Posts Tagged ‘Marvel’

X-23: Agent of SHIELD – An Agents of Shield Story

April 28, 2020

Laura Kinney was amazed at the size of the plane in front of her. She had heard stories of the legendary covert actions done with this plane while she was on missions with the X-Men. They had never really crossed paths. Now the doors were open and the ramp was extended for her. This was SHIELD, the organization of Nick Fury who her father had told her some stories about. She walked up the ramp where three people were standing waiting for her.

“It is nice to meet you, Director MacKenzie,” Laura said. “I’ve received your messages and I’m excited to hear more of your proposal.”

“So formal,” Melinda May said with a very slight smile.

“That’s something coming from you. But you’re right, it’s too formal,” Mac said. “Let’s stick with calling me Mack. What should we call you? Ms. Kinney? Laura?”

“Maybe X-23?” Melinda May asked. “You’ve gone by that too.” May’s eyes studied Laura carefully, Laura could almost feel her gaze like it was a physical pressure. There was no menace to it but a sense of determination that Laura was familiar with. She could tell that May was trying to prod her, she respected that.

“Maybe that’s too dry and scientific,” Jemma Simmons said. “Too many memories of experimentation. I sympathize.”

“The name X-23 never really bothered me,” Laura said. “but my mother named me Laura so you can call me that. Though, in the field, my father has granted me the use of his mantle.”

“Wolverine?” Mack asked. “That name has some really nasty connotations.”

“To be perfectly honest so does the name Quake,” Laura said. “She’s one of yours, right?”

“She’s not wrong,” May said. “Daisy is a hero but she hasn’t always looked like one.”

“We have quite a long and sordid history,” Jemma said. “Some of us have been villainous when we weren’t at our best.”

“Speak for yourself,” May said. “I’ve always been a saint.”

“We’re getting ahead of ourselves,” Mack said. “Let’s talk about what this is. Welcome to SHIELD, skip the acronym, we work hard to save the world every single day. We’ve had ties to the Avengers, the Inhumans, and we’ve taken down Hydra more than once. You already know that I’m Alphonso MacKenzie and that I’m the director of SHIELD. This is Agent Melinda May, head of training, and this is Jemma Simmons, director of technology. There’s a lot of overlap, though and we’ve all seen a lot of field time.”

“And you’re interested in me?” Laura asked.

“We’ve heard a lot about you and we want you on our team,” Mack said. “Shield has had people with powers on the payroll for a while but we could always use more.”

“So I would be muscle?” Laura asked.

“You’d be a full member of the team,” May said. “Everybody contributes here and you have skills and knowledge that people here could only dream of. Like I heard that you’re an excellent tracker.”

Laura smiled and nodded. “I am,” she said. “I get that and a lot of other things from my father. But are you sure You want me? I’ve been called a monster. I’ve been called an animal.”

“You’ll be a whole person here,” Jemma said. “Not a lab rat, not an animal. The sum of your parts like the rest of us.”

“We’re offering you space to grow away from your father, your sisters, and the X-Men,” Mack said. “If you want it. No pressure.”

“No pressure, hmm?” Laura asked. “Sometimes some pressure is good. What would I be doing in SHIELD? How will I save the world?”

“We’d put you in Daisy’s team,” Mack said. “I’m sorry that she’s not here. Quake is out in the field with Yo-Yo, Mockingbird, and Deathlok.”

“A superhero team?” Laura asked.

“Sort of,” May said. “They’re agents.”

“It’s hard to explain unless you’re experiencing it,” Jemma said.

“May I have some time to think about it?” Laura asked.

“Of course,” Mack said. “Like I said, no pressure. If it helps, you could talk to the other person we’re actively recruiting.”

“Oh?” Laura asked. “Who is that?”

“Her name is Gwen Stacy,” Mack said. “I’ll get you her contact info.”

“Thank you,” Laura said. “I look forward to meeting her. Maybe I’ll run into Quake soon too if she’s not too busy. It won’t be hard to find her.”

“Good luck,” May said. “I trained her.”

“We’ll just consider it my first test then,” Laura said. She turned around to leave. “I’ll give you my answer soon.”

Deposition – A She-Hulk Story

April 4, 2020

Patsy Walker felt weird being out of costume. She usually did a lot of her work as an investigator for Jennifer Walters (alias She-Hulk) under the guise of Hellcat. That meant that she wore a mask as she crept around and figured out the truth of the matter for Jen’s cases. OF course, she did ask plenty of questions without the mask but she still felt like Hellcat when she was doing that. Patsy Walker was famous for her mother’s dumb soap opera. She felt so disconnected from that life. She also felt pretty disconnected from superhero life. She was happy to do some investigation for her old friend but also loved running the job agency she had founded while Jen was in a coma.

