Over the last week or so I’ve been watching The Umbrella Academy (2019-2022; Netflix; three seasons; 10 episodes each). Speaking as someone who is beyond being over live-action superhero stories, I rather enjoyed it. Enough that I plan to check out (in both senses of the word) the same-named graphic novels the show is adapted from.
And that right there says even more about my enjoyment of the series. How many times have I written here that doing a live-action adaptation of comics or animated shows is a mistake that usually ends badly? (A lot is the answer.) And it’s a Netflix show to boot.
Yet, despite some small annoyances, I found it quite engaging.
4 Comments | tags: adaptations, Netflix, superheroes | posted in TV Tuesday
For me, one of the challenges of writing a blog post is coming up with a title. A scan of my Index shows I like short and punchy (with a dash of clever if I can manage it), and I’m not above using puns (in fact, quite love them). I wanted to call this Channel Surfing, but I’ve already used that title. (In retrospect, I should have called that one TV Triple. If only I’d known.)
Earlier this year I read a lot (see: this, this, this, or this). Lately I’m watching more TV, trying to whittle away at various watch lists. (For a retired guy, I have a lot of TODO lists. Lists on multiple ebook platforms, lists on multiple video streaming sites, household lists, personal lists,… I even have a list of local breweries to try.)
Here’s a list of what I’ve been watching lately. And a cutaway about cutaways.
20 Comments | tags: anime, Fairy Tail, Japanese anime, Marvel comics, MODOK, superheroes | posted in TV, TV Tuesday
I’ve mentioned quite often in posts, and in comments to posts, is that I’m quite bored by superhero movies. Somehow though I’ve never been moved to post about exactly why in detail. A few recent conversations about it made me realize it might make a good Sunday Sermons post.
The thing is that it does go beyond being just bored. There is a cultural aspect to it that’s gotten under my skin more and more. It has to do with the massive violence and destruction inherent in these movies and with a fundamental aspect of these comic book superhero stories.
They center on fighting, and I’ve never been a fan of it.
20 Comments | tags: D.C. movies, fantasy, Marvel movies, movie violence, soma, Star Wars, superheroes, TV violence, violence | posted in Movies, Sunday Sermons
Last Sci-Fi Saturday I savaged Sabrina, which remains a new low to me in dumb TV. This time I have a much more mixed review. I’ve been working my way through Black Lightning (available on Netflix). It’s a superhero show, so it’s fantasy and suffers all the problems and weakness that go with that.
On the other hand, it’s about a Black superhero (three, actually), and the landscape has been sadly and notably deficient in people of color as superheroes. There is also that Black Lightning obviously has a bigger budget, much better acting, and a far stronger sense of authenticity.
That said,… I’m sorry, but superhero stories are just super lame.
15 Comments | tags: science fiction, science fiction TV, SF, superheroes | posted in Sci-Fi Saturday, TV
I really didn’t expect to like it at all, but I have to say that the CBS show Supergirl has really won me over. To be honest, they engaged me with the first episode, and they’ve engaged and charmed me ever since. They’ve found the necessary secret ingredient for telling stories about an invulnerable flying alien who wears red, yellow, and blue underwear: plenty of whimsy, sheer joy, and don’t forget the love.
Full disclosure, when I was in grade school, Supergirl in the comics was my first long-time crush. The kid in me is still head-over-heels. Some of my earliest sexy images involved Supergirl’s landings (which would cause her skirt to flip up). Yeah, I had it bad!
So maybe I’m just smitten, but thumbs up on the show!
11 Comments | tags: Calista Flockhart, Cat Grant, CBS, Chyler Leigh, Helen Slater, J'onn J'onzz, Jimmy Olsen, Laura Benanti, Melissa Benoist, Supergirl, superheroes, Superman | posted in Sci-Fi Saturday, TV
Some of those who take their comics seriously and think deep thoughts about them have remarked on the symbiotic relationship between super-heroes and super-villains. They do seem to form yet another Yin-Yang pair (and, as I’ve mentioned many times, we find such pairs many places in life). In fact, many see comics as nothing less than variations on the basic Yin-Yang of good and evil.
