Hello again, wayfarer! Welcome to another addition of Watched This Month. We’re in March now and on time this month. I’m actually away for a couple of days come tomorrow, so I’m glad I could finish this first. I’ve gone and binged on a lot of television again, though I managed to fit a film in this time, too. Let’s get into it!
Previous: Watched This Month: February 2016
|Deadpool (Dir. Tim Miller)
Deadpool is the first Marvel film I have truly enjoyed in quite some time. Many of the superhero blockbusters that have been gracing our screens for the past couple of years just don’t do it for me. I enjoyed almost all of the first installments, but from then on every sequel seemed like more of the same and the stories and characters became very tiresome.
Eventually I stopped watching them altogether, but I wanted to check Deadpool out as it seemed like a genuinely fun movie and I loved the humour and charisma of the character from what I had seen in the comics and from playing as Deadpool way back when in the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance game on Wii.
The tone is set right from the opening credits: this movie is self-aware and will not take itself too seriously. The latest Marvel films have always been chock-full with quips and comedy, but attempt to balance it with the drama. Audiences seem to enjoy it, but I think it makes for a slightly odd tone where you can’t really take anything seriously and there’s barely any genuine tension.
Deadpool is a lot more straight-forward; it sets out to be nothing more than a thoroughly exciting and humorous romp, which it succeeds at entirely. It’s a comedy-action film with a lot of soul that never loses it way. It’s the breath of fresh air that the Marvel cinematic franchise needed and, for me, shows so much how the X-Men universe is far more enticing than the Avengers.
And now – television! I finished Breaking Bad and moved onto Better Call Saul. The 4th season of House of Cards was released this month, too. Besides these, I also watched the latest series of Britain’s Next Top Model and Australia’s Next Top Model. You probably wouldn’t guess it, but I love the Next Top Model franchise. The British version returned from a two-year break and the 9th series of the Australian version was just all-around great, but I won’t bore you by going on about my favourites
(Alex, Izi and Bethan) and discussing how I kind of like reality shows! On with the proper discussion…
|Better Call Saul (Created by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould)
I moved onto Better Call Saul shortly after finishing Breaking Bad. At the time of writing this, a total of 16 episodes have been broadcast. Ten in the first season and so far, six from the second.
Saul was one of my favourite supporting characters from Breaking Bad, so I was ecstatic there was a spin-off based on him. Though – before I had seen Breaking Bad – I remember wondering how good a spin-off based on a supporting lawyer character could be, but it turns out its popularity is well-warranted.
Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould continue to work their magic and craft Saul’s – or rather, James “Jimmy” McGill’s – backstory into something genuinely enticing, heartfelt and believable. It’s not just about Saul, however, as thus far many other supporting characters have featured. Mike – another fan favourite – is given masses of depth with his own backstory that at times has a stronger focus than Saul’s. Though audiences know where these characters end up, the storylines are extremely gripping and much of the tension and excitement is finding out how these characters become who they are in the Breaking Bad timeline.
Gilligan has spoken of the series’ potential longevity and a third season has already been green-lit, so here’s hoping we have a lot more Better Call Saul to come. Furthermore, Gilligan has hinted that many more Breaking Bad characters will feature in Better Call Saul and – if the situation is right – even Jesse and Walter could appear. There have already been two sequences with Saul post-BrBa, so perhaps there will even be a season or episode(s) set during the initial Breaking Bad timeline. It seems as though the series is still in its infancy, which is a wonderful feeling, as I’m looking forward to following these characters for many more years to come.
|Breaking Bad (Created by Vince Gilligan)
So, here we are. I’m part of the club, outdated as it may be. I’ll try not to repeat what everyone has already said ad nausea, but I must applaud this show. Breaking Bad fully deserves its enormous praise; it lives up to all the hype and thensome. I went into the series knowing how it ends, yet I devoured all sixty-two episodes in just over two weeks and not once did I feel the show was tedious or that the tension had been diminished by my knowledge of the ending. It was thoroughly enticing from beginning to end, with more stand-out moments than there are episodes.
I’ve always loved Bryan Cranston and he gives such a convincing, phenomenal performance in Breaking Bad it’s as though he was born to play Walter White. Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman, too, was just amazing; so incredibly layered and entirely engrossing. Two such absorbing characters could completely outshine the supporting cast, but surprisingly that’s never the case. The entire Breaking Bad universe and every single episode comes together on such a tremendous level, that I am so glad I didn’t have to wait a week between episodes let alone months between seasons.
Come the end, I was surprised by how tragic a character Walter White is. The scene in the final episode where he essentially says goodbye to his family really got to me. Until then, everything had been for the sake of his family – or at least, that’s what he told himself – but now there’s nothing and what’s more, they despise him. The scene where Walter watches his son return home was absolutely hard-wrenching; throughout every season their relationship had been so strong, but now his son has denounced his name and will never recognise his fathers legacy. Walt watches on, though – one final time – and walks calmly to his demise. He fulfills Gus’ words: “A man provides… and he does it even when he’s not appreciated, or respected, or even loved. He simply bears up and he does it. Because he’s a man.”
If I am disappointed by anything, it’s that I can’t rewatch the series as though it were fresh, but hey… we have Better Call Saul, now! The Breaking Bad universe lives on.
|House of Cards, Season 4 (Created by Beau Willimon)
I hate to use the term back on form; it’s such a cliche phrase, but it describes Season 4 of House of Cards completely. I never got fully behind Season 3; it certainly had its moments, but the plot wasn’t as gripping as the prior seasons and Claire’s character went in a peculiar direction. Season 4, though, is one of the strongest yet.
Frank’s political maneuverings are ever-captivating and the Underwood dream-team makes for completely engrossing viewing. Furthermore, a number of supporting characters have returned and shake up the story in new and exciting ways. Frank faces some truly turbulent times this season and at times, the drama is phenomenally tense. The dialogue is on-point, as are Frank’s asides and the ending scene – without giving anything away – rivals the spine-chilling knock from Season 2.
Truly, an absolutely exceptional season. I finished Season 3 a little haggard – certain parts really did feel as though they dragged – but I finished Season 4 completely ecstatic and eager for more. I can’t wait to see what direction House of Cards goes next; it appears as though it has diverted entirely from the source material at this point.
That’s it for this month. I still have a huge back catalogue of films I really want to get around to, so I’ll try and give some of those a watch in April, but Game of Thrones returns, also. It looks amazing, if they trailers are anything to go by. Until next time!