Since its inception, the course of Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe has been mapped out. Iron Man promised that a team of heroes would come together, and The Avengers proved that they could. The 2012 movie promised that they would return, with the real big bad behind it all still to come. The saga is now concluding with Avengers: Infinity War and its 2019 sequel, leading us to ask: What next?
I can’t deny I’m a little intrigued by the possibility of further sequels or another crossover event (Secret Invasion is a safe bet), but they can do better than that. If they want to make the most of their dominant position on the blockbuster scene and keep things feeling fresh and new, they really need to broaden their horizons and bring in new characters.
Characters like Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel.
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A lot has happened in the eight years since Thanos made his big screen debut in The Avengers. While the mid-credits scene was essentially an ingenious way to keep an audience invested in a vaguely-defined future release, it was also one of the most memorable and bold moments in blockbuster cinema – a thrilling mystery to close a world-changing event movie. Thanos’ smile promised something greater to come, but his central role in Avengers: Infinity War this year gave us more than we anticipated.
Following a streak of well-written villains from Marvel Studios’ rapidly expanding cinematic universe – with Ego and Killmonger leaving the likes of Malekith and Whiplash in the dust – as well as his own prolonged build-up across multiple movies, Thanos had plenty to live up to. Yet rather than give what comics fans were expecting – a mad nihilist hopelessly seeking the approval of the physical embodiment of death – we got something a little more human.
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I wrote an article for Little White Lies a little while back that has recently gone up on their website. It delves into James Mangold’s Cop Land and the ways in which its main character, played by Sylvester Stallone, mirrors the actor’s own career in the movies.
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I’ve been throwing around the idea of a new series, one that allows me to get some shorter posts out on this blog more often as well as provide an opportunity for me to look at smaller things that I don’t have a lengthy enough response to warrant a full essay.
The Simpsons | Season 1 Episode 6 | Moaning Lisa
While the show didn’t hit its comedic stride until a few years later, the first three seasons of The Simpsons are hard-hitting tragi-comic realism that somehow how got made under the guise of being the Bart Simpson experience.
The first season in particular is monumentally depressing at times (remember the time that Homer tried to commit suicide three episodes in?) yet alleviates this with absurd humour and a glimmer of optimism. It was, after all, a show about a dysfunctional family struggling to get by financially and emotionally, which is what makes the celebrity-stuffed morally-careless extravagance of some of the later episodes so unpalatable.
‘Moaning Lisa’, along with season 2’s ‘Bart Gets An F’, is the kind of episode I refuse to watch with friends, because I know I can’t get far without crying. This is in many ways the quintessential Lisa episode, and works effectively as an origin story. Like many children, not even just the smart ones, she is stifled and feels burdened by sadness. She finds a little solace in expressing herself artistically through music. It’s simple but it works.
This scene in particular is one that always stood out to me, and thankfully it’s one of the clips uploaded by one of those very helpful Simpsons Youtube channels that come around once in a blue moon.
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One of the most unexpectedly powerful moments in Twin Peaks: The Return, a series that gave us many poignant scenes, involved none other than Carl Rodd. Harry Dean Stanton’s character, who we had previously seen stealing the show as the grouchy manager of the Fat Trout Trailer Park in the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, has changed a lot since we last saw him.
Other than the usual signs of ageing, he seemed a little more relaxed and generous, and while his exhaustion is still present, now it seems more melancholic than beleaguered. Continue reading →
The finale of Twin Peaks: The Return landed this week, and as we all should have expected, there was no predicting what happened. I’m very into what that episode was doing, and I’m glad of it, because the frustration those who didn’t vibe with it seem to have sounds painful to say the least. Even as a fan of it, I feel like I’m reeling from a shocking blow; exhausted, but at the same time invigorated by it.
There are plethora of interpretations and analysis to be had. You can find my complete recap of Part 17 and 18 here, but I still had some more thoughts to sort out. There is so much to unpack that I don’t think it is about finding the right way out of a maze (it rarely is with David Lynch). But there is one theory that is going around that I want to talk about: the idea that it was all a dream. More accurately, I want to talk about exactly why this dream/reality dynamic works so well in Part 18, and why that sensation is deliberate, whether or not it is the “true” explanation for it all (a notion that I don’t buy).
If there’s one thing most of us can relate to, it’s the feeling of waking from a dream. Much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, a favourite of the director’s, we awake to the world we had left, and see that the entire experience was not what we believed it was even seconds before. There is a texture to the world that dreams don’t quite replicate, a level of detail that we don’t realise was missing until we wake from the dream. Continue reading →
I’ve been writing (pretty long) recaps of every episode of Twin Peaks: The Return, where I also delve into some analysis and theorising. You can find the post containing all these recaps here. Below is my recap for Part 17 and 18 aka the two-hour finale to the show.
Was this all Cooper’s dream? Was this a confluence of dream realities conjured up from those can’t live in theirs? Did Judy move Cooper to an alternate dimension? Does Twin Peaks, as we know it, exist any more?
These are some interesting questions to ask, and ones that will no doubt flood the world with articles, essays, books, blog posts, tweet threads, and forums in the weeks, months, and years to come. Continue reading →