Thursday, October 09, 2014

THE FLASH: I'm in!

Some rambling on the pilot of the new FLASH tv show. Beware of show and comic book continuity (pre-new-52) spoilers!

First off, I discovered the Flash kind of late in my comic book reading career. Most of the Flash books I collected as they were published were of Wally West, the once Kid Flash. I think the only "live" Barry Allen books I picked up were right in time to see him do his thing in CRISIS, which, of course, was amazing. I love/hate that I can be suckered into caring about a character that way. =)

I learned about the Flash's exploits in mostly flashbacks and through the eyes and shared history of other characters. His Rogue's Gallery was such a brilliant concept to me. A bunch of villains and this speedster hero who have that Ralph Wolf-Sam Sheepdog relationship with each other. It's not a league or legion or society, it's a club, and sure, they're criminals, bad guys, but, I dunno, they've got a code, right? At least, y'know, until the recent modern Villains United or whatever era.

Anyhow, with the CRISIS events as my intro, I've always had a special place in my fanboy heart for Barry Allen. Even more than Superman, I think of him as a Good Guy. Maybe it's because he starts out as a regular old Earthican, human, and a decent one. He's a scientist. He has a true love. He works for the police. And the perfect little character creating creative capper—he's always late. Heh.

So, I've basically been in this show's corner since I saw young Barry introduced in ARROW last year, and thought it was done quite well. He gets to tell the Arrow to wear a mask. Pairing these two together in the evolving DC TV universe is a pretty great idea. It's a Batman-Superman dynamic but without the weight-slash-baggage of those franchises, y'know?

Allright, enough pre-amble… Heh. Amble. Flash. No? Just me, then. Okay gonna go thru some remarks and reactions that hit me while watching the show…

Henry Allen (Barry's dad) is played by the "original" Flash! That is, from the 80s(90s?) TV show that I actually loved (altho, to be honest, I can't remember a single storyline or villain from it). John Wesley Shipp. I was actually really pleased just to see him back on television as Dawson's dad on the CREEK, so you can imagine how much more excited I was to see him back in the Flash's world. Love a good (and watchable) callback! =)

I *loved* the visual design of the earlier FLASH series. I felt like it was an attempt to plant the Flash in a Central City that Tim Burton's Bruce Wayne could visit, y'know? Dark, visually comic book stylized, but a different kind of urban. What IS Central City supposed to be? ARROW's Star City is Boston. Central could be… Frack, I really don't know—Hartford? Bleah. I forget, do the cities share a bridge in the comics? I'd love for DC, and maybe DC TV and DC film, if they're different, to give us maps of their universes' cities on the globe.

That storm of lightning surrounding Barry's mom. Yellow and red figures moving at super-speed and crackling with energy. Seems like we're looking at Zoom/Reverse Flash, maybe actually in combat with the Flash, both transported back in time to that moment from sometime in the future. Cool cool coolio.

Interrresting… They're going kinda "SHERLOCK" with Barry's CS-eyes. I wonder how that'll work at high speed. Would be interesting to see it at work in both Flash-perspective (everything slowed down) and bystander-perspective (everything a blur), if possible.

Iris: "Your sad little nerdy dream." Nice to push the nerd thing, in case watchers have trouble buying this actor as the nerdy type. He's not the cliche 98-pound weakling, he's the person who's really into the things he's into, and those things happen to include particle accelerators.

So Iris works at a coffee shop called Jitters. Heh.

Harrison Wells? Hrm… I don't match the name to a character in my memory, but I'm wondering if he's one of the sciencey types who works with Wally when they really try to break down the science of his abilities. If I remember correctly-ish, some of that study/research results in the (temporary? short-lived?) creation of some new speedsters.

Played by "Ed." Always liked him. So, he'll probably turn out to be Zoom. Or one *a* Zoom?

How far *is* Central City from Star(ling) City?

Hrm… Who's the white-haired guy Barry runs into? Will have to give this another viewing sometime.

Oh, HERE's our Zoom! Eddie Thawne, transfer from Keystone. How did no one actually refer to him as "Keystone Cop?" Or did I miss that? Perhaps he's not Zoom, but a Zoom ancestor?

Am I mixing up Zoom and Reverse-Flash from the comics? Frack. I need more RAM.

Callback to Wally West's FLASH—LINDA PARK reporting!

Barry's father Henry is a doctor. Mother's name is Nora. I'm assuming this is consistent w Barry's comic book incarnation. For a fan of the Flash, I'm pretty crap at remembering the details, eh?

Red and green lights on the Mardon brothers' escape plane seem conspicuously bright, no? Just some Flash/Arrow color motif. Mardon… Mardon… Which of the Rogue's Gallery is he? Were there brothers? Knocked out of the sky by a funky energy shockwave, eh? One or both of these guys is definitely gonna walk or fly or reflect his way back from the apparently dead as a super baddie.

I wonder how this version of the Flash's origin (lightning hit in the lab) differs from the one we saw in ARROW. I *loved* seeing that last year =)

Nice—a spark from his foot thru the sole of his shoe while on the gurney…

9 months later…? Interrresting… An incubation period of sorts. Reborn.

"Poker Face?" Really? Well, Lady Gaga *is* a nerdy girl…

Flash's Scoobies! Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow of STAR labs. I forget, how much screen time did they have in ARROW last season?

"Lightning gave me abs?" Heh. Nice. Cellular regeneration as part of his super speed metabolism. Interrresting… Looking forward to seeing him order everything on the menu at a diner to fuel all that. =)

GRODD! Wow! Hrm…

Anomaly. Who or what is the anomaly? Zoom? The Flash himself? Some blast of energy traveling back in time from the wake of a future Crisis?

Is that what we'll be calling the particle accelerator incident/malfunction/blast? The Anomaly?

Detective Joe West and daughter Iris.

Can't quite make it out, but is the Jitter logo the Flash's logo? I'm seeing red and gold.

Mardon—the Weather Wizard!

I thought it was clever when they did it in SMALLVILLE, but I'm not sure how I feel about it here in THE FLASH. Tying the hero's origin event to the origin of almost all of his villains. Yes, it works, and it's a smart, strategic storytelling and world-creating move, but, well, I hope we see some non-accelerator-babies sooner rather than later.

Actually, if we mix a little particle accelerator with some Vertigo from ARROW, we might get a legit Count Vertigo! That would be a good reason for a team-up.

Ick. In the 9 months that Barry's been out, has Iris started dating Thawne? Guess the incubation period was good for moving several plot threads along.

Detective Chyre… Shot and killed by the Mardons. On the night of the Anomaly. Hrm… Is Chyre from the comics? Maybe he comes back. Whose rogues gallery does Solomon Grundy belong to?

Hrm… Looks like Barry's got the original Barry's version of speed. Haven't seen him binge to refuel the way Wally did. Maybe he's processing some other energy? I wonder if the writers think that TV audiences can handle the Speed Force as a concept? Probably not necessary. Maybe they'll introduce a side effect to his power via conservation of energy. Every time he speeds, he draws energy from somewhere or somewhen else. I think that was a New52 plot, right? Could work, but would be a shame to limit his abilities like that. Maybe they can science-fix it, but replace it with binging. =)

"You're not a hero. You're just a young man who was struck by lightning."

The Arrow speechifies, and I am totally buying it. =)
I don't think that bolt of lightning struck you. I think it chose you.
You can be better. Because you can inspire people in a way that I never could… Watching over your city like a guardian angel, making a difference, saving people, in a flash…
Take your own advice. Wear a mask.
Brave and the Bold?

Interrresting… Flash is already unmasked before Detective West. AND he gets the guilt trip/order regarding keeping the secret from Iris to protect her. I missed any courtship ceremony between Barry and Iris in the comics, so this should be (appropriately painfully) fun. Will be cool to see what move or moment ends up casting Barry in a different, romantic light for Iris.

"You *did* see something the night your mom died… And you're dad *is* innocent."

I'm not sure that I follow Detective West's logic. I'd love for him to have had a previously inexplicable encounter with the weird in his past that helps him make the leap. Maybe something he saw during the investigation into Nora Allen's death? Or something in the nine months since the anomaly that connects? In either/any case, something he dismissed as impossible or a figment of his imagination.

Whoa… Time-traveling Flash phantasm, a la Crisis?

Speaking of… The future headlines that Harrison Wells reviews at the end of the episode…
April 25, 2024.
FLASH MISSING, VANISHES IN CRISIS! (Complete with what looks to me like a photo homage to the Flash cover of FINAL CRISIS =)
Yeah, I'm totally in. =)

Keep on keepin on~

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

GOTG: Who's your daddy? 'Hawk vs. 'Fox…

Some rambling on the paternity of Star-Lord. Specifically a rundown/comparison of two other Marvel Star-men: Starhawk vs. Starfox.


In the Marvel Universe, Starhawk is a member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, based in the 31st century, and so, a teammate of the MU's Yondu. He was born in the 21st century and thanks to a unique genealogy (father: human Protector of the Universe, Quasar / mother: artificial life form and sister to Adam Warlock, Kismet) and the gifts of an Arcturian cosmic Hawk God is gifted with extremely long life, enhanced senses, strength, flight, and energy manipulation abilities. He also possesses a form of precognition which is said to be a result of his living his life over and over again, with variations. This ability is the reason for his alias, "The One Who Knows," which he gives himself and uses ad nauseam. Sound like anyone we know in GOTG? =)

Anyhow, Starhawk's appearance, associations, and abilities all match the paternity data we're given in GOTG.
  1. Mama Quill compares Peter to his father—an angel, composed of pure light (paraphrased). Which works poetically and/or literally.
  2. Yondu and Starhawk are known associates.
  3. It's easy to imagine space biker gang president Yondu thinking of a nerdy precog Starhawk as "a jackass."
  4. It's also easy to see how Mama Quill would choose "Star-Lord" as a pet name for Peter given Starhawk's appearance and pedigree.
Of course, the details of an MCU Starhawk won't match the MU's. MCU's Yondu is certainly a gritty departure. Yondu was hired to bring Peter to Starhawk, but on an impulse (apparently) decides to initiate him into his gang and raise him as a Ravager. Presumably, this is not all that uncommon a Ravager practice. Now, we know the Ravager code is what it is, but if Peter's father could contact and contract Yondu, he could certainly find him again to follow up, right? So, what kind of B.S. explanation does Yondu give? Bailed on the job cuz Terra's too far? Accidentally airlocked him on the way back? Threw him back cuz he was too small? I don't think it matters, cuz either Yondu is in cahootz w Starhawk and following his instructions, motivated by a "Boy Named Sue" kinda impulse ("Yondu, I want you to pick up my son and raise him among your Ravagers. Try not to get him killed."), or Starhawk knew that Yondu would shanghai Peter and his life as a Ravager is part of a long-game plan. If he hadn't been a Ravager, on the trail of the Orb, Bad Things would have happened, right?

The trickiest/most interesting thing will be how he ends up siring Peter in the first place. The MU's origin of Peter Quill has his Spartoi father actually falling in love with Meredith Quill while he's stranded on Earth, right? So, perhaps Starhawk does the same, having crash-landed, stopped to regenerate, or perhaps looking to hide out on a backwater planet from enemies or authorities. Or, perhaps he gets himself there because he has a precog flash that it's where he's supposed to be, and, he falls for the Earthwoman who becomes Peter's mom.

But why does he leave? It *seems* like he doesn't run out on Mama Quill, because she tells Peter that his grandpa will take care of him until his father returns for him, as if there's a plan. Or maybe Mama's decided to give Peter a Story about his father, something to hope for and look forward to until he realizes that he doesn't need him anyway, because he's a no-good absentee deadbeat dad of a space Casanova.

Which brings me to another fun possibility…


I dismissed him pretty quickly when I first considered him, basically on his, well, lame-ness. What does Starfox (as we know him in the MU) bring to the table? On his own, he's more adventurer than hero, a good time is more appealing to him than a good cause, y'know? That'll happen when you're Eros, an Eternal of Titan and brother of Thanos. I always thought that sibling-wise, he was a really poor counterbalance to Thanos in powerset, if not philosophy, but maybe that's the point. And if you want to think of Starfox as *part* of a check on Thanos, the gap between them is filled by so many other characters—Captain Marvel, Drax, Adam Warlock, Moondragon, and so on—it's actually more fun and interesting this way.

I haven't kept close tabs on Starfox in the MU, but I seem to recall a reference to his power of persuasion (aka pelvic sorcery) finally landed him in some hot water with authorities on some planet or another. He's got the suite of Eternal power boosts, strength, durability, flight, and spaceworthiness, but he also gets to mess with other sentients' pleasure centers, and he doesn't have any trouble taking advantage of that ability. So, last I sorta-knew, he was keeping a lot profile somewhere in space. With all his dalliances, I don't recall reading of anyone stepping up to claim him as their father. Maybe he's shooting space-blanks? I think part of the recent Infinity storyline was about Thanos tracking down all his bastard children and eliminating them, right? Geez, Thanos has got more kids than Eros? Wack.

Anyhow, Starfox, an Eternal of Titan gifted with this power of persuasion, could definitely be described as an angel and full of light by anyone who was under his spell. If it *is* Starfox, I would kind of like him to be an opportunistic jackass, and as awful as it is, I think having him be a whirlwind affair for Mama Quill would make sense. Under his spell, she would only think the best of him, and believe everything he says and promises. So, perhaps he parties with her for a week or a month, on and off Earth, and when he learns or detects that Earth is on its way to being marked as ready for a higher form of war—maybe he runs afoul of SHIELD in the 70s?—he skedaddles to avoid the notice of his brother, who perhaps has killed every other Titanic Eternal long ago. Cuz, y'know… Thanos. That could partly explain why he might be such a jerk of a Casanova.

* Having Peter's dad be an Eternal of (some) Titan and brother to Thanos is disappointing to me because it punches a big hole in my personal favorite MCU Thanos origin theory, but, to be fair, the theory *is* a bit Earthican-egotistic, and would probably end up putting Earth in a lot of cosmic crosshairs if it all came out.

More later if I can find the time and fanboy gray matter…

Keep on keepin on~

Friday, August 08, 2014

GOTG: What does the 'Fox say?

The following is a ramble in which I sort of "walk-and-talk thru" the Starfox option. Maybe some detail-spoilers from the movie, but mostly just nerdy Marvel Universe (comics) talk. Not quite final or buttoned up, but hopefully I'll revisit before the second movie hits theaters. =)

Still, let me play Starfox out a bit more… If Eros is the brother of Thanos in the MCU I think his power set and levels would have to be pumped up. I always thought he was shortchanged in the MU as Thanos's brother. Sure, I get the Thanos/Eros dichotomy, but man, one becomes the champion and consort of Death, the other plays space-adventuring Casanova?

Eros should be pumped up as a champion of Life, someone/thing akin to Mar-Vell or Adam Warlock, y'know? Of course, Adam's cocoon in the Collector's Collection would indicate that the MCU doesn't need another Adam Warlock-type. but let's assume that cocoon doesn't hatch anytime soon. Or maybe that it houses The Magus, who is actually a non-Thanos opposite to Eros, not Adam.

Okay, so Eros's space philandering leads him to spend time on Earth in the 70s. He falls hard for Mama Quill and they make a home together until he learns that his brother has destroyed his homeworld (called Titan, but not Saturn's moon, somewhere farther aspace) and killed most if not all of their family. He knows Mama Quill is pregnant, but to protect her, their unborn child, and the Earth he has to leave and go into hiding. He promises to return when it's safe and do whatever he can to care for their child when he can.

So, thanks to his cosmic senses, champion of life Eros would know when Mama Quill is ill and passes on, and so contracts Yondu to pick the boy up.

I can imagine Captain Marvel or Adam Warlock type working with Yondu in many situations while keeping a low astro-profile, and could easily see space biker gang leader Yondu thinking of a stick-up-his-bum champion of life like Peter's dad as a "jackass." Yondu may have legitimately believed that he was saving young Peter from a boring life as a straight-laced do-gooder when he decided to keep him for the Ravagers instead of delivering him as contracted.

I wonder what Yondu's story was to Peter's dad about that. Maybe he just never showed up for a scheduled rendezvous/hand-off, leaving his client to believe that he'd failed to find Peter or just wasn't interested in the job. Of course, Eros, champion of life, knows that Yondu kept him, just as he'd planned. With Thanos still at large, Eros is still on the run or in hiding, so Peter would be safer with the Ravagers than by his side and with Yondu as his mentor and guardian would learn to become a capable cosmic scoundrel and survivor.

If Eros is Peter's father, does that explain the scan that describes his heritage as "something ancient, that we've never seen before?" Perhaps. If we place Titan in a remote part of MCU space, and their population as small, or intentionally hidden/isolationist. Sure, why not?

Or… We could place Thanos's Titanic genocide much deeper in the past, with Eros as an only or one of the few survivors, and already in hiding when he arrives on Earth and falls for Mama Quill.

In any case, Eros's bloodline could read as "something ancient" and unknown to Xandar.

Eros could certainly appear as an angel, composed of pure light. That could easily be literal for an extraterrestrial champion of life (imagine Mar-Vell or Adam as Eros), and metaphorical, for an Eternal of love, right?

So, sure, an adapted and upgraded Starfox/Eros in the MCU could definitely be Peter's dad. Does it mean anything significant to future plotlines and conflict? Well, they could try to play up the relationship to Thanos, but why bother? I don't see a lot of fun coming out of snippy dialogue between the two around family. They don't have enough common experience. The one strategic play I do see is that Peter's rare Eternal blood (and blood-relation to Thanos) could allow him to endure or use a device or plot concocted by Thanos to destroy his enemies because it would be keyed to his physiology. Peter's a demi-Titan, so he'd probably die, but hey, a hero is up for that, right?

They really can't call him "Starfox" tho, can they? "Eros" sort of works next to Thanos, but even that is kind of a tough sell. Maybe I should find/replace "Starfox" and "Eros" with "Captain Marvel" or "Starhawk" everywhere in this write-up instead?

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, August 04, 2014

GOTG: the awesome and the not-so-much…

Just want to rattle off some more great bits and pieces from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY that have flashed back to me, as well as a couple of things that made me go hmmm…

