A great villain can usurp the fortitude of a great hero. Look at 'The Dark Knight' — is Batman even in that movie? Heath Ledger's Joker was an instantly iconic performance that overshadowed the small effort put into complicating the Bruce Wayne character. Worth the sacrifice, but Christopher Nolan's Bat-sequel is forever flawed.
Books 1 and 2 of 'The Legend of Korra' didn't have time for episodes like “Original Airbenders.” The closest half hour might be “The Sting,” last season's Korra-less, Mako detective tale. It was an exciting deviation from the stream of plot-driven episodes ... at least, it was in theory. “The Sting” was still adding stepping stones for how Book 2 would wrap everything up. “Original Airbenders” is essential without feeling concretely tied to any big picture, Zaheer's nefarious motives or everything Korra's dealt with in Zaofu. Much like 'Avatar: The Last Airbender,' 'Korra' strays from the path to detail its well-worn characters. It's a breath of fresh air(bender).
Last week's “The Metal Clan” saw Lin and Suyin clenching their insides to keep from biting the other's heads off. This was their first interaction in 30 years. It was no easy feat; meditative, green juice-drinking Suyin was in a better position to calmly avoid the situation. Lin's rage transformed her into a rabid dog, teeth out, ready to bite. In “Old Wounds,” that passive aggression literally cripples the diligent cop. The only solution: memory-provoking acupuncture!
In “The Metal Clan,” the upswing of a new Book 3 arc, Korra is the blissfully ignorant student, learning the facts for the first time. We've known Lin Bei Fong since the very beginning of the show, but we've never known her. And a thinner show would have been OK with that; Lin's the gruff, overly-rational policewoman who will do anything to protect the Avatar from danger. That's enough characterization. But not for 'The Legend of Korra,' which shook up the Korra/Lin relationship by traveling to the heart of the Metalbender's past.
If anyone thought this season was skimping on the action — and after last week's mini 'Warriors'-meets-'Mad-Max'-meets-'Akira' throwdown, I'm not exactly sure why you would, but hey, we all require varying amounts of stimulation — the 'Korra' creative team delivers 24 minutes of wall-to-wall action worthy of Danny Ocean.
As Korra's ship enters Ba Sing Se airspace, Tenzin warns her that the Earth Queen can be... a prickly personality to work with. A glimpse of the city's three sectors, ringed with a serious of walls, tells us exactly what we need to know about this woman. We might as well call her Prince John; Modern Ba Sing Se is a socioeconomic hell hole, the poor starving on the fringes while the Queen and other royalty live it up in the center. Traveling the radius of the city is a sharp bit of visual info from director Ian Graham. Studio Mir, the studio behind 'Legend of Korra,' is up to the task.
Since their big break up at the end of Book 2, Mako and Korra have become the two friends who dated in high school and still can hang out at the local bar whenever they're both around. At least, Korra thinks they are. She's closer to her casual friend Asami than she's ever been before — that happens in post-college years too — but when it comes to Mako, she's under the impression that their relationship can settle back into “just friends” like the days before they took things romantic. But can it? Korra hasn't been around and neither has made efforts to keep in touch. They're friends on Facebook, but they're like Mercury and Pluto emotionally. What makes Korra giggle makes Mako want to keel over and die. He's part of Team Avatar, but maybe he shouldn't be.
The title of Book 3's premiere, “A Breath of Fresh Air,” is quite literal. Book 2 was dense and hasty, Konietzko and DiMartino pulling off a complex arc with only 13 half hour episodes. The response is a season opener that takes time to survey the scene and basks in the unbroken camaraderie of old friends. The episode takes an essential beat to cement itself in the perspective of its protagonist and her closest confidants: Team Avatar.
Barry Grieff wants to change the way we watch movies. He wants to save the movie theater experience. He wants to turn the passive moviegoer into an active participant. And to do so, he wants people to shimmy around in their seats, move together unison, and throw self-conscious embarrassment to the wind, all in the name of fun.
In the Drug Enforcement Administration of 'Sabotage,' there's an elite task force comprised of douchebags, jackasses, bullies and morally reprehensible goons. They're thrown the tough assignments; When a drug cartel kingpin needs to be brought to justice, John Breacher (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his crew of hot-tempered, maladjusted soldiers storm his suburban fortress, pop two in his head, and beeline to the nearest dive bar for one-dollar Budweisers. When an unknown assailant starts picking them off one-by-one, it's hard to feel too bad for the band of brosefs.