5 min read

#6: Superheroes, painters, and John Wick

Hello and welcome to a new installment of Extremely Unannoying! This week, we'll be talking about the best new "Marvel movie," why John Wick kicks ass, a cool way to try painting, and a weird part of town.

Come along, it'll be fine!

1) The cure for (my) Marvel fatigue

I'm a big ol' comic book fanboy. Been one since I cajoled my dad into buying me the Ultimate Spider-Man issue #1 back in 2001. (If you're a Millennial, I bet you think that was not that long ago, so let me remind you that 22 years have passed since then. Yeah... Let that sink in for a moment.)

Anyway, with this background, it's probably no surprise that I loved the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was there for the first Iron Man and all of the subsequent Phases right up to the late-night Budapest premiere of Endgame where the whole audience cheered for this scene.

Ah, I still get goosebumps watching that.

I'm telling you all this, so you can properly appreciate it when I also tell you that I'm really tired of the current Marvel movies and TV shows. I tried to watch a few of them, but they feel like paint-by-number rehashes of the established formula that mostly fail to capture the same sense of wonder I felt during the original three Phases.

Now, on the one hand, this is fine. I'm a firm believer that we should let things end—especially stories—otherwise, they gradually lose their meaning. So if you're fine with ending your superhero adventures with Endgame, I applaud you. But, if you're a junkie like me, may I interest you in Marvel's Midnight Suns?

Midnight Suns is a new turn-based tactical RPG made by Firaxis, the creators of the XCOM games. In it, you use a card-based combat system to control a band of superheroes through their battles against Hydra and some superbaddies. As you go along, you unlock more heroes and more cards for them, equipping you with more tactical options and bigger, more spectacular superpowers.

It's an excellent system that even I enjoy playing, someone who kinda-sorta hates turn-based strategy. But, as cool as it is, it's not the best part of the game. Oh no. The best part of Midnight Suns is its story and characters.

Without going into specifics, there is a big bad and the world is ending. (Pretty standard fare for a Marvel thing.) You get two groups—the Avengers and the Midnight Suns—who need to tackle this threat together while also learning to trust each other. Of course, there are a lot of clashing personalities, differing opinions on how the threat should be approached, personal secrets, and trust issues—all that good, romp-y, comic book-y stuff!

If you loved the Bioware RPGs for the party members and the loyalty quests, Midnight Suns is basically that, only with superheroes and a far cozier vibe. Seriously, strolling through the gardens of your secret base, hanging out with Captain Marvel and Blade is just a fun, relaxing thing to do.

Even if five minutes later you don your spandex and beat up some Hydra thugs.

Now, please don't expect some Oscar-worthy masterpiece, but Midnight Suns is a well-crafted superhero comic book story with a bunch of well-written characters and a lot of heart. It got me properly hooked and finally scratched that itch Marvel's Phase 4 so far couldn't.

Long story short, if you're into superheroes and found families and looking to play something new this Easter weekend, I wholeheartedly recommend Midnight Suns. It's really good!

2) John Wick is cool! But why?

So I don't know if you've heard but there's a new John Wick movie out—the fourth one to be exact. On that occasion, Matt Patches over at Polygon collected five lessons Hollywood should (but probably won't) learn from this massively successful franchise.

It's a good essay with which I agree, and it also reminded me that the first John Wick movie is a proper masterclass of storytelling.

We rewatched it with my wife, Andrea, and I was floored by how every frame of the film pushes the plot forward. That might sound like a given, but trust me, most movies and TV shows have at least some filler, while the first John Wick has zero. It tells you something new and relevant every second.

Delightful. Totally recommend.

3) You too can paint. No, really.

I love colors. Also, I can't paint.

Or at least that was what I was telling myself until last Saturday when we attended a FessNeki workshop for our date night. For those of you who have never been in a guided painting workshop, here's the gist:

You choose the picture you want to recreate and sign up for that workshop. You go there with literally nothing—no skills, prior experience, or tools. They provide you with a canvas, every necessary brush and paint, and a lovely instructor. Three hours later you walk out with a painting that is a quite passable reproduction of the original.

It's magic.

On our way there we tried to figure out how will they turn us into painters in a few hours and my guess was that they were going to use some kind of paint-by-number system like the ones we sometimes played around with as kids. Oh, boy, was I wrong. No, they really did teach us how to paint a whole picture from scratch.

It was a blast, just pure flow for three whole hours and the painting we brought home keeps making both of us smile every time we pass it in the living room.

FessNeki is a really cool project and if you've never been, I urge you to give it a try.

4) Old Buda is weird but in a good way

I don't actually know if you'd translate Óbuda as Old Buda, but it sounds fun, so I'm sticking with it. Anyway, thanks to some fortuitous alignment of the stars, I ended up going to Óbuda a lot these past weeks, and I've got to tell you, it's a pretty weird but oddly wonderful district of the city.

I can't tell if we have another part of Budapest where you have old Roman ruins next to a 1960s factory turned into a hip art gallery next to a museum in an Austro-Hungarian Empire-era house, next to a pretty decent sushi restaurant, next to the Danube.

The whole district is as if a drunk toddler threw together a bunch of blocks from wildly different eras and functions. I love it.

If you decide to take a stroll there, Sushi Sei is a restaurant worth trying and I think the Imre Bukta exhibit I mentioned in a previous issue is still open until April 30th.

And with that, I'm out. Thanks for reading the latest edition of Extremely Unannoying! See you in two weeks and until then, happy Easter!