Some awesome…
  • Peter FRICKIN Serafinowicz! =)
  • All of Peter Quill's late 80s Earthisms. Here's a movie-lover's highlight, tho (paraphrased)…
    "This Orb thing has a kind of black briefcase / Ark of the Covenant / Maltese Falcon vibe."
    LOVE that he uses those references to call out the McGuffin. =)
  • If I remember correctly, among Quill's space crimes and misdemeanors: Illegal manipulation of a Grammosian Duchess. What the heck do you suppose this looks like?
  • Peter Quill will pull a Luke Duke across anything resembling a shiny metal hood.
    *I* think of it as a Luke Duke. Anyone have any other names/references for it?
  • Nebula cuts off her own hand rather than accept Gamora's help, then lands on a Ravager ship, chucks its pilot from the cockpit, and flies away. Nice to know she's still Out There, a cosmic Marvel x-factor and HEAVY METAL pin-up, crazying it up.
  • Why does Groot present the white blossom to the colony urchin girl in Knowhere. A young Celestial Madonna, anyone? This One thinks so, yes. =)
  • The Dark Elf in the Collection. Could he have survived the purple Stone explosion? The Collector was in possession of the Aether, y'know… There could be a lot of interesting artifacts, creatures, and characters free in the wake of that blast. Kinda like a cosmic raiding of the Fridge in AGENTS OF SHIELD.
  • "I don't believe ANYone is truly one hundred percent a dick…"
Some not-so-awesome…
  • Drax calls Gamora a "whore." Drax, who doesn't understand metaphor, calls Gamora a prostitute. As far as I can remember, we've been given no cause to believe that she is or was. We neither see nor hear any charge against Gamora that legitimizes that (I certainly didn't catch it in the mug-scan readout).
  • Comic book fanboy wannabe that I am, I *knew* Groot would regenerate and return, but I kind of thought it was too easy how it worked out. Rocket just happened to hold onto the one piece that would grow back? Shouldn't we have seen him look for a specific organelle of some kind? Or running around mind-melding with everyone in an attempt to sends Groot's Katra?
  • I thought that the seed to Groot's return had been planted (sorry, unavoidable =) earlier in the film, in one of two scenes.
    1. When Groot presents the white blossom to the colony urchin girl in Knowhere.
    2. When Groot "barks up" before going into battle, he apparently accidentally generates a little blossom and plucks it.
  • I figured either one of those flowers could have grown into a replacement body for his consciousness, y'know? O well. In any case, I'm happy to have him back.
  • Gamora vs. Nebula could've been shot, written, and/or choreographed stronger. For the deadliest woman in the galaxy vs. the daughter of Thanos the confrontation was kind of forgettable. Thank goodness no time-mucking Matrix stuff (not cuz it's not cool, but just because it doesn't belong to this film's feel), but how about some sisterly trash talking? Some character and backstory development thru verbal jabs as well as physical ones?
  • Also—picking a nit, I know—there was an odd bit of time jumping involved. Nebula starts badmouthing Gamora. Drax does not take kindly to it and blasts her. The Guardians split up, with Nebula pushing forward. There's a cut to other action, maybe two or three different scenes, then back to Gamora who is just reaching Nebula's re-assembling body. Okay, it could take that long for Neb's enhancements to complete their work, but it seemed too long for Gamora to have covered the distance from their entrance to wherever Nebula's body is (which it SEEMED like they passed immediately after Drax's blast).
Perhaps you're interested in more rambling? Some scattin' on the identity of Star-Lord's dad?

Gotta cut footloose!

Keep on keepin on~

Saturday, August 02, 2014

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: some reflections…

Before I hit you w my rambling comments, observations, and crazy talk (after my second screening of GOTG =), I hafta say I was so fixated on the Peter Quill paternity episode of MAURY that I failed to even comment on how much fun this frickin film was in my earlier ramble, so…

This film was so much frickin fun! Probably the most fun space adventure I've seen since SERENITY. I'm not sure where it falls in the MCU collection so far, but it's gotta be top 5. But it's almost not fair to compare to the others, cuz, y'know… SPACE! =)

I don't know what I can do to explain its greatness except to try and re-inject the original value of the word into "awesome"—It is awesome.

I had deja view to the likes of FARSCAPE, SERENITY, STAR WARS, various incarnations of STAR TREK, and that general warm fuzz of 80s movies that SUPER 8 managed to tap into. Mind you, my deja view calls are not about plagiarising or ripping off, but about paying homage or honor to or knowingly wink-and-nodding at the Good Stuff that's come before, maybe even without the intent, cuz I know my wackjob fanboy synapses make their own connections when they want to.

So many pluses! The casting is excellent! Chris Pratt is an excellent scoundrel(tm Lucasfilm =) and while I would not have envisioned him as the Peter Quill I know from the MU, he creates an MCU Quill that kinda rules. The Earth fish-out-of-water + out-of-time creates some pretty joyful moments. Kind of a reverse experience of Captain America. Buck Rogers x John Crichton, y'know? What's not to love, right?

I don't know Dave Bautista at all outside of what I see of him as Drax on screen in this film, but I love him. I *love* the way the writing handles Drax, and Bautista plays it easily. GOTG's Drax seems to be a clever mashup of two MU incarnations of the character. The first is a somewhat brain-damaged, simple invincible powerhouse, the damage caused by a somehow imperfect resurrection. He is part of the Infinity Watch and basically is the strongman of the team, his fists guided by the others' orders. The second is a sharp, savage fighter, whose sole focus is the destruction of Thanos. I think there was a resurrection/reconstitution involved here, too, but not sure of the details. In any case, this one likes his knives. GOTG's Drax is something of a mix that allows for moments of entertainment value and strategic power of both.

This movie "fixed" Zoe Saldana for me. I've had trouble with seeing her characters and not her in her roles so far, but apparently all it takes is some green pigment! Heh. Also, she got to play a character that doesn't feel like all attitude, which seems to be what I remember most from her previous roles.

Along w the voice talent, the animators and FX team helped realize two amazing characters and creatures in Rocket and Groot.

I have to say, this is the best performance I've seen from Bradley Cooper, and technically, I didn't even SEE him on the screen. I mean, he really disappears into Rocket. I've had a soft spot for him ever since JACK AND BOBBY, even tho I didn't love his comedic detours, but maybe he's a stronger character actor than front man? I dunno. Time and more roles will tell. Right now, tho, I can tell you that he is an excellent Rocket.

Vin Diesel as Groot. He did a great job, but I'm not sure that it is greater than many others might have done. Still, he *is* one of the few (the only?) Hollywood performers with this sort of experience under his belt, right? IRON GIANT =)

Allright, enough w the review-ish stuff. On to the nerdy *SPOILER*ful rambling!

Peter Quill, Sr.…

Some bits of dialogue I failed to include in my earlier post about Star-Lord's father

On her deathbed, Mama Quill describes Peter as being just like his father, "an angel made of pure light." Starhawk, anyone?

When Yondu throws his Ravager weight around at the end to get Peter to give up the Orb, he says something like, "I may look like an angel, but I'm not one." Yondu is basically Peter's space foster dad, and if Peter's real dad is Starhawk, that line is a nice snarky comparison/shot at him (maybe for Kraglin's benefit?).

Also, Yondu refers to Peter's dad as "a jackass," not "a dick." My badd. =)

The post-credits scene…

The Collector with two anthropomorphs (that's the best I could come up with that wouldn't be offensive—I hope—to the likes of Rocket): Cosmo and Howard the Duck! Howard makes some smart remark to The Collector when Cosmo returns to the ruins of the Collection. "How can you let that mutt lick you on the face?" or some such. The Collector can't even muster a response. Both Howard and The C are sipping bright green cocktails. Not sure who mixed them. Does the Collector typically share with Howard?

I've gleaned from obtuse, non-spoiling twitter remarks that Nathan Fillion voiced Howard?! He's worked w James Gunn before (as has Kevin Bacon—see SUPER, it's pretty brilliant! =). On second viewing/hearing, I honestly could not tell thru the Howard-the-Duck filter that it was Nathan, but it warms the heart to know that Captain Hammer is a man behind the duck. =)

*CORRECTION* Nathan Fillion voices the big blue bruiser in the Kyln. He's the guy who wants to lick some kind of jelly off of Quill and for his overtures is rewarded with a serious Grooting. It is Seth Green who voices the surly mallard sapien from an alternate universe. My badd.

The design of this Howard is closer to the original comic book design, a grittier, world-wearier Donald, y'know? Not the kinda bulbous man-in-humanoid-duck-costume of the 1986 movie. Howard's creator in the MU, Steve Gerber, is also the creator of the first, 30th-century, incarnation of the MU Guardians of the Galaxy.

Would no doubt cause a rip in the fabric of MCU spacetime if it happened, but would've been great for Peter Quill to have spotted Howard's silhouette in a case (along w others) in the Collection and comment…
QUILL: Dude, you've got an E.T.? An A.L.F.? And… Whoa! That looks like a Howard the Duck!? That's awesome! Can I get a better look at him?
COLLECTOR: Sorry, son. I can't take him out of the box or he loses half his value.
QUILL: That's seriously disappointing. Hey, you got any bobble-heads?

Cosmo! The telepathic dog of Knowhere and the Guardians of the Galaxy! I wonder if The Collector knows he's telepathic. I mean, is THAT why he's in his Collection, or is it just that he's a Terran canine astronaut? In any case, so great to see him in his Russian space suit. =)

Now, were these characters featured to distract me/us from some detail in the rubble around them? Hrm… Guess I'll have to go see it again to find out!

Ronan, his minions, his tech…

I believe that the character of Korath is an enhanced blue Kree scientist-soldier in the MU. Don't remember if he's affiliated w Ronan. In GOTG, he's Ronan's lieutenant or whatev, played by Djimon Hounsou. Given his loyalty to Ronan and his combat prowess in GOTG, I think he may have the same backstory, but without the blue (do the MCU's Kree come in blue, black, and pink?). Hrm… Guess we don't see anything in the movie that vouches for high scientific credentials, tho.

Love Peter's reaction when he calls him Star-Lord. So many great set-ups and rewards in this film!

On second screening I caught that someone calls Ronan's minions Sakaarans! In my mind, that connects to Sakaar, the planet of the Planet Hulk storyline in the MU's HULK series. They are a species who survive on a rocky, dying, I believe, planet. Some among them have an ability to shape the rock, and their civilization developed a technology that could manipulate stone into machinery and spacecraft. Is THAT what the Dark Aster is? A stoneship of Sakaar?

But then, what of the "Necro-ships?" "Necro-fighters?" I can't remember precisely whether the soldiers and/or the spacecraft are prefixed with "necro," which, if we can trust the MCU's universal translators, implies that there's something dead or undead about them. Or… Maybe it's that they deal death to those who oppose them? In that case, maybe the translators need a little tweaking, eh?

So, Ronan's force is an army of two Kree, two of Thanos's daughters, and a legion of Sakaarans.

When it came to the backstory, motivation, interior design, and tech, I had flashes to the time-bumped Romulans of the first J.J. Abrams STAR TREK film.

MCU's Infinity Stones vs. MU's Infinity Gems…

At the end of THOR: THE DARK WORLD, the Collector was in possession of The Aether. His collection is destroyed by the power discharged from the purple Infinity Stone, aka "The Orb." Where do we think the Aether, aka the Power Stone, is right now? Will the destruction of his collection keep The Collector from pursuing the remaining Infinity Stones?

