I feel like it was a long time waiting for another Stange movie to arrive. I must reiterate that Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange is my favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Way back in 2016, I wrote concerning the first Doctor Strange movie that it featured “excellent characterization, stunning locations, a surprisingly top-drawer script, and a director that manages to pull off some of the most breathtaking effects visuals I have ever seen on screen…this is clearly one of Marvel’s best cinematic efforts to date.” Eight years and several rewatches later, I still hold by that assessment.
So believe me when I say I’ve been very, very excited to head out to my local movie theater to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Unfortunately, while I did enjoy the experience and by no means think this is a bad film, overall my opinion is mixed on the merits of this second outing. There were aspects to the movie I thought were utterly delightful and wickedly clever. Yet there were other moments where I found myself befuddled and disappointed at the choices made by the Marvel story team. Without giving away any spoilers, I thought the tie-ins with Wandavision were the weakest links in the chain by far. Elizabeth Olsen certainly pulls off an amazing acting feat in her role, but the role itself in the context of the entire story arc left me cold. I honestly wish they’d gone in a different direction and not touched her character at all. (Perhaps leave that to a “Wandavision 2” or standalone Scarlet Witch movie.)
I’ll share this spoiler-filled dive into the film by one of my favorite YouTube pundits, Kristian Harloff. I think his thoughts echoed my own in nearly all cases, so if you’ve watched it yourself by now, you might find his commentary intriguing.
In the end, I did appreciate much of what was in the movie scene-by-scene and enjoyed my time at the theater, but the problematic elements of the story took the entire experience down a notch. Overall, I’d have to rank this in the lower half of MCU productions to date, and nowhere near my Top 10. Which is a real shame considering the first Doctor Strange film is one of my favorite comic-book / #scifi#movies of all time.
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Strange New Worlds feels a bit like a reboot done right.
Before you misunderstand me, listen: I’ve been pretty pro-Discovery since its inception and particularly loved seasons 3 & 4. Picard Season 1 was a masterpiece in my view and one of the best seasons of any Trek show ever. (Season 2 was a disappointing step down from those highs…but that’s a tale for another time.) And regarding the movies, while I didn’t much care for the two J.J. Abrams films, I thought Star Trek: Beyond was pretty freaking fantastic.
Yet in spite of all that, I do think we’ve been missing out a bit on that good ol’ Trek TV formula, and apparently the producers at Paramount agree: because Strange New Worlds fills that void with glorious aplomb.
Anson Mount continues to impress as Captain Pike. He weaves in elements of the original “Cage” Pike, Kirk’s swagger, Picard’s experienced poise, Sisko’s playfulness, and the endearing emotionality of later captains in Trek canon. Yet in the end he remains a fully individualized and memorable character. Mount as Pike doesn’t feel like a copy of the captains we’ve already seen, so much as he feels like the blueprint from which they later sprung. Accomplishing that in a prequel series made nearly 60 years after a failed pilot might just be one of the cleverest hat tricks in show biz.
I’ll refrain from commenting on the rest of the cast because honestly we haven’t had enough time with them yet. I will say that—no offense to Zachary Quinto’s acting prowess—Ethan Peck is the best Spock we’ve seen since 80s Nimoy. He’s filling immeasurably large shoes, and while his performance might not turn heads per se, it’s understated and competent. And honestly, that’s all I could hope for. I can believe he’s Spock more than (for example) I ever believed Alden Ehrenreich was Han Solo.
All in all, I am extremely satisfied with Strange New Worlds. I suppose things could fall to pieces in future episodes, but if they can keep the quality up this high in episode 3 and thereafter, I will claim without reservation that this is the most made-for-Trekkies Star Trek we’ve seen since The Orville. Oh snap!
Alongside the “Great Resignation” of 2021-2022, we are witnessing the “Great Recognition” of the simple fact that the #openweb is the only digital space where you can leave a true legacy as a thinker and a writer.
Walled gardens like #Facebook, #Twitter, Medium, and many others have tried to capture words over the decades. They failed. 100 years from now, when people look back in time to witness What People Thought, they won’t be gleaning the highest wisdom and deepest insights from tweets and likes and shares.
It will be Articles. Essays. In other words, Blog Posts. (Before you say “what about Newspaper Columns?”—in this day and age they might as well just be considered Blog Posts because we typically consume them the exact same way.)
