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SONY WANTS TO DO A BLACK CAT MOVIE

 

Black Cat profile studyBlack Cat profile study

 

Take some Catwoman, add a little bit of Black Widow, invert the hair color from black to platinum blonde but leave the eyebrows dark. That is the Black Cat, a D-list Spider-Man villain who toyed with him sexually. Without that cockteasing she has no real story at all. Sure, she was supposedly mistreated and that's why she steals, but Catwoman had that one some 70 years ago and in another context (giving her a first husband) fifty years ago.

Now, Sony, who made Adam Sandler films, Ghostbusters, the Emoji Movie, and screwed up Spider-Man so badly they had to go back to Marvel to get it reasonably right (Mommy! Mommy!! I pooped my Spider-Man again!) is going full tilt trying to make a universe like the Marvel Universe without once thinking how many characters they need to do this, how many years they need to build up these characters, and so on.

Let's face it, all Sony movies exist to let executives try and achieve dominance over each other. They want a franchise supposedly for the money but I suspect whomever gets a franchise going winds up as top dog on the grave mound. You know, the one who can get another job saying the rest pulled them down.

They're teaming her up with Silver Sable, who's a mercenary and has no more personality than that. She's another platinum blonde but instead of wearing black, she wears silver and instead of moving quietly and stealing things she shoots things.

But let's look at the Black Cat and pick the top ten candidates to take the part.

 

10 - Ed Norton

Ed Norton is a fine actor and any resistance to him getting the part due to his gender is sexism: see the publicity Sony ran over Ghostbusters. He is by quite a number of accounts obnoxious, aggressive, and tries to take over. For example, when he played the Hulk he apparently took over the editing job. However, he does seem to know what he's doing, so that might make him unsuitable for this role.

 

9 - Madonna

Once called a star looking for a vehicle, she was in fact a novelty act who made it big and let her ego expand to fill the void where talent should have been. Too old, too lacking of talent, a perfect successor to the Adam Sandler films Sony made.

 

8 - Zooey Deschanel

Tends to have a blank face no matter what emotion she's supposed to be having. She should bring the kind of lack of depth that Sony has always emphasized.

 

7 - Gwyneth Paltrow

Another automaton, she is always cold and distant which actually might suit her in this part. She is 3" taller than Deschanel, which is why she gets a level higher, here. It's all about how they look, not how they can act over at Sony.

 

6 - Melissa McCarthy

Ghostbusters was a good idea so anybody who doesn't want those actors are just being sexist and live in the basements of their mother.

 

5 - Leslie Jones

And they're racist.

 

4 - Kristen Wiig

And they're talentist. Judging actors based on whether they have talent or not is just another blind prejudice and it's called talentism. All Hollywood should stand against talentism in things like actors and brain surgeons.

3 - Adam Sandler

He has brought so much to Sony, including a lot of product placement that truly detracts from the movie itself. He made it an art form not unlike sculpting poop. I would say Sony owes him one more really big role because they've gained so much from him. He's already played a female part in Jack and Jill, and you can't exclude that fact from consideration unless you think him playing Jill doesn't qualify because there are predefined roles for different genders which goes against what the Ghostbusters publicity machine preached.

2 -Emma Watson

Apart from the Harry Potter series she's done some quickly forgotten things and did a bad job in the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Who could be better for the Black Cat? Someone, obviously someone, since she isn't number one one this or any other list.

1 - Kristen Stewart

Given her work in Twilight and Snow White and the Huntsman, given the reports of her behavior on set and in her personal life she is exactly the kind of person we would want to see playing the Black Cat in any Sony film.

Did I mention I want Marvel to get the rights to Spider-Man back? If I didn't I would have suggested people like Anna Faris, Hollie Taylor, Mia Pistoris, Camren Bicondova, Eva Mendes, Milla Jovovich, Stana Katic, Summer Glau, Michelle Rodriguez, or Beth Behrs. None of whom will get the part.

 

 

DUNKIRK

 

DunkirkDunkirk

 

Dunkirk is a movie starring an event in history. The event is overwhelming and touches many people. The response of some reviewers has been that the movie is repetitive, with several people going through much the same thing.

