November 9th, 2013
Guest-posting at Alyssa Rosenberg's blog, Max Gladstone wants us to Meet The Real Loki:
Let's talk Loki. Norse myths are some of the world's craziest, and while the good folks at Marvel have given us two solid cinematic Lokis so far, and look set to deliver a third, there's a lot of Loki that never makes it on screen.
You see, Loki's a weird character in the Norse pantheon. He's not evil always, or for its own sake – this is something Marvel's first Thor movie got right. He is, however, tricksy. And vengeful. And too smart for his own good. In Norse myths, Loki's as likely to take up the role of "only Norse god who can think his way out of a paper bag" as he is to present as "archenemy of Thor and all that is holy."
With that out of the way, here is one of my personal favorite Loki tales. Feel free to imagine the Triple-H of Hiddleston, Hemsworth, and Hopkins in the central roles below if that tickles your fancy.
Okay, so. Back at the beginning of time, the gods wanted a fortress. But no one wants to build a fortress themselves! The gods remain stymied until a nameless workman wanders into Valhalla and gives Odin an offer: "I'm really good at building fortresses, and in fact I'll build one for you – if you pay me with the sun, the moon, and Freia, goddess of beauty."
This being the beginning of time, Odin hadn't heard this particular scam before. [...]
Given the way Loki resolves the problem in this legend, I don't think we are going to see Tom Hiddleston acting it out in Thor 3, but I'd be delighted to be wrong about that.
July 20th, 2013
I can't believe I failed to notice Michael Bay's Rejected "The Dark Knight" Script when it first appeared:
EXT. A HIGHWAY – DAY
The Batmobile is gunning down the highway at over 200 miles per hour, weaving through traffic. Every time BATMAN is about to crash into a civilian, the camera enters ultra slow motion and we see him barely squeeze by, frame by frame. This happens seventeen times.
As BATMAN whizzes by cars, he attracts the attention of a young passenger in a nearby vehicle.
Mommy, mommy, look! Look!
Stop shouting, I'm trying to drive!
(watching the Batmobile)
The Batmobile races off into the distance. Finally, BATMAN catches up to the JOKER's zeppelin.
[Via DirtyOldTown, commenting at MetaFilter]
April 17th, 2013
The latest trailer for Man of Steel looks pretty damned good.
Trouble is, Zack Snyder's films often have impressive-looking trailers; it's only when you get into cinema that you find out how badly the plot falls short of the visuals. Then again, David S Goyer is pretty good at writing comic book movies, and goodness knows they've had enough examples of what not to do. Eventually they have to get Superman right on the big screen again. Why not in 2013?
[Via Mightygodking dot com]
October 8th, 2012
From the Desk of Director Nick Fury:
The agents responsible for taking Captain Rogers to a screening of Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds', and convincing him that was how the war ended, have been identified, and have forfeited their furlough time until they provide him with a proper History textbook and debrief him.
September 20th, 2012
Consider this a job application: S.H.I.E.L.D.E.D.
Nice cameo at the end from Agent Benson.
[Via feeling listless]
July 21st, 2012
I think it's fair to say that The Dark Knight Rises evades the three-films-is-one-too-many curse that befell Spider-Man and Blade and the X-Men. It's a long film but didn't feel like one. It deserves to be written about at length: a task I don't have time for right now, but which I think we can rely upon the internet to take care of over the next few days.
Given how nicely the end of this film took care to geg some characters to where they wanted/needed to be and setting up fresh challenges for others, I'd say Christopher Nolan has earned the right to walk away from the series with his head held high, mission accomplished.
It's going to hurt a lot five or six years from now, when Warner/DC hand the franchise over to Zack Snyder to reboot.
June 25th, 2012
The Microscale Sci-fi LEGO contest involves various surprisingly effective minimalist depictions of scenes from science fiction (and superhero) films and TV shows.
My favourites are Tron (1982) and 1.21 Gigawatts.
