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Movie review: Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel

My household went to see Captain Marvel this past Thursday night. We’re not normally an opening-weekend movie-viewing type of household, but this time I wanted to make an exception. And I was deeply delighted that we did.

Because, spoiler-free picoreview: CAROL DANVERS IS MAGNIFICENT AND I MUST SEE THIS MOVIE AGAIN.

Behind the cut you will find ALL THE SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and care about spoilers, come back and read this later.

Coming over from Facebook or Twitter? If so, please be mindful about what replies you may give me on those sites.

If you’re reading this either directly on angelahighland.com OR on my Dreamwidth account, spoilers in the comments are fair game.

Now with all the caveats out of the way, let’s talk Captain Marvel. 😀

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Movies

Movie review: Avengers: Infinity War (no spoilers)

My household doesn’t usually see movies on opening weekend. But a couple of days ago Dara informed me that spoilers were falling like rain on her social media feeds! So yesterday evening, we scampered off for a viewing of Avengers: Infinity War at one of our local theaters.

I was deeply amused that said theater was running the film on almost every single one of their screens. I was equally amused, on the way out, to see that one of the ticket takers was dressed up like Loki. So they were clearly milking the Marvel money cow for all it’s worth.

As for the movie itself? This post will talk about it in a general non-spoilery fashion. I’ll do another post with in-depth spoiler-laden commentary.

Pacing and cast

I’ve seen multiple headlines of reviews talking about the movie being overstuffed. These reviews are not wrong. Almost every single character we’ve had introduced to us in the last ten years of the MCU shows up. Some get more screen time than others, as is inevitable with a cast this large. But with so many characters in play, the film has very little time to do much with any of them, except for the ones specifically involved with the biggest plot points.

And, given that the film’s running time is 2 hours 29 minutes, that’s a lot of time to be juggling so many characters.

Fight scenes make up a lot of the two and a half hours. Dara and I talked about how in some ways the pacing of this movie felt like The Battle of the Five Armies, in that it was almost non-stop fighty fighty fighty fighty. Because of this, some of y’all may find the film kind of exhausting. I personally didn’t; despite the long running time, I mostly felt like it moved well. I felt only a time or two that things were dragging a bit, and those moments were fleeting.

So very much in media res

I cannot stress this enough: this film expects you to know what happened in the films that led up to this one. If you haven’t been heavily invested in the MCU up until this point, this is so very not the place to come into the storyline. This is the cinematic equivalent of trying to come in on the Harry Potter books with book 7, or The Lord of the Rings with Return of the King.

For me, this was just fine. I have been heavily invested in the MCU. But I can definitely see that a casual moviegoer, someone who may have missed one or more of the previous movies, could come into this movie and be very, very lost.

So what I’m saying here is, brush up on previous MCU plots before you go see Infinity War. Go read Wikipedia plot summaries of them at the very least, if you don’t have time to watch the actual films. You don’t need to know every single previous MCU film well for the important plot points of this one to make sense. But you should brush up on Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Civil War, and Thor: Ragnarok.

Comic book cosmology, oh my yes

One more important point I want to make: we are now well and thoroughly into the territory of some of the wackier aspects of comic book plots here, people. In particular, we’re getting into the cosmology of the Marvel Universe, with the entire notion of the Infinity Stones, and what Thanos wants to do with them.

A lot of the action is in space, or on worlds that aren’t Earth. Some of these sequences are handled more realistically than others. Dara told me after we came out of the film that certain parts of it knocked her right out of the story, because of her immediate “uh, no” reaction. You’ll want to break out the industrial strength cables for the suspension of your disbelief here, y’all.

There are multiple on-screen deaths, be warned. But more than one of them failed to hit me with the Feels that I think the film wanted out of me, specifically because I knew that this was a comic book plot and that deaths are almost never final in these sorts of storylines. Knowing that we’re into the wackier cosmology of the Marvel universe at this point distanced me in a way some of the earlier films didn’t do, because of their better grounding in realism. (Notably, the first two Captain Americas.)

That said: I did totally tear up at certain points during the climax of the story.

Thanos

Last but not least, Thanos, our Big Bad. How well he’ll work for you will, again, depend upon how well you roll with wacky cosmic comic book plots. Arguably, Thanos’ motivations are shaky at best. But given that, Josh Brolin played him well. We get into some of Thanos’ general backstory, as well as the backstory of how he took Gamora off her home planet when she was a child. That helped make me buy his direct interactions with Gamora and Nebula, at least, if not his overall motivations.

And I’ll say this: the big guy was legit scary in battle. So were his minions, generally referred to as “the Children of Thanos” on screen. (These characters do actually have names; I looked them up on Wikipedia. But I don’t recollect hearing any of them called by these names in the movie.)

All in all, Infinity War definitely entertained me. One more warning, though: this movie ends in a dark cliffhanger-y sort of place. The real resolution isn’t due until the next Avengers flick drops in May 2019. So if you’re not a fan of cliffhangers, consider whether you want to see this film in a theater now, vs. watching it much closer to when the next one comes out.

Stand by for the spoiler-y post, wherein I will talk about this flick in a lot more depth. 😀

Movies

(A quite belated) Movie review: Black Panther

This is of course a super late post given that Black Panther came out a few weeks ago at this point. But I wanted to get this written up anyway, since I did like this movie immensely, and wanted to document my thoughts. 😀

I’ve been seeing discussion posts all over the place about it, but notably on The Mary Sue and Tor.com, both of which have had multiple interesting commentaries on various aspects of the film. They’ve ranged from the overall joy of fans of color for this film, which is massive, to the rightful and eminently correct praise of the multiple awesome women in the cast.