This is kind of insane. Dunkirk overwhelmed every one of the quarter of a million men who knew they had no way to escape capture, wounding, mutilation, and death. They knew if Hitler sent in his troops surrender would not be allowed as an option, They were going to die.

Every one of those men knew he, personally was going to die and all he could do was string it out. Keep moving. Survive for now.

Imagine being in a place you've never been before, where you don't know the streets or how to get anywhere, you don't know if this street cuts off or it's the one you have to run down. You don't know if this person's back yard is safe or if you will be attacked. You are running from someone you can't see, who may be behind you or around the next corner.

This is not the stuff of nightmares, that is underestimating it. You are awake, you are not reacting to an emotion, you are reacting to reality.

Yes, the movie shows the same overwhelming event dominating each individual. What else would you expect?

The background and the effects are brilliant. Down to the sounds of airplane engines, the effect of the JU-87, the German Stuka. It was terrifying even though it was an obsolescent craft that was still in service as a mere stopgap. It had to dive-bomb because the Germans didn't have decent bomber sights.

And yet it was terrifying. There were artillery shells, bombs, and wounded desperate people pushed together waiting to die and hoping to be saved.

Dunkirk MovieDunkirk Movie

 

I'll see this movie again. After all, the only thing I've described so far is the background. What is the plot?

They were all going to die. Individual people made individual decisions and in a way impossible for the world now, mass numbers of people made the right, the courageous, the self-endangering decision. They took their civilian boats that weren't good enough and they crossed the English channel and took what soldiers they could and went back. Some of them made the trips more than once.

Some of those civilians lost their lives.

Never before had such a force been evacuated by civilians. It has never happened since. It was a truly unique event in history.

Had Hitler sent his troops in, the British would have been destroyed. Without those troops, Hitler could have invaded Britain and he would have won the war. He didn't because he didn't trust his generals and because he never anticipated an event history itself never anticipated - kind of ironic considering how much he mouthed off about how history was guiding him.

This is a story of something that happened once and will probably never happen again. Some reviewers don't like it, but they are few and isolated. The audience likes it. Perhaps they realize the last era of heroes is over and we are unlikely to see another. This can remind us that, sometimes, people can all at once do the right and courageous thing and change the world.

I will see this movie again.

 

WONDER WOMAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This movie will be DC’s breakthrough, it will establish a new tone for superhero movies, it takes superhero movies as serious stories. It is already number one in World War I movies, but sadly, number three is still Lawrence of Arabia from back in 1962.

 

Best first weekend for a World War I movie, best first weekend for a movie directed by a woman. This is trumpeting minor achievements, like they did with 2016’s Ghostbusters. But in fact this title will probably enter the top ten of superhero movies.

 

It has also achieved a level of courage for WB/DC. Markets have banned the movie because the lead is Jewish. DC stuck by her and made no apologies. Not like Marvel which made the Ancient One anything by Tibetan and apparently changed Dr Strange from Asian (as artist/real creator Steve Ditko wanted him to be) to Caucasian so the comics would sell better.

 

DC stuck to its guns.

 

People are liking this movie, reviewers are liking the movie, I like the movie. I like it a lot, but I think it has some problems which will make it age badly.

 

At the moment Wonder Woman is surrounded by low bars: Man of Steel and Batman V Superman. But lots of things will do that. A more direct comparison for box office would be Suicide Squad. That movie grossed $133 million in the US on its opening weekend in 4255 theaters.

 

Wonder Woman grossed $163 million in the US on its opening weekend with 4165 theaters. So with less theaters, Wonder Woman drew more money. I think its drop-off on ticket sales will be less than Suicide Squad’s. Wonder Woman will probably get above the Squad’s final position of 14th biggest grossing superhero film. There will be a sequel. A quick calculation shows the movie has already made back the cost of making it.

 

So what’s wrong with the film? Only some things, but in the long run they’ll be significant.

 

There is no Steve Trevor, here. There’s a character by that name, sure, but look again. Steve Trevor was a Colonel, now he is a Captain. Like Captain America. He is also associated with a famous military unit: Steve Rogers it’s with the 101st infantry, with Steve Trevor it’s the 94th Aero Squadron, which has the Uncle Sam hat in the ring symbol of the plane he stands in front of in a photo in the movie.

