The Road to Infinity: I am Iron Man

Iron Man

So, I’m rewatching all of the MCU movies. Some one them, I will be watching for the first time since I saw them in theaters. Some of them, I have watched a zillion times.

Iron Man, is one I’ve watched a zillion times. Everytime, I am reminded of why this is the movie that launched an empire.

It’s really, really solid. The script is good, the performances are excellent, and the effects still look a lot better than a lot of what you see in most superhero movies. (They are also used quite sparingly.)

And Good God, is Robert Downey Jr. excellent in this movie. He’s just astounding. Over the course of 20 films, he’s given a mix of good to phenomenal performances as Tony Stark, but this original one is the phenomenal one.

Also, I will never, ever let anyone say a bad word about Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, or generally as an actress. (Gwyneth Paltrow as an insufferable internet personality, sure, fire away! SHE has time to do Yoga everyday AND raise her children!) She’s such a bright spot in every scene she’s in and she really does look like she’s having a ball.

And this movie has a social conscious that I always forget about. I don’t just mean, Tony’s realization that he’s complicit in a cycle of violence that will ultimately lead to the creation of The Avengers, the signing of the Sokovia Accords and his mentorship of Peter Parker, but I mean the scene on the roof.

While at a benefit Tony and Pepper have a romantic moment, and she is immediately uncomfortable. When he tries to brush it off she insists that they discuss it, that the power differential between them (he’s her boss!) makes where it was heading inappropriate. And, this is the important part, Tony backs off. Granted, he finds out that his mentor is trying to take away his company (and murder him) but still, he backs off, until they can have a real conversation about it.

I love Tony and Pepper.

Anyway, I also think that people don’t give Jon Favreau enough credit. Iron Man moves well, manages to stay small enough and big enough in the right places and somehow, hits every note perfectly. The impact of these decisions cannot be overstated, as they shaped the other 19 movies substantially. (Though even in The Incredible Hulk, made the same year, things are ramped up a bit…)

Overall, I was wary about diving back into the MCU, I don’t know how all of the movies are going to hold up. (I am SUPER  nervous about watching Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World again, because OMG…) But I’m glad to know that Iron Man holds up and knowing how this story winds up going is an excellent beginning.

Plus, you guys, Phil Coulson, showing up for the first time, so unassuming at first and then such a complete and total badass.

We’re here to talk about “The Avengers Initiative.” Let’s get moving!

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I Don’t, Not, Like You

Justice League

I spend a lot of time thinking about superheroes. (Obviously). Less lately, but still, a lot of time.

I wonder sometimes if I didn’t think about superheroes so much, if I’d be able to enjoy superhero movies more, which then leads me to believe that it depends on the movie. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Wonder Woman made me think about Grant Morrison, about ambitious storytelling, and about big ideas and superheroes. (In all honesty, I was pretty drunk when I saw that movie. Every other time I’ve tried to watch it, I fall asleep.)

Justice League didn’t make me think about any of that, but, I definitely enjoyed it more than BVS, but this was a fanservice movie, and I’m a fan. This is a movie where Alfred teases Bruce Wayne about having a crush on Wonder Woman. This movie is not for beginners. (Something I also said about Man Of Steel by the way.) There’s too much buried in there, too much history that’s unspoken and hasn’t been laid out in other movies. Too many moments like Cyborg saying, “Boo-Ya” as he hacks a Mother-Box. Too many oblique references to Apokalips, and Darkseid. Too many half asses explanations of Atlantis and Arthur Curry’s life.

But overall, the movie was good, enjoyable, well performed. (GIVE AFFLECK WHATEVER HE WANTS TO KEEP HIM AROUND! HE IS GREAT!) Not a world shaker, but you know, not everything has to be.

Oh, Also, you know Gal Gadot and all of the Amazons are amazing, but we knew this, so, there you go!

Rankings:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. The Big Sick
  3. Battle Of The Sexes
  4. Dunkirk
  5. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  6. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  7. Thor: Ragnarok
  8. Justice League
  9. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  10. The Dark Tower
  11. Cars 3
  12. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers:

Alpha: Puppies! The origin story. No but in reality this movie looks SUPER dumb, but the dogs look cute

I don’t remember any of the other trailers…which does not bode well…

Wonder Woman: A Reflection

Isn’t it amazing? 3 posts in a week, and I wasn’t even in Disney World! (Might I be getting my groove back? I hope so!)

