I’ve been watching

Last Night in Soho gave me the first jump scare I’ve had in years in response to a film. It wasn’t the film I was expecting, but I think it was better, and worse. I imagined it was going to be a swinging sixties, British urban time slip adventure like Tom’s Midnight Garden only cool, and it was also that. And, so much more. The casting was excellent, the soundtrack was perfect veering into troubling, while the fashion and the tension felt spot on. On a personal note I felt the film captured the disquiet and menace young women experience as new students out and about and living on campus. However, this film was as if the Scooby Gang was a timid, sensitive British undergrad with a classmate and no dog or van, driven to find out evil is real, but not what she thinks it is. Some of the clues became a little too obvious but at least they were left late into the plot. But it was good. So much trauma. So much awfulness. So much neon.

Spider-Man: No way home. This was a better multiverse film than Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. In fact it was just a better film and I’m sorry I had to wait to finally see it. There was more genuine regret, more humour, pathos, meaningful interactions while the results of messing with the multiverse were more important and lasting than any Dr Strange film so far. It was moving and yes, cheesy, but fun.

I loved the film went there.

Dr Strange is a useful character in this Spidey film, but his narrow emotional range (from arrogant to slightly aware of how arrogant he is) and multiverse perspective don’t lend him to empathy – either from him to others, or from us towards him. There is a reason surgeons have a certain reputation. Having said that the Spider-Man cast have everything Dr Strange films don’t have: they understand emotions and let themselves feel, they have friendships and relationships, humour and support all the while being themselves: they know who they are. It’s why the ending of No Way Home was important, it took Peter’s support from him but somehow didn’t diminish his agency nor that of his friends. It’s Frodo’s Choice, where the hero saves the world, even as he loses it for himself, and he knows it and saves the world anyway (this kinda does Gollum an injustice but anyway). Peter’s decision is a bigger sacrifice than Dr Strange ever had to make. Dr Strange is a brilliant, emotionally stunted, magic banter wizard full of self importance, which is why Wong makes a better Sorcerer Supreme. In fact it looks like Ned could one day make a better Sorcerer Supreme because so far sorcery looks like handy tools and wishing. Peter is a kid who knows love, and friendship, but also tragedy, and despite all the death and loss, his first actions and thoughts are almost always to help others with his Spidey skills. Peter is the opposite of Dr Strange, who is moody teen in an adult’s body, with an inciting incident that took away his favourite past time, and turned him into arrogant arse into a resentful non-surgeon with entitlement and continuing attachment issues. Strange lacks maturity, all Peter Parker lacks is some knowledge and experience in the world, yet he is mature enough to know it.

Elsewhere in the MCU, I enjoyed Ms Marvel. Soundtrack, the friendships, the family, the communities, the action, the arc, and plot. There were superficial things that niggled but nothing put me off. The pacing was ok. I appreciated the details put into the sets and backgrounds and background characters like The Aunties. Each of the characters grew and each had purpose, including the parents and other family members. Again, it seems Marvel can write teens better than many of their adult characters. Or their teens are more rounded than one note action figures in films? More Moon Knight and more Ms Marvel please and more Spiderman. Everyone else, I’m ambivalent about, they exist, but are less interesting to me unless they are pushed to grow, and no that doesn’t mean Dr Strange should get a love interest.

I recently saw The Princess. It’s set in a vaguely European Medieval era, with a castle, royalty, and swords. Anyway, the set up is offensive, with a kidnapping and forced marriage situation, BUT BUT BUT all the tropes are subverted. This film tries to say things about diversity, there’s violence in the name of self empowerment, and like every fairy-tale, everyone who aught to live happily ever after gets to. It’s a solidly entertaining David and Goliath, locked room fantasy film. If you love swords fights and even more accurate depictions of the need for a quiet lie down after a sword fight, as well as women combating oppression through actual combat, you may like this.

As for writing, new things will be out, but not sure when. The rejections are trickling in slowly. As for creativity, mostly I’ve been doodling instead of writing.

Steady as she goes, the 2022 writing update:

  • Rejections: 139
  • Pending: 31
  • Acceptances by publisher: 23
  • Acceptances by work: 31
  • Published: 30
Photo by Megan Forbes on Pexels.com

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