 

Both are Americans associated with the British. Neither gets the girl of his movie. But each is associated with a female who becomes a spy boss. Peggy Carter helps found SHIELD and eventually runs it. Etta Candy goes from secretary to running Steve Trevor’s mission. I think Etta Candy will show up again.

 

And both of them steal a big German plane carrying bombs to genocide a city and save said city. Steve Trevor probably died, Steve Rogers tried to but he failed. Will Steve Trevor return? Hard to say but it is unfortunately not impossible.

 

People don’t seem to have noticed these parallels (there are others). They will.

 

The special effects are fairly poor, which is polite for generally suck. The final scene of Wonder Woman flying or leaping is so bad it looks like something from Superman IV. I think it shows ahead of time, WB/DC did not have faith in the movie. If so, they were probably looking at scenes.

 

The story is good, in fact, unique in movies. Diana, Princess of the Amazons, is created by Zeus who brings a clay statue alive. Pygmalion made real. She is the only child among the Amazons, who were created to protect humans and show them the power of love. They protect us from Ares, the god of war, who would destroy all humans.

 

The movie takes us through Diana’s journey through the world as she learns how to be Wonder Woman. She learns how to use her powers. She also meets Victorian society. I know, she’s in World War I, but most of the fashions are not from the Victorian era. The skirts are too long, the outfits too layered. It’s almost as if Britain didn’t have any war shortages.

 

But she discovers exactly what a modern war does. It mutilates lots and lots people and she didn’t know that because of her cossetted upbringing. She keeps following the trail of the injured. She keeps finding horror after horror and keeps trying to help people in a material way. This means she winds up attacking a German trench all on her own (not great on planning, either).

 

In working her way to this she and Captain Trevor keep arguing between helping people and keeping focused on the mission. This is as deep a philosophical division as between Batman and the Joker and it’s between two people on the same side.

 

In complete distinction to most movies, she fails in her cross-trench attack. This is not a Mary Sue character by any stretch of the imagination. Like the war itself, she gets bogged down. It is her friends, Steve Trevor and his team and eventually the British troops behind her charge the German trench and allow her to claim victory.

 

We are being led down a path, here. That Ares is manipulating the war, creating it, and making it more deadly.

 

On the German side there is Ludendorf and Dr Maru, aka Dr Poison. They are trying to stop any armistice being signed. They use a poison gas and another gas that gives Ludendorf super strength.

 

Why don’t they use that gas to make lots of super strong soldiers who would beat the Allies? Instead he waits longer to gas people when he gets around to it. He’s the one who plans to bomb London with a plane loaded with the gas and set with a timer.

 

That timer means the bombs will go off whether they’re dropped or not. So Steve Trevor, who knows about this timer for reasons which are never even hinted at, has to detonate the bombs rather than just leave the bomber in place or just dump it in the English Channel.

 

In other words there are a lot of plot holes in this movie. On first viewing most people will miss them. Over time, though, people will notice, it will go up on the internet. They will become known and opinions of the movie will be lessened.

 

Ludendorf gets in a fight with Wonder Woman whose existence doesn’t surprise him in the least. He fights her and she kills him. She thinks this will end the war. But it doesn’t and she has to reassess. This opens the door to the greatest strength and weakness of this movie.

 

It turns out the supervillain with the plan did not turn people evil. Some of them are just bloody well like that. They are evil. This is enough to make Wonder Woman doubt her mission of helping people. And Aries, who is British not German, tells her she should join him.

 

But Captain America aka Chris Pine aka Steve Trevor sacrifices himself. Plane goes boom. So does Wonder Woman’s heart and she now has the strength to fight and beat Ares. It doesn’t stop the rest of history, people will still do evil, but Ares won’t be helping them work out how to do it more efficiently.

 

Once the battle is over the soldiers show relief that it’s over and they are still alive. They are human and they show that humanity not only to those on their side but those on both sides.

 

Generally, those with a military sensibility see it that way, those without a military sensibility think it’s still kill the supervillain and everything will be fine.

 

This is a new idea for movies. It undercuts all the usual tropes. This is the greatest strength of the movie and is enough in itself for me to want this movie to succeed wildly. It is a new idea and after all the complaints people have made that Hollywood has run out of ideas you’d think people would greet this new idea with wild enthusiasm.

