Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crazy4Smallville's Review - Series Finale

            How do I review something that’s been a part of my life for the past decade?  How do put I put the stopper at the end of a bottle and then toss it away?  It’s a lot harder than you think.  It became even more difficult in the week following the finale, when I knew nothing else was to come.  It’s an empty feeling; a hollow hole left open.  Part of me wants to fill it again with something else, but then another part of me doesn’t want (or doesn’t think) anything else is good enough to fill the vacant lot, now unoccupied.  Where do I go from here?  That’s the first thing the ending of Smallville has given me – an unoccupied space in my heart that I don’t know if I’ll be able to fill; and if I do fill it, to what degree will the next thing be worthy?  From the look of what’s out there, not anything that I consider even in the same caliber.  What to do?  What to do?
     I have to say that waiting ten long years for a particular event to happen has taught me a lesson in patience, and the rewards that come from being patient and loyal.
            Well, here goes… for the last time!

I love the opening, how they show scenes from the very beginning, the very first episode and hit on all the really truly major points, leaving out the completely useless ones (but, we’re not going to get into all that).  Boy, did everybody look so much younger.  It’s like going to a family reunion you haven’t been to in a while.  There’s Pete,  Lex, Lana, Chloe, The Torch, Smallville High, the Farm, Shelby, Wall of Weird, Lionel… and then it brings us up to speed with Darkseid, the Kandorians, Green Arrow, the Daily Planet, Lois & Clark, alternate universes, Clark still dealing with the same issue he had ten years ago – a low self-perception and an over-exhausted case of humility. 

Love the DC comic book featuring Smallville on the cover and Clark Kent.  PRICELESS. Chloe reading to her son, how appropriate, especially since she just got her own character in the D.C. Universe.  What I don’t think is realistic in this scene is that a D.C. Comic will only cost $2.99 even in the near future (seven years) the way the economy’s in the tankard.  Don’t want to go down that road, so let’s move on.  No guessing whose son she’s reading too, not with a green bow and set of plastic arrows sitting on the dresser.  Great beginning!  OKAY – big ball of flaming planet headed straight to earth!  Let me guess… only one person can save us now!  Enter theme song by Remy Zero – “Somebody Save Me”.  Excellently done!  BTW – I’m so glad the network continued with the same theme song for all ten years, it just wouldn’t have been the same without it.

Starting off with the Daily Planet; quite appropriate.  It’s been the theme setting now for the last couple years, and I don’t think they could pick a better one.  Love the mild mannered reporter, and boy isn’t he being mild mannered!  Look at how easy-going and laid-back he’s being when his fiancĂ© has called off their wedding.  Now, THIS is not the typical Clark reaction.  Lois being pig-headed… right in-line with her character. However, the big speech about why she’s being pig-headed is redundant from last week, and a waste of screen time.  I could be seeing something else right now… like LEX.  Oh, Burn!  He put the decision back all onto her.

Chloe and Oliver decorating the church for the wedding, talking about their own unmemorable wedding, and discussing their marriage.  I love that it’s just… ditto.  I love to see both of them happy, however I really feel that this storyline just got pushed to the backseat.  Chloe has been such a pivotal point of the whole storyline.  She was there in the beginning and has been there every step… and it just feels like knowing her story was just a small sideline… makes me feel her character was a bit cheated of the glory she truly deserved. 

Tess trying to restore the Luthor mansion?  Let it stay destroyed, right along with the Luthor Legacy.  Why would someone rejected and abused by a family try to restore the family name.  I’d want nothing to do with it, EVER. Restoring a bad name isn’t going to change what happened; it could only help cover future destruction by the same.  Grandma creepy sounds like a broken record.  Typical religious rhetoric being spouted from deranged lunatics.  Of course, the only difference from her than the rest of the loonies, is the fact that a big ball of flaming planet is headed straight toward earth. 

It’s so sad to see the Kent Farm, empty, boxed up.  That’s how I feel, as I’m sure millions of viewers.  Oh, yeah!  You tell him Ma Kent!  I never thought he should give up the house either.  She tried to tell Clark that Jonathan was always around, but he’s too thick-headed to see that.  Boy, did she hit the nail on the head, about Clark cutting out the past that made him who he is… Clark Kent is just part of what makes Superman great; it’s a combination of the gifts and powers of Kal-El combined with the heart and passion of Clark Kent.