But I thought it was important, with today being the opening night of Wonder Woman, for me to post something today, specifically, what Wonder Woman means to me. A lot of women are probably writing this piece this week. It’s the nerd woman’s version of the “leaving New York essay.”

When I started this blog six years ago, I didn’t really know Wonder Woman. I mean, I knew who she was, I knew her basics, and I hoped to someday see her in the movies. I was still mourning the version written by Joss Whedon with Lauren Graham in mind that we never got to see, but I didn’t know the character well at all.

I had to make a conscious effort to get to know her, as I fell deeper and deeper into nerd life, comics fandom, and specifically, DC Fandom. Unlike her peers, Batman and Superman (They are her peers, by the way. The Holy Trinity of superheroes!) she’s not as around. People don’t know Diana the way they know Clark and Bruce. Hell, most people probably don’t know her name is Diana.

It took a while, but then I found Wonder Woman: Odyssey. There’s something about that book, which is about Diana figuring out who she is, and when I read it, at twenty five, at a huge crossroads in my own identity, it really spoke to me. It was about embracing your past and facing your future all at once and it’s really beautiful.

Odyssey

This also might be why I’m so obsessed with giving her pants…

So after that, I fell in love with Wonder Woman. I read more comics runs. Gale Simone’s being a top favorite, though I’m a huge fan of the first chunk of her New 52 run as well. But I’m a sucker for modernizing Greek Myths. I found myself trying to explain what I loved about her to other people, and I realized, it’s something that I loved about a lot of women I admire in real life too.

Diana is going to get the job done. It might not be pretty, it might be bloody, but she’ll do it. And if she can get the job done without a fight, she will. She leads with her heart, with love and compassion, but she understands that sometimes, it isn’t enough. She’s practical that way.

I’ve mentioned before how watching the trailers for Wonder Woman have filled me, more than anything else with an overwhelming sense of calm, which I understand is a strange reaction, but there’s something deeply comforting about her, that steadies me in a way that other heroes that I love (The founding fathers of this blog, Batman and Captain America for instance) don’t. But today, I find myself feeling more than a little bit anxious.

There’s a lot riding on this movie for people like me. Wonder Woman, the movie, is a referendum on a lot of things, DC’s film initiative for one. But it also feels a little bit like our last chance. Marvel hasn’t begun filming on Captain Marvel yet. Gotham Sirens and Batgirl are equally “planned,” but nothing having yet been executed. Black Widow remains a tease beyond anyone’s comprehension.

If Wonder Woman isn’t a smash, if it isn’t perfect, that’s the end for comic book movies about women. It will be Catwoman and Electra all over again. “They don’t sell,” they’ll say, “no one likes them.”

But then I think about Diana, I think about her courage and her love and what she’s come to mean to me over the past half decade, and I feel calm.

Wonder Woman gets the job done. It’s what she does.

 

Watching Wonder Woman: A Primer

wonder_woman_ver5

So, maybe you live under a rock and you’re wondering, “Hey, what’s this movie coming out this weekend? You know, that one with the lady and the sword?”

Or maybe, you’re like me and you just cannot wait another day for this movie. (Aless and I are going Thursday night.) So, you’re looking for something to watch to hold you over, or introduce you to Princess Diana of Themyscira.

Also known as Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman

A good a primer as any if the 2009 animated movie. Co-Written by Queen of All Superhero Awesomeness Gale Simone, and starring voice talent like Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Virginia Madsen, Rosario Dawson and Alfred Molina, gets you up to date on Diana’s traditional origins, as well as having a really cool battle in the streets of Washington D.C.

Justice League: Season 1: Episodes 1-3: “Secret Origins”

Meet the Justice League as they join forces. Diana leaves home here and it’s a fun alternate origin for her. Plus it has a really great scene where she is baffled by a department store.

