Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Christmas Crunch Begins

It comes earlier and earlier every year...the memo from HR that I've got a ton of unused vacation time and I've got to get it off the books by year end.  So with that in mind, I'm taking this week off.  And since we are about a month out from Christmas, my goal for this week is to get as much Christmas shopping done as possible so December will be relatively relaxed.  And it's a mere coincidence that a lot of holiday blockbuster are out this week.  So, yeah.  First stop:  Justice League.

Went to the earliest show, too.  So, no lunch, no shopping, not stopping at favourite stores.  Straight into the city and straight to the theatre.  I typically don't eat at the movies anymore,as I usually go mid-afternoon and I'm still full from lunch, but since I was skipping lunch, bought a small popcorn to tide me over.

But here we are, with the JLA finally together on the big screen.  I love DC.  I really do.  But everything about the creation of this DC Cinematic Universe has been so reactionary to Marvel.  While Marvel has a plan, DC seems to be slapping this together as they go along.  So let's just say that expectations were lowered going into Justice League.

But you know what?  It put a smile on my face.  I liked it.  A lot more than I expected to. 

The world is still in mourning following the death of Superman (see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).  Batman is still following up on the leads he got from his crazy dream about the future, and uncovers than an alien invasion is nigh, led by Steppenwolf, one of the minions of Darkseid and Apokalypse.  To battle this threat, Batman starts tracking down other heroes.  He brings Wonder Woman back into the fray.  He hunts down the rumoured Aquaman who helps out coastal communities.  We head to Central City to track down a being who can appear and disappear in a Flash.  And he follows up on whispers of a Cyborg created by STAR Labs.  As bravely as they fight, it's not enough, and soon Batman hatches a desperate plan to resurrect Superman. 

As I said with Batman v Superman and other films designed to launch franchises, there tends to be parts of a good movie in there, but they need to trim out the excess and pick one plot.  With Justice League, the excess has been trimmed, but we're left with good parts, but a not a good movie. 

I loved the Flash.  Ezra Miller does an amazing job of portraying the rookie on the team who's still new to this superhero thing.  Aquaman is great.  They've tried to turn him into the angry loner that every superhero team has, but he comes across as more "good ol' boy" than angry.  It's so great to see Wonder Woman again after her awesome solo film this past summer.  And I still think that Ben Affleck is a pretty good Batman.

That being said, it's fairly obvious which scenes are the Joss Whedon re-shoots, because characters suddenly get a lot more quippy, which can make for quite the tonal shift.  But hey, if that's what we needed to get Superman to smile again, it's worth it.  Superman smiles again.  He's full of hope again.  So good to see.

Other bits...yeah, the villain is pretty generic and it's your standard destroy the world plot.  I also enjoy Danny Elfman's score.  The theme he put together for the Flash was pretty good, and every time he slips his classic Batman theme into the score, it's like a hug from an old friend. 

In the end Justice League tries really hard to reject the bleakness of Batman v Superman and embrace the hope and optimism that Wonder Woman gave us, making it a strange transition film between the two.  It gets a solid A for effort, and I surprised myself at how much I liked it.

3 Nibs.  Full review on the website. 

Now this is the part of the blog entry where I normally get into what else I did in the city, but I'm not going to.  Most of what I did was Christmas shopping, and I don't what to let slip who got what.  But...I couldn't help but buy a present for myself. 

I was going through the graphic novels and I had to buy the crossover I've wanted since I was 8:  Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  In order to be rid of the Turtles once and for all, and to get Shredder and the Foot Clan out of the way of his latest plan, Krang opens up a trans-dimensional portal and banishes the Turtles, Splinter, Shredder, and the Foot to a parallel universe...the DC Universe.  Gotham City, to be specific.  As Shredder begins forming alliances with Batman's rogues, the TMNT partner with batman to stop Shredder and find a way home.  According to rumour, it performed so well that Warner Brothers is considering adapting it into one of their straight-to-DVD animated movies. 

I also picked up the second crossover, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures.  While the first one was based on comics continuity, this second one takes its cues from cartoon continuity:  Batman: The Animated Series from the Batman side, and the 2012 TMNT cartoon for the TMNT side.  When trans-dimensional portals between opening up between the TMNT universe and the Batman Animated universe, it's up to our heroes to join forces and find out why.  I mainly picked it up because it turns out my favourite Batman villain, the Scarecrow, plays a prominent role. 

Actually, I've had Ninja Turtles on the mind quite a bit lately.  I've quite enjoyed the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it's wrapping up.  Next week on YTV they officially show the final episode.  This final season has been pretty interesting, as they renamed the show Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and most of the story arcs have been out-of-continuity escapades.  While the final episode has yet to air, I got rather misty-eyed at the final episode made has aired, and it was a rather poignant end. 

It takes place in the distant future.  A "mutagen bomb" was set off in Manhattan, mutating the bulk of the world's population.  And from here, it pretty much becomes "Old Man Raphael," as Raph scavenges the Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic wasteland to survive.  He soon meets up with a mutant meerkat orphan named Mira, who holds the map to a mythical green space known as Oasis. 

Anyway, at the end, Raphael and Mira make it to Oasis.  Along the way, they've found and rescued the rest of the Turtles.  Our four brothers reunited look out over Oasis.  The camera pans up to see the spirit of Splinter looking down on them from the heavens and smiling.  Splinter is soon joined by the spirits of the four Turtles, returned to their teenaged selves.  They pose for one last picture.  Fade to black.  Fade in the dedication:  "For Kevin and Peter." 

Yeah, the 2012 series was pretty awesome.  It was definitely made by people of my age, because it was so full of reinventions of stuff from the original, 1987 cartoon. 

Anyway, I'm on vacation and I've got graphic novels to read. 

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