Chloe back in the Daily Planet… LOVE IT.  Lois wanting to interview the President – PRICELESS.  Lois, bantering… nah, nah.  Clark’s vows… WOW, WOW, WOW.  Great writing.  She finally got it… “I’m such an idiot!”

Oliver disconnected all the satellite feeds…hmmm.  I know he’s been tagged by Darkseid, but how oh how is he going to get out of this?  A ring of gold Kryptonite?  Now, remind me what gold does – takes away Clark’s powers permanently??  I’ve always said there’s too much Kryptonite, too many weaknesses and too many obstacles for a superhero.    

Clark having a heart to heart with Jonathan?  Haven’t we heard this little speech, or something similar a thousand times already?  I wish anytime I needed to figure something out in my life that a person showed up in the flesh to give me the advice I need to move forward.  Instead, I have to rely on memory and imagination.  Wondering whose got he’d tell Clark about his ‘dark side’.  This little speech… boring.  Feels like it’s taking up so much other TIME, other scenes, other strings to tie.  Don’t talk so much… Don’t tell… SHOW.  Lois seems to have the same problems as Clark – low self-perception.  But, I love how Lois is bringing up remember her family and what they would say.  Lois’ vows are beautiful.  The camera going around and around the both of them standing against the door is perfect filming.  The two of them talking through the door… PERFECT!

 Tess trying to save the world, so un-Luthor of her.  Now, someone is out to stop her, so typical. 

Small country church wedding; perfect.  Martha – perfect.  Chloe & Oliver – perfect.  Lois’ dress… perfectly modern.  I would have like to have seen her in something more fairy tale.  Clark not at the altar but walking up beside her, to walk her down the isle… I’m in tears.  Perfect symbolism of how they’re to walk through this world – side by side.  Whoever came up with this scene -  I HATE/LOVE you.  I’m not a very romantic person, but this was about the most romantic thing I’ve ever seen.  Jonathan being there…again… I know I’m saying this A LOT… but PERFECT.

Even Lois’ vows… have the word ‘perfect’ in them.  I love how it’s in their minds, and not with their lips.  I thought I was done crying… I’ve already put the tissues up.  Now, I have to pause the show and go get them out again.  Here we go… Oliver handing the gold ring to Clark, and Chloe has to once again save the day!  Uh-Oh… Dark Oliver has come to the surface.  I didn’t miss the stained-glass being red, yellow and blue when it shattered.  Love the slow motion of Clark catching Lois.  Boy, I tell you what… that church cleared out quick.  Within a few seconds time not a soul was left inside.    Clark convincing Oliver to fight the darkness; he can sure dish out the compliments; he just can’t take them, huh?  I have no doubt Oliver will fight the darkness and win.  Why he didn’t do it earlier, I don’t know. 

Okay, now the story seems to be moving into overdrive.  Everyone scrambling.  Watchtower, Star City, Chloe, Oliver/Green Arrow… “See you in the funny pages,” Chloe said – Awesome.  “You need to do what you do best, be a hero.” – Again, Awesome.  Clark seeing Jonathan at the farm – Awesome.  Is seeing the dead one of Clark’s superpowers?  Jonathan telling Clark that he and Martha have done all they can, that Clark is going to have to let Jor-El guide him from here on out – Awesome. From one father to another… “He’s your father, he’ll understand!”  So far, that’s the best line I’ve ever heard on this show.  I’ve got goose bumps.  Family hug.  “It’s time!”  Boy, you got that right.  I’ve been waiting for 10 YEARS!  Clark better hurry… things look like they’re heating up.