May 24th, 2012
An Unbiased Review of the Marvel "Avengers" Movie:
Once again, Loki's true plan, which succeeded, was pure genius, and cunningly designed as a terrible plan which failed. Yet sophistication of his scheme has declined in complexity so radically since his elegant and subtly-worked plan to destroy Bifrost and fake his own death in the "Thor" film that the viewer is left wondering what happened? Was he distracted when he came up with this plan? Further research into the "Marvel Universe" led me to several alternatives. Is he simultaneously waging another battle in the Astral Plane, or the Mojoverse, which requires the majority of his attention? Perhaps we are to believe that this was a cry for attention? This would be consistent with the focus on his youth and desire for respect, treated in both films (though smelling more like a ruse than truth in both). Perhaps we are to believe he was so frustrated that no one noticed the brilliant success of his earlier scheme that this time he has dialed down the subtlety in hopes that at least some of the supposed-genius members of the adversary squad might piece together the logic chain: "Loki is an unmatched genius. This plan is dumb. Therefore this is not Loki's plan."
[Via More Words, Deeper Hole]
May 13th, 2012
Junaid Chundrigar's animation Disassembled goes beyond the cast of a certain current blockbuster, featuring all sorts of non-Avengers. I loved the … um … cartoonish nature of Thor's encounter with Loki and the sight of Venom trying to enjoy an ice cream. Good work, strongly recommended.
May 9th, 2012
In the midst of a discussion on the merits of
Marvel's The Avengers Assemble, fridgepunk came up with the greatest idea I've read in a long time:
The important thing to take away from the Avengers is that the studios have an example to point to that shows that having five movie prologues that lead up to the eventual Big group movie totally works as an approach.
Roll on the Machine Man, Captain Marvel, Elsa Bloodstone: Monster Hunter, Boom Boom and Captain ☠☠☠☠ movies that lead into the inevitable Nextwave movie.
May 3rd, 2012
Joss Whedon's having a pretty good year. As if seeing The Cabin in the Woods finally arrive in cinemas wasn't enough, now he's gone and delivered Avengers Assemble.
In comics, superhero team-ups and crossovers can work extremely well when done right, but they have the advantage of being able to spread their (frequently ludicrously complicated) back-stories over multiple issues. Fitting half a dozen major characters into 140 minutes of film, giving them all something to do, and keeping the audience on board and entertained is a neat trick, but one Whedon pulled off beautifully. We got just enough information about who the main characters were and what they were capable of to bring those of us who hadn't seen all of the lead-in films up to speed, and then the fun really started.
When I say 'fun', I of course mean crisis, tension, clashes between characters, conflicting motivations and all that good stuff, mixing big action scenes and little character moments and the odd belly laugh, all to keep the audience entertained.
And then we come to the big battle at the end, when our heroes find themselves outnumbered and outgunned and needing to work together just to stay in the fight. It's beautifully choreographed, coherent and hugely satisfying.
Unless you're allergic to the very idea of superhero stories being told straight, you're likely to have a hell of a good time with Avengers Assemble. Marvel took a big risk in trying to make the Avengers work on the big screen, and Joss Whedon has made it pay off about as well as it possibly could have.
Finally, three random thoughts:
- All the main cast members gave good performances, with Tom Hiddleston's Loki coming second only to Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner. I'd happily sign a petition to have Mark Ruffalo digitally inserted into the two earlier Hulk films in place of Eric Bana and Edward Norton. Ruffalo was just outstanding in this, not least for providing the entire audience with two huge laughs late in the film.
- You definitely want to stay in your seat once the credits start rolling. You needn't stay right until the very last credit appears, but there is a mid-credit return to the story that provides a delicious reveal for anyone familiar with the comics.
- Now can we have a She-Hulk film, please? Preferably directed by Joss Whedon, and based on Dan Slott's Single Green Female storyline.
October 27th, 2011
MightyGodKing reminds me that it's been far too long since I last watched Kayhryn Bigelow's Strange Days:
[...] Strange Days is great for reasons other than its often impressive precognitive abilities. It's got Angela Bassett in what I would argue is her definitive movie role and one of the baddest-ass female action hero roles ever, which by itself makes the entire catalogue of Angelina Jolie look wussy. It teaches us the secret of making Juliette Lewis tolerable, which is to have her sing rather than speak (seriously: the movie's major flaw is that Lewis' appeal to Ralph Fiennes is only evident when she's singing). It has a killer supporting cast: Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D'onofrio, William Fichtner, Glenn Plummer. It has an absolutely fantastic soundtrack that sounded in 1993 like what the future of music would sound like, and to an extent still does. It has one of the most beautiful and heartfelt endings I've ever seen in a movie, and begins with what I still hold up to be one of the greatest cold opens in film history (which, lest we forget, was filmed long before lightweight digital cameras were available, and thus had to be filmed entirely on full-sized Steadicams)
I'd have said that Tina Turner was Angela Bassett's definitive role, but would add that I reckon that her definitive role should have been Storm. I've nothing against Halle Berry, but failing to cast Angela Bassett was a horrible missed opportunity for all concerned IMHO.
