Yuk. Puns. Ah well.

Anyway, cutting the day job down to four days a week has meant that this thing called the cinema (1) has re-entered my life. Experiment has taught that I can actually go into Leeds, get a big ol’ slab of writing down in the coffee shop of my choice, and also take in a movie. As anyone else with a three year-old son will vouch, evenings at the movies suddenly become a logistical nightmare, so this is an unexpected freedom. And my wife hates me for it, cos she doesn’t get to go. All have to make sacrifices etc. etc.

It’s a bit like having been a hermit for a couple of years. WTF all the superhero movies, for example? When did that happen. OK, I lie, I was kind of aware that, given that Dark Knight sort of exploded the film industry with awesomeness (3) the superhero handwagon was back on the tracks again (4). Superhero movies arcs tend to follow this weird curve of good, good, bad, horrible, straight to video (5), but at the moment we seem to be building on the good. It helps that X-Men: First Class turned out to be vastly better than it had any right to be, and I say that as an X-men fan. Unlike the scattering of films I’ve seen over the last few years where logic, writing and plot all cave in to grotesquely extended FX/action set pieces, it was a beautifully balanced film, one of the best I’ve seen for a long time.

X-Men is, of course, not currently within Marvel’s own home-grown project, and this is another thing: the level of ambition of the film industry, at its best, seems to be hitting enormous new heights. Years ago, now, Peter Jackson and New Line filmed pretty much a day’s worth of solid Lord of the Rings, and did good, but now, not only do we have a 10-year, 8 film epic with Harry Potter, which – love the films or not – is an undeniable technical cinematic achievement, but we also have Marvel Comics’ own home grown continuity, in which four separate heroes of five films are living in the same world, meeting the same linking characters and maguffins, and about to come together in a grand meet-up film next year. Again – whether or not you liked any of the individual films (and there are surely stronger and weaker components to the mix), as a writer the sheer vision to bring that breadth of continuity to the big screen is awe-inspiring. It helps that Captain America, which looked as though it should be the most problematic of the various titles to pull off without getting that tooth-rotting over-patriotism that the character seems to invite, turned out to be a very good film in its own right. Now I need to go catch up on Hulk and Thor, which I missed.

I’ve also – and for Heaven’s sake what have I been doing which my life (6) – finally managed to watch Tron Legacy, which I also really enjoyed – and it was a visually and musically beautiful film as well as a good one. The enduring impression after finishing it, however, is, “so that’s why my damn PC is so slow. All the ****ing programs are watching gladiatorial fights when I want to check my emails…”

(1) Or, as my home village in Lincolnshire had it, “the kinema” (2)

(2) In the Woods, no less. And if that isn’t a missed opportunity for Stephen King I don’t know what is.

(3) and yes, I haven’t seen it yet but, like Sixth Sense, by now I’ve essentially seen it vicariously.

(4) or the road. I have only the loosest idea what a bandwagon is.

(5) Or, in some cases, just bad, horrible.

(6) except 2 jobs, a family and a WoW raid group

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