Black Adam (2022)

The film is now famous for the all the wrong reasons – the cancellation of the DC Universe as we knew it, Henry Cavill’s glorious return as Superman days before he was shot out of the sky by James Gunn – and i didn’t get a chance to see it in the cinema… i have waited so long – too long – to get it on streaming services. Fortunately Amazon picked this weekend to reduce the rent-price, and i was knackered after a ten mile hike…so here we are.

Don’t get me wrong. Its not top-tier entertainment. Its not as good as several of the Marvel movies, but i can tell you this. Its better than Batman v Superman, Justice League, Aquaman, Wonder Woman 84… and its SIGNIFICANTLY better than the most recent run of Marvels. Love and Thunder, Wakanda Forever, i’m looking at you two in particular.

And speaking of Wakanda… welcome to Kahndaq. An ancient world where a metaphor for an ancient culture – this time Egyptians – is being ruled by a master dictator, mining for a powerful element, called Vibranium. I mean, um, Eternium. Slip of the tongue. There is a bit of backstabbery and a champion of the people stands up to the dictator. Said champion is given the power of the gods by the wizards from Shazam! (of which this film is a spin-off, technically).

The present sees the city of Kahndaq overrun by mercenaries, and their boss is seeking for the legendary crown which bestows serious devil divinity to its wearer. Young Lara Croft alike mother is also searching for the crown, in order to hide it from the bad guys. Inadvertedly she releases Teth-Adam (Dwayne, btw), the champion of the ages.

Who then sets out to murder all the bad guys. In cold blood. Because Teth-Adam is not a hero, as he says in nearly every line of dialogue.

Amanda Waller (YES! HER!) sends in the Justice Society of America (because, uh, the Justice League are conveniently unavailable) – which includes not-Micheal Shanks Hawkman, rainbow Cyclone and not-Captain Atom Adam Smash…oh. And film stealing Doctor Fate, played by my hero, role model and favourite actor on the planet Pierce Brosnan. I mean, i’m going to be honest. This film was in my wishlist for a couple of reasons – a) i’m a comic book movie fan b) i need to see the Cavill cameo c) i enjoy Dwayne Johnson’s acting and comedy but my final reason blows everything out the water. And thats d) Pierce Brosnan. He’s far and away the best thing about the film.

The whole film is pretty much average. I’d forgotten the ins and outs by about fifteen minutes after the credits and i’d worked out the major plot twist about thirty seconds into the film (Dwayne, you are VERY recognisable, even from a low angle!), but its still immense fun and has a rousing score. There’s a little Snyder-slo-mo but thats not a major complaint.

Now we come to the Henry Cavill cameo. I’d sort-of seen it on YouTube but had paid little attention, as i fully intended to see the film eventually. Boy, was i blown away. How? You may ask this, thinking, gosh, its just a man in a suit. But no. Its Superman – my all time favourite superhero, hands down… but let me give you a bit of extra info. My all time favourite superhero MOVIE of all time is also Superman. Richard Donner’s masterpiece from well before i was even born. There are two major standout things from that movie which gives it its cinematic apotheosis: Christopher Reeve, pitch perfect as both Supes and Clark Kent, and…and…John Williams’ exceptional score, which remains, to this day, my ringtone for incoming calls.

SO IMAGINE MY HEART EXPLODING WHEN HENRY CAVILL STEPS IN TO JOHN WILLIAMS SUPERMAN THEME. I’m so pathetic. But bloody hell its the best bit in the movie. It may even be my favourite bit in any modern DC film (Man of Steel onwards) – except maybe “I thought she was with you” from Batman v Superman.

So yeah, a good romp.

Next up we’re getting the Flash; will it be awful? No, i think it will be average. Except when i leap up in the air and scream when Michael Keaton enters. Because, as Christopher was my Supes, Micheal was my Bats.

Marching in the Misery Parade

The drums have been beating for a long time now, and the portents of doom have been hovering in the air like vampiric midges. The atmosphere is encroaching as in a thunderstorm. Oppressive, like a heavy weight pushing your very soul into the soil; a vacuum of biblical proportions sucking the life essence out of our withered husks – we are all, quite simply, pooped. Like out of the back end of a gypsy cob (because they have the biggest turds).

Its 2023. The end of last year changed my life. And hopefully such incandescence will continue into this new year. No guarantees of course, but things are looking rosy, at least in the small ways that i pay attention to. I’m published in the upcoming Blakes 7 annual 2023 (coming soon from Cult Edge), i’m going to Malaga, then i’ve got a 40th with my best friends in the world, then i’m going to see Mike Wozniak in easter (tick tock, Wozniak o’clock), then i’ve got my own 40th, and sometime throughout i’ll be visiting Jurassic Drummond, airBnBing down to England for an amble-by-the-sea, then likely doing some other nonsense at other, unspecified dates.

