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Movin’ On Up!

Hey guys! As part of some housekeeping on my part I’ve decided I won’t be updating this particular blog anymore. Fret not though gentle readers (and possibly those not-so-gentle)! Rolling for relevance will continue at the new and improved (just trust me)!

Follow me and I will meander us to glory!


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Brave New World, That Has Such Creatures In It

Submitted excerpts from CINNABAR ISLAND RESEARCH LOGS maintained by [REDACTED]. Property of INDIGO COMMISSION and to be considered ELITE LEVEL CLEARANCE. Please check all security badges with Silph personnel before continuing.

CIRL 26.1

The introduction of the M3W cells into the prototype zygote has been a success. Even in the solution environment we’re recording results far in excess of projections. We go to live trials next week.

CIRL 27.5

We’ve officially logged our first fully formed organism with the M3W traits. Their expression has been fascinating. Designated PM001 the experiment demonstrates both animal and vegetable qualities not unlike extinct prehistoric microbes, but on a much more complex scale. Gathering energy through a combination of herbivorism and photosynthesis PM001 maintains an incredible level of biological efficiency and continues to develop at an accelerated rate.

CIRL 29.2

Progress on the project continues to exceed expectations. Two more organisms have been generated using the M3W growth template, each with markedly different adaptive qualities. One has developed to thrive in the island’s volcanic environment, somehow creating internal temperatures capable of combustion reactions without apparent harm. The other seems to have adopted an aquatic profile, with a physiology that cools and condenses ambient water vapor from the air. More than simply being cold-blooded, it actively subtracts heat energy from its surroundings. We hope to move from reptilian to mammalian and avian trials within the month.

CIRL 35.2

Initial experiments with mammalian and avian hosts were not encouraging, the subjects expressing only odd pigment colorations. Their development has kept pace with the previous studies though. Each has reached physical size many times that of normal specimens and demonstrate increased learning abilities. This may be the single greatest discovery in scientific history, and there is increased desire that we should go public with our findings. Dr. Rochet and the Silph Group remain cautious though. Until we get clearance to publish, our work continues in secret.

CIRL 47.6

There seems to be no limit to the organisms and traits that the M3W matrix can map. We aren’t just revolutionizing biology anymore; the laws of chemistry and physics are showing permeability undreamed of since the alchemists. I’ve even seen some life forms in the staging zone that I don’t think have been cataloged. This disturbs me slightly, but Dr. Rochet assured me it was a paperwork error.

CIRL 48.3

I am certain Dr. Rochet is lying to me. To us. The staging zone is overrun. Our index is a mess, but I am sure there are uncataloged life forms out there, more than we could have produced. I confronted Dr. Rochet about another Silph lab on the island, but he brushed me off. Thinks the isolation is getting to me. I admit I’ve been withdrawn lately, but I’m not alone. The PM series seem to form easy human attachments once domesticated, and in my spare time I have been grooming a number of them as pets.

CIRL 50.5

Alarming discoveries. Numerous. Colony of PM001 discovered beyond the staging zone perimeter. Seemed to have hatched from eggs that originated as airborne spores. Unforeseen adaptations becoming more frequent. Colleague remarked to me that he hasn’t seen any native birds lately. I suspect that PM016 has rapidly outcompeted them for scarce resources and they may now be extinct.

CIRL 54.0

Men came to the island. Silph Group men. Dr. Rochet’s men. I sent the 016 I’ve domesticated to spy on them. A useful application. I’ve trained it to use pictorial communication; a highly intelligent bird. The men are armed and have set up security around the island. Fortunately I no longer live in the research dormitories, having tendered my resignation and fled to my jungle base. Those few who knew of it said I was paranoid, but now I am vindicated in my precaution. I will continue to record these observations from my island sanctuary.

CIRL 56.7

The Silph Group is moving the organisms. I’ve seen the ships and the crates. Last night I snuck into the compound and accessed the network. Rochet never changed the passwords. We still haven’t published but I saw new experiment protocols concerning military applications. That’s what they’ve become, biological weapons.

CIRL 60.1

It has been over a year since I took this contract. Over a year since I came to this island and started playing god. I can still hack the network occasionally and get news from the outside. An attempted demonstration of the experiments in Japan ended in disaster. Nearly a hundred violent, invasive species have been introduced and steadily dominating the ecosystem. Japan is under quarantine, but sightings have already been reported on the Asian mainland and the west coast of the U.S. They’re too adaptable, their evolutionary speed too advanced. Even here the PMs have expanded far beyond the boundaries of the staging zone, conquering most of the island. Only those ones I have domesticated, my last remaining friends, let me survive in the deep jungle and tall grass. This is how I have adapted. I do not like to think of them as tools, but they are extensions of my own will to survive.

