Glen Weldon

Warning: This piece discusses events in the series finale of Legion.

When it began, three seasons ago, Legion was a show about a man who possessed the power of telepathy.

By the time it ended last night, Legion had become a show about the power of empathy.

"What if superheroes — but evil?"

It's a bold premise that seems fresh, even astonishing ... if the year is 1982.

That's when writer Alan Moore and various artists took the '50s bog-standard British superhero Marvelman (later, Miracleman) and reimagined him as a superpowered despot who enslaves humanity.

"Well, what if superheroes — but corrupt?"

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

I have seen the new The Lion King. Pop Culture Happy Hour is devoting a whole show to it this week, so I won't get into a full review here, but just know that, when it comes to one specific aspect of the new film — the one aspect about which I cared most keenly, most deeply, most intensely — the news is not senSAAYtional. It's anything but, in fact.

"HEAR ME, X-MEN! NO LONGER am I the woman you KNEW! I AM FIRE! I AM LIFE INCARNATE! Now and FOREVER ... I AM PHOENIX!"

That's how the character of Jean Grey, powerful telekinetic telepath and charter member of the X-Men, reintroduced herself to her teammates in 1976's Uncanny X-Men #101, shortly after she was seemingly killed by a solar flare while on a space mission.

Is it weird to keep asserting that Summer Movie Season starts Memorial Day weekend, when Avengers: Endgame, the ultimate summer movie, and also the year's (the decade's! the century's!) biggest blockbuster, opened last month?

Maybe. Sure. Who cares?

"Summer movie" is a term, after all, that has taken on a negative connotation, as it tends to be deployed by those looking to sniffily dismiss the whole crop of films that come out in the months without an R. See also: "popcorn movies," "comic-book movies."

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We've recapped the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones. Spoilers, of course, abound.

I mean ... sure?

I am prepared to die on the ashy hill of They Didn't Lay The Necessary Track To Justify Daenerys' Heel-Turn, but that whole contretemps seems soooo last week. I've made my peace with it and am prepared to dissect the show that they made, not the one we expected/wanted them to.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

We're recapping the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones; look for these recaps first thing on Monday mornings. Spoilers, of course, abound.

Dany got a raw deal.

Narratively speaking, Game of Thrones did the Mother of Dragons dirty, there's no two ways around it.

We're recapping the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones; look for these recaps first thing on Monday mornings. Spoilers, of course, abound.

After great pain, a formal feeling comes.

That's a quote from Lady Emily of House Dickinson, who might as well have been describing this episode, which probably couldn't help but feel anticlimactic and setty-uppy, coming as it does in the narrative gully that naturally stretches between last week's exultantly fire-and-bloody spectacle and next week's likely disastrous siege of King's Landing.

We're recapping the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones; look for these recaps first thing on Monday mornings. Spoilers, of course, abound.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're recapping the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones; look for these recaps first thing on Monday mornings. Spoilers, of course, abound.

Welcome back, everyone. It's been two years since last we gathered around the flickering electronic hearth to feast our eyes on this world, and these characters, many of whom – I'm thinking here of the dragons and the ice-zombies mostly – would happily feast on our eyes. Because Winter is Here, and it's shaping up to be a long, cruel one, and Sansa didn't pack away enough provisions for everyone.

It's over.

After four seasons and 157(!) original songs, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend came to an end Friday night, with a supremely satisfying finale that felt both surprising and inevitable, which is precisely the needle that finales need to thread. (And how about that concert special? With the surprise reveal of Michael Hyatt — the show's MVP recurring cast member — at the end? I may have whooped.)

Batman Turns 80

Mar 29, 2019

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

No matter what happens in this unsettling world, at least Batman is on the case.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BATMAN")

WILLIAM DOZIER: (As narrator) Fear not, America. They are still on duty, that legendary duo.

