“You will suffer more pain than any other man can endure. But you will have your revenge.”

Like Unshaved Mouse? Please consider supporting my Patreon.

Wolverine. Logan. The Savage X-Man. The Adamantium Atavus. Ol Canuckle-head. The little hairy butthole.

Wolverine did not have the most auspicious start in comics, and you definitely wouldn’t have pegged him as destined to become (for a time at least) The Most Popular Superhero in all of Comics. Some superheroes arrive fully formed, some take a lot of work. Wolverine was originally introduced as a fairly bland and one-note adversary for the Incredible Hulk. From there he migrated to the new multinational X-Men team launched by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum and nobody really gave two shits about him. But, through a combination of refinement and luck, Wolverine eventually came to be the most popular character in Marvel’s stable. How did that happen? Timing. Wolverine was perfectly placed to ride the pop culture currents of not one, not two, but THREE decades.

During his time in the X-Men Wolverine’s character evolved into “Clint Eastwood but Superhero”.

“Do you feel lucky, bub?”

This allowed him to tap into the gritty anti-hero craze of the seventies.  Then, Frank Miller established that Wolverine had spent time in Japan and had trained as a ninja, allowing him to benefit from the martial arts craze of the eighties. And by the time the nineties rolled around, Wolverine was so popular that he had basically kickstarted the Dark Age of comics which of course allowed him to remain front and centre for another ten years.

Since 9/11, comics have swung back to wanting more morally pure superheroes like Captain America and Superman, and with Marvel heavily de-emphasising the X-Men in favour of the Inhumans…

LOVE US DAMN YOU!!

…the character is definitely less of a big deal than he once was. Make no mistake though, for a time, Logan was EVERYWHERE. They were organising events around him just so he could appear in every single book. He was like a lucky talisman to boost sales. He was the Crying Purple Gorilla of the Modern Age of Comics.

And I am pretty much totally sick of him.

Look, it’s not the character’s fault. He came by his popularity honestly. He’s got a killer design, a great power-set, a really intriguing backstory and some all time classic stories under his belt. But I was there at the height of Wolverine-mania and I have no desire to go back, especially when so many stories about him are just watching how much one man can be an asshole to the entire world and get away with it.

This is no longer fun.

And there is no excuse for a one-note take on Wolverine, who is honestly one of the more complex and layered heroes in comics. Like I say, this is a great character when done right. But he’s been done wrong. Oh baby. He been done wrong.

We do not speak of baboon- face Wolverine

One Wolverine story that most decidedly does not suck or have baboon faces is Origin, which is weird because everyone (including the writers) expected it to be a disaster. Wolverine was virtually unique among the major superheroes in that he didn’t have an origin story (the closest he had was Weapon X, another classic tale that showed how Logan got his Adamantium skeleton while still revealing nothing about who he was or where he came from). And that mystery was an essential part of his appeal. But when the first X-Men movie was in the works, Marvel realised that Fox would probably end up giving Wolverine an origin, and it would probably suck, so they might as well create their own and hope that it sucked a little less.

“The day the wolverines ate my family, I vowed to defeat them by becoming one of them.”

The result was Origin, a slow-burning, beautifully illustrated mystery set in 19th century Canada that did the seemingly impossible job of giving Wolverine an origin that was surprising and memorable while being appropriate for the character. So job done, right? Marvel had given Wolverine his origin, and it was excellent, and there was no way Hollywood could mess it up, right?

This is a device known as a rhetorical question.

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Finals baby!

“THE BLOG AWARDS WOULDN’T KNOW A GOOD BLOG IF IT MUGGED THEM AND STOLE THEIR WALLET!”

“THEY ARE CRAVEN HACKS AND FOOLS! WHO ARE THEY TO SAY WHICH BLOG IS BEST?! WHO MADE THEM ARBITERS OF OUR CRAFT?! WE MUST RISE UP, MY BLOGGING BRETHREN, AND OVERTHROW THIS TYRANNICAL CANCER ON OUR HOBBY!”

“Mouse! Mouse! You’re a finalist!”

“Oh my God let me fellate you!”

“What?”

