The nice thing about these month-in-review posts, which are something new to me this year (primarily just to keep track of my target of 100 new films/tv seasons) is the sense of perspective they bring. Looking back I can notice patterns of what I watch or a reminder of release dates but there can be an odd synchronicity evident too. Take April for instance, pretty much bookended by two huge superhero films that share a common theme albeit an opposite approach- Batman vs Superman and Captain America: Civil War. Two absolutely huge films; between them they must have accounted for over $500 million in their budgets. Half a billion dollars spent on two superhero films. If I’d been looking at that from the perspective of Superman: The Movie in 1978 (or the Spiderman tv series shot not long after) it would have seemed utterly impossible/insane. Half a billion dollars on two films you’ll each be able to buy for fifteen quid in a few months time. We live in a crazy time. So anyway, here’s the fun bit, that list of blog entries for this month-
- 2016.27: Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice
- 2016.28: The Last Stand
- 2016.29: Childhood’s End
- 2016.30: Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD
- 2016.31:The Purge
- Silver Linings Playbook
- 2016.32:Bride of Re-Animator
- The Problem With Superman
- Remembering Batdance
- 2016.33:Ender’s Game
- 2016.34:Mr Robot:Season One
- 2016.35:Captain America: Civil War
- 2016.36:Mr Holmes
There was definitely a comic-book/superhero vibe for the month, perhaps inevitable as it was bookended by those particular blockbusters (will we have another month like that again this year, I wonder?). Of course the huge impact and critical fallout over Batman vs Superman was the biggest thing about the month. I enjoyed writing my follow-up piece The Problem With Superman- I rather prefer writing those stream-of-consciousness/ranting at the keyboard commentary pieces to writing reviews. The comic-book theme was furthered by having the opportunity to watch the Future Shock! documentary, which was a particular thrill seeing those writers/artists I loved so long ago. All in all, it doesn’t seem too bad a month, there’s some interesting and varied titles in there, albeit not anything from the to-watch shelf.
Another opportunity to break the review-format, albeit for rather unwelcome reasons, was the Remembering Batdance piece marking the death of Prince. Still can’t believe he’s gone.
Looking at the list, I’ve seen ten ‘new’ films/tv shows to keep my 100 target pretty healthy. Best film was Captain America: Civil War and the worst Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game has its supporters though, as its comments section will attest. A reminder that every film has its fans/grudging admirers/defenders/apologists. Maybe I was in the wrong mood when I watched it- I’ll certainly admit that it likely turned out exactly how it was intended to; it wasn’t a film that turned out bad- it was exactly what it was meant to be, a film targeting the young adult/teen-hero fiction audience popularised by The Hunger Games/Harry Potter films and so many others. Cynical as that seems to me, every film is targeted at someone and in Ender’s Games case, that audience clearly wasn’t me in anycase.
A cautionary reminder of this- at work two colleagues saw Batman vs Superman nine times between them. One saw it four times, the other five times. So even if I didn’t really ‘get’ Batman vs Superman (one viewing was more than enough for me), at least some part of the films target audience clearly did, so the film did something right. I still enjoyed it more than I expected to, and look forward to the extended edition answering a few problems I had with it, but it’s also clear that it pales before Captain America: Civil War. Where the DC film stumbled, the Marvel film soared. And thats the story of April 2016.
(Come on, back on March 29th, that wouldn’t have surprised anyone really, would it?)