SIONL: Death Stranding is Gonna Explode

The Tokyo Game Show just happened, and we got to see a new trailer for Kojima’s latest project, Death Stranding.  While morons are going to say that they don’t understand (seriously, I saw a trailer where someone outright said they watched the trailer three times and still didn’t understand it.  What was so fucking complicated?!) what this is, I couldn’t be more stoked.  In this age where everyone wants to have all their questions spoon-fed to them with all the creative mystery of a ham sandwich, Kojima is keeping all his cards close.  And praise that man for it!  The mystery has my anticipation so fucking high.

Sony has been on such a massive winning streak lately with their exclusives.  This year has had three, and all three were massively successful.  And good.  God of War was an engaging narrative and a beautiful story of a father and son.  Detroit: Become Human was David Cage doing his thing, and while it isn’t for everyone, for those who can appreciate his craft, it was pretty awesome.  Finally, we got Marvel’s Spider-Man.  Easily the best game in its genre, and with three pieces of DLC that the devs have promised are not just busy work but substantive story expansions, it isn’t done yet.

Last year, we had two major exclusives from Sony, both of which were so good that I had the hardest time ever picking which was my favorite.  My favorite and second-favorite games of last year, they were – Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn.  It seems that Sony is really banking on great exclusives now, and hot shit!  There is some of the best quality material I have seen in YEARS coming from them.  And more is coming.  This year at E3, we got to see three major gameplay demos from three of their biggest upcoming projects – Ghost of Tsushima, The Last of Us: Part 2, and Kojima’s latest project, Death Stranding.

I have no reason to believe that the first two listed are not going to be amazing.  This tactic of showing demos specifically to get people to see what the quality they can expect is brilliant, in my book.  Sure, fast-paced trailers with big, bombastic set-pieces are fun and all, but that’s not my jam.  I like a trailer that feels like I am diving in and seeing what I am getting for my money.  Already I can hear people typing, asking why I am taking Kojima’s shtick of giving very little substantive info in his trailers.  Well, that’s a different kind of charm.

Here’s the thing to know – anyone who knows videos games knows that Hideo Kojima is something of an insane perfectionist.  If a game doesn’t come out to the exact quality he wants, he won’t release it.  The only reason MGSV released half-finished was because of the fallout with Konami.  So his continual teasing, making the urge for nerdgasm so strong just titillates me so much. And with the most recent trailer, there is no doubt in my mind – this game is going to be unbelievable!  It will be a hallmark game that will define this latest console generation, along with the new direction Sony is taking.  While Microsoft scrounges in the dirt for exclusives, and Nintendo keeps remaking the same games, over and over again with the fewest tertiary changes, Sony is giving massive budgets to developers who want to do amazing things.  And it’s working!  It’s paying massive dividends.

At the beginning of the year, God of War smashed sales records.  Just recently, Marvel’s Spider-Man did as well.  Perhaps gamers are figuring out that Sony’s new direction of amazing exclusives is churning out some of the best games in generations?  A thought.  Meanwhile, in the case of Death Stranding, I am certain beyond any doubt that this game is going to explode.  Just explode.  The new trailer shows so much.  For starters, Troy Baker is back!  Anything with him in it, at his A-game, I immediately know is going to be amazing.  He is easily my favorite male voice actor right now.  He can pretty-much do no wrong.  But as the YouTuber YongYea figured out, Stefanie Joosten, of Quiet fame from MGSV is back as well!  The cast for this game couldn’t possibly be anymore set.  On name recognition alone, this game is going to sell.  We have Norman Reedus, who will appeal to Boondock Saints fans, and The Walking Dead fans.  We have Guillermo Del Toro who is only donating his likeness to the game, but that will appeal to fans of his films.  We have Lea Seydoux, who will appeal to fans of French films.  She’s a crazy talented actress.  We have Mads Mikkelsen, who will appeal to Casino Royale fans.  Lastly, we have Kojima himself as the creator, who will appeal to Metal Gear Solid fans.  With this much weight behind it, this game is almost certain to set some sales records.  It will premiere to massive numbers.

