A DC Girl in a Marvelous World

Ok, so I was definitely waayyy behind on seeing The Avengers. I attempted to see it opening weekend, but both shows I could go to sold out by the time I got there. So I didn’t get to see it until two days ago, likely the last week it’s going to be in theaters around here.

So… This is supposed to be a review, right? But as I’m sure you already know if you spent the money to see it, the movie was TREMENDOUS. Of course, the following is largely personal opinion and is not trying offend anyone. Or at least not too many people.

Not only did it have some of the most attractive men in Hollywood as leading characters, The Avengers had dialogue that was appropriately witty for a comic book movie, but resisted the campy feel of ones from the past few years (Green Lantern anyone? I mean, Ryan Reynolds is beautiful, but come on). The action was over-the-top, as should be expected from a superhero movie, and the interactions between the characters were appropriately tense, goofy, and all-around interesting to watch. I went into the theater dreading watching Scarlett Johannson on-screen, but Black Widow definitely grew on me (not Scarlett Johannson, just the character). Hawkeye could have been ridiculous and totally lame, but he wasn’t, which is definitely appreciated. The movie may have lasted a bit long, but I wasn’t complaining much.

Which brings me Warner Bros. Pictures, the primary production studio for DC Comics movies. In my opinion, they are really lagging behind in terms of breadth and depth into the DC world. Primary characters? Batman and Superman. Of course, these characters are likely to appeal to as many DC fans as possible, as they overlap so much in the DC Universe. In the 2000s Warner Bros. gave us a shitty Catwoman movie, Christopher Nolan‘s Batman films, a relatively well-received Superman, Jonah Hex, Green Lantern (which I’ve already addressed) and Watchmen (which, 1) missed the point of the graphic novel and 2) was subsequently awful, and I’m not really counting it).

Now, first and foremost, I’m a DC girl. My mother and grandmother were Wonder Woman fans and I have an old-school Catwoman beach towel somewhere in storage. But now I’m really a Batman girl. Why? Christopher Nolan. The man is on a completely different planet when it comes to vision. Yes he may reuse themes, tropes, and most notably, actors, but he is (in my opinion) one of the best directors on the scene right now. Nolan’s Batman films made me go out and buy both “Hush” and “The Long Halloween,” the latter of which provided much inspiration for Batman Begins. I have to give some credit to Arkham Asylum for also fostering a great deal of my Batman love. Also, fuck Tim Burton.

So now I have to ask, if I’m a DC girl, why am I so attracted to these new Marvel movies? Long story short, I feel the Marvel Studios has a larger number of talented people pulling together to make great things, whereas Warner Bros. is really not picking up the slack when it comes to things OTHER than Batman.

I think I forgot that this post was supposed to be about the Avengers movie… So I’ll end by simply saying: I’ve GOT to try some shawarma.

A recent post from a friend that is far more eloquent than this one:

http://mthrisho.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/a-plea-to-dc-comics/

Laughing Amid Buckets of Blood: Cabin in the Woods

I just got home from watching a wonderful little movie called The Cabin in the Woods. Seeing as it was written by the illustrious (my word, no one else’s) Joss Whedon, I knew that I was in for something surprising and likely refreshing, and that’s exactly what I got, plus a whole lot more. As always, tread carefully, as here be spoilers. Come back and read this AFTER you’ve seen the movie. Seriously, go. Now.

It’s been out for a while, I know, I’m a little behind on the review here, but bear with me. Cabin in the Woods was a delightful twisting of the horror genre in the vein of the Scream franchise (which I love dearly). I jumped, I grimaced, I gasped, but most importantly, I laughed.

Cabin in the Woods is hysterical. And I don’t just mean the goofy quips by the token stoner character (though he does admittedly have some gems), but rather I mean the absolute audacity with which it takes the horror genre and flips it on its head. It doesn’t try to be subtle in its subterfuge, and that’s weirdly refreshing. In reference to the film, Joss Whedon said this:

On another level it’s a serious critique of what we love and what we don’t about horror movies. I love being scared. I love that mixture of thrill, of horror, that objectification/identification thing of wanting definitely for the people to be alright but at the same time hoping they’ll go somewhere dark and face something awful. The things that I don’t like are kids acting like idiots, the devolution of the horror movie into torture porn and into a long series of sadistic comeuppances. – from an interview with Total Film

Whedon hits on some of the most important issues with the horror industry today. Too often the kids in slasher movies are frankly… morons. And maybe that’s part of the draw for some people, being able to tell yourself, “Oh I wouldn’t be that dumb in that situation.” For me, moronic characters make for moronic and gratuitous death scenes that don’t actually mean anything.

I actually liked all five victims in Cabin in the Woods. They were actual, you know, characters. Yeah, they each fit the stereotypes of “whore,” “athlete,” “fool,” “intellect,” and “virgin,” but right off the bat you know that they aren’t your typical five-some taking a weekend road trip likely to end in disaster. They have a certain awareness of their surroundings that finally answers the question: What if actually intelligent people were put in a horror movie situation? Well, they’d still die, but only because there is some higher power fucking with them. I rooted for and hoped for the deaths of every single one of them.

Cabin in the Woods isn’t just a horror movie. It’s a horror movie, within a movie, with a purpose. And for me, that purpose was the epitome of subversive nihilism. In other words, Cabin in the Woods reminded me that life is fucking funny, and also completely meaningless. In a good way.

Likely that made no sense at all, but keep reading anyway.

The larger corporate-like body subjecting these college kids to torture and death is doing so to keep the presumably Lovecraftian-esque Ancients from rising again and annihilating the world. And you know what’s great? THEY FAIL. Everyone dies! The world gets annihilated! I was literally bouncing up and down in my seat, I was so excited. I know it sounds awful, but I really was thankful that finally EVERYONE died.

What really struck me was how Cabin in the Woods was able to tip its hat to horror movies that came before it while bending (but not entirely breaking) the rules governing its genre. I saw gruesome creatures (like the merman), countless zombies, and awesome homages to horror classics (particularly the great Pinhead reference in the man with the puzzle box and blades sticking out of his face). Not to mention the use of Sigourney Weaver as the Director of the operation. I felt like my love of horror film was being recognized and awarded through these homages.

The Stoner and the Virgin are able to subvert the corporate authority by questioning the reality of their situation. Instead of saving the world, as they probably should in the end, they sit and smoke a joint together instead. Moral of the story?

Doubt your reality.

Fuck tha police.

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