Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: MARVEL

Aye, Verily

Yes, please.

(How is this the first time they’ve used Immigrant Song for Thor?)

Thoughts On Doctor Strange

  • Nothing else going on today, right?
  • Time enough to sit around, smoke doobies, and watch matinees wherein people with cheekbones throw special effects at one another?
  • And then drink coffee (and smoke more doobies) and write a thousand words of nonsense about it?
  • No worldly matters of pressing urgence?
  • Good.
  • Okay, let’s get this out of the way:
  • Boccecourt Chameleonface.
  • Bongledong Coffeemate.
  • Bradleycooper Cooperbradley.
  • Okay, I needed to get that out of my system: obviously, Doctor Strange is played by Benedict Cumberbatch doing his Doctor House impression, and he fights Mads Mikkelson, who is the single most European man that has ever lived.
  • Along the way, several minorities aid Doctor Strange and tell him how special he is.
  • You know, Enthusiasts, that I don’t write reviews.
  • Someone wants to pay me to do it, I will, but no one is, so I will not: if you’re looking for a thumbs up or down, then you have come to the wrong place.
  • Go read A.O. Scott, who is a grown man who makes a living seeing comic book movies.
  • (Why am I mocking him? That’s a great scam.)
  • And make no mistake: Doctor Strange is a comic book movie; moreover, it is a Marvel movie, mostly the script.
  • Do they still make paint-by-numbers?
  • Paint-by-numbers was a big thing when I was a kid: you get the book and a special set of paint labeled with numbers instead of colors, and the book would have line drawings of a well-known piece of art broken into numbered segments.
  • You would paint the sections marked 1 with the appropriate paint, and so forth, and when you had finished there would be a painting (kinda).
  • I think they found the screenplay version of paint-by-numbers.
  • Stephen Strange blah blah arrogant surgeon barble barble car crash yadda yadda magical foreigners boom boom boom special effects ending.
  • There were several iterations of this line of dialogue:
  • “Doctor Strange, do you remember the thing you said to me in the first act? Well, I now repeat it back to you in the third.”
  • The bad guy did bad things for reasons which I feel like they explained in the film, but I was not paying attention to.
  • The hero was tall.
  • It’s that kind of story: either there is exposition, or there is CG-enhanced gesturing.
  • SO MUCH GESTURING.
  • According to movies, magic is 80% gesturing.
  • The other 20% is wardrobe.
  • You cannot wield the Wand of Watoomb in your jeans and tennis sneakers: it requires a robe/karate pajama/amulet combination.
  • The draw for this film is the hoodoo, and there is so much of: cities fold in on themselves, and Hong Kong fractalizes into spiraling mandalas, and the Dark Dimensions look just like Steve Ditko drew them.
  • These effects are rather special. (Except for the car crash scene, which looks like a well-made video game from 2011.)
  • See the 3D version, or the IMAX if it’s available, and smoke many doobies immediately prior to entering the theater.
  • It’s trippy, man.
  • Anyway: it’s a Marvel movie, with all that entails, and the most consistent feature of Marvel movies has been the hiring of actors who are stupidly over-qualified for the jobs.
  • Anthony Hopkins, and Alfre Woodard, and Glenn Close, and Tommy Lee Jones; that sort.
  • Strange is no exception: Chiwetel Ojiofor–one of my favorite actors since Serenity–and Mikkelson are superb; so are the women, Tilda Swinton and Rachel McAdams.
  • Rachel McAdams plays The Girl, and this sentence I am currently writing represents more thought about her character than the screenwriters applied to her over the entire course of production.
  • Marvel movies are not about The Girl: they are about white guys learning how special they are, and how they can do anything they want.
  • Tilda Swinton plays the Ancient One, who lives in China and is not Chinese.
  • At one point, one of the characters exposits that she is Celtic, but she ain’t fucking Celtic.
  • Tilda Swinton is Tllda Swinton.
  • That would have been an audacious choice to have the Ancient One actually be Tilda Swinton, like she defends the Earth with magic and she also does movies.
  • “That’s the Ancient One? She looks like Tilda Swinton.”
  • “That’s because she is.”
  • “What now?”
  • That’s a twist you would not see coming, as opposed to the other twists in the movie which you can be sure of before even leaving your house.
  • Again: this movie is Super Hero Product – subsection: origin story.
  • First half is the Call to Action, and the Shaman, and the Training; second half, the hero gets thrown into a situation he can’t deal with, but overcomes through believing in himself and also by using something he got in the first act.
  • I only had one major quibble, and it is a ludicrous one.
  • The secret magic monastery (NOT Hogwarts) in which Doctor Strange learns to wave his hands around mysteriously has a library, naturally, because you kinda have to have a magic library.
  • I mean, what’s the point of anything if you’re not going to have a magic library?
  • And this particular magic library, like all others, has a Librarian.
  • (The most magical of libraries only hire orangutans as librarians, but that’s a whole other story.)
  • He is Wong, who in the comics and in the next films plays Strange’s assistant.
  • In the comics, he was referred to as Doctor Strange’s manservant, but I have a feeling they’re going to drop that terminology.
  • Wong is your prototypical magic librarian: you don’t check out the books so much as ask him if you may borrow them.
  • You can’t have just anyone walking in and grabbing the Necronomicon.
  • That’s how you get demons.
  • Do you wanna get demons?
  • Because that’s how you get demons.
  • Which is all good and proper, except either Wong or whoever his boss is simply has no idea how to run a magic library.
  • For example, the Ancient One’s private stock of occult literature is not hidden in a secret vault, or turned invisible, or protected by giant, fanged bookworms.
  • They’re chained to a bike rack in the middle of the room, and not even with mystical chains.
  • Chains.
  • Like the Ancient One went to Home Depot and they cut her a length.
  • The Orb of Agomotto is also sitting in the middle of the room, and they try to slip in some bullshit about “the relic choosing the owner,” but I think this is just a case of lax security.
  • Plus–PLUS–the library has apparently had no protection spells cast over it whatsoever.
  • The magicians in Doctor Strange can create portals between places, and not with any great effort: it is literally the first trick that Strange learns.
  • Wong won’t give him a book he wants, so Strange zaps a little portal between his room and the library and grabs the book.
  • You have to be shitting me.
  • What kind of magic library is this that you can just blip in and out of?
  • The whole movie is about how Tilda Swinton and the rest of the magicians protect the world from the Dark Dimensions, but someone who has been learning spells for two weeks can apparate into the room where all the important books are kept?
  • We learn in the next scene that what Doctor Strange did was against the rules.
  • Rules?
  • Are we using the honor system, Doctor Strange?
  • It’s against the rules to steal money from a bank, too, but they still lock the doors.
  • Get your shit together, Wong.

