Stay Close To The Ground

Spider-man

Every time something new started in Spider-Man: Homecoming I thought, “Well, that’s perfect.” From the opening of Peter’s video diary showing his time in Civil War from his perspective, to the pounding drums of The Ramones “Blitzkreig Bop” over the credits (Because QUEENS! You guys, both Spider-Man and The Ramones are from Queens!) every second of Homecoming feels right.

Tom Holland is a treasure, and I feared with a whole movie to cover we met wind up with some Charlie Hunnam/Ed Westwick/Robert Pattinson “whisper to cover the British Accent” thing, but that didn’t happen and his dorky infectious youth is such a good fit for Peter Parker that even the flaws in this movie, of which I feel there are very few, are easy to miss.

Zendaya’s Michelle (MJ to her friends…a little on the “John Blake’s name is actually Robin” side there, Homecoming…) is probably my favorite character in anything in a very long time. Jacob Batalon’s Ned is as endearing a BFF as we’ve ever gotten in the MCU, and of course Robert Downey Jr., Marissa Tomei and Jon Favreau acquit themselves well. Michael Keaton’s Vulture is terrifying and compelling. (Did we expect less than that from him?)

The cameos by Hannibal Burress, Martin Starr and Donald Glover are all hilarious and kind of perfect. (Put. *CLAP* Donald. *CLAP* Glover *CLAP* In *CLAP* All *CLAP* The *CLAP* Things *CLAP*) And a last minute appearance by Gwyneth Paltrow actually had me PHYSICALLY BOUNCING OUT OF MY SEAT! (TONY AND PEPPER GOT BACK TOGETHER! AND THEN ANOTHER THING HAPPENS! NO SPOILERS!)

The action is fun and zippy and not overused, the superhero through the lens of John Hughes is equally great.

Oh, and those Captain America school videos? Further proof that Evans is the best Chris. And that post credit is further FURTHER proof. (This is mostly to shut down my brother, who insists that Pratt is the best.)

RANKINGS!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Spider-Man: Homecoming
  3. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  4. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  5. Cars 3
  6. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers:

The Dark Tower: I mean, I didn’t NOT CRY, when The Man In Black asked Roland if he told the boy everyone who walked with him died. I haven’t been breaking into sobs whenever I think about Jake Chambers lately or anything. (Also, is it just Roland and Jake in this movie? No Eddie and Susannah? I have a lot of questions…I’ll get my answers in a few weeks I guess) (I hope we get Eddie and Susannah.) (Especially Eddie.)

Dunkirk: SO SO SO SO SO GOOD. Also, I didn’t realize Kenneth Branagh was in it. Because I needed more reasons to see this movie.

Daddy’s Home 2: Aside from the perfection of casting Jon Lithgow as Will Ferrell’s father I just do not see a need for this to exist. I would much prefer if they’d done The Other Guys 2 as both Ferrell and Wahlberg were funnier in it, and it’s a better movie.

Pitch Perfect 3: Wooo, a waste of all of these women’s talents is coming out again. (My dislike of Pitch Perfect 2 is deep.)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: GOD IT LOOKS SO GOOD!

Wonder: I don’t actually want to see this, but it does feature Daveed Diggs as an elementary school teacher, which feels right. And it made me wish Aless was with me (she’s in Italy, whatever!) because I don’t think the strangers around me appreciated my squealing of his name when he appeared on screen. (Look,  they’re lucky I didn’t shout “LAFAYETTE!” in rhythm to “Guns and Ships.”)

 

 

They Do Not Deserve You

wonder_woman_ver5

When I was waiting for my car last night on the way home from Wonder Woman, I texted my brother, “Wonder Woman is perfect by the way.” His answer: “Well they took long enough I would hope so.”

I loved this movie. I went in ready to love this movie and it’s perfect and wonderful and I want to hug it and also I want to see it a million times. Aless summed it up, “I don’t think I will ever get tired of watching that movie.”

Patty Jenkins and the team at DC and Warner Brothers have created something really special, and it’s not like they had any pressure on them to do it right or anything. (HAHA) And through a coup of casting Gal Gadot, who I think might actually be Wonder Woman, like hiding out or something, and a singular focus on telling a strong story with defined characters, they cleared the very high bar that had been set for them.

