MARVEL

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther (2018)

Director:

Ryan Coogler

Starring:

Chadwick Boseman

Michael B. Jordan

Lupita Nyong’o

Danai Gurira

Martin Freeman

Plot:

T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.

Review:

There is no way I can do this film justice in my review. I’m just not skilled enough and I’m still surfing on a buzz of awesome, but I’ll try.

T’Challa, Chadwick Boseman, is now not only the Black Panther but he’s king. Well, he will as soon as he completes a traditional ritual that involves fighting anyone that challenges him.

This is an incredibly technologically advanced culture and yet they are still able to honor their traditions, it was really quiet lovely. Embracing one did not, necessarily, take away from the other. However, it did end up causing some problems and they might want to think about a change in the future.

Anyway, as king he makes a vow to finally capture the colonizer that killed so many of their own decades ago. He’s given a chance, but is blindsided by a new player and loses his opportunity. This angers one of his friends and ends up providing an opening to the true villain, Killmonger, Michael B. Jordan.

Marvel is really winning on the villain side of things lately. They had a horrible, lets please forget the movie ever exists, misstep with Age of Ultron but got things right with Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Doctor Strange. They’re on a real winning streak which has me really looking forward to all the future movies.

Anyway, back to Black Panther. Killmonger could have very easily been not evil enough. He was incredibly empathetic, you could easily see how he’d become what he had become. He’d suffered and seen his people suffering all the while knowing that there was an entire country where they weren’t. Where they advanced beyond anything in the rest of the world. If he had stopped there, pleaded his case to T’Challa and tried the more humanitarian route that Nakia, Lupita Nyong’o, wanted to go then the movie wouldn’t have been as good. He went further and in so doing nearly destroyed what Wakanda stood for, but he also forced T’Challa to really see what life was like for those outside of his country and also see that his father wasn’t perfect.

Villains that make the hero change, to see other perspectives, are the best. Black Panther was a great hero, he was everything I like in a super hero. He was a good man, that strove to do the right things and make the right decisions, even when it wasn’t always the easiest route. Without Killmonger, though, I don’t think the movie would have succeeded so well in my eyes.

The supporting cast in Black Panther was also incredible. I freaking loved General Okoye, Danai Gurira, she was so freaking awesome. That red dress billowing in the breeze while she destroyed shit around her. So cool! Then you’ve got T’Challa’s sister Shuri, Letitia Wright, who was hilarious. It was so much fun to see her interactions with T’Challa. I also enjoyed how Martin Freeman’s character, Everett Ross, was the token white guy. He wasn’t killed in the first few minutes, he was actually given something useful to do so that was nice for him.

Black Panther is my second favorite Marvel movie, it was so good, and I hope that everyone is able to go see it.

5/5

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The Punisher (2017-?)

The Punisher (2017-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Jon Bernthal

Amber Rose Revah

Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Ben Barnes

Jaime Ray Newman

Daniel Webber

Deborah Ann Woll

Plot:

After the murder of his family, Marine veteran Frank Castle became a vigilante known as “The Punisher” with only one goal in mind, to avenge them.

Review:

The Punisher is an antihero that chooses to kill anyone he perceives as a bad guy. He starts off by going after the people that killed his family and it goes from there. He’s a ‘hero’ that when I was young I thought was super cool. Just bypass the system and take them out, but now that I’m older I just can’t get behind that method of justice, if the laws are broken then we need to fix them not just go around killing people. I guess I’m more Superman/Batman brand of justice and for whatever reason I can’t put that aside when I watch a Punisher that’s purposefully placed in a realistic environment.

I wasn’t planning on watching this series, after Iron Fist and Defenders I’ve almost given up on Marvel. Pair that with the fact that I just did not want to watch a show that tried to make me sympathize with a man like Frank Castle, Jon Bernthal, I had planned to sit it out. Next thing I know several friends are telling me I have to watch it, that it doesn’t try to make my empathize, that it does a great job of showing a different side of things, that it’s just the best thing ever and I broke.

One of the main complaints for the Marvel shows on Netflix is that thirteen episodes is too long. I personally didn’t feel that way with the first season of Daredevil or Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, because I really liked the characters and what was going on. I felt every minute of some of these episodes of The Punisher, though, and not in a good way. There was lots of dragging, lots of inactivity, and too much effort put into making The Punisher sympathetic.