 

But it seems to have confused a lot of people who keep trying to force the new idea into the old mold, which negates it’s value as a new idea. Maybe that’s why Hollywood keeps remaking the same old thing.

 

But they follow some current tropes. Just as Captain America took actual Nazi experimental weapons and put them to film, the German plane Steve Trevor stole was real (a Fokker Eindecker), the American squadron he was in was real (94th), but though the bomber seems based on a Gotha design but seems to have four engines not two so that would make it not a real type. But then again, the Steve Rogers bomber didn’t exist in real life, either.

 

This leaves us with the acting. Some people have praised the acting because Gal Gadot acts like different people when her character is in 1918 and the current year. If she takes a part in another movie and puts on a third persona, does that in itself make he a brilliant actress? Not really. She has to act well in the part.

 

Her physical acting is fine but in terms of presenting personality she’s flat and spends too much time in close-up looking doughy eyed. She is serviceable but she though she doesn’t take away from the movie with her acting she doesn’t add to it.

 

Chris Pine is not that good as Steve Trevor. He seems to struggle with the timing of his lines unless he has a short monologue. Despite the comments of others, I don’t see that he has great chemistry with Gal Gadot. But, later on, in the trench or battle scenes, the scene carries the timing and Pine is not making a choice.

 

Danny Houston is General Ludendorff, and in this version he dies in World War I. In real life he died in 1937, had a role in the right and eventually Hitler taking power in Germany, and never had super strength. But he plays the character well and I think they let him run with some things.

 

Dr Maru (Elena Anaya) is Ludendorff’s mad scientist and she, too, does a very good job. Together Ludendorff and Maru are enjoyable, in turns comic and menacing without ever converting personalities.

 

While we’re at it, Lucy Davis has Etta Candy (Etta in the credits) down pat. She must have researched the part because she carries it well even with nuances which come from the actor rather than the script.

 

The team supporting Chris Pine’s Steve-Trevor-almost-Steve-Rogers are well done but the parts are not strenuous, They are, in fact, a little cliché. They are not a stretch, so the studio probably got over-qualified people in Said Taghmaoui as Sameer, Ewen Bremner as Charlie, and Eugene Brave Rock as the Chief.

 

The acting is generally good, but it has its limitations. The movie is solid and original, but it’s limitations will drag down opinions of it. It will, in the end, be just a movie and not a breakthrough. Worth watching in the theater more than once. It shows the way to something new and how many modern movies can you say that about?

 

 

NOT SUPERHEROES

 

Historically, comic books have been host to a wide variety of genres. There has been horror, comedy, war, westerns, romances, science fiction, and fantasy have all had their shots. Now, Steampunk is making its way into comics in a way it isn't in many others media. Why are there not more Steampunk movies? After some thought - some of it involuntary - I worked out part of why this is. There are 3 reasons.

1. A lot of the novels are bad. They are elf-published by people who think they can edit themselves. No one can do that. So sentences repeat an idea saying it twice as they repeat themselves (grating, isn't it?). One phrase I saw recently was that the men had an irrational fear of claustrophobia. I know what they mean but technically they said the men had an irrational fear of catching an irrational fear of enclosed spaces. One book I read had the strength of gravity change in at best a few hundred feet with no explanation why that should happen on an otherwise Earth-like world. Generally, the books aren't that good. There's a lot of dross only fans (like me) are willing to wade through. Oddly enough there's less dross in comics. Hollywood wants to buy a successful franchise, which Steampunk novels give them that?

2. Steampunk movies are expensive. You put a space ship into a scene and the movie is science fiction. If you put an airship in a scene, everyone has to be wearing steampunk clothing. Expensive. This is why there are few fan westerns and the few you see are suspiciously short of horses - they're expensive, too. So unless you have a mid-budget movie and can spend a lot on clothes, you're going to look like a shoestring budget movie and that's going to turn fans away.

3. The fandom is small and Hollywood isn't going to gamble on that. Someone once defined Hollywood as the place where everyone wants to be the second person to do something. There's not enough of a base to take the risk. Comic book movies had the same problem up until Superman the Movie. Now they're all the rage. Steampunk doesn't have a record that can be pointed to - who's going to point to Wild Wild West and say 'I want to do that again.'

