My scanner is garbage. I bought it used on Craigslist in 2007, and it was old then. I’ve been scanning and rescanning old drawings for over an hour before I gave up. The only thing that I walking away from the session with is this page of Ninja Turtles.
I finally saw the film (Thor: The Dark World), and it delivered what 99% of the audience came to see: the characters. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki (the real star of the movie) was incredible and delivered all that we fans were expecting. Even though I thought her character arc was stupid, Kat Denning’s performance as Darcy was hilarious, as she hit all of the right comedic beats. Portman’s Jane was excellent, and I’m really liking Idris Elba’s Heimdal as a character more with each film. He should get to play a bigger role as more installments of the series are released (although, his character’s duties really limits storytelling possibilities). It’s easy to overlook Hopkins’ performance as Odin because he is so good at what he does, but it’s worth mentioning. [continued below]
The two standout moments for me were Thor and Loki’s brief time together in the Dark World, and Frigga (Rene Russo)’s kicking ass while defending Jane. In once scene, Russo brought more emotion and strength to her character than Hemsworth has brought to Thor in three films. Her fighting is cool, but the real quality worth admiring is her courage. She’s the only one in the family virtuous enough to not abandon Loki when he is at his most lost, and I’m sad that now she is gone, Loki is doomed to spend the rest of his days as a villain. If anyone was going to inspire Loki’s heroism, it was his mother. But now, that opportunity is lost. Thor presents the next best option, but at the moment I don’t think the character is strong enough to go to that place. For 99% of the film, Hemsworth is a loveable bear that flys around doing his standard heroics. The only time he shines as a character, or even displays any believable emotion is when he’s action opposite of Hiddleston. The best scene in the entire movie is when Loki’s trolling him as they egress Asgard and enter the Dark World. Thor stops beating on him as the thought hits him, “Mother wouldn’t want us to fight”. Loki replies, “It certainly wouldn’t surprise her.” Thor’s anger is melted with the statement, and he can’t resist a smile, and for just a second the two have a genuine connection as brothers. And BOOM. There. The best moment in the whole film. Well worth the price of admission. Hiddleston’s expressions in that scene are a true testament to his skill in the craft.
As an audience, we’re disappointed when we believe Loki betrayed his brother and mother, only to cheer moments later when we realize it was all a ploy to lower the defenses of the dark elves. I was fooled, but should have known better: we’re talking about the Trickster here. I guess my disappointment in Loki got the better of my logic facilities. Of course, he ultimately left me disappointed, as we find out his fake death was also a trick to once attempt to rule.
Which leads me to the thematic flaw of the movie. Thor, as the protagonist, makes only one significant decision in the entire film. This whole movie is about Thor’s decision to defy his father, accepting exile in exchange for what he believes is the best chance at defeating the villain. Everything else in the film is standard superhero fare: we know the villain will be defeated, Thor will live and Asgard will be saved. The only thing truly at stake is Thor’s relationship with his father. It is also an interesting moral dilemma that divides them: what is the best strategy to save the most lives? There is not a clear cut answer, and the fact that no more lives were lost as a result of Thor’s decision is purely coincidence (and frankly kind of a cop-out on the film maker’s part).
So how did the central conflict of the story resolve? IT DIDN’T!!
It appears that Odin admits that Thor was right and that he was wrong. Thor is offered the crown again, and all appears to be forgiven (a weak resolution in itself). But then, we discover that this wasn’t Odin in the first place!! It was Loki in disguise. It was a nice twist for the overall series, but it completely ruins this movie as a stand-alone film! Odin is now dead or locked away somewhere, and Thor was ultimately proven wrong in his decision to trust Loki. I know that at some point, extra Loki scenes were shot and added to the film because of test audiences’ wishes to see more of the character (I can’t blame them). I wonder if those additional scenes included some crucial changes to the plot that shifted the central ideological conflict from Thor vs. Odin to Thor vs. Loki.
Ultimately, the incompleteness of the film is forgivable if we are guaranteed another installment and eventually some resolution. In the meantime, the movie was highly entertaining, worth the ticket price, and basically sold me an admission ticket for the next chapter.