She also felt uncomfortable because of why they were sitting at the oak table so early in the morning. She glanced over at Jen. Jennifer Walters, Esquire was the picture of calm looking serious but with that warm nature that her best friends knew she had. Patsy knew that she was angry. Who wouldn’t be? Unlike her cousin, Jen could control her anger. She would remain professional and she would continue to conduct business in the interest of her client. Patsy was ready to go out and get revenge, maybe enlist somebody like fellow investigator Jessica Jones to help her. Jen would be so disappointed in that, though.

At 10:05, just 5 minutes late, the potential client walked in wearing a scarf over her hair and large sunglasses. As she took those off, Patsy saw how beautiful she was. Of course, Patsy had seen pictures in the paper and news footage but it was different when you saw somebody in person. Her name was Amber Guttierez but the public knew her as Lightblaster. She had been born with the power to generate and control light which she easily used for offensive and defensive capabilities. She had been part of the superhero group known as The Blockbusters, a C-level team that had achieved some notoriety as good crimefighters.

Jen stood up, towering over both Patsy and Amber with her gamma-irradiated condition. Patsy scrambled to her feet and tried to smile brightly. Jen’s smile came off as warmer and welcoming. Amber held out her hand and Jen and Patsy both shook it in turn. Jen gestured to the seat opposite where Patsy and she had been sitting.

“Please, Ms. Guttierez,” Jen said. “have a seat. Can we get you anything? Coffee? Water?”

“No,” Amber said. “I’m fine. You can call me Amber.”

Jen and Patsy sat back down in their seats. “Thank you for coming, Amber,” Jen said. “This means a lot to us.”

“I’m not sure how much I can help,” Amber said. “I just don’t know.” She looked away and down and Patsy could not help but feel for the woman. She knew something but was afraid to talk. If she did not talk, then the case was weaker for it.

“That’s ok,” Jen said. “We’re not about to make you do anything you don’t want to. That’s what we’re trying to stop.”

Amber looked at her helplessly. “I signed a paper,” she said. “My hands are tied.”

“There are ways around that,” Jen said. “We can help protect you. I know, why don’t we tell you what we have so far? That way you can see where you stand and with whom.”

“Ok,” Amber said softly and nodded, a little hesitant.

There was a pause and then Jen nudged Patsy and she blinked. “Oh,” Patsy said. “Right. It’s nice to finally meet you, Amber. My name is Patsy Walker.”

“The Patsy Walker?” Amber asked. “I’ve read all of your comics.”

“Yeah, that’s me,” Patsy said, trying not to show her annoyance. “Nowadays I work as an investigator.”

“And you’d be working on this case?” Amber asked.

“I already have been,” Patsy said. “Yours is not the only story we’ve gotten wind of. I have interviewed many young women with situations similar to yours. I can’t exactly name names but what we are seeing is a pattern of behavior. The superhero (and I use hero with extreme quotes here) known as Hardliner has exhibited a lot of inappropriate behavior. He has been aggressively sexual with over a dozen different superheroines and probably more. He might even have done the same to civilians.”

“I’m not the only one?” Amber asked, tears starting to form in her eyes.

“You’re not alone,” Jen said. “We’re here to tell you that if you choose to move forward with us, then you will have company. He did this to other girls and that will not stand.”

“Are you telling me that he hurt other girls? That maybe if I had done something, he would have stopped?” Amber asked.

“He would not have stopped, Amber,” Jen said. “Guys like that do not stop until they are stopped.”

“How can I do that?” Amber asked.

“How can *we* do that?” Jen said, correcting her gently. “We do it by standing together. We do it by adding your story to all of the other stories we have.” She held out a box of tissues.

“Alright,” Amber said, dabbing the tears away. “I’ll tell my story.”

Patsy reached out and turned on her recorder and gave Jen a nod. “Whenever you’re ready, Amber,” Jen said.

(Marvel Comics was suggested by my friend Liz on Twitter)

Media Update 11/28/19

November 28, 2019


The Runaways

I am a huge fan of this comic book since it was the first new thing Marvel attempted in a long, long time. The comic is about a group of kids who find out that their parents are supervillains and go on the run to try and stop them. It was the first thing in Marvel that I had read that did not really stem from previous continuity. It introduced brand new characters that had virtually nothing to do with the rest of the Marvel Universe. It made the series a very self-contained, standalone sort of story at first. However, they were gradually sewn into the fabric of the universe in a natural way. The show is similar but provides enough differences to really keep things interested. There are strong performances from both the adults and the children. Out of the adults, I really enjoyed Ryan Sands, Brittany Ishibashi, Angel Parker, James Marsters, and Annie Wersching. Of the kids, I really liked Greg Sulkin, Ariela Barer, Rhenzy Feliz, and Virginia Gardner. However, everybody is awesome. I definitely recommend the show for mystery and drama.


