Movie – Rush: B-

It’s odd to compare this to Star Wars, but like Phantom Menace, Rush didn’t really have a main character. It was clearly a biopic, but it tried to be a bi-biopic, focusing on two characters, from the point of view of both with neither being protagonist nor antagonist. Perhaps that was the point. I was wholly ignorant of Formula 1, so I found those segments interesting in their newness, but the majority of the character drama felt bland. Well shot and well performed, but it struggled to keep me engaged.

Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man 2: B-

amazing spiderman 2B-
Nearly all the action sequences could be called “amazing” but unfortunately I’d already seen most of them in the previews, despite attempting to avoid them. But I digress. They finally got Spider-Man’s wittiness down. His mid-fight quips are the best yet and Peter and Gwen are eye-rollingly adorable. But man did the story make no sense. There was so much forced plotting and ridiculous coincidence it’s hard to quantify it all. Far too many characters and plotlines and not enough cohesion.

Comic – The Massive vol1: Black Pacific: B-

massive vol1
Yet another post apocalyptic story, though much less apocalyptic than usual, which itself is a welcome change. It jumps around with flashbacks and expository narration a bit too much, usually in the middle of action sequences in a (misguided) attempt to create tension. It’s not shy with sharing its ideas on environmentalism, politics, and war, which can get a bit lecture-y. But they’re usually nestled between intriguing arcs and actiony bits so that it works well enough. It’s titular subject seems to be a MacGuffin, as it comes and goes as a plot devise without much incentive for me to care.

TV – Wallander: Season 3: B-

wallander season 3B-
Like Luther’s second season, much of the established cast is absent and also like Luther, those absences are glaring and detrimental, especially Tom Hiddleston, who I feel never quite got his chance to shine on this show. It tried to “shake things up” but it all just felt forced and out of sync with the smart moodiness of the first seasons. The second episode, “The Dogs of Riga” represents the low point of the series, attempting a mob story, which rarely works as a subject for a detective series in my experience.

Movie – Epic: B-

First of all, I can’t see any justification for naming this film Epic. It was certainly adventurous and tries to be funny and charming (though it only marginally succeeds) but definitely not epic. It had lots of stylistic choices that may have seemed good in theory, but in practice left much to be desired. I dreaded every scene featuring the frantic and busy father character and the comic relief were dumb and distracting. The central magical McGuffin was inconsistent at best, most of the time not really making any sense, even to the characters in the film. But some of the scenes were fun and the voice talent performed well. I can see how it would’ve been a good pitch, but it wasn’t quite what I believe its creators wanted it to be.

Movie – Jack the Giant Slayer: B-

jack the giant slayerB-
The combination of bad dialog, heaping tons of CG, and Ewan McGregor makes me amazed George Lucas wasn’t involved. The plot plods along a well-worn path littered with McGuffins and tired tropes. Lame humor, dull action, a boring story, and pale acting all add up to a film you’ll (happily) forget easily.

Comic – Guardians of the Galaxy vol4: Realm of Kings: B-

guardians of the galaxy vol4B-
The characters merely react to events around them and never grow. The dialog improved, especially the humor, but there’s a ton so that there has to be some good ones in there. There were cool concepts never properly explored, though it looks as though they might be in The Thanos Imperative, the final culmination of several Marvel cosmic series.

Comic – Welcome to Hoxford: B-

welcome to hoxfordB-
It’s hard to have a story full of characters the reader isn’t supposed to like, or in this case even despise, but they work well enough to fulfill what the plot requires of them. It’s intriguing enough to keep you reading, but Morrison and McKean’s Arkham Asylum has a similar setting and art style, but a better product. Also it has Batman, which is sort of an unfair advantage.

Comic – Guardians of the Galaxy vol3: War of Kings book2: B-

guardians of the galaxy vol3B-
Reading this volume was like playing a D&D game with too many players. The characters are forced into scenes they don’t belong solely for the sake of inclusion. Since this is a crossover arc, characters disappear and reappear, quickly recapping where they’ve been, like I missed a game night. Finally, the inelegant solution to the character over-abundance feels like some players moved away. It’s fun while it’s happening, but less so in retrospect.

Movie – The Last Stand: B-

last standB-
If a 90’s-era action movie was the goal of Schwarzenegger’s return to film, then I suppose it succeeded. Arnold shot people. Knoxville acted wacky yet loveable. The bad guy was cartoonishly despicable. The results were predictably cathartic. It’s like comfort food. Not the best but fulfilling only through its familiarity.