This couldn’t have me more excited.  Knowing that Troy Baker is back, as a villain who has a kind of asshole charm to him, this game is bringing so much to the table.  And the mysteries keep piling up.  So, what is this weird fluidic substance, and it’s connection to the other world?  How can certain people control it?  What are these monsters that wander the landscape, some of whom can be seen, and other can’t?  What is Mad Mikkelsen’s connection to it all?  The panel said that he is the main villain of the story.  All the questions I could ask for.

But the real beauty of it all is that the wait won’t be much longer!  Kojima has said that there has been no delay in the game.  Some time ago, he said that his game was going to be finished before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.  At first I wondered if that was a reference to something I figured he might, but wrote that off.  But at the end of the panel, he confirmed my suspicion.  He said that the game is going to be finished to correlate with the date that the legendary anime film Akira was set.  Know what that means?  2019 confirmed!  I couldn’t be more excited.  I can feel it, the next trailer is going to have a release date.  This will be the one.  I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Until next time, a quote,

“Well shit, I had a special surprise prepped and everything, but it looks to me like your hands are full.  It’s no biggie.  We can always tweak the rules a bit.” – The Man With the Golden Mask, Death Stranding

Peace out,

Maverick

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SIONL: Bentley is the Best Disabled Character in Gaming

If you don’t know who I’m talking about, let me introduce you to the brains of the operation for the Cooper Gang, from the Sly franchise.  Bentley is the third in the initial team that is made up of Sly Cooper, The Murray, and himself.  While Sly is the thief skills of the operation, and Murray is the muscle, Bentley is the brains.  When we see him in the first game, he is only a voice, never out in the field.  The second game has us getting to take him out on missions, and while he is sometimes a nervous wreck, he always gives it his all to get the job done.

At the end of Sly 2: Band of Thieves, he ends up being the final victim of the final boss.  After you defeat her, she gets in one last hit on him, which results in him being a paraplegic.  They could have made Bentley a pathetic character that you only ever feel sorry for.  But no!  Instead, he becomes the definition of a reference that I don’t know how many of you will understand – handi-capable.  His chair become an extension of himself, and right from the beginning, you see that being put in there hasn’t slowed him down one bit!

Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves begins with him and Sly being back together, but without Murray.  He holds himself responsible for what happened to him, and left to go partake of a life of meditation.  The reunion between them is genuinely touching.  While there is the goal of getting Murray with them for their latest big score, you do feel like he is sad to have lost his friend when they are reunited.  But my favorite scene is when he is on a mission with Penelope, a newcomer to the team and his crush.

There is this great scene where she is fawning all over Sly, implying that it was him who taught Bentley his tech skills.  One of his weak points is his pride, so Bentley scoffs at the notion and points out that he is the brains of the outfit and is damn proud of it.  Penelope correctly calls that for what it is – him being jealous.  Partly because her being into Sly (a common reaction of females they come across), but also because it is the only time that we see Bentley have self-pity.  He admits that he misses his mobility and wishes he didn’t have to live the way he does.  It leads to a great moment of Penelope telling him about all the other things he can do.

After regaining his composure, Penelope mentions that they won’t get anywhere standing around, stopping to apologize for saying standing.  This is where my bit that caused me to love the character comes into play.  He castigates her for the apology, saying he is perfectly aware that it is a colloquialism and he knows what the usage is.  That’s awesome!  None of this SJW self-pity and need to make themselves feel special crap.  He doesn’t confront the feeling of wishing he was not where he is, but is able to get himself back on his feet and doesn’t want others to pity him.  It’s a great scene.

Everywhere I look, there are people who want gaming character to be nothing but whatever their identifying issue is.  Their race, their sexuality, their gender.  Instead, we have a guy who kicks ass, is damn smart, and doesn’t want pity from anybody else because he is able to take care of himself.  There is even a great bit at the end of the mission where Penelope is blinded, and his quick-thinking is what saves the day.  But he doesn’t feel the need to rub her nose in it.  Instead, he decides to look after his teammate and make sure she isn’t permanently blinded.

