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Nataku’s a real creep, for sure, but Eijiro’s kind of a whiney brat himself. Perhaps they deserve each other.

We often see movies with one of our long time readers, friend, and blood relative to Joe, Slogra (not his real name). Being quite the movie buff, he wrote up some entertaining thoughts concerning this year’s big blockbuster films that reflect my own, so I thought I’d share them!:

I am a heavy consumer of movie previews, teasers, trailers, production stills, information leaks, and the like. After years of diligent service to this media, I’ve become quite good at judging movies before they even come out. Even with my expertise, however, I was fooled this year on two separate occasions within a day of each other.

I watched the breadcrumb trail of Avengers: Age of Ultron in the months leading to its release. I feasted on the slurry of information leaked to the public, ranging from casting decisions to pure speculation. The time came when the movie itself was finally released and I approached the theatre. I garnered all my strength to cease my quaking legs as I walked into the cinema, and the hype pouring forth from my personal aura was palpable, seasoning the popcorn in the equally eager laps around me.

I watched.

It wasn’t exactly like the moment in my youth where I realized my parents were fallible. It was more akin to the moment where I realized I had made a very grave error, all because of my uncompromising belief that my parents never made mistakes, and that I had allowed them to lead me astray.

Yes, I still blame my father for taking me to see Reign of Fire.

But that is another harrowing tale for another time. I’m really amazed at how much good will seeped from the porous, shriveled mess of a movie before me. It wasn’t a bad film; it just wasn’t nearly as good as it should be. It largely rehashed aspects of the first film that didn’t need rehashing. The Avengers once again turn on each other like moody teenagers but learn to work together through the power of friendship and teamwork, only to disassemble by the end so that Marvel can make more money more stand alone movies.

There was a lot of awkward exposition, many witty lines that fell flat, and a really weird scene where Thor slips into a hot tub full of memories. Or visions. Or something. The movie teeters on the edge of being a complete mess, held together only by good acting by good actors and some action sequences that are pretty to look at, even if they are silly.

What really ground my soul into powder was the spirit-crushing nonsense sprinkled throughout the movie. I won’t list all the logical fallacies here, for there are only so many words of hatred that you, dear reader, can ingest before exploding in a bitter bomb of disgust.

But just to give an example of the systemic nature of the movie’s problems, consider Ultron’s abilities and how he didn’t utilize them, even when the movie made it clear on certain points what he could and could not do. Ultron, we are told right away, can exist without a body, and his brain as it were can be copied. This creates the problem of having an enemy that cannot be truly destroyed. The writers of the movie ingeniously get around this problem by ignoring it as the movie goes on. Even when the Avengers are told that they must destroy all the robots, stating that none can leave the arena of the final action scene, no one brings up the fact that if the super-smart Ultron is in fact smart, he will have made a copy somewhere else. Perhaps he did and perhaps the next 8 Avengers film will be about Ultron reappearing like a Saturday morning cartoon villain, always defeated but never caught. Or perhaps Ultron screwed up in not realizing he could copy himself. Or the Avengers screwed up in not realizing that there’s a tablet somewhere possessed by a copy of the evil AI. Or perhaps the Ultron writing staff screwed up and wrote themselves into a corner.

I tire of writing about Ultron, so I’ll have you know that by the time I got around to seeing it, it was the day before opening night for another movie, Mad Max: Fury Road. What’s odd is that unlike the previews for Ultron, Max’s trailers left me uninterested. Cars exploded and characters said lines. There was no creepy Pinocchio music and there was no shared universe with other lesser Mad Max characters, composing themselves in Fury Road in a heroic assembly.

And yet any given moment of Mad Max was more exciting and entertaining than the broken promise that was Age of Ultron. Exposition was given during action scenes because the movie is basically one continuous action scene – not in an exhausting way, but in a fascinating fashion that kept my body consistently at the edge of its seat. Literally, the story is told as the main character is tied to the front of a flame-spewing vehicle, racing through the desert as the blood races through his veins and into another man’s like some nightmare version of the Red Cross, all the while that a one-armed badass traitor drives a fuel truck through a lightning-fire storm.

