Comic books/graphic novels are not just juvenile forms of literature. They have a way of introducing audiences to new concepts and new characters that might not exist in traditional literature.
The Old Guardpremiered last night on Netflix. Based on the comic book by Greg Rucka, the movie tells the story of a group of immortal warriors. Led by Andromeda/Andy (Charlize Theron), they have remained in the shadows for thousands of years. Their cover is nearly blown by the newest member of the group, Nile (Kiki Layne). While they are dealing with the newbie, Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is eager to learn how these warriors have maintained their immortality.
Before I saw the movie, I had not heard of The Old Guard. My review is solely based on the movie.
As a female viewer, this is my ideal narrative. Andy is not the traditional female character, especially for this genre. She is clearly in charge, but is also empathetic. She is additionally, also not straddled with the standard romantic/damsel in distress narrative that are forced upon female characters.
That being said, the movie was merely ok. It was somewhere in between underwhelming and not a bad way to spend two hours of my movie watching time.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
The Old Guard is available for streaming on Netflix.
Joker: In this re imagined world from that Batman universe, Joaquin Phoenix adds new layers to this iconic character while talking frankly about mental illness.
The Song of Names: Based on the book of the same name, the film follows a man who is trying to discover the secrets of a missing childhood friend.
Frozen II: This sequel to the mega-hit Frozen was well worth the six year wait. Instead of doing a slap-dash direct to video type sequel, the filmmakers expanded this world in new ways, making the story even more relevant.
This will be my last post for 2019. Wherever you are, thank you for reading this year. May 2020 be bright and hopeful.
For the last ten years, movie fans have come to expect a new Avengers film every year or so. All of the major male heroes (with the exception of Hawkeye) have had at least one stand-alone film over the course of those ten years.
For most of the franchise, Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) was the only woman on the team. Up until very recently, she was also without a stand-alone film of her own. The trailer was released earlier this week for Black Widow.
The movie looks fantastic. The supporting cast (Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour) looks equally fantastic. But I have to question why it took so long for Marvel to greenlight a Black Widow film?
It feels like an afterthought. Its as if Marvel is trying to stretch the franchise as far as it can go instead of following the natural narrative. This film feels like it is akin to a child giving in to the pressure from their parents to eat their vegetables. I wish it was not this way, but this is the reality that we live. Women still have to fight for the opportunities that come naturally to men.
This movie is on my must-see list for 2020. But being that it will not be released for another 6 months, we can only speculate about this film. My hope is that it does well and finally breaks the glass ceiling on female superhero films once and for all.
When you’re a kid, you want to fit in. The last thing you want is to stick out like a sore thumb. When you’re a redhead, you stick out whether you like it or not.
Though I am proud of my red hair now, there were many times as a kid that I wished that my hair was another color. It took many years and a lot of work, but at nearly 40, I have come to love my hair.
Today is National Redhead Day. Thanks to this day, How to be a Redhead and three of the characters below (which is a short version of a very long list), I appreciate my hair in ways that I did not in the past.
Zelena-Once Upon a Time (Rebecca Mader)
Zelena is a redheaded badass because she knows what she wants and she goes after it. Though she may not (at least in the beginning) care that she is hurting others, it is her confidence and her one-liners that makes me proud to be a redhead.
Mera is a queen in every sense of the word. But instead of being the standard female royal who waits for things to happen (i.e. rescued from the big bad), Mera takes charge of her own life. She is also unafraid to stand up for what is right, even if that means going into battle.
It takes a strong woman to be true to herself in an era when a woman is supposed to be meek, mild and subservient to her husband. Demelza Poldark (nee Carne) may have been born a miner’s daughter, but she has not forgotten who she is. Though she is a member of the upper class through her marriage, Demelza is still a tough as nails working-class girl who is intelligent and more than capable of standing on her own two feet.
I am going to end this post with a quote for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. It’s time to not care what others think and embrace who we are.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”-Dr. Seuss
Note: This review will be as spoiler free as possible.
The final film in any film series should pack an emotional punch, ramp up the drama and end with the feeling that the audience has seen everything that they need to see.
After months of buildup and expectation, Avengers Endgame premiered this weekend.
Starting off where Avengers: Infinity War ended, the film begins with a feeling of grief. After their numbers of have been decimated by Thanos (Josh Brolin), the surviving Avengers are not themselves. The loss of their friends and colleagues has cast a pall over the team. But Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) may have the resolution to their problem. But the plan is dangerous and has the possibility to not be completed as expected.
Can Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner/ The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Scott Lang/Ant-Man bring back the lost Avengers or are they doomed for failure?
If there any definitive comic book super hero movie, Avengers: Endgame is it. Despite it’s 3 hour-ish run, it is not boring, predictable or has the feeling that some scenes could have been left for the extras section of the DVD. It has plenty humor, heart pounding action, feels emotionally authentic and has an ending that feels just perfect.
I also loved that the female Avengers were given just as much screen time and ability to kick ass as their male counterparts.
I absolutely recommend it. I also absolutely recommend that you use the bathroom before going into the theater. Trust me, you do not want to miss a moment of this film.
Disclaimer: I know nothing of the cannon Aquaman from the comic books, this review is strictly based on the movie.
When a character is torn between two worlds, he or she must make a choice. It is that choice that defines who they are.
In the new movie, Aquaman, (based on the comic book character of the same name) Aquaman/Arthur Reed (Jason Mamoa) is caught between two worlds. His father, Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) is an ordinary man who manages a lighthouse. His mother, Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) a Queen of Atlantis. While they are in love and happy to have a life together, the reality is that there are opposing forces to their love.
