Film Review: Aquaman (2018)

aquaman

Promotional image for the 2018 film “Aquaman.”

I happened upon the DVD of Aquaman (2018) at my local library and couldn’t pass it up. The film has gotten rave reviews, and given the DCU‘s relatively poor track record compared to Marvel, I decided they were due for a win.

First of all, I love Jason Momoa as Arthur/Aquaman. Even as a kid, the blond, orange shirted Aquaman of the comic books seemed pretty silly to me, especially when compared to Marvel’s Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, so Momoa’s interpretation of Aquaman is an incredible improvement and a joy to watch. I also loved Temuera Morrison as Arthur’s Dad Tom and Nicole Kidman as his Mom Atlanna. An additional treat was the appearance of Willem Dafoe as Vulko.

All that said, I thought the movie was “okay”. Oh sure, plenty of action, thrills and chills, but it didn’t really stand out. There are already plenty of films about reluctant, exiled kings and their rise to power against evil. Frankly, Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) did it better, although it’s tough to compare the two characters.

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Before Social Justice and Comicsgate, there were Comic Books

I’ve written about the modern state of mainstream comic books before (DC, Marvel) including how at least some of them aren’t safe for children, and the whole comicsgate vs. social justice comic books drama. Some of this still pops up in my twitter stream, though I don’t respond because, why bother? Still, I do consider the state of the industry as it relates to some of the movies I watch (I caught Deadpool 2 on DVD the other day). And that takes me back to the comic books I used to read, many years…okay, decades ago.

I’ve read some things about the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, which seems interesting, and maps to the original Ms. Marvel comic book of the 1970s, based on a non-superpowered Carol Danvers who appeared in 1968 in this comic book:

Here, Captain Marvel was an alien spy, obeying the commands of his Kree overlords in a spaceship orbiting the Earth, but eventually, he used his space suit’s powers to help human beings, bringing his loyalty into question. Not long afterward, he got a make over and turned into this:

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Here We Go Again: Comicsgate

superman

A public service announcement published in a DC comic book in the early 1960s

I’ve heard of this thing called Comicsgate, and after doing a bit of reading, discovered it’s pretty much the same sort of critter that launched the efforts of the Sad Puppies a few years back.

Allegation: The mainstream comic book industry (DC, Marvel) is overrun by Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) forcing their very narrow agenda down the throats of all comic book readers, no matter how totally unrealistic it is, so we independent comic book creators will fight back by creating more classic heroes of our own.

You can find out more about this perspective by following Jon Del Arroz’s twitter feed, particularly THIS and THAT.

Counter-allegation: Conservative, white, racist trolls want to destroy all participation of strong women heroes, people of color, LGBTQ+ writers, artists, and characters, and all other marginalized and vulnerable populations in comic books so comics are totally owned by white people, and we have to stop them.

You can read about Bill Sienkiewicz rebuttal at “The Mary Sue” (a fairly biased publication) as well as on his twitter feed HERE.

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Gender Fluid Actress Ruby Rose “Not Gay Enough” to Play Batwoman

ruby rose

Richard Shotwell/Invision, via Associated

Actress Ruby Rose has deleted her social media presence after facing a backlash for being cast as “Batwoman” — not from the right, angry that the self-described lesbian character will be played as written, but from the left, who declared Rose “not gay enough” to play the female superhero.

I found this quote in an article written by Emily Zanotti for The Daily Wire called Ruby Rose Quits Twitter After Leftist Critics Declare She’s Not Gay ENOUGH To Play Batwoman.

Wait! What?

Since The Daily Wire is a conservative publication, and since social and political leftists seem to believe that any conservative news is “fake news,” I fact checked it (yeah, I do that), and according to the left leaning New York Times as well as Entertainment Weekly, it’s true.

What that heck (substitute a four letter word that starts with “F” [Edited to be less graphic])?

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Forgotten Hero

ute petraglyph trail

© gjhikes.com – available for non-commercial use.

The explosion at the house he rented in Cascade would keep the cops off his back long enough for him to hike up Palisade Rim Trail. He told the locals he wanted to study the Ute petroglyphs when there weren’t any tourists around. It was an easy trail and just about anyone who wanted to see them could. That was the beauty of it all. No one suspected the secret.

Wasn’t dawn yet and damned cold but he made it. Large number of petroglyphs probably meant this was a frequent camping area. The real reason the Utes visited here often didn’t survive into the modern age. He’d failed this time. The Sun Lords weren’t in this version of reality. Richard Hunter activated the time gate using the Moreira device and stepped back into 1959 to try again. He and the Forgotten Heroes had to find them before they conquered the multiverse.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps location and image and use them to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today the Pegman takes us to Palisade Rim/Ute Petroglyph Trail, Colorado. I had a tough time with this one. Seems like a nice place to visit, but where’s the action?

The trailhead is just a few miles away from Cascade, Colorado but while the area has a few interesting stories, none of them grabbed me. I tried looking up current news articles for Cascade, but the closest thing I found was a house explosion in Colorado Springs.

I looked up the trail itself and found a couple of reviews including one from GJHikes.com and another from Colorado West Outdoors. Finally, I tried to find out how old the petroglyphs were.

I had some sort of time travel story in mind and at first, I was just going to use one of the character names from the original Rip Hunter, Time Master comic book which first appeared in issue 20 of Showcase in May 1959. Then while reading the history of the character, I decided to adopt some of the elements from the mid-1980s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” story arc.

The “Moreira” device is named for Ruben Moreira, the original “Rip Hunter” artist in 1959.

I know it’s ridiculous but it’s the best I could come up with, especially when I haven’t had breakfast yet (as I write this).

Since I read the trail ends at a high cliff, my only other idea was a suicide, but that seemed pretty grim.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Pilot Episode of “Supergirl” : A Retro Review

supergirlNow that the television series Supergirl has moved to the CW from CBS, giving it a second chance at life and a second season, I thought I’d dust off my review of the series pilot, which I wrote last year for another blog.

I hadn’t originally intended on watching the pilot episode of Supergirl starring Melissa Benoist in the title role, but it was online, it was free, so I figured, what the heck. I didn’t expect to like it all that much, but I was curious how CBS was going to adapt decades of Superman and Supergirl canon. My reaction is mixed.

I’ve read a few of the other reviews of the pilot, both before and after I saw the episode, and they range from “good but not perfect” to “triumph for everyone wanting a strong female hero for a change”. You can see examples at Yahoo News, IGN, The Mary Sue, and The Los Angeles Times.

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Batman: Under the Red Hood, a Retro DVD Review

red hoodYes I know, this is old. The animated film was released in 2010, but sometimes I don’t get around to watching things right away. Actually, I’m repurposing an old review I wrote for another blog. Time to let it out for a breath of fresh air.

This review is loaded with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen this video yet and you want to preserve the mystery, don’t read any further. You’ve been warned.

OK, it was fabulous, and I don’t give out compliments lightly. The suspense in this tale had even me twisting in my seat. I was actually nervous about how it all would come out. Go figure.

Several major pieces of Batman comic book history are adapted for this story.

First, Jason Todd, the second Robin, being killed by the Joker. That happens right at the beginning and is the set up for everything else. Jason is beaten to a pulp with a crowbar, left for dead, and then, before Batman could get there, the place blows sky-high. No fake death. Batman gets to the site of the explosion less than a minute later and picks Jason’s broken body out of the rubble. He’s dead. No faking it.

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