Friday, October 21, 2016


Two movie-preview trailers have caught my eye: "Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2" and "Logan." Both advertise sequels; "Guardians" picks up where the first movie left off; "Logan" is apparently the followup to "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "The Wolverine."

"Guardians" looks good, although the trailer doesn't inspire anywhere near the level of laughter and curiosity that the first trailer inspired. These characters are known to us, now, so any novelty is gone, and it's a question of what new adventures they'll be going on. "Hooked on a Feeling" again serves as the background; we also get a glimpse of Baby Groot, sitting on Rocket Raccoon's shoulder (a reversal of how things were in the previous movie, as one online nerd pointed out). Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) are apparently on the outs; the trailer shows big, brawny Drax (Dave Bautista) trying to comfort Quill by telling him to find a woman who is just as pathetic as he is. The humor is more understated this time around, but I still liked the trailer for the glimpse it gives us of the Guardians (whose number will now include Yondu [Michael Rooker] and Gamora's "sister" Nebula [Karen Gillan]—strange bedfellows, indeed, at least in Nebula's case) and their interpersonal interactions.

When I saw that a trailer for "Logan" was out, I rolled my eyes. Marvel has obsessed over giving the character of Logan/Wolverine his own film; he's already had several devoted to him, none of which was outstanding. "Another goddamn Wolverine movie?" I thought. This newest movie, however, takes inspiration from the "Old Man Logan" storyline in the super-diverse X-Men comics timeline; in it, Logan (Hugh Jackman) seems to be losing his self-regeneration powers, and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), the world's most powerful psychic, is apparently now suffering from Alzheimer's.

I felt a pang: this was a painful reminder that DC Comics has failed to make a similar film for Frank Miller's version of Batman, who appears as a 55-year-old in the 1980s-era The Dark Knight Returns. Christopher Nolan's dark and grim Batman movies borrowed scenes and tropes from Frank Miller's now-classic graphic novel; the recent megaturd "Batman v. Superman" (review) also borrowed from Miller—rather heavily, in fact. "Logan" acknowledges that the actors Jackman and Stewart are both much older now; age is obviously going to be a major theme, and from what I understand, this movie is to be Hugh Jackman's final outing as Logan/Wolverine. Based on the trailer, it appears that Logan will be paired up with a young girl—another inadvertent reminder of The Dark Knight Returns, in which Batman's new Robin is also a young girl. That said, the trailer looked a hell of a lot better than I thought it would, so now I'm pumped to see "Logan," which comes out early next year.

"Guardians" comes out next May. Marvel is also releasing two other films in 2017: "Spider-Man: Homecoming" in July (starring the very bouncy, irrepressible Tom Holland), and "Thor: Ragnarok" in November (starring the reliably charming Chris Hemsworth). I can't say I'm a fan of the Thor movies; although he's a likable character in the Avengers films, the Thor-centered films leave me unsatisfied, mainly because nothing about the Asgardian realm really makes sense. Even though the "magic" of Asgard is explained as a sort of alternate-universe "science," it still feels like magic to me. The second Thor movie, "Thor: The Dark World," featured archaic weaponry like swords and war hammers (Mjolnir) as well as energy rifles and spacecraft. Didn't make sense, especially with everyone dressed up in ridiculous capes and armor as if they were about to sing opera.

I'll be looking forward to "Guardians," "Logan," and "Spider-Man," at least.

Below is an exquisitely cute bit of fan art that I found. Some guy named "Flick," back in 2012, did this pencil-art rendering of Frank Miller's Batman and Robin—55-year-old Bruce Wayne, hoary and gruff, with little teen Carrie Kelley. The art reflects the sexual subtext that I saw when I read the original story: Carrie has known about the Batman for a while; she idolizes and adores him, and despite their wide age gap, it's plain that she, at least, may be in love with old Bruce. Nothing like this scene occurs in Frank Miller's story, but there is one moment when Carrie, upon seeing Bruce back on his feet after having been brutally beaten by the Mutant Leader, ecstatically throws herself at the older man—who is naked at the time—embracing him fervidly and unselfconsciously. The gesture is simultaneously childlike and brimming with seductive adult promise. Such a relationship would, of course, be impossible (not to mention pervy), but the swirling amorous subtext will not be ignored.

UPDATE: I found a snap of Frank Miller's "hug inside the cave" scene. How naughty the scene is probably depends on how naughty your own mind is, but artist Flick and I both read some sort of sexual subtext into Batman and Robin's relationship (something that many fans have half-jokingly speculated about back when Robin was male). Anyway, here's the pic:

No comments: