Last week The CW was finally struck by Black Lightning! It’s currently airing in Legends Of Tomorrow’s former slot while they & Supergirl will share. I would’ve reviewed it more punctually last week if I didn’t have that The Gifted finale piece in the works. Thankfully it’s much more electrifying than Syfy’s Krypton trailer that doesn’t even have the basic decency to dress Adam Strange like Buck Rogers. (Krypton’s Adam Strange < MCU’s Stephen Strange < Gotham’s Hugo Strange) In the unlikely event that you’ve not watched it yet, be forewarned I’m going to thoroughly discuss the pilot with speculation.
Ice! Mr. Freeze! Captain Cold! Killer Frost! Icicle! Ice Maiden! Blue Snowman! Minister Blizzard! Together they are The Just Ice League! And none of them appear in the Justice League movie!
I’m pleased to say that Justice League doesn’t suck! That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s spectacular. Do not go in expecting a Marvel Studios film. It’s a good movie but not a great movie. Much of what holds it back is having to clean up after Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Fortunately the Justice League itself is a charismatic team instead of the maudlin worst case scenario we’d feared. The action is kinetic, the jokes are funny, & the story is coherent. So says The Wages of Cinema!
Fans of Eureka please send them feedback! Then read onward for THE SPOILERS OF JUSTICE! (They’re like the Hammers of Justice, except you can’t make bookshelves with ’em.)
Welcome to the first blog after our one hundredth! It’s also the last I’ll be writing this year. We’re almost out of 2016! At first I thought people were overreacting about how bad 2016 was, but the year wore me down too. Even my first publisher went belly up. This is specifically not a retrospective post, however, because the year hasn’t finished yet.
To the future we must point our gaze! The big question is now whether 2016 will be slain by the greenery of 2017 or will this year snuff itself out? Good riddance to 2016! Welcome, 2017!* Now I’ll use the metaphor of annual death & rebirth to segue into an iZombie & X-Men mashup that loses its mirth if you analyze it within the bounds of either fandom.
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 was 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!)
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.
On Monday, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s season finale curbstomped Supergirl’s & Better Call Saul’s. This show has been a subversive delight from the start. It feels like the spawn of Wonderfalls & Galavant.You’d expect me to type a lengthy ode to it since it’s in the headline, but I tuckered myself out dissecting Supergirl below. (I will say that Vincent Rodriguez III would make a great live action Grunge in the unlikely event that WB wants to do something with its Gen 13 rights.) Just watch it already!
The two-part season finale of Supergirl was a damp squib when it needed to be a damp squid.