Category Archives: DisneyPlus

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Review

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog regularly, knows that I don’t normally nerd out about comic books and their on screen adaptations.

The new DisneyPlus series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered last night. It starts just after Avengers: Endgame. The Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) are dealing with the after effects of the war against Thanos and the blip that caused half of the population on Earth to disappear. Both Sam and Bucky are trying to balance their personal lives and their superhero selves when a new enemy appears. To save the world again, they have to work together. Which is a challenge within itself.

There comes a point in which a brand has to realize that not every IP needs multiple spinoffs. After the massive success of Endgame and WandaVision, the next logical step is to greenlight other offshoots with other characters from within the same universe. The problem is not every one of them is worthy of it’s predecessor. The problem with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is that while it is entertaining, it is not as good as WandaVision.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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Can We Talk About the WandaVision Finale?

Warning: This post contains spoilers about the final episode of WandaVision. Read at your own risk if you have not seen it.

The MCU is not known for clean, “they lived happily ever after” endings. The pain and the joy of watching any MCU piece are the dangling story threads, especially are the tantalizing clues that come out of the mid-credit scenes.

If there was ever a guidebook on how to create a season finale, the 9th episode of WandaVision would be found within the first five pages. Kudos to Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Paul Bettany (Vision), Kathryn Hahn (Agnes/Agatha Harkness), and the rest of the cast. The action and the emotion were given equal weight, creating a perfect balance that was equally heart-pounding and heartbreaking.

My favorite moment was when Wanda comes back down to Earth (literally and physically) and realizes what she has done. It was a human moment in a superhuman narrative, forcing the characters and the audience down to take an honest look at the difficult choices that must be made.

If I had to choose between the mid-credit scenes, it would be the final one. The split between Wanda Maximoff as a human being and Scarlet Witch as the magical superhero was a nice representation of the two sides of the same person.

Is anyone else’s head still spinning? Season 2 better come quick.

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Celebrating Women’s History Month and the Female Characters Who Inspire Us

March is Women’s History Month. This year, I would like to shine a spotlight on some of the female characters who both push against the glass ceiling and inspire us.

Behind Her Eyes (Netflix): It would have been easy to peg Adele (Eve Hewson) as the wronged wife and Louise (Simona Brown) as a modern version of Glenn Close’s character from Fatal Attraction. But both women are given the opportunity to be fully fledged characters that go well beyond the stereotypes.

Bridgerton (Netflix): For non-fans of the BPD (British Period Drama), Bridgerton would just another Jane Austen-ish historical romance/drama. But fans know that though women are second class citizens in this world, they have other abilities that are not obvious to the naked eye. My favorite characters are Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) and Lady Danbury (Adjoah Andoh). Instead of mindlessly following in her elder sister’s footsteps, Eloise would love to be free of the constrictions that women are placed under in the 19th century. For her part, Lady Danbury is a badass who knows of her place in society and uses her experiences wisely.

WandaVision (DisneyPlus): Every female character in this series is fully formed. As we learn more about this world and the women who inhabit it, their humanity is revealed in a manner that is normal and natural. They are allowed to be who they are without being pegged as certain character types and forced into boxes that can be easily checked off.

P.S. That series finale last night was nothing short of mind blowing. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am ready for season 2.

Law & Order: SVU (NBC): For a television show to last twenty plus years, it has to have a certain something about it. In a nutshell, what makes it stand out is the difficult subject the show brings to the forefront and the capable female detectives whose job it is to solve the crimes. At the head of the unit is Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay). Though she has been working sex crimes for decades, the job has not hardened her. She can be tough when she has to be, but she can also be compassion and humane. Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) has fought against her demons and survived. That alone is worth its weight in gold. The newest and youngest member of the squad is Katriona Tamin (Jamie Gray Hyder). Though she still has a lot to learn, she has the passion and the drive to bring the criminals to justice.

Readers, what other female characters inspire you? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.

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Filed under Books, DisneyPlus, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Netflix, Television

Firing Gina Carano was Necessary

What we say and do has consequences. Further, what we say on the Internet sometimes comes back to bite us in the literal behind.

This morning, The Mandalorian star Gina Carano (Cara Dune) was fired due to an Instagram post that is without a doubt, offensive.

“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views,” 

Her right leaning politics is not the issue here. The issue is the correlation between being a Republican in America in 2021 and being Jewish in Nazi Germany.

Being Jewish in Europe during World War II was a death sentence. Belonging to the Republican party is not a death sentence.

I take offense to her statement for two reasons. The first is that the entire narrative of Star Wars is about the importance of protecting democracy and human rights from autocracy and hate. The second is that I am a Jewish woman who lost family in The Holocaust. Comments like these make it seem like the six million have been killed all over again.

Only time will tell if Cara will be written out completely or if Carano will be replaced. But there is one thing that is certain, firing her was the right decision.

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WandaVision Review

An onscreen or onstage translation of a beloved work of fiction is not as simple as it appears to be. On paper, transforming the narrative and the characters from the page to the screen or the stage seems like a simple process. But the reality is that is difficult task to complete.

WandaVision premiered on Friday on DisneyPlus. Vision (Paul Bettany) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) are newlyweds. Living in the world of classic family television comedies, it looks like their world is perfect. But there is a dark force hidden beneath the surface.

Before I go further, I have to warn that my knowledge of these characters extends only to the movies. I know nothing of the content in the comic books. That being said, this show is fantastic. I love that the creators used classic television shows to juxtapose the danger that is rumbling under Wanda and Vision’s feet.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely?

New episodes of WandaVision are released every Friday on DisneyPlus.

