So, I haven’t been dead! I also haven’t imploded into some reclusive, dependent Minecraft k-hole! In fact, I’ve just continued to be really busy, wrapping up projects, presents, and various holiday greenery. Post-Christmas, our favorite self-present has become an amazing projector that we can hook up to anything with a video output in our apartment, and project said revelry onto our walls and curtains for private screenings and late night retro game fests.
Amazing. I’m going to do a review of that projector later, but I wanted to talk about some movies I’ve watched recently. Actually, over the course of a weekend, nearly back to back.
The Wolverine, Man of Steel, Elysium, and Pacific Rim. (Thanks, Redbox!)
the TL;DR? They’re all about muscley dudes in futuristic armor fighting big machines and destroying a lot of stuff in the process. If you like that kind of thing, these movies are all for you.
Because they’re all action movies, I feel it’s fair to compare them all together. They’re not groundbreaking in terms of winning an Oscar for Best Actor in a Drama or Musical. They’re just fun, for the most part. I actually enjoyed most of them, except for the one I was actually excited about seeing based on the trailer: Elysium. I’ll get into that in a bit too.
Ooh, let’s give awards to them, ya fucking weirdo! Okay, that’s my format now. Let’s do this.
The Award for Most Favorite in Terms of Pacing and Attention-Span Keeping goes to:
I don’t know how he does it, but Wol… Hugh Jackman just always looks good as Wolverine. He goes from this sorta-gawky British-looking Australian guy to being this handsome, rough-voiced, bad-ass monster. And I love it. There are only a few other people out there that I think could have played Wolverine, and Mr. Jackman is fantastic. THIS movie is the first, though, that really gave me the feeling that I was watching Wolverine as I remembered him in the comics, doing the character some real justice without all of the tacky, flashy stuff that the X-men movies suffer from. It had the right amount of grit, he was immersed properly in an actual culture, and there was something so refreshing about having him seem so breakable and in peril this time around. The story was great, the characters were pretty decent, and it was finally a movie about Wolverine. Loved it, and the action scenes were crazy. Not a huge fan of the giant samurai armor robot, but… whatever, it was all the way at the end.
The Award for Most Handsome Leading Man goes to:
Henry Holy-effing-muscles Cavill in Man of Steel. Dude, how is this man possible? Absolutely beautiful specimen of a man, completely 100% perfect to play Superman because of how weirdly handsome he is. I love how the female soldier geeks-out at one point of the movie, and her Commander asking her what she’s smiling about, and she confesses that she thinks Superman is really hot. I am a bit sad that he wasn’t shirtless for more of the movie, because if you’re going to work for 11 months and get your body to that point, you should definitely show it off. For the people.
The Award for the Most Disappointing Accent goes to:
Jodie Foster in Elysium! I love Jodie Foster, but this was not her strongest part. I’d rather hear her be French (she speaks it fluently and did it impressively in A Very Long Engagement), or Southern, or something… But the accent she was doing in Elysium was just annoying and fakely uppity. Additionally, Sharlto Copley’s accent was really grating on me. It was probably some weird mix between Australian and South African, but it was a bit shrill and shriekish at times…
The Award for Most Surprisingly Enjoyable Movie goes to:
Pacific Rim! While I could easily rename this movie “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” I actually think this is the best kaiju film I’ve ever seen, though I do still have a place in my heart for the ridiculousness that is Cloverfield. Guillermo del Toro pulls out his Hellboy chops and mixes it with giant sea monsters and Zords… er… I mean, giant robots. Really giant robots, that can somehow still be carried by only a handful of helicopters and able to stand “ankle deep” in the ocean… somehow… but it’s okay, it was a fun movie. Fun, and looked amazing on our projector. The colors and lighting in this movie were very neon and vibrant, like a more colorful Tron/Bladerunner sort of atmosphere. Dug it.
The Award for Complete 180 on My Opinion of a Superhero goes to:
Man of Steel. No, it wasn’t just Henry Cavill. Like Iron Man and Captain America, I was able to stop disliking a whole franchise based around a particular superhero. I’ve never liked Superman. He was this conglomeration of a lot of Americana tropes, silly and unlimited powers, a painfully desperate weakness, a silly professional relationship, and a stupid outfit. And perfect fodder for a lot of douchebag tattoos and t-shirts. But now, this new Man of Steel franchise removes a majority of the cheese, finds creative ways to make his powers make sense (sometimes), and finally paints an interesting picture of his homeworld and his villians’ motivations. Fan fucking tastic. I loved it. I actually wish there were more of Russell Crowe and more of the homeworld. I really enjoyed that part, because it just felt new and unexplored, a bit like how I feel about hints of the culture and alien life in The Fifth Element. Just enough interest to keep you wondering. His weaknesses made a bit more sense, the bad guys were better, and the destruction was obscene.
The Award for Least Fun goes to:
Elysium. I should probably have expected that, given that District 9‘s fun wasn’t really that fun either. Elysium was a good movie, but it was never fun. And I dunno, I like my action movies to be fun. They always just feel so dire, like Neill Blomkamp’s experience of Johannesburg, South Africa was really the worst thing you could ever experience. Sure, it’s a race to the finish for a character who is running out of time, but… it’s also pretty lacking in a sense of humor about itself, and it’s all too willing to pull the violence card before the clever/wit card. Like District 9, it ended up being a serious movie about immigrants’ rights and revolutions. And that’s cool and all, but I felt like I was watching a moving buzzkill. It also had this feeling of taking place on maybe five or six distinct sets, rather than actually being part of a larger universe with a lot of culture and variety… Props to Matt Damon for getting buff though.
More notes (some are spoilers):
- Never sleep next to Wolverine or try to wake him up unless you’re across the room.
- Sharlto Copley’s reanimated beard = Just For Men commercial. Also, his brain was okay before he was reconstructed? Lucky…?
- Oh hey, that’s the guy from Sons of Anarchy in Real Ste… Pacific Rim, right?
- Viper in The Wolverine… never have sex with her. You will get more than syphilis.
- Famke Janssen is so creepy.
- Will they or won’t they cut off Wolverine’s claws? They … oh thank god, nope… oh! They will!
- I don’t know if I really liked how quickly Clark & Lois got involved in each others lives in the movie, but I was eventually okay with it.
- Unintentionally funniest part of Man of Steel: Lois’s coworkers are running away from a falling building, and then for some reason the next main shot of them is the one guy yelling for the other woman’s name, and she yells “I’m right here!” (or something), and she’s under this giant pile of rubble with an arm sticking out right behind him. I just didn’t understand it, it ends up being comical due to having to imagine what happened in between since the two characters are only a few meters from each other. What, the building fell on her and the other guy didn’t even notice?
- Hey look, it’s two of my least favorite Battlestar Galactica characters in Man of Steel. This is not the first movie I’ve seen where they both randomly appear.
- Also, Clark’s family should’ve definitely just opened the back door of their car for the dog. Dogs know how to run. That decision was bad, and they should feel bad.