Shmee Travels To Wakanda!

After ten years and seventeen movies, Marvel has finally made a movie based off of their first African superhero, Black Panther.  While King T’Challa technically made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, this is really our first big screen introduction to the character, and it was quite the introduction.  The reviews and the build up have been telling me that Black Panther is the greatest Marvel movie of all time, which it isn’t, but it is very good, and it makes me wonder why Marvel took so long to introduce such an important character.

Black Panther begins right after Captain America: Civil War ends, but just in case you are worried, they do a little flashback, so you don’t need to have watched that movie or re-watch it to remember what happens.  King T’Chaka (John Kani) has died, so the mantle of King of Wakanda and Black Panther now fall to his son T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman).  Unfortunately for T’Challa being King will not be easy because he will have to face down the failures of his father.

Black Panther is the best Marvel origin story since Iron Man.  It manages to tell a personal story with real stakes, and the villain’s motivations actually make sense.  He is not just trying to kill people and rule stuff because that is what villains do.  Michael B. Jordan’s Erik “Killmonger” Stevens is still undeniably evil, but you understand why his is doing what he is doing, and you sympathize with his quest.  You want him to fail, but at least you can see where his world view comes from.

While Jordan’s Killmonger may steal the show.  Chadwick Boseman’s uncertain yet always just Black Panther is also a treat.  Yes, he is another rich guy in a suit, but at least he isn’t a self absorbed jerk.  He values his friends and family, and that makes him much more likable.  Boseman brings him to life expertly.  Then just to tie things together they throw in a cast full of Oscar winners and powerhouse talent.  Black Panther’s casting director wasn’t playing around.

What didn’t hold up so well is the CGI.  For the most part it is okay, but during the big fight scenes at the end it starts to strain a bit.  The purple smudge of a Vibranium mine and some  globby charging animals just look off, and if you were hoping that Black Panther would end without two cartoony CGI guys punching each other you, will be disappointed.

Still, a slightly off ending was not a enough to derail all the good that Black Panther did in the first 90% of the movie.  Marvel has yet another great movie to add to its collection, and a new hero to move about its movie universe, so if you are one of the two people that hasn’t seen it yet, you probably should.  To Marvel fans everywhere, you should be thrilled.  The king has arrived.

Shmee And Co Make An Escape!

People have been making a bunch of noise about Escape Rooms lately, so when Plumpy Thimble asked if I wanted to go on a triple date to Countdown Escape Rooms up in Abbotsford, I jumped at the chance.  If you have never done an Escape Room, and you like puzzles, you definitely should give one a try.

Our room was themed like an Egyptian tomb.  Which was pretty cool, even if the application of the theme was a little uneven.  The act of solving the room: rummaging around looking for clues, trying to make the logical leaps required to apply those clues, and just feeling the pressure of the clock, was a good time.

I don’t know if this is something I would do all the time, but it is a unique experience, and one well worth the $15.  There are a lot of Escape Rooms around these days, so finding one nearby shouldn’t be an issue, but Countdown Escape Rooms was pretty good.  Even if for some reason their Egyptian tombs feature constellations based on Greek mythology.

Shmee Visits Hamilton!

After years of hearing that Hamilton was the greatest Broadway show of all time, Mrs. Shmee finally got to see the touring production in Seattle at the Paramount Theater, and of course she took me with her.  Living up to ‘the greatest show of all time’ would take some work, and Hamilton fell at little short of that, but it was very good,  and well worth checking out.  If you can.

Obviously Hamilton follows the life and times of founding father Alexander Hamilton, and while its historical accuracy is not always the greatest, it is much closer to the truth than fellow historical musical The Greatest Showman.  It is a fun way to learn about a founding father that doesn’t get a lot of love.  Well until now that is, because he has an entire Broadway Musical about him.

Hamilton is not a show you go to for the crazy sets or special effects.  The floor can rotate in two different directions and the stairs can move around and that is about it.  What they have built is nice, but don’t expect any giant floating objects or crazy canon fights.  What you go to Hamilton for is the music, and that lives up to the hype.  It is great.  The first act is a bit better than the second, but the first act is so good that everything else kind of pales by comparison.

At this point it is almost impossible for Hamilton to live up to everyone’s expectations, but the music is amazing, and King George III steals the show whenever there is a lull.  Honestly, I would love a musical just about a whiney and petty King George III.  Anyway, if you can get tickets to Hamilton you should go.  If you can’t, take heart because a movie adaptation in on the way.

Venom’s First Trailer Forgot About Venom…

As you can see in the trailer above, we see Venom’s symbiote in a glass jar at one point, but we never see it on Tom Hardy, so the first Venom trailer is Venom free.  Tom is also doing some strange take on an American accent.  I don’t know if he is trying to be more New York or something, but it is not working.  I hope he gets a mask to mumble in to quick to straighten that out.  Anyway, it is not a great first impression, but they have until October to win me over.