“Nothing. Thank you so much you have no idea how bad I needed this!”

“What’s that you were saying…”

“LAA LALAAA LAAA I’M A FINALIST I’M A FINALIST I’M LOUDLY SINGING THE FINALIST SONG!”

“Hmm. Catchy.”

Huge thanks to the Blog Awards Ireland and all of you. You’re the reason I do this, and I can never thank you enough. Congrats to all the other finalists, deepest commiserations to those who didn’t make the final list (dudes, I been there, I know it hurts like a mother). And now, time to see what delightfully Mexican-esque animal has been chosen for my new badge.

Oh ha fucking ha.

New Patron and the Blog Awards

Hi everyone, please join me in saying a big hello to our new patron:

Dylan Lessel, the secret identity of Shrinking Man, an obscure Silver Age DC hero who was rocketed to prominence in the late eighties by a dark, deconstructionist mini-series written by Alan Moore.

In other news, you may have noticed my new buddy on the right there:

“BAHIA!”

Yup, Unshaved Mouse has been shortlisted for Best Film and TV Blog (Personal Category) for the Blog Awards Ireland 2018. The other blogs with whom I am locked in a vicious elevator knife-fight are:

Bone-Idle.ie

Films and Faith

Luwd Media

Reel Time Flicks

Scannain.com

The Sundae

They’re all fantastic blogs and I feel humbled to be included in their company. Go check them out.

And then come back because they will never love you like I do.

Disney(ish) Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse: The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

(Like Unshaved Mouse? Please consider supporting my Patreon.)

Some movies belong to a genre, others define a genre.

For example, if someone ever asked you “What’s Film Noir?” you could do no better than to plonk them in front of The Maltese Falcon and say “That.”

That movie perfectly encapsulates everything that we associate with the genre; the moody black and white photography, the moral ambiguity, cynical gumshoes, treacherous dames, shifty foreigners and all the fedoras in the world. We might argue over whether it’s the best Film Noir, but it’s definitely the most Film Noir.

It’s like, how much more noir could it be? And the answer is none. None more noir.

Which brings me nicely, like the old blogging pro I am, to Return to the Sea, which I feel confident in calling The Maltese Falcon of Disney Sequels.

“Well, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Yeah, don’t.”

I haven’t seen all the DTV sequels but I’ve seen enough.

I’ve seen enough like George C Scott saw enough in Hardcore.

But, fair is fair, they have occasionally been able to surprise me. Some of the very best, I’ll even concede, are slightly better than the very worst of the official canon. But Return to the Sea will not surprise you. If you picture the platonic ideal of “Disney Sequel”, this is it. This is exactly what you imagined. A palpable lack of effort leaches into every cel of this misbegotten thing. Mulan 2, whatever its crimes against its heroine, has a loopy, unpredictable “what is it going to do next?!” chutzpah that I have to admit I kind of enjoyed. But Return to the Sea provides the kind of soul crushing tedium that can only be provided by watching a movie you’ve already seen but worse in every respect.

Scalpels at the ready folks. Let’s make some sushi.

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A message for patrons

He everyone, first of all we have two new patrons to welcome:

Victor Nilsson: achieved fame in the late sixties/early seventies as a laid-back folk singer whose gentle, pastoral ballads masked his trenchant critique of the hippy lifestyle with such songs as “Free Love is Great, Until You Get Clap”, “Brother, how will you get a mortgage?” and “Your reflexive critique of the war in Vietnam is poorly thought out and reductive, man.”

Lance is the original leader of the Elite Four and a master of Dragon Type Pokémon.

Many thanks to both of these gentlemen.

Now, that that’s out of the way there is just something I needed to be sure that everyone is cool with. If you’ve signed up as a patron for $5 you can request one review every six months, whereas $10 patrons get to request a review every month. I repeat, you can request a review every month. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a review the same month you request one, it means you can add a review to the queue every month. Two reviews a month is still my limit in terms of output unless someone wants to sign up as a patron and match my current salary (please don’t do that, my reviews are not that good) and I’ll still be doing the regular series reviews as well as finishing off the last of the reviews from people who donated to help Mauricio. What I’m trying to say is, it will probably be a long time before I get to your specific review. Sorry, I’m just one rodent. Starting from the review after next I’m going to try to keep to the following schedule.