I’m sad and excited at the same time. I can’t believe there’s only a little time left… and there’s so much more to cover.  Lionel got Tess on cold hard slab.  Lionel wanting to restore Lex, but he needs Tess’ heart.  It wouldn’t work with Tess’ heart… he’d care too much.  He’d be just like he was before, divided in his loyalties.  “Lex is missing a heart”; that’s been his problem all along.  You know, I’ve often wondered about the loyalty of body guards and henchmen.  How low does a person have to come to blindly kill or work for someone like Lionel Luthor?  Tickle me pink… there’s Lex laid out on a slab.  My toes are tingling.  I like Tess… I don’t want her to die.  She’s the only good thing to come out of the Luthors.  Alright… she’s not going down without a fight, and boy is she tough!  Shot Lionel without so much as a blink.  There you go, maggot.  Crawl toward your prodigy and give him your own heart.  What soul could Darkseid take in exchange for Lex’s life… Lionel doesn’t have one… or a heart. 

Uh-Oh… here we go.  LEX is ALIVE!  And thank God it’s not some unrecognizable clone.  It could only have been Michael Rosenbaum.  Anyone else and I’d have protested. 

Lois & Clark in the Daily Planet discussing life and death emergencies… splendid.  When did Lois get so smart… using Clark’s own vows to get him to ‘go save the world’?  What is up with that old-fashioned radio in such modern place?

How convenient that the Presidential Press is a woman that looks like Lois Lane?  With the way security is at the current White House where people can crash parties without pause, it doesn’t surprise that Lois Lane can use a false press ID to get aboard AirForce One.  I guess, we’re supposed to leave something up to our imagination in this series, after all.

LEX is BACK!  “Hello, Clark”… sent a chill down my spine.  “You still see it the same way… astonishment, with a hint of dread, yet with a hopeful finish…”  I love every line.  I burst out laughing with… “seems my father had a change of heart.”  Literally!

Lex always has the best lines, like this one… “You know, I used to think it was our families that made us who we are; then I hoped it was our friends.  But, if you look at history, the great men and women of the world have always been defined by… their enemies.”  He can’t forget his memories, even when he is cloned.  How convenient. 

Clark’s got a great line too with…“My destiny wasn’t yours to take.”

I’m mesmerized by Lex.  “Every villain is only as great as his hero.”  I know I’ve said this a thousand times over this past decade.  Especially during the Kawatche Cave times. 

What I find AMAZING is that the best advice that Clark get’s, the deepest revelations that he discovers… come from his arch nemesis.  Not from his father, not from Jor-El, not from Lois, not from Chloe… but Lex Luthor.  This is the most defining quote of them all, and let me tell you… this episode is FILLED with defining quotes:

“I’m not so sure that Clark Kent can save the entire world on his own,” Clark said.

Lex replied, “He can’t, but we both know who can.”  SUPERMAN! – unspoken, but implied.  GOT IT!

“I’m sorry I couldn’t save you, Lex.” 

Lex’s grin… that’s all that needed to be said.

I’m like a little kid in a candy store.  I’m literally tickled PINK.  Scratch that.. I’m tickled RED, YELLOW and BLUE.

 Oliver going GREEN.  Woo-hoo! 

Crazy religious zealots – don’t they know that the rapture was foretold to happen on May 21st, but the prophet didn’t count right… so he’s adjusted it now to October 21st????  Nuts… they’re not too hard to crack.

 Lois, on Airforce One… in the air???  Hmmm… where have I seen this before?  Oh, that Secret Service needs to be shot on sight.  Who in power is on the plane, if not the President?  Is that supposed to be the Secretary of Defense?   Where’s Daddy Dearest?  I thought he was supposed to be with the President?  I thought the President gave the last order, not the SECDEF?

Okay, Clark getting out a crystal… isn’t it supposed to be green?  Lionel possessed by Darkseid… typical.  Oh, Clark… quit talking… start kicking butt and taking names.   So, Darkseid is whoopin’ up on ole Clark, who remembers what his daddy said about turning to Jor-El… and then what????  He just teleports to the Fortress of Solitude?  You mean to tell me that all this time he didn’t need the key, or super speed? 

Doesn’t matter… he’s there… and I can’t breathe.  I know the moment is coming.  I feel it; I hear it… and now I see the flashes of the past… everything that makes Clark Kent super… and Kal-El human.  My knees jerking… my pulse is racing.  This is better than the movie, because I was there at all those moments; I’ve taken the journey with him; we all have.

