nenena: (Default)
But first, I need to say something about The Dark Knight. For me, the best scene in the entire movie - the scene that made the entire film work thematically on so many levels - was the scene in which the people of Gotham foiled the Joker's boat plan. That scene, more than anything, carried the entire film for me. The rest of the film was typical Nolan movie stuff: as a suspense thriller it worked beautifully, as a rumination on the nature of superheroes and villains it was full of shallow and at times downright sophomoric fluff, and goddammit Christian Bale what the hell happened to your acting ability. But that boat scene. Oh that beautiful boat scene. If not for that scene, the entire movie would have fallen apart, thematically as well as emotionally.

And I'm sorry, Commissioner Gordon, but I think that scene proved more than anything that Batman is the hero that Gotham deserves. You can't include a climax like that in your film and then end with "we need a savior even if we don't deserve him." But you do. Y'all DO deserve a savior. It was the people of Gotham that ultimately undid the Joker, not Batman punching him in the face. (Well, to be more accurate, it was the people of Gotham surprising the fuck out of the Joker that caused him to lower his guard long enough for Batman to be able to punch him in the face, but you get my drift.)

Now, about The Dark Knight Rises.

1. I liked it. A lot. And even though it lacked the wham!moment in which the city en masse proved the villain's repeatedly-stated view of human nature wrong, that theme was still very much present in the film via the individual character arcs of Selina, Blake, and even Foley. ETA: And I think that what makes the idea that, as Batman says, "anybody can be a hero" particularly powerful in The Dark Knight Rises is that at the end of the day, true heroism is demonstrated by the unlikeliest of individuals: An aging cop past his prime, a man whom the audience was led to believe was a self-interested coward, a naive young detective who should have been helpless in the face of an adversary that outmatched him in every way, and - above all else - a career criminal. That it was this particular handful of characters who rose to acts of selfless heroism - not only saving Gotham City but proving the villain's view of human nature to be fundamentally incorrect - is really a much more powerful statement about the nature of heroism than anything in the film related to Bruce Wayne or Batman. The same was very much true in The Dark Knight, too: in the end, it was the unlikeliest group of individuals - a boat full of ordinary citizens fearing for their lives, and a boat full of convicted criminals - who decided collectively to commit a selfless act of heroism, thereby ultimately foiling the Joker's plan and allowing Batman to defeat him. Like I said before, I really found that moment in the film to be a much more powerful and interesting statement on the nature of heroism vs. evil than any of the tired, clich├ęd exchanges between Batman and the Joker. And the same is true for The Dark Knight Rises, too. I mean, come on: Weren't you all way more interested in watching how Gordon, Selina, and Blake dealt with Bane, rather than watching Bruce Wayne go through the exact same freakin' character arc that Nolan put him through in the previous two Batman films? I know I was.

2. I think we've reached the point in superhero movies where comic readers are going to be prematurely spoiled for awesome, beautifully set up, carefully crafted, and genuinely shocking plot twists. Because I was able to pick out the spoiler reveal in the third act of the movie the moment that a certain character walked on the screen. :( And that's kind of no fun, because I think that Nolan set up the shock of the reveal really well. Unfortunately it wasn't a shock to me, and I think that it probably wasn't a shock to anybody with even a passing familiarity with Batman comics.

Related to number 2: I can't help but wonder what the hell Marvel is planning to do with the Winter Soldier movie. I mean, it's not like the identity of the Winter Soldier is one of the most infamous (and genuinely shocking) spoilers in the entire Marvel comics canon or anything.

3. I'm sure I wasn't the only person watching this movie who was able to predict the culmination of Blake's character arc fairly early in the film, but the predictability of it in no way detracted from the HELL FUCKING YES!!!-ness of the moment when it finally happened.

4. As usual, Christian Bale was the weakest of the actors in the film. Which is still so weird to me because... He's Christian Bale. In his other films he ranges from decent to actually good acting. But in Nolan's films he just sucks. And it's not just because of the horrible Batman voice, either. His Bruce Wayne is just so flat and lifeless, even during supposedly intense scenes when he's struggling to ~*~overcome his inner turmoil~*~ or deal with a broken spine or whatever the fuck. Blargh.

5. I cried exactly three times during the movie. All of them were during Alfred's speeches.
nenena: (Devi - Flaming Tara)
1. Melinda Beasi breaks down Apple's continuing censorship of LGBTQ content on iPad apps, and makes some eye-opening comparisons to (hetero)sexual content that Apple allows to be published uncensored.

2. Google's new privacy policy, what it means for you, and what you can do to protect your information. Concise, useful, and a must-read, especially with all of the misinformation about Google's new privacy policy floating around the web (hi Tumblr).

3. Attention language geeks! The always-excellent Sanskrit Literature Blog is compiling a list of Sanskrit newspapers and periodicals. The majority of these are of the dead tree variety that those of us living outside of India aren't going to have much access to, but some of them are digital. For example, Sanskrit Daily is exactly that - a daily Sanskrit news flier - that's available for free online. I haven't finished exploring the entire list of links and publications that have been compiled so far, but there are some really awesome resources here.

4. Yusuke Murata made an amazing 3D paper comic that he posted on his Twitter account. The linked post also has information about where you can find an English translation.

5. These preview images from the Marvel Super Hero Squad trading card game are amazing. Especially the one where Thor's "true power" is the ability to summon a rainbow-colored unicorn. And a very literal interpretation of Captain America's catch phrase. And the fact that "Group Hug" is an actual card. Everything about this game is going to be glorious.

6. Calling all artists: Soul Eater fanbook project! Soul Eater fanbook project! 'Nuff said.

7. And inspired by a conversation on Tumblr last night: If y'all liked Soul Eater because it's shounen fighting series with badass female leads who are also feminine because femininity is in no way shape or form a weak/bad trait that prevents a female lead from being a badass mofo... Then you can hardly go wrong with Kekkaishi or Fairy Tail, both of which are currently available in their entirety for free on Hulu.com. (Those of you living outside the US/Canada will probably need to do some proxy browsing to access Hulu, though.) Standard disclaimer: Neither series is without its flaws when it comes to sexism and Fairy Tail in particular has its share of oh for fuck's sake! fanservice. But then again the same is definitely true for Soul Eater, yet I'd still recommend any of these three series to anybody who wants to watch shounen anime with badass ladies who are actually badass without falling into the standard shounen traps of being a) characters who are said to be badass but then end up having to be saved by the male heroes all the time or b) super-masculine ladies who refuse to show any signs of femininity because everybody knows that feminine traits are bad and they make a person weak and helpless (*eyeroll*). Anywhoo, Kekkaishi's Tokine and Fairy Tail's Lucy are definitely tied with Maka Albarn for being some of the most awesome shounen heroines to come along in the past decade (in my humble opinion). So in case any Soul Eater fans reading this haven't checked out Kekkaishi or Fairy Tail yet, you definitely should give them a try.