Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

No new post today, but here’s my review of The Avengers from NINE YEARS AGO.

It’s funny how my opinion on this movie has shifted. I was underwhelmed by it then, and I’m so in love with it now. This was also the 3rd or 4th post ever on the blog. CRAZY!

The Fangirl's Dilemma

OK, so now that I’ve gotten past my gushing, I’m going to actually talk about The Avengers, as a film and what I thought of it.

Can I preface this review with the fact that there will be spoilers? OK, cool. Preface number two, I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, OK? I think he’s amazing. However, unlike a lot of Whedon fans, I don’t feel that the man can do no wrong.

In fact I spent a lot of time cursing the fact that I’ve watched most of his work while I was watching The Avengers. I bet a neophyte wouldn’t have even noticed this stuff. But a lot of my enjoyment was tempered by the fact that we had seen most of it before. We’d seen it on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, AngelFirefly and in the film Serenity. We’d seen it on Dollhouse. It was distracting. Luckily, because he…

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The March

I swear I’m actually back to regular writing here. (It’s amazing how my inevitable return to Westeros gets me in the Cammadan headspace..)

Sorry about the false start y’all!

The Marina Chronicle

I stood in the weapons tent, looking over what I was going to carry when we started moving. The tent parted and Caleb walked in. I locked eyes with him and he frowned.

“I don’t like this,” he said simply.

“I don’t care,” I shrugged. He sighed, and I looked at him. “Why?”

“You’re being rash,” he explained. “You can’t act without thinking things through anymore. This isn’t a game.”

“I’m aware,” I said simply. He nodded. “I knew about being the sword.”

“I assumed Anselm told you,” he shrugged, “it wasn’t for me to know or tell.” I pressed my hands against the table. “You aren’t angry with me then?”

“Not for that, no,” I whispered. He frowned. “How could you keep us apart?” He nodded. “Caleb, we could have helped each other. I could have learned,” I stopped.

“We didn’t want to,” he said softly, I scoffed. “Little…

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60 Books In 2019 #12: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

I kind of can’t believe it took me two weeks to write up this book. (Actually I can, I’ve been very busy and sick…but ya know…whatever.) Basically the whole universe went bonkers over Marlon James’s new fantasy epic as it was coming out and I was excited to get in on the ground floor for a change rather than being a decade or so late.

The book is good. It’s also literature in a way that I haven’t read in a while, and I had to rush through it because it was due back to the library, so I think I’m going to have to go back to it eventually, because I think I missed a lot, as I tried to work my through the almost poetry like writing of the book, it’s non linear structure, and unfamiliar mythology, and tried to read as quickly as possible.

So, with all of that disclaimed, I will say, this is a remarkable and beautiful book. Queer AF, African with no clean in for white people, violent, stirring, and deep. It’s a book that if I’d read it earlier than the past few years, I would have been terrified of, intimidated and alienated by. But now, I was at least able to parse it. Not bad for my smart but lazy, white girl ass.

Up next is The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemmison, and if there was ever proof that I needed a break from fantasy, it’s that it’s taken me three weeks to read this book.

Nerd Homework: Supernatural Seasons 3 & 4

Season 2 of Supernatural was a really incredible season of television, that established a tone and world for these characters. Season 3, continues that, though leans much harder into the noir feel of things, which is pretty cool, actually.

Also, it gives us Katie Cassidy as Ruby, a demon who’s helping the guys, and I didn’t think that I could like Katie Cassidy this much in a part. My reaction to her has ranged from “She’s fine but annoying,” (Juliet on Gossip Girl,) to “BAH SO BAD WHYYYY????” (Season 1 of Arrow) to “She’d be fine if they’d give her anything to fucking do!” (The rest of Arrow) so I was genuinely impressed by the work she did with a competently written character.

I also want to make something clear: I’m plugging my nose to a lot of stinky misogyny and homophobia on this show. It’s there. It’s casual. I’m aware of it. I’m also hooked. So I’m doing some ignoring. Women are casually called sluts and whores near constantly. If Dean or Sam so much as looks askance at another dude who is of course attractive because this is The CW and they breed actors on an island to be impossibly beautiful, superficially charming, good at crying on cue and often Broadway caliber singers and dancers, there’s immediate, “NO HOMO!” It’s kind of annoying.

But not annoying enough to drown out the show’s virtues. The writing is clever, the mythology is inscrutable but fun, the performances are game and entertaining. And man is Dean Winchester fun.

I’ve been around the block a time or two with The WB and The CW, and I’ve imprinted on many of their pretty pretty boys, but man, I think it’s real (fictional one sided) love with Dean Winchester. He’s brooding and complicated and dangerous and I love him so so much.

 

Ready For Endgame: Ant-Man & Captain America: Civil War

This was a strange time for The MCU, it was becoming abundantly clear that the two guys they’d put all their chips on were getting exhausted, (Or too expensive in one case. I’m pretty sure RDJ would play Tony Stark until he died.) the internet discourse around the movies was pointing out that they sure were heavily skewed towards white guys named Chris, (I remember a think piece on Comic Book resources that specifically said, “The minority dude or lady could be named Chris, Marvel, we’d all be cool with that!”) and the need for new blood was imminent.

