When there's 20+ movies in a franchise, picking a favorite is hard for me. ( Iron Man ) And the MCU is not like the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings series where it's a straight series, one long story broken into books.
The MCU is franchise inside franchise. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, ( and the stand alones, Strange/Panther/& soon Widow ) Each series in a series has their Arc, their losers & winners.
In my not so humble opinion none of them outright suck. But today I'll focus on the Thor trilogy.
I don't think we'd have a trilogy without the bigger Universe of films, I doubt Dark World ever would have been made, and if the studio had approved it, it would have probably killed/ended the Thor movies. Lucky for us, it didn't exist in isolation, and we got Ragnarok as a great cap on a trilogy of Family & Growth.
I really liked the first/original Thor film. If it had been the only big Comic book movie instead of a part of a larger project, I think it would be successful in it's own way. I guarantee it would be shown in Film classes as an example of Shakespeare's legacy in cinema, & analyzed to death in campus coffee shops. A cult following would exist, cosplay, cons, fanboys & fangirls writing the studio wanting more...
That the Thor trilogy is the "weakest" of the MCU films isn't so much that they are bad, but that the others were so darn good.
And I really think it's the Curse of the sequel. If #2 isn't fantastic, that can kill the franchise on the spot. Captain America-Winter Soldier was great. Iron Man II was darn good. Thor-Dark World? Ok.
Consider if Aliens had been cheesy like 3. That would have killed it. ( and spared us 3 & the rest, but, hey ) But Aliens ( Alien 2 ) was a great film, a horror-action change up from the horror movie original, but not a copy or reboot in any way.
Anyhoo, enjoy the "why this movie was great" rants in the links above.
And while I was much more a Marvel comics fan than DC, that's no excuse to not like the movies. My excuse is simply that they were inconsistent & seemed poorly edited.
Turns out, in some cases, I was right.
The Dark Knight trilogy I had mixed feelings about. Ledger's Joker was great, but the series was "inspired by" the Frank Miller graphic novel, and not the real thing. ( which would be awesome to see ) And I saw no reason to see the origin story again.
Man of Steel, I enjoyed. I had issues with some choices, but Zod and especially his lt. Faora, were great. And Any Adams as Lois? Awesome. Best Lois Lane. Ever. The DVD extras showing the work on body building the Kryptonians put in was impressive. With the premise that they are from an advanced, even decadent, race that genetically engineered it's people, the buff bodies make sense. Neither Shannon ( Zod ) nor Traue ( Faora ) were body builders, but Shannon is a method actor and took it seriously as character development, and Traue was a gymnast.
And the fight choreography, especially the Smallville battle, was excellent. Giving Zod & Faora different styles was smart.
Then... Batman vs. Superman. This had many issues, but I give credit to Ben Affleck, who surprised me with how good a Batman he was. I loved Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Jeremy Irons as Alfred. But overall the movie was choppy and, well, meh.
Now I find out, that the theatrical release was a hack job by the studio, and the original cut is far more understandable, albeit a half hour longer. Oh. So I look on my shelf, and I already have it on bluray, I just assumed it was pointless to sit through a longer indulgent version, so didn't bother. I'll watch it this weekend and perhaps comment on the difference.
A century ago, I took a few cinema classes. Saw a bunch of classics, & learned just enough to be both cynical and appreciative of the work that goes into them.
Much later, commentary audio tracks appeared, where directors could discuss technique, and in low budget tv shows, reusing props and locations.
What amazes me is how few of these superhero movies suck. Anger hardcore fans, sure. It's really hard to duplicate comic book action, and long running titles like Batman have incredible depth, as well as irregularly changing artists and writers. College years with the Chris Claremont X-Men, then the multiple spin offs, reboots, returns from the dead, reshuffled casts... It's easy to have favorites, and dislike change.
It's impossible to please everyone. Ultimately, the best stories are about character. The MCU did a great job at making billionaire geniuses and ex Soviet spy-assassins into relatable people you could want to find out what happens to them. DC is more uneven in this aspect.
Wonder Woman and Aquaman were incredible works of cinema art. Didn't think I'd be a fan of Aquaman, but they did a great job casting Jason Mamoa, ( my niece and her bff sighed, repeatedly, during that film ) and the action scenes were breathtaking.
And it's worth remembering that Iron Man was a second tier hero that few thought would carry a full movie.
And for me, The Best Batman will probably always be the animated series version. It could get surprisingly dark and adult for a kids show.
And Harley Quinn is by far the best character to emerge from the show. The bit where she ties up Nightwing ( Robin ) then... That whole mini movie is good.
I won't get into the inaccuracy parts. History suffers in the pursuit of Story. Lee Iacocca maybe gets a bit more praise than deserved, and they are fairly kind to Henry Ford II, but it's still good.
The acting is great, all around. Cinematography, outstanding. There's one scene where they get very clever, & I noticed ( I think you should get the Wow without it intruding ) but it's wonderfully clever. ( please feel free to guess if you see it )
Not a lot to say, otherwise. It's great if you are a fan of Shelby or Miles, or a knowledgeable car buff. But you could know nothing and they introduce the characters and make you want them to win. That's good writing.