Medium-to-longform content, written by individuals, and largely posted on independent websites for all the world to see. Not trapped inside a social network, but freely accessible*. I’ve never been more bullish on the power of the #openweb to both contain and promote forward thinking than I am today.
* Rest assured I’m not making a case here against paywalls—even paywalled #writing can be “freely accessible” on the open web in the sense that you don’t need to join a Big Tech platform to make #payments in order to access the content.
Back to the #openweb I go. Not that I ever left it…but to be quite frank, it’s so easy to post and get immediate feeback on #Twitter that I spend most of my day-to-day “chit-chat energy” there and not on my own #website.
No longer! Now that Elon Musk is buying Twitter and taking it private, I’m done putting serious effort into creating content for walled gardens. Everything, and I mean everything I publish from here on out will start on my own properties and then get syndicated elsewhere.
I’m also in the process of switching from Revue (owned by Twitter) to ConvertKit for my email newsletter. In the meantime, feel free to email me to get in touch! 😃
Even in its nascent state, Universal Control changes everything. Suddenly iPadOS becomes a true extension of #macOS…like many power users I’ve run an #iPadPro on a stand next to my desktop Mac for years, but ergonomically-speaking, switching between the two was a major pain. It became incrementally easier with the Magic Keyboard/Trackpad, but issues remained…not the least of which is transferring files and even bits of in-context data back and forth doesn’t always feel natural and smooth.
With Universal Control, you start to forget you’re running two different devices running two different environments…suddenly you’re just using “AppleOS” everywhere. Heck, I’ve even gone from desktop Mac (M1 Mac mini) to laptop (Intel MBP) as well when I need to do something on one from the other. And yes, you can span all three with nearly zero lag or fiddling—even when using drag ‘n’ drop!
This is without a doubt the biggest quality-of-life improvement #Apple has brought to its ecosystem since cursor support on iPadOS first appeared almost two years ago.
I was fairly surprised that the first impressions I’d had of the devices solely from watching the announcement keynote and glancing at marketing materials carried over intact to my hands-on trial.
I just don’t like any of the non-pro iPhone colors this year. And that’s disappointing because the rumor mill seems convinced that this is the last year for an iPhone mini form factor. And being a mini enthusiast, it sucks I have no interest in purchasing this year’s mini.
On the other hand, this may be my favorite lineup of iPhone Pro colors to date. All of the models look fantastic and quite premium up close, and they feel good in the hand. Graphite and Gold are definitely my favorites. Despite my love for the trusty mini, I’m sorely tempted to get a Gold iPhone 13 Pro as a holiday treat. (BTW, the Max size is laughably gigantic…I don’t know who buys phones this large! 😂)
Watching Apple’s recent event, I was blown away by the iPad mini. Clearly it was the star of the show for me. And holding it and seeing it in real life, the accolades are well-deserved. The size is delicious, the Apple Pencil 2 is an amazing note-taking and sketching companion at this size, and it’s just so light and “airy” (sorry iPad Air!). It’s the sort of device that simply begs you to use it and carry it around with you everywhere.
Having an #iPadPro already in my possession, I’m still thinking through where an iPad mini would fit in my life. But I have no doubt at some point down the road, it will join my collection. Well done Apple. The iPad mini finally gets its opportunity to shine.
j/k. I’m super excited to present my newly-redesigned website (still powered by #Bridgetown of course). The previous design was heavily centered around a “social network” vibe, as if you were looking at my profile page. I literally repeated my name and avatar for every post, and even had an ❤︎ Awesome button you could click.
This time however, I decided to go back to my blogging roots and come up with a concept that’s both retro and forward-looking. So in terms of typography, shading, mobile navigation, performance, and other small touches, it feels like a modern website…but at the same time it’s totally obvious that it’s a blog. It’s definitely my most holistic and disciplined personal website design to date. I hope you enjoy it!
P.S. One of my secondary goals in working on the new design was to create a codebase from which I could extract a Bridgetown theme for others to use. I don’t have immediate plans to start on that, but it’s only a matter of time… (meanwhile, if you’re curious, my website repo is open to all).
As many speeches and pundits have been saying today, Democracy has prevailed. We had the worst president of the modern age wreak havoc on our institutions and public discourse, make a mockery of peaceable faith, and all but destroy global alliances.