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Superhero Weekly: Triggers & Mixed Signals

Spoilers will swear they will trust you from now on, then forget about it on the next episode.

It has become a CW trope, but it seems all conflicts are becoming some version of the main heroes overestimating their own powers, stop listening to their friends and family, getting into trouble and then everything getting fixed once teamwork, love and understanding are back on track. At least until next week, that is.

supergirl-s3e2-triggers

(Source: TheCW)

Highs, Lows and Girl Superpower:

  • Supervillain Psi (Yael Grobglas) has the power to cause fear. This creates a particularly cathartic opportunity for Kara to face her own, which she has been dodging since her season opener last week. Psi feels like it could’ve been more than a one-episode C-villain, but alas it seems it wasn’t to be.
  • Samantha Arias, the mother of the teenager that will get in trouble in every episode, is back. Seems she could turn out to have superpowers. I did expected the cast to grow, but no word on where this is going to go.
  • Was there any question that Lena was not going to end up buying CatCo? No. Why does every time I try to say “CatCo” out loud I end up saying “CostCo”? Don’t answer that one.
  • Lena can be a badass boss, as Kara discovers when she starts being uppity. I also hope Kara fixed that elevator before anybody else finds her purse and her glasses.
  • The dynamic at CatCo changes from now on. Let’s be honest, it needed to. James needs Lena pushing him. She will and she should. It was getting a little to comfy for him.
  • I’m expecting Kara to reveal to Lena she’s Supergirl any episode now. I’m also expecting Lena to tell her she has known that all along.
  • Supergirl seems to be going for a darker vibe. I really hope it’s temporary, but considering the other CW shows, I’m not holding my breath.

Meanwhile, back at STAR Labs…

flash-s4e2-mixed-signals

(Source: TheCW)

Highs, Lows and Romance Woes:

  • Gypsy gets a lot of good lines this episode: “It’s like he doesn’t know he’s a dead man.” (said at nobody after Cisco tries apologizing and figures out a way to stop a metahuman in the middle of the sentence).
  • Still loving Caitlin, but don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing, TV show. I know Caitlin’s Frost dilemma will be put in hold while the other stories take the stage. You’re literally putting her issues on ice until you have time to deal with them on another show. Hardly fair.
  • I did find laughter with Cisco and Gypsy (and Caitlin inadvertently getting a word in there) but there was a lot to cringe about with Iris and Barry. If you’re going to couples therapy to make fun of therapy why do it at all? Specially since they both really seem to need it.
  • Iris West finally comes out with it: Barry left her. I think the wedding is safely postponed (season finale I guess). How Barry is completely blind in not seeing that was going to be a major issues speaks volumes about self-centered he’s acting.
  • Barry has become a little too overconfident, not in his powers but in his persona. I’m actually finding him a more than a little annoying in this episode. Can you tell?
  • Where’s the next iteration of Harrison Wells?

So as you can see I’m doing a rather brief version of the Superhero Weekly (which might be bi-weekly at this point) due to time constraints. Now I just go directly into the Highs and Lows. It’s a bit experimental. We’ll see how it goes.

And yes, I’ve decided to drop Arrow. To be honest, it was getting hard to watch. I’ll take a peek now and then, but I don’t anticipate making it part of this review.

That will do for now.

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Movie Review: Kingsman – The Golden Circle

Spoilers will be served shaken, not stirred.

There are some movies where you’re supposed to turn off your brain and just have a good time. This classification of flicks sometimes becomes the hiding spot of really bad movies with disastrous plots. That is not the case of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, however.

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Director Matthew Vaughn might be working with a paper-thin plot, but the casting is superb. There’s a plot by evil forces to destroy the world and Kingsman all but gets wiped out leaving the world in peril. It’s up to Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) to find help in the most unlikeliest of places (Kentucky) and thwart the nefarious plans of evil mastermind Poppy (Julianne Moore). There’s a ton of people involved, but meeting them is more than half the fun. Yes, Colin Firth returns.

One of the best things about this movie is that it rewards you for putting up with the over-the-top save-the-world storyline and gives you something awesome, albeit ridiculous and silly, to watch. It also subverts a zillion stupid ideas from a certain British secret agent and shows them for what they are: laughable. Therefore, it turns them into jokes for us to enjoy the campy developments.

In an attempt to revindicate that last final gag from the first movie, this sequel also subverts that most Bond of plots: Princess Tilde was not a throwaway character but a returning, third-dimensional person in a committed relationship with Eggsy. Of course, upon another over-the-top gag where he’s supposed to make intimate contact with person of interest Clara, the movie decides to answer one question that never worried the original 007. What if the spy needs to be intimate to plant a device on a woman but he’s fully committed to a relationship?

