The World Isn’t Ending, its just Godzilla

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I saw Godzilla 1 1/2 times this weekend. What? How did I pull that one off? Well, see, I went to see it on Friday night, so excited. I was really into the movie. Loving it, and an hour and half in. Boom, fire alarm. Building evacuation. So, while my brain was pumped full of adrenaline from watching a giant lizard monster ravage Honolulu, I’m being evacuated into the rain. I was not happy. And I was, frankly, terrified.

Turns out the mall was fine and I got to go back and watch the whole movie Sunday afternoon (or at any time of my choosing.) And I got to watch the whole movie.

The second time I watched the first half? All I could think was, “God, Legendary Pictures makes damn good flicks!” That’s what they are, by the way, these things that Legendary makes. Not movies. Not films. They make flicks. Old fashioned, sit on the edge of your seat, eat popcorn, and feel primal feelings and enjoy simple stories flicks.

Godzilla is right up there with some of their best. Oh it doesn’t challenge you like Inception, but it’ll redefine genre (hopefully) the way that The Dark Knight Knight did.

It probably won’t surprise you that I spend a lot of time thinking about The Bomb. Or maybe it will. I don’t know. But I think about it a lot. It’s a weird thing for Americans, the weighing of what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and like many of the things in our history that we’re not super sure about, we tend to bury it, forget about it and keep on moving.

That’s not what the Japanese did. The Bomb shaped their entire post war culture in a very big way. And nine years after The Bombs were dropped, we got Godzilla. A monster, a natural force so destructive, so impossible that there was no way to deal with it. Only get out of the way.

Sixty years later, we have this. Godzilla is one of those movies that gets me really excited, because it decided to simply be what it wants to be. A simple story about how people deal with an uncontrolable giant lizard monster that’s going to eat San Francisco. The movie gets it’s heart from two sources, the Brody family, (To name your protagonist in your monster film “Brody” is so insanely gutsy, the movie automatically gains points with me.) and Godzilla Scientist Dr. Ichiro Serizawa. (That this is a universe where a man’s resume can read “Godzilla Scientist” is a worthwhile detail.) The Brodys, represented by father Joe (Bryan Cranston, doing what he does best, delivering electrifying speeches and wearing a gas mask) and son Ford (the truly adorable, Aaron Taylor-Johnson) had their world rocked when a MUTA (Mothra, by any other name) cocooned in the nuclear power plant where Joe was cheif engineer. Ford’s mother (Named Sandra, and played by the ever flawless Juliette Binoche) died during the event and Joe spent the next fifteen years trying to prove that there was something going on that day. Ford, meanwhile moved forward. (America…) He joined the Navy, disarmed bombs, married a nurse named Elle and they had a son. Ford is drawn back into his father’s work and then crosses paths with Serizawa (Ken Wattanabe, who is, thankfully, the first person to utter the name, “Godzilla.”) on his quest to get back to his family in the wake of the disaster.

Following Ford is worthwhile enough, although I think I would have preferred Serizawa as the main protagonist. And not just because there’s pretty much no one who plays the kind of high camp that Godzilla needs to the level of Wattanabe. And frankly, the idea of this man, who spent his entire life hoping to catch a glimpse of the monster and then when he does it’s even more terrible and beautiful than he could have imagined? That’s a far more interesting story. But the one we get is still pretty great. Godzilla and The MUTAs are stunningly rendered bits of CGI glory and the actors and script service their battles in the best possible ways. (I’m trying really hard not to spoil because the element of surprise is key in this sort of thing.) It’s an affecting film, and does it’s job well. It also made more money than even I would have thought this weekend. So my guess, knowing Legendary, some time, carefully in the next few months, probably at Comic Con, there will be an announcement of Godzilla 2, and discussion of sequelizing Pacific Rim. (Also I’d bet my hat that Chris Hardwick gets to make the announcement…)

So, rankings? I don’t think that this’ll come as a surprise to anyone but here we go.

  1. Godzilla
  2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Now, trailers!

How To Train Your Dragon 2: I really, badly can’t wait to see this movie. It looks so stinking adorable. I love Hiccup. I love Toothless, I love their world. I also love that they’ve aged Hiccup appropriately, rather than simply picking up where the last movie left off. I think it’ll be good. I enojyed both Despicable Me 2 and Shrek 2, so I don’t see why this outing will be different. Except it has Jay Baruchel who I have a big ol’ crush on.

Transformers: Age of Extinction: God, it looks really dumb, but in a super good way. I love that we’re supposed to buy that Wahlberg is from Texas. It’s adorable. And the line “I think we found a transformer!” God, it’s so dumb. But so good!

