Game of Thrones
I’ll probably talk more about the new Game of Thrones season as it carries on through June and May, when there’s something a little more substantive to say. The first episode, which aired about a week ago at this point (the next episode airs tomorrow) while enjoyable, felt weak, and in a way, only worked to whet my appetite.
Most of the storylines didn’t go far – Jon’s still dead, and Davos and the Night’s Watch loyalists are stuck in a stand-off for the entire episode; Dany is being brought to live with the widowed khaleesis, and waiting for Jorah and Daario to arrive; Arya just kind of gets beaten up by her cohort from the House of Black and White; The Tyrells are shown, only to indicate that nothing’s really happening on that front either. But of course, there were some awesome sequences, such as Brienne and Podrick coming to the aid of Sansa and Theon, and the Dorne coup de’tat.
Speaking of Dorne, I am very excited by the developments there, and the implications that Myrcella’s death will have. Likely, it will start a war, at one side Cersei, and on the other side the usurping Ellaria Sand. Two strong-willed women who
would will stop at nothing to avenge their loved ones. There are definite parallels, but this conflict doesn’t quite have a hero or villain. Ellaria wants revenge for the death of Oberyn, who died seeking revenge for his sister and her children. But Cersei wasn’t directly responsible for either of those deaths. Cersei, on the other hand, will want revenge for Myrcella. Who’s more justified? It’s Cersei, right? She’s had to cope with the death of two of her children. But Ellaria is also justified, if not a little extreme, isn’t she? Historically, we know that the Lannisters are… pretty evil. A conflict with these two on the opposite sides will likely make for some excellent storytelling.
And talk about a turnaround for characters. For the first four seasons, few people were as hated as Cersei and Jamie Lannister. At the end of the first episode, they pushed a child out of a window, which was the first of many despicable things. Now, they’ve lost children, they’ve been publicly shamed, they’ve lost their swordfighting hands… They’ve been through a lot, and though it should feel like karma, like justice, now viewers have begun to sympathize with them. Any more hardship for the Lannisters would be too much.
The biggest flaw with this story line is that Cersei and the Lannisters have two enemies to fight – the High Sparrow and the Sand Snakes. Which struggle is more important to focus on? Hopefully the showrunners can properly balance the two.
Recently, we got our first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the Star Wars spin-off set in between Revenge of the Sith and the original film. Hopefully, they’ll just take to calling it Rogue One, because fans seem irritated about the tagline of “A Star Wars Story.” But, for the most part, the trailer looks promising.
The story serves to explain how the rebels got the Death Star plans that Leia has at the beginning of A New Hope. I do like that Disney and Lucasfilm are now going back and telling stories from other times in the Star Wars universe, as a means of holding us over until Episode VIII.
The last frame of the trailer seems a bit spoilery, showing us the main character, Jyn, in an imperial uniform. This is either a red herring or a spoiler. Most people think this is a scene where she’s undercover, and we’re meant to believe she’s evil, or she’s actually evil, and the trailers have let us know this earlier than we should have.
Would this be an awesome reveal halfway through the movie? Absolutely. During the trailer? Not so much. That’s straight out of the Zack Snyder School of trailer editing.
Also, the trailer shows us Ip Man star Donnie Yen is seen doing what he does best, kicking ass.
It is interesting to see a gradual change in weapons in the series. This looks closer to a Samurai sword of some sort, and then in The Force Awakens there was the now famous Stormtrooper with a riot-baton kind of thing. It makes sense that it wouldn’t just be blasters and lightsabers.
One major concern on my part is that there’s buzz about how this will relate to the new trilogy, specifically, if there is a connection between Rey from The Force Awakens and this new character Jyn from Rogue One. They’re both brunette and British, so people assume that Jyn must be an ancestor of Rey, whose parentage is unknown. I sure hope she isn’t, that would be too simple, and we don’t necessarily need to know where Rey comes from.
Doctor Strange and Spiderman Homecoming
Jeez, this was just a month full of new trailers. It’s an exciting time!
A trailer for Doctor Strange was unveiled, with a lot of neat footage. This film will add an element of magic previously unseen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as the suspension of disbelief we see with Thor is said to be science from their perspective). Along with the trailer release, there was repeated concern that the role of the Ancient One – a traditionally Asian character – will be played by white Scottish actress Tilda Swinton. Marvel justified this casting by explaining that the name “Ancient One” doesn’t refer to a character as much as it refers to a title passed down from generation to generation, regardless of race. This hasn’t stopped the film from garnering negative backlash from people who say that the casting is an example of the rampant whitewashing in movies.
But, as the Captain America: Civil War hype train rolls into the station, a lot was going on at Marvel Studios. additionally, The title for the next Spiderman film was recently announced, Spider-man: Homecoming. This movie is still a year away, so we won’t likely know just what that means yet, but still rumors abound. Namely, at first it was speculated that Birdman/Bamtan ’89 star Michael Keaton will allegedly be playing a villain. This has since been denied, but Iron Man is suspected to make an appearance, which could give the movie just the boost it needs. A lot will be riding on this movie, since we’re twelve years removed from the last unanimously enjoyed movie featuring the character.
Suicide Squad was in the news twice recently. First, in the wake of Batman v. Superman, it was confirmed that the Suicide Squad cast and crew were called in for re-shoots. Many suspected that this decision was made because Batman v. Superman’s dark tone was poorly-received, and a re-shoot would give the opportunity to add more humor. Director David Ayer denied this, claiming on Twitter that the Studio simply took an interest in what he was doing and asked what else he wanted.
Additionally, a second trailer was released for the film, and it looks like an enjoyable superhero (*supervillain) romp. There is more humor in the trailer, making me doubt the rumors that this was done to lighten the tone. It doesn’t seem likely that a studio would film and edit footage quickly enough to put it in this trailer.
And that’s good. Easing up on dark tones should not be what Suicide Squad learns from Dawn of Justice. If anything, they should learn to properly develop logical characters, or nuanced acting, or simply to y’know, ease up on the dream sequences.
I actually have little to say about this. I loved the Lego Movie, I love Will Arnett, I love Ralph Fiennes, and I expect I will love this movie.
It is with tremendous sadness that the music world mourns the loss of Prince. Gifted guitarist, talented musician, and bonafide artist, Prince passed on April 21st, at the age of 57. He’s been heralded for hits such as “When Doves Cry,” “Purple Rain,” “Raspberry Beret,”and many others. I have often forgotten just how great his guitar work was, evidenced by this all-star cover of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” for the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
There was a lot of neat and interesting pop culture news this month, so if I missed anything, and I inevitably did, I apologize!
Posts for April: