Tag: Kevin Smith

Captain Marvel is an excellent, if flawed, lynchpin for the MCU

Captain Marvel is an excellent, if flawed, lynchpin for the MCU

So, guess who just saw Captain Marvel? The movie which Meninism Magazine voted worst blight on masculinity since Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters.

I kid. Any relation to real-life absurdist magazines or misogynistic straw polls is purely coincidental.

It’s just hilarious to me how reactionary the hate for this movie has been leading up to its release.

But that’s neither here nor there. I’m not here to make political statements.

I’m here to review a Marvel movie.

As a general disclaimer, I wasn’t excited for Captain Marvel like I was for Infinity War.

Not because of the aforementioned testosterone backlash — though I’ll admit some of the film’s advertising seemed a little too determined to prod that tiger.

I just happen to know next to nothing about Carol Danvers, so it was going to take a lot to convince me she is the Avenger’s one true hope.

Luckily, the experience was more fun than I expected and proved the heroine’s place in this narrative.

Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as “Vers,” an amnesiac member of the Kree Empire’s armada of intergalactic warrior-heroes locked in conflict with a shapeshifting race of alien terrorists called the Skrull.

Vers has visions of a human life as Air Force pilot Carol Danvers, and winds up on Earth before her untrustworthy narrative is resolved.

There she must sort out her fractured past, flush out the invading alien threat and have buddy cop adventures with Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury — over ten years before he starts the Avenger’s Initiative in 2008’s Iron Man.

The movie starts strong by putting the clichéd complexities of an “amnesiac protagonist” on the back burner for an in media res emphasis of the living world in Marvel’s deep space, similar to Guardians of the Galaxy.

But when things got to Earth, I became concerned.

The burst of mid-90s nostalgia pandering — complete with a Blockbuster video and Stan Lee cameo rehearsing for his appearance in 1995’s Mallrats — is fun and gives Larson a quirky “fish out of water” bit reminiscent of Wonder Woman.

I imagine it’s not uncommon to levy comparisons to DC’s female-led superhero film, but I think the better comparison is with Solo: A Star Wars Story.

My least favorite part of that origin story was the way it condensed every bit of information you know about the character’s past into the span of a week. It was blatantly referential rather than clever and story-driven, weakening Han Solo as a character.

When Captain Marvel introduces Nick Fury, dropping bits and pieces of recognizable information for MCU veterans to say,

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I was afraid the film would fall into the same trappings of timeline condensation.

However, it handles itself far more tactfully, and instead ties huge loose ends of a decade-long story into succinct bows. It’s, dare I say, a marvel how well Captain Marvel stands as the “inciting incident” for the rest of the MCU.

The final product is not my favorite Marvel film as an overall experience. But the wonderful cast helps solidify the movie’s place.

Jackson is a stellar second lead. His interactions with Larson, Carol’s best friend Maria (played by Lashana Lynch in a performance that stood out despite a late entrance) and the kitty Goose were solid cinematic glue.

I have to give extra props to the effects department for selling a de-aged Jackson so well over almost two hours.

The alien races’ full-makeup and costumes also worked, with Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) and Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) each nailing their roles as Kree and Skrull commanders respectively.

Thanks to them, the “alien war” serving as Captain Marvel‘s crux was far more interesting than I expected based on YouTube think pieces setting up certain Avengers as confederates due to the Skrull’s infamy in comics.

The movie also benefitted from being smaller in scale than I expected.

Everything was very interpersonal, only briefly referencing “world threatening” stakes that most superhero movies rely on. As an added bonus, this made the effects more contained, befitting plot and action where needed.

But of course, there’s the lead. Brie Larson is charming and wonderful as the kick-ass, witty, and snarky hero who growls at aliens and doesn’t need to prove herself to anyone.

I had a few smaller gripes with her character, such as the only injury she ever suffered being a bloody nose (mostly to contribute to her mysterious past) and the forced reliance on amnesia tropes as a whole.

Though that’s more on the screenplay than her performance.

It’s also worth mentioning one of my Dad’s complaints with the film: She very quickly accepts a sudden shift in perspective on [Spoilers]. That, in turn, feeds my own issue that after the character development, her powers seemed incredibly vast considering their somewhat modest origins.

That said, an action set piece at the end of the movie makes great use of visuals to show her strength and definitely sold Captain Marvel as a powerful ally in the upcoming second fight against Thanos.

The film’s score also offered some distinct positives. It relied more heavily on variations of the main theme than a glut of pop songs (like Guardians), and there was a stand out moment where Western vibes took over the melody during a one-on-one confrontation in the desert.

So that, in a nutshell, is Captain Marvel.

A solid enough Marvel flick that perhaps falters most in its primary storyline’s reliance on amnesiac origin story clichés, but makes up for it with beyond excellent world building, special effects befitting a more personal adventure (that really only got wonky once or twice) and a top-notch cast.

All playing second fiddle to the cutest cat ever committed to film.

After Captain Marvel, I’m very ready for Endgame to hurry up and hit theaters, because if the mid-credit stinger was any indication, it should be a wild ride.


Featured Image courtesy of IMDb

One Night at the Improv

One Night at the Improv

When I turned 21 about a month ago, one of the presents my parents got me were tickets to see the live show for one of my favorite podcasts: Hollywood Babble-On with Ralph Garman and Kevin Smith.

