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Day: May 8, 2012

Shanghai Soup (上海汤)

Shanghai Soup (上海汤)

I’m sitting in a tenth-floor room of the Shangri-La Pudong, listening to an orchestra of car horns on the street below. Around me, skyscrapers are lovingly caressed by the fog and swallowed whole from above.  It’s my first time in Shanghai and it tastes like home — thriving forests of glass and steel, flawless roads prowled by BMWs and Audis, stores that sell Prada and Gucci and Giorgio Armani.  I don’t feel like I’ve gone anywhere at all.

Yes, the signs are in a different language. Yes, the stars are yellow and the flag is red. Yes, the flowers by the roadside could never grow in the climate at home.

But it doesn’t feel different.

When I was in London, I felt myself moved by something I couldn’t put a finger on. Every sight, every sound, every intake of air, I wanted to treasure and keep as precious. At that time, I arrogantly thought I had made a connection with the city. Now I know it was just London’s way of telling me that I didn’t belong.

When They Said “Assemble”, I Didn’t Think They Meant An Ikea Table, AKA Why I Disliked The Avengers Movie

When They Said “Assemble”, I Didn’t Think They Meant An Ikea Table, AKA Why I Disliked The Avengers Movie

A still from Marvel's The Avengers, produced by Walt Disney Co.

I am currently girding my loins because I am going to post an extremely unpopular opinion.

I did not like the Avengers movie.

First off, a disclaimer: I am not a comics fan. While I may dabble in the occasional graphic novel and hang around comics geeks more than half the time, I basically know nothing about the Marvel comicsverse, aside from what I read from Neil Gaiman’s 1602, and what I learned monitoring some of the comics communities on LJ and Dreamwidth while I was working in an ultimately-doomed local comics studio. (Storm Lion, you may have heard of them.)

But perhaps this puts me in good stead to review the film. I’m not emotionally invested enough in the source material to have it eclipse everything else, but I’m also not so detached from the comics fandom that I’ll start tearing apart things that are generally accepted as comic book tropes.

I really wanted to like this film. I don’t head out to the theatres much these days, owing mostly to time constraints, but this was one film I bookmarked as a must-see after the rave reviews given by almost everyone who had caught an advance screening. I sussed out the opening date and marked it out weeks in advance: Must go see this when it opens. Find someone who wants to watch it with you. Cannot miss it.

And maybe that was its problem: It didn’t live up to the hype. Cut for spoilers!

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