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Age of Ultron

There was a movie. It’s… Um.

Let’s start with this: The following review contains spoilers for Age of Ultron. They start after the following paragraph, which is why you need to click the link to read the rest.

Right, so my problem with AoU is that it’s a comic book event series. Its purpose is to make people need to go and see it to wrap up the past and understand the future episodes. It’s the exact kind of Age Of Secret War On Ultimate Earth cross-francise bullshit that generally kicks me off any super-hero comic series I’ve started to get into. Suddenly, in order to follow the arc of a character I need to buy twelve comics across nine series, five of which my local shop doesn’t carry. The actual plot of the movie doesn’t really maintain its own momentum.

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Week Nine – it’s better than bad, it’s good

Quiet work week, so we’ll skip that. Decided that I’d had enough of print statements, and moved both Lifestream and Lampstand over to use Python logging instead for everything outputty. Lampstand also needs a pass to separate output into levels, right now everything’s at INFO.

Positive feedback on some creative writing I did recently – on tumblr, and in scraps elsewhere – has led me to want to carve out time to get the novel moving forward again. I need to suppress the urge to kill it with fire and start from scratch, but right now it’s plodding a bit.

Somewhere between Rest and Play lies Odyssey work this week. A good Story Team meeting at the weekend has set some flags out for the year, and indeed next, and then I spent a few hours putting together the Odyssey T-Shirt shop, to supplement our costume & props budget with mercenary goodness.

Somewhere over the last week I’ve also carved out 13 hours to watch the full first series of Daredevil on Netflix, which I enjoyed a lot, and should turn into another entry shortly…

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Not Lovingfilm enough


Shoebox » Chuck & Beans.

So I unsubscribed from Lovefilm DVDs today.

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A useless post

This post is entirely useless.

I mean, you already know that Warren Ellis is writing a free webcomic, issues released every friday, called FreakAngels, don’t you?

And you already know he wrote Transmet, and various other important things like the novel Crooked Little Vein which you should also read if you haven’t.

You know all this, so there is no point in mentioning it.

Is there?

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Super heroics

My housemate has Wonder Woman pajamas.

I point this out because over the last few months my live has disolved from a central role in an extremely convoluted romantic comedy to a wacky (and possibly also Zany) sixties throwback sitcom, where two single men and two single females live in a small house in Walthamstow with a dodgy landlord and even dodgier internet connection. We have a med student, a primary school teacher, the slightly older person will a full time job and stress and such (hi, I’m Aquarion, I’m your narrator), and Sian.

Sian has Wonder Woman pajamas.

We have to take a couple of steps back at this point, because this entry hasn’t had enough digressions already, and explain that over the last six months or so, I have discovered something new to throw my limited budget at, and this is Comics. Specifically, DC comics. I’ve always liked comic-style art and storytelling, but up until recently I’ve been the type of apreciator who buys the graphic novels instead. Then I walked into my friendly local neighbourhood comics shop (who also sell online, and do subscriptions and such) and my fate was sealed. Not only did I start buying comics, they started recommending comics to me – the fiends – that I would also add to my subscription list.

Then I left Bedford, with an agreement to phone them and get them to ship everything I missed since my last visit. Which I forgot to do until last week. Last week I phoned them, and asked if they could ship me the stuff they’d been keeping on hold. So now I have a large stack of comics to read. Including the new Wonder Woman series, which I leant to Sian, because she was in danger of being productive.

And now Sian has Wonder Woman pajamas.

This manifested itself about half an hour ago, when I went downstairs on a break from doing designy stuff to get a glass of milk, and Sian – whose bedroom is next to the kitchen – leapt out in the costume. I’m not sure how they’ve done it, to be honest, but with the Wonder Woman pajamas they’ve managed to package a pose. It appears to be impossible for someone wearing them to stand without doing so hands on hips, legs slightly apart. Superhero pose. Comes with the costume.

This would be bad enough. The questions as to whether we have enough kitchen foil to make some bullet deflecting bracelets were bad enough. I deflected the theories about creating a Lasso of Truth. However.

Sian wants us all to have superhero costumes. Marta would be Super Girl. Mike can be Wolverine. Me? I got Batman, which would be cool, but I changed it to Captain America, on the basis that I’m out of canon for the time being. This doesn’t appear to have worked. I may be forced to fight crime.

Along with the rest of me.

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Not dead

  1. Not dead, just busy.
  2. V For Vendetta is a good film
  3. The civil rights movement can now be split into two factions. Those who make hackneyed and repetitive references to 1984, and those who instead refer to V For Vendetta.
  4. I like this
  5. People are complicated
  6. I need to find a new job before the end of January
  7. I also liked watching “Nightwatch”
  8. Though having a film in russian, with subtitles, have a couple of minutes of subtitles as ”[SPEAKS RUSSIAN]” verges on the unhelpful.
  9. Though knowing – while the main character being stabbed – that he was saying “Ah” was helpful.
  10. I’m glad I had more than the subtitles, though, or I might have thought he was having a nice cup of tea and a sit down.
  11. The thing I liked above? This one’s good too
  12. Lack of money sucks.
  13. I have crumpets and mince pies. Life is good.
  14. …nope, nothing more to say. Time to go back to NWN2.
  1. I said busy. I didn’t say it was with anything worthwhile
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extended ellipsi

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This Wednesday I’m having the windows in my flat replaced with unixes. Er, double glazing. Since my flat customarily looks like some kind of laundry-bomb-wielding country has decided my carpet is harbouring terrorism, and has started a campaign of rescue having first sent in inspectors looking for teaspoons of mass destruction; this weekend was going to be dedicated to tidying it up.