Jupiter Ascending: Holy shit y’all! The Wachowskis are nuts and it looks like for the first time since The Matrix, they’re putting that nuttiness to the kind of good work they should. Do I want to watch Mila Kunis as an interstellar Queen fighting for her birthright? This will probably be my new favorite movie. Or it will be a complete disaster and I’ll be really sad. Either way, I think I’m going to feel strongly about it.

Edge of Tomorrow: Everytime I see this trailer or any TV spots for this movie I think, “How badly did John Barrowman hope that Tom Cruise passed on this one?” It’s seriously about a guy who dies over and over again to save the world? I’m just saying…

Maleficent: OK, we get it, “Once Upon A Dream” can be creepy! But I do really want to see this. Like, really, really.

And finally

Insterstellar: Guys, I mean, guys, right? Totally. Right. This movie is going to be ten levels of awesome. Another great flick from Legendary.

Next week, X-Men: Days of Future Past. I figure I won’t even have to worry about salted popcorn, because I will be crying so much there will be more than enough salt for everyone.

Arya Stark: Character Winner for “Mockingbird”

A lot of cool things happened in “Mockingbird” and a lot of it was really great. Oberyn agreeing to be Tyrion’s champion, Brienne and Podrick talking to one of Arya’s little friends, Jon Snow being told for the millionth time that he’s “a steward,” and Dany and Daario getting it on, and of course all that stuff with Petyr, Sansa, Lysa and The Moon Door. But no one really had enough screen time to totally dominate, which means that the most satisfying moment is who was going to get the win. Arya Stark

And that obviously went to Arya. And I’m not talking about her driving Needle through the heart of that douche bag who wants to sword rape her way back when or whatever, although that was pretty stinking amazing, I’m talking about when she offered to sew up and treat The Hound’s wounds.

I haven’t given Arya the win, because this is basically her “Darkest Timeline” moment. I’ve read the books, I know that her storyline is about to get a whole lot epic and a whole lot more weird, which is kind of why as much as I like “Arya and The Hound’s Road Adventures” because I know where this is going. (Trying so hard not to spoil) I also know that it’s just a diversion, so it’s hard to appreciate on it’s own. But this week, we were reminded that despite her growing bitterness and difficulties, Arya still has a that brave strong, Stark heart, with it’s love of fair play and loyalty. A more ruthless person would have simply let The Hound bleed to death or get an infection. Instead, Arya offers to help. She listens to his story of woe and offers to help again.

It’s really something special and if they decide to follow Arya’s through-line in the books, this will truly be something special.

Oberyn obviously gets runner up, because by The Seven, was that a great speech he gave in Tyrion’s cell.

But as it stands, Lady Arya Stark, The Ghost Of Harrenhall, congratulations on your win today. It’s well earned. (If I had done this last season, I would have given you many more wins.)

Marvel Comics Wrap Up: 5/14/2014

Yesterday I noted that I bought too many books this week. The good news? I’ve decided that I really don’t like reading X-Men. I just don’t. So, no more X-Men books. That’ll save me time/energy/money. But let’s pick up and move right into this weeks reading. Nothing hit me quite as much as She-Hulk did last week, but I still enjoyed myself. And we got to check in with the Guardians. Which I’m always up for.

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Captain Marvel #3: “Higher, Further, Faster, More”

About three weeks ago I decided that I want Marvel Studios to give Captain Marvel to Rob Thomas, and for Carol Danvers to be played by Kristin Bell. Think about it. Anyway, I loved this issue and I realized that I wanted to read Captain Marvel because I love Miss Marvel so much…it’s a long and tortuous process. Anyway, Carol is trying to reclaim her ship from a teenager who stole it, with the help of Star-Lord. She brings the kid home to her refugee people. Turns out, Carol was on the wrong side of this one, or it’s more complicated than she thought and now she’s going to really help these people save themselves from some deadly disease that’s killing them. I’m looking forward to it. (Also the cuteness between Carol and Peter is great. Even if Peter is still totally hot for Kitty Pryde)

Cyclops #1

I don’t know why out of all of the original X-Men who have been hurtled forward through time, they decided to give Scott his own book. I mean, look, I’m cool with intergalactic Daddy issues and everything, but this was taking things a little too far, even for my taste. I don’t want to watch teenage Cyclops write agnsty letters to teenage Jean Grey about how leaving her behind with his adult (disappointing) self was maybe not the best idea. (It wasn’t, but we  can get to that in All New X-Men). He space walks, his father worries about taking care of him, they go on a mission. I”m just not into this story line. Which is weird, because I normally love teenage angst, ah, well. Moving on.