As an adult, Aquaman/Arthur Reed knows that he is born of two worlds. While he plays the super hero game, he is not ready to accept that he is a Prince of Atlantis. Then Mera (Amber Heard) comes to him and begs for his help. Mera is a member of another royal family of the sea and engaged to Orm (Patrick Wilson), Aquaman/Arthur Reed’s younger half-brother. Orm not only has his eye on the throne, but he is angry about the destruction of his world by pollution.
Can Orm be stopped and more importantly, can Aquaman/Arthur Reed find his place in the world?
I am not particularly a fan of super hero movies based on comic books, but I loved this movie. Jason Mamoa was tailor made for this role. I appreciated that the female leads (Mera and Atlanna) are bad ass and far from the sexualized, 2D romantic partner/damsel in distress female characters that often appear in comic books. I also appreciated the message about pollution and doing our part to ensure that we do not destroy our environment.
Though, I have to admit that the choice of hair color for Mera for me, as a redhead, is a little questionable. While I understand that Mera is a redhead in the comic books, I would have preferred a more natural red instead of a red color that looks like it came from a kool aid container.
Comic books are sometimes dismissed as violent, sexual, immature and not fit for the eyes of its young readers. But comic book can also reach its readers in a way that few genres can. Today the comic book genre lost one of its brightest stars and iconic creators, Stan Lee.
Mr. Lee was born in 1922 to Jewish immigrants who were originally from Romania. In his teens, he started working at Timely Comics, which would decades later become Marvel Comics. After fighting for his country in World War II, Mr. Lee returned creating comic books. Instead of introducing readers to variations of the same characters they had seen previously, he started creating characters that were not just misfits, but also fully fleshed out as human beings.
Readers fell in love with immortal characters such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, the Fantastic Four and X-Men. While they were reading about superheroes who were going on out of this world adventures, they were also hopefully opening their minds to those were being disenfranchised because they were different. In a very subtle manner, the Feminist Movement, the Civil rights movement and other movements whose goal of enfranchisement of those who rights have been taken away or non-existent benefited from the characters whose stories are told within these comic books.
In the words of our mutual ancestors, may the memory of Stan Lee be a blessing not just to his loved ones, but to the millions of fans who have adored his creations over the years.
For ten years, Marvel Studios has been telling the individual stories of their heroes. Last week, Avengers: Infinity War hit theaters, bringing all of their heroes together in one film.
Thanos (James Brolin) is known as a destroyer of worlds. He is on a quest to locate all of the infinity stones. When one has all of the stones, they are guaranteed limitless power. It is up to the Avengers and their allies to prevent Thanos from collecting all of the stones and gaining that power. If they cannot stop Thanos, then life on Earth as they know it to be will cease to exist.
A general rule of thumb when it comes to the number of characters is that the smaller the list, the better. Too many characters with varying narratives can often confuse the audience. But somehow, the screenwriters were still able to create a compelling narrative with the large cast of characters. Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), etc are all given equal screen time. Another general rule of thumb is to limit the length of the script. The movie clocks in at just under three hours.
I would remiss in saying that I would not bring young kids to the movie because it has certain adult elements in terms of language that a young child might need an explanation for. It also goes without saying, at in my mind, that I would not see this movie unless I had at least some knowledge of the narrative and characters from the previous films or the comic books.
But other than that, the film is entertaining and enjoyable.
Avengers: Infinity War is presently in theaters.
P.S. Am I the only redhead who is a little perturbed that Black Widow is now a blonde?
When one tends to think of a princess, the image is of a passive, beautifully dressed girl wearing some sort of crown and waiting for her prince charming.
Thankfully, times are changing and so are the images young girls are seeing on the big and small screen.
Black Panther hit movie theaters this weekend akin to the same way an asteroid hits a planet. The mark this film left on the audience will not be forgotten anytime soon.
The title character is surrounded by strong, capable women. None more so that his younger sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright.
A princess by birth, Shuri breaks stereotypes on multiple levels. Not only is she a woman of color, but she is a fierce warrior, a bad ass in her own right. She is also a technology wiz whose inventions help her brother to win the battles he needs to win to protect their people and their kingdom. And, of course, like any little sister, she knows how to add in a some good-natured ribbing of her brother to the conversation.
I don’t know if the people at Disney know this, but they have a new princess on their hands. If they don’t, then they are loosing out on a character whose reach goes beyond the standard princess imagery.
*I have no knowledge of either the narrative and characters in the Black Panther comic book, so this review is strictly based on the movie.
Comic books, especially the ones based around superheroes have become our modern-day fairy tales. There are heroes, villains, difficult journeys and life lessons that leave a lasting imprint long after we have read the final page.
The film starts off where Captain America: Civil War has ended. T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), is stepping into the role of King of Wakanda, a fictional country in Africa, after loosing his father. He is supported by his ex/best friend, Nakia, (Lupita Nyong’o), his younger sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), the Q to his James Bond, his widowed mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and his general, Okoye (Danai Gurira), who is the head of Wakanda’s Amazon-esque army.
When Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) threaten T’Challa/Black Panther and his kingdom, our hero must fight for his thrown and his country.
I loved this movie. I loved this movie. It has heart, it has humor, it has action, it has bad ass female characters and most importantly, character and actors of color who are proudly representing their heritage.
This movie is worth every word of praise and every dollar that has been spent to see it.