Thoughts On Captain America: Civil War

  • What’s so civil about war, anyway?
  • So much punching, and of things you would not think punchable: faces wrapped in super-armor, or German planes, or concrete support columns.
  • Also many pretty people, and not just pretty white people: there are three black guys in the film, and they play two best friends and an African guy.
  • That’s progress, I guess.
  • I suppose I should say SPOILERS at this point, but…well, wait: even explaining why there aren’t any spoilers might be construed as spoilerific, so if you haven’t seen it yet and want to go in utterly clueless, then you gotta go.
  • They gone?
  • Superman dies.
  • I’m kidding: that was the other movie about heroes who are actually terrible people punching one another.
  • Okay, so: this is not a Captain America movie.
  • Cap was the star of his first movie, but the past two have been Avengers movies; this is not a bad thing, as the character is not as interesting as Iron Man or Spidey, nor does he have a cool location and supporting players like Thor does.
  • So Marvel has chosen (wisely) to make Captain America more of a through-line than a lead character; he gets the most screen time, but just barely.
  • There are ten Marvel heroes in this film, four of whom have solo movie careers, and so the scene where Cap goes to the mall and is dazzled by the all the new gadgets gets cut early.
  • (Plus, he’s got out of that ice almost ten years ago at this point; he should be caught up by now.)
  • Black Panther has a large sub-plot because his movie is coming out next year, and so does Bucky; Spider-Man (and the new, hot Aunt May) gets his introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe plus a big role in the climactic fight scene; the relationship developing between Vision and Scarlet Witch is given several scenes: there’s a lot packed into the two-and-a-half hours.
  • Hawkeye is back.
  • Yay.
  • Anyway: the plot.
  • Um.
  • Huh.
  • Robert Downey, Jr. wants Captain America to sign something that makes super-heroing legal?
  • Cap’s like “Nuh-uh.”
  • And they don’t punch each other yet, but you can tell they want to.
  • Stuff blows up in a foreign country.
  • William Hurt is tall.
  • Stuff blows up in a different foreign country.
  • Robert Downey, Jr. and Captain America assemble their teams, starting with their black best friends.
  • Punching.
  • Paul Rudd seems to be in a different movie than everyone else.
  • Absolutely nothing is resolved, but the larger plot is moved forward, maybe.
  • Ta-da?
  • Remember Bucky?
  • They just put his crazy ass back into cryo-sleep at the end.
  • Maybe he’ll become a Guardian of the Galaxy.
  • And nobody died, though the movie does pretend to cripple Don Cheadle; Robert Downey, Jr. has already built him a robot exo-suit that fits under his clothes and it will never be mentioned again.
  • Cap and Black Widow and Falcon and Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye and Ant-Man (I am a grown man talking about other grown-ups) are now on the run; maybe they will go back to Hawkeye’s farm like in the second Avengers movie because that was so much fun.
  • Scarlet Witch is played by the Olsen Twins, and she has done something about the accent from the last movie, which could only be described as “foreign.”
  • She didn’t take classes or practice or anything: she just stopped doing the accent, and now the character is from California.
  • In the comics, she and Vision fell in love and married, and it looks like they’re going that way in the films.
  • Vision has a robot dick.
  • Paul Bettany, however, might be the MVP of the movie: the Vision is a potentially film-ruining character; he’s an android wearing a sweater; Bettany makes the humanity of the android come through.
  • Good for you, Paul Bettany.
  • A lot of the actors have prominent noses.
  • Noticed it halfway through and then couldn’t stop seeing it.
  • The noses don’t stand out because these are all very attractive people, except for Jeremy Renner, but some tremendous schozzes.
  • Okay, but why were they fighting again?
  • Where did you come from?
  • I’m always here.
  • Sure, but I already recapped the plot.
  • You did not.
  • Lemme try again: a creepy German guy we later learn is Baron Zemo framed Bucky for killing Black Panther’s father.
  • Why?
  • The German guy was from Sokovia, the pretend city that the Avengers destroyed fighting Ultron in the last movie and some of his family died.
  • So he decided to become a criminal mastermind?
  • And Bucky murdered Robert Downey, Jr.s’ parents.
