Say My Name…Shazam!

There are at least three moments in Shazam! that made my inner-nerd do a little leap of delight.

We’ll get to them in a moment.  First though, I want to reflect upon the film’s general strengths and weaknesses, beyond it’s obscure comic book appeal.

Shazam 1

Shazam! is the latest film based on a DC Comics character to hit the big screen.  It’s arrived with much critical and financial success, and carries with it the reputation of being the kind of light-hearted whimsical escapist superhero fantasy film that the DC Extended Universe has thus far been famous for not making.

And this reputation is sort of deserved.  Sort of, but not quite.

Incidentally, there are spoilers ahead.  Big spoilers. Big Big Spoilers!

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Captain Marvel

Well, now we live in a world where Captain Marvel has come out…the first MCU movie headlined by a female superhero.  For some people this is great big huge deal, and apparently for others, it is a sign that this is the end of days.  Or at least that’s what I’ve heard.  Maybe there really are people who believe it is a sign of the end of days, but I guess I don’t frequent the right websites because I’ve never read anything by any of them directly, only by those who are refuting them.  (Spoilers ahead). 

Captain Marvel 1

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Glass (…sigh)

Glass is really a movie that I never expected I’d be watching.  It’s the sequel to a film that I really liked–Unbreakable–which came out a 19 years earlier.  That movie was the story of David Dunn, played by Bruce Willis, an apparently ordinary guy who discovered his destiny as a super-strong champion akin to a comic book superhero.

Glass 1

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Mary Poppins Returns–doing Nostalgia right

Star Wars Episode 7.  The Day of the Doctor.  Ocean’s 8.  Live action Beauty and the Beast. All, on some level or another, movies that offer some fun in the viewing–some thrills, some warms feelings, some familiar taps of the toe to classic songs and musical themes.

In other words…nostalgia–that feeling of fondness and comfortability that comes from revisiting sights and sounds and situations that used to occupy happy places in our hearts in the past, especially from our childhood.  Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to the 1964 Disney classic, definitely trades in on that nostalgic quality to earn some of its goodwill.  But it does so perhaps in the best way I have ever seen.

Mary Poppins Emily Blunt.jpg

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Back in the 1990’s, I used to make a joke about Kevin Costner, how he seemed to only star in three hour movies in which he got to play some iconic childhood hero. Like he’s saying, “Hey, I’m Robin Hood!” (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) or “Hey, I’m a cowboy!” (Wyatt Earp), or “Hey, I’m an Indian!” (Dances with Wolves), or “Hey, I’m Aquaman!” (Waterworld).

Of course, Waterworld is not actually about Aquaman, but some other guy who can swim really fast and survive the depths of the ocean. Part of the joke is that the idea of making an actual Aquaman movie is just ludicrous. Oh, how times have changed.


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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

OK, this is the film that demonstrates more than any other that we are genuinely in some sort of golden age of cinematic comic book adaptations.  Not because, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is perfect (it’s not), but because it includes geeky material that is so esoteric that even comic book nerds would find it a bit obscure, and yet which movie studio executives are apparently still confident will pull in enough of an audience to make the film profitable.

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse

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Weekly Geeky Question #51: Making a “Great” Christian Film

It’s the penultimate Weekly Geeky Question, where my friend Rod asks me some geeky question that I have to answer.  We’re now up to Week #51, so only one more to go.  This week’s question is quite a bit different than any other we’ve had this year:

How would I create an openly evangelistic Christian film…and make it awesome and popular?


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Weekly Geeky Question #50: Awesome Story Payoffs

It’s time for another Weekly Geeky Question.  Each week my friend Rod asks me some geeky question that I have to answer.  We’re now up to Week #50, so we’ve been at this for a while.  This week’s question follows on from last week, where we talked about disappointing story payoffs.

What are some of the most best story payoff’s that I have ever seen?

Paul Levitz

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Weekly Geeky Question #49: Disappointing Story Payoffs

Well, it’s Weekly Geeky Question time, and we’re up to Week #49–with the end of 2018 approaching more rapidly than any of us are prepared to deal with.   My Friend Rod is back with another question, and this time it’s about one of my favorite things, which is story structure.  What Rod wants to know is,,,

What are some of the most disappointing story payoff’s that I have ever seen?


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