All New X-Men #27

So why was it a bad idea for Scott to leave Jean? Not because in the last issue there was that weird moment between Teen Jean and Adult Scott last issue. But because it turns out when she gets annoyed Emma Frost is just going to bonk the poor girl on the head and also she’s going to get kidnapped by the abandoned son of Charles Xavier and Moira McTaggart…Look, I’m just not sold on this story line, and I’m letting it go. So, no more. We’re done.

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1

Half the point of The Ultimate Universe is that when people die there, they stay dead. So when they killed off Peter Parker, it was kind of a big deal. But I’ve always liked the idea of Miles in concept and now, in execution. Miles is dealing with that fact that his father took off when he told him he was Spider-Man and is trying to decide if telling his girlfriend is the best bet. So he of course decides that the person to talk to about this is Mary Jane Watson. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not a fan of MJ but the little speech she gives to Miles about how it’s important that he’s careful who he tells his secret too is lovely. But then Miles goes home. And he hears someone, thinks it’s his dad and it turns out that it’s Peter Parker! Does this mean that resurrection is now a thing in the Ultimates Universe? We’ll find out.

Captain America #20: “The Iron Nail”

I love Cap. He’s by far my favorite Marvel Superhero, and my third favorite after Batman and Nightwing. I love this book and I like the fact that Steve’s ultimate fantasy is a ticker tape parade that he watches with Sharon and Ian. (Who are dead, btw). So why was he having this fantasy? Some bad guys were brainwashing him. He fights back. He beats them. He’s sad. I just really liked this book. It was straightforward and a whole lot of fun. Which is more than I can say for the next book that I want to talk about.

Avengers #29: “Infinite Avengers”

I picked this one up because it was a part of Original Sin (I’ll be reading all of those books.) Basically, Cap has been having repeated nightmares, or possibly all of the Caps are having the same ones. I’m not exactly sure. Anyway, he discovers The Illuminati and their mission of invading and destroying other worlds. He doesn’t approve (shocking) and he and Tony have all kinds of arguments about it and it’s great. I’m not sure how this links in to Original Sin, but I’m glad that I picked it up.

Iron Man #25: “Rings of The Mandarin”

I’m sorry, I have like zero interest in watching Tony fly around fighting Dark Elves for Mandarin rings. (Which is what this issue does.) So, this one was probably a mistake. I’ve learned. There was some cool action and neat art, but not too much.

New Avengers #18

Remember those other world invasions that Cap was so opposed to? Here we saw the planning of one and it was pretty stinking great. As The Illuminati got ready to strike, they each prepared in their own way, but mainly, Black Panther communed with his ancestors and asked for their wisdom and if they thought he was doing the right thing. T’Challa is starting to grow on me in a big way, and I’m very glad to be getting to know him. These images were also stunning, really, the art in this book is exceptional.

Well, that’s this week. See you next week for more comics round up! The next few weeks will probably be shorter. Yay!

 

DC Comics Wrap Up: 5/14/2014

I went a little nuts this week you guys. I bought 8 books from each DC and Marvel, plus Eternal. Let me be clear. This is not ever happening again. I’m not going to keep reading Action Comics, or Doomed, but I wanted to take part in the event. But, I’m really tired. Like, really tired. Also I started going to the gym again this week. So, time that I could have spent reading comic books, I was running/attending Pure Barre classes. Also work, and Godzilla. And so much superhero TV news! HAVE YOU GUYS WATCHED THE FLASH TRAILER? FLASH FACT: BEST CAST EVER! But um, I’ll write about that next week. (probably, the week is filling up fast.)

Let’s get into the books, shall we?

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Batgirl #32: “The Wrath of Ragdoll”