“Seize your destiny!” Jor-El.

Oh-yea… we got air…. We got attitude… and we got FLIGHT.  And I’ve got no breath!

Tess & Lex; brother & sister; I wonder… does he remember how she took care of his clone when he was young?  Yeah… he loves her alright… and it’s typical of Lex to think the thing he’s doing is saving someone.  That’s his same old card.  Ah-ha… Tess got the last lick – by sliding his a neurotoxin that will make him forget… his past life, his time with Clark, his life with Lionel… but it doesn’t change the state of his heart… he’s still inherently evil…and I’m sure he’ll continue to do evil in the guise of ‘saving the world’.   How perfect… he’ll be the enemy, not realizing just what a true enemy he is… and thus it starts all over between Clark and Lex.

Clark REALLY at the Fortress of Solitude this time.  Is it suit time?  I just came down the last exuberant moment… and now here I go again to the next one.  It’s the suit rising out of the ground, isn’t it?  Yep… THERE IT IS!  It looks like the one used by Brandon in the last Superman movie.  “Your abilities may be my blood, but it’s your time in Smallville that made you a hero…”  I’m balling now… as Jonathan hands him the SUIT, and he stepping up to take it. 

Oh, he’s not even going to put in on… He’s going to take off first…. Does the curl come with the suit… HE'S UP, UP, AND A commercial? ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

Plane going down, Lois being knocked around… and now out of the sky… it’s a bird… it’s a plane… NO, it’s a man in a blue, yellow and red suit. Holding up a plane.  And wouldn’t you know it… Lois Lane has a camera to catch the moment on film.    AND she gets to interview the President.  Wait!  I thought the President was hidden in a bunker somewhere.  Oh, who cares…. Does it really matter?

The world is getting their first glimspte of SUPERMAN saving the world, releasing them from the bonds of darkness, setting free their souls that were once captive… and being the hero that he was born to be.  SUPER!  AMAZING!

And Chloe finishing the story to her 7-year old son.  Chloe, the one who got to see the farm boy become a super man.

Love Sean Astin in the role of Jimmy Olsen.  Perry White in the office… “Great Ceasar’s Ghost.”  Lex Luthor as President, in that white suit as prophesied by the blind woman in the first season.  Clark Kent… clumsy and mild-mannered. True, Lois.   It is sooo hot…. when Clark says, “Yes, Ms. Lane”. 

The Superman music, Clark runs out of that roof top, yanks those glasses off, pulls down that tie, and opens that shirt revealing the Red “S” on that blue suit…. PERFECT. 

     I can’t see the screen… my eyes are too blurred. My fingers barely feel the keys of this keyboard.  I can’t think of a more perfect ending.  I can’t imagine a better close.  I just hate that it’s over; which is really just a beginning. 
     Kudos to everybody who has been with this series since the beginning!  I remember the day I was driving to work and saw the first billboard of the series pilot over ten years ago, and the bubbles of anticipation I had then, and seeing the episode I just viewed… it has all finally come to a full circle, and that anticipation has been fully met and completely fulfilled. 
     I thank the actors and actresses who’ve been faithful to their roles for all this time.  While many have come and gone, there are those who’ll always live in my heart, and I’m sure in the heart of all the Smallville faithful forever; Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Erica Durance, Allison Mack, Annette O’ Toole, John Schneider, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman and John Glover.  There have been many, many more through the years that I can’t think of at the moment, but I thank them all. 
     I thank the writers, editors, graphic artists, producers, filmmakers and anybody who did ANYTHING on this series.  Job well done!
     I can’t believe it’s over.  It went out in the most perfect style I could ever imagine, and I’m glad.  Smallville deserved it.  It warranted a classy and spectacular ending… and it got it.  I will greatly miss you, and I doubt I can every fully replace you.  Superman was my first love… and Smallville has done nothing but solidify that love even more for me over these past ten years.  Thank you Smallville.  You will always live in a special part of my heart.  I won’t say goodbye… but till next time!

This has been Crazy4Smallville’s final review.  It’s been fun, people. 

