1. The Watchmen trailer
2. The Dark Knight
3. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Act III
4. The Avatar series finale
This was like the most anticipated weekend of all time. So how did it all measure up?
This. Was. AWESOME. It looks to be an incredibly faithful adaptation; Zack Snyder obviously took great care to re-create specific panels. I've been re-reading the book, and it is still awesome. Exquisite storytelling. And the trailer looks like the movie is going to get it right tonally; the music especially gives it that dark, foreboding, epic feel, with a beat that feels like clockwork. Dr. Manhattan looks awesome, and I love that they used the line from Rorschach's opening narration, which I think tells the non-comics audience that this is not your typical superhero movie.
I've watched it several times now, and it makes me all flaily. I will be even more flaily once I finish re-reading the book.
Oh man, this movie was so fucking hardcore. Holy fucking shit. I rewatched Batman Begins a few days ago, and The Dark Knight makes it look like a walk in the park. Like that movie, however, Dark Knight takes its sweet time getting started, but because it's not an origin story full of training montages, it's not as slow and probably more rewatchable. But once it gets awesome, it stays awesome and intense for two goddamn hours.
The Joker is fucking terrifying. I still find it hard to believe Heath Ledger is really dead, and I keep expecting to hear that it's all been an elaborate hoax or a dream. But I was rarely reminded that I was even watching Heath Ledger because all I could see was the Joker. I heard that he read The Killing Joke to get into the role, and it showed. I re-read it on Thursday, and its influence on the movie was apparent. I appreciated the movie a whole lot more with the comic fresh in my mind.
This movie is PG-13, but it's a hard PG-13. It feels like an R-rated movie.
Maggie Gyllenhaal is pretty.
I'm sure you weren't waiting for my endorsement or anything, but if you were, you can have it. And now, some spoilery thoughts.
THE DARK SPOILERS
THE DARK SPOILERS RETURN
When I say the movie was hardcore, I mean that I truly believed that anyone could die at any time. I thought they'd actually killed Jim Gordon and was so confused and dismayed, especially because I remembered scenes with the Joker from the trailer, but I figured they'd been cut or something. I thought one or both of the boats would blow up. I thought Two-Face would kill Jim Gordon's son. It was just that kind of movie.
Our audience laughed at the pencil trick, and I was surprised because I thought it was awful and sadistic and basically said all bets were off with this guy, and that was not funny.
THINGS OUR AUDIENCE CHEERED:
- The first appearance of the Batpod
- Flipping the truck
- The Batpod running up a wall and flipping around
- The reappearance of Jim Gordon
- The prisoner throwing the detonator out of the window
- The asshole deciding not to blow up the prisoners
- The end
- The dedication to Heath Ledger
The movie was not perfect, but I don't care. I'm still amazed at how goddamn intense it is and yet how grounded it is. Take away the costumes, and this movie would still work as a fantastic crime thriller. The Joker doesn't need crazy makeup and scars to be terrifying; he's terrifying because he's a force of chaos with no motives. Two-Face doesn't need a disfigured face to be terrifying; he's terrifying because he's a good man gone horribly wrong. And Batman, of course, is not that different from the people he hunts. I always love the idea in superhero stories that the costume becomes the primary identity, and the person underneath becomes the mask.
THE DARK SPOILERS STRIKE BACK
Oh man, such hilarity! I told you about this months ago, but if you weren't aware it was up, you have until midnight EST to catch it online for free, but after that, I think it'll still be available on iTunes for a mere four bucks. And it's worth it, since it gets better the more you watch it. Some of the songs are terribly catchy, and there are gobs of great lines.
Neil Patrick Harris definitely deserves a pizza-trophy. Nathan Fillion can have a trophy. And Felicia Day should have a pizza. With me.
THE SPOILERS ARE NOT...QUO
SHINY NEW SPOILERS
THE DELTOIDS OF SPOILERS
The first time I watched Act III, it was after The Dark Knight, and I was looking for something light and cheerful like the first two acts. And then Joss fucking Whedon pulled his trick yet again, and it was depressing and mildly enraging. The second time I watched it, I knew what was coming, and I could appreciate it more as a tragedy rather than an expected comedy. The final shot/word kills me.
I think I'll probably make my peace with it after a while, viewing it as an origin story rather than a silly musical romp, but...man. Couldn't this just have been fucking fun? Wouldn't that have been better for everyone? A dead Penny is not what I need, Joss. It's a valid storytelling choice, sure, but this was supposed to be fun entertainment. Sometimes that is what we need. I love Joss Whedon and his work, but geeeeeeeez.
Ha ha ha ha David Fury and Marti Noxon. And then Doug Petrie and Drew Goddard.
I think my favorite song is a close match between "Bad Horse"/"Bad Horse (Reprise)" and "Brand New Day." So very catchy.
