Does anyone else remember that comic book? It was about the far future, 4000 AD, at a time when humanoid robots are ubiquitous, and they go bad, very bad. Magnus was a human with amazing martial arts abilities, who’d run around in every issue destroying the robots with his bare hands. That was pretty much the theme of the entire comic book: page after page of Magnus demolishing robots. He’d often rip their heads off, and then you’d get a panel with the standard sound effect of a robot getting decapitated: “SQUEEEEE!”
If you’ve ever wondered where that word came from, I think that’s it.
It would be a great comic book to turn into a movie, except that it’s already been done. It’s called The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
It’s an exhausting movie. It’s overstuffed with a swarm of superheroes (they added
two three (I lost count) new ones!) battling a swarm of humanoid robots: they smash them, they tear them in two, they decapitate them, they blow them up, they stab them, they shoot them, they throw large objects at them, they rip off their arms and heads, etc., etc., etc. If you enjoyed The Transformers movies with their confusing clutter of visual junk splattering about the screen with no story at all, you’re going to love Age of Ultron.
This is the movie where I learned that no problem is so big, so sophisticated, so difficult that you can’t solve it by hitting it hard enough, enough times. If only we’d realized this when fighting the AIDS crisis, or our energy problems, or the … drug war, or … foreign policy … oh, hey, those last two — I guess we have been taking this approach. I suppose we’ve also been trying to resolve our race problems by hitting people a lot.
Maybe there is a lesson for America in this movie. Or there would be, if the movie didn’t declare that burly men smashing things is a strategy that works.
I saw this movie in the Morris theater, which is usually nice — it’s small, you usually don’t get big crowds. This time, though, it was a packed house, with a lot of students unwinding before finals week. It was an enthusiastic crowd. I didn’t mind, though, since I think the community experience can be an enjoyable part of a movie.
But this time there was an ugly part. Just behind me, there was a young man who was really caught up in the movie, and his fervor (and I think a bit of alcohol) caught up with him, and at the end he started shouting angry obscenities at the screen. He seemed to like the movie a little too much; he was a bit slurred and barking with rage, so he was hard to make out, but he was apparently angry that some of the characters didn’t have overwhelming magical superpowers, and was furious that there some brief, token nods towards making them human. It was disturbing.
Maybe there’s a market for another Magnus, Robot Fighter movie after all. Forget character development, we just need brightly colored icons smashing stuff on the screen.