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Best Movies of 2020

  1. Soul: Though it is marketed as a kids movie, the subtext of appreciating life feels appropriate and potent this year.
  2. Mulan: The live-action reboot of the 1998 animated film Mulan rises above its predecessor, making it fresh and relevant.
  3. Emma.: Anya Taylor-Joy stars as Jane Austen‘s eponymous heroine, Emma Woodhouse, introduced as clever, rich, and handsome. Directed by Autumn de Wilde, this adaption is entertaining, funny, and a lovely addition to the list of Austen adaptations.
  4. The Trial of the Chicago 7: The film tells. the story of the 7 men accused of being responsible for the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. Though it is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it feels very 2020.
  5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire: This LBGTQ historical romance between a young woman and the female artist hired to paint her portrait is sweet, romantic, and powerful. It proves once more that love is love is love.
  6. Ordinary Love: Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) are your average middle-aged couple. When she is diagnosed with Breast Cancer, they both must deal with the rough road ahead.
  7. The Assistant: Jane (Julia Garner) is an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein-esque powerful movie producer. She starts to notice things that don’t sit right with her.
  8. I am Greta: This documentary follows teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as she advocates for the world to pay serious attention to climate change.
  9. Mank: Gary Oldman plays Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in a performance that is nothing but Oscar bait.
  10. #AnneFrank-Parallel Lives: Narrated by Helen Mirren, this documentary tells not just Anne’s story. It follows other young women who survived the Holocaust. Parallel to the stories of the past, the viewer is traveling with another young woman as she visits different countries in present-day Europe.

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Filed under Books, DisneyPlus, Emma, Fairy Tales, Feminism, History, Hulu, Jane Austen, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix, Politics

Soul Movie Review

We all know that at some point, we will exit this life. The question is, will we live to the fullest while we can?

The new Disney Plus movie, Soul, premiered yesterday. Joe Gardiner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) is a junior high school band teacher with a passion for playing music. At this point in his adult life, his dream of being a professional jazz musician has yet to be achieved. Then he gets an opportunity to play at a local jazz club.

But before he can play, he falls into a manhole. Discovering that he is in the Great Beyond, Joe tries everything he can to get back to his body. His ticket back to Earth is 22, (Tina Fey) an infant soul who is disinterested in being born. Together, they will learn about what true passion is and how to live life to the fullest.

What I like about this movie is while it is obviously a kids movie, there are themes that are well over the heads of younger audience members. The message of appreciating being alive and knowing what is truly important radiates through the narratives, reaching the viewer as only a touching and funny film can.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Soul is available for streaming on Disney Plus.

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We Have to Talk About The Mandalorian Season Finale

Warning: This post contains major spoilers about the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian. Read at your own risk if you have not see the episode.

The purpose of a season finale on a television show is to clean up the loose ends while giving the audience a taste of what might be coming next season. If I had to rank my favorite season finales, the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.

While the episode itself was nothing but awesome, there is one reason it was mind blowing: Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). At that point in the Star Wars narrative (please correct me if I am wrong), there is only one Jedi with a green lightsaber and that level of force abilities. I didn’t know whether to scream or cry out with joy when he removed his hood. It’s been a few days since I saw the episode and I am still getting tingles.

And of course, Hamill, with his usual cheeky style, teased what might be coming via Twitter.

It was nice tie in to the original trilogy, telling us exactly where the series fits in with the Star Wars timeline.

I may just re-watch it, it was that good.

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The Mandalorian Review

The expansion of any science fiction universe straddles a very thin line. It has to stand on its own two feet. But, it has to also fit in with the existing narrative and characters.

The Mandalorian premiered last year on Disney Plus. The title character, known as Mando (Pedro Pascal) earns his bread as a bounty hunter. Set in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, his latest job is to retrieve Grogu (otherwise known as Baby Yoda or The Child). He starts to walk away, but his conscious gets the better of him. Now he has a target on his back.

I am almost done with the first season and loving it. It has enough Easter eggs to keep the fans happy. But it is not so imposing that a newbie viewer has to understand every nuance about the Star Wars Universe to enjoy the program.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Mandalorian is available for streaming on Disney Plus.

P.S. Baby Yoda is absolutely adorable.

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Mulan Review

Back in 1976, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich made the following statement:

“Well-behaved women seldom make history”

Among the myths that exist in Chinese history, the story of Hua Mulan is one of the most well known. In 1998, Disney released an animated film based on her narrative. In September, the live action adaptation premiered on Disney Plus.

Mulan (Yifei Liu) is not your average young woman. Girls in her world are expected to be meek, mild, and subservient. The highlight of her life is her future as a wife and mother. But Mulan is the opposite. She is a tomboy who would prefer to be active rather than submit to the path that is prescribed for her.

When the kingdom is invaded, a decree is sent out. Every family must send one man to fight. But Mulan has no brothers and her father is partially crippled from the last invasion. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins the army, knowing full well that the revelation of her gender is a dangerous one.

Among the live-action updates of Disney’s animated films (Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast), this is the best of the three that have so far been seen by audiences. It is darker and grittier than its predecessor, enhancing what was already there. I also loved the addition of Xianniang (Li Gong). Though she is initially introduced as the typical Disney villain, there is more to her than meets the eye.

One of the updates that I think makes the movie is the question of how gender is perceived. Though the subject was threaded into the screenplay in the 1998 movie, it is much more prevalent in this version.

If there was one takeaway from this film, it is to thine own self be true, even if the revelation is a difficult one to process. Given the changes in our culture in regards to gender, sex, and sexuality, the message comes through loud and clear.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Mulan is available for streaming on Disney Plus.

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Filed under Beauty and the Beast, DisneyPlus, Fairy Tales, Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies