Did the cover Friday, doing the original now: from my personal favorite Beatles album, Abbey Road (which I would also argue is their best), “Come Together.”
The DC Extended Universe continues to shit the bed every time a movie isn’t directed by Patty Jenkins. An unholy mess of a movie stitched together from two directors with diametrically opposed sensibilities, wasting the first time Henry Cavill has actually played Superman. The great superhero movie rewatch is frustrated by 2017’s Justice League.
You would be hard-pressed to find two filmmakers who are less alike than Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder, so asking the former to reshoot and rewrite the latter is a notion fraught with peril, rather akin to asking Terry Pratchett to partially rewrite George R.R. Martin.
And you can so totally see the seams. One minute, it’s a dark, dank, deconstructionist film from someone who finds no joy in superheroes, the next it’s a quip-filled superhero story that takes quite a bit of joy in being about superheroes. Having them both in the same movie makes for an unsettling and peculiar viewing experience, because we get two distinct, incompatible tones.
I was born the same year we landed someone on the moon, the Mets won the World Series, and Woodstock happened—among other things, this means I turned fifty this year. This doesn’t make me feel old at all. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go to the window and shake my fist and tell those kids to get off my lawn.
Anyhow, I was raised by a roving pack of wild librarians, who trained me in their vile and depraved ways. A steady diet of Ursula K. Le Guin’sEarthsea trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Robert A. Heinlein’s YA fiction, and P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves & Wooster stories and novels doomed me to a life of crime. Or, rather, a life of science fiction, fantasy, and silliness. Either a career as a writer or decades of therapy was inevitable…..
Today is “Alien Day,” and in honor of that, Titan Books announced the details on three new Alien books, including revealing the cover of my novel Isolation, which is due out at the end of July. Ain’t it cool-looking?
There’s also info on the art book Alien: 40 Years and 40 Artists, featuring work by Dane Hallet, Sam Hudecki, Tanya Lapointe, Denis Villeneuve, Jordan Vogt-Robert, Terryl Whitlatch, and Jon Wilcox; and on Tim Waggoner’s novel Alien: Prototype, which features Zula Hendricks. Zula is a great character introduced in the Alien: Defiance comic miniseries, and currently also appearing in the Alien: Resistance comic. I got to write Zula a bit in Isolation, and I’m really looking forward to Tim’s book.
Today, the great superhero movie rewatch on Tor.com focuses on 2017’s Justice League, which was a bit of a mess, but it had a good soundtrack. I did Sigrid’s nifty cover of “Everybody Knows” from the top of the film last week, and over the credits (and also in the trailers), we got Gary Clark Jr. and Junkie XL’s equally nifty cover of the Beatles classic “Come Together.”
Star Trek: Discovery‘s second season has ended, and while it’s an improvement on the first, it also has many of the same problems. My take on the show’s sophomore outing, including the good, the bad, and the nostalgia, is up now on Tor.com.
Having said that, the only truly missed opportunity was not doing more with Culber’s response to Tyler beyond the abortive mess-hall fight. Just in general, Tyler is one part of the season that sticks out like a sore thumb. His romance with Burnham is lifeless—Shazad Latif and Sonequa Martin-Green have no chemistry whatsoever—and aside from that mess-hall scene, we get no sense of how the rest of the crew feels about Culber’s murderer being assigned to the ship. This is mostly accomplished by keeping him away from the rest of the crew—Tyler’s interactions are all with Pike (who wasn’t on the ship last year), Georgiou (who sees him being a murderer as a feature, not a bug), Leland (ditto), and L’Rell (who was the one who sent him to commit that murder in the first place). And Burnham, but they spend all their time making sodden goo-goo eyes at each other.
So there’s a new Marvel movie out today, as you might have heard……..
Often when this happens, I rank the previous ones, which gets harder and harder. I’m not going to bother with commentary this time, especially since I’ve been rewatching the MCU (and every other live-action movie based on a superhero comic) for Tor.com. I’m just gonna provide the rankings, along with a link to either the rewatch article (for Phase 1 and Phase 2 films) or my review on Patreon (some of the Phase 3 movies).
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Iron Man
- Captain Marvel
- Black Panther
- Captain America: Civil War
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Doctor Strange
- Ant-Man & The Wasp
- Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2
- Thor: The Dark World
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Iron Man 2
- Iron Man 3
- The Incredible Hulk
The first three are pretty much interchangeable. Iron Man‘s solid at #4, but you could arrange #5-9 in pretty much any order and I wouldn’t argue, though I rate Thor slightly ahead of Black Panther only because the latter movie has pretty much the exact same plot as the former. #14-18 are also interchangeable and all share the same trait: flawed in many ways, and either much better (#14-15, 18) or worse (#16-17) than their reputation. #19-21 are also interchangeable, the dregs of the MCU.