David Thompson
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April 28, 2018

Comments

Jacob

Cosmic beeper. ;-D

David

I see I’m going to have to add a spoiler warning.

David

And if we’re doing two-word comments, mine is big Dinklage.

dw

'It's like a pirate had a baby with an angel'.

Sam

Saw it last night. It was a lot better than I expected. (8/10) Now we just have to wait a year to find out what happens...

David

It was a lot better than I expected.

Yes, given the ambition of the thing, and the juggling of so many characters, settings and tones, it came out about as well as could possibly be hoped. I feared it might be a massive car wreck, but somehow it just about holds together.

Hopp Singg

Spoiler alert!

pst314

Spoiler alert!

Hopp Sing: Are such Brobdingnagian spoilers the automotive equivalent of the inflated scrotums I linked to the other day? :-)

Daniel Ream

I feared it might be a massive car wreck, but somehow it just about holds together.

Black Panther and Infinity War have knocked my "we've hit peak superhero" thesis into a cocked hat. The next year or so of Marvel movies is going to be interesting.

DC, by the way, has announced that they're abandoning the cinematic universe and will simply make standalone solo hero movies going forward.

Hector Drummond, Vile Novelist

Still prefer a good frathouse movie.

David

The next year or so of Marvel movies is going to be interesting.

After the aggravating bathos of Thor: Ragnarok, I was worried how the Russo brothers would handle not only the scale of Infinity War and the enormous cast, but also the shifts in setting and tone – say, comedy and horror in very close proximity – but it was surprisingly cohesive, more or less. Overstuffed, yes, and close to exhausting, but also surprising in its confidence.

I’m not itching to see the thing again, not for a while, but I did enjoy it.

Hopp Singg

pst314: Nothing is equivalent to that.

The old spoilers were overkill, and like old hairstyles can sometimes look dated or worse in retrospect, but compared to the inflated scrotums (did I really just type those two words together?), they're positively sensible.

Daniel Ream

After the aggravating bathos of Thor: Ragnarok

My thesis was that Ragnarok and to some extent Dr. Strange were a reaction to the runaway success of Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool (and the mediocre success of Civil War and Age of Ultron). Even given that Black Panther was likely mostly done and in post by the time Guardians and Deadpool hit, its commercial success along with Infinity War means the pendulum has clearly swung back towards the center.

David

the pendulum has clearly swung back towards the center.

Given the scope and tonal span, and the surprising places it goes, and where it ends up, it’s remarkable that the thing doesn’t just fall apart or destroy any possibility of suspending disbelief. And whatever the merits or shortcomings of any individual film, it’s hard to fault the ambition of the Marvel Studios brand. They’re building an interconnected storytelling universe – from the street-level to the cosmic – in which disparate characters can exist simultaneously and interact, on film, without jarring wildly or seeming too stupid. And, at least for now, it’s a license to print money.

That’s no small achievement.

Flubber

I enjoyed the film. I thought the story and the effects were great - i however though ht some of the dialogue was bloody awfgul.

However, I may just be missing Joss Whedons juju, even if he is a snowflake/shagger hypocrite.

Sam

What is wrong with you people? Stop giving them money.

JuliaM

Sounds like Marvel ate DC's lunch. Again.

Daniel Ream

They’re building an interconnected storytelling universe [...] That’s no small achievement.

The more so because the conventional wisdom for twenty years has been that this is a bad thing that hurts the financial viability of comics.

I think one could make the argument that things are different in movies, where there's a release only every year or two rather than several a month, but personally I'm flabbergasted that the MCU is doing as well as it is amongst people who were never comic book fans.

Fen Tiger

What is wrong with you people? Stop giving them money.

This. Really, what is wrong with you people? These are terrible, childish films full of absurd, unattractive, unreal characters.

David

What is wrong with you people? Stop giving them money.

Heh. Today’s words are escapism and fun.

Besides, they’re my only vice.

What?

David

Sounds like Marvel ate DC’s lunch. Again.

Yes, very much so. Not least in terms of how to make a digital villain work, to the extent that he’s in effect the star of the film. And some of the fight scenes – as between Thanos and Doctor Strange – are quite beautiful.