The side story that followed Lewis Walcott, Daniel Webber, as he dealt with reintegrating into society was more interesting than The Punisher side for a while. I can see what they were trying to do, show a parallel between The Punisher and Lewis and how they reacted to trauma and coming home. However, they decided to push Lewis over the edge and then kept calling him a coward and trying to say that The Punisher was better. In the process they made Karen, Deborah Ann Woll, sound like an idiot because she refused to acknowledge the similarities.

David ‘Microchip’ Lieberman, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, was also another heavy handed parallel to The Punisher. He faked his own death and left his wife and two children alone to think he was dead. Naturally he spied on them with multiple cameras all over his old house. He was very willing to use The Punisher for a means to an end but acted like he was better than him. My main problem with Microchip, which has nothing to do with the story, is when he’s finally reunited with his wife, Jaime Ray Newman. After some time when she’s been understandably angry with him, they hook up in the bathroom. He finishes superfast, they laugh, he says he’s sorry, she says it’s okay, end scene. Why couldn’t they take two seconds to just show him slipping his hand down her panties? Why did he get to finish, but not her? Why couldn’t they have him saying he’d take care of her? Something? We’d already watched the whole awkward scene why did the wife get nothing?

Which brings me to my main complaint with the series, and something I already knew would be the case going in, but I was convinced it wouldn’t be this way by others. The Punisher is just male fantasy erotica, female fans of the Punisher get almost nothing from this series. Karen is made to be stupid. Dinah Madani, Amber Rose Revah, sleeps with a man she basically only originally talked to because he had connections to Castle and the criminal investigation she’s obsessed with, then of course develops some feelings for him, and is nearly killed by him. Microchip’s wife relies on her daughter for common household issues, then the Punisher as he comes along, and is just a damsel in distress. She at least protects her children as much as she can, but she allows her son to just walk all over her and kisses Castle because he’s of course the only man she’s come in close contact with since her husband has passed.

Tons of bullets flying, bad guys getting beat up, sex with hot women. I like action movies, but this was basically all my least favorite parts rolled up into one.

2/5

Side Note: I wasn’t able to pay 100% attention to this show, I just couldn’t, it would annoy me and I’d distract myself with something else while it played in the background.

The Defenders (2017-?)

The Defenders (2017-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Charlie Cox

Krysten Ritter

Mike Colter

Plot:

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up to fight crime in New York City.

Review:

I was excited for this to come out, even after the horrible Iron Fist that I was unable to complete. If I had known just how much of the plot revolved around Danny I would have tempered my expectations. Instead I spent most of the series rolling my eyes, ignoring large portions, and wishing someone would just kill him already.

What I noticed first was the different filters for each character. It was at best distracting and worse down right annoying. I’m not sure who thought that was necessary but I thought it was stupid.

By far the best part of the series was Jessica Jones, they did not deserve her. Her character was funny and I enjoyed it every time she was on the screen and allowed to talk. I feel like her part was the smallest but I’m not positive about that and would like to see a breakdown of the amount of time each character had on screen.

I enjoyed Luke Cage and Daredevil to a lesser extent, and again absolutely hated Danny. I’m not really looking forward to The Punisher and after this I’m concerned that they’ll find a way to screw up the second season of Jessica Jones. Time will tell, but once I watch Wet Hot American summer with my husband we’ll probably be canceling Netflix again.

The only reason I’m not giving this a one star is because there were more than a few instances of everyone treating Danny like an idiot and I appreciated that.

2/5

2016 Favorites

Movies

Wow, so I did not see many new movies this year. I re-watched a lot of old stuff and caught up on some 2015 stuff. Overall, though, apart from the re-watches of favorites, I didn’t like many movies this year.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens– I liked the new characters a lot, but was disappointed by the story so I’m not sure if I would call it a favorite. It was nice to see a new Star Wars, though.

Deadpool– I didn’t write a blog for this movie, at least I don’t think I did. I went through a period there where sitting in front of a computer screen made me physically ill so there were a few movies and books I missed. Joys of pregnancy. Anyway, I really liked Deadpool and was lucky enough to pick it up Black Friday and re-watch. So I guess that’s a favorite for this year.

The Big Short– Really liked this movie, even though it made me mad. Enough that I read the book, then read more by the author, and then purchased the movie even though it was on Netflix at the time.

Star Wars: Rogue OneThis might be my favorite movie of the year, I need to watch it a few more times to decide exactly how much I loved it though.

