March hasn’t been the month that I thought it would be. I expected to read way more than I have. The fact that I’m falling behind my target it starting to get me stressed, which is also making it harder to concentrate on reading. It’s a shame. I didn’t manage to finish any of the novels that I’m currently reading for today but, thankfully, I can post a couple of super quick reads. One of them was something I read at the start of the month haven’t been able to get out of my head. The other was one I read on a whim this evening. That’s just how it goes I guess.
I don’t want to say that I had high expectations for Wonder Woman 1984 but the first film did make me cry in it’s opening sequence. Then there was the fact that the movie poster is absolutely astounding. It had everything we needed. Diana looked like an absolute powerhouse and the 80s vibes were incredible. I’m not a big DC fan but the first film was such a great celebration of female superheroes. Plus, it showed that women can be given the lead role in a comic book movie and make a shit ton of money. The fact that DC were sensible enough to bring Patty Jenkins back was comforting. Over the years, they’ve often put their trust in the wrong hands and its not something that’s really worked well for them. Not since The Winter Soldier has a second comic book film been better than the first. Would Jenkins and Gal Gadot be able to work movie magic again? Would it be worth the £15.99 rental fee? There was only one way to find out.
10 years ago today, Edgar Wright’s film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was released in the US. The final volume of the comics, written by Canadian author and artist Bryan Lee O’Malley, had only just been released before the film came out. Although, when Wright was originally approached to make the film in 2004, which was just after the first book had been published. It took 6 years for the film to come together and, though didn’t do so well at the cinema, it has become a much-loved cult classic. As somebody who loves the source material and the film, I wanted to dedicate today’s TBT post to the film’s 10th anniversary. What I hadn’t remembered was that I’d already written a review of this film. So, now I don’t really know what to do. I haven’t got time to watch something else and I haven’t watched anything old recently. Or at least nothing memorable enough to review. Well, what’s the worst that can happen?
This weekend I, like so many other Netflix users around the world, sat down and binge-watched the second season of The Umbrella Academy. When the first series came out, I didn’t know much about it. All I knew was that it was based on a comic book series written by the lead singer of My Chemical Romance. Now, I admit that Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge is one of my guilty pleasure albums but I’ve long outgrown MCR. I didn’t expect to enjoy the show but Netflix is clever. It kept playing the trailer over and over until I couldn’t help but watch. I was quickly obsessed. It was a great show and the soundtrack was phenomenal. It felt new and nostalgic at the same time. I couldn’t wait for the follow-up season and, though the narrative wasn’t quite as slick, it was still bloody entertaining. So, when I realised I wouldn’t finish a book in time for today’s review, I knew I had to do something drastic. I bought the Kindle edition of the first volume of the comics. I had to see for myself.
Last weekend was International Women’s Day. The one day a year when all of the pathetic men out there can go on social media and say “er… but when is International Men’s Day?” Yep, you can really see why the patriarchy has thrived for so fucking long, can’t you? It’s such a fun time. Still, the day is always a good excuse to celebrate women and their impact on the world. Reading books by female writers or watching films directed/written by women. This week I’ve been reading the final part in Alexis Marie Chute’s fantasy trilogy. I’ve also been watching some fantastic female superheroes. So, I decided to carry on the comic book theme and discuss some of my top female characters. Most of them will be very obvious because I’m an obvious person and I’ll miss out plenty I’m sure. There are just too many of them!
In the Marvel vs DC debate, I’ve not been the kind of person who shows loyalty to one over the other. It’s weird. There are characters on both sides that I love and those that I don’t care about. I’m not entirely sure that it’s as much of a thing as it used to be now that so many people have been introduced to graphic novels and comics. Maybe I’m just naive though. I’m just happy to embrace anything well-written and well-drawn. However, that’s only for the comic. When it comes to the film side of things, I’m a Marvel gal all the way. DC films just haven’t had the same impact on me. They’ve just never been able to match the skill and precision that Marvel has become known for. And I don’t say that trying to pretend that Marvel films are perfect because there are still plenty of flaws. It’s just that they have embraced different approaches and have such a tight grip of where they’re going. Some might call it overthinking or overplanning but it’s clearly working. Just look at those box office figures mixed with the critical response.
We all know that very little positive stuff came out of 2016’s Suicide Squad. In fact, the only really memorable thing was Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn. She was exactly the character we needed and Robbie brought real heart to the Joker’s slightly mad paramour. Yes, she also gave basic white girls a new go-to sexy Halloween costume but hey ho. Who am I to judge? It was just great that Harley was getting the treatment she deserved. As a female comic book fan, I’m obviously a Harley fan. She’s been an interesting part of the Batman storylines, had some great team-ups with Ivy and co, and her own comic book is fantastic. She could easily have been ruined by the same people who allowed Zack fuckin Snyder to ruin Superman and almost ruin Batman. But she wasn’t and she was beloved enough to be given her own film… sort of. Female superheroes are slowly becoming more prominent so it’s refreshing to see a fully female comic book film that seems natural. You know, not like the embarrassing scene in Endgame that was awkward and smug. You may remember that this film was on my list of 2020 films I was looking forward to this year and it was finally time to see it.
After finishing He Said/She Said last week, I found myself in the middle of audiobook fever and decided I would try and get another finished before the end of the week. On Thursday morning, I started listening to James Acaster’s narration of his book Classic Scrapes. I was a little worried about listening to it at work because I don’t always find it easy to fight the giggles. I’ve listened to a fair few funny podcasts and struggled to hold in my laughter. It normally ends up with my laughing silently at my desk. So, picture the scene. I’m sat in front of my computer, headphones in, and shaking with laughter but not making any sounds. It must be super weird. I shouldn’t do it to myself but I never learn. Any episode of the Adam Buxton podcast that features Joe Cornish or Louis Thoreaux will do it. Or any episode of My Dad Wrote a Porno. I was absolutely convinced that listening to James Acaster recount the ridiculous tales of his past would get my laughing. So, the question is, was I stifling the giggles throughout Thursday and Friday last week?
2019 was definitely the year of Marvel. I know that there were countless great films released last year but Endgame was a movie event like no other. Whatever you think about the film in general, you can’t deny that it was one of the biggest film moments in the last decade. It was the culmination of so many years of work and saw a whole host of characters come together for the biggest superhero film of all time. There’s a reason that I keep crying every time I see the portals scene: all of our favourite characters in one place trying to save the world. It was something that we never thought would work but it did. So, 2020 has a lot to live up to. Can anything next year bring people together in the same way? There are plenty of films coming up next year that I’m really looking forward to so it made sense to discuss them during this week’s Friday Favourites. Obviously, this isn’t all of them but I could have added loads to this list. 10 seemed like a sensible amount.
All being well, I should finally be watching The Joker tonight. I’ve been trying to arrange a time to see it for ages. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to think about it. I try not to take too much notice to criticism before I see a film but it’s been hard to avoid most of it. I know there has been some backlash from female critics and some questions about the motivations of the Joker in it. But there has also been a lot of praise. Plus, I’m already biased against Todd Phillips thanks to his absolutely stupid comments about comedy and “woke culture”. Guy sounds like a dick and I’m assuming that his film is bound to match his outdated ideas. But, I still want to go in with an open mind. After all, the Joker is one of the most iconic villains in comic book history. So, for this week’s Friday Favourites, I thought I’d explore some of my favourite Joker centric Batman storylines. Quick disclaimer, I’m by no means a Batman comic expert. I’ve not read as much as I’d like to have read but I’ve read enough to get by comfortably.