Okay, so ever since the teaser trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever dropped, I have been obsessed with Namor the Sub-Mariner. Who’s that? This guy:
I mean, how could I not? He’s a very handsome dude who has pointy ears and ankle-wings, wears Casino Royale-esque green swim trunks and a bunch of jewelry, and radiates the intensity of a thousand burning suns. What’s not to like?
What I really like about him, though, is that he just seems so highly specific.
Okay, okay, I read VICE’s article, “The Marvel Cinematic Universe Is Not Art,” today. I mean, the title is clearly clickbait, and the whole article itself is a lot of gatekeeping. And it draws an elitist line between “art” and “content” without really telling us what art should be. It reads like the screed of an angry 40-something guy who really wanted to insult the MCU and everyone who’s ever watched one of its films. And looking at the author Patrick Marlborough’s Twitter page, it seems like he is an angry 40-something guy who wants us all to leave the MCU and Star Wars behind and…watch Mad Men? Uh, okay, Patrick.
SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Doctor Strange, and What If…?.
Yes, I know I still need to react to the finale of Moon Knight, but I need to talk about Multiverse of Madness first. While it’s not exactly a bad film, it’s not Character First (a phrase that Kevin Feige has said before) like MCU films usually are. Instead, the concept and the images came first, so this film felt extremely shallow compared to other recent MCU efforts. My sister said MoM is basically the Cars 2 of the MCU. And she’s right.
See, when I heard that Sam Raimi was directing this film, I was hoping we’d get Spider-Man Sam Raimi. He created the model for the 21st century superhero film. But instead, we got Evil Dead and Army of Darkness Sam Raimi, who prefers to have shallow character development that supports his pulpy horror story and images. We also got Spider-Man 3 Sam Raimi, who wants to do as many things as possible in one film and ends up barely scratching the surface of the concepts he’s trying to tackle.
My brother told me recently that some people on the internet believe that Carol Danvers should fight Yon-Rogg at the end of Captain Marvel. When he told me that, my immediate reaction was “NOPE. NOPENOPENOPE.”
Why did I react so negatively to that idea? Because Carol fighting Yon-Rogg (the man who manipulated and gaslit her for six years) one-on-one would completely defeat one of the movie’s major points.
And what is that point? That Carol doesn’t have to conform to Yon-Rogg’s rules or standards. She makes her rules and her own decisions. She will no longer deal with his or anyone else’s gaslighting.
Resolving Carol’s story with a one-on-one fight with her supposed mentor would only conform to straight white fanboys’ expectations for how heroes’ origin stories must resolve. But Captain Marvel is a movie that actively defies their expectations, which part of the reason that those members of the MCU fandom don’t like this movie very much. Let’s break down why Carol’s refusal to fight Yon-Rogg one-on-one is the right decision for this narrative’s conclusion.
SPOILERS for Netflix’s Fear Street: 1994.There may also be spoilers for some of the original Fear Street books, which I read five bazillion years ago.
Gah, okay, I just watched Fear Street: 1994, and I am SO HAPPY! I loved the Fear Street books when I was in my tweens and early teens, and some of the stuff from those books still lives rent-free in my head*. When I found out Netflix was adapting Fear Street, I started freaking out with excitement. Now that I’ve watched the first of the three installments, I’m even more excited! They did a great job of adapting and updating the book series’ mythos of Shadyside, that ever-cursed town, without adapting any of the books directly.
*Thanks to the 99 Fear Street trilogy, I had an irrational fear of garbage disposals that lasted into my mid-twenties. I could use garbage disposals, but I always had images in my head of someone getting their hand stuck in one. Thanks for that, R.L. Stine!
Before I break down what I loved about Fear Street: 1994, I want to talk about why I loved the books so much. They were the pulpy horror books that I devoured. I was never really into Goosebumps, but Fear Street was just the young adult (YA) series I needed when I was waiting for the rest of the Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events books to be released. Yes, there was a time when readers were still waiting for HP and ASoUE books to be published. Anyway, Fear Street was a series about the residents of Shadyside, a town where citizens tended to die at an alarming rate. As the books progressed, they became more about curses and ghosts and witchcraft, particularly with The Fear Street Saga trilogy and Fear Street Sagas, both of which combined pulpy horror with (probably not that accurate) historical fiction. The characters were pretty much always teenagers, and they often got into crazy horror/supernatural dealings. I always cared enough about the protagonists that I hoped they would survive. Mostly, they did, but a few weren’t that lucky. It was a great series for someone who was just beginning to have a more teenage view of the world. Also, most of the books had been published by the time I discovered the series, so I didn’t have to wait for anything!
Okay, now that I’m done babbling about the book series, let’s dig into why Fear Street: 1994 is fantastic:
SPOILERS for Star Wars – Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. ALL OF THE SPOILERS.
I really enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker. In fact, I loved it. However, I know that the Star Wars fanbase won’t like it because not all of their questions were answered, and because it won’t make sense with the continuity and backstory laid out in various tie-in materials that only the most hardcore fans care about. It also doesn’t give logical explanations for certain things that I’ll mention below the cut because SPOILERS.
But you know what? I think that’s completely acceptable because Star Wars doesn’t need to make sense to be an effectively told story. Why? Because Star Wars is a modern mythos.
Okay, we’ll get into the spoilers after the cut, and just so I don’t spoil anyone before the cut with images, here’s Baby Yoda:
Anyway, I want to talk about why Star Wars has stayed culturally relevant for the past 40 years. It’s not because of any internal logic or strict adherence to continuity. Only a vocal minority of Star Wars fans care about those qualities and judge the stories by them. No, Star Wars has stayed relevant because it taps into both universal storytelling strengths and cultural anxieties, which is what all good myths do.
Today I read Alison Herman “As Disney+ Looms, ‘The Boys’ Is Sweet Relief”, and I have a few issues with the points she tries to make. Her article falls into some of the common critical pitfalls that I have covered in other posts: mainly the idea that you’re somehow superior (and even kind of oppressed) if you don’t like the big, inescapable mainstream thing that’s really popular for whatever reason. She also tries to narrow the satire of Amazon’s The Boys into being just a critique of Disney’s acquisition of massive franchises in recent years, and she also makes brief generalizations about Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman without taking into account what their adaptations mean for female representation in blockbuster film.
This post features SPOILERS for both Season 1 of The Umbrella Academy and the DCEU film SHAZAM!.
I’ve started noticing that Western visual media really likes using Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” for high-energy sequences. It’s popped up in no less than two TV commercials that I’ve seen since the release of Bohemian Rhapsody last November. One commercial featured the people in the ad singing it while walking, running, or doing other high-energy things, while the other one used the original recording with Freddie Mercury’s vocals. It’s also apparently showed up in works like Shaun of the Dead for action scenes. My new favorite Netflix obsession, The Umbrella Academy, uses it for an action scene in this way, while the new DCEU film SHAZAM! uses “Don’t Stop Me Now” for a comical superhero training montage. I bring this up because I think one of these two uses of the song works better than the other, and I want to talk about why that is.
First of all, which characters do these scenes involve, and what are they doing?