The bar is called Mise-en-Scène, and while it does not have Wi-fi, the Second Cup two doors up the street does, and if you sit at the right table, you can just barely pick it it up. This is why, when Spider-Man: Homecoming, Dunkirk, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Wonder Woman, and the aging (in blockbuster years) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 walked into bar, I was already sitting there.
I could tell right away they wanted my table. Rich, poor, anthropomorphic-personification-of-a-summer-action-flick – everyone wants the Wi-fi table. No sooner than they had got themselves drinks than they all started giving me a "Do you know who we are?" face, but not in a mean way. Just in that "Come on, we're a group, we're having a little party here, we all got wide distribution. You get excited if you get more than 40 retweets. You just know our e-mail is more interesting than yours" way.
I smiled at them politely, then looked at my phone and offered up my best "Oh, my, this in an interesting message I just got from someone (pretty high up) on the International Space Station" expression. I've been working on this look for a while now. Currently it ends with a little smile, as if the space e-mailer and I have been having a long witty exchange.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 smiled at me, a touch apologetically, and did a little "So, can we sit at your table? You know, I feature a shirtless Chris Pratt" shrug.
"I'll buy you a drink," said Wonder Woman, and I do love a girl who's not afraid to flaunt her domestic gross, so I scooched on over.
"Hey, anyone seen Emoji Movie?" Spider-Man asked the table, glancing around.
"No!" cried out the entire bar in unison.
"And who told you that I might have seen him?" demanded Dunkirk. "That's a libel suit waiting to happen."
"Lighten up, Dunkirk," said Spider-Man, "I was just wondering where that guy got to. You know he navigates entirely by committee, totally directionless. I worry about him crossing the road in the hands of a distracted focus group."
"Wait, which one are you again?" Dunkirk asked quizzically. "You're not the Spider-Man where we know Peter Parker has turned evil because he pops his collar, doesn't wash his hair, does 'pistol fingers' at the ladies and starts dancing like a dad, are you?"
"No, I'm the one where's Spider-Man's not hot, and you'd go to jail anyway. I'm the authentic young boy Spider-Man, just trying to make a difference in his city."
"I thought you were great," I said, and immediately they all turned their attention towards me. Blockbusters, man, they are all the same.
"Oh?" said Valerian, looking suddenly hopeful, "So did you like a lot of movies this summer…?"
"I was very impressed by you also, Dunkirk" I said quickly, careful not to look Valerian in the eye, "Although it's been painful to watch the men of my generation carry on, confused, embittered and wounded by your timeline."
"Yeah, they're not quite the greatest movie-watching generation, are they?" sighed Dunkirk, "For the record, there's one torpedoed ship and three Spitfires."
"Whatever, Dunkirk. I'm just saying, no one walked out of me scratching their heads and wondering 'Is he a trash-panda or a raccoon?' I make these things pretty clear," said Guardians.
"Sequel," said Dunkirk.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm going to go fetch the drinks," Guardians said, walking away before turning back to Dunkirk to say, "Oscar bait."
"Just lemonade for me!" called out Spider-Man, "I'm a minor!"
"Not a bad boy, huh?" said Dunkirk.
"I express my subversiveness largely through a realistic depiction of a diverse urban America," Spider-Man said.
"Even with your wall-crawling thing and the great jokes, you qualify as heavy realism," I said. "Can't remember the last time I saw a movie in downtown Toronto where the cast looked like the audience. I was impressed by how the verisimilitude of your casting complemented your most fantastic aspects."
"Hey, I've been doing some napkin math over here," said Valerian, "and it turns out that a 51-per-cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes would mean that more than half of reviewers liked a movie," and he waved said napkin over the table before adding, "What is taking those drinks so long? More than half is a majority…"
"That's great, Valerian!" Wonder Woman cut him off, giving me a baleful "I'm a superhero movie, uplifting is kinda my thing" look.
I nodded at Wonder Woman. "I got this, Wonder," my eyes said. Wonder Woman and I, we're practically sisters at this point.
"You have a very compelling opening sequence, Valerian, " I said, wondering if the Justice League had room for me. I pictured myself striding into a room, doling out fifties and unconditional love, saying, "That's right, I'm Super Co-Dependent."
"And then…" Valerian said hopefully.
"Hey guys, me and my goofy-yet-irresistibly-catchy soundtrack are back with drinks!" Guardians cut in, leaping, unwittingly, to my rescue.
"Yeah, diegetic music is a pretty cute gimmick, the first time," said Dunkirk, "and yet, ignoring the entreaties of our marketing department, we chose to forgo a scene where Vera Lynn and Edith Piaf prance onto the beach and birth the Eurovision Song Contest."
"We booked Edith," said Wonder Woman, sadly, "for World War I. Our Belgian townsfolk play some Edith when I liberate their village. Edith Piaf was only born in 1915, and yet the record they play is already scratchy. Damn, I hate this. One drink and I get the Lasso of Truth wrapped around my ankle. Don't let me start texting anyone. Here, take my phone."
"Oh, that reminds me, how's your soundtrack sales going, Dunny? I bet people are just dying to listen to Ominous Pulsing #7 on their drive to work."
"I'm Batman," said Dunkirk.
"No, you're not," said Wonder Woman.
"I could be Batman" said Dunkirk.
"No, you're a relatively short historical action drama about the Dunkirk evacuation. Not once, in your hour-and-forty-six-minute runtime does someone dress up like a bat," I said, "But I still love you."
"Love?" said Valerian. "That's where one person tells another that they have a problem with commitment and the other replies that, yeah, they do have a problem with commitment, but now they want to get married, right?"
"Sure," I said, "and as the representative of the film-attending public, can I just address the industry as whole here and say 3-D is fine, but if you really want to get the bums back in the seats, just salt your goddamn popcorn."
"I fought Germans," said Wonder Woman, "and an evil Greek God."
"Let's not talk about that last fight scene, Wonder," I said. "We'll always have no-man's-land."
"Would you like to dance?" said Guardians, standing up and starting to unbuttoning his shirt as I rose to my feet.
There's just something about that guy, tightly scripted.
"A thousand planets!" said Valerian.
"Shhh," I said, "You make me sleepy."
"Man, Emoji Movie is really late," said Spider-Man.
"Apropos of nothing, did I mention I can kill people while hiding invisibly in a parallel dimension?" said Valerian.
"That was a pretty cool action scene," I said encouragingly. "Wait, are you saying…?"
"You may not be the Luc Besson science fiction film we deserve, but you're certainly the one we need right now," Dunkirk weighed in, clapping Valerian on the back.
"Enough with the 'I just swallowed a pound of gravel' voice, you're still not Batman," Wonder Woman said, rolling her eyes, "but Valerian, if you're saying what you're implying you're saying, you have a 98-per-cent Rotten Tomatoes score in all our hearts. I'll get more drinks!"