Books

Book wise I also did a lot of re-reading but I was lucky enough to read several books I loved that were new to me.

Lois Lane: Double Down– This series has become such a surprise favorite of mine. Once again I gave this book as a Christmas present and I’m excited for the next to come out. I rarely find a YA book that isn’t filled with whinny emotional stupid teens and this really fills that void for me.

Carry On– Rainbow Rowell is now a must buy author for me. I’ve loved every book she’s written even though none of them are in a series or like the books I normally read. Her characters are awesome and this book was just perfect.

Stars of Fortune– I was really surprised by this Nora Roberts book. It was like reading an old favorite of hers but for the first time with no knowledge of what was going to happen.

Fire Touched Magic Binds & One Fell Sweep– It wouldn’t be a list of mine without Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews on it. I’m so happy with the speed that Ilona Andrews is able to write at and wish that Patricia Briggs would pick up the pace. I read One Fell Sweep as it was posted on their blog and don’t have a review written, however I did buy the book and plan on re-reading it so I’ll post a review then.

The Last Dragonslayer– Loved finding this Jasper Ffrode series, wish it didn’t seem to end with a cliffhanger, but the first book is awesome.

TV

I didn’t have much patience with TV the second half of the year. These things happen when your hormones are in overdrive though. There were still a few shows that I really enjoyed.

Agent Carter– It still makes me sad that this was canceled. Peggy Carter is such an awesome character and a wonderful role model for women/girls everywhere.

Fuller House– Sometimes you need a junk food show. Something that is fun and doesn’t make you think at all. First episode of the first season was bad, but they eventually found their feet and the second season was really good.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones– Jessica Jones is not a character to look up to, but I thought the show was great. She’d been through a lot and still kept fighting. Hope things get better for her, but if Daredevil is any indication of what happens with a second Marvel season on Netflix probably not.

Marvel’s Luke Cage– This is my favorite Marvel show on Netflix. It was so good. Loved pretty much everything about it.

The Librarians– I wish there were more shows like this out there. It’s like Eureka and Warehouse 13, it’s fun and light and I know that things are going to work out. I really just love it and I’m so glad that it keeps getting renewed, I dread the day it doesn’t.

Dark Matter– This was such an awesome find for me. I miss SciFi that isn’t about the world ending or after the world has basically ended or just a constant sink hole of depression. Dark Matter isn’t light by any means, but it doesn’t fill me with a sense of dread.

Video Games

Stardew Valley– I spent so many hours playing this it’s kind of crazy. I love Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games and this was a perfect version of both with a little bit of Animal Crossing thrown in. It’s like this game was made for me and I loved it. It just came out on PS4 and XB1 in case anyone doesn’t want to purchase it on Steam. There’s also a freakin adorable guide available.

Doctor Strange (2016)

doctor-strange

Doctor Strange (2016)

Director:

Scott Derrickson

Starring:

Benedict Cumberbatch

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Rachel McAdams

Tilda Swinton

Plot:

A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Review:

Probably the best way for me to go into a comic book movie is to know nothing about the character, which is how I went in with Doctor Strange.

My first thought was surprise that there was a character out there that was a bigger dick than Tony Stark. There was some character growth on that part but I doubt the two of them would work well together or even fit in the same room.

I’ve come to accept, though not really like, the fact that superhero movies do not know how to film action scenes. Tons of quick cuts and you could rarely fully see the action when it was happening. The fact that Scott Adkins was in the movie but never fully utilized felt like such a waste and disappointed my husband who had been excited about his inclusion.

They basically introduced a whole new world in the Marvel universe so there was a lot of information that needed to be told and I don’t think it was completely. There were still some things I’m unsure of and other parts that were slightly confusing. Maybe if I read the comics it wouldn’t have been that way but I couldn’t be the only person going in blind.

I also thought that the little bits of comedy they tried for were out of place and didn’t fit the tone of the rest of the movie. It’s like they were trying to channel Guardians of the Galaxy lite and they really shouldn’t have at all. I get that Marvel movies like to have lighter moments but the jokes fell flat for me and those moments could have been done differently.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, it added a new element to the Marvel universe and I thought Tilda Swinton’s character was awesome. There were some flaws and it was nowhere near as good as Guardians of the Galaxy but I enjoyed it a lot more than several other Marvel movies.

3.75/5

Side note: Cumberbatch didn’t appear to get as ripped as previous male stars which kind of sucks for the other dudes but I hope it’s not a new trend lol