Shin Gojira a.k.a. Shin Godzilla a.k.a. Godzilla Resurgence is the first Godzilla film I’ve actually seen in a cinema. It wasn’t what I expected from a kaiju movie, but it turned out to be a welcome palate cleanser. Thankfully only a few brief scenes are found footage, which is somehow a revolutionary notion to Hollywood.
I wary about the film since the title monster is uncharacteristically grotesque. Much like how the MCU’s Abomination looks less like the comic character than a roided out zombie (or DC’s Doomsday), J-Horror Gojira is made of melty broccoli. (Young Justice’s Kobra-Venom infused Mammoth is another apt visual comparison.) It will randomly drown you in its own blood before blasting you with the atomic rave rays randomly shooting out of its dorsal spines. I actually preferred its debut form as gawky amphibian that instinctively smashes its googly-eyed face through buildings like my cat opening doors with her mind. Instead of being a separate appetizer kaiju, this “evolves” itself into a slightly more traditional yet icky Godzilla. (Actually it acclimates or mutates, as evolution applies to species not individuals.) So this Gojira could probably be defeated by a Pokeball.
There’s some attempt at biological realism, mostly via a hoopy frood who really knows where is pink towel is, that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There’s a giant origami to explain how Gojira somehow metabolizes energy from the atmosphere, making its entire mouth superfluous. Luckily the largest Gojira thus far (the film acknowledges that its feet shouldn’t be able to support it, then ignores this structural improbability) goes into torpor long enough for the plucky misfit GULF committee to devise a scientific strategy to stop it. Despite being made by the man that brought you Neon Genesis Evangelion, the solution doesn’t even involve giant mech suits piloted by neurotic teens!
This is both the least & most complicated Godzilla movie I’ve seen. It’s a hard reboot where the entire plot is vanquishing Godzilla & there’s no other kaiju. What makes it complex is the level of bureaucracy involved in accomplishing this. (What ever happened to the good old days of green ape aliens trying to conquer the world by framing Gojira with a robot duplicate that can only be defeated by partnering with an ancient magical monster?) A Gojira film suffused with red tape is something I never realized I needed until I saw it. Somehow it escalates from dull obligation to Gilliamesque satire to bureaucracy inspiration porn. In addition to subtitled dialogue, every scene contains onscreen captions for character names, their official ranks, & the scene location down to the room & floor. It’s the greatest love letter to unnecessary OCD labeling since Batman ’66. This has walk & talk’s too! GO TEAM BUREAUCRACY!
Supergirl season two’s premiere on the CW felt more confident & jam-packed with cool things than anything in CBS’s season one. Boring office stuff was kept to a minimum in favor of fleshing out her mythos & big action scenes. Instead of awkwardly telling us how feminist it is, it shows us. It feels like a soft reboot, so you probably don’t even need to watch the choppy first season to know what’s going on. I’m still not cool with it airing in the same time slot as Gotham though. I’d warn you of SPOILERS for this & Legends of Tomorrow’s season two premieres, but odds are you’ve already seen Supergirl based on its record-breaking ratings.
Even with Superman guest starring, Supergirl isn’t reduced to second banana. Is Melissa Benoist actual sunshine in a human-shaped containment unit? She’d knock it out of the park as literally horny Supergirl. (Please adapt, CW!)
Agents of SHIELD didn’t bother showing up this week, so I can focus on spoiling the DC shows for you. (I will get around to marathonning Luke Cage eventually.) First off, everybody watch Superhero Fight Club 2.0 right now! If you’re not caught up yet on TV, zoom to the end for plenty of NYCC photos! Maybe let the page load a bit longer than usual if you’ve a slow connection.
Scroll past the Gotham & Agents of SHIELD spoiler reviews to get to what you really came to this blog for: cat anecdotes!
It’s only episode two of Gotham’s third season, so nobody important died. The Court of Owls didn’t kill Bruce because he needs to grow to be Batman & made him promise to quit hassling them until then. Well that plot thread sure wrapped itself up in a timely & economical manner! Penguin doesn’t kill Fish Mooney because she remembers she can make people do idiotic things even without superpowers. She doesn’t kill him because she’s proud she turned him into viewers’ favorite character. Hugo Strange survives because he’s awesome. Harvey Bullock is spared because he’s the least terrible of the GCPD. Sadly this also means Gordon survives to incite poor impulse control in Vicky Vale’s aunt.
Nancy didn’t receive any superpowers. She just wanted to return Hugo Strange’s Hannibal Lecter muzzle before late fees accrued.
As threatened last installment, let’s kick off the 2016 Fall TV season with spoilery reviews of Agents of SHIELD & Gotham nobody demanded!