There are even those who suggest super-heroes create super-nemeses as necessary mirrors and justification for their existence. There is just enough truth to that to make it seem debatable, but the more common view is that both arise as natural symbols of basic good and evil.
So today’s question: Is the Batman responsible for the Joker (and others)?
Leave a comment | tags: Barbara Gordon, Batman, evil, good, Robin, super-villain, superheroes, the Batman, The Joker, Yin and Yang | posted in Brain Bubble
I thought Zack Snyder blew the doors off Watchmen. The movie does total justice to a classic graphic novel that I would have thought impossible to put on film. It turned out to be a work that doesn’t just honor the source material, it elevates it. I liked his version of 300 okay, and I thought Sucker Punch interesting (although it’s a rather strange movie).
Plus, I have a high regard for Christopher Nolan. I very much enjoyed Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, Inception and the first two Batman movies (as I’ve written before, I thought much less of the third one).
Snyder at the helm, Nolan as a producer and writer,… I was really looking forward to Man of Steel.
8 Comments | tags: Batman, Christopher Nolan, Christopher Reeve, Clark Kent, Lex Luther, movie violence, superheroes, Superman, Superman Returns, Zack Snyder | posted in Movies, Rant, Sci-Fi Saturday
I meant to write an article discussing Christopher Nolan‘s latest (and final?) Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises (henceforth, TDKR). I started off writing that article but ended up writing a screed about going to the movies. Words not wasted, perhaps, but now I return to the original intent: trying to say a few words about the movie itself.
The bottom line is that I give it an Eh! on my scale of Wow!, Ah!, Eh!, Meh!, Nah! & Ugh! It’s above the no-go line, so I say it’s worth seeing if it’s in your interest zone. If you’ve seen the other two, you certainly want to see this one. That said, it’s my least favorite in Nolan’s Batman trilogy as well as my least favorite Nolan film. And to be honest, were it not for superhero movie fatigue setting in, I might well have given this a higher rating. I’ve just gotten tired of the genre.
Warning: In this article I’m not going to make any attempt to avoid spoilers, so if you (a) haven’t seen the movie and (2) don’t like spoilers, then you shouldn’t continue reading.
Leave a comment | tags: Bane, Batman, Christopher Nolan, Knightfall, superheroes, The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Rises | posted in Movies
The other evening, I finally went to see the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. The punch line (and never was the term “punch” more appropriate) is that I have to give it a definite thumbs down. It is, without question, my least favorite Christopher Nolan movie, and that’s saying something, because (unlike some), I quite like Nolan’s work.
I’m a life-long comics fan and a life-long fan of the Batman. I’ve known the worlds of DC and Marvel for over 40 years. For me, Superman has a slight edge, but the Batman has always been a close second. Those two comprise a full quarter to one-third of my comics and gnovels (graphic novels) collection. Frank Miller‘s The Dark Knight Returns is one of two seminal works I hold in the highest esteem. (The other, of course, is Alan Moore‘s Watchmen.)
And, as I mentioned, I’m a fan of Nolan’s work, and I liked both his first two Batman movies. I fully expected to like his latest.
Leave a comment | tags: Alan Moore, Batman, Christopher Nolan, superheroes, The Dark Knight Rises, violence, violence in movies | posted in Movies, Rant, The Interweb, TV
Finally saw Green Lantern; thumbs definitely up. I’m no Green Lantern expert, but I’ve read enough to recognize a lot honor done to that comic. The Guardians and Oa seemed pretty on the money to me; so were Abin Sur, Tomar-Re, Kilowog and Sinestro. And I had no problem with Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan; no more so than Christian Bale as Batman or Toby Maguire as Spiderman. Or with Robert Downey Jr as Ironman, for that matter. (And I like them fine, in case you mistake me as being sarcastic.)
I also appreciated the way Hal used the ring: unusual, and yet appropriate, inventions to solve the problem at hand. That seemed very Green Lantern-ish. I’ve always considered slightly odd-ball combat and rescue tools as kind of a signature of the comic. For one example, lofting the oil tanker with a pair of bigass rams and then blowing it up with AA guns.
That was pure GL.
Leave a comment | tags: Comics, Green Lantern, Heroes (TV series), superheroes | posted in Movies