He isn’t perfect, and makes mistakes, but the game has him going out of his way to try and fix those mistakes, and admitting when he needs help from others because he’s gotten himself in a bit of a hole.  Plus, we see the character evolve past the scared newbie to field work, into a capable part of the team who takes on VERY complicated tasks with his teammates as he needs them.  Everyone in the team recognizes that they are better together than apart.  It’s great stuff.

Meanwhile, in “intersectional” or “woke” movies like The Last Jedi, we have Tumbrina woman getting a ton of people killed and when a guy takes her to task for it, Leia Poppins (if you’ve seen the movie, you know why that reference exists) shoots him in the back.  Because Woman Power!  Oh, and let’s not forget Rey the Mary Sue!  She only just learned about The Force a matter of days ago, and she’s already so good at it that she doesn’t even require training.  She can just do everything!  Moving mountains, no problem!

I’ll take Bentley and his attitude ANY day over that garbage.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’m the brains of this operation.” – Bentley, Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Venom is NOT Going to be R-Rated

I couldn’t believe it when I saw the headlines.  News outlet after news outlet confirming my worst fears.  A movie based on one of the most violent anti-heroes in the Marvel comic book universe is going to be PG-13.  Oh, I’m sorry, it’s going to be “hard PG-13.”  Fuck that noise!  Yeah right!  That’s bullshit meant to try and appease the fans who actually were expecting legitimate violence.  You know, like the comic book character has.  But nope!  That is all a lie.  A depressing, corporate lie.  Calling it right now, this is not going to have a single thing that risks anything when it comes to their latest work.  Because why take any risks, when you can make more money down the road?!

The success of films like Deadpool, Deadpool 2, and Logan really has seemed to slip the minds of Hollywood producers.  Instead of thinking that there is a market for this stuff among old-school comic book nerds, they choose to completely turn a blind eye.  If that were actually the case.  I think we all know the real truth here.  Sony wants to get some of the sweet MCU cheddar.  It’s pretty clear that, while they say they are going to be going away from Marvel for their next Spider-Man films, they obviously aren’t.  No fucking way.  Homecoming was WAY too much of a success for them not to notice that these people got it going on.  So instead of doing something that is an ACTUAL risk, they choose to play it safe and market on risque.  Well fuck you, Sony!  I see through your tricks, and I’m not biting!

Not much to say here, really.  All of that potential.  You have Venom talking in the trailer about killing people and brutally dismembering them.  Now we know, don’t we?!  It was all talk!  The actual film is going to have PG-13 violence.  PG-13, bloodless, “tasteful” violence.  What a waste of a fucking concept.  Is this all that Hollywood can do at this point?  That’s not me just trying to be an asshole.  I actually want to know.

I talked in a previous post about how Hollywood is going so far out of their way to make movies that are safe for marketing in China. As I am to understand it, both Deadpool and Logan were not.  So, despite them being smashing successes here in the US, they died overseas.  And because all Sony film studios know how to do is to tow whatever line they think will make them the most money (and has produced some of the biggest piles of shit in recent memory), we get to see a good concept be given the finger.

Well I’m not playing, Sony!  Fuck Venom!  I’m not seeing it.  At least not in theaters.  Maybe I’ll Netflix it when it comes out.  And all of you shouldn’t either!  If you pay money to see this dumpster fire in theaters, you are tacitly admitting to Sony that if they do this, the fans are just going to accept it.  Go ahead, fuck what we love up the ass!  We’ll still pay for it!  That’s what you’re saying when you do that.  I refuse to be a part of this chicanery!  You all do what you want, I’m not playing.

There was real potential here.  A Venom movie about all the offspring of the titular character, culminating in Venom v Carnage.  Now THAT is a fight I can go for!  So long as Carnage has a body and guts count that would make the Saw movies blush!  That’s his character in the comics!  But instead, we have PG-13 violence.  More of that Hunger Games kinda violence.  That’s the Venom you all get.  Are you satisfied.  If you give Sony your money, then that tells them that the answer is yes.

