Secret Pop

May 7, 2013

Every Story Has Its Sequel

I saw Iron Man 2 the day after my birthday in 2010 with my sister and her boyfriend. I was not completely occupying my mind that night. The night before, I'd had a birthday party at Seven Grand, and many friends were there to make my evening lovely. And the night before that, I was excused from the dating situation I'd been in. So that was a bit of a drag. And maybe my mind was stuck on that more than it was on the movie, but I recall being not-entirely-bowled-over by the film. I remember complaining that it felt very loose. Almost improvised. I also remember laughing at Sam Rockwell's orange hands.

Well, I went to see Iron Man 3 this evening. And it was enjoyable enough. There is a certain simplicity to the Marvel storytelling method. It's all varying degrees of our hero saying, "I didn't ask for this." And the success or less-than-success of each of the films is largely predicated upon how well that problem is managed. How much we care about whom our hero loves, how much we yearn for the resolution of his crises, how much we will tolerate button lines involving puns or clunky plays on words -- all of these fluctuate based on how well the unfair-yoke-of-super is painted for us. I agree with my friend Jennie, with whom I saw the movie, that they did it best with the Cap. Maybe it's the fact that that story happens in the past, which allows for a certain license with the cartooniness, but I cared for Steve Rogers' plight, and I had easy sympathy for his disappointments. Maybe that's because he's the least-complaining Avenger. A chip on even the broadest of shoulders is such a turn-off.

The trailer playlist was as follows: Hangover 3. Star Trek Into Darkness. The Lone Ranger. Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Thor: The Dark World. I had lots of thoughts about those, too, but I've stopped carrying my little Moleskine notebook, in which I used to scribble all my thoughts in the dark without fear of bothering other moviegoers. These days, I mostly make notes on my phone. And that just doesn't work in the cinema. And, after all, most of what I would have written would have been some form of verbal eye-rolling. And maybe a note about how the second film in any given series seems to be required to be about something dark or harrowing. I can provide a list of examples beyond the three in this paragraph if that helps.

In any case, I saw the film, and I'm pleased I did. It's been hard to go to the movies lately, and it's been a great while since the Grove was my regular haunt. A lot has changed. Every moment that passes, I'm learning to adapt.

Incidentally, on Friday, I arrived at the Disneyland Hotel just in time to receive a call from the Glendale Police Department letting me know that my home was in a mandatory evacuation area due to a fire that had kicked up very close by. The amazing thing is that -- whether I believed my house would be destroyed or not -- I knew there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't even go back to try and grab the important things. And in a way that was freeing. I just floated on an adrenalized cloud of suppressed panic and fake fortitude and enjoyed the weekend I'd planned to enjoy as best I could. Said weekend included Club 33, 1901, and Bats Day at Disneyland. It hardly seems acceptable to complain. And the wrap-up last night was just an unstoppable juggernaut of serendipity, where everything fell into place except my quest for a turkey leg. And turkey legs are readily available at Vons.

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