Lego Batman, Logan and Iron Fist

A good weekend of two movies in the cinema and a TV show that I was looking forward to. Let’s jump right in!

The Lego Batman Movie – Almost got me completely hooked, like The Lego Movie back in the day. The first 10 minutes were rapid fire fun, jokes and references. Then it seemed they decided they can’t keep the speed up. From beginning to the end, the animation is marvellous and the voice acting is superb. But it is missing the heart that completely unexpectedly pounded with warmth in the third act of the Lego Movie and made it deeper than I expected.

Maybe I am expecting too much and it was/is a kids movie and don’t get me wrong, it’s a good one at that. Be healthy, have abs, be friends. Mild spoiler incoming…

***

I was waiting for that human layer that might lurk beneath Gotham and was expecting maybe Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson telling their kids how to get along or Adam West trying to explain the Batman lore to a Kindergarten. I think that would have given the movie another level, without that it felt a bit, for the lack of a better word, simple. 

***

On to another favourite hero of mine: Logan a.k.a. Wolverine a.k.a. James Howlett. The universally beloved huge jacked man delivers by far the best solo Wolverine experience. I would have not seen such a big jump in quality coming from the same director of The Wolverine, which I found mediocre. Coming from that movie I didn’t expect too much and I feel this movie has been a bit over hyped.

I loved Hugh Jackman in all the X-movies. He is/was Wolverine, even though he is a tad to mild-mannered and too tall, but what does that matter now? Logan did not make me cry, whereas The Fountain (with Hugh and with critics again being wrong) and Arrival (critics okay for once) for example had me sobbing. I am the kind of person who gets watery eyes in Titanfall 2 when the Pilot of the Titan you eventually take over dies, so it didn’t tug my heartstrings, however the X in the end had me smiling and lovingly look back with tinted eyes.

Then something happened! I realized that all previous entries missed the swearing and violence, even though I saw a version that apparantly had 14 minutes cut (thanks Obama China). This felt fuller and right for the characters, more realistic and honest. Speaking of that, apparently people who swear tend to be more honest.

What happened is that once the rose-colored nostalgia wore off, I started to miss all this honesty, swearing and violence in the previous movies that we finally got thanks to Deadpool. So all in all it was a great movie, but it is not one of the best comic book movies ever made, at least not in my book.

Can’t wait to see the new pick for Wolverine and personally I’d suggest this guy. Seems shorter, is buff enough, young and I can easily picture him in mutton chops. However seeing that he will be in the Inhumans TV-show and Marvel’s all is connected mantra we have yet to see an actor playing different roles within the MCU. Your move Iwan!

Now to the ‘worst Defender’!?! Iron Fist… (Rotten Tomatoes say it all: critics 15% and audience 84%)

I don’t know where to start. Should they have casted an Asian actor? Maybe. Is it the savior character people are tired off? Maybe. Is it a bad show and a waste of time? No.

6 episodes in, as much as the ‘critics’ got before, I really dig it. It’s better than Luke Cage (critics!), by a mile for me. I got a bit of Arrow vibes in the beginning but that slowly faded with the miles better acting, especially by the Meachums and Colleen Wing. The fighting is somehow not as polished as on Daredevil and the first fight had me giggle a bit, but Danny is holding back, is inexperienced (not in fighting but in the ‘real world’) and I am sure he doesn’t want to hurt people severaly due to his beliefs. Almost everything people critique about Finn Jones (wiener not featured in the show but on Game of Thrones) acting can be explained with the plot and the ‘soft’ martial arts he uses. I belive they are meant to look relaxed and he has yet to find himself in the real world. I for one, like the childlike attitude of Danny.

Netflix show rating by me: Daredevil Season 1 > Jessica Jones > Daredevil Season 2 > Iron Fist > Luke Cage.

Someone explained the misconceptions about the titular hero better than me:

Rey0208 via Screenrant Comment in this article:

“If you wish to see the truth, hold no opinion.”

-Zen Saying

This show was burdened with expectations and perceptions that were not aligned with what the creators were trying to do.

