Rolling in to Episode Five of Book of Boba Fett the show veers away from everything that’s happened until now and rejoins The Mandalorian in a pretty good cold open. Mando’s got the beskar spear and the dark saber he picked up last season. He’s pretty badass and looking to outright kill people if they get in his way- like a real bounty hunter.
The open is pretty violent and Mando quickly racks up a few kills including one particularly brutal boss kill of the person he’s after. We hear that the dispute was all over money. After a lot of nothing for four episodes it was a nice change. We can also see Mando’s not wielding the darksaber all that well since he injures himself in the leg using it.
The action takes place on an interesting looking new world and Mando seems to have a severed head in a bag. He limps to meet the people who hired him for this job. Like most characters in this world he makes sure to say he doesn’t want any money, just some information- directions to an access shaft. This is something that seems kind of discoverable, but hey we got an action scene. He’s confident this will lead him to some characters we sort of know.
In short order he’s located our old friend the Armorer and some chungus from his former coven of Mandalorians. The three of them appear to be all that’s left.
They fix the wound Mando accidentally gave himself- which seems like something that he could have done off screen. We have to wonder why his self preservation instinct isn’t on par with a Terminator or Predator- who self repair first chance they get. They decide to scrap the beskar spear (that would seem to be worth a star destroyer based on what we’ve heard). Some of it will be made into a gift for Grogu (that we do not see).
The Armorer tells a pretty sad but only just so specific tale of the Fall of Mandalore and something called the Night of a Thousand Tears. We see a real cool montage of TIE Bombers just beating hard on the planet as she speaks. Then we see a bunch of KSO type droids gunning people down. I was under the impression they were designed for a more technical/ protocol kind of role. Its HARD to imagine the Empire using them as ground troops. It may be only to let us know this is happening early in the Original Timeline or it could be a mistake. The Empire is notoriously anti-droid, to the point it doesn’t have them on their fighters despite the obvious benefit.
In a real moment of dumb, The Armorer is able to assess Mando’s wound without ever turning her head to so much as look at him. In a training sequence that’s at least better than anything in the sequels we see the Armorer and Mando sort of work out why he’s so bad with this weapon. Seems he just a bit unfocused – which makes the weapon into an impediment of sorts. What this says about Moff Gideon using it so well is hard to know.
For no real reason there’s a non fatal fight between Mando and the Chungus to see if Mando gets to keep the Dark Saber. Mando wins this trial by combat, but since he’s taken off his helmet it means he has to go on another fetch-quest. He has to go to dead planet Mandalore and cleanse himself in a sacred pool that should no longer exist. Thats it for this interesting new world that seems to be an enormous, habitable ring in space. We’re now off to Tatooine where things really slow down, again.
We run into Amy Sedaris. Its nice she’s getting paid. She and her Strangers with Candy crew of droids help build Mando a familiar new ship from pre-Empire scrap. We spend the rest of the episode pimping mando’s ride. The result is a slightly modified Naboo fighter.Then he shakes it down in Beggars Canyon in a scene Star Wars video games and Phantom Menace fans will love. I found it pretty enjoyable.
Along the way we have some context and damage repair on the last episode of the Mandalorian- The Rescue. We don’t have Cara Dune around anymore to explain things- so Mando sort of just recounts to the other two remaining members of the coven that he’s had quite the adventure. In return they tell him a few things about the Dark Saber. The cutlass like blade is pretty old and made of better beskar than anyone’s seen. It has some relevance to the Jedi as well as the Mandalorians.
To get a better show we just stepped completely away from the events of Book of Boba Fett; we simply have an episode of the Mandalorian. It was at least interesting, if slow. Building the ship was pretty boring, but the shakedown cruise was fun.
In the world of lore we get a new way to travel… sort of. Mandos new ship- which still seems a one man fighter unsuitable to Bounty Hunters bringing anyone in alive- can do a sub hyperspace jump that can apparently evade an X-Wing. We also found out that the Dark Saber- which Moff Gus had no issues wielding- is progressively more useless when Mandalorians themselves use the weapon they made.
When Mando uses the Dark Saber theres a new aspect along the lines of Thors Hammer Mjolnir- some kind of component best described as “worthiness.” Mando can only sort of use it and it gets heavier and heavier as combat goes on. It’s hard to say if it’s a Force -related trait of the weapon.
We also find out that Mando had turned Moff Gideon over to the New Republic. We don’t get much more, but it seems Mando has some clue now that he gave Grogu to Luke. This isn’t directly said though. He just says the minimum.
According to Mando Moff Gideon is looking at a possible death sentence from the Republic. Mando also expresses he wants to see Grogu again and could care less about Jedi ways. This might not be a problem for Luke. If Luke’s like we saw in the old EU material he’s currently rethinking how Jedi should operate and be trained. One lingering mystery is why Mando overlooks money a couple of times but is too strapped for a better ship. We get a line that the ships “off the grid” since its pre-empire. It sure looks just like Anakins. Why no one would recognize a Naboo Fighter or have its specs on record isn’t addressed. They make sure to tell us its Hyperspace capable though.
We had a much better episode that was less dull despite little really happening. The show is still paced very slowly but this is the first sort of rewatchable, least cringe-y episode. This would be better news if it involved the title character. The only regular cast member in this episode is Fennec, briefly.
We also get a break from The Mods and other all too familiar factions that we’ve become quickly tired of. This is just an episode of the Mandalorian with a Book of Boba Fett epilogue. The things that make it better may not carry over to next episode, where it seems like we’re destined to play out the events that have been set in motion in Mos Espa.
We do get a good two very enjoyable sequences but there’s still some things that don’t add up.
The biggest issue to me was ‘why does Mando still want to be friends with the sect of Mandalorian’s he hangs with when he has been told they are extremist throwbacks and have issues with the idea he’s taken his helmet off? It would have been more satisfying if he had pulled off the Chungus’ helmet and then confronted the Armorer with just how backward and dumb other Mandalorians think their ideas are. Instead he just accepts the new fetch quest. He doesn’t really hang out with his friends much nor do they seem to really like each other. Mando just can’t make black-belt in this dojo even after prevailing in a fight. Most people would take their cool new saber, sell the beskar spear or make whatever he has them make for Grogu himself and ditch these judgmental losers.
There’s a couple of scenes we could have lost, because this wouldn’t be Book of Boba Fett without that- but less than any other week. There was no point at all in Mando checking his luggage for instance. As always people only want to shoot at his invulnerable armored areas. Leaving the scene of his bounty-kill Mando tells the rando’s who are no match for him to take all the money laying around in the office as a tip for just leaving him alone and turns down more money from the people he did the opening hit for. He really needed a ship more like his old one for his line of work, we’ll have to wait and see how long this ship sticks around for. This show developed and scrapped things already. Because of that we just have no idea what the ship creation sequence is for. This thing could be his new ship for a few seasons or get blown up next week. It may have all been just to fill time.
The line about how the astro droids slot has been refitted into something else sort of reminded me that Mando now has no sidekick of any kind and no one to talk to when he needs to make a verbal point for the audience. The idea Mando waits a few hours for First Aid he can and should be able to do himself shows he’s still not the smartest or most well equipped guy. I guess this is in character.
We end with a reminder that this show is about Boba Fett when Fennec shows up and recruits Mando to the cause in the last minute of the episode.
And with that we seem ready to jump back into Mos Espa for episode Six.
Episode Four of Book of Boba Fett starts with a 90 second “Previously On” sequence that’s so comprehensive it’s a strong case against watching the first three episodes at all. You can jump into Episode 4 cold, you may even be better for it. At the end the Title graphic is somewhat unstable. It looks like a rushed mistake- which is also my one line review of the whole series to this point.
The ‘Catch Up Sequence’ may seem like a stupid thing to focus on but it shows how remarkably vague the details, timeframe and useful information has been for three episodes. The sequence also seems to be from a better take on this story. It would have you think this show has mostly been about Boba Fett and Fennec dealing with Jennifer Beals Twi’lek character and Kryssantan the mentally incompetent wookie- who both have had very little screen time. Another reason you don’t need to watch the first three episodes at all is because Boba recontextualizes his time in slavery as a gallant rescue anyway.
Episode four hit new lows in casting, character names, music and costuming. This show simply never looks much like Star Wars. These Star Trek leftovers and Quadrophenia inspired characters are more appropriate to the movie Fifth Element. They are so out of place it’s distracting.
This week’s installment is somewhat less boring. If you enjoy ironically watching Batwoman you’ll enjoy this episode. Boba is more like the Punisher than Batman this week, and its refreshing. He also reveals that he was truly happy and had a sense of belonging as a Tusken. I guess we could say he chooses to identify as a Tusken now.
Boba sounded like a Branch Davidian who survived the Waco Standoff and still loves David Koresh. He’s finally realized that bounty hunters are used as cannon fodder and it just bugs him. The idea mercenaries aren’t valued as much as soldiers is apparently a new revelation that he’s angered by. Seems like Day One stuff for that job but ok. In a rare Star Wars-like moment, we see some new droids who have the inspiring names Chef Droid and Sous Chef Droid. Like with the Gun Train episode the droids are Boba’s biggest problem.
This week’s best news is that, yes, Max Rebo is alive. It’s not another alien of his species, Jennifer Beals calls him Max. So we have an answer to a (trivial) 40 year old question. Until now the highpoints were George Lucas’ work repurposed from Attack of the Clones. The confirmation that Max Rebo is alive is their best ‘original’ moment. I’ll go so far as to call it a pay off in this mess of a show. Still no word on Salacious B Crumb. Also -Turns out Bantha’s are omnivores and Tatooine definitely has no less than three moons.
We see the blandest, most low effort aliens ever to be on screen in any kind of Star Wars this week. Think Art Carney in The Star Wars Holiday Special on this one. The Starship Troopers or Blade Runner extras would fit right in. Han Solo, however, would look very out of place.
Typical of characters we meet this week is a guy who gives people Borg Implants. This character, called The Modifier, seems likely to return. I would have preferred Babu Frikk to this character. The Modifier has a mechanical arm that’s just right off the set of Star Trek First Contact. He’s merely a human club-kid with highlighter yellow dreadlocks. He looks like he sold cocaine at a club in our world circa 2010. I’m sure Stephen ‘THUNDERCAT’ Bruner is a cool guy and a good actor, but this character sucked. He’s right out of the mosh pit at a Rage Against the Machine show.
The pacing is a bit better, but director Robert Rodriguez’s use of music is awful. His abilities may need reassessing too after this show. We reach a stark new low in the look of this universe. Greenwich Village on a Tuesday at 1 pm is more alien than Mos Espa.
We have been all over the chronology of the franchise each week. There are frequent Flashbacks to the events of Attack of the Clones and the time frame of Return of the Jedi. This has been disconcerting but apparently it’s not confusing enough for Favreau. Now we also have a new flashback point- right before he encounters the Mandalorian. We also have Tekno Music. For a long time. It’s non diegetic as far as I can tell. This was for us to ‘enjoy’ There’s a lot of things from 10 years ago being retasked in this show to crank out aliens, sets and gear.
With that said let’s delve into the events of Episode 4!
We start with another minute long montage of Boba sleeping in his pod of medicinal water dreaming of riding a bantha and being sort of zen.
In this dream Boba’s stalking Bib Fortuna and casing Jabba’s old place. Around four and a half minutes in we get the first dialogue. Boba affectionately talks to his bantha for a while. He then spots some distant flashing lights or blaster fire and walks into the aftermath of Fennec out cold and gut shot from events we saw in The Mandalorian. They then tell us the Episode is called The Gathering Storm. It’s pretty pretentious considering we’ve seen so much dumb already.
Boba brings mortally wounded Fennec to the Modifier. For a bag of coins he upgrades Fennec in a sequence combining the least interesting or outright worst parts of the Matrix and the later Terminator sequels or things co-opted wholesale from Star Trek First Contact. He snaps Fennec back together like legos while we are assaulted with extra loud, extra irritating 90’s tekno beats. You need drugs to enjoy this noise. John Williams is puking somewhere! It isn’t immersive. The sequence is silly. Imagine your pot guy running an illegal plastic surgery business in the back of his apartment. It’s a lot like that. There’s plenty of very Un-Star Wars Blade Runner-type randos in this scene.
Boba later calls the place a “Mod Parlor” when he explains to Fennec how it is she’s alive. Mod Parlor is a decent band name if your looking, by the way.
Boba tells her ‘You’re Fennec Shand’ and mentions whatever faction she was aligned with like she doesn’t know. Fennec mostly takes her new life as a cyborg in stride and doesn’t ask any of the questions you’d expect like “do I still eat and if so what?” “Do I need to drink motor oil sometimes now?” “Do I need batteries?” or “Why did you leave this machinery exposed on this filthy sand covered dump of a planet?”
Boba says he’s not going to turn her in for a bounty and instead of asking what he wants for saving her life and all, Fennec just asks him his name. “I’m Boba Fett.” He says it like he’s saying he’s Batman. She knows the name. This means he’s more famous than Luke Skywalker- who even Cara Dune, elite rebel trooper from Alderaan, didn’t recognize. So she’s the smartest person we’ve met since the Prequels.
Then Boba reminisces about his fun times with the Sand People and how they rescued him, took him in and treated him as one of their own- something that did not happen. He was captured while unconscious, then enslaved, beaten and tortured. He was eventually handed over to a brutal Sand Person child who mistreated him and made him do slave labor. He won the tribes respect when he saves the kid from a low effort monster and was rewarded with a Tusken Make-over that ended up with him adopting the look of Uncle Fester. He recounts this like a cherished memory of summer camp as a kid. It’s NOT what we saw. Fennec’s appreciation is short lived and in the course of their first conversation starts to contradict him and question his story.
Boba is just oozing benevolence but does have a violent agenda. He has acted like Batman every episode, but this week he’s putting that aside for the moment. He just says he’s outright gonna kill some people, including Bib Fortuna and the Nikto Bikers. The Nikto are the Lizardy Road Warrior Faction we’ve seen. They wear german WW1 helmets and levi’s denim trucker vests with their ‘gang colors.’ They do not have any kind of ‘Star Wars-yness’, a trait common to the show now.
This is a really ad hoc list of grievances. It seemed to me the Nikto were uninvolved in the massacre. Fennec simply doesn’t believe the Nikto could have pulled this off and says so. The Nikto Bikers are also not the faction named by the Pykes (the blue aliens who operate the Gun Train and kill Tuskens all the time) as having a beef with that tribe of Tuskens. The only interaction with these lizards was when Boba jumped a few of them, beat them up easily and stole their speeders.
Fennec proposes she help Boba get his ship back to repay her debt. It’s locked up in Jabba’s old Palace. Boba accepts this offer. Slave One is now called ‘My Firespray Gunship” – which is also a good band name, but I am going to call it “Living Wage 1.” He dismisses the idea of requesting his own property back and says he just can’t pull it off without his armor. So he really is just a loser stuffed in a suit in his own mind. Finding a rando and hoping she’s smarter than him is his new plan. Fortunately; this was the perfect idea. THEN WE SEE ANOTHER BANTHA RIDE.
They use a small drone to locate Living Wage 1. Boba gives his Bantha a PETA pep talk and frees it. The dialogue is absolutely horrible, but now that Fennec is around the bantha is his closest intellectual equal, so it almost makes sense.
They make their way to the palace kitchen and encounter a couple of droids. One pulls a General Grievous-like attack move and it looks like this will be fun- but Fennec destroys it quickly. Then a comic sequence ensues where Boba mixes it up with a tiny droid that’s much smarter than him. It was actually decently amusing. When he does catch it he pins it to a wall and, just like Michael Keaton in Batman 89 says “I’m Boba Fett!”…. for the second time this episode. The droid commits suicide rather than listen to any more.
They recover Living Wage 1 in a somewhat slapstick sequence that riffs on the ships unique design having terrible line of sight. Soon they are free, flying over Tatooine. At this point Fennec just expresses shes going to stick with around for a while even though they are even. Then a vengeful Boba Fett airstrikes the Nikto Bikers. Its sort of an A-Team action sequence in the sense there’s plausible deniability that he kills anyone – but it seems pretty unsurvivable. He just jacks them in his ship and strafes them all.
They then fly Living Wage 1 to the Sarlacc pit and it gets weird. Boba says he was trapped in there ‘so many years ago.’ So while he escaped in like an hour he’s been with the Tuskens a good long time. This is not how we experienced it. It seemed like two, maybe months tops. It’s just cheap way to get to Mando’s timeline. So escaping the Sarlacc in minutes is now even more pointless.
Then we get what I’m pretty sure is a Retcon- Boba Fett’s armor is now Beskar- something we only hear about in the Disney era to my knowledge. This makes Boba the only person who paints over beskar. Captain Phasma didn’t, Mando doesn’t. Wookiepedia had simply said Boba Fett had ‘Upgraded Armor.’ Look for that to be updated soon. He’s also the only person who has managed to damage beskar armor. Unfortunately it’s his own, which has been dented and beat to hell since we first saw it in Empire Strikes Back.
Then we find out the Sarlacc is very much alive despite the multiple beatings it took in the Return of the Jedi and episode 1 of this series. It’s also much tougher now and a match for Living Wage 1. It can handle sustained heavy blaster fire and is strong enough to hold a ship in place while its engines are at maximum.
For context; the Sarlacc struggled to pull in Lando and was fended off by a single blaster shot from Unfrozen Han Solo. It’s now the most inconsistent monster ever.
The scene is unsatisfying. In ‘Gamer-Speak’ it was a total Kill-Steal by Fennec and Favreau. This monster is something the shows Hero needed to kill himself. He’s been beat up in every episode and now he gets the Han Solo TFA treatment. He needs someone else to operate his own ship’s most powerful weapons. They aren’t anywhere near the pilot. Boba Fett has operated Living Wage 1 since he inherited it from his father. This upgrade was something he’s needed for like 35 years.
Fortunately for our hapless hero Fennec pulls a Rey and saves them both by getting to the weapons panel to drop a seismic charge into the sarlaccs mouth, killing the monster. It’s just a bit too much like a mashup of The Last Jedi bomber sequence and Rey Bypassing the compressor in Force Awakens. So Fennec kills the sarlacc monster and saves them both.
Boba volunteers more fortune cookie logic justifying his desire to supplant Bib Fortuna and be a crime lord- it’s mostly to save lives. This is ridiculous. Just join the New Republic Rangers under a fake name. Tell them your Rex. Just pretend to be any clone of the millions that were created and do that. Then he tells Fennec he need ‘brains and muscle, you have both.” This is our tough guy Crime Lord? He needs a 90 pound half mechanical woman who shoots things to be his Enforcer? We didn’t see much muscle and she’s only smarter than Boba Fett, so we just have someone verbalize it to poof it into reality.
Boba has been emphasizing that he’s even more bad ass now but he still wants her to be his partner. In a weird scene they exchange the criminal version of some sort of wedding vows and they’re now a virtuous (platonic) criminal duo. He pledges her his life and loyalty and like us she thinks it’s dumb. He says Tusken’s have made him a team player type guy. She does not respond.
Stoic silence is becoming typical of Fennec. She has no real traits and only says things Boba Fett should already know. It’s becoming a bit boring. To make sure we never get distracted by the beauty they cast her for, they have her in the most figure hiding unisex outfit ever. So it may as well be Rose Tico. She can’t be allowed to be too pretty and she has to be smarter than Boba Fett, this is a Disney show after all. Think Loki and Sylvi on this one. The writers just split Boba in half and gave his intellect to Fennec, but that’s all she’s got. The only difference is she doesn’t use Australian slang or call people ‘mate’.
In yet another Bacta Tank dream we see the sequence where he kills Bib Fortuna and we know we’re in the late part of Season 2 of ‘The Mandalorian’ timeframe. He then awakes to the timeframe we could call “now.” He’s told he’s fully healed and he doesn’t look like roast beef anymore. He then promptly ignores Fennec’s advice and decides he’s going to walk around town and see if anyone tries to kill him.
We catch up with the incredible Max Rebo at the Twi’lek Casino and its VERY Canto Byte. A sulking Kryssantan, who Jennifer Beals calls Santo is being a drunken bully. He beats on some much smaller reptilians to blow off steam but Jennifer Beals tries pop psychology, causing him to hesitate for a moment. Then Santo tears the lizards arm off (maybe they grow back?) and no one cares. Having shown he’s got a substance abuse issue, low intelligence and is prone to erratic behavior he’s checked all the boxes to get hired by Boba Fett just as I predicted last week. If you suck at something Boba Fett will just offer you a job, even if you tried to kill him a week earlier. He really needs an HR Droid. Just let 8D8 do all the hiring.
The next scene is supposed to evoke Godfather or the way a Bond villain bullys his henchmen. In a gathering of crime lords at Jabbas old palace Boba asks for nothing but a truce while he rids the planet of the Pykes. It’s dumb and he comes off as an Outer Rim Supremist looking to Make Tatooine Great Again. He essentially told them he’s super weak and if they betray him a stronger faction will reward them. They aren’t buying it at all.Then he has the baby rancor growl a little and everyone just falls in line. Problem solved.
In a Bond movie or a Mafia tale this conference would have featured one holdout who pushes the Head Baddies buttons too much and gets himself killed as an example. Book of Boba Fett has no such moment. The other Crime Bosses don’t really respect anything about him outside the fact he owns a rancor, which is apparently good enough.
In a final wistful scene Fennec and Boba verbalize that a tough, heroic type would be a great help. Then they wonder if that kind of person might be available as the Mandalorian’s theme plays. It’s the only good piece of music in the episode. The illustrations during the credits were as bland as the rest of the show.
Summing up; there is very little to praise. It was refreshing to see some aggression from Boba and Living Wage 1 looks cool. They seem to have saved all their allotted violence for this episode. He goes on a killing spree and acts like a criminal for part of the episode.
The comic sequence actually was amusing and introduced a new droid that was at least cute and funny. If you have the subtitles on you even see its name (such is the incompleteness of the writing). It spoke for the audience by attempting suicide rather than hang out with this guy and his loser friends. I had a great laugh when the droid just hits his own kill switch to escape the stupid. I relate to the ‘LEP Droid’ strongly. He’s the second smartest individual we’ve met since the Prequels.
This show is just bad, which sucks because it supposedly came from a good place. This week is easily the best episode and it’s still really terrible a lot of time.
It doesn’t bottom out as bad as last week but it’s bad. And BLAND! The dialogue is really poorly conceived. For instance; when Boba goes to get Fennec Modded, Yellow Dread guy says ‘Aren’t you a little old to be here?” In our world we actually do have Cyborgs and they are mostly old people.Vice President Cheney spent time as a Cyborg when he had an artificial heart for years. So old people would be beating a path to his door. Maybe its just cause he’s a dick who blasts bad music that keeps them away?
A good deal of character’s are just very low effort. In this show any and all ‘off the shelf’ sci-fi costumes are acceptable. Like Star Trek The Original Series, but not charming and with no awareness. Episode One featured Mortal Kombat extras; that’s been the bar ever since.
This shows best special effect is Jennifer Beals. She simply has not aged and looks like she’s 30. She was on my wall in 1983. She’s 58. What a Feeling!
The factions are uninteresting and some are all too familiar. Typical of this would be the new sidekicks we met last week with the cybernetic Mod-ing. These Doctor Who extras ride scooters resembling those favored by Brit Mods in the 70s. They go by the cringe-y and way too on the nose gang name “the Mods” too.
The Mods cute female leader wears a leather Biker MC vest from Hot Topic. Its so common that it was in vogue for female news anchors about 10 years ago. Brooke Baldwin wore one. Fox News hosts wore them. It’s unimaginative. It’s a vest of version of the same kind of jacket Joey Ramone wore.
The Mod faction would not be conspicuous in a bar or subway car in our world right now. I can’t tell if this is a failed homage or just really lazy.
This week Book of Boba Fett’s near pointless third episode is the most boring one yet. Still a few things did happen.
We resolved some of the events in the flashbacks to the past and some of the multiple conflicts at a low boil around the town of Mos Espa in the show’s “present” time frame. The 36 minute experience was an almost random series of truly meandering images and occasional dialogue with a few bloodless fights and chases.
The feeling I had watching the credits was “this is probably as good as it gets.” We’re now about halfway through this season and we have not had one good episode. Episode 3 is bleak and somber at some points and is as bad and boring as last week.
So far this show is just not a good take on Star Wars or a Spaghetti Western. The story is as bad and ad hoc as the Sequel Trilogy. The canonical damage for the Prequel and Original Trilogy is probably less extreme and more inept than intentional now, but its still ongoing. ‘They all have to try harder’ to paraphrase the Falcon.
Slow and low effort since Episode 1, the show’s apparently ‘hit its stride.’ That is to say- don’t expect much from this mess. Last week’s Key Jangles were just that. Nothing but filler came of it. After 36 boring minutes the most interesting new characters and maybe all the Sand People we spent a long time under-developing are just nullified. Characters either move on, fail or have a brutal offscreen end. It’s just unclear what happens next. Jennifer Beals makes it to the end of the the episode, but has minimal presence, again.
We can thank Boba’s droid 8D8 – identified as such only in subtitles and voiced by Toast of London star Matt Berry – for finally telling us whats going on. 8D8 explains, in his excellent speaking voice, that Jabba and and Bib Fortuna relied on a chaotic series of alliances to stay in power. Boba mostly spends the important briefing assuring 8D8 he has value. I paid attention though, so here’s the deal-
Theres about 5 factions comprising the criminal elements of Most Espa. Maybe three criminal organizations arrayed and behaving more or less as Road Warrior gangs,then there’s the Mayor and his goons, the newcomer Hutt Twins and of course our Hero and his growing gang of misfit sidekicks.
Most of this week’s episode happens in town but we flash back randomly throughout to events at about the time of Return of the Jedi to see more uplifting images. It cant really be summed up chronologically.
This weeks flashback’s are less ambiguous but seem to imply we are entering a new chapter of his past story. In that flashback Boba seems to have have meaningful dialogue with last week’s “Gun Train Main Boss.” The Gun Train Faction is the Pyke Syndicate.
These Spice running aliens say the Lizard-y biker faction currently gets the protection money for the Gun Train’s passage through the area he claims to protect. They seem to agree the last faction standing can have the money. He doesn’t make a counteroffer or ask for anything. Instead he accepts this and affirms he will soon make a move to control the area.
After several boring bantha rides he completes his business trip and comes across a band of massacred Sand People, one of which seems to recognize. He’s pretty emotional and we experience a long, self important funeral sequence for the Tuscens. We were around this group a lot but had spent very little time actually getting to know them. Their death scene could have been impactful. It wasn’t though. Who mourns for a cutout charcter? I just wanted them to move on. It always felt forced. Now unneeded,the Sand People are seemingly just jettisoned or even “Fridged.” We got minimal info on this seemingly unique tribe of Raiders. Now that faction appears to have been wiped out.
We went through a good deal of nonsense for two episodes to give Boba Fett- whose father was decapitated in front of him as a child- a reason to feel damaged? This is pretty redundant.” I guess we’ll find out who killed them- the lizard biker faction people seem to be the main suspects. So now Boba Fett is the last of his people. Again.
In another Batman-like series of events selfless Boba showed more cop skills than criminal cunning checking out the complaints of stolen water. He meets the thieves and sympathizes with them, obligingly adjusting the price of blackmarket water down for the people who live in his district. This small band of twenty-something losers in low effort ‘future’ costumes that seem right off the rack immediately capture the heart Boba wears on his sleeve. Sure, they’re thieving rando humans with speeder bikes, but he’s sure they’re ok. They’re really not very Star Wars looking at all. They seem more in line with some of Doctor Who’s human sidekicks.
Boba gives the water thieves a good stern talking to and then, as I was expecting, recruits them.
In three episodes we’ve seen Boba has a deep mentoring streak and just spontaneously hires random people for no real reason. These two impulses could show up any time. The less competent and more obnoxious you are the more likely you are to be offered a job. Deep benevolence and concern for the long-term well being of others are now core to Boba Fett’s makeup. This is pretty different from Lucas’ Boba Fett, but I guess they just weren’t ever going to have a Disney show about ruthless criminals. This show is trying to have it both ways and its not working. It seems unlikely this show ever evolves into a quality watch. Its not even a guilty pleasure right now. It feels more like Hate-Watching Batwoman – but much more boring. It’s not a ‘fun show’ to watch.
The fact Boba Fett is just really dumb and lives in a world full of dumb people is on display again. The best things about this week’s episode are that its the shortest one yet and has some George Lucas directed scenes edited in. Once again scenes harvested from Attack of the Clones were of a higher quality than anything we saw from the current timeframe.
Since last weeks Key Jangle the Hutt Twin’s and wookie enforcer Black Krrsantan seemed on a collision course with our hero’s and looking to be season-long bad guys. In a move that I wasn’t expecting we seemed to have resolved the entire Twins storyline in just two episodes.
The conflict between Boba and the Hutt Twins started off confusingly last week when they appeared with their wookie enforcer. The Hutts made no aggressive moves. They reasonably and affably agreed to talk things out down the road. These Hutts are extremely cowardly, underhanded and naive, which now seems on par for crime lords in this world. The idea no one is about to fight to be in charge of Tatooine seems indisputable. None of us would either. It is the dump they say it is.
In a bad fight scene Boba is attacked in his Bacta Tank by Black Krrsanta. Krrsanta stupidly opens the tank rather than use his blaster to simply end Boba right there asleep inside. This leaves the tank undamaged and Boba feeling pretty spry in his boxer briefs. An indecisive back and forth ensues with Boba tanking some hits but getting his licks in. Then in waves all elements Boba’s Ad Hoc security detail – who seemingly didn’t post a guard and allowed an assassin to infiltrate nearly killing their boss – show up to bloodlessly capture him in a brawl.
They sort of all combine and swarm him with Fennec finally dropping Krrsantan into the Sarlacc pit- a place we found out last week where people lose their minds for no reason. When he emerges later he’s broken and cowardly. So much for this ‘cool boss wookie.”
The Hutt Twins are just the nicest gangsters ever. They come by right away and admit to the botched assassination. They say the Mayor is playing them all and they’re opting out. They call the Mayor spineless and say he’s already promised the interests once held by Jabba to some other syndicate they dont name.
The Twins are pure CGI but they’re pretty well done and there’s nice touches to the way they appear and act. At the same time they show up with no security born on a litter, not a hover-couch- just a primitive, human carried litter. This comes across a bit silly. They more or less make peace and simply give Krrsantan to Boba to do whatever he wants with- and we just immediately know hes getting a job or going free.
Boba of course immediately gives ‘Krrsantan’ complete forgiveness and tell’s him he’s free to go, no strings. The wookie still opts to run away at top speed like a coward and there’s just no fearing this character now.
The scene where ‘Krrsan-stan’ is freed is ironically funny. It’s also dumb. I’m just glad I probably wont have to cut and paste his stupid name anymore (I wouldn’t have minded if he;d been cool).
The Twins also gift Boba a baby racor and Danny Trejo, its trainer and keeper- is apparently part of the deal. He’s now simply there and he’s quite the fan of rancors. It seems this one is going to be Boba Fett’s version of the Lone Ranger’s horse, Silver. He already has a story not unlike the Lone Ranger since emerging from the Sarlacc and this seems to be a real element of the show. I like it but we need to see where it goes. It was still weird to give him a pet. Maybe there’s a John Wick angle. Anything could happen in this show
This week we lost about 6-10 minutes of runtime. This was appreciated after last week’s ‘Sand Person Makeover.” They still found time to meander and be outright boring though. He eats, he walks around thinking, he muses about the future. There’s not a lot to say so the characters chit-chat or repeat things we already know.
We do get the Mayor’s annoying Emissary in a speeder chase, wipe out his ride and now have triple confirmation that the Mayor sent the assassins from episode one. He’s messing around as power broker of Mos Espa; dealing with and double crossing dangerous factions. This makes the Twins calling him cowardly a bit dumb. He’s totally playing for keeps with the Big Boys. In fact it seems he’s not afraid of anyone.
We leave off with Boba having had his retinue expanded. He always had his tough but ambiguous pal Fennec. Now we’ve added a Game of Thrones Dragon-type pet, some new randos with Un-Cool semi Cyborg’s in almost contemporary clothing and the two leftover Gamorrians as his “Criminal” Crew- one of whom is in the Bacta Tank from the fight with Krrsanta.
The writers will generally show you something and then say it a few times. The opposing factions could attack or flake at any time. We also continued to undermine the stakes and intelligence of every single character in Return of the Jedi.
The subtitles are needed to find out character names. The show does a terrible job of explaining itself (when it even bothers to). The rumors we get a cameo from de-aged Han and Luke with Leia’s deepfake ghost need to be true for there to be any reason to continue watching this sidestory. Like Star Trek Discovery they leaking things to the internet to fill in the gaps in the story and increase engagement. This show needs help.
Last – in housekeeping news – I have a bit of piracy problem. So while its flattering they repost my content – If your reading this on ‘paperblog.com’ its not the best version. They do not include edits or updates. There’s likely already a better version at TheRealMcTeag.Com – so if you like what you read, please join and follow me there! It’s FREE! Thanks!
If you hoped things were going to get better for episode 2 of Book of Boba Fett I’ve got some mixed news for you. It’s not as bad as last week, but it was super slow. It seems to have course corrected a little and is no longer on as much of a LOKI-like Trajectory (for the moment) but- its still just not that good. It’s even a bit dull and self important here and there. This episode was consumable and mostly inoffensive- which is pretty uncommon for Star Wars stories these days. That’s the most positive way I can think of to say it.
It seems we’re not going to be doing any planet hopping in this show and Boba Fett again just acts like a dumber Batman. Episode 2 is about 70% flashback. Most of that is Boba talking to the nonverbal Sand People like they’re Scooby-Doo or Lassie. It still beats last week’s episode as far as entertainment, though. It has some fun in the middle but its not the smartest story. It had a couple of ok moments, but maybe the best ones come courtesy of Attack of the Clones.
Boba Fett’s successes in this episode are because his opponents aren’t what we’re told and also very stupid. The ‘fearless assassin’ Fennec captured breaks in seconds due to the threat of the Rancor- a creature that’s dead about 6 years this point.
For context on how dumb people are in this galaxy- the infamous Rancor was killed by Luke Skywalker, destroyer of the Death Star and the most notable person from this planet in the last half century. We’ve found out in the Mandalorian that some people who saw it, like Bib Fortuna, survived for years. Since 1997’s theatrical re-release we’ve all known the people of Tatooine celebrated the Fall of The Empire when it happened. In Mandalorian we see the moment they find out via mass broadcast of video showing the end of the Battle of Endor.
We can be pretty sure everyone knows that Luke, one of the founders of the New Republic, killed Jabba’s Rancor and a lot of other people like a week before this.
This was just dumb. Beating on him until he talks was the sensible move, he commands no respect. He looks like a bad Mortal Kombat cosplayer. His faction name is forgettable and he’s just not tough. If he was what they said? We got some Enhanced Interrogation to do- but this is a Disney show. I can’t tell if they were trying to make this funny or if they considered showing us the rancor cave cool fan service. Who was happy to see a cave again? It was awkward and weird, not cool.
We meet some new characters. Two Hutts who are potential rivals to Boba show up with their enforcer- a Wookie. Hes dark with some gray hair and sports the stupidest WWE style Star Wars gear ever topped off with a forgettable Boss Gun. He could be Chewies sidekick from Revenge of the Sith for all I know.
I hate to admit this; but all wookies who aren’t Chewie look the same to me. Den of Geek says the scene is an Easter Egg and this is actually a character from comics – ‘The Hutt twins’ Wookiee bounty hunter is Black Krrsantan, key character in Marvel’s Doctor Aphra series’. I dont know if I’d call that an Easter Egg. Sounds like ‘a Reveal’ to me, but I guess we’ll see. He seems a legit threat, sort of. He has perhaps 20 seconds of screen time he spends sort of posing. This would have been cool going forward if they hadn’t all immediately committed to talking things out later. I really would have preferred a preliminary brawl here, but they just work it out – for now.
The assassin quickly and easily gives up the identity of the assassin’s employer because he’s stupid. The mayor was behind last week’s near fatal attack. Our hero heads to the Mayor’s place for a talk but he’s acting more like a cop then a criminal. He first makes sure to state he is not going to retaliate in anger or be violent. He’s more like a tough, confrontational shrink when he’s dealing with people these days. He’s never meaner than the professional drug addiction therapist from The Intervention when he talks to people.
The Mayor was at least a pretty cool looking well done alien. He’s of the same species as Hammerhead and its been a while since we’ve seen any creatures of his type.
He definitely seems to have sent the assassins. He also seems to have gained a measure of respect for Boba- for no real reason. Last week Boba was nearly killed in the street by weak minded wimps. It was Fennec who fended them off. The Mayor could have just wasted Boba outright when his boys kill the guy who ratted them out. Boba Fett doesn’t have Beskar armor. Just kill him! Also, the lobby of the Mayor’s office looked super cheap. It has a feel similar to Star Trek The Next Generation as far as sets and costumes. It looks like TV. It’s just not cinematic.
Then we go into the past via the the Bacta Pod for the rest of this very slow vaguely Batman-like episode. In Episode 2 we really just check in on the current timeframe and then focus on events that seem to start right after the death of Jabba. The timeframe flips between the end of Attack of the Clones, the opening of Return of the Jedi and the current Mandalorian Timeframe. It’s not confusing so much as mildly disconcerting knowing could segue to any of these moments at any time.
In the bacta pod flashback we see Boba training with his new Sand People pals. Then we see a cantina where the Lizard-y Biker faction are just being Road Warrior-style baddies and messing with people. Boba beats them all up easily in a random act of kindness, has a quick drink and splits. Its slightly out of context, but it sets up this week’s episode as he now has several cool speeder-bikes.
This week is mostly about daily life for the Sand people and they’re different now. Republic Era Sand People seem to have taken an evolutionary leap in their mental capacity. It expands on the changes we first saw in The Mandalorian and we’ll need to ponder just how human they are from now on.
They had seemed to have about an iron tech level, a vaguely tribal culture and were called inhuman by even the good guys. They tortured Shmi Skywalker to death for no real reason. Not even Padme is all that put off by just killing them. We’ve had implications for the OT and the Prequels in each of the two episodes of this show. This one is less bad, but does change a lot of characters in both trilogies into true cynics.
That the Sand People just live with the threat of the train and never figured out how to strike back or avoid it until Boba Fett shows them is a little weird. Some Sand People were game to fight a Krayt Dragon last year in the Mandalorian. They even helped organize a successful plan. Fight or flight is basic. If they can figure out tactical engagements and speeders; wouldn’t they know something even squirrels would know? Specifically – run away? While Boba does give them new tech, its so quick it’s like they just have enough points to level up and immediately master it. I wouldn’t mind if they’d cut some of the 8 or 9 minute ‘becoming a sand person’ montage we end with for more of this.
They didn’t give this training sequence near enough time. They blow off showing them learning and having various degrees of success leading to some mastery. Seems our hero is now just a natural mentor. They get it right away. It could have been charming. We’ve spent a few minutes just observing our hero semi-comatose immersed in water, so you just wish they’d gone with this longer. They used their time terribly.
For no clear reason this tribe sticks close to some kind of a pathway for a hover train. This leaves them perpetually in danger. The randos who guard the train use them for target practice, rather impressively too. The train hovers maybe a half meter above the desert and looks sort of bland. They call it a train, so I will too. It moves at maybe 30 miles an hour and seems to tops out around 60.
The Sand People/ Tuskens accepted Boba Fett last week. In Episode 2 he’s already gameplanning an innovative defense from a clear but avoidable threat by teaching the Sand People to use the Speeder-Bikes, tech that’s stymied them for at least 50 years.
Our hero’s finally found some people dumber than him and he’s ready to lead! Boba’s plan is an old western-y style train robbery. He gives the Sand People the old Head Coach style Half-Time Talk and all too quickly teaches them how a speeder-bike works.
The train robbery is nearly as dumb as the one in SOLO, but a little bit more fun because it’s just Bat Fett. While there’s just no reason for people with their kind of flight tech to use this train to haul stuff around. There’s many guards and it seems pretty costly. The episode simply needed a threat, so they basically recycled some stuff from season two of the Mandalorian. Fans will realize what episode it’s from fast.
They attack and disable the train with their new capacities. The randos on board are now terrible shots and the biggest problem is the persistent droid controlling this thing. In due time they disable and capture the train with most of the alien baddies on board at only the cost of a few speeder-bikes.
Then comes an all too expected move. The now deeply altruistic ex-bounty hunter opts to give the guards a good stern talking to. He also supplies them before orienting them and sending them home. It’s way out character for Sand People to accept this. They try to kill people who are just walking around. The defender’s of the train should have all gone out like Custer! They’re fundamentally changed now, they’re not vengeful in this victory and take their cues from Boba. They don’t even beat anyone up.
The Sand People have suffered from this thing seemingly for years, but they allowed their weird new friend the Sarlacc puked out days ago let the killers who guard it and shot them just go? They’ve surely killed a LOT of Sand People over the years. I guess unlike in this Galaxy, in Star Wars being a biker brings out all your best qualities, but ok. This recontextualization is still a little hard to assess.
Boba also sells the train guards “Protection” from his band of sand people for any future journeys. So these bad guys will probably be back. At least Boba Fett is now something of a racketeer. This is the first vaguely criminal thing the aspiring crime lord has done in his own show about being a crime lord. The prisoners never seemed in danger after last week either. At least we had some fun for a while.
Turns out the train is full of Drugs from Kessel, which they wisely keep and use. The Tuscen’s love having captured so much water too. They promptly waste this like idiots, but hey, its the first shower ever for these guys. Everyone is very happy despite the death and misery this train had caused them caused for countless months if not years. They could have had the Sand People burn their dead and seem sad if they wanted to develop them. Watching a small funeral pyre would have beat this bad ending.
For nearly 10 minutes its like ironic Douglas Addams meets ironic Oliver Stone in a weird sequence where Boba becomes an equal in the tribe. So at least he’s not their leader (yet?). These particular sand people also like Drugs. In a brief moment of actual comedy they lend our hero a pet lizard (which looked like a common anole). Then they blow some space pixie dust in Boba’s face and the lizard jumps up his nose chasing the drugs. I guess it’s kind of like a Trippy Babble Fish. For a while he’s sort of reverse ‘chasing the dragon’ here and he “trips.” I just want to know how sand people figured this out since they keep their faces perpetually wrapped, but he sure trips hard. All the way back to Attack of the Clones at one point and this sequence wasn’t bad. Some of its appropriated right from movies and cut scenes.
The Tripping Sequence is (accidentally?) reminiscent of The Doors movie peyote trip sequence, but with Boba alone. There’s a tree and some other stuff. Later he returns to his pals… wiser I suppose. In a nice piece of continuity the lizard jumps out of his nose back into its little cage again. It was cute. I hope the lizard tripped too.
Then the episode really slows down. For about 9 minutes we listen to droning music and see a Tuscen Makeover. We end with Boba and the sandpeople ritually dancing to music only the audience can hear in a half yoga- half jumping around drunk dance scene. It was bad.
Some scenes were superficially touching the edge of Prequel level quality, but that’s just because they were in or cut from Attack of the Clones. Its the work of George Lucas re-edited.
Everything in town that actually looks like Star Wars LOOKS very Prequels. This boring episode is only ok. Maybe. Once again the droid voiced by Toast of London actor Matt Berry is featured, glad he got paid.
I’ll be pondering this weeks installment and updating- feel free to comment if I missed something or if you just have a question or point.
Last – in housekeeping news – I have a bit of piracy problem. So while its flattering they repost my content – If your reading this on ‘paperblog.com’ its not the best version. They do not include edits or updates. There’s likely already a better version at TheRealMcTeag.Com – so if you like what you’ve read please join me there! Its FREE! Thanks!
The very idea of the show Book of Boba Fett took me by surprise when they introduced the concept in Season 2 of the Mandalorian. So far it looks kind of sloppy and it’s got the potential to be as bad as Loki.
The first thought I had when they rolled this out was killing off Bib Fortuna really fast and easy seemed excessive. The result is obvious right away. Boba Fett is immediately in charge. It’s kind of Unearned. I immediately thought a season spent trying to knock Fortuna out of power- and showing that this gig he wants was both valuable and tough to get- would have been really interesting. They blew this off for one big visual splash.
So I had some concerns. I was worried they hadn’t put a lot of thought into this show. The sloppy pilot reveals this concern was legitimate.
Here’s more or less what went down and the problems that stuck out on the initial view. I will try to give some examples to support what I say and stay mostly In-Universe. Head canon doesn’t count but I’ll still speculate a little.
Please feel free to comment and critique this work! That said –
We start and end with a wraparound of ‘bacta pod’ dream sequences. Not the worst choice but the montages and backstory aren’t that great.
While its too early to assess this show as a whole; the pilot was just plain bad. The usual easily pleased people are slapping their flippers together like trained seals- but there’s about as much dissent as support for this pilot.
So what sucks about the Pilot? Slow and boring for starters. For the most part the episode looks great and is filmed well. Then we have few real story problems and some implications and hits for Return of the Jedi’s story.
While we had a perfectly decent explanation of how Boba Fett escaped the Sarlacc Pit provided last season- its implied Fett was freed when the Sarlacc was killed by the Crayt Dragon- they blow this off. I guess it was too reasonable? This could have still been the case and nothing in the episode would have changed. The new details of the escape from the Sarlacc pit were bad and meaningless. If anything the Sarlacc is a joke now.
The sloppy escape sequence means Boba Fett is only in the clutches of the Almighty Sarlacc monster for minutes, maybe an hour. We know this from the fact he’s cannibalizing oxygen from a dead stormtrooper.
He escapes right away using his flamethrower. The environment is dark, mucusy and theres some kind of black fluid that may be digestive juices everywhere.
Theres some kind of green mist inside the Sarlacc which seems to be the real threat from the sarlacc. Its not overly apparent to the eye because the scen is so dark. I had to rewind this to see the effect better. The sarlacc’s inside is somewhat like a mollusc. His escape is pretty unimpressive. He’s just not in there very long as it stands now. At any rate the Sarlacc is easily defeated with tech common to this world.
Lets forget for a moment that when he escapes we dont see the rebels led by Luke making good their escape from the smoking wreck of Jabba’s sail-barge. So maybe hes in there a couple hours? We have a ticking clock for no reason thats locked in our escape to small window of an hour or two. The debris of the barge are no longer smoldering when Boba emerges from the sand though- so they really just didn’t want to commit or they really screwed up. Unsatisfying covers my feelings on this part.
As far as good news, some people (Max Rebo for example) we thought died on the sailbarge are safe. I am totally cool with this. Let’s hope Salicious B Crumb made it too. This Galaxy needs his intentional comedy (rather than all this ironic comedy).
We go to a strange space Bazarre. It’s apparently a commerce hub. The place is styled like a budget Middle Eastern marketplace. It seemed like a mashup of Indiana Jones and Quarks Bar from Star Trek Deep Space 9. Its run by low effort Twi’lek’s led by Jennifer Beals of Flashdance fame, what a feeling!
This part will save them a fortune. Making an actor into a Twi’lek is now easy. It now consists of a low effort hat with tentacles and possibly some body paint. Male and female twi’leks now apparently all have TWO tentacles. Bib Fortuna had only one. They also no longer seem to have creepy teeth. The Mayor’s Emissary was especially cheap. Are they nerfing this to make their already failing Star Wars Hotel actors look more on point? Cause this was cosplay level of costume effort. Maybe less. So the Bazarre is also a bad comic convention. Ironic.
The people at the Twi’lek bazarre come off as super ready to be down with Boba though. They flatter him and gift him up.
We find out Boba Fett, unaltered clone of selfish Jango Fett, is basically a REALLY nice guy. He’s actually somewhat like Batman in so much as he wont kill his enemies unless forced (or its a monster). He’ll also take risks to save people, even strangers. He’s not ruthless or cunning at all. He’s actually much nicer than say ‘The Punisher’ for example.
While this is admirable he now has been shown as lacking a criminal instinct and is without the skillset we thought he had- specifically- being a criminal!
He is also a terrible Human Resources guy. While sparing the guards who were loyal to Bib Fortuna was fine; hiring them as his own bodyguards is monumentally stupid. They suck as guards. Their last boss died violently while under their protection as did the previous boss Jabba. Seems to me they suck at protecting people- something we get confirmed minutes later.
Boba Fett intends to rule as a less violent gangster. He seems to have his sights focused on being kind of like a Space version of a benevolent medieval baron.
He’s got some new traits that dont fit his job or aspirations now. He misses out on chances to improve his own situation through pure altruism. He’s a Bounty Hunter with a Heart of Gold who eschews displays of power. He naively ignores his sidekick Fennec’s advice. This quickly gets him jumped by a handful of Mortal Combat rejects who got lost on their way to be in Dune.
These randos kick Boba’s ass and have shields like we’ve never seen before in Star Wars. They’re far superior to what the Gungans had and you can use them to beat on people. Like in Dune.
Since he’s Boba Fett; hes permitted one bloodless overkill before being hauled off to his Bacta tank to heal. We then see these rando’s are really easy to kill and capture for Fennec.
There’s some potential damage to Return of the Jedi depending on how you assess it. Jabba is now an idiot to think the Sarlacc was in any way badass. Luke was never in much danger and the plan to rescue Han – by the smartest rebels; is now reduced to simple idiocy and dumb luck.
The plan the rebels have to rescue Han from Jabba was never their best strategic moment. Now its worse. The plan is now ‘Lets toy with Jabba pointlessly for a pretty long time. We’ll get half our team captured on purpose and then taunt Jabba into a Bond Villain Mistake.’ It just so happens to work because Jabba is now an idiot. And if it had failed, well- so what? The Sarlacc is now no big deal.
If Jabba had just wasted everyone right there he’d have won. He’d also have some real street cred with the Empire. Instead he has a plan so bad that even if it had worked it wouldn’t have mattered!
If every single rebel had ended up in the Sarlacc pit like Jabba wanted he would have had very little time to live. The Sarlacc would have been dispatched easily by Lukes Force powers or especially his lightsaber. Considering how effortless it is for Boba Fett to get out once he orients himself? Luke and the rest would have been back at Jabba’s palace in an hour with little more than an ugly makeover and a newly worsened attitude. And then they would have killed him. And then the movie would have simply went on with nothing else having changed.
I felt like this was a stupid mistake. They had said fucking up the old movies was supposedly just an unintended error they had learned from. John Favreau would never do that – right? Well, he did. It was very avoidable too.
The Sarlacc is now a bad joke. It seems like Boba Fett is merely inconvenienced for about 20 minutes by it.