Oh, and all the shill movie news websites saying this is a good thing – fuck you!  Fuck right off with that crap.  You all want the precious advertising money.  We’ve seen how Sony will try and manipulate the public through the media.  Just look at all the YouTube personalities that who came out saying that Ghostbusters (2016) was funny!  It wasn’t!  It was a giant pile of shit, just like pretty much everything else that comes out of your talentless studio!  It is so patently obvious that you are doing whatever you can to try and make it out to be less shit than it will be.

Like I said, not going to see it.  Not doing a review on it.  This movie is dead to me, unless the voices I trust come out with reviews that say that this movie beat the fucking odds in a spectacular way.  But they won’t.  It’s going to suck.  Thankfully, one news magazine had the right thoughts on this.  I’ll close out with that.

Until next time, a quote,

“Right now, Venom is shaping up to be one of 2018’s biggest disasters, and it’s not just because the “turd in the wind” line is what’s sufficing for humor in the movie.” – Matt Goldberg

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: I Don’t Think Venom Will Be An R-Rated Movie

I really don’t, and it’s bugging me.  There was a new trailer released today.  The CG is polished, the character is definitely looking the part.  We see our villain, the Riot symbiote, and we get to hear Venom have very violent talks with people.  All of that stuff should be excellent to think about.  But there is something that keeps dogging on me.  Something that I can’t get out of my head, and at this point it is REALLY starting to eat away at me.  It’s the culmination of a bunch of things I have seen that got me to this sudden realization – I don’t think that this is going to be the R-rated movie we were promised.

The first clue was Tom Hardy saying that he got into this role because of his son.  Which means that he intends for the kiddo to see this movie.  Which means that he feels it is kid appropriate.  That doesn’t give me much confidence.

Next up was the trailer itself.  There are a number of things that caught my attention.  First, we keep being told about violence, but we never see any.  In fact, some of what we see contradicts the violence that is alluded to.  Example – we have Venom talking to a dude about eating his organs.  That sounds like fun!  Let’s see some violent action!  Oh wait, you see a couple seconds later him throw the dude.  It’s so fast that I didn’t catch it the first time, but I tend to rewatch things over and over.  It’s a bad habit.  It’s why I should avoid trailers, probably.  Especially since modern trailers tend to ruin the whole damn film.

Then there is a scene where Riot is letting loose with its giant clawed arms.  It is slashing outward at everyone who is directly in front of it.  Awesome!  Oh wait, it shows everyone being knocked over.  What?!  You would be dismembering everyone in that room!  Where’s the blood?!  Why is there not a single drop of blood in any of that?!  That scene in-particular really is rubbing me the wrong way.  The bulk of the people in that room should be headless, or mutilated in some horrible way.  But they’re not! You can see that they’re not!  No blood.  No gore.  No nothing!

Finally, we have this bit where Venom is accosting what I presume to be a robber or something.  He is talking about how he is going to rip his arms and legs off, then his face off and roll him down the street like a turd.  That line, by the way, was pretty great.  That’s Venom!  But as he’s biting down, it cuts away.  Okay, fine.  This is a trailer for all audiences, so that makes sense.  Here’s the problem – if he actually did this, there should be blood everywhere!  Just, everywhere.  That woman at the check-out stand should be horrified, with blood all over either her register or that and her.  It would make Tom Hardy’s line there trying to play it off that much better. Because he just did this horrible thing, then says “bye, Mrs. Chang!”  Like how in Deadpool you have Colossus grilling the titular character about his violent methods, and him trying to play it off, only for a dude who was splattered all over the billboard to come crashing down.  That was funny!  Making it a little more grotesque would still make that work.

You know what this movie needs, if it is going to sell how violent it is?  A Red Band trailer.  Now more than ever.  Because I am convinced that all the people who think this is going to be a crazy violent superhero film was duped.  I’m one of them!  I genuinely believed the articles talking about this.  But now I am almost positive that that isn’t what is going to happen.  This movie is going to be mass-market appeal.  The nerds who like Venom for the violent bastard he is?  Fuck them!  Gotta make a family feature!  Yay….