Monday, May 09, 2011

Crazy4Smallville's Review of Prophecy

Crazy4Smallville Weekly Review - Prophecy

I made a promise that I’d review these last two episodes, and with a heavy heart I’m here to keep that promise. I’m already feeling the anxiousness of the series finale next week. It’s a lot like seeing your children graduate. You toil with them through all the homework, projects and extra-curricular all through Elementary, Middle and High School… to watch them graduate and then leave home for college. While you’re happy at their achievement, you’re sad because an important chapter in their lives have closed. That’s the way I feel toward Smallville right now. They’re about to graduate. With much pride, I’m watching them take their last steps until they leap up into a new adventure, disappearing into the sky above.

Anyway, let me get to this week’s review.

I love it! I love seeing the altar-ego of the mild-mannered reporter I grew up loving stretching his legs and getting comfortable into this role. I personally think he should have already made this leap into the mythos a couple years ago, but I guess it’s better late than never.

What is Lois doing? Is she having pre-wedding jitters? Marionette Ventures – how obvious is that? Marionette – puppet master. Easy leap. Oooh, Clark sweeping Lois off her fee to the Fortress of Solitude to tell Jor-El of his upcoming nuptials, cool breeze. Waited till the last minute, didn’t he?

Oh, no… not another power loss for Clark. Goodness, gracious. How many times does my favorite superhero have to go human on us? It’s kind of a broken record. The one good thing is Lois having his powers, but come on… with only one more episode left in the series… I think there are way too many OTHER story threads that should be tied besides this ‘non-essential’ distraction. I hope the rest of the episode changes my mind, because right now I’m really disappointed.

Oliver sliding down into a mysterious cave; Okay… that’s cool. I’m assuming it’s got something to do with Kryptonian symbols like my favorite Kawatche caves. What is Kara doing down there and how long has she been there. Kara is another character that I think TPTB went in the wrong direction. She started out with so much potential, but ended up being a character that I don’t trust her motives – and her betrayal, angst or even devotion (depending on which way she goes) just isn’t all that believable because her character has went through too many emotionally weak changes. Okay, what is the balance. I know Oliver has been marked by Dark-Seid with the Omega symbol – does that mean he’s the balance, having both a measure of good and evil within him? Or Oliver good and Kara evil, or vice versa? Not truly trusting either character it’s hard for me to understand what’s really going on.

Lois with super-speed reminds me of a high-strung squirrel hopped up on Starbucks. Of course, Clark is being all… cowering and a worry-wart. However, if I had Superman’s powers, I don’t think I’d be trying to figure out a story I’ve been working on – I’d be out leaping tall buildings, outrunning locomotives and zipping around the world faster than a bullet. I’d be trying out that laser or heat vision, or at least testing the limits of what brought me to that point with human boy. I just still can’t see how this scenario is as important to the series on the whole and coming to fast end. Not yet won over, but still holding out hope.

I love the ‘gold’ overtones they use in filming this series. It always evokes a ‘warm-loving’ atmosphere. Artic breath and broken heels… hilarious! Burgundy Blur? Really, that’s the best they could have come up with? Squinty head tilt… priceless. I actually think it’s a great concept of Lois not just learning about the ability of super-hearing, but the emotional and moral issue Clark has to deal with every day by having this ability. This is part of that … with great power, comes great responsibility. Yeah, it’s not in character for Lois to ‘consider’ other people, yet she’s completely selfless in her pursuit of justice. It’s the great character spotlight of Lois.

Bow of Orion – I agree with Oliver. If anyone is to yield a bow, it would be the Green Arrow. He’s the only superhero on this team that doesn’t have an inert superpower, but is super by his determination and steel will. It also doesn’t hurt he’s one heck of a lump of hunk. Don’t they make average looking superheroes or prince’s – so that it’s their gifts or powers that make them attractive? In real life maybe, but not on a popular television series. Wicked-cool special effects of that cross shot by Kara and Oliver. What happened with Kara. She’s so determined to get that bow – what could be so important for her to leave that mission?

