had Strange's hair turn gray at the temples over the course of the movie. And I was paying extra attention to the names of the relics and the spells and all that stuff. Anyway, it was definitely still fun. I wonder if I can talk Rob into going again in a few weeks?

The theater was still pretty full on the second week, but still, 90% or so of the audience was gone after the Thor sequence in the credits. People are just weird.


I think we're going to see Fantastic Beasts thingamajig tomorrow. Rob always liked the Harry Potter movies so I didn't have to talk him into that. I'm kind of excited for that one, too, really.


Oh, and Holidailies registration is open, yay. (No worrying about whether it's happening this year, they'd already updated the site by the time I got around to checking. So expect a lot of the usual babble in December.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Frank - zombie)
Let's get the controversial part over with - yes, we did go see Suicide Squad for a second time, and dammit, we enjoyed it too. I don't know why I like this movie that everybody else (particularly the critics) hates, but I do. Question: Do you think some of the hate for this movie has to do with (a) people's feelings about Leto and/or (b) the size of the Joker's role? I feel like that Joker-related feelings of some sort must seriously factor into it. People don't like Leto or don't think he should've been the Joker, or else they wanted to see more Joker and are upset that his role was so small. I actually had read a bunch of stuff about this movie along about the time that first trailer came out, and one of the subjects discussed there was how likely it was that the Joker's role was not as big as people seemed to think. So I was sort of prepared for his role to possibly be smaller, and also - I hate to say it but it's true - I'm not a Joker fan to the degree that a lot of people seem to be. So I really didn't mind a bit that he was a minor-ish character.

Anyway.

Re Kubo: it's awesome. Go see it immediately while it's still to be found in the theaters.

(I'm sure I would have more to say about this subject but it's very late and I'm exhausted and maybe some other time.)
mellicious: Retro Houston Astros logo (Astros - retro)
I forgot I hadn't talked about Suicide Squad. I had started writing a longer entry, but the paragraph below is as far as I got and it'll do for a quick review.

I went into Suicide Squad with really low expectations. The reviews are bad; they talk about a noisy, plotless, messy, violent movie. But Rob wanted to see it anyway, and so did I, really. I was interested in it and I was curious to see if it was really as bad as they said it was. And honestly, for me, it was not that bad. It's certainly not a great movie, but it's not the absolutely terrible one that the reviews led me to expect. Your mileage may vary of course. It was messy, violent and noisy, yes, but it did have a plot. It was an extremely simple plot but it was there. (Note that Rob liked the movie pretty well, overall, but he thought the beginning was boring - they go through the main baddies character-by-character. I was not bored by that part, for whatever reason. Added: I read somewhere that the structure of the beginning was a last-minute change done after early screenings.)

(Note: if you haven't seen Civil War and you still intend to, there are some fairly vague spoilers below. You have been warned.)

So that was a week ago. This weekend, Captain America: Civil War finally showed up at the cheap theater (it's coming out on dvd in september, I read) so we went to see that again. We had seen it back when it first came out in early May, and I knew I didn't remember the plot terribly well. I was especially aware of that because I've been playing Marvel Heroes all summer (I started at the end of May) and it reminded me of the things I didn't remember very well all the time. It may be a much better movie overall than Suicide Squad, but it's still a 21st-century comic-book action movie, and it has things in common with it - it's noisy and violent, too, if not quite so messy and certainly not plotless. If anything it had a little too much plot, which is why I was having so much trouble remembering it all. And its heroes may not be anti-heroes, exactly, but they are mostly very fallible, just the same - Tony, the former arms magnate, set against Bucky, who did many, many bad things over the years but was never the one in control of what he was doing - and between them is Cap, who's normally the infallible one. (To me the really devastating part of Civil War is Bucky saying, "I remember everything.")

MCU canon may be that Bucky remembers everything, but the Marvel Heroes game can pick and choose between years and years of comic-book canon and various retcons, and Bucky (who's officially called Winter Soldier in the game) says specifically that he doesn't remember everything, there. But he apparently has Hydra out of his head and is operating on his own terms. I've played a lot but not all of the Avengers - I have both Cap and Iron Man, but they aren't really that much fun to play. (Cap is a great team-up for all the ranged characters, though, so I use him a lot for that.) The Avenger I've played the most is Hawkeye, actually - not because I love Jeremy Renner so much but just because an unlock dropped for him early on and I found I liked playing him. I've played WS a lot and also Scarlet Witch, and lately I've been playing Black Widow, too. (The various heroes - there are 58 of them currently, something like that - have little remarks they say when certain other heroes walk by. Bucky said something to Natasha that sounded like they'd once been an item, and sure enough, I looked it up and yes, they were.)

There's just so much canon - what, 75 years or so of it now? I have to look pretty much everything up that's not in the movies, too, because I never read the comic books. I did read comic books some when I was a kid (I was big on Wonder Woman) but I didn't keep up with it once I was a teenager. My game-playing partner Columbine is constantly surprised about how little I know. Wonder Woman is DC, of course, so I never read Marvel superhero comics AT ALL. I didn't know that Bucky was originally a teenage sidekick (I just learned that one from Wikipedia last night, in fact) or that Magik was Colossus' sister (and I only knew who Colossus was because of Deadpool) and... well, I could go on but you get the idea. I really know virtually nothing that isn't in the movies. So this has been a crash-course in the Marvel (Comics) Universe for me - I've been piling up all these little factoids. The first time I saw Civil War, I didn't know that the prison out in the ocean was called The Raft or that Black Panther's guards are called Doras, and now I can pull all these bits and pieces of info out of my head. But there's still a ton I don't know and I'm certainly not going to go back and read 75 years of Marvel comics. You could look at it that I'm a middle-aged lady and nobody really expects middle-aged ladies to know anything about comic books, but on the other hand I'm not the usual middle-aged lady, either. It bothers me more than it really should, this massive ignorance. I guess I'm used to having a lot more geek cred than I have here.

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