Who knows what i’ll be doing workwise. The future of my company lies still in limbo, and my personal future with the company is at concrete as a bag of clouds…but as the famous phrase goes, every cloud has a silver lining. Except the firing of Henry Cavill as Superman. Nothing good will ever come of that travesty of cinema. I had to watch the excellent Enola Holmes 2 last night to counter a depressive funk brought on by too much Cavilline contemplations. No Witcher, No Superman. Thank Krypton we have his Warhammer movie to look forwards to.

But i’m not here to rant about the decisions of James Gunn, am I? No. This is just a rant about the decline of hope and the dissipation of aspirations. The kick to the teeth of optimism and the gut-punch of life undesired.

I’m writing currently so many things that i can’t even name all of it here. I’m working on two Pandora Man scripts (The Denton Iterations and Heartbeat of the World), trying to finish Dr Who: Accident and Emergency, and putting together thoughts for numerous speculative shorts such as “Humanity Extraction”, “Widdecombes Nightmare” and “The Tennoffusaur”. Keep an eye out!

Right, well, Happy New Year to my readers (i’ve noticed i have a few subscribers now, so thanks very much to you all!!) and i’m off to rejoin the parade. Where the fish are more intelligent than the staff.


Crisis in the Cinematic Universe

I’m taking this news badly, by the way. What i found out yesterday has left a nasty taste in my mouth and i’m afraid i’m about to wax lyrical about my discontentment…

A recent blog post spoke of the HBOmax TV show “Peacemaker”, and how i enjoyed it’s violent action, witty script and subtly rounded characterisation. I even, if i recall, spoke very highly of its direction – provided skillfully by James (Guardians of the Galaxy) Gunn. I thought i was happy, pleased with the geek world and its various forms. I found myself revering Gunn himself…

And then it all came crashing down. I was betrayed. My fan instincts were torn asunder and i was full of trivial hate and anger.

To understand the full picture of my despair, i must tell you of a few things. Firstly, let us address a Netflix show, of which i am also a fan. Its called “The Witcher” – you may have heard of it. Its the story of Geralt of Rivia, an outcast monster-hunter with silver hair, yellow eyes and the acting range of a Larch. His expletive utterances and grunts are a source of pop memes the world over. His strikingly monosyllabic dialogue have earned him many fans. That, and the fact that women and men alike find him startlingly handsome. He is Henry Cavill, british actor who has played the son of Edmund Dantes, the unwanted suitor of Clare Danes, an immortal demigod, Sherlock Holmes and even Napoleon Solo. He missed out to Daniel Craig as Bond. So the stars were in alignment when he secured the role of the best superhero of all. Clark Kent. Superman.

However, due to rumoured creative differences – the word is the Witcher’s writers want to take the show in a different direction than the books – and Cavill is off, to be replaced by one of the non-Thor Hemsworths. Fans are in uproar. A petition has already been signed by nearly half a million people to have the writers fired and Cavill reinstated.

But the fans were compensated. A surprise cameo of Supes himself at the end of the recent Rock vehicle Black Adam, followed by a media message from Cavill…Superman was to return. A sequel / follow up to Snyder’s Man of Steel was in the works. I’m sure i wasnt the only person that leaped for joy.

My happiness was short lived.

Merely days later there came a shockwave through the industry. It began with the news that Wonder Woman 3 was shelved. Batgirl has been lost to time. And…the recently announced Superman movie was now in the trash pile. We weren’t going to get Henry Cavill in the cape again after all. Nor we going to get Geralt of Rivia with his dreamy demon eyes.

James Gunn has sledgehammered the DC Universe. It looks as if the entire justice league are fated to their doom. The troubled Flash movie is apparently still happening, as is Aquaman’s sequel, and thankfully we’re still getting Robert Pattinson’s second Batman movie. But no more Batman Beyond (with michael keaton!)!

Theres almost no consolation. Oh apparently there is another Superman, with a younger clark kent. But no henry cavill.

I am a great fan of Christopher Reeve. A hero and a role model. I loved Brandon Routh, my superman. I’ve met the man and we’ve posed as Captain Cold and The Atom. I was retiscent to accept Cavill’s new, darker Superman… but i did. And now he’s been taken from me.

I ask the world; if you’re going to do this to me, give me Man from Uncle 2…

Its not all doom and gloom. We’re getting a Warhammer movie in the future, and i just read a rumour that he’s in the reboot of Highlander. WHAT? WHY AM I HEARING ABOUT THIS NOW!!!