In short: there are new writers working on the film. The president of Lucasfilm requested more time from Disney to finish, given that the script needs to be reworked. Disney said no. FULL DETAILS
The implication of this, and the concern for fans, is that Disney is placing profit over quality. Disney has a ginormous plan in place for merchandising (these new films are tied into the theme park developments), and they are going to keep these plans on track regardless of the quality of these films. This should not be a surprise, as the company has demonstrated these values before with the release of Alice In Wonderland (the Johnny Dep version). Disney knew the film did not have a solid story, yet they knew they would make a fortune on it (which they did) by filling it will lovely visuals and marketing the hell out of it.
I don’t believe this strategy will survive in today’s market. Fans of the Avengers movies support them so wholeheartedly because of the quality of the films and the care for the characters that the creators have given them. This is the exact reason that many X-Men fans don’t support Fox’s X-Men films: they believe that Fox doesn’t care about the characters, only the bottom line. I love the Multiple Man as much as the rest of his biggest fans, and I was thrilled to learn that he was going to be in X-Men: the Last Stand. I was crushed when he came out on screen AS A VILLAIN. I would have rather not watched the film than see a bastardized version of him. The same happened with Deadpool: I did not contribute a dime to that piece of walrus crap called Wolverine: Origins. I was aware that they butchered the character and did not support Fox’s tomfoolery. Years later, after watching my girlfriend’s misguided sister’s copy of the film, I was glad that I made the decision that I did. As a matter of fact, I regret watching the film, even for free, because it pissed me off so much. The shit that Fox has pulled with disrespecting the source material has cost them financially: their new movie The Wolverine did not do well in theaters. It will take a video release for them to even break even. Hugh Jackman, considered an A-list celebrity, is famous because of his Wolverine portrayal. Wolverine himself is one of the most popular characters ever created. 6 years ago, if you were to tell any comic book fan that Wolverine would be destroyed at the box office by Iron Man, you would get laughed at like the fat kid in 3rd grade. Yet, it happened. And I would speculate that a large part of those profits were because fans didn’t support the film. If casual film fans know a Wolverine fan who doesn’t want to see Wolverine’s new movie, you can bet those casual film fans are going to find something else to watch. Especially in a crowded summer market.
So when Disney is willing to accept a lackluster script for a movie that fans have such high hopes for, they will ultimately hurt themselves financially. Episode VI will rake in cash like Apple after a new iPhone release. This will be true no matter how Disney treats the film. They could film a baby playing with dead chicken and as long as it’s called Star Wars: Episode VI it will break a box office record. The problem will be when they try to release Episode VII and fans are aware that it is going to be another baby-with-poultry-epic. It may make a nice profit, but don’t expect a B.O. record. Continue that pattern and the film will share The Wolverine status. Having lackluster Star Wars Box Office performance will hurt Disney worse than The Wolverine hurt Fox because Disney is basing an entire amusement park on the concept. Granted, the amusement park might survive because Star Wars is a thing much greater than the three new films. But it won’t be the financial cash cow that Disney is banking on.
As a fan, the hard part will be watching characters and stories that you love tarnished. Regardless of what Disney execs feel they need to do as a company, I truly hope this rushed deadline thing doesn’t affect the quality of the end product. I have high hopes for this film and I don’t want to see it suck.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Gambit and his awesome cats!!!
For those that don’t know, X-Factor is coming back!! The new team features Gambit, Polaris, Quicksilver, Danger, and possibly Cypher and Warlock. This time around, they are a corporate sponsored team, working for a company that is supposed to be the Google of the Marvel Universe (called Serval Industries). Peter David is writing, and the new artist, Carmine Di Giandomenico, looks amazing! Hype-factor-FIVE on this one- the Internet is buzzing!
I haven’t posted in a week, so I thought I should make an update real quick. Recently, one of my girlfriend’s cats destroyed some of my childhood drawings. As a result, I dropped all other priorities and did an emergency search & rescue to prevent any further damage to these precious pieces of my history. I gathered up all of the various drawings that I’ve saved over the years (most of them loose illustrations on printer paper) and compiled them into a single, huge volume. So now I have a ginormous chronological collection of my life’s work. Two good things have come from this project.
- The first is that I have a solid well of unfinished drawings that I am dying to complete (I used to do this frequently: I would complete a drawing that I did 4 or 5 years in the past).
- The second is that I had a ton of cool material that I can’t wait to post here! Keep an eye out for some awesome stuff (done in a somewhat different style) in the coming month.
In the meantime, here is a color test to keep you occupied. It tests your ability to not be color blind, I think. My results are here: it’s exactly what you would expect of someone who spends a lot of time staring at color wheels.