Netflix’s Daredevil: A Review

When I first got into comics, it was just after Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil, but it was because of his work – and specifically the run collected in the Born Again graphic novel – that Daredevil was on my pull list. Ann Nocenti was writing, and it was good. Really good. Daredevil has continued to be a favourite character of mine.

I didn’t mind the Daredevil movie. I didn’t love it, mind you, but I didn’t mind it. I might have even enjoyed it. Watched the director’s cut, and found that good enough.

Thankfully, now I don’t have to settle for good enough. Now I can have a nice helping of awesome.

I watched the first three episodes of Netflix’s new original series, Daredevil. It is good. Really good. Like “oh-my-god-I-want-to-keep-watching-this-forever” good. Charlie Cox is really killing it as both Matt Murdock and Daredevil. The costume is not the one I remember, but it is apparently patterned on the costume from the Man Without Fear origin story – I need to look that one up. And it’s good. I know that the red costume will come, but you know what? I wouldn’t care. It isn’t the costume that makes a hero to me.

What the episodes I have seen have done is get Daredevil right. The stories, the characters, the action, it all fits with my recollections, with what I loved about Daredevil. That the red costume is going to play some part in all this is the frosting flower on top of the frosting that is on the cake – oh so awesome, but I’d be totally happy if it hadn’t been on the cake.

Netflix is going to do more of the miniseries, but we’ll be waiting for them. It’s going to be a lone wait. I’m especially excited about Iron Fist. The Immortal Iron Fist has been my bar-none favourite comic in the last five years. It helped get me get my toes back into the comics’ pool. If they can do as well with Danny Rand as they’ve done with Matt Murdock, Netflix will have earned every damn penny I’ve spent on it. And then some.

It’s a good time to be a comics fan and a Netflix subscriber.

I give Netflix’s Daredevil 4.75 broken ribs out of 5. It’s not perfect, but it is close enough that it doesn’t matter.

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Social Commie Justice Something

Total commie

I really don’t like identity politics . . . although I’ve never actually seen a good definition of identity politics, so I guess what I don’t like is identifying people by their politics or beliefs. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a raging socialist. Even in Canuckistan, I’m pretty red.

I’m also a supporter of the military who believes the Canadian Armed Forces should be warfighters and not peacekeepers.

And I support the right of citizens to own firearms, though I believe there should be limitations.

I’m not defined by simple labels, and I don’t judge people based on their labels. I have lots of friends who don’t share my politics at all. Actually, I have friends who think my politics are horrible. We still game together, joke together, and have fun together. Sometimes we even talk politics. We totally disagree, but that’s okay, because they explain how I am wrong and I explain how they are wrong.

By the way, they are very, very wrong. ;)

I have very close friends with whom I’ve gotten blind stinking drunk and for whom I’d give an organ who disagree with everything I believe regarding how we should govern our nation (or their nation, for my international brethren) and how we should treat others.

Making decisions about people based only on their politics is, frankly, stupid. Except when you are electing them, then totally make your choices based on their politics.

This came to mind looking at the brouhaha over some directed voting at the Hugo Awards, brought to my attention by Black Gate – one of my favourite places on the internet.

It really looks like a case of deciding who should or should not win an award for fiction or other endeavours based on politics. That assessment is almost certainly driven by confirmation bias, since I support inclusiveness. That doesn’t mean that I don’t support the writings of “straight” white males, ’cause I did say inclusive, I just don’t think there is a problem with non-straight, non-white, and/or non-males making genre fiction and winning awards.

The situation with the awards looks a lot to me like making decisions about creativity based on politics. Which would be stupid.

I guess that makes me a social justice warrior or something.

Labels. So very convenient.

You can read about this brouhaha over at Black Gate.

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Cinderella: A Review

The family went to see Cinderella on the weekend. I have to admit I was looking forward to this, given that I generally enjoy Kenneth Branagh’s work. Unlike Thor, Cinderella seemed much more in the laneway of a Shakespearean director, given that it is about relationships and drama rather than action and spectacle (though I still think he did a serviceable job with Thor).

And I believe Branagh delivers. There is much to enjoy in this movie, though it hews very, very closely to the Disney storyline. While some amplification of certain character’s motivations and desires is offered, overall this is a live-action version of the Disney cartoon.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, though I really wish a decision had been made – by Branagh or Disney – to extend the courtship of Cinderella and the Prince. Maybe after finding her, the Prince proposes marriage but Cinderella says something to the effect of “we’ll see,” and then maybe have the wedding, but indicate – since there is a voiceover narrating much of the film – that this occurred a year or two later.

I’d like to give Branagh some kudos for inclusivity – Cinderella’s native land is a real melting pot of ethnicities – but I don’t think he went far enough. This is the man who had Keanu Reeves as Denzel Washington’s brother – okay, half-brother, but still – and Washington was the lord of Aragon – although he seemed pretty much the only non-white in his own land – in Much Ado About Nothing. This is the man who brought us Idris Elba as Heimdall. I just wish the speaking cast – especially in the lead roles – was more diverse. Given this is a fairytale, what’s to stop the king, Cinderella’s father, or – dare I even think it – the Prince or Cinderella from being non-Caucasian? Would it really be so bad?

