Top 10 lists rank among the more unusual aspects of movie and TV criticism, and as my colleagues Ryan McGee, Matt Singer, and Mike Sampson’s own 2014 favorites will attest, the end-of-year celebration format brings with it a unique mixture of...
The Legend of Korra
‘The Legend of Korra’ began as a “What if?”: What would the ancient-skewing world previously depicted in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ look like 70 years in the future, with a female protagonist, with the traditional Hero’s Journey thrown out the window? The original plan was for a mini-series — a graphic noir tale that dipped its toe into recognizable class wars. But what Korra could do, become, say, wound up overflowing into three more seasons. The potential creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko saw in their new incarnation crescendos into the show’s very last beats.
When Kuvira’s towering war machine lumbers into silhouetted view for the first time, ‘Legend of Korra’ strikes tangible fear. There’s tremendous payoff to the apocalyptic moment; With Varrick’s technology and the Korra Kaiju previously established Korra Kaiju, there was room for the show to go full Gundam from the beginning of Book 4. Instead, moral questioning transformed the show’s final season into a thinly veiled World War II allegory, complete with an unstoppable force.
“Operation Beifong” made for a thrilling end note to last season's “Old Wounds,” which saw Lin and Su put aside their differences (after a big metalbending smackdown) and become allies, sisters, once again. Book 4's follow-up brings the entire clan together.
“Beyond the Wild” opens with a scene that would make John Carpenter giggle. Reacting to Kuvira's harvesting of the Banyan-grove tree, the vines in Republic City's Spirit Wilds are out of control. Leading a tour through the entanglement, Jon Heder's Ryu is the first to stumble upon the aggressive growth. Vines attack with velocity, wrapping around the tour group and leaving only Ryu's broken camera as evidence of the attack. It's 'Legend of Korra's' horror movie moment.
Fans of Nickelodeon’s ‘The Legend of Korra’ well know the hearbreak of Book 4: Balance, which followed Book 3's exile to online premieres, and only weeks after the finale. And where last week brought the revelation that a slashed budget had forced creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino into a clip show episode, there may yet be good news for fans. ‘The Legend of Korra’ will soon make a return to TV, albeit not exactly in the way we might hope.
There's a silver lining to to this week's 'Korra,' the least fulfilling episode in show's four-season run: The production team must be allocating all its resources for one hell of finale! Let's hope. With “Remembrances,” 'Korra' succumbs the “clip show,” a rehash exercise that's grueling no matter how much you love the characters involved.
After a heated encounter that sent Team Avatar racing along the streets of Republic City and warding off Earthbender gestapo atop a speeding train, Asami says what's on all of our minds: “It was kind of like old times.” Man, it really was.
On July 20, 1944, a plot by the German Resistance to assassinate Adolf Hitler by briefcase bomb failed. On November 7, 2014, a plot by Suyin Beifong and her two songs to assassinate the Great Uniter, Kuvira, failed. Fascist dictators: They're so hard to kill, real or not.
'The Legend of Korra' imparts an important lesson as it barrels towards its ending, leaving younger audience members to grow into the news-digesting, opinion-spouting, inevitably partisan Internet beings they'll grow up to be: World politics are hard. Impossible, maybe. Every situation is a lose-lose. There are no rights and wrongs because one side of the conflict is always right and always wrong. A major leader's decision will inevitably piss people off. The response can never be “the right way.”