  • Does that makes sense?
  • Maybe, but let me get back to whatever it is I was doing; if someone wants to pay me to write a review, then I will, but I’m not thinking about this dopey nonsense for free, and I’m certainly not looking up the stuff I forgot.
  • Good attitude.
  • Thank you.
  • As regards to the actual plot and the machinations of the villain’s schemes: I am the wrong person to ask about not just this film, but any; any movie more complicated than Run, Lola, Run is a total hodgepodge to me, at least the first time around.
  • You know those movies where people double-cross each other?
  • I have never understood a single one of them.
  • Spider-Man showed up, as we all know, and they are setting him up as Tony Stark’s protegĂ© or something; also, he is now twelve years old.
  • He was funny, though; that’s one of the things they always get wrong about him.
  • There was jumping and webbing and kicking: he was a Spider-Mannish boy.
  • Give the Marvel movies this over the DC stuff: since the Avengers got together, the main storyline has been the response to them and their constant fucking up.
  • New York was the doing of one of their brothers, Sokovia got fucked up when the super-intelligent death robot that Robert Downey, Jr. built decided to live there, and–in the last Cap movie–several Helicarriers crashed into D.C.
  • The “No Super-Heroes” position is a solid one: these people are terrible neighbors, and worse visitors.
  • “Sorry we destroyed your downtown, but our human tank had to fight our giant green ragemonster. Yes, I said ‘our’ both times, as both of them are Avengers. We’re the good guys.”
  • And the movie does do it as truthfully as a movie about pretty people in silly outfits punching one another can do: Alfre Woodard plays the mother of someone killed in Sokovia, which seems unfair.
  • Alfre Woodard’s a serious actress.
  • (But, you know: she probably shot her scenes in a few days and received a lovely check, so good for Alfre.)
  • There was quite a bit of action, so those of you expecting a gentle comedy of manners will be disappointed.
  • I don’t even know where you’d get that idea, quite frankly.
  • All of the characters action in their own way: Black Panther has cool retractable claws, and Ant-Man does his size-changing thing, and Black Widow leaps at soldiers crotch-first.
  • Although the directors, the Russo directors, have made the choice to shoot the action sequences in a style that might be called “violently undulating.”
  • It’s not quite Paul Greengrass-level shaky-cam, but the point of view moves both with and independently of the characters with a fierce intent.
  • If there’s a problem with the movie, it’s one that’s intrinsic to any team-up movie (or comic, for that matter): the range of powers within the group assembled is so large as to make some of them irrelevant.
  • You’ve got to make the incredibly powerful characters (Vision) weaker, and the scrubs (Hawkeye, Falcon, Widow) stronger.
  • This is because of the First Rule Of Super-Hero Films: there needs to be a fist-fight.
  • Shooting computer graphics at each other is fine, and so is tossing computer-generated dump trucks, but in the third act, there needs to be a fist-fight.
  • Which means you end up with Hawkeye lasting more than two seconds with Black Panther, and this would not happen: not only is the Black Panther a better fighter than Hawkeye, he might be a better archer, too.
  • And dopiness like Vision engaging in a punch-up.
  • He’s a synthezoid super-intelligence who can control his own mass and has an Infinity Gem for a bindi: he doesn’t get in fist-fights.
  • The effects are as good as you would assume, and the heroes had weight and grit to them; nothing looked shiny, and no rubbery faces; plus–and I mention this frequently–Marvel’s movies take place during sunny days, so they can’t hide shitty CG with rain and darkness.
  • (There is one scene where it rains, but it had to rain, because Robert Downey, Jr. was very sad.)
  • The sound was also good enough that I noticed it: the punches (have I mentioned there were punches?) land with a huge and percussive PLAMP.
  • To sum up, I enjoyed this Super-Hero Product, and would recommend it to others; I also enjoyed the commercial before the movie for the upcoming Super-Hero Product starring Bensonhedges Coffestump and plan on consuming that one, too.

Weaving Spiders Come Here

DEEP BREATH

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

FUCK YOU, SUPER-MURDERER AND BATPERVERT! QUEENS’ FAVORITE SON IS BACK WHERE HE BELONGS!

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