Every week in 2018, the plan is that my friend Rod is going to ask me some geeky question that will answer in a post. This week is Week #33, and this week’s question is again about comic books and superheroes:
The Mission Impossible films started off as standalone stories that didn’t really have anything to do with one another, aside from the fact that they were all modern day approaches to the 1960’s TV series. They all starred Tom Cruise, and they all featured Ving Rhames in a supporting role, they all had self-destructing messages and lifelike rubber masks, but aside from that there was barely any connective tissue between them.
That all began to change with the fourth movie, which had to deal with the fact that main character actually got married in the previous one. After that, the sense of ongoing development continued to develop so that in the latest entry, Mission Impossible Fallout, there are no less then seven returning characters, including for the first time, the movie’s female lead and the main villain.
I only recently discovered Teen Titans Go!, as my two younger, nerdier children began to tune in to the animated series, and get a lot of joy out of the frantic, stream-of-consciousness style of humor. When word came through that there was a movie being made out of the concept, the cleverly titled Teen Titans GO to the Movies, they were definitely down to see it. And since it was coming out while we were in the USA on holidays, when entertainment is more freely part of the schedule, it was an easy choice to get out there and give it a go, even though I’d personally have rather seen Mission Impossible: Fallout.
Supposedly I’m into movies and supposedly I’m able to keep my geek emphasis on life and pop culture in check. That’s how I like to present myself, anyway. But recent evidence seems to be confronting those assumptions. I watch Ant-Man and the Wasp and I find I have a breezy 800+ words flowing from my fingertips, but a similarly-timed viewing of Ocean’s 8 only invites comparisons to the Star Wars saga. What’s up with that?
With Ant-Man and the Wasp, the MCU hits 20 films, with no real signs of slowing down.
I have at least one friend who thinks this a terrible, with superhero films being a dark blight on the landscape. And we’ve also read interviews with Hollywood bigwigs about “superhero fatigue”, as if the popularity of the genre were crushing all creativity out of movies. This is an overreaction, of course–it seems asilly to not recognize that the whole idea of “summer blockbusters” and “tentpole franchises” have been threatening the same thing for decades. But somehow, cinema survives.
For me, I like superheroes, of course, and as long as a company like Marvel can continue to produce palatable material, then I say it’s fine, go for your life. And Ant-Man and the Wasp is at least palatable, if not a fully enjoyable summer snack.
After a fourteen year wait, the sequel to 2004’s The Incredibles has finally come to the big screen. In today’s sequel-heavy climate, it’s a bit surprising that it’s taken so long. Indeed, nowadays we could hardly have been surprised if those 14 years had been filled with a part 2, a part 3, a prequel and baby Jack-Jack getting his own spinoff trilogy.
But as it is, we’ve just got one film…finally. Not that we haven’t wanted more. The first film was a real winner–it successfully blended fun action sequences with stylish visuals, engaging characters, lots of humor and a decent plot. The superhero stuff in particular, whilst not original to anyone with familiar with comics, was visually innovative and, generally speaking, way cooler than anything we’d seen in animation up to that point.
So how does this sequel measure up? Does it measure up to the expectations that we have of a sequel of one of the famed superhero family animated classic?
For as long as I’ve been hearing about the second Star Wars anthology film, Solo, I’ve been pretty doubtful about the whole thing. And then when I began to hear about all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans, with the film’s directors being fired and replaced partway through, and leading man Alden Ehrenreich apparently needing an acting coach because the producers weren’t happy about how things were coming out…well, at that point I couldn’t help to wonder how this movie could possibly be any good.