I am happy that they aren’t just jumping right into Carnage in this movie.  It’s taking the comic story of all the offspring of Venom.  That’s kinda neat.  I am also really liking the design of this character.  Clearing up the voice to show that it is Tom Hardy is also really great.  It kills me that I am so reserved, because it’s clear that Tom Hardy is genuinely trying in this film.  Nothing in the trailer tells me he isn’t putting his all into this performance.  But this movie has been marketed as another entry into the violent superhero genre, and now I am almost dead-certain that that isn’t how this is going to play out.  That bums me.

Does this mean that the film will suck?  No.  But fucking with people’s expectations is going to REALLY hurt it in reviews.  If Sony is just blowing smoke about the violence in this movie, I think they should come out now and make a statement about it.  Better to get this expectation tempered before the reviews come out and crucify the film.  Head it off.  Otherwise, put out a Red Band trailer.  Let the adults who are expecting this to be violent get a little vindication.  Just a thought.

Until next time, a quote,

“So many sacs, so little time.” – Venom, Venom

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Cal-Arts Students and Teachers Insult Don Bluth

My first introduction to the animation director Don Bluth was The Land Before Time.  I had it on VHS, and I watched that so many times it wasn’t funny.  There are still some warm memories that come to mind as I think back on it.  The days of my childhood, when I didn’t have to worry endlessly about my finances and my future.  Doesn’t help that I live in a country without universal healthcare, because it’s full of retards who believe that it magically wouldn’t work here.  You know, while it is working in every other 1st World nation.  Idiots.  I remember Littlefoot’s mother dying, and how that made me tear up.  Didn’t help that that film had an incredible score to accentuate the scene.

Later on, I came to Don Bluth’s absolute masterpiece – The Secret of NIMH.  The tale of Mrs. Brisby and her mission to save her son and her family.  It’s a heart-warming story.  For all the SJWs bitching about the lack of strong female characters, I don’t hear her name come up much.  I guess because she’s a mouse, she isn’t a strong mother who is able to face her fear of circumstances much larger than herself and a mission with no guarantee of success that takes her everywhere she doesn’t want to be.  That’s not strong at all.

So when I came upon this little nugget on Twitter, needless to say, it kinda pissed me off.

Are you fucking kidding me right now?!  “cheesy out-dated overflowy animation”?!  Did I read that right?!  Oh yeah, because the shit we have now is SO much better.  Like this shit!

What’s that, you ask?  Why, that’s the new Thundercats design for the reboot cartoon!  Yeah, because that doesn’t look like a massive pile of shit.  It blows my mind that in universities, people actually believe that a living animation God is outdated and worthy or ridicule.  Kinda hurts, too.  Look at that crap above you.  That’s the kind of animation that gets praised in the modern world.  Garbage by Steven Universe loving chodes!

It kinda kills me that 2D animation has died in this country.  At least in film.  I think back to Don Bluth and old-school Disney.  Fantasia is one of my favorite movies.  It turned me on to both classical music and 2D animation.  Walt Disney originally wanted it to be a series that would keep growing and evolving.  There was a sequel, and while it was fine and all, it wasn’t at the same level as the original.  It felt like there was something missing.  The success of Pixar and this STUPID attitude that the dumb-shit public has about 3D animation being more grown-up than 2D led to Disney eventually ditching their 2D animation studios.  How many people can even do anything approaching the level of depth and detail that Bluth was able to have in all of his movies.  Even the bad ones.

Which brings me to the fact that Bluth wasn’t perfect.  After All Dogs Go to Heaven, he had a run of VERY weird and pretty bad movies that were some of the funniest fodder for The Nostalgia Critic, back when that was still funny.  But to say that the man’s style is out-dated and “overflowy” (what the fuck does that even mean?) just hurts me inside.  Of course it is.  Because why should we value really deep and detailed art, when we can make crap like Thundercats Roar, that looks worse than old Scooby-Doo cartoons.  You know, when they were made on the budget of a ham sandwich.