CIRL 64.0

I keep having this terrible nightmare. I’m swimming along the coast. I can’t tell whether I’m trying to escape or get back to shore. The waves and the undertow trapping me between them. Then, up on the rocks I see my one of my old professors. Why he’s there I don’t know, but when I call to him for help he opens his mouth and screams. It’s not a human scream though, its one of theirs. The creatures’. A thousand howls like the grinding of terrible machinery. Other times he isn’t there and instead I see it. Like a shimmer in the air, drawing my eye. A thing with too many angles to exist. A tessellation folding in on itself infinitely. Somehow I know that it’s looking at me, without eyes. It fixes on me and I can feel its hunger, not just for me but for my memories, my whole self and every self across a million realities. It’s a point in space refracting everything that cannot be, and it feels hate.

CIRL 68.2

They’re going to do it. The second stage. M3W2. They think they can use it to control the others, to take back the world. By harvesting cells from the original experiment and applying the new data M3W2 is supposed to be another evolutionary tier beyond the PM series. Of course, they also think they can control it.

CIRL 72.1

It’s over. It’s all over now. The M3W2 deployment backfired even more terribly than I predicted. They vastly underestimated its intelligence, as they have with most of the life forms. It wasn’t long before the handlers were dead and the thing was on a rampage of natural disaster proportions. Frightened men seized power and the nuclear option sealed the deal. M3W2 even outsmarted the atom, unleashing a counterattack that has all but ended industrial society. Three months to the day after the containment breach in Japan and the world is unrecognizable. Monsters hunt the animal kingdom to the brink of extinction, alien flora overgrows the ruins of civilization, and humanity is no longer master of the planet.

Final Log 75.7

I have rejoined the remains of the research colony, those of us that are left alive. Already the compound is being reclaimed by nature unbound. My army of loyal creatures have made me a leader. I was exploring the old lab when I saw it. The first experiment. The prototype zygote. Only, it was alive. Fully formed. Who knows how long since it had broken stasis. The first and now the last of all its kind. It looked at me almost quizzically, knowingly, before flying away and fading into the night. I teach those with me how to survive, holding court in the abandoned gymnasium. Barrel-fires and pyrotechnic animals light our long nights and I gaze across the water to distant shores where child soldiers rule.

It’s their world now…

prof oak


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Up In Arms, Up In Smoke

So I’m revisiting some thoughts from a much earlier entry, and hoping to expand upon the same. Marijuana legalization is back in the news of late, and in a surprisingly big way. I say this because lets face it, pot legalization can often times seem a bit like yesterday’s crusade. The cause of clumsily aging hippies, Gen-X’ers, and undergrads who aren’t good at finding oppressed peoples on a map. These are stereotypes obviously, the movement wouldn’t have the longevity it clearly possesses without a diverse platform of support. Still though, in a world where 9/11 happened closer to the fall of the Soviet Union than to today the periodic flaring of the marijuana debate can almost seem passé. With that in mind the sudden leaps made towards broader legalization kind of boggle the public consciousness. The notion has been such a pipe dream (pun only partially intended) for such a long time that I’m beginning to realize the common tropes of the debate aren’t ultimately that well adapted for the reality of the agenda they promote. At least in terms of the expectations of its grassroots (I’m on a roll) proponents.

Let me explain. As we seem to grow ever closer to an achievable legalization within our lifetime, questions are arising as to what the actual real world implications of that legalization are. Questions that require real thought and real answers. Increasingly those answers appear to be rather different from what many proponents likely imagined. Legalization is ultimately going to redefine our relationship with marijuana, and paradoxically in so doing herald the final death of the “pot culture” which originally birthed the legalization movement. This isn’t meant to be a comparison of the pros and cons of legalization. That’s a discussion far too detailed for this corner of my internet, and frankly one that is already playing out on a broader stage. Rather what I’d like to do is examine some predictions of mine regarding unintended collateral of pot legalization and what that means for the common philosophies surrounding the movement.