Why are we rushing his backstory in a TV series? We have time. The idea he’s stuck in the Sarlacc for a while suffering would have justified his new outlook- it also would have been a better place for some of these dreams. Rather than just do that they went for a really brief action scene as an explanation.
Til now it seemed years of suffering had been the reason he’d become nicer and non criminal in his outlook. It was cool and it made sense too. Instead it seems he was always a great guy. I’m just not sure where he is morally anymore.
I guess the idea now is hes always been misunderstood. Hey his dad was killed in front of him. Apparently Boba Fett only did bounty-hunter work to make ends meet.
We get another dream fragment where we see Fett winning the respect of the Tuskens – who captured and enslaved him after he escaped the Sarlacc- by choking out a low effort monster. Its a four armed sand lizard that’s only just so impressive. ‘Super poorly thought out’ is the way I would describe this cheap monster. Boba kills it easily. I guess you could say he scores a pretty decent 2 for 2 monster kill-count in this episode if you wanted to put it in the best possible light.
So while there’s no reason to have moved this far in episode 1- he could still be in the pit struggling and suffering the whole episode- we’re moving fast.
Somehow they still managed to make this show boring too. Lots of chit chatting and walking around. I guess we do some work on the world and characters as we walk around his new realm; but it could be interpreted as a series of tactical mistakes by a supposedly skilled warrior. Boba Fett is inept at strategy and overestimates himself. They just pound this home the whole time for whatever reason. His first day of work in his new job ends early and in disaster because of his bad ideas.
In one sentence my thoughts are “This was the best you could do?” The show was planned at least 2 years ago. There was time. The abundant low effort monsters and costumes as well as the appropriated Dune weapons all seem pretty lazy.
So after a chaotic debut where we nerfed the sarlacc, made Jabba stupid, fucked up Han’s rescue and played weird games with time; we look to episode 2 to start reconciling these problems. That’s right- the show already needs Damage Control.
On the plus side of the equation we know that they didn’t oversell this character or make him seem overly tough in this episode. If anything hes a bad military mind and clueless bordering on bumbling in his endeavor as an aspiring crime lord. The scene where he verbally says that he is in fact a ‘crime lord’ is pretty cringey and Boba seems inept as a negotiator. You’d think a Bounty Hunter would have that skill. Not this one though.
Boba Fett is just a less quip-y Iron Man who has a less impressive suit. He’s only as smart as John Favreau as the Critical Drinker would say. We cant be shocked if he makes mistakes, drifts off his character traits and just key jangles his way through this series. The debut was just a mess.
Also to be thorough, since its Star Wars I need to let you know – So far there’s no use of the Force and no known force user has been introduced. Force-free Star Wars is territory only the failed SOLO movie has ventured into before. It would be nice to have someone- a new person hopefully- show up from time to time to do Force-y things. We’ll have to wait and see about that.
Maybe the (brief, unexpanded) flashback scenes directly from Attack of Clones were the best part of this mess.
Heading into episode 2 all I can say “wow do I ever NOT care after what I just saw”
This story needs to improve before I recommend it. The first time I checked to see how much more of the show was left was 6 minutes in. Felt like 10. In a bad way.
If you don’t already have it just hold off on Disney Plus. You can marathon the show during a promotion. This show in itself just isn’t worth getting a subscription. Wait for more content.
Last – in housekeeping news – I have a bit of piracy problem. So while its flattering they repost my content – If your reading this on ‘paperblog.com’ its not the best version. They do not include edits or updates. There’s likely already a better version at TheRealMcTeag.Com – so if you like what you’ve read please join me there! Its FREE! Thanks!
The new Bond movie is actually worth seeing. It’s a pretty good movie and hits some really good notes and even manages to strike a chord or two with help from good performances, good action and an especially strong, nostalgic score.
I’m going to strive for objectivity but this is mostly a review of how it felt seeing this movie in a real theater and not one of my in depth analysis. I recommend this movie in that context. Like pretty much everyone else I needed to see a movie in a theater with people again- and I just didn’t want to see any more MARVEL or Disney Star Wars stuff.
Is it perfect? No. Are Bond elements like womanizing and drinking in this movie? Minimally. We see more of Daniel Craig’s physique than anyone elses. So no hot women in bikinis or anything like that. We do have some gadgets and some really good action in a well filmed movie though.
No Time to Die is not perfect; but it’s simply an enormous cut above something like the recent Black Widow as far as Spy-Action movies. For one thing the action scenes worked in the moment and there wasn’t anything tearing you out of this movie. At no point does it stop dead or just stall. It mostly balances action and plot well on first view.
The early signs this movie was headed in a bad direction didn’t really show up. Maybe the fans mostly horrified reactions changed the story for the better. The worst case predictions did not happen. He’s not a dismissable loser like Picard. He’s NOT training his replacement. It’s A LOT better than the trailers – which now can be called misleading. James Bond is still a bad ass and no ones fool.
Bond can still be cold and at times he’s vengeful and mean. Daniel Craig’s Bond has always gone with mean over glib in his overall approach to the role. This extends to fighting as well. He has no issues just beating someone up pretty bad. He’s sparser with the chippy wise- cracking. He’s always been a pretty brutal Bond. That said he also doesn’t use unconvincing judo chops and the fight scenes were fun and seem well crafted for the most part.
No Time to Die is very much a personal movie for Bond and he has a very personal agenda – at first. Then as the stakes are raised he’s back on the team.
He’s also in it because he can’t stand idly by while innocent people get hurt- James Bond just can’t do that. This aspect was pretty satisfying. Then the stakes reach a point where literally anyone would try to stop it, but most Bond movies present an Unambiguous threat anyone would try to stop.
What matters is we mostly get the Bond we know as played by Daniel Craig. They didn’t make him any more different than he already was. He’s constantly showing selfless bravery.
They avoided (or got off) the low road. The Bond character doesn’t really take movie-killing hits over and over for a joke or to facilitate a scene. This is not to say that some actions and moments aren’t pretty convenient and outright in contradiction to things we know from the real world. Like his use of EMP blasts. This part did have implications I needed to sort of actively ignore.
Nothing jumped out as so immersion destroying that I disengaged in confusion or really broke this movie outright -unless you have real issues with a new, very different Bond ending (No spoilers yet). There was no blatant illogic (outside his watch and creative physics for car chases and the like) and things mostly happen for a reason. A throw away line or two would have smoothed out the issues with his watch, but we don’t get anything like that. So sometimes, even with the time we had its a bit sloppy.
This multi-movie story continuity during Daniel Craig’s tenure has been hit or miss the whole time. Some of the movies just don’f really feel like Bond and are actually bad. This ones not really a miss. It isn’t truly bad. Its somewhere in the middle. Certainly it never bottomed out the way Quantum of Solace does.
The story is fairly straightforward and seems to have decent cause and effect. It didn’t feel like it was a bunch of endless shortcuts in the plot or two dueling movies edited together. Some dialogue was sort of weirdly out of place though. When Bond’s “Team” banters the humor is not so much forced as one dimensionally British. I wasn’t a huge fan of the interactions between the members of Bond’s Team. They weren’t horrible or overly long though. You just wouldn’t really want to hang out with these people outside of work. They are shown to be dedicated and essentially good people at heart though.
No Time to Die has some moments of amazing cinematography as well. The movie is easily more than 51% good. Rotten Tomatoes agrees. The fans liked it even more than the critics with both scores well into the 80’s and certitified fresh. So I’m not the only one saying ‘it was worth a trip to the movies.’
My return to communal viewing in a theater was in itself emotional. Maybe it’s part of why I was so immersed. I was so glad my first Post Pandemic trip to the movies was fun, and I’m kind of grateful to Bond for that much.
If all you wanted to know is “Was this a fun, worthwhile trip to the movies?” My answer is “Pretty much.” I’m not going back to see it again, but I look forward to seeing it again as a rental. Consider this a Thumbnail Reaction. Of Note -while we had a few contrivances and some level of predictability there were also times the movie was good for long stretches too.
So, SPOILERS from here on in!
The one character to stand out to me as really getting beat on in this movie is the New M, Mallory. It may not be character assassination. It sure didnt bother me. After showing up as a semi-antagonist in SKYFALL, Mallory is a largely Unproven M. Between movies he’s been at the helm at MI-6 and it’s apparent he’s just not good at this job. This only makes sense since he was never a huge believer in the MI-6 approach to espionage anyway.
In No Time to Die M’s actions drive the story. In the role of M Mallory has been aggressive and inept. In the time since SKYFALL he’s apparently lost any ability or competence he may have had. Bond’s problems in this movie are all due to M’s bad decisions.
At some point after the events of SKYFALL M greenlighted development of a weapon that was simply too powerful and too hard to control.
The unnamed Nano-Bot Virus can, theoretically, be genetically programmed to a specific person. Apparently Mallory never realizes or doesn’t care that it can also be released in a generalized manner to wipe out an entire ethnicity. Or everyone with red hair. Or the entire human race.
If you’re the target and get exposed it’s an inescapable Insta-Kill. You’re immediately in your death throes. I haven’t played HALO but people are saying the Nanobot Virus was more or less lifted from this video game franchise. When exposed your flesh is visibly affected, you convulse and suffer for like 15 seconds and then just die. We see it passed by touch as well as dispersed using gas or some kind of aerosolizer.
We’re told once you’re exposed you have it forever- which is weird because the virus is actually more like a cyborg Nanite– which is pretty intense but also sounds pretty complicated and pretty detectable. These microscopic weapons are either perpetual or can reproduce. This part of the movie is another reason I think the throw away lines about the technical aspect of the virus came after COVID made a natural virus seem too creepy. It’s a Hollywood move but an understandable one. No one needed to be more scared about going out for the first time to theaters. I’m was willing to let this go. It wasn’t good – it beat the HELL out of any kind of moral messaging though. I was mostly happy the line made me less uncomfortable to be there for me. I recognized it as such and accepted it. It might really be a plot-hole too far and is part of why the movie is a bit flawed. For instance; they jam Blofeld into the movie in a bizarre way and just kill him in about one scene. It’s just to show off the nano-bot virus. There were a couple of jammed in moments that were weird.
At any rate; Mallory’s been completely myopic in pursuit of a ‘perfect’ assassination weapon. Why he didn’t consider the implications of his actions seems to be either “he’s overconfident in MI-6 security, not that smart or both.” Maybe the inconsistency here is Mallory is now way too “All In” developing assassination weapons.
In SKYFALL Mallory seemed inclined to start winding down the more aggressive espionage projects. He’s gone way beyond trying to get information to give his country an edge in making this insanely powerful weapon. The Nanobot Virus is everything Mallory didn’t want. It’s a little like the Genesis Device from Wrath of Khan that way.
So in a way the problem is M. Mallory commissions the Nanobot virus without ever realizing it has genocidal potential. Mallory really made a HUGE mistake on this one.
This would be a bigger deal if he weren’t a new M. What helps this movie not get in its own way is that when we met him Mallory was cynical about MI-6, slow to accept Bond and had an incompetent streak already in place. Mallory needs to be fired from MI-6 for his boneheaded move, but this really doesn’t affect the story as you can assume Fiennes is done with Bond Movies now. More on “Team Bond” later.
“No Time to Die” did succeed in immersing me and the movie entertained. It may not stand up to a harder analysis- for instance the opening scene features a frozen lake that selectively shatters. It can’t support a 10 year old girl but the seemingly grown man who follows her is supported fine and even messes with the ice a little. There’s a couple of issues like this here and there. I would need to see it again and be able to take notes to analyze this point by point. However for me it WAS a fun trip to the movies.
The imperfect movie is still good enough to spend 20 bucks on. There were some problems here and there but I think the movie achieves a level of immersion that allows it to work most of the time.
Bond makes it to the end of the movie with his pride and dignity intact. Again though- as we’ve known Bond through Craig in this experimental multi-movie arc.
Craigs Bond is still not too suave even after all this time. He is at least pithy and sarcastic though. He gets some shit from people but he gives it right back, and usually does them one better. So he doesn’t get owned at all by his peers nor is he berated much more than he is in any other Bond movie. Bond’s coworkers have always been sort of irritated by him. The fact many people only grudgingly like Bond or pretty much merely tolerate was well established. So this part is not new
Let’s just call the bad guy forgettable. Lyutsifer Safin is well played by Rami Malek, but the character truly is forgettable. I had to google his fairly preposterous name for this review just two hours after seeing the movie. He’s just not memorable- but he does what what he needs to do well.
Safin is in line with most Bond Villains, maybe he’s even a little better than average. Of course he has the usual overcomplicated Bond Villain plan; but he doesn’t outright suck. He has a personal stake in getting revenge, super weapon notwithstanding. He’s well motivated.
I was a little surprised they chose such a young actor when the story covers maybe twenty years and it seems he’d have to be 10 in his intro scene-and hes surely not. It’s a manifestation of how different this latest take on Bond is.
Safin is menacing at times and also seems fairly competent. He’s not an unworthy opponent. He has a real reason for his grudge and his dioxin scarred face is in line with real world spy incidents.
Safin’s believable as a Bond bad guy but only has a lot screen time because of the length of the movie. A lot of this time he’s simply attacking Bond, so we don’t spend a whole lot of time having Bond threatened while he’s wined and dined like in Dr No or Goldfinger.
Safin might have the smallest actual percentage of total screen time of any Bond villain. Since he does pull off his role well it more or less works out. At worst it’s harmless to the movie.
This time most of this movie is Bond himself. Living out his retirement early on. Loving life for a moment, then damaged and isolated again. A five year time jump happens after the super long cold open. After that we’re in Bonds current day, seemingly 2021- where the rest of the movie happens.
It might be about as good as SPECTRE. It’s in that neighborhood. Maybe like Rogue 1 I’ll find its just not that rewatchable, so this isn’t an outright endorsement the movie is problem free- but it won’t have you spitting out your coke in frustration either. The comparisons to The Last Jedi seem misguided and premature at this point, mostly because we’ve swapped out Bonds before.
In this final outing Craig’s finally comfortable in the role. Here’s a few reassuring things you can keep in mind seeing imperfect but enjoyable No Time to Die.
This is a LONG movie. Go to the bathroom first and get a smaller soda. Two hours and forty-five minutes doesn’t exactly fly by and we dont use a lot of that time developing the villain. The movie is well paced though. It does NOT feel as long as Rise of Skywalker (which is a half hour shorter). Whether you love the story or not it didn’t feel rushed (at that run time how could it?) or ever slow to a crawl. Only one or two contrivances really jumped out. It was not perfect but it was not boring. It was also not offensive in its treatment of Bond. He’s mocked, but only in a way we’ve seen before, Like for being old, imprecise and brutal, but James Bond maintains his thick skin and is mostly quick witted and takes no real shit.
It’s kind of cool to see Bond focus on self preservation at times. He’s got emotion about cutting people totally out of his life. Still, he coldly does it anyway and just deals with the damage later. This was fun to see.
The action scenes are of pretty high quality throughout.
In one of the more humorous action scenes they successfully play a ‘Roger Moore-era invoking’ fun action scene. In this sequence Bond’s Astin-Martin is nothing short of magically impervious to everything. Despite multiple attacks and sustained gunfire it doesn’t sustain any damage that won’t just ‘Buff Out.’ Bond is actually a bit bored as he lures the bad guys in by allowing them to think they’ve rope-a-doped his ride. When he springs the trap the classic Bond Music kicks in perfectly on cue and he’s coolly dusting off enemies. In true Bond fashion he’s grimly self satisfied as he drives away smirking. This is the scene from the trailer and commercials where the Astin-Martin is doing an Emergency Brake controlled high-speed circle with the twin front mounted machine guns blazing. This scene is as fun as it looks and may in itself justify the movie. This scene really succeeds. It’s satisfying to see Bond just being Bond.
The car, scooter and motorcycle chases all worked and came at just the right time as do shootouts and fight scenes. The didnt feel manufactured, but it is a Bond movie, so you knew it would be in there. These parts all largely satisfied.
Daniel Craig’s final outing is maybe the most different Bond movie this side of On Her Majesties Secret Service but is to me closer to License to Kill (more on that at the end of this review). The globetrotting secret agent- described as a past him prime relic for over 40 years; is for the first time in a movie that has a HARD ending- more on that later as well.
Daniel Craig has had a mixed bag of Bond movies. They featured better action and better acting then the venerable franchise had featured in the past- especially from extras, henchmen and the female leads. This welcome change was counterbalanced with making Bond more of a super tough ex-military guy who’d been to charm school rather than a well refined, super educated genius who also happened to be super tough. This iteration of Bond was very different and we introduce a kind of continuity we hadn’t had in previous movies.
Now for something of “Lightning Round” of things that stood out as noteworthy to me-
The Gorgeous Ana de Armas, who plays Bond’s Cuban asset in a big cameo would have been a more on-point love interest. Shes not in the movie long enough to really figure out. She’s a problematic character as far as squaring up what she says versus what she does
No one rips on, puts down or mocks Bond without getting their comeuppance for it.
There’s no womanizing. Bond is a one woman kind of guy who now is highly sentimental. Spectre knows to set a trap for him at his love interest from Casino Royale’s grave because he just seems to regularly bring flowers there.
The “Nano-Bot Virus” was probably a regular virus until COVID changed everyones feelings about that concept
The CIA Turncoat is extremely similar to the character who burns Felix in License to Kill.
Bond’s watch is a problematic plot hole. That EMP should be able to fry the Nano-bot virus; this actual plot-hole seems to shore up my theory this was a straight up Bio Weapon until COVID just made that too creepy to sell in the theater.
MI-6 and the people running it are profoundly immoral and dumb. They’re far more inept than we realized. They actually are fully deserving of every contemptuous remark Bond has ever slung at them. They are bad spies with bad judgement.
It was pretty cool to have the bad guys be SPECTRE and have them up to their old evil deeds. It was also kind of satisfying that they still especially hate Bond. This felt very familiar, like when Indiana Jones opponents are the Nazis. It simply makes things feel more Bond. I think the movie needed all the shoring up of the Bond-ishness it could get considering how radically different it was. The presence of SPECTRE helped this movie. A Rando bad guy faction would have been less effective. This time fan service wasn’t just jammed in and in the way, it was kind of organic. SPECTRE was the natural choice as the foe. They get what they have coming, but maybe a good writer can resurrect their faction eventually.
It actually IS time to die. Unfortunately, they shoehorn this line into the movie, but at least Bond doesn’t say it. The movie is more honestly titled “High Time to Die” or “No It IS Time to Die” because James Bond is not gonna be writing any kind of post mission report after what we see at the end of this movie. Lets just call it UnSurvivable for now. More on that later
Rest assured we see enough to know JAMES BOND IS DEAD. The movie is Unambiguous on this. They want you to know it at least this arc of movies and this Bond are finished. There’s NO WAY OUT of the hard death scene that’s not laughable. The up side is- Bond is Bond until the end. Hes brave and selfless. The bad guy kind of gets most of what he wants though, as the death of Bond will surely be a painful burden on Madeline and about the same thing Madeline did to Safir
The idea you could just throw a new Bond out there with this same cast seems impossible. This is the end of the line for this supporting cast – otherwise its too weird.
Safin has the least elaborate death of any Bond Villain EVER. If you consider that intrinsic you’ll be let down. I thought capping Safin in the head and then rage a round or two more in there was fitting for this particular Bond. It was also pretty satisfying despite being simple because you did hate this bad guy enough. You would have wanted a random SWAT team to kill this guy. Safin is evil enough and only just so sympathetic after the decent reveal of his identity and grudge. After that he’s hard and evil and pretty hands on. Again- very atypical. He’s his own muscle to a point. He doesn’t need a whole lot of guys backing him up, though he has enough anyway just to keep it Bond-like.
The movie ends with a small gathering that consists of M and a couple of the women they’ve teased replacing Bond with. It would call that part a needless addendum to the movie- but its not bad. The credit sequence ends with JAMES BOND WILL RETURN. Just what that means and how that materializes is pretty hard to auger after seeing the movie though. We absolutely see him die. The filming and cinematography are well matched to a great score that reprises many past Bond theme’s- but we may never hear his primary theme. The score is so strong I only realized this later though.
The title track and sequence occur so deep into the movie the “Cold Open” is about 30 minutes. The credit sequence surprised me. I forgot we hadn’t had them.
The song and credit sequence are as forgettable as our villain. The song itself is bad. The credit sequence is more sentimental than ‘good’ or ‘risque’
JAMES BOND IS DEAD
The way they handle Bond’s death tries to be respectful and realizes he cant just give up and allow himself to be killed. So the writers attempted to create an understandable indifference to dying backed up by a time crunch that sort of takes survival out of the equation mostly anyway. The ‘throw away’ justification might be “It was high time he met an opponent who programmed some kind of fail-safes into their needlessly complex Evil Plan.” It sort of flies. Sort of. They do layer on a lot of problems to overcome and throw emotional and physical damage at Bond right near the end to make his surviving this seem impossible anyway and that Bond was simply ‘on his ninth life’ for too long.
In fairness Killing James Bond outright onscreen is nothing if not daring. It’s also monumental. This character has been in twenty five movies, none of which ever lost money. Whether or not you’re ok with killing him, the writers seem to appreciate the level of gravitas Bond is possessed of. Therefore they set all circumstances against his survival to minimize him looking suicidal.
He’s messed up and can’t get around too quick, and for once the Villain has left a couple of precautions in place. Because it seems to me the Nano-Bot virus Bond was infected with while fighting Safin was programmed to Bond’s girlfriend and daughter only and not an indiscriminate WMD like some other reviewers have said.
So James Bond dies because he’s messed up, not that mobile and needs to flip a switch to Un-Shield the Nano-Bot Virus pool. This is a pool of acid beneath the surface of the bad guy’s island where all of the virus is contained, apparently unprogrammed. For whatever reason the island lair was appropriate too. This was Bond coming full circle in some ways, so ‘why not?’ I guess.
They tried to make sure he’s messed up enough for this not to be an indifferent suicide- but I really want to hear that dialogue again. This issue might just be enough to change my feelings a little. It might be the only part of this movie I’m not totally clear on.
If the virus were in fact only fatal to Madeline and Bond’s daughter my feeling is he would stay on the island awaiting a cure. He’d simply use technology to skype with the people he loves, cross his fingers and wait for science and the need to make another movie to bail him out. There’s a lot riding on that bit of dialogue when I rewatch this movie. I guess this is why they also make sure he’s banged up and needs to perform some manual tasks at ground zero of the Airstrike to destroy the nano-bot pool.
This movie wanted to kill Bond and wanted us to know for sure he was dead. They were nice enough and smart enough to do what they could to make the death dignified and brave. Indifference is sort of at the edge. He has enough to live for.
They did try to make him a hero in death. The circumstances that would allow him to have any chance to survive are complex and time consuming to explain. They absolutely didn’t pull this off totally cleanly- but there was a sincere effort.
Whether or not we can say they did it great really is one for a Repeated Viewings. It was not overly satisfying to see James Bond die onscreen. That said- he’s been rebooted before.
One possibility is a nebulous sideways jump to have a new Bond origin tale in what I can only call a “Bond Begins/Rise of 007” multi-movie arc. Let’s remember- as of the books James Bond is a World War II veteran- so a real revamp is probably justifiable if we preserve his core traits. So maybe we just cast another man as the hard living secret agent and do four self contained movies. Im indifferent about hard continuity in Bond Movies after this whole phase.
So with all that said, honestly, you have enough to decide what you want to do. I say “See it if you have the 20 bucks.” There’s more than a few legitimate reasons to invest 20 bucks in this movie. You’ll likely be immersed and have fun. These may be the only writers who listened to fans and used the delay from COVID to rework their script and make the movie better than the trailer seemed to be showing us. By a lot.
Finally I consider this Daniel Craig’s very best delivery as Bond- he’s still not suave and has more of a rough appeal – but that’s been how it’s been through this whole iteration. Too bad it came at the end of the run.
Aftertought – FOR BOND FAN EYES ONLY
Theres allusions and some similarity in the plot to that of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, including a great reprise of the theme. Theres a small touch of Thunderball but really the closest movie to this one might be License To Kill- the Thunderball update from the late 80’s.
In that movie Timothy Dalton’s Bond has a really personal agenda intimately involving Felix as well. It also has some of his crew leave HQ to back him up for a Revenge caper where he’s sort of off the leash. He’s also completely unauthorized with no License to Kill- so all the killings in that movie are murders.
Early in the movie Bond is stripped of his License to Kill after he gets fired for dropping off the grid to pursue a cold blooded payback quest MI-6 would just not authorize. It would even have worked as a non-Bond movie. Bond simply goes about targeting and killing every major member of a drug gang headed up by a Banana Republic leader who is mostly a cross between Noriega and Pablo Escobar. This movie came to mind a few times. Especially during the Cuba sequence where the eye-candy girlfriend starts wielding a 9 in one hand and an uzi in the other.
Underappreciated Dalton plays Bond more ruthless in LTK. The story simply involves Bond dropping off the grid to outright kill anyone involved in hurting is friend.
License to Kill is a movie that broke new ground for the franchise. It was an interesting choice and is the first and maybe only time we see an entire Bond movie focused on a grim, purely personal revenge mission. He’s an angry and vindictive Bond who mostly gets by on his own wits, though he meets up with Q later.
License to Kill is another strange but satisfying Bond movie. It’s the first Bond is freelancing and looking to simply outright kill people. He has no altruistic purpose. The adversaries happen to be really evil Narco’s who deserve to die, but Bond would never have bothered with them if they hadn’t messed with Felix; killing his hot new wife and then feeding half of him to a shark. So Payback for Felix is in both of these movies.
JJ Abrams has never been able to really develop a story or build a character as a director. These days he just inherits other people’s ideas and riffs off his hot take scripts without ever redrafting or earning a single shot. He also avoids ever explaining a thing. JJ simply DOES things, unearned. In his movies things just happen.
As Rise of Skywalker and The Force Awakens showed us JJ is terrible with legacy characters and averse to doing any research. He unceremoniously dismissed Star Trek canon with a cheap time travel story that wiped out all previous shows (with the possible exception of Enterprise).
In the 2009 movie we’re thrown into JJ’s awful Kelvin Timeline and told to expect these characters to be somewhat different. Instead of different though what we got was simply bad cut-outs of the original characters.
For example, this Spock is dumb, highly emotional and regularly has temper tantrums. Rather than know how to utilize tech and strike the perfect tone as the ships comms officer and voice of the Enterprise, this Uhura just speaks all languages and helps put the boys over the top in the fights they just can’t win alone. Khan’s ‘character’ gets butchered too, hes fundamentally changed. The only good thing about this bad “Kelvin Timeline” writing device is any decent writer can make it go away in about two hours of screen time.
When making horrible Star Trek Into Darkness creatively challenged JJ Abrams wanted his money, but his eyes were already on the door to go ruin Star Wars. So he was done trying, he simply throws us a character billed as Khan that just isn’t. What we get in Into Darkness is ‘Kelvin Khan’.
While Original Khan is a soldier, a politician, a philosopher and a genius JJ’s botched Kelvin Clone is just a mere MCU SuperSoldier. He’s nothing more than a really strong human whose been genetically engineered. An easily available Phazer will kill him. Also, in a dreadful and depressing sequence that features a 9-11 level bombing, we’re shown that his blood is a serum that cures terminal diseases and can even…. overcome death. Sound familiar?? He’s more a freak than anything else.
This unrefined low ranking military-type skull smasher doesn’t quote Milton or Melville like his genius Roddenberry created counterpart might. This Khan just makes implied threats. He’s also sometimes game to kind of be friends and sometimes will team up with the crew.
He’s much more akin to The Winter Soldier or an evil, science-y Captain America. He’s just essentially an Unfrozen Tough Guy. His “genius” tech doesn’t seem more impressive than what they already have. Like JJ Abrams- he’s just made the same thing as before; but on a comically huge scale. He’s also a space serial killer.
Kelvin Khan is described as a military and tactical genius over and over, but we never see this. Kelvin Khan’s plan to kill every important Star Fleet Officer is more or less sound – but he chooses to attack with a very weak underpowered craft that uses 300 year old technology to fly. In todays terms this is like attacking the UN with a wooden sailing ship from the early 18th century.
For this harebrained scheme to work Star Fleets highest officers need to be really, really dumb and Star Fleet itself needs to be deeply incompetent.
Star Fleets level of security for their most important people at their known, designated Emergency Meeting spot, Fleet HeadQuarters, shows pure negligence. They merely have a manual fire suppression system. Even so, Khan failed to plan around this minimal precaution. It ends up being all they need.
The manual fire suppression system- sometimes called a “firehose” – is enough to wreck up Khan’s badly designed attack craft and drive him off. In fact the botched attack sets up a chain of pure coincidences that combine to screw up Khan’s plan. If Kirk or anyone else so much as had a phazer they could’ve killed Khan right there. One vigilant sniper could have killed Khan in this stupid scene that’s supposed to cement him as a formidable genius.
Kelvin Khan’s overall “Genius” plan is to save his frozen buddies. To do this he opts to go in a long, boring circle. He needs to be taken prisoner by StarFleet so he can steal a Mega-Sized Starship that’s more or less a Death Star. To this end Kelvin Khan escapes captivity by Star Fleet so that he can be recaptured by them. It’s baffling.
If Khan remains free or is captured by anyone but the crew of the Enterprise he can’t enact his plan at all.
He starts out by getting everyone’s attention when he attacks a couple of times and then allows himself to be followed so he can be caught. Thats his plan.
The lynchpin of his ‘plan’ is that the people who are sent after him need to be deeply incompetent and to follow some, but not all of their orders. The selection of Obey/ Disobey has to be perfect! If not Khan ends up stranded or dead. So if anyone but the Enterprise were sent after him he fails. For Khan to be a genius he needs a huge, quirky dose of luck and everyone else has to be dumb. The story does not show us any genius moves by Khan.
This version Khan is just a sort of gifted but brutal guy. Late in the movie JJ tries to tell us this Khan’s not even evil, just misunderstood. This comes after several killing sprees and betrayals.
Kelvin Khan might have had better luck if he had any kind of help. He’s nowhere near smart enough to use his best asset- his crew of fellow Genius SuperSoldiers. While Original Khan wakes up his people right away – partly because he cares about them – but mostly because they are so formidable – JJ’s Khan leaves them on ice. This after telling us he’s a tactical genius.
Also we have a curious line of dialogue about Khans time of origin where he says he’s from 300 years in the past This is a a third longer than the Khan we knew. Original Khan was from 1996 and was discovered by The Enterprise crew in 2267, about 200 years later.
Khan’s age a real problem. It shows so little regard for basic Star Trek. One possibility is JJ’s Khan is really bad at Math, another would be this Star Trek happens 100 years further in the Future- which really messes stuff up. The third is this Khan is from 1896 rather than 1996- because one thing that would need to be explained is these why these events aren’t as far from 1996 as they were in the original series, which was JUST UNDER TWO HUNDRED YEARS.
The fourth possibility is the script has a huge, lazy mistake in it. My money’s on this one.
JJ obviously made no effort to watch the source material- which what most people would call “an enjoyable 3 hours of great sci-fi.” Personally, I like the idea Khan is from 1896 the best. This would make him a genius for figuring out cryogenic freezing and space travel around the same time as the telephone was invented and 10 years before powered flight.
Underscoring this is simply not the same guy. The crew need to ask him just who the Hell he even is. When he says his name in menacing fashion there’s no reason to fear him. They just want him arrested or dead and don’t know care much who he is. Kirk looks at Khan with no apparent comprehension. He appears to have obtained no useful information from the statement. At least Chris Pine had watched Star Trek. The line was for the audience only. You can be sure of this because ONLY the audience knew who Khan actually was. This crew had not encountered him before.
The Original Series episode Space Seed is good enough to pump up into an interesting movie. Then Khan could have been left on a barren planet like Gene Roddenberry left him. Instead we re-freeze him for later after a bunch of lazy shortcuts. A Space Seed movie surely would’ve been better than what we got.
JJ Abrams Kelvin Khan should have never been called Khan at all. JJ just wanted his movie to make that much more money and was in no mood to put the work in on a good story or slowly build to anything.
This Khan is an everyday threat in this universe. He’s about as tough and formidable as a fairly smart Romulan. The character of Khan was used simply to enhance the box office. If marketed honestly a title like Star Trek vs The Winter Soldier would have made more sense. This character is no real problem when the crew need to overcome at the end. Khan’s plan is undone pretty quickly and he ends the movie fleeing for his life from our heroes. We’re also told one more time that he’s probably not that bad a guy. Then we put him back on ice. The Original Khan dies trying to kill Kirk. This Khan fails, flees and then fails to make good on fleeing. Very formidable indeed.
When you don’t have an impressive bad guy to kill and your movie has been dishonestly marketed (JJ was emphatic that Khan was NOT in this movie) don’t be surprised if – despite a high critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and a great box office take- you end up Last Jedi-ing a Franchise and no one trusts your stories anymore. In other words- there’s NOTHING left JJ could do to surprise us. He had used all his tricks and needed to move on. Like Star Wars he guts the movie side of the franchise.
Star Trek’s disappointing Discovery is revving up for yet ANOTHER POINTLESS and HORRIBLE Star Trek Hating season of unworthy total garbage. While the special effects are sometimes impressive and the title sequence is fine, there’s nothing else to like about the show. We’ve been through a bunch of terrible stories and the show just gets worse and worse.
There seems to be no consequences for this expensive, offensive, fan-less mess that failed so badly as a premium show it killed CBS ALL ACCESS. Its also achieved historically bad ratings when shown on regular TV. The show is a disgrace and a disaster.
The single biggest flaw would have to be the BAD stories! Specifically – the uncreative and lazy over use of a single plot device to drive most episodes. Basically what’s on the line in almost every 10 hour snoozefest is nothing less then – THE END OF ALL THINGS!! That’s right, one characters life being in jeopardy no longer matters. No one would care if a character were left behind or died, we might even feel relieved for the actor. So they have to find some way to create stakes.
Time after time they just go with “We have to stop a Galactic Genocide” So those are your stakes. Every time. Just how and why the genocide is unfolding is never really explained. We have 30 hours of stories free of substance, details and context. Nothing they say matters because the show will self contradict most things pretty quickly through incompetence or to take a failed stab at humor. That’s right, this show punishes anyone who pays attention.
The characters and dialogue are just terrible as well. These one note characters change to do whatever the show needs. You have no clue how any given character might react- just that a LOT of inappropriate emotions will be on display.
Episode Titles are outright dishonest teases. For example- “People of Earth” shows you almost NOTHING of earth or its people.
This show is now racing into its fourth season of retelling the same exact 10 hour story over and over. They change some stuff here and there and make sure to call the audience ‘too dumb to understand” via a Science-y character who informs their crewmates and the audience “It makes sense because I say it does and you just aren’t smart enough to grasp it in the limited time we have.”
While the acting wasn’t a problem at first and the production values at most points are ok, the story just isn’t there. In subsequent season’s the shows stupidity has worn down the cast. They have all gotten worse in their roles. They lifelessly read lines until it’s time to cry. Then they cry pretty well. They’ve had so much practice- probably because they never go exploring. The Discovery has still NEVER gone to a planet just to explore.
This bad Trope-y show has unrealistically high stakes at all times. These major problems go unaddressed season after season. It was so unnecessarily disrespectful to have the original characters entangled in this hot mess of contradictions that a cheap writing device called “The Burn” is used to just throw the Discovery to a distant corner of the Final Frontier- where their bad stories can’t do as much harm.
What “The Burn” is becomes an obsession for the characters in its aftermath. What IS it? WHO did it? WHY? How? Then the crew just stop talking about it with any curiosity. They just come to terms with not understanding it. Then they move on to the next Box Canyon of a Writing Hack.
As we head into unwanted Season 4 we still have almost no context on these characters. We just know theyr’e very mentally unstable and no single one of them can really grasp what’s going on for about 9 of the 10 hours. Then they short cut their way out of it with some cheap throw away lines and move on.
Deeply unlikable lead character Michael “Mikey Spock” Burnham is a woman with a mans name. Its a real SciFi trope these days. When the plot needs to move Burnham usually just correctly guesses everything she needs to know. She will not explain to us or the rest of the crew why her counterintuitive hunches beat less insane sounding ideas. Burnham just insists on extreme actions in what passes for drama. You have to wonder why the rest of the crew even think twice about listening to her anymore since she’s never wrong.
Burnham, sometimes called Space Jesus by critics, is a lot like Admiral Holdo from The Last Jedi. She wont tell you her plan, she’s sort of out of place and you don’t really have any reasons to like her except the show tells you she’s a hero and she’s always right. Most dramatic parts of the stories revolve around people contesting her crazy- but ultimately correct- hunches. Burnham’s hunches working out is usually the most info we get on anything.
So what is THE BURN? The answer the writers gave us was “It doesn’t matter, you wouldn’t understand, so just stop asking questions and listen to Mikey Spock.” This is old now. It has been used several times to avoid any justification of these terrible stories. So get ready to be called dumb by proxy regularly.
Star Trek Discovery has simply left behind the concept of saving a few cast members, or their ship, or a planet in any given episode or story ‘arc’.
By episode 8 of season 1 we’re talking about saving the universe and by the end of that season we were looking at “saving all life everywhere across the entire multi-verse of universes.” It was preposterous and unrelatable. This plotline is simply rei-mposed on another set of random events EVERY season. This is your story every time- our hero and her not so smart friends save everyone everywhere.
They just will not go to a planet to explore or make contact in this ‘Star Trek’ show.
In the one episode where only a couple of characters are at risk and there was a limited “Away Mission” it felt familiar and fun. They made sure to avoid just going there to explore though. We make sure to say this planet just has a space version of a cell phone tower on it and they are merely there to check it out and mess with it a little. Even when they do something that’s like Star Trek they ALWAYS NERF the motivations. It’s like they’re purposely warding off legacy fans with this. No Star Trek show explored every week; but the fact this show never does it really feeds the argument “It’s not Star Trek in any real way.”
The planet could have simply been unexplored and nothing about the episode would have really changed, the space-age cellphone tower is just to put a ticking clock into the plot of the episode. The writers are completely unaware it’s just fine to go to a planet for no reason other than its there. The mission of StarFleet used to be – To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before. STD just avoids ever doing this.
Rather than learn from this the show’s next episode takes a turn for the too serious again and we find ourselves saving several universes in every installment. All the while each season we carry the water for a huge payoff that these writers can’t deliver on. Events and implications build up and beg answers only for the show to just move on.
Its just too much. You can only stretch a rubber band close to the breaking point so many times before it stops snapping back into shape again. The way they get through any given episode is sort of bland or a little too convenient. It just makes the show non entertaining. Like the magic spore technology co-opted from the Dune Franchise we didn’t need.
The terrible show’s sword and shield are it’s so called diversity. Star Trek’s current diversity seems to have been written by complete racist, homophobic sexists told to defy all parody and satire.
Its low effort writing. Using cut out characters dishonestly to get one more diverse person into the show is always a huge fail. They will screw up basic Star Trek and mess up their own message every time.
For example- Our ‘same sex couple’ is actually one person and some kind of Tech-Ghost. So we need to ask ourselves – “Isn’t this so-called same sex couple just the tale of a delusional porn hound?” Seems diminishing and damaging more than diverse to me. Liking porn is undeniably common and even mundane. So why do it? Was the story built to be dumped if it didn’t work or drew criticism? Or is it just thrown together that carelessly? It’s hard to know because this crass, tasteless show diminishes everything it touches
Lets see just the ship and crew in danger around a strange planet here and there as a starting point for fixing this very flawed show. The good old days of a possible warp core breach or a game of Cat and Mouse with some bad guys is just beyond the writers skill. The current writers can’t pay anything off. They are one trick phonies making the classic mistakes- they’re fixing things that aren’t broken while avoiding things that worked in the past.
These awful ex Non Twilight Teen Vampire Romance Novel writers have no desire to write a Star Trek like show. What good ideas they have they always destroy by mistake. It WAS a good idea to have a new ship and crew, but the idiotic Spore Drive, the CGI Sex Ghost and other terrible ideas- like ending a season by showing Klingons have TWO dicks each as a payoff- make this show the worst iteration of Star Trek it could possibly be, and in fact its really not Star Trek at all.
JJ Abrams horrible ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ was something he felt strongly about only one aspect of – he wasn’t going to call it what it was – Star Trek 12.
The word sequel is frightening to JJ and he fails at them every time. So we get nonsense name INTO DARKNESS. He tried to wipe away all other Trek with his bizarre Kelvin Timeline- which all fans hate- in the first mediocre movie he gave us.
The title INTO DARKNESS really became more like a fulfilled threat when you consider the after effects. This 2013 Disaster is STILL causing problems for Star Trek fans. It’s so bad yet somehow did so well at the Box Office that it swaps out the fanbase almost completely. Not a dime was spared on advertising either, so you would have needed to live in a cave not to know this thing was coming.
By the time the movies finally released curiosity had been running high among fans and non fans. The (deceptive) trailers were indicating a deeper story this time. In fact the dishonest marketing of this movie is a blogpost of its own. They were also very, very firm that this was not going to be a remake of Wrath of Khan, which was of course a blatant lie (Click Here for the Wrath of Khan Review).
The enthusiasm before INTO DARKNESS comes out was because the 2009 movie was almost ok. The damage it did to the lore was bad enough, but seemed like we could move on from it if there was some Damage Control. People liked the casts skill and the strong physical resemblances, but the movie was just okay. Safe-ish with an extended cameo from an original cast member, it was more ‘fun’ than good. It was kind of like the Force Awakens that way. So INTO DARKNESS was seen as a referendum on WHAT Trek would even be going forward.
For awhile confusion reigned. This time the movie wasn’t much like Star Trek at all. In the end it redefines Trek for the worse, forever lowering the bar. There’s little fun to take away in this dreary, under-explained movie.
In the wake of INTO DARKNESS Star Trek was left with a much smaller, less demanding set of fans who gleefully watch terrible space soap operas in denial. This suits the creators just fine too, sadly.
This movie has a rushed, messy story and the bad script never really gets action and humor clicking at the same time. It destroys characters in a way that’s reminiscent of peoples takes on The Last Jedi. Its also just as contrived and stupid as Rise of Skywalker. Considering JJ’s feelings about Ruin Johnsons Last Jedi this is the height of irony.
The actual plot of the movie only kicks in for about the last 40 minutes after endless bait and switches. The movie swaps out bad guys halfway through after playing games with Khan’s identity.
THE WRATH OF KHAN VS INTO DARKNESS POLL
For the purposes of our poll, heres the trailers for BOTH versions of this movie. Its owrth noting that none of the opening dialogue from Pike reassuring Kirk never made it into the movie. Pike never tells Kirk he believes in him. As usual JJ’s isnt a great representation of the movie we got and had lots of stuff that was just being crowd tested.
Next – the classic 80s trailer for the original version of the movie. I consider it pretty Bold and confident. It also has the most extensive and believable CGI ever seen and, in context we see it in the movie- it holds up, its supposed to a CGI simulation we see our heroes watch.
Late in the story out of nowhere the movie tells us that Khan is merely misunderstood. The real problem is Star Fleet is led by a guy kind of like George W Bush. Admiral Robocop, played by Peter Weller, is just outright dishonest and simply spoiling for war. Maybe he’s really paranoid too. He’s a shell character and a really cheap bad guy with few menacing traits when he is revealed as evil. He simply has a really powerful ship.
This ham handed ‘Bad Guy Swapping’ late in the story really underscores Khans uselessness to any faction of this world in this iteration. The average Romulan Captain is as smart and dangerous. Computer’s would have to function less well than ours to account for anyone needing “genius” Khan. Star Fleet has plenty of Mad Scientists, like Robert Daystrom, get him, fund him and build a weapons tech team. There’s no need to unfreeze a super criminal.
Admiral Robocop’s time in this movie as the Big Bad and the Man Behind the Man is pretty brief and most of it concerns him being pretty easily vanquished.
So people were right to wonder who the bad guy even was. His reveal is also the reveal of the actual plot. Then we rush to the end. Important parts in this movie happen inside what you could call a brisk TV timeframe. Another way to put this would be -they waste a lot of time.
At the end the crew ‘Do the Right Thing’ and re-freeze Khan; despite the fact he only attacks and kills people in this iteration. It also seems kind of cruel in spite of what a jerk he is, because again – he’s merely a pretty smart super-soldier. He’s not as dangerous as an entity like Data, hes far less strong and not as smart.
If Romulan’s and Kilngon’s can be detained so can this version of Khan. Surely this worlds prison tech can handle him if he’s not being allowed to play with and design weapons all day. Its just to bring Kelvin Khan back- forget that. Benedict Cumberbatch will never play this role again, trust me.
Like much panned Star Trek The Motion Picture- there’s no real bad guy. We’re gunning for fugitive John Harrison for 70 minutes and then we find out Harrison is actually Khan. It’s a bad use of subversion. Just as that settles in the movie swaps Kelvin Khan for Admiral Robocop as the Bad Guy. In this movie Khan’s just a pitiable science experiment gone awry that the crew needs to shut down.
Not killing the bad guy is kind of an episodic TV thing. It’s a tough sell in any flick, but can work if you trust the movie. This movie had been too cute with the truth a few times already though- so there’s no real payoff and I found it unfulfilling.
So what villain we have is semi-rehabilitated and then put into a LITERAL character fridge. Its a terrible writing choice. Should they try to bring Kelvin Khan back he wont have changed or grown. He’s simply paused and refrozen, not suffering on a planet, brooding. He can only come out of this the way he went in. It’s limiting to say the least.
There’s also an unexplored ethical question here too. Khans blood cures terminal illnesses and can even bring back people who are already dead for a while. There’s plenty of it too. In fact I’d rather see a movie where they take Khan to hospitals and transfuse his blood to save children and slowly rehabilitate him more than this movie ever again.
INTO DARKNESS is so compromised by the middle that you’ll experience a sonic boom or doppler-like effect where all the the badly paced story’s noise hits us at once and breaks immersion. The movie just implodes from all the shortcuts and its thin premise by the middle.
After the second time they pull the rug out out from under you you’re numb to the rest. We just dont know whats true by the middle. Audiences can assume there’s no lasting implications to anything by the halfway point. That holds up for the rest of the movie.
There’s major holes in the story that require the characters to be really stupid for the plot to advance.
Like “Genius” Khan attacking Star Fleet HQ with really weak 300 year old tech outfitted with ill-suited weapons. His attack craft is just really under-gunned. In fact, it’s much less menacing than things we’ve had for fifty years. If Khan had been enough of a genius as to even just steal an Apache helicopter from a museum and used that he’d have won right there. Instead he fails.
Khan is repeatedly described as super smart but we aren’t shown this and he makes no kind of genius moves. His plan is simply to attack a couple of times and allow himself to be followed so he can be captured.
So Khan’s plan is escape so he can be recaptured. That’s the plan.
Khan is already where he needs to be for his plan to work in the first place. His journey in this mess is kind of pointless.
Why Khan escapes is a bit of a mystery. He needs to be on the inside of Star Fleet to pull this off- so he defects or escapes from their custody to get the ball rolling on this? Why would they hold Khan anywhere BUT the Weapons Development Plant on Mars where they’re building the ship he designed and wants to steal? So he was running away from his target to chase it down. It makes no sense. Or Khan had no plan and just lucks out over and over.
Khan’s plan is so bad that if any ship but the Enterprise had been sent after him they would have just fired the Special Photon torpedoes and tried to split as ordered. This would have killed all Khan’s people and left him marooned on the Klingon Homeworld- where he would have been screwed.
For some strange reason after Khan escapes he simply sticks to the same plan the Star Fleet traitors cooked up and goes to the exact place they’d want him to.
This how a GENIUS schemes? The guy’s plan only works because everyone chasing him is dumb. When Khan calls the characters inept and stupid we’re cued and nudged to think he’s arrogant. It fails because he’s simply right. The crew are dumb as can be. The ‘Bad Guy’ is spot on correct. And it’s ironic, they didn’t intend it. This is a GOOD movie?
So Khan’s Genius plan totally hinges on the people Star Fleet sends after him being extremely naive and incompetent. If not the story is over. It’s ….just part of his plan. That it actually worked? Stories take a hit when the character’s are so dumb you can bank on it.
All this doesn’t help Khan look overconfident at all when he mocks and taunts Kirk, Spock and McCoy. He’s just right, they’ve been acting dumb throughout this whole movie. The movie being unaware the Bad Guy is actually right when he calls our heroes losers is simply failed storytelling and a Self Inflicted Wound. The damage is starting to really pile up.
It hurts the story when Khan’s really stupid plan pretty much works anyway; relying on Star Fleet to be dumb is just the correct assessment. Hes pretty dumb too, going in a circle to get out and then back in to Federation Custody as a lowly prisoner. It’s a puzzling jailbreak.
Along the way this self important movie doesn’t know if its a light drama or a light comedy and ends up just another mediocre action movie, but with Star Trek uniforms.
This movies success makes the fans look like complete suckers and after one try from Simon Pegg we never get a quality writer again. In fact it kills its sequel and compromises its prequels. It poisons the groundwater and fans are angry and Disengaged. So ironically it’s a lot like The Last Jedi- a movie JJ Abrams hates with all his soul.
This movie is no fun. There’s a suicide bombing,the tale of a Make-A-Wish Kid, a really inartful T&A scene and worse. JJ apologized for the T&A BEFORE the movie was released. It was left in anyway, so was anyone really sorry? It’s so much worse because you know it’s coming and the joke doesn’t work at all.
JJ kills Kirk with way too much time left in the movie for it to be believable. Then Kirk is bought back super easily via throw away lines and a joke after a chase to get a resource they already had in great supply.
They’re looking to end the movie with Kirk as a one-woman kind of guy with a new character that just doesnt show up in the Sequel at all.
JJ Abrams then abandons and cons Star Trek fans, Paramount and CBS by creating SECRET HIDEOUT- a scam production company to make nonstop bad TV Trek. This was the second bad movie in a row- its kills its prequel too.
JJ Abrams can NOT write a sequel- mostly because his stories self contradict til no sense can made of them (LOST, West World). It is hard on all of the movies before and after it with strange takes on characters and very lazy writing. Khan is a simple cut out whose bad because hes evil and that’s about it, though the movie doesn’t know this.
No fans have ever had Abrams come by their franchise and leave it better — so that Amazon Lord of the Rings show is going to be horrible.
Thats my Theory and I will now back it up through a synopsis of the movie and its overly complicated yet still simplistic plot.
The Terrible Story
The story in this movie begins with a Star Trek-like moment, but it’s a more like a quick Star Trek skit. Its almost going somewhere until all tropes combine in 3 minutes. While it does feel like Star Trek by the time Bones and Jim jump off that cliff the franchise basically goes with them.
The cold open sort of teases all the best things we loved from the show while also showcasing many of the problems you will come to loathe if you try re-watching this movie. I know i do.