4. The people in Hollywood don't know how to do Steampunk. It took people who knew how to do superhero movies to make them successful, and it took several in a row to make it an established part of the industry. If either X-Men or Spider-Man had failed, superhero movies might not have taken off and Iron Man might today be a cult classic. For Steampunk movies to be successful there needs to be several of them to make it a successful genre.

Comics are a place to practice, improve, and find out what works without falling into a very fast rut. It is not the only place to practice, despite what I said earlier many of the books are well worth reading. Sifting through is simply a matter of reviewing the books and picking out the good ones. But there is one other thing Steampunk does and that's have its own conventions where ideas flow and shift and renew the stories. Eventually ideas and fandom will both reach a critical mass and people will be able to see a series of great Steampunk movies. Maybe it will start with Hullabaloo.

 

 

SJW COMICS

 

MockingbirdMockingbird

 

Marvel has complained people don't want to see diversity in comics. Frankly, I think they don't want to see crap. Why is it an issue that Marvel put out female leads when it wasn't a problem with Lady Mechanika, Velvet, Power Girl, Zatanna, Lazarus, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Red Sonja, Harley Quinn, Black Widow, Batgirl, Catwoman, and others?

Was it the left wing nature of social justice? No, Batgirl is left wing. Harley Quinn is a bisexual who tried to enter a domestic partnership with Poison Ivy and frequently spends time addressing issues like equality, homelessness, and domestic abuse. Her own group is as diverse as you can get, including Harvey Harley, who is gay, a guy whose head looks like a goat, a dwarf, and others.

What's the problem? Marvel tried getting rid of characters people anted to read to try to force them to read female analogues. The female Thor, the female Iron Man: never mind what you wanted to read, we want to force you to read these people and capitalize on existing popularity. 

They go very shrill with their politics. Harley Quinn can spend two pages on the problems of homeless people. It's a two-page PSA right in the story. I enjoyed it: what she said made sense, always addressed the issues involved in the story, and simply asked for understanding.

Compare that to Marvel where Modok was turned into a form of Donald Trump. Anyone who wanted to vote for Trump wouldn't vote with their wallets and buy Marvel.

Compare to Catwoman. The Penguin wanted to build a wall to boost his wealth. His opponent in the mayoral race had more Hillary-like plans. Both sides were represented and neither was put in a good light. Wall, corruption, what's the difference?

When all is said and done, the Marvel SJW stuff want not about diversity. It was about towing the line of  a bunch of people who never did and never will buy comics.

How important is it? In the sixties DC had a racist at the helm. Marvel took the number one position. Now, with Marvel having movie dominance unprecedented in the history of movies, they are losing ground to DC. Look at that list of women lead comics: 7 DC, 4 independent, 1 Marvel (2 if we add Mockingbird).

Marvel did this to itself and its sales keep falling. They should, because not only has it become the comics of identity politics, they've become the comics of lousy writing. They may trumpet all they do for women, but they don't do the job when it comes up to be done.

 

MARVEL'S IRON FIST:

A MARTIAL REVIEW

 

Finn Jones as Iron FistFinn Jones as Iron Fist

 

This is bad from the opening credits. They show a dark silhouetted figure (Iron Fist, presumably) doing martial arts exercises, hand and feet leaving inky trails. A lot of roundhouse kicks. There's also a punch which I think is a white crane punch. But his fist, wrist, and forearm do not form a straight line. If this guy hits anything with this he will almost certainly break something.

Later in an episode, Iron Fist thrusts with a sword and, again, he bends his wrist to keep the sword level. Again, if he stabs anything he will probably break his wrist.

And there is no consistency in what he can do and who he can take on. At one point he faces several people with hand weapons and beats them handily. These are not random things they pick up, these are their signature weapons. And he beats them quickly.

He faces Colleen Wing when both are unarmed and when she is using her favorite weapon, a sword (Katana). She then goes on to cage fight and beats two large men at once. This should show how good Iron Fist had to be to defeat her.

Yet when he faces a low level thug who just happens to pick up cooking tools, Iron Fist can't put him away. True, they are in the back of a semi, but if the truck throws Iron Fist it should throw his opponent, but only the martial arts expert has a problem with it.

When a car comes at him, Iron Fist can leap over it. Impressive. He uses the same ability to break into a house's second story. Yet he never uses it in combat. Did he lose this ability or was it too hard to include the special effect when other people are involved?