The Gifted

I was not sure what to expect when I started watching this show but I knew that it was adjacent to the X-Universe. The show takes place in a sort of dystopian future after the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants have disappeared. What is left is a human populace who are incredibly scared of mutants and a mutant populace constantly on the run. The show follows both mutant and human characters as they try to navigate an increasingly dangerous world. I have already seen interesting (and less used) mutant characters like Polaris, Blink, the Strucker children, Sunspot, and Thunderbird. There is also a really cool take on the Sentinels. One of my favorites (Amy Acker) also has a great role as a human caught up in everything and so far is the character most driving the plot. I love where the show is going so far. For one, as a law nerd, I definitely like how they are trying to dip their toes into civil rights, confinement, and probable cause. The show is grim without being completely dispiriting. I recommend the show, especially for X-Fans.


My Hero Academia

I had been hearing really great things about this anime but I am kind of a dub guy (especially since I am a fan of a lot of American voice actors through Critical Role). Finally, I have access to the dub through Hulu and this is the perfect week to catch it. The show is about a school for superheroes, in a world where people have “quirks” which is kind of another name for superpowers. Superpowers are normalized with about 80% of the population being super in some way. Superheroes save the day as a career path and obviously schools sprung up to teach people how to be better and more successful heroes. The show has some deep drama and definitely does a good job covering anxiety, ambition, and the cost of following one’s dreams. However, they also manage to keep things light and fun with all of the heroics. Like many anime series, there is a good degree of slapstick although albeit with a dark edge sometimes. I really like the world they built even though it is similar to other comic book and television series. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Kesha – My Own Dance

The 1975 – Girls

Halflives – Mayday

Young Thug – Hot ft. Gunna & Travis Scott

Baby Shark (Trap Remix)

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Young Heroes”
– I watched more Brooklyn 99 Season 3
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 7
– I watched more Blindspot Season 2
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more Carmen Sandiego Season 2
– I started watching Justice League Action
– I started watching The Crown Season 3

Media Update 5/2/19

May 2, 2019


Avengers: Endgame

For starters, I have watched every single movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I will continue to watch them as time goes on. I am a dedicated fan and this movie felt like a great reward for the fans. I also felt like it was a good stand-alone movie but I may not be the best judge since I have seen all the preceding movies. This movie was the victory lap eleven years in the making as it was the culmination of a central plot that slowly formed from over 36 hours of entertainment. I feel like they did a great job of touching on pretty much every single movie in the series with tiny touches and mentions and easter eggs. They also did a good job of explaining what you might have missed or reminded you of what may have been forgotten by quickly summing up or detailing points from earlier movies. Each character at least got a moment and some of the characters that have been there from the beginning got a lot of screentime to further their character arcs. I laughed, I cheered, I awwwed, I teared up, but mostly I just enjoyed myself all the way through. The 3-hour runtime went by so quickly and I could have gone for more in the end but they are going to give us more in the future. I definitely recommend this movie and I do not want to get into spoilers so I will end it here.


Star Trek Voyager

I was a huge fan of the Original Series and The Next Generation when I was little. When Star Trek Deep Space Nine came out, I became a devoted fan even when I had friends who were not into it. It remains my favorite series based on the actors and the types of stories they went with. Somehow, I lost interest in the franchise and I never really watched Voyager. I feel like I maybe watched a random episode here or there but I do not really remember it. Since the series is on Netflix, I decided to watch it from the beginning to get a real taste of it. The show is notable for being even better with its female characters. Kate Mulgrew is great at being a complex female captain who has a more nuanced personality than some other “strong female characters” of that time. Of course, my favorite is The Doctor, played by Robert Picardo through whose eyes we explore what it is to be a sentient being. I also really like Robert Beltran who plays the first Native American Starfleet officer in the franchise. The rest of the cast is really good too. I am only on season two now and the show seems to be getting better and better. They were a bit repetitive in the beginning but I feel like once they had a chance to stretch, they figured out where they were going. I recommend it for lovers of Star Trek or science fiction with lovable characters.


Losers

I was clued into this series through my following of the musher scene when I get into the Iditarod this year. This is a documentary series that follows sports figures who failed at one point or many points in their story and used that loss to reinvent themselves. I feel like it is a great story for those of us with anxiety, knowing there are others out there who have failed and survived and then thrived. Some of the episodes are darker than others and each one seems to capture different elements of humanity. Also, each episode looks at a different sport. So far I have watched episodes on boxing, ice skating, and curling but there are so many more. Each story I see is inspiring and informative about worlds I did not really know about. Eventually, I will get to the dog sledding episode. These messages are joyous in their positivity and openness. I definitely recommend this series.