Now, while I’ve been a solid fan of the MCU since the first Iron Man film came out, I’m also of course squarely in the White Chick bracket of fandom. As such, I cannot by definition have the same sort of gut-deep reaction of joy to this film that a fan of color could. But I will say this: given how much joy I got out of seeing Wonder Woman, I can totally extrapolate. I am delighted that this film exists, and that fans of color get to rejoice in it. The opportunity to support it by giving it my theater-going money has pleased me, and I did in fact have enough fun seeing it that I’m strongly considering seeing it again.

For the more in-depth details of things I loved, have a look behind the fold!

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Comics

About the new Captain America reveal in the comics

I’m seeing the Internet explode all over the damn place today, thanks to the new reveal about Captain America in the Marvel comics.

I’m not even reading Cap’s title right now; my exposure to him in the comics so far has been his periodic appearances in the titles I have been following. Notably, Black Widow and Captain Marvel, at least prior to the recent universe reset. The vast majority of my experience with the character has been via the movies.

But Cap’s also one of my favorites. I like him for many of the same reasons I like Superman: to wit, I actually appreciate the morally upright “boy scout” type heroes, when they’re done well. And Chris Evan’s portrayal, particularly in the recently released Civil War movie, has always been about his rock-steady moral center.

This new reveal? It’s bullshit. It flies in the face of everything the character has always been about. Not to mention that taking a character created by a couple of Jewish guys and doing this to him is just full of NO.

The reveal in question, I’m putting behind the fold just in case you haven’t managed to see it yet and care about spoilers.

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Movies

Movie review: Captain America: Civil War

Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall

Dara, Paul, and I went and saw Captain America: Civil War last night, and I can say without reservation: gracious, that was satisfying.

Now, Cap’s name is in the title of this thing (and Dara opined that its title should have been Captain America: Why Don’t Any of You Fuckers Listen to Steve?, or perhaps Captain America: He’s Not Perfect, Except For His Abs). But really, this is way more of an Avengers movie. Though granted, it also has a huge focus on Cap. I mention this though because if you go in expecting this to have the same focus on Cap that the previous movies did, you might be a bit disappointed. But if you think of this more as an Avengers movie with a focus on Cap, it works way better. Particularly given how so much of this movie’s plot draws from the events in Age of Ultron.

But of course, it’s also drawing on events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is not a good movie to come in cold to the MCU, is what I’m sayin’ here. If you haven’t seen either of those movies yet, this one will make way less sense.

I’ve seen a lot of enthusing about the new kid playing Spidey. Of whom I mostly have this to say: I’m having a hard time mustering much giveadamn for yet another iteration of Spidey, particularly when pulling him into the MCU delayed Captain Marvel. Marf. Though, even given my crankiness about that, I’ll cheerfully grant this kid was charming and fun. Yesterday I put up a post on Here Be Magic about why I love Supergirl, and one of the things I call out there is how DC’s doing such a lovely job bringing a tone of brightness and optimism to that show. This iteration of Spidey is helping do that for the MCU, I feel, and I can’t help but appreciate that.

Still, though, I think I would have been way more on board with another Spidey if this one had been Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker. Which is why, when it comes to the new faces introduced in this movie, I was way more excited by Black Panther. His character was amazing, and I am 100% ON BOARD with his forthcoming movie.

Before I get into spoiler discussion, here are some other reviews from sites I regularly follow, which I just doublechecked now that I’ve seen the movie myself. I’m pretty much ON BOARD with everything these links have to say, too. Particularly the parts about the biceps. 😀

Captain America: Civil War is the Emotional Pinnacle of Superhero Movies on Tor.com

Review: Captain America: Civil War Is Good (but Too Stuffed to be Great) on The Mary Sue

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

And now, for spoilers! ALL THE SPOILERS behind the fold!

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Movies

Sign me up for #WeWantWidow

Black Widow

Black Widow

I just spotted this report of Black Widow flash mobs all over the world today, all in the name of encouraging Marvel and Disney that yes, dammit, there is a market for female superhero merchandise, and that superheroes are not just for boys.

I’m not a cosplayer so I can’t really join the flash mobs–even though according to the Mary Sue’s report, there’s one right here in Seattle. To wit: AWESOME. But I love me some Natasha. She is the direct and specific reason that I started digitally subscribing to several of Marvel’s titles. And she’s also the reason that at least two different times, I’ve been complimented on a t-shirt choice–because I found this Black Widow t-shirt on WeLoveFine.com. About THE only place to date that I’ve been able to find any Black Widow shirts at all. And that’s a crying shame.

Because it’s insulting to young girls who might want a Black Widow toy to replace her with Iron Man or Captain America on her own motorcycle. Sure, Iron Man and Captain America are awesome, but y’know what? If you’re a young girl wanting a Widow toy, you want Black Widow.

And if you’re a girl–or a woman, or hell, a Marvel fan of any gender–who wants Natasha on a T-shirt, your money is just as good as the people who’re buying the shirts with the rest of the Avengers on ’em. So it boggles my mind that Marvel and Disney can’t see their way clear to releasing some official shirts. THIS IS NOT DIFFICULT.

In the meantime, WeLoveFine.com has our backs. And I may just have to go give them more of my money.

Comics

Thor #8: And our new Goddess of Thunder is…

Thor #8

Thor #8

… someone I was pretty much suspecting anyway, given her earlier interactions with original!Thor/Odinson in a previous issue.

I got inadvertently spoiled on this after looking at Dear Author this morning, so just in case you’re interested and you don’t already know and want to keep it that way until you read the new issue, let’s just put this behind a fold, shall we?

(ETA: Whoops, the Dear Author link was wrong. Fixed.)

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