#REVIEW: The Boys, Season 2

Before I get into the post itself, I just want to point out that I find it kind of funny that I made a point of mentioning the other day that I hadn’t missed a post since April, and then bloody went and forgot to post yesterday until almost 11:30, at which point my inner fuck it, nobody is paying me for this kicked in and I didn’t bother throwing something onto the site just to check off the day. In my defense, yesterday was a deeply weird, schedule-murdering sort of day, the kind of day where you wake up with a certain set of expectations on how the day is going to go and then those expectations are rather rudely tossed onto their ear before you’ve finished your coffee.

What we did manage to do was finish the second season of The Boys. And while I watched the first season by myself, my wife was along for the ride for the entire season this time, thus the “we” and the slightly longer amount of time elapsing before its release and me managing to watch it all. The first season of The Boys was … messy. Real messy. To the point where I felt kind of squicky about recommending people watch it.

The second season was phenomenal.

Now, let’s not misrepresent things: The Boys is still hyper-violent (exploding heads make up more of the season’s plot points than you might typically see in a TV show, and there’s a thing that happens with a whale that is, like, wow) and profane and a lot of other stuff, but while the first season followed the comic books into leaning way too hard into sexual violence and rape than anything really needs to be, the second season has none of that. In general, the female characters are treated much better this season; there’s no fridging at all, and most of the new characters introduced are women.

This show does a couple of things that I really like. First, the acting remains absolutely top-tier across the damn board. Antony Starr as Homelander is Goddamned amazing. This is the role of Karl Urban’s life. The relationship between Jack Quaid and Erin Moriarty’s Hughie and Starlight is sweet and awkward in all sorts of adorable ways. And Giancarlo Esposito is in this show and I praised four other actors before I got around to mentioning him. I mean, come on. And while I wasn’t happy with the semi-redemption arc Chace Crawford’s The Deep got last season, his role this season is far more interesting than last year’s. And his character is responsible for what might be the single greatest cameo in the history of television. You wouldn’t think that the acting and the character work would be the highlight of a show that spends fully three-fourths of a season making you think a head might literally explode at any given moment, but it absolutely is.

(Also, I want every shirt that Mother’s Milk wears during the series. Every single one.)

The second thing that I love about the show is how it has handled adapting the comic book, and it’s kind of fascinating to me that my other example of an outstanding adaptation, The Walking Dead, is also an adaptation to TV of a comic book series. This is the right way to adapt things, guys: take what you think works from the original material and then twist it and fuck with it however you want so that the people who know the source material don’t necessarily know what’s coming next. Something happens at the end that manages to recast the entire first two seasons as a prequel, at least of sorts, to the place where the entire comic series starts. And while at least part of this season is taken, broadly, from the comic book, a huge chunk of it isn’t, and there’s no smug “I know what’s going to happen at the Red Wedding!” sort of scenes for people who have read the comics. I knew one reveal was coming about one character, and one major reveal from the end of the comic series appears to not be the case in the TV series, based on about four seconds of footage in the second-to-last episode. So they’re definitely going their own way here.

The last time I talked about this show, I ended with “If you think this is something you might like, and you’ve already got Amazon Prime, maybe check it out.” I’m still not telling you to get Amazon Prime just for the show, but it’s definitely a reason to get Prime now, as opposed to an ancillary side benefit, and if you already have the service you should strongly consider checking it out if the ultraviolence isn’t going to push you away.

This is kinda cool

I’ve been fucking around in Procreate, using a tutorial. Came up with this:

Kinda neat, I think.

#Review: BLOODSHOT

My wife and I decided we were in the mood for a movie last night after we put the boy to bed. It’s entirely possible that you don’t even know Bloodshot exists in the first place; it’s based on a comic book character, but from the Valiant universe, and if you’re not already a comic book person you do not know the Valiant universe exists. I am a comic book person and literally the only things I knew about Bloodshot going into the movie was that he was created during the 90s, which is the era when “Bloodshot” was something you decided to name your characters (I’m pretty sure the word is never once uttered in the film) and that he used guns and could regenerate. That was it.

The movie also had the deep misfortune to come out on March 13, which was the exact weekend that all hell broke loose and everything started getting cancelled. My last day at work was March 16, the following Monday. I don’t think they were really expecting gangbusters numbers out of this or it wouldn’t have released in March in the first place, but it flopped, and flopped hard. And it was sitting on a rather pathetic 33% rating on the TomatoMeter. We were both in the mood for a dumb action movie, though, and I am a huge Vin Diesel fan regardless of what he’s in, so what the hell, I’ll burn $5.99 to rent this on a Saturday night. It doesn’t need to be art, it needs to entertain me for two hours.

Y’all.

Not only is Bloodshot at least a solid movie, it’s an interesting one on a lot of different levels. The direction, in particular, makes the film worth watching all by itself– this is not a thing that I often say about movies, but the color palette the movie uses is a fascinating choice for an action movie, and there is a fight at the end that takes place in an elevator shaft on the outside of a skyscraper that was just outstanding. The rest of it is shot more like a drama than an action movie, which sounds like a criticism but isn’t. Bloodshot himself tends to be a little lumbery and Frankenstein-ish; like, dude, I know you’ll regenerate and gunshots aren’t likely to kill you, but maybe don’t just walk straight toward the guys that are shooting at you? Like, save the regeneration for when you need it.

There is also a Big Twist, but the Big Twist happens at about the 1/3 mark of the film, which … is not how that usually works? And I’m going to suggest that you withhold judgment until you get to that Big Twist, because it’s going to recast everything you just saw and some things that maybe didn’t make a ton of sense at first are going to click. And pay attention before then, because you get some interesting hints at what’s going on scattered here and there.