Music of the Week:
Godholly – How I Feel

Five Finger Death Punch – Blue On Black

Billie Eilish – bad guy

Lèpoka – Yo Controlo

Zedd, Katy Perry – 365

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Getting Up and Trying Again”
– I finished Black Lightning Season 2
– I finished Grimm Season 6
– I started Doctor Who Season 10
– I watched more Lucifer Season 3
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3
– I watched and followed the Iditarod
– Back to the normal routine!

Media Update 3/14/19

March 14, 2019


Captain Marvel

I was not a huge fan of Carol Danvers growing up but I think for good reason. Writers did not know how to use her and used her too infrequently. When Kelly Sue DeConnick, Dexter Soy, and Emma Rios had their run on Captain Marvel with Jamie McKelvie’s redesign, they breathed new life into the character. This was the first time she called herself Captain Marvel and was the birth of a whole new fandom, the Carol Corps. After that, I really loved the character and when they announced this movie, I was excited. This movie absolutely does justice to the spirit of that character. Part of that is the absolute brilliance of Brie Larson in the lead role. She is just so charismatic and perfect in the role. It also does not hurt that we have Samuel L. Jackson as a younger Fury as her co-star. We also get great performances from Jude Law, Anette Benning, Lashana Lynch, and Ben Mendelsohn. Like most big Marvel releases, I saw this with my friends in a theater and I spent the thing either grinning or laughing the entire time. It was such a great adventure from beginning to end. This was a movie that cannot be denied. I cannot wait to see where they take this character next both in Avengers: Endgame and hopefully beyond. For now, I will bask in the joy of this movie. I wholeheartedly recommend it.


Battle Angel Alita

I was wary of another live-action anime adaptation but I heard some good buzz. I really liked the interesting mix of CGI and live action that created a somewhat unique art design for this movie. This is a world where humans coexist with cyborgs. Cyborgs are accomplished with a combination of CGI and practical effects. Similar to Astroboy, there are a sky city and a dirty city below which is a pretty common trope in science fiction. However, they pull off a gritty and lawless future city very well. This is a collaboration between two famous directors. The first is James Cameron who has awesome technical know-how but went artistically bankrupt a while ago. The second is Robert Rodriguez, a guy who was able to figure out this script and utilize the technical wizardry to create spectacle that also has a good story. Rosa Salazar plays the title character and her voice acting and motion capture are so charming. Christoph Waltz is on top of his game as usual as the hardened but kind mentor. Mahershala Ali gets to play an insidious and sneaky villain. Jackie Earle Haley plays to his strengths of being a psychotic villain. Jennifer Connelly plays a bitter and cynical woman. I also liked some smaller performances from Idara Victor and Keean Johnson. The animation moves seamlessly with the live action stuff and it all follows a great little story about self-discovery and the warrior’s way. I definitely recommend it.


Mary Poppins Returns

Over and over, I have proclaimed on this blog to be a big Disney nerd which is easier to be now that Disney basically owns everything. Mary Poppins is a movie I remember well from my childhood and I still listen to the music from it to this day. The Sherman Brothers were an amazing songwriting team. So when a sequel was announced, I was definitely interested in it. The trailer made the movie look a lot like the original. The original was whimsical but it had a lot to say about its characters, mostly the Banks family. This movie picks up the story years later with the Banks children now grown up and Michael has three kids of his own. Emily Blunt is an awesome Mary Poppins, strict but fun, confusing but enlightening. She is every bit the enigma she was in the original movie. Lin-Manuel Miranda plays a lamplighter who used to be Burt’s apprentice (with the same ludicrous accent). The three children are delightful as Michael and Jane were. Ben Whislaw plays Michael Banks, a befuddled and clumsy artist who is just trying to keep his family afloat. Jane (played by Emily Mortimer) has inherited her mother’s activist spirit and is supporting the labor unions. The music is so good. It feels like the Sherman Brothers songs and yet feels new as well. I was also really happy to see hand-drawn animation again. Not that I hate CGI but a movie like this just deserved a return to classic Disney animation. The art style felt like the original but with a little extra polish that new filming technology inherently brings with it. I definitely recommend this movie.

 

Music of the Week:

Wiley, Sean Paul, Stefflon Don – Boasty ft. Idris Elba

Bailey Bryan – Perspective

The Cranberries – All Over Now

Hozier – Dinner & Diatribes

Dorothy – Missile

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Women Heroes”
– I finished Fate/Apocrypha Season 2
– I finished Carmen Sandiego Season 1
– I finished Unsolved: Biggie and Tupac
– I finished The Umbrella Academy
– I finished Lorena
– I started Grimm Season 5
– I watched more Lucifer Season 3
– I watched more The Seven Deadly Sins Season 3
– I watched more Russian Doll Season 1
– I watched more Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 1

Comics DNA

March 4, 2019

There has been a meme going around where people post four comic books that helped form their “Comics DNA”. I thought I would try and tackle that challenge even though there was so much to choose from. Since reading the following comics, my tastes have continued to grow and expand and I regularly consume all sorts of comics media. Comic books have become so entwined in how I think about fiction and probably are one of the bigger influences on how I write and visualize my own art. I have been lucky to meet some of my comic book heroes and I hope that I continue to find more heroes and more inspiration each year. Anyway, let’s take a look at a few big winners.