In the MU, the purple Infinity Gem is the Space Gem, which allows its wielder to travel anywhere in space. If the MCU gems correspond 1-to-1 w the MU ones, then the wormhole/portal-creating Tesseract is a match for the Space Gem. So, the Tesseract is the Space Stone.

In GOTG, The Collector shows the Guardians how a Celestial used the purple stone to destroy the face of a planet. Its energy washes across the world, apparently cracking its crust and destroying and killing everything on its surface. Later, Peter and Gamora explain to the Nova Corps that they have to prevent Ronan from reaching Xandar's surface or he'll use the power of the stone to destroy every living thing on the planet. I think the words "plants and animals" might've been used. Pretty specific, eh? Apparently the takeaway from The Collector's show-and-tell is that the stone's user must be in contact with the ground of its target planet and its power affects all organic materials. Would've been nice to see or hear a clear explanation of this.

Okay, so, this purple stone affects organic matter. The one example of this I remember seeing in the MU gems is in the way the Elder of the Universe, The Gardener, used the Time Gem. I forget if he knew that it was the Time Gem he had, but the effect it had was that it promoted the favorable growth of plant life. The Gardener instinctively accomplished this by using the power of the Time Gem in a focused way.

So, if the powers of the MCU Stones do match up to the MU Gems…

Tesseract (white) = Space Stone (purple MU gem)
Aether (red) = Power Stone (red MU gem)
Orb (purple) = Time Stone (orange MU gem)
??? = Mind Stone (blue MU gem)
??? = Soul Stone (green MU gem)
??? = Reality Stone (yellow MU gem)


He doesn't appear to be all that capable of a Big Bad just now, does he? His Chitauri army defeated by some upstart Earthicans. One daughter turned against him, the other driven off by another Earthican and his band of outsiders. But, hey, it's Thanos. He's the Mad Titan and he plays the long game, right?

I say that these apparent setbacks (AVENGERS and GOTG) are actually events going pretty nearly exactly according to plan. All part of a grand design that will ultimately locate and recover all of the Infinity Stones and have them secured in the possession of known quantities, to be secured later by other means, or to be drawn out when the possessors are faced with an apparent greater single threat.

In the aftermath of GOTG, what are the whereabouts of the Aether?

Some random-ish bits and pieces…

Thanos's realm is known as Sanctuary. That's the name of his flagship/s in the MU.

When Ronan is called before Thanos, he visits him physically, traveling via ship, not in some astral planar fashion the way Loki does in AVENGERS. Sanctuary (and Thanos) is much closer to Kree and Xandarian space than Earth.

And since we're on Sanctuary… When Peter grabs the Orb stone and begins disintegrating, Gamora calls out to him to take her hand. Peter looks at her, but sees his mother, calling to him from her deathbed. The environment around them—Peter and his mother—resembles that view of space from Sanctuary, but instead of the rubble of Thanos's playhouse, the setting features some designed structures in the middle ground. Structures like low-arcing spires, that seem to assemble and dissemble from… rectangular plates, or slabs, maybe? Hrm… A visualization of the world inside the MU's Soul Gem? Hrm…

Ronan kills The Other, Thanos's go-between. Poor Wesleyxis Denisof. Maybe we'll see him as another MCU character in the future, tho. Vision? =)

So wonderfully Jim Kirk and Buck Rogers and Crichton having Peter Quill represent for 20th century Earth out in the black. Kevin Bacon and Jackson Pollock walk into a space cantina… Besides Cosmo and Quill, I wonder what other Terrans are wandering Out There. Quasar? Corsair? Red Skull (I say again, Red Skull for Thanos! =) Billy Pilgrim?

When Ronan first emerges on the command deck of the Dark Aster, he is elevated out of a tank of dark liquid. Once he is suited up, he then executes a Xandarian, presumably a member of the Nova Corps. He does this with his hammer, and we see the resulting Xandarian squeezins flow from the body thru channels in the deck to a drain of sorts that seems to lead to the level or chamber from which Ronan arose. So… He really does bathe in the blood of his enemies? Man, the MCU has really painted Ronan generously with the psychotic brush.

Celestials! Pretty awesome seeing a Celestial wielding the Orb's Infinity Stone to wipe a planet of its life forms (it happens in The Collector's informative multimedia presentation). Also, Knowhere! Just as in the MU, the remains of the head of a Celestial. Note that The Collector calls them the Celestial somethings, not simply The Celestials, as they're known in the MU.

I can't say as I remember Talis (or Talus?) Mining Company as a player in the MU. Frack, my dumb brain. The logo was visible on the wall next to that comm station that Ronan "borrows" to contact Ronan from Knowhere.

*ON SECOND THOUGHT* Am I dyslexically misremembering the name of the mining company? Is it Tivan, after Taneleer Tivan, aka The Collector? That would better explain why he's set up Collection in Knowhere, and is totally in line with his Elder of the Universe predilection for rare and unique items. The actual physical contents of a Celestial's head, right? Heckuva way to finance his Collecting habit, too. With those kinds of resources, I'd keep one of everything to read/play with, and one mint in box or bag. =)

Speaking of forgotten (or missed) text… I couldn't make out the branding on Peter's wood paneled sound system on the Milano.

And the Milano! Or was it Murano? I *think* there was writing on the ship's exterior, the ship's name, I expect, but I couldn't or failed to catch it. I was either focused on other action, or didn't notice it soon enough on screen. Gotta say, I feel like I heard "Murano" once or twice early in the movie, but then "Milano" most every time after that. Murano sounds like a ship name from the ALIEN series, right? Was it? Milano, however, brings to mind the Pepperidge Farm cookie ("Pepperidge Farm remembers"), right? But, would an Earth kid name a ship that looks like a Dorito a Milano? I don't think so…

So… Milano… 1980s Earth… Teen Steam, anyone? =)

Gotta cut footloose!

Keep on keepin on~

Friday, August 01, 2014


A *SPOILER*-ful wishful crazy talk ramble on a mystery of the MCU follows. If you haven't seen GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, turn back for your own sanity, please!

So! Who is Peter Quill's father? The Marvel Universe tells us that he's a Spartan (or Spartoi, of Spartax) named J'son, and Spartoi royalty. He crash lands on Earth and falls in love with Meredith Quill. When J'son is able to leave Earth he does, and leaves behind a pregnant Meredith, who gives birth to Peter. Years later, assassins seeking to end the royal bloodline track Meredith and Peter down. They kill Meredith and destroy their home. Young Peter manages to kill them and survive. He lives to be an adult before leaving Earth and eventually become Star-Lord.

However, given what we learn in GOTG, I get the feeling that he's going to get a different genealogy in the MCU. Some things that don't line up…
  1. Peter Quill begins his life in space as a child, not as an adult.
  2. The Spartoi and Spartax are not mentioned (at least, I didn't catch any references).
  3. Peter's first extraterrestrial contact is with Yondu, a Centaurian, and his Ravagers. Yondu turns out to be an associate of Peter, Sr.
Or course, these inconsistencies w the continuity of the comics does not mean that they can't be smoothed into a Jason of Sparta heritage in the MCU, but…

What *do* we know about Peter, Sr. based on the movie?
  1. He sent Yondu and the Ravagers to retrieve young Peter (the moment his mother passed away?).
  2. Yondu seems familiar with him, and calls him "a dick" (I think that's what he called him, right?).
  3. Nova Prime explains that Peter is half Earthican and half something-like-an-Elder-of-the-Universe. As far as I can recall, there's nothing "Ancient Ones"-y about the Spartoi. They're contemporaries of the Kree, Xandarians, and Shi-ar.
  4. In the card she leaves with him, Mama Quill calls him her little "Star-Lord," a conspicuous pet name, even if you do know his dad was extraterrestrial royalty, donchathink?
Given all of that, I'm gonna say it's… Starhawk! Aka The One Who Knows, of the original, alternate future, Guardians of the Galaxy. What that might look like/mean in the MCU, of course, is unknown, and hopefully remains to be seen. As far as we know, there's no "earlier"/future incarnation of the GOTG in the MCU, but there's a definite affiliation of some sort between the MCU's Yondu and Peter's father, who he deems a dick (One Who Knows), and it explains (to me, at least) why Peter's mother would choose a name like "Star-Lord" as a pet name for him.

Maybe it's Starhawk from the 31st century, sent back in time to make sure that the Earth, Milky Way, and neighboring galaxies of the 21st century are prepared for a certain cosmic threat (Thanos / Infinity Stones). If he IS the One Who Knows, then he might have tweaked Earth and galactic events to align just the right forces to make a proper, winning stand vs. Thanos at a critical point in time. Maybe he helped form the Ravagers? Or even the Nova Corps? Maybe while manipulating some events or discoveries on Earth in the 70s, he found himself stranded for a time, fell in love with an Earth woman, and had a son with her. Until he could find a way to contact the Ravagers for a rescue?

Or something.

I know it's a stretch, but I'd love for that GOTG connection to be there across a millennium, y'know? In the comics, Starhawk, or an alternate version of him, did go back in time—or sent a message thru time?—to alert Quill and the present-day GOTG to a Thanosian threat.

My next pick: Star-Lord! Yeah, in the Marvel Universe there was a Star-Lord who took over for Peter Quill years after Quill died or disappeared. He only had a short mini-series, and I'm not sure that his origin involved him being some sort of elder cosmic species, but he was a telepath, which I would think is unusual. This would be a weird and fun one to write into the MCU, tho. In the comic, he takes up Star-Lord's mantle, but in order to make him the MCU Peter Quill's father, we'd have to make him a time traveler, or the original (or at least, earlier) Star-Lord. Sadly, that "code name" does not inspire any awe or fear Out There.

This would perfectly explain why Mama Quill would call young Peter her Star-Lord.