Vin Diesel is Vin Diesel; you kind of know what to expect there, and Guy Pearce continues to be a chameleon. There are a couple of weak spots in the cast; the bad guy’s muscle is underwritten, including one guy who is angry all the time for no clear reason, and I don’t know who decided that the guy who played Winston on New Girl should do his entire character with what I think was supposed to be a Cockney accent, but Jesus, his accent is so terrible that after a while I decided that the character was from Chicago and the whole thing was an elaborate prank.

… which, if you’d ever watched New Girl, you know that would have been just about the best movie moment of all time. Prank Sinatra, baby!

So: Bloodshot is not going to change your life or anything like that, but it’s a solid B as a film, which I was not expecting from something at 33% on the critical reviews. It’s a great Saturday night rental if you’re in the mood for an action movie. Check it out.


11:01 AM, Sunday June 14: 2,075,840 confirmed cases and 115,458 Americans dead.

On Thanos’ ass

My wife just showed me this tweet:

And I horribly disappointed her by not having the slightest idea what the hell could possibly be going on. Apparently– and you’re just going to have to believe me on this, as I refuse to look for it– there has recently been a discussion on The Twitter about why Ant-Man didn’t simply defeat Thanos by crawling inside his asshole and then growing.

Look, damn it, I need something more ridiculous than British money to talk about around here. These are the posts. 🙂

It is unclear exactly how much force Ant-Man is able to exert while growing. In fact, two damn near successive images from this trailer make the problem pretty clear:

You only need about the first thirty seconds, but you see two things here associated with growth: first, whatever system they have built inside the van is strong enough to fling another van off of its wheels and into the air. However, the system in Ant-Man’s actual suit isn’t able to put out enough force to break either the drop ceiling above him or the drywall around him. One assumes that you could use Pym particles to generate quite a bit of force, then, but that capability doesn’t seem to exist in Ant-Man’s suit, no doubt because his actual flesh is weaker than the metal frame of the van.

For the sake of argument, I’m willing to accept that Ant-Man or the Wasp are both able to shrink down enough to get inside Thanos’ suit of armor, and from there, provided that he is not actively clenching, one assumes they could work their way into his asshole if it were absolutely necessary. However, any suit that can’t grow Ant-Man with enough force to break drywall is surely not going to be able to overcome the pressure that the rectal wall of a man able to box the Hulk into unconsciousness could exert.

The good news for Ant-Man is that his suit does appear to have some sort of failsafe in it so that he can’t accidentally grow beyond the point where he hurts himself, or he would surely be larger than the room in the scene above, which I’m pretty sure is from a part of the movie where the suit was actively malfunctioning. I therefore posit that Ant-Man is only able to grow large enough, once ensconced in Thanos’ rectum, for Thanos to notice him, at which point one assumes that Thanos would clench, and things end poorly for Ant-Man, who has no particular level of enhanced strength or invulnerability, especially at that size. If his suit does not have the failsafe built in, Thanos clenches anyway, and one way or another the big purple dude is gonna need an oversized bidet to clean up the mess, which isn’t gonna be pretty.

The correct way, by the way, for Ant-Man or the Wasp to defeat a being on the level of Thanos is not to fly into his ass, but to fly into his ear. I’m pretty certain that the Wasp dropped the Hulk himself at least once by flying into his ear and directing an energy blast directly into his eardrum. Or, in a worst-case scenario, shrink down a bit more and head for his brain, which I’m pretty sure she did to the Red Hulk at one point.

Or, y’know, there’s always distraction. Yeah, this happened. God, The Ultimates was terrible:

#REVIEW: Birds of Prey

…and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Because I’m not putting that entire damn title into the headline.

It’s possible that you remember my review of Suicide Squad, way back in 2016 before the world went mad, which was basically “this is exactly the movie you think it is, only maybe 20% better.” Birds of Prey isn’t exactly a sequel to Suicide Squad, but it isn’t not a sequel to Suicide Squad, and in a whole lot of ways it’s exactly the same movie, right down to me being able to basically review it the same way: even if you haven’t seen this movie, you already know what you think about it, because this movie is exactly what it appears to be, and you probably already know what you think of those types of movies. It’s big and kinda dumb and kinda pretty and the acting is a weird combination of interesting and entirely inexplicable and, like most things, it could have been much shorter if Batman had been in it.

Seriously, there’s a bit toward the end where “You’re Harley Quinn, I bet you can find a way to attract Batman’s attention” is easily the best way to solve the problem the characters have, but then they’d have to find a way to stuff his name into that title and it’s already too unwieldy. This was an interesting comic book movie for me to watch, honestly, because despite being a Batman fan in general I actually own very few Batman-related comic books and I really don’t know much about most of these characters beyond the very broadest strokes, and even then I had to look a few people up here and there. The big draw is the action sequences, of course, which are better than a bunch of other comic-book movies I’ve seen, and I found myself a big fan of Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s performance as Black Canary, especially a reveal she gets toward the end.

Ewan McGregor is in it. His performance is … memorable. Yes. I will remember his performance. That is true and accurate. His final scene is also Quite a Thing. Like, “my wife and I both yelled out loud at 11:30 at night when The Thing happened” level Quite a Thing.

If you want to see it, it’s available as a digital rental right now; I would recommend you follow your gut on it. If you think you’ll enjoy it, you probably will and I suggest you check it out. If Harley doesn’t interest you, I don’t think this will help much with that, though. I hear Snowpiercer is going to be a TV show soon; maybe check that out. 🙂


5:20 PM, Sunday, May 10: 1,326,328 confirmed cases and 79,384 deaths, thankfully not much of a change from yesterday’s numbers, although that’s typical for a Sunday.