God, I just love Batgirl so much. Not just Barbara, although I do, this book, this story. Her stupid not Dick boyfriend Ricky. Her idiot activist roommate, Alysia who keeps getting in over her head. All of it. I love it all so much. In this issue, Alysia is going to stink bomb a building, that it turns out belongs to Mr. Rain, (who tortured Babs and Poison Ivy, I remember things!) He hired a meta assassin known as The Ragdoll to kill the activists, and in some super scary horror movie stuff, he snuffs them one by one, and Barbara comes and saves Alysia. She also visits Ricky, who it turns out is suing Jim for shooting him. *sigh* poor Babs just can’t catch a break. It’s a real shame. Then Ragdoll killed his employers because apparently he doesn’t like animal abuse. I’m selling the book short, but I was too busy giggling and being happy because I just stinking love it so much.
Future’s End #2
The thing that I’m finding about Future’s End is that while I kind of like it, and kind of get it, I’m also like, “Ugh.” But #2 focused on Green Arrow’s funeral. He died when Firestorm decided to have sex with his girlfriend instead of go help Ollie on a call. Because of Brother Eye, all the other heroes knew what was happening and they were frankly, not thrilled about it. Especially Roy Harper, who decided to give an angry rant and try to fight about it. Now, Future’s End is supposed to take place 6 or so years after current continuity, but I’m curious what happens in that time to make Roy change enough to have such righteous anger. Last I checked in, he was wearing a trucker cap, boinking Starfire and make sarcastic quips. Jason had all the righteous anger. Maybe Jason died and is possessing Roy? That sounds like the kind of stupid but great crap that would go down in Red Hood And The Outlaws. Meanwhile, Terry fights a homeless man and continues to fight with his computer. MORE TERRY! I didn’t come here to listen to Animal Man make a speech about Oliver Queen’s innate nobility! I came here for Terry McGinnis!
Justice League United #1: Justice League Canada
I’m still not exactly sure what the deal with this book is. I really don’t know, but I love my little C list group (And Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow, who are solid B’s) I really like Stargirl and LOVE the sexual tension between Courtney and J’onn. And like any good fangirl that encounters them, I’m always rooting for Adam Strange and Alanna. They’re love is nice and fuctional (for people in a comic book), and I hope that they find each other, I’m sure that they will. Meanwhile Lobo and Hawkman fight, and it’s epic and pretty great. More C Listers who I love! Well, I don’t love Lobo, but he’s still pretty good.
Detective Comics #32: “Icarus Part II”
It’s a flashback. I was really bored. Look, I love Batman, but I got my Gotham fix from Batgirl and Eternal this week. It’s a decent story of both Bats and Bullock trying to track down a dirty drug that killed one of Bruce Wayne’s girlfriends. Also, Bullock thinks that Bruce did it. Alfred disapproves. I probably won’t pick this up again. It’s fine and I definitely enjoyed it (It’s a Batman story, I’m going to like it regardless) but since my obsessions of late have fallen more towards the Bat-family, than Bruce himself, I should have known that this one wasn’t going to be for me. But if watching Bats straight up detective shit is what you’re looking for, then by all means, read it.
World’s Finest #23: “Finding A Way Home”
Guys, Project Dorothy! I love that The New 52 had decided to hook up Power Girl and Huntress. (Also, did you guys see that Helena Bertinelli is going to be Dick’s partner in Grayson? Gah! I can’t wait for that book!) Anyway, Karen was threatening the scientists at Star Labs in order to get them working on a way back to Earth-2 (They’re from Earth-2 right?) and Helena was burgling MIT, for a power source of some kind. Then there was a blackout. Whatever, I enjoyed this. I really love the two of them. I don’t want them to go back to their world. I enjoy them here. I want to see their further adventurers in employee threatening and college robbing. Or whatever they decide to do. I mean, they call their homeward bound project “Project Dorothy!” It’s great.
Superman: Doomed #1, Superman/Wonder Woman #8 & Action Comics #31: The Doomsday Arc
It’s rarely a good idea to miss when Superman fights Doomsday, and I was looking forward to seeing what The New 52 did with the story even if it wound up being way too expensive. Basically rather than the traditional idea that Doomsday just dominates Supes, here he infects him so when he gets angry, Superman hulks out and becomes Doomsday. He beats up Wonder Woman, who’s just trying to save her boyfriend. Lana and Lois are there, and throw shade at Wonder Woman. Look, it’s a decent take on the story. I’m probably not going to keep reading it, but if it’s a light week, I’ll always pick up a Superman book.
Alright, see you guys tomorrow for Marvel!

 

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

It’s been a week since I went to go see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and I had a really hard time sitting down to write about it. (Hence why it took my a whole week.) I did post on Facebook, (on my personal account, so I’m not linking to it.) “If you’ve had a feeling that Carole King hasn’t written a song about, congratulations, you invented a new feeling.” So that was one way to go. The other thought that I had was, “Carole King’s Tapestry will never become outdated because white girls turn 15 every year, and Tapestry is always going to speak to 15 year old white girls.” The other thing that I couldn’t get out of my head was that Jake Epstein played Gerry Goffen, King’s first husband. Epstein played Craig Manning on Degrassi and I spent two years of my life (16-18) wanting to marry him. The show also used a lot of music written by Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, who are nowhere near as credited as “important” as King and Goffen but wrote “On Broadway” and “That Loving Feeling” among others. (I maintain to this day that if a man came up to me in a bar and sang “That Loving Feeling” a la Top Gun, I would shout “YOU ARE MY BOYFRIEND NOW!) I love that this show, about songs, and songwriters and music and how important those things are is up at The Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

So obviously, I had a lot to say about it and a lot of thoughts to organize, but none of them seemed to add up to a full post. Carole King’s music and her remarkable life story are incredible fodder for a musical. Things felt like they were missing, James Taylor, for instance is never even mentioned, despite the show’s opening and finale being King’s Carnegie Hall performance, which included their first ever duet performance of “You’ve Got A Friend” and then a 13 minute medley of the songs she wrote with Goffen. But his name didn’t even come up and it was confusing to me.