Let’s talk about Gadot. I was in the “Who?” “She’s too skinny.” “I’m not sure about this.” camps three years ago when her casting was announced. But she’s amazing, she understands this character in a way that’s hard to articulate, her every move and word embodies Diana and it’s just so wonderful.

There’s a moment in this movie, the first time we see Diana in Wonder Woman’s costume, where she pushes herself over the top of a trench in Belgium and runs through No Man’s Land, deflecting bullets with her shield and bracelets, taking the fire as the men who follow her chase through to the other side. I was crying the whole time. Happy joyous, “HOLY SHIT THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING” tears, streaming down my face. It’s a wonderful moment.

Chris Pine is great in this movie too, which does incredible things with Steve Trevor, who is brave, funny, interesting and DAMN IS THE BOY FINE. I mean, look, I’m not saying the rest of the movie could have been crappy and the scene where he takes a bath and then he and Diana have a conversation about his dick would have mad the whole endeavor worth it, (yes that happens, and yes it’s better than how I described it) and I don’t want to dwell on the fact that the image of him in a fedora walking through the streets of 1918 London, (SWOOON) is my new image of male perfection, but seriously, he’s a very attractive man and has passed Hemsworth to become the third best Chris. (He’s even inching up on Pratt…none will touch Evans though.)

I could keep going on about how much I loved this movie, but I’m just going to say one more thing, this a movie where Bruce Wayne does not appear and it still managed to get across the part of his personality that I like the best from versions other than movies. He finds the original copy of the picture of Wonder Woman with her war buddies, and sends it to her, with a note that reads, “I found the original, maybe someday you’ll tell me your story.” A little bit cranky, but deeply invested in the people he cares about.

Because this movie is perfect.

Rankings!

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 2
  3. King Arthur: Legend of The Sword
  4. Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Trailers

Transformers again.

The extended Dunkirk look was fabulous. Good lord is that movie going to be good. I hope it wins Nolan his Oscar. I kind of don’t see how it couldn’t…though it would be sweet sweet irony if Logan wins.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: How do we make this thing most people love better? Add Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum!

Thor: Ragnorok: *Aless and I practically collapse into giggles on the floor of the theater in anticipation.*

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

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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.

 

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil: Season 2: Episodes 3 & 4

daredevil-season-2

Season 2: Episode 3: “New York’s Finest”

While Season 2 in total is no where near as effective as season 1, this episode is among the best in the entire Defenders run. Frank has Matt chained to a water tower on a roof, and they talk about heroism, murder, Matt says Franks name like seven million time, “Frank, you don’t have to Frank! FRANK DON’T!” And then, after getting out, Matt takes part in The Hallway Fight 2.0.

But that basic summary really doesn’t do the conversation justice, especially not when you take fandom into consideration. There’s an ongoing conversation in fandom circles, only magnified by a certain director on the other side of the fence, about whether Superheroes should kill. And here’s that conversation, in detail, by two characters basically on opposite sides of the spectrum. Daredevil doesn’t kill, and beats him self up mentally and spiritually when he thinks about the pain he inflicts. The Punisher kills first, asks questions later, or, for the most part not at all.

“You’re one bad day away from being me,” is such a chillingly true statement, and I love it so much.

The other part of this episode is Foggy following Claire around asking her to help him find Matt and her basically being like, “I like Matt, but he’s a pain in my ass, so I’m cutting a running,” which, I can’t blame her for, but also CLAIRE! DON’T GO!

Karen decides that justice can only be served by Karen Page being nosy, so she does that and finds an x-ray of Frank Castle’s skull, with a bullet lodged in it.

Season 2: Episode 4: “Penny And Dime”

This episode is not as good as the last one, but it’s still really good, and has that epic shot of Daredevil standing in the rain on top of a church, which is pretty damn great. It also, unfortunately has the stupid, Karen and Matt rain kiss which is just. UGHHHHHH.