So, on Saturday I went to London to an AFP meet that spanned three pubs, a curry house and a large stretch of London before almost missing my last train home (Which leaves from – of all places – West Hampstead at twenty to midnight. Futureme take note). Then on Sunday watched ?Pirates of the Caribbean 2?:, ?Superman Returns?: and then retired to an evening of playing City of Heroes.

Because of this, I’m going to talk about Resolution.

Quick capsule review of the films, btw: Pirates 2 is a series of interesting set pieces randomly scattered around a vast and intertwining plot where each of the strands occasionally swaps characters. It’s worth seeing but doesn’t end properly. Superman Returns is an interesting series of set pieces linearly scattered along a short plot where the Goodies and Baddies go for two hours without paying any attention to each other. Conflict happens when one character gets stuck in the wrong plot line. Kevin Spacey is good but not really there, Superman good, Lois good, Jimmy less good, Perry not good, Small precocious child bad. It finishes the story. City of Heroes is a series of occasionally interesting missions randomly intertwined along a series of linear plot lines which you can ignore and just hit things if you like. Because other people have to do the plot lines after you do (It’s a massively multiplayer game) nothing ever really ends properly.

The remainder of this article contains mild – but not plot detail – spoilers for Pirates 2, Superman Returns, Batman movies and X-Men III. Caveat Lecter: Reader beware of being served with fava beans and a nice chianti.

So, I’m frustrated and unresolved, because having a franchise and story that theoretically doesn’t have to end until people get bored of watching it is not compatible with actually finishing things off.

This is, incidentally, bullshit. Novels though the ages have proven you can end a story properly without closing off the world. Buffy – on occasion – managed to finish a plot arc without killing off its main characters or sending them off to (un)live (un)happily ever after. Comics have been doing this stuff for decades, finish the story but let the heroes come back next week for another adventure and, every so often, shake up their worlds when maybe they won’t.

Pirates 2 just doesn’t end, the final scene is no more conclusive than any one of twelve things in the story that are just scene changes, and it falls into the LOTR trap of “And then it ended. But wait! This is what happened to these people: And then it ended. But wait! These people ended their story like this. But wait! These people are unhappy. 🙁 But then they realised they could be happy 🙂 and then it ended! But wait! we have a final ending for this person!” with the exception that none of them actually ended anything and they all started a new plot thread.

The opposite, though, has its own problems. Batman did the resolution thing. He killed the Joker, then the Penguin, Two-Face, The Riddler. By the fourth movie he was running out of Batman villains people had actually heard of. The latest Batman movie has him fighting the Scarecrow (one of my favourite Batman villains, as it happens, but I am not a typical movie goer) though I can’t actually remember if he kills him or just turns the tables and puts him in Arkham in the movie, I suspect the latter.

So there is an advantage to merely defeating your enemies (Quite apart from their ability to come back with a more interesting plan, it sidesteps the whole “So, if you kill people to stop them killing people, is that Right” moral angle.) in continuing the franchise, at the expense of a more satisfying ending.

Upon this scale you have X-Men III, a film which revelled in killing off – or destroying – large parts of the cast of the first two movies, but then spoilt it all with the single scene of hope that negated all the emotional feedback of the initial killing (Add up the final body count, counting the pre- and post-credits sequences).

The film that did it best, I think, was Spiderman and its sequel. (And, comic fans, have you noticed the similarities between bits of the X-Men movie overplot, the Spiderman movies and the new Civil War series?). Stuff happens, the bad guy is defeated (but not gone) and we return to a non-resolved but more advanced form of life for the main characters, set up for the next adventure to push it along a bit. What I would like to see – although I doubt this will ever happen and has been specifically denied from some sides – is continuity between the movies in the same universe. I want Christian Bale’s Batman to provide technical support for Brandon Routh’s Superman, for there to be a Green Lantern film, or the JLA (A movie of JLA:Classified, for example, would be fun) and for some acknowledgement that these people work in the same worlds. Whilst they don’t fight the same people (Superman would just melt Doc Ock’s extra arms, for example) it would be nice for the world to be a bit better defined.

The big hole for this is money, really. Getting a large star from another movie to cameo in your film is probably one of those things that is really complicated in practice, but it would be nice if the movies took on some of the better traits of their less respected originals, and wove a better world around their stories.

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Yesterday’s Anywhere But Here contains one of the best dream sequences in comic form I’ve seen. You should read it.