i love the dark doctor it's just so good to see how each of the actors does it

anonymous asked:

hello there. could you make a proper post about ragnarok? your tags are teasing me & i wanna know what you liked about it. personally i was vibrating with excitement throughout, it was so good. after all the dark, boring marvel stuff, finally some quality fun. everything a blockbuster should be, done right. (with enough brothering to warm my samndean heart)

hi there, anon, I’d be delighted. Though coherent film reviews aren’t really my business, this movie was just–supremely delicious enough to make it happen.

THOR: RAGNAROK spoilers below.

Vibrating with excitement is a great way to describe the experience of seeing this movie, and for that I think we need to start with a little background. Anyone who reads my tags on a regular basis knows that, truly, #taika waititi is my hero. Why, though? Well, to start with, he is a genius, and what he’s a genius at is a particular kind of comedy. A lot of people say that there’s a particularly New Zealand sense of humor to his films–not being a Kiwi I don’t know that I could say, either way. However, if you’re a fan of Flight of the Conchords or Rhys Darby, you can hear the echoes of that comedy style throughout his work. It’s whimsical, clever, self-deprecating, ranges from surrealist to subtle. What it is not, ever, is mean-spirited. Sometimes there’s a light jab to the ribs, but it is always, always given with a quirk of a smile. Such a refreshing thing, especially given how… cruel comedy can be, in the wrong hands.

What’s more important than his skill with comedy, though, is the way he’ll layer in real, true feeling–and never makes it schmaltzy. If you’re forced to watch a “feel-good family film” from a lesser director, there will be ‘funny’ moments (often based in personal humiliation and mockery), there will be brief drama (usually melodrama), and there will be moments of poignancy where everyone realizes that they really do love each other, after all. Puke. Contrast here Waititi’s masterpiece–yes, screw you, it’s a masterpiece–Hunt for the Wilderpeople. This movie is genuinely, laugh-out-loud funny–and it also made me cry, genuinely, at the same time that it made my whole chest full and warm with sympathetic joy. The man knows how to layer in emotion with his humor in a way that doesn’t make the audience feel cheaply manipulated. When Ricky Baker earns his happy ending at the end of Wilderpeople, your face hurts from smiling and your eyes are wet, and–if you’re me–you feel grateful, to be treated like an adult by a director. Such a joy not to feel dragged along like a simpleton, not to feel like the script was written with crayon. (No spoilers for Wilderpeople, but if you’re reading this and you haven’t seen it, you fucking should. I think it’s streaming on Amazon right now.)

So. Then we came to Thor. I didn’t have high hopes for the character’s franchise after Thor: The Dark World (though I did like that movie more than most people, it seems). However, as soon as Waititi was attached, my immediate reaction was shock and then a thrill, and holy shit, did he deliver.

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Notes on Smile

All in all, I enjoyed this a lot more a second time around: 

  • The two tear emoji suddenly becoming a skull is actually a really effective scare, even the second time around I find it disturbing 
  • Really digging Murray’s synth-y score here  
  • Bill is superb in this episode (though there’s a plothole surrounding her I’ll get to later) but four moments are amazing in particular; she suggests she could steal the TARDIS (in episode TWO), ‘bloke utopia’, the Doctor having really high blood pressure; and finally, getting distracted by a bust of Nefertiti (hopeless gay sunshine child, honestly). 
  • Twelve also gets some absolutely wonderful moments, mainly in response to Bill but his sad expression when discussing the Algae Emperor and pretty much all his emoji badge scenes are personal highlights 
  • Supporting cast is really wasted, which is a shame as these are really good guest actors 
  • This arc seems really intriguing so far, I like how we learn a tiny bit more with each episode, it’s really effective at building intrigue and whetting the appetite 
  • I’ve just noticed the Bowie reference. It may be a really dark joke as well, given the title of Ashes to Ashes is a quote from a phrase used in the English Burial Service (and considering what happens to the setup team, it’s quite apt) 
  • Capaldi and Mackie are an incredibly talented TARDIS team and we are so very lucky to have them, and the emoji badges are such a great device to get the best out of them early on in their run. Additionally, Capaldi’s attack eyebrow emoji badge is absolutely hilarious. 
  • It’s slightly unfortunate that this episode relies on several commonplace Moffat era themes and iconography, which has been done better elsewhere (the refugee humans in The Beast Below to name one example). This isn’t really its fault though. 
  • Initially, I didn’t like the idea that the robots were capitalists/into taking rent, largely because someone (possibly Jack Graham) wrote that it’s troubling that current sci-fi writers can’t seem to see a future without capitalism and from that perspective it remains a disappointment. In this though, I’ve been persuaded by some very clever people over at @doctorwhodowntimeblog that there’s actually a compelling argument that this episode shows capitalism as one of the reasons why utopias can fall apart (colonialism being another), and in that, the restraint in not making the robots communists and leaving that bit of cynicism undercutting the happy ending works. Criticising it for this would be akin to criticising Hell Bent for not being a Gallifrey story (a very silly thing to do). Besides, the rent gag is funny. 
  • Plothole one: how does sci-fi savvy Bill not recognise what the sleep pods are…Cottrell-Boyce goes a little generic companion here. 
  • Plothole two: if there were multiple ships (see The Ark in Space/The Beast Below), how is this going to be ‘the end of the human race’? It seems like that line was added to raise the stakes unnecessarily when ‘the end of them’ would have done fine (and considering the resolution to the episode it helps even less). 
  • Speaking of, the episode fits together better than I originally thought, thematically and plot wise, but the complete switch in tension from potential human genocide to ‘the robots are slaves’ is either insufficiently set up, clunkily executed or both. The reset button is fine in comparison (though the mind wipe is a little iffy after the end of The Pilot) 
  • Plothole three: why do the Vardies get mad at the emojibots being destroyed given those aren’t actually the sentient part? Unless they’ve developed a certain sentimental attachment themselves there’s no explanation for this. 
  • I’m loving mischievous TARDIS, I think she wanted Bill because she wanted to travel with the Doctor again (she must have been really bored tbh) 
  • Politically, I really really don’t like the idea of the Doctor as a policeman. Furthermore, it’s actually wrong. I recognise that not everyone will share my views of the police, but this is a perfect time to imply that he’s better than them. Police support is always qualified and they will usually only help you if your rights are infringed upon by a private citizen, and if that private citizen is powerful they may well help to cover it up. The nature of the system is such that someone can be a good cop or a good person, but they can’t remain both. Sooner or later either one will be compromised (Andy in Torchwood illustrates this pretty well). Additionally, they exist to defend the system and therefore aren’t going to be on the front lines with you in a revolution, they’re going to defend it. The Doctor, on the other hand exists outside of the system, and his help is almost always unqualified and is usually supportive of revolution against oppressive systems. In fact, the Doctor overthrows the system here, which a policeman could never do. This may mean the episode actually supports this reading, which I didn’t realise when I started out writing this.
The 100 Positivity

My dash and my blog have been filled with this terrible vile ship war that’s been going on, and I’m tired of seeing people focus on the negatives on a show that has so many amazing points. I’m going to acknowledge up front that the show does have aspects that it needs to improve on and other people have explained that a lot better than I can especially considering I’m white and I can’t speak for the POC community. I would also like to point out that this show is created, acted and written by humans and people are naturally flawed and make mistakes, and we need to be given a chance to learn and fix those mistakes.

Now onto the greatness of this show

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