I also started thinking about the show itself resembled Funny Girl, and how King’s life resembled Fanny Brice’s (this, by the way is why I should never wait a whole week to write about something that moved me. I think about it way too much and start drawing lines that just weren’t there.) I also wept through the whole second act, but I feel like that’s a given at this point. If I’m at a Broadway show, I’m gonna cry. The end. I also then listened to nothing but Carole King for about 24 hours. And I’m still every day just about listening to the Beautiful version of “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” (Did you know that King and Goffen wrote that? I didn’t!)

But here we are, a week later, and the show is still with me, the songs have always been with me and I’m definitely over wanting to marry Jake Epstein. Although he’s been added to the “Wouldn’t he be a good Dick Grayson list?” That’s weird that if I see an actor I immediately assess that right? “How would this man fair as Nightwing?” Never Robin, always Nightwing…This is a weird line of thought. I’m going to abandon it. But I did want to throw it out there.

Anyway, back to Beautiful, it’s given me a lot of thoughts and a lot of feelings, and that’s where I am right now. The show was wonderful, you should go see it if you have the opportunity. And Jessie Mueller who played King, is exceptional. She basically becomes Carole King in front of you. She sounds, moves and looks like her. I never once thought that I’d be rooting against Idina Menzel and Sutton Foster at Tony time, but it looks like it’s happening. (I also still have to see Violet and If/Then.)

Also, I wouldn’t say no to marrying Jake Epstein. Like at all. He is a handsome talented man.

In The End I Want To Be Standing At The Beginning With You

As I try to think about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and it’s strange little mess of first season that I really loved, I find myself  with the song “At The Beginning” from Anastasia stuck in my head. You know the one, it played over the credits, “Life is a road and I wanna keep going, love is a river I wanna keep flowing…” But the lyric that sticks out to me the most is the title of this post, “In the end I want to be standing at the beginning with you.”

We were strangers, on a crazy adventure...

We were strangers, on a crazy adventure…

Agents hada problematic and slow start that as it turned out wasn’t all it’s fault. Sure, it could have done more character and back story wise as it killed time leading up to the game changing revelations of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but I was consistently entertained by it’s little side missions, got to know and love most of the characters, and was willing to stick it out, even if I was a little bit bored from time to time. And of course, once the show took off and running with the introduction of Hydra’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D., the revelation of Ward as a double agent, and the return of funny optimistic Coulson. (Plus a little magic from Patton Oswald), the show proved that it could live up to the movies it’s meant to hype. In the end, Agents is always going to be the Johnny Drama to The Avengers Vinnie, it’ll get the job done, but it’ll take longer and won’t quite be the same. So it succeeded there, and it got Ming-Na Wen onto our TV pretty much weekly and I’m never ever going to complain about that.

I keep thinking about my earliest comparison for the show, that is realizing that this show lined up in a big way with another Whedon show and not the one everyone thought it would. Pretty much everyone I know thought that Agents would feel like a more earthbound version of Firefly, and I was one of said people. But by the end of episode 3, I realized that the show more succinctly felt like Angel. It doesn’t line up perfectly, but it’s much, much closer than Firefly, and has many of the same problems and disappointments with it’s first season as Angel did. The separation of one of the initial team members? In Angel, that happened when Doyle sacrificed himself, he was quickly, almost instantly replaced by Wesley. Here, when Grant Ward was revealed Hydra, he was actually instantly replaced by Tripplate. Additionally, Angel didn’t really take off until events external to it came into play. It wasn’t until Spike returned to Sunnydale with that ring that lets vampires be out in sunlight and then Oz went to LA that the show really took off. Season 1 of Angel ended with the destruction of The Oracles and the severing of Angel’s connection to The Powers That Be, here, S.H.I.E.L.D as we knew it is destroyed, but Coulson and gang are going to start up again. I could keep going but I think I’ve made my point.

