Given all the controversy and bad reviews that are floating around for this one, I’m just going to come out and say it: Marvel’s Iron Fist does not suck IMO. Dare ye…um…not oppose me! I’m not saying that Marvel’s Iron Fist is the greatest show ever or that it is on par with the other Marvel TV shows that have made it to Netflix. It isn’t. But it’s a decent show, one that gets better as the first season progresses. Some reviews of the Marvel / Netflix series appear to spend a good deal of time on the white washing issue, which seems – to me – to have marred the series in the eyes of many, perhaps generating even harsher reviews than the show deserves. For me, this is a separate issue from whether the show is any good or not.
There are good things and bad things about the show worth talking about. Brace yourself for spoilers, kids.
The 2017 live action version of Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson, is upon us. I am a fan of the 1995 anime, though it isn’t a perfect movie. It’s a bit dry with a lot of speeches about identity and the nature of consciousness. But I still like it and have seen the anime several times. I’m also a fan of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series and I’ve read some of the original manga, which has a different tone from all the other versions of the story. This review focuses on the 2017 movie, which I think of as the “Scarjo” version.
The new live action movie basically keeps the same world and characters from all the other versions of Ghost in the Shell, more or less. It take’s place in a near future world where cybernetic implants are commonplace and people can surf the web with their minds. The main characters are the crew of Section 9, which I think of as a team of semi-military cops. OK, so maybe just cops. They can also be likened to the FBI and other federal agencies that stop crimes. In most versions of Ghost in the Shell, “the Major” – usually named Motoko Kusanagi – is the central protagonist, although the Scarjo version calls her Mira Killian. Each version of the story pits the Major and the rest of Section 9 against opponents with advanced computer hacking abilities that allow them to infect cybernetic human beings with viruses, new memories, and all that scary stuff.
So now for the big question: Did the live 2017 Ghost in the Shell Scarjo version of the movie suck?
Deadpool (known by some as the Merc with the Mouth) is the first major R-rated movie I’ve seen in a long, long time. Since I missed issues of the Deadpool comics as a kid, the fact that this was an R-rated comic book movie got my attention more than anything else. Despite his missteps joining other comic book franchises (Blade 3, Green Lantern, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) the idea of Ryan Reynolds playing Deadpool still feels right.
Anyone who saw the promos for the movie and other promotional material is probably kind of psyched for this one. But the question, as always, is this:
Religions have spent eons honing defenses that keep outside information away from insiders. The innermost ring wall is a set of certainties and associated emotions like anxiety and disgust and righteous indignation that block curiosity. The outer wall is a set of behaviors aimed at insulating believers from contradictory evidence and from heretics who are potential transmitters of dangerous ideas. These behaviors range from memorizing sacred texts to wearing distinctive undergarments to killing infidels. Such defenses worked beautifully during humanity’s infancy. But they weren’t really designed for the current information age.