Last time I did a collaboreview with The Wages of Cinema, it was just Jack & I on Pacific Rim: Uprising. This time we’ve got the whole kooky quartet back together! Forsooth this is the most ambitious crossover event in history! Alas, they can’t all be odes to dirigible crime! Infinite Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War would be a lie because I eventually run out of them. I did throw in some for Agents of SHIELD because everything is tenuously connected.
Our long Inhumans nightmare is finally over (I still haven’t mustered the willpower to view its final four episodes.) because Agents of SHIELD is back! I’ve missed these spies! Thanks to Disney for mandating ABC renew it! The two-part season five premiere was so enjoyable that it opened with a Talking Heads music video! SPOILERS IN SPAAAACE!!!
The trailer for Black Panther is awesome, even if his tweaked costume still isn’t gold-accented. Contrariwise, the more buzz I hear for Spider-Man: Homecoming, the less I’m excited for it. The final poster is not good. The Vulture’s personality & gear seems more suited to Beetle. (It seems likely Hannah John-Kamen will be the Janice Lincoln version in Ant-Man & the Wasp. Does that mean Tombstone will appear too?) Zendaya is playing an existing character under an alias as if the reveal of her true identity is supposed to be some dramatic surprise? There’s already too much Iron Man in his ugly Ultimates armor. The bastards broke seven LEGO Death Stars just for one gag.
Now Spider-Man’s suit greets him by announcing his secret identity. This is a huge design flaw that could’ve been easily avoided. The new moral is that Spidey must show great responsibility to prove himself worthy of the Stark’s high-tech clothing? (If Sony & Marvel could’ve shared Venom too, this would be a better opportunity to set up that spinoff movie. Tom “No one cared who I was until I put on the symbiote.” Hardy starring as Venom is exciting casting that would’ve been even better if TDKR’s Bane was on Venom, but apparently his solo movie won’t tie-in with the MCU Spidey’s adventures to the detriment of both studios.) I still don’t like either of his costumes that carried over from IMvCA: DoV. The one in the upcoming Playstation video game is more appealing for trying something new instead of being an inferior copy of the classic suit compared to Raimi’s trilogy & Amazing Spider-Man 2.
I have such Spidey fatigue that I don’t know if I even want to see it in cinema. I didn’t even watch the last two in theatres because they lacked J. Jonah Jameson, & this cashgrab is making the same mistake (unless that’s who Zendaya’s secret identity is). On the other paw, I’m sure a review will appeal to more readers than a Sisyphean blog trying to make my toils at writing a difficult second novel sound fascinating. (I just typed up the chapter where a vintage MechaGodzilla model is built! I kinda feel like I should quit while I’m ahead.) Can I run a very timely review of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark instead? Maybe I’ll watch it but buy another ticket to GOTG 2 or Wonder Woman at the box office. What say you?
If you’re like me & too poor to afford to watch Twin Peaks’ revival on Showtime, Riverdale may tide you over. At first I scoffed at this show because it’s six years too late for a gritty melodramatic adaptation of Archie Comics, the wholesome teenage love triangle sitcom that has inexplicably been in print for seventy-six years. To my surprise, the show that aired after Powerless is actually good! It should not work nearly as well as it does. Curse you for making so much quality television, CW! (If comic book adaptations aren’t your cup of tea, I suggest The 100 & Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.)
It’s probably a lot easier to enjoy this if you’re not a die-hard Archie fan (I’ve never met one in person, but I’m sure they exist) since it takes giant liberties with such characters as Chuck Clayton, Dilton Doiley, & Ethel Muggs. Jughead isn’t asexual, although the series was well into development when the latest comics reboot made that canon. It would’ve been easy to write Veronica Lodge in her Middle Earth cape as the rich bitch, but they’ve subverted that so well by making her repentantly compassionate. (The ensemble is so wonderful it’s hard to believe this is Camila Mendes’s first TV role.) Instead of fighting with Betty Cooper for Archie’s affections, they’re an awesome friend duo. Prototypical all-American girl next door (which could mean something very different depending on where you go in the US) Betty Cooper gets layers & family drama from having a mom named Alice Cooper who’s not the shock rocker. It’s spider brooch wearing Cheryl Blossom that gets to be the over the top mean girl, but it’s surprising she turned out as well-adjusted given her Gothic upbringing in Thornhill. Josie & the Pussycats give ridiculously awesome concerts, although they can’t top the superlative Josie & the Pussycats movie. Archie Andrews is ostensibly the star yet he remains its least interesting character. He’s also gauche enough to wear a varsity jacket to a wake.
After my off-brand (?) foray into limited edition food, & Zack Snyder’s reclusive axes, I’m back with a much more mainstream collaboreview of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2! The Wages of Cinema had me back to remember names & tell me I’ve been pronouncing esoteric wrong my whole life!
The first Guardians of the Galaxy may be my favorite MCU movie. This may be because it felt like a Farscape relaunch, the clearest parallel being Star-Lord retooled to be more like John Crichton. (Ben Browder has a cameo in this one!) It’s one of the rare adaptations that change almost everything from the source material while managing to be wonderful. (Meanwhile the 2017 Free Comic Book Day issue of GOTG has Marvel rejigger the team to be even closer to the movie.) It even works as a stand alone space opera without needing to worry about the other Marvel movies. Fortunately this sequel maintains the magic of the first installment without falling into the trap of just rehashing it. Even the credits are fun! The trailers did a great job not spoiling the movie so I would have something to do here!
Gotham is committed to pitting the Riddler against Penguin. This is a huge bummer since I really enjoyed them being murder besties even if they didn’t hook up. I sympathize with shippers feeling betrayed, but I also understand the writers going with this for maximum drama since it’s the relationship viewers actually care about. At least it’s making Babs & Tabs more pivotal & finding work for Clayface. You can tell the psychological warfare taking it’s toll because Oswald didn’t even eat the birthday cake of Nygma’s replacement after killing him! Will Riddler cause Disco Vampire to wear a monocle via gratuitous eye violence ala Arkham City? Then they can let eyegones be bygones. Or will they go for the “Penguin doesn’t need a reason to wear a monocle” explanation that nobody had a problem with for decades?
The way that they’re addressing reanimation as simultaneously bonkers & mundane is perfect. I appreciate that they turned the Joker’s face removal in the New 52 from edgy horror into a joke about poseurs. It’s only just returned & already announcing a winter break after next week? You can’t have two winter finales in the same season, Gotham! That’s madness!