Giant-Size X-Men

This was the first comic that I really remember impacting me. I was later shown comics starring the original X-Men but this was, pardon the pun, larger than life and so exciting. The idea of recruiting a new, international version of the X-Men to rescue the original X-Men was so fun. Apparently, the white guys (and girl) could not handle the job so they send in a more diverse team to save the day. This was the first time I saw Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, Sunfire, Banshee, and Thunderbird. Sure writers had a long way to go when it came to writing people of color but this was a great start. The powers and abilities of the new X-Men seemed way flashier than those of the original X-Men and I was excited to learn more. This comic came out 7 years before I was born but when I was allowed to read it, it definitely sparked a love for comics that has never died. The X-Men became an integral part of my Comics DNA and I frequently sprang for their titles when I was spending my allowance. Later this love spread to the Pryde of the X-Men, the X-Men cartoon in the nineties, and the X-Men film franchise and spinoffs.


Batman: The Long Halloween

Batman became an obsession of mine when the 1989 movie blew my tiny mind and introduced me to a version that was both entertaining and serious. I scooped up a lot of Batman comics over the years (along with Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman). This is the one that really stuck with me over all the rest. The story takes place in the Batman Year One continuity, a kind of stand-alone set of stories that tried to re-explore Batman’s early years. Batman tries to track down a new villain on the scene who goes by the name Holiday and kills on each month’s big holiday. Thus, each of the issues revolves around a potential murder on a holiday. The story explores the relationship between the old school villains (the Mafia) and the new school villains (Batman’s Rogues Gallery). Batman is used to dealing with the mob and traditional crime. Now he has to shift his thinking to deal with Catwoman, Joker, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, and Solomon Grundy. The series is a real mystery and a real love letter to my favorite parts of the Batman mythos. All of the characters are written as their best versions, nothing fancy but definitely engrossing. In addition to all of that, the art is fantastic.


The Sensational Spider-Man

I was also a huge fan of Spider-Man. At its heart, it was a series about a boy (and later a man) just trying to do his best in the face of difficult odds. The series has always thrived when it has followed that formula. In the late nineties, they briefly replaced the original Spider-Man with Ben Reilly, a guy just trying to get his life back together. The new take felt fresh to me and I was excited to see where they could take it. The art was one of the first things that did it for me. Everything was so crisp and clean and the action was dynamic. Characters came alive with their facial expressions and their smooth coloring. After that, it was the writing. At the time, Peter Parker was living the good life thanks to his supermodel wife and his own photojournalism career. It was nice to see a hero who was struggling financially and had a supporting cast of people I could actually meet in my city. It was a better solution than the later One Day More storyline for sure. It also gave them an excuse to jazz up Spidey’s arsenal a bit as Ben had had time to come up with a few new tricks. He got impact webbing which was basically a spider web grenade and he got spider stingers which were tranquilizing darts. He was a lot of fun and allowed us to take a bit of a break from the long history of Peter Parker for a little while. They would use this idea later to create such characters as Miles Morales.


Sandman Mystery Theater

Sure, I did not actually get to this title until college but still, it changed the way I looked at comic books. Sandman Mystery Theater follows the character of Wesley Dodds who was a character during the golden age of comics and a founding member of the Justice Society of Comics. Except these new stories predated his adventures among the superheroes. There was nothing super about Dodds. These stories were in a film noir detective style as Dodds used intelligence to track down brutal murderers. The only nod to the supernatural was that he had dreams which gave him vague clues to the murders and drove him toward solving the cases. He used a gas gun (full of sleeping gas or some sort of truth gas) which allowed him to sneak around. He wore a suit, trenchcoat, and World War I gas mask. The artwork is intentionally ugly as it shows a lot of the seedy underbelly of society. It approached topics such as abortion, racism, antisemitism and the rise of the Nazis. It also included a female heroine, Dian Belmont, a former flapper who was every bit a detective as Wesley was. This was the first real non-superhero comic I became a fan of. It led the way for Sandman, Hellblazer, Hellboy, Pretty Deadly and many more heroes who did not fit the traditional mold.

Suspension of Disbelief

July 21, 2018

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Image credit: @ToniMacAttack on Twitter

So, I believe I have talked on here about the concept of “Suspension of Disbelief”. I know that if I have, it has been a while and either way, I felt like revisiting it because it is such an interesting concept. Now, I believe my greatest strengths as a consumer of fiction are my memory and my suspension of disbelief. Suspension of disbelief is a term for submerging yourself in the story and not surfacing until the story is over. That means that you are not picking at details, you are not wondering where you have seen that actor before, and you are completely buying the story. Some people are better at that than others. That is not a knock on people who cannot seem to accomplish it. Lately, I have begun to wonder about the people who are not as good at suspension of disbelief. I honestly do not know if it is a burden or not. I feel like I enjoy movies and television a lot more than some people but without being in their head, maybe I am missing something that they are getting.