Recommended. The movie wants you to turn off your brain, but it mostly succeeds in making some awesome moments and ridiculous scenes happen. There’s a probably plot holes galore, and you kinda miss some characters from the previous film but it remains a solid vehicle for laughs and gags. Grab the popcorn, bring your friends and turn off your brain. You’ll be glad you did.

That will do for now.

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Movie Review: Baby Driver

Spoilers in your rear view mirror might be closer than they appear.

Director Edgar Wright has my respects. He had my attention since the moment the film starts. His action movie Baby Driver is solid, engaging and although not flawless, it’s one I enjoyed throughout. I have only issue with two particular things, but they’re not deal breakers. Here’s hoping you saw this in the theatre without knowing what you signed up for. But if you skipped it, I’d strongly advice you go back.

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Wright is known mostly by his Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End). You should also remember his Scott Pilgrim vs The World. This time he brings us two of the best things about movies: car chases and a rocking soundtrack. As a matter of fact, the music is so vital and in sync with the tempo in this movie it might as well be the uncredited secret main character.

Not that I’m trying to take anything from Baby himself, Angel Elgort. His role is mostly stoic, a young boy with witnessed his parents’ death in a driving accident. His mother was an actress that dreamed about singing professionally. His father was abusive. Baby suffers from Tinnitus, for which he plays music almost constantly. He also syncs his driving to a particular tune which gives him a very uncanny ability to drive. He’s become a getaway driver for a local kingpin.

The movie asks us to turn on the first suspension of disbelief when it introduces Baby and his driving in which everything, even random improvisation, syncs up to the music. You will be glad you play along, because the payback is the very entertaining car chases that he gets into. As a matter of fact, that very first car chase serves as an introduction via visual, musical and action-packed exposition without words.

Baby goes from crew to crew, all assembled by Doc (Kevin Spacey), the kingpin to wich he owes a debt. He’s getting close to getting his debt paid, something that he believes will end his criminal career. It’s also something we know as a jaded audience will not mean anything of the sort. It’s not a coincidence that certain criminals, such as Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza González) and Bats (Jamie Foxx) leave sort of a mark during their gigs. You’ll see them again.

But as the criminal storyline seems to escalating to something big, things take a turn when Baby falls in love with a waitress named Deborah (Lily James). Here’s the first thing I wasn’t crazy about. The romance is another requested suspension of disbelief, because Deborah does all the flirting. Baby’s only requests are straight out questions for her name and the song she’s listening to. I want to describe this in a different way, but I can’t: Baby doesn’t have game. Not even movie game. There’s little to no awkward quirky exchange. Baby just doesn’t have any way with words. I don’t see charm in him.

I’m not a fan of movie romance.  I don’t go to movies looking for it. It’s just a staple of movies to introduce it at some point, even on action or genre movies, as a way to drive the plot forward. It’s just sometimes movies basically make it appear out of nowhere. In the case of this film, Deborah does all the work. If you’re going to tell me she’s falling for him for his looks, fine. Let’s assume that because he’s given her nothing else to go on.

They do get one more scene in which Baby invites her to a restaurant by the time they’re both in love with each other. This is where his “past” or what he considered past, comes back to haunt him as Doc shows up, requesting him for a job, a huge one.

Since the stakes have now being raised, this job is where the dynamics of Baby’s carefully scripted participation get changed, broken and challenged. On one hand, he’s trying to get away to be with Deborah. On the other hand, he gets reunited with Buddy, Darling and Bats who already know him and are more than willing to put his character to the test. As a result, he’s been knocked out of his comfort zone and he has lost his cool demeanor.

I’m not going to describe the climax of the movie. I will say it’s a reasonably well executed payoff. It does have that usual flaw of not knowing when to be over, but I guess that should be expected. You have to make sure your audience is satisfied.

The conclusion is the other thing that I felt could’ve been done better. I think that when you’re doing a crime film, you have several ways to go. I think I would’ve prefer a shorter conclusion. If your character goes to jail, then that’s where it should end. The story is over at that point. Having an epilogue several years later… Well, there’s a time in which I’d wanted that for other films where characters walk away without ever knowing where they’d end up. But I’ve come to prefer open ended conclusions after the adventure is over. This time, Wright wanted to make sure his characters ended up where he wanted.

Highly recommended. I would usually say with reservations, but I’m going to wave them since the movie does make for an enjoyable experience. It drags a little at the end, since we gotta have one more climax and one epilogue-style ending. That being said, you might just end up caring enough to see the characters for the very last time. You should not miss the starting scene.

That will do for now.

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