In this age when everyone has to be so holier-than-thou, it really is telling that this attitude has seeped its way into universities.  Kinda breaks my heart.  Just a little.  It’s a sign that the true greatness of 2D animation is never coming back.  What I wouldn’t give for someone with some level of ambition to really try and do something great with it.  It’s a dream I will have for the rest of my life.

Until next time, a quote,

“Courage of the heart is very rare.  The stone has a power when it’s there.” – Nicodemus, The Secret of NIMH

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONU: Finding Myself at Odds With Nerd Culture

Everywhere I look, I am noticing something.  Since I follow an amount of anti-SJW types one all sides of the political fence, I get exposed to lots of different ideas.  I even have some SJW types who at least will talk with the opposition that I follow, such as Laci Green.  I don’t want to live in an echo chamber, so I am doing my best to get as many perspective as I can.  I also follow the GamerGate page on Tumblr, that still posts to this day, and that’s where I am seeing a lot of this.  But on both sites, I am seeing a continuing perspective on certain games, and it has me confused.

I recently have played David Cage’s newest game, Detroit: Become Human, and I have liked it very much.  Connor and Hank were by far my favorite characters, with Kara and Alice being my least.  Their arc had some insane plot convenience that did take me out of the story.  The game isn’t perfect.  I’m the first to say that.  There are flaws.  The same flaws inherent in all David Cage games – wonky controls, narrative heavy in the extreme, QTEs that if you hate that stuff will get on your nerves.  But for what the game is, I do like it very much.

But then I pull up my social media and it’s thing after thing about how awful this game is, how it somehow signifies the end of the world for gaming.  How it is SJW-heavy and how I should hate it for that.  On and on and on.  What’s more, a gaming channel that I watch decided to shit on another of Cage’s games – Beyond: Two Souls, making the argument that Cage’s games have no audience.  The dude is welcome to his own opinion, I am just confused about why it was so awful.  Was the non-chronological order an issue? A little.  I would have personally liked more of the stuff like when she was doing her infiltration mission.  That shit was great!  Or the mission where she was on the run facing off with the military trying to hunt her down.  That mission was also great.  I can look past the flaws for the things that I like in it.  Am I the only one?

Then today, another person I follow on Twitter was asked if he would cover “Life is Cringe.”  An obvious spin on the game Life is Strange.  I have made no secret of how that was my favorite game of 2015.  I have gone on about it to the point of excess, and I won’t be going on here.  I am just curious what is so awful about it.  The stilted dialogue?  Don’t think that escaped my notice.  Sure, it is a little off-putting at first.  I had to adjust to it.  But once I was able to quantify it as part of the universe that this game exists in, I was able to enjoy it substantially.  But I do acknowledge the stilted dialogue as a flaw.  Made very clear of that in my review of the first episode.  So what is it, then?

People have pointed out to me that there is SJW themes at play in the game.  Chloe Price, my favorite character, has been savagely ripped to pieces by the Internet.  Is that the issue?  Here’s the thing about me – I don’t hate a game or character with SJW parts on the merits of their existence.  Not so long as the narrative or the character doesn’t make those parts the majority of the whole.  It’s why I can hear her talking about keeping the gun she has out of the hands of men and not just write her character off.  Because that is one small part of her overall whole.

I’m trying to get where the hate of all these things is.  What are other people seeing that I am not?  Or is it the reverse?  Am I seeing something that everyone else is too obtuse to see?  Is my ability to see nuance and not just hating something because it has elements of a movement that I personally disagree with giving me a perspective others lack?  Or am I completely wrong and there is nothing of any redeemable value in any of these things?

Where did this all get started?  One could say that this goes back to the review for Gone Home.  A game that the games media slobbered all over the knob of like it is one of the greatest games ever.  A contention that I most assuredly do not agree with, make no mistake.  That game also has flaws, though I believe that people’s belief that it is nothing but a “walking simulator” is a bit overstated.  I liked the previous work by that company Dear Esther.