Fake Baby

I am not completely immune. It was not my choice when I went and saw American Sniper. While I do try to challenge myself now and then, I almost never choose nationalist movies about the glory of our US military. As much as they try to paint them as heroes, the story is almost always our guys in another country, bullying and killing people. This is basically what American Sniper was to me. And yet, I was still in the story of this guy who kept going to Iraq to shoot people in the name of freedom. I might not have gotten the same jingoist pride out of the whole thing, but I was still invested. Right about until halfway through, Bradley Cooper and his wife had a baby. Except, they apparently ran out of casting money because they used a baby doll instead of a live child. Look at the gif. I do not know how you experience it but I see embarrassment in the eyes of Bradley Cooper. He realizes that we can all tell that this is a fake baby. Instead of using the power of movie magic and acting to make the baby live, they leave Cooper on his own in this shot. He tries to salvage it by using sleight of hand to make the baby move but it only tricks you for a split second. It took me out of the movie but after that, I shook my head and dove back in.

Recently, I went with my friends to watch Antman and the Wasp in theaters. As I already wrote, I was excited to see the sequel because I loved the first movie so much. I also have loved whatever Disney has done with the Marvel properties. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and, as with most of their franchise, I did not notice a single flaw. As we walked toward our cars, my friend said something that triggered the writing of this post. She said something along the lines of “That was a great movie even though it didn’t make any sense.” We all looked confused and asked for clarification. She explained that the science used in the movie did not make any sense to her. My brain made a record scratch noise and then I said goodnight and got into my car and drove home. I did not want to get into it right there because that statement revealed how fundamentally differently I experience fiction. The way she thinks is not wrong but it is very different. If you thought something similar after or during a movie, do not take this post as offensive. I honestly am trying to understand it.

Science in movies is generally not like science in the real world. Science in the real world is fascinating and something we absolutely need to know and trust because it makes our lives and our decisions easier. However, science in the real world is rarely very exciting to the average person. Science in the real world is more subtle and works much slower and experiments do not always work as expected. So, science in the movies is often flashier, more effective, and fast-working. The rule cool and the narrative often force writers to skip a few scientific principals. If I am watching a movie and they explain that gravity suddenly makes people fall into the sky, then I roll with it. I do not get bogged down in the details and I do not try and compare movie science to real-life science. In fact, if you look back at science in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is mostly treated as magic. In Captain America: The First Avenger, we only get a few buzzwords as Steve Rogers is transformed into the good Captain. In Thor, practically nothing is explained aside from a few buzzwords in Thor 2 when they are scanning Jane Foster. In the Antman franchise, they use a lot more science buzzwords because Hank Pym is much more of a pure scientist than Banner or Stark or any of the other scientists in the franchise. So a lot of what Pym says sounds like science but it probably does not have much that is consistent with real-life science. However, nothing in that world has ever been very accurate in the first place.

But what I am saying is that it does not matter to me. If I am told that if you were able to shrink yourself to a small enough size that you would basically enter another universe, I will accept it. If I am told that growing to a larger size makes you expend more physical energy and tires you out more then I will believe it. What grabs me is the action and the characters and the clever dialogue. However, I also realize that I am more of a poet than a scientist. A lot of my friends are scientists. They went to college for science and they work in scientific fields or science-adjacent fields. It may be similar to when I see legal things in shows and I make a mental note about how they are wrong. However, I have rarely let that take me out of the story. I guess I just have a difficult time understanding how it is difficult to suspend your disbelief.

Media Update 11/23/17

November 23, 2017


The Punisher

This show has been getting some press lately but for a lot of negative reasons. We have reached a critical mass when it comes to spree and mass shootings in the United States. So, a show about an anti-hero who famously uses firearms really has no good release date. This iteration of the character was introduced in Season 2 of Daredevil. The character is way more nuanced and deep than my experience with the character in comic books. An ex-marine, he is not just a goon with a gun. He would probably be the first person to admit that he’s just not sane, though. During the first season, Frank Castle tries to uncover corruption in the military while avenging his slaughtered family. The character feels a lot more focused on this show. The show does a great job of bringing up how we deal with our veterans, which should be a non-partisan issue. Mental health, the difficulty of finding a vocation, and the soldier mentality are all addressed with a great deal of compassion. The show is dark but the good writing and great acting carry it through for me. I read a comment somewhere that the show does not really give a coherent thought on gun control. I agree but do you really want that answer to come from a television show? The show depicts several different facets of the issue and lets the viewer decide for themselves. I definitely recommend it but it might be a little too dark for some.