If it's NOT Starhawk or Star-Lord (but who else could it be?)… It's gotta be some race that isn't very common any more (Nova Corps' genetic scan), and has spent time on Earth (access to Mama Quill)…

Inhuman? Perhaps. But I would think that the genetics would read as part Kree, and so be identifiable as such…

Asgardian? That fits the data, altho if the Xandarians could recognize it, there's no reason not to put a name to it, right? I'd think that Peter would exhibit more obviously superhuman abilities.

Titan? Hrm… We still don't know Thanos's origin in the MCU (I still *so* want my Red Skull theory to be correct! =). I think we hear him referred to as "the Mad Titan" in GOTG for the first time, tho. Could you imagine Peter's dad being Starfox? That's bananas, but it could be a lot of fun. Would help explain Peter's preternatural James T. Kirk level of success with the alien ladies, no?

Atlantean? That would be interesting. Maybe Atlanteans aren't native to Earth? Or at some point in the past, part of their population left Earth and once in space, disappeared? (I still would love for the blue guy in AGENTS OF SHIELD to be Atlantean =)

Wait, okay. Just work with me here… How about… Galadorian? WOW! That would be pretty awesome. I forget the timeline of the Spaceknight Order, but it was on the order of centuries, right? Man, if we could get a ROM story as a secret history of Earth story in the MCU—Woooo-ow! Like, Rom comes to Earth tracking Dire Wraiths to whatever town/city Mama Quill lives in, is misunderstood at first, maybe fights then teams up with a 70s Marvel hero or two, reveals and defeats the Wraiths, somehow regains his humanity (SHIELD? Reed Richards? Dr. Strange?). falls in love with and settles down with Mama Quill, and sires Peter with her. He has to leave Earth, tho, when he learns that the Dire Wraiths (or some other threat) are at large again offworld. I would be very very very happy with that. =)

Keep on keepin on~

P.S. If you can stand it, even more GOTG rambling here (some reflections) ! And more on the question of Mama Quill's star-babydaddy here (What does the 'Fox say?) and here ('Hawk vs. 'Fox)! =)

Monday, July 21, 2014

SNOWPIERCER: more bits I *love*…

A rambling list of more moments, details, and zany extrapolations that I love in SNOWPIERCER…

Nam/e-calling… =)

My Korean comprehension is far from tip-top, but I love that Minsu's first words to/at the Tailies who free him are about their cluelessness as to his name. I *believe* he uses some unsavory words (unrecognized by the translator =) to address them for being so idiotic as to not know what name to call him by. Something like, "Nam? Nam? My family name is Namgoong! And my first name is Minsu, by the way… You bleeping idiots… "

I *do* feel that the choice of Namgoong is unusual, tho. So it's maybe a wee bit of entrapment to force the issue?

In any case, I like to think that Bong Joon-ho (Joon-ho Bong) is having Minsu express a pet peeve of his, a bit of culture cluelessness when Korea meets West. Like, I'm going to say this one more time, people, and after that, I can't be held responsible for what happens!

Of course, I have absolutely no facts or background story or even hearsay to back that up. I just like to think it.

Cuz my so-called brain.

Yona's clairvoyance.
I believe she does in fact have some for of extra-sensory perception, and not just enhanced sensitivity to sound and vibration. I don't doubt that many on the train, train babies and Earthwalkers, have developed that ability, but Yona has more. You can see it when she looks into Marco the Elder's eyes. It's like the Shining. She can read people, and when she reads him, its like staring into the abyss, y'know? She knows the dark acts of which he's capable. Knows that he doesn't care anything about anyone except for the ways they can die.

She sees the shortest distance between the menace of Marco the Younger and his death. The tipping of a spear inches in front of her.

She can read Marco the Elder thru the CC video, when Marco the Elder executes Gilliam. And what's worse, he seems capable of turning her ability into a two-way signal. There is a black hole of a connection there. Marco the Elder has killed Gilliam, a morale destroyer to all of the Tailies, but when he looks up at the camera, he is looking at Yona.

Not convinced? How about when she runs into the Engine to get the fire from Curtis. He doesn't cooperate, but it's not like he fights her. She just has to look up at him and she can see that he is on the edge—if not over it already—of taking his place as Wilford's apprentice. He doesn't have to say anything, no one does. And she immediately turns away, back to her father, but then she reads someone that she doesn't see in front of her. Timmy, the human cog in the machinery below the floor.

When she goes at the tiles with a fork, Curtis is roused, remembering the earlier evidence of her abilities. If she is scrabbling at the floor, then there is something important beneath, and surely enough, there is.

Cinematic clairvoyance…
1. The one-armed crucifix in Gilliam's quarters. ---> Curtis vs. the Machine.

2. Curtis and Timmy sharing a "blow it up" dap greeting. ---> Blowing up the Snowpiercer.

3. Timmy demonstrating being a "very nimble five year-old" and eluding Edgar in the nooks and crannies of the Tail section. ---> Timmy being transformed into a cog of the Engine.

A couple more…

The view from the Engine looking back thru the open gate. Curtis and Wilford are like gods standing on high, in the clouds, looking down upon the misery of humanity. It's a view of a hell from a heaven. From cool blue and white to fiery red and black. From order to chaos. Beautiful.

The art on the matchbook. I never got a good look at it, but the impression of it was palm tree/s, tropical, and maybe "Fiji?" It instantly flashed me to the images of Shell Beach in DARK CITY. Later, AGENT OF SHIELD's T.A.H.I.T.I. cross ref'd itself into my so-called brain as well. I wonder where Minsu picked up those matches… Maybe there's a backstory that involves Yona's mother? Or a chance LOST-like convergence at a bar, pre-Snowpiercer, with Wilford, Gilliam, or maybe a young punk Curtis? That would be fun. =)
Fight your way to the front!

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, July 20, 2014

SNOWPIERCER: more reflections…

More *SPOILER*ful thoughts and crazy talk concerning bits and pieces of the immersive world created in Bong Joon-ho's SNOWPIERCER…

"Blow it up!"

Saw this animated GIF earlier today (7/19/14)

And immediately thought to myself—Dayumn! That is baddass! That is, like, EdgarWrightian* badass! I mean—"Blow it up!"? That, plus the one-armed crucifix in Gilliam's quarters, that's pretty much the end of the movie right there! Will have to keep my eyes open for more signposts on a next screening—I love this movie more and more!

*Not that Edgar Wright invented foreshadowing, or whatever you want to call it. He only perfected it is all. =)

How do the matches get into Curtis's pocket?

I didn't think of it until after the movie, of course, because it certainly didn't bother me in the flow of the film and storytelling. But okay, that's a legit question.

A legit, but probably not very satisfying answer—There is ample time between on-screen events for off-screen activity to account for getting the matchbook from Chan in the tail up to Curtis in the Water Supply section. After the Battle of Yekaterina Bridge, they clean up and sleep in the Water Supply car, so Gilliam, Curtis, or Edgar, realizing that there are going to be more tunnels, could have ordered the matchbook be passed up to the front line.

So, yeah, seriously, lotsa time and opportunity for that to have happened.

But, okay, it would've been nice to have seen Grey catch Curtis's eye, toss them to him, Curtis maybe surprised, and then Yona explaining, "He says there will be more tunnels… He's right."

Bent spacetime in "My Dinner with Wilford…?"
If you listen, the conversation in the Engine between Curtis and Wilford flows at a regular pace, but as you watch, the action appears to jump in places. It's somewhat hidden by cuts to activity in other parts of the train, and maybe cuts to reaction shots in the Engine, but to me it is striking, conspicuous, perhaps meaningful. A little disorienting if you're paying attention, but I *like* it.

It also speaks to me about a possible psychological side effect of the Engine itself, maybe even a physical (as in physics) one, too. After all, what do we know about the energies involved in a perpetual motion engine, right? Also about Curtis's state of mind, his exhaustion, and potential susceptibility to Wilford's words.

One memorable jump… Wilford is at the grill, cooking up his steak, speaking at Curtis. He's monologuing, and to illustrate a segment of his philosophizing, we get a cut or two to the Kronolheads massing at the narrow bridge, and suddenly (it seems to me), without missing a beat in his speechifying, he's at the table, eating, opposite Curtis, who now has a full plate in front of him (but of course, he does not touch any of his food, we never see him eat).

Does time flow differently around the works of the Engine? Does the Engine itself/herself ("She's getting sensitive lately."), choose and cause time to jump as it/she wishes? A demonstration of power? Or a manifestation of the Engine's respiration? Could the engine be an entity? A "sensitive" perpetual motion machine. What would such a creature want most? To continue, I should think.

Perhaps the closer you are and the longer you're exposed to the Engine's power, the more crazy/Wilford-like you become. The Engine needs an Engineer to maintain it, and the Engineer needs everything and everyone in its place to do that. The Engine needs the system, the balance, the population control, and the population.

The time skipping triggers a flash of deja view to the end of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, in which Bowman experiences aging/time jumps in the presence of the Monolith.

Chef Paul…

This is a detail I didn't really get until after a second screening…

The way Curtis, Edgar, and other Tailies speak of Paul when they encounter him in the Protein Block section is a little puzzling. They recognize him, but he looks way different somehow. It's been some time since they've seen him. First I imagined he was drafted from the Tail section for his expertise in some part of food science or processing or such, the way that Jerry was taken for his skills as a violinist. So, Wilford must have put Paul to work on an alternative to long pig, because the Fronters weren't going to share their livestock and the Engine was losing potentially valuable spare parts to the Tailies' bellies.

The timeline is kind of funky, tho. If he was drafted to *create* a food solution for the Tailies, that was almost 18 years ago, because the first protein blocks showed up at least two months after the Snowpiercer started its endless journey. How and why would so many Tailies recognize a man they only knew for two months at best? So, maybe he was drafted to take the place of the original chef-scientist? MAYbe… But I think that we should listen to exactly what Paul says to everyone when they first meet him. That this (the turning of a valve) used to be done automatically, but since a part went extinct, it has to be done manually now. That's not just small talk. That's the explanation of his entire purpose on the train, as dictated by Wilford.