I don’t even know what the lightning-fire storm was. Age of Ultron would have given me some bullshit explanation that made no sense anyway. Mad Max just gives you the storm, and you either accept it or you don’t have a soul and you don’t accept it. I’m just stating facts.

I won’t list every time my heart lept from my chest and I was forced to retrieve it, no doubt missing some beautiful moment in Mad Max in doing so. There is only so much joy I can express in this prose before I lift my fingers from the keyboard and race off to the cinema, thirsting for more Max.

I will instead leave with the inescapable denouement that one does not always get what one wants when one sees an Age of Ultron, yet one may yet pick up the shards of disappointment and rearrange them into the mosaic of a Mad Max or its equivalent, if one can be lead to believe that Max in fact has a theatrical peer. I’m sure there’s some lesson to be learned in all this, perhaps a message of hope for a recovering drug addict and the life such a person hopes to find, but I am not a person to draw such lofty conclusions. I can only wait for the sequel to Max and devour the inevitable trailers, make hopeful predictions, and likely become disappointed in the sequel that never lives up to the original.

It would seem that I cannot learn any lesson after all.

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  • IDPounder

    “…I’m sure that after he’s finished beating me senseless and having you executed, we can have a nice dinner of sparhawk under glass.”

    • Kid Chaos

      Nah, we’ll just get takeout from Kansai Fried Sparhawk.

  • Astralfury

    This just in; The Nataku is basically a cat – loves to kill birds and present them to you while you are busy do not wanting.

    • Flaming Squirrel

      No way, have you seen his hair? He’s totally a Wolverine!

    • suburban_samurai

      I modeled him after my own cat, you know! My cat is a bloodthirsty, conniving, war mongerer in a garishly colored kimono and armor.

      • Xinef

        Nine-fingers Cataku?

        • Astralfury

          He got just the one de-clawed on one paw after a heroic battle with the vet.

  • charles81

    Eijiro is (to Hirotomo) his only remaining, son and heir.
    Nataku is the one who can’t let Hirotomo find out.

    • suburban_samurai

      And yet Hirotomo seems awfully dismissive of poor Eijiro!

      • leavescat

        That’s because Yorikiro was far more competent, and that’s saying something. I mean, look at what Eijiro has accomplished so far:

        Successfully captured Masuhiro to start a war.
        Used fancy language to allow the ninjas to loophole their way out of killing said Masuhiro.
        Bragged about it to halt the war he started.

        He’s also failed to consider that it’s actually possible for the Wataro army to lose. If he were in command of the army, he’d just tell them to bum rush everything and get his ass handed to him on a platter.

        Yorikiro has:
        Been informed of an intrigue against the Senshin clan, decided it was unethical, and skipped out.
        Saved a princess.
        Survived 4 assassination attempts.
        Helped defend a lightly fortified town against heavy numerical superiority while being assassinated.
        He did kinda bungle the Daimyo rescue by failing to account for said Daimyo being a moron who takes ninjas at their word, but he did sneak into a place full of people trying to kill him, specifically.

        • suburban_samurai

          Geez, you just made Yori sound like super commando samurai badass.

          • leavescat

            Ok, the princess rescue and half of the assassination attempts were by accident, and he gets his ass kicked a couple times. Still, even though Yori stumbles his way to victory, he still wins. Eijiro has so far just shot himself in the foot repeatedly because he seems to have no idea how the world works.

          • Xinef

            So… Yori is better than Mario?

            At least now I know why the princess is in another castle… or rather isn’t.

          • Kid Chaos

            Yori is a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass; Eijiro still hasn’t gotten past the “Crouching Moron” part.

        • charles81

          And stared in a Kabuki play by The Ennosuke Nakamura

  • Dana

    I think that’s one of the only times we see Eijiro smiling – what’s he reading there?

    • KungFuKlobber

      Kentrix fanfiction, naturally.

      • suburban_samurai

        Don’t impose your fantasies on Eijiro! It’s cleary Suzuhiro fanfiction.

    • Flaming Squirrel

      R.A. Samurai

      • suburban_samurai

        like R A Salvatore?

        • Flaming Squirrel

          Ronan Assassin Samurai. He wrote some of the greatest ninja fantasies of all time. His “Legends of Dripped: The Dark Ninja Elf” series still holds up today.

          • suburban_samurai

            R A Samurai also contributed to the continuation of the Samurai Wars Expanded Universe novels after it had gone dormant for a number of years.

          • Flaming Squirrel

            Didn’t he kill off Cho Baka?

          • suburban_samurai

            Yeah, and it wasn’t even during a badass martial arts battle, they just dropped a pagoda on him!

          • Flaming Squirrel

            So it goes in the galaxy of the rising death star.

          • Neska

            I think I was born under a rising Death Star . . .

  • Flaming Squirrel

    Again, Nataku’s face in the last panel. “So… you don’t like the chicken?”

    • suburban_samurai

      “But it tastes like everything…”

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Everything except actual chicken!

  • Kid Chaos

    Just imagine how they’ll react when Masuhiro shows up; just imagine…

  • Xinef

    I just can’t stop my imagination.

    • suburban_samurai

      Eijiro’s actually reading the text only version of Flappy Birds, HOW’D YOU KNOW?

      • Xinef

        How do I know? It’s my imagination – it makes me see things others don’t. Yeah, it’s kinda creepy… :/

        Things like kids playing video games on their smartphones and consoles… I’m so glad it’s not real, just my imagination.

  • Sunwu

    The General should really have made 2 copies

    • Kid Chaos

      Who’s to say he didn’t?

      • Mike

        ! MAYBE it was all a trap to see if the hawk would get shot! He signed waivers and everything! Their secret plot is dooooooomed!

        • Xinef

          The hawk is a lie!

    • suburban_samurai

      I’m starting to think Atsumori is not the best strategist out there.

    • leavescat

      He faxed the other one.

      • Sunwu

        that’s even less reliable than sending a hawk!!!

  • Da’Zlein

    Oh, that’s gonna be a fun conversation to have… Or maybe not…
    “Hey dad, I manipulated circumstances to ensure you felt justified in surprise attacking the Senshin clan”
    “Oh son, you knew I was going to do that anyway, how thoughtful of you to make me feel like it was the right thing to do”

    • suburban_samurai

      An ideal scenario!

  • Hfar

    “What? Come clean to your father? Oh no no no no! That would mess with this nice little war I got planned! Whelp, time to remind someone who’s the alpha in this relationship…”

  • Minando

    Well, the kids love it. Maybe they are the target audience here…

    • Kid Chaos

      Since you brought it up…”Age of Ultron” was not bad. I know, I know, they had to shoehorn Thor’s “vision quest” (no pun intended, I swear) in there, because this is still just one more chapter in the “MCU” saga. And duh, Bruce Banner, they’re not going to let you just quit the team; they found you once, they’ll do it again. Sorry, I don’t mean to nitpick (that’s *your* job, suburban_samurai!

  • Speedy Marsh

    A possible remix of this one:


    “A bird for the birdbrain”

    “Are you trying to kill me? There’s a Bird Flu epidemic!”

    “Well, yes. I am planning to slit your throat, but I was going to kill Masuhiro and your father, first.”

    “Maybe Bird Flu isn’t so bad, after all.”

  • Bree

    That review is a PERFECT summation of all Hollywood movies these days.

  • Ellie Sogol

    I meant to say this further back, but Nataku almost reaches Magnificent Bastard level… but not quite. He’s just too unpleasant.

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