Batman and Harley Quinn

I was a huge fan of the old Bruce Timm Batman animated series that came out in the nineties. It was a very successful form of the character and the world because it was a great mix of the dark and the light. This movie is a step back into that world, a step away from the darker, grittier Batman seen in the live action DC movies and a few of the animated movies. In this, Batman is the ultimate funny straight man. He gets more laughs from a stoic expression or the squint of his eyes than any bit of dialogue. When he does let slip a joke, it is both surprising and funny. He is accompanied by Nightwing who is a little bit looser than his old mentor and more into cracking a joke. The two get Harley Quinn to act as their criminal informant and she is as zany and crazy as you would expect. I loved how self-aware she was. This is a Harley who has finally realized how bad Joker is for her and how important her friends (like Poison Ivy) are. She also loudly corrects anybody who can hear that she is not a psychopath but is instead a sociopath. Get it right. With so little, the cartoon showed that these characters are part of a bigger world with a history. I ended up smiling from ear to ear through most of it and it was good to take another spin around the block with some old, familiar friends in new situations. I wholeheartedly recommend this as DC Animated is killing it.


Justice League

Nobody is more surprised than I am that I went to the theaters and saw this movie. After skipping Batman v. Superman, I did not think I wanted to see Justice League either but my friends lured me in with promises of Joss Whedon. Wonder Woman was also a truly great movie. Well, the movie had a lot of problems but that is to be expected. The movie introduced Cyborg to the big screen and missed much of the point of him in previous iterations. He used to be a happy, friendly guy who covered up his sadness at becoming more machine than man by being the best person he could be. In this movie, he was a mostly quiet grump. The Flash was that annoying guy at a party who will not shut up and thinks his jokes are just hilarious. Apparently, The Flash is one of the most polarizing performances in the movie. Henry Cavill still does not feel like Superman and instead just comes off as awkward. The villain, Steppenwolf, was basically a video game character and his performance was forgotten by me every time he left the screen.

So was there anything good? Wonder Woman was great again, although they keep sabotaging her character. Batfleck is alright though he seems to mope and get his butt kicked a lot. Affleck’s sense of humor came out here and there and that was definitely welcome. Aquaman was fun, coming off as a loveable asshole. There were moments where the movie showed glimmers of hope that it might dig its way into the light. Overall, I feel like you can build the best house you know how but if the foundations are bad then you will still fail. Man of Steel and BvS are bad foundations. I could see where Joss made it better but Warner Brothers still has a long way to go and that starts by firing Zack Snyder and banning Frank Miller from the set. I definitely do not recommend this. There are tons of superhero movies out there actually worth your time and money.

Music of the Week:
Marmozets – Why Do You Hate Me?

Man With A Mission – Raise Your Flag

Ratatat – Loud Pipes

Wowaka – Rolling Girl

Set Your Goals – This Will Be The Death Of Us

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Comic Book Team-Ups”
– I finished Blacklist Season 4
– I watched more Blindspot Season 1
– I finished Santa Clarita Diet
– I watched more Sleep Hollow Season 2
– I watched more Van Helsing Season 1

– Happy Thanksgiving!

Just Enjoying the Rainbow of Flavors

March 27, 2017

I had mentioned it before but I was baffled recently by the Academy Awards. The Oscars were always something my family watched year after year, with us little kids trying to stay up to see who won Best Picture. I guess it did not matter that most nominees for that category were not movies for kids. Also, we had not seen even a quarter of the nominees because we were too young and our parents picked movie outings and controlled our Blockbuster accounts. As I grew up, I was content to just read the results in the paper the next day and then online nowadays.


This should not be a source of stress. Seriously.

I am behind on watching movies so I was largely lost when it came to a lot of the nominees. I watched La La Land after the fact recently and I really enjoyed it. Maybe it was because the central message resonated with the trajectory my life has taken. Of course, many people thought La La Land also thought La La Land was a good movie. I also heard that Moonlight was very good but I have not watched it yet. Yet, my twitter feed was filled with people frothing mad at the very idea that La La Land might “beat” Moonlight at the Oscars. Now, the Academy has its problems with race and The Other in general but that is not La La Land’s fault. The people who made La La Land tried to make a good movie and apparently succeeded.


Nobody got upset about Danny Rand in Ultimate Spider-Man. Did they?

Flash forward to last week when Iron Fist came out. People had already been upset because of the casting of a white person in a white role instead of taking a chance and recasting the role to be Asian. I can understand this but I was fine with the casting either way. I feel like this colored the opinions of people going forward and possibly tainted their opinion of the show. As I have stated, I really like Iron Fist so far (and I have since watched more episodes). It is not the best show but it is a good show, in my opinion.