Well, that and passing on the Informant's message capsules/bullets.

I imagine Claude showing up with security a few years earlier and asking for people who'd worked in factories or food processing. They would step forward and maybe Claude would pick out the three tallest individuals and then ask them to jump as high as they could, maybe to touch the ceiling. And Paul was the lucky winner, escorted from the tail section to the Protein Block car to learn his new place in the World.

Crazy crazy talk…

This is SO far out of the SNOWPIERCER ballpark, it's somewhere in orbit, but that is where my head likes to go sometimes—outer space.

What if the world of SNOWPIERCER is somehow virtual? Powered either by electronic or psychic/oneiric means, it doesn't really matter. Would it be one individual's world? A shared world or dream? I can easily imagine metastories that would support both possibilities, but let's not go even farther out. If the frozen apocalypse IS a WORLD ON A WIRE or SOLARIS-type sim, it might allow for technological or mental hacks, like matches appearing when needed, the jump-starting of the elder Marco killing machine, or the time skipping disruptions (or super speed?) in the Engine.

Fight your way to the front!

Keep on keepin on~

Monday, July 07, 2014

SNOWPIERCER: bits I *love* about it…

Rattling off some things I *LOVE* in the film, probably followed by the rambling and tangent-hopping…

*SPOILERS* follow!

"A blockbuster production with a devilishly unpredictable plot." — Wilford.

The whole world of the Snowpiercer is a metaphor. There doesn't need to be any subtext or metadiscussion. Of course, there is, and it's fun and meaningful, but man, it's ingenious in its simplicity as a device that also works as an environment and world.

The broken one-armed Jesus/crucifix figure in Gilliam's quarters.
Take 1: A representation of Gilliam, one-armed spiritual leader to Curtis and the Tailies.
Take 2: Foreshadowing of Curtis's dis-arming in the Engine.
Take 3: A red herring foreshadowing of Curtis's role as savior. He's not truly a messianic savior type, but he is an agent of revolution and change. (I've gotta lock down my definition of "savior.")

The "laying of the pipe" that begins the Tailies' revolution, with Grey's ninja parkour delivered coup-de-grace as a beautiful kinetic climax and finish.

Seeing the American "doctor" from THE HOST as the Snowpiercer's bug bar chef.

The reveal/appearance of the masked axemen as the gate opens, just as Yona yells not to open it.

The Sam Sheepdog/Ralph Wolf break in the Battle of Yekatarina Bridge to acknowledge the new year.

"Surrender" and "Die" tattoos on "Snake Eyes" Grey's arm. So wish we got more of him, and the significance of his other tattoos. "Coffee?" "Tea?"

That Yona is "clairvoyant." Might've been nice to hear Nam try to explain it to Curtis at some point. "Sometimes she just knows things." or "She's lucky." Still, pleased that it's treated as subtle and wasn't over-explained.

Spark: Hrm… I'd dismissed Nam and Yona being addicts as a cover, for the most part, but is it the Kronol that enables or enhances her ability?

The running of the fire from the rear of the train to the Battle of Yekatarina Bridge. It starts in the dark of the bowels of the train's tail, the strike of a match in the hands of the young thief, Chan, who lights the torch. He starts to movie it forward and then hands it off to Andrew, who roars with it thru the darkness. I think it's "Snake Eyes" Grey who carries it next, and when the fire arrives at the Battle, it has spread and multiplied into dozens of torches in the hands of a swarm of fighters. When it begins, it really does feel like it starts in a cave, even underground, and in a primordial past. It could be many things—hope, love, knowledge, change, fury—and maybe it is one or many of those things in each Tailie's hand. In the end, it makes for a gorgeous and powerful visual sequence and a simple and brilliant tide-turner in the battle.

Slipping on the fish = BJH moment. Everybody slips, everybody falls.

It's horrible, but Edgar's death. Not because he dies, but because Curtis makes the decision to go after the high-value target, Mason, and leave Edgar to fight for himself. Strategically, it's a smart move, because with Mason in hand, the battle is ended. (We saw that it wasn't enough to take a ranking officer—"Surrender or die?" ---> "Shit.") It is a general's decision.

The Gill-ford population control plan requires that Nam is in a prison drawer. Maybe Nam was framed for a crime. Maybe Nam was extorted into participating (Wilford could use Yona as leverage). Thing is, Wil-liam think they have him right where they want him, but in fact, Nam is exactly where he wants to be. He's played the players wonderfully. I wonder if Gilliam, who's on the scene when he's revived, joins them, and moves forward, has any inkling.

Spark: Remixing Wilford and Gilliam—Is "William Gilford" (or Guilford?) somebody?

The arm-freezing as punishment. Horrible and clever. Also a great way to explain any conspicuously missing limbs among the Tailies before Curtis reveals the truth behind the early days of hunger, violence, and cannibalism in the tail section.

Everything about the shoe. That it's a shoe, which was chucked at G.W. years ago as a vile insult, a cultural learning moment for the U.S. That Mason turns it into a know-your-place teaching moment. And that it is placed on Mason's head by Andrew when they are ready to move forward.

The pause to record/draw the revolutionaries. All of the illustrations made by the Painter as records.

The sushi break in the aquarium car. A magical break at an oasis in the apparently endless desert of violence, misery, and injustice. Also a nice opp for a teaching moment about balance, population, and control. The aquarium as a microcosm of the microcosm of the Snowpiercer.

Everything about crazy banana pants school. The Wilford bio video. Teacher's mania. The Eternal Engine spirituals, and call and response routines—We all freeze and die! Probably most especially Tanya cracking her new year's egg on the head of the bratty little girl, tho.

Nam explains to Yona how the leader of the Seven is an Inuit woman who taught him about all the different kinds of snow there are, but he does not reveal that she is her mother. At least, that's my belief. Think about it… When he's at the window and begins to speak—"There's a woman at the front…"—aren't you just certain he's talking about the woman he loves?

The showdown between Franco and Curtis across that looping hairpin turn in the tracks. They each see the bullet that could have killed them, embedded in the train cars' windows. However, you'll note that Curtis got his shot off first. Respect.

What was Curtis at age 17 on Earth that he's such a remarkable shot?

That Curtis IS ready to take over for Wilford. He never wanted to be the leader, insisting that Gilliam would and should be. But from the start of this revolution (when he forces security's empty hand by holding the gun barrel to his own head) he's made the hard decisions of a leader, reluctant tho he may be. The math of it weighs heavily on him and while he resists, the survival mantra of Wilford and the spell of the Engine prove very compelling.

Spark: Hrm… If we're to believe in the Gill-ford partnership, then Gilliam chose and groomed Curtis for his role in the revolution and as eventual successor to Wilford. Is it possible that Wilford does not know that Curtis was the man whose attack inspired Gilliam to sacrifice his limbs? Wilford *does* refer to Gilliam's remark about it being better to hold your lover with two arms, but that just means that Wilford knows that Curtis didn't/couldn't give up his own arm, not that he was the man who killed the mother of the child who grew up to idolize him. So, maybe Gilliam's selection of Curtis as revolutionary leader and next Engineer was designed to truly change the system. Could the man who had witnessed this "miracle" of sacrifice (by Gilliam and the others who followed him) to save the children of the Tail ever be a man who uses them to replace machinery?

That Yona is the one to snap Curtis out of Wilford's and the Engine's spell. Yona comes to Curtis seeking fire, and when she looks into his eyes, she *sees* that he's lost, or nearly lost, to the Engine. Then—knowingly?—she turns her gaze to the floor and *sees* Timmy, performing as a cog of the Engine, and she scratches at the panel to reveal the horrible truth. Curtis has the sense to understand that Yona has *seen* something important, and helps, and it is exactly the thing that he needs to see to break the spell.

It does make me wonder, tho, how far or long could Curtis have gone in Wilford's place? At some point, he would learn of the extinct technology that's been replaced by children like Andy and Timmy. When confronted with that, would he do the math and arrive at the same result as Wilford (a "needs of the many vs. needs of the few"), or would he F the math and do something truly revolutionary? Enlist the help and resources of the rest of humanity to come up with a solution? Manipulate someone else into taking his place and making the horrible decision? Stop the train and let humanity freeze rather than sacrifice its young.

Like I said, I love that Yona's there to wake Curtis. How desolate and despairing that other path could have been! No matter what, when you come out of the film, remember that JHB gave us a *HAPPY* ending!

Spark: Yona's part in this deja vus me to DARK CITY, THE MATRIX series and SECOND FOUNDATION. She's an X-factor that breaks a cycle and disrupts well-planned, intricately designed system.

In a pretty wonderful and beautiful embrace, Nam and Curtis shield Yona and Timmy with their bodies from the worst of the Kronol explosion and the ensuing crash. Thanks to their two dads, they survive the violent reboot of humanity.

And speaking of happy endings, heh… SNOWPIERCER's ultimate reboot proves to be a Benetton world! The end of an inhumane system run by white people (of privilege) is the beginning of a new world blanketed in white, to be built and populated by an (ESPer) Eve and Adam of color who come from nothing.

Fight your way to the front!

Keep on keepin on~

Sunday, July 06, 2014

SNOWPIERCER: some reflections…

After two screenings of SNOWPIERCER (hafta say, it's even better after a second viewing =), some top-of-my head *SPOILER*ful reflections, questions, comments…

"A blockbuster production with a devilishly unpredictable plot." — Wilford.

