Turn Up The Snark For Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark!

Matt the Catania is going on hiatus while its author goes on a research sabbatical for his difficult second novel. We’re not sure when publication will resume, but if you’re following the blog by email or social media (click that heart icon up top), you’ll be the first to know. Also, Jenny “Millennial Falcon” Nicholson noticed me!

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In honor of the forthcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, I shall leave you with an  incredibly timely review of the Broadway classic Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark!

I SURVIVED SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK! Seriously, we had to drive home through a blizzard on Boxing Day 2010. I pushed a Ford Focus out of a snowy parking lot & navigated by sticking my head out the passenger window. So here’s the spoiler free review: On the WTF? scale of 1-10, the musical was a solid 14. SPOILERS for a musical that’s been closed for years!!!

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Who’s Ready For Spider-Man Fatigue?

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?

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When All Else Fails, Visit Riverdale

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.

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Another rejected pitch was Roverdale starring Arfie Andrews, Sheltie Cooper, Furronica Lodge, Pughead Jones, Chien Keller, Dilton Doggy, Reggie Mastiff, & Feral Blossom.

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Second Anniversary On Skull Island!

 Apparently Matt The Catania recently had another birthday. So I did what anybody who forgets an important milestone does & fled to Skull Island with The Wages of Cinema! Andrew was back this week so my presence was superfluous! Listen to us geek out over kaiju films after the halfway mark!

This is a movie that really surprised me. Since the dolorous adventure of King Kong has been told by Hollywood thrice (& once in a book illustrated by Anthony Browne), there’s no reason for another remake. Even if WB made this movie just to segue into King Kong v. Godzilla: Dawn of Destroy All Monsters, Kong doesn’t have that much context that he needs a whole introductory movie. Despite my initial thoughts, I left Kong: Skull Island hungry for more ape awesomeness! This should appease anyone upset by the budgetary restrictions of the CW’s jaunt to Gorilla City. I skipped their attempt at Gojira, but now sign me for the Legendary Monsterverse! I guess we should call it the Kaijuverse or MONARCHverse to distinguish this from the resurrection of the Universal Monsterverse.

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Grodd Bless The Flash!

The Flash’s “Attack on Gorilla/Central City” two-parter was the antidote to the Mr. Mxyzptlk episode of Supergirl! This is what I’ve been waiting for ever since Grodd’s cage was glimpsed in the pilot! You can retire now, television! The delayed The Flash movie now has an even higher bar to clear too! This is the first time we’ve really seen Gorilla Grodd come into his own as a legitimutant supervillain. Reverse-Flash’s furry son is all grown up! If only he had better taste in armor.

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Collector’s Edition Blog #100!

This is my hundredth blog! I don’t believe it either! Arithmomaniac readers may notice that there’s actually 101 entries on this blog, but I don’t count my reblog of Cain S. Latrani’s review of The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose.  Contrariwise this one is full of my own substantive content! I made it to 100 installments of Matt The Catania in under two years by sometimes posting twice a week. See, I can be productive when there’s no immediate monetary gain! To celebrate this milestone, I’m writing about whatever I damn well please (as opposed to those previous ninety-nine posts)!

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is Marvel’s most delightful comic book. In other news, you can describe water in three states. This is a comic book that’s unashamed of making you learn stuff like how to count to thirty-one on each hand. Eventually it will teach me an entire college education’s worth of computer programming at a fraction of the cost! Where else can you get a Choose Your Own Adventure comic about defeating Swarm, the breakout villain of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark? (Note to self: publish your review of S-M: TOTD while it’s still timely!) Marvel really should’ve put the romance cover to the second #8 (now do you see the folly of constantly cancelling & restarting series?) as the cover for the fourth volume to better match its title, “I Kissed A Squirrel & I Liked It.” (Sadly it lacks Squirrel Girl’s story from Secret Wars: Secret Love.) It, along with Mark Waid’s Daredevil, are the only things that have ever made me care about the Mole Man. Who knew Tricephalous was such a romantic? HawkGuy is the worst, bro!

Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe! thankfully skews closer to Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe than Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe. Did you know I was the first customer to get it signed by Erica Henderson & Ryan North the World’s Tallest Torontonian at NYCC? I read it months ago but didn’t review it until now because I don’t being on top of things.

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I asked for the personalization to prevent me from selling it … unless I find someone else named Matt.

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I just wanted proof of the custom inscription, by my cat just had to make herself the center of photographic attention.

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Ghost Rider & Gotham Get TV Revved Up

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!

Will Ghost 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?

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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.

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