Let’s start with taxation and regulation. These are both longstanding elements of the marijuana debate, and despite both being essential to legalization and frankly being net goods I don’t think that their implications have been well thought through by many of those that advocate it. The utopian vision of many pot-partisans, independent farmers and entrepreneurs selling their wares at roadside stands and local markets is ultimately incompatible with legalization. The USDA, the FDA, the IRS, and even the Surgeon General are necessarily going to have a large role in the new policy regime. Growers may not have to worry about being busted by the cops, but the taxman is going to create a laundry list of new grievances. The business models best suited to thrive in this environment are more likely than not to have a decidedly corporate character, but we’ll come back to that in a moment. What taxation and regulation also means is vice tariffs and price floors. “Lowest price allowed by law” is signage all of us are familiar with, and that price is never going to be low enough for many pot supporters, despite the legalization rhetoric.


Further, independent sellers are unlikely to remain the primary point of service for marijuana transactions. While there will likely always be a space for dispensaries, just as there are for tobacconists and liquor stores, this product is inexorably going to move into the retail sector alongside other legal recreational substances. What this means is branding, commercialization, and industrialization. The egalitarian aesthetic so long associated with marijuana culture is going to quickly give way to mercenary sensibilities and classism. Going back to our discussion of business models, a corporate framework is inevitably going to prevail in the legal marijuana sector, pushing out the dispersed production and distribution infrastructure idealized by many adherents. What this means in frank terms is the rise of the American cartel, albeit in a legitimate economic space. Corollary to this is the changing role for activists that legalization creates, in that there is a very fine line between an activist and a lobbyist. Corporate lobbying is antithetical to the ethos of many pot pundits, but more and more marijuana policy interests are going to move from one side of the line to the other. Moreover, as the battle lines over the shape and extent of regulation are drawn this new breed of marijuana lobbyists is likely going to find their closest political ally in the tobacco lobby. How’s that going to look on the PR?


The branding I mentioned is another unintended consequence with significant implications for the culture of marijuana use. With branding comes increased competition for a base of customers and a balkanization of tastes. There’s going to be cheap pot, expensive pot, pretentious pot, ironic pot, blue collar pot, college pot, and everything in between. Pot snobs will be a thing, along with an underclass smoking the marijuana equivalent of cowboy-killers. With this the iconography of marijuana culture is going to change as well. We’ve all seen the pot-leaf design plastered over posters and shirts on every college campus. The designs are typically meant to connote a combination of rebellion and revolution; a disregard for societal mores and the advocacy for a counterculture. What does that mean in a post-legal world though? Well, the connotations do shift a bit. Stripped of its radical status the fetishism of marijuana becomes a bit more like wearing a t-shirt for Monster energy drink, or Budweiser, or Marlboro. That you bought from the Gap. The visual shorthand that has surrounded pot culture for almost a half century will be sublimated by legalization  and over time will simply lose its anti-establishment associations.

This is not to say that I am in any way anti-legalization, or that I think its consequences will not ultimately benefit society. What I am contending is that its consequences may be more far-reaching than we imagined, at least as far as our interactions with marijuana are concerned. The world envisioned by many proponents of legalization is not the world I think they’re going to get, and while I don’t think it is necessarily a “bad” world, I don’t think that it will end up being a world they wanted…

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Without too much preamble I’m going to jump right in. I spend a lot of time thinking about X-Men. This won’t come as a big surprise to those of you who are familiar with the blog. On this particular occasion a discussion between a friend and I inspired a digression into how the television incarnations of the X-Men (the primary gateway into the franchise for many of its current fans) have dealt with certain issues of women and gender. I feel this is a relevant inquiry given the social justice theme implicit in so much of the X-universe. I’m going to be limiting my scope to X-Men Evolution and the 90’s X-Men, as those are the two series I have the most experience with and which I think are the closest reference for most of my readers. There isn’t really a thesis statement binding these observations together, more just an interesting series of conversational points.

First up, X-Men Evolution.


Not as well regarded by some fans for various character reinterpretations and being a little heavy on the teen drama, Evolution was ultimately a kind of return to classic formula. The idea of Xavier’s as a school for outcast youth was a central idea of the comics for years, but had not been strongly represented in the media up to that point in time. Given that conceit, I’m going to focus on the three female protagonists among the student characters (excluding the adults and the antagonists for the moment). Jean Grey, Rogue, and Kitty Pryde.