Jim is sort of stupid and shoots everything that moves. The writers only trust Karl Urban’s McCoy to advance plot points because the story is so weak. In the cold open there’s too much going on at once. Jim and Bones are running from the angry locals- whose temple they have just vandalized for no apparent reason. It’s a really bad violation of the Prime Directive.
Meanwhile Spock is indifferently trying to neutralize a volcano to save the locals. The Volcano is totally ready to go. Rather than leave Spock alone Uhura decides to henpeck him while he arms a bomb. This triggers Spock’s out of control BiPolar Disorder and sends him into a depressive low.
Then the conveniences and shortcuts come together and we find out that while Spock can probably stop the Volcano there’s not a huge chance he lives. Their overly complicated and stupid approach has made this relatively simple mission highly dangerous for no real reason.
Just arm the device and lower it into the volcano! This is our “Genius” crew member?
Then we get find out- 11 movies and 8 TV series later- that the Transporter is a line of sight technology. Uhura and Spock then have a bit of an argument over the fact he might die- instead of anything that makes sense. Like saying goodbye or I love you.
Before you have time to process the stupidity there’s a cool effect that distracts us while the triumphant music cues the credit sequence.
This is what’s called a Key Jangle and JJ Abrams is all about it. It works like this – JJ knows we want to see something so he gives it to us- unearned. You’re happy to see it and then he cranks up the pace the way the military tosses grenades- to disorient, confuse and change the conversation quick.
This is cool for a moment- but falls apart on second viewing. In the bait and switch skit JJ is making it seem like this movie would resemble the formula we loved on TV- they go to a planet and meet an earth-like culture. This Key Jangle is a microcosm of the rest of the movie.
The entire movie is a glorified Key Jangle- so called because it’s a crude attempt at amusement aimed only at the child-like part of our minds that just likes to see things. Like shaking your keys for a baby. Its actually more like inartful co-option.
While here and there some ‘Fan Service’ is good, when you try to use that alone to power a Non Story you get Star Trek 2009, Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Wars-The Force Awakens or the ultimate movie with no story -Star Wars-The Rise of Skywalker. In other words- the last four JJ Abrams Movies.
There’s no reason for Spock to be in so much danger. Why not arm the device and THEN beam it over or lower it down? They show us the winch on the shuttle. The scene really makes no sense. The ship being in orbit rather than under water would have been ideal- but it wouldn’t have looked cool. The story takes its first hit early.
The volcano sequence is just so we can get an emotional moment from Spock. Kelvin Spock would benefit from medication for his mood disorder.
To save Spock -because like idiots they needlessly hid their ship under an ocean instead of staying in orbit, where the transporter works better- the Enterprise reveals itself to the locals.
It’s another violation of the Prime Directive. They fly off having inspired a Cargo Cult and changed the planets development. Im figuring this movie will be about trying to undo that and be sort of in the spirit of the show. That doesn’t happen because this movie is contemptuous of its history and unaware its a sequel.
The first five minutes of the movie has charm- but at high cost to the World of Star Trek! There’s character Assassination. Spock is an emotionally unstable idiot who can arm a bomb but can not utilize a winch to avoid needless danger. There’s a major canonical change – The transporter now is less useful than in the past. The new take on the Prime Directive and how Kirk ‘works around it’ are idiotic.
Then there’s also a few major contrivances. How come Kirk doesn’t recognize the creature they rode in on and stuns it? If they didn’t ride in on it why is it even waiting there alone, sort of saddled? Is there a space version of Uber or Zip Car dropping off animals to ride? This level of convenience never slacks off.
When you see Jim and Bones jump off a mega cliff into the water it looks cool but its fatally high. This movie outright rebels against the idea you pay attention to or think about it. If you do the movie makes very little sense. Five minutes in we see humans shaking off fatal implications just for spectacle. In small doses this would have been ok, but it sort of builds up and by the middle of the movie we’re pretty sure no matter what happens everyone is going to be okay in any situation.
It made the movie pretty boring and stakes free. Later we even get miracle serum that has powers some would consider to be….Unnatural.
Its the first Star Trek movie released in my adult life I didn’t go back to see in theaters again. I knew it sucked. I was called crazy for about 2 months.
For a good while there I was alone in that opinion and this awful movie did so well that it POISONED ALL FUTURE STAR TREK PROJECTS. The Home Video release at least got me some vindication. This movie is a terrible second view.
Anyway, the ‘good’ part of the movie is over. Only two hours and ten minutes to go.
I was immediately concerned. But since the acting is pretty good and they re-did the shot from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they jump off a cliff to reassure us that it must be art because that was a great movie(Key Jangle) a lot of people were fooled. The Rotten Tomatoes Critic and fan score are suspiciously high and I suspect a reassessment is in the offing. This movie is Star Treks Rise of Skywalker.
This movie also knows its bad and shows its insecurity all the time.
The events are dumb and the characters are just lucky most of the time. Khans plan is preposterous yet works. None of the characters grow and some even “Arc Back” on themselves. Their tech is inconsistent and slaved to the story rather than any objective rules at all.
At the end this movie simply stops. Its unfulfilling at best. We get there the cheapest intellectual way we can, every time.
THE ART OF THE KEY JANGLE
We loved Wrath of Khan, so JJ’s going to recreate it badly and reference it over and over in a key jangling rip off. It was unearned and the characters and story take repeated major hits for the contrivances to work.
For instance in Wrath of Khan the bad guy and our heroes had a history! We’d seen Khan before. The Original Khan had depth and style. He was a Bond Villain as well as his own Enforcer with his super-strength. He’s a really smart version of Captain America, but arrogant and evil.
Competent, menacing, physically imposing and sometimes charming. Hes highly literate with excellent table manners. Original Khan menaces Kirk and kills Kirk’s friends in some excellent and believable encounters.
This movie was a franchise killer. The directors commentary will not help you on this movie. JJ doesnt make them for movies that are called out- so there is none. Maybe it did so well because people were convinced they missed something and saw it twice or wanted to finish their Trek movie collection with an expensive blu-ray.
The first movie was just one long beginning. It was in-assessable and had more action than story. Its most notable for JJ’s insufferable commentary.
In the commentary for Star Trek 2009 JJ says crazy, upsetting shit about how terrible an idea Star Trek even was, kind of mocks the idea anyone ever liked it and tells us how hard he’s gonna try to change it into a mix of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars- to spare us from Gene Roddenberry’s bad ideas.
You could consider his first Star Trek movie his first draft of Rise of Skywalker. JJ just makes the same movie in different co-opted Intellectual Properties. The old fashioned term for this level of creativity is “Hack” Fans hated him for it.
If JJ Abrams made music he’d be songwriter for Stone Temple Pilots. They got some riffs and a cool sounding name. They kind of rock like Led Zeppelin in a more modern way- but the first singer was a useless drug addict and the lyrics merely rhyme. After a while you just put on the old Aerosmith or Zeppelin stuff they sound like and maybe the Black Crowes are better. This will get you rewatching Perfect Movie Wrath of Khan and having some real revelations about how bad New Star Trek really is.
In short STP and JJ Abrams are puzzling doses of super High Fructose Corn Syrup. They’re like an Energy Drink. To be consumed and forgotten. Does anyone know what a SEX TYPE THING or a Stone Temple Pilot even is all these years later? Imagine that as a production company and you have JJ Abrams BAD ROBOT PRODUCTIONS.
THE MOST CONTRIVED STAR TREK MOVIE TO DATE
Turning on the subtitles will show you most of the dialogue is garbage. After the credits Kirk is chewed out and relieved by Admiral Pike. NOT for anything that makes sense- like vandalizing and pilfering from the temple on the planet. That was something Star Fleet would never do, but they needed a joke. So now Star Fleet are just like ISIS blowing up UNESCO world heritage sites- but its funny; so its ok.
Kirk is demoted because Spock stabbed him in the back by mistake. This happens because he’s dumb and Kirk is a lazy idiot who doesnt review his crew reports. The official reason is “saving the planet and everyone on it as well as Spock” -something they were right to do but accomplished like idiots.
Kirk and Spock have a lovers quarrel right there while they’re getting busted for sucking at their jobs. Speaking on behalf of the audience Pike kicks out Spock and takes Kirk down a peg. His overall take is “youre an incompetent, insufferable, overconfident asshole.” I pretty much agreed with Pike’s assessment.
Pike is about the only person whose actions in this movie add up. It’s probably because he’s barely in it. The Federations stance is a bit puzzling but apparently this what we do to captains who care in Star Fleet. So that’s it, they broke up the crew and the movies over….. its 16 minutes in so we know this won’t hold up.
Don’t worry- everything is going to magically work out in the next few minutes due to major contrivances in the script.
A preposterous suicide bombing inspired by pain over a “Make-A-Wish” Kid side story that no one wants to see is just jammed into the end of the movies first act. Thankfully it’s a rushed montage with no dialogue, but it super-sucks and it’s still five wasted minutes.
The Make-A-Wish Kid’s dad suicide bombs the Federation archives. Its heavy handed and self-important. It’s just a really good CGI explosion. It;s not an interesting new weapon (Like The Genesis Device In Wrath of Khan). That the explosive is the size of a few sticks of gum is only just so futuristic. This sequence is a drag.
The attack puts the Federation on a Wartime Footing.
We hear the perpetrator is “John Harrison” from Admiral Robocop- who is Star Fleets Head of Operations. Kirk verifies this with Google Streetview in a sequence that is no longer futuristic.
The Federations War Plan is to have all the leading Star Fleet people converge on the most obvious, highly vulnerable place possible with no visible security, making for a tempting target.
The attack that they unwittingly invited of course happens and we see Kirk’s surrogate father Pike die. Star Fleet has no assets in place to stop or end this attack. Just a manual Fire Suppression System….that’s it. Preposterously this is pretty much all they need anyway due to Khan’s inept attack.
To creep things up a bit Spock decides to not help Pike so he could mind-meld with a dying person— to help him be a better boyfriend? So Spock has had two emotional breakdowns already and is ghoulish and dumb. We’re like 17 minutes in.
The movie continues to insist that Spock is a genius with no emotions. In fact this Spock is an intellectual midget and an emotional mess.
So Pikes dead and we’re all out of parents to kill. 17 minutes into the second installment of this movie we’ve killed Kirk’s father, Spock’s mother and now Kirks surrogate father/ mentor. In under two movies. Just to wring emotions out of us and Un-do Kirks firing.
The poorly thought out fight scene is dumb and Kirk almost stops John Harrison by throwing a firehose at him…..he actually does that.
Throwing any object at it would work because Khans attack craft uses Jet engines like the ones we have since World War 2. His craft has weak weapons and very vulnerable engines. THIS is a genius tech inventor? He gets around with 300 year old tech less safe than what we have right now. This is a sci-fi craft? A really weak jet? In this Universe this attack is akin to attacking the UN with a wooden sailing ship.
The death of Pike again reshuffles the deck because Spock’s new captain dies too. The results of this don’t add up but it just works out. Turns out everything that comes to be is just what we needed to happen. Perfect!
Why Spock isn’t captain of his new ship now or why Kirk- a guy who was kicked out of the academy for cheating and was busted down to Commander from Captain this morning for lying and reckless incompetence gets to call the shots for these two ships makes no sense. Star Fleet commander Admiral Robocop likes it though and sends the Enterprise to kill ‘John Harrison’.
Admiral Robocop also has some good news. John Harrison was ‘transporter traced’ to the klingon homeworld Kronos and theres some new super weapons on the way to super kill him.
This is new unexplained tech and we’re not gonna stop to unpack it. You can beam yourself across the Galaxy now. This is minutes after hearing transporters are more or less line of site tech. The movie is contradicting itself.
The biggest question this presents is – SO WHY DO WE EVEN HAVE SHIPS? Just like in The Force Awakens there’s a nebulous new take on scanning technology that they leave it to internet and twitter fan theories to explain.
We just wasted 25 minutes shuffling and then UnShuffling the deck of this story just to end up where we were before the movie starts. What was the point? Kirk is again a Brevit Captain. This part of the plot is another long, pointless circle.
We then just shoehorn in a new character named Carol Wallace. She’s a Sexy Science-y weapons expert. She infiltrates the inner crew because Kirk is a moron and a horn dog who blows off the fact she doesn’t have any transfer orders or paperwork – with their technology. Kirk just lets her mess with the new super weapons anyway. This is the day after being demoted for not bothering to check paperwork. This means Kirk’s character can’t grow because he has to be an idiot for the story to work. Rather than writing a better story? Couldn’t JJ just have tried harder?
So we’ve united, divided and reunited our crew and checked off the KILL PARENT BOX as best we could and now we have our bad guy- or do we?
All we know for sure is John Harrison is definitely not Khan. JJ Abrams said as much. He’s created new bad guy. He was emphatic. Benedict Cumberbatch swore he wasn’t Khan.
The movie was so badly made these are the top things people walk away from the movie trying to figure out –
That this guy isn’t Khan was a relief because there was no set up. There’s no Space Seed movie. Khan has no origin story in this universe. Just parachuting him in to this timeline now would be a disaster! THIS Kirk and his friends don’t know who Khan is at all. They’ve never met, they have no reason to fear him more than say a fairly smart Klingon. There’s plenty of smart, strong potential alien adversaries that are easily on par with Kelvin Khan.
This Khan also has no posse. His people are just kept frozen. Original Khan would have died before allowing this. He cared about his people and knew how to win. Original Khan knows his buddies are his best asset. He unfreezes them and they all ‘Gets Woke’ in an OG way first chance he gets in Space Seed. Who wouldn’t want a few dozen loyal genius super soldiers backing them up? Only Kelvin Khan.
JJ Abrams compresses Khan and just outright loses most of his traits in this rushed and shoddy character he appropriated and does not comprehend at all. Star Trek’s best villain. JJ’s rushed to use him almost right away with no research. Like watching Wrath of Khan is somehow unpleasant? Would it have HURT, JJ?
Kelvin Khan is not a faithful charatcer to the original. He’s merely strong and resourceful. It’s painful to say he’s ‘smart’, but the movie tries to sell us that.
The movie was absolutely dishonestly marketed. People remembered that.
So we walked in to this being assured repeatedly it was it’s own story with a new villain- which coincidentally would have fixed about half of this mess were it the truth. It was all a lie! For no real reason. This guy could have been any villain anyway! I would have been fine with “Star Fleet Traitor John Harrison” as the bad guy. It sure wouldn’t have been any worse than what we saw!
The characters either accidentally happen on, correctly guess or find out everything they need to know from Khan- sometimes. Some stuff just never adds up. Its contrived as can be. There’s even more mistakes in continuity from here on in and we are just watching a bad, lazy remake of Wrath of Khan.
Scotty quits his fucking job over these special new Photon Torpedoes he isn’t allowed to check out. So we’re back to shuffling the deck. Scotty is the smartest member of the crew for trying to get out of this movie to just get drunk. He’ll be back. No ones ever really gone…
We bicker and overtalk our way to the Klingon homeworld. Spock and Uhura break up because Spock is indifferent about dying- kind of. Before we can explain that we let Uhura try to talk to some rando Klingons about how there’s no point in shooting.
This stupid scene was engineered just so Uhura could be in charge for a while. New Uhura doesn’t need a universal translator either. The scene starts dragging on making no sense; so of course everyone just starts shooting. These Klingons look JUST like Peter Jackson’s Orcs.
Chekov is in charge of Engineering when the Warp engines conked out at the exact moment they reached their destination. For no real reason. The Enterprise is ready to fire its special Torpedoes on Kirks orders.
Back on Kronos the Klingons are getting the upper hand when John Harrison shows up and just starts killing most of the Klingon’s off and then starts messing with our heroes. He’s holding both factions at bay.
John Harrison then surrenders to Kirk at the first overly specific mention of the amount of torpedoes they have aimed at him.
We get John Harrison to the Enterprise and throw him in the brig.
They actually say ‘Why did he surrender?” and “Sounds like we have some kind of supervillain here‘ unironically. Talking about what’s wrong with your movie in the movie with no damage control is a self inflicted wound.
Harrison notes the ship is not moving and then unspools the entire scenario we just saw as though he knows everything. He simply asks them if they’re not moving because they’re ship is fucked up.
This blows everyone’s mind and they’re putty in his hands. It makes no sense either. If he was still coordinating with Robocop, why would Robocop be in the room when Khan attacked when he knows Khan hates him? This would make Khan a lousy shot. So there’s no way Khan knows it. He knows it because the movie needs him to needs to scare them.
Even though this falls under “A Lucky Guess” they’re beguiled and believe him. They don’t try to deceive Khan at all and just confirm he’s right.
It’s contrived and preposterous. This part of the story also requires the characters be stupid!
There’s no reason for them to believe anything he says. John Harrison is starting to seem pre-destined to win here. The characters are idiots. “Genius” Spock barely scratches the surface of what the fuck is going on. The movies sole ‘triumph’ here is that it still could be worse- it gets there though. Kirk goes back to kind of say ‘fuck you’ to harrison and the scene sucks. Both actors try but the dialogue is terrible. It really sucks.
Kirk is just dancing to Harrison’s tune and gets goaded into opening up one of the mysterious torpedoes on some planetoid in a sequence that is not charming or interesting. THERES FROZEN PEOPLE INSIDE!! So they call Scotty on Earth and ask him to drive drunk to Mars to check out coordinates Harrison gave them. There he sees and somehow gets aboard the super secret Super Weapon….. it happens off screen.
The content of the mysterious torpedoes is revealed – we find out the people in them are from about OUR time- about 300 years before the movie. In Space Seed and Wrath of Khan the character is said to be from 1996 and thats about 200 years in the past. So either this Star Trek is further into the future or Khan is from 1896 and we need a lot more information.
The Khan reveal is a major and AWFUL turning point in the franchise and one of the worst moments in Star Trek history, certainly on the big screen.
Aside from failing its ignorant of Star Trek. JJ never saw Star Trek – First Contact, so his characters misstate how early space travel began among other things as the clueless story gets dumber and dumber.
So here we are an hour and ten minutes in and we’re re-setting the table again – with about 40 minutes of story left. We wasted all this time chasing one guy thinking one thing and now they just swap that guy out with Khan despite specifically promising they would not do that.
Chris Pine was in touch with Star Trek lore and what fans knew was going on and he played his part of this scene correctly.
This Kirk simply doesn’t react to Khan’s name at all. He stares at him, unsure of what to make of it in a rare thoughtful moment. He looks confused. Like he should have been. That part of this at least made sense. Thank you Chris Pine.
JJ Abrams ladies and gentlemen. The genius who gave us Rise of Skywalker. The movie they promised would not have the Emperor for a long time.
Then the rest of this piece of crap is a bunch of lazy shortcuts. In bad, spoken exposition JJ Abrams tries to sneak lots of nonsense past us. If JJ had had any clue about Star Trek he could have made a Space Seed movie that set this up and motivates Khan. Its a better story than this! With Bad Robots production delays? They would have only made two or three more movies in 12-15 years anyway, they really could have marooned him on a planet. There was a way to do this right. Also- too bad Khan’s unlikable, these people sound interesting.
Spock and Kirk are just no match for Khan- who is not the smooth charming character from the series with depth and motivations of his own. A complex man who ran hot and cold. A politician and a warrior. Its just not there or even explained. The original Khan was a dictator and the kind of guy whose face would have been on money.
This movies Khan is a context free frozen and recycled Marvel Supersoldier whose Science-y. He seemingly aspires to be an Osama bin Laden-type guy. He’s nowhere near as imposing as Ricardo Montalban either time in the role. He does not come off like a genius renaissance man that you would grudgingly admire as the original does.
This is a cut rate Khan and they just blurt out and rush his story by running the stupid dialogue through a really good actor. Cumberbatch tries but the dialogue is really awful. The scene is nowhere as good as the Khan reveal in the Original TV series. You can easily see him just reading the cue cards most of the time. He can’t be proud of this performance.
In fact the original TV scene, which was done on the same soundstage as I Love Lucy with spray painted cardboard sets – puts its Big Screen, Big Budget imitation TO SHAME.
In this movie Cumberbatch seems to be a really shitty actor. It will be revealing how his performance as Dr Strange in the new Spiderman No Way Home comes off- because that first trailer is in-assassible. My only question was – Did he have a facelift?
My take is Cumberbatch realized how bad the movie was and thought he could save it if he could still sell this scene. Then the scene tanks when they do it. The cut in the movie sucks.
Cumberbatch looks more scared than menacing. No one except Karl Urban and Chris Pine are able to hide the fact they know they’re in a terrible movie after this moment.
Cumberbatch has chewed the scenery for the whole movie and now he’s scared as could be and its showing through. Overacting starts to be the norm on what must have been one miserable shoot. Everyone knows and is trying to bail out the story and Cumberbatch. Never call William Shatner a bad actor after seeing this. Most of this crew is far worse from here on in. Nothing could make this version of Spock work.
Kirk asks him “what would the Federation want with an unfrozen 300 year old man?” Fair question. The answer sucks. It’s because he’s super smart and a super warrior. We’ve seen almost none of this, but the movie tells us to believe it.
This Cut-Rate Khan is just a dick who’s really arrogant and really loves war. He’s a ‘super-genius’ made with Nazi-like bio-tech and has a nazi-like mind. If Benedict Cumberbatch’s other deals hadn’t already been signed they would have blamed this failure on him and ended his career. You could tell he senses it.
The Critical Drinkers Theory on movies holds true here- The evil genius in this movie is only as smart as JJ Abrams. Then the knock-on effect is the other characters have to be really really dumb to make him the Genius here.
So anyway things just happen for a while and one thing sort of leads to another. The Enterprise is sort of fixed and they have Khan and 72 other frozen baddies. That’s when Admiral Robocop shows up and masquerades as the villain. His daughter is the sexy aussie Science lady – despite the fact Robocop sounds as American as can be.
He attacks with his SUPER ship. For the second straight time, continuing the unbroken pattern that continues through The Force Awakens and Rise of Skywalker- THE BAD GUY HAS AN AD HOC DEATH STAR! He can’t tell a story without one.
So stuff happens, the Enterprise loses without firing a shot to a gargantuan Federation style ship AT WARP SPEED. Star Trek has been really specific about how this is not possible. Perhaps that’s Khan’s advancement? You could have surrounded the Enterprise with five similar sized ships with the resources this supership took to build. On Mars. In secret. In a Year. The automation is great- but nerfs the ship too later on.
Robocops daughter buys us some time. Shes actually named Carol Marcus and this is a bad take on Kirks PACIFIST SCIENTIST EX-GIRLFRIEND from Wrath of Khan. When Robocop beams her off the Enterprise to his Ad Hoc Death Star it takes about a minute. So apparently in this Star Trek you can’t jump into someone else’s beam to follow them because no one tries.
This is one lazy death star and is more or less the Deathstar Star Destroyers from Rise of Skywalker. Robocops plan sucked, he wanted Khan back to make more weapons even though his stuff shows no real improvement and his “Genius Plan” has been foiled. His Ad Hoc death star needs no real crew- making it a total paper tiger because there’s all of 20 people on it at most. They simply find away to board it.
Scene after scene tanks as we break every rule in Star Trek (having a battle at Warp Speed???). Kirk shows his mettle by running away and failing at it. Khan is freed and they briefly team up with him for no real reason. Then there’s some sort of mixed bag action scenes. The scene where they navigate via jetpacks and space suits to board the other ship is a cool CGI action scene. There’s no respecting how we got there, but it’s good. Then the movie goes back to sucking.
Khan pops Robocop’s head like a zit and that’s all it takes to be in control of the Super Ship.
Contrivances come to together and this time it’s Kirk who dies.
The scene is a pale and terrible imitation of the original and a total key jangle. Kirk fixes the ship by kicking it. He just kicks the warp core components and then he dies of radiation. Spock has a meltdown- this is the third one. Everyone in the theater is on their phone fucking around waiting for this turd to end.
Then, just like that it’s action time. There’s a stupid way to Un-kill Jim but Bones is too dumb to use the Blood from the frozen Human Augment’s they have onboard and erroneously tells Spock they need Khan specifically to save Kirk. Spock is fully enraged and goes to chase down Khan. These are supposedly our three smartest characters and they are all acting like idiots.
Of course, Uhura is instrumental in beating up Khan. (They think) they need Khan alive to bring back Kirk with Khans blood. It saved a Make A Wish kid and bought a tribble back to life earlier so we shouldn’t ask any questions.We like tribbles and he showed us one. Its just there like they don’t have a real disdain for them! That’s another key jangle. Its also some major BULLSHIT.
There’s a huge contrivance here and for it to work our characters again need to be stupid. They have 72 OTHER frozen human augments on the ship– but rather than take blood from any of them they chase down Khan to get his blood and re-freeze him. Its just to throw a ticking clock into the end of the movie.
I was insulted by this but JJ is addicted to soft deaths and people being very easily resurrected. That’s why people say “JJ Abrams can only write beginnings, has not had a new idea in 15 years and cant create stakes”
We crash a ship into San Francisco Bay, again. Its a key jangle about Star Trek IV. It’s also the second time in two movies.
They saved Jim with a needlessly stupid plan. They HAD what they needed already! Did JJ forget about this? There’s so much Rise of Skywalker in this movie! The ending is bad and weak, so JJ jangles the keys one last time- they recite the opening monologue from the Original Series and Next Generation.
Trek fans mostly hated it, especially the bait and switch-ing and the waste of a good actor to play a forgettable Khan. Instead of taking a lot of work and sacrifice like in Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock, they effortlessly bring back Kirk in just minutes and we’re all one big happy crew again! It’s like C-3PO in Rise of Skywalker.
Star Trek Beyond is the better movie but fans were not ever trusting these creators again. It tanked. It was really just a better mediocre movie. Its been downhill ever since. Thanks JJ.
The 2023 Star Trek movie WILL NEVER HAPPEN. The whole “Super Secret” project is a scam to force Paramount to continue making the horrible TV shows. How can I be so sure? For starters- the cast quit years ago. Next would be the studios refusal to accept an offer from Quentin Tarantino and lastly would be the total lack of achievement by the so-called writers and alleged director.
Star Trek is unwatchable. Only lies and coercion keep it on the air. Alex Kurtzman has given CBS and fans nothing remotely viewable. The show KILLED CBS All Access and will kill Paramount Plus. We know there will be an obscure patchwork new cast or no movie at all when this sham is over. Most likely of all is they will have some of season 6 of Star Trek Discovery released in theaters if anything. This alleged project is a hardcore lie.
This is the THIRD time this project has been announced and the least well regarded people to ever be associated with Big Screen Trek in such prominent creative roles. For publicity we have– still pictures?? Of Chris Pine and and the ‘cast’ from the set of Star Trek Beyond?? This is the best they could do. Its farsical.
Here’s their scam – to be forced to continue to make Star Trek no matter what there only has to be a movie ANNOUNCED. The Bad Robot and Secret Hideout’s Contract lawyers are much better than their writers. The movie has never been cancelled – but is maybe 6 years late when you factor in how behind Star Trek Beyond’s release ended up being- in 2016 – seven years after the first. Bad Robot spawned Secret Hideout to handcuff CBS and Paramount into losing a ton of money on shows we had been told would be Abrams work.
Earlier this month Digital Spy reported we were more likely to get Chris Hemsworth as Kirk this time around. That will be VERY weird seeing as how he died on screen in the 2009 movie playing Kirk’s dad. They also credit Simon Pegg with saying he didn’t think the reboot cast would have any involvement. Chris Pine seemed to be sending all calls from the Star Trek people straight to HIS AGENTS voicemail. He expressed he had no clue what was going on and woudn’t know anything before the fans. Personally I think Pine has earned the right to leave this sinking ship.
So called Executive Producer JJ Abrams- the genius who gave us Rise of Skywalker- is busy getting paid by DC to destroy Superman. So we get Matt Shakman as director.
Who might Matt Shakman be? Well, he’s NOT Noah Hawley, creator of TV series FARGO or Quentin Tarantino- BUT he did direct slapstick comedy TV gem “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and subversively hilarious “Children’s Hospital” – which runs about 12 minutes an episode So he’s got real experience in madcap comedy. Mostly he’s directed Improv actors using a very loose script. How this prepares you for a Sci-Fi thriller is anyone’s guess.
The cast is gone. They likely wont be back. The director does comedy and some of the most forgettable, bad episodes from the end of Game of Thrones.
Matt is also the Genius behind WANDAVISION- the most unwatchably cringey take on what should have been a good idea ever. Call it his signature project. I’m sure he doesn’t mind the only comparisons he will ever get to Quentin Tarantino for a movie that will NEVER happen.
Though the episodes of WANDAVISION were brief; they were insufferably bad and felt like 2 hour movies. By episode three most people had had enough. Too bad there were SIX MORE! Anyone dumb enough to keep watching got perhaps the worst ending and most skin-crawling reveal ever. I had SUCH a bad headache after episode three i had to start watching the show in 5 minute increments. I could not work up the enthusiasm to watch the whole 19 minutes of story any given week.
This show went for moral ambiguity- Marvel and Disney’s new fixation – and failed miserably. The character of Wanda was starkly evil. The attempt at being nuanced was pretty much stillborn.
Wanda wasn’t having some kind of breakdown- shes a total sociopath. The show lacked all self awareness.
What we saw onscreen didn’t match what the show told us (like LOKI). Wanda is a mass kidnapper and torturer! Not even children are safe! Scarlet Witch needs to somehow be caught and punished for what she did to a medium sized town! The child characters she tortured or their distraught parents are only good if they were looking to create a Minor Villains Backstory in the future. I would totally believe in the damage of any person who was forced to be part of Wanda’s delusion.
The show tells us she’s just dealing with her pain and that its all no big deal when Wanda is confronted and we find out whats happening. The shows final episode was a complete fail as bad as Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s!
When the truth comes out Wanda is not all that regretful, more like embarrassed (as she should be). She just splits after simply saying “oops, sorry” to her victims. The show seems to tell us she was right all along to do what she did. This is only true if you’re profoundly immoral.
If Matt Shakman released a statement saying the story he got was so bad he was trolling us he would be more respected. He would also probably never work again. Shakman is a wild card AT BEST.
Honestly, Wanda’s on par with David Koresh or Jim Jones for what she did. Shes not morally ambiguous, she’s horribly evil.This character has been so assassinated it should ONLY be used as a Villain, if at all. The next time we see Wanda Maximov she needs to be in JAIL. Dont forget that Matt is also the genius behind some of the most loathed episodes of Game of Thrones. So he’s got Action in his toolbox too. What a Renaissance man!
The apparent head writer is Lindsey Beer, whose IMDB headshot is kind of stunning. Thats as impressive as it gets though. Most of her very few projects are obscure, not as a writer or knock off versions of better properties- like an Unfinished Pet Sematary project that’s been ‘Filming’ since 2018.
We can only hope its as amazing as her (only) other movie “Sierra Burgess is a Loser.” Sporting a 30 PERCENT AUDIENCE SCORE on Rotten Tomatoes. The movies Genres are “Cheerleader” and “Bullying.” IMDB describes this brilliant film thusly –
‘Initially mistaken for a psychotic thriller, the main character Sierra Burgess goes on wacky misadventures as she catfishes a guy she likes, humiliates a girl who was nothing but nice to her because she ended up with a girl that Sierra doesn’t deserve and sexually assaults said guy. Wow, what a romantic movie‘
The first thing the reviewer does is claim ignorance, apologize and make sure to say they only watched the movie BY MISTAKE thinking it was something else!
Either that or the movie was seriously mislabelled and deceptively marketed. Despite being initially confused (or deceived) the critics hung in there but still didn’t enjoy any of the movie. Sounds like great stuff,huh? I cant wait to not watch this. Im already actively avoiding experiencing this movie.
I guess another possibility is that the writer was going for a romance or thriller and missed the mark so badly they made the hero evil by mistake. If true it would also mean the writer was clueless and failed to create what they set out to. This thing sounds like a mockery, honestly.
So Lindsey Beer will look great when she gets a check for doing nothing.
Also penning and getting paid for this Star Trek Ponzi Scheme is none other than Geneva Robertson-Dworet, who also has a headshot on IMDB. And just a smidge more.
She’s the creative tour de force behind TWO co-opted ideas that were made into terrible movies. A 2018 Tomb Raider movie everyone thought could have been better and the canon-destroying and utterly incoherent Captain Marvel. A movie with a Rotten Tomatoes Audience score of 45% that fails in every way but financially. It was absolutely dishonestly marketed.
Billed as an integral part of the INFINITY WAR Saga-it was not. People held their noses and sat through horrible Captain Marvel fearing they would miss out on Key Information. This was not the case. The movie also never comes together. We know very little about Captain Marvel except she’s super strong and a woman when this thing ends. In this movie we have so many montages that we have a montage within a montage.
After experiencing this movie people were scouring the internet for information – were they on their phones during the movie trying to piece it together and missed some of the awfulness? Marvel considers that ‘engagement’ I guess. When all was said and done the deal was- she’s very powerful and will be there with the Avengers.
Its about as much info as we had from FORTNITE going into The Rise of Skywalker. We know theres a person whose super powerful who will be around for and in the movie. Boom. That’s all you get. THE DEAD SPEAK!
If I told you “one person the Avengers are really counting on is just a female Superman with a reverse origin tale” you’d have known more than you needed to know to see Infinity War. So this movie succeeds despite the story because it was supposedly the AVENGERS FINALES CONJOINED TWIN!
The movie was so good that the characters time in the Infinity War/ Endgame movies was immediately minimized and the direct sequel scrapped.
How bad is Captain Marvel? Its about as flawed a movie as you could make. Captain Marvel has continuity issues, contradicts Nick Fury’s established origin story and has several scenes of gleeful mass murder.
The jokes don’t land, its overly simple yet still doesn’t add up. Much of plot is never really explained. I left thinking Brie Larson was last years chick and that maybe she can’t act. Samuel L Jackson and her were fine in KONG SKULL ISLAND- which is a mediocre flick too – but a much better one. Embarrassing movie Captain Marvel makes Jackson seem like a non fan who can’t be bothered to pay attention to his own recurring role. Everyone touched by this movie except the already washed up Jude Law took damage from it EXCEPT Geneva- though critics and fans took note.
Analysis makes this movie even worse. It was a movie made because Brie Larson’s career was hot at that moment-and this movie cooled that off, fast! The other reason might just be for memes.
I guess Geneva hoped you were Tweeting through this (because paying any attention destroys immersion immediately). The truly boring and incoherent story never explains a damn thing and she clearly didn’t research the other movies. This script was fired off in less time than it takes to watch the movie.
So Geneva has given us two movies with huge budgets and advertising but cant crack 50% with audiences. Both her scripts were notable only as Obstacles the cast had to overcome. Both held back their movies from greater success.
It’s a good thing her co-creator Lindsey Beer has experience as a continuity consultant – because Captain Marvel is mess of a movie that self contradicts several times. For instance – Captain Marvel only needs a spacesuit sometimes. She kinda like a more powerful Space Leia – and I don’t know if i would bet on her or Rey in a fight.
Captain Marvel simply organically discovers her abilities when in a bad situation. When falling she simply decides to fly. The soundtrack is a good mixtape that makes no contribution to the movie.
At some point I endured a superhero brawl between Brie Larson and an old lady who was actually a shape shifting alien. I’ll just leave that right there.
The movie is completely tone deaf and lacks any awareness. Captain Marvel is completely nonchalant and over confident during murder sprees. The climax of the movie features Captain Marvel using her Super-Powers – which is some kind of energy blasts and that she is impervious to everything. So she uses herself as a projectile – and flies through two or three alien spaceships. This could not have been more preposterous to behold and not a thought was given to the implications of Captain Marvels ctions. It’s a little like Man of Steel that way.
In fact if you like Zack Snyder movies you’ll probably enjoy this. It makes little sense. The dialogue is edge-y nonsense. The action scenes happen out of nowhere and the chain of events doesn’t add up!
While she starts with small fighters the last ship is as big as an Imperial Star Destroyer, she blows it to pieces along with thousands of crew while cheering herself on and staring down the Baddies. There were no apparent survivors of the sorta Thanos-lookin warship she flys through. She utterly destroys the hull. Possibly 20 million dollars in CGI right there. And its sort of underwhelming. Its unimpressive to be honest. You spend most of the scene processing what they tried to slip by and then all the stupid hits you like a sonic boom.
Captain Marvel intimidates the surviving edgey aliens into ditching their plan with no help- just a dirty look. This had Captain Marvel very self satisfied as the triumphant music played. It was an accidental horror movie.
Maybe the fact the character is an overpowered blank slate will help the next person.
Apparently, Captain Marvel was too tarnished for her own sequel. Now she will go on to be part of a superpowered duo or team called The Marvels. So, so much for that. Geneva was NOT asked to help write this NOR was she asked to have a role in creating the Tomb Raider sequel.
The cast are gone. The director is best known for slapstick comedy. The head writer has never made a movie thats been in theaters. The co-writer has two poorly regarded scripts and has never been retained for a sequel to her own work.
I wouldnt wait around to be part of this either and thats part of why I truly respect Chris Pine for walking away first. The talented and versatile actor can make a ton of money saving more worthy movies. In fact; if not for Star Trek Into Darkness he’d be a bigger star right now. Star Trek hurt his career a little by making him the face of their bad movies.
More people split the moment they saw the studio wasn’t really serious or trying to get Tarantino- who begged to do it – nor would they let Simon Pegg continue as writer despite his Trek movie being a bit better than the other 2 new ones. Then they pretended to be interested in a project and had Noah Hawley waste his time so they could announce the project and then shelve that iteration of the movie just about this time last year.
The cast may have more movies in their deals- but the last movie was supposed to be like five years ago. The contracts aren’t that binding anymore as far as anyone knows. Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana are listed as “Rumored” but surely have better things to do. Saldana is working on AVATAR 2 and Karl Urban is doing really well. His MCU movie went fine (Thor-Ragnorak) and everyone loves him on The Boys.
There’s 13 pop songs from the 90s to help her dull MCU movie feel real. The first Suicide Squad has 16 songs for comparison. MTV hasn’t played that much music in two hours this century!
How hard did Geneva make it for the TOMB RAIDER reboot to get to 50% fresh? Here’s what The Rotten Tomatoes Critic Consensus says;
‘Tomb Raider reboots the franchise with a more grounded approach and a star who’s clearly more than up to the task — neither of which are well served by an uninspired origin story.‘ In other words this movie succeeded IN SPITE of the script – which held it back.
In fact the script was called out as the worst thing an artistic project can be labelled – UNINSPIRED. This was despite having a previous series of films and a bunch of videogames to draw on. Apparently Geneva does NO RESEARCH. She just fires off a page full of words and starts the next one.
This will all be directed by a comedic director…because WHY NOT at this point?
This is all a sham so talentless loser Alex Kurtzman and his band of Non-Twilight Teenage Vampire novel writers can keep and continue to ruin Star Trek. Like they ruined the Hawaii Five-0 reboot, the MacGyver reboot and the Silence of the Lambs Hannibal Lecter thriller- without Hannibal Lecter – one season and cancelled crime drama ‘Clarice’.
Alex Kurtzman and his team are the real life equivalent of the Aliens from Independence Day. They’re like locusts. They acquire Other Peoples Property and cannibalize it until it ends up merely the dishonoring of a corpse. Secret Hideout is the perfect name for this production company. I wouldnt show my face in public either!
Wouldn’t be great if we ALL got a TV show to kill and got rich for it? Its hard to imagine WHY anyone would give the creators of the very lowest rated scripted show on CBS ANYTHING- but it keeps happening. The writing has been early grade school level since we went down this Kelvin path with JJ in 2009.
Boring, incoherent and totally unaware of itself, new self important Star Trek has accumulated SEVEN seasons across three bad titles and is about to REALLY open the firehose with a LOT MORE BAD CONTENT. You think Short Treks were bad? Wait til you see Strange New Worlds- which I am guessing involves no exploring at all. Like Picard the title is a Bait & Switch.
This new Star Trek cant be bothered to go explore a planet. All they do is save every single person everywhere from an ill defined genocide- every single season of Picard and Discovery we have so far. They are Five for Five in unwatchable 10 hour stories about Genocide. Throw in the nonstop virtue signalling and you can see why all the former fans are now haters and all the new fans would watch hand shadows and applaud. This has had an interesting effect on the fans and the leading pundits. They rejected the repeated poorly relayed Left Wing Messages and embraced real life Sci-Fi like COVID denial. They really rebelled against the shows.
I’m saying these shows LOOK to divide people. The result is its HARMING us in small, real ways. For instance- its driven the discourse on sci-fi podcasts hard right. I blame Disney, Paramount, CBS, and even Facebook for enabling this.
So again- in so many words–the writers of the 2023 Star Trek Movie thats never going to happen are an unknown script editor whose one ‘right to Netflix’ movie has a 30% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes working with the writer of Captain Marvel; an incoherent mess that has a Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 45%, and Tomb Raider 2018 – a whopping 50% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (because the star was likeable and there was lots of action).
When Nerdrotic or Doomcock stop talking about sci-fi to push hard right politics it sucks. I blame Paramount and DISNEY. Ironically, the Youtubers are doing what DISNEY and PARAMOUNT would want politically. They play their games and pretend to love everyone, but DISNEY, PARAMOUNT and Hollywood in general only love Dead Presidents!
This so called ‘Movie Project’ is a Hoax! It either will not happen or will be an All ‘New Trek’ joint. The idea that Star Trek Discovery could fail its way to the big screen is disheartening. This whole thing is a scam. Its just a matter of when its admitted to. No one expects a GOOD or RESPECTFUL Star Trek movie from this team- who no one wants writing and directing Star Trek in the first place.
If they DO make some kind of Star Trek movie with these creators it just wont have the cast or the characters that most fans want. Most likely this money is slowly siphoned off to save the shows- which NO ONE WATCHES, so hopefully there will be nothing left for the movie. Most likely they will use this cash to fund another season of their bad shows and burn the investors like they burned the fanbase.
After a confusing string of disjointed episodes there was a LOT riding on the season finale to cement the show Loki into some form of coherence. We have seen a good deal of potentially world changing events and rolled out a new, super powerful faction in the form of the Time Variance Authority. As always the show failed to dispense key info and depends on you to do a lot of homework and leaving on the subtitles- or you wont know anyone’s name and miss a lot of motivations. They’re simply absent from the show.
Last week we left the “void at the end of time” via Super-Powerful Sylvie effortlessly enchanting a strange Smoke Dragon and opening some kind of portal in an unexplained way – it was a weird, weak ending. So you’d expect this week to start strong. No such luck. In fact we just plain blow off everything that’s happened so far in the open. The first thing they do is remind you that the MCU was once good with some nostalgia.
The 1940’s music and some dialogue from ‘Captain America the First Avenger’ plays as we see the Marvel Logo, reminding us of just how far we’ve come. Then we see….. at least 2 parallel Universes …? side by side? So there’s more than one universe. The implication here is that we’re ‘rebooting’ everything we knew. So we’ve got a bunch of copies of everyone just like the DC people in this universe now? By the end of this mess the answer seems to be – yes we do!
1- The Terrible Story
Loki and Sylvie are where ever the unexplained portal leads and with knives out we get a conversation between Loki, Sylvie and “Miss Minutes”- the animated character we sort of met at Time Court back in episode one. This character represents and speaks for the TVA’s computer as an AI projection. So theyre brandishing weapons at a hologram. Ok, we’re out of the gate in the usual confusing manner!
Miss Minutes fronts for Kang/ He Who Remains. She talks in stupid riddles and her southern drawl ‘confirms’ we are supposed to see her as shifty and dishonest. How do ya like that southerners?
After double-talking Loki and Sylvie Miss Minutes pops back to the TVA to give Ravonna some Home-Work from “Him” aka “He Who Remains” – though she does not reveal this to Renslayer – so maybe Ravonna Renslayer is just a tool? So with about 33 minutes left in episode 6 we STILL have NO VILLAIN as we see Ravonna is just a blind follower who has no idea who “He” is.
For a while the show reverts to its established method of mocking anyone who asks questions about how any of this is possible when the Man behind it all- ‘He Who Remains’ – shows up.
He Who Remains is a 40-ish black guy in robes and a cape with a glib outlook. He’s on mushrooms or something. Like most of the people “In the know” about anything in this series he just scoffs at details and says its Un-explainable- at least for now. He verifies – at least to him -Loki and Sylvie are the same person and we get another recycled line from a better movie – “its Unnatural”
He Who Remains couldn’t be more bored facing down the Loki’s. This is a bad beginning for a character who apparently controls the entire flow of time through a bunch of realities. He enters via a crappy freight elevator distractedly eating an apple. He talks total bullshit as he guides Sylvie and Loki through his cheap Carnival Fun House.
Is ‘He Who Remains’ the Bad Guy? The show can’t seem to decide. He is – but he isn’t. Like most everyone else he’s a good guy who made some real mistakes doing what he thought was best.
He sure is insufferable. He’s semi ingratiating but high and snobbish. Think Lando as shown in the Solo movie here. He’s loopy.
He says he’s a flesh and blood human. Like everyone else he’s amused by the questions (and brief attack) from Loki and Sylvie. Of COURSE he can’t be bothered to really explain anything-yet. Questions are just laughed off. He Who Remains can teleport around fast enough to avoid attacks, even in a tiny elevator. His set and castle more or less suck. They’ve got a fully CGI Gothic aesthetic.
He Who Remains comes off mentally deficient. He has a condescending tea party with Loki and Sylvie- and they are ok with it. Before we explain a thing we go back to TVA HQ for a confrontation between Renslayer and Mobias – who isnt taking her shit anymore. He’s freed B-15 and now Judge Ravonna Renslayer- finally correctly addressed in dialogue as Judge Renslayer – five and a half hours into our story.
Meanwhile, beaming around through time shows us B-15 is starting some kind of rebellion within the TVA and reveals the actual Renslayer to another Time Cop. Shes an Ohio school teacher who’s not yet a variant in 2018. Then we cut back to Loki and Sylvie talking to He Who Remains in this episode filled with long-winded names.
The Rule of this series has been ‘Show Dont Tell’ and it is in full effect for all the nonsense ‘He Who Remains/ HWR/ Kang’ blabs out to our heroes in this sequence. When Loki and Sylvie figure out as much as they need to know and confront He Who Remains with the fact they’ve ‘won’ because ‘they found him.’ He confirms this by saying “Duh!” Sylvie flips out and misses another attack.
He Who Remains (HWR) is kind of high and very bored (of life?). He simply says he knows everything about everything. Thats it, he just says that. With that out of the way the most useful information is dispensed by trying to take things on a dark turn – from jaunty and strange to ominous. This fails horribly. Maybe Maudlin is the right word for what we end up with. With everyone acting like what we’re hearing is very important the scene doesn’t pull off the switch to ominous. It remains bizarre and jaunty in a strange, tone deaf way.
He Who Remains takes a disniterested stabe t beig villainous and makes a veiled threat – HWR says they can’t kill him. If they do there’s a bunch of really evil copies of him who are all really horrible. He drops some more un-knowable info to prove he’s been watching them and then gloats that he’s the ultimate Puppet Master who designed this very confrontation.
He’s got some hard to follow stuff to say. It’s a lot like the stuff Palpatine says in The Rise of Skywalker to be honest. “I’ve gamed this out. Kill me I win, dont kill me I win, if i kill you I win” It’s hard to figure out what he means. He Who Remains is so indifferent delivering these lines there’s an almost Zack Snyder feel. Specifically He Who Remains is a lot like Lex Luthor in Batman vs Superman and has just delivered some awful dialogue in a heavily CGI environment.
He Who Remains says he’s using foreknowledge and TVA tech to keep an edge over them. He tells them there’s only one path to the end of their journey. Then he speaks in dialogue from Creative Writing 101 and talks about how they can’t change til they are changed by the Journey. He seriously says that. Was this some direction that someone thought was dialogue in the script? Its pretty weird to blurt that out.
Back at TVA HQ Renslayer is revealed as just a TVA Supreme-ist following orders from unknown people delivered by Miss Minutes. Shes back to talking to Mobias like he’s a piece of shit. He makes a menacing move and she throws Mobias around – More on that later. Then she just beams away with a quip about looking for free will. Like us, Mobias is confused and a bit bored.
Then we get the Info Dump.
The show drops the pretense and we get some ‘actual information.” This is our pay off – HWR relates in his glib, stoned manner, that theres several universes and he’s the smartest person in all of them. That much is he clearly believes and makes sense.
He apparently exists in the same form in all universes- or makes sure all realities that could interfere with his ultimately being born and doing what he does are ‘Pruned.’ Its hard to say. There was more interest in making him sound cryptic and edgey than clarity. So our explanation for all this is seriously hobbled in many ways. Imagine Jar Jar Binks relating the events of the Star Wars Prequels. Its about that dumb.
Here’s the deal – He claims he’s a 30th or 31st century super genius/ Mad Scientist who makes contact with all the various timelines different versions of himself. After a while conflict broke out among the Timelimes because most versions of He Who Remains are total malevolent dicks – rather then boring mentally challenged assholes like the one in this episode. He comes off like a total idiot and too incompetent to be pulling all these strings.
The variants got along for a while but then went to war. Each had the same goal- wipe out all other timelines. HWR learned to control time and harness the power of the Monster at the End of Time that Eats Time- Alioth The Smoke Cloud from last week. So thats it. The show doesnt specifically say this, but seems mastering Alioth more or less won the war for him and he now feeds it pruned timelimes.
He smart cause hes a genius and hes powerful because he controls Alioth- who Sylvie can neutralize easily. He repeatedly claims omnipotence and says he ended “The Multiversal War.” He created the TVA to impose Peace and Harmony. He says he keeps them safe, he’s not the devil and that he has the WORST Variants of all running around -because theyre a smart as him. That’s what he claims happened anyway. Both Loki’s buy it out of hand.
So this is more or less what we’re told – a flaky, crazy 30th century science man masters Stark’s 21st century innovation of Time Travel. He ends up traveling between dimensions or meeting people from the other universes. Mostly he runs into himself over and over. Then he eventually takes control of everything. This is a pretty wild thing to just roll out but more than anything we’ve gotten til now. They never even teased this character or make him menacing. This idea had potential but its done all it once in a subdued, prolonged shock reveal. They chose to have it explained by a mentally unstable character. So of course it feels jumbled.
Somewhere in this mess we find out that Crazy Science Man is Kang the Conqueror – or maybe we don’t. I had to google this information. Kang does exist in the comic books. He is more or less Kang but not the primary, super tough bad guy version. This is the “Benevolent” version,
This payoff is really sucking. The Man Behind the Man who Controls all is a cut and paste, tranq-d down copy of Chris Tucker’s Ruby Rhod from the Fifth Element?
