The Legend of Korra Reviews- “The Coronation”, “The Calling” and ” Enemy at the Gates”

I need this made into a t-shirt. Like right now.

All right, I’m assuming everybody reading this has watched the three most recent Korra episodes, because, I mean, what the hell would you be reading this for if you hadn’t? So, instead of doing my usual blurb about the pot, I’m just going to do a point form list of anything that interested me about the three episodes. Starting with the coolest character this show has had:

  • Toph Beifong is a freaking badass. Even at age 100 or whatever, she is still so damn cool. I’ve never been a giant fan of her “twinkle toes” catchphrase, because I find that really juvenile (I know, I know, it’s a kids’ show), but otherwise, she acts just like she did when she was a kid, unlike Katara, who is basically just filling the stock roles of “wise old lady” and “convenient healer” whenever she appears. Also, kudos to the voice actress (Philece Sampler) for really making the character sound like she did when she was twelve, except, you know, old. I do hope she comes back later in the season, I think it’d be real cool to have her beat the crap out of Kuvira. Or anybody, really.
  • So, Kuvira turned out to be the bad guy,to absolutely no one’s surprise. Continuing the trend in Korra of having villains that aren’t just blubbering madmen, Kuvira is…. Unsavoury, but she does make some good points. Yeah, the uniting of the Earth Kingdom is a good idea, and it’s probably best that technology and a progress are prioritized over an outdated, unegalitarian monarchy, and yes, the Earth Empire does reward the territories it unites with food, prosperity, etc. So yeah, Kuvira does seem like a pretty legit ruler… Until you realize that you just justified the aggression of this world’s equivalent of Hitler or Mussolini.

Erde Reich über alles!!!

  • Yeah, as good as those things are, replacing an indifferent monarch with a super-controlling fascist is really not the best move you can make. Speaking of which, I really liked Prince Wu’s interactions with Mako and his character development as a whole. Just as Kuvira is a fairly accurate representation of a leader who will unhesitantly go to extremes to preserve her power, Wu is an accurate representation of somebody who wants to be in power because of the prestige that the position would bring him (Think Marie-Antoinette, I guess).
  • Mako and Bolin are kinda breaking my heart. Bolin’s endearing stupidity got the better of him, and, once again, Mako couldn’t talk him out of doing something really stupid. I get so sad when Mako and Bolin are fighting, because they’re so close, and they’ve been through so much shit together that it can be upsetting when they don’t see eye to eye. And yeah, Mako may have the moral high ground in this case, but Bolin so wants to believe that Kuvira’s cause is just, and that he’s helping people, but then, he comes to his senses too late, and off he goes to a re-education camp. Speaking of which…
  • DAMN YOU ZHU LI!!! VARRICK GAVE YOU EVERYTHING AND YOU THREW IT ALL AWAY, AND FOR WHAT?!?!!?!?! YOU BITCH!!!! YOU HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE BITCH!!!!
  • When I first started watching Korra, Meelo was one of my least favourite characters, because as much of an immature man-child as I am, fart jokes seemed really out of place on a show that contains military coups, political assassinations and a teenage girl getting crippled. However, partway through the second season, I warmed up to him. He has, to date, one of my favourite lines in the series (“Look to your left, look to your right” etc….). However, he’s definitely better as a supporting character than as the main focus of an episode, as he was in “The Calling” along with his sisters, as I found that he just got grating once again. I think I’ll end up just fine with him now that he’s (probably) not going to star in any more episodes.
  • Also, is it just me, or does the voice actor for Meelo (Logan Wells) sound a little young for the character?
  • Lastly, I’m really digging Korra’s journey back into Avatar-dom. A minor complaint of mine is that, after wisely avoiding this trait in the third season, Korra almost fell into the fatal flaw from the first two seasons, in which she temporarily joined the side of the devils (Tarrlok’s Anti-Equalist squad and Unalaq’s invasion of the Southern Water Tribe) until she came to her  senses. It kinda looked for a while that Kuvira may have swayed Korra to her side and, yeah, it looks like Korra’s convinced in part that joining the Empire would be best for the city of Zaofu, but she’s clearly more interested in peace than any ideological bullshit. I dunno, the show’s done a great job so far, so I have faith that it won’t descend into the mediocrity that plagued parts of the first two seasons.