Daredevil had a whole philosophy of combat behind it. There was a style for thugs, a style for martial arts, and Daredevil, himself, who uses a unique style including the previous two and a luchador professional wrestling style.

In this, Iron Fist can or can't do things depending on what they want him to do in that scene.

The actor doesn't have the skill to do the combat or the choreographer just phoned it in. People just stand there waiting for each other to get into position or just catch up to the next move.

If there was good acting, a good plot, good dialogue, any of that, this would be a lot more watchable. As it is, I'd suggest seeing something else.

 

MARTIAN MANHUNTER

 

Martian ManhunterMartian Manhunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martian Manhunter was a fifties science fiction character who sold well enough that he became a hidden hero who defended Earth from less friendly aliens. Because DC was short of heroes, he was included in the original membership of the Justice League, a revival of the Justice Society. This was not his big break.

His big break was when the old Justice Society model was followed and Batman and Superman were kept off the active roster. There was a fear they could be over-exposed. As a result, the Martian Manhunter took on a kind of Superman role. He was a powerhouse in the League.

When Superman was included int he roster, Martian Manhunter was already a fixed member of the team so he kept in the stories as a secondary Superman. Eventually, they decided to change him a little to make him his own personality. As a result, he got a love of Oreo cookies.

He also got a niece, Ms Martian. She is a kind of Supergirl to his Superman. She would find her place in Young Justice (a third season, hooray).

Martian Manhunter became the usual guy who monitored things in the Justice League satellite, the Watchtower.

Eventually he got a solo series which was excellent, but it focused on his Martian origin. Martian Manhunter, unlike his niece, has never been integrated into Earth events on his own. This is something that needs to be done and part of that process would have to be keeping certain limitations on his powers to he is in danger and finds things difficult but which doesn't have the baggage of his weakness for fire. Simple combustion as a Kryptonite is a bad idea. Once over that hurdle, DC would probably have another profitable title on its hands.

 

DR STRANGE

 

 

The Dr Strange movie isn't bad, but if you're looking for that archetypal deeper meaning kind of movie, it is far from that. The characterizations are broader and more recent. Dr Strange's arrogance is pounded over your head like a tattoo until you will probably want to yell, 'I got it already' at the screen.

Added to the mix is a failed love story, some usual tricks with new special effects, and the usual gender/race flipping to keep behind the scenes people happy. By that I mean the Chinese didn't like an Ancient One who is Tibetan. He became a Celtic Woman who in fact isn't the force for good that the Tibetan one was.

I know I should be offended, I'm just not sure on behalf of whom.

Cumberbatch is all right as Dr Strange but he gives no eye-opening performance.

The biggest issue of the thing is that the live action movie seems to be little more than a remake of the animated movie, Dr Strange. Drop the subplot with Dr Strange's younger sister, keep the change in Wong (give him hair, make him broader, the whole bit), the failed romance with a fellow doctor, the emphasis on arrogance, the wandering, the full facial hair, and the being lost in a Tibetan snowstorm without adequate clothing and lasting more than thirty seconds let alone making his way back to the compound.

In other words, the movie is a tweak of something that was not very good in the first place.

The biggest difference is that the live action movie involves Dormammu. In the animation he is implied when there is a recruit named Clea (in the comics, Dormammu's niece). In the live action movie he is the denouement of the whole movie. In the animation it is a much more low level ending.

The live action movie is better. It's kind of sad when you have to say the special effects of an animated movie look cheap. They got lazy when they drew magic, just as they got lazy when Dr Strange signs his name. The pen moves over the page and the name appears when in fact the tip of the pen doesn't make the lines.

The live action movie, on the other hand, is awash in inception-style special effects. It has nothing to do with insight in any form.

Popcorn, sufficient as that, but not deeper. Give it a view with someone you like, so the experience will seem better than it is.

 

ROGUE 1

The star.The star.

 

I saw Rogue 1, today. It's good, but if you want to cheer up a friend who's depressed, don't take them. The movie is awesome, but dark. It ties a lot from the end of the prequels and sets up a lot of episode 4, A New Hope.