1)      Regular series review (X-Men/Marvel/Disney Canon if they ever get around to releasing another  one)

2)      Patron review

3)      Mauricio review

And repeat until the end of time. Once the Mauricio reviews are done that will free up an extra slot and I’ll be able to focus more on Patron reviews. Sorry if there was any confusion. If you feel that’s not what you signed up for, please feel free to amend your pledge or cancel it altogether, I won’t be offended.  Anyway, thanks again for your support and your patience.

A shout out to all you Patrons

Huge thanks to all of you new patrons who’ve decided to entrust me with your hard earned cash. I promise that the money will go to a worthy cause and certainly not towards building a mind-control ray that will make all human beings docile and amenable to being ridden around by rodents as our personal very tall horses.

But who are these patrons, you ask? Well, I’ve listed them below with an interesting fact about each one. If you would like to get your own interesting fact and support the blog, you know what to do.

A. Vartianen is a trickster God in Polynesian mythology.

Alex Hu discovered Wales.

Allison can’t fly, but can glide from roof to roof.

Amelia Mellor is the only person to ever win seven Nobel prizes for literature in the same year.

Anna Bale invented the hammock. Also, she’s my darling mother.

Aonghus Collins knows the difference between “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” and jam.

Ben Harding walked five hundred miles, and said “Sod it. No one’s door is worth this.”

Charlotte Hassel has a cameo in every Marvel movie, plus Spawn (she was Spawn).

Christian Kavanagh has blood that can bring Tribbles back to life.

Donnacha Mallen sailed the seven seas, but has never sailed their own heart.

Who knows what secrets lurk in the hearts of men? ED knows.

Eli Berg-Maas has never lost a game of Cards Against Humanity, because they keep the “David Bowie flying in on a tiger made of lightning” card up their sleeve.

Erin Barber shot the sheriff. Also shot the deputy.

Fabrisse ter Brugghe obeyed their duty to her heart, and plunged China into war.

Ian Rowe has his own brand of wine. It’s excellent, and is deservedly building a following.

J* smells like a cool autumn day.

Lupin the 8th? Oh fuck yeah.

Katherine Stokke was deemed “Too hot” for “hot or not” and was banned for life.

Mathom has worked as a body double for every US president for the last thirty years.

Michael Petrocelli likes his women like he likes his South American democracies; strong, independent and fully paid up members of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

PurrElise floats like a butterfly, stings like a letter from your ex that makes you realise that it’s finally over.

Thanks again guys

Mouse

Disney(ish) Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse: Mulan 2

(Like Unshaved Mouse? Please consider supporting my Patreon.)

Oh hey, here’s a nice uncontroversial question: Is Mulan feminist?

To which of course the answer is IT’S A TRAP YOU FOOL RUN!!!

Image result for running from explosion gif

You see, the question presupposes that everyone agrees on what a feminist movie is, and that you can even have a feminist movie in the first place and you’d be surprised how little agreement there is on these points.

Now as to whether Mulan is feminist, personally, I say “Yeah, sure”. It centres its story on a female protagonist whose story is treated as being of equal or greater importance to those of the male characters and it doesn’t reinforce any misogynist tropes. Boom. Let’s go out for ribs. But there are differing schools of thought.

For example, when Fury Road (a movie that, for my money, wears its feminist politics as openly and proudly as a movie can while still working in its own right as a narrative) came out, Anita Sarkeesian claimed that it couldn’t be considered feminist because the main characters still resolved their problems with violence. In an action movie.

Which, if taken to its logical conclusion, would mean that the only way a movie could succeed at being feminist would be if it failed utterly as a movie. Which…no.

So for the sake of argument, let’s accept that Mulan (as much as it can be given that it’s a movie that’s enjoyable and therefore a tool of the patriarchy) is feminist. But Mulan is not. By which I mean, the character herself should not be considered feminist because she lives in a pre-industrial, pre-mass literacy honour culture where anything even remotely resembling modern feminism is not only unknown but literally impossible. And here’s the thing that I think people often miss about this character. She doesn’t dress up as a man and join the army to give the middle finger to the expectations and traditions of her culture, but to honour them. Let me explain.