You complain that it spent too much time on the “sordid family drama

of the Meachums” or the “corporate shenanigans of Rand Enterprises”, but

 we knew from the beginning that they were going to be big parts of the

show. The trailers and casting news were very clear. The Meachums were

the first characters to be cast. And the first trailer was about Danny

coming back home to claim his inheritence. If you didn’t want to see

that, that was your fault for ignoring the trailers and casting news.

You also complain that Danny Rand is a terrible hero. He “takes

action despite having no plan,” is the “least likeable protagonist and

least convincing superhero,” and is a “pale copy of other billionaire

superheroes,” because he “wanted to be Danny Rand, New York

billionaire,… and K’un-Lun paid the price.” If this is why you didn’t

like him, then you misunderstood the character.  In interview after interview,

Danny Rand has been described as having the mind of a child. Madame Gao

even tells him so. And why wouldn’t he be? He was orphaned at 10 years old

and lived a cruel and brutal life for 15 years. Of course he’s going to maladjusted!

But his flaws are what makes him interesting. And if you can’t see that, then

you don’t truly understand the character. You’re just upset that you

didn’t get to see another hero that fits into the cliched billionaire

superhero stereotype. If anything, this show did something tremendously

different. He’s a flawed hero. It’s original and compelling.

Aside from these uninformed expectations, critics also had misperceptions.

They were upset that Iron Fist doesn’t advocate a social justice

issue like JJ, LC, and DD season 1. But DD season 2 didn’t advocate a

social justice issue, even though some people stretched and said it was

commenting on gun control. But, c’mon! It’s the Punisher! If anything,

DD season 2 was a commentary on veterans. And you could stretch Iron

Fist just as much as say it was commenting on drug addiction, mental

health, homelessness, or corporate responsibility and business ethics.

But why do any of these shows have to advocate for a social justice

issue to be good? It’s a superhero TV show! What are Flash, Arrow, or

A.o.S. advocating?

They were also upset about “white-washing” or the “White Savior

Complex”. But, (1) Danny Rand is white in the comics. And (2) He’s not a

 White Savior. If anything, he’s a derelict. And, again, Madame Gao even

 tells him so. But the same critics crying about White Savior were also

the same ones praising Doctor Strange. And that’s hypocrisy! Because

Doctor Strange is an actual White Savior. White guy shows up at an

exotic place, becomes better than everyone else at what they do, and

single-handedly saves all of them from a threat they should have been

prepared to defend against themselves. But nobody ever points that out!

So why is Iron Fist taking the heat? The White Savior criticism is

unfair and hypocritical, and profoundly misunderstands Danny Rand’s

character arc.

So next time you say something about this show, at least try to keep

in mind what the creators were trying to do — tell a story about a

flawed and reluctant child-like character, while staying faithful to the

 source material and not being burdened with a social cause.

The Fans and Critics are the problem

We are the problem…

Really, unlike with video games, where fans keep calling publishers out on their bullcrap and someone like the amazing CD Projekt Red comes out of the woodwork and delivers on all accounts without aggravating (what I believe) a single consumer, with the grandious Witcher 3 (so yes, I am part of that cult too now), movies are a different kind of beast.

We are entitled brats when it comes to comic book movies…

I understand that it is staggering and actually kind of scary when there seems to be 20 movies a year being hauled at the consumer that come from the comic book genre. But is that even a genre? I see spy thrillers, sci-fi operas, action movies, comedies, action comedies and everything else. Hell! Road to Perdition is a comic book based movie. The Walking Dead is a TV-show based on a comic book series. It’s not a genre. It is hard for me to think of another fan base of movies that is so vocal about every nook and cranny and seemingly cares so strongly about X being better than Y – it’s the biggest dick measuring contest you can be part of. And here I am commenting on this contest.

Star Trek versus Star Wars might be something that has been argued about a lot, but to be fair, it never struck me as that comparable. I kind of enjoy both but am not the biggest fan of either. I remember they always got along in the end and strolled through galaxies happy and married and one had a tad more action, the other was more brainy and now they are both touched by J.J. Abrahams and a bit closer to each other than ever before. Why divide fans? Why can’t we all just get along?