August 8th, 2011
James McAvoy/Professor Xavier, arguing for the benefits of peaceful coexistence in X-Men: First Class – The Abridged Script…
EXT. CIA HEADQUARTERS
I'm glad I found you, Michael. Together you can help me steer this narrative towards the day I envision, when all the X-Men movies can co-exist in peace as one harmonious franchise.
I think you're being naïve, James. Those other movies will always resent the enhanced acting powers of this one, and always find new inconsistencies and contradictions within the series to hold against us. And anyway, why should we go to such lengths to try and fit in with their continuity, what with its toads-struck-by-lightning riddles, entire X-teams quaking helplessly when faced with a wall of water, and whatever the hell that third movie was?
What do you suggest instead?
We could embrace the inherent superiority of this movie, reboot the series and control the whole narrative ourselves! It would be Inglourious!… I mean, glorious!
And just wipe out all the events of all the other movies? How can you say that?
In a voice that in no way evokes that of a young Ian McKellen, THAT'S how!
Michael, I sympathize, but you're confused by having been isolated, running around the world making scenes way more entertaining than anything the rest of us have been doing. Trust me, we CAN make all the X-Men movies work together, and it will be the best for everyone.
All right, James, we'll try it your way, at least for now.
You do realize that given the ages of our characters' actors in "X-Men" we're both at least ten years too old, right?
Oh, piss off.
February 20th, 2011
December 8th, 2010
Batman quote of the week:
Batman on It's A Wonderful Life: "You know, I've never seen that. I could never get past the title."
September 14th, 2010
Speed Dating in the Marvel Universe:
You look great, but I've got to tell you, I haven't exactly had a lot of luck with blondes. I mean, really, I haven't had good luck with redheads or brunettes either, but blondes, yeesh. Well here's hoping you're the one I finally get lucky with! Wait, no, I mean… not lucky like that, just lucky that you don't fall off a… can we start over? Okay. Well, I'm sort of between jobs and that makes getting the rent pretty hard, but it's like I always say, action is my reward, and I get plenty of action. I mean, fighty-type action! Not lady-action! That's…Wow. I'm actually so bad at this that my Spider-Sense is tingling.
Wait, I — no! Come back! That wasn't a euphemism!
[Via James Nicoll]
February 17th, 2009
November 7th, 2008
Nathan Rabin enthuses over The Rocketeer, one of those films I just have to sit down and watch on the odd occasions when it shows up on Sunday afternoon TV:
The Rocketeer's plot concerns a glistening, alluringly mammary-like rocket-pack developed by Howard Hughes; it falls into the hands of mobsters, then gets discovered by hotshot flyboy Campbell and mentor Arkin. Campbell is immediately fascinated. What red-blooded American boy wouldn't want a jetpack of his own? [...]
Campbell uses the jetpack to become costumed adventurer The Rocketeer. Of course, by superhero standards, The Rocketeer is kinda lame. He doesn't shoot fireballs or have X-ray vision or superpowers or titanium skin. He's just a handsome guy with a rocket pack. But rocket packs are so inherently awesome that they make other superpowers unnecessary. Like the simpatico Superman, The Rocketeer beautifully exploits mankind's eternal longing to fly. There's a reason people dream about flying and not filing their taxes.
Granted, the special effects in The Rocketeer weren't particularly special even in their day, but that's not such a big deal: it certainly helps to have convincing SFX work, but any halfway worthwhile superhero film is remembered for the characters and storyline and performances anyway. Happily, The Rocketeer had the benefit of a sharp script whose writers knew exactly the tone to aim for, fine performances from the likes of Timothy Dalton, Jennifer Connelly, Terry O'Quinn, Alan Arkin and Paul Sorvino, and (crucially) a bunch of Nazis as the villains. Even mobsters hate Nazis!
As it turned out, all that wasn't enough to create a Rocketeer franchise, but it did make for a highly entertaining couple of hours.