The cleverness of the microwriting, tying together stray references in other movies, was the best feature. Why does it take 20 years to build the Death Star and the second takes a few months? Got an answer. Who were the Bothan spies? Got an answer. Why does Princess Leah dislike Mon Mothma (the Rebel Alliance general)? Got an answer. Why is there that weakness in the Death Star? Really got an answer.

The CGI is patchy. Some edge of your seat brilliant, some is very poor and will continue to age badly. They will probably redo those bits in coming years.

The writing at the acting level is patchy as well. People walk in and give a bit of their backstory, tell us their job, and then start their parts. There are gaps in the story but this generally doesn't drag on the story. And some of the writing is excellent.

The tone is brilliant. This is a war movie, for real. There are troops and the random things that happen in the battlefield happen here. The self-sacrifice of both sides is to the fore as people give their lives for others. The random events and the overriding need to complete one goal or another is brought in well.

The difficult part is scenes of desert worlds where everything seems cut and pasted from so many other movies without the added value of new thought.

What is good is the way the 'Alliance, or Rebellion, or whatever you're calling yourselves now' is a dirty group, committing crimes on a regular basis. The events  of this movie draw in the people who decide to be honorable, they are the good guys, they have ideals, they have hope. They will do the right thing.

In other words, the Rebel Alliance cleans itself up as Leah and Luke takes central roles. And as they do they honor the dead from this movie.

It's not a perfect movie, but it's worth watching at least once if only to remind yourself that darkness is not a permanent norm.

 

Suicide Squad

Bar sceneBar scene

 

Two things I've noticed about Suicide Squad:

First, it is now the 13th biggest movie that's a comic adaptation. It is closing in on Batman v Superman and may get a level higher than that. It's done really brilliantly.

Second, a lot of reviewers tend to say things don't make sense but only do so from the point of view of their assumptions. For example, they say it makes no sense to get Harley Quinn and her baseball bat to stop more Kryptonians.

The assumption is that the government knows what the hell it's doing. Do you really want to nail your colors to that mast? Especially now?

Yes, there's a lot wrong with the plan of Suicide Squad. But that's the issue. Waller gets everything wrong but as she says, she can get people to act against their best interests, and what she does in this movie is get the government to form the Suicide Squad.

 

Captain Boomerang

 

Captain BoomerangCaptain Boomerang

 

The Captain Boomerang of the DCEU is a kind of bushranger. Most people would not even know what that word means, let alone how it goes with the character.

In Australia's colonial days it had what other countries called highwaymen (never changed to highwaypersons for some reason). But Australia didn't have highways, yet, it had the bush. 'Bush' is the Australian term for the wilderness, also called the outback.

Bushrangers like Captain Starlight lived in a world where all wealth was concentrated at the top. So, if that's where the money was, that's what they robbed. Cattle barons were a prime target. Cattle could be moved and easily (hell, they're designed for it), were worth a lot of money, and could be sold all over the place.

This made them kind of popular with the population who weren't cattle barons. Kind of like Dillinger, who robbed banks and made himself popular with non-bank people who didn't have money in the Great Depression.

Captain Boomerang started out robbing Australian banks and diamond exchanges - bound to make him popular with the non-bank, non-diamond locals - and according to the movie, moved to the United States just so he'd have more places to rob.

That attitude has a word in Australian English, too. It's 'Larrikin.' It generally has positive connotations. Officially, though, it's a noisy, sometimes badly behaved young man who is more prone to action than planning. Kind of like Ginger Meggs, but speaking of rangas (means redheads)...

His mutton chops echo the red beard of Frank Pearson, a bushranger who went by the name of Captain Starlight and inspired at least part of the story of the fictional Captain Starlight in the novel of Robbery Under Arms. The story was made into movies several times including the 1985 telemovie starring Sam Neil.

Captain Starlight's name was taken for the Starlight Children's Foundation, which provides make-a-wish support for sick kids.

Captain Boomerang is in the mold of a bushranger, but a bit more of a dickhead than most of them are presented as in novels. But he did make a boomerang out of a couple of bayonets (not possible in reality). The deep grooves (for blood to run down) would tend to indicate they're World War I bayonets, a nod to Gallipoli, which is kind of important  in Australian awareness. It's the national holiday for Australian larrikins.

 

(c) D Jason Cooper 2015-2017