“The Coronation”: 4.5/5

“The Calling”: 4/5

“Enemy at the Gated”: 4.5/5

The season so far: 9.0/10

Gotham- “The Balloonman” and “Arkham”

Nerdgasm imminent.

 Okay, so we’re officially four episodes into Gotham, so, going by general television rules of thumb, we should have a pretty good handle on what exactly this show is about. And so far, Gotham has been pretty….. All over the map, to say the least. So far, it’s been two good episodes (The pilot and “Arkham”) and two mediocre episodes (“Selina Kyle” and “The Balloonman”). Since we’re around this TV milestone, I figured I’d use this entry not so much to focus on the two recent episodes, but to underline one strengths, one weakness and one mediocre trait that the show has displayed so far. I’ll still talk about the individual episodes, but… Yeah, I guess you get the idea.

Strength: Cinematography

The Tim Burton Batman movies and the Christopher Nolan trilogy both had different ideas on what the look of Gotham City should be. Burton definitely had a ton of creative input in his movies, especially Batman Returns, as his Gotham is appealingly ugly and highly stylised. One could almost say it’s more faithful to the comics, but that would imply that Burton actually read the comics, which he didn’t.  Nolan’s Gotham always reminded me of the rust belt, matching the gritty, realistic tone of the movies. Gotham successfully succeeds in combining the best elements of both Gothams to create a city that looks to be straight off the pages of DC Comics. Props to whoever was in charge of that.

Weakness: Tone

Oh boy, oh boy. Holy shit does this show have some problems here.

With the exception of the Nolan movies, which were ultra-modern, and the ultra campy iterations, Batman stories have always had somewhat of a timeless feel to it. The 1989 movie brought a lot of fashion, images and dialects straight from the early-to-mid 20th century, as did the animated series, mixing them with more modern technologies like literally anything in Batman’s utility belt. It may not have made the most sense when you think about it, but hey, it was charming, or at least I found it to be.

How quaint!!!

While I also really enjoyed the tone of the new movies, and the campy movies had…. Actually they all sucked, but my point is that Gotham tries way too hard to be a balanced mix of all of these styles, which just ends up coming across as stilted and jarring. At times, it wants to be very dark and realistic, but there are other times when the over-the-top villains and cartoonish violence just take me out of it (I’m looking at you, Balloonman. Jesus Christ, wasn’t that a fucking stupid concept?). Black comedy and camp can be put to good use, but that’s not really the case in this show.

Ugh….

Meh…: Acting/Characters 

I should be the first to admit that I was a little high on the actors in my review of the pilot episode. And I’ve still gotta be honest, I haven’t seen a straight-up bad performance just yet. Robin Lord-Taylor as Penguin is still my favourite performance, even if his arc is really improbable. I really like John Doman in the limited screen time he gets as Carmine Falcone, as is Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth. I also really like Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue, even if McKenzie can sometimes be overly stoic for my taste. Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney and Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma are also fine, even if neither has done much, and the showrunners can’t seem to help drilling the fact that Nygma becomes the Riddler into our brains ever so much.

A lot of the characters just seem to be there for the sake of being there, though. Montoya, Allen and Barbara are all boring as hell. I have yet to feel a twinge of interest towards any of them. And, while they aren’t bad actors per se, I would argue that they’re better than most other child actors out there, David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, respectively, jus don’t have interesting enough stories for me to really get invested.

***

That’s all for now. Hopefully the show picks up, because at the rate it’s going, it’ll fall off of my review list after this season. This last episode was better than the two before it though, so maybe that’s a sign it’s trending in the right direction? I sure hope so.

“The Balloonman”: 2.5/5

“Arkham”: 3.5/5

The season so far: 6.5/10