Apr 052019

Unexpectedly, incredibly, this film has jumped to the top rungs of my informal list of favorite superhero movies. Visually and narratively, there’s no predicting what comes next. It’s insane. Also everyone is swimming all the time. And Aquaman talks to the fish. Patrick Wilson is present.

In short, this film is hitting a lot of buttons I didn’t realize I had but that, now that they’re activated and flashing green, I cannot deny.

I’ll be watching this one again.

Feb 162016

Arrow_promo_-_Destiny_leaves_its_mark_-_city_backgroundMy brother finally decided to watch this show and once he got going, tore through all three seasons one after the other. He conceded it had a rough start but insisted it was much better than I had allowed. Based on his reaction, I decided to at least watch to the end of the first season.

And what do I think now that I have?

The show does get better and seems to be trying to cut loose its original framing and replace it with something new. This is most obvious in the move away from the idiotic book-as-motivation that drove the plot early on. There is also a move toward a longer-term and more complex cross-episode narrative arc. As part of this the sister and the mother have receded a bit into storylines that make more sense than those they started with. The ex-girlfriend plot line can’t disappear but seems to be shifting toward less annoying ground. (The death of the best friend in the final episode helps with that.) Most importantly, with Felicity, the show has found its first genuinely likable (even if stereotyped) character. At last.

There are still things to dislike. The show is written in large part for a tween/teen audience and this results in painfully stilted posturing in the relentlessly central romantic relationships. When characters talk to each other romantically, they say what I imagine a teenager might imagine an adult saying or doing at that moment, and it kinda makes me nuts.

I’m also not a huge fan of the through-the-roof machismo. I take it as an attempt to disavow the way shirtless male bodies are subject to an eroticized gaze in every single episode. (Exhibit A: the chiaroscuro pecs and abs in the series poster.) Still, it’s pretty off-putting.

So what now? Well, I suppose that, despite my reservations, I’d be willing to watch the beginning of the next season just to see how the reinvention that is clearly under way proceeds.

May 212013

I had hopes for this show. They have not panned out.

Why is the “hero” killing people? If I grant for the sake of argument that a “hero” might legitimately hunt down and kill the bad guys (which is nonsense), wouldn’t it make sense that there is more justification for the killing than “their names are in a book (origins unknown) and therefore they must die”? I dislike The Punisher but at least he has reasons for what he does. It’s repugnant that a well established anti-capitalist, Robin Hood-figure would be remade in his likeness. Only dumber and less morally conscious.

When the plot compounded the confusion by setting-up a Spider-man v. Green Goblin/Hobgoblin triangle as it’s central drama, I called it quits.

Yet the episodes keep coming. Why doesn’t a season of Justified last this long?

Jan 012013

So I’m not sure if the Christmas episode is the end of the season or not, but I’ve watched all of Arrow that is available for now. And I like it. It started off strong and has stayed interesting. But it has also become network television: a lot of posing and posturing.

I guess I don’t understand television very well. I’m always surprised when a show with a coherent narrative arc transforms into a series of episodes worried mostly about creating business and punting the ball forward. In this particular case, it feels like the show is surprised it’s a success and is scrambling to figure out what’s next.

Still, I’m rooting for this show. So here’s hoping they use the break to get back on track.