So how  does this connect to a cult favorite animated movie from the mid 90’s? It doesn’t, really, except for the song. I said back when the show was announced that it was possible, even likely that Agents was going to be a one season wonder. For a good long while, it seemed like one season was all the show had in it. I’m so glad that it turned out otherwise, because I think season 2 is going to be awesome, but this episode was clearly structured to function as both a season and a series finale if need be. The appearance of Nick Fury, the appointment of Coulson as the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., these are all things that blend seamlessly into Age of Ultron, and my guess, Coulson’s reentry into the mainline MCU.

After I watched the episode on Tuesday night, I tweeted that it was “the Whedoniest thing ever,” and I stand by that statement. I couldn’t find who wrote “The Beginning of The End” but I’ll bet Joss had his hand in it in a big way. The quippy dialog, the straight up girl power awesomeness (Skye, May and Simmons all saved the day.) So much of this episode reminded me of “Primeval” the penultimate episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 4. Not the strongest by any means, but still really solid with some really fun action and amazing seeds for the future planted. And that pretty much sums up Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Really solid, but not the strongest.

And so we bid adieu. I will be feeding on scraps of news about Agents and of course Agent Carter until September. Full steam ahead, starting out on the journey.

 

Got The Picture

I had this great plan to write up my feelings about the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. today. But then obviously the whole world exploded. Because, he who holds all future happiness in his hands, Zack Snyder has leaked pictures of The Batmobile and a picture of Ben Affleck as Batman.

It’s a thing of beauty.

So stinking beautiful

So stinking beautiful

So even though I have now watched the final episode of Agents, my mind is entirely clouded by this image. (But also, that finale made my brain explode, in a good way. Stay tuned, we’ll talk about it tomorrow.) This image is the only thing in the world at this moment. It has consumed everything. There is no sun, there is no air. There is only Ben Affleck and The Batmobile. Because you guys, can we just, I mean, really? It’s so great. Just, great. I mean, it looks awesome. I’m starting to really look forward to Man of Steel 2: We CAN TO Beat Cap, again. (Last time I wrote about it, you may remember, I was starting to lose faith.)

Anyway, not much to say. It looks very Frank Miller, but I think we all saw that one coming. And I mean, I just, ugh, I’m having trouble coming up with the words for this one, you guys, just, it makes me so happy. So happy. Like, babbly, this is so awesome. I haven’t been this happy since Ben’s casting was announced. You guys remember that? Remember how I didn’t want to talk about anything else for a while? This might be like that. It’s OK though, because I made that rule, and you won’t hear more from me about this until June. I promise.

In other Bat-news, Gotham will be on Mondays at 8. Which means that I will have to come up with some witty cute thing to do on Tuesdays for it. Or maybe Wednesday, to give myself some time to watch the episode.

I don’t know. I have a few months. I’ll figure it out. But for now. BATMOBILE! BATFLECK! AHHHH, SQUEE!

JLUYJ: “Kid’s Stuff” & “Misplaced”

So now that there’s no more DC Animated Movies to watch I’m going to give this a shot. See, a few weeks ago, Aless started watching Young Justice.

YOUNG JUSTICE!

YOUNG JUSTICE!

And when we talked about Young Justice, I decided to watch it again, because it’s, sadly, only two seasons, and also, awesome. And since I’ve run out of DC Animated movies to overthink, I thought, “Hey, maybe I should overthink comparing Young Justice and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited. And so, I now debut a new feature article, which I’ll do whenever I don’t have anything to fill in. So welcome to JLUYJ, in which I will take an episode of Young Justice, and an episode of either Justice League or Justice League Unlimited that are similar thematically and compare and contrast them.

So we’re starting out with the episodes that are probably the most obviously connected. Justice League Unlimited Season 1: Episode 3 “Kid’s Stuff” and Young Justice Season 1: Episode 19 “Misplaced.” The obvious connection here is that it uses the exact same premise. Because of magic all of the adults in the world are gone. Because the shows are so different the execution of the premise is really different, but that’s the premise, so let’s get into the way the two diverge.

In JLU , the scenario is enacted when Mordred, who’s temper tantrums make Joffrey Baratheon look reasonable, uses a powerful amulet to banish all people older than himself from the world. This sends our heroes and villains to a sort of limbo, including Mordred’s mother, Morgan LaFey. In order to stop Mordred, Morgan turns Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern into 8 year old versions of themselves and it’s brilliant.

In YJ, Clarion The Witch Boy (ick), creates two separate universes, one for all people under 18 and one for all people over 18. Chaos reigns of course, and this is the point of Clarion. The Light (the big bad of YJ season 1) hired Witch Boy to create a distraction, and split up The Justice League and The Team. The hitch in the plan is Captain Marvel, who as Billy Batson inhabits the Under 18 realm and as Captain Marvel inhabits the Over 18. Thus, the two sets of heroes can communicate, work together and remerge the two realms.

