( spoilers only insofar as you consider trailers spoilers )
The Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell TV adaptation finally has release dates: Sunday, May 17 for BBC One and Saturday, June 13 for BBC America. (I am sure I will have many words to write about this! I'm not sure in what form or where yet, though.)
MCU & Ultron stuff (is that how we're referring to it? A:AoU looks like a werewolf howl): Max Gladstone has interesting thoughts, of which my favorite is the bit about character totems at the very end.
Did I really not link to skygiants's hilarious Ultron summary? Well, there you go.
I transcribed Natasha's speech in That Scene in a comment at Tor.com, which I will probably want to be able to find again (ugh).
Finally, All Trailers Are the Same.
Southpaw: dead wife, daughter taken away, boxing, blah blah manpain.
Jurassic World: I'm pretty sure I'd get more enjoyment of out re-reading If The Velociraptor From Jurassic Park Were Your Girlfriend.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: holy shit it's actually worse than everyone's jokes about it.
Pixels: here I was, desperately hoping for something fun, I actually laughed at the appearance of Pac-Man, and then boom! Adam Sandler. GAH.
Fantastic Four: it might be the contrast, but this didn't look actively terrible? Not, like distinctive or necessary or anything, but not actively terrible. (It was this one; I gather others were different.) I still roll my eyes that they couldn't cast Sue as a black woman too—I mean, yes, it's absolutely possible that she and Johnny are biological sibs, rather than adopted, but actual literal visibility matters. (Yes, I'm aware about the potential relevance to Sue's powers, but still: cast a very-light-skinned black woman if that's what you're going for.)
Tomorrowland: this is the second trailer I've seen for this, and at least it gives me way more of a sense than the first one? I'm still unsure about it, though.
Ant-Man: well, this trailer was more appealing to me than Guardians, which pisses me off because it'll probably do just as well and I don't want it to, because of (presumed spoiler) and also because I still resent its existence.
Here's a non-spoiler version:
I told Chad that I had pretty low expectations and it exceeded it. And in the light of day, I stick by that, but only barely, now that the high of action scenes and that last shot have worn off. I suspect one main problem of the movie may have been insoluble: Avengers couldn't even juggle six team members, and the number of characters goes up considerably here. But until now (absent Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: The Dark World, which I haven't seen), I've generally felt that the MCU has done a good job of rewriting comics canon to suit itself. Not so much this time. Add that to the "include all the things" problem, and what should have been the core of the movie felt hollow and warmed-over to me.
(Apparently there is to be a Peter Jackson-style director's cut on the DVD release, which is really something I do not wish to encourage: do it right the first time, for fuck's sake. But I admit to interest in what it might contain, I can't help it.)
Also, the levels of heteronormativity were almost literally toxic.
That said: it didn't do one thing I was dreading, in the moment I was entertained more often than not, and the very very end made me super-happy. So, on balance, exceeded low expectations.
Finally, before the spoiler cut: news articles beforehand said that there was a scene during the credits and none after, which a friend of mine stayed all the way to the end to confirm, so once you've seen the fancy credits and the extremely short scene after that, you're good to go.
( all the spoilers, now, plus speculation based on information released about forthcoming movies )
But hey, on the bright side, I can catch up on the last . . . month, probably . . . on Tumblr now!
I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW IF I AM RIGHT. I AM JUST PUTTING THIS ON THE RECORD.
( spoilers )
Speculate all you like with me, but if you actually know, please stay out of comments. Thanks.
The Phase-whatever title reveals: ( spoilers if you've managed to avoid pop-culture headlines in the last day )
The leaked Ultron footage with Steve and Tony talking: ( further discussion of title reveals, speculation on footage )
Also, there was an announcement trailer for one of the way-down-the-road movies, which I can't bring myself to care about, but if you do, there are you.
Did I miss anything?
to validate my belief that I don't want to watch Agents of SHIELD: that's the length of the previously-on for the season opener and it just made me want to yell "WRONG! WRONG!" and then flip my desk over.
(I wanted to see the flashback, of course. I have extremely grave doubts about the ability to make a satisfying Agent Carter series post-Cap 2, but, Peggy!)
. . . I suppose this post should have some actual content. *pokes at bookmarks* Here, have some fic I bookmarked to rec a long time ago and don't have time to re-read now.
( seven recs )
There's more, but I don't have time to sort through the maybe-rec tag now.
We registered at Loncon late today, so we missed the huge lines (I don't know if that suggests any problem with the con itself or is just inevitable). The convention center that the con is in one end of is certainly very, very long. But on the bright side, that means lots of mall-food-court type food and lots of tables with chairs where people can hang out, which Chad & I did after our program items.
Anyway, my first panel was today. Here's the description:
The creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of the most exciting pop culture developments of the last decade – and contradicts the decades-long strategy, followed primarily by DC, of keeping superheroes in their own worlds for their screen incarnations. Now DC have plans to follow Marvel's lead (and Sony are developing an entire Spider-verse), but will the "Marvel megafranchise model" work for others? Does an interconnected universe imply certain kinds of stories and not others? What are the advantages of solo films? And how are different studios using other media – in particular, TV – to further develop their properties?
Kate Nepveu, Jenni Hill, Glyn Morgan, CE Murphy, Gavia Baker Whitelaw
I was looking forward to this enormously, and it lived up to my expectations: it was well-attended and lively and fun (despite my feeling that I didn't quite do my best possible moderating job). However, I was kicking myself for not realizing that there were 90 minutes slots available and pushing for one, because it really needed it. I'd hoped to cover four things, and we really only got through two and a half, specifically:
(1) Everyone wants a cinematic universe / megafranchise because Avengers literally made a billion and a half dollars, but is being part of a cinematic universe necessary or sufficient for that kind of success?
