Quick thoughts on The Martian

November 2nd, 2015

Far beyond its absence of green ladies and wormholes linking baddads of the past and gooddads yet to come, this is an overwhelmingly functional movie, but that’s not a criticism so much as it’s a sign that I was awake enough to notice the movie’s basic effects.

The transmission of practical genius is one its keys goals, but while this is most obviously signified in Rich Purnell(/Donald Glover)’s wild eyes and inattention to his own living conditions or the triangulations that blink up on Beth Johanssen(/Kate Mara)’s monitor, its most interesting expression comes in the scenes dealing with Mark Watney(/Matt Damon)’s attempts at life on Mars.

These scene aim for a “based on a true story” vibe through a mixture of heavily reduced scientific exposition and direct to fake-real camera addresses that remind me of computer game cut scenes in their overpoweringly “clean” flaws, the carefully composed cracks in their recording.

It’s down to Damon to sell all of this.

What’s The Story?
The Joker, on his release from prison, has bought a company that makes slot machines.

What’s The Story?

Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter, has been let out of prison and immediately gone back to his old ways.

What’s The Story?

King Boris, the monarch of an unnamed European country (though he has an English accent) is visiting Gotham on a goodwill visit, and bringing with him a miniature replica, in gold and jewels, of the famous Queen of Freedom monument, to be placed in the monument itself. The Riddler kidnaps Boris, in what turns out to be a fiendishly complicated plan.

What’s The Story?

Every April 1st, an unknown bank robber steals $100,000, sometimes from banks which have much more money, and no-one knows why

What’s The Story?
This story is loosely based on The Ice Crimes of Mr Zero by Dave Wood and Sheldon Moldoff, from 1959′s Batman #121.

What’s The Story?
The Penguin has just been let out of jail, and strange non-crimes involving umbrellas are happening all over town.

What’s The Story?
The Riddler manages to trick Batman into arresting him when he’s not guilty, and files suit for wrongful arrest — Batman will have to reveal his true identity in court!

Batman piloting a plane


I’m going to become quite unpopular among my friends, I suspect, when I say that I didn’t like Guardians of the Galaxy very much at all.
I didn’t *hate* it — it had an excellent cast, the effects work was as good as you’d expect, and there were a few good lines of dialogue (I was the only one in the cinema who laughed at the John Stamos line, as the only people who know about him in Britain are Beach Boys fans — and indeed there has just been a massive amount of drama about Stamos among Beach Boys fandom, which made me laugh a little harder than I otherwise would). Sometimes it’s a bit too knowing about the pop culture tropes it makes fun of (this is definitely a post-TV Tropes script), but it occasionally does interesting things (there’s one neat little twist when a very, very, obvious third act reveal straight from Screenwriting 101 *doesn’t* turn out to be true).
It also actually had some scenes with colours that aren’t orange or bluish-grey — not many, but a few. This is increasingly rare in the cinema these days, and is to be applauded. I’m sure I even saw a glimpse of yellow at one point.

But one of the reasons Marvel’s films have been so successful is that they have been *superhero* films. This one isn’t