Related (and full of spoilers), Half in the Bag pick through Infinity War.

MC

the aggravating bathos of Thor: Ragnarok

I suspect 99% of the audience and 100% of the production crew of that movie don't really know what 'bathos' is. Actually I reckon 60% don't know what aggravating is either.

What is wrong with you people? Stop giving them money.

This.

x a million

+ whatever combination of explosions and wisecracks will drill the understanding that all superhero movies are worthless halfwitted nonsense into your heads

sH2

Not least in terms of how to make a digital villain work, to the extent that he’s in effect the star of the film.

It was good to see a villain who's not a CEO but a totalitarian environmentalist who's into 'fairness'. :-)

David

It was good to see a villain who’s not a CEO but a totalitarian environmentalist who’s into ‘fairness’.

Heh. Yes.

PiperPaul

I used to be amazed at movies' (movie's'es'?) digital special effects.

Now I have retuned to a great appreciation for stop-motion, physical models, animatronics, mattes and makeup even though some are cheesy and obvious.

And slightly irritated at the 6,392 "digital artist" people who get credited at the end of every blockbuster film.

pst314

And slightly irritated at the 6,392 "digital artist" people who get credited at the end of every blockbuster film.

My solution is to walk out when the credits start rolling. (I've never understood people who insist on watching all the credits, including the 6,392 'digital artists'.)

David

And slightly irritated at the 6,392 “digital artist” people who get credited at the end of every blockbuster film.

While sitting through the end credits, waiting for the post-credits teaser, it did seem that Marvel must have hired just about every effects studio on the planet. And most of their work on the film is very impressive. The motion-capture work for Thanos is outstanding. A few minutes into the film, my disbelief in 9-foot-tall purple psychopaths with grooved chins was well and truly suspended. He was an actual character, not just an effect.

PiperPaul

I usually stay till the end to see if there are any goodies/easter eggs appended and for mention of filming locations, since there are a few studios where I am.

Director, Assistant Director, Assistant Assistant Director, Co-Assistant Director, Deputy Assistant Director, 2nd Assistant Director, 2nd 2nd Assistant Director, used to be bad enough already...

Everyone gets a trophy directorship or credit in the film!

Bah - in the old days it was "Effects by Ray Harryhausen" and we liked it that way.


Grumble, lawn, where's my glasses, whippersnappers, etc.

Spiny Norman

Everyone gets a trophy directorship or credit in the film!

It's in their union contract. Seriously.

Hopp Singg

I'm still waiting for "Tarbender," the superhero/villain who works at a bar and gains his unique powers of insight by eating the picked eggs there.

It's no secret, either. The bar patrons all know it but make a different cost/benefit calculation than he does.

PiperPaul

Can he be a hybrid robot zombie?


Because that would be so cool.

Daniel Ream

He was an actual character, not just an effect.

A large part of my dissatisfaction with Age of Ultron wasn't the CGI as much as the fact that Ultron wasn't a character - he was Stock Joss Whedon Snark-Spitting Trope # 17. The personality didn't fit the character design, the scope, or the motivation.

You don't need a lot of CGI for a convincing character; H.A.L. was just a blinky light.

David

H.A.L. was just a blinky light.

If memory serves, he didn’t even blink.

Chester Draws

"Absurd, unattractive and unreal characters" you say.

Like, say, Homer? Or Hercules or Jason. Oedipus and Daedelus aren't exactly Social Realism either.

Or Shakespeare. Unless you think MacBeth is full of realistic and likeable characters. And Lear: like anyone ever took that seriously.

Mythic literature is older than any other literature you can name. Super Hero movies are continuing an old and important tradition that speaks to people.

Spiny Norman
H.A.L. was just a blinky light.

If memory serves, he didn’t even blink.

Mostly a malevolent, omnipotent presence; now just an omnipresent annoyance.

PiperPaul

As opposed to our Hal, who is more of a linky blight, with his URLs to Google search results.

