In 1990 Marvel’s What The –?! parodied a fight between the Justice League and the Avengers. It was silly, and I quite enjoyed it. In a world where we have not one by two very different, but also very similar, Justice League movies, I figured we could combine them, and we would have Just A League. Not as good as it could be, but also not a total train wreck.
I just sat and watched the Zack Snyder’s Justice League. It is a lot of movie. Four hours of movie. In the older 4:3 aspect ratio, which actually works unless you really need something to complain about. Watching this is a weird experience, especially having seen the theatrical release. It is much the same, but also fairly different. Because of those, spoilers ahead, mostly for the Snyder cut, but I suppose for the movie as a whole too.
As my friend Matt posted, Wonder Woman 1984 was definitely a movie. No question about that.
There is, however, a real question about how good it was. And that is a truly self-contradictory answer. So, to reexplain, I recently decided to rate movies based on one main criteria…did I like it when I watched it. And that works for most movies. Not all, though. When a movie exists in a series, I also look at how it fits into that series. So a movie with issues can be good until those issues bump into established internal series continuity. Captain Marvel approaches that problem, but manages to not bump to much into the internal chronology (well, except that Fury & SHIELD knew for a fact aliens existed before Thor/Avengers).
Wonder Woman runs face first into the established continuity, flounders around, and dances off stage. I know that sentence is tortured, it’s the best I could think of.
I finally broke down and started watching Discovery. And…it’s not great. There is a lot to pick apart, and a lot of…let’s call them unforced errors. And finally, it suffers from a serious flaw – the creators and showrunners think they are far more clever than they really are. It’s kind of annoying, because there are also some really excellent notes too.
To begin with, let’s look at the elephant in the room. Discovery has substantially higher tech levels than the Enterprise in the original series. And is set a mere 10 years before the original series. Which makes for a lot of disconnect. I look at it one of two ways – either this is the more realistic tech level, considering what has happened in the real world, and if the original series (ok, TOS from here out) had the ability, they would have done it this way. The other approach is that it’s another reality, where TOS never happened. I tend toward a hybrid of both. TOS happens, but also this is the tech level that would have been there had these concepts (and the practical ability to make them happen) been available in 1966.
The other elephant is the Klingons. I will get more into this later, especially the way that every show-runner since Roddenberry has made them less and less realistic.
So, let’s see what I though of this incarnation of the Trek franchise.
Discovery Has Issues
I don’t mean issues within the larger Trek continuity. I mean internal issues. Well, it has both, really, but mostly internal issues. Some of them can be chalked up to terminology issues and a seeming lack of familiarity with how military structures work. But there are more than just that – casting issues, continuity issues, Klingons, scripting, and more.
Let’s look at these one by one, starting with the overarching one – how does a military work. This is mostly about Tilly & Burnham, honestly.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the finale of the Skywalker Saga, and I have to say, it was in a lot of ways the most Star Wars of the 9 movies. There is a lot of Star Wars in this…like more than you might expect. And that is a good thing.
A quick warning. For those who linked in from Facebook, there are spoilers ahead. I will attempt to place them at least one screen down, and will add a note when they appear, but you’ve been warned.
So, first things first – I liked this a lot. It worked incredibly well as a closing chapter, and while it does leave a lot open for the future – including direct sequels – so did Return of the Jedi, and literally every concluding chapter of every series ever. So that can’t really be a complaint. It wraps up the current story nicely, deals with the death of Carrie Fisher nicely. And, in short, hits all the marks in needed to, and did so without being overly anything. Which is nice.
We begin with a flurry of ‘things happening’ scenes, crossing from heroes to villains, and no real explanation beyond what you see on the screen. Which is very much in the Star Wars model. We move on to the plot, which, as is the norm, has new places, old places, new toys characters, old characters, and lots to see. There is a lot of well done fan service. And then a satisfying ending, which is good to have, again, after the recent backlash.
There are issues to address, of course, as well as some things I realized about this particular trilogy, and Star Wars as a whole, just before I saw the new movie.
Star Wars is most like 40’s movie shorts. It draws inspiration from those, and is designed to mimic them. Keeping that in mind is crucial to understanding Star Wars in general.
So, we are currently down in the Birmingham area for Thanksgiving, and in a storefront in front of the hotel, I saw Highland Gourmet Scones. It looked like a decent coffee shop, so the first morning there, I wandered over. And wow.
Based on the smell alone, I ordered a custom tin, then took home the mocha, original (golden raisin), and an orange-cranberry. And we sampled, and both agree, this is a find! These are clearly the best scones I have encountered – from the mass-produced at Starbucks to the fancy at Third Coast Cafe in Chicago’s Gold Coast. These beat them all. Properly dry, epic flavor, and just that incredible smell.
I can’t say I have sampled them all, but of those I have, I prefer the Cherry-Almond, Original, and Orange-Cranberry. These are something you need to experience. And lucky for me, they ship!