Justice League: Season 1: Episodes 14 & 15: “Fury”

Diana and Sheyara (Hawkgirl) team up to save Themyscira from a rogue Amazon, and while I don’t remember the episode in detail, I believe this is the one where Hawkgirl makes fun of Wonder Woman for being a virgin, which is why I included it. Also, I like watching ladies team up to fight other ladies.

Justice League: Season 2: Episodes 7 & 8: “Maid Of Honor”

While this episode is a big ol step in the Wonder Woman/Batman ship that I hate so very much, it is also a Diana spotlight episode that comes as close as any non comics anything to confirming Diana’s bisexuality. (Although Gal Gadot has stated that Diana in the films is. SQUEE!) It’s also really, really good.

Justice League Unlimited: Season 1: Episode 4: “Hawk And Dove”

Diana fights Ares. This is important because Ares as an enemy is pretty important to the overall mythos of Wonder Woman, and this is definitely the only time in JL or JLU that it happens…I think.

Justice League Unlimited: Season 1: Episode 5: “This Little Piggy”

OK, so Wonder Woman isn’t actually in this episode much, and it showcases the dreaded ship, but it’s also a really fun episode, where she gets turned into a pig. And then Batman has to save her by singing a song for Cersi. It’s great, and Kevin Conroy croons “Am I Blue?” Also, Zatanna is in this episode a lot and so it showcases both of Aless’s top cosplays. (Also, I know it’s one of her favorites and she’d be mad if I didn’t include it.)

Justice League Unlimited: Season 1: Episode 18: “The Balance”

Diana learns her heritage, and also she and Hawkgirl make up after having a fight. And that’s where this picture, that is my favorite comes from.

Wonder Woman Sword

SWORD!!!!

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice: The Grand Total of 20 minutes or Whatever that have Wonder Woman in Them.

I went on HBO go last night and fast forwarded through the boring and kind of terrible rest of the movie and just watched Wonder Woman’s parts, and they are great. I would never suggest anyone watch the whole movie, but just watch the Wonder Woman parts. Gal Gadot is awesome and she and Affleck are good together. (I am less opposed to this ship here. I hate it in the DCAU, however, I WILL ALWAYS HATE IT!)

I’ll be back on Friday after seeing the movie. Guys, I’m really excited for this one. Who’s ready for the

This Unspoken Thing

Guardians 2

Happy Movie Season You Guys!

I think this is the first “official” movie season that actually started on May The 4th.

If you’re new around here, let me explain.

Movie Season is the Blockbuster release time, between May and December. The rule of thumb is that it reaches from Marvel to Star Wars. (Previously, Marvel to Hobbit)

This year’s first Marvel Studios release was the highly anticipated Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2.

One of the many things that made Guardians Of The Galaxy the delight that it was, was the surprise factor. It’s humor, it’s space opera action and that soundtrack all caught everyone off guard. Volume 2 doesn’t have that out of left field leg up, instead has the handicap of expectation. This worried me a little, thinking their might be an Iron Man 2 effect, where the loss of the surprise makes the whole thing feel sloppy.

Not the case. Rather than rehash, James Gunn has built on the foundation he placed 2 years ago. My main complaint about Guardians was always that for a team film, it is woefully unbalanced, giving priority to Star Lord and Rocket, which is fine, but shortchanges Drax and Gamora in a big way, which is a bummer, because those characters are fun, and Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana are fantastic.

Volume 2 balances things a little bit better. The team is split up for a large chunk of the run time, placing Rocket and Groot with Guardian frenemy Yondu, and Gamora, Star Lord and Drax with her sister Nebula, Peter’s father Ego, The Living Planet, and adorable new comer Mantis.

The team relationships are well defined, and the chemistry based but “unspoken” romance between Peter Quill and Gamora is actually very touching. And there’s something to the theme of family of choice, and biological family, or structural family (In the case of Gamora and Nebula) and the ways they intersect and fight with one another.

Visually, the movie is bright, interestingly designed and of course, the soundtrack very very interesting yet again. (You’ll never thing of “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” the same way again. And it makes excellent use of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” as well as “Surrender.”)

It was also the first Marvel Movie that Aless and I could think of that quickly and breezily passed the Bechdel-Wallace test. (A scene between Gamora and Nebula where they discuss Gamora’s plan for her sister does it.) So good job!