Kara in the Fortress of Solitude – getting the third degree from Jor-El. Leave earth and let Kal-El embrace his destiny or stay and endanger his destiny? Is she being punished or promoted? This conversation puzzles me as to what her previous instructions were, because she was so determined to do her ‘part’, though I’ve never been really clear on the objective of that mission.

Controlling like a puppet – Come on… it’s not that hard to figure out. Holding water hostage. Winslow Shot – ToyMan – he’s such a childish character… much the way Lois was by running off all by herself. I guess she also inherited a sense of arrogance with those superpowers. Did she not learn anything watching Clark over the past few years – or at least since she’s known the truth about him? All the villains knowing all about Clark Kent and his loves… has always been an issue with me. This ‘common’ knowledge is more dangerous than any rock of Kryptonite. Now, they’re using him as the weakness for her. I can see that common sense isn’t a superpower – either transferred or inherited. Oh, come on Lois. You’re the one with the superpowers… how much more dangerous is it to give control of yourself with those superpowers to someone else. Don’t bargain with them… USE THEM! She should have reached through those bars and put a little pressure on doughboy to call off his dogs… or else zip on over there and round them all up when they come after powerless hubby-to-be? This is a really STUPID move. I’m still not impressed with this episode. Now, I’m actually frustrated.

Oliver at Orion’s bow… I love the imagry here. That silver-white and renaissance font make him seem Authurian. Oh, I love the quote… “You’re not like the rest of your brothers… you’ve got real potential”. Awesome! Can’t wait to see where this goes, although having only one episode left… not sure if I’ll ever see the end of it.

This puppet-geek is your typical maniacal loon. Its characters like this that made me love and appreciate the true evil genius of Lex Luthor. He’s bad, and you know he’s bad, but you feel for him and you want to see if redemption is possible, so you hope for it, but keep getting disappointed because he continues to be bad.

Okay, this power dance between Clark and Lois is really typical and unsurprising. I knew that in the last second… the powers would be exchanged. Trusting that a spineless nitwit to keep his secret, is really, really STUPID. It gives them hold over you, a weakness; a chink in the armor. Clark really needs to round them all up and get rid of them, or else he and everyone he knows or loves will always be in danger. This is a huge plot hole.

Clark back to the Fortress of Solitude, typical. Going to cry and whine to daddy about what he didn’t like. Ah, good speech. Clark Kent is starting to become his own man. Every time he’s given even a small semblance of this speech, his affection for some girl get in the way.

DID I JUST SEE WHAT I THOUGHT I SAW??? Was that a super-suit in that chunk of ice??? Now, my skin prickled and the hair stood up on my arms.

Well, so much for that high point. I can see from the look on Lois’ face… I know what’s coming. She’s going to cancel the wedding because she realizes the world needs Clark much more than she does. That he’s bigger than her.

Very touching that Kara also realizes the same thing… that in order for Clark to become the superhero he needs to be become, it can’t be about them. She has to get out of the way.

Lois finally stating that she’s Clark’s greatest weakness… and he’s hers. Very noble of her and my respect for her and her character just elevated. Lois being unselfish; A very touching moment.

Oh, I don’t really know what I think about that episode. I’ll take a few days and then see if something surfaces.

Well, it’s been a few days since I wrote that last sentence, and I have to still admit that my thoughts are still just as jumbled. I’m still not clear what the purpose of that whole episode was about. I felt it was unnecessary and that it was a waste of time and space that could have been spent on tying other threads. I guess until I watch next week’s episode, I won’t understand.

Either way, I’m really sad thinking about it because I know the end is coming… and its coming fast. While I’m excited, I’m also grieved. I’m really going to miss Smallville.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Iron Daughter Review

Another pleasant surprise. I LOVE being pulled into a story, finding a moment to escape reality and get lost in the realm of fantasy.

I loved how Kagawa broke this book into two separate acts, because it really needed that divide to place the focus first on Ash and then on Puck. Of course, while Ash has all the qualities of what I loved about heroes in my youth, Puck illustrates all the qualities I love as an adult. The Iron Daughter has a mix of everything I love about fantasy.

I can't wait to read the next installment in this series and have already ordered "The Iron Queen".

I give it five out of five stars!  Definately a recommended read!

Till nex time,
~T.L. Gray