(Sorry Hal, couldn't resist)

David

Mostly a malevolent, omnipotent presence;

I don’t think of HAL as malevolent. He’s an eerie presence, certainly, and wonderfully so, but for most of the film he’s just an AI doing his job, fulfilling the mission. Things go awry when, following an error, the astronauts conspire to in effect kill him. An event for which, as stated in the film, there’s been no precedent. HAL’s (unanticipated) willingness to defend himself, and maybe to approximate panic, creates a cascade of tragedy for the astronauts, but I don’t think malevolence is quite the word.

I realise I’m fishing for a fine distinction, but I think it’s meant to be there.

Randy

I did see one Marvel movie, or at least parts of it, about a guy who had knife blades shooting out of his knuckles. He fought the UBG on the rim of a nuclear plant's cooling tower, as I recall.

jabrwok

I've long since decided that Hollywood and Marvel don't deserve my money. If I ever see this it'll be because I checked it out of the library.

For an alternative review (not mine as I haven't seen it), see this.

Though I have to admit, that review is just about on par with Opus' review of _Benji Saves the Universe_.

Hal

As opposed to our Hal, who is more of a linky blight, with his URLs to Google search results.

(Sorry Hal, couldn't resist)

Ehn, 's called citations, for further confirmation see Thus, etc . . .

Spiny Norman

Like I said.

Spiny Norman

I don’t think of HAL as malevolent. He’s an eerie presence, certainly, and wonderfully so, but for most of the film

Well. perhaps malevolent isn't quite the right word. Eerie, as you said, and somewhat creepy is how I remember it from my first viewing, when it was new. I was a wee tyke then, and odd things scare children, I suppose... but the unsettling, creepy feeling has stuck with me all this time.

Daniel Ream

Super Hero movies are continuing an old and important tradition that speaks to people.

While I wholeheartedly concur with the "superhero comics are the modern hero myth form", it's also fair to say they exist on a spectrum of such media. In much the same way that military fiction has, say, Mack Bolan on one end and Xenophon's Anabasis on the other.

David

Sounds like Marvel ate DC’s lunch. Again.

In three days it’s already earned $630M. By the end of today, it’ll have made more than DC’s Justice League did in its entire run. So yes, lunch eaten. Though it occurs to me that millions of small children may be unfamiliar with the source material and not expecting a, shall we say, cliff-hanger. Especially one that’s almost wistfully bleak.

Chester Draws

Sure Daniel. There are good and bad myths.
Good and bad super hero films.

We tend not to think of bad ones from history because they disappear, not because they never existed.

But overall rejection of all art forms which have characters that are unreal and unlikable would involve rejecting much of the Western Canon.

Specific rejection of actual films is fair game.

Hancock is still my favourite super hero film. (The "Trickster" motif appeals to me, as countless billions before.)

David

Today’s woke take: Lacking hair ties or pony tails, female superhero hair is a “sexist stereotype.”

It’s all about “gender fascism,” apparently.

You see, it’s not enough to feature lots of heroic women kicking ass and such, and being no less feisty and fearsome than their male counterparts, in a film that ends with a call for help to a cosmically powerful female superhero. No, these ass-kicking female characters must also have certain woke-approved hairstyles.

Which in fact at least four of them do. But that doesn’t count, somehow. Because feigned outrage is status now.

David

I think that warrants a post of its own.

Because I say so, that’s why.

Hal

Among the reasons for spoiler warnings . . .

David

Oil on canvas

Heh. Quite. I’d read the comics years ago but managed to avoid spoilers specific to the film, which was definitely for the best.

Now I’m just waiting for a gif of Doctor Strange doing his Hindu goddess thing. (Is it Durga? I forget which.)

Hal

. . . . Doctor Strange doing his Hindu goddess thing. (Is it Durga? I forget which.)

Any of the above, actually, the multi arm thing is just a designator of stock variety extreme multitasking . . .

David

Mark Kermode asks the big question.

jabrwok

The solution to Kermode's question is to avoid Hollywood's extruded product altogether, or at least confine it to home viewing. The "pause" button is your friend.

David

The solution to Kermode’s question is to avoid Hollywood’s extruded product altogether,

Some people are just no fun at all. :-)

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