Years from now we’ll all look back on the historical debacle that was the Not-Great Captain Marvel Flame War of 2019 and we’ll laugh about it if only to keep from breaking down in tears at how deeply the fandom-at-large had reached yet another embarrassing nadir. Until then, here’s a shout-out to those millions of kids out there finding delight and inspiration in the sight of a wondrous super-woman punching her way through an evil spaceship armada at hyperspeed, like a young Princess Diana plowing through German soldiers.
Sometimes I’m too persuadable for my own good.
I saw M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable in theaters way back in 2000, thought it had intriguing concepts and believable use of a comics-fandom backdrop, but I lost patience with its plodding, lugubrious tone (years before The Walking Dead and Marvel’s Netflix shows made snail-speed pretentiousness an acceptable norm) as well as the Dragnet-esque text-only ending that cheated the viewer out of any earned closure. Cutting a story short after the final twist worked well for Rod Serling, but not so much for other writers.
I saw Shyamalan’s Split in 2017 when word-of-mouth suggested we could call it a comeback, but it lost me with its To Be Continued ending that recast the otherwise taut thriller as the second chapter in Shyamalan’s very own superhero universe.
That brings us to the final act of the trilogy, Glass. I’ve skipped several Shyamalan films, but curiosity got the best of me. Was there a remote chance it would tie together the threads of the first two films with some sense of thematic satisfaction and retroactively redeem them, or at least provide a better sense of closure? Dare I hope?
Yep, I dared.
New rule: anyone who was in line opening day for the King Kong reboot Kong: Skull Island hereby relinquishes all rights to complain about too-soon Spider-Man reboots. Peter Jackson’s 2005 cover of the original Kong isn’t dead and buried yet. The return on its $250 million investment wasn’t as robust as the studio would’ve hoped, but considering its Tomatometer rating tops Skull Island‘s (84% vs. 78%), I wouldn’t call it a failure that needed to be erased — unlike, say, Spider-Man 3.
Funny story: my original plan for Wednesday night was to add one last movie to my 2015 list, with a showing of The Good Dinosaur. Unfortunately showtimes were scarce because it’s exiting local theaters earlier than I’d expected. Having barely crossed the $100 million mark after five weeks, it’s about to go down in the books as the lowest grossing Pixar film of all time, with or without adjusting for inflation. I’m not ready to quit Pixar yet, so I did some digging and found exactly one screen that offered me the right time and place. Then my morning started off with a mysterious technical malfunction that ruined my entire itinerary and kicked off a domino effect that later slammed my window of opportunity shut. Alas, poor cartoon with mediocre trailers, I have yet to know thee.
I searched the theater listings once more for our side of town in hopes that I could simply catch a later showing without driving forty miles out of my way…and then I noticed Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight just opened. I hadn’t attended a movie on opening night since The Matrix in 1999, so for that novelty alone I figured why not. The 70mm roadshow version is playing nowhere in Indiana at the moment, but I figured I could cope with the ostensibly inferior mainstream version. Call it the Director’s Compromise Cut, I guess.
You’ll have to pardon me in this moment of aesthetic whiplash if I seem a little grouchy with the results. The past few days have seen quite a few confounded expectations.
That’s why Midlife Crisis Crossover includes end-credits coverage in its consumer-reporting movie coverage. If we see a movie, we’re there till the bitter end whether there’s a treat waiting for us or not. My wife and I are sticklers for getting our money’s worth for the ticket price, even if it means skimming past listings for quasi-participants such as Production Babies, legal counsel, and caterers’ gofers. Imagine the pride they’ll feel, knowing there’s a remote chance that someone besides their parents spotted their names at the end.
…what were we talking about? Oh, yeah — Captain America: the Winter Soldier, my new favorite 2014 movie so far.
That was my first impression, anyway. It’s rare that Hollywood sets a big-budget motion picture in my hometown. The last film to use us, Eagle Eye for a single action scene, couldn’t be bothered to research our geography on Google Maps and pretended that 72 West 56th Street is a crowded financial district like downtown Boston. Local pro tip for future filmmakers: 72 West 56th puts you in a highly tree-filled residential area between the wooded Butler University campus and the trendy bars of Broad Ripple.