Basically, there needs to be a sequel.
THE SPOILER LEAGUE OF SPOILERS
Aah, I don't know what to do with myself now that Avatar is over. At least there are some sort of one-hour specials later on? Or something? We really like specials these days.
THE PHOENIX SPOILERS
THE OLD SPOILERS
INTO THE SPOILERS
I am far too tired to write about this many episodes at once. So, of course, it's probably just best to focus on the last one. But first, a few thoughts on the ones leading up to the finale, since I never wrote about them.
"The Western Air Temple": Zuko's practicing his speech and impersonations? SUPER GODDAMN HILARIOUS.
"The Firebending Masters": Zuko and Aang bonding? Also hilarious.
"The Boiling Rock": Zuko and Sokka bonding? See above. Also, Suki is made of awesome, and OMG MAI AND OMG TY LEE OMG. So much awesome in those episodes (mostly Part 2).
"The Southern Raiders": Zuko and Katara bonding? Not that hilarious. Badass, instead. Loved the flashback technique.
"The Ember Island Players": So meta it almost hurts. The first time I watched, it was late Friday night, and while I enjoyed it, I was slightly irked by the episode itself. When I watched again with gymble and her husband and upanashad, who laughed their asses off, I sort of forgave the episode for making no sense and just had fun with it. I do kind of love them for admitting that "The Great Divide" sucked, even though by doing so, they robbed it of its distinction of being the only episode never to be referenced again.
This season has had its issues, and it failed to reach the heights of awesomeness achieved by season two, so I didn't expect the finale to be totally amazing and perfect, just good enough with a healthy dose of awesome. And that's what I got. I will love it, flaws and all, because that's how I roll.
I loved the sand sculptures. I loved that Toph wanted her life-changing field trip with Zuko. I loved the return of Jun. I loved the return of the White Lotus Society. I loved that Bumi took back Omashu during the eclipse. I loved Aang's commiserating with past Avatars, as it at least made most of the things we learned in "Escape from the Spirit World" truly canon. I loved the tearful Zuko/Iroh reunion. I loved that Azula's mental breakdown basically stemmed from huge trust issues resulting from Mai and Ty Lee's betrayal and compounded by Ozai's turning his back on her. I loved that she was still scary when she was crazy. I loved Azula's crazy laugh. I loved that they actually let Sozin's Comet arrive, just like they let the Day of Black Sun fail, just like they let Ba Sing Se fall. I loved the music, as always. I loved Sokka and Suki as a couple. I loved Toph metalbending the shit out of everyone. I loved airship slice. I loved the use of the boomerang. I loved that I kind of want to make out with Suki now. I loved the sheer power of the mass firebending at its most destructive. I loved Zuko holding his own against Azula. I loved Katara waterbending the shit out of Azula. I loved Ozai ferociously attacking Aang. I loved Firebender Jetpack Day. I loved Bumi stacking tanks. I loved Avatar Aang's swirly elemental ball of power. I loved that in the end, it was AANG, not the Avatar, who brought the fight to a close. I loved Ty Lee joining the Kyoshi Warriors. I loved Fire Lord Zuko reuniting the world and bringing a new era of love and peace. I loved Zuko and Aang being friends. I loved Zuko asking his dad where his mother is. I loved everyone together in Sokka's picture. I loved the whole crazy awesome lovable show.
There were things I didn't love, of course. Azula's breakdown was sad to watch. And she was less hot when she was crazy. The trauma-induced chakra unblocking was sort of whatevs, but, hey, I do love the Avatar state. The Deus Ex Lion-Turtle really bugged me because it came out of nowhere and imparted this great wisdom that even past Avatars didn't know (although latropita says that's the point, that it's something new), and it was never foreshadowed or hinted at ever (UM HOLY FUCKING SHIT I TAKE IT BACK: "Hey, look at these weird lion-turtle things," says Aang). And, as gymble's husband noted, it was animated like something out of Monty Python. Most importantly, however, we couldn't understand a fucking thing it said. The voice was digitized too heavily, and it was clearly supposed to be saying meaningful, important things, and here Aang was taking someone's bending away, something we didn't even know was possible, and we couldn't understand how or why because the voice was so fucked up. Epic fail on your series climax, guys! We've been waiting all this time for Aang to defeat the Fire Lord, and we don't even know what's going on. But there were a lot of bright lights and loud music, so it was cool anyway. The lion-turtle bullshit was my major complaint, I guess; I can't think of much else besides, what the hell, where is Zuko's mom?? I guess that's what the specials will be about? You don't put a scene like that in a finale and then plaster THE END on the screen! Also, I'm not a 'shipper, so ending the series on an Aang/Katara kiss was sort of eye-rolly for me. I mean, yes, I assumed they'd be together, but I was hoping for something else in a series-ending shot.
Shit, I don't want it to be over.