Jesus Christ?
Yes, there's commentary on religion and authority built into the social structure of the Snowpiercer and the events of SNOWPIERCER, but I didn't take away anything attached to a specific established religion or belief system. Jesus Christ *does* get a sort of shout-out, but for me, more as *a* savior than *the* savior. I don't see Curtis as a stand-in for JC, but I definitely see a couple of references in the film that paint Curtis as a potential savior. Why JC? How about the Yekatarina Bridge fish? The masked axemen bring out a massive trout or some such and each man dips his blade into it, blooding their axes. I had a fleeting thought—should I recognize this fish as poisonous? Definitely not a blowfish, tho, so that doesn't seem likely. Then maybe it reads literally—YOU are this fish, and we are going to gut you. And even if that idiom might have passed out of usage on the Snowpiercer (18 years of protein bars), the action definitely serves as intimidation. Of course, if you look at the fish as a symbol, in the West, its probably most recognized as standing for Christianity and Jesus. So, does Curtis equal the savior? Well, ask the broken Christ/crucifix figurine we see in Gilliam's quarters at the start of the film. You know, the one that's missing an arm? =)

In the Yekatarina Bridge battle, Curtis slips on the blooded fish and falls. When that happened, I just grinned like an idiot and thought, "THAT is Bong Joon-ho." I've had this thing about his films that I love—his characters fall. I first noticed it in MEMORIES OF MURDER, when the detectives show up at the scene and tumble down the hill from the road. It just seemed so… embarrassing, y'know? Yet completely natural. Everybody falls. Even the creature in THE HOST (and of course, all of Daesu's family =). And so does Curtis. It's a beautiful (I think) theme throughout his work.

Edgar 1.
Edgar's steak. Edgar tells Curtis that he thinks he can almost remember the taste of steak. Given that he's almost a train baby, perhaps he's thinking of the taste of Gilliam's arm?

Edgar 2.
How the heck did Edgar get that accent growing up on the train, eh?

Edgar 3/names.
IMDB trivia claims Edgar is named after Edgar Wright. Are there other filmmaker's names in the characters, a la NIGHT OF THE CREEPS? (Terry) Gilliam? The Francos (Zeffirelli? James?!) ? =)

The Francos.
IMDB tells me that the two well-dressed enforcers who accompany Mason on her trips to confront the Tailies are known as Franco the Younger and Franco the Elder. The names suggest that they are related, but the few glimpses of interaction I recall from the film (also) suggest that they are partners/lovers. The Elder certainly takes the Younger's death verrry personally and fixates on Yona for it.

Franco the Elder speaks…
Franco the Elder tells Yona "No more bullets" in non-English. Is it Korean? I couldn't make it out.

What is Grey's connection/relationship to Gilliam? Adopted son? Lover? Both?

What Nam sees…
Love how Nam puts things together in the background of all of these violent events (and set pieces). Against discussions focused on the survival of humanity in the closed system of the train, couched in flowery propaganda and doctrine, Nam is collecting hard data on the world outside and building a key/bomb to open the gate that will get them there. First, the Yekatarina Bridge plane wreck. Then, the snowflake, which he can "read" thanks to the lessons of the Inuit woman who jumped from the train. Finally, the thing that Nam sees thru the windows of the greenhouse car and *almost* tells Curtis about, the polar bear. LOVE that he just trails off and doesn't reveal that last fact.

Nam was part of the Wilford-Gilliam plan…
So, Nam must have manipulated things to get himself thrown in the prison drawers before Snowpiercer's next population control strategy. Maybe he was a legit Kronol addict? Or played one well enough (along with his daughter) to, apparently under the influence, commit a crime worthy of the drawers? Or was properly framed for such an offense? Or just plain agreed to or was extorted into playing this part in the next revolution. Kinda crazy, but also exactly the supervillain level of manipulation you'd need to choreograph "The Curtis Revolution."

Gilliam might have been ready for a real revolution…
Early on in the film, Gilliam agrees very quickly w Curtis's self-deprecating remark along the lines of "not everyone is what they seem." Curtis says it to try to discount Edgar's hero worship of him. Gilliam throws in a kind of "you can say that again" in reference to himself, playing the role of Curtis's revolutionary mentor. Once the revolution has reached the water car, and Curtis decides to split their forces, leaving Gilliam and most of the Tailies in the rear half of the train, Gilliam tells Curtis not to let Wilford speak to him. That he should cut Wilford's tongue out before he can say a word. For Gilliam, this means that he hopes that Curtis will complete his mission without learning of Gilliam's collaboration with Wilford, and follow thru without doubting anything he's learned from Gilliam. Sure, maybe it was because the pop control plan was going off the rails, and maybe Gilliam realized that Wilford would be forced to exact retribution against many Tailies and especially himself, but I think the hope was there. Unfortunately, Curtis *did* let the devil Wilford speak.

Programming the children…
So sinister. The gesticulations assigned to certain Eternal Engine propaganda seems designed to teach children to be replacement cogs and widgets for the train (the way softball pitching in P.E. might teach a child how to lob a grenade at a target =). Mason and Wilford explicitly demonstrate the motions and the children in the classroom show that they've been taught certain motions to go with their songs. Would've been good to see the Tailies get some indoctrination, tho, to sort of fill in some blanks.

What Yona sees…
Is "clairvoyance" the way to describe what Yona demonstrates? She can see thru or behind things. Not necessarily into the future. She demonstrates her ability by describing what's on the other side of the gates between cars just before they're opened. Then she sees the murder and menace in Franco's eyes. Finally, she sees little Timmy under the floor panels in the engine. Maybe final-finally, she is the first child of the train who gets to see a polar bear.

The messages…
There must have been messages smuggled to the Tailies via the bug bars before the events of the film, but the ones we actually get to see revealed (that I remember—I feel like I might be missing one) are…
  1. NAM's name, in Timmy's protein bar. Along w info that he's the security specialist responsible for designing the gate locks. A vital component to any plan to reach and attack the front of the train.
  2. WATER, in the loose capsule in protein bar fun factory car. For Gilliam, where the revolution should end. For Curtis the revolutionary, as explained by Gilliam, a strategic target. For Curtis the future Engineer: a lesson in natural resources.
  3. BLOOD, in the New Year's egg. For Gilliam, he doesn't see this message, but it is his death sentence, for letting the revolution get too far. For Curtis the revolutionary, an almost-too-late warning. For Curtis the future Engineer: the death of 74% of the Tail population, a second lesson in population control.
  4. TRAIN, freshly written by Wilford. For Curtis, a final Engineer lesson. The train is the entire world, and it carries all that remains of humanity, and the most important thing he can do is protect it, no matter the cost.
Fight your way to the front!

Keep on keepin on~

SNOWPIERCER: deja views…

I love going to my movies, and oftentimes, I'll get a sense of movie deja vu. That is, I'll be watching a film and have it remind me of another film (instead of, like, a real memory of an event or experience of my own like actual human beings have, bleah). As far as I can remember, this is never a bad thing. So, while screening number two is still fresh-ish, here are a few out-of-movie experiences I had while watching SNOWPIERCER…

Turn back now, for here there be *SPOILERS*…

CABIN IN THE WOODS / ESCAPE FROM L.A. / all of those ones, y'know. =)
An ultimate reboot. The protagonist/s hit the RESET button on the world, destroying the current society/civilization in favor of a blank slate and fresh start. Love that it's a Benetton slate, with Yona and Timmy as the non-white Eve and Adam in an otherwise white-blanketed world.

Yona's clairvoyance, but specifically, her almost instant reading of Franco the Elder (the psycho enforcer whose lover Yona kills) as Death/Evil.

THE MATRIX (and sequels).
Wilford's revelation that he and Gilliam are working together to maintain the balance of human beings and fear and hope needed to sustain humanity in the closed system of the Snowpiercer. Systems of control and order executed via manipulation.

A single snowflake making a difference. There's not much to compare in meaning behind the event, but given the uniqueness of the event itself, that it happens at all in each film resonates for me. In INDIGO, it floated in thru a window and into Chloe's (Audrey Tautou's) lung and only we get to see it. In SNOWPIERCER, it floated in thru a cracked window and only Namgoong saw it.

Curtis fighting his way across the car against the axemen. Felt to me like Dae-su hammering his way thru the thugs in that gangster "hotel" hallway, all side-scroller-game-like.

Yona protecting/cradling/leading Timmy out of the rubble of Snowpiercer threw me back to Hyun-seo protecting the little street urchin when trapped in the Host's subterranean nest and even when regurgitated by the creature at the end. Also, Curtis and Nam shielding Yona and Timmy with their bodies.

The presence of a propaganda system woven into the fabric of society. In BRAZIL it was Central Processing. In THE DOUBLE, it was The Colonel (I think?). In SNOWPIERCER it's the lessons of Wilford and the Eternal Engine.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (the original series/movie).
I don't remember it being so pronounced in the SciFi Channel reboot (I remember more of a focus on prejudice based on "race" and religion), but in the original, there are marked inequalities among the survivors in the different ships of the ragtag fugitive fleet. The Rising Star was a front car, and several partially radioactive cargo transports would've been the tail. The fleet was basically an "exploded" Snowpiercer.

The doctrine and reverence paid to the Sacred Engine. The call and response routines in the classroom… Teacher's, Mason's, and Wilford's recitations with accompanying signs and gesticulations… all in praise and worship of the Sacred Engine. And the front car, the Engine itself, seems an update of the Machines of Metropolis, no? Heck, is SNOWPIERCER a remake of METROPOLIS? I'm gonna hafta watch that again sometime soon.

Curtis slips and falls on the fish during the Battle of Yekatarina Bridge. It's something I've noticed and loved in JHB's films. Characters (and even a creature, in THE HOST) slipping and falling, accidentally, clumsily, embarrassingly. Surly detectives, terrified fathers, grieving families, revolutionary leaders… It's just so human and natural and a demonstration and visualization of chance, gravity, weight, vulnerability, pain, and surprise. And in the audience, it's a connection to that caveman who laughed at his friend who slipped on a banana peel, fell on his bum, bounced, and rolled down the mountain and got eaten by that sabre-toothed tiger. Or something. =)

It's kind of a great encapsulation of the genre-less-ness of JHB's storytelling, too. Life doesn't know about genres. It just happens.

Keep on keepin on~

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST: the good, the bad, and the huh…?

A *SPOILER*ful ramble on X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST follows. So turn back if you haven't seen it!