Jean Grey is easily one of the most self-possessed students at the school, male or female. She is an archetypal overachiever that seems to excel at everything she puts her mind to, academically, athletically, and socially. Also by far the most secure in her own identity and in her sexuality, being in an emotionally committed relationship with Scott. In many ways this is made easier for her by her mutant abilities. They are active rather passive powers. Telekinesis granting her a profound level of physical agency and telepathy allowing her to sidestep many of the uncertainties that plague normal adolescents.

Rogue on the other hand is arguable the least so of the student characters. She is a loner who is perpetually stymied in her ability to assert herself. Her mutant life-draining power effectively erects a barrier between herself and those around her, robbing her of both physical agency and interpersonal intimacy. Because of this she is withdrawn from others and any time there is an attempt to emerge from her shell there exists the possibility that she will be punished for it, as over the course of series she is on several occasions.

Kitty Pryde is an interesting counter example to both of them. Her ability to phase through matter is not the boon to self-assertion that it is for Jean Grey, but neither does it impede her as it does for Rogue. What it does grant her however is a means by which to escape from the perilous situations of life, adolescence, and emerging identity that Jean glides through and Rogue is trapped by. She has access to a level of unspoken security that allows her to take chances and make mistakes.

Then, there’s X-Men.


This one is a little more complicated, in that its relationship with gender politics is rather problematic. It has a variety of classically empowered female protagonists, but the show has this weird tendency of subtly undermining them and reminding us of their vulnerability in a way that rarely becomes a problem for the male characters.

Jean Grey seems to have much less overall presence in this incarnation, often almost acting as a prop for her teammates.  She also repeatedly finds herself overwhelmed by some great telepathic force and swooning into the arms of Scott. When she is finally in a situation where she is unbridled from these constraints by the Phoenix Force it results in a threat to the entire galaxy (and a brief stint in the Hellfire Club wearing black leather if subtly isn’t your thing).

Rogue has significantly more physical agency in this series than in Evolution, owing to her additional powers of flight, super-strength, and invulnerability. Accordingly she is much more assertive in her personality and even rather flirtatious, nearly a polar opposite of her other portrayal. That being the case she is on several occasions incapacitated by her own life-draining ability, or herself becomes a liability, finding herself overwhelmed by the act of touching another (often male) character.

Storm really needs no introduction, her goddess archetype is almost an image of power personified. Still though she seems to be neutralized with uncommon frequency, often in such a way that reinforces a kind of submissive status (such as through her claustrophobia). I’m going to gloss over Jubilee in this analysis, since in my judgment she isn’t really written as a female character and more as the kid sidekick, however there are still other characters of note.

Morph is a rather interesting case, being much less lantern-jawed than the other X-Men and having an ability of physical and even gender fluidity. The only other character in the series with this ability is Mystique, practically a self-evident primer on dangerous boundary-crossing femme fatales. Morph is placed directly into the fridge, only to be removed as an on-again-off-again antagonist whose moral confusion seems to dovetail with his cis-confusion.

Also noteworthy is Professor Xavier. Like Morph he lacks the strong physical character of the other male protagonists, needing to be carried out of danger and otherwise rescued on a number of occasions. Throughout the series his role is often that of both father and mother figure, and like Jean he has a tendency to swoon following some psychic intercession. This scene, now familiar to approximately everyone on the internet, is essentially one in which Xavier’s lack of physical agency is culminated, largely helpless to act even in defense of another while his step-brother the Juggernaut and eventually Gladiator overpower the situation with brute force.

I cannot really speak to the portrayals present in Wolverine and the X-Men as my exposure to the series has been very limited. It is a question worth asking though as the multimedia faces of the X-Men brand are ultimately gateways into its universe, and each end inevitably informs the other. With the interrogation of equality forming the X-Men’s philosophical core, it stands to reason that one should explore whether the branches of its creative continuum succeed at living up to these ideas. The answer to any one of these questions does not form an immutable verdict over the whole, rather it points out a new direction for these ideas to travel. Only by engaging with the weaknesses of a thesis does it become stronger, and the same is true of the X-Men.

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Alright. This is it. I’ve made excuses before, but this is what it’s all come down to. The “sorry I haven’t updated” post. I don’t know if this is quite record length for me in the eighteen odd months I’ve been doing this, but it’s at least pushing that threshold. So what’s the freakin’ deal, dude?

Well, where to start? I’ve recently become dissatisfied with my work and living situation. Well, not recently. Things have been building to this for while. I desperately need a change of pace (or two or three) while I’ve still got the momentum and energy to affect them. So, things have been a little up in the air while I’m juggling these things. About to commence a bit of apartment leap frog across state lines (which like most fun things is probably either a felony or at least a frowned upon public obscenity).