What’s great about both episodes is that they’re very good for character development. We learn a lot about our team members when they’re placed in a such a singular place. I’ve made no secret of how I feel about the Wonder Woman/Batman relationship in JLU, but I love the way it’s taken care of here. With Diana’s crush and Bruce’s insecurities laid out on the page because as 8 year olds, they have no filters. And speaking of no filters, the idea of a Green Lantern ring in the hands (on the hand?) of an 8 year old boy produces stellar results. John Stewart’s imagination goes haywire and produces truly amazing creations. I also like that 8 year old Bruce is just Damian, pretty much. He’s all surly and anti social, and uninterested in everything but the mission. (It also forces me to think about The AU timeline a little bit…does this take place after the fall of the Joker? It must, otherwise, Bruce would probably be at least a little concerned about Tim’s whereabouts, right?) Superman kind of gets the short end of the stick here, because 8 year old Superman is really just Superman but smaller. Diana becomes the bossiest little girl on the playground which makes perfect sense to me. I doubt that Princess Diana was walking around Paradise Island as a child not giving orders. We definitely get some fun insights here and the way they trick Mordred into undoing the spell (Bruce taunts him, a lot) is a lot of fun. As is seeing Baby Etrigan.

YJ also uses this scenario to explore character, though maybe not quite as deeply, because there are more characters to cover. But the people that get developed here are Billy/Captain Marvel, and Zatanna. But we can hit the beats for all of the major characters. While sifting out the chaos, you see Dick and Kaldur’s true leadership abilities. Both Robin and Aqualad keep their cool in this really difficult situation. Wally and Artemis entertain a bunch of young kids and confide in one another about their families. Superboy discovers the true power of the S on his chest, when he saves a toddler from a car crash and the little boy is instantly comforted when he sees the symbol. But like I said, the big ones here are Billy and Zatanna.

Zatanna had shown up on YJ before this, as the first non team member teen to interact with our gang. (Or possibly Megan and Connor’s classmates, but I think Zee beat them.) From her first minute you see her quick rapport with Artemis, and Dick’s insta-crush on her (Truly, truly adorable, these two together) there’s a warmth and yet outsider-ness to her role with the team. It’s the magic and also the real family connection she has to the Justice League. Her father, Zatara is in the Justice League. Yes, Flash is Wally’s uncle, and Bruce adopted Dick, but Zatara and Zatanna are all each other have, which makes their separation all the more heartbreaking. (There’s also a deeply sweet moment with Jim Gordon quelling a crowd and Barbara reading to a bunch of kids in the Gotham Academy gym. Incidentally, Gotham Academy is the name of my imaginary Bat-family themed teen soap, in case you were interested).  Zatanna is devastated when her father goes away and the ending, with him donning the helmet of Naboo and become Dr. Fate to save her from having to do it is absolutely heartbreaking. But we learn a lot about this girl and her insecurities, her hopes and who she is by this very difficult place she’s put in.

I’ve mentioned that this episode is the one that got me on board with Captain Marvel as a character, because I love the dichotomy of a kid in an adult world. Billy is a hero in his own right here, getting from Fawcett City to Happy Harbor and moving between the two worlds to solve the problem. I also love that the way he gets the team to believe he’s who he says he is, is by mocking Wally’s appetite. Here’s where we really see why The Wizard chose Billy Batson to be the vessel for these powers. This kid can get things done and has a pure heart, and it’s really beautiful.

These essays are not always going to be about declaring a winner, usually more about how certain themes even in very similar constructs can be explored unbelievably differently, but this time around, I’m declaring a winner, and that winner is “Kid’s Stuff.” Because it narrows the focus a little more it winds up being deeper and it’s also just a deeply entertaining 20 minutes of television.

Also, that time that Superman has to change Etrigan’s diaper, which is possibly my favorite moment of the entire DCAU.

Seriously, pure genius.

Seriously, pure genius.

Tyrion Lannister: Character Winner For “The Laws Of Gods And Men”

I was starting to miss Tyrion being the best character in the history of television, so I was really glad that this episode finally gave him one of those moments that makes him that. His freak out speech at the end of “The Laws of Gods And Men” might be one of the best speeches ever on this show, and there are all kinds of really great speeches on this show.

Tyrion

Tyrion is a character so loved and so perfectly cast in Peter Dinklage that there’s literally nothing that could have gone wrong in this episode when it came to him. Yes, we all knew that he was more than likely going to be found guilty of killing Joffrey but the way that it happened was great. The idea that Jaime was doing his utmost to save his brother was great, even agreeing to move to Casterly Rock and marry a suitable woman. (It didn’t escape me, or probably anyone that by all standards Tywin would be measuring by, Brienne is a suitable woman for Jaime…money, a name, and a womb that can grow babies. All there.)

