It would not be unfair to say that this was a challenging year. I felt that it was harder to find the positive, but honestly it was the kind of year that made sure that you had to and so here we are back to look at my pop-culture positives.
Much like last year, this wasn’t the time to be going to pictures, I did however manage to get to the cinema a few times as well as enjoy some new non cinema stuff.
This was a weird gem of a heist movie with a cast that was almost guaranteed to get people to check it out. The acting trio of Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds were clearly having fun with this film and that got across to the audience. Fun little popcorn fodder with great action, comedy and a decent 3rd act twist. Available on Netflix I’d highly recommend it.
Back in the 1970’s, Jack Kirby returned to Marvel comics and came up with several new ideas that launched into comics he both wrote and drew. One of them, was Eternals. This series put the idea of two other races living on Earth with us, the bizarre looking and tyrannical Deviants, the Human race and the long lived super-powerful Eternals who were often viewed as gods by man and were named sort of after them, or the gods named for the Eternals. The Deviants and the Eternals owed their existence to the Celestials a rage of huge space gods who interfered with the development of humanity for their own unknowable reasons. This was infused with Jack Kirby at his Kirby-est with bizarre ideas, eclectic designs and a large sweeping cast and scope. Marvel announced that this film was coming and I thought “how are they going to adapt this weird-ass tale of millennia old creatures and the assorted oddities?” Well they didn’t. It’s not the same, it uses some names and rough themes, but this was it’s own thing. Once you get past that, it’s an interesting tale, amazing cast, large scale action and a lot of heart. You will start watching this film not knowing anything about the characters, but you will have a favourite by the end.
Being a child of the 80’s I remember David Lynch’s stylish epic Dune. But it did have it’s flaws. I also remember the early 00’s TV mini-series which had greater depth, but was less visually interesting. This new offering very deftly melds the two together. It offered depth and intrigue, but was also visually exciting and gripping with it’s own musical cues and visual iconography. I watched this on my birthday and was absolutely floored by it. It was well cast, beautifully shot and so elegantly performed. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it.
The Suicide Squad
The previous Suicide Squad film was something of a glorious mess. Two of the high points were Margot Robbie’s highly entertaining portrayal of Harley Quinn and Viola Davis being Amanda ‘The Wall’ Waller. The rest was badly edited, quite incoherent and yet ultimately forgettable. So I was at best unsure about this new version, even with the name of James Gunn attached. I managed to get the time to see it just before it left cinemas. I was not disappointed. From the dark humour, it’s fast placed and witty plot and some exceptional action set pieces this film was a lot better that it had any right to be. Definitely one of the best outputs from the DCEU so far.
Justice League: The Zack Snyder cut
Much like the previously mentioned Suicide Squad, the Justice League film was a glorious mess. There was good reason for it as the director changed partway through production for personal reasons that are neither relevant, or in fact my business. The end result was an uneven tone and a largely forgettable movie.
Time passes and there’s some fan outrage and the demand for the snydercut. The money people saw which way the wind was blowing and decided to do release it. I mean after some re-shoots and an 8 figure budget for post production stuff and the 2 hours mess became some kind of 4 hour auteur thing. It had the same problems that plagued Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman, it was a bit in love with itself, it was badly lit and unnecessarily bleak. But it was a really interesting film/mini-series that had a consistent tone and was a lot more epic in scope.
So there you have it, my year in film. Less cinema visits, with Red Notice and Justice League enjoyed on my couch, but what I did see, I did enjoy.
Next Time: TV n stuff