ON WANDAVISION: THE FIRST TWO EPISODES

…meh?

We watched the first two episodes of WandaVision last night. To be clear, this is all that’s been released so far, and I’m still not clear (and I’m not looking it up) how many episodes are planned for this season or what the release schedule is. The real short version of this post is that right now after two episodes I’m not sure why this show exists or what it’s for, and I’m kind of bewildered by the super-positive reception it seems to be receiving so far.

Minor spoilers, but if you’re familiar with the concept of the show there’s really not a lot to spoil.

The thing is, this is a Season 5 mystery, not a first-episode-of-the-series mystery. When last we saw these characters, Wanda was at the big fight at the end of Endgame and Vision was still dead, having had the Mind Stone ripped out of his head by Thanos before the Snap– and because he died before the Snap, as far as we know he stayed dead. Did Tony bring him back? Maybe, but we’ve not been shown that prior to now.

So I guess we’re supposed to be wondering why Vision isn’t dead any longer, and probably wondering why this series is, so far, mimicking crappy TV sitcoms from the fifties and sixties and abruptly bouncing into Technicolor at the end of the second episode to enter the seventies. There have been a couple of hints that something else is going on; the color red, and a weird dude in a beekeeper’s suit, and a couple of moments where Wanda sort of freaks out and takes control of what’s going on around her.

The problem is I don’t care. Here’s what I mean by a Season 5 mystery: if you watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, imagine that Dawn’s first episode was the series premiere. The viewers knew that something weird was going on from the jump, because we’d had several seasons to get used to Buffy and her family and we knew ferdamnsure that she didn’t have a little sister, and she’d never had a little sister, and so Dawn’s first appearance sparked curiosity. This, on the other hand, comes off to me as more of an okay, this is what we’re doing, I guess sort of thing, and the fact that they’re leaning so hard into the fifties and sixties tropes when those shows were bad is, at least to me, not a smart move. I spent all of both episodes waiting for the minute of footage where Something Untoward Happens, because of course this isn’t how things are supposed to be and can we move on to getting some answers, please, because the A-plot where Vision is having his boss over for dinner is insanely not interesting. Like, that sort of boring-ass plot worked in the 1950s, or at least I guess it did, but in 2021 it’s all wasted time, because there’s no earthly reason to care.

Is there something about Wanda’s personality or hobbies or something that makes reverting to old sitcoms make sense? Dunno; we don’t really know anything about her. I know, because I follow these sorts of things, that the actress calling herself Geraldine in the second episode is actually Monica Rambeau, who is low-key the main reason I’m watching the series in the first place– but that’s not in the episode at all. In a Season 5 mystery, we know that the dude playing Vision’s boss is actually Mr. Frumblegumph from his actual job and the neighbor lady who’s being so nice is actually the villain from Season 2, so we should keep a close eye on her, or whatever. This? If I hadn’t known that Monica Rambeau was in this show, noted the name of the actress playing her, and then seen that name in the credits, I’d have no reason to think anything at all about that side character.

I mean, I don’t hate it, don’t get me wrong, and I’ll watch more of it because 1) what the hell else do I have to do right now and 2) Monica Rambeau, but this wasn’t the home run to me that a lot of people seem to think it is, and I really don’t know where those folks are coming from. Hopefully a few more episodes in will have moved onto something real and not this contrived-ass mystery.


A quick moment, though, while I argue with something that I’ve, uh, not actually seen anyone say so far: one thing I do like about the show is that so far this program has been aping the 1950s and 1960s but there are Black and Asian people in the cast and they have not felt the need to be Historically Accurate and made all these white folks racist as hell. I feel like if I look hard enough I’m going to find someone complaining that “Geraldine” was just treated like another member of the cast when in the real 1950s show she’d be blah blah blah blah and I’m glad they decided to just ignore that.

Quick #Review: VENOM (2018)

The boy has been campaigning to be allowed to watch Venom for a few days, so Bek and I previewed it last night to make sure it wasn’t going to destroy his tiny little brain or anything like that. The answer: no, it will not, although he might end up kind of bored with it, because the movie shows a surprising amount of patience with setting up its characters before Venom itself actually shows up on screen.

I don’t think this movie really need a full-blown review, but you should slot it pretty firmly with the second tier of non-Marvel superhero movies. It’s nowhere near as bad as some of the early attempts– say, the Elektras and the Daredevils— and probably on par with, say, the Birds of Prey movies, where you have a pretty good idea going in what you’re in for and if you’re okay with being in for that you’re going to have a decent time for the $9 it currently costs to buy this movie from Amazon Prime. The most jarring thing for me is that Venom himself has kind of a cheesy sense of humor, which I wasn’t really expecting, but expect that the alien symbiotic might come awfully close to making a couple of Dad jokes at various points during the film. There are definitely some story weaknesses, don’t get me wrong, and Riz Ahmed’s villain-whose-name-I-don’t-remember is damn near cartoonishly evil, but you could do worse than two hours of making fun of Tom Hardy’s accent and Michelle Williams’ wig.

Three and a half stars, watch during a long weekend.

I haven’t missed a day since April 5…

… so obviously I can’t let that streak break just yet.

Not that I have anything in particular to say, mind you. I’m still kinda pissy about that school boar meeting yesterday; it’s flat ridiculous that we’re this far into the year (and this close to our supposed return) and we still don’t have the vaguest idea how so, so many things are supposed to work. But really, I could do that rant any day.

Here, have the trailer for WandaVision, and muse upon the fact that somehow I never wrote a review of Avengers: Endgame.

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:

Because capitalism

Yes goddammit of course I have a Disney+ subscription. I may actually have already mentioned ponying up around here; I signed up a few weeks ago and have been waiting impatiently ever since for the damn thing to actually launch. The entertaining bit is that after those several weeks of impatience I actually forgot until an hour or so ago that the thing was launching today, and didn’t get everything signed in and hooked up until just before dinner.

What am I watching first? Captain Marvel, of course, but we will absolutely be watching the first episode of The Mandalorian before bed, especially now that I have confirmed that a certain thing I was worried about does not actually happen in the show. (No spoilers, of course.)

We spent a couple of minutes scrolling through the available offerings and my wife went entertainingly nuts over some of the possibilities, so I think our $6.99 for at least the first month or two are going to be pretty well-spent. For me, the Star Wars and Marvel content is gonna be more than enough to keep me busy for a while, and having all the classic Disney films, many of which my son hasn’t seen, is icing on the cake.

So, yeah. See you in a month. 🙂