As to updates and content. This is another area where I feel like I need a change of pace. Overall I’ve enjoyed doing the comic reviews, but with the books I have I feel as though I’ve taken it where it’s going to go. The series are still fun to read, but I’m running out of things to say about them and increasingly falling into the pattern of “plot summary, did I like it, lather, rinse, repeat.” As might be inferred, stagnation is something I’m trying to avoid. To this end, I will be doing a last review of Godzilla: Half-Century War to round out it’s run, but from this point on Earth Two and The Shadow are going to be discontinued features. What I want this to do is force me to inject a little variety. I’ve got some things on the burner that I think you’ll like and which I think I may find a little more creatively rewarding for the moment.

As a cherry on top of this little self-actualizing sundae I’d like to open up the floor to my readers (presuming I had any in the first place and if so that I still have any left). Like a hirsute and cantankerous Ryan Seacrest I am going to take questions and requests. Is there anything you’d like to know about either myself or the things I write about? Anything you’d like to see me do, any obscure trivium you’d like to punish me with, or any uncomfortable and probing inquests regarding the nature of my associations with known pop-culture terrorists? If so. Drop it down to the comment section. I solemnly swear to read and respond to each and every one (because there will probably be so few that it would be embarrassing not to).

Scouts honor.

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Earth Two #9-10

I think we ought to be just about caught up by now. Certainly took me long enough. Not much preamble to be had here. You know the drill. Let’s hit it.

earth two 9

Frankly there isn’t a whole lot that happens in this issue. We are introduced at last to Khalid, this universe’s Doctor Fate. Khalid is reluctant in this role as his relationship with the sorcerer Nabu appears to be strained, and taking on the persona a physically and mentally draining act for a mortal to perform. Nevertheless he uses a portion of his powers to save Jay Garrick and his mother from the encircling forces of the World Army still intent on taking errant metahumans into custody, bringing them to the distant astral plane of his mystical patron only to be confronted by a new and… flamboyant adversary in the form of Wotan.

I think I might be, finally, starting to like the new Jay Garrick. It’s hard to say what did it, but there’s an element of his character that seems to at last be clicking. What I mistook originally for a lack of depth may ultimately just be an uncomplicated sort of heroism. The central conflict surrounding him is expressing that heroism in an environment where most of his peers are either compromised by gray philosophical choices or consumed by their own existential crises. In a way it’s a commentary on the values shift in superhero comics that was so oblique I didn’t really “get” it until I stepped outside my own somewhat jaded perspective. The costume that I so revile kind of reflects this, though whether that’s intentional or not I have yet to determine. It’s doofy, even by the standards of tights with the underwear on top. Yet it almost seems to  invite that criticism, as in doing so it calls to attention the fact that we’ve spent so much energy trying to convince ourselves that the other costumes aren’t inherently silly. It even uses the red/yellow/blue color template that used to define the superhero look because that’s what printers had to work with. I think it helps that I’ve been listening to a lot of Bruce Springsteen lately, if I can be permitted a small digression. Hear me out. The music of “The Boss” drags along with it a feeling of frustrated energy that I think particularly resonates for this incarnation of Jay Garrick, who is constantly fighting the urge to just break away at top speed and is constantly seeing his purest ambitions thwarted. Moreover the apocalyptic quality of many Springsteen ballads, tapping the pulse of the Reagan era, seems oddly at home on Earth Two with its emphasis on broken legends and riding the edge of oblivion.

Honestly, I could be reading too much into it. Even if I am though I’m content to imagine that this is the way it was supposed to be.

earth two 10

This is a weird issue in that it’s dense on words but strangely light on narrative. After reminding us with that their version of Hawkgirl is Lara Croft with wings in a very literal sense  we catch up with Khalid, Jay Garrick, and Jay’s mom (who doesn’t have an actual name as far as I can determine). They’ve been kidnapped and accosted by Wotan, channeling equal parts Bishonen and Bowie, who launches into a long-winded explanation of magic that is not only unnecessary but also kind of fails to actually explain anything. Jay’s mom expresses what can only be described as implausible disbelief, somehow still being dismissive of the idea despite having been in close proximity to no fewer than five active superbeings in the preceding sixty seconds and living on a planet that has endured both a large scale extraterrestrial invasion and an infestation by a primordial-swamp-zombie-doom-god. More large speech balloons follow as Wotan and Khalid take turns wearing the exposition hat. The rule of “show don’t tell” is broken so hard you half expect Bane to show up and join the lecture.