Not to mention, and I really can’t stress this enough, people did not give a shit about Ant-Man until it opened. I’ve been carefully tracking, watching and writing about superhero movies since 2008, and the only discourse around Ant-Man was about what a huge bummer it was that Edgar Wright had dropped out of the project years before.

I recall making several jokes, on this blog, about how I kept forgetting that it was coming out. Though I was intrigued by the cast I liked a director by the name of Peyton Reid, who’d made two movies that I’d seen about a hundred times, Bring It On and Down With Love. How did a man go from directing dorky girl sleepover staples, that no one else had really seen, to replacing one of the great gods of nerddom on a fracking Marvel Movie?

Now, I don’t care so much about that. Because, Ant-Man is wonderful. It’s funnier than any other MCU flick, it’s small, and personal and charming. It also features legacy characters, which I’ve mentioned is one of my favorite things in superhero stories.

Scott Lang is a loveable goof, a good guy, who does bad things because he keeps backing himself into corners. No excuses are made for his criminal behavior, though explanations are given. (To me the difference between these two things is subtle but important. An excuse is meant to absolve the person, an explanation provides context.) He loves his kid, he cares about his ex, he has good friends.

Hank and Hope Pym are the glory here though. My god, are Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lily spinning straw into gold with these roles. They’d be rote, even expendable in any other actor’s hands but they run with the straight man silliness they’re asked to take on.

Civil War, even more decides to push the status quo to the breaking point. This seems to be the Russo brother’s MO, though I think we’ll talk about that a bit more in a few weeks when I tackle Infinity War. Civil War picks up where Age Of Ultron left off, Cap is leading the Avengers, but when a mission goes south, and they get a break in the case to find Bucky, the life Steve’s been building falls apart.

But it falls apart spectacularly, with recruiting of new allies for him (Hey Ant-Man, nice to see you!) and for Tony, (Well, I’m just going to shove young Mr. Parker into a corner where no one can hurt him, ever, because he’s perfect and wonderful, and he definitely didn’t fly off to space with Tony and get killed and you know what? It’s been almost a year and I’m still not OK, MR FIEGE!) and neutral but what like to kill Bucky please and thank you. (Prince T’Challa of Wakanda gives NO FUCKS about these colonizer boys and their problems. He just wants to avenge his Baba.)

And it falls apart because of Zemo, who is an excellently deployed villain. He manages to do what Ultron could not, destroy the Avengers. Breaking them up from within, using the long simmering personality conflict between Tony and Steve to do, by bringing it to a boil.

And that brings us to Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. I do not come here to bury Captain America, for Iron Man says that Captain America was a villain, and Iron Man is an honorable man…I’ve been thinking about my background in Shakespeare a lot lately, since Christmas when I tried (in vain) to explain to a coworker that Shakespeare was the pop culture of the time, and it’s canonization is all the more interesting because of it. “Superheroes are our modern American mythology,” is basically a cliche at this point, and one that I’ve never much agreed with.

Marvel’s movie versions especially have more in common with The Bard’s melodramatic weirdos than they do with Zeus and his brood. And never more so than in Civil War, you can almost see excising the fight scenes, and this becomes a dramatic fight between two kings for the soul of England.

Civil War is always better than I remember when I watch it. More dramatic and grounded, makes better use of it’s characters and hammers home it’s theme beautifully.

But this is again a middle step. It’s setting up the guys who are going to take over. All worthy, by the way.

Next week we’ll talk about Doctor Strange and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, so, we’ll see how that all goes.

The Shadows

Annalise might be starting to crack. You would too, though, I think, given the circumstances here.

The Marina Chronicle

We found the twins, and Tristan tossed Aaron a sword. He nodded and we began fighting the shadow army that had swirled.

I’d seen Dream reprsentations of the Black Guards, and Athena had told me about them but the fight felt endless, and relentless, time stopped and yet continued forever. And they just kept coming.

“Thena,” Tristan called out as she sliced two of them down with her spear, he nodded to the hill, where a knight was sitting. She stopped.

“He’s mine,” she said.

“Athena,” Thomas said riding up to her, “no.” She glared at him. “Not now.” She fumed and joined me. Then I looked over another hill and saw Marina on her way. What was she doing there? She shouldn’t be in a battle.

And then there was the light, blinding, and white and when it cleared, we were alone, the shadows were gone. I saw the light…

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The Challenge

Hey! Guess what’s back? Seriously, though, I did a bunch a writing in the past week. I think I’m back in the groove.

The Marina Chronicle

I woke up early the next morning ready for my challenge. I had to fight Thomas. I passed by the medical tent and got a polite nod from Marina as I headed out to the field. The guards were standing around, whispering. I glanced at Tristan, who was leaning against a tree. He winked at me and I tried not to giggle.

Athena walked over and handed me my sword, and I noticed Thomas standing, dressed in light boiled leather holding his. Caleb was next to him and he smiled at me and walked over.

“Your boot, Lisette,” he said and knelt down. It wasn’t untied. He made eye contact, and I nodded, grinning. “You didn’t forget?”

“Never,” I said. “General,” I called out. “Shall we begin?”

“As you wish, Your Highness,” he stepped over to me. “Captain,” Athena nodded, stepping out of the way. He struck once and I…

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