In a post-911 landscape, the American blockbuster has become a place to reframe and relive the trauma of seeing the twin towers fall. Film after film depicts the rancid destruction of skyscrapers, but in a way that often felt part of pure entertainment spectacle with no people leaping to their deaths or bodies strewn in the streets. Continue reading Captain America: Civil War and the Weight of Violence
Note: This is a review of the first four volumes of Astonishing X-Men (2004): Gifted, Dangerous, Torn, and Unstoppable.
Picking up after the events of The Dark Phoenix Saga, Astonishing X-Men attempts to bring the group back together into something that resembles a team. Cyclops and Emma Frost run the school supported by Beast while Wolverine and Kitty Pride return to the school with some amount of skepticism. Tensions rise between the group, but when an alien known as Ord shows up, the group is forced to work together. Continue reading Astonishing X-Men (Whedon/Cassaday Run)
With Guardians of the Galaxy and now Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel Studios is starting to redefine what successful superhero films can be. Guardians of the Galaxy plays heavy into the bizarre and eclectic of superhero comics while Age of Ultron serves as a critique of the superheroes. Continue reading Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
The sensational draw of Birdman may not be what sticks the most from the film. While the film dips its toes into the superhero world, most of the film is a dramatic story about everyday human characters trying to find their way. In a lot of ways, Birdman feels like the antidote to the superhero film but muddles this by also trying to give itself moments of superheroism. Continue reading Birdman (2014)
Note: An early twist in the film is discussed. It is in some of the promotional material for the film.
The problems of cramming long-form comic book storytelling into a feature length film plague Big Hero 6. The slow-building origin story takes up over half of the film’s runtime. The heroes don’t suit up for the first time until the halfway point of the film. By the end of the film, only two of the six titular heroes have gone on any sort of personal character arc. There’s too much story crammed into the film’s modest runtime. Continue reading Big Hero 6 (2014)