Let’s Talk: Iron Fist, Beauty, and the Fantastic Beasts

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Welcome to this week’s edition of Let’s Talk. You know, taking last week off really put me in a tough place this week, because there’s so much to talk about. I didn’t want to push anything until next week because next week, Star Wars: Rogue One comes out on Blu Ray. Obviously, next week is taken. So, In the interest of timeliness, I’ve decided this week to cover a few different things, rapid fire style. Well, rapid for me anyways. Feel free to scan through to find anything relevant.

Marvel’s Iron Fist

If you have a special Marvel fan in your life, chances are you have heard about what a disappointment this show was. It could have amazing. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch some awesome kung fu goodness with a character who can use his fist to punch through walls? Sounds amazing, right? Well, it would have helped if they’d hired someone who knew martial arts to play their master martial artist, but I guess that would have made too much sense. Instead, the fight scenes, which ought to have been the series’ saving grace, fell flat. But your Marvel fan probably suffered through it anyways, as this series is the last before The Defenders, which will see Iron Fist team up with Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones to do…. Something. We’re not sure yet, but knowing The Defenders is coming is probably the only thing that got your nerd through this series.

One more interesting thing. Colleen Wing is introduced in this series and is probably the best part of it. She’s a kickass martial artist daughter of a samurai and way more interesting than anything else in the series. <Nerd Tangent> In the comics, Danny Rand (which is Iron Fist’s real name) eventually partners up with Luke Cage to start a company called Heroes for Hire. Colleen Wing and Misty Knight (who was introduced in Luke Cage) partner up and are called Daughters of the Dragon. They frequently work with and aid the Heroes for Hire. Later, during the first Marvel Civil War (which was the inspiration for the recent Captain America: Civil War film) Colleen and Misty create their own version of Heroes for Hire and work to apprehend heroes who fail to register with the government after the passage of the Superhuman Registration Act. </Nerd Tangent> But my main point is this: Collen Wing gets introduced, and now Marvel and Netflix have a wealth of cool and interesting stories that they can search for future series. Please give us a Colleen Wing and Misty Knight series Marvel. Please.

Beauty and the Beast

In this live action remake of the beloved animated classic, Disney reimagines Belle as an inventor and then keeps most of the story (and music!) more or less the same which means it was amazing. And probably anyone in your life that was excited about this movie felt the same. The movie opened to the biggest opening ever in March and looks to be easily headed for $1 billion dollar revenues world wide. So, yeah, Disney made a ton of money on this, despite pulling the movie from the film industry goldmines of Malaysia and Kuwait over an exclusively gay moment that you may have heard a little something about.

From the moment “exclusively gay moment” was uttered, the drama played out exactly as you’d expect. Uninformed people all over the internet rushed to their computers, tablets, and cell phones in order to brazenly spout their opinions over this moment that nobody had seen and nobody knew anything about in the weeks leading up to the release date. Disney was praised by some while boycotts were threatened by others. Some didn’t like the choice of character for Disney’s first openly gay character.  Others wondered if they should take their kids. And a whole lot of people spent their time attacking people who disagreed with them about whether or not it was cool to have an openly gay character in a Disney film. And it happened because there are still many, many people who haven’t figured out that the internet is the worst place ever to try to have a conversation about anything remotely controversial, especially if your opinion is not in accordance with the conventional wisdom of the masses. And also, because there are still even more people who think that they best way to approach disagreement is name calling.  Again, all of this over a moment in a movie that nobody had seen or had any inkling about.

And in the end, the exclusively gay moment was essentially a non-moment leading to some people being disappointed, others defiantly trying to justify their preemptive outrage over this moment, and still others (read: Disney executives) presumably filling giant dollar sign buildings with money and then jumping in and swimming through it. Because this movie made a ton of money. I’m not sure if I mentioned that yet or not.

With the success of the live action Beauty and the Beast, and following on the heels of the successful live action Jungle Book and live action Cinderella, Disney has announced that they will continue printing money with remakes of many more of their beloved animated classics including Mulan, Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin, Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers Down Under, and the Goofy Movie. (I may have just made up those last two). So, it’s obvious that the real winners here were Disney and people who have always wondered what a grown-up Christopher Robin is like.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This film is the first of a planned five movies that is set in the Harry Potter universe in 1926, long before Harry Potter ever attended Hogwarts. In the original Harry Potter series, one of the books they study from is called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written by Newt Scamander, who happens to be the main character of this film. In it, Newt has come to America with a magical suitcase full of magical creatures to release a magical Thunderbird named Frank in his natural habitat of Arizona. He arrives in the states in New York city and several of his magical creatures manage to escape.

The film basically revolves around Newt trying to track down his creatures. Along the way, he comes across a particularly dark magical manifestation called an obscurus, which basically happens when someone tries to beat the magic out of their kid. The kid represses the energy, it becomes this dark malevolent force, and then can lead the kid to doing vengeful and violent things. Other stuff happens, but mostly, this film feels like the first of a planned five movies. It really seems like a lot of time is spent introducing us to people and setting up things for things that will come later.

One other thing, towards the end of the film, a character is revealed to be Gellert Grindelwald, the most famous dark wizard of all pre-Voldemort time. Your Harry Potter nerd was probably stoked about this revelation, because Albus Dumbledore is confirmed to be a part of the story moving forward. In Harry Potter History 101, we know that Grindelwald led a wizard uprising which eventually resulted in a global wizarding war in the 40s. Albus Dumbledore, who had unrequited feelings towards Grindelwald when they were teenagers, eventually mans up and faces Grindelwald in an epic wizarding duel that ends Grindelwald’s reign and the war. So, like Iron Fist, the most exciting part of this movie is the potentially super interesting stuff that might be coming further down the pipeline.

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