We’re mercifully spared too much of it by joining Alan Scott in China as he seeks closure and answers for his fiance’s death. Not to keep drawing attention to it, but I’m still glad that they aren’t just leaving this thread dangling. If they had to put Sam in the fridge, the least they can do is give us some sense of continued meaning. Scott roughs up some Triad-types wielding katana, which makes no sense because they’re in China. Yes, the thing that takes me out of this scene is not the man in green armor breaking the laws of physics but the culturally inaccurate weaponry of the random mooks. Deal with it.

He realizes he’s better at throwing doom-zombies at the moon than he is at finding things, so he sucks it up and goes to Hawkgirl for help. Meanwhile Jay and Khalid must ascend the Tower of Fate to retrieve the Helm of Nabu while Wotan holds Jay’s mom hostage (short version). The artwork inside the tower actually makes up for the rather chewy verbals on the early pages. Nicola Scott rolls out the omni-dimensional Escher traps and gives us some interesting non-linear panel work that more or less salvages this chapter.

Earth Two is rolling the dice a bit, trying to keep two plots running simultaneously in a fairly limited format. It’s a different sort of take on a team book though and so far it hasn’t managed to run off the rails. If you want some diverse but self-contained storytelling that doesn’t require you to buy three tie-in series to understand what’s happening (that’s you, Death of the Family) then Earth Two may be what you’re looking for.

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The Last Time Until It’s Not

A timely review? That’s new. As the kids say though, I have feels. I went to go see The Last Exorcism part II, and found it ultimately disappointing. Most of you will be saying I shouldn’t be shocked by this, and I will return that I really wasn’t particularly, save that it was almost better than I expected. In fact I would say that the first two thirds or so of the film ‘were’ better than I expected, to the point of being legitimately good. The last third… well we’ll come around to that.


Spoiler warnings up front. There’s really not much ‘to’ spoil, but regardless I will give you a fair shot.

The first thing that’s going to get brought up is that this is a straightforward horror movie rather than being “found footage” like the original. Honestly, that’s fine. That style worked well for the story of the first film but wouldn’t have translated well to this one. In fact the early parts of the sequel do most of the same things well that the first did, that being pacing and tension. It has more lame jump scares and even lamer fake-outs, but by and large it turns up the temperature very slowly until by the time you’re boiling you never noticed it getting hot. The absence of Patrick Fabian leaves a yawning hole in the cast, but Ashley Bell does a more than admirable job of just about carrying the film on her shoulders. It has some pretty creative eeriness to it at points (even if most of the best scenes were already shown in the trailer) and tugs on a few threads of a fairly compelling theme. It’s really a pity the last section of the movie had to happen.

In the span of a scene Exorcism turns into a completely different film. Writing, acting, and direction all seem to visibly deflate as characters come in from nowhere to deadpan convoluted exposition. The remaining scary bits all seem to be lifted from other movies and are executed so half-heartedly that they lose what little impact they might have had. Even the obligatory jump scares stopped getting me the closer we got to the end, as all the tension had been pretty much let slack. The actual exorcism scene in the climax is almost hilarious to watch. At no level do the three “exorcists” demonstrate even the barest pretense of competency. In addition to lacking the charisma of Cotton Marcus from the initial outing, no one in the group seems to possess the kind of authority and moral agency that this role honestly requires (speaking as a connoisseur of many bad exorcism movies). This would be alright except that they’re set up to be these white knights from some occult religious order and absolutely fail to deliver the goods. At the first sign of trouble they pretty much fold up and immediately go for a desperate last resort that provokes exactly the worst case scenario any sane person watching this movie would predict. At that point though we still have an overlong, over the top denouement that totally undermines the tone of the rest of the movie.

While I was definitely a fan of the first film, I honestly wasn’t thinking this one would be any good. What disappointed me then was that it brushed so close to defying even my own expectations and breaking out as a very worthy sequel before somehow inexplicably driving itself off a cliff. That said, even more than the original movie this was a showcase for Ashley Bell, who may actually be one of my new favorite actresses. It’s unfortunate that all the praise I can conjure for the first part of the movie gets overwhelmed by the laundry list of complaints that pile up in the film’s tail end. If you chose to leave the theater around the sixty minute mark and content yourself with no ending being better than a bad ending, you’ll probably have a few good things to talk about.

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