Anyway, Matt manages to corner Frank and Frank tells the amazing story of coming home from war to find his daughter in school. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful and awesome and I love everything about the scene, from Matt, sitting on the ground beside him, to the explanation of “one batch, two batch, penny and dime,” to now Sergeant Brett Mahoney apprehending The Punisher. YAY!

Matt, Foggy and Karen celebrate with beers and shots, and then Matt and Karen make out in the rain, but their chaste happy joy is short lived, as Matt gets home and Electra is sitting in his apartment, ready to throw things at him.

Other Stuff

  • Jon Beranthal can deliver a speech. That is all
  • Rosario Dawson is the best. That is also all.
  • I’m mean about Karen’s snooping, but it is actually well done, I just hate the relationship between Matt and Karen and wish that it didn’t happen. And her finding Frank’s house is really a cool moment.
  • Matt trying to get his priest to forgive him for shit that’s not his fault is both very sad and hilarious.
  • The Irish mobsters kill Frank’s dog, because apparently these men have not seen John Wick. Which is a shame because killing an unstoppable killers dog. Also, because John Wick is a great movie.
  • Guys! ELECTRA’S HERE!!!!

Deconstructing Defenders: Daredevil: Season 2: Episodes 1 & 2

Guys! It’s time for Daredevil Season 2! AKA The Punisher is THE BEST! (Also Elektra!)

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Season 2: Episode 1: “Bang”

The premiere of season 2 is the first indication that this isn’t the same show that it was the season before. Everything’s just a little bit bigger and slicker and then there’s The Punisher. Who we don’t technically know is The Punisher yet, and we definitely don’t know is Frank Castle.

Anyway, we open with Daredevil stopping a mugging that leads him to a church. It’s bigger and more kinetic than anything we saw before, and we see Matt’s upgraded suit. Which I think is great, but I’m also a fan of the original suit, so apparently I am wrong.

Anyway, after her gets the bad guy, we see Matt and Foggy on their way to work, joking and laughing, talking about Foggy’s date the previous night, they get to the office and Nelson and Murdock is overrun with clients, none of whom can pay of course.

Karen’s busy managing the office and when the three of them go out for drinks that night, the sexual tension between her and Matt explodes. Foggy is not thrilled, but whatever. (I am also not thrilled. Mostly because I think pushing Matt and Karen together was super de super lazy)

The scene where The Punisher takes out an Irish crime family is so incredibly intense. It’s also hilarious in a weird way, and brilliantly staged. It’s so clear that the team is revelling in this new brand of violence, and the first chase between Daredevil and Punisher is exceptional and Matt getting shot in the head, the titular “bang” is even better. (These first three weeks are going to be fun!)

Season 2: Episode 2: “Dogs To A Gunfight”

Foggy and Karen are consistently my favorite not Claire parts of Daredevil, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that I actually really like this episode a lot. It’s basically the two of them maneuvering to get their client into witness protection so that The Punisher won’t get him. It’s pretty cool stuff.

Of course, there’s also Foggy dealing with the fact that Matt got SHOT IN THE GODDAMN HEAD and is still insisting that being Daredevil is necessary. The scene where Matt loses his hearing is so beautifully done and amazingly terrifying, I really enjoyed watching it again. Well, enjoyed is the wrong word, “was impressed by,” is probably better.

And that I really do love the fact that the fights between Matt and Frank, who we still don’t know is Frank, takes place sort of off screen and weirdly framed. It’s how most people see them, on the periphery of the real world.

Other Stuff

  • I must remember that there is not much Claire in this season. While everything is not as good when there’s less Claire, I understand the reasoning, she was off in Harlem filming a way better show.
  • The scene where Frank beats the crap out the guy selling child porn is so cathartic. We don’t even see the beating, but knowing it’s there is awesome.
  • I’d forgotten that the first few episodes take place during a heatwave. Such a great way to show tensions building.
  • Hey! That’s the same DA that threatened Jessica Jones.
  • Officer Brett Mahoney considers Foggy his friend now. Aw. Foggy also gets beat up by some bikers. He’s having a bit of a day.
  • Karen confronting Matt is great too. Look, I’m just saying that Karen is too good for him. Also he’s too good for her. I’m saying that this pairing is stupid and I don’t read their chemistry as romantic. Also Team Claire!