Science Man/ He Who Remains / HWR/ Kang the Conqueror says He’s Death Proof because if you do kill him there’s innumerable other versions of him that are much worse that will be set free.
Head Time Lord who has to explain the consequences of about 18 movies and now dozens of hours of TV is a heavy lift for any actor- but Jonathon Majors who plays Kang-gets stranded in the role with some of the worst dialogue ever. He has to un-spool the huge implications of the last 5 hours. The scene was not handled well by the writers or director.
I think it was done as the show-runners wanted it though. This was what they were going for. I felt bad for this actor, he did a great imitation of Forest Whitaker’s Last King of Scotland performance with his delivery- despite the Lex Luthor speech spasms. He TRIED to be menacing – but the character is way too far gone mentally for us to respect. The explanation he gives Loki is BS. He claims he was justified creating the TVA. The truth seems to be all he did was win a conflict among other versions of himself. But he claims he controls the tech that contains some really bad variants and monsters- SO THEY SHOULDN’T KILL HIM. Then; in in a moment evocative of Willie Wonka; he adds a clause -they can’t kill him – unless they take up his work. If they do that killing him is fine. Crazy.
Then HWR remarks that they’ve just passed the point where he knows everything about everything. So he just signaled his advantage is gone. He’s apparently glad to be free of the boring predictability. HOWEVER- He tells them that no matter what they do the timeline is Circular and this is the end, so events will just repeat themselves. This is pretty weird stuff to just move on from, but we do.
He then warns for the third time that killing him would unleash multiple versions of him and things will suck everywhere for everyone. So now we KNOW he’s as good as dead. Sylvie lunges at HWR only for Loki to stop her. He’s switched Teams, or at least changed his agenda. He’s down for keeping this all in place.
Then Loki and Sylvie “Fight-Talk” for a while as HWR tells them to hurry up and do whatever they’re gonna do because the Timeline is already branching. So we wont be explaining anything more. Then they try for a ‘wistful’ feeling I guess and Loki is very rational. He believes HWR and the TVA are necessary evils and this is bigger than them. Fighting resumes and HWR is finally interested in whats going on.
The fight scene sort of sucks and ends with Loki using Pop Psychology on Sylvie to calm her down. He’s now got deep empathy and strong shrink skills. He unironnically says “I just wants you to be ok’ and with that they kiss passionately. Sylvie drops a cryptic hint “I’m not you” Its useless as information and could mean anything. She then beams Loki Prime to TVA HQ and seemingly strands him there.
Sylvie then just kills He Who Remains, she just jumps at him and stabs him in the chest. He puns “see ya soon” as he dies. Lots of people are saying this is because he’s in the next Spider Man movie. Anyway, we see the actual timeline out the window of ‘He Who’s Now Just Remains’ office and its branching like crazy.
At TVA HQ Mobias and B-15 stare blankly at a screen and comment “there’s no going back” and other edge-y shit that tells us nothing.We can see theres hundreds of branches off the timeline. Alone somewhere else in TVA HQ Loki Prime reflects and sulks. Then he’s purposeful and running around. He has freedom of movement at the TVA. He finds Mobias and has a slight breakdown.
Loki Prime knows things he can’t know- like that the weird Science Guy was telling the truth and that since he left the room Sylvie’s killed him. “We made a mistake” he says.
Then Loki hyper-babbles the very stupidest dialogue to ever be spoken in the MCU to Mobias – thats right we bottom out twice in dialogue in one episode just minutes apart,
“We Freed the Time Line.” a near hysterical Loki jabbers to Mobias,”We found him, Beyond the storm. A Citadel at the end of time. He’s terrifying. he’s knows everything, he’s seen everything. He planned everything! Its complicated, ok?” Wow.
Mobias just tells him to calm down and….asks his name? He’s said earlier he’s hunted many Loki’s. Hows seeing one not immediately alarming to Mobias? He now apparently doesn’t know about Loki’s? She’s he’s been switched back to Team TVA?
SERIOUSLY? This is our payoff? Throw in Loki relates that they’re all doomed because now many many variations of Evil Timekeeping Future Science-Man ‘all bent on war’ will be coming their way to kick their asses. This is the only thing that makes sense, OF COURSE Mobias tells him to calm down. When he asks his name is when things make no sense. We don’t know if he’s orienting Loki or if he now no longer knows who he is because we have no context for how any of this works- with just seconds left in the season. While it seems that the TVA has had some sort of reset Loki Prime stares at the place where there was once a statue of the Time Keeping Lizards- its now a statue of a Human Male- possibly a variant of He Who Remains? This begs a lot of questions!
Like- What’s this say about the Team Flipping and emergence of a Fifth Column at the TVA? Is Ravonna back and if so whats she even know? She just went Free Agent, is this Team Switch 2 in this episode?
With this shot we go to credits- and there’s an Easter Egg of sorts. They say they will return in season 2. Is this a threat?
2-Nothing Made Sense
Other than great jokes the show has the worst of everything. The jokes come first and no thought is given to the problems that build up. The Citadel at the End of Time is yet ANOTHER Consequence Free Sandbox where we let the characters interact in a place “beyond time and space that cant be explained.” We got this every week in slightly different forms.
There’s so many issues. The biggest is it just wrecks the MCU as we knew it. Among the others were there was No Real Villain and the show’s Title is Deceptive. It should have been called SYLVIE.
This show was some BULLSHIT. Wandavision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier had terrible problems and messed up some characters, but this show broke the MCU’s til now well planned, well crafted world. Fast. They jam that home and we move on quick!
We have so many shortcuts and future writing issues due to this show. We have infinite resets of events because there’s very easy Time Travel with total, precise control. This is now part of every Marvel story both retroactively and, seemingly going forward.
We just blew off a lot of things hyped as MAJOR EVENTS. For instance -In Episode Two Sylvie “Bombed the Timeline” by sending Time-Bomb Time Reset Bombs into the Timeline via the TemPad Transporter. EVERYONE at the TVA was freaked out about this. It seemed like it was a really big deal – but it was just a ruse to initiate a fight scene. We’ve heard nothing more of this since. That’s pretty much how this series has gone. Things just happen. When they stop happening we move on.
Lokis power levels come and go as the plot needs. He’s beaten up by normies then pushes a falling building out of the way with telekinesis minutes later. He was able to take on Thor at one point- days ago. Now randos kick his ass. Also – is he stupid now?
We NEVER have a consistent bad guy. Episode 4 and 5 are just non-stop team switching. We killed He Who Remains- but he’s said in so many words he’ll be back. This was UnFulfilling even before that line. He shows up, rambles his backstory and gets killed. Even worse Loki Prime has adopted his agenda. So the bad guy is sort of redeemed. So why was he bad and why kill him? This attempt at moral ambiguity fails badly.
The TVA were the Bad Guys for a while- but the show tells us their existence is Justifiable. Then we get Judge Renslayer set up as bad guy. She then Team Switched about four times in 10 minutes of story before we find out shes maybe another victim and started out a school teacher? Is there any malevolent force at work here or just a string of mistakes?
Ravonna has declared herself a Free Agent and split. Mobias and the TVA Agents are all victims-and we don’t know if they’re aware of this anymore. They’re now working for a new unknown Time Keeper. We just don’t know what she or the TVA knows or what their intentions are in the new timeline.
They just never committed to a Villain in this show. They broke the MCU as well as the rules of their own show for jokes and they rehabilitated pretty much ALL so called Villains. The one we killed- “He Who Remains” – will be back, presumably as a rando Bad Kang. So we why did we do all this? To resurrect all the characters we want at any given time is my guess.
So we had No Bad Guy or True Villain- for 6 hours. Worse than that we blew off a lot of villainous deeds committed by supposedly “Good Characters” by cuing music or giving people pithy lines.
The way Renslayer talks to Mobias gets anyone fired and should never have been portrayed as ok or a friendship. This was workplace abuse for LOL’s at Mobias’ expense. Sylvie kills a dozen TVA Agents – who she knows to be brainwashed kidnapping victims. Loki is kicked in the balls over and over like thats a funny acceptable thing. These jokes would NOT work the other way around and these characters are cruel despite bloodless kills and swelling, approving music when they do evil stuff. Loki alone is conspicuously, infuriatingly moral.
4-Ridiculous Fight Scenes
This show features some of the WORST fight scenes ever. We covered how we routinely see 100 pound five foot five normal human women get the better of Loki and other men without any effort. Loki could lose to anyone at any time and will tolerate being kicked in the balls hundreds of times in a row in one ‘Comic” moment. Loki is no match for Sylvie and almost never uses magic when he fights or attacks. He’s given up trickery and using illusion or doubles to achieve his agenda. He’s the most mild mannered reformed mass murderer ever. He would have been an ideal prisoner at Spandau.
“Mid-Season” Villain Renslayer blows out of the TVA in an almost Mary Poppins-like way. It was weird and trite. She sent people to the void to die for at least as long as it took Sylvie to age from 10 to about 30. She was an Unforgiving Follower who kept on mission even after she found out the Time Keepers were animated puppets. Shes either lying or stupid because she got her instructions from them for years. Was Kang controlling the responses? She’s pretty evil and shes now (maybe) out there as a time travelling wild card.
They make a real concerted point to show us Renslayer is merely a human variant- she’s NOT a supersoldier or anything -because if she is we already needed to know that. They seem to have to slammed the door on this pretty hard by showing shes another variant moments before though. So its beyond dumb she can beat up any man very very easily or fight to Loki or Sylvie – who are Asgardian and presumably BOTH Ice Giant changelings who can survive in space! There’s no justification for her toughness and she weighs 100 pounds and seems pretty short. There’s no use of interesting fighting styles to make her believable.
On top of being badly cast as an ass kicking villain who prevails through physical force, the Renslayer character makes no sense. She tricks Loki easily and “Vaporizes” him. Her traits as a fighter are plot armor, strength completely out of all proportion to her size and being underhanded. Later she just tosses Mobias to the floor effortlessly, reversing his momentum despite his size and his already being moving towards her.
5- A Badly Paced Show in a Broken World
We found out there is no Freewill! The we find out that The Avenger’s have a Pass on time travel while everyone else gets tossed into the Void at the End of Time to be killed by the Smoke Dragon? These are the answers? We’re told one crazy science man from the 30th century set this up. That’s our explanation. I’m not so much scoffing at this so much as asking why it wasn’t told to me in a way that wasnt jarring and jammed in. We had three movies worth of time here but we rushed the ending of every episode. Kang’s not patently ridiculous, he’s just thrown at us though.
Kang the Crazy Science Man is the most powerful, smartest person in every timeline. He’s the guy who discovers how to observe all timelines and supposedly invented all the TVA Super-tech? He also learns how to cross timelines and unify them. It seems by right of Conquest and Trial by Combat THIS Particular Science Man won and that means he’s the benevolent one? OK!
This show was a bad idea. You’d think the COVID production slow-down would have given people more time to write better stories, but NO! This was low quality bullshit. If Star Trek Discovery were funny it would be like this. We end more or less at the same place we were in the beginning of Episode 2 with Loki. He’s a TVA Agent of dubious loyalty and a his own agenda. He knows no one there now though it would seem.
Whats the best thing you can say? It was fun here and there. Episode Five was fun. Alligator Loki will surely return- but wow was this show insultingly dumb.
With a basis formed on appropriating other shows the title LOKI is a dishonest Bait & Swtich. This show is about Sylvie, not Loki. Loki is not the Loki we knew. He’s a dimwitted Fox Mulder. The whole thing is by definition a waste of time according to Science Man because the timelines are circular.
Loki has adopted the Agenda of Kang as we saw him in his He Who Remains guise. So if he was the bad guy they’ve vindicated him! Not having a Bad Guy was just weird.
We spent 6 hours having NO VILLAIN! We have misguided benevolent people and a benevolent version of the smartest but worst person in any reality. We swapped out villains every episode. Moral Ambiguity disintegrated into Incoherence and Outright Confusion. Its ANYONES guess who is right or wrong.
The scattered moments of WIN we’re too brief and too far between. The battle of Loki’s in the void was as good as it got, and that was mostly comedic.
We now have a way to bring back any character from any point at any time and apparently this pisses on expectations for the next Spider Man Movie.
This show was beyond contrived. It got out of its depth here and there and doesnt deliver much in the way of fight scenes.
The “Have It Both Ways” Plot really undercuts all stakes. We blew up about 12 years of well planned movies to fly by the Seat of Our Pants and thats that. When there was time to plan a better story no one bothered to go and re-think this. How they do anything from here is hard to auger. We have the All Powerful TVA overseeing everything. They could grab Stark or Black Widow and just bring them to the present or get them from another timeline. This is a Deus Ex Machina justification more than a show.
I seem to be in the minority but by no means alone questioning the show and its implications. The idea you could Hard Re-Boot this universe- which was well conceived and based on the best Marvel stories – with some Pavolvian Triggers is not sitting well with everyone. The fans of the comics may look down their noses and claim superiority because they have a clue as to whats going on- but in fact they know less then anyone if they still think they have Fore-Knowledge or any edge understanding this. We depart from the comics regularly. At this point following the comic exactly might even be considered Subversion! Mysterio was chamged, The Mandarin was changed, on and on. Now we have a remade and De-Constructed Loki who acts completely unlike himself in a more or less unplanned ad hoc universe where we can more or less tell whats going to happen.
6-The MARVEL TV FORMULA
This show is derivative and so poorly explained its insulting. Its Re-Purposed other shows and rolled them into this project which just happens to be their current Marvel Phase. Unlike the PLANNED chain of stories inherited from Paramount, the Disney MCU has been chaotic with diminishing quality. It took longer from the point of purchase than Star Wars to fall apart- but its mess a now.
Here’s the LOKI formula – Make an Amalgam of other successful properties mostly owned by Disney. Re-use plot devices, tech and story elements from these shows and thread it together with musical cues, virtual signaling and really predictable fight scenes.
Loki is a wholesale appropriation of Star Trek TOS & The Next Generation, Doctor Who, The X-Files and Men In Black where we jammed a square into a round hole by concentrating on Loki – the formidable bad guy who steals every Thor movie and to a lesser extent Avengers 1 – into a likeable good guy.
The most pilfered show is clearly Star Trek.There’s holodecks and transporters as well as Tri-corders. We use Transporters multiple times per episode and even used the old Star Trek trick of jumping into someone elses Transporter Beam to follow them. This is all rolled out unexplained. Most of the time we have to wait a week for any context on how the last episode ended. I guess its one way to keep us coming back
The X-Files and it’s direct parody Men In Black are the next biggest victims of theft by Loki’s writers. The TVA is a copy of The Men In Black and their HQ’s are similar. Mobias is Mulder with Post Concussion Syndrome. The Dr Who rip off is more subtle- but Disny doesnt own that- yet! The transporter beams work just like a TARDIS and take you to any point in time or space. The Tech is super powerful and deeply complex. The tech is so incdredible that for a while its beyond Loki. Then after experiencing this we see a 10 year old child steps in someone foot, steals some tech and begins a 20 year game of cat and mouse – eventually best-ing the TVA again and again, always a step ahead flipping their agents. So a 10 year child can outwit these people- but NOT Loki.
Rather than going deep into Loki’s mind or trying to have a well told story the writers kicked the can week to week with minimal information and an emphasis on fight scenes and jokes to distract from what amounts an Elephant in the room Then the wrap-up is bizarre and maybe played for laughs? Its dismissive and dishonest representation of the shows alleged intent.
The dishonesty of the approach is evident in it’s fake title. LOKI isn’t a fitting title. The show would more accurately be called “Sylvie.” This is not about this new Loki or the Loki we knew. It’s a little bit about the TVA. It seems like what the show Loki is really about though- at leats this season- is how Sylvie and Judge Ravonna Renslayer need to just accept that the Patriarchy has lied to them, become friends and Girl-Power away all the problems of the multiverse.
The male leads, Loki and Mobias are yelled at, beat and literally kicked in the balls. Its cool to treat men like shit in this show. Because some Men were mean at one time all men are fair game forever. This causes all fight scenes and scenarios to be really predictable.
Take the “fight” between Mobias and Ravonna- where she simply throws him around. Its a female Harvey Weinstein but with ‘regular’ violence instead of sexual attacks. So whats the message here? Ravonna uses no Martial Arts or tactics to level the field. She charges in and wins or ties no matter what. They needed to think on this more. She could have been a martial arts practioner- why not make her office a gym ? Shes too aggressive for any normal setting anyway. Then she could have been doubled with an acrobat for fighting. At least In Falcon and the Winter Soldier Karli was explained as a supersoldier to justify the strength. This was just sloppy or some sort of angry message.
This isn’t Sex and the City either- in other words ‘it wouldn’t be funny the other way around’ Its also really unfair and one sided. At least the chicks from Sex and the City were presented as shallow, unreasonable sex crazed loons a lot of the time. They were flawed and quirky and sometimes outright wrong. They dont dso this here. Sylvie is a total Mary Sue. The tone worked for light comedy – and thats what Loki mostly is. So the one-sidedness of the plot and personal nastiness or whatever term you want to use – mostly flies under the radar til there’s a fight. Women just dominate most fights in this phase of the MCU. Thats established now.
Renslayer and Sylvie talk to men like their mentally deficient selfish assholes the entire time. Its like the way one would speak to a particularly slow child- but meaner. Backed up with heroic music and played for laughs its pretty stupid to be sure. When Judge Renslayer just beats people up despite being a tiny waif who seems to be 5 foot two its ridiculous. You could make her tactical or sneaky – but she simply beats up and overpowers people. She doesnt even have a fighting style. She trades punches til she needs to not lose – then flees offscreen to compose herself before coming back.
Theres nothing inherently wrong with women winning a fight against a physically superior male opponent – unless she just throws him around like a rag doll out of all proportion to her size and strength unexplained by something like being a super-soldier. Variant Ravonna has no known enhancements. It’s just preposterous she beats people around. It’s less stupid when Sylvie does it. She is an Asgardian demigod who may be stronger than she looks. That said even with Sylvie -this was absolutely not done well. The fight scenes were bad the whole series.
I rate Season 1 as a 2 out of 10 . That’s mostly for being Funny most of the time. I hereby declare Phase 4 a Failure to this point. There is NO good story since Phase 3 ended.
When last we left De-Constructed Loki and his new pal and fellow Loki Sylvie, Loki Prime had been ‘vaporized’ because he let his guard down and Sylvie somehow missed him being attacked from behind despite looking right at him.
Then Sylvie easily bests Ravonna. Loki wakes up in ‘The Void.” Its another place outside time and space and is populated by mostly Loki variants- who apparently are the only ones who can avoid the poorly crafted Massively Over-Powered ‘Smoke Dragon’ (Alioth) that consumes everything that’s sent to “The Void” I’ll just say it- the dragon sucks. Its about the same effect as they used for the alien motherships in Independence Day- its smoke with fire inside. Impressive….for 1996.
Rather than go point by point- since this episode is just a mess- Im going to look at it as a whole. Theres no point in breaking down a Non-Story. In this episode things merely happen. We also jump around locations in a lot of quick cuts to the point scene by scene description would just be tedious. So lets just dive right in, so to speak;
This weeks plot is the worst yet, it’s really contrived. The episode is actually fun in spite of this- albeit sometimes ironically. The jokes have worked and crazy and contrived is normal for this show. The world destroying dialogue and events are kind of familiar now. We’ve long since Un-Done the world built in 17 movies- in just the 48 minutes of the first episode. Another way to put this would be – there isn’t really much left they can do to surprise me.
Now that we’re at episode 5 we still have very few answers. We also have a new, changed, compassionate Loki for about three episodes in a row now. I suppose we now can say two things- 1- it seems this radical take on Loki is more or less what we’re going to have from here on in. In short – slapstick concussion victim Loki Prime is now the nicest most caring least underhanded guy ever. 2- He’s also a simp-ing sap who is really in love. Loki’s totally hot for Sylvie and maybe Mobias (who of course is not dead either).
Last week Ravonna “Killed” Loki and Mobias- but turns out she just sent them to a hellscape at the end of time where hes in great danger-of a rather slapstick variety. The Void is another consequence free sandbox the writers set their action figures loose in. It exists, but it doesnt. When anyone asks about it – or anything else to do with most locations we go to in this show-the answer is always cryptic or a joke about how its Unexplainable to someone as dumb as the person asking. This happens even when Mobias asks Ravonna questions. In my mind I thought about the phantom zone hell-ish room where Ghosts who die are banished to from the movie Beetlejuice more than anything else.
This show explains nothing and moved way too fast. Personally- based on how formidable he was? I think the TVA should still be trying to break Loki. He was far too easy to capture and fundamentally changes- apparently legitimately- in what he says feels like mere days.
The Four Lokis who help Loki Prime are the top dogs in a world of Lokis- because only Lokis survive in the Void. To everyones great delight one of them -Vintage Loki, described in subtitles as Classic Loki- is former Dr Who Richard E Grant! So here we have some fun, pretty decent fan service all around. Grant does a lot with his role- sort of like he did playing General Pride in Star Wars. This segment was dumb but fun and I’ll call it the first real WIN in this series- four hours in! Loki Prime has stumbled on the most benevolent Lokis. Most of the other Loki’s are total jerks though. We see about a dozen botched Loki’s later in a ‘Loki Army’- like a dozen Lokis who have banded together under the ‘leadership’ of a Loki Variant identified as ‘President Loki’ in the subtitles.
Aside young Loki no one looks that much like Tom Hiddleston. You’d easily be forgiven for thinking Richard E Grant is the best thing about the episode- but its actually Alligator Loki. He steals the episode. Non verbal like Groot (but more like Baby Yoda) he does have a Loki crown and is a legit funny addition to the episode.
While this episode was amusing it quickly became predictable. The plot and characters get twisted into a weird pretzel again this week, with everyone looking pretty dumb except Sylvie. This is only because her equally stupid ideas simply work.
Last weeks endless team switching continues in a ridiculous way when Sylvie- who could just kill her nemesis Ravonna- is easily fooled into an alliance with her- that lasts 2 minutes. This after we hear Sylvie’s spent roughly 20 years laying an intricate plan to kill Ravonna- who everyone is n ow calling “Judge”. We’ve only gotten her actual first name in subtitles. This is the case with numerous characters. Why they give her a confusing name in the captioning is beyond me. This seems to be a mistake. She should probably be identified as “Judge” Or “Renslayer” Its not like theres any real brevity in Ravonna. This should have been thought this out better because the show moves pretty fast and it’s a little tough keeping track of whose who, especially when they wear several hats in the story.
Its pretty damn stupid. Its even dumber when Ravonna flips back to her own agenda after divulging a bunch of ‘classified TVA info’ to buy time. They pointedly and needlessly mention that theres a ship they’ve developed that can get to the UnReachable Place- aka the Void. Sylvie is ambushed the moment she hears what she needs to hear to drive this weeks story. Look for the Space-time-ship, which I will certainly be calling a TARDIS- next week or early next season. That was clearly jammed in there for a reason. Then the jig is up as Ravonna has switched back to Team TVA. This was done badly, especially if shes going to flip teams again. Thankfully we backed off this – at least for the rest of this episode.
The three human Loki’s and their pal Alligator Loki – thats right, alligator Loki- and Loki Prime are immediately friends. They take refuge in a cargo container somewhere in the Mogadishu-like ruins that make up their little part of the Void. They just somehow know he’s one of the “Good Loki’s”
This is where we really get to know the true star of the episode- Alligator Loki. He’s an alligator whose also a Loki. There’s nothing more to it, hes an alligator and does alligator things. He’s non verbal and if his growling is a language its not translated. He’s pretty cute may know magic. Alligator Loki is just an automatic laugh every time he shows up. Like i said earlier – think Baby Yoda on this one. So sort of like the Green Lantern Corps – now there’s Loki’s of all kinds everywhere. Alligator Loki has an awesome Loki crown and hangs out in a kiddie wading pool.
In fact Alligator Loki is a show I want to see more than this one. He’s just sort of there at first but does start to play a hand -literally- in later events of the episode. I suppose its possible he’s a regular Loki who took on Alligator form and is either playing a long game con or he was up to something and got stuck in that form. or he’s from a world of gators? Is he Florida Loki? He seems to smart but he fought like it.
The FIVE Loki’s give about the most insulting explanation of how we got to where we are at this point-its the same one we’ve heard about everything in this show all along bit with some superficial differences.
The “Info Dump” is fairly decent by Marvel Phase 4 standards. We at least get what we need to know, but we dont get a whole lot more.Its still the most we’ve really gotten on any substantial thing in this story.
At first its the usual doible talk just to keep that seeming normal. Its Outside of Space and Time. It’s where time ends but also some kind of converge in time. And of course they say that there’s really no explaining it. With that out of the way we get some useful stuff to help us through the story.
We’re told no Nexus Events can occur in The Void . Reality barely applies. Its said its the TVA’s Rubbish Heap/ Landfill / Shark Tank. It’s the Bad Timeline Dumping Ground. When your deleted by the TVA you end up here. Alioth keeps everything it doesn’t kill from escaping and is ‘the Shark’ in their “Shark Tank.” This is as much as we need to get by and really no more. This episode DOES have some slower moments where the plot can settle and be explained for a change – but again we get sort of meaningless information. My take was – Its a prison planet like the one in Alien 3 more than anything else. Its a desert-y dump with some beat down buildings.
They only need a TemPad to escape. Sadly there are none here. There ARE 18th century pirate ships grounded here and there as well as what looks to be the saucer section of a Federation Ship littering the area though.
Back at the TVA Ravonna is finally named on screen. Its NOT the name they use in the subtitles though- they call her Judge Renslayer. So in a ‘subtle, artistic choice’ the characters translates to ‘Judge Female Raven King-Slayer’. What a light touch!
Ravonna and Sylvie then unload some of the very stupidest most contrived dialogue ever written. They hate each other, however Judge Ravonna Renslayer is contrite -so they decide to try not killing each other for a bit. Ravonna hacks into the TVA computer and has Miss Minutes divulge the story about how the Void is an inescapable place at the end of time. This is 5 times in 5 minutes we’ve underscored Loki and Mobias are alive but cant come back from the Void- so obviously they will. And oh the TVA has a spaceship of some kind that can get there if they need to. So it isnt outside space and time as much as they’ve been telling us. Its a place you can get to.
The revealtion leads to some handholding between Sylvie and Renslayer. Thats right Sylvie has completely forgiven Ravonna because Ravonna said shes sorry and doesnt know who runs the TVA. Sylvie even needlessly gives Ravonna her weapon. Now theyre best friends- til more time cops come in and Ravonna Heel Turns back. We did this in like 4 minutes of story time. Whiplash has set in.
Sylvie has a less than excellent plan to save Loki Prime. Despite the Time Cops being no match for her she ‘commits suicide/prunes herself’ by deleting herself with a Time Cop baton to get to the Vod. This part was so dumb I had to rewatch it. She basically adopted the bad guys agenda and did their job for them.
Who would turn a deadly weapon they’d just seen vaporize their friend on themselves based on information from the person you hate the most and spent years scheming to kill? Why not just fight the Time Cops? At worst all they will do is hit her with the same weapon, sending her to the Void anyway. On the other hand this course of action likely results in her killing everyone in her way including re-confirmed nemesis Ravonna; and getting to the bottom of this- which we’re told is her lifelong mission. No one is a match for her and she may get to the ship we learned of that can take you to the Void or find another way to bring Mobias and Loki back.
But no. Sylvie basically does the equivalent of swallowing a Tide Pod based on some bs off the internet. Good thing Ravonna wasnt bluffing. If she had been she would have fooled her biggest enemy into taking out themselves.
I wonder if the writers didnt want either woman to lose a fight or have to explain anything about the TVA – so they took the dumbest, easiest way out. It was as subtle as a brick wall. Im sorry, I dont care what the other characters say – Sylvie is an idiot too. This was the stupidest writing hack ever. Offensively dumb! She couldn’t have made a worse decision in this situation. She also seems pretty dumb only finding this out now.
Sylvie’s been an adversary to these people for 20 years and has been heavily spying on them, flipping people to her team and reading some of their agents minds. So much for being a Worthy Adversary. We’ve gone over how absolutely dumb the TVA workers and Time Cops are, but Sylvie is supposedly a super genius. Well, she sure doesn’t come off looking like a super genius at all. In fact, outside having the same revelation Loki Prime has about hiding in the days before an Apocalyptic Event – she hasn’t done anything smart at all. This is weird because now Loki Prime extols her as a genius all the time.
Sylvie is a terrible strategist and makes no effort to kill Ravonna- a major target of her revenge plan. This really makes no sense. The TVA are still total assholes. At least that stayed consistent!
All we know about the Void is its a place ‘at the end of time, without time’ where bad timelines are flushed away to be eaten by Alioth- whose a boring cloud of smoke. To show how tough Alioth is we see a World War 2 era US Navy Destroyer fall from the sky and turn all its weapons on the Smoke Dragon. Alioth laughs it off and eats the ship. Or consumes its matter and life force. We just dont know. Its does this effortlessly.
Anyway one thing leads to another and Classic Loki, styled like we saw him in the 70s comics, and the other Loki’s tell their stories- which should be lies but probably aren’t. “Vintage/Classic Loki/ Richard E Grant Loki” is second only to alligator Loki in providing humor. Fresh off Rise of Skywalker Grant is now really good at delivering utter nonsense dialogue in a believable way. He’s gonna get a LOT of work the way movie dialogue is going these days.
The various Loki’s tell their tales. Young Loki is there for killing Thor and “Classic” Loki is there because he opted out of being evil. He isolated on a planet til he developed empathy enough to want to see Thor again- and at that moment- when he sort of becomes good- the TVA prune him. The TVA Prunes ALL Loki’s who decide to be kind (or eat the wrong cat in the case of Alligator Loki). We hear a few other stories but all of the storytellers are Loki’s- so we just dont know what to make of what they say. So any iteration of Loki that shows any inclination towards ‘good’ is simply pruned to the void- where only Loki’s can survive.
The other Loki’s find Loki Primes affection for Sylvie as weird and stupid as we do as he simps and schemes. They laugh right at him. He gonna kill Alioth the smoke dragon- hes just sure he can- and go help Sylvie destroy the TVA. As he tries to split a rather large band of UnCool Loki Variants – lead by “President Loki” show up as Loki Prime exits the underwhelming cargo container. Once again the character names are ONLY in subtitles. Turns out Child Loki is “king” of the Void and this is some kind Loki on Loki Coup. This Disney trope of the adolescent leader is really getting old. We recycled the same scenery chewing child actor as a faction leader from terrible SOLO into Falcon and the Winter Soldier. So of course the child Loki is King.
The army of renegade Lokis breaks in on OUR Lokis and theyre looking to take control. Black Loki has sold the others out. Loki alliances and bs stories are exchanged and a brawl ensues. Its a fun brawl but over too quick. Alligator Loki again steals the scene, chomping on President Loki’s arm, severing his hand. Loki Prime is mostly unaware of the danger and is saved (without knowing it) by the “Good Lokis,” whose preferred form of attack is to blip around the shelter throwing Alligator Loki at their foes. It reminded me a bit too much of Billy Butcher using a baby superheros laser eyes to kill some enemies. Derivative as could be but Funny……and pretty stupid. We’ve seen this done better just a few months ago, but hey this method of attack works and Child Loki, Classic Loki and Alligator Loki escape with Loki Prime.
A couple of times Loki in the episode says what hes been saying for the last three episodes- all Loki’s but Sylvie suck. She’s the very best-est Loki ever. Child Loki confirms if any of them try to be nice or improve they’re banished to the void. They are fated to only be losers. I guess this means Sylvie is good and WOW the TVA are just the WORST! “The god of outcasts’ observes Classic Loki. Loki Prime thinks he can undo this with Sylvie’s help. The other Loki’s are as tired of it as we are at this point. Theyre mostly dismiss this idea.
Meanwhile in our other plot; Suicidal Sylvie wakes up somewhere in the void. Turns out the TVA told her the truth. I would say this is a huge win for the TVA. They got a Loki to self prune through bs and pop psychology. Anyway she easily avoids Alioth – who does pursue her and briefly touches her. This bs monster has killed everyone thats happened to up til now, but Sylvie can tolerate it. Just as its looking bleak for Sylvie- out of nowhere Owen Wilson’s Mobias just shows up! in a car from the 70s! “Wow…..” WHAT LUCK!
Then “Things happen” for a while. None of it makes sense. At all. They talk of the decades of cat and mouse theyve played and and how Mobias is basically a dick and he mostly agrees. Then they trash the TVA and again, Mobias is totally onboard with that. Then they bury the hatchet quick- which sort of makes NO SENSE after seeing how that worked out with Ravonna- but Sylvie decides to trust yet another TVA operative (how can she know hes switched teams?). Sylvie is afraid Loki Prime was consumed by Alioth but Mobias just KNOWS its not the case. He JUST KNOWS! (Dont think about it!!) They drive off fast and of course we know they will run into Loki because we just throw people together when we need them to be. Anyone going anywhere is going to rendezvous with people already at “The Place” so they can “do the Thing” for that episode. This is getting really predictable.
We once again get to a point where one thing sort of leads to another and Loki Prime, Sylvie, Mobias and the remaining 3 “Good Lokis” (alligator Loki, “Classic Loki” and Young Loki) hop into a classic landrover or other SUV from the early 60s and now all characters are crashed together really quick for the sake of the plot. They stop to scheme a way to help Loki Prime. They’re terrified of Alioth and wont confront him- but they will take Loki and Sylvie close enough to mess with it. This is weird after hearing Alioth is an omnipresent and persistent threat who just comes after you if you even raise your voice- but continuity isnt a thing on this show. So with the stakes set at “Kill or Evade Alioth and Escape the Void or Die” they set off.
Plan A is abject bad idea Loki Prime comes up with- while Alioth is distracted by the WW II destroyer they will go around him. Alioth deals with the destroyer in about 35 seconds. Also- how do you ‘go arond’ a smoke monster to simply leave another dimension? Makes NO sense, good thing they opt to just blow this bad idea off. All ‘good’ characters need to unite so a woman can figure this one out for them. I gotta say after seeing how dumb all the male Lokis are this now seems the best course of action. The plot brings them all back togther soon enough.
The new plan – hatched by Sylvie-is just as bad but of course Sylvie came up with it so we know its gonna work. The plan is that shes super powerful and will just enchant the monster. It’s a terrible plan- but she just flirted with suicide to get to an inescapable purgatory based on the word of a sworn foe- so shes actually pretty dumb like the other Loki’s. While this plan has little chance its much better than her last one. So WHAT if everything this creature touches disintegrates? Its Sylvies plan so everyone decides it must be great – in spite of all they’ve seen.
We segue back to TVA HQ and find out Hunter B-13 is alive. Ravonna and her have a mutually antagonistic verbal exchange. I guess when two women fight they’re allowed to be mean and snarky. Thats not sexist at all. THANKS DISNEY! Anyway- seems we’re committed to the Time Keepers being fake. B-13 tells Ravonna what everyone already knows- Sylvie’s motivation is to kill Ravonna and destroy the TVA. This is super weird because Sylvie just passed on that. Weird. Her new agenda is – destroy the TVA and kill whoever created the Time Keepers. So its actually the same plan with some new layers.
Then we get meaningless edgey dialogue from B-13- Ravonna will fail to find out who the Time Keepers are because she only ‘wants to know’ who created the TVA but Sylvie “NEEDS” to know and will therefore succeed. See? Ya just gotta want it! Its sort of like a video game that way- and theres infinite resets too (just like a video game!)
Youd think we’d had enough dumb for one episode but then we go in circles for a bit so all the “good Lokis” can see that Sylvie really is the best, get some more fun humor from Classic Loki and watch Loki Prime simp over Sylvie- who seems to dig it. Loki Prime and Sylvie share their thoughts on Mobias theory- that Loki Prime and Sylvie are just the best and when they’re together they cause seemingly impossible Nexus Events (aka Monkeys Paw or Butterfly Effects). It doesn’t matter this contradicts the rules of time travel from episode 2. Cause and Effect are just things to be contrived around in this show. This approach is already getting old but its how we do things now.
Both Sylvie and Loki Prime are sad because they have no friends of any kind. Then things REALLY get weird. Loki Prime renounces all his traits and says hed much rather be a nice helpful kind of guy. All the betrayal and scheming- once his core personality- just depress him now. He wont betray Sylvie when they fight Alioth. If they win he might end up in charge but as a benevolent ruler. Sylvie seemingly has no plan outside destroying the TVA. They wonder if the best idea isn’t to team up for good.
Sylvie somehow survived contact with Alioth earlier and from that shes deduced that Alioth has all the answers they need. Everyone else to be touched by Alioth simply disintegrated til now. So another Power-Up for Sylvie. She’s becoming sort of Death-Proof. She also has near omnipotence as shes figured out the motivations and weaknesses of Alioth by touching it- WHICH KILLS EVERYONE ELSE WHO DOES IT!
It then gets super sappy as Loki Prime swears hes gonna fight as Sylvies sidekick to the end. “if you go, I go!” It was pretty bad. Anyway now they confront Alioth. Then we just contrive our way to the end- though theres some ‘Win”in the final minutes. It gets worse before it gets better though. Things just go cringe for a minute, Turns out Mobias has a TemPad. You’d think theyd take that off him before pruning him to the Void- think of what he could bring back with him! A Smoke Dragon, an army of Lokis or a WW II Destroyer for instance. IT SURE IS CONVENIENT!! he offers all the “Good Lokis” a way out. They refuse. After a chat – and a HUG?- initiated by Loki, Mobias beams away.
Child Loki just gives Loki Prime some kind of magic knife and with that we can see something terrible has happened to the characters- Loki Prime and Sylvie are now just a Gary Stu and a Mary Sue. Its confirmed.
The evidence is right there. People just plain like them. Theyre altruistic. Theyre just given things. Theyre undefeat-able. They are always right and their power levels rise and fall according to the needs of the story.
Loki and Sylvie then engage Alioth. It’s looking pretty suicidal til we get a small dose of win one more time from Richard E Grant.
Classic Loki has a crisis of conscience and opts to sacrifice himself so Loki and Sylvie can escape Alioth. If you like Richard E Grant its great. he’s just great using illusions and revelling in taunting Alioth.
As Classic Loki distracts Alioth his ruse is eventually figured out and Alioth begins to overwhelm him. Classic Loki laughs defiantly and seems ready for a Gandalf-like final strike on Alioth- which might just have been awesome- but no. Alioth simply consumes him. What a waste of a great actors talent. He was in exactly the right show too. His Loki helm falls to the ground, could this be a way of leaving the door open to for a return? He was by far the best non alligator in this episode. He waxed poetic and he was wistful, but Classic Loki was pure, but good fan service-albeit all too brief. While self sacrifice is out of character for Loki we at least are used to the ideas that these Variants are basically “botched Lokis.” It could be construed as a defiant suicide where he just wanted to go out on his own terms. Im assuming the most botched Loki’s are too dumb, too greedy, too impulsive, etc. The ones we get to know best were sent Into the Void for being too nice though- so for one time I approve of this part of the story, despite the apparent loss of Richard E Grant.
Then things get beyond weird. After Classic Loki self sacrifices Loki and Sylvie seem to merge with Alioth or pass through him. They pass through a green vortex that allows them to leave the void …for somewhere.
The story is all over the place. Now that we have heard Judge Renslayer is at least pretending to not know whats up with the TVA we’re back to having no clear ‘Bad Guy/ Villain” It was nice for the four minutes it lasted. As it stands now Ravonna is possibly just caught in the middle and maybe has sort of adopted Sylvie’s Agenda- which is starting to really take its toll on the TVA ranks and file as one person after another is flipping sides.
In close to five hours I have more questions then I had aftser epiode one. We’ve layered on a lot without explaining much. The humor is great and alligator Loki is legitimately funny. Sylvie is now being praised constantly by all throughout most episodes. Even her foes have a grudging admiration for her. The character is super powerful. I don’t think Captain Marvel could take her on.
I cant help but think this was a series where they took the path of least resistance. “People love Loki, people love Tom Hiddleston. Lets create a lot of Loki’s and build a show around Hiddleston. His acting will float any story and we’ll re-make him into a likable Fox Mulder-type whose core traits are now mostly the same as Thor’s.”
I’m not so sure that the price we paid to get here was worth it. What we seem to have now is a show mostly derived and repurposed badly from Older (Good) Star Trek with some X- Files and Men In Black mixed in. We’ve gotten good humor but almost no substance. Nothing has been explained. Things just happen. I guess this is what passes for Storytelling these days. Episode 6 drops after midnight tonight – I expect we get a cameo and no answers as we set up Season 2.
Episode 4 of Loki starts with the Timecops, apparently in Asgard, kidnapping a young darkhaired girl. We see the young being judged in TVA Court by Ravonna- whose name seems to only appear in subtitles. Shes the Time Court Judge and chief TVA Administrator under the Time Keepers. The girl seems to be Sylvie and shes described as a variant. A Time Reset Bomb is used to erase her from the timeline. She fares better against the TVA then Loki Prime though and outwits them in short order, escaping.
So in the opening we see a 10 year old child who manages to escape the TVA with ease, whereas Loki was humiliated, stripped, processed, yelled at and is about to die when Mobias saved him.
In the next scene Ravonna is seen consulting with the Time Keepers themselves, seen in the shadows as mere silhouettes. The brief opening theme plays.
When we return Ravonna is back from the meeting – describing it as always disconcerting-and is comforted by Mobias. She says she is catching blame for Timeline issues from the Time Keepers. She tells him that the TVA has executed, reset or somehow finished off the seemingly uninjured Time Cop (called C-20) that Sylvie had briefly abducted. Ravonna says the time cops mind had been horribly altered. Mobias and Ravonna agree to tell no on else.
Then we jump back to Lamentis 1 where the Apocalypse is on schedule but has slacked in intensity. Loki and Sylvie sit down for a chat in the ruins and she confirms shes the child we saw kidnapped. She claims title goddess of mischief. She escaped because she instantly stole a TemPad and began hiding in Apocalypses at what appears to be about age 10.
We see the TVA scheming for a moment, then just like that we’re back with Sylvie and Loki. Their brief exchange is sort of typical of newer Marvel stories, they both admit they are Loki’s and settle that- again. Sylvie seems fatalistic but a newly upbeat Loki, fresh off finding out hes stranded and will die, tells us what we already know. Female Loki aka Sylvie is a better, smarter Loki. She’s more powerful. She outwitted the TVA as a child and he was just as inept as could be dealing with them just weeks ago. So he Self- Owns and happily admits hes not the best. This is so not like Loki.
Virtue Signals stay on til we cut back to the TVA being somehow able to detect the two Lokis. They call it a Nexus Event and we’ve come to know that more or less means someone created a butterfly effect that the Time Keepers don’t want. So we know the TVA is going to rescue the Lokis- so they can kill them. While we ponder this Loki and Sylvie are looking like they want to go fuck themselves in the most literal way possible.
The Nexus Event grows worse and Lamentis is about to self destruct when the TVA shows up and recaptures the Loki’s, apparently they comply and we’re beamed back to TVA HQ for a weird situation where Mobias says Loki Prime sort of wants to fuck himself and is a bad friend. This is the first we’ve heard of this friendship. Then Loki tries to tell Mobias that he his also a variant and the Time Keepers lied to him.
Mobias has Loki beamed to an Asgard holodeck type simulation where he meets Lady Sif, who I do not think we have seen since Agents of Shield- and of course she hates Loki. He gets slapped and yelled at and finally leveled by Sif. The situation repeats almost immediately. So Loki is just getting owned. He tells Sif shes more or less a holodeck simulation of herself and she beats on him for the third time. Ravonna – who lost control of Sylvie in the first place- rebukes Mobias and his methods again. When he walks away Alpha Femle Timecop (later revealed to be Hunter B-13) owns him verbally for a while too.
Back in the Holodeck – seemingly called a Time Theater- Loki begs Sif to stop beating him, the simulation is ended by Mobias. Mobias and Loki have a long exchange thats weird and makes no sense. Mobias successfully intimidates Loki – who appears to be lying. Loki claims the he and Sylvie are conspiring but he is in charge.
When Sylvie comes up its said Hunter B-13 has already killed her- which is a lie. This really fools and bothers Loki. Loki manages to keep his composure but Mobias sees through it. Loki sort of confirms that they did want to go FUCK THEMSELVES.
Apparently the idea they liked each other triggered the Nexus event- after them being together for 12 hours and flirting on and off. How is not really made clear. We were told this was impossible earlier.
Finally Loki reveals to Mobias that the TVA agents are variants who have been kidnapped and mind wiped. Mobias claims not to believe it. He seemingly blames the preordained end of Lamentis on Loki and Sylvie and tells Loki shes alive for now. Then Loki is tossed back into a transporter beam. Moments later Alpha Female Time Cop frees Sylvie and beams away with her. Mobias gets owned by Ravonna who is pulling a Holdo- you just dont need to know the plan here. The Time Keepers apparently want to kill Sylvie in front of Ravonna and Mobias.
Mobias presses on C-20’s execution. She tells him she is just trying to protect him from exposure to Sylvie- which is getting people deleted. She again bizarrely says theyre good friends. Mobias distracts her and switches their TemPads.
Sylvie and B 13 are back at the 2048 Mass Casualty event in the US. She tells Sylvie she kind of remembers stuff from when Sylvie enchanted her. Sylvie tells her the same story- the TVA are all mind wiped variants. She lets Sylvie re-enchant her. We dont know what B 13 experiences but in a moment shes on Team Sylvie.
Team Sylvie seems to be Loki, B 13 and Sylvie herself with Mobias about to clear trade waivers.
Back at the TVA Mobias checks Ravonna’s TemPad. He sees that C 20 is on team Sylvie and not crazy at all before they have her deleted. So its also a Tricorder? Ok.
Mobias meets Loki in the Asgard Holodeck prison. He’s switched teams and offeres to help Loki and get him another place in the timeline and freewill. Mobias and Loki just blurt out some coopted Lord of the Rings Dialogue about fighting side by side to the death. So theyre friends now.Because they got yelled at together…ok.
After beaming out from the Holodeck Mobias tells Ravonna- who knows he switched their TemPads- that hes down with Team Sylvie and believes himself to be a kidnapped variant. Its the first time we’ve seen Mobias stand up to her. As he laments his lost life Ravonna orders him pruned from the timeline and he’s deleted. Then Ravonna walks in on Sylvie and YES -they refer to Alpha Female Time Cop and call her Hunter B-13. Mystery SOLVED! Ravonna is pissed B 13 was allowed alone with Loki and puts the word out to delete her as Sylvie gloats. In short order the two Lokis are bought together and Ravonna takes both into an elevator like the one from The Shining. They talk in circles and the elevator opens to reveal – The Time Keepers!
Theyre unimpressed with Loki Prime, hes told hes not a threat. Then B-13 arrives and iniates a brawl. We go full Last Jedi Throne room battle in Time Keepers Chambers. Its Ravonna and the Time Cops squaring off against all of the living members of Team Sylvie, So B-13, Sylvie and Loki. After tossing weapons to Loki and Sylvie B 13 is subdued or killed by time cops.
Soon Loki is asking for help while Sylvie is much more effective. Team Sylvie wins and Ravonna flees Sylvie. Then Sylvie takes out a Time Keeper. In fact the so called Lizard People/ Time Keepers are merely…..animatronic robots like from Disneyland? Is this some sort of ‘in world’ Disney Commercial? “mindless androids” Sylvie concludes. “Then who created the TVA?” asks Loki. Like me and maybe most of you- Sylvie is stumped by this.
In another weird scene Loki starts to tell Sylvie how he feels when he’s deleted by Ravonna. Sylvie instantly disarms her and, holding Ravonna with her own weapon, Sylvie demands to know everything. Credits roll as If You Love Me by Brenda Lee plays. There IS an Easter Egg this time. We see Loki is ALIVE somewhere and three other males, who look a lot like Loki in the guises we were shown very briefly in Episode 1. One is about 19, another is maybe 75 and theres an African-Asgardian whos about 40. Loki asks if hes dead and if he is in Hell. I feel the same way
Part 2- IMPLICATIONS, CONFLICTS and The New Rules
As Mobias would say “Wow……” This week Loki is a swooning romantic and we have the ethical question about whether fucking yourself is sort of shallow. The TVA are total bullshit and their seem to be no Time Keepers. They have left the story after a brief underwhelming appearance and were as ill explained as The Last Jedi’s Snoke. Seems possible the real Shot Caller is Ravonna. Oh and Sylvie isnt a real bonde for whatever thats worth. The child actor was poorly cast. She looks nothing like blonde haired Sylvie. The kid is also way too old NOT to remember her mother much. So whatever Sylvie said last week about this is now confusing. Sylvie really also should have seen Ravonna coming at Loki. She was looking right at him when she came up behind him. We dont know if Sylvie is also an adopted Ice Giant. This seems to have been totally dropped. OR- She’s Thor and Fria’s genetic daughter.
The idea the two Loki’s were able to create a Nexus event though doomed and unable to escape directly contradicts Loki and Mobias verifying this was not possible. Unless reconciled this is a corner cutting move. They seem to have just moved on. This was very lazy writing as it seems now.
When Ravonna says unifying the timelines is more or less impossible you have to wonder why they do it at all. The nebulous War between timelines that was alluded to in Episode 1 has never been elaborated on. The idea the Agents have been completely dedicated for a unknowable amount of time is explained with more third reich rhetoric about how theres a need for order. This clears a few things. They talk like nazis cause thats what they more or less are. The attempt to confuse you as to the TVA both works and fails at the same time. It may just have been too little information for too long.
The TVA never seemed competent or potent time travelers. They all seemed to have a mild concussion at all times as far as mental prowess. The ability they have to travel time is still really not used well. No one goes back a few minutes early to save people or change things- after we are told thats what the TVA does- travel time to make things orderly. If you can control time precisely we have to wonder why they let their own die. Is this more Last Jedi stuff? Is the TVA intentionally filled with dumb people like Snoke claims about the First Order?
This episode was hard to work myself up for. Episode 3 last week was only ok. Episide 4 isnt too bad as far as watchability. Lady Sif has no meaningful role though. She says the same thing about four times. They just seem to have her under contract.
The TVA really are evil and their Agents and Time Cops are more or less slaves kidnapped out of their timelines and Ravonna either knew or doesnt care. The TVA seems ready to collapse if everyone is finding out they were kidnapped. The three male Loki Team saved Loki Prime and Im willing to bet they saved Mobias as well.
