Detective Pikachu, Avengers, and the Appeal of Esoteric Entertainment

I don’t know anything about Pokémon, but my kids are into it, and so I’ve been checking our reviews of the new Detective Pikachu movie. The reviews from Pokémon fans are quite good. The negative reviews largely complain that it’s inaccessible to people unfamiliar with the source material. Along similar lines, one of the few […]

Addressing Criticisms of “The Last Jedi Betrays the Original Trilogy and its Heroes”

Many of the most common responses rather miss the point. My dashed off essay, “The Last Jedi Betrays the Original Trilogy and its Heroes,” has gotten, well, quite a lot of attention. It’s now the most read post I’ve ever written, and it continues to be shared like crazy on social media. While many people have […]

The Last Jedi Betrays the Original Trilogy and its Heroes

Through sheer storytelling laziness, it tells us that nothing that came before mattered. The Last Jedi is the most disappointing Star Wars movie since Attack of the Clones. I don’t believe I’m overstating that. It’s a movie that, through its plot developments and characterization, makes the whole of the Star Wars saga less interesting and […]

“Wonder Woman” Isn’t Bad. It’s Boring.

This by-the-numbers, visually dull movie doesn’t deserve the praise it received. Ninety-two percent of reviewers, according to Rotten Tomatoes, liked Wonder Woman — which just shows the limits of the site’s methodology. “Like” is such a milquetoast evaluation. A shrug of “Yeah, I thought it was decent enough” counts equally with “This was a genre defining cinematic […]

Has There Ever Been a Box Office Smash Scifi Movie With Less Cultural Impact Than Avatar?

http://avaretarded.deviantart.com/art/Na-vi-Costume-No-edit-306654733 We’re on our way to four(!) Avatar sequels, which is probably the same as number of people excited about Avatar sequels. It’s pretty striking, really, how quickly Avatar vanished from the public consciousness. The movie came out at the end of 2009, and in the years since, we’ve seen really no lasting attempts to […]

The Contrasting Visual Styles of the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes

Comparing what DC’s doing with their cinematic universe to what Marvel’s up to isn’t just about critics’ reviews or quality of scripts. Marvel has the leg up, at least right now, on both accounts. But there’s a more interesting divide, one that shows a fundamentally different approach to how a comic should make the transition […]

Why the Rogue One Novelization’s Author Is a Good Sign for the Movie

Alexander Freed wrote the best Star Wars novel to date and his style fits perfectly what we hope Rogue One will be. Reshoots have fans worried. Every movie schedules reshoots, but scuttlebutt is that Rogue One’s getting more than most, and that they’re happening because Disney wants more humor. That they want a “lighter” story and […]

The Bittersweet Abundance of Our New Star Wars Era

I was reading news about the casting of the new Han Solo movie and it struck me. As of December last year, we’ve fully entered an era of Star Wars abundance. An original Star Wars movies every year. Star Wars on television. Books and comics advancing the canon. That’s good. Wonderful. We’re not just staring […]

What the Star Wars Prequels Did Right

They’re terrible movies. Let’s get that out of the way. But watching The Force Awakens again, and then again the divine Original Trilogy, I got this weird and unsettling flash of appreciation for something Lucas had done in those stillbirths of CGI and suffering actors and dialog usually confined to airport novels written by ex-advertising […]

“I Am Legend” and Those Awful, Incredulous Atheists

Credulity, it seems, is the quintessential American virtue. Value is found not in closely examining claims to discover their relationship to truth but, instead, by expressing a willingness to abandon inquiry in favor of hope. Would claim X, if true, make the world a better place? If so, we should act as if it is […]