Monday, 1 June 2015

Monthly Scribbles: From Avengers to Zygons

Well, what a jam-packed month May was! There was a royal birth, corruption in international football and of course the general election. But we're only interested in the most important topics here at Scribble Creatures. Namely, Doctor Who, The Simpsons and superheroes...

Look who's back!

Doctor Who fans' jaws hit the floor this month when it was revealed that UNIT scientist Osgood is to return in the next series - after she apparently died at the hands of Missy in 'Death In Heaven!' What's more, it has been confirmed that those shape-shifting suckers the Zygons are back for a rematch against Osgood in Series Nine episodes 7 and 8. For a long while, the Zygons were many people's (including David Tennant's) favourite one-off monster they wanted to reappear and now they're getting their third appearance on the show after 'The Day of the Doctor.'

Personally, I'm unsure at the return of Osgood as I felt her shocking demise cemented Missy as a danger rather than just the cartoon villain the Master can become if handled badly. But I shall hold my reservations until the episodes air. Let Zygons be Zygons, indeed.

The Simpsons loses a key cast member

Now coming up to its 27th season, The Simpsons has announced that key cast member Harry Shearer is to leave the show, taking with him his distinctive voices for such classic characters as Mr Burns, Ned Flanders, Lenny ('not Lenny!') ETC. As any sane person should, I've always loved The Simpsons and still dip into a new episode now and then. The quality is of course nowhere near the consistency of the series' good ol' days but it can absolutely still come up with a classic once in a while. However, when a show has been going on for so long that the stars want to end it, it's probably time to call it a day. Apparently the show must go on though as the showmakers plan to recast Shearer's roles. We shall have to see if this eerily prescient joke from a decade ago comes true...

Highlights of the month

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Following up 2012's collosal hit The Avengers, was always going to be a Hulk-sized task, and I have to say I went into the film with a strong suspicion it wouldn't be as good. Well, I was right but the film is still a very enjoyable, never unentertaining blockbuster. Age of Ultron does fall in to the common trope of over-stuffed superhero sequels but it is definitely one of the strongest of said subgenre (it's far above Amazing Spider-Man 2, for example). There is largely good work done with the characters without their own franchises and the ambition of the film is to be commended - it does more globe-trotting than a Bond film. Plus you can always rely on Joss Whedon for fun dialogue, with robot baddie Ultron snagging most of the best lines this time. There are too many parts in it to be a great film, but Age of Ultron is so excitingly told you'll be glad it was assembled.

Captain America: The First Avenger

It's an uncommon opinion but the first Captain America film is probably my favourite non-Avengers Marvel movie. The period dubya-dubya-two setting allows for an old-fashioned adventure, largely a mash-up between vintage war films and traditional superhero action with lashings of Sky Captain-esque dieselpunk thrown in. That's not to say the film is flawless - Red Skull should really be a fantastic villain with all his tried-and-tested ticks (he's a nazi with a facial disfigurement played by Hugo Weaving!) but he never really feels up to much. On the other hand, the cast is the best outside of The Avengers films with welcome appearances by the brilliant Toby Jones, Hayley Attwell as Marvel's best leading lady Agent Carter and, of course, Chris Evans who brings a lot of likeability to the star-spangled man with a plan. The follow-up, The Winter Soldier, is a possibly more sophisticated piece but sometimes you just can't beat a bit of punching Hitler on the nose.

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