We seem to have finally established Ravonna as main villain. So we have the main ‘bad guy’ finally show up in Episode 4- if things stay this way. This is pretty late in the story. We find out for sure with about 2 minutes left, so we wont know for a week if theres more to this.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier really blew it with their shows bad guy. In that show Karli is deeply evil but still is treated with great empathy, to the point Falcon ignores the wounded friend who saved him to lament the villain. This after she tries to set a bunch of innocent people on fire to culminate her plan. Karli is small and unimposing. Disney loves this trope. Ravonna is an adult but seems really slightly built. She doesn’t look like a match for Mobias, Loki or Sylvie. She was outwitted in moments by child Sylvie and vanquished quickly twice by adult Sylvie. She has some lackeys and some tech but shes not up to taking on anyone one on one, even though she does anyway. She has not aged in the time it took for Sylvie to age from about 10 to about 30.
Of late in the MCU women generally do not lose to men unless someone has undermined them or they are really outnumbered and over matched. In this show its really become predictable.
For instance- we never see Loki try to fend off or hit the hologram of Sif. She just kicks his ass as he reasons things out and asks the Hologram to be nicer. I would suggest there are no implications to hitting a hologram back, so whys Loki a pacifist? I wonder what he would have done if it had been a hologram of Thor. Its a genderless, lifeless projection. This show LOVES fight scenes, so why pass one up? Sif and Loki should have fought, they’re Asgardian warriors. There sure sees to be “Profiling rules’ about who can prevail. Sure its kinda funny, but the actress who plays Sif doesnt ever do Shakespeare, she seems to have been bought on for her physical skills from MMA or something. Hows the same joke four times better than action?
Female Villains seem to only lose to females. In Falcon and Winter Soldier it’s Sharon who kills Karli- and is then ignored as she lays wounded. Because Sharon being complicit in the villains corruption somehow offended some people that actress just lost the role as lead villain and now has a much smaller part in the next chapter of that story. So who is this helping?
The fight scene in the Time Keepers Chamber is a mess. The effectiveness of Sylvie is impressive throughout and of course she has to bail out Loki. The idea Loki would beat people up on his own and be a prime mover in a fight when teamed with Sylvie never occurred to me and I knew he’d be the junior partner. The idea he would be ‘killed’ by woman seemed obvious. The Loki ‘death’ scene was only so effective.
I dont know if their goofy predictability around virtue signalling made it appear Loki may have been swapped out for Sylvie, but you could feel that if that were done Loki would have lingered at the edge of death and said something meaningful. So it was not a successful Subversion.
Predictability is the now the norm. The show, and Marvel these days, in general, are predictable. Men are much dumber and much weaker. Men need to get bailed out in a fight by a woman. Its never the other way around or mutual. It okay to shout at and scapegoat men at work at the TVA. We can forecast who wins a fight in a way that’s ILLEGAL for Police to use – Race and Gender Profiling. I consider this deeply cynical. Who would ever decide that making people think along these lines was helpful to society? The MCU has slipped in quality since we introduced these rules.
While still better than Falcon and Winter Soldier, this show is degenerating into boring, confusing mess. I don’t care if some of the people beating up Loki are women or if women are powerful. I also accept the real world is pretty male-centric. The idea that we ‘make this right’ with stories that are utterly subservient to a set of gender and race based rules is sort of a hard thing to accept. Its still just a TV show about comic character. There’s enough time in this story to send a message better. I really don’t think we gain anything and may even be seeing people move to the right politically by this.
The Time Keeper reveal came as only a mild surprise since we never got any context on them. Theyre gone and we probably get some answers next week. The TVA still is hard to figure but now theyre absolutely bad.
The bombing of the Timeline by Sylvie as yet has no implications. We have heard nothing about it since. Seems it was distraction to infilltrate the TVA HQ and kill Ravonna.
The “Mindless Androids” are fully interactive and can answer questions, so hard to say if they were fooling anyone or not. We have no idea if B-13 is ok. She’s as good as dead if left with the TVA
The show so far has been sloppy dispensing information. They held off too long on context. The names of many characters are apparently never spoken or said just once.
The episode is packed with bad dialogue, There’s coopted LOTR lines. We can also now assume that if a few women yell at any two men at the same time those men are now friends. This was not supposed to be one of the Reveals, its a flaw and it makes no sense. Maybe they think the audience is purely Pavlovian in their thinking? We get told in dialogue from The Lord of the Rings that Mobias and Loki are friends. This is after death threats and some perceived betrayals.
Now my take. Its complicated, literally! We took so long to find out who the adversary would be. The time cop tech works in whatever way it needs to and subtitles are a must to get characters names.
This episode has some conflicts and there’s more emphasis on edgeyness than clarity in the dialogue. The characters are only being named now or, in Ravonna’s case, its possible their names have never been spoken. I only know who she is from IMDB and subtitles where she’s named as speaker in the non dialogue parts.
Ive seen 4 of 6 episodes and Im really not a huge fan of this show. Its kind of preach-y. The fact I deduced who would win each conflict so far through pure cynicism shows how thin a line the show is walking.
For my part I am in fact VERY left wing and have no problem with some messages in movies. I can ignore conspicuous product placement and the odd message here and there one way or the other.
Forest Gump is Right Wing Fairy Tale we all enjoyed. It was only after many viewings this became clear, which to me says “This was done pretty well even though I don’t believe that a mentally deficient person will get rich by simply doing Republican things.” This same BS also does not hurt Dirty Harry. The movies still okay despite the fact NO ONE would ever want any cop to act like that. Its a right wing fantasy. It’s dark but also sort of self aware, silly and fun.
The show Loki, like Falcon and The Winter Soldier, is now going so far as patting me on the head for my beliefs and it’s kind of offensive. I don’t seek validation from something we thought was supposedly escapist. Suddenly Sci-Fi is Triggering Topic. Great. Now the conversations aren’t about the story, they devolve into current politics and scapegoating of any critic.
Sometime back when we switched from Paramount to Disney we lost something. We got mandated humor and some weird new rules- like only seeing blood when a bad guy kills and Fight Profiling- that starts becoming a real indicator of the characters intentions. This is creating stories that are predictable.
The longer Disney has this (and Star Wars for that matter) the less enjoyable its gotten. Its too formulaic. This show is better but not all that great. Its also crammed with not so subtle clues. Its not done well. Its actually sort of bigoted in its own weird way. The fan base is divided for no reason except the writers desire to throw red meat to people so far left they rejected Bernie Sanders as ‘not genuinely left enough’ and probably didn’t vote at all. In other words – This is the TV equivalent of when a pack of Right Wing Trolls say and do offensive things to “Own the Libs” on Fox News or Twitter.
The fallout from these poorly sent out messages is that every sci-fi nerd is slowly becoming an angry right winger. Those who do like the show have simply taken up the messaging in the Weaponized way Disney crafted it. “Only evil hateful right-wing trolls who hate women and all minorities would say they stole these ideas from Old Star Trek wholesale.” And i sit there in Queens in an AOC t-shirt looking at my donations to ActBlue and wonder just what the fuck we have on our hands here.
So, if we continue like this the show will stay predictable and only get worse, This week was not all that immersive and we saw some ideas that just werent explained. The opening of the episodes has a mashup of the story to bring you up to speed thats really not well done either.
I’m sick of the weirdness of this story but this week ended with an interesting Easter Egg. My thought on that is – many will turn this show off as soon as they can and not see it though. I ONLY waited for this Easter Egg because someone tweeted about it.
Interest in the show seems to be waining. I know mine is. Whether or not people jump back in when we complete the show in 2 weeks and marathon it is an open question. I would say Episode 3 is so disengaging and the segue back to the full cast this week for a predictable take-down of everyone by Sylvie- that maybe even marathoners just stop at that episode or this one.
Episode 3 of Loki brings us to the halfway point of the season. Last weeks final thought was it was high time we slowed down and got some information about how all this works.
The show did slow down to a degree and some new information got dispensed, like exactly how we’re supposed to adress Loki 2 and a few kernels about the nature of the TVA and hints about their tech. Though the episode was shorter and had a simple, linear story, there were about as many conflicts and implications as last week, so lets dive in!
Last week ended with Loki jumping into a transporter beam to follow Loki 2 to some unknown point after Loki 2 “Bombed the Timeline” with TVA tech.
The episode opens with song Demons by Hailey Kiyoko playing.
The Transporter beam opens up at TVA HQ where Loki 2 and then Loki himself step through.
Loki 2 is engaged on a seeming assassination mission at the TVA. She easily beats some guards and vaporizes a few before running into the woman who seems to run the show for the Lizards at the TVA and 2 more guards. A transporter beam is initiated and the two Lokis beam away together. In the next instant they’re on Lamentis 1 – a doomed moon about to be destroyed by colliding with the planet it orbits. The two Loki’s fight for the TVA tech Loki Prime has that allows them to beam around.
Its revealed it was Loki Prime who beamed them to one of the Apocalypses that were on the list of places Loki 2 may hide. Apparently he chose at random and went to “the WORST Apocalypse on that TemPad!” (more on the TemPad in a moment). Its pretty clear this place is too far into its destruction for anyone to want to hide in. After leaving the darkened tent they dodge meteors and seek refuge from the falling chunks of the planet visible in the sky
The planet is a nightmare and looks like it was never all that nice. In an on and off fight/run/ fight/run episode we go back and forth in a series of reveals and teases as well as a bit of info on the TVA
The escape from the tent ends in a shelter- which seemed to be a mere metal cargo container of some sort, There they try to talk and sort of fight. Neither seems overly committed to doing more than trading verbal barbs. In this scene we find out one of the devices TVA Timecops carry is called a TemPad.
A TemPad looks like a smartphone strapped to an old school pager and only has just so much power in its batteries- enough for a few trips through time and space. While it currently lacks enough power to do more than tell them “Im out of Juice” there’s some good news. There’s a non specific way to recharge it on Lamentis- which has about a day left before it ends. Loki 2 reveals she likes to be called Sylvie, but refers to it an alias. She says she merely doesn’t like being called Loki. So Loki 2 is now Sylvie.
Lamentis is a desert-ish futurized old west kind of planet where prospecting or mining seems the way of life. At this point, with hours left, the planets a mess. Meteorite storms and other problems are pretty ongoing
Loki and Sylvie make their way to a settlement that is mostly abandoned and after a couple of attempts to trick each other they both get stun blasted in turn by an old time-y sounding woman. So Loki and Sylvie are about equally smart and equally tough. Neither had the best plan, but they get some key info. The old timey sounding woman reveals theres a train station where they can get a train to the Ark- a spaceship off the planet- if they can get a ticket, but she scoffs at their chances.
Loki and Sylvie make their way onto the train through some trickery and a humane approach Loki advocates for. There they finally have a talk. They discuss who the real Loki even is since to the TVA they are 2 variants of the same person. Sylvie doesnt let on much. Loki asks about her ability to enchant people- something she tried on him earlier only to find out his “mind was too strong” We saw some Zombie-fied Voodoo Proxies animated and controlled by Sylvie last week, so we now know what that was all about. She says she has to touch people to do it. Then Loki shows off a couple of tricks and they talk about their families.
Things settle down on the train long enough for most of the progress to the Ark to be covered before the trains security decides to check peoples tickets. A fight ensues and…..what appears to be random human security guards beat up Loki and Sylvie. They end up ejected in dramatic style from the train. They now must walk to the distant city where the Ark is.
When theyre thrown off the moving train they take no damage but the TemPad gets broken. Plan B is now – get on the Ark (rather than use it to jumpstart their TemPad) and help it to escape- Sylvie reveals the ark is destroyed before it could leave. Loki suggests between the two of them they probably can change that outcome and escape.
When they reach the Ark its in an urbanized, Blade Runner-like area and theres a lot of security. Clearly getting on the ark will be a tough gig. At this point the Apocalypse accelerates a bit and Loki stops a falling building with his telekinesis and allows them to escape- he simply shoves it away with his powers and it just is gone.
After a pretty chaotic fight through total mayhem of doomed, screaming randos they nearly reach what we assume must be the Ark. At that moment a meteorite hits it, doing massive damage. Loki stares in disbelief as Sylvie turns and walks away. The song Dark Moon by Bonnie Guitar plays. With that we end.
Conflicts and Implications
In probably the shortest episode yet we finally get some info on the TVA. For one thing, Sylvie seems to have an idea of just where in the TVA the Lizard People aka The Time Keepers are and is seemingly ready to kill them. Shes unafraid so she seems to think killing them is within her power. So the Lizard People seem to be located at the TVA HQ and at least Sylvie thinks theyre mortal enough.
The TemPad finally has a name and some limitations- it requires recharging and Loki only knows just so much about how it works. Its also said to need a tremendous amount of power to charge. They do not consider using the train to charge it- they seem to need the ark.
The conflict here is the first person to beam away in episode 2 is Sylvie – so she had a TemPad. Whether I lost track of this or the writers did it should be as useful as the one Loki has- but we seem to have forgotten this detail.
Loki and Sylvie never speak of the planets leaders or its society except when she mentions its society is collapsing (which is as obvious as could be). However by the time we get to the Train to the Ark Loki has some inside info on the planet and knows who is in charge of the Ark at the least. He seems to just pick it up out of thin air.
The conversation between Loki and Sylvie about Loki’s mother is poorly written or a hint. Its possible Sylvie knows more about Loki but isn’t the most practiced liar – which seems strange for a Loki variant – or the dialogue is as awkward as it came off. Sylvie speaks first of Loki’s mother in past tense, seeming to know she’s dead. Then she asks if Loki’s Mother is still alive. It may be a set up but it felt like a mistake. We’ll see if it gets addressed.
The discussion between Loki and Sylvie about their mother(s?) is thought provoking. The Game Knights over on YouTube had a hunch she could be Loki’s mother. Im not so sure about this but we need to remember- Loki has TWO mothers- an ice giant mother we never see and his adopted Asgardian mother. So if this Variant Loki/ Sylvie is another loki and raised on Asgard. Or she may be his Ice Giant Mother. Its even possible shes his Ice Giant sister I guess as well. They seem kinda flirty though, so we’ll have to see how this one plays out. She says that she was told she was adopted from the start by her parents, something Loki Prime is stunned by. They can get right out of it with the “All Loki’s lie” thing, but that really seem to be a primary feature of either Loki, theyre not effective at kies, long-game lying or being able to tell when others are lying. Both are far too trusting of eachother after hating eachother.
Sylvie is actually asleep during a lot of the 12 hours the two Lokis spend “Bonding” They have the most superficial attraction. Its going to be hard to sell it as ‘deep.’ They also just don’t seem very self aware. Why would any Loki trust a variant of themselves? They know what they’re capable of. Highly inconsistent for any iteration of Loki.
In a moment of “Win” Loki gets a bit tanked and sings a drinking song with the locals- all of whom appear completely human. Its a little strange he doesnt try to ditch or somehow screw over the passed out Sylvie- or why Sylvie needs to sleep whereas apparently Loki doesn’t. The weird dialogue about this later doesn’t clear anything up.
One real question is “just how powerful is any character at any given moment?” Minutes after losing a fight to rando humans Loki shoves an entire huge building away with his telekinesis. Why not use that to win the fight on the train? Loki’s abilities are all over the place this week.
We dont see the effects of the Timeline Bombing or hear about them in this episode. The TVA is still there, so bombing the timelines effects do not seem to include destruction of the TVA HQ.
Then somewhere in there we find out WHAT the Time Variance Authority workers are – something I’ve been wondering about for a while. They are not clones or androids but VARIANTS! So everyone is like Loki in the sense they were once living in the So Called Sacred Timeline. We dont know how much they know of their lives before this, so far we had indications they mostly have never left the TVA HQ.
The flashback where Sylvie gets key info from the timecop she kidnapped seems to take place about now in our world. At what point that life ends and she becomes a TVA Time Cop is unclear but Sylvie indicates its some point in the past in a way that makes it seem more than just a little while ago. In a show that has time travel its again really hard to know what exactly the current time is at the TVA- said to exist outside of time. Yet the bombing of the timeline shows it does have a physical location in some sense and you can get there during their version of “NOW.”
Sylvie outright calls the TVA Fascists. Finally someone I can agree with on this one. She says – at least from her point of view- that the Time-Keepers have eliminated free will. On this one she seems to be in the right. The TVA seems evil and Sylvie is moving towards moral ambiguity. Killing the Time Cops was always sort of hard to gauge morally, but now we see some people think they’re pretty uncool. At the same time there’s a case to be made they Time Cops and workers have been brainwashed or something and of course in episode 1 and implications we’ve covered the whole question of whether or not the MCU has free will. So maybe killing them is really wrong. This is now entering First Order Stormtrooper level of ambiguity. They’re the worst- unless they desert and fight with good guys. Their free will is in question.
Other big questions include – Is every variant who isn’t reset recruited by Mobias? How much of this does Mobias know? Is his jetski fixation a re-emerging memory? Or is Mobias “IN” on the ‘time-kidnappings’ too? As Mobias himself might say; “Wow…”
We’re also left to ask ‘just how is it a variant is unaware of what a fish is if he was once a normal person?’ The same TVA worker also said he’d been at his desk all his life. So memory wipes are possible or this was the writers going for a joke and ignoring the fact we have contradictory information on that topic already.
Loki is apparently the only person (aside the Time Keepers themselves) working for the TVA in any capacity who isn’t a normal human (albeit a variant), so we need to see where they go with this. I don’t see how they can get around it. Seems like we have some people at the TVA set up to “come Clear” or have “Total Recall” if they have had their memories suppressed. The TVA really just looks more evil than ever.
While we did slow down and get some information it was still pretty scarce and some things said in the episode seem self contradictory. While changed and fast forwarded to a Ragnorak kind of Loki who only has flashes of mercilessness and sometimes shows empathy- we have not rebooted Loki any more this week. He was more or less the same as last week this time.
Whether Loki has his own agenda or is now totally onboard with the TVA is up in the air, but he was down for saving people- or not. He’s most oriented on self preservation. It was two crazy episodes where we deconstructed and very quickly rebuilt Loki. So that he stayed more or less the same this week was kind of refreshing. He’s still not the coolest Loki we’ve seen in this Universe though- nor much like the Avengers 1 Loki he started out as in this “Timeline.”
Loki drops that hes bisexual. It was only just so shocking.Too much will be made of this, it works for the character. He can appear as anything and would have sex with ANYONE for fun or to advance a plan. So, while a revelation in a way it doesn’t change the character much to me.
Loki and Sylvie seem to put themselves on a tight deadline. They are said to be about 10 minutes from Ark departure when they get tossed off the bullet train. When we see the city it’s easily a 3 hour walk as they sort of saunter off towards it. They make it in about 8 minutes though based on the time frame we got earlier. This seems like a mistake. Its lazy continuity.
This episode was maybe the best so far as watch-ability goes. The surprises are mostly in the rearview and we seem to be getting some context. It beat endless unexplained info dumps, but we still need more. Lets hope theres more context next week- we didnt get too much in this episode but what we did get helped.
We also stopped being just pelted with new, unexplained info. There was some bare bones of context for the show. Lets hope this continues to be paid off. We really didn’t get a lot. Only the actual name of the TemPad’s, their limitations and some validation Loki isn’t the only one who has issues with the Time Keepers, even if the only other person saying is another Loki. It beat more unexplained info, but the trend needs to continue.
No one is ever going to say “Those Loki vs Sylvie fight scenes were great.” Maybe the were ok but they mostly argue and dispense key information while they fight. Its annoying and hard to follow sometimes. They’re shouting and punching, dodging and weaving and its not all that easy to hear, and some of its important. Like when Sylvie unspools what planet they’re on while they run through a thundering meteor storm from shelter to shelter, pausing here and there to fight and quibble. So this was a good one for leaving the subtitles on. The subtitles helped a LOT and seem to include un-redacted direction right off the script. They can be accidentally hilarious! “Captivating Music Plays”? I’ll be the judge of that!
Though Loki seems content to let Sylvie talk to him like hes an idiot hes unbothered. He even occasionally throws a rejoinder back at her. Its not anywhere near as bad as what Mobias went through last episode at work, but then again these are adversaries. Mobias is called an idiot for five straight minutes by his supposed friend. At least the Loki- Sylvia rivalry makes sense.
Some may consider this episode Bloat- not a whole lot happens. We dont deal with the timeline bombing or hang out much with the TVA and it HELPS!
I was glad we slowed down, stopped with all the new info and tried to start guiding us to a reasonable explanation of enough of this for it to make sense, because we dont have a whole lot of that yet.
If I missed something or got something wrong let me know in the comments and I will check it out!
In Episode 2 of Loki we got a pretty big dose of stupidy up front and they dropped a new plot device on us. Time- destroying Time-Bombs.
No, these are not Time-Bombs as we know them- though they DO have timers and they are bombs. They are in fact Bombs that Erase Time. We again get most exposition rolled out in quirky jokes that still are mostly funny (til you think about them)
For context, first lets look at the story and some things that tear you right out of the experience. In the later part of the post I will focus on conflicts and unresolved questions exclusively.
The Time Variance Authority uses these “bombs” to clean up and cover their tracks when they move around through time. They magically make everything go away. We see the effect for about 30 seconds as it makes some dead people disappear and disintegrates matter and objects- but trees and grass remain. Its hard to say what they do. When we see them in the opening – this time at a Wisconsin Renaissance Fair in 1985, they seem pretty effective and relatively silent.
The hunt for Loki 2 is entering a new more intense phase with Loki Prime acting as something of a Criminal Profiler. This episode really doubles down on everyone’s contempt for Loki and the idea his role is to act badly so others will be better. Why he was allowed to later try to kill Thanos to avenge the people of Asgard in Infinity Wars is hard to fathom in light of this revelation.
The TVA is jacked and has an agent kidnapped upfront. Throw away lines reference that it takes time for new ‘branches’ or TVA locations scattered across time and space – to get stronger. Hard to say what this means after being told Time doesnt apply to the TVA. There’s no real context.
We’re quickly on to a confrontation between the Time Cops and last weeks cloaked figure- who we can now just call Loki 2. Still in the guise of a cloaked figure we don’t get a good look at, Loki 2 manages to apparently kill and drag off a Timecop in almost Predator movie style and uses the Time cop;s gear to beam away via Transporter Beam. Saying “opens a time portal we still havent had explained’ is too cumbersome. Its a Transporter til they explain it.
Somehow Owen Wilson knows the Time Cop isn’t dead or missing but kidnapped- he just knows. They set a time-bomb and beam away leaving us to ‘enjoy’ the effect. Its an okay effect and we need to know it for later, sort of. The time resetting charges need some real explanation. Dead people, including Time Cops are left where they fall to be disintegrated. Once again we see the TVA doesn’t care at all about openly interacting with randos undisguised. Apparently they themselves can not cause a Butterfly Effect.
Back at TVA HQ Loki continues his humiliating dissent to irrelevant loser. He is given a suit from the early 60s and a jacket from the 80s thats completely un-cool and has VARIANT in orange on the back. Everyone teases, dises and and mocks him. The PSA from last week has evolved into a now annoying interactive hologram that Loki cant stand either. He shows he’s been a quick study.
In his first field action as a TVA Timecop Loki is pretty useless. No one trusts him and he’s apparently angling to team up with himself and mess with the Time Controlling Lizard People. He again asks to speak to them. For whatever reason he’s not allowed. This sequence takes place as Loki’s taken out for sort of a test run at the Renaissance Fair in 1985. The Timecops bring Loki to the location to sort of look things over. He mostly confirms things they already know but catches the blame for the whole failed expedition, kidnapped Time Cop and all.
We again have Loki asking reasonable questions that Owen Wilson’s Mobias answers with fortune cookie logic and jokes. Loki wants to know whats going on and how all this time manipulation is possible. He also points out, correctly, that the Lizard People – aka the Timekeepers, are the bad guys as they’re arbitrary and un-elected. The show tells us he’s wrong and we again get a bad answer- It doesnt make sense and we just have to believe it makes sense, therefore it does make sense.
Mobias boss is apparently the same woman who was about to vaporize Loki in Time Court. She talks to Mobias like hes a problematic asshole whose always wrong. Then she verifies she likes Mobias and hes good at his job because hes glib and will ‘delete’ Loki from the timeline himself if he thinks its fun. This Un-does the damage his reputation took for being dedicated and inventive. The dialogue is painful and disrespectful, Mobias is fine with it though. It doesnt add up for people who like one other, even though that’s what we’re told. It comes across like when Leia tells Holdo she really likes Poe after slapping, demoting and stunning him. In other words- it’s bad and doesn’t work. Mobias reveals he’s never seen the Lizard People aka the all powerful Timekeepers. The TVA are more than morally ambiguous, theyre total assholes.
This scene is tonally confused. This is not a misprint, yes its also TOTALLY confusing- but what I really mean is the tone of whose right and wrong and how people talk is all over the place.
I speculate the exchange between Mobias and his unlikable boss who we’ve only seen acting terse, judgmental and angry; would be offensive if the actors switched roles. Mobias boss is way over the line, it’s workplace harassment in our world. She derides his intellect and goes after all his methods before she delivers a throw away line that hes actually a genius who is always on the spot trying. It was kind of needlessly weird. What happened didn’t match Mobias reaction or how it was played.
The entire exchange is bizarre and makes no sense. They again directly address and then laugh off the many questions swirling around how any of this works.
This is the second time we’ve been pat on the head and told its wrong to wonder whats going on. We need to just believe; like Mobias does. If I was writing this show I would think they need to not talk about this until they explain it rather than point it out and move on every week. One thing sort of leads to another but Loki is allowed to be smart for a moment. Outside the office Loki simply knows what the details of the conversation are and discusses some of them with Mobias. This is a mistake or really lazy storytelling.
Threatened by Mobias that they could still just kill him, Loki makes his way to the Archives Department of the TVA where he is told he can only read the files on events of Movies Thor Ragnorak and Infinity War. He’s back to having no empathy. He comes away with a fairly good theory though and tells Mobias.
In a mostly failed attempt at humor Loki wrecks Mobias lunch as he explains that if you go somewhere that has a mass casualty event you can’t cause a Butterfly Effect and therefore elude the scanning tech of the TVA. It’s another joke in the face of the obvious plot contrivances that is supposed to make them too funny for us to scrutinize. Seems the writers can’t really cope with the implications of their show. The simple, morbid logic is “imminently doomed people cant reveal anything or a cause a butterfly effect.” This seems to mean we’re just going to hang out watching doomed peoples last moments and not save them like in Man of Steel! Uplifting! At least it pretty much makes sense as far as Butterfly effects.
So essentially Loki’s research has given him the idea that you can hide from the timecops in the moments before a disaster. Something the TVA has overlooked for longer than there’s been time. Seems to take him about one day.
Mobias and Loki go to Pompeii and test this theory at the foot of Vesuvius as its ready to blow. Loki divulges the future to the Roman locals. He tells them their fate. Then the volcano blows up like its a surprise despite the rumbling its making the whole time. Funny but stupid. Mobias tech confirms that there’s no Butterfly Effect- somehow. This just leaves you wondering about the TVA.
The discussion between Mobias and Loki in the Timecop Cafeteria is really troubling as the motivations of the TVA are peppered with terms from the Third Reich and its Sci-Fi equivalent – The Galactic Empire of Star Wars fame. All three organizations say the ends justify the means because the most important thing is Order. The idea there once was a 100 Years War (fittingly so named) and so many other bad things, seems to not figure in. Once again racing to the end after some pretty useless info-dumps we see some sleuthing.
Loki and the TVA look over several Mass Casualty events and pick a disaster that wipes out an Alabama town in 2050. With no one trusting Loki the Alpha female time cop- who has a number not a name like all TVA we’ve gotten to know save Mobias, somehow pulls rank personally takes custody Loki and sort of takes the operation over. It’s strange they trust him less the second time than they did the first- but they do mention he seemed to be stalling. They actually pay this off later and it was a rare time an inconsistency was shot down well inside the actual episode.
With that Loki and the time cops beam over to 2050 and we now have a pretty bland mall/warehouse set thats unremarkable. We then seperate everyone and deal with the hunt for Loki 2. We find out soon enough shes waiting for them and watching them via security cameras. So out of all the mass casualty disasters ever they end up at the right one. First try. Convenient.
Loki and the alpha female timecop are on their own in the blandest mall ever. They question a lone shopper whose enjoying the savings of the hurricane sale like a total idiot. Alpha Time cop touches the shopper and he collapses. Loki pointlessly asks if the shopper- who is doomed and will be dead in hours- is dead. Alpha Female Time Cop reveals that she is now under Loki 2’s control. Loki Prime seems to put this together just slightly faster than us.
Mobias and the other time cops encounter doomed randos and recover their missing time cop. The missing Timecop manages to say shes given away the location of the TVA HQ and the Timekeepers but is otherwise pretty freaked out and incoherent.
While this is going on we have a series of proxy encounters between Loki 2’s zombies and Loki Prime.
Loki gets across his plan to Loki 2’s zombie proxies – together the two Lokis can overthrow the Lizard People. Why he would think this is possible is completely unknown as he was so quickly outfoxed by the TVA one episode back. Two times zero is still zero.
In what seems like the start of a series of back and forth double-crosses and lies Loki 2’s biker Zombie tells Loki Prime that Loki 2 has a different plan. We see from the Timebomb Time Bombs scattered around that this is looking like another ambush.
Loki Prime finally confronts actual Loki 2. Loki 2 is in fact female. Shes an apparently beautiful blonde rather than the brunette from comics for those who care, but she has Loki’s crown.
Shes the only Loki variant with a unique face (that we’ve seen so far). The others we were brieflly shown have Tom Hiddleston’s face for whatever that’s worth. She makes reference to having her own agenda “This isnt about you!” she tells Loki Prime as Owen Wilson and the time cops show up.
Then Loki 2 beams all the Timebombs away towards TVA HQ and the inept idiots there barely overcome their own procedures to somehow manage to say that someone has ‘bombed the timeline.’ We dont see much more about this as we close the episode back in 2050. After bombing the timeline Loki 2 starts to beam away- it takes longer this time though. Mobias asks Loki Prime NOT to jump into the Transporter beam. After a moments thought Loki Prime jumps in to follow Loki 2 (at least by Star Trek logic) and the transporter beam and the episode close. Thats right Loki watches old school Star Trek or he wouldn’t have had a clue about trying this. At least he’s cool, right?
“Another confusing installment with little new information’ sums up episode 2. The 6 pages of notes I took were useful if possibly irrelevant at the end. The attack on the Timeline could literally result in anything. The TVA might be gone. This would avoid needing to explain it. The two Lokis are now united – somewhere. The timebomb Time Bombs effect on the TVA and the Timeline has not yet been revealed-we only hear that they went off. What effect these have on anything is yet to be said.
Thoughts on the Most PuzzlingCONFLICTS and MISTAKES
So far the Time Variance Authority are the most powerful, nebulous ‘Good Guys” ever. They have no compassion. They’re bored. They’re ignorant of everyday things but speak every language in the Timeline? We don’t know how the Timekeepers achieved control of the Timeline. We don’t know the lower limits of being reset or vaporized by the Timecops. We’re told being late for work might be enough. This makes them them as powerful as they are flaky. They seem inept and can be ambushed despite saying they have foreknowledge.
We still don’t know much about the Lizard People and how they affect our free will. When its suggested we have no free will Mobias throw away line to Loki is simply he would put it differently. This is useless to us as information.
When Loki asks the TVA reasonable questions they mock his intelligence, tell him he’s overthinking it and can not understand it anyway. I feel a little more like this is aimed at the fans every time the say tediously say it. Then they make a joke and say “Yeah, this cant be explained so we won’t”
Seems that the TVA’s tech is not going to be explained. It’s disappointing to have to coin the phrase ‘Butterfly Effect Detector’ for them. This is something of a failure in my eyes. We got enough logical sounding information on Warp Engines and Phazers from old Star Trek to make them seem real enough. No such luck here. Are they mentioning things as jokes ahead of time as a way to simply kick the can forever on substance?
Loki discovered an innovation in TVA investigations working off one incident for about a day. We can see there’s not a whole lot there for him to read- its one of the jokes. This does not square with everyone calling him stupid and saying that he cant understand their tech.
The idea they still consider Loki dumb makes the TVA even bigger assholes and more incompetent than ever. Loki is a 1500 year old Asgardian space traveler. He’s been to many, many planets. He has technical skills. If he understands the Bi-Frost and space travel? They can nurse him along on this. Constantly calling him an idiot wont work much longer. Like i said, the TVA are just assholes.
The TVA tech is just left to us to imagine and write for them. They get around with a Transporter-like device that they simply do not show or explain. The writers simply rely on knowledge of Star Trek to fill us in while they drive the plot. Worse- when Loki Prime jumps in to the Transporter beam they continue to rely on Star Trek to let us know both Loki’s end up in the same place – or so we’re left to assume based on reactions. We’ll find out in Episode 3 just where they went.
I know Loki’s first zombie is the shopper due to a lot of thinking and re-reading my notes for the episode only. Its kind of unclear considering the Timecop pulling rank on Mobias moments earlier to get Loki alone. Turns out it wasn’t part of the plan. I’m left to wonder why she did it other than for us to see Loki and Mobias get verbally derided again, this time together – I guess this means now their friends? Or both untrustworthy? Or the Timecop is just an asshole? Which is just sort of destructive to a message of diversity as Mobias is treated uncivilly at all times. TVA competence was never a thing to destroy. They’re all pretty dumb except Mobias
In fact the TVA staff are so dumb I still can’t tell if they’re sheltered regular humans, mentally diminished clones or poorly programmed androids. Hard to see how their power and jobs are in line with any of these possibilities. If they’re human how are they so dumb yet speak all known languages? Tougher, dumber C3PO’s covers most of their personal traits, so androids seems in the mix. They come off naive. This is weird when they’re shown as cops. They have well below average intelligence, like botched clones.
There’s not a lot of time to think on any of this as we rock through another hour jam packed with information and implications.
Other Conflicts include; notably; that Loki Prime and Loki 2 really do not bother with illusions during their confrontation. Loki Prime loved having several duplicates at once to confuse his foes. This even gets mentioned earlier in this very episode. For whatever reason though he’s just not using this power, nor is Loki 2.
When the 2 Loki’s confront one other there’s a little bit of pithy professional courtesy and they’re not really trying to kill each other- but since no illusions play in its a bit like two Jedi fighting but not using the Force. Sure, we know they have a few options, but whats wrong with Loki’s most preferred method? Its not even a difficult visual effect, in fact its one of the first and oldest, older than color! Maybe even before sound. Is this because the show assumes you’re not really thinking about it? In other words is this just the minimum needed for consumption and they do not care? Opportunity lost.
Loki 2 apparently doesn’t need the Tesseract or to actually touch anyone to take mind control of people and have them attack. Did the writers forget this or does Loki 2- being called Lady Loki by some- have a Tesseract of her own we never see despite how it worked in Avengers? Or does she have new powers? Or is this a complete impersonation? It’s most likely a mistake because they don’t address this directly.
This is two weeks of poor exposition and head pats now. It makes no sense at all and is now tired and unfunny. Relying on other shows to fill in the gaps is pretty bad writing. Seems like we’re all being encouraged to take the slowest, least inquisitive of intellectual outlooks on this.
Making a joke to acknowledge the contrivances then moving on is not sufficient and its done a few times in each episode. It’s actually derived off a common fan straw man argument straight off of Twitter. The passive aggressive method goes more or less like this – ‘it was good until you over-analyzed it.” This makes as much sense as “It wasn’t gonna rain til that weatherman mouthed off” or “I caught COVID from the COVID test.”
The show had problems when the writers didn’t respect the characters or the intelligence of the fans. They have sidestepped all the implications their jokes create. This is putting style over substance and raises obvious questions. Circling back to joke about it over and over strains suspension of disbelief and is a lazy hack attempt to undo the mistakes by normalizing them. You have to wonder if there are people tasked with continuity at Marvel.
Loki and others know things that have only been revealed to the audience to move things along a few times. Mobias knows the timecop is kidnapped – though there’s no reason for him to think this as we hear its never happened before. You’d be forgiven for thinking the timecop was dead the way it came off
Loki knows about the details of the conversation between Mobias and his boss despite the fact hes outside and has no time to get up to speed. He merely knows. This is twice in one episode where people have omnipotence before getting dumb again. Was this a mistake or to rush the plot? There’s too many times where the show is too contrived.
Why do the writers rush this plot when we have three movies worth of time? Will we slow down and explain at some point or is this how we do things in these shows now?
Loki apparently is much weaker physically then the guy who survives a beating from Hulk. He more or less knows the will of Loki 2 and is on and off coy about this, tipping his hand on all his options. He also seems to think he needs to team up with himself and that will be enough to overthrow the Timekeeping Lizards. He apparently doesn’t grab an infinity stone – despite the fact there are many of each stone, unguarded and they work everywhere but the TVA HQ.
Sometimes funny but never clear, the plot advances as questions remain unanswered. Next installment brings us to the halfway point and some clarity would be nice.
The new Disney Plus show Loki features the return of Tom Hiddleston in a role he delivered masterful performances playing in the past, great sets and acting from stars who deliver good performances. The jokes mostly land well and the show has a snappy pace. After that praiseworthy things are hard to find. In fact some of it was slightly cringe-worthy.
After a flashback recounting of Loki grabbing the Tesseract and escaping the events of Avengers 1 via repercussions of Endgame he escapes to fall from the sky in the Gobi Desert. He encounters some locals and starts commanding they folllow him as their ruler but is immediately confronted and arrested by the Time Variance Agency- a new entity whose Time Cops appear unexplained through some sort of time portals. They easily subdue Loki- who doesn’t take them seriously.
They take captive Loki to a stylish lair a lot like the Men In Black’s HQ. Here Loki gets processed through a strange bureaucracy where Beetlejuice and David Lynch briefly intersect. After some mostly funny jokes Loki is being tried for violating the timeline and looking to end up being found guilty (and vaporized?) when Mobias- who works X-Files type crimes for the TVA, requests a conditional release so Loki can help them fight crimes committed by- Loki himself! Theyre looking for another Loki or a Loki Variant. Or someone they think is him.
Mobias has just returned from the Renaissance where hes found some clues and just talks to randos while dressed in early 1960’s clothes and playing around with some kind of smart phone. The kid they talk to simply accepts them and points to a nearby painting of the devil when asked who’s killing people. Owen Wilson’s Mobias, an incurious investigator at best, believes him immediately. The church set is once again pretty cool.
When Loki is comically processed through Time Court most of what we get about the Time Variance Agency is thrown out through a PSA style cartoon that actually is pretty funny. The things it tells us really mess with what we know though. The whole timeline is controlled by Lizard People who decide whats right and wrong to prevent conflicts between various timelines. This raises many questions and plot problems. Like the revelation there is no free will – everything is monitored and approved or fixed. So things will always just work out according to the Lizard Peoples judgement.
The TVA monitors and seemingly knows everything that has, will or could happen, so I’m not sure why later we see some of them bushwhacked and killed. This is the most enormously powerful entity in the Marvel Universe if the PSA is to be believed.
The TVA is really punitive and takes no shit. They vaporize anyone who gets out of line, we have an implication people get reset into the timeline, but we dont know that yet. Theres also a drawer full of Infinity Stones and the Tessarect- none of which work in the TVA HQ. Its guarded by a mentally deficient human who does not know what a fish is.
Loki does escape for a while and masters some of the Time Cops tech pretty quick- which is when he sees the Infinity Stones. He eventually more or less gives up and starts cooperating with Mobias. He submits to some pretty mean questions and watches future events of his life, including his death at the hands of Thanos. He admits, seemingly honestly, that he doesn’t enjoy killing and has a bit of a breakdown.
This very quickly brings Loki more or less to the emotional point he reached through the course of three more movies. In other words – he’s somewhat reformed. Its a bit rushed at best and unearned at worst. Its hard to imagine Loki as we knew him in Avengers 1 being this submissive, but hes broken in relatively short order by the Timecops mind games. This seems like it would be a lot harder. He is a master Mind-Gamer himself. At the end of the episode Loki is down with the TVA and pretty much ready to hunt himself to get in good with them.
Somewhere along the way Loki DOES ask a lot of logical questions as to what exactly is going on and gets a really bad answer – they’re not explaining it to him but yeah, it doesn’t make sense. With that we move on. Hopefully we get more on this because its a pretty simplistic pat on the head to explain how this all is happening now – or why the Lizard People were ok with past events as bad as Red Skull getting his hands on the Tessearact- or even World War 2 and all other events through time that would be kind of immoral to stand by and just watch.
The episode ends with some Time Cops going to 19th century and getting ambushed and killed in a field covered in oil. Their killer, a cloaked figure that’s probably female, is not fully visible watching the carnage. The theme song plays- its an amusing song that may just be the Twilight Zone theme notes in reverse and we end in Marvel TV Style. There is No Post Credits Easter Egg.
Episode 1 is funny and well paced- for a show that’s really cramming a lot in fast. I was able to comprehend what was going on easily- but wow did it ever shock me.
The TVA and the Time Cops are super powerful and have the ability to freeze and rewind time. They seem to have complete control with No Butterfly Effects. They openly interact with locals with no apparent reprecussions. This is pretty weird as their job is to stop other peoples Butterfly Effects.
The Time Cops are not overly impressive and very Mall Cop in their demeanor. Most of the Time Cops are as unconcerned as hardened veteran Homicide cops – but are not driven or professional. They have a “we do this all day” attitude towards their jobs. The other TVA support staff live in a plush HQ that many have apparently never left. They have a robot or two but theyre all human. They’re also just really bored public servant types. This works comically, but considering their power seems pretty tone deaf. Are they androids? Are they clones? They are all muted and bland in their demeanor. Many are very dumb.
The implications of introducing an entitiy this powerful is hard to come to terms with. They specifically tell Loki they’re ok with the Avengers travelling time but not him. We also find out if we vary from the timeline the Lizard People like they just reset us until we do what we want.
What does this mean for the 18 movies we just saw leading up to this? Does this mean that the one in 14 million chance Dr Strange forecasted for them beating Thanos was actually one in one? Did the Lizard People keep resetting events til things work out? We’re told they more or less do, and even being late to work could start problems that require them to grab you and start it all over.
They easily capture Loki. In my mind they probably should have struggled a lot more with the god of mischief, especially the Avengers 1 Loki. The ease they capture him with raises a question. Why is it their only real problem right now seems to be…..Loki in another guise? I’m curious to see if the next episode starts with them stopping the murder of their colleagues, I know I’d want them to do it for me!
The next five episodes will show whether the TVA is for real or if theyre merely delusional or lying, but they seem to need some damage control right now. It would be nice to find out we all actually have free will and that things aren’t always going to work out. Right now the best case scenario seems to be “we find out Dr Strange did this to mess with Loki and none of its true.
Next best thing would be we find out that the Time Cops have some great tech but are wrong or lying about most of the rest and that the Infinity Stones are fake. If we’ve seen the Time Cops before in a comic I dont know of it, but its possibble. Right now they seem to have a blank check to resurrect any character as many times as they want. Episode 2 apparently drops in the early morning hours- roughly 3 am, on June 16 US East Coast time- which means this post is just in time to catch you up.
Til Next Time – if the Lizard don’t vaporize me for wondering if this show will work out, that is. If you see this review- according to the logic in the show- then what I’m saying is okay with the Lizard People- and that I was right about Alex Jones- he should be a sci-fi writer where his imagination won’t hurt anyone.
Star Trek’s terrible Picard show masquerades as a direct sequel to Star Trek The Next Generation; but the character simply doesn’t line up. Picard badly written and was refused by Netflix. Washing this garbage story through Patrick Stewart doesn’t magically make it good. The show is an incoherent mashup of contrivances, bad continuity and the inept self contradiction.
Overcomplicated, unaware and dumb, Picard is just a bad show. Its almost like the writers are completely unaware of the characters rich past.
Part I- THE PICARD WE KNEW
When Star Trek The Next Generation debuted we were introduced to a new captain that would soon become one of the greatest characters in all Sci-Fi history- Jean-Luc Picard. He was brave but also resourceful in a cerebral manner that was still exciting. An intrepid explorer he would use force as a last resort but then was a formidable combat commander.
For 7 seasons Picard was the leader fans aspire to be. Smart, competent, compassionate and modest. His word was as genuine as his ferocity in battle. Not respecting the effectiveness of Jean Luc-Picard proved many a formidable foe’s undoing.
The just and peaceful had no greater friend and the wicked had no greater enemy than Captain Jean-luc Picard and the crew of Enterprise-D (and much later E). Even the Borg were stymied again and again by Picard. The only success the enemies of Star Fleet have during his time accounting for Picard as he’s their greatest asset. Even the Borg kidnap and Assimilate Picard as a prelude to their first true attack on the Federation.
The captains leadership style was to be rigid but fair while developing personal relationships with his officers, developing their skills and teamwork abilities.
Picard was presented as a good leader from the start, but one who who was open to growing and improving at his job. He evolved over the course of the show, from a man who dislikes children to having a great capacity for warmth and the ability to be avuncular.
Though the movies for this crew were a mixed bag Patrick Stewart’s portrayal of Picard along with a beloved supporting cast mostly entertained. We left off with some characters lost but the dignity of all more or less intact. Now we have a new Picard show and it shows a very different Jean-Luc Picard.
By the end of dismal season one he’s simply replaced by a nerfed Data-style replicant of himself that happens to be played by the same actor.
Part II – NuTrek Presents PICARD THE COWARDLY ROBOT
The Next Generation story had been deeply explored and the time to move on finally came. Then creatively bankrupt Alex Kurtzman and his crew of hack writers were given the keys to Star Trek and run it into the ground. As fans turn away in horror from awful new characters in terrible stories the writers went with what could have been a sure thing- bring back Picard. Using Patrick Stewart to resurrect and cannibalize the Picard character was all they had to bait the fans.
The new Picard series falls apart as soon as the appeal of seeing Patrick Stewart again wears off. While the cast in general is mostly capable we got a subversive Last Jedi type story where Picard quickly lost his charm.
Rebooted Picard was passionless despite his words. He is now an enormous failure hated by all. The matrix hes judged by is simply unfair but Picard is the first one to say its his fault. He loves to be blamed and derided, seeking it out.
His diplomatic skills were insufficient for rescuing the adversarial Romulans from their dying Solar system. The fact the Romulans had a really long time to flee but were too arrogant is blamed on Picard and hes fine with that. The fact the Romulans were shown as being invested in many solar systems is forgotten by writers in the rush to heap blame on the least involved person, who only tried to help.
The Romulan Rescue, which seems pretty morally correct, is botched and seemingly has broken the Federation financially. Rather than take any accountability or just use their massive military armada to just take over an unoccupoied solar system the Romulans opt for a terrible life as refugees. This is played like its Picard’s fault and the character buys it wholesale. Im not exactly a Star Trek Bootstrap Republican here, but wow is anyone responsible for their own fate in this galaxy or has EVERYONE been screwed out of a better life by Picard? Even friends like Riker and Troi lose their child because the technology that would have saved their life was illegal. This is also partly Picard’s fault.
Picard’s ineptitude had destroyed most of what he stood for. He is a complete failure with a reputation on par with someone like Oliver North or a former Nixon official who was dirty but never convicted.
Picard is newly backward, immoral and inhumane. He’s a confirmed serial failure and an unrealistic dreamer.
Starfleet Command simply detest Picard. They’re still reeling from a whole different Picard Mercy Mission that failed- Robot Rights. Soong-Type androids such as Data are now banned due to a violent robot uprising that destroys the Federation shipyards on Mars.
Incredibly, the technology for android creation has taken massive backward steps despite working prototypes that have been studied for decades. The robots, once called Androids- are now called synths. They are now child-like and can become homicidal at any moment. They also commit suicide. At some point a few years back they became completely illegal due to the loss of life in the Martian robot uprising- which has made the planet uninhabitable.
By the time we’re caught up on whats happened we can only call Picard a huge failure. He’s botched his Romulan Rescue and set back Robot Rights a hundred years. Everything hes ever touched, including the Federation- has turned to garbage due to his influence. Romulans and Robots have a useless and embarrssing friend in Picard. He’s also no friend of justice for Federation Citizens either.
When Agnes murderers her lover Bruce Maddox its no big deal to immoral Picard, who is still ‘human’ at this point. Despicable Picard never shows any interest in seeing Agnes facing any consequences for murder. It seems he’s complicit by not reporting it. So he’s no longer a good person even before transforming to a weak neurotic robot. Allowing someone to simply murder another person when there are authorities and a justice system- one Picard swore to uphold- is profoundly wrong.
This new deeply incompetent and insecure Picard is simpy not the same character. The traits we admired were turned into flaws. His confidence has become vain arrogance. His humanity is now useless sentimentality. His decisiveness is now impulsive stupidity and all his charm is gone.
Reduced and rebooted Picard is a shadow of the man we knew. He’s uninteresting and has no charisma. He speaks in unclear riddles when he wonders all thoughts out loud. In space he’s terrified and useless. C3P0 henpicking Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back comes to mind.
There is no Picard at all at the end of season 1. The character dies, partly of embarrassment after Data explains to him that theres simply no point in being alive. Data speaks on behalf of the audience and begs to be killed. Who could blame him. The Character of Picard has been warped and destroyed into an immoral and incompetent robot that no one likes.
Well, I don’t like him either and regard this as a Kelvin Timeline story that any decent writer can make go away. There’s no need to watch this show. In fact, boycotting this show would be a much better plan. Enabling the further destruction of Star Trek is simply masochistic. Star Trek Fans should Abandon Ship until these current creators are fired.
The Downfall of Star Trek has been long and ugly. The once amazing show is now boring, confusing, pandering and stupid. The current terrible creators cant make a coherent hour of television and haven’t managed to do so even by mistake. Its not even an enjoyable Hate-watch.
These new Star Trek shows are just not enjoyable and have very few fans as a result. Star Trek Discovery’s horrific ratings are richly deserved for Crimes Against The Fandom. They’ve given us nothing but low quality meandering tales of allegedly interesting characters so bad that you stumble to the end horrified and relieved to turn it off. Picard is equally horrible. New creators are needed now before more damage can be done.
Lets look back at the last horribly wasted years of Star Trek and how things got this bad.
JJ THE DESTROYER OF WORLDS
The real problems start in 2009 when fans were outright lied to by JJ Abrams and Bad Reboot. JJ managed to make one ok but Non Rewatchable movie in 2009 and as always fell way behind schedule while going way over budget. Promised TV shows never see a lick of attention and die on the vine. Then horrible movie Star Trek Into Darkness keeps right on poisoning the groundwater in 2013 with Star Treks version of The Rise of Skywalker.
After 10 minutes upfront that felt like Star Trek the story fell off a cliff with Bones and Jim. The sloppy movie was too cute by half and dumb as could be. It begins the tradition of JJ Abrams being laughed off a franchise after boasting he would save it. He leaves like he leaves Star Wars, by destroying the movie side of the franchise. Despite moving on from JJ things got worse anyway.