Some voices are too damn loud…

The internet keyboard warriors that fuel this fire in comment sections on comic ‘fan’ sites and movie pages are the jet fuel that makes the structure of these weak (doesn’t melt it though) and sets unrealistic expectations or let them ‘fail’ before they even had the chance to watch them in their entirety. Thank you trailers and critics. For the most recent example look at Iron Fist and the hate it gets for having shown half the season to ‘critics’.

And the outrage over the casting etc., but let’s not get into that. So some people, who may or may not be fans look at basically half a movie/TV show and rip it to shreds. Before you have a go and can enjoy or hate on it as much as you want. I guess maybe some people really enjoy getting told what to like. These movies or shows, do make money and they are there to do that and they do a good job (mostly).

Who are those critics anyway? Oscars and the Academy Awards and all of that. It’s the self fellatio contest to the dick measuring of MCU versus DCEU.

Some people say the right thing…

…and get drowned in the battle of profanities and arguing over tastes, here is a fantastic comment by Dr feelgood in the Screenrant comment section of this article:

 

I’ve made this statement before and I’ll make it again, the problem

is not… NOT the movies or the directors or even Warner Bros. It’s you ,

the fans. The fans are a bunch of hypocritical children who turn angry

at the drop off a hat when they don’t get what they perceive to be right

 or correct. They get this fanboy rage when someone either likes or

dislikes what is not what the mob likes or dislikes. Articles like this

and the “what does marvel have to do to get an Oscar” article do nothing

 but divide the fans further inside that perception of goodness or what

is correct. The mob turns on one person for saying something but

embraces a different person for saying the same thing. James Cameron

praised Zack Snyder you people went crazy, called him a hack said he

needed to get back on his meds threatened to boycott his movies and

worse… Scott derickson praises Zack and all the sudden Watchmen is

everyone’s favorite movie… WHAT?? The fans have no idea what they want,

they just know they don’t want others to like what they don’t. It’s all

very childish and stupid. I liked BVS quiet a bit therefore my taste in

movies must be flawed. But I liked winter soldier too so I’m OK? Can’t

have it both ways fan boys. Batman and the DCEU will be fine as soon as

fans stop acting like entitled children who “deserve” anything. You

don’t deserve anything. You get what you get, you like it or you don’t.

It’s that simple.

 

Couldn’t agree more. Like the poster of the comment above I really enjoyed Batman v. Superman and Watchmen and Winter Soldier.

I was as scared as the next guy and by next guy I mean a person that cares for Batman, when Ben Affleck stepped away from the director’s chair of ‘The Batman’. I want to see that movie and I want it to be good and be made and made properly.

Personally I want a mix of the magic of the Tim Burton Batman, the richness of the Nolan Batman, the bombast, impact and ripped from the comic pages scenery of Zach Snyder and John Wick/The Raid inspired fight scenes. Is that too much to ask for?

Here is Kevin Smith talking about Ben stepping away. He says it better than I could write. Now, with the Planet of the Apes director at helm, things will work out. I am excited!

It’s a great time to be alive! Try to calm down a bit and enjoy what is put in front of you – it’s not the end of the world.

Let me try to conclude this with another comment on a Screenrant article by ambrosia about the DCEU not changing to please critics:

I love reading some of these comments that are just portraying

exactly what the article is stating. Critics judge a movie based on

contemporary values. If a new artistic language shows up, they have no

foot to stand on. I also love reading the internet-majority parroting

terms like “pacing”, “structural issues”, “editing”, “narrative”, etc,

but never going into detail beyond that. Like you scratched the surface

of a literature/movie-making essay, picked up on those fancy, technical

terms but never bothered to go beyond that.

Other people just want Batman, Superman and other DC characters to be

caricatures of themselves. An infallible, perfect Superman , a nigh –

omniscient Batman, etc. A reason why the meta, fun, oh-so-self-aware

formula of The Lego Batman Movie is so appealing. 75+ years of DC Comics

 and I guarantee you it changes overtime and the generations that

preceed a change in (Golden, Silver, Modern) Age consider that same

change… a “misunderstood attack” on the characters.

