And besides, what is Ricky supposed to get out of this incident? What lesson has he learned? What lasting advantage has been bestowed upon him?
The problem that Clark Kent, alias Superman, is supposedly trying to deal with is that young Ricky here is being bullied by his classmates. They don’t want him on their bowling team, for a very good reason: the kid has no skills, and brings nothing to the organization.
If the miraculous intervention on Ricky’s behalf makes it appear as if he has suddenly and temporarily acquired an inhumanly destructive right hook which blows bowling pins to fragments, then what? Even if this moment of triumph, which he did not earn and does not deserve, imbues him with masterful confidence heading into his next time at-bat, he still sucks at bowling and that deficit has not been corrected.
And as for the bullying, if you think that the only problem the other kids have with him is his bowling skills, then you need to take another close look at Ricky.
Continue reading Superman III 4.19: Still About Bowling →
Now, the first thing that I’d like to point out is that Superman III is extremely judgmental about the consumption of alcohol for the purposes of adult refreshment.
It’s something that only the baddies do, and they do it performatively to show how bad they are. At the beginning of the seduction-of-the-innocent sequence, Webster makes a big show of accessing his enormous in-office liquor cabinet, and giving Gus a drink. Later, Gus uses Brad’s interest in thirst-quenching beverages to gain access to the company computer. And what is the last straw for Dark Superman, when you know that he’s really gone rotten? He goes to a bar and has a drink.
So I think that’s important context to establish, before I present my analysis of the film’s anti-Brad agenda.
Continue reading Superman III 4.14: King of the Prom →
After a tough day of being chased and caught and kidnapped and assaulted and chased again, around and around in a trackless swamp with no exit signs or toilet facilities, it makes sense that Agent Alice Cable would want to take a moment to relax, and refresh herself.
Still, I don’t get why she’s choosing to relax in the gross tannic-acid parasite-ridden swamp water. This is the same water that she just swam in; it doesn’t get cleaner because you’re standing still. This is the thing you’re trying to wash off.
Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.36: The Anatomy Lesson →
“Every time you’ve seen the girl, you’ve seen the beast,” says international villain Arcane, issuing instructions to his demented henchmen. “We’ll find the girl; the beast will follow.” That’s a good plan, except now they have to find the girl.
Luckily, Cable has managed to find an excellent hiding place: in the middle of a lake outside of Los Angeles, about 2,500 miles away from the South Carolina swamp where they filmed the rest of the picture.
Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.27: The Boat Fight →
So, let me see if I’ve got this straight.
There’s a guy named Ronnie, who’s one of the security agents guarding Alec Holland’s magical cabinet of wonders, out on the edge of a dismal, dreary swamp. Ronnie’s patrolling one day, when he comes across a large group of armed men, who are messing with one of the sensors. Ronnie thinks that nobody’s seen him yet, but then a big scary man named Ferret pops out of the bushes with a gun.
Ronnie tries to run, but he’s outflanked by other scary men emerging from behind basically every tree in the area. They manage to grab him, and then Ferret murders him with a pocket snake.
So I have a question: What is the sensor sensing?
Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.9: Sensor and Sensibility →
It’s your basic “boy-meets-girl, boy-becomes-cryptid” story, really. A woman walks into a laboratory, and the chemistry experiment begins.
As we’ve discussed, the three steps to getting the audience to like a character is to make a friend, make a joke and make something happen, and Dr. Alec Holland is about to do all three in record time. The appeal of Swamp Thing is half superhero-action and half romantic drama, so it’s only going to be effective if it can get us to believe in Cable and Alec as a couple, during the limited amount of time before he explodes.
So this meet-cute needs to be practically automatic, establishing that both parties are smart, funny and attractive, and getting them to challenge each other in sparky mini-clashes that are interesting to watch. The time-honored method is to get the characters to stick their hands in a murky water trough, looking for an imaginary animal.
Continue reading Swamp Thing 3.7: The Mysteries of Alessandro →
Now, I have to admit that this one has a pretty good excuse, compared to other Save My Baby Ladies in her weight class.
Your typical Save My Baby Lady has left her infant unattended in a flammable apartment building playing with a pile of oily rags while she goes out to the pachinko parlor, and she comes home just in time to realize that she’s going to need a superhero, tout suite. “Save my baby!” she cries, and all of a sudden it’s everybody else’s problem, as seen in Backdraft, Spider-Man and Hero at Large.
In this instance, the Save My Baby Lady has made the simple mistake of going out shopping with her baby, while three sky tyrants beat the hell out of a guy in aerial warfare directly overhead. One of them just got knocked into the Empire State Building, and the radio antenna snapped clean off, now plunging in the direction of down towards this formerly carefree consumer.
Everybody else has the good sense to scuttle for shelter, but Save My Baby Ladies have a strict stand-your-ground policy. “Oh, my god!” she screams. “My baby!” And then she tries to cover it with her body, which is sweet but not a lot of help.
I mean, I don’t want to blame the victim, although to be honest, they are trending super blameable right now.
Continue reading Superman II 2.42: Save My Baby!! →
#1. Focus groups.
Obviously, “Kneel Before Zod” is going to be the main theme of our re-education program, as we transition to a fully Zod-based society. It’s a simple message of global submission that everyone can understand. However, it’s not testing as well with all demographics, especially the elderly and the injured, who are having trouble getting into the correct kneeling position. It’s important to pay attention to the injured demographic, because there are a lot more of them now than there used to be.
Continue reading Superman II 2.38: A List of Things That Our Kryptonian Overlords Don’t Care About →
Well, after centuries of stories assuring us that sacrificing something for true love is admirable and worthwhile, we finally have a movie that begs to differ. Superman II tells us that making sacrifices for love is selfish, and benefits bullies who try to take over the world. That’s why there are so many bullies currently running things. People need to keep that in mind.
Continue reading Superman II 2.35: Mainly About Hot Dogs →
You have to be careful with stories, especially the big mythological ones.
If you leave them sitting around in people’s brains for long enough, stories become ideas, and then ideas become attitudes, which become worldviews. And that’s not a linear process, obviously. Your attitudes affect how you interpret stories, and how you choose the kinds of stories you’re interested in engaging with.
At a certain point, you’re not telling stories anymore. The stories are telling you.
Continue reading Superman II 2.33: Who You Callin’ Kleenex? →