(2) What are the pluses and minuses of cinematic universes from storytelling points of view?
(3) What about TV adaptations, how do they compare and contrast with cinematic adaptations?
(4) Diversity, please (damn it)?
And we covered the first two pretty thoroughly, got some digs in about the fourth along the way, but only glanced at the third and mostly through discussions of animated series, not Arrow and the many forthcoming live-action series.
We talked a lot about humor, about backstory and hoping to ditch or truncate the origin story, and the need for really good writing if you're going to connect up bits of a bigger universe with a standalone story without things feeling pasted on. With regard to the MCU, we talked about its structure and how its future scope depends on Guardians of the Galaxy (space; check!) and Doctor Strange (magic; unknown). Someone asked if there was anything Marvel could do that would wreck the MCU. I said that considering that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is currently atop the U.S. box office, we just have to accept that spectacle sells, sometimes regardless of whether it is accompanied by quality, so it's hard for me to imagine. Other people said that if Ant-Man [*] or Doctor Strange tanks, that's not such a big deal, but if the next Avengers is terrible . . . well, maybe you'd need two high-profile disasters before people lost their goodwill, but it was theoretically possible.
[*] Someone also pointed out that in any other situation, losing the director of a movie so close to its release date would cause a studio to just push back or shelve the movie; but since Ant-Man is part of the MCU, Marvel apparently views it as immovable, presumably because it is connected to or sets up things in other movies, despite the incredible time pressures that puts on production.
With regard to backstory, after the panel someone who lives in Europe and doesn't have English as a first language told me that interconnected movies are getting harder to follow without prior homework, which I thought was interesting, though Thor: The Dark World was specifically cited and I'm not sure I get the impression it made a lot of sense in English (I haven't seen it).
Ugh, there was a lot of other stuff but it's past midnight and I really need sleep. Chime in if you were there or ask questions if you weren't, jog my memory!
A few things I mentioned:
Max Gladstone on the appeal of small-f fellowships particularly as applied to Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy
Comics Alliance article about the MCU and diversity and how it's falling behind (a little more charitable than I would be, but I agree with the overall thrust)
And finally, if I didn't mention it I should have, a column from Forbes of all places about GotG:
But come what may this is a terrific start that firmly establishes that Marvel is a brand name unto itself and a more important marketing variable than whatever property it happens to be producing this time around.
[ . . . ]
Second, it means that Marvel can do whatever it wants now. So if they choose not to make a female-centric or minority-centric superhero film, it’s because they just don’t want to.
Oh, and before I go to bed, shout-out to the volunteer audience member who fiddled with the soundboard until our mikes turned on! We salute you, gentleperson, as otherwise we would have had to shout the entire time to be heard in that large room.
This is impossibly long, so, broken up by theme!
( The OC section )
( The AU section )
( Silly. )
. . . I need to not let these pile up so much next time, huh? (To be crossposted in relevant part to mcugen.)
So I figured I should make another rec post, because I can feel my tolerance for scrolling past a million indistinguishable angst-ridden ship fics on the AO3 RSS feed diminishing rapidly [*], and because this week is going to be overwhelming, meaning I don't know whether I'll keep up with new fic for a while.
Crossposted, in part, to mcugen.
And outside the cut, because it seems likely to have broader appeal (but still has movie spoilers): a pastiche, inspired by fanart, of Frozen's "Do You Want to Build A Snowman?", which is absurdly cute.
I'm home with the Pip this afternoon because daycare is closed, and I can't take a nap because I had to do things and now it's too close to the time he'll wake up, so to keep myself awake, some more fic recs post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Spoilers below; organized chronologically except the one that I had to yell about.
( SPOILERS )
( spoilers, of course )
Only different trailer was for The Giver, which looked like a bog-standard boring YA dystopia before the title reveal. (Somehow I made it out of the US educational system without reading it, so I don't know if I'd have recognized it beforehand.)
Oh my god this day. Here, let me dump some more Captain America: The Winter Soldier feelings. (I haven't seen it again, because free time, hah!)
Some fic recs, which I think ought to be pretty clear what they're like from the tags and summaries:
( cut for length )
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: no. Absolutely not. (Grimdark? The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?!)
Lucy: if it weren't "let me make a damn Black Widow movie, already," I would be a titch concerned about how much like The Matrix it looks like, but hey: let Scarlett Johansson make a damn Black Widow movie, already.
Blended: As if Adam Sandler and romcom weren't bad enough, they had to go set it in Africa. Run away! Run away!
The Amazing Spider-Man 2: I still have no interest in this.
X-Men: Days of Future Past: I'd like to be convinced, but (1) I am allergic to time-travel stories and (2) even if Brian Singer is back, I'm not sure how much goodwill I have left for this franchise. The trailer is notable for having some really impressive eyefucking and at least three perfect single tears, which . . . I dunno, could be good or bad depending on my mood, I guess.
Maleficent: I love her design, and I have zero idea what kind of story is coming out of it.
Guardians of the Galaxy: I don't want to like this movie, and nothing about the trailer is making me feel conflicted about this stance. (The audience was pretty cold toward it.)
Okay, here's how this is going to go. I have a bunch of stuff I wrote before the movie, because I thought it would be useful in assessing it after and also I was indulging my anxiety because I really wanted this movie not to suck. That's first. And then I'm going to feelings-dump until I have to stop, and then I'm going to read all your spoilery posts, and then I'll probably be back tomorrow to talk some more about things other people have said.
(Oh, and guys? You know there's two post-credits scenes, by this point, right?)