KURTZMAN THE TALENTLESS
Along comes talentless and terrible Alex Kurtzman, whose shows plumb the bottom depths of irrelevance and unpopularity all over the CBS Moniker. He’s reduced Star Trek to the LOWEST RATED SCRIPTED SHOW on CBS, far behind one of his other terrible reboot shows, deservedly canceled MacGyver. And then a host of other cancelled shows precede it on the 2020-21 ratings. Reruns of the Masked Singer regularly beat it handily. The CW’s Batwoman also beats it sometimes.
Kurtzman and Secret Hideout poach other peoples safest, most TV friendly time proven ideas without any sentiment for the fans or reverence for the characters. This makes no one happy and its not like they can tell an amusing story. So naturally all they do is fail. And fail. And then fail some more. All they care about is staying rich. He’s a fitting successor to JJ in that regard I suppose.
When Kurtzman is bought on (instead of a willing Quentin Tarantino) he and his hacks unleash a torrent of stupid stories even less amusing than lowly Space:1999! The shows that came out were uninteresting and unfit for regular TV. Now we’re awash in terrible stories with preposterously high stakes.
Along for our nightmarish and terrible journey are the kind of broken characters you would expect from a show called ‘Star Trek- Penal Colony’. No one, human or alien, has any sense of time or place. Inappropriate reactions, nonsensical dialogue and an absence of any appearance of competence are the Hallmarks of the characters of the new shows. We’re forced to endure everything from idiotic Emo Vulcans, Klingons who look like melted bubble gum and Romulan’s who were right all along but get attacked and kind of lose anyway.
There’s nothing but contrived plots, unresolved Mystery Boxes, constant failed injections of action, key jangling, pandering and a total lack of substance in these stories that are thrown out with no real effort, professionalism or set up.
AWFUL PREMIUM PRICED TEN HOUR STORIES
Discovery stumbles out of the gate first on now defunct CBS All Access and is just hard to watch. If it wasn’t Star Trek it would be long gone, and the writers know this. More and more it seems like these no talent hacks seem to be trying to sabotage and complicate Star Trek so they can keep it.
The characters on awful Discovery have no depth or humanity- even ones that came with a backstory like co-opted Spock or Pike. When people die no one cares, but emotions get wrecked up and crying ensues all the time for reasons considerably less profound. These are Good Characters?
The new, terrible Star Trek has already destroyed one streaming platform and is on its way to killing another. The franchises Facebook page has about many fans as a third tier WNBA team. The content is nonstop deeply insincere Diversity Signalling and angry comments as well as censorship of all critcism by the CBS minders.
The new stories are sub-awful and can’t really be discussed for advertising because its nonsense that doesn’t even make for an interesting trailer. So their bad characters are just there front center engaging in nonsensical plot-less stories that take TEN JOYLESS HOURS and always use the same ending- stopping a genocide.
Gone are the days of caring about any one character enough for that to be considered story worthy- the fans would be pleased to see any of these characters killed off and the actors released from their pain.
PICARD- CHARACTER ASSASSINATION
As bad as the new characters are the handling of the legacy characters feels spiteful, disrespectful is too mild. As Discovery fails behind a paywall the return of Patrick Stewart gives Star Trek jolt from the paddles of life that Kurtzman immediately squanders. Fans were initially intrigued when the show debuted.
For a moment Picard seemed to be promising. Patrick Stewart is beloved so for a the first 2 episodes they sort of fool us. Then episode 3 falls apart and the series implodes.
The idiotic decision to turn him into a despicable robot also just make it a show about Picard Robot, effectively making this title a bait and switch as far as chazrcter- even though Patrick Stewart has an extended cameo in each episode after we get done de-establishing him.
The Detective Picard and his Irish Romulan sidekick story is complete nonsense. They use a DNA scanner that can reconstruct past events- We all know thats not how DNA works!
The entire rest of the story hinges on the information the magic bullshit machine gets them. It consists merely of video and audio. They could simply have hacked security cams instead. When the characters in a sci-fi show have less tech and science awareness than my middle school niece? It’s not unfair to call this just stupid, bad writing.
Throughout the shows dismal ten hours Picard gets yelled at, infantilized, has no dignity, makes immoral decisions and gets increasingly dumber. He’s very much C3P0. He’s unsettled and makes useless intellectual observations whenever theres a conflict or problem. He seems unfamiliar with space. Picard is indecisive and in the way as a mere passenger on an ugly new ship.
This begs the question ‘Why appropriate Jean-Luc Picard; one of the greatest Sci-Fi characters of all time; just to subvert him into C3PO?’ And while we’re asking, why send him on a humiliation tour to be yelled at for 10 hours? Its Elder Abuse in space!
The shows next 7 cringe-worthy, horribly paced hours feature threats as preposterous as killer rabbits. Was there ever a plan for this Deranged Recycled World? Did they have a half finished 7 of 9 show and run out of ideas? Was the Picard show a mashup? On set informants claim the ending was re-shot as the initial episodes aired. It’s since been changed again (more on that later).
The shoddy story had its first pilot recycled into the horrible DNA Detectives episode (after the initial decision it wasnt good enough to air?).
If I make excuses for the writers- and some needs to their work is so bad, it seems this project was changed mid-production and re-themed when Patrick Stewart was thrown a lot of cash for an extended cameo. The title is all but a Bait and Switch. A couple of the episodes feature very little Patrick Stewart.
7 of 9’s story just crashes into the main Picard story- literally! These two characters have never met and now they’re just thrown together. You’d think this would be a chance to hear an interesting conversation but 7 doesn’t care for Picard either. She’s also newly hard, worldly and cynical. She splits in short order to go on a revenge killing spree where she talks about someone killing her son in a not so clear way.
Then shes engaged a some solo side-story that’s just nonsense on a captured, paertially destroyed Borg Cube that the Romulans have- despite now being refugees in the Federation.
On the Borg Cube we are shown 7 cares deeply about the other former Borg- til most of them die horribly. When that happens shes unmoved. She doesn’t react and makes no mention of it. This part of Picard is just welded on to the rest of the story and is almost unrelated to the main plot. Then its just dropped. The problems really pile up as we go on through all the scattered plots.
We end up with a boring, disengaging story. It was absolutely low effort and lazily written. Another genocide tale; for the third time in a row between Picard and Discovery. All 30 hours of both shows were idiotic, needlessly complicated politics between the same two or three factions which often dead ended and never made any sense.
Characters we thought we knew and loved were now weak and broken like Luke in The Last Jedi. Picard is a panicky robot. Riker and Troi are horrible parents. Data is fatalistic and suicidal. Brent Spiner can no longer really pass for the ageless android but they do it anyway and its worse than you’d think. In his new role as his creators descendant he’s good then evil then good again on successive whims.
The ending of idiotic Romulan Conspiracy inside a Conspiracy aspect of Picard is a wreck of what can only be called extreme moral ambiguity that was never intended!
The Romulan cabal, a needlessly complicated secret group inside another secret group, was as hard to follow and stupid as could be- but the allegedly evil bad guys are actually RIGHT and their goal is nothing less than to save all life from extermination at the synthetic hands of homicidal robots! In their way- Picard and the idiots of the Federation led by Portly Pizza Chef Riker! How are the Romulans not the good guys in this scenario? No one seems to have thought this through at all.
The robots on the planet everyone converges on had fired up a genocide machine just as the Romulans feared, yet the Federation is ready to fight for their right to do it?
Picard, who has already blown off a murder, spends the climax of the story in his room- where the robots sent him for being an annoying old man. He plays no role in the robots sudden decision to turn their genocide machine off. They simply turn it off just cause. It’s just just insane to leave them there with the ability to change their minds again, turn it back on and genocide everyone. They change their disposition on killing all organic life no less than three times just in the time since Picard met them, going so far as to build a genocide machine and call in a cyber cthulu that almost makes it through a vortex before they turn it off. That’s just what they do though. The robots are nice now and they won’tturn the genocide machine back on. That’s that.
This ending is botched every single way. Picard is out of the action a lot of time. The bad guys were right, theyre million year mission, oversold throughout the series- was dead on correct. They blow it off with little protest though. They had built a religion and killed their own to prevent this but they do not even fight despite being a match for the Federation at least long enough to destroy the genocide machine. The Federation we knew would warn the robots to clear away and then promptly destroyed their ability to end all life in the universe.
When the bad guys are right but lose and things just work out anyway for no real reason? That’s not a good story. It’s a series of kind of related events more than a story. Thankfully it ends- or seems to – like a poorly tuned car it just keeps going for a while until it sputters to a stop.
Next out of nowhere we get a weird nonverbal interaction between 7 and mother-hen and druggie, Rafi. A lot has been made of it, its could be anything the way we got it.
Who knows what the Hell it really was? There’s again no set up or context. It seemed thrown in just to distract from the bad ending. It was poorly done and pandering- as well inconsistent with season upon season of Star Trek Voyager as well as some dialogue from earlier in the Picard series.
I don’t object to any of the political, social or identity implications at all- but I do hate how they just hard reboot the 7 characters traits after seeming to reaffirm them earlier. Rather than bulding to this or explaining it we get it out of the blue after an ending that was completely flawed. I’m sure this was a reshoot done later. This didnt have to make no sense, but it doesn’t, which is why I think it was a pandering distraction. It was cheaply thrown in.
The ending was so bad they’ve the confrontation between the Federation and Romulans has been enhanced since we paid to see it the first time, so they knew it sucked and just put it out anyway. The original Federation fleet were nameless numberless generic cut and paste ships that barely move. Many more have been added. Its shows how little they understand Star Trek. They have no concept of the fact we loved the show even in the 60’s when you needed to be forgiving about special effects – because the stories were good!
INCOMPETENT WRITING MOVES
The worst part of Picard is after the plot flops the writers are well aware it sucks; so they just start just doing things. Picard is killed off then he has a boring talk in Tech Heaven with Data. Data Speaks for the audience and begs to be killed. So Picard deletes him and thats that.
Out of nowhere Murderer Alice has a new weak robot body that will die soon anyway and dumps Picard’s consciousness into it. So he’s back and we just move on. This was a good story?
While we had that mess of a show to consider they drop out another genocide oriented ten hour Discovery ‘story’ and then the latest insult – Star Trek Lower Decks, which is an Upper Decker on the fans in the spirit of a derivative take on Futurama in a bad cartoon. The volume of material really goes up as quality fades into the distant past with unwatchable Short Treks. These really seem to be sabotage.
In these terrible 7 minute canonical riffs the writers seem to be trying to give Star Trek a Crack smoking habit or something. The nonstop use of contrivances to stumble through a meaningless poorly made awful story is predictable and exhausting.
Non Stop subversion of characters the writers never liked or understood is non entertaining and deeply annoying.
Spock has already been destroyed. Spocks father, Pike and The Guardian of Forever as well. Who will be next? The very worst thing to do would be to help Kurtzman and his lackeys keep the Franchise. If they do it will degenerate for years more in obscurity as they keep ruining classic characters. On Twitter the shows rarely trend as well as the classic shows and movies. Deep Space 9 outperforms Discovery regularly on social media.
There’s no solace from the idiocy and mediocrity of the stories. Even moribund Star Wars has The Mandalorian to help fans cope. Theres no Civil War at CBS with a better faction of writers like seems to be case at Lucasfilm. Instead theres an organized insurgency of scared writers desperate to not lose another gig. They came to terms with having no talent years ago and feel entitled destroy Star Trek so they can crank out bad comics and novels to agitate to have terrible scratch takes become shows too in the form of Strange New Worlds. Another bait & switch title about a show that’s allegedly filming but somehow is completely different and changes with every fresh wave of criticism. We can only hope its never released.
The few fans of these shows literally have no taste. Well, I have a stake in Star Trek as a fan. All of us do. Fan feedback saved DS-9 when the writers listened and added some more characters and gave them a ship.
Now fans are baited and lied to. I refuse to simply accept this like some character in a Dickens novel who has no choices. The time has to come to boycott Star Trek and CBS. We deserve better. Star Trek Fans- ABANDON SHIP! Its the only way to get a chance to restore quality to this poorly served fandom. Sorry Gene Roddenberry- looks like your great grandchildren might actually have to get a job. Star Trek is now meaningless, bad, divisive TV that depresses people and increases intolerance.
I will not pay to subsidize terrible Star Trek anymore.
Years ago we saw 300 and wow were we ever blown away. Then a lot of time passed with Zack Snyder hard at work being the best knock off JJ Abrams he can as lead creative for the Cinematic DCU. Well, we now have three of these films and a few more that were supposed to line up with them and the verdict is in – We Do Not Need Any More Bad DCEU Content from these Creators. Comments are enabled and take the Save The Snydverse vs End The Snyderverse Poll at the end of this post! So Welcome and here’s my case-
INTO THE SNYDERVERSE!
I wont say there’s nothing good in Zack Snyders DC movies, I would just point out that we pay far too high a price in these movies to set up the good stuff. Visuals and aesthetics aside all Snyder has made is a bunch of uneven Mystery Box lens flare nightmare movies. They all take around an hour for the plot to kick in and his dialogue is horrible.
The movies are built mostly on three elements. First; it’s (some of) the cast- which is unable to connect much to us or each other, probably because the dialogue is laughable. Then we have lots of fan service. Last we get mostly pretty good fight scenes (mostly).
Maybe the most watchable movie is Batman Versus Superman- which his fans seem to think is his worst – he handles things fairly well most of the time and falls off a cliff for a while at others. Its typical of Snyders work in its best and worst moments.
Batman Versus Supernan is the point in these movies (as they came out) where most of the Justice League first either is either in play or is baited and teased. Its the best reference point and lens for my overview.
Full Disclosure- To really let Snyder unfold his vision this overview is based off his exhaustive 3 to 4 hour directors cuts. He claims its how he intended his movies to be seen, so it just seemed fair. It was also a lot of work. The stories arent that fun.
As a director, Snyder is just longwinded, sort of boring and very clunky showing us what happens.
These movies unleashed a bunch of supposedly familiar, beloved characters for the first time in this continuity. There was cause for optimism. There was a lot to work with.
Except this whole Universe ended up being pretty much Brand New, it simply contains some familiar faces. Theres heavy revisions. Snyder has fundamentally changed all the characters without proper re-introductions. The whole idea had been billed as a coordinated vision based partly off the Dark Knight movies. That’s not really what they gave us though. Looking back, by the end of Man of Steel there was need for a course correction. This didn’t happen and the problems really piled up quickly. The Snyderverse seemed to have sputtered to a deserved end.
Then the Covid Pandemic closed theaters and cut off most studio income, leaving them so desperate they release the Snyder Cut of Justice League onto streaming markets just to get some cash. This injected new life into the Snyderverse despite it being more cynical, contradictory, pondering non entertainment. The worst thing that could happen for fans would be giving Zak Snyder more time with these characters. The movies we have so far are simply subpar and almost fan fiction.
Batman vs Superman gives us many doses of contradiction, unexplained situations and weird conveniences. Batman is obscure- but famous. He wont kill – but he WILL mark you for death in jail.
The way Lex Luthor plays in to the story as a whole could have worked – but the story is a mess. He isn’t menacing. Just bipolar, high and annoying. This terrible character has too much screen time.
BVS is the second time we see this apathetic, cynical, joyless Superman. We also throw in this new, pretty vengeful and different take on Batman- which works somewhat better. This is a lot of new, different stuff though right away. And theres LOTS of cringe.
Like when Ghost Dad Kevin Costner shows up and makes you long for Glen Ford its so bad. Fortunately he splits after a bizarre story about the time he killed some horses and found love. Thanks dad. Its a lot like Homeless Han’s pathetic “Memory Ghost” in Rise of Skywalker. Thinking JJ stole that idea from this.
At the start of BVS Sup has spent most of the last 18 months having the worlds most superficial relationship with Lois Lane; shopping for groceries with blithe indifference to the events of Man of Steel – a movie with a death toll so much higher than Avengers 1.
In Man of Steel the Kryptonian attack is sustained and devastating. There’s just no way there were less than 100,000 dead from the multiple 9-11’s per minute that fill the last hour of Man of Steel. The attack is NOT Survivable in huge swaths of the city. During the fight the Kryptonians mock Superman over and over for caring too much about the people of Earth- while they die in droves around him to his complete indifference. Its visually amazing, but at too high a price story wise because while Superman mostly says the right things, his actions (and inactions) show hes not very self aware. He’s sort of self centered.
This Superman just never really reacts to other peoples pain on screen. We see almost no saving except Lois over and over. He sort of just hovers and watches the suffering, seemingly indifferent. He’s a Collateral Damage Machine who just comes off as heartless. He willingly throws his opponents through downtown buildings on a workday while the citizens pointlessly run from one Skyscraper collapse to the next for like an hour. This is the worst day in any city in history. There are miltant aliens jacking all communications and destroying MOST of Smallville AND Metropolis. The sack of Troy and maybe even Hiroshima is almost a walk in the park compared the devastation in Metropolis.
Superman doesn’t try to so much as draw the bad guys away from the city to fight. We can be sure a whole lot of people just die. Superman is a mass murderer as dangerous as the Kryptonians. The only fathomable explanation for why anyone likes him is that people in this world are really fatalistic and simply prefer to be killed by Superman rather than his opponents.
Not all the changes are intentional. Snyder does no damage control to make Superman more noble. There’s little reason for Superman to have any fans, but he does despite this. Batman is also somewhat changed. Lex Luthor has no charisma and is not a potent rival to Superman. Lois Lane is needlessly confrontational. Perry White is unsuited for media work, on and on.
This new, cynical Superman has different priorities. He’s inexplicably magnetized to Lois and shows up the very last moment before she would be killed to save her. He starts mass murdering whenever shes in danger. If Superman was faced with a choice where he could save the whole world or only Lois he would just save Lois. He wouldn’t think twice about it or even feel bad. The Kent’s have raised him not to care. No overcoming Bad Parenting!
This Superman is totally okay with killing people and doesn’t mind the fact he cant save everyone- lots of times he can save people but elects not to- like in the previous movie when he dutifully obeys his fathers wishes to be killed horribly by the worlds slowest tornado.
So hes pretty different from the Superman that was established. He also makes bad decisions left and right, like idiotically refusing to use his heat vision much when its clearly his best weapon in this iteration. You’re probably better off with Homelander.
Just to show how different this Superman is – heres Superman as we knew him expressing his dedication to Justice and sounding- ironically- far less cartoonish and more like the selfless, dedicated hero we remember.
So heres the mechanisms by which Zak Snyder slowly and redundantly sets up a non fatal fight between Superman and Batman- which still feels pretty thrown together. I cant use the term PLOT for this series of occurrences.
The first hour of the movie is kind of pointless. We all know Batman but we have a long slow mo intro that shows the key events that lead him to be Batman, like the death of his parents and the discovery of the Bat Cave- where he shows an early ability to shake off fatal falls. Its ok I guess, as opposed to Wonder Woman, who sort crashes the movie.
We then circle back to the end of Man of Steel and get some human perspective on the Kryptonian Attack via Bruce Wayne- whose means of getting from Gotham to Metropolis is just a bit unclear. It appears he opts to take his normal car there as Bruce Wayne and thereby minimizes his abilities. Was he already in Metropolis? Why not go as Batman if he sees this from Gotham? Imagine if Snyder had simply used the established gothic look of Batman’s city to help us out? More on that later! The attack and its aftermath inspire Batman to start crafting a plan to pretty much just murder Superman- who Batman considers too much of a wildcard that he’s starting to hate. So he begins finding and hoarding Kryptonite.
At the center of the story we have this older, supposedly Nolan inspired Batman who repeatedly says hes been at it for 20 years. Gotham even has the Bat Signal hes been active for so long, Batman seems to be pretty well known by now.
This is all cool and what we’d expect of Batman two decades into his career. Then we throw it all out the window. No one in nearby Metropolis and a lot of the cops in Gotham itself have any clue who Batman is. Despite the Bat Signal. The cool stuff we saw doesn’t mesh with Batman also being obscure.
This worlds Batman was sold in ‘Bait & Switch’ style as Nolan’s Batman recast. Theres nothing to that. This is a brand new Batman.
This Batman has some new traits and we can forget the events of The Dark Knight Trilogy. Snyder’s Batman is the darkest iteration ever. This Batman is particularly ruthless.
While there is some precedent in the comics; this take on Batman is often removed from the actual continuity. It’s an alternate, even darker Batman. Sometimes he exists in a Blade Runner-like World or another Dimension. He’s possessed of an infinitely more damaged psyche than our worlds Batman. His biggest virtue is that he looks really awesome in cinematically unique Bat suit in BVS. Batman’s ‘anti-superman armor’ really is cool.
Snyder’s Batman is much more vengeful and despite what the movies tell us, show traits of a master tactician. In fact its the Joss Whedon cut of Justice League that has his single smartest act – in that version of the film he arranges for Lois Lane be there when they try to resurrect Superman. This is NOT in the Snyder Cut- her arrival is a coincidence in that cut of the movie.
Batman’s not as changed as Superman, but we’ve piled a lot of needless complications and new traits on. Combined with the inconsistent nature of Batman’s fame it’s a lot to try to ignore as the movie plods ahead.
Meanwhile in Metropolis, Lois Lanes ex church janitor turned Unqualified Journalist boyfriend Clark Kent takes an interest in the mysterious ‘Bat Vigilante’ who’s suddenly creeping around Metropolis. He never bothers to google him or look at the papers from adjacent Gotham (where they HAVE A BATSIGNAL!) though. So there’s just no real internet and no FBI in this world! Also,Clark sucks at this job. Blame the idiot editor who hired him, Perry White.
EVERY CHARACTER IS AN UNQUALIFIED IDIOT
Any troubles at the Daily Planet and some of the uninformed stupidity rampant in Metropolis can be blamed on idiotic, disinterested anti-media editor Perry White. Hes not interested in cause and effect. He despises journalistic curiosity and offers no guidance. Perry White is the only character to care less about what happens in Metropolis than Superman. The least curious, most indifferent man in this universe. The Daily Planet’s headline for the Kryptonian Attack was likely “Strange Events Postpone Baseball” So it’s another heavily revised character.
This Perry White will shoot down any interesting story. He doesn’t have any interest in profound events. The Moon Landing would not have been important enough to make Page 1 of this paper. He’s deeply incompetent.
What kind of editor hires a farmer turned janitor to be a reporter? Worse, the farming skills are actually useful. Perry is like ‘Just sweep that dirt under the rug, Kent! There’s no Batman!” I dont see how this squares with him seeing actual aliens blow up most of Metropolis the year before or never having heard of Batman- who operate a very short drive away. We spend too long watching Lawrence Fishburne using considerable skill to deliver a decent performance in a bad role. This Perry White has no traits of a journalist or editor. At all. Its starting to feel a lot like The Last Jedi as far as characters consistency.
Then we get a bad cameo from good actress Holly Hunter as a Karen-ish politician skeptical of Superman and Lex. She heads a Congressional commission investigating the Alien Attack. She is shown as ineffective and inept as shes allowed Lex to use her confab at the Capitol gets her and a lot of other people killed.Snyder also uses her as a springboard to – no kidding- make nonstop references to piss.
Piss is an important element BVS. Lex communicates threats with piss analogies or actual piss. Victims of the Kryptonian Attack give us their feeling on pissing too.
Just as the Congressional Hearing is looking to be a loser for Superman – Lex Luthor delivers a piss threat via an open jar of piss on Senator Mrs Incredibles desk before he blows Holly Hunter and the Congressional commission to pieces along with the US Capitol Building in a terrorist attack of immense proportion. Since the only survivor is Superman its just obvious to everyone it was him. There doesn’t seem to be security cameras in this world. There’s an immediate known bomber but Superman is still on the hook for unexplained reasons.
Incredibly, blowing up the Capitol turns out to be no big deal and is without lasting consequences. No one bothers to piece the attack together. Lois sort of gets it, but it barely plays in. Again- this world could really use an FBI! We see at least 300 people at the site of the explosion alone. You have to assume a massive death toll again.
The movie is filled with world changing events that then have no implications. We just gloss over them. I guess people here only read the nonsense in the Daily Planet! Everyone in the Snyderverse is and IDIOT!
In a directorial move that feels unintended we’re left to realize the supposedly misguided and idiotic government commission (ripped right out of the Marvel Universe) was on point – Superman is a dick. He could really help the people in this world, they REALLY need saving as they always freeze and stare when in danger. Every single time. Hes just not that into it though.
Wonder Woman- perhaps named so by Lex in a file on the only useful computer in this universe – is minimally in this, just teasing her own upcoming movie. Theres not a lot of problems with her- or there weren’t when they released the movie. Wonder Woman says she walked away from the world of Men 100 years ago – a story that WW84 makes preposterous. Maybe it was a bad idea to throw that really constraining line in. They go ahead and make a sequel that just really kills this aspect of the movie. Now there’s no reason at all for Wonder Woman to be reluctant as she is to get involved. Batman doesnt remember when he was like 13 when she was on TV and he had to renounce his wish?
This movie is almost totally unaware of the events laid out in the Wonder Woman movies – that in this timeline precede it. Hard to say whose fault that is. Also throw in that now we know that one of the bystanders doing nothing is Martian Manhunter – as revealed in the contradictory Snyder Cut of Justice League – so a lot of people who would be right in the thick of this thing just let bad stuff happen for most of the movie AND Man of Steel.
BVS, like all Snyders DC movies, is littered with errors. However of the DCU movies Snyder made- or the other ones in his broken world – it’s just maybe the least bad. Its still only an ok movie that’s an hour too long.
A typical unforced error is the sheer proximity of Gotham to Metropolis. They’re in sight of one another. It makes an idiot of all the characters- YOU CAN SURELY SEE THE BATSIGNAL FROM METROPOLIS but no one knows who Batman is! As mentioned earlier, Snyder makes no attempt to differentiate the cities- Despite long rich cinematic histories for both! Snyder makes them into ‘Anytowns’. It’s a shame and another blatantly missed opportunity. It also could have livened up the visual storytelling these movies so lack. The concept wasn’t bad but the execution is fumbled.
Zack Snyder movies are just not smooth. Slow motion fight sequences bloat too much of the action. Characters talking to themselves or even simply reciting their backstories when they show up are his preferred devices. He hits the same points over and over only to blow them off and move on.
BVS is about the longest movie to ever feel rushed. The first hour drags. Then things just happen, usually due to coincidence or simple lack of communication. People off screen are frozen in time and are absent for long periods unexplained when they could be helping out.
Things start getting shambolic in the last hour of the movie. To get his dream match-up between Batman and Superman Lex kidnaps Lois and accosts her with a nutty sort of atheistic rant. Theres just so much religion in these movies. Its over the top. They never miss a chance to show Superman as a god or Jesus-type figure, to the point of being boring.
After the bipolar break Lex enacts his ‘masterstroke’ and ‘cleverly’ throws Lois off a building just high enough for her to fall long enough for Superman to save her, because Lex just knows he will? It’s a terrible plan. Works anyway.
In the ensuing encounter with Superman Lex just knows Sup wont kill him (because Lois is safe?)Lex needlessly reveals he knows Bruce is Batman when he says he’s been hate-mailing him under someone elses name by intercepting that persons pension checks. This is complex and stupid and it’s not said or conveyed that smoothly. I was forced to put on the subtitles.So this is our evil genius at the height of his power. A babbling stoned idiot whose abused his meds and bought on an episode.This is so unimpressive on screen.
Lex then conveys to Superman his mom is being held by creeps with a conspicuously unloaded, laughably heavy machine gun and for some reason, a flamethrower. In another religious rant Lex explains he wont let Sups mom go unless Sup fights Batman and wins. What he thinks will happen after that is unclear. Why a supposed genius would think he could beat or elude the winner of this fight is not explained. Bad Plan, mostly works anyway.
So now of course Batman and Superman fight. Its all because no one listens to each other. Then they give up talking til things are looking pretty fatal. It looks great. This Batman really does look and sound cool. Batman’s not much of a tactician this time around but hes not unlikable – like poor Henry Cavill’s Superman- but he neglects to really exploit his chances or optimize his kryptonite arsenal. When rewatched the fight scene is a little shaky and illogical.
If nothing else this Batman should be a real scrapper, and he pretty much hates Superman. He just never presses any advantage too much. This ultimately ends when Superman blurts out his mothers first name -which was also Batman’s mothers first name – and causes Batman to have a psychotic break and simply abandon plans to kill Superman, in fact this is enough to make Superman ok to Batman. Good thing Superman used that specific choice of words and didn’t say “We have save MY MOM!”
When Batman and Sup finally get on the same page their plan is bafflingly bad – Batman will save Superman’s mom and Superman will stick around and take care of Lex while he protects Lois- over his own mom. This despite their skills being suited for taking the opposite roles. Its a bad plan. Works anyway. We do get a (mostly) great Batman fight scene out of it. Don’t know why it had to be so dumbly accomplished though. The cost is again too high.
The creation of Doomsday was started 20 minutes earlier by Lex using Kryptonian tech and his own blood in a BAD creation scene thats thrown in there for no real reason. A major villain. This only culminates with just minutes to go in the final action sequence. Anyway, this ‘Abomination’ and Superman go at it using all their superpowers. Doomsday percolates for quite awhile before showing up in a meaningful way. You almost forget about him.
Charging to the end the story gets way out of this movies league with the frivolous use of Nuclear Weapons.
In short order Superman and Doomsday are nuked in the upper atmosphere. This sends them plummeting straight back to Metropolis- which is just a magnet for space debris. This is while Batman, Lois and Wonder Woman tangle with Lex and whatever he can throw at them in a Kryptonian Ship that crashed in central Metropolis in Man of Steel.
Contradictions REALLY start to really pile up at this point. Suddenly Superman can tolerate a kryptonite spear when Krptonite exposure was giving him opiate withdrawal syndrome 10 minutes earlier.
One thing sort of leads to another in a not so great fight. When its all over Doomsday and Superman are Dead.
Then they catch Mark Zuckerburg— I mean Lex Luthor- and they send him to Facebook Jail- aka Arkham Asylum. There he will be tortured and mistreated according to Batman, who speaks of Gotham as though he’s a more a Metropolis kind of guy. “I still have a few friends in Gotham” he says, to my confusion.
It’s just another strange dialogue choice. A few friends? Like Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and all the rich people Bruce hangs out with? You have your home base and a 20 year history there dude, you kind of RUN Gotham. Makes no sense.
Then we end with a super depressing double funeral sequence that is pure cringe and dumb. Obvious questions about who pulled off stealing the lone body and how there was a funeral for Clark and a weird public MILITARY one for Superman are unaccounted for and hard to process –while we’re supposed to be feeling sad. I sure didn’t feel sad. Good riddance, Mass Casualty Man!! Some of the soil over Clark’s grave floats. On that subtle note we end.
Thats it, we’ve reached the credits!! At least Alfred was fun.
Credits are nice, we like credits. These run like 10 minutes. A small city worth of people was employed, GOOD!
— OUT of the SNYDERVERSE! —–
Now we’re left to consider the implications of what the Snyderverse has become – I suggest it’s merely an ad hoc mess with more questions than answers. Snyders blunt methods are largely to blame but issues abound.
All movies are made worse – not better- as a result of the companion movies. No creator cared a wit about a complete vision, this includes Zack. The movies are at odds. No one back-filled anyone else’s content. Seems no one even hired a Script Doctor at any time across this whole effort either.
So many contradictions. Why does no one know who Wonder Woman is when she was all over TV and got the entire world to renounce their wishes in 1984? And why is Superman simply unconcerned about mass casualty events and his own mom? And theres so much more.
Rules were established in this movie that are ignored by other DCEU creators and Snyder himself. It’s how the DCEU got so broken.
Like Krypton, Zack Snyder had his chance. Theres no putting this broken universe back together without a reboot.
The Snyderverse is a dark, boring, slow and really poorly explained universe where things simply happen. Most of the relationship between Clark and Lois is left to the imagination. It starts out of nowhere in Man of Steel and develops off screen between movies.
The fact Snyder just doesn’t ‘get’ Superman is really a problem. He also doesnt get Batman either. While not as changed as Superman, we’ve never seen Batman on screen like this before. The bad dialogue is again often contradictory. So apparently there was a real lack of scrutinizing, re-reading or really editing in this long script. There’s people who do this for a living who could have saved these movies. Carrie Fisher used to do it for a living.
There’s dialogue in this universe so much worse then the cringe-ist line in the Star Wars Prequels. Exposition is mostly people showing up and blurting out their backstory and goals in a corny way when they say hello or by simply talking to themselves. Flash and his dad in Justice League is a great cringey example. Snyders inability to set a scene or do visual storytelling had him repeating things and using text on the screen, often needlessly.
Snyders rampant Dream Sequences serve up cheap unearned fan service. This writing ‘hack’ is used to jam in a confusing ‘alternate future’ into BVS where Superman is now a Super Murderer Oppressor-Type just because Lois died. This is pretty ominous considering Lois is human and must one day die. It also messes with the idea that Superman is GOOD at his core. Did we just find out Superman is a ticking timebomb? Too high a price for cool visuals.
In Justice Leagues Dream Sequence they pretty much tear you out of the movie just so The Joker can make unfunny homophobic jokes. We again pay too high a price just to see The Joker.
The way Snyder skips around in time in the story makes his pictures worse than most. Challenged on dialogue and exposition; Snyder lets us imagine far too much for a cohesive movie. He relies on what we know from the comics and just throws situations together cause thats what Superman or Batman does. He cant earn it so he shortcuts around it. This exacts a toll on the story.
The color grading is so controversial its a blog post of its own. Its distracting and sterilizing. Supposedly artful, he used to it better effect in other movies and now its a crutch and merely one more obstacle.
People interact in illogical ways. In Man of Steel Clark asks a preacher for advice. He tells the preacher his problems but then just walks away without getting really any feedback but a look. This can only be called an unforced error.
Superman’s humanity is simply ignored for the sake of spectacle. Its done over and over til Snyder breaks the character.
The characters are handled badly. No one has traits suitable to their lives or careers in these films but they succeed anyway. The longer cuts were a wash- creating new questions for every one they resolved. The movies are crammed full of world changing events – that then have no implications. This happens so much Perry Whites disdain starts to seem normal.
Its INEPT. Snyder is a terrible visual story teller who lacks INSTINCT. Snyders movies strain suspension of disbelief.
We dont need to see anymore of these characters through Zack’s eyes. Time to move on.
The future is not looking promising either. Next the real JJ Abrams – genius creator of The Rise of Skywalker- gets a shot at this. JJ probably doesnt do much better. What we need is a BREAK and some Damage Control….but it probably aint gonna happen.
Theres a lot of talk lately about the Cult of Qanon. Whatever else it is-and theres a few overlapping as well as solo scams going on at once there- it sure has a lot of aspects of a Cargo Cult.
“Cargo Cult” a sociological term about an obscure phenomenon, but it’s also an interesting and enlightening filter on the MAGA Madness and Q insanity that seems to has a good enough chunk of this country talking and acting crazy.
So what exactly is a Cargo Cult? Ive read as much as I can find on them. Its a bit of an obsession of mine since I first heard the term in reference to an episode of Star Trek (more on that later).
The classic historical Cargo Cult refers to a religious phenomenon that arose on the isolated pacific islands used as bases by various militaries during the Second World War. The truth is the British Empire had spawned a few in the days of wooden ships already though.
The native islanders in places like Papua, New Guinea had not had much contact with the outside world. Their ways of viewing the day to day world included a good dose of the paranormal.
If someone got sick, perhaps a curse had been put upon them. Flood? Famine? Perhaps the villagers aren’t living up to the standards of their pantheon of deities. A thumbnail description would be that they fed the Volcano to pacify the gods.
After the Second World War began in the Pacific the lives of the native islanders were subject to massive culture shock. Literally overnight and literally out of the sky in the form of shiny silver airplanes as well every kind of ship from the sea and beaches came the mid-20th century. They islanders had no context for this. None of the previous limited contacts with outsiders provided a frame of reference for what transpired on their islands, their very world, as emerged over the weeks following arrival of troops from both sides of the conflict.
To these isolated natives the idea that an internal combustion engine operate pistons to spin gears and rotate a propeller to power a vehicle capable of carrying goods or people was inconceivable. Imagine bringing a flashlight, cigarette lighter and .9mm pistol via time traveling helicopter to Dark Ages Europe to get any sort of grip on this. To the natives of islands such as those of New Guinea the planes were not
machines but great beasts akin to hollow metal dragons. They were summoned from the sky by rituals at a holy temple, or as we would call it, a Military Airfield. The “rituals” were the day to day operations of the base. Waving in incoming planes with flags and lighting runways. Groups of identically clad men marching in formation, chanting magic word (military cadences) and sometimes even firing their bang sticks!!
Then things changed radically again when the war ends.
In the wake of the War these isolated bases were mostly abandoned and life, for the natives, returned to ‘normal’. But it was a ‘New Normal’. They had become accustomed to the gleaming aluminum dragons regularly summoned by the clergy ( US Navy Sea Bees) with the sacred relics ( radios, landing lights and parades). No longer were the great beasts from the air and sea disgorging the material goods they now so desired. Gone was the supply of
the coveted “cargo”. In a turn of events still being studied by sociologists and historians, the Cargo Cults emerged. The natives formed into cults of sorts and imitated in ritualistic fashion the actions of the men who had summoned the great beats and cargo from the sky. Coconuts were fashioned into radio headsets, bamboo control towers were created. Uniformly dressed men marched in ritual manners similar to the military drills they had seen under the mistaken belief that by simply doing so they themselves would please the gods of the sky and bring down the shiny metal beasts filled with goodies. These beliefs were personified in the form of an image of an American World War 2 Sailor, frequently portrayed as African American, known as “John Frum”. Think of him as a sort of Santa-Jesus type. British occupied areas developed similar cults based on an idealized perception of Prince Phillip. The John Frum Movement and Prince Philip Societies- who I gotta imagine are in for a real challenge now– still exist today in New Guinea. Despite the fact that these places slowly became less isolated and were slowly but steadily overtaken by rational explanations of the outside world some still cling to the Cargo Cult beliefs. In the case of the Prince Phillip society egotistical detachment from reality is shared by the object of their affection. Prince Phillip perhaps unwittingly, endorses the cult’s beliefs by sending gifts and autographs. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that what is really needed, by the prince and his worshipers, is some help handling a brutal but needed dose of reality. This need also applies to early 21st Century Tea party Republicans. Ritualized Reaganistic Worldview has become a meme accepted by most Republicans, albeit for the most part unknowingly.
where an isolated planet had been exposed to 23rd century technology by earlier space travelers. When the Enterprise arrives a generation later they find an entire culture influenced by a book the first explorers from Earth left behind about 1920’s gangster culture in places like Chicago and New York. By looking, dressing and acting like the gangsters they read about the natives of Sigma Iota IV were attempting to make a great leap forward by throwing themselves feet first into imitating a society that had been outlined in book that to them seemed a blue print to the “cargo” they had seen accompanying the first earthmen they met, technology and abilities that would provide for worry free prosperity. How does this apply to early 21st century American Conservatism? The Republican Party is now packed with under qualified ideologues who espouse an unrealistic image of a worry free past. In the present version it’s the Segregated 1950’s and the Go Go 1980’s.
The images of John Frumm (a bastardization of “John From America”) and Prince Phillip have been replaced by an idealized, unrealistic image of Ronald Reagan. Like John Frumm, ‘Ritual Reagan’, (now pretty falsely imposed on Trump), is a demi god who summoned “Cargo” (read: Worry free prosperity) through rituals that included sparring with the Russians, a somewhat narrow social view and an overemphasis on an extreme interpretation of “Christian” thought. To one degree or another every single modern conservative is a member of a Reagan oriented Cargo Cult. The Cargo Cult mentality has threaded its way into every aspect of current Republican narrative. The Cargo Cult Volcano God demands certain sacrifices be made lest it grow angry and erupt. Among other things, it demands ritual. Repeated mawkish Ritualistic displays by Republican’s have so far done nothing to dispel the validity of the Cargo Cult Assertion.
For the entire Obama presidency the GOP Cargo Cult survived on grievances and dabbled in other anger oriented right wing ideas. Just like The John Frum Society after the war though; it did not disappear due to what I can only call ‘Lack of Cargo.” Form time to time, like when theres a General Election- the Cargo Cult lines up behind the Republican nominee, who always invokes Reagan and throws them a few bones.
Then 2015 bought the current Iteration of the GOP Cargo Cult. Right now its re-centered on Donald Trump, who only gets information from the bottom of the internet. So of course hes co-opted this Q thing and will praise its leaders. This time their guy won and they got a little Cargo. A few miles of wall and Owning the Libs was all Trump could really deliver. This however, after years of nothing at all, was enough.
Which brings is up to the Election of 2020 when things didnt go so well for the Cult. The writing was on the wall since the midterms and the COVID Pandemic sealed Trumps fate as he bumbled and mishandled it.
While he was completely inept, showmen Trump turbocharged the Cargo Cult and it starts morphing, like The Thing- into Qanon. The whole movement is increasingly getting caught up in paralel crazy beliefs like NRA Gun Culture and White Supremacy. If these things arent all merged now they will be soon enough. So its a toxic brew.
As of spring 2021 My Pillow Lunatic Mike Lindell seems to somewhere between a believer and a straight up Q – MAGA Preacher. He’s also got his ritualistic oversized cross and signature folksy weirdness. The Cargo Lindell is promising is Trump’s imminent and heretofore twice postponed return to the presidency.
Lindell moves the date each time one passes, but it sure seems like he’s saying that the way to make this happen is to use some weird vaguely bible-ish code for a discount on a pillow on his website. I sort of think Lindell is using Crack as a Performance Enhancing drug on this one.
The Q Cults particulars is a blog post of it’s own- that would have to be updated endlessly.
A bunch of people thinking JFK jr (who died in 2000) is tweeting out secret info about a nearly all Democratic Party Controlled Government cabal of Cannibals who frighten children to death to get high off some likely fake drug I’ve never heard of outside the drugged up semi-fiction of Hunter S Thompson til now by drinking their blood- a method of child slaying apparently pioneered in a pizza shop by Hillary. This is a Q Cornerstone belief. They think there’s a lot of child murders all over all the time by the Adromchrome junkies. Its beyond satire.
Anyway, now you know pretty much everything about Cargo Cults and most of the Q Conspiracy as it is of this writing.
This movie is best described as “Unsurprisingly Inept Florida cops perpetuate stereotypes in a frighteningly misconceived investigation that shows why they never made Detective.”
Giant Killer purports to be about the ‘Mysterious’ death of A Diminutive and Dangerous International Man of Mystery named Richard Flaherty — til that bs just falls apart — but before they drop the mask we get his somewhat remarkable Viet Nam War story- where he seemingly distinguishes himself by acting very badly.
It was a terrible war, and things happen but the stories were just morose and chilling. We CAN Monday Morning Quarterback this one- his comrades aren’t really fans. He was described as worse than the average bad soldier and I wondered if just maybe he should have been in jail for his actions.
Through flashback reenactments that jump around the decades in true novice film maker style its sometimes hard to tell what happened when. The idea of dates on the screen seems not to have occurred to anyone. Sure would have oriented me better, or maybe clarity is the problem and we need obscurity to have a hint of conspiratorial forces at work?
I am so glad these guys are not my local cops! For one thing they seemed to have had a pet homeless guy who they gave some preferential treatment to. Though beyond the one time theyre in a fast food place together- where nothings all that clear- we have no video of them together.
While its impressive a four foot nine guy was able to beg his way into the Army- he’s not exactly Captain America when they let him in. It’s NOT charming that Richard’s comrades recall him as a guy who violently confronted anyone who DIDN’T kill prisoners.
In Vietnam- during a time frame that included at least some of the Tet Offensive, Flaherty’s average day was crazy green beret stuff that chilled the blood of those around him. A “very aggressive Green Beret Vietnam Platoon commander” sounds like a Civilian Killing Massacre and Fratricide Machine to me! Being the shortest Green Beret would be enough for most but Little Big Man Syndrome seems to have been calling the shots. The stories of him repeatedly demanding his men ice prisoners and then does some sort of Russian Roulette thing to his own guys to fuck with them for not murdering people kind of overshadows the medals. I’d like to read some of those citations!
This is no kind of Vietnam related movie you want to see to feel anything but grossed out and depressed– or any kind of admirable soldier.
Seems the idea it was just that he was in Viet Nam alone is justification enough for “Aspiring Crime Writer who also happens to be a Cop” Yuzuk to call this wack job a hero. I don’t come away seeing a hero. More like a cautionary tale at best. The claims get even wilder and less substantiated later.
So then we celebrate atrocities like they’re actually heroic for a bit too long. Things we hear are insane and wrong for tje most part. The stories where he kills his own guys are just stated. Like they didn’t just throw a bunch of insane implications at us?
Not the greatest film making. They dont have enough for a movie so they have to throw this in- theres no damage control. You start disliking the subject. The film makers dont back off the hero thing after horrifying us, its weird, but the climb to make 84 minutes out of this was a tough slog, so they just go with it like its normal.
Richard’s former comrades describe, guardedly, having absolutely seen him KILLING his own guys. No one seems happy about the memory. No one can say that killing a fellow American was ok. Some vague reference to the idea the cowardice put all in danger is out there but doesn’t all up. Could they be playing cat and mouse about it because this is the only crome in the movie, really. Isn’t Murder STILL prosecute-able? Why is the Army indifferent to this story we hear?
I get it- your not supposed to give up and the guy he killed did. The thing is – just what they gained by killing this guy seems hard to fathom. What was he gonna tell the Enemy? ‘We’re not particularly excited to fight so we’re going to try to lure you into an artillery barrage!’ or ‘We have radios and maps, theyr’e calling in an Air-Strike! We need to RUN!!’ Like the enemy didn’t already know this….?
Even in war there can be murder. I advise strongly against watching this pointlessly triggering celebration of base violence for violence sake.
They filmakers are blind to the criminal impilcations of Richard’s actions. He’s actually pretty reprehensible; and for what? It’s not like we won or it was a just war!
Icing another American? That’s something a hero does? Really?
How’d he have any reason to think we were winning the war- as the smallest target in the Battle of Hue City? Its too bizarre for David Lynch! How many times did he kill one of his own guys or order it? The reaction of his comrades to the question seems to indicate he was driving his guys using pure fear and the willingness to point guns at them if they disobeyed his illegal orders. The level of delusion extends from the battlefield across the decades to the filmmakers. What war was it okay to summarily execute an American? Unless your the Vietnamese; why is this okay?
When his former comrades confirm he ordered his own guys shot in the back if they ran and people followed the orders theyre not comfortable at all. This seems a guy theyd rather forget. They dont offer justification beyond him being such a scary leader people would just do what he said so he didn’t turn the gun on them. They all looked super resentful when they discussed it too.
No one seemed grateful for this memory or that excited to talk about it. Most of what we get on that is from his sister- who cant be charged. Essentially it was killing one of their own guys out of fear of a Killer Dwarf three times more violent than anyone on Game of Thrones because someone on our side snapped or fled in the heat of battle. The idea the only guy he killed is the one guy that we get a short about seems far fetched. Again- This is Yuzuk’s idea of a hero? Again-Thank GOD this guy isn’t on my local PD!
Thrown in the mix to convince us the rantings of this drunken drug addict was part of the Bildenburg Group or whatever; theres a super Florida-jacked self described merc who looks the part thrown in the mix. He’s affable and apparently unconcerned in the same line of work that we’re to believe had Richard opt for life on the streets- where he never sleeps…..until he does… and has nightmares. The Merc owns a tac vest, so theres no way they just had him say these things to save their conspiracy movie. How could he be lying? His arms are huge and he has concealed carry clothing. Thats good enough for me.
In his various drunken wanderings grandiose delusions seem more likely than exacting revenge on his many ‘enemies’ , financed on a cash reserve of 5000 dollars. The tale of when he allegedly rigged up an uzi on a mount pointed at the doors a hoot. The people were so freaked out by it they apparently just left it where it was for decades to be filmed by these kooky cops obsessing on a half-baked theory that just isnt getting investigated to their satisfaction… probably because its so mundane and exactly what it looked like. At least thats my take after seeing this.
The idea the CIA wanted a mentally unstable cocaine moving conspicuously small guy on their payroll is kind of ridiculous. They sell it hard but it is what is. The pictures of Flaherty as a soldier looks like a file they give James Bond on the Villains Camp-y Enforcer. Herve Velechez in Man with the Golden Gun comes to mind and you just have to laugh. Later hes pictured in supposed exotic locations- which all very well could be Florida. He only went to tropical swamp or rainforest environments. In other words- who the hell knows? He looks wasted and distant standing on a balcony with what may well be the Florida Hard Rock Cafe behind him looking blank and every bit a guy who was mentally ill. This Yuzuk guy monetized it anyway.
Can we get these cops some real salaries so they can enforce the Law and stop looking to pick up extra cash off the misery of an unhoused guy while under the delusion that they’re Jimmy Breslin while acting like Full Fledged Florida Men? This movie is preposterous. Maybe Do Your Job instead your driving around filming B roll and bullshitting. No wonder Miami isn’t getting any better! Yuzuk comes off like Mark Fuhrman- but without the smarts of a big city detective.
This mess is filmed pretty well — til we get parts where its just not. It switches from spy story to ‘wanna be after school special’ when the theory inexplicably changes from “he Was a Spy Who Was Murdered” to a simple statement that -‘yes Driving Drunk is bad’- even though it doesnt play into this.
Then they borderline slander people for a while (they may yet get sued for ‘implying’ the driver was drunk). Im not using the name of the woman they may have defamed. The idea you could hit a suicidal, three foor nine drunken war criminal high on everything becomes easy to believe when we see the impact marks. Throw in Flaherty now having cancer and who knows what happened? I came away thinking “Tragic Accident” or “ambivalent semi-suicide” Be nice if we’d gotten the toxicology reports on this guy.
As damage to the car? Seems she glanced off this 56 inch tall 90 pound guy at 130 am. The headlight was cracked, some cosmetic-ish damage. The sideview mirror was intact and that was about it.
The fact the driver retraced her steps but did not connect the crime scene to what happened seems as good 50-50 to be true. When she returns to work- at another part of the POLICE DEPARTMENT and finds out about it she immediately volunteers all she knows. That sort of undermines anything nefarious. So does reporting the accident to her insurance people right when it happened. How she got to work to that day is never mentioned. Could they have left it out because the car was drive-able? Seems any well reasoned plan would avoid things like parking the ‘murder weapon’ in the Police lot, but why drop in now?
