Aquaman Was … a Lot

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The term “guilty pleasure” gets tossed around a bit too much these days in the realm of entertainment. In my view, if a piece of entertainment, well, entertains you, there’s nothing to be guilty of.

Still, I understand where the term comes from, and a movie like Aquaman is virtually begging to be crowned as one of the best recent examples. It’s a movie a lot of people like, even while those same people acknowledge undeniable narrative flaws.

Some love Aquaman. Some hate it. I find myself floating somewhere in between the surface-level writing and the likable characters and the labrynthian world they inhabit.

Read on for my full breakdown, which separates The Packaging with The Writing to try to make sense of what works and what doesn’t in the latest attempt to right the ship that is the DC Extended Universe.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Understands its Hero … and Soars Because of It

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Spider-Man is and always has been my favorite superhero. Much of that is owed to growing up in the 90s and early aughts, but in my view, Spidey was the first hero to get right what a lot of the DC legends got wrong. Admiring a hero from afar is fine, but to get truly invested in one, you need to be able to sympathize with him. Peter Parker is the everyman. He’s the first comic book character whose true identity is more important than his heroic alter ego.

To date, none of his (now many) film iterations have managed to strike the balance between Peter and Spidey, human and hero while finding the melding point between the two, which is often as indistinguishable for the character as it is for the audience.

Yeah … they got it right.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Has Balls and Wants You to See Them

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Admittedly, I went into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with tempered expectations. It’s not that I heard the film was poor. Not by a long shot, but I had heard that it was, well, different. Much different than the first—widely considered to be one of the best to date in Marvel’s growing catalogue—and much different from the tone the trailers seemed to tease.

I’m happy to report I was completely blown away by the second volume of this unique, strange, witty, weird and heartfelt epic comedy fantasy saga in space, so much so that it easily reaches the upper echelon of the MCU for me.

And yes, I think it even outshines the first.

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Rogue One is Something Special

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About halfway through Rogue One, I found myself taking a mental tally, going over the characters I’d met, the events that had already unfolded and the threads and arcs that had been set up, and wondering, flatly, whether or not I loved the film or merely liked it to that point.

While that may seem like a criticism on the surface, it’s really just a testament to the sort of layered, multifaceted film Gareth Edwards has given us here.

Halfway through this movie, I stopped seeing the characters as heroes on the page or screen and started reacting to them emotionally as if they were people – real people I was witnessing endure in the face of overwhelming odds. Despite the film’s flaws — and there are some — it is the characters who push this entry in the Star Wars canon from simply good into the realm of great.

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