Now it’s time for the negativity. The stuff I least enjoyed reviewing. I’ve sandwiched this part between two positive articles, so we don’t end this retrospective on a low note.
Now, of course, media is mostly subjective, and sometimes I even warm up to stuff I gave a bad or lukewarm review to before. Stuff like Lower Decks and Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts are much better than I initially said (and I was already positive about Kipo to begin with). But the following books, movies, and shows never gave me a reason to give it a chance for redemption. Retrospective, Retrospective
Part 2: Least Favorite Reviews
This one still irks me. I love the original Matrix. It introduced me to existentialism and set me down a path towards learning all sorts of philosophical ideas and then learning how those ideas influenced other pieces of art I love. I’d even say seeing the first movie had a hand in me becoming the writer I am now. Lana and Lily are incredible directors, and even when their movies don’t do as well, there’s always something in it that proves that. Individually or separately, I’m always excited for their projects.
And The Matrix Resurrections could’ve been a masterpiece—the finished product has so much potential, both capitalized on and in its ideas. We have better special effects nowadays; Keanu is even better at choreography now: this could’ve been a revelation like The Old Guard or Shang-Chi for dynamic and fun fight choreography. The writing has enough sharp moments that a little more polish could’ve made it shine. I hated being critical of this movie; I hate being critical of it now for this retrospective. But it was so disappointing.
Yet again, I hate disliking this show. A high fantasy book adaptation with this big of a pedigree could’ve been something special. Movies made out of old comics are the biggest hits on the planet—it’s nerd paradise out here. But, like I said in my review, the tropes and plot are now worn out and predictable. I’ve even looked into other reviews of this show and found more to dislike that I didn’t catch in my own review. We’ve got “fridging,” plot holes, and lost opportunities from the books. I’m planning on reviewing The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power soon, and I hope that show fills the void Wheel of Time left in the fantasy genre.
You may have noticed a theme for this part of the retrospective: wasted potential. Occasionally, I’ll think back on how this book introduced game elements and how interesting that could’ve been and then shake my head at how badly it messed it up. And that’s assuming I remember most of this plot—and that is a large assumption. It’s overstuffed, goes all over the place, and introduces things for only a few scenes with the full intent of dropping them. If memory serves, it even keeps sexualizing one character for no discernable reason. I’ve read a lot of cosmic horror (and regular horror) since I read this book, and it’s only made me realize how much this story needed to improve.
Reviewing a book that’s over six hundred pages is bound to leave an impression. I still remember many moments, and the prevailing emotion is wishing it was better. Wishing the main character was not such a blank slate who’s good at violence. Wishing it didn’t have so many problematic things in it. I’m a big fan of social horror. Suburbia and the stereotypical middle-class existence are ripe topics for it. If anything comes out of this retrospective, it might be that it sent me on a quest for what American Elsewhere could’ve been.
Come Back on 12/28/22 for Part Three!
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