Posted in Movies

“Lego Batman” is Better

The commercial success of The Lego Movie was almost certainly going to be followed by a sequel, but The Lego Batman Movie was unanticipated, by me at least. Will Arnett is hilarious, and his part in The Lego Movie was highly entertaining, and it seems like intellectual property should prevent this, but nope. And now that I’ve seen the movie, I’m actually pretty floored.

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Unpopular opinion: I dislike Batman. He’s kind of bad at being a superhero, and the guy is in serious need of therapy. I have a lot of other reasons, but the bottom line is that Batman is mostly uninteresting to me. More popular opinion: I hated Man of Steel 2. I tried to watch Batman Begins but it bored me so much that I had to give up on it. I’m usually a completist, but it was genuinely so long and so dull that I just turned it off. Batman in general doesn’t interest me much, but I was such a fan of The Lego Movie that I decided I needed to see it, and it was a riot. Batman is funniest at his most self-aware, and this movie is remarkably good at poking fun at itself.

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The Lego Batman Movie makes Batman just as angsty and and as much of a loner as he’s been previously, but it’s just so funny to watch him do his own thing while his companions try to make him understand how insane he is. As the audience, we see Batman’s irrationality- but it’s funny, not frustrating. The supporting cast is a triumph- as previously stated, Rosario Dawson is always a win. Ralph Fiennes as Alfred is just gold, and Michael Cera performs an extremely Michael Cera role while being way more sympathetic than Batman is. The rest of the voice talent is first-class, and there are some real stars who you might not have recognized, including Conan O’Brien, Mariah Carrey, Jonah Hill and Ellie Kemper. Zach Galifianakis as the Joker is obviously the movie’s best character, frankly better than Jared Leto’s Joker in the epic failure Suicide Squad. The chemistry with the villains is flawless, and ultimately, I’d like to see more movies like this one.   lego lego batman the lego batman movie GIF

Posted in TV

“Iron Fist” Ironic Failure

I found Iron Fist to be an extreme disappointment. Just gonna lead with that. After the okayness of Daredevil, the genius of Jessica Jones and the brilliance of Luke Cage, Iron Fist is simply blah. Perhaps if Iron Fist had been the first of the series to be released, I would feel more positive about it. But we’ve seen what Marvel can do with Netflix’s support, and Iron Fist shows substandard, shoddy work.

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The characters do look right and feel honest. Ward Meachum looks predictably evil, almost Trump Jr. like, with his slicked-back hair and inky black eyes. There is no clear relation between him and Joy, who is supposedly twenty-six but looks younger. The premise of Meachum Sr. leaving the company in the hands of his two, at the time, teenagers, or in trust for them upon their reaching adulthood, is kind of ridiculous. It does kind of fit with Meachum’s general control freak-ness and horrible parenting, though, so there’s something to be said for that. Colleen feels real too, she’s brave and funny, but her character arc is flawed. She lacks consistency, and her connection with Danny lacks depth. I think it would have played out differently if they had been friends, and not romantically linked, but their closeness as a couple doesn’t feel right. Their only real moment of chemistry is in the dance scene at the end of episode twelve.

The only really enjoyable parts of the show are the appearances of character we already know from the other shows, mainly Claire Temple. Rosario Dawson is always a win. Hogarth also makes me feel that life is worth living again, she acts as a wake-up call for Danny, which was sorely needed. I love Claire- she’s clearly a cape-chaser, but she keeps it real and is hilarious.

Finn Jones is ultimately the main issue of the series. The only authentic thing about him is his American accent- he only slips once, during the wound-cleaning scene in episode eleven. Jones is very obviously a martial arts novice, he looks as though even he doesn’t believe he’s in this. He comes across as a poor man’s Oliver Queen, and honestly this whole show does feel like a more lack-luster Arrow. The board-room power struggles are uninteresting, the characters’ loyalties are fluid and inconsistent, and the writing is not what we’ve come to expect. Plus, the show expects us to be surprised in the end that they pulled the oldest trick in the book, the business partner did it.

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This first season is supposed to establish Danny as a character. His whole arc this season is meant to be his quest for identity, Danny’s journey from the Himalayas to New York, Danny finding himself. But what he finds? It’s uninteresting. The writers make Danny intrinsically good, and in the process deprive him of all personality. I just hope that this flop doesn’t derail the other defenders.