The area in which the fourth short of Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots series is sorely lacking is originality. Everyday folks jump in their power-loaders to fight an oncoming swarm of snarling insectile beasties, followed up at the rear by one very big beastie. After the fight is done, those remaining alive relax wary of the storm clouds beginning to form again on the horizon.
It’s hard to argue with someone when they believe themselves to be a good person. Most people do I guess, but there’s some specific sort who believes that their success, or maybe their suffering — or any part of themselves they deem to be immutable — is what makes them virtuous. Maggie Gyllenhaal is The Kindergarten Teacher and she wears her vocation like a cross around her neck, returning to her New York suburb house in the evenings to a vacant husband, asshole kids, and a glass of wine.
Dammit I was not expecting to cry during this movie. Wahlberg reuniting with the director of Daddy’s Home 2 does not sound like the setup for a emotional rollercoaster. The bland, gauzy cinematography with which these people’s airy, open plan homes are shot should deaden one’s senses. Everything about it seems like it packs the punch of a half tablet of asprin, but god damn if by the ending I ain’t welling up at the ability of this unlikely family to make it work.
I’ll admit, the first shot of Glass didn’t fill me with much confidence. A masculine bodied person, wearing a dress, stalks into a room to intimidate a new batch of abducted young girls. It spoke to everything that I hated about Split: its stigmatisation of non-normative bodies, the casual nature of its depictions of abuse. Our first glimpse into the lives of our self-identifying heroes and villains disappointingly confirms that not much has changed.
Shortly after my screening of Aquaman I was chatting with someone who was considering going to see it. ‘I’m not too sure yet, people have told me it’s cringy.’
‘I wouldn’t say “cringy”,’ I replied, ‘but it’s definitely silly.’
See now, I remember back in 2013 I saw the trailer for The Lego Movie. I had seen Jump Street at that point, but not Cloudy and Lord and Miller weren’t really a directorial team that I was following. I didn’t know if the film was going to be any good, but I knew I had to see it on the big screen. There just wasn’t anything else ever made that looked like it. There was nothing that moved in the same way.
So, here’s what happened: somebody, at some point, played Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies. Or maybe Wolfenstein. Most probably both and decided, “Yeah, I could do that.” Then they went and did it.