Seems basic Police work was either ineptly not done or the results were omitted to me. No mention of the car the next day. Hey she made it home. They leave it to us to wonder if she had time to get absolutely wasted in the 10 or so minutes she had leaving work- at FOR THE POLICE – and the incident, which we can figure out from her narrartive – is walking distance from her home. The 9-11 conversation we hear is NOT labelled as a recreation- nor is it described as real. Poorly recreated with audio quality too good to be really 911 recordings in my opinion. Could it be that they were forbidden from using the real because the woman theyre implying was either drunk or a contract killer was maybe cleared of all wrongdoing? Equal Parts dishonesty, ineptitude and misplaced compassion; this only got made because of COVID.
The subject- an admitted POW and murderer who ordered and probably also committed fratricide during the Vietnam War- is not sympathetic when his actions are recounted-and the idea hes all that much id a hero is plain old misrepresented.
They tell us Richard had PTSD from murdering prisoners and other Americans, so boo-hoo. Really, theres plenty of guys who only shot at the enemy. Or cleared minefields. So the so called Giant Killer is a bit of an outlier. And a creep. His former comrades tolerated him at best after the war. Is it really shocking he ends up with a drug and drinking problem that his height and small size either helps or hurts based on your view of consumption? I’d have to say no.
Im not too sure his sure his job selling cars was a front for being in the CIA even if he did run into an old Army buddy there. That’s not all that unusual. Big waste of time there where we find out he drank a lot still
He loses a wife to her own fatal one car DWI it seems and a girlfriend to what sounds like a IV drug related infection. Its NOT strange he wanted to be buried near someone he loved and not Arlington. At all.
Richard was only remarkable for convincing the military to let him serve at like 4 feet tall. After terrorizing his own platoon- who likely were glad to see him replaced by someone who could only be less murderous- he’s sent home and is miserable without helpless people to kill. Thanks for perpetuating this myth about all our Nam guys. Who cares that for every combat soldier 10 worked in support far from the front, or that the rest of guys in the platoon were all normal now- aside from seeming to only wear Columbia Fishing Shirts they’re all ok. Lets focus on the guy who was too fucked even for Operation One Hundred Thousand who murdered his own guys and just keep calling him a hero. I would suggest this is like calling Lt William Calley ‘calm and competent’.
He was NOT a secret agent. Theres slight of hand when they show ‘the proof’- it could be anyone passport- like the jacked up merc!! The guy is in no way government affiliated in any way after about 1980 – and even thats sort of speculative. Maybe they gave some bucks to train contras, I doubt it though
At some point- like I said they jump around- Giant Killer is on the fringes of some weird big cocaine deal and somehow convinces the authorities hes cool and cooperates a little. Again, we just ratchet down the sympathy level and introduce some questions. Is THIS why he cant have an address? Is this why hes terrified? Around the same time – I guess 2010, he cashes in his condo. He lasts about 5 years on the streets and dies. It doesnt sound unusual. Just very sad.
Using their police uniforms, cars and assets in an unseemly Yuzuk and his guys apparently hate being cops and are trying desperately to sell any story. They were taken in by a rambling drug addict. The movie made me see the Miami Police Department as inept, not so bright guardians who rushed to judgement twice and then made a movie about it.
The public official they interview, sitting in front of a nice signed of President Biden from his VP days seems wary and chooses his words carefully. Seems he sniffed out a set up from these cops using Drunk Driving and the horrors of Florida’s Homeless problem to strong-arm an interview. Hes smarter than them, threading the fact that drunk driving didnt figure in to this- but if he will confirm its a problem in Miami and he wishes there was less of it- and by the way its not a factor in this guys death. Well played Florida Public official. I reward you by leaving your name off this review of a movie you wanted little part of for good reason!!
I’ll just throw this out there? These cops are so ready to Rush to Judgment and so indiscriminate in their beliefs that I’d like to know where they were on January 6th 2021. Theres your real story. The local firemen were nice. This movie is Three failed theories wrapped together
The EMT from the local Fire House bought a 5 dollar sign commemorating him thats been put by the sight of the accident. He’s a nice guy and all and meant well, but Yuzuk starts lionizing the guy again and calls the sign inspiring. My take was it was maudlin but hey who am I?
While there may have been a story here what seems to have happened is the cops- who make the movie- were taken in by his crazy drunk stories. If anything he may have moved a bunch of coke in the 80s, which also reduces the sympathy factor.
Shame on Miami for letting these guys wear their uniforms in this inept bid to make chicken soup out of Chicken Shit.
Summing up; this is a movie that shouldn’t have been made by cops who should never make Detective about a guy who never should have been allowed in the Army for Psychological reasons. His sad but unremarkable death is no real mystery.
Stay away from this Mixed Bag of Hot Garbage!!! Instead just throw a buck to a bum and ask him his story. At least you’ll help him out. This movie is kind of dishonest and there’s just no feeling of authenticity at all.
Band names inspired by or created from quotes about, from and regarding President Joe Biden and those covering him as well as headlines and accolades. Breaking News Headlimes while hes president are Fair Game.
So long as it sounds like a good band name it makes the list- Have an idea? Comments are enabled!!!
On June 4th, 1982 all of Star Trek Culminated in what may be the greatest Science Fiction movie of all time- Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan!
It stormed into theaters and held audiences in the palm of its hand for 113 completely brilliant minutes.
Fans were enraptured by the amazing story that features brilliant exposition and a natural flow of action that make this a highly watchable gem. Every Sci-Fi fan needs to see and appreciate this great movie.
Few can watch this and not feel the emotion of the great scenes. Solidly acted and well directed the movie is Star Trek’s best story and a triumph for the often troubled franchise.
Wrath of Khan is on most every Sci Fi Movie Top 10 List fighting it out with Empire Strikes Back for the number one slot in several categories. Any list ranking it lower than Third Best SciFi movie of All Time should be disregarded out of hand! It’s as good as Stanley Kubrik’s sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Recently covered by amazing critic The Critical Drinker and guest Nerdrotic in a brilliant podcast (link at the end of this article); I have some reactions to what they said in here but its not built off the podcast. So while this post does react to some of what they bought up, it was actually mostly finished about a couple of weeks ago and I’ve just been redrafting. So, this is my account of how the movie got made and its impact on my life and how I see what happened. That said- its a good podcast well worth a listen.
I picked it all this up from a lifetime of following Star Trek and tried to source it all, please correct me if you find a mistake. On certain aspects of the Final Frontier I do have expert knowledge, but if I cant find something I will mention that its more rumor. Comments are as always, enabled. Back and forth discussions with you the reader have helped for better Star Trek posts every time, and I will fix any errors I confirm. None of this was ever secret and it will check out.
For this post I’ve scoured through all the internet has to say and what I recall and I have compiled all the best of it here!
Making A Perfect Movie
Making a Perfect Movie isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen by mistake, obviously. Wrath of Khan may just be a perfect sci-fi movie. This is it’s voyage.
After a traumatizing and even sort of bad experience all around for writers, financial backers, cast and fans with Star Trek The Motion Picture, we get what could be described as “The perfect Star Trek Movie.” The second Installment of the series, Wrath of Khan is the best Star Trek movie. This is ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ of the first Trek movies franchise.
Why is it so perfectly brilliant? Lets explore!
One Last Chance
The first movie was a confusing, kind of boring mess. It was a hybrid compromise that started as a TV pilot and fails its way up to feature film by sucking up a lot of money and getting sidetracked a lot.
It’s the Phantom Menace of the first crews Star Trek movies. You could make a case it’s actually pretty good, but you really need to know how that thing was conceived and what it became to understand how that story made it on to the Big Screen.
The would be TV pilot was just so expensive the idea of doing something like this on TV weekly slowly started seeming a bad idea. There was a need to recoup the money and the fastest path was simply turn the TV pilot a mediocre movie.
With a new ending soldered on to make it more Movie-like, the first movie is released and makes a tidy sum. Its kind of boring it’s a bit confusing, lacks humor and is overall a fans only recycled Original Series episode re-do on a grand scale.
No one was really crazy about the first movie. But something the studio had counted on happened anyway – people still showed up in droves despite bad reveiews because they loved the characters and they loved Star Trek.
Leaving the theater as a kid all my cousin and I talked was how awesome seeing the crew was and how cool the ship looked. We surely made reference to the story being just like an episode (The Changeling). It was that obvious I could tell even then. Then we were back to how great it was just seeing Scotty, Uhura and so on. It was a success in spite of itself.
By the time they start gearing up for sequel Paramount was fed up and felt it was time for this franchise to make a profit in a timely manner with a good film. They weren’t really opposed to another movie with some cerebral elements and a kind of a deep story though.
The idea Star Trek stories should be a bit brainy was (once) sort of baked in to its culture. The difference was this time the mission needed to have action and adventure as well . The other driving force was for the production to remain under control and on budget.
Somehow they make that happen. They made Wrath of Khan for a mere 11 million, this movies dirt cheap compared to its predecessor.
All goals for the concept seem to have been met in a great final product.
This movie is pure Action and Adventure at the Final Frontier, but also smart and respectful of the material. Instead of being a mere reprise of an episode, it’s a bolder concept. It’s a sequel to the beloved episode “Space Seed.”
As episodes of the original series go Space Seed’s tied with several others for “Best Ever”. Its a top 5 at the very least. It has an awesome villain, played by Ricardo Montalbon, some Starfleet turncoats thrown in and a compelling story that defied any sci-fi fan to look away.
In a show that could sometimes be corny and just dumb fun in some flubbed episodes it was well conceived and brilliantly acted. Stand out broadcast TV excellence.
Failure Analysis and a New Look
We had the bad first movie lighting the way to “How Not To Make A Star Trek Movie”. It’s fair to say that “Failure Analysis” is the biggest contributor to this movies success.
The bad first movie was a clear road map to a film people would actually enjoy. In a moment more like Seinfeld, we get “Opposite Day” where they just make a movie that avoids the pitfalls of Star Trek The Motion Picture, aka Star Trek TMP.
The movie would be serious, but human and action packed. A more military and orderly Starfleet is the first thing we see.
The costumes completely depart from all past uniforms and now have 19th century British Royal Navy feel while still looking futuristic.
This was actually a big part of setting the more serious tone. All future uniforms seem for this crew will be more or less the same.
Phazers and notably communicators are more like they were in the show than the first movie. Things looks look tactile and real.
Then there was a bigger problem to deal with…
Axing the Creator
Originally, series creator Gene Roddenberry was on the project. He shocked and scared people with his idea for the second movie!
Paramount was appalled by a JFK Assassination script with Time Travel courtesy of the Guardian of Forever. It even sounds bad. This was just too shocking and far out to even seriously consider for the studio and that could have been it for Star Trek. No one was going to tolerate another bad, slow, overly important movie. And Kennedy’s assassination was still in most living memories. There’s proably even legal implications along the lines of Defamation.
That was it for Gene Roddenberry as a writer for this or any other Star Trek movie, ever. Paramount had been severely strained under the bloated budget and failed story of Roddenberry’s first Star Trek movie. “45 MILLION DOLLARS!” is just burned into the minds of the Paramount People.
They decide Gene’s a TV genius and to set him to work on what he’s best at – a Star Trek TV Show.
So here’s how I see it going down – Gene Roddenberry was called into the Paramount office for a friendly chat. The Cuban cigars and good booze are probably out. It’s a set up!
They tell him he’s a genius, they give him an unexpected Golden Hand Shake and then THE KNIVES COME OUT and they FIRE HIS ASS for the mockery of a sham that Star Trek :The Motion Picture had been AND the shockingly bad idea for a sequel.
We can only imagine the scene. Paramount is horrified and out of patience. The unacceptable sequel idea was beyond the last straw.
What could have been said? Maybe it was; “We saved this franchise at great financial risk and we all got raked over the coals because lot’s of people thought that movie was so bad! You got the smell on you Gene! You can’t write this one.
“Hey, hey, hey….its not all bad news. Go to the awesome office we gave you (on the far side of the lot) and write more TV stuff that we’ll get out there when the times right. Here’s a check in advance for the show. Did we mention we think you’re a genius? Meanwhile, DON’T WRITE OR TALK ABOUT THIS SEQUEL!”
Star Trek The Motion Picture was proof to the studio that Gene was no movie maker. The fact we get The Next Generation from him on the small screen is proof they were probably right. He makes one of the best TV shows ever that’s hands down the best Live Action Sci-Fi series.
He still manages to sort of haunt the production and the Paramount people blame him for some plot leaks. I don’t believe it. I guess possible he got trashed and revealed he hated it with the heat of a thousand suns, but I don’t think he wanted Paramount any more mad at him then they were. Next step was probably a Hit-Man! Besides he has a new agenda- to dream up Jean-Luc Picard and the Next Generation where he could have total control!
Besides Gene wants the movie to be a hit despite any bruising to his ego.
Someone new was needed to be what we would now call a Showrunner for the franchise. Preferably someone not so taken with the franchise they gushed too much and produced another mediocre movie.
Things would be different this time. A deadline is imposed and a small piece of the profits from TMP are allocated to a movie. First order of business, someone not named Gener Roddenberry to create this one.
Enter non Star Trek fan Harve Bennett. His genius in thie production starts a three movie arc of movies that could rightly be called a trilogy sandwiched into the other Trek movies.
Paramount was NOT going through another creative genius melting down on them. In accordance with this, upon hire, Bennett was warned strongly about not blowing tons of cash or ending up with a meandering, mediocre movie. Bennett absorbs it and is sure he can do the movie for about one-fifth the money of the original.
This is what the studio wants to hear. Bennett really works out. He cared about making a good movie that respected the fans who saved the flawed first movie from failing is spite of its problems.
Research is Key
Bennett goes and watches the entire series and the first movie. His take-away? The show had some truly great stories and there were a few very good episodes to build on. The movie however, was really boring and he figured out why. This was probably harder than you’d think because so much is bad and wrong in TMP.
Bennett narrows the first movies biggest problem down to one major issue-The movie had no real villain. The Bad Guy is an Evil Cloud.
The monster is even rehabilitated instead of killed too. In fact at the end the Genocidal and murderous V’ger entity is sort of given one more victim and exonerated. This thing was a threat and Starfleet’s solution is a bit bizarre, but hey it did veer away from Earth and never enter lore again, so okay. Minimal damage.
The plus side is there’s No In-Universe damage from the first movie. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate this just watch Last Jedi and imagine trying to come back from that. You’ll get it. This franchise’s mistakes had limited implications.
It didn’t break a bunch of Star Trek rules and was in direct sequence to the events of the show. At the end of the day it did no harm and showed people what not to do story-wise. It was merely one of the less exciting adventures for the ship. The whole Planet Destroying Probe concept will be back in a couple of movies anyway with a new dangerous entity.
Things weren’t like they were for the Star Wars franchise after the Last Jedi at all. Final Frontier was still intact. In fact things that hurt the experience of watching the first movie clear the way for the sequel by sweeping away characters never meant for the big screen.
Bennett decides that more time will have passed for the crew than had elapsed in real life and now the series is 15 years in the past just like in real life. So the actors are the age their characters supposed to be (at least the human ones). No ones trying to hard to hide their age, they look the part at this point. Theyre known and beloved, they can hit 40 and 50. In fact he works this in to the movie.
The ageing of Kirk and the other characters gets due attention and enters into their motivations as characters. The actors had to love it. They could look like themselves outside Leonard Nimoy. He’s somewhat made up for the character but still gets to age. Spock really is about 100 anyway.
Bennett’s next good choice is that his movie will have a strong villain and have ties to an actual episode or two. He also became familiar with the characters and ends up writing for them as good as anyone ever had.
The episode Space Seed was the best path and its obvious when you watch it. Some rumors say that Harry Mudd would be the one who blundered into Khan. It would not have worked better. The opening is fantastic and Khan is immediately frightening and familiar.
While its not a huge issue Chekov is not in the episode for Khan to recognize, but Chekov and Captain Tyrel of the Reliant get to have the first, amazing encounter with Khan.
It’s still one of the most amazing villain scenes in Sci-Fi History. They just play it like Chekov was there but we just don’t see him in the episode and its no problem. It’s even believable.
And that’s the right move. Ricardo Montalban is a force on the small screen and starring in a huge show, Fantasy Island. Bennett was aware and was lucky Ricardo could fit the movie into his schedule. For Ricardo Montalban’s part, he considered the role a career high both times he plays it.
He menaces and kills crew members, partly destroys the Enterprise and is just brilliant vile and mean. He’s a real adversary. They’ve tangled with him before and he’s had 15 years to grind an axe while using his genius IQ to come up with all sorts of revenge plans on Admiral Kirk. The crew knows he’s fully capable of beating them. He’s got as much gravitas as Kirk and his command of military tactics is pretty up to speed, even if two dimensional.
Mostly relegated to relatable Native Americans in Bonanza and other shows for the entire 60s, Ricardo got better and more successful with age. This movie is a home run for Ricardo. No one in Trek has achieved his status as a bad guy. It’s probable he’s always going be their best bad guy.
Physically impressive for a roughly 60 year old man (playing a 200 year old man) , they say those are his real muscles, I suppose its true.
Whether they are or not they put together an excellent look for Khan and it manages to be pretty authentic. He looks threatening, he’s got some wild hair and his worn out clothes are perfect. The partially destroyed Starfleet logo he wears around his neck is clearly an albatross-like burden symbolizing his desire to destroy, well everything, but the Enterprise more than anything else. I want one.
Khan and his crew easily could have degenerated into Road Warrior bad guys had so much detail not gone into their costumes. They work well.
In this episode Khan makes a bid to take the Enterprise but instead Kirk turns the tables and, after a hearing, he convinces Khan to agree to exile on an Earth-like planet with his genetic freak cohort and Starfleet traitor Marla McGyvers, ships historian and girlfriend of Khan. So spared prison Khan to his own devices on an unexplored sort of earth-like planet.
Space Seed shows us a worthy adversary. It takes un-frozen Khan maybe a weekend to get up to speed for the 200 hundred years hes been out of it and of course he keeps to himself that he used to be a slightly less mean Hitler type.
The best scenes are verbal cat and mouse games when McCoy, Kirk and Spock work in tandem against Khan to get him to slip up and admit, through a fit of anger, that yeah, he’s that Hitler-ish guy they had suspected he was.
Khan is the greatest foe this crew will ever face. Both times.
He really pushes Starfleet people around. He’s a super genius and he’s like 5 times stronger than the average human. In his time, the 1990s, he had been a semi-benevolent (so he believed) dictator who was forced to flee into space in a pre-warp speed ship. This requires they hibernate, much like in Alien. So of course they need to wake him up and leave the other genetic freaks in cold storage while they figure out what the deal is with these 200 year old popsicles.
Khan successfully takes the ship and is going to kill everyone in reverse rank order. Slowly and painfully, of course. Only his new girlfriend returning to the Starfleet side, briefly stops him. She saves Kirk and the captain foils Khans plan.
Very quickly Khan takes control of the movie and everyone’s destiny in a big way and doesn’t let go. Intellectual Vanity and a huge reservoir of anger are his greatest assets and greatest flaws at the same time.
He gets up to speed quick on everything thats happened since he’d been marooned 15 years earlier. He’s so well written, right down to his angry incredulity on learning Kirk is now an admiral. Ricardo delivers in every way.
Khan also learns all about far too powerful “Project Genesis.” A high minded but ultimately very flawed Terra-Forming Miracle Device. Also, it makes any ship with it into an immediate Death Star! It absolutely destroys a ‘dead’ planet and remakes it. Good thing its safe on Space-station Regula One where some scientists are playing god…. and cards.
The Musical Score
The series retains the great Jerry Goldsmith and the musical score is perfect. Give it a listen, its great. He’d been with Star Trek from Day 1 and his powerful music has been all but a character to this point. It helps move the narrative along and theres some leit motif thrown in, where individual characters and ships have their own themes.
Red Hot Writer
If JJ Abrams were actually good he’d be Lawrence Kasdan in the early 80s. Writing Empire Strikes Back, The Return of the Jedi and an intriguing Sherlock Holmes movie called The Seven Percent Solution that shows Holmes struggling with addiction.
So he knew how to use and treat existing characters. This would is a key skill jumping into a franchise. They just bagged their show runner, so they played it safe and paid for a top knotch screenwriter.
His script is a masterpiece.
So get together a drink or a soda, relax and rent and watch the Best Sci Fi Movie of All Time, certified by me. Put on Star Trek 2- The Wrath of Khan!
Recent online and Youtube debates have sprung up during Quarantine regarding comparing the different Star Wars trilogies. The Prequel Trilogy was beat up by fans and critics when the films were released, but views seem to have softened.
While imperfect and a perplexing three trips to the theater due to Stars Stockholm Syndrome- its probably better as a rewatch at home. It fairly re-watchable.
The truth is now there really are three far worse Star Wars Chapter movies and one terrible origin movie out there. Only Rogue One has managed to work for Disney. Everything else we’ve gotten has been really bad.
While the Sequel Trilogy seems to draw universal condemnation; the Prequels are being reexamined.
Recently the EFAP youtube broadcast, (link at end of post) featured a sometimes heated debate about whether or not The Phantom Menace is well written.
To be fair with the pandemic and other bad stuff choking off content, people are rightfully bored and we have time for it. I’m reacting to their specific question “Is the Phantom Menace Well Written?” I now feel like it’s a little harder to answer than you think.
While a little acrimonious and no Rise of Skywalker Order 66 episode, it was still an amazing Star Wars discussion.
EFAP , Disney, The Real World and Me
The EFAP podcast on youtube is often brilliant. Listen to it. The Star Wars and film making discussions are probably PhD level. These guys know their stuff. They also really abide by not speaking about politics or their political takes to the point it took dozens of hours for me to decide “maybe in their countries their pretty centrist” because aside from Rags no ones American.
I buy in to much of what you hear on EFAP. Their views on how Disney has just botched all three of these movies they spent so much money on hold a lot of water.
The Prequels fortunately only focus on In-Universe Political Messages. Freedom must be protected.
I share these guts feelings on Star Wars and that’s as far as I’m willing to go. I don’t know what else they believe. It kind of doesn’t matter to me either. They aren’t monsters or jerks like Disney would have you believe though. They’re funny and they know this stuff better than JJ Abrams.
As far as Star Wars goes I’m about 80% in agreement with EFAP personalities Mauler, The Critical Drinker, Shad and Rags.
Do the EFAP guys go hard after Disney? You don’t pick up a label like ‘The Fandom Menace’ for being soft. But hey these Disney Star Wars movies have pushed hard to be talked about. It’s the one thing they did well. They uncorked four stinkers and this is what happens. Try making better movies, Disney!
Lastly, on politics in Sci-Fi but this is huge; it’s emerging more and more that while geopolitical points or just the need to be on guard against oppression and protecting freedom work, anything more personal than that just doesn’t. Or at least has yet to be done well by anyone credible.
There; I’m done with the disabusing of my ignorance. I’m not planning to revisit it. Time to dissect Star Wars a bit.
Rules of Assessment
EFAP has a great policy regarding how to assess the movies and Im going to adopt them. The big rule here is that the novels, video games and comic books don’t count. The movie has to work “out of the box” so to speak. Also, writing the movie for the writers is unacceptable, they’re the artists we’re viewers. The answers need to be on the screen. This really does put the movie in perspective for me. I was tired of people using novels, comics and video games to excuse stuff anyway. At some point it becomes expensive, un-fun Star Wars homework.
I willingly take on the mantle of Novice Objective Movie Critic. Thanks EFAP.
A Very Mixed Bag
Is this movie Well Written? It’s pretty Bi-Polar and seems to lack key information. Perhaps the opening crawl could have had more information? Or some throw away lines to illustrate the blockades origins and whatever sparked such a radical move?
At times the movies plain boring and depends on big budget CGI sets. For instance, a lot of the CGI has held up in the ho-hum senate sequences and helps getting through a Galactic Senate debate on Intergalactic Politics. Its possible Lucas miscalculated the impact of the kind of high quality CGI spectacle he provided. We’d never seen anything quite like it before. It did look cool on the screen, its also sometimes pretty dull. The best thing I can say about this is that the senate had to be i the movie for it to make sense and sets up some cool sentate scenes in Revenge of the Sith. This was heavy lifting but it was also probably necessary. The fact its slow, defective and dysfunctional is key to all three movies. Doesn’t help this movie til you re-watch.
There’s so much to be said about whats bad about this movie. There’s a few really bad characters like Jar Jar Binks. Notable for being the first ever all CGI character and not much else, Jar Jar is the Rose Tico of the PT, fading into the background in subsequent films.
This movie Jar Jar’s front and center and he’s a mess. Some found him offensive he may have been meant for much younger kids. He seems real enough and present though, more real than Leia in Rise of Skywalker.
We have some really terrible dialogue pretty much all over the place. George Lucas is directing and he seemingly never gets your best performance. He doesn’t care, he’s going for your best Star Wars Performance. I’m thinking he doesn’t give you a lot of Direction.
The Galactic Republic political system is logical enough, it’s pretty effectively shown to be nearly completely broken and approaching uselessness.. And that’s advancing the story but it’s just not a lot of fun to watch.
If you wanted to see some exposition on the Republic’s size and unwieldy nature you do get that though. It’s pretty well told in words and images in the debut of the Senate Chamber. For the most part though, it’s C-Span in Space.
Still, Lucas has a complete vision and says everything he wants to say. The problem is that in accomplishing that he didn’t really entertain. A Pyrrhic Victory.
So its a Mixed Bag of mostly bad. Maybe the musical score is the best part. John Williams does well. Duel of the Fates is absolutely great. Starting to count positives with the musical score says a lot though. Not much else gets to be called Great. Costumes maybe?
The plot in and of itself, is actually NOT terrible. Its sort of good. Lucas had pondered the three movie arc a long time. A lot of stuff is also mandated and locked in by OT dialogue.
The fact its a bad movie yet still was somewhat well conceived complicates assessing it.
Then there’s some things that are just hard to justify.
Objective Problems, Lucas Style
Why is there a blockade?
It does seem nebulous but just requires closely watching a slow movie. It’s plainly said. It’s money.
In the senate chamber Senator Palpatine says the dispute started over the Taxation of Trade Routes. So that’s that. The disputes over money and trade. That’s all we get. It’s easy to find. It’s just blurted right out, Amidala asks for a Vote of No Confidence right after at Palpatine’s suggestion. The “Badly Written Faction” was dead wrong on this.
How are they tracked?
One thing that was discussed on EFAP is “Just how does Darth Sidious trace the Queens transmission and find her and the Jedi on Tatooine?” Watching with subtitles actually answers this. It’s also pretty amazing to read the babble that Jar Jar actually says.
As far as how the Sith track them; its in the movie. In one brief exchange – They exposed themselves to being traced by even accepting the message. It’s not great but it’s said.
After Obi-wan tells them not to reply we get Sidious and Maul. They say theres a “contact trace.” I don’t think this new concept ever comes back again. It’s a contrivance to be sure, but I don’t find it that horrible. It’s done sort of bad but the answer is in there. This problem definitely took some to effort to even find. That to me makes it a bit more minor.
How Do They Get To Tatooine?
How do they get from Naboo to Tatooine if the Hyperdrive is leaking? This never really gets explained. This issue is legitimate as far as an objective flaw. How did EFAP miss it? The “Badly Written Faction” was right on this.
However the characters do not say the Hyperdrive doesn’t work at all. We don’t see them initiate hyperspace or drop out though. An Undocumented mini-jump seems to have been left out.
It’s probably a real mistake. This leaves merely the implication only that they can still move in an interstellar manner pretty quick without hyperspace because, hey- they get there. Not well done though. Sorry, George.
How they get to Tatooine is not spelled out. It is bad writing here. This one also just slipped by even the objective obsessed EFAP guys. It really was an objective problem.
The Separatist Blockade simply mentions to Sidious a Naboo cruiser ran the blockade and has passed out of their range. Nothing more. Nothing about having even a general idea where they went. It’s treated no different than if they did go to Hyperspace and couldn’t be tracked (ah, the good old days). That’s another reason that I think Lucas either forgot to write or cut a scene and just forgot to fix this error.
I guess it is sloppy. I can’t make it work either. Somehow its lost in other issues and doesn’t hurt the movie for me. Maybe Lucas is good at damage control and is better at everything at the end of the production then he was the beginning? Because its easy to miss and a little hard to find. Maybe he smoothed it out in editing. There’s no real way to know.
It’s cheaper and actually smarter to do what Watto says and buy a new ship.
They’re on what amounts to Air Force One and everyone is looking for it. The fact the ship itself is valuable is validated when Watto bets on it. I buy this as an objective problem. Lucas makes a mistake here too. Watto should never have said they would be better off buying another ship and created this issue. It’s a real mistake. The characters opt for the harder, dumber path.
Why are Republic Credits worthless and not exchangeable?
Republic Credits being worthless and not exchangeable anywhere on Tatooine was also a little weird and really doesn’t make sense. It’s a criminal planet, there’s no money launderer? Not movie killing, but a head-scratcher and just one more problem.
Why Leave Anakin’s Mother in Slavery?
That fact the Jedi leave Anakin’s mother in slavery when she’s spontaneously generating super powerful force users is a weird choice. The characters fate could have still been the same in the end without leaving her to Watto. This one is the worst loose end of all. What was Mace Windu thinking on this one? I still can’t get past this.
Lucas is inspired to a point but he’s never really right on in this movie writing or directing. It’s just too ambitious in a lot of areas. Like it’s overuse of 20th Century CGI.
Questionable Choices and Affluenza
Another issue is that a very key role is played by a child actor. This is compounded when the child actor is asked to act woodenly and Lucas-like. The first entrance of the future Vader is designed to be cute. It’s strange but not unintriguing.
Young Anakin also has to transition the fans from hating Vader to pulling for him. The movie does get there but its a tough slog. I got there after Qui-gon dies and we see Anakin as a padwan at the very end. And its just a visual. This is more a questionable choice than a mistake.
Maybe if Lucas had somehow made Anakin a padwan earlier it would have helped. Maybe he’d have been better with as a youngling apprentice doing things on purpose rather than sort of accidentally destroying a key enemy ship through a series of coincidences?
I think in the moment he writes TPM Lucas was simply too well insulated from any real feedback. There’s no real internet for him to get go and get beat up on yet, that comes in later. Does anyone think in 1996 when the wheels start really turning on this there was any person was able to say “hey George there’s some real problems here.” ? Or that they cared?
The studio knew demand was really strongly there. One example of how they knew- Bad movie Meet Joe Black was a hit that no one saw because all the people left after the Star Wars trailer and it played to empty houses. The trailer even made them money. They just let George do anything he wanted. The Studio was getting a Star Wars movie for the first time in a long, long time. They didnt care what he made.
The Phantom Menace script needed doctoring it never got. It’s too bad he didnt run it by Spielberg or really good creative. I don’t know if it could have been totally saved but this movies was worse than it had to be for sure.
The pacing of the movie is slow all the way through. There’s flashes of excitement, but usually these moments happen while another plot point is unfolding at the same time.
The great light saber duel, for instance, is about five minutes strung out over maybe 20. It might even be 3 minutes of 15, I’m unsure. The point is like all other action scenes we’ve got plots unfolding with other characters. This time it doesn’t work.
Some of this sequence is so bad it’s ‘un-Star Wars-like’ if you can say that about a Lucas movie. “Lets try spinning, that’s a good move!” is some really bad dialogue that takes you right out of the movie.
The execution and direction are bad. There’s also a few of worthy paths not taken.
Most of the acting isn’t bad, but no one has a super great performance either.
Liam Neeson is okay but his greatest feat may be hiding how bummed out he is to be there. He mostly stays away from Star Wars after this. It probably complicates Attack of the Clones as I think he would have died in TPM anyway and been a Force Ghost in the next two movies. Seems he wanted none of it.
Ewan McGregor, on the other hand does a great Alec Guinness imitation. He owns the role from here on, but he doesn’t save the movie. He’s just not in it enough for one thing. The ensemble cast is all over the place to the point of some confusion.
Everyone else is just sort of okay. Natalie Portman is good enough in her really confusing role. She’s not to blame for any of the problems. Shes mostly just really beautiful wall paper in all three of these movies.
The use of CGI was cutting edge and not all of it holds up. Lucas is trying to do stuff, it’s just not working! He’s no Peter Jackson with the CGI at first. The Disney Plus version may be a little more enhanced than my DVD is.
Is It A Childrens Movie ?
Okay this time maybe the movie really was aimed at a slightly younger audience then the rest of the films. Is Lucas out of his element, aiming too low in age to hit the right beats? It would explain a lot. In fairness we never get a story this bad from George Lucas again.
Way back in 1997, when he was teasing the release, I remember George Lucas saying some elaborate stuff about how he viewed the Prequel Trilogy’s audience. It was fairly well thought out and all about building the fan base through appealing to six to ten year old’s instead of middle school kids with Episode 1.
He was pretty proud of this concept and later it becomes a shield against criticism with the whole “childrens movie about space wizards” defense apologists for JJ Abram’s make later.
The idea these movies are for children shows up around the release of this movie. Until then I just thought the Star Wars movies were for everyone, turns out I was wrong. So I guess I like children’s movies to a point. Perhaps we all do? The flaw in the excuse is that ‘these are some VIOLENT children’s movies.’ The adversaries had to mostly be robots or its an R for violence.
Lucas 3 movie concept on the Prequels was daring, The movies were meant to be more mature as they went on, ageing up with the audience. Whatever the case, it gets said out loud that at least sometimes the movies were for 12 or even 8 year old’s.
It seems believable when you look at the three movies as one long story. Attack of the Clones has its plot unpacked better and is a departure from Phantom Menace. It’s not as simplistic and unpopular characters get semi-shelved. Then Revenge of the Sith has a dark, violent and somewhat mature tone. Episode III sort of justifies the journey, but that’s another blog post.
This one time the children’s movie excuse might be applicable. This one time the movie actually really seems to be aimed at younger children. Maybe that’s why it kind of sucks.
Is the Movie Just Bad?
Why lie? You could just say this and you’d be mostly right.
The Phantom Menace is definitely not a good movie. It’s fair to call it bad. I think it’s Lucas’ worst Star Wars movie. It was my worst in Theater Lucas movie experience! Especially the part where I saw it in theaters three more times thinking it must be me only walk out in the middle of the fourth viewing thinking about Stockholm Syndrome and
The complex plot is never fully unpacked. Its probably partly by design. It seems to have been Lucas’ thing. He was good at getting an audience to instantly invest in characters anyway. There’s minimal information about the nuts and bolts of the overall situation in this movie. It mostly holds up enough, it’s not good though. The conflict is pretty clearly over money.
We never find out why Naboo is such a priority. A line or two could have fixed this. It could have had some rare commodity the Trade Federation wanted or just been conveniently located on the hyperspace routes. We never get that. Its a fair point against the movie being Well Written too.
Lucas probably regrets he once boasted that the idea dawned on him one day and he wrote the script fairly quickly. It shows in The Phantom Menace. So while his concept was around a long time, he just fires off this script.
It was also the first time in a while. He’s a bit rusty and hard to advise. I doubt he redrafted it much. It seems like no one else was consulted.
In this movie Lucas is at his least successful in so many ways as a creator. The thing is he’s still better than most. His bad ideas are still overthought. He has a backstory and a reason for everything and he can spit out an answer on any aspect of his universe in most any interview. He’s wasn’t winging it, he just didn’t have the story refined enough.
Lucas is completely free to make any movie he wants and it will be funded. That cuts both ways in this movie and he owns the failure. It makes money and he doesn’t destroy his franchise, he just makes a bad Star Wars movie. The Studio didnt care, they just wanted their Star Wars movie after about 16 years of not having anything.
It was the franchises highest grossing movie. Lucas never rakes in more money but the criticisms are there. Having burnt off the Pent Up Demand the next movie had problems finding audiences by comnparison.
There’s real plot holes that got mentioned by EFAP and by people as far back as when the movie came out. The biggest issue is clearly “Why wouldn’t you break loose some cash and send a Jedi back to free Anakin’s mother from slavery?” That’s a problem that Lucas never addresses.
The journey through the center of Naboo was debated as unrealistic. On that point I just say “This is a Star Wars planet, its not even a Star Trek planet. You want to say the core is water? Okay.” That said, the sequence is a terrible mess. It’s not easy to tell who is doing what and why as we avoid a few too many monsters.
Lucas is not really mailing it in; but he has a bad day writing and directing. He gets the performances he wanted. They’re just not what everyone else wanted. The homage to serials was just too wooden in this movie. The expectations may have changed when it comes to acting styles from the release of the OT to the point this movie is made. The generation that grew up on serials was Lucas age. They weren’t running out to see it like they did in 1977. That generations grown kids were the target Lucas fails to appeal to. They were ready to follow him anywhere but this movie just kills Star Wars momentum for the entire prequel trilogy.
There’s a whole post to be made about how this movie is the moment so called “Head Canon” and Toxic Superfans start showing up. Who hasn’t had to sit through a lecture about how they need to throw 100 or so bucks into EU materials to walk into the theater? That’s just not a valid argument. The movie is supposed to simply make sense and entertain. I should be prepared enough when I fork over my twenty dollars.
One huge problem is Lucas has some dialogue and details from the Original Trilogy hemming him in a little. He tries to justify how a 10 year old can be a great pilot, but the solution is the Pod Race, which is only just so exciting and mostly played for laughs. It’s only kind of entertaining. Later when Lucas hits the ‘great pilot’ theme again during the fight on Naboo it doesn’t work either.
The final product has problems and is slow and boring. On the plus side- the damage is real but minimal to the franchise. It still feels like Star Wars, even with the warts. I could make a huge list of continuity and dialogue problems. I’ll mention just one – Theres some characters whose English accents just come and go. Notably Queen Amidala.
Lucas does sell his young Vader for the most part though. Its not a fun romp through the Galaxy Far Far Away, but its the Galaxy we liked for the most part.
The Force is explored to a point but the assumption is that you’ve seen the OT (and you have). There’s more powerful Force use on display, but just better, stronger versions of what we’ve seen for the most part. It’s logical enough a Jedi master would have more raw Force muscle than a glorified padwan like Luke is in Empire Strikes Back or a near complete Jedi Knight in Return of the Jedi.
TPM just sort of boring, though. So the limited exposition about the nature of the Force is an issue as much as the clunky dialogue. They are issues that count against the movie being well written. It’s not poorly conceived though, it just doesn’t work out.
The Midochlorian thing stays around and seems to relate to what’s called Garbage DNA in the real world. Its not in itself bad.
Viewed simply as the first of three prequels we can say we do get some more on the Force a little later. I myself also feel that some mystery surrounding the nature of the Force is good.
Directed with in a throwback fashion this only works just enough to be mostly coherent. Highlights are few and far between. A few more mistakes and it would have been awful.
You can’t say its Well Written but its not franchise-killing garbage. It’s a boring Star Wars movie and yes, overall its bad. Leave it to the Sequel Trilogy to make The Phantom Menace look like “the Good Old Days.”
Because the Prequels get better fast the movie has some fans. Its not Unwatchable.
It’s a Bad movie with a decent but poorly executed plot. Its only just so well written. Its an aberration among the six Lucas movies. I’m staking out a position in the middle. It’s the worst Lucas Star Wars movie. It’s only written just so well. On the other how smart was it holding off on this origin story now that we see it? Episode IV was a better starting point for sure! That doesn’t help TPM though.
The movie has an idea of where it wants to go but still meanders. It’s slow for a movie that has a lot of conflict. Its too long and its got bad dialogue. The plot was only okay. It’s only written okay. Its NOT written outright bad. The story is clear but can be hard to follow as things unfold so slowly.
The plots is pretty good but the movie is sub-par. If being immersed in Lucas’ Galaxy is your thing you’ll enjoy some of it. It wasn’t the best but is no longer the worst Star Wars movie. It’s a below average movie and a below average Star Wars movie and a fairly bad movie in general. Its about a Two Stars out of Five kind of movie.
I dont know if saying it sets up the next two movies well is redeeming to this movie in and of itself. Its still not good.
In a word “Underwhelming.” I guess “It never completely falls apart and just keeps plodding along” is my one sentence summation of positives.
If it got a grade its a C, maybe a C plus. One to ten as far as well written? It’s like a 6. I mean, there’s so many much worse movies for one thing.
It’s also a pretty bad movie, but there’s four that are much, much worse Star Wars movies out there now.
Perversely, its now mediocre among Star Wars movies. Thanks, Disney, you Force Healed The Phantom Menace to fourth fifth worst Star Wars movie!
Epilogue – The Internet Saves Star Wars
Around the time of the release of The Phantom Menace things like AOL get social media going and Lucas has anonymity again on the internet. This was the honest feedback Hollywood money men weren’t giving him and never would.
I’m convinced the internet revolution and it taking on its present form grounded a newly anonymous Lucas online, where people would just unload on the movie and say what they wanted.
My only real proof is that pretty much everything people hated was addressed in some form in the subsequent movies. There’s a darker story unfolding with things like more lightsaber duels, chases and space battles. Things sorely missing from TPM.
There’s a case to be made Attack of the Clones is a fairly good movie. It strongly departs from the stuff that killed TPM.
But the Internet hasn’t happened yet. The Phantom Menace was conceived and made before any real social media at all. The world was different. Cell phones could only make calls and send text messages when this movie comes out.
Here’s the EFAP Debate. This blog post is my theories, heres several others should you want to hear them.
Well, we had an intriguing start but sadly Star Trek Picard falls apart and never gets it back together. I hope that it is discontinued, it’s not even Star Trek. I was more and more let down every episode. If they do go forward it’s pretty compromised but I guess it has some possibilities.
We know going in that Patrick Stewart’s skill is pretty high. This creates an expectation the script just never meets. It also makes it take a moment to realize that it’s all that bad once things really go sideways.
Over the course of the season its similar in tone and theme to Next Generation pilot Encounter at Farpoint; but much longer and slower. It feels like it was one long pilot. I have to hope it’s the end because it’s sub par.
It seems like this is it for The Next Generation. As a lifelong Star Trek fan I once again see a project and say; “We deserved better” and I add “This show is not even about Picard.”
The idea you would hate watch Star Trek is just unappealing. This Trek shows cynicism is forced. Its backward looking and sentimental.
One weird thing that I noticed about Star Trek Picard is that it’s almost completely unrelated to the Picard character. He’s along for the ride at best and even sort of in the way from time to time.
There are so many problems. The show’s title character not being that involved is just the tip of the iceberg.
He’s also not the guy we remember in any way. The character now has no charisma. Yelled at by all and sent to his room at one point in the first part of episode 10, he’s not in command of anything.
No one in this show really likes Picard, who is newly inconsistent. These two flaws extend to everything. Patrick Stewart seems to be more in a Professor X mode here. Where’s Hugh Jackman to inject more enthusiasm as Patrick plays a dying man?
Overall the new take on Picard is that he’s almost exactly C-3PO. Sort of scared, maybe mind-wiped. It’s like he’s never been in space.
There’s limited highlights to report after the 10 episodes.
The sexy new Romulan Villainess is gorgeous and wonderfully evil. Her needlessly complicated story is that shes part of a secret organization within a secret organization who hate all androids. I’m sorry did I say androids? They are now called Synthetics. DO NOT SAY THE ‘A’ WORD !!
The lowest moment of this series is a Synthetic Suicide that makes no sense and doesn’t really look cool.
We also just get bogged down in some bad references to the current state of the world….only they’re from back in 2019. The needlessly complicated story is related to things like Brexit and the US political atmosphere. That turned out to be a bad, deadline creating choice. We didn’t get the show until the expiration date was almost up.
Its too date specific and events have overtaken it already. So much for “Ripped from the Headlines” Star Trek. That’s supposedly a Law & Order concept anyway!
Some other inconsistencies are just unforced errors. For instance, back to Picard himself. He’s either well known or sort of obscure depending on the needs of that episodes story. While he’s supposedly a huge media laughing stock at the moment the show takes place; he’s still easily able to blend in with a preposterous costume and a leftover accent from some other, likely better project. And that’s in one of the less bad episodes.
When the best thing about your Star Trek show is that the actor from Voyager is good enough to somehow stitch together her newly inconsistent character you got problems. Red Alert! Just kidding, no one says things like Red Alert. Or Shields Up. Or Energize. Or Make it So. They say “Fuck You!” and “Weapons Hot!”
That said the cast is mostly good in these mediocre stories. Like I said, it makes it hard to believe the shows actually as bad as it is when the script just can’t deliver any substance.
It seems to me that the script was just too long and too boring.
There’s so many rabbit holes. Like some jammed in stuff with Riker and Troi we never asked for or needed. The episode is terrible and features actual rabbits. Space rabbits show up for I guess the first time since the Original Series.
We started out in a bad place – by mentioning the dreaded and hated Kelvin Timeline. Everyone flinched, but it seemed to be handled well early on. It ultimately wasn’t.
What seemed like some attempted damage control was really just a harbinger that lots of mediocre and outright bad Star Trek was to follow.
I was Dis-Engaged and bored a bunch of times on this pointless journey.
It’s hard to take but like I said earlier- Picard himself essentially ends up being C-3PO in this dull but well acted appendix to the The Next Generation. Anthony Daniels could have played this version of Picard though. He’s that weak and his intellectual estimations are that useless.
The last episode just doesn’t connect. It actually drags. Its boring when Picard dies. And when he Un-Dies its boring too. His new resurrected body is best explained as a dumbed down Replicant in almost every way. So he’s an android or a synth and even more like C-3PO!
Brent Spiner is okay but he cant at any point pull off the ageless android. De-Ageing Tech may have been better, but this mess looks costly enough. His other character in the series isn’t developed. There’s not much to go on as to why he develops, almost pulls off and then drops his super-genocidal plan.
Theres no reason why everyone is okay with him and his planet of flake-y, sometimes murderous ‘synths.’ They just are. Picard and his friends as well as the Federation just write it off and forget about the (idiotic) plan to help synthetic super beings ‘kill all intelligent organic beings in the entire galaxy’. Pretty heavy. Couldn’t they have just have tried to kill some the crew and had a believable conflict instead of something as complicated, long winded and super genocidal as the plan they had and the story we got? Something they could be more easily forgiven for? They’re a huge security threat to everyone, all factions should logically attack. This is obvious to everyone but the characters.
Killing everyone for no reason also feels a lot like Palpatines plan in Rise of Skywalker (because it is).
Anger, shame and deep embarrassment over a life wasted watching Star Trek all compete for the forefront of my emotions. It’s still fresh. They gave me a “Rise of Skywalker” Star Trek project. In a couple of ways.
Things got progressively weirder and dumber and less consistent every episode.
We’ve never recovered from the series destroying visit to Troi and Riker. That episodes almost a bright line after which things are just completely thrown out of wack. Was there another episode they broke up and parceled out through the rest to cram that bad one in? Was it filmed later? Why do they use Cop show writers pilfering headlines instead of some sci-fi writers? Its all so baffling and seemed so avoidable, but they totally screw this show up.
No later mention is really made about the things we hear from the unhappy, paranoid but somehow upbeat and glib Riker family. The episode is just a bridge too far, I wanted to like it, I really did. The continued story of Riker and Troi is almost joyless. Thanks for nothing on that failed fan service.
The way it works out Riker could have just shown up cold in episode 10 anyway. We didn’t need to know his life has simply sucked since the events of Star Trek Nemesis. This is just done in an infodump and he’s strangely unaffected by it. In other words- we didn’t need to know. Were they treading water in this superfluous episode?
In his appearance in episode 10, heading a substantial armada (after we hear the Federation is broke and has few ships). Its a weird series of events.
It’s hard to understand why he touts his ‘acting captain’ status to the Romulans. Seems to make him seem weaker in a moment where he needs to be strong. We can deal later with why he isn’t ‘Re-Activated Admiral’. Or why they put him in the not so cool and very identical and generic looking armadas strongest ship if he’s such a fossil.
Things that seemed destined for a (hopefully abandoned) season two start spiraling to a convenient end. Like a death for our Sexy Female Romulan Agent thats so similar to Kylo Ren’s Penultimate Death its reeking of JJ Abrams inspired incompetence, she’s just tossed into a chasm by 7.
And just like that she’s gone. We don’t see her die, and death just becomes irrelevant soon enough. Feels like a season one Bad Guy sort of death, surely the Big Bad is in the Future? Or maybe that’s the end? I guess the Big Bad is ill explained half Vulcan Romulan Admiral Oh?
When we do see Oh here and there advancing her bizarre anti-android agenda, shes vague, in fact she’s explained more in the episode synopsis CBS provides more than the show. Did they simply have to lose her story? Why is she the only person in the future who had cheap plastic sunglasses? She makes no sense.
By episode 10 Oh has deserted her deep cover job as head of Starfleet Security. Thats it, her decades long treachery is just right out there. Apparently she’s at Endgame for this droid killing mission thats thousands of years in the making.
We see her now as the Romulan Fleet commander. Its been a long haul for this character to get to this point. So much subterfuge, Shes in the perfect job to destroy the Federation, she was seeding in Romulan double agents at will!
But hey, turns out she’s not really that dedicated to her life’s work after all! She’s really not too hard to talk down. The cowardly Romulans simply run.
Meanwhile the Synth Race of Data-like robots and Sochi back down from their Evil Plan and pitch in to help the previously hated humans more or less on a whim. This episode and it’s ending just doesn’t add up; but we already crammed in one useless episode we have to justify.
These writers just hope seeing Picard again will be enough. The script is more “populated by events” then complete in its feel.
I started to think “It’s probably already been too long a journey.” Any goodwill and fan forgiveness is lost after terrible episode 3, which is simply bad.
At no point do we simply go to a planet because human beings are driven to explore. That would be too relatable. And this show has be just so different for some reason. Damn you JJ Abrams! We can’t shake your curse!
New showrunner Alex Kurtzman is best known for bad non sci-fi Hawaii-Fiveoh’s current bad iteration. They might as well have given it to Soap Opera writers. Kurtzman’s people are really bad when it comes to seeding their scripts with endless rabbit holes and outright contradictions.
Star Trek Discovery has the same show-killing problem, we’re only going for ridiculously high stakes here. Both shows plots culminate in the respective crews saving ALL LIFE EVERYWHERE. Let that sink in.
HOW IT GET SO BAD?
Throughout the too long season the mistakes and convenient plot devices start to pile up. By terrible episode 3 they’ve lapsed into very lazy writing.
The Final Frontiers ‘Tech’ is more or less the Force now; and I mean that in a Sequel Trilogy sort of way, so BAD BAD BAD! It now does whatever you need it to and is ill explained. Maybe calling it “Harry Potter Magic” is closer to how they use tech in this show.
‘The Tech’ is used to move the story along by letting Picard see previously unwitnessed things from DNA traces. Is that how DNA even works? The Irish Romulan seems confidant enough in it. DNA is still topical now, I guess. Sort of.
It feels like a stretch because it just is. The DNA scanner was an irrelevant, unneeded mistake. Just hot-wire the security log or something. It seems like it was just time to use a Magic Wand because they needed a “Star Trek Moment.”
Jeri Ryan is still pretty and wow, she is actually a good actress. Maybe I was too fascinated by her looks on so-so Voyager, where they spent a lot of time developing her character into something completely different from what we had here.
In this bad show shes got a full plate of bad lines and bullshit to spiel but she kind of pulls it off. Throw in some new Matrix-Like fighting skills that make sense and new personality traits that just don’t. Still, she delivers as best as anyone can with this.
So much for Searching for Positive Stuff. I’m not going to re-write or excuse plot holes for them. 7 of 9 makes no sense as presently constituted, but okay. lets move on.
The new ship sucks. Its non Federation and looks more or less like Eddie Van Halen’s most well known guitar.
The new captain, or more like the new number one, seems to be a really good actor. For Instance -The bad idea to have him have him play his entire crew isn’t developed that much, but he’s game in about 6 roles. I’d see him in a play based on this prolonged audition. So we got that.
Maybe the only good thing was we didn’t get anything from Deep Space 9. So your opinion of that show stays intact for good or ill.
It took exactly 2 episodes to start to pity Captain C-3PO….I mean Picard.
Everything just comes together in time to still get wrapped up too quickly despite taking forever to get to the end.
Don’t bother with this bad Star Trek show. The Final Episode of The Next Generation was a better end. It’s sad. Hopes were high going in.
Looking back its been a long haul with these characters.
This franchise was pretty much ONLY good as Episodic TV. In theater’s it was hit or miss. The movies end poorly. This show is just more badness and reminders that we’ve seen most of it done better before.
It’s not all that episodic and the themes it hits over the season aren’t that Star Trek-ish. Its got so much more co-opted Philip K Dick ideas than Gene Roddenberry stuff. While there was some overlap its just not overly compatible as a way to expand this Franchise they’ve inherited but aren’t stewarding well.
The final episode just fails in all sorts of ways. Its self important. It cant really pay anything off.
Picard even dies like C-3P0. In other words -briefly and temporarily.
The only good move for the future of the Franchise seems really unlikely now. The idea was out there for a second. It was – ‘Reboot the Next Generation with a new cast in a Quentin Tarantino movie where he gets to kill off as many of the Kelvin cast members as he wants in a great and plot hole closing story.’
This was really bad and may be the end of all Star Trek.
Maybe Star Trek started to die slowly when The Next Generation TV show wrapped. The further we get from Gene Roddenberry’s vision the worse we seem to do. Maybe enough is enough.
If I were an enterprising sci-fi writer I might seize this moment to advance my new franchise. It might be time to turn the page on Star Trek if we just can’t do it well …or even consistently mediocre.
If you get CBS All Access try the 1970’s Star Trek cartoon instead maybe. I’m cancelling my subscription as soon as I get over my anger at myself for getting it
Day 1- My New York State flag arrived. I decontaminated it. Then i jury rigged a flagpole out of an old pool cue and hung it, in a very safe way, off my fire escape. Then I hoisted my Bernie 2020 flag on the roof off an old pipe that sticks up high enough to be seen from the 7 train. I’m ready to vote for Biden if I must, but thats so far down the road now, who knows?
Days ago i shaved off my beard for 2 reasons. It made me touch my face and it would stop a good seal on an oxygen mask. I also buzzed my chest in case i need the paddles of life. Hey, at this juncture I want to be 100% ready for 10% possibilities. Seems the only way.
The presidents daily displays of ineptitude only make it worse. He should stay off TV.
I talked to my bio-dad Eddie. He’s a nice guy.
I also spoke to my amazing Uncle Richard, who i fear for most. He’s a dedicated and very kind Roman Catholic Priest who learned Spanish to administer to that community. Hes an amazing and selfless leader to his flock. He sees a lot of people, I’m afraid he may have been exposed to the virus. He wouldn’t care. Hes truly kind and a great leader of Catholics.
I told him he had been a great uncle. He was the first to appreciate my intellect and helped me develop it. I was one of few 4th graders to have read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia all thanks to him. The last movie I watched with him was TOLKIEN and we both enjoyed it.
I also exchanged emails with my mother.
I only heard sirens 3 times today. My neighbor Abe works for the MTA. He says its not a gauge of police activity as the cops and EMT’s are smart and do not want to panic us. The streets are pretty empty. He theorizes they are simply not using sirens. I noted it for consideration. I will now try to listen for the Squelch they use to warn of pedestrians in their path. They have to use that.
I’m fairly well secured. I apocalypse shopped for a week and totally destroyed a high interest credit card. I don’t care.
I may be an asymptomatic carrier or I may still be negative. There’s still no way to know. I feel weird but i did drink a bit for the first time in a couple of weeks. Truth is i kicked down a paywall due to finally having a positive reversal of fortune.
Since January I have again had a subscription to the New York Times. I was aghast at the tales of the COVID-19 virus and I slowly started prepping.
Today i mostly finished my apocalypse shopping and i think people seem to have stupidly overlooked things like the sanitizer i easily bought at the hardware store. Its industrial strength and you can dilute it a lot and and its still effective. I also bought de-greaser. Its pretty hostile to viruses and the COVID-19 virus is apparently covered in lipids, aka fats, aka grease. So There’s a good shot that de-greaser will kill it. Im also good on pesticides and fly strips. Im not risking insects being carriers in New York City cramped-ness. I think im okay
As my kays and 20 bucks in quarters soak in a bath of mouthwash Im only starting this now to make my experiences known as I face what i think will be a mighty pandemic
I also put on my biological fathers Vietnam Dog tags. They made it through the Tet Offensive. Now, blessed by my Dad Johns brother, the Kindly Father Richard, i put them on to deliver me through this chaos. Im an atheist, but you cant be too careful.
Feel weird but hoping its alcohol. I had to get a little drunk tonight. I am glad i had the means to do it.
I dont feel so great but its not COVID symptoms.
If im up to it, and i really hope this is hayfever or something, I’ll talk about the art of second best apocalypse shopping tomorrow. You can still be safe. People have apparently forgotten stuff like coffee and, astoundingly- bar soap! I have a lot.
Stay safe, wash your hands. Don’t touch your face, ration your sanitizer and food.
Day 2 –
The presidents racist account of the situation is a fresh insult every day. He was a complete jackass again today addressing the nation.
Heard the first siren about 4 pm. My mother panicked and broke quarantine. Im pretty scared for her. Here unwillingness to tell me what she was thinking and what she had decided to do drove her to put herself in a couple of situations she could have been exposed in. She clearly tunes out everything I say.
Mostly i argued with her that she never needed to leave the house and she just kept making excuses. Now she seems to maybe believe that she can bank from home. All so Unnecessary. Im just angry
Sunday Mar 22 – Day 3
9:08 AM -Yesterday i spoke to some neighbors, from a distance. even the smarter people are least a bit short and angry.
i dont want to go to the bodega much. the bodega workers are okay people, but the owner is a dick and he was scared and anry on wednesday. hes taken no precautions and ran a dirty store and now hes upset? he sold the last of the cleanser rather than use it to have customers sanitize their hans, He didnt care about playing it safe before. anger wont help him.
i find so far my OCD & fear of germs were actually crazy…..last week. now i see how very minor my OCD was. The routine i have now actually adds up.
i have outside clothes and inside clothes. once the outside clothes are on i know im funky and i can only touch my face when i am freshly sanitized.
I only heard sirens twice. I think going to sleep at 9 pm probably figures in. I picked the right time to get a memory foam bed and upgrade the apartment.
I’m okay on food. Currently obsessing on the need for one more quality spray bottle. The hardware might still be open and its cold. less people will be out. My pre-shower routine today is to go to the Hardware store. Maybe no one will breath on me. i leave at 10 am.
9:58 Heard from my mom. she seems to have pulled off her frantic move without making any overt mistakes or even seeing any humans who weren’t sealed in their cars like she was. Some banks are closing. moms agreed to check in for 6 days.
Time start thinking about gearing up to visit hardware store.
12:12 PM- got the last couple of for real spray bottles from the hardware store. I will need some it to make it through tomorrows pharmacy run. In 36 hours the spray bottles have almost disappeared and are going for 4.99? I have several aluminum bucksets. In good times they were for beers on ice. Now they represent the several degrees of isolation my possessions that leave the house have.
Update 420 pm. Woodside has very little foot traffic. Its something like what you’d expect in a small town.
7 Train is still running for now.
Sirens on and of since 4. last ones were closer.
Angela Merkel and Placido Domingo have tested positive. Probably because outside America there are tests. a medical friend just asked we all donate to help get PPE. i gave what i could. i wrote a letter with a card and a hundred pre-plague bucks to my nephew. I feel terrible Jake’s sixteenth falls amidst this mess. It sitting on the radiator for awhile. Sterilizing.
I haven’t seen or heard a plane today. That’s highly unusual being under the flight path for LaGuardia. Come to think of it i didn’t see any yesterday that I can recall.
7:39 PM the presidents press conference was again a complete an unmitigated disater. Throwing shade at possible corona virus sufferer Mitt Romney? It was a low, low moment in an already awful presidency.
The Senate’s actions are baffling, they still were going to their gym? Some of these people truly don’t believe in Science. But of all people Rand Paul? His father was Medical Doctor. He proved you could be a nut and a medical doctor at the same time. Could he not believe in germ theory? He does love 18th century ideas like the Gold Standard a great deal, could he be so ignorant? I wonder what ever happened to the school that let Rand Paul get licensed to operate on peoples eyes. Look at the stupidity of their graduate on basic Germ Theory! No WONDER he changed professions!
8:06 PM sirens, somewhat close. lots of siren squelches.
Update 9:05 pm – squelches and distant sirens. The Mayor was just on CNN. He clearly can’t really react to Trump’s insanity as a feud at this point would just bring out the dictator that Trump wants to be.
9:47 PM – I knocked back an anti-anxiety pill and my nightly shot of jameson after the last entry. i hear an ambulances siren squelch as i write this and look to end my day listening to a book on tape. i have all the medication i need. im still gonna venture out for more if my prescription shows up tomorrow. Because I think this will last a long time.
Monday March 23, Day 3
9:05 AM – awoke at 8 am and i dozed on and off for a half hour before i grabbed some of my limited and precious supply of coffee. I heard distant sirens for a moment ago. The weather sucks. Its overcast and rainy, there was even a moment of hail. I heard the jets engines momentarily drown it out, the hail didnt last long. the plane seemed to be taking off. So people are still leaving, ot at least the wealthy are. Sounded like a big commercial jet. The 7 train is still running too.
New York is now the epicenter of the nation’s impacted zone. I realize there will be no trip to the dentist to fix my wonky tooth. At least it doesnt hurt, its a potential problem, though.
The internet has moody at best since this started to get real Friday. Its up and down, spiking then lagging.
DeBlasio is now mayor of one enormous Ground Zero for the pandemic. He’s in the same position as the mayor of San Juan. The whole country is now going to get the same treatment the people of Puerto Rico got after their hurricane.
The president is a complete idiot whose making this worse.
3:47 – My meds are ready, this is about the last time I want to go out til work Wednesday. Its pouring and thats not gonna help my limited Improvised PPE. In a sick way I feel like Im playing Tom Clancy’s The Division! This will be the end for most of the current “outside” clothes. i surely need my hoodie
4:57 PM – back and cleaned up and into my inside clothes after a rainy trip to the pharmacy. some people had masks, not everyone knew to stay back. I had to ward off some people. There is no sanitizer of any kind. There is no dish soap, there is limited hand soap. They did just have alcohol swabs out where anyone could grab them. i resisted the urge to buy all 8 boxes. I can use atm machines and pinpads at reduced risk with these. i left 4 or more boxes.
I need B12 injections monthly. Its as much as i usually buy, I’m just gonna use them all instead of having them expire for a change.
Wow this week was a fucking drag. I take silkwood showers twice a day. Inside clothes vs outside clothes is a constant stresser and I’m already afraid to leave the house on wednesday! Ouch!
I went up to the roof, I am not too happy with all the dog shit up there.
Prices at the Bodega are up 10% out of nowhere this week. I am gonna try to use that dump even less. His dickishness endangers the whole building. May time for to call the Law on Mo. He’s been a dick for years anyway
Saturday- 1:29 AM
The new dat started like the old day ended. In sirens. Theres been sirens pretty much nonstop from here. Its so quiet I guessI can hear most of the traffic going to Elmhurst. It’s getting scary. I hope Im not infected. The tightness in my chest could just be from climbing on and off the fire escape. I definitely beat myself up climbing in and out the window. I guess I really ain’t a kid no more.
On the other hand – I never hoped I had a brittle old man injury before. This time I do. I really do.
I dont know if I can sleep. I am definitely slightly scared.
Abandon all hope ye who Enter the nether region that is Google Fi. As I sit here awaiting yet another callback i can tell you for 800 dollars the Google Pixel 3 XL has been a nightmare that I will continue to pay for for 18 more months.
While YES; they DO deliver sometimes amazingly low bills, its mostly after you fight an uphill battle to be credited for your troubles.
Whatever you do NEVER use the headphones, because the doggle will destroy your charging port in under 35 hours of average use. And you may not be able to charge it. And that would be REALLY bad, wouldn’t it? Sadly adding Bluetooth headphones wont help much and is another damaging expense that will bring all sorts of new problems to the surface.
You need to have about 2 grand in credit to deal with the dizzying (and slow) exchange policy I’ve sadly walked through no less than 7 times. Its been a helluva 6 months
Having no sim card causes little issues here and there too. I can’t overemphasize how fragile and useless my Pixel 3XL was. Don’t ever use anything but its original manufacturers charger! Do not use any wired headphones!
So yeah the cameras great and T mobile service for talk and text are just fine, but app failure and random reboots means that when the super slow camera is up, if you haven’t already missed the moment, it might just crash.
I’m not alone in these experiences. Reddit is doing a brisk trade in hate stories about these people. I long ago began to wish that the volcano on whatever remote island these people have their customer service center on would just blow up and leave it a lifeless atoll.
I’ve been misunderstood, over-talked, condescended to, patronized, double crossed, dropped off hold and transferred badly so many times its pathetic, and again the Reddit Horror stories back me up.
Google Fi may or may not be an intentional scam; but at the end of the day it may as well be.
They absorb my money and just lay pipe to me like the bitch they surely think I am. And since I just don’t have 600 bucks laying around to buy a phone that I have come to loathe, they might just be right. Goodbye self esteem!
But at least I probably will never have to live with any more of this outright Unethical and dishonest way of doing business on a daily basis. And maybe I’ll be able to listen to a book on a train with enough clarity!
So this is what its come to – I’m probably gonna deactivate the phone, punt pay for it til i can sell it for anything I can get it will only cost me 25 bucks a month. I’m literally gonna pay money not to use this thing. It’s cheaper.
And its worth the disruption. They’ve put me through so many this is nothing Maybe I can get an Obama-phone for a while in my enhanced financial distress? I guess down the road its regular T-Mobile with a phone I don’t hate? Or perhaps I could bring back carrier pigeons because if I have to call in sick using this thing I don’t even trust the Contacts App to work while I find a payphone I’ll lose my job and feed pigeons so I may as well train one. Maybe I could even race them like Mike Tyson? Because I’ll have plenty of phone-less time getting back to nature if I don’t pry loose almost a months rent to Un-Fuck this mistake.
UPDATED- well by cannibalizing from the end and holding off on really giving us much for two episodes the show PICARD shows its true colors – shades of earl grey. Its a poor imitation Star Trek. If this were music we would Star Trek was just it’s own Tribute Band now.
Once this show ha to start going anywhere the sheer idiocy of the story is just right in your face. There’s shortcut after shortcut in the story despite its having TEN BORING HOURS TO UNFOLD!
Its been a rough 10 years for Star Trek. So much was lost in the horrible JJ Abrams experiment. Then we saw ads for this Picard show. They were minimalistic and simply had his name and the Star Trek logo. The message from the creators seemed to be “We finally got it together and made Finally a product worth watching.” The trailers were too minimalistic for a judgement call and that seems to have been for a reason- The show is a horrible Bait and Switch. By the end there’s NO Picard at all and though Patrick Stewart will be in the show as his own robot ghost.
Episodes one Two set the table and theres enough going that Patrick Stewarts return keeps you watching. Unfortunately they’ve remade Picard into a loser whose anything but fun to watch.
The character is first destroyed, mocked and stripped of his dignity. Then they hammer home the fact he has no clue whats going on and is a useless piece of cargo in space. Then they kill Picard in a boring way and bring him back as a weak, useless robot who is more or less a very annoying take on C-3PO.
With an interesting first 2 episodes and seeming to be trending up ‘Star Trek – Picard’ is just okay and then turns horrible. Discovery was terrible from minute one. Picard is as bad, but fools you for a couple of episodes. Then the plot- such as it is- kicks in in fits and starts. The show meanders to its end.
Episode one and two are mostly spent seeing Picard react to things from his post movies past- all of which are pretty bleak. We also spend a lot of time getting to know the superficially interesting Romulan’s who care for the aged Picard. The first episode gets by on the strength of how much we love Picard, throwing a lot at us and scattering the story around. The idea that none of this would really mean much and some of it mostly dropped wasn’t apparent, but thats how it worked out by the end.
This is a complete synopsis of episodes 1 and 2. From Episode 3 on the show implodes and undermines anything it had built. Its truly bad. Now that the series is over, you can Fast Forward to my Final Episode Reaction if you want. Or read on to see how they fooled me for about 4 episodes.
The Picard Show DOES have one aspect seen in the Hated Kelvin Timeline. There was a Romulan Supernova in this timeline as well. This needed to be handled better and unspooled in a slower, more intelligent way. Instead we find out it just happens and that the Romulan’s ineptly lose their Primary Solar System- which seems to now be the only place the “Romulan Star Empire” had any assets.
The Romulans had always seemed the more devious adversary, and you’d think they’d be invested in other systems. We’ve always been told they were a MAJOR player in the galaxy. The way we saw them they could lose even their best system and still be okay. So now the Romulan’s are stupid. Then they show them as refugees and want us to feel bad for them. Then, moments later they more or less tell us that the Romulan Espionage and Military are still out there. In force. Having success in most of what their doing.
This refugee crisis makes NO SENSE. Its pretty hard to feel anything for these militant ingrates. What it says that some of them were pathetic and grovelling is hard to say, this is a highly deceptive race!
This is a lot to overlook and fucks with what we knew about the world of Star Trek
At any rate the shambolic story moves on. The repercussions seem to be confined to losing Romulus Prime and its solar system. The show would have us believe their Empire collapsed too. We could have benefitted form some explanation and information on this major re-setting of the table. We’re left with the vague idea that maybe the Romulans sort of got cored out.
In episode 1 we find out most Romulan refugees were saved in a highly unpopular rescue operation championed and coordinated by Picard. The Romulan Diaspora – term the show is too inartful to use – seems to have taken away none of their duplicity though.
Romulans being Romulans the rescue only went just so well. It tore at the fabric of Star Fleet and almost tore the Federation apart. And of course the Romulan’s were only just so grateful. Some love Picard, and some are ready to kill him.
The writers do not handle the Romulan’s well and soon the most dangerous bad guys we used to see on The Original Series are too self contradictory to ever be frightening. Like the show itself – we’re heavily instructed to find them interesting, but any real scrutiny makes them seem inept, cruel and stupid. You start to wonder just how they ever got into space.
The Romulan’s seem intriguing but that implodes when we realize their Power level, espionage abilities, relative intelligence, military strength and sabotage ability changes in each bad episode. There’s at least one large and formidable Romulan Armada we see much later. This is a pretty badass military resource that doesnt seem to care about, help or need recruits from the new Romulan Refugee planet they get from the Federation. Why this fleet wouldn’t just grab the remaining Romulan’s and start fresh in one of their other Solar Systems is never explained- but the question hangs in the air.
In other depressing future news, it seems androids of all types are now banned and Picard is the one champion of the noble, but highly unpopular idea that the lives of certain androids are in fact equal to those of humans. This view was never really popular in the Federation, and after the Borg pull off a decent attempt to Assimilate all humanity in Star Trek First Contact, the disdain for androids is well set up. In true Kurtzman form though when we get to anything new the unaware script just wastes this part of the story.
Former Admiral Picard is now merely a guy who gravitates to bad, lost causes. His association with the Romulan crisis makes sense. Picard is enormously compassionate. The real problem is this faction doesn’t seem to need long term help. The Romulan’s are never grateful, are still causing problems and operating an armada, control at least TWO espionage agencies and have a half wrecked Borg Cube to cannibalize. This makes them seem like they could easily be self sufficient but just wont. So now the Romulan’s are Space Welfare Queens. This would be considered Racism if the events were real. The show just throws it out there. These are bad guys- except the ones who change teams for no reason at all.
Now former Admiral Picard has left Star Fleet and is a well hated retired guy. The show tells us he disagreed with its increasing militarism in the wake of a Pearl Harbor-like attack by ‘synthetics’ that destroys Utopia Planetia Shipyards and killed a lot of people. Seems the nihilistic Romulans have had a hand in it. We find out later from Admiral Clancy that this has left Star Fleet short of ships and resources (the final episode completely contradicts this).
Mars is a mess. The problem still hasn’t been cleared up. One thing I did verify was that the entire fleet of rescue ships they used to help out the Romulans was there when the attack was carried out by apparently hacked and totally suicidal synthetics. I guess this is why the Romulan Rescue just doesn’t really work out. Its the stupidest move ever to concentrate all your rescue ships at an arbitrary point rather than deploy them to help. I guess they were for all of them to be ready? At any rate the best we can do is guess they were either sitting in som hangar or all in a very low orbit and just waited for the explosion to consume them.
Episode One shows us some very enjoyable sequences of Picard’s beautiful french manor house where he’s kind of gone hermit to a degree. Then we find out he’s a;ways out there advocating for several causes he is championing as a private citizen. So this is the worlds most Outgoing and sociable Hermit. He’s passionate about his bad ideas and half measures. This Picard is pretty out of it.
We find out there is mass media and that Picard is to be interviewed. Ok, its easy to believe people are interested in what a former Galaxy Class Starship captain’s views would be.
The interview shows us this show is obsessed with current events and the political atmosphere at the very moment it was being written – specifically BREXIT and a Trumpian View of the media- from supposedly liberal media members no less. Its not interesting, futuristic or hopeful like Star Trek is supposed to be.
In the interview Picard is set up and slammed in an Ambush Interview– sort of. Whether the interview was always an ambush or Picard really is just a bit too naive is left up to you- like way too much else. The show doesn’t clear this up and we just plod forward to find out that everyone saw this as Picard being just a crazy old man. So future humans are now Un-Curious and believe whatever they are told, sort of like the Fans of this terrible Garbage!
The Hack Attack on Utopia Planetia and a nebulous media reflect right back on modern society like good Star Trek Should. It’s a little wonky but Episodes 1 and 2 seem to be going somewhere but the show CAN NOT pay anything off. Soon we’re using the same bad ideas as Star Trek Discovery. They pull the rug out from under you so many times you end up numb as we wait to experience the subversions in a story that starts to slow down in the middle of episode 2. By Episode 3 theyre just buying time- for 7 hours!
The Mars Attack part of the story revolves around some very Philip K Dick-like Replicant-type androids Also in the mix is a half destroyed BORG Cube that’s still lingering , wherever it is. What’s left of the Romulans have some access to it as well as regular Federation scientists.
Picard, a known humanitarian and something of a black sheep celebrity, naturally draws the competing forces to himself in a convincing and believable way. It’s not forced.Nothings been jammed in. The story lines unify nicely. These are the sort of things Jean-Luc Picard was always about
None of the stink of the JJ Abrams era really affects this show.
We have some big time baddies in the form of the jerk Romulans and their constant aggressive militarism and the man who still wants to save them anyway. It took a couple of views to figure it out, but the Romulan assassins all seem to have cool new weapon, a mean spirited and super evil “Take Them with You” suicide pill (implanted in their teeth?) that allow them to spit acid as they die. This is as good as the show gets though.
The cast is up to it and the first two episodes have so much smoke and mirrors and so much backstory to impart its easy to watch. With Patrick Stewart firmly in the center the show has no problems. Unlike terrible Star Trek Discovery this show has familiar warmth and people show concern for each other. Then Episode 3 comes around and knocks that off the table hard.
In Episode 2Admiral Clancy is well played by Ann Magnuson. Its unfortunate she’s very mean to Picard and starts a series of humiliating encounters. Right now Picard is officially NOT a Star Fleet officer of any kind. In fact, maybe he should stay 1500 feet away from any Starfleet installations for awhile! In this sequence no one recognizes Picard. Then we’re told EVERYONE saw him on their version TV the night before looking insane and stupid. The tone is all over the place.
It’s now that Admiral Clancy also reveals the media wasn’t kidding in his poorly received interview. Things on Mars are still just horrible, as a result they’re hard up for ships and they can’t really do diplomacy in the wake of the Romulan Supernova. So now we find out that the interview seems to showed the REAL Picard- in other words a dithering useless sentimental old man.
This is a huge moment. So many revelations are dropped. Star Fleet’s hard up? The Federation isn’t engaging diplomatically? It’s ripped from the headlines and too current to transcend changes in events or the further developments of BREXIT and the American withdrawal from the world stage without hammering it home awkwardly.
Then Picard gets a really bad but mostly unexplained medical diagnosis from someone who isn’t Dr Crusher. He only has just so much time left as we find out in effective and appropriately Star Trek-like style. He views his newly limited mortality as just one more fact, albeit an unpleasant one. This only sort of works for Picard. We know he can be driven and hes not afraid to die for a good cause- but now he’s just going to die because ‘Time’s Up.” He spends no time considering this.
Some continuity is being preserved in Episodes One and Two but they fuck that up later. The elderly Picard in “All Good Things” might just be a better way to remember tis character though.
Just so we know for sure that Picard may not want to live on a whole lot longer, his doctor warns him against going back into Space, but then admits getting killed may be better than the disease. So whatever it is 24th Century doctors are afraid of it. Since this is absolutely now a KELVIN take on TNG you have to wonder two things- what the HELL will the Klingons look like and more importantly- why not give Picard a dose of Khan’s blood? He’ll be right as rain in a day.
Two hours in the plot is increasingly complex but unfolding nicely and makes sense. Then the show makes it to Episode 3 and becomes completely contrived and shambolic.
We can see why Picard has all of these intense traits and how he would be so interested in the things that are driving him. Unlike EVERY other New Star Trek show Roddenberry’s vision is more or less intact. Then it gets trashed worse than ever for 7 horrible hours.
Maybe the best part is the show slows down and develops things, too bad they leave that for dead and move on from every interesting thing for some incongruous short cuts. My feelings about the first two episodes have changes A LOT after finding out its not gonna go anywhere. This boring show buys time until it speeds to the end.
Again, all signs in the first two episodes seemed GOOD. Patrick Stewart reprises the role perfectly in an elaborate bait and switch. After episode 2 Picard himself really just has an extended cameo.
The story is not episodic but still so far seems to be really good – this was just a lot of nonsense though.
There’s no point in explaining whether or not this show makes it worthwhile to get CBS All Access anymore – Star Trek KILLED that service. This bad show is about to hit season 2 on new but already failing streaming service Paramount Plus. I predict Star Trek kills this service too.
Well, howd y’all like that Episode 9? The lowest rated Star Wars Movie of all time is still slipping on Rotten Tomatoes. I dont think its going to stabilize anytime soon. JJ Abrams is now a Serial Killer of Sci-Fi franchises.
Let’s look at the Wake of Destruction he hath wrought.
For Starters; thanks to JJ Abrams 7 years after he was basically run off the Final Frontier Star Trek is still reeling and just getting worse due to his parasitic legal contracts.
Devastatingly bad ideas like the hated Kelvin Timeline are still just tying the hands of the unqualified creatives and scaring real talent off. Bad Star Trek Discovery won a plagiarism suit to a video game by proving BOTH were too substanceless to have any uniqueness legally and I have to agree. File that bad show under “not good enough for regular TV” Its bad Star Trek and bad TV. Hopefully they can abandon the Discovery ship out some plot friendly back door? I would suggest “They were ALWAYS from another Dimension” or “They’re ONLY from the Hated Kelvin Timeline”?
Why listen to me? I’m just the guy who championed Rey being a clone made from LUKE’S SEVERED HAND! Something Palpatine would have been able to get! It’s better than anything about her we got from JJ Abrams in these movies at any time.
Seriously I’m just gonna say it; the Luke’s hand idea is better than all three JJ Abram’s origin stories on Overpowered Rey. Okay, its fan fiction, but the movies awful and its just to prove it didn’t have to be. We just filled in one HUGE plot hole problem using what they call creativity. JJ Abrams is supposed to be great at this? Why’s he losing a brainstorming contest to a blogger?
First of all the story starts elsewhere. Yup, the movie starts with a reveal in the blurb that fans of Fortnite already knew. Old Palpy is alive?! It’s such a bad idea maybe people wrote it off as a little bit of fun, but NO! A video game starts the story.
JJ Abrams unspools the plot of the movie in a shock reveal in a video game. Yup. And if you didn’t play that game he sort of think’s you came in unprepared. Abrams is that dick professor who kicked you out of class as an example to others. So I guess you could say this movie required preparation to not be dumbfounded when the opening crawl shouts in the first line THE DEAD SPEAK! and alludes to the message.
So if you ‘cheap-ed out’ or didn’t finish the game here’s the deal – despite being dropped a few miles and being blown up twice, the Emperor is back. Don’t bother thinking too much about it, its never explained. Like so much else in these Sequel Movies things just happen.
I can hold my head up knowing I didn’t waste my money on this Rise of Skywalker turd. Sure it made its Billion Dollars, but it took longer than the other movies to hit the number. The reviews weren’t mixed, they were excoriating. Still, for a day or two the fan score held out on Rotten Tomatoes, then it just collapsed. What went wrong? It was JJ Abrams and his half-assed Star Wars vision…or should say lack of vision?
To be fair for just a moment- its STILL a better movie than The Last Jedi, which made this movie nearly impossible to write for someone like JJ.
Disney has made five of these Star Wars movies and only one is good, semi-rewatchable Rogue One. Solo is at best pretty bad and its poor box office take really upped the pressure for Episode 9 to be great. Wow did that ever not work out.
Star Wars is supposed to be about Rebelling against an Evil Empire, not submitting to one! It’s that simple. In this case, the Evil Empire is Disney. Darth Abrams was a bad choice from the word go. The signs were there but people ignored them
JJ Abrams – The Man Who Kills Franchises
The problem is JJ Abrams can only write beginnings, and even then only by creating issues he cant fix because hes simply not that creative. Abrams being stuck in his schematic “Mystery Box Method” of always doing a shock reveal and the endless lens flare just gets old fast. He’s incorrigible.
He’d failed to end the show LOST acceptably and made perhaps the most anger generating final episode ever. There’s a reason LOST isn’t in re-runs. It was all false canon and zero pay off. It might be the worst series ending of all time. But people convinced themselves he was David Lynch. He’s so not.
Then one bad movie revealed all and the failures have pretty much always gone down the same way.
JJ Abrams created a movie so bad that it exonerated every other Star Trek writer or director in TV or film to that time. We’re talking all time low. The Rise of Skywalker implodes almost the same way. A quick look back at JJ Abram’s recent work in Sci-Fi is informative.
Only 10 years ago he was the New and Forever Star Trek Creator. It was a marriage made in Hell. Movie one was surprisingly good. It seemed like we’d be okay. At first glance it was a lot better than Force Awakens. Then he very quickly falls off a cliff.
Awful sequel Star Trek Into Darkness was just a disaster. The word tropes started getting thrown around. If we unpacked it, really its just another one of his high stakes movies where the bad guy has a Death Star like weapon. He lied to the fans to make the story pop more, and fans hated the movie.
Rhymin’ and Stealin’ – How JJ Abrams Movies Implode
From the false flag pre movie rumors and outright lies in the early pre publicity right up to the botched rollout, Star Trek Into Darkness was a heap of shit you knew wasn’t going to work! Abrams sort of ends up telling people they watched his movie wrong while also saying he actually did blow a few scenes in the movie in the publicity leading up to the release. He apologized for inartful jamming in an exploitive scene of a woman getting undressed in front of Kirk. He was right, its done like shit. This starts the trend of JJ’s movies falling apart after a half hour and then being somewhat worse as every increment of 10 minutes goes by til the movie finally just stops (rather than ends).
It’s also maybe the first time he kills and then un-kills a beloved key character using a plot device that just wasn’t given enough attention to seem viable. Basically a Supersoldier Blood Infusion to bring back a dead Kirk. Anything out there in pop culture is fair game. Let’s call it the start of shamelessly stealing from Marvel too (more recently Rise of Skywalker re-used the end of Avengers-Endgame).
Benedict Cumberbatch’s career faltered momentarily and he needed to stay out of America til the stench cleared. For a minute there it really looked like he didn’t know how to act. Cumberbatch has since more than redeemed himself. We know now it was bad dialogue and bad direction. And a movie with an introduced that just needed to go somewhere. Like even just some planet, do some Star Trek stuff, and fails miserably.
Around the same time people starting listening to JJ’s insulting commentary on his first Star Trek movies special edition back when DVDs were all the rage. Let me tell you no one can make their own work seem so bland and undercut their authenticity better than Abrams.
At some point he’s maybe drunk or stoned or something and riffing on his movie. There’s an accidental admission that his first Star Trek just didn’t work at all. The he lets go it had a lot of cut scenes (which we saw) and that they’d gotten lost in a couple of rabbit holes. This only makes you wish the movie had gone in a different direction. Moreover the left out ideas seem really interesting. Still, the movies pretty good and the franchise seem set up.
The JJ Uncorks a wild one- while discussing the “Angry Future Romulan’s” it becomes obvious a lot of writing happened post filming and it seemed three Star Trek projects leading in different directions were unified by a few lines enabling dialogue and a genius editor. What role CGI played I can’t say but the approach being ad hoc is out there
It was also just unsettling to hear. Sounded a little bit like maybe he just got lucky. Now we know that’s actually what happened. The movies one long introduction anyway, so it was deceptively good. The guy writes good beginnings, but then he can’rt advance without all sorts of canon destroying parent killing trope-y-ness.
In interviews JJ always seemed to be passively aggressively attacking the fans. I lost count of how many times he criticized the original show or anyone who’d be so dumb as to watch it. I guess because Felicity was available on DVD? I can’t figure him out; I can only forecast his movies by low-balling everything and assuming he’ll miss the mark. This is simplistic, I know, but it has worked. Its worked for essentially 5 straight movies where he’s head creative. Why should he get a break for The Last Jedi? He was in charge, he was too into his 2 years off to care and when he paid attention again Star Wars was seriously fucked up.
JJ’s basic schtick was – I fixed your lousy Star Trek.
Soon he was gone from the franchise. These traits were well out there though and he gets the Star Wars gig.
The Destruction of Star Wars
All JJ Abrams problems would be even worse when he got to Star Wars. Out of control parent killing. Having it both ways on killing characters by ping-ponging from life to death in a flimsily explained way. Fleeing in shuttles, over and over. Crashing your ship into an enemy ship. Bad Guys with some kind of Death Star Variant. Lying to the fans trying to make the movie pop more. Failing to pay off story elements (Luke’s lightsaber’s journey from Bespin to Rey’s hands?) and lots of false canon.
Firstly, to most fans, it wasn’t that badly broken. Turning Kirk into Indiana Jones and boasting about it made Kirk predictable. You knew from Indy that “When he fights doesn’t so much win as gets lucky because he can take a beating” and all the other traits were there too.
At this point JJ had double dipped by both angering the Star Trek fans and signing with Disney and he was pretty much on his way out to go and destroy Star Wars. While we now know its because he cant write, at the time it seemed like he was trying to kill the Star Trek franchise.
A few humiliating TED Talks about the schematic nature of his film making gave away way too much. And it’s now obvious he just has no plan. Its probably why they bought in a different director and writer to write a middle for the series.
At this point some of us realize the movies are just getting worse. And the amount of homework we have to do to understand whats going on starts to really go up and become a boring grind.
Others bash Rise of Skywalker better than I ever can, but we all know that all through this Sequel Trilogy they’ve treated the original characters with great disrespect. Carrie Fisher had to die to be treated respectfully and by then only so much could be fixed. So we wont dwell on the problems Carrie passing caused. There’s no need. There’s plenty else wrong with this movie.
It’s a Fetch-Quest Video game like The Division. Except not as engaging. Thrown together with the highlight being Babu Frick and Power Ranger Felicity. Keri Russell will make a fortune and possibly was on set 3 hours. Its all a joke to JJ!
Soft Death scenes and what seem like true losses of characters are just bought back with little explanation or a bad explanation.
Now we have an insanely bad Star Wars movie I was able to watch online with a few slick moves. EFAP and Mauler on youtube have a combined 14 hours of podcast on just what a disaster The Rise of Skywalker is. One thing’s for sure Star Wars Stockholm Syndrome, while real, was broken to pieces. No amount of fanciful justifications will ever make people see one of these if the trailer is bad again.
Just because the real world is a mess is our escape from the real world to be a mess as well? I wont pay for this until the quality is there. That means 8 weeks of Disney Plus a year to watch the baby Yoda Show at this point.
JOIN THE REBELLION! If you saw this movie dont see it again! And dont stream it! that’s just rewarding Disney and they’ve taken that as a licence.
The Last Jedi brutally woke us up to the fact no one had clue how to write this stuff and the Lucas dialogue is now sounding a lot better. Seriously we have that much fail here
That JJ was too lazy or damaged to bother giving us a movie that made sense and since The Last Jedi had already shattered some canon Abrams had a blank check to fail. So he did. Every bad thing we heard made it into the movie.
One things his Star Wars movie did at the end was unite the fans in anger.
From Palpatine’s horrible military plan built around shock reveals, to trying to un-do Rian Johnson’s failed vision of an old, cowardly, grumpy failed child murderer Luke Skywalker, nothing worked. Throw in some really bad continuity issues for fun too.
So we got action instead of substance. We’ve got lots of things jammed in together quickly. Like all our heros in one place at the same time. For the first time in this series. At least it was on the Falcon!
Who are these new characters and is anyone else upset they were named Zora and Zaina but were unrelated? Not too creative.
Tales of a better cut of the movie abound. The amount of cognitive dissonance it takes to believe Disney killed the movie or had some kind of hard cap on run time is preposterous. An excellent movie could have flirted with three hours. The idea this horrible movie that makes no sense was made in spite of better product is ridiculous.
He will say we watched it wrong soon. We weren’t wrong, it was the same ending as the Avengers Endgame, just done badly this time.
So much was lost in the shuffle. The preposterous and unexplained journey of Luke Skywalker’s light saber from Bespin to Rey is a novel few will pony up for, and just one of many pay offs that this trilogy fails to deliver.
If your name is JJ Abrams the only price you pay for failure is critical blog posts and youtube content providers killing you. He’s off to destroy DC. It’s a mind blowing end to a contract that probably just should have just been given to Peter Jackson.
I was right. This movie is a streaming rental.
So while the Baby Yoda show seems to be promising, it seems the Marvel People will now get what’s left of Star Wars, and really, its for the best.
Pour yourselves a drink Star Wars fans, JJ Abrams is gone. Now dont be an idiot and pay another hundred bucks to buy the comics and novels they will crank out to try to un-fuck this turd. There should be a price for failure.
If you go out there buying the new merchandise and help them to a point where THIS movie is a success? The movies will keep getting worse.
Bad Trailers and Two Bad Sequel Prequels Point to Bad Movie
Sadly, we have been down the road of Bad Star Wars movies, especially since Disney took over, too many times. At every step of the way the sacred trust and love people have for the movies prevent you from getting any read on a movie you’ve seen 10 out of context minutes of in all sorts of commercials already. From candy to cars, Star Wars sells it all.
Right now an early, spoiler-y but terrible review has emerged from GQ which kills the movie; starting with it’s really bad re-introduction of Palpatine. Here’s a quick quote that sums up what sounds awful –
The “return” of Palpatine could easily turn out to be some clever scheme by some unknown villain, who hopes gain power by drafting on the reputation of the terrifying emperor.
And then, just a minute or two later, Kylo Ren comes face-to-face with Emperor Palpatine himself—very much alive, thank you—and Rise of Skywalker starts digging a hole it never finds a way to climb out from.
This damning piece of information, which shows nothing was learned from the (Horrible) Solo Movie Easter Egg as far as being unexplained and bad, seems pretty movie-killing just on its own. Its apparently right up front and there was worse in there.
The Phantom Menace Paradox
My warning here probably won’t stop anyone either, because Star Wars Stockholm Syndrome is REAL! People sympathize with anything slapped with the Star Wars logo.
How bad is it? Well, The Phantom Menace was the biggest grossing of the Lucas made movies. So, in a sense there’s no way to measure how good the movie is. That Phantom Menace defied the few realistic but much shared bad reviews and scathing word of mouth to be the most lucrative Star Wars Movie clouded peoples judgement. The malignant concept “now they’re Bomb Proof” was born. Fortunately the prequels got better fast, but the Box Office, while still great, was a bit down after Phantom Menace initially tarnishes the concept. even though it takes til home video for anger to really emerge.
In contrast; near perfect movie Revenge of the Sith had a sort of disappointing box office. It wasn’t really about the movie, which, again, is really good. People were tired of Star Wars by this point. Some people had hated both the previous movies. Also at that point, with all the video and re-releases, they had flooded the market. These things as well as being the only R rated Star Wars movie made it a cautionary box office tale compared to the inferior film, Phantom Menace. Another bad precedent was set.
NOTE-Revenge of the Sith is slowly redeeming itself because there’s just a lot worse Star Wars movies out there. It had mixed reviews and was somewhat overlooked initially, but that’s another post.
But the idea a truly bad Star Wars movie was still going to do great financially was out there and it was just too intoxicating. Crank out the movies and merch and stay away from what made Return of the Sith great was sort of built into the game plan.
Disney seems to have taken this as a license of sorts. They know the movies can’t truly fail (or so we still think), so what difference does it make if it could be better so long as it opens on time? Sort of like “Its crazy to own an Orange Grove and not plant oranges in orange season.” They paid out the nose for this and they built a theme park around it that costs a fortune to go to.
No one believes they’re ever going to slow down the franchise until they can make, you know, decent movies. They just want their holiday Skywalker franchise and their summer Star Wars Stories to open on time. After all, a lengthy delay didn’t help SOLO, which wasn’t even the best Sci-Fi movie with a Paul Bettany Death Scene in theaters that week (That would have been Avengers: Infinity Wars).
Critics have finally found some courage since the disaster that was The Last Jedi and the lackluster “Solo” movie that just felt like what many said it was- a wikipedia page on screen. So while Rogue One was an amazing view, the other three movies from the JJ Abrams crew up to now are bad or even awful.
The Curious Curse of Hiring JJ Abrams
While some people might be more forgiving, JJ Abrams will always be the guy who gave us the worst series ending of all time with LOST way back in the day. A seed was planted – JJ Abrams can only wrote beginnings. Nothing since then has disproved it.
Abrams romp through the Star Trek Universe left it so messed up things are still not really together a decade later! Chances Quentin Tarantino directs a Star Trek movie are far from high and seeming to drop weekly. The two TV shows, one bad, one yet to be seen, won’t be on regular TV but a streaming pay service from CBS. In the case of Discovery, season one wasn’t good enough for TV. The other show, Picard, appears to exist outside the so called “Kelvin Timeline” people so hate, so it may be good.
The truth is JJ Abrams is a Tropey, check off the boxes and terribly safe writer on the Star Wars movies. He’s mistake prone and creates boring enemy ships and aliens. The formula when Abrams is writing is schematic and transactional, never, ever missing a merchandising plug. Grasping at any plot device to advance from one “Star Wars Moment” to the next, we get from point A to point B in the most predictable way possible most every time.
For example- Is it really plausible Finn and Po are close friends because for 3 minutes they attempted to escape the First Order together? Consider for a moment how brief and frenetic their meeting actually is. No effort was made to really give them the kind of time together it takes to sell a buddy connection. It’s simply bad storytelling. It’s okay, you didn’t watch it wrong, it really is bad.
So the clunkiness and the impersonal nature of the heroes compounds to the point you’re just waiting for something to happen or the movie to end. JJ Abrams didn’t invest emotionally in these characters, why should we? Because he talked us out of about 18 bucks? Because getting conned sucks? I don’t know but people seem to never attack the movie without throwing some justification in there too. In this case it’s “worth it so see the end of the franchise no matter how good or bad.” It’s a cult in some ways.
Back to the new character. The fact that BB-88 is one the most popular and relatable characters says something. Non verbal and usually pure slapstick. He’s a break from the lack of substance because a droid bouncing off the walls during a space dogfight was funny and didn’t go on too long. The other characters? Maybe the fact they ARE verbal hurts? Dialogue has never been great in Star Wars, but these Disney movies feature some of the blandest techno-babble ever.
McTeag’s Law of New Star Wars Movies
The Rule seems to be ‘The further they get from Lucas material the worse the movie.’
Selling Out to Sell Toys
Who among us will ever forget the Disney lowpoint with C-3PO pointlessly mentioning his red arm? Out of context and needless. It was just there to visually (and financially) differentiate the Toy income stream. It differentiates the C-3PO toys Disney and Abrams gets more of than the ones that are more like the Lucas version, which Lucas gets more of the money from.
These movies have some of the worst toy connections ever, probably because the ships and creatures aren’t that good so they have to be pushed hard. And really, it’s only just so great compared to the Lucas conceived stuff.
At this point I have to note -JJ Abrams is also a bad toy developer, which in these movies, really hurts. The stuff he outright inherited from Lucas is amazing and we love stuff like Han’s blaster, Luke’s lightsaber and the sounds they made when primed, when fired and the level of damage they did to a target. In contrast Abram’s gave us things like Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, which angered and confused fans with its ‘self amputating’ looking crossguard.
The elephant in the room is simply money and an intellectual property contract that showed Lucas is still an amazing businessman. Disney only “owns” it just so much and Lucas seems to have found a way to get paid again if too much of HIS vision is used. It turns out Lucas is also pretty successful in litigation when he sets his pack of lawyers on people, even Disney. I don’t think he went out of his way to make this clear and waited for them to make a mistake. Rogue One was almost pure Lucas and I think, with no proof, that he had his lawyers go down there to Rat HQ at Disney with a very serious letter about how much they needed to pay for exceeding the copyright. Good for Lucas, bad for fans as the run from Lucas properties becomes a priority and a plot driver for the Disney Movies.
This is why the killing off of his properties has been central to this new series. In The Last Jedi they kill off the ships from Lucas’ movies. Before that in so-so Force Awakens, Han Solo is just plain old killed in a typical ‘Abrams Parent Killing Scene’ we’re so used to its no longer emotional. For example, he kills 2 parents in half an hour in his first, deceptively good but “all beginning” Star Trek movie. It’s his last nominally good movie. Follow up Into Darkness was a complete mess and disaster that angered all Trek fans as he seemed to sabotage the franchise on the way out the door. One of the biggest insults- lying about what was in the movie to make it pop more. “It’s not Khan but a new villain named Harrison” was ridiculous and no one was surprised it was just bull when they saw the movie.
Into Darkness was THE most apologized for moment in a Franchise that at different times has starred a bunch of geriatrics, was written by soap opera and western writers, was for a time abandoned by its creator and was led by William Shatner on a shoestring TV budget in the Politically Incorrect 1960s!!! Whats THAT say?
Since it’s the same fans for the most part, no one was all that psyched to see him land at the helm of Star Wars, and Disney has turned out to be a bad fit. Talk about “Failing Your Way Up!”
In the Disney Star Wars Universe it’s this simple -the closer they get to Lucas’ Vision of The Galaxy Far, Far Away the more Lucas must be paid. But the closer to Lucas the better the movie. Disney just wants money.
George Lucas, The Real Emperor of the Galaxy Far, Far Away
Unlike Abrams, Lucas’ genius as a filmmaker pales in comparison to his abilities as a highly profitable business man. Time and again he puts profits first and gets them.
George Lucas generated a fortune for the studios and he managed to please the fans about four and half times out of 6 tries. The only things people truly hated was his slow pace of development between projects and retconning too much.
Hollywood loved that he put profits first too. In one case a better video transfer technique was right around the corner, but the deadline was more important and a pink shift/ purple shift affected the way the entire first trilogy looked. (Note- the version in Disney Plus right now is even a little more re-engineered, with the damage from other transfers somewhat addressed.) Now it looks like he understood the market and his abilities better than people ever gave him credit for.
Theres Only One George Lucas
At the end of the day the fact is George Lucas was far and away a better creative than JJ Abrams and still made a lot of money. Mountains of it. This is because Lucas self corrected a couple of times. Abrams, contrastingly, has been making and remaking the same two plots for 15 years now. And one plot is just ‘total pasted together fan-angering mess!’ and the other is “Bad Guys Have an ad hoc Death Star”
Yes, Phantom Menace is terrible, but things improved fast despite the lack of goodwill for awhile towards the prequels. The bottom line – most of the things people hated in Phantom Menace are minimized or written away in Attack of the Clones, a movie that gets BETTER every 10 minutes even if its never really “great” it’s not terrible like its prequel and doesn’t make all the same mistakes that movie makes(only some of them, mostly upfront).
You’ll Love it for 6 Bucks
That’s right, I said it, Rise of Skywalker will be a great view in a few months when you can watch it at home for 6 bucks. You’ll probably feel pretty good about punting on it. The theater is just a bad risk now. Some people I know have already seen it and one review was ‘preposterous’. So I don’t think I’m gonna end up being wrong on this.
Don’t bother going to the theater to enable a bad incarnation of a once great franchise. The movie looks derivative and bad. The lead up and trailers are bad. The promise to slow down making the movies if we just see this one is not encouraging at all and wont be kept.
So skip this movie, or, as a wise Sith once said to Luke Skywalker; “You will pay the price for your lack of vision!”
May the Force be with You as you watch the Mandalorian with a borrowed Disney code. That at least has mostly been really good.
Just Another Sci Fi Franchise
That’s right, you heard it here first. The bloom has been off the rose for awhile, but now the Star Wars movies are just plain old movies like any other franchise. Worse yet, these newer movies have a higher chance of being bad than just any sci fi movie, and in fact Avengers has been better for a while. While Rogue One delivered, really the next best movie they’ve given us is the shaky (and now undermined) The Force Awakens, which is not quite as good as Phantom Menace.
And there’s no real need to go to crime ridden Orlando for the Theme Park til the price comes down either but that’s another post.