Agents of SHIELD’s fourth season opened much stronger than the last, in no small part due to the absence of Ward & Lincoln. Nothing in its content so far indicates that it was necessary to move an hour later, as parts of last season were grislier & more risque. Not that it needs to be edgier, so long as it doesn’t backslide into season one’s syndicated 90’s vibe.
As it turns out, ABC was right that Ghost Rider was the only selling point this season needed. The Ghost Rider transformation effect was amazing! Where have they been hiding this CGI? It was The F-Lash worthy! SHIELD’s effects generally look embarrassing in comparison to its cinematic siblings’, so this was a very welcome surprise. Featuring Marvel characters that don’t have movies lined up is exactly what this show needs to do more often! He’s already a better vigilante than the Punisher as he has a nifty jacket & his menacing key-spinning is on point. He doesn’t preclude Danny “best Ghost Rider” Ketch from being in the MCU either!
Driver Rider drag race Lola? I’m guessing not, as flying cars have been seriously underused in the MCU despite being a prominent part of SHIELD lore. They only gave us three very brief & cheesey scenes of Lola being flown in season one. I’m still mad that Nick Fury didn’t get to fly his unchic SUV in The Winter Soldier. If you won’t do anything cool with flying cars, maybe you shouldn’t have entrenched them in movie canon, Marvel?
I’m overdue on saying Chloe Bennet as Quake is the most improved cast member. She’s come a long way from being the insufferably perfect hacker snowflake a whole spy squad instantly accepted back in season one. She & the writers make it seem like her going rogue is genuine character development instead of an obvious delaying tactic for getting the band back together. I dig Quake’s raccoon eyes, but her hair is still too long.
Wingnut was one of my favorite action figures & a favorite character of the Archie comics. When the current TMNT toon started, I was dismayed to see that its Wingnut was apparently just a mutated Kirby O’Neil with a stumpy arm & huge cranium. The fact that his merchandise was officially labelled Kirby-Bat gave me some hope the real deal would show up. When they went into space for the first half of season four, I expected them to meet the real Wingnut & Screwloose. They didn’t, even though they could’ve tied the destruction of their homeworlds in with the Kraang, Triceratons, or Lord Dregg. I finally got my wish during “Bat In The Belfry”… sort of.
Both are conjured out of Michelangelo’s comic book via April’s Aeon Crystal as a clever way to explain why they’re dressed like Batman & Robin. (The Fantastic Four Food Groups is the best comic book nod in the episode.) This is a unique spin that still keeps them recognizable, unlike the Neutrinos or Antrax. They’re still extraterrestrials, albeit emphatically fictional ones. This allows for fun homages to Batman ’66 & Batman: The Brave & The Bold! (I will always be delighted that the show has turned Turflytle from a one-shot gag into a running joke.) The Wingnut-a-rangs being live bats just like on the toy was cute. Bonus points for Monoculus & Skullface McGillin!
Although they were presented much better than the generic brainwashing aliens of their classic cartoon appearance, my main problem is that we don’t get to spend enough time with them. Secondly, Wingnut’s brown & black costume is too drab. If they weren’t going to do blue & grey like the toy, blue & purple like the comics (with Screwloose in green) would’ve looked better. His alternate suits in their lair would’ve also popped more. Thirdly, they don’t call anyone “plankton chip.”
Their crystal-crazed faces were wonderfully deranged. Was that heel turn a commentary on how trying to make fantasy too lifelike spoils it, much like Amazon’s The Tick? Or was it referencing how TMNT developed a life of its own distinct from its parody roots? It was probably just further foreshadowing April going Dark Phoenix since she’s also ginger, but sometime I like overthinking stuff.
Sadly Wingnut & Screwloose are returned to the printed page before we get a chance to really know them beyond their archetypes. I wish they would’ve stuck around to join the Mighty Mutanimals. We’d just need Dreadmon, Man-Ray/Ray Fillet, & Jagwar to round out the classic team.
So I guess this version of Wingnut & Screwloose substitute for the Donatello Micro-Series story where April’s superintendent is Jack Kirby who makes Fourth World drawings come to life via the crystal on his pencil? That was adapted very well in the 2003 series. Did you know that Peter Laird retconned April to have been a drawing brought to life by that crystal in the last series he worked on? I missed the final two issues of that. TMNT comics are weird.
Happy 50th Birthday, Star Trek! Had I realized this earlier, I would’ve saved my review of “A Piece of the Action” for this week. So instead I’ll be reviewing a vintage episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They both have ties to Paramount & Playmates so it’s not as random as it could be.
Wingnut & Screwloose will finally be on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this week! (I just noticed I have both “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” & “TMNT” tags. Which should I be using?) I am way too excited about this! In the meantime, checkout this TMNT short by Jhonen Vasquez.