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.
After watching the adaptation of Hush the other day, I decided that it would be a good idea to go back to the graphic novel. I don’t know how long it’s been since I last read it but it’s been a while. Is it entirely possible that I’m doing it because I knew I was ever going to finish my current read in time for this post? Possibly. But that shouldn’t take anything away from the fact that it was in keeping with my theme of the week. And it is one of those classic Batman story arcs. The kind that is so often referred to in lists of the ones read. But, if I’m honest, I’ve never been as big of a fan as other people. I didn’t know if I was just missing something or whether it actually was just massively hyped. Of course, it’s possible that the artwork was just making it seem better. I admit to falling for that so often. If a graphic novel is a bit meh but the artwork is gorgeous I’ll always rate it higher. But is that the point? Should it be let off for looking good if the story isn’t all that great?
When we discuss Batman storylines, Hush has to be up there with the best of them. The original story arc was written by Jeph Loeb and ran from December 2002 to November 2003. The artwork by Jim Lee is phenomenal and Hush features some absolutely great moments. It’s also kind of dodgy in its own way but not everything can be perfect? Whatever you might think about it, Hush made sense for an adaptation because it was already so cinematic in scope. The artwork was already begging to be shown on the big screen and the story includes so many well-known faces. So, it makes sense that this year Hush was finally going to be adapted as one of DC’s straight-to-video animated features. And, after listening to the Empire podcast discussion about Batman and Superman in the movies, I was feeling a bit inspired. I don’t tend to give DC the same attention that I give Marvel. So, despite the fact that I’ve got my copy of Endgame calling to me to watch it over and over again, I sat down to celebrate its rivals.