Game after game that I enjoy, but the Internet that I follow despises.  Firewatch, Beyond: Two Souls, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Life is Strange, Detroit: Become Human.  What am I missing?  I have even seen people accusing the game L.A. Noire of being in the same vein as this.  WHY?!  Because you spent a lot of time talking with people?  You know, the most fun part of the game!  Instead of that boring driving and shooting shit?!  Where you analyzed crime scenes and interrogated witnesses?  I loved that part.  It bugged me how the less interesting parts of the game had to be there at all.  I would have loved a game all about crime scenes, solving crimes, and being a detective.  It could have spawned a new breed of game.  Instead, it bankrupted the developer and that was it.  There will never be a sequel.

Come on, you nuance-lacking mother-fuckers!  Tell me what I’m missing here!  Tell me where the hate comes from.  Is it the simplistic gameplay?  Is it the narrative focus instead of the mechanics focus?  Is it the thematic elements that tie in to a culture that modern gaming is so at odds with?  Tell me what it is.  I genuinely am trying to figure that out.  Because while there are lots of games that I really like, it starts to feel like I am the only one on my side of the fence who agrees.  I’ve never actually been called an SJW for my taste in gaming, but part of me wonders if that is people’s unstated opinion.  I just want clarity on what I am missing here.

Feel free to comment, whoever.  I let all opinions be heard.

Until next time, a quote,

And as I sat there, looking out into the darkness, I thought back on all the things I’d built and left unfinished. I realized something – I wasn’t sad that it was gone. I had had fun making all that stuff. I would have done it anyway. And then, somehow, I knew that when I woke up, all my work really would be destroyed.” -King, The Unfinished Swan

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Thanos in Infinity War

I’m about to go into MAJOR spoilers for Infinity War, so if you haven’t seen it, turn back now.  Just stop reading and go watch the film.  It’s been a few weeks.  Why haven’t you seen it already?

The best thing about this film is Thanos.  It really isn’t even an Avengers film.  It’s a Thanos film.  This whole movie is getting the audience to understand why Thanos is doing what he’s doing, and the character as a whole.  Josh Brolin is so amazing as this character.  It’s resounding clear that he had nothing but fun in this role.  He’s twisted, evil, but guided by clear motivations.  You see the things that got him there and why he feels that destroying half of all life in the galaxy is a good thing.

Even when Gamora takes him to task for what he does, like how he lined up half of all the people of her home planet at random and killed all of them, he is able to justify his actions to her.  He says outright that her family was starving to death, asking if that’s how she wanted to live.  He points out that the planet is now a thriving world where no one is starving, all because he killed half of their entire population.

It ties into real-world issues.  Overpopulation is something humanity is dealing with today, in the real world.  There are too damn many people, and we do need to have the population start moving in the opposite direction.  Our resources are finite, and for every baby that people have, the pollution just gets worse.  We need to stop procreating if we are going to survive as a species.

But back to the film, I love how right off the bat they set up what a complete badass this character is.  Me and my coworker were wondering what a fight between Thanos and the Hulk would be like.  And the film heads off that fan expectation pretty handily, by having their fight be right out of the gate.  Then it upsets your expectations by having Thanos beat his ass like a little bitch!  We’ve seen the Hulk as this character who will fuck you up if you make him mad.  He will fuck up your day.  He beat Loki’s ass like a little bitch, and he’s a God.  Meanwhile, Thanos fucks him up pretty handily right at the beginning.  To the point that Hulk won’t face him again later on.  He’s afraid of the Titan.  As he should be.

This character is always engaging.  The scene that really stole the film, in my eyes, and made me love this guy as a character, was the scene where he meets Gamora as a young child and adopts her.  She is a scared little kid looking for her mom.  Thanos sees her and asks here why she’s scared, and she says she wants to find her mom.  He then offers to help her, and walks her away from the people of her town being lined up.  Then, he takes out a little knife and shows it to her.  While more and more people are being lined up, he has a tender moment with her showing her this little toy to play with, and inviting her to do so.  As the massacre of her people begins, she turns to look, but Thanos gently turns her head away and keeps pointing to the toy he gave her.  That scene made me feel a lot of really complicated shit.  It was hardcore stuff.  It sets up a genuinely tender side to this man, but all in the bounds of his twisted sense of morality.  That’s awesome!  It makes this character not just some cardboard villain who is evil because they are.  He has depth to him.