Bottom line, in my opinion? We’re witnessing a new cinematic art and

much needed expansion of the superhero genre . MoS was first horribly

received but now is considered by many to be a contender for best comic

book movie. A similar transitive process that occurred to… 2009’s

Watchmen.

…and as said in the beginning I agree with this and time will tell if Batman v. Superman will be considered a better movie later on, I don’t doubt that. If not by critics than maybe by movie buffs but certainly by me.

So here is the Power Rangers trailer that gets the kid in me excited while seemingly striking a good balance between being dark(er)/grounded and still delivering on the fun, something the latest Fantastic Four movie failed horribly at. I have thrown my two cents out there.

The Blues and Winter Shanghai

Winter is unfortunately still not over. Today the mercury rose to 18 degrees (celsius, the other one I can’t wrap my head around), thing is, it drops close to zero at night and it feels even worse.

As a matter of fact winter here used to be much more depressing. It was super grey and super polluted before. This cold season there hasn’t been a day with the AQI over 500 nor have their been more than my fingers days where it was noticeably bad and I have a full set of fingers. Somehow the closing of hundreds of factories around Shanghai made a massive change.

This month there is a crackdown on scooters and I (not owning a scooter, but a bicycle) couldn’t be happier. Traffic got better in days. I don’t have to worry about charging my bike and stay fit at the same time. Now I am even a bit safer. Winning!

So living here is often a fine line between one extreme and the other, but during the winter almost everyone gets a bit of the blues.

What got me to write this article was this, not really comprehensive or super helpful article, but it’s something and it inspired me to put some words on the screen and give my two cents on the subject.

I am not a typical expat that is crying from an ivory tower window, nor do I have relationship problems, maybe some problems with food (my size used to fluctuate a good bit) and a solid 3 year plus streak of having at least one alcoholic drink a day in between my stay here that I just broke last year with fantastic results.

My superpower, if I have one, is to adapt quickly to new situations. I seem to have a very short or shorter shock phase for changes of all kinds and then just think: okay, let’s deal with this new reality, be happy and make the best of it.

This does not mean that I always force myself to be happy. As an armchair psychologist I’d say that would be horrible for your psyche. Live the emotion a bit: scream, even if it’s just inside or punch a punching bag or be sad, cry a little or a lot, be sad or mad and then move on and adapt to that reality and make the best of it. 

A while ago the YouTube sunshine Prozzie posted this video:

His mannerisms and and behaviour in this particular video is in stark contrast to all his other videos, but while watching this one, this seemed oddly familiar. People leaving, people not coming back. The feeling of being alone and isolated.

Here is the one thing to fix that completely – change the perspective!

Trick your mind. The city is half empty – make it your playground. Go have a beer walk. Make it nice and cozy in your apartment and read that book or get lost in that game you have, the one you always think you have no time for. Friends leave – you can’t change that, so why worry? Be a bit like Will Forte in The Last Man on Earth, dive in it, try to find what brings you joy.

Maybe it is about joy. I might completely oversimplify all this and this sounds so easy, eh? But maybe, just maybe it is. Sometimes the answers are right in front of you. If you have the time and the space then what is holding you back from doing something that gives you some childlike joy? Find it! Do it!

And to not sound like a hippie here is some great music to delve into the gloom for a bit. For all the positivity that radiates from me, it might sound odd, but I assure you it’s not, that I really, really dig some sad tunes. You know why? Because everyone who is human feels sad too and I can allow that for a song or even longer and then you move on and deal with stuff.

Get out of the blues with some sad music while diving into it, let it flow through, like Wim Hof does with the cold. It cures!

More Than Life with incredible Melodic Hardcore

Katatonia with sad and gloomy melodic Doom Metal, Max Richter with sad and deep Classic Pieces, Clint Mansell with a flawless record of Soundtrack Music and Asche & Spencer with more sad Soundtrack Music