Unfortunately the show sells out rather fast well in advance. So we weren’t able to get tickets closer to my actual birthday.

But hey, the timing doesn’t matter all that much. I still got to go after all! Had a blast too while I was at it.

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Here’s me and my dad in a very lousy picture taken with poor club lighting.

My dad and I have been listening to Hollywood Babble-On together for a long time now. Back in my high school days, probably starting as far back as my freshman year, it would be one of the staple podcasts in our wheelhouse of things to listen to on the way to school in the morning.

Now, for a little bit of context assuming most of you won’t know about it, Babble-On is a dirty, downright raunchy show. All the portions that don’t have Ralph yelling about this or that celebrity doing something dumb and awful usually involves some level of sexual or morbid humor. It’s generally objectively terrible stuff… But terrible stuff delivered in just the most hilarious way you can imagine.

If you’re an awful person who loves the entertainment business like me, you’ll probably enjoy it.

That said, getting to experience the show live with the guy who got me into it was a whole new kind of experience.

We started in the main bar area at about 8:30 p.m. or so and had dinner, which guaranteed us a reserved spot at the show. I had pizza and he had a burger, which were both pretty damn good I’d say. Dinner also included a couple of hours just sitting around and talking about life, since the show didn’t start until 10:30 p.m.

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Somehow got a much better shot of Kevin (left) and Ralph (right) than I did of us…

We got relatively lucky at tonight’s show, as it was the first Babble-On performed since Kevin has been out of the hospital from his recent heart attack.

… Okay, us getting lucky about getting to see a show because someone else survived a heart attack SEEMS like a statement centering the focus somewhere it shouldn’t belong… But hey, you’re on my blog. If you want a more personal perspective about Kevin’s well-being, just follow his stuff.

If tonight is any indication, he’s doing way better.

That said, if nothing else the aftermath of that experience made for a fun first 20 minutes or so.

Did I mention that the show was nearly three hours long last night? Because it was, and we didn’t leave the Improv until 1:15 a.m. or so this morning. Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast, but it’s going to be arduous to listen through the show again to see if we show up in the general background audience noise.

The shout out we sent in emails for was unfortunately not read during the show. But we were so close to the stage that I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear my obnoxiously loud laugh or a cough somewhere along the way, despite the fact that there were probably close to 200 people packed into that comedy club.

Because of the length of the show, I don’t think it would be healthy for me to lose much more sleep just to break the whole thing down. Long story short, it was super fun, I might link to the audio once this episode goes up and I probably won’t ever listen to Babble-On the same way ever again.

It’s an interesting phenomenon to think about, the fact that you can be imagining something auditory one way for years only to have that whole perception change when you finally see it in person.

Maybe I’ll look into that more and write about it one of these days…

But obviously that’s a tale for another time if I do.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that tonight served as another milestone for my being 21: I drank for the first time!

Yes, yes, that ever-present right of passage that literally nobody would ever let me hear the end of when I was making my way through the earlier parts of college and refused to drink. I figured if there were ever a good time to try alcohol, it would be at a raunchy comedy show at the famous Hollywood Improv.

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Given the fact that I have no idea how alcohol works, I let my dad pick out my poison. A White Russian he decided, as he figured it would taste enough like a milkshake to circumvent the bitter alcoholic content.

Unfortunately, that was but a pipe dream.

I’ll be honest, I barely got through half of the small drink I had. While my mom later argued it would have been better to go with something like a rum and coke, I just still don’t know if that would have been my thing.

Maybe I just don’t really understand the appeal. All I got out of the drink was a harsh, bitter taste that burned on the way down. Bitter without any flavor to disguise it.

I don’t know, I suppose I can try again later, but for now my first experience with alcohol was a failed one. Even if the venue surrounding the drink was unforgettable.

Though it is probably worth mentioning that as I suffered through one drink like a loser, Ralph managed to down three shots and four glasses of Guinness in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

So that’s one for the book of masculinity I’m sure someone is keeping.

September 12, 2016 Article Published

Alright so the title of this post might be a little misleading.  Technically, I did have another article published for the Arts & Entertainment section of the Daily Titan this issue.  It was just published solely online, not actually in print.

This article was also a movie review rather than a look into an art exhibit on campus.  After getting to see the film early through Alt-101, a College of Communication’s program on campus, I wrote a review for Kevin Smith’s “Yoga Hosers”.

Probably the hardest part about writing this piece for me was that, ironically, I had to inject my own specific opinions into my writing.  As someone who writes hard news almost exclusively, I’m much more used to sticking to the facts and not letting my personal biases slip through.  For a review, however, it was almost entirely my personal feelings about Smith’s movie on display – even if I had to write everything in third person either way.

As a fan of some of Smith’s other flicks, including “Clerks” and “Dogma”, as well as his podcast “Hollywood Babble-On”, I was pretty much predisposed to enjoy this movie walking in.  However, as I try to articulate in the review, the same probably couldn’t be said for everyone.  It’s full of crude humor and referential jokes that only devoted fans will probably pick up on, and  I would argue that most people wouldn’t like the movie even if I did – something that Rotten Tomatoes agrees with me on.

If you want to see the review in its entirety, you can see it here.  You can also check out my whole archive of work for the Daily Titan through the link over on the right!