It also makes Gamora a more interesting character too.  I haven’t been a huge fan of her, outside of Zoe Saldana’s performance.  She’s been kind of boring.  But then you see her being pushed to her brink with this man who has been a father to her.  When she believes she killed him with the same knife he gave her, and her tears that show that as evil and twisted as this man was, she did at least partially see him as a father to her.  A cruel, twisted father who used his children in cruel and calculating ways.  She was his favorite, though, and you could see where that came from.

Then we get to the second scene that really made me like this character, when he sacrifices her to get the Soul Stone.  It genuinely brings Thanos to tears.  We realize that as twisted and genocidal as he is, he isn’t devoid of empathy.  He does genuinely care for this child, and to kill her does cause him legitimate pain.  But he truly believes, with all of his heart, that his path is the right one, and he has to do what he has to do.  When he is telling Doctor Strange about his back-story and the fate of Titan, you see it.  So he is willing to push himself to whatever point he feels he must in order to achieve his goal.  He will do whatever he needs, at the cost of his own soul, to finish his quest.  It’s a hardcore moment that makes you feel some heavy feels.

What I love most about this character is that there is a constant juxtaposition in everything he does to a sense of purpose and morality that he has, to the barbarous, genocidal actions that he takes.  It’s so beautifully twisted.  Like when Scarlet Witch kills Vision, and Thanos actually talks to her.  He has a human moment with her after she has had to kill the man she loves, telling her he understands.  And while Wanda doesn’t realize it, he actually does understand.  He had to kill someone he truly does love for his own twisted ambition.

Wanda isn’t the only character he has a genuine heart-to-heart conversation with.  After fucking up Hulk and his crew, Thanos talks to Thor as well.  He tells him the ugliness of the universe and advises him to accept it.  There is the scene where he has his showdown with Tony Stark and I genuinely do like it.  He knows who Tony is, and respects him.  When Stark is throwing everything he has at him and still failing, after finally beating him down, Thanos tells him that he hopes humanity remembers him fondly and that he will not destroy them outright.  In his own twisted way, he respects Stark and him trying to hard to defeat him.

Then, in the end, he gets to Earth, fucks up all the Avengers without a second thought.  He even has Rodgers desperately trying to hold him back, and he looks down at him with a kind of gentleness.  Like he understands why he is fighting, but is trapped by circumstances of fate.  It’s a great dichotomy.  Genuinely fantastic.

Finally, we see him coming out of a ramshackle hovel on some nameless planet.  His arm is completely fucked up because he destroyed half of all sentient life in the universe, but he is smiling.  It’s not a twisted evil smile.  It’s a quiet, peaceful smile.  Like he did what he needed to do and can rest peacefully now.  It’s like if we had the massacre scene from Berserk, but afterwards we have Griffith just looking peaceful on some scenic villa.  There again, that juxtaposition.

Thanos is an amazing villain.  I love him in this film.  It makes how boring he has been up ’til now redeemed.  He isn’t just the best villain in the MCU, bar-none.  He is one of the best villains of all time.  I personally like him more than I do the Joker in The Dark Knight.  In that film, it always seemed like the Joker was just trying to prove a point.  Here, Thanos has nothing to prove.  He explains his sense of justice to people with the hope that they will understand, but if they don’t, oh well.  Their problem, not his.  He bears no malice towards those who do battle with him openly and earnestly.  Warriors who fight to the bitter end.  Unlike Loki, who tries to be cunning and manipulative, which pisses him off as he sees the man as a pathetic little schemer and kills him quickly and brutally.

Hopefully you see him the same way.  Let me know if you don’t.  I love a good discussion.

Until next time, a quote,

“You’re not the only one burdened by knowledge.” – Thanos, Avengers: Infinity War

Peace out,

Maverick