Mulan’s father teaches her that the three most important things in life are:

  1. Respecting her ancestors.
  2. Protecting her family.
  3. Safeguarding her family’s honour.

Now, ideally these three priorities should be in alignment. But when Fa Zhou is called up to serve in the Imperial Army, those three priorities are suddenly in competition. If Mulan lets her father go to war, she will be respecting his wishes (Respecting her ancestors) and ensuring that the family’ honour is intact, but she will not be protecting her family because her father will almost certainly die. But, if she somehow prevents him from going she will be protecting her family but disrespecting her father and bringing shame on the family. Mulan’s dressing up as a man and joining the army in her father’s place, while seemingly staggeringly transgressive, is really the only way Mulan has of resolving this paradox and ensuring that all three of her obligations are met. This is why Mulan is brilliant and why Mulan is brilliant. It gives us a story that is progressive and inspiring to a modern audience, but is still rooted very much in the culture and Imperial Han milieu of the heroine (or, y’know, the Disneyfied version of it at least). It gets to eat its cake and have it. This is why Mulan is my favourite Disney princess along (along with Moana, who has a similar story). She’s not about adventure in the great wide somewhere, she’s the “get shit done” Princess. She’s not riding out there upsetting gender norms for poops and giggles, she’s doing it because she’s got a job to do and she’s going to do it, dammit. And if a couple of hundred thousand Huns got to get put in the ground, well, eggs and omelettes.

Lotta people don’t get that. Some of them got together and made a movie.

Well. A “movie”.

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Please patronise me.

Hey guys. So for a while now people have been asking me why I don’t setup a Patreon page and the answer has always been; I’m Irish and the thought of asking people to validate my work by giving me money fills me with shame and causes the ghosts of a thousand nuns to rise from the grave and chase me through the village square demanding to know who the hell I think I am.

But Ms Mouse has been making the point that if i’m going to blow off date night again so I can stay up until 4 AM making Simpsons gifs to illustrate an obscure point about the Disney sequels I might as well get paid for it, y’know?

So here’s the deal, I’ve set up a Patreon thingy and I would like you all to put money in it (please excuse the technical jargon). Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. This is not a big fancy Patreon. It’s not like if you pledge $500 a month you’re going to get a lifetime membership to Unshaved Mouse World in fabulous Tampa (the local planning board are being a bunch of Nazis). This is a one-mouse operation and I don’t have that much to offer other than reviews and um…more reviews. But if you’ve enjoyed the blog these last six years and you feel like you could spare a few shekels it would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks guys

Mouse

5 Centimetres per Second (2007)

“Mouse-san!”

“Oh, hello Otaku Oceania.”

“I am so, so glad to hear you’ve decided to review Makoto Shinkai’s instant classic Five Centimetres per Second!”

“Oh?”

“You bet! I mean, in your last few animé reviews you’ve been beating up pretty hard on my favourite genre! In fact, I was this close to running you through with my limited edition Masashi Kishimoto autographed samurai sword! Ha ha ha!”

“Ha ha.”

“But a glowing review of 5 Centimetres per Second should smooth everything over and where are you going!?”

 

“It sucks! Soz!”

Ohhhh I’m gonna catch a beating for this one. I’ve given bad reviews to popular movies before but, holy moly, 5cmPS is a full on critical darling. It was released in 2007and received rapturous responses, with the film press instantly hailing director Makoto Shinkai as “the next Miyazaki”, an accolade I’m sure that had nothing to do with the fact that Hiyao Miyazaki was the only animé director any of those mouth breathers knew by name harrumph harrumph harrumph harrumph harrumph!

“I didn’t get a harrumph out of that guy!”

“Give Mouse an harrumph!”

“Harrumph!”

“You watch yer ass!”

I’d never heard of the movie before I was requested to review it but I went in expecting to love it. I mean, there is a halo around this thing and all the screenshots I could see looked absolutely smurges. I mean, look at this.

  

But…it…just…movie…good…is…not…

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