A book series that deserves to be made into movies.
Lois McMaster Bujold' Vorkosigan saga.
First, the 'Verse. Far future, interstellar travel by rare wormholes, weeks to months travel times. A Hub of travel, aka A choke point for movement & plot. A few handfuls of inhabited worlds, but only a few at a time as subject matter. And the human colonized worlds are microcosms of human cliche. Earth is rich & powerful, but far away and isolated. Beta Colony is rich technology leaders with a super-liberal democratic culture. Barrayar is a colony that got cut off from civilisation, only half terraformed, was hammered back to fuedal system, horses and lances, rediscovered and promptly conquered, fought a stubborn revolt against their Masters, were so hard to rule they won their freedom, and returned to the "civilized" galaxy, aggressively militaristic with "backward" Imperial leaders. ( space Soviets? )
But the cliches are soon subverted. Beta, for example, is a free love sex party, on the outside. When a girl reaches her legal adulthood, she gets her hymen surgically removed, has a party, then, well, does whatever she wants...right? Girls and guys wear ear rings that show your sexual attitude, and status. Examples: "not easily offended but in a committed relationship, thanks for considering me nice" or "het male uncommitted, looking to get laid if you like" ad infinitum. Basically, "everybody knows Betans are sex fiends"
But procreation is strictly controlled, mandatory parenting classes, lotteries, Criminals aren't punished, they're given therapy until they are cured.
Not the cliche it looked like, at all.
Barrayar, too isn't what it seems.
Not are the characters.
The first 2 novels Shards Of Honor, Barrayar, = 1 big one. Cordelia's Honor. I usually have a couple of copies in paperback and give them away.
Distant SPOILER alert.
About 9 stories in, an outsider scientist, is introduced to a main character and spazzes out that no one seems properly awed. "She was a Betan Survey Captain!" Yeah, everybody knows that, so what? But the New Guy sees the best of the best, the extreme selection process, the most bold explorers in the galaxy! She's James T Kirk!!!! The locals respond, "That's not what she's known by, here."
No, she's way more impressive in completely different ways, to them. He has no idea.
Looking forward to several movies this season. Motherless Brooklyn should be good.
This post contains what I think should be a spoiler about the new HBO series "Watchmen". If you don't wanna know, click back, if you do, scroll down. Simply a fact.
The latest episode portrays gay sex. Ack.
Now, personally, I give no shits or F%cks about what consenting adults do in private. Over the years I've had many close friends who are/were gay, including my hairdresser. And, personally, I much prefer tuna salad, not frankfurters. I really don't know why the writers for that show had to go there, maybe the story requires it down the line. Ack.
Anyhoo, be advised. I'd been thoroughly enjoying that series until last nite. I'll see if I can continue, dunno yet.
Posted on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 01:11 am:
Thanks for the heads up.
Now I can fast forward past any thing that might bore me. Gay sex, pictures, video, just does nothing for me. The written stuff is also boring as to content, but I do get some amusement from the language. You don't read "Throbbing" or "Turgid" too often at National Review.
I found that out checking out some gifts...Hey, I was curious!
I once picked up 2 CD's of Gay & Lesbian "Medieval" porn stories, one each. Written word, not photos or graphics. As gifts for 2 couples I know, more as a joke than anything else.
The gifts were taken in the spirit intended, at a party at one of the couple's homes. But they were not enthusiastic. I asked why, since while I wanted it to be funny, I also wanted them to like the gifts.
That's when I find out that the Gals like Gay Porn, and the Guys like Lesbian porn. After about a second's consideration, that makes sense, since like Squids I'd rather think about 2 girls than 2 guys, and thus same isn't turned on by same, despite the fact that the couples are same sex.
I had made a wrong assumption.
So I asked both to return the gifts, and then handed them back swapped. ( all at once in the same conversation ) Big smiles and winks all around.
This is a very political movie, not R vs. D, but citizen vs. Bad Cops & Bad Newspaper.
It's a common plot in many fine movies. 3 Days of The Condor, the multiple movies of super-surveillance good guys on the run, several westerns, a long list of cop movies.
And I won't get political on this one except to say that a paper that did Bad Work, did so with obvious enough malice that they paid the victim, is being incredibly stupid complaining about a movie that disses them for it. That takes them from a character in a movie that viewers are to dislike, to REAL WORLD people who aren't just the Bad Guys in a movie ( which most people would understand to be fictional ) But are instead, still, Bad Guys in Real Life.
Way to backfire indignation. Go! Morons!
And no, your female lead in your 2020 movie isn't the First Female Antagonist To Look Up To, Ever, In A Movie. Cretins.
Actually hard to find fault with. Yes, they deliberately grabbed heart strings and wailed on them like a harpist doing a cover of Enter Sandman. From the opening crawl.
John Williams wrote the greatest movie score ever, decades ago. It's still some of the finest music. Ever.