In the end, this is a light and enjoyable confection. Unlike the animated movie, this is not a musical, though there is some singing. Like the animated movie, this is great family entertainment. It was the first time my girls saw a movie in a real movie theatre – rather than an auditorium standing in for a movie theatre. We all had a great time, which opens up the realm of family visits to the cinema on a more regular basis – with the costs of tickets, that regular basis will likely be no more than twice a year – which is pretty cool.

I give Cinderella 4 glass slippers out of 5. This was a fun movie, but there’s nothing that makes it standout as great or significant.

You can read more about Cinderella at IMDB or Wikipedia.

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In Which I Once Again Give Up On Being Deep

I have a project on which I am working right now and part of it is a fiction component. I’m preparing some submission packages for long-form fiction in various genres – action, fantasy, sci-fi, and post-apocalyptic. Now the post-apocalyptic one I have strong feelings on the characters and the atmosphere I am going to try to convey, but what I didn’t have for some time is confidence in the plot.

See, it’s basically a riff on the Searchers, the old John Wayne movie about a Civil War veteran in search of his niece who had been kidnapped by Native Americans. As I’m writing this piece, I’m wondering if it doesn’t need something more important. I was thinking that the search itself, each character’s motivation for joining in the search, and how each character changes as they grow more desperate was not enough. I was thinking there needed to be a bigger plot.

This is particularly odd because I’m generally very far from writing “epic” stuff for fantasy and sci-fi. I aim much more for gritty and small. I mean, my fantasy fiction has been very focused on sword noir – lower case for the genre rather than upper case for the game. But for some reason, as I’m working on this post-apocalyptic Western – and that’s really what it is – I thought I needed something more.

I can’t be the only writer that was raised on ideas of “important fiction.” I honestly thought I had moved away from that, that I had accepted I didn’t need to write “the great Canadian novel” or something of that kind to be happy as a writer. I guess it sometimes seeps back in. I guess sometimes we wonder if what we are doing has value.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a hack. I write to entertain, not edify. I’m not working on a message or delivering a statement. This story is going to be about some badasses trying to do something good with their lives, and then realizing what road those good intentions are paving.

Seriously, if I get this stuff done, that in itself will be a victory. Anything more is gravy.

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Forces spéciales Review

I’m a sucker for military movies. Heck, look at how much time I invested in watching Strike Back. So I’m often scouring Netflix for good military action. Unfortunately, while there are a lot of action movies, their military quotient is pretty bad. The weapons, equipment, attitude and tactics of the characters in these movies kills my willing suspension of disbelief. I can’t get into these movies and don’t enjoy them. Strike Back, for all its faults, meets my relatively low bar for authenticity. See, I’m not saying realism, because that’s not what I’m looking for. Make these guys look suitably SOF, give them kit that looks pretty close to something high speed, and have them use tactics that are believable for elite commandos, and I’ll watch.

I approached Forces spéciales (Special Forces) with some trepidation. I think I had it confused with another movie I had read about set in Africa that sounded ridiculous. As it is, this French venture is set in Afghanistan and the Frontier Regions of Pakistan with an opening set in Africa. So I gave it a shot. I’ve liked Djimon Hounsou in everything in which I’ve seen him, so I was relatively well-disposed going in.

This is a French take on movies like Tears of the Sun or Acts of Valour. It’s more Tears of the Sun because it has a strong narrative and that narrative is about a rescue and escape, with a lot of evasion thrown in there.

The actors look suitably bad-ass. The action is suitably believable. If you liked Tears of the Sun, you’ll probably like this, although there are subtitles, so if you can’t deal with those you’re going to have a bad time.

I can’t really enthuse about this, because it lost its steam around the half-way mark. When it became a move of survival against the elements, my attention started to wander. And, honestly, the ending flushes any semblance to consistency down the toilet. I can’t really get into it without spoiling the ending, but it makes your disbelief almost impossible to suspend, willingly or not.

So I’m giving Forces spéciales 3.5 out 5 French macho one-liners, because when it does actions scenes, it does them well. The survival drama and ending really drag down the rating.

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The Final Countdown!

Avenue of the Rams by Kieron O’Gorman

The end of the Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter is nigh. Get in on the action while you can. We’re at 129% of our goal. If we hit $4,500, there will be maps for the adventure. This mother is already funded and its going to happen, so get in on it while the gettin’ is good. You won’t be able to get it cheaper when it hits the shops. If you don’t have the money for it now, let everyone you know who might dig this know about it, because the better we are able to make, the better a product you’ll be picking up later.

Because even if you don’t support the Kickstarter, you’re going to pick it up later. Right?

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Nefertiti Overdrive Inspiration: the Last Legion

Nefertiti Overdrive is funded at 107% as of now. That doesn’t mean I’m slacking off. The latest update uses Aishwarya Rai’s character in the movie the Last Legion as inspiration for the Serpent.

There’s still 15 days for you to get in on the Assyrian-bashing goodness.

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