Rankings:

  1. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2

Trailers:

Not Wonder Woman.

Dunkirk, Spider-Man, Star Wars, Pirates, yes, but not Wonder Woman.

 

The Great Convergance: Heroes VS Aliens

Last week, over the course of 4 (well, really 3) days, The CW did please us all, with a large scale, full on ridiculous, and amazing cross over event.

It really was great, and I felt even more vindicated in my decision to ditch Arrow, (Wow are the new kids dull, and although, I miss Diggle…) and my decision to catch up on Legends Of Tomorrow. (Guys, it did actually get good! Well, fun…well, watchable and fun, so good adjacent.) And of course, seeing the Arrowverse gang interact with Kara was a great deal of fun.

We started on Supergirl where things were pretty much business as usual, Alex, Winn and James were squabbling about who got to wreck Thanksgiving with their big life changing news, (Alex telling her mother she’s gay, James and Winn telling Kara that James is Guardian), Kara and Mon-El getting caught by Cadmus, finding out that Jeremiah Danvers is there blah blah blah. But during that Thanksgiving dinner, a weird portal opened up over the table. At the end of the episode, it opens again and out pops, BARRY AND CISCO! TAH-DAH!!!!!! They bring Kara back to their Earth, and we go to The Flash!

That’s where things really get going. After an alien ship crashes in Central City, Barry decides to recruit everyone he’s ever met to help fight, he starts with Oliver and Felicity and Diggle, obviously, but then hops right on over to Earth-38 and grabs Kara. Felicity hails the waverider and the Legends show up and we’re cooking with gas now.

Of course, The Flash gang still has their dramas. Cisco’s still angry about Dante’s death and Iris and Joe are not into Wally using his powers, so that’s going on. Meanwhile, the big crossover team heads to save the President from the aliens, they fail, of course, and get brainwashed, which leads to a knock down drag out fight. Sarah, Ray, Mick, Thea, Diggle & Kara verse Ollie and Barry, and it’s BAD ASS. It ends though, with Sarah, Thea, Diggle, Ray and Oliver captured in space.

Which brings us to Arrow, which gives us a (GASP, it’s like a thing this week) a vision of a world where Sarah and Oliver never got on that boat. Laurel and Oliver are about to get married, and Ray and Felicity are engaged, and Diggle is the Arrow. They realize that everything is fake and fight their way out. Also, there’s something with the new kids, and it’s fine but also I don’t care about them.

For their portion, The Legends, plus Felicity and Cisco travel back to the 50’s, the first time that these aliens landed. It turns out that they’re looking to eliminate people with powers as this makes the Earth a threat to them. They get back beat the aliens, somehow, I don’t remember the specifics, and then everyone celebrates. Ray points out that Kara reminds him of his cousin. (!!!!!) and then Cisco gives Kara a device that will allow her to jump worlds whenever she needs to. (MORE CROSSOVERS)

My favorite moment comes when Kara, Barry and Oliver group hug, much to Ollie’s chagrin, mostly because it reminds me of the Supergirl and Green Arrow friendship of JLU. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the cross over. It did require some familiarity with all three shows, but overall, pretty good. Way to go CW, keep giving me this. I love watching these characters interact.

Cosplay Corner: HAPPY COSTUME SEASON!

Hey everyone! Today kicks off costume season. (It was delayed a week due to me being in Texas instead of at Lead East!) Tonight I’m off to the Sonic Boombox/NYCC Heroes & Villains Party. (Followed by a day at Renn Faire, which we’ll talk about next week)

I’m taking it as a chance to dress as neither a hero NOR a villain, because I’m difficult that way, and debut my Red Hood costume.

It’s a simple and very fun outfit. Jeans, a black tank top which I attached the Red Hood symbol to, a brown leather jacket (seen previously in my Captain America costume…two such different characters) and of course a white hair extension.

I’m carrying a toy gun, which I picked up at Spirit Halloween. And I have a red domino mask, but I’m still not sure about using it…


This one’s gonna make a return at New York Comic Con, probably Thursday, because, well, easy to ride the train with it on, but we’ll see!