But Tyrion, who straight up lost it, when Shae testified against him was the clear winner here. He reminded the entire watching crowd that he saved their lives at the Blackwater, he brought up Sansa’s abuse and said that he wished that he’d killed Jofffrey, but he totally didn’t do it. Then he demanded trial by combat, which really pissed Jaime off.

So, congratulations, Lord Tyrion Lannister, Heir of Casterly Rock, The Imp, The Master of Coin, congratulations of winning tonight’s episode! You were great and I hope that your second trial goes well.

Also, I should note that Ser Davos Seaworth, The Onion Knight got runner up this week, because HOLY CRAP was that sweet. Also, it was nice to see Osha/Yara tonight. She’s a total badass. Way to go!

Marvel Comics Wrap up: 5/7/2014

So many Marvel Books today you guys! And it was a super busy weekend, so, why don’t we just dive right in. (I should note that I also read the Free Comic Book Day Guardians of The Galaxy and Rocket Racoon, but not in time to get them written up.)

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The Amazing Spider-Man #1.1: “Learning To Crawl”

I may have mentioned a time or two that I absolutely love origin stories and as far as they go, Spider-Man has one of the best. (The best? Red Hood. Not Jason Todd as Robin, but Red Hood.) “Learning To Crawl” takes the story everyone knows an explores an new corner of it, the days leading up to after Uncle Ben’s funeral. It’s a sweet little take on Peter taking on more wrestling gigs to help with the bills, Aunt May worrying about his mental state and a Spidey-fan deciding to go out on his own and try to fight crime. I’m just guessing that this will end bad and Peter will feel guilty about it. I mean, that’s a shot in the dark, obviously, but it’s a possibility.

Black Widow #6: Paranoia

God, I love Natasha so stinking much. In this issue, our favorite super spy gets caught in a trap that turns out was her plan all along, kicks some butt and discovers that C.H.A.O.S. is still very much at large, and she’s going to have to get to work on it. I just really love this book, and pretty much any spy book when we deal come right down to it, but it helps to have a character that I love as much as I love Black Widow leading the way. There’s also a great scene with Maria Hill, and all I kept thinking was, “God, we have to see that movie. It will be so good.”

Loki: Agent of Asgard #4: “Let’s You and Him Fight”

I’d heard unbelievable things about Loki, and how spot on freaking amazing it was. And it really is. Wow, this might be the perfect book. There are jokes, and magic and fashion tips and a recipe, and for some reason it never feels unfocused. I’m on board with Loki and Sigurd’s plan to trick Mephisto, with Loki’s ultimate identity crisis, and his probably love interest Verity. I’m on board Marvel, but then again, I love Loki, so this wasn’t too hard a jump to make you know?

Magneto #3

I like Magneto. I shouldn’t say that, I just really like Eric Lensher, I think he’s an endlessly fascinating character, so I’m going to at least give this series a chance. I might not have loved this book, but it as certainly everything I wanted from a story with this character at it’s center. Magneto tracks down a colony of human separatists, who want to live in a world free of mutants. He confronts and tortures their leader. There are Sentinels. It’s dark and complicated and asks weird questions about humanity as a whole and as individuals. I’m sorry? Am I supposed to want something different from my comic book about a sometimes evil mutant who survived the Holocaust and thus trusts no one? Nope, I certainly don’t.

Original Sin #1: “Who Shot The Watcher?”

I’m really looking forward to delving deeper into Original Sin as it moves forward for the next few months. Wow, was this book good. It did everything that a big event should do, brought the main and a few outside characters together, introduced the stakes of this event. The Watcher who kept things from getting too out of control and knew all of the heroes secrets is now dead and who has his intel is unknown. This is good from a story perspective. There are many ways to go. Can’t wait to see the paths we travel down here.

She-Hulk #4: “The Zealous Advocate”

She-Hulk is one of those hold overs from a very different time in comics, and I’m so glad that she’s managed to stick around, because this might be a perfect comic book. I wish I’d picked it up earlier. In this issue, Jen, our adorable She-Hulk, is trying to deal with the fact that her latest client in her law firm, Dr. Doom’s son is not getting the justice he deserves. So, she and Daredevil flirt on The Golden Gate Bridge for a while and then she goes to Latveria to fight for her client. It’s pretty stinking great. It’s flashy and colorful and funny, and action packed, and read She-Hulk, just like how you should read Batgirl, you should just do it.

Alright! We’ll be back next week with more comics fun!