The 2011 art-house actioner Hanna was one odd duck of a flick: part thriller, part coming-of-age tale, studded with propulsive, well-staged fight scenes, standout performances from a coolly evil Cate Blanchett and a then-sixteen-year-old Saoirse Ronan, a driving Chemical Brothers score (remember 2011 you guys?), a febrile color scheme and a fondness for fairy-tale imagery. Ronan played a young woman who'd been raised as the perfect assassin by her ex-intelligence officer father (Eric Bana) deep in some Nordic forest.

In 2014, New Zealand co-directors/co-writers Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement released What We Do In The Shadows, a hilarious, shambling-yet-unerringly-precise mockumentary about a group of vampires sharing a house in modern-day Wellington, New Zealand.

"He doesn't tell me anything."

That's something the burly, perpetually befuddled, improbably named bodyguard Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) says to ... someone ... in the second episode of American Gods' second season. (Not important to whom, for now — that'd be a spoiler.)

There are several moments in Captain Marvel — most of them intimate two-hander scenes between Agent Nick Fury (a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson) and the main character (Brie Larson) — where the performances click, the comic chemistry catalyzes, the dialogue buzzes and everything in this latest million-dollar superhero blockbuster seems downright ... breezy.

"We don't have time for this!"

That sentiment gets expressed several times, always urgently, by different members of The Umbrella Academy's teeming cast, over the course of the 10 episodes that premiere on Netflix Friday, Feb. 15.

In 2014 The LEGO Movie quickly and efficiently master-built itself in theaters (and in the hearts of critics and audiences alike), surprising anyone expecting a cynical toy-commercial-as-kids'-film by instead delivering a visually inventive, joke-dense and emotionally resonant movie studded with charming performances from a voice cast of beloved comic actors.

... That was also, in the process, a cynical toy-commercial-as-kids'-film.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Warner Bros. says the next Batman film will drop in 2021, and it looks like Ben Affleck won't be sticking in the main role.

(SOUNDBITE OF DANNY ELFMAN'S "THE BATMAN THEME")

"Critique is so limiting and emotionally draining." — Morf

Say this much about L.A. art critic Morf Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) — he's right about the act of criticism. It's reductive by nature, and it can take a psychic toll on the critic, who, if they're any damn good at all, worries that their zeal for identifying the essence of a work may prove inadequate, if not flat-out wrong.

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(SOUNDBITE OF JONATHAN LARSON SONG, "SEASONS OF LOVE")

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The hit Broadway musical "Rent" made it to the small screen last night on Fox TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

The Other Two is a comedy series so densely funny that even its throwaway jokes deserve to be kept. Provided, of course, that you and the show share a core set of references and vibrate at the same frequency.

How will you know if The Other Two is for you? I've selected two of those aforementioned throwaway gags, so you can take the test at home:

One character mentions the name "Justin Theroux," causing another character to suddenly exclaim, with rapt delight, "LEGO NINJAGO??!!"; the scene progresses.

Eight best picture nominations emerged on Tuesday morning: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Vice, Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody, Roma and A Star Is Born. They are comedic and dramatic, based on real events and conjured from the pages of comics, in color and in black and white.

'Glass' Is Leaden

Jan 17, 2019

Again and again, in M. Night Shyamalan's Glass — the sequel to 2016's Split, which was itself a stealth sequel to 2000's Unbreakable — there are moments that should, by any reasonable measure, work. In the language of superhero films, they're now-familiar turns of phrase that can be depended upon — and often have been depended upon — to elicit a jolt of adrenaline in the eager viewer.

A sitcom lucky enough to reach its fifth season has managed to navigate its vulnerable infancy, its nervous childhood, its awkward adolescence and its halting young-adulthood. Like most of us at that stage of life, it knows what it is — enough to convincingly fake it, anyway — and it can finally get on with the business of being that.

College is done, the world beckons, they're at peak confidence and vitality. The hard work's over, right? Smooth sailing!

Wrong. The real work is only beginning.

The best-selling trilogy of novels by Justin Cronin — The Passage, The Twelve and The City of Mirrors — collectively form an epic tale, sweeping in scope.

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