Basically, fanboy hack that I am, I very much enjoyed watching the movie. It was kind of a mess in a storytelling way, and didn't take full advantage of all of its talent (more Trask!), but it did deliver a ton of fun (Quicksilver & Blink) and comic book fanboy button pushing, so I have to recommend it. For me it's probably the second-best of the X films. If you put a non-metal gun to my head, I'd say from best to WTF (and not including the Wolvie solos films), it's…


Note that I've seen DAYS and X3 (and the WOLVERINEs) once and the others twice.

Okay, on with the rambling!

The Good…

1. Quicksilver vs. Pentagon guards. Just lovely and clever and cool and fun and so very satisfying. I do have a geeky problem with it (see below), but was able to ignore the voices for the sequence and thoroughly enjoy it.

2. Blink (and friends) vs. Sentinels. The future X-Men use Blink's portals to wonderful advantage. Particularly enjoyed her riff on the Fastball Special—having Colossus build up terminal velocity in free-fall from way high and then dropping him into a portal that exits 90 degrees from his fall, ballistically launching him at a Sentinel. Helping energy manipulators blast thru her portals from one place to another. Once, severing a Sentinel limb. Would've liked to have seen more of that. Nightcrawler used that tactic vs. both Magus and Nimrod in the MCU, didn't he? Or no, one of those was Rogue, w Nightcrawler's power.

3. Professor X recognizing Wolverine's return from the past in the now-changed future. That was a sweet time travel bookend moment for me. Wolverine's time jump is now part of history, and anyone who knew about it then would remember it (unless Professor X removed that info, which I hope he did, lest the strategy be used/overused to change history to some malicious advantage =). I like that Wolverine seems to have memories of the original timeline still intact (surprised by Jean and Scott) when his consciousness snaps back to the future. I hope he can keep memories of both timelines, without the "new" one overwriting the original.

4. Post-credits scene. APOCALYPSE! Surprised that so few people in the theater seemed to understand what they were seeing. Perhaps the absence of his trademark orthodontic headgear was a fail? But, no—"En Sabah Nur!" Ancient Egypt! Four horsemen on the horizon? Come on, people! Anyhow, I wonder which X-MEN roster will face him. Multiple teams in different eras would be pretty sweet. Or even multiple teams in the present. He's definitely the Thanos of Mutantia. I'm almost disappointed to see that the next film is supposedly X-MEN: APOCALYPSE as a build-up of a film or two would be nice, but I guess we shall see.

5. The events of this film apparently negate those of X1 thru X3. Interesting. So, maybe we could get a legit Dark Phoenix story?

The Bad…

1. 1970s Wolverine vs. Magneto's bombardment. I don't believe that Wolverine could run at Magneto and brush off/deflect his bombardment. Mags was chucking sizable chunks of rubble at him and Logan was blocking them with swings of his arms. I'll allow for Wolverine being above-average strong and agile, maybe Olympian, but we should've seen him take damage deflecting blows like that w his body. If he'd had his adamantium-laced skeleton and claws, okay. The metal would protect the structure of his body. He'd also be stronger as well, his muscles adapted to carrying around an extra couple hundred pounds of metal as part of his person. But as he was, we should've seen his forearms snap, bone jutting thru broken skin, and MAYbe he heals while he continues moving forward, but not without a lot of pain.

2. I believe it's been established that Wolverine can be killed by asphyxiation/drowning. *MCU SPOILER* That's how he killed his son, Daken. *Maybe* it's a matter of time? So, brain death takes much longer for Logan than the average human. Okay, but seriously, how much longer? When do we think MyStryquer recovered his body? At best, the same day, but given the hullabaloo, I'd think it would take quite a bit more time to assemble the resources, meager tho they may be—boat w winch, tools, soldiers/agents w clearance—that s/he uses to recover Logan's body. And under whose auspices then, right? I don't see how Wolverine's body could create oxygen, which is really what would have to happen, right? Hrm… Okay, how about his healing factor kicks in once there's oxygen available again, but there was brain damage as a result of the lack. MAYbe this is the start(?) of his modern feral existence and memory loss? Frack. I may have to re-watch other X-MEN movies to get that straight and I don't really want to do that, bleah. Would've been bold to let Wolverine die that day, drowned while saving the future. Also, an "out" for Hugh Jackman if he wanted it. =)

3. Quicksilver's walkman. Okay, maybe he has an aura that extends his perception of time while he's moving at super speed, and within it, his walkman plays at regular speed relative to himself. But then, what about his precaution with Magneto, holding his neck to prevent whiplash? A physical range limit to this aura? Would be fun to have him conduct an Einstein's Twin test, with clocks, maybe with Beast's guidance. Still, regardless of the rules surrounding his speed and a supposed aura, the scene was a thing of beauty, probably tied with Blink's portal strategies for coolest execution of X-Men-itude in the film.

4. Kitty Pryde is shunting psyches back in time? WTF? Why not introduce Rachel? Why not introduce a completely new, never-before-seen mutant? Why not create some b.s. pseudo-science explanation that combines Kitty's phasing w someone else's telepathic or temporal abilities instead?

5. When Kitty phases thru electronics, she disrupts them. I didn't spot her using this vs. the Sentinels. I'd think it would work at least once vs. a Sentinel, right? Or maybe it's deemed too dangerous a power to allow them to adapt? But then, if the battle they fight would never have happened in the first place (after time shunting Bishop back to warn them) why not use it, right?

6. Future-Sentinel blast-attacks. Why did they have to resemble the Destroyer so much? I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't love it. Friends with whom I saw the movie questioned it and didn't like it. I dismissed it pretty quickly as just a dopey design choice, but to people who only/mainly know Marvel's creations thru the movies, I guess it IS confusing, creating a visual connection when there is no real connection.

7. Magneto hijacks the Sentinels. I like that he bonds steel to them to physically control them as puppets, but I don't love that he seems to command them as a kind of admin as well. That he can order them to do things and let them do them, without apparently controlling every joint, limb, engine, and weapon on them, and fighting the Sentinel's native programming to do it.

8. Using Mystique's power as the basis for the Future-Sentinel adaptive technology. If you're gonna steal a mutant's ability to make this possible, it would be Rogue's. Mystique is purely cosmetic, right? Altho, I suppose her musculature changes, so… she'd become stronger if she took the physique of a body builder? But would she be able to fight the way she does in such a body? I dunno. Anyhow, using her genetics does not explain how a Sentinel could gain control over moisture (Iceman) and fire (Pyro/Sunfire?) or why they'd need to generate a blast based on those powers somewhere inside its body that would need release via a hollowed-out head cannon. Why not just blasts thru its hands/arms? Or just mentally projected? Blerg.

9. The next threat: Apocalypse. Not a bad thing on its own, cuz he is basically the Big Bad of Mutants. Would be interesting to see his blue hand mess with events throughout history in a next film. Altho, maybe he's beaten/subdued in ancient Egypt somehow, and released in the modern day? Anyhow, the thing I *wanted* to see… Remember Kulan Gath? He took over Manhattan with some transformative spell that turned anyone within into a fantasy/medieval version of him or herself? When the X-Men and Spider-Man beat him, it involved turning back time to the event that triggered Gath's release and the spell's beginning. The fateful price for retconning that event out of existence? The arrival of Nimrod. I would've *loved* to have seen a ripple from the prevention of the DOFP future in the 70s lead to the creation of a new (yet familiar to fanboys) threat. A Nimrod story would've been cool, but would require a lot of exposition at some point about the Future-Sentinels developing time travel tech or somehow mimicking time travel abilities. Maybe too TERMINATOR-y? How about begun at the Pentagon, in response to Magneto's escape? Forge's Neutralizer? A Hound program? A Cure program? The birth of Legion?

10. A muddy ensemble for a movie. Who the heck am I really invested in here? I know who I *like* but if I was coming to this film without having my knowledge of the characters from the comics, or even from the other films (unlikely, I suppose), would this work as a film? Wolverine seems like he'd be the one to follow, but he's actually just an enabler. I *think* the fulcrum is Mystique, and her decision to kill/not to kill. Mystique spares Magneto, but not Trask, right? She's only prevented from killing Trask. Is that really a powerful decision? There's also the young Xavier, who needs to be convinced "to hope," and be set on a brighter path. Not the greatest inspirational speech from older Xavier, btw. While I dig the telepathic connection via Wolverine's time-shunted psyche, X and X's scenes "together" were not as powerful as I'd hoped.

The Huh…?

1. Why the heck didn't young Charles and Hank get to Wolverine before MyStryquer? I guess it *could* allow for the events of X2 and the WOLVERINE films to persist in the brighter timeline… In the new timeline, did Magneto's rebarring of Wolverine (and Wolvie's surviving the process) *inspire* Stryker to seek an adamantium grafting process? Wack!

2. Okay, if we just accept Kitty's consciousness shunting ability in the future, Wolverine has let the young Professor X in on it. Perhaps the Professor and Kitty together have worked on this ability and used it to tweak the timeline more than a couple times? She can do it for shorter periods of time with someone who doesn't have a healing factor. A dangerous get-out-of-jail-free card in future films, no?

3. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. They certainly don't appear to be twins in the movie. Does Wolverine introducing Peter to Eric in the 70s mean that Magneto finds his children sooner in the new timeline than in the original (if he ever does)?

4. The Sentinels design. Couldn't we have seen just ONE of the familiar GIANT Sentinels from the comic book? Maybe as a failed/failing/mothballed prototype in the 70s? Or as drones/guards in the future? The 70s design was cool enough, but I wouldn't have minded them being larger and clunkier, cuz how are you gonna produce those w 70s tech in the first place, right? The future Sentinels are totally forgettable and forgotten. They absorbed powers, okay, but I can't remember a distinctive silhouette. And actually, I can't remember what the faces of either the 70s or future models look like.

Allright, I know if I give myself enough time, I'll find more things to love, not-love, and WTF about, but I think this hits the biggies (and mediumies, even).

Keep on keepin on~