Who Wins Winter’s War?

Snow White & the Huntsman is I movie enjoy aside from Snow White, which is problematic given that she’s half the title. The Huntsman: Winter’s War is even more fun because it corrects this oversight by only showing Snow White’s back for a few frames.

Normally I’d object to removing the lead heroine from her own franchise, but all the women in this are so much better than Snow White. There’s even a kickass lady dwarf named Mrs. Bromwyn played by Princess Jubilee! Queen Ravenna’s incesty brother from the first movie has mysteriously vanished & been replaced by new sister Queen Freya. At first it seems completely mercenary to graft a thermokinetic queen onto Snow White’s backstory, but Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen did begin with a magic mirror turning the title character frigid. Of course this movie spends even less time as an adaptation of that classic feminist fairy tale than Frozen. But who cares about continuity or faithful adaptation when Charlize Theron & Emily Blunt are glamorous magical monarchs feasting upon all the scenery? (One of them really ought to be Amora the Enchantress in Thor: Ragnarok if Cate Blanchett is Hela.) This is a gorgeous movie because Colleen Atwood makes the best costume porn. Blunt controls snowy Bubo spies by wearing a mask evoking Princes of Power action figures & Michael Whelan’s The Snow Queen cover.

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The ladies have to steal the show because the male roles are superfluous aside from the one in the title. It comes refreshingly close to failing the Sexy Lamp test for men. Now that they’re through with “The” Snow White tale, they wisely cut down on the seven dwarves that they couldn’t differentiate last time since Disney call dibs on literally one-note dwarves. Only Nick Frost returns as comic relief, also with a bonus sibling.

In the first movie, the Huntsman was dour about his wife’s death as is wont to befall male protagonists. He becomes a much better character once he learns that she’s secretly been alive the whole time & pretending to be Merrida. All his cliche wangst evaporates upon ceasing to be a widower. Chris Hemsworth brings such infectiously goofy charm to the role this time that it’s impossible to hate such an unnecessary sequel. He becomes an object lesson in the power of love making better heroes. He’s so jolly about being reunited with his lost love that he gleefully charges headfirst into terrible plans without regards to the numerous concussions he should’ve incurred. He sometimes feels like a less boorish throwback to Jack Burton & Ash. (For an exact successor, see Deadpool.) I rag on Supergirl for being saccharine, but it goes down smoother here because there’s more showing than telling. (This also resolves the dangling love triangle left over from the last movie.) After the last DC movie, it’s a breath of fresh air to have a male hero who’s exuberant instead of grimly obsessed by a contrived pissing contest.

The subtitle for the movie is odd since there’s not really a war in it. Queen Freya invades plenty of kingdoms to harvest their younglings  to further bolster her child soldier army, but we don’t see any resistance. Does it still count as a war if it’s just one-sided slaughter? Rather than being the focal concern, the epic sibling rivalry of sister sorceresses doesn’t happen until late in the film since they needed time to un-dead Ravenna. (You can either appreciate that they didn’t rush through undoing the consequences of the last movie or be enraged Theron isn’t in every scene.) So maybe they just picked it because there’s another sequel with “War’ in the title coming out soon? At least we’re finally past the point where all genre movies had to include “Rise” in their title.

Despite its initial infant immolation, the tone & pace are breezy. Bear in mind that the movie is very predictable. Just as its predecessor had a Florence + The Machine music video as its credits, this sequel ends with one for Halsey. The least forgivable part of this sequel that begins as prequel is the copious narration by a bored Liam Neeson. Shut your gob, Jesus Lion!

So if you’re like me in wishing Snow White & the Huntsman had 100% less Kristen Stewart, The Huntsman: Winter’s War makes for a rollicking matinee.

It turns out I was too poor to bid on any Hannibal props. Had I won Bedelia DuMaurier’s bathtub, I would’ve needed a GoFundMe just to afford its exorbitant $1,258 shipping. (The actual winning $450 bid was quite reasonable considering it’s both swank & contains enough Gillian Anderson DNA to build a clone army for world domination.) How can I tell which cat I belong to without a Verger branding iron? Curse you for bidding everything up, wealthier Fannibals!

 The thing I love love about Leg-Ends of Tomorrow is that they could easily get a replacement Hawkman from another time period, but “Ha ha! NO.” (I probably just jinxed us.) Rip probably has a fib about why they can’t do that ready to go in the back of his head & is relieved no one’s asked him yet.

The Per Degaton episode needed more Jewel Staite, but Sidney Palmer was the best reveal.

So that’s why Chronos isn’t a snazzy dresser!

If your name starts with L on a CW drama, there’s a target on your head. Watch out, Leonard Snart!

There are only 4 episodes left & they’re finally fighting Vandal Savage in the future. But they haven’t teamed up with the Justice Society of America to fight him during WWII yet. How do you do a time travel show without an obligatory WWII episode? Do you think the next batch of episodes will be one big finale arc in the future? Or will they fail again & try a few more eras? (They are a very incompetent team when it comes to heir prime objective, so it’s a lucky thing time seems to sort things out despite their inept meddling. Hooray for fatalism!) Will they finally realize Captain Cold can freeze Savage so Hawkgirl can slay him aboard the Waverider at her leisure once she’s learned the magic words?

David Goyer’s threatened Krypton prequel TV series  might actually be happening. It may out-Gotham Gotham because it’s about Superman’s grandparents. Supposedly it’ll tie into the movies. He’ll retcon Man of Steel so that Krypton blew up because Brainiac left a jar of his volatile urine in the Kryptonian High Council chambers.

I’ll probably take next week off. If I do, I’ll be back in a fortnight to kvetch about Iron Man v. Captain America: Dawn of Vengeance Captain America: Civil War! Sign up for email alerts or one of my social links (click the heart icon to expand them) so it won’t slip by you.

Unlike my first book, I invite your input on my difficult second novel (already in progress). It’s going to be a horror novel set in Canada. I want it to have a late 80’s monster movie vibe were effects were practical & sex was barely subtext. I don’t know whether I should make it a period piece set in that era or place it in the present with emphasis on those elements. Which do you recommend?

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