I think of all the films that I’ve been excited about so far this year – and there have, ahem, been a few – the one that I’d invested with the most lip-biting enthusiasm was this one. And here it is, and us British types got to see it A WEEK BEFORE the US (not over how long it took to get Big Hero 6 yet)… and I still haven’t actually written anything about it.
There are reasons. The first is that, as with The Avengers / Avengers Assemble (pick your favoured regional variant), the first viewing was more about getting my head around what the hell was going on; I’ll need to go again to really make sense of things, I think. The second is that practically all the things I want to talk about come with Veronica-sized spoiler warnings. I guess I’m safe enough letting those out of the bag now… Though I won’t.
Mainly, I came out of the cinema feeling like there had been some thrilling moments, some funny moments, some genuinely very touching moments and only a couple of really irritating moments (superhero territory: no matter how good the cast, crew, script etc, there’s going to be at least one clanging great sexist moment or something like it to really get up your nose; also, if Tony Stark is in the film it will involve him because on paper and on screen he is a truly awful person). I really liked that despite SO MUCH GOING ON, SO LOUDLY there was time and space for it to be surprisingly intimate. This was needed, since a mechanical villain is never going to have the emotional draw of a human(ish) bad guy whose motivations can be more complex, more personal and, perhaps, more forgiveable. Well, until he unleashed space-hell’s firey Godzilla-bildschnipe on New York, anyway. And there was the small matter of all those people he killed before that… wait, what was I saying?
Intimate, yes. Sometimes having your hand forced is a joy; being able to reinvent Wanda and Pietro’s background, removing Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver from specific associations with X-Men and Magneto, meant that that part of the story – and the reasons for the siblings’ dubious allegiances – could feel oddly real and plausible. For a film with an Internet robot and a flying city, anyway.
It’s funny, because people who know me IRL will know I can bore people stone cold sober with natter about these films (one poor soul got my full Shakespearean thesis on Thor by text) but it’s awfully hard to be remotely coherent when I try to make my writing sound more like a review and less like some really meandering observational routine from the graveyard shift at the comedy club. Obviously not trying that hard on this occasion, to be fair.
Anyway, sod it. It’s my blog, not a film magazine. I can write whatever I like. So I’ll end with a short and slightly disappointing story:
After the film, we went for a really nice meal in a Turkish restaurant we’d never tried before (no, we didn’t have schwarma). The waitress heard us talking about it and asked me if I could tell her who the voice of Ultron is since her flatmates are all crazy about this film. “James Spader,” I said, with the warmth that only having been alive to be in love with James Spader between 1986-1994 can achieve. “Who?” she replied. And I was just a little gutted.
That has nothing to do with the film per se, but that feeling of love and possessiveness being mildly punctured by someone else’s complete lack of immersion in the landscape? Sort of how it feels to talk about this stuff with people who don’t do superhero movies. So it’s felt pleasantly cathartic to write a little about it here where I have no idea if you care or not, but I’ve got to assume you were interested enough to get past the headline.
Right. Time to book take two, I think…