James Cameron Really, Really Likes Women

James Cameron, acclaimed director of movies you’ve probably already seen and probably already liked, took to the stage recently to promote a rerelease of Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  For those who haven’t seen it, it’s an insightful coming-of-age film about a troubled boy searching desperately for a father figure after his single mom has been institutionalized for believing in scary time-traveling robots.  Also, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a robotic, disposable male, Robert Patrick as an evil faceless cop, Linda Hamilton as the psychotic mom, and Ed Furlong as the juvenile delinquent.  The movie is considered by many to be better than its predecessor, and indeed, one of the best films of the 1990s—something of a modern American classic, where every problem is solved with car chases, explosions, and expensive showdowns in urban, industrialized environments where humor consists of little more than shallow one-liners. Continue reading “James Cameron Really, Really Likes Women”

Wolverine, the MCU, and What Comic Book Movies Have Become

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is dog shit.  I’ve been working intermittently on a series of posts about it for about a year at this point, but I keep returning to the same fundamental problem.  There’s nothing there.  Almost every movie is the same movie, and every one of them sucks.

But how did we get here?  Is the MCU the logical continuation of the general trends in the comic book movie genre?  Do they reflect the prevailing interests and entertainment needs of society at large, do they cater to the lowest common denominator?  If they do, what’s changed, if anything? Continue reading “Wolverine, the MCU, and What Comic Book Movies Have Become”

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy: The Problem With Dramatic Comic Book Movies

We all know Batman.  We all know Chris Nolan.  And we’ve all seen his Dark Knight trilogy.  It kicked off in 2005 with Batman Begins, a fresh reboot of the popular character after he had languished for eight years in the great silence left by the utterly baffling 1997 production from Joel Schumacher, Batman and RobinBegins offered viewers a new, refreshing, more realistic take on the Batman origin story, featuring characters more grounded in a conceivable and relatable reality, an emphasis on cutting-edge technology, and a steady directorial hand in drama.  Drawing from the grittier, noir-inspired Year One and Long Halloween, it functioned as an ode to the modern world of its time, tackling issues of vigilantism, corruption, and self-deception, in addition to being an thrilling romp through the familiar tale of Batman’s canonical formation.

But therein lies the rub.  Exactly how serious is the trilogy?  Does its content justify its tone, or vice-versa?  How much should the audience actually suspend its disbelief when watching it? Continue reading “Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy: The Problem With Dramatic Comic Book Movies”

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