I do understand that it is fun to poke fun at media. Keep it lighthearted, ok?

I love movies and television. I really, really do. I am sure you can tell from Media Update and my movie reviews. You might be able to tell from my Top 11 lists that I like some movies better than other movies. However, I have recently shifted my policy on movies and TV. For the most part, I do not say whether a movie is good or bad. Now, I usually say whether or not I enjoyed it or whether or not I would recommend it. I hate it when somebody says the movie I loved sucked because it feels like they are saying my preferences suck. It is not a crime for a movie or TV show to be not as good or different from something else that is good.


Considering my two examples, I avoid using the word ‘Vanilla’ below.

I feel like people are getting irrationally mad about things. It is like there is a kid at the ice cream shoppe and he/she/they are tired of chocolate ice cream. They ask for strawberry ice cream because strawberry ice cream tastes good but is strangely rare and supporting it is important to keep it going. Then, as they are enjoying their strawberry ice cream, they see people happily eating chocolate ice cream and that makes them mad. If they are tired of chocolate ice cream, why should anybody enjoy it? Because I like a lot of flavors of ice cream and sometimes I really get excited about chocolate ice cream because I like it. So, please do not put down my ice cream and I will not put down yours and maybe we can just enjoy things instead of making it a big problem.

Media Update 3/23/2017

March 23, 2017


Iron Fist

Everybody seems to say this show sucks but that is the problem with saying something sucks, somebody out there might actually like it. Marvel has created a lot of good television shows, especially through Netflix. My favorite has been Jessica Jones but Luke Cage and Daredevil have both been great as well. The plan was always to make a quintet of shows and this is the fourth. Iron Fist is Danny Rand, a young wealthy man who the world thought was dead but was instead training in another dimension. When he returns, he is naive about the world and unsure of where he fits in anymore. It is an interesting show as it shows an unshakably honest and forthright character trying to deal with a very dishonest world. Like Daredevil, we get a lot of cool martial arts fight scenes. Some of the coolest fight scenes star the awesome Colleen Wing who is a great character from the comics. In the comics, she often teams up with Misty Knight who was on Luke Cage. I am only a few episodes deep into the season but the show is really coming together. I really like it so far. It makes it a little insulting when other people say “it sucks”. I definitely recommend it. Do not let other people decide what you will and will not like. Check things out for yourself.


Justice League Dark

This was originally supposed to be a project helmed by the excellent Guillermo Del Toro. Unfortunately, that project did not work out because I would have loved to see it. Setting that aside, the animated films that DC Comics and Warner Brothers have been putting out have been really good. The only downside is we get the Superman who is a huge dick but he has maybe two scenes so it’s fine. The show centers on some of the more mystical characters in the DC Universe (a lot of whom came from other companies originally). The central character in the movie is John Constantine who has never really been a hero but often cannot stand by and let the world end. He is joined by Batman, Zatanna, Deadman, Etrigan and Swamp Thing. It is always great to see Batman out of his element, trying to gain his footing but never losing his cool. We get so much of Batman as an unstoppable hero that him being a fish out of water is always interesting. Zatanna featured heavily which makes sense as she is potentially one of the most powerful magicians on Earth. I loved the depiction of Constantine and Swamp Thing’s eternal feud and Felix Faust being a total magic bro. This made me miss the Constantine television show. I definitely recommend it.


Legion

I am a few episodes in and I am not sure what to think about this show yet. I am pretty sure I like it although there was some rough going for a while. This show seemed to be a lot of special effects and weirdness without much substance but it has settled down a little. If you got superpowers, would you recognize them as such? Would you just think that you were just going insane?  This is where David Haller (unknown son of Professor Xavier) is at. He has spent a long time self-destructing and also hanging out in a mental hospital, thinking he is absolutely nuts. He hears voices and sees things that are not there. However, a lot of those things he sees and hears are the thoughts of the people around him. Also, he can set fires and move objects with his mind. That and so many other powers. One of my favorite parts of the show so far is his weird friendship with Lenny. Lenny is played by Aubrey Plaza who I admire for her work in Parks and Rec and her awkward interviews on television. She plays a role originally written for a middle-aged man so she is wonderfully weird. I look forward to how this one will play out but I have not been fully hooked yet. I recommend it but be warned that it is really weird.

Music of the Week:
Levarslaysdragons – Game Over

Cirith Ungol – King Of The Dead

Cher Lloyd – Want U Back

DAZZLE VISION – Final Attack

Steely Dan – Any Major Dude Will Tell You

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is Comic Book Heroes Without Costumes
– I finished Season 3 of Blue Bloods
– I started watching Lucha Underground from the first episode
– I am getting close to finishing off Haven
– I continued watching Once Upon a Time Season 6
– I started watching a few MST3K episodes I missed
– I kept watching The Crown


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