If I have any...not complaint, but comment, it's that they didn't pander a second to the guy that thought they'd get filled in on back story when they walked into the last of the three trilogies that have been building ( albeit irregularly ) since 1977. If you don't know who these characters are, and what the character arcs have been, then fracking binge watch before you buy a ticket.
Because they didn't waste the audience's time on explanations of New techno babble, irrelevant side quests, or bothering us with any stupid thing that didn't drag you head long into story, action, emotion, and memory.
Do you have to be a mega fan who knows the planet of origin of every minor character to enjoy it? No. Those folk certainly will be bouncing in their seats when they see things, locations, characters, heck, critters, from earlier movies. There is, not fan service, but fan baiting.
DVD sales are a guarantee to be a record as fans frame by frame huge chunks of the movie.
See it with friends. And hit the restroom before you go in. Don't get the large beverage.
There's no good place to go pee. ( there is no higher praise in cinema )
My wife watched the Batwoman series while I was out of town. When I got back, I wanted to watch it with her. She said, "you wouldn't like it. Batwoman's a lesbian".
I thought to myself, How in the hell would I not like that (I know, it's wrong, but I'm a man, and I like women)?
Then I watched the preview and realized she's the short-haired, wanna-be-a-man kind of lesbian.
FFS, if you're going to go all SJW and try to make us believe that gay girls are the norm, you could at least go the route of making her a hot lesbian. Ratings and number of viewers would be way higher, and you'd still get your imaginary point across and still get accolades from all the alt left (normal left?).
Personally, I think Batmetal's batwoman is the hottest, ever, even if she's a cartoon.
If you like Dethklok/Metalocalypse, and haven't seen this, you need to.
I don't know about Batwoman being good Comic Book Action, because I have zero desire to watch it. My point is, most men (Half of the viewing audience) don't find Dikes attractive. This predetermines the number of viewers. A lot of men will not watch dikey shows.
They're catering to the small percentage of viewers who are all about Dikes. That's a very small percentage of the available audience. They could have reached out to the average American, and gotten millions of views, or likes, or thumbs up, or whatever normal Americans do when they talk about things online.
Instead, they limited themselves to a narrow band of viewers. They seem to be on the "tip of the spear" of trying to change American Culture's ideas of sex, gender, typical Soviet Destabilization tactics, at the expense of a crowd base.
My point is, A hot Lesbian would have way more popularity, acceptance, enjoyment, re-tweets, than a short-haired ugly girl who's trying so hard to be a man. No one cares, no one will watch; the CW failed.
Edit. As a sort of evidence, in the Batmetal parody that I posted above - you can watch "reaction" videos on youtube (which I hate), and even girls will comment on Batgirl's extra-sexy body. One of the comments is, "everyone is Batgirl-sexual". When a sexy woman exists, everyone notices. Even straight women.
I see your point on pretty people being more broadly popular. I doubt Will & Grace would have lasted if the guy wasn't a handsome snappy dresser. An unattractive slob would need a different approach, The Odd Couple, for example.
And so far my favorite characters that happen to be gay are Willow/Tara/Kennedy from Buffy. The fall in love, break up because of addiction, revenge rampage, and other plots work independently of the sexes involved. ( The coming out issues are same sex culture conflict specific )
And I get the disappointment when they change a familiar face. The comics tend to freeze a character. The movies, for good & bad, are able, & have to, change their characters to make an engaging story. The MCU especially did arcs on several and got flack for it, but also avoided plot armor and the boredom that gives you.
I don't have an issue with a character being a cliche if they keep them human & give them an arc to grow.
Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 12:57 am:
Steve Martin & Chris Rock bombed. Timing? Or repeated editing of jokes to offend & entertain no one.
Didn't care for most of the music. That's on me.
Actually surprised Ford vs. Ferrari got as much respect in nominations and awards. Not that it didn't deserve it, I'm shocked I actually saw a movie the Academy liked.
Surprisingly little overt politics. Just a couple of annoying speeches. But a sh%&-ton of self conscious/righteous/guilty crud.
Which explains a S. Korean film in a foreign language no one saw making a sweep of top awards, almost. It might be a brilliant film, ( I'm repeatedly told it is ) But it sure seems to me to be an over-compensation for a white male dominance in the industry. Ditto the high percentage of black musicians and presenters.
Over all... Meh.
Props and grimaces for Joaquin's rambling acceptance speech. I think he means well, really I do, but it started strong, if philosophical, got weird, and ended ok. Plus a name every person I ever met speech from Renee, and you get why ratings have fallen.
My only real complaint was the montage format where they played tiny bits of scenes jumbled together instead of one great moment from each film in isolation. I'm tempted to blame generational attention span differences, but it could have been too much cocaine in the editing booth.
Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 12:49 pm:
If youn's got HBONow, check out the 10 series run of "Electric Dreams"- all adaptations of Philip K. Dick novels. Really good sci-fi, all acted by top-shelf actors. Very enjoyable, finally some sci-fi that satisfies.