I went to see Aquaman last night with some friends, and it was pretty fun. Maybe it’s because I went into it with exceedingly low expectations, but it feels like maybe DC is finally getting their film act together.

Granted, the storytelling is crude, and the levels of pulpy contrivance and cheesy dialogue reminded me of The Mummy — i.e., recognizably dumb, but not so dumb that it ruined the viewing experience. Momoa has really grown as an actor and manages to exude a decent amount of charisma, and Kidman and Dafoe bring their heavy chops to bear. Unfortunately, I found Heard about as compelling as a hatrack, but she still manages to be a decent heroine.

But, really, the big draw here is the visuals. Unlike most other DC films, Aquaman is not endlessly drab — there’s even a whole fight scene shot in bright daylight! All of the underwater sequences are gorgeous, with beautiful world and character design. The big battle sequence at the end, for me, made everything in every Star Wars movie look like Plan 9 from Outer Space.

And, best of all, the film actually makes Aquaman look cool. I mean, after decades of “talk to the fishies” jokes, this film makes that power look so goddamn epic that you’ll never mock Aquaman again.

The only thing I will say felt outright dumb to me was Black Manta. He starts out as a decent cliche, but then in the second half of the film, he gets ridiculous. He’s given a cache of advanced Atlantean weaponry and a time-sensitive mission to go after Aquaman, but instead of doing that he has to head to his secret lair, paint all of it black, and assemble it into power armor with a GIANT BOBBLEHEAD OF LASER DOOM that looks so ridiculous that I basically wrote him off. It’s like someone dropped an extra from Spectraman into the middle of the film.

Anyway, while this is still not even in the ballpark of the MCU, it’s a solid popcorn flick. I was pleasantly surprised.

I finally watched Mad Max; Fury Road yesterday, and it was awesome of course. (Why did it take so long? Welcome to parenthood, folks.)

The parallels between Immortan Joe with his War Boys and fascists like 45 and the alt-right was pretty on the nose, at least looking at it now. And of course, that between him and the leaders of Gasoline Town and the Bullet Farm, we get the “ones who killed the world”: Capitalism, war, and patriarchy. (The War Boys are totally toxic masculinity embodied.)

But I also kept thinking about how this whole genre — post-apoc — is incredibly libertarian/capitalist, which is probably obvious. I mean, of course we know that faced with those conditions humanity will naturally devolve into might-makes-right, everyone armed to the teeth and out for themselves, right? Never mind that history generally has shown that humans almost never do that, hence the reason we’re all still here.

Is the genre a mix of worrying about the end state of the military-industrial complex and reinforcing that mindset, since it always resurfaces in the dystopias?

Is there post-apoc fiction where everyone bands together and rebuilds, all kumbaya-style?

I started watching Netflix’s Lost In Space reboot yesterday and, as far as I can tell, the writers don’t know how science works. They also seem to be unaware of most of the basic safety features that have been common in commercial transport vehicles for maybe the last fifty years.

I started watching Titans and just got past episode two, which features, among other things…

(Space for possible triggering content.)

Robin stabbing a guy in the dick with a pair of gardening shears.

And I’m wondering just how much more grimdark the DCverse can get.

Also wondering who this show thinks its target audience is.

I started watching Titans and just got past episode two, which features, among other things… (Space for possible triggering content.) Robin stabbing a guy in the dick with a pair of gardening shears. And I’m wondering just how much more grimdark the DCverse can get. Also wondering who this show thinks its target audience is.]]>

I finally got around to season three of Supergirl. Thoughts after the break.

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Stuff I liked:
Melissa Benoist, as usual; she is a joy to watch
J’onn and his dad (no, you’re crying)
Alex’s whole arc with Maggie and motherhood
Crisis on Earth -X (Benoist and Gustin on the same screen is pure magic)
Winn’s episode (arguably my favorite of the season)
Lena Luthor
The Legion of Superheroes
The overall woke-ness of the series
The Davners Sisters, teen detectives
Adrian Pasdar, who is great at playing guys you hate

Stuff I didn’t like so much:
The whole Reign storyline and its associated religious/magic mumbo-jumbo
The forced intrusion of Sam and Ruby as characters who we are now supposed to love as much as the main cast
Guardian, as always
Erica Durance replacing the former actress playing Alura (the forced-ness of it, not that it’s Durance; she’s great)
Alura and Kara being so damn stoic with each other despite the miracle of finding each other again
Mon-El being back but being all grim and sad all the time
People being sad about people having to go back to the future or to Argo, despite the fact that apparently, it’s really easy to travel back and forth — seriously, Win and